Weeks 1 & 2 of my February long "Keep It Real" series we talked about "real simple" and "real food".
Today let's talk about keeping health & fitness real interesting!
I know grammatically the word should be "really", but I live in the sticks, and saying something like, "real interesting" isn't uncommon, and I like it!
Grammar aside, let's talk about keeping things interesting in health & fitness!
If there is anything I've learned on this journey through health & fitness, it's that what you eat and how you workout need to be interesting. If you do the same thing over and over and over and over and over (you get it), then you'll get bored and quit!
There are often times where you naturally fall into a routine, and that sameness can be comforting. But you need to be listening to yourself. A comfortable routine can slowly turn into feeling trapped. That little voice in your head that says, "ugh....more salad....." as you're prepping your 15th salad in a row for dinner. Or that same voice that says, "I am so not looking forward to my workout today because I've done the same one for the last month...."
That voice is the voice of health & fitness boredom, and that voice is not your friend!!! It's like the little angel and devil sitting on your shoulders telling you the right and wrong things to do, except one of these little creatures would be an unhealthy, sickly thing, and then there would be a healthy & happy one. Well, the "this is boring" voice is coming from the sick and unhealthy one. After thinking up this clever notion I Googled "angel and devil on shoulder", and found the images below. So much for being original! Haha...fail.
One key in keeping it interesting is being willing to try new things. If you keep saying, "I only really like (fill in the blank), and so that's all you ever try, eventually you will become bored of it.
If you like having a workout video, see if a friend has one too and ask if you can borrow it or swap with one you have for a time.
If you need new recipes (and have the internet....which I feel I can safely assume you do because you are reading this...), then decide to look up 3 new, healthy recipes to try in the next 3 weeks. Or you can go to a local library and see what healthy recipe books or magazines they have that you can borrow to try out some new things (you may also find some workout videos there too!).
So, allow me to share with you some of my favourite recipes and workouts and maybe you can add them to your life to keep things "real interesting!"
Favourite Healthy Recipes
Grilled Chili Lime Chicken Fajita Salad from Cafe Delites
There is brown sugar in the marinade/dressing that I have omitted and the salad was still amazing!
Cauliflower Chowder from Yes, More Please!
Super yummy, super filling, super-duper!
Chicken with Rosemary & Mushrooms from Paleo Foodie Kitchen
Such a simple recipe, but really full of flavour!
A 20 minute workout from POPSUGAR Fitness
10 Minute Jump Rope with Tony Horton
15 Minute Power Yoga with Yoga by Candace
A great way to find variety in YouTube without feeling overwhelmed is by finding a few channels you like (the 3 above are my favourites), and then just start working through their videos, and liking (clicking the thumbs up icon) the ones you really enjoyed to have as a reference for later use.
The other thing about workouts and keeping them real is to keep them challenging too. You will get bored if you consistently choose workouts that are too easy for you. Challenge yourself and your brain won't get so bored!
A few other ways to keep workouts interesting is to workout with a friend. I personally prefer working out alone, but if you're more social, than maybe having a friend to workout with will give you the boost you need in your workouts. Another thing you can do is to add new music to a playlist you might use while working out. Even just adding 3 new songs can add up to 15 more minutes of music that will be keeping you moving!
So my friends, don't get stuck in a rut! There is no reason to in this day and age where we have so many resources available to us! Arm yourself with new and interesting recipes and workouts so that you can succeed in being the healthiest you possible!
Last Monday I talked about Keep It Real: Real Simple. That post expressed my feelings about how health & fitness shouldn't be such a confusing endeavour!
Today I want to chitty-chat about food!
***Warning! I'm about to go to a rant!!!*** ; ) ........no, but really.....
I saw the ingredients recently for a "healthy" protein shake.....good grief (Charlie Brown), it was the most ridiculous list of ingredients I had EVER read for a "healthy" shake! Seriously, it made my blood boil a little! I was so upset that someone, somewhere in a big company thought, "hey, well, people trust us, they think we're cutting edge in what we do, let's expand into "health foods", but instead of them being healthy, we'll actually load it with so much garbage that they aren't actually being healthy at all (insert evil, corporate heads laughter here)!!! Ok, not all corporations operate like that, and perhaps my scenario of how this particular company developed their food line is not quite accurate. Still, I can't help but wonder......how did anyone who gave a crap at that company let this protein shake go to market???
Let me share the ingredients:
This particular shake consists of a "special protein blend" of pea protein isolate, which, by the way, is NOT the same as plain old pea protein! In fact, pea protein isolate has had very little research done on it's safety and pea protein isolate is a highly purified chemical extract, dramatically increasing the protein content of the unprocessed pea from around 10-15% to upwards of 90% in the isolate (info from Todd Caldecotte, who is a medical herbalist).
Geez!!! After that ingredient is cranberry protein.....yes, you read that right. Did you know cranberries had protein...? It's because they don't! Ok, over-reaction....they have trace amounts of protein (about 0.4 grams per 100 grams of cranberries), and I've read that the seeds contain more protein than that, but that idea is very confusing to me. If they test cranberries for protein, they take the seeds out first? I don't know much at all about this cranberry protein, and it's so new it's hard (borderline impossible, actually) to find sufficient information about where it comes from, how it's extracted, and so on. So, I can't say much about it except that it seems a little gimmicky in this mis-leading shake. But hey, maybe I'm wrong and it's an amazing thing?
Next comes rice protein. Now, rice protein perhaps isn't the very, very absolute worst protein out there....but it sure is the cheapest (in price and quality of protein). It isn't even a complete protein until it's combined with another protein (like pea, or hemp). So.....why add it at all? Why not use hemp protein instead, which is in itself a near-complete plant based protein. Especially if you're selling this particular shake at $20-$30 more than other shakes......?
Besides the added-in vitamins & minerals (you have to add them in when the foods you've used don't really contain much at all) the last few ingredients are cane sugar (there is palm, coconut, beet, brown and maybe a few more types of sugar, but what they're trying to trick you into thinking is that the sugar they used is special. It's not. It's just plain on white sugar made from canes instead of the other things I just mentioned.
Next comes sunflower oil (ahhhhhhh! What!?!?! Read this article, this article, or this article to find out why exactly you should not be consuming sunflower oil. If you don't feel like reading those, let me just say to you STOP EATING SUNFLOWER OIL!!!!!!.
