Jennifer Allen: A Brave Bride's Bikini Body

This challenge has helped to change my life. Learning to be truly honest with myself about my body and the condition it’s in was extremely powerful. It is not easy to admit fault or weaknesses within ourselves, especially when it comes to the food we choice to fuel our bodies with or our level of fitness. It takes conscious effort, patience and time to be honest with yourself about what you put into your body and how it affects you, but it is worth every minute of the struggle. Nothing about it was easy and every step was in fact a challenge, but I couldn’t be happier with the change in my body, mind and perspective. Following the individualized diet plan and eating healthier foods has given me more clarity in my mind than I ever thought it would. Through this clarity I I learned that I enjoy being healthier and more fit, it makes me happier in life. There were times when I was pushing my physical limits with the workout plans and thought I would give up, but I didn’t and the results were worth every drop of sweat and there was a lot of sweat. It is an amazing feeling to know that I challenged myself to be better and I succeeded. I think the most important thing I learned was that, just like everything else in life, there will always be struggles and obstacles to being healthy and fit but its about being honest with yourself about what they are and accepting the challenge to overcome them.

~Jennifer Allen (Soon to be Jennifer Fontana)

My Life Has Changed Forever

March 8th, 2014 was the day I decided to make a change. Sitting in my La-Z-Boy eating a bag of chips, I was reflecting on my day and a nagging thought in the back of my mind kept creeping in. It was Jake Easy announcing the 94 day Fitness Challenge.

So I thought why not? What do I have to lose? Over the years I’ve gone to the gym, tried dedicating myself to running, even participated in a couple triathlons but I never stayed committed; just continued on the same path I’ve been on for the past 20 years,
never really committing to my health. Maybe this time I’ll stay committed, take control of my health and change my life. Well, I’m happy to say I’ve stayed committed and I’m loving the new me! Several months ago I made a promise to myself. I am proud to say
I have reached my goal of staying committed to improving my health, mind and soul. I think the most powerful thing I received as a result of participating in this challenge was keeping the commitment I made to myself. This world is full of challenges with work,
family, finances and just everyday life. One thing every person has control over is their health. If a person can stay committed, true to themselves and choose to be healthy, they can. In my profession, as a high school administrator, every day is a new day
with new and exciting challenges. Whether it is students, parents, activities, fire-drills, supervision, dances, athletics, band, etc., I never know what will come my way. What I do know is being in shape and setting a good example for all my students and mychildren was the commitment I set out to accomplish 2 1⁄2 short months ago. The daily conversations I have with students on campus range from, “How much weight have you lost?” to “How did you do it?” This has opened so many doors to the world of being fit.

My hope is my students take from what I’ve experienced and apply it to their own lives.

Teaching youth, making a difference, influencing young minds in a positive way is why educators do what we do. Whether it’s in the classroom, on the field (or court) or just having a conversation, if we can influence them in a positive way then we are doing our
job and doing it well! Making a commitment to my health and sticking with it, influencing and educating others, being a role model, father, husband and educator now take on a whole new meaning. Because of this 94 day challenge my life has completely changed
and it has changed for the better!!”

Kevin Greene

What is Haunting You?

Stare down those things that haunt you.

I wrote my “haunts” down. (I am visual.)

Start with the one thing that you feel drawn to intuitively. Perhaps it is simple or something you feel you can check off your list. (I like lists.) Maybe it is a process or a practice you need to adopt.  Or something you just know you must stop or let go of.  Peel back the layers, one at time.  Stay in the moment at each turn or peeling.  Let go of the need for others to see you or endorse your journey.  When control or fear arises, acknowledge it, without judgment.  Take a deep breath and allow yourself to feel where in your physical body that it may be coming from.  This is the where that ghost lives.   Ask yourself what that pain needs.  Woo or romance that ghost.  Like you would comfort a small child.  My idea of comforting children is buying them an ice cream.  You will see how that worked out for me later.

How you hold and care for yourself, will be different from others.

Ghost Busters

By giving up the need of admiration from those around us, this means our excursion is free of needing something from them.  Thus, we are propelled by our own desires and results without some sort of universal kick back.

Wading through Ghost Poop

Here is what “staring it down” looks like in my simple life.

I am shamed by the feeling like I was not in the best physical shape that I could be.

I have many excuses about why.

I want to be seen and approved of.  So I asked myself, “Why do I need to be seen?”

