No Longer Barefoot in Vermont!

This is just a quick post to say I’m not dead, I haven’t stopped working out, I’m not eating crap, I’ve just….moved! In November my partner and I moved to Carlisle, MA. My massage and yoga practice reopened in December and business has been BOOMING!! You can now find me above Mountain Strength Crossfit in Winchester, MA (see my site for more details).

While I miss my beloved Green Mountain State, one of the really nice things about being back in MA is the accessibility. I’ve discovered a wonderful inspiring yoga studio, Serenity Yoga, and have been taking classes from Olivia and Nina. My partner and I have a membership to Central Rock Gym in Watertown and have been climbing 2-3 times per week. And every day still starts with a smoothie. ūüôā

So things are GOOD and I hope to be writing again here more regularly. That said, look out for a possible name change because my bare feet are now on MA soil. BarefootinMA perhaps?

I hope all your health journeys are taking you in a good direction, and if not today is a good day to get back on the horse. ūüėČ

Yoga, Workouts and Injury

If you’re reading fitness blogs, or even just Facebook, you’ve probably come across the controversy of “Crossfit’s Dirty Little Secret“. ¬†It was very disconcerting to me to read about a woman who ended up with¬†Rhabdomyolysis¬†due to pushing herself too far in her Crossfit workouts. ¬†The thing that really upset me though is that this is NOT a Crossfit thing, injury, of all types, during exercise is not at all new but it’s also not being handled with the gravity that it deserves. ¬†

The issue here is two-fold. ¬†For one, trainer “certification” comes in a variety of colors and may involve years of study, or a day spent reading a 20 page pdf online and taking an open-book quiz. ¬†I personally feel that anyone working professionally as a trainer needs a firm education in anatomy, physiology and kinesiology, along with proper training of the type of exercise one is going to train in. ¬†The problem is that “proper” has no standards. ¬†So how do we know when we’re getting a good education as a trainer? ¬†

First off, I’d want to know that the exercise feels comfortable in my own body and that I fully understand my own body mechanics while doing the exercises. ¬†This means that it could take time to digest the material. ¬†For example, I only became a yoga instructor after practicing yoga for many years before seeking teacher certification. ¬†That might be overkill for some, but I’d bet that if you take a weekend certification class in yoga and you’ve never practiced before you probably don’t fully understand the body mechanics of each pose. ¬†Since yoga is complex let’s take a simpler example, kettlebell certification. ¬†This is one I’m seeing a lot and as a lover of kettlebells I have to say I’m concerned when I see that you can get certified in a weekend and go from never having touched a kettlebell before to teaching a class on it in two days.

Once you understand the exercise fully in your own body, then the big challenge is knowing how to adapt it for others. ¬†Not all bodies are created equal and while you might be able to do 60 double KB swings, your brand-new-to-working-out client is probably not up to that challenge. ¬†Not only do you have to adjust reps to fitness level, but you have to know how to adapt the exercise to different body mechanics. ¬†For example, someone with scoliosis may not be able to get into that perfect Vinyasa Triangle pose that you’re pushing her into, perhaps a modified triangle or a triangle from another style of yoga would be more fitting. ¬†Help your clients reach their goals by respecting their bodies for where they are and then safely coaching them further.

Which brings me to my next point…respect your OWN body. ¬†I love pushing myself but I listen to my body and know my limits. ¬†This is a very hard skill to learn and I’m still not perfect at it but when I get stuck I try to ask myself, “Why do I workout?” ¬†I workout because I love my body, I love feeling healthy, strong and full of energy. ¬†While being sore after a workout is OK on a small scale, if it hurts to lift a glass of water the next day or walk to my mailbox then I’m achieving the opposite of my goals. ¬†To take a couple quotes from¬†‚ÄúHow to Not Fucking Kill Your Clients‚ÄĚ (a great, albeit brash, response to the Crossfit scare-tactic article above), “Are 400 push-ups going to help your clients reach the general fitness, and overall well-being they crave?” ¬†Ask yourself that, will bashing on one relatively small group of muscles over and over again actually help you with your fitness goals? ¬†If your goals are to end up in the hospital then sure. ūüėČ

