Monthly Archives: December 2021

Why New Plans Fail – The Measure of Success

Who isn’t chasing that “perfect” bikini body?!  We all want to lose body fat, maintain a healthy weight, and build lean muscle, right?   Let’s just agree, for the purpose of this blog, that toning up is the same as building lean muscle.  (Because it is!)  Gaining lean muscle mass while losing body fat leaves your body looking much more shapely and toned, not bulky.

So many people start off on a plan that may or may not be well-suited for their goals and lifestyle.  They desperately grab onto the idea of a plan or fad diet that a friend had brief success with, and then wonder why it didn’t work for them.  Does that sound familiar?  Be very intentional and very selective when choosing a plan to follow – fad diets are just that, fads.  In order to be successful long term, keep in mind that you need to look into a plan that you can and will maintain for your lifetime.   Set a realistic goal for yourself.

Eight reasons that people fail with weight-loss plans:

 1. They don’t eat enough.  Yes, I said enough!  You cannot starve yourself; your body needs fuel.

 2. People don’t eat enough of the right foods.  Make sure the plan you follow allows for you to have the right amount of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and green vegetables.  Do NOT avoid complex carbohydrates or green vegetables!  Your body needs all the good things in vegetables AND fiber!

 3. Most folks rarely drink enough water.  Remember that all drinks (sweet tea, sodas, and most energy drinks) have calories, among other things; water does not.  We should all take in a minimum of 64 to 80 ounces of water each day.

 4. People tend to rely too much on pre-packaged, processed foods.  Avoid, or at least cut way back, on processed foods.  Especially the ones labeled as “healthy” or “diet” because they tend to have more chemicals and preservatives than natural, whole foods.  This includes granola and energy bars.

 5. Many people tend to simply give up when they encounter obstacles rather than to keep going.  Consistency will get us so much farther toward our goals than perfection!  Just keep going; if you hit a “speed bump,” get over it and get back on track.

 6.  Almost everyone who begins a new weight or fat loss regime relies on the number on the scale.  Yes, it IS the standard we use to measure weight, including the losses and the gains.  Keep in mind that your body composition is not broken down in a standard scale.  If you’re consistently getting in healthy meals and good workouts, you’re still making progress even if the scale number does not move as much as you believe it should.  Look for the NON SCALE victories!  Are your clothes fitting differently?  Are you sleeping better?  Are your balance, flexibility, mobility, and strength improved?  Are your energy levels higher?  

 7.  Believing that one can “outwork” bad eating habits is certain sabotage.  Working out is definitely crucial; however, hours well spent in the gym will be wasted if your nutrition is lacking.  We all need to fuel our bodies properly in order for them to function at their healthiest.

8. Comparing your progress, your physique, and/or your life to someone else is never helpful. Comparison is truly a thief, and can certainly be deadly to your goals. YOU alone have your specific God-given genetic blueprint, and YOU alone live your life with YOUR personal goals and obstacles. Be kind to yourself, and stay in your own lane! Keep your eyes on your prize, not on anyone else!

Read these again, keeping YOUR habits and YOUR lifestyle in mind.  Which of these pitfalls are your obstacles?  Be intentional with planning your meals, and be very intentional about eating enough!  Skipping meals will never get you close to crushing your goals.  

Be very intentional about every bite and every sip you put into your mouth:  Is this healthy?  Is this a waste of calories?  Is this a lean source of protein?  One way to be accountable to yourself is to track your meals and water intake.  Create a journal for yourself, or use an app like MyFitnessPal on your phone.  Track everything!  You’ll know what you’re taking in each day, and which macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fat, and calories) you need more of each day.

There are also many apps available to track your workouts.  Apple watch, FitBit, Samsung, etc., all have watches that sync with phones and track your movement and calories you burn daily.

If you find this a little daunting, or you feel that you need more accountability, I highly recommend you seek the help of a certified, experienced personal trainer.  Ask friends for recommendations!  There are many personal trainers out here – some are amazing and some are less than great.  Interview potential trainers, and know that even though you get great recommendations for two or three, only one of those might be the best fit for your personality, your goals, and your schedule.  Please feel free to email me at FitTeacherMom@aol.com or contact me via my Contact page at http://FTM-Wellness.com.  I’m always here to help!  

Don’t just make a resolution for the New Year – commit to making a permanent lifestyle change.  I guarantee you won’t regret it!  In addition to the aesthetics of losing body fat and becoming more fit, your overall health will benefit!  Being healthy is the fountain of youth, for sure.

