Bringing Your Body Into Balance

My 100+ pound weight loss is what grabs people's attention. However, my weight loss was merely a side effect of finally taking my health and happiness into my own hands and finding that perfect balance. Body, mind, spirit. It all matters.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Why I Am Thankful to Be a Drama Queen

I am absolutely convinced that I have always felt things on a more heightened level than the average person. When it comes to pain, I am a total wimp. When it comes to happiness and love, I am a total spaz. Anger? Watch out! You could possibly attribute this to my Italian genetics. We seem to be a lively, expressive bunch. But I know plenty who are way more chill than me, like my brother. So there goes that theory.

Regardless of the reason, whatever I'm feeling, everyone around me KNOWS I'm feeling.

This used to embarrass me when I was young. I couldn't control my tears (I really still can't). I couldn't control my smiles or my laughter. I have zero "cool factor" to me. What you see is what you get.

And over the years I've finally come to realize that it is an amazing gift that I have had bestowed upon me. I FEEL and then I LET GO.

What's made me think about this lately is noticing what happens to people who can't let go. Whether it be emotional trauma or anger (which are often two in the same), it makes them sick. First mentally and eventually physically. It festers and spreads until it manifests as something real and tangible like disease.

One only need go back and read this very blog to see I've been hurt plenty in my life. And I only talk about the somewhat socially acceptable things. I have been hurt by some in ways I would never write about. I'm familiar with what horrible pain another person can cause to your heart, or even to your body.

So I keep analyzing what makes me able to let go and not others and I keep coming back to how fully I can't help but feel my feelings. EXCEPT for one time in my life. And that was my 20s. I was so unhappy and felt trapped by life. Crying wasn't received very sympathetically in some situations in my life so I learned to numb myself. I cut myself off from my emotions. And I paid dearly. It's no secret I spent most of my 20s morbidly obese, depressed and sick. When I finally got in touch with who I was again, it turns out that emotional girl I suppressed was waiting to bust out. And she is basically as emotional as ever!

So every time I hurt, I HURT. I cry, I scream, I rock back and forth. It's all very dramatic. When I laugh, I burst out with the most obnoxious, startling, non-feminine laugh you've ever heard. I feel the full spectrum of my emotions as they move through and out my body. And I am so thankful.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

How to Eat Your Veggies and Love It!

I'm really getting back to a place where I feel really good! OMG! I have eaten so many veggies lately. In fact, I am literally sitting here right now eating probably about a pound of lightly cooked veggies with some shrimp and a little ghee/Sriracha concoction I came up with mixed in. I am always amazed when I get back to eating large volumes of fruits and vegetables (emphasis on the vegetables) how I can control my appetite and just how good I feel!

However, I can think back to a time when the thought of eating veggies turned my stomach and tempted me to just stay overweight if that was my only option...THAT is how much I hated them.

Vegetables are sometimes an acquired taste. So here are a few suggestions of how to ease into the veggie world until you're a veggie eating maniac like me some day:

-Start by making a list of vegetables you actually like and resolve to work them in at least once a day. Eventually resolve to work them into each meal, even if it's only a small amount. This will help your taste buds begin to adapt. Remember, we aren't aiming for things like potatoes and corn. We are aiming for things like broccoli, cauliflower, onions, leafy greens, brussels sprouts, asparagus, mushrooms, peppers, etc....vegetables low in calories and high in water, fiber and nutrients. Veggies such as these have been shown to increase insulin sensitivity which can help prevent diabetes AND help you lose weight!
-Try to cut back on processed sugars, artificial sweeteners and anything that says "natural flavoring" on the package. These "fake tastes" will make your taste buds less sensitive to the subtle flavors and sweetness in vegetables, you'll only be able to taste the bitterness.
-Turn everything into a salad. I actually got this little tip from the amazing author, Jon Gabriel. Like pizza? Dice it up and put it on top of a salad. Spaghetti? Same thing. Or, do like I used to do, and promise yourself you can eat whatever you want for dinner if you get your veggies down FIRST.
-Use dressings, marinades, butter, croutons, etc. Don't worry about the calories to begin with! Your goal right now is to change your habits and this will lead to LONG TERM changes, not short term starvation diets that never ever ever seem to work. If you like ranch dressing, smother a buttload of diced, colorful veggies in it and learn to love that crap! Once you like it (and you will!), start to lighten up on the dressing a little. My ghee/Sriracha sauce is a perfect example. I just ate a literal pound of veggies and absolutely LOVED every bite of it because of my tasty sauce mixed in. And it probably added about 100-150 calories to my almost no calorie vegetable plate. Oh and bonus! It is grass fed ghee which many consider to be a very healthy form of fat!
-Eat like a toddler. Get one of those sneaky chef cookbooks and learn how to disguise the taste.
-Educate yourself. The more you learn about the health benefits of vegetables, the more you will start to view them differently.
-Make it beautiful. Cut your veggies in cool shapes and decorate your plate. Arrange your salad in a way that makes you tempted to Instagram it.

