Ranting 101- The insidious perfection module

This post will be founded in rhetoric. Focused in a semi-dreamland. My hope is to provoke conversation that may or may not entice change and movement. We need one another.

The ridiculous notion of being “everything” as a parent has left a void in our connectedness. It’s left the human element incomplete. We are, in fact, left with missing pieces of ourselves trickled throughout the “have-it-all’s” that society pressures us to adopt. Not pressures, bulldozes. Why can’t we just have what we actually want?

We long for community, for organized togetherness. We stretch ourselves thin to be mom, wife, sister, aunt, lover, friend, daughter, boss, co-worker. Why? Why can’t we have a village. When we are hurt or injured, why can’t there be an answer right next door? When we are out of sugar, why must we run to the store? Why can’t we ask a village member?

When one of us cannot do life anymore, why can’t the one who can at the moment take over the dishes or the parenting or the damn laundry? And not just for a day or a week at a time. Not just as a visit here and there throughout the year. My wish is for it to be the NORM. The gold standard of living. We complete each other.

We are blasted with media images about “wolf-packs” and tribes and sisterhoods, and we answer those panging feelings of missing with a “thumbs up” to the photos that resemble those sentiments. Yet, we don’t seek to connect the virtual ones with the tangible potential of actual community. We longingly reach towards equally needing hands for comfort, for purpose, and for help, and yet…we don’t have the means/capacity/job or resident flexibility to celebrate it. We acquiesce to alienating motherhood. We post impossible perfection, only to close our eyes after we commit to send the farce that is said post. We are not always perfect. We are not always happy. And we DON’T have to always be alone.

So my question is, why the hell can’t we? Why can’t we find a piece of land with our wolf packs, and choose to live simply? To be there for one another unconditionally? To quench the thirst for our tribe on a daily basis. We need the guts, the money, and the cessation of excuses. I know these four friends talk about it, communicate and dream about it on the regular. Will it happen one day?  I think it will. I pray it will.

Let’s bring together all our talents and live the life of COMMUNE-ity. Isn’t that the root of the word after all? To be together in a sense that everyone has one another to lean on. Through the hardships of marriage strife, work stress, kid drama, and interpersonal agony. This is my solemn confession. A dignified admittance for the need to coexist. A demand for more like mindedness.

I am in….Are you in?

 

Let’s stop the social media epidemic. Let’s remember the times of friend therapy being a half mile bike ride away. Let us teach our children of cord phones, and the advancements of human cohesion. Let’s help fuse the gaping chasms technology has created amongst our generations by teaching older ways of loving..of being…of human being.

We live in an era of separation. I personally, am against it. No matter what side you stand on, however, know that I love you. For your part in the experiment we call life. For my part in the choice to participate in yours, and for the benefit of all of us.

 

Kristy, Au Naturale: Making Fitness Fun Wherever You Are

Alright Alright. I have waited long enough to talk about it. So let’s do it. Guess what? I Crossfit. And what’s the first rule of Crossfit?

               Always talk about Crossfit.

And boy, oh boy, did I ever uphold that rule! I’m pretty sure people ran for the hills when they saw me coming because, “She’s gonna tell us how many pull-ups she did yesterday”

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Yup….that is exactly what I would have done;) But now, I have learned the power of balance and FUN in adapting workouts to fit into the life of all that wish to have fitness be a priority in their lives.

It seems about time that I share some of my hubs’ and my favorite Crossfit Workouts. I do this so you can know that not only is Crossfit for everybody, but it can also be adapted and scaled down for every BODY. 

I’ll give y’all (that’s right I am a Virginian) two versions for these adapted workouts. The first version will be the Crossfit prescribed workout. The second will be adapted for the at home motivated fitness junkie.

You should of course only do these if you know you are medically safe to do so – if you’re not sure, ask your healthcare provider. And for Pete’s sake, use good form!!!! Not sure what good form is? Invest in a few personal training sessions or CrossFit Gym sessions (you might just get hooked like me).

Kristy’s Most Favoritest Crossfit WOD Ever

“Annie”

download (5).jpegWhat you’ll need: A jump rope and a yoga mat. Oh and some Chamois Butter  just trust me and buy it. High Reps=hello sit-up chafe. 

Oh and also if you’ve had kids……..These little life saver Poise Impressa protection things are Ah-May-ZZZING protection for those 150 reps of jumping. And yes, you will probably pee on yourself if you aren’t using them, let’s all just be real.

