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Morgana Turned 12!

January 25, 2015

Holy mackerel and various other migrating fish.

My offspring has just turned 12.  Oh my various heathen deities.

She is no longer a little kid.  She’s changing every day.  It’s really freaking me out.

I mean it too.  When they’re babies and toddlers all children change very rapidly.  New parents are often stunned at growth from week to week.  (I know I was!)  Then it feels like maybe the changes aren’t quite so rapid for a little while.  They get a good few years of just kinda being a kid.  But now?  Now on the cusp of teenagerhood?  The changes are all coming so fast again.  My child is maturing out of childhood at such a rate that it feels immediately observable.  GAH.

Nevertheless, I see that she is still a child.  No change is seamless.  At times she can astound me with the mature depths of her thoughts and musings.  At other times, she can be every bit a child again.  These two may co-exist within the same hour.

I myself recall the years that follow at this age to have been rough ones.  I can only hope that she will have a drastically different experience than I did.  (“Awkward” doesn’t begin to cover it.)  I am heartened by the fact that Morgana is a lot more confident than I was at that age, and hasn’t exhibited any dissatisfaction with the person she is becoming.  (She has friends who worry about their looks, and she really wishes that they wouldn’t.)

I don’t blame little girls for being hard on themselves, although I too hope that they find the strength not to be.  I’m not going to turn this into too much of a feminist rant, but being mother to a girl growing up in our culture?  It makes me so nervous.  We, as a society, are not always kind to girls and women.  As much as I sometimes wish I could, it is impossible and unfair for me to try to shield her from everything.   I can only give her tools to help her make the right decisions.  I can’t be her bodyguard, or even her best friend.

I am, however, very proud to be her mother.  Plus, you know, so far, so good!  She’s proven herself to be smart, funny, just a touch sarcastic, full of nerdy references and on top of that she’s adorable. ;)

I couldn’t be more thrilled or more grateful.

-Jenn

P.S.  I am also very grateful for my awesome partner, Jason.  He not only made homemade pizzas for our sleepover birthday guests, but also put together an amazing ice cream cake…the remnants of which are threatening to become my lunch at the moment!

P.P.S.  I would be a bad person if I didn’t also thank the moms; mine and his.  The moms brought yummy party snacks.  We love our moms. :)

Happy

 

Portrait of an ENFP: “Disconcertingly Spontaneous”

January 23, 2015

Why hello, gentle reader.  How are you?  Long time, no chat.  I’m mostly good, since I know y’all were curious.  ;)

Boy, looking back at this blog I realize that I have a lot of drafts piled up.  There are so many written odds and ends that I’ll have to get around to finding a use for someday. (Hopefully some day soon!)  Most of them are pieces I started and just lost the mustard for about halfway through.  I don’t think it’s good for writers should throw out such odds and ends.  You never know when an idea might fit well somewhere else, or when you might be inspired by something left unfinished.

Found most of this post in that section.  Heh.  The blog as a whole is feeling pretty “unfinished” right now.  ERMAHGAWD, I have so much I want to say/rant about/update you on!  However, I will not overburden this one post with an explosion of overly-enthused rants.  I promise!  (That would be altogether too ENFP of me!)  Speaking of which…

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I thought it might be fun to talk about that.  Did you know that there are a whole bunch of lunatics out there like me?

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Yep!  In fact, we’re like, 7% of the population!  I know it doesn’t determine everything, but I love the fact that I’m a Myers-Briggs ENFP, and that means that I…am a study of excitability and extremes.  (It’s all there in my personality profile.)

“ENFP” is a personality designation given according to my answers (on repeated occasions) to the questions posed by the very popular Myers-Briggs personality test.  The test divides people into 16 possible personality types.  Each letter has a meaning:  the types are made of of all the possible combinations of 4 separate dichotomies.  These are: Extraversion/Introversion, Sensing/Intuition (represented by ‘N’), Thinking/Feeling and Judging/Perceiving.  The four preferences you express give rise to a very general idea of who you are.  It is not intended to fully define you, and we all sometimes act a little unpredictably.  (I’m supposed to be extremely extroverted and generally positive, but even I can feel sad and shy sometimes!)

I tried to find the free online ENFPversion of the test that I took (it was on a pretty official Myers-Briggs site) but I can’t find it now.  I DID however find a test here, and there is also  a lot of information about all of the types on the site.  It’s pretty fun to explore, and I think you should check it out for yourself if you haven’t already.

