Tuesday, March 31, 2015

My Goals Teach My Daughter

Currently I am training for a half marathon on May 30th and my next figure competition on July 25th.  After my first half marathon I swore I would never run another, but I did and now I plan on doing a couple a year :)  Pushing myself again and training properly showed me that I could do it and actually have fun.  My goal for this years Dam to Dam is only to beat my time from last year.  My goal for the figure competition is to bring the best ME to the stage yet.

I do these things because I enjoy them, I like to push myself and have discipline.  I love to work hard for my goals and I share my goals with my daughter.  She sees me put in the hard work from going to the gym to going out for long runs on the weekend and playing volleyball on Sundays.  Soon she will be running longer distances with me and she can't wait to be able to start volleyball.

Last night she had dance and they received the recommendations for levels for next year.  Bella just lit up when she got her sheet and came running out of the studio to show it to me.  She went up to Level 3 in all genres, she was in Level 2 for ballet, Level 1 for tap and Level 1/2 for hip hop.  She could not believe she skipped an entire level for tap and was extremely proud of herself.

As we were driving home and talking about her awesome accomplishment she just amazed me.  She talked about how much she loves dance and that she knows she leveled up like she did because of her hard work but also because she has so much fun with dance.  My eight year old then went on to explain to me that listening to her teachers, working on her technique while having fun was how she leveled up.  But even if she hadn't she would have still been happy because it isn't all about what level she is at right now as long as she always works hard, has fun and is confident in her goals.

I asked her where she got the idea of working hard, having fun and being confident was a way to reach her goals.  

She said, "from you and daddy silly.  I love how hard you work for your competitions and I love watching you stand on stage and I know you don't care if you win or not.  You taught me that it doesn't matter if you win, just that you reach your goal and have fun doing it.  Daddy helps you by training you and teaching you to pose and he is proud of you."  

I didn't know what to say for a moment.  All I could say was that I was extremely proud of her and that she such a very special little girl and as long as she continues believing in herself and working hard she can achieve anything she puts her mind to.

I know she watches us and learns from us it is just moments like that where it hits me hard.  I feel proud that we are teaching her about goals and truly hope she carries these thoughts with her as she gets older and gets into sports.  

Today as I run on my lunch hour with extremely sore legs from leg day on Saturday I will think of her and how proud she is of me, that pushes me even harder for my own personal goals.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Internet Trolls - Sadly They Make Women HATE Themselves - Please Read

This afternoon was a doozy!

There are internet trolls everywhere.  Clearly it is much easier to say mean, disrespectful, hurtful things to people while sitting behind a computer and typing on a keyboard.  I often wonder if these people would say what they are saying if they were face to face with the person they were being so cruel to.

Now I know not everyone is a fan of every body type.  Some people like women who are curvy, skinny, rounder, pear shaped, dare I say muscular.  We women come in all shapes in sizes, just like men, GASP!

One of my favorite physique competitors is Dana Linn Bailey.  She works her butt off, I admire her dedication, work ethic and honesty.  Not everyone is a fan of her physique and her photos are often full of comments from people telling her that she looks like "a disgusting man", "a roided out chick dude", I could go on and on but I won't.

Today she posted a selfie and in the caption she talked about feeling down after her previous competition and that she mentally let herself break down.  Personally it really hit home because I myself as we all know just had my own little mental break down in regard to competing on Sunday.  So I decided to comment on her photo.  My comment drew in a really creepy internet troll, I've never really dealt with one but I was blown away by his complete disrespect towards Dana and then myself.  He obviously doesn't know either one of us but it was very easy for him to sit at his keyboard and be cruel.

I was so upset, SO upset.  I decided to screenshot the comments, when I refreshed the page he had deleted some of his comments so I didn't get everything but I will fill you in.

Now I didn't really get upset until the guy called me a "roided out chick dude".  Really?  The screenshot on the left was the beginning of the conversation, the one on the right is the end.  He deleted all of his comments he had left after the "roided out chick dude" comment, why, I have no idea.  You would think he would have wanted to remove all of his horrible comments.

He responded to my NANBF competitor comment with, "arod was tested".  Apparently that means that because A-Rod the baseball player was tested and got away with it means that I take steroids and manage to still pass my polygraphs and urine tests.  Believe me, I am a natural competitor and I do not take steroids or anything else that would be considered illegal by the NANBF.  I take protein, pre-workout and BCAA's, clearly that gives me an edge and that is why I've made it to the Olympia stage *sarcasm*. 

