The Body as a Gift, not a Tool

I had a disappointing turn of events last Sunday. I was having a totally normal day, normal workout, normal life stuff, when out of nowhere my lower back seized up and really started to hurt. By Monday morning I was in excruciating pain and other than getting older I couldn’t pinpoint a culprit. Not immediately, anyway. It’s now Friday and I haven’t “worked out” aside from gentle yoga specifically to soothe my back. What I have worked out however is the culprit and it wasn’t one dumb thing I did or my age… it was a lot of dumb things.

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As I’ve expressed before, I tend to have tunnel vision. I get really focused, I love a good routine, and I kind of forget to step back and observe my progress or take a break. If something seems to be working I go full steam ahead. This can be great from a productivity standpoint but other times… it really isn’t so great. Like, I have a hard time hanging out if something from work is on my mind.

For months now I had finally gotten a new workout routine that I loved. I was working out 6 days a week, eating pretty well, and seeing some incredible results in my body. I also just felt stronger in general. But what was once a dope ass workout plan quickly became this rote practice. Sure, there were days I took off because I was tired, or I decided to do yoga instead of something intense. But for the most part I worked out everyday, in the same sort of style, because it was easier than assessing any sort of goal or next steps. And my body first got used to it and then got sick of it (stopped seeing results) and then finally gave me the big middle finger with an injury. It’s always an injury that is my wake up call.

I’m sharing this not as a pity party but to make a point to the people following along with me. Sometimes having a solid routine and insane dedication to it, isn’t always what we need. And the what we do need is to listen to that little, tiny, baby voice way back in our heads. It has great ideas. For instance… for a couple of months I considered taking classes again, having someone teach me proper from for a number of things. I thought about taking low impact classes like yoga or pilates but couldn’t find the time. I am also terrified of pilates. I thought about switching up the routine into longer workouts for less days. I thought of it all but I didn’t act on any of it because what I was doing was safe and I was being kind of lazy.

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But now that I’ve had the time off to consider all of this, I am re-dedicating myself to an actual healthy lifestyle. I will take the advice of the inner me; she really knew all along. I need to come up with some new goals, reassess my fitness style, find things that I love to do that push me in new ways, and let myself be led by others. It’s like, I know I have shit form for a lot of stuff, so I really need to get out there and learn from someone better. It’s embarrassing and super scary… but I really don’t want to get hurt again because I was being stubborn.

And stubborn I am. So, I want to know from all of you. What’s something in the back of your head that you know you could be doing better, but don’t? What’s that voice telling you? And I know this is hard because I would read stuff written by other people about this “voice” and I’d be like “I never ignore her!” But I secretly was. That’s how tricky this is!

I also wanted to make it a point to be open about this injury and the fact that I am not always right. I get a lot of messages on my IG stories about my dedication and how motivating it is but also how down people feel on themselves because they aren’t doing it the exact same way as me. Guess what, we’re all different and we all need to listen to what our bodies are telling us. They are gifts, not tools to a destination. What I need to remember is that there is no end to healthy living. It grows and changes with you. Better start adapting!

 

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Blueberry Cobbler, Playlists, and Mid-August Feelings

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For my very first recipe post, I am sharing a recipe for Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Blueberry Cobbler. Blueberries always make me think of summertime in Massachusetts, where I grew up, and I often romanticize their fine balance of sweet and tart, purple and blue, fruit and dessert. There are few things more satisfying than popping a blueberry open with your teeth.
August is also my mother’s birth month and so I wanted to come up with a recipe that she and I could share that we’d both enjoy. You see, my mother hates anything too sweet and I love all things sugary.
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Lucky for her I tend to want to be healthy, which helps us balance. This recipe is succeeds because it can be served alone (for Mama) or with vanilla ice cream (for me and my sweet tooth). It’s also gluten, dairy, and added-sugar free so you can eat it for breakfast too! I did this and it was a fantastic experience.
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As some of you may remember, I just moved to a new place, so this Blueberry Cobbler was only my second time using my oven and my, can I say what a pleasure it is to use an oven with electric settings? I was so exited to preheat my oven!
My old oven was gas so I had to sit and wait for it to light and then had to guess when it was preheated. After 3 years I got used to it but it really was a pain. This thing preheats like a wizard and also has a built-in clock in timer. It feels magical, really.

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A Jug Fills Drop By Drop

Okay, wow, I haven’t written about fitness since May. And for awhile I thought about just getting rid of the section all together, but I feel ready to tackle it again. I’ve come to a place where exercise has become a part of my daily life. So much so, that I rarely think about “having to workout” or “having to eat clean.” Most of the time, I just do what I want.

If I DO catch myself thinking “but I have to” it usually means that I am too tired to workout and I need a break or that I probably haven’t been listening to my body and been nourishing it incorrectly. How did I get to a place where I can honestly say I am in tune with my body? BY BEING CONSISTENT.

