Health Food Shaming

I am very conscious of health and living a healthy balanced lifestyle. I also have a very sensitive system. My body reacts very strongly to anything that I put in it. I mean this in a very broad sense and not only pertaining to foods. Anything from Tylenol PM to peanut butter can cause me to somewhere on the scale of ‘meh’ to ‘extremely yucky.’

It is only in the past year or so that I decided enough is enough and really started zeroing in on what foods would to eat that would make me feel awesome. I avoid Gluten, Soy, and Dairy. I am also sensitive to nuts, beans, and cruciferous vegetables in large quantities. Over the years, I have simply found that avoiding certain foods and making healthy choices give me more energy, more focus, and just a better quality of life.

So what foods do I eat? Literally everything I can that does not fall into these categories. I am not picky whatsoever, I pretty much love all foods (except asparagus).

Because of my health-conscious self, my food restrictions do not bother me too much as dairy, soy and gluten are not really staples in fresh home cooked meals (with the exception of soy).

Why do I frequently feel self-conscious about the way I eat?

I find myself feeling self-conscious in many situations because of my diet. There is nothing I hate more than explaining why I avoid certain foods or why I make healthy choices. Very frequently people will think I avoid certain foods and make healthier choices as an excuse to lose weight. This DRIVES ME CRAZY.

It is so hard explaining to people that making a healthy choices and dieting are two completely different things. Believe it or not, I really take offense to people assuming I am always trying to lose weight; I’m actually totally fine with the way I look, thank you very much! Not only that, but the same people will go on to say that I need to eat more, or ask me why I eat so healthy since I’m already in great shape. (And so begs the never ending rhetoric of why people who are in great shape eat healthy? Chicken or the egg? If you’re sensing sarcasm you should be).

I do admit that when I try to look at the situation with an outside perspective, trying to avoid so many different food groups and simultaneously making other healthy food choices does look like a diet geared towards weight loss.

It is still frustrating. I am not trying to lose weight, I just want to feel great, have abundant energy, and live a healthy lifestyle. Why do I have to take so much **** about it almost on a daily basis?

I have come to think of this as Health Food Shaming.

The gluten-free fad kicked in about 7 years ago, and since then I have seen two ends of the gluten-free spectrum. Those who think of gluten as the devil, and those who think a gluten-free lifestyle is just an excuse to cut carbs and calories for weight loss.

Let’s not forget that Celiac is also a serious disease that

many suffer from and have suffered from long before this

Gluten-Free thing happened.

For me, I didn’t really know what gluten was until it became a topic of conversation. After eliminating gluten from my diet I went from getting sick about 2-3 times a year to…well I don’t really get sick anymore.

Beyond the actual sensitivities, my eating habits incorporate lots of lean proteins, fresh veggies, and healthy fats. It is amazing to me that something that I have worked hard on for many years that gives me energy and a sense of achievement also causes me social discomfort.

I often feel myself retreating into the glass orb my audience clearly thinks I should be living in when I explain my diet choices.  

I believe that a healthy lifestyle is so essential in our society today, especially when there are so many unhealthy influences surrounding us. At the same time, those who do manage to ignore these influences and enjoy healthy living must deal with constant scrutiny by those who have yet to find a healthy balance.

Am I alone? Do you find it awkward to make healthy choices in public where so many others do not? Do you feel bombarded by your less-healthy friends?

❤ Cammy

To fuel or not to fuel?

Bonjour readers!
It was one of those mornings where I just felt a little sluggish, cranky, and generally out of it. Not to the extreme, but I’ve been perkier. It could have been the thick blanket of mist that had settled in over the mountains, the few drinks I had last night, the fact that no one had made coffee by the time I woke up (ahem)…That sounds bratty but I’m going with it.

I previously touched on the different ideas circulating around in the fitness world about the benefits of eating Vs. not eating before a workout. I have always had the mindset that you should fuel your body as you feel is appropriate throughout the day. However, it has been a topic of conversation in the house for the past couple of weeks that not eating in the morning prior to a workout (particularly cardiovascular) burns more fat.

Ok great.

So here are my questions;

  1. Does this only matter if you are working out first thing in the morning?
  2. Is the same true for strength training if you are skipping cardio (gasp) for the day?
  3. What if I don’t care about burning fat, are there any other benefits?

So first I will share what the professionals have to offer.

A study done by the American Journal of Physiology does indeed state that not eating before the workout burns more fat. The reasoning is something along the lines of; the body is too busy burning off/digesting what you just consumed to focus on the expenditure your workout creates.

Literally in DIRECT opposition, Jillian Michaels (a true professional), states that not eating is the worst thing that one can do before a workout because your body will burn its own muscle tissue for energy. The article goes on to add that a study done with a group of cyclists, both fed and unfed, reported an equal amount of fat burned in both groups.


So far inconclusive.


I am not the only one to have these questions, a fact that is becoming blatantly clear to me as I research these ponderings.


I actually stumbled upon a website that lays out exactly what to eat or not to eat depending on the time of day and/or the food already consumed. I will not list all of these things because someone already did it for me, however if you are curious the link is below.

The purpose of this blog post is not to lay out a bunch of research and call it a day. I choose instead to give my own personal feedback on the subject and how my own body works. So back to this morning.


Like I said I have been trying this fasting in the morning prior to my workout for about two weeks. This goes great if I stick to two rules:

  1. I can’t wait too long before I wake up to workout or I get hungry and cranky and risk sacrificing the workout completely,
  2. I can’t workout for more than 30-45 minutes or I, again, get hungry and cranky.


