Lets talk BODY LANGUAGE. Honestly this past year has shown me and taught me a lot about my body. I've learned that our body takes what it can handle and rejects what it cannot, and it does this in ways we may not even realize. Ever wondered why you might wake up feeling bloated and crumby? Think about these factors: When did you last eat? What did you last eat? How much was consumed? Seems like pretty basic questions right? So I put the theory to the test. Recently my pattern of eating was pretty similar everyday. I'd have the same breakfast bar, same lunch, dinner.. snacks...etc. I was struggling though to understand why I was going home at the end of the day with a stomach ache & gas pains..sorry if tmi. I kept thinking I needed to try cutting out one of the things I was eating in my daily routine, because tea and a hot pack every night wasn't cutting it. So I decided to cancel out the mixed nuts I was eating as my snack and to instead have my "Bare" apple chips. I felt better, but still not the best. This meant apple chips was the next to go. Dehydrated fruit can tend to cause stomach pain and discomfort, so I thought this might do the trick. Well, it did! After having a day with no nuts or apple chips my pains were gone and I felt 100 times better driving home from work. My next mission was belly bloat in the morning. Lets face it guys, everyone has a typical time where they "use the restroom" once a day. Typically this happens for people when they wake up! Well.. what's worse than being bloated and not going on your routine? Nothing, nothing is worse. Its uncomfortable, you feel like a whale, and your appetite is ruined. What was I doing that was causing this? Time to run through those 3 questions again. What did I last eat, when did I last eat, and how much? This time the answer was when I last ate. I remembered being really tired after dinner and just wanting to lay down. However I was waking up regretful of that because my stomach was obviously not properly digesting its last meal. SO, the next day I made sure to eat dinner earlier, cut out any little dessert or before bed snack, and see how I felt the next day. Well folks it worked. That's all I have to say there. I mean who doesn't love waking up feeling refreshed and super skinny?! That's called "the morning bod" ;) Another example of body communication is Thanksfreakingiving. I mean c'mon, we eat for a solid 3 days, not just one, and that's because we all suffer from "leftover syndrome". If its in the house, i'm eating it. GET.IT.OUT. So here we are, a week after thanksgiving, feeling like we gained 10 lbs. Well, odds are you didn't gain 10, but you probably have a good 1-2 extra pounds of champagne and pie. The good news is, if you can get back on track, do a little cleanse, and get in a good sweat session, you should be able to burn this off pretty easily. After Thanksgiving I felt like a bowl of mashed potatoes. Fluffy and white. What did I do to change this? I worked extra hard the following week in the gym, pounded water and black tea, and did not touch the ever loving pie. I also threw on about 3 coats of spray tan. After a week I was back to my normal self. The point is, we can have a few days to devour junk and ignore the word "exercise". It wont necessarily effect us in a big or permanent way. What's important to understand is that our body is eventually going to want its normal routine back, its going to ask you for it in ways you might not see. AKA being bloated, not going to the bathroom, stomach pains, and feeling like mashed potatoes. If your body isn't given its routine back, overtime it will adjust to your "new" routine. This is where weight gain comes in and energy levels drop. Your body isn't a temple, its just your home. Decorate it how you please, take care of it how you please, it will listen to you and only you. Your body also prefers consistency. Think of it as a puppy. (Yes, I'm imagining my dog ). You can tell a 1 year old golden retriever to "come" when called but what are the odds they're going to do it consistently if you haven't practiced? You can try to get a perfectly timed run at the turkey trot but what are the odds that will happen if you haven't run for months prior? Your body is listening to you, its being trained, it will give you the results and respect you desire if you respect it back. You know what to do!
