Get it Together

The conversation almost always starts the same way. It most often takes place at the end of the day, when I am tired and I have done something silly like forget to bring my daughter to gymnastics or realized that I have only shaved one leg in the shower that morning.

"I have to get it together"

Six words that hold so much power.  The power to condemn.  The power to feel defeated and less than.  Not one little bit of grace at all.  These six words have decided that I am a mess and I need to fix it and fix it now.  I need to write stuff down, pay attention, drink more coffee, do something to avoid these mess ups from happening again.  Mess ups are not acceptable or allowed.  In my world mess ups are a loss of control and a loss of control is a scary thing.  

So I search for something I can control.  For me that thing has always been my food and exercise.  If I was a hot mess of a mom well I can at least be a fit hot mess of a mom.  I will just focus harder on my nutrition.  Make sure I get to the gym and give it 150%.  I will focus more, be better and get it together.  Then everything will be ok.

The problem with this is that I am human.  I was created flawed (no matter how much I deny and fight this its true).  Perfection is impossible.  I will always mess up.  The circumstances and degrees of the mess ups will change but no matter how hard I try, how tight I hold on, how much MORE I do it will NEVER be perfect.

Grace 

The definition of grace is "unmerited favor" and for me it is the answer to the whirlwind that is created when I try to "get it together".  I am learning to laugh at my life, mess ups and all.  To take the good with the bad and to just give myself a break.  I remember that I am ok, no matter what and already forgiven.  The mess ups will not define me.  I am loved right now, with all my forgotten appointments and extra slices of pizza.  I rest in who I am, and who loves me.  God quietly reminds me that HE HAS GOT IT and I dont need to keep all the balls of my life in the air.  I realize that exercising and dieting harder will not get me closer to peace, only opening my grip and allowing Him to work in my life will. 

As I learn to let go of food and exercise as a way to feel in control I am developing a new relationship with food.  It has taken me years and I still have times I struggle.  I know that this is the root of so many womens struggle.  

I have been reading the book Full by Asheritah Ciuciu and in it she ask some really powerful questions, a big one being : 

What does your ideal relationship with food look like?

How would you eat?

What  would you feel?

How would you act?

I would love to hear your thoughts on these questions I encourage you to comment below and if you would like to join me in readying Full over the next two weeks you can email me:

tabitha@brickhousebodies.com

As always I am praying for each of you

 

Happiness

Happy: Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.  Fortunate and convenient. Characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment or joy.

Happiness: the state of being happy.

It had been a long day and it was only 11am.  The morning was a blur of emails, dishes, bus drop off and unending text messages.  I was totally in over my head.  As I walked out of the bank (my last errand till my next appointment in an hour)  I looked up for the first time since I woke at 5am that morning.  The sun was high in the sky and shining.  It was pleasantly warm and there was a soft breeze.  I got into my car and rolled down my windows, I took a huge breath in and out, the air just smelled GOOD, Like spring, my heart skipped a beat.  I closed my eyes and said a simple prayer:

THANK YOU LORD

When I opened my eyes the heavy weight of the morning had vanished.  I felt excited and lighter.  All the things I had to do for the rest of the day dissappeared.  I turned up Lecrae and just started driving.  

That moment was happiness to me.  I am so grateful that God has helped me to pause and appreciate these little moments because for a very long time (and sometimes still) I struggle to find those moments.  For the better part of my life happiness had conditions:

1- I had to make 6 figures and have a position of power

2- I had to live in NYC, in the best apartment money could buy

3- I had to be a size 2 

4- I had to have all the fun and friends and places to go to

5- I had to have designer clothes

The list goes on and on.  I was exhausted just trying to keep track of it all.  In reality and upon reflection I was anything but happy.  In my 20's and half of my 30's I drank too much, did drugs, struggled with an eating disorder and could not maintain a stable relationship with anyone.  But to the world I had everything.   I kept telling myself if I kept working I would finally make enough money.  If I went on enough dates I would find the right person.  If I worked out long enough and dieted hard enough that I would finally be happy.  My happiness was dependant on the outcome of each of my days.  I had given over control of my happiness to my job, my apartment, my wardrobe and my pants size.  I focused only on the outcome of my efforts.  Getting what I needed mattered above all.  I stormed through my life like a bull in a china shop, never pausing for reflection or lessons.  Not caring what was broken on my way to the final destination - happiness.

