Q + A #1: Ask Me Anything!
Lately I’ve been noticing that I get a lot of the same questions regularly over on Instagram. At first I thought it was a little weird (why does anybody want to know about me??) but then I realized that something that I really enjoy a lot about the accounts that I follow, even if just for workout tips, is getting to know the people behind them a little better. Look - I know that I’ve been at this for a while now, but it still baffles me that anybody cares what I have to say. I’m still getting used to it! Probably always will! Let me live!
ANYWAY, I get a lot of really thoughtful questions, and it seemed fitting to start sharing the answers to them here. I tried to share questions here that I think will be the most helpful for all of you - my tips about my adventures in caffeine, answering some of your questions about rowing, etc. This was so highly requested that I think I’m going to start doing Q + A posts more regularly centered around specific subjects - things like yoga, wellness, rowing, whatever! If there’s something in particular that you’re really curious, you’re always welcome to email me, shoot me a DM on Instagram, or drop a comment below.
How is the caffeine weaning going?
Oof, it’s so hard! I wrote a longer post about it here, but essentially - I love caffeine and have become totally reliant on it! I will say, though, weaning myself off of caffeine has forced me to get way more in touch with my body. Even though it’s only been a few weeks, I pay a lot more attention to my sleep and nutrition than I had in the past - I could just fake them both out with a caffeine boost!
I also find that I am, oddly enough, eating a lot less now that I’m not having as much caffeine. I’m not really sure what that’s about! I was talking to a friend who’s a nutritionist that said it might have something to do with our fight or flight instinct. Caffeine boosts your adrenaline, which puts you into fight or flight, which is not a place our bodies are meant to hang out for long periods of time. She said that sometimes that can cause your primal instincts to kick in and think that you’re in danger and need to eat a lot of food because your brain thinks you might not get to eat for a while. Maybe that’s what’s happening here? Who the hell knows, honestly. it’s been a really big challenge for me but I’m enjoying how i feel now that I’ve adjusted to it - the first few weeks sucked.
You seem really body positive. I want to be there but am really struggling. Any tips?
To be honest, my big moment with this happened around my 29th birthday. I realized that I had spend my entire twenties (or LOL my entire life) up to that point being so mean to myself. It wasn’t how I wanted to live, or how I wanted to start my thirties, so I made a really concentrated effort this year to improve my relationship with my body.
Body positivity is always a work in progress. I talk a lot about body positivity here and on my Instagram because I (and almost every other woman I know!) have spent so many years brutally beating myself up for what I saw in the mirror. After I got in my car accident I gained a lot of weight and couldn’t work out. I was really depressed, but I had to face the fact that that was where my body was going to be in the moment. I realized that I could spend my months injured hating my body, or I could practice being kind to myself.
When I got married a few months after my accident I was at the highest weight I’ve ever been. And guess what? I still got married! My husband still loves me! I still rocked my dress! I don’t know if i would be where I’m at in my relationship with my body right now if I hadn’t gotten in my car accident, to be completely honest. My entire identity had been wrapped up in being an athlete, and not being able to really workout for over a year really sucked. Mindfulness helped a ton. I cleaned out my social media of any accounts that made me feel less-than. I read books like Beautiful Bodies and others on mindfulness that inspired me to connect with the inner version of myself and not my appearance. I got rid of clothes that were too small and made me feel shame that I couldn’t fit into them anymore. I started posting photos of myself with my stomach hanging out and my double chins showing because this is real life. This is what I look like.
I still have my moments. I have a lot of moments where I contemplate a crash diet, or I see a photo of myself from a weird angle and mentally kick myself for having that extra beer or piece of bread. But it’s a lot less constant than it used to be. That voice is getting quieter. It’s just like training for a marathon - you have to keep going all the time if you want to get there. i work on my relationshp with my body every day. It’s really hard, but I’m tired of it being a toxic relationship. Just start. You can do it!
What diet do you follow?
I don’t follow a specific diet right now aside from trying to mostly fresh, whole foods. I was vegan for about 7 years and was really into it - I was convinced I would be vegan forever. I stopped for a lot of reasons, but one of the big ones is I was tired of always having so many rules around what I ate. A few months after I transitioned out of veganism I read Beautiful Bodies (and wrote a post about it!). It made me realize how common it is for women in our culture to subject themselves to food rules, and I just didn’t want to live like that anymore. I think that lifestyle diets like vegan, paleo, etc., can be really good if you’re doing them for the right reasons. I still believe really fiercely in food ethics and animal rights, but my disordered eating tendencies were starting to peak out during the last few years of my veganism and I couldn’t put myself through that. Now I follow an 80/20 rule for the most part. I try to eat really healthy and clean about 80% of the time. The other 20% is donuts, wine, and other treats.
