Use your passion

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My 13 year old son loves video games.  He would play them all day if I let him.  He wants to design his own when he grows up.

This morning, I wrote a note to him to look up the websites a dance dad told him about a few months ago.  Then I wrote him another note that said, “Use your passion to create something new today.”  Why should he wait until he gets older to create?  Why not now? Why sit around playing someone else’s game when he can use his passion and creativity to design his own?

That applies to all of us.  Why sit around waiting for something to happen to us?  Why not get up and do something right now?  My 10 year old daughter and I created an etsy store a couple of months ago but haven’t done anything with it, yet.  We’ve been incredibly busy with other things and keep putting it off.  But why can’t we spend a little time each day working on it?

It’s all about prioritizing.

Prioritizing and using my time carefully are two things I’m horrible at.  Just ask my fitness moms.  I’ve done a very bad job this time around and feel just awful.  I’ve let myself get pulled in several directions and piled too many things on my shoulders. Slowly, my commitments are falling away on their on allowing me more time, finally. Today, I’m creating a schedule with a list of things I NEED to do and a list of things I WANT to do and allowing time to do both.  I’d rather dabble a bit here and there than only focus on one or two things.  This may not work for everyone but I want to give it a try.  I’m tired of reaching the end of the day not having made time to do things I enjoy. I’m allowing life to get in my way.

We only live once.  Make the most of it now.

 

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Tips for writing blog entries

I’ve been blogging for several years and writing reviews for almost as long.  I’ve read some really amazing review and blog posts and have also read some extremely atrocious ones.  Through my own experience and researching some articles, I’ve put together some tips that I hope are useful for you.

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  1. Be passionate.  If you are writing about something you don’t really care about, it shows in your writing.  I did this when I was writing entries for a weekly blog contest.  I lost sight of why I started blogging in the 1st place jus to win a few bucks
  2. Post often.  This is the biggest issue I struggle with.  Either I don’t have time or I can’t think of content.  Mostly I don’t make time- I have lists upon lists of content.  Set an alarm if you need to or a specific time of day.
  3. K.I.S.S- Keep it siple sweetie.  Try to keep it short.  Most readers are not looking to read a book.  Often times I write, write, write then go back and delete, delete, delete.
  4. Write how you speak.  Blogs are informal, like having a conversation with a friend.  Don’t try to be someone you’re not because you want to sound smart.
  5. Grab them right away.  Your 1st sentence should be exciting. Once you have a hold of them, use short sentences and simple words.  BE AWARE OF RUN ON SENTENCES!!!
  6. Try to make your post unique.  Someone else has probably already written something similar so put your own spin on it.
  7. When an idea pots into your head, write about it!  Or at least write it down so you don’t forget it (I have a huge list in my memos on my phone).  The sooner you can get “pen to paper” the better.
  8. Write a lot and write often.  You don’t have to post everything you write but the more you do it, the better you’ll get.
  9. Mind Map.  This bloggers explained it best.
  10. If needed, do research.  Unless you are an expert on your subject (or just writing your opinion) this isn’t always necessary.  If you’re not an expert, do research.  Don’t just Google and pick the first article that pops up.  Pay attention to to the website and remember that anyone with a credit card can create their own.  Make sure it’s credible.
  11. Edit.  For the love of God, edit.  PLEASE EDIT!  You don’t have to hire an editor but find a friend or family member who knows basic grammar, sentence structure and punctuation rules.  This is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF WRITING!!!!  If you want people to take you seriously, edit.  I’ve seen people lose credibility because they didn’t take the time to edit or ask someone for help. Fresh eyes may be able to spot a spelling error or help you word something differently.  I used to have my best friend edit every blog post.  I don’t anymore and sometimes I wish I did.  No one is perfect.  Hell, I have read several books with mistakes in them that a highly paid editor missed.  I read all of my posts at least twice before publishing then read them again after publishing them (most of the time).  99% of the time I have to change at least one thing.  I can’t stress the importance of this step enough.  Edit.

I hope these tips prove useful to you.  If you have anymore that you find successful, please post in the comments below!

Did you spot the errors?  Yes, I did them onpurpose.  See how important it is to edit?!

 

Making a fitness goal…while eating a taco

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know.  But it was a chicken taco, homemade.  Ok, Old El Paso homemade but at least it wasn’t Taco Hell which I’m proud to say I haven’t eaten in over a year.  Yuck.

