Sunday, September 27, 2015

My Life Long Fight with My Body

What I've learned over the 40 years of my life is that everyone has issues with their body.  They don't like their nose, their legs, their height, etc.  So, why is mine more of an issue than it is to other people.  It's not.  It's that I am just now starting to fall in love with my body.  After 40 years, I'm starting to appreciate my body, to find things about my body that I actually like (besides my feet).  Let's start with the beginning.

When I was younger, my Aunt used to tell me that I had good cheekbones, that were good for modeling.  So, after looking at tons and tons of models, none of them had freckles.  All of them are tall, and very thin.  I was thin as a child with a high metabolism.  I didn't exercise much, not what you would think of as exercise today.  But I played outside, a lot!  But I had freckles.  They were cute when I was a kid.  But as I went through puberty, I hated them, because I thought they made me look like a kid.  I didn't want to look like a kid, but a grown up.  And almost none of my friends had freckles, and the ones that did, didn't have them like I did.  I have a lot, and they were darker than my friends.

Also, during puberty, I noticed two things about my legs.  

  • I have varicose veins.  My left leg looks like an atlas.  They don't hurt, but some of them are so bad, that it looks like I have a bruise on my thigh.
  • I have cellulite.  At the young age of 12, I saw cellulite on my thighs one day as I was sitting on the front porch.
I hated my legs.  They were the legs of an old lady.  Varicose veins and cellulite?  What 12 year old has that?  Me.  I had old lady legs.

Puberty gave me two things: boobs and the infamous Honeycutt butt.  Anyone who knows anything about my family, you know that all the women on my mother's side of the family has a rear end, and not a small one at that.  My female cousins and I all shared the same thing: the Honeycutt Butt. My boobs were never an issue though.  One day they came and I was like, ok, I have boobs. It happens to every girl.  But my butt, that didn't happen to every one.  Nope.

As I grew up, I learned how to ignore the things that I didn't like.  I didn't have money to make things disappear (veins, cellulite, big butt), so I ignored things that I didn't like. 

So, as a young adult, I was a short, thin, freckled face woman.  I didn't see a woman though, but a little girl.  The dots on my face that made me cute as a kid was again my curse.  I felt like no guy would take me seriously.  They didn't see me as an individual, but a woman with a nice butt and boobs.  So, my Honeycutt butt was no longer a curse, but a blessing cause the guys liked it.  But, they didn't like me for who I was, not on the inside, but what I looked like on the outside.  I dated guys, but I felt empty inside.  There would be one of two dates, and then I was expected to put out.  

And then I got pregnant.  I was 20. I was young enough that I thought that because I was thin and reasonably healthy, that I'd lose the weight quickly after having my baby.  I gained 40 lbs!  I bought clothes to wear home from the hospital just a few sizes larger than my pre-pregnancy size.  Everyone told me that I would lose the weight quickly.  Boy, they were wrong.

I did lose some weight pretty quickly, but that didn't really bother me.  It was the stretch marks and extra skin that just did not go away.  My belly, which was flat and perfect pre-pregnancy, turned into this lumpy, bumpy blob.  My body was ruined.  The cellulite on my legs multiplied.  I was ugly.

So, what did I do?  I joined the gym.  I worked out.  What didn't I do?  I didn't change how I ate.

I spent night after night looking at my ugly body.  I thought that no guy would find me attractive.  I could make myself look good in clothes, but I thought that as soon as I took them off, I would scare any man away.

When my son was just 3, I met my husband.  He saw me for the person that I am.  I asked him one day if I was ugly, and he told me no.  I asked him if my belly bothered him, and he said no.  For the first time in my life, I felt beautiful. 

When we had been married for 3 years, I re-enlisted into the Army.  I didn't think that I would have an issue, except I had to lose a lot of post pregnancy weight (I just had my second baby) to be able to rejoin.  And, I was introduced to the world of taping.  Taping is the Army's way to measure body fat.  (The least accurate way, actually.)  The Army uses a measuring tape to measure a woman's neck, her waste, and her hips (where her butt sticks out the most) and cue in the the Honeycutt butt curse.  Blah.  My health and body fat were being measured by how big my butt measured.

It's a complicated mathematical system of measurements that are calculated together by some sort of algebraic formula to determine one's body fat measurements.  For more than a decade, I've been subjected to the humiliation of having someone to wrap a measuring tape around my neck, waist and hips, while exposing my wrinkly, belly to people that are not my friends and family.  Cue in humiliating experience.

So, twice a year, I face this humiliating experience.  Twice a year, my health and fitness are being measured by a very inaccurate way of measuring body fat.  And just recently, I'm just a little too big.  I busted tape.  Gah.  So, now I have to face this humiliation monthly, until I am not longer 'busting tape."

