Healthy life

What Happened When I Gained 40lbs

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A year ago this week I was wearing a size two. I was the leanest I ever had been. IMG_2241

I was also packing my bags, leaving my ex-husband.

I was also starving.

I was also weighing every green bean and grape that entered my mouth.

I also thought I was fat & hated myself. Yes, in this picture I truly thought I needed to be smaller. My heart hurts as I type this, but what I saw--is not what I know you see when you look at that.

I was starving. I was unhappy. I was starving. I was miserable.

 

A year ago I stumbled upon my new gym home The Human Form. It was by accident, literally. I came here with a friend because she was going to meet a guy who worked there (who I later ended up dating), I was terrified for her that she was going alone so I came with her--what do you mean you're going to an empty gym alone to meet a man from the internet? I ended up landing the internship of a lifetime there and that's now where I do all of my personal training.

My first week there I watched the owners, Stephen and Michelle make smoothies pretty much everyday. I remember it like it was yesterday that they put 1/2 and avocado, 1 whole banana and some other fruit in there. There was also protein and veggies but all I could think about was how in one smoothie, they just consumed almost all of my fat intake for the day and about 3/4 of my carbs.

I was counting my macros and eating 25g of fat + 100g of carbs a day.

It was then, as the people I admired so much--and my boyfriend at the time, drank their smoothies--that I knew something was wrong with me.

Counting my macros was not healthy for me. I saw food in numbers and not for fuel. I was fearful of 5 extra grams of fat per day. Simultaneously I was binging like crazy because I was eating such a limited amount of food. Even with counting my macros, I was going crazy and living an extremely unhealthy life.

I vowed to myself that I would stop counting and start focusing on eating whole foods mindfully.

Having not done that though for 2 years, and just entering a new relationship, I ate. My now ex-boyfriend loved cooking for me, and I loved that he wanted to. It was all insanely healthy but I had been use to eating practically nothing and being hungry 24/7, so when I began to eat meals with him I was not only eating good stuff--I was eating his size portions of good stuff. I knew I was probably eating too much for my body, but for so long all I could think about was my next meal and a this point I no longer knew what enough (truly enough) looked like for my body.

I ate out at restaurants, for the first time in so long. I ate food I loved, I tried new things and eventually I stopped being so afraid of food.

It took me almost a year to come to a place where I know I'm okay without counting.

Last July I weighed a low of 120lbs. In December of this year I tipped the scale at my highest of 158.

That crushed my soul because I knew that while I finally felt truly strong for the first time ever, a lot of that weight came from not honoring my body through food. Which was really hard to swallow for me.

But something else happened.

Part of me wanted to hide because I knew how lean I could be, I knew where I had once been. But as I reflected on that, I realized that I was starting to love my body where it was. Even at 158. In the picture below I was 158, but I had never felt more sexy and confident in my life. That's what most women and competitors say though. "I love my curvy body". Most say it because they know what is happening and they are ashamed. And I was, I fought myself daily to love this body. But when I allowed myself to start letting that love be okay--what happened was magical.

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In the beginning I felt that I could only love myself at 120 because 120 meant abs. I thought that 158 equaled that I was fat, not worthy of love. I based my love with myself on my gravitational pull with the universe.

Something clicked though, I started to be able to grab my butt. I had legs that didn't look like you could break them in half.

I finally, FINALLY realized that beauty, confidence and feeling sexy had nothing to do with abs. That it is OKAY to love your body without it looking like the cover of Oxygen Magazine.

 

So this year I gained 40lbs. I was recovering from an eating disorder that consumed every part of my being. The weight I gained wasn't all healthy, a lot of my old habits came up many times. This 40lbs is made up of learning how to eat for my body, honoring it through eating intuitively, and sometimes it was made up of ED mindset setbacks.

40lbs is a lot, I don't say that with rainbows and butterflies shooting out of my ass. But speaking of ass, I have one now. I have many things now that I choose to break society's version of beautiful and decide I was beautiful on my own.

Now, out of curiosity, I weighed myself and am chillin at 143. I love myself more at 143 than I ever did at 120. Because a number doesn't decide you're confident or beautiful--you decide that.

143 is good. My ED mindset isn't there, I can wake up and eat the foods I love that simultaneously fuel me and leave me feeling good. I can look in the mirror with a deep acceptance and love for my body. I'm actually strong. I can lift heavy shit well. I don't have dark circles under my eyes, I don't run out of energy in my workouts, I'm happy.

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Strong Curves + radical self love VS. weak, extreme hate for my body.

I am beautiful because I decided I was. The freedom and confidence that came with that is earth shatteringly beautiful.

