I am not super religious but take this day (Yom Kippur) to take stock of things and see where I can improve, and think about situations where I could have been kinder, could have helped more, could have been more understanding. Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement,” and it’s a day set aside to “afflict the soul,” to atone for the sins of the past year. Some Jews fast and/or refrain from using technology. So, as a way to atone for my sins, I hit up an afternoon class at Solidcore. I struggle through each minute of the class and am generally uncomfortable, so I thought it wasn’t an inappropriate way to acknowledge Yom Kippur.
One of the moves we do during the class hammers the hamstrings. Not many people realize that tight hamstrings cause a lot of people’s lower back issues. And I have super tight hamstrings, so every time we do something that focuses on them – my back starts to feel uncomfortable. You know how to prevent that though? Specific stretching for the hamstrings!
Here are some great hamstring strengthening exercise resources:
- The 7 Best Mobility Exercises You Haven’t Tried Yet
- San Francisco CrossFit Hamstring stretch: Hold for 10 seconds, generate peak tension for 5 seconds, then move into a new range! Spend 5-10 minutes doing this stretch every day and you will see an improvement. I have seen it happen!
- The Perils of ‘Sharenting’:All those Facebook photos are cute—but how are they affecting the kids?
- The 15 Most Underrated Exercises, According to Trainers
- More Muscle, Please: The Evolution of Women’s Arms
This weekend I took a trip to NYC. A huge part of my mini-vacation was eating. Pizza, Pizza, Pizza, Cannolis, and Drinking. I swear I gained back a ton of weight just over the weekend. And then I got to thinking about how hard it is to maintain a healthy weight even though I workout hard regularly.
I, like so many of you, grew up thinking if you work out enough you can compensate for eating a ton of crap food. I have since found out that’s not necessarily completely true. It doesn’t tell even half the story of how it all works. If it was, I would be stick thin with how much I work out. And as I have shared here, I struggle each and every day to focus and make the right choices to fuel my body.
So, I decided to Google the topic and found this really good post by Authority Nutrition: Why “Calories in, Calories Out” Doesn’t Tell The Whole Story by Kris Gunnars. Gunnars really breaks it down in a way us layman peeps can understand. Here are a few of the standout points he makes:
- The food we choose to eat on the regular is just as important as how many calories we actual eat.
Depending on the food, the metabolic and hormonal impact varies depending on the person. So it’s a lot more complicated than just thinking a calorie is a calorie.
- Weight gain can change your physiology. That change can make you crave more, which in turn means increased caloric intake.
If your body has more weight to support, your body may crave more to keep the train running. So the idea that increasing caloric intake drives weight gain, but the gaining of fat actually is driving the need for increased calories.
This whole notion of calories in = calories out incorrectly simplifies a very complex topic and can set up so many of us to fail. We have these unrealistic and unattainable expectations. There are so many influences involved in maintaining a healthy body. Knowing about them can help us make the right choices to live our healthiest life!
I came home to a special package from Melissa Joulwan. If you aren’t familiar with her, she’s the author of the popular blog The Clothes Make the Girl, which is now renamed to just her name alone and her Well Fed book series. I’ve been a supporter and fan of Melissa’s for years now and have recommended her first Well Fed book before. If you are looking for really good recipes that meet Whole 30, Paleo, Clean Eating guidelines – look no further than her cook books. Her recipes are by far the top of the top in terms of just being good food. When people ask me for advice on going “paleo’ or starting a Whole 30 program — the first thing I recommend is to buy her cookbooks. Honest.
Want to buy the Well Fed books? Here’s a link to her online store and you can buy them through Amazon as well. If you are looking for even more Paleo and Clean Eating resources, visit my Paleo/CrossFit resource area.
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- After 18 Years of Running, I Gave It All Up For CrossFit
- I Survived 6 Weeks Of CrossFit As A Plus-Size, Body-Positive Person
I had no idea when I mentioned how my boxing place was closed for a death in their family, that would mean that they would close permanently but I got the notice a week or so ago that indeed they are closing their doors. I’m pretty bummed about it but can you imagine in the course of a few weeks the life shock that family has gone through? My heart breaks for them as they figure out how to adjust to their new life. With that said, I have to figure out another cardio/strength option now that there are no close by boxing places for me to move on to….