And I only ate one even though I wanted three.  Fortunately my son went back for seconds and ate them all.

I should also confess that I had a slice of pizza for lunch.  Again, I only had one slice where I used to eat two or three.  Everything in moderation!  About an hour later, I really wished I’d had tuna, though.  :/

I started out great this morning.  But that’s pretty much how every day begins.  I had a protein shake, probably not the best one but it beats Coco Puffs and whole milk.  Hey, I’m making changes.  I use Publix vanilla protein powder, Quaker Oats oatmeal and reduced fat Peter Pan crunchy peanut butter (which I bought to make pb&j sandwiches but decided to cut out bread).

Back to my goal.  It’s the same goal I had last year but didn’t come close.  I want to compete in the WBFF (World Beauty Fitness and Fashion show).  My friend, Gina, competed a couple of years ago and won her pro card.  Yes, it would be awesome to win, but my goal is to walk on the stage and not fall on my ass or look stupid.  That’s all I want.

full.jpg  That’s Gina on the right.  Talk about motivation!!!

I know what I have to do.  I know the workouts needed, the coaching I’ll have to get and the foods I will need to eat.  I think I can do it.  There are 113 days until the WBFF comes to Tampa.  Time is running out so I need to put the pizza and tacos down and get busy.

Gina posted a promotional picture for the WBFF a couple of days ago and I liked it.  Today, I went back and commented on it.  I admitted out there for everyone to see that I wanted to do it this year.  About the same time, my friend, Connell, posted a picture of himself at a gym stating that he’s committed to better health.  Having someone who has their pro card believe in me and seeing Connell make his commitment is motivating.  Earlier today, I had a discussion in a group about restless leg syndrome.  A mom told me that once she started exercising regularly, it went away.  That’s motivating. (If you don’t have RLS, consider yourself lucky.  It sucks and is one of the reasons I was induced 2 weeks early with Maggerina Ballerina– shameless plug).

12924393_10209373992805964_753306302817983983_n.jpg   Love this guy!!

Getting rid of my “fat” jeans and pants was motivating.  I don’t want to ever need those again.  I’m not fat but I have fat I don’t want anymore. I have a lot of muscle to build.  Like, a LOT a lot. That’s motivating.  I run fitness challenges and need to be a positive roll model for my fitness moms.  That’s motivating.  So here’s my public announcement (again) that I want to compete in the WBFF on July 23rd, 2016 in Tampa.  Feel free to hound me on my Real Fit Mom Facebook page (like and follow!).  I check it throughout the day so I’ll see your comments and messages.  Are you ready?  Let’s go!!

Now go away so I can get my P90x done for today.  🙂

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What are your fitness goal?  What’s your motivation?  

How do you see me?

A dear friend of mine and a Tampa Bay Moms Group fitness challenge participant posted this article in our group this morning- On Concern For Your Fat Friend’s Health from the blog, Your Fat Friend.  It’s a little long but well worth the read.  I’ll admit I skimmed it the first time but took the time to sit down and read it again.  Really read it.

I’ll be honest.  Many times I do see overweight people as being fat.  Just like I see a black man as a black man.  I see a bratty kid as a bratty kid.  An old, white lady as an old, white lady.  Yes, they are different people underneath but you can’t see that when you look at them.  Read a book and you’ll see the words an author uses to describe someone.  They describe the way they look first.  Throughout the book, you learn to see the real person.  I’ll also be honest in saying that there are times I see overweight moms and want to tell them about my fitness challenges.  But I don’t because I don’t know them or their circumstances.  I’ll also admit that I am able to see beyond that.  There was a woman standing in CVS last week and I first noticed how pretty she was.  Then I noticed her weight and I wondered if others could see past her weight and see the beauty of her face.  And there is more than that.  She could have an amazing personality….or she could be a first rate bitch.  You can’t tell by looking at people on the outside but we can’t walk around getting to know every single person we see on the street and the outside is what we see first.

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As a society we judge.  It’s not right, but we do it.  We look at pretty people and assume they know they are pretty and sometimes we hate them for it. What we don’t know is that they may look in the mirror and see an ugly person wishing they were pretty. There was a mom who I didn’t know that joined my Real Fit Mom closed group on Facebook.  She was always posting about going to the gym and how much she could squat.  She annoyed me.  She annoyed others.  I can’t speak for everyone but for me, I sneered at her because she was actually getting off of her ass and going to the gym while I sat on my ass on Facebook.  Then I got to know her and I absolutely love her.  My best friend walks with her head held high, she’s confident and people assume she’s a bitch.  I’ve been walking behind her and have heard catty women say it flat out.  But, she’s one of the sweetest, caring people I know.