It’s A Stretch

What is your mental image of yoga?  Women sitting around chanting?  Ridiculously difficult poses?  Something you couldn’t possibly do or even want to do?  Let’s change that!!!

I completely get it!  I used to think the same thing, until I actually tried it.  There are SO many variations of yoga, and each instructor puts his or her own personality into their classes.  So no class is exactly the same.  Here is why YOU CAN and SHOULD give yoga a shot:  it IS incredibly good for you mentally and physically, there IS a level and pose modifications for every person, and there are in-person and online options for you.  

First, let’s look at the different options you have for classes.

1. Class length:  Classes can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 90 minutes.

2. Class Locations:  

* Most local gyms, especially the chain-type gyms, offer yoga or stretching classes as part of their membership.

* Check locally!  You might be surprised how many yoga studios might be within an easy driving distance from you.

* Your own home!  There are so many options for some yoga studios or instructors offering online downloadable or live Zoom classes.  There are also MANY options on YouTube.  I highly recommend the Down Dog app for at home classes on your own schedule.  It is extremely user friendly, gives you the choice for level of yoga, type of yoga, and the length of time you want.

3. Class Types:

* Restorative – this is relaxing, recovery stretching at a slower pace.  Some stretches can be intense, but YOU put into it what your body allows you to.  There are always modifications for every pose, and you WILL benefit from each one!

* Cardio Flow – these classes are obviously more vigorous and will get your heart rate up.  You will use your own bodyweight as resistance, and move into and out of poses/stretches more quickly.

* Full Practice – this is a mix of standing and seated poses, and will typically have you moving during the “work” portion of the class, with more deep stretching near the end.

* Strength or Yogalates – you work pretty hard in and out of poses, then hold poses/stretches to build strength.

All of this is interesting, you say, but exactly how will yoga benefit me?  Well, let me count the ways!  

If you’re consistent:

1. You will gain increased muscle strength and tone;

2. You will gain increased mobility and flexibility;

3. You will gain improved energy levels;

4. You will gain improved breathing that promotes calmness;

5. You will gain circulatory health;

7. You will gain improved balance;

8. You will gain improved mood and stress relief;

9. You will lose body fat;

10. You will gain injury protection by releasing tension and tightness in muscles, and relieving pressure and tension on your spine, lower back, and hips

11. You will gain improved rest and sleep; and

12. You will be so pleased with all of these benefits, you will be challenged to improve your practice which improves your overall health!

My chiropractor and my posing/training coach strongly suggested that I try yoga for all of the above reasons, and many more.  After taking a few classes, I fell in love and became so passionate about yoga that I became certified to teach it as well.  In my opinion, medical doctors should issue prescriptions for people to try yoga and massage therapy over every other medication for pain relief, anxiety, arthritis, high blood pressure – you name it.  With prescription medications come negative side effects; with yoga come incredible health benefits that improve your overall wellness!

So give it a try and let me know what you think!!

Help! I Think My Thermostat is Broken!

Is it just me or is it really hot in here?!  Do you ever experience moments when you feel an intense, sudden heat flush?  You look around at those around you, and they seem unaffected?  Hormone imbalances that come with perimenopause, menopause, and post menopause certainly wreak havoc on our bodies.  As if we haven’t been through enough already!!  OH!  And, thyroid issues can also cause hot flashes.  There are so many different symptoms women experience, such as fatigue, dry skin, night sweats, crankiness, itchy skin, etc., but the worst for me personally has been the hot flashes (with a side of night sweats).

Hot flashes start in my core, with an intense heat wave that immediately causes beads of sweat to break out in my scalp, hairline, face, and the dreaded boob sweat.  It’s intense, sudden, and miserable.  When it finally subsides, it leaves me wet/sweaty, which then leaves me really cold.  I’ve found that if I dress in layers (tank top under a tunic), I can peel off the top layer to minimize the heat somewhat. Sound familiar?

I definitely recommend seeing your doctor and having your levels checked.  Don’t be afraid to discuss your symptoms and any issues you’re experiencing.  They can’t help you if they don’t know!  Some doctors will offer hormone replacement therapy or some type of prescription.  All prescriptions come with side effects, and I personally prefer to deal with one issue head on rather than creating additional issues with the side effects. Discuss ALL of your options with your doctor to see what will work best for you.