And change must be in the air because it looks like my long term contract that I had is probably coming to an end early December. It’s been a great experience, and my original boss was awesome. She taught me so much, was fun to work with and had perspective about the work we were doing. But, she left this past spring and as usual, with new management and changing of the guard – they want to bring in their own people. So, come end of the Fall, I will be looking for more consulting work. I’m not going to lean into the fear though. I have sent out some emails — and have some meetings already set up. And, I keep repeating to myself —what’s the worst that can happen? to help keep the fear at bay and get perspective.
Don’t Get Stuck in a Fear Loop
In this article about using fear to your advantage, they suggest reminding yourself that most of your fears are irrational, that you will get through the situation that is making you uncomfortable, and most times getting through it will make you stronger. A while ago, I shared some info about Tony Blauer’s fearloop, and how you need to be aware of how it works so you don’t get stuck in it and become paralyzed by fear.
- THIS WEEK GQ PUBLISHED A SEXIST CLIMBING PIECE, AND OUTDOOR RESEARCH STEPPED IN WITH THE PERFECT RESPONSE
- Walking Fends Off Loss Of Mobility, And It’s Not Too Late To Start
- How being alone may be the key to rest
Head over to Chili’s restaurants today for lunch or dinner and support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® by participating in their #CreateAPepper campaign!
Chili’s proclaims Sept. 21 as St. Jude Day and will celebrate by giving a minimum of $100,000 donation and an upcoming naming ceremony for support of the school program.
Here I am at 530a sipping on my coffee – My plan was to head to a boxing session at 6a but just found out that my boxing gym is closed until Monday. The owner died unexpectedly. I didn’t know her well. We met just a few times. She was the mom of three grown boys and one of the boys ran the gym, so she wasn’t in the place all that often. I’m not sure why I’m sharing it — other than she was a mom who in my mind, was the glue that held her family together and now she’s gone. My heart breaks for them. And it’s another reminder how short and fragile life. None of us has tomorrow guaranteed. Do what it is that you need to do today. Share how you feel, reconcile with those you love, demonstrate your affection – you never know what can happen and you miss your chance.
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- When They Grow Up…
One of the greatest things that has happened to our family this past year is adopting our dog, Trooper, the white German Shepherd (IG: TroopertheWGSD). Although he is a ton of work – it’s like having a toddler living in my house again – he has brought so much joy and fun into our family life. The big joke among Scotty and the kids is that every time I go out to run errands I bring Trooper a toy. HB likes to say “I’m obsessed with him”. She’s right but who else is that happy to see me all the time? His eyes light up every time I get him a new treat or play toy. He doesn’t complain about it being the wrong color or size. He appreciates it for what it is. And in my book that’s a win/win.
Having Trooper has improved our health as well. The kids get outside more than ever, taking him for walks, to the park, or just in our backyard to throw the chuck it ball – over and over and over and over again. That boy loves to play fetch.
Pup-peroni’s new Filet Mignon & Bacon Flavors
I was recently sent Pup-peroni’s new Filet Mignon & Bacon Flavors treats so Trooper could properly celebrate International Bacon Day–and what do you know? Trooper loves BACON too. These treats are made with Angus steak with bacon-y flavoring (that’s what the box says anyway!) And Trooper loved them.
To share ways you and your pooch bond over Bacon, use #woofyeah or leave me a comment below!
And it doesn’t need to be said but, even though I don’t need any more reasons to love him, his love of Bacon makes him that more lovable!
Please Note: Thanks to Pup-Peroni for sending me a bag of these treats for Trooper. They did ask me to include a link to their product but there was no expectation on their part to influence my review. My opinions here are my own.
