Sunday, September 16, 2018

When what you DO isn't working

Over the past nearly five years, I have been focused on my journey towards health and wellness.  It's been a total transformation of body, mind and spirit.

This means, when what you've been doing isn't working anymore, you really have to sit down and say, "What's wrong?"

Back up.  Like thirty steps.

I haven't posted anything in months, so I feel bad jumping in like this without some background.

In June, 2016, I hurt my shoulder.  I continue to struggle with the pain which comes and goes.  That October, I had surgery on my varicose veins, from which I developed several superficial blood clots that kept resurfacing.  To correct that, had more extensive surgery in December.  That was 2016.

In February, 2017 I hurt my back.  In March, I slipped on black ice at work and re-injured my already compromised back.

The pain was so bad, I had to go to the e.r.  I could not walk.
Followed by MONTHS of recovery...
For days, I pretty much just laid flat on my back on the floor.
Fast forward to November, 2017 and I was feeling frustrated by the lack of progress in my training, my now significantly weakened body, and a slow increase in my weight and change in body composition.  My pants weren't fitting anymore.  I was still watching / counting my calories and macros, but I wasn't seeing any results.  In fact, I was going backwards from where I wanted to be.

I was introduced to my trainer, Pat who is AMAZING.  A completely new focus on my training meant injury recovery and strength building, which meant I had to EAT!  And so I ate... pretty much whatever I wanted.  Days went by where I would log my food, but I didn't care if I went over my calories.  On days when I splurged (which became far more frequent), I logged breakfast and lunch, but left dinner and snacks out.  MyFitnessPal kept telling me I'd be super thin in 5 weeks, but the reverse is what I witnessed.

Come spring and the weather finally turned warmer and my bike came out of hiding.  And I struggled.  Pat would say something like this:  "Tracey, you have to eat.  You can't lift heavy, ride your bike for 30+ miles and lose weight without a compromise.  Something has to give."  Uggh.  I don't want to get fat again.  I want my clothes to fit.  I want to ride my bike and I want to lift heavy weights.  I want it all.

Literally, I wanted my cake and eat it too!

When I started this journey, one of my goals was to complete the Ride to Remember.  This year was my 4th year doing the ride.  Each year has been a unique experience.  I trained so hard for it the first year that I actually felt easy.  That said, in the years that followed, my training waned slightly each year, on top of struggling with chronic pain.  This year was going to be different.  I was NOT going to let pain interfere with my ride.  And, I was determined to train hard for the ride without obsessing like I did the first year.  This new mindset and focus paid off.  I will write more in another post about the day, but to sum it up, this year's Ride to Remember was an amazing ride!!!

BUT...Friday night when I was packing my clothes for the ride home on the bus, I was looking for a comfortable t-shirt to wear.  I took out both of my favorite Wonder Woman shirts and neither fit.  Too tight.  I took out another Wonder Woman shirt and IT didn't fit.  WHAT THE HECK!


While I could put them on, they looked tight and I looked ridiculous in them.
Now, I had already been talking to Pat about changing the focus of my training after the Ride to Remember.  And I knew that clearly, while counting (and eating) calories and macros had been helping me to build strength and train for the ride, it wasn't helping me to stay lean.  I asked him what he thought about the Keto diet.  It scared me.  I am carb dependent.  I really am.  I've tried low carb before and it's always been a complete disaster.  I am such a fan of flexible dieting that I really struggle with the mindset of restricting / eliminating food groups.  Flexible dieting allows you to eat cake!  Not all the time, but on occasion.

In all seriousness, I knew that was used to work for me wasn't working anymore.  I'm getting older. At 49, the pre-menopausal hormone fluctuations mess with my body and ability to sleep.  I live with fatigue and have aches and pains where there were none before.  Sleep often daunts me, so I live with fatigue.  I have aches and pains where I didn't used to have them.

I knew change is necessary and I believe it starts at the core.  Nutrition.  This is why keto intrigued me.  I had read how good it is for people who have certain medical conditions, as well as for burning body fat.  And that is key to me.  While the numbers on the scale haven't changed that much over the past year or two, my body composition has changed and I want to lean out.  To see definition in my muscles, even on days when I don't work out!!

This week, I jumped off the cliff, into the deep and and began my KETO journey.  The keto diet is a way to transition your metabolism from using carbohydrates for energy to using fat.  Today is Day 7 with my new food plan.  It has NOT been an easy initial transition.  I am carb-dependent, so the severe cutback really got to me for the first several days.  AND I still want to ride my bike, so I am going to have to figure out how to carb-cycle on days when I ride.  I tried to ride yesterday and it was not a good ride.  Despite the rocky start, I am committed to make this work.  I know seven days is not enough time to fairly say this is or is not working for me.

