You have to get up pretty early

You have to get up pretty early: the sun coming up at 7am as I'm headed home | Living Consciously Blog
The sun coming up at 7am as I’m heading home.

How is the part time job going, Jenny? (I teach Lagree Fitness at a local studio – it’s a form of Pilates on the Megaformer)

Welllll, let me tell you.

For the past 2 years, I have been teaching a class or two on the weekend and 2-3 morning classes during the week. It works great for me, because on the weekend the kids get some alone time with Daddy and I get some adult interaction doing something that I love! The mornings have also been nice because the kids are still asleep, and just getting up as I arrive home. Some days Daddy gets them completely ready and even takes them to preschool. You can read more about my philosophy of working out in the morning in my post about working out as a SAHM.

And for the last 2 years, morning classes have been verrry slim.

As in, 1-2 people in a class with a 10 person capacity.

And more than 50% of the time: no one.

No one was dedicated enough to their fitness routine to get up at 6am to work out.

We changed the time to 7am.

Still no one.

We have changed days all over the place: every day of the week, Tuesday/Thursdays, MWF.

Nope.

It is totally understandable that the studio finally actually cancelled morning classes altogether this week. And that, therefore, I’m not really technically “working part time” anymore. Because is working 1 hour a week even enough to call part time? Probably not.

So many times on this blog, I take the middle road. I respect all peoples’ choices even if they are different from my own. But I have had enough of the following constantly recurring conversation and I am taking a stand.

Here goes:

Stranger/casual acquaintance/current studio client: “Wow, your arms are amazing. I wish I was that strong. I would give anything to look like that. What kind of workout do you do?”

Me: “[insert explanation of Lagree fitness], I teach morning classes twice a week at 6am [or 7am]”

Stranger/acquaintance/client: “OMG I could never do that! 7am! That is waaaay too early, haha, you must be joking!”

Often there is a pause where they are waiting for me to tell them some other way of getting in shape. I have nothing else to say because, um, I just said it. Get up & DO SOMETHING.

Does no one else see the problem here?!

Intrusively remarking stranger, if you were truly interested in a radical change in your muscle mass and strength, as you say that you are, why do you put restrictions on yourself? If I told you, “Just buy this pill, drink this powder, say this magical incantation under a full moon”, would you do it? Trust me, some people would. But if I am telling you to just get up an hour earlier a few times a week? SURELY NOT, YOU MUST BE JOKING. THERE MUST BE ANOTHER WAY.

Obviously, this is a very specific type of person I am talking about here. There are plenty of us who get up at 5am or 6am to get some fitness in at the beginning of our day. There are others of us who get up that early to read, meditate, or (let’s be honest) are woken at that hour or earlier by a small human. Many other Lagree studios are completely sold out at 6am and 7am. Yoga studios often have maxed out classes at that time too (I know, because I go sometimes).

I AM talking to the people who say that getting up at 5am is impossible.

I AM talking to the people who want to see results without any sacrifice.

I AM talking to the people who aren’t willing to take the risk and therefore, unfortunately, will never see the gain.

I am sad for you. It’s just one little “no” the night before.
No, I won’t watch one more show.
No, I won’t get started on Pinterest or Facebook right now.
No, I won’t pick up that magazine.

So that you can say “yes”.
Yes, I will go prepare a healthy morning snack now.
Yes, I will set out my workout clothes.
Yes, I will register for that class.
Yes, I will go to bed now, even though it is early.

Yes, I will see a change in my energy level, strength, and stamina.

Because, you will.

ConscientiousConfusion.com changing to Living-Consciously.com!

Living-Consciously.com Facebook cover previewI’ve been blogging here at ConscientiousConfusion.com since at least 2007. I loved the name of this blog initially because I have been described many times in my life as “conscientious”, even as young as my report card in the 1st grade! It’s just a word that describes my frame of mind at any given moment. And, of course, the process of being conscientious is nothing if not confusing.

But, let’s face it, it’s hard to spell.

Seriously, no one can spell it.

And it’s difficult for people to find me when they can’t spell the name of the blog.