Sometimes I take a few moments to remind myself why I took the steps to live a healthier life all those years ago. And I figured, we all can use the reminder – so lucky you! You get to read it too!
As most of you know 8 years ago last month – Scott and I heard the scary words: You have cancer. He was 37 years old, no family history and cancer invaded his colon and our lives. You never know what can happen in your life at any given time, so you need to do whatever it is you need to do to live your best life. Do you want to be that senior citizen that we all know that has a hunched back, needs help taking a crap, is immobile? I certainly don’t. Taking steps now to strength train so that your heart and muscles are strong is important. There are so many stories of older people, who strength train and workout, that look younger and don’t suffer from many of the ailments that others their age do. One hour of your day – to do what you can to ensure a healthier aging process.
Do you have kids? What message are you sending them when you don’t take time to practice self care? In my mind, you are telling them that you aren’t as important. When you put your fitness and health at the top of your priorities, you are teaching them that you do matter. You are showing them that being healthy and finding time for exercise can happen even if you work full time and run your house. Is it hard to find the time? Yes. Sometimes it requires outside of the box thinking – asking a friend to watch your kids, carpooling to soccer practice, asking your spouse/kid to take on extra so that you can go workout. I have heard from so many women – oh you are lucky that your husband helps you. Luck has nothing to do with it. We talk about it and I share with him what I need to make it work. He and I talk about how important that time is to me -I’m happier and feel and look better. It’s rare to find a spouse or partner that wouldn’t support both of those things and step up to the plate when asked. The key is you HAVE TO COMMUNICATE what you need. Oftentimes, men don’t get it looking at it face value. You have to actually spell things out — which can get frustrating but my mantra when I start to get mad or resentful:
Do you want to be happy or do you want to be right? You choose.
And lastly, remember when you were single and started dating your partner? You had hobbies, you had interests, you looked a certain way. Are you still all of those things (hopefully improved)? What happens many times is that we get so wrapped up in being something to someone else, that we forget who we are. We become so wrapped up in being a soccer mom or <fill in the blank>, that we no longer pay attention to that person our partner fell for. I’m not saying that being a soccer mom or whatever shouldn’t be a part of your identity, but I have seen it become a person’s ENTIRE identity. What will happen when your kids become the adults they are destined to be and you are left there, with your partner? You need to nurture and tend to your own self and the relationships you are in. Too often, we let ourselves go for the sake of our kids. Make sure you are practicing self-care. The person you were when your spouse fell for you is important and valuable and needs to be remembered always.
Hopefully my reasons resonate with you as well. Life is so short — none of us know what the future holds but we can do our part to ensure that we have the best foundation to handle whatever comes. Now get out there and move your body!
- How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat
- 7 Reasons Your Arms Aren’t Changing No Matter How Much You Work Out
- 17 Inexpensive Workout Products For Anyone Who Wants To Quit The Gym
With each new season or yearly benchmark (back to school), I tend to take stock of things in my life. You know, breathe and see where I’m at.I’m in a really great place. Things are humming along quite nicely, but there is always room for change and growth…
Career wise – one thing I want to really focus on and work towards, is finding work that has real meaning and makes a difference. My new found relationship with St. Jude has confirmed to me that making a difference in people’s lives is the type of work I want to do. I want to know I am making a difference in the world, even if it’s in a small way.
Personally – I want to record my life less and live my life more. The past few weeks I’ve been around people who seem to be connected at the hip to their devices. The past few weeks, I’ve been focused on experiencing what’s going on around me instead of focusing on recording it. The art of creating real relationships is dying. Talking to people without a device at dinner or during a meeting seems to be rare and quite frankly, I find it rude.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a social media and marketing consultant after all. A big part of my job is being online, engaging and sharing information so I’m not going on a fast or anything. I am just going to be more conscious of using my device and not just automatically go for it.
Health and Fitness – My boxing instructor, Alex, took some pics of me boxing this past weekend. I have been feeling like I haven’t seen any actual physical differences since I lost some weight and added in more focused weight training. These pics tell a different story for sure. I’m so glad he took them! I see a big difference which means the varied training I have been doing combined with being more conscious of what I am eating is working. It’s sad there is no special pill we can take to get in shape — but there isn’t so we all need to focus and put in the work.