I am focusing on the positives.  I don't feel or look bloated anymore.  I don't look like I'm pregnant anymore!!  I still feel like I'm in a caloric deficit, I'm already past the cravings and the feeling like I have to eat all the time.  The scale is not the sole guideline for success, but I have lost 5 lbs. so far.  And Pat put together a new training plan for me that focuses on both strength building and fat burning.  I start that today, so I'm looking forward to that! 

I'm also taking some risks with my cooking, like these pan-seared scallops and roasted asparagus.  The scallops don't look "seared" because I'm new to this and figuring out how to blacken them without them sticking to the pan is a work in progress, but they were SOOOO good!


I'll be writing more as I endeavor to be successful on this new segment of my journey.  I'm looking forward to sharing with you both the ups and the downs.  The measure of success for will be how I feel mentally and physically, as well as how I look in the mirror / how my clothes fit.  Stay tuned.

I want to look good in a sports bra and short shorts again!
This was taken yesterday.  It's my new before shot!
Stay tuned for more, including all about this year's Ride to Remember! 

Meanwhile, be the champion of today!

Questions for you:  (Answer in the comment section below.)

How is your nutrition going?  What food plan do you follow?  Have you ever tried keto?  Any tips to share, let me know!!

Follow / Contact me

                  


Want information about personal training?  
Contact Pat!  He's AWESOME and you will really like working with him!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Cheerleaders vs. Naysayers

Happy Saturday!  Today is National No Housework Day!
I think THAT alone is a reason to celebrate!  I've learned to not mind cooking, but laundry and housework - UGGH!   But I really need to clean and today is the day, so I'll celebrate next week!

It's been a little while since I posted anything here.  News Flash!  I started a new blog.
http://www.roaringwhisper.com
Roaring Whispers is a blog addressing women's issues.  It is a place to talk about all things that affect women.  Health and wellness, spiritual, emotional, family and career.  As well as those issues to which we have long been silenced.  It's time to be bold and candid about what matters to us.  It's something I've been thinking about starting for a long time, but didn't want to add one more thing to my list of "to-do's."  Last week, I did a three part-series entitled, "On Forgiveness...and Death."  A friend of mine lost her father last month and it stirred up a lot of things from the past with her, which got me to thinking about how lost / severed relationships pretty much boil down to unresolved conflict and unforgiveness.  Roaring Whispers was inspired from topics like this, where I really wanted to talk about the issues, but Tracey's Getting Fit didn't seem to be the appropriate place to do so.  I hope you'll check out my new blog.  Spread the word to your friends and family, too!  Having faithful readers is what keeps me writing.

Back to Tracey's Getting Fit and the topic of today.

Cheerleaders vs. Naysayers

On my journey to lose weight, I had more cheerleaders than I can count.  Brian, Dmitriy, Erica and Maria were my number one cheerleaders.  Can you have more than one #1?  Each of them stood by me through thick and thin, listening,  pushing, and refusing to put up with my bullsh--.  When I became obsessed, one would step in and say, "Ummm, that's enough of that."  When I felt like quitting, they ALL said, "No way, I won't hear it!"  When I accomplished something big, they were the first people I told.  You'll never believe what I did!

Far too often, when you embark on a journey to lose weight or get in shape, you will be surprised at the number of people who get in your way, quite literally.  They block your path to reach your goals.

It can be as simple as your partner or friends refusing to support your new nutritional needs.  Like when your partner serves you bagels with cream cheese and eggs fried in butter for breakfast.  Or when the office knows you're trying to lose weight, but they put a plateful of pizza in front of you and give you a hard time for not eating it.

But sometimes it's more of a slap in the face.

Why are you even trying to lose weight?  You try again and again and you always fail.  Just give up
.

OR

You've lost 20 lbs. and your friend / partner says something like, "I don't see a difference.  You still look fat."


Unfortunately, it's often the people closest to you who are your biggest naysayers.  There are a few possibilities for this.  You pick...

They may be fearful for you.  Your success may literally scare them. 

OR

They may be jealous of your success or possible success.  They don't have the courage themselves to get on board, so it's more comfortable to do / say things to bring you down.  

OR

They think their negativity is a way to be supportive so that if you do fail, there is some satisfaction in pointing that out to you.

OR

They are sadistic, narcissistic ego maniacs who just don't know how to be supportive.

Whatever, or whoever they may be (your partner/spouse, your best friend, your parent, or the person you eat lunch with every day at work) it's YOUR choice to be successful.  YOU do the work.  YOU have to figure out how to work through the negativity.  

Here are a few recommendations. 

1)  Talk to the people who you feel are bringing you down and tell them.  "When you say things like this, it's not helping me.  This is important to me and I want to be successful.  I need your support.  Please believe in me and encourage me."  At first, make sure you are kind to them.  They may not even realize what they are doing.  But be firm!

2)  Separate yourself from the people who bring you down.  It hurts to do this, but it may be necessary.  If you have a goal to accomplish and people are getting in your way, learn to be okay with spending less time with them.

