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!

Goal Setting for 2015

Happy New Year

It’s that time of year again! Time for New Year resolutions and new goals. A lot of times, I find myself considering unrealistic goals like lose 20 pounds (even though, I haven’t lost a pound in the last year)… or do Crossfit, and yoga, and a run a marathon, and a Half Ironman (that’s not humanly possible while working a 9-5, blogging and having a life!)… or stop drinking (… ya, ok!).

When thinking about setting your 2015 resolutions, we need to be realistic and reflect on the previous year to help guide our goals. Set challenging goals, but not ones aimed so daunting that you’ll feel overwhelmed & defeated before you can even see results/improvements. A person’s motivation for change lasts about 2 weeks, so we need to make goals that will allow us to push past that barrier and continue to improve.

Goal Setting Tips

Here are a few ways to set challenging but achievable goals for 2015:

Be Realistic: I touched on it above, but if you’ve never worked out before, setting a goal to run a marathon is probably not the best place to start. Not to say such things can’t be done, but lofty goals often fall to the wayside for other more achievable ones. Set challenging goals, but not so daunting that you’ll feel overwhelmed & defeated before you can even see results/improvements.

Visualize: Visualization is essential in reaching your goals! Start now by seeing yourself exactly where you want to be: happy, healthy, vibrant, comfortable, confident and achieving your goals! Create a mental picture of what your best year will look like and visualize it every morning, throughout the day and every night.

Create a Pinterest Board: One of the best ways to help with visualization is to create a vision board. This helps keep you focused, motivated and accountable. Find inspirational quotes or motivational images that resonate with what you desire to do and pin them to a Pinterest Board – mine is called Get Lean & Fit Motivation! I am sure you can be more creative than that! {you can always make a secret board and have it private if you don’t want to share your vision board. 

Write Down your Goals: Putting your goals down on paper helps make it feel real! Read your list often, and don’t be reluctant to change, alter or add to it whenever the mood strikes!

Relax: Everyone is their own worst critic and don’t fall into that trap. Be easy on yourself! No one changes overnight. Goals are set because they take time & effort.

Ford Truck with a Sunset

With that, here are a few of my goals for 2015:

  1. Practice more yoga – I love yoga but I always struggle getting to class. I am a happier, healthier and  more balanced person when I do yoga so I want to make an effort to incorporate yoga into my weekly routine.
  2. Run more races – Running is my go-to form of fitness. It instantly boosts my mood and clears my mind. In 2015, I want to run more races (I am thinking a half marathon, and a few short distances too) and work to improve my speed and endurance.
  3. Volunteer – I would love to give back and help others in whatever way possible.
  4. Take a trip (on a plane) – Vinnie and I drive all around New England but I would like to go on a plane, take a trip and really experience another part of the country (or world!) with him
  5. Grow the blog – I have high hopes for Comfy & Confident in 2015. I want to connect with more people in the blogging community, grow my readership and continue to enjoy sharing my journey!
  6. Cook more – I love to eat healthy and try new foods, but I find myself eating the same thing over and over again. I would like to challenge myself to try new recipes and explore new and different foods in 2015.

What are your goals for 2015?? I would love to hear them!
Sharing always helps to hold me accountable!

 

 

 

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.

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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?

 

Jury Duty & YES Kids

The past 2 days have flown by! On Sunday, I went over to my sister-in-law, Nicki’s, house and really got into the Holiday spirit. We made gingerbread cookies, watched Love Actually and listened to Christmas music. It was so fun to smell fresh cookies baking, sit around the Christmas tree and drink festive cocktails.

Making Gingerbread Cookies
Yesterday, I had jury duty. Honestly, I don’t feel old enough to serve on a jury, but I guess you can get summoned at 18, so that means I am a decade old enough!
Jury Duty was an experience. I have to admit, I was dreading it. I had no idea what to expect and I am so busy with work, life and everything in between that I didn’t feel like I could possibly fit in another commitment. I had to get to the Suffolk Superior Court by 8 am. After leaving my house late, taking a few wrong turns, and freezing the entire walk, I finally arrived a little after 8:15 [fashionably late!].

Bundled up for jury duty

I rushed out of the house so fast, I forgot my water and snacks I had packed to get me through the day. Once I arrived at the courthouse I stood in line to sign in and get my juror number assigned. Then, I went into the “jury pool” to wait for instructions.