Natural vanilla flavour is next. Well, this seems innocent enough! But, wait.....why not just real vanilla, or pure vanilla? Oh, it's because it isn't real at all. Just the flavour of natural vanilla??? Can I tell you an alarming thing I read recently? "Natural Vanilla Flavour" can actually contain beaver anal secretions (here's the article I read from Mercola, and here's another good one from national Geographic). The spray beavers use to mark their territory smell like vanilla, and because it's technically "natural" it doesn't needed to be specifically listed in the ingredients list of "natural vanilla flavour"......just let this info sink in......
...ok, moving on with the ingredients...
Corn starch (because we all needed another reason to consume more corn products!), inulin (found naturally mostly in root vegetables, although tiny amounts are found in onions and garlic, while much larger amounts are found in starchy roots such as chicory root and Jerusalem artichokes, read more about it here. I can't figure out why it's even in here), Xanthan gum (used for thickening), flax seed (the only food in this shake worth eating!!!), stevia leaf extract (a sweetener and sugar substitute extracted from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana). Looking at the other ingredients listed, I'm going to guess they didn't use a high quality product, but I think I'm just feeling bitter---side note, too much Stevia and you no longer taste sweetness, but have a bitter taste instead. Weir, huh? Also, we already know they added sugar, so why even add the Stevia???
The last two ingredients are gum acacia and guar gum.....both "gums", which as we already saw 2 ingredients ago is used for thickening. Add the cornstarch from earlier, which has no nutritional value so I can only assume is there as a thickener, that makes 4 thickeners in this product! They really want you to feel like you've got a thick, satisfying healthy shake in your hand!
Oh, and the real kicker?!? The last bit of goodness is the statement made below the list of crappy ingredients: "Made in a facility that processes milk, eggs, tree nuts, soy and wheat". So, if you have allergies to any of those things.....you can't have this shake. Well, lucky you, actually! Most companies who give a care about their health food actually being healthy endeavour to make their health foods as allergen friendly as possible. This company couldn't even be bothered to try.
I feel so upset over companies who are tricking & swindling people out of their hard earned cash for stuff that shouldn't be going into their bodies! I hate that a lot of the ingredients are terrible food items, and that there are things in there that are intended to mis-lead people or catch their eye and make them go, "oh, I've heard of this, it's good for you/healthy/whatever". Using words like "special" in their protein blend is to remind you that this company wants you to feel like you're receiving some exclusive, top-of-the-line product. Their protein blend is "special", I suppose, because they are maybe the only ones doing this particular blend...but it's not a blend worth duplicating, so, yeah, I suppose it is special? "Cane" sugar is meant to make people think it's healthier than it really is. Adding Stevia (I believe) is purely for the purpose of catching peoples' eye because a lot of people have heard of Stevia and how it's a "health food", so it seems flashy and cutting edge to be in this shake.
I know a lot of people need protein shakes (mainly vegetarians and vegans), and there are a few good brands on the market, like this one, but unfortunately, most people are using protein shakes as a substitute for real food.
My (unprofessional, not medically trained) advice is this: unless you're a vegetarian or vegan, or your doctor specifically said that you need to be on a protein shake for some reason, don't even bother going after a protein shake!
Don't get caught up in the lies most companies offer up regarding their "superior" product. Don't spend (far too much) money on something that is just a synthetic version of a real food.
Instead, just keep it real--with real food!
I got this image from Mike over at The Iron You. He says:
This is rule #19 in Michael Pollan’s book “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual”. One of my favourites.
It stresses the importance of eating real food, not creations of the food-industrial complex. Real food doesn’t have a long ingredient list, isn’t advertised on national television, and doesn’t contain stuff you can’t even pronounce the name.
Part of being healthy means consciously choosing wisely what you put in your mouth. So do eat food that comes from plants not that is made in plants!
I totally agree.....except I would also add that if it ATE a plant, eat it! : ) I'm talking meat here people!
I know the image above shows a Twinkie, but it could just as easily show an image for the protein shake I tore apart!
If you're thinking, "I need to start eating right", don't think of anything that was made my man. I know a lot of people who think, "I should eat better", and then they replace all of their man-made blatant junk food for man-made secret junk food. Food made in a plant.
Instead, try real food. Go through your produce isles with new eyes. See all of the colours, all the one ingredient foods, the flavour and texture varieties, and try a few things you've never had before!
I love that "Eat Right Rule" above: If your food can go bad, it's good for you. And if your food can't go bad, it's bad for you. I mean, I eat my fair share of junk food on my treat day, but I do so knowing that what I am eating is a treat and isn't a great food at all! When I'm eating Swedish Berries (the candies), I'm not thinking, "oh boy! These are made with real fruit juice and are fat free? Hot dog! They're practically healthy!!". But, unfortunately, that's often why such facts are plastered on the packages because someone, somewhere is thinking, "wow, what a good choice for a little treat!". I personally choose them because they are so freakin' delicious, but I know they are a food void of any benefit to my body whatsoever!
Swedish Berries (the candy) shan't ever go bad, even if I left them in my pantry for 10 years! Now, if I stuck a handful of real berries in my pantry, well, they would be getting squishy and moldy at least within a week.
Please take away from this post the simple message of eating real, simple foods. I feel like I've been bouncing all over and not really making the point I want to!
Don't let eating real, whole, and healthy foods become a scary thing! It's not, it really couldn't even be more simple! If you start an eating program that starts you off by saying you need to buy their food products (bars, shakes, cereals, whatever)-they are using you to make money, while misleading you about healthy food!!!
When's the last time an orange in the grocery store was like, "hey.....pssst! Hey you! Yeah, you! You should just start eating only oranges and nothing else. And you should also only buy them from the company named on my sticker"......I"m going to guess this has never happened?
Real food (as mentioned in the one photo above) won't be advertised on national television, because no one person/company can make a fortune on real foods. For example, I don't care what apples I buy, as long as they are the least expensive, I have no loyalty to my apple brand. But, if I was buying an apple cereal bar, I would probably look for a specific brand because I've been told it's the healthiest. Do you see what's happening?
The next time you walk into your grocery store, think "did this come from a plant (or did it eat a plant?), or is it made in a plant?
Eat well, eat simple, live long and prosper : )
Today's post is the first of four "Keep It Real" posts I plan to do! I wanted to do 5 (because there are 5 Monday's in February), but I don't want to box myself in! I have four "Keep It Real" ideas planned and drafted, and if I'm inspired with 1 more idea, well then this will be a February long series! : ) If not, then it'll just be a random, four week series!
So, nutrition and exercise can get so freakin' complicated, right?!