The dim timid voice says (after wading around in my crap for a while and hopefully Journey’s; Don’t Stop Believing is playing in the background) says, “SEE YOURSELF!”

This is my “O” moment. (Hi Oprah, I love you!)

I wanted others to see me.  I wanted to control.  I was afraid that I was not good enough. But the truth was, I was ashamed. May be I shouldn’t have been.  May be to someone else it did not look that way.  But it was my shame, and mine to stare down.  My very own pile of poop to see.

Code Brown

When a kid poops in a public pool, us parents know that it is called a “code brown.”  Code brown is when no one can go it the pool for 24 hours while it is being disinfected.

My code brown realized, was to SEE myself.

My mission: a full on commitment to swim into the unknown of a 90-day weight loss, fitness and health challenge.  The proverbial, cleaning up my CRAP act.   While I am in the midst of staring down shame, which is a moment-by-moment practice of obedience and discipline, I am amazed by what happens when you are required to watch that turd float around in the pool.

While the physical has been vainly off the hook good for me (and Aqua-Man insert *snicker, blush and giggle*), the most valuable by products of this voyage have been increased faith and spirituality, freedom, clarity and wisdom.

Wanting a martini, milk shake and a French Fries seems pretty insignificant right now.

16 days to mission accomplished.

What’s your code brown?

Peace, love and being full of it…

Ally

Why Screaming Girls Have Benefits + A Recipe for CALM

Here’s a glimpse into how a typical conversation I have with myself goes some days…

I don’t want to write today.
Just start…
No.
But…I want to go outside.
No you don’t.
I want to work out.
That’s lame, you are just avoiding writing. Sit your ass down and just start.
Deep breath…
That’s it, quiet your mind.
Breathe.
More breathing.
Come on, you’re NOT BREATHING right!
Efffff…
Okay.
There are teenage girls in my hot tub screaming.
Do all teenage girls have to scream constantly?
The sound of squealing girls bugs the sh*t out of me.
Boys don’t squeal. (Insert guilt… comparing mom thought)
Start breathing again.

This is a very unattractive teenage girl quality. If I were a teenage boy, I would definitely avoid this and zone out on video games. (ahhh…a bit of revelation – I must be starting to breathe!)

Two questions:

  1. Why are they in my hot tub in the middle of the day, don’t they have a list of crap to do?
  2. Why does it sound like someone is being killed every 2 minutes?

After investigating if there is a possible murder and confirming that, in fact, one has died, I close the door to my office to buffer the screeching and find myself with a smile.

I realize that their squealing is JOY: countless emotions, thoughts and feelings, leaking out through their beautiful, hormone-ridden bodies, as if some one has taken a soda bottle and shaken it up and out through the top the bubbling soda sprays everywhere.

There is joy spraying everywhere.

God forbid it should spray all over my home, into my heart and infuse everyone with reckless effervescent ridiculous happiness… This would be just awful (yes, please sense the sarcasm).

I quickly realize that I want this joy and I’m glad they chose to share. So, my friends, I choose to share something that makes me pretty joyful myself: my favorite nighttime drink ritual! I promise There is no squealing, breathing, or murder involved.

Peace, love and CALM…

A.

CALM: A Calcium and Magnesium Nighttime Cocktail

I love this stuff. I have a hard time sleeping generally, and since I am an “older” mom and have fatigue, I need more magnesium and calcium because I hear old chicks don’t get enough calcium. And since I’m a mother, naturally I have stress which causes magnesium deficiency (add to the list of hazards of working, exercising, and being a wife and mother). I originally heard of this natural CALM mix in Dr. Junger’s book, CLEAN when I was doing a detox—which, by the way, I highly recommend. And while we are on the subject of detoxing, it also makes you poop really big. (Yup, I said it and EVERYONE POOPS — read the book.)

Here’s the gist:
“Natural Calm is the solution to both restoring a healthy magnesium level and balancing your calcium intake—the result of which is natural stress relief.” You can read the long story here.

Apparently 80% of American men do not have healthy magnesium levels and 70% of us American women do not have healthy magnesium levels. So make you and your love a little nighttime cocktail. Most people drink it straight, as it doesn’t taste that bad, but I fancy it up a little… because you know I like it fancy!

What you need:

1–3 teaspoons of CALM – you can get it here or at most health food stores.
8 ounce Glass of Ice Water
¼ cup Liquid Gold (lemon ginger juice recipe)
3–5 drops Organic Liquid Stevia (to taste)

Prep:
Stir 1–3 teaspoons of CALM into ice water until dissolved.
Add Liquid Gold and Stevia and stir until mixed well.
Serve and enjoy.

