Time for Me

You guys, when did it become so hard to find time to do things for me? That’s a rhetorical question!  I know exactly when it happened. The second I had my daughter my life became all about her, spending every second I could with her and letting the things I love and care about take a back seat.

It may sound silly to some, but working out and eating healthy truly is a passion of mine. I definitely eat my fair share of chips and cookies but the way I feel when I am eating well and getting my sweat on dramatically changes. I have so much more energy, I am more joyful and enjoy my own company more (so it must be nice for my husband too). The funny thing is, it is so easy to slip into bad habits. It’s so easy to stop working out or skip meal prep for play time and cuddles. I am 100% guilty of this, pretty much since I had Emerson 17 months ago (today). I have had a few waves of being good, but overall I have been real bad and honestly taken every second I could to be with her or at night with my husband for a couple minutes of solace.

It was catching up with me. I was feeling sluggish and hated the thoughts going through my head when I looked in the mirror.

I follow all the Tone It Up girls and always say I am going to do it but never actually do. Well, this week, I made an effort to pack my food for the day and get a sweat session in. I can honestly say, after only 3-4 days I feel like a different person. My cravings for crappy food have subsided, I want to eat my salad and my energy level is significantly improved. It gives me hope and makes me excited to continue to prioritize this in my life. If I am not working out the way I would like to, the least I can do is eat well and try to squeeze in a workout at some point during the day.

For workouts, I have been using the Aaptiv app and it’s been great.  Essentially, you pick the type of workout you want (and there is a BIG variety) and there are coaches/instructor guiding you through the whole “class.” So far I have done 2 treadmill workouts, 1 outside running workout and a strength. It just gives me that extra motivation to jump on the treadmill or do an extra strength routine. I am doing a 30 day trial and will give a full recap at the end.

I am trying to remember to post more often on Instagram and share my story on Instastories which has been fun and holds me accountable. If you want to follow along, please do, my handle is @mattiemooves. I would love to connect with you and share our journey together. Give me the link to your insta below and I will be sure to follow you :).

5 Tips to Feeling Good This 4th of July

To me, the 4th of July marks the height of Summer. A chance to spend time on the lake, soak up the sun and be surrounded by family and friends. It also means lots of day drinking, BBQing and treats. It is easy to fall off your normal schedule and throw caution to the wind. There is nothing wrong with that! But, if you want to try and have a balanced weekend where you have fun, enjoy some treats and cocktails but don’t totally sabotage all the hard work you’ve done, below are 5 tips to feeling good this 4th of July.

Five Tips For Feeling Good This 4th Of July

1. Drink water.
On the 4th, typically you are out in the sun, lounging by the water which makes is easy to get dehydrated so it’s extra important to drink water. My dad always says, “One drink. One water.” That’s how you can last all night, and feel good in the morning. I try to stick to this as much as I can, especially on weekends were we are drinking and celebrating a lot. Staying hydrated also helps to keep you feeling full, debloated and looking bikini ready.

2. Eat a good breakfast with lots of protein and fat.
The food you eat first thing in the morning typically sets the ton for the day. I find if I have a bagel, I want sugar and carbs all day. If I just eat fruit, I am hungry in an hour. Since there will be a lot of process foods, sugar and BBQ treats around all day, try to start your day with a good breakfast that is high in protein and fats. I love having scrambled eggs and avocado with a side of strawberry or watermelon.

3. Make sure to eat a meal.
Don’t snack through meals. Often times, especially on long weekends or holiday’s I find myself snacking a ton and then I’m like, “I just ate so many chips and cookies, I don’t need lunch.” So I skip it. But then 2 hours later, I am hungry and start snacking again and end up eating way more calories, way worse food, and feeling shitty. Whereas, if I just sat down and made myself a big salad or light sandwich with healthy fats, protein and carbs I would be so much more satisfied.

4. Move your body.
Don’t stress too much about getting a killer workout in, but try to move your body at least for 30 minutes (preferably in the morning). I find that when you move, you feel better about yourself, you feel lighter and it helps you make better decisions through out the day.

5. Don’t over think it.
Sometimes we can get so caught up in “staying on track” that it is all we can think about but that makes it so much worse. Not only does it make it hard to enjoy yourself, it makes you feel guilty every time you have something “you shouldn’t”. And then you just say “F* IT” and dig into the treats making you feel more guilty, bloated and discouraged. Try to avoid this cycle. Enjoy yourself, let go of all the pressure you put on yourself and spend time with family and friends (preferably on the water, and not around the snack table!!)

I hope this helps! Remember to have a fun 4th of July and enjoy yourself.

