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My A.C Life….

Welcome to my A.C life– my journey of beating the overgrowth of Candida. We all have candida in our body- a bad bacteria that is amongst the good bacteria to keep our PH balance. However, if the bad overgrows the strong it can cause some serious issues to your health and gut. You can get this by taking antibiotics (which happened to me), or leading a life with a lot of sugar, alcohol, stress or even diabetes.

I had a lot of symptoms over the past few months that haven’t made any sense- fatigue, like bad. I had major digestion issues, so uncomfortable and caused me a lot of pain. Brain fog- not able to concentrate AT ALL. I even had heart rate/breathing issues. My muscles were so heavy, my runs were two minutes slower a mile- no joke. I had NO idea what was wrong with me. I tried changing my workouts, I stopped running and did weights. I ate more, I ate less, I rested more. Nothing was working.

I finally saw the color of my tongue change to more of a white, and knew something was not right so that’s how I discovered it was the overgrowth of Candida. Many have this condition and don’t know, as doctors may not know much about it or how to treat it properly.

I did tons of research and chatted with a few people, and decided to take my own route for now on beating it. It’s all diet-based. Candida likes sugar and starchy carbs, and that’s what causes all the symptoms because the more of that you have the more it grows. No wonder why I was having so many cravings- I thought it was because of running season. 🙂

I have changed to all lean protein (grass-fed/organic), veggies, healthy fats eating regimen to help kill off the candida overgrowth. I hear it takes 30 days and then you need to be careful on introducing some foods back in, as it could come back. I am being careful. It’s a huge change for me to not eat fruits, carbs right now but after 9 days I am feeling SO much better. That to me is motivation to keep going. It’s my “new” normal. Yes it’s hard to pass up certain things that I enjoy, but when it’s about my health- I am determined to do what I can. On top of my family, there’s nothing I value more than good health (if I can help it!)

I’ll show you my progress pictures later this week just to share how much the inflammation has gone down in the past nine days.

I am Candida strong– nothing will get me down, if I can help it! Keep fighting the good fight– for your health. There may be bumps in the road, but it’s all a part of YOUr journey. It makes you unique, and hopefully I can help others who may go through this at some point in their life.

Adios Candida!

 

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Fit is a Mentality….not a size!

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This weekend I had the honor of hearing Shaun T speak, his words have been sticking with me over the past few days.

One of the quotes he said was, “Being fit is a mentality, not a size.”

How often do we beat ourselves up by saying any of the following:

“I am not where I want to be.”

“I used to be better.”

“She is more fit than me.”

And the list goes on……

What if you just got to work– treating your body right by eating good, daily exercise? You would then feel good and have the energy to keep going. You’d feel less bloated. Your mental fog and lack of energy would lift. Endorphins post-workout would help you feel great about your day and what you did. Then you’d want to do it again.

Can you imagine how great you’d feel a few weeks down the road, or even months, and heck one year later? We need to take baby steps in the right direction and just focus on being strong mentally– telling ourselves we can do it: eating right, working out. The rest will happen.

I often beat myself up- I used to be better, how do I get back? What am I doing wrong? Instead I am reminded to just stay strong mentally- and focus on the doing. If I take that emotional baggage with me, the downward spiral will happen. If I am not happy inside or mentally strong, it shows up in my family, marriage, work, etc… that bad boy trickles into life!

So today, I am mentally strong. I am focusing on the doing! I will not beat myself up for what may have been better before. I will focus on the wins- I feel stronger now that I am doing more heavy lifting. When I physically feel strong, it helps me mentally feel strong. (they go hand-in-hand.) I feel the energy to take on big things! The rest will happen.

There is no size or shape that defines fit. Fit is having the mentality to work on you, day after day with the good and bad days. Not throwing in the towel for good. Staying the course, maybe adjusting and tweaking, yes having bumps but not completely going off the road.

The question is, will you remind yourself to do the same?

 

 

 

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Mom 21 Year Anniversary

the MEMORIES BETWEEN US will

Dear Mom,

Well, this year it has been 21 years that you have been gone. Since I had just turned 21 when you had passed away, this means that you now have been gone just as long as you were here on earth. I have been fearing this milestone for a long time, for some reason. It feels a bit sad, I’m not going to lie. I don’t want the memories to be distant, or fade away.

