I'm already sweating writing this. Why? because I know this is a sensitive subject for many - for me it is! I hear the same story all the time, "I never had to worry about my weight until I got married, had kids, hit 30, hit menopause", hit life! Right? Isn't it really lifes obstacles that detoured your weight off course? Your fitness routine? You stopped having time? You started putting your kids, your job, your husband at the front of the line while your place just kept getting moved to the back? Maybe you hear those women who say, "I never had to worry about my weight until...." and you secretly want to punch their lights out because you struggled with your weight your entire life. What do they know about what it's like to struggle with weight? with body image? They don't, you do - you've dealt with it for as long as you can remember. Maybe you TRULY do not care about your weight or wether you exercise or not, this post is not for you. Feel free to read on but don't leave me mean comments - there is nothing negative about what I have to say, it's all in love - ALL. IN. LOVE. I get it, both sides. I have been on both ends of the spectrum (wait what???? - another post, maybe one day, maybe not). I have struggled on both ends and believe me it's hard to find a happy medium when you have. Somewhere, somehow I have found it - MY happy medium. It will not be the same as yours, it doesn't need to be.
When my 2nd son was born my 1st was only 15 months old. I had no family around to help and we didn't have the money for a babysitter. We had one car that my husband took to work everyday. This was not an ideal situation by any means! I hadn't even lost all the weight from my 1st son and now I had a second one to lose! My Mom bought us a double running stroller (I'm pretty sure out of pity) and guess what I did? I put those babies in the stroller and I walked and walked and then I ran and then I joined the community rec center and I ran with those babies in the double jogger TO the rec center and put them in the FREE day care. You got one hour of child care, when I tell you I stretched it to 60 minutes I mean somedays it was 65. Maybe I started working out through default, for a break, not just physically - mentally. The release I would have achieved by the time we got home was like no other. I was a better Mother to them, I had patience, I felt in control. I was theirs for the rest of the day. After my 3rd and 4th child I was the exact same, it wasn't as easy but I did it! After my daughter was born I tried to take her to the YMCA daycare and she screamed the entire time, every day. It was miserable, for both of us. So I quit. The gym, not myself. I bought a DVD workout program and did it 6 days a week at home while she napped. It was possible because I had already proven to myself that a) I could and b) I should! The stress relief and endorphins you can release through exercise can make even the most challenging of days seem conquerable.
Find what you love:
I am a firm believer that diet and fitness go hand in hand. When you workout in the morning you are more likely to eat better for the rest of the day - you start your mindset off on the right note. When you workout at night you are more likely to watch what you're eating through the day, who wants to workout after eating a hamburger and fries? Knowing you still have to workout puts you in the right mindset through the day. Find an exercise program that you love! I cannot stress this enough! If it doesn't excite you you will get bored and you will quit. Are you someone who would rather exercise alone? Put in your earphones and tune out the rest of the world? Or are you someone who needs to be held accountable? To a trainer? A class where people know you and expect you to show up? Learn this about yourself. Again, there is no right answer, it's what works for you. Regardless of your fitness level there is more than likely something that can work for you. High impact, low impact, spinning, yoga, boxing, water aerobics, barre, paddle boarding, biking, walking! The list is truly endless. My Mom is 70 and just had her second hip replacement. She still does pilates every week, with 2 fake hips! My point is, you can always find something, ALWAYS.
Find something that makes you sweat and makes your muscles sore, don't waste your time - take the time you are exercising to give it all that you've got! The first form of fitness I fell in love with was running. People would ask me, "how far do you run"? I never knew, it didn't matter. I never ran to set records, I ran until I "felt it", until I had nothing left - that's when my run was over. I ran for years but after my second knee surgery my Dr. told me if I didn't stop I would be having a knee replacement within the next year. * and yes of course I tried to prove him wrong and ran anyways and after could not walk for about a week, my running career was officially over. I tried EVERY SINGLE WORKOUT after that - I think I'll save my opinion on those for another time because that would be its own post! It doesn't mean I'm right, it doesn't mean it will work for everyone. I found my current fitness relationship just over 2 years ago, Taebo™. After the first class I almost cried happy tears because it had been almost that long since I had felt the same rush as I had when I used to run. If you are around my age or older you will remember the Taebo™ DVD's - remember Billy Blanks?
