Why Having a Positive Support System MATTERS

I have to say, I have a real LOVE/HATE relationship with the app called TimeHop. It's been a constant reminder of bittersweet memories... and this week I was reminded of why support means so much.

I’ve been struggling with a lot more than just my weight or my motivation in the gym for the last two years, and this last one (like you read last week) was a DOOZIE.

If I can’t write it out here, what is the purpose of this blog? What is the purpose of having this forum of expression and ability to share things with people who might be feeling lost/scared or any of the similar emotions I am?

“It’s not you, it’s me.”

Blue is not (traditionally) my color. It wasn't last year and it's not supposed to be this year, but here we are. There have been so many factors that have led to my decreasing motivation for the gym and eating properly, and this has cast a light on how important a positive support system is. Not only do they remind you who you are when you’ve forgotten, they most DEFINITELY remind you of why moving forward can be daunting, but with one step at a time, it’s possible. I've lost so many people this year, those who I thought were genuine friends, but turned out to be wolves that ended up turning on me at the last second... including the one I held most dear. That does something to a person.

“I just need to work on myself right now.”

That's what this whole thing is about - working on yourself, making yourself the best version to move with positivity and growth in this life. Oh man, how after-school special do I sound right now?

I think the single most influential aspect of health and fitness is having people that are for you just as much as you are for them. If you don't have people that cheer you on, you might lose the will or the fighting drive after some time. Lord knows I had a few moments where I wondered why I was even here - I considered ending it. But then that means other people win. NOTHING is worth that. I have no shame and way too much pride for that.

I call it having an "accountabili-buddy"

I have been dabbling in this blogging world for just shy of two years now, and I've learned a few things. I've been networking and trying to promote this little project of mine, and have gained a couple special connections with fellow bloggers. I was interviewed by Evoke STRONG last week on her facebook live feed, and I've begun developing a meal plan to offer to you lovelies! I'll be rolling that out shortly...

"I need someone who challenges me"

But another check mark is that I'll be working again with a personal trainer to keep me accountable. He's young and spry, and when I first met him, I asked: "Can you kick my ass?". He assured me that indeed he could, as well as loved the fact that I wasn't shy with heavy lifting. It's a good deal his responsibility that I've been getting back into the swing of things. It's made me re-evaluate why I've slowed, as well as helped me earn another chip of self-respect.

I miss my gym-buddy! 

Doctors and fitness minded individuals alike state that teammates or coaches, or simply friends who say 'good job!' are pivotal to the success of your journey. I know, I know - everyone calls this a journey (I've seen that word so many times, I think it's starting to look misspelled)! But it's true! I read a quote from an article that reminded me of a time when I was my most motivated self, and it was all the power of having a gym buddy!

“In my 10 years of experience evaluating what creates long-term health-and-fitness success, the single most important factor is having a support system,” says Wayne Andersen, MD. Exercise partners provide a powerful combination of support, accountability, motivation and, in some cases, healthy competition. “They can play the role of teammate, co-coach, and cheerleader — all while working out,” says Michelle P. Maidenberg, Ph.D." - Strength in Numbers: The Importance of Fitness Buddies

So wait - WHY DOES IT WORK?

Habit Reliability 

Exercise habits of people you know have a positive influence on your exercise habits. IF they have the same habits or similar goals to your own. If your accountabili-buddy is at a radically different level of health, fitness or ability, you could be held back, pushed too hard or - worst case - injured. “Having a reliable workout buddy increases your chances of sticking with your program,” says Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D. Pushing yourself beyond your perceived mental ability is tough if you're alone in the gym, and it's also difficult to increase your weight without a spotter to keep you progressing.

Emotional benefits

Kara Thom, co-author of Hot (Sweaty) Mamas: Five Secrets to Life as a Fit Momsays that “during a workout, more than our pores open up. We find ourselves connecting with our workout buddies more intimately than we might if we were just meeting over coffee. Workout partners not only get us through a challenging workout but can help us through life challenges as well.”

So...

The more people you have actively engaged in supporting your fitness efforts, the more likely you all are to enjoy the process as well as the results. 

No-friggin-wonder I've been lagging lately (aside from poor choices in diet slowing me down)! I have been recuperating and mending all of my pieces together and have had a serious bat with who I am, discovering what I'm willing and not willing to tolerate in all of my interpersonal relationships, and that takes a toll on your motivation. 

I seem to be back in the habit of things, and that's what is most important.

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You Shouldn't Have to Shatter

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I know this isn't primarily about fitness, but this is soothing my mental health to write about, so thank you for your support while I get my shit together. I appreciate it. It's all for growth, both to become the physically and emotionally healthy woman I want to be. It's risky content, but like Taylor Swift says, they're burning witches even if you aren't one - so light me up.

The whole "blessing in disguise" thing is bullshit. I still attest to that, nearly ten months after all this. 

What wasn't a blessing, you ask?

  • Asking him why he'd slept on the couch that night.
  • His sheer annoyance of the question and insistence not to talk about it.
  • Him screaming in my ear, shoving me aside, and speeding off while I cowered away, afraid. 
  • Telling him as he left: 'go cool off' at his dad’s that night, and to “not come home”.
  • Not knowing that when I left for work, that would be it between us - over; done. 
  • Coming home to an empty apartment, subsequently single walking through the door.
  • Finding out that everyone he worked with knew I was single before I even did.