But I won’t let this letter have a sad tone.  I have worked so hard on ME for the past years, to be healthy inside and out that I am able to deal with sadness and fears much better. I have much more perspective and depth now. I look back to 21 years ago and how that was the darkest point in my life. I was in high school, and I had to grow up really damn fast by watching you get sick, eventually lose your battle, and finish my last year of college to then embark into the real world without you. However; out of all that, I became a very strong, independent, focused, passionate, happy, lover of life and people person! I learn more about myself each and every year since then, it’s crazy. I feel like 21 years ago I didn’t know who I was, where I was going, or what I wanted. I was much more of a people-pleaser, afraid to use my voice  (I am sure most of it was because I was so young), but the other part of me thinks that perhaps that was the person I was back then. Being forced to grow up quickly helped me to figure out a lot of things about me and become the person I really am! It was fight or flight, and I may have chosen flight for a few years I then chose fight!

Attending a conference for my fitness job just last month, had me reflecting on a lot of these things I mentioned above. I went to this conference in order to connect with my like-minded friends from all over the U.S and to learn how to be a better fitness motivator and leader. I didn’t realize, however; that this conference would also bring a lot of reflections about what I have learned from the past 21 years– life after you.

Here are some of those reflections:

-I have learned that everyone experiences pain at some point in their life. Pain from a loss, maybe it’s mental health, or some sort of trauma in their life (the spectrum is so big on what causes pain but we all go through it). We get tested. We get pushed to our limits. We may never know how we will climb out of the dark hole. But eventually I did. I spent years being in that dark place, and I hadn’t even realized it- gaining 40 pounds, spending money I didn’t have, not focusing on my health or my own happiness or what made ME happy. I was showing up, going through the motions, but felt sadness and numbness. Who was I? What did I want? What was I doing to myself? I finally asked myself these things about 7-8 years after I lost you. It was then that I made an effort to move forward- coming out of my shell, learning who I was, what I wanted and focusing more on ME.

I have spent the past 21 years being stronger, better, happier and not looking back to those darker years. I have figured out what makes me happy and am not afraid to go after that. I surround myself with only people who lift me up, and have let go of any unhealthy relationships with ease. I have found my passion and am pursuing it. I am not afraid to dream big, or go after crazy goals no matter what people think or say. I am comfortable in my own skin. I am very independent, to the point where it may also be a fault, LOL, but I know that if anything were to happen I could be OK.

I keep you in my heart, thoughts and mind constantly. I try to channel your same work ethic and drive. I try my best to be a wonderful Mom and wife. I realize that family memories are so precious and will work hard to help make more family memories via travel and adventures near and far. You also worked very hard to provide my education for the years you were here and I too will work hard to do the same for my boys. You were a lover of life, and people. When there is bad out in the world, I am reminded to always look at the good folks that make up for it. I chose the higher road. I don’t compare, regret, get involved in drama, gossip or sulk– I just do my thing and what makes me happy even if that means pushing the envelop a little bit and getting uncomfortable so I can fight for what I think is right and important to ME.

Thank you for teaching me all of these things. It’s an honor that you were in my life for the 21 years that I had you. I strive to keep your memory alive each day in my boys’ life (they say that’s Nana Judy each time they see a cardinal or butterfly). We know you are here, please keep visiting us!

Love,

Your Pina Colada

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Another year….

Each year I make ONE health/fitness goal. I like just ONE as I find I can stick to it. I used to make a list: eat better, lose weight, tone, flexibility but I found that was TOO overwhelming and then I didn’t focus on any one goal with intention.

This year my goal is to be STRONGER than last year. I am looking to continue my healthy lifestyle– but what does stronger actually mean? It means I would like to do a few more push-ups, break my one-mile tempo run record, be stronger emotionally, be stronger in my business, be a stronger leader, be a stronger Mom and wife.

Strength can come in so many ways, shapes and forms. So it may not mean I want bigger muscles- it just means stronger than the year past! I am going to continue to work on me, continue to inspire others to work on THEM regardless of where they are at and gracefully age.

Age is just a number. I do not feel 42 (although I do go to bed at 10:30 and wake-up at 5:45- LOL) but to me, you can make changes as you age. It’s a priority to me, it’s important to me– so I WILL make it happen. Years ago I would have said, “I have tried everything and I don’t know how to get there”. Now I know what it takes, if something isn’t quite working I adjust and experiment until it does. Then I move on to the next focus.

I am always a work in progress. There’s never perfection, just trying to be stronger than last year!

 

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Always Believe

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Since we just had Father’s Day I was inspired to write a blog post about my dear Dad. You have heard me share a bit about my late mother, and all of the things she had taught me in our 21 years together and continues to teach me as an angel up above.

But this guy deserves a lot of credit too! He has been my #1 fan since the day I was born, and has supported me for 41 years. From him, I have learned:

*Always believe

-This motto started during Christmas time. He always asked if we believed in Santa, and if we didn’t then we wouldn’t receive. I am a FIRM believer in Santa to this day. This motto has carried forward into my health journey, and building my own business. If you don’t believe, it won’t happen. Never doubt. Don’t hold yourself back. It all starts with belief!

