Why Is Fat Funny? Is Being Fit And Healthy Really “Living The Life”?

So, I was busy watching (aka bingeing) on Friends episodes a few of weeks ago (thank you sick time) when I had an epiphany of sorts.  Most of us are familiar with the popular sitcom and know that one of the main characters, Monica was “fat” in her younger years.  In flashback episodes you get a glimpse of young Monica (in a fat suit).

Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.
The thing that got to me was the way her character was portrayed when she was fat; a person who lacked self-control and binge ate her feelings.  It also poked fun at her in the scenes and showed her as the goofy “fat friend” who comically danced about and got stuck in bean bag chairs  because she was too large to get up.  Later in the series you learn that the reason she lost weight was because of a cruel comment she had overheard Chandler make on Thanksgiving.

A year later, her character was then transformed into who we see on the show now, a thin and beautiful woman.  Overly competitive, meticulously clean, and well-disciplined (she’s a chef who doesn’t overindulge in her fare), she’s a completely different person.  Yet, they do have moments when they sneak in some lingerings of “Fat Monica” and her insecurities show (i.e. the episode where she learns Chandler dumped a girl because she got too fat).

This is not the first and likely not the last time we’ll see something like this. Another favorite show of mine is New Girl.  They too have a main character, Schmidt, who used to be fat and the flashbacks more often than not poke fun at his “fat person” status.

His character is now portrayed as a narcissistic ladies’ man who continually comes off as douchey.   There are even a few episodes where he begins (secretly) dating his college girlfriend (from his fat days).  BUT he feels like he needs to hide it and is ashamed of his feelings for her because he has his trophy of an ex to compare her to.

I could go on and on spitting out examples of how being fat is portrayed in the media.  In the majority of cases it’s the butt of a bad joke or something portrayed in a shameful manner.  I guess that’s part of the deal though, we’ve conditioned to laugh at it or look at it in disgust.

Is being fat (or shall I say having fat) truly a laughing matter?  And why are these “ex-fat” people always written to turn into these type-A over achievers?

Is it all just for show?

I say yes and no.  Many studies suggest that someone who used to obsess over food in an indulgent manner is also likely to do a complete 180 and flip the switch with an obsession of “the healthy life”.  There is even a new eating disorder called orthorexia nervosa, which literally means “fixation on righteous eating.”

It can become a psychological game and ultimately end in disaster.  This is why so many people struggle on the maintenance side of things or with disordered eating after they strive for a healthier lifestyle.

It’s finding that sweet spot that can be tricky, but there are ways to check yourself before you literally wreck yourself.

Checkout these 20 signs that you’re too obsessed with your weight:

1) You weigh yourself multiple times a day

2) You count every calorie

3) You feel yourself up

4) You believe thinness will solve your problems

5) You see food in black and white

6) You’re adding more and more foods to your forbidden list

7) You’re skipping social functions

8) You have to cut your food into bite-sized pieces

9) Your workout is always your top priority

10) You’re always up on the newest diet craze

11) You check everybody out

12) You fetishize skinny pics

13) You have tricks to avoid eating

14) You’re a slave to Fitbit

15) You eat only 100% organic, 100% of the time

16) You beat yourself up for bad behavior

17) You love your selfie more than yourself

18) You feel more lovable when you’re thin

19) You bring your own salad dressing

20) You’ve lost your other passions

Where do you fall on the spectrum?  I’ll admit, I have faced my moments of obsession when it comes to weight loss and body image, but I’ve become aware of these instances and things that trigger that mentality.

I’m a firm believer in finding the balance so that healthier habits can be maintained in the long run.  Knowing that a five-pound fluctuation on the scale is normal and not acting like it’s the end of the world is healthy.  But why is it still so hard to accept the triumphs without going overboard?

For one, we live in a society of smoke and mirrors.  Social media has made it so easy for people to only share the highlight reels of their lives.  It all looks so easy for them, they’re thin, they eat all of the foods, and never workout, but are also sporting abs.

