It’s a Catch 22

A little while back, I posted about wanting to spend more time on the blog. I committed to taking time at night to open my computer and chip away at my goals. Welp, I am here to report… I have NOT done it AT ALL. Life got away from me. I get home from work and the last thing I want to do is open my computer. But then I sit at work and I am like, this is the last place I want to be. I want to be blogging. It truly is a Catch 22.Work From Home Its A Catch 22

I know not to compare myself to others but is SO hard. I find old blog friends on Instagram with thousands of followers or click through on Pinterest to a blog I used to follow and it’s beautiful and I think about what I could of had if I just stuck to it and committed.

Honestly, it’s the same problem I have with my diet and nutrition.  I can’t commit to anything and give up after a few days. Between my blog and my diet, you’d think I would want to figure it out. Instead, I choose other things like family-time, relaxing, and socializing [which is ok!]. Maybe one day I will figure out how to have both. I am trying. I guess that’s why this blog is called Comfy & Confident. It’s about finding that place where  you ar. Enduring the journey. Accepting the Challenge. It shouldn’t be a Catch 22. I should be able to find my passion and pursue it. I just need to remind myself of that.

It won’t happen over night. It will take time and patience; two things I am not very good at. But, if it gets me to my goals, it’s worth trying right!?ONe Day Or Day One

So as I was writing this, I went on Instagram and one of my favorite people, Katrina Scott, from Tone It Up, posted a mantra about finding your path… it is so fitting. Here is what she wrote,”

“‘you can not travel the path until you’ve become the path itself’…there really is no way to move forward and into the life you want until everything that yo do, breathe, and love is on that path. You have to visualize yourself on it and become exactly what you dream. You can manifest anything as long as you put your full heart and self into that life and let go of everything else that doesn’t serve you. Remember you are capable of so much more than you could ever know!”

This is exactly what I know I need to do. I need to visualize myself on the path I want and just do it. Put blinders on and forget what anyone else might think or do. I need to let go of the what if’s holding me back and take a leap of faith. I will figure it out. My family will be ok. My path can be found.

I need to let go of the Catch 22 and just walk down my path.

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…

Musclevsfatweb 300x300 2

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.

~~~~~~

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?

 

IBS

Happy Friday!

Vinnie and I are having a few friends over for a Friendsgiving on Saturday so after work yesterday I went to the grocery store to pick up the turkey and other necessary groceries including cranberries, stuffing mix, lemons, onions and butter. I wanted to go to TraderJoes but it’s a little out of the way, traffic was terrible, and I wanted to get home more than go to Trader Joe’s.Thanksgiving Shopping Supplies

I went pretty simple on the recipe and grocery list because this is our first time hosting a Friendsgiving and roasting a turkey. I want to make sure I get everything done in time and it tastes great. In the future I will experiment with fun side dishes but for now I am sticking to the basics.

So, the other day I went to see my primary care physician about my stomach pain and digestion issues. I explained to her that I have frequent stomach pain, gas, bloating, cramping and weird gurgling noises and she almost immediately said “oh yea, that’s Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” Ugh!  I had done my research prior to the appointment and knew this could be the diagnosis but I was hoping she would ask more questions and really try to figure out what was going on. My doctor did do some blood work to make sure there wasn’t any inflammation or low iron levels which could be signs of ulcerative colitis, celiac or Crohn’s disease and they came up negative which is really good!

As of now, there is no cure for IBS, they don’t really know how to treat it and symptoms vary depending on the person. Sweet. I honestly would rather have a food allergy and just eliminate that from my diet. Instead, she said it is all about managing the symptoms for a better quality of life.

My doctored referred me to Mayo Clinic and CDC to learn more. She said DO NOT GOOGLE! Some things I found out about IBS from talking to my doctor and reading through these websites  are:

  • IBS affects the large intestine and is a chronic condition you need to manage long term.
  • Food, Stress, Hormones (many women find that signs and symptoms are worse during or around their menstrual periods) are major causes
  • It tends to occur in women under the age of 45. Women are twice as likely to have it than men. Family history of IBS and mental health problems like anxiety, depression and personality disorder are all contributing factors.
  • The biggest complication with IBS is how it effects your quality of life. Even though IBS symptoms are uncomfortable, IBS — unlike ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which are forms of inflammatory bowel disease — doesn’t cause changes in bowel tissue or increase your risk of colorectal cancer*

My doctor gave me a few suggestions to try to manage it:

  • Exercise: Moving around and being active helps your body move the food through you system and out. I already work out a lot but if my stomach is really bothering me it is good to know going for a walk is better than laying on the couch.
  • Acupuncture: She swears by this and gave me the name of a great person so I may check it out although I never thought of myself as someone to do acupuncture, but I will try anything once if it will help!
  • Medication: She prescribed me something to take before I eat to reduce the cramping. I really don’t want to be on medication forever, so I plan to take it sparingly.
  • Diet: Depending on the person, certain foods can trigger IBS symptoms more than others so its important to be aware of how foods make you feel, and eliminate if necessary.

As of now, my plan is to take it one day at a time. See how it goes and manage the pain when necessary. I will continue to focus on my food intake and monitor how it makes me feel. I am happy I went to the doctor, it’s just discouraging knowing there is no way to make the discomfort go away, away. I will be sure to keep you posted!

Questions for you:
Do you experience stomach pain and digestion issues regularly? Do you have any experience with IBS, specifically?

 

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.

IMG_8350

 

🙂 Kara