Each year around this time, a friend of mine and friends of his throw a huge birthday party in celebration of Scorpio season. The first year I attended was in 2011. It was 3 months before my the beginning of my lifestyle change. I had just colored my hair back to red and was finally beginning to crawl out of the nightmare of a life I had created for myself in the previous few years.I was starting to feel a little bit better about life, not even knowing how awesome it was about to get, and went to the party. I knew most of girls in attendance would be models as the guys hosting the party were mostly musicians, artists, and photographers. I had fun with my friends that night but I would absolutely be lying if I didn’t admit I was very insecure. Even so, I did have fun, but I avoided full body pictures and am pretty sure even though I was drunk, I didn’t dance.
I didn’t go in 2012 because I had just crushed my 100lbs down goal and was trying to get to a 50% weight loss. A night out drinking, most likely followed up with greasy food to prevent a hangover, was not going to contribute to my goals, so I opted out.
I didn’t go in 2013 because I was officially half my starting weight and felt entirely insecure about my loose skin. At that point I was trying, and failing, at accepting this was just the way my body was going to be from now on.
I didn’t go in 2014 because I was only 5 weeks post op beltectomy and thigh lift and could barely stand up straight and walk at a normal pace. Partying was the last thing I needed to do.
I didn’t go in 2015 because I had put on 10lbs in the year after my surgery and spent that fall feeling incredibly insecure and embarrassed that I had gained weight.
But when this year came around I was back to what I weighed when I went in for skin removal, completely healed, and out of excuses not to go. I committed to my friends I would be there.
When I got the official invitation it read that this years theme was “bathrobes and baewatch.” It would be a pool party and the invite said “dress code is robes or bathing suits- no exceptions.”
When I saw that, i considered not going. I go to the beach (the nude beach, even) all the time but I am surrounded by normal people at the beach. At this party I’d be surrounded by super hotties. So then I thought, maybe I should go but just ignore the dress code. I figured because my friend was hosting, he would let me in anyways. But the more I thought about it, I realized it was an opportunity to get over myself. If I showed up in a regular outfit not only would I be allowing fear and insecurities to continue to dictate my decision making, but it would be the equivalent of wearing a sign that says “I am too insecure about my body to wear a swimsuit in public.” I didn’t want to be the one woman there, not in a bikini, and also look like the most insecure woman there as well. I posted my plans on Facebook, for accountability so I couldn’t bitch out, and got to picking out a bathing suit.
To my surprise, I was one of the one women who wore a damn bathing suit! If this had been last year, or any other year for that matter, I’d have been mortified. None of my friends ended up wearing bathing suits as most of them are new moms still adjusting to their new bodies,too. A couple girls wore bikini tops. Another couple girls wore g-strings and see through lingerie that showed off their giant boobs and high nipples and their cellulite free giant asses. So here I was, in the middle of a party, looking like I was the one out of dress code. I couldn’t help but notice I was pretty much the only woman who wasn’t wearing pants that was covered in cellulite and scars.
And to my surprise…. I didn’t care. I had my bathrobe and a sarong with me just incase I felt insecure and I never took them out, until after I was cold from going down the water slide at 3am, anyway. I talked to and danced with strangers. I confused people who had met me pre-lifestyle change and had no idea who the hell I was. I went in a hot tub with 6 people I’d never seen before in my life. I danced on a stripper pole while waiting for the bathroom. I let my thighs jiggle and didn’t worry about keeping my cover up closed to hide my stretch marks, fake belly button, and thigh lift scars. And I had a freaking amazing time.
A few years ago if I was one of only a few people to show up at a party nearly naked and the only one who’s body didn’t look like society’s standards of beauty, I’d have hopped in the first uber home. This past weekend, I didn’t care.
For the longest time I have been chasing this feeling of not giving a shit what anyone thinks about my body. Intellectually I know it doesn’t matter, but emotionally, it bothers me to feel judged. To overcome this I post photos of it on the internet, I go to the beach in teeny bikinis, I go to the beach entirely freaking nude, and yet I still feel vulnerable in places that my mind has previously decided are reserved for “hot girls.” But this weekend I went to the “hot girl” party and felt like I was one of the hot girls. I posed for pictures and didn’t feel the need to hide behind anyone or suck it in or change my outfit or any of that BS.
The party’s intention may have been to celebrate some birthdays and Scorpio season but for me it was a celebration of finally, truly, not giving a shit about anyone’s judgement of my body because I am finally proud of my body. I know it doesn’t fit everyone’s beauty standard but I also know how hard I work for this body. I know how strong it is and what it’s capable of. I know a strechmark or a scar or a couple dimples doesn’t undo all I have done to earn this. Next time I get invited to a party, I might just show up with no pants regardless of dress code. ☺️😋
From the very beginning of my fitness journey back in Dec of 2011, I’ve had the desire to run. The first time it came over me I was going for a walk, part of my newfound fitness routine at the time, and for the first time in life the desire just kind of came over me. It was totally out of character and surprised this girl who was “not a runner” and “not a fitness person” on top of that. But within a few months of getting started, I was jogging small increments regularly.