Truth be told, those are just the snippets.  I’m sure not every meal is a heap of fries with a 1 pound burger and I’m sure they are in fact spending some time in the gym (despite what they say).  And, guess what?  They probably have their fat days too and battle that same stubborn 5-10lbs like you. When they sit down they have a roll in those perfectly sculpted abs.

Smoke and mirrors.

What are your thoughts?  Do you notice these “ex-fat” characters as well?  Do you recognize yourself in them?  Does it offend you?

 

 

 

 

Race Recap: Seneca7-77.7 Mile Relay Race 4/19/15

Back to back race weekends are not something I am used to and likely not something I would recommend. In short, my body and mind are exhausted, but it was so worth it.

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If you’re from the area and you are a runner chances are that you’ve heard of the Seneca7 relay race.  It’s fairly new (5 years old) and this is my second year participating in the fun.

Last year I was just on the mend from bronchitis by race day, this year I was facing a similar fate.  My cough was finally gone, but my body was still under-conditioned due to the 3 week hiatus and not quite ready for another long day of racing.  I was nervous and being runner 7 didn’t help calm my nerves.  I always get nervous before a big race (even if the outcome doesn’t matter) and I had to sit around and watch every other runner on my team complete their legs before I had a chance at my own.

Leg #7:  4.1 miles, 00:49:06, 12:01 pace

When it finally came time for leg#7 I was ready (or at least I thought I was).  I knew my distance was 4.1 miles, but I failed to fully checkout the elevation chart for that first leg.  Can you guess what it looked like??

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It was a lovely 4.1 miles of an uphill climb.  It wasn’t the worst of hills, but for someone like me who was still physically recovering from a hilly half, it was brutal. Not the way I envisioned starting out my long day of racing. Seeing my finish pace of 12min/mile was defeating.  How could I have slowed down so much since last year?  What was going on?

In short, hills suck.  They suck the life and energy out of every muscle in my body and are a literal pain in my ass.

Leg#14: 3.1 miles, 00:35:24, 11:26 pace

Leg 14 felt a lot better, but I still couldn’t get past the mental game that was going on in my head.  Why on earth was I still moving so slow?  Why were so many people passing me while looking so light on their feet?  Why couldn’t I push myself more? I’m used to being slow, but back to back weekends of getting slapped in the face with the slow stick was definitely starting to take its toll on my mind.

Leg #21: 3.7 miles, 00:43:13, 11:45 pace

My final leg was a relief, not because it was easier, but because I was that much closer to ending such a long day.  I was spent and all I wanted to do was drive home and get cozy with my bed and pillow.  Being the last runner was so much more challenging than I had anticipated.  Watching each of my teammates finish their final legs while I was still awaiting mine had me wishing I was runner 1.

I sucked it up and finished off as strong as I could.  By the time I reached the team reunification point I was running on E, but felt a final kick of power set in.  I picked up my pace for the last quarter mile and lead my team across the finish.  I was done.  We were done.  FINALLY.  Team Prepping For The Zombie Apocalypse had finished their last year with the namesake.  11149652_10204073362049783_2168526844668261403_o

 

 

 

Product Review & Giveaway: MealEnders

Disclaimer:  This is an unbiased review.  As an SPA, I am often provided with opportunities to review certain fitness/health related products.  I was not paid for my review, but did receive a free product for testing.

 ****WINNER ANNOUNCED!  CONGRATS NICOLE!****

A few weeks ago I was awarded the opportunity to try out MealEnders signaling lozenges.   What are MealEnders?  They are toted as the cure to overeating and work by acting on our body’s physical and psychological cues to help you avoid overeating and master portion control.

 

According to the MealEnder’s website this is how they work….

“MealEnders’ active-taste formula rewards and resets your taste buds, distracting you from the temptation to overindulge.  First the delicious Reward Layer treats you to the sweet taste of dessert – a signal we typically associate with the end of a meal.  Then the Inner Core’s Active-Taste Layer releases a proprietary blend of gentle, cool tingling sensations on the tongue, which engage the trigeminal nerve, distracting your mind from the urge to continue overeating.  You can feel your MealEnder go to work instantly.”

