Week 5: Still Alive…

This week was a little better although I still am tweaking my schedule.  Trying to find time to juggle, balance, and maintaining sanity is simply where I am at right now.  Each day is a new day.  Each day I must take as it is and not try to get too far ahead of myself.

For those of you who don’t know, my coffee love runs incredibly deep.  I have chosen to give up Starbucks for morals and health purposes.  Not that I don’t love their mugs, coffee flavors, or the perks of being a Gold Card Member since 2011, I just know it would be best if I didn’t have a reason to over indulge.

In addition to my break-up with Starbucks, I have tried to cut down on my caffeine in-take as a whole.  I am choosing healthier options like water infused with lemon or lime, hot tea, or every once in a while an iced black coffee.  Due to this change, however I have sorely crashed.  I get home and sit….and then I am just done.  DONE!  Is this a sign of getting old?

I have been doing more research on healthy food items that I can pack for lunch.  I am looking for better ingredients and over all better food for my body to process.  I found a new soup that I like by the brand Pacific Organic Rosemary Potato Chowder.  It was a really nice little lunch.  I poured half of the container and saved half for later.  I also found these chips that were really good too.  A new find, Lundberg Redwood Smoky BBQ Multigrain chips, were a tasty inclusion to my lunch.  Even though this still isn’t the best for my body to process, it was still better than other choices. They had a different taste to them, but over all they left me satisfied.

Motivation at this point in time is just simply staggering.  My girl Rachel and I walked two different paths to which we did really well. In just over an hour walked close to 4 miles.  We pushed ourselves and that part made me feel really good.  Personally, I did continue to meet two goals this week.  One goal was to run over a mile consecutively.  I ran for a total of 1.21miles.  I also wanted to have another day of over 10,000 steps on my pedometer.  I was over 13,000 steps!  I was really happy about that.

Last night, of all nights, I came home with the intention of running.  I came home with the intention of taking a brief nap and then getting my bum up to go workout.  Well that brief nap was 2-1/2 hours long. Needless to say, I needed to nourish myself with dinner and finish a few projects at the house.  I did go with my mom to the grocery store to get some exercise.  It was more than I would have gotten sitting at home!

I still slept like a rock and went to bed before my usual time.  I am emotionally exhausted, physically exhausted, and really trying.  This effort was not wasted, I assure you.  Check out my weigh-in!

Week 5: height 4'8"; weight 101.5lbs
Week 5: height 4’8″; weight 101.5lbs

 

Week 4: And this is what stress does…

I have been stressed out.  Stressed from what, you might add?  Well stress comes in all forms.  This week I totally fell off the bandwagon of portion control and eating well.

Let me recap this week for you:

1. Had some emotional stress with a friend.  So in a feeble attempt to keep myself cool, calm and collected I ate some breakfast Sunday morning and went on a run.

2. On this run, my phone (which was my music source) died shortly after I stepped in animal feces.  I did however meet a goal of extending my run time to .92 mile even though I literally almost died. Huffing, puffing, and trying to encourage myself to “keep going!” (Yes, I did yell at myself while on the run…probably looked like I was crazy…) Oh yes, don’t recommend eating so close in time frame before you decide to run a hard run.  It doesn’t end well.

3. I was social this week.  While giving myself a facial, I ate a few bites of Gelato which ended up being an inch down in the container!  No, bueno.  I ate pasta shamelessly 2 days in a row for 3 different meals.  I drank a regular pop (gasp!).  Don’t judge, I could barely stay awake and it was 2pm.  I also ate wings with a friend last night. They were fried and I only ate 6. I knew every ounce on that scale was going to reflect it too…

4. Aunt Flow is right around the corner and whenever she comes to visit, I crave chocolate.  I couldn’t do it!  I couldn’t resist…yep I ate a Milky Way Fun Size and Lindt (1 square) chocolate piece back to back.  Hello saturated fat!

5. Work has been stressful. I get home in the evening and I sit.  It is a death wish to any sort of physical movement you may or may not want to do.  Productivity becomes zero.

