Welcome to Food, Fitness, & Fun AJ’s Style

Welcome to Food, Fitness, & Fun–AJ’s Style! I’m AJ and what I want to tell you is I’ve always loved working out and eating healthy, but that would be a BIG FAT LIE! Somewhere along the way though, I realized I had to make some changes or I was going to have to deal with some serious consequences.

Back in my late 20’s, I popped a disk in my low back which consistently limits my ability to do certain things. But being the hard-headed southern woman that I am, in my early 30’s I took up running and was in the best shape of my life. What’s bad about that? High impact exercise is the best way to re-injure an already weak spine. I ended up back in physical therapy and was told, “No more running.” I became depressed and let myself go.

Fast forward to a few years ago and I began working out again. As the pounds started to come off, my energy level began to rise and I started to feel good again. Then I started a desk job and fell in love with my now husband all within a month of each other. Well being the southern woman that I am, that meant I cooked for my man and ate just as much as he did. Hello 25 more pounds!

Now we’re married, I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been, and my 40th birthday is quickly approaching. Over the past few months I have started making little changes to get myself healthy again. But I discovered two things along the way: 1) Healthy food does not have to be tasteless. 2)Getting fit can be fun!

I’m still early in my journey, but my energy level is already rising and I’m feeling tons better. I’m also doing a load of research which is helping me to make better lifestyle choices, cause trust me friend–diets don’t work!

So this blog is my way of sharing what I am learning along the way with you. I hope you’ll drop in often as I will share recipes, how I’m utilizing apps, fun ways to lose weight, and the truth about being healthy. (Here’s a little hint: You cannot sit on the couch and eat junk food, pop a diet pill, and expect to be healthy. Oh! And skinny does not equal healthy either.)

I’ll end with this: When we were kids we loved to go out and play. So instead of doing some workout you hate, figure out what you enjoy and go do it! Whether it’s skating, swimming, busting a move in your living room, riding a bike, playing Twister, or hula hooping–just do something to get up and get moving!

First blog postJust Working on My Fitness

When Illness Knocks You Flat on Your Back

It stinks that after I have made great progress to get healthy, I caught a bacterial infection in my lower intestines. I never want to spend that much time in the bathroom again. I missed a week of not only work, but of my life. I’m now on antibiotics and considering I’ve kept some food in my system, hopefully on the road to recovery.

With that being said, I know I still have to take it slow. This is the first day I’ve actually felt human. I lost 6 pounds in 5 days. It still winds me to move from the bed to the couch. Considering how active I had become, this is a huge setback for my health goals. Not knowing how long I’ll be down, I figured I’d do a little research on the timeline I’m facing to get back to the progress I’ve already made.

Here are a couple of articles I found:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/504794-getting-back-to-the-gym-after-being-sick/
http://www.shape.com/fitness/tips/how-to-exercise-after-being-sick

I’m definitely going to have to take it slow. It may be 2 to 3 weeks or more before I’m at the level I had achieved, which is discouraging, but I won’t let it stop me. Just got to take it one day at a time. And right now, I need a nap.

The Struggle is Real

Changing your overall lifestyle towards making healthy choices is way more challenging when you’re in it alone. I do great with my food choices all day until I get home at night. I don’t know if it’s because my husband and son aren’t on the same path with me, if it’s I’m tired and my resolve waivers, or both, but I need a better game plan for my evening. 

I notice if I hit the gym after work, I’m more likely to be more mindful of what I’m putting into my body. (Oh, I do log everything I eat in an Fitness Pal app.) This past week was even more difficult because my husband’s birthday was Thursday; he started bringing home sweets on Tuesday. 

Then he requested his birthday dinner be bacon grilled cheese hamburgers. For those who don’t know, that’s bacon in grilled cheese sandwiches and those sandwiches are used in place of a bun for the hamburger. Of course I ate one, y’all! Ugh! It was so tasty but my body didn’t like it. Too much meat and too fatty. My belly has been gurgling for 2 days now! 

The point is, I have got to do better in the evenings. After I post this, I’m looking into healthier recipes and planning my meals for the week. More chicken and pork, less red meat. I also need to learn how to cook fish and I don’t mean fried. The South is cursed with all things fried, and I have a confession: this Southern gal prefers grilled or baked to fried any day of the week. Thank ya, Lord! That’s one obstacle I don’t have to overcome! Hahaha! 

At any rate, this week’s goals are to eat healthier evening meals, watch my portions, and find a local buddy to be my partner in this journey to healthy, fit, and strong. Time to make my menu for the week and hit the gym! Thanks for reading!

Listen to Your Body to Avoid Injury

Over the past week, I hit a wall due to some female issues and hormonal issues that are getting worse with age. I’ve scheduled a doctor’s appointment in the coming weeks so I can get these issues in check because I want NOTHING to get in the way of my fitness goals.

I did go to the gym towards the end of the week and did some fantastic cardio (row machine, Jacob’s ladder, treadmill), did some kettlebell work, triceps rope pushdowns, and cable curls, along with a few reps of free weights to work my arms. Overall, I felt amazing once I was done. 

The next day, I knew I wanted to work my legs and I was going to coerce my son to go to the gym with me, but then I thought better. Instead, I took us skating. Now at first I thought this would just work my legs, but as I was out there on the floor I could feel my abs and back muscles engaging as well as my shoulder muscles. It ended up being a full body workout and we had a blast! 

Mind you, I did fall a few times trying to teach myself to skate backwards and turn circles; I even landed in a full on split one time, but it was worth it.

Well, it was until later on last night and this morning. I can barely move! We spent almost an hour and a half in full skate mode and my out of shape body is paying the price today. And that’s part of my problem—I don’t know when to say when. 

I could tell I was wearing out and that last time I fell, as soon as it happened, I knew I could have prevented it by calling it a day twenty minutes sooner. It is tricky for me to find the balance between “mind over muscle” and listening to my body. 

Sometimes I do need to convince myself to just do one more squat or one more dumbbell lift. But when my body is shaking, my low back is throbbing, my feet are nearly bleeding (the skates were low quality), my knee is swelling from landing on it numerous times, and my hamstrings and quadriceps are feeling like jelly, then I know I’ve pushed it too far. 

So today was definitely rest day. And tomorrow, depending on how I’m feeling, instead of high cardio and lots of weights, it may be a Pilates or yoga day. One thing I am learning is to pay close attention to my body; this way, I will avoid injury and continue to grow stronger.