Thursday, November 15, 2012

Purgatory.


Up There.

Purgatory.  That is where I am, as of now.  My apologies for beginning my first blog post in MONTHS on such a bummer note (aside from the fantastic movie above), but I'm ready for some changes... again.
 

Since having some heart issues and having a few different diagnoses (Tachycardia, PVC's, etc...), I have been SO afraid.  Afraid to exercise in fear of my heart bursting.  Afraid to eat anything with salt or caffeine in fear of my heart bursting.  So what do I do here in purgatory? 

I am going to begin with what feels the most familiar... juicing.  I will take things slowly, yet again.

Ever since I started this blog well over a year ago, I have yet to meet a doctor who can not only give me a straight answer, but give me a "cure".

Last year, I began juicing because of stomach problems.  This year, I have heart problems.  I have not experienced any stomach problems since I focused on a health/research regime, so I'm hoping the same thing will ring true for my heart. 

For those of you out there who are still following this blog (bless your hearts, no pun intended), or for those of you just finding this blog from a random Pinterest board... thank you.  Thank you for letting me vent and sticking around and for understanding that I am NOT perfect, I am NOT Jamie Eason (lurve her), I am not a vegan OR vegetarian, but I am health-conscious and I love discovering things about our bodies and the things we can do with them.

I am planning on cutting my Sasquatch-esque mane and donating it to Locks of Love this coming Tuesday.  I'm hoping I can get my talented sis-in-law to take some pics so I can share it with you all.  I have never had short hair, so in light of the New Year fast approaching...

... what have you been stuck on?  Your diet?  Your hair?  A relationship?  Diets can be simple with the correct research, hair can grow back.  Relationships should be rewarding, not destructive.  Let's get out of this rut before this next year falls upon us, eh?

My early NYR (New Year Resolution) is to breathe new life into this blog.  My followers motivate me to be better, and what could be better than that? 

Juice on!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

E.R. Games.

Calling 911 is really scary.  You realize you've just admitted that something is terribly wrong and there is nothing you can do about it.  NOTHING.

I hope this makes sense, because it is exhausting for me to type.  I just want to get it written down before it blurs together and I forget the way the story goes. :-/

On Thursday, I had attempted to nap with my daughter, but after an hour I still hadn't fallen asleep.  Not unusual for me.  I sat up to use the restroom and realized my heart was beating pretty hard.  Also not unusual for me.  I've always had a high metabolism, so a rapid heartbeat and sweaty palms are the norm.

I went downstairs to read a book and practicing some breathing exercises.  My heart rate stayed elevated, so after another hour I began to get a little worried. 

I called a friend, and she said it may be the effects of the cup of coffee I'd shared with her that morning, since I'm not a coffee drinker.  I couldn't catch my breath, so I got off of the phone to go make some juice.

I called my mom, and she told me she'd call me right back.

I called my mother-in-law, no answer.

I went over to the vortex of hypochondriasis that is the Internet and began researching what my resting heart rate SHOULD be, then timed what it really was, which was about 115-120.  That lit a fire under my butt to really get some help, because I knew something was wrong.

I was calling our local walk-in clinic to see if I could talk to a nurse about my symptoms, when I swooned and I knew I was about to faint.  I hung up and dialed 911 and was simultaneously gasping for air, trying to stay conscious, and banging on the door of my neighbor's house so I could get my daughter to a safe place before I fainted.

The ambulance arrived, and by that time I was shaking, nauseous, had a tightness in my chest and a rapid heart rate.  I could barely breathe, and I was scared out of my fucking mind.

E.R. Round One:  Mercy Medical Center. 3:00pm-7:00pm.

After being admitted and realizing I was healthy as a horse, then the head scratching began.  My heart rate would not drop below 130-140bpm, and a resting rate should only be about 50/60bpm to 90/100bpm.  I got over my initial fear of DYING after being picked up by the ambulance, so panic was not a reason for those numbers.  I've done yoga.  I've done meditation.  I KNOW how to calm myself down.  But I couldn't lower my heart rate.

DIAGNOSIS:  All tests came back normal.  Diagnosed with Palpitations (irregular heartbeat).  Told to go home, pop some Benedryl, drink some chamomile tea and go to sleep.  My heart rate was still high, and I still had tightness in my chest, trouble breathing, sweaty palms, dizziness, and nausea.

E.R. Round Two:  Mercy Medical Center.  Midnight-6:00am.

I took some Benedryl, drank my tea, tried watching a movie in bed with my kiddo.  I almost dozed off a few times, but when the movie ended she fell asleep and I got dizzy.  Like I was laying on a water bed.  I sat up, dizzy went away.  Lay down, dizzy came back.  I got up and went downstairs, sat on the couch and thought of Dori from Finding Nemo. I used the mantra for breathing instead of swimming.  I tuned in to my body and was scared to find I still had every symptom except the rapid heartbeat.  I called my mom and asked her to take me back to the hospital.

More tests, still healthy in every way possible.  I wanted to scream that SOMETHING is wrong with me, people!  Can't you see??!!

