It’s Not the Number on the Scale that Matters

OMG Scale

 

How many of you have had the thought, if I could just get to “X” lbs on the scale I would be happy?! I know that I have. Especially as a mother. As someone who has gained and then worked on losing the baby weight, three times, it is a struggle!! We can become so focus on our goal number that we forget what we really want from it. You may associate that magical number with being trim and thin, being back to a body you had in the past, a feeling of strength, or being content and confident in your appearance. But I have to tell you, you are focusing on the wrong thing! Weight isn’t everything; nor is it what is going to get you that magical result that you want by hitting a specific number. Take the number out of the association you have with confidence, happiness and (I can’t believe I’m going to say this) with your health; and your weight is only a piece of the puzzle.

When it comes to your health, and in regards to your confidence and happiness, most people simply need to have an appreciation and respect for their body to feel those things. But most of us tend to believe that allusive number on the scale is our end all be all goal. I’ve hit my goal = I have succeeded, OR I haven’t hit my goal = I have failed. Putting your main focus on hitting a specific number can lead to negative feelings of motivation. Negative motivation and feelings towards your body are counterproductive in achieving what most of us ultimately want. A healthy, toned body we can be proud of and feel good about!

I was recently doing a workout when the trainer, Chalene Johnson, talked about the benefits of weight training. She said, “Many people feel their metabolism slows as they age simply because they are getting older. But really it is a lack of muscles that fuels your metabolism that has changed.” So many people, many women, think that lifting weights is going to bulk you up and make you look masculine.

lifting-weights what women think happens vs what actually happens

It’s so sad, and frustrating, because many of the women who think are the women who want to have toned arms, a trimmed sleek stomach and lean legs; and that will NEVER be achieved spending hours on an elliptical or cardio alone. It is achieved by working those muscles and converting the fat, and lack of muscle in those areas, to toned lean muscle!

I can tell you from experience that I have been a cardio queen in the past. I trained and ran my first half marathon after I had my second child. I got back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but I still felt my core and arms were lacking strength, definition and firmness! Cardio, during the actual exercise, does typically burn more calories, but it doesn’t challenge your body in a way that requires a large amount of muscle rebuilding and growth. That is what will boost your metabolism and that is what will give you a toned body.

Check out these images showing the difference in size between 5 pounds of fat vs. 5 pounds of muscle.

5-pounds-of-fat-vs-5-pounds-of-muscle-mass-comparison1

You’ve probably heard that muscles weights more than fat. Well, weight is weight, BUT the difference is the space they take up. Someone once explained it to me saying, imagine a bag of popcorn. Popped the popcorn takes up a lot of space. That is like fat. Before its popped, in the small hard kernel state, that is similar to muscle. The weight may be the same but they are very different in size.

Check out this before and after images. The lady on the left has lost no weight at all, but has clearly decreased in size and gained a lot of definition. And the woman on the right gained 14 pounds. 14 POUNDS GAINED to achieve a stronger, slimmer build. This should help you see that the number on the scale doesn’t always reflect what image we imagine. Had these ladies only used the scale as a reference for success they may have quit and become discouraged because they weren’t “seeing results!!” It takes a healthy diet and a cardio/strength exercise program to achieve the body most of us would really like!!

muscle-vs-fat-1

What should our goal or focus be then?!? Our goals should be to focus on what actions we need to take in order to achieve a healthy, well fueled and worked body. Start by making one small change at a time. If you don’t workout at all, make a goal to be active 3 times a week for 20-30 minutes. If you’re a moderately active person now, try adding in 1-2 extra workouts a week, increasing the intensity and making sure you include strength training exercises.

In order to determine your success FIRST consider how you are feeling? You will likely find you have more energy and feel better about how you look because you are working your body. Track and use your body composition as your analysis for success. Take your measurements, and before photos, and use those as a benchmark for progress. This will give you a well rounded analysis of your changes.

If you don’t currently have a workout plan (that includes strength training of some sort) and a healthy meal plan, here are some resources and exercises you can try out.

