Tag Archives: health

WIAW – a new schedule

Another day of eats coming your way. Don’t forget to head over to Peas and Crayons to see the entire link up!

Now that we are back from a little vacation in North Carolina and California, it’s time to settle into my new summer schedule. As you may remember, I made a big announcement that I was leaving my job to pursue a Masters in Social Work. I am really thrilled about this next step 🙂 I have a number of tasks for this summer prior to starting school full time. I am supplementing my time prepping for school with a number of exciting side projects that are a bit more “social work-y” (yeah I’m just gonna own that word) in nature. Here’s what my new schedule is like…

Like every good Tuesday, I started the morning with a cardio warm up and an AM session with my trainer. We were both traveling last week so we haven’t worked out together in two weeks! He definitely brought the pain  with a killer lower body workout. I was positively dripping sweat by the end of our session. I headed home to shower and enjoyed a breakfast of iced coffee with 2% milk and overnight oats in a jar! I finally finished my jar of sunflower butter (must get more ASAP I love it) so I made overnight oats with strawberry yogurt, oats, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, and raisins. So delicious and super filling. I had a really busy morning ahead so I didn’t want to get hungry!

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My project kept me out of the house until 2 pm! By the time I got home I was positively famished. I reheated a homemade black bean burger (recipe post coming for these because OMG they were so good) on a toasted english muffin with a slice of gouda cheese. I wanted some veggies on the side so I cut up some celery sticks. As a little treat, I turned three of them into “ants on a log” with peanut butter and golden raisins. I guess the golden raisins make them less ant like but that’s what we had open. They were DELICIOUS.

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I spent the rest of the afternoon working at home and taking a few phone calls. Suddenly I was totally in the mood to workout again! I am definitely enjoying the increased freedom of my new schedule so I decided to attend a 5:30 boot camp class at my gym I had never been able to get to before! Before heading out, I ate a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats with almond milk. Glad I had it because boot camp was amazing and TOUGH. I don’t normally or always workout twice a day, but I love to exercise so I just do what I feel like doing!

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After gym round two, I came back home to work some more until Mike got home from work. We ran out to CVS to pick up some eggs / bread that I needed for our planned dinner. Totally impulse purchased a 99 cent pack of “Red Fish” because I was getting SUPER hungry. They were not as good as the real thing but for 99 cents I wasn’t too upset about it.

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With all the proper supplies in hand, I set to work making a frittata for dinner. I wrote a post about frittatas a while ago with more information. This one included eggs (duh), red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, yellow onion, shredded cheese, salt, pepper, and basil. Topped with some sliced avocado and served with a slice of sourdough toast. This dinner totally hit the spot! If you haven’t tried sliced avocado on your eggs before I highly recommend it!

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After dinner I wasn’t feel super hungry for a snack but I was having a little bit of a sweet craving. I realized I hadn’t had much fruit so I snacked on a gala apple. It was just ok… not the crispest apple ever. But that’s ok 🙂

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Questions for you guys:

  • What are your favorite ingredients to include in a frittata?
  • Favorite fruit? 
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Studio Review: Philly Power Yoga

Super exciting week ahead because I have not one but TWO Philly based fitness class reviews for you! I always wish I could get to Philly more often to hang with Sarah and as luck would have it I have been in Philly the past TWO weekends! Two weeks ago, Mike and I made the trip up north to run the Broad Street Run on Sunday. On Saturday, I had some time to kill in the late morning, so I decided to check out a yoga class at Philly Power Yoga. I took the 10:45 am 75 minute class with Troy (Steve was scheduled to teach but apparently he was sick). Here’s what I thought!

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 I miss hot yoga… I miss it so so so much. For me, there is just nothing quite as detoxifying. I was thrilled to try a new hot vinyasa studio (Bikram is not my thing). I was curious to see what the studio was going to be like. Since heated yoga is kind of a hot trend (haha sweet pun right?) right now, some yoga studios are getting a little too trendy / uptight for my taste. That was definitely not the case here. The studio had a really organic vibe to it and a very friendly / welcoming atmosphere. There were a variety of people, skill levels, body types, etc all represented, I dug it. Troy was SUPER friendly when I checked in too. He made me feel really welcome in the new space. I got there pretty early and gave myself almost 15 full minutes in the room to center and adjust to the temperature.

