February Fitness Challenge

res·o·lu·tion
ˌrezəˈlo͞oSHən/
noun
: a definite and serious decision to do something

Roll call! Who is still committed to those Healthy & Strong resolutions they made this year?

By now all of that vim and vigor might be starting to wane. I mean… we’re in the middle of a Polar Vortex, here! How can we be expected to pull off anything beyond basic survival?

I hear ya.

But you know what? I’m not going to let you forget your Resolution! Not this time! THIS IS YOUR YEAR! If I can lose 100 lbs in a year, you can accomplish any resolution.

To help you stay on track, the resident trainer and I put together a February Challenge. You can follow along on the calendar below, or join us over at the Happy Exhaustion Facebook page where I will be posting daily workouts and providing support and encouragement to anyone who wants to participate.

This is your chance to recommit! Grab that resolution with both hands and do not give up. You can move mountains – but only if you do the work. Earn your strength. Make yourself proud. You deserve it.
Save it, Pin it, Sweat it out!

Save it, Pin it, Sweat it out!

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Step Away From The Take-Out Menu And Nobody Gets Hurt.

It has been brought to my attention that I should write about food more often.

After all – how can the girl who preaches “Abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym” neglect to discuss what she eats?

*Cue blogger breaking out in hives*

As I said in The Food Part – I suffer from a profound deficit in confidence when it comes to food. Food is my bugaboo. Food kills me. If I was an alcoholic, food would be my vodka tonic.

When my grip on fitness starts slipping, it’s never because I couldn’t bear to work out anymore. It’s always because of a plate of brownies, or an open bar, or a mountain of cheese fries… *drool…*

But when I’m on the right track, I have strict food rules, and I should tell you what they are.

Today’s lesson is this: ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS – MAKE YOUR OWN FOOD.

Imma give it to you straight.

No sudden moves… Back away from the processed foods, nice and easy…

It’s so important to start with raw ingredients and go from there. When we eat things we can’t pronounce, we sacrifice our knowledge of what’s fueling our systems. How can we manage our nutrition when we don’t have our arms all the way around our understanding of what we’re consuming? Achieving and maintaining fitness is hard enough without any extra elements of mystery.

Controlling my fitness generated a fixation on foods made from scratch. When I make an exception, it’s because there’s a special occasion involved. Never more than once a week.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m no raw-foods-vegan or anything. I have tons of variety in my diet, I just don’t generally eat anything that comes out of a box. I take pride in preparing all of my family’s meals from whole foods. I can name every ingredient, and tell you why I used it.

It hasn’t always been this way.

For 20 years, I was technically a vegetarian, but it would have been more accurate to call me a junk-food-itarian. I lived primarily on processed carbs. I was very… fluffy in those days.

When I got married, I couldn’t cook my way out of a paper bag. While getting my MA in Budapest, my BFF and I often ate something we called ‘veggie mush’ – mashed canned veggies in a pot. It was a hot mess.

Committing to nutrition inspired me learn how to cook.

If you don’t know how to cook yet, you can use your fitness goals as your excuse to learn! It’s a fantastic feeling to be able to prepare whatever you might be in the mood for.

The trick is to add a step between your mood and your consumption.

When a craving creeps into my brain and my kitchen is stocked with easy-access processed foods, it’s WAY too easy to snack. When these options are not available, I have the chance to assess whether or not I’m really hungry.

Whenever I think I might want to nibble on something, I know I can either eat something whole (say, carrot sticks – not exactly crave-worthy) or I have to take the time to prepare something. If I’m not really hungry, I won’t have the motivation to go through the motions of prep. If I’m motivated enough to prep, then I’m hungry enough to eat.

Making your food slows you down. It makes you think about what you’re eating and why you’re choosing to eat it. When I was heavy, I ate without much thought. Now that I cook, food is no longer about instant gratification.

Your food doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be gourmet. But it really should be actual food.

Holiday Cheats

The House That Sugar Built

The House That Sugar Built

Over the holidays I was a bad, bad girl.

I betrayed my true love with my hot little fling. I committed the crime of infidelity.

That’s right – I cheated on my diet.

I made out with Christmas cookies. I sipped mint chocolate martinis in dark corners. I nibbled the ear of a gingerbread man. It was downright scandalous.

I gained 6 lbs. SIX! Oh my… that’s one hell of a lot of sugar.

As I crawled back to the produce department with my tail between my legs, I thought of the confession I had to make to my readers at Happy Exhaustion. How could I betray your trust by relapsing into my sugar addiction? I mean – I fell off of the wagon HARD. I kept up with my workouts, but my food journal sat around collecting dust.

I imagined myself as the little girl peeking out from behind her mother’s skirt, whispering “I’m sorry… I was bad.”

But, as I stood on my cardio machine, dripping with sweat, it occurred to me – Don’t be ‘ashamed to admit’ – be real! It’s all about sharing humanity.

I might be The Girl Who Blogs About Fitness, but I’m also The Girl Who Nibbles On Licorice While Her Daughter Decorates Cookies – because dammit, that licorice was all that stood between me and a head-first swan dive into the giant bowl of frosting.

I spent a bit of time allowing myself to be indulgent, and that’s ok. I’m not about to turn my back on Healthy & Strong. But I confess that even as I pass my health-iversary, I still have demons in my head whispering maybe that single cookie could be the tipping point when I lose it all.

I need to chill the eff out.

Who wants to be the skinny beeyotch who can’t relate to the occasional binge, anyway? Not me. Ew. That chick is not my friend. I don’t think she’s anyone’s friend. She’s plastic. She’s no fun at parties.

*Deep breath*

Getting my party on is tons of fun, but every time I over-indulged, my whole body felt like crap. In gaining 6 lbs, my body has felt like crap a lot lately. My system is so much happier when fueled by plants and lean proteins than it is when it’s fueled by gumdrops and peppermint schnapps. Have you ever had a peppermint schnapps hangover? I do NOT recommend it.

I’m in no danger of forgetting that sweat is the key to strength, confidence, and the release of anxiety.

Back into the saddle I go.

Heads up, newly-jiggly bits – I’m comin’ for ya.

A New Fitness Adventure to Start the Year Strong!

I think it’s time for a new challenge.

Starting tomorrow (January 2, 2014)  and ending on January 31st, I’ll be doing these three plans simultaneously.

The Plank Challenge.
If I can actually hold 5 minutes by the end, I will be declaring myself Master of the Universe.

 

The Abs & Squats Challenge. I'm loving the variety - should help to stave off soul-crushing boredom.

The Abs & Squats Challenge.
I’m loving the variety – should help to stave off soul-crushing boredom.

The Jump Rope Challenge. I'm doing this one because my husband gave me a fancy, big-girl jump rope for Christmas. I'm all about super-cheap cardio aids!

The Jump Rope Challenge.
I’m doing this one because my husband gave me a fancy, big-girl jump rope for Christmas. Ain’t nothing wrong with some super-cheap cardio aids!

Anyone want to join me in doing one, two, or all three? Come on, misery loves company!

Leave a comment or send me a message if you’re in and we can cheer each other on/moan and groan out loud in unison as we go.

#StrongerByFebruary

Edit To Add: I’ve created a Happy Exhaustion page on Facebook where you can share this challenge with me. Come by and join us! www.Facebook.com/HappyExhaustion

push it HE