Connect the Dots Ginger | Becky Allen

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Stop Cropping Photos To Hide Yourself

For years I was cropping myself in my pictures. Only showing my "better" half. Anything above my waist I felt was good proportion and acceptable to be seen. But what do I have now? A bunch of cropped photos that don't show the whole picture of me. And I REGRET all the cropping I did to my photos. Basically every single picture between 2005-2008 are cropped short.

During the time of cropping I was in denial about our fertility problems. I assumed that if I just got pregnant that everything would work out just fine. I would lose the baby weight from breastfeeding and then I would be skinny. And that was what I wanted. To be skinny like all the other girls around me. I was jumping from diet program to diet program just to try and lose weight as fast as I could. And often times, I lost weight, only to gain it back, plus some. I had a secret stash of candy in my house. I cheated on the diets all the time. I had a serious addiction to eating doughnuts and over ate way too often. So my solution was to crop out the "fat part of me" and leave my smile.
Speaking of the smile. On the outside, yeah, I seemed happy, but on the inside I hated how I looked. I couldn't look at myself in the mirror without cringing. Far from what I wanted feel, sexy and attractive. I didn't even like to have my husband see me naked. Which didn't help with the trying to have a baby part of it.

Fast forward to now where I weight more than I did (don't even really know how much I weighed at the time because anytime I stepped on the scale I would hate myself and feel depressed for days. Which also meant more binge eating) Plus now, I have had 3 babies. But...what's different? I am actively working on my fitness and health. I eat better. I actually love how I look now because I see my strength. I feel strong. I feel powerful. I feel sexy and attractive. But am also being realistic with myself. I also know that there are areas that I want leaner. I want to be at a healthy body fat % not a weight or an idea of how "skinny" I have to be. And just because I have a ways to go in my weight loss journey I don't beat myself up over my weight or how I look anymore. I still enjoy desserts, or candy, but no where near the amount I used to eat. I have learned portion control. I have learned to eat in moderation. And I EAT TONS OF VEGGIES FOR FUN! I haven't magically lost the baby weight I gained while I was pregnant through breastfeeding any of my children. It is taking hard work, discipline and dedication to what I want to stay on track. All it took, was a mindset change. When I finally realized that I am beautiful both inside and out and the more I work on my inside to see the beauty I have the more I love myself on the outside. It's time to STOP THE CROP and love yourself as you are right now. Join me and post your favorite full length picture of you now over on Instagram and use the hashtags: #stopthecrop #CTDG
Not only am I more confident in my own skin, but you can see my body posture in my old pictures. I was hiding, myself or at least hide part of my body behind someone else. No more. Be beautiful and STAND OUT! #Stopthecrop!

Want more daily motivation and inspiration?
 Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey! Don't forget to follow me on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Quick, Early Morning 30 Day Workout Challenge

Short on time in the morning to fit in your workout? Check out this progressive 30 day challenge to help you sneak in a workout first thing in the morning! Want support from other challengers? Join us in my FREE ONLINE HEALTH AND FITNESS COMMUNITY for support from other challengers. 30 Day Challenge in the group begins Sept. 1! All you have to do is request to join! See you in there!

Want to take your results to the next level with making a total lifestyle change? Combine this 30 day challenge with 30 Days To A Healthy Lifestyle Change: Self Guided Study to start making daily changes over 4 weeks and turn those learned practices into a habit by the end of the month! 

Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey! Don't forget to follow me on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK!

Friday, August 25, 2017

OrangeTheory Workout Experience

You guys know I LOVE my home workouts. They are the easiest for me with 3 kids, and I am a home body. But...I am not against trying something new and challenging myself. And when I heard that there was a new fitness studio opening up in my town, and one that I have wanted to try, AND your first workout is FREE...I WAS UP FOR THE CHALLENGE, and letting the hubs watch the kids so I can get my sweat on! Plus I met the head trainer outside of Trader Joe's and we chatted and of course she invited me to join her in a workout. Thankfully she was the coach leading the class! 
First a little background. Orangetheory is an interval based, sixty minute workout led by a coach who trains you and gives you tips throughout the class. On average people burn over 500 calories per class/hour.


