Who Are You Running Against?

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It has been so long since I have written a post that my blog page fell off my commonly clicked sites. Hmm…Time to write. My lack of writing has not meant lack of living, thinking, or cooking. Just distracted with new developments.

Recently we discovered that I am pregnant…again with our now third child. This has been an exciting curveball, as I also signed up for my first half marathon. My swollen feet will be lined up at the starting line in just 2 weeks, 6 days, 22 hours…etc. This is not how I imagined things would be happening, but here we are. It has been a real challenge to keep up my regimen for training. Honestly it has dwindled down to a few strength and agility exercises here and there, along with the occasional run. Never have I felt more disappointed in my efforts. What only helps is when my eyes pass over a story about a 9-month pregnant rock star who runs a marathon and delivers a few hours later. What human strength and perseverance!

Then something occurred to me. A new perspective was brought about after a recent 5k. The crowd was huge and people of all sorts of fitness levels came out for the fun run, but for me I pay to compete with myself. Or so I thought. All this time of training and years of hitting the pavement I have been comparing myself to the best I know. Their performances push me to achieve as good a performance. When I fall short of whatever unrealistic expectation I set, the belt tightens and more rigorous guidelines apply. Perfection has kind of always been something I knew I could never be. I’m too ____(You name it)___. However, I somehow deceived myself into thinking that if I were only ___(You name it)___ I would be able to meet these ridiculous goals.

Before you get worried that I am a highly demanding person, you have to know that I am only this way with myself. When it comes to others my eyes are pretty accurate and I tend to extend others far more grace. My husband says that when I look at myself it is like looking into a fun house mirror. The races I have been running up to this point have been races against myself by comparing myself to unrealistic expectations. For this race I decided to change my mentality. This race I accepted that I am pregnant and haven’t been at my best. The race I run needs to be against the self I am now and not the person I wish I could be.

Crossing the finish line of the 5k, an amazing feeling swept over me. My eyes glanced at the timer and it said a time of 23 minutes. This was not my fastest time, but somehow it was acceptable. The old me would reprimand myself all the way home and come up with a solution to fix it for next time. This time being healthy and carrying a baby was success enough.The other runners began to fade from my concern and being strong in the moment became at the forefront of my mind during the run.

One friend reminded me in a conversation recently that you never know how you will feel on race day, and that feeling is a big indicator of your time and performance. Sometimes training your mind is an important factor forgotten in race prep. To be healthfully competitive, you have to race against who you are today. Maybe in a session you had a 5:30 min/mile, but the day before the race you sprained a muscle or became ill. Is it fair to beat yourself up for not performing as well as your best training time? Think of the successful races as a reward for your training and not just what you run for.

No matter if you are running a race, striving for weight loss, or are working on other health-behavior changes, we all need to cut ourselves some realistic slack. When we beat ourselves up, we are not helping, but hurting progress. We all have a bad day or fail a meal (or several). It is not about where you messed up, fell short or even if you won. The important factor is how you ran towards your goal. So, be strong in the moment and hold on the best you can. Let less than perfect be okay. Each moment is a new opportunity to improve and enjoy the journey you are on. The end result will take care of itself.

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P90X2 Phase 1:Foundation Review

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Phase 1:
So I signed myself up for the Warrior Dash as some of you know, because I have posted a link to our fundraising site on this blog. After making good progress (a loss of 42 lbs) post-baby, I knew I still needed something to push me to get in the kind of shape needed to succeed and not merely survive the challenge ahead. I turned to P90X2. I heard rave reviews on the products Tony Horton has put out and decided to go for it!

Starting stats: Weight:145 lbs Waist: 30.5 inches Total inches: 168.5
Phase 1 Ending stats: Weight:135 lbs Waist:29 inches Total inches:162
Results: Down 10 lbs, loss of 6.5 inches, and more definition.

Note: I did not order the shakeology or nutritional supplements pushed by Tony Horton. I ate what I normally would eat. With that said, you know my philosophy by now on food so take that into consideration. I believe that you should not take supplements unless prescribed by your nutritionist or doctor. ACE (a leading Nationally recognized brand for exercise professional certifications) states in the ethics section that they do not believe it is within the scope of practice for exercise professionals to push or recommend these products. I agree.

Phase 1 Foundation consists of the following:

Day1: X2 Core Day2: Plyocide Day3: Rest or X2 Recovery + Mobility Day4: X2 Total Body & X2 Ab Ripper Day 5: X2 Yoga Day 6: X2 Balance+ Power Day 7: Rest or X2 Recovery + Mobility

The best part of this phase is it teaches your body how to stabilize and strengthen what needs to be strong in order to progress. This phase also shows how important it is to recover and introduces foam rolling. Be certain you are ready for the challenges these exercises will place on your body. There is a test you should take, included in the set, before attempting the program.