There are many natural options.  The vast majority of these are, of course, in your diet.  During menopause, women’s estrogen levels decline, which can lead to hot flashes and night sweats.  Dietary sources of estrogen (also known as phytoestrogens) are naturally occurring in plant form, and may interact in a similar fashion to the estrogen that our bodies produce.  Per Healthline.com, and other various sources, some researchers are concerned that a high intake of these phytoestrogens may cause a hormonal imbalance, although most evidence has linked them to positive health effects.  In fact, there are many studies that have shown phytoestrogen intake is linked to decreased cholesterol levels, improved menopausal symptoms, and a lower risk of oseoporisis.   It seems the key here is to take the recommended daily allowance of these.

Here are some sources of phytoestrogen foods:

1. Flax Seeds:  Mixing 2 tablespoons of these in ground form into your protein shakes, yogurt, or smoothies daily is the easiest way to go here.  

2. Soybeans and edamame:  there are many different forms of these and ways to ingest them.

3. Dried fruits:  Stick with dried apricots, dates and prunes as these have the highest phytoestrogen content.

4. Sesame seeds:  Regularly eating these has been shown to increase estrogen activity in postmenopausal women!

5. Garlic:  Along with many other health benefits, the phytoestrogens found in garlic may also help reduce bone loss due to estrogen deficiency.

6. Peaches: Oh happy day, right?!

7. Berries: Specifically strawberries, cranberries, and raspberries

8. Tofu:  Any vegans out there?  This is a wonderful source of protein as well!

9. Cruciferous vegetables:  Be sure to get cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cabbage in your diet daily!

10. Tempeh:  This is a common meat replacement for vegetarians.

11. Vitamin E:  This is found in soybeans, sunflower seeds, nuts, seeds, and leafy green vegetables.  As most of these have already been listed above, this is even more reason to get them into your diet today!

12. Apple cider vinegar:  The raw, pure apple cider vinegar helps regulate toxins our bodies try to get rid of when we sweat (during those hot flashes and night sweats).  If symptoms are frequent and severe, mix two tablespoons of unfiltered apple cider vinegar with water or juice twice a day until they ease off.

13. Vitamin B:  Great sources of this vitamin are fish, whole grain breads, legumes, and avocados.

Another way to control these symptoms, in addition to the above-listed nutritional additions, is to manage your stress levels.  Remember, hot flashes are just one of the super annoying symptoms all stages of menopause brings.  Hot flashes, specifically, have been linked with stress and anxiety.  Women in this stage of life with high levels of stress often report more severe and more frequent attacks of hot flashes by almost FIVE TIMES.   One of the very best ways to manage stress is with exercise.  Find the form of exercise that you enjoy the most, and plug that into your daily routine.  It seems so ironic that working up a good sweat can help offset the things that cause hot flashes, that also make you sweat.  I promise you that I enjoy a good workout, and how I feel after.  I completely LOATHE every single thing about hot flashes. 

Because these hot flashes are tormenting me, I’ve done a lot of research.  I’m personally plugging these helps into my daily routine, starting today!  I’ll keep you posted on my progress.  If you try any of these and have success, please share that with me!   Good luck, friends! 

First Things First!

We all have good days and bad days, and some of those bad days just leave us feeling like everything is off.  Fellow mamas, does it seem that, as our babies get older (as WE get older), those “off” days happen much more frequently?  

If the majority of your days are “off” days that leave you feeling defeated and frustrated, don’t chalk it off to simply being busy.  Mamas are the very best at taking care of everyone else, but notoriously the worst at taking care of themselves.  Sweet, precious mama – this is for YOU!   Are you easily and quickly fatigued?  Are you feeling stressed and a little cranky?  Are you sleeping enough?  Are you sleeping well?  There are SO many little signals our bodies give us that something really is off.  Please don’t ignore them!

Schedule a comprehensive physical for yourself, just the same as you would for your children.  In addition to the general listening to your heart and lungs and blood pressure check, have them check your urine and do a full blood work panel.  There could be any number of little surprises going on inside of you that could be easily and naturally improved!  We can have anemia, Vitamin B12 or Vitamin D deficiencies, high cholesterol, and any number of hormonal imbalances due to thyroid issues, menstrual issues, perimenopause, or menopause.  

Before you jump into any new diets or exercise programs, know what’s going on inside your body first.  The more you know, the more successful you’ll be!  You can never go wrong by drinking more water, taking a good multivitamin, eating more green vegetables, and cutting out processed and sugary foods.