Hey peeps! Lets talk fooooood. The good stuff that always keeps you coming back for more :p I figured it would be beneficial for me to post what I eat in a day so that people can have a legitimate understanding of not just an occasional meal posted on Instagram but what I'm snacking on throughout the day as well! My absolute favorite meal of the day is BREAKFAST! I ALWAYS want more breakfast. I can easily fill up on dinner, but breakfast is something I crave. I could have it for all three meals of the day. With the job I have now, its tough to be able to have a sit down breakfast or truly cook a nice fancy meal. No worries there though because my new "on the go" routine is just as good! This morning I took 6 am spin and was in the shower by 7, out the door by 7:35 for work! I actually enjoy eating breakfast on the way. I pack my meals the night before too so i'm out the door prepared. SO, this morning I packed a blueberry RX Bar and a container of mixed nuts and banana chips! The RX Bars are one of the best bars on the market right now. Their tagline is "No BS" because it literally only contains the ingredients listed on the packaging. No sweeteners, artificial preservatives, secret ingredients, simply NO BS! My blueberry RX Bar contained 3 egg whites, 6 almonds, 4 cashews, and 2 dates. That's it! Then I crunch on some banana chips by "Bare". Let me tell you about these guys..they really have saved my life. I craveeee crunch. I crave "snacky foods." These are another "no bs" product. They carry banana, carrot, beet, apple, coconut, sweet potato, and possibly more kinds. I like to throw some of the beet or carrot chips over a salad and the sweet potato chips on top of a chili versus tortilla chips. The coconut chips are great as a dessert or smoothie topper. The only ingredient in all of these chips are the vegetable or actual food itself and maybe some sea salt. AMAZING. I like to portion out the banana chips based off of the serving size because each bag probably contains 3 bananas total sliced up and it'll be pretty easy to eat the whole bag without realizing. By this point in my day I've also already had a full 24 oz bottle of water at my exercise class and am working on the second round with a cup of black tea. I get a lot of questions about my fluid consumption. Let me say first, I force myself to drink this much. I am by no means this thirsty. When I was in high school I had a tendency to forget to drink and would pass out at track or cross country.. so I gotta pretend to be a fish. After my tea around 10:30 I'm onto my snack! I pack a small container of a handful of almonds, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and sometimes I have banana coconut squares that i'll throw in. Yeah I like my bananas. The worlds best almonds hands down are "Blue Diamond" *lightly salted*. I CANNOT EVEN. They just are better than any nut I've ever had and if you're not into nuts then try these and get back to me. Nuts are another thing that are easily overdone. High in fats, good fats, but even too much of a good thing is bad. I usually eat lunch around 12 or 1 pm. I've been packing salad topped with sunflower seeds, homemade dressing, and tuna salad. I love romaine, arugula, and iceberg lettuce. I'll mix all three sometimes. The dressing is super simple, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, oil, and apple cider vinegar. I eyeball all the ingredients in my cute little to-go dressing dispenser. The tuna salad is also easy. 4 packs or cans of tuna in a medium bowl, half a cup of "Tessamae" dairy free ranch, yellow raisins, sunflower seeds, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cut up celery. MIX! you've got lovely tuna salad for the weeks lunches. Usually around 3:00 I'm starving again, and ill have an apple or pear, and finishing off bottle number 3 of water. 6:00 I'm home and starving for dinner! LOL. I always do my weekly meal prep for lunches and dinner on Sundays so I can just have something lovely to heat up in the micro when I'm home. Tonight I'll be having cod with mixed veggies, beets, and acorn squash! I try really hard to get a fourth bottle of water down before bed, but its super hard lately and I hate nothing more than getting up to pee 3 times a night. If I get hungry before bed, Ill have some fruit, but honestly I wake up feeling a lot better when I skip out on that. I have a theory that the sugar from the fruit just isn't settling well or working to my advantage as far as "bloat". That's my whole day right there. I know a lot of people wonder about eating too close to bed time, but honestly I'm always in bed at least an hour after I've eaten. I mean what am I suppose to do? walk around the neighborhood for 3 hours? I'm tired and a grandma that gets up at 5 am every morning. No time for the late night TV or snacks here. I hope this helps for anyone who is struggling to decide on meals and portions. All the foods I eat now are foods I've adapted to and truly learned to love because I needed to cut out other things that just weren't loving me back. If you enjoy Pretzels, Cheetos, Doritos..you can learn to love sweet potato chips just as much (says with caution). Our bodies tend to trick us into thinking were hungry when were not. In this situation, as hard as it may be, chug that water! In the morning your flat tummy will thank you ;)
I've gone back and fourth on how to go about discussing my journey with fitness now for quite some time. I guess the reason behind why its so difficult to find the words or ways to talk about this is the pure vulnerability and raw honesty that comes with it. I hope readers can respect my words and more importantly relate or understand in some way. I hope this gives others hope and realization that there is truly no such thing as perfection and nothing comes over night. True strength to make a change lies within yourself. You and only you can make that change. If you want something bad enough, you CAN make it happen. With that motivational intro, here is how I got started.