According to the information I’ve read, people like me tend to be a little reliant on their verbal skills (The  phrase “silver tongued” was used) and are also extremely passionate.  This makes us basically born advocates.  The ENFP will always speak up for a cause they believe in.  We naturally feel as if we’re out to create change in the world!

Or, you know, at least act foolishly in it…

ENFP (1)Here’s a bit of a more serious breakdown about loud-mouthed folks like me:  Portrait of an ENFP.  Honestly, it’s a little uncanny.  I think the 3rd paragraph is particularly good:

“ENFPs…are good at most things which interest them. Project-oriented, they may go through several different careers during their lifetime. To onlookers, the ENFP may seem directionless and without purpose, but ENFPs are actually quite consistent, in that they have a strong sense of values which they live with throughout their lives. Everything that they do must be in line with their values. An ENFP needs to feel that they are living their lives as their true Self, walking in step with what they believe is right. They see meaning in everything, and are on a continuous quest to adapt their lives and values to achieve inner peace. They’re constantly aware and somewhat fearful of losing touch with themselves. Since emotional excitement is usually an important part of the ENFP’s life, and because they are focused on keeping “centered”, the ENFP is usually an intense individual, with highly evolved values.”

It’s a lot of what I already know, but it’s neat to see all of that stuff in writing.  The values thing is a BIG deal to me.  I have always believed in having a moral code, and I really do try to live up to it.  (Knowing of course that I am imperfect, and fail at it sometimes too.)  I believe in self-improvement and in aiming to be “the change you wish to see.”  I believe in honour, and it comes from doing the right thing.  I want my ideals to drive who I am.  I always have something to strive for.  (I also DO need to make sure I stay “centered” instead of flying off on random tangents!)

I also found all kinds of interesting images for “ENFP” when I looked.  We ENFP’s seem to be a largely eccentric and big-hearted group. Sometimes I DO feel a little like this…full of love for everyone!

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I also like how EVERYTHING I read pointed to a lack of love for the mundane paperwork of life.  Like, we SUCK at doing boring, tedious things, and we like to break rules.  Screw drudgery…I NEED AN ADVENTURE EVERY DAY!

Don't box me in.

Don’t box me in.

Told ya.  Can’t be helped.  It’s hard-wired in.  ;)  In fact, the best phrase I read about my type? “Disconcertingly spontaneous.”  Yeah,  Baby.

I hope everyone looks into their type if they haven’t already.  It’s great fun, and it can help you to see things from an outside view, or to understand why you and your partner/mother/best friend have some trouble seeing eye-to-eye.

Anyway, I’d love to write more about this for you all, but, frankly, I’ve got some other things to rant about/take action against here at home, I’m daydreaming about cupcakes, and I’m currently distracted by both deep universal questions surrounding my life’s purpose and my fluffy grey cat.

Whee.

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My Open Letter Against Fracking

August 19, 2014

Hey errybody!

I was really freaked out to hear that the province in now even considering fracking on the West Coast.  Naturally, I have been writing!  I have sent a couple of variations of the following both to The Telegram and to Minister of Natural Resources.


 

I am absolutely disgusted to see fracking even being talked about as a potential possibility in my beautiful home province.  These discussions are obviously the first step required on a long road to implementing a practice which has proven to be devastating to environments and human populations elsewhere.

I was very hopeful back in November when there was an outright moratorium placed on fracking activities in the province.  Since the province’s stance has changed, I feel it necessary to speak out against this development.

I realize there’s money to be made from fracking.  Who would be surprised to know that there is more money to made by getting more oil out of the ground more quickly?  I hardly think anyone questions that.  What they should be questioning is whether the non-financial cost of doing so makes hydraulic fracturing worth it, and we already know that it’s not.

Fracking fluid requires thousands of gallons of highly toxic contaminants.  (With many operations even refusing to disclose their “proprietary” blend of chemicals.)  These gallons and gallons of contaminants have been found to include hundreds of chemicals, including many known carcinogens and toxins.

The creation of the fluid also requires 1-8 million gallons of freshwater to be used per well, per fracking.  That essential freshwater is then lost forever from the water cycle.  We can never get it back.  We may be surrounded by ocean, but we need as much freshwater as we can get.  It is required for life, and constitutes just 3% of all water on earth.  This water is rendered far worse than useless to us, as the contaminated fluid goes on to pose a disposal problem. It is left to evaporate in open air ponds or sealed into injection wells.  Either way it goes on to  carry additional risks, including increased air pollution and the possibility of it having to be transported off-site.

