Misconceptions Aplenty about Depression

If you had asked me in my teens or early twenties what depression was, I would have shrugged, and said, “When someone can’t get happy, or won’t choose to be happy, because they keep holding onto negative thoughts’. I am 47, and I can only remember ‘depression’ being classified as a physical ailment, not just a psychological one, after I turned 40! I am ashamed of my ignorance. I only began to understand more about what depression really is after having a husband who is very open and honest about his struggles, and who shared with me his experiences with it before we ever met.

It was after his divorce to his first wife. Sadness and anxiety persisted long after the initial pain and stress of the divorce itself had ended. He went to counseling and began a course of antidepressants. Two years later, he ended the pills in the step-down method his doctor prescribed, and seems to have beaten the disease. I found out that after a long period of this flood of chemicals into the body signaling stress and anxiety, the normal levels of serotonin in the brain can be reset to just not produce as they should, or once did. That’s when antidepressants can really help. Not everyone has success with every type of antidepressant, however, and some people beat it drug-free. Some are never diagnosed and just muddle on, wondering why they feel empty, drained, tired, and that life is meaningless. There are so many complex reasons for why we may feel that way, ranging from brain chemicals to unresolved issues, and current stress-such as being in an abusive relationship, or coping with ill family members, etc. However, the ability to cope with these crises in life can adversely be affected by a lack of the proper levels of the ‘feel-good’ chemicals in our brains. Counseling is often very important to go along with medication, or may even supplant the need for medication, in the event that we just need deeper insight and understanding on how our minds may be hindering us from making progress, due to  unhealthy , unproductive thought processes.

That being said, the misconception many people have had, is that depression is ALL based on those unproductive, unhealthy thoughts, possibly arising from previous or current emotional trauma or circumstance. Some would cite the need for faith, positive thinking, and regular exercise. All these things are wonderful, but what an eye-opener to realize that a chemical imbalance could be the issue, and what a relief to know that at least some of our despair can be relieved with the right medication! Imagine being told your whole life that if you just squint, and focus really hard, you’ll be able to see better, when eyeglasses or contacts are what you really needed for better eyesight!

But can medicine alone solve all our problems? No. While depression can be like looking though dirty, dark glass at life, it still matters how we think about, and respond to, what life brings our way. It may be easier to see through clean, clear glass, but we also need to relearn how to talk to ourselves, and how to properly view setbacks in life. We can learn to respond to what we perceive as negative with productive thoughts and attitudes, as well. For example: Marti has been called into the office at work a few times this month for performance issues. She is trying very hard to get better, correct mistakes, and to be careful, but the office visits keep coming. Marti has gotten used to punishing herself and being very hard on herself whenever she feels she is ‘failing’. She complains to her husband that she is ‘just a stupid failure who never gets anything right”. Obviously, Marti has more going on than medication alone could address. So, issues like depression can be wrapped around a lot of other issues, like low self-esteem, fear of failure, fear of punishment, inability to accept oneself, and so on.

That’s me up there. “Marti.” I was feeling down after a series of family tragedies, and I couldn’t get back up. I went to my doctor, because my normal zest for life had really begun to wane. I just wanted to sleep my days away, hoping the next would be better. I had occasional thoughts that I was good for nothing, had no purpose since my kids were grown, and that my life was meaningless. I suspected I might have depression, due to what I have learned about it in the past few years. I felt like a failure and waste of oxygen.

Depression isn’t feeling blue for a bit- it is a real medical condition that can be treated. Depression can have many causes, but going to the doctor and being honest about how you feel is so important to do! Please, if you feel you may be suffering from depression- if no amount of exercise or positive thinking is solving your problems, and if you lack energy, motivation, or joy in life, or have any thoughts that you wish you had never been born, or want to die- PLEASE go see a doctor. It might be depression. It might be that you need counseling/therapy as well. But GO. Go and be well.

for help and resources, please check out the following websites:

http://www.apa.org

https://www.adaa.org   (symptoms)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

 

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Lemmings in Line

If you’ve ever seen Lemmings jumping off a cliff, one after the other, then you have glimpsed my darker thoughts about life and death. How many of use just go through life as if we are just here to be the next to jump? And every time one of the older generation ‘falls off’, I think about how my generation will be the next to ‘jump’.