What are some tips you are going to try to practice this 4th of July?

15 Minute Total Body AMRAP Workout

Before Emerson, fitting in my daily workout was a huge priority.  I obviously had a lot of other things that I cared about and prioritized, but working out and running was top of the list. Now, there are a lot of other things that take precedence which has been a hard thing for me to come to terms with, but also just a fact of life. I am working hard to fit in my workouts but sometimes that extra half hour in bed or moment on the couch is too good to pass up!

This morning, I had to drum up motivation to workout from all aspects of life including scrolling Instagram, looking at the #tiuteam hashtag, running on the treadmill for 10 min (then stopping because I had to go the bathroom #momlife) and doing the new Tone It Up Beach Ballin’ workout. Nothing really got me excited or sweaty so I made up my own AMRAP (as many reps as possible) workout inspired by Jayme [@fit_n_clean_mama].

15 MIN TOTAL BODY AMRAP WORKOUT

This did the trick. Put me up against a clock and I’ll get to work! I made it through 4.5 rounds with about 20-30 second breaks between each set. Try it out and let me know many sets you complete!

My nutrition has been off lately and it 💯 affects my energy and drive to workout. I needed a good workout this morning to help me reset. Because I refuse to let a couple bad days completely throw me off. I refuse to give up on my goals. I refuse to quit.

This journey is not easy. I feel like every step forward ends up with 2 steps back but I keep chipping away. I truly believe one day I will reach a place I am happy with and embrace that lifestyle whole-heartedly.  I just have to stay positive, never give up, and follow my own path and my own heart. Too often I let what others think affect how I act and make decisions. Only I can get myself to where I want to be.

 

Elimination Diet Update

As I have talked about many times on the blog, I have off and on stomach problems. I went to the doctor and she told me it was IBS and honestly, I feel like that is just a diagnosis doctor’s give when they don’t know what else is wrong with a patient who has stomach pain and discomfort. Ultimately, for me, what it came down to was my doctor couldn’t help me so I pretty much was like OK I guess I’m just going to have some stomach pain forever… My pain comes and goes, and it is unclear to me what causes it which is what is so frustrating. I have tried several times to keep a food diary or eliminate food but I always end up failing within a week or so… stupid will power!

So I decided (after the last bought of pain, bloating and discomfort) that I wanted to really try and figure out what foods make my stomach hurt. I found a simplified elimination diet that helps you determine if certain food groups cause you any sort of reaction.

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For the past 2-3 weeks I’ve been trying to eat gluten, dairy, soy and egg free. I would give myself about an 80%. The first week I did it perfect and I felt amazing. However, now I keep finding myself cheating, just a little bit here, a little bit there and it’s starting to take a toll. My stomach has been killing me for the past two days. Go figure! The hardest thing is breakfast and snacks. And avoiding all the crazy foods that are around my office. It’s so important to pack snacks and only eat what I bring because I have no idea what is in all the other food around the office.

I’ve been eating lots of gluten-free oatmeal for breakfast, salads for lunch, lots of fruits and veggies for snacks and then protein and veggies for dinner. But this week there’s been a ton of sugar treats, bagels, deli food and pizza around the office and I have had a hard time resisting and I am paying for it with all my stomach pain.

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So I am using this sort of as a confession sorta as a restart to the elimination diet. What I want to do since I’ve been relatively good (and I have probably flushed a lot of the gluten, diary, soy and egg out of my system) is go a full week without any and then slowly start to add each one back in and see how I feel. Starting now! Any tips and tricks to sticking with it and avoiding all the temptations?

Aerie Features Real Women

I am always looking at celebrity pictures and perfect models and to be honest, I frequently wish I could look them. I know it’s unrealistic and crazy, but I see the pictures and they make it seem possible. I say to myself, if I just get my nutrition and diet under control I can lose the weight and have a body just like them.

The pictures and images blur the line between what is achievable and real and what is totally fake and contrived. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish the difference and I get caught up in all the time. Which is why I love that Aerie is showing ‘real’ women, not re-touched, exactly how they are. In their new campaign, Aerie is promoting “healthy body image by not digitally removing models’ blemishes, tattoos, cellulite or other features that are typically photo-shopped on the website or in advertisements.” [source]

I love that they are encouraging women and girls to embrace who they are by featuring women, in their own skin, raw and real. The ridiculous amount of photo-shopping and digitally enhancing images causes insecurity and unrealistic aspirations which isn’t healthy for anyone to look at!

I am so happy Aerie is taking action and making a change in advertising. They are starting a conversation and generating attention which is great because this is absolutely a topic that needs to be recognized and addressed. I hope more companies follow along. It is refreshing, real and so needed.

