After I ran Zooma, you may have noticed I slowly decreased my running. Then I had to just stop. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain but I knew there was something going on with my body that I couldn’t seem to find the answer to. All the rest I was doing wasn’t helping one bit. It actually seemed to be getting worse.
I was so frustrated. And that was killing me mentally. I was taking a lot of naps. Very unusual for me. I broke down and shed a few tears at the gym one morning. My mind was not connecting with my body. I wanted to do what I’ve been accustom to doing, but my body said no.
I was still visiting the chiropractor every week, but the pain in my lower back and hips was actually getting worse. I just wanted to know what it was, so I could get started on fixing it. About 2 weeks ago, each day I woke up, the pain was escalating. It took me a few minutes to get out of bed because I felt like I needed to stretch before I could even stand up.
Then there was one evening I was looking through my Facebook feed. I belong to a group for yoga instructors. There was a woman giving an update to pain she was having in her hips, especially the joints in that area. She said she took out her IUD (a type of birth control that is injected in the cervix). I thought well that could be me because that’s the kind of birth control I have. So I immediately looked it up. I was in complete shock looking at all of the forums and links of women who said they were in so much pain until they too had their birth control removed! I just kept shaking my head. I was speechless. I knew now my birth control was keeping me from running. Keeping me from my active lifestyle that I love so much.
The next morning I made an appointment to have it removed. I just needed it out to see if that was really it. I had mine for about 6 1/2 years. Ever since Amani was born. That’s a long time. The type I had, was made with copper and was supposed to last up to 10 years.
The gynecologist told me he had never really heard of anything like that. But I know my body and I know when something is not right. That’s why I always say you should be in tune with your body. Only you can know when something is wrong.
It turned out that I was having an allergic reaction to the copper. It was causing inflammation to my joints and nerves. Well no wonder!
I didn’t feel that much relief right away, just a little bit. But as the days went on, each day I felt so much better. My energy was beginning to increase. I didn’t feel like I needed to take a nap everyday anymore just to relieve the pain.
I began running again too. I’m keeping my mileage low and just doing what I can. I know it’s going to take a little bit of time to get back to where I was. I’m okay with that. I’m just happy to be able to do what I love. I’m still having some pain from my sciatic nerve. I’m stretching it more often along with foam rolling.
Deciding to share this took some thought. I knew I was going to do it, but I was still a little nervous. It’s pretty personal but I know someone else is probably going through the same pain I was. And I’m sure they have no idea where it could be coming from. This is why I’m sharing this part of my life. I hope you can share it with someone who may be going through this as well.
I realize I’m not a bodybuilder or anything close to that. But I feel like through my journey I have learned a few things on how to add lean muscle to my body while still looking feminine. There is still a huge false belief that because you lift weights you are going to become huge. That is not true at all! Don’t let anyone convince you of that. Female body builders have a hard time putting on muscle because we don’t have testosterone and some take testosterone to build that much muscle.
Lifting weights and adding a strength training regimen to your workouts will give you lean muscle and actually may help some women lose weight. Your body is constantly burning calories when you have more muscle mass. And because of that, you need to eat more!! You can’t starve your body if you want to add muscle to it. It just won’t work. You don’t have to eat perfectly healthy, but you do have to make changes.
If you are feeling hungrier throughout the day or wake up really hungry, that is a sign that you are not eating enough. Your body is working harder because of your workouts. That doesn’t mean you should add empty calories. You need some carbohydrates. If you feel like you are already eating clean, you can add in a few more healthy foods. I really suggest staying away from meal replacement shakes. There’s too much crap in that stuff and you don’t want that in your body.
A slice of whole grain bread for breakfast
An extra serving of vegetables for lunch
a protein shake as a mid-day snack
Making hard boiled eggs and snacking on them throughout the day for extra protein.
Add in healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil or almond butter.
Depending on the season, go with fruits and vegetables that are easily available. You’ll save money and it’s better for you. With it being summer, there is a lot more variety so that you don’t get bored with your meals. Chop up your fruits and vegetables at the beginning of the week to save on time and clean up.
When it comes to exercise, I like having workouts for myself and my clients that involve a majority of body weight exercises. Sure, I like to add extra weight as well but body weight training is the best for building core and overall body strength. It is more difficult, but it works.
A few exercises I love are:
Push ups and pull ups
burpees and mountain climbers
Squats with a jump variation
Yoga is so great for building a strong lean physique! People are always so surprised when I tell them that. The biggest thing that has helped sculpt my shoulders is handstands. I know they are not easy but if you are consistent (even against the wall) they will make a huge difference in your upper body and core strength as well.
