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Health & Wellness

Starting the BBG Workout by Kayla Itsines

An Honest Take on The First Few Weeks of The Program
Filed Under > Everyday

Starting the BBG workout

Have you heard of BBG?  It’s short for Bikini Body Guide, and it’s a high intensity interval training workout program that’s sweeping the planet one body transformation at a time.  It was created by aussie Kayla Itsines, and it’s a super effective 12-week program that’s built of short, concise exercise circuits.  I’m talking 28 minute workouts that focus on arms, abs, legs, and overall body.  And the workouts can be done just about anywhere.  

I have actually tried BBG a couple of times in the past.  But both times I fell out of the routine, lost motivation doing it by myself, and ultimately returned to group classes.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m an avid ClassPasser.  The app allows me to try a good variety of fitness classes to keep my workout routine interesting and it caters to me if I’m in a strength training mood or a zenned out yoga mood.  

Since I had had a taste of BBG before, I was thrilled when MKR recently proposed the idea of starting BBG as a team.  I thought to myself, this was finally the time I’d stick it out and see the results I know that so, so many have seen!

I mean, it’s hard to not be impressed with the before-and-afters on Instagram.  Everyone on the team agreed that starting BBG workouts would be an exciting thing to do together, and well worth our time to get into gear and feel stronger.

After getting everyone on board, 11 team members to be exact, we decided on a few ways we’d keep everyone accountable and excited.  We settled on a group text chain, and a Google Doc form that took inventory of everyone’s exercise habits, fitness goals, body type, ages, etc.  We then created a weekly form via Google Docs that would collect everyone’s responses to the previous week’s workout. The form included questions about soreness, motivation levels, thoughts on the specific exercises and overall accountability for following the week’s recommended circuits.  This seemed to be a promising way of keeping everyone on the same page with progress.  

Our baseline survey taught us that our ages range from 20-37, with the majority of us 27-29 years old. Most of us regularly exercise 3-5 times per week, and are in moderately good shape. We have lots of yogis, runners and barre-lovers in the group, too.  Lastly, we all submitted fitness goals of becoming more confident, stronger, and more toned.  It was refreshing to see so many responses about strength rather than weight and lbs! 

So how has it been going?!  Everyone was really gung-ho about the program in the first two weeks.  We encouraged each other on our group text thread, sent photos and videos for a quick laugh and support, and really just felt like we were going somewhere with the workout plan. It was unanimous that burpees were the worst exercise imaginable, though jump lunges and commandos were up there too. We were all sore, but we also reveled in the feeling of comradery as we suffered together. 

But ever since the first few weeks, we’ve definitely had fallout.  Responses in our weekly progress Google Doc have lessened, and the group text is almost all crickets these days.  I personally suffered a minor injury and fell out of routine as I rested before a 10-day hiking trip.  And I know I can speak for the group in saying that it was difficult to adhere to the exact schedule that’s laid out in the guide.  The guide leads you to do at least three HIIT sessions throughout the week, with recommendations for cardio exercise on other days.  Since we had a group doing it together, we all felt a little guilty whenever we’d miss the workout that day.

So why the fallout?  People didn’t have enough time.  Some of us had minor injuries.  Some of us attended other workout classes and wanted them to “count” for the BBG workout that day.  Some of us just really preferred other ways of working out!  Whatever the reasons were, it felt like life in general just got in the way of the very specific schedule.  And after missing one or two of the workouts, it was ridiculously easy to throw the towel in and quit altogether.

From seeing the team’s responses, and in talking to everyone, I think the hardest struggle here is in consistency and the battle we all have in our minds with ourselves.  There were times when we made ourselves feel down, discouraged and guilty for not sticking to the schedule.  But after reading posts by BBG loyalists and many success stories, I think the main thing we need to keep in mind is that the program is flexible. We just need to do the three HIIT workouts sometime throughout the week.  And sometimes it may be harder than others, but we just need to get it done.

A few of us are still hanging in there.  We’re feeling stronger overall, but a lot of us haven’t seen any dramatic results just yet.  As we approach Week 6, we’ll admit that may have missed some workouts but we still DO want to stay strong and complete the guide.  We’re trying to fight the temptation to quit because we want to tackle this challenge.  We’d love to know: any BBGers out there?  What struggles have you faced while doing the program?  Do you have any tips or suggestions for our team?  Thank you!  Cheers, Kat

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Photography, Haley Sheffield for Waiting on Martha

Understanding Food Intolerances with Pinnertest

An easy, at-home food intolerance test you'll want to try
Filed Under > Everyday

Understanding food intolerances with Pinnertest, Waiting on Martha

I’ve spent a lot of time in my adult years wondering what the heck is making me feel so bad.  I’ve struggled with debilitating migraines, low energy, poor digestion and occasional weight-gain with no clear concept on “the why”. 