3)  Don't internalize their negative comments.  Develop an internal dialogue that you say to yourself when someone says something to bring you down.  For example, if they say, "You still look fat."

You say, "The scale doesn't lie.  I can see that I've lost     X number of    pounds.  My clothes don't fit right anymore.  I have a long way to go, but I'm getting there."

Say it to them.  Definitely.  But say it to yourself.  OVER and OVER again.

4)  Be in charge of your own meals  and nutrition. 

If your partner has been making your meals, put  an end to that.  You take over the cooking and meal prep.  Teach your partner how to cook with cooking spray instead of butter.  Teach your partner about the value of lean protein and LOTS of veggies.  Find healthy recipes you like and prepare them together.  Subscribe to MyFitnessPal and send the email blogs about nutrition or recipes to your partner with the subject "Let's try this." 

Taking charge of what/ when you eat will take work, but this is YOUR journey, so you can't sit back and allow others to drive your food train for you.

5)  Find your cheerleaders and rely on them!!! 

If you don't have a cheerleader, join some online groups.  Join some fitness clubs / classes.  Start riding your bike with the local club.  You will make lots of new friends who will be your cheerleaders.

I remember the first year I was training for the Ride to Remember, a lot of people told me how dangerous bike riding is.  I heard about every person who died in a cycling accident in the past 10 years.  People posted links to stories about cycling accidents on my Facebook wall.  I had to overcome all of that in order to attain my goal of being able to train for the ride.  I was so afraid all on my own that I did not need their fearful warnings.

Unfortunately, I lost some of my closest friends when I was losing weight.  While my focus was on working out, riding my bike and eating healthy, it meant I wasn't available to sit around, drink wine and eat crap with them anymore.  Not only did we not have the same goals, mine were completely divergent from the way things had been.  I had to learn to be okay with that.  I made new friends.



Here's a new song with a great beat for your playlist...
New Rules by Dua Lipa
I got new rules, I count 'em
I gotta tell them to myself...
Practice makes perfect
I'm still tryna learn it by heart.

Questions for you:  (Answer in the comment section below.)

Who is your biggest cheerleader?  What do you do about naysayers?  


My new mantra:  Be the Champion of Today!
Have a great weekend!  Go get 'em!


Follow / Contact me

                  



Sunday, March 4, 2018

Are you kidding me?

One thing I always wished I could do, but never was able to do is push-ups.


I tried and tried.  I struggled.  What looks so easy, for me was super hard.  I made being able to do them a goal.  As my strength improved, I wrote about the progress I saw in doing them:  Five and Ten.  It was exciting to see real progress.  Eventually they became so easy that I stopped doing them, except as part of a HIIT routine.  When I hurt my shoulder, I was under strict orders to not do them until after my shoulder healed.

Since that time, being able to do push-ups well and "easily" has plagued me.  So after my back injury last February, I made it a goal to improve upon them again.  But it has been difficult.  In May of last year, I was able to do three sets of 15 push-ups.  So hard!  I mean super hard.  It wasn't so much doing them as the weakness in my shoulder.  Not for nothing, when things are hard, you tend to shy away from doing them.  Why do I want to do this if it's this hard?

When I started training with Pat, he had me doing three sets of 15-20 push-ups.  I was like, "I'm not going to be able to do that.  I can barely do 10 push-ups and you want me to do 15?"  He said, "If you can do a Dumb-Bell bench press with 25 lbs., you can do 15 push-ups."


So for three weeks, I did three sets of 15 push-ups (never 20).  And it was NOT easy.  One week I couldn't even do one single push-up.  Not one.  "It's a mental block," Pat responded.

I hated doing them.  Unlike three years ago when doing push-ups motivated me, this time around, I was not enthused.

Then the next three weeks, he changed it up and had me doing four sets of 12-15 reps.  I always tried for the 15, but four sets was a lot.

This week, he changed it up again.  When I looked at the plan for this week, it changed from 4 sets of 12-15 to FIVE sets of 20 push-ups.  That's 100 push-ups.  Are you KIDDING ME???


So when I saw him this week, I said, "What in the world are you thinking?"

He said, "You can do it."  Confident as can be, like it's no problem.

I was like, "I can't do that!  There's just no way."

He said, "Yes you can.  Easy."

I said, "Well, I can't do five sets of 20 push-ups all together like that.  It's just not going to happen.  I mean, maybe I can do them if I work them throughout the entire workout.  One set after each group of exercises, but not all at once."

His response, "I don't care how you do them, just get them done."

Get them done?  Doesn't he know I have a shoulder injury?  Doesn't he know these are super hard for me?  What does he mean, "Just get them done."



"Ok, boss."

And so Friday night was the moment of truth.  100 push-ups.  Five sets of twenty.