"Backed by the science of Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (or EPOC), Orangetheory’s heart rate monitored training is designed to maintain a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy. We call it the afterburn. Our members burn an estimated 500 to 1,000 calories in 60 minutes.  And keep burning calories for up to 36 hours." source
I was asked to arrive 30 minutes early to fill out some paperwork and get my heart rate wrist band to borrow for the free class. Then I was shown around the studio. There are 2 sections to the room, the "treads" as they call the treadmill section and the rowers/weights area. They set me up on the rowing machine first and asked that I start there. Sure...why not, I haven't been on one forever! So I was on the rowing and weights portion for the first 25 minutes then treads on the last 25 or so minutes. They went over the TV and how the points are displayed there. And I didn't really understand how it worked to be honest. I thought my goal was to stay in the orange...but later found out you aren't supposed to be in the orange for more than 20 minutes total (but, I work during my workouts, and I even held back a little from what I do at home...More on that later.) 
Let me just say that the rowing machines were actually the coolest thing I have ever seen! I have used a machine before, but this actually had water in it and a propeller. So I was literally rowing water. It was so fluid and really easy to use. We had 2 phases in our rowing/weights section. The first was a pyramid set up where we started with 500 meters rowing then over to do 3 weighted exercises starting with lighter weights and more reps, then the next rowing we did 400 meters, at a slightly faster tempo then bumped up our weights and did less reps, and worked our way down on the meters but faster speed and up to heavier weights less reps. I hit the red a couple of times. Then the second phase was steady 300 meter rowing and doing 4 more weighted exercises like the TRX Bicep curl. There was a TV there with instructions on what exercises to do, how many and directions. It was nice to refer to and we had the coach there to help too!
Next I was on to the treads. I haven't been on a treadmill since my miscarriage 2 years ago, so mentally, it was challenging but again, to move on you have to move on. I was told that there are 3 terms to learn. base pace, push pace and all out. The instructor calls out intervals such as "push pace for 90 seconds" and then "drop to base pace for 30 seconds". It is important to know what these mean for you. For me, it was a walk, faster walk and slow jog. And since I was walking I followed the cues for increasing my incline when it was called for. And we had hill training day, so there were a lot of 10 level inclines for me! And just doing these kept me in the orange and red zone for the remainder of the workout.
The key to this workout is that everyone goes at their own pace with their own weights, so people of all fitness levels can be doing the same workout, which is pretty great. And by monitoring your heart rate you can see how much you are really pushing yourself or not pushing yourself. At the end of the workout, we had a quick little stretching session. And I met with the coach at the end and we went over my results. She said that my results were typical. But I also didn't understand that I wasn't supposed to be in the orange as much as I was. I was actually keeping myself in it and pushing harder. But, I don't know if I would have been satisfied with my workout if I had only been in the orange heart rate 20 minutes total. When I workout, I make it count. I work for it. So...something to talk to them about if I go back.
Few things to know about OTF:
  • There is no childcare at OTF, which would be an awesome addition! But the studios tend to be smaller, and don't have room for it. 
  • I would not recommend doing OTF 5 days a week, but that is solely my opinion. 2-3 times a week would be recommended, and probably not back to back. You want to work. And if you are going every single day, your body is just going to be over tired.
  • Be sure to bring a water bottle and towel. You will sweat a ton! My studio had a place to refill your water bottle which was helpful as well.
  • My studio had lockers where you could put your keys, jacket, phone, etc. while you workout. There  also was a shower and bathrooms.
  • If you want to start on the treadmill, get there early. At my studio everyone crowded around the door to get to the treadmills first, and I think next time it would be easier to start with the treadmill and end with weights. 
  • Classes can fill up fast depending on location. There is an app you can download to sign up for classes, and if one is full you will be put on a waitlist. 
  • You can go to an OTF anywhere in the country once you sign up! This is great for those that travel a lot, or if you have a studio near your office and also one by your house. 
  • I also love that there is no time commitment when you sign up, it just goes month to month. If you ever want to quit for awhile then pick it back up later, you can. They have a few payment option plans available, like 4 week, 8 week or unlimited. Or you can pay per class. 
  • These workouts are great for intervals, endurance, and to work up a great sweat!
All in all, it was a great workout. I WORKED, and had a pretty good sweat by the end of it. Would I do it again? Sure! I think to track my progress and strength it is a great idea. But, the lack of child care is hard for me. But it is something that I do plan on trying every now and then for a change of pace and fun! Plus I love getting to know other fitness professionals in my area! 

Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey! Don't forget to follow me on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Emergency Appendectomy and How To Know When To Get Help

DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional, information is based on my own personal experience. Consult your doctor if you have any questions about your emergencies.

#1 advice I will give you right now is LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! We caught this early because I listened!

