Good afternoon, friends!
I have had a really nice week.
I am house sitting for my good friend and fellow health coach, Lindsay, and it has been glorious to have an entire house to myself to laze around in. I’ve had a constantly spotlessly clean kitchen, super quiet and long mornings, sleep-ins due to Lindsay’s thick curtains (I keep my windows pretty sheer because usually I like to wake up early but this week I’ve needed extra sleep so bad it was ridiculous), and a bunch of time and space to just think. I have been super busy since Super Strength Health went full time and full swing, and I love it, but time to pause is great too. Basically, I’m feeling good.
I’ve been thinking a lot about dietary choices and physical changes this week, because it seems to be coming up all around. Many of my clients have weight loss or weight gain goals. Some of my friends are making dietary changes, I’ve got the fall itch to do a new kind of sport or training plan.
I have a full length mirror in this house sit, and I was super shocked to see what the entirety of my body looks like when I caught sight of it, in a very positive way. It is straight up weird to look in the mirror for the first time in awhile and feel awesome, especially because I have had so, so much time mired in self hate. I have always believed in the process of exercising regularly and eating vegan, but I believe my physical changes are due to smarter exercise, lifting heavy, more rest days, lots and lots of sleep, and lowering my stress. In a nut shell, feeling good is making me look good. Holy shit is that easier said than done.
Here are the links!
I sincerely question if low carbohydrate diets are healthy for most people, and I am totally curious about the long term effects of such a regimented way of eating. (People probably say this about veganism, too, and I totally just eye roll. Are low carb-ers eye rolling at me? It’s okay if so).
I’ve tried a vegan/vegetarian version of a low carb diet, and good lord did I hate it. Many people I know use a low carb model and struggle, while others use a low carb model and thrive. I am totally cool with whatever works for you, but please read this article and consider what it says. Also, give me your feedback! I love hearing about people’s food choices.
I grew up privileged in a lot of ways (I’m white! I’m cis-gendered! I’m straight passing, even if not straight) but one thing I have struggled tremendously with is money. As I sit here typing to you, I am 150,000 dollars in student loan debt. I have a Master’s Degree. I am the first person in my family to go to college. I have made the choice between paying bills on time and buying groceries.
This short sound clip from NPR discusses the taxing nature of what scarcity does to our brains. Basically it says that living in poverty taxes the crap out of people, to the point where they feel like they are drowning. When I listened to it, I thought “DUH!”, but it occurs to me that the research and science behind this phenomenon are important to check out.
“If you’re reading this, and things are tough, we want you to know some facts right off the bat: that your body is YOURS, that consent is not a gray area, that it doesn’t matter what you were wearing, that fitting in isn’t as important as it seems (though caving to peer pressure isn’t the end of the world either), that you have the right to set and defend your own boundaries, that you have the right to have fun, that some things get better and other things, honestly, kind of don’t.”
This is a Tumblr platform that serves as a space for women who have been through terrible things to share their stories and to let other people who have gone through similar things know that it is not their fault. Jesus Christ, the entire site makes me sob, in a deep and real and super important way.
Sometimes hearing “I believe you, it’s not your fault” is the best thing possible.
So often, people come to me wanting weight loss, eating a very low amount of calories, exercising constantly, and wondering why the scale doesn’t budge.
The first thing I ask is “Why do you think you need to lose weight?” The second things I ask are “Are you taking enough rest days? How’s your sleep? What’s your stress level like?”
Weight is a funny thing. It changes when our lives aren’t great. It has something to do with food, but not nearly as much as you’d imagine. If you don’t eat enough, weight loss is going to become impossible reeeeeally quick. (Also, y’all know I am not like rah! rah! rah! Go weight loss!, right? The reality is, my services sometimes *do* help people lose weight, but I’m definitely not weight loss advocate of the century. It makes me nervous to mention weight loss in tandem with Super Strength Health because dudes, what I really do is help you feel more rad. That could result in weight loss, or weight gain, or weight maintenance. Get it? Good.)
Gena Hamshaw, you’ve done it again. For those triggered by talk of other people’s diets and exercise regimens, this is a perfect article for realigning your focus.
