Mom Guilt

As a working mom, I both dread and dream for Back to School in the Fall.  I dread it because I really do love being homework free, seeing the kids behave like kids and not have to suffer through study and project stress, and I love that there is an atmosphere of calm around our apartment.  But I also dream about it because I crave routine, I find that the kids start to want to kill each other by early August, and with Back to School comes a sense of newness – new goals, new dreams, new friends, new books, new routines. It can be exciting!

And so with the kids taking on a new school year (my son entering Grade 9, and my daughter finishing up her last year of elementary school), I decided that it was also time for this working mom to start a brand new routine of her own – and I decided to call it PROJECT SELF.

Well, let me tell you – Project Self did not start off as planned, and I’m trying to determine why.  Here’s what my objective was at the onset:  To follow the PiYo® 60-day screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-11-00-05-amworkout plan – this seemed to be such a lovely goal – to workout in a less jarring-to-the-joints way, combining Yoga & Pilates with constant motion to get in the cardio, but avoiding the jumping and craziness that I’ve been doing as of late.  I felt as though this would be a great program to help me with my mind-body connection, as well as to help myself relax after long days at work.  I also decided to read a personal development book for 10 minutes a day (to begin, I cscreen-shot-2016-09-17-at-11-00-43-amhose the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey), meditate for 10 minutes a day usinscreen-shot-2016-09-17-at-11-01-04-amg an App called Headspace, and to fill in a gratitude App every morning called Bliss, simply listing one thing that I am greatly for each day.  Seemed eascreen-shot-2016-09-17-at-11-01-19-amsy enough, right?  I calculated that it would take me less than one hour per day to get all of this done.  One hour!!  In all honesty, I should be able to find one hour in my day, right?

Well, day 1 came and I was excited!  I filled in my gratitude app as soon as I got out of bed, had a delicious breakfast with my kids, and then read for 10 minutes.  After work, I fit in the 25 minute workout, and right before bed I completed the first day of learning to meditate with Headspace.  Did it disrupt anyone’s schedule?  Not at all!  Did it interfere with any part of our normal routine?  Again, not at all!  Did it impact my workday – Nope, it was done before and after!  And yet, for some reason, instead of feeling accomplished, I felt guilty.  That’s right, guilty!  I felt guilty for taking 10.5 minutes in the morning, and 35 minutes at night to do thing that made ME happy!  Did anyone in my family imply that I was being selfish?  Nope!!  Did they need me for anything and I told them to wait so that I could get what I wanted to do done?  Nope!!  This guilt was brought on by me, and me alone!  I am guessing that this is what people call Mom Guilt – the guilt that comes to moms all over the world whenever they do something that’s just for them.

My week 1 really didn’t go as planned, but it was definitely an eye opener to me that I really have to stop punishing myself for doing things that make me happy.  And why?  Because a happy mom means a happy home.  A happy mom means that my children are learning the importance of taking care of oneself – I am their role model, and so what am I teaching them if I never stop to take care of myself – that I am unimportant?

And so, starting Monday, I will begin Project Self again – not as Week 2, but as Week 1 again with a clearer perspective, and hopefully a healthier mindset.  Although I do predict that there will be moments that I’ll feel guilty for closing my bedroom door to do my PiYo (and I’ll add, this is done when Bree is in bed and Kyle is in the shower!!), I will remind myself that I’m doing this for ME and I’m doing this for THEM.  Along the way I’ll stumble, along the way I’ll have moments of greatness and moments of despair… but I’m hoping that along the journey I’ll learn more about myself, that I’ll become stronger inside and out, that I’ll have less stress and more smiles – and I promise to blog about this process so that anyone else out there on a similar journey can see that they too are not alone in fighting Mom Guilt and trying to become a Strong Mom!

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Insanity – My Personal Experience

Before I can tell you about my recent experience with Insanity®, I first need to tell you what lead me to buying the program in the first place, and why it then collected dust on my shelf for 7 years!!!

