Thursday, December 31, 2015

Habits: How-To

Ah, the new year, a fresh, blank calendar just waiting for us to fill it up with plans, made by the person we want to become.

It's that "Monday reset" feeling, but in bulk, times 365 366 (it's a leap year).

Let's make this year's plans stick, and let's not do it by co-opting some crappy magazine's "how to overhaul your life" list.

I'd bet my pinky toe that you've done that, and it didn't work - not because you suck, but because truly, that kind of overhaul never works.

Here's what does:

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

You Failed, Now What?

Oh hey, if I haven't said it already, those Habitry peeps be geniuses.

Well, here you are. You failed at a goal you set yourself. 
Maybe it was a New Year’s resolution, or maybe it was a longtime dream.
Regardless of what kind of goal it was, it can feel terrible to have failed at achieving something you want. And yet it's a very common experience. People often fail to get things they want and have worked for. Just as common is the urge to dwell on the negative aspects — to say that you didn't want it enough, you weren't good enough, or you just didn't try hard enough. 

Simple, straightforward questions to ask yourself at this point:

Sunday, December 27, 2015

See the Mountain, but Focus on the Climb

The journey is the thing. It really is.

The destination can, usually will, often MUST change, whether you like it or not, and whether we're talking about a hike or fat loss or your career plans.

The lessons you will learn and the successes along the way and the trials you will undertake, these will lead to the person you become. You are shaped by the journey itself, not by the destination.

Ah, finally done with the laundry! (Then you realize the kitchen is a mess.)
Yes, finally finished college! (Then you realize you’re $100,000 in debt and need a job.)
So often the successful completion of one goal leads to innumerable others that expand before you.

Friday, December 25, 2015


I pretty much never watch videos, but this one is absolutely beautiful, and worth 4 minutes of your time.

Selected lines that spoke to me:
I will walk my path with audacity.
The world is missing what I am ready to give.
I rise and shine, and I'm ready to go on my quest.
Find it here:

(If you can find this in print, I'd love to see it.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

For Real: Eat the Cookies!

Don't panic over the holiday food spread.
Maybe don't eat until your stomach hurts, and maybe don't bring the leftover desserts back home, but PLEASE, while you're with your family, enjoying them, make sure you also enjoy the meal - without guilt. Including the cookies.
Enjoy some real cookies this holiday season. Or some other thing you enjoy but think is “off limits”. 
Just do it consciously. Mindfully. Joyfully. And — as we teach in our coaching programs — slowly. 
Instead of scarfing it down furtively and waiting for the guilt, savor it. Taste the layers of flavor and try to extract every last one of them. 
Stay present and checked in. Choose with purpose. Then move on. 
Because, with the right approach:
You can enjoy food, connect with others, and be healthy and fit.  
All at the same time.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Holiday Survival Guide

Here we go, it's party season! Cue the focus on appearance as health, as worth, as everything!

You know the scene. Family gathering. Aunts, uncles, cousins, distant family friends you haven’t seen in ages. All eyes on you as you come in. Hugging. And … body policing time! Maybe it’s, “Oh honey! You look great! You’ve definitely lost weight. Tell me your secrets!” Or, maybe they only say that to your sister while you smile with dead eyes nearby. (Smiley face). Whether or not this scene reflects your Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or Festivus traditions, any gathering of people you don’t see regularly is sure to reflect some characteristics of the traditional body policing bonanza.

You can combat it. You can be the change you wish to see in this world, with tips & reminders found here:

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Who is coming to your gym?

Interesting read from some #fit2point0 peeps:
A recent survey from the Physical Activity Council revealed that one in four Americans didn't exercise at ALL last year. Not once, in an entire year! 28% of our population did not engage in what their bodies were DESIGNED for for 365 days straight. Let that sink in for a minute.

Gyms have always been weird to me, even as a gym owner. The thought of creating a space where we have to go and perform motions which imitate the work our bodies were designed to do on the daily simply because our daily lives have been reduced to sitting behind desks is a little existentially mind blowing for me, to be honest. 
But, the fact is, this is where we are. So how do we solve this, before that 28% of our population grows to 30%, 40%, 50%?! And keep in mind the 28% covers individuals who didn't exercise one time. Imagine how many only went to the gym once or twice last year, only to leave feeling defeated.


Oh, what's #fit2point0, you ask? I'm so glad you did.

It's this:

It's this:

And I would happily recommend reading everything right here:

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Why all the effort?

A few weeks ago, I had long, curly hair, about to my waist. It was gorgeous, a beautiful spiraling waterfall of the family curls.

But as a runner encountering summer, I began to think about how HOT & annoying it was. I realized how often it was a pain, and when I began looking back at old pictures, I became ready to go short again. Short wouldn't be a gorgeous waterfall of curls, but it would still be cute enough (I wouldn't look odd), and it would be EASIER.

I spent a full week stopping myself every time I thought about my hair, and asking how short hair would change this problem/situation/thought, until I was still 100% certain I wanted to chop it.

Within 24 hours of my cut, I had thought to myself at least 24 times: I can't believe I waited so long!

I was astounded at how much work & annoyance my long hair had become, in so many tiny ways:
  • Gobs of product to have it look good (about 4x what I use now). 
  • Stupidly-long showers spent working the conditioner through and pulling out the knots.
  • Going to bed with hair that felt like cold, wet, gross seaweed, hating for it to touch my back before I was in bed & it could lay on my pillow behind me (like cold, wet, gross seaweed).
  • Styling options limited by the day's workout (can't bench with an updo, yo).
  • Playing with it while thinking, like I was 12.
  • HOT.
  • Holding it down in the wind, lest it become a frizzy frazzled mess.
  • on and on

After the cut, I had a couple people ask me what my husband thought of my new hair, and my answer was essentially, "Don't know, don't care. It's not his hair." (With varying levels of accompanying expletives based on the asker.)

I've not asked him. I don't care about his opinion, I care about MINE. He wasn't the one dealing with the annoyances above, so why would he get a say in whether or not I should keep it that way? Whether my hair is long or short or gone, he loves me, and I know this. I know this because that's how I feel about him. I don't tell him to shave his head, or to have a goatee. As long as he looks reasonably presentable to society, I'm cool with his appearance. And vice versa.

And the same is true for everyone I love, and everyone who loves me. Their opinions are unimportant. I might think my friend Becky looks amazing with her hair down, but if she loves the daily ponytail that gets it out of her face, well, what the hell does my opinion matter? It doesn't. And her preference for my long curly waterfall doesn't even slightly impact my preference for short & easy.

Reflecting on allathat got me much else am I holding onto, just because I think I should?

What else are ALL OF US doing, that we don't truly enjoy doing, but don't yet feel brave or confident enough to stop doing?

I can think of many other cuts from my life recently. All of these are small moves, with fabulous results:
  • no more nail polish: haven't missed it for a second
  • no more eyeshadow or eyeliner: sure, I look better with it, but I also look fine without it - and I don't miss it
  • Twitter & Instagram & Pinterest & all the rest besides FB & DM: I don't feel I'm missing out
  • TV: haven't watched it in months
  • email newsletter subscriptions: if I'm just deleting them without reading, or stacking them up in my "to read" folder (which I never get to), then I just unsubscribe
  • news: I don't bother, because mostly negative (if there's an important story, I'll hear about it somehow - but I don't need most of it)
  • Facebook friends 
    • who only post complaints: if I don't want to blatantly unfriend them, I hide their posts
    • who often share annoying shit but are otherwise cool: I hide the sources of their shared political posts & recipes & whatever
    • who I wouldn't ever stop to talk to in the grocery store: unfriend 
    • pages I've liked that post multiple times per day, every day, or only share links that I never click on, or are constantly outraged & up in arms (even if it's a cause I agree with): unfollow
    • who share clickbait bullshit ("you won't believe #8!"): never click, EVER, and hide them

Clothing choices, grooming choices, workout choices, friend choices, food choices, activity choices, job choices, housing many possible annoyances we've built into our lives, without even thinking about it, without ACTIVELY CHOOSING them, but merely going along with society's norms.