What other folks do has nothing to do with you. Keeping your eye on the holistic health of your body, mind, and heart is what’s most important.
Also, I love the shit out of every single one of you.
Have a good week!
I have an exciting announcement.
A few weeks ago, I teamed up with the very wonderful Melissa to produce an e-cookbook based on the awesomeness of anti-inflammatory foods. After a bunch of late-night brainstorming sessions and a good long back-and-forth volley of ideas, this week we finally got to the kitchen, working from morning ’til night to test, restest, plate, and photograph each one of our recipes. By September 15th, you will be able to hold our book in your hands. (provided you have a computer, phone, or tablet of course), and I couldn’t be more excited about the prospect.
Needless to say, it has been an incredible week, full of kitchen creativity and a healthy dose of working my ass off. I didn’t have much time to exercise (a challenge for me), and I ate our incredible food literally all day, every day to make sure it was absolutely perfect for YOU. (Hey, look at that! Another challenge.) Once again, I am left basking in gratitude for my recovery, as I know, without a fucking doubt, that if I were still stuck in the restrict-my-food-hate-my-body cycle of yesteryear, I would never EVER be able to make this thing a reality.
Ah, how satisfying.
On that note! Here are this week’s links:
Spoiler alert: when you’re self employed, “going to the office” means going to the coffee shop. Consequently, I loved this list, and now want to go on a national tour of caffeine consumption. Who’s in?!
I am usually not all about Buzzfeed lists, but this one was so catered to my interests that it was impossible to ignore. In addition to highlighting some of my favorites (Liz Prince! Nicole Georges!) it also introduced to a whole host of awesome new cartoonists. A++++.
I love Making Sense of Modern Fitness, because it is my go-to site for real-talk about the bullshit that goes on in the fitness industry. This article is a great little cheat sheet for figuring out what is review vs. what is advertisement, with a few links to sites that can be reliable sources of information. Kat encourages a degree of research and criticality that I think can be really helpful when making decisions about fitness!
Wow, I sure wish teen magazines had such useful information when I was reading them! This is great advice for people of any age.
Josey Ross is my favorite. This whip-smart lady pretty much can’t go wrong in my opinion (which is why I had her guest post not once, but TWICE, for Super Strength Health). This article discusses embodiment and how/why those socialized as male tend to possess more of that than those socialized as female. She goes on to explain how….you guessed it….weight lifting (<3) helped her to become more personally embodied. Holy shit, that’s relatable.
See you Next week!
I have left Oakland, people. Can you believe it? I hardly can.
I don’t really like to leave my comfort zone. (my town, my shack, my sleep routine, my partner, my friends, my gym, my ability to cook.) It takes a fucking lot to make any trip feel worth my while, and with this trip, I tried to back out of it multiple times. I was nervous about spending money, I hate to drive, I didn’t want to make the trek alone. But you know what?
I am seeing Beyonce tonight.
And no matter how you slice it, that completely rules.
So. Here I am. And because I love you, here is your Sunday Reading.
This podcast came to me at an absolutely perfect time. It discusses self-care, concrete and physical actions you can take to value yourself, and transforming your relationship with work, finances, and money. These are all things I am actively and acutely interested in, things that have been on my mind more often than not. Check it!
In honor of my date with Queen Bey tonight, I would like to highlight this speech by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on the incredible and beautiful importance of feminism for EVERYONE. I love that Beyonce introduced me to this genius, even though I continue to be a bit confused by her portrayal of punk rock (is that supposed to be punk rock? It’s not really the punk I know) in the accompanying video.
(REGARDLESS, tween girls have the word FEMINIST floating around in their heads. WORTH IT)
Thinking of fitness as a practice (like a yoga “practice”) has changed the way I experience exercise. I use my physical fitness routine as a way to keep myself attuned and aware of my body. I don’t use fitness to fight myself. This is, I imagine, why I will exercise as long as I possibly can.
Any art that features fabric is my JAM. I love the idea of repurposing an abandoned space and making a representation of what the space once was.
See you Monday!