So, here's why this is important.  I'm not a big girl.  My clothes are about a size 10, or medium for the most part.  I've got the curse of a big ole butt, that all women on my mom's side of the family have.  But because my butt is big, and genetically so, I'm considered fat by the Army standards.  So, just to make a point on how inaccurate this way of measuring body fat is, if I had a bigger neck (whether fat or muscular), I'd pass the body fat measurements and be considered healthy.  Isn't that a crock of crap?!?!?

So, from a very young age, I've always had an issue with the way that my body looks.  Even when I was my prettiest, I've felt ugly, or fat for one reason or another.  Some things that I've alway liked are the things that people don't see.  I've always loved my feet.  They are small, and I don't have weird looking toes.  I like my wrists because they have remained the same size almost my entire life.  I like my ears, just because.  

But recently, I had a revelation.  And this is because of something that my husband has recently told me.  Over a phone conversation, he told me that if he saw me in person (we met on the phone), he would have not wanted to talk to me because he thought I was one of the pretty girls.  He also told me, that of all the girls that he photographs, that there is no comparison between me and them.  And all of a sudden, for the most part, the issues with my body almost disappeared.  Who cares if my butt is big?  It's a part of me and who I am.  It's something that I share with my cousins.  It is a part of my genetic make up.  I saw my cellulite when I was 12.  I see 15 year old active cheerleaders who have cellulite now, and they probably see the same thing.  My bumpy ugly belly is due to the fact that I gave birth to 4 very strong and determined little boys, who love me unconditionally.  I don't even notice my varicose veins anymore.  And my freckles, my freckles that I hated all through puberty and my young adulthood actually help make me look younger now.  (Someone told me that there was no way that I am 40.)  

I will continue to try to lose weight, and not because the Army tells me that I am fat, but because I want my children to understand how important it is to be healthy, or to try to be healthy.  I will work out 3-5 days a week.

I will look for something new that I like about my body (besides my feet, ears and wrists). 

I will face the world with a new confidence.

I will look at my boys as they grow and become young men, and teach them that being short isn't a flaw, but something that makes them unique. (Because I understand that being a short guy is tougher on men than it is on women.)

We all have body issues.  But you have to learn to love your body, and all the things that it can do.

Monday, August 11, 2014

My Adventure with 21 Day Fix

Hello everyone! I hope all of you are well.  And, of course I have a story to tell.

Just this weekend, I completed my 21st day of the 21 Day Fix, and let me tell you, it wasn't easy.  It was probably the hardest thing I've completed to date, and I've done Insanity.  But, this was hard for another reason: I absolutely had to follow the nutrition plan sent.  Why?  Well, unlike Insanity and TurboFire, if you don't follow the nutrition plan, you will get results.....just not as good as what you'd expect, but you will get them.  However, 21 Day Fix is different.  The entire plan is built around eating.  You eat the right foods, in the right portions, at the right times, and well, you are going to have amazing results.  Let me tell you about my adventure with the 21 Day Fix.

Week 1: My first thought was, "Wow, I can only eat that?"  The first 5 days were definitely the hardest for me.  It wasn't that there wasn't enough food, it was because I was burning TOO many calories, if that's even possible.  Some would say: how so?  

Well, let me tell you.  First, I'm in the Army, so we exercise first thing in the morning.  Second, it was during this time that I had taken some Soldiers to the range.  Well, when you are standing around in full gear in 100 degree heat, it will take a toll on you.  Third, I will still coming home and doing Autumn's workouts.  I felt like I was starving.  So, essentially, I was starving.  Not intentionally, but I was new with the program, and there is just so much to learn.  

You have to create new habits, like: measuring your food.  Planning your meals for the next day, and pre-cooking your food.  Planning is the key to success in this program.  It's actually the success to any program, but this one takes extra thought.  Since I am on the 1200-1499 calories a day, I'm only allotted two carbs a day.  Well, if I had milk with my Shakeology, or sushi, then that was a serving of carbs, so many times I would opt for a salad instead of rice or pasta as a side.  That first week, I had sweet potatoes that I put off for 5 days because of this.  

Week 2: Still struggled to find what works best to tote around during my busy schedule.  I opted for boiled eggs and a piece of fruit for breakfast instead of Shakeology, and moved Shakeology to a mid afternoon snack (with water instead of milk).  This allowed me to have my sweet potatoes as a side, instead of a salad, and to enjoy pasta one day for dinner (cause I LOVE carbs!).  I stepped on the scale mid way through (just to check progress), and found that I was down about 4 lbs!  WooHoo!