As you read last week, I’ve gone back and forth between being vegetarian and eating meat.  And like just about everyone out there, I’ve self-diagnosed and claimed possible intolerances to certain foods without the actual correlation to prove the causation.  I knew it was probably time to try a food intolerance test, and I had my eyes on Pinnertest

But let me back up; you may be asking: what are food intolerances exactly?  How are the different from food allergies?  According to Pinnertest, “food intolerance occurs when your body cannot properly digest and convert the foods you eat into the necessary nutrients that fuel your system. This maldigestion causes inflammation, which leads to many negative food intolerance related symptoms including fatigue, migraine & headaches, eczema, bloating, gas, congestion, weight gain, brain fog, joint aches, acid reflux, food cravings, diarrhea, skin rash and more.”

Man.  I could raise my hands to several if not all of the symptoms listed above, and I couldn’t explain why!  It was actually driving me crazy, to be honest.  So the more I thought about it, I knew I wanted to get the legitimate proof about how my body was reacting to certain foods.  

It took me a long time to pull the trigger with ordering a kit.  I don’t know about you, but getting testing for food intolerances sounds like it would be an intrusive, intense, and potentially expensive experience.  Fortunately, Pinnertest claimed to be a next generation blood test that can determine your individual food intolerances, all from the comfort of your home—well, and them in their lab!  It included an easy, at-home kit that was sent to me within 3-4 days of ordering.  And all I needed to do was prick my finger for two drops of blood to be sent off to their lab with a prepaid return label.  

I eagerly awaited the results in the mail, which came a little less than two weeks later.  The results were SHOCKING and so fascinating!  As stated above Pinnertest is all about intolerances that your body currently has basically meaning you’ve overdone it so much on certain foods your body can’t handle them or digest them properly anymore.  Which is completely different than being allergic to specific foods.  Because of that they specifically stress that if you know you’re allergic or intolerant certain foods to keep that information in mind regardless of what your test results come back saying.  A great example of that for me is dairy.  I became severely intolerant to specific types of dairy, mainly heavily processed dairy, in my twenties so regardless of what my test results were I knew dairy wasn’t making its way back into my every day diet.  The other thing to note about Pinnertest is it rates your tolerance level from a 1-3 and it does state that you may be able to eventually bring these intolerant foods back into your system, stressing that this test is all about what your body can digest currently.

So back to the results…I tested to be intolerant for grapes, avocados, salmon, canola oil and egg yolks.  As many of you know, I’m a huge wino, and the news about the grapes was absolutely disheartening, but not shocking.  I had been recently getting massive migraines and ill from only a glass or two of wine so I knew something was up.  Equally as devastating  was the news about the avocados!  I can only think that the intolerance to the canola oil and the egg yolks is a result of years and years of baking.  

I don’t know if I’ll give up wine for good—ha!—but I’m so grateful to know that these triggers are affecting me so I can make sound decisions about when it’s worth it or not.  While Pinnertest is not meant to act as a diagnostic tool, it definitely served me as sound advice for my everyday wellness because it pointed out the foods that I should avoid.  

And just a little FYI; this post is in fact not sponsored.  I just knew I wanted to share my experience with you in hopes that Pinnertest can help you, too!  I’d highly recommend ordering the easy, at-home kit to discover what may be slowing you down.  Has anyone else struggled with unidentified food intolerances?  Have you been tested?  I’d love to know!  Truly, MKR

P.S. I’m getting a lot of questions about the cost.  I’m so sorry but I don’t remember exactly…I believe it was around $400 which is much more reasonable then getting your bloodwork done for these sort of tests at a doctors office.  I do suggest signing up for a free account because they do send out really great promos to get the test at a discounted rate.  Truthfully, I’m super thankful I got the test done and plan to do it again in a year after eliminating or seriously cutting back on my intolerances.  

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Photography, Rustic White for Waiting on Martha

After Being A Vegetarian For 7 Years I Started Eating Meat Again & Here’s What Happened

My personal journey from carnivore, to vegetarian, to carnivore again
Filed Under > Everyday

I stopped being a vegetarian, Waiting on Martha

When I chose to stop being a vegetarian after seven years, the amount of questions and messages I received was intense.  Everyone wanted to know why? How did I feel? Was this just a blip or a permanent switch?  I knew I wanted to answer all of those questions, but not until I had time to actually live in my decision and understand the ramifications of it all.  So seven months later, here I am ready to chat.