A few exercises that you can add into your weekly routine, or use to start a weekly strength training routine are, Push-ups, Bicycle Crunches, Squats, Burpees and planks (if you’re not sure how to do any of these exercises you can search YouTube for a quick demonstration video or refer to the image below).

All of these exercises work multiple muscles and will help to strengthen the arms, shoulders, back, core, glutes, legs and offer some heart pumping cardio benefits. Try doing 3 sets of 10, three times a week, and build up from there.

In order to track your diet I recommend using a Free app or website; https://www.loseit.com/ and https://www.myfitnesspal.com/ are both great options. They will take into account your height and weight to determine your calories needed daily and you can add in any exercise to determine your calorie burn.

don't try to change overnight

It’s not easy to make changes or make the time, but it is possible for everyone to live a healthier and more active lifestyle! Focus on your actions and everything else will fall into place!

Until next time……Thea 🙂

If you’d like to read more select “follow” on the bottom tool bar from your PC OR “Like” me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rusupermom.

If you are interested in fitness program options feel free to visit my Beachbody page at; www.teambeachbody.com/theasinclair

Advertisements

Don’t let your Opinion of your Appearance Affect your Physical Capabilities

I’ve spent countless hours critiquing myself in the past; picking out the things that were wrong with me or not good enough! Looking in the mirror and seeing my flaws instead of my strengths.

How many times have you done this yourself? I don’t think I’m alone with these negative lenses I look through. For some reason we live in a society that has a general level of superficial focus…..Do you have a nice big house? A fancy car? Are you thin? Are you attractive?  It’s sad, but true. I feel over the past few years there has been a bit of a change, focusing more on strength over being thin; but it still feels like a competition out there about LOOKS and SUCCESS and not about just being your best you.

After I had my children like many new moms I felt as though my best years (from a physical standpoint) had passed. After 3 c-sections, and complications with recovery on my third, I did feel as though maybe my body was just ruined in ways that could never be repaired. But I decided I wasn’t going to succumb to those feelings and I changed my focus to strengthening and challenging myself. I wanted to get back to a place where I felt comfortable in my own skin. I started taking pictures about 8 weeks postpartum and began training for a half marathon; which was just 5 months to the day after I had delivered my youngest!

I’ve written previously in Respecting my postpartum body about the physical and mental challenges and changes that training and accomplishment had on me. And recently, after completing two half marathons this year, I looked up those old postpartum pictures I took to see what progress I’d made.

Progress Collage-0915 text

Here is a comparison showing my progress. It’s humbling to see myself in the left pictures. I was 5 months postpartum and had just completed that half marathon I was training for. I used that training as my motivation to help me get back into shape. I had lost weight and was feeling good about the progress I was making. Looking at them now it’s interesting to see what perspective and self-appreciation will do to those lenses we critique ourselves with!! That body still needed some work, and the one I have now still needs some work! But I didn’t let my negative opinion hold me back because I started focusing on new motivations. It was no longer a motivation to be thin or look my best, it was a motivation to challenge myself and appreciate what I could do regardless of how I looked. This change in focus has helped me get 10 pounds UNDER my pre-pregnancy weight and has helped me have confidence in how I look for the first time in, well, I can’t tell you how long.

The best take away I can share from my experience is to stop setting weight loss goals, and start setting physical goals that challenge you in a way that seems impossible! Follow through with those goals and the weight will come off, you will appreciate your reflection, but most importantly you will find a real, true sense of self-appreciation and respect. And THAT is the best gift you can give yourself!

Until next time……Thea 🙂

If you’d like to read more select “follow” on the bottom tool bar from your PC OR “Like” me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rusupermom.

Progress not Perfection- 21 Day Fix/Clean Eating Reviews

Since the start of this blog I have been working on and shared my many fitness and weight loss goals. I thought I would share some of the success I have had so far with the Clean Eating and 21 Day Fix fitness programs I have been following.