Now to end this rant with a more personal story. ¬†I have been researching Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) trainings in my area. ¬†Now RYT is not a high standard, per-say, it just means that teachers go through the Yoga Alliance, which doesn’t make them good or bad, but I wanted to see what was in my area as I continue my own training. ¬†I started attending classes at a popular Vinyasa studio, thinking I would enroll in the teacher’s training course. ¬†I found her classes to be VERY strict. ¬†Vinyasa to her means that poses are done in a very specific way, and she went around the room manually adjusting people into these identical positions. ¬†

On the plus side, I loved that I really sweat in her classes and you can tell by how full the room is that other people love this too. ¬†On the downside, I noticed after taking her classes for over a month that I was developing injuries in my back and my wrists. ¬†Her style of teaching was hurting me, and I hadn’t been listening enough to my body. ¬†Since I still had paid classes on my card, I started going to courses at her studio offered by other teachers. ¬†Many of them were trained by her so the form of the classes was basically the same, but I noticed some of the teachers allowed more flexibility, or at least didn’t push me into positions. ¬†I still wondered though if I was missing something. ¬†I doubted what my body was telling me and thought that maybe I just wasn’t up to par. ¬†That’s when I went to a co-taught class and beforehand I listened to the two teachers discussing pains in their bodies. ¬†They mentioned that the studio’s owner, the teacher I originally mentioned, had pushed one of them into a deep twist that she wasn’t ready for. ¬†The other chimed in to say she does that all the time to her and she has to actually say “I’m not doing deep twists today.” ¬†

I respect that especially with yoga there are many styles and some are very strict to honor the lineage of their style. ¬†But I have to question the benefits of those practices if they’re injuring their students. ¬†Can we still honor those strict styles while honoring the bodies of our students? ¬†Can we learn to listen to them and be more aware? ¬†If not, I’m afraid I’ll keep getting exercise-related injury clients in my massage practice. ¬†My biggest advice to trainers out there is to take continuing education and challenge yourself to learn more, put yourselves in your clients shoes and adapt exercises for their fitness level. ¬†To others like me who love those good hard workouts, trust your body to tell you when you’ve had enough. ¬†If you’re in pain, don’t push it because you risk doing serious harm to your body or at least setting yourself back.

And with that, two quickie workouts.  The first is a low-cardio strength and stretching workout that I did after four days of pretty intense cardio.  The second is a nice shortie to get your pulse up without taking a lot of time out of the day.

9/3/13 – Strength and Stretching
  1. Pushups x 10
  2. Child’s Pose ~45 sec.
  3. Pyramid Bicep forward and reverse curls (12 reps @ low weight, 10 reps @ medium weight, 8 reps @ high weight, 10 reps @ medium weight, 12 reps at low weight; I used 8, 10 + 15lb weights, if you’re starting out I recommend 2, 5 and 8lb weights)
  4. Child’s Pose¬†~45 sec.
  5. Pyramid Triceps (same reps as pyramid biceps but using only one weight and doing seated overhead triceps extension and dumbbell skull crushers)
  6. Child’s Pose¬†~45 sec.
  7. Side-Crunch L x 10
  8. Side-Crunch R x 10
  9. Full sit-up x 10
  10. Bridge or wheel ~45 sec.
  11. Savasana 3-10 mins.
 
9/11/13 Р Intervals (3 Rounds, 45 sec activity 15 sec rest)
  1. KB Swings
  2. KB Snatch R
  3. KB Snatch L
  4. Box Jumps
  5. Weighted Sit-Ups

Upper Arm Beatings and Post-Workout Pancakes!

One of my friends, Rosie of Rock Bodies, is a personal trainer who often posts delicious healthy recipes to Facebook. ¬†She found a recipe for pancakes that uses just two ingredients: banana and eggs. ¬†Seriously, that’s it. ¬†They are AMAZING. ¬†Before I made them though I had to finish my workout for the day (especially since I was having local sausage with my pancakes).

Today I wanted to focus on arms and abs. ¬†Yesterday I did Zuzka’s¬†ZShred #3 which was a legs-intensive high-intensity workout. ¬†I really prefer full-body workouts and while I felt like a new person after this workout, it ended up being too much for me and I am HURTING today. So I decided to take it easier on my legs. ¬†This workout will definitely get your heart rate up but it’s primarily a strength training workout and while it’s an upper-body focus there’s definitely leg involvement as well.