His response when I mentioned hoping he didn't have a daughter, because truly thinking of this man raising a little girl TERRIFIES me, was that he DOES have a daughter.  The comment he deleted was that he hoped to raise her so she doesn't ruin herself like I have ruined myself.

That is why I made that final comment, this man acted like he knows me and that is creepy.  I was being 100% honest as I told him that I hoped he saves such horrid behavior for the internet rather than show his attitude toward women to his daughter.

The other gents weren't very kind either, trying to stick up for me and get the dude off of my post.  Honestly in a way I kind of appreciated their attempts, but THIS is one big reason why women are afraid to be who they are, to let people know who they are, to show that they are STRONG and CONFIDENT.  Because of cruel people like this man.  

It makes me so incredibly sad.  Be kind to others, you may not agree with what they do.  You know what though, you do NOT have to make cruel comments on their photos or make cruel comments that a fan left on a photo.  I was not the woman who posted the photo, I was simply a fan of Dana Linn Bailey and I got disrespected.

I do not have a son but if I did I would be certain to raise him to be respectful of everyone, especially women.  I would raise him to speak as if anyone can hear or read what he says.  That man's employers would be able to see his crude comments, I doubt they would like to have that type of representation.

The internet is cruel.  I've always known it can be, but I was never affected personally quite like today.

Be kind, uplift each other, show love and generosity instead of unprovoked hatred and disrespect.

I hate that I let that man get to me like he did this afternoon.  Thank you if you read this, I NEEDED this vent.  I will hug my daughter so extremely tight when I pick her up after work and remind her over and over again how extraordinary, special and beautiful she is, no matter what anyone says.  I will also say that to myself and remind myself that I am proud of who I am, a hard working mother, a loving wife, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin and friend, a woman who is proud of her accomplishments and has many more achievements to make.

Body Shaming - We Saw Cinderella

I took my daughter to see the movie Cinderella.  

Before we went I saw many articles about the actress, Lily James, who plays the part of Cinderella.  The articles were about how she went on a liquid diet in order to fit into the corset for the beautiful blue dress.  I shamefully jumped on the bandwagon immediately and was appalled that a woman would do something like that to her body, agreeing with many I follow on Facebook.

Then I saw more articles that included Lily James feeling the horrible effects of being body shamed.  We were all body shaming her without knowing from her exactly what she chose to do for that role.  As I read other articles where she explained that liquids during the scenes where she wore the corset didn't upset her stomach like solids did, I understood a little more.  She then explained that she is a small build naturally.  The explanation of a small build slapped me right in the face.

I have a daughter who is very petite.  What if someday, actually I don't even have to say "what if someday" because sadly at the age of 8 it has already happened to her.  Body shaming begins at a very young age and my sweet Bella has been teased more than a few times for being so "small" and has been told that she is too "skinny".

Bella is EIGHT.  I foresee her as being petite her entire life, maybe she won't be, maybe her body shape will change and she will become more muscular like her mom.  However she grows, IT DOESN'T MATTER.  What matters is that she is always confident and happy with herself, living a healthy lifestyle.

A couple of days ago I decided to wait a couple of months before I compete in my next figure competition.  I wrote about it in my previous post, I was body shaming myself and that is NOT where I want to be.

I have chosen this hobby of figure competing because I truly enjoy it, the one promise I made to myself was that I would never become ashamed of my body, be angry at myself if my progress is slow and never, ever put myself down for taking the time I need to improve myself in a healthy manner.  I acted the complete opposite on Sunday and I shocked myself.  Thankfully I have a truly amazing husband/trainer/coach who could see it all happen and he was there to pick me up and help me get right back to where I needed to be mentally.

As I think about that, I wonder if Lily went through some of those same feelings.  Knowing how much of the world was bashing her for what she chose to do for her movie role.  She was not on a liquid diet for the entire filming of the movie, people just assumed she was by her comments.  I bet she wished she had never mentioned how she made it comfortable for herself to wear that beautiful blue dress.

I am not saying I completely agree with the process she took.  Actors and actresses go to the extreme all the time for movie roles.  You know what so do bodybuilders, figure competitors, models, the list goes on and on.  I do hate how the entertainment community pushes for seemingly "thin" women and I also hate how so much of the fitness industry is focusing more on the sexualization of athletes and promoting poor nutrition to get "fit".  However I will truly make a conscience effort not to body shame.

