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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Results and balance

Ok, it's been a little while since I last posted.... I didn't feel like it was right to be blogging during the Boston tragedy. I didn't have it in me either. I have had a lot of people ask me if I was there. I was not there, thankfully. Boston is the only marathon that you have to qualify for. The qualifications are based on age and gender. You have to run a qualifying marathon, which I've done. But I've never been able to qualify. I've wanted to! And if I had, you can bet I would have been there. I'm not going to spend time going over the what ifs. I'm just thankful my family and I were not involved, and I thank you all for being concerned about me.

Moving on....
It is obvious that I believe diet and exercise should be used as a tool to improve our quality of life. It is something that we should use to prolong, prevent, and even reverse disease. It's something that we should rely on for good mental and physical health first. And when done right, we get the added bonus of looking good and feeling confident about what we see on the outside.

When we have a healthy lifestyle, it's not a part time gig. It's not something you do half heartedly. It's not about how many calories you burned today, or the fact that you gave up soda. Yes, we have to start somewhere, but we also have to keep moving forward and realize that you will get results based on your efforts. So a 90 minute workout with an 800-900 calorie burn, followed by a cheeseburger and fries or a pepperoni pizza with extra cheese, really isn't going to cut it.

What you have to decide is this.... What am I wanting to get out of this? And how far am I willing to go? My answers to these questions are this.... I want to be a healthy weight with good cardio health. I want to have energy and feel happy. I don't want to inherit the diabetes that runs in my family. I don't want to simply exist, ever. I want my husband to know that I haven't stopped trying to turn his head, and I will always do my best to make sure he only has eyes for me. I don't want to get lazy in my marriage by letting myself go. I want to set goals and accomplish them because I can. I want to be healthy inside and out. I don't want to treat my body as a trash can. And I am willing to push myself past my comfort zone to get all of these things. On a side note, I want to be able to let go sometimes. I want to have a beer on the beach with my husband. I want to eat pizza and ice cream with my kids. I want to eat cupcakes. I want to enjoy good tasting food.

If there is one thing that I have learned about healthy living, it's that you HAVE to find a balance. You HAVE to learn how to be able to enjoy those cupcakes, pizzas, ice cream, and beer. You HAVE to learn that you CAN eat these things. But what you have to understand is, you have to know what results you're working for, and you never want to sabotage yourself.

With a healthy lifestyle, there truly is a balance. It is different for everyone. It should be based on your goals. Your will power. Your strengths. Your weaknesses. Your wants. But there truly is a balance, and it's up to you to find yours. And when you fall, you have to get back up and keep moving forward. If you can figure this out, you will be able to keep the lifestyle going. And THAT is when you get results. Never give up. You just need to find your balance.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Over thinking

So first of all, completely unrelated to my post, I'm in a great mood because my hubby will be home from his conference in a few hours. He's been gone since Saturday. Thank goodness he has a job that doesn't have him traveling much. Just a few times a year. I enjoy my time alone with the kids when he's gone, but I'm always more than ready to have him back home! So yay for today:).

Moving on.... If you haven't figured it out by now, I typically write about things that I struggle with or notice about myself personally. It helps me, and hopefully it helps you. So this morning I was thinking about how easy it is for me to ruin a good thing by over thinking it. I have to analyze things, think about the consequences or the bottom line, and often I end up thinking in circles. I may have a great idea, get super excited about it, think it through, think it through some more, dissect it, and just pick it apart. Then by the time I get through with all of that, I've ruined a good thing instead of just experiencing something great.

So how does this relate to my "fitness" blog? I think (not liking using that word at the moment) that it is very easy to ruin our efforts by thinking too much. Yes you have to think on it, but I believe (replacing the word think) that we tend to over do it.

So while I pondered (still trying to replace the word think) this, I realized that when it comes to diet and exercise, we need to just relax! If you decide to eat healthy and exercise, then you become obsessed with thinking on it constantly, it can easily ruin the whole thing for you. "I really blew it by eating that handful of potato chips", or "I only have 3 weeks until vacation and I need to get 15 pounds off", or "I burned 800 calories in the gym today, so I can eat a little more tonight"....

Any of that hit home with you? Yesterday I wrote about how we are our own worst critics, and about how that really sabotages our efforts. That is what led me to this. I mentioned that we just need to get out of our own heads. Make a plan and get out of your own way.