Here are some links to articles about #AerieReal:

Aerie’s Unretouched Ads ‘Challenge Supermodel Standards’ For Young Women | Huffington Post

Aerie Wins Award for Using Realistic Underwear Models in Ads | People

American Eagle Aerie Stops Photoshopping Models for New Lingerie Campaign | Time

Why Aerie’s Unretouched Lingerie Photos Are So Important | Refinery 29

 

*I love following Katrina and Karena from Tone It Up (and I will absolutely be doing their Bikini Series in a few weeks) and find them incredibly inspiring. They promote a healthy lifestyle and body image. They have perfect bodies and are beautiful which makes me aspire even more to be just like them. But, I need to realize everyone is their own person and I need to focus on being the best version of me. Not the exact same version of someone else.

**I wrote this all on my own… I have no affiliation with Aerie or the #AerieReal Campaign. I just think it is positive, motivating and something we all need to talk about!

The Difference Between Muscle and Fat

Merry Christmas Eve!!

So I am in the 4th week of my Project Fit competition and wanted to give you an update on my progress. While I can’t say I have been completely perfect with my diet especially with the holidays, I can say that I have bumped up my workout intensity to make up for it. We did our mid competition weigh in and the results were not what I expected. Even with eating a less than perfect diet, I still lost 1.8% body fat! One thing to note is that as of the weigh in, I hadn’t lost more than a pound which is EXACTLY what I want right now and here’s why…

I have put on 1.3 lbs of muscle and lost 2.4 lbs of fat. All too often we focus solely on losing body weight when instead we should be focusing on losing body fat and here’s why…

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When I was younger I remember thinking muscle weighs more than fat. This simply isn’t true; 1 lb of fat is exactly the same as 1 lb of muscle. The beauty of muscle is that it is denser and takes up LESS space in the body AND the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism. Tighter body, better fitting clothes, higher metabolism, same weight? I’d settle for that any day.

When I was at my lowest weight, my “peak”, I had 19 lbs of body fat and I was 125 lbs. I currently have 24.5 lbs of body fat and am 136 lbs. Let’s say I lose the 5.5 lbs of body fat I have left to get back to my goal body fat but I keep the same amount of muscle. That means that I will weigh 130.5 which means I will have 5.5 lbs MORE muscle than when I was at my “peak”. More muscle and a higher metabolism which means on those days that I do eat much less than perfect, it will not wreak havoc on my progress and goals.

That all being said, losing weight and body fat hasn’t been the primary focus. Instead I am choosing to focus on the healthy HABITS that I am re-forming in my life, such as eating more greens, that will allow me to see the results I am working towards. My eating has gotten better since December 1st and my workouts are more consistent and focused. I create behavior goals for the day and/or week that helps me stick to my overall plan.

When you set behavior goals, which are daily or weekly goals that are accomplishable and manageable, you are more likely to see progress towards your goals. I find the more I think about the results, the more stressed I get and the less results I see. A major focus for me has been meal prepping at the beginning of the week so that I can bring my own meals to eat throughout the day.

Bottom line ladies (and gents), take your mind away from the scale and focus on the process. Make a plan that is realistic and manageable and stick with it and you’ll see results you never thought you’d see.

Kara Fit And At Cross Fit

Check out the link below to learn more about why muscle mass is so important (and no you won’t look like a body builder when you put on muscle).

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Why-Building-Muscle-Mass-Important-21059579

****This is more aggressive of a link but it would be good for you to read it just so you know more about the topic. It’s a huge issue with women

http://breakingmuscle.com/strength-conditioning/9-reasons-muscle-is-good-and-you-should-get-some

Perfection

* This post is by contributing writer Kara. She more of her posts here.

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Morning! Today I want to talk about perfection…

What does perfection mean to you?

We often have this idea in our heads that we have to be perfect. Perfect job, perfect family, perfect friends, perfect diet, perfect body, perfect LIFE. Given I work in the fitness industry, perfect body and perfect diet come up more often than any other and rightfully so in the society we currently live in.You Were Born To Be Real Not Perfect

I had a client come in the other day and say she has finally come to terms with the fact that she doesn’t have to be perfect, that she can’t be perfect. Thank. God. The last 6 weeks have been really hard for me as I watched her beat herself up emotionally every day so when she came in and said perfection isn’t attainable, I about cried.

Two summers ago I HAD, in my mind, the perfect diet and the perfect workout program. I was the leanest and fittest I had ever been. I was extremely disciplined and thrived on the fact that I was doing what others struggled to do. While those two components of my life were perfect, let me tell you what wasn’t….