My advice to those in the same boat – force your friend/spouse/kids to take your picture even if you don’t want them to. Seeing is believing when it comes to weight loss. Remember, we don’t always see things the way they are!
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If you are a friend and/or a follower of this blog, you know I was invited to travel to Memphis, TN last week to learn about the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Because of my own personal experience with cancer, this blog and my other social media outlets, they asked me to join 11 other bloggers from around the country to learn more about ts history, its mission and the possible ways we all can do our part to end childhood cancer (Adult and Childhood cancer!). There is so much I want to share from my three day learning adventure. This is the third year of their blogger tour and in total, they have about 70 bloggers nationwide helping spread the word through their amazing Blogger Ambassador Program.
Here are some high level, meaningful facts that resonated with me about St. Jude:
Families never pay. – If you are a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. you will never receive a bill. They do bill insurance but the family will not pay co-pays, lodging costs, food etc. Even if your child has to stay for an extended period of time. I know personally how stressed out I was thinking about the financial burden Scott’s cancer treatment was going to be. We had great insurance fortunately — but think about it – I was already overwhelmed and emotional about his cancer diagnosis in general. Add to that — how am I going to pay for this? Knowing that you would do anything to save the child/husband/family member you love. And then to walk into St. Jude and be told – don’t worry. We got you. First disbelief, then relief and you can focus on the big stuff – getting your child well.
Donations support the hospital. – Last I checked, 81 cents of every dollar donated goes directly towards research and treatment. Based on the info they shared with us, it costs $2.2 million dollars a day to run the hospital and research facility. No non-profit can claim 100% of their donations go directly towards their mission because there are always costs associated with running any non-profit. Considering what a large organization St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is, 81 cents out of every dollar donated is pretty impressive.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is making a difference. – When they opened in Feb 1962, their overall survivor rates were under 20%. Today, it’s around 80%. They also study other diseases like malaria, sickle cell disease to name just a few. Clearly, they are definitely making a huge impact that resonates globally. Their research is released to the public and freely available to any research facility, doctor, scientist and/or patient.
Danny Thomas – The story behind the building of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is inspiring. Mr Thomas made a vow and he kept it and enlisted countless friends and visionaries to help. He believed strongly “No child should die in the dawn of life” and who in their right mind would disagree.
They pay attention to details. – Here are few of the services and details I noticed:
- They have an on site school so kids can keep up with their school work.
- They have their own gardens so they can prepare food using the fresh product (farm to table) as much as possible. And when not possible, they work with the local CSA to grow the crops and offer a Farmer’s Market monthly on site.
- Their utensils, etc are as eco-friendly as possible.
- They have Child Patient Specialists to work with the patients to help them understand what’s going on in an age-appropriate way.
- Legacy Services – End of life is unfortunately something that does happen – they offer services and legacy keepsakes to help.
- Milestone Events – graduations, proms, dances, parties including No More Chemo parties!
- Wagons – when possible, the patients are wheeled around in red wagons instead of wheel chairs – keeping some of their childlike magic in tact.
- The Hospital – obviously it’s state of the art, but it doesn’t smell like a hospital. It may be because of the high end air filtration systems, but it was nice to not be inundated with that sterile, alcohol smell common to most medical facilities. And the walls are adorned with colorful, gorgeous murals and large images of their patients. It’s a warm, inviting place to be — which is awesome AND surprising since it’s not like the hospitals I have seen or visited before.
This trip meant the world to me – Seeing sick kids is hard but I was able to meet some amazing people (bloggers, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital staff, families, people from Memphis to name a few) and I left there feeling hopeful and inspired – ready to figure out how I can do my part to help. The topic of cancer has always been threaded throughout this blog — so helping spread its important mission and work fits in perfectly. I will be sharing more about my trip, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and ways we can all help, so stay tuned…