There are still days I feel my self love tank is dipping low, but I know now that self love is a choice and most importantly a journey, not an end goal.

So if you feel like you're struggling with self love because you don't look like a model, I challenge you to be okay with being a bit of a rebel and allowing yourself to decide what your version of beautiful is.

 

With a whole lot of love, shaky fingers and vulnerability,

xoxo

Rachel

 

 

What I Wish I Would Have Been Taught In School

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Sometimes titles for my posts come to me quickly and other times, like now, I have so much to say that I want to pull you in with but I can't fit it all..#thestruggle While I wish I could've learned the things I'm going to talk about below in school. I won't blame school for not teaching them to me. I won't blame anyone. Because now, I know  I'm learning through incredible life experiences, both good and not so good--what I've always wanted to learn. Now, I can do something about it. I can work every day through Strong Chicks Rock to teach women what I wanted to know.

 

1.) Women empowerment is rad as fuck. High school Rachel didn't understand this. See, my friends lived off gossip and tearing others apart. While it never felt right to me, while I'm not proud of many of my actions in middle/high school--I let myself live in a reality I deemed normal, where if I wasn't dressed right I was looked down upon, where if we didn't gossip we didn't fit in, where the thought of supporting another girl wasn't heard of. How sad is that?

What is cooler than women joining together and supporting each other? Nothing. To let go of the need to compete, to support each others dreams and goals. To STOP bullying. To stand together and live in the awesomeness that is being a woman. Ladies let me tell you something, life isn't a competition between us all. So if I could talk to myself in high school right now, I'd say this: Support one another, be kind, encourage and support each other, don't let someone sit alone at lunch, compliment someone, speak nothing but goodness, be fucking good.

2.) LOVE AND ACCEPT YOURSELF. I spent hundreds of dollars that I saved from working in high school to buy extensions because I thought pretty meant long hair. I thought accepted meant Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch, fancy VS underwear, highlights in my hair, eyeliner. Never did I look in the mirror and say: "Hey you beautiful girl, you are perfect just the way you are". I was so caught up in doing my hair (2 hours before school started) that I had ZERO idea of what self love even was.

Think back on your high school experience. Can you imagine the kind of life you would have lived if you had learned to love and accept yourself. Not feeling the need to change for every.single.person who made a comment about you. Not even that. Changing for what you thought people would want. Can you imagine the chain reaction that would have happened from starting to love yourself, then exuding confidence, happiness and peace? If I could talk to myself in high school right now, I'd say this: It is okay to be different, it is okay to not conform to what society says you should wear, how to act, what color to make your hair. Practice self love daily. You are allowed to love yourself.

3.) Healthy and strong aren't a joke. Though I knew better, and I have to apologize to my dad...because growing up with a strength and conditioning coach as a dad, I know what healthy is. In high school though, I went to a "normal" gym for the first time because I wanted my ex-boyfriend to see me working out. I literally would run with my bestfriend past the lacrosse field only so he could see me (yup, I was that girl). Though I knew better, I opened up Seventeen Magazine and searched for workouts, but because I had 0 self confidence and was too embarrassed to ask my brilliant dad(because in my heart--I wasn't doing this journey for me)--I went to the treadmill every time. I'm sure you know how this story continues, following the treadmill I did a few core exercise and called it a day. I didn't understand the gym, but who was I kidding. I wasn't there for me or my health.

The extent of learning about what "healthy" is, stopped in middle school after I learned what the food pyramid was--well fuck that(7-8 servings of grains a day my asshole). If you didn't play a sport you didn't learn how to workout, or what it means to be strong. Not in the sense of simply picking up a weight and putting it down, but strength in all aspects of your life. Because of fitness, because of knowing how to honor my body through food that fuels me well and through movement--I'm able to walk through life with confidence. I would have killed to feel the way I do now back in high school. I wish that someone would have talked about learning to eat healthy, not dieting, but how to honor your body with nutrient dense food. If I could talk to myself in high school right now, I'd say this: Don't be embarrassed to make healthy choices. Make this journey about YOU and no one else. Try not to fall into fads and what Seventeen says. Start moving to feel good, eat to feel good. Do those things out of an act of self love and respect

Now:

I don't share these things to diss my school, more so to speak to the women who and girls who have ever ONCE felt like I did.

I went through a lot of my life never feeling like I was enough. Like I had to change for everyone. Its not a new story. It's been told 100x over. Instead of letting it continue though, and letting the story repeat for girls for the rest of time. I want to do something about it, I want young girls, women my age and women everywhere to be able to take my stories and my past life experiences and learn from it. I want them to take the things I wish I would have learned and start making moves to change those things. How?

