On Giving Up

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I’m an eternal optimist, with a dash of sarcasm and cynicism. Above all else, my continual outlook on life is through rose colored glasses. Full of hope! Hope for this blog to take off. Hope for the awesome six pack abs. Hope that someday I will have someone who will do my laundry for me and I will never have to fold a stitch again! (that would be the sarcasm)

Sure I have doubts. Sure I have bad days that make all those hopes seem like far off places. It doesn’t mean they aren’t possible. Even the laundry service. Like that’s a real thing, right? It COULD happen. So why give up on my dream? .

Most of us drive cars. I’ve been in an accident before. It was not a pleasant experience. Scary, painful. Totaled my car, gave me whiplash, lost my bike rack and bike etc. AND it was my fault. Not a great day. Luckily the other driver came out unscathed. However, I did not wake up the next day and say “yep, over that! Not driving ever again!” I could look at myself as a failure. I could say I was stupid, made a huge mistake and drop out of the game. That’s not how life works.

We’ve all seen the stories of people who have overcome really adverse conditions to reach their goals. Whether it be the boy who came from the streets to be the first college graduate in his family. Or the triathlete who overcame a physical disability. Or the severely overweight woman who fought her way to be healthy. All these people had in common DESIRE. A desire so strong they would go to great lengths and fight some harsh realities to reach their goals.

So why,when it comes to fitness, are we so “all or nothing” about it?

Maybe we feel as though fitness is not necessary. Makes it easier to let go perhaps? That’s crap, because your health and well being are absolutely necessary. Maybe we feel like it’s not as important as other areas of your life? Again, crap. It is completely necessary to take care of ones self. Maybe you don’t really feel like vanity is that important. Who said this is for vanity?? That’s a judgy reason to not be healthy. There a millions of people who walk around daily without a six pack who are perfectly healthy individuals. Me included. Maybe we feel unworthy in some capacity. As if we aren’t good enough or capable enough to reach our goals. Now that is an area worth exploring and likely the culprit.

I do feel like there are two big issues at hand when it comes to the reasons we give up. One is desire. The second is self worth. I’ve had this particular blog entry sitting here for the better part of 3 weeks. I got busy with life (first excuse), had a small health issue pop up (excuse number two), kids (#3), I wanted sleep (#4) and the list goes on. Bottom line is I was blatantly choosing not to write. Although I desire to get this thing off and running, at the end of the day (which is usually the only time I have) I was choosing to go lay vertical and watch the back of my eyelids. So clearly my desire to do the work it takes wasn’t there. I have zero hesitation with waking up at 4am to get to the gym by 5am to start an intense workout. You’ll see me popping out of bed faster than you can say “swim suit season”. But to stay up late AND have to get out of bed at 4am? Nope. That’s what desire for more sleep looks like.

What I found, though, is the longer I went, the easier it became to come up with excuses. Then the easier it became to go straight to “I’m not good enough. This isn’t working. I don’t really know what I’m doing here. What direction am I going?” Blah, blah, blah, blah. So I stopped and applied the same focus, attention and desire I give to fitness (Which is zero fucking excuses) to my blog. Yes it’s going to take a long time to get it where I want it to be. Yes this is a huge learning curve for me. It’s wrought with new things I don’t necessarily want to do or have the skills to do, but I’m going to have to figure that shit out. I wanted it, now I have to work for it. Put up a fight for it. Even if it’s me who I’m fighting.

Same with fitness, you actually have to work at it. Put effort into it. Be present to make good choices. It’s hard, tiring, we get all whiny about it (me included). So what if  we have one bad day? Should we go all sideways then give up? No!! Let’s say one day I had more than once piece of cake, more than one glass of wine, on top of some other horrific food choices AND no workout. GAH!!

Oh well! Oh. Fucking. Well.

