Is It Time To Change Your Perspective?  

Before I got pregnant, I was deadlifting 240 lb. I was muscular, strong, and took pride in my abilities in the weight room. I had glutes that I was proud of, glutes that were strong enough for heavy squats, deadlifts, and kettlebell swings. 

Before I got pregnant, I could once do 8 unassisted chin ups. I did chin ups and pull ups nearly every day, just for fun. 

Before I got pregnant, I could run the full stadium at Harvard without breaks, and would do so at 6:30 am. 

Before I got pregnant, I could overhead press 85 lb. 

Now? I haven’t set foot in the weight room since I was about 8 months pregnant. I haven’t touched a barbell in months. I’ve been on exactly one run, and I can no longer do even one unassisted chin up. 

You might think I’m upset about this. 

And I could be, if it weren’t for one simple thing: perspective. 


Sure, I may be lifting right now with a 15 lb, a 16 kg (35 lb), and a 24 kg (53 lb) kettlebell, but here’s where perspective comes in: 

That 15 lb kettlebell felt heavy to me after my C-section and 6 week post op recovery time. I remember picking it up and being shocked and saddened at how heavy it felt. 

Now? It’s light again, and I now use it for warm up movements, like I used to. Progress. 

That 35 lb KB? That one felt like a monster after my postpartum recovery. I remember the first time I tried to do goblet squats with it, I felt like my core would never support me again. Now? They’re easy. It’s a moderate weight, and I’m using it for many movements, both single leg and double leg. I’ve moved on from using it for my KB swings, because I finally need something heavier. Progress. 

That 53 lb KB? Forget about that one after recovery– that felt like a dream and a lifetime away. Now? I’m using it for single leg RDLs, goblet squats, and KB swings. Progress. 

My push-ups have gotten stronger, my endurance better. 

My chin ups? Yes, those are coming back too, slowly but surely. 

None of these weights would have made me proud before. They would have been warm ups, helping me to prep and groove patterns for heavier weights. 

Now though? I am so proud of where I’m at and how far I’ve come so far. Considering I still haven’t stepped foot in a gym, and my workouts mostly consist of a few 20-30 min bursts throughout the week, I think I’ve done quite well. I may not be maxing out my big lifts anytime soon, but I’m seeing consistent progress, and that’s really all that matters. 

It doesn’t matter how much you could lift before X event, or how fast or long you could run, or how many muscle ups you could do. Life happens, we have ups and downs, and that’s just something we need to accept. If we’re always thinking back to our best and comparing ourselves now, that’s not fair. Your mind and your body change as you move throughout life. My body is not the same body that dead lifted 240 lb– it’s been through a whole lot since then, so how can I keep comparing my self now to myself then? In order to be fair to myself, I have to shift my perspective. I have to focus on where I’m at now, instead of where I was. 

As life changes, some obstacles get bigger, some get smaller, and some new ones crop up all together. With all of these things that change us, our bodies, our minds, it’s unfair to expect things to always go back to some ideal moment that you once had. I am far, far from that deadlift max right now. But to expect that from this body, my now body? Well that would be unfair. 

So if you’re feeling like you’re failing because you can’t do something you once could, or because you don’t look like you once did, think again. Think of what your body and mind have been through since that time, and focus on the progress you’re making now. Shift your perspective to the present, and you’ll probably find that you’re doing a lot better than you thought! 

Progress isn’t always perfect, and it’s not always linear. It’s not always even obvious. But take a moment to shift your perspective, and you might be pleasantly surprised at the amount of progress that you’ve made in this “now” version of you. 

Life changes and why I’m leaving athletic training 

Most people who are close to me know that I’ve recently undergone a huge life change (besides that whole growing and giving birth to a human). And the truth is, I’m still coming to terms with it myself, which is why it has taken me until now to write about it. 

After 11 years as an athletic trainer, I have decided to step away from not only a job that I loved very much, but from my career. This is the first time I’ve written that down, so I’m going to let that sink in for a minute. 

So why, if I loved this job, am I walking away? 

