What about you?

I was in Bible study this morning and the subject of taking care of yourself came up.  As I was leaving I realized that it is exactly what the premise of my blog is!  Here’s some more detail…

The study we are doing is on marriage but it applies to any relationship (husband, friends, co-workers, children, etc).  Today two counselors/doctors/pastors from our church’s counseling ministry came to speak.  One of them told a story about his wife (I don’t know how long they have been married but I am guessing 30+ years, they now have two grown daughters but the story took place when their children were young).  At this point in their lives his wife was homeschooling their daughters.  He came into the kitchen on his way out the door to work and asked her to get a sitter for that  night so they could go out to dinner.  He just wanted to talk and spend time with her.  With tears in her eyes she told him she had nothing left to give him.  She was exhausted and completely worn out (this is how she felt in the morning before her day had even really gotten into full swing!)  She was so stretched with being a mom and homeschooling that when it came time to the relationship with her husband she did not have the time or energy for him.  He left for work and turned around half way there and went back home.  He told her that was not good enough, she had to let something go.

What he told us is that it is okay to take time for ourselves.  We should not feel guilty for taking an hour or whatever time to do something for ourselves.  As I was driving away I had a light bulb moment!  Yes!!  This is exactly what my blog is about!  It’s about taking care of yourself mentally and physically so that you can better take care of others.  Our relationships will surely suffer if we give everything away and don’t keep anything for ourselves.

For the moms out there… my Bible study is for young moms.  There were 120+ women in the room this morning, all with pre-school and early elementary age kids, being told by one of our pastors that it is okay to take time away from your kids and do something for themselves.  Nothing to feel guilty about.  For me this is exercising.  What is it for you?

Gotta Adjust

I know, I know… I have been MIA for a couple of weeks now.  I bet you have been wondering what I have been doing.  Well, I have been laying around playing Candy Crush, taking hot baths, not doing weights or cardio, going to the pool, and I got a massage.  Before you start wondering if I have fallen off the deep end let me explain…

Remember my back problems that haunt me every so often?  The pain has come back and hit a peak last Monday.  I was in the gym to do my regular weight workout but with lower weight and then planned on swimming.  I did my first set (was doing back and chest that day, I do 3 exercises consecutively rest for 30 seconds then repeat for a total of 4 sets) and the pain in my back started increasing.  I did the second set and then pain was so bad I had to stop right then.  It took all I had to put my equipment away.  I immediately started trying to stretch and left to go home shortly there after.

When I say I was laying around, what I really mean is I was laying on the floor on an ice pack or heating pad (I played Candy Crush during this, lol!).  Sitting is the worst for low back pain so instead of sitting I lay flat.  I have also been taking baths using Epsom salts a couple of times a week.  My youngest son decided that his back hurt too and he needed to lay on the ice also…

Jack's "back hurt too"

I have been going to the gym but more to stay in the habit and to get myself and my kids out of the house each morning.  I have not been doing weights or my regular cardio.  On a normal week I go to the gym 5 days doing 4 days of weights and cardio plus 1 functional workout (fast paced plyometrics).  Recently I have been just riding the upright bike, walking a few laps around the track and stretching.  I can’t remember the last time I left the gym a sweaty mess.  However, this is what my body needs right now.  I have changed my workouts to help my back.  For now that means doing my workouts using machines (instead of free weights) and only doing 2 days (1 upper body, 1 lower body) and only doing what doesn’t hurt.  I’m also taking a regular yoga class and at least 1 if not 2 deep stretch yoga classes a week.

I have been going to the pool but not always to get some Vitamin D 🙂  Since most cardio puts weight and pressure on your hips (which puts pressure on the back) my options are very limited.  I have started swimming and doing pool workouts.  If you have an injury and have access to the pool this is an excellent option.  There is no pressure on your joints meaning you can get through your workout pain free!  Plus for some reason I always feel like I am burning more calories when I swim.

And the massage… there was not pleasurable or enjoyable about it at all!  I went to a massage therapist that I went to in the fall when I was having problems that specializes in sports therapy.  He gets into the muscles and works to release the tension.  There was a lot of “ouch” and hardly any “ahh”!  In my therapist’s defense I did feel much better when it was all over!