The movie was beautiful, magical and plain amazing.  Bella LOVED it and she was extremely thankful to me for taking her.  She never once mentioned how Cinderella looked so skinny and honestly in the movie it wasn't something that completely caught my attention.  People have said they would boycott the movie because of how skinny Cinderella looked, they would not have their daughters see a movie where the main actress drank liquids rather than eating solids when she wore the corset.

You know what, the only way most of our very young children would even know that fact would be because we told them.  Why in the world would we feel the need to tell them anything about an actresses "diet" for a movie role?  Is it explained to them why some Disney or Nickelodeon actresses are smaller?  Probably not because they are simply a smaller build.

So let's stop the body shaming.  Some women are naturally thin, some women are naturally curvy, some women are naturally muscular.  Let women be themselves and let's hope that we can all find a way to be truly happy with ourselves and portray that kind of positive attitude to younger generations.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Reality Can Be Hard, Love Yourself ALWAYS

The past couple of weeks I have had some lower back issues, I have not been doing cardio like I should.  I have been on point with my nutrition and I was very happy on Saturday to have lost four pounds and 1.5% body fat!

Even with those happy numbers I still had a thought in the back of my head that I would not be ready like I want to be in time for the May competition.  On Sunday during my training I tweaked my lower back and had to stop early.  After stretching for quite a while we went to my husband's gym for posing practice.  As I stood in front of him in my little volleyball shorts and bikini top I asked him the dreaded question.  I told him to be 100% honest, then I asked if I would be ready by May 9th.  He told me that unless I kill myself over the next six weeks I will not be ready, not how I want to be anyway.

It was a full on break down moment.  I went into the restroom and cried for half an hour.  In my head I was ripping myself apart, I was angry, disappointed and feared I would disappoint those who knew I planned to compete in May.  

Then I pulled myself together and realized I was letting myself mentally go to a place I had always promised myself I wouldn't go.  SELF HATE.  I am a very fit woman, my upper body is exactly where we want it to be and do I need to work on my legs more to be a better ME than I was at my last competition?  Yep and so what.  There is no time limit on this, I can compete for as long as my body allows.  I do not do this to prove anything to myself other than the fact that I can work hard and achieve what I want.  I do not do it for the trophies or recognition, lets face it I am not a pro and the recognition I get is exactly who I want it from, my family and friends.  Especially my husband, my coach.

He couldn't tell me enough how proud he is of me, especially for making this tough decision.  We decided we would find a different competition for me to do this summer before the competition in my home town in October.  I will be competing on July 25th in the INBA/PNBA North American Natural competition in Chicago.  I am excited to compete in a different organization, away from home and to be in a bigger competition.

I will continue pushing hard and plan on bringing the best ME to that stage, then the hard work continues for my home town competition in October.

When I got home on Sunday and our beautiful daughter happily greeted us, she could tell by looking at me that I was feeling sad.  She asked me why I was sad.  I told her I just decided to wait to compete in July instead of in May and that it was making me a little sad because I was excited for the May competition.  The only words I needed to hear were hers as she said, "it's ok mommy, you always work the hardest and do your best and are always the best mommy.  We will have fun in July instead of May."

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Bad Mentality of Numbers

Let's be honest, sometimes numbers suck.  Not fun numbers like how many years you have been with your spouse, or the age of you beautiful children or even the years you've been at a job you enjoy.

Numbers in regard to our weight on the scale and our BMI are something we all hear about from a very young age.  I wish it wasn't that way, but it is.  We see the models in magazines, hear about many of these fitness models and celebrities, what their favorite "fad" diets are and how little calories they consume so they can proudly reveal their lower number they see on the scale.

Not all fitness models are that way, figure, physique and body builders are completely different.  Those women have weight to them, they are not afraid to share their higher numbers with others.

So why am I having such an issue at this moment in my prep?  I can honestly say the scale usually doesn't bother me.  When I've cut my calories and added in cardio for a week and the number doesn't budge a pound that does bother me.  When I stepped on the scale Sunday and saw the same number as last Sunday I was truly disappointed.  My ever supportive and amazing husband was right there telling me not worry about it, that I've spent the past year building muscle so my competition weight will most likely be higher than last year.

