Trainer Tuesday: Core Workout

“You’re only one workout away from a good mood.”

So, little preface here.  Some of you may have noticed that this post got a mind of its own and decided to publish yesterday when it was oh not even near done, and then, not save any of the rest of my writing as I continued that afternoon, so I got to rewrite pretty much this entire post–yay (not really yay), hence the first installment of Trainer Tuesdays is actually coming to you on a Wednesday.  Whoops.  Welcome to the frustrating side of blogging.  Didn’t even make my first personal deadline.  The blogging career is off to a fantastic procrastinating-per-usual start!  And now that that’s explained, let the post begin…

I’m a real sucker for alliteration.  Like a big one.  Like I accidentally make up phrases that have alliteration in them all the time.  I love how it sounds, how it makes language flow.  Thus, I’m introducing to you Trainer Tuesdays.  I will attempt (notice even my past self recognized that getting this post out on Tuesday and not Wednesday might be a stretch) each Tuesday to provide you with some workout or piece of advice or information related to your personal fitness.

To start off our Trainer Tuesdays, I am going to address something that almost every person struggles with and wants to target– belly fat.  The dreaded extra pounds that we often find located around our midsection.  The flub that seems the easiest to put on and the hardest to get rid of.  Trust me, we’ve all got it, we’ve all struggled with it, we all hate it so much that looking at it in the mirror is enough motivation to get our butts out the door to workout if we weren’t already planning on it that day.

Wouldn’t we just love it if it were possible to truly target that area only?  Spend 20 minutes at the end of our workouts just busting out those crunches and have it give us some picture perfect washboard abs?  Oh trust me, we would love it.  However no amount of loving will make it possible.  There is no reIMG_0903al way to workout only one part of your body, or at least not in the sense that many of us are wanting.  The wishful, ‘Oh I just want to lose several inches around my waist by doing lots of bicycles’.  Sorry hun.  If that were possible, we all wouldn’t need to spend time pining after those ideal abdominal midsections because we would all probably have them.  Everyone would throw in those few extra targeted minutes to get that dream bikini body if such a simple solution really existed.  The pure fact that we’re all so caught up with it and that it’s so sought-after should tell you its not and never will be simple.

When we lose weight, we lose weight from all over our bodies.  The same applies in general when we put on weight.  Now, this will vary from body to body.  You might notice for example that your hips or your thighs are the first to grow when you put on those few extra pounds.  I personally have the great privilege of noticing the expanse of that lovely spot right around my belly button when I decide to indulge on some sweet treats.  A cookie here, a little pudge there.  Not so pleasant.  I am one lucky gal.  I wish the reverse applied, that if I dropped a pound I would notice it leave my stomach right away, but gosh darn it wouldn’t you know that the place that seems the easiest to gain weight also seems to be the one where it’s the hardest to lose it from?  Some of the mysteries of the body do seem less beautiful and wondrous than others, that’s for sure.

So if all of this is true, and each body is different and often equally tricky, how in the good heavens do we lose weight around our middles for swimsuit season like we all so desperately want to do?  Good question my friends.  The answer is a combination of the following three things: strength training, cardio, and a good old fashioned healthy diet.  You may try with all your might to achieve those beach body results without adjusting your food intake, but I hate to break it to you, no amount of additional exercise can ever truly compensate for a junky diet.  Will you see some results?  Sure you will.  Exercise is great like that.  Will you see the full potential of what your results could be without changing your food?  No.  Would you be even more amazed but the way your body would change if you would adjust what you are eating on a regular basis?  Yes.

Now, with all that said, assuming you are doing your best to eat healthy (because hey, no one is perfect so all we can do is try), and you’ve got a nice like workout routine going that combines cardio and strength training in some form or the other, the only remaining aspect on our journey towards summer-ready belly bliss is the most frustrating factor.  Time.  You just gotta keep pushing.  Keep plodding ahead.  Keep doing what you’re doing each day, and the results will come.  It’s the waiting game ladies and gents and sometimes it can be the worst.  Some days, you will feel great and you will see the visual results of all your efforts.  And other days you won’t.  That’s the cold hard truth.  On days where you are feeling slumped, two things I turn to to help me are a) look back at a photo from very early on in your journey and just marvel over how much actually HAS changed with all of your work — and if you aren’t currently in the habit of taking progress selfies you best start that practice right now, and b) focus on just that day– you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to try your best and see if that best can be a little bit better than yesterday’s.  The big picture, and the small small small picture can both be strong refocusing motivators in our journeys towards the healthy bodies we deserve.

Now let’s get down to brass tacks.  For all of you out there who think that crunches are the only way to work your core, shame on you, as that is so far from true.  You’ve got to do like Taylor Swift says and shake it off, or shake it up rather in this particular instance (yeah I’m not totally sure why I just referenced Taylor Swift as I honestly am just about the farthest thing from her biggest fan).

For today’s core workout there are two main sections.  (To those dazzling ladies who came to class last night, woo hoo for you, you’ve already experienced all of this joyous fun firsthand with me!)  The first section is all standing abs.  You can complete each of these with your body weight only, or you can add weights as you choose.  I just caution that if you are holding weights (which will work your shoulders more as well as your core) that you make sure you are not sacrificing form at all to hold the extra weight.  For my class, we did each of the following sections three times through.  Standing abs without weights, with 3lb dumbbells, and with 5lb dumbbells.  In between each time we completed the full body cardio section, varying the time spent on the exercises.

Standing Abs

  • Side-to-side reaches, 20 reps per side (shoulders back, like you are sliding along a wall, using your opposite oblique to pull you up)IMG_0868
  • Elbow to leg lift, side oblique crunch, 20 reps per side (squeeze your core for balance and lower that leg with control!)IMG_0870
  • Hands to leg, front crunch toe touches, 20 reps alternating legs (exhale and really pull those low abs in)IMG_0869
  • High knees, 20 reps, with right and left combining to count as 1 (you can choose to run these out for more cardio, or simply stand and lift to take the intensity down)IMG_0871

Things to keep in mind while doing this workout, is first and foremost when you are working your core you always always always need to think about pulling your stomach in, sucking that belly button back as far as you can towards your spine.  Second, I find (as a good trainer friend once told me to do years ago and it has made all the difference) that I get a more effective workout when I am mentally focused, not just physically.  As you workout, you should be actively thinking about what muscle it is that you are using to complete that move.  You should be mentally squeezing that muscle as tight as you can while you physically squeeze it.  Trust me, getting your mind involved will transform your workout if it’s not something you’re already doing.  Each move will become harder and more effective, and who doesn’t want more bang for your buck?  If we’re investing the time to workout, let’s make it the best darn 45 minutes we can (which, by the way, is how long this workout takes if you repeat everything as I previously suggested.  You can feel free to cut back on the rounds though according the time you’re looking to take.)  With the side leg lifts especially, it is very tempting to let gravity give us a hand and have that leg just fall back to the earth, however I challenge you to try to lower your leg as slowly as you raise it, as you will be working that oblique more on the way down if you focus on your balance and control.  For the front crunches and high knees especially, you need to think about pulling in your low abs and exhaling with the work.  Exhaling helps to use your breathing to automatically cause you to contract your core.  If you don’t focus on the low abs during these exercises, the hip flexors will try to take over, which takes work away from your core.

