Posts in Fitness
The Healthy Writer: Muzzle Your Inner Critic

Before I went on my life transformation journey, I was on another path. I had always considered myself a motivating and encouraging force, even for myself. However, during the course of about two year span, I found myself fighting to remain positive. Many factors played into the inner critic taking over my spirit and soul. My body was hurting and I didn't know why. My only child and daughter moved fourteen and half hours away to begin her new career after she graduated from university. Professionally, I'd been grappling with low sales and an ongoing pervasive attitude amongst many of my peers which promoted self-serving attitudes and an "information is power" mantra. Some withheld ideas and ways to help others reach readers. To be honest, all I seemed to hear was we need money money money... not we need to write a kick butt book that readers will fall in love with and want to read over and over again. 

Negative speak entered my brain... the inner critic started to call me fat and lazy. The inner critic punched my usually happy self hard in the gut and told me I wasn't trying hard enough in every area of my life. The inner critic got fed more negative speak by other people in my world, by the loneliness that comes with being a writer in a room by herself day in and day out. 

The inner critic shriveled my spirit while my body continued to bloat with unnecessary calories eaten out of frustration and anger and a sense of constantly fighting for what I had worked so hard for as a writer and as a woman.

Women eat their mad emotions. And I ate a lot. That's why I weighed over 200 pounds a little over a year ago. 

Then someone who loved me, who'd been my best friend since I was eleven years old, got a hold of my inner critic and said STOP TALKING LIKE THIS TO MY BEST FRIEND. YOU ARE HURTING MY HEART. 

My inner critic retreated to be replaced by an outside voice who reached for my shriveled spirit to remind her that I do matter. That what I have accomplished matters. That what I have given others throughout the years matters. That I MATTER. 

Slowly, I regained my equilibrium. It didn't happen overnight. And you can read all about that journey to health and fitness here. AS I regained my health and fitness physically, my spirit renewed and demanded I refuel her too. I started reading books and articles that encouraged me. I began to weed out the negative speakers in my life bit by bit. I only allowed myself to say nice things to myself about everything I am doing. And I learned that it's okay to fail on occasion or have a setback as long as the people who are in my world support and encourage me too. 

Now I am making a real commitment to focus on positive, generous, optimistic attitudes. I'm embracing those who exude those same qualities. 

Quality over Quantity is my motto now. 

I'm only allowing quality experiences be part of my life. I'm choosing to deliver quality in how I interact with others and how I approach my writing and editing careers. Quality in equals quality out. 

If I can impart any wisdom at all today it is to surround yourself with people who build you up and please be kind to yourself no matter where you are in your journey toward health, fitness and spiritual well-being. 

 

Digging Out of Distraction: Quality Over Quantity

The Physicist & I have been participating in a program called Naturally Slim. Frankly, this is the first time I've been completely happy with a lifestyle change because it's not about counting points, carbs, or calories. It's about learning how to eat like a True Thin and how to live a fit and full life. This has been revolutionizing the way we think about ourselves and our future. We're not just losing weight, we're gaining valuable insights about ourselves. 

In addition to the Naturally Slim program, I've been involved in a new Life Makeover Journey. Many years ago, I and a few close friends decided to go on the journey together. That journey led to my writing my first novel and now, all these years later, I'm published and continuing to write books, edit, and present workshops to other writers about how to stay focused and in the chair. I figured I had the program locked in place, but a new friend propelled me to revisit the Life Makeover with her. I'm so glad I did. I'd forgotten some of the valuable lessons within the program and I needed a mental and emotional reboot. 

Both programs, along with really good articles I've read in the Romance Writers of America's monthly magazine RWR by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, have reinforced my desire to live a quality life over chasing a life filled with quantity. 

My desire to have a quality life has given me a brand new perspective on the choices I make as an author, a wife, a friend, a mother, and for me. I believe that as I lost the weight I gained and as I rebuilt my fitness, I also discovered my spirit needed a little help. I'd smothered her in a pile of fat and frustration. I'd allowed negative words to creep back into my vocabulary. I started to believe I might be a failure because I didn't excel at marketing my books and I wasn't taking on enough projects and I didn't get everything completed on my to-do lists.

But my best friend gave me a wake-up call in January 2017 that began my transformation physically, emotionally and spiritually. I needed this wake-up call. Then the hard work began both physically and mentally. First, I identified what my spirit didn't need.

Just as my body doesn't need to stuff itself with food to bury her negative emotions, my spirit doesn't have time for pettiness, mean words, or people using her confidences as weapons against her. My spirit doesn't want to be attacked when she can't or won't say yes to other people. My spirit doesn't want negativity in her life. 

