Flu season hits…me like a hammer!

Im sorry i haven’t posted in more then a week, but I have been under the weather. 9 days ago i woke up to my belly hurting and diarhea, followed by body aches, pure exhaustion, a throbbing headache, soar throat, and my body temperature fluctuating. Me being a crazy woman that I am, I went to work all week. Did I perform up to normal standards? You can bet your bottom I didn’t!  I had a hard time focusing, my mind felt like mush, I was light headed and felt as though I was going to collapse.

Now you would think that this halted my Insanity regime. However, luck would have it that it was week 5 for me being the super easy week. I did skip Thursday, the day I felt the worst, but I made up for it on Sunday and counted Thursday as my rest day last week.  At first I thought it might be best to skip the last 3 days of my easy week, but on Friday after thinking about it I realized that whenever I workout when I’m sick, though it might be harder to get through, I always feel better then on the days that I don’t. After waking up with congested head and chest, a good workout helps me clear it out and takes some of the pressure out. I see it like it helps push the “toxic” stuff out of my body. I will admit that it takes longer because i have to stop and rest more but as long as I listen to my body and don’t push nyself beyond what it can handle I know I will be fine. That’s the key right there….Listen to your body. 

I decided I was not going to let the flu win. I fought through it. I honestly don’t think I would have been strong enough to go to work all week had I been defeated and not pushed through my workouts. They helped give me additional energy when I had none due to the pure exhaustion you feel while sick with the flu.

Now that the flu is leaving my body my asthma has kicked up.  I have a bad dry cough, congestion and have lost my voice. I always lose my voice when my asthma kicks up and I get a severe dry cough.  So I’m used to this, however I’m ready to be healthy again!

Sustaining energy levels throughout the day

Those of you who live with IBS know the almost daily struggles with fatigue.  You can get 8 hours of sleep and get a nap in and you still feel sluggish and tired.  Though exercise helps in that in the in between periods you have energy to get things done, it does not help entirely.  I still have a few points in the day where it will hit me and I am completely exhausted.  In general I’m a high energy type of person.  So as you can imagine I don’t except this and have been seeking ways to combat this for years.  Healthy ways. 

Vitamins definitely help.  If I forget my vitamins I have a rough day.  I take multivitamins and B-complex.  But I still have a hard time mid day.  I normally try to drink a cup of coffee mid-day to get that second jolt I need, but I ultimately want to eventually cut caffeine out of my diet.  The other day I was with my boyfriend at the local supermarket, and in the little cooler next to us I saw all kinds of  juices and water, I reached in for a water when I saw a juice I had never heard of before.  Naturally curious I grabbed it and started reading it.  It’s called FRS healthy energy.  It’s low calorie, low carb, low sugar.  Everything I need in a drink!  And it tastes awesome!   They had 3 variations of flavor but I chose peach mango.  It has quercetin in it.  If you look it up it has quite a few health benefits.  FRS was originally created for chemotherapy patients to provide sustained energy without crashing.  Of course I bought it.  It was perfect timing because I had been ready for a nap for about an hour at this point.  It did take a little bit for it to kick in.  I in fact forgot about it by the time my energy kicked up.  It definitely gave me a nice energy jolt.  I didn’t feel too energetic like coffee can sometimes do, it was a perfect balance.  I now have to have this stuff!  I definitely recommend this for anyone!  It is such a healthy alternative to coffee or any of those sugar packed energy drinks.  I can drink it in the afternoon, then after work for that extra jolt to get housework, dinner and any other nightly tasks done, instead of coming home and just wanting to run for the bed.  My job is both mentally and physically draining so anyone in my shoes IBS or not would come home tired and not want to do anything other then throw their feet up and/or run for the bed. 

I am still going strong with my Insanity program.  Still have a love hate relationship with this program.  Last night it was pure cardio then cardio abs.  My least favorite, yet after I’m through them, they are my favorite.  I love how I feel once I complete them, but going into them it’s rather intimidating.  I have several girls at work who are intrigued by this program and would like to try it out themselves.  All you have to do is look at the progress pictures and naturally it alone makes you want to try out this program.  When you are looking at progress pictures from someone you know, it makes it more of a reality then looking at progress pictures on TV or on online, wondering if those pictures your looking at have been touched up at all. 

