No, I don’t want to buy your $5 per serving shake/meal replacement/smoothie/whatever you are selling.

Has anyone else noticed that everyone is becoming a representative of some sort of product lately? Skin care, food, kitchen supplies, make up, etc., but the most common thing I keep getting asked to buy and become a part of, is shakes. But the most common thing seems to be shakes and meal replacements, but for me, the answer is no. I get it, though. It is a REALLY tough economy right now and everyone is scrambling to find income and survive. And kudos to all the awesome people in my life that these things work for, who are on a journey of health and wellness and have created a business they love. But please understand, this is not for me. Here is why.

When I tell you I can’t afford it, I really can’t. When you say things like “you are worth the investment”, I appreciate it, and I know that that my health is important and worth a lot of effort an attention. But that doesn’t change my ability to afford it. I use my campus food bank, I budget like crazy, and there are still nights that I have gone to bed without dinner, simply because pay day was around the corner and I had no food because it all went to rent or another crucial bill. This is not the norm every night, though, so don’t worry. I still manage to eat healthy foods on a $100 or less budget per week, in Toronto, for two adult powerlifters with big appetites. We both have smoothies for breakfast that cost $1-2 per person. Mine packs about 40g protein, 10g fiber, 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, lots of fat and carbs, and an array of vitamins and minerals. Sometimes I even eat an orange or kiwi on the side which will up the vitamins and fiber too. These are dietary requirements that are specific to my needs, and meal replacements generally do not meet these needs. Also, I can’t have gluten, which is surprisingly in a lot of that stuff, and I choose not to eat much soy, because it is bad for, and aggravates, all of my weird bodily conditions.

When you say that if I join the business, it will help with my money problems, please understand that I am a full time university student with multiple part-time jobs that I enjoy- I barely have time to shower in a day, let alone participate in the constant social media presence involved in these things. I do enjoy social media, but not for posting every meal and workout I do in a day. And my part-time jobs are ones that are enhancing my life in some way, and I enjoy them.

When you say that I won’t have to step foot in the gym or cook dinners, because all workouts are done from home and dinners are a shake (for example), this does not sound appealing to me. I LOVE going to the gym and cooking. Mostly, I love eating home cooked meals. I do powerlifting, which requires a gym, unless you have your own gym, which would be incredible lol! When you say that I can get weights and modify the workouts to include them, the answer is no. I do powerlifting, it is not the same as getting some dumb bells and following a video.

So I ask that you understand that I have different interests than you, and that is ok. I am excited for you that have a business you love and are healthy and enjoy what you do. I also enjoy what I do, it just happens to be something different. I am so proud of you for working hard towards your health goals! I am also proud of myself. My goals are a little different, and that is also ok. I am looking to gain muscle mass and intense strength, which requires intense workouts at the gym and lots of calories consumed. Hence, low calorie shakes are not suited for me, and meals that cut calories are out of the question. My basal metabolic rate, which is just to maintain my body, muscle, organs, etc. at rest is a little over 1600 cal per day. Add in a workout that burns probably 700 cal AT LEAST, plus add in additional calories to create a surplus for muscle building…that is a lot of food.

So all in all, these shakes and meal replacements just do not suit my life, my goals, or my interests. They may suit yours, which again, is ok. Lets focus on encouraging one another to strive towards our goals, no matter what they are 🙂

What if I don’t want razor abs or a “thigh gap”?

As a woman, I feel like we are expected to strive for flat stomachs, thigh gaps, and a sleek physique.  I have always hated my love handles and “muffin top”, something that I have struggled with my entire life.  I have always felt like I jiggled a little too much in too many places, and yearned for that flat stomach.  I thought that eating less food, and taking up jogging/running was the answer.  But my problem was, I thought that was the only answer.  And I thought that this was the only body that was “acceptable” and that this is what I should be striving for.  So when I would try running, and hated it, I felt doomed to ever feel good about myself, because no matter what routine, style, etc. that I tried, I hated it.  I didn’t realize that there are many types of people and many types of bodies.  I also have Hashimoto’s Disease.  I have been living with it for over a decade, and although it presents challenges, I don’t want to use it as a crutch.