Everybody dies. It’s how we live that matters. I tell myself this as I plod to the kitchen, to pour that same cup of water into the same coffee maker like an automated…lemming. I plop the Kuerig pod into the machine, reminding  myself that I am adding to the landfill again. I have a delicious, steamy cup of coffee in hand in no time, but I don’t spend too much time to savor it slowly, because I have already plopped down in that same chair and automatically jumped onto Facebook. As usual, I get to see the latest political rants, dumb jokes, and some idiot lighting a firecracker under his friend’s ass, and then laughing when that friend nearly has a heart attack. I sigh. I click over to my 12,978 unread email list. “Online DealKing”, “Publisher’s Clearing House- respond NOW!”, “Indeed Job Alerts”, top the list. Again I sigh. Same shit, different day. It’s Friday. So what? I am at home. I don’t care and can barely keep track of which day of the week it is anyway.

I turn on the television. Three days from the presidential election between two of the biggest boobs in history. Both of them suck in different and yet profound ways. The fluffy kitty is snuggling next to me. At least she’s real. Genuine. I am grateful for her. I reflect on  gratitude, and my attitude starts to shift. The sunlight is soft and inviting outside my window,and the autumn leaves are lovely with their dappled hues, caressed by the breeze- falling, another lifetime ending. Leaf-lemmings…

And yet, we don’t really mourn the leaves, nor the grass that dies when it’s season ends. And in the large scheme of things, even though one leaf, one blade of grass, is a miracle unto itself, we don’t mourn, because we know that in the Spring, more leaves, more grass will come. That’s not enough for people, though. We cannot replace a loved-one with someone else. That one person is unique, priceless, treasured. We are left with memories, and we hope for a future of spiritual unity in Heaven. But there’s something else. Our mothers and fathers leave a part of themselves in us, our children, and their children. More than memories, more than the DNA that gave our kids that red hair, more than photographs. They leave a legacy. It might be good, it might be awful, but each new generation has its own chance, its own choices to  make.

Nature and nurture may have determined I will die as some sort of addict. Sure, I can choose to wallow in lemming mentality. I can follow the path of my father, a long-deceased alcoholic. I could follow the path of my mother, and could still be smoking cigarettes, never to quit until they make the last years of my life a living hell. I could go numbly through life, never allowing myself to appreciate the moment- the quiet time with a cup of joe, the cuddly soft cat on my lap giving and wanting affection, the golden sunshine casting beams and shadows through the house. I can also remember the beautiful people that my parents were, despite- and through- and beyond their addictions. Just like I am beautiful- and life is- despite, and through, and beyond our darkness.

It’s all about focus.

 

 

 

It’s Good to Be Back

I have neglected this blog. I decided to pursue other writing under an assumed name, because I felt I would not be completely myself if I was worried about what people may think of my deeper, more personal thoughts and feelings. However, I haven’t written much there, either. Writing for me comes and goes in terms of desire and inspiration, and it’s been a very eventful year. 2015 featured in its table of contents the death of my mother, the serious violation of my loved-one by a predator, a very difficult and stressful job that I left, and has culminated with my trip to the doctor. I left with a prescription for antidepressants, and also- a higher dose of Levothyroxine for my under-active thyroid. I feel better. I am grateful for the help, and I am slowing coming back into the light. 

So, if you struggle with your weight despite watching everything you eat, portion control, and regular exercise, it’s time to see your doctor, especially if you are a woman, to see if an underactive thyroid could be the culprit. Let me tell you that my weight has already dropped by 8 pounds since getting the right dose of thyroid medication. My appetite is greatly reduced, and sometimes I have to remind myself to eat more. 1,000 calories seems like a lot now! And really, I need a bit more than that. As to low-carb, I have been doing that for so long, that eating that way for the most part is just my normal routine. The problem comes in when I start engaging in a few deleterious behaviors. If you are struggling to stay on low-carb, or have stopped seeing success, watch out for the following  bad habits which may have crept in.