For years, I have stalked alternative names but none have been available. Just a few weeks ago, I was clicking around on Network Solutions again (what, you don’t do that in YOUR spare time?!) and behold!! Living-Consciously.com was finally available! I was so excited that I bought it right away from my amazing hosting provider, Twenty70Hosting. I love Kelly so much. She is helping me through this URL migration process. Not easy for someone as technically challenged as I can be. If you are a blogger looking for a new host, please take my recommendation and go to Twenty70*!

I love the new name for many reasons, not the least of which is the yoga reference. Yoga is a practice of living inside the space we create to be conscious of our surroundings at all times. Religion is a spiritual process of being conscious of how we live in vertical relationship to God. Nutrition and fitness are functions living consciously inside our bodies, prompting us to treating our bodies with respect. There are so many reasons that this new domain is a great fit.

So, I am moving forward with the domain name migration with so much excitement! You may have noticed that my Facebook page is already looking different. I am so in love with the new cover photo that I have put it at the top of this post. You’ll be seeing the new name in the logo at the top of this page very soon as well.

The best news is: there will be a HUGE giveaway to celebrate the name launch starting next week! Please keep posted on the giveaway so you can win some amazing conscious living products from some wonderful brands by signing up for my blog posts via email. That way you’ll never miss a post!

Get ready to start Living Consciously!

 

 

* I did not get paid anything to recommend my hosting provider. I just love her so much!!

Conscientious Consumerism: Things to watch for when shopping for anything

You know that you’ve reached some kind of crunchy-person dilemma when you are standing in a giant store with an aisle full of options and do not find any acceptable choices for the item you came to purchase. I’m not just talking about food, although I certainly struggle with orthorexia in that area — but any item!

Small or large. Bed sheets. Slippers. Hand lotion. Paper towels. Wrapping paper. Everything.

When I say that I practice conscientious consumerism, what do I mean?

Questions that go through my head: where was it made? Were the workers treated fairly? What are the chemicals in it? What active chemicals will it leach when not in use? Were there pesticides used in it? Are there genetically modified (GMO) ingredients? Is there gluten or dairy in this? Can I make this instead of buying it? If so, is that crazy/do I even have enough time? Should I be purchasing something with this much unnecessary packaging? Is this made of plastic? If so, can I get a glass or stainless steel version?

Yep, all those things really do go through my head. And it’s true that I have walked out of even Target empty-handed because  I couldn’t answer some of those questions satisfactorily about the item I came for.

While you are pondering just how crazy I might be, I will provide you a list of things I look for when shopping and things I avoid. Follow at your own risk!
Conscientious Consumerism: Things to watch for when shopping for anything | ConscientiousConfusion.com

Avoid:

Phthalates (also called “Fragrance” in ingredients list)

Plastic

Trans fats (partially- or fully hydrogenated oils)

Soy or canola oil with unlisted source (likely GMO)

non-organic corn (GMO)

high fructose corn syrup

corn syrup

leather (when possible)

PVC (leaches phthalates/endocrine disruptors)

Single use items

Unpronounceable ingredients

 

Prefer:

Fair trade (better)

Purchase benefits a marginalized group (best)

Recyclable (better)

Reusable/refillable (best)

Small business

Workforce responsibility

Organic

Certified non-GMO

Handmade

 

That’s my short lists for now — have I left anything out that you look for or avoid? I’d love to hear your additions!