Some would say that it’s understandable since I’m now a mom. And yet others, I’m sure, will criticize my decision for that very same reason. To be honest, the raging feminist in me understands those criticisms, as ridiculous as they are. But the reason I am leaving has less to do with my daughter and more to do with a profession that does not lend itself to family life in any way. 

Many people will recall this blog post I wrote 5 years ago. In it, I praised my field and the many amazing opportunities that it has given me. To this day, all of those reasons still ring true. I’ve met some of the most important people in my life through this job. Case in point, I never would have met Will were it not for athletic training, and thus Isabelle would not exist either. So I cannot say that I regret the career path I chose, even though it is now coming to an end. 

Athletic training is a selfless profession– it’s one that demands long hours, late nights, early mornings, and holidays. It is one with little to no leniency, where you are at the beck and call of the coaches, administrators and athletes, no matter what. It’s a career that is demanding,often grueling, although rewarding. For someone like me, an empath, each day is an emotional investment, helping athletes through sometimes life altering injuries and recovery. And to be honest, this is why I loved it so much. I loved to connect with people and help them come out the other side in one piece. But this is also why I can’t do it anymore. 

To me, being a good athletic trainer meant giving all of myself to the job, for better or for worse. Athletes had access to me all the time through phone and text, events in my personal life would be missed (this was not by choice though). I became invested in each athlete and each injury on a level where it was hard for me to just walk away at the end of the day. I worried, I missed sleep, I spent hours researching possible outcomes, and I did so at the expense of my own personal time. 

I’m not saying that this is right or wrong, im just saying that this is how I knew how to be an athletic trainer. I couldn’t do it halfway. I couldn’t turn it off at 7 pm. 

But I also know that I wouldn’t be able to continue that and still have enough of myself for myself and my family long term. Yes, the schedule, constant changes due to weather or whim of a coach, late nights and–let’s face it– not nearly enough pay all factored into this decision as well. But beyond all of that, which seems an insurmountable collection of reasons alone, I knew that I couldn’t be the mother I wanted to be and the only AT I knew how to be. 

And for all of the shares I get on that old blog post, I hope people read this as well. Because I’m not trying to discourage any young people from becoming athletic trainers, I just want them to be aware of the whole picture when they make that decision. It’s an amazing, gut wrenching, exciting, mentally stimulating, challenging, yet deeply flawed profession. It hurts me to walk away, yet it also feels quite freeing, and I don’t think I’m alone in having these feelings. 

Some out there will criticize the way I practiced. They’ll say I dug myself into a hole and created my own path to burn out. Maybe that’s true, maybe it’s not. But I do know that I gave everything to my career for the past 11 years, and now it’s time to refocus. 

So what’s next? Well, along with being a mom, I do have some exciting projects in the proverbial vault, and I’ll let you all in on those in another post very soon. Suffice it to say, I hope for this blog to be a building block for bigger things, and I can’t wait to get started moving forward. 

Let’s Talk About The C Word 

Nope, not that C word. 

Get your mind out of the gutter. 

I’m talking about the word that so many women don’t give to themselves enough, the word that is so important for taking care of yourself. 

Compassion. 


I can’t even count the amount of times that I hear women refer to themselves with strong, negative language such as hate, ugly, fat, wobbly, and the list goes on and on. And it tends to get even worse right around and after the holidays, as we’re faced with the prospect of a new year and old goals that may not have been met. 

For those who are struggling to lose weight or who are just unhappy with how they look or feel, the seemingly endless temptations between Thanksgiving and New Years can seem like torture, like constant reminders that they still have a long way to go. 

Then add in the pressure of resolutions, declarations of change, and pressures put on us by ourselves and society, and we’ve got a perfect storm of body insecurity. The key here is not to simply stop making goals or seclude ourselves from popular culture, but instead to treat our bodies and our minds with compassion. To realize all of the wonderful and difficult things we do each day, to acknowledge all of the hard work we’ve put in to get where we are, even if it’s not where we want to be.

