If a toddler were to challenge me to an arm wrestling contest, I'd lose.
I'm not talking about a highly agitated toddler - I'm mean ANY toddler could beat me.
You may be thinking to yourself that perhaps I should stop challenging toddlers to feats of strength. By doing so, this could easily become a non-issue.
But the issue is, my most favorite thing on Earth is Pilates Cadillac / Trapeze work.
This is my Stott Cadillac / Trapeze table. This was the photo from my table's listing.
I have to use the photo from when I bought it as when I try to take a photo of my table, in my dark unfinished basement, it looks like I work for the Spanish Inquisition.
I don't, I just aspire to the the most upside downiest girl ever.
Inversions are wildly fun and physically challenging. My trainer and I spend a good bit of time working on them.
I love that I can work with her in the studio and bring home new routines and practices. These practices keep me busy for weeks on end and at this point, I actually have a pretty sizable collection of things to practice on my own.
Back to my baby arms - Inversions, especially certain ones require a great deal of upper body strength.
For me to start in the position on the left doesn't usually work in my favor unless I extend one leg backwards to the top bar for leverage
That's not me, by the way. There isn't anything this woman can't do - she's the most amazing practitioner with an insane amount of control and upper body strength. I love her work. Check out her video here
The thing is, I have never had upper body strength - I actually remember in middle school having to take a PE physical where girls were tested on how long they could hold a "Flex Arm Hang" ...
I was 12 years old - my coach grabbed me by waist, lifted me up to the bar, removed his hands and I immediately came right back down with him.
After staring at me for a moment, he grabbed my waist, lifted me up, told me to stop messing around, removed his hands and I immediately came right back down.
I had to run laps until all the other girls were done because he didn't believe I couldn't do them. I actually think I was the only girl with a 0 second score.
From his perspective, he knew I was incredibly athletic. Every single year, I held the school record for Hanging Leg Raises - I could hold them out forever - I could hold that position until they told to me stop, without batting an eye or breaking a sweat.
I received 0 seconds on the Flex Arm Hang and ran an extraordinary amount of laps every single year until I moved onto High School. Thankfully humiliation came in other forms at that point. I don't think I could handle another Flex Arm Hang assessment.
Those days are over - I am officially kicking off a program to build my upper body strength.
My goal is to be able to do 15 Pilates reverse pull ups and 15 Pilates hanging pull ups by my 46th Birthday. I don't mean in total over the next 4 months either - I mean at ONCE on my 46th Birthday.
Let me just put this out there as well, upon my 46th Birthday, no toddler will ever be able to beat me in an upper body challenge of strength again ...
Except maybe for this one. I'm fairly sure that's a medal around her neck.
I was straight up Pizza Shamed the other day - not by a fitness blogger, for me it was a male colleague. I didn't even know that there was such a thing but then I found the above referenced Twitter War and I didn't feel so alone.
Perhaps not many people have experienced this form of shaming, it certainly seems to be a lesser known form of shaming. Think of it like the second cousin of body shaming, tart shaming, parent shaming, mommy shaming which is like parent shaming only it comes from other woman who are hyper critical of other mothers in particular. Especially of those mothers that have a 14 year old that wears athletic shorts in the middle of winter, etc.
Anyways - Pizza Shaming is slightly different - perhaps not something many people can relate to but I'm here to tell you it happens and it's upsetting as 1. everyone loves pizza and 2. no one likes to be shamed for any reason, especially in front of a group of people.
I was sitting in a meeting that spanned several hours, spanning over lunch time. They brought pizza in, which was great - I usually scrape my toppings off onto a plate and eat them sans crust.
This day, I cut myself an itty bitty slice of actual pizza - crust and all. As I went to get another portion as I wanted to pick at the toppings, a male colleague said, "Oh my god, you must LOVE those carbs - are you really having another slice?!?"
Not entirely knowing what I to do, I ignored him. Thinking I didn't hear him, he repeated it, only much louder this time which halted the entire meeting as people looked at me to respond.
Understand, we weren't taking a break from the meeting. We just happened to have food while discussing one of the company's highest priority projects.
I actually had to stop contributing to the actual work effort to say that no one has to be concerned with what I was eating - that maybe we could shift our efforts from my lunch to the topic at hand.
I was absolutely seething and I ended up throwing the food away untouched.
In that moment, I felt reduced from being a significant contributor in a meeting to feeling as though I needed to defend myself and my food choices.
