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Abs: FAQs & My Opinions, Trip, Comments Working, Embracing Bodies, Airbrushing

Posted Apr 29 2010 3:53pm
Hi Bloggies, is it Friday yet?  No.  Darn.  I have had a super chaotic week.  I've been a busy bee here taking care of Skylar this week.  Scott has been out of town on business and I've been doing the solo parenting thing this week.  Oh wait, I was just a couple weeks ago, too, but such is life.  He gets home tonight, thank goodness, because I need a break!

The weather's been wacky again.  More of that 95F one day and 62F the next thing going on.  Some of you told me that it really messes with your mojo when the weather changes wildly...and I tend to agree!

Something exciting to report...I am going to San Diego tomorrow for the day!!!!

Since moving to Phoenix 8 months ago, I haven't been back and I miss San Diego dearly!  I have some things I need to do there tomorrow and then I'll just fritter around, check out some of my favorites spots and stores, and then it'll be time to fly home.  I am so excited, I can't wait!!!!

And on other matters, thanks everyone for your patience with the commenting situationIt's been resolved!  Yay!  You can comment your little hearts out again!

As I mentioned , the system I use, Intense Debate, upgraded their systems and there was a bug.  I figured out that it was the CommentLuv Plug-In that was glitching everything up.  That's the thing that said what your Recent Post was if you have a blog.  Which is a totally cool feature but I had to remove it until CommentLuv and Intense Debate can get their issues worked out.  Remember this post , What Blogging Really Entails ....Yeah, a minor in computer science would come in handy with all this crap.

Anyway, things should be all good now!  Must be all that Full Moon stuff I talked about that's causing everything from tech and mechanical glitches to heated interpersonal relations.  Anyone have any tears or random fights with loved ones?  Blame it on the Full Moon !

And I'm glad the Coconut Oil Chocolate Covered Strawberries looked good. 

No Sugar Added Berries

Today while I was sorting out the commenting drama, Skylar had to find some things to do.  I don't put on the TV or videos for her.  Books baby.  Open them.  Read. 
I'm not anti-TV but she watches one 28-minute DVR'ed episode of Barney, tops, per day.  And that's it.  Guess that's another of my Non-Mainstream ChoicesThat's clearly working because she's happy and has a vocabulary to beat the band!  She's 3 and asks me if I've created my blog post for the day.

She's showing me what the Bears are doing"The Bears ride in Chairs.  And then they walk Upstairs.  Can you make rhyming words?"
Skylar Loves to Rhyme.  She's channeling her inner Eminem getting her rhyme on.

Green Food was Mixed Greens, Sugar Snap Peas, Asparagus, Brussels, Tomatoes, Cukes
With some Homemade Vegan Slaw Dressing and Yellow Mustard.
Sweet-n-tangy Dressing + Yellow Mustard = Good!

Dessert was No-Bake Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls with Extra Protein Option
Raw Vegan Coconut Oil Chocolate
Perfect for Nibbling On!

Moving On...
I asked a few days ago if you wanted me to be blunt and honest, i.e. Tough Love, or if you wanted things Sugar Coated?  The overwhelming majority of you said you want honesty.

And then yesterday I asked you if you're Brutally HonestOr do you tend to Sugar Coat things?  The comments were great and it seems like many of you feel like you can handle it if someone's completely honest with you, but that you seem to temper your words carefully when sharing truths with others.  I am honest if asked, but I also don't want someone to feel hurt unnecessarily and so I try to be as honest as possible balanced with kindness and compassion to make sure me "speaking my truth" doesn't cause the recipient unnecessary grief.   There are so many variables involved, how well you know the person, if she asked for your advice or not, etc. but thanks for sharing how honest you are .

And with that, let's Talk about Abs!   

At the Grocery Store a coupele days ago I found the new Issue of Hers
Complete with a "Get Abs Like This" Section.  There is nothing "revolutionary" in this section.  It's called hard work. Because if it was "easy" to get abs like hers, wouldn't we all have them already?

I noticed that On the Cover the Model has No Tattoo on her Right Side

But on the interior spread and article, she has a Tattoo
 Airbrush much?  This alone is quite unsettling but this could be a post in and of itself.  See the Questions Section below for more.

First, Yoga Today For Abs is Ardha Sirasana (Half Headstand) .  Go into full headstand and then carefully lower so that your legs are parallel with the floorAbs anyone?  Holding your legs 90 degrees from your body while fighting gravity is a sure-fire way to help increase your core strength.  Core strength is so important for everything from balance to remaining injury-free and as a benefit, your abs will look better. 
When going up into headstand, Do Not Donkey Kick Up!   You need to go up slowly and with control; start in downward dog, make a crown for your head with your hands, and start to walk your toes forward, forward, til you go up, up, and away.  No kicking up into headstand as it's a sure-fire way to fall and get injured, severely.