The point: We do these repetitions on a metabolic conditioning scale. The way it works is the clock starts, and you want to get in 50 reps of double unders then sit-ups. Then, you do 40 and 40, 30 and 30, and so on…..FOR TIME.

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You said do what?

Don’t have double unders? No problem, just triple the amount of single unders (standard jumping rope) you have to do.

50-40-30-20-10 reps of

Double unders

and sit-ups

Annie at home”

What you’ll need: Your body and a yoga mat

50-40-30-20-10 repetitions of:

High Jumps

and Sit-ups

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Record your time. And repeat in a couple of months and see if you can can get a faster time!

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My Husband’s Choice

“Nancy”

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We are back into the METCON here, but this sort of run/weight training is amazingly efficient in reaching your anaerobic thresholds. Threshold meaning the point when you “feel the burn” but you keep moving through anyway, fighting the urge to quit!

5 Rounds for Time:

400-meter run (roughly a quarter mile)
15 overhead squats

Men: 95 lb (with weight plates and a barbell)
Women: 65 lb (weight plates and barbell)

Crossfit.com explains this workout of the day, or WOD, perfectly.

“This benchmark couplet is meant to be light and fast. Reduce the load on the overhead squat so you can perform all the reps unbroken and still run fast.

Intermediate Option
5 rounds for time of:
400-meter run
15 overhead squats

Men: 65 lb.
Women: 45 lb.

Beginner Option
4 rounds for time of:
400-meter run
10 overhead squats

Men: 45 lb.
Women: 35 lb.”

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“Nancy at home”

What you’ll need: A 1/2 mile route and free weights (you choose the load)

NO weights?

Find a heavy object in your house or use your baby/toddler for Mom/Dad-ercise!

5 rounds for time of:

1/2 mile run

15 air squats

OR

15 squats with free weights resting on shouldersDB-Double-Front-Squat (1).png

OR 15 baby thrusters (shown below)

These are some fun ways to “dip your toe” into the world of High Intensity Interval Training to see if it is for you. But trust me, it is.

Enjoy rocking out and sweating massive amounts of High Intensity Awesomeness!

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I mean, who can argue with that?

Sing Peace: The Power of Positive Intention

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Our scene opens to an Amphitheater. Its Grandparents Day and its my son’s first year at this Montessori School. I am excited to show my Father in Law and his wife how AMAZING this school is. It’s reputable accreditations, top notch facilities, child led education model, etc. Then the kids come out. They get in their positions for a song. Then the music starts…

Light a candle for peace

Light a candle for love

Light a candle that shines all the way ’round the world

Light a candle for me, light a candle for you

That our dream of peace, will one day come true

Sing peace around the world.

Goosebumps. Tears.

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I am utterly inspired by this song that my son’s Montessori Primary class is singing. Mesmerized by the message, I soon forget about all the impressive outward characteristics that the school offered. They, in front of my eyes, are showing me that they are teaching the kids about world peace.

What a notion! Light a candle for peace? Is it really that simple? Can I really believe that me lighting a candle for peace for all, will be enough to actualize that peace?

Yes, the power of positive intention is exactly that. Amazing, untapped, raw, power. 

“This morning, in this room, these children are using their power to change the world.”

<Andddddd……scene>

Many folks ask me whether or not I’ve heard the latest on local, national, or world news.  The many tragedies that happen daily, the “government’s latest screw up” and “this party is responsible for the demise of all humankind”. For those who absorb and feel energy,  frequently called Empaths, these types of things go beyond effecting just their thoughts. We feel this sort of devastation viscerally, which is why it can be hard for us to stay “up-to-date” with current events. It physically and emotionally hurts….quite literally.

There is a feeling of hopelessness that comes with constantly being bombarded with the negative things that go on in the world. It is not that we wish to remain ignorant, it is that the physical and emotional pain of feeling it becomes too much, and we must protect ourselves from it in order to live our best life.

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I know, kid. I feel it too.

Within the last ten years, I have developed a ritual that helps me feel the power of proactivity within what feels like a muddy bog of the energy of today’s world. When I feel taken by the overwhelming feeling of the worlds tragedy, I stop and light a candle. This grounding technique helps me to send up a prayer of protection for myself and the world. I take one moment to speak aloud my intention for that day. “I intend to live today happily and in gratitude” or “I intend to offer a feeling of peace to all whom I encounter.” Walking in that truth, I believe, has the power to effect maybe even ONE person. If I can effect one person, then the ripple effect can begin.

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I feel as though it is safe to say that most of us have heard of the Power of Intention. Ever heard of the book, The Secret? Oprah has!!!!

