The Fit Life, LLC

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sometimes it's hard to do something good

Today's post is going to be a bit different than the usual fitness and nutrition posts. Today I want to talk about another important part of my life--being a pet foster parent.

I've been fostering cats for about a year and a half now. It all started when I noticed a lot of feral cats were hanging out in the woods behind our house. I decided to trap them, and put them through our county's TNR (trap, neuter, release) program. It's really the most humane thing you can do for feral cats. If they've been feral their whole life, they will most likely never warm-up to and trust humans. But, at least if they are neutered they will not reproduce. I also set up a little heated shelter and feeder for them outside.

I noticed that one of the cats who frequented the feeder, didn't really seem feral. While she wouldn't let me touch her, she would stick around when I went outside. I had already trapped and released two males, but once I noticed her I saw that she was already very round. She'd toss me a meow now and then. So I decided to gain her trust so I could bring her inside to have her babies. Soon she learned to trust me, and I was able to put her in a carrier and bring her inside. About three weeks later, she had a litter of five kittens (and a few weeks after that, we took in another kitten whose mother had abandoned him, so that our Mama kitty could nurse him).

I loved this new little family of mine with all my heart. I watched them grow, and develop little personalities. But with three household cats of our own, I knew I needed to find them all homes. And through networking (Facebook, people I know from work, etc.), I did. And at eight weeks old, they all went to live with their furever families. And it broke my heart. Every time one left, I'd sit in our kitten foster room and cry.

But after a week or so of going into that empty kitten room, it got better. It hurt less.

Soon, a friend called about a community of cats that needed help. A lady had been taking care of them, but she passed away. Now they were outside, roaming the neighborhood. She asked if there was a chance I could foster some of them, and try to find them homes.

I went over with my cat carrier. I was only able to trap one adult male named Shyly. His ear was notched, so I knew he had been neutered. I figured a somewhat wild, adult male would be a challenge, but I would try. I didn't even know if he was litter box trained.

Now the kitten room wasn't empty anymore. Mr. Shyly had taken up residence.

It took Shyly awhile to adjust, but he did. After a week or so I was able to get him to the vet for screening (all fosters must be screened for diseases so they don't make our resident cats sick).

While Shyly was still in residence, the same friend called with another cat in need--a young Calico named Poppy. (Since Shyly was neutered, I didn't have to worry ending up with another litter).

Poppy and Shyly actually got along really well, and made great companions.

Poppy was a great kitten ( ~ 6 months old). I loved having her here; however, neither cat had any prospects for an adoptive home. I was afraid I had bitten off more than I could chew, and would have two cats living in our spare room forever.

But I kept networking/sharing their pictures, and sure enough, a friend (a friend I consider as much a crazy cat lady as myself) wanted Shyly! Hurray! Shyly (now Cinna) so deserved to live as a spoiled indoor cat.

Meanwhile I was becoming very attached to Poppy. I was starting to convince myself I could slowly integrate her into our household. When one of the adopters from that first litter expressed interest in adding Poppy to their household, I almost told them she wasn't available. But I realized that the best thing for Poppy was to let her be adopted. We already have three demanding kitties (and two ferrets).

Again, sending her off broke my heart. It made me really sad for awhile. But the pain lessened, and I knew I had found another cat a new forever home that would be a really good fit for her.

So, why am I writing this other than to show off pictures of my beautiful foster children?  Well, because I'm in that sad place right now. I have a litter of four kittens and a mama who are leaving today and tomorrow.  Over the last eight weeks several people have told me they could just never do this. "How can you give those kittens away? Aren't you keeping any of them?" "I would just keep them all!" 

Believe me, there have been many times during the last few weeks--as I thought about these kittens (and mama) leaving that I thought, "No way! I'm keeping them all!!! I can't do it!" But two left this morning. One is leaving this evening, and Mama Callie and the final one leave tomorrow.