I'm answering a few questions and giving you my thoughts on Abs and my tips and what I do since apparently many of you are curious....

It's very strange for me to even discuss this because I don't "view myself as an expert".  I don't think I have a perfect body, I feel pretty strange even talking about this because I am actually quite a modest and private person.  It's a bit paradoxical, I know, because I have a blog and put myself out there, but I don't want to come off as a know-it-all or offend anyone.

What follows are my opinions and I am not a Personal Trainer ...yet.  But I'm Studying !  However, I am living and breathing physical fitness with my Bodybuilding and Fitness Show training.  

And the proof is in the 6-pack
 Recently I Updated my Progress Pictures in my Gym Workouts Tab , too

No, I didn't always have ripped abs.
Averie Sunshine
Pregnancy and childbirth does not leave one with a 6-pack.  It leaves you with...lots of work to do! 

What do I do For My Abs?
Lots of targeted ab exercises: 
Every imaginable type of Crunch
Medicine Ball Twists 

Lifting Heavy Weights and engaging my core
Twisting "wood-chopper" exercises with a medicine ball or on pull down machine with a rope
Incline crunches
Pull Ups and bring your legs up and down, and side to side
Chin Ups
Push ups
Yoga: plank holds, dolphin holds, handstands, headstand, arm and forearm balances
This is Not an Exhaustive List, just some suggestions for exercises that all challenge and work the abs! 

Do I Think I "Know it All", or do I Feel Like My Work is "Done" and think this is the best I can be?

No, and no.  There is always more to learn and achieve!  And please see the tail end of this post for my Take Home Message on this topic.
It's so important.  You will never see your abs if you're carrying excess weight around.  That's just being totally honest.  I could lie to you but you wouldn't really like that as much as the truth, right?! 
What's the fastest way to get rid of excess weight?  Clean Diet and CardioDo it.   Just do some form of it and it doesn't even have to be running or elliptical or treadmill type machines.  It can be power walks, long walks, cleaning your house, volunteering to take your neighbor's kids to the park, just get moving! 

Clean it up.  Clean it up.  

To paraphrase a few of my Fitness Friends...

Jessica of How Sweet Eats
"95% of the time diet is the culprit"

April of Foods of April
"you need to put on muscle before you can see your abs! Otherwise, dieting won't make you have a 6 pack- you must have built the muscle up first! :)"

Alyson of Nourished Fitness
"Abs = Diet.. it's all in the diet :)"

And to Quote (hilarious) and sweet, faithful reader, Naomi from This Post
"5. I can handle the truth. (Actually, I know it already. I've got an incredible 6-pack of abs, but nobody can see them because they're buried under a couple inches of mush!)"
Although my blog probably makes it seem that I live and dine on chocolate alone, 95% of my food & diet is extremely clean, the other 5% is chocolate and "treats".  It's more interesting to blog about chocolate than broccoli and it's fun for me to un-bake and create desserts and decadent recipes, but I don't eat all of what I makeHusband, child, neighbors to the rescue, after I've had my few bites. 

Elite athletes don't eat garbage food or excessive amounts of "treats".   And although I don't consider myself and elite athlete in practical terms, I "pretend" I am and remind myself what my goals are and why that slice of this or that isn't going to help me achieve my goals.

Lately I seem to get so many emails about what exactly I eat:  Raw Plants!  
And no, I am not going to take a picture of the half a head of raw cauliflower I ate.  Nor of the tomato or cucumber or the broccoli I munched on.  It's boring, it's too time-consuming, it's not of interest to me.  I already know what I ate! 

My blog is not a Here's What I Ate Blog.  See This Post if you missed it.  As I said Here , my Blog is a Reflection of My Life and My Life is More than "Just Recipes" or a detailed blow-by-blow of random apples and carrots consumed.

I just have no desire to document it all.  It sounds like utterly too much work and we all need to find our own path anyway!

My body, my needs, requirements, food intolerances, preferences, likes and dislikes, activity level, etc. is not yours.  YOU need to find out what works for took me til my late 20s to really get a handle on it for me.  For Questions Pertaining to a High RawVegan Diet, Food Intolerances, and Yoga, Please See my Raw Foods & Yoga FAQ's Post

Other Diet Tips for Abs
Breads, pastas, gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley, spelt, rye.  Reduce or Eliminate all of These.  I am gluten-free and have been for 5 years.  I don't miss it.  Once you detox from gluten, you probably won't miss it either.

Reduce or Eliminate Alcohol

Sugar.  Many people would say you cannot eat sugar, or very little of it, to have chiseled abs.  I disagree for my body type.  I have mentioned here that I am a Slow Oxidizer of Protein and require less protein , but can handle more sugar.  It works for me but again, the "sugar" or carbs I eat in something like a banana is very different from that in Hawaiian Punch or a Twinkie.   I consume natural sugars via fruits and veggies, but not much in the way of processed sugar.  Some, but not much.