6. I haven’t made time for good workout’s this week.  I have been doing calf raises, lunges and strengthening activities intermittently through my  day.  I have been trying to strengthen instead of sit idle.

7. I have been trying to find more time for prayer, meditation, and peace.  I think I am doing an OK job at that even though I could always use more.

8. I got wonderful notes of encouragement from a few girlfriends this week!  That was so wonderful.

This made me smile :-)
This made me smile 🙂

All in all, this week my focus was elsewhere.  This is much how life goes.  Life  will pull and tug us in our many directions and it is so important to remain in control.  It too is important to prioritize our issues, get our feelings in check, and maintain a sense of dignity and control over our being.  Praying has helped me get back to a level of which is normal stress.  It has given me much-needed peace about a lot of the stress I just recognize I cannot control.  What I can control however is myself, how I react, and how I choose to conduct myself.  I know this to be absolutely true. I am convinced that next week will be better…

Week 4: Height 4'8"; weight 102.5 lbs
Week 4: Height 4’8″; weight 102.5 lbs.

Week 3: Weigh in and Don’t forget the Cheese Puffs!!!

This week I challenged myself to eating healthier and providing myself with the healthy snacks to make this happen.  Also known as grocery shopping.  Because I had a coupon, I chose to shop at Earth Fare.  It is close to home and if I spent $35, I would get $5 off.  Seemed as though that would be about right.

I went into it with an idea of what I needed to get and just kind of winged the rest of it.  Bell peppers, humus, avocados, yogurt, crispy snack of some sort, apples, gelato, and a protein/meat if price allowed.  I branched out and did quite well.  I am trying two new flavors of gelato: Southern Butter Pecan and Pistachio.  I am branching out a bit.

This week was a hard one as I had an Expo for work to which we were at liberty of the facility catering for the day and in the evening we had a business meeting/dinner.  I was surrounded by candy, cookies, and all sorts of NO-NO’s.  I must confess, I didn’t log this day and I waited to dang long to have eaten.  I allowed myself to hit hangry; yes that is a word…in the dictionary.

Hangry (adjective) : hungry and angry

I ate a Turkey sandwich with no condiments.  I drank water the majority of the day.  I did have a few cocktails in the evening as well as a glass of red wine.  We had dinner at a restaurant in Rosemont IL. called Carlucci.  Their brazen Lamb was delicious.  I had never had lamb before (…again branching out) and I would order it again.  If you are in the northwest Chicago suburbs, you should definitely check them out!

I decided to go on a run outside yesterday.   The Pufferbelly Trail has been one that I enjoyed attempting to run.  Running is a mental game for me.  I was able to meet 2 goals last night and being the dork I am, I rejoiced out loud!  ‘WHOOOO HOOOOO!’  I ran .88 miles straight at a good pace without stopping and by the end of the day I hit my 10,000 steps.  I was so happy.  You see, it is the little victories!

My week has been a blur.  Correction, what day is it?  Is it Friday?  Yes, I have been oblivious to what day of the week it was.  I have been forgetful and in an effort to me not forgetting, I have “my handy dandy notebook!”  (Thank you, Blue’s Clues for forever placing that phrase in my head…ugh) The list this morning?  Weigh in and don’t forget the cheese puffs!!!  And yes, exclamations were there.  I have to satisfy this inner fat kid don’t you know!

Week 3: height 4'8"; weight 101.5lbs
Week 3: height 4’8″; weight 101.5lbs

 

Week 2: Working on my Fitness

This past weekend was Labor Day.  I was able to work on Saturday and take a day trip Sunday to Indianapolis.  It was really a good mini-vacation.  Sunday morning, my bags were packed and then I met up with a good girl friend of mine.  We went on a walk.  Upon finishing our walk, she helped me finish a project of encouragement for a friend of mine.  She provided perspective and great company.   I must confess “Week 2” has been full of awesome discoveries!

Observations/discoveries of this week:
1. Earth Fare soups are excellent!  I tried the Chicken Chili and my girl friend bought the Kale soup.  The price was decent and I felt satisfied afterwards.