This one nearly killed me

I don't think it's right to completely shatter in order to move forward. To finally experience positive life changes. I've been feeling everything. Every little misstep or uncertainty in my personal life for the last three years - I'm a sensitive woman, but this has been ridiculous. The truth is, I can't even be mad at him anymore. This is now on me.

I finally have realized why I'm not 100% okay yet. Every time an acquaintance tilts their head to the side and asks "how have you been? are you okay?" I almost feel reluctantly forced to say "I'm fine" or "Yeah I'm good." That's what everyone says, right? "Fake it ‘til you make it" - thinking that if you act like you're happy, you save a little dignity or pride. That if I pretend enough, I may eventually get there. I figured the last ten months would be healing enough over the break-up and my co-worker reminded me of one important thing - "You ARE over him, Jaycie." She basically said that I'm just not over the experience.

What I realized today after she said that is that what I'm dealing with is the post-traumatic stress of it all. I don't miss him anymore because I've finally detoxed off of him - the high and happy I'd been idealizing and romanticizing was because he was confident and unyielding in his decisions; he had power, and power over me, but that was what eventually led me to feel like there was zero in my control. Underneath all of that bravado lies a selfish person with no regard for those individuals he uses to get what he wants - and only in the moment. I know we brought out the worst of each other. Rationally, I know that's not a good situation for anyone. But emotionally...

I'm an emotional war survivor. With PTSD to boot, and the residual mutual friendships that remind me of what I've been through are my triggers. The reminder that I was once a person I didn't recognize... That he brought out the most insecure version of me. That I lacked any and all self-worth to tolerate being lied to, tricked and manipulated. The fact that I was once a person I didn't respect for accepting that kind of treatment and calling it love is what makes me sick to my stomach. 

"Oh, but he loves me" - the all too familiar sound of an abused woman claiming her abuser loves her is what I would say in my head over and over. "Don't make him mad - you know how he gets, this will just upset him. Leave it alone." When something pushed him over the edge and we'd make up after a fight, I'd tell myself he still cared and that's why he sticks around: He loves me.

Wait, did he ever even tell you that he loved you?

Yeah, that's gonna be a big fat NO. He eluded to it a couple of times... called me his best friend once. But no, never once did he say that phrase in two years, so who the hell knows if he actually loved me or if he simply found me convenient and made me work for breadcrumbs.

For those that don't know, "bread-crumbing" is the deceptive practice of giving someone just enough to keep them interested, even when you're not. Bread-crumbing keeps someone around to your liking, and is designed for dishonesty.

Basically, I'm not sure if it was real since I was convenient to keep around - to either feed him and do the "wifey shit" or feed his ego. Not with the way he talks about me now, I'm sure. I've heard so many nasty things that just point the finger away from him. All I wanted was his time and love and I received neglect, judgement and resentment.

How powerless I felt in the last two years... That's officially over. All of these reminders and flashbacks show me how unhappy I actually was, with a naive endless hope that we could be better - I'll never be THAT girl again. The healing can only begin when I truly see what our relationship actually WAS: a terrible Empath/Narcissistic relationship paradigm that has *thankfully* now ended and has subsequently shifted my self-worth and self-esteem.

A blessing in disguise? I'd fought so long for that to not be true... but it turns out, the fact that we're no longer together IS indeed a blessing. 

I'd been discussing it with my girlfriends and nothing quite like today's conversation had truly hit me or made me realize why I was still hurting - because I still blame myself.

I allowed him to hold this power over me, one that stunted my growth and my confidence in my own convictions. I had found myself compromising basic relationship necessities simply because he didn't 'like' them or didn't agree with me on them. He never wavered, rarely compromised and made me feel guilty for feeling my feelings and needing my needs; I'm not mad at him anymore for all of that. He is the person he is. I loved him with all of my heart and tried desperately to accept him as he was, ignoring a lot of my own gut reactions in an attempt to do so.

I'm hurt and feel deceived, naturally... but I'm mostly mad at myself for staying as long as I did. With every red flag waving, practically blaring a train horn in my ear, and I somehow was deaf to it. We'd been doomed from about six months into it, and I should have ended it prior to living with him, that summer when I first found out he was talking to someone else, and eventually multiple people.

Friends seem to think that my constantly pushing the conversations that made him uncomfortable were my subconscious cries and prodding for him to eventually get fed up and leave the way he did, since I clearly couldn’t bring myself to do it. I somewhat see that, but who knows why I became brave enough that morning and enunciate through the rolled up glass of his driver side window “don’t come home”, so he could 'hear' me… Maybe I, too, had enough of it - the lying, the lack of boundaries (that we both pushed), our unhappiness.

I’m ready to be this girl again ->

The woman I fought so hard to be - the best version of myself and oh so healthy.

It's times like these that remind me what it is to struggle. Yeah, we all have those mundane day-to-day issues, but this was probably the worst hurdle I've emotionally ever had to face - AND I've BEEN FAT and BULLIED. I'm living proof that being scared and having a sincere "Oh shit" moment - the fear of the unknown - but that it's going to be okay. You will, just like muscle builds, gain the strength you need to press forward. I am hell bent to get back to this person I was before the two-year trauma. I’m almost there.