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I wasn’t quite sure what to think when I heard of this theory, but figured it couldn’t hurt to give them a try.  I’m all for finding things that can help stop my brain’s hunger signals and popping a piece of ‘candy’ seemed easy enough.

TASTE:

Let’s first talk about taste!  These little lozenges were not what I expected. I imagined that they would just be straight up hard candy that I would suck on.  They’re not just hard candy though, they are coated in a creamy outer layer that is super decadent.  I loved each flavor, but my favorite was the Chocolate Mint.

Chocolate Mint:  These reminded me of Andes mints and they were delish!  The only down side is that they left me craving Andes mints!

Cinnamon:  These were not what I expected, the flavor is reminiscent of apple pie or coffee cake.  I unexpectedly enjoyed these.

Citrus: These reminded me of lemon custard or a creamy lemon meringue flavor.

Mocha:  These were my least favorite of the flavors, but they were still good.  I’m just not a huge mocha person.

EFFECT:

I wish I could say that these little lozenges are miracle workers, but I can’t.  I do think they aid in keeping your mind occupied after you’re finished eating a meal, but for me the first few minutes of tasting the creamy outer layer send me into craving mode.  I know this might not be the case for everybody, but I try to avoid candy like foods because they are triggers for me.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t think they had a positive effect.  I did find that waiting it out and getting to the end of the lozenge did help to stop my urge to eat more.  The taste of the lozenge changes as you work your way through and the unique tingling sensation at the end does help to turn of the urge to eat more.

I do like having them for days where I struggle with overeating, but I don’t feel like they are meant for me at every meal.  I might be more apt to use them when I’m dining out or indulging in foods that I am more prone to overeating.  I know that right now, with my current meal plan, I’m having a hard enough time eating all of the food on my plate (I’m in a higher bracket of the 21 Day Fix Extreme plan and it’s a lot of food!) and adding in a hunger stopping lozenge doesn’t make sense.

In short, I do sense the effect and have seen the most success with using them after an evening meal (when hunger cues are high).

OVERALL RECOMMENDATION:

I recommend these lozenges for your cheat meals or for when you have a hard time shutting off the hunger (when you know you’ve had enough to eat).  I don’t necessarily think they are good for people like me that struggle with craving triggers–for me these often left me craving more chocolate or sweets and for the 20 minutes I worked on them I couldn’t stop day dreaming about desserts.

I do feel like once you get to the end the effect is greater, but I find it hard to believe that you can’t achieve the same effect by brushing your teeth immediately after a meal.  I will continue to use the remainder of the product and hope that my view may change, but upon my initial uses I’m not extremely impressed.

I do think they would work great if you’re someone that doesn’t struggle with food triggers and would highly recommend them to you.  For me the triggering effect is too high and I felt like it outweighed the benefit.  I should add that on the days where the trigger wasn’t as bad I did notice a decline in my hunger cues, especially when used in the evenings.

GIVEAWAY:

If you’re interested in trying these out for yourself be sure to get entered into my giveaway!!  To enter visit the link below and get entered!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b5cbf0ec4/?

 

 

 

Body Beast Lean Phase I (Build): Quick Review and Progress

It’s officially been three weeks since I started my journey with Body Beast.  One of my goals this year is to work on better reviewing and sharing the programs that I use.   My first program of the year is Body Beast (Lean) and I am LOVING it!

After a very gluttonous holiday, I need something to get me back on track.  Body Beast was the obvious option because I had been wanting to get back into weight training.

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The first few workouts were tough!  Mainly because I was not ready to accept that I had lost a lot of the strength I had gained from my days of using P90X and was a little scared when I felt so challenged.  Would I really be able to give this program my all?

Well, the glory of these programs and others like them is that you can modify some of the moves and you don’t need to go crazy with the amount of weights you are using (there were many times when I didn’t use weights at all).