I kept moving forward because it was necessary. If I had given up right then and there, I’d still be stuck with no abs. If I had given up on driving after I crashed, I’d be paying Uber to drive me around. If I had given up on my blog, I wouldn’t be here to inspire one person to not give up. I desire it. I desire to have the abs. I desire to be fit and healthy. I desire to have a blog. I desire to drive.  So I do the work. Pretty basic, right? If you want something bad enough, you’ll make it happen. There is nothing more to it. You’ll trudge through the uncomfortableness of learning something new. You’ll suffer through the pain of a new workout. You’ll be successful at making appropriate food choices. You will do ALL of those things to get to your goal because now you want it. Put up a fucking fight for what you love!!

Your desire to change has to be greater than your desire to stay the same.

Then you’ll feel the shift happen. You won’t give up because you can’t.

V~

The Heart of the Matter

I’m a few days short of Valentines Day, I know. I had the privilege of spending some one on one time with my daughter while she recovered from pneumonia. It’s a stressful time. Routines  are thrown off, eating is thrown off, sleep, workouts….everything gets disrupted. Often times this leads to emotional eating. Which leads to emotional drinking. Which leads to cake, cookies, caramel, pizza, maybe a burger and fries. You know. We’ve ALL been there. But alas we forget the logic of it all. We get wrapped up in the emotion of it all. We let our heart strings pull us away from our brains!

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This is is SO me. I live by the rules of my heart most of the time. Although I can think logically (Victoria, you know how much those lulu’s cost. Put ’em down girl!) my heart (aka: emotional need for lulu’s) (yes, it’s a real thing) gets the best of me. Sooooo, then I come home with my bag of lulu’s. Sure they’ve made me happy, but often times there is some guilt associated with it as well. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that emotional eating has never been a huge factor for me. However, I definitely have my moments!  I used to do it more before I started eating a macro based diet. Other areas of my life get the best of me way more than eating does. Lucky me? Nope. But I’ll go through what my brain process looks like.

I’ll use this weekend as an example. Daughter gets sick………

Emotion: I could run a train on that cake right now

Logic: Throw the cake away Victoria. Eating the cake will lead to guilt, feeling worse, you’re just stressed, eating something healthier will help you, not hurt you.

Me: makes two Van’s waffles with peanut butter and a banana all weighed and ready to roll out the door to the doctor. Still satisfying and I can log it! Happy!


 

Emotion: I want everything in the store. The cookies, the crackers, the chips, cereal, ice cream, wine…….ooh looky here, Valentine’s chocolate!!

Logic: Listen, Victoria. You’ve got a sick kid, you’re stressed. You will likely end up not being able to work out. Think this through. How will you feel if you eat all this AND you can’t work out? Like a heffer. Just get some almond milk and some rice cakes please. It’s just a Hallmark holiday. You can do this!

Me: Buys almond milk and some Greek yogurt.


 

Emotion: I NEED an entire bottle of wine

Logic: Really? A whole bottle? No.

Me: ok, a glass will do.


 

So as you see,  I’m thinking through the process. How will I feel as a result of my actions?  Sometimes I just don’t care. Like, at all. But that’s usually only about 2% of the time. I rarely, if ever, mindlessly eat. It just doesn’t happen. Maybe I’m an over thinker. I am thinking about my goals a lot. I am considering the aftermath of my actions. All. The. Time. So there’s that. But if I didn’t, my weekend would have become a free for all of take out and sweets. That would have led to guilt, shame and a really bloated belly. Um, no thanks. Instead I sit here relatively well fed, only one missed day of exercise, not bloated, yet still satisfied.

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So, that’s one part of the puzzle. I just work through the emotion of it. I bring myself back to the logic of it. Food is Fuel for my body.

There’s literally no other person in the equation. It’s just a game between you and food. No one else. There are so many other areas in our lives that are controlled by things other than ourselves, which can make decision making damn near impossible sometimes. But food? NO. No way! Don’t complicate food when SO much of our lives already are. No one is out there force feeding you cake. Not even me! Sure, you may be thrust into situations where food choices suck, but you can choose to have only one slice of pizza and a glass of beer, rather than 4 slices and an entire pitcher.YOU call the shots. End of story!