We get to the gym, I figure, let's get the first set done now and just see, while I'm feeling strong, how I do.  Is 20 even on the table?  (Great way to think positive, isn't it?)

And I do it.  20 push-ups.  No problem.

I decided to do 20 at a time, throughout my workout, allowing my shoulder/ body to recover before attempting the next set.  And it worked!  Twice I had to take a 10 second break in between to finish the 20 reps, but I did all 100!


Here is my last set:

So, what's the point of this whole post?  Overcoming the way you think and feel about food, about exercise, about yourself:  your self-image, your abilities, your potential... This is so key to your success.  Over four years into this journey and I still struggle.  I have doubts.  While they may be based on reality (I do have tendinitis in my shoulder, there is weakness there, I do continue to have pain), the fact is I can do more than I believe I can do.

When you get to the point when you feel like, "What am I doing?" or "I can't do this" or you feel like just giving up, stick with it.  You have SO much more potential than you can even begin to believe.

I did 100 push-ups.  Not five or ten like I did three years ago.  One-Hundred.   I didn't think I could.  I thought Pat was crazy.  I was even miffed with him a little.  It wasn't clean, it wasn't perfect, but I did it!  

- - - - - - - - - -

"Why Have a Trainer?" is a topic I discussed in January.  Having someone push you beyond your own self-expectations, to basically say, "It's no big deal, you can do it."  THIS is why I have a trainer.  I struggled with one health issue after another over the past 18+ months and tried to figure out how to get back on the path by myself.  Every set-back and every self-doubt left me feeling badly about myself and where I was going.  Not really knowing what to do to get things back on track left me frustrated, which is WHY I sought out Pat.  He is really awesome.  

If you are thinking about having a trainer, you definitely want to check him out.  The rates are affordable and he is amazing.  If you live in the area, you can train one-on-one with him.  If not, he does online coaching as well.  Check out his website for the details:  Patriotbody.com.  I cannot say enough about him.  Training with Pat means you will see growth, you will make change, you will accomplish your goals.  Either way, check out his website.  There is contact information for him there.

There's a saying out there, "Put on some gangster rap and get over it."  Here's the newest song on my playlist:
Not Afraid by Eminem
And I just can't keep living this way.  So starting today, I'm breaking out of this cage.  I'm standing up, I'mma face my demons.  I'm manning up, I'mma hold my ground.  I've had enough, now I'm so fed up.  Time to put my life back together right now!

Question for you:  (Answer in the comment section below.)
What holds you back?

Follow me...


Instagram:  @tracoleman99


My new mantra:  Be the Champion of Today!
Have a great weekend!  Go get 'em!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

My Top Reads

In my last post, It's a Process:  Three Keys, I talked about what it takes to lose weight and keep it off.  Establishing a cognitive / emotional shift is probably the most critical key to long term success.  What does this mean?  It means changing the way you think about feel, and removing the emotional attachment you have to the process, including emotional connections to food, the way you see yourself, and self-imposed limitations.

There really isn't a road map for this.  But there are several things you can do to work on this, including reading about nutrition and exercise from reliable sources.  I subscribe to several newsletters and blogs which help me in a variety of ways.  One of my readers asked me to share with you here, so my best picks.

Caution:  You can't take EVERYTHING you read as straight from the Bible. Ask yourself, "Does the information provided concur with what I know from other reliable sources?" There is a lot of conflicting information out there.  It doesn't hurt to fact check anything that seems questionable.  So take what you can, and leave the rest.

RUNEATRepeat



Run Eat Repeat by Monica Olivas is a blog all about running, weight loss and healthy living.  What I like about Monica's blog is she provides so much variety in her posts.  She talks about everything and anything, is very candid in her posts, and is one of the most motivating people I follow.  I subscribe to her blog, but I also follow her on FacebookInstagram, and a Vlog on YouTube.   She also has great podcasts you can listen to.

Even if you don't run, you will learn a lot about healthy living.  She is always giving super easy meal ideas and recipes, basic at-home workouts you can do, as well as strategies for overcoming mental blocks, just to name a few.  RUNEATRepeat is my favorite blog and Monica is definitely my favorite motivational fitness person out there.  Check her out! 

Great:  Monica does not try to sell anything to you.  She will share products she uses so you have the option of checking them out if you are looking for something to help you run better.  But she is not a vendor, so she's not looking to sell her product.

BodyBuilding.com


BodyBuilding.com is a very popular site/ online store for nutritional supplements for body builders.  But it is so much more than that!  Written by leading experts, the site has a wealth of articles about training and nutrition.  These feature different workout programs (with step-by-step videos), tips for improving your workouts, overcoming injuries, and even how to get started.  Here are just a few examples of featured articles on their website today:


I subscribe to their newsletter, but I find myself going to their website again and again for suggestions and ideas.  When I'm doing a new exercise, if I'm not sure how to do it and Pat (my trainer), isn't available to show me how to do it, I go to them for the specific "how to's."  When someone asks me for help with their nutrition, I direct them to BodyBuilding.com's calculators, which help you calculate calories or macros.

