Just a quick post to remind you all to breathe.
In my weekly Yoga classes, we do a little breath control which really showed me how shallow my breaths are on a regular basis. I love taking a deep controlled breath and feeling that stretch in my ribs and core muscles. Paying attention to proper breathing benefits not only your body and fitness journey but also your emotional health. Taking steady and relaxed breaths soothes the soul and enlightens your state of mind. It is a true form of meditation. A chaotic breath can denote a chaotic mind. You can do breath control at work, at home, outside, at the gym. Just make sure if you feel light headed to take a break!
Take 5 minutes and just breathe. Take a mini vacation from every day stressors. Everyone has time for that.
My Weaknesses: Time Management, Ice Cream and Peanut Butter, Shopping, Laziness/Cuddling with Cats, and Useless Guilt.
I have many strengths I just wouldn’t know where to start (insert sarcastic tone), so today I’ll focus on my weaknesses.
I took off from work yesterday, Monday, from work to catch up on house duties and some early gym time after a whirlwind of a Mother’s Day weekend. I was lazy though, and reverted back to very poor habits.
It started off with a healthy egg white omelet for breakfast with my darling man, who didn’t finish his French Toast, so I helped him. Damn my helpful nature! My main squeeze is not a big eater, which does not compute in my mind. So, after partaking in a few extra calories, I figured I’d work it all off in the gym later. Well, I had intended to get to the gym. But alas, my strong and capable legs did not walk the 4 blocks. Oh, how the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
It’s amazing how sometimes (not always) I feel such guilt if I don’t go to the gym or do any sort of movement (yoga, pilates) on my day off, and then I start my way down a slippery slope of caloric self sabotage. I have control over what I eat and how I move, and by choosing to be lazy and unhealthy the guilt kicks in to the extreme. To add insult to injury, yesterday was after a feast of a day celebrating with both my Significant Other’s family and mine for the Mother’s Day holiday over the weekend. I was able to squeeze in an hour at the gym beforehand on Sunday, but I was looking forward to Monday off and 3 hours at the gym. 3+ hours I spent doing the complete opposite!
Upon returning home from breakfast at the diner, my house is a mess. I get into house cleaning/laundry/dusting mode. This leads me to sorting a lot of the stuff I’ve accumulated from my love of shopping and collecting stuff over the years. I am motivated to downsize not only because my boyfriend is moving in next month (exciting!) but because we often watch Hoarders and he jokingly tells me I have the beginning signs of Hoarding. (lol-damn him for being right). By this time it’s time for a late lunch and the idea of getting to the gym before the after work 5pm crowd is less and less likely to happen. I then proceeded to make poor high calorie lunch choices (pizza? yes please!) and gave in to a pint of Edy’s Maxx Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream (omg yum) and sat my ass on the couch, IN MY GYM CLOTHES. Food as comfort is an ongoing theme in my life.
20 minutes later, I felt gross. A feeling I know all too well from my overeating habits. A feeling I know will be the result of my actions.
After my lunch feast, I decided it’s time to play around with my new DVR (and of course cuddle with my adorable cats). That was a big mistake if I ever wanted to get my butt off the couch and moving. 10 hours and many feature films later, it was time to pass out and go to bed. Monday was over and I was well over calories and feeling guilty for not taking the time to get to the gym. Distracting myself with positive house tasks helped me a little with the guilt of feeling unproductive wellness wise. Fortunately, last night I did not have much of a dinner nor continue to stuff my gullet for the rest of the night (which is actually a very bad past habit of mine.)
As far as a day of fitness and wellness, yesterday was a wash. As far as organization and donating crap and getting it out of my house, yesterday was a success.
Today I packed my gym clothes and plan to hit it HARD after work. I know if I made better choices it wouldn’t be such a roller coaster, but I think it’s a small victory knowing I have started fresh today and will not continue down the path to nutritional destruction. Putting the breaks on a down spiral is just as difficult, if not more, as making the best nutritional decision from the get go. This is something I’m continuing to struggle with, and I’m thankful to have such a loving support system to help cheer me on. Managing my time and health priorities is something I’m getting better at, but I still fall victim to these tiny set backs!
Thank you, dear readers, friends, and family, for not only being non-judgemental but understanding it’s a learning process.
I’m getting there!
*UPDATE: Here's a PG-Version of this blog post, for those of you who wish to Spread the Strength among those of innocent ears*
First of all, hi everyone. It feels like I haven't blogged about anything sociologically substantial in a while, and I might be a bit rusty so please pardon the potentially poor prose.
Now that I've graduated from McGill and no longer have to whittle away the hours of cushy student life by blogging nonsensically about sociological things, what have I been doing with myself?
Finals Week is here! Working on a college campus I’ve put in some overtime and my body is exhausted. I’ve been trying to keep up with Yoga to relax and energize once I get home. Honestly though, I start with Cobra Pose then end up falling asleep afterwards, or alternatively one can say I end up in “corpse pose”.
