Weight loss, hormones, and self acceptance: Women’s health 2 of 4

For more information about weight loss for women, and how it differs from weight loss for men, check out the sites I’ve linked below.

But, before you do, stick around to dig a little bit deeper into WHY you want to change your body.

You know those women who have perfectly beautiful and healthy bodies but are always talking about some new diet fad or how they’re trying to get “back in shape?”

Take a step back and ask yourself: Am I one of these women?

Sometimes we get into a habit of constantly trying to change our bodies, whether that be through dieting or exercising, because we think that’s what we should be doing. When in reality, we’re doing more harm than good.

It’s been shown that yo-yo dieting (meaning losing weight, then regaining weight repeatedly) and excessive exercising that goes beyond hitting the gym a couple times a week (I’m talking the kind that gives you hypothalamic amenorrhea) have serious health implications. 

That’s not to say you shouldn’t go the gym regularly, prepare more nutrient dense food, or strive to drink more water. Because you absolutely should!

But where weight loss is concerned, ask yourself these few questions before you embark on another potentially treacherous weight loss journey:

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Why do I want to lose weight?

Am I in a healthy BMI range? 

Are there other things I could do to feel more balanced and healthy that don’t involve the number on the scale? What are they?

Is my consumption of health magazines, pictures of women on the internet, or depictions of women in my favorite TV shows influencing what I believe I should look like?

How do I feel when I look in the mirror?

How do I feel when someone compliments me?

Meditate on these answers and make sure you’re not practicing self-deprecating behaviors by constantly comparing yourself to others and tearing yourself down.

If you do make the decision to change your body, make sure you’re doing it for YOU and not for anyone else.

Don’t forget that when you make the decision to FEEL better, love yourself at any weight, and practice self acceptance daily, weight-loss can be an unintended byproduct of these things. 

Check-in with yourself regularly. Be aware of how you’re talking to yourself. Take mental notes on the beliefs you have about your body, who you are, and how these things affect your habits.

Information about weight loss for women:
Yes, Men Lose Weight Faster Than Women
Men vs Women: The Weight-Loss Battle
Weight loss and women

Thanks for reading!

Be well xx.

Let’s talk women’s health: 1 of 4

This post is the beginning of a series on women’s health!

Women’s health isn’t synonymous with health in general. It needs to be recognized as intricate and essential in its own right. Topics in women’s health are generally relatable to broader health topics.

But, being that the female reproductive system is what makes females, female, there are many wellness topics that are unique to women. So, although this series isn’t specifically on women’s reproductive health many issues naturally overlap.

Now, you may be thinking: she’s about to tell me if I am male feel free to click away now.

However, if you were thinking that you would be wrong.

In fact, to the contrary. I HIGHLY encourage male readers to tune in even more closely because this is a conversation that involves you too!

The goals of this series, and this blog in general, is to empower women to take control of their health and encourage men and women alike to engage in insightful conversation about women’s health specifically and the issues that the modern woman faces.

An article published on World Health Organization website (WHO) lists the top ten issues for women’s health and among them are maternal health, mental health, and violence against women. These are all very serious issues. Each of which hold implications for a woman’s health beyond a specific incident, or series of incidences.

We’ve all heard of the ripple affect. You throw a stone into a pool of still water and watch the ringed waves around the stones imprint upon the water expand tenfold.

Now imagine that in terms of a woman’s health.

For instance, did you know that a woman who has experienced sexual violence is more likely than the average woman to give birth to an underweight baby?

Or, did you know that medication dosage standards are primarily adapted for the male body?

Or that women of color are more likely to die during child birth?

These are just a few of the many startling facts about women’s health that need to be addressed.

We need to feel comfortable talking about these issues before there can even begin to be a valiant effort at resolving them. Many times women simply don’t feel comfortable coming forth with the concerns that they have (I can relate) in fear that their questions will seem trivial or like a waste of healthcare workers’ precious time.

Often times, we forget that our healthcare providers work for us and want to put our minds at ease while taking care of our bodies the best they can.