I got really close.  But when I had those rare moments of quiet a feeling nagged at me.  I would get anxious and then get sad.  The feeling was so fleeting, it slipped away as quickly as it came.  It wasen't until I had thought all was lost:  When my husband was out of work and we had $100 in our bank account.  When we lived with my in-laws for 4 years while struggling to get on our feet.  When I prayed everytime I got in my old truck with 200,00 miles, a broken exhaust and questionable steering that I would just be able to make it to work cause we needed the money, and in so many other ways

That was when I realized, that was when I understood.  All of those things I had worked so hard for, the happiness I took pride in earning could be gone JUST. LIKE. THAT.  If I stayed where I was, if Gods grace and mercy and the holy spirit had not intervened I would have never been happy again.  I had nothing to be happy about, I had nothing.  

I learned that even tohugh I had nothing I learned how to entertain a 6 year old by spending $5 at the dollar store.  I realized that date night could be a cup of coffee at the diner and Target and Forever 21 have some great workout wear.  That family walks can be just as fun as a vacation and it is true God will always provide.  The feeling of happy did not cause anxiety or quickly fade.  It was there just waiting for me to embrace it.

So if you are struggling with happiness I understand.  I know exactly what you are feeling.  I challenge you to take a moment look around and take a deep breath.  Ask yourself if you are working for happiness or just opening your eyes and seeing it for the first time.  Are you chasing the moments or building a life dependant on a peace and joy that is unchanging.  Happiness cannot be bought or worked for it is given by God, freely and with grace.

 

 

 

 

Take Back Your Time Week Two: Build Your Tribe

I was never into sports as a child.  I didn't start working out till I was 30 years old!!

My sister and I are also 6 years apart so for the first years of my life I was an only child. As a result I have struggled with playing well with others.  Don't get me wrong it is not that I dont like others I love people, and the older I get the more I appreciate my friends.

When I started on my fitness journey I did it the way I was used to  - on my own.  I had a personal trainer and me.  No group exercise classes no gym buddies.  When I got lonely or bored I added another session with my trainer.  But as those first months went on that became a little expensive!! Then I started body building a sport that is notoriously solitary.  Hours on the treadmill and hitting the weights by myself.

Once I found crossfit it was like a whole new world!! The community came first.  I remember my first crossfit competition and being in awe that the person who finished last got the loudest cheers.  The members of the gym where like family.  They went out socially together they shared their lives.  I truly believe that this community was the reason that I have stayed with Crossfit for the last 4 years.  

So how do you create your tribe?  How if you are just starting to fitness journey to you find people who have the same goals you do?  Well happy you asked! Here are my tips in creating a tribe that make you better:

1- You have to put yourself out there:  This is the hardest thing to do! It means steping out of your comfort zone and doing something scary.  It means saying high to a total stranger in your spin class, showing up at a race and knowing no one.  yes it could go horribly wrong but it quite possibly will go right and you will have a new friend!!

2- Dont take the judgement of those in your current tribe that do not support you: Another tough one.  As humans we are programed to want to be likes and belong and it is really hard when people who we have know forever (sometimes even family) are not supportive of our goals.  Or worse are judgemental about them!  The best way to handle this judgement is to realize the IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU.  More often than not their judgement is a reflection of their own inability to do what you are doing, and you know that saying "misery loves company"...  Its best to love and release those people.  It does not mean that you can never spend time with them again but before you do realize that you cannot change them and love them where they are.

3- Join an online community or training group:  This one is my favorite.  Yes technology seperates us from real relationships but it also is a good first step when you want to find like minded people.  A good place to start? THe Brick House Bodies Fit Inside Out facebook community!!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/587779278066170/

Perfect place to meet other like minded women, stay motivated and get great inspiration for meals and just to get through the day!!

But there are dozens of groups on social media it just takes a little research to find the one thats right for you.

God never meant for us to live our lives alone.  As His creation were were made for community.  Building a tribe can be life changing but the change has to start with you.

 

 

My Guide to Creating your Grocery Shopping List

I LOVE to go to the grocery store! It is one of the things I look forward to the entire week.  I love taking my time and browsing every aisle. I love checking out what's in season, what's exciting and what new products are on the shelves.  But I know that for many love is not quite the word that would be used to describe the experience!  Between handling the kids grabbing things off the shelf, the long lines and having no idea what you want or even need the grocery store can be overwhelming to say the least!!