The second section is a little bit of cardio burpee loving in different forms.  Those darn dreaded burpees.  I definitely have a love-hate relationship with those suckers.  Or perhaps I should say hate-love, since the hate is usually the more prevalent emotion.  Hate in that they’re painful.  Woo baby do they make you work.  Love in that they are so effective.  They work your whole body, especially your core, and they get your heart rate up for a great cardio burn.  The plank is at the basis of this exercise, which I also love-hate.  As a trainer, oh boy oh boy do I love the plank and all of its beautiful variations.  As an exercise participant, please stop making me do them.  So here’s your cardio section.  I would suggest going through the moves at least once slow for form, before you try to speed them up.  As the form comes more easily, you can try to string together several round repetitions going as quickly as you can (set a time for yourself to keep going for, say a minute and a half), or you can hold each individual move for 30 seconds each.  If you attended my class, you lucky duck, you got to do both!  The first four exercises are entirely body weight.  If you don’t have any weights, just repeat these four (trust me that will still be plenty).  If you do have access to weights, I suggest a heavy weight of some sort, whether that be a 8lb or 10lb dumbbell, medicine ball, or kettle bell.

Full Body Cardio

  • High plank mountain climber crossover (knee to opposite elbow) x2IMG_0872
  • Half push-up + half burpee (jump feet in but don’t stand all the way up) x2IMG_0873
  • High plank spider (knee outside to shoulder) x2IMG_0875
  • Full burpee x2 (For those of you who don’t know, a burpee is when your hands go down and you jump your feet back into high plank, hold, throw in a push-up if you’re feeling ambitious, jump your feet back in and stand up and jump.  If you’re looking to take it up another notch, add a tuck jump at the top where you jump your knees up to meet your hands.)
  • Standing lunge heavy weight chop (twist in the direction of the forward leg) x2IMG_0876
  • Kettle bell squat swing x2 (don’t forget to squeeze your booty at the top!)IMG_0877                       IMG_0878
  • Overhead tricep extension x2 (elbows in, pointing forward)IMG_0879

Just a couple notes on the above mentioned exercises.  If you look at that list and feel super intimidated, don’t be.  You can always take your basic plank form down to your knees and work from there, or walk your feet in and out for the burpees.  If you think those things are easy, number one, you’re crazy, number two, check your form, number three, push yourself.  The most common mistake I see with planks is actually not the ‘butt in the air’, because I think we hound that so much that unless you’re a beginner, you know to keep the booty down.  However, people tend to shift their shoulders forward ever so slightly toward their ears (which actually translates into them being slightly behind your wrists instead of directly above) so that the back rounds a bit and the face points down.  This shift takes some of the work out of your core and into your arms, thus making it easier.  Therefore when you’re in plank, double-check yourself.  Pull those shoulder blades back and down and together, and make sure you can look up out in front of you.  If you’re doing it in front of a mirror, you should be able to check yourself out and see that your shoulders and back are flat and not rounded.

Lastly, never let something become easy for you.  If it is no longer challenging you it will not change you.  Think the burpees are no sweat?  Add a push-up at the bottom or a tuck jump at the top.  Not hurting after 30 seconds?  Make it 45.  You know your body.  No one can actually tell when you are giving 110% except for yourself.  You are the only one who is hurt or helped by that 110%.  Just know that in general, exercise doesn’t lie.  You will get out what you put in, whether you see it that day, that week, that month, or even that year.

That said, even a workout done at 50% is better than none!  So get out there anIMG_0904d get to work!  Or, don’t get out there–stay where you are and just push that coffee table to the side and hop to it while you’ve got the television on.  However you do it, wherever you do it, trust me it’ll work! So let’s whittle away at our cores and burn those calories and hopefully by the time our bodies are ready, the weather will catch up and we’ll be able to don the ever-thought-about bikini and soak up the rays (or swim trunks for the gentlemen, sorry I didn’t mean to leave you guys out!)  Happy belly blasting to you all!

Hugs and love,

Maggie Mae



How to Bring Sunshine to Dreary Winter Days

“You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough people get what they want in life.”

– Zig Ziglar


For those of you living in warm, southern, dreamlike locations where sunshine on your doorstep brings a smile to your face every day, I applaud you for choosing your living location so wisely (while turning green in the face as I unfortunately did not choose such a place).  For the rest of us, we are stuck here in this polar vortex of winter that seems to get worse each day rather than better.  Spring, if it still exists, is such a distant memory, many of us doubt if it is truly still coming.  And if you are at all like me, your mood is getting sucked down right with the temperatures.  Now typically this seasonal distress is something that is only cured by some regular soaking up of the vitamin D.  However, for those of us who don’t have vacation days and piles of money just lying around waiting for us to take up and fly to the Bahamas for the week, there has to be other methods of bringing sunshine and cheer into our otherwise blah days upon blah days.


Normally the list of things I would suggest to add a little pep to your step are very ME oriented (or YOU to those of you reading this).  Go pamper yourself.  Dress up in an outfit that you truly love.  Take the time to do your hair nice.  Exercise.  Plan a fun evening out with friends.  Etc, etc, etc.  The focus of this post though is a bit different.  I want to flip life on its head, taking the attention away from ourselves and putting it on others.  IMG_0841

Recently, I was the recipient of a lovely care package from one of my darling long distance friends.  The package came as a total surprise and was an absolute highlight of my day.  Suddenly, I went from feeling drab and down to feeling loved and remembered and totally blessed.  The literal sun was not shining in the sky, but in all other aspects of my life, I was definitely basking in its rays.  And this little moment, this little act of receiving the package that totally switched my day from gray to grand, got me thinking.  What would happen if during these winter months, instead of focusing on our own woes, we started focusing on ways to lift others out of their bad days?

I personally have always been a lover of greeting cards.  I. Love. Sending. Cards.  Love it.  I can spend hours in the card aisle picking out the perfect card for one of my friends.  My favoritIMG_9891e time to send them is when I am sure the person is not expecting it.  The random ‘Hello, I love you.’ is so much more fun to me than the expected holiday card.  One of my friends since 7th grade once joked that her husband had asked her suspiciously about a box full of cards that she was keeping (clearly imagining in his head that she was still harboring notes from past men in her life).  She just laughed and informed him that she had saved all of my cards to her, and what can I say, if you’re friends with me for that long, it adds up.

IMG_8406My cousin is another person who is exceptionally gifted at the sending-love-from-afar skill.  I can’t tell you how many times she has pulled me up from a bad mood with a sweet note or small little gift in the mail.  Another friend once surprised me with a simple flower on my car windshield on an especially stressful day.  I know what you’re thinking right now, dang that girl has top-notch family and friends, and yes, you are absolutely correct, I do.

I can think of times where I woke to randomly find a treat from my roommate packed into my lunch for the day as a surprise, or was given extra cash by my father for shopping when I was at the age where parents have long since stopped paying for stuff like that.  Or even, from the random stranger in the grocery store, where they left money to pay for the person after them.