It's not that it gets easier... you just get STRONGER.

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Be Your Own Anchor

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So I just wrote this terribly lengthy post, and the blogging gods I guess didn't want me to tell you what it was I had to say. Well, lucky for you and terribly unlucky for them - I'm a bit of a broken record and don't mind (albeit tedious) repeating myself for my Piggie Posse.

I was describing how this past weekend, the music world was abuzz with Taylor Swift's new album reputation and how it grew on me over the course of the last three days. I wasn't as initially obsessed as I was with her 1989 album, but waking up and working out to it this morning, I felt compelled to write about it and a reoccurring theme in my life.

Who here feels inadequate?
*raises hand*

It's that time of age, ladies and gents, when the purpose of a woman becomes centrally focused on her internal biological clock - Am I married, you ask? (no) Will I have babies soon? (also, no). Am I even the tiniest bit close? (clear, audible laughter)...

I was speaking with a girlfriend of mine over the weekend about how we both don't feel okay right now, and in reminding her of how amazing she is, I somehow reminded myself of my own awesomeness. But sometimes, that's not what you want to hear - you want to vent and feel like it's NOT okay right now, and even that in itself is OKAY.

You don't have to have your shit together to truly have your shit together.

Let me explain.

I was listening to Taylor's Call it What You Want, and in it, she sings of people calling her names and being betrayed by those she thought she could trust (we've all been there). She goes on to say how grateful she is to have someone to help put her back together and how wonderful her new beau is.

Unlike TSwizzle, the majority of us face this exact same shit - but by ourselves. We see and hear these stories about having someone to rely on, and then we feel guilt and shame because we're alone. We compare our lives to another's and feel like we *should* be somewhere that we haven't been meant to reach yet. Just because the lyrical genius found her muse, doesn't mean you won't! It sucks right now if you're doing it on your own, but you don't need an anchor!

YOU are your own anchor, piggies!

I think Emery Allen said it best: "You don't need another human being to make your life complete, but let's be honest: having your wounds kissed by someone who doesn't see them as disasters in your soul, but cracks to put their love into, is the most calming thing In this world...”  SO BE THAT FOR YOURSELF if you don't have someone to do that for you right now. You'll find it. You'll feel it.

It's the same with weight.

You have to remember that each and every single person's journey isn't going to be the same. Your starting weight is/was different than mine, just like your body is differently shaped, you have different levels of certain hormones and have a varying array of other factors - we're not going to all be at the same place emotionally just like we are not going to be at the same place physically. You have to step in and be that and DO THIS for you. Just like I said in Musings of a Single Professional AND in You've Gotta Do This for You. It's about the effort you put forward every day. If you're making steps forward, if you're being mindful about your plate or meal prepping, your gym routine, ANY of it - you're lapping those on the couch who are eating without thinking.

BE YOUR OWN ANCHOR! You'll be stronger for it, and you'll feel TEN TIMES the accomplishment when you reach your mini milestones along the way.

Let's Soar, shall we?

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Public Service Affirmation: Self-Validation

Sometimes, the battle is within... Not necessarily outward, or based on appearance. I was talking with my work "person" (see grey's anatomy reference My Person)... and she said seem more like myself lately. I lamented that I was crying over my happiness at seeing a band I've loved for 15+ years, or that a friend of mine left my apartment and that: 

I want to go back on my anti-depressants

"Why?" 
"Well, because I shouldn't cry in those moments..." I said. "Why does that stuff affect me so much?"
"What do you mean 'should'? You felt things in those moments. You didn't want to say goodbye and didn't want the fun to end - you enjoyed yourself at the concert and didn't you feel good afterward?"
"Well, yeah..."
"Who cares?"

"People look at me funny when I cry. They call me "crybaby" or "overemotional" when I do..."
"So...? This is you - your true authentic self."

That conversation made me think - the people who truly love me? They know me. They don't mind if I cry. They see it in me, comfort me and build me up. I was happy, and emoting properly with an abundance of HAPPY emotions. Why should I go on an anti depressant for emoting "happy"?

The people who have said those hurtful things, that made me second guess myself constantly and how I *appropriately* react to things by either rolling their eyes or suggesting I'm over emotional in a negative context have all LEFT ME when I needed them. Emotional Abandonment is what I have called it previously. They don't care about me, genuinely...

SO WHAT DOES IT MATTER?

I read an article today - You Are Not Too Fucking Sensitive - and it was BEAUTIFUL. In it, the author goes on about how much it stings to get called "Too Sensitive" and provides situations where you might be called that... I loved this quote:

"You’re not too (fucking) sensitive. You’re engaged. Connected. Human. Awake. Alive.
The people accusing you of being too (fucking) sensitive? They’re disconnected."

I sometimes have to re-teach myself things I've learned once or even twice before since it becomes so regularly accepted for me to second guess my nature. Well, I've been re-learning this my entire life. Just with new people I've given chances to and opened up to. I like to think this particular lesson isn't me being naive and carefree with my personal stories or details, but that I'm not allowing cold and shallow true natures of the characters in my story to make my soft nature hardened. That I'm still open and true to myself in that aspect.