  1. Alcohol consumption. I had been creeping up on drinking. Usually I indulged in light beer, or that new water-based beverage with basically no carbs but still with alcohol. So your liver focuses on detoxing the alcohol, blood sugar actually drops, and you end up more hungry. If you are consuming very sweet drinks, however, that changes the dynamic a bit, and you are still taking in those extra calories in place of actually giving your body nutrition. Also, if you are addictive, as I am, it’s a very bad sugar substitute, alcohol. It leads to all sorts of evils. Keeping things in moderation is not what an addictive is good at. An addict is good at more and more all the time. I prefer the term ‘addictive’, because it means to me that I am prone to it, but am not necessarily committed to it. I believe the stress of the year contributed to my choice to drink more, but it’s certainly not a good self-medication therapy. Things were spinning out of control.
  2. Too many cheat days. A cheat meal is not the same thing as a cheat DAY. That one day of eating whatever I wanted was really hard to come back from. One meal is much easier to recover from, in terms of blood sugar levels. Besides, I always feel like crap after a big, nasty carb day. I don’t mean oatmeal and quinoa. I was loading up on cookies, donuts, and ice cream- like- all day long. Immediately I would retain fluids and be up about 1-4 pounds virtually overnight. No joke. Now, last night I made a tuna casserole, and I ate some for dinner. I won’t be surprised to find I am up a pound over yesterday, but I also recognize that will correct itself if I get back on track today. And I have no problem doing that, because I didn’t completely put my body out of whack by indulging all day long yesterday.
  3. No activity. I had a sit down job, and was mentally drained at the end of the day. I skipped too many workouts. It showed. At the age of 46-47, muscle loss happens more quickly almost yearly. It takes weight bearing exercise to keep muscle. Don’t neglect it, and don’t do overdo the cardio at the expense of weight bearing. it helps to  actually schedule my workouts on the calendar. I even set reminders on my phone with encouraging , tough love messages, like, “Work out today, you know you want to!” Or, “Get moving, you lazy slug!” Whatever works. There are many great sources for finding a good routine. Gyms have trainers, often for free, who will help you put a plan together and hold you accountable for progress.
  4. Not weighing in once a week. It was easier to ignore the scale altogether than to face the truth. Weighing first thing in the morning once or twice a week helps me see the immediate effects of my nutrition and exercise habits and to make adjustments. Just don’t get obsessive about it. For example, don’t be disappointed when you’re five pounds up during PMS week.
  5. Stress. It’s easy to get worked up about the election, the cat that just peed on the bed when you just washed the comforter the night before, or that your parent is in the hospital. Stress is deadly. It’s deadly to your diet, your mental health, and many other areas of your physical health. Try prayer, mediation, yoga, talking to a friend. Do what you need to do to get healthy. Sometimes a therapist may be helpful. Sometimes a trip to the doctor is in order. Some people are just very good at staying low-stress, because they have great coping mechanisms and understand that life is a beautiful thing that is just naturally ‘flawed’. That’s part of the beauty. We learn, we grow in faith, or we suffer. We do all the right things, and we still suffer. But in the midst of that, be sure to keep reaching out. Talk to someone. Work through the issues. Worry won’t solve it.
  6. Food is fuel. It should be tasty and enjoyed, but don’t make it the love of your life. Focus on family, friends, staying healthy. Develop hobbies that don’t involve running to the kitchen for a mindless snack simply out of boredom.
  7. Getting SO bored of oily meat and salads! Believe me, I know! Go to http://www.ibreatheimhungry.com , as one shining example, of GREAT LC/GF and other diet specialty recipes and ideas. Start a low-carb board on Pinterest and look for and try the huge variety of recipes and refresh your idea of what low-carb is. Everybody is busy, but not every meal needs to be roast beef wrapped around 1/2 stick of butter. Get your creative juices flowing. Set aside a time and a budget for some of the pricier ingredients that low-carb can include. For example- almond flour, xanthan gum, Swerve, etc. You need to find a good source for some of these ingredients, because not all are available, or available at a good price, at the local grocers. Meanwhile, investigate new recipes for old standbys. There’s more to do with broccoli than just steam it.
  8. Peer pressure. Your family wants mashed potatoes, corn bread, corn, and fried chicken. Fine. Let them have it. You don’t have to eat it. Have a grilled chicken salad with avocado, and colorful red bell pepper, and make them jealous!
  9. Trigger foods. Pizza? Hot rolls? Fresh cookies? Decide if it’s really worth it. Decide if you can act in moderation. Do your best to just ignore it. It’s not a temptation unless you BELIEVE it to be. Maybe this is the time for the cheat meal. But maybe you can wait for the birthday cake on Friday. You get the idea. Have some suitable, satisfying alternatives in your pantry or fridge to satisfy the immediate urges, and carry on.