I love the way the X2 Yoga is set up. It really challenges your muscles and gives you the permission to fail. While everything about P90X2 is challenging, you can definitely relax in the fact that there is no pressure to be perfect, but he does motivate you to push yourself. There are modifications available for almost every exercise. Sometimes you don’t get the modified information until after you have “started” the exercise, but over time of doing the phase you will learn them and know when to do them. I also like that you can up the intensity with alternate versions of the same exercise. The explanations of the exercises are nice because you can visualize what your body should be doing and how you should be engaging different muscles.

This phase adds a new dimension to fitness you may have tried in the past. The plan suggests working a group of muscles together along with the connective tissue will build better strength and mobility. It is a growing, newer concept in the fitness world. You first have to build up individual muscle strength to correctly engage the connective tissue and perform these movements. If one muscle is too weak to perform a movement that takes a team of muscles and connective tissues, then you could risk injury. This is why it is important to do the fitness test that comes with it. Also if you have heart health issues, metabolic diseases, or high blood pressure, please consult a doctor before performing this. It is a high intensity routine and takes cardiovascular endurance as well on some routines.

If you are not in condition to start this program yet, maybe start off with walking and jogging interval training style. Slowly build up endurance for 45 minutes of continuous, vigorous activity. Good heart health is an excellent foundation to fitness. Add 2 days of resistance training (2-3 sets of 8 exercises at 6-12 repetitions) to create a base to build on. Once you feel comfortable try the fitness test again. Focus on areas you were weak on previously to help you be ready for the challenge.

I have almost completed the final phase 3 and feel that each phase has definitely brought its challenges and pushed my limits. I even feel that I could go back through the program again and get even better results as I continue to get stronger. I love the way this program works for me and allows me to pace myself as I need to. If you are looking for a challenge and want to improve your fitness, then this system might be right for you!

Equipment Needed to Perform:
-They do have versions of exercises without much equipment. These usually still require different band resistances.
-Balance/Stability ball -up to 4 Medicine balls -Chin up and pull up bar -Resistance bands -Plyobox/ sturdy chair -Hand weights -Yoga mat -Foam roller – Door Hook Anchor for resistance bands

Overall Rating : 9/10

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Skipping Meals

Skipping Meals

Trying to lose those last pounds? Do not be tempted to skip a meal to hit the line. It can sabotage your efforts. When your body skips a meal it sends a message to your body that you are under stress and in starvation mode. Your body wreaks havoc on itself trying to stay alive. The hormone Cortisol is released causing you to hold on to sugar which turns into fat. Your body switches to protein as a source of nutrients and eats away at the muscle gains. You want muscle because it burns fat! Feed your muscles and body well and it will come off. Skipping is not the answer.

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What Weightloss Can’t Do

Things losing weight will do for you: Make you healthier, able to do more, boost your self image, increase your desire to get out and live. Things losing weight will not do for you: Make you love yourself as you are, get the perfect mate, make you funnier, make you smarter, change your attitude. You have the power to change whether or not you succeed. Losing weight is just a change that improves how much you can do with what you already have inside. You have the whole package, you just have to unwrap it.

Calci-yum!

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Another reason to eat greens? We all have heard from milk commercials that low-fat milk can shrink your waistline. How is this possible? What does this have to do with greens?

In a study done by the University of Tennessee in 2000, the researchers found that calcium is the key. On a cellular level, calcium can regulate how fat in a fat cell is stored or used. In this study, they used non-fat dry milk. The calcium found in the fat cells caused an inhibition of fat storage by 51%. The more calcium in the diet the more fat the cells burn.

Simply adding more calcium to your diet will not be a quick fix. You need to still choose low-fat options, and incorporate it with an exercise program and sensible eating. Eating a block of high fat cheese will not help you lose weight. A pint of Ben and Jerry’s will not either. Other things to think about are variety in sources and getting the most out of your food. Taking a calcium supplement has been proven not as effective as getting calcium through dietary consumption. You also need to compliment calcium with Vitamin D in order to absorb it better.

The types of foods we choose makes all the difference. Frozen yogurt, low-fat cheese, and greens. Spinach, kale, collards, white beans, navy beans, white button mushrooms, salmon, almonds, and sunshine are things we can add to our day to get these nutrients. One combination you could try is a a spinach salad with salmon, ginger, and almond slivers. You could also make a bean salad with southwestern flares. There are so many options to explore.

I cannot say enough about how valuable it is to color your plate. Nutrients come from variety and freshness. Food cannot be that boring if you keep it vibrant and season your food. Think of how pretty a colorful plate is compared to a plate of pale colors. Local farmer’s markets are a great source for inspiration and freshness. So experiment and enjoy you meals

Who Do You Think You Are?!

