Stepping Out (Of My Comfort Zone)

THE FOLLOWING WAS WRITTEN BEFORE THE PHOTO SHOOT

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My life as a mom is far from glamorous.  The only time that I actually take for myself is between 45 minutes and 1 hour sometime in the morning to workout and take a shower and the thirty minutes (most days) to take a leisurely walk for stress relief.  There are more days than not that I do not dry my hair or look in the mirror for the rest of the day.  During the week, my days are spent homeschooling my children, helping my Nurturing Fitness clients, and feeding my kids or taking them to activities.  On the weekend, I spend most of the day at my physical therapy job.  I am not telling a “sob story”; I LOVE my life.  The before mentioned “story” is to give background to why I am about to go so far out of my comfort zone.

As part of starting my business this year, I joined a mentorship/coaching (yes coaches need coaches too) program for the year to help guide me in the steps to make my business successful.  Part of this mentorship is happening this weekend and is a photo shoot to use for advertising.  To say that I have been apprehensive is an understatement.  I love to have pictures taken with my kids, but by myself feels indulgent to me.  But this shoot is not only pictures, it is spray tanning, hair, and make-up!  In all honestly, I have tried to come up with excuses (several times this week) of why I could not do the shoot.  I have also had dreams that I did the shoot in a snowsuit and ski mask!  A lot of girls also going to the shoot have dieted, done water depletion, and carb loading to look their best for the shoot.  With my schedule, these things were impossible for me to accomplish.

As I compose this, I feel a little (maybe a lot) silly that I have not embraced the process and enjoyed it.  My mentor has ensured me that everything will be great.  Part of my mentorship program is to the work on my mindset.  With that, I have done a lot of analyzing of why I am scared of this experience and why it is so far out of my comfort zone.  Here are my conclusions:

  1. I am comfortable with who I am and my body.
  2. I am NOT comfortable being the center of attention.
  3. Although I am comfortable with myself, I am NOT completely comfortable with others judging me (THIS IS HUGE AND SOMETHING I NEED TO DO MORE WORK ON).

Now back to the title of the article.  I firmly believe that if you want to grow and succeed, you have to get out of your comfort zone.  I have already done a lot of this to start up my business this year.  But this photo shoot is a completely different way of facing my fears, doubts, and growing as a person.

THE FOLLOWING WAS WRITTEN POST PHOTO SHOOT

aftershoot

It is Sunday morning now and I have had time to reflect on my photo shoot and interactions from Saturday.  First, let me say that I have had an awesome experience.  My mentor/coach, the girls in my coaching groups, and the photographer are awesome.  I was nervous during hair and makeup, but almost immediately relaxed during the first photo shoot session.  Relief must have been written all over my face in between sessions (while having some hair changes made) because several of the girls smiled and said, “you are relaxed now aren’t you”.  Can I say that all of my self-consciousness disappeared?  Of course not!  Because my youngest is 9 months old, my hair is still falling out/thinned from post pregnancy and I apologized several times to the hair/makeup artist for my hair being thin.  But in generally, I felt amazingly comfortable.

SO, HERE ARE MY TAKE AWAYS/LESSONS LEARNED FROM MY EXPERIENCE:

  1. Your fears and apprehensions about something are usually much worse than the reality.
  2. The sense of pride and accomplishment you feel after completing something you were scared to do is very fulfilling and empowering.
  3. It is OK to not always feel comfortable and secure.
  4. As superficial as a photo shoot may seem on the surface, it also has a lot to do with how comfortable you are with yourself, realizing you are more than you think you are, and trusting/embracing new experiences.

So the next time you are presented with an opportunity outside your comfort zone, it is OK to feel apprehensive but JUMP IN ANYWAY!  You never know what you may learn or how much fun you may have!

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Getting Creative With Vegetables

PicFrameVegetables are a mainstay in the nutrition plans that I develop for my Nurturing Fitness LIfe clients.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  First, it is because of their sugar/starch to fiber ratio.  Fiber is a very useful tool for blood sugar regulation, controlling hunger, controlling cravings, and for fat-burning.  The higher the ratio of fiber to sugar/starch, the better a food is for fat-burning and lowering insulin levels.  Vegetables have a high amount of fiber relative to sugar/starch while whole grains are much higher in sugar/starches.  That is why vegetables are a much better choice for fiber and fat-burning than grains.
Second, vegetables contain phytonutrients.  Phytonutrients are compounds that affect a person’s physiology, increase fat-burning potential, and decrease likelihood of regaining fat once a person loses it.  Some phytonutrients actually interact directly with fat cells to cause the body to burn fat instead of sugar.
With that being said, sometimes eating vegetables can become boring.  There are lots of “traditional ways” to eat veggies including on salads, raw, steamed, or roasted.  But there are also more creative ways to eat veggies.  An incredibly versatile vegetable is cauliflower.  There are a lot of interesting ways to fix cauliflower and some of these are even substitutes for less fat-loss friendly foods (such as bread, tortillas, pizza, and mashed potatoes).  Because my clients are always asking me for new ways incorporate veggies, below I am sharing with you three creative recipes for cauliflower.  I hope you enjoy!