Jury Duty Lines

An hour later, a court officer addressed all of us, and had us watch a 18 minute long video that explained the reason we were there and how the whole process works.Shortly after, a superior court judge addressed all of us to further explain how the day will work. Whenever a judge enters the room, everyone has to stand and all the men have to talk their hats off… I kind of felt like I was back in High School!

We had a short break so I snuck out to grab some breakfast. I wen to Starbucks and got the Spinach & Feta wrap. I never buy fast food. NEVER. It was desperate times! The sandwich was surprisingly really good; the spinach tasted fresh and the egg whites seemed normal.

Starbucks Spinach & Feta Wrap

Around 10am, back in the jury pool, my number was called and I was brought into a court room along with what seemed like 100 other people. This is where things got real!
We sat in the court room with the defendant, the lawyers and the judge. The case they were selecting a jury for was for a 1st degree murder… yea, that $hit’s real! It felt like Serial in real life. The judge asked all of us a series of questions about if we had any prior knowledge of this case, she listed the potential witnesses to see if we knew any, and asked if we had any other prejudices or reasons that would make us unfit to sit on the jury. Ultimately, I was “excused” because the trial was going to go until at least the week of December 21st and I have personal commitments that interfere. I was relieved to not have to sit on the juror because I am not sure I could handle the pressure of having a persons fate in my hands but on the other hand I am kind of bummed because it would of been an incredibly interesting experience.

After being excused from Jury Duty I headed home and got ready for a Holiday Gathering for the YES Foundation at the EMC Club at Fenway which is a private club that overlooks the baseball field. They served Fenway Franks and had an amazing view!

EMC Club at Fenway Park
But the real reason we were there was to support the Foundation and the Kids. I am a huge fan of YES and what they do for the community of Boston. Their mission is to inspire and challenge youth with physical and mental activities that foster life-long respect for self, others, and the environment. I plan on volunteering this winter and going on a few ski trips with the kids!

EMC Club at Fenway Park

It was a busy Monday, but I had a lot of fun. It was empowering seeing, first hand, how our judicial system works. I was thankful to be a part of such a great country – for the people, by the people! Ending such a powerful day with giving back to the Boston community was the cherry on top!

Have you ever served jury duty? What was your experience like?

Little Victories Are Important Too

Today I have a special treat! My sister, Julia, wrote a guest post. She is a professional ski racer who as had many accomplishments through out her career including racing at Sochi on the US Olympic Ski Team. However, every journey has it’s ups and downs and this year she is taking a new outlook on her career and goals. Tomorrow she kicks off her season with the first World Cup Downhill of the season at Lake Louise in Canada. Below she talks about her journey, game plan and goals.
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I feel the excitement stirring in the depths of my stomach again. I haven’t felt it for a while, maybe years now. My vision was tunneled by one thing: win, win, win. With a singular focus I lost sight of why I was ski racing and where the joy actually lies. You may wonder, “Where is the joy, if it’s not in winning?”. Well, hang on to your hats ladies and gentlemen because I am about to blow your mind.

You Can Fly

First things first. Something you should know is I am one of the most competitive people on the planet. Whether you know me or not, believe me when I say, if someone says challenge or competition, my ears perk up like a hound who has caught the scent and I’m ready for the chase. It is a part of me. I have tried to tone it down but it is a monster that can’t be tamed, so now I openly embrace it. Actually, I have not so much embraced it as I have learned how to use it in a productive manner. And when I say I have learned, I mean I am learning. Everything is a process and some days are better than others which brings me back to my binoculars with ‘win’ written on the end.

In my competitive manner, I have had the outcome so pinpointed in my mind, I lost focus on the process. I wanted to be the fastest and the best right NOW! Which, ok, don’t we all? The problem with that is I didn’t buy into the process to get there. I would become so outraged, resentful, frustrated, or worse self pitying that my emotions controlled me. It took me away from what I could control like improving my skiing, staying focused on what I need to work on to get faster and NOT just going through the motions. So when things started to go array, which, it’s a long season, at some point they will, I couldn’t grasp how to make it stop. My mind was so weighted down by the fear of losing, of not qualifying, of failing, I couldn’t think clearly. I was Atlas holding the world on my shoulders. See what I mean…. the joy was gone.

Julia in her Timberlands

Worse, I was gone. Not literally but in the sense where I was becoming someone I didn’t want to be. I am a happy person! I enjoy competition for the game, the challenge, the fun of showing what I got. I forgot about that uncontrolled, all consuming excitement that we have when we are kids playing games. And isn’t that what skiing is, just a game? Yes, it is my career and the stakes are higher, but if we look at the chalk board and erase the rest of the math, aren’t we are left with x? When we do the same with all the bullshit that surrounds ski racing, we are left with the same; the simple fact is that ski racing is a game to be enjoyed.

