D’Moda Sportswear Review

True confession time, Friends…I’ve struggled with negative body image issues most of my adult life. Throughout my weight loss journey, I’ve worked hard to set aside the damaging self-criticism. In all honesty, it’s not easy releasing something that has been part of me for so long. Mindfulness has allowed me to listen to my thoughts, but not necessarily believe them.

Here’s a great example, early on in my journey I struggled to find workout wear I felt comfortable donning in public. The playful, energetic prints that fascinated me on the hanger took on completely different characteristics stretched across my abundantly proportioned body. I often left stores with nothing but frustrated, negative feels. And although I’ve lost considerable weight, those thoughts still linger, their echo deafening if I’m off guard. Does this make sense to anyone else?

On my recent Vegas adventure to IDEA World Convention‘s Expo of all things fitness, I learned a very important lesson. Diana Aguirre, entrepreneurial creator of D’Moda Sportswear had generously agreed prior to the expo to provide me with a pair of her leggings. When I arrived at her booth to see nothing but wildly fun prints, the anxiety of the past began to bubble up. I think Diana’s empathy was on full blast, as she seemed to sense what I was thinking. She didn’t miss a beat in pulling multiple options from the rack for me to try on. I’d love to tell you they all looked as incredible on as they did on the hangers, but those darn thoughts were running their loop in my head again. I chose a pair that fit my spirit far better than my perspective at the time.

Here’s where things get interesting.

I read D’Moda Sportswear’s guiding philosophy…Diana’s wish for women everywhere is to be able to love and accept themselves as they are. D’Moda Sportswear is designed and manufactured to give women the support and style they need to go out there and be active in life with confidence and express themselves freely and fiercely.

I’ve read these words over and over this month as I pulled on the leggings. I have no idea why I waited this long! Maybe it took me that long to begin to love and accept myself enough to do it? Regardless, I was instantly impressed with the weight and unique four-way stretchiness of the polyester/elastano fabric. I wore them around the house all day, enjoying the tucked-in feeling of compression they afforded my loose-skinned tummy, legs and behind. I should mention I’m not afforded that luxury in my ordinary leggings. I also must admit I paused often throughout the day to rub my hand down my leg, appreciating the sheer comfort and texture of these pants.

As D’Moda encourages, Express YOU Fiercely, I decided to do just that to demonstrate how well these new pants fit within my lifestyle. I hiked one of my favorite places to calm, clear and energize…

Unfortunately, I soon brushed up againsts several burr plants and spent a good portion of the trail removing the stubborn little pests from my pants. I was so afraid pulling them off would damage the fabric. But after plucking off nearly 60-75 of them, they left no trace of snags, runs or tears. I KNOW my other leggings would’ve succumbed.

I paused at my happy place to remind myself I am not my thoughts, merely the thinker of them.

This body of mine has done remarkable things. It has brought forth new life twice, it has survived immense loss, extensive trauma, injuries, carried me across multiple start and finish lines and still shows up. Every. Single. Day. If those aren’t reasons to love and accept myself, I don’t know what else would be.

Okay, yeah, that got kind of deep. But I would like to give D’Moda Sportswear leggings two thumbs (or legs) up! I wholeheartedly recommend these pants and this company if you are looking for comfortable, dependable leggings that put that FIERCE within each step. You can check out their vast array here.

Thank you, Diana, for helping me get to this place with a fantastic pair of pants and very compassionate support!

Namaste

Another Month, Another Challenge

Happy October, Friends! I’m not sure how it’s here already, but September is clearly gone. I spent last month returning to the basics to realign my focus, but I had some pretty heavy stuff to deal with following a family member’s health issues. Its time consuming nature really tempted to hijack my success. Although I’d love to tell you I made great strides of progress, I was lucky to escape September holding on by my fingernails. The good news is I didn’t backslide.

Many of you ask me how I stay focused, how I continue to pick myself up when I need to and start over. Friends, I look forward to the beginning of each new month because it gives me opportunity to look back, readjust and move full speed ahead. I also know I can turn the page every week if I need to…heck, each and every DAY is a fresh new chance to begin again!

