The Inevitable Road Block

via Daily Prompt: Expectation

Even though I “know” that not every journey is smooth, it’s still kind of disheartening when I reach those inevitable road blocks. You kinda expect (and/or hope) that it’ll be smooth as butter but that’s just not how life works. Of course, in this particular case I’ve been ignoring signs that were saying “road block ahead!” or more like “there will be a road block ahead if you keep ignoring those aches and pains!”

Well, I ignored them and now my knee is in pain. It hurts to walk up and down the stairs and squatting is out of the question. God damn it, self.

Luckily we have a great chiropractor in town and, while the pain hasn’t subsided much yet, I feel a difference in my body and I am looking forward to working with him to restore balance in my body. I can also feel the pain “moving” which can sometimes be a good thing in that I feel that as one area gets better, the pain “moves” to another spot that needs a bit of extra attention and what better way to bring your attention to an area than “ow ow ow ow ow ow”… lol. 🙄

Anyway, seems like I’ll be hobbling on my journey for the next little while…

Happy February!

Happy February! I love Winter, but this year is a bit too much. We got another almost-foot of snow and all I want to do is run around outside with my husband 😣 but watch… in a few months I'm gonna be complaining about how hot it is. 🙄 . Anyway, here's my monthly check in. I'm bloated as hell today, can't 💩 and Aunt Flo is in town… You're welcome for TMI. But yeah, I felt pretty lame today when I weighed in, but felt better once I compared pics. As always, the scale is a liar and shouldn't be trusted. Despite my physical woes, I feel I look a little slimmer. Woohoo! That's a win isn't it? 😆 . #fit #fitness #fitfam #fitcommunity #weightloss #weightlossjourney #progress #progresspic #progressnotperfection #workinprogress #stupidperiod #💩

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Alright! One month has already gone by in 2017. Mine’s been… a learning experience. 🙂

All in all I’m pleased with how the first month went, despite a couple of bumps in the road. Physically I feel motivated, mentally I feel determined to make some much needed changes, and spiritually I feel… okay. I’m itching to go outside and be with nature and breathe fresh air, especially being in the countryside. I’m not used to staying indoors as much as I have been lately, and it’s kinda wearing on my “connected” feeling, if that makes sense.

Back in the city, I’d have to go outside and walk to go to work and such so I was able to commune with nature albeit slightly, but at least I did at all. Even on cold, snowy, rainy days I’d have to brave the weather whereas here, I’ve no pressing matters to tend to so I mostly just stay indoors. It’s kiiinda been nice but I feel cabin fever around the corner. That’s going to change come Spring!

As for now, I’m working hard at sticking to my weightlifting routine and I’m happy to say that results are starting to show! I’m learning not to expect a crazy amount of change in a week, month, or even a few months. It’s easy to see other people’s transformation pictures and not take into consideration the amount of time that passed between the two. You kinda just look at the pics and subconsciously think it must have been some form of instant, you know? Well, I do at least. BUT again, I’m learning to stay consistent, accept and appreciate the little changes my body goes through, and take the mental change that can’t be captured in a photo much more seriously.

Happy February all; may it be even better than January!

Playtime is Over!

Alright! After the wonderful weekend I had at the beginning of the month (a weekend and-then-some of heavy indulgence and slacking on strictness), it’s time to get back on the wagon and really whip it good!

Sometimes for our sanity, we do need to indulge. We do need to loosen the reigns a bit. Sometimes you restrict yourself so far that your body damn near forces you to eat a bigger helping, or a second dinner, or a third fourth snack. I’ve gained a bit of weight but now I don’t feel that undying feeling that says “FEED ME DAMN YOU FEED MEEE” in the back of my mind anymore which is honestly an awesome trade off for me, personally.

Time to hit those resolutions hard: wake up early to coffee and a light jog, some yoga, meditation, get some creative juices flowing a la blogging or guitar, eat a healthy, hearty breakfast, and then tackle each and every day as it comes!