After being asked by a couple of you guys on social media I wanted to share my grocery list with you.  But before I go there I wanted to take a couple of steps back.  For me my trip to the store starts way before I walk through the doors.

Plan to Succeed

I focus on 3 things when I start to write my shopping list:

1- Make sure that I have a balanced menu.  At least 3 protein sources, 3 carb sources and 3 fats sources

2- Buy as much fresh whole foods as possible.  Tons of fruit and veggies, fresh meats and eggs too

3- Buy organic when possible but it's ok to go conventional.  I know food is expensive.  I have a family and I am realistic.  Do I buy 100% organic NO.  Do I make the best choices that my budget allows for YES.  This usually means most veggies and fruit are organic.  Beef is grass fed and eggs are organic.  Chicken is usually whatever is on sale because we go through a lot of chicken.

Menus Make it Fun

Yes I plan my menu for the week.  But before you think that I am crazy or super organized let me clarify.  My menu is pretty simple.  I plan theme nights for dinner, breakfast is usually the same every day and lunch is usually a stir fry of whatever is in the fridge.  It usually works out to look like this:

Monday: Asian night (stir fry)

Tuesday: Tacos (of course)

Wednesday: breakfast for dinner (fritatta)

Thursday: Italian night or salad night

Friday: Homemade Pizza

Saturday: family dinner out night

Sunday: Crockpot meal

A Note on Variety

The most common feedback that I get from people when they start on the road to eating better is that they want VARIETY.  Countless choices for breakfast lunch and dinner.  My feeling is this:  Think about your eating habits prior to starting this journey.  Where you cooking a different meal every meals for weeks on end? More often than not if you really though about it you probably were eating the same 5-6 meals on repeat.  The second most common feedback I get is lack of time.  Having countless options takes time.  Keep it simple and make it delicious.  As you get more comfortable with prepping and eating whole foods you will naturally start to add in more  variety.

The List

So now you are finally ready to hit the store.  You have planned your menu.  You know what you need.  I always browse the store's coupons on line before heading out and I do clip coupons.  No shame in my game!! I set up my list as the store is set up and it looks like this:

Veggies/Fruits

apples, bananas, berries

avocados, brussles sprouts, spinach, brocoli, kale, prepackages fresh veggie stir fry, onions

sweet potato, mini white potato

Meats/proteins

lean ground beef (90/10), Lean ground turkey(94/6), boneless chicken breasts, pork loin, organic eggs

Starchy carbs

oatmeal (gluten free), gluten free bread, brown rice

Fats

Kerry Gold grass fed butter, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, almond and cashew butter

Spices and seasonings

salsa, coconut aminos(great for asian night), Mrs. Dash seasoning, salt and pepper, garlic

And thats it!!! This list gives me all of the basics that I need.  Of course I add things some weeks and take away stuff other weeks based on my menu and what is in season and looks good but this list and tips should get you started.

Now that you have your list check out a previous blog post: Meal Prep 101.  It details how I meal prep each week in the least amount of time.

Let me know if you used this list and how it worked out!!

Happy shopping!!

 

3 Ways to Create a NEW Habit

Something funny happened the other morning.  My routine is pretty much the same every day.  I put my daughter on the bus and then head right over to the gym.  A couple of mornings ago like always I dropped my little one off, jumped in my car and 7 minutes later I was pulling into the parking lot of my gym.  The only problem was that I was expected somewhere else!!! My habit took over and without me even thinking it took me down a path I had always followed. Well I made my appointment (though about 7 minutes late lol) and it got me thinking about habits and how powerful they are.

According to Webster’s dictionary HABIT is defined as:

A behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or performance. An acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary.

So many times we hear that we have to “break our bad habits.” That may seem overwhelming.  Eat right, exercise every day.  If you have every tried to quit smoking (I have) you realize that it is not as easy as just stopping.  I want to provide you with a different approach.  Instead of trying to break a bad habit shift the perspective and create a new one.  A habit that better serves your goals.  So here are the three way that I teach my clients how to create new habits.

