“What do you eat everyday?”
People ask me this all the time. And the short answer, “I eat out of the fridge.” I stay clear of the pantry (no cereal, chips, bread, granola, bars, etc.). This is much more extreme and painful and horrific than that statement conveys. Because chips are my life.
But chips (and alcohol) diabolically prevent me from achieving the post-ten pound baby tummy tightness I enjoy. So, five days out of the week, I refuse them… and choose what’s best for the BEST me (Ok, ok, I don’t JUST restrain for the hope of washboard abs, chips obviously aren’t contributing to my health in any manner either).
My health choices aren’t just about restricting the bad and forcing down the good. What drives my breakfast, lunch, dinner, drink, and snack decisions comes down to two things: my ability to operate at 100% as often as possible AND consciously fighting disease.
Did you know your gut wall houses 70 percent of the cells that make up your immune system? Um, that’s a lot. Which means it’s pretty damn important what you let into your gut. Not to mention the indisputable connection between your gut and your brain health. Do a little research on it, you won’t regret the mind-blowing facts you gather. And, let’s face it, when it comes to health, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. Let simple facts and tips be the fuel for burning your old unhealthy habits.
Our bodies are not our enemies. This is especially important for women… in America. Size, shape, skin–they all have one purpose: to carry us from one life experience to another. Our bodies are our vessels, transporting us from–and allowing us to be–present in one moment to the next. This is so important to understand.
We weren’t given these bodies to pick apart, criticize, compare, or curse. They are a gift to us so that we can LIVE and enjoy every adventure and dream we can imagine.
But… most of us don’t see it that way. Society tells us a different story from a very young age, conditioning us to want to look like “the ideal” picture of “beautiful”. You know what’s really sexy? A fully functioning, healthy, strong, capable body that is built for endurance, equipped with stamina, and operating on all cylinders.
Sometimes that seems impossible because of injury, disability, disease or… pregnancy. But the truth is, wherever you are, in whatever way your body presents itself today, there is a maximum potential. It may not look the same as your best friend or the Instagram models or your trainer at the gym… but that’s so irrelevant it’s not even worth the energy you spend considering it. You don’t share the same personality or parents or personal experiences as those people, so why on earth would you share your body’s max potential with them either? YOU WOULDN’T. So stop trying to fit the same mold as them.
This should feel absolutely liberating and equally challenging. You get to be YOU through and through without apology–YAY! And it’s time to find out what your edges are–what is your greatest limit and sharpest edge? If you don’t know, it’s time to PLAY!
What does 100% look like for you? How do you sleep? Are you hydrated? How does your body like to move–lifting weights, practicing yoga, hiking, running, climbing, sports? What language does your body speak and how often are you talking to it?
Just like everything else, health starts with connection. If you’re not in love with your body, it’s time to talk about where you’re disconnected. Get curious. Contemplate. Journal. Reflect.
Start small. Set achievable goals and slay them. Every slayed goal will build your confidence and carry you into conquering your next goal.
No matter where you’re beginning, find the next right step.
Cut soda and fast food. Drink water. Increase real food (fruit, veggies, organic meat). Make green smoothies. Start transitioning to organic: produce and meats first, then pantry items and spices.
Take a walk today. Do some push-ups. Hire a trainer. Learn about proper form, different movements, and new ways to exercise. Find out what activities are fun for you and start there. Do you like sports or swimming, rock climbing or canoeing? Find a beginning point and let your body lead you to the next step. Pay attention. Listen. Follow.
Eight years ago, when my daughter was almost one, I started making green smoothies. Since that first healthy choice, I’ve slowly incorporated new habits one by one–from holistic remedies to non-toxic household products–my kids and I are super munchie-granola-hippie humans now and our energy levels show it!
So, without further delay, the scoop you’ve all been *anxiously* awaiting, here’s what a normal day of eating looks like for me:
I mostly drink water and herbal tea only on the daily, and everything listed below is organic.
