Does Yoga Make You Cry?

so today was yoga day in my program, The 21 Day Fix Extreme.

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 11.49.49 AM

I love yoga days because it’s usually a break in my challenging workouts during the week but also it helps me to lengthen my muscles that have been tightened to the extreme, and can tend to hold on to kinks and resulting in minor issues later on.

Stretching just makes life better, right? And if you don’t already currently do any stretching because it “hurts”…for crying out loud, You need it more!!!!

Anyway, keeping to my “mellow” mood of the morning and not wanting to already let go of my calm and zen; I’ll reflect a bit on what exactly went on during my practice this morning. It was an epiphany of sorts, and a deeper understanding of me and life.

I’ll be honest and say that we all go through our stresses in life; our ups and downs; our highs and lows…and so on and so forth. It is something I am currently learning to deal with in a higher place of understanding when I am confronted with crappola.

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 11.45.04 AM

And that is what has happened throughout the past decade or so of my life. (which I’m sure we can all agree for each of us, right?) Now, I’m not one to condone complaining but for the sake of this blog post; just hear me out.

I’ve had some major life “stuff” (for lack of a stronger, less “family-friendly” word) thrown at me (or should I just say hurled my way) in the previous 10+ years. Not all the same stuff, but lots of unbalanced and unhealthy and spirit & mind & faith crushing stuff.

I had a realization at one point (and it was at that point, I was curled up on the bathroom floor bawling my eyes out and just feeling sooo sorry for myself) when I looked up and saw my two young children peering around the corner of the room to see how mom was doing..or maybe what the heck is mom doing????

It hit me like a ton of bricks. This life isn’t just about me anymore. (was it ever???) It’s about so much more. It’s about the family and friends I have right in front of my face. It was one of those moments where you just have to peel yourself up from the lowest of lows and will yourself to go forward.

one. step. at. a. time.

And so I did. I vowed at that moment to not let my pity party overtake the more important things of my life. That meant that my children and hubby were the central heart of those “important” things of my life.

After that moment of truth, I went on to deal with my “stuff” and just appreciate the blessings I had; versus looking at what I currently “didn’t have”. We can all get caught up in that type of mindset, and I believe it’s because we’ve been taught to do just that. The only way out of that negative process is to focus on what we want MORE of in our life.

Life did balance out and I was a happy camper once again…but it wasn’t all butterflies and rose gardens, to say the least.

And you know what? so what????

That’s right! So what??? I’ve been blamed for things that had nothing to do with me, I’ve been hurt, betrayed, disrespected, and more…. and tell me, who hasn’t at some point or another?

but so what?

Who am I to give power to people who don’t understand, respect and honor the person that I am today? I know in my heart that I do my best and love on people as much as I possibly can (sometimes TOO much so) but if there are those who already have a perception about me and don’t see the real intent I have; SO WHAT?

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 11.44.17 AM

And that brings me full circle back to my yoga practice today. I feel like my level of understanding my own limits; and those of people around me, make me a better person. Pushing my limits of fitness, understanding, love, spirituality and more is what my life is all about. In my practice today, I used that focus and decided to just be in the moment and stop limiting myself or judging my limitations. Just be and be grateful for that journey today. This made me actually cry through my practice and I know that proves that I am working on expanding my body (through flexibility and strength); my mind (through the personal growth I am working on improving every day) and my spirit (of just being grateful for today, no judgments or criticisms).

 

There is crying allowed in yoga, by the way 😉

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 11.48.40 AM

Advertisements

Curbing Emotional Eating Attacks

Have you ever been attacked by a craving?

Like, you are not sure what just happened but one minute you are sitting there minding your own business and the next part is fuzzy and unclear…

but once you “come to”, you have crumbs on your shirt and chocolate dripping from your chin and your fingertips.

What just happened here? 

This is something that I had suffered through for so many years and instead of looking into the reasons why it was happening, I was under the impression that working on my sheer “willpower” would help me to conquer this beast.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 10.08.35 PM

not so much…

Let’s take a look at what happens when we are in the midst of a craving attack;  the cravings are driven by the chemical in our brain, dopamine. The brain seeks that rush again and again…and again! It works like a drug addiction…and “willpower” has no power over this at all.

But what do we do if we are trying to lose weight? What if we are focusing on replacing these attacks with healthier habits?  How do we stop these attacks and start to control their power over our brains?