Favorite low-carb emergency foods: (assuming you are ok with artificial sweeteners . I have alternatives for those, too. )

Light and Fit Greek yogurt at 80 calories and about 9 net carbs. YUM. Very satisfying. Atkin’s meal and treat bars. String cheese. Flavored almonds, Low carb tortillas are in my home at all times. I use them for everything. Even my own pizza. I use liquid stevia in my coffee. Cottage cheese with berries on top. I make mock cheesecakes in single serve sizes using ramekins. I sweeten with Splenda or Swerve or stevia. Berry-protein smoothies. I use vanilla whey or vanilla vegan protein powder and mix with almond milk and frozen blueberries or strawberries.  I mix in spinach as well, and can’t even taste it once blended. I have this regularly for breakfast.

Mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes. Light and Crisp crackers by Wasa. Peanut butter is a huge staple, as well as almond flour. I enjoy eggs, and use them in a variety of ways. The point here is, with a little investigation and strategy, you can build your own low-carb go-to stash that works for YOU. Notice that most of these have a protein component. Proteins and fats are your FRIENDS. Stop trying to avoid fat. The only time you want to avoid fat is when it’s the fake, hydrogenated kind found in things like Lil’ Debbie’s snack cakes, pre-packaged junk like Cheetos, bologna, etc. The more prepared it is, the worse it generally is for you.

So, I am back. The medication is certainly helping me get back to where I feel like me again, but God has been at work in my life big time. I am very grateful for all the support and love I have had from friends and family , and for all the prayers. If you see yourself in a similar struggle, don’t go it all alone. Talk to someone. Take your life back.

 

 

 

New to Low-Carb Diets? Here’s What You Need to Know

After doing this ‘lifestyle’ for a while now, I forget that a lot of people have a completely erroneous belief system about what Atkin’s is, along with any of the other popular low-carb or moderated-carbohydrate eating plans out there making the rounds right now. I could whip out my Atkin’s book and fill your minds with all of the science behind carbs, sugars, glucose, glycogen, insulin resistance, the addicting properties of sugar, ad nauseum until your eyes roll back in your skulls and you reach for your usual evening snack of a Butterfinger and coke, but there are a lot of good books out there that explain the science. I  have a working knowledge of it, but I am no biologist, nutritionist, nor chemist.

So, let’s just start with dispelling some of the most common myths right away. These are things that I hear people chatting about in weight loss forums, and I roll my eyes at the ignorance.

“Yeah, my cousin just told me she’s doing Atkin’s. I mean, she’s living on mayo and bacon, OMG. She won’t eat bread, but bacon is ok?

“Yeah, my mom did that for awhile. She never ate fruit or veggies”.