Calorie counting, points counting, trans-fats, low fat, no fat, cholesterol free, low carb, low sodium, gluten-free, dairy free, sugar free, grain free, sulfite free, yeast free, fructose free, sucrose free.....
Lots of cardio, little cardio, strength training, weight training, high impact, low impact, HIIT, yoga, walking, swimming, running.....
I know I'm missing a bunch, but I mean, what the heck?!?
People get easily (and understandably!) overwhelmed at the notion of health & fitness and that can derail any efforts right out of the gate!
Can I assume though that you know that eating a bag of chips and having a 6-pack of beer every night will make you gain weight?
Can I assume that you know if you never exercise or move at all you won't be strong and in good physical health?
If you understand these things, you are off to a great start!!!!
I had a friend years ago who simply stopped drinking Coke, and lost so much fat so fast it was crazy!!! It couldn't have gotten more simple!
What might "simple" look like to our example above? Well, not drinking a 6-pack of beer every night with an entire bag of chips (maybe just start by cutting back a little--3 beers and half a bag of chips is a start!) and doing some physical activity like a simple 5 minute walk (remember being told to park at the back of a parking lot to get a little exercise?-do that!) or marching on the spot for 2 commercial breaks can be a great and important start in the right direction; the direction of being healthy!!!
This short and sweet (and simple!) post is meant to get you thinking. I want you to think simple. Real Simple! Think about the basics of your body and what would make it it's very best. We are a society who is largely failing at health & fitness (pun intended, I guess!), but we are being bombarded with information about it...how can this add up? It doesn't add up because we are thinking too much and doing too little! It doesn't need to be wildly confusing! Just keep it simple...start where you, with who you are!
I hope you'll meet me here again next Monday as we continue taking this journey of "Keep It Real" ("keeping it real", if we're being grammatically correct!) : ) I want to encourage you, build you up, inform you, and help you make the move to the best health you've ever had!
I am not a Dr. and any advice you take from me you do on your own free will! Read my full Health & Fitness disclaimer for full details
Last week while I was walking to the barn with a 20 litre bucket of water in each hand I stepped onto ice that was hiding under some snow. The ice cracked and let a bit of water out of the icy puddle that caused me to start to slip backwards. When that happened, my arms swung forward, dumping the buckets of water all over myself, and making the ice more wet (and more slippery!) so that I completely fell backwards onto my hips/sits bones, and then hitting back onto my right shoulder. I may have dropped an f-bomb too. Whomp whomp.
I was little pissed, wet & cold, but more than that, I got hurt. I could instantly feel my traps (trapezius), lats (latissimus), & glutes (gluteus medius) pinching.
I do not get injured easily. There are some people who seem to get an injury from everything they do, but I am not one of those people!
The sum and total of my injuries (not including horseback riding related injuries!) are as follows:
When I was a teenager I completely threw my back out because of a bale of hay incident (I went to pick it up thinking it would move, but it was stuck! So, the bale stayed put, and my back went rrrriiiipppppp)! I beat that in no time though.
Then when I was in labour with my third child I had extreme back labour (meaning that all my contractions were felt through my abdomen, but also felt through my lower back). This resulted in slipped (herniated) disks and caused pain through my lower back and leg for more than a month. Every winter this pain would return, presumably because I was doing more sitting and was not in great shape.
Since getting into shape again I haven't had any back trouble, and the only other muscles pain/injury I've sustained was when I pulled my trap hauling something very heavy out of our basement, and a knee issue (not sure where it came from).
So, I'm not completely injury free, but I'm 32 and can only count on 1 hand the number of physical problems I've had (I make up for it in mental problems!! haha!).
So, why would I bother talking about working out with an injury? Because it's important, and because for the injuries I have had, I am convinced that they got better faster than they might have if I hadn't known how to work out the problems!
There are varying degrees of muscle injury, and It's important to know where you might be in this scale. Physiotherapy Notes puts it this way:
Grade I Muscle Strain
"In grade I muscle strain, the muscle or tendon is overstretched. Small tears to muscle fibers may or may not occur. You may have mild pain with or without swelling. Grade I strain is also called mild muscle strain".
Grade II Muscle Strain
"Also called moderate muscle strain, grade II strain occurs when the muscle or its tendon is overstretched with more of the fibers torn but not complete. Symptoms may include marked pain with swelling. The area of injury is tender. Bruising may occur if small blood vessels at the site of injury are damaged as well. Movement may be difficult because of pain".
Grade III Muscle Strain
"Grade III strain, or severe muscle strain, is the most serious among the three grades of muscle strains. Most of the muscle fibers are torn. In some cases, the muscle is completely torn or ruptured. Pain, swelling, tenderness, and bruising are usually present. Movement is usually difficult.
Moderate and severe muscle strains should be seen by a qualified health care provider. For grade I muscle strain, simple home remedies, such as applying RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) therapy may be just enough to manage symptoms".
So, you can see there are different ways the muscles can be injured. It's important to understand your body and know the difference between "pain" and "PAIN"!!! Ya know?
I think you know if you're a big baby, or freakin' tough, so you need to take that into consideration and know that "pain" is fine to work through, but "PAIN" can be something serious and you should get it checked out.
Also, chronic injuries can be horrible. Examples are joint injuries such as rotator cuff injury, shoulder bursitis, or tendonitis. Injuries like these need to be handled cautiously because just one wrong move and you could end up in the operating room. Be sure to take good care of a chronic injury and follow your doctor's instructions!
But beyond deciding which type of injury you have, and being mindful of chronic injuries, it's important to try to figure out exactly where your injury is. Yes, you can go to see your doctor (as mentioned above, if you think it's a for real injury), but what if they can't see you for a day or two (or even longer!). You could go to your local Emergency Room or walk-in clinic.....but you may end up with a cold or flu from that visit! So, whatever you decide to do, you can also add to your own knowledge by doing some "research" (it's in quotes because I once heard of someone who called themselves a "researcher", and it.turned out they just Googled stuff all day!....geez).
Anyway, when I had my slipped disks, my Dr. recommended a simple program of exercises to help stretch and strengthen the back and surrounding muscles. I also went to see a physical therapist who helped (and hurt!!!) a lot and who also recommend exercises that strengthened by back while reducing my pain.
Having that injury taught me a lot about the human body and about how I can help it when it's trying to heal.
Healthline.com recommends that instead of sitting around hoping the muscles will recover (which, ironically, causes the muscles & joints to become stiff), it is important to try to remain as active as possible through stretching or low-impact activities such as walking. And that's exactly what my Dr. & Physiotherapist told me to do!