Hopes For 2017

via Daily Prompt: Hopeful

best-happy-new-year-pictures

A perfect prompt to piggyback off of my friend Lochan’s post for her goals for 2017.

2016 has been a wonderful year for me, following the nightmare that was 2015. I have been blessed with a wonderful, loving partner who I had the great fortune of marrying (in Vegas! My first time there and I had to go and be stereotypical!). He and his family have graciously welcomed me into their home and lives and made me feel welcome beyond belief. I have friends–especially one in particular–who have been there for me through my crazy, seemingly-uncontrollable, whirlwind-of-emotion meltdowns, yet still somehow love me and are more than willing to be there for the next one.

I am an extremely lucky person and I don’t know how to show my gratitude well enough.

Ever heard the saying: “the best revenge is living well”? Would that work for “paying back” the people who have been so good to me? 🙂

My general plan for 2017 is to live well–really well. I want to become a better person in body, mind, and spirit. Here are my three main goals for 2017:

  • Continue on my path to physical fitness
    • Keep lifting and eating better
    • I gotta bite the bullet and do more cardio–indoors is fine but once the weather is warmer, I want to walk and run outside with my husband
    • There are apparently a lot of great hiking spots out here and I intend on taking advantage of that
    • That also means getting over my hate of the Sun… argh, but it burns! 😦 😆
    • I want to be able to run without getting winded after 0.0000001 seconds, which would be a miracle
  • Bring myself back onto a spiritual path
    • I feel guilty that I’ve been really, really slacking on meditation and yoga practice; as in I haven’t done either seriously in years
    • The latter will tie into my physical fitness, but I know the best I ever felt in general was when I was practicing yoga regularly
    • Going to start with 3x per week, on rest days from lifting
  • Get a better hold of my mental state
    • I’ve been sleeping in til 10AM most days which, while comfortably lazy, is not what I want to do or be. I miss waking up at 5-6AM, but more realistically I’d like to wake up at 7-8AM
    • I’m going to find a creative outlet for myself; one that brings me closer to my higher self. I’ve yet to decide on/find one, but my mind keeps pushing me towards getting back into drawing… we’ll see
    • I’ve been dabbling with the idea of counselling, but I’ll have to see what’s available in my area and finances. Otherwise, I know there are some online services I can take advantage of
    • Other-otherwise, I’m going to journal at least twice a week, Monday and Friday, just to clear my head
    • Oh! Maybe I can cook/bake more as a creative outlet? 😀 It’ll give me something to post here too! Hmmm… 🙂

I’m really excited for 2017. It’s going to be a year of positive selfishness; of fine tuning who I’ve become (thanks to the love and care of all those who have supported me throughout the years), into the person I’ve always wanted to be. I want to make them proud and show them that their efforts are appreciated and have made a significant impact on another person’s life. I want to make myself proud, and love who I am through and through.

I encourage you to write your own goals for 2017 as well! It’s always great to have people to share it with, and to encourage you to reach for those goals. 🙂

Happy New Years to you all, and may 2017 bring you love, joy, and all the happiness in the world!

(Early) New Years Resolution

I know, I know, it isn’t even Christmas yet… and I know, New Years Resolutions are going out of style. Still, I love having a “physical” representation of a new start, and New Years is the perfect time! And anyway, thanks to my mother-in-law, I got my Christmas present early:

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The new FitBit Charge 2! (Picture taken from Google)

I LOVE THIS THING! I had the Charge HR which was lacking in so many ways. I may write a review in the future but I seriously, seriously love the Charge 2. If you’ve been looking for a fitness band, or have been on the fence about upgrading to the Charge 2, I have two words: DO IT!

Now, onto the fine details:

Weight Goal

My weight goal is 130lb. No timeline, just cut til I get there. As of this morning, I’m 136.4, so I’m not too far! My ultimate weight goal is 125lb, but baby steps is the best way to go in my experience. 🙂

Calorie Intake

Currently on a mini cut. 1600 calories a day is working pretty well for me; it’s only about 250 down from my TDEE but it’s making a pretty big difference. I can definitely tell my lifts are a bit harder, but not so much that I feel like I can’t do them.