With yoga, you are constantly using all of the muscles in your body to breathe, focus on alignment to hold a pose and slowly lengthening those muscles. A great example is downward facing dog.
As you can see, each muscle is being stretched. If you breathe correctly, you should be able to lengthen even more and reach deeper into the pose and stretch those muscles even more by bringing your chest closer to your legs.
There are endless yoga poses that can help build a stronger physique. One of the main reasons I love yoga. Same goes for body weight training.
*Disclaimer: I am a personal trainer and yoga instructor. I am not a nutritionist. Always seek professional advice before beginning a new fitness or health program.
I go through my day-to-day life just trying to get everything done that I can. Teaching classes, getting my workout in and trying to be a good mom. But when someone comes into your life and really puts the time to want to know what you’re about, it stops you in your tracks and changes your life.
That happened when I met Shannon. We ran together a few times at the group runs and that’s all it was. Then our paths crossed more often within the next few weeks and before you know it, we are in tears in a Corner Bakery parking lot sharing similar weight loss stories.
That was only the beginning. We’ve spent a lot of time together and find out we have more than weight loss and running in common. Leading a fit life is something we both have a love for. I asked Shannon to share her story because daily she inspires me. She is a strong woman with a huge heart trying to bring positivity to our community everyday. I’m blessed to have her as a friend. I know she can inspire you as well.
Farrah, thank you for giving me the opportunity to share a piece of my story. Thank you for helping me find the balance that I didn’t know could be found! Thank you for being a spirit of true beauty and thank you for the amazing friendship that we have developed in such a short time. I don’t share easily and being asked to guest-blog has been an experience that’s allowed me to open up and shed light on my real struggle. I was told to share openly because I never knew who I was helping or even saving.
I am thirty years young with 2 super cool kids. I have my degree in Criminal Justice from New Mexico State. My hope is to one day attend law school but for now my focus is on my family, my happiness, and my health! My family means the world to me and although I’m not perfect I know that I try to be good enough. We all have situations in our lives that shape who we are. I knew I could either let my situation define me or I could battle back. I choose love and hope and sometimes it’s not easy and I will be the first to admit that I struggle with myself but I decided after a hard couple of years I wasn’t going to continue allowing the negativity to navigate me, I needed my life back again. I’ve made mistakes and I am not proud of every decision I made but I know that all those mistakes and bad decisions built the strong foundation I stand on. While I am passionate and enthusiastic, I am also a quiet over-thinker who is very reserved.
The best part of acknowledging my shortcomings is actively holding myself accountable to make positive changes daily. In 2008, after losing 40 lbs that I kept on since having my son four years before that, Bernie and I signed up for a relay after seeing a poster hanging in the window at Up and Running. One month later we were racing in our first full sprint triathlon, and after that we both became quickly engulfed in the sport! For the next year or so we both competed in several local and out-of-town events. Triathlons were what kept me thin and fit and training kept me happy but I knew I needed to be able to provide. I needed a solid future for my children and as much passion as I had for the sport I knew I needed to go back to school and secure a solid future for my family. I enrolled in the fall of ’09 and put my weight management and training on hold.
Before transferring to New Mexico State I realized that I needed to, once again, get the weight off that I had gained during the first two years in school. Summer ’11 I trained for Eagle in the Sun, lost that weight (again,) and claimed 3rd place in my age group! Unfortunately, during that race I nearly ruptured my Achilles- I was out for 6 months. I completely shifted all my focus to school and although Bernie was still actively training and competing I had no interest in joining him even after I healed. Two years and a lot of life later, graduation was right around the corner and I found myself weighing the most I had ever weighed (190lbs.) What was worse then the weight gain was the depression and anxiety I was struggling with on a daily basis. My mental health was far worse than my physical health at that point. The beginning of last summer was the beginning of a six month war with who I was and who I was becoming. Chris Rowley, owner of Up and Running, posted an update on Facebook about a position at the store. I went in with my fingers crossed because although I had shopped at the store and I loved to run I didn’t realistically think I would get hired for several self-defeating reasons. After a summer of applications and rough interviews, I put a smile on my face because I knew I needed this! I was wrong and Chris left a message the next day saying “I won”! I can without a doubt say that I love my job! I am so grateful for the position I hold and the people I know (and help) because of it!Being hired really jump started my commitment to lose what I had gained since my injury. I started running again with Bernie and started slowly dropping the weight. At first, I was concerned about losing pounds but after I was sidelined for 6 weeks recovering from a surgery, I realized that I needed a complete overhaul both physically and mentally and at that point my fitness goals were more aimed at improving and maintaining my mental health then my physical health. I started to condition and strengthen my body and my mind and in January I joined a group of amazing runners that continue to inspire and push me!