Morning (usually around 9am or 10am, I wake up between 6-7am): herbal tea with marine collagen, vitamin d3, probiotic, b-12 and a superfood green smoothie. Depending on my schedule and workout for the day, I may or may not have some eggs (with turmeric) and sweet potatoes.
“Feasting time” (usually from 1pm-7pm, I go to bed between 10-11pm):
LUNCH: hummus and veggies (zucchini, squash, peppers, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes), homemade chicken salad, leftovers from dinner.
SNACK: fruit, nuts, frozen fruit, homemade kale chips, cooked veggies, smoothie.
DINNER: hamburgers (bunless), spaghetti (gluten-free or zuch noodles), stir fry, pizza (homemade, gluten-free or cauliflower crust), homemade soups, chili, chicken pot pie, etc.
There are reasons why I mostly don’t consume grains or oats, sugar or processed foods, caffeine or gluten. I have learned (after doing the Whole30 cleanse… for a whole 11 days–I never claimed to be an overachiever) that my body operates best with little or no cow’s dairy, gluten, grains, sweets, etc. When you take responsibility for your body and your own health, you get to learn what fuels you into your maximum potential and how certain foods will slow you down, cause you pain, or hinder you from your reaching your best.
What’s your next right step? How will you connect a little deeper with your body today?
May you discover yourself in all your exquisite glory and learn how to fully embrace every part of you, one step at a time.
Live well, my friends.
School is in session! It’s time to start cleansing your body and amping up the greens. Are you ready to get schooled on how to make the best (kid-approved) green smoothie you’ve ever had?! Take notes, students, class has begun.
First, you you fill your blender with spinach (organic) and water. Fill the blender with spinach and add about a cup of water.
Then, you blend until you reach this frothy perfection.
Refill with spinach.
Next, you grab your veggies (organic). I usually use a carrot and broccoli. If you add broccoli, you’ll want to add some lemon or lime juice to cut the taste… of dirt. Adding a bananer or two will help with taste too. (Tip: using aged fruits and veggies is perfectly acceptable for these super-smoothies!)
Blend again! Lookin’ smooth and green now, right?
Now it’s time to add the sweet stuff. Frozen fruit puts the “smooth” in smoothie! It gives the chill and thrill of sweetness to keep the kiddies (and you) coming back for more. My top frozen fruit picks are strawberries, blueberries, pineapples, or mangos (always organic, of course).
Pulse and blend. Add water if the blender gets stuck. If you’re looking for more of a meal supplement, you could add some vanilla flavored protein powder. I like to keep the blender running for about a minute to make sure all of the chunkiness smooths out.
Serve ’em up and suck ’em down! Make sure your kids get their own dose of “health in a cup”.
This sweet, clean, fresh temptation will have your gut nice and clear in no time! Oh, and by the way, they are Captain America-approved.
I’d apologize for not blogging more, but I’ve been way too busy living life! I decided to purposely focus on being in the moment while I channeled my writing energy into some other specific projects for a while.
I shaved my head in June. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but I needed a little more of a reason than “I just felt like it” to actually go through with it. I’m not the kind of person that likes to be obnoxiously different just because. I like to be obnoxiously different for reasons! And as it turns out, the whole shaving my head part is so trivial and minimal in the light of what it reminds me of every time I see my reflection, touch my head or feel the wind on my baldness.
Three months ago, one of my loveliest, long-time besties was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. (Ugggggh, I haaaate cancer) She lives in Colorado (not close to me anymore). She has an adoring husband and three active, young, fantastic children. She has been my hair stylist for 15 years. She’s my children’s godmother. She’s a pretty big deal in my world. So when I heard her hair was going to fall out with chemo, it was roll call. I was the one for the job. I would shave mine too and share in whatever experiences come after a 35 year old mother suddenly loses the only frame that the world has ever seen her in. Yeah, sign me up. I mean, seriously, I don’t say this with humility, I say this with absolute sober understanding: in the grand scheme of all things in life and death, who cares about your damn hair? Not me.
