food is fuel

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

 

 

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

Workout Wednesday!

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Hey friends! Loving today's workout because I added in one of my favorite core moves--plank drag throughs. Here's how it's done: what you're doing here is setting up two 5-10lb dumbbells and then getting in push up position, you'll then be picking up the dumbbell with the hand furthest away and pulling it under your body to the other side. We are really focusing on our core of course and balance/stability.

As always ladies, scale this workout to YOUR fitness level. That may mean doing less reps, taking more breaks or if you're advanced adding in an extra set. Train smart!

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Xo Rachel

My Body Doesn't Define Me

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When I first started working out after I had my son, my fitness journey was about gaining strength and most importantly confidence. I had( still have) stretch marks like crazy and my confidence was at an all time low. Though, I'd never thought highly of myself sadly. Shortly after I began my journey I found instagram, and I found the fitness community there. At first I thought it was amazing. I started following these strong women, and I was inspired. Then I let what I saw warp my mind. I saw the "ab progress photo" and thought to myself "when I have abs I'll be happy". Everything I knew that was right, keeping a good mindset, getting fit for myself, loving me for my own strength and not abs, it all went away.

I looked at myself in the mirror 100x a day, waiting to get abs. I still ate healthy and worked out normal but my mind went somewhere else. I got abs, and I posted them all the time. Before you think I'm the biggest douche on the planet just keep reading. I let my abs define me and my fitness.

That was two years ago, that was at the beginning of Strong Chicks Rock. Now you can check my instagram and you won't see ab shots. Why? Because abs don't define me. They don't make me better, or more healthy than someone else. I may have them, but who cares?

A learner you, or a you with abs, isn't a better you. It's just a different body.

Am I proud, yes. I'm very proud of myself , but I'm not proud that I let 12 inches of skin define me and SCR. Nor is that the example I want to show women, that they should strive for abs. You should strive for wellness.

It's easy to get wrapped up in social media. To see abs as the defining moment in your health and fitness journey. Abs don't mean anything though.

Your strength isn't defined by your abs, how healthy you are doesn't show in your abs. I might as well hold my pinky up and say "LOOK, look here at my pinky. See how healthy I am!!!"

Don't get me wrong, I'm pro selfie, I'm pro sharing progress with social media. If it's all done with the right mindset. Abs aren't bad at all, I love abs. What is different is how I see abs, and the role that they play--or I let them no longer play in my mind. They may be there, but I measure my healthy, and you should measure yours too, based on how you feel, your strength and your confidence without the superficial aspects.

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" A Strong Chick is a woman on a mission to be the best version of herself she can be. She strives to have a healthy body and mind. She is smart with her training and what she puts into her body. She is ever learning and growing. She has chosen to take control of her life, to not just gain physical strength, but mental strength as well. She is kind, she is powerful, she is in control." -Me..Rachel Turner

The REAL Flat Belly Foods You Should Be Eating!

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Magazines, Pinterest, and Instagram to name a few, are always trying to share with us the latest diet trends (ew, don't even like saying diet), flat belly foods and more. When you see these posts, blogs and articles sharing these "foods you must eat to obtain abs" and you are just beginning your health and fitness journey it can be really freaking confusing.

One may tell you to eat a bagel with peanut butter for breakfast, while another may say to eat berries and egg whites and to avoid the grains. So what are you to do? Who are you going to trust?

 

Let me share this little secret with you, none of them are necessarily right but they are all wrong.

Why?

The thing is, every single person is different. What you consider healthy and might eat for breakfast could make your best friend bloat and fart all day. Which, hello..clearly what you wanted was to cut the bloat. When we see the "flat belly foods" recommendations we can't put much truth into them.

How To Figure Out What You Need

You now know why we need to stay away from the opinions and views of others. Even those that come from a magazine, hey..they don't know YOUR body. However, you came here to learn the foods to cut the bloat and make you feel comfortable through the day. The no bullshit truth is that it's going to take trial and error. I could tell you to eat oats with berries and some hard boiled eggs for breakfast. That may not digest well for you though.

These eggs and potatoes (with the cute smile I made) work for my body, they fuel me and help me reach my goals. I only learned this after I applied the steps below!

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Here's Your Plan Of Attack:

1.) Cut the processed food out of your diet. This means junk, sugary foods and food that have a long list of ingredients (most of which you can't pronounce!). I can say with 99.9% certainty that processed foods and sugary drinks/food will most definitely cause bloating and discomfort among many things.

2.) Find the healthy foods you like. This is the part that you may not enjoy, but in the long run it'll be worth it, to be able to et the foods that work for YOUR body. Test things out, see what works and doesn't. Try oats one morning, if you don't experience bloating, farting or other discomfort I would say that would then be your personal flat belly food.

There is no "one size fits all" approach to health and fitness. It's all about finding what works best for you. Give it a go, start testing things out to find the foods that fuel your body, and get you the results you want!

xo Rach