This style of lifting is really focused on building those muscles.  It took me back to my days of rowing and the weight training that went along with it.  I used to love finding my 1 rep max to see how far I could push my body.  This program works on a similar premise and most of the sets build in weight as they go down in reps (15, 12, 8, 8).  The concept of drop sets, supersets, and progressive sets are a little new to me, but I can feel the results building under my skin.

If I had to pick the most challenging workout of the group it would have to be Build: Legs.  I’ve not done a leg day (aside from running hills) in ages.  My body was not happy with me in the days following and I felt rather disabled as I hobbled around and avoided bending over at all costs.

Overall, thus far I am very impressed with the program and am surprised with how challenging it is (even with low weights).  If you are thinking about trying this program I do warn that you will likely need a good variety of weights and will benefit from having a weight bench at your disposal.  I’ll also warn that during phase 1 you might go through a phase of feeling bigger.  I know that this is normal as you build muscle so I don’t mind the initial fluffy feeling. In fact, as every day goes by I am starting to feel leaner and much more toned.

I hope to put up a more thorough review of each workout soon so be sure to keep an eye out!


On Being A “Larger” Runner & Preventing Injuries

I’m not a small person and I don’t carry the (stereo)typical “runner” physique.  I’m still working towards my weight loss goals and my body isn’t light and lanky.  I have heavy, solid legs and curves.  My mommy tummy still shakes and jiggles when I run and I pound the pavement hard.

nearing the finish of a 5K race

Running at this weight might not be ideal, but it still feels pretty damned good!  I’m pushing 185-188lbs these days and on a good day can push a 10:10 pace for a 5K.  My long runs are much slower, but I can go for miles and miles without needing to rest.  Really though, none of that matters–I am a slow runner, I am a larger runner, I am a mother runner, I am a runner.

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It doesn’t matter which adjective I use to describe it, it all boils down to the fact that I am a runner.  I am strong and powerful and I can accomplish more than my mind knows.

BUT, that doesn’t mean that running larger doesn’t come with its challenges.  Having a heavier build often means that you’re exerting more wear and tear on your body. Pounding the pavement hard can take its toll on the body if you do not take the proper precautions.  Many of us larger runners take on running as a means to lose weight.  Eager to go hard and hit big goals, many new runners are faced with the dread that is a running injury.

Believe me, I’ve faced my share of running related injuries and I know what my body can and can’t handle.  Surprisingly, most of said injuries occurred before I even became a runner.  In college when I participated on the woman’s rowing team I faced multiple overuse injuries to my knees.  I had IT band issues and patellar tendonitis.  There really wasn’t a time where pain wasn’t present.  I resigned to the fact that I had bad knees and thus couldn’t be a runner.

Fast-forward to today.  I haven’t faced any real injuries (aside from the time I didn’t change shoes soon enough) since my running ventures began in 2013.  In the first weeks of running I did make the mistake of using my 2-year-old running shoes and soon enough I began to feel pain in my shin.  This is when I learned the importance of a good shoe and how easing into training is the best course of action.  So, I’ve decided to use my own experiences and compile them with additional tips for preventing injury as a larger runner.

PREVENTING INJURY AS A LARGER RUNNER (aka Clydesdale/Athena runners)

*Please Note:  I am not a running expert nor a physician.  These tips are based on my own experiences and research.