” I can’t believe anyone who eats a diet primarily of meat fat can be healthy no matter how much weight they might lose. Imagine the clogged arteries. Just gross”. 20140108-193754.jpg

Ok ok. Enough of this crap. First of all, if the cousin is living on bacon and mayo, she might be trying to jump start ketosis. Ketosis? What’s that? A sign of kidney disease? NO. It’s not. That would be ketoacidosis, a very serious condition usually seen in uncontrolled diabetes where the body is burning too much fat. Ketones are a by-product of that fat-burn. You might notice ketone test strips for sale at the Rite Aid or see them in a diabetic friend’s bathroom. They let you know if you’re burning fat. For those of us who are healthy, a fat burn is a good thing. How do we burn fat? Well, first, it helps if you are not overeating the other fuel of your body- carbohydrate. The body prefers carbs simply because they are more easily burned, and the body does not give a flat damn how you look in jeans, it’s job is to efficiently turn your food intake into usable energy. The carbohydrate portion of what we eat is just easier to break down. It doesn’t mean it ‘s better for you. In a perfect world, all our carb sources would be vegetable and fruit, with a smattering of unrefined grains. The human body was not created with a need for , nor ability to properly assimilate the carbs known as candy bars, grocery store cakes , and those nasty little one dollar fried pies wrapped in wax paper wrappers. A little of anything will generally not hurt anyone.  So, pasta may not be brimming over with minerals, fiber, vitamins, protein- well, ok, anything of real value, really- but it’s a tasty holder for sauce and meat and veggies which do.  In low-carb diets, we just eliminate the useless, white filler foods which have no nutritional value and replace them with things that are good for you, such as more veggies, or meat or even cheese. All you’ve been hearing about fats like those in cheese turns out to not be so bad for you after all when eaten as part of a low-carb diet. Why is that?

Let’s back up to answer that. Remember the ketone strips, and burning fat rather than carbs, which convert into glucose/become glycogen.  That’s  right, either your body is running primarily on protein and fat, or it’s running primarily on some form of sugar. Most of us are in the middle. Tip the balance and we can gain or lose weight. You can also lose weight by simply consuming less, but most of us can’t seem to stay with that one long-term. Low carb makes this easier for those of us whose love of sweets and starches is more than simple oversight, more than a casual, occasional overeating phase. The bacon and mayo example above serves a great point for illustration here. As the body is being converted over from being a glucose/sugar burning machine primarily, to a fat burning one, the first two week ‘induction’ phase of most low-carb diets does consist of a lot of meat, cheese, and greens. Notice the greens. Some people swear by small fat/protein jaunts to speed up the process even faster, but I personally don’t feel it’s necessary for me.

So, which is superior nutrition? Bacon and eggs with strawberries, or cereal, pancakes, and fruit? Which has the most protein, by which your body fuels every muscle in your body? Which has more useless white  flour and sugar? Would you feed a racehorse straight sugar before a race? You see, spiking your blood sugar causes a rush of insulin to counteract. Once your blood sugar returns to pre-spike levels, you might often feel a crash, and get ravenously hungry and shaky and grouchy well before lunch. Not only does your body not have enough slower burning, necessary protein and fat to keep you going, but your blood sugar is now too low. So, in a misguided attempt to correct this, we might grab donuts, chips, candy  bars or the hallowed yet useless granola bars to quickly raise our blood sugar levels again,and it ‘s not even lunch time. I know that there are many normal weight people out there who have more stable reactions to sugars, who can eat cereal for breakfast and be fine until lunch, have their subs and chips and never be overweight, but I am not one of them, and neither are many of us. I am , like many of us in the world, strangely and profoundly addicted to the documented release in dopamine and seratonin from my brain which eating refined carbs and sugars causes. We are programmed from early childhood to capitalize on our natural enjoyment of sweetness by being rewarded with candies and cookies and cakes, for celebrations, good behavior, and are set up to think that these things are what we deserve for being ‘good’, when nothing could be further from the truth! Finally, good low carb diets like the one I follow is huge on veggies. In fact, the first two weeks meals consist of two salads per day, and after the first two weeks, the emphasis is always on veggies, low-glycemic fruits, and clean meats as much as possible, like salmon, other fish, meat, dairy and eggs/cheese. There is even a way to do low carb and still be vegan. Our carbs can come from moderate amounts of quinoa and couscous , too, but grains should NOT be the staple of the diet, veggies and protein should. I mean veggies that do not have a large carb/starch component, because the body converts that into sugar.