I also thought about how the whole purpose for healthy living is to improve your quality of life. But if you're constantly obsessed with your thoughts regarding your appearance, you goals, your efforts, and your every decision, doesn't that really rob you of enjoying the rewards of all that hard work?

I don't want to make it sound like I take healthy living lightly, because that's not true. And if you know me, you know how dedicated I am. I'm not encouraging you to be half hearted about your health. I'm encouraging you to remember why you're doing all of this. I'm encouraging you to do all of this work so that you enjoy spending time at the pool with your kids without feeling self conscious in a bathing suit, and so that you aren't hiding yourself from being in the family pictures, and so that you enjoy buying new clothes, and going on hikes and long walks with your spouse without tuckering out.

I "think" that if we all stop over thinking our every decision, make responsible choices with diet and exercise, and always remember that we do it all for the love of living life to the fullest, we will all be a lot further along, a lot less stressed about the lifestyle, and a lot happier a year from now.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mentality

How do your thoughts affect your efforts to get fit? How good of a job are you doing supporting yourself? Are you maybe sabotaging yourself without realizing it?

We are all sensitive about our appearance, whether we admit it or not. If someone in your life were to constantly remind you of how out of shape you are, how far you have to go, how it seems like you're always working at it and getting no results, how you look chubby, or any other negative, discouraging words, how would you react? My guess is that you would become defensive and upset about the lack of support you just received, and that you would feel torn down, and your spirit would be squelched. So why is it ok for you to attack yourself in the same way? My opinion? It's not!

When you are constantly reminding yourself that you always fail at a certain point in your weight loss efforts, or tell yourself that you hate to workout, or that you have no will power, you are feeding yourself with every tool necessary to fail. Who can function under so much criticism? Who can maintain a positive attitude when they're constantly reminded of their failures? Who wants to keep moving forward when they are being told they're incapable of all of the things they want to accomplish? When you knock yourself down repeatedly, you eventually stop wanting to get back up.

Let me ask you this.... How much of your failure is caused by your own mental sabotage? What negative thoughts do you allow to tear yourself down? How much do you believe you are capable of? How much credit do you give yourself? How much do you use a physical ailment as a crutch, or an excuse to just sit and let yourself deteriorate? Who do you blame for your failures? Do you allow the fact that you have a long way to go to keep you where you currently are? Do you tell yourself that you want to lose weight, but you know you'll just gain it all back (and then some), and you don't want to go on that roller coated ride, so you would rather just stay where you are? Do you mentally fail before you even get started?

I could go on and on about all of the things that I'm sure go on inside you that hold you back from being where you want to be. When you can finally accept the fact that you are capable of accomplishing healthy living, no matter your situation, and learn to believe in yourself, you will finally be able to live a healthy lifestyle.

If someone repeatedly told you that they wished you were fit and healthy, but they know you're not capable of getting there, you would probably become very angry and defensive and blow up. It's pretty unlikely that you would allow anyone to tear you down like that. So if that's the case, why do you allow YOU to talk to you that way? Why do you allow YOU to tear you down?

Think about how you treat yourself. Are you in your own way? Are you sabotaging yourself constantly? When you fall, do you get back up? Or do you lay there and quit? Stop getting in your own way and learn to be your own cheerleader. Be your biggest supporter. Encourage yourself and believe that you are capable of so much more. You may never be a marathoner. You may never be a body builder. You may never be "skinny". But you CAN be better. You can improve yourself. You can accept yourself for you. I believe in you...the question is, do you?



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

motivation

So, that two days of spring like weather was a big fat tease. I am thankful for every second of it, though. I could have used some sunshine, but "beggers........." So I plan on using this day as a a day off. I haven't had one in 7 days, so I guess I will give in to the laziness of the rain and cold. Fyi...."day off" doesn't equal lay around and watch TV all day while eating junk food. It just means I'm not working out, or not working out hard today.....maybe;)

I read something this morning that got my attention, and so I want to share it with you. I am paraphrasing, but the jest of it is that you can not rely on motivation all the time when it comes to health and fitness. You have to rely on discipline. I believe that is so true. People want to be inspired to get fit. Inspiration is a good thing. Motivation is a good thing. Accountability is a good thing. But when none of those things show up on a random Wednesday afternoon, and you find yourself waiting around on it, Wednesday turns into Thursday, turns into Friday, and so on.....