So let’s hit RESTART together! Today is a whole new month! I’m still facing some obstacles that keep me from working as hard as I would like, but I won’t let that discourage me. Why? Because I’m grateful for what I can do. When I take time to examine what I’m still capable of, it inspires me to get out and JUST DO IT!

I’m always keeping my eyes open for new motivation, so when my husband’s employee wellness program announced their October and beyond challenge, I jumped aboard. I LOVE their pic and the name…Walktober!

I plan to spend the next 42 days enjoying the fall foilage as I walk to accumulate points. I downloaded the Walktober app and will use my Fitbit to track my steps. I’m excited because my husband is on board too.

And better yet? Here’s where you come in…I’m inviting any of you that live within a reasonable distance to message me on the FIT BFFs Facebook page to schedule a date you’d like to meet up and join me for a stroll through the crispy crunchy leaves…a walk on the trails, a hike in the park…whatever works, because the only thing more fun than working toward my goals? Not having to go it alone!!!

I’m serious, Friends! NOTHING would make me happier than having you reader friends as walking buddies each and every day of this challenge. My schedule is pretty flexible and you can pick the speed and distance, within reason haha!

So PLEASE hit me up to let me know when we can walk or hike…one more way to put our Best Foot Forward!

Seriously…let’s do this!

 

Bookworm Workout

Once Upon a Time…

like just this week, I was struggling to find my normal workout determination and motivation. I was looking for adventure, a unique and fit activity that would occupy both mind and body while enjoying the spectacular fall weather…so I did a little brainstorming.

And lately, Friends, I’ve noticed some super cute little book houses popping up all over town. So I decided to do a little research to learn more. I was intrigued to discover that some of these neighborhood libraries are part of a nonprofit organization initiative that fosters free neighborhood book exchanges around the WORLD! I found this information about Little Free Library here. And upon doing a search of my hometown of Rochester, MN, I found this…

But when I took a closer look at the map, I realized there were quite a few more around town I had seen that were not on this map. So I dug deeper and did a little search for Rochester neighborhood libraries and was sent to my local library’s website that provided me a map with even more options…

I enlarged the map enough to jot down multiple addresses in an area I wanted to explore and my adventure took shape. I made a mental map of the route I would take on my bike considering safety and distance. I filled my waterbottle, tossed a snack in my backpack, secured my bike helmet and was ready to ride! I rode for only a couple blocks before I came to the first one.

Now keep in mind, the selection is small, but changing daily. Also, the cost is free and there are no due dates or late fees…my kind of library! I was impressed with what I found within in terms of something for everyone. Friends, there were board books for babies, picture books for toddlers, early readers for preschooler-primary, chapter books for the more experienced, adult non-fiction and fiction…so many genres in one little place. I didn’t find a book that sparked my interest, but no worries…I had several more addresses to explore. So after a big drink of water, on I rolled!

This little library was color coordinated with the owner’s house…how cute is that? And again, a wide assortment of titles for all ages. Still nothing for me, but I was just getting started.

This one was painted to resemble some of the flowers in this owner’s beautiful garden. This was beginning to be somewhat of an art tour as well. I think how excited my boys would have been if these had been around when they were little. I imagined them popping out of the bike trailer to see what fun things awaited them at each stop! Just thinking about it made me smile.

What inviting little places to pause! This house offered a bench to enjoy the library’s contents right then and there in case you wanted to stop by for a quick little read. I took the opportunity to hydrate before moving on.

This library was perched on the edge of an enchanting garden with a welcoming bench lining the sidewalk and driveway…how nice is that?!? I’d put several miles down between these stops and was beginning to get hungry, so I sat down to enjoy my snack while perusing a Minnesota wildflowers book. I’d yet to find a book that called to me, but I wasn’t done yet, and I was getting one heck of a great workout! Time to hydrate!

Stop after stop, I was becoming more excited with each library I arrived at because this was like a fun little treasure hunt. I knew, eventually, I’d find a book or two that were meant for me!

And there it was…just the inspiration I was hoping to find! I popped that baby into my backpack, excited to find something that will light my motivational fire. I could hardly wait to get home and start reading, but I had a few more addresses to go. I marveled at how many miles I’d gone and how much fun I was having. Could this really count as a workout lol?!? Another drink break and I was back on the road.