I’m not in this to starve or  to over-restrict myself, or to get to my goal as quickly as possible. I’m building sustainable habits and not letting my happiness (and tummy) suffer for the sake of a better looking body. Granted, I am a little bit hungry throughout the day but that’s okay; I don’t need to be full all day every day… as much as I’d like to be. 🙄 😆

Weight Lifting

Last year I was doing StrongLifts 5×5, which was a great place to start, but I got bored pretty quickly. I’m currently doing my own variation of Phrak’s Greyskull LP. If anyone wants my version I’d love to share it, but both SL5x5 and Phrak’s are great places to start.

Anyway, I don’t have any specific weight goals for lifting, I’m just trying to add weight every session if I can. I’m not trying to get huge or compete, so even if I only add weight once per week, I’m happy. Still, I’m learning to push myself out of my comfort zone and remember that lifting weight isn’t supposed to “feel good” during. Not that I should feel pain or injure myself, but I am supposed to struggle; I am supposed to make weird noises and faces trying to get that weight up!

Food

My favourite part! I’ve been eating a lot of frozen foods lately since I haven’t felt completely comfortable cooking here, but that’s finally changing! I usually cook the same things every day (bacon and eggs are love and life!) but I’m starting to venture out a little more. Like most people, I need to incorporate more fruits and veggies into my diet and… well, it’s a work in progress. What can I say? I love my meat and carbs. ❤

Look forward to some recipes as I get more comfortable and creative!

Are you guys setting any goals for the new year? I’d love to hear them. 🙂

Bad Hair Day pt. 2

It’s been nearly two weeks since my haircut and… well, I actually really like it now. It’s been a bit of a wild ride, especially internally. It’s embarrassing to admit that this whole thing shook me to my core.

It’s interesting to see what events force us to grow as a person.

I’ve learned that my hair is a big part of my identity.

I’ve learned that I place a lot of my self worth on my looks (which isn’t smart considering I’m not much of a looker), and what people think of these looks of mine.

I’ve learned I have a lot of issues surrounding my physical appearance.

I was a tomboy growing up (3 brothers and my dad being home more often than my mom does that, I think!) and never got into doing my hair, or wearing makeup. I mean, sometimes I’d play with my mom’s makeup but I never left the house with it on. I think if my 15 year old self saw me right now, she’d be like “…ew what are you doing to us?!” It’s weird. I never liked how I looked (still usually don’t, but that’s a work in progress), but putting effort into trying to look better felt really wrong to me.

Self love, to me, meant loving yourself no matter what, so products and stuff don’t fit in with loving yourself. After all, aren’t you hiding your true self behind foundation, mascara, and making your hair look different than it’s  supposed to naturally?

I’ve learned that I am very wrong to think that way.

SO here I am, age 26 and just learning to use hair products–specifically mousse and hairspray–and it’s actually been kinda fun! I don’t really enjoy hairspray because it makes my hair feel crusty but I love what mousse does to my hair. I’ve combined their powers to get this:

image

I’m actually really happy with this look! I’ve recently been wanting to get all fancy with my hair (like cool updos, or curling) and I think this whole ordeal was the catalyst to really get that going. I’m excited to see what I can do with my hair from now on. 🙂

Bad Hair Day (for the next couple months)

I’ve been feeling really ugly lately, and like my hair was bland and blah. It was mostly one length with a bit of layers, but I wanted something more.

Ah ha! How about some bangs? Some side swept bangs would look great, and would be minimal effort to maintain while adding some actual style and life to my hair.

I looked up a place that had great reviews about its owner and decided to make my appointment with her. I got there and told her “I want bangs, but I don’t like blunt edges”.

“Sure! I can do that for you” she said sweetly.

Well, long story short, she gave me bangs with blunted edges. So blunt and so straight, that I could (hopefully) slit my wrists with them and end this nightmare.

imageThis is my “what the shit try not to cry it’s not so bad right don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry” face.