I immediately went from being a thought leader to just a woman who was being scrutinized unnecessarily. As I was trying to refocus, a negative narrative starting running through the back of my mind completely sidetracking me.
I shouldn't have eaten that...
I need to not indulge in such things ...
Maybe I should intermittently fast for a bit ...
How long will it take me to work off that pizza ...
How many calories are in 1/4th slice of pizza ...
I'm so annoyed that it got to me in such as way.
The real work is trying to understand why I'm so critical of myself - why my internal narrative flips to breaking myself down versus building myself up so easily. What should have been an innocuous comment seeped into the cracks of my armor and sent me reeling. I didn't eat dinner that night and I went to bed hungry and angry.
Such perceived scrutiny is apparently my trigger and it's mine to own and process. I realize that but as an open letter to all who read this - maybe you can just STFU about what other people are eating and leave them to it unless you're asking where they got it because it looks so incredibly delicious.
There was an interesting article on the Huffington Post about Public Food Shaming - a lifestyle coach said - woman already feel guilty for eating cheat foods as we're held to very different physical ideals than men - so when someone says something along the lines of "are you sure you want to eat that? You can lose your figure" it will typically reinforce the thought that women should always be dieting or watching our weight.
Which is so completely bonkers ...
Life is hard enough - sometimes a girl just wants a slice without fear of being pizza shamed.
January was an absolute crap month for me - I was dealing with deadlines, travel and being so overwhelmed with my daily life that I wasn't able to do my typical meal prep / planning. I didn't work out, I didn't spend anytime on my pilates practice and my morale was in the crapper.
It's no longer January - the month of bad decisions ... It's February which means I'm back to my normal routine. Thankfully.
Meal Planning & Prep is a huge component to my success but I don't have a ton of free time so I need easy and delicious go-to's that I enjoy and keep me on track.
Nothing is easier or yummier in terms of creating easily portable and Keto friendly meals than Egg Cups.
Most Sundays I make different versions of Egg Cups as I find if I have them at the ready, come Monday morning, I can just grab a portion and head out the door. This reduces the chance I'll grab a ketosis killing snack at the office.
Anyone that works for a software company is familiar with the typical start up company kitchen - they are always crammed full of pop, snacks, sweet treats, beer, etc. Combined with lunch being brought in many times a week - there's temptation at every turn.
With a bit of planning I can stay on track - these are one of my favorite items to have on hand.
Today I made Sausage & Ricotta Egg Cups:
Place in a preheated oven (375) and bake for about 30 mins.
You'll know they're ready when they have risen, are firm to the touch, and the cheese is a beautiful golden brown.
For those of you that have shared that I use too much cheese - I think you may need to take a step back and really evaluate your life through a critical lens. Something is wrong. I'm worried about you.
If anyone has ever seen me in public before 8:00 am on a weekend - my criteria for being publicly acceptable is really rather forgiving.
This weekend, I met a good friend for breakfast at 8:00 am.
I got out of bed at 7:25 which gave me plenty of time to wash my face, brush my teeth, throw on some chapstick, and finger comb my hair. I couldn't even brush it because my son stole my hairbrush the night before. A pair of jeans, hoodie and favorite sunnies later I was well on my way to breakfast.
As we sat there having coffee and chatting, a waitress walked up and with the biggest smile and said "I love your sparkles" (referring to my gray hair) and how she can't wait to see it progress over time.
Those few words absolutely made my day! To have someone I have never met compliment me with a giant smile is something I think we can all do with a bit more of.
It was unexpected and genuine.
Over the last few weeks I had been spending a good bit of time thinking about the importance of surrounding yourself with people who elevate you, people who make you feel pretty even in the moments where you finger comb your hair, people who support your ideas and vision, people who challenge your beliefs and make you a better person, people who will be by your side in the most amazing of moments and in the darkest of hours.
It's so easy to make someone's day - one kind sentiment shared with a stranger can linger in their thoughts and maybe even inspire them!
After breakfast, I had an appointment with my stylist and decided to go back to a heavy bang which I think emphasizes my gray in a lovely way.
I love my sparkles too!!
I think the more positivity and support for one another that we put out into the universe the better we become and the better we feel about others and ourselves. It certainly beats the alternative!
Last night I was reading DailyOM's facebook post on Overcoming Body Stiffness.
The image they posted with the article was inspiring - The woman was flexible, gorgeous, graceful, elegant, but most importantly healthy & active.