My biggest tip - if you’re looking for a diet to follow make sure that it’s for the right reasons. Work with a professional to get to know your body and the unique needs that it has. Don’t be too strict with yourself. And give yourself a damn donut (or whatever your favorite treat is!) every now and then. Life is too short.
Can I come to your yoga classes?
I’m actually not teaching any regular classes right now! From time to time I sub at The Grinning Yogi, but right now I’m taking a break from teaching to focus on getting to workout and go to yoga myself. Ha! I am filming more yoga videos so that you can practice with me on YouTube. From time to time I also teach at events - I’ll post about it if anything is upcoming.
I want to quit my job. How do I tell my boss? I feel like she’s going to be really hostile.
GOOD FOR YOU! This seems like a super exciting time for you (or at least a relief to be quitting your job) and I’m thrilled for you. That being said, even when you have a boss that you really like quitting a job can be terrifying. My advice is to be as objective as you can. Try to take your feelings out of it, even if it’s really hard. Although your boss might be a complete psycho, try to avoid saying things that are emotionally charged. Instead, state your career goals (if you don’t know, say you need to pivot or find a change of environment) and outline why this job isn’t the right fit for you. Always be the bigger person - be gracious, be professional, and stand up for yourself. If they offer you a raise to stay, is that something that you want?
If you’re nervous about your boss being hostile, bring an HR rep or a trusted coworker in with you. You are absolutely NOT a baby for needing support there for a hard professional conversation. Have a list in front of you of things that you want to say, and ask your boss to let you read it all the way through before they start interjecting. Also - stick to your guns. The very last time I quit a job I got talked into working three weeks instead of the standard two week notice, even though my gut really told me not to. There was nothing to do for that last week and it felt like dragging out a breakup for too long. I wish I had stood up for myself more and held firm on my two weeks.
Lastly, remember that this feeling isn’t forever! Once you quit you only have a few more days/weeks of working there and then you’re off and onto the rest of your life. You have great things ahead of you. Good luck!
I want to start rowing, it looks so cool! Any tips???
YAY! This is honestly one of the questions that you guys ask me most frequently and it makes me so happy - I’m thrilled that rowing is something you’re interested in. The really great thing about rowing (and this is among many things that I love about it) is that it’s the kind of sport that you can pick up at any point in your life. At the boathouse where I coach we have athletes who are well into their eighties that are still rowing. It’s so cool! There’s nothing that beats being out on the water. Truly nothing. Rowing is the kind of sport where you are forced to get to know people intimately - in a way that you might not have the opportunity to otherwise.
My biggest tip if you want to get into rowing (and I’m going to piss a LOT of fitness people out here) is that you don’t learn from CrossFit or an Orange Theory class. Please don’t go to any of the rowing gyms around, either. If you’re going to learn how to row, PLEASE learn from a rower. My issue with rowing gyms is that the people teaching those classes might have only had a weekend long training in rowing. I’ve been rowing for over a decade and I still learn something new every single day. It’s more complicated than it looks, and it’s also a sport where you can easily injure yourself if you’re not totally sure of what you’re doing. As somebody who will deal with a rowing injury for the rest of their life (raises hand) trust me - it’s not worth it.
Most rowing clubs (at least in Seattle, there are TONS!) will have some sort of “Intro to Row” course that you can sign up for usually in the spring, summer, and/or fall. I would suggest doing one of these because you get to practice a lot, meet other cool people, and take the time to really learn what you’re doing. I used to coach adult Learn to Row, and most of the adults that I coached years ago still row together now on a team, so cool!
You can absolutely do private lessons, too. I know a few people that have gone that route and lots of coaches that offer them. The only reason I usually don’t suggest this at first is because private lessons get very expensive very quickly. They can be great if groups make you nervous or if you have a weird schedule, it’s just usually not my first suggestion. I coach through Seattle Parks and Recreation (you can call me Leslie Knope), so our programs are incredibly affordable and intended to be accessible for everyone.
Would you be interested in more information about rowing? Let me know in the comments - I think that I should do a full post!
I need new music! What are you listening to right now?
Every year I make a “song of the day” playlist where I hoard all of the songs I can’t stop listening to. This is my 2019 playlist filled with all the songs I’m loving right now. It’s very random. I hope you enjoy.