Today I can do Child’s Pose all day long, I’m feeling very sloth like…
I have something to say regarding the recent news surrounding Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries alleged reasons behind about why his company doesn’t carry any sizes for women above Large or size 10 pants. (They kindly offers XLs for athletic men though, how nice of them.)
I’m sad and disgusted at his 2006 Salon Interview where he slyly targets people who “don’t belong” more than the fact that AF does not carry certain sizes. Lane Bryant and Torrid and a few other Plus Size companies only carry a size 12/14 and up so you can say that they discriminate against smaller sizes. The facts are just that, the facts. The idea that these plus sized companies aren’t run by an asshat coupled with the disgusting marketing campaign of A&F, is a whole other issue. I know that I’m sensitive to the issue of weight, but negative campaigning is quite a turn off in my mind. Take the notion that A&F wants to target only “Cool kids” and the fact that they don’t carry larger sizes, and you have your circumstantial evidence of the fact that larger sizes = not cool. You can make your own conclusion, but here is mine…
A&F is run by a douchenozzle with some sort of deep ridden inferiority complex still working his bigotted marketing angle to get press coverage. I hope he and the people working for him can sleep at night. I almost didn’t even post about this subject and give him press. Honestly, if he had not made such ridiculously dated statements about the kind of customers he wishes not to attract, this probably wouldn’t be such a huge issue right now on the interwebs. He may not come right out and say “I hate fat and/or ugly people” in his interview from 2006, but by stating that he wants to attract only beautiful customers leads one to believe larger women cannot be beautiful since they don’t even carry over a size 10 jeans. As a larger woman, I take offense to that! I can honestly say I’ve never bought anything there in my life because it’s not my bag, but what if I was a gorgeous preppy fatty who really wanted that crested polo shirt??
Furthermore, by having nothing recent to say about their lack of larger sizes, they only make themselves look worse. Is this on purpose as there is no such thing as bad publicity? Anything is possible. Luckily, I know I am a hottie and i’m more upset over the idea that drudging up his past words may make someone else feel less than beautiful or comfortable in their own skin. This only makes my mission of spreading body acceptance even more important through my blog, and I will turn my anger into love. I feel like I’m giving the terrorist what he wants by even writing about this, and I’m sure some A&F PR Marketing scheme is in the works due to down sales, but I also wanted to see what my readers have to say about it!
One of my student workers was kind enough to tell me that she enjoys reading this blog because she is also trying to lead a healthier way of life. She spoke about how she defines herself as “skinny fat”, a term I’ve heard a lot of lately. I can understand the frustrations of not feeling healthy in your body, so we chatted briefly about the subject.
This skinny fat phenomenon is defined as an individual who has a slender build but is not toned and has a high amount of body fat for their smaller frame. Or as my student worker describes it, “I look fine while fully clothed (with small arms, legs, and neck), but I have a muffin top and I won’t be showing my body off in a bathing suit anytime soon.” I think of it as those “before” and “after” ads where they showcase a naturally slender or athletic male or female with some extra body fat, and then the perfect super fit results after using a certain product.
I strongly dislike those infomercials with obviously staged before and after photos and find them quite misleading. I believe these ads are similar to “skinny plus sized” models. It must be quite easy to showcase a perfect “after” body when the out of shape “skinny fat” body has the socially acceptable attractive proportions and underlining potential for total fitness. Though plus sized models may not be considered “skinny fat” because of their toned bodies, it is very similar in model land. You never, or rarely, see a model above a size 12 or 14, shorter than 5’10″, without a perfectly toned and blemish free body. It’s similar to a six foot size zero model being featured in an ad instead of a popular size 8. The way (most) advertisements display both men and women is one of the many ways media feeds our body image struggles. I’m not saying make all models larger and more in line with average body type, but mix up the pot a bit!
If anyone is mixing up the pot these days, Debenhams is cooking up some socially inclusive soup! I do feel that more and more companies are using diverse and realistic models for their ads and getting the recognition they deserve. The Debenham Lookbook that includes beautiful models of all sizes, races, ages, and body types and the Sweden based H&M’s recent advertisement spread pleases me to no end. Oddly enough, they are both International companies. (Isn’t America the one who gets a bad wrap for being large and in charge??) There is an ongoing fight for body acceptance at any shape or size, one I’ve been fighting for my whole life, and one day it would be nice to see the fight end and everybody just get along!
But I digress. Back to the subject at hand.
The “skinny fat” phenomenon is important to be aware of for naturally slender individuals. It’s crucial to keep an eye on body fat and your overall health at any body size. There are plenty of unhealthy skinny people out there as well as healthy overweight individuals. This is why am a firm believer in Body Fat % versus Body Mass Index. I will always be defined as Overweight in the BMI category, even at my goal weight, but my current 32% Body Fat is actually in the high “average” range (on more detailed charts) but falls into “obese” on other charts (not taking height and age into account). I just take this discrepancy as just another reminder that I am above average in every way. : )
My ultimate downfall is fountain diet soda. Diet Pepsi to be exact. Oh man that sh*t is good! It doesn’t hurt that sex bomb Sofia Vergara is their spokesperson. Me-ow.