Today I have no progress pictures to post. This weeks progress comes in the form of these thoughts and the fact that I didn’t throw my macros out the window of the 7th floor pediatric unit.  Thanks be to people who live my lifestyle and came to the rescue!

I felt successful this week in reducing my carbs. It wasn’t a huge adjustment for me, but I do see the results of it. Going into week 6, all my macros and calories stay the same. Workouts stay the same with the exception of increasing the weight amounts. Looking forward to hitting the ground running this week!

So, before you grab the biggest spoon in your house to enjoy whatever confection you desire……let your logic speak to first. Think before you eat!

 

V~

 

 

 

What One Year Can Do

How long is too long to see results? One month, three months, one week? When we evaluate our expectations of how long it takes us to achieve certain goals (especially fitness related), I find we become really impatient. Most other things we are forced to be patient in like college, pregnancy, baking a cake perhaps. We’re forced to wait with all of it. Sure it can be tiresome, but I’m pretty certain there’s not one doctor out there that would say “Wow, that class on prescription drugs was a complete waste of time.” What if I pulled a cake out of the oven too early because I just decided I’d had enough? Ridiculous.

So why is it when it comes to fitness goals, we’re all whining a month in, frustrated about our progress? Then we quit and wonder why we continually have to start over.  Just think if you didn’t quit in the first place! It just takes time!! Some peoples bodies take longer to respond than others. It really does require a certain amount of patience and determination. All good things come to those who wait AND work their ass off! (literally)

My fitness journey over the last year has been tremendous. I look back and think if I’d never started this new adventure. I would NOT be where I am today. I would NOT have started this blog. I would not have seen the potential my body has. It’s been very empowering. If I had stopped when the going got tough, it would’ve been, well, a month in.  It would mean not getting the booty I wanted. Not getting the shoulders I dreamed of. Would’ve been me and my baby biceps running all around town. That clearly was never gonna happen.

How did I do it? I didn’t give up. That’s how. Oh…and I work at it. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

So there’s that.

This is my years journey following Jessie Hilgenberg’s e-book programs. First picture is beginning of February 2015. Second photo is after completing the Muscle Building e-book in May of 2015. The third picture is after completing the Bikini Body program in June of 2015. The last picture was taken just a couple of days ago, 4 weeks into the Muscle Building 2 program. By the way, in all of these pictures I never gained or lost one pound. Not a single one!! Pretty awesome.

This progression of pictures is me working every single day. Not just lifting weights, but working at making progress in some way. Tracking my food. Weighing my food. Being mindful of my choices. Working through illness. Working through injury and pain. Working through exhaustion. Waking up at 4am to get the workout done. Overcoming fear and failure. Not letting those railroad me into quitting. Spending an obscene amount of time figuring out my macros. How to get food to fit and fit my lifestyle. I need wine. So I have to make it work!

This is a progression of being consistent. Not quitting. Never giving up. Not getting caught up in the time it was taking me to achieve certain goals. Time will pass regardless of what I chose to do with it. So, I may as well just keep working. ANY progress is movement in the right direction. So just do something. Anything! Every day.

So, where do I stand today? Well, I’m still sitting at around 130lbs. Since going into phase two of the Muscle Building 2 program I have dropped the amount of carbs I’m eating. This helps in the leaning out process. I’ll be gaining lean muscle, while losing some body fat. So my calculations are as follows: 185g of carbs, 58 g of fat, 164g of protein, for a total of approximately 1925 calories.  Cardio will increase slightly and our weight lifting pattern has changed as well in a way that will speed up the leaning out process. Really looking forward to some big changes in the weeks to come!

 

We’ll get to cake later on this week!