When I pulled my traps, I immediately went online to pinpoint which muscle I had pulled, then I looked up stretches for that particular muscle. I also started using a ball to press into and release the tight muscle (I've included a video example below)-p.s., I've seen that you can buy special balls that are attached to ropes to help with rolling out sore muscles, but they are a little costly. My cleaver parents got me a much cheaper version though--a dog toy!!! Seriously, it's the exact same thing that I had seen, but much cheaper (they found it at Dollarama!) : ) The picture of it is below!
I also went online for info when my knee was giving me trouble. I also had a pre-planned & routine check-up with my Dr. while my knee was bothering me so I mentioned it and he told me to work at strengthening the muscles that surround my knee in order to give it more support.
Which leads me more to the point.....how DO you workout while sustaining an injury?
After you've figured out what type of injury you have, and where you have it, it's time to see which muscles are on each others team. What? Muscle teams? Yup!
Ok, that is not an official term AT ALL, but I like to think of the muscle groups as teams because it helps make clear how muscle groups work together! For instance, if your shoulder is sore, you wouldn't just work on your quads because that clearly wouldn't benefit your shoulders at all! They are not on the same team! Get it?!
Ok, let's re-cap & talk more about teams!
How to Workout While Injured
WHAT DOES THAT SUPPORT LOOK LIKE???
I didn't want to get into a million exercises to work all those body parts because that would make this post far too long! So, if you're looking for something specific, you can look it up online, call your Dr. and see if they can give you any advice, or shoot me an e-mail and I'll see what I can do!
Let's go back to my injury from last week.
My workout that day consisted of lots of ab work in order to strengthen my core and assist my lower back, and a long yoga flow to help stretch out and relax the muscles in my neck and upper back.
Within a few days everything was starting to feel better (well, except my butt that ended up with a huge bruise on it!!!) Haha, that made some sitting ab exercises very difficult! I just put a pillow under my butt to get around the pain!
But I know that if I had gone, "oh no! I'm injured! I need to take a few days off from my workouts!" that my body would have seized up and I really would have been worse off!
I want to say again that you need to know your body, know your pain tolerance, and know when you have a for real injury (like a bone sticking out because it's broken!), and go from there. I know I have a high pain tolerance, so that makes me less likely to take an injury seriously. When my back was toast after my third baby, it took a few weeks before my husband convinced me to go to see a Dr! I basically couldn't walk, I couldn't sit for long, I couldn't lie down for long. I sometimes would sit quietly crying while nursing because the pain was so bad, but I'd still say, "it's not that bad, it'll be fine!". I was taking a constant stream of pain killers, was rubbing an insane amount of Rub A535 (a muscle relaxant heat cream) onto my back, was using a heating pad on my back any time I was sitting or lying down, and could still barely move! My husband was right, I needed to see a doctor!!!
But then there's those little pinches that you know are minor, or achy muscles from a previous workout that are just from lack of a proper cool-down and stretch session. It's important to work through some soreness (like from a previous workout), but not to work through nearly debilitating pain!
I'm having a hard time summing up my thoughts! Let's do more point form!!!
I think that's all!
So, I hope you found this info helpful today! Writing (and talking) about health & fitness is a passion of mine, but I need to rant again about how I am in no way shape or form a medical professional! I am an average woman with life experiences who wants to share those experiences with others! So, take my words as you will, remembering that I am not intending to replace your doctor or anything he or she tells you! But, on that note.....doctors don't know everything (gasp!), and you need to trust yourself, and get a second (or third) opinion on things if you're unsure about anything. Ok? Ok!
I bid you farewell!
A lot of people talk about and focus on weight loss. If you're looking to lose weight, well.....ok. But might I suggest instead that you consider losing fat instead? Is there a difference? Oh yes, oh yes indeed!
The last few weeks I've been working at losing some of the extra Christmas love I got (read: lots of visiting, staying up late and snacking!), but, the scale hasn't budged. What has budged though is how I feel in my pants, bras, and shirts. Seriously, I look in the mirror at myself everyday and can see the difference that getting back home, working out hard and eating clean have made. But the scale won't agree. Why? Because the fat I'd collected over the holidays weighs less than the muscle I'm re-gaining, but the fat also takes up more room than the muscle. So, my shape and size are changing, but not the number on the scale.
This idea can help put some of your "defeats" in perspective.
Ever have a week where you nailed your workout every day, ate like a super-clean super-human, drank all the water you should, blah blah blah.....and then you step on the scale at the end of the week and.....drum roll...., you lost 1-lb? You're standing there thinking, "well, THAT was a waste! I'm eatin' me a 1 kg bag of peanut M&M's for breakfast now since it doesn't seem to make any difference!". Or maybe I'm the only one who's ever felt like that...? Haha, for realz, it's not just me!
But here's what your body is doing "behind the scenes". First of all, it's not turning fat into muscle. That would be a magic trick! That's like trying to change pork fat into a chicken breast--on a living chicken!
You can looe fat and muscle, or gain fat and muscle. But, fat and muscle are not inter-changeable, so just get that idea outta yer head! : )
I like they way they said it on bodybuilding.com "Muscle mass and fat are two different animals: Muscle is active tissue that burns calories around the clock even as you sleep, kind of like an engine running in neutral. When you move around, you burn more calories, just like a car will consume more gas the faster you go. Fat, on the other hand, is just a storage of excess energy. It does nothing but sit there with its sole goal in life to be a spare tire around your waist until you put in the effort to burn it off" (emphasis mine).
So, the body isn't doing any magic tricks, but is just functioning as it's being asked to. You are either asking your body to gain or lose fat, or to gain or lose muscle.
So, if your scale doesn't seem to be cooperating with your best efforts, can ask yourself, "have I been working out hard using weights, or my body weight? Could I be gaining muscle and that's why the scale isn't getting lower??". The answer will almost always be yes....unless all you're doing is cardio......
Oh boy, so, for a long, long, long time you've heard "do more cardio to lose more weight!!!", and that's true to a degree.....except than you're really only losing fat and not gaining any muscle (and muscle burns calories, so the more muscle you have the more calories you burn while NOT working out). So, you can run your heart out, lose big numbers on the scale, but then you'll end up with a "skinny fat" body. Basically, a body that seems small or skinny, but has low or no muscle definition. If you are stuck in a "skinny-fat rut", read this article, or this article from muscleforlife.com
Rethink your approach to "loss". Focus on gaining muscle. Focus on working hard. Don't focus on calories burned (GASP!). Just don't for now. Start in a place where you are telling yourself, "my plan is to build muscle, & get strong"
Below are some images of different bodies at different weights and you can see that the heavier in weight photos are the muscled, trim bodies. I also included some replica fat vs. muscle photos that I find intriguing! Because I'm a geek. : )
I think these pictures say a lot, don't they! I find them an encouraging reminder that fat loss and weight loss are very different games!
