It's summertime! School's out, kids are outside playing and riding bikes and summer for me means time to work on my cake decorating skills! Let me back up a little on that last thought. This blog is about living fit and about trying to live a healthy lifestyle in a crazy busy world. In my world I love to exercise, eat really healthy foods, but there is also something else that I love to do that is in the grey area of being healthy or at least what the fitness and nutrition experts would consider healthy. I love to bake and my hobby is cake decorating. Yeah not so healthy eating when you are working with buttercream, fondant, ganache and modeling chocolate. When you love sugar as much as I do, this has the potential to not be a very healthy hobby.
Last summer I entered my very first cake decorating contest at the Ohio State Fair. I entered in the 2+ tier intermediate level and I won my division AND Best of Show for the Intermediate Level. During this time I happen to have my blood pressure checked and it was the lowest it has been in years! Why? Because I am doing something that I love and my stress level was lower. This year I am competing in the advanced/professional level so I will need to up my game. We'll have to see how my blood pressure does this year!
I firmly believe that part of just living fit is having a hobby that makes you happy even if your hobby involves lots of buttercream! What we need to work on is finding a balance between eating healthy, exercising and still having a hobby without gaining 10 pounds! It is possible, I just need to figure it out. I will have to keep you posted on my progress.
It has been a few weeks since I last made a post, but life has been busy for me. As we approach the end of the school year I have been busy with IEP’s, ETR’s and all my own boys’ end of the school year activities. Plus the schools are focusing on NEXT year all ready! Really I just want to get through the end of this school year! Right now as we entered Spring, I feel like we all are going through a time of change and it is showing up in many different ways. People are overly stressed, getting sick and over all having a decrease in energy. People can be so busy that they stop taking care of themselves like exercising, eating healthy and taking time to rest. Does that sound like you because that’s how I’m feeling! I have been so busy these last couple weeks with work and family activities (even made a trip to Illinois to help my in-laws move) that I have not exercised very much, my diet has gone out the window and I am stressed beyond belief! Now that my extreme crazy weeks are over with (at least for now) I feel like it is the time to reset, refocus and recharge.
As I begin my recharging process, I am refocusing on my eating habits of trying to eat clean healthy whole foods and cutting out a lot of processed foods. I am also I'm getting back to the gym. Friday I had my first Pilates class in several weeks and boy did my instructor work us! Yesterday I sneezed and my husband asked me if I was OK because I cringed as my abs hurt so bad from Pilates the day before, but that soreness is not going to stop me from getting my groove back. Yesterday I took a recovery/rest day and then this morning I was back at the gym doing a spinning class that was awesome! I’m also taking some time to slow down and enjoy the little pleasures in life.
Sometimes, when life seems like it is getting out of hand, we need to stop and focus on ourselves. If we focus on ourselves by trying to be the best we can be by eating healthy, exercise, and decrease stress and clutter in our life we can refocus on our goals and dreams. And who knows what opportunities might present themselves….
Here’s to Just Living Fit!
'Ah kids birthday parties. So many fun games and activities and then it's time for pizza and cake! The kids all sit around the table and parents pass out slices of pizza followed by singing happy birthday and eating cake. All the while parents are encouraged to help themselves to the pizza and cake as well. That’s usually when it hits me, I'M STARVING! So I help myself to a slice (or two) of pizza and cake and then a little later I don't feel well and I'm thinking why did I eat all of that?!
Or what about the times when there are other parties? Graduation, Holidays, family get togethers, hanging out with the neighbors, Super Bowl, you get the idea. There is always a TON of food and it all looks yummy! I always tell myself that I am going to eat just a little bit and that there is no need to over indulge, BUT then I start socializing. I have a drink or two and the munchies hit! So I give in to the urge and eat and eat until I am so full that I feel like my husband needs to roll me home. Does this all sound familiar?
For me parties are a huge nutritional struggle. I want to try everything especially the cake, but I know nutritionally it is not good for me. Plus the havoc pizza (or any dairy) and cake will do on my gut is miserable. So what is a busy mother/person suppose to do when either their child or themselves gets invited to a party and on the way you realize you are starving? You have every intention on eating the “healthy” food items when you get there, but you know you didn’t plan well so chances are great that when you do see the food you will eat everything in sight. What are you suppose to do?!
For me, I find that the number one reason why I indulge at parties is because I am hungry. A solution that has helped me is to drink a smoothie before I leave for the party. It doesn't have to be fancy, but it does need to have lots of protein in it so you feel and stay full and hence less likely to help yourself to the cheese pizza or a huge slice of cake! I typically make my own smoothie with protein powder, cashew milk, spinach and a fruit, but there are times when I don't have 5 minutes to even make the smoothie! When this happens I reach for a meal replacement shake (AdvoCare has a great one!) where I poor the packet into my blender bottle with either water or nut milk and then I shake it up and I'm on my way! Another great option is to keep protein bars on hand, so as you are leaving you can grab one and eat it on the way to the party. Anything with a lot of protein and low in sugar is going to be great to eat before a party and help reduce the urge to over indulge. Cheers to that!