This week has been INSANE you guys! About 4 days ago I noticed things just weren't feeling right. I was eating healthier and sticking with my meal plans not having sweets or indulging on other things, but I was getting more and more bloated. And by Saturday night my appetite just disappeared. I trudged through Monday, with lessons but I wasn't feeling well again. I also started my new timed eating schedule to make sure I was eating enough, again I hadn't really been eating well. So I was forcing myself to eat even though I didn't feel like it. I woke up Monday night at about 2am to use the bathroom and I had a searing pain in my right abdomen. After the bathroom, I started to shake uncontrollably. Just like I did right after I had a baby and adrenaline was coursing through my system. My head was screaming, "SOMETHING ISN'T RIGHT!"

We called our nurse on call line from our insurance and they urged me to get to the ER. Since there was a possibility of being pregnant, and the area was right for a ovarian cyst, appendicitis or ectopic pregnancy. It was about 3:30am at this point and I drove myself, in my husbands stick shift (not fun to drive when you have searing pain anytime you move by the way!) and after getting admitted and waiting 2 hours for a CT scan, it was determine that I had early appendicitis. I then ask, "if this is what early feels like...WHAT THE HECK DOES LATER APPENDICITIS FEEL LIKE!" At this point I had denied all pain meds, because I didn't want the drugs to affect what we were trying to figure out what was wrong with me. At that point I was being referred to a surgeon at the main hospital for a consult (not confirmed on surgery, but more than likely) Matt had to hurry and drop the kids off at a friends house and bring me Elyse so I could feed her before I have surgery because we didn't know the next time I would be able to feed her.

About at the point I took the picture below, is when I talked to my best friend who is a surgery nurse. And she gave me the play by play of the whole surgery and what they would do. I love information, but at that point, it might have been a little too much to hear, but I survived!

I was then transported to the hospital via ambulance, second time I have been in one. And once there, they put us in my post op recovery room, so we knew I would be having surgery very soon, even before I met with him, they had already decided I would be having surgery. Then we just waited for surgery which came a lot earlier than I expected. Matt had run up to the cafeteria to get some breakfast for him and Elyse and had to rush back down to say good bye to me. Once in the surgery room, they asked if I had any special request for music to be played and without even thinking about it I requested for some Chopin Preludes, because they were not as sad as the nocturnes. I had finally been given my first bit of pain medication at that point and was very happy! Yep, I had denied all pain meds up until surgery. I'm crazy! Yes, the picture below, no meds. As long as I didn't move I was okay.
Surgery went well, and since I am a redhead, I have to get sedated pretty well. And boy they gave me the good stuff. It took me a good 4-5 hours to finally wake up and be coherent. And I was totally texting and calling people while I was higher than a kite! I am sure that some of the things I said will come back to haunt me at some point! Because I don't really remember what I talked about.

I got to spend a good 24 hours in the hospital to recover. I was given the same pain reliever I had during surgery to help me sleep that night. It was heaven and amazing! But being attached to an IV for over 12 hours, I had to get up to go to the bathroom about every 2 hours. They did have me walking about 6 hours after my surgery to help get some of the gas out of my system that they had to put in to do the surgery.

The next morning I was disconnected from my IV, FREEDOM! And told that I was going to be discharged after breakfast. Literally 24 hours in the hospital and about 32 hours from start to finish, I was being sent home.
While in the hospital I requested for a breast pump to help me keep my supply up. It took them 5 hours to finally get one to me, but it didn't work for me. I don't normally pump. Never had to. Thankfully we had 2 bags of frozen milk at home for Elyse but I wanted to make sure that we still had a supply when we got home. At about 8:30 the morning I was released, Elyse arrived for the first feeding since surgery. 24 hours at that point of no feeding. But she took to my breast without any problem, and thankfully I had just gotten my order of Sweetie Pie Organics Lactation Smoothies, to help me with my supply. So big goal, was right when I got home, drink one of them and let them do their magic.
And since, I have been resting up, per my docs orders. Mostly in just a sports bra and shorts because my incision has been hurting and I don't want anything touching them. I'm not going to lie though, it is so hard to see this picture below. I have worked so hard to slim down this summer, and after the surgery, I am bloated back up. But it is because of the surgery. My core is mad at all the digging, poking, blowing up and yanking around they did in there. And it is going to take a little time to get back down. I made some good progress this summer. I am hoping that this helps to fix some of my hormone imbalances, and bloating. But only time will tell. For now I have 2 weeks of no exercise. I have to let my body heal on the inside, since things were taken out and moved around. But I am already doing research on at home recovery workouts to do, and bed rest exercises. So be on the look out for those.
24 hours post surgery, and I am thinking I don't look too bad, even sitting down and I can't engage my core at all.  I will have some fun little scars. But my biggest question is when is this blue iodine going to get off my skin!!! I will keep you all posted on my recovery! 