They have a saying in the beach body world (Beachbody offers the 21 day fix and various workout/fitness programs like P90X, Insanity, Piyo and more), that you should focus on progress, and not perfection! This is so true as I am still 5 pounds from my weight goal but here is a before and current picture showing the progress I have made so far this year!

WL beforeafter Collage

I’ve been able to make these changes doing mainly 30 minute workouts from the 21 day fix program, roughly 5 times a week. Yes, I trained for, and ran a half marathon during that time, but my long runs were only once a week. I’m glad I listened and took these pictures. My weight difference is only 10 pounds! To me it looks like more, or maybe I just seen the difference in body composition. My upper body and waist have really shown the most noticeable change. Working on strength more verses just cardio makes a big difference!! Lift weight people, it is GOOD!

I have also made a big change in my diet cutting out most, but not all, processed foods and sugar. Small changes make a difference on the scale and measurements, but also with how I FEEL! I’ve always been a huge salad fan using healthy dressings but during these 6 months I have discovered how simple and delicious homemade salad dressings are! Also, I finally went for the shakeology protein shake option. Even though it is more than some store-bought shakes, I was very surprised at how much I LOVED the taste and it kept me full longer. It includes tons of vitamins and probiotics, and using the chocolate flavor helps me fulfillment my daily sweet tooth cravings!

I’m still working on my goal of hitting the 145 mark, but in the meantime I’m feeling GREAT! I’m more than just content; I’m happy with the changes I’m seeing and feeling with my body. If you’re interested in trying one of these programs check out my Beachbody website; www.beachbodycoach.com/theasinclair. My dream has always been to be a personal trainer, or to be involved with fitness, and this company is a great way for me to offer multiple options to people looking to improve their health and fitness. I would love to be your supporter and coach!!

Until next time… Thea

If you’d like to read more select “follow” on the bottom tool bar from your PC OR “Like” me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rusupermom.

Half Marathon Results, Tips and What I Learned!

One of my first goals of the year has been completed! Today I ran my first half marathon in 2:06:05; a 9:37 pace! This is a personal record for me and roughly 18 minutes less than I ran this race last year! After a tough week of not feeling well and two chiropractor visits for an upper back/neck issue, I am so glad I was able to power though and accomplish this goal.

FC half Collage

Here are a few tips and things I have learned about running races I thought I would share.

  1. Watch where you are running! This may seem like common sense but when you are running for a couple of hours you tend to try to take in the scenery. BUT…
    1. I almost wiped out from a divot in the pavement on mile 3 chatting with a friend I ran into.
    2. Then around mile 7-8 I had to jump last second to avoid running over a USED condom…..for real….eek!!
  2. There are some awesome people who come and cheer racers on! I LOVE them for taking the time to support everyone!
    1. My favorite signs included
      1. “Smile, you’ll run faster!” Even though I know it wouldn’t really make me faster, it did make me smile and that took away any discomfort I may have been feeling then.
      2. “Tap here to power up!” This sign had a picture of a ladybug and this guy was holding the sign behind the ladybug so you essentially high-fived him through the poster. I had 3 power ups along the way; the last one with about ½ a mile left! Hahah!
      3. “Worst parade ever,” just because it was funny!
    2. The only sign I didn’t like that I kept seeing was one that said, “It seemed like a good idea when you signed up in January.” Ummm, for people who haven’t run a race that long before that would be annoying! It annoyed me for some reason just because I didn’t think it was motivational, LOL!
  3. Running a race is uplifting and humbling!
    1. I came across two women running who were tied together with a loose rope. They would periodically hold hands to stay together. One of the women wore a shirt about supporting and giving to veterans. One of them was a veteran who I don’t think could see, or at least not well, and the other was her partner, leading her. I got misty eyed and ran behind them for about a mile or so because I found them inspiring!
    2. Around mile 9 I started punching my right quad a little because it was tight after the middle hill section. A lady ran up next to me and asked if I was ok. She looked to be about 70 or so. We chatted a minute or two and I discovered this was her THIRD half marathon so far this year….and then she ran ahead of me! WOW…bad-ass!!