Living in the USA means that we have some hefty kinks to work out where healthcare is concerned. But, our bureaucratic issues pale in comparison to some parts of the world where a woman’s husband has to sign a permission slip in order for her to be treated by a doctor.

That’s not to say the issues that the American woman faces in the minefield of our healthcare system aren’t, dire; because they are so incredibly urgent. However, it is equally important to shed light on the issues that women face globally.

In one of my Public Health courses the class came to the realization that the United States health care system acted more as a disease treatment system.

That is why public health promotion, prevention, and journalism couldn’t have picked a more pertinent time to become exceedingly burgeoning fields.

When defining positions that a person with a Masters in Public Health might assume, I remember raising my hand and asking: Could there be a way I could combine my passion for writing and public wellbeing?

My very astute professor, who had begun his career years ago in the trenches of door-to-door Epidemiology, paused for a moment and replied, “I don’t know of one specifically off-hand, but I don’t see why you can’t create one.”

I remember being so excited by the idea that I could create a space for health writing that was both meaningful to me, personally, and the public.

It has taken time for that seed to germinate and bloom in the form of the renaissance of my blog, my personal training career, and not least of all, my aspiration of drawing attention to global health issues. And also, inspiring others to join the conversation while equipping them with actionable information.

Please, leave me topics that you would like to see addressed/discussed in this series. You can comment below, or find me on Instagram @dearfitkris .

Thank you to all those who read, share, and comment on my posts, on WordPress or on my Instagram account.

Be well xx.

How to avoid energy vampires

An energy vampire can be defined as a person, activity, or thing that drains you of your vital life-energy and leaves you feeling depleted, frustrated, or completely bewildered with emotions that aren’t your own, or at least weren’t yours to begin with but have been imprinted on you.

I learned this term from a dear friend of mine, Veda, in Hawaii– @laveda.ayurveda on Instagram. Being the innately spiritually attuned soul that she is, Veda informed me that the feeling I got after encountering someone particularly negative was due to energy vampirism.

A lot of the time, people don’t even realize what they’re doing when they’re being energy vampires. I know I’ve caught myself plenty of times in the midsts of ‘venting’ and realized I had to take a step back and turn to my journal instead.

But some people know very well what they’re doing and just simply don’t care.

While being compassionate is always recommended, sometimes it’s not optimal for your health to emotionally invest in other peoples’ problems–especially those you don’t even know!

The most obvious cases of energy vampirism have happened to me by complete and utter strangers. You know, those people who scan a room and approach anyone who happens to look even remotely in their direction– zero in on them, and immediately talk at them.

If this has happened to you then you know that in these types of situations the vampire has no interest in what you could possibly contribute to the conversation, even if they feign it for a moment or two, the conversation always shifts backs to them and their needs.

Photo by Vera Arsic on Pexels.com

Social media can also be an energy-sucker. So can certain activities that simply don’t serve you, your goals, or add any value to your life and even worse– steal away your time, energy, or money.

Recently I was listening to a From the Heart podcast (@yoga_girl) where Rachel Brathen was explaining how after one of her spiritual awakenings earlier in her life she used to absolutely refuse to take part in any small talk that didn’t serve her and would simply tell the person who was trying to engage with her, “This really isn’t resonating with me. I have to go.” And she would walk away abruptly.

She pokes fun at herself and admits that she wishes she wasn’t so abrasive. While Rachel’s method is certainly one way to avoid energy-sucking activities and people, there are other, more subtle methods to releasing yourself from the bondage of these vitality guzzlers.

  1. Fill your time and space with things that DO add value to your life.
  2. Set boundaries. Decide for yourself how long you’re going to give your time and energy to something whether that be Instagram, the stranger on the street who is telling you his life story, or a work project. Once the timer in your head is up– kindly move on.
  3. Allow yourself to say NO. And don’t feel obliged to give any explanation whatsoever. Your time is your own– you don’t have to justify how you spend it to anyone.
  4. Smile and walk away. This one is my favorite. If you feel frustrated and can’t find the words to express yourself– don’t fumble over and over in your head with an appropriate exit strategy. Just keep it simple and remove yourself from the discomfort, giving yourself time to recenter and then return to the project, conversation, or activity when you’re good and ready–or don’t.
  5. Recognize when you are the energy vampire. Often times we steal away our own energy by not setting proper boundaries– or we suck the energy of others by venting feverishly to no avail simply because we aren’t aware and haven’t devised a proper outlet for our feelings.