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I haven’t practiced in a heated room for a while, so I was prepared to get a little light headed. I had two options upon entering the room, practice in front of a full length mirror or in front of the room’s heaters. I chose the heaters. I don’t do mirrors in yoga, it’s not good for my soul. We got started and I really enjoyed the class! I had two very basic intentions – sweat and lengthen, and I definitely got both. I wasn’t pouring sweat the way I normally do during hot yoga because I think the room wasn’t as humid as I am used to (DC and humidity are basically synonyms). All the classes are mixed levels at this studio so that class moved through relatively basic postures. Troy’s sequencing was great though and he made an effort to offer modifications for everyone.

I really enjoyed it and worked up a solid sweat. I left feeling rejuvenated and ready to race!

Philly Power Yoga was a great value for the price too. I paid $18 for a drop in class, mat, and towel rental, which is pretty good by many fitness class standards. There are even better deals if you buy a pass or membership. There is also a Pilates studio associated (Thrive Pilates) that I’d love to go back and try that out!

Questions for you guys:

  • Hot yoga, love it or hate it?
  • How did you get sweaty this weekend?
  • Yoga or Pilates?

WIAW – An all around intuitive day

Thank you all so much for your kind words yesterday! You really are the best!

For right now, I’m kind of enjoying the idea of What I Ate Wednesday, so I decided to do it again and actually link up with Peas and Crayons.

This week I decided to cover my Monday eats! I really did not have my normal appetite on Monday. I don’t know if it was because I knew my parents were about to put Bernie down, gloomy crappy weather, or the fact that I didn’t work out first thing in the morning but I just was NOT hungry. Since I’ve been working on intuitive eating, I decided to just go with it! I didn’t end up eating breakfast until about 10:15 am but when I was finally hungry I ate a pomegranate greek yogurt with sliced almonds, chopped pecans, and flax seeds. Accompanied of course by a cup of coffee and my vitamins. I take a daily women’s multi-vitamin, Calcium, fish oil, and Biotin (for skin, nails, and hair – it’s awesome I love it!)

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I intended to work out on my lunch hour but I realized I forgot a towel to shower after… womp womp. Oh well, I just worked through the day and broke for lunch around 2 pm. I made a healthy version of shepherds pie over the weekend and brought leftovers to work. This recipe features tons of veggies (one bag of frozen mixed veggies, one bag of shaved brussels sprouts, and one half a yellow onion), ground turkey, and mashed garlic sweet potatoes on top. It doesn’t hold it’s shape well when traveling so it kind of turned into a mashed up pile but it was delicious.

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I’m normally a very committed afternoon snacker but didn’t get hungry until 5 pm for my normal snack. I decided to just listen to my body and eat if and when I got hungry. I finally broke into my afternoon snack which was (predictably) an apple, scoop of peanut butter, and a mini vanilla yogurt. Normally if I have yogurt for breakfast I bring something else for a snack, simply for variety. We were really low on groceries though, so I didn’t have a lot of options… a second yogurt it was! It was delicious though 🙂

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I stayed at work until 6 pm and then talked to my mom on the phone (about poor Bernie) until 7 pm. By the time I got home, I was really not in the mood to go work out. But Mike was heading up to the apartment building gym for a quick run and I decided I would feel better if I just moved my body in SOME way. I decided to practice “intuitive exercise” and see what appealed to me when I got up there. I normally follow a pretty strict training / workout schedule, so it was nice to give myself a little break to do whatever I felt like. I hopped on an elliptical, turned on Jeopardy (my favorite show to watch while exercising), and did a 35 minute hill climbing workout. I worked up a nice little sweat, did a good long stretch, and called it a night. Dancing with the Stars came on while I was cooling down so I watched the first dance. I can’t get into that show though… it’s too much of a time commitment!

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After our workout I was FINALLY hungry but we really needed to go to the grocery store for the week. I knew I couldn’t shop super hungry so I threw together a really quick whole wheat wrap with horseradish hummus, a slice of cheese, and a ton of spinach. It totally hit the spot!

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After a quick trip to the grocery store, I unloaded our items and poured myself a little glass of sweet white wine. Got this bottle at CVS for $3.95. I am turning into QUITE the connoisseur of cheap wine…

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I was in the mood 🙂 I was kind of hungry again but didn’t want to start making a whole big dinner. Instead, I heated up some leftover brown basmati rice and black beans and topped them with one egg over easy. It was the perfect combination of protein and carbs to top off my hunger.