My spirit doesn't chase dollars or write twenty books in a year in an effort to remain relevant. My spirit doesn't need to eat food that isn't delicious and special. My spirit craves physical activity. My spirit yearns for quality one  on one time with quality people who edify her and make her stronger. 

In searching for the things that fill my spirit, I've actively been gathering strong and supportive people in my life. I've focused on building the relationships that matter to me. Some I've had for decades, others are new and special too. And in focusing on the positive, I've been given a fabulous new treasure trove of stories to write in my time and in my way and with the support of people who believe in my ability to do so. This brings me so much joy! Now my spirit is full, happy and determined to live a centered, quality life.

Doing something I love in the time I want while nurturing special relationships and bringing others support and encouragement is my passion. My sincere wish is for all the people in my corner of the world to find their passion too.

 

The Healthy Writer: My Frenemies the Scale & the Measuring Tape

On March 3rd, I shared a blog about my journey back to health. You can read all about it here. One of the things I had to start doing in order to regain my health was to get back on my scale and weigh myself every day. 

I hate that damn scale, but I am not like some people who cut back on donuts and pizza if their favorite skinny jeans don’t fit. I am the kind of person who says, “Spanx makes leggings & let’s buy some nice muumuu tops if my skinny jeans don’t fit.”

Let's be honest. My definition of skinny jeans has changed over time. LOL But they're mine and I am cool with wearing them.

So I started weighing every day. Not fun. I have one of those body mass digital scales that tells me my weight and my BMI. Blech. But I have to face it every day. That works for me. Unfortunately, the weight wasn't coming off fast and I was getting disillusioned. So my doctor suggested I measure myself too.

Ah, the measuring tape. Another frenemy of mine, but it does show different changes as you undergo lifestyle transformations. I'd used it once during the pre-oh-shit-I've-got-a-lot-lose moment in May 2017 because I needed to order some plus size dresses for the RWA National Conference. So I had those measurements written down for future purchases. Then I measured again in July after my doctor suggested I do so.

Drum Roll Please... I'm going to share the numbers with you... because I want anyone out there to see that even a former model, skinny kid from the North side of the 55th parallel has to face these demons too. And together we can conquer them!

 Photo by  Jennifer Burk  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jennifer Burk on Unsplash

Measurements don't include my freakishly long torso which is the same length as my inseam. 

March/April 2017 Measurements (Weight Unknown)

Hips: 49 inches Waist: 40 inches  Bust: 45 inches 

July 13, 2017 Measurements (Weight 197 lbs)

Hips: 47 inches Waist: 38 inches Bust: 42 inches

I had lost a total of 5 inches!! That encouraged me to go on and keep fighting to regain my health and fitness. 

March 13, 2018 (about one year later-weight 175 lbs)

Hips: 42.5 inches Waist: 33 inches Bust: 39 inches

Y'all, I am pleased with those numbers. Sure the scale (my frenemy for life) is nowhere near the numbers I want it to show me (mean old scale), but the measuring tape is slowly becoming my best friend. I have lost 6.5 inches off my hips, 7 inches off my waist and 6 inches off my bust. This is a grand total of 19.5 inches off my body. Gone! I am thrilled with these results.

But I'm not stopping here. I decided I needed to add another layer of effort to my fitness and health regime so I hired a personal trainer at the local YMCA to teach me how to work out all over again. She's helping me regain my torso strength along with rebuilding my muscular strength in my legs and arms. I have had two half-hour sessions with her and she's fantastic.

I'm still on this journey. It's not easy to remain fit and healthy when you sit in a chair by yourself writing stories all day long. It's not easy for anyone who has a demanding career or busy family life or all of the above. Toss in pets and aging parents and general life happenings and things get really out of control.

So be mindful. Be aware that this is a journey with pitfalls, but you can make it! I'm committed to maintaining what I've already achieved and slowly taking it to the next level.

What are your fitness goals? What are your obstacles? Do you weigh every day or avoid the scale like the plague? Talk to me. Let's take this journey together! 

The Healthy Writer: Journey Back to Fitness

I've always prided myself on taking care of my body and maintaining a decent weight for my height and age. However, in November 2015, everything changed. Not overnight, but over a period of many months. 

The change began with a new asthma medication I started using, which I didn't realize would deplete my body of calcium and potassium. Two very important minerals to maintain your health and fitness levels. In addition to the new medication slowly leaching these vital nutrients from my body, I had added several intense workouts to my regime in the hope to work off the last remaining and extremely pesky 5 pounds I wanted to lose.