Week 3: Life got in the way this week.  Yep.  Had a very long Cub Scout meeting, so Pizza was ordered one day.  Got lazy and decided to not cook (hey, that DOES happen....sometimes) so we visited a Mexican restaurant.  And, I took the boys BTS shopping and had mall food, and breakfast out the next day.  What I noticed: even though I had those "life gets in the way moments," I wasn't eating as much.  Food was left on my plate, and I didn't even feel bad.  I also noticed that most foods, if seasoned properly, tastes very good sans salt.  That being said, when we visited the local burger joint because it was late one day, and I didn't want to cook, those burgers, even though very yummy, were very salty.  And, I didn't work out with Autumn most of the week just because of life.  At the end of this week: down another 1.5 pounds.  Not as good as the first half, but still progress.

So, now that I'm in my maintenance week (added a few more calories according to the plan), I'm taking the time to reflect on what went wrong, and what went right in this adventure.

1) I should have planned for extra calories burned on the days that I went to the range.  I had no idea, so I didn't plan.

2) Cheating is OK, but in small quantities.  As you can see, I just let it all go, almost, on the third week.  The 21 Day Fix does allow cheating, but you have to learn how to do it right.  With that being said, there are recipes in the book that allows this.  You'll learn the right way to "cheat" and still get results.

3) There are tons of clean eating recipes out there.  You just have to know what you like, what you might like to try, and just go for it!  

4) Some items, like coconut oil, natural peanut butter, raw honey, pure maple syrup & quinoa are very expensive.  Buy what you can afford and use sparingly.  Olive oil can be expensive, but you don't have to use large amounts.  When all else fails, cooking spray is an awesome alternative.

5) Homemade balsamic vinaigrette is quite yummy.  A little goes a long way, and I've never used an entire serving on my salad.

For the remainder of my maintenance week, I will continue to eat within my limits, and learn new healthy recipes.  I will look up healthy recipes and plan my meals.  I will come up with a better plan for my next round and follow it more closely.

Thank you all for listening/reading....whatever.  If you are interested in obtaining a copy for yourself, please contact me.  $60 isn't too much to learn how to eat healthy, and to change your lifestyle.  I'm sorry, but I will not copy my workouts or measure out the containers so you know how much to eat for two reasons: 1) I'm a very honest person and believe that bootlegging is wrong and 2) it is ILLEGAL!  Additionally, you'll be far more committed to the program if you just purchase the program and to follow it.  I did, and it's working for me.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I've Been Inspired

So, just because I'm not pushing Beachbody products anymore it doesn't mean that I don't come up with a great recipe every now and again.  I'm still concerned about health and fitness, so I'm going to share this very yummy recipe that I've made a few times, and it is definatly kid approved.  I don't have a name for it, so maybe we can come up with one together.  Anyway, get your 12" cast iron ready, cause this dish is delicious.  (Keep in mind that I don't have actual measurements, so you may have to play around a little to get the flavor that you like.)

1 lb of Salmon filet
splash of EVOO
splash of lemon juice
splash of red wine vinegar
salt & pepper
lemon pepper seasoning
1 large red pepper
1/2 red onion
2 cloves garlic
1 large zucchini
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half.
1 box whole grain bow tie or rotini pasta cooked until tender.

Dice all vegetables, set aside.  Heat EVOO in skillet.  Sprinkle Salmon with lemon pepper, and cook skin side down for about 5 minutes.  Flip once and remove skin.  Cook until medium.  Remove from skillet.  Add garlic, onion & red pepper.  Season with salt, pepper, cumin, paprika & lemon pepper.  Cook until onion is transparent.  Add remaining vegetables.  Flake Salmon with fork and add to pan with cooked noodles.  Add splash of lemon juice, red wine vinegar and EVOO.  Add more lemon pepper and salt to taste.  Serve and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Serves about 6-8.

This dish is SO filling.  You can serve with a salad and garlic bread if you like.  I would suggest caesar salad.

I hope you experiment with this and enjoy this dish as much as I do.

Until Later!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

No Ordinary Salad

So, tonight for dinner, I decided to have a completely different salad.  We normally have either a Caesar Salad or a Tossed Salad, and today, I served up a completely different salad and I've accomplished something that parents have been trying to do for years:  I got my kids to willingly eat spinach!  Yep, you read that right, they ate spinach.  And, three of them wanted seconds!  So, here is the recipe.

Spinach-Strawberry Salad

Fresh baby spinach.
Pecans or Walnuts
A splash of Balsamic Vinaigrette  

Toss all into a bowl and serve.

And that, my friends, is how I got my boys to eat spinach.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Perseverance of a Baby

Hi everyone!  I just watched a video of a friend's baby crawling for the first time.  The baby wanted a toy at the other end of the room.  He grunted, fell on his face, and eventually got up on all fours and crawled to the toy, grabbed it and rolled over.  He never quit.  He saw what he wanted and went after it.  And I thought that's how we all should be when it comes to our fitness goals.  That baby's goal was to get to the green ring.  It doesn't matter what your fitness goal is, you should have the perseverance of a baby.  