In our society it’s hard to recognize these things, so be gentle with yourself.

I mean, it’s not like we are taught in school, or university even, how to sit with our feelings and manage them properly (aside from the occasional liberal arts elective). So don’t be harsh with yourself , or others for that matter.

And when it doubt– smile and walk away :).

Be well xx.

Sleep hygiene

Have you heard of sleep hygiene?

It’s a hot topic in health right now. There are countless threads on quora detailing the best practices in sleep hygiene.

In essence, it’s how to develop a routine that enable you to have a proper night’s sleep.

Lately I’ve been struggling with sleeping the full 8 hours that is touted as the ideal amount of sleep your brain needs to function properly. So, I’ve done my own research into sleep hygiene. It’s something I’ve been interested in for a while and used to be very on top of in my own life. But alas, when life gets hectic, our routines become compromised.

Yesterday morning when I awoke to sleep stats that read 4 hours 2 minutes, I was appalled.

Thus beginning my efforts to change the dynamic of my space in hopes that it would be more sleep friendly environment.

I started by cleaning my room, from top to bottom! That meant from the cobwebbed corners of my ceiling to the faint forgotten dust behind my bed.

Did you know that our walls can hold unpleasant toxins and odors?

I used a wet rag soaked in vinegar on a yard stick to reach the far up corners of my ceiling and rubbed all the way down to the dark crevasses in the four corners of my room.

I put my comforter and sheets in the wash and proceeded to wipe up any dust, and re-organize my space. I am always cleaning, simplifying, and throwing things away in my room because I am most productive in a space that is free of clutter and distractions. I also burned some sage and walked around my whole room, kindly asking that any energy that wasn’t conducive to relaxation or restfulness be banished out the slightly cracked window.

This past evening, I was determined to get a proper 8 hours of rest.

So, I put my charging station outside of my room, in the hallway. And even set my Fibit on my dresser so that I would feel pressure to get see positive feedback in my sleep stats the next morning. If you have a Fitbit Versa you can manually set sleep mode from your phone instead of wearing your watch while you sleep, which is what I did around 12PM.

I woke up this morning at exactly 10AM and felt SO well rested. Ergo, I’m a sleep hygiene expert now. Just kidding. But here are my tips!

Best Practices in Sleep Hygiene:

Use a humidifier – Especially in the winter when heat can dry out your sinuses. It also works well as white noise.

Make sure your room is a cool and dark – No lights, especially white light! Leave your phone and other devices charging AWAY from your bed. Use a fan, even in the winter. And get rid of any unnecessary heavy blankets.

Try earplugs – Great for anyone who is sensitive to noise, lives with roommates, or in an urban environment. Ear plugs can be a total game changer. You may not even realize your flatmate’s clinking together of pans in the morning is disrupting your sleep or that you wake up to the metro passing like clock work.

Go to bed at the same – Every night, get into a schedule of going to bed at the same time! I know this can be difficult, but try to stick to it on the weekdays.

Move in the morning – Don’t exercise too close to bedtime, this can disturb circadian rhythms. It’s great for sleep quality to move your body, but since it gives you a surge of energy, stick to a morning or afternoon workout routine. Early evening workouts shouldn’t be too disruptive either. I do know people who claim a good workout knocks them out before bed– so it really depends on the individual.

If you DO wake up in the middle of the night, try not to check your phone or any other white-light producing devices. Listen to a podcast. I recommend Rachel Brathen’s (aka @yoga_girl) From the Heart podcast. I listened to it the other day while resting and it was a beautiful way to shift into relaxation.

Try not to eat anything, and make a soothing blend of caffeine-free tea.