IG post: Showing skin

I’m experimenting with something for the next week or so. I notice that I haven’t been posting to my blog as often as I should, but  I post what amounts to mini blog posts on Instagram regularly. I can’t seem to find a way to automate the transfer of those posts into WordPress, but for now I’d like to try simultaneously posting the more thoughtful posts here.

~~~

Original IG post text:

Side Plank #independencearmy – sorry for the amount of skin in this pic, didn’t have clients for my 6am so I did some flow of my own at home & these were the clothes I had on, couldn’t grab more without waking the rest of the family. Great way to start the day!

Adding:

First, let me say that I got nothing but positive encouragement from my followers on Instagram. Which is why I love IG, it’s such a positive place. Some of these friends I only know from Instagram! It’s like Twitter used to be.*sadface* My followers on IG are a) largely fitness buffs like myself, primarily interested in the poses and photography rather than oogling, and b) female. I have very few male followers and only allow those whom I trust to be professional.

But let me back up and provide context, in case you have been living in a hole each Spring when the blog posts about modesty re-circulate. The most popular post this year was this post from a woman asking other women to help her protect her marriage by not posting pictures of themselves baring skin.

I saw a lot of criticism of that post regarding the writer’s marriage, and I am going to completely disregard that as none of our business. I understand her intent, and as a highly conscientious person I seriously consider her legitimate feelings.

Once we know that someone is offended or bothered by something, we are responsible for what we do with that knowledge. To act upon our knowledge or ignore it is a choice.

Here is an example of what I mean.

At the beginning of this swimming season, I owned one swimsuit. A two-piece with full coverage of top and bottom that I wore before kids and through 2 pregnancies. I was planning on wearing it for another year when I participated in a discussion with very close friends about their comfort levels wearing bikinis at our neighborhood pool, some in regards to appropriate modesty front of the husbands. Because this is our first year to join the neighborhood pool and be around my friends’ husbands at a pool, I was not sure what to do. I had just purchased a second swimsuit so that I would be able to cycle between the two if one was in the wash. They were both two pieces! Both full coverage of chest and rear end, but definitely two pieces. Were they modest enough?

I choose to care about my friends’ comfort levels, so once they have shared their concerns, I am responsible for my choices in light of this knowledge.

What I am not responsible for is interpreting the reactions of those who have not shared their concerns with me.

Another example: My favorite tongue-in-cheek response to the modesty post this year was  this one: When Suits Become a Stumbling Block. The intent of that parody was to point out that it is nearly impossible for the person wearing the clothing to pinpoint whether certain clothing or behaviors would make someone else “think inappropriate thoughts”. And how ridiculous it would be to ask everyone else to stop doing anything that makes them attractive in any way.

While I am happy to honor the concerns of my friends who tell me what makes them uncomfortable, I am not responsible for determining all the nuances of every individual’s comfort level, as the satirical post illustrates.

So this is what I did: I went out and bought swim shorts for one suit and a tankini top for the other. It was the cheapest thing to do, and I hope it increased the modesty of them both. I did this because I love and respect my friends who were not OK with their husbands seeing women in a standard bikini. I still wear the non-tankini and non-shorts pieces in my backyard with the kids and my husband.

In light of such responsibility, which has it’s limitations within the knowledge we possess, one more thing I want to address about that modesty post (and comments that I occasionally get from other women/clients): it’s not ok to say that you would dress more scantily if only you looked a certain way.

I want to paste some excerpts of the comments I got on my IG post:

Don’t apologize! If I had your body I would walk around in my swimsuit. Everywhere.

Gorgeous bod!! If I looked like that, I would wear that little all of the time!!

I’d grocery shop in that if I looked like you!

If you re-read the modesty post, you will also find this line in her post:

If I was skinny with rock-hard abs and legs from here to Mexico, I’d want to take lots of pictures of myself. Mostly naked. I would want to post them with a nice filter on Instagram, and share them with whoever might see.

Here’s the catch, lady: you just told everyone else they shouldn’t. Which means you don’t get to, either

You couldn’t because of people like you, posting blog posts telling people who look a certain way that they aren’t allowed to wear certain things. Putting conscientious people like me, who genuinely respect your feelings and want to do the right thing, in a very odd place when it comes to clothing.