Cauliflower Buns or Rolls

This is my favorite of all these recipes because I do miss bread at times, but I do not miss how bread makes me feel:)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup grated raw cauliflower (I use my ninja)
  • 1 Tablespoon almond flour
  • 1/2 Tablespoon coconut flour
  • 3 Tablespoons egg whites
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. pre-heat oven to 400
  2. mix all ingredients
  3. for a bun, shape mixture into two circles on a well oiled or sprayed with non-stick spray pan and flatten into a bun shape
  4. for rolls, drop mixture into 2-3 Tablespoon mounds onto well oiled or sprayed with non-stick spray pan and flatten slightly
  5. Cook at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then broil for 5-8 minutes until golden brown
  6. cool on a wire rack

This will make one large bun or several rolls.

Mashed Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups cauliflower
  • 4 ounces low-fat or fat-free cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic or can substitute garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. Steam cauliflower until very tender
  2. Drain any water from cauliflower
  3. Place cauliflower in blender and blend until smooth
  4. Add remaining ingredients and blend

Pizza Bites

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups grated cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1 cup 1% cottage cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

  1. pre-heat oven to 450
  2. coat 1-2 mini muffin tins (to make 24 muffins) with non-stick spray
  3. Microwave cauliflower for 2 minutes
  4. add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth
  5. spoon into muffin tins and press down firmly
  6. bake for 25-30 minutes
  7. let cool 5-10 minutes before removing from pan
  8. serve with low sugar spaghetti sauce

The Dirty Little Secret About Stress

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So, my plan this week was to do a post on some really great recipes that involve using cauliflower in unconventional ways.  But because of recent events in my life (I will talk more on this later), I decided a post on stress was more appropriate.  The definition of stress is the body’s reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental, or emotional adjustment.  Stress can be positive (such as the birth of a child or a job promotion) or negative (such as a divorce or a death).  What mom out there does not face numerous sources of stress each day? I would argue that moms probably face the greatest amount of stress of all humans.
THE DIRTY SECRET ABOUT STRESS IS THAT IT CAN MAKE YOU FAT.  Obviously, it does not contain calories, but it affects the body through hormonal and metabolic mechanisms.  Through these mechanisms, stress can affect if a person burns sugar, muscle, or fat; how much a person eats; what type of food she eats, and where her body stores the calories she eats.  In other words, you can be eating right and exercising right and be resistant to fat-loss because of stress.
I want to explain a bit of the science behind this.  Not to bore you to pieces, but to help you understand the science so that the solutions make more sense.  Our bodies’ reaction to stress was designed to help us (in emergencies) run to safety.  Our bodies release stress hormones (including cortisol) when we are faced with stress.  The result is a release of sugar and fat into the blood stream.  This is a positive thing in an emergency because the body also releases testosterone and human growth hormone when the running away occurs.  These hormones help to rebuild your body leaner and faster, reset the stress hormones, and return your body to equilibrium.  The problem is that most of our daily stress is chronic and does not require us to get up and run away.  The result is excess amounts of cortisol being released without the release of testosterone and human growth hormone to balance things out.  It is the high amounts of continuous cortisol secretions that disrupts fat-loss.
THE EFFECTS OF EXCESS CORTISOL INCLUDE:

  1. Lowering dopamine levels in the brain. This results in cravings for high calorie, fatty, and sugary foods.  It also results in decreased morning appetite, eating less often, and overeating when you do eat.
  2. Storage of fat in the belly and the burning of muscle in the extremities.  Elevated cortisol levels increase blood sugar levels and then the body releases insulin to try to lower these levels.  The combination of high cortisol levels and high insulin levels result in an increased likelihood of the body burning muscle and storing fat.  Obviously, not conducive for fat-loss!

Now on to the solutions!   We cannot get rid of a lot of the stressors in our lives.  Therefore, we need to modify the reactions of our bodies with the ultimate goal to be balancing the hormones cortisol/insulin/human growth hormone/testosterone to create an environment to build muscle and burn fat.  Ways to decrease the fat-loss resistance related to stress include:

  1. GET SLEEP: Human growth hormone is released during sleep.
  2. WALK: Leisurely, restorative walking lowers cortisol levels.
  3. NUTRITION:
  • Eat breakfast to lower AM cortisol levels
  • Eat 4-6 times a day to further lower cortisol and insulin levels
  • Eat protein because it helps raise human growth hormone, preserves muscle, and counteracts insulin
  • Use unsweetened cocoa because it decreases cravings

4.  EXERCISE: Twenty minutes of full body, intense, resistance workouts create a   balance between cortisol/insulin  and human growth hormone/testosterone levels
As I mentioned earlier, this post was prompted by circumstances in my own life.  Obviously, I have a lot of stressors in my life including 4 kids, a weekend job, and being a homeschooling mom.  But recently I have faced more stressors, some good and some bad (a new business that is doing well and that I LOVE, some health issues in my family, and some personal relationship issues).  Although I eat fat-loss friendly and use the short, intense workouts I teach my clients, I have begun to experience some of the negative affects of excess cortisol levels.  These include sleep disruptions, desire to overeat, water retention, and even a little additional body fat.
So, here is my personal solution:

  1. Add at least 30 minutes of leisurely walking 5x/week
  2. Perform the yoga salutation pose for 10 minutes a day
  3. Make sure I eat 5 times a day
  4. Temporarily move my workouts to midmorning (to get extra sleep)

I will admit that when I first began experiencing these issues I felt like I had no idea what was going on and very frustrated.  But once I took the time to think rationally, I realized I did know what was going on.  I am thankful to have the knowledge and understanding to be able to help myself and others.  Fat-loss is not always as simple as what you eat and how you move.  I will be sure to follow-up this post with an update in the future of how I have done.  I would also love to help you through your fat-loss journey as a busy mom.  If you are interested, check out my program: HERE.

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