From start to finish, it took 10 minutes. She chopped of my bangs, trimmed them up to make them nice and straight and blow dried the bottom. Presumably to fix the mangled bangs she blessed me with.

I asked her to fix it; told her straight up that I’m not happy with it. She ushered me out and went to immediately deal with her next client. She gave herself 15 minutes to work with me and couldn’t/chose not to accommodate me despite my concern.

I did end up crying.

I walked into a different salon nearby and tried to ask the lady there if she could fix my hair. I explained what happened and what I asked for, and couldn’t hold in my frustration anymore.

I went for a haircut to alleviate the ugly God damn it, not exacerbate it.

To my dismay, she told me she couldn’t do anything that would make it better, and to come see her in two months.

Sooo here I am. Day 1 of 60, trying not to hate my look/face/hair more than I did before this whole thing. I bought hairspray, gel, and a round brush to try to recreate the blow dry she did. I’m trying to rock it, I am. I’m trying not to let the negativity take over my head space. It kinda worked…

imageNot too bad, right?

But the hairspray didn’t hold against the wind this morning. My bangs look chunky, the waves at the bottom aren’t holding (they never do, my hair apparently hates being told what to do) and I feel like crap every time I glance at myself. Oh who am I kidding, I’ve got my inner camera pointed at me at all times making sure I don’t drop below a 3/10 on the looks scale.

I’ve never felt this self conscious about myself in my entire life, and I mean that sincerely. Not even when I weighed 40lbs heavier, not even when my ex boyfriend’s mother dyed my hair chili red instead of auburn, and not even from high school days when I cut my own hair.

What else can I do? One day at a time… 59 to go.

Summertime Blues

Summer has officially begun, as of the 20th. While I can appreciate that people appreciate the warm sun, the busyness of the people running around everywhere, the high, positive energy that buzzes around this time of year… I was born running a few degrees hotter than most, which means I can overheat in a tank top and zip up hoodie in the Winter. So Summer is a time of great discomfort and “oh my god I need A/C STAT!”. Late Fall and Winter are the only seasons that I feel truly comfortable in my body, temperature wise. It also means that I sweat a lot, and thus tend to smell a little unpleasant.

Deodorants don’t work. Antiperspirants don’t work. Both just make it worse, blending their scent into the scent of my sweaty pits. Yuck. Even if, by the grace of God I don’t sweat too much, by the middle of my day, I must reapply deodorant because I’m starting to smell regardless! My pits are cursed!

Only one thing works for me and I swear by it. I can go the entire day without a reapplication and I always, always pass the sniff test. Always. Even during and after the gym, I pass the sniff test. And what is this magical thing?

Coconut oil for alternative therapyCoconut oil of course!

Well, I guess technically it’s not just one thing. I also use essential oils and a bit of cornstarch. I don’t like using baking soda because I don’t feel like it made a difference, and it felt scratchy when applying. Here’s my little recipe:

  • 1-2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 0.5-1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 20 drops lavender
  • 10-15 drops peppermint
  • 5-8 drops vetiver

Just mix it all together and keep it in a little container. On hotter days, it should be kept in the fridge; just make sure you label it so an unsuspecting housemate doesn’t try to eat it! I use about a pea sized amount per pit, and it works wonderfully.

Can you tell I love lavender? 🙂

I use so much for two reasons: I LOVE lavender, and it offsets the more masculine, musky scent of the vetiver. I firmly believe that vetiver is the key essential oil here. I made one before without it and I started to smell by the end of the day. I mean, it’s still an upgrade from what I had with conventional deodorants, but still… maybe if your issue isn’t as bad as mine, you won’t need the vetiver, but know that that is an option for you regardless. All of the oils I chose are antiseptic or anti-bacterial. Combined with coconut oil, the little stink monsters in my armpits have no chance!