Consistency with my exercise and eating has transformed the way I live and has helped me to become more balanced and happy. Let me break down how:

a-jug-fills-drop-by__quotes-by-buddha-47I Can Miss a Workout
By staying consistent with daily workouts, I never feel guilty if I miss one because I am tired, or stayed out too late, or am having too much fun with a friend. The old me always felt frustrated and angry with myself when I missed a scheduled workout. I was obsessive about making sure I hit every workout at the expense of my own physical and mental health. If I missed a workout I’d torture myself about it until I made up for it somehow. I was also trying to do too many workouts at weird times that didn’t match my schedule because I thought it was what I ‘should’ be doing.

Now, I schedule in 30-45 minute workouts 6 times a week. I follow Kayla Itsines BBG most of the time and it has taught me that a lot can be done in a short amount of time. And it can be done at home. By making my workouts more accessible to myself and planning them in when I have no other commitments, I am more apt to do them more often and with great consistency. Their length hardly matters, it’s how often I do them and what I am doing.

I Can Eat What I Want
This is where people want to talk about genes and that I’m lucky and so forth. But that’s really not the case. If I didn’t move my body and just filled it with chemicals everyday, I’d probably look and feel a whole lot different. Actually I know I’d feel TERRIBLE.

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Not genes, just self love. 🙂

I don’t follow a meal plan or a diet or anything restrictive or crazy. I tried that, I tried many different ways ,and all it did was make me feel depressed when I cheated on it, depressed when I followed it, and generally just sad. Finally, all I wanted to do was eat and not calculate how far I’d have to run to burn it off. So I follow some loose guidelines I made up for myself:

-I try to eat mostly “real” foods (I try to stay away from chemicals and over processed junk)

-I try and get my recommended daily intake of EVERYTHING. (This includes meat, dairy, grains, fruits and vegetables.) The best thing that comes from this is that I am eating a little bit of everything and keeping my vitamins diverse.

-I only dine out a couple times a week. (Last night I had an entire pizza and didn’t even feel guilty.) And most of the time try to make smart-ish decisions while I am out (veggies etc.).

-When I’m hungry and it’s just a regular, old day with nothing fun happening I’ll eat veggies, fruit, whole grains. Doing this on boring days makes it so easy to splurge on fun days.

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I love breakfast.

I Am Doing Something Good For Myself Everyday
I have never loved myself more than this moment. Right now. I am eating right. I am moving my body. I am resting when I need it. It’s like I finally feel an amazing synergy through everything and from that I’ve learned to love my body just the way it is, just the way it looks and feels. I am respecting the one home I was given.

No One Else is Dictating How I Care for Myself
Everything I do is because it makes me feel good, makes me feel happier, and makes me healthier. Yes, I truly believe that housing an entire pizza last night makes me healthier. Because my mind is right.

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My proudest day. 🙂

The most amazing thing about this is that each part fuels another part. Because I trust myself to move my body, I can indulge, because I love the way my body looks no matter what, I want to move it more, because I move my body more, I can enjoy lazy days in my bed with my dog.

I have to say that this was not an easy process for me. I started my healthy living YEARS ago when I decided I wanted to start working out again. I was 21. 7 years later and I feel like I finally hit my stride. It was long, and I had to learn a lot, but the payoff has been amazing. I finally love my body! (Hurrah!)

My advice to anyone looking to get in touch with themselves and their healthier sides is to just be consistent. If you can’t put an hour in at the gym everyday, than play outside with your kids for 15 minutes before dinner, if you can’t live without chocolate, have a little everyday instead of trying to cut it cold turkey and then bingeing. Do a little everyday… and it will add up. I promise.

Quick and Effective Memorial Day Weekend Workout

This is a weekend to remember those who have served us, relax, unwind, and welcome summer. That’s why I’ve created a short and sweet workout that you’ll be able to squeeze in anytime and anywhere. It only takes 15 minutes to complete and by the end, your heart rate will be up, you’ll be burning fat, and you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy one of my favorite holiday weekends!

I’ve focused on Arms and Abs for this one, because it’s officially crop top season. Enjoy and let me know how it goes for you this weekend! The workout appears below. Click on any of the images and be taken to the COMPLETE PDF that you can download and save!


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How to Build the Best Green Smoothie

I love green smoothies! They are way more filling than a juice (but I love juice too!) and you can mix and match to make the most interesting and flavorful concoctions. It’s like I can pretend that I’m a mad scientist…but with greens! I made the below image and matching PDF for you to download and save the next time your stumped for ideas or inspiration. Just mix and match from my favorite selections below, blend, and enjoy!

These babies are packed with protein, vitamins, nutrients, and badassery.

If you click on the image below, you’ll be taken to the PDF that you can download and SAVE!

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