2. I branched out and tried a new smoothie.  Evolution Fresh Apple Berry is delicious.  I have seen this at the grocery stores.  It was a healthier snack than others I could have chosen.  Definitely recommend trying one.

3. I am starting to make smarter food choices.  This morning I was out getting some projects done before heading to work.  I knew I needed to eat breakfast, but simply had no time to make something.  Duncan Donuts was on my way to work so I stopped by and for $1.18 I bought a Egg White Flatbread.  It was a healthy option which gave my body necessary fuel.  I knew I would have crashed, if I didn’t fuel my body.

4.  I am working out with more intention.  It makes so much of a difference working out with specific goals in mind.  My mom and I both have been trying to get in the habit of eating better and working out.  While on Pinterest the other day, I was able to find a leg work out.  The first day upon completing this rigorous list, my legs were hurting!  This week I successfully completed the cycle once and I felt great!

5. I set and met my goals!  I set a goal to be able to run without stopping to a certain point on a usual route.  I have had trouble and have been making excuses for myself along the way and I finally said enough!  I finally did it!  I ran 0.7 miles and walked back.  I felt decent without over extending myself.

6.  I found water in a box!  Check this out:

http://www.boxedwaterisbetter.com
http://www.boxedwaterisbetter.com

On my way back home, I stopped and ate dinner with my cousins.  Both of them attend Ball State.  We decided to eat at their Atrium food court.  I found this little gem and thought it was worth a try.

All in all, I am satisfied with my progress.  I am finding a balance between strengthening my body, working on endurance and keeping my heart strong, and eating a more balanced diet.  I hope into this next week, I can maintain this steady momentum.

 

Week 2: height 4'8"; weight 102.5
Week 2: height 4’8″; weight 102.5

Reminders:
1. Don’t let your head get in the way of your goals.  Stop being a mental case and remember “YOU CAN DO IT!”

2. Working out, eating lunch and being in community with supportive friends helps tremendously in a persons over all health and well-being.

3. Chin up!  Don’t get discouraged if you have an off day.  Keep on pushing little engine!

Stay tuned….more discoveries to come I am sure…

One is the loneliest number…

… and you’re always alone when you’re early.

Annoyingly early. That’s me. I have to force myself to be late or even on time. Consistently, I arrive at my intended location 20-30 minutes early. Fashionably late? Never. You’ll find me sitting in my car forcing myself to wait until my clock says ten minutes until the event time, which I view as an appropriate early arrival.

Consistent timeliness has proven  itself both a blessing and a curse. I take pride in the fact that I can manage my time in such a way that it does not communicate disrespect or create additional stress for those I am meeting with due to a late arrival. However, in turn, it can turn very awkward, very fast, when it is just me and the host awaiting the “late” arrivals.

The tension of staying true to who I am (someone who believes that timeliness and promptness communicate respect) and not wanting to be a loner is something I deal with daily. When meeting someone or attending and event (or working), I view showing up when requested as a way of validating the individual/organization that invited me. In essence, I am saying through my timely arrival, that they matter, are valuable, and I respect them.

While studying abroad in Ireland in 2004 (how old am I?!), my view of timeliness = respect was disrupted. It was common to be invited to a family’s home after church for tea, and I initially jumped at the chance to experience Irish homes/families. In my mind, I would leave within ten minutes after the service ended, have tea for about an hour, and then be on my way to finish homework, etc. Well intentioned plans were smashed as I waited for almost an hour to even go to their homes, didn’t have tea for another hour, and ended up staying for FOUR hours. Forgetting that I had been invited into THEIR homes, I was upset that they weren’t respecting me by observing the time more closely. Throughout my four months abroad, I grew to appreciate slowing down and being accommodating in the reverse of what I was accustomed.

Although I can see value in assimilating into a culture, I see value in setting oneself a part as well. I’m an early bird. Always have been. Always will be. I have chosen to make modifications so that I do not arrive crazy early so as not to make anyone else uncomfortable, but me…sitting in the parking lot, waiting to go inside 🙂

Conclusion: No matter if you are consistently early or tardy, it is helpful to make a conscious effort to respect those around you and understand who you are dealing with – and to adjust accordingly. Just because you are always early or always late, doesn’t mean that everyone will accept that excuse. What are some things you can do to curb your earliness/tardiness? How obtainable is that goal in the next week?

