Happy Angelversary to My Angel Up Above

To my sweet angel baby,

Another year has some how gone by and just like that it’s already been two years since we lost you forever. Nothing has been…or will ever be…the same. Not one day goes by that I don’t wonder who you would’ve been. Would you be the little girl that appeared in so many of my dreams? Would you have had my sassy personality…to match your daddy’s big blue eyes? I see children that are about the same age as you would be – and it makes me very sad. You see you’d be about 18 months old now – walking, trying to talk, learning & exploring everything and anything you could get your hands on. We’d be teaching you all about wrestling, football, and Yankees baseball. So when I see those children, I can’t help but think of you and wonder what life would be like. I know you would be the most adorable baby, full of personality & an absolute joy to all of our lives.

I would literally give anything to have you in my arms but I will always be grateful for the short time that I had with you. I have some regrets about things played out but you made my dream of becoming a mommy come true…and I will cherish that forever. You will always be my miracle and I will never forget you for as long as I live. I take comfort in the little signs you send me – please keep them coming & continue to watch over me. Be good for great-grandma & grandpa – and be nice to Coco! Miss you always.

Love,

Your mommy

Happy Birthday, My Angel

Happy birthday, my angel baby 👼 This week would have been your first birthday. I’ve struggled to write this, more so than usual. It’s been really hard going through daily life without you in my arms but I know you’re watching over us…so I try to be strong.

You see this would’ve been your first birthday, the first of many celebrations…none of which we get to have with you. I wonder everyday what life would be like with you here – what your laugh or cry would sound like, what your smile would look like. I think of how we would be teaching you all about baseball & wrestling…watching you take your first steps and say your first words…taking you to the beach or zoo…dancing around the house & singing in the car…seeing you discover new things everyday. You would be my very best friend and, if my dreams were accurate, you’d be your daddy’s mini-me.

As time has passed, I find myself crying less but not one minute of the day goes by that you’re not on my mind. Every time I see your dad, I see you. You changed us both in so many ways & you will always be a part of us for as long as we live. I am so thankful to have been given the gift of being your mom – I hope that I can make you proud. Give hugs & kisses to your great grandma & grandpa for me (and Coco too!)

I love you and miss you always ❤️

Mommy

2019 Summer Shred

And just like that…it’s that time of year again! Summer Shred 2019 officially kicked off today and will run until May 22, which is right before my birthday…and Memorial Day weekend! This is my 5th year in a row doing this and I swear every year the diet gets easier to follow. Last year my whole world was upside down and, as a result, the shred didn’t pan out. My head wasn’t in the game…at all. I followed the diet but I didn’t workout, and without both the results just won’t happen. I ultimately ended the shred before the 30 days were up and I wasn’t even phased – I even went as far as to purchase a one-piece bathing suit. This year, I’m going to try my damndest to fight through every mental obstacle I have and get it done. I want to be healthier and I want to feel more confident on the beach…and in life. It’s going to be an uphill battle – but I need to do this. My stomach is still relatively flat and my weight has stayed pretty much the same so the physical goals for this shred are simple: to gain back some of the muscle that I lost & lose body fat. But really, this is so much bigger than a beach-body challenge for me this year. After being through hell & back, all I can hope for with this challenge is to not just get my body back…but to get my mind right again once & for all.

L – 2017, my “best” body / R – now

If you’d like to follow along on this 30-day summer shred, I’ve listed a shopping list below of the foods that I will be eating. Keep in mind, this is what works for ME. I will try to post here and on my Instagram so as to provide more guidance if you’re following. However, if you’d like a more customized plan or have any questions as to what foods will work in addition to what I’ve listed, feel free to email me at thefight2befit@gmail.com and I will be more than happy to help!

  • Oats
  • Egg muffins
  • Brown rice, quinoa, or sweet potato
  • Avocado
  • Lettuce
  • Banza (chickpea pasta)
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Chicken, ground turkey, lean pork, tuna
  • Turkey jerky
  • Veggies (kale, asparagus, mushrooms, string beans, zucchini, brussels, eggplant, peppers, etc)
  • Almonds, cashews
  • Cottage cheese
  • PB
  • Quest Bars
  • GoMacro Bar
  • Unsweetened vanilla almond milk

**Not listed here are my kitchen staples (balsamic vinegar, spray/oil, hot sauce, mustard, spices, etc.) as well as my protein powder /BCAAs. Also not listed, Apple Cider Vinegar. My day will always begin with an ACV cocktail – 1 tbsp of ACV mixed with 12oz of cold water.*

Time to be better than what I thought was my best!

xo

Gina

I am 1 in 10

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. 1 in 10 women suffer from this debilitating condition. I am one and this is my story.

My symptoms started very early, probably around 15 years old. I was told it was normal cramps and that it was part of being a woman. However, the pain was so bad I would often be doubled over and end up visiting the school nurse’s office. Soon after high school, I found myself very sick. It was my freshman year at SUNY New Paltz and I vividly remember being in so much pain I couldn’t leave my bed. The pain was centralized near my appendix, so when I finally gathered the strength to get to the infirmary on campus, they sent me to the nearest hospital for what they believed was appendicitis. After 6 hours and several tests, I was told that was not the cause of my pain. Upon my refusal to have further invasive testing done there, I was told to go to a gynecologist. The doctor believed that my problems likely stemmed from that as opposed to anything else. It would take years but that doctor turned out to be spot on.