What do you need to do to run a race? Make a training plan, commit and adjust as needed. Below you will find a picture of my training schedule I kept on my refrigerator. As you can see it was changed and marked up regularly. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes baby steps and persistence.

Training sch postrace

I feel so fulfilled after running the race today. But I also know that if that 70-year-old lady can run 3 half marathons in 4 months and beat me; well, I can still do better! And so can you for that matter! We are ALL more capable than we realize!!!

Now off to drink a congratulatory glass of wine and kick up my feet now that the kids are in bed!

Until next time… Thea

If you’d like to read more select “follow” on the bottom tool bar from your PC OR “Like” me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rusupermom.

7 ways to Improve your Fitness and Lose Weight

I expressed my goals to lose weight this year in my 2015 Resolutions post. I’ve had a large number of friends and family ask me how I stay motivated to exercise regularly. I thought since I’ve yet to meet my ideal weight who am I to tell others the “how to’s!” But after hitting a new milestone this morning (I’m tipping the scales just inside the 140’s for the first time since late 2006) I thought, I DO have some good pointers I can share!

Here’s a little back ground on my fitness journey. Since 2007 I’ve either broken a bone, or had a child, almost every year. And I’m not exaggerating on that. Here’s a timeline!!

  • February 2007- Broken foot
  • June 2008- Broken Ankle
  • November 2009- Piece’s was born via c-section
  • October 2010- Tonsillectomy
  • September 2011- Mr. Man was born via C-section
  • January 2013- Fractured tibial plateau with severe MCL sprain
  • November 2013- Miss T was born via C-section

When I read all of that I think to myself it is a wonder that I was able to stay in any shape at ALL! During that time I went back to playing recreational soccer after I was cleared for activity and I ran 2 half marathons; One in 9/12 & 4/14.

I tell you all of this because I KNOW how HARD it is to get back into shape and stay in shape!!! I think the hardest part is getting into a routine and sticking with it. So here are my top tips to increase your fitness and lose weight!

  1. Set a goal and timeline; then share it with others– If you want to lose weight, if you want to run your first 5K. Set that goals and share it with others! It really does keep you accountable because most people want to support you in your circles. For example; I shared in January that I want to lose 15 pounds by April 26th, when I’m committed to running my first half marathon of the year.
  2. Give your goal a purpose!! This is very important. Just having a goal to do something won’t help you get there. It would be like setting a goal at your job but having no objectives to accomplish it. I recommend setting a goal to do something you haven’t done before. Say running your first 5K, doing 50 push ups, or playing on a sports team. All of these things require training that will support you meeting your goal set in #1 AND it will give you a motivation other than simply getting in shape and losing weight.
  3. Make a training schedule-
    1. Whatever your goal is make a training schedule. I typically make a weekly training schedule from my start date until my goal. My first half marathon I made a 20 week schedule which I hung on my refrigerator in the kitchen. I marked my workouts to see my accomplishments and I always knew my weekly plan. This also meant my family saw it as well, to support and encourage me.
    2. Use the internet for this! If you’re looking to run your first race, search for “training for a 5K, 10K, Marathon” and so on. If you looking to be able to do 50 push ups, search for a push-up challenge program. There is SOOOO much free information out there; take advantage of it!
  4. Use a diet plan/tool- It’s very difficult to lose weight if you are just cutting your calories. If you really want to get in better shape and see your body change in a positive way you need to eat right, not just less. Here are a few programs I have used and would recommend.
    1. myfitnesspal.com– This is a FREE online site/app where you can track your calorie intake, calorie burn and it guides you on the % of Fat, Protein, Carbs and so on you should be consuming each day. It’s simple and free!
    2. Weight Watchers– I have used this program 5 times (after college, before my wedding, and after all 3 kids). I used the online only option the last 3 times because I didn’t feel I needed the meetings. But they offer weekly support meetings and also track/add points for work outs.
    3. 21 day Fix/Clean Eating- I have to say after using the 21 day fix program for 2 & ½ weeks so far, I do feel a big difference and see it as well. The workouts are short, 30 minutes, and very effective. Also, clean eating has really made my body FEEL so much better. Cutting out most processed foods and eating healthy, balanced, REAL food is giving my body a leaner and firmer look. (If you’re interested in details let me know)
  5. Focus on a week at a time- If you look at the big picture and have a few hiccups it can be discouraging. This one change for me has made a HUGE impact on my health. In the past I would have an off week and it would spiral into a month. When we have goals we can be very hard on ourselves if we get off track. I found by setting a weekly goal and focusing on a week at a time, I would reset each week. If I had a bad week, well no biggie! A new week was starting and I had my plan already set for me to continue on. This kept me on track because my goals had purpose beyond just losing weight. I wanted to meet my fitness goals I set as well.
  6. Don’t go it alone! This one makes things SOOO much easier. I have gotten into a routine to doing a lot of working out and dieting on my own, but it took me a LONG time to get there. It is so much easier to have a support system. Be it a gym buddy, running buddy, training group, diet program support (like weight watchers or beach body programs) or just committing to playing with a recreational sports team, will give you a support system to help keep you motivated.
  7. Give yourself a break! Don’t be too hard on yourself! You WILL have off days, weeks, and slip ups. You may be injured and need to take time off. It happens; it’s NOT a big deal! Stop beating yourself up about it and put that energy into setting a goal, making a plan, finding support and reset each week! Stop over complicating things and being your own worst enemy. You are capable and CAN meet those goals. Just move on, get out there, and JUST DO IT!!