The El Paso marathon was my first half marathon distance and just 4 months after a hard time and surgery I was running it! I ran a 2:26:26 and needed 10 days off to recover.
My body was conditioned for the miles but I didn’t have any strength after. I started doing Yoga with Farrah twice a week and added swimming once a week. My first yoga class I was so lost and overwhelmed I could barely reach my shins and I felt unbalanced and completely down on myself. I was intimidated but told myself it didn’t matter what everyone else could do it’s my practice and I was going to do this! I noticed a difference within just a few weeks. My flexibility was improving with each class!
In April, I officially joined Cindy and the other lovely ladies at fitness works with a nice mix of Pilates, boot camp, Zumba, and I continued Yoga with Farrah (my favorite)! Yoga started off as a way to become more flexible and strengthen my running. I can, without a doubt, say that it has done just that for me. But what I didn’t expect was the peace and clarity and overall balance that came with the practice. Yoga is beautiful for me. It’s becoming easier to quiet my busy mind and focus on the present moment. I know now more than ever that you have to strengthen from within first. It starts with a strong mind and the rest will follow. Every day I wake up, I will continue to choose love even when it’s hard and even when it seems like it’s not worth it. I will battle on! I am not embarrassed anymore to admit my instability because I will do what I have to do for me so I can continue trying to be good for those around me, that’s all I can do!
We are all more alike than we think and I am lucky to have met some beautiful people. I have an amazingly strong husband and support system that I can’t thank nearly enough!
I hadn’t had a marvelous weekend like this past one in such a long time. I didn’t have a great night out or go on vacation. I did realize that my life is being formed for the best, right in front of my eyes.
The most significant thing was I started teaching a hatha Yoga class (actually 2) at El Paso Community College. For now, I’ll be teaching for the summer session. but who knows, maybe it can lead to something permanent. I didn’t realize how huge of a deal this is until I went to go pick up my rosters for the classes. To see my name under “instructor” brought tears to my eyes.
I thought, wow, this is really becoming who I am. I do love it. I never expected that. It’s just something I love doing and I’m happy to do it everyday. Teaching yoga is something I love even more. I know many people are intimidated about yoga for so many different reasons. But when they do give it a try, and can’t wait for the next class, it warms my heart! It’s a feeling I can’t really describe. I just know this is what I’m here for.
My girls and I celebrated with treats perfect for a hot day. Bahama Buck’s shaved ice and smoothies. I had the coconut flavor, Amani had pink bubblegum and Chloe had a strawberry cheesecake smoothie. Delicious!
Sunday was actually a busier day than Saturday. I started my morning with a short run with some friends, 3 miles.
I have to admit, it wasn’t pleasant. I’m barely starting to get back into running. But I think I may need to scale it back and run only once a week for the time being. I can feel when my hip starts to shift and it’s mostly just an uncomfortable feeling. It has me frustrated. I know it will get better, but it’s hard to be patient.
Later on that morning, I went to a boot-camp class because I felt like I needed to get some strength training in. I blame stress! Plyometric exercises and weights always make me feel good.
Sunday afternoon I taught my first private yoga lesson. I really liked how I could explain the poses more based on the persons abilities and preferences. It was a lot of fun with less pressure for both myself and the client.
I now realize my love for all that is fitness and healthy living is coming together to form my career. With my hard work and persistence, I know I can succeed. There is no going back now. That’s how I want it.
With each class or training session, I become a little more confident as an instructor. I’m making more connections as well as friends. I can see some great opportunities coming my way. I’m very grateful for that. At the beginning of the year, I was very discouraged and unsure what direction my life was headed. Taking it day by day helped me stay positive.
Thank you friends for always encouraging me. Have a Marvelous Monday!
Hi my name is Farrah! Fairy Healthy Life is a healthy living blog where I am continuing my journey after losing 160 pounds. I love to run, practice yoga and finding the most nutritious food to give me energy to stay fit and healthy. Of course, I have my treats as well. I was born in Amman, Jordan and now live in El Paso, Texas. Questions? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org