My Fitness Road Map

I wanted to take some time to outline my personal “fitness map”; that is, the road I’m traveling to reach my goals. I am not a professional by any means. What I’m laying out is what I’ve learned over the years, solidifying my personal path through trial and lots of errors. This is what works for me, and it may or may not work for you. I encourage you to do your research, and don’t be afraid to try new things! So, without further ado:

Calorie Intake

This is most important part of fitness, whether your goal is weight loss or weight gain. I’m a big fan of the idea that “this is a lifestyle change, not a diet”. Diets assume a temporary change; one that you’ll trash once you hit your goal weight, so I try to stay away from that term.

I’ve experimented with extremely low intakes (1200 and below), vegetarianism, keto/low carb-high fat, and eating at maintenance calories. Maintenance is my absolute favourite. I never feel starved, and the stress revolving eating is non-existent. However, since it’s Summer time, I’ve begun a cut!

According to this TDEE calculator (my favourite one), my TDEE is 2024. So, my daily calories are set to 1700, which is just above a 15% defecit. I personally don’t like feeling too restricted and I don’t mind progress not being crazy fast, so this works really well for me. I still eat a good sized breakfast and lunch, and a relatively hearty dinner. I am a very, very happy camper here.

Food Allowance

I think a lot of people will disagree, but I eat anything I want. I can (and do) have McDonald’s once, twice, thrice a week if I feel like it. I’ll eat a normal sized slice of cheesecake. I’ll have a cookie, or an apple tart. I’ll have whatever I damn well feel like! And I’m still losing weight/re-sculpting my body! Like I said above, calorie intake is the most important part of this journey we’re all on. It took years for me to figure out what my proper calorie intake is. Seriously! Trial and error… so much trial and error. It’s so worth the effort though, because once you establish your boundaries, then you can play around.

That being said, when I do eat poorly, or things that are high in calories but low in satiation, I am so freaking hungry for the rest of the day, and I have less calorie allowance to work with. That’s the trade off though;”is this meal/snack worth being hungry for the rest of the day?”

The hard part is having the discipline to not allow the cravings which will follow the meal, nine times out of ten. I do have to fight off the urge to eat more bad stuff, but I’ve learned how to do that, so it’s not as daunting a thought for me at this point… but how did I do that you ask?

Intermittent Fasting

Now, I’ve always had a problem with eating. Emotional/stress eating which leads to binge eating; all that stuff. I attribute it to poor eating habits growing up, where my parents worked so hard to provide for us financially, that every other area in our lives suffered… but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Then comes intermittent fasting (IF)! Here’s a great resource for the basics of IF. Basically, you have a “feeding window”, and for the rest of the day, you abstain from eating. It sounds a little scary, but most people are asleep for about half of the fasting window, so it’s not nearly as daunting as it sounds. 16:8 is the standard, 16 hours being the fast, 8 hours being the feeding window. I believe most people choose to skip breakfast, or skip one meal and just eat two bigger meals close to the beginning and end of the fast. Personally, I love eating and decided not to skip any meals, or have a full day’s fast. My food schedule (sounds kinda weird but whatever!) goes something like this:

  • 9AM-10AM: breakfast
  • 11AM-12PM: lunch
  • 4PM-5PM: dinner

And yes, I do eat lunch almost immediately after breakfast. It’s my favourite part of the day! What I love about this is once my body adjusted, number one, I’m rarely ever hungry past dinner time, and two, even if I am, I know I can’t eat so I don’t. “Nope, don’t do that, it’s after 5” became a full on mantra for me, haha!

Exercising

Two words my friends: “heavy. lifting.” Oh, and: “screw. cardio.” I do five minutes before lifting just to warm up, no more than that. That’s just me though, I’ve never enjoyed cardio. Swimming is different because I don’t feel the sweat all over my body, and the water helps keep me cool since I overheat even in the winter time. Yuck.

Whether you’re a girl or a guy, heavy weights is where it’s at. My body is vastly different at 135lb doing weights 3x a week at 1700-2000 calories, vs 130lb doing yoga 3x a week at less than 1200 calories a day. Would you believe that I look slimmer now than I do at 130? I know it’s 5lbs on the scale, but on my body… it’s night and day. For the record, I stand at a whopping 5’2″ so 5lbs is a lot on me regardless!