Decide to live a FUCK YES kind of life. Decide to cut out everything that isn't FUCK YES.

What is weighing you down because it's actually someone else's choice that you're doing it, be it society or significant others or parents or peers or boss?

Can you make your OWN decision instead?

What will that bravery cost you?

Oh, but my friend, what will it GAIN you?


A side note, I wrote this many months ago, left it in draft stage, because it felt like there was much more clarity I could bring if I took the time to polish it up. Well, 6 months later, here it still sits. I've got lots of these half-baked ideas in draft stage, and I'm throwing them out to sink or swim without much further assistance. You want to write and get better at it, then damn it, you write, and you share it, and you write some more. It's a blog, for fuck's sake. Do I want to share worthwhile thoughts, and possibly help people, or don't I? There is not much point to write things and keep them hidden, nor to wait for perfection. Fuck perfection.

I'm saying it again, just to make sure you saw it: fuck perfection.

It's time to help.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

We Are All Just OK

I love The Lady That Be Stumptuous. Always read her, everywhere, in everything.

Here she displays one of my most favorite qualities: authenticity.

There are only imperfect, wonderful, messy, very-much-human beings with hopes and fears and desires and neuroses and jobs and lives and kids and dogs or cats and family demands and toilets that need unclogging and lines-becoming-wrinkles and hangnails and alarms that go off too early and a love of chocolate-chip cookies… and all the rest of reality.
Like you.
Like me.
Like all of us.
“We’re all bozos on the bus,” said Woodstock MC Wavy Gravy in 1969, “so we might as well sit back and enjoy the ride.”

Find it all here, and enjoy KSD in all of her wondertastic glory:

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Thinner or BETTER?

I recommend always choosing better. That's where satisfaction lies.

- A girl who's been both

Boy, not only was my quest for thinness unhealthy physically. It was also extremely unhealthy mentally and emotionally. My obsession with being a certain weight not only stunted my potential growth as a fitness professional. It stunted my personal growth as an intelligent, fulfilled woman.
So long as I focused on being less, that is exactly what I got. Less. Less of everything. Less life fulfillment. Less mental energy for things that mattered. Less happiness. Less contentment. Less brain space for information that could take me places. Less joy in being me.

Read it all:!Fitness-Thinner-isnt-always-better/cqm6/55eedfa30cf23d0feffe53c7

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Parenting for Feminists

I'm not a parent, and I never intend to become one, because, best I can tell: it's really fucking hard, and I just don't think I'd handle it well.

This blog post, over on Girls Gone Strong, address just one facet of parental responsibility to raise proper citizens, but it's a biggie. It's one that we simply cannot afford to get wrong any longer; we need to stop failing our girls, and we need to stop letting our boys become failures.

Please read it. Whether you have boys or girls, or are even a parent or not, you still hold sway in the lives of children around you. Children and teens are always watching and always learning, so make sure you're teaching the right things.

Read this, absorb the message our boys need to learn, and then help to teach them, in whatever your capacity:

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

For Those Who Love to Train Hard

Jen Comas totes nails it with this post. It's a healthy way to think about just how much training you need. It's couched in terms of fat loss goals, but really, it's true for ANY goal.

Why I like it:

It's a smart throat-punch to all the "fitspiration" bullshit that tells you if you aren't crawling out of the gym, you haven't worked hard enough

While she acknowledges the mental payoff you might be getting from such a physical beating...she tells you to knock that shit off anyway.

I mean, I suspect heroin feels totes amazing, as well, but it's pretty obvious that you shouldn't do it, regardless. So, let's apply the same logic to overtraining: it might feel good, but it's not worth the high risk that it will Fuck. You. Up.

It can feel good to work up a sweat, and a bit of soreness can serve as a nice reminder that we moved our bodies. However, the sad truth is that neither of those things means much, if anything, with regard to how beneficial the workout was. Those things may feel nice emotionally, but they don’t always have a solid physiological carryover. 
The body treats training as a form of stress and reacts to it the same way that it reacts to anything else that’s stressful—sick kids, a looming work deadline, or being chased by a bear. Training can feel good emotionally, but stress is stress is stress, and cortisol will always respond accordingly. 

Go fetch some smarts:

Monday, September 7, 2015

Fighting Wolves

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego."

He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

-Cherokee legend

Friday, September 4, 2015

Bullshit vs Insanity

Yet another post where I find myself nodding along, thinking I could have written most of it myself.

Can we be reasonable in our approach? Can we be intentional with our goals without having to go to extremes to get there? Let’s find a happy medium and enjoy the things that life offers. We can find middle ground in all areas – family, friends, fitness, nutrition, and work. Do you have areas to improve in, or do you already see yourself living somewhere in the middle of bullshit and insanity?
I am working on living in the sustainable middle...join me!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Chase Your Dream Job

Where are you in this bubble?

I love accounting & spreadsheeting & bookkeeping and all the usual office-y things (truly, I love them!), and I'm good at it. BONUS: the world needs it, and will pay for it.

So, bliss found: just go do accounting, right?

Almost. I've been doing accounting for the past 16 years, and I've come to an additional realization: WHERE I do it, WHO my time is benefitting, also matters to me. Hugely. The only thing in this world that I have complete & total control over is what I do with my time.

I simply cannot spend my time, my one most precious & completely priceless commodity, at a business that I don't care about. Now, I used to care about the company I just left (after 9.5 years), but it changed; I still cared about the people, but not about its mission & goals. I don't think the world needs the product they are selling. I no longer enjoyed my daily work because of the unreasonable demands on my time. I've been hanging out in the "career" & "satisfaction" crossover of the bubbles for the past year or two. But I simply didn't feel fulfilled giving my time to a company that didn't share my personal values. And when I realized that was my problem, it became clear that exiting was my only option.

I DO think the world needs the service my dream employer (NSS) is selling. I LOVE the place like it's my second home, and the trainers there are part of my carefully-curated tribe. NSS changed my life for the better in every possible way, and so if I can give them my time to help them change MORE lives, then I will. I must. It's my bliss!

However, I'm having to do a little compromising to get there. They can't take me full-time, can't quite justify the expense of a salary for me five days per week. But we settled on three days, and I can make that work by spending two days a week at an accounting firm. So, I'm now out of my unwanted corporate job, and at my dream job three days per week, & my almost-dream-job two days per week. Wow! Am I ever lucky!


It's not luck, not one little bit of it. None. Let me tell you the story of how I've arrived at this "perfect job" scenario:

Thirteen years ago (13!), I picked up a part-time job at DBB, an accounting firm in my hometown. The work was different from my usual bookkeeping, and the coworkers were super-duper-uper nice, so it was actually quite fun to do. Putting in about 15 hours a week doing taxes helped me save up a nice chunk of change. Even after changing my FT job to 30 miles away, and moving 10 miles toward that job, I continued to work tax seasons, driving past my own home to work a second job a few nights a week, and ALLLLL DAY Saturday. It got long, but since it was winter, I wasn't really missing much besides laziness at home on the couch. With a promotion at my FT job, and the distance, I scaled back to Saturdays only, still unwilling to give up the easy money, or disappoint a business that relied on my expertise & expressed their appreciation for me every single day that I worked there. Some years, such as the three years I also trained for a spring marathon during that same timeframe, it was beyond stressful. I chipped away at my sanity to fulfill that job. But it always felt worth it, because the place adored me. I skipped ONE tax season, to train for Boston for the third straight year, but I unhesitatingly went back the very next year (and quit with the spring marathon nonsense).