 Compassion for our jiggly arms, soft stomach, and cellulite thighs. Compassion for our seemingly inability to work out as many days each week as we plan to. Compassion for our wandering, competitive minds who compare us to every other woman we see in the gym, in the store, on the train. 
These things are reality. Most of us will never be super model thin or fitness model lean. We will not have perfect arms or legs or butts or thighs. We will have arms that hold our babies, legs that carry us through life, and abs that have been formed through years of laughter. We accomplish beautiful things every single day, yet the hateful language continues despite these successes. 

Show your body some compassion and acceptance for what it does, not hatred  for what it doesn’t do or for what it doesn’t have. Are you hating your post baby body? Cut yourself a little bit of slack and think about what your body has done for you. You grew a human, and then put your body through trauma to get that human out, no matter how smoothly the birth went. Trauma needs time to heal, and more than time, it needs compassion and care. 

Beating your exhausted body up with workouts every day isn’t the answer; a traumatized body will not be beaten back into submission, trust me. You’ll just end up injured and even more frustrated than before. 

And this goes for returning from an injury or picking back up after life stresses. 

Acknowledge what your body has been through, get in some healthy, restorative movement as often as possible, and build gradually. Fitness after a life change or stressful time isn’t about getting back to “normal” as quickly as possible, it’s about nurturing yourself to allow for gradual, healthy change. 

On the other hand, some people just feel like they’ve been doing everything right for so long and are just not seeing the results they want. Why bother with the hard stuff if you still hate what you see in the mirror? Because results take time, the process is slow, and there is so much value in acknowledging the process as you go along. It can be hard to remember when you’re in the thick of it, but major change does not happen all at once. It is created through a series of tiny, minuscule steps and victories along the way. 

Showing yourself compassion and recognizing these baby steps is the key to not driving yourself absolutely insane when results seem so far away. I often recommend that people set a reflection time once per week to stop and think about these small steps and accomplishments. Write them down where you can reference them each week. And over time, you’ll start to see those building blocks add up to bigger successes. 

Ignoring these small steps in lieu of wanting bigger results is akin to wanting fresh baked cookies but getting angry when you realize that you have to follow a recipe first, step by step. You can’t get the end product without all of the small steps in between, and the small steps are what matter in the long run. Speed through that recipe and forget the baking Sosa or salt, and you’ll end up with some pretty unformed  and bland cookies just because you couldn’t take the time to complete the small, necessary steps to getting quality cookies. Now you’ve wasted your time and you have nothing to show for it. 

Ok ok, enough about cookies, but do you see my point? 

It doesn’t matter if you lose 20 lb if you beat yourself up constantly to get there. That end game will leave you tired, frustrated, and wondering why you don’t feel better even though you reached a goal. If you start out from a place of hate, how do you expect that to turn into happiness and acceptance just because the scale reads a certain number? Hating your body every time you look in the mirror does not just go away once the scale hits the number that you want. If that’s how you’ve conditioned your brain to think, it will continue, and the goals met will never be enough– it’s a vicious cycle. Practicing your compassion, acknowledging the small successes along the way, and recognizing positive things about yourself will help you to appreciate yourself, even if goals are not quite met or change over time. 

We are not numbers on a scale, we are not the size of our jeans or the presence (or not) of fat; we are so much more than that. But the beautiful things that we are are often overshadowed by the things that we’re not, especially when it comes to size and shape. Show yourself compassion. Recognize and celebrate the small steps, the challenges that you face every day, and the magnificent ways that you navigate through this crazy thing called life. Because it’s not easy, none of this is, and that’s why the little things deserve celebrating, and you deserve compassion from the person who is least likely to give it to you: yourself. 

Change the conversation 

For those of you who have daughters, they are listening. 

If you don’t have a daughter, but you spend any amount of time around young girls, they are listening. 

Whether she’s 10 hours old, 10 weeks old, or 10 years old, she’s listening. And it’s time to change the conversation. 


My daughter Isabelle is almost 3 months old. She doesn’t talk yet, of course, but she listens to me talk all day long. She’s picking up language and building connections in her brain, connections that will someday allow her to not only understand what I’m saying, but to speak words herself. And I want to make sure that the words that she’s understanding, and the connections she is making, have nothing to do with my self worth due to the way my body looks. 