Her body was strong and clearly had an amazing range of motion.
I just loved it - I had a significant personal connection to that pose in particular so I was incredibly moved by it. I'll circle back on why after we take a slight detour on why people suck.
Here's my issue - I happened to glance at the comments and I immediately noticed the body-shamers were in full force being horrible humans as usual. Most disappointing was that most of the shamers were woman. Woman online shaming other woman instead of building one another up.
Comment after comment ...
With all the things woman face from society why can't our messaging to one another be supportive or uplifting?
The messaging is clear you will be found lacking no matter what you do, how hard your try, what you look like, where you live, what you do for a living, how much money you have (or don't have), etc ... and these attacks will come from mostly other women.
Shame on the women who shit on other women for no other reason than they feel empowered to do so behind the safety of their computer monitor. Shame on the women who work on breaking down other women as opposed to building them up. Shame on the women who feel threatened by other women or who feel better by shaming another (woman).
Woman are most amazing and we're even more so when we stand shoulder to shoulder.
Don't be assholes ladies.
Anyway, a year ago, I was barely able to walk and some days I couldn't at all. I was living with excruciating pain because of my knees. I was often on crutches, had leg braces, was in and out of walking casts, & could barely stand up some mornings. I was suffering greatly and had been for an extended period of time.
As a result, my back would seize up in spasms, my hips were out of alignment and my SI joint dysfunction was uncontrolled.
Stiffness set in on an holistic level because I wasn't very mobile. In March, I turned to yoga - Yin style yoga to help stretch and elongate my body. Yoga helped me gently transition areas of my body that had seized up to being more mobile and loose. I would hold static poses, despite the discomfort, until I found a release. I found, without exception, my muscles would eventually surrender to the poses.
The pose she's holding on the DailyOm post is actually the one that I held the most. It was the one that brought me the most relief and gave me the most hope as I knew when I could stay in that position my body was healing and becoming much stronger.
To be clear, this did nothing for my knees. BUT I found the most amazing orthopedic surgeon who was able to completely fix my right knee. He didn't just give me relief he gave me the opportunity to reclaim the things I love most about my life. Things I had long abandoned.
In July I spent a few weeks hiking through Iceland & Ireland - I zoomed through rocky canyons, down steep terrain to sit alongside waterfalls, I climb to the top of Slieve League and down a slippery stone path to the Giant's Causeway, I wandered through remote forests until I couldn't go any further without losing my way and I swam in lagoons as storms rolled over the Icelandic sky.
In the span of 6 months I went from barely being able to move to being able to explore the limits of what my body can do. I have found my way back to pilates and can be found in my basement most days working on my practice.
I'm also figure skating again! I was a competitive figure skater when I was young - it was something I absolutely loved. There's something about standing in the middle of an ice rink alone - just you on brand new ice where the only sounds are from your blades cutting through the ice, it's just magical.
We ended up leaving Pittsburgh to move to Newport News, Va - as a result I stopped skating. I didn't watch it on tv and I never wanted to skate again quite honestly. But here I am at 45 skating again! This time last year I was limping through life - literally.
As I was skating this afternoon I realized how comfortable I felt on my skates, my legs felt strong and sure, & my confidence growing exponentially. To think of where I'll be a year from now is really rather mind blowing.
I think it's sheer perfection - where I am is perfect albeit humbling, it's perfectly humbling.
I find myself with a great deal gratitude because it's easy to roll over and surrender or complain about how things suck but to find something inside of us that allows us to pull ourselves out of that darkness is really rather amazing.
Imagine what we could do if people were supportive and didn't take to social media to rip one another apart. If we navigated life elevating one another perhaps we'd go on more adventures or feel confident in trying new things ...
I'm going to do just that! I'm sort of a solo adventurer of life but when my path crosses with another I try to be kind ... I do no harm ... & I certainly don't break other woman down.
You do you and I'll be cheering you on!
I announced I was going gray 15 months ago. Woman have to announce such things as people will become concerned that we have abandoned all self care if our roots become too long.
So, this was me - 15 months ago on the day I announced I was going to just let my hair go gray.
By this time my home had been chemical free for years - I make most of my cleaning supplies yet I was still coloring my hair, religiously, every 3-5 weeks.
I didn't go in for just touch ups - I went in to go from black to gunmetal gray or to color the underneath layers a bright color such as pink / blue / green, etc.