If you're a woman who wants to make a change in society, in how women see themselves, in how we act, do one of the following(or all--you don't need my permission):

  • Be kind to women
  • Let go of the need to compete with other women
  • Compliment another woman
  • Speak words of kindness. Gossiping needs to stop!
  • Lift other women up who you admire
  • Stand up for yourself
  • Don't change to fit into labels you think you need to
  • Practice self love (AND SHARE IT)
  • Share your journey of loving yourself. It INSPIRES other women to do the same.
  • Advocate for your health.
  • Start to honor your body through movement and food that fuels you well

 

If you've ever wondered why I started SCR, what you just read about my own personal experiences with life is why.

It's not enough to go through something shitty and change then be done. To go through something shitty, change and then advocate for women to do the same--that's it. To be the change, that's why this started. Strong Chicks Rock was designed to be a community for women to grow and learn through their fitness journeys HOW to love yourself, HOW to be kind, HOW to rock your life, and HOW to create your own version of healthy. So we produce women who come out knowing their worth, loving who are they, knowing who they are and then those women inspire others to make the same change.

Will you be the change today? Will you take the reigns on your life and do something about the things you want to change?

 

Will you?

 

In Light and Love,

Rachel

 

Friday Breakdown: How I Honored My Body

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It's Friday--WOOHO. How was your week, friends? How were you able to honor your body and goals? When I ask people that question, sometimes they just don't know how to answer. "What does honoring my body look like?", they say. This got me thinking--I'd like to do this weekly. Share how I personally honored my body and help carry the message into your life so you can focus on being aware of the choices you make, the way you think, how you move ect.

How I physically honored my body: I had 3 great workouts this week that I LOVED. I've been working out at the office in between clients, I typically have an hour break and devote 20min to movement. I pick 3 movements that I enjoy and give me everything I need in a short time. This week I set my timer for 20 min and did this for one of my workouts: 10 push ups, 10 goblet squats, 10 RDLs. I also spent some time yesterday walking around Grandview. Guys, don't brush off walking. I plugged in my headphones and jammed out to Alanis Moresette as I spent time in the sun adventuring around. Most importantly, I moved in my favorite way possible. Dancing. A shit ton of it.I'm not good and I truly don't care, I am simply IN LOVE with the way my body moves when music is on. Thats how I physically honored my body through movement this week. 11918005_1645276752423736_584392168_n

How I spiritually honored my body: It bums me out to say this, but I'm seriously lacking here right now. This week I didn't wake up and meditate like I'd like to. Instead what I focused on most was being present. You'd think with the fact that I have a tattoo that says "here and now"..my visual reminder to stay present and in the now, that this would be an easy practice for me. Generally speaking, I do stay present and in the now. Recently I've been aware that I haven't, so as I refocused my mind this week, I fucking loved being fully in the now where my heart and mind like it most. I'm experiencing A LOT of awesome and new things in my life right now and with those things comes new emotions and feelings (all good, just different). Anytime I felt my mind starting to get caught up in a certain feeling or emotion--beginning to take my focus out of the now and giving life to anything that wasn't current; I quickly would stop those thoughts and truly just breathe into what was happening and instead just experience it. Not focused on what will happen next or what had just happened.

How I honored my body through nourishment: I debated putting this with how I physically honored my body because the food you eat is a direct representation of how you respect and honor your body through physical movement. However, I felt as if this topic needed a home of it's own--it's important..one of the most important ways you can honor your own body. This week I honored my body through the food I eat by truly thinking of my food as medicine. I spoke to a woman who works with females with eating disorders this week(because I do as well and enjoy picking the minds of other professionals)--she told me one tool she uses with her girls is to teach them to see food as medicine.

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"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."-Hippocrates

She opened a new prescriptive for me. It changed things for me, and really narrowed my focus this week--not in the sense of being a crazy food nazi, but truly looking at food as medicine and not with loving googly eyes. Though I have a deep passion and love for all food, sometimes I get so caught up in my creations and cooking that I forget to take a step back and not just see food as a creative outlet but truly as medicine. So, this week I honored my body through nourishment by creating a mindset shift.

P.S- I've been really digging green smoothies again. I had so many this, even one with beets (yes--it was fucking good.) Here's my simple base recipe:

 

 

 

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2-1 cup water
  • 1 cup ice
  • 2-3 cups green of choice (I use spinach)
  • Fruit of choice (I like bananas/blueberries)
  • Fat of choice (if I'm doing banana I'll ad PB or if I'm doing berries I'll add coconut oil OR 1/2 an avocado!)