Don’t let time dictate what changes you see. Let progress be the predictor of your success. Never lose sight of the small victories. It could be as simple as making a better food choice, when in the past you would’ve had all the pizza. Or perhaps last month you could only lift 10lbs now you can do 15lbs. Its all progress and with those small victories, the transformation will begin. Keep going!!

~V

 

 

Should-ing Accountability

What I SHOULD have done is gotten up super early today and published this post by this afternoon. I want Monday’s to be my accountability post from here on out. Especially as I  lift and bake my way through the Jessie’s Girls 3k challenge. However, I wanted to sleep. So now I’m up late doing it.

My decisions as of late seem to be at odds with one another. Where (I think) I should be and where I could be. Like this post for example. I thought I should’ve had it done by today. I was a little hard on myself for not getting that done. This was not from any external pressure. No one told me I had to have it done today. No one gave me a deadline. It was my own self dialogue. My own internal battle.

In todays world there *seems to be a lot of external pressures to be/act/live a certain way. However, I’ve yet to have person hold a gun to my head saying, “Victoria, you must build those biceps or we’re not going to love you.” Right? How we process all those external pressures, is how we arrive at our “should.”  Everyone I surround myself with is supportive of me (and the size of my biceps). When it comes to big life choices, no one was there telling me I “should” do any thing. It was me who was “should-ing” myself to death.

So, are we Should-ing our accountability?

I should’ve done better. I should’ve lost more weight. I should’ve met ALL my macros. I should’ve made that weight heavier. I should’ve not eaten that extra brownie. Well, you know what? Should-ing isn’t going to change any of that.  Instead own it.  It’s ok that all those things didn’t happen. No one really cares!! We care because you care about it. We care because of your health perhaps. But beyond that, it literally does not matter!! Own it and move forward.  It’s our own internal dialogue that gets us into this spiral. We can get stuck there for a time. Even when everyone is telling you, “you don’t HAVE to do this!” you do, because you think you “should”……….. and there you stay. Stuck.

And lets not get need confused with should. You’re probably saying, “That’s all well and good Victoria, but there are some people who SHOULD lose weight.” No, it’s not should, they NEED to. For their health. For their life. It’s like saying someone with cancer “should” get treatment. No, they NEED treatment. So the fact that you should’ve lost weight is a cop out. Did you need it or was it just a “should” statement?

I don’t exercise and count (almost) every morsel of food because I think I should be doing this. I definitely don’t do this because I think this is what I should look like. I’m doing it because I WANT to do this. I like doing it. I find it interesting and challenging. It’s really hard to be in any position when you think you “should” be there. Its miserable. So if you don’t want it, maybe you need it. Change that thought from “I should” to “I need” until you can get to a place of acceptance. Tough. Trust me, I know. But it’ll come round. Even if its “I need to do this for my kids.” or  “I need to do this for my health.”  Anything to get that “should” from stealing another moment.

Ok….On that lovely note…..Let’s have some fun at my expense, shall we??

So when I started my fitness journey WAY back in the day, circa 1995, I believe the heaviest I ever weighed was 155lbs. Now, on a 5’5″ small frame female that’s heavy. Plus it was NOT muscle. By 2002 I was down in the 125-130 range. That was my “I just want to be skinny” stage of life.

Then after having my first baby I was able to get down to 135 and maintained that for a very long time. But after my third baby, I was back up to 156 and wanted to get back to my normal self again. (read  the post “My Fitness Journey” for a more detailed explanation)

Last year when I started the Jessie’s Girls program, I was at 126 and I maintained that weight all the way through. My current weight is 131….meh…you know, a little fluff, some added (intentional) weight, PLUS muscle….that all adds up to about about 5lbs! I rarely weigh myself anymore. I’ve come to learn that the number on the scale is merely an exercise of learning what my gravitational pull on the earth is. I look at myself. I asses how my cloths fit. I assess before and after pictures. Progress pictures all the time.