Running feet

If you’d like to read more select “follow” on the bottom tool bar from your PC OR “Like” me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rusupermom.

Respecting my Postpartum Body

Picture 090

This is me! Full term, 205 pounds of swollen, ready to pop, hot pregnant mess! This wasn’t even my first time where I let myself go a little thinking the weight would all melt off after. This was my THIRD! Despite trying to eat healthy and stay active I still gained 50 pounds. I was working as a waitress a couple of days a week and I was a full-time stay at home mom so I wasn’t sitting around. I was always on the move and exhausted before Miss T even arrived. Sigh! Luckily, I had done this pregnancy thing twice before and I’d managed to lose most of the weight after.

Recently I heard a Mom say, “My body is ruined. Having kids ruined my body!” I could relate. After having my first I’d gained 50 pounds and had acquired stretch marked from my ribs to my hip bones. I felt as if I was “ruined” physically. I mean, it’s not like I ever filled out a bikini very nicely, but my two piece days were over and I was pissed off about it! One thing that men don’t understand is that during pregnancy you grow and grow, and regardless of whether you enjoy the process or not, it’s gradual.  Then many of us get home we look in the mirror and wonder what the hell we are looking at. I mean, over night we go from excited to meet our beautiful creation, to a deflated stomach, engorged throbbing boobs and typically swelling from all the fluids that were pumped into us. It’s like….

dude-wtf

I felt uncomfortable in my body most of that first year after having my first Miss Piece’s. I worked out, went back to playing soccer, and started running more. But it was never really the same as before. My husband and I decided to try for our second after our daughter turned one and two months later I was pregnant! Fast forward to Mr. Man’s arrival and I knew what to expect. I didn’t gain as much so I felt a little better after, but my body changed again. Someone told me before I had him that your body changes after every pregnancy and I was like, “Really!?!? Come on! I had just started getting used to that one!” And it was true. It was different again. Because when your body stretches to support a basketball sized munchkin a couple of times it’s taxing and takes a toll! After I had him I decided to train for a half marathon to get myself back into shape and lose the baby weight. It was during that process that I started to grow a deeper respect for myself and my ever changing body!

I look at the picture of my full term self and see how insane pregnancy is and how amazing the female body is to house and grow a human! As I stated in my post Learning to Run. I never used to like running. I LOATHED it really! So to set the goal to run a half marathon seemed like a fantasy goal. I didn’t know if I would even be able to do it. But in the process of training I was doing something I had never done before and I was fascinated at what my body could do after ballooning to have a child. I was losing the weight and I was definitely looking better physically, but it was the way I was developing an appreciation for my body and its capabilities that changed my perspective on things. It’s pretty amazing how a female body can expand and contract! It morphs into a massive beast (in my case anyway) and then if you work hard, it can turn into something new and strong and impressive again.