My friend and I are training for a half marathon. On this particular week she suggested that we do our long run together. This was my reply, “You are so much faster than I am. I would hold you back.” She told me that she needed to take it easy this week, so no problem. I then proceeded with all the excuses I could think of; who would watch the kids, I need to go grocery shopping and meal prep for the week, I am going out tonight and will get home late, so I’ll be tired. You name it I was trying to get out of it. After she and my husband (he happened to be next to me listening to all of this) literally shot down all my excuses, I gave in and said I would go running with her.
For our long run she ended up taking me trail running. I told myself that I grew up in Colorado skiing, hiking and playing competitive soccer, so yeah I could trail run. Plus I’ve always wanted to try it. Guess what?! I LOVED it! I could only make it 6.75 miles instead of our 8 miles we wanted to do, but it was my first time and I literally ran until I could no longer run. My hamstrings were on fire! I didn’t care because I DID IT! I stopped giving excuses and stepped outside my comfort zone to do something that I have always wanted to do. It felt awesome!
Running with my friend that day I realized several things about myself. I make up excuses because I am scared. I am scared of what I can actually achieve if I push myself. I am scared of failure. What if I really can’t run like I thought, what if I am just not that good? How many times do we as mothers tend to use our children as excuses to not do what we really want to do because we feel like we would be a bad mother if we put ourselves first? I have fallen in this cycle of giving excuses and I am pretty darn good at it, but what if I break the cycle. What if I stop using my children as excuses to NOT do things and work towards my goals? I could show them that with hard work and dedication you can achieve your goals. What if I actually pushed myself past my comfort zone in work outs and in everyday activities? Imagine what the results could be! Yes, now is the time to stop giving excuses, continue working hard towards my goals and be the best person I can be.
It was one of those days, my husband was working so I had to do my weekly run on the treadmill at the gym where I could place my boys in childcare, my FitBit fell apart (I could literally see all the electronics on the inside), my boys were not cooperating so just GETTING to the gym was a nightmare, and on top of it all, my wireless headphone battery died mid run. Everything was stacked against me to get this run in, but I did it, 6 miles on the treadmill. Most of us have had these days where nothing is going right. What do we do? We either submit to the defeat or we persevere. But what does it mean to persevere and how does it relate to living fit?
Perseverance is the determination to do something despite having difficulty in achieving that success. I learned this meaning at an early age in my life. When I was 8 years old, I was diagnosed with a moderate to severe case of scoliosis. My back was in the shape of the letter “S” and my spine was rotated. I remember sitting in the doctor’s office and he held up an x-ray of my back and I fainted. When I came to, my doctor said I was just a few degrees shy of having to go in for immediate surgery on my back, but he wanted to try some other treatments first. He gave me a 95% chance of having back surgery by the time I was 16 years old. Over the next 4 years I had to wear an electrode device or otherwise known as a TENS unit on my back to help correct both the upper and lower curvature of my spine while I slept (basically it contracted my muscles for 5-10 seconds and then no stimulation for 20-30 seconds). After 4 years, my progress came to a plateau and I was put in a brace to wear at night that went from just under my clavicle to my hips. I wore this brace for 4 more years. When I turned 16 years old my doctor told me that he didn’t know how I did it, but I beat the odds and I did not need to have surgery! Over the course of the 8 years of treatment I maybe missed 5 nights of wearing either the TENS unit or the brace. I brought those devices everywhere: family vacations, slumber parties, where ever I went it went. The TENS unit felt uncomfortable, the brace hurt at times and all I wanted was to be able to sleep like a “normal” person, but I knew I had to go through the treatments because I was set on not having surgery. I persevered even when the odds were against me.
Now days I keep my scoliosis journey on my mind when I am training for a race or trying to accomplish something that is challenging. It reminds me that I can persevere. I can do this. I have found that perseverance is part of living fit. Yes we may eat healthy and exercise, but if we don’t accept the challenges in life then aren’t we just moving at a steady pace and not really living to our full potential? What if we faced our challenges and persevered? I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and persevere! Imagine what your life could be like! We have to persevere in challenges we face, big or small, because that is part of our life, part of our well-being and it is what makes us all unique.
I'm a wife, mother, pediatric occupational Therapist and I'm just trying to navigate my way through this this crazy, busy life while trying to find the meaning of living fit.