Remember: this site is selling their product.  You are not going to lose weight or get in shape by consuming supplements alone.  You have to do the work. 

SELF Magazine

Click on their link and you are automatically directed to sign up for their newsletter.  I receive daily emails from them with links to articles about recipes, fitness fashion, workouts, motivation, and different health tips.  They also feature articles about what different celebrities are doing to get or stay in shape.

This newsletter has become my favorite email of the day.  I love checking out the recipes they feature.  Because I get so bored with the same foods.  Who doesn't?  While I have my own workout plan that I follow every day, I really like to know what else is out there.  Anything I can do to change things up or make my workout a little more fun is always of interest to me.

Furthermore, SELF has articles about topics no one wants to discuss publicly.  Like:
...just to name a few.

Break Out the Skinny Girl


I can't really do justice to describing this blog, so here's the summary right from Dee, the author:

It’s not a blog about a diet. It’s more a blog about what goes on in my head because I’m on a diet, if that makes sense. Which it doesn’t, always…I should manage your expectations in that regard! Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s thorny, sometimes I struggle and sometimes I feel like I’m on top of it but the thread that runs through all of it is bare naked honesty. Oh, and I do use a few naughty words here and there…sorry about that 🙂
I can so relate to Dee's experience and have enjoyed reading her blog since its inception.  

Note:  Dee's blog is a personal one about her journey.  You can become part of her "posse" by regularly commenting on her posts.  Keep your comments positive!

WebMD


WebMD, simply put is an online website with articles about everything health related under the sun.  I subscribe to their newsletter, but have it customized to items of interest to me, like women's health, mental health, fitness and nutrition.  I LOVE the various slideshows they have with quick information about topics of interest, such as 15 Things That Slow Your Metabolism.

Note:  Don't use WebMD as your personal doctor.  You really have to speak openly with your own physician about medical concerns you have.

New favorite workout song:
Turn Me On
by David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj

Question for you:  (Answer in the comment section below.)
What's your favorite online magazine/ newsletter or blog?

Follow me...


Instagram:  @tracoleman99


My new mantra:  Be the Champion of Today!
Have a great weekend!  Go get 'em!

Monday, January 29, 2018

It's a Process: Three Keys

What does it take to lose weight?  How do you do it?  What's your secret?

I'd like to tell you it's easy, but in all seriousness, it's a process.

If I were to narrow down to just three things to make it work, this is what I would tell you.

The NUMBER ONE most important thing is

Drum roll, please.


Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition!

You really have to learn how to eat right and stick with it over time.  Don't think about going on another diet.  Diet is a four letter word.  Think "nutrition."  Food is fuel, it's what your body needs to function, for muscle growth, for healing and recovery, for energy.  Food.

In a nutshell, you want to cut back on calories, but not much.  You want to DRINK lots of WATER, increase lean proteins and vegetables.  You can pretty much have all the vegetables you want, plus one to two servings of fruit each day. 

The kinds of food you eat really matters.  Severely limit your sugar intake, especially refined sugars.   Limit your intake of saturated fats (cream, butter, bacon, beef), but don't cut fat out.  Avocado, nuts, nut butters, and healthy oils like olive or canola oil in small quantities are good for you.  

Reducing your carbohydrates will help, but remember fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates and you should consume those.  As far as other carbs go - appropriate portions of  whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, legumes or quinoa are good.  Just remember 1/2 cup of brown rice is 124 calories and 26 g of carbs, so if you are eating 1+ cups, the calories and carbs go up.  Only have bread once in a while and make sure to eat 100% whole grain bread.  As far as potatoes go, one or 1/2 of one isn't going to hurt you.  I often have 1/2 of a sweet potato.  My question is who eats a plain white potato?  I need butter and sour cream on mine, which means LOTS of fat. 

NUMBER TWO is 

MOVE your body!

Moving your body, including strength training, will boost your metabolism so you burn the calories you eat better.  Consistent exercise helps you deal with stress and helps to improve your mood.

The best way to start is to walk, then add in some body weight exercises into your routine, such as squats and push ups (or desk push ups).  Check out my post 10 Minutes for ideas on how to make the most of the time you have and ideas to get yourself moving.


Move Your Body by Sia

NUMBER THREE is critical to long term success.

Cognitive / Emotional Shift

Changing the way you think and feel about food is critical.  It takes time and honestly, I can't give you a road map how to do this.  

Here are some suggestions...

Read about nutrition and exercise from reliable sources.  I subscribe to several online newsletters and blogs that talk about nutrition.  I am always wanting new recipes because vegetables are great, but eating salad every day is... BORING.  