6/29/13¬†–¬†Set interval timer to 2 rounds 45 sec activity, 15 sec rest
  1. KB Swing
  2. KB Snatch R
  3. KB Snatch L
  4. Weighted pilates sit-ups
  5. Plank climbers
  6. Pull-ups (as many as you can do
  7. Dive bombers
  8. Renegade Row
  9. Single-Leg deadlifts
  10. Dragon flags

Once you’ve completed that you deserve some pancakes right?

Paleo Pancakes

Paleo High Protein Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Banana
  • Optional: pinch of cinnamon
  • Optional: ~1tbsp protein powder or tapioca flour

Directions:

  1. Beat the banana and egg together. ¬†You’re done making the batter! ¬†No, seriously, this recipe couldn’t be easier. ¬†I used my Vitamix to mix them but you can easily do it by hand. ¬†I added cinnamon, which turned out great. ¬†I also made the mistake of using jumbo eggs so my batter was a bit too thin so I added some tapioca flour to thicken it. ¬†You can use protein powder as a thickener if you prefer (I recommend using a plant-based powder without GMOs, soy or whey).
  2. Cook on skillet like normal pancakes.  I recommend making them small and thin (the large one in the picture was to finish off my batter).

I found with the sweetness of the banana no syrup was necessary, though I’m sure if you like you can add some maple syrup or agave. ¬†Enjoy!!

Day 75, 6750 Burpees, 49 Miles, and Chicken Pot Pie!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 75 days already! ¬†The burpees have basically just become a part of my life at this point, even though they still manage to leave me gasping for air but my endurance for them has greatly increased. ¬†My biggest focus these days is on food. ¬†I’ve been experimenting with more recipes and more flours and there’s one recipe I’m just dying to share with you!

Chicken Pot Pie Two Ways (Paleo *or* gluten/dairy/corn free)

Having these new food allergies along with a rigorous workout routine occasionally really burns me out and I get cravings for comfort food.  It would be easy to head to the local diner or grab some takeout from the pizza shop down the street, but there has to be ways for me to satisfy my cravings without going off my diet.  This recipe helps solve that problem.

The Paleo recipe is heavily based off of Fed & Fit’s Paleo Chicken Pot Pie. ¬†I really only added in some fresh herbs and garlic. ¬†It was great, but in full disclosure I found the almond crust to be a bit too heavy at times and it was also very crumbly, especially in the center of the pie (since I made a full pie, not individual pies). ¬†It did crisp nicely on top, but then fell apart when taking it out of the pan or eating it. ¬†The high compliment I will give is that both my boyfriend and I thought it tasted like chicken skin…seriously. ¬†It’s very rich. ¬†So the second time I made this I altered the crust recipe since I’m not personally on a Paleo diet. ¬†The crust I ended up making that time was awesome and would make a perfect fruit pie crust if you add sugar to it and nix the herbs. ¬†I’m really happy it was easy to alter. ¬†I’ll give you both recipes and definitely check out the Fed & Fit blog for some amazing pictures of the recipe.

Image

Note on ratios: The recipe ratio was originally made for 8 personal pies.  I ended up with enough pie filling for two full large pies, and enough crust for one.  This was great since I just froze the second pie filling and used it a couple weeks later.  If you only want enough filling for one pie cut the filling ingredients in half.

Ingredients

Paleo Crust:

  • 3 cups Almond Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1.5 tsp Salt (I used Himalayan, the original recipe calls for Kosher)
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • ¬Ĺ cup Virgin Coconut Oil (room temperature)
  • 1 tbsp Cool Water
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Basil, minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Marjoram, minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Rosemary, minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Thyme, minced

Gluten Free Crust:

  • 1 cup Almond Four ¬†(I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour
  • 1.5 tsp Salt (I used Himalayan, the original recipe calls for Kosher)
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • ¬Ĺ cup Virgin Coconut Oil (room temperature)
  • 3-5 tbsp Cool Water
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Basil, minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Marjoram, minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Rosemary, minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Thyme, minced

Filling:

  • 3 Chicken Breast Halves Roasted and Cubed
  • 2 cups Sweet Onions Chopped
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 cups Frozen Green Peas
  • 2 cups Frozen Carrots
  • ¬ľ cup Canned Coconut Milk (full fat)
  • ¬ĺ cup Almond Flour ¬†(I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 4 cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 3 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Egg (for egg wash)
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Basil, minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Marjoram, minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Rosemary, minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Thyme, minced

Directions

Chicken:

  1. Preheat oven to 350¬ļ F.
  2. Wash chicken breast and pat dry.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Drizzle and rub 1 Tbl oil on the chicken breast.
  5. Sprinkle with generous amount of  salt and cracked black pepper.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven when finished and let cool.
  8. Cut into about ¬Ĺ‚ÄĚ cubes when cool enough to handle.

Crust:

  1. In a food processor or mixer (I used my KitchenAid), mix the dry ingredients together (flours, salt, and baking powder).
  2. Add the coconut oil and slowly pulse or mix until it’s evenly mixed. It should have the consistence of peas.
  3. Slowly add the water and pulse until it forms a dough-like texture.  Note that in the GF version you have to use more water than in the Paleo version.
  4. Remove from food processor/mixer, roll into a ball and wrap in cling wrap.
  5. Put the dough into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  6. Dust a pastry board (or cutting board) with almond meal. ¬†Or if you’re like me dust your (cleaned) countertop. ¬†I also recently received these as a gift and can vouch that they did an AWESOME job with the dough in this recipe, getting rid of having flour all over the kichen.
  7. Roll out pie crust.  Keep dusting the top and bottom of dough and the rolling pin with dry almond meal so that it doesn’t stick.

Filling:

  1. Heat the oil in the bottom of a large pot.
  2. Add the yellow onions and cook on medium/high until they’re translucent.  Add the garlic and cook both until slightly brown.
  3. Slowly add the almond meal and reduce the heat.
  4. Slowly add the chicken stock and stir.
  5. Add the coconut milk, 1 tsp salt, and black pepper.
  6. Add the peas, carrots, and chicken.
  7. Carefully pour into pie plate.
  8. Place the crust on top of the filling.
  9. Scramble one egg and paint the crust of each pie generously.
  10. Sprinkle with salt and cut 3-4 slits in the top.
  11. I recommend setting the pie plate on a cookie sheet and putting it in the oven like that to catch any drippings.
  12. Bake at 375¬ļF for one hour, or until inside is bubbly and crust is browned.
  13. Let cool 10-15 minutes before eating.

While this isn’t a fast recipe to make, taking about 1-1.5 hours of prep and another hour to cook, it is really worthwhile and since you can freeze the extra filling it made a very quick meal the second time I made it. ¬†You can even do what the original recipe called for and make individual pies. ¬†In that case I would freeze filling in individual freezer bags and thaw one on the day you want to make it. ¬†I do think making the crust same-day is worthwhile and it really is an easy crust recipe. ¬†I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!!

36 Days, 3240 Burpees, 16 Miles, and Bargaining with Yourself

Are you the type of person who has an inner monologue that you make bargains with? ¬†“If I run a mile I can eat a slice of pizza.” ¬†“If I get home before 5 I’ll do my workout, otherwise I’m just cooking dinner.” ¬†Chances are the answer is “yes”, because you’re human (or you’re a dog who learned how to read, good job). ¬†We all make little bargains with ourselves and while I’m using exercise and diet as examples, bargaining can creep into any part of your life.

The other day while driving through a snowstorm in Vermont, I listened to an episode of Radiolab (one of my favorite shows) called “Help!“. ¬†They discussed bargaining and told a story of a long-term smoker who made a deal with herself to finally help her quit cold-turkey. ¬†She had always tried to use the bargains of “it could kill me”, “it causes cancer”, “it makes my kids fear for me”, but all of those were easy to ignore because they’re in the future. ¬†She needed something in the NOW. ¬†The deal she made with herself was that if she ever smoked another cigarette she had to give $5k to the Ku Klux Klan, and her best friend had to keep her good to that promise. ¬†Now, that might sound ridiculous but after a life of fighting for civil rights it was high enough stakes to make her quit. ¬†I highly recommend listening to the whole episode to hear more.