DIAGNOSIS:  All tests came back normal.  Diagnosed with Cardiac Arrhythmia.  Told to go home and take some Zofran for the nausea.  Heart rate was better, but I was still dizzy and having trouble breathing because of the tightness in my chest. 

E.R. Round Three: Shasta Regional Medical Center.  11:00pm-3:00am. 

Now it is Friday night.  I have not slept in about 48 hours.  My husband had worked out of town that week and was finally home just in time to take me to my last stint.

I was trying to sleep after another go of the Benedryl/chamo tea, but the dizziness was worse than ever, washing over me in waves every 30 seconds of lying down.  Breathing also became more difficult the more horizontal I was. 

I was actually scared that I would not wake up.  Just because the tests showed good health did not mean anything to me. I had a gut feeling that something was (and still is) wrong.  So off to the emergency room again.  I was determined to make this time my last.

More tests, shockingly healthy.  Surprise, surprise.  I broke down crying and told them that I just wanted to go to sleep.

DIAGNOSIS:  All tests came back normal.  Diagnosed with Acute Bronchospasm.  The final doctor basically told me that there wasn't ONE thing they could diagnose that would umbrella my symptoms, because my tests were clean.  Instead, he decided to give me a breathing treatment for the tight chest, and Lorazepam for anxiety (basically to help me go to sleep).

As I am sitting here now, my palms are sweaty, I feel dizzy when I am standing for more than 60 seconds, my breathing feels better after I use the inhaler, and the anxiety pill has helped me sleep AND take a nap.  I'm shaky and tired, and my heart hurts a little bit, but I'm still breathing.





Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I'm Still Here...

... just having to put Mommy stuff before gym time.  Ugh, I know, right? :-)

My tot got this awful sicky thing just after I posted about thinking I was to have an amaze-balls workout week.  Ha ha ha HA HA, you win this time, karma!  With the hubster out of town, nobody wants to watch a sick babe.

I am taking this in stride.  One step forward, two steps back.  Then a million steps forward for the rest of my life. :-)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lil' Bitty Progress Post.

                                                    
Yeah, you can pick my body apart all you'd like (I see cellulite, ewwww!), but my muscles are just, like, aching to break free.  I love juicing, I can get all of my nutrients that way, but I never had enough energy to really BUILD during that time.

After ending my juice fast I've started over at zero.  I am trying to balance juicing, eating healthy, exercising, and sleeping.  The juicing and exercising have been easier for me than the eating healthy and sleeping.  I've been slowly cutting out processed food by eating HEALTHY processed food (so when I am finally able to eat clean, my body won't miss the flavorless substitutes!  But those rice cakes are actually pretty good.  Ha.).

Anyway, I'm still here trying to figure shit out one day at a time. 

I feel a super-duper workout week coming on, so stay tuned for some Trainer Boy updates.  I hope he has some wisdom for us! :-)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Personal Trainer Tippy Tips.

So, trainer boy has long-ago permanent injuries to his ribs and left foot.  He is also a crossfit freak.... which he can never do ever again.  He can't even run. 

Forget tire flipping, let's do stool presses!

So here I am, letting my body go to waste all of these years for NO reason (because I have absolutely no injuries and can pretty much do any kind of exercise), and there are people out there in agony because they can physically no longer do the thing they love.  Their calling.  Their precious.

I feel ashamed.  I feel like if we were cars, he would be a pristine Aston Martin.  I would be a dusty sedan with a messy interior that breaks down every few hundred miles.  Why is it SO HARD to just do what needs to be done and take care of our bodies?

                                               Trainer Boy.                                                Moi.

Anyway, I'm already sidetracked for this post.  I'm going to share a few choice factos that I've been learning from all of the "gymmies" that take their time to help me. Some of them may contradict each other, which is what SERIOUSLY fascinates me about the exercise world. 

1.)  There is no way you can follow someone else's diet/exercise plan.  After two months of totally legit, super-duper sluethy internet research by yours truly, I finally get it.  You literally have to know everything about your own body.  The outlines that trainers and bodybuilders give you is just that.  An outline.  A skeleton.  YOU have to do the work to tweak things so your body benefits as much as it can.

2.)  Buy tupperware.  Every trainer I bump into at the gym usually chats with me during a lunch break.  They open up their little storage container and I've only seen the following inside;  chicken, brown rice, veggies, quinoa.  And, repeat. 


3.)  Buy some isolate protein powder and fish oil supplements.

4.)  Figure out what to eat or drink and when.  Eat your (healthy) fattiest, carbiest meal about an hour before you do your major workout of the day (um, yeah.  Haven't figured that one out yet).  After the workout, make a shake that contains oats, egg whites, a spoon of natural peanut butter, your protein powder, and some ice.  The when and the what of the eating and the drinking is what really gets my gears turning, because EVERY SINGLE PERSON gives different advice!

Sure you can juice your spinach!  Ahh-guh-guh-guh-guh!

5.)  You HAVE to give your body 1-2 days of rest during the week. 