Keep a food / exercise journal.  I track ALL of my food in MyFitnessPal, good and "bad."  If I have honey in my tea, a glass of wine, a piece of cake, a chocolate cookie - it's all there.  Bad days show trends.  Did I sleep enough the night before?  Where was I emotionally that day?  Did I work out a LOT the day (days) before?  I log my workouts in the Notebook on my phone.  I do this so I can see progress from week to week.  My goal right now is strength training, so I follow a program every week and want to see an increase in the amount of weight I lift from week to week.  I also write notes like, "Remember to give yourself time for recovery" or  "The last set was super hard."  I insert emojis to show how I feel about that particular exercise or set.  Doing this helps me feel better about my workouts.  I can see progress and that makes me happy.

Talk to like-minded people about your journey.  What do I mean?  Join a fitness group, get a buddy who wants to lose weight with you.  Have a friend who is already fit and in shape?  Ask them for suggestions, work out with them, do meal prep with them.  Like-minded people will help you to think differently about dieting in general.  It's not a diet.  It's a life change.  It's nutrition and exercise combined.

Identify your triggers.  What makes you "go off the wagon" so to speak?  Are there certain times of the day?  Stresses?  Sleeplessness?  Spending time with a toxic person can derail you, do you find yourself raiding the refrigerator afterwards?  Again, it takes time to recognize your triggers.

Remember, don't let a bad day or a series of bad days derail you.

I had a super bad day Saturday, which lead to a sleepless night, leaving me completely deplete the next day.  I went to church, but I usually sit with my father and he wasn't there.  I stayed for a few minutes, but all I wanted to do was cry and sleep and I just couldn't keep it together, so I went home.  (That sounds so bad, but it's just what I needed at the time.)  I took a nap and then my niece and I did a great workout at a track near her house.  Talking with her and literally working it out helped restore me.  When I got home, I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I think that is the one food that cures everything... because carbs and peanut butter.  Took another nap and felt restored.  

I recognized my triggers.  Sleeplessness and stress and being super emotional.

I talked to my niece about what was going on.  She is a like-minded person.  She loves to workout and eats super healthy all the time.  She helped me to process. 

I worked out.  Working out helps to manage your stress.  I don't know the science of it, but somehow it literally takes the weight off your brain and lets you put perspective on your situation.

I ate.  I didn't overdo it.  I ate what I felt my body needed and limited the quantity.

You really can lose weight if you want.  Remember, it's a process.  There are no quick fixes.  It's a journey, not a sprint.

My new mantra:  Be the Champion of Today!

You've got this!

Questions for you:  (Answer in the comment section below.)
What did you do this weekend?  

Follow me...


Instagram:  @tracoleman99

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Me Too

Very few people know this and I've only publicly shared it this afternoon.  I write this very reluctantly, but part of me wants to be transparent about my journey, in the hopes that sharing it may help you.

For most of my adult life I have battled my weight.  It was easy to shed the pounds when I was younger, so yo-yo dieting was more or less my lifestyle.  I could shed 10 lbs. in one month without too much effort.  As I got older, that became a lot more challenging and the pounds added on.

One of those times, in the early 2000s, I joined a local gym and started working out, running and eating virtually nothing.  Another "crash diet" of sorts, but this time I wasn't just dieting, I was also working out, so I looked "toned."  But then.

It happened.

This past October when #MeToo became a way to share solidarity among women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted, I considered if I should join the movement.  There is a deep shame in being a victim.  One you really don't want other people to know about.  Because somehow, deep down, you wonder

Is (was) it my your fault? 

Did I somehow bring it on myself


Is it even that serious?  I mean, other people have experienced so much worse.


We had a garden and used to share our extra vegetables with people I  knew.  Most of them were very appreciative and often wanted to reciprocate in one way or another.

One was a little too appreciative.

At the time, I drove a Ford Explorer, which had some rust damage on the body.  One of the people I shared vegetables with offered to do some free body work on my car.

Little did I know the true cost of "free" labor.

When I went to pick up my car, the friendly man decided to put the moves on me.  He grabbed my breast and my buttocks as I was getting into my car.  I brushed his hand away and told him, "No!"  It happened so quickly.  I just wanted to get away.

The aftermath was super ugly and isn't really the point of my story here, so I will spare those details.

A few people who knew what happened couldn't understand why I didn't smash him.  I don't know.  I think when you're in a predicament like that, it's fight or flight.  For me, it was flight.

Just. Get. Away.

As time progressed, I stopped working out.  I did not want anyone to look at me and desire me.  Then I stopped caring about what I ate or looked like.  And gained all the weight (and then some) back.

Every time I tried to lose weight again, that incident hung over my head like a dark cloud.

You just feel so violated.

On my journey over the past four years, I don't think what happened has really affected my journey.  I know it happened, it's behind me.  I've moved on.  My weight, my strength, my fitness level have been and continue to be all about me.  There simply can be no looking back, no becoming a pillar of salt.  Keep it moving, look ahead.  Be the champion of today.