So, I am now at that job two days per week, plus Saturdays during tax season. I'm excited that I'll be able to help them out more, and I'm excited about the kind of work I'll get to do, because it's my favorite of their workload.

I eased my way into NSS over the past 6 years that I've been training there. I started by making them some Excel templates, enthusiastically helped whenever they had questions in my area of expertise, made sure they knew my skills/love of spreadsheets/financial nerdery, and within a couple of years, they asked me to take over some of the bookkeeping to free them up to do what THEY do best. Because I love the place & what it has done for me, and want to help them do it for others, being there full-time would be my ultimate dream job, and I told them that, often. I made it a top priority in my life to be just as invaluable to them as I could be, trusting that eventually they'd grow big enough to need me more. I gradually did more & more things for them (things they didn't even know they needed, sometimes!), made myself helpful in assorted areas, and worked late on Fridays, on weekends, on holidays, whatever was necessary to get the weekly work in - until finally this winter it became pretty clear to all of us that one afternoon per week was no longer enough time for me to get everything done. I offered up this half-time gig idea, and told them what I would need to make (a pay cut for, but higher than they were anticipating, I'm positive) - and they agreed to absolutely everything.

Just like that, I am at that job three days per week, and I. Could. Not. Be. Happier. They know I want to be there full time, and I am confident they will soon be feeling just as adamant that I need to be there every day - so all we need is the growth to justify it and the P&L to support it. I. Can. Not. Freaking. Wait.

So anyway, all of that babbling is to show that I've worked my ass off to put those two jobs at the top of my priority list, always. Hence, the "luck" that I've landed this dream-job-combo? It's not luck at all. It's pure hard work, determination, the internal drive to be added value to them, an asset they need. I've sacrificed my free/fun time, I've sacrificed my sanity at times, but they have been entirely worth it.

Just like pretty much every success story out there, I worked my ass off, and when the time was right, the opportunity was there to accept the payoff of all those invested years. I've taken a pay cut and lost all kinds of generous big-company benefits to work this combo, but I've dumped a thousand truckloads of stress out of my life, I am working at places aligned with my very core, I've gained my very life back, and I. Could. Not. Be. Happier.

And, my dear sweet soul, there is not a single solitary unique thing in my long-winded story. You can write your own history of how you landed at your dream job, too. You can. You must. I promise you: it is worth the sacrifices you will make for it it happen. Because the sacrifices you make to work a job you hate are not, and never will be, worth it.

So, what is your dream job? What's your ultimate, perfect, ideal, fulfilling gig to pay for the rest of your life? Where can you find your bliss?

What will you do with your time, your single most precious, priceless commodity?

What steps can you take NOW to move you toward that life?

How can you work your ass off to achieve it? 

Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. 
-Thomas Alva Edison

Your bliss awaits.

Run toward it with open arms.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Screaming From the Rooftops

Amanda Trusty got pissed, and then she wrote a fantastic post.

If you are recovering from disordered eating, or body dysmorphic disorder, or anything along those lines, this will likely ring incredibly true to your experience.

I want to scream at everyone, look at me! I’m alive, damn it! I feed myself, I clothe myself, I put myself to bed, I manage my emails, and I even put mousse in my hair. I am alive! And I have survived EVERYTHING up until this point. I’ve never been addicted to drugs! I’ve never gotten a DUI! I have a decent credit score!
I write important pieces and I teach girls how to dance and I stand up for what I believe in and I stand up for those who don’t have a voice and I love hard and I work harder and I follow my heart!
How is it that when you look at me, you can’t SEE that?!
That’s what I want to scream!
Being fat, is honestly the most miniscule thing compared to all the other motha fuckin’ THINGS! 

Please go read it all ranow:

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Take the Stairs

Life is Easier When You Take the Stairs

I think what most of us really want is an easier life, not necessarily a more wholesome one. We want less trouble and more enjoyment, probably more so than we want achievement and virtue. But what we often overlook is that embracing difficulty in certain places nets us a lot more ease than our usual “easy” ways. Putting in three hours a week at the gym is easier than being out of shape 24 hours a day. Studying is easier than sitting in an exam room not having studied. Doing a good job at work is easier than wondering when they’ll finally fire you.
I’m used to thinking of ease and difficulty as a pretty straightforward dichotomy: we want more of one and less of the other. And maybe in a sense that’s true, but they are often found in the same place and come together as a package. A small amount of difficulty often serves as the gatekeeper to a large amount of ease.
We end up with needlessly difficult lives because we have trouble recognizing ease when it’s hidden behind difficulty. It’s hard to see, for example, in that difficult moment when you’re about to walk into a gym for the first time, that you are taking the path of greater ease: if you get yourself through that short, difficult experience, your life quickly begins to lose a lot of difficulty. Beyond the gate, your health situation is easier, dating is easier, clothes shopping is easier, and so is virtually any physically demanding task you can think of, possibly for the rest of your life. All of this ease is bought for three hours a week, which themselves quickly (and permanently) become many times easier than they were the first time. 
And so much more.

Every bit of this resonated with me, and I hope it will do the same for you:

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Avoiding Burnout

An interesting take on how to avoid burnout:

My Secret to Getting Rid of Burnout Permanently

What I have learnt to be extremely crucial in looking at the matter is another way of defining it: burning out is result of not being able to do what you love or what is important to you regularly.

The solution is actually quite simple: do what you love and is important to you regularly.
Another way to look at it is to ask yourself: what is it that you absolutely cannot miss out?

It feels accurate to me, as someone who has all-too-often hit burnout mode. I've come to realize my key bucket-fillers are trails with friends, barbell dates, quiet time in my backyard, and breakfast with my beloveds. Even when I'm working a ton of hours (three jobs!), these things will keep me refreshed and going strong, with ease. THRIVING, even. Take any of them away, and things begin to fall apart quite quickly.

Winter makes three of mine a big struggle, when my yard is an icy wasteland, I feel like I can't make time for breakfast (three jobs), and my trails may not be accessible. However, as winter is also my busiest work season, the need to refill regularly is magnified. I've either got to find more bucket-fillers, learn to prioritize breakfast outings, or take up a deep-snow hobby like snow-shoeing. Or all of the above.

Interesting side note: a few years ago, merely running was a need, but it has shifted to running TRAILS with FRIENDS, which has become a very important difference. Be sure you are clear on exactly what you need!
I hope you already know what you need in your life to feel fulfilled & content & energized for your busy days.

If not, it's absolutely worth taking the time to figure it out, before you burn out again. And if you still burn out, you haven't quite found the right bucket-fillers - keep looking, keep asking, keep searching, so you can keep thriving.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Stop Binges Before They Begin

First things first: everything Stefani writes is awesome; please bookmark, subscribe, etc, because she's pretty much a genius.

This post is a fantastic starting point for anyone who's stuck in the binge/restrict/repeat pattern. It's not a new post, but it was new to me, and every single line of it reads true to my own experience with the binge/restrict (and over-exercise) pattern.

When I was in that pattern, my answer to "how to stop binges before they begin" would've been something like "don't have binge-worthy food in the house" but that is so, so, so wrong. You can binge on anything, from cookies to breaksticks to chicken - and I've done it.

The answer isn't selective food, it's eating enough EVERY SINGLE DAY, so that you don't have the physical need to binge.

Wait, did you catch that?

Binges are not a failing of your mental willpower. They are a PHYSICAL NEED you have prompted by restricting your intake. It is your biological drive to live kicking in, and you can't avoid it, no matter how "tough" you are.

Go read Stefani's post to understand it:

Binge/Restrict:The Most Common Pattern of Overeating, and How to Stop (with Love!)