  1. Ease into your training.  If it hurts when you do it, then don’t do it!  I know this seems counterintuitive because running can “hurt” in a good way without causing injury, but what I’m saying is that you need to ease your body into running so that you don’t get injured.  If you try to go too fast or too hard too soon, your body will pay the price.  I strongly advise that you take a couple of weeks to build and develop strength in your legs.  I usedP90X as my foundation builder and I think it’s what helped me feel like I could actually be a runner.Having a proper base is a great way to prevent overuse injuries.  This can also be achieved by using one of the beginner runner programs like Couch to 5K.  Programs like this ease your body into running and it’s important to follow the program as advised, it is not the time to be an overachiever (which can actually set you back instead of push you further).
  2. Buy proper footwear.  Because we are built heavier, it’s very important to make sure we make the effort to get a proper shoe and to make sure we change our shoes when they lose their support. A good rule of thumb for bigger runners is to find a shoe with a strong midsole support system.  For me this just so happens to be Asics Gel Kayanos.  Every shoe’s life expectancy varies depending on the runner’s stride, the shoe type, and the conditions the shoes are run in (i.e. concrete running vs. trail running).  For myself I usually find the 300 mile range to be my sweet spot.  It’s all about listening to your body though!  If you start to feel aches and pains that weren’t there a few weeks ago it might be time for a new pair.
  3. Choose your running surfaces wisely.  Not all running surfaces are created equal!  Concrete is by far the worse surface to run on, it doesn’t offer any form of shock absorption so your body is faced with the brunt of it.  When possible it’s best to opt for softer surfaces–this is why you often see runners on the road when there is a perfectly good sidewalk next to them.  I’ve grown to love trail running for this particular reason. My stride is cushioned by the soft ground and the scenery and terrain change makes for a fun run.
  4. Listen to your body.  With any fitness routine it’s always important to listen to your body.  If you feel achy and it’s just sore muscles you won’t do too much damage by going out for a quick jog.  If you feel pinpoint pain that worsens upon running then you might want to cut back and let your body heal.  If you’re not sure what your body needs then you might want to consider seeing a doctor.  Persistent pain is a big red flag and ignoring it can lead to permanent injury that can derail your running completely.
  5. Go your own pace.  This goes hand in hand with easing into your training.  Group runs are fun, but running with others means that you might try to push yourself too hard.
  6. Fuel your body. With any new routine (even if weight loss is the goal) it’s important to fuel your body.   This is not the time to skimp on your diet.  Your body needs to be properly fueled and fed in order to prevent injury.  Malnourishment can lead to prolonged recovery and an increased risk of injury and illness.
  7. Dress the part.  Clothing attire might not be something that seems important, but for myself I think it helps!  Having the proper clothes can save you from jostling around with each stride and can help prevent chafing.
  8. Allow for rest and recovery.  If you’re just starting out running there is no reason to be running everyday.  Your body will need time to recover and repair those hard-working muscles.  Ignoring rest days can lead to fatigue and poor form which can cause long-term injuries.  As always it’s important to be mindful and listen to your body.

I know that a lot of these tips may seem like common sense, but as a once newbie runner I know that it’s not always so easy.  I didn’t know that running shoes weren’t one size fits all.  I didn’t know that running surfaces mattered and I didn’t know that a gradual build to running was best.  It’s still a learning experience for me, but I am eager to keep running and work on that speed.

Are you a larger runner?  What tips do you have to offer?  What have been your biggest obstacles?

 

2014 A Year In Review

This past year has been a whirlwind!  Let’s take a moment to look back to my Fit Goals of 2014 and see what I’ve accomplished!

2014 Fit Goals

  1. Run the entire Walt Disney World Marathon on January 12, 2014
  2. Sign-up for and complete either the Wineglass or Empire State Marathon.
  3. Sign-up and complete a Tough Mudder or similar obstacle race.
  4. Sign-up and PR in at least one Half-Marathon.
  5. Complete at least one unassisted pull-up.
  6. Run faster/more frequently (aim to triple mileage).
  7. Complete 1 round of p90x3.
  8. Sign-up for and complete a few 5k races.
  9. Eat cleaner!  I struggle with this one and often fall off into old habits.
  10. Start biking during the warm months.
  11. Sign-up for the 100 mile Ride for Life
  12. Lose the weight/lose inches–ideal weight=150lbs, size 6/8
  13. Sleep more!
  14. Blog more about fitness! (not really a fit goal, but related–I’d like to make sure to keep you updated on my progress and struggles)

I didn’t get through them all, but I am very proud of the goals that I did accomplish!!

Completing my first marathon is by far my biggest accomplishment of the year!  It wasn’t easy and I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, but I did it and was brave enough to sign up for this year’s marathon (which unfortunately I had to back out of in December).  It was a great year of increased mileage, strength, and fun races to boot!