IMG_0844                             IMG_0845

So, what is my suggestion for us all to pull ourselves out of this giant slushy moody black hole that is known as winter?  Let’s flip our mindsets.  Let’s pull our focus away from our own misery and instead try to take a little time to bring sunshine to someone else’s day.  It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money.  Leave a few bucks to cover the coffee of the person behind you in line.  Write a note to one of your roommates, or spouse, thanking them for something they have done, or wishing them a good day.  Send a card.  Leave a small gift.  Clean or cook or complete some other task that another person would normally have to do.


Amazingly, this small act will not only cheer up someone you love, but will bring warmth to your heart as well.  And as always, I am a firm believer in karma.  Let’s put goodness into the world, and surely, we will get goodness out. IMG_7356

P.S.  Here’s a little photo to brighten your day, because let’s face it, how can you look at this little diva and not smile?!  (And by little diva I am referring to my sweet niece to the right, and not my wintery self below!)

Hugs and love,

Maggie Mae


Emotional Eating: Why We Binge, How to Recover, and How to Prevent Future Binges

“Food is for eating, and good food is to be enjoyed… I think food is, actually, very beautiful in itself.”

– Delia Smith

Let me just start by saying I am NOT a nutritionist, or a psychiatrist, or a psychologist, or any of those fancy things, and I by noooooo means have this eating healthy thing totally figured out.  I don’t even claim to have the same story or struggles as any of you reading this.  However, I do know that often times it helps me to process my own woes by reading about other people’s and how they have dealt with them.  What I am is a girl who is motivated to live a healthy lifestyle, has been focused on trying to do so for some time, and is 100% totally and unquestionably human, and thus prone to falling off the wagon in catastrophically grand ways at times.

And with that in mind my friends, we segue into my yesterday.  Life has been rather emotional for me as of late, more so than ever before, so after an emotional end to my Saturday night and a restless night of sleep, I woke Sunday morning slightly numb, dreading the required tasks of the day (namely having to visit the classroom I have left for the rest of the year, and pack up items from my old apartment that need to be put away into storage) and ready to eat some SWEETS.  Ha.  For those of you who know me personally, you’re probably going whaaaa?!?! in your heads right about now, because you know sweets are normally the last thing that I go for.  That is, unless you have been close to me this last month and you realize that yep, sweets now seem to be a daily struggle for me.

So, to sum up my food intake yesterday I would say that I had roughly 15 Girl Scout Cookies (the thin mints and the peanut butter ones of course — go big or go home ladies and gents), an old Valentine’s Day sugar cookie, a large bowl of vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate syrup and peanut butter, oh, and raw cookie dough.  Yep, you heard that right.  I bothered to mix together cookie dough at 7:00pm at night so that I could eat it and satisfy that current craving.

YAHHHH- IKES.  Typing all that out still makes me cringe.  But, because I’m a big girl and I’ve learned sometimes there isn’t any other choice, I can honestly laugh at myself for my ginormous pile of poor food choice after poor food choice yesterday.  At the end of the day as I was reminiscing over all of this disastrous intake with my mother, I came to a realization.  I acknowledged that I was eating emotionally, because clearly the wear and tear of the day and the previous one had resulted in my cravings, but my mother asked me a simple question that I hadn’t really asked myself before that.  She asked, “Did it help?”.  I paused… Did it make me feel better?  Did it calm that emotional turmoil bubbling inside myself?  No.  No it didn’t help.

But as I talked about it with her, I realized that the reason for the amount I had eaten was probably for that exact reason, that it wasn’t helping.  It wasn’t helping, so I kept having more, in hopes that maybe one more cookie would truly make me satisfied and happy.  If I would have truly stopped to realize this along the way, would I have probably stopped eating?  Yes.  Would I have probably chosen to go workout instead, knowing that endorphins are the one true thing that can really pull me out of those funks?  Yes.  However, did I have the clarity yesterday to think that way?  Nope, I did not.  Hence creating a landfill of sweets in my stomach.  There are some days when I start to emotionally eat that I am able to realize these things.  All I can do now is remind myself of them and hope that the next time the desires set in, it’ll be easier to get my brain to cooperate.

(I thought about adding in pictures to this top part of all the delicious treats I indulged in yesterday for you all to see but then I realized that a) I would have to put that food right back under my nose today in order to do that, probably leading to not good things, and b) I would be tempting you, my reader, to head out and binge yourself, what with all of the appetizing pictures, so nooooo pictures of yesterday’s food folks!)

Now that we’ve covered yesterday and why I leapt with such abandon into cookieland, we come to today.  The recovery.  As I’ve mentioned before, what we make a habit of eating is what we crave.  I especially find this to be true myself and notice it the most after I have fallen off that proverbial wagon.  It is days like today that the sweets are even harder to say no to, since I have that recent reminder of how darn good they tasted.  So, what have I done today to ward them off?

  1. I started my day off with a workout.  Often, nothing works better to remind myself that I want to be healthy and take care of my body than working out and giving it some good old endorphins.  When I’m feeling good about my journey and healthy lifestyle, the desire tIMG_0805o ruin it by shoving 10 cookies into my face is muchhhhhh smaller.
  2. I got myself a little “treat” before grocery shopping, in the form of some non-black coffee.  Normally when I drink coffee, I drink it black.  I like it black and am very against drinking my calories.  However, when I am needing a little something extra sweet in my life I will have things added to my coffee, within reason.  For example, today’s from Starbucks was a medium roast coffee with sugar free vanilla syrup and soy milk added.  Unfortunately Starbucks doesn’t typically have almond milk, but when I go to my local coffee shop, my favorite combination to do is sugar free caramel syrup and almond milk.  If this desire hits me at the end of the day instead of the beginning, I’ll go for chamomile tea with a bit of almond milk and Stevia.
  3. I headed to the grocery store to pick up some healthy favorites.  I know that for myself, one of the best ways of hitting the refresh button is by making smoothies to start the day.  I honestly love smoothies, and the fact that they’re packed with so much healthful goodness just makes them that much better.  So I grabbed some fruit and other supplies at the grocery store and headed home to make my smoothie.  IMG_0809I typically stick to a very similar recipe for smoothies, but it is easy to switch out/add ingredients depending on your mood or available ingredients.  I’m not one for measuring things when I cook either in general, unfortunately for those trying to replicate what I do, (sorry guys!) but for smoothies I have learned that if I make about a blender-full then I’ll have enough for today and the next day.  IMG_0811I wouldn’t recommend making smoothies much more in advance than one day because you don’t want it to go bad.  So, here go the estimations, aka the recipe created after the fact, for today’s smoothie:
    • 2-3 cups of spinach (tip: put a paper towel in with your IMG_0810greens to keep them from getting slimy longer)
    • 2 tbsp of ground flax (the more flax you add the more oatmeal-ish it tastes I’ve noticed, so if you’re a big oatmeal fan you could easily add more)
    • 1 tbsp chia seeds (love those suckers for omega-3’s instead of fish oil)
    • 1 cup of Oikos original nonfat Greek yogurt (I don’t like the flavored kinds, but that’s a personal preference)
    • A dash of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper (yay for health benefits you can’t even taste)
    • 1 tbsp of coconut oil
    • 1 tbsp of honey
    • 1/2 of an avocado
    • 1 cup of fresh raspberries
    • 1 cup of fresh strawberries diced
    • 1-2 cups of almond milk (I prefer the unsweetened original, but you could easily use vanilla.  The more you add, the thinner your smoothie will be)

    Remember, I like to fill my blender, so this “recipe” of sorts creates two servings.     IMG_0826                  IMG_0827 IMG_0814          IMG_0815 IMG_0823

  4. I made one of my favorite salads in advance so that I could eat it for today’s lunch or dinner.  Again, me and my recipes, I tend to just remember the “about”s and go from there, but this one a friend actually gave to me so I THINK I remember the exact amounts.  It’s called Massaged Kale Salad and is literally the one and only way I can think of that I like to eat kale.  I LOVE this salad (and it’s super simple!), but besides this salad I definitely don’t love kale (yeah, yeah health food friends, I’m working on it).  IMG_0816
    For this salad you will need a large bowl, liquid measuring cup, garlic, lemon(s), olive oil, kale and shredded Parmesan cheese.