I loved changing my looks, I loved how it made me feel, I loved people's compliments & reactions. I always loved how a new look could make me feel fresh and new when perhaps things weren't going so well and I didn't much like certain aspects of my life, at the time. Color is like the "Break Up Hair Cut" only not as hard to grow out.
That said, I was having a really hard time reconciling how uncomfortable I was using chemicals in my home but I was still slathering them all over my scalp / hair. It just seemed like I should be more concerned with what I put on and in my body than what I used to cleaned a toilet.
I made the decision after thinking about it for a bit so I texted my hair stylist Jenna and we came up with a plan!
Once we had a plan, I shared my plans on a few social sites and with people at work. I found people were very divided on the topic.
Here are some of my favorite comments / concerns:
Few concerns aside, I found most everyone to be super supportive. Strangers stop to tell me how much they love it. A few days ago a guy stopped me in a stairwell to tell me how great my hair looked - he thought I colored it! On the way to Boston a woman at Starbucks ask how long I had been growing it out and I could see her working those numbers in her mind so perhaps I'll bump into her in 15 months and we'll be twins!
I do get a good bit of "I'd love to do that, but ... " and I always ask why there's hesitation. If you love it - do it. Many just say that they can't ... maybe they are worried about not being found attractive or maybe they don't want their gross troll husbands to be repulsed?
Girl, Go Gray If YOU Want.
Anyways - here I am as of today - I was standing in a bathroom with the harshest light ever and I looked in the mirror and I had a moment where I realized just how much I love my hair.
I love it. I love the way I look, I love how gorgeous the silver and white bits are. I love how it all blends together and looks as though I have strands of Christmas tinsel woven into my hair.
Best Decision Ever ... AND ... I have saved nearly $4000.00(WHAT?)
Viral Gray or Light Blue
That's it! I hope if you're considering making the leap - this helped a bit. I'd love to hear of your progress!!
I have been following, what I think is a flawless execution of a KETO lifestyle for nearly a month.
I never "cheat" ... I follow it to the letter. I'm always in Ketosis, it seems. Maybe I am missing something?
I don't think I'm under estimating my carb intake. A typical meal for me is a bunless burger & sautéed spinach. No sneaky carbs on this plate.
I test for Ketones and I'm always between the 4.0 and 8.0 range. I don't think I have ever been a 16.0 nor have I ever been lower than a 4.0.
But I have been reading a lot lately about the difference between Ketosis and being Fat Adapted ...
Fat Adapted? I've adapted to the fact that I should never wear a unitard ... I actually can't think of anyone more fat adapted than me.
Imagine my surprise - that's NOT what Fat Adapted means. Think of it as a transition period where you body truly makes the leap from using Glucose for Fuel (carbs) to it burning nothing but Fat. Your body has transitioned into a fat burning machine. YASSSSSSS ...
This can happen in as little as 3 weeks but can take 4-6 weeks in some cases. 4-6 weeks? That's a long time for someone like me who isn't a massive fan of delayed gratification.
I thought at 6 weeks I'd be near my goal weight. Kidding ... for the most part.
Now that I am educating myself and gobbling up as many resources on the topic as I can get my hands on, I'm able to connect a lot of dots in terms of what I have been experiencing over the last 4 weeks.
It's absolutely fascinating and I've enjoyed this period of time to incorporate being incredibly mindful of what I put into my body and recognizing how my body feels as a result.
With each passing day I feel better, I truly do and I have to say this is the absolute longest span of time I have stuck to a plan without binging or falling off track. It's effortless. I have never been able to say that before when "dieting", not ever.
A testament of my transition: today my flight to Boston was delayed several times over. What was supposed to be an easy 3.5 hour day became a 9 hour exercise in me not losing my mind with each passing delay.
MENU & MACROS
Breakfast: 2 Eggs cooked in Coconut Oil & 1/2 Avocado
Lunch: Cobb Salad with Roasted Chicken
Dinner: Bunless Burger with Bacon & Smoked Gouda
Carbs: 17 / Fat 100 / Protein 60 which is pretty dead on for my calculated macros.
I have also had a ton of water which isn't always easy when traveling. I'm fighting a cold and am convinced I can drown it out of my system by drinking lemon water with droppers full of goldenseal and echinacea (it's horrible).
My hotel room doesn't have a scale - will be interested in seeing where I am upon my return (5 days) as I really should be on the verge of being fat adapted.
I was having dinner with a girlfriend the other evening, one that I hadn't seen in many months. As we were catching up, it struck me how many "new" things I have incorporated into my life recently for no other reason than they sounded fun or interesting to me.