Let me just say, it’s freakin hard being a girl. You don’t get a warning or heads up either. The battle starts fairly early. At least it did for me. I always wanted to strive for the term, "perfection". I guess that usually starts for a female in high school. I dealt with mean girls, I dealt with name calling, bullying, typical shit. I tried to keep up with trends, have only the hottest brand name clothing that was out there, but more importantly I wanted to look good in that clothing. I wanted to be “skinny minnie” in that clothing. I'll never forget sitting in class one day when the girl next to me (who happened to be very “popular") started talking to someone about how she was wearing her best friends jeans. She said, and I quote.."God, her fat ass...i'm a 00 and these are a 2! They are sooo big on me and I NEED a belt". I felt super awkward thinking about my jean size but even more awkward for her "poor size 2 friend". CHRIST, seriously?? Honestly.. in my opinion, curves have come a long way. When I was in high school you had to be a stick, a twig, transparent. Now.. I see girls in highschool exposing their curves, enhancing aspects of themselves on apps for Instagram, and trying to look thicker than what they are. That would've probably worked in my favor when I was in high school..but I'll stop myself right there. ITS STILL JUST AS BAD. People are STILL trying to change themselves and see themselves in a different way regardless of if its slimming down or bulking up. I'll be the first to admit it was a rough couple of years, I didn't like how I looked, I wanted to be miss double zero.
Fast forward to college, and EVERYTHING changes. I felt way more acceptance for sure, but honestly I think it was also the fact that there were thousands of students all shapes and sizes and no one really gave a shit about why you looked the way you did anymore. We were grown, a little more mature, had better things to do than depict someone else for what they looked like. Now, that doesn't mean people still didn't want to look a certain way, it just wasn't someones first priority. New world, new friends, new life. Oh, I meant new UN-HEALTHY life. You know what i'm referring to if you went to a 4 year school. BOOZE & FOOD, BABY. Sugary drinks, because us girls didn't care to know about 64 calorie vodka sodas till ~the bar days~. Late night pizza..because suddenly i'm starving in bed? Most importantly, dining dollars, swipes, food court frenzies. Every school has one, and usually they're stocked up on every food group. Primarily the pasta, pizza, cookie food group. Don't get me wrong, “dining hall dates” were great, and the conversation was even better, because usually it was about who left the party with “so and so” the night before..BUT guess who was paying the cost of alllllll this dining hall crap? ME. My body hated me after graduating. It screamed, "congrats on your diploma but shame on you for not taking care of me in the mean time."
When I left college and faced the real world, I was in a place in my life where things were a bit chaotic, a bit depressing, and a bit alone..for a lot of reasons. I moved to a new town, in a new home, where I no longer got to see my friends or experience the same lifestyle EVERYDAY like I once had. I didn't have my "big girl job" yet, so I really needed to fill my time and keep myself busy. So I started with fitness. The question was, HOW do I start? WHERE do I start? What will work for ME and MY body? I started running around my neighborhood, incorporating fitness in my every day routine, eating healthier, cutting out certain foods, and having cheat DAYS versus cheat WEEKS. I felt a little better with myself, but I still was going through some really hard challenges. I wasn't losing the weight or getting the results I wanted, and more importantly I was not happy. I was having mood swings daily, feeling really depressed, and just lost in my own head. My mother sat me down one day and pointed these things out to me, expressing concern and how she remembered at my recent physical that they wanted to re-take some of my blood work as my thyroid levels were off. For those who don't know, your thyroid stores and produces hormones that affect the function of almost every organ in our body. So essentially, if your thyroid levels are off, virtually everything is. Lucky me, my family has a long history of having a "hypo-active" thyroid. This means things are working a little bit slower, leading to things like weight gain, mood swings, and basically everything I was experiencing all at once in a pivotal point in my life. Tough shit. Tough year. Good news is, I got through it. I started taking a medication every morning that regulates my levels and turns my frown upside down. No-this is not an anti depressant in ANY way. It just helps to keep things moving along properly. Long story short, after having been on the medication for some time, I started losing the weight I was working so hard at and was back to feeling confident. I was healthy and happy.