Motivation is typically what gets people started on a fitness program. Maybe swim suit season is around the corner, or the Holidays are over and you gained a few more pounds, or you made a New Year's resolution, or you may have even had a health scare or aha moment that motivated you to get started. But what happens when the new wears off? Research shows that it takes approximately 3-4 weeks to develop new habits. It's around that point (give or take) that people begin to fizzle in their new fitness programs. About this time is when your body starts to catch up to the changes you have made, and starts defending itself against them. As a result, you stop seeing the inches and pounds fall off at such a dramatic rate. This is when people begin to feel stuck.

When you first start out on a fitness program because of motivation, then you remain motivated by the results of your hard work, it's easy to keep going. But what happens when that stops? You quit....... You give up..... Until the next motivating thing comes along and starts the whole process all over again.

Sometimes you aren't going to want to go on. Sometimes you are going to feel defeated. Sometimes you are going to want to quit. Sometimes your workout buddy is going to flake out on you. And those "sometimes" happen a lot more than they don't. But as long as you aren't quitting, you are succeeding.

When you find yourself in those moments that motivation has left you hanging, dig deeper and find your determination. Your dedication.Your drive. Your discipline. Kick it up a notch and go after what you want. When staleness sets in, change what you're doing! Don't allow boredom and plateaus to be the reason you quit. If you develop an injury, change what you're doing! Just because you have a shoulder injury, doesn't mean you can't get out there and work every other part of your body.

There will be plenty of days that you are NOT going to feel like eating right, or working out. There will be plenty of days that you step on the scales and feel angry and frustrated. There will be plenty of days that you find yourself thankful for any excuse you can find to get you out of it. But whatever you do, never stop relying on discipline. Nobody ever regretted a good workout or healthy dinner. Nobody ever walked away from the gym on a guilt trip over what they DID do.

Funny....I'm trying to motivate you to stop relying on motivation to keep you going. Haha.
Seriously though.....Get busy! Stop waiting around. Make yourself out a schedule and stick to it. What are you waiting for? Go do it!

I can help! Email me at lacyfitnessblog@gmail.com. And if you have a topic you would like me to address, let me know and I will do my best to help you out!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

My idea of fit

I got this pic off Pinterest. I don't know if it's an actual quote from Marilyn Monroe, or if someone just put her name at the bottom of it. Whatever the case, I'm going to pretend it's a real Marilyn quote. I'm not a lover of Marilyn Monroe. I don't really have any feelings about her or her work. What I do know is that in her era, women looked like women. But somewhere down the road, healthy looking women started to become considered fat.

To be a famous actress in our era, you have to be very thin. Thanks to this idea of what beautiful is, eating disorders are on a constant rise. I read that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. I didn't even realize that eating disorders were considered a mental illness, but I can see how it would fall into that category.

Girls, we put so much pressure on ourselves to be thinner than our bodies were individually designed to be, that we forget what the true purpose of diet and exercise is really all about. We get so caught up in comparing ourselves to each other that we lose sight of why we should be doing all of these things in the first place.

I don't have a very traditional opinion or view of diet and exercise. As girls, we have the need to constantly compare ourselves to others. So we crash diet, weigh ourselves 5 times a day, and starve ourselves into the smallest jeans we can....Or we yoyo diet, attempting to get as skinny as we can, and become overwhelmed by how hard it is and quit.....Or, we just do nothing, lead a sedentary lifestyle, eat junk constantly, and look at the overly thin women in the media in judgement over their choices (while probably feeling secretly jealous of their skinniness).

Then there's another extreme.... We have the overly "fit" women, sporting bulging muscles, spending hours in the gym, eating nothing but egg whites, creating a whole other image that the average (I don't mean average in a bad way) woman can't live up to. I say "fit" because they portray their choices as healthy ones, but they are anything but healthy. And one thing that all of these have in common is a fear of certain foods and the affect of eating them.

No wonder we are all stressed out and confused. We are sent messages to be skinny. Then, after all the flack the media catches over being responsible for eating disorders being on the rise, we are told that we need to be "fit". We are subjected to images of what skinny or fit looks like, but the images we are subjected to are not practical for the average (again, no offense) woman.