Knowing our trigger points can help us understand the signs so we can work on creating a successful plan to offset the problem.

Here are some common areas that bring on the sudden attacks:

*Being under a lot of stress (ummmm…excuse me, LIFE???)

*Skipping meals and/or undereating (a big no-no but so many women practice it in hopes of losing weight)

*Not drinking enough water (seriously, who even drinks enough these days??)

*Boredom

*Lack of sleep

*Stuck in a rut

Start by learning to identify the feelings in a given moment and understand to separate those feelings from food. I will never forget one of my Weight Watcher leaders when I was just 15 years old, when I was obsessed with finding the cause of my struggles. She told us repeatedly, almost like our mantra, “if you find yourself standing in front of an open refrigerator or pantry and you don’t know what you are ‘hungry’ for; shut the door, go sit down and figure out what it is you are hungry for. Because it has nothing to do with food.’

This saying brought me so much relief through many painful times as I worked on conquering this massive and powerful beast.

So, how do we finally get control of these times? It’s all about understanding the emotions first and then having a game plan set up so we are set up for success. Here are some tips.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 10.09.39 PM

1. Plan a workout schedule and stick to it. You wouldn’t cancel on a meeting or appointment that was important to you, why would you not stick to a workout program that would benefit your body and your mind? I like to plan out my workout time on my calendar in pen and I don’t let myself get off track with anything or anyone else at that time. If you have difficulty during your day or evening, get up an hour earlier and just get it done. If you are thinking that isn’t fair because you want to sleep that extra hour; then go to sleep earlier if you must. But the bottom line is you that we all have 2 decisions on our goals. Either we don’t stick to it and we move further from our goals; or we just do it and the magic happens. You are just as important as anyone else that you value in your life.

2. Let’s talk about your water intake, your stress levels and the amount of sleep you’re getting. Now, don’t get me started on the fact that most of us are lacking in all 3 of these areas…let’s find out why we need to pay attention here. Our will power is lowered dramatically when we are sleep deprived, stressed out and dehydrated. Do you think that’s BS? Think about a time of known weight gain for most…’the college years’.  Crappy food is everywhere, sleep is a second thought and stress levels are through the roof…and water? Who drinks water? There are much less hydrating beverages to be had instead. Those or us who are more active, need at least 1 gallon of water every day. We also need at least 7 hours of sleep per night…and I don’t care if you can tell me that you are “good” to go after just 4 hours. That lack of sleep will catch up with you. These will create major food cravings all on their own.

3. I know I mentioned stress above but I believe it’s important enough to hold it’s own title.  I know we all deal with stresses. It is ‘life’ for goodness sake. But think about the times when you are stressed more than normal, these times make us so much more vulnerable to food cravings. Stress may not be something you can always control, but you can help your body handle it as best as possible. Exercise is a proven method to eliminate the negativity caused by stress; in fact, you feel immediately better after you are done. Ever hear of those “happy endorphins”?  Some basic activities that bring upon a feeling of euphoria are yoga, meditation and simple stretching. Plan to attend yoga classes twice a week when you are under extra stress, or just in general. Even if you only have a few minutes to relax; just breathing in a quiet place with your eyes closed for 10 minutes will lower stress levels dramatically.  Hence my Weight Watcher leader’s quote about “go sit down and figure out what you’re hungry for”, just sit and breathe…

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 10.10.52 PM

4. Stop the cravings! When you think of the food culprit, day or night, just firmly think “STOP!” Then picture a healthy and fit “you” instead. Do this repeatedly, even if you feel silly. It’s really sillier to NOT work on these areas so suit yourself…lol  If you make this a habit, your brain will soon begin to dismiss the foods and the cravings will begin to lessen.

5. Sometimes you just gotta have one. Diets don’t work because they focus on depriving ourselves of what we enjoy most. Every so often, go ahead and indulge in your favorite sweet treat. But instead of gorging on it in the privacy of your home, go out and eat it with a fork and a spoon in front of other people…with dignity. Enjoy the flavors and the richness of the dessert. I bet you are satisfied before you even finish it.

 

Who Wants ABS? (or maybe I should just ask who doesn’t to weed out the non-committed folks!) :)

IMG_0953This is for all the beautiful people who have been dreaming and wishing and hoping to one day have a sexy midsection! Is that YOU?? I am pretty sure it’s most of the population! LOL

When it comes to creating incredible abs, even the most effective workout programs can only bring you so far. That’s because you can’t get a flat, hard midsection without losing body fat. No matter how much effort you put into creating a six-pack, no one’s going to see it if it’s covered by a layer of flab.