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Far left hand was from February 2015 I weighed 126lbs, the last picture was June 2015 I weighed 126lbs.

So here I am today. Like literally only moments ago at 12am in the morning. After a long day and night of food and water……you can see why I chopped my head off of this picture. No need to frighten people away from my blog. I believe my current weight is 131lbs. A little extra fluff around the mid section as I take on eating a higher amount of carbs in this beginning phase of the Muscle Building 2 program.

 

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I’m currently in week 3 of the Muscles Building 2 program. I lift 5 days a week with steady state cardio 3 days a week and 2 days of HIIT (high intensity interval training). Each week I have increased my weights. At week 5 I will reduce my carb intake and continue lifting just as frequently. So that’s where the leaning out process will start to happen for me. I will start to really see all the muscle I put on during this first phase of work. Consistency and dedication is all it takes!

So as the weeks and months press on, you’ll get to follow me along this journey. Follow my progress and set backs when they happen. I will not work on what I should be doing, but rather what I need or want to be doing. What I need is all around me!

V~

It Starts With One Step

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I had the pleasure to hang out with a dear friend of mine over the holidays. We drank, we talked, we laughed and inevitably we talked about exercise. But it wasn’t what you may think. It wasn’t the typical treadmill, stairclimber, deadlift conversation. She only told me a simple story of how she had to walk to her car, up a hill in the cold, for quite a distance. She was surprised at how well she did! I said “Heck ya!!! Now do that every day and when that gets easy make it more challenging!”

It got me thinking…..does starting an exercise routine really need to be that complicated? I believe it does not!

So let me ask you?

Have you walked today? Walked up stairs? Up a hill recently? Lifted a milk jug? Picked up your child perhaps. All of these things are forms of movement. There’s really no need to complicate it. The ONLY thing that needs to happen is you actually doing it! Everyday. Anything. Something. Move. Bend. Shape. It’s what your body was designed to do!!

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When I was in my early 20’s the only thing I knew to do for exercise was to walk. So I walked! When I wanted to start running, I just ran. Wait……that sounds really Forrest Gumpish. Anyway, I went slow, I mean really slow, but I ran. I did it until it was easy. I did it until I could run up, down and all around anywhere I wanted. It wasn’t complicated. I didn’t need a gym. I needed shoes, weather appropriate gear, and my own determination. Easy. Right?

Yes. And no.

Yes because it’s not complicated. Like at all. No, because at first it’s hard. Really hard. For some of us, the fact that it’s hard and uncomfortable is hard and uncomfortable to get past. It hurts. It feels like you’re gonna die sometimes. You’re not sure if you’re doing it right. It’s exhausting. Blah, blah,blah. Having kids has the same affect come to think of it.  But they’re SO worth it, right? Well, so is exercise.

Anytime we learn something new,  it’s hard. It’s painful, like algebra for example. I SUCK at math. It was painful, but necessary, so I learned how to do it. Same thing with working out. It’s a learned skill that then becomes habit. Once learned and used everyday, it becomes something you don’t have to even think about, you just get up and do it.

Let’s talk about the basic skill of walking, which clearly we are built to do. How far can you walk? How fast can you walk? Get that heart rate up and steady for a good 30 minutes and you’re making a change. Do that until it’s easy. Then add in a hill climb. Or walking lunges. Or a small jog for one minute. You just build on it. Keep adding to it as it gets easier. One day, what was once your workout, will be your warm up. Don’t over think it. Keep it simple and just add on to what you’re doing.

Take my friend for example. She walked that distance up a hill to her car, right? Now,  she can take that same walk, (in her neighborhood or recreate it on a treadmill) and keep doing that exact thing for a week. Then add in another hill climb (or up and down the same hill twice). Increase her speed perhaps.  Just think,  if you kept building on that, how quickly you would build up your endurance!