Fast forward to a few years later and I was still happy and healthy. I had a job, a boyfriend, and a puppy! Lots of new life changes. My weight still fluctuated here and there but I knew it was up to me to stay on track if I wanted to maintain my goal once achieved. Fact of the matter is, it’s easy to fall off the path sometimes, what matters is getting back up. At this point in my life I was exercising everyday but not really being strict with my diet. My thought process was to never skip a day at the gym because I needed to work off the carbs or sugar I had the night before. If I worked out I could go to bed knowing I did my job, right? Still..it wasn't working for me. I kept thinking back to that summer when I initially reached my goal. What was I doing different? For the life of me I couldn't remember. I had to put those thoughts on hold though, because something bigger was happening for me that I needed to focus on. I decided to have a breast reduction. I always did a really good job at hiding my chest. I was never one to flaunt her accents. I guess that was simply because I didn't like them! Yes, I had suffered some back pain, grooves in my shoulders from bra straps, all the things doctors will ask you..but I also was just plain insecure and embarrassed. I had lost weight now from time to time which also meant there was more skin/ sagging versus actual breast tissue. This is why at my consultation with my surgeon he said this was going to be less of a reduction and more on the side of a lift. I was nervous but more ready than anything. My boyfriend was such a supportive outlet in deciding this and more importantly loved me no matter what I chose to do. Well, I chose the surgery, and I am thankful everyday that I did. I have never felt more confident than I do now. I made a choice for myself, something I had always wanted, and got through it by myself. My boyfriend had left for basic military training the day before my surgery, so I had zero communication with him during my recovery. Honestly that was really hard. I had to be strong though and this is where I suddenly gained the motivation I had been looking for with my fitness journey..part two.
After my surgery the recovery was where I faced certain challenges like not being able to workout. This is where I learned the most important aspect in making a change. DIET. I was not allowed to workout for 6-8 weeks. My old mindset of working out every day was FREAKING the hell out. This forced me to try a different route. If it wasn't for the surgery I would have never learned that eating healthy and keeping good portion control is what comes first before ANYTHING else! I was losing weight and I wasn't even moving-lol. I made sure to really only eat when I was hungry, to not over do it, rather than taking the whole bag of nuts, put some in a small bowl. I was so fearful of gaining weight during the recovery, this I cannot deny. So I didn't take cheat days, I didn't touch chocolate or a carb. I was disciplined. After a while of doing this, maybe 3 weeks, I didn't want the junk, I wasn't craving seconds or bigger portions, it was easy for me. So where did all this discipline come from? I had a goal. I wanted to match the confidence I had with my new set of boobs (lol) honestly. I wanted to see my boyfriend at his military graduation with complete and utter confidence in the skin I was in. Guess what, I felt my most prettiest that day without a care in the world. I finally achieved my goal, I was happy where I was at. I probably pat myself on the back at that point. I achieved all this because I had nothing to hold me back, and this time, I was keeping the goal consistent, I wasn't falling off the track, because this is a healthy, happy life. This is a life where I can wake up and know if I don't workout one day I will SURVIVE. This is a life where I learned its okay to have some chocolate or carbs here and there. This is a life where I make decisions for myself by myself. Do I have days where I still look in the mirror and wish I could change something or just feel... blah? YES! I'm a woman for gods sake. Thats something that will never get easier ladies, lets face it. The difference now is that I don't let it consume my life. I have to remember that there is only one body I get, there is only one person who can make changes, and there is only one persons opinion that ACTUALLY matters, and that is my own. I guess I've done a good job this time around maintaining my healthy lifestyle BECAUSE I've remembered all of that.