Seriously, I know! I’ve worked out so intensely and so often that if this was a proven method, I’d have had a six pack for most of you reading this today! 😉  But, alas, foods are the KEY to getting those abs to POP!

If you’re following the dietary guidelines of a fitness program, you’ll automatically be eating the right foods to lose fat as you get in shape. But the following seven principles can give you an extra edge, and will help ensure that the effort you’re putting into your abs will bring you the results you want.

1. Get plenty of protein
Eating enough lean protein promotes fat loss and muscle gain, the two most important elements for developing great abs. It also helps keep you from getting hungry while you’re eating right. You don’t have to gobble down 12-ounce steaks—just eat a normal portion of lean meat, fish, low-fat dairy, or vegetarian protein with every meal, and make sure your snacks contain some protein, too. If you still have a hard time getting enough in your diet, a daily Shakeology shake can be a perfect addition.

By the way, protein is especially important in the morning, when a lot of people don’t get as much as they should. A protein-rich breakfast will help keep your blood sugar steady for hours, preventing the dips that can lead to cravings later in the day. (Try some low-fat chicken sausage, or an omelet with one whole egg and three egg whites, along with fruit or whole-grain toast.) Tell me how much protein do YOU get each day? I see and talk with so many women who DON’T bcuz they think it will “bulk” them up….

NOT! Get that protein in yo face asap! 😉

2.Reconsider your carbs.
Despite the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets, the average American meal is still too high in sugar and fast-burning starches to bring body fat down to ab-baring levels. It’s time to say goodbye to sweetened soda, ditch the Doritos, and save the cake for your birthday. DUH!  If your fitness plan calls for a sports drink before a long cardio workout, or a carb-and-protein recovery drink after resistance training, that’s fine. But the rest of the time, stick with foods that are on the low end of the glycemic index (refer to GlycemicIndex.com for more information)—these foods burn more slowly, so they won’t spike your blood sugar and insulin levels.

3. Have fun with fiber.
Something about the word “fiber” just doesn’t sound appetizing. But high-fiber foods can actually be quite delicious: fresh berries and other fruits, salads loaded with colorful produce, your favorite steamed vegetables or vegetable soup, stews or chili made with beans, chewy whole-grain breads and cereals…You get the picture. (These foods just happen to be loaded with nutrients as well.) High-fiber foods keep you fuller with fewer calories, and they help keep your digestive system working at its best—a double-whammy for getting rid of belly bulge. And “double-whammy” is such a fun word to use that I encourage you to try it out a few times this week!

4. Enjoy some yogurt.
Probiotics, the healthful bacteria found in yogurt and other fermented foods, have been proven to help reduce belly fat. In a recent study in Finland, new mothers who took probiotic supplements averaged smaller waist circumferences—and lower body fat in general—than those who didn’t take probiotic supplements. And while the topic is still controversial, studies have found that eating lots of calcium-rich dairy foods like yogurt may increase overall weight loss. It’s why I eat Greek yogurt and drink my Shakeology DAILY!!

5. Don’t forget to eat.
Tempted to lower your daily calorie count by skipping meals? Don’t. Seriously, I cannot tell you how many women tell me that they don’t know why they aren’t losing weight; since they only eat maybe 1 time a day!!! EXCUSE MOI??????

Going hungry can raise your levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol, which research has found can increase belly fat even in otherwise thin women. And eating too infrequently can lower your metabolism and energy levels, while increasing the chance that you’ll get too hungry and decide to chuck your meal plan entirely. If you’re eating the right foods, regular meals and snacks will keep your body fueled while you’re working toward that strong core. You MUST eat!!! It’s the ONLY way! 😉

6. Drink more fluids. Hydration is important when you’re on a fitness plan, but drinking plenty of water has particular benefits for your midsection. It helps keep your stomach full, so you don’t overeat, and it helps flush out excess sodium to prevent belly bloating. (Eating more potassium-rich foods, such as tomatoes and bananas, will also help in this area.) Plain ol’ H20 can’t be beat, but you can also switch it up with flavored waters, iced tea, and anything else you like to drink that isn’t full of sweeteners. How much do you need? The old rule of 8 glasses a day is a good start, but everyone is different: drink more if you’re exercising or it’s hot out, and drink less if you’re running to the bathroom every 5 minutes.  I will challenge you to drink the recommended amount for fit individuals; 1/2 your body weight in ounces!! So for someone who is 150 lbs; they would need to drink at least 75 oz of water every day! Or a gallon if you are really up to the challenge!