I've been told time and time again that I'm wrong. Recently, I was in a relationship where I was constantly emotionally 'abused' (I use that term lightly, even now) by being constantly being invalidated. By both the guy I was with and his friends. I'm "too this, too that". You know what? You're right.

Wait... What?

Yeah! You're totally right - I'm too much for you! That's okay.

Please, if you are offended or annoyed by who I am, by all means, GO ! I don't need to waste time on people who don't want to accept me for all that I offer. That includes the waterworks over a cute puppy. That includes crying because I am overwhelmed by emotion and happy/sad/angry/frustrated.

My boss said it best - "Do I wish you didn't take things so personally? Of course. Are you good at your job and do you get the work done efficiently? Always." He said that's just dealing with people. Everyone is different and handles situations the best they know how.

Look it's the same thing I said in "Why “You’re Too Sensitive” Is A Cop Out"

I'm PROUD of being "too sensitive"; it means I'm kind and cautious with other people's feelings and don't want to be hurtful on purpose.

It means that I have a passion for ALL things I invest my time into and do things with 100% authenticity. I'm transparent - I'm open and honest in my reactions to things with ZERO poker face - and I find that a great couple of qualities

To quote the band I cried at the show over:

"Don't write yourself off yet...
You feel looked down on
Try your best
Don't worry what they tell themselves
when you're away
They're all the same
You're doing better on your own
Just be yourself
It doesn't matter if it's good enough
for someone else"

If I'm too much for you, that's okay. I'm enough for me.

Musings of a Single Professional

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Hey Piggie Posse!

"WAIT - Jaycie, are you mixed up? It's Wednesday... You post on Mondays, I thought?"

Yeah, you're right. But this one needed to be expressed.

"But you haven't written in a couple weeks"

I know, and I'm sorry for that - I moved, work has been exceptionally crazy with our division change, and I have had a lot of tasks added to my plate. Especially a bunch of busy work, that I already do on my own, but I need to format it differently for other people.

Lengthy explanation aside, I thought I'd come here and thank a couple (thousands, more like it) people. So, to the women (or men) who come home and it's quiet. To the ones who walk into their apartments/condos/homes knowing that there won't be anyone there for them...

I applaud you. All of you.

The ones who go out there, without someone in their corner rooting them on. I know what you’re going to say, “but Jaycie, I have my family and my friends who support me. Don’t they count?”

Of COURSE, they do. But you know what I’m talking about… There are those out there in life that have families of their own, that they’ve built. The moms and dads who have the ability (and let's face it) sometimes the chore, to come home from a hard day at work only to walk into a hard night at home with your significant others, and possibly your children. You are the ones who have something every day to look forward to – even if it is a mess - It’s YOUR mess.

I’m not saying everything will always be rainbows and unicorn farts, but at the end of the day, you guys get to decompress with people you’ve chosen. AND BY GOD, they chose you back – you get to put a meal on the table for people other than just yourself; to share in the days’ events. You get to share yourself - with someone who will listen or at least pretends to, while they eat and nod along.

I had a rough day today. I figured out who the Regina George in my life is, and it did not go like the movie. To say I'd been informed of this fact is quite the understatement, but I like a lot of my peers tend to like to experience things myself without heeding the warning.

Plus, being single in today's world kinda sucks. I mean, sure, it’s freeing and I have the autonomy to do and say as I please. If I want to walk around in my underwear and fart in my kitchen as I make myself tacos for one, plus leftovers, I get to do that. And frankly, yeah that’s kind of cool. BUT I don’t get to bounce ideas off someone. I don’t get to laugh at how ridiculously I’m letting the work day affect my emotions and I don’t get to hug someone who tells me it’s okay that I let things get to me because I care too much.

Yeah, I have to pep talk myself.

I’m an only child, so I’ve had to do that a lot in my life, especially when my parents may or may not have known what to say in a given scenario.

Single parents have it tough since they don’t have a partner to lean on… and man do I see that once or more a week with some of my friends. However, they at least get to have a smiling (or maybe crying) toddler at home willing to give you unconditional love… and cuddles.

So, as I stand here, in my kitchen (not in my underwear or passing gas, promise) I wanted to salute those who are autonomous in emotion. Who can decompress from a tough day alone and be solid with that’s what’s happening at their current day to day. Because, if I’m frank – FUCK , does it suck.

I’m proud of you. You’ve got this. You’re doing great - because you HAVE to. You attribute your meaning to your life. No one else.

5 Weight-loss Myths you need to Toss

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As I said in my previous post, there has to be an internal switch that flips on when you make the decision to change your physical appearance. For me, it was a picture of myself, making dinner over the stove that was my Final Straw – YIKES – but for others it could be the smallest of details or a personal goal to set for yourself. I knew I didn’t want to be more than 200lbs going into my 25th birthday too, so that was a major part of it.

There are a LOT of tools out there to help get you there, but some just don’t know where to start, get overwhelmed and then fail because all options seem to work for everyone but you, you get discouraged, and then binge eat the Twinkies due to emotional eating… I promise, it’s not just you! There are some outdated suggestions and “rules” out there that just won’t work for anyone, and if you’re reading this and asking yourself: “Jaycie, what do I do?!” this is the post for you.

