Get Up And Move

That’s what my “almost 40-year-old” brain told me to do today… minutes later, that pesky “almost 40-year-old” brain of mine gave me 100 reasons not to get up and move.

I went to bed last night with the intention of getting up early, putting the kids on the bus for school, then heading straight to the gym.  I was there yesterday.  I had a great workout.  The truth is, every time I go to the gym, I feel better.  I’m happier, I feel more accomplished, and my body thanks me in so many ways.

I actually love the gym… once I get there.  It’s the act of getting there that’s hard.

Each morning, I wake up intending to hit the gym. Then it happens, my brain goes into overdrive and gives me 100 reasons not to go.  It’s so easy to find excuses not to work out… but those excuses are what got me here in the first place.  They are why after years of taking care of myself, my body has gone to sh*t!

NO MORE EXCUSES

Don’t do what I did… I wanted to try to lose weight first… I claimed I didn’t have the time… I was too tired… I had every excuse in the book!  Spare me the bullsh*t and simply do it!  You’ll thank yourself for it.  I do. Every time.

I did get to the gym again today.  I had a fantastic workout.  Now, as I sit and type this post while sipping a hot cup of tea, I feel good… very good.

I am excited to go again tomorrow… and yes, I do believe that I will find an excuse or 2 not to go, but like today, they won’t stop me.

noexcuses

By the way, since this “almost 40-year-old” body has had 2 kids, and lost the elasticity in her belly, I’ve decided to embark on a little challenge I found on one of my favorite websites, PopSugar.

It’s A 14-day Plank Challenge And I Am Starting It TODAY.  Check out the infographic (thanks to PopSugar) below and take a peek at the article here.  Join me, and start the challenge too!  If it looks too daunting, remember, it’s just a challenge.  All you have to do is try it.  No expectations… no judgement… just you, a challenge, and another great way to Get Up And Move!

14dayplankchallenge

 

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Best Summer Project For Kids

everyoneisanartistLooking For Something Great To Do This Summer With Your Kids?  Well, I have something amazing for you… and it’s one of the best summer projects for kids!

Become An Explorer Of The World!  I know it sounds awfully tasking… but it’s not!  In fact, it’s super easy and tons of fun (yes, the kind of fun even adults will have), and to make it even easier, it comes packaged in a book you can carry with you everywhere!

From the author of Wreck This Journal, How To Be An Explorer Of The World gives “Explorers” 59 different explorations to do, and even has a field journal in the back of the book to record and document findings.  The rules of the book: There are none!  As the author states, there are no rules, only suggestions.  The goal is to treat everything as an experiment and start with whatever makes you feel a twinge of excitement. Does that sound fun?  It is!

exploreroftheworld1atanygivenmomentportablelifemuseum2

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On Her Special Day

it was her day…

Faith

and it was perfect…

Talia1stCommunion-MotherMary

a day filled with love…

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between family and friends…

holdinghands

it’s a day that we will forever cherish and remember

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as her special day…

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Our beautiful Talia made her First Holy Communion this May.  There was so much to be cherished on her day.  I know it was hard not to have her Papa with her that day, especially since the wounds were still so new… but I found this little poem below and read it to her so she would know he was with her all day…

“Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every day… unseen, unheard, but always near, still loved, still missed, and very dear.”

– author unknown

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The One And Only Ivan

So I picked up this book at my daughter’s Scholastic Book Fair.  I thought we could read this together… but after reading the first page, I was hooked.

It is so beautiful, I cannot put it down.  I will read it with my daughter, eventually, but for now, I’m taking my time, devouring each word like it’s the last piece of chocolate cake I’ll ever have.

It’s a tale about humanity, love, compassion, and made me cry more with the turn of each page… and I don’t even know how to explain why.

Ivan is real.  That’s the only way to describe him.  The words that spill out of his mouth and on to each page are REAL.  It made me really question how “we, humans” are viewed.  How we really look to the outside world, and how insignificant so many things we think about, and do really are.  (Ok, so I know Ivan didn’t really write this book, but the author, Katherine Applegate sure made it seem like he did.)