I have been feeling displeased with my body, and one day, out of the blue, thought “well, what if I don’t want a six pack?!”.  And I got to thinking…….What if I don’t want a perfectly sculpted body?  What if I don’t mind if my thighs touch, or my stomach jiggles a little?  What if I don’t want to be a runner?!  Now, I am not suggesting unhealthy lifestyles, but rather, the expectations I had been carrying around for myself were unrealistic, and not very well thought out.  I didn’t ever truly think about what I ACTUALLY wanted for myself, I just thought about what I felt I SHOULD be wanting.  I just assumed that is what I should look like, and being a runner with razor abs is what I should be striving for.  It was like a switch flipped in my brain.  After some reflecting and long conversations with the Artist, my goals and aspirations became more clear….

I want to…

  • exercise regularly doing a variety of activities, and lift even heavier weights then I already do
  • improve my yoga practice
  • get a minimum of 8 hours of quality sleep every night, 9 is actually my preferred amount for me to feel well rested
  • eat a clean, whole foods diet

I DO NOT want to…

  • rely on meal replacements or other “diet” products
  • be a runner/jogger, because that is not me or where my interests are, nor do I not enjoy it…kudos to all you runners out there!  Doing what you love is the most important thing!
  • wake up at 4am every morning to work out
  • want to work out in my living room (I know this works well for others, and that is awesome, but this is not for me.  My living room is my special relaxing space, where I read, listen to music and spend time with my Artist, and I do not want it associated with working out.)

I want to aim to incorporate exercise and fitness into my life, and NOT the reverse- trying to fit some “life” into my exercise schedule.  But mainly, I want to feel healthy, energetic, and most importantly: STRONG.  As I said above, there are different types of people and different types of bodies- we are all different!  And if we are all different we should have a variety of goals, and I should not be comparing myself or my goals to others.  I consider myself as “thick” and “dense”, and for the first time, I am perfectly ok with that.

The Artist and I are 2 months into our new workout routine.  To simplify, our routine goes as follows: lift often (3 times a week for us), and left heavy.  That is all (with the occasional walk or bike ride thrown in there).  When I started dabbling in weight lifting about 3 years ago, I didn’t really know what I doing, and I was more experimenting to find what kinds of exercise I enjoyed.  I wasn’t really lifting anything heavy, I wast just trying to figure myself out.  I thought it would be pretty cool, if one day, I could put 25lb plates on the squat bar (95lbs total) and do all of my sets that way.  This was my “dream goal” that I 100% thought I might never actually achieve.

Here I am, 2 months into our “lift often, and lift heavy” regimen, squatting 25lb and 10lb weights on the bar, for a total of 115lbs, above and beyond what I thought I might never be able to do!

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And I also wanted to share a video of me doing deadlifts.  My “dream goal” on this was 45lb plates on the bar (135lbs total), and again, I 100% thought I would NEVER be able to do this.  I could barely do a 40lb barbell 2 months ago, so I am really proud of myself on this one 🙂

When watching these videos and viewing these photos of myself, I was kind of disappointed at first.  I don’t look nearly as strong or good as I feel, but then I realized that is the most important thing right?- how I FEEL!  So although I am still working on changes and improvements, and as I feel discouraged when things aren’t happening “fast enough”, I just remember that me going to the gym, or taking that bike ride, or going on that walk, is better then me sitting on the couch.  Everyone knows that famous quote, that every journey starts with a single step, and it is very true.  I am just trying to make healthy choices for myself, one day at a time.

Getting Out of This Funk- Update.

I think it is time to update my get-out-this-funk status.  I have been working hard at my checking off everything on my list, and feeling much better 🙂   No more letting these winter blues bring me down!

– Clean the house, top to bottom. A cluttered and messy living space makes for a restless and overwhelmed mind. And a clean and tidy living space makes for a more calm mind, or so I have found for me. DONE!

– Catch up on laundry. IN PROGRESS! (I never have enough quarters….)

– Schedule a day that works for both the Artist and I to prepare our taxes. MAILING OUR FINAL PAPERS ON MONDAY!