It's hard. It's heartbreaking. I cry when they leave. And when I go into that empty kitten room tomorrow, I will feel empty. But next week, it won't hurt quite so much. I might even appreciate not having to get up even earlier on my early mornings to scoop litter boxes and take care of five other cats. And in a few weeks, I'll probably see another opportunity to help a cat live a better life. And I'll start the whole process again.

So if you are one of the people who say, "I could never do that! I would just keep them all." Maybe think about it some more. Callie was found on a busy street, playing in traffic. Tomorrow she's going (with one of her kittens) to live with a big family--to have a great life.

Sometimes you have to go through the hurt to do something you're passionate about.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Musings of a 40-Something Fitness Instructor: Ah-Choooo-Uh Oh!

The first time it happens it's a little horrifying. You're walking along...maybe it's allergy season, or
you have a cold. Then it happens--the sneeze pee.

With any luck, you're wearing black pants (or more likely, black yoga pants). You're like, "What in the hell just happened?"

I'll be honest. I thought I was immune. I thought only women who had had babies dealt with the sneeze pee. Not so. It's something many women of a certain age deal with (I've talked to a few childless friends in their 30's who have already experienced this phenomenon).

I don't think there's a cure. It's not like those muscles are out of shape--I'm a Pilates instructor for goodness sake. I know all about my sit bones and my pelvic floor.  I do my Kegels!

And it's not just sneezing! There's the coughing fit pee, jump roping pee, jump squat pee...

My husband and I decided to check out the local trampoline place one date night. (Yes, we were the oldest people there--other than the parents sitting in the waiting area).  I thought, "It's a trampoline--nice, soft landing--no problem." Problem. Ladies, if you are going to go jump on a trampoline or add a little jump roping to your workout, WEAR A PANTY LINER OR PAD!

Some other tools of the trade:

Cross your legs when you sneeze or cough. Yes, even if you're walking down the sidewalk, stop and cross your legs. You may look a little funny (other women will nod and relate, standing by you in solidarity), but not as funny as the wet spot on your pants.

Always pee before jumping (or running, or bouncing of any kind). It's not a guarantee, but it will help.

I keep looking at the ads, but I haven't taken the plunge yet (I plan to), but buy some of those period panties or the undies for "women who tinkle". Seriously, let's just do it. Order them right now.

And when it happens, just realize you're not alone so don't be too embarrassed.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Musings of a 40-Something Fitness Instructor: Weighing In

I like to think that I'm a strong, confident woman. Mentally, I know I am. And I'm proud of my
fitness and activity level. And I truly do think that self-love is so important. Be proud of you for whatever you do best.

But deep down, I'm still obsessed with my weight and that damn scale. I've had body image problems since junior high (because, man, junior high kids can be mean). I also work in the fitness industry, so I do feel there is pressure to look the part (and I'm a 40-something fitness instructor, not a 20-something one). If people are paying me money to get them fit--I need to look the part. 

I've been a personal trainer since my late 20's. Back then I worked with many women in their 40's, and they would tell me how hard it is to keep the weight off now that they are in their 40's. I'd keep telling them it's just a matter of calories in versus calories out! Just keep at it! I'd now kind of like to punch that trainer in the face. 

The fact is, it does get much harder in your 40's (even in your mid 30's). Your hormones are doing wacky things now. Your testosterone and estrogen levels are going down--along with your metabolism. The effort to keep the weight off is much greater. The fact is you really have to change the way you eat and exercise. I eat better and exercise more than I ever did in my 20's, and keeping weight off is a constant struggle. I've pretty much had to break-up with bread and pasta unless I'm doing endurance training (i.e. long distance running). Keeping carbs low is what works for me. It may be something different for you. We're all different, and our bodies all respond to different things.

When it comes to checking weight, men and women could not be more different. My husband (Mark) and I belong to a health incentive program through his company. You get prizes for tracking your exercise, weight, measurements, etc.

One night after dinner, my husband gets on the scale.
"What are you doing?" I ask.

“ I just want to get my weight so I can get my points for this month.”

“But, it’s evening and we just had dinner!”


I’m flabbergasted. 

