Don’t Let Other People’s Experiences get in Your Head

Other People's Experiences
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Before I had my hysterectomy this spring I talked with lots of other women who had experience with similar procedures. As with anything else there was tons of advice and information shared. Some of it was good and some of it was crap. The most important thing I learned was not to let other people’s experiences get in my head. That sounds kind of negative but hear me out.

The women who had bad or difficult experiences were often the most vocal. One person told me having a hysterectomy will lead to organ prolapse and all my bits would fall out. This would be a very specific issue due to a variety of physical factors and not particularly likely. One women told me I would have terrible hot flashes and I should prepare to be miserable. This would typically only happen if you had both ovaries removed which doesn’t happen in all cases. One women told me I should prepare to gain weight due to hormone issues. Admittedly, this was the one that really got me. I researched and researched and what I found were a lot of websites with a lot of info on “female hormone imbalance” spouting a lot of home remedy type bullshit. What I did not find were credible, trustworthy sources that cited specific research and information indicating that this was really true. Crisis averted.

This bad info caused me a bit of anxiety. Were people trying to make me worry needlessly? No, they were trying to help, but their help was shaped by their experience, preconceived notions and education or lack thereof.

Fitness and diet are areas where this situation applies too. How many people have you met that wanted to project their experiences onto you? Your co-worker did Atkins or 21 Day Fix or some other program so surely that must be the right way to lose weight. Your sister eschewed a specific diet but was all about CrossFit or CIZE or whatever so that has to be the right way to get fit. Someone has a food or exercise horror story or triumph to share so that experience must be the way things are, right?

In reality it’s not that cut and dry. I’ve learned over a lot of years there is no one right approach to food or fitness. It’s great to gain insight and knowledge from other people but you can’t let other people’s experiences get in your head. What is true for one person may absolutely not be true for you. And what is true for you today may not be later down the road. As with a lot of things it pays to seek professional advice, do your own research and treat what you hear with a touch of healthy skepticism until you can draw your own conclusions.

 

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

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This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. This does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Meal Prep Inspiration/Pinspiration

Meal prep is my number one way to stay on track when it comes to eating better, but sometimes I need fresh and new meal ideas.  When I need meal prep inspiration I head straight to Pinterest.  There I have found hundreds of meal prep ideas, recipes and even suggestions for storage and transport.  Today I have rounded up some of my very favorite pins to share in hopes they spark your meal prep inspiration too.

Having meals ready that you can store in the freezer helps ensure that you have long-term options available. Building a little stock pile of individual or family sized meals that are ready to defrost and eat can get you over the hump when you may not have time to grab fresh ingredients:

On the other hand, sometimes you crave fresh veggies and greens. When the mood strikes it’s awesome to be able to pack a whole bunch of salads at once and have them last throughout the week:

Freezer pancakes are such a great idea for busy mornings. I used this pin as a jumping off point for coming up with a variety of variations for various dietary needs. Whether you’re doing Whole30, Paleo, keto or another diet, prepping and freezing pancakes in bulk is a really simple and easy way to ensure you have a solid breakfast ready each morning.

Meal prep may not always be about prepping a whole meal. Sometimes it’s nice to have meal components ready and available just to help you get food on the able faster. This cauliflower rice is one of those things you may not have time to make on a weeknight, but prepping a few bags can help ensure you have healthy side dishes ready in just a few minutes:

Sometimes I stumble upon new types of containers for prepping. You absolutely do not need fancy containers to do meal prep, but sometimes it can be handy for stacking and storing or portion control when you do use the same container for each meal. I really like these 3 section containers, though I’ll admit I have not decided whether or not to spend the money on them. Right now I’m fairly happy with my Great Value 25 oz. entree containers from Walmart.

Since coming off Whole30 I’ve been exploring keto or low carb recipes a little more. I like them because they can be fairly on track with Whole30, but allow for dairy, which I love. This recipe for pizza rolls is definitely an “eat in moderation” type of recipe, but it’s easy, stores really well and makes a fantastic meal when paired with salad or veggies so it’s perfect for meal prepping.

Whenever you need new ideas it can be so much fun to see what other people have had success with. Please stop by and check out my entire collection of Meal Prep pins for more meal prep inspiration:




About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. This does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Transitioning off Whole30 and Reintroduction

Transitioning off Whole30

I’m one day away from finishing my fifth Whole30.  Transitioning off Whole30 has always been a challenge for me because by the time the days are up I am done.  Like annoyed, fried, a bit angry at food and plain grumpy about eating.  It’s been this way almost every time.  While a slow reintroduction would probably be good I am so over it that eating anything off plan sounds absolutely delightful.  Does this result in tummy aches?  Of course.  Does it result in regret?  Occasionally.  Does it ruin the progress I made?  Nope!

Transitioning off Whole30 in an orderly fashion (aka “Reintroduction“) is meant to give you greater insight into how certain foods affect you.  Adding food back one group or type at a time allows you to experiment with how you feel after eating.  This way you can take control over items or groups that may cause you trouble.  Maybe beans or oats or rice don’t bother you a bit, but alcohol or dairy sends you into fits.  You may never nail down the source of potential issues if you add back lots of different foods at one time.  The Whole30 website lays out a 10 day plan for reintroducing potential agitators.  It’s a smart plan, but in all honesty I’ve never had the patience to follow it very closely.  Even without following the plan I’ve still been able to identify some potential trigger foods so I don’t think I’ve cheated myself too bad.