    • 1 bunch of kale (I get the fresh, non-prepackaged stuff becaIMG_0817use you usually get more for your money and for this salad I like to chop it up myself anyhow. You want to make sure you’re cutting out the stalk—that stuff isn’t pleasant to eat—so I just fold it in half and get rid of it with one whack. Then you want to chop it up. Generally speaking this salad gets wet and shrinks up after a day rather easily. If you cut it in bigger pieces, it’ll go longer without doing that. However, it still tastes just as good and sometimes I will just throw it on other mixed greens when I eat it later in the week to make it feel heartier again.)
    • ¼ cup lemon juice (I like to squeeze the lemon in my liquid measuring cup first so I can fish out the lemon seeds without anything else in there, and then just use it as a bowl of sorts to mix in the rest of the stuff. Usually I can get enough juice out of one lemon, but depending on the lemon there’s a chance you might need another.)IMG_0818
    • ¼ cup olive oil (I just pour it right in the measuring cup with the lemon juice, bringing me up to ½ cup.)
    • 3 cloves of garlic (Chop those puppies up and toss them in.)
    • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese (Toss that in too).
    • Salt and pepper to taste (I honestly don’t usually add any and I’m a salt FIEND.)

    Then just mix up all the ingredients that you have in the liquid measuring cuIMG_0819p, poor it over the chopped kale in the large bowl, and use your hands to massage and mix the liquid all over. The combination of the garlic and lemon is quite delicious and you can always cut back on the cheese if you want.IMG_0822IMG_0821IMG_0824

  5. I am not being too hard on myself or expecting anything too drastic during my recovery process.  For example, I’ve already had a small bite of cookie dough.  Ok, ok you caught me.  It’s been more like 4 spoonfuls throughout the day whoops.  My mother put it out on the counter right under my nose and left it there for forever, come on people, what did you expect me to do?  My self control is already worn down!  But I am NOT going to let that get me down, or throw me into a tailspin repeat of yesterday.  Today is still a recovery day, with a little cookie dough thrown in and all.

Now we’re on to the last part, the prevention.  What am I going to do to try and keep those future binges away, or if they happen, smaller than what yesterday’s monstrosity was?  Well, here are some suggestions for you all that I’m hopefully going to follow, and that will hopefully be helpful to those of you who struggle like me.

  1. Don’t even bring that food into the house.  The main reason I’ve been struggling with sweets lately is they are EVERYWHERE in my house.  My family recently experienced a tragedy that has resulted in lots of gifts of food (thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has been providing for us, your support means everything).  I am not trying to diminish the wonderfulness that is the gift of food, however it has created this new ongoing constant temptation that I have to deal with.  Normally I don’t even buy such foods for myself.  If you don’t have the junk food in your house easily accessible, the likelihood that you will eat it is much less.  First of all, if you get a craving, you’re going to have to actually get up, leave the house, go to the store, buy that food, and bring it home.  All of those additional steps are going to give you a lot of extra thought-processing time, which often leads to being able to find the willpower to say no and realize it’s not a choice you want to make.  Or it might allow you to find a way to acknowledge and satisfy that craving, but in moderation.  That, and there’s also the fact that when I’m in my craving moods I’m often also feeling pretty darn lazy, so there’s no way I’m getting my butt into my car to go get anything (don’t even think about delivery, tell your mind it doesn’t exist).IMG_0806
  2. Buy healthy versions of things you predict that you will crave so you can indulge without truly indulging.  Normally I’m a salty food girl, but around that lovely time of the month, or times like now where the sweets have totally got my number and are calling my name on a regular basis, I have a go-to healthy chocolate snack that I will buy.  Vitamuffins Deep Chocolate muffin tops are where is it at folks.  Only 100 calories and lots of good old fiber, as well as other nutrients packed in.  I like to pop these babies into the microwave so I can indulge on some ooey gooey chocolately goodness when sweet cravings hit.  When searching for them in your grocery store though you should be forewarned, they’re not where you might expect them to be with other desserts.  They’re actually found with the frozen breakfast foods.  IMG_0807IMG_0808Additional healthy alternatives for me have been things involving peanut butter, such as a low-calorie fiber-enriched English muffin toasted with peanut butter and raspberries on top, or even just celery or an apple with peanut butter.IMG_0555
  3. For events you know will be food-filled and you want to avoid overeating, put on the tight pants.  I know that this might sound silly or counter intuitive, like why wear a pair of pants that is tight when I know I’m going to need room to fit my food in, but trust me it works.  Now I’m not suggesting you wear that pair that is so tight that it automatically creates a muffin top and you feel all kinds of fat and self-hatred when you put them on.  No, we want to avoid those feelings.  However, I am saying that you should wear one of the pairs that is just tight enough that you still feel slim but there’s not a lot of room to grow.  As a fitness professional, I often find myself living in leggings and all different types of stretchy clothing.  The problem with stretchy clothing is that you don’t necessarily realize when that belly of yours is growing.  Now, when I wear one of my tighter pairs of jeans, I notice right away when I am eating a meal and my stomach is getting full and stretching outward.  That little pressure of the pant line around my waist has slowed me down and saved me from an overeating binge many a time.  I personally thank that trick alone for keeping me from stuffing myself this past Thanksgiving, which is a whole other discussion in itself.
  4. My fourth and final thought on this matter is that we all, myself especially, need to get better at actually expressing our emotions instead of trying to eat them.  Whether this is talking to someone, writing something down, producing some form of art, exercising or even just crying.  Whatever it is that helps you express yourself, or feels appropriate at the time.  Usually when I am emotionally eating its because I have all of these emotions under the surface that I haven’t allowed myself to release just yet.  So, instead of always turning to food, I’m working on realizing this and releasing those emotions before I attempt to eat them away.

Good luck everyone with dealing with your future binges!  If you personally have tricks or ideas for dealing with the roller coaster that is emotional eating, please share!! Life is a gift and all we can do each day is our best (and accept that that ‘best’ is going to look different at different moments).

Hugs and love,

Maggie Mae

Top Things to Keep in Mind when Dressing for a Workout

“The way we dress affects the way we think, the way we feel, the way we act, and the way others react to us.”