Many women who binge and restrict would like to stop bingeing before they stop restricting. They think that they will lose whatever progress they have achieved, in terms of caloric deficits, if they stop restricting first. They anticipate continuing to over-eat, even while they are not restricting. This is an understandable fear — and trust me when I say that I understand how powerful fear can be as a human being in this precarious state.   However: this is impossible.  Deliberate restriction necessarily begets bingeing behavior.  Necessarily.  Restriction must be phased out of our lives before we can stop over-eating.  Willpower does not do the trick.  Hard-lined restriction does not win.   Love does.
Here's a brief synopsis of my own history: I was trying to eat 1600-1800 calories per day, but averaging 2200-2400 with weekend binges; or I would fast a day or two, and eat more the other days, aiming to average 1800 overall, but again failing that and bingeing on pretty much anything once I hit complete & utter exhaustion.

Post-binge, cue: hating myself, and repeating, and hating, and repeating. For at least a year.

I. Was. Fucking. Miserable.

And I blamed myself, for not having enough willpower, for being dumb enough to try making a Paleo treat and thinking I could moderate intake, for not being able to fast, for ME SUCKING. And I knew it wasn't working, but I didn't know what else to do, because not restricting would obviously lead to massive weight gain. So, continue trying & failing.

I finally gave up, mostly out of sheer exhaustion, but also after reading things written by people like Stefani or Amber. Following their advice, I put my trust in my body, not even caring anymore if I gained weight, just knowing I absolutely could not sustain this life of misery any longer.

When I stopped restricting, something wild and crazy (that's sarcasm) happened: I landed at an average intake of 2200-2400 daily ANYWAY, but without the binges that made me hate myself. Instead, each day I was well-nourished for my exercise, which fueled positive feelings via runner's high and lifter's badassery, and I became a MUCH happier person.

I didn't balloon up into a fat cow, either! I looked exactly the same, because my intake was, on average, exactly the same; but I didn't have to beat myself into exhaustion & hatred along the way.

Truly, it was that simple.

It was a process, it wasn't always easy, but it was a bajillion times easier (& healthier) than the restrict/binge cycle had been.

So please, if you're stuck in this cycle, I implore you to try this route instead: focus on making sure you are eating enough, instead of focusing on how little you can get away with.

What have you got to lose, besides the hatred?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Pillars of Paleo

This is a fun AND informative infographic on the basics of a healthy lifestyle - the key factors that you NEED to get right, and all the "fine tune" stuff that you only address after your foundational big rocks have been laid.

For me, it made one thing very clear: I've still got lots of room for fine-tuning - mainly in the mental health side of things. This section in particular spoke to me as EXCELLENT insight.

There is absolutely zero "one size fits all" answer in the world of health. You need to start with the basics, and then try, try, try, until you've found exactly what is best for you.

And then? Continue to try new things, because your "best" will continue to change as you do.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

What does courage sound like?

The Roar & Whisper of Courage

Operating on the back-up power reserves of my body, of my mind and of my spirit, everything in me was saying, Please stop moving; I just want to lie around like a bump on a log and not think or do or be mindful or be grateful or be anything other than the sad and miserable person that I feel like right now. 
Do you know that feeling?
That feeling of knowing that you’ve pushed yourself beyond the very limits of who you are and that what you need is rest, and downtime…and you-time, really, but here you are, anyway, still moving and speaking and functioning and how is that possible?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Numbers: Helpful or Hateful?


Numbers used to rule my life. Whether it was the number on the scale, the number on the tag in my jeans or the amount of miles I ran each week, I lived by them. I relentlessly pursued perfection by using numbers as milestones. If I could weigh a certain amount, wear a certain size or boast a certain 5K time, I was bound to be happy. 
It was an empty pursuit. I didn't find perfection when I hit the milestones I set. Numbers didn't make me love myself. In fact, quite the opposite happened on many occasions. If the dreaded weigh ins did not reflect the desired result, I plunged deeper into self-loathing. If I didn't PR (personal record in running lingo) at every race I ran, I was a complete and utter FAILURE. If I DID hit my goal of weight, size or speed, my happiness was fleeting. In that split second, I felt the excitement of achieving something I had worked so hard for, but it never lasted. Like an addict with their drug of choice, I was on to the next weight goal, the next size down, the next fastest time.

I could have written this entire post, exactly, word for motherfucking WORD.

I wish I had. I'm seriously loving every post I read on this blog.

Here's the whole thing:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mantras For A Happy Life

F*ck It (& 4 Other Mantras for When Things Get Tough)  

Sometimes, often actually, I forget that I am powerful.
I lose hope. I give into depression, anxiety and the million nagging questions that scream through my head demanding to know what hell I am doing with my life.
I’ve traveled all over the world and have gone on long silent meditation retreats looking for solace. I’ve seen therapists and psychiatrists. I’ve swallowed both antidepressants and alcohol as wishful remedies.
Through all this, I’ve learned that as much as my thoughts can cause me pain, they can also lead to my salvation. I’ve cultivated my own faith based on five positive messages. Call them mantras, personal life mottos or supplications to the divine. In any case, these messages, along with my best intentions, have helped me find courage and strength during difficult times.

I'm loving this extra hard today, as my brain struggles to cope with my life on not-enough sleep and doubt-filled relationships and big-scary changes coming.

If you're in a similar place, or ever have been, please click & read it all, because you're a fucking unicorn:

Friday, May 15, 2015

How to drop fat

Here it is, simple & demystified, though not necessarily easy.

You don't need magic pills or powders or to purchase ANYTHING. Just educate yourself.

Click on through to this post, and read ALL the links, too, to understand why something so simple can be so very difficult for some (many).

I mean, click through if you actually need to lose fat.

Maybe you don't.

Many of you don't.

If it's "that last 10 pounds" then please consider that you may want to leave it be.

Your body probably wants it. If so, it's going to make you completely fucking miserable trying to drop it, so please please PLEASE trust me, as someone who's fought that losing battle: it is NOT worth it.

Learn to accept the extra pounds, and focus on what your body can accomplish instead of how it looks.

That IS worth it.

If it's more than 10 stubborn pounds, well, okay, fine, maybe you do want to drop some - to improve your health. Then yes, please go forth and read this smart advice, but then take it slowly forth.

Because slow & steady wins the health race, every time.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What's the Perfect Female Body?

Well...that depends.

What date is it?

Whoever People magazine deems “most beautiful” this year is just a representation of what has bubbled up in the cauldron of pop culture. That silhouette of the “ideal woman” has been put through a series of fun house mirrors (fashion, movies, pop music, politics). It also changes year over year, so the physical qualities we embrace today are often at odds with those from previous generations.
To prove our point, we’re taking a closer look at body ideals over the last 100 years—which shows that, as they say on Project Runway, “In fashion, one day you’re in, and the next day you’re out.”

I do like this. I like the illustration that curvy, thin, tall, tiny, athletic, all of these have been ideal at some point.


I don't love it, because I wish it didn't exist. I'm pretty damned sure there is no corresponding post showing how much the ideal MALE body has changed throughout the years.

Because men just get to BE whatever they are.

Well, it's time women have the same benefit.

Dig these pictures, and then decide that you are already in the perfect body, here and now: yours.

Love it.

Live in it.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

You can have it all!



From the Love Your Body Project: Peace, Love, and Food, worth following.

I see lots of women who are just overloaded. They have a full-time job, children to raise, a marriage to maintain, other family members to deal with, social obligations and Lord knows what else. Growing up, the message for some women was, "you can have it all!" And so, we thought that was the ideal to pursue: having it ALL.
These same women desperately try to make it all work as perfectly as they can. And they are so HARD on themselves because they aren't Superwoman. You see, they have ALL OF THAT responsibility that I listed above and then wonder why they can't muster up more energy to work out five days a week and look like a fitness model.
"But, look at Susie over there! She has just as much on her plate and can do it! She can go to Zumba five times a week!! And she wears a size 4!"
"I commute an hour each way, am responsible for feeding my family, have to help my kids with their homework, and, well, I know I'm just making excuses, but...I'm just too tired to go to the gym. I wish I weren't so lazy."
Well, what if I don't WANT IT ALL?? What if I can't HANDLE it all???

