The Fit You

Love Your Body. Love Your Life

Tag: depression

Is Gym-Intimidation Real?

Image result for gym intimidation

There’s a word I’ve been hearing out there in the fitness community, called “gymintimidation,” where a person may feel anxiety or even afraid of going to the gym.  Is it real?  Yes, it is!

We go to a very strange gym, in my opinion.  It is just a couple of minutes away from a richer area in our city that is, “google-described” (yes, I checked) as a, “wealthy community.”  And it is for wealthy people… well known NBA basketball players live or have lived there, along with George Strait (famous country music singer for those too young to know), celebrity Pastors if you can call them that, and various other “quieter,” types of basically very rich people.  Since I lived in the town just 20 minutes further out from there, I would go to swim parties in their community sometimes.  It was different… like an oasis away from the urban city not too far away, and fairly intimidating in it’s wealth.

And the GYM, due to it’s proximity to this community, is intimidating.  Last year an extremely tall man held the door open for me when I was getting to the entrance with our toddler, who was taking his own sweet time.  I was slightly annoyed because I didn’t want this man to have to wait so long for our stubborn toddler, but he waited, and was so sweet as I apologized profusely.  A day later when my husband came, he pointed out that same man and told me he was an NBA player, who had actually won a championship with our beloved Spurs (in 1999 says my husband).  He looked him up on his phone and showed me his picture.  I almost fainted.  And I, unfortunately, stared.  THIS was the man who held the door open for me and our stubborn son for so long?!?!  I was waited on by someone who won our city a freaking championship!?!?!

Back to the gym… we do love it because it has an overall family-friendly, very safe feel to it, but when we started back up again this past January, I felt some major “Gym-Intimidation.”

I mentioned we were out of shape… that was probably an understatement.  I had slowly creeped up to about 30 pounds overweight again (I told you, if I look at a cookie I gain weight! Fitness is not easy for me… ), and we had been through a stressful season in life mostly due to busyness.  I found out I’m apparently a “stress,” or “emotional eater.”  LOL

Fast forward to now, in March, I’ve already lost 25 of those pounds through sheer, brutal hard work, and am working to lose even more, but there were many days where the gym itself felt oddly intimidating.

How does one overcome this feeling?  I say follow Nike’s advice and Just Do It!  The more you keep going, and the faster you see the results you’re after, the more confident and at ease you’ll eventually feel.

If you’re an extrovert, try talking to other people.  I find this calms me down and helps me feel more connected and less likely to feel anxious. 🙂

But if you’re an introvert, talking to random strangers at the gym would probably feel even more intimidating.  You can try it and see, but if you’d rather not talk then I’d suggest sticking ear-buds in and focusing solely on your workout and goals for the day.  Get in your own “zone,” so to speak, and you’ll feel more confident and forget about the intimidating environment. 🙂

Advertisements

Great Grocery Items for Healthy Meal Ideas

Try, Fail, Try Again – Don’t Give Up at Weightloss

If you’re trying to get fit and lose weight, it can be SO extremely depressing and difficult.  As someone whose body clings to fat as though I’m in a concentration camp (or will be lol), I feel like I can understand the frustration that comes with seeing slower results than people with faster metabolisms.

Fitness, or losing fat and gaining muscle, always depends largely on your diet – not BEING on a certain kind of new, flashy, popular diet, but literally the things you’re eating day in and day out.  The reason why I post so much of our food preps and recipe ideas I’ve created over the years, is because fitness truly is about 80% what you eat, and 20% exercise.

We go to a gym almost daily during the week to lift and do some cardio (sometimes), and there are all types of fit people we see.  Unfortunately, there are also a couple of women we see and have seen since 2015, who have actually gained weight over the 3 years we’ve been there.  While it could be a combination of things (not working out hard or long enough – smart exercise in other words, or bad eating habits or even hormones out of whack, as in hypothyroidism), you always have to look at your diet if this is happening to you.  Even hormonal problems with weight can usually be controlled when you stick to a very strict and proper diet that is tailored to only YOUR specific biological needs.  Sometimes it takes just a visit to the doctor to get tested, but there is usually a solution out there somewhere.