6.)  Have you heard the phrase "My warm-up is harder than your workout?".  Yeah, well, it's true.  Try doing a fifteen minute warm-up with one of these methods:  Elliptical.  I set it to random, enter my weight and my level, then the time to fifteen minutes.  Go at a normal pace for the first two minutes.  After that, every time the little squares on the screen are stacked at one, two, or three, you GO FOR IT.  Just kill it.  Then go back to the normal pace and repeat this method (better known as HIIT, or high intensity interval training).  Bicycle.  Ride for the first two minutes at a normal pace, then go thirty seconds of intensity with one and a half minutes of "rest".  Treadmill.  Set it at a walking pace, then kick up the elevation as high as it goes and walk uphill for ten to fifteen minutes.

She eats my workouts for breakfast.

My disclaimer?  I'm obviously not a personal trainer, dietician, or doctor.  I'm just the messenger passing along these little tidbits, because I'm really learning as I go.

Meatheads.

My trainer girl has moved on to bigger and better things.  She took a job at a different gym, and we haven't worked out together in a few weeks now.  Sad.  And tough.  I actually enjoy having a workout buddy as opposed to duking it out on my own.

Yeah, not me.  Or my trainer.  But you get the idea.


I always talk to the front desk staff at my gym (which is how I met trainer girl) whether they are associates or trainers.  A select few have really taken me under their wing and have been helping me, guiding, me, and giving me priceless tips about diet and exercise.

About a week ago, I was introduced to Trainer Boy.  He is a complete opposite of the gal I've been exercising with, but it's a GOOD thing.  After talking to my favorite front desk dude about isolate protein powders and fish oil (because we're cool), trainer boy jumps in and realizes I'm legit about changing my life.

The magic words.

"Hey, I have a few clients who pre-pay for sessions, then don't answer my calls when it's time to schedule.  At the end of the month, if I have any leftover open time, come on in and I'll train you."

Really, readers?  Do you guys even KNOW how lucky I feel?  This is the second trainer who has sacrificed time and energy to help ME.

I'm going to re-preach a previous post, because it begs to be said.  ASK FOR HELP.

That's all I do.  I ask and ask and ask and ask.  Not for everything, don't get me wrong.  It's usually a "Can you show me how to use this equipment?", "What in the freaking heck is a Superman Surfer?" or "Is there a certain brand of protein powder I should avoid?".  The difference between just asking and actually asking and doing is what catches the attention of the staff. 

Please don't think I am trying to get everybody to scam on trainers.  I wish I could afford to pay for a personal trainer, because in my mind the way I've treated my body these past few years, I DON'T deserve the advice I've been recieving.  I'm just trying to help you all understand that when you put yourself out there and make others realize that you are SERIOUS about a new way of life, good things will come of it. 

For real.

P.S.  Trainer boy looks like a meathead, but as it turns out, he's quite awesome.  I guess you can't judge a book by it's cover, even if that book looks like a gorgeous beefed-up snobby fitness model with dimples and long eyelashes.  Think A.C. Slater sans mullet. :-)


What?  Oh, I'm just headed to the gym to fix Kristen's bod.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Foul Mouth and Week Five...

... of THIS crazy plan, and I feel stronger!  I love walking in to my gym and straight into the weight area with confidence.  The staff is so unbelievably helpful and genuinely excited for me!

It's insane that there is this other world out there right under our noses, but most of us would rather walk into the gym, avoid eye contact with everybody, and walk straight over to the cardio machines.  I totally used to do that. 

My thinking went something like "Okay, Kristen.  Let's get this over with.  Twenty minutes of jogging.  You can do it.  Shit shit shit!  My machine is being used!  Now I have to jog right in front of someone and my butt will be jiggling right in their FACE!"

Now I think "Shit shit shit!  I hate cardio days!  Get me back over to the free weights, man!"

That is not a joke.  I have to research most of the exercises with the weights (like skullcrushers, Russian lunges, burpees, etc.  Doesn't the name 'burpee' make you want to gag?), but I am LOVING trying new things and feeling ten thousand different muscles burning that I never even knew could burn. 

Sigh.  It's awesome.


Since I spend five days a week at the gym, I haven't had time for my other love, which is vintage clothing!  My etsy shop is pretty thinned out, but I was able to get a few new items listed HERE and HERE.  If you love vintage kiddo clothing as much as I do, browse around!

Here are some more linky links if you've reached the end of the internet and you're looking for some brain food:

- Baby Bumps and Barbells

- How to make perfect hard-boiled eggs (I'm ashamed to say I never knew how!)

- 15 Things You Should Give Up to be Happy

- Supermarket Lies Revealed

Monday, June 4, 2012

Celebrate the Random!

*don't blink, you'll miss a link!

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month.  Who knew?  After learning this fun fact, I decided to do a little research and find out what healthy "celebrations" I've been missing out on.  I think it could be a fun way to mix up your diet and learn some fun, new recipes!

National Turkey Lovers' Month:  Simple Turkey Roll-Up Snack (my own idea, although I'm sure I'm not the first):  Take a slice of deli turkey and a fat-free string cheese, then ROLL IT UP!