The other day, we were in the kitchen, and I was chatting away like always. 

“Mama needs to get a workout in!” I smiled at her. 

“Mama needs to get a workout in so that I don’t get f…..” 

I looked at her looking at me, and stopped my sentence short. Of course the F word I was about to say, I’m embarrassed to admit, was “fat”. After all that I preach about working for health and energy for yourself– I was about to reduce that all to that one demeaning word. 

No, she can’t really understand yet what “fat” means. She can’t say the word, or tell me what it means. But she’s listening. 

In that moment I realized that my responsibility in that conversation is so much bigger than how I feel on any given day. It’s so much bigger than anything to do with me, because how I finish that sentence over time could determine how she feels about herself for the rest of her life. I make a point to tell her daily how strong she is. How smart she is. How brave and successful she’ll be some day. Yes, I also tell her she’s cute and pretty, but those are not the focus of my time with her. But how often do I speak about myself that way to her? It can’t be “mama needs to workout because she doesn’t want to get fat”. It needs to be “mama wants to workout because it makes her feel strong”. “Mama gets to exercise and it makes her feel powerful”. 

We have to change the conversation, and it starts with how we speak to ourselves. 

My body is not the same after having Isabelle, and it might not be for quite some time.  My weight is exactly where it used to be, but everything else isn’t. My body shape and composition has changed, and there are days that I struggle with how much work it will take to build my strength back up. 

But I can’t put that on her. She’s listening. 

She’s listening to every mention of the word fat, to every mumble about my glutes disappearing. She’s watching every time I look at my belly in the mirror or give my thighs a little squeeze. Those things might mean nothing to her now, but over time they will. And the last thing I want is to someday walk in on her giving her own thighs a disappointing squeeze, or offering up a sharp criticism of her abs. 

We are so much more than that. We are so much more than hips or bellies or cellulite. We are strong, independent, brave, powerful, intelligent, and kind. We are generous, thoughtful, inquisitive, and honest. All of these things are what I want Isabelle to strive for–  not how much fat she can pinch between her fingers. It’s up to me (us) to change this conversation and to take our bodies out of it completely. 

Because we are so much more than that. 

And they are listening. 

Don’t Fall For These Holiday Health Scams

Oh, the holidays. 

The 6 weeks out of the year between Thanksgiving and New Years when health and fitness scams are at an all time high. 

Ate too many Christmas cookies? Lose all the weight and 10 lb more by following this diet! 

Went a little too wild at one too many holiday parties? Detox with this magical tonic and lose 20 lb! Oh, you don’t need to lose 20 lb? YES YOU DO. 

Too much pie and not enough exercise? Just follow my 1000 burpees-a-day plan and you’ll be shredded in no time! 

Exaggeration, yes. But unfortunately, none of these are that far off on what people will try to sell you around this time. So today, we’re talking about those health lies and fitness scams, and how to spot them. 


The first, and most obvious rule is this: 

If it sounds too good to be true, it definitely is. 

Even though that’s a rule that most of us follow in our daily lives, when it comes to health and fitness, many people have a tendency to buy into hype and promises, no matter how far fetched a plan may seem. I think it’s just because we all want to believe that there’s an easy way out there. But trust me, if there was a magic pill, diet, or shake, it wouldn’t be a secret. 

Remember The Cookie Diet? Bingo. 

If they claim extraordinary results with minimal effort, it’s too good to be true. Likewise, if they promise something that makes you think “why doesn’t everyone use this if it works so well?”, it’s too good to be true. And if it comes in pill or powder form, you guessed it, it’s too good to be true.

Other red flags for health scams:

Specific results promised within a specific time frame. 

The truth is, every human body is different and responds differently to fat loss techniques. What works for your best friend may not work for you and vice versa. Just because Joe Schmoe got X results with Y strategy, you are in no way guaranteed the same results. In fact, I can almost guarantee you won’t get the same results.

So any plan or trainer that tells you that if you follow these rules for a specified amount of time, you’ll see these specific results? Yeah, they’re lying. 