I visited a gynecologist, as instructed, and after more testing I was diagnosed soon after with PCOS and immediately put on birth control to try to alleviate some of my symptoms. The doctor told me that my pain was derived from cysts that were building up & bursting. The pill only masked my issues. While the period pain greatly diminished, I began years worth of suffering from undetectable stomach issues. My stomach would often blow up to the size of a woman about to give birth…for reasons I still don’t know. I also continued to get random pains near my appendix. I visited 5 different stomach doctors and had every test except a colonoscopy done – only to be told nothing was wrong with me & that I was suffering from IBS. Having been told by the gynecologist that my right ovary that was polycystic, I tried (and failed) for years to link my hormonal condition & stomach issues together. Every doctor refused to support my theory and no one would help me. This went on for YEARS.

Fast forward to the fall of 2017, roughly 16 years after my first severe pain attack & diagnosis of PCOS. I had just lost my baby and was no longer on birth control. I began to get very sick.  I started noticing that slowly all of the issues that I had in high school were coming back…but this time twice as bad. I went to two different doctors about my pain. After a couple of months & several tests, the second doctor ultimately found a small polyp in my uterus, which they removed and biopsied for cancer. The biopsy turned out to be negative but I was still very sick. The pain was unbearable & I didn’t know what to do anymore. The doctor also couldn’t help me – but he did send me to someone who would. She was a specialist for pelvic pain & endometriosis. I started to research this condition and finally it all made sense.

As I did the research, I noticed that everything I had been suffering with and seeking help for, was classic to endometriosis. For years, I had been convinced my stomach issues were related to my hormonal problems. Now I had the science to back me up. One of the most classic symptoms of endo is appendix pain…and IBS. Two things I had been suffering with for over 15 years! When I explained everything to this new specialist, she nodded her head and told me that I presented classic endo symptoms & she could help me. I started to cry.  For years, it felt like no doctors believed me – finally I found someone who not only believed me but knew how to treat me! She had me begin a new pill, which mimicked birth control but contained different hormones. After two months, I didn’t feel better so she presented other options, one of which was another drug called Lupron…which puts your body into menopause. I lost it when she even suggested such a thing so I opted for the other option, which was to have a laproscopic endometrial excision & appendectomy instead. My appendix wasn’t appearing to be sick, but since that was where all of pain was located (and since you don’t need an appendix anyway) out it came. The recovery was miserable but as time went on, I got increasingly better. For the first time in my whole life, I had regular periods with minimal pain and almost non-existent stomach issues! I made the decision to not go back on birth control. With my age and history – I don’t need anything else standing in my way when (and if) the opportunity to have a baby presents itself. I went to my regular gynecologist a few months later to check on everything and upon doing a sonogram and blood work. It came back great! I was told my body was in the best condition it had been in years…and was given the green light to try for a baby!

Everything really has been great, up until two weeks ago. For the first time since my surgery, my period was late….and all out of whack. I started getting that appendix pain really bad again – which is very strange because I don’t have one anymore. My stomach has been acting up, to the point where even water is bothering me, & I’ve had the most miserable fatigue. I’m hoping this is just a temporary, fluke situation and not the start of really bad flare-ups. I’m in the process of undergoing several stomach tests as well as another sonogram to determine the cause of this stomach issue. I know endo can come back, but I’m hoping this is something else – something I won’t need another surgery for.

If you or someone you know is suffering, don’t give up! We know our bodies best – and we know when something isn’t right. It took me MANY years to finally get answers…but I have them now and I couldn’t be more grateful! Be honest with your doctor about your symptoms and don’t settle for answers you aren’t comfortable with. Seek out second opinions, if necessary. Do your homework and really pay attention to your body. It may take some time but I promise, it will be worth it in the end.

xo

Gina

Breakfast of Champions

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe on here. One of the most common things I hear from clients & friends is that they have no time to make breakfast. This right here will solve all of your problems! I was never a breakfast person. Growing up, I hated it and as I got older I either didn’t have the time or I just wasn’t hungry. However, as I educated myself on nutrition and started to fix my metabolism, I realized just how important it is. Now…I can’t go without it! If any of that sounds like you, give this a shot. I promise you won’t regret it. Quick, easy, and delicious – you can thank me later 🙂

Egg Muffins

Makes 6 muffins (2 per serving)

Ingredients:

  • 5 egg whites + 1 whole egg
  • Shredded cheese (I use cheddar)
  • *Optional – spinach, mushrooms, kale, peppers, or any veggie you like*
  • Chili Lime Seasoning (Trader Joe’s)
  • Black Pepper
  • Parsley
  • Butter spray

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Spray your muffin cups with butter spray – make sure to use enough to coat each.
  • Whisk together the egg & egg whites with seasoning & a splash of cold water.
  • Add veggies, if desired, to each muffin cup.
  • Pour egg mixture evenly into each muffin cup.
  • Add a sprinkle of cheese to each.
  • Place in the oven & bake for approx. 15 min, or until mostly settled. The eggs should be cooked but not firm.
  • Take out of the oven and add a little more cheese, if desired. Let cool and refrigerate.
  • When reheating, place in microwave for 15 seconds. Your eggs will be fluffy every time!