I have 2 weeks left of my friendly competition with real fit mom.  I will only have 3 weeks left to my Insanity program at the end of our competition.  And though I’ve come a long way thus far, this is only the beginning of my journey!

Relieving stress, anxiety, and IBS through exercise

Stress

Image by topgold via Flickr

I have a very high level of stress in my life right now.  Though I cannot speak of what it is that is causing such a high level of stress I can say I wish it were as simple as the everyday mommy and work stuff.  But it’s not.  I don’t think anything has stressed me out to this extent since I was getting a divorce back 7 years ago.  I can honestly say I would probably be very much depressed right now and handling things differently if not for my exercise regime.  It helps me channel my everyday frustrations and stresses through exercise.  It is also said that exercise decreases stress hormones like cortisol, and as everyone knows increases endorphins, your feel good friend.  Exercise also allows you to handle future stress, another gain.  Though I feel very stressed I have remained unusually optimistic considering the circumstances and rather good mooded (for the most part that is).  I can say that there have been a few days that it did get to me, but to be honest, I have handled this load on my shoulders quite well.

Those who read my blog regularly know that I suffer from IBS.  So anyone who lives with IBS or knows of it knows that the slightest amount of stress can cause your body to react, and next thing you know, you are very sick and unable to function, muchless go to work or exercise.  When I first started exercising I became very ill a lot during the first month.  I at first thought it was because of the changes to my body.  I finally realized that it was because the unusually high level of stress I have been under which coincidentally started around the same time.  So that leads me to conclude that had I not been exercising regularly, I probably would have been in worse shape, (trust me, I’ve been there before, it is possible) which only goes to prove further how good exercise can be for your health. 

However, with all that said, I have learned a few things about IBS and high intensity exercises.  You CANNOT eat within a few hours of exercising, when you do eat that day prior to exercising, you HAVE TO HAVE TO eat foods that are not fatty or gassy, don’t drink coffee, or anything with caffeine in it prior to your workout (it makes a normal person without IBS poop, so guess what happens when you drink it with IBS and THEN workout?  Not a good combination!).  If you follow these rules along with exercising the time in which you normally feel the least amount of tummy problems you should be good to go!  I learned all this the hard way…..After experiencing this I read up on it and sure enough there is plenty of literature that I could have educated myself on had I taken the time before starting such a vigorous workout regime! But that’s ok, I have it all figured out now 🙂

Tomorrow cocludes week 3 of my Insanity program.  I feel stronger everyday and am loving the results I am getting.  Sometimes I almost feel discouraged, when trying to lose weight you can see the changes in many ways, you see your waistline go in, your pants are looser, and the scale has a smaller number.   With my quest I can only see it when I look in the mirror.  So sometimes I feel like I am not getting results.  Then I go back to my before pictures and realize, wait a minute, that girl in that picture looks waaaaay different!  Then I feel better again.  Just remember, keep working at it and you WILL get there!  You can do anything you set your mind to!

Insanity-week 3

Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year.  I love dressing up, I love the candy (shhhhh!  Don’t tell anybody!) I love the decorations, and I love throwing childrens Halloween parties.  I haven’t been able to throw a Halloween party for the last few years due to financial reasons, but I’m hoping next year I can!  I think it runs in my family to throw awesome parties.  My mother was good at it, my sister is awesome at it, and I am awesome at it!  I actually will have kids calling my house asking “Ms Erica, are you going to do another Halloween party this year?”  That to me is the highest compliment!  So what happened to Halloween candy anyway?  I think it’s the economy personally.  Most years the children will have a bag heaping full of all kinds of yummy stuff.  The last few years they bring home a lot of lollipops, hard candies, and in general nasty candy they don’t even want.   They will have a few Hershey’s and Mr. Goodbars thrown in here and there but thats it.  So staying away from the childrens Halloween candy has not posed as a challenge lately.  Although it does make me feel bad for the kids.  When I was a kid we used to get the most awesome selection every year in our bags.  I would make mine last until the following Halloween adding my Christmas candy to my collection, then Valentines Day, and of course Easter.   My siblings and I would trick-or-treat until the last porch lights went out, freezing our tails off.  We didn’t care if it was raining, or snowing, we wanted our candy!