How to know when to get help: 
We have all heard it, severe lower abdominal pain on the right side with fever, GET HELP! But with women, there can be so many things that are the culprit. Appendix, ovarian cyst, or ectopic pregnancy. These are the things I thought of first, and what was confirmed when we called our nurse on call number. Sharp pain in your body at any time is usually not a good sign. If you have sever abdominal pain on one side, fever, or just feel off. THEN GET HELP! Call your doc, go to urgent care, or the ER. Get seen, because waiting can be the worst thing you can do! It is better to be safe, than sorry.

Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey! Don't forget to follow me on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Smoothie To Boost Your Breast Milk Supply

Disclosure: Post sponsored by Sweetie Pie Organics but all opinions are my own. 

10.5 Months, Elyse and I have made it over 9 months of nursing. We have now passed how long Collin nursed! And it was touch and go there for a bit because of the pain I was having prior to her double frenectomy but since that happened, we have been pain free and somewhat smooth sailing. But one thing that happens around 9 months for most babies, THEY START EATING MORE SOLID FOODS. And when that happens, mommas milk supply can take a dive. Mine has been. I am actually concerned that Elyse is enjoying eating table foods more than nursing, since she is so easily distracted with the boys around.
ENTER SWEETIE PIE LACTATION SMOOTHIES! I started drinking these a month and a half ago and I have been pretty diligent in drinking 1 per day. My special smoothie, no kids allowed since Collin wants to eat whatever I am eating. And I have noticed a good increase in my nursing abilities. Elyse is nursing for longer periods of time now, from 25 minutes up to 35 now, where she was only doing about 15 minutes before. She is getting an ample amount of milk too, whereas before, there was no let down while she was nursing.

Not going to lie, I was a little worried about how it would taste. But let's talk about "The taste." I was a little scared because it was apple and pear. Thinking it would be too artificial tasting but it wasn't. It literally tasted like apple juice mixed with real pear juice. WIN! So my uber picky taste buds approved!

What makes it really work to boost your milk supply?
A daily dose of fenugreek and flaxseed. Both shown to help increase breast milk production naturally plus the omega-3s in the flaxseed. Results are noticeable within 24-28 hours!

Check out  more details on how it works:

With key herbs to increase breast milk. Five simple ingredients that moms can understand: fenugreek for breastfeeding, flaxseed, pear puree, apple and passionfruit juices. only 180 calories, no sugar added, organic, kosher, NON-GMO.
Contains Fenugreek
Lactation Smoothie contains Fenugreek, which is the most popular herb used to increase milk supply for centuries (galactagogue).  Fenugreek usually takes effect within first 24 - 48 hours of consumption. 
Contains Flaxseed
Flaxseed provides omega 3 fatty acids for baby’s eye and brain development and is a good source of of calcium and phosphorus for baby’s bone development.
Hydration = Lactation
Lactation smoothie provides you with hydration, drinking our smoothies adds to your daily liquid consumption.  Remember If you stay hydrated and keep nursing or pumping your chances to improve milk supply are much higher.
Enjoy one to two per day
We recommend to take Sweetie Pie Lactation Smoothie no more than twice a day - most nursing mothers notice results within 48 hours drinking 1 smoothie per day. If you are not sure how many you can take, it is always a good idea to check with your lactation consultant or pediatrician first.
Keeping up supply
To see best results it is recommended to drink a course during a period of one week. While every woman's body is different, most moms notice more milk production after a few days of consumption and able to see an increase of 1-2 oz per side.
Great as a daily snack or along with a meal
There is no need to drink around pumping schedule - you can enjoy it anytime a day that works best for you. It can be consumed as a daily snack or paired with a meal. Only 180 calories and no added sugar.
Ready to drink Sweetie Pie Organics Lactation Smoothie is delicious and has convenient on-the-go packaging. Easy to store - no need to refrigerate before opening. Perfect for grab and go. No need to brew or dissolve in a water. Supported by lactation consultants, birth centers, hospitals and OB practices for its great benefits and unbeatable convenience. Rated on top products to increase milk production.
Tastes great and works
It has a thick smoothie-like texture which is nice and filling and gives you a nice boost being nutritious and clean at the same time.

Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey! Don't forget to follow me on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK!
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