National Dairy MonthHealthy Cottage Cheese Pancakes... YUM.

National Papaya Month:  Just juice it!  How to juice a papaya.

June 12 is National Peanut Butter Cookie Day:  Muffin Top-Less Peanut Butter Protein Cookies.  I follow this gal's tumbler site, she always has great recipes for those of you with a sweet tooth!

June 13 is National Kitchen Klutzes of America Day:  Sometimes we just need to stick to the basics. :-)  Recipes for the Hopeless Cook, and again.

This was fun!  I'll post some recipes at the beginning or each month, and we can try them out together!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I'm Not Crying, I'm Just Allergic to Exercise...

"I know now that I know nothing."

I didn't hear this phrase from anywhere, it literally just popped into my head after my first ever nausea-inducing workout with trainer girl.  Then I started bawling like a baby. 

Instead of spouting my new found knowledge to everybody about REAL exercise versus lightly jogging on the treadmill for twenty minutes, I figured it would be smart to plug that phrase into the ole' Google search engine and see what happened.

Hey!  Whaddya know?  WISDOM.

I'm sure I've subconsciously heard this phrase many times over the course of my life, but it makes me wonder why it would pop into my head NOW?  I've had to deal with much harder situations in life than just making my muscles sore. 

Regardless, I'm glad my brain decided to gift this phrase to me.  It's pretty humbling, right?  I keep pushing myself more than I ever have before when I work out with trainer girl, and I end up crying fifty percent of the time. 

After one particularly grueling regime, I had pulled a muscle and let her know.  She told me to roll this foam thingy over my muscle, and I just started sobbing.  She cocked her head to one side while I was busy apologizing and told me that exercise was spiritual, and that most of her clients cry at some point.

I'm not really religious, so I'm not going to get into religion, but I like that word. 

Spiritual.  It sounds so zen for such an intense moment. 

So the moral(s):  Knowing that I know nothing has allowed me to push myself harder than ever before.  BUT.  Keepin' it spiritual has allowed me to NOT push myself to the point of sickness, so I can take a step back and say "Hey, my muscle hurts.  I think I should cool it.", or "I'm going to puke if I push myself any harder, time to close my eyes and stand over a fan."

What's the rush, anyway?  I want a life change, so I'm going to take my sweet time and just be a sponge.  A tired, weepy, restless, sore, anxious, smelly sponge.


Sponge? No way... this gal's a ShamWow!




Monday, May 21, 2012

Eat Less, Move More.

Sounds fairly simple, right?

I know it's been a few months since I've written, but I want to be CONFIDENT in what I write regarding health (plus we've been SO BUSY here!). These past weeks have been completely geared towards exercise and diet research by yours truly. :-)

I walked in to my ($5 per month) gym one weekend and commented to one of the front desk staff about how intimidated I was by all of the equipment, AND I can't afford a personal trainer, which deters me even more. I've literally been immersed in youtube.com videos about how to properly use each machine, just so I didn't look like a fool when I finally got the guts to try some out.

The guy behind the desk was completely sympathetic to my irrational fears of the equipment! He said to come back and he would not only show me a few machines, but he could also give me some diet tips. Um, OKAY!

I went back the next week, and here is where the stars aligned for me.

The front desk girl said the guy I spoke with would be an hour late. I didn't have too much free time that morning, so she casually said "Have you used your free personal training session?". I had actually signed up MONTHS ago, but I didn't expect a call. I used to work the desk at a Gold's Gym in Virginia, and the trainers there would roll their eyes and complain about how people just wanted them to quickly show them every single machine, all the while whining about how they can't afford any more sessions after the free one.

I agreed to meet with the trainer that was there, who just happened to have free time on her schedule RIGHT THEN. She sat me down (and she was actually very kind), asked me about my goals, and I burst into tears.

I explained my neverending quest to be strong, HEALTHY, and knowledgeable, and my misery with myself is taking a toll on my marriage, and sob, sob, sob...

She just smiled and wrote one simple phrase onto a piece of paper.

Easy. Ha.

She then told me that I was one of the most open and genuine people she had ever met with. She asked me if I wanted to come back in during HER exercise time frame, and she would teach me the things I've been aching to know.

Since then, after we exercise together, she casually takes out her planner and pencils me in to come in and work out at the same time as her. Again. And again. I feel like I could cry as I'm writing this, because I really CAN'T afford a personal trainer. This girl (a STUDENT, nonetheless) is taking time out of her high intensity exercise regimes to HELP me.

I'm still juicing, but I also want to be strong. And healthy. And while I get used to rewiring my brain and changing my body, I will leave you all with this; JUST ASK.

Ask for help. Be real and genuine. Most people working in that kind of environment are there because they love exercise, being healthy, and they truly want to pass that along to people like you and I.

Just ask, and keep moving. :-)

P.S. The first day I met with the trainer, she gave me some homework and told me to bring in a printout of an exercise regiment. This is what we've been doing ever since: IT'S REALLY HARD.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Skinny-fat.