So I come to this, if ski racing is not just about being focused on winning, then what it is the point? Winning is the goal but it is really just an outcome; a combination of one’s hard work, dedication, and defeating adversity. It is not the only thing we should strive for. What we should seek is improvement, overcoming obstacles, and putting your whole heart into something to see what you are truly capable of. I feel no greater joy than when I have fresh air in my face, and I make the perfect turn resulting in a a sudden rush of acceleration and adrenaline… Ah, it makes me giddy thinking about it! Those things are the markings of true success. The little victories need to be celebrated just as much because they are what help get you to the end goal.

In The Start Gate Copper Mtn

Please, don’t be misunderstood, I want to win. My goal is to kick everyone’s ass. I am just saying that this year I am choosing to focus on a the little victories along the way. Mainly, the fight to improve, the people on my team who believe in me, and the reason I pursued skiing to begin with, the unadulterated bliss and fire it lights in me. When I am so willing to put (literally) my blood, sweat, and tears into being the best possible athlete and version of myself I can be, that is victory. When I stand at the end of my season, my career, my life, winning will be standing tall and being able to say ‘I gave it everything I had.’  And no matter what ‘everything I have’ entails I will have used all the talent and work ethic I possess and that is all I can do.

Create Your Own Path In The Snow

I remember my first trip to Chile with the World Cup team. My body felt as though it was carbonated. I sat on the plane and bubbled over with excitement. Somewhere along the way, through the roller coaster of success, failure, injury, and management, I lost sight of that kid who sat on that airplane so thrilled to ski with the best in the world, to learn, to go fast, and to just ski. I have said many times, ‘I just want to ski.’ And this year, that is what I will do. Win or lose, I am going to ski my heart out!

Speed Racing

Want more? Follow Julia all winter long:

Instagram: http://instagram.com/juliawford
Facebook: Julia Ford
Twitter: https://twitter.com/juliawford

I will also be having her post updates here on my blog so check back frequently.

It’s Not Fitness, It’s Life

*Posted by contributing writer Kara*

As a personal trainer at Equinox, fitness is my life but not in the sense that it runs my life. I used to be obsessed with working out and dieting to the point where I didn’t go out, I didn’t eat delicious food, I didn’t enjoy wine or chocolate and I wasn’t happy. We place so much pressure on ourselves to have fitness be a priority in our lives but what does fitness really mean?

One of the things I hear from a lot of my clients is that they don’t have time to workout which leads to guilt. In my opinion, guilt only hinders progress. Even with my job, there are days where I just can’t (don’t) find the time to workout, so I understand where that mentality comes from. But then I find myself sitting on my couch writing or reading or surfing the web into the late hours of the night. Wait, I thought I didn’t have time to workout? [I hate that, it happens too often, IMO :)]

Fitness doesn’t have to be your top priority every day but if you’re looking to be healthier, be leaner, be more toned, be whatever it is you want to be, fitness needs to be a priority. I don’t workout every day. In fact, I didn’t workout at all this weekend. Saturday I did laundry, I cleaned and I took part in a photo shoot for my friend Kelly who has come out with an incredible legging line called Booty By Brabants.

photo 3-38

I wanted to get stuff done that were higher on my list of priorities. I could have chosen to do a little in home workout after the shoot but I didn’t want to mess up my faux lashes that were applied for the shoot. 🙂

photo 1-43

Do I feel guilty about not working out this weekend? Nope! Granted I did walk 3 miles to get to the shoot, did a few headstands…

photo 5-20photo 1-44

and some push ups…

photo 2-46

and laughed A LOT. Does that count as fitness? Yup!

So what do you do when you feel you have no time, when you don’t put it as a priority? You either sit there and feel guilty (or not) or you get off your booty and MOVE for 1 minute. Tell yourself you’ll quit after 1 minute. Do whatever you want for that 1 minute and then stop…if you want. My guess is you’ll go one more minute. A workout doesn’t have to be an hour long affair. Just get up and move! Make movement your life.

Oh and check out Booty By Brabants for some kick ass leggings which will be on sale in December! We will have a full review on the blog soon.

 Booty By Brabants Leggings

*If you want to lift, tighten and tone your booty check out her Booty Bootcamp class full of High Intensity Boxing, dancing, and booty-inspired workouts at the George Foreman Club in Boston.

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