The more I stopped, the more I found myself thinking about putting one of these babies in my front yard. I would LOVE to share the gift of reading with my neighbors! As I starting considering the possibilities of what ours might look like, I arrived at the final address on my list. I was grateful I had found a book, but figured it would be the only one I was returning home with until I spotted this…

I LOVE when the universe works in this way because as I spotted the title, I knew that book had my name written all over it; it was there just waiting for ME! Not only had I enjoyed an amazing outdoor workout, I found just the thing that will keep me motivated for many rides to come…a biking trail guide for Minnesota and Western Wisconsin! BOOM!

I rode home with renewed energy. This had turned out to be a great day…getting fit with lit hahaha!

Friends, if you are in need of renewed motivation and a creative workout, look up your community’s neighborhood and little free libraries, map them out and get moving. This bookworm workout is one more way to put our Best Foot Forward and…

Live Happily and Healthily Ever After!

 

Great Lakes Gelatin to the Rescue

Friends, I happened to glance through my Facebook memories this morning and got hit with a biggie…

This was kind of the beginning of the end, so to speak. A year ago today my knee decided to show me who was in control of my upcoming race schedule; unfortunately, it wasn’t me.

 

I did some physical therapy, consulted sports med, got a juicy dose of cortisone injected all in aim to put me at the start line of last year’s Marine Corps Marathon in October. Somehow I crossed the finish line that day too, but it was the end of far more than that race.

I’m not a great patient, nor am I patient, so the rest of the story is my own darn fault. My next option for treatment was a round of more injections, but that didn’t appeal to me at all, so I limped my own direction. I was dealing with pain from a combination of a mad meniscus, patellofemoral pain syndrome (runner’s knee) and a raging mad case of osteoarthritis.

My running came to a screeching halt. I was frustrated but did what I could to keep moving. I’ve continued to strength train the best I can. What I did enjoy about being slowed down was catching up with friends. Those who were intimidated by running have joined me for walks. Others have shown up on the mat next to me for some restorative yoga. I was able to keep the swelling in check by frequent icing and modifying my activities, but no matter how easy I’d been taking it, I couldn’t get relief from the pain.

I worked turmeric and glucosamine chondrointin supplements into my diet, but they never seemed to make much of a difference.

I continued to hobble around until July when I schlepped myself to Blogfest at IDEA World Convention…all things Fitness and Nutrition in Vegas. All those workouts and walking, boy was my knee angry! I looked at a lot of products designed to ease my discomfort, but when I literally stumbled upon the fine folks of Great Lakes Gelatin and read about their Collagen Hydrolysate, I was intrigued. But when they generously put the product in my hand and encouraged me to give it a try, of course I had to! What did I have to lose but pain and inflammation! They told me to give it a month to 45 days to notice a difference. I was grateful, but skeptical…why would this be different from what I’ve tried?

I started mixing the powder into my morning coffee at the end of July and within a week’s time I already noticed a marked reduction in pain and increased mobility. As the days went on, I no longer needed to ice my knee because the inflammation was gone! I continued to take the gelatin and in August I was traipsing around the Boundary Waters with a canoe on my shoulders!

Although my knee got kind of cranky from this epic trek, the inflammation never came back! A few days of rest following that trip and it was feeling fine again. I felt foolish at the beginning of this month when I looked closer at the can and realized I could have been taking it TWICE a day, so I’ve started doing that to experience its full effect.

Friends, I must admit I am not cured. I still experience some stiffness and discomfort when the clouds and thunderstorms roll through, but NOTHING like it was. I’m back doing almost everything in the gym because not only does it not hurt, the tightness and thickness that previously grounded me has diminished!

I plan to continue using this product because I am astounded by the difference it has made! I should tell you too, that I’ve noticed some bonus benefits of a great complexion and stronger nails and hair. And for a lady in my mid-40’s…I’ll take all the help I can get!

If you’ve been struggling with age or sports-related collagen loss/cartilage damage or joint/pain discomfort, consult your physician. But also keep Great Lakes Gelatin in mind for what your doctor-recommended pain relievers can’t help!