Well yes, that's the one. A cardio kickboxing workout that's done on a gymnastics floor which is great for my knee! I kind of hit the jackpot that his daughter Shellie moved here and opened up her own Taebo™ gym - lucky me! Again, I'll save the ins and outs of this workout for later because it also is a post in itself!
You can do it - I PROMISE!
You can always find a reason why you are too busy to exercise, but 3 months in you will wonder why you didn't do it sooner. It isn't about being "skinny" or a dress size or a number on the scale - it's about feeling strong and confident - only you will know what that looks and feels like. It's not selfish to take an hour for yourself, when you are happy with yourself it shows, it radiates onto everyone around you. Yes I am aware that the above doesn't hold true for everyone because sometimes injuries and health conditions and LIFE get in the way and throw you a curve ball that make it impossible to achieve what you want no matter how hard you try! So kudos to those who have those challenges and are STILL trying!
My guidelines I try to stick to most of the time!
1) cardio (and if I'm not sweating I am not calling it cardio, I'll call it toning) 5 x a week
2) weights 2 to 3 times x week
3) limited carbs for dinner
4) NO eating past 8pm
5) protein, protein, protein (egg whites, lean meats, veggies, protein shakes)
6) do NOT eat in front of the TV
7) always read the labels on your food - don't just look at the calories - look at the grams of fat AND the sugar
8) sugar = devil
9) sugar drinks / most fancy coffee drinks = the devil (read your labels!)
10) always keep one thing you love (in moderation) heyyyy red wine
These are just my GOALS - I do love to indulge and I will never deny myself something if I REALLY want it!
Are you interested in hearing my thoughts and experiences with all the different exercise methods out there? My opinion of what you should do if you're trying to achieve a, b or c? Do you want to see my workout routine? Do you want to talk about what to eat and what not to? Like I said in my welcome video - this is not just a place for me to talk TO you, I want us to talk TOGETHER so let me know what you want to talk about! Maybe I can even find us an expert or two to help out!
Something about Fall - Thanksgiving and then onto Christmas makes me crave this dessert! It has been on our table since the time I was little as a favorite way to finish a meal. One of the other reasons I enjoy making this so much is that even though I know the recipe by heart, I still put out the original index card it was written on by my Nana. I remember asking her for it after I got married - it was so her to include "wash hands" as a step in the recipe. See below!
3 Cups Peeled and Sliced Granny Smith apples (about 6 or 7 medium size)
1/2 Tsp of Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp of Salt
1/4 Cup Water (to put into bottom of dish)
1/2 Tbsp of Lemon Juice (Fresh is best if available!)
1/2 Cup of All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup of Oatmeal - Quick Cooking kind (don't use the regular or it won't cook!)
1/3 Cup of Butter
3/4 Cup of Brown Sugar
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Grease or cover with a non-stick spray a 9 x 9 cooking dish ( I like to use a ceramic one)
Pour water into the bottom of the dish
Place apple slices evenly into dish
Sprinkle the salt & cinnamon evenly over the apple slices
Drizzle the lemon juice evenly over the salt and cinnamon
In SEPARATE bowl add flour, sugar and oatmeal and mix together (just with a fork)
With a pastry cutter, blend in the butter until the mixture is the size of small peas (if you don't have one you can use your fingers - don't use a mixer or the consistency will be too smooth and you want it crumbly!)
Using your fingers, sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the apples and gently pat down.
Bake for 1 hour or until apples are bubbling and crumb mixture is golden brown
GRANNY SMITH APPLES ARE MY FAVORITE FOR BAKING WITH!