Don't be discouraged if you're not "losing weight" as fast as you want. Keep measurements, keep trying on one particular pair of pants and take note on how they feel on your waist and legs, and, of course, stay positive! Rome wasn't built in a day, and the body or health & fitness goals you have in mind won't develop in one day either!
If you want a great body weight workout, I've included one of my favourites below! It's one of my best loved YouTubers, Tony Horton, as a guest on another of my top-pick channels POPSUGARfitness! To fav's for the price of one!
In this video Tony takes you through a 10 minute, full body burn! You will love it!
And that is all I have for you today!
Please let me know if you have any thoughts, comments or concerns, or just say "hi"!
Amy-Lyn, checking out! : )
....And now some legal jargon....
Remember that I am not a certified health & fitness professional! Read my Disclosure Policy HERE
......Love the one you're with!
Ever heard that song? It's by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Some of the lyrics are:
"Don't be angry, don't be sad
Don't sit crying over good times you've had
Well there's a girl sitting right next to you
And she's just waiting for something to do...
...And if you can't be with the one you love, honey
Love the one you're with"
Why, you may ask, am I sharing this with you? What does this have to do with health and fitness. A lot my friends, an awful lot.
The other day I spent an hour sorting through my clothes to eliminate some of them (as I like to do in January), and I had a epiphany. Some of my jeans I wore last May didn't fit me....whomp whomp. I am about 10 lbs heavier than I was then, and I thought, "Geez.....I remember not being entirely happy with my body then....what a waste!". Seriously, I kept going through my clothes all the while thinking about how instead of enjoying the body I had worked so hard on I was still finding flaws. Now, here I am, 10 lbs heavier and thinking, "well, I better love this body now because who knows what I might have in 1, 5, 10, or 50 years!" Right?!?
I have spent a lot of my life not appreciating how I was in the moment. I remember hating my "front butt" when I was 11 years old! 11 YEARS OLD!!! P.S., a "Front butt" is that lower belly pooch.
Here I am now, 32, responsibility coming outta my ears, a body that needs extra work to keep in shape 'cause it's getting older, and I'm thinking "why was I wasting my 11 year old time feeling self conscious about a lower belly pooch?!". Poor 11 year old me!!
I heard someone say recently that only loving your body when it's perfect is like only loving your kids when they're well behaved. Moulding a child into a decent human being takes time and effort, and there will be some moments when you're staring at your (seemingly) possessed child and thinking "I've failed!".....but you still love them anyway!
Don't have kids? Ok, let's change the comparison to dogs! You love your dog, even when you come home from a long day and it's pooped in your favourite shoes.....right?
Make your own comparison from something you seem to love and forgive quite unconditionally and apply it here!
So, why not our bodies? Why not love what we've got while we've got it, no matter how it looks, or how it's "behaving"? This body, this temple we've got to live in can stay the same, get worse, or get better, but can't we love it all along the way?
I started this Health & Fitness portion of my website because I wanted to share my tips and tricks, workouts and food philosophy, but what I keep coming back to is encouragement! I swear, this is not really intentional! I sit down to write about one thing, and out comes something else! I think my heart, my body and soul are trying to work something out!
How many of us woman (and men too) feel discouraged after looking through "motivational fitness photos"? All those freakin' ripped people, super nice tans, I'm sure they are rich too for goodness sake! There is a time and a place for that (heck, I shared my own "before" & "after" photos!), but more than just seeing other people who are in shape, I think we need real people, loving themselves, loving others, no matter what the body! I want to have a "before" and "after" of my attitude toward my body!
Change your mind about yourself, decide right now to love yourself! Start a transformation right there in your head! Don't forget to take a "before" snapshot of your critical and unforgiving mind! You'll want a comparison for later! : )
Me telling you to love your body isn't a new idea....I'm sure you've already read it somewhere, or seen it on a Billboard or commercial. But I am not just telling you, I AM TELLING ME!!!
I am with you in this struggle, in this adventure, in this crazy human body!
So, here's the real challenge. Not just loving your body (which is easy to say), but to realign your values of beauty. We are told to love our bodies, but our hearts and minds say, "why would you, look at it! It's awful!"
Something I tell my kids a lot, and I think we can all agree on this point, is that what we are in our hearts is what makes us beautiful, and that is something we can all work on, regardless of our body type.
Remember how I disliked my body at 11, and I disliked it last year at it's fittest and thinest, so the problem isn't with my body, it's with my heart & mind. It's what we value as beauty, it's what we consider worthwhile.
I love the image above (you can sub in "man" if you're a man reading this!), but I love the challenge.
Proverbs 31:30&31 says,"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honour her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate" (emphasis mine)
Now, whether or not you are a Christian, believe in God, or read the Bible, you have to admit that is a gosh-darned good proverb!!! Don't be thrown off by the "fear" bit, that fear doesn't mean what we think (afraid, terrified), but rather to respect, or to reverence. This fear acknowledges God’s good intentions, and makes a person receptive to wisdom and knowledge (1), which is a beautiful quality. What you look like will fade and change, and get old! You can't help that! But what you do, who you are, those things can last and can become your legacy of beauty.
If we don't start by looking inward at what our hearts and minds are doing, and whether or not they are beautiful, we'll never be able to look in a mirror and say, "I love you".
Take a good look at yourself. Are you a great singer, dancer, piano player, guitar player? Recorder player!?! Do you love passionately, hug hard, laugh easily, think deeply? Can you make a killer grilled cheese or a fantastic pot of soup? Do you help people in need, or offer a shoulder to cry on? Are you loud? Quiet? Both!?! Do you see beauty in others? Do you see that beauty can be, and IS, more than just what we look like?
Who you are is not how you look and your beauty is not in how you look. Who you are is someone individual, and your beauty resides in that special and distinct place.
Love yourself for yourself. You are the only mind like you, the only emotion like you, the only you there is. All of it, inside and out is you, so love it. Love the one you're with because it's you!
I think most of us know that if you want to be healthy & fit, it requires zeal!
What is zeal?