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Whaddup Oprah’s Book Club List?

The book explains that in the theory of Quantum Physics, everything has an energy; including thoughts. If we think about all that we have to be grateful for, we tend to open our hearts and minds to attract MORE of the same. This goes both ways. Both negative thoughts AND positive thoughts attract one another. Relying on this can have profound changes on one’s life. Simply speak your intention until it ultimately becomes your reality. In the book, that can mean financially, spiritually, romantically, or anything you else can imagine. We are, in essence, limitless.

After all, we’ve heard this same notion since we were littles ourselves.

“When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are. When you wish upon a star your dreams come true.” 

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Nice one, Jimminy. Thanks.

And why the heck shouldn’t they? If we are all individually powerful enough to make this happen,

imagine the potential energy of the collective?

The mountains of positivity that things like The World Kindness Movement can move.

An example lies in yesterday’s stresses I faced.  For me, they were almost too overwhelming for me to function. Money, parenting, and hormones (TMI? ah, lighten up;))got the best of me. So today, I woke up with the intention that I would feel nothing but butterflies, unicorns, and rainbows. (photo below) I even dressed the part as a reminder. Needless to say, I had an amazing day today in that I could see the good, the fun, and especially the hope in all the things that had stressed me the day before. Had I not intended to live differently today, I would have most likely felt the same stresses take me over. Silver linings are just that. Shiny lines in the proverbial sand that let us choose whether to stay on the side the negative, or to choose to see the positive.

There are ways you can get yourself involved bringing kindness to the world. The Random Acts of Kindness Organization has plenty of ideas, lesson plans, and even motivational quotes to help you on your way. If you’d like to keep it simple, then just smile at a stranger every now and again. It is said to be hella contagious:)

Or, be like this kid,  Maurice Adams, Jr..

We can all learn from Maurice. Well done, good sir.

Kristy, Au Naturale: Weight Loss Journey, A Hard Life Lesson in Transformation.

I am not even sure where to begin with this post. I’ve asked myself a million times whether or not it is a good idea to post about my weight loss journey. The answer is always the same. Yes. Because it ISN’T about weight.

It’s about the journey.

I was always playing sports growing up, so I never really thought about weight. Being genetically predisposed to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity never ever crossed my mind.  As I got older, and the metabolism started to decrease, I began to take notice. Then….. I had kids.

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After I had my first little one, Christiana and I decided to sign up for a half marathon. Super ambitious goals are the only goals!! “Sure I can run 13.1 miles 8 months postpartum. I’ll just train my ass off, lose all the baby weight, and feel FABULOUS, right?”

EHHHHHHHHH (cue game show buzzer noise)

So so so so wrong. All that training and I lost ZERO pounds or inches. ZERO. I also ended up hurting my hip flexor pretty badly during that race because…hello...cross training is necessary when training properly for long distance running.

It was then that my metabolism came crashing screetched to a halt. I was eating all the food and drinking all the beverages. And it was then that my body image started to wain. An increase in scale weight and clothing size caused a HUGE decrease in self worth for me.

<Depression enter stage left>

Depression set in pretty hard. It was soon after that I spent a majority of my days in tears, not feeling worthy of any kind of love. OK, I know what you’re thinking,

“weight shouldn’t have anything to do with that…. society….. diets… magazines….. women are predisposed to unhealthy mindsets due to having their bodies objectified and sexualized in our faces since we were little and it shouldn’t affect them….”

Yup….all that.  All of the yeps. But I still hated myself for letting myself get to a place that I hated myself, perpetuating a vicious negative feedback loop.

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210 lbs, size 18 my heaviest

Fast forward to my daughter being born. With little #2, I never slept. She was up every 45 minutes of her life for the entire. first. year. I cannot get back all the wasted time on social media looking at photos like the one above and seeing someone I didn’t even recognize. It became impossible to see any happiness in my life. I was being blinded by how disgusting I thought I looked. I couldn’t see the beauty in the way my daughter is looking at me in this photo. The joy radiating from her sweet little face…

<Cue second bout of depression and self loathing>

It was then that my husband, bless that sweet man, had HAD IT!

“I want you to see what the children and I see, so I used my Christmas bonus and signed you up for the on-track class at the closest Crossfit. It’s already paid for….you’re going”

<jaw drop……anxiety sweat dripping>

Walking through the doors that day in January of 2015 changed the course of the rest of my life.

Through education, HARD WORK, team commoradory, nutrition challenges and changes (we went mostly paleo), and push from my family…. I started to feel worthy of this change. The weight loss started happening slowly, then once my diet changed, my metabolism that had been seemingly dormant for 4 years decided to wake up!