Apart from the huge drain on essential natural resources, methane production from processing and the safety risks, we cannot even be assured that waste water will stay safely contained.  It is already known that methane and other toxic chemicals leach into groundwater during the fracking process.  That is a fact.  It is pure blindness to refuse to acknowledge that the act of fracking itself is poison.  A Duke study found that Methane levels in private water wells are an average of 17 times higher in wells within 1,000 feet of a natural gas drilling site.  Fracking chemicals are already doing immediate and lasting environmental damage.

The number of documented environmental infractions and cases of water contamination number in the thousands.  The water contaminated by fracking sites has ruined many lives already through sensory, respiratory, and neurological damage.  The environmental costs are not just great, they are extreme, and they have proven themselves to be extremely dangerous.  It sickens me that a study is even being undertaken to consider hydraulic fracturing in Newfoundland.  This feels too much like the first step in letting the oil companies have their way; a first step down a dark road.

I do not care if big oil whines when the people push back.  In fact, I desperately hope to see more and more people driven to action against the relentless domination of the oil companies.  The province must think about a secure environmental future, as well as a financial one.   That simply isn’t possible if we allow hydraulic fracturing.

In the end, fracking is about one thing, and one thing only.  It’s the same thing it has always been about, and it’s the only argument proponents of fracking have got: money.  But greed shouldn’t be enough.  It has to stop coming first.  What an insult to see our government even consider putting fuel before before water.  Fracking doesn’t belong in our province.  It is time for ordinary people to get informed and speak out.

-Jenn

Boobs! Ass! Street Harassment!

August 5, 2014

Street harassment.

I don’t really relate to it like that.  “Street harassment.”  Sitting there, in typed letters, so simple.  Really, I’m a feminist, and I am SO against any form of harassment, but I have to admit it still sounds like…something that wouldn’t happen to me.  “Harassment” has nothing to do with me, or my experiences, or my life.

The formal-sounding “harassment” almost makes it seem distant.  “Harassment” feels like what they call it in a news article.  It’s awful, but they write about it with reference to other people.  It does not feel like a thing that I experience.

For some reason, it does not feel like when a stranger downtown grabs your ass so hard it hurts.  It does not feel like having obscenities yelled at you.  It does not feel like being uncomfortably catcalled.   It does not feel like being followed home.  More than once.  In different provinces.

I even have a friend who once told me about a man who put his hand up her skirt on a city bus.  Broad daylight.  Other people on the bus.  And he did this to her like it was no big deal.  This friend of mine, this tall, brave, independent friend of mine, did what many do in this situation.  She froze.  She just didn’t know how to react.

I never called any of those things “harassment.”  I don’t remember my friend ever doing so either.  I don’t know why.  To me at least they were just crappy things that happened.  I didn’t give them any title.  I wouldn’t have wished them on anybody else, but all of the girls I knew had a story or two and could relate.  Just gross stories that we might occasionally tell each other.  Creepy stuff.  Guys who really love boobs, or butts, and just get awful about it.

So common.  So normal.  But so not ok.

Even to see those things that have happened to ME laid out like that, and to think of other times (guys talking loudly about things they wanted to do to me, being slapped on the ass by an unidentified stranger in a crowded bar, having guys attempt to grind into me at concerts, or grab my breasts in a crush of people…) makes me kind of shocked that I never really saw it all fully for what it was.  This crap is street harassment, and it bloody happens all the time.

WHY is this still a problem?  I saw this on Upworthy, and it really made me think about it:

Actually, if you want to really make yourself sick over it, read the hateful comments below the video!  (Actually, no, don’t do that…you should never read YouTube comments!)

It drives me very insane to know that there are people who don’t think this stuff happens.  Like it is all a big, elaborate feminist conspiracy.  Ugh!  I wish it were a lie!  I never ever want to think of another girl getting harassed for walking down the road, or going to see a band again.

But it happens.  I know it does.  No matter what deniers and utterly horrible YouTube commenters say.  You, reading this now, if you have a vagina, have likely been street harassed.  If you haven’t, you likely know many people who have.  If it happens or has happened to you, you should know it for what it is.  It’s street harassment, it’s a problem, and it makes a lot of women very, very nervous.