When I say I don't have a very traditional view of diet and exercise, what I mean is that the media never gives the average woman a realistic or achievable image of what beautiful really looks like in the real world. And while I do like to look good, I believe that health and fitness should always be about health and fitness FIRST, and vanity last.

I don't want to give the impression that I feel like body image doesn't matter. I'm a woman. You know better. And I don't want to give the impression that I don't do what I can to stay looking fit and young. What I want to relay in this, is that we need to stop relying on the media to tell us what beautiful is for us personally, and that while beauty is something to work for and a great reward for your hard work, it's important for us to take a stand against the extreme images we are being sold as what a woman should look like. And that we all need to realize and remember that these people that we see in the media are professionals and not the average woman. It is their job to look like they do. They're selling us stuff. It isn't realistic. It is achievable. But it isn't realistic.

What I hope you take away from this post, is that living a healthy lifestyle should not be a stressful thing that leaves you feeling like you are constantly failing, or that you don't live up to the standards of this world. It shouldn't be something that you can't continue and live with. It shouldn't leave you feeling inadequate or incapable. It shouldn't focus on vanity. It shouldn't be about swim suit season or size 2 jeans. It should be about having quality of life, feeling great, taking care of the only body you have, being a good example of what healthy looks like, improving cardiovascular health and prolonging disease, etc. And as a reward, you get to look good all the time! If you want to be your most beautiful, be your most healthy.

I can help you find a healthy lifestyle that you can live with. A lifestyle that is permanent and takes the pressure of body image away. I would love to chat with you if you need help. Don't wait another day.

Email me at lacysfitnessblog@gmail.com






Friday, April 5, 2013

Inspire

Most of us look for ways to be inspired, but we rarely think about ourselves as being inspiring. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe because we have trouble recognizing our own strengths and accomplishments? Or maybe because we get so caught up in our own need to be inspired that we forget to return the favor? Whatever the reason, it seems like we often neglect to give back.

I do think we can be inspiring without even realizing it. I love a success story. I love to witness the fire inside someone that has just accomplished something they never knew they were capable of. I love that a success like that can relight a fire within someone that has already accomplished what you just did. I also love that your journey speaks volumes to those that don't think they have what it takes. When someone sees you start at ground zero, and they witness your determination and success, it shows them that they too are capable of much more than they realized.

When you decide to plow through any obstacle that tries to stop you from accomplishing your goals, you come out stronger and more proud of what you have acheived. Why? Because you never gave up. And you never will. And THAT inspires people! We all have what it takes to accomplish our dreams. Some of us just never use it. Some of us let oursleves believe that we are not capable. That's bull! You DO have what it takes. It's up to you to decide whether you want to make it happen. And, yes, it will be hard. Some days you will want to quit. Some days you will feel unstoppable. But the bottom line is, you either make it happen, or you don't. We can't just want something, wish for it, and expect it to magically appear. We have to want something, wish for it, work for it, and press on even when it seems impossible.

I want to encourage you to find inspiration today. Or step back and evaluate your own success and find ways to use that to inspire other people. Encourage someone today. The only difference between those that are accomlishing their goals, and those that aren't, is that we made the choice to go after what we want. You don't have to be the best at living a healthy and fit lifestyle. You only have to be YOUR best. As long as you aren't quitting, you are succeeding. But no matter where you are in your fitness journey, everyone needs a little inspirtation. Just never forget to give it back!



Thursday, April 4, 2013

Gimmicks and reality

Everyone has seen pictures of people they wish they could look like. You watch infomercials for fitness programs, read an article on how to lose 10 pounds in 10 days, join challenges that come to an end and eventually leave you back at square one, set unrealistic goals based on misbelief about fitness, or fall for the latest fad diet and wonder why you never get to where you want to be.

The frustrating thing about fitness is that you get fired up and look for dramatic promises, fall into the trap of marketing gimmicks, and never truly dig into what it REALLY takes to be healthy and fit. The truth is, if you are being promised dramatic changes and expect to achieve them, you have to do dramatic things to get there. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with dramatic results or dramatic work. I'm saying that most of us in this world don't have the time it takes, much less the desire, to do those things. And we certainly don't want to have to maintain the results.