That's all she wrote friends. Now it's your turn, how can you honor your body this week? It looks different for everyone so you do you 100%. Enjoy every moment of living life creating your best YOU.

50 Shades Of Healthy: Megan's Shade

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Happy Wednesday my friends! Today I'm excited to share Megan's story. Megan is a busy mom who I just so happened to meet on instagram. Isn't social media cool? From day one, I've wanted this site to be an "organized pinterest" so to speak. I want to be a place that shares real life fitness, real tools and approaches that will help you reach your goals. I also want you to see that my way isn't the only or best way out there. With that, I've started the interviewing process with women on their own fitness journey as well as with other fitness professionals so you have a real and honest place to learn and grow.

That brings us to Megan. She's a mom who sparked my attention, her drive and passion (that emits through each post) inspired me to reach out to her so she can share with you all how that even though shes a busy mom, she's found a way to put herself first. Let's learn how!

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Q:How long have you been living an active/fit lifestyle?

A:I got very serious about my fit lifestyle around two years ago.

Q:What made you decide to make a lifestyle change?

A:I was letting myself slip into a pattern of making excuses and being insecure, wanting to change and then doing nothing about it. Eventually I had to do something to live a happy life and not one full of regret. I was also motivated to get into shape for my wedding.

Q:What were some factors that got in your way, but you pushed through anyway on this journey?

A:I've had multiple road blocks along the way, such as an eating disorder mentality, financial instability, knee injuries, as well as the every day struggle of balancing my responsibilities as a mom.

Q:What type of training do you do and for how long?

A:Typically I lift weights 5-6 days a week for at least an hour. and I do short 20 min HIIT sessions (sprints on the dreaded treadmill) 4 days a week.

Q:Describe a typical workout:

A: I always start with whatever cardio I'm doing that day, then I usually move on to lifting, focusing on a specific body part. I finish up by doing floor work, such as planks, glute bridges, bear crawls, all those fun moves that engage most of your body.

Q:What is your favorite workout OR body part to train and why?

A: My favorite body part to train would be my glutes. I enjoy almost every exercise that targets those muscles. I'm confident about my butt, so it's enjoyable to work on improving something you love about yourself, rather than "fixing" something you hate.

Q: Mentally and physically how has this journey changed you?

A: Mentally, I've learned to love myself for my dedication and it's made me more confident over all. Self love is a huge thing I'm always working on. Physically, let's just say I finally look forward to wearing certain clothes, swim suits etc, rather than dreading it.

Q: Describe your style of eating:

A: I don't follow a diet plan. I just try my hardest every day to make healthy choices. Sometimes I eat 'perfectly' and sometimes I don't.

Q: What's a typical day of food look like for you?

A: I'm one of those people who struggles to eat breakfast, I usually have a protein shake, a smoothie with Greek yogurt, some fruit, something very small and simple. I snack on things like almonds, cauliflower, applesauce or just plain turkey slices. For lunch and dinner I just make sure to have lots of protein like chicken breast, fish, or ground turkey. with asparagus, broccoli, spinach, or something else along those lines. I eat really simple foods because I don't like to cook or spend money on fancy ingredients!

Q: Being a mom, you're setting a great example for your son--what are some things you teach him/have done about food/health so he carries that on with him as he grows up?

A: I want to teach my son the importance of trying new things. a lot of two year olds may not eat raw veggies, or green smoothies, but I try to include those things in his diet. That being said, I don't make him eat exactly what I eat, he still enjoys mac n cheese and pizza. just not all the time.

Q: What are three things you wish you would have known when you first started your journey?

A: I wish I would have known the importance of proper form! I injured both my knees and wasted time in physical therapy by trying to do too much too soon. Patience is important. so is the mindset that results are not instant.

Q: Tell us 1 thing your most proud of since beginning this journey and why:

A: I'm proud of the knowlege I've gained! I've developed a passion for not just fitness but learning, about fitness, nutrition, myself etc. I'm proud that I'm driven.

 

Thank you for sharing your story with us Megan!

Dear Girl Who Loves Pizza Too

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Dear Girl Who Loves Pizza Too, I know how you feel. I know how much you love pizza, your feelings go deeper than "half cheese, half pep see you in 30". You love the damn thing. Heres the deal, I know you're pretty much FBO (facebook official) with it and all, but there's one huge problem that you don't even want to admit to yourself....your pizza is a cheating whore. You think it's making you happy and it loves you back, nope. That big cheesy slob is only making you feel like garbage. You know what I mean..bloating, gas, sick feeling. My gosh!!