Zeal is defined as "great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective". I like this definition too: "fervour for a person, cause, or object; eager desire or endeavour; enthusiastic diligence; ardor"
I am not one for new years resolutions, mostly because they are unrealistic. I've talked about having hope for a new year, and last year I shared some thoughts on just generally aiming to become a better person, but now I desire to have some zeal.
Our pastor spoke about zeal and said it was a matter of the will and the heart. What you want, what you're passionate about comes from deep inside! It's not manufactured falsely, or forced, but rather pours out of your life because it can hardly be stopped! I had some serious zeal on Monday to clean my house top to bottom! Doesn't seem like a cause worth zealing over (p.s., "zealing" is definitely NOT a word, I just made it up! Haha), but why not? It's what I was doing at that moment, and why not do it with zeal?!? Why waste time doing things with indifference?
On my Motivational Monday post (I know it's Wednesday...) I spoke about zeal in life in general, but here I want to speak about zeal for health & fitness.
My enthusiasm for health & fitness sometimes feels fake....usually when I'm devouring a 1 kg bag of Jelly Belly jelly beans on my treat day!!! Then someone asks me about diet, nutrition and working out, and you can't shut me up! Knowing how the body works, what makes it work better, what makes it stronger intrigues and inspires me! I am zealous about health & fitness, regardless of my treat days! I guess you could say I am zealous about food too, ALL food! : )
Our pastor showed this video at church and I literally, out loud said, "whoa....", so I want to share it with you! It is part of a campaign called "Protect This House. I WILL".
This one is crazy-amazing too (skip to 0:54)!
I like the quote from Aldous Huxley in the collage above. Having zeal, enthusiasm, passion, and devotion to a cause requires us to be a little childlike. Kids are amazing in what they dream up and work towards and accomplish! They zealously follow their dreams because they believe in their heart they can do it, and their will to do it drives them on!
As adults, we hum and hah, doubt, speculate, and make lists and somewhere along the way, we become half-hearted in all we do. As I said at the beginning of this post, just add enthusiasm to what you're doing already! Why Not? WHY NOT?!? What's stopping you? Zeal is contagious, it brightens your day, it gives you drive and leaves you feeling purposeful!
When I work out, I usually hit a wall physically, I feel completely tired, muscles are shaking, I'm ugly sweating, my face is many shades of red and purple, but I say (often out loud), "if you're here, you might as well kick ass" (excuse my french) : )
If you take the time to workout, whether it's for 5, 10, 15, or 60 minutes, do it with zeal! Own it!
When I create meals for my family, even if they are simple meals, I still like to make it taste good, be healthy, and be attractive because I love food and food presentation!
On my Motivational Monday post I shared about my amazing sisters who are passionate about helping refugee families. They have surpassed their original goal to sponsor just one family to come and live in Brantford, and are now planning to continue raising money for a second family! To help with the resettlement of a refugee family in Brantford, go to Brantford Refugee Family Sponsorship.
I also shared about my friend Kelly who had a dream about a place, called Grace Inn, where the homeless could find a place to belong, be treated with dignity, and could feel at home. She's raising money at Hope for the Homeless in Brantford on gofundme.
You may not feel like you have a "big goal" that you can apply zeal to, but that doesn't matter. Have zeal in what you do, or join with others who are zealous and support them with zeal!
As for health & fitness, the zeal comes from the same place all zeal comes from: your will. Why do you want to be healthy or fit? Me? I like feeling comfortable in my own skin. I like seeing how hard I can push myself and seeing what I am physically capable of. I like knowing that my hard work is creating a longer and healthier life for me to enjoy my husband, kids, family and friends. And I like knowing that I am protecting this "house", this place God made for me to live in. I've only got this one house, and I want it to be it's best!
So, go with zeal! Inject enthusiasm into your health & fitness! Why? Because you are worth it! You are!
Make 2016 a year with zeal!
Truth is, when you're trying to eat healthy, a holiday coming up can seem overwhelming!
You want to enjoy visiting family & friends, but you don't necessarily want to jump off the healthy-living-bandwagon either! It is easy though (really, really easy!) to get caught up in eating 'til it hurts, trying every creamy, fatty, salty & tasty thing you see, and topping it all off with a glass or two (or bottle) of wine! Whomp whomp.
There are ways to get through, ya just need to keep your head screwed on tight, and stay calm! : )
Follow me while I offer you 5 tips to help you get through the holiday season without loosing your mind (or waistline)!
Going to someones house in the evening where you'll be having a feast, or meeting up with friends at a restaurant? Then consider not eating a monster breakfast & lunch first!
It can be a bad idea to show up starving because then you might be inclined to scarf down every morsel you see, but showing up already thoroughly fed, then feeling like it'll be rude to not eat dinner (and dessert) can leave you overly full of food and calories.
And, knowing what might be for dinner can help you decide what things to eat beforehand. Eating raw fruits and veggies during the day can help you get the nutrients you need that you may not get at dinner, and they won't leave you feeling stuffed and uncomfortable!
Lastly, be prepared to say no! Don't be mean, but you don't have to eat everything that is offered to you! You can politely say "no thank-you".
Make a Healthy Contribution
Going to a pot luck? Bring a tray of veggies or fruit! They aren't always something people think to bring, but in my experience, they always get eaten up! And make it a good colourful tray of food, it gives lots of variety and ensures everyone finds something they like. And, it means you know you'll be getting a serving or two of goodness!
It may seem like a boring contribution, but it will be appreciated. Take the healthy tray a step further by offering a healthier dip like hummus, guacamole, or try one of these 5 dips from Body Building.com, and don't even bother with fruit dip! What the heck?! Fruit is natures candy, and you need a dip for it? I think not. Good golly. I feel strongly about fruit dip being ridiculous, but if you insist on having it, try to whip up a healthy version like mixing greek yogurt, honey and cinnamon together. But I still think it's ridiculous.
Bringing these may also help you if there are a bunch of pre-dinner snacks and appetizers, and will give you a healthy option to mix in with the hors d'oeuvres or candied nuts you may sample.
One last note, if you're short on time or ambition, both veggie and fruit trays can be purchased at grocery stores, all ready for you! And if you have time, ambition, and don't want to bring something "boring", there are many ways to make a fruit or veggie tray amazing! Check out some of those amazing images above!
Plan to Enjoy
If you say, "I am not going to eat ANY sweets tonight!"....you probably will. Thumbs down. The thumbs down is not because you couldn't resist, but that you're now lugging around guilt over a failed healthy eating attempt, and that guilt could lead you to keep making bad choices because, "you've already messed up".