Help in Eating Right: Getting great nutrition without refined sugars and useless white flour: http://www.shakeology.com/leekirsten  I am a coach, and I stand behind this amazing superfood. Also, I am a health coach and soon-to-be personal trainer. I invite you to my challenge groups held online monthly. Lee MacKenzie at Facebook. Or just contact me at leekirsten.mack@gmail.com for more info. I run free or paid groups. You are welcome to find out more about either!

Please dive into the myriad of reasons that table sugar and refined carbs need to play a much more minimal role in our diets: For further reading:

http://www.sugarbusters.com

Sugar is as addictive as cocaine, and causes obesity ...

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/researcher-sugaraddictive

Science Behind Atkins

www.atkins.com/Science/ScienceBehindAtkins.aspx
If these links don’t click, just copy and paste to your browser bar/window,.

 

Low-Carb product Review For April, 2014

I’ve been a re-dedicated low-carber since January of 2011 now. It’s been three years of mostly staying on the straight and narrow. At times, I have to retool and retrain myself, because I fall off the wagon , usually through slow little slips in the wrong direction over time. I have learned that I cannot eat more than 30 grams of net carbohydrate per day , even with working out, and lose weight. And, I cannot exceed 50 for more than a couple of days a week without gaining, and quickly. I get bored on my low-carb diet, and I am always on the lookout for low-carb substitutes to make it all more tolerable. Thanks to Viva Low-carb for coming to my rescue. I ordered some new things this time, and a few old favorites. A few of my selections were quite deliciously surprising!

Always a dream of mine- a good low-carb cookie. Nutritious Creations of Bay Shore, NY makes a delicious, giant oatmeal cookie that’s worth the 2.49 I paid for it, because it is a real cookie. At only 1 net gram of carbs, plenty of fiber, a nice soft chew, and great flavor, this is the only and best low-carb cookie I have ever tasted. Apparently it’s available also at http://www.snacksforlife.com . I have not been paid or comped for any of these reviews. I don’t mind giving raves and business to companies who are succeeding in supplying a market that is perhaps small, but persistent and growing. We are having a hard time finding anything in our home towns other than Atkins’ bars and diabetic, limited items full of fructose. Well, yay that fructose is natural, but it’s not low-carb, really, and makes me a giant bag of agonized gas… Anyway, A+ on the cookies.
Next on the A-listers is the Lily’s stevia sweetened dark chocolate. Great taste, texture, and flavor. It tasted like the real thing, and I highly enjoy the stevia as opposed to sucralose, which I am trying to ditch. By the way, the cookies I mentioned are sweetened with sucralose (Splenda), and while really tasty, more evidence is coming in that sucralose is not safe for long-term use, and may be causing its current users problems now.
Both brands of the low carb bagels are good, but I think the Healthwise brand edges out Great Low-carb bread company for softness, chew, and size.
The Dixie mix carrot muffins…well, my past experience with Dixie has not been great, at all- but I am giving them one last chance. Typically, their products leave a strange bitter aftertaste in my mouth.

I bought some great bread. It’s California Lifestyle Soy and Flax bread. I like it. $6.99, but only 1 gram per slice?! Outrageously nice bite, full of fiber and good grains. Sometimes, though not often, I want bread.

Proto-toast. A strange chocolate crisp bread, slightly sweet, that would make a good holder for cream cheese or butter or peanut/almond butter.

Hi-Low Cereal with strawberries. A true low-carb cereal, with only 7.4 net carb grams per half cup. I had a cup at least. Portion sizes could be a problem, here. I really wanted cereal. I got this collection today, and have already deeply sampled a lot of it. I probably blew the 30 grams thing since I already had 15 grams of carbs at breakfast with my fruit smoothie (Shakeology).