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WDW Marathon 1/12/14

It wasn’t a Tough Mudder, but I did manage to run in 2 obstacle 5ks! Both were a blast and I’m definitely eager to try my hand at something a bit more challenging in 2015.

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Tough Turtle-Ithaca,NY
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5K Foam Fest-Batavia, NY

I also did fairly well at picking up my pace and increasing my mileage throughout the year (thanks to my months of ill-fated marathon training).  Longer runs became easier and shorter runs were faster.  I was also happy to have completed more 5ks than the prior year, but missed out on many races due to our hectic wedding schedule.

My favorite race of the year might have to be the Trick or Trot 5k because it was the first race that my little nugget ran.  I’ve been counting down the days until this little dude could run with me and it was ridiculously cute to see him wearing his first race bib.
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All in all, it’s been a great year! I didn’t complete as many goals as planned, but I didn’t gain back any of the weight I lost in 2013 so I feel proud and accomplished.  I do have big goals for 2015 and hope to keep moving forward with this healthy life and am grateful for all I’ve gained in 2014.

What did your 2014 look like?  Do you have big goals for 2015?

Guess What?! I’m A Beachbody Challenge Daily $500 Winner

I won the daily $500 prize for 9/21/14!

Visit: TeamBeachbody.com for my transformation story or read below.

“I Didn’t Need a Gym or a Babysitter”

September21-SarahG
 Meet Sarah G.! She participated in The Beachbody Challenge and won the $500 Daily Prize for September 21st!

Tell us about your life before you started the program. How did you feel about yourself and your body?
Before Beachbody, I felt stuck in my body, and had little-to-no energy. I couldn’t figure out why. I was finally at a point where I absolutely hated the way I looked and felt. I would avoid full body mirrors, and spent everyday wearing a spanx cami to try and hide the extra weight that I had gained from my pregnancy and unhealthy habits. I was always careful to choose photos that showed my best angle, an angle that was becoming very limited. My face began to fill out, and my maternity clothes were no longer hiding the fact that I wasn’t losing the baby weight. I was becoming very unhappy, and had to force a smile on my face for photos.

What inspired you to change your life and begin your transformation journey?
I initially started this journey because I was fed up with the excuses. I knew I was stuck and that something needed to change, but I dragged my feet. I didn’t realize I was in that bad of shape or that I had gotten so big. I thought that I hid my weight well and that the excuse of being a new mom was enough to keep others from noticing. However, after seeing photos from a friend’s wedding, it was obvious that I wasn’t hiding anything. Those candid shots were a rude awakening. I was looking at an unhealthy person. I was also inspired by my son. I worried that one day I wouldn’t be able to keep up with him. I needed to be a fit mom so that I could keep him safe if needed. For so long, I was avoiding photos or deleting the “fat” pics. My son deserved to have every memory captured, and I was taking that away.

What is the greatest challenge you faced before beginning the program? How did the program and Beachbody® help you overcome that challenge?
The greatest challenge I faced was getting off of the excuse train. As a working mom, it was all too easy to make excuses for my lifestyle. I didn’t have time for the gym. I didn’t have energy to workout. I didn’t have time to prepare healthy meals. P90X/P90X3/21 Day Fix helped me because I could do it on my time. I didn’t need a gym or a babysitter. I could pop the DVD in while my son was napping and get to work, or he could even join me! I also started drinking Shakeology, and it helped me get rid of the, “I don’t have time for a meal,” excuse. The meal planning for the 21 Day Fix was simple. Prepping my food in advance really helped me save time in the kitchen.

Describe the results you achieved with your Beachbody program. Which achievements are you proud of?
Throughout the Beachbody Challenge, I’ve been able to lose 40 lbs and drop 6 pants sizes. These programs gave me the strength and confidence to get back into running (something I’ve always struggled with) and gave me the courage to sign up for and complete my first marathon. The 21 Day Fix helped me get over my post marathon slump and helped push me through my weight loss plateau.