So that’s really constricting, right? My workout this morning was a 60 minute mat pilates and Barre routine, which broke my second rule, and about half way through I was extremely irritable. However yesterday I woke up and went for a 3 mile run, came home, no problem.


So here is my conclusion; different day, different workout, different caloric needs.


I believe that instead of paying attention to these fads and professional pieces of advice (which are so controversial in the first place) I need to just listen to my body. A lot of this is intuitive anyways, no I’m not going to go for a run after eating half a pizza (as if, gluten-free!), that would just feel terrible. I would much prefer feeling energized and getting a great workout than thinking about how much fat I’m burning. A little fat never hurt anyone.


Answers to my own questions as follows:

  1. Does this only matter if you are working out first thing in the morning?
    1. Who cares, if you’re hungry eat something small and then again after.
  2. Is the same true for strength training if you are skipping cardio (gasp) for the day?
    1. Cardio tends to take my mind off hunger more so than strength training. Plus the goal of strength training is to GAIN MUSCLE, yeah? I would imagine it’s probably more important to eat before a strength workout (shall we re-visit Jillian Michael’s burning muscle tissue scare?), particularly since the goal of strength training is generally not to burn fat.
  3. What if I don’t care about burning fat, are there any other benefits?
    1. Yes! If I don’t eat before, then I don’t have to eat before AND after=less cooking! Win. 


There is always a balance, we just need to listen to our bodies and find it, and it takes a lot of time, patience, and practice. I’m definitely still practicing listening to my own.




Blair, Olivia. “Why not eating before a workout could be better for your health.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 26 Apr. 2017. Web. 03 Aug. 2017.

“MYTH: Never Eat Before a Workout | Jillian Michaels.” N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2017.

“When is the best time for eating and exercising?” ChicagoNow is full of win. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2017.


Finding My Range of Motion

Good Morning Readers!

When I started really getting into Pilates, I was mostly watching online videos or just following a workout guide downloaded from the internet. It took me 8 years to figure out how my body really wanted to move and understanding my own range of motion.

Online videos and in particular, downloaded workout guides, never seem to get into how different bodies work in terms of finding a comfortable range. YouTube instructors are of course in amazing shape and have incredible flexibility, which is dangerous if those watching the video do not factor this in. 

Double leg lift was the position with which I had my first ‘A-ha” moment. I originally learned this move with the following instructions;

  1. Lie supine on your mat
  2. Ensuring your lower back is pressed into the mat, use your lower abs to pull your legs up to a 90 degree angle, feet, knees and hip bones all stacked..
  3. Using the lower abs, let your legs float down until they are a few inches from the ground, ensuring the low back remains pressed into the mat.
  4. Pulling with the lower abs, draw your straight legs back up to a 90 degree angle,
  5. Repeat.

Most of these instructions are great. It is important to pull the legs using the abs so the quads don’t do all the work, and to protect the lower back by ensuring that it remains firmly pressed on the mat.

However I WAS feeling it in my quads and my hip flexors. I used my hands under my tailbone to support my lower back and even with the added support the movement was uncomfortable. 


I felt a little dejected. 


Literally in my first mat teacher training course, I learned this movement 1000% differently than I had practiced it all those years and I felt my abs more than ever.

The way I do this movement now;

  1. Lie supine on your mat
  2. Ensuring your lower back is pressed into the mat and use your lower abs to pull your legs up to a 90 degree, stacked over the hip bones.
  3. Using the lower abs, let your legs float down to the bottom of your range of motion,
  4. Pulling with the lower abs, draw your straight legs back up to a 90 degree angle,
  5. Repeat.

Just this TINY change made a huge difference in my workout.

My spine is curved and I have a large booty, therefore because of the shape of my body, it is not advisable for me to attempt to lower and lift my legs in the full range demonstrated by so many instructors online!

The bottom of my range of motion because of the shape and strength of my back body, is literally only about 4-5 inches lower than the stacked-90 degree starting position. However, my pulling with my lower abs it still burns like crazy.

Because of this smaller movement I am more able to protect my lower back. If you have move curvaceous spine as I do you may even want to place a sponge under the lower back to make the floor connection more present.

Learning that I didn’t have to go through the full range to get a good workout was a huge moment for me. If some movements are more difficult than seem reasonable, that’s probably because they need modification for your particular body type or conditioning level.

“This is NOT a modifier to the double leg lift, merely a safer way for my body to practice the exercise.”

I’m not fond of the word ‘modified’ or adding ‘modifiers’ to workouts because to me this implies that modified versions of an exercise are for those with less strength. I find this somewhat dangerous because many, like myself, will assume that because we are in great physical condition that modifier is not necessary even if the movement is painful. It is not explained in a fast paced class that the modifier is sometimes for those whose bodies work slightly differently than others.

Of course, sometimes the modifier is for those who have less physical strength. However I still believe that this should be explained in a less shameful way. This way, those who do not have the necessary strength do not attempt to do the unmodified movement.

You would not expect olympic lifters in a different weight class to dead lift the same amount, right? However, for both people working with the same amount of energy, they are getting a comparable workout for their individual strengths/bodies.

And so concludes my thoughts on the double leg lower and lift!


❤ Cammy


“I get sticky hair all over mommy’s pilates mat”

Good Morning Readers!

This is Stella and she is a Boston Bulldog. She is frequently guilty of crimes such as whimsical over-the-shoulder glances, extreme cuteness, and general mischievousness. Her brother Stanlee is also guilty of these crimes, in particular the habitual mischievousness.


Continue reading ““I get sticky hair all over mommy’s pilates mat””


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