#Chase2015: 7 Enhancements for Better Living

We’re already well into September, where exactly has 2015 gone? I am still asking that question. This year already my family has experienced a few additions. My brother got married and my sister gave birth to a second beautiful baby girl. To celebrate the new additions to my family, I decided to make a few positive additions and changes to my lifestyle:

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Here is my top 7 enhancements I have made to #Chase2015:

Using a Fitbit

My pedometer died on me and I was left with the decision of get another or invest in something a little more. I went to Target and using my Cartwheel app (which by the way it is my favorite app that saves me lots of money!) I got the more expensive one for a decent price.

Protein shakes

I have once again started drinking a protein shake on my way to work. It is sustaining and helps fuel me through the morning. I find that when I choose protein over carbs, I don’t like I used to and that is wonderful.

Panera

This quick on-the-go choice has the most healthy options I have found yet. The only downfall at this point is simply that it costs a little more. I can almost always find something to eat that doesn’t kill me in calories for the day. Favorite food choice so far? Turkey and Avocado BLT (minus the tomato of course!). Healthy and fills me up? Count me in!

Increase quiet time

I don’t always succeed at this one, but I at least try to set some quiet time aside to pray, meditate, or just practice being. That is a really hard one to strip yourself down so that you can really enjoy peace and quiet. I still am not all the way there yet, but it gets easier the more I keep trying.

Wunderlist

This is an organizational app that you can get through the Apple store (it is free). I can sync it to my computer, set up reminders that are sent to by email, and I can stay on top of my game. I seem to end up going in a million different directions and this helps keep me on task. So far in the week I have been using it, I feel more organized, more productive, and not so scatterbrained. They have pre-made lists like work, family, groceries, movies to see…as well as the ability for you to change and create new lists. I like also that you can create a network of others with this app. Add others to your network and help delegate tasks. I like using this as a shared network.

Writing skills

So, I am taking two writing classes. Yes, 5 weeks of pen and paper bliss. This is something that I have needed to do for my work and mostly to build confidence in my writing skills. I have moved into a creative marketing position so the need for brushed up writing skills is now needed more than ever. I am hoping this investment in my personal skills will help me achieve success.

Massage and adjustment

I have been getting wellness massages and adjustments from my chiropractor about once every 6 weeks. This is how I deal with my stress. I carry so much of it in my shoulders and when everything is off–it makes my demeanor, my mood, and my fuse short. While I can afford it, I have really tried to work on balance and these two steps have made a major impact on my emotional and physical wellbeing.

Over all, I feel better. I know that I need to work on balancing better and these 7 steps have helped me achieve more balance than I have had in a long while.

Despite stress still being there, I am managing it much better than I used to because of these small enhancements.

How are YOU enhancing your life?

Running and Learning: Half Marathon Progress Update

At the end of August I did something crazy: I signed up for a half marathon. Why is this so crazy? Well, because it’s 13.1 miles. That’s a long way and I hate running. No, seriously, I hate it. Even more than five months into training later, I hate still it. I’m still only able to run a little over a mile before I need to walk for a minute.

image1 (1)This training has taught me a lot, though. I’ve learned more about myself and my physical capabilities than I ever before. I’ve learned time and time again that my body is strong. It’s stronger than I knew. My original goal was just to finish the half marathon. Now, I can maintain a pace and set a time goal. Continue reading “Running and Learning: Half Marathon Progress Update”

6 Tips for Beginning Runners

I am not built to be a runner. I don’t have long legs and a great stride. I make running look hard. The truth is, it is hard. At least for me. I know a lot of people who it is not hard for. People who have been pounding the pavement for years like they were born to do it. I bet you know some of those people too. And I bet they intimidate you.

I used to be like that. I used to see people running as I drove past and thought, “I could never do that. I can’t run.” I was wrong though. I can run. I made a choice to try. I decided to put in the effort and work it took to become a runner. I still can’t run long distances, but I can walk/run/jog for a lot of miles.

One of the hardest things for me was getting started. It was deciding to go from a walk to a run. But thinking back over it, there are some tips I have for people who want to start running.