This is NOT something we should downplay.  Refuse to accept this as normal, even if that means getting loud in public or awkward conversations.

A Pervading Sense of Doom: The Perfect Time for Glitter!

July 28, 2014

I was feeling pretty blue.  I’ve been buried under my school work, and my “to-do” list is still long and scary.  (Procrastinating right now!)  As well, I am facing the pressure of soon, you know, finding an actual job.  Plus, have you witnessed the news lately?  I’ve seen way too many bloody pictures.  The world is one messed up place.  Add into all that the fact that my back stopped working a little over a week ago, and you can see why I was tempted to wallow.

When I say “stopped working,” I mean it.  The weekend before last, when that back thing hit, I was completely debilitated.  I couldn’t walk, or even stand normally, and I was in a lot of pain if I moved too rapidly or in the wrong direction.  My back was swollen our of shape with inflammation.  I was taken to the emergency room by my parents.  (Awesome of them.  I was in no condition to drive myself!)

I had to be wheeled into the hospital.  Nevermind that I was doing bench presses and back squats earlier that very same week.  I was so incapacitated by back pain that I needed a wheelchair. Once we got there, I was eventually given a prescription for some anti- inflammatory drugs, a couple of pain killers and told to arrange an MRI.

So, yeah, something was/is pinching low down in my back, and no one is quite sure what’s happening.  It feels similar to what has happened to me before, but it was exceptionally bad this time.  I have had an x-ray on my back previously, but they didn’t see anything weird.  Now I have to wait for them to call me for the MRI, so for now I will probably try to find ways to train around it.  Quitting entirely is not in my plans.

I might have to remove my permanent body jewelry for the MRI too.  No more neck or cartilage piercing!  I would want them back immediately!  Nooooo!

Enough of my whining.  That’s not my point.  Or, rather, that’s the exact opposite of my point.  I was feeling pretty blue, like I said, but then I really started to think about it…

Horrible things happen every day all over the world.  To innocent people.  To children.  To animals.  Without rhyme or reason sometimes.  It’s sickening and scary.  You’ve got a couple of ways to process that thought.

You can ignore it. I think sometimes people feign ignorance of real issues because it is much, much easier.  Not being informed is one thing (shame on you!), but pretending you’re uninformed is a different thing altogether; a conscious choice.  One that let’s you more or less go along on your merry(?) way.

You can let it bother you.  Google the word “Gaza” and try not to feel something.  You can certainly let it depress you, shatter your faith, or break your trust in humanity.  This is hard.  A hard way.  Hard on the soul, and hardening to the heart.  There is more than enough terror to leave you harrowed and haunted for the rest of your life.  Plus, we humans, cursed beasts that we are, have access to eternal information.  If you want to scar yourself, you can find adequate material on YouTube.

But what happens to you then?  The anxiety spreads, and your thoughts develop a chokehold on your psyche.  Oh sure, you could try, but who are you to even dare to try, in the face of the knowledge that people are dying half a world away…for nothing?  What right have you, little powerless you, to hold on to your shred hope?  Are you a star?  A powerful politician?  A king or a president?  Do you have millions of dollars in your bank account?

Well, after all of this lead up, I am sure you can tell that I wouldn’t want to leave you feeling so hopeless!  Let us discuss another option.  A third option.  Let us consider the option being hopeful in spite of.

This appeals a little to my inner rebel.  It’s a little bit in-your-face to just not uphold the doom and gloom of reality.  I mean no disrespect, and I would never advocate pretending that real issues don’t exist.  I just mean that I came back to this third option, again, in the midst of my feeling blue, and it’s the one that  really works for me.  I want to believe that I can try to be positive, in spite of everything.

I know it sounds simplistic, or maybe infantile, but you really have to believe that you can radiate peace and hope.  I know that if I tell this to some people, they will think I am being a little too “fluffy bunny” about this.  I disagree!  This is a very challenging thing to do, and it takes strength of will to accomplish.  It is our duty as upstanding human beings to make the world better by the measure of our own actions.  I’m a big fan of that famous quote typically attributed to Gandhi; “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  If the world needs more love, then maybe you’d better be willing to extend some.

It won’t make the atrocities end.  Still, you can control at least the space you occupy.  You can recreate that, at least, as sacred and safe space.  I know that I have said things similar to this before.  (Hey, I’m relearning some of the same lessons over and over…takes time to get it right!)  I still think it’s important to come back to.  You will stick out like a sore thumb for daring to be happy and loving sometimes.  You will also (I know I do) frequently fall short.