The most important thing though that trainers don’t usually say, probably because they figure you’ll find this to be common sense, is to just simply not give up!

I’m serious!  All of the women that I know who have lost lots and lots of weight through the fitness groups I’m active in, the ones who have been the most successful were the ones who just NEVER GAVE UP.

You will fail!  Fitness, for women whose bodies biologically hold on to fat, is VERY hard.  Even for models who are “naturally thin,” if they stop their very strict eating habits and rigorous exercise routines, they gain weight fairly fast, too.

Everyone fails at times.  Even the most successful, beautiful women I’ve talked to personally who have done bikini competitions (and placed!!!!), even THEY feel like a failure at times in their own personal journeys.  There are ups and downs in life, there are periods of time where you won’t be able to stick to something that works because a major life event happened that you weren’t prepared for (child death, parental death… anything!).  I’ve seen things like this happen, and I’ve seen the women who get back up and keep on going eventually find success.

You’re going to backslide at some point.  It’s just the honest truth.  You need to accept that it will happen so that when it happens, you aren’t mentally derailed and depressed about it.  There was once a woman in a church group I was in who got fairly angry at me when I tried to tell her this and warn her about not expecting success right away.  Her retort was that she was completely backed up with Scriptures and the Holy Spirit and that it was for sure going to work this time.  Even years later when I saw her again, she was still overweight.  But that kind of mentality she insisted upon is a recipe for disaster!  Again, it’s better to humble yourself, realize that you’re only human, and maybe a woman with a propensity to hold onto fat like you’re a dying person lol, and roll with the ups and downs.

What truly matters is persistence and the resolve that you’re not going to let failure make you stop.

I’ve talked to a few trainers now 🙂 they are the most awesome people in  my mind ❤  So encouraging, optimistic and sweet!  But I don’t think they tell people this when they first start out on a journey to try to be fit or lose weight.

You have to be really patient and kind to yourself.  I’ve known quite a few women who came to their journey through hating their bodies as they were – seeing a photo on facebook where it suddenly hits them how far they’ve let themselves go is a big one.  And maybe that is enough motivation to get them through to the end.

But I’ve also seen that it’s good to look at this journey as loving yourself and finally taking care of your body the way you should have been.  Self-hatred may not be the best way longterm, as I know it drives other eating disorders like anorexia as well as over-eating.  Changing the way you think about your body can be so empowering in getting in shape.

And truly loving yourself and valuing yourself shows up by taking care of the only body you have.  If you’re Christian, there’s even a deeper spiritual element to why you need to take good care of your body:

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;”

1 Corinthians 6:19

So keep going.  No matter where you are in your journey… if you have over 100 pounds to lose, or just 10, DO NOT GIVE UP.

Stephanie

Valeria’s Easy Weight Loss Hacks

 

Valeria is  a Russian model, 27, two children, and a long history of taking excellent care of her mind and body.  I adore her ❤

One of the main purposes of this blog is to show women how ridiculously EASY and SIMPLE losing weight can be when you have the correct knowledge and advice.  You DON’T have to stop eating carbs, or start making complicated meals that are super high in fat.

Losing weight should be a relaxing, simplistic, lifestyle change that fits into your already busy routine.  It should be something SUSTAINABLE over the length of your entire life!  I don’t promote the most popular diet fads or pills for weightloss or weird supplements that mess with your hormone production.

None of that.

Just simple, easy, kind of “lazy” ways to change your life so that you start seeing and getting the body you feel strong and comfortable and proud in.

And these tips are so easy & true.  I’ve been implementing the “hacks” she mentions since about 2009.  So that’s almost a DECADE of knowing these things work for maintaining a fit and beautiful body you love.

  • Eat on small, salad-sized plates- you psychologically see the plate with TONS  of food and you feel more satisfied and are less likely to get seconds
  • Fill up HALF of your plate with veggies (greens – dark leafy greens especially – are GREAT for this).  I’ve consistently lost the most weight when I was practicing this daily habit.
  • Chew your food… chew it slowly and take your time to eat.  It’s been proven you digest better and that your brain is able to understand more correctly when you’re “full” and need to stop
  • When you do eat out, always order your dressing or sauces on the side.  Yes!  I don’t bring my own usually, although I know women who do that… it’s too much work for me and this is about “lazy fitness” 😀  But just ordering it to be “on the side” that way you can carefully “dip” your food into the high calorie, high fat flavor, you WIN big time in not smothering your food in that stuff!
  • Detox water – I used to do this with lemon, but her recipe is much better (and she promotes making a big batch to keep in the fridge – yea I totally do things like that)

Hope you enjoyed her tips as much as I did!