Please, I implore you to go read this, NOW, and absorb the message in full:

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Benefits of the Great Outdoors

4 Benefits of Green Exercise
When I step outside into nature, it’s as though I’m stepping into a world that was designed for me to play and move in. There are trees that seem made for climbing, taunting me with their low-hanging branches. Rocks that have been set up with the perfect jumping distance between them daring me to give it a go. Fascinating trail heads that pique my curiosity asking me to figure out where the path leads to.
Oh yes, do I ever agree!

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Perfect Body

Ever wish you could Photoshop your body? Then dig this:

Look at how close she is to ideal, and realize: she still thinks she needs improving. There are still tweaks she can make. As gorgeous as she is - she's still not perfect.

But does she NEED to be perfect?

Do you?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Overkill Cult

Holy wow, did this ever hit close to home for me:

The Overkill Cult is a cultural delusion that working 60+ hour weeks at the expense of everything else in our lives is not only a necessary part of success, but that doing so is somehow honorable.
The insidious thing about the Overkill Cult is that it masquerades as all the things we like most about ourselves: dedication, ambition, follow-through, responsibility.
It tells us to push harder, stay later, sleep when we’re dead. It tells us we’re never going to get ahead if we don’t show up first and go home last.
Cleverly, wickedly, the Overkill Cult persuades us to hang ourselves with our own strengths.
And if we don’t break free, we’re all going to die.

I hope you don't see yourself described in perfect detail, as I did.

If you do...let's both change. I've already given notice at my soul-sucking corporate job (okay, it's not that bad, but it's on the fast-track to it), and soon I will trade it out for two half-time jobs that I already do & love.

I'm losing pay, benefits, and the prestige of leadership at a large (for my area) employer. And I don't care.

Because I'm gaining my sanity.

There will still be >40-hour weeks with these jobs; one of them means 15 straight loooong weeks during tax season. But I've already been doing that - and then it ends. The other job may require some longer days, or some later nights, sometimes weekend events. But they are temporary, and done for good, specific reasons; not indefinitely and because there is far too much work for far too few brains but no plan to change that problem, like my current employer.

Work is not your life. Your LIFE is your life, and work is meant to provide you with means to live the life you want. Make sure yours is doing that. If it's providing you means that you don't even have time to spend, then seriously, really, truly: you're doing it wrong. And if you have more time than money, consider that you might be the successful one.

You can always make more money.

You can never make more time.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Lose Weight Fast!

A VERY healthy dose of skepticism will assist you in your fat loss plans.

This is a fun read that points out allatha CRAP out there:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fix your hair!

Apparently, readers have written to this journalist, regarding her picture:

“How could anyone take seriously anything written by an author whose accompanying picture makes her look like a tramp, with greasy, matted, uncombed hair?” a fellow named David wrote me recently.
“For heaven sake, comb your hair,” offered a woman named Jacquie. “Your picture instills not one iota of a knowledgeable person.”
“I would ask you to develop some insight,” wrote Amy, “but anyone who thinks the hairstyle you have is attractive likely is overflowing with too much narcissism to grasp the idea of personal insight.”

What the fuck? This makes me want to punch people.

In the face.

With my car.

Perhaps I'm just being yet another example of this:
“Hair is a powerful symbol for women,” she said. “It’s where a woman’s appearance sort of begins, at the top of the body. When women have unruly hair they are considered to be disobedient and uncontrollable.”
Well, then, good. Because
Well-behaved women seldom make history. -Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
To judge someone based on their hair is bullshit. And all too common. But seriously, complete, utter, total bullshit. And the same is true for every other aspect of appearance that we use to be Judgy McJudgersons.

Let's ALL knock off the bullshit.

Now. Yesterday.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I'm so busy!

How to Quit Being Overwhelmed for Good

It's time we all stopped being so busy.
It's become a bit cultish, really. Or like a badge of honor. It has become unacceptable to be anything but busy. But beyond that, it has become an unfortunate way we keep from truly engaging with each other, and with the present moment.
I'm not suggesting we quit our jobs or shirk our responsibilities; what I am proposing is a shift in attitude that requires a few simple, meaningful changes.
Imagine that you had a lover, and every activity with him or her brought feelings of anxiety. You spent lots of time together, but you were always overwhelmed and looking ahead to the next time you would meet and wonder how that would be. When we are constantly wrapped up in a state of overwhelm, this is what we are doing to our lives.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Fear of Change

A Facebook post from Thomas Plummer, who drops daily knowledge bombs, and is worth your time to follow.

It isn't change that terrifies us; it is the fear of change that keeps us locked into the same old failing patterns in our lives. Often, the fear of change is such a powerful force that many would rather die than face the perceived demons and you can see this in every smoker or seriously overweight person. This person desperately wants change, but the perceived process of making this change is far scarier than to just keep on keeping on with the same old failing behavior. What the person is doing isn't working for him, but changing is far scarier than just dying slowly. This fear usually turns out to be the invisible monster under your child's bed that is imagination and dustballs and never the horrible reality we anticipate. The longer the mind dwells on the possibility of change, the faster it moves toward worse case scenario. If you are fearful of change in your life or business, focus on what might work rather than spend all your time anticipating the absolute worst case ever; that seldom ever happens except in your mind. Ask yourself this, "What if it works? Where will I be then?" Focus on the best case and let the silly monster stay under the bed with your old sweat socks where he belongs.

Absolutely, 100% true.

How many times were you afraid of doing something, maybe even outright terrified, yet did it anyway - and regretted it? Probably never.

How many times did you do this, and realize: "That wasn't so bad"? Probably every single damned time.

It's never as bad as you worry it will be, and it's never as HARD as you worry it will be. And if the end result is something you know that you want, why the hell would you let the fear of change stop you?

I've been in this boat recently regarding my job. I know what I want to do, and it's not what I'm doing now.

But making that change is scary, it's hard, it's uncomfortable, it's vulnerable - and what if my dream job really isn't, and I'll wish I had just stayed where I am? Because where I am is okay, it pays the bills, it's fine, maybe I should just settle down & stay here.

That's the voice of fear. Fuck that voice! It's pointless to listen to that claptrap.

If it turns out this dream job isn't, then I'm back where I am now: at my formerly-dream-job that no longer fits me, and I'll find something that fits better. It won't be the end of the world that the voice of fear is constantly projecting.

Most importantly: "What if it works? Where will I be then?" I'll be at my freaking DREAM JOB, that's where I'll be! It would be stupid as hell to let the fear of change outweigh the possibility of landing my dream job. 

I can't and won't let the fear of change stop me. I won't settle for that small life, and I don't want you to, either.

Go big. Be more. Punch your fears in the face, and run toward all the glorious possibilities on your horizon.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Love Your Fate


It's written like some kind of bizarre karate poetry, and it's a fantastic message.

Amor Fati
Every second you spend doing things that aren’t good for you to do
that aren’t the best use of your time,
you’re becoming a worse at things
that are good for you which may include being a
-business person
and whatever else you are. 
Are you trying to be someone else’s idea of better?
Is that why you want more muscle and less fat?
Is that why you want to be able to do that feat of strength?

Would you still be interested in those things
if no one else were watching or would ever know?



Decide that your best you is okay.

In fact, it's better than okay: it's perfect.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Green with envy?

4 Ways to Stop Feeling Jealous of Other Women 

Remember high school? The social politics were ridiculous. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t wait to be an adult! 
I knew that I would grow up, and all of that “popular kids” vs “nobodies” stuff would go away. 
Somehow, though, “grown-up life” ended up feeling like more of the same. Except now the comparisons were of new homes, jobs and designer diaper bags! 
The thing is, that as long as you are looking for it, you will always find someone who has something that seems better than what you have. 
There is always a woman who just seems to have you beat in some way. She seems more successful. She seems to have her life together, is smarter, more charming. More whatever.
A great post; go read the tips here:

And then pop back to read my confession about exactly this topic.