I'd like to say it doesn't bother me anymore, that I've put it behind me.  But the truth is, there is still some shame.  When I think about it, I can't help but wonder if I could have done anything differently to get away, to not put myself in that situation in the first place, to have avoided the fall out.  Fortunately, time has allowed me to safely lock it up and tuck it away.

Today was different though.  Letting out my secret was like plunging a knife into the old wound, stirring up the shame and insecurities of the past.

Something else happened earlier in the day that hurt my feelings.  So when I came home and talked about it, the flood gates opened.  Initially the tears were about my feelings being damaged.  Did she really say that?  I need to get thicker skin, I guess.  But as I thought about the whole day.  The secret I shared, I just could not stop crying.

I am sharing my story with you because silence only keeps us a victim.  It only perpetuates the pain, the shame.  When you are violated, it affects how you feel about yourself.  Your self-image.

As I laid in bed tonight, unable to sleep, the thoughts of the day rushing through my brain...

My hurt feelings.  How could she say that?  What did she mean?  Maybe I should have done or said this differently.

My secret.  I wish I hadn't said anything.  It really wasn't that big of a deal.  Why did you bring that up?

...I cling to this verse:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 139:14

If you, like me, are the victim of sexual harassment or assault, know you are not alone.  Those of us who have experienced something similar understand.  United together, we can support one another.  Lift each other up.

When you look in the mirror, don't see yourself the way your abuser saw you.  Look deeper.

It is okay to cry, to feel the pain,even if it happened a long time ago.  There is something cathartic about the tears.  It's like an emotional healing, a cleansing of the soul.  Just don't let the tears, the pain take hold of you.  Your past does not define nor control you.  Your circumstances do not dictate your future or who you are.  Be the champion of today.

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
Romans 8:37

AND
Know this.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made.  You are beautiful.  You are strong.  You are NOT a victim, you are a survivor.  An overcomer.  You are loved.

Overcomer by Mandisa


Additional resources you may find helpful:
Dealing With Sexual Harassment at Work
Help and Support for Victims
How to help survivors of sexual assault.


Contact me:  tracoleman99@gmail.com

Friday, January 19, 2018

From Flab to Fab

We started a Biggest Loser Competition at work again this month.  It's a fun thing to do together as a collective - to all be on the same page with health and wellness as our common goal.

My focus right now is on building endurance and strength, so I'm not trying to lose weight.  We have quite a few new people in our school who didn't know me "before."  So they are surprised to hear that I lost a lot of weight.  The question of the week has been, "Tracey, can you help me?"

This post is for you!  I'm going to share the key things I did and continue to do to keep the weight off.  So, how do you get started?  What do you do?  Can you take control over your yo-yo dieting?  Well, the last one is up to you, because you do have to get started first, but the yo-yo dieting stopped for me when I started doing these things.

TRACK YOUR FOOD!
As I have shared before, I track all of my food in MyFitnessPal.  Everything - good and bad.  If I'm trying to lose weight, or burn fat, I adjust my daily macros and caloric intake.  (Macros is short for macronutrients:  protein, carbohydrates and fat.) If for whatever reason, you can't do that or aren't ready just yet, start by writing down everything you eat.  Use a notebook (even try the one in your phone) or something more structured like this food journal I found below:

The reason you want to keep track of what you eat is so you can see trends.  When you eat really light one day, are you super hungry later at night or the next day?  If so, adjust your daily food intake.

DRINK MORE WATER
This is something I still struggle with the most, maybe that and my sweet tooth.  But getting enough water is so important.  If you keep water by your side all the time and sip it throughout the day, you will be less likely to want to eat when you're not really hungry.  How much should you drink?  Everyone has a different answer.  I've read to drink one ounce for every pound you are, 8 glasses per day, or at least a gallon of water per day.  I've even read several times that your coffee and the liquid in your food count towards your daily water intake.  (This I don't believe at all!)  I think there is a fine line.  Drink enough so your urine isn't yellow and your mouth isn't dry.  Just DRINK!

INCREASE VEGGIES and LEAN PROTEIN
One of the people who asked me for help told me that she eats salad for lunch and dinner when she's trying to lose weight.  I don't mind salad, but I don't eat it every day.  In fact, I can't remember the last time I had salad.  Every day I eat plenty of steamed vegetables, veggie omelets, soups with lots of veggies or fresh cut veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers and raw zucchini.   I ALWAYS include protein with my vegetables.  For dinner the other night, I had left over sirloin steak with steamed green beans, steamed asparagus and some cut up tomatoes and cucumbers on the side.  It was very satisfying and tasted great.  I couldn't even eat all the veggies because I was so full.