Now on to the good stuff.  I did my week 3 fit test.  Did I see improvements?  You can bet your bottom I did!  The only thing I didn’t see a big jump in was the push up jacks.   Naturally my upper body is much weaker then my lower, but I think that maybe I need to do push ups throughout the week outside of working out to help amp up my upper body.  I am also  going to incorporate a little weight lifting a few times a week before my workouts to help amp up my upper body a little.  I’ll do some lower body weighted exercise too so I don’t neglect the southern regions, but I really need to concentrate on my upper body.  My lower body is pretty strong, and always has been.  Even with my tiny frame.  My upper body has always been pathetic.  After seeing a dramatic jump in everything BUT the push up jacks, it was a bit of an eye opener for me.  Not that I didn’t know this before, however, I had half expected to see a large improvement in all areas. 

I will post an updated picture at the close of week 3.  Being that I am seeing such huge improvements in as little as a weeks time I think weekly pictures are needed now.  I have been very careful with what I am eating and cannot wait to see where I am at the start fo week 4!

And that ladies and gentlemen, concludes week 2 of Insanity

2 down, 7 to go!  It’s only 2 weeks in and I am already seeing very visible results!  I can see why it works so well!  It is definitely hard.  I have to keep telling myself push push push!  My body says it wants to lay on the floor 10 minutes in!  I make it through every workout though.  The pure cardio is the most challenging for me.  I have exercise and cold indused asthma, so I have to be careful when I’m doing high intensity.  I have to stop the video and walk around the room to catch my breath throughout the video.  But I don’t skip on part of it, I just gather my breath and jump right back in!  Today I only had to stop it twice.  It’s awesome seeing and feeling the results, my lungs are stronger then they were just 2 weeks ago! I might actually be able to go running soon without feeling like I can’t breathe!  How exciting that is! 

These are my results as of today:

This is right after my workout

 

🙂

 
I cannot even imagine how I’m going to look in 7 more weeks!  It’s just Insanity!

 

Loving my Insanity….Umm, the program that is ;)

A chocolate bar and melted chocolate. Chocolat...

Image via Wikipedia

In week 2 and feeling fabulous!  The countdown begins!  Apparently my “results” thus far have inspired a certain someone to spring into overdrive with our competition.  *Inputs evil laugh*  As some of you may remember, I am in competion with Mrs. Kathryn whom has the goal of losing somewhere around 20 pounds.  My goal was to tone up.  Whomever produces the most results for their individual goal wins a spa day paid for by the non-winning party.  The reasoning for this is because I knew if we both would have to pay for something neither one of us really wanted to pay for, we would both be motivated to push ourselves to the next level.

I have not only pushed myself but have made fitness and nutrition part of my lifestyle.  I’m hoping Kathryn gets to this point as well making the lifestyle change needed to stay healthy and fit.  She has struggled for quite sometime to maintain healthy habits.  So when I fset out on my own adventure I gave her the invitation to join me hoping to help motivate her in the direction she has most desired for so long.  But this is a personal decision you have to make on your own.  So it’s up to her on whether this is just a temporary goal or a lifelong goal that she wants to continue once she gets to where she wants to be.  I believe she can make the changes, but she has to want it bad enough to make it. 

It’s easy to say “I want to be healthier, I want to be in better shape”.  It’s not easy making the actual changes in your everyday life necessary to accomplish this.  I not only have to plan out every meal (or I grab the bag of chocolate M&M’s) but I have to plan out every exercise.  If I don’t I don’t have time.  I had to learn a new way of eating and learn how to make it enjoyable for me.  I had to learn how to be able to sit and watch my boyfriend eat a bowl of ice cream without springing to the fridge to binge on a heaping bowl.  Or maybe just a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.  Ihave to plan out my “binging” days.  The days that my hormones kick into overdrive and I HAVE TO HAVE chocolate!  If I don’t have a snack that will satisfy my cravings I find myself eating horrible foods, and once I start, I have a hard time stopping.  I have to think ahead all the time.   