And be patient with yourself!! It took years and years of gagging on things to finally get to a place where I actually CRAVE vegetables so give yourself time and patience and never ever stop trying!
Fruits and vegetables are life giving foods so you must decide when you're eating, are you eating for life?

Friday, November 6, 2015

BED: Binge Eating Disorder

The last few days have been really hard for me. I've been beyond stressed out. On top of it I've been feeling depressed. Life feels overwhelming and I found myself eating my feelings again. It's something a lot of people ask about. "Is it possible to lose weight and keep it off if you suffer from BED?" My answer most days would be "yes". On my hardest days, it would probably be "I'll let you know in a few more years" because I can feel pretty out of control sometimes.

However, when I look back over the years at how much these binges have changed, when I'm in a good healthy state of mind, I can clearly see that it's just a constant and gradual evolution. It is not easy. It is not sexy. I would say that Binge Eating Disorder is probably the least sexy disorder out there so who wants to even talk about it? Well I do!

I'm tired of the shame. I'm tired of feeling gross and unsexy and like I have to hide this part of myself because people may find me unappealing and possibly even reject me. The more I learn about why we turn to food and seem to lose control, the more I start to look at it as pure science instead of some mysterious and disgusting part of myself that I must try with all my might to suppress. 

We are programmed to seek out as much food as possible. We are programmed to respond to mental stress with hunger! It is biological! Here's why: our primal brains recognize two types of stress.

Physical stress, which is marked by stress followed by actual movement, and results in our primal brain believing that we are in immediate danger and must flee quickly.

Emotional stress, which is marked by stress followed by sitting still, and results in our primal brain believing that we are in a state of famine and are concerned about where our next meal is coming from. Add on top of this that, if we are chronically on a diet, we are often obsessing about the foods we "can't" have which tells our subconscious, primal brain that this food is really important. Our primal brain responds by overriding our conscious mind and rational brain and MAKING us eat that food as soon as we have access to it. 

Add to this primal instinct the fact that we also are seeking out a pleasant mental state. That's why when things are just peachy, we can often resist the cake in the fridge. But after a stressful day, not so much. 

In some ways, like with our primal brain, we are such simple creatures. In other ways we are so complex. 

So, anyway, back to my own struggles. The past few days I have felt almost completely out of control. Now, like I said, when I look back on what my old "out of control" used to be compared to what it is now, it's a relief to see how far I've come. My old "out of control" would've involved half a large Papa John's pizza, a giant glass of soda and a big ole piece of chocolate cake for dessert. We are talking easily 2000 calories over and above what I might've allotted for myself that day. And I would feel so out of control, feeling like I didn't even know if I was done eating for the night because that "demon" inside me might hijack my body again and MAKE me eat something I didn't even want to eat. Now, my "out of control" is something like 2 oz of raw organic cheese and a serving of organic crackers made from seeds and then maybe a piece of chocolate out of Phoenix's Halloween bag after dinner. Now, I can floss and brush and say "I'M DONE!" after these "mini binges" and know that I really am done but these are still binges nonetheless. Even though they probably only amount to about 500 calories, they are still over and above my allotted calories for the day and, most importantly, they are eaten almost out of compulsion, not a deliberate decision with my rational brain....and that's when I get scared. Like a recovered alcoholic, as someone who has always struggled with BED and has lost 100+ pounds, there is ALWAYS an underlying fear of "relapse". 

But the last few days have reminded me just how in control I am now. I have a method of sorts for bringing myself back to a good place. It's comprised of things I've read in countless books as well as things I've learned work from personal experience. Here's the short list and I'll add more if other things come to me.

