Sophie and I have known each other for seven years now. A trip in the way back machine places us as trainers and regional manager for Equinox Fitness in sunny SoCal. Long before babies and husbands and our entrepreneurial spirits fully blossomed. In the time we have known each other we have run strangely parallel paths: each having two young boys under the age of 8, incredibly supportive and involved husbands and a clear passion/drive for sharing how to get healthy from the inside out.
Sophie asked me to guest blog and share my story and what I do and why. I launched a subscription based lifestyle website February 2013. I had gone from full time working momma (teaching, training, Regional Pilates Manager at Equinox SoCal), to part-time working momma (training via Skype and traveling to teach workshops) to full time stay-at-home-momma, to I-want-to work-and-have-more-to-give-to-the-world-but-don't-want-to-be-away-from-my-boys very much. So, my husband and I created www.PimpYourMat.com. My subscription based website where I post a fresh 30 minute pilates based workout every three days that is stashed in your account to go back to for the lifetime of your subscription, over 300 dairy and gluten free recipes, the PYM Food Reset and access to me as your actual coach and trainer to go to for modifications, adjustments, motivation and support. Pimp Your Mat solved our family’s needs and the needs of every other busy person who is trying to stay or get balanced and fit in a tech savy, time efficient, budget honoring, intelligent fitness way. You have direct access to me via my Facebook Fan Page @PimpYourMat or email. I shoot 30-minute workouts from home (or if I'm traveling...on the road), I edit and upload to the site myself.
Whew. That's a lot. Now, other than it just making sense, being creative and still wanting to be able to pick-up, drop-off and make snacks for my kids why did we create PYM?
Because people think fitness and wellness is difficult and time consuming. Because people think getting healthy is hard, because I’ve spent 15 years in the fitness industry, many of those years with a 'dirty little secret' of being physically fit and lean but internally quite a health mess.
From the age of 18 I had thyroid nodules that kept multiplying. I had chronic fatigue, anxiety, panic attacks, chronic sinus infections, acne, mysterious belly bloating, gas, pain and lets just say it, chronic diarrhea.
I went to doctors and I went to therapists. I went to every alternative practitioner I could find or afford and they all basically told me I was 'stressed'. Um. Okaaaaaay. Seriously? Yes, I was a living, working person in the world but I loved the things I did and at my ‘gut’ level knew that was not the culprit. I didn't accept that answer ever. I didn't even accept it when they handed me antidepressants. I was busy but internally happy and thought, this is crap. I don’t feel well but not because my ‘head’ is wrong because something in my belly/system is causing the veil I felt like I was wearing on my vibrancy.
I was convinced it was food and self-care related and embarked on any and all variations of food, wellness regimes I could. God help my husband who stood by me at each variation and step. It was not easy on me but no easier on him as I sifted through regime after regime.
I had periods of time I was healthier in the inside, but I was never 'well'. I always required more down/recovery time then the people I was surrounded by and some symptoms just never went away. (Panic attacks, anxiety, acne and diarrhea was still the big kicker) I just 'managed' them, didn't address them and quit discussing or thinking about my internal health. I figured if I looked fit, that was enough. Most people didn’t even have that.
Fast forward to having my second son. The nodules on my thyroid had multiplied to total 9. One was actually bigger than my thyroid itself and my latest thyroid panel showed my TSH at less then .0001. Let's just say that's really not what you want. Your endocrine system kind of regulates everything and if your thyroid 'burns out' of hormone your entire system can shut down. I had started having symptomatic 'stuff' that includes mild tremors, more frequent panic attacks, extreme fatigue and bouts of mild depression. I was having what they call small thyroid ‘storms’. I was scared for myself and I was even more scared for my kids. If I couldn't figure out what was going on with me how was I going to protect, teach and raise my children to be healthy and fit?
So, I put my momma warrior on and thought if this were happening to my kid what would I do? I needed to do that for myself.
I had my thyroid removed. For me, it was the right choice. At the rate it was going it wasn’t going to ‘last’ my lifetime anyhow and we were basically short-cutting the step of letting it burn out. I embarked on a lifetime of chemical meds to replace my little butterfly organ and marched towards writing my own food reset. I knew my 'stuff' was food related. I have always believed you are what you eat and that your gut instincts are usually right. I believed, as I still do, that food is fuel and beautifully nourishing and absolutely healing. I had always eaten 'healthy' but the truth was it wasn’t working for me. I devoured food sensitivity, intolerance, leaky gut, celiac and thyroid dysfunction articles and books. I relentlessly searched symptoms in effort to put connecting pieces together and chatted with my endocrinologist about my suspicions. I took blood tests, skin tests and elimination diets and cleanses. In the mix of it all, I cracked my own code and saw very clearly how others could figure out the ‘perfect’ fit to balance their own systems.
My discoveries were that certain things absolutely didn’t work for me not matter how many articles said they were ‘packed with nutrients’ and ‘good’ or ‘best’ for your health.
My first step was to remove gluten. Although I had been tested for it and all tests always came back negative, I removed it from my diet and immediately (within 4 days) had a solid bowel movement. Gross, I know but bowel movements truly are the sign of your internal health. Wish is knew THAT fact much earlier in life. And I thought ‘AHA!’ This is it! I ditch gluten and the world is my Oyster! Not Quite.