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3 months after beginning Crossfit, was down 15 lbs and SO MUCH HAPPIER already.

Suddenly, I could do stuff. Pull-ups (albeit assisted but WHO F$*&ing cares I was doing PULLUPS) pushups, deadlifts, stuff I had never even thought I’d be capable of.

Pretty soon, I found myself at a 55 lbs weight loss.  FIFTY FIVE POUNDS!

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155lbs

But….was I truly happy? Well, I went from hating my body, to becoming OBSESSED with it. I spent every moment I had thinking about workouts and how I needed to get there and see the people that had become my friends, my lifeline. I would get anxiety about every workout everyday.  And if I missed one, I’d have anxiety that I’d lost all the fitness I had worked so hard to get. Every day I’d miss dinner, and homework, and family time to work on this new body of mine. I looked for my self worth and validation for missing those things in every “you look amazing!”, from people that I heard. I found physical validation in others finding me attractive, since I had spent so long feeling hideous. In other words, my mental health battle had just begun.

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Thinnest here at 152 lbs size 8

I kept getting thinner and thinner. Skipping breakfast, drinking protein shakes instead of lunch (mainly because the anxiety for the workout that day would leave me nauseated), and only having an appetite for dinner after the workout. My coaches even noticed and talked to me about my weight. They weren’t happy.

It was shortly after this that I started having panic attacks. Undiagnosed depression and anxiety had gotten the best of me. With the up and down extremes, using weight loss and working out as the only escape, it became hard to even notice that I had lost myself and the person I was. I was no longer the carefree woman my husband married. The thing that made me happiest at that point, was now my greatest source of angst and pain.

Life threw us a giant kick in the ass when my son started losing interest in school. We started having emails and notes home from his teacher that he was way behind and not able to focus in school. Essentially, we took him to the gym and came home and put him in front of his homework or the television and talked about crossfit in the kitchen.

ROCK….BOTTOM…..PARENTING………FAIL……..<cue more self loathing>

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That woke me up to just how bad my mental state had gotten. I looked for validation at the expense of everyone but me.

My supportive (you know who you beauties are) friends and family took me aside, and told me that they loved me, but it had been as if they’d lost me to crossfit and crossfit people for two years at this point. So I changed….

I refocused my awareness on healthily eating, (whatever I wanted…not following a specific limited diet) being okay with skipping workouts and only going three days a week and NEVER in the evenings. We reinstalled family dinner around the table, and no television during the weekdays. And the biggest factor was that I asked for help. That help saved my sanity, just as Crossfit had saved my health two years earlier.

This is yesterday

The scale went up, but guess what….so did my performance in the gym. I still crossfit and I still think it’s the greatest exercise for me. My husband does it now, too!

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holla at yo boy

I ended up pulling away from the obsession, and have maintained a healthier weight for my body, mind, and life balance ever since. Anxiety is something I still struggle with daily, but the self awareness actualizes true coping, instead of filling and fueling it with old habits and relationships.

My point in writing this story is to show that, while I may have felt skinny and awesome in some ways, I hadn’t truly healed myself. I live a life nowwhere I am so much happier, showing my daughter that I have a little weight to me, but it comes with greater strength. She can see all that Mommy can do. I can balance now. And I hope to inspire her to adopt this motto: Strong is the new skinny.  Strength, balance,  SELF LOVE, and happiness have been the end goals to this journey and will continue to be. For now, when you ask me what my weight is in the above photos, I will answer this way,

” 155# deadlift for 100 reps, 75# on the barbel for the rest of the 200 reps. And guess what, I threw that damn scale out the window……..”

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Dr. Yoni Freedhoff

18835945_10103938084553859_8628446883750688728_n Kristy is a married mom of 2, doula, massage therapist, and dedicated crossfitter with a passion of healing the human body and mind in Virginia.

At Home with Christiana: Best Fitness Apps

Fitness is something that has always been a part of my life. From junior athletics to marathon running to postpartum recovery, fitness is a major source of stress relief, confidence, and balance in my life. So while a day in the life of home renovating and chasing little people is almost always a workout in some form, my personal fitness is something I work very hard to prioritize. For me.giphy4

We all know by now the countless benefits of exercise (if not, read up!) but sometimes LIFE HAPPENS and getting to the gym just doesn’t. Parent or not, sometimes just adulting feels like sabotage to your fitness routine. Then add the schedules of 1, 2, or 3 little people that have little no regard for your agenda, and well, you get the picture. Client meeting runs late and you miss your spin class. Baby changes her nap schedule and you miss yoga by 5 f&*ing minutes. Ugh. “Namaste!”  Luckily, for days like these, technology is here to literally save our asses. Praise to the Fitness Apps.