-I stop restricting calories. In fact, my calorie restriction has gotten down to almost nothing in general lately and I've recently decided that I will eat to my maintenance level for now on and depend on exercise calories to eventually reduce my weight a little. It will take a long time but I don't care. I'm sick of feeling hungry and thinking about food all the time. Now, I understand, this wouldn't work as well for someone who has a lot more to lose but that person would also have more calories to play with in a day! I'm sick of only having 1400 calories for a whole day! It's no way to live because I am, by nature, a hungry gal!
-I focus on what I SHOULD eat. I keep having to come back to this. It isn't rocket science but here's the problem, healthy food is often more work to prepare, more money and not always as tasty as processed food that has been designed IN A LAB to make us crave it and become addicted to it. They even have a term for it, it's called "the cravability factor". I like to first remind myself through reading and watching stuff about how these food manufacturers are trying to take advantage of me and this helps me get good and pissed off because I am no one's fool! Then on to the good food. I take a good omega 3 supplement, I eat lots of fresh stuff and really nourish myself.
-I never ever ever let myself get too hungry. This used to be my hard fast rule all the time but life happens and sometimes I would find myself going way too long between meals. However, when I'm nice and balanced and in a good place mentally and physically, I could handle this. When I'm in a not so good place, I binge. So I get back to making sure I'm consuming something protein rich and nourishing as often as I need to in order to never get very hungry. This works better than I can even express. 
-I flood myself with information. I watch documentaries about eating healthy. Hungry for Change and Food Matters are two that I always recommend people start with. Forks Over Knives is good too although I don't agree that vegetarianism is always the best choice for me, I need my meat. I listen to podcasts and just find whatever I can to not just inspire me but inform me and make the effects of healthy food and not so healthy food more real in my mind.
-I move!! I exercise more. Not to burn more calories but rather because exercise makes me feel good and often curbs my appetite. I also try to get up and move when I feel mentally stressed. This not only helps lower my stress level, it also sends the message to my primal brain that my stressor is some kind of external threat, like maybe a predator. This makes the primal brain turn off the fat storage mode and turn on the fat BURNING mode because chubby girls can't outrun lions very well.
-I listen to hypnosis and guided meditation CDs. Well, they're on my iPod now but that's what they used to be back in the day. This is something I've done here and there for years. I believe it can really help. Some people are a little freaked out by them. Hypnosis will not persuade you to do things you wouldn't ordinarily do. All they do is put your brain in a more open and receptive state to receive and internalize information. I have CDs on everything from eating healthy to learning to love exercise and quitting addictions. They won't single-handedly "cure" an issue but they're just a nice big chunky drop in the bucket of change.
-I get back to my spiritual self. My wonderful boyfriend is kind and "awake" enough to keep guiding me back to this when I stray way. I am, by nature, a task oriented person. Give me a checklist and a pencil and watch me make shit happen! When it comes to abstract things like "nourishing my soul"....not sure how to put that on a checklist. It doesn't feel productive at the time. But once I've gotten back to that place of spiritual well being, I am much more centered and, as a result, much more productive.

So there you have it. BED isn't something that will go away overnight or possibly ever. But learning the root causes of it (which requires taking the time to truly educate yourself) and really tuning into your body and what you need will help you reach a place where you are much more in control and healthy.

For me, that's where I am finally back to after a few days of feeling like I was losing control. I could feel myself regaining control and balance yesterday and I woke up today feeling energized and completely back in control. And that's another great thing about this evolution!! Over time you will KNOW when you're about to lose control and when you're back to a good place because you become more in touch with your body and your mental state. So even when you're out of control there's this little glimmer of hope because you possess that power now. Stick with it. BED isn't a life sentence of obesity. Learn your "disease". Because it's not even a disease! It's nature gone a little awry in this new world we live in! And you DO possess the power to change it. I'm living proof.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Gratitude and Hating Myself

Today in yoga I had an epiphany. This month my class and I had resolved to try to avoid complaining. We included gossip as complaining. One area that I failed to include was inner dialogue. Halfway through yoga I caught myself!!!

"Too heavy, you're not light enough"
"Shirt coming up, your belly is showing"
"You are so weak today!"

Then finally I said something different.... "ENOUGH!!!" I stopped what I was doing and went into child's pose and had a little talk with myself. I forgave myself and resolved to be in the moment for the rest of the class and embrace exactly who I am in that moment! And that's exactly what I did! And I feel amazing now!

So that's officially included in my November close attention to inner dialogue that doesn't mirror the gratitude I am trying to apply in my life. I DESERVE to be loved and accepted at all times, not just when I'm having a good hair day, if I've eaten the right foods in the right amounts or when my body fat is to an acceptable level, I deserve self-love each and every day of my life!

Time to Reset

I'm not recording goals or restricting calories today. When I get off course like I did yesterday, I've learned that the best thing I can do is eat to my calorie limit for a day or so and really focus on nourishing my body and getting back in the right frame of mind.