I mentioned my weight woes the other day and I decided to make a high-stakes bargain with myself. ¬†If I don’t lose 20lbs in three months I’m buying $500 in Monsanto seeds and gifting them to a local farm. ¬†I can’t tell you how sick that idea makes me. ¬†Not just the fact that I’d be giving $500 to Monsanto, but that I’d then have to do the walk of shame to present these to a local farmer and if the farmer doesn’t care that they’re from Monsanto I could potentially be polluting my local soil with GMO seeds. ¬†Aaaaggghhhh!!

I’ve got to say, so far it’s working. ¬†It’s gotten me to hot yoga, it’s got me running faster, and it has me picking up healthy snacks and tracking my calories with a fine-tooth comb. ¬†After months of exercise and not seeing my weight drop, I’m FINALLY seeing the pounds start to go. ¬†I’m on a fairly strict diet now of two-green smoothies a day, a healthy snack and then a healthy dinner, plus lots of water. ¬†No food within a few hours of bed, no gluten, no dairy, no caffeine, no processed foods, no sugar. ¬†These are rules I try to live by anyway but I’m not nearly as strict as I have been in the past week. ¬†Wish me luck, because believe me the alternative is NOT HAPPENING!!

I also made my tastiest smoothie yet and I have to share the recipe with you!

ImageAlmond Green Fruit Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond Milk
  • 1 scoop protein powder (I used Fat Flush¬†Body Protein)
  • 1/4 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup frozen peaches
  • 1/4 cup frozen mango
  • 1 cup raw spinach
  • 1 tsp flax seeds
  • 1 tsp flax seed oil
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flake

So. Friggin’. Good!! ¬†It’s fruity and nutty and vitamin-packed! ¬†Plus it’s only 394 calories and has a whopping 25g of protein! ¬†This made me a very happy woman, I hope you love it!

35 Days, 3150 Burpees, 15 Miles and Hot Hot Yoga!

I’d love to tell you that the 90 burpees a day are getting easier, but they still seem like a chore I do three times a day. ¬†The one thing that’s really getting better is my form. ¬†I used to really struggle with pushups and I feel like I can do them gracefully now and even slow it down so I can really focus on working my muscles. ¬†I suppose my endurance is also getting better but I definitely still sweat every time!

Running¬†is getting better. ¬†My times are getting shorter as my speeds are getting faster. ¬†I’ve been taking things very slowly with running and I tend to alternate between speed walking and sprinting. ¬†I’m making my sprints longer and am starting to set firmer goals so I get to a point where I can run the entire time.

Image

My latest love is Hot Yoga, closely related¬†to (and sometimes synonymous with) Bikram. ¬†I had tried Bikram two years ago and had a really poor experience. ¬†I’ve been practicing yoga for *counts* 16 years (!!) so I have a solid foundation, though I’m definitely still learning and am not a “pro”. ¬†That said, I feel comfy in most intermediate/advanced classes. ¬†I went in on New Year’s morning, which was a poor choice after drinking champagne the night before. ¬†The temperature and humidity of the studio immediately triggered my acid reflux, giving me pain in my esophagus and I quickly got nauseous. ¬†I managed to stay in the class for 75 minutes, having to drop to child’s pose on occasion. ¬†I then felt like I really was going to puke and I left the class quietly and ended up crying in the hallway. ¬†I am not a woman who often cries, especially in public settings, this was a really low moment for me. ¬†I swore off doing Bikram again.

Flash forward to a couple weeks ago when I had a really bad day and was meeting friends late in the evening so I had some time to kill in town. ¬†I wanted to do something to help me get over my bad mood and the only yoga class I could find that fit into my schedule was a 6pm class at Geezum Crow Yoga. ¬†This was called “Hot Yoga”, which the teacher said is similar to Bikram but the certification is different. ¬†The room was HOT (~108¬ļF with 30% humidity) and believe me I dripped with sweat the entire time but…I did it! ¬†It was hard but the teacher was really encouraging, the class was small and I felt comfortable. ¬†I felt like I could really work through my shit and focus on my body and my space. ¬†I pushed myself to places I had never been with yoga before and I left feeling both energized and exhausted all at once.¬†

I think the main difference was that I was well-hydrated for this class and also I’m physically in better shape now. ¬†Since the experience feels like running a marathon, I didn’t expect to go back any time soon but I found myself craving that feeling of catharsis and accomplishment (hello endorphins!). ¬†I went back this past Friday and had another amazing experience with a different teacher.