So if you have an injury don’t let it take you out.  Adjust your workouts to do what you can and stay in your routine.  Try to continue your normal gym trips as best you can doing the exercises that you can so you don’t fall out of habit.  When you start filling your gym time with other things that becomes your normal routine and you could have a hard time getting back in gear once you are better.

Writing this blog standing up

Writing this blog standing up

Confession Time!

So, remember how I said last week that on vacation I let it all go and completely enjoyed myself?  Well, what I didn’t tell you was that when I got on the scale last Sunday I was up 9 pounds!  I know, everything you read says not to get on the scale but I did and it pretty much affected my week…

I figured I would gain weight while we were gone and I had expected to lose what I gained the first week we were home.  It hasn’t really happened that way.  I went to the gym Monday and did legs and HIIT (high intensity interval training) and I thought I was going to die.  My legs felt like Jell-O, they were so wobbly.  My body had to burn off all those alcoholic drinks before I could get back to burning the fat (if you are a heavy drinker and aren’t seeing results in the gym, cut the alcohol).  Suddenly I lost my taste for those fruity drinks I had enjoyed!  As the week went on my workouts got back to normal (big thanks to the music I had pumping and getting me through, something about Pitbull makes me push myself harder!).

On Thursday (my normal weekly weigh day) I got back on the scale and I was only down 1.5 pounds even though I was sticking to my nutrition plan.  Talk about frustrating!!  I had a major pity party.  Basically I was right back where I was before I did my cleanse.  I knew doing the cleanse that I would probably put back some if not all that I lost.  Looking back, I wish I had waited to do the cleanse after vacation because the gain would more than likely have been gradual and not so in your face like I experienced.

All in all, I really didn’t gain that much weight on vacation when you factor in the cleanse.  I can honestly say looking at myself today that I am happy with everything except my stomach.  I want that elusive tight tummy that is so hard to me to get (hey, we all have a problem area!).  So my goal this summer is to work towards visible abs and not get so caught up in what the scale says!

My vacation experiment taught me that in order to get and maintain the physique that I want, I have to work hard for it (if you haven’t read my “Extreme” post, it will explain my journey and struggles).  To me that means sticking to my nutrition plan (yes, it does include treat meals) and hitting my workouts hard.  Do I regret what I did on vacation?  No.  I wanted and needed a week off from it all and that is exactly what I did.  It’s once a year, I can and will get over it just to do it all again next year.  It’s all about balancing life!

 

Not what I planned…

Last week my kids had spring break from pre-school so I was looking forward to a slower pace week, fun times with my boys and some good workouts. That’s not exactly how the week went down.

After I got back to my parent’s house from my workout last Monday, my 4 year old was not acting himself at all. He is normally bouncing off the walls, running around and asking when we are going to do our next activity. Instead I found him sitting and being really quiet and telling me nothing was wrong. About 30 minutes later he had a fever. My 2 year old and husband were just getting over a stomach bug that was going around so I instantly knew what was coming. I ended up getting us packed up immediately and we left to come home. Poor boy got sick right as I was turning onto the interstate. Thanks to baby wipes I keep in my car and our clothes from traveling I was able to get him and the car cleaned up so we could get back on our way home. As a mom traveling alone with sick kids, nothing makes you feel worse than your son asking you to come sit in the backseat with him when you are the only person that can drive the car 😦

The bug lingered for the next 2 days so the gym was a no-go Tuesday and Wednesday (I will say my Monday leg workout was killer though because I was sore until Thursday from it!). He was acting fine for the most part and doing lots of playing (the weather was beautiful!) but his stomach still wasn’t quite right. I felt more comfortable keeping him close to home. While all this was going on my nose started running like crazy. By Thursday my little guy was good to go and I got a good workout in but by Friday morning I wasn’t feeling it. I have a problem of not listening to my body when it is telling me to slow down so I usually end up making whatever minor symptoms I have way worse by not resting. I ended up going to the gym and getting my weights done Friday morning but I decided to do some light steady state cardio instead of the HIIT (high intensity interval training) I was going to do. I did however come home and rest and got a workout in on Saturday.