The first time I went to the doctor after getting started, I was excited to share this. My doctor was thrilled I was losing weight and when he asked how I told him I was counting calories, doing a workout tape in my living room, and jogging outside. He was excited for my progress but warned me that jogging may not be a great idea for me. Because I had been obese for 23 years, I had “loose joints” which make me more likely to get injured. He suggested that if I wanted to run I only do it on the treadmill as to decrease my risk of injury by staying on an even surface.
I did not like this suggestion. I didn’t have a gym membership and frankly was still too intimidated to get one. (I didn’t get a gym membership until almost year in and 100pounds down) I didn’t have money to buy a treadmill or space to store one even if I found a cheap, used option. I felt like I had just taken myself out of this box I never thought I’d be out of, and the doctor had thrown me back in it, for the sake of playing it safe.
I’ve never been one to play it safe. So I started working with one of my clients at the salon, Cyndee Krantz, who happened to be an exercise physiologist. I didn’t have a lot of money at the time and she was willing to offer me a rate I could afford simply because she wanted to help me. An exercise physiologist is an expert in how the body moves during exercise and physical activity. Unlike a family doctor- movement is this persons specialty. I wanted to take my doctor seriously, but I knew his advice was likely something he had read in a book in medical school once…. not actual first hand experience. As a primary care physician his job is to know a little bit about everything and when necessary, refer you to a specialist who knows more about your problem than he does. In order to save his own butt and not be in a position where he gave a patient advice that could cause harm, it is his job to play it safe and practice caution. Kind of like how doctors always discourage herbal supplements and natural medicine. It’s not that they know it’ll definitely hurt you….. it’s just that they don’t know enough about it. They have to tell you not to use it because of the unknown.
Doctors however, do not give orders. They give advice, even if the language and tone make in seem like an order. I chose not to take my doctors advice. While working with Cyndee, she taught me how to stretch and warm my body up, properly. She taught me how to foam roll. And she taught me how to strengthen my muscles without hurting my joints, using proper form and lighter weight with more reps vs heavy weight and a couple reps just to say I had done it. she taught me about compression and proper footwear (or lack there of lol) She gave me he foundation i needed to run safely.
Since then I have ran in countless 5ks (3.2 miles), placed 3rd in my age group in 10k (6.4 miles), finished 3 half marathons(13.1 miles) and one full marathon(26.2 miles), and completed a dozen Spartan and obstacle races.
Today I decided to go for a trail run for my exercise and it was just glorious. The weather here in Miami has cooled down and there was a light breeze. I ran without headphones and could hear birds chirping and the occasional small animal scattering as my foot steps came too close. The ground is so uneven when trail running, it’s easy to focus on watching your step and for me, this becomes the most glorious moving meditation. It’s like every conscious thought shuts off and I am never more present than then. Trail running and running in general have become favorite past times of this ex 300 pounder
The moral of my story is not to just ignore any advice a doctor gives you and to behave ignorantly and put yourself in harm. The moral is not to allow anyone to put you in a box- even your doctor. Whether they’re telling you that you can’t run, or you have to give up your new favorite sport, or you won’t be able to lose weight without cutting up your organs, it’s okay (and recommended) to get another opinion. Even better if that other opinion is from someone who’s an expert regarding your particular issue!
Are you using an activity tracker or app to count your steps? If you’re not, it’s something I highly suggest, so much so there’s a note about it in my eBook!
Not only does using an activity tracker help a person to know how much they need to eat because it can be compared to the activity level of our personal body, but having step goals to reach really gets me moving! There have been plenty of times I’ve gone for a walk or even jogged in place before bed, simply because i was so close to hitting my step goal. All those extra calories burned add up!
The people over at DietBet realize this because they’ve started a new game- StepBet– and I’m lucky enough to be one of the first to host! This 6 week game starts Aug 22 and will challenge players to reach a step goal (determined by syncing with your activity tracker. each persons goal will vary depending on the amount of steps we already average.)
Hope to see you in there!
You may or may not know that I am a plant based eater (better known as a vegan, but I don’t like people to assume I hate them if they eat meat lol- I don’t) I’ve been eating vegan for more than three years now and I’ve survived 3 years of “bacon” comments! Lol but I’ve also lowered my cholesterol, cured an ulcer, & gotten off anxiety & depression meds after 12 years on them. I made this choice for the health benefits, but along the way I have learned so much about animal welfare and the effects of veganism on the environment, putting me in a position where it’s not possible to ever turn back. Here are just a few facts that make a plant strong and cruelty free life easy for me!