I whole-heartedly give this stuff the FIT BFFs stamp of approval!

Fine Tuning my Hospital Strategy

Friends, I drive past Mayo Clinic’s St. Marys Hospital Campus frequently. I was born here, had a fractured arm reset in second grade, visited the ER more times than I would’ve liked including my auto accident trauma drama. I honestly admit that each time I drive past, I thank the man upstairs every day I’m not there. I also send some positive thoughts upward for those that are.

I feel the heaviness of others when I pass by because I recall gut-wrenching days spent there with pretty heartbreaking outcomes for loved ones.

Unfortunately, yesterday found me there around the clock as my mother-in-law underwent a very delicate surgery. A day like that reminds me how fortunate we are to have world class medical care right here in our own backyard.

Before my weight loss journey, I would treat this day as the enemy…sedentary for hours in the waiting room, emotional binge eating to no end and panic stricken with worry and anxiety. Thinking back to my dad’s lung surgery simply haunts me. Thankfully I’ve learned to approach this kind of day with a more mindful strategy…take for example how I handled my husband’s surgery a couple years ago in case you missed it…

Despite the outcome, that turned out to be a pretty successful day. Recalling that experience, I was able to face yesterday’s uncertainty by putting my needs first, to take great care of myself so I could be stronger for others. Here’s what that looked like…

Once we got my MIL checked in and off to surgery and enjoyed a cup of coffee with her sister, I did something postive to feel helpful in this setting.

Someone will be receiving a pint of high-octane enthusiasm!

Next, I hydrated and fueled on something smarter than a blood donor center cookie…what better snack than an RX bar at a hospital haha?!? After a quick recovery I wandered upstairs…

The chapel was a beautiful place to release my concerns, leaving them to the guy in charge. Feeling peace filled, I returned to the waiting room for an update from my husband and his aunt. I spent some time blogging a great recipe, then it was off to lunch. I advocated for a place across the street, an escape from those four walls where I chose a nourishing lunch to be proud of…salmon salad for the win!

We were already starting to feel some exhausting effects of being up at 4 am, but our day was far from over. Heading back to the waiting room to find surgery was still underway.

I find it so interesting that if the Mayo Clinic calls sitting the next smoking, why in the world are there no treadmills in waiting rooms? Think of the power they could generate to make Mayo greener too?!? I mean, just a thought, Friends.

It was time for me to move more, so I racked up some steps exploring this fine historic piece of Rochester like a tourist.

The courtyard was a great place to breathe deep!

Then back inside for an educational look at St. Marys beginning, like this first operating table designed and constructed by Dr. Charles H. Mayo in 1889! There are some pretty cool relics in that heritage hall.

Back upstairs to the waiting room where it is now well into the afternoon…still in surgery. I take some time to catch up on e-mails, school notifications, scheduling, snack. This place is still filled with nervous people and energy and it isn’t long before I’m back out wandering the halls to avoid them.

A stop in the gift shop for an essential oil boost gave me some energetic support I was hoping for. I continued out onto the grounds to this amazing little place.

What a thoughtful spot for some peaceful meditation. I sort of lost myself there, lost all track of time. I received a text that although surgery was still in progress, we were being moved up to the ICU floor, so I headed that way. And just like that, I was validated for my efforts…

Hit my 10,000 step daily goal…BOOM!

More family joined us and soon I was feasting on a well-balanced, calorie counted hospital cafeteria dinner that was AWESOME. It was time to settle in for some relaxation and zone out on the NFL Kickoff.

We didn’t get word from the surgeon until nearly 9 pm that the day’s efforts had been a success…nearly 12 hours I might have spent worrying, I left the impatiens to the flowers outside lol!

We knew she was in the hands of one of the world’s finest neurosurgeons…so thank goodness I’ve learned that worry changes nothing but my blood pressure and weight!

After some reflection and time spent within those walls, I am fired up, now more than ever, about wellness as a defense against aging/illness. It was an exhausting day for all of us, but I slept well knowing I had taken great care of me…put my Best Foot Forward!