At 45, I have my blog, play drums, am figure skating again, working on my pilates practice and am becoming healthier and stronger than I was in my earlier years. It's a revolt of sorts and it's wildly fun.
By why now - why in my midlife all the changes? We talked about the midlife "crisis" being an incredibly real phase but that seems like such a negative place to be in one's life. Why a crisis? Why not just another step in our evolution? Why is it so often seen as a negative thing?
Being a relentless pursuer of useless information - I went to my Single Source of Truth - Google.
I googled the definition of a midlife crisis. For men it seems fairly exciting: New sports cars, younger friends, lovely younger woman on their arm, becoming hyper focused on their physique, reigniting hobbies and passions. Not so much as crisis, in my mind. Then I read the symptoms of a Female Midlife Crisis:
As I approached my mid-40's I found it to be something I was looking forward to. Something to embrace - a reflection of a certain amount of freedom that I didn't have in my earlier years. An abandoning of self consciousness, self doubt, apologizing for who I am, what I want, what I think or believe ...
I am (re)discovering things that I loved as a child (playing music, figure skating), focusing on my heath (loving KETO), finding a healthy work life balance, being fully present as a mother, improving myself in ways that are hard to properly articulate and am finding happiness and peace in my soul. But most importantly its the realization is that we don't have to live such a prescriptive life.
I think it's more of a midlife transformation unless you rely on Google ...
From a few ingredients to becoming to most popular human on Earth - let's talk about KETO Pizza Crust.
Before you question if this is something you'd like to make ... I'd like to reference my 13 year old - He's not one to tolerate people jacking around with Pizza. Pizza in this house is sacrosanct.
I actually had to make a second pizza in order to take photos. It's that good and it was gone that fast.
My amazing neighbor Jade came over today armed with her KETO Pizza Crust tips & tricks.
Here's what I love: The pizza was crisp, it held up to a massive amount of cheese, and it was GOOD. It wasn't just a crappy substitute for pizza. It was good pizza.
If I had made this for someone older than 13, I think it would be amazing with pesto and chicken or caramelized onions, blue cheese, prosciutto, & arugula which is actually a replica of my favorite pizza of all time.
KETO PIZZA ... another way for the Universe to show you some love.
Before discovering KETO - I spent a great deal of time on diets that were more focused on what I COULDN'T eat. As a result, socializing over a meal wasn't something I looked forward to as Low Calorie / Low Fat diets can be so incredibly high maintenance at times.
I'd like the grilled chicken (no oil)
Side of plain steamed broccoli no added butter or salt
Side salad; no cheese, croutons, bacon, olives, or dressing
Though could you bring me a lemon wedge and vinegar?
Unless it's balsamic, I can't have that. If you don't have Red Wine vinegar - Apple Cider is great unless it's in a pre-made vinaigrette then I'll just take a few lemon slices.
On and On and On
If I happened to get a waiter or waitress that relied on memory alone I could see the moment they realized how useful putting pen to paper would have been. I'd then apologize for existing and would throw in an advanced apology that I knew they were going to bring me broccoli slathered in butter & parmesan which I would then return.
KETO completely changes the dynamic of how I can navigate social situations & celebrations while making it incredibly easy to be mindful of what I put into my body.
With the rise in popularity of Wine & Cheese shops it's so easy to go out and order a cheese plate or charcuterie board and know you're staying on plan.
No other pairing works so seamlessly with KETO!
I love Bitto Bistro, which is really close to my house in Broomfield. I went to dinner tonight with a girlfriend and we split a plate of Blue Cheese, Cotswold, and Prosciutto . It was perfect for the two of us.
Meat, Cheese, Pickles, Olives and a single glass of Red Wine and an evening filled with great conversation. Easy and Enjoyable. Not to mention the waiter didn't want to slash my tires due to me being a massive pain in the ass.
The best part is that KETO adds such ease when going to dinner with friends. I didn't wonder about how something was prepared or portion size.
After dinner, I came home and tested my ketones - I was right around 40 mg/dL. That's the upper range of "moderate" and is a good range for me.
I'm in Ketosis, I'm losing weight, I feel great and have finally found a lifestyle that actually lets me live with fewer rules.
I don't think I realized how much time I spent thinking about food until I didn't have to think about food as much. I have a straight forward plan that gives me parameters to live within and that is so incredibly liberating.