Week 5- LUST #7DeadlySins

By definition you can lust over anything and in terms of fitness the lust for perfection can become physically and mentally unhealthy.

I have never been secretive about my struggle with anorexia several years ago because it’s not something with which I am ashamed to have endured and have left behind.

Looking back, it’s amazing and scary that for several months I secretively but proudly ate between 700-900 calories a day, all the while strength training and running half marathons.  I went from a size 6/7 to being able to take off 00 pants without unzipping them.  To my sick brain, that was a measure of success.  When I lost my period, success.  When I skipped meals but didn’t feel hungry, success.  When I skipped meals, felt hungry, but didn’t eat, even better.  Anything and everything that resulted in a smaller and skinnier frame, I was willing to do, regardless of the consequences to my health.

Luckily, I was snapped out of it, gained weight, got muscular, and a few years later had my daughter.  Despite being less obsessive about food and exercise, I still wanted to “achieve” some of the physical benchmarks I once valued- 10-12% body fat and, of course, a 6 pack.  I didn’t see these goals as a problem until one evening when my 8 month old daughter was playing in the tub w/ her toys.  I, on the other hand, had taken my usual position in front of the mirror to scrutinize my belly.  I pinched it’s fat.  I looked at it front ways, side ways, stood back from the mirror, stood close, ALWAYS with a disgusted look on my face.  I was loathing my post partum body when, all of a sudden, I caught my daughters reflection in the mirror.  She had stopped playing w/ her toys and her eyes were fixated on what I was doing.  She was studying my behavior.  She was learning from me.  She was learning to hate her body from me and I was horrified!!  I knew that if I didn’t walk the walk, it wouldn’t matter how many times I told my daughter she was beautiful.  She would never believe it because I didn’t believe it of myself.

From that day forward, I have taken my mindset journey as seriously as my physical one.  Of course, like every person, I have my “good days” and “bad days” but since I no longer bully myself into leanness or white knuckle my way through hunger, I know that I have the power to make even the worst of days good ones.  I still train hard, push myself, take progress pictures, cook healthy meals, but my fascination with food, mileage, clothing size, body weight, food measurements, macros, and calories is gone.  I can walk past a mirror and not feel the need to pinch anything.  I don’t count calories, fats, proteins, or even carbs because I now understand that there are no magic numbers.  Instead I know I’ve built a solid meal for myself because I don’t binge, I don’t get “hangry”, and my energy level is steady throughout the day.

This is me, on the left, 4 months ago, when I’d end up binging in my pantry 2-3 times a week.  This is me about a week ago after 4 months of focusing my eating around eliminating my “need” to binge.  Since binges can be indicative of not fueling properly I very much wanted to get this habit out of my routine.   I haven’t a clue how many calories I was eating before nor how many calories I eat now.  Don’t ask me how much protein I eat either.  I’m not certain.  What I do know is that my binges are gone so results followed.  They aren’t dramatic nor show stopping but they are visible.  More importantly, I got results without deprivation or self loathing.  My aim was not perfection, to lose a specific number of pounds, nor get into a different size pants.  My aim was to curve a behavior by adding on to my meals or replacing one item with another.  (Go back to week 1, 2, and 3 to begin to play with how you should begin to change your plate!)

This week, find some time to sit down and ponder those 2015 New Year’s Resolutions.  What behavior(s) cause you to plateau or gain?  How can the #7DeadlySins Challenges play a role in creating results?


#7Deadly Sins Fitness Challenge

 1.  Benchmark-

When I was anorexic, benchmarking happened almost daily and if I didn’t match my PR or beat it, I would punish myself with less food or more exercise.  As you see your numbers during the benchmark challenge you have to be mindful of what they actually mean.  Your body isn’t always at it’s best and it takes time to build solid strength.  Give yourself some grace considering the holiday week has been intense.

2.  Nutrition- Bedtime fast!

A common question when trying to lean out is, “when should I have my last meal?” or  “What time is too late to eat?”
That question is extremely complicated to answer because of the amount of things that need to be taken into consideration.  However, to keep things simple:  Play around with one of these two techniques:
1.  Spend equal amounts of time fasted as fueled.  In other words, if I eat dinner at 8pm, I won’t eat (am not hungry to eat) breakfast until around 8am the next morning.  I generally workout early so I use BCAA powder to make sure I have a good workout.
2.  Stop eating about 3 hours before bedtime.  Simply put, somewhere around the 9hr evening fasted mark you begin to dip into your stored fat.  In other words, if you eat dinner at 6pm, somewhere around 3 am is when some awesome, effortless, magic is happening.
* Because of my schedule, technique 1 is what works best for me, usually!  However, look at the big picture…with either habit you are looking around a 12 hour evening fasted lifestyle.  Don’t be afraid to flip flop between either technique to see what works best for you or to use BOTH techniques.  You might find that on weekdays you work best with #2 and on weekends you prefer #1.  Experiment!!!  Either way, you are spending equal parts fueled to fasted.
3.  Activity- Strength Workouts!
You spent these past two weeks with some very metabolic workouts.  Now it’s time to settle down a bit and add more strength to your regimen.