But I do care about my friend. She’s more than a friend. She’s the one who flew to be by my side after suicide rocked my family. She’s the one who picked up the pieces of my heart when my world crumbled during my divorce. She’s the one who put up with me during my religious, hyper-judgemental phase. She’s the one who planned my baby showers, took care of my kids, welcomed me into her family when mine was ripped to shreds. Good heavens, she’s so much more than a friend. She’s in my blood.
And really, I didn’t do it for her. I did it for me. So when people say “You’re such a good friend!” I feel guilty inside, because I’m actually the deepest level of selfish a person could be. I live too far to do the things I want to do: make her organic meals everyday, watch her kids, and clean her house. I want to sit with her during chemo treatments and do all her grocery shopping for her. I want to scold her the moment she tries to put too much on her plate. I want to hold her hand and shake my fist at heaven with her on hard days. I want to hug her and be at her beckon and call. But I can’t. And it absolutely rips me apart inside. And because I’m so far away and I don’t get to love her the way I want to- the way she’s always loved me- I shaved my head. I did it to be able to share a teeny, tiny (absolutely meaningless) part of her journey in kicking cancer’s ass. I just want to feel close to her. I want her on my radar every day. I want to consider what looks, conversations, and daily realities she’s facing.
See how trivial it is? Being bald doesn’t actually support her. It’s not tangibly soothing any of the disarray that cancer has caused in her family. Nope. It’s just for me to get a pseudo-sense of closeness with her in these months of hell. Because what I did took no bravery. It was one-dimensional. There was no cause and effect. I had hair and now I don’t. That’s it for me. For her, baldness is only the tip of the iceberg. It’s only a symbol of the layers upon layers of side effects, collateral damage, unanswered questions, fears, pain, agony, heartache, sleepless nights, and stress she is experiencing. And that makes me just want to slap my bald head. I want to relieve her somehow, but I can’t. I feel helpless. For a “fixer” like me, that’s torture.
But it’s not about me! And if there’s one thing I am familiar with now, it’s grief. I know she’s grieving (or putting it on hold) her old reality. Her life before cancer came and fucked everything up. That’s where I meet her. I share the amazingly never-disappointing drama of my life every three weeks during her chemo treatments. I swear it’s like I’m reading the tabloids aloud or something… except it’s my life… and no one else cares to know this stuff except her. It’s become a little game. Beneath all the amusement each classic episode of my life brings, in the end, I know we both just wish this wasn’t happening. Or maybe it would be more accepting and mature to say, we wish we were past this part of the story. But it is happening now. And the only way to the other side is through it.
Grief, trauma, pain, tragedy, disappointment, catastrophe… they all require a one way passage- right through the middle of it. It’s a seedy game and the rules are unpredictable, but you have to play because other people in your life depend on your participation. If you give up, you inflict pain on those you love the most. It’s cruel, really. But if we choose to see it, these horrific experiences can actually teach us a few things. Like how precious a heartbeat is. My own heartbeat. Her heartbeat. My children’s heartbeats. It is no small thing, a beating heart. A bald head is a very small thing. But recognizing your own beating heart and those hearts around you… well now, I think that’s the most beautiful thing we humans could ever do.
If only we could hold on to that awakening for a lifetime, how might that change the world around us?
From my beating heart to yours, whether you are in the thick of it yourself or walking alongside another one, I sincerely wish for you to see there is hope in the breath and blood still flowing today.
A riddle for you!
Name something every human has- men and women alike. We see it everyday and so do other people. We can touch it. It can give us confidence or make us self-conscious. It goes everywhere with us and we are never separate from it.
What am I talking about?
The answer is:
S K I N
My face is serious business to me. I wear makeup about 2 days/week on average, so I take my skin seriously. And, well truth be told… it has been a thorn in my side since I was about 13 years old. I have extremely finicky, acne-prone skin. Still. And I’ll be 34 soon (four days to be exact, but who’s counting?! Me. I’m counting.) When I come across products or skincare tips that work for me, let’s just say I like to SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS!