This is for two reasons:

1-If I'm out of control with my eating this means one of two things (or both). My body is starved for extra nutrients because I've been working it so hard and/or my relationship with food needs attention. I would guess it's both. I tend to use food for emotional reasons and I've found that nourishing and loving my body with healthy food makes me less apt to put yucky stuff in it when I'm having a bad day. Form follows function. When I pay attention to doing the right things for my body, it makes me not want to do the wrongs things....most of the time anyway.

2-After putting toxic food in my body instead of the healing, nourishing food that it needs, I figure it needs more nutrients the next day to make up for it.

Yes, I would like to lose about 10-15 pounds but I've finally reached a point in my life where I want to feel better more than anything. And although I've felt a little chubby for the last couple months, I know that I look healthy and my body never fails me. I'm learning to be gentle and patient with my body and my mind. To place healing and nourishment before seeing a smaller number on the scale. The main reason why I've decided that 175 isn't where I want to be long term is because I FEEL too heavy. I feel like my frame is made to support about 160 pounds. That's when I felt my best, strongest and lightest. These few extra pounds seem to hold me down a little and my feet have been hurting lately and I can't help but wonder if this is why, jumping around so much with more weight than my feet are designed to handle. I see a chiropractor next Tuesday and I'm anxious to hear his opinion of whether he thinks it would be helahty and safe for me to start running again. Especially if I could manage to get a couple pounds off my frame first. I run very little right now and only with clients and I miss just running for fun. Plus, I'm sick of plyo and I feel like my joints need a break. We will see.

I've been really struggling with stress and depression lately. I've got a lot of my plate right now and I've been dwelling on it and not dealing with it in a healthy way. I had a little come to Jesus with my boyfriend, Gino, and he made me realize that I've ONCE AGAIN been neglecting my spiritual self. I almost instantly felt better just to realize this. I HAVE to set aside time to nurture my soul. It's just as, if not more, important than nourishing my body and taking care of the people around me. It is the foundation that holds it all together. So, I had planned to skip the yoga class that takes place in the very building where I work because I just felt like I had so many more important things to do. But, instead I'm going to go into the studio a few minutes early (when I actually do take this class, I usually work on paperwork until the very last second and then rush in), I'm going to sit down on my mat and meditate. I am so thankful for Gino for always pulling me back to this part of myself that I tend to neglect. I will show my thanks by being a more pleasant girlfriend tonight, haha.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wednesday November 4, 2015

Each month in the yoga portion of my class, I've begun having a theme. Last month it was "letting go of ego." This month, since it's the month of Thanksgiving, it seemed natural to have the theme of gratitude. I've found that these themes really help me to stay focused on my spiritual development (something I tend to neglect otherwise) because at least once a week I have to read or watch something or I will be caught with my pants down rambling about some vague notion of gratitude that I have. I started off this month by challenging everyone in the class (including myself) not to complain for the entire month. Complaining includes gossiping! I've caught myself complaining and/or gossiping a couple of times since then and change my thought process. This is challenging right now because someone I love dearly is sick and it's hard to stay positive. But it's the very reason I need to stay positive! Not just for myself but for her and for everyone around me.

More on my feelings and learning on gratitude later. Now for my goals...

Today's Dietary/Fitness Goals:
100 oz water -80 oz
Upper body strength -done!!!
pick up and juice veggies in the evening -done! (thanks to Gino for juicing when I hit a wall)
Something raw with 4 out of 6 meals -horrible!! eating was horrible!
Hit 35g fiber goal -had to do psyllium husk to meet my goal
prep tomorrow's food
Stop eating by 6pm...stopped by 2:30 because I ate so badly! I figured my body needed a break!...ended up having a protein shake around 6:30 so my body wouldn't eat my muscle
So I can be in bed by 9pm!! -in bed by 8:45 but awake until probably close to 10

Other Goals:

Spend at least 10 minutes cleaning the studio -done
Read one entire ACE or Ideafit email (to always be an informed & evolved trainer) -done!!
Meditate -crap
spend 30  minutes uninterrupted quality time with Phoenix this evening -done
Clean car -didn't happen :(
Call Chiro to make apt -done! Finally!

OMG!! I did horrible!! I was carb crazy today! I've noticed that I get really hungry for carbs when my body is really sore from strength training so I choose to believe my body needs it...although I could definitely choose better carb sources. All I can do is eat extra clean tomorrow. Sorry Tammi's body :(

You can look HERE on MyFitnessPal to see my food log for today

I try never to do the same exact workout twice. Our bodies adapt so easily that they'll never react the second time the way they reacted the first time to a particular workout.