I look forward to driving past that hospital again soon, filled with gratitude for what miracles they work there but thankful every day that I don’t need one!

 

Buddha Garden Salad

Friends, I’ve been playing around with Buddha bowls and various salad recipes all summer.

Now, with the bounty of cherry tomatoes in my garden kicked into high gear, I’ve had ample opportunity to craft the pinnacle recipe. This salad is bursting with freshness; the flavors vary from one bite to the next, but each is equally refreshing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Print

Buddha Garden Salad

Course Side Dish
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 7
Author Carla Anderson FIT BFFs

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup dried quinoa, prepared
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup sweet corn kernels
  • 1 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 medium avocado, diced

Instructions

  1. Combine quinoa and water in a small sauce pan, prepare according to package directions.

  2. In large bowl, combine blueberries, cherry tomatoes, corn, cucumber, garbanzo beans, garlic, onion, cilantro and lime juice. Add cooked quinoa and mix.

  3. Salad can be refrigerated at this point until served; mix in avocado just before serving.

Recipe Notes

Nutrition Info...

Calories: 147 per 1 cup serving

Fat: 4.4g. Fiber: 5.8g. Protein: 5g. Carbs: 25g. Sodium: 66.1mg.

Win-It Wednesday Shugar Soapworks Winners

Happy Win-It Wednesday, Friends! I want to take this opportunity to thank the generous folks at Shugar Soapworks for providing two collections of their wonderful soaps for this week’s giveaway…if you missed my review of their products, you can check it out here.

And the winners are…

Karen P. & Kimberly P.

Congratulations! I’ll email you for shipping info, Karen and Kimberly.

Many thanks to all who entered! If you didn’t win, you are still very lucky because you can find these great soaps at a retailer near you.

If you haven’t experienced Shugar Soapworks and Venezia Soapworks, what are you waiting for?!?

My September Goal…Back to Basics!

Happy September, fellow FIT BFFs! Parents across the country are breathing a sigh of relief. They’ve survived another action-packed summer and it’s time for the kids to go back to school! It’s time for students to be reunited with friends and return to a predictable schedule.

This becomes the perfect time for parents to return to themselves, so to speak. Back-to-school season is a great time for parents to get motivated, to refocus on their own personal goals…that’s what I’m doing.

Although I’ve lost a significant amount of weight within the past 5 years, I’ve experienced the slow and silent creep of partial regain. Hey, it happens, but I refuse to beat myself up over it. Instead, I’m reminding myself (and anyone else who’s interested) just what it’s going to take. This is what I’m calling my…

Brightly Colored Childrens Toy Magnetic Alphabet Letters on White Background

A is for Attitude, make sure it’s the positive kind.

is for Breathe…take time to quiet your mind and soul.

is for Calories, yeah, they count. Read those labels and stick to a serving size. One.

is for Determination. Some days will be easy but others you’ll need to dig deep. You’ve got this!

is for Every Day…a fresh new opportunity to be successful, so go for it!

is for Food! Remember it’s fuel and your stomach is not a garbage can!

is for Goals. Set them. Reach them. Set more!!!

is for Hard! Heck yeah, it’s hard! If it weren’t, everyone would do it!

is for Inspiration…look for it in others, never stop seeking it out. Soon you’ll be inspiring others too.

is for Journaling. Write down everything you eat…EVERY. SINGLE. THING!!!

K is for Keep Going! Start over as many times as it takes…just keep going!

L is for Lifestyle Changes…lots of little modifications make big differences. Huge.

M is for Mindful Eating. Eat at the table. Don’t rush or distract yourself with TV, computer or phone.

is for Never Give Up. Ever!

is for One Day at a Time. Results take time; be patient! Yesterday is over and tomorrow isn’t here yet, so focus on today.

is for Promise…promise yourself that you will see this through. All the way!

is for Quit, don’t you dare! And, for Pete’s sake, quit saying ” I can’t.”

is for Reward Yourself. You’re working so hard and you deserve it; buy that new pair of (running) shoes!

S is for Sleep! Get it. Lots of it. You need it….enough said.

is for Try New Things. Try it all…new activities, classes, ideas, foods and recipes.

is for Unstoppable. Convince yourself that you are, and you ARE!