Ivan is funny.  The way he refers to Chimps, and how there is no excuse for them made me chuckle (with tears again of course)!  He is an artist who draws for himself.  He is a friend. Most of all though, he is an absolutely beautiful being whom I cannot wait to get to know better.  If you haven’t yet, please get The One and Only Ivan for you, your children, a friend… anybody.  I couldn’t recommend it more highly!

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Why You Need Coconut Water

coconutandwater2

It’s been called “Mother Nature’s Sports Drink” and the benefits make its nickname worthy.  It’s coconut water, and after a little research, I am claiming it as my new drink of choice (besides the occasional cocktail off course)!

So, What’s All The Hype… Well for starters, here are my Top 10 Reasons You Should Drink Coconut Water…

top10reasonstodrinkcocwater

Besides being low in calories, and free of fat and cholesterol, coconut water has a ton of benefits and the 10 above are just a few!  It’s composed of naturally occurring bioactive chemicals.  Scientific slang aside, these enzymes actually help digestion and metabolism.

We’ve all heard about the importance of B-Complex vitamins, so let’s first cover what they are. B-Complex vitamins are the 8 B-Vitamins, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12. These vitamins help convert our food into fuel, in turn giving us more energy!  I could definitely use that every day!

Coconut water is great for your skin too! According to Stylecraze.com, “Coconut water contains cytokines and Lauric acid, the two important elements which are used in the process of cell growth and their regulation. It has significant anti-ageing, anti-carcinogenic and anti-thrombotic properties which helps to minimize skin aging, balances PH levels and keeps the connective tissue hydrated and strong.”

When considering a little immune system boost, coconut water just might help do the trick! Mind Body Green states that “Its Lauric acid content is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. It boosts the immune system in fighting infection whilst helping to eradicate intestinal worms and candida.”

There has been some research suggesting that some of the compounds in coconut water have antioxidant properties that could help fight cancer. As far as Glaucoma and Cataracts, research does suggest that applying coconut water to the eye with an eye dropper can release symptoms.

After researching coconut water, I was astounded by the benefits and yes, I did go and buy a good amount at my local grocery store.  Do you drink it regularly?  If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how it has benefited you!

Stay tuned for more as I continue my research!  I can’t wait to share the best types of coconut water on the market and which kinds to buy and why!

Photocredit “Mother Nature’s Sports Drink” Pinterest
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Be Kind To Yourself

BKIN

It’s been what feels like weeks since I have written.  During this time, my emotions have run high.  I’ve been angry, sad, frustrated, and most of all, unkind to myself.  I have judged myself, found more faults than I can handle and allowed moments of depression to set in.  All this, because of something that couldn’t be controlled.

If I had only been kinder to myself and more accepting of what was going on inside me, I may not have had to fight so hard to dig myself out of the emotional hole I was stuck in.

Loss.  There was a loss in our family.  A very sad and difficult loss.

These are things I typically don’t write about on this site, but then again, I have never been affected so badly by anything before.  While doing a lot of soul-searching and trying to find little rays of light wherever, and when I could, I realized that one of the few things I was not doing during my grieving process was anything for myself. I’m not talking about getting pampered or anything like that.  I’m talking about the things that bring more joy in my life… things like…

♥ Writing.  Yes, writing makes me happy.  It’s also my therapy.
♥ Breathing. Breathing in all the good around me.
♥ My Children. Actually basking in the moment when I hear the girls laughter.
♥ My Husband. This is a tough one to talk about… Instead of going through the motions of our typical daily life, I wasn’t doing something very important… simply enjoying his presence. It’s something we all need to do with our loved ones because we don’t know what the next minute will bring.  I am very blessed to have him in my life.

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Ultimate Guide To Portion Control

Portion Control Is Not The Enemy…

although I would like to believe it is.  If you think that having too much of anything, no matter how few the calories is a good thing, you are wrong.