Add to this mix the fact that I was under deadlines, sitting for hours at a stretch in my writing chair, and slouching over my keyboard. 

Fast forward. My cramps don't go away. My muscular strength is fading. I land in an ER in February 2016 after suffering a torso cramp so intense I could not stand.

No objections here. At this point, I thought I might have something seriously wrong. Something that could kill me. After HOURS at the ER during which I was poked, probed, given a CT full body scan and also offered morphine when I suffered another torso cramp, they found NOTHING wrong. 

OK. Not dying. Good thing because I had a book to finish, an anthology to wrangle with other authors and I was their uploader. Probably wouldn't have been good if I had died. 

Then what the heck was wrong with me? I knew it was muscular, but what caused the horrible cramps? 

At this time, I was still taking the asthma medicine inhaler daily. I knew my problem wasn't internal so I turned to GOOGLE and began researching this problem. I discovered multiple boards detailing the same debilitating cramps. The culprit? My asthma medication. 

I stopped taking it immediately. Now I rely on my rescue inhaler. Period. 

But the damage wasn't reversed. And working out only ascerbated the problem. So I backed off and suddenly the weight started to pile on because I need to workout to maintain. My metabolism slowed to the point where it only responded to intense, high energy workouts. As the weight piled on, my level of frustration grew. And, in addition to the cramps, I had terrible lower back pain. Every time I sat down to work for any length of time, I felt like an old woman who couldn't straighten up from her hunched position. I am not that old... but I felt very old...

That's when I stopped weighing myself. Why depress myself every day? I took all my cute clothes that I used to wear to the thrift shop, then lived in leggings and big tops. I continued to gain until finally, in May 2017, I faced the scale. 

That was not a good day. That was an ugly cry day. That was a "how in the hell am I ever going to get back to where I was when I thought I needed to lose just 5 measly pounds? I weighed over 200 pounds. And I was MISERABLE. 

 This me in April 2017 during a Spring Fling. I weighed over 200 pounds in this picture, but at the time I was in denial.

This me in April 2017 during a Spring Fling. I weighed over 200 pounds in this picture, but at the time I was in denial.

I'd already started to work out again but the cramps continued to plague me. Once I had one that was so severe while at the local YMCA, I had to fight off the tears as all the macho men and the superpower women worked out around me. 

I cried all the way home. When I got there, I marked the places where the cramps occurred with a sharpie pen in a big BLACK X. I had a new doctor to see the following week and I was determined to figure out what the hell was going on. 

THIS WAS WAR.

My new doctor examined me. He was (and is) a compassionate and kind General Practictioner. The first thing he said was this was muscular and I needed to see a physical therapist. He listened. He cared. He didn't jump to conclusions or judge me for how far I had fallen.

He sent me to a physical therapy clinic where the fabulous therapist went through all the paperwork I'd filled out, told me she wasn't sure about the torso cramps, but she could help me overcome the excruciating lower back pain. I felt a measure of hope.

 This is me after losing 30 pounds. I feel great!

This is me after losing 30 pounds. I feel great!

She got me on the treatment table and began to assess my body. And then she said... you're textbook and called her staff over to look at what was textbook about my body. I had a misaligned hip. My body was literally trying to straighten itself out for over 2 years after the initial muscle cramp. Or maybe the hip happened first. I'll never know.

But what I do know is that this discovery led to my FULL recovery from the pain. Yes. I had to go through many PT sessions until I graduated and I've noticed that if I sit for long periods of time or push too hard, twinges occur. BUT I KNOW WHAT I NEED TO DO TO WARD OFF THE PAIN.

I had to learn how to work out all over again. I couldn't do extreme fitness classes or major torso work at all. I had help from a dear friend who set me up on some machines that stabilized my core. I backed down from pushing for over an hour of cardio, slowly rebuilding my strength with 30-40 minute treadmill walks or elliptical runs. I followed all this up with my physical therapy exercises and stretches.

I also went on a "lifestyle change" which helped. So since May 2017 when I had the meeting with the scale and the ugliest cry ever I have lost 30 pounds. I'm proud of myself. I am a bit below where I was before the first serious torso cramp occurred, and I'm giving myself permission to coast at this current weight for a bit until pressing to lose that last 5-10 pounds. 

My journey back to a healthier me wasn't easy. But I've learned a lot about myself and how to live now because of this journey. In the future, I will be posting Healthy Writer articles to share with you because I want to connect with you regardless of where you are in your fitness levels. 

This is a no judgment zone. Everyone has to start somewhere. We all backslide. We all have setbacks, and we all have triumphant moments! 

XX

Christine