So now it is a new week and time to get back into our school routine for the next two months. After not getting my regular workouts in I am so ready and motivated to kill every workout this week. We all have those weeks where things don’t go like we had hoped and obstacles pop up to get us off track. The question is what are you going to do when you get across the hurdle? You get back up and sprint down the track, I’ll be in the lane right next to you! Have a great week!

Staying on Track While Traveling

As I write this I am at my parent’s house for the Easter weekend. I love coming home and spending time with my family but it’s hard on my nutrition plan. As I mentioned last week, I like to be in control of how my meals are prepared. When you travel you have to give some or all of that up. Going out of town is fun and you should enjoy yourself. On the other hand you don’t want to go back to bad habits that can be hard to break with you get back home. With summer quickly approaching I thought I would tell you what I do when going out of town to stay on track. Hopefully this will help you next time you go out of town to find a balance.

When I pack to go out of town I not only pack my clothes but I pack food. As I was preparing to come this weekend the first thing I did was go through my pantry. I packed a ziplock bag of oatmeal and got my jar of coconut oil to go with the eggs I knew my mom would have so I could have my normal breakfast. I went to a friend’s house once and took everything I would need… eggs, oatmeal, milk, fruit because I didn’t know what she would have. I also have a breakfast maker that I got from Tupperware so I was able to cook my eggs in the microwave and I didn’t have to worry about getting her kitchen dirty! Next thing I packed was my snacks, remember I’ve got to have my snacks! I took the easy route here and packed my Isagenix bars and protein powders and shaker bottle. It doesn’t get any easier than that. Since I have my pictures behind me (can’t wait to share them with you when I get them back!) I am not being as strict on my nutrition. Remember those Southern meals I told you my mom makes? That’s what Easter dinner was yesterday. Did I eat it? I did and it was good! My next meal though I got back on track. Lunch and dinner I am going with what my mom fixes and making healthy choices from what she cooks. This is where discpline comes in because there are lots of temptations in her kitchen. Discpline is also a huge factor when you are traveling and are not able to take food with you. When you are eating in restaurants the entire time you are gone you have to make healthy choices despite all the bad choices. You know you will be rewarded when you make healthy choices because you will feel good after you finish eating. Unhealthy choices are good going down but you are left feeling yucky afterwards.

I am fortunate in that where my parent’s live they have a fitness center that I can go to for free. I am able to do my normal workout routines. I am not a big runner but today I ran. They live near a lake that has a trail you can run so today I ran that trail looking at the beautiful water. If you are a member of a gym, check out their reciprocity policy. Some gyms are members of a network that allows you to workout in other facilities when you are traveling. If getting into a gym is not an option, before you leave do a google search on functional workouts. These are total body workouts you can do anywhere without equipment, you just use your body weight. You can print out several workouts to take with you. My husband and I went to the Dominican Republic last year. When we went I was 5 weeks out from a bikini competition. I was able to do all of my workouts in the resort fitness center but my best workout that week was my functional workout. I got up early and went out to the beach and did it. The scenery was breathtaking and it motivated me even more to push through my workout, which was even harder than usual since I was doing it on sand.

I’ve had fun with my family and done well staying on track. Now it’s time to go home and get back in my groove!

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Aren’t you being a little extreme?

I have been asked this question before (many times by family members) and I am sure many of my friends have thought this since I started this journey in 2011.  The answer is YES I am being extreme and I have good reasons for being so!

I have always lived in the South and you know how Southerners eat.  I won’t even name some of the dishes I grew up eating because I don’t want to get myself or you off track but let me tell you they were good.  Portion size?  What’s that?  Food has always been where I struggle.  I can remember walking to the drug store near my house when I was younger and getting a couple of candy bars and eating them before I got back home and throwing away the wrappers so no one would know I ate them.  I didn’t drink much water, I drank soft drinks and sweet tea.  I did not have a healthy relationship with food growing up, clean eating was not anywhere on my radar.  I was definitely not into exercising, I did not play any sports growing up.  Don’t get me wrong, my mom cooked dinner most nights but it was more along the lines of fried chicken, rice with gravy and green beans kind of dinners.

