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. 


About Me

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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.