Superset #1
Incline bench DB press
Bent over DB row
2 sets low weight, 20 reps; 3rd set med weight, 12 reps, 4th set high weight, 6-8 reps

Superset #2
Push ups
TRX rows
3 sets max reps

Superset #3
Flat bench DB chest flies
Lat pulldown
2 sets low weight, 20 reps; 3rd set med weight, 12 reps, 4th set high weight, 6-8 reps

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I'm feeling really good about my training lately! This is the time of year when you have people dropping like flies. And, while I am definitely slower, I am still trucking along with a pretty consistent and full training schedule, all things considered. I've even picked up two new clients this week! And I'm not just feeling good about the number of clients that I have but, more importantly, the quality of clients I have. Most all are extremely dedicated and consistent. It is inspiring to ME to have inspired clients. It makes me determined to be more selective about who I agree to or continue to train in the future. It is not helpful to a client who is not ready to change for me to continue to accept payment and go through the motions with them. It's not helpful to me either. I am too sensitive to the feelings of people around me to expose myself to people who aren't ready to change. It discourages and stagnates me. Now, make no mistake, I am NOT referring to clients who STRUGGLE to change. I am talking about clients who truly don't even try. They cancel more than they show up, each excuse being sillier than the last. Clients who struggle...I love you!! The struggle is real! I still live it every day. Food is my best friend and worst enemy. I am working hard to develop a good relationship with it each and every day. Sometimes it nourishes and cleanses me....other times it poisons me. Depends on my state of mind on any given day or even moment to moment.

So, speaking of food....I have a new love that I want to scream from the rooftops! I just found it a couple days ago. It's called Promise Gluten Free Chia Seed Loaf. Now I'll go ahead and tell you the two things keeping this from being a deep and everlasting true love. (1) It's not perfectly clean ingredients...although it's not horrible either! (2) You have to get the crust pretty hard to get the middle decently toasty. But, even considering all that, I am still pretty in love! 150 calories for 2 slices with ELEVEN grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein and no sugar! Bread is by nature not an ideal food. However, when you're a real person who wants an occasional piece of toast or a sandwich and you're trying to reach 35 grams of fiber a day while staying in your calorie limit, this bread can really help fit the bill! Other drawback...the price. Almost $5 for a small loaf. Silver lining? Between the fiber and the cost, I'm content with making it a once in a while treat and not overdoing it.

I post these goals at the beginning of the day (for accountability more than anything!) and then I'll go in tonight and update them...

Today's Dietary/Fitness Goals:
100 oz water -done!!
2 servings of herbal tea -done!!
Prepare for and teach class -prepared
pick up and juice veggies in the evening
drink at least 8 oz bone broth -done!
Something raw with 4 out of 6 meals -3 out of 6, not bad
Hit 35g fiber goal-hit 32g by 12:30!! Whoa! It's gonna be a rough night!....40g total baby!!
prep tomorrow's food-half done anyway
Stop eating by 6pm... -done by 5:45!!!
So I can be in bed by 9pm!! -9:45, I'll take it!

Other Goals:
This is my shortest day of work this week so I have big plans for those couple of extra hours....
Spend at least 20 minutes cleaning the studio -done!!
learn 2 new body weight exercises -done!
Read one entire ACE or Ideafit email (to always be an informed & evolved trainer) -didn't do...but I did listen to a couple youtube videos on nutrition while I did some paperwork
Meditate -didn't do :( This is a hard one for me that I really need to work on!
spend 30  minutes uninterrupted quality time with Phoenix this evening -more like an hour! We had fun!!
Clean car -rained all day so I organized one of my kitchen cabinets that was driving me crazy instead
One load of laundry start to finish -2 loads!! Folded and put away!
Call Chiro to make apt -um oops!

You can look HERE on MyFitnessPal to see my food log for today

(teaching class today)
20 minutes high intensity "cardio dance" (generic Zumba)
12 minutes core circuits (45 sec work/15 sec rest)
    -straight leg reverse crunches
    -plank reach (plank w/ alternating raise of opposite leg/arm)
    -windshield wipers 
    -thread the needle (side plank w/ reach under the body) -right side first round, left second
    -extra slow bicycles w/ pause in the middle (try to sit up high the whole time)
    -repeat all above exercises twice then follow with a 2 minute what you can.
25 minutes yoga (this ends up being about 10-15 minutes fast flow followed by guided meditation)