So, since finishing my cleanse in December, I've been happy with the results, but I've had this feeling of incompletion.

I'm not sure I had a specific goal (as in, how I wanted my body to look) in mind when I started juicing aside from relieving health problems and fitting into my clothes again. I still don't feel like I did what I set out to do, and it has been eating away at me and keeping me up at night. Why wasn't I happy with this accomplishment?

Then I came across this website: http://muffintop-less.tumblr.com/.

Okay, I'm not saying I want to be a body builder, but I love some of the information she offers.

I've been preaching about how all I did during my cleanse was some light walking and jogging. I had more than one person comment on my pinterest pictures about how I was "skinny-fat". Please don't think I've been obsessing over those comments, because I think adding fruits and veggies has done 100% good for my body (and NO, I don't think I am skinny OR fat).

BUT.

The wheels have been turning. I guess I figured doing minimal exercise would be enough to get my body back to this:



It isn't! This is 20-year-old Kristen who only had to jog a few times a week and do the 8 Minute Abs video.

I'll be the first one to admit that gym equipment intimidates me. I was content for a time that jogging on the treadmill was enough. Now I feel antsy again and I am curious to try a different workout regime. I am going to ask my gym for help. :-)

I am curious to see where this path takes me, and I am kind of eager to share it with you all!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Blame Game.

Why being unsatisfied with my weight was everybody else's fault except my own:

Let's blame...

1. My parents. Sorry mom and dad, but growing up on food that was sugar-free, fat-free and taste-free has left it's mark. I remember a Christmas video of my sister and I decorating the tree, and I excitedly informed my younger sis that as soon as we were finished we would be rewarded with a piece of sugar-free Extra gum.

Really, guys?

I definitely, definitely took advantage of the foods I had missed out on growing up, but to the extreme. See? Not my fault.



2. Sydney. I love you, but having a child has screwed up my metabolism. Not my fault.


3. Weston. I love you, too. You are my enabler. I can cry "food addiction" and beg for help until I'm blue in the face, then turn around and convince you that YES, pizza is definitely the best option for dinner because yaddah yaddah yaddah, excuse excuse excuse. So, YOUR fault.

4. My friends and family. If I were a drug addict, would you still offer me drugs after I've complained about how miserable they make me? When I recieve an invite for a girl's wine and cheese night, or a family breakfast that is bound to include bacon, sausage, eggs and cheese, do you really think I would say no? See? It's your fault.

5. Myself. I have aches and pains and health issues and (ALTOGETHER NOW!) yaddah yaddah yaddah. I can't exercise like everybody else. I can't diet because I have to eat certain foods at certain times. Not my fault.

Wow. That sounded a bit more snarky than I intended it to be, but for the sake of fairness I've written this like TWICE and my computer keeps freezing and deleting my posts.

I guess my point is that YES, you are responsible for your health, but I truly believe you have to hit some sort of "bottom" to get the motivation that changes your life.

NO, I am not saying that every overweight person is just lazy and making excuses, this is just MY experience and I am trying to come to terms with the fact that I've been doing it for so long, I actually have to change my ENTIRE mindset to get back on track.

And, mom? I really did enjoy those fat-free Entenmann's pastries you used to buy. But not the Snackwell's. Gross.


This would have been a miracle in my childhood.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Shopping Cart Workout.

A good friend of mine (who used to manage the daycare at my gym) now works at the market down the street from our house. I bumped into her while it was pouring rain and she was bringing in the carts. I commented on how much exercise she must be getting (trying not to make it obvious that she must be MISERABLE lugging shopping carts in while it was freezing and raining. And dark.). Her eyes lit up and she told me that she had lost TWO pants sizes since starting this job.

Well, hello!

Thus, I began my SCAW (shopping cart and workout) research.



1. Park as far away from the entrance as you can (unless, of course, it's night and you have kids with you... obviously).

2. If you don't have kids with you (and it's daylight), DON'T park near a cart return. That way, you still have to push the darn thing back. And if you don't, then you deserve that guilty feeling of leaving your cart in the empty space next to you. I've never done that, of course...

3. Grab a cart from the parking lot, preferably one with a wonky wheel (hey, working ONE side of your abs is better than nothing!), so you have to push it all the way to the store.

4. Use a cart, even if you only have a few items on your list. If I remember correctly, a grocery cart weighs about 50lbs (sound heavy? My toddler weighs 26lbs!).

5. Don't follow your list in order. For example, I usually write my grocery list as things run out. By the end of the week, I have a big messy list that runs me all over the store. Granted, it may cause problems if you keep passing the chip or cookie aisles, but if you stick on some running shoes (because, HEY, this is a workout), you may be able to stay a bit more focused!

6. Ditch the running shoes, wear heels. I know it sounds REALLY stupid (and I don't even like that word), but I can speak from experience. I lived in Virginia for a few years, and right down the street was a Wegmans.

Wegmans.



Why does it look like a church? Because it's meant for people who take food just as seriously as religion. Well, that's what I like to think. :-)

The pictures may not do it justice. It's like Disneyland for foodies, seriously.