How has your life changed since completing your Beachbody program?
Since completing the program, I have a new sense of self worth, and my confidence has skyrocketed. I still have my rough days, but I use those days to look back and see how far I’ve come. I’ve also taken this opportunity to become a Coach and help inspire others to get up and change their lives. I actually feel like I’ve found my passion in health and fitness, and am now working hard to make this a potential career.

You can change your life, too. Take the Beachbody Challenge, for the ultimate motivation to get fit! Select any Beachbody program and once you complete it, share your results for your chance to win cash and prizes.

Finding Your Motivation And Fighting The Motivation Monster

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Let’s talk about motivation.  Motivation is a powerful thing, but being motivated can only get you so far.
Over the past year I’ve spoken with many people who struggle with the motivation monster.  The monster that eats up every ounce of motivation you had when you decided to start your journey.  The monster that creeps in when results and progress slow down.  The monster that sometimes holds you back from starting at all.

Do you know what I am talking about?  It might be an all too familiar scenario for you.  I know it was for me.  In the past year I’ve definitely faced my monster multiple times, but the one thing that really kept me going was my determination to stay motivated.

I know it sounds crazy and you might say, well isn’t and shouldn’t motivation be enough?  It would be great if that were the case, wouldn’t it?!  Let’s break it down into terms and compare a few.

The dictionary defines motivation as:

motivation- n
1. the act or an instance of motivating
2. desire to do; interest or drive
3. incentive or inducement

We can all come up with a reason of why we want to get fit and be healthy.  The why is all too easy.  I wanted this life for me because I wanted to be the healthiest and happiest person I could be for my family.  I didn’t want to feel trapped and hidden in a body I didn’t recognize.

But what happens when your “why” changes?  What happens when your motivation isn’t clear anymore?

That’s when determination comes into play.

The dictionary defines determination as:

determination-n

1. the act or and instance of making a decision

2. condition of being determined; resoluteness

Being determined is what will ultimately keep you going.  Everyone can have the motivation to want to do something, but having the determination to stick it through when times get rough is the hard part.

For me my motivating factors are constantly changing.  At first it was training for the marathon.  I was motivated by the goal in sight, but there were days where I began to question my motives.  Why was I doing this?  Well, because I had made the decision to dedicate the time and energy and to complete the task at hand.  This is why I am a firm believer in setting goals.

A goal can provide motivation and the act of commitment will provide the will and determination to keep that motivation alive.  Does that make sense?  They go hand in hand and together create an unstoppable momentum that will keep you going.  Much like a rolling stone won’t gather moss, a person who is striving for new goals will be less likely to lose their motivation.

For me, starting new beachbody programs is what helps me keep my motivation alive.  I am setting mini-goals through the course of each program.  The end goal is always to follow the program and complete it.  Earning my free shirt and sharing my results at the end are things that help push me forward.  Much like collecting race bibs, completing these programs and earning my shirts are my badges of honor.  They show that I stuck it through and met my goal.

What keeps your motivation alive?  What goals are you setting for yourself?

 

Building Speed and Happy Belated National Running Day!

Ever since I completed my first full marathon back in January I’ve been struggling with building my speed.  As of late, it seemed that no matter how hard I tried I could barely break an 11:00 minute pace for my 5K distances.  If I could get sub 11 minutes for my 3-4 mile runs, it was a good day.

I’m not a fast runner (hello, I’m a Slow Mo Mother Runner!), but back in November before my mileage was crazy high, I ran my best 5k at a 10:10 pace.  I also ran a 10k with a sub 11:00 pace.  Both of these have been tough paces to obtain again.  That was until this past weekend!  I finally hit a 10:10 pace again!

10346366_721909884527565_5399344539351721673_nI was thrilled with my run!  I wasn’t expecting much when I stepped out the door that morning.  In fact, my run started off crappy because Pandora wasn’t working and I ended up running without any music.  I was worried that it might slow me down, but there was something nice about a trail run without the distraction of rhythmic beats in my ears.