*You do your best; they will do the rest

-This is from our softball days together when my Dad coached. He would always tell me to do my best and the team would do the rest. It rings true today still. You can do your part and try your hardest and then the rest is up to others and is out of your control.

*Be nice to people, make friends- you never know when your paths will cross again or when you will need someone to lean on.

-My Dad is a jolly guy, one who makes friends easily and can talk to anyone. He has a contagious laugh and smile. He is easy to be around and is funny. People are naturally attracted to his sense of humor. He has taught me that no matter what, be nice to people and make a lot of friends and not to burn bridges. I told him he was the reason I was a bridesmaid 10 times, LOL. He was right though- you never know when you will need your friends, so it’s great to build relationships that are life-long and also not be afraid to meet new people. People make life interesting and fun. You never know where the conversation will go, or if you will run into them again!

Hats off to all the Dad’s out there who are excellent role models for us ladies. Sometimes Moms get a lot of the credit, and today I give my thanks to this guy who has taught me so much about life and perspective!

 

 

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The Fixer Upper

My rental unit is where I have spent a lot of time in the past two weeks. I am turning it over for the next renter. Rooms needed panting, and I even re-painted the entire white trim on all doors, frames, closets, floorboards (bigger task than I had planned at first).

Re-painting ALL of the white trim, cabinets and doors felt like a big task when I first started. But, instead of thinking BIG picture and getting overwhelmed, I took it one door, closet, or frame at a time. When I was done it was nice to see everything bright and sparkly white- a fresh new look and start! I had wondered how I let it get so dingy, because that fresh-white paint made it feel so new and so bright!

We could compare that to our health journey. Starting seems daunting, we dread it, it may take forever, ugh the work is not FUN. We think we are not reaching our goals, but yet if we chip away little by little or day by day, we finally see/feel results! Then it makes all that work so worth it. We can’f focus on the OUTCOME, but the DOING. Once we get there, it feels so good to have a fresh new feel inside and out! Then we want to maintain that fresh paint so-to-speak, and not let it get so dirty, to save us time and energy, keep it good! So, why wouldn’t we do this to our bodies?

We sometimes need a fresh paint, or fixing up to get ready for longevity. If we fix our homes, clean our furnaces, tune up our cars why don’t we do the same to our bodies? Our cars have issues when we don’t replace the oil, or get new air in the tires. The engine needs tuning up. Our houses need fixing and maintaining!

So think about your body as it needing to be constantly maintained so it stays in good condition- you don’t want it to get too beat up as then there’s more work to do. It’s the one place WE LIVE IN! Why would we not want it to run efficiently (energy, sleep, less bloat, good digestion, food that fuels us, workouts that keep our hearts and minds healthy).

When you do the little things (painting or changing your health habits) you won’t need to start from scratch! But if you do start from scratch take it just one door-frame at a time and ease into it, just doing the work little by little because eventually that will add up to BIG changes. IMG_6712.JPG

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All About The Weights…

I have been on a mission to find what works for me in my fitness routine. I am a cardio junkie- if it gets my heart-rate up high I love it. If I can do short intervals with speed, I love it. If I can go for a slow and steady run, or a short and quick one I love it. You get the point.

Now weights are something I have struggled with over the years- not knowing WHAT to do exactly (how many times a week, how heavy, how many reps if I go heavy or how many reps if I go light). Yes, I have a Personal Training background and I know what I would tell other people, but we don’t always take our own advice. 🙂

I like to NOT have to come up with my own workout routine since I put together other people’s for a living. I want to space out, just follow along and have someone tell and show me what to do in my own-home so I can save time. I workout early in the morning as soon as I wake-up, so my unfinished basement is my morning workout space!

I am on my eight week of a strength program where I lift HEAVY three times a week. It works great because I teach two cycle classes, a HIIT and take a run so I get enough cardio in the week. This program has challenged me to go SLOW. To only do 10-12 reps with heavy weights, and to not have to do the same moves over and over as each day they are so different.

And I am in love.  I have noticed a huge difference in my upper body strength. I was a lady that has not had muscles showing in her arms, and now I can see/feel them. I do have to say that weight lifting has helped me walk taller, have a bit more confidence and feel stronger inside too. So, ladies– get a lifting for these reasons too:

1. Burn more fat.

Did you know that your metabolism stays elevated and you continue to burn fat for several hours after a weight session? (unlike cardio where you stop burning right after the workout.)

2. Change your body shape.

You may think your genes determine the way you look. That’s not necessarily true. Weight training can slim you down, create new curves and help avoid the “middle-age spread.”  And no, you won’t bulk up—women don’t have enough muscle-building hormones to gain a lot of mass like men do.  If you keep your diet clean and create a calorie deficit, you’ll burn fat.