Anyway, people treated this place like you were showing up for the red carpet. I would only buy groceries on the days I had actually tried to get ready, and I was almost always wearing heeled boots or high heels (no, not stipper heels, just NORMAL heels). I would leave Wegmans with a full cart and burning calves. Win-win.

Charlize...

Dita...


Emma Stone...


I probably won't EVER do this, but if it works, IT WORKS.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Housewife, I am not.

Yikes. Why do my posts keep beginning with "imperfect" and "not". Way to be a Debbie Downer, Kristen!

But seriously, I'm a stay-at-home mom, NOT a housewife. If I were the latter, I would have dinner planned and cooked in the evening. My laundry would be done and not in piles (albeit clean piles, but piles nonetheless). My kid would be dressed every day, instead of being in jammies about 2-3 days a week... ALL DAY.



Picture the sun setting. It's about 6pm, and it's family time. You're playing on the floor with your tots, and your spouse is relaxing. Then, the question. The Question. "What should we do for dinner?". We look at each other and say in unison "Pizza? Pizza.".

That was before the juice cleanse. Today, my caveman hubster is happy with a little piece of steak and garlic bread, or a burger. Or hot dogs. Or anything else containing meat. Or PIZZA.

My Achilles' heel.

If you are reading this blog, you are either considering a juice cleanse, being judgemental about other's cleanses, ON a juice cleanse, or you like reading about healthy experiences and REALLY like pictures (I admit, I like blogs better when they have photos... really!).

Changing your life is HARD. Especially when you are an addict. It can be drugs, alcohol, sex, caffine... or food. My way of thinking after completing this cleanse has changed for the better, and I HATE it sometimes. I don't crave junk food, but I don't necessarily like the taste of healthy dishes. I have spent many sleepless nights thinking about recipes I used to enjoy and tweaking them significantly so they are healthy.

I thought juicing was tough, but the aftermath is a bit tougher.

One good thing (besides GREAT health!) to come of my recipe experimentation? THIS recipe! Enjoy hot, tasty bruschetta? This recipe is the bees knees! The only thing I change is the rosemary. I don't like spices I can feel with my tongue (ever watch Shallow Hal? I'm the best friend, but instead of being picky with women, I'm THAT picky with food). I use dried rosemary, put it in a zip-loc bag and smash it into powder with a hammer. Then I cut the amount in half and voilĂ ! Delicious hot tomato goodness!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gym Tunage.



I have a pretty extensive playlist for my gym time, but these songs make me want to fist pump on the treadmill with no shame.

Open up your iTunes, and sample these ditties.

1. Tarzan Boy by Baltimora (great warm up song while you walk on the treadmill).

2. Africa (Claudio Tignanello Club Mix).

3. Bulletproof (Manhattan Clique Remix Radio).

4. Let It Be (Beatles cover), album is "Hits of the Beatles (Non-Stop Mix for Cardio Workouts, Treadmill, Walking, Jogging, Elliptical and Stair Climber)".

5. Don't Stop Believing (Workout Remix).

Yeah, save that Journey song for last, it is SUCH a pump-you-up song!

Friday, January 20, 2012

I'm SO [im]perfect, It's not even funny.

I'm not skinny, and I'm not going to pretend to be.

Yes, when you look at my before and after pictures, the difference seems VERY dramatic, but would you like to know how much I weigh?

140lbs. I am still curvy, and I will probably ALWAYS be proportioned this way... but I love it.

My goal for the juice cleanse was not JUST to lose weight, but to get my body healthy from the inside as well. It sounds cliché, but it's the truth. What kind of life can you live when you don't want your own husband to touch you, especially when he's a ruggedly handsome dude?


I've also never let the scale rule my life. Ever since I hit puberty, I've had some va-va-voom hips and a booty to match. In 8th grade, I won "Biggest Appetite" in the yearbook. My jeans size would always surprise my friends, because I carry my weight pretty well.


These classic lyrics define my body shape to a T: Baby Got Back. Ha.

Anyway, I think the main point I am trying to get people to realize is that I still look like a normal woman, and I have not suddenly transformed into some kind of Super-Healthinator. I still juice daily and eat WAY better than I ever have in my life, but I have my moments of weakness. My battle with food will be an ongoing conflict that I will probably have to deal with for the rest of my life.

So, for the readers who keep asking me "How much weight did you gain back?" and "What do you eat when you end the cleanse?", here are some additional Questions Answered, Part Deux.

1. Don't you just gain all of the weight back? Um, NO! 60 days gave me quite a long time to learn how to listen to my body. Going through this cleanse was like having an epiphany about eating. It didn't matter how many hours I spent at the gym, or how hard or how long I ran, because my diet stayed the same so my BODY stayed the same. My weight fluctuates about 5lbs both ways (which I think is the norm, right?). I am happy to say that I have a closet full of new jeans and I am lovin' the way they fit. :-)

2. What did you eat after the cleanse ended? Like you may have seen in a previous post, I had a fish taco as my first meal. I wish I could say I weaned myself back into solid foods by eating fruits, veggies and smoothies (as recommended by the Reboot team), but like I said... I am totally addicted to food. Once I knew my juice cleanse was almost over, my brain became FIXATED on fish tacos. The only other time I remember craving something that bad was

A. When I worked at Hooters (yeah, yeah, I know.) and I couldn't get enough of the hot buffalo shrimp. Those things are NO JOKE. Thank God I had a high metabolism.


