28 July 2014

Schwinner! (aka, I'm now Schwinn Certified)

One of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year was to research becoming a group fitness instructor. That I started doing about a month ago and yesterday I made it a reality.

The certification class was held at my regular spin studio Harness Cycle and lasted eight hours, starting at noon. Our instructor was Robert Sherman and he was super friendly and personable, full of really great energy. There were about 15 of us in the class and a couple I knew from spin class although we'd never really talked to each other before so this was a nice opportunity to get to know them on a more familiar level.

Most of the time was spent in classroom instruction, with Robert going over bike setup, the indoor cycling coach's pyramid, music mapping, building class profile, etc. The instruction was broken up with Robert leading a class for all of us. It was an intense day full of lots and lots of information but I'm SO glad I took the leap and got certified.

And to think, I got on my first spinning bike just over a year ago when my fake sister (one of my real sister's best friends) got me to go to a class at my dad's gym the morning of Sissy's wedding. Growing up I had a love hate relationship with bikes, so without Nicole I would never in a million years have gone to a spin class on my own.

Before the start of class, Harness Cycle's owner Anne came in to talk to all of us and mentioned they are looking for new instructors. I'd love to jump on that bandwagon right now but there is half-marathon training and over the weekend I got confirmation of really big personal project, so it will probably have to wait until the winter.

But just being able to say I'm now a certified instructor is amazing and a testament to how far I've come. I don't think I ever would have had the self-confidence to even think about taking this route. Before, so much of it was about my weight and being skinny. Now my focus is on being healthy and fit and I love knowing I now have another option for inspiring other people.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

25 July 2014

the wolf who wins is the wolf you feed

This was not at all the post I had planned for this morning, but I've been reading the recently released third book in Deborah Harkness' All Souls Trilogy and one particular paragraph really struck me.

And when I say the paragraph "struck me," what I mean is I immediately stopped reading so I could write this post. So you just know that whatever it was, it's gotta be good.

Of course, I know plenty of people who read this blog who also are fans of the trilogy and I'm sure there are even more of you out there I don't know are fans, so without spoiling anything I'm just going to share the paragraph without any context related to the book:

"According to my grandmother's people, two wolves live inside every creature: one evil and the other good. They spend all their time trying to destroy each other...Nana Bets said the wolf who wins is the wolf you feed. The evil wolf feeds on anger, guilt, sorrow, lies, and regret. The good wolf needs a diet of love and honesty, spiced up with big spoonfuls of compassion and faith. So if you want the good wolf to win, you're going to have to starve the other one."

This so eloquently and succinctly sums up body image and healthy living and weight loss, like, I can't even.

We each have two wolves in us: the good wolf and the evil wolf and these two wolves are constantly doing battle with each other and whichever wolf we acknowledge or pay attention to is the wolf who succeeds.

Think of it in terms of body image: you're having a bad body image day (or, hell, a bad body image life) and you're feeling down on yourself so y'know, you start talking smack. All about your fat thighs and muffin top and how nobody will ever love you and whatever. By doing that you're feeding the evil wolf and the more you feed that evil wolf, the bigger and fatter and more powerful he's going to become.

So, the next time that happens, try and feed the good wolf instead. The other day, Organically Mo had a great post where she mentioned every day she stands in front of the mirror and thinks something positive about herself. It doesn't have to be related to her physical appearance, but it does have to be affirming.

That is Mo feeding her good wolf.

I started feeding my good wolf at FitBloggin when I decided to accept and love my body right now and it has completely changed my attitude towards myself and my lifestyle.

This is not going to be an overnight thing. Instead, it's kinda like owning a pet, right? You can't just stop feeding your pet and expect everything to be okay. Feeding your Good Wolf is a continuous process that has to happen on a daily basis. But the more you feed that wolf, the bigger, and fatter, and more powerful that wolf will become.

So the next time your Evil Wolf starts howling at the moon and whatnot, just tell that wolf to STFU because you have work to do

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

23 July 2014

maintenance mode, this time with doctor approval

This past Friday I went to my annual women's exam (OH YAY). My Nurse Practitioner (whom I adored) left for another facility soon after my appointment last year so this was my first time meeting my new doctor. Obviously one of the first things she mentioned was my weight, seeing as how I'd gained about 30-40 lbs in the past year.

Normally I take issues with doctors nagging patients about the number on the scale but in this particular instance I can understand her questions. She asked if there was something that caused it and I mentioned that both personal and professional stresses hit at the same time and while I had figured out the physical part of weight loss, I hadn't figured out the mental part so I was completely unable to cope with the stress. She nodded in understanding and asked how I lost the weight initially and I said Weight Watchers

So, this is where things get interesting since her follow-up question was related to what I'm doing to relose the weight. It's interesting because, well, as you guys know, my focus right now is maintaining this, albeit higher, weight. Which is what I told her. I said I've spent the past year and a half yo-yo dieting (which is exactly what it was, it just took me this long to put that label on it and when I did it was quite the light bulb moment, let me tell you) and that now I really want to stay where I am for right now and decide down the road. When asked how I'm doing with the mental/emotional stuff, I was able to sincerely say I'm in a much better place now.