– Apply for an external scholarship. IN PROGRESS!

– Go to the Soulard Farmer’s Market. To stock up on fresh and healthy foods, support local farmers, and get some fresh air and out and about in the community. I like to eat local and organically as often as I can. NOT YET, BUT MAYBE TOMORROW!

– Do some yoga. I enjoy kripalu yoga. I find it is relaxing, stress relieving, and is really beneficial for my body’s needs. NOT YET

– Work with the Artist on fixing up the chairs from Goodwill. DONE! (refer to previous post)

– Stock up on lots of healthy foods to fill my body with nutrients, and to entice me to cook lots of home cooked meals, and healthified baked goods. DONE! (Still some items I would like to get, but still bargain hunting for a good price!)

My favourite salad.

My favourite salad.

Pork and veggie kabobs.

Pork and veggie kabobs.

Home made Mongolian Grill style stirfry.  AMAZING!

Home made Mongolian Grill style stirfry. AMAZING!

Chocolate peanut butter cups, healthified.

Chocolate peanut butter cups, healthified.

The middle is organic, natural, unsalted PB with some vanilla protein powder to help flavour it and thicken it up a bit.  The chocolate is organic unrefined coconut oil, cocoa powder, and honey and pure maple syrup to taste.  The flavours of those don't come through, they just sweeten.

The middle is organic, natural, unsalted PB with some vanilla protein powder to help flavour it and thicken it up a bit. The chocolate is organic unrefined coconut oil, cocoa powder, and honey and pure maple syrup to taste. The flavours of those don’t come through, they just sweeten.

– Switch up my exercise routine to include heavier lifting and more cardio. LIFTING HEAVIER 😀 FOR MY VERY FIRST TIME EVER IN MY LIFE, I GRABBED WEIGHTS ON THE BOTTOM FREE WEIGHT RACK! STILL TRYING TO WORK IN MORE CARDIO.

– Clean out and organize the fridge, freezer, and pantry. DONE!

– Find good homes for clothing and other items that I no longer need, and that are contributing to the clutter. NOT YET

– Do a little thrifting. I could some some non-winter shoes that are more fancy then every day wear. DONE! (refer to previous post, although you can never do enough thrifting lol!)

– Pick up my knitting. WORKING ON SOME LEG WARMERS!

– Finish my current novel. IN PROGRESS!

– Watch some good movies. YES 🙂 Among others, I recently saw Gravity.  It was amazing, but really scary.  Space really freaks me out.  It is like my worst nightmare, being lost in space.  Or bring lost at sea on a rubber dingy, with no land in sight.  The vastness of the ocean also freaks me right out.  I could never go into space, or go scuba diving.  I don’t even like doing for deep sea swims in a lake or something where the bottom is waaaaay down there.  I’m not sure what it is, but it is so scary to me.  Way more scary then horror movies with fictional monsters or villains.

On a happier note, I listened to an interesting story on NPR recently.  The Artist and I were in the car, arriving at home, but ran into the house as fast as we could to turn on the radio to continue listening.  It was about a man who was several months behind in his rent and had to go before a judge, and was facing eviction.  He was given 15 days to come up with the money his owed, and had no idea how he was going to do it.  He entered a rap contest and the grand prize was exactly the amount he owed.  He was struggling to make a living, trying to follow his dreams.  In the end, he and another contestant were tied for the win, and he was able to pay off his rent debt.  Shortly thereafter, having been seen at the contest, his career took off and he was going off on tour.  He said that if this is what it took for him to make it, then it was all worth it.

The moral of story is, don’t give up on your dreams.  Don’t settle for anything less then what you want.  I think the reason why the Artist and I enjoyed this radio talk so much was because we are living this story.  We are struggling, we are broke, but we keep on going.  One step at a time, we are headed in the right direction.  We figure out whatever obstacles are presented to us, and we become that much closer.  Some think we are crazy to “choose” this struggle, that it is really worth it?  The answer is yes.  Without a doubt.  We know what we want, and will stop at nothing.  As the saying goes, “even the longest journey, begins with a single step”.