B. When I was pregnant and I seriously could not get enough Pepsi into my system. I don't even DRINK soda (or coffee!), but if I could have safely absorbed Pepsi intravenously, I would have.


Folks, listen to the experts. If I could do it over again, I would have eaten raw foods. Unfortunately, I am impatient and imperfect, so I went as healthy as I could while still making something that would make my mouth happy. My stomach didn't hurt or bloat or anything similar (until I ate cheese), but I may have just been lucky...

3. I can't find the 60-Day program on the site...?? They don't actually have the 60-day cleanse that Joe Cross completed in the documentary as a program option on the Reboot website. It is a potentially risky, VERY difficult fast, and they probably want to play it safe by offering shorter versions. AGAIN, before diving headfirst into the full 60 days...

... TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR.

4. So, wait, you STILL aren't a doctor? Erm, no. As I said before, I am not a doctor, dietician, or nutritionist. All I can do is explain what worked for me, and back up my information with some linkage.

I don't know how to end this, so I just want all of you to know...

...that...

...I bought a Shake Weight.

Let the judgments begin. :-)


At my most miserable. No, Kristen! Don't eat the cake!

At my most memorable. Just a reminder that thin ≠ healthy.


My most recent pictures are in the "Boudoir" post (that's all you get, ladies and gents)... healthy and working on myself. :-)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Comments Now Welcome!

I never thought I would have very many followers on this blog, and the only reason I had the old layout is because I thought it was lovely, but the catch was that no one could leave any comments!

Anybody should now be able to comment on posts, but let me know if it STILL isn't working!

Oh, and I made THIS and THIS and THISSSSSSS for my sister-in-law this evening, and once I perfect them I'll snap some pics and post the recipes (I always tweak them to my liking). The stuffed tomatoes were DIVINE, and the chip-filled raspberries were delicious AND a great little treat without overdoing it on sweets!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Questions, Questions Everywhere...

... and just no time to think!

Since posting my pictures on pinterest.com, I have been FLOODED (yay!) with questions, comments and concerns about my experience with juice fasting.

I would like to answer some of the most frequent ones, and hopefully this will get a few more people headed in a healthy direction!

1. You aren't a physician, so why are you giving dietary advice? I absolutely recommend speaking with your doctor before changing your diet, especially if you have underlying health issues (diabetes, hypoglycemia, etc.). I am only giving information that has worked for me, and I actually DID have mysterious health issues that MANY doctors could not figure out. I felt I needed to take my health into my own hands and solve what was wrong. I truly believe I would not have it figured out had I not discovered juicing.

2. So, you just drink juice for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Yes, yes and yes. I cannot stress enough how motivating it is to watch the documentary "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead". They explain the juice cleanse FAR better than I will ever be able to! I watched it on Netflix (you can usually sign up for a one month free trial, then cancel if you don't want that kind of service), or you can find it on eBay for about $15, OR you can support the Reboot team and buy it directly from the website!

3. I'm on day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5... and I want to quit. How did you stay motivated? Wow! There are SO many factors to this one. First and foremost, I was MISERABLE with myself. My low self-esteem was affecting my marriage and friendships. I didn't even want anybody taking pictures of me. I knew I had to do something drastic to get a change in my life.

I also had some stomach problems that nobody could figure out. Once I watched the film, a light went off in my head and I decided to try and heal my body with fruits and veggies!

Once the decisioin was made that this was the right choice for me, I had small motivators. The minute I began the cleanse, I sold all of my jeans on eBay (I have a thing for denim, so even though the sizes were large, they were expensive), so I either had to succeed or I would have NO PANTS!

I am a stay-at-home mom, and dinner was tough to get through. I would make a tasty meal for my family, then go upstairs, light some candles, and read books. I also went to bed early for the first few weeks. Being around food eventually gets better, I promise! :-)

Taking progress pictures helped as well, no matter how discouraging they may seem at the time. I would also track my weight on the calendar, and every ten days that went by I would treat myself with a little gift of something I'd had my eye on as a reward.

4. Can I just use a blender or food processor? If you are trying to emulate this cleanse, a juicer is the only thing that will work. Juicing allows your body to use the energy that would otherwise go towards digestion and give you tons of vitality to do other things!

5. Why not just eat the vegetables? You could, but your jaw would be exhausted because of the large amounts of produce you are ingesting, and you would probably give up quicker! Also see #4.