Tips for Beginning Runners

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Before you go:

Fun Gear. Fun and comfortable clothes you want to put on are key. Make yourself believe you are going to have fun. Or at least you are going to look good while you try. If you get the clothes on and lace up your shoes, you have won half battle. Now you are dressed and ready to look good!

Fun Music. Whether it is upbeat pop music, hip hop, rap, hard rock, country, classical, any kind of music that gets you going and makes you want to go, listen to it. There are many apps you can use, like Pandora or iTunes radio, or you can make your own fun playlist.

Stretch and Walk. Before you leave stretch! Look up stretches online if you need some suggestions. And do a warm up walk. Don’t just run, walk for a few minutes to get your body all warmed up and ready to move.

Pick a Program or Schedule. If you are looking for an easy starter program to help you get to running, try a Couch to 5k program. These type of programs will tell you when to walk and run to build up to doing a 5k (3.1 miles). Personally, I prefer programs that tell me just how many miles I should do to train for a race. For example I am now using a training schedule to get me prepped for a 10-mile race. It gives me three running days with the miles I should do and two cross training days each week. It’s a personal preference on what type of program you like. You can always experiment and see what you like.

Do Not Compare Yourself. One thing I did in the beginning was look at other runners and think “I can’t run as far or as fast as them, I must be doing something wrong.” But the truth is, my ability and fitness level is different than everyone else’s. You cannot compare yourself to anyone else. Just go out and do what you can do. And if that means you can only run two blocks and then have to walk, great. But keep going. In the beginning I could literally only run one block, then walk one block, and I would just rotate those. Now I can still only run about a mile, then have to walk for a little bit, and can run again. But I get my miles in. I do my training and I keep going.

Find a Partner. Like any exercise program, having a partner or someone to keep you accountable can be a benefit. If you need someone to say “Hey, get your butt up and do this!” then find someone to help you out and get your butt out the door.

If you want to be a runner you can do it. It is going to take commitment and effort, but if you want to do it, you will. And here’s a secret, those people you see running who look like they have been doing it forever, they are nice people. And they are encouraging. I have never met a runner that said, “you need to go faster” or, “you aren’t trying hard enough!” I have met so many who are encouraging and will motivate you to no end.

So give a try. Lace up your running shoes and get out there. What do you really have to lose?

How I will Chase 2015

Did you read Erica’s post on choosing a word to inspire your year? If not check it out here. I love this idea and just reading hers made me want to chase the year too.

Chase Hope

So I thought I would let you in on what I am going to chase for 2015. And go a step further and let you in a little on how I plan to chase some of these things. So here goes…

1. Healthier Eating – I addressed a lot of this in my post Back On the Wagon. Just getting down to eating cleaner and less processed food.

2. Give More – I want to give more of myself to people. I give a lot to my children and husband, which fills my heart with joy. But I know that now that I am no longer attached to a baby constantly, I have the time and ability to give more of my time and myself to things like volunteering and helping friends. I plan to be more involved in our church and really become vulnerable and closer with friends.

3. Physical Challenges – My biggest physical challenge is coming up in 4 months, the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. And on top of that I want to challenge myself to complete 100 miles of walking/running in a month (I have yet to choose the month, but I will). I also want to sign up for more fun runs that include obstacles to be challenging and fun.

4. Grow Closer to Christ – I want my children to be able to see the love that God has for them through me. To do this I need to become closer to Christ so I can be more like Him. I want to show the love, kindness, generosity, and patience that He has with us everyday.

5. Save Money – My husband and I both know we want to start saving more money and are working on plans to save monthly for things like Christmas and birthdays. Also to start saving money to one day (after Navy retirement) buy a house.

I challenge you to chase this year. Chase the things that you want to accomplish. Find even just one thing to actually go after with all you can. Come up with a plan to do this and be intentional with your plan. Don’t just say you are going to workout or spend more time with your family. Plan out your workout days and family fun days. I challenge you to truly ‘Chase 2015’ with all you can!

Chase 2015

This time of year everyone seems to spend time reflecting on the last year and what they want to change about the year to come. I am definitely included in that. Having worked in the field of lifestyle change for many years, studied it in school and beyond, and being a nurse presently; I am more than aware of how hard change is for people including myself. I’ve read the statistics and how hard it is to predict if someone will stay with a change such as a regular exercise pattern. Let me tell you, the statistics are not encouraging. Change is hard.