I listened to my breathing, watched my HR, and went with the flow.  Mile 2 was a bit trying, but once I turned around at 1.7 miles I knew I was over halfway finished and I knew I had room to push myself because I was nowhere near my max HR.  So I kept an eye on my Polar FT40 and told myself I would build my HR at 1/4 mile increments.  It worked!  I build my speed back up and finished off strong.  It was a pretty awesome feeling to hit that mark again.

For the month of May, post relay race, I had been working on building my speed.  I incorporated hills, fartleks, and built my mileage for a couple of runs.  I’ve also listened to my HR and have been working on what points during a run to really push myself.  Ideally, I’ve found that staying at 160 for the first half of my run and then building things up and pushing hard towards the latter half works best.  I do max out around 185-190 and can’t really push myself for too long at that HR, but I find it’s my sprint rate and it works for that last short final push.

I even went out yesterday on National Running Day and put in a decent 5K with a 10:37 split.  I’m still trying to master the negative split because mine still look like uneven pyramids. I am getting stronger and can feel myself getting faster.

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These next couple of months I am reading up and playing around with a few things to see where it takes me.  One other thing that I have been trying to master is my stride.  I’m so used to a heavy legged short stride and would really love to get away from that for my shorter runs.  Based on my current research it seems that a lot of small changes can mean a world of difference with pace. My goal before the end of the summer is to get  sub 10:00 min pace for a 5K distance.  I would love to see a 9:00 too!

What are your pace goals?  What are you doing to get faster?  How are you building your speed?

A Fit Family = A Happy Family

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It might sound cheesy and cliché, but for us it’s the truth.  When I was out of shape and severely over weight, I was not happy. I was a miserable mess of a person and it spilled out into our family life.  Looking back I see that I judged more, I snapped more, and I was flat-out negative about everything.

I picked apart people’s weaknesses because I didn’t want to face my own and it wasn’t healthy.  Nothing in my life was healthy at that point.  Nothing in our family life was healthy either (aside from our beautiful healthy and happy son).  Both of us would come home and melt into the couch with our bags of take out (or fast food) and sink into a Netflix coma.  We didn’t connect with one another very much, we cohabited just fine and loved each other, but we were like two passing ships fighting our own battles.  We’d drown our boredom by stuffing our faces and watching our shows until it was time for bed.

Intimacy took it’s hit too, neither of us were particularly fond of our new bodies.  I had trouble accepting my post-baby body and any loving compliment doled out by my husband was easily brushed off.  How on earth could this man think I’m beautiful when I look and feel the way I do?  My insecurities got the best of me and I could not fathom that he was being honest.  In short, there were a few months where things were rough.  I’m not one for hiding the truth and in all honesty I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a healthy relationship that didn’t face trying times.

For us, this period of being unhealthy left us both with a lot of self-reflecting.  It turns out a lot of our unhappiness was because we weren’t taking care of ourselves.  Like many new parents, we put our son’s needs ahead of our own and our focus was constantly on him.  We lost sight of ourselves and each other and it became apparent that the major problem in the equation was our inability to tend to our own needs.

Outwardly, these problems weren’t obvious and I didn’t even awaken to the problem until my husband expressed his concern about the life we were leading.  He could feel the lifestyle of laziness taking hold and didn’t like where it was going.  I was still in denial and didn’t want to accept the fact that I had lost touch with a healthy way of life.  After all, I was only exhausted all of the time because I was busy caring for our baby into the wee hours.  It clearly had nothing to do with my poor diet choices and lack of physical activity.

Fast forward to today, I’m feeling so much more confident and I can now better accept a compliment.  My husband and I do our best to make time each day to focus on ourselves and each other.  We have gym dates where we push each other to be better and work harder.  We get out more as a family and do our best to be active together by hiking, jogging, or running around the playground with our son.  Our overall moods are better, we have more energy and we’ve found a common ground once again.  We share in each others’ successes and support each others’ goals.  Hell, I even convinced my husband to buy running shoes and compete in our first race together!  Now, that’s a big deal!