But that’s what reminders like this are for.  There are times when things are at their most bleak…that’s the time you need to be the brave one with a handful of glitter!

 

Love in spite of,

-Jennnq

I’m Happy. (A Final Post on Internet Haters)

June 10, 2014

I’m one emotional beast.

Oh sure, sometimes I come on like a banshee-screaming dump truck.  Sometimes I’m all, “STAY OUTTA MY WAY AND DON’T PRESUME TO TELL ME WHAT I CAN AND CAN’T DO.  I HAVE WEIGHTS TO LIFT AND A WORLD TO CHANGE.”  At my best, I am an all-dancing, all-singing explosion of excitement, possibility, silliness and self-confidence.

Then again, I know I have a soft and smooshy center.  I love babies, warm cookies, puppies, beautiful music and long walks in the woods.  I cry during some commercials.  I believe in communities, mutual respect, and that all people start off pretty decent; we just mess some of them up some along the way.  I really want for us all to be friends, and to work toward a mutual understanding of each other.

I’m so smooshy that it genuinely hurts to get shut out of the conversation.  I have previously been ignored for being: a woman, a liberal, a feminist, muscular, an LGBT ally, “ugly,” a “Satanist” and for a myriad of other insane reasons.  It drives me nuts to be muted by someone for some inane reason that “proves” I’m not in possession of a valid opinion.

Do you think I’m exaggerating?  Lots of the time people do.  (Because there’s no need for feminism, and everyone knows women get treated like gold on the internet!  Or…something!)  I tell you without an ounce of dishonesty that I have been routinely “discredited” when I try to weigh in a topic for reasons such as these.

Just this morning I was called a “dyke,” referred to as being “ugly,” and even (here’s the kicker!) told (more than once) all about how I “look like a man.”  Oh yeah.  Totally me.  So masculine.  At a curvy 5’5″ with big lips and high cheekbones.  I know you’re all thinking of what an intimidating total DUDE I am.

RAWR!!!! JENN-HULK SMASH!

shesmash

I can’t even HELP what a DUDE I am!

 

Yeah, I know that guys can get mercilessly trolled too, and that sucks.  Really.  Still, it’s less frequent, and it’s less frequent to see an argument so quickly become not about political views, but about straight-up body snarking.  We are living in a culture that needs to do some serious work with regards to how it treats women.  That much is obvious.  Plus, like I’ve mentioned before, it’s terrifying, because it’s not just the resilient people (I think I’m one) who get called down to the dirt for nothing.  What about younger women?  What about less self-confident women?  What about women with a history of being abused?  The way ordinary women are treated in public discourse is deplorable!

My point isn’t “Oh! Poor me!”  Believe me, I’m not a victim.  I don’t want or need pity.  This isn’t about me personally, or even directly about my being harassed on the internet.  I’m getting the point that this crap is so typical that it gets spewed around at anyone who is, A) female and, B) outspoken.  I blocked one guy for the aforementioned comments this morning, but give me 5 minutes and I could probably find another whose arguments quickly turn into a dissertation on my hideousness.  It’s not a unique phenomenon.

Here’s what I’ve got in my toolkit of asskicking, however:  I won’t let the bastards grind me down.  If you’re someone with a vagina AND an opinion, neither should you.  Does this mean engaging in a day-long Twitter battle with a petty person?  Does it mean going to great lengths to prove I’m actually not a heinous beast?  Does it mean defending myself, my relationships and telling all of the mean people to please, please stop hatin’?

NOPE.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.

It means happiness.  Pure and simple.  It means a belief that I am, and that I am allowed to be, happy.  It means refusing to let anyone shake that, and walking away to do my own thing.  A troll has no power to stop me from doing the things that help me to feel good.   Sometimes being happy means being relentless with the positive self-talk, but, by golly, it’s worth it.  (By the way, nothing seems to bother haters so much as being unshakeable in your happiness!)

Anyway, I know this rant is similar to things that I’ve posted before.  I just wanted to come back out and maybe encourage someone else to keep that focus in mind.  I’m emotional, but I can choose how I channel those emotions.  I believe that  no matter what we have the power to put our own happiness and self-care first.

It’s either that, or simply throttle the offending party with your giant-ass man hands!  ;)

Yours in intimidating, gorilla-like masculinity,

-Jenn

My Super-Secret Diet Secrets!