If you are trying to lose weight, and keep it off, portion control is going to be a big part of your solution. You might think that considering the portions you eat at every meal is too much work. When I started exercising portion control, I thought I would be overwhelmed by it. The truth is, some people take it to a whole new level by weighing everything they eat, and counting each calorie. Who has time for that?

Google is my new best friend.

Just Google “A Guide To Serving Sizes”
Now, click on images.
You won’t believe your eyes! Seriously, there are so many infographics available that make it super easy to decipher the right serving sizes for everything!

If that isn’t easy enough, there are awesome products you can buy that measure your food for you so you never have to question portions.  Below are 5 great sets (of which I have 2)!

portioncontrol

/1. Beachbody Portion Control 7 Piece Container Kit  /2. Fit and Fresh Perfect Portion Kit with Breakfast Chiller and Snacker, Green  /3. PortionMate – Meal Portion Control Rings and Nutrition Tool  /4. Portion Cups  /5. 4 Go Healthy Nutrition & Portion Control Travel Pack for Weight Loss, Dieting and Healthy Living, Microwave Safe, BPA Free (Set of 4)

So here’s the skinny on portion control for those of you who have not tried it yet…

Your Stomach… The Bottomless Pit

It’s not going to be easy at first.  You might be very hungry at the beginning.  That’s normal though.  Stomachs have been known to EXPAND.  That’s right, if you continue to overeat, your belly will grow, eventually becoming a bottomless pit that never feels satiated!

Here’s a little snippet from an article I read called Shrink Your Stomach:

“The more you eat, the more you can eat–and the more you need to feel full,” says nutrition and diet therapist Robyn Flipse, R.D. Like a rubber band, your stomach can expand or contract according to the amount of food you consume. The good news: In just one month’s time you can shrink your stomach–which will reduce the amount of food you feel comfortable eating at one sitting and help you shed pounds.

That said, what are you waiting for?  Get to it and stop stuffing your face (even if it’s the good stuff)!

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Exercise: Getting Immediate Results

There is nothing more emotionally trying than exercising your pretty little heart out, then looking in the mirror and seeing exactly what you saw the day before. Here’s the deal though, you can’t get discouraged!

finishedworkout

We all love this thing called immediate gratification! I get it, trust me… I am an only child and have lived a lifestyle filled with immediate gratification. The problem is, when you let your body go for a few years, you can’t expect to get it back in days. It’s also going to take a lot of hard work, and I don’t mean the sit on a bike for 30 minutes pedaling at the lowest level kind. I mean really pushing yourself.

I’ve been back at the gym for 3 weeks now. Last week was a bit of a bust because I was sick, but when Monday came around again, I went back, and let me tell you this…

No matter how hard it is, it get’s easier every time you go.

I’m not saying there are days that I don’t want to go, but I am saying that it really does get easier every time. Even looking at myself in the mirror while I work out isn’t as heart-wrenching as it was the first day I went back to the gym (and not much has changed). I know that it’s going to take time. As far as the immediate gratification and seeing immediate results stuff…

I might not be able to see a ton of results, but here are some things I benefit from both during and after my workout:

Feeling accomplished
I sleep better
I have more energy
♥ Most of all though, I feel happy!  Yes, it’s true, working out releases endorphins which naturally make you happier. No Lie: Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. You can read more about it here.

I’m pushing 40 (which is hard enough to swallow), and never thought I’d have to start fresh all over again to get my health back.  It’s hard, it sucks, it’s definitely not as easy as it was when I was younger, but hey, I’m doing it and so should you!

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My Baby Has Anxiety

How do you tell the most beautiful little person you know that everything will be ok, when you don’t know if it really will?

You just do it.  You tell them, “it will be alright.”  No matter how hard it is, you don’t stop giving them hope.  No matter what anyone else says or does, you keep that faith knowing in your heart that you will do whatever it takes to help everything be alright… even when the odds are stacked against you.  That’s what you do.