About a year ago I ditched all my over the counter cleansers and lotions and opted for DIY scrubs, oils, and masks. And after trying many different combinations and recipes, I found my favorite! It’s an organic sugar, raw honey, essential oil scrub that I use daily (I’ll be posting this recipe on my Pinterest page soon). I tend to have oily skin (unless the weather chills), so this scrub keeps my skin from greasin’ up throughout the day.
That’s a big but, I cannot lie. If I have not sweat my face off in my workout on a particular day or if they weather happens to mercilessly dry out my skin, this scrub is not my favorite. Basically, my face needs to be producing enough oils to scrub off or else I’ll be scrubbing the dickens out of my face- and I’m pretty sure all the experts would frown upon this sort of activity.
SO! My dear friend, Marianne in Colorado sent me some enticing Rodan&Fields products to test! I tried the Redefine Daily Cleansing Mask and the new Redefine Intensive Renewing Serum as well as the Redefine Lip Renewing Serum.
Here’s my scoop:
First impression. The mask is fluffy! It’s what I would imagine spreading a soft cloud onto my face would feel like. It’s not runny and foamy, it’s fluffy and foamy. And it spreads generously. The renewing serum is light (not oily or greasy, but moisturizing) and it doesn’t sit on the top of the skin. It absorbs and feels very natural to the touch. And the lip serum! I mean, don’t tell, but I wore it day and night. It’s glossy, but not thick and it stays on.
What I love. My skin was like the skin of a goddess when I woke up the next morning after using these products the first night. And then… three days in, blemishes- GONE. Blackheads- GONE. And smooth, flawless skin replaced that thorn-in-my-side-skin I had grown accustomed to. My lips felt plumper too. I don’t even know if that’s one of the expected results, but vah-vah-VOOM!
What I won’t lie about. I am very cynical about facial products. I do not suffer from the placebo effect with this sort of business. After searching for a few months for a mask that hits the mark and doesn’t make my face flare up, dry out, grease down, or cave in… I can finally stop looking! As with all products, I encourage everyone to do their due diligence and look at the ingredients.
If you’re searching for stocking stuffers, quick gifts for friends (cough cough, like those friends who have a birthday coming up, cough cough), party favors… or let’s be honest, a little somin’ somin’ for yourself- then you should get started with Rodan&Fields! To get in touch with Marianne, click here.
Happy Halloween, ya freaks!
During my workouts, I will face my fears, reach failure, fight for fatigue, and find myself over and over again. So needless to say, choosing a gym is a pretty important decision.
I want to feel comfortable. I also want to be motivated to put in work, not lounge around watching other people sweat while I sip a latte. After scouting other big gyms, smaller chain gyms, and local community facilities, The Edge Fitness Center in Saginaw, TX is where I decided to build my booty gains (I use this gym slang with as much respect as it deserves).
Smaller gyms don’t get all the hype of the big, flashy, corporate-owned joints, but there are so many reasons why I now prefer a small gym, at the top of that list is it becomes familiar and welcoming. I don’t feel like a stranger every time I walk through the doors because I don’t recognize anyone. Here are a few other reasons my little “gem” trumped the corporate callers.
1. Cleanliness is everything. Nobody wants to go to a stinky, rank gym and breathe deep through their weight training! The air, floors, locker rooms, benches, surfaces… it all has to be clean!
2. Equipment quantity and quality is why we’re at the gym in the first place. So, give me a variety of weights, machines, and types of equipment, and I’m a happy camper! The Edge provides ample free weights (I rarely have to wait for weights), access to Les Mills’ videos any time (my yoga go-to), a CrossFit rig, a complete cardio section (not that I frequent that area, but I like to have the option), and space, so I have plenty of room to feel the burn without feeling someone else’s too!