Start finding new ways to get your body moving. Maybe a yoga class. Pilates is an awesome way to get started strengthening your muscles. Especially those with injury.  So good for the body! Get online and research ways to build muscle. That’s all I did. I was a total Pinterest stalker. I found all kinds of info there. Go to Bodybuilding.com…..great amount of info. Next thing you know you’re deadlifting 250lbs! (hey, don’t knock it till you try it).

You just have to do it. That’s all it takes. That is truly THE only difference between those that succeed at reaching their fitness goals and those who don’t. There is no in between.  Nike didn’t come up with the multimillion dollar “Just Do It” campaign for nothing. Simple and affective. Just Do It. So there’s that.

The other thing that I’ve found (especially over this last year) is to surround yourself with like minded people. If not to work out with, just for support. A little camaraderie. Those “atta girl’s” and “atta boy’s” go a long way. Someone to vent, voice, and brag about your success to is so helpful. It can really aid in your success. It’s amazing when you can talk to someone about that awesome sholder pump or that you hit your macros spot on all week. They not only understand exactly what you mean, but they know exactly how you feel because they’ve been there too!

Hearing an “Atta Girl!” is music to my ears!!

And let’s not forget about fear. It’s a huge stumbling block. Fear of failure. Fear of succes. Fear of what people think. Fear of pain. Fear of the alarm clock having to wake us at 4:30am. I’ve felt all those fears. Still feel all those on some level. Especially the 4:30am wake up call. What stops the fear is my desire. My desire to change regardless of any of those things. Failure is only in the eye of the beholder. So is success. Some may say, “but I didn’t finish the program all the way through. I was a failure.” Other’s may look at that and say “but you started. That’s half the battle” So make it about the journey. Make it about starting a new lifestyle, rather than a beginning that has an end. If you start and can’t finish a program, find something you can do. It’s not a failure, so much as it may not be a good fit for your life at the moment. If you make fitness a part of your life, there will always be a style of fitness that works for you.

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Also, self love. Speaking from a woman’s perspective, we have a really hard time with this. We find ourselves on a fitness journey because we are not happy with ourselves. We aren’t happy with the way we look, feel, move. We judge ourselves and others. Lets shift that way of thinking. Instead, start to make a change out of self acceptance. Do it because you care about your body. Do it because you love yourself, but know you can make a change. When you look at other women, don’t compare. All of our journeys are very unique. You may see the fittest, strongest woman out there, but until you know the struggles she’s been through to get there, don’t judge. Also don’t compare your beginning to someone’s years long journey. Often times the people we see on fitness magazines have been living this lifestyle for years. And it could take you years. I know its taken me a long time trying all kinds of things!!

So, I’m embarking on a new challenge myself! As some of you may know, I have followed Jessie Hilgenberg over the last year. I have followed both her Muscle Building 1 and Bikini Body programs. Loved them. They changed me both physically and mentally. It was a very empowering experience. She has started the Jessie’s Girls 3K challenge, which starts today! We had to pick a program (I’m doing her Muscle Building 2 program)  and do it all the way through it’s 12 week course.  The three winners get a visit from Jessie herself, $1000, Jessie’s Girl swag and have the opportunity to become an ambassador to all the Jessie’s Girls out there!

I had to think twice about that. Not about doing the program. Or even finishing the program. I know I can do that! What scares me is, what if I succeed? What then? Will I be good enough? What if I fail at it? All those silly little worries that creep into your head. Well at some point you gotta just kick that noise to the curb and follow your own advice! Take it a day at a time. One rep at a time. One step at a time. And just see where it takes you.

In the wise words of Dave Matthews (because I love the hell outta that man): “To change the world, start with one step. However small, the first step is hardest of all”.

And my friend? Well she’s taken that first step and still going!

Take your first step. You never know how it could change your world!

V~

 

 If you want to follow my progress through this 12 week program you can follow me on Instagram @fit_to_bake_    fair warning…..there’s a lot of pictures of cakes!!