The top five things I’ve found that just aren’t true and sometimes downright ridiculous, are the following:

1) MYTH: If I sign up for Weight Watchers, I’ll be skinny in no time!
FACT: Weight Watchers has some REALLY great tips and tricks. They have helped me gain an understanding of portion sizing and mind over matter and they have a carefully planned out point system to help those who have a hard time reading nutrition labels– BUT - please take into account that if your daily diet still fits pizza & beer into your points for the day (8pp per slice & 5pp per 12 oz. beer), you probably aren’t going to drop the weight as fast as you'd like. Your body needs fuel – just like a car needs gas. Losing weight isn’t going to happen if you keep filling your dietary fuel tank with garbage instead of premium.

2) MYTHI signed up for a cleanse, and this other diet fad I heard about on that reality show with the sisters! I’m set!
FACT: Diets are psychological prisons. Like a lot of overweight individuals, I’ve been on my fair share of “diet fad” plans. I did no-carb, low-carb, 1 week cayenne water only, and others. Not only are these plans “restrictive” in making a life change surrounding food intake hard to grapple with, they force you to ignore your body! It’s all based on numbers and math to fit the pre-determined amounts of calories, carbohydrates and fats, per meal per day. Add the already ever present sugar cravings and it’s all too much stimuli - It’s exhausting! Those who tend to count up all these numbers become tired and/or forget will end up failing at no fault of their own and wallow in failure and binge, only to start the whole process over again.

3) MYTHIf you set a weight goal, you’ll get there faster!
FACT: Goals are a necessary part of this journey, but if you set the goal too high, you’re not going to see the progress you’ve been making. You will only see the end goal you want, and perhaps won’t even see it anymore, as you’ll feel it’s too far away and lose sight.

Humans are creatures of instant gratification now in society – we all see the celebrity moms who can drop all of their baby weight in a matter of weeks, postpartum, and we shame them if they haven’t done so in a significant amount of time there after (do we remember the Kelly Clarkson debacle and those weight shamers? Ugh, so stupid). They are under the microscope – YOU ARE NOT (well, maybe your own). I had a girlfriend I was working out with for a matter of ten to eleven months, both on similar paths, and I was losing and dropping inches, and her scale/waistline hadn’t budged in four months. She was devastated and it was all she could do not to quit. If you set multiple goals along the way, they will feel like milestones when you achieve them and set into place all the more motivation to keep going! She did and eventually hit a milestone shed set along her journey. Just give it a little time, and tweak it if you need to.

4) MYTHI don’t want to lift weights and “get big”. I’ll just do cardio every day- I’ll be skinny in no time!
FACT: Cardio is great for you! It builds endurance,  keeps you moving and pumps blood through your body – you’re lapping everyone on the couch! However, if you don’t lift any weights in the gym, you’re wasting your time. Back when I was on Weight Watchers, I used to do 45 minutes on the elliptical every day before I went to work. I sweat a lot and felt great, but it wasn’t the best use of my gym time. If you really truly wish to see results, you have to build lean muscle in order to displace the fat you’re getting rid of. If you build muscle, according to Dr. Michael Roizen (MD):

“Adding muscle to your body burns fat because, well, muscle needs energy to survive. A pound of muscle uses between 75 and 150 calories a day (remember, it's working and using energy), while a pound of fat only needs 3 calories a day (fat does nothing to help your body, the ingrate, so it doesn't need energy to maintain itself). Maintaining that friendly, fat-burning muscle mass only takes a few minutes—10 minutes, three times a week, to be exact."

5) MYTHI just won’t eat breakfast – that way, I can eat more the rest of the day, worry free!
FACT: Can you eat like this? OF COURSE. Is it Healthy?? NO WAY! It hurts your metabolism and wont sustain healthy habits in the future.

'Crash diets are unlikely to result in long-term weight loss. In fact, they can sometimes lead to longer term weight gain. 'The main problem is that this type of diet is too hard to maintain. Your body will be low on energy, causing you to crave high-fat and high-sugar foods. 'When you finally give in and eat those foods, you will often eat more calories than you need, causing weight gain." 

The worst thing you can do for your body is deprive it of the things it needs to continue to be functioning properly. I used to take it for granted, but your body is the only vessel you get in this one life, so treat it well, and it will treat you well in return.

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Your Healthy Fat Survival Guide

I’m in a really weird head space right now. I’m having a hard time getting out the words I want to say and I’m stuck in between writing what I know to be true versus what I know you want to hear…

Non–Fat foods are good for me, right? Like, they’ll help me lose weight?

WRONG!

We actually need fats; can't live without them, in fact.

Okay, mayyyyyybe it’s right in the fact that your relationship to gravity WILL change from eating nonfat foods and eating smaller portions – those are things we know to be true. The fact of the matter is, however, THEY AREN’T *HEALTHY*.