I started off with Stronglifts 5×5, and now do basically the same but I’ve adjusted it a bit for my goals. As a beginner, I would highly recommend following the program to the T, since you may not yet have the knowledge to make any adjustments. The only changes I made to the program initially were starting out with dumbbells vs the bar because I was a little bit afraid to make a fool of myself, which I now see was silly. However, I can understand the anxiety behind it and will share what I did for the dumbbell variations if anyone is interested.

Aside from the physical changes (flattening belly, smaller thighs, woot!), mentally I feel like I’m the most confident I’ve ever been in my entire life. I love being able to hit new personal records on my lifts (I currently squat 145 which is 10lbs over my body weight. Whaaat?! 😀 I feel like a beast!), and I feel a constant drive to push myself to be better in all aspects of life. I look in the mirror now and I don’t see a failure of a person, I see someone who tries every day to improve, and works hard for what she wants.

I wholeheartedly attribute that confidence to the iron.

And ladies, you are NOT going to get “too bulky”, especially not overnight, and especially not without steroids or testosterone shots. I’ve been lifting regularly for eight months and I’m only now starting to see some real definition, and it’s juuust peeking out through my fat. Though admittedly, I wish sometimes that I could get bulky overnight because my baby muscles are sometimes too damn slow to grow!

13493634_947438505353836_1768401087_oThis is about five months of progress. Five months of regular lifting and I don’t look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’m up to about nine months now (but haven’t taken a new progress pic yet, stay tuned!) and I’m still not Arnold. Darn. But seriously, don’t be afraid of the iron, ladies. It takes months upon months upon months, and years upon years and so much insanely hard work to get to the point that most ladies are afraid of getting to overnight.

If you’ve been considering weight lifting and are afraid, just do it! You’ll thank yourself later!

This is getting way too long, but I just wanted to share a bit of what I do and how it’s working for me! Thanks for reading, and please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions! Have a great week everyone!

Half-Year Resolutions

I’ve been meaning to do a half-year check in with my new years resolutions… so here it is!

To recap, here are my resolutions from the beginning of the year:

– pay off debts
– get in shape

As far as debts go, I could be doing better but I’m pleased with where I am. My credit card was maxed out for nearly a year, and payments to my student loan and student line of credit were also at a standstill for about that long.

My credit card is completely paid off (yay!) and I’ve been keeping it topped up every month if and when I use it, which is rare now. That’s something I’ve never been able to do before so I’d call that a success! I’ve been making steady payments to my student debts, but the amounts are much bigger and feel so much more daunting to tackle. I’m doing my best though, and it makes me feel like such a responsible adult! 😀

Getting in shape has been a super fun and amazing journey this time around. I’m down 20lbs and I feel amazing; I’m in the best shape of my life. I have 10lbs more to go, maybe. I dream of being at 125lbs and below, but sometimes I wonder if that’s possible for my build, and especially since I’m wanting to pack on dat muscle. However, I have started a slow-ish cut and will be aiming for that regardless.

I went about it so poorly before. Restricting how much I eat to insanely low amounts due to a lack of knowledge of what my body actually needs. I binged more than once a week, and never saw the scale move down. I was always hungry, always thinking about eating, and always grumpy. I am the reason “hangry” became a thing.

It was beyond frustrating. It was beyond disheartening. I think of my two-year-long yoga “career” eating less than 1200 calories per day, and remember just being so exhausted during each class. Afterwards I felt great, but I couldn’t progress past a certain point strength wise. Again, beyond frustrating and disheartening. I can only imagine how much better I could have done with proper nutrition.

I could go on for days about what my current fitness/health/wellness routine is, so I think I will another day! But in regards to my new years resolutions, I think I did really well! I give myself a B+! 😀

Here are my half-year resolutions:

– get that damn 125!!!
– pay off my line of credit before year’s end
– get back into a regular yoga routine

I’ll check in by year’s end, but these are the personal goals I’ll be working on.

How did you do on your new years resolutions
Do you have any goals you want to achieve, revisit, or revise? Whatever it is, you can do it!