Week 4- #Gluttony

Well isn’t gluttony the most obvious choice for week 4 as Thanksgiving day feasts hit us right smack at the end of the week?

You are crazy if you think I am going to restrict you from any of your Thanksgiving day favorites to help you achieve a fitness goal.  In fact, I am a big believer that THESE are the no brainer worth it cheat meals! To spend a holiday counting your calories or macros instead of your blessings sounds miserable and it’s not necessary to get or stay lean.

So what is required of a lean eater?  Here are my top five non-negotiables for Thanksgiving.

How many of these do you already put into practice?

1.  Don’t eat like it’s an eating competition!  
Enjoying food isn’t gluttonous but eating as if the abundance available to you will immediately disappear, truly is.  While you may be excited that so many of your favorites are on the table, approach the feast with the gratefulness that there is more where that came from.  The material parts of Thanksgiving, for a large portion of us, could be duplicated any day of the week.   If you acknowledge that before you dig in, you will put less on your plate and also eat more slowly.
2.  Don’t give up eating your favorites!!
Take a holiday meal off!!  PLEASE eat the pie…and the scoop of ice cream!  One cheat meal is considered a 2 hour deal. That gives you time to enjoy a few drinks, eat, and have dessert.  Cheat meals are a mental and physical part of fat loss.  Google the hormones leptin and ghrelin if you want the science behind the strategy.
3.  LISTEN to your body.
If you have several homes to visit on Thanksgiving day your body will naturally ask that you taper each meal down.  Are you eating out of hunger or obligation?  Each Thanksgiving meal that you get to be a part of, does not have to look the same.
4.  Workout for fat loss, not endurance
If you can work it in, get a metabolic workout in the morning or about two hours prior to your cheat meal.  Set your body to burning mode.  Sweat has a Mystery Class on Thanksgiving Day for that reason!  Exercise isn’t punishment but it is part of the strategy!  If you cannot make it, you can always have fun with the burpee tabatas we did last week, do the benchmark workout three times through, or lace up those shoes and do sprint intervals (no steady pace running for fat loss!!)
5.  It’s a holi-DAY, not a holi-WEEK!

Try your best to treat the week as if it’s any other week.  I know it’s NOT any other week and between family, football, and the kids at home, normal is out the window.  However, this is where you must be happy with good vs. being perfect.  I know we often strive for perfection, but many times we let ourselves fail at good simply because we know that great is impossible.

By the way, I totally agree…GREAT is damn near impossible this week.  Set your expectations so they are realistic and achievable.  Don’t decide to binge the whole week simply because you know you won’t be perfect.  Decide TODAY, RIGHT NOW, that you aren’t going to do your worst simply because you can’t be your best.  There is a middle ground!!!!  BE HAPPY WITH GOOD!!!

#7Deadly Sins Fitness Challenge

 1.  Benchmark-

See you Monday!!!  Time to beat your best!!

2.  Nutrition- Maintenance!
On Thanksgiving holiday week you have YOUR TOUGHEST nutritional challenge yet…MAINTAIN!  FORGET adding anything new, can you continue your three food challenges on a week commercially built around gluttony?  Can you continue your workouts, drink water, get your protein snack at 3, and continue w/ adding fiber at lunch or breakfast on a week where routine has gone out the window?  THIS is a true test to see if you are making this a lifestyle!
3.  Activity- Metabolic Workouts!
This week is no joke in terms of food and football.  I challenge you to insert a METABOLIC workout each morning you plan on veering from plan.  Set your body to burn vs. store!


Week 3- WRATH #7DeadlySins

“What someone else thinks of YOU is NOT YOUR BUSINESS NOR YOUR PROBLEM to solve!”