Anyone that ever told you Low-Fat anything was better than the full-fat version of it was WRONG (see the explanation here). *Many* foods low or void of fats are mainly high in sugars, refined carbohydrates, and calories. If you look at the last 35 years and read myths regarding the Low-Fat Diet fad, you’ll find that obesity doubled in America since it began. You NEED healthy fats, aka fats that are unsaturated (mono and poly), like extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and avocados in your diet to help you manage your mood, mental balance, fight fatigue AND – whoa! – control your weight. Our brains are 60% fat, so it’s *vital* to our body’s physical function to have and absorb healthy fats. The answers aren’t to CUT the fat out – it’s to make the best choices for your body.

So look, I get it – Ever since the 1970’s (I hear) we’ve been told that we need to cut out fat from our diet in order to be fit, healthy and lean… Well – that’s outdated and you need to get rid of that mind set. I was just talking to a co-worker of mine last week that the diet he’s currently on is absolutely terrible. It’s lacking protein, it’s making him eat just a half of a grapefruit and an egg for breakfast, and the protein is IS ingesting from his selections of “grilled meat” doesn’t necessarily outline what kind of ‘meat’ – leaving this ‘diet’ (we all know how I just love that word) open to interpretation and error.

I don’t say this to rip on all nonfat foods. Some are great, but like I’ve said in previous posts – everything in MODERATION. If it’s small, sure – I’ll eat some nonfat Greek yogurt instead of full fat or replace a cooking ingredient with it. However, I’m not ONLY eating that and depriving my body it’s basic nutrients it needs to survive and thrive.

So, Jaycie, what CAN we eat? Well, that’s up to you. If you want to lose weight, eat whatever diet fad you can, and if it works for your body and what you want out of it – by all means, eat it. You don’t need me to tell you what to do. BUT If your goal was the same as mine was (and still is) you want to build lean muscle, displace fat, and be a healthier version of yourself.

You can’t do that if you eat a “tablespoon of fat free cream cheese” and “one slice of tomato on toast” for lunch. WHERE IS THE PROTEIN?? That’s too few slices of tomato, and too much of the wrong ingredients in one sitting. Not to mention that the cream cheese itself - sure it might not have fat, or as many calories, but let’s take a look at the nutritional label:

FAT.png

What most people get wrong in this whole thing is thinking that fat and calories are the only things you should be watching out for - INCORRECT. You should read the WHOLE label. If you lose protein, you're not winning. If you gain sodium in a no fat product, you're DEFINITELY not winning. A tablespoon of non fat cream cheese has NINE PERCENT of the total amount of sodium you should be ingesting during a whole day, opposed to the 4% of it's full fat counter part.

I'm not saying that in moderate doses or portions, you can't have non fat or low fat items. I'm saying it SHOULD NOT be the only thing you eat at lunch. PERIOD. You need to find a balance of proteins, simple carbs and healthy fats.

Well, Jaycie, what are "healthy fats" anyway?

I'm glad you asked... AGAIN. I wrote about this in the 3 Secrets of Clean Eating that Everyone Misses AND in How to Boost your Metabolism.

Healthy fats are UNSATURATED fats (or poly and mono saturated fats to be specific), or ones that raise our HDL/good cholesterol and lower LDL levels. They provide essential fatty acids, keep our skin soft, deliver fat-soluble vitamins, and are a great source of energizing fuel. But it's easy to get confused about good fats vs. bad fats, how much fat we should eat, how to avoid artery-clogging trans fats, and the role omega-3 fatty acids play in heart health.

What You CAN Eat

  • Lean protein
    Turkey, Salmon, Skinless Chicken, Shrimp
  • Complex carbohydrates:
    Oats, Quinoa, Sweet Potato
  • Simple Carbs
    AKA vegetables - YES veggies ARE carbs!
  • Unsaturated fats: 
    E.V. Olive Oil, Avocado, Grass Fed butter, flaxseed
    walnuts, 
  • Fruits

What to AVOID:

  • Over processed foods, (white flour & sugar)
  • Artificial sweetener (SweetN'Low, Equal, Nutrasweet - STEVIA/TRUVIA IS OKAY in small amounts
  • Sugary drinks (soda & juice)
  • Alcohol (Check out my post about this HERE)
  • Chemical additives (food dyes & sodium nitrite)
  • Preservatives
  • Artificial foods (cheese slices)
  • Saturated fats and trans fats

This is definitely the survival guide to fat intake - since if it's not on the above list of what you CAN eat, it means, you SHOULD'NT be adding it to your meal prep for the week. FULL FAT greek yogurt, cream cheese is better... But like I said, only in small amounts of any fat variation, regardless. 

Gym Etiquette Rules You Need to Know

Stepping into the gym alone is daunting, and if you're like me, embarrassing.

Remember what it's like to start something you'd never done before?

If you’re new to it, you’re afraid to look like an idiot in front of those people who know what they’re doing. That’s how I felt at least… I STILL feel that way, and I've been consistently (kinda lol) hitting the gym for four years. That part hasn't gotten easier.

If you're starting at the gym, (now that you created a routine from my post two weeks ago), it's good to know what gym rats find terribly annoying. I've compiled a few others here for you:


Those Glued to Their Phones

I work at a community college – in the Athletics department actually – and there are TONS of new exercises I've been able to rotate to keep things fresh from others and I refer to my phone when I'm stuck. That's somewhat acceptable.