I'm known to be a pull-up machine. Like, addicted to doing them, addicted to tracking them, addicted to helping others do them, addicted to talking about them. I'm planning to do a million pounds of pull-ups over the course of the year, and have a goal of a single-arm chin-up. Yesterday my trainer & another trainer made jokes about me lat-punching people. I'm all about the pull-ups.

At the end of 2014, I celebragged on Facebook about my 5280 pulls, and challenged others to a competition for 2015. I somehow had 7 takers on that challenge, and so I created a spreadsheet for us all to track, complete with a weighted component & graphs.

Game on, bitches, come watch me kick ass!

And then I started losing.

By "losing," of course, I only mean I'm not in first place. I'm bouncing around 3rd/4th. 1st place is solidly owned by a friend who's turned into a pull-up BEAST, consistently doing massive amounts of them. She's doing about 250 a week, versus my "mere" 200, so every week she pulls farther and farther away. As of yesterday, March 17, she's done 2660 and I've done 2160.

I've had days where this has frustrated me, and I've thought about when/how I could add more, to at least keep up. Because dammit, this is supposed to be MY THING. Yet I'm in a high-stress work season, where I can't add more, even more of something that's so easy for me. So maybe I'll add more when this ends, I'll have 8.5 months to catch up to her. And surely she'll have to dial back once HER high-stress work season kicks in. Yeah, we'll be close by year-end. And, I weigh 20 lbs more, so at the very least I should be able to win the weighted component.


Stop. Breathe. Think.

You know what my plan calls for? 130 a week. Not the 200 I'm actually doing. Right now I should be at 1437, but I'm actually at 2160.

Hold up! Stop and reread that: I'm at 150% of my plan. And note that my plan is seriously ambitious: 6900 pulls over the course of the year, a MEELLION pounds of pull-ups, which is 130% compared to last year.

But I'm currently on track to pull up 1,500,000 pounds over the year, which is HALF A MILLION POUNDS MORE THAN MY GOAL. That's completely insane! Maintaining this pace means I'll do an impressive 200% of the pulls I did last year.

I'm doing a ton more than last year, a ton more than my plan, because of the competitive spirit, because 3 other badasses keep raising the bar on what's normal, week after week, because of this woman that was making me so damn jealous.

When I truly stopped to absorb this, I realized I should be thanking this badass beast, not feeling jealous of her. I should encourage her pull-ups every single chance I get, because she is pulling ME up along with her! I owe my success to HER success.

For me, this is no longer a competition to beat each other. This is a competition against gravity, against tendinitis, to see just how much crazy we can pack into that single spreadsheet without injury or burnout. I want us all to do insane numbers FOR OURSELVES, whatever those numbers may be, regardless of the rest.

There's a dude in our competition who has been battling a chronic disease, and surgery recovery, and so many issues, it's a wonder he can do any pull-ups. For all it matters, he can come in last place with the same number of pull-ups I can log in a month, and he still wins at kicking life's ass.

And it's also true for me, and for the beast out in front of the numbers.

As long as we are still kicking & pulling, we are all winning in our individual game of life.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Take Care of YOU

Beautiful stuff:

Your Self-Care is Your (Damn) Divine Responsibility

Oftentimes though, our biggest untapped potential lives in the places that we are most resistant to going, that we are most afraid of. So, we decide to play small in our lives. We don’t risk. We don’t stand in the scarier arenas. We maintain status quo. The more we avoid taking care of our mind, body and souls, of doing the uncomfortable internal and external work to keep ourselves in our best mental and physical space, the less we take action. We become more afraid of external judgment, and the less we are willing to risk.
The more we ignore clearing the space of our CRAP, the more we become stuck in cycles of how things should look, of what other people think, how RIGHT we are, and how WRONG others are. We shift blame. We get caught up in US versus THEM. We live in our own bubble, numbed and protected, and leaving our potential totally untapped.

And after you're through with that great post, you can find many more fantastic posts here:

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Whole 30, Round 2

Written September 7, 2013, after my second complete W30 (I did some short stints between them, a week or two here & there), that was extended to a W50 because I was still struggling with acne and terrible energy issues.

This is a nice "how to" & "lessons learned" type of summary.


These are my random musings, light-bulb thoughts, and lessons learned, recorded as I Whole30'd Whole50'd:

Weekly meal prep

Typical shopping cart.

 Every weekend I prepped meals for the coming week. It (usually/ideally) looked like so:

  •  Grocery shopping list (I put this on notepad in iPhone, pretty much permanently accurate):
    • salad veg (carrots, celery, cauliflower, bell peppers, peas, greens)
    • second head of cauliflower
    • asparagus or Brussels sprouts
    • 3-4 avocados
    • a LOT of sugar snap peas every single time they are on sale
    • couple fruits, usually apples & whatever was on sale (toward the end: bananas)
    • almonds
    • chicken breakfast sausage
    • eggs
    • giant bags of jerky or normal-size bags of sale jerky - if I could find it
    • Larabars
    • can or two of coconut milk
    • bottle kombucha (for the drive home!)
  • Saturday noon-ish
    • Put a whole chicken or a couple roasts into the slow cooker, sprinkle on some spices, walk away
  • Sunday AM
    • Cook 2 packages chicken sausage in big pan; put all into one container in the fridge
    • Chop a head of cauliflower into a 9x13 pan along with an onion, drizzle with olive oil, bake at 350 for an hour
    • Put tinfoil on a baking sheet, add yams to oven w/ cauliflower
      • HOT TIP: if it was too damn hot for the oven, I'd time them to finish just before leaving the house for a long while OR put them in the slow cooker
    • Set out 6 containers and chop up salad veg, evenly distribute among containers, stack in fridge
    • Dig out stir-fry-type veg from the CSA delivery, chop 'em up, put into finished chicken sausage pan, sprinkle on some spices, turn to low
    • Portion out closed handfuls of nuts into snack-sized bags, and 2-ish oz jerky into snack-sized bags; divide between pantry stash and work bag (for desk stash)
    • When yams are done, pile into one container in the fridge (or just onto tinfoil)
    • When meat is done (in my world,slow-cooker meat is done at 24 hours - then you can EAT THE BONES), divide meat equally into proper portions (6-8 containers, depending on meat size and [I'll be honest] hunger while dividing) add a scoop of the finished stir-fry veg, stack in fridge (if this turns out blah: add Tabasco)
  • DONE. Get on with my life!
My basic meal template
  • Breakfast: 2 eggs, 3 chicken sausage links, few forkfuls cold kraut, a cubed or mashed yam, ~c asparagus or Brussels sprouts or cauliflower, several c coffee w/ coconut milk or coconut oil
  • Post-workout snack (if I did class): banana, apple, yam, or Larabar
  • Pre-workout snack: handful nuts
  • Post-workout snack (unless straight to lunch, which is more common): banana, apple, yam, or Larabar
  • Lunch: chicken w/ seasonings, tuna w/ mustard, or pork w/ seasonings; stir fry, steamed veg, or snap peas; yam, apple, banana, or Larabar
  • Snack (only if truly hungry, or pre-emptively if a late supper or another workout before supper): handful nuts
  • Supper: salad w/ .5-1 avocado; turkey pepperoni dipped into TC guac, tuna w/ mustard, or jerky; serving of fruit
With this, the only meal I'm actually cooking each day is breakfast, because it's my absolute favorite. Lunch effort involves pushing buttons on a microwave. Supper involves, at most, cutting up an avocado and opening a can of tuna. Eat and get on with my life!