#WRATH is an intense feeling of anger or can take on the form of vengeance. In relation to fitness and health, I see both rage and revenge through food quite often.  Many times it’s due to the LASTING EFFECTS of another persons judgement on their physical or emotional self.  People seeking comfort and fullness, not from the gifts of life, but from the taste of food.  Other times people look to release resentment, not through reflection and meditation but from junk food.   Sugar comas provide temporary numbness from pain and binges can induce feelings of empowerment by impulsivity.  Food is a way of coping with wrath.

To address wrath properly let me go ahead and say, to FEEL RAGE IS HUMAN.  I don’t expect anyone to walk away unscathed by painful words.  With that said, this blog post is not about HOW NOT feel wrath but HOW NOT TO INVITE wrath into your lives.  This post is about our ERRONEOUS BELIEF that we NEED TO KNOW, HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW, and MUST WORK TO CHANGE what others believe to be true about us.

Bluntly stated, “What someone else thinks of YOU is NOT YOUR BUSINESS NOR YOUR PROBLEM to solve!”  Be aware that your desire to be “in the know” or to have influence over how others assess your actions, appearances, beliefs, and decisions is a reflection of your own insecurity more than anything else.  You are taking valuable time and energy towards changing unimportant and useless knowledge.  If you strive to live ethically and value the intangible richnesses of this world first, then how another person interprets you carries NO VALUE.  It is for that reason that in these instances IGNORANCE IS NOT ONLY BLISS BUT needs to be MANDATORY so that you are in better control of keeping wrath out of your heart.

This week I want all of you to pay particular attention to the things that you ALLOW to influence the levels of happiness you experience throughout each day.  Make it a point not participate in verbal conversations or written threads where others are giving you information about how others view you or how others view those you know.  Walk away, check out mentally, hit the “unfollow” button on FB, or keep scrolling the screen.  Wrath is no match for silence.

 #7Deadly Sins Fitness Challenge

 1.  Benchmark-

Once again, expect all our Monday classes to begin w/ our Benchmark workout.  Worry about YOUR numbers and YOUR form.  What some else is or is not doing is no reflection on YOU.


Your 3 MOST IMPACTFUL fat loss tools are water, protein, and fiber.  As of this week we will have hit you in some way shape or form with EACH.  Feeling full at all your meals should come from whatever combination of these three make you feel energized, satiated, and satisfied.  Fats and starchy carbohydrates (think breads, beans, rice and potatoes here) are all ALSO essential and ABSOLUTELY can be present at your meals but ARE NOT to be the stars of the show.  Fats and starchy carbs add richness to your meal but it’s the commitment to the ADJUSTMENTS in the amounts of water, protein, and high fiber/low sugar foods in your meals that will have the BIGGEST impact on how fast you lean out.
SOME Examples of low starch/high fiber fruits and veggies
fruits:  apples, pears, berries, citrus, cucumber, tomatoes
veggies: ALL leafy green veggies, celery, peppers, green beans, jicama, zucchini, summer squash
I want all of you to at least pick EITHER BREAKFAST or LUNCH and commit to adding OR adding more of these foods.  How much more?  As much as you need to feel satiated and energized!  I guarantee you if you are carrying more weight than you’d like these days it’s NOT because of an excess of any of these foods.  Go to town on your low starch, high fiber foods!!!!  This week I promise to show you my standard amount and I’m betting you’ll be surprised just how much I eat!
If you already do a green smoothie or veggie frittata for breakfast then work with your lunch.  If you already love a large salad at lunch then work towards seeing a rainbow at breakfast.  Ideally, I’d like everyone to have a big pile of veggies for their 3 main meals but most everyone’s habits are to wait until the MOST OBVIOUS way to get veggies in, dinner time.  Once again, those evening binges will be reduced and tamed if you step out of your comfort zone to discover how low starchy/high fiber sources will satiate hunger, keep you energized, reduce cravings, and in turn kick you into fat loss gear!!
3.  Activity- REAL recovery!
Without a doubt I can say that those who come to Sweat, love to sweat!  I have a harder time getting all of you to slow down vs. amp up. It’s a good problem to have but recovery is also a huge factor in fat loss.  For all of you who have not needed the Week 1 and Week 2 activity challenge because you are at Sweat 4-6 times a week, this challenge is specifically designed FOR YOU!!!
Recovery!!  Humor me…at least once this week (or more if you can) do any of the 6 activities below.  Take note of how you feel? Take note of any change in your level of intensity on the days you workout because you took time to recover.  By the end of our 7 weeks, you should definitely experience a positive shift in mood and your ability to handle stress.
And if you think that rest will equate to adding fat to your body, science proves you wrong.  However, rather than cite research, I can SHOW YOU first hand this week a friend whom I’ve worked with since Sweat practically opened.  She has leaned out because I finally convinced her to TAKE RECOVERY SERIOUSLY.  Overtraining will put your body in a state where it will not burn fat!!
What does REAL RECOVERY look like?
1.  Yoga for Athletes w/ Karen Doehrman, Sundays at 4:15pm
2.  30 min Epsom Salt Bath- NO PHONE ALLOWED!
3.  30 min walk- NO PHONE ALLOWED!
4.  sleep in!!
5.  get a massage
6.  20 min foam rolling
I can already see those of you who are hard core rolling your eyes at me but you can find at least 30 min this week to take on this challenge.  No excuses, right?