Fringe Lose to Win 2014

At my salon, we are like one big family.  We all take care of one another.  We support, encourage and share in community with one another.  A few of us were talking about doing a fitness challenge to encourage and promote healthy lifestyle adjustments.  Our solution?  Fringe Lose to Win 2014.

Here are the rules:
-$25 buy in by 8/22
-Weigh in every Friday morning by 10AM (pic of feet on scale with amount sent to a neutral person and that is not posted for others to see)
-Start Date: 8/22-11/14
-WINNER TAKES ALL
-Each week, if a gain is noted, $5 will be added to the pot
-Winner determined by the participant that loses the highest percentage based off initial weigh in

Given the criteria above, you can decide how you are going to set and achieve your goals.  For me, it isn’t necessarily about the weight loss so much as it is to maintain and get in shape again.  You know, make places on my body (that aren’t supposed to be jiggling) firm up and tone up….

http://hideout125.com
http://hideout125.com; My last dessert;  We all know that this didn’t help my cause….

In order to achieve my goals, I have a little criteria of my own.  Me and some of the other stylists at the salon are using an app called My Fitness Pal.  It is a really good tool I can use to track what I am eating, my workouts, how much water I am drinking and what types of foods am I eating.  I have also purchased a Pedometer that connects to MapMyWalk.  I chose to get one that I could sync to my phone and track my daily activity as such.  It shows me roughly where I am at and how I could do better.  I need that accountability.

Before Picture; 8/22 Weigh in
Before Pictures; 8/22 First Weigh in

I have started a week early as to slowly ease into a routine which will allow for me to have success.  Eating out less, drinking more water not sugary drinks/pop, making better food choices.  Past my initial weigh in, just simply to get me started, I am not weighing myself until Friday.   I don’t let the number control me.  It is a good measure though to help me know where I should be though!

8/22  4’8″  105.0 lbs   Weigh in….eeek!

Observations?  I eat way too many carbs and not the good kind.  I don’t eat enough vegetables.  I don’t eat enough protein in my daily in take for what my body needs.  I am not getting enough cardio workouts.  And most definitely not drinking enough water!  All of this is about to change as I embark on this fitness challenge.

Stay tuned!

Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same…

“Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.”  That was one of my favorite AIM away statuses during college and it still seems to resonate today throughout many phases of life. We all know the song from The Fray “All At Once”. And I am yet again at a point in my life those lyrics are resonating deep. 

I walk my dog on an almost daily basis and we keep our path pretty much the same. It is nothing exciting but there is one spot in particular that always gets me thinking. It is this area between houses that seems to go on forever with power lines in it (see below). It is also the place my dog often chooses to stop and do her business, so I have even extra time to contemplate. Sometimes it is illuminated by an amazing sunset or by clouds rolling in for a storm. I’m from Indiana; there is something about flat fields and nature that will always bring soothing to my soul.

unnamed (16)

Lately though, this scene I pass every day resembles how I feel deep within my soul. It is that time in life where I have decisions to make. Nothing is super bad, in fact I like my life, but I still know deep within my soul that there are decisions that need made. That this state of comfort won’t last forever and that I need to make some decisions to help me get where I want to be long term. Right now my life looking forward feels like this empty field. I know my friends and family will be there with me traveling along, but I have absolutely no idea what else is going to happen. 

In small group we have been talking about love languages and something called holy discontent. For the spiritual person holy discontent is the thing you feel God put you on this earth to do…. The thing that gets your blood pumping and gets you up off your seat… the thing you absolutely cannot stand that is going on in the world. For others it is exactly the same thing, but the sense of what the “universe” has placed for the person to achieve.

I recently took a test which helped me figure out what mine are and to people who know me, it is no surprise. The two primary things that get me off my seat are grieving people and community. I absolutely cannot handle when community does not exist and do everything in my power to make it happen. And grieving people make my heart ache.