Well, my dear friend, stop that! I said stop it! : )
Try telling yourself instead, "I know there will be lots of dessert there tonight, and I love chocolate, so I will try a chocolate dessert if there is one that looks great!", or, "I love cheesecake, so if there is one I'll have a slice!". Make it part of your plan, your first draft, black and white plan. Not your emergency, all systems failing plan! The holidays often bring out specific desserts or foods that are special, so keep those in mind too. Instead of inhaling that store bought cookie you can literally buy any time you wanted, enjoy the amazing pumpkin pie your aunt brings, or buttery & beautifully frosted shortbread cookies (my weakness!)
You know what makes off-limits food seem super-duper irresistible? Telling yourself you can't have any of them! It's true! Studies have shown that feeling deprived (even if you are well fed) can lead to over-eating! Geepers!
Be kind to yourself, show yourself some grace, and plan to enjoy some treats. SOME treats, not ALL the treats. :) ....I am talking to my own sweet tooth....
If you drink wine, don't use a jumbo wine glass if you can help it, A huge glass looks sad half-full, but a smaller glass looks more satisfying filled to the top! It can still be a 6 oz serving, but they will have a different effect on your mind and how you see it. You feel like you are enjoying a nice full glass of wine, which will leave you feeling more satisfied with it. The photo above shows a 6oz serving of wine in different glasses, and you can see the difference! Also, I know there are "rules" about which glass is for which type of wine....but let's be honest, unless you're a wine connoisseur (which most of us are not!), you won't really notice the difference!
If you enjoy a mixed drink, try it in a tumbler instead of in a tall glass. You will be drinking just a little less liquor, and less mix too. And while we're at it, try having your mix with ice and water, carbonated water (otherwise known as soda water, club soda, sparkling water, or fizzy water). There are even quite a few types of fruit flavoured fizzy waters that don't contain any added sugar and make a nice alternative if you really dislike plain carbonated water. A real fruit, no sugar added fruit juice is also a better choice than (soda) pop or artificial, full of sugar juice.
If you have the option, beers, ciders or anything out of a can or bottle can be poured into a glass. Taking the time to pour the drink into a glass helps you stop and take notice of your actions and be a little more mentally aware of your drinking.
And don't forget to drink water! Try your darndest to alternate between alcohol & water as this will keep you from drinking too much, and will help you feel better the next day!
And, of course, be sure to fit in some exercise!
It can seem difficult to find the time or motivation, but take 10-15 minutes to do a HIIT workout, or go for an after dinner walk with family, just find something you can do to help your body get moving and feeling it's best!
I created the workout above with maximum sweat in mind! It's a tough one! Some of the moves may be unfamiliar (like butt kickers or the extreme mule kick-it's my new favourite move!), but do your best, if you don't know what something is, do something similar (like a regular ab crunch instead of a v-sit) push yourself, and you'll be glad you did!
Most important during this time is to be realistic. Life gets turned upside down, and your usual food & exercise plan will shaken up! Don't expect to eat a completely clean diet while visiting your best-baker-in-the-world sister, or most-amazing-deep-fried turkey uncle! Don't expect to be able to go for a 1 hour bike ride when you've got all your family over, or plan a 2 hour gym excursion when you are out of town visiting family or friends! Maybe you will manage to do those things, but there is a better chance you won't!
Be prepared for glitches, be prepared for temptations, be prepared for peer pressure, be prepared to feel lazy and tired, but be prepared to do your holiday best! Not your usual best, but your holiday best! There is a difference!
Above all else, enjoy whatever the holiday season means to you and your family. Whether it's simple or complex, fancy or not so much, just take the time to appreciate whatever Christmas offers you. And be sure to look at what you can offer Christmas! Giving & sharing, offering peace and joy, these are parts of Christmas you can give away to anyone and everyone. Smiling at someone, holding the door open, just putting others first during this hectic season can make the season bright!
How was the weekend for all? I feel like mine was a blur actually....Saturday I embarked on a shopping adventure never to be rivalled by anyone anywhere ever for all of time!!! Hahaha....ok, perhaps I am being just a teeeeny weeeeeny bit overly dramatic, but it went something like this (let your mind play some dream sequence music here)....
'Twas just this past Saturday.....
I nominated myself to buy gifts for 19 children in our family, to make things simpler for one and all (I am NOT included in the one and all!) and so I drive into the big city and decide my first stop will be the mall (What? The mall!?! Who does that on the 2nd last shopping Saturday of the Christmas season!?! It's me. I do. Because I'm a big dumb dumb). Not only did I go to the mall, but I went to Toys R Us! (I know, I'm a psycho!)
I walk into a store that seems more like a mad-house for crazy (and angry) people, and realize quickly that my heart is racing, I'm sweating, I'm smiling at strangers who are thinking I"M the mental one, and are therefore not smiling back at me, and I think I'm about to go into cardiac arrest!
So, I left Toys R Us! I semi-ran out of there, actually.....I was there for about 20 minutes and knew that A:the empty and/or wildly messy shelves were not going to yield anything worth looking for, and B: that everything seemed just a little more expensive than usual....? Do they put the prices up knowing crazy people will do anything to get that exact thing their child wanted? Golly gee.
So, I left the loonie-bin and decided I would go to Party City (never been? It's puuuurdy much my fav place! You can shop it online too, fyi!) It is full to the roof of every party thing imaginable, including party favours, games and toys, candy (sooooo much candy!!!), and really helpful staff (at least here at the Belleville location).
2 1/2 hours later.....I emerge, exhausted, triumphant, carrying many large bags bursting with childhood glee (overly dramatic again? Sorry).
I wasn't actually completely finished, and headed over to Michaels Arts & Crafts store for a few more items, then (after I went to the Theatre for a 2 hour production meeting for the upcoming musical!!!) I headed to Wal-Mart for my last few things I needed to find! I realized at some point I was talking out loud to myself about toys I was looking at, laughing out loud at someone who made an announcement on the p.a. system who sounded like Pee-wee Herman, and then I opened a bag of chocolate covered ju-jubes and started eating them as I finished up (yes, I paid for them!). I believe I was at the end of my "normal"!
I spent about 40 minutes in Wal-Mart, and then I was finally, finally finished with the day of craziness!
....until I got home and had to unload all the loot and sort & organize it and make sure I had gotten a fair amount of this and that for each child/age group, etc.....
Yes, I know it doesn't have that usual feel a classic Christmas story should have, but I think it's awesome. I shall tell the story for years to come to my children, and my children's children, gathered around the fireplace each wintry Christmas eve..... : )
Let's move on, shaaaall we!?!