My relationship with my (ex) boyfriend, my relationship with my friends as I continually isolated myself, my mood which was so volatile that I didn’t even want to be around myself, my body that was falling apart because I was pushing it too much, my dedication to my clients because I was so tired that I couldn’t give them my all and my smile which ceased to exist.

Sure my diet, my workouts and my body were in my mind perfect but what was really important was not. I find we say that we will be happy when we are thinner, leaner, stronger, richer, more muscular, faster…the list goes on. I kept telling myself that same damn thing. I would be perfect if I was XYZ. Then hip surgery happened and those 3 perfect things in my life ceased to exist. Now what?

Almost a year later my body isn’t what it was, my nutrition isn’t perfect and my body still runs the show on how much I can do physically. But I no longer strive for perfection because not only is it not possible but I have found that perfection is in the eye of the beholder. Perfect for me is different than perfect for you and for the person standing next to you.

I’ve said this before on my blog and I will say it again: live your life in a way that is congruent with where you are at in your life. Try not to strive for perfection. Humans are not meant to be perfect because quite frankly, it’s boring. Trust me. Don’t compare your chapter 1 with someone else’s chapter 20 . It’s a life long journey that should be enjoyable.

Perfection{source}

 

So I’ll end the same way I started but take it a little further…

What does perfection mean to you and why do you need to be perfect?

 

Equinox Boston Project Fit

Monday marked the first day of a 6 week competition at work called Project Fit that includes teams of 5 people within Equinox Boston with a goal of the most body fat reduction by percentage. I’ve written a lot about body image and how it relates to our level of happiness and I have come to love my body even though I am the heaviest I have ever been.

That being said, I’ve taken 10 months off from any real “diet” or “clean eating” program (aka no structure, I just ate what I wanted). It’s been the best 10 months of my life because I relaxed and enjoyed life. Before I found out about this competition I had decided to start fresh December 1 not because I think I need to lose weight or hate my body but because my wardrobe doesn’t fit…like at all.

When I was told about the competition I jumped right on board. It’s going to be much easier than doing it alone since I am on a team of great women who are supportive and motivating because honestly, “dieting” is not fun. This time of year everyone is trying to eat healthy to make up for Thanksgiving and to prepare for Christmas so I have had a lot of people ask me what I eat (are you eating???) when I am dieting so I thought I would share a day in the life of the new and improved Kara diet (and yes I do measure my food and count my almonds).

I try to eat every 3 hours so that I don’t get famished and get tempted to eat everything in sight. This is just one day of eating. There are many more options and combinations of foods to prevent boredom. Clean eating can and is fun when you know what to eat!

Breakfast: 1/2 cup of egg whites sautéed w/spinach, a half cup of cooked oatmeal or steel cut oats w/1 tbsp of peanut/almond butter

Snack 1: Carrots and broccoli (or any combo of raw veggies) w/ 2 tbsp of hummus

Lunch: 4-6 oz chicken breast (baked, seasoned w/salt, pepper and some garlic powder) w/baked asparagus, 1/2 cup cooked quinoa and a 1/4 of an avocado (I like to chop everything up and mash in together with the quinoa…and maybe add some fresh salsa!)

Snack 2: Plain goat milk yogurt (Red Hill Farm found at Whole Foods) but you can do 0% plain greek yogurt if you’d like w/12 almonds

Dinner: A generous portion of shredded kale w/either 4-6 oz chicken breast or 4-6 oz of lean ground turkey, lots of veggies (broccoli, peppers, asparagus, tomatoes) and a 1/4 of an avocado

I rarely get cravings and when I do, I drink lots of water and distract myself. Going for a walk is a great way to delay and quench those cravings!

Stay tuned for more healthy options to keep your diet fresh and fun!

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Digestion Issues + Tips to Reduce Bloat

The weather has been super nice lately. Not too warm, not too hot. Although I hear cold weather is coming so I am taking advantage of warm runs as long as I can. Yesterday, I went for a great run. At first I was tired and had a hard time motivating but once I got my legs moving I felt great.

Garmin - 5 Mile Run

I got 5 miles in before before work and even added 15 minutes of toning afterwards. I was feeling strong and proud and took a picture of myself to share with you all, but after looking at the picture I felt so defeated. I looked swollen and big. My stomach is sticking out and my hips are Kim K wide. It’s frustrating because I am always working out and focused on my fitness. I need to take that same dedication to my nutrition. I know that your diet is the biggest factor in being toned and lean but it’s such a hard thing to do because it’s 24/7. Whereas fitness is an hour(-ish) commitment once a day. However my happiness, health and well being need to be a priority and if cleaning up my diet will help, I need to do it.