Week 2 – ENVY #7deadlysins

ENVY is the resentful or unhappy feeling of wanting somebody else’s success, good fortune, qualities, or possessions.  

Envy is a death sentence on the spirit.

One of my core values as a business woman is that the success of Sweat Fitness Studio does not mean the failure of another trainer, studio, box, or gym.  Sweat’s story does not hinge on another’s misfortune.  It is my heartfelt belief that Huntsville is dynamic enough of a city that fitness must take on many different voices.  I spend my energy and time making sure that our Sweat community receives effective and safe workouts alongside valuable nutritional recommendations.  I will never go to bed resenting or wanting what others do or create with their own energy and time.  Envy is not part of our business plan.

Similarly, the health and fitness success or failures of your family, friends, foes, or frenemies does not diminish nor augment the value of your own journey.  What others have or do not have is NOT a reflection on you, EVER.  There will always be someone stronger, faster, leaner, or quicker than you somewhere and also someone else you can beat with ease.  If you find yourself resentful that someone else has found success with fat loss or gained consistency in their athletic training, your time and energy is being lost.  (In addition, if you find yourself happy that someone else has fallen off the wagon and is struggling while you succeed your focus is also in the wrong place, but we will deal with PRIDE week 6!)  Envy must be eliminated from your daily thinking.

Reflect, redirect, and regroup.  Everyone, including yourself, deserves to reach their dreams.  There is room for EVERYONE’S happiness and success.

 1.  Benchmark-
Once again, expect all our Monday classes to begin w/ our Benchmark workout.  Worry about YOUR numbers and YOUR form.  What some else is or is not doing is no reflection on YOU.

2.  Nutrition- Protein!
The number one struggle I hear about at Sweat is the early evening binge.  I hear about the “continual meal” from 4-7pm.  Once you start in that pantry there is no stopping until after dinner.  You are famished even though you have been “good all day long.”  This critical error has A LOT to do w/ everything that happened or did NOT happen prior to your 4pm binge.  You, in fact, have NOT been “good all day”.  You have likely been depriving and underfeeding your body all day, leaving it no other choice than to enter into survival mode to which your will power is absolutely powerless!
The good news is that you have two greatly underutilized weapons against this habit and this week we challenge you to accept the first:  a PROTEIN based snack at around 3pm!  That’s right you are NOT to “white knuckle” your way to dinner.  I want to see you grab a lean, complete protein in ANY form.  If you want to jazz it up a bit, PLEASE do so.
greek yogurt, handful of favorite fruit, handful of nuts
small grilled chicken salad
protein shake w/ a handful of whatever fruit you like and a handful of whatever greens you like
cottage cheese w/ the same “fix-ins” as a yogurt
vegetable omelette
On the go?
The Juice Bar has great protein shakes available- choose from hemp or whey for a complete protein.  As an added bonus mention “7 Deadly Sins” and get 10% off!!!!!  Yeah!!!!
Stop by Absolute Nutrition and grab Quest Bars or a protein powder to make your own shake.
Eat these snacks while in car line, with the kids while you help them with homework, or at your desk at work.  No more “waiting til I get home.”
Don’t forget to continue w/ your minimum 64oz of water and STACK ON the protein challenge!!!
3.  Activity- Mix it up!
Last week you amped it up by adding one additional day of intense physical activity to your life and this week you Mix it up!  For all the cardio lovers, strength is your next priority.  I better see you in Vain or TRX this week.  For all of those who fear the breathlessness of Punch, Drenched, or 20/20/20, it’s time to step out of your usuals.  Get UNCOMFORTABLE!
We thoroughly enjoyed hearing from you this week and how active you were in finishing this year strong.  Continue to tag Sweat Huntsville and use the hashtag #7deadlysins.