7. …With two exceptions.
It’s time to cut down on those mood-altering substances, coffee and alcohol. Too much caffeine raises your cortisol levels and can impair your sleep, which can lower the production of fitness-promoting hormones. Meanwhile, the proverbial “beer belly” isn’t just the result of extra calories—alcohol actually makes it more difficult for your body to metabolize carbs and fat. Booze also stimulates your appetite and lowers your inhibitions, which can lead to bingeing. The best road to flat abs is no alcohol at all, but if you really like a drink now and then, just have one at a time (and no more than a few a week), and stay away from higher-calorie beers and sugary mixed drinks. Something to seriously consider especially over the weekends, am I right or am I right? (you are SO smart! lol)

If you add these rules to your fitness plan, you’re sure to see faster improvements in your midsection. Of course, there’s an added bonus to eating this way: it’ll keep you healthier, too. That may not be as big an inducement as great abs, but that’s just  for free.

Do you need an added incentive? I have a BUSY MOM’S support group starting first of the month and welcome you to message me today for info on joining. You can succeed and have time for your family AND save money along the way! All thrown in for extra bonus!! 😉

Email me at: http://www.spazzykay@gmail.com

Are You Struggling Today?

It’s amazing to me when I hear people assume that if you don’t complain or talk about your struggles; that you must no have any.

BULL!!! 

Our struggles are our stories!!! Embrace them and learn to grow from them.  That is your message to the world around you.

In keeping with today’s topic; I will share some of mine…

I am a very happily married woman of almost 20 years to my amazing hubby.  Do you think that it’s been bliss ever since the day we said, “I Do”???

FAR FROM IT!!!

…and to those of you who are, or have been married know that it would have been a complete lie for me to say otherwise.

We started out as your average “happy” young couple with dreams of a family life, successes, growing in our faith and many blessings.

While I can’t say we aren’t enjoying all of these today, it sure has not been “easy” in any respect.

Which reminds me of a joke my son told us this summer;

“Why did the washing machine stop working?…. Somebody threw the towel in…”

=D =D =D

We all have struggles and if we stick with what needs to be done consistently; we can work our ways through them and come out stronger than ever. This doesn’t mean it’s a great idea to complain to everyone around you or share all over social media about your issues…

Because there is such a thing as an “unfollow” button and that will get pressed if you make complaining a habit. Instead, act as though everything is going great and your reality will become so. You have more power over your progress and success than you know.

My point is that although life has had it’s share of ups and downs for us, we never gave up. We kept refocusing on helping each other and moving forward in the best way we could understand at the time. There is no fairy tale life. There is no perfection for anyone. I know we will continue to have our struggles but without them, we wouldn’t be as happy and as strong as we are today. My hubby is my best friend and I know he has my back just as much as I do, his.

But you have to get a little bit (sometimes, a LOT) uncomfortable before you feel proud of where you’ve come from…

Let’s focus in on the happy parts of today!

My Panic Disorder; Part 1

So, where do I start?

It seems like it’s always been an issue with me; panic and anxiety.  I remember the issues starting at the age of 18, but not sure if it was any earlier.

The earliest memories I have of my anxiety was when I’d try to fall asleep at night and I’d wake up in a full panic; sweating and out of breath. I would try to “catch” my next breath but it seemed like I would run out of oxygen.  This would only make me feel more out of control and I would begin to worry that I was going to die. I would begin to move around to get out of the feeling and this would only increase the issues.

My mom at that time was really worried about my episodes. I would be inconsolable and fight any help from anyone and wouldn’t want anybody to look at me as I was in the height of panic.  I called 911 a few times and was rushed to the emergency room; only to be told later that I was fine.

It’s so difficult to try to explain the feelings and sensations and I know that those of you who have experienced this issue will understand completely.  The irony is, that when I felt “good” and think back to the previous episode; I imagined that it must have been something I could have handled better.

1524842_637547149645081_543106709_n

But the next episode would hit and all rationale thoughts and feelings would be out the door.

