R-E-S-P-E-C-T

The nail salon is full of interesting conversation. There’s plenty of gossip, exchange of ideas and suggestions….

Well, over the last few months, weight loss has been a regular topic.

What I usually hear is an excuse as to why healthy living hasn’t been accomplished thus far and the new trick they’ve learned that’s going to be their miracle answer this time. The conversations that follow are based on why that last miracle fix wasn’t good for them and what next miracle fix they’re going to try.

It’s getting harder and harder for me to stay quiet. I’ve pipped up a bit, but have refrained from getting on my soap box. These women see me as someone who was born thin and doesn’t have to work as hard as they do to stay thin.

It was compounded when that picture of the “plus size model” was circulating Facebook. I had to listen to them talk about how real women are curvy. Mind you, they were saying this while drinking their Frappuccinos.

I may be genetically pre-disposed to being thinner than others, but that doesn’t mean I don’t work hard to stay healthy and tone. What’s so wrong about treating your body well by giving it wholesome foods and improving its functionality by being fit? Why is it such a weird concept to eat healthful foods as a lifestyle rather than diet for a while, go back to eating junk food and then repeat the cycle?

I wish I could encourage each woman (and man) in the entire world to love and accept the body they were given, BUT to treat it with the utmost respect it deserves.

Our physiques don’t have to be perfect, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to reach YOUR tip-top state of health. Don’t sell yourself short. Feeling fabulous on the inside will make your outside glow with radiance no matter its shape.

Sunday Thoughts

Oh how I love my quiet Sunday mornings. The entire house is still sleeping. I can sit in the quiet and enjoy my coffee. It gives me a great opportunity to reflect on past events and think about about the future.

This year has been an interesting one so far. When I started the year off, I had started a new job, had had a great holiday and I was seeing changes in my body. I thought it was going to be “my year” on the fitness stage.

Apparently, a different journey was in store for me this year. It’s still going to be a great year–just different than what I thought. Funny how life works like that. Haha

I haven’t been able to make it on stage yet. This year has held much stress for me and my family has needed me to handle more than usual. My family’s schedule has always been demanding, but I have felt like I’ve had to juggle more this year than I have in a long while.

I have to say that it hasn’t been easy on me, mentally, to not have my physique where I want it to be. I’m not saying I’m not happy with my body. I am. However, if I want to get on stage, I have to bring my “A” game. I have to be my personal best.

Despite being consistent and focused, things “haven’t shaped up” as quickly as I wanted, but I’m finally seeing my body do what I want it to do.

These last few months have made me really examine things. I truly dream of obtaining a platform where I can inspire women to be the best they can personally be; to lead their families towards living healthy lives on many levels.

I know I was born to encourage others and am excited about what I see unfolding in my future. I’ll be back on stage soon, will be coming up with more recipes soon, will be in front of the camera again, will be representing a supplement company and am looking at the possibility of another book. Big things in the works. 🙂

Thank you for your patience with me. Thank you for your encouragement. My goal is to, in return, inspire and encourage you. 🙂

Why Do I Compete?

I have a friend who is beautiful on the inside and out and recently she decided to train to compete in her first physique competition.

She has been posting her progress on her FB page and even posted her starting pics.

One of her FB “friends” posted a comment that chastised competitors for “hating” who they were prior to competing. This did not sit well with me.

Of course I commented on his comment, but I thought I’d write about it here, as well.

I may not be speaking for all competitors, but I’m sure many share my thoughts.

I did not hate who I was prior to competing. Those who know me, know that I have a pretty healthy self-esteem. Actually, in order to compete, you must have a pretty healthy self-esteem. It takes guts and thick skin to get up on stage in your competition suit.

I simply wanted a challenge. I wanted to see how hard I could push myself. I wanted to see the results of my “experimentation” with training and nutrition.

Contrary to the naysayers I had after being crowned in one of my competitions last year; I’m not looking for validation. When I get up on stage, I’m not solely focused on placing. While that would be great and I’d ultimately love to get my Pro Card, I know that I cannot control the judges’ decisions and cannot predict what they might be looking for that day.

So, I get up on stage to prove to myself that I set a goal and reached it. I focused on pushing myself and enjoyed the journey.