So why do I bring this up when I’m talking about The Fray, a field, and how there really isn’t anything bad in my life right now? It is because I know deep in my soul that there are changes I need to make to truly start to completely live out who I am and how I am designed. I know that even though things are good right now, I have to make the hard decision to start to make things the best they can be. And that’s hard. Because after all, who truly wants to leave a good and comfortable spot?

But I know without a doubt, I need to. Something harder, but even better, is waiting for me. 

The Year of THIRTY: Update

The response I received to my initial THIRTY post was tremendous (on Facebook and at work). I honestly didn’t think that it was odd to create a list like I did here., but many viewed it as a novelty and were super encouraging!  For the sake of keeping myself accountable and satisfying inquiring minds, here is a fleshed out version of the items I have done or am in the process of doing:

3. Grow my own vegetables – This year I planted Roma, cherry and grape tomatoes in pots on my patio. Planning on jarring up some bruschetta mix to carry me through the winter (and use as hostess gifts!)

image

4. Read thirty books in varying genres. . . My list of completed books since May are as follows; “Wicked”, “The Giver Quartet” – “The Giver”, “Gathering Blue”, “Messenger” and “Son”, “BossyPants”

5. Learn to play golf…I have connected with three other people who will be taking me out on a 9-hole course to see where my future with golf lies.

6. Buy a bike and ride it . . . I love my bike! It is pink with big tires and a basket! The tires are flat though and my bike pump is plotting against me. 

8. Go berry picking . . . I picked Blueberries, Raspberries, and Blackberries.  Shoutout to “The Extraordinary Berry” and “Stateline Blueberries“!

image

 

9. Do something once a month by myself that I’ve never done before: May: Took a real vacation. June: Started a job in the finance field July: Organized a baby shower August: Drove to Michigan, went berry picking, and ate at a restaurant by myself.

10. Wake up early on the weekends – this was a cheater one, I normally wake up early…I’m just making a conscious effort to be productive since I’m up!

13. Take my thoughts captive when I get upset that others are engaged, married, having babies, getting promotions, etc. and I’m not. – this one is hard. I’m the last one of a group of ten to be seriously involved with anyone, but I’m trying to be happy for them and content with where I’m at. 

17. Take a painting class – I shouldn’t quit my day job, but this sure was fun! Shout-out to “Pinot’s Palette!” 

image

20. Participate in at least one volunteer activity a month – For the past two months, I’ve packed backpacks for kids going back to school!

22. Meet my neighbors -This can be awkward, but I’ve successfully met three of my neighbors this summer! One of them cut me off pulling into the neighborhood though and drives ridiculously, but I still wave when I see him and his wife out and about!

24. Learn French – Yay! People are willing to help me! Currently looking into purchasing Rosetta Stone.

25. Listen to and engage with people I haven’t previously – I had a lovely conversation with my benchmates at a park in Michigan, met new co-workers, mixed and mingled at professional networking events.

26. Take more walks – This normally happens on the weekend, but I am trying to connect with people in my neighborhood to do this.

28. Listen to voicemails – I have visual voicemail on my phone, so I normally just call people back…thus the incredible accumulation of messages. I’m staying on top of these now.

We would love to hear of the things you want to accomplish this year, please share!

The year of THIRTY

This year, I turned thirty. At the age of twenty-four, I started anticipating thirty and by the time I was twenty-six, I somewhat hyperventilated when I though about or talked about that looming birthday. By twenty-nine however, I started to calm down. That birthday was inevitable, and I wanted to make the most of the milestone. “Cheers to 30 Years” was the theme of my party and I entered my year of thirty with toasts and friends.

Thirty!