I mentioned that the cell phone is the number one pet peeve last year in Using your Phone, but there are quite a few more if I'm honest. Whether texting, reviewing form or taking pictures/selfies, it doesn’t matter. I don’t want to see it while I’m waiting for you to finish using the only available machine. If you’re not using the weights, take your cell, yourself and your selfie to the bathroom.

Weight/Machine Hogs

This term can be coined by those who use dumbbells and don't share - either by taking long rests in between their sets or work right in front of the rack. If you make it impossible for others to use things you're not using, you're inhibiting someone else from doing the same. This isn't a personal gym and we were taught as kids to share our toys.

Not picking up after yourself

Now this is just rude! Re-rack your weights. Same goes for the gross and sweaty benches – just wipe it up. We're not your mothers. Bring a towel and clean it up.

machine-hog.jpg

Improper Gym Attire

Those girls who just wear a sports bra and volleyball shorts are distracting - by the guys ogling her or the girls who are envious of her body (let's be honest, I'm that girl - I would love to stick Sally's waist and Julie's booty on my body).

Plus - guys who hit on girls at the gym? Just NO. That's super creepy, and no girl is ever going to enjoy getting talked to while she's sweating or trying to hit a PR on the treadmill. Unless she's wearing a face full of makeup, but then, what's the point of going to the gym in the first place? I always say:

Improper form

I hate looking like a jerk. I don't want to embarrass myself, and have other question what I'm doing - it's a confidence thing really. If I don't research things before I claim to know what I'm doing, I'm very unsure. The same should be said for the use of the gym facilities! If you aren't sure about what a machine does - ASK someone! That's the best way to get acquainted with it! I didn't know how to use some of the machines until I hired a trainer. People who have no idea what they're doing definitely make themselves known if they don't ask or have been shown. Don't be that guy.

Grunters

We get it - you're lifting... HEAVY. So are we. It's going to be tough work, for some at least. You're going to struggle, and that always comes with a couple uncomfortable noises. HOWEVER - don't sound like a dying bull. It's distracting and rude to those around you.

Believe me, once you begin working out regularly in a facility, you will develop pet peeves of other people. I have some of my own, and I know it doesn't necessarily bode well to judge others in a place where we're all just trying to become healthier versions of ourselves. That being said, you wouldn't walk into a soup kitchen and wear flip flops or wear inappropriate work clothes in an office, so the gym is no different.

Be conscientious of others and safe!

3 Basic Weight Loss Principles

This is probably the only time you’ll hear the word Basic and think of it positively - if you’re a millennial, that is… The phrase basic has come to mean terribly ‘plain’ and negatively associates with being ignorant of common sense while ordering pumpkin spice lattes in your UGG boots… For us, here, it’s the fundamental basis as to what we’ll need to succeed in this journey.

It’s all about Balance

The sheer fact that some “diets” restrict eating particular foods or groups of foods in an attempt to promote healthy living and weight loss is insane to me. The average American diet is unbalanced to begin with: heavy on animal foods, processed foods, fried foods, and sweets and light on fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

It’s hard to find a popular diet that doesn’t encourage dieters to consume a variety of fresh, natural plant foods, and thereby support, if not a perfectly balanced diet, then at least a more balanced one.

In Cracking the Metabolic Code, author James LaValle explains how imbalances in the nutritional content can lead to weight gain, and that improving nutrient balance facilitates weight loss. When our bodies ingest sugars, for example, we release adrenal hormones triggering our thyroid glands to slow our metabolism and thus we gain weight. As I’ve stated in previous posts, the average American diet comprises of 18% sugar, while if we simply balanced our meals and ate the proper balance of fruits, veggies, and whole grains, we could reduce that number. Simply paying attention to what you eat will become an effective method to reduce your intake.

Get on your Feet!

The more active you are the more calories you burn. Period. If you increased the amount of time you spent mobile, you would definitely burn more than someone sitting on the couch. That seems like it should be common sense, but it wasn’t long ago that I thought all I had to do was eat right and I could lose 50 lbs. As I write this, I know I sound like a broken record, but it’s truly a BALANCE (ha see what I did there) in order to get to the goal that you want. You have to move.

Also stated previously in How to Boost Your Metabolism
YOU GOTTA LIFT HEAVY SHIT

This one I cannot stress enough. The more weights you lift the more muscle you’ll have. The more muscle you have, the easier it is to burn fat – EVEN AT REST. Yes, I said at rest. MyProtein says: “Often when people want to lose weight, they increase cardio and slack on their weight training. This is a big mistake, as maintaining your muscle mass will keep your metabolism strong, even if you are in a calorie deficit which you will be in when dieting.” Even Women’s Health online says that you’ll lose weight either way, but those who lift will convert six pounds of fat into muscle, thus displacing fat and fitting into their clothes better. I’ve never experience a whole body change like I did when I started lifting weights – I weighed the same, but could fit into my high school cheer leading uniform again. So, your answer to “Do you even lift, bruh?” should be “HELL YES”!

 Consistency !!!

Healthy eating is not like a vaccine: one shot and you’re covered for life. It requires a daily, lifelong commitment. Like I said last week, there’s going to be adjustment and maybe even some pitfalls… There is growing evidence that the more consistent you are in your wholesome eating habits, the greater your chances of maintaining a healthy body weight. Even six months into being recently single again and going through all the emotional healing I have (not to mention how I feel like a busted can of biscuits), I’m still maintaining my muscle mass and weight from being – class, let’s say it together – CONSISTENT.