It gives my husband and I something different to focus on and offers a distraction from our normal day-to-day activities. It’s a constant experiment that we get to work together on and see what results we get. We have both learned so much through my competitions about who we are and what makes us tick.

Due to some unusual situations and some setbacks in my physique this year, I haven’t been able to compete yet this season and I’m missing it terribly. My husband even said he’s looking forward to my next competition. Just because my body isn’t ready for the competition stage, does that mean I don’t like who I am right now. Heck no! It just means I need to change my plan of action and continue to stay consistent.

Why do you compete? What challenges do you take on and why?

Making it Work

I often hear people complaining about not being able to stick to their routine or eat healthy while traveling.

I traveled a lot in May–including a trip to an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica!  Rest assured, it CAN be done!

Knowing that I am gearing up to compete soon, I had to take extra care to manage my nutrition and exercise.

First was my trip to Jamaica.  It was a long awaited vacation full of sandy beaches, laying by the pool and spending kid-free time with my hubby.  I do have to admit, I think we both had a bit of a time getting used to not having our phones attached to us and I was a bit nervous about being able to stay on track.  I knew it could be done, though.

I actually found it pretty easy to stay on track.  Before we got there, I went on the resort’s website to scope out the fitness center.  I needed to know if I needed to bring anything particular or if the fitness center was going to meet my needs.  It was actually quit nice.  I had to improvise on a few exercises, but for the most part, I could work out like normal.

It was much easier than anticipated to eat healthy.  There was plenty of fresh fish and fruit.  They served grilled chicken, steak and a wide variety of vegetables.  I COMPLETELY stayed away from the dessert bar and I certainly didn’t consume those pretty drinks with the cute little umbrellas. 🙂

We had a wonderful time!  My husband and I both agreed that had we actually not stayed on our fitness routines and normal healthy eating that we probably would have not felt well and it could have messed up the whole trip.

The other portion of my travels was for work.  I had to stay at a particular hotel.  So, I knew this was going to take some planning.

I knew ahead of time that it had a fitness center.  The fitness center was pretty basic, but it had free-weights at least.  So, I modified my routine so that I could stay on track as close as possible.    Keep in mind, too, that I wasn’t here on vacation.  I was working 10 hour days.  So, I was mentally exhausted when I was done, but I had to keep my bigger picture in mind–my next competition.  If I had a weak moment and thought, “I’m so tired, it’ll be okay to skip today.”  I would remind myself of how it feels to be on that stage when you feel like all of your hard work is paying off.  There’s nothing like the feeling you get from being on that competition stage knowing that you’ve given it your all.

Right off the bat, though, I knew that eating out the entire time wasn’t a smart option.  Prior to my stay, I had visited the hotel’s website to check out the amenities.  To my dismay, they actually didn’t have a refrigerator or a microwave.  Crud.  That put a damper on things.  What’s a girl to do?  Well, I’m usually pretty resourceful (probably because I really don’t like being told “no” or that I can’t do something hee hee), so I came up with a plan.

I planned out my food and pre-cooked my meals.  I froze some of it and loaded it in one of our coolers that keeps food cold for days at a time.  Through out my trip, I used the hotel’s ice maker to refill the ice in the cooler and it kept my food properly refrigerated.

How did I reheat my food without a microwave?  Simple, I brought my food steamer.  It was wonderful.  I could reheat my meat and veggies and was even able to reheat my sweet potatoes.

What about my oatmeal breakfast, you ask?  I used my room’s coffee pot to heat up the water and poured it into my bowl of oats.  It was great!

I felt great the whole trip and didn’t have a hard time getting back to my regular at-home routine like I would have if I hadn’t tried to stay as close to normal as possible.