Remember… losing weight isn’t really that hard… a TON of what you need to do to even begin is just slightly alter what you’re already doing.

Stephanie

Meal Prep Your Way to Fitness

IMG_6198

One of the things I’ve found to be really helpful in maintaining a healthy diet while avoiding bad food in a crunch, is to simply meal prep.

It’s too easy to reach for something on the go – namely fast food – when you’re pressed for time or stressed.  Turns out the Boy Scouts were right in their motto:

BE PREPARED!

Just taking the little bit of extra time to portion out your healthy meals and some handy-dandy snacks you’ll find makes life a lot easier for you!

IMG_6177.JPG

Super healthy greek yogurt cups homemade with blueberries & strawberries!

I always try to cook a big dish either on the weekends or Monday night, and have a second or third, smaller option, that way dinners for the week are completely covered!

So. Easy.  It’s. Ridiculous.

IMG_6176

Left: Breakfast Eggs & Chorizo Mix to eat each morning without having to cook!  Just scoop into a couple of tortillas, microwave, add salsa and GO!

AND it saves so much money!

 

IMG_6172

$$$$$$$

Think about how much people pay to have healthy, pre-portioned meals like this delivered, and yet if you do it yourself, you can save hundreds a month!

Seriously, we’ve saved so much through doing this… and it’s all super healthy food that tastes amazing, too!

***

It also makes it easier for your husband if he’s trying to stay healthy as well, to be able to just reach in to the fridge and grab an already perfectly portioned, prepped meal in one  container.  There have been countless times my man has thanked me for doing this for him ❤ his favorite part is that I know just how much of everything to portion out, that way it’s filling and meeting macros but not over-loading.  

It’s the perfect portion control, because everything is right there and you’re discouraged from getting “seconds” – which would mean eating another day’s MEAL!

So…

Meal Prep… to borrow the famous Nike motto:

JUST DO IT!

Stephanie

How Do You Have a “Fit” Postpartum?

IMG_4625 (2)

My husband took this picture without me knowing 🙂 my body is still not exactly where I want it to be (so much loss of muscle and probably still some fat to lose), but it does make me happy that my body is relatively back to normal.  I feel strong and full of energy, and am so proud of what it can do so soon after having our 3rd baby.  It’s like a celebration! ❤

Going on a beach vacation and celebrating our 10th anniversary this early postpartum was a little difficult, but thankfully the difficulty wasn’t so much because I was “out of shape,” but just due to having such a little baby.  We’re a very active, athletic family… so being out of shape really lessens the quality of my life as I’m not able to keep up or do the things I want to do.

But why is getting back in shape after having a baby important?  Obviously, it may not be important to everyone, but to the majority of women out there who eventually do want to get their bodies back, it seems like it is.

One woman in my fitness group recently admitted that if she had known how much excess skin would be hanging off her stomach postpartum, and how awful it would feel to even look at it, she would have DEFINITELY changed all her eating habits while pregnant and would have kept her weight down and been only gaining the minimum amount necessary.

I think it’s relatively normal for Western women to disregard their fitness while pregnant, not really understanding (or caring at the moment) how hard it will be to lose that weight, or to get the skin to go back in, after the baby is out.  And then once it’s a few months or a year postpartum, they start to realize how hard they made it for themselves and live with regret.

So what is the “secret” to having a fit postpartum?  What is the secret to having a pretty good body almost right after you have your baby?

The simple answer?

Having a fit pregnancy.

That’s it.  And it’s the truth. 🙂 The more “in shape” you are, the stronger you are and yes, even “thinner” you are while you’re pregnant, normal weight gain aside of course, the fitter, stronger, and even thinner you’ll be postpartum.

If you stay active and only gain what you and the baby actually need, you won’t have pounds of excess fat and weight to lose afterward.