This, then, naturally progressed to asking about what I do for exercise. After I said that I run, go to spinning classes, and practice yoga, she smiled and said "Okay, I'll stop harassing you."

She meant it as a joke and I think it was also a self-aware type thing of recognizing the concept of nagging patients about their weight, especially since we also talked about the fact that my tests are all good. But I appreciated that once I had been given the opportunity to explain why I was choosing the maintenance route and showed that I am active she let it go.

The next day was rainy and grey, so I headed to the mall to do some window shopping and give my FitBit a workout by walking around. I also stopped at Half-Priced Books and picked up this book on a whim.

I'm still reading through it and it has some flaws, but it's really challenging me to look at my body outside of just pounds and the BMI chart. It sort of bills itself as a diet book but it's not really, which is why I like it. The basic concept is that the health and nutritional needs of woman are different but most science and research has been focused on men and, as such, most dietary plans have been built on that whereas we woman need a different structure.

She talks about losing weight but I think the main message is about finding a healthy weight and while she mentions the BMI chart, she also talks about things like hip to waist ratio (mine puts me right in the middle of the moderate health risk, which is better than the high health risk) and body fat percentage (I measured myself, like, half a dozen times because this number still surprises me as it has me in the "acceptable" or "average" range -- which is great, obviously, but unexpected. I may see about going back to my doc and seeing if she has calipers she could use).

Much of what I'm reading in the book reminds of the "accept the body that is a result of my lifestyle" concept, which is why I think I'm finding something beneficial in it.

I also picked up two cookbooks:

You know me, I'm all about a healthy balance and I figured these show that in action. The Hungry Girl book is huge -- I don't even know where to start.

Of course, the addition of these two books to my cookbook collection meant I needed to switch the bookcase they sat on as I had officially run out of room on the other one. This is their new home and there is still plenty of room to grow.

Over the weekend, I asked BC if he'd ever like to come over and let me cook dinner for him. He said yes (what man wouldn't) and I have no doubt I'll be able to find something in one of these books to make!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

PS Funny story about Weight Watchers: a couple weeks ago I met the parents of one of my friends and I immediately recognized his mom although I could not for the life of me figure out where from. Ran into them again over the weekend and a few hours later it hit me: She was the leader of the Weight Watchers meetings I briefly attended back in the fall. I texted him to confirm and he said "I hope she was a good leader!" I said she was and that I even mentioned on my blog how much I liked her. SMALL WORLD.

21 July 2014

RnR CLE training has begun!

It's that time again! Starting this morning I am officially once again in training mode, this time for the Cleveland Rock 'n' Roll Half.

Last October, this was my very first half-marathon and I'm excited to get a second finisher's medal from this particular race, especially since the 2013 race was the inaugural event. I am once again using the same Hal Higdon training plan I used in the spring for the Cleveland Half Marathon and one of my favorite things about it is the fact that it's pretty flexible, which means I can adapt it to best fit my schedule. Like cross training with spinning on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Monday is "strength and stretch" day and this morning I was up bright and early to attend an Open Flow class at a studio just up the street from me. While training for the Cleveland Half, I only practiced yoga a couple of times so I'm actually really grateful that Alicia asked me to be an Official Blogger for Yoga Rocks the Park Cleveland because it's gotten me back into a neglected practice and the Open Flow class -- which I first attend last week as a sort of test run -- challenges my body in a really good way.

Congrats Austin and Reche, who won the two Quest Nutrition variety packs!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

18 July 2014

the one that is all authentically emmie's fault

One of my absolute favorite bloggers is Authentically Emmie. Like her moniker suggests, she's real and authentic and a bad ass plus size fashion blogger with a fabulous sense of style. So the other week, when she wrote a post highlighting some of her favorite Kiyonna pieces that were on sale, I decided to check the website out. Just to see.

This is sort of like that time I went to the humane society "just to look" at the cats and came home with Chloe.

In other words, you should already know how this story is going to end.

So, I purchased the Caleigh Convertible piece in navy and teal. When I realized the other day that this teal top with the big ol' flower thing that I've had for years almost exactly matches the teal in the skirt, I was ridiculously happy.

The mirror at work has seen many an Outfit Of The Day pictures

Adorbs, right? Originally marked at $68, I got it for $30. Now, I realize that sounds like a lot of money for a skirt but I forgot to mention the best part...

It converts to a dress.

I seriously need to buy a tripod. LOL

Threw on a wide black belt and blazer, switched the sandals I had been wearing for a pair of black wedges and boom. Perfect two-in-one Day to Night piece.

Ugh. Fine. I suppose I can forgive Emmie after all.

You still have time to enter my giveaway to win one of two Quest Nutrition variety packs!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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