If you’ve been lying awake in bed for more than around 20 minutes, change your location. Take the pressure off your brain and body to fall asleep by doing something mindless.

Remember, one night of poor rest won’t throw off your whole week.

Take it in stride and don’t stress it.

There is always tomorrow.

Be well xx.

My goals for 2019

On the last day of 2018 I’m laying out my ambitions for this coming year in hopes that this post will give you some insight into your own goals and inspire you!

My intention is also to use this post as a way to keep myself accountable, since I am going on record and all.

Going off of my last post (acknowledge your victories folks) let me celebrate the fact that I’ve completed my December blog challenge!!! 21 posts in 21 days. One post for every weekday this month, woohoo. I’m so proud of myself :)!

Anyways, here it goes. My New Year’s resolutions.

1. ADHERE TO A REGULAR POSTING SCHEDULE FOR DEARFITKRIS.COM – New blogs Tuesday’s and Thursday’s.

2. OPEN UP ENROLLMENT TO ONLINE CLIENTS – with my Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification, NASM-CPT, and plenty of personal training experience under my belt I definitely feel comfortable taking online clients into my fold. I couldn’t be more excited about this fact and I will definitely keep you posted as to when I will be accepting new clients!

3. PUBLISH MORE OF MY WRITING- I’m looking forward to publishing more for the Healthy Living series of the Record Journal and plan to submit my writing to magazines / websites this upcoming year. I will also be building my portfolio here on dearfitkris.com as I publish twice weekly :).

4. REMAIN FOCUSED ON ORGANIZATION AND FINISHING WHAT I STARTED– I’ll leave this just as it is for now and elaborate later!

5. STOP USING EXTERNAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS A MEASURING OF SELF-WORTH- we all do this to a degree but I find myself falling into this nasty habit more often than I should. Whenever I see how my training is progressing (or not), my grades in school, anything I really give my all to, I take the outcome to heart. Which is great when I do well, because it boosts my self-confidence. But not so great when I don’t excel because I feel so down on myself for absolutely no reason! Our external accomplishments and failures are not meant to be a measure of our value as human beings. Read that again.

6. PLAY MORE GAMES WITH MY FAMILY– I have a few specific board games I’m making it a priority to play with my nieces and nephews.

7. PLAN AN EPIC TRIP WITH THE LOVE OF MY LIFE — Gio and dearfitkris take the world! Just kidding, well sort of! We will see :)!

8. TAKE LESS PICTURES– this one sounds pretty easy, but it’s something I really need to work on. I have almost 15,000 pictures stored on my iCloud and I’m constantly deleting the blurry ones. Yes, you read that right almost 15,000 (and I’m down a couple thousand). It’s not that I need to take less pictures per se, I just want to take more MEANINGFUL ones. Taking less snapshots will also help me live more fully in the present moment. Which brings me to my next goal…

9. LIVE PRESENTLY– I’ve gotten really good at this when I’m actively trying. But I want this mindset to become my innate way of being. Those who know me, know that I am constantly expressing how I feel, telling those close to me all the ways I love the little mannerisms that are integral to who they are, appreciating the small things like morning coffee dates, and when my cat is extra cuddly; stopping mid-run to admire the sunset, taking deep breathes and feeling the stillness of a fleeting moment where I feel entirely calm–like for one single second the whole world and all the powers that be are completely at ease with me.

10. SPEND LESS TIME BEHIND A SCREEN– I used to be a behind-the-screen-fiend. Especially when I was in undergrad, had countless essay assignments, and discovered the beauty of Netflix. Although I’ve improved drastically since then, I still want to make an effort to put my phone away more and stop mindlessly scrolling through Instagram (the only social media platform I regularly use). If you want to keep up with me regularly make sure to visit my blog every Tuesday and Thursday as I will be giving my refresh-feed thumb a bit of a break — for now!

Well, I’m going to get a jump start on #10 and sign off for the year!

You caught that, did you? I know nothing gets by you ;).

Well 2018, you’ve truly been a blast.