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It's time to take the cheese by the crust, and toss that cheater to the curb.

Okay, okay, okay..I'll be serious now. I just shared a slice of my newest novel: Cheese Just Not That Into You.......LOL okay, now I'm done.

We have a serious issue, we think we deserve pizza (insert your favorite unhealthy meal).

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I chose the name "Strong Chicks Rock" for my business not just because I help women build strong bodies, but because we focus on mental strength just as much. That doesn't mean I teach you to flex your brain, or have willpower of steel. It means I coach you in having a healthy relationship with food, I lead you to self love and having confidence.

To me, having the mentality of "I deserve this meal/ because______" only sets you up with an even worse relationship with food.

Most women at some point in their journey say things like:

-I'm earning my cheat meal -I deserve this donut for how hard I worked this week -I need to run extra so I can have more pizza

All of those thoughts contribute a self destructive relationship with food.

My hope for you, if you feel like your relationship with food struggles is that you allow yourself to let go of the "deserving mentality".

100% of my clients go from lost, stuck, feeling deprived, and having a deserving mentality to having a healthy relationship with food and enjoying their whole journey solely from making the mental switch.

It's important that you know this:

  • Your body will change and physical results will happen with consistency.
  • You will never deserve food. No matter how hard you work, that doesn't mean you've earned cake. YOU AREN'T A DOG. No tricks, miles, workouts will lead you to a reward.
  • Your body is a temple, honor it through foods that fuel you and make you feel good.
  • Know that you can have something unhealthy, but know when to stop. (The biggest piece of advise I have for this is: Your food won't run away. We tend to think 'shit I need to eat this all right now or I can never have it again' . That's not the case though, have a serving or whatever and then be done. Knowing that if you truly wanted more its there. You are in no rush.)
  • You can't out train a bad diet. So if you eat like poop and think you can go work it off, you can't. This doesn't mean that one bad meal will ruin everything you've done. It just means that you can't go into a night out thinking "I'm going to eat ALL THE FOOD, just going to work it off tomorrow".

 

What helps me the most when I'm eating, no matter what kind of food it is, is this: Is what I'm about to eat going to honor my body and my goals?

If it's clear it won't honor your goals ask yourself this: Is this something I can get anytime? Is it worth it?

If it's something you can eat anytime, I always say pass. I'd rather get something special, something I couldn't eat anytime so I really enjoy the experience.

 

I hope this article helps you, my pizza loving friend. I hope you are honest with yourself and your journey and can come to peace with food. A healthy relationship with food is what I want with for ALL women. May you have that and keep it for life forever.

 

xo

Rachel

A Fitness Mentality That Is Total BS

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Have you heard the phrase: "When you screw up, skip a workout, eat bad food, or sleep in. It doesn't make you a bad person. It makes you human. Welcome to the club, there are about 7 billion of us."

I've seen this SO many times and it's something I just don't like. Why? Cool I'm glad you asked ;)

So let me get this right, only when I skip a workout or eat like shit I'm human? Now yes, I know I'm really stretching what is being said. Here's the thing though, everyone says this is a lifestyle..yet it's rare to find those who truly believe that.

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If someone "falls off", meaning they might have had a bad weekend food wise, or they skipped a week or month of workouts, SO EFFING WHAT??????? Who cares. What did you fall off of? Are you riding a horse? You ate bad, now move on. Seriously. You get so caught up in "this is so bad, I ruined everything, my life is over" and you've been programmed to think that a bump in the road means you need to start over. This thinking is poop. Why? Because if a lifestyle had truly been adapted then you would continue to move on with life. The real "lifestyle change" comes from your mind. It's all how you see/eat and deal with food. You can eat like crap and quit, thinking you need to start over. Or you can eat crap, realize it didn't make you feel too hot and move on knowing that this is your life, and that mess ups may happen--and if they do it's truly okay.

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So this statement, is false. It contributes to the mentally of thinking you're not normal if you're not eating bad..which just perpetuates the fear of food, giving up, quitting and falling off. You're human, every moment of every day. Eating crappy doesn't qualify you as human, nor should it validate your reason for bingeing on a whole pizza.

We need to throw the words "fall off" out of our vocabs. Once you kicked those words to the curb, it's time to adopt a healthy mindset towards food and to truly see this as a lifestyle. I promise you when you do, this structure you've created in your mind of "start, eat crap, quit, start over" will go away.

A healthy life, is real life. When the two are separated in their own worlds is when things become a problem. Know that that healthy isn't an alien life form or a mysterious concept. Allow healthy to become who you are and not something you do Monday though Friday.