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Continue reading “Chase 2015”

Staying on Track this Holiday Season

We are officially into the holiday season, which clearly means one thing….sweets! Cookies, candy, brownies, bars, and the extremely indulgent Buckeye. For those who do not know what a Buckeye is: peanut butter, butter, loads of powdered sugar, and Rice Krispies cereal mixed together to form a ball that is then covered in chocolate. Are you drooling, yet? Us too.

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While these are delicious and we would love to partake in these everyday, they can definitely throw you off track for a ‘healthy eating’ plan. As can being at parties and celebrations where there are others who do not have your same lifestyle in mind. Here are Megan and Erica‘s top 8 tips to help you stay on track this season:

Continue reading “Staying on Track this Holiday Season”

My 5 Running Rules for Half Marathon Training

I am a rules person. Rules make sense to me. I have a fond appreciation for order and organization. I think these reasons are why I enjoy math.

Math has a ton of rules and it has answers that are concrete. For me, it just makes things easier. When I started training for this half marathon, I decided to come up with some “rules” for myself – to make things easier.

Some may seem silly, but they motivate me and help keep me on target. I am two and a half months into training and so far, it seems that the rules are working!

So what are these rules? They are simple and short, but helpful. They are as follows:

My 5 Running Rules for Half Marathon Training

Running #selfie: let's do this!
Running #selfie: let’s do this!

Continue reading “My 5 Running Rules for Half Marathon Training”

Imperfectly Perfect

My body is far from perfect. I have a very smooshy belly that is full of stretch marks. My arms jiggle when I wave. My thighs are very well acquainted with each other and I do not anticipate ever having a thigh gap. Even my calves and ankles are chubby.

But my smooshy belly has seen a dramatic reduction after losing 100lbs. A challenge I never thought I would accomplish, but I did.

My stretch marks are permanent reminders of the 3 babies my body grew and housed. 27 months of growing and stretching and 3 surgeries to have 3 babies ripped from my body. The incision scar will always remind me of the strength it took to recover each time.

My arms that jiggle are strong. They carry babies, wave to friends, give hugs, cook and clean.

My thighs, calves and ankles enable me to stand, walk and even run. They are moving me toward my goals.

I spent a long time hating my body. A long time thinking I wasn’t good enough because my body isn’t “perfect”. I don’t ever want my kids to feel this way. I don’t want them to bear the emotional baggage that comes with hating their body and feeling they need to look different.

My body may not be perfect I the view of the media, but God had blessed me with the perfect body for what He has in store for me. My body is imperfectly perfect.

This imperfect body even carried me through my first 5k Mud Run this past weekend, with some awesome ladies. And just yesterday shaved 20 seconds off my fastest mile pace. So this hard work is paying off!

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GO PINK!

On Sunday, I watched football. If you know me, you know that that is an uncharacteristic statement. I fall asleep when football is on T.V.; I don’t actively engage in the game. However, this Sunday, as I spent time with my grandparents, the football game was the only thing that kept my grandpa from leaving the room; and I got sucked in.

I do have to say, the players pink gloves and shoes, etc. piqued my interest. In the recesses of my NFL knowledge, I do possess awareness that the NFL wears pink during the month of October in support of the breast cancer awareness initiative. However, on that particular day, I started to think more deeply about why they would choose to so demonstratively support awareness of a predominately female cancer (I know that men get breast cancer as well, please just follow my train of thought).

Each of those men on the field has a mother. A grandmother. Some have sisters, cousins, friends. Those big, burly men who lift weights, grunt while plowing into the opposing team, and have muscles the size of trees…they choose to wear pink in support of the women in their lives.

What does wearing pink on the football field do in the long run? On the national stage, it causes people to think and become aware of an issue. You can’ t do anything until you have awareness.  Donations for research are prompted from awareness. Research leads to new medications, treatments, knowledge…which in turn lead to steps forward in the fight against breast cancer.

Although it may seem somewhat insignificant, the color pink carries weight in the fight against breast cancer. Go Pink!

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