We look at (ok, I’ll just say it) fat people and automatically assume that if they’d just exercise and eat healthy that they will lose weight.  We look at them and assume that they aren’t healthy.  But, as the author of the above blog post states, that’s not always the case.  Just because someone has extra weight, doesn’t mean they aren’t healthy.  Even if they are, it’s not our business to tell them, or our right to judge them.  Chances are, they already know.  That’s between them and their doctor.  Furthermore, not everyone CAN lose weight.  I have two family members who used to be thin.  Both, for different reasons, gained weight but right now, neither one can lose it no matter how hard they try because of health issues.  Your Fat Friend may not be able to lose most of her weight like many others, but there are thousands who can.  I see it every day in fitness groups on Facebook filled with women from all over the world.  Most of them do it with time, exercise, healthy food, persistence and a shit-load of motivation and drive.  I’ve seen children do it as well.  Not everyone has to be fat but for those that do, don’t look at them and assume they are going to die because they are fat.  Chances are, they could have better cholesterol and lower blood pressure than you do.

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I decided to read a few other posts from Your Fat Friend and found The Divine Liberation of Calling Myself Fat.  She knows she’s fat and she’s comfortable with it.  She can joke with her close friends about it.  She knows she’s healthy, she knows she’s fat and she’s ok.  Other people will wind up hurting her feelings throughout her life, but she’ll get through those moments and most likely blog about it which can be extremely therapeutic.  Not everyone is that secure and we need to remember that.

I believe that, as a society, we are becoming too sensitive about things.  However, I also believe that we’ve become too comfortable hiding behind our computers.  Before you say something online, stop and think if you’d say it to someone in person.  If you would, and if it’s a mean comment, are you saying it because you’re having a shitty day or are you really just an asshole?  Either way, it’s not right but at the end of the day, you have to live with yourself and your actions- whether those are being a nasty person, an emotional eater, a determined fit mom, a pretty fat girl, an ornery old lady or a black guy wearing Harry Potter socks.

 

Goals….they are IMPORTANT!

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Sunday was the beginning of another health and fitness challenge on Tampa Bay Moms Group.  After much deliberation among the admins of the group, we decided to stick with the name Relentless but add II.  We also decided to add a brand new challenge group called Tenacious.  Relentless II is geared toward women seeking to fit back into old jeans, reach lower numbers on the scale or lose some inches.  Tenacious is more for women who have already reached their goal but want to maintain their weight, tone or start/need support for strength training.

Our first challenge for Relentless II (other than having the ladies email me their measurements) was to send me their long and short term goals.  What did they want to accomplish at the end of the 60 days?  What changes did they want to see in themselves?  What eating habits were they looking to quit?  I received some really touching goals, some very determined ones and one absolutely hilarious one.

These are 60 day goals, right?

I’m going with fit in a size 14 jeans, maybe 12. That would be nice. My fat belly just ripped out my last good pair of 16’s. Yeah, that really fucking happened. FML…lol

And on the note of my fat belly….I’d like to be able to see my vagina again. This fat bastard keeps getting in the way. You know, I just want to look down and be like “hey old friend. how ya doin?”. Instead I get this bloated, stretch marked bastard interfering.

There. Goals.

Did I win?

Shit. I forgot. I weighed myself last night – yeah, NOT doing that again….and I’m 2 fucking 30, damn.

Ok. I’m done now…lol”

I think everyone needed the laugh and the honesty.

I shared her goals in our private group, anonymously, and another mom commented this:

Oh my gosh, whoever you are I love you! I totally feel that way all the time. Like, I just want to be able to shave my bush without having to do freaking acrobatics and get short of breath. Also, my tits are HUGE! I mean, I’ve always been big. When I wasl like 115 in high school I had a 34D and I’m 5ft so that was pretty big on my frame. Now I don’t even know my real size. I gave up trying to find out its like a GG or EE or FF or something like that. Basically it looks like I have an additional huge ass sitting on my chest. I’d like for that to go down a little at least. Between the boobs and my stomach I really have a hard time seeing anything below.”