I also created a list of things to accomplish this year, which are as follows:

1. Do something adventurous…hang gliding?
2. Don’t be lazy, go see a show in the City
3. Grow my own vegetables
4. Read thirty books in varying genres…I’ve already read four since May
5. Learn to play golf…and like it
6. Buy a bike and ride it
7. Learn to can vegetables
8. Go berry picking
9. Do something once a month by myself that I’ve never done before
10. Wake up early on the weekends
11. Start taking classes to go back to school
12. Write a postcard or letter once a month to someone that I care about
13. Take my thoughts captive when I get upset that others are engaged, married, having babies, getting promotions, etc. and I’m not.
14. See a car race
15. Ride a scooter or tandem bike…preferably on a date!
16. Use my crockpot more
17. Take a painting class
18. Mentor someone
19. Be mentored by someone
20. Participate in at least one volunteer activity a month
21. Complete a 5k and 8k
22. Meet my neighbors
23. Work on not letting others actions dictate my actions
24. Learn French
25. Listen to and engage with people I haven’t previously
26. Take more walks
27. Keep the calendar on my phone updated
28. Listen to voicemails
29. Go to a dueling piano bar
30. Go paddle boating

Italicized = items that I have done or am in the process of doing

What are some things on your “bucket list” for this year? Do share!

Will You Make the Choice to be Healthy?

This blog post thought started when a ripple went through the nation about the most recent Biggest Loser Winner and how she may be TOO skinny. I’ll be honest, I’ve always had the fear of this happening with that show, especially for people who are former athletes (super competitive) and/or have addictive personalities. I fear this because I’ve walked in those shoes. I’m a former athlete and also a former exercise anorexic. I’ve felt the thrill of losing weight and wanting the numbers to KEEP coming off even when there really were no more pounds to shred. I know the “joy” of stepping on the scale every morning and feeling that “control”, but I refuse to go back there. Refuse.

Instead I choose this…

I choose to be healthy!

And I want to challenge you to do the same. I want to challenge you to let go of the number on the scale, let go of the calorie counting, let go of the fat restricting… and simply choose to live a healthy life. Choose to daily eat fruits, vegetables, and nutrient dense foods… to daily be active and to be active at an activity level that is healthy and not overindulgent. Choose to tell yourself you are beautiful just the way you are every day and to judge your health level by how you feel, the energy you have, and the way your clothes are fitting. Choose to deal with your anger, frustrations, insecurities, and anything else bothering you instead of letting it eat away at you. Choose to embrace yourself. Right now. Where you are at. Choose to let go of harmful practices, harmful relationships, harmful foods. Choose to have cheat days. Right now, in this moment, I challenge you to make a choice.

Will you make the choice to be healthy?
Will you choose to recognize you are a unique individual and your healthy is vastly different from anyone else’s healthy?

One of the worst things we can do is compare our health to our neighbors health. To compare our weight to our neighbors. To compare our diet to our neighbors. To compare our exercise regimen to our neighbors. To compare our job to our neighbors. To compare our relationships to our neighbors. 
Choose to let go of comparison.
Choose in this moment for facebook, pinterest, and all other social media to not be comparison resources, but rather to be resources that help you to establish YOUR version of healthy. Your own unique and absolutely stunningly beautiful version of healthy. Trust me, it is worth it… Because you are far more than a number on a scale, a clothing size, miles run, hours worked out, job title, friends on facebook, and whatever else you may define yourself by.
You are stunningly unique and beautiful.
Today is your day. To choose to change those habits whether they are over exercising or under exercising. Whether it is over eating or under eating or maybe it is not sleeping enough or sleeping too much.It just might be too much junk food and not enough nutrients or maybe it is an abusive relationship. It may be letting go of that self harm you think will help ease your pain. Whatever it is that is keeping you from being the healthiest you, I challenge you, get to the core of the problem. So my challenge to you:
Dig down to the core of your unhealthy habits.
 It is going to suck. But it is most definitely worth it. It may have started somewhere in your childhood or those dreadful years called middle school. It could be self inflicted or stem for lies that someone has fed you. It could be out of sheer laziness or lack of self worth. Whatever it is, find it and face it. Let’s walk through the unhealthy habit struggles together while each of our unique versions of healthy unfolds. 
Will you walk this journey with me?
I sure hope so! If you feel so inclined, share your stories, your pictures, and your journey. I absolutely love stories of beauty from ashes! The road to health is a daily journey and it is better traveled together, side by side, without comparison but rather a journey full of teammates. Let’s do this. Together.
You my friend, are stunning and beautiful and I canNOT wait to watch what your version of healthy looks like.
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