Once again I began lusting after that amazing feeling. ¬†Plus, when I saw that my calorie counter told me I was burning almost 700 calories in the class I really wanted to go back! ¬†I decided to once again brave the Bikram studio near me, Bikram Yoga Stowe. ¬†I attended a class there yesterday and unfortunately it’s not the studio for me. ¬†We all have different needs in yoga. ¬†For me, I love to push myself and explore but I appreciate a teacher who’s soft (but pushes me) and flexible in their teaching. I also appreciate smaller classes when I can get them. ¬†Bikram Yoga Stowe was like walking into Yoga bootcamp. ¬†It wasn’t a full class but there were still about 25 people there. ¬†It felt much hotter than Geezum Crow, despite them saying the temperatures are the same. ¬†I expect it was just more humid in there. ¬†It also didn’t help that I managed to be right next to the heater. ¬†

The real turnoff for me was the teacher, she was just not right for me. ¬†The room was filled with what looked like athletes. ¬†While there were many body types and age ranges, the predominant crowd was younger, thin and with chiseled bodies. ¬†They were loud and social before class and had obviously been going there for a while; so it’s clear that the teacher is right for some people and the practice is effective. ¬†The teacher came in like a drill sergeant. ¬†While she had a nice demeanor, I felt like she was barking orders at the speed of an auctioneer. ¬†She never stopped talking. ¬†Constant, monotone instructions interspersed with hand claps to prompt us into the next pose. ¬†Her instructions were also colored with back-handed insulting remarks that surprised me. ¬†Things like, “If your head isn’t touching your knee you’re not even beginning to do the posture”. ¬†Instead of the encouraging comments that I’m used to like, “Try to touch your head to your knee to get into the posture”. ¬†There was a definite sense that things were her way or the highway and with her constant chatter it was difficult for me to mentally get in the zone. ¬†Again, I know this works for some people but it’s not why I come to the mat. ¬†Friday I will be back at Geezum Crow.

Finally, I made such a delicious smoothie this morning that I have to share it with you!

Chocolate Almond Delight

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp spirulina
  • 1 tsp flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp flax seed oil
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1 scoop Fat Flush Body Protein (or protein powder of your choosing)
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 tsp raw cacao powder

Chocolaty, fruity, nutty, AMAZING!!! Give it a go!

32 Days, 2880 Burpees, 12 Miles and Wearing Too Much Weight!

I’m excited that I’ve made it over a month in my 90 day burpeee challenge! ¬†I’ve also kept up with running a mile every morning and I’m already seeing my speeds improving and my legs are becoming shapelier. ¬†I’m also excited to say that after five days of calf pain, I’m no longer feeling terribly sore from running, just dealing with some minor aches and pains. ¬†I’m just about finished with the current Zuzka ZWOWs that are up on her site so as a present to myself for completing them I purchased her ZCut Power Cardio series and I’ll let you all know what I think of it. ¬†On top of all of this I’m finally finding joy in doing hot yoga and the two sessions I’ve done have kicked my ass, made me sweat more than anything in my life, and made me feel AWESOME!! ¬†This is a huge change from the first time I tried Bikram, when it triggered my acid reflux and I left the class with 15 minutes to spare and cried in the hallway, seriously.

Now I have to get into a topic that I know is seriously overdone on the internet. ¬†I fully expect most of you to zone out right about now. ¬†Oh wait, let me tell you the topic: Body Image. ¬†Ok, now you can zone out. ūüėČ

I’ve been blessed that for most of my life I haven’t struggled with real body image issues. ¬†I’ve had minor issues but for the most part I’ve been confident with my size and shape. ¬†I was stick thin for most of my childhood, to the point of being teased. ¬†Then in high school my Swedish genes kicked in and I suddenly had some junk in the trunk and a small belly. ¬†College rolled around and I was living a very unhealthy lifestyle, practically living off of taco bell and alcohol. ¬†My weight skyrocketed to 180 and I was wearing a size 14. ¬†But somehow I never felt large. ¬†I’m a tall woman, just shy of 6′, which allows me to conceal my weight well. My arms and calves generally remain thin even when my hips, butt, gut and thighs expand.