First things first; why did I stop eating meat?  Let me say, it’s a very personal decision and nothing is worse (or more annoying) than anyone from either side of the table trying to make you feel guilty about eating meat or not eating meat.  For me it was an ethical decision and being completely grossed out by factory farms.  I did my research.  I watched the documentaries, I read the books, I talked to doctors.  That combined with the fact that I had also recently gotten a dog I love more than most humans made the decision to become a vegetarian an easy one.  

Surprisingly, giving up meat was the easiest thing I had ever done.  I never “cheated” nor cared to cheat, I never felt deprived, tired, or weak from not eating meat.  In fact I felt better than ever; at least for the first four-five years.  And then something shifted, and my digestive/gut issues and food sensitivities started.  When I became a vegetarian I promised myself I would listen to my body and adjust accordingly, and something at this time needed adjusting. 

I did every cleanse, intolerance test, celiac test, and even a colonoscopy and endoscopy procedure to try to pin point exactly what was causing these issues.  But every time I thought I had it figured out, something else would trigger my gut.  It was beyond frustrating, especially for someone who loves food so much.  To throw another twist into the scenario, it was also during this time that I began to desire meat again; specifically chicken.  But the cravings weren’t my tipping point, my trip to London was.

What happened in London you ask? I got sick.  Violently sick after dinner one night and was out of commission for two whole days.  Holed up in my hotel room, missing spending time in my favorite city in the world, because something I ate caused some sort of unknown reaction.  I was pissed!  So it was on the plane ride home that I decided I’m done.  And the minute we landed, I had the hubs pull into McDonalds and I ordered every single thing on the menu.  Yes, my first meal after being a vegetarian for 7 years was McDonalds.  

So did I get sick? That’s what you’re wondering right? I mean we’ve all heard the horror stories of what happens to your body when your begin eating meat again after not eating it for so long.  But the truth is I didn’t get sick.  I didn’t get sick from McDonalds, or Wendys, Taco Bell, Burger King, Chick-fil-a, Shake Shack, Five Guys, or any of those places…yes I went on a bit of a fast food bender.  I actually didn’t get sick from re-introducing meat back into my system at all until I had a ribeye steak a few weeks later.  Which if I’m being fair could have just as easily been from the massive amount of butter I put on it and not the steak itself.

Having meat back on the menu has actually done the opposite and its helped my gut/digestive issues.  My stomach feels more stable than ever.  But let’s not ring the dinner bell for being a carnivore just yet.  While my gut is better, there are other areas that I personally feel are worse.

One, I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been and my eating habits are the worst they’ve ever been.  You see when you don’t eat meat there aren’t a lot of fast food options to choose from; being a vegetarian basically removes that garbage from your brain completely.  But now, I feel like I’ve reverted to eating like I did in college but without the 21 year old metabolism.  

Two, I’m on the sluggish side.  Meat makes me tired.  Maybe not the meat itself, but definitely the majority of meals I seem to eat now make me feel a bit blah.  When I was a vegetarian I ate so many fruits and vegetables, and everything was just naturally on the fresh and lighter side.  As a vegetarian, food was fuel for my body not comfort after a bad day.  

Three, my complexion has dulled and I feel a bit more anxious.  This is a no brainer; veggies and fruits make your skin shine so it’s no surprise mine feels a little dull.  As far as the anxiety goes there are numerous studies and books out there about how animals pass their hormones and feelings on to us and it’s something I completely believe and can honestly feel.  I’ll leave the science of all that to the scientist, but I do urge that if you have anxiety to look into the connection between what we eat and how we feel.

Lastly, I can feel the carnivore guilt starting to creep back in.  At first I didn’t feel it at all; I was literally on a meat bender.  Now, I’m imagining the pig I love so much and questioning if I really want that BLT.  

So where does that leave me?  Actually in a good place.  I’m coming out of my all-meat-everything-haze and remembering how much I loved and respected my connection with food and what it does for my body.  I’m not living on fast food, and I’m focusing on what is healthiest for me.  I actually recently took an eye-opening intolerance test, which I’ll share with you next week, that has really helped pin point a few sensitivity issues I wouldn’t have figured out on my own.  Will I go back to being a vegetarian?  It wouldn’t surprise me.  Right now I’m still trying to find the right balance for my body. Truly, MKR

Featured image, Kathryn McCrary for Waiting on Martha

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