1-Stop and think. Why did I wind up in my gym parking lot instead of my appointment?  I did not stop and think about what I had to do.  This is the first step in creating a new habit. Habit is involuntary and happens without thinking.  But if we stop for just a moment and think about what we are doing and ask the question “does this serve my goals?"it will cause us to delay the action.  For example, if you always have desert after you eat, once you are done with dinner stop for 5 minutes before you reach for the sweet treat.  Are you still hungry? Will eating this cake serve your goals.

2-Make a better choice. This is the most important step.  Creating new habits about making better choices.  We never give ourselves the time to consider a different choice (see point #1).  In that pause we can make a decision and base what we do next on that decision.  Using the same desert example.  We have decided that we are not hungry so our habit of eating a sweet after dinner does not make sense, we now have a choice.  Some examples of better choice based on some common goals:

If getting healthy is a goal I could decide to have a cup of berries instead of a slice of cake.  Both are sweet but the berries are a better choice.

If getting closer to my family and spending more quality time is a goal I could go for an after dinner walk with my family.  Or I could call a friend.

If growing my relationship with God is a goal I could say a prayer, read my bible or a short devotional

All of these choices serve my goal. Remember your goal and make a better choice.

3-Repeat: Remember habit is created by frequent repetition. If you want these new habits to stick you have to do them over and over again.  Your habit of eating a sweet after dinner may have started in childhood.  It took decades to develop!! You are not going to creating a new one by doing it once or even 5 times.  That’s where people disconnect.  In this age of immediate gratification, we give up when we don’t get the result we want immediately.  Human default is ease and comfort above all else.  When it gets hard and we feel like it would be so much easier if we just ate the darn cake!!!

That’s where the enemy waits whispering in our ear that you deserve that cake.  One slice won’t hurt.   You can worry about getting healthy tomorrow.  All lies to keep us right where we are struggling, frustrated and thinking we are never going to get this healthy living right.

Ladies please be strong!! Remember who you are!! A daughter of a king and not weak!!  Take these tips into your heart.  Take a moment, make a better choice and repeat.  I want to hear about the new habits that you are going to create and what better choices you are going to make.  Please leave a comment and share with me.

All or Nothing

I have said this before I’m an all or nothing woman.  This is in all parts of my life.  I work hard, rest hard, love hard.  It’s the way I have been since I can remember.  I believed it has served me well for the past 45 years.  I have been successful, I have a great husband, I have a great daughter, I have my own business.  Notice the I’s: for my entire life I have run the show.  It has been me and my hard work that has gotten me where I am.

I did a Crossfit competition a couple of week ago and it was hard, really hard.  5 workouts (when there are usually 3) tough competition and my partner and I pushed.  We did well 2nd place, I was really happy with that.  But it took me 7 days to recover from this competition.  I felt like I had been hit by a bus.  My nervous system was shot, my workouts were crap and I was useless to my family. Through it all the word that kept repeating over and over in my head was WHY.  Why do I push this hard, why am I working out for as long as I do each day?  Why do I want to be this supreme Crossfitter?  Why do I care so much?

I came up with a couple of things:

  • I honestly do not know what I would do with myself if I didn’t have the goal of training hard to be a competitive Crossfitter. Who would I be?  I am good at Crossfit people know me for that.  And if I was really honest with myself I know exactly what I need to be doing instead of working out 2 hours a day and I am using Crossfit as a controllable distraction.  Something I can be sure of the outcome of because what God wants me to do is not as clear and straight forward as a 12 min workout.  The purpose he has for me cannot be improved upon in a 12 week training cycle and I won’t be able to know if I did well until I am with Him and He calls me his faithful servant.  No immediate gratification, no podiums.
  • I am afraid that my body will go to crap.  And I am pissed that I care so much.  Again there is no need for me to be 12% body fat.  It’s great but my body fat being that low and me being this muscular is really not necessary.  I can be fit.  I can be healthy.  My appearance is what I am know for, without it who would I be?  What would people think?  Again the all or nothing attitude.  I can’t just be fit I have to be the fittest.  I have forgotten who I am.  Who I am has absolutely nothing to do with my weight or body fat.  Who I am is who God says I am.  No where in the bible does it say I need to be super lean muscular to lead people to Him.  I know what you are may be thinking: it is good to be the best that you can be and I agree but it is NOT good to worship that ideal.  To make it an idol, to define myself by it.