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Who has time to workout or cook? Seriously. There are so many other things we need to be doing right now. I am not in good enough shape to hit the gym. Did you see her? She must workout all the time and never eat. Work has become my real ball and chain. The kids are driving me crazy and I need this right now! That guy has to be using some serious supplements. I would, but I don’t have the time. Any of these sound familiar? I have been there and done that, so no judging here.

Rewind to this morning. You looked in the mirror, as you get ready for your long day ahead. You try to find something to wear that you feel good in. Suddenly you find yourself surrounded by piles of scattered clothes you recently folded and put away. In a heat of desperation you grab the outfit you feel the least awful in and go. If this is the start of your day, how will the rest go?

Whether you realize it or not, you are important. How you see yourself affects every aspect of your life. Your relationships with others, how you treat others, work performance, eating habits, motivation to get up, and much more are influenced by self image. I am not telling you anything you don’t already know on this blog. I share ways to enjoy life, stay motivated, and tools to help you get there. The formula is the same. Everyone knows that if you are serious about loosing weight there is only one basic way. Eat right and exercise. So why don’t we do it? Our society tells us to focus on ourselves and make ourselves happy with overindulgence. These things are truly empty. We know it, but we buy into it anyhow. If they weren’t empty, we would not be in such a state.

The true way to be fulfilled in life is to take care of yourself, so that you are able to help others. You have to first love yourself. Not in a selfish, overindulging way, but in a well-cared for kind of way. Know who you are. List the positive attributes that you have, accomplishments, or unique things that make you who you are. Be confident in the way you were made and who you can become. If you can’t think of anything, realize that who you are now doesn’t have to be who you are tomorrow. The change starts today and the change starts with you! Sometimes an honest friend can help you see attributes you cannot. Ask him/her.

So many times our jobs, media, society, and sometimes even friends and family can make us feel bad for taking real care of ourselves. The pressure to be the perfect parent, the ultimate guy’s guy, the image on the magazine, and sometimes the chameleon push us away from caring for ourselves truly. It is easier to find fault in others than it is to praise their efforts genuinely. I have some bad news for you. You are not perfect. You are never going to be. People might find out you have flaws. It really is okay though. Your job is to stop comparing yourself to everyone else. Your job is not to be as glamorous as the hottest celebrity, to cook like Emeril, to have your children in all advanced classes at a specialty school, or even fade into the crowd you surround yourself with. Your job is to be the best YOU that you can be and to be there for others the best you can.

Think of yourself as a work in progress. I don’t care how fit anyone is, or how cleanly they eat. Everyone has a place in their lives they can improve. The trick is to realize that you are worth the effort. Your life is a gift and you have one chance to make the most of it. You can spend your time making excuses or start on a better road today. You can be confident in yourself, flaws and all, knowing that you are at least choosing to make a change. You can know that when you take reasonable care of yourself, by exercising, eating right, and pausing a few minutes to just breathe, you will be the best you possible. That means the people around you will get the best you possible. Once you are comfortable with yourself, you can give more because you require less empty stuff that wastes your time and resources. Think quality not quantity. I hope you learn to love yourself, because you are truly worth it. That is why I have endeavored to tell you.

Veggie Quesadillas with Habanero Cheese

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Quesadillas with Habanero Cheese

Ingredients:
4 Tortillas (low-carb or whole wheat)
Cooking spray
1 cup shredded Habanero cheese
6 Baby Bella Mushrooms (wiped clean and sliced)
1 Green Pepper diced
1 small can of Diced Medium Tomatoes with green chiles
1/2 medium Onion diced
2 cloves of Garlic
1 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
Salt and Pepper
Sour Cream and Salsa as Garnish

Directions:
1. Coat medium sized frying pan with Cooking spray and heat to medium heat.
2. Place Onion, Peppers, and Garlic first. Sauté until warmed. Season with Salt and Pepper.
3. Add the mushrooms and cook until mushrooms start to soften. Add the Paprika and Oregano.
4.Add the can of Tomatoes with green chiles and bring to a low boil. Once at a low boil turn down to medium-low heat to simmer.
5. In a seperate small or medium pan, coat with Cooking Spray and bring to meduim-low heat.
6. On a plate, assemble the Tortilla in this fashion: First sprinkle Habanero cheese(approx. 3 tablespoons) onto half the tortilla. Second scoop up veggie filling, that is simmering, with a slotted spoon and spead evenly on top of cheese. Third, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Habanero cheese on top of that. Fold empty half over that and press down.
7. Using a spatula transfer the assembled tortilla to the empty, heated pan. Cook on each side, flipping carefully, for 2 minutes or once tortillas is browned and cheese is gooey. Repeat for remaining tortillas.
8. Garnish with Sour Cream and Salsa.
9.Enjoy!

Tips: You may also heat tortillas in oven for 3 mins at 350 degrees Farenheight.