Each Whole30 has helped me a little bit differently.  I’ve learned there really are certain foods that bother me more than others.  I’ve learned that eating greatly impacts my sleep.  I discovered that alcohol, while occasionally enjoyable, is pretty much not my friend.  I’ve learned that I can eat more by volume (a hugely surprising amount) of quality food and actually lose weight.  I’ve found that Whole30 helps me reset my cravings for sugar and junk food.  I also learned that food actually starts to taste different once you aren’t eating sugar and processed goo.

I didn’t step on the scale once or take measurements or even pictures this time.  This time it was about cutting out food that wasn’t nutritionally sound and killing my cravings for junk food.  In the past I’ve wanted to stick with Whole30 principals and for a while it has worked, but eventually the bad stuff has crept back in.  Instead of letting things spiral into an eventual free for all I’m making a different plan this time. I’m going to to eat fairly close to Whole30, but add dairy back in.  Dairy is something I miss terribly when I do Whole30 so I feel like if I allow some latitude with this food group maybe it will be easier to stick with eating better.

Are you thinking about starting a Whole30 or doing one right now?  Follow my Whole30 Pinterest board for ideas and inspiration!

 

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week, both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends!

Want to see more Whole30 posts? Check these out!

Disclaimer: This post chronicles my personal experience while working through the Whole30. This is not a recommendation or suggestion for you to do the same, nor is it an endorsement of the Whole30 program. Before you begin this or any diet or exercise program you should discuss it with your doctor or qualified health care provider to determine whether it is safe for you. This post is based on my personal situation and is for information purposes only. Anything contained herein should not be treated as guidance or advice.

Keeping Your Mind Fit

keeping your mind fit
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It would be awesome if you could pluck just one activity from a bunch of options and do that one thing to stay fit.  In reality it’s not quite that simple.  To me, fitness is a whole bunch of interwoven components.  Diet, exercise, good mental health and a fit mind all play a part in overall fitness and wellness.  Today I’m focusing on keeping your mind fit.  Below you’ll find several of my favorite activities to do just that:

Reading

Reading is one of my favorite ways to keep sharp.  I can escape in the pages of a book and even learn a thing or two while I’m at it.  Reading can be both stimulating and relaxing so it provides dual benefits.

Learning

Continued education is a great way to keep your mind fit.  There are so many resources you can utilize to keep learning both free and paid.  Smartly has become a favorite place for me to kill a few minutes while learning something new.  Their free business courses are broken down into little chunks that are well thought out and presented in a fun and easy to understand format.

Seeking formal education through online or in-person classes can be another great method for keeping your mind fit.  Whether it’s just a course or two or you jump in and commit to a whole degree formal education can be the perfect way to help you stay sharp.

Relaxing

It seems like everyone has a hectic life anymore and even if you really don’t have that much going on the constant notifications on your phone, continuous news feeds and other tech-related distractions can be enough to make anyone’s mind race.  Taking a break and unplugging mentally can be a huge help for keeping your mind fit.  Great ways to relax include yoga, meditation, walking, journaling or even coloring.  Find something that you enjoy and make sure you spend at least a few minutes a day giving your mind a break.

These are just a few ways of keeping your mind fit, but this list is not all-inclusive.  What are some ways you like to stay sharp?

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. This does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Afraid to Exercise After Surgery

Afraid to Exercise After SurgeryMonday was the first day since having my hysterectomy that I followed a planned exercise routine. To be honest, I’ve been afraid to exercise after surgery. I was worried that it would hurt or I would hurt myself. I’ve been lacking motivation too.  Mostly I was just afraid that something bad could happen.  After dealing with issues for so long it’s nerve wracking to do anything that might possibly leave me feeling like I did before.

Exercise, especially bursts of intense activity like sprinting, was often a trigger for intense episodes of pain.   I would have terrible lower abdominal pain and other issues that could last for days. My physical therapist attributed this to sudden, intense muscle contraction that would provoke irritated areas. After seeing fibroids and endometrial bits lurking places they shouldn’t have been it makes sense.  Maybe this tissue got fussy when jostled.

There seems to be no concrete scientific reason as to why this type of issue happens to some women. Some sources blame hormones, but polyps and fibroids are also potential culprits.  Because so many different things can be contributing factors each case is likely to differ in cause and needs thorough investigation.  In my case this was just one of many issues so it took lots of treatment trial and error before deciding on surgery.

A huge part of my fear lies in doing something that creates any kind of issue like I had before.  While all the offending parts have been removed, I would be incredibly disappointed if the problem wasn’t fixed.  Unfortunately, I think that the only way to get over this worry is to actually get back to regular activity.  So here I am, very slowly adding a planned routine back to each day.  I’ve picked modest activities and lighter weights and plan to progress to more activity as tolerated.  I am nervous, but also excited to get back to doing something I know is beneficial.  While I have been afraid to exercise after surgery I’m slowly going to tackle this issue at my own pace.  I know that eventually things will get back to normal. Hopefully my new normal is one free from the pain that plagued me before.

Disclaimer:  This post is based on my personal experiences only and is not a recommendation to engage in exercise post-surgery.  You and your doctor need to thoroughly evaluate your specific situation after surgery to determine when and what activity may be right for you.  To ensure your health and safety you should not engage in fitness activities until you get the all clear from your doctor or surgeon.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner.  This does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.