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And right before I brushed my teeth and got in bed to read I had two squares of a Ritter Sport we bought at Trader Joe’s. DELICIOUS. Most days should end on a slightly sweet note 🙂

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Solo Run for Boston

Last week was… a train wreck. By Friday night, I was a mess of emotions all tied up in one slightly bizarre and wholly confusing package. After drinking many more beers than usual with a group of friends and then braving a rainstorm and a hectic metro ride home, I crawled into bed more than ready to close the book on the week. Saturday morning, I decided to do what I do when I’m sad or angry or frustrated… I ran. I went into this run with no expectations. I decided to just go out and see how far I got.

I’ve seen so many great events around DC and other cities where runners are getting together to Run for Boston. I chose to run solo for Boston. Just me, my sneakers, and my city. I decided to bring you guys along for a little tour because the weather was perfect and this was just what I needed to work through some emotions and emerge with a renewed spirit.

My first stop was the Iwo Jima memorial in Arlington. I also checked out some beautiful spring flowers.

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Then it was down onto path for a quick view of Arlington Cemetery.

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Up off the trail and heading towards the Memorial Bridge.

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And down onto the Mount Vernon trail for a run along the Potomac River. Mount Vernon is one of my favorite trails in the entire area. The views of DC are the best.

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All the way down to Roaches Run (which I hate the name of because roaches are my biggest fear). I had a lovely view of some kids playing soccer and the planes taking off from Reagan Airport.

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Then I turned around and headed back towards the Memorial Bridge. I love running under the highway. Gorgeous views abound.

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I continued on Mount Vernon Trail under the Memorial Bridge towards Rosslyn and the Key Bridge.

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This is my favorite place ever… a short stretch of boards running adjacent to the highway. It’s like a mini-oasis.

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A quick hello to Roosevelt Island… another favorite place.

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And up the ramp to Rosslyn. I took an unintentionally creepy picture of this guy… sorry dude!

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Through Rosslyn and up the hill towards home! I have come to love ending my runs on this hill. It’s the perfect sense of accomplishment for the end of a run.

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End of the day I covered 8.5 miles and it was the perfect way to start my weekend off right.

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Questions for you guys:

– Do you exercise when you’re feeling down?

– How did you get active this weekend?

– Thoughts on running solo?

Water Fails

I think probably one of the most resoundingly solid pieces of advice about health and nutrition EVER is to DRINK WATER. Drink PLAIN water. Read more here, here, or here.

I’m a big water drinker and have consistently consumed at least 64 ounces a day (with some exceptions here and there because I am human) since high school. I really do believe in its relationship to my health and athletic performance. Plus I get horrible migraines and hydration is a key factor in prevention. I wrote this post a while back about how I hydrate in case you’re interested.

However, in the last couple weeks I’ve kind of been sucking on the drinking water front. What’s happened? I have no idea! All of a sudden I just realized that my water drinking had dropped out of my daily habit. I guess I thought since it was a habit, I didn’t have to pay attention to it. I guessed wrong. I have barely been drinking 30 ounces of water a day for weeks, which is very unusual for me! I’ve also been more fatigued, headachy, and generally cranky sooo yeah.

I suppose this just goes to show me that I just have to remain vigilant about drinking water. In an attempt at course correction, I’m back on the water drinking bandwagon. I’m about 20 ounces in for the day right now… still a ways to go! I thought today I’d put together a post about the strategies I use to make sure I drink enough water and stay hydrated every day. Here’s my list:

  • Start the day strong. I am a devoted coffee drinker, but I try to start each morning with a mug of warm water with lemon. I still get the warm beverage that coaxes me out of bed, but it a solid 8 ounces of water to start the day before I hit the gym. Plus the lemon mixed with warm water has a number of health benefits.
  • Make it a routine. When I arrive at the office in the morning, I have a mini routine. Put down my bags, start up my computer, grab my coffee mug and water jug, and head to the kitchen to stash my lunch in the refrigerator. Here I make a cup of coffee (because I LOVE COFFEE) and fill up my water jug (I use the word jug very intentionally because it is massive… see below). This starts my work day off with a fresh, COLD water supply. I don’t really enjoy room temperature water as much.