If you want to eat salad every day, there is no harm in that, but try to spice it up a little.  Try different dressings and proteins with your salads.  One of my favorite salads is shredded carrots, cabbage, and chopped broccoli with left over teriyaki chicken thighs cooked in the crock pot.  I use Ken's Light Asian salad dressing and sprinkle a few sesame seeds over the top.  Try spinach, tomatoes and shrimp or make your own taco salad.  There is a lot you can do to change things up  with your salads.

Make sure you eat PLENTY of protein ALL day.  I recommend at least 25 grams of protein for every meal and a protein rich snack in the morning and again in the afternoon.

For breakfast, try something like this:
2 large eggs, scrambled (12 g protein)
1/2 cup of egg whites (10 g protein)
One slice of whole grain toast (4 g protein).

For lunch, think PROTEIN:
3 1/2 oz. chicken breast (30 g protein)
with home made Vegetable Soup or
make your own salad (hold the cheese, please)

For dinner, think PROTEIN!  Try one of these recipes...
One-Pain Beef Enchiladas  (41 g protein)
Shrimp Burrito Bowl (34 g protein)
Chicken Salad  (34 g protein)
Caprese Chicken and Roasted Broccoli (26 g protein)
Pork Chops with Roasted Vegetables (29 g protein)

Protein rich snacks:
Protein Smoothie (*protein depends on your brand of protein)
Protein bars (with at least 20 g protein)
Greek yogurt with two tbsp. granola (12-18 g protein)
3/4 cup Cottage cheese with tomatoes  (20 g protein)
1/2 cup Oatmeal (5 g protein) with protein* added
2 hard boiled eggs (12 g protein)
1 scoop protein powder* (your favorite flavor), with 1 Tbsp. peanut (or nut) butter and a few drops of water (Mix together until it makes a thick pudding type texture.  The peanut butter makes this extra yummy.)

Note, there are a lot of other healthy snack options, I'm just brain storming the ones that are protein rich.

These are just a few ideas to get you started.

CUT OUT (or SEVERELY BACK) on SUGARY SWEETS
This is much harder said than done, I understand.  But for those of us with a sweet tooth, this is our demise.  By increasing your daily protein and healthy fats, you can stave off hunger better.  I keep Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches in my freezer in the basement for the times when I really need something sweet.

MOVE
You need to increase your metabolism so it burns the calories you eat.  To do that, you need to eat, but you also need to move your body.  Pick up a new hobby for this year...try riding your bike, hiking, or swimming.  If you are stuck inside with poor weather right now like I am, just figure out a way to move your body.  Walk around your office every hour, go up and down the stairs as many times as you can.  Make a point to increase your movement.  Using a fitness tracker, such as the one on your phone or a FitBit makes it easier.

Your goal should be to include 1 hour of exercise every day.  I know that seems like a LOT and probably completely out of reach if you are relatively sedentary.  But that's the end goal.  You don't have to start out that way.  I tell people to increase their movement by 10% each week.  So if you're averaging 5,000 steps per day, that's an extra 500 steps each day for next week.  You want to make the most of the time and space you do have. Check out my post 10 Minutes for some suggestions.

Lift Weights
To increase your metabolism, you want to improve your body composition, by decreasing your fat and increasing your muscle mass.  To do that, add resistance training into your routine.

If you don't know how to lift free weights, try the machines at your gym.  A lot of gyms have them set up like a circuit, where you move from one machine to the next.  If you're not sure how to use the machine, ASK someone.  Before you move from one machine to the next, complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions each machine.  That means you would do one exercise for 10 times on the same machine.  Give yourself 30 seconds to two minutes to recover and repeat that two more times, for 3 total sets.   Then go onto the next machine.  Keep in mind, you want to start by keeping the weight LIGHT.  You want to do the exercise with good form or you will not benefit from the exercise and can hurt yourself.  Gradually add weight each week so you can complete the 3 sets.

If you want to learn how to lift free weights properly, try some classes your gym offers or work with a trainer.

Can you do it?  Of course you can!  Come up with a plan.  How will you do it?  What's your strategy?  Then follow through.  You GOT this!  Start by downloading the MyFitnessPal app or use a notebook to keep track of your food.  Then go shopping and load up on all the colors - lots of fruit, vegetables and lean protein options.  Finally, look at your schedule and plan your workouts.  If one day looks busy to you, plan to move your body for at least 10 minutes in the morning, again at lunch and later in the day.  Last but not least, keep your water bottle filled and drink, drink, drink.

Stop the getaway car and take hold of your health today!  You got this!  You do!
I posted this a couple weeks ago.  When I started this journey on January 1, 2014, I weighed 232 lbs. 
I've kept the weight off too. You just have to stick with it!

Tune for your play list:  

Getaway Car by Taylor Swift



Questions for you:  (Answer in the comment section below.)
Are you trying to lose weight?  Have you been on one yo-yo diet after another?  What's different this time?

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Instagram:  @tracoleman99