New Year, Fresh Start

Happy New Year & Happy Blogiversary to us! I can’t believe it’s been 5 years since I began this blog. SO much has changed but I thank you all for sticking with me through every step of this journey we call life. I promise you…and myself…a more positive & productive year ahead.

New Years has always represented a chance at a fresh start. I gave up on resolutions long ago, as they never stick. This year I have one primary goal – and that is to put my life back together, one jagged broken piece at a time. As you know, I relaunched my blog a couple of months ago to reflect my current life. Everything has changed so drastically in my life, it just didn’t seem right to continue blogging as if it were the same. Writing has been a good form of therapy for me and I know it has helped others who have had similar experiences. I’m still a personal trainer/nutritionist but everything has been very different since losing my baby – and my business reflected that. My focus is to stop being so stuck in sadness and use all of the bad as a way to rebuild my life. For every negative, I’m going to try my damndest to spin it in a positive way.

I spent 2018 reeling from losing a baby, getting my heart completely broken, & suffering from health issues which required countless tests and two surgeries. My mental health also took a serious downward spiral. I had more bad days than good, in which I didn’t want to even get out of bed. I spent a lot of time crying in my car and in the shower. Even when good things happened, I couldn’t enjoy them. This year, I am vowing to take control back of my life and of my happiness. I may not have the life that I want or the life that I would’ve had if my baby were in my arms, but I can try to make the most of the life I do have. I can’t spend every day miserable and expect things to get better. So that’s my goal. I know it’s not going to magically get better over night. There will likely still be bad days, and more crying episodes, but over time I’m hopeful it will get better. Before all of this happened, I was in the best shape of my life…physically AND mentally. That led to a happiness I had never felt and can’t begin to even describe. While I may not have that same happiness, who’s to say I can’t find a different happy?

I’ve already begun taking steps to improve life a little. After months of debating, I’ve made the very difficult decision to leave what’s become a toxic environment. I’m also trying to focus more on taking care of myself, which includes a commitment to exercise for 30 minutes per day, everyday. Coincidentally, my old workout gurus of Tone It Up are running their Love Your Body challenge, beginning January 14. It’s quite literally the most perfect timing, as I want to get back on track AND love my body once again.

My body (and mind) has really taken a beating. After I lost the baby, I just lost all motivation – like if my body was in such good shape and that happened…what was the point? It’s taken me a long time but I’m finally ready to get back on track. I just want to get healthy again. As I’ve said in other blogs, I don’t care about how shredded I am anymore but I do want to fit better in my clothes and be healthy, for when (and if) an opportunity to try for another baby presents itself. I have no idea what I weigh – and I don’t really care. I want to build my core strength & shoulder strength back up, so I can stop feeling so much pain, as well as work on my endurance. I’m not trying to run any races but I’d like to be in better shape. I’d also like to do yoga every night, as a way to not only stretch & strengthen muscles but to relax. Those are my small goals for now. I think with the help of my Tone It Up girls for extra motivation, it will go well. At least….that’s my hope! I intend on building on the workouts more once I can overcome my consistency issues. So far, so good – I’ve done some form of exercise (at-home workouts, core rehab, outdoor walk, and yoga) every night this week!

I know this is going to be an uphill battle but it’s time to start climbing instead of staring at the mountain in front of me. I’ve struggled with things before but this has been by far the worst thing I’ve ever had to go through. I’ve said many times over the years that the key is to get your mind right & everything else will follow. When your mind isn’t right, you won’t be consistent and everything sort of falls apart. This year has been proof of just that – and it’s time to start taking my own advice. I’m just going to do my best & take it one day at a time – and hopefully, over time, things will fall into place again.

Thanks again for sticking with me – here’s to another year of staying strong & staying in the fight!

xox

Gina

An Angel for Christmas

Merry Christmas, baby. This would be your very first Christmas, filled with lots of presents and fun. You would be just about 8 months old now. I would’ve loved to have been able to bring you to Macy’s with your daddy to see Santa and watch your eyes widen with the sights and sounds of a NYC Christmas. I would’ve dressed you in the prettiest red dress and little headband. You would’ve been a big hit with everyone – especially your grandma. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday – but this year just doesn’t feel right. That’s because you’re not here – and so the day is incomplete. There is no other gift I’d love to have more than to be holding you. I can only dream about singing Christmas songs & dancing with you or watching Christmas movies with you. It hurts to watch other babies and children, knowing you should be here too. I hope great grandma is taking good care of you, as she always did for me, and that she’s spoiling you rotten on this your first Christmas.

Love always & forever,

Mommy