Roughly 8 years ago, I felt stuck.  I was unhappy in my marriage… I was unhappy with my fitness level…. I just didn’t feel like “me”.    I’d lost 50 lbs through Weight Watchers, but I still didn’t feel good about myself. I knew that something had to be done, but just didn’t know what.  And then one night while sitting in front of the tv, I saw an infomercial for Beachbody’s Insanity® and I was completely intrigued.  This program looked crazy hard, and yet the instructor seemed so motivating, and the participants in the videos looked incredibly inspiring.  Perhaps this is the challenge that I needed to help find myself?!?  And so, even though I was broke, I called the 1-800 number and ordered the program.  While waiting for the program to arrive, I took another scary plunge and asked for a divorce from my then-husband.  I knew that I had to do something in order to provide a happy, stable homelife for my then 6-year old son and myself, and however scary doing it on my own seemed, I knew that this was my best and only option.  And so there I was – scared to be raising my son solo – scared about how I was going to pay the bills and make ends meet – and scared about the unknown – when suddenly Insanity arrived.  I thought that this was my answer in a box – my remedy!  I sat on the sofa and read the materials, and then opted to watch the first DVD through before starting.  WOW – it was scary just to watch it!!  I think that I was sweating while I sat on the sofa!!  I decided that it was now or never, got into my workout wear, and pushed play.  I have never felt so challenged in my life, both physically and emotionally!  It made me dig deep, and I remember lying in a heap on the floor, drenched in sweat, and crying by the time the first workout was done.  I told myself that I’d get stronger, and that the next day would be easier – but it was still hard, and I still cried.  From the stress of the divorce, I wasn’t eating or sleeping – and so I can guarantee that this made it all the more impossible to complete the workout.  And so, I put the box away, and told myself that one day – one day, I would be ready to take on this challenge, and that I would complete it!

And now, 8 years later, happily remarried to a wonderful man, raising my son who is now almost 14, and my step-daughter who is 11, I decided that I was ready to give this Insanity program another try.  I felt stronger somehow – both physically and emotionally – and felt as though I could conquer anything!!  It is amazing what happens when you feel comfortable in your own skin and when you feel happy!!!

First, let me tell you that I sweat – and I sweat A LOT!!  You know how women say that they don’t sweat, they glisten?  Well, that wasn’t me!  I sweat buckets!  I don’t think that I have ever done any form of exercise where I had sweat dripping into my eyes during the warmup!  And I don’t think that the workouts ever got easier – maybe I pushed myself harder over time or maybe my body simply never adapted – because it was always challenging, and I modified frequently.  (sidebar: modifying is great.  No, you don’t workout less than the person doing it full out.  Why?  Because instead of making poor attempts at jumping or doing deep squats, or full pushups with poor form, you modify using slower and more controlled movement – proper form is always the best option!).

At the end of the 63 days I felt amazing!!  My arms were more toned, and I started to see my abs again.  My energy was through the roof, and my mood and patience level dramatically improved.  I felt strong, I felt fit, and more importantly, I felt healthy.  Now with regards to the scale, I hadn’t lost that much (5 or 6 pounds), but the transformation in my body speaks volumes, and just goes to show you that the number on the scale is irrelevant!

Will I do the program again?  Absolutely!!!  But first I am completing T25, and then want to try Insanity Max 30 – then I think I’d be up to doing another round of Insanity.  It has so much variety, and it is incredibly motivating from beginning to end – you don’t have time to get bored!!!

If you are interested in trying it out, check out my website at www.beachbodycoach.com/TaraMkb – your body and mind will thank you for it!

 

Why Shakeology?

So many people have been asking me why I choose to drink Shakeology.  They ask why it is so important for me to become a 365er.  People say it’s a fad, while others say it’s far too expensive…Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 8.29.53 AM but in the meantime, I am choosing to drink it every single day for ME.  Let me share with you some of the benefits that I have seen since drinking Shakeology (and no, I am not reading you an advertisement for the product, but rather am sharing with you my very own personal experience).  Having one of these shakes every day fights off my usual 3pm sugar cravings.  From the first day of consuming a shake, I stopped visiting my colleague’s office for gummy bears!  It gives me boundless energy too – so much so that I am able to complete an intense workout late in the evening, even after a full day at the office, supper and homework with the kids, and their bedtime routine!  Since drinking Shakeology, I’ve also noticed significant improvements in my skin – fewer blemishes and definitely an enhanced glow!  One other great benefit is that my migraines have become less and less frequent and I attribute it to my drinking Shakeology.  Also, although it may be TMI for some of you, I have to say that these shakes have helped me to become more “regular” (and so for that, I have to say a very big thank you to the makers of Shakeology!!).  Yes, the product is pricey.  However, when you break it down, it actually comes to less than what I have spent on a fancy coffee at Starbucks (and so rather than buy a drink that will give me little to no nutritional benefits, and that won’t fill me up, I choose to spend the money on a shake that can either be a meal replacement or a snack, with a boatload of benefits to gain from it).