3. Locker Rooms have to be delivering that clean, inviting vibe or I want no part of the entire club. My gym has private showers, a sauna, and yes, it’s always clean!
4. 24/7 Access so I never have to think about “squeezing” in a workout before closing time! Weekends are busy for me, but I don’t stress about rearranging my kids’ schedule to make sure I get a workout in because my gym is always open… it’s a must for me now.
Above all my personal reasoning, the community vibe is priceless. I loathe the “meat-market” feel of some larger clubs. There’s a sense of safety and accountability in a smaller gym that you just don’t get with added square footage. There is a pride of ownership at The Edge, and it’s obvious in the upkeep and the number of regular members.
If you’re local, I highly recommend this facility, and if you’re foreign, I can only hope you’ve found a little treasure as fine as my “gem”!
Follow the Edge on social media: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter
It all started in 2013. I was turning 30 that year and felt that if I was ever going to make a documented stride in fitness, that would be the year to do it. So, I signed up for a ½ marathon in Denver and I trained for 5 ½ months for that thing! (By the way, that’s an over the top amount of training time for 13.1 miles, but I was mentally and physically behind the curve, having literally never pushed myself to be consistently physically active before that point.) I ran it! And by ran it, I mean, I steadied a 12 minute mile… Ok, fine, a 13.5 minute mile. It took me forever, but out of 11,000 participants, I beat 100! Maybe the elderly and moms pushing strollers were passing me the entire time, but whatever, I finished. I was proud of myself for actually finishing it, and I don’t take myself so seriously that I cannot appropriately make fun of my pace and inability to lap the elderly.
That painfully slow ½ marathon taught me two things about myself:
- I will never run a ½ marathon again.
- I can accomplish more than I think I can.
Up until then, I had been 100% just fine with mediocre achievements, feats, and experiences. But the experience of training for that race and completing it flipped a switch inside. I’m not a runner though. As cool as it is to be a runner, I accepted my fate of… no. Then in 2015, after the unexpected separation from my husband of ten years, I was filled with the most negative, nervous, anxious energy I had ever experienced. That’s when I found my forever love: weights.
I had very limited experience with Les Mills’ BodyPump prior to this, but after my separation I dove into the free weight world full throttle. My sister-in-law was my trainer/workout partner and I did everything she instructed during our workouts even when my self-talk said, “Ummm, so you can’t do that. You’ve never done it. You’re weak. You’re clumsy. This is going to be an embarrassing disaster for you.” I ignored those thoughts. I was too broken and frazzled to fight them with something positive at the beginning, so I just did what my sis told me to do and left it at that. I lifted light for a million reps or I lifted heavy for a few. I ran, squatted, lunged, pumped, pressed, pushed, pulled, and I fought a battle in my mind every day for weeks.
One day we were deadlifting more than I had ever handled before, and as I walked up to the bar, I noticed a new voice within. She said, “Remember how he told you that you would never be strong enough? Remember that?… show him he was wrong.” I grabbed that bar and annihilated that set! The POWER I felt surged through my body from my head all the way down to the souls of my feet! That was the day my thoughts began to change. I am strong. I can do this. Tell me I can’t, and I’ll show you I can. Try to knock me down and I’ll get up stronger.
My first tattoo.
This experience was the beginning of me finding my strength again after enduring a devastating and abusive marriage. I almost lost myself in it. It almost swallowed me up. But I found a spark and I poured some gasoline on it. It’s been almost three years now and while I have faced more than I ever imagined I would since then, one of my greatest areas of support is when I handle some weights. It is my outlet, my therapy, my release, and the place where my failure means success.
Seeing my body transform is just an added perk for the real reason I train. Whenever I doubt my own ability in work, parenting, or just in life… I get to the gym and prove to myself again and again that I can succeed at something I spent a lifetime thinking I was too fragile to even attempt.
I hope you find your strength too…
PS. If you want to read a little more about my journey to finding strength again, read here.