THIS DESSERT ISN'T SUPPOSED TO BE PRETTY - JUST SPRINKLE THINGS ON!
DON'T FORGET TO USE THE 'QUICK COOKING' OATS!
THE MESSIER THE BETTER!
Best served warm with vanilla ice cream (in my opinion) and it's even better the day after!
In 2015, the anti-aging skin care market generated over 2 Billion dollars in sales in the U.S alone. Does anyone know when it became so offensive to society to age? Why is it that men are considered to be more distinguished looking while women just turn into trolls? More importantly, why do WE as WOMEN seem to be the ones who do all the condemning? We are the judge and jury of our own gender, we are hard on others - we are harder on ourselves.
(photo: LifeCell South Beach Skin care)
A short while ago, a picture for my blog was posted on social media. I released it as a type of promotion I guess, a heads up to the blog I was working on. I didn't release it for feedback on my appearance, but feedback I sure did get - most of it was positive but a lot was not (and that was after some SERIOUS retouching for heavens sake!)
So many comments about my age, my face, my wrinkles, my plastic surgery, my botox, my fillers, my fat-ness, my thin-ness, the recent “re-designing” of my face (whaaaat??? I promise there has been no such re-designing). Guess who ALL the comments were from? WOMEN.... Mothers, Grandmothers, Sisters, Daughters…. so much criticism. What did they want me to do? Apologize for aging? Well here’s the funny thing about life, as hard as I try (and believe me I do) not to age - I do. It just keeps happening. I can compare myself to others, I can try every product and technique out there, I can make myself crazy with trying to look like the girl in the magazine - there will always be a company or person or MYSELF telling me I could look better.
What a weight we bear as women, never good enough - try harder. Try this product, maybe it can help you.
Every other commercial is full of the latest and greatest way to lose those wrinkles. Translation - you really look terrible with all those wrinkles. We are made to look at those wrinkles like looking at the glass half empty. What if we could change our thinking and look at the wrinkle glass as half full? What if the more wrinkles you had meant the more life you had lived? REALLY lived? Like badges on your face for every laugh, tear and emotion you had ever experienced. Congratulations, you win - you lived a life full of feelings.
I write this for myself as much as I write this for you, I am forever trying to turn back the clock on my face. As I was writing this something occurred to me… what if I’m not just trying to turn back the clock on my face? What if I’m trying to turn back the clock on life? What if every time I see a new wrinkle it really is just reminding me of that hour glass of youth? I don't want this for my daughter. I don’t want her to feel the pressure of it all.
I want us to be nicer to one another, build each other up rather than tear each other down. Are the same women who made comments about me aging being that hard on their own daughters? Teenagers are getting cosmetic surgery, fillers in their lips - I can't help but think what they will look like when they hit 40? What will all that have done to the shell of their face? Yes - I am a firm believer that when you look good you feel good but when is it too much? It's a slippery slope we jump on when we begin the process of trying to turn back the clock. As much as we fight it, we will all age eventually. That is if we are given the gift of time, to age - and that it is, a gift.
(My Mom holding my daughter at 5 months old... holding the hand of her Great-Nana on her hospital bed. My Nana had waited 5 great-grandsons to have a great-grandaughter. This was the first and only day they met, she passed away the following week. Her hands were aged, my daughters brand new - I like to think she was transferring all the wisdom of those hands into Ava's)
How do we age gracefully? We do the best we can, we put as much importance on it as is important to us - not the rest of society. Aging gracefully DOES NOT mean trying to look younger. It means holding our heads high, our confidence radiating (because you know you have more now than you did when you were 20), being comfortable in our own skin, our makeup (or not) applied how it makes us feel good, our hair done the way it gives US a kick in our step. You want to get botox? then get it. Your lips done? then do it. Your boobs done? You go girl. Whatever you do just make sure you're doing it for you, no one else. Aging gracefully will mean something different to each person, please don’t let it consume you - what others think of you that is. Stop looking at the girl in the magazine, she probably doesn't look like that in real life either.