Lose 10 lb in 2 weeks with this special diet! This, my friends, is a scam. Run away, and run away fast. 

You must do THIS exact thing to see results.  

Along those same lines, any trainer who tells you that you have to work out at a certain time of day, or eat a specific breakfast every day, or do one particular exercise in order to reach your goals is not worth your time or precious money. There is no one size fits all option when it comes to health and fitness, and if your trainer treats you exactly the same as every other client they have, you’re getting a raw deal. Health and fitness, and especially fat loss, cannot be cookie cutter from person to person. 

A magic pill, shake, supplement, etc without changing anything else in your life. 

Again, there is no magic. If you’re told that you can reach your body goals by taking a pill or mixing up some powder every morning, and that you don’t have to change anything else about your life, don’t even give it a second thought. It does not work, I promise. Even if it’s backed by your favorite celebrity or fitness guru, it Does. Not. Work. Fat loss and body change is hard work, and it’s an all encompassing project. Fitness, nutrition, lifestyle, environment– it all plays a role. And anyone who tells you different, will also probably try to sell you on my next red flag… 

Using the phrase long and lean. 

Want to spot a fitness con artist in one second? Look for someone who promises that their workout plan will make your muscles long and lean. This is impossible, yet it’s a goal sought after by many. You cannot make your muscles (or your arms, legs, or torso) longer. You cannot buy yourself the body of a ballet dancer if you’re not genetically built like one already. This is one of the oldest fitness scams in the book, but unfortunately many women still fall into the long and lean trap. Can we let this one go in 2017, please? 

Detox

The word alone makes me twitch. Anyone who tells you that you need their product to help your body detox from all of the sinful torture you’ve put it through is flat out lying to you. Human bodies have evolved to have a masterful detoxification system– it’s called your liver. You do not need to starve and survive on juice for 3 days in order to take advantage of this wonderful organ of yours, it does its job quite well on its own! Imagine that. To put it quite simply, I’m pretty sure the phrase “juice cleanse” is one of the biggest assaults against the true health and fitness industry. Don’t waste your time, money, or sanity, especially not in the name of health. 

So with all of these scams and lies out there, how can you reach your body and health goals? Good old fashioned hard work. It’s not catchy, it’s not sexy, and there’s certainly not anything to trademark. But there are real life results that you can’t get from a pill or powder. It’s hard, and it takes time, but you can do it. The right way. 

Calling All Moms: Facebook Community

Let’s face it: momming is hard.

And it’s not just hard because you’re caring for tiny humans, it’s hard because while caring for those tiny humans, we often forget or don’t have time to take care of ourselves.

Pregnancy can leave you with changes to your body that you never expected, and the postpartum period can leave you feeling out of sorts, and worried that you’ll never be the same again. And the thing is, maybe you won’t! But that’s not meant to discourage you– your body went through something incredibly difficult, and may not go back to the exact shape or size it was before pregnancy.

But, and this is a big, big but:

That is okay! We’re not meant to go back, we’re meant to move forward. And if forward means different, all you can do now is do your best to get to where you want to be for yourself.

Another truth about mommyhood though, is that it can be pretty isolating at times, am I right? So what we all need at some point is a community. A tribe, a village, whatever you want to call it, we moms need to be there for eachother. We need to lift eachother up when we’re having a rough time, and we need to provide eachother with the support needed not only to take care of our littles, but ourselves as well.

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This is why I’ve started I Train Therefore I Eat:Mommy Style, a Facebook group that is meant to be a supportive community for moms and moms to be who might need a little help on their health and fitness journey. We can take care of the little ones better if we’re doing well ourselves, and this is a place to help you do just that!

Motivation, support, challenges, wins, fails– we’ll discuss it all. We’re all going through the same things, and whether your baby is 6 weeks old or 6 years old, it doesn’t get any easier to do it on your own!

So please, join us and help build a community where we can be strong together, supportive of one another, and we can all get back to feeling our best one small step at a time. Click on the link above, search the group on Facebook, or click here to join.

See you there!