Just like the baby had that green ring in sight, you should set your own goals in sight.  Write them down!  And then take that goal, and tape it to a wall, mirror, or put it on the fridge where you will see it every day.  That will be your reminder of what your goal is.  Post it up in several places of your home, so that you never lose sight.

If your goal is a huge goal, like losing 50 pounds or more, break it up into smaller, more reachable goals.  That way, you won't get discouraged when you initially don't make it in the time that you thought you would.  Smaller goals are easier to reach, and keep you motivated.

Don't give up!  Just like the baby in the video, don't give up on your goals.  When you find that you gained weight instead of losing weight, don't get discouraged and give up.  When the baby fell on his face, all that he knew was that he wanted that green ring.  Well, when you gain a pound or two, are you going to give up?  The answer is NO!  Did you know that in a weight loss journey, you will gain weight before you lose?  Do you know why?  If not, then research it.  Find out why you gained 2, 3 or 5 lbs.

And finally, once you reach your goal, just like the momma in the video, your friends and family will be proud of you.  They will congratulate you.  They will share with the world your accomplishments.

So, be like the baby in the video.  Never lose sight.  If you fall down, get back up and keep trying.  And once you get there, celebrate.  Roll over and take a break.  You deserve it!

Friday, January 24, 2014

You CAN afford Shakeology

Ok, so most of you probably think that $129.95/mth is pretty expensive for a meal replacement, but is it?  I've done some homework this morning and I'm going to show you how you CAN afford the healthiest meal of the day, Shakeology.  Here's how it works.

Most working Americans will rush out of their house and grab a fast food breakfast on their way to work.  At lunch, they will have another fast food lunch, and to beat the late afternoon crash, they will have a coffee.  Does this sound familiar?  If it does, then I have good news for you.  First, let's break down the cost per month of these daily purchases.

McDonald's breakfast w/coffee: $2.99
McDonalds Big Mac Lunch: $5.69
Starbucks Coffee: $2.99

If you work 5 days a week, that adds up to $58.35 a week, which is $233.40 a month.  Now, these prices are estimates depending on where you live, and what you actually order, but this is a good average.

Now, let's replace these meals with healthier choices.

Shakeology: $129.95/mth
Bring own lunch & snacks from home: $25/mth
Starbucks K-cup: $23/mth

The total for the healthier options listed above is $177.95 a month, which gives you a saving of $55.45 a month!  Add that up over a year: $665.40!

So, the proof is in the numbers.  You, can afford Shakeology, and save money!  On top of that, you are giving yourself the healthiest meal of the day.  With all the nutrients in Shakeology, there is no need for a multivitamin, a post workout protein shake, or a very unhealthy breakfast.

So, why not give Shakeology a try?  Try it for 30 days risk free.  If you don't like, well, send back your empty bag and get your money back.  What do you have to lose? 

To Order Shakeology, click here!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Why Pay for the Program? Why Not?

Wow, so the month of January is half over.  So many people are taking advantage of a free 30 day gym membership, free Weight Watcher's for 30 days, etc.  Once those 30 days are up, those gyms and other weight loss programs want money to continue in their program. Once you sign up for their program, you pay a monthly fee of $18.95 (Weight Watchers) or more ($79.95/mth for Golds Gym), and you get access for their programs, or to use their workout equipment.  On top of that, if you want a personal trainer or nutritionist, you have to pay extra.   

So, the question that I have to ask is this: why would you pay that monthly fee, or pay for fitness equipment at all if you can get it for free?  For free you ask?  Yes, for free, but is it legal?  Just in the past three days, I had a friend admit that they just purchased a bootleg copy of Focus T25 for $25, and another friend asked me if I had it on digits.  After feeling disgusted that my friends would do this, I thought that what they were doing is illegal.  Copyright infringement is a very expensive crime.  Whether you download music, movies, or any other copyright material, you can be charged a minimum of $750 for each item that you illegally download.  That $20 workout program that you downloaded for free doesn't look too good now, does it?

So, why not do the honest, legal thing, and purchase your Beachbody program.  You not only save money from purchasing a gym membership, nutritionist and personal trainer, but you can get all three from $19.95-119.95, depending on the program.  Also, depending on the program, they come with everything that you need to get started.  I own four programs, have gotten awesome results, and haven't bought anything extra.  You get a DVD workout program that you can use over and over again, a nutrition guide, and a free 30 day membership to all the support of the Beachbody community.  (Once the 30 days expire, your membership is only $2.99/wk.)  Additionally, studies show that if you invest money into a program, you are more committed because you don't want to feel that you are wasting your money.  

So, for a variety of programs to choose from, visit my website to take a look at any program for any budget.  You can get anything from Hip Hop Abs ($19.95) to Focus T25 ($119.95), or the newest addition to the P90X family, P90X3 ($119.95).  If you have questions about any program, contact me.  I am here to help you, and I want to help you get and stay fit.