There are strict requirements when I weigh-in:

  • Yesterday had to be a good day food and exercise-wise.
  • It must be first thing in the morning before I've eaten any food,  and after I have…errr….taken care of business. My body needs to be as empty as possible.
  • I must be as close to naked as possible. This includes hair ties, headbands, and my FitBit.
  • If at all possible, I weigh on a morning where all of the above are true, plus I’ve done some fasting cardio.

The only exception to this rule is if I’m weighing in at the very start of a weight-loss challenge or something. Then I need to see some results to stay motivated. So, my initial weigh-in can be at night after a big meal (but it’s still going to depress me).

Recently, after Mark and I spent a week and a half eating and drinking our way through San Francisco and wine country, we both got on the scale. We realized we had put on a decent amount of weight. I talked him into going low carb with me for a month or so until we were back to where we wanted to be. He reluctantly agreed--the man lives on bread and pasta. 

We did our weigh-in at night--after eating (that's how it's done)! After three days of both of us behaving very well, we got back on the scale. He was down eight pounds. I was down one. It's been about a month now. I'm still down just the one--he's back at his goal weight. 

Sometimes men really tick me off. 


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sleep, Sweet Sleep

After pretty much a lifetime of insomnia problems (that just keep getting worse and worse), I finally broke down and went to a sleep doctor today. I'm not sure what I was expecting. I thought they would sign me up for one of those overnight stays at a sleep clinic--maybe give me some drugs (I'm typically not a fan of prescription drugs, but I'm getting a little desperate). I've tried every natural sleep remedy (Valerian Root, Melatonin, 5HTP, chamomile, lavender, cardamon and warm milk, meditations, sound machine), but sleep alludes me.

I assumed I'd get advice like:  Don't read on your tablet before bed; shut off the t.v. an hour before bed; cut back on your caffeine (I've tried switching to decaf before).

I didn't hear any of these things. I kind of wish I had.

The doctor said that I need to re-program my brain for sleep. And then listed how to go about doing that.

So first, I'd like to apologize ahead of time for the royal b*tch I'm going to be for the next six weeks (well, six weeks starting after the 4th. I have some special plans over the holiday weekend).

The doctor says there are two rules:

1. The bed is for two things, and two things only--sleep and sex. If I'm not doing one of those two things, I shouldn't be in the bed.

2. For the next six weeks I must go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning.

Easy huh?

Well, except that I have to go with my earliest morning since I can't very well sleep through my career. And my earliest morning is 4:30am.  So instead of counting the days until I get to sleep in, I will be setting my alarm (Saturdays and Sundays too) for 4:30am every morning. Based on the fact that I'm sleeping 3 1/2 - 5 1/2 hours a night right now, bedtime will be at 10:30pm (I typically head upstairs between 9pm and 9:30pm when I have to be up at 4:30am).

The thought is that right now I'm spending 8 hours in bed, but I'm only sleeping half of that. So, no more than six hours in bed so my body can learn to sleep during that six hours. Once I start sleeping well for six hours, I can increase my sleep in 15 minute increments.

No reading in bed (currently, I read in bed every night). And if I'm in bed and find I can't sleep, I'm to get up and go to another room to read, watch tv, etc. If I wake up during the night (which I currently do all the time) and can't go back to sleep, I'm to get up and go to another room to read or something. In four to six weeks, my body/brain should be cooperating. And bed should = sleep.

If it means that I will eventually be able to get a good night's sleep, it will be well worth it. Because there are times I am so sleep deprived I feel like I'm losing my mind. Plus, my cortisol levels are so out of whack, the lack of sleep is making it impossible to take on weight. At 45, I really don't need any extra hormone imbalances.

So join me as I embark on this sleep program (I guess a bonus is that I have something new to blog about!) And with bedtime being only 6 hours out of a 24 hour day, that's 18 hours to accomplish other things! (When I'm not in a grumpy, comatose state).

So stay tuned for more on my sleep journey!