I know what I want in a home.  I know what I want in a career.  I know what I want in a family.  I am in an amazing marriage.  I am head over heels in love.  I will work hard to achieve my goals.  I will never give up.

Am most importantly, I am happy.  And really, isn’t that all that matters?

 

Time to Get Out of This Funk.

I don’t know if it is the weather, the changing seasons, or what, but I have been in this weird funk for the last couple weeks. I think that this end-of-winter-almost-spring change of seasons where everything is gray, and gloomy, and cold, and everyone is anxious for spring to begin, has taken it’s toll on me.

I haven’t felt like cooking, it seems like such a chore, and I have no desire to do it, when normally I enjoy cooking. And the same goes for baking, both regular and healthified. I don’t particularly enjoy cleaning the house, but normally I am good at keeping up with it, and it isn’t overly time consuming because we have an apartment versus a multiple story house, a small kitchen, and just 1 bathroom. But I have no motivation to do this, nor to do laundry (mostly because I have to go outside and into the basement, and carrying all the stuff down is such a hassle, and my clumsy self frequently trips on the stairs, sometimes resulting in nasty wounds). I haven’t picked up my knitting in a while, or read the current book I have on the go. There are projects that need to be done around the house, like fixing up the chairs we bought at Goodwill for a couple bucks each, cleaning out the pantry, etc., and none of them have amounted to anything more then just a thought. Even just going grocery shopping seems like a chore, even thought I normally I love it…getting all bundled up, going out in the cold, on a gloomy day, just ugh. And this type of mood and the gloomy weather, influences me to want to eat junk food, and resisting is so hard for me, and can be kind of exhausting haha. And I am just really busy with volunteering in the community, and applying to grad school and looking for scholarships, that these gray days can slip by in an instant. And I just have a lot on my plate, which is exhausting to carry around.

I am so sick of this! So I have decided that enough is enough, the weather and everything else does not get to dictate me or influence this kind of lifestyle- I am getting out of this funk, and back to my vibrant self. I figured that setting some goals for what I want to do, how I want to spend my time, and deciding what is important to me and creating a list, would be the best way for me to go about cutting off this extreme, lazy, procrastination. So here is my “beat this gloomy season funk” to-do list.

– Clean the house, top to bottom. A cluttered and messy living space makes for a restless and overwhelmed mind. And a clean and tidy living space makes for a more calm mind, or so I have found for me.

– Catch up on laundry.

– Schedule a day that works for both the Artist and I to prepare our taxes.

– Apply for an external scholarship.

– Go to the Soulard Farmer’s Market. To stock up on fresh and healthy foods, support local farmers, and get some fresh air and out and about in the community. I like to eat local and organically as often as I can.

– Do some yoga. I enjoy kripalu yoga. I find it is relaxing, stress relieving, and is really beneficial for my body’s needs.

– Work with the Artist on fixing up the chairs from Goodwill.

– Stock up on lots of healthy foods to fill my body with nutrients, and to entice me to cook lots of home cooked meals, and healthified bakes gods.

– Switch up my exercise routine to include heavier lifting and more cardio.

– Clean out and organize the fridge, freezer, and pantry.

– Find good homes for clothing and other items that I no longer need, and that are contributing to the clutter.

– Do a little thrifting. I could some some non-winter shoes that are more fancy then every day wear.

– Pick up my knitting.

– Finish my current novel.

– Watch some good movies.
This seems like a simple to-do list, which it sort of is. But by accomplishing all of the things that I have been avoiding and procrastinating with laziness, I will feel productive and proud of myself. It is like a snow ball effect; once I just get started, which is the hardest part, it will all come quickly together.

So after making this list, I feel a lot more organized and motivated to “get back to life”, and make the time for things that are important to me, both in terms of necessary things like cleaning and taxes, but also things I do for myself, like reading and watching movies. Keeping up with one’s hobbies gets more difficult as we get older and busier with life, and I do not want to lose or forget about mine. So making the time for them is important to me.

So far, I can cross a few items on my list.

We got the chairs fixed up, the Artist reupholstered them, and I helped clean them up.  It cost only about $4 per chair to do so 🙂

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And we went thifting.  I found these gems, all in like-new condition for a couple bucks a piece.