It’s the same as deciding you want a dog.  You have to make sure you will be home enough to walk him or her.  Make enough time to pay attention to and play with them.  If you leave for an extended period you have to figure out where they will go and who will take care of them.  It is a literal lifestyle change.  If its not a change you want then it will never happen.  If you find that lifestyle more appealing, you will find a way to make it happen.  If it’s only something you think you want and don’t feel is worth the effort then it will always be too far to reach.  Your life is what you make it.

My not so sexy week….

AAAaannnnnnddd it’s that lovely time of the month again!  What comes with that you ask?  A very sick girl, that’s what!  My monthly wrecks havock on my body.  I become very hormonal.  Any drastic changes to my body creates a very angry belly and next thing you know my IBS is ruling my days again. So you get a very hormonal, sick girl.  The combination?  Lethal!   These last two months were far worse than any other time.  Im guessing the changes in my diet and exercise are contributing to this but to me its well worth it because I know the end result will be better.  So needless to say I had a rough week this last week.  I ended up only working out 3 times last week and my diet was not the best.  Not the worst either but not strict the way I have been.  I was very disappointed with myself.

So I decided on Monday that it would start my first official week of Insanity and I pretended as though I never did any workout prior.  I have been doing awesome this week!  I have been feeling better (still a little sick but at least it’s been bearable this week) keeping up to my workout regime and eating awesome again!   I almost think that those bad weeks that fall in here and there are good for me because I kick into overdrive afterward because I feel like such a failure.  I felt disgusting last week.  It really makes you realize why eating healthy is such a plus.  I know I said that last week after my days of no sleep from work but I have to tell you it’s the gods honest truth.  I was retaining a crap ton of water from the not so great diet last week, not to mention my hormones helping to add to that.  So I felt fat and nasty.  I don’t like feeling that way.  I like feeling sexy and feminine.  I’m sure my boyfriend agrees 😉

I love my boyfriend.  He is so encouraging.  He asks me if I’ve done my workout that day.  If I’m sick he tries to help me remember to take my medicine so I feel better.  He encourages me to stay on track with my eating habits.  He is so absolutely supportive.  You would think he is a health nut, but he loves bad food and never works out.  Looking at him you would think he does though, he has nice sized muscular legs, a booty of pure muscle.  Sexy arms and a very sexy stomach 😛  I tell him all the time that I wish I looked that good without having to workout!  I’m a very lucky girl.  I think he has a lot to do with how easy it is for me to stay on track.  Considering how many times I get sick from my IBS and it hindering my workout schedule, how my job takes up so much of my time and makes working out hard to squeeze in, and the fact that Im a full time mommy on top of that….PHew!!!  I’m tired just thinking of all that! 

So tomorrow is my last workout of the week before my break on Sunday.  I have to say after a full week now, I am READY for that day off!!  I just have to say, they call it Insanity for a reason, because it is Insanity for suuurrree!!!!  I am dripping with sweat before we are even done the warmups!  It’s absolutely crazy!  My boyfriend came knocking on the door while I was working out the other day to see if I was ok, he said I was making a lot of weird noises.  YES!  Yes I was!  It is quite normal for me to have to grunt and groan through out the workouts to make it through!  They are all insanely hard workouts!  My girlfriend sent me a text the other day.  She said after reading my last post, she ordered the Insanity Program.  I’m so proud of her!  I’m trying to get her to blog with me so she can help other woman too.  She has lost tons of weight, and now is down to the end.  Not too much weight left to lose, then she needs to tone up.  So she’s right here with me now!  Im so proud of her!   She’s come so far this last year.  It took a lot of hard work.  But she put in the work and I made sure to send her encouraging words throughout the last year regularly so she knew someone was noticing how awesome she’s looking and just how awesome she’s doing.  It helps when you know others notice your hard work.  It makes you want to try even harder.  I’m so excited that I have someone joining my insane adventure with me! 

 You have got to be insane enough to do these workouts, because they are no ordinary workouts!