And there you have it, the product review! Head over to http://www.vivalowcarb.com and see what catches your eye. They’re running a discount code that I used and shipping was fast! RMN20, and you can find more at retailmenot.com Also, Low-Carb U has some interesting looking goodies at their site as well. Enjoy!

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“Working Out Does Not Cause Weight Loss”…( I’ve heard it said)

Well, you’ve probably heard that working out will cause you to lose weight. Not necessarily. There are a few other factors at play in the chemistry of the human body that determine weight loss. Let’s look at raw calories, for example. Let’s also consider metabolic rate of burn. Is it consistent for all, or does it vary with the individual? Ask any 6 ‘ 2″ super thin guy who never seems to stop eating, who can virtually eat anything he wants, and still have a hard time staying UP to weight if metabolisms differ. But, then again, I would wager that same guy is pretty darn active…

So, in my experience, and what I have heard for a long time now, is that diet is 70% of the component involved in weight loss. On the other hand, a casual Googling of that only yielded me the usual urban legend and ‘common knowledge’ type posts from individuals who have no sources to site for the presumption. But, let’s just say that’s true, for sake of argument. 

I must say, I’ve lost no more than three pounds since starting my T-25 BeachBody workouts about five weeks ago, almost six. But, here’s the thing that nobody bothers to mention much. Diet alone does not do this to your body. On the top, prior to working out, with diet alone. In the purple shorts, 5 1/2 weeks later, after working out 5-6 days a week, you can seeImage much more muscle definition and tone!

ImageSo, what does this mean? Should a person just stick to diet, or could working out also be a great benefit?! I think the results are clear, and in five MORE weeks, I should be able to show even more startling results, The funny part? My actual weight has barely changed. My actual tape measurements? I’ve perhaps lost an inch off my waist. What I see in the mirror, though, seems like more than just an inch. I am seeing shadows and lines and tone I have never had before. In the before, or upper picture, I have on the same type and size of shorts, just a different color. And I didn’t get a tan, that’s just a different room with dimmer light. However, the results are clear. In the above picture, I’d been doing my usual low-carb dieting, and running routine. All that running seemed to be doing for me is a great cardio workout. And I am ok with that. I still run about once a week, and will go back to it. But what I have found, is that strengthening muscle is hard work that pays more dividends than diet alone. In addition to strengthening my muscles, lungs, and the greatest muscle, my heart, I am also converting fat stores to muscle, and don’t feel like I need to hide my body. I will always have stretch marks and chicken skin ( so to speak) in my lowest ab section from becoming very large carrying my children in utero. I can live with that!! What I cannot live without anymore, until I am too old to worry about it, is the feeling of accomplishment and strength that I now have. My lower abs have been so weak all my life, and I never knew how to isolate them and work them out properly. No matter how much I lost, I still had that pooch that I despise. So, to answer all the questions. Can you lose more weight working out AND exercising? Maybe yes, and maybe no. It depends on the person. I know folks that tend to drop weight from just walking around the lake leisurely a few times per week. That’s not me. What you will lose is fat stores, which convert neatly into muscle. By the way, muscle takes more energy to maintain, so it might be that you will lose weight because you are burning more calories not only from your workout, but from simply existing. And that’s nice. 🙂 Now, to work on that cellulite …

My name is Lee. I am a mom, writer,  cashier, blogger, wedding officiant amateur wildlife advocate, voice-over artist wannabe, and a Beach Body Coach! I’ve learned a few things along my path, and I would love to help YOU reach your fitness goals! We’ve got a pretty great line up of workouts and clean-eating products and menus to get you on the right path. visit my facebook page at 

http://www.facebook.com/leeschallengegroup

 

Are you up for the challenge? Are you willing to trade instant fixes for hard work? Eating right 90% of the time and getting regular exercise IS the answer. Yes, I still follow low-carb, because that IS eating right! I might need more carb grams than I used to, but not many. I make sure to get plenty of protein and natural fats, water, and veggies! 

http://www.teambeachbody.com/leekirsten

You can message me or comment if you are ready to commit to being healthy. I can help!