3. Boost your metabolism.

The less muscle you have, the slower your metabolism will be. As women age, they lose muscle at increasing rates, especially after the age of 40. When you diet without doing resistance training, up to 25 percent of the weight loss may be muscle loss. Weight training while dieting can help you preserve and even rebuild muscle fibers. The more lean mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be and the more calories you’ll burn all day long.

4. Get stronger and more confident. Lifting weights increases functional fitness, which makes everyday tasks such as carrying children, lifting grocery bags and picking up heavy suitcases much easier. Being strong is also empowering. Not only does it improve your physical activities, it builds emotional strength by boosting self-esteem and confidence.

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5. Build strong bones. It’s been well documented women need to do weight-bearing exercise to build and maintain bone mass as well as prevent osteoporosis. Just as muscles get stronger and bigger with use, so do bones when they’re made to bear weight.
Stronger bones and increased muscle mass also lead to better flexibility and balance, which is especially important for women as they grow older.

6. Fight depression. You probably know cardio and low-impact exercises such as yoga, can help alleviate depression, Well weight lifting has exactly the same effect. The endorphins that are released during aerobic activities are also present during resistance training.  Many women find regular weight training, in conjunction with psychological treatment if the situation is not great, helps lessen their depression symptoms substantially.

7. Improve sports fitness. You don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy the sports benefit of weight training. Improved muscle mass and strength will help you in all physical activities, whether it’s bicycling with the family, swimming, golfing, or skiing…whatever sport you enjoy.

8. Reduce injuries and arthritis. Weight lifting improves joint stability and builds stronger ligaments and tendons. Training safely and with proper form can help decrease the likelihood of injuries in your daily life. It can also improve physical function in people with arthritis.

9. Get heart healthy. In the USA More than 480,000 women die from cardiovascular disease each year, making it the number-one killer of women over the age of 25. Most people don’t realize that pumping iron can also keep your heart pumping. Lifting weights increases your “good” (HDL) cholesterol and decreases your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. It also lowers your blood pressure.

10. Defend against diabetes. Research has shown in addition to keeping your heart strong, weight training can improve the way your body processes sugar by as much as 23 percent. Plus the more lean mass you have, the more efficient your body is at removing glucose from the blood. Diabetes is in my family history so you better believe I am going to do everything I can to help prevent it!
IMG_6657 I see muscles in this area for the FIRST time ever at 41! And no, I won’t get huge and bulky!

It’s never too late to start. You can make changes! If you don’t know where to start, let me know and I can help point you in the right direction!

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I did this for me!

 

IMG_3957Do you ever get sick of feeling ugh? Or you know that you have felt better and you really want to get back to THAT feeling?

That’s how I felt this winter. I didn’t know it at the time, but my thyroid levels were off. I had months of weight gain, decrease of energy, constant chills and really messed up digestion. After trying many things on my own with food, workouts, etc…I decided to get my thyroid levels checked and low and behold they were elevated. I have been on a synthroid for two years and figured I was good and regulated, but I learned that things can change.

At the time of my medication increasing, I also decided to “Go-all-in” and devote three weeks (post vacation) to really kicking some bad habits. Yes, it was a stricter regimen- a laid out meal plan, supplements to help my body naturally detox and add back in good bacteria after. I ate Vegan for over 14 days. It helped to kick the funk that had snuck in over the winter. After the three weeks, I felt back to ME.

The point of me writing this blog entry is to say that I get what it’s like to be in a funk. I am not perfect with workouts and eating. I too struggle at times. I however, have learned to say “enough is enough” and I know when I need to buckle down. That discipline has come to me over time. I have weighed 40 more pounds and refuse to go back in that direction. I have worked WAY too hard over the years. I will not buy new clothes because I can’t fit into mine — been there and done that. Now it’s hopping back on when I fall off, recognizing why I fall off, and making a PLAN. Not only making the plan, but then doing and finding an accountability person to make sure I stay on-track.

So if you are stuck in a rut, make a START date. Tell yourself no more excuses. Figure out your plan- kick the sugar, eat vegan for a week, cut out dairy and all processed foods, do something to shake it up and dial it in! You can say no to social events for a week, or just eat before you go and pass on the food and the wine. It’s not like you  need to live strictly forever, you are just doing it FOR YOU. To feel good again, to know that you have control over food and food doesn’t have control over you. You sometimes need to cut emotional eating out all together and re-teach yourself some new habits.

We can form new habits, we just  need to re-wire our brain and keep doing and then new behaviors will be in place! Then it’s super motivating to keep them up. They may need re-tweaking again down-the-road, but that’s ok! Health journeys have ups and downs but the important thing is we are always TRYING. There’s no perfect, just PROGRESS!