But in true Ariana-thank u, next-fashion I’m going to welcome this upcoming year with open arms.

Look out 2019, there are big things ahead for dearfitkris.

Be well xx.

How to set goals that will set you up for success

It’s almost New Year’s and that means your timelines will be absolutely flooded with proclamations of resolutions. Which is exciting! But, it also makes you wonder how people plan to achieve these lofty goals in 2019.

Are they going in blind? Fueled purely by New Years-esque inspiration? Or do they have a set plan detailing the methodology of how they’re going to get from point A to point B?

The general trend in goal setting seems to prioritize outcome based goals. After all, they are much more overtly glamorous and bold than their behavioral goal predecessors, (you need behavior changes to take place to get you to that fancy outcome you’ve dreamed of all 2018).

I know what you’re thinking, what’s she babbling on about? I thought goals were goals– what gives?

Well my friends, I will tell you!

There are different types of goals:

1. Outcome based goals- often times objective, numerically based, and not within your direct control

2. Behavior goals- focus on, changing or forming habits, carrying out actions that you can take regularly in order to progress you to your big picture goals

In my loose definitions I tried not to use either of the root words within the terms. But, they’re pretty self-explanatory.

Outcome based goals focus on an outcome (duh Kris). An example of this would be setting a specific weight in pounds as your goal, or measurements of waist, hips, etc. in inches.

Whereas a behavioral goal would be to eat a serving of vegetables every morning at breakfast. It’s something that you have direct control over right now.

Your behavioral goal (combined with a few others centered around developing a well-balanced diet and exercise regime) of eating more veggies would likely get you to your outcome based goal of losing weight.

I suggest setting BOTH types of these goals. Identify your big picture dreams and make a road map of how you’re going to get there by STARTING SMALL!

Avoid the all too common pitfall of heading into 2019 hard, declaring you’re going all natural everything and working out 7 days a week.

Woah– slow down there! Ambition is a beautiful thing, but don’t set yourself up for failure.

An all or nothing mentality is sure to have you feeling defeated before you’ve even had a chance to show yourself just what you’re made of.

Identifying what you want your life to look like next year might require a little soul searching, so I highly recommend you check out a post of mine where I explore my priorities by answering a few questions. In this post linked above, I talk a little bit about my struggles and triumphs academically which also reflect my personal growth.

Your goals for 2019 don’t have to be fitness oriented. In fact, you should have a wide array of goals that enhance all faucets of your life.

When it comes to goals in the fitness realm it’s especially important to focus on behavior changes and performance progressions.

It’s easy to get upset when you don’t see the number on the scale going down (or up, depending). If you’re tracking your workouts and increasing in weights, that’s a win! Make sure you give yourself credit for your impressive progressive overloads. Or maybe you shaved a couple minutes off your marathon time— woah, gold star!

Rewarding ourselves when we accomplish what we set out to do is just as important as setting the flashy goals!

Don’t just let the day that you deadlift 200+lbs (or whatever you’re working towards) go by like any other! NO– celebrate that achievement! Treat yourself, share it on social media, tell a friend who has been spotting your from the very beginning.

Make sure you acknowledge your victories properly.

You are amazing, your goals matter, and you will make them happen in good time. Don’t get down on yourself when you slip up or get “off track” –whatever that means!

I’m rooting for you.

Now go create some detailed goals to carry out in 2019. I can’t wait to see you absolutely crush them.

Be well xx.

New Year’s challenge

Hey all, it’s Thursday (Friday Jr.) and I figure everyone is still reeling from the holiday festivities, so I’ll keep this post simple.

Every week next year write down something that was great, made you proud of yourself, made you happy, or some spare morsel of insight. Fold these piece of paper up and keep them safe in a giant mason jar, or box.

This time next year you will have an entire collection of amazing things that made your 2019.

It will feel SO GOOD to see all the positive aspects of your life and have something physical to show for everything you’ve learned.

I do this through journaling regularly, but I figure it’s more attainable to ask for weekly pieces of joy.

Set yourself up with papers and a jar so you can begin on Monday :)!