Portion Control
If you eat so much as to give yourself a "food baby" you're not going to see your abs.  Common sense but worth mentioning.

Drink it.

Do it.  It's a proven fact that the less we sleep, the more our bodies try to compensate energetically by taking in calories.  If you're not giving your body the sleep you need, your body will try to "find energy" in other ways, i.e. increased appetite.   So get your beauty (abs) sleep!

The Number One Thing I Hear from Friends and Readers:
"But I feel like I'm doing everything right.  I eat right, I exercise, and I still can't seem to see my abs.  Why and What Can I Do?"

My Tough Love Response:  Your body fat percentage is too high and/or you haven't developed the abdominal muscles properly.  You aren't going to "see abs" if either is the case.  I could say, oh keep trying honey.  But if you're carrying around extra body fat, especially a layer of it across your midsection, no amount of crunches will matter.  You may have to consider reducing your body fat, and tone and strengthen your muscles, and the combination will probably get you where you want to be.  *My thoughts only, don't shoot the messenger and ignore as you wish!

Are Women Genetically Designed to Have Rock Hard Bodies and Abs?
No.  Nature would prefer we are softer, with curves and hips, and make babies.  That's our evolutionary tendency.

Does it take a lot of effort to "override" nature? 

Is it worth it?  
For me, at this time in life, I'm having fun working out hard and sculpting my body.   After being pregnant and then nursing Skylar for 3 years, that's nearly 4 years of using my body for reproductive means, it's time for me to push myself, for me, athletically. 

Genetics and do they play a role?
No one in my family has chiseled abs.  No one.  I take after my father who is tall "hearty Midwestern stock".  By no means chiseled.  My mother and that side is far from hard-bodied!  

I attribute my physique to 95%  hard work, and clean diet and consistent exercise, and only 5% to genetics.

Take Home Message:
I hope this was helpful.  It's what I do, and it's what works for me.  I don't expect all of it to work for you or be 100% applicable for you. 

Our physical bodies are just one aspect of our total being and self.  For me, I am competing and being judged based entirely on what I can sculpt my body into and for me, at this time, this is important.  

I don't expect you to aspire to having a 6-pack.  For me, I am having fun sculpting my body.  As a mother it's extra special for me to do this because I am reclaiming a part of myself that society tells us is lost and gone after you have a baby.  Well, I am re-defining that message and showing myself and everyone that you can achieve your goals if you work hard and have consistency!

But I realize that in the great scheme of life, having a 6-pack is about as important as the color of your sofa.  But, I get dozens of emails per day about my abs, so I wanted to discuss them.  (blushing!)

1.  For all the bloggers, have you ever written a post where you cringe pressing the Publish Post button?
This is that post for me!  I don't want the post to "come off wrong".  I just want to share what works for me, but I don't want to come off as a know-it-all!  Or for people to somehow take offense to the things I've written.   These are just my opinions, and with that, you can toss them out the window if you want!

2. Reading Books vs. TV
When you were a child, did your parents put limits on TV time?  If they did, did it frustrate you?  Looking back, do you appreciate that they didn't allow you to veg-out non-stop? 
Skylar will watch a half hour of Barney and on the rare occassion I let her watch a second episode, she is wandering around the house not even watching it anymore.  Like Intuitive Eating , I guess she has Intuitive Screen Time Down Pat.  She could teach me a thing or two about screen time!
3.  Abs.  How much do you care what they look like? 

4. What do you think of the airbrushing on the Hers Magazine cover and in general?  Do you feel airbrushing dupes us into thinking that we can attain something that really isn't attainable?  
I can assure you, I have never airbrushed or photoshopped any of the photos on my blog.  Not that my "lovely" photography skills would give that away, but just to be clear, nothing on my blog has ever been re-touched...haha! 

5. What body part are you most pleased with?  What body part do you need to work the hardest at keeping in shape?  Is there a body part that you've always struggled with either emotionally/mentally accepting it or with physically having to work hard to keep it in shape?

I have a small upper body.  No matter how hard I tried in school, I could never, ever do a push up.  It wasn't until I was doing yoga for a year that I could even hold chaturunga.  My upper body is just very weak and I've always had to really try very hard to strengthen it.  My upper arms have always been thin and I used to be self-conscious about them.  From a decade of yoga, and now through lifting, they are beefing up, but I have small arms and shoulders, and that's fine.  I accept that about myself.   
What do you accept about your body?  What do you Love About Your Body?  Do you Embrace Your Body for all the things It Is rather than the Things It's Not?

Stay Tuned For a Sweet Give Away...

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