Fitness apps have been a game changer for me because they allow me to get a serious workout in whenever and wherever I choose. No gym, no trainer, nobody else’s schedule but mine. Even multiple little people can’t sabotage these – there is a pause button for diaper changes, (because sh*t happens) and frankly, babies make great kettle bell substitutes for those walking lunges.  Also, no one is around to judge me for drinking coffee during my morning yoga session. #mommasrules

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In sum, fitness apps are totally awesome! With one caveat. Apps are definitely a realm where not all are created equal, but don’t despair if you’ve struck out in the past.  I have included my three favorite, time-tested apps below.  They won’t let you down.

Best Strength/Cross Training App: Nike Training Club

Nike Training Club (NTC) is my go-to app for at-home cross-training. NTC features a wide variety of workouts designed by pro athletes and celebrity trainers (oh heeeey Ronaldo, I see you). Ranging in intensity and activity level, these workouts can get straight up hardcore.  I love that this app allows you to select a workout based on a number of criteria. Only got 15 minutes? There are workouts for that. No equipment on hand? There are workouts for that, too. Want to target a certain stubborn body part or muscle group? There are PLENTY of workouts for that.

Another great feature is you can play your own music without interfering with the app’s audio cues. Because NO ONE likes doing burpees in silence. No one. New workouts are uploaded pretty regularly so I have yet to get bored. You can also set up 4-8 week personalized plans via the app that provide you with workouts in the order and frequency you should do them based on your personal inputs. This app really gives you everything you need to get a serious sweat on. So get after it!

Cost: Free

Great for: Strength training, beginners to serious athletes

Best Yoga App: Yoga Studio by Gaiam

Anyone who spends the majority of their week surrounded by little people who have yet to develop the concept of ‘personal space’ can use a little zen. But sometimes a lot of the time your yoga studio’s schedule won’t jive with yours, your kids stay home sick, or you just plain sleep in. Fear not. Gaiam’s Yoga Studio is a great app that can bring the Om at home, on vacation, in the backyard… anywhere. Time to get those yoga pants doing some actual yoga, y’all.

I will be the first to say that I am picky about yoga, and I think this app does a great job of channeling the calming vibe of a studio class via your wireless device.  You can download a wide variety of pre-made classes and meditations (more of our thoughts on meditation here if you missed it) ranging from 5 minutes to over an hour that target specific muscle groups or problem areas (such as lower back pain, yoga for runners),  or a particular mood (strength, Relaxation, AM/PM). Or you can create your own custom classes too. The one-hour Relaxation class is a personal favorite in our household. After the kids go to bed, light a candle, roll out your mat, (maybe pour that glass of wine, because why not? You’re at home!) Annnnd enjoy some well-earned savasana.  You won’t regret it.

Cost: $1.99/month or $19.99 annually

Great for: All levels of  yoga 

Best Running App: Map my Run by Under Armor

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Running for me currently goes one of two ways…  either the stars align and I get a glorious solo run while someone else watches the kiddos OR I’ve loaded up the jogging stroller with kids, snacks, blankets, water bottles and goodness knows what else. Either way, I just want to GO before something goes wrong. I don’t want to worry about creating a route, monitoring my pace or distance, or fidget with a bunch of settings on my devices.

Enter: Map my Run. I can load saved routes with a touch of one button or simply “start workout” and go. All while my distance and pace and calories are reliably monitored and saved to track progress. You can add notes to your run once it’s completed (like perhaps “double stroller into the wind” or “goldfish spilled”) so you can track your training performance without trying to remember why you had a couple really off pace days.

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You can also connect with your running buddies/family members that use the app to encourage each other along the way, which is especially fun if you’re training for an event together, even long distance, or just for added support.  That “NICE RUN, BUDDY!!!” text from your partner never, ever gets old.

Cost: Free

Great for: Running/walking/biking, tracking outdoor routes, race training

I hope these apps are as helpful for some of you to maintain or even begin your fitness regimen as they have been for me.  Shout out with your favorites if you have some to add!  Now go get you some Om. Cheers!

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Christiana is a Navy wife and mother of 3, attorney and former realtor, world traveler, home renovator and decorator, yogi, fitness enthusiast, and recipe and fine wine explorer.