These truths were hard to realize and harder to admit.  Now that I know all of this what do I do with it?  That is still a work in progress.  I am praying A LOT.  Asking for guidance and courage to let go of this need to control and distract myself.  Asking for faith and trust to wait on God’s plan and not to rush ahead on my own.  I am terrified of what the future holds.  Not because I believe it will be bad but because sometimes I don’t feel worthy enough for how good its going to be.

My biggest fear is that I will be average.  What I have forgotten is that I can never be average!!! That fear is a lie.

But instead of starting from a place of average, I must remember what God says I am and that is far from average and that is without doing a thing!

 

Update:

So it is 3 weeks after the competition and I am feeling a lot better physically.  This is giving me a lot of clarity mentally.  I am so grateful for this experience.  It has been a perspective and reality check for me.  It has woken me up to what matters most, what Gods plan is for me and challenged my faith.

What am I doing now? I am working out 5 days a week.  If I am tired I ease off.  If I feel good I push.  As for my nutrition I have not been tracking much at all for the last three weeks.  I am back to tracking with some adjustments and it feels good.  If I start to feel anxious about it I will stop. If I start to think about it too much I will stop.  The key for me is to constantly keep connected and honest about how I feel.  To trust that feeling I get inside when something needs to change.  Allow it to guide my decisions and not get in its way.

Consistency Not Perfection

I am an all or nothing kinda girl.  I can’t just do the sprint Spartan I have to do the Super.  I can’t just do a Crossfit competition to me it might as well be the Crossfit Games.  I can’t eat one chip it has to be the whole bag, with salsa, and cheese.

So when I asked on social media what most people struggle with when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle the biggest thing people talked about was staying on track.  Not letting weekends, weddings, parties and life cause them to be distracted and fall back into bad habits.

So I want to share with you the things that I do to focus on my goals while still enjoying life. I am not perfect.  I struggle too.  Many people call this balance but I don’t believe there is such a thing as balance.  Balance implies perfection and unless you are God perfection is impossible.  That’s where my helpful tips start:

1-      The definition of consistency is “logically ordered and/or following a pattern.  Agreement or logical coherence among things or parts.  Firmness of constitution or character.  What this all means is that the Majority of the time things stay the same.  No big changes.  No big highs or lows.  In the context of food and eating this means eating the same way the majority of the time.  No binges, to elimination.  I apply this to my life by going to weddings, ballgames, parties and vacations but I remain logical and don’t drink all the wine, I have a glass.  I don’t eat all the deserts I pick the one I want.  I don’t eat all the bread in the bread basket I have one slice.  Notice I didn’t deny myself the bread, wine or desert, I had them in MODERATION, enjoyed them without GUILT and moved on.  We run into trouble when we say we CAN’T have something, suddenly we desperately WANT IT.  Then because we think we can’t have it we eat much more than we should because we feel like it is the one opportunity to eat it so might as well go big or go home.  Feast or famine, all or nothing.  Not the logical patterned order that is consistency.

2-      Food does not have a soul.  That being said without a soul you cannot attach any moral labels to it.  Food is not GOOD or BAD.  It is food.  When we apply these labels some foods become bad and others good which causes us to morally judge our choices.  And when we don’t make the right choices WE become bad or good not the choice.  The filter I pass my food choices through is this:  How will this food make me feel? Is it worth it?  Will having that third drink or eating that 2nd slice of pizza or piece of cake bring me closer to my goals?  Will a bite of cake or one glass of wine serve the same purpose?  A thoughtful choice prevents and emotional reaction.  Emotional eating brings guilt and shame two things that should not be attached to food

3-      On the subject of emotional eating…. I totally get needing something sweet before bed (a square of dark chocolate usually does the trick) Or when it is that time of the month and you just need a bowl of ice cream.  It is ok.  The trouble occurs when we feel bad about it.  Feeling guilty doesn’t change the fact that you ate it.  Own it.  Have some introspection and figure out what you were feeling that caused it.  Don’t hide it or pretend it didn’t happen.  Talk about it with a trusted friend.  Shine a light on it.  The more we own our choice and don’t write them off as bad the less we will have to start over.

So there is no magic solution.  It’s not easy.  Staying consistent is hard, it takes work.  Integrity is doing what you say you are going to do.  Have integrity to yourself and your goals.  Own your emotions.  Own your choices.  Do not sacrifice long term success for short term gratification.  With food or with life.