Lessons learned

Not making paleo-fied junk food really kills the cravings. When my meals are simple standards, I am plenty satisfied nutritionally, and the cravings begin to fall away. When I'm baking or even just making more complicated recipes, I find myself struggling not to over-eat. I do better to make my meals all at once on the weekend (except breakfast) and eat the same damn thing every damn day.

I do really well with a black-and-white "food is fuel" mantra. I don't care that some may think that's not healthy. It keeps me from obsessing, and that IS healthy. Sure, there's probably a balance where I can eat to celebrate, or whatever, but after nearly 35 years spent being an emotional eater, I am finding a lot more peace at the opposite end of the spectrum. I think it's best FOR ME to let the balance "pull" me from this end rather than trying to jump to the middle and struggle struggle struggle not to return to the emotional end. Sort of like it's easier to simply NOT BUY a jar of coconut butter than it is to buy it but moderate intake. At some point in my life, I'll be able to moderate. Now is not that time, so there's no point in even trying.

Relatedly, I am doing fine with eating-while-doing. Whole9 folks want you to stop and focus on your meal, eat until you feel full, truly experience it. Forget that - for me. I don't have time, I don't want to make time, I don't benefit from this. Food is fuel, so hork it down and get on with my day. Not healthy? Well, it's healthier than stressing about how I'm supposed to find two hours for a workout + lunch break.

I had plenty of energy for my workouts - really began to notice a difference around the 4/5-week mark. In my entire 50 days, I had just THREE full-rest days. In the past, this was a recipe for adrenal burnout, injury, or both. With the boost in calories (I estimated in my 6th week, and I was coming in at 2000-2200 average), this didn't happen.

It's really easy for a person who's fine eating the same meals every single day. My husband makes his own food, though he operates on a similar basis: cooking up a big meal for week's worth of lunches, but enjoys grilling when he gets home, so he does get some variety. Kids? I really have no advice. Sorry, visit Google for that one.

Whole 30, Round 1: Pictures

Written May 5, 2011, at the conclusion of my first Whole30. Pictures are powerful, no?


Here are pictures of my make-up-free face throughout the Whole30 experiment and beyond.

This is what I call an "I can't believe I'm actually sharing this" post, but if this helps anyone to decide to give the Whole30 challenge a whirl, then it's absolutely worth doing.

3/17, the day I started Whole30
It actually doesn't look too bad here.

3/24, one week in
It's worse! And I double-checked: these dates are correct.
So glad I didn't give up at this point.

4/1, two weeks in
This would be the point where I posted a message to Whole9's FB page and asked whether I should cut out more because it felt like I was making no progress at all.
And their reply was essentially, "Patience, Grasshoppah."

4/8, three weeks in
Some progress, but not great.

4/15, four weeks in
Awful giant cysts have stopped!

4/21, five weeks in, & ready to test.
Taken two days after adding daily soy intake.

4/25, six days after adding daily soy intake.
Cysts return with a vengeance.
Soy is now on the "Never worth eating" list.

5/1, 8 days after stopping daily soy intake.
No cysts! For my skin, this is essentially clear; these are just old blemishes still healing, nothing NEW showing up.
Time to test something else.

BUT WAIT! There's more!

Written January 7, 2012.


I just learned that Whole9 has a list of testimonials detailing symptoms/conditions fixed by the Whole30 program, and they included a link to my pictorial acne post [re-posted above]!

So for those link-clickers who wander over to look at that post, I'm throwing in a recent picture to show how absolutely fantastic my skin looks now [continuing to eat almost 100% Paleo]:

Obviously I am wearing makeup, but there isn't a single blemish under there, I swear!
The Whole30 program really & truly did change my life. If you are debating giving it a whirl, for any reason whatsoever, I can't recommend it enough.

Stop flinching and just go for it.

Whole30, Round 1

Written April 20, 2011, at the completion of my FIRST Whole30, also my first encounter with Paleo eating. I tried it because I had terrible cystic acne.


The Whole30 plan promise:

This will change your life.
We cannot possibly put enough emphasis on this simple fact – the next 30 days will change your life. It will change the way you think about food, it will change your tastes, it will change your habits and your cravings. It could, quite possibly, change the emotional relationship you have with food, and with your body. It has the potential to change the way you eat for the rest of your life. We know this because we did it, and thousands of people have since done it, and it changed our lives (and their lives) in a very permanent fashion.

That sounds pretty dramatic, no? In my case, since I'd been eating "mostly" according to this plan already, I haven't seen any dramatic changes in the way I operate on a daily basis.

And yet, more and more, I've come to see this plan as a way of life, not a temporary diet. I see absolute sense in avoiding foods that are bad for you despite how good they taste. Why eat junk that tastes good for such a short, sweet moment, but have a lasting, detrimental impact on your health and your waistline?

Because it's not about depriving yourself of all the good things in life; once that addiction to junk disappears, you will realize there are plenty of wonderful whole foods that are better than those old "good things" by far. A bowl of fresh blueberries, a perfectly-done hot-off-the-grill steak, bacon, a colorful salad full of crunchy vegetables & zippy balsamic vinegar - these things are freaking awesome! A delicious, healthy, natural, whole-food meal can be just as satisfying as a delicious but unhealthy meal; "delicious" & "healthy" are not mutually-exclusive terms!

For the most part, my cravings have disappeared, except when my brain has been brought very low by other things. And I will confess that I've still not found a way to eat a single serving of a nut butter (unless we're talking one single serving after another). It's a huge trigger food for me; even when life is great and I'm feeling good, I can't stop at two tiny tablespoons of that salty, fatty, sweet deliciousness. My solution is to buy the single-serving packets only. I have hopes that some day I'll move past this need, but this is where I am today. Strategize!

Now, as to the results I was truly after: is my acne improved? Yes! It's not perfect skin, but it's skin I'd allow a running partner to see un-made-up (not the case a month ago).

But, a question remains: is the acne improvement due to the elimination of added sweeteners, processed foods, grains, legumes, & white potatoes - or is it due to the addition of a zinc supplement specifically targeting acne?

And that's a very good question. I'm testing it like so: zinc supplement remains at twice-daily intake level. Add back one non-Whole-30-approved food for 7 days, eating it daily, in small amounts - and see what happens. No reaction? Remove it and try something else. So clearly, this will be a long, ongoing process.

This week I'm testing soy: every morning I'm eating Banquet Brown n Serve sausages that contain added soy protein. (Not my first choice to test, but they were leftovers from our Relay for Life breakfast fundraiser last week, and so that's my easiest, cheapest option.)

Regardless of what food ends up being the acne trigger, my expectation is that I'll continue to follow the Whole30 guidelines most of the time, for the rest of my life. Like I said above, why fill my body with junk it does not want or need? But when I have a specific craving, or I'm at a birthday party, or whatever - unless I'm allergic, it's going to be okay if I indulge. But I'm talking once in a while - not daily, not weekly, and not junk I'll keep stocked in my house, either.

I'm an athlete. Food is fuel. Fuel is performance. And I want to perform the best I possibly can.


Nia Shanks is one of my favorite bloggers. I love & agree with pretty much everything she writes. This post lays out almost every single big rock that matters, IMO:

It's fabulous, and I want you (everyone!)  to read it and GET IT. I want everyone to know, believe, understand, BE everything on her list.

She presents 13 keys to being more, not less. If there is too much NEW to absorb at once, then pick just one to focus on & delve into a bit more. You can start with whichever one is most frustrating or important to you at this moment. Or perhaps you want to start on the small end, tackle something that you feel you can easily adjust in your mind, and make it a baby step toward the big scary fearful rocks.

Get clicky, get thinky, focus on improving your mindset in one area at a time. Or you could read everything she's ever written, all at once, with your brain screaming YES YES YES!! at every post.

The "be more" concept of this post speaks to my very soul. It is something I remind myself daily, sometimes hourly.