It wasn’t until I moved to Boston, fresh out of school, and started working a retail job where I was on my feet all day, that I realized how unhealthy I had been. ¬†Just by living a different lifestyle (normal schedule, steady income which led to good food, and walking all the time) I dropped down to a size 8. ¬†I was also doing yoga regularly then but really wasn’t exercising aside from that. ¬†When I then attended school for massage I began lifting weights and building muscle. ¬†That’s when I started paying more attention to my body and I kept my weight around 165. ¬†Not fantastic, but with the muscle and staying at that size 8 I felt good and I think I looked good. ¬†The one thing I really never lost was that gut; my belly always protruded and I have an over-emphasized lordotic curve (curve in the low back) which often means lack of abdominal strength.

Flash forward a few years. ¬†I eat well, I exercise regularly and I even went through training in Kickboxing and Insanity. ¬†I have to say the Insanity program is AWESOME! ¬†It’s HARD, but that was the first thing that really kicked my core strength into gear. ¬†I know I have a great core now, and I’m constantly improving it, but I still have that gut and curve. ¬†I’ve tried not eating within a few hours of bed, eating several small meals instead of a few large ones, cutting out gluten and dairy, even doing full food elimination diets. ¬†Nothing really seems to help. ¬†Then this past November my boyfriend and I really fell off the wagon, as one tends to do around the holidays. ¬†I wouldn’t say it was a worse year than usual but suddenly that 165lbs became 175lbs. ¬†In mid-January I got back on the horse and have been eating healthy and exercising. As you all know in the past 32 days I’ve upped my exercise routine quite a bit.

So guess what? ¬†Want to know how much weight I’ve lost? ¬†I mentioned my legs are looking more cut. ¬†I didn’t mention that my arms are more muscular, my face looks thinner, my shoulders and back look like I could punch through a wall. ¬†So how much weight did I lose? ¬†None. ¬†I gained weight. ¬†As of this morning the scale say I’m 183lbs. ¬†I shit you not. ¬†I’m pissed. ¬†I now have body issues. ¬†Apparently I’m a late bloomer but I’m working my ass off and that gut is going out instead of in. ¬†I use MyPlate so I know what my nutrition is and I’m well within the appropriate range. ¬†I also can’t be gaining muscle this fast, and when I took “before” pictures yesterday it’s apparent that there’s quite a bit of weight around my mid-section. ¬†Even in yoga I found myself self-conscious of the fact that the other women in the room were so much thinner than me. ¬†Wtf?! ¬†I know full well we all come in different shapes and sizes and the point is that I’m healthy so why am I freaking out about this?!

Well, I am. ¬†For the past two days I’ve switched to two smoothies a day. ¬†I was having one for breakfast and now I do one for breakfast, one for lunch, an afternoon snack and a reasonably-portioned dinner. ¬†I don’t feel I personally have much more time to exercise, since I’m already doing about 90 minutes a day, so I have to look at diet. ¬†I also had food allergy testing done and I get the results back in a week so I can see if it’s possible that something I’m eating is bloating me up (the testing was also done for other digestive issues I have).

So….blargh! ¬†But enough venting about my odd weight issues. ¬†Lettuce talk about snacks (yes, punny, but most of you stopped reading ages ago so…):

ImageThis was today’s afternoon snack. ¬†It’s a whopping 108 calories with 8g of protein!

Ingredients (which you can all see pretty clearly):

  • Romaine lettuce leaf
  • Small handful of snap peas
  • Small handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 hardboiled egg, sliced

I rolled it up like a burrito and it was surprisingly delicious and filling enough to get me to dinner, which will be steamed salmon and brussels sprouts.

For now, it’s time to find new exciting smoothie recipes. ¬†I will share that my local health food store offers frozen wheatgrass shots. ¬†I’ve been adding those to my smoothies and it’s pretty good. ūüôā