Which begs the question: are you asking other women to cover up out of genuine concern for modesty, or out of your own body image insecurity? I’m completely respectful of other women’s legitimate requests for modesty. I can and will dress according to specific requests, if needed. But I am not responsible for protecting you from your view of yourself, which is an impossible target for me to hit. I can’t see inside your brain.

My sweet Instagram followers are not judgemental or even critical. What makes me sad is that, at the core, the phrase, “If I looked like that…” expresses dissatisfaction with the speakers’ body. I get this from my clients a lot and I want you all to know that your bodies are strong and capable. We also know that the images we see in the media are not real. I want you to stop comparing yourselves and enjoy your physical bodies!

The reality is, there are some people like the modesty post blogger who are judging someone who is fit even more harshly than they would judge someone who is less fit. The same woman who applauded this awesome lady for wearing a two piece swimsuit might write that blog post asking that we not post pictures of ourselves at the pool because we’re not overweight.

As a conscientious fit person, I’m always open to constructive feedback. And I’m sure that I have body issues of my own. But please do not confuse insecurity with impropriety. Most of all, let’s examine our motives and stop the comparisons.

Instagram is now more fun than Facebook for blogging

Follow me on Instagram! | Living Consciously Blog

If you’re not a blogger or small business owner, you might not be aware that Facebook has not been the friendliest place for Facebook Pages in the last 6 months. When you log in to Facebook as a user, you see many items in your Facebook “News Feed”. Some are from your Friends, some are paid advertisements, and some are from Pages you have “Like”ed. Let’s say that you’re a standard Facebook user with about 200 friends and have “Like”ed around 50-100 Pages. Maybe you log on to Facebook to check your News Feed every 3-4 hours. Think how many times your 200 friends and 100 Pages have posted Status Updates during that time. There is no way you are going to have time to see all the updates, so Facebook tries to “help” you by actually only showing a very small percentage of those updates to you in your News Feed. Facebook uses an algorithm to determine what it “thinks” you would be interested in, and hides the rest of the updates from you. As a small business or a Facebook Page, my job is to make my status updates are interesting to most of the people who have “Like”ed my Page so that my updates show up in your News Feed. Bloggers and businesses work super hard to do this. We schedule posts, we think creatively, and if you’re like me, post pictures of food and children to get you to “Like” and “Share”. The more you “Like” and “Share” an update, the more often it’s source appears in your News Feed. Or, that’s how it used to be. It used to be that all our efforts to make interesting content paid off. As a Page owner, I can see below my Status Update how many of my Fans (those who have “Like”ed my Page) saw the update. I used to get somewhere around 25%-30% of my Fans seeing my updates. That was a pretty good number although some Pages were able to reach more.

But in the last 6 months, Facebook changed the algorithm. The consensus of bloggers and small business owners is that we virtually cannot reach our Fans at all anymore. Regardless of how often you “Like” or “Share” our updates, you may never see my Page in your News Feed again. Nowadays, the same type of Status Update that reached 25%-30% of my Fans consistently reaches 10% or less. Sometimes I get the dreaded “10 people saw this post”. WhAT?! And it’s not just me. It’s everyone, including bloggers with thousands of Fans and large businesses. Facebook does have a pay-for-placement structure that allows a Page owner to pay to show up in News Feeds, but not specifically the News Feeds of those who “Like” your page — everyone’s News Feed. So you can pay for 1,000 people to see your post, but you still might not actually reach your Fans who “Like”ed your Page. You just appear in 1,000 random peoples’ News Feed. The business owners and bloggers I’ve talked to who have paid for placement say that the paid placement still doesn’t boost their numbers much above the 25%-30% they were getting before the algorithm changed. The only difference is that they’re having to pay.

If you follow me on Facebook, you might have noticed I’ve been a little slack about posting. But most likely, you haven’t noticed because you haven’t been seeing my Status Updates anyway. I wanted to let you, my awesome readers, know that I actually post a lot of personal, yoga, food, and daily things on my Instagram. I’ve been spending a lot of time over there lately because I’ve found a really neat community of yogis and fitness friends. I’m not an Instagram star or anything, but I’ve found it to be fun!

Check out some of my favorite users and posts recently:

Aren’t these so fun and inspirational?

I’ve been so much happier taking pictures and looking at positive, uplifting posts from others that challenge me than I was on Facebook battling through the clutter. I’d encourage you to give it a try, even if you don’t post pictures. Follow some inspirational people! Be encouraged!

What are your favorite Instagram accounts to follow? I’d love to hear, and I hope to see you on Instagram soon!