Even though I love my diet sodas, I go through waves of beverage binges and cleansings. During a work party last Wednesday with a plethora of diet soda choices which I happily enjoyed, my co-worker told me she is over one month clean of soda! I decided, why not embark on a diet soda cleanse and blog about it. Well, I think this blogging thing is good for more than just therapeutic reasons, it is making me do my nutrition research so I don’t sound like a dope and I actually learn stuff along the way!
I try to watch my sodium intake as a whole, and by cutting out diet soda I will lessen that as well as rid myself of the artificial sweeteners I’ve heard so many bad things about but I never researched it because I love my Splenda and ignorance is bliss. But, if I’m going to cut down on diet chemicals, I must do it right. That also means my Diet Peach Snapple has to go. I will probably go through crack-like withdrawal this week from stopping my Snapple addiction as well, but I know I will feel so much better. I already feel less bloated 3 days soda free!
My GP doctor told me that it’s better for your body to consume one regular soda every so often instead of a diet soda every day since regular soda has sugar that your body could find use for, and artificial sweeteners trick your body into thinking other sweet foods are not as low in calories, resulting in weight gain! No soda at all is, of course, ideal for weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle. Ultimately it is your decision to weigh the pros and cons of artificial sweeteners and come to your own conclusion.
I’m definitely going to choose to live Splenda and artificial flavor free starting today, but I’ve been diet soda free since Thursday and I don’t have one craving. Hooray! Natural sugars will be my sweetener choice from now on, including honey and agave nectar. Teas taste yummy with both as sweeteners so I think I’ll get along just fine.
On an unrelated note, Happy Cinco De Mayo! I’ve been alcohol free since September 2011 which has also helped me curb calories and live a healthier lifestyle since my body did not process alcohol very well at all after I hit 30. But this cat seems to enjoy is Tequila, and that’s all that matters.
I’ve been told I have a small waist. The truth is sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. I have a soft flabby belly that I struggle between accepting and shedding, and I am going to show it to you.
I’m fortunate that my proportions are traditionally feminine, but since hitting 30 years old, losing belly weight is extremely difficult. I know this is especially tough for most mothers to lose after childbirth, though I personally not gone through the pregnancy weight struggles. The only way I can get my belly extremely flat (from past experience) is from cutting calories to the extreme, like after my tonsillectomy surgery and when I lost 100lbs. years ago. I’m not going down that route again.
Right now, I am happy focusing on my core, even though I’ve yet to hit my weight goal. I’ve turned a corner, and I’d rather be larger and muscular/healthy than svelte and bony and starving. My original plan was to tone and strengthen after I hit my weight goal, but I made the choice to do it at the halfway mark. I can feel my abdominal muscles beneath my cute fleshy belly, and that make me happier than when I could feel my ribs. I never thought that would happen. Friends and Co-Workers still think I’m losing weight, and seem surprised when I tell them I’ve gained weight until I explain I’ve been working on strength and toning exercises. I also find that my cardio seems easier with a strong core. I know I will soon see even more results in my midsection as I stick with Pilates, Yoga, and other core strengthening exercises. Will I have a belly as flat as when I wasn’t eating much? Maybe not. Will I be strong and healthy and still curvy? I hope so!
I am rather tall (5’9″) with a long torso that can carry weight well, which can be dangerous for health reasons. Extra weight around the midsection is linked to a handful of illnesses (heart disease, diabetes) and it’s somewhat scary as you get older. It’s also frustrating because as you increase in age your metabolism decreases, and it may become more difficult to lower your waist circumference or maintain it within a healthy range without paying closer attention to calorie intake or increasing exercise. Even though I do have that flabby flab on my belly, I am happy that I now fall within a healthy waist circumference after losing 40 pounds.
Here is how I give the illusion of having a smaller waist. Throughout the day, I try to make sure to “engage” my core and focus on a proper posture when standing, sitting, and walking. There is a difference that can be seen in these photos of myself, taken on the same day. It could be defined as “sucking it in” which is partly true, but what I’m doing is tightening my core muscles (abdominal and pelvic area, back, and glutes.) You can even see a slight difference in the curvature of my back/spine. Also, by simply tilting your pelvis back (to help straighten your spine) you not only take pressure off your lower spine’s curvature but you bring your stomach inward.
I feel like I could be in one of those “juice your belly fat away” commercials, but alas it’s really just the result of making the effort to keep my core active. Once you train yourself to pay attention to these little details, your body will make it part of your daily ergonomic routine. I’ve been complimented on my posture many times (chest out, shoulders back!) and I don’t even think about it anymore. It seems engaging my core is soon to follow!
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