I have a daughter whose heart is gold.  She fills our lives with love, and she has more compassion than anyone I know.  She also has anxiety.  It’s the debilitating kind.  It kicks in when you least expect it and it reaches it’s highs in ways no parent wants to see.  It hurts her so much and there are days where there is nothing I can do to help her but hold her and love her.  

People are quick to give advice on how to help her, and how to “fix” it… but unless you live it, you don’t understand.  There is no “specific” answer to helping her.  It changes daily.  Something that works today could be the least effective tomorrow.  I know in my heart that she will grow out of some of these struggles, but for now, helping her cope and work through her stresses are so hard, and so heartbreaking.  

Tonight, I will go to bed with a pit in my stomach.  I will lift my hands up to God and beg for his support through these times.  I will pray for my baby, and for myself to have the strength to get through all of this, and I will keep my faith, and never lose hope, because that’s just what I need to do.

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What Muffin Top?

This was the last thing I wanted to write about… As funny as I knew this post could be, the more I wrote, the more morbid it became…

muffin-top-w724

3 years ago: I spent an afternoon in a little coffee shop that sold unique gifts, like the muffin holders in the picture above.  I laughed when I saw them… but I’m not laughing any more.

More about 3 years ago: I was in great shape.

Fast forward to today: My muffin top is overflowing.  I’m in terrible shape and can’t believe how far I let myself go.  For the past year, I contemplated joining a gym and working out, but I was lazy and had every excuse not to.  The problem was that my excuses were lame.  I don’t have a full-time job and honestly, being consistent about my blog hadn’t been a priority.  Again, I was just being lazy.

Last Week – Day 1: I signed up for a 14-day free trial at a gym, and went.  At first, I only did cardio.  It was a bike.  Did I mention that I have always hated cardio?  But, I was scared.  I used to love free weights!  The free-weight room at my gym was one of my happy places.

Day 2: I did venture into the free-weight room, but it was filled with young kids and I Just. Couldn’t. Do. It.  I wasn’t ready.  I did do more cardio though.  I tried a different bike.

This Week – Monday: Yup, I did cardio again, but that was AFTER I spent some quality time in the free-weight room.  Monday I decided to work my lats and bi’s (I am all about getting back to my old routine).  I struggled, almost broke a machine, couldn’t lift a quarter of what I used to and even had to stop mid-stream during one of my reps because I had no juice left.  Instead of quitting though, I tucked my tail between my legs, put the weights I was using back on the rack and picked up lighter ones so I could finish. I was embarrassed!  It was hard… but really, nobody cared, and they weren’t even paying attention to me.

Today – Tuesday: Back to the gym I went.  This morning, I got to the gym extra early, saw that it was crowded, and sat in my car.  Yup, I sat there for a good 15 minutes before I went in.  I hated how I felt.  I despise the fear I have.  My emotions were sucking the life out of me, but then I remembered a TEDx talk by Angela Lee Duckworth about GRIT.  Her words:

Grit

She talked about how GRIT is how success is measured.  It’s not necessarily your IQ, or how well you do in school.  It’s your GRIT that counts.  I’m not sure if it was thinking about her talk that helped or simply the word GRIT because it sounds so raw and makes me kind of want to dig in!  At that moment though, it didn’t matter.  I did it.  I got out of my car and went in.  I started in the women’s area today because I wanted to focus on my legs and I have never been comfortable with myself during a full leg work out.  There was a mirror in front of me during my workout (my muffin top was in full-force).  It sucked to look at myself, and how much I let my body go, but that also made me a little stronger, and more sure of what I want.  I want my body back and refuse to let anything get in the way.  After finishing my leg workout, I went back to my trusty bike.  It broke in the middle of my training but at least I got 14 minutes in.

Tomorrow: I’ll be back at the gym for chest and tri’s.  I know all of this is going to get easier.  Each day… a little easier… I have faith.

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