If your desire is to be uber thin, you have to take extreme, unhealthy measures to get there. If your desire is to be uber shredded, you have to spend a lot of time working out and maintain a very strict, high protein, low carb/fat, also unhealthy diet.

What I find frustrating, is that the "happy medium" or "average" fit body doesn't get people's attention and doesn't make the marketing companies any money, so that's never advertised as a desired goal.

We live in a dramatic world. Drama sells. Drama is what people respond to. But then when you fall for the dramatic gimmick and get normal, real, or average results, you feel like you have failed.

I seriously get so angry about how distorted these companies are and how the messages they send have the opposite affect on people then they should have. You're "sold" a dramatic, unrealistic promise that doesn't deliver and then feel like a failure. How is that promoting health and fitness? Come on...

So this is my attempt to interrupt the lies you're falling for, and hopefully get you thinking differently. When someone wants to sell you something, they're going to SELL you something! I'd like to see more people take that energy they have when they are fired up about getting fit, and put it toward realistic efforts with realistic goals and results.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to find accountability. Consistency is always key. Reality is key. Determination is key. Inspiration is key. Accountability is key!

I encourage you to read more blogs like this. Follow real people that did real work to get real results and are really maintaining. Set your own goals that don't lead you to failure, but rather to success. Expect realistic results. Understand that you should be working toward healthy living. Don't fall for gimmicks. Don't fall for promises. The only promise you need is the one that you make to yourself to never quit. Don't be a victim of the media and marketing agencies. They have a job, and that job is to sell you stuff. And don't fall for the dramatic TV shows that need ratings. Drama gets ratings.

Just to be clear, I don't think there is anything wrong with extreme fitness. Hard work pays off. The harder you work, the more it shows. What I do believe is that you should never take unnatural approaches to accomplish your goals. If your goals require you to take extreme, dramatic, unnatural measures, you need new goals.

If you have questions, need help, need accountability, or are looking for someone to show you the healthy, natural way to live healthy for life, email me at lacysfitnessblog@gmail.com. I want to help you do it right. I want you to succeed. I want you to see what you are really missing out on.

Good luck to you in your journey!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Squats

I don't usually hit on specific exercise movements, but I wanted to talk about the benefits of squats.

Lots of people dread leg day. I personally love it. Squats work the entire lower body without having to use weights. They are known as a leg workout, but you're entire body will benefit from this simple movement. They even work deep down into the core. They do not require any equipment. You can do them anywhere. I like to do them randomly throughout my day, just for an added bonus. And, girls, they're about the best thing you can do to lift that booty.

When done properly, squats can help you improve you upper and lower body strength. They create an Anabolic environment , which promotes muscle building throughout the entire body. Squats are a very functional exercise movement. They are one of the best movements to help improve balance and mobility and well as help you perform real life daily activities. Like getting into or out of a chair, bending over to pick something up, lifting things, and my favorite reason....hovering over public toilets. Ha.

Strong legs are important, but even more so when you get older. Keeping your legs strong will give you a better quality of life for a lot longer. Also, keeping your core and legs strong and improving mobility and balance will help prevent falls. They also improve range of motion and flexibility in your hips and ankles, and protect them as you get older. They have also been proven to improve movement of feces through the colon resulting in more regular bowel movements.

The proper way to perform a squat....
Warm up
Stand with your feet just over shoulder width apart
Keep your back in a neutral position, and keep your knees centered over your feet
Slowly bend your knees, hips and ankles, lowering until you reach a 90-degree angle
Return to starting position -- repeat 15-20 times, for 2-3 sets for beginners (do this two or three times a week)
Breathe in as you lower, breathe out as you return to starting position

Exercise is important in disease prevention. Add squats to your weekly routine. If you are unstable, hold onto a chair,or wall, or kid, or dog to protect yourself. Women....these are the types of movements that prolong and even prevent bone loss. We all want to look good, but sometimes we forget about feeling good and improving our strength for functional and practical reasons. Never lose sight of WHY we should exercise and eat right. It's not all in vain. If you're doing it for that reason only, you will not be living the healthy lifestyle you should be.

If you have questions about squats, or any fitness questions at all, feel free to email me. Lacysfitnessblog@gmail.com