My efforts over the last four years to get this far is so much more important to me than ANYTHING else.

The National Weight Control Registry set an example in their study comprising of several thousand men and women who lost roughly of 66 pounds each and kept the weight off, even six years afterwards. A spokesperson for the NWCR stated the following:

One of our most recent findings is that they do maintain a very consistent eating pattern. Unlike many dieters, they tend to eat the same during the week as on the weekends. The same holds for the holidays versus the rest of the year. They tend to have a consistent eating pattern throughout the year.”

How to Create a Routine in Minutes

I was actually discussing this with my friend a couple days ago. I can't seem to find my groove and how immensely guilty I feel about it.  She said, “We go through seasons” and that really got to me.

We go through seasons in everything we do in life; weather, friendships - come and go, and the way we take care of ourselves changes as well.

I told her how the last two months I’ve been going through the motions, albeit half-assed, and I feel that on top of the guilt of not picking myself back up quicker. My routine is choppy and discussing it with her, that’s what I realized is lacking in my life at the moment. I did not work my ass off (literally) to gain it back and then some. I will NOT be that person who loses the weight and balloons back. She told me I “haven't gone back though… You never will cause that girl is gone.” She’s right.

“One step back doesn't mean ALL is lost. One size doesn't make you the size you were”

There will be ups and downs, and I know that I started this thing with the attitude that I won’t weenie out (and I never will) but there are moments where you’re going to feel shitty. It's not going to always be a consistent thing. If you're feeling down like I have, you need to remind yourself that you are human and this journey is going to have occasional ups and occasional downs. You'll succeed, but you'll also fail, more times than I would like to admit, and you'll feel guilty. The thing about it is not to allow it to keep you from making your next step, though, or else there will never be a victory.

INVEST in yourself

Anything worth having comes with the work that you put into it. Just like relationships, just like your career – you have to give effort in order to receive benefits of it. It’s the same thing with your body and health. We’re all allowed to trip and stumble every once in a while. You wouldn’t be so hard on yourself because you tripped over something in the house – you’d laugh and keep walking. This doesn't mean you blew your goal.

So that brings the question – WHAT IS MY GOAL?

Mine lately is to get back into routine, as I’ve clearly had my head everywhere, running around aimlessly.  That’s why I needed to write this post. Here’s how I get myself back on track:

Step 1: Brainstorm

Get your pen and paper out, Piggie Posse! MAKE A LIST. Make a couple of lists! Things you want to accomplish, the BIG goal and then itty bitty goals you can achieve to mark your progress.

I know this seems counter intuitive since you want to get up and go... and since we’re all so glued to our phones now - but I never feel more accomplished than by physically writing all my thoughts down in my little notebook, and then re-organizing them in a particular order. I blurt out all of my thoughts, wants and miniature goals for what I want to accomplish, and how to make it happen. The tools you need to succeed will stem from this step, I promise.

Step 2: Create a timeline

Do you want to start with cardio in the morning, or what will your gym schedule look like? Will you work out at 6 in the morning before work? Can you get up that early? Is that early enough? Are you more of a night/after work gym rat?

Throw around a few ideas that are comfortable for you. I started out with a night schedule, at first. I was working in Carpenteria at the time, and the commute was a good 30 minutes each way from home. I would change in the car before my training sessions. After I changed jobs, I found that morning routines fit better with my schedule. Personally, I have more get up and go for the rest of the day if I run or lift before my mind and body knows exactly what's happening.

Step 3: Test It

See how it feels to you. Try the routine for about a week - if it's not working or you're having a hard time sticking to your plan, remember that there will always have to crack eggs to make your omelette. If it still doesn't feel right, change it up a little. 

I read an article last week that debunks the myth that "it takes 21 days to form a habit". Habits form in a minimum of 21 days, but the complexity of the habit is what determines how long it takes a particular individual to assimilate this behavior into their natural autonomy.

  • In 2006, Verplanken (6) gave students one of two writing tasks. The first group simply had to underline ‘She/she’ every time they came across it in a piece of text. The other group had the more complex task to underline all words referencing a movable object or mammal. What they found was that the simple task became more autonomous by the end of the study, indicating that they’re quicker/easier to become habitual.
  • A little more recently, Lally et al., (2) recruited students to choose a health related behavior they wanted to develop into a habit. The students chose behaviors like doing 50 sit ups with their morning coffee, eating a piece of fruit with lunch, and drinking a glass of water with their lunch. What they found was that developing an exercise habit took one and a half times longer than an eating or drinking habit, which they suggested was because the eating/drinking behaviors were much simpler than the exercise ones.

Step 4: Make that Routine your B!@#$

Just Keep Swimming! Just Keep Running! Just Keep Lifting... and eating veggies, and being the awesome mindful powerhouse you are! You will get there.

Don't get hung up on a time frame, just like I told you not to get hung up on the number on your scale. You're doing a GREAT job simply by being mindful and trying and making this effort. You're already lapping everyone else who is only complaining about their situation and NOT doing anything.

YOU. ARE. KILLING. IT!