6. I work during the day. How do I cope with group lunch outings and easy office snacks? Obviously, I can't say 100% how to deal with this issue. I thought staying at home was tough because the kitchen was right there, taunting me, but working would be a challenge as well. I think at the end of a long day, putting on lounge wear and eating comfort food would be almost impossible to resist! Juicing can be very isolating, especially when you realize you should probably just skip lunch and drink juice, or take a walk alone until the cravings subside. It is all about willpower! One positive is that many of your co-workers will be inspired and excited that you are taking such "crazy" steps to make yourself healthy!

7. What about protein? Protein is important for our muscles, immune and blood cells. Many vegetables contain some of the essential amino acids, or building blocks of protein – for example beet greens, broccoli, avocado, kale, just to name a few. So you won’t be missing out completely on this important macronutrient. Also, it is highly unlikely that you could develop a nutrient deficiency in 60 days.

8. I can't afford a juicer, or buying massive amounts of produce, soooo...? Try Craigslist for a gently used juicer! My Jack Lalanne was found on sale at Big Lots for $70, so keep checking your local Sunday paper! Also, try adding up the cost of your meals for just ONE week. The produce came to about ten bucks per day for me (a bit more if you buy organic). I spent WAY more on processed food than I ever did on fruits and veggies!

9. Did you exercise during the cleanse? Yes.... EVENTUALLY. Since the first week was the hardest, I just wanted to stay in bed. After my body got used to the HEALTHY food being pumped into it, I started out with short walks. After a bit, I was able to walk-jog-walk. By the end of the fast, I was jogging the entire route (which got longer and longer!). My advice is to go with what your body can do. I wasn't exactly obese when I started this journey, but when I first began walking my heart would beat out of my chest and I fell short of breath.... from walking! You really just need to listen to your body and stop when it becomes too much. I think ANY exercise is great exercise!

10. How did you navigate social functions? What about naysayers? If your family is anything like mine (in-laws included!), food is the staple to any get-together. My friends are also big on tasty food and wine. As I mentioned before, this cleanse can feel VERY isolating. At first you will get comments similar to "Aren't you just starving yourself?", or "I don't really go for the fad diets, since you'll gain the weight back", and "Don't you need meat to survive?". After you tell them that you are "eating" a normal amount of calories, it isn't a fad OR a diet because it is literally just produce, and you DON'T need meat to survive (you're just a temporary vegetarian, unless you decide to become one!), that is when the motivational compliments begin to pop up! I had many friends and relatives say they WISH they had my willpower, or how great my skin looked! Trust me, you can't cave on your cleanse just because your mom makes you feel guilty for refusing her slow-cooker cheesy potato soup. :-)

11. I feel sick, how can I keep going when I feel so awful? Trust me, the icky feeling does not last! The first week (or two) is the hardest. I personally had headaches, nausea, sore throat (from drinking so many liquids) and I was SUPER cranky. Your poor body is literally withdrawing from salt, sugar and fat, and it is NOT FUN. Don't be tempted to pop aspirin or drink coffee, you CAN get through it and you will wake up one morning and feel amazing! About a week prior to your fast, begin to cut out processed foods and start eating more fruits and veggies, the symptoms will be less severe if your body gets used to the healthy intake!

12. How much juice should I drink per day? What if I get tired of just drinking juice? The Reboot website suggests drinking about 4-5, 16 ounce juices and add approximately 16-24 ounces of additional fluids. Besides drinking LOTS of water, you can also drink herbal tea, lemon water and plain coconut water.

Phew! That's all I can do for now, but maybe I'll post a "FAQs Round Two" sometime. :-)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Boudoir! Ooh la la!

What is one of the best gifts you can give yourself after juicing (besides great health)?

A photoshoot!

I was lucky enough to book a session with a friend who is expanding her studio to include boudoir packages. It was such a boost of confidence, and it is worth every penny (because confidence is PRICELESS)!

Plus, it makes a great gift for a significant other, especially with Valentine's Day just around the corner. :-)

Juice on!




Photos by Essence Photography

Sunday, January 8, 2012

So Juicy.

Day five, and I'm dreading having to experiment with cooking again. I almost feel more comfortable when I'm juicing (easy grocery shopping, set routine, etc.). Crazy, right? This coming from the girl who used to eat WHATEVER I wanted.

No, seriously.

I remember after I had the Burnin' Love Burger at Red Robin, I think I actually fell in love with it. I soon discovered that I could get a delicious hamburger from Jack in the Box, then drive across the street to Del Taco for the fried jalapenos. The I would stuff the burger full of jalapenos, trying to emulate my precious.

Sad, I know.

Now, I actually don't even CRAVE fast food, which is a first for me! I figure if the cravings for bad food have been eliminated, maybe the craving for good food will begin to pop up!

I really can't get my mind off of fish tacos. They are just SO dern good! I do need to expand my tastes, but in the same way I've always hated veggies, I hate weird spices and flavors (onions, bell peppers, garlic chunks, oregano, etc.).

I may just have to wait until I get older and my tastebuds die...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

January Cleanse - Day One!

Cheers to everybody beginning a juice fast at the start of this new year!



6am juicing queen!


This is how much liquid is produced from two bunches of spinach, 2 CUPS!