I wanted to chat today about High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). It is my favourite type of exercise because it gets a lot done in a short amount of time!
HIIT is a method of exercise where you alternate between high intensity, aerobic exercises and low-intensity, recovery exercises.
I didn't know about "HIIT" until March 2014, but I had done it in the past, just by a different name.
Someone had mentioned to me that their doctor had recommend they try "bursting" exercises instead of the usual 20 minute stationary bike ride. The Dr. told my friend that they should try 1 minute of intense, full speed stationary bike riding, then followed by 1 minute of ab crunches, pushups, holding a plank, and any other strength building exercise that she could "recover" in.
I thought this method was interesting, but didn't put it into practice until the summer of 2010 when I was in need of shedding some pregnancy weight I was lugging around.
We were staying in a very small cottage for about 16 weeks, and the space I had to work in was very small, but I figured I could do 10 minutes a day, and that would be a great start to feeling better and loosing some weight.
Well, I was literally shocked at the way it started to change my body! My initial "bursts" were really basic (I had very limited internet access and so I just wrote out a list of ten exercises I could do and had a timer going on the computer to help), but this "bursting" thing was really effective!
What makes "bursting" or HIIT so effective?
According to the Daily Burn, "this type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time. “A high-intensity workout increases the body’s need for oxygen during the effort and creates an oxygen shortage, causing your body to ask for more oxygen during recovery,” says Eric Salvador, NASM, NSCA, head instructor at The Fhitting Room in New York City. “This afterburn effect is referred to as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) and is the reason why intense exercise will help burn more fat and calories than regular aerobic and steady-state workouts.”
Other reasons for HIIT being so effective (and popular) are that it increases your metabolism, it's convenient and can be as long or short as you want, and you can do it without any equipment! This article at Simply Shredded talks about many of the pros and medical studies done on the benefits of HIIT.
The truth is, I don't really like running. I don't like hour-long cardio sessions. I like biking....but I don't own a bike. I don't live close to a pool, and I sure don't live close to a gym, and I couldn't afford it even if there was one right next door!
HIIT is an amazing fitness solution for a lot of people. If you're older, out of shape, new to exercise, short on time, have no equipment, you can make this work for you. And why not? Why not trying to give yourself your best health you can? I'm not getting paid to sell anything here friends, I just cannot share enough about HIIT training! : )
The last year or so I have loved adding jump-rope to my training. I works a lot of muscles and gets you red-faced and out of breath quick!
Anywho, let me share with you some videos that I enjoy....
Below is a 10 minute, full body HIIT workout from Class FitSugar (of POPSUGAR Fitness) that I enjoy!
Next up is a 10 minute jump rope & ab HIIT that has you alternating between jumping rope, then doing a plank variation. This woman (Sara) is a little weird, funny, rude, but I really like this video.
And, of course, I always like having a non-internet reliant idea for a workout, so I like to use my "Do Anywhere" 10 minute HIIT.
So, thoughts, ideas, failures, successes you want to share, please do! Please do say hello and let me know if you've tried HIIT, or if you want to!
I hope that this brief info about High Intensity Interval Training gave you some new ideas about fitness and working out. Put away the dated notion of endless cardio with little to no results! Embrace short bursts of really hard work with really big results! Imagine me now, standing on my soap box at the corner saying all of this to you in a big, dramatic, using lots of hand gestures kind of way! : )
P.S. I need to remind ya'll that I am not a health care practitioner, and my opinions are my own. If you decide to try something I recommend or talk about, you do so at your own risk. You can read my full Health & Fitness Disclaimer here.
I'm not 100% sure when or where I first was introduced to Andrea @ I'mperfect Life, but she is so inspiring!
She made me re-think "perfect", "strong", and "fit".
On her website, I'mperfectlife.net, she has an atricle titled "10 Reasons I Love My Ugly Body", and I think the title gives you an idea of how awesome she is!
Below is a photo of Andrea with this caption above it:
Even though I have lost 164 lbs and I am at my doctor’s goal weight...
Even though I have been doing crossfit 4-5 days a week for almost 2 years and eat a very clean diet (90% of the time)…
Even though I am a certified personal trainer and a Spartan, a Rugged Maniac, a Warrior and a Triathlete....
This is what my body looks like (almost) naked
She says of this article (emphasis mine), "My own mind-shift allowed me to see the value of my body far beyond its looks and truly appreciate it for what it allows me to do…live a life of freedom"
I know so many people (myself included) who struggle with their own bodies instead of just seeing how amazing they are, right where they are!
How many new Moms have said "oh, I'm so fat now, I need to get back into shape", while ignoring the fact that they just grew a baby inside of them!!!! That's pretty amazing, but we've become a society of people who think that being skinny is all that matters!
When I first started working out to get healthy & fit again in March 2014, I remember finishing some workouts saying, "I cannot believe I got through that!!! I would feel so amazing for my hard work, but that high would only last until I saw that my body wasn't changing overnight!
"Gosh-darn-it, Amy-Lyn!" my current self would say to that former self! "Appreciate how hard you worked!", "Think of how many pushups you did!!!", "You completed Jillian Michaels '6 Week 6 Pack' series!", "You da bomb!" : ) Ok, no version of myself would have said that last bit, but my current self is now rooting and cheering for my former self! Why? Because I am learning to not scold and criticize my body!
I have literally (literally!) been criticizing myself for as long as I can remember! Even as a young girl, I knew my butt was flat, I had a lower belly pooch, my shoulders were (are!) really broad for my pea-sized head! What purpose has this served except to leave me feeling unhappy about any effort I put in?
Andrea of I'mperfect Life has a dare, and I love it! I've done it, and it is a total game-changer!
I am daring you to do this! Start today!
As a society, we didn't always see imperfections the way we do now!
I found something online that made me laugh, it said:
Can we please go back to the Middle Ages where being fat and pale was considered beautiful?
Beautiful in the wrong century
We swing back and forth in this culture on how we view beauty, but on either side of the pendulum, bodies are being valued by some societal system determined by who exactly....? Too fat? Ugly. Too skinny? Ugly. Too this, too that, ugly, ugly.
We are walking around as if life were only skin deep, which (we all know!) it is not!
I tell my girls this very often; what matters most, what is most beautiful, is your heart! A heart that judges others and judges oneself is black and ugly. Seeing beauty in what matters is a life changer, a world changer!!!
So, take this dare, and do it! Start by taking a look at yourself and say something nice!
I want to say this to you:
It's Me, Amy-Lyn!
Welcome to my