Side action:
It helps relax you.
You may want a little action.
Add more Liquid Gold if you like more lemony – it’s good for you.

What’s playin’ in the background:
“Say Hello 2 Heaven” — Temple of the Dog
“Detox” — Sublime

Why Embarrassing Your Daughter and Grass Fed Burgers are Good Things

Why Embarrassing Your Kid is a Good Thing

When the proverbial sh*t hits the fan sometimes the best thing to do is nothing… then let said sh*t spew all over the land and let the smell linger for a while. Just as you start to get used to the smell and after your adrenaline, energy, creativity, depression, and ability to hear God starts to feel like TV static and mind-altering numbness, it’s time to escape and reset.


Exit Stage Left

My exit is far west into the middle of the pacific ocean, right into the furtherest land from any other continent. I call this magical land, Kauai. Being on this island is like being in a different country but with a USA security blanket. You see, I am not as brave as those who travel to third-world countries with a water bottle, backpack, passport, and a few bucks. I’m a mother, wife, and entrepreneur so unfortunately my control issues and trauma liability are at their asexual peak.


Mother Daughter Time

At twelve my favorite thing to do was hang out alone with just my mom. Alone time with Lety was rare and it was especially unusual if it was without my annoying younger brother and compliant Ya-Ya (term of endearment for Philippina nanny). I was curious about how to be a woman. I wanted to know what she did, how she did it, and where she went.

My memories of Lety time all to myself, thirty-something years later, are vivid. She was cool—way cooler than I am. She was brown, beautiful, unique, creative, brilliant…different than the other moms. She worked, she kept a second residence in San Francisco, wore stylish expensive suits, and people adored her. To me, this was not normal and it was annoying. Church people judged her and this embarrassed me. After all, I wanted a beige “Betty Crocker” kind of mom.

Therefore, aspiring to be the best beige…or err… “tan” mom in the world, whisking my teenage daughter off to my magical exit land for a little mother-daughter “womance” seems like a really good idea! We laughed, talked, slept in, played in the ocean, surfed, ate Bubba Burgers, shaved ice, ice cream, and maybe a Lava Flow or two.

By about Day 3 I began to feel human again. About day 3.5 I realized this was more valuable than I originally had imagined. You see, right now she does not think I am cool, beautiful, smart, or unique. Right now, to her I am annoying and any kind of womanly self expression is “sooooo like, stoooooooooppppp mommmmb!”

The Thing

She does not want me to dance, talk to strangers, wear a bikini (and why don’t I wear a t-shirt like other “good more Christian moms?”), sing, or get really excited about anything (yes, I was really excited about eating Bubba Burgers), or point out glorious beauty of almost anything or ask her what she is thinking. How  embarrassing that is to a young one. Flirting is absolutely out of the question with anyone ANY AGE. (Pfft!) Please keep in mind, my type is either 2 or over 60 years old, both of whom play now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t.

This “now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t” is the thing! You see, being unapologetically me: annoying, wearing an American Indian feather head dress or a bikini, seeing and engaging strangers, going on adventures is it. ME.

This is the thing she will remember!

The thing that will make her fearless.

The thing that will make her, HER!

The thing that will show her how to be a woman.

She may not listen to a thing I say and she can’t see me right now.

But she will and then she won’t. And then… she will see herself.

So here it is. We must show our children how to be alive. We must dance, sing, wear bikinis, work, not work, be whatever it is we wish to be. We must show how to express ourselves, how to figure it out when the sh*t hits the fan, how to be good to ourselves, how to get our groove on, how to love people, and how to not lose ourselves in the minefield that is raising a family.


How to be a glorious, abundant God-, life-, and burger-loving woman!
Here’s to all of my “sistas” wearing their metaphorical feather head dresses out there: BE BRAVE and BE YOU! Remember, WE are raising the future generation of warriors. Secretly, they want us all to themselves, as this is where they will eventually find themselves.

I’ll keep you posted on the next “I Shall Never Wear A T-Shirt Over My Bikini Anonymous” meeting and whether or not I eventually convert to the church of “Good Christian Mothers.”  For now, cook up some Bubba Wubba Burgers in your underwear.

Peace, love and Bubba Wubba Burgers…

A.