– Judith Rasband

What you wear to workout matters.  Period.  Some people out there are going to argue that it doesn’t matter what you wear to workout, as long as you’re comfortable, but I just can’t agree.  Or rather, perhaps I feel that what people typically think of as “comfortable” might not be the most comfortable to workout in in reality.  Now, you may be one of those out there who find it terribly annoying when people dress up and try to look cute when they go to the gym, and I get where you’re coming from.  I am NOT suggesting you slather on the makeup or that you should be so concerned with how you look that you don’t actually workout hard and sweat (THAT ladies and gentleman is what drives me up a wall.  You come to workout with me, you best be dripping by the end).  But I am saying there is a happy medium, and there are enormous benefits to being thoughtful about what you wear.

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  1. You want to dress for the kind of movements you are going to perform.  I get that a lot of women out there are comfortable just throwing on baggy sweats and a loose T-shirt.  I have never been that girl, but I get that.  However, as a fitness professional thinking about the type of movements performed in classes, these garments typically just aren’t practical.  I just took a PIYO class the other morning and made the mistake of wearing one of my looser workout tees.  The whole class, in addition to focusing on my body’s muscles and movement, I had to deal with the frustration of my shirt falling up around my face when I was in positions such as downward dog.  Not only was it a distraction from the workout (having to come out of a move to pull it down), but man, having that shirt all up around my face when I was already out of breath and sweating was darn near suffocating.  NOT a pleasant experience to say the least.  Moreover, unless you’re one of those women out there who have beautiful 6-pack abs and want to share them with the world (if that’s you, you GO girl), if you’re expecting to be going into positions such as downward dog or a bridge, you’re going to want to wear something tight enough that you won’t have to continually pull down your shirt to prevent sharing your lovely belly with everyone else.  For that exact reason I DID remember to wear a tight tank under my looser shirt thankfully.  Along the same line of thinking, if you’re expecting to do a lot of cardio and jumping, you’re going to want to make sure you’re wearing pants tight enough that they’re not going to be falling down or getting in the way.  Loose pants create additional friction that makes something like mountain climbers, which are already plenty hard on their own, just that much harder.  And if you’ve ever done a workout like kickboxing, boy oh boy let me tell you, you’re going to be KICKING yourself (no pun intended) for wearing those slightly loose pants after struggling to get your gloves off and pull those puppies up for the millionth time.  Experience is the best teacher my dears, and there are several of my workout pants that have made it onto the “Never Wear to Kickboxing” list through less-than-enjoyable learning experiences.  Lastly, ladies who are, um, well-endowed in some areas like myself, don’t be afraid to double up on those cheap sports bras.  Comfort is essential and we don’t want any unfortunate bouncing to get in the way.  Basically what I’m saying is your workout clothes should FACILITATE your workout, allowing you to totally focus on your body and perform the moves with comfort and ease, not DISTRACT you from it (which is often times what ends up happening when people wear the typical baggy sweats and loose T-shirt).
  2. Clothes, and how you look, affect how you feel about yourself, and in turn, how you feel about yourself affects your workout.  Again, people may try to argue with me on this one, but from personal experience and talking with others, I have repeatedly found it to be true.  This especially matters if you know you’re going to be working out in a place with mirrors, as many gyms have.  If you are looking into the mirrors and feeling dowdy and ugly, that self-hatred is going to ooze out of you and into your workout.  We should be working out because we LOVE our bodies and want to take care of them and transform them into the best they can be, not because we HATE them.  You may not realize it but if you feel body-hatred as you workout, your workout is going to suffer.  You’re going to struggle to put your all into the exercises, and you’re going to get discouraged from doing or completing things more easily.  When you wear something that allows you to look into the mirror feel GOOD about yourself and your body, this is going to have a positive effect on your workout.  Having a sense of love for your body in the back of your mind is going to allow you to believe in yourself and push the limits of your body more.  You are going to keep going and push through the discouragement that comes with physical exhaustion with more ease, whether you realize it or not.  Additionally, many women who have body issues (as we ALL do to some degree) often make the mistake of thinking that the bigger and baggier the clothing, the smaller they will look.  ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE.  If anything, it’s often quite the opposite.  The big and baggy clothing is usually going to make your body look exactly that, big and baggy, whereas something more fitted (especially with all of the different types of flattering stretchy fabrics they have out there now) is going to better flatter the shape that you have, whatever that shape may be.  Now, I’m not saying that you have to go out and buy all spandex workout clothing, or even all brand-name Lululemon. Goodness knows I wish I could, because that stuff is cahhh-ute, but on my budget that just isn’t happening.  However, I always make sure I feel good in what I am wearing before I workout, which is something everyone out there should do as well.  What those specific clothes are is going to vary from person to person, and probably even from day to day.  For me, some days this is definitely harder than others.  Some days this means that I have to wear all black (no joke here girls, black will make you feel a million times thinner I promise) and pants that hold everything in (YES they have those genius things out there!).  Other days I’m feeling happy and fit enough that I can wear any of my workout clothes and feel good to go.  But I pay attention to how I feel that particular day because I know that it DOES affect my workout, and what is the point of exercising if not to love my body and get the most out of every moment?  If you’re nervous about buying those tight yoga pants, my advice is to buy them first in black, there’s truly nothing more flattering.  Also, you may want to avoid extreme patterns on the bottom to begin with.  Try as I might to change my mind, my patterned leggings always make me feel bigger, which is why they inadvertently end up spending more time in the bottom of my closet than being worn.
  3. Workout clothes have the power to serve as motivation to workout.  All of us clothing lovers out there know that when we buy new clothes that we like, we want to wear them.  Right away.  I personally am a HUGE proponent of instant gratification when it comes to clothing.  I can’t count the number of times I have changed in the car at the mall after shopping, doing that whole fun how-can-I-put-these-new-clothes-on-without-ever-actually-taking-my-clothes-off maneuver (if anyone has ever been paying attention to my car in the mall parking lot after I shop, you’re welcome, I’m sure that was an entertaining sight).  Therefore, if you are struggling with finding the motivation to get yourself to go workout, go buy yourself some new clothes that you’re going to be excited to wear.  You’re going to want to have an excuse to wear them, which is likely going to lead to some good old exercising.

IMG_0675This evening’s workout clothes are as follows: basic black leggings by Zenana from Jules Boutique (the donuts my family bought for “Fat Tuesday” are like the gift that just doesn’t stop giving, creating “Fat Wednesday” and “Fat Thursday Morning” for me as well, so there was no way I was wearing anything but black on the bottom tonight), reversible Champion sports bras from Target (this similar one is on clearance right now for $8, cue happy dance), Nike dri-fit racer back tank top that I’ve owned so long I don’t remember IMG_0678where I got it, but you can find similar here, and short-sleeved hooded sweatshirt (for layering warmth in this wintry Twilight Zone) from GapFit (can’t find similar sorry!).

In general, I have a lot of workout clothes from Target, GapFit, and Athleta (which I get when they go on sale).  I love neon colors when it comes to workout wear, shoes included (for those I’m addicted to Nike LunarGlides).  I also love to reuse old racer back tank tops that used to be dressy but I never wear anymore, and give them a new life by wearing them to workout.