Post-Workout PictureIn addition, I have been having digestive issues for a while. I would say 80% of the week I am dealing with some kind of stomach issue ranging from frequent stomach pain and cramps, a lot of bloating and gas and occasional crazy gurgles and other noises. When it’s bad I complain about it and try to figure out what is causing it, but once the discomfort disappears I move on and forget about it. However, inevitably it comes back and most of the time worse.

I think it is all related. Not only is the stomach pain a lot to deal with but it’s hard to feel comfortable and confident (the whole point of this blog :)). I never really feel lean and toned. I am constantly battling with my own body image and I think it’s in large part due to the fact that I am always uncomfortable and bloated because of my stomach issues.

I know I need to go to the doctor, and I really do plan on making an appointment. In the meantime, I thought I would share some tips on how to ease abdominal discomfort.

4 Tips for Easing Stomach Discomfort

1. Practice Yoga – If I am feeling really bloated, doing a few Vinyasa flows really helps to release the pressure. Downward facing dog and upward facing dog always seem to work really well. Here are a few other moves and tips here: Yoga Positions to Ease Bloating & Gas

2. Drink lots of water – I try to drink half my body weight in ounces of water a day. If I am feeling especially bloated and having stomach issues, I try to increase that to try to flush all the gunk out of my system.

3. Drink Herbal Tea – Peppermint tea is my favorite but Chamomile and Ginger are also great for soothing stomach issues. Yogi has some great Digestive Support Teas as well if you can’t decide what to get.

4. Relax – Lighting candles, putting on soothing music and wrapping up in a blanket always puts me in my ‘happy place’ and takes my mind off of all the stresses of the outside world. By relaxing my mind and spirit, my body tends to relax as well including my stomach

Body Image

Two and a half years ago I decided to pursue fitness modeling kind of on a whim. I got hired by Cybex from an open casting call and had so much fun with them that I decided to do a portfolio shoot with Lucie Wicker. I got signed with Maggie, Inc. a few months later and have done a few shoots and fit modeling with Reebok, did an infomercial for Gorilla Gym a year ago and just yesterday did a shoot with Via Prive, a local fitness wear company that absolutely rocks!

I found out about the shoot less than 24 hours prior and knowing I would be in booty shorts and a bra, I kind of/really started to freak out because to me, my body is not where I want it to be, nor where I feel it should be for modeling. But it’s funny to me how much we worry about our bodies when at the end of the day our worries are for nothing.

I was texting Mattie all morning freaking out about how fat I felt and she kept reassuring me I look great and that they wouldn’t have chosen me had I not had the look they wanted. When I first put on those white booty shorts and bra for the shoot, my immediate reaction was to grab a sweatshirt and cover myself up. Can they see my cellulite? Does my butt look fat? Can I hold my stomach in more? Oh my god, my lower abs are protruding! Why can’t I hold my abs flat? I’m so white right now. My arms are fat and my thighs are like tree trunks. All these thoughts going through my mind and I am about to step onto set for the shoot.

I walked out of the changing room and I was greeted with nothing but compliments. Wait, what?? Am I hearing you right? Are you blind? Are you lying? I immediately tried to cover myself up. I was thinking about my body before surgery. I was 10 lbs lighter and had 7% less body fat. I felt and sometimes still feel that my body was better and looked better when I was really lean. But the question is, was I happier then or now? Ask anyone who knows me and the answer is that I am happier now. Women place so much weight on our weight and it’s time we stop.

We must be kind to our bodies. You will gain weight and lose weight many times in your life depending on what is taking place at that moment. Embrace the change and know that nothing is permanent. You can change your life in anyway you please when you are ready to do it. I look at myself in the mirror every day, multiple times and tell myself I look damn good, beautiful, sexy, incredible…any positive word I want to use. Every time you feel fat or ugly or any negative thought about your body, run to a mirror and tell yourself you are beautiful. Give it a try for a week and see how you feel.

Mattie was right. At the end of the shoot, I realized that my body is perfect the way it is. It might not be the right look for every company, but for the companies that do hire me, it’s the right look. But more importantly, it’s the right look for me right now. I am happier than I could have ever imagined even though I am not at my “ideal” weight.

This whole blog is about two women striving to become comfortable in our own skin so that we can brave the world with confidence, all while being on this crazy adventure we call life.

So I ask you, what does a woman who is striving to be comfortable in her own skin, a woman that is radiating confidence look like? She looks like you, Mattie, me, the girl sitting next to you. The key is to believe it.

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🙂 Kara