This is what these women need.  Pure, unedited, blunt honesty.  Moments like this bond them. They learn that they are not alone in how they feel.  Each of them have different goals but many of them were similar.  I’ll be doing another post about the rest of them as soon as I get permission to use their words.  This group has been amazing so far and it’s only the first week.  I still have room for a few more and hope that some of those from Relentless join us again.

I love running these challenges.  It makes me feel amazing knowing I’m helping these ladies find themselves again and teaching them that they aren’t just wives and moms- they are women, first.

Make a difference in someone’s life

I spend a lot of time on social media.  I see friends donating to charities, starting foundations, running for causes, collecting donations, creating businesses and more.  They are making a difference in people’s lives and in their families lives.  They are doing something big.  I look at my life and wish there was something I could do. I see their posts and feel like I need to do more.  I want to do something.

This week I was shown that I am doing something big.  I am making a difference in people’s lives.  But I don’t look at it like that.  With the Facebook memories popping up daily I recently realized that I’ve been doing fitness challenges for almost four years.  Some were successful, many were not.  Lately, they have really taken off.  I’ve mentioned before that I started them as an accountability for me.  I felt that if I had other moms going through the same thing that I’d stick to my goals.  I have at times but haven’t at others.  I was hit hard when I was rear ended two years ago (pun intended).  Getting up to my heaviest weight was a big wake up call for me.  Seeing health issues a friend was having also became a motivation.  I created the Healthy and Fit Challenge and it was the most successful challenge yet.  Hot For Halloween was kind of a dud but I did finally see 129 lbs on the scale for the first time in many years.

12235133_10208085194714424_1057883123288829991_n The challenges DO work!

Last month, 29 moms joined the Relentless Challenge.  They have definitely been relentless.  It’s been such a humbling experience for me.  I’m very hard on myself in many areas of my life.  I’m trying to use Relentless to let go of things I’ve held onto for too long.  There are several other ladies in the same boat.  It’s not just a fitness challenge.  I wanted to work on their self esteem, bad food choices, finding out why we procrastinate, how to motivate ourselves and more.  Their support for each other is phenomenal.  Their commitment is unwavering.  Their accomplishments are big and small and they share them all (now I sound like Dr. Seuss).

I don’t want a pat on the back and I don’t look for recognition for what I do.  When I created Real Fit Mom, I just wanted to inspire one mom.  Each time one mom asks me to do another challenge I feel like I accomplished my goal.  There are more out there that want and need help, motivation and inspiration and I’m happy to do it.  I don’t make any money from the challenges and that’s okay.  I don’t put my name in to win any of the incentives and that’s okay, too.  I get paid and I win every time I see a post about losing three pounds, giving up soda, going on a walk, working out with kids, getting a husband to join, making it through a tough workout.  I win and get paid when I see sweaty  sparkle selfies, progress pictures, working through a cold or flu, hitting 10k steps and more.

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These ladies have started to make me cry daily with their support, accomplishments and especially their gratitude.  I’m humbled, grateful, motivated, inspired, emotional and proud.  They are donating to their future.  They are starting strong foundations. They are creating healthy lifestyles.  They are doing something big.

And that makes it all worth it.  And makes me feel like I’m doing something big.  They make me happy and they make me smile.

 

Eating healthy during the holiday season

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Towards the end of my last fitness challenge, Hot For Halloween, I asked the moms when they wanted to begin the next one.  They all voted to start ASAP- they wanted help getting through the holidays.  Since so many people choose to shovel food in their face from Halloween to Christmas then make the totally typical fitness goals on January first, I was elated that my moms chose this route.  I was all too happy to help out!

Thanksgiving will be here in a few days so I created a document in our private group with several articles on how to survive the holiday food temptations.  Several of them were repetitive so here’s a rundown with the tips I thought were the most helpful (or repeated in almost every article).