I eliminated gluten and continued to eat things that were supposedly healing and healthy but things just didn't totally 'fix' and then went through a period of time where things got worse. Back to the drawing board. More reading, more experimenting. I knew Gluten was out but was becoming suspicious of nuts, nightshades and a myriad of other foods and ingredients. I kept thinking perhaps EVERYTHING was cross-contaminated with gluten, but no, I was actually not responding to many other things just as I had suspected, nuts, seeds, nightshades, any grain fed animal, ‘natural flavorings’ and ‘artificial flavors’, legumes and all grains plus any dairy containing casin. I went in a thoughtful and methodical way to research everything that was a possible gut irritant and took them all out. I kept in foods that I had researched to be healing and non-irritating to the digestive tract and easy to absorb nutritionally. I also researched how to get the most nutrients out of your foods, cooked or raw, and created a balanced map that had me feeling better than I EVER thought possible.
The research I did ended up becoming the PYM Food Reset. Within 21 days I had identified more foods that were triggers for my sensitive belly then in my entire lifetime! I felt empowered, vibrant, rested and above all armed with a road map for myself. It was absolutely about me, my system and what it responded to. Not what anyone else said it should be. Custom built by my own belly for wellness and fitness. I felt like a super hero when I eat the foods that I know work for me. Still do!
Pimp Your Mat.com is not just about pilates. PYM is about getting to your most vibrant and balanced self and working with your own needs and responses. Learning what works and doesn’t work for your body regardless of what any doctor, therapist, specialist, nutritionist or dietician says. PYM is about taking things at your own pace with a clear path to consistent health. PYM is about balance and real, busy lives and it’s about listening to your gut and getting connected to your own self. How do you approach your days, your weeks and years and how many of those do you enjoy and experience to the fullest, undistracted and unencumbered by the ailments, sounds and ‘funky bits’ of your body
I believe each body requires a little something different in order to thrive. I believe and know you can 'crack your own code' with the PYM Food Reset in a short and simple amount of time minus a ton of pricey testing (which I've done and you should do if you think you have genuine health issues triggered by food, but those don't always give you functional answers or real life help. ALL of my testing came back negative. I never did and still do not have any food allergies. I have however been diagnosed by my General Practitioner and Endocrinologist with Celiac based on my reactions to gluten).
Since doing my own food reset I know what sets my system off. I'm not perfect and I still trip up, but I am healthier than I've ever been, I'm no longer crazy fatigued or have to take a nap every afternoon with my boys (ok, sometimes I still so cause they are wonderfully snuggly and only small for so long). I no longer have panic attacks and I do not present the same extreme level of anxiety I used to. I feel safe in my body and generally happy, capable and vibrant in the world and above all capable of caring, teaching and raising my children to listen to their systems to create the highest health for themselves.
Our wellness and fitness is not just about our vanity. It's about our longevity and quality of life. PYM is my way of being there for those who don’t yet have a calm, balanced, healthy experience in their body. PYM is what I wished was around for me when I was going through my experience. I believe fitness and wellness should be about being of service and usefulness to the world we live in and the people we care about.
There are so many things in life to experience and I’ll be damned if I’m going to miss out on it because I was eating things the general world told me were healthy but simply not a fit for my personal system.
Pimp Your Mat is about marching to your own drummer, no excuses, 30 minutes a day of pilates based workouts on the mat, 2-6 days a week, gorgeous, simple, quick whole foods and increasing the fun you have in life because you’re body is in it’s sweetest balance of strength and flexibility. PYM is about hormone balance to allow your body to loose weight, gain muscle, create a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels without medications.
We all know we 'should' address our health and fitness but what we don't always know is our why or how.
My 'Why's' are named Milo, Sam and Mateo. My children and husband are more gorgeous and powerful teachers than I ever could have imagined and I want to be the most I can be, for them.
The 'How' is getting on the mat with pilates based workouts that balance your body with equal length and equal strength without over-taxing or ‘burning’ out your system. Balance brings your optimal body and results. Strength and length. Activity and Rest. Food and Hydration. Pimp Your Mat teaches and guides you through all those steps in a fun, simple, calm manner. PYM is $32 a month to have me as your pocket trainer and coach via any Wi-Fi connection to calmly and consistently balance your body, teach you how to listen and connect with your own system without it getting 'sleepy' or lame. Plus, PYM has a thriving community of ambassadors and subscribers world wide that all support and motivate each other along their wellness journey via the Pimp Your Mat Fan Page on Facebook.
Pimp Your Mat is a virtual, boutique online studio. I know my subscribers by name, their stories, their wins and fails. I’m in it with them. Everyday. I want to be an advocate for all those who feel lost along their fitness way and for others to know they don’t have to be at the mercy of their bodies. You can be fit and well without beating up your body.
Whether your interested in the workouts, the food, the reset or me, it’s all there at www.pimpyourmat.com when you want it.
If you're interested in getting on the mat with me, I offer Philosophie’s fans and followers a 30 day gift code you can activate anytime you’d like to test drive the site. Just reach out to me at Tandy@pimpyourmat.com or the Facebook Fan Page PimpYourMat