Me now 1Me now 2

Here I am now. I’m nothing impressive really and I know that. But I actually like this body now much more than my most fit and lean 18-year-old body; I think just because I appreciate it more now. I stopped focusing on the things I didn’t like and started looking at the things that I do. After nursing three children a total of about 25 months, my boobs are never going to be the same! And my stomach which will always have those tracks of faded stretch marks and a bit of a pop; they have changed to make my beautiful children and it was worth it! But now when I look at myself I see my legs again, which have always been thick and full, but also very strong! They are getting more defined than they have been in many years and can run further at 34 than I ever even thought I could run at 18. I’ve tried and will continue to try to look at things in a positive light because that’s the example I want to set for my children. I want my two girls to appreciate their bodies for what they are and can do, and not for how they look.

It’s a constant battle in life to keep positive as I referenced in the importance of a positive inner monologue. We see celebrities out there bouncing back and looking better than ever. Well screw them! We are the ones working hard to power through life without trainers and chefs or nannies to take care of our kids. We are the REAL deal! So be kind to your bodies; mothers and women alike, and give yourself a break! It’s so much easier to be happy in your life when you love instead of criticize; and I think that goes for the appreciation of our bodies as well.

Until next time….. Thea 🙂

If you’d like to read more select “follow” on the bottom tool bar from your PC OR “Like” me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rusupermom.

Learning to RUN

I mentioned in my previous 2015 resolution post (2015 Resolutions) my goal to run two half marathons this year. I’ve run two in the past, but I wasn’t always a runner. Actually, I used to HATE running! I loved playing sports and still do, but just going for a run was terribly boring and annoying to me. I would take 20 minutes of sprint drills over a 2 mile run any day. I just DID NOT LIKE TO RUN!

I’ve been active my whole life, playing recreational soccer and softball, and doing various fitness workouts over the years. But after I had my second child I set a goal to train for a half marathon for two reasons. One, to help me lose the baby weight. Because for most of us moms it takes a LOT of work to get it off. And two, to challenge myself to do something I never, EVER thought I would do. I started a 5 month training schedule and I couldn’t believe that I DID IT! It was a really an amazing feeling! It gave me even more respect for my body, especially after pregnancy. I’d ballooned to over 200 lbs during my first two pregnancies! And then look what I had done!

I ran my second half marathon 5 months to the day after having my third child; via c-section I might add. I had a lot less time to train, and it showed. I dragged through the last 3 miles and was literally chanting to myself, “you can do this! you can do this!” And I did. I tell you this not to boast about my accomplishments but to say that your body is so much more capable than you realize! It really and truly is!

Running-Lessons

During all of this I developed a major love for running! It’s become my release, my challenge, and honestly, my sanity. As a person who has always struggled with anxiety there is nothing like a long run to get your head clear and straight again.

There are countless resources on the web regarding training programs. I have taken the information from many sites to make a schedule that works for me. Here’s a link to the training schedule I will be using to prepare for my next half marathon this Spring; FC Half Marathon Training 2015. If there are any locals interested in training I would LOVE to have a running buddy or two!

For anyone interested in running. People have said to me many times, “I’d love to run,” “How do I get started?” and really it’s simple. You just get some sneakers, gym clothes, a sports bra for the ladies, and you just do it! If you’re a total beginner I would recommend checking out the Couch to 5K running program or app at http://www.active.com/mobile/couch-to-5k-app. They start you with short run/long walk intervals and build up to running a full 5K. It’s a great way to get started! And for anyone with doubts, this image below is so very true! Push through to a better you!

voice_in_your_head runner

Until next time…… Thea 🙂

If you’d like to read more select “follow” on the bottom tool bar from your PC OR “Like” me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rusupermom.