Think about the meek, timid, barely-speaks-above-a-whisper person that you want to pick up and shake sometimes, scream SAY WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY FOR CHRISSAKE in their afraid-for-no-good-reason little face. All they want to do is hide from everyone because they are terrified to be themselves, to be seen, to be anything that anyone could ever be offended by. They don't just want to blend into the wallpaper, they want to BE the freaking wallpaper.

Do you love being around them? I sure don't (if that's not obvious).

Those people are massive energy vampires, constantly dragging you down into their pit of fear & worry, and we all need to avoid them like the infectious plague. Sometimes I find myself acting like that, and I hate it. When I recognize myself falling into that pit, I stop and remind myself to BE MORE. Who wants to live their life in that horrible, sad, SMALL place? Not this she-hulk.

Now, think about the loud, obnoxious people you know: the ones that grate on you when it's 7am and you're underslept and WHY ARE THEY SO LOUD FOR CHRISSAKE, can't they just shut up for once?

But don't you freaking LOVE being around them when you are your normal rested self (perhaps after more coffee)? Doesn't their bright, loud energy just overflow like a river, directly into you, infect you, make you silly, make you loud, make you downright obnoxious, too? And when you feel that giddy, don't you completely not care if others think you should shut up? And isn't it amazingly freeing to stop caring what others think?

Isn't it FAR MORE FUN to be your own true genuine self?!

I sure think so. So come on over, and be infectiously obnoxious with me. We'll have a grand old time! Be yourself, loudly and proudly, without shrinking, without fear, and we shall do ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING we want to do.

THRIVE along with me, my friend!

It is better to be TOO MUCH than to be TOO LITTLE.

–Sabrina Marthaler Hoppe

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

1000 words & $0.02


Screw anyone* who tells you how you ought to look.

Throw them out of your life**, because they absolutely, positively, 100% do not deserve to be in it.

The only question that matters:
What do you want to be?

*Including the horrible voice inside your head.

**I suggest into a brick wall.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Got Job Angst?

Then maybe you ought to read this:

If you are feeling stuck, uninspired, disrespected, and below your potential, I need you to know that it’s OK to walk away. It’s OK to dream bigger and to believe you’re capable of more. You are capable of more. You deserve to be happy at work; no matter what type of work you do.

Oh, does this hit home for me right now. And although I'm still stuck at a job I don't want right now, I've found created a light to guide me out of this dark hole, and I can already tell you she is absolutely 100% right.

And after that, keep clicking & reading. Lots of good stuff on that site!

You may want to read basically everything here:

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Your Body is Powerful

Another well-written post about what your body can DO, not how it LOOKS. 

The fact that you have a body — regardless of your appearance or ability level — means that you innately have access to physical power. Your body is an instrument to be used for your benefit, and not a burden to drag around, hiding and fixing along the way. Want to develop positive body image? When you learn to value your body for what it can do rather than what it looks like, you improve your body image and gain a more powerful sense of control. The truth is, regardless of what you look like, or what you think you look like, you can feel good about yourself because you are not your appearance.

This concept is what I'm all about. My life changed for the better, immensely, when I finally focused on my abilities over my appearance, and I want everyone to learn this lesson - the easy way. Young women, especially - please share these concepts with and & all of the young women in your life. Be the voice that tells them, repeatedly, they are a shining light in this world, every day, precious & treasured, without any regard to their looks.

This entire website is invaluable. Share it with everyone you know: men & women both will benefit from it. It's definitely helped me in building a more critical & discerning eye with which to view the onslaught of media telling women that worth is based on appearance, and it's helped me to change how I compliment people & lift them up. I can't recommend it enough!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Perfect vs Good

I came across this quote the other day, and it lodged itself in my brain something fierce.

And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.
–John Steinbeck

Right? How many places could this apply in your own life, if you reduced your impossible sky-high standards for yourself, and realized that you have the same permission to be flawed & imperfect, and to make mistakes, that you so easily grant to others.

What if, instead of berating yourself for not being the thinnest, strongest, fastest, smartest, most generous, most kind, most thoughtful, hardest-working person on the face of the planet, you stopped and celebrated what you are: GOOD ENOUGH.

You are good enough, here & now, this very second, you flawed & imperfect human. You are good enough.

You are.

Think about areas you've been striving for perfection, and why. And how necessary is that perfection: what will it get you if you achieve it? Is it worth the price you're paying to keep trying? Are you sure?

Here's some brain-vomit-style thoughts on areas in my life that I admit I can be good enough, and perfection is not worth seeking:

Weight: Once I stopped trying to be thin, and instead tried to be healthy, whatever that might look like, some truly amazing shit happened. I felt better, my goals became easier to achieve, and a ton of stress disappeared. I no longer feel like shit every day; I sleep like an angel; I don't fail long runs left & right; I am progressing in my lifting; I don't obsess over my calories. And my body looks the same, which may not be perfect, but is certainly GOOD - because it's fit enough for me to do everything I want to do, and that outweighs looking perfect every time.

Running. Once I stopped competing in races, I stopped getting injured, and I started having fun. By removing the pressure of specific distances, I ran what felt good, I ran with friends, I soaked up nature. I stopped often to admire wildlife & sunsets & sunrises. I fell back in love with running when I immersed myself in the fulfilling reasons I run rather than in the outcomes of my runs. So what if I'm going slower & shorter and no one is impressed by my running? I am loving it, enjoying the hell out of my runs, staying healthy, and I will happily accept a lifetime of mediocre miles, rather than short stints of glory followed by deep valleys of injury & depression.

Lifting: I'll admit I'm still working on this one, because there are days I get irrationally upset that my pulls are going backward when I want them on a relentless forward march every time, reality be damned. But I'm becoming more forgiving when I do go backward, because I know that in the big picture, 18 is not much different than 15. Either way, I'm strong as shit, and that is what matters.

Being an adult: In many ways, I have my shit together (job skills, financial savvy, healthy lifestyle). In many ways, I absolutely do not (messy house, phone avoidance, potty mouth). But I do not give a flying fuck about most of my failures. I have decided that anyone who comes over and disapproves of my dirty floor or unmade bed is welcome to clean it themselves, STFU, or GTFO. These things don't matter to me, and they shouldn't matter to the people who matter to me. Sure, I wish I could just pick up the phone & make the damn oil change appointment already, but is my phone anxiety really such a character flaw that I need to work on fixing it? Should I make the effort to swear less and be more professional in my daily life? Meh. The important pieces of life get done, and that's good enough.

Being a good person: I am harshly critical of myself, at levels NO ONE could live up to, and yet I forgive anything & everything in my people, because I love them beyond belief. I wish that I could feel the same about me. I'm working on forgiving myself for my flaws, for understanding that I'm not and never will be perfect, and my standards are just plain stoopid. I know that I need to, I can tell you that you need to, but yes, I know it's a struggle.

Struggling to be perfect is exhausting, because it's an impossible undertaking. As you seek perfection in one area, you will drain your capacity in other areas. If you're an Olympic athlete, hey, that might be worth it, because someone will step in and manage those other areas for you. But for the rest of us, our priorities are many, our focus is constantly shifting, the demands on our time come from every direction, and we simply can't be the best at everything - probably not even at any one thing.

If we continually fight that reality, we will eventually find ourselves in survival mode, still trying to do it all but sucking at most of it. I've been there, and it's hell.

So let's admit that we can't do it all, and also kick ass at it.

But let's realize that we can do what we want, and do it well enough to enjoy our days. And isn't that the whole point?!

When we find that balance, that sweet spot where obligations do not feel like such, goals are motivating, activities are fulfilling, and our people are given our love, we shall not simply survive, but we shall thrive.

And that's what I really & truly want: to thrive.

Join me, friends. Seek "good enough" with me, and thrive on.