IMG_0676Oh and I forgot to bring socks to workout tonight (amazing how often that happens) so I took the opportunity to buy some new grippy socks for barre.  L.O.L. just got cute new colors in ladies (and BABY ONES whose cuteness is off. the. charts.), so grab them up while you can! #begreat


Hugs and love,

Maggie Mae

Jeans: Fashion’s Underutilized Secret Weapon

“If you wear something you adore, you just look better.”

– Margherita Missoni

The above picture is me and two of my siblings (with me on the far left sporting that awesome bang cut).  Clearly we’ve been fashion-forward geniuses since day one (note the one-pant-leg-up look my brother is rocking). Anyyyywayyyyy….

JEANS.  Jeans, jeans, jeans!  Can I just say I’m excited about this post, that’s how much I love jeans? (And think you should love them to!)  People who only have three or four pairs of jeans do not understand.  People who don’t currently care about their jeans need to allow their fashion worlds to be opened.  I mean come on people, they even have COLORS out there now.  The jean world is our oyster!  I cannot under-stress the importance of fabulous jeans. The most basic of pieces, yet they have the power to totally transform an outfit.

Too many people make the mistake of thinking they “have enough” jeans and not shopping for them. The jean is your secret weapon, and goodness knows a nice pair of jeans can cost an arm and a leg, prices even a jean-lovin’ person like myself has been unable to ever justify for a purchase. We do not want to ever get to the place of NEEDING new jeans ladies and gents.  That’s when suddenly you find yourself caught between a rock and a hard place (the rock being the $100 price tag staring you in the face when you desperately need new jeans).  This is why I am constantly on the look out for jeans. When ones I love go on sale, I get them. I don’t care how many pairs I already have—if the wash is beautiful (and different from what I already own, mind you), the brand is quality, and the price is right, those babies are going in my closet.

Honestly there is no better weight loss motivation, or reward, than a stellar-fitting pair of jeans.  There is nothing more affirming of all of your hard work and sweat than going into a store and being able to slip into a pair of pants that are a size down.  Kings bow down to that feeling.  And when you buy those new jeans, every top in your closet will suddenly feel brand new. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants might go down in history as one of the cheesiest movies of all time, however the premise is dead on. A good pair of pants can transform your outlook on life.

Ok, you caught me.  That might be a teensy exaggeration.  But hey, they have the power to at least transform your day!  I’d even give them a week, plus the opportunity for lots more transformed nights when you slip them back on.

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.”

– Rachel Zoe

My advice with jeans is to find a style that really suits you and fall back on that, especially when buying from never-tried-before brands online, but also don’t be afraid to buy a pair or two outside of the comfort zone once in awhile.  I’m a personal fan of the jegging.  I like my skinnies to be skin-hugging skinny with some comfortable stretch—I don’t want to feel the material rub back and forth against me, especially around my ankles (ugh I don’t know how I ever dealt with that feeling back when there was just skinnies and not jeggings– talk about a pet peeve!) but I also don’t want be prevented from sitting cross-legged (say NO to pant splitting!), so in general this the style for me.  However, I’ve also got a pair of relaxed fit boyfriend-style jeans I love, and they totally transform an outfit. It doesn’t even feel like the same clothes as when I wear them with skinnies (sorry no pictures of those bad boys, they’re currently in the wash).

As people we communicate through our clothes. Different clothes and styles and combinations communicate different things. Call me crazy, but I often think about what I feel like communicating to the world that day as I get dressed. The joy in fashion is representing a part of who you are in a way that you love. Always, always, dress for yourself and how it makes YOU feel, not others.

IMG_0535My current mojo-givers are from Piperlime (all Blank Denim brand). I snagged these suckers when there was 60% off already-discounted sale items, quite possibly one of the most glorious online shopping surprises ever.  I am pleased to say (and admittedly also feeling pretty smug about it) that I paid no more than $17 for any of these designer pairs (originally priced around $90 each).

What are your favorite jeans? Don’t have a pair that you get excited to form an outfit to go with? Go out and get yourself some! Your confidence and your butt will thank you.  If you do have some jeans you absolutely love, what style and brand are they?  Share the love ladies! I want to know where else I should be trolling.

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(P.S.The other clothing and accessories I threw on with my new jeans are all nice and affordable as well.  The blazer and navy tee are from Forever 21 aggeesssss ago, find similar here and here, the heels are Target, and the two small gold necklaces are Jules Boutique.  If you’re from around the Goshen area, definitely stop in downtown and check them out, I’m obsessed with that place!  Otherwise you can find similar online here.  Unfortunately, the long chain necklace is from Spain years ago when I studied abroad and I have yet to spot something similar when out shopping.  Oh and the scarf is a bridesmaid gift from my lovely cousin.)

(P.S.S. I apologize for the bathroom mirror selfies, but unlike apparently the rest of the fashion blogging world, I have no handy husband, and no one was around to assist with the photo shoot, so let the selfies reign.)

Hugs and love,

Maggie Mae

Tips for DIY Furniture

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

– Albert Einstein

As a result of some recent life/family events, I have moved back home to my mother’s house.  This move has given me the opportunity yet again to call on my decorating creativity.  Going into this move I knew that a) I would have to move a LOT of things–namely clothes– from a much larger space (an apartment) to a small, condensed, single bedroom, and b) I did not have any money, nor any desire to spend money, for new items.  Therefore, everything that I wanted to put into the bedroom needed to be things I already owned or could easily create, or re-purpose, from my existing pieces.  Oh and I should also mention that I am PICKY… I like all of my furniture pieces to coordinate in some fashion or another.  So, for example, when my mother offered a large extra dresser of hers for additional clothing storage, I knew that wasn’t happening, because it definitely didn’t fit with the rest of the pieces I was planning on putting in the room and I knew she would restrict me from taking any freedoms in refinishing it :).

I should also note that almost all of these pieces that I already had, and needed to fit into the new bedroom, were ones that I refinished/created with the help of my father a year and a half ago (I bought the colorful chair from Overstock) when I first moved into my old apartment.  Here’s a few DIY tips from what I learned through that process, for all you out there like me who have champagne taste and a beer budget (and we’re talking generally speaking my budget hangs somewhere around the metaphorical land of PBR, and my taste is unwaveringly particular).