  1. If you want it, eat it.  My best friend’s best advice is “everything in moderation.”  When you deny yourself, you’re just going to want it more.
  2. Eat before the party or dinner.  I encourage my moms to eat 4-5 meals per day.  This helps boost your metabolism.  Make sure you have breakfast, a snack and lunch before you head to your big dinner.
  3. Only choose two foods at a time- and pick your favorites first.  You can get up for seconds and thirds but only choose two foods each time. **2016 edit** A better option may be to choose small portions of 4-5 favorites and only make one trip.
  4. Go easy on the nuts, gravy, sauces and whip cream.  These are easy trimmable calories.
  5. Wear tight clothing.  Don’t put on your fat pants so you can eat more.  That defeats the purpose of your goals.
  6. Get lots of rest.  Research shows that those who are well rested eat less calories.
  7. Use a smaller plate.  You don’t need the giant styrofoam holiday plate.  Choose an appetizer plate and remember you can go back for more. **2016 edit** This is my favorite tip!
  8. Take small bites and small sips.  This tricks your brains.
  9. Chew gum.  This is great all year long when you don’t want to be tempted.
  10. Skip the appetizers.  They are tempting but if you want room for the delicious turkey your mom slaved over, pass on the apps.
  11. Go easy on the alcohol.  It’ll save you from embarrassment at the holiday party and save lots of calories as well.  If you insist on having a few drinks, alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic.  Use a tall, skinny glass.
  12. If holiday treats are stacking up at the office, keep healthy snacks in your desk.  Don’t give into peer pressure.  Let them know you’ve started your New Year’s Resolution early!
  13. Weigh yourself daily.  Although I’m a big anti-scale person this is a really good tip.  Also, slip on your favorite pair of jeans once a week to make sure the muffin top is under control.
  14. Don’t over eat!  Take some Tupperware with you.  You can always eat leftovers.
  15. Sit next to another healthy eater.  Avoid Uncle Fred who piles his food like a pyramid and tries one of every dessert.
  16. While you’re running around cooking, cleaning and shopping, count your steps, do some squats, fit in a short walk, do push ups against the counter, do lunges up and down the hall or tricep dips in between wrapping presents.
  17. Steam, roast or bake instead of fry.  Use low-calorie versions of your favorites (most people won’t even notice). I can even slide fat free by my super skinny, picky husband.
  18. Bring a “clean” dish.  There are tons of clean eating recipes.  Show everyone that holiday eating doesn’t have to be fatty and high calorie.
  19. Write it down!!!  Even that bite of little Susie’s cookie.  Write down your goals and your weight.  It’s amazing what our brains start doing when it sees everything in writing.  Get an accountability partner- a reliable one (not me).  Text each other often to check in.
  20. Do a Turkey Trot or find other fun 5K runs or walks during the holiday season.  Remember to take care of YOU first so you will be healthy and fit to take care of everyone else.

Food prep tips-

Practice Healthy Holiday Cooking. Preparing favorite dishes lower in fat and calories will help promote healthy holiday eating. Incorporate some of these simple-cooking tips in traditional holiday recipes to make them healthier.

  1. Gravy — Refrigerate the gravy to harden fat. Skim the fat off. This will save a whopping 56 gm of fat per cup.
  2. Dressing — Use a little less bread and add more onions, garlic, celery, and vegetables. Add fruits such as cranberries or apples. Moisten or flavor with low fat low sodium chicken or vegetable broth and applesauce.
  3. Turkey – Enjoy delicious, roasted turkey breast without the skin and save 11 grams of saturated fat per 3 oz serving.
  4. Green Bean Casserole — Cook fresh green beans with chucks of potatoes instead of cream soup. Top with almonds instead of fried onion rings. **2016 edit** I’m sticking with a small portion of the original. Yum!
  5. Mashed Potato — Use skim milk, low-sodium chicken broth, garlic or garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese instead of whole milk and butter.
  6. Quick Holiday Nog — Four bananas, 1-1/2 cups skim milk or soymilk, 1-1/2 cups plain nonfat yogurt, 1/4 teaspoon rum extract, and ground nutmeg. Blend all ingredients except nutmeg. Puree until smooth. Top with nutmeg.
  7. Desserts — Make a crustless pumpkin pie. Substitute two egg whites for each whole egg in baked recipes. Replace heavy cream with evaporated skim milk in cheesecakes and cream pies. Top cakes with fresh fruit, fruit sauce, or a sprinkle of powdered sugar instead of fattening frosting.

While holiday shopping:

  1. Don’t go to the mall hungry.
  2. If you need food, choose a restaurant instead and sit where it’s quieter.  Loud noises make you eat more- so do places with lots of red.
  3. Pack some healthy snacks in your purse.
  4. Track your steps.  You’ll be amazed when you see how much you walk tile shopping.
  5. While standing in line, do calf raises, do some curls with your purchases.  If you feel like you’ll look silly, who cares?  1. You will most likely never see those people again and 2. You may inspire someone else to get fit and healthy!

Share your holiday tips in the comments!