May 21, 2014

**I had meant to publish this after my show.  I never did.  It’s funny, because right about now I could use some of my own advice!  If this helps anyone, I’m very happy.

Please let me start by saying that I am in NO WAY a medical health professional.  If a professional has told you something different from what I say here, please listen to the nice person with the credentials behind their name.  I also assume no responsibility for anyone doing anything that I mention, and then getting a bad/undesirable result.  That said, I promise that I am only saying things that I myself belief to be true, and that this stuff works/worked for me.  Maybe something here could work for you too?  

After the attention my post about doing a bikini competition received, I was the recipient of many very kind messages.  I was so overwhelmed that I totally cried.  (More than once!)  It was very awesome, and I am very grateful. Another thing that came along with these positive messages were a few requests for advice, and insight on training, etc.  I am sorry to say that while I am flattered, I still probably don’t have anything earth-shattering to share with you!  I also feel compelled to warn anyone reading this that I really do believe that training is hard work sometimes.  I don’t have short-term fixes, or any very fast ways to get “skinny,” or anything like that.  That’s not me, and that’s not how I train.  There is a time-investment that comes with fitness, and although it is completely worth it, you kinda have to just suck it up and put in the time. Still, here are some things that do stick out for me from my process, and I am happy to share them.

1) Plan, plan, plan.  It’s non-negotiable.  You need a plan.  I wrote out a daily meal plan for every day of the week.  I keep it in my daytimer, so I always have it.  I wrote it out in pencil, so that I could make minor adjustments over time.  This worked well, as I also added in things like certain supplements around my meal times, or reminders to myself that by 10PM or 10:30 I should be getting ready for bed.  (Didn’t always work!) I also forced myself to actually follow my plan by cooking up my whole day’s worth of food the night before and packing it in a cooler bag.  This made it pretty hard to mess up eating during the day.

The same thing goes for gym time. I had certain workouts planned for certain days of the week, and I always, always, always record the weights I’m using.  I do this so that I’ll know for next time where to start, and so I can see my progress over time.  All of my workouts get written down, and then I log ‘em on fitocracy later for some extra motivation! (Nerdy!)

2) Get up early.  Ugh.  I love night-time.  I love being up until the wee hours of the morning.  (Seems like the best time for writing and deep thoughts.)  However, for productivity/having a life purposes, I had to get my workouts in mostly ahead of regular working hours.  Getting up early super-sucks, but it helps me so much.  This is, in my experience, the easiest way to get in a big workout and still maybe have some time to relax.  (Maybe.)

3)  Protein in the AM.  Not carbs.  (Sorry.)  I noticed a big difference in my satisfaction/hunger level when I ate a protein pancake, half a grapefruit and coffee in the mornings.  (My protein pancakes are just egg-whites, protein powder, some spices/cocoa and occasionally spinach blended in.)   I found that this kept my hunger far more in check than when I ate steel-cut oats or other carbs.  It seems better to have carbohydrates a bit later in the day.

4)  Coffee and grapefruit.  I’m going to mention this combo again.  I am a coffee-lover, and there is no doubt that caffeine has a fat-burning/thermogenic effect.  However, it’s impractical and unhealthy to drink a boatload of coffee just to burn fat!  Thankfully, the combination of grapefruit and coffee can start you off on the right foot and keep  you burning.  (The grapefruit can actually extend the effects of the caffeine.)  This is a little thing that I think can make a difference, and one diet “trick” that I actually do believe in.

5)  Workouts should be more quick and intense than long and repetitive.  Super-sets, sled pushes, sprints, running up a hill…these don’t need to be marathon sessions.  They just need to be tough.  You might love distance running (I do!) but you might get far better results from hill sprints (I did!).

6)  Sleep.  So important.  So ridiculously important.  More important than I thought.  A stressed, exhausted body will simply not make the changes that you want it to.  Lack of sleep also makes those cravings harder to fight!  I eat way more on tired days.  No question.

7)  No Naysayers!  Lots of people will act like health and wellness are these completely crazy things for you to pursue.  (This is worrisome about society in general.)  You will hear all kinds of weird theories, advice and reasons you should do things differently.  (I once worked with an older woman who was genuinely worried that all my running would somehow er…dislodge my uterus.  Really.)  Given the sheer number of sudden experts whom you will encounter, you will have to get used to smiling and nodding, even when you are told that your diet is crazy, that you’re training too hard, and that it’s a real shame that you’re losing your boobs.  (Shocking what some people think passes for polite conversation!)  Then, if you’re smart, you will keep smiling as you walk away, stick to your plan, and reap the rewards!