  1. Get a handy father who has a large space for woodworking, every tool you could possibly need, and a clear understanding of how picky you are.  — No but in all seriousness, don’t be intimidated about using tools. As a girl whose father was and is very talented when it comes to woodworking, I grew up around tools and thus have never had a fear of diving in.  Honestly, more people out there would find they can use power tools if they would just try.  But help is definitely a useful thing, so don’t be afraid to ask friends you know who have tools and experience.  Often people are more than willing to lend their time and knowledge.
  2. The above-mentioned space is key.  You need an area where you can spread out and work at things in stages.  It’s not realistic to think you’re going to get a piece totally refurnIMG_0077ished or built all in one day, or even a few days.  Therefore you need a space where you can ideally let your things out as you work on them.  Trust me, it’ll get annoying to have to pack and unpack them every time.  Even something as simple as being prepared to not park in your garage for a week would work.
  3. Don’t settle for less than what you love.  If you’re like me and one of the reasons you’re interested in is DIY because IMG_0078you are very particular, there is no point in redoing a piece of furniture if you’re not going to love it at the end.  Why?  You won’t use it.  Or you’ll look at it for a few months and realize you want to redo it yet again.  Therefore, even though I’m a huge proponent of going cheap (as I said, PBR budget over here), I do think you should spend a little bit more at times if it makes the piece something you love.  For example, the refurnished dresser and TV/night stand pictured to the right and below both have knobs on them that were definitely not the cheapest options.  Why? Because those knobs absolutely created the IMG_0087look I was going for, and in the grand scheme of things, expensive knobs are not THAT expensive.
  4. No piece of furniture is too far gone to be brought back–be open to when and where and how you can find them.  Many of the building materials or refinished pieces I had in my apartment came from garage sales.  The crates that I have tucked into the corner and stacked behind my door were from a barn.  Those puppies were NOT pretty before I hosed, and scrubbbed, and wiped, them down.  Repeatedly.  The wood my dad and I used for my headboard came from an actual broken-down barn that his friend had.  The nightstand, turned TV stand, turned nightstand again was picked up by my mother from a recycling area.  It was literally someone else’s trash (thank you, mystery person, byIMG_0083 the way).IMG_0024
  5. A coat of paint goes along way.  And sometimes, 5 coats of paint goes further.  Seriously, it can work miracles.  For my garage sale bookshelf, all I did was paint it.  Repeatedly.  The bookshelf started out looking dingy and dirty (yes I did clean it before painting it) and old, and then wah-la!  Five coats of white paint later, and picky me is okay with putting it in my house.  Trust me people, paint is like magic.  This even applies to decorative accessories.  Throw a little paint inside some dollar store mason jars, and all of the sudden they don’t look so cheap anymore.


So, the biggest hurdle that I found that I was somehow going to have to make it over, was the issue of where exactly to go with all of my clothing.  I am definitely a lover of clothes, no doubt about that, as future blog posts and my friends will attest to, sooooooo needless to say, I filled the two walk-in closets in my previous apartment with ease.  Therefore, the one wall closet in my current bedroom was causing more than just a little headache as I anticipated moving home.

The first key thing I did was go through my clothing (one of my favorite activities actually), but of course I always somehow manage to have an insane amount remaining even after getting rid of what feels like an entire wardrobe.  I knew I was going to need another piece of furniture in addition to the dresser and the small closet.  And I also knew, as I said before, my mother’s dresser wasn’t going to cut it for me.  This room needed to be 100% my space.  What does one do when you need another dresser, don’t like your mother’s extra dresser, and have no money for a dresser you might like?  Why, you fashion one out of a bookshelf of course.  Honestly, I like my bookshelf closet-dresser better than a normal dresser.  I can see each individual stacked item of clothing in it, so I won’t forget I have it, instead of the black hole that my dresser drawers always seem to end up being.  Now clearly, I’m a closet kind-of-girl.  If I could have all those clothes hanging again, I’d be in paradise, but for this space and this time, my new piece is quite perfect.  All I had to do was buy a curtain (thank you Target for having a clearance on the curtain I loved–yay $12), find a hammer and a few nails, some hemp string, and there ya go.  ALL of my clothing stored.  ALL of my clothing accessible.  And ALL of it hidden away in a manner appealing to the eyes.  Now that folks, is a success.

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Take a look ladies and gents, this is the new abode.  One apartment condensed into one room.  I’m not going to lie to you, I love it.  Yes, yes you should be jealous.  Oh and, to give credit where credit is due, my amazing father also made the floating shelves on the walls for me for Christmas (matched the stain to my dresser, the smart guy) as well as framed and stained my standing mirror.  My heart applauds him for his work.

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Hugs and love,

Maggie Mae

7 Health and Fitness Tips to Live By

“True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are united.”

– Alexander von Humboldt

I am a certified personal trainer, but I am not, by any means a nutritionist.  Health and fitness became especially important to me after college, when I realized that although I had been an athlete all my life, I had never actually been happy with, or able to love my body.  I decided I was fed up with wishing, and that it was time to start doing.  I found, and started going to L.O.L Health and Fitness, and my life was forever changed.

I found new joy in working out.  Made new friends.  Began the journey to loving my body and learning real ways to transform myself into the goal that always existed in the back of my mind and heart, but never seemed achievable.

7 Health and Fitness Tips I Live By

Whew.  This list.  It was supposed to be short.  It started as “5 Health and Fitness Tips I Live By”.  Apparently I’ve just got too many rules I live by, and layers to those rules, that seemed worth sharing.  All that is to say, PLEASSEEEE feel free to skim (notice I put some things in bold for your skimming convenience).  Lord knows I would.  And also to say that I promise I will provide more succinct tips in the future!