Now let me tell you a little bit about the taste – holy moly, this stuff rocks!!  I have tried almost every protein and meal replacement shake that is out there on the market.  Some have made me gag, some I’ve had to add so many other ingredients just to make it taste decent, and some have just been “ok”.  Shakeology is so delicious that I look forward to it all day.  I have tried Vegan Chocolate, Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, and Greenberry, and haven’t been disappointed once!  And Beachbody has so many incredible recipes to “spice up” the flavors, whether it be adding nut butters, fruits, veggies, avocado, juices, spices, or nuts…  And, I’ve made the no-bake Shakeology balls for dessert and they were a huge hit with our guests!  I just ordered the Tropical Strawberry and cannot wait to experiment with it.

So why not give Shakeology a try?  As I said earlier, it can be to replace a meal, or as a snack (I prefer to drink mine at 10am at work, and often to replace breakfast on the weekends when we are out running to one of our kids’ sporting events), and for the price, you can benefit in so many ways in your life.  Become a 365er like me – you won’t regret it!

Which program do I choose from when there are so many options???

This is a question that I get so often – even before I became a Beachbody® Coach.  As many of you know, I’ve always been passionate about fitness, and I’ve owned just about every exercise DVD ever made (yes, iScreen Shot 2015-08-12 at 1.10.23 PMncluding Jane Fonda in her leg warmers!!).  Having ordered many of the Beachbody workouts through the years, including Turbo Jam, Turbo Fire, P90X, Insanity, T25, PiYo, Hip Hop Abs, Brazil Butt Lift, and 21 Day Fix Extreme, I feel that I have some very useful first-hand experience of what works and doesn’t work (for ME anyways!!).

Currently, I am a huge advocate of the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme programs for a variety of reasons, and I’m going to list some of them now, and then let you be the judge!

  1. I think that I have exercise ADHD – I get bored quickly.  So many programs have you doing the same routine every day, for at least a week, if not for 30 days.  That’s why I’ve quit early with so many other programs out there.  I don’t like repetition.  I need variety.  With the 21 Day Fix and Extreme series, you do a different DVD each day, which means that once yScreen Shot 2015-08-12 at 1.12.49 PMou’ve done a DVD on Monday (for example), you won’t see that workout again until the following Monday.  It keeps my body guessing – it keeps me interested – and I actually find myself looking forward to repeating the workout the following week rather than dreading it!  Also, you do an exercise for a minute, and then move on to the next.  You can do ANYTHING for a minute, right?
  2. Along the same lines of getting bored easily, I’m also busy.  Time is of the essence!!  Some programs promise short workouts, but in reality perhaps only one or 2 of the DVDs will be 20-30 minutes, and then the remainder of them are 45-60 minutes long.  Although there is nothing wrong with longer workouts, I just don’t have the time – AScreen Shot 2015-08-11 at 3.37.12 PMND – I get bored easily!!  I want to have high energy and motivation from beginning to end – if the video drags on too long, I get bored, and I don’t put in quite the same effort as I did at the beginning of the workout.  With 21DF and 21DFX, the workouts are 30 minutes with warm-up and cool-down included.  How awesome is that?!?  A 30-minute workout is only 2% of your day!!  To me, that is doable and realistic with my already busy schedule.
  3. Autumn Calabrese.  I can’t say enough about this single-mom who is a celebrity fitness trainer.  She is motivating, while not too much that you want to smack her!  She hScreen Shot 2015-08-12 at 1.17.20 PMas an amazing body and so is clearly a product of the product.  She has great form, and knows how to teach proper form (a rare skill if you have watched enough fitness DVDs!!). Beachbody has a great reputation at stake, and they don’t cast inexperienced trainers simply because they look good – they hire knowledgeable instructors, and Autumn is one of them!
  4. Nutrition – the color coded containers are easy to use, and you learn how to eat a balanced diet.  You don’t eliminate food groups.  You don’t starve.  You don’t eliminate Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 8.03.59 AMflavor.  It is a sound, well-balanced meal plan that can fit in even the busiest person’s lifestyle.
  1. Results – this is a program designed to show you immediate results. In my first round of 21 Day Fix Extreme, I lost 9 lbs and 11 inches!  My second round fell into my vacation time, and I managed to not gain weight – that is unheard of for me!!  Maintenance on vacation???  And I’m back at it again, and losing weight and inches all over again!
  2. 21 Days – that’s right!  One of the reasons why I love this program is that it lasts for 21 days – not 30, not 60, not 90… 3 WEEKS!!!  Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 1.19.18 PMOnce again, to me, this is doable and realistic.  We are always told to set short term goals, and having a program last for only 21 days allows you to set those goals and actually achieve them in an amount of time that is motivating.  In the past, I’ve quit challenges around day 14 or 15 because I was thinking about how 90 days seemed so far away!  21 days doesn’t allow you the time to get discouraged!