"O sleep! O gentle sleep!Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids downAnd steep my senses in forgetfulness?"-Henry IV, Part 2 (Act 3, Sc. i), Shakespeare

Monday, November 3, 2014

Recipe Post: Spaghetti Squash "Chicken" Enchiladas--Veganized!

This recipe was definitely a winner in our little household--even the ferret was checking it out (she didn't get any). But first, let me give credit to the two sites that inspired the dish (check out some of the other spaghetti squash ideas): and

I tend to get into a spaghetti squash rut. I bake it, throw some marinara on it, and call it a meal. I've gone creative a few times, but I needed some new ideas. There are some great ones on the above sites! I took the chicken enchilada one and customized it for us (mainly making it vegan). We don't use the fake meats a lot, but I just had to try this recipe--and it turned out really well!

1 large organic spaghetti squash
1 can of organic black beans
package of meatless chicken of your choice
big handful of organic spinach
1 jar of enchilada sauce (I used Trader Joe's. The closet cooking site above has a homemade recipe. The jar was just a time-saver for me).
Daiya's Havarti with jalapenos

Other than the cooking time for the spaghetti sauce, this is quick and easy.

Slice the spaghetti sauce horizontally so you have to nice squash boats (once you remove the seeds). Bake the squash for an hour at 350 degrees.

Thaw the "chicken" strips. Drain and rinse the black beans. Cut up the big handful of spinach (removing the big stems). I also chopped up the "chicken" strips so they were a bit smaller. Put them in a mixing bowl. Pour in the enchilada sauce, and mix it all up.

Once the squash has finished cooking, fill the boats with the enchilada mixture.
(At this point, I had to head out for about 45 minutes. So, I turned the oven off, but left the stuffed squash in the oven while I was gone so that the mixture would get warm. Otherwise, I would simply stuff the squash, and put them back in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes until the mixture is heated).

Turn the oven to broil, and sprinkle pieces of Daiya cheese on the top. Broil until the cheese is nice and melted.

Enjoy! I have plenty left-over for another meal (Mark does not).

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Some big changes for The Fit Life, LLC

Some big changes are being unveiled at The Fit Life, LLC this week!

First, is a new website. I no longer have the website that looks like it was put together in the early 90's by someone who has had one web design class ( I have...back in the early 90s). It's simple, but clean. And I believe all the information you need is there. The payment page is still in progress, but will be up-to-date very soon. I may continue to expand on it, but for now, it covers what I need. Please, check it out. (Let me know if you see any spelling or grammatical boo boos. I've been staring at it for too long). 

If you've ever wondered why I do what I do...what got me there, read the "About" page.

Some other changes...

Dog Fit!

You'll notice that Dog Fit! is no longer on my site. While I do still have a handful of doggy clients, I will no longer be promoting Dog Fit! as part of my business. I love my little canine clients, but between the hours I'm putting in at the Rec. Center, my personal training clients, and a host of other things (cost of gas), I just can't take on anymore canine clients at this time. 

And to be quite honest, with this career, my entire day is physical. By Friday, I'm simply physically exhausted. And since my hobbies are also very physical, it's starting to lead to injuries. So I need to watch how much more physical stuff I take on (for awhile, I was putting in about 8 miles a day of running/walking with canine clients. It was just too much). 

As a fitness professional, I have been approached by pretty much every supplement company out there to sell supplements: Advocare, Body by Vi, Beachbody, Amway, etc. And I have held strong to my conviction that I do not want to sell supplements. I just think if you want a nutritious shake, you should throw some organic fruits and vegetables in the blender...maybe a pure hemp protein without additives. If it has ingredients I don't recognize, I don't want it in my body. Plus, many contain sucralose (Splenda) which makes me violently ill. I just don't trust it. Others contain dairy--which I try to keep to a minimum in my life. Otherwise, talk to your doctor/nutritionist/hormone specialist about what you might need. 

Essential oils, on the other hand, are something I use on a daily basis to live a more natural life--free from harmful chemicals. I use them in making beauty products, cleaning products, for health and wellness. So I believe being a DoTerra rep. is a good fit for me. 