  1. Explore different types of exercises and communities to workout in.  Working out should not be a chore.  If you want to make it a lifestyle change, it needs to be something you love, and knowing yourself will help with this.  For example, I am a self-competitive, social person, who needs variety.  L.O.L has been my key to workout joy because of the social atmosphere.  I absolutely love the women I workout with, and seeing them is something I look forward to and wouldn’t want to miss for the world.  They encourage me to love myself where I am, yet cause me to always want to strive to reach for the best version of myself.  GetFileAttachment-11Also, the classes allow me to experience a huge variety of exercises, while clearly encouraging individuals to push themselves (yay for the self-competitive parts of me) without comparing themselves to others in the class (because let’s be honest, self-love can’t happen when you’re comparing yourself to others).  Think about what this looks like for yourself.  Do you need a challenge or boot camp with a clear start and finish?  Do you need a place where you can be alone and think?  Do you need a solid friend support group, like me?  Whatever it is, make it something you like and will look forward to.  Don’t try to make yourself do something that you hate just because it works for others.  For example, I hate to run.  Granted, the mood strikes me every now and then, but for the most part I do not want that much alone time to think about how my body is in pain.  For this reason, I think I’ve run MAYBE 5 times in the past year.  Clearly, if that was my main mode of working out, I’d be up a creek without a paddle.
  2. Food matters.  You know all of those sites that say things like weight loss is made in the kitchen?  Or that diets are 70% food, 30% exercise?  Yeah well, they aren’t lying.  Personal experience has taught me that I’m not going to lose weight adding in more exercise (I work out 5 days a week at least, so clearly I’m saying regular exercise is still needed), but I will lose weight if I adjust my food.  Often times I will have a more successful weight week when I work out a little less and really watch my food, versus gaining weight when I am working out tons but eating without any purpose or control.  If you’re serious about changing your body, it will not be enough to just add the exercise.  You need to take a long hard look at what you eat.
  3. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.  When I first started my health and fitness journey, I was one of those girls who woke up and wasn’t hungry for hours.  I considered coffee a sufficient breakfast most mornings, and then looked forward to eating that giant indulgent dinner at the end of my day.  Through reading lots of different sources over the years, I realized I was doing it backwards.  We are active throughout the day, not the night, therefore it is the day when our body truly needs the food for fuel.  When we eat a big breakfast, we are fueling ourselves for our day and our body’s activities.  Now, I am not saying this is an easy swap.  You have to work to change when your body is hungry, but trust me, if you eat enough tiny dinners, you’re going to become hungry for that big breakfast.  I consciously decided I was going to change the sizes of my meals and reverse the order, and now years later, it is automatic because it is truly what my body is hungry for at that time.
  4. Along with that comes my cardinal rules of stop eating when you are no longer hungry, not when you’re full (yes, there is a BIG difference), and go to bed hungry.  In relation to the first rule, eating frequently is good for our bodies’ metabolism.  Therefore, I’ve found that eating only up until the point when I stop being hungry, instead of to the point when I am full, allows my body to get hungry more often.  It also prevents that terrible over-eating feeling we all hate, when we think that we’ve only eaten to the point of being full and really we’ve blown right past it.  Additionally, by allowing yourself to eat frequently and immediately when you’re hungry, I’ve found helps me to eat smarter.  If I let myself get to the place where I am starving, bad things happen.  Fast and easy food that I don’t want to eat is going to be flying into my mouth in large quantities, because let’s face it, I am the living definition of the word ‘hangry’ and when I am starving, I am grumpy and no wayyyy am I taking the time to prepare something healthy or listening to that stupid little voice in my head that says if you’d slow down you’d probably realize you’re already full.  So, not allowing myself to get hangry is my saving grace.  I don’t care if I am meeting someone for dinner later, if I am hungry right then, I am going to eat a little something (notice I said a LITTLE something).  I’m going to pick a small healthy snack and eat it, because I know that by having those extra calories then, I am actually saving myself a multitude of unwanted calories down the road.
  5. Your body craves what you consistently give it.  Along a similar line to #3, I have found that what you make a habit of feeding your body is what it genuinely begins to crave.  Normally, I do not eat dessert.  Sweets just aren’t my thing, and so I figure why eat something that’s not great for me if I don’t love it?  However, if I have an out-of-routine week and begin eating various sweets and desserts, immediately I notice a difference.  All of the sudden I am craving every brownie and cookie in sight and having to mentally hold myself back from eating every single one of them, when normally they wouldn’t even be a temptation.  Likewise, when I get out of the habit of eating fun, creative salads, a salad doesn’t really sound appealing to me when I begin to think about what to make for dinner.  However, when I make delicious salads on a regular basis, those foods become the things that I am dying to make and eat by the time I get home at the end of the day.10362159_477139832418021_1242789070_n
  6. Food’s primary function should be to fuel our bodies, NOT enjoyment.  This one is painful for me to say, and honestly tricky.  I also want to be clear that this is not to say that I think food shouldn’t be enjoyed.  I think LIFE should be enjoyed in every possible way, and obviously, food is a great place to find some enjoyment.  However, in my opinion, it’s kind of the same thing as a shower.  Do I enjoy a good hot shower?  Mmmmm baby, yes I do!  However, am I going to take said shower without actually cleaning myself?  Using any soap?  Washing my hair?  Am I going to replace said shower with a sit in a hot tub, because hey, that’s also pretty darn enjoyable?  No, never.  Clearly.  None of us would consider it.  We all know personal hygiene is a must, not an option.  Sure we’re going to deeply enjoy the feeling of that hot water cascading down our backs (some days more than others), but no, we are not going to skip the shampoo.  And should we be in a hurry that morning, our primary goal will be to come out smelling like roses, NOT that we enjoy the hot water.  This is the same as food.  Food exists to fuel our bodies, to provide us with the energy and nutrition our body needs to function properly throughout the day.  Just like that shower, the fuel part of food is a must, the enjoyment part should be secondary.  Therefore, we should focus on finding ways to make the food and nutrients that we know our body NEEDS taste good to us, rather than the other way around.  I know so many people who think a salad means iceberg lettuce and shaved carrots.  I know so many guys who’ve eaten so many terrible salads that they refuse to try and realize a delicious one when it’s right under their face.  Our body needs fruits and vegetables.  Since we need them, let’s get creative and make them as enjoyable as possible.  Explore different combinations of flavors.  Take note of whether you’re in the mood for something sweeter or something saltier, and let your salad (or whatever healthy meal you choose) reflect that.  (Look for creative salad suggestions in a post to come).  You have a sweet tooth in the morning like me? Great.  Try something like an English muffin with peanut butter and raspberries instead of a donut.
  7. Last, and most IMPORTANT OF ALL, give yourself grace.  No one is perfect, and I mean no one.  It’s impossible.  You can’t be.  Health and fitness and weight loss journeys are not straight downhill roads, they’re roller coasters.  Sometimes you’re going to be great and coasting down, sometimes you’re going to be strugIMG_8577gling through that climb, there’s just no way around it.  For example, as I write this post I am laughing to myself in my head because I’m realizing how very little of my rules I have been following as of late.  With emotional life changes, I often emotionally eat.  I’m acknowledging that and moving on.  I’m climbing my roller coaster.  I’m going to try and turn today around, but if it doesn’t happen I won’t sweat it.  Tomorrow is a new day.  So please, just remember, that although we all have goals and aspirations and want to arm ourselves with as much knowledge as we can to treat our bodies as we should, sometimes, some days, you just have to eat the brownie. 

Hugs and love,

Maggie Mae


Cartwheel Confessions

“Only when you are aware of the uniqueness of everyone’s individual body will you begin to have a sense of your own self-worth.”

– Ma Jian

I’ve been sitting here for the past few days with a million ideas in my head, and drafts written down, unable to decide exactly where to start.

So, to allow you all to get to know me more, I have a confession.  I’m a fitness professional, and while I can physically do about anything I put my mind to, I cannot, and never have, mind you, been able to correctly complete a cartwheel.  Something about throwing my feet over my head with wild abandon makes my body balk.  Perhaps it’s the rapid pace that it all has to happen at, because those lovely slow-motion elbow handstands one might do in yoga I can handle just fine.  And though you may assume so, no I never had that willful physical abandon that might allow me to complete a cartwheel, even as a child.

Perhaps that’s the same reason I fail, and no longer even attempt, to dive into water — pools, lakes, you name it. (Trust me, that’s a fail your belly – and pride – does not want you to repeat more than necessary.)  I’m not going to lie, I’ve always felt a little sad and embarrassed that I’ve never achieved this girlhood right-of-passage.

Now that I’ve confessed I’ve also decided I’m determined.  Here’s my goal and commitment.  I’m going to learn to do a cartwheel. By the time I’m 30 darn it, I will have achieved this. (Notice how I gave myself a full four years there? Let’s be realistic, I’ve had 26 so far and it hasn’t happened. No need to get tooooo ambitious.)

Do you have any “typical” things you’ve never been able to do?  (And basically pretend that you can do or have done or don’t care when others refer to it?)  Curling your tongue?  (I can’t do that either by the way).  Swim?  Tread water?  Dribble a basketball?  Serve a volleyball?  Share them.  Hey, we’ve all got them.  Doesn’t make us inadequate, it keeps us from being ordinary.  Perfection is boring, people.  Let’s embrace the quirks.

Oh and here’s some old outfit selfies, just for fun, as I do love clothing of course.

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Hugs and love,

Maggie Mae

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