I am sure that I have so much more to say about this program – and there will likely be more blogs to follow –   but I wanted my followers to know a little bit more about this exceptional program.  Check out my site at http://beachbodycoach.com/TaraMkb for more information on both the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme – either purchased on their own, or as part of a Challenge Pack with Shakeology (more to come on that topic!!).

But what you can learn from this blog is simple:  No matter what you choose to do to get fit and healthy, make Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 1.22.48 PMsure that it is something you are passionate about!  Make sure that it is something that can realistically fit into your routine!  Make sure that it is something that can become a lifestyle!  And lastly, make sure that is a sound program and eating plan – your goal is to become healthier, not sick!

Yours in fitness,
Tara

21 Day Fix Extreme® Approved Breakfasts

I have been having so much fun in the kitchen, finding new recipes that will both provide myself and the kids with excellent nutrition as well as taste delicious.  My number one priority is ensuring that we all head off to work and school with proper nutrition to get us off to a great start.  Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 2.31.10 PMMy kids love breakfast now – saying that it is much more fun coming to the table to see what I’ve concocted, compared to the old plate of toast or bowl of sugary cereal!  Some favorites so far have been Protein Pancakes (made with cottage cheese – image below); Cashew & Oatmeal waffles, mason jar refrigerator oatmeals; and scrambled eggs with baked sweet potatoes.

21 Day Fix Extreme® Round 1 RESULTS

So I am super excited to share my results from the first round of 21 Day Fix Extreme®.  Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 9.36.21 AMIn the past 21 days, I managed to shave off 9 unwanted pounds, and 11 inches off of my entire body!  Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I could have so much success in so little time – and more importantly, never could I have imagined just how fun it would be!!  I loved the workouts, particularly the fact that they are only 30 minutes, and you do each one only once in the week – so once it’s completed, you won’t see it for another 7 days (I’m beginning to think that I suffer from exercise ADHD!!).  The workouts were challenging – they pushed me – and I saw fitness improvements with each workout.  The meal plan was super easy to follow – and allowed me to be as creative as I wanted, or as ritualistic as I liked (my snacks were pretty much always the same – but I liked it that way – whereas my breakfasts were always changed!)…  What else can I say except that this is an exceptional program and I recommend to everyone – whether it be current fitness enthusiasts who are looking for an extra challenge, or someone who has a lot of weight to lose, or even the person who simply wants to drop a few pounds and tone up – this program will help everyone!  Check out my website at www.beachbodycoach.com/TaraMkb and get your own challenge pack!!  I’m beginning a second round of 21DFX and would be more than happy to support you every step of the way!!

Welcome to TaraMKB Fitness

Welcome to my new Blog everyone!!  For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a wife, a mother of 2 beautiful children, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, an employee, a friend, and a very busy woman in general.  I love, love, love to travel, and my Bucket List is forever expanding!  And in amidst all of that, I am also a fitness enthusiast!  From a very young age, I’ve always been active.  I started with dance, and then added gymnastics, and then in my teen years developed a passion for fitness.  Certified as an aerobics instructor and personal trainer, I devoted much of my time to working out and motivating others to do the same.  I thrive on helping others!  After the birth of my son (who is now 12), I gained a lot of weight – 50 lbs to be exact!  YIKES!!  I wasn’t accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle, and the pounds slowly crept on to my 5’6″ frame.  WW-1293I joined one of the leading weight loss companies to help me with my weight loss and group support, and slowly but surely lost the weight and picked up a variety of tricks to incorporate into my now very healthy lifestyle.  I later worked for this company, and inspired and motivated hundreds of people to lose weight.  This truly was and still is my passion!!  And so now, rather than telling people what to eat or when to eat, I’m coaching customers of Beachbody.com (check out my site at http://www.beachbodycoach.com/TaraMkb).  Motivating people to exercise, and take on challenges – to do what they never thought that they could do!!  I hope that you continue to follow me on this journey, and to perhaps even join me in a fitness challenge or two.  You’ll have nothing to lose, but the weight!!! Continue reading