The worst part of it all, was that there were no explanations for my episodes at that time.  I remember visiting the doctor multiple times and explaining these issues and they would sit there, puzzled, looking at me with no help for what it could have been. That would make me feel more anxious; not knowing and thinking the worst each time. How did they know I wasn’t going to die when they didn’t even know what was wrong with me???

One doctor sent me to a heart specialist and they have me an EKG. From that test, they concluded I had a heart murmur and put me on medication to help me.

That did nothing for my episodes. I would go into full panics and then wonder what was going on when I was clearly taking care of my “heart issues”.  Being 19 at that time and tired of being run around; I stopped taking my medication. That made my mom angry and scared that I had just stopped taking medication that was prescribed to “help” me.

It turns out I didn’t have MVP. (not “most valuable player” but “mitral valve prolapse”) lol

It was through my years of searching for an answer that I began to stumble upon the mere idea that I might have a panic disorder. When I was pregnant with my second child, I remember hearing a radio commercial of a woman who was explaining point-blank my mysterious “issues.” Could this be it? I wondered.

She was selling a program with cassette tapes and workbooks that was meant to “heal” your anxiety issues and allow you to live “episode” free.  I ordered that plan asap!

And, it did help me to understand the many reasons that were responsible for my anxiety. I realized it went so much deeper than just a “quick fix” and although I knew at that time what was causing my stress, I was in for another many years before I finally got to the bottom of it and able to live a “normal” life without ever worrying about dealing with another episode again.

I will share more in my next post about what I did to get help and how I finally overcame this powerful hold over my emotional and psychological state of panic.

Tell me below if you suffer or suffered from any form of this or if you know someone who has. My reason for sharing this now is to help anyone who may be fighting the battle alone and not knowing how to get help. You are not alone and it is treatable.

My First-Marathon (what does that mean?)

It seems a bit unreal that my marathon training and actual marathon race; have been completed.  I remember deciding (albeit hesitantly) to take on my first marathon (which for those of you who are unclear; is 26.2 miles!! And yes, there seemed to be MANY people unclear on this fact)

and the schedule that laid out ahead of me.

IMG_1459My tracking had me running over 10o training “runs” and that alone, scared the heck out of me!

I am not a “natural-born” runner.  I remember having to run for P.E. class and just hating it with a passion.  I was lazy.  It hurt.  I couldn’t breathe…

On and on, the excuses went.  They never changed either; since I hadn’t changed the way I thought about running.  It always makes me think of how powerful our minds are.  We put so much emphasis on how much “strength” or “endurance” we have within us; when it’s simply just the mind’s capacity and ability to get over the hurdles.

My humorous complaints regarding the marathon itself; the amount of training I needed to overcome; and the fact that Grace (my running partner) was trying to “kill” me with these challenges, were only said in jest.  I knew in my heart and in my mind; that I was determined, one way or another, to get to the finish line and be able to stand (in a semi-proud posture) and enjoy the accomplishment after.

I found it amazing how I went through the training phases in a pyramid like fashion; which meant increasing my long runs each week until 20 miles and then gradually tapering back down for recovery.

Those 20 milers sure took a toll on my body!  It took every bit of strength to walk the rest of that day; and don’t get me started on lifting up my legs to walk upstairs! :-/

All in all, the day following my super long runs were surprisingly good days!  I was told it would be worse the “day after” but my body didn’t follow along the basic guidelines, I’m sure!  (not too surprising since I don’t really follow along “normal” guidelines in anything! ha)

The week leading up to our marathon was more or less a “restful” running week.  Runs were shorter and a few quick bursts of speed and that was it.  I didn’t complain one bit.  It seemed to be more of a “mental” training week; in preparing ourselves for the upcoming race.  How would this be possible? I wondered.  What if I had to quit? I feared.  I know that these are all normal thoughts and feelings that newbies have; and maybe even veteran marathoners at times.  It didn’t slow me up or make me fear enough to back away…NEVER!!!

The weekend of the marathon, Grace and I went to the Expo along Huntington Beach Pacific Coast Highway in order to pick up our race packets and receive all of the important info for our race.  I have to say that we just became giddier with excitement and it was then that I knew I would do well.  No matter what happened; I would finish.  No matter my pace; I would finish.

All in all; we would finish.

I will write more in the next few blogs regarding the specifics of our nutrition prior to race day; (yes, carb-loading to the max!! NOT as fun as I thought) planning for the big day; during the run itself; and post marathon.

Aren’t you excited already?

photo (2)