I’m lucky to be in a fitness group right now where I’ve seen many ladies go through pregnancy and come out extremely fit and strong and capable.  They not only don’t use pregnancy as an excuse to eat anything they want, they don’t even use pregnancy as an excuse to stop lifting weights!!  Or to stop running and working out fairly hard!  It’s amazing to watch these women conquer the usual setbacks of pregnancy with hard work and discipline.  Very inspiring and motivating ❤ 🙂

Will pregnancy set you back some?  Definitely, in those first weeks, doctors don’t want you to workout again until cleared for a reason – because your body really is still healing.  But they also tell you right after you have the baby (the next day in my experiences with all our 3 kids), to start walking like you’re planning to do a walk-a-thon in a month lol!

Walking IS exercising, and they want you doing that 24 hours after having a c-section!

So yes, while you need to wait until your doctor clears you to do more strenuous things, your doctor also expects you to be walking and gently moving your body around actively on your own the day after a c-section.

Why?  Because they know for a fact that it helps you heal faster if you gently exercise those muscles and it keeps your blood flowing which also aids in a faster healing.

We were created to move, and its really no different during and after pregnancy.  Hence the more fit and strong you are during pregnancy, the better (and easier!!) it will be for you afterward.

So take care of yourself during your pregnancy!  You’ll never regret making healthy choices that make it easier for you when you have your baby 😉

It’s already hard having a newborn, but being overweight or weak and fat make it a lot harder.  Be good to yourself, and keep your body in shape.

Stephanie

“Fat Girl Fed Up” and Her Journey to Weight Loss

Tracy Anderson’s Post Pregnancy Workout Review

IMG_4376

I wanted to talk some more about the official postpartum workout I chose to do this time.  I really didn’t do any kind of specific immediate postpartum workout with our first baby 7 years ago, or with our second just 2 1/2 years ago.  I did “workout,”my husband even trained me at the gym and did workouts with me at home, but nothing this well-structured for helping your body to go back to normal after being pregnant for 9 months.  Tracy has moves especially designed to get your muscles to come back to skin and to get that flap of skin (where the belly left) to disappear.  They are remarkable and get results fast.

Our bodies really take a beating during pregnancy, everything seems to move around – your hips, your pelvic muscles, your abs, and even your spine apparently along with sometimes your ribs.  It is just insane!  Tracy mentions these things in the video and gives actual specific workout moves/techniques that are supposed to make everything go back to normal.  It really works according to women who have done it and stuck with it.  And I’m amazed how incredible it feels – it’s hard but in a good way, I can actually feel my abs waking up and responding better each time.

Tracy Anderson’s Post Pregnancy DVD (link to buy)

Since I’m still kind of in a fog of sleep deprivation and it’s hard to write thoughts out well, here are some easy-to-read bullet points about the workout dvd you need to know:

  • It’s 49 minutes, which honestly… it’s a little too long for my “ideal” workout, but it’s so worth your time.  There are workouts out there that are 20 or 30 minutes and then you’re done for the day – I did that for our first baby, but it took a YEAR to lose the excess weight.  And my body was still better served by this woman’s “Metamorphosis” workouts I did **after** that… everything got tinier and I developed leaner dancer-type muscles with Tracy’s workout moves than with anyone else’s.
  • It’s HARD. I mean really pretty hard, especially that first time you try it after having a baby.  Even if you were active, it’s just a very strange feeling to experience how stretched out your muscles got during those 9 months.
  • It gets miraculously easier each time you do it!  I was amazed there were 2 positions/moves my muscles just would not respond to that first time, and then miraculously they did a tiny bit the next, and then MUCH better the next, and so on.  It’s like your muscles’ take time to establish those electric connections that make them move again… so weird, but Tracy mentions that as well when you’re doing it with her.
  • It’s totally safe to do this even if you had a c-section.  Just wait until your doctor clears you for exercise because this definitely counts as exercise.
  • She does all the moves with you.  I really respect a trainer who does Each. Repetition. With. You.  Most don’t… Jillian Michael’s will do a couple of examples and then stop and coach you through.  Tracy does every single move that she’s asking you to do – which for me is extremely motivating and makes me take her more seriously.
  • Speaking of repetitions… each move or exercise she has you do, has like 1,000 repetitions each.  I’m only slightly exaggerating here.  It’s what makes it so hard, your main muscles go into exhaustion phase, and you’re forced to use the lesser used, smaller/supporting muscles you never knew you had. Scientifically this works to make everything pulled in tighter and smaller – literally giving you that dancer’s body most women covet.  I’ve experienced this effect with her before after my first baby – after trying Jillian Michael’s and losing the weight, but still not being able to fit into my old clothes.  Her workouts were why I didn’t have to buy a new wardrobe.
  • You really need to buy this thing.  It’s so cheap, and again, it’s gone out of print ( is that the word you use for dvds?) before.  It’s so valuable, and yet I got mine I think for $8.00 online.
  • I should have said who this woman is 😀  She is a celebrity trainer that has worked with Hollywood clients for over a decade.  She’s a little strange (like you’d expect anyone from Hollyweird to be), and wears really skimpy outfits, kind of an exhibitionist really, but her workouts work.  It is a crime that you can get her teaching and training right now on dvd for so cheap.  Access to her personal training or special gyms in New York is a fortune!  And yet regular moms have access to her dvd for almost free (seriously)?!  Again, wise women will take advantage of this.
  • It’s only for women who really want to work hard.  Or find the time.  It’s not for women who make excuses and remain overweight.  You can make ALLLL the excuses you want, but in the end, it’s only you, your attitude about life, and your will or desire to make the changes you want.  No one’s going to force you to take your health seriously, it’s a choice you and only you can make.  Or you can continue to make those excuses.
  • She tells you to start it RIGHT AFTER you’re cleared for exercise.  Most American women just don’t workout right after they’re cleared, and then complain about how unsexy or fat they feel.  So the women who use this are the ones who really deserve the body it gives, because it is hard work but feels so good.  Be different.  Be a woman who chooses NOT to gain too much weight during pregnancy, and then be a woman who chooses to make her body strong again after she’s had her baby.
  • It’s actually relaxing if you do it at night.  I can’t believe how good and relaxing it feels – I mean it’s a workout and it’s painful, but somehow it feels so slow and nice that I’m ready for a hot bath or shower after, some chocolates and then to sleep.

And the best thing of all???  The endorphins and sense of feeling so accomplished and happy after you’ve completed another workout.  It’s simply taking care of yourself.  Like brushing your teeth, except the work and difficulty gives you a sense of healthy pride for persevering through the pain or desire to give up.  And spiritually it makes me more thankful to God for my health and strength He’s given me.  It makes me feel like I’m being a better steward of this body He’s given me instead of neglecting it.

Get it and enjoy it!

Stephanie

4 Weeks Postpartum Fitness

IMG_4378

This past month has flown by for us with a busy schedule for just having a newborn.  I’m so excited to be getting back to normal – both physically and energy-wise – pregnancy is just extremely unpleasant for me.  I’ve said before, I LOVE feeling the baby move, playing music for them inside the womb, and of course, when they finally come out… but I really hate being pregnant, and I love that feeling right after the baby comes out (either that night or the next morning) where there’s like this heavy weight literally lifted off of you.  I felt that again this time, and it was so welcome!!!

As far as stats go, my “theory” about my body basically losing 20-25 lbs in those first two weeks was upheld for the 3rd time!  I’m not sure the exact number because of how much the weight fluctuates a little at the very end of pregnancy due to fluid, but I know for sure it was somewhere between 20-25 pounds that melted off in those first two weeks again.

Postpartum Swelling & Diuretics

BUT this pregnancy postpartum had a strange hiccup – while I was still in the hospital, my foot, then leg, then both legs started swelling up immensely.  It was actually a little scary.  I called my doctor right away and she thought it was possibly the anesthesia used.  Once I got home, the swelling didn’t go away and even traveled to my lower abdomen and stomach – making me look about 6 months pregnant again.  Just so strange and I’d never had that happen before with the other two.  If you google “postpartum swelling,” it appears to be something that happens sometimes – not uncommon even – and doctors just typically tell you to drink lots of water and go for walks.  From what I read from other women’s experience with it, it can go on for months!  I was already walking and drinking tons of fluid – I was moving around so much while still at the hospital that multiple people, including my own doctor, were shocked and thought I *wasn’t* the patient they were supposed to look at 😛  But the swelling just got worse.  My milk supply had already came in full throttle (lol) and she was drinking so much I had an over-abundance, so I decided it was worth the risk to take a very very small dose of a diuretic (OTC).  It was getting so bad that my maternity clothes (especially the shorts) were not even fitting anymore.