8) Fat isn’t the thing making you fat.  This one is kind of funny and yeah, it’s counterintuitive.  In fact, I really wish we called healthy fats and oils something else!  The stuff that we think of as “fat,” whether it’s in nuts, olive oil or avocados, is the least of most people’s worries.  The crap in your cupboard in boxes labelled “crackers,” and “cereal” however?  The news there ain’t so good.  See, while we actually need healthy fats, and it’s probably safe to indulge in a little extra EVOO now and again, we do NOT need a pile of bleached flour, assorted sugars, or extra-processed anything.  I have met people with weight problems who are seeking to lose weight, and who are terrified to use healthy oils in cooking!  In my experience, they are often very scared of the word “fat,” but are less-spooked by genuinely bad-for-you white carbs. Your body requires some oil for brain functioning and for things like hair, skin and nails.  This is not the enemy.  (I am thankful for this, as sometimes these fats can mean a lot for how satisfying a meal is.)

9) Indulge.  You too can be one of those people who can eat chocolate cake, or nachos or pizza and still not gain weight.  As long as you keep up your training and limit it to once a week!  You won’t last if you never have a night out or a bowl of pasta.  Being a fitness martyr is no fun.  Indulge.  Indulge without guilt and enjoy every morsel.  A guilt-free “cheat” meal is way better than tearing yourself to pieces for wanting to eat things that you know are bad to you.  A great diet most of the time is stellar, but let’s not forget that you’re human too.  (This human loves dark red wine, good chocolate, and the glorious savory meals that my partner sometimes cooks for me!)

10)  Water with lemon.  Forever.  Anyone who sees me regularly has also probably also seen my water jar.  Yes, a jar.  I used to have a water bottle, but I kept misplacing those.  Now I have a full-on Mason jar, and I take it just about everywhere.

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I really believe in the detoxing/digestion-enhancing effects of lemon water.  I also love how it tastes!        Most people could use more water.  It doesn’t have to be a big ol’ Mason jar, but I believe very much in this healthy habit.

 

 

11)  Have a goal.  Is your fitness going somewhere?  It should be!  I know that I personally need a carrot at the end.  I want to become different in some way.  It’s not that I don’t like me now.  It’s just that if I am going to decide to improve myself  somehow, the improvement needs to have purpose.  Do I want to build muscle?  (This means I may eat more, train a bit heavier and not do as much cardio.)  Do I want to speed up my running?  (This would mean lighter weights and more time devoted to actual running and tackling hills.)  Your goal is the frame for your approach.  Where do you want to be 6 weeks from now?  6 months?  Things are easier if you know the answer to these questions.

12) Love the Process.   I would never go to the gym 5-6 days a week to do something I hated.  Luckily, I happen to love listening to fun music, getting a little time to myself, and treating myself well by challenging myself with weights and running.  My gym time is my ritual.  It’s my physical metaphor for hope and possibility.  It is my “me” time, and it is so important to me to carve it out.  If I didn’t love it, I would find something else. (I found this the most frustrating with regards to the aforementioned “naysayers”; some people really think that working out a lot is self-torture!  Please believe that I go to the weight room with a smile on my face!)   Ways to fall more in love with the process:

  • Do exercises you actually like (Simple, but important!)
  • Fly solo if you need a break
  • Call on a friend if you’re more the mutual-support type
  • Listen to a playlist that you know you LOVE (Spend time on this)
  • Wear comfortable gym clothes that you feel good in (NOT any old crap.  It makes a difference mentally!)
  • Pack some fancy shower products for afterwards.  (More fabulous=more happy.  An indulgent shower is a great reward!)

 Also always remember that this IS a process, and a little better today than you did yesterday is just fine.  I’m yet to have a “perfect” workout.  Plus, remember that the end goal is to feel good!  I firmly believe in health over appearances.  I would rather feel strong and capable than be 20lbs smaller and feeling tired and cranky.

So, that’s it.  No big secrets.  Just small changes over time, consistency and commitment.  Make a plan.  Use the plan.  Adjust the plan, and move toward your goals!

Onward.

-Jenn

 

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