V is for Vegetables. Eat them, all kinds of them; they are a weight loss friend!

is for Water…drink it often. Lots of it!

is for eXercise. Often. Do the active things you enjoy frequently.

is for You Are Not Alone. Many are on similar journeys. Find them and support one other.

Z is for Zero Regret….what you will have when you give it all you’ve got!!!

Although this may seem a vague goal, I’ll be reminding myself of these ABCs daily to move forward in the month of September, mind, body and spirit. I’d love to hear from you…what’s your plan this month?

Win-It Wednesday Shugar Soapworks

Happy Win-It Wednesday, fellow FIT BFFs! Earlier this week I reviewed some great products from Shugar Soapworks. If you missed it, you can check that out here.

Thanks to the generosity of the kind folks at Shugar Soapworks, we have partnered to give away an entire BOX of their product to TWO lucky readers!

To enter, simply leave a comment below between now and Tuesday, September 5th, midnight central time, sharing which scent you are most eager to try.

Want an extra entry? LIKE this Win-It Wednesday post on the FIT BFFs Facebook page.

Giveaway open to US residents only. Randomly selected winners will be announced here on Win-It Wednesday, September 6th…good luck!

Shugar Soapworks Review

Friends, I have a little confession to make; it’s time for me to come clean about something. Last month an aroma-filled package arrived in my mailbox from Shugar Soapworks. They generously provided me with a full-sized sample bar of each of their eight regular line soaps…

I thought I could provide a better product review if I shared with others, so I enlisted the help of my friend Angela and my mom. They were both as eager as I was to test drive these soaps! Before I tell you what we thought, check out what I learned about them on the company’s website…

  • made only from the purest plant-derived ingredients and never contain sulfates, parabens, colors or animal by-products
  • each bar is tripple milled to ensure a rich lather, then hard-pressed so it won’t crack or fall apart
  • vegan friendly/no animal by-products/cruelty free
  • made in the USA…in a sustainably-driven manufacturing operation in Commerce, CA
  • available at Dollar Tree and Dollar General (and more) stores across the US!!!

Size matters, Friends, when I opened the box of the Oatmeal & Lavendar bar, I was immediately struck at the enormous size of it…7 ounces!

Both my mom and Angela were both surprised by its size as well. I stayed in contact with them over the next couple weeks to compare their impressions with mine. My mom quickly noticed how the Rose bar’s scent seemed to freshen the room and she really enjoyed its fragrance on her skin. She appreciated how nicely it lathered and how well it rinsed off. She expressed how well the bar held up to daily use, not getting mushy. After several weeks of use, she is completely satisfied with the product and continues to enjoy the experience.

Angela gave the Honey Almond a try. She found the scent of this bar to be very subtle.  Angela wasn’t left feeling at all perfumed after use and would have preferred for the waning scent of that bar to be much stronger. What she liked was how she felt like she had lotion on following use. She stated that since she’s the only one using it, the huge-sized bar is going to last her the rest of the year!

I have pretty sensitive skin, so I was a little hesitant, but I am really enjoying the Oatmeal & Lavendar bar. I’ve noticed zero irritations. Its subtle scent is pleasant, yet not overpowering. I like how quickly the bar lathers and easily rinses off. Because each bar contains a blend of pure essential oils, my skin is left feeling well moisturized. I’ve noticed despite weeks of use, the bar is still enormous. And I’ll admit, I have never really stuck with any particular brand of bath soap and after trying a number of brands, I’m impressed with the longevity of this particular bar’s life

I’m downright fascinated by this product’s great value! It’s hard for me to believe that a soap of such generous size and such long life costs just a dollar, so I took a little trip to my neighborhood Dollar Tree, and there it was! I love a good deal, Friends!

But if that isn’t reason enough for me to be sold, a quick visit to Shugar Soapworks’ website sealed the deal!

They are doing some amazing things with charity work across the country with their Clean Hands Save Lives initiative. You can even take the opportunity to nominate a charity, Friends!

Great company, great product…but why take my word for it? You can find out yourself for just $1! So what are you waiting for?!?

 

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