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We also watched Julie and Julia, and It’s Complicated, having a nice date-night in together, and after we watch a good movie it always sparks really great conversation between us afterwards ❤

I couldn’t end this post without sharing another Artist moment.  He is so funny, and wonderfully weird 😉  I went into the bathroom and took a shower.  When I came out, I saw this:

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In the 10-15 minutes I was in the bathroom showering, the Artist had decided to make some art, busted off a ton of drawings, and was laying on a floor playing catch with himself with a roll of masking tape.  It it kind of like when you leave a room and come back to find your dog having done something silly.

I love him ❤

Almost a Year With my New Lifestyle.

It has been almost a year since I made a big change in my life.  About a year ago, the Artist and I were talking and we decided we wanted to get gym memberships at his school.  We had been doing “home workouts” here and there, and were really excited to start working out in an actual gym again.  I had been been a little displeased with my body, and found myself wondering how to maximize these workouts.  The Artist is an expert in all things fitness and food, so when we were talking he was able to explain to me how the body works with regards to eating and exercise- my mind was blown.  This conversation changed my life.  With the incredible knowledge the Artist had, I was able to re-evaluate my lifestyle and decide what I wanted to change.  We are such a good, supportive, encouraging team.  The Artist was supportive of me in my goals to change my lifestyle, and I couldn’t wait to get home to tell him about my workout or how I had improved on something, and he was so happy for me every time.  And I was encouraging and supportive of his workout goals too, and on the weekends we would exercise together.

So not only am I proud of my body, but I am proud of how I changed it- with a healthy lifestyle.  For me, it is not about how many calories I consume or how many hours I spend exercising each day, it is about where my calories are coming from and the type and efficiency of my exercise.  I eat like 5-6 times a day LOL!  I treat myself about once a week, and try to do a variety of exercises including strength, cardio, core, and yoga.  I also like to do fun classes like kickboxing or zumba for cardio, I am not much of a runner.  Another goal I had was wanting to ride my bicycle more, so I rode it to and from each workout.  Even in the winter (in St. Louis…what winter? HAHA!).  It has taken a long time, weight has come off slowly, but that means it will be off forever, because I have a whole new outlook on food, exercise and being healthy.  Learning about foods and exercise and how they effect my body sort of “shocked” me into change.

So all in all, I have dropped about 20 lbs.  My pant size before: 14, other clothes: S-XL, weight: 170-175lbs.  My pant size now: 14 (maybe a 12 if they are stretchy), other clothes: S-XL, weight: 150-155lbs.  Now much change right?  Well actually, there is a huge change.  I have much more muscle, less fat, I am stronger, I have a lot more endurance and stamina, I am more flexible, and I have tons more energy and am often in a happy mood.  My body is very different, but based on the scale and my pant size, it doesn’t look like much.  Which is why I don’t pay too much attention to those, but going by how I feel- and I feel great.  Yes, some of my clothes are much too big to wear now, but mostly, my clothes fit nicer, my “muffin top” has shrunk, oh it is still there for sure, but definitely smaller. and I feel more comfortable and relaxed in my clothes because I am not constantly thinking my stomach is hanging out or having my pants dig in because they are too tight.

And just to make myself a little more proud, I continue to do all this while combating a pretty hefty thyroid condition and a little genetics, none of my female relatives have small frames, we are curvy 😉

I love how good I feel.  I love to exercise.  And I really love food.  That’s right, I ate/still eat pasta, pizza, etc. on a pretty regular basis, and I did not go running/jogging every day for hours, and I still lost weight.  But most of all, I love my Artist.  I am so lucky to have him as a coach, and to have shown me good fitness routines and eating habits.

I feel much healthier, and have more energy.  And therefore, the energy to embark on lots more fun adventures with the Artist.  ❤

I don’t have any “before” photos really, but here are some recent photos of me, down 20lbs and feeling great 😀

New Jammies :D

New Jammies 😀

Heading to the gym.

Heading to the gym.

Sewing project complete

Sewing project complete

The Zoo

The Zoo

Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

Shakespeare in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park