Did it take some extra preparation? Most certainly.  Was it worth it?  Without a doubt!  You, too, can travel and be on the eve of fitness perfection. Remember, no excuses. 🙂

 

Stop Hatin’

On my recent trip to Jamaica, I had the chance to do a lot of people watching. Sometimes I was amused and other times disappointed.
Let’s start with my experience at the resort’s fitness center. First off, I saw several people who seemed to have NO clue what to do in the gym. I was glad they were there, but wondered what the thought process was that would make someone want to start working out while on vacation. 🙂
Then came the disappointment…this lady came in dressed in her sports bra and tight shorts. Her hair was nicely coifed and jewelry was in tact. She was a pretty lady in descent shape, yet she kept throwing Eye Darts at other women in the fitness center. It made me sad for her that she was “hating” women whom she perceived as being better looking than she was.
This disappointment continued when I overheard a group of cute girls out by the pool. They were verbally thrashing a beautiful woman who was in the pool. They looked for every supposed flaw and pointed it out.
It took quit a bit of restraint for me to not chastise these women for their hateful & jealous attitude.
Now I know that women are often competitive, but I don’t understand why it turns into hate. I was taught that there will always be someone who does something better than you or may have a physical characteristic that is more attractive than one you may have. However, it is these differences that allow us to shine, be special and see that we are beautifully created.
Ladies, stop hating. Celebrate other women’s successes. Learn from them. Strive to be your best and focus on what makes you shine. 🙂

Excuses or Results–You Choose

I have to worn you, I’m feeling a bit sassy tonight.  Those of you who know me, know that I’m not one for excuses, so hear goes my attempt at discussing this issue with a little restraint. 🙂

“Oh, you’re just one of those naturally thin people.”  I get really irritated when people say that to me. That sentence is usually offered by those who are not in shape and have every excuse in the book as to why they’re not in good shape.  I may be naturally thin, but I have to work for my body.   It’s an ongoing effort to improve it; to shape it; to push it to new limits.

There is such a thing as “skinny fat.”  That’s where you appear skinny, but your body fat percentage is unhealthy.  So, if I didn’t work like I do, I, too, could be skinny fat.

Let’s try some of the excuses I hear as to why someone can’t be fit:

  • “I can’t afford healthy food.”   While it’s often true that healthier foods cost more than low-quality foods, it can be done with economic sensitivity if you try.  I use coupons when I can.  I make the family menu based on what’s on sale that week.  I cook a lot at one time and use it throughout the week.  So, it prevents the need for fast food restaurants.  You can grow your own vegetables and fruits….There are ways to get it done in an affordable way.
  • “My kids won’t eat healthy foods.”  I have a simple answer to that.  Who’s the parent?  If you pay for the groceries and you prepare the food–guess what, you control the menu.  As harsh as it may seem, your kids may throw a temporary fit and refuse to eat dinner–let them refuse.  They will come around after missing a couple of dinners.  I could go on and on about this subject.  So, I will on a later blog.
  • “I’m genetically predisposed to be heavy.”  That doesn’t mean you can’t make it happen.  It just means you have to work a little harder.  Just because someone isn’t as good at math as someone else, doesn’t mean they can’t make good grades–they just have to try harder.
  • “I don’t have time.”  Don’t even get me started on this excuse.  I promise that if someone offered you a million dollars to make it to the gym or cook your own meals for a month, you’d find the time some how.
  • “I can’t afford a gym membership.”  You don’t need a gym membership.  The last time I checked, it was free to go outside.  There are plenty of activities to do outside.  With a little research and creativity, you can devise a great plan for burning calories, improving stamina and your physique.
  • “My body can’t handle exercise.”  That’s fine.  Control your nutrition.  Do what activities your body can handle.

What other excuses do you hear out there? I promise, there is a way around them.

The bottom line is: You either want to be fit/healthy or you don’t.

You can have excuses or you can have results.  You choose.

I believe you can do it and hopefully can offer you some advice, support and encouragement along your journey.

Start small

A friend of mine went with me to do cardio this morning.  She’s newer to the healthier eating club and is pretty new to working out.  She has in the past, but she has always tried to go full steam ahead and has always burned out quickly.

This time, she’s excited about baby steps.  She’s staying consistent on her clean eating and is setting realistic goals for her fitness activity.  She’s confident that her patience and her consistency will pay off this time.

I’m so proud of her!

If you are in the same boat as my friend, just remember, you don’t have to try to tackle all the elements of a healthy lifestyle all at once.  Just take it one day at a time and one aspect at a time.  Remember the old saying, “How do you eat an elephant–one bite at a time.”

Consistent effort WILL pay off.  You can do it!