-the average American’s cholesterol is 210, the average vegan’s is 146. This is because cholesterol is only found in animal products
-3 months of vegan eating mutates over 500 genes within the body, turning off many of which that contribute to cancer & heart disease
-vegan bodies have a higher metabolism, resulting in 16% faster calorie burn
-appx 1,300,000,000 people could be fed with the amount of produce american livestock eats. It takes 16lbs of grain to produce 1lb of meat
-Americans consume appx 3 million lbs of antibiotics per year. American livestock consumes 17.8 million lbs per year
-80% of cases of food poisoning are a direct effect of contaminated meat
-the American Dietetic Association confirms vegans have lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, prostate, colon, breast, ovarian, and cervical cancer
-plants yield 10x more protein than animals, per acre
-by not eating animals, a vegan conserves 600 gallons of water a DAY
-methane from cow poop makes up for 18% of greenhouse gases… More than cars, trucks, planes, trains, and boats combined
-vegan diets are known to increase libido and cause the body to produce sweeter “secretions” due to a change in body chemistry
-cows & pigs cry.
-commercial farms are torture factories. Google “meet your meat”
-“the cavemen did it” is a silly excuse. We have evolved so much since caveman days. More highly evolved people are proven to be more intelligent.
I know many will think “i could never”- know that nearly every single vegan once thought that too. Additionally, you don’t have to eat vegan to make a difference. If we all just ate less animal protien we could improve our bodies and save our planet! Want to know more about my stance on veganism and get tips on transitioning? Check out this post!
Are you as in LOVE with the complete cookie as we are?!
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When ordering be sure to use this link and then choose whichever discount code applies!
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Protein, protein, protein—we hear it all the time. Whether you’re dieting, building muscle, cutting carbs, or going vegan: protein is always at the forefront of nutrition conversation. And for good reason. Not only is protein is a macronutrient that helps to build muscle and repair it after hard workouts, it also stimulates your metabolism and turns you into a fat burning machine! But you don’t need meat-based protein sources to achieve outstanding results. In fact, there are many vegan and vegetarian protein sources that can have you gain muscle and burn fat equally as fast as their meat-based counterparts. Lucky for you, BigGirlFitGirl and the folks over at iO Nutrition are going to help you better understand vegetarian and vegan protein sources to help you reach your goals!
Why Your Protein Intake Matters
Proteins are made up amino acids: these are what are broken down during digestion. They are essential building blocks your body uses to maintain optimal health. What you may not have realized, is that Increasing your protein intake will increase the rate of your metabolism and maintain your muscle mass, both of which help to stimulate your fat-burning engine. In fact, the human body burns more calories digesting protein than any other food type.
This finding has been confirmed in a recent study published in the American Journal of Physiology. One test group was fed a high-protein diet (just over 1 gram per pound of bodyweight per day) while the second test group consumed an amount closer to the recommended dietary allowance. The result? The group which ate a higher-protein diet burned more fat!
So, if you want to gain muscle and burn fat, it’s a necessary component of your effort to include a high protein diet. And although many nutritionists suggest sticking to traditional meat sources such as white fish, chicken, salmon, eggs, and lean beef, is there alternative protein sources to gain muscle and burn fat that don’t require meat?
Meat Free Protein Options
Meat isn’t the only option for acquiring adequate protein to boost your muscle mass, and burn fat at the same time. In fact, there are many vegetarian and vegan protein sources that have become available, and are ideal for substitution into many home cooked meals. If cooking isn’t your thing, you may want to check out meal delivery services that can prepare high protein, meat-free meals for you!
There are many protein rich, meat-free options in grocery stores that are perfect to gain muscle and burn fat. Beans, soy products, seeds and nuts are all high in protein and fiber. What many people overlook is that vegetables can also be protein rich: broccoli, brussels sprouts, and spinach are great additions to consume.
To increase your protein intake without succumbing to the lure of the meat aisle, try including the the following ingredients into your meals.
● Cottage cheese: With a whopping 18g per 1 cup, this protein is a classic go to for post-workouts. It also makes a great snack as well a pre-bedtime meal.
● Yogurt: Has an incredible amount of protein: 23 g in one cup. This style has approximately twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt.
● Eggs: 1 egg has about 6g of protein.
● Beans: There are many types of beans: black beans, chickpeas, navy beans, lentils, the list goes on.
● Nuts and nut butters: Raw and unsalted nuts are a great addition to your diet. They can be eaten at any meal, as a snack, or as a compliment to a salad or a shake. Almonds and pistachios are both popular snacks, high in fiber and protein, and have few calories with 6-8g of protein per serving.
● Broccoli: Is a great choice for adding protein to your diet. Every cup of broccoli contains about 3g of protein, and many more nutrients than a hot dog!
● Quinoa & Green Peas: Each of these plant sources have a whopping 8g of protein per serving! They’re easy to digest and will give you long last energy from healthy carbs as well.
Kick Your Goals Without Meat
If you’re working to gain muscle and burn fat to get the body you’ve dreamed of, then having a high protein diet needs to be number one priority. With the ability to burn calories and gain muscle mass while you sleep, it’s a sure-fire way to boost your fitness efforts. But you don’t need meat to get the protein intake you’re looking for. There’s many vegetarian and vegan protein sources that range from whole foods and supplements, to faux meats and imitation products. Get creative, and experiment with some of our protein suggestions in your next meal!