Even with his supportive and reassuring words my mind was still in the wrong place.  He saw this and I think for a moment he wasn't sure how to help me through this tough spot.  He went to his gym to make sure everything was good to go for this week and brought home their body fat scale.  I was excited and at the same time terrified.  I am currently at 18% body fat and I weigh 153 pounds.  For my height and weight, on the BMI chart I am the square right before you hit "overweight".  Now I do not have a photo to share of me right now, we will do some this week though.  But I can tell you I am far from being overweight.  

So while I am frustrated with the numbers at the moment I am even more frustrated with the damn BMI chart that is so often used.  It is in no way accurate, I do not care what anyone says and not a single person on this earth could change my mind.  That chart needs to be changed and it should not be used to determine someone as overweight or not.  I don't have a magic answer for what should be used though, in my opinion body fat percentage is the most important thing, but not everyone has the capability to know what their body fat is.

We have decided to drop my calories by 100 this week by slightly lowering my carb and fat intake.  I want everyone to know that I am still consuming a good amount of fat, you cannot burn body fat without taking in good fats.  The last thing I want to do is have my body start to burn off the muscle I've worked so hard for.

I do have high expectations for my weigh in and body fat this coming Sunday.  I will overcome the mental hurdle I am currently experiencing.  You cannot have a weak mind and you certainly cannot be someone comparing yourself to another competitor and striving to look like their body type in the world of figure competing.  I truly am striving only to be better than I was last year.

I will continue working hard and look for the positive changes that I am truly seeing and realize that I still have 8 weeks to go and these final weeks are when the biggest changes happen.  The number on the scale may be higher but that just means I've managed to grow my muscles which was the main goal in the first place!  I will also still work hard to teach my daughter about the process I am going through, she knows how hard I work these final weeks and her pride helps keep me going.  Last night as she was enjoying a piece of cheesecake because I will not deprive her of certain foods only because I can't currently have them, she said to me, "mommy you can have a tiny bite and I won't tell daddy".  It literally made me laugh, she knows her daddy is my trainer and coach, she didn't realize that he was standing in ear shot, he just giggled and told her it was perfectly fine for mommy to have one little bite of cheesecake.  I did have that tiny bite and it was satisfying, I didn't want anymore because then I got to enjoy a chocolate protein mug cake with fat free whipped topping :)

Here is a look at a photo comparison from last year, I can't wait to get another this week to compare to these two.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Shoulders, Kickboxing AND Volleyball

Yesterday turned out a little crazy.  Two a day workouts are a must at this point, especially when I start training for the Dam to Dam half marathon.

I began my day with Kyle at the gym at 4:45 for a shoulder workout.  I am trying so hard to get more size in my shoulders so we will be training them twice a week.  I went up in weight in almost everything.  However I still can't go up in lateral raises, 10lbs for 25 reps is more than enough for me.  I killed it in the gym and decided for cardio I would do the kickboxing class after work at Kosama.  I can take Bella there and she can watch, do homework or play on her tablet, so, so nice!

I had actually thought about not doing the kickboxing because I had a headache.  When I asked Bella what she thought she said, mommy I think we should just go to Kosama, you will have fun and it will probably make your headache go away and I really want to go there. She was right, I had fun, got my butt kicked and my headache went away :)  The classes there are killer, so intense, I can't say enough how much I am loving it there!

After class Bella and I headed home, Kyle stayed for the 6:30 class to meet more members.  I cooked up some yummy chicken fajitas with onions, green and red peppers and mushrooms.  I buy low carb tortillas and get them from the HyVee health food section.  Fajitas have become a weekly dinner item because they are easy, healthy and of course delicious!

I got an unexpected phone call at about 7:45 from one of the guys I play volleyball with on Sundays.  He needed a sub at 8:30.  I really wanted to just stay home but instead I went and played.  We won all three games and it was a lot of fun.

I hit my workout limit yesterday, feeling pretty sore today.  I'll be lifting chest and back over my lunch hour and no cardio today :)  I can't say I don't like cardio though, I could kick box every day and be incredibly happy about it!

With all of this and sticking to my plan I am seeing changes in my body.  My muscle definition is becoming more prominent.  This is when I really start to get excited, the body fat lowers and I can see everything I've worked so hard for, YAY!!!!! :)