When I started eating clean I definitely got extreme.  Food is my weakness, in order to fight that I had and still have to be very diligent on eating clean foods.  It was really hard giving up the soft drinks, chips and sweets.  I started measuring out my portions since I was counting calories and I was shocked to see what a portion was compared to what I was eating.  I didn’t want to eat out unless it was a cheat meal because I knew it would be really hard to make healthy choices outside of my kitchen.  I still struggle with this.  I have been prepping for the past 3 weeks for some pictures I am having taken this week and I have only been out to eat once (and that wasn’t by choice).  I am proud to say that we went to my favorite Mexican restaurant and I stayed on track!  Both bowls of chips ended up in front of me (to get them away from my boys) and I didn’t have a single one.  I also resisted the margarita that I always have with Mexican food!  I got chicken fajitas and asked for only the sizzling fajita plate, I didn’t want any more temptations in front of me.

My friends can tell you that I don’t miss a workout.  I have turned down many invitations to do things in order to go to the gym.  I go because I know if I get off track and start missing workouts it can have a snowball affect and before I know it I am that person paying for the gym membership that never gets used.  My gym time is the only time in my day that I can totally focus on me.  My boys are being taken care of and I have that time to myself.  Are there days I don’t want to go?  You better believe it!  I only have 4 hours 2 days per week where both of my boys are in preschool and I can pack a lot into those hours.  I have errands to run and things that need to get done around the house.  Those things come second to my gym time.  I drop them off and go straight to the gym and get what I can get done afterwards.

I am still learning how to balance this part of my life.  It’s hard for me to go out to eat or go out of my comfort zone and stay on track.  I am better that I was when I started but I still have room for improvement.  I know my past and those habits that I still fight on a daily basis.  I have goals for my future and those goals surround fitness.  So if I want to meet those goals I have to stay on track and if that is extreme to you then so be it.

Mid-Week Post! I saw this on Facebook today and think it fits in perfectly with balancing life.

I will warn you that this post may pull at you and may make you feel a litle guilty. Apparantly the author has gotten a lot of backlash from this post. I am certainly guilty of what she talks about.

As I am getting ready to register my oldest son for kindergarten I realize how fast time goes by. I can’t believe he is about to turn 5, part of me wants him to stay young but I know that it’s time for him to start a new chapter in his life this fall. For me, this post has reminded me that I need to savor the moments I have with him and my younger son because before I know it they will both be grown and I will have all the time in the world for my phone and all that stuff but I will be longing for those moments with them that I may have taken for granted.

So, please know that I’m not trying to make you feel bad. Everyone has a reason for being on their phone that others don’t know about. We shouldn’t judge others because we are not walking in their shoes. I want to find balance between my family and staying connected and I hope you do to.

4 little Fergusons

Don’t miss yesterday’s post: Dear Dad On The Recliner,

Dear Mom On the iPhone,

I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone.  It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it?  You are doing a great job with your kids, you work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores.

But Momma, let me tell you what you don’t see right now…..

Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl.  She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her hair.  She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her. 

You aren’t.

Dancing princess

Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!”  I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way. 

He sees that too.  His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the…

View original post 688 more words

Dear Mom On The iPhone,

Mid-Week Post! I saw this on Facebook today and think it fits in perfectly with balancing life.

I will warn you that this post may pull at you and may make you feel a litle guilty. Apparantly the author has gotten a lot of backlash from this post. I am certainly guilty of what she talks about.

As I am getting ready to register my oldest son for kindergarten I realize how fast time goes by. I can’t believe he is about to turn 5, part of me wants him to stay young but I know that it’s time for him to start a new chapter in his life this fall. For me, this post has reminded me that I need to savor the moments I have with him and my younger son because before I know it they will both be grown and I will have all the time in the world for my phone and all that stuff but I will be longing for those moments with them that I may have taken for granted.

So, please know that I’m not trying to make you feel bad. Everyone has a reason for being on their phone that others don’t know about. We shouldn’t judge others because we are not walking in their shoes. I want to find balance between my family and staying connected and I hope you do to.

4 little Fergusons

Don’t miss yesterday’s post: Dear Dad On The Recliner,

Dear Mom On the iPhone,

I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone.  It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it?  You are doing a great job with your kids, you work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores.

But Momma, let me tell you what you don’t see right now…..

Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl.  She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her hair.  She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her. 

You aren’t.

Dancing princess

Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!”  I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way. 

He sees that too.  His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the…

View original post 688 more words