**If this swelling thing is happening to you, make sure you know the risks in taking a diuretic – it can either diminish your milk supply, making you dry up completely, or even pass to the baby and make them dehydrated if you make a mistake.

I’ve studied these things in depth and knew to only take a very small dose – about 1/4 of what was recommended on the instructions, so I felt pretty confident in what I was doing.  Doctors won’t prescribe you a diuretic for months sometimes and will just keep telling you the swelling will go away on it’s own.  For me, it worked well to make the swelling completely go away within just a couple of days… it didn’t affect my milk supply at all – but again, I knew to wait until it was really established and flowing well.

Cleared for exercise

My doctor, who is truly a conservative doctor when it comes to these things, surprised me and actually cleared me for exercise at my 4 weeks appointment.  I was so excited, we were already going for walks and even low intensity hikes within that second week postpartum, but right after I was cleared I started up my postpartum workout program.

This is what I’m doing 4 times a week right now, it is incredible and I can already feel it doing wonders for my body:

tracypostpartum

Tracy Anderson’s Post Pregnancy DVD – you can find it for super cheap online!  And it is a gold mine of perfect workouts to get your body back.  I seriously cannot admonish you enough to get this dvd if you are wanting a better postpartum body.  Or even if you’re a man with a daughter who may have babies someday… this dvd has been unavailable before, so since it’s so cheap right now, I suggest you get it and save it for her.

Tracy suggests doing this dvd RIGHT AFTER you’re cleared for exercise, and to do it 4-6 times a week.  It is HARD and she talks you through it all, educating you on what your muscles are going through after pregnancy and why sometimes it takes longer for them to work after you’ve had the baby.

There are some exercises you may not be able to do during the first few times you try it, I couldn’t believe how my body literally wouldn’t respond at all to a couple of the workout exercises on that first day, then miraculously during the second day, it was a little better, and then by the third and fourth time, I was able to do them much better.

Nothing this woman creates is easy, and this dvd is no exception!  But I love how much **slower** the exercises go, it very relaxing to do them after the kids are asleep and have the lights low.  She suggests doing it with your baby in front of you, and I did that a couple of times and it was great.

You have to find time to workout even when you have kids, and there’s no better time to figure out a good routine of what works for your household (in supporting mommy working out) than when your baby is still little.  Our older boys are already used to my husband and I working out, they even join in sometimes.  Make it a priority if it’s important to you, but don’t let it stress you out if you have to stop and try again at another time – like when your two year old is NOT tantruming.

I’ve found throughout the years of working out with my kids either awake or sleeping, is that if you show them it’s fun and important to you, and tell them you’re taking care of yourself so you can have more fun with them and be a stronger mom, they’ll appreciate it.  Even my two-year old is usually *not* tantruming, he usually plays around me and I can tease him with tickles or kisses as I’m doing the mat workout.

Just don’t expect perfection… be flexible and ready to give up if it’s clear your kids aren’t having it at that time.  I’ve found working out after they’re asleep is more relaxing and I’m able to focus better anyway 🙂

Stephanie

Fantastic Workout Moves for Diastasis Recti

I don’t believe I’ve had diastasis recti, but I’ve known a couple of friends who have that were plagued by it for months.  It is not fun to have delivered your baby 6 months ago, and yet have a bulge as though you’re still 6 months pregnant!

But you don’t have to live like that, there is real help out there and exercise techniques that will pull your stomach in and even close the gap between your ab muscles.

This woman’s workout video is perfect, and I’m amazed she still has a 2-finger gap even though she looks incredible.  It just goes to show how hard it is to get back to normal sometimes.

It’s not easy.  It’s not for the faint-hearted.

If you want a good body after it growing huge with pregnancy, it’s something you really have to work for.

Just like anything good in life.

Stephanie