I've always wondered...what does a person mean when they say "a good read" ? Whether they're referring to a book, a newspaper, or magazine...what makes their experience a good read? In my opinion, a good read is so much more than the content within the book or magazine. It's all about the setting and mood. As I drive home with the August Cosmo edition on the passenger seat, I think about where, when, and how I will go about this magazine. If you think about it, we all have different reading methods. Some people need complete and utter silence. Others can handle a TV on in the background. Some flip through or skip to their favorite parts. I guess it's all personal preference. In my case, I enjoy sitting in my house completely alone with the tv on mute (preferably TLC), and a tall glass of whatever flavor crystal light is in the fridge. For me it's all about being engaged and having some quality "me" time. However this is not the most important step. The process of how one reads their Cosmo magazine is crucial. Things that usually stand out to me are undoubtably the makeup, but also the section about the lovely gal on the front cover of the current months edition. In this case, my girl SJP landed the spot. Sarah Jessica Parker is one of my favorite actresses as well as fashion icons. Of course her character on "Sex And The City", Carrie Bradshaw, might have had something to do with this. Typically I'll skim through the magazine and fold over key elements in which I wish to potentially purchase or read about again in depth. This editions Cosmo had many different products that I have tried first hand and would love to enlighten all of you on. First and foremost, my new favorite hair product line, "Living Proof". This can be found at any Sephora, Target, or Ulta. They have many different kinds of treatment from humidity shields to restoring serums. My favorite product from this line is the "Perfect Hair Day" 5 in 1 treatment. I apply a small amount all throughout my hair after getting out of the shower. You can let it sit or for the best results, blow dry. I like to use products in my hair that are able to sit and do not need to be rinsed after. This product does a number of things from strengthening to adding volume. So far my hair is longer and stronger than ever. Jennifer Aniston, co-owner of "Living Proof", is also a fond and avid user and says "I've had a good hair day everyday" . Another awesome hair treatment is the Nexxus line of Shampoos and Conditioners. It's the only brand I'll use and works amazing if you want a strengthening shine. I love my hair to feel soft and look shiny after a blow out, and Nexxus gives you salon worthy results. Now for the really fun stuff, MAKEUP. While flipping through I passed a Nars lipstick ad. I love the line of lipstick shades that Nars has out right now as I use both a deep and firey red color called "Rikugien" and "Cruella". I love the matte look it gives and the best part about it is the long wear benefits. In comparison, this line could work similarly to the MAC cosmetics matte lipstick line. Both of which work equally well. I also came across a few products I would like to try. The first being the new Revlon "Infallible" pro matte 24 hour foundation. It sounds like it has everything I would need in a foundation and although pictures in a magazine are not always how they appear, I found them convincing! Next on my list is the "Blushed Nudes" palette by Maybelline. I love pinks, purples, and nudes. This palette is filled with all three and has a matte look. I'm looking for something without sparkles and this may be my best bet as well as extremely affordable. The list of things I want and so desperately feel I need goes on...until next time my barracudas, keep reading and make sure when you do... It's a "good" read.
When you wake up in the morning, a shower or cup of coffee does wonders for the body. Some even exfoliate their skin before getting ready for the day. Nothing feels better than scrubbing away your skins essential oils. Wait a minute... scrubbing away my essential oils?? You mean all this time these micro-beads have been hurting my skin rather than waking it up? Its true. The idea of a cleansing "morning burst" on your skin is FALSE. Your skin does the most work at night. This is when exfoliating the skin is most beneficial. Most people don't realize that while you're sleeping your skin is regenerating and reestablishing its pH balance. So why scrub all that hard work away? Instead, splash your face with some cold water and finish off by applying a toner and moisturizer. I enjoy Olay "Active Hydrating Beauty Fluid". I have dry skin, so I enjoy something that leaves my skin feeling dewy and slightly wet. Other skin types may prefer something like Aveeno "Clear Complexion" daily moisturizer. This helps the skin feel a little more dry rather than dewy. So before believing those commercials and labels, ask your skin how it really feels!
Are you a fan of Instagram? If you love taking pictures, editing photos with cool filters and effects, or exploring your love for other photography, this is the app for you! The Beauty Barracuda has plenty of different makeup looks and fun products to share with Instagram. I started the account about 2 years ago and have been improving my makeup skills and photography ever since. Typically I will practice on a client and post the look for reviews and comments. Other times I will post a makeup look of what I styled out the night before. There are always great opportunities to post something on Instagram. The key is to keep up with the page and have your followers wanting more!