You will see, if you go to my DoTerra page, they do sell some supplements/vitamins/etc. And while you are certainly more than welcome to purchase them from my site, I won't be specializing in those things. I will focus my education on the oils (and that's what I will most likely have samples of if you wish to try them). 

What I Will and Won't Do as a DoTerra Rep

I will openly admit, I'm not a good salesperson. I hate high pressure sales tactics being used on me. They cause me to walk away and never come back. And I'll admit, when a friends post are constantly about selling products, programs, etc., I tend to hide them. So here's what you can expect from me with the essential oils.

I will not:

  • Have parties where I ask you to come over and check out my products (and then you feel obligated to buy them).
  • Constantly post stuff on The Fit Life, LLC page about buying my products
  • Try to talk you into selling oils
I will:

  • Continue to post recipes and wellness tips using essential oils (I do this already)
  • Provide you with a sample of something (if I have it on hand) if you are interested in trying it.
  • Let you know if there is a sale or something (but just through one short post). 
  • Be happy to research oils if there's something you want to know about one of them. 
  • Make time to meet with you if you would like to discuss or try something.
There's a lot to learn with the oils (even a certification course if I decide to take it), so I may have to do some research before answering your questions.

Of course, I hope this brings in a little extra income (who doesn't want extra income?), but the income is not worth becoming an obnoxious salesperson. 

So that's it for now. Please check out the new site. Let me know what you think of it!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Do you smell something???

Since both my hobbies and my career are very active, I often find myself sweaty several times a day. Too many times to actually grab a shower--I'd be averaging 6 or 7 showers a day! That's not good for the skin or the environment!

But, I don't want to be all gross and stinky around my clients and friends (although my canine clients don't seem to care). So, I've developed my own, natural body wipes. I can scent them myself--because sometimes you just don't want to smell like a baby's bottom! Plus, I know exactly what's in these (those who have read my previous blogs know I go all natural whenever possible).

I keep these in the car so that I have them whenever I need. They are also great for those outback camping trips that have no plumbing.

I use the gallon-sized freezer storage bags (If I could think of an alternative to plastic that wouldn't leak, I'd use it. I'm open to suggestions if anybody has one). You can fit quite a few paper towels in them.

I put about a 1/2 cup of water in the bag, and a table spoon of white vinegar (enough to kill germs and bacteria, but not enough to make you smell like sauerkraut all day). I add just a drop or two of tea tree oil (not only does it have a strong smell, but you don't want to put it directly on the skin undiluted--unless maybe right on a pimple!). Why tea tree oil? Like the vinegar it kills bacteria (which is what makes us stinky), it's also good to combat allergens, cuts, scrapes, bites, etc. Then I add a few drops of my favorite essential oil for scent. I usually go with lavender because it's also good for the skin and anti-bacterial. Sometimes I add a little eucalyptus because I love the smell and it perks me up a bit. There are some great essential oil blends out there. Be careful with citrus oils. They can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. And be careful with the minty oils if you'll be cleaning the girlie parts!

Once my bag is ready, I just add high quality paper towels (the cheap ones will fall apart). As many as you want to put in there. Before I use the paper-towel,  I will wring it out so it's not all drippy. If I'm just using it to quickly wipe off my face and neck, I'll put it back in the bag when I'm finished. With the antibacterials in there, it will be fine. If I'm using it on other parts (arm-pits and more personal areas) I will throw it out.

It's nice to be able to freshen up between classes and clients. Or, after a race when there are festivities to attend.

About Me

My photo
I am the owner of The Fit Life, LLC. The Fit Life, LLC offers fitness instruction and nutrition counseling in a holistic way. I focus on personal training using mainly your own body strength--very little equipment. I also hold a certification in holistic nutrition. Because nutrition counseling regulations are very strict in Ohio, I'm still working on what nutrition services I can provide to my clients; however, I'm happy to provide general nutrition information. I enjoy teaching TRX, Indoor Cycling, and Boot Camps.