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  • Get supplies that work for you. I get made fun of A LOT at the office for the size of my water bottle. I bought it at Walmart probably 8 years ago, but I think it is amazing. It holds 64 ounces of water, which is the baseline amount I shoot for every day. This means that I can fill it up first thing in the morning and not have to fill it again for the rest of the day. I also make sure that I leave it empty every night when I pack up to leave work. This works FOR ME as a way to regulate / visualize my consumption. The water bottle is way too big to actually drink out of, so I use a cup for easy consumption. Do whatever works for you… get a water bottle with a straw if you’re more likely to sip while working!
  • Drink water with meals. I love a glass of wine or a beer as much as the next person. But interestingly enough, I don’t often like to drink alcohol with meals. I like to have a drink before a meal or after but during, I prefer to drink water (or occasionally diet soda as a treat because I’m sorry I WON’T GIVE IT UP!) I find this allows me to enjoy my food while eating, my alcohol when drinking, and sneak in some extra water. Triple win!
  • Do a midday check in. Sometimes my mornings get crazy at work and I forget to start hydrating. I like to schedule a “mental check in” with myself around midday to see if I’ve drank enough water. This is a tactic I actually learned from Intuitive Eating (you are encouraged to stop midway through a meal for a mental check in and I find it works very well for me).
  • Spice it up when you get bored. I am a big proponent of drinking plain water and I don’t like adding anything with artificial sweeteners (at that point… I’d rather have a Diet Dr. Pepper because it takes delicious). However, I love to add slices of citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges, etc.) or cucumbers to my water to give it a little flavor if I’m feeling uninspired. The lobby of my building always has a huge jug of cold cucumber water set out and I totally dig it.

Share with us:

  • What are your “hydration strategies”?
  • How much water do you drink every day? 
  • Can you tell when you’re not drinking enough?

Mind Your Body Oasis Blogger Open House

I love exploring new fitness facilities in the DC area. So naturally I was SO excited to be invited to an open house for DC area bloggers at Mind Your Body Oasis in Crystal City. We were all invited to tour / use the facility, attend a Yogalates class taught by studio owner, Amanda, and sample some food from Postmodern Foods. The studio is located in the Crystal City Shops and perfectly accessible by metro for anyone without a car.

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It is always so interesting to see a business that truly growths out of someone’s passion. The facility is a one-stop shop for wellness including hot yoga, pilates, massage, acupuncture, reiki, and facials. They also have a special infrared sauna, but we’ll get to that later. I did not end up seeing the hot yoga space, but people were coming out of class looking very sweaty and I was VERY jealous (I ❤ sweat). We practiced in the other yoga studio, which was gorgeous. It was a nice open space with a very clean, unencumbered feel. Yogalates was really fun. At the beginning of class we took a poll and the vast majority of people were far more experienced in yoga than Pilates. We split the class about half and half and utilized a Pilates ring for many of the moves (which was new for me!) I’m really tempted to go back and try out a hot class … I miss hot yoga SO MUCH.

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Here are the lovely lady bloggers with Amanda after class… (Photo credit to MYBO – Thank you Mind Your Body Oasis for sending along this group picture!)

MYBO Open House Group Picture 041413A brief tour of the facility… here’s the locker room (well, the ladies locker room. I imagine the men’s locker room looks very similar). There was plenty of storage space, towels available for rent, showers, and TONS of bath products. I love when places have little touches like hair products, etc. It’s so hard to be an urban bag lady sometimes. They even had extra plastic bags for your sweaty clothes or wet towels… REALLY smart touch in my sweaty opinion.

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Aah and the infrared sauna. I was the only person who stayed to try it out but I had nowhere to be and I thought it looked cool. I LOVE saunas and steam rooms because, as I’ve mentioned, I love sweating. This particular sauna uses different colored lights and has all this information on the door about the health benefits of different colors. I hopped in for about 20 minutes before I got too bored sitting there. A full session is 30 minutes, so maybe I didn’t reap all the benefits but it was fun! Here more information on Far Infared Heat Therapy.

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A quick peek at the spa services space. I already have a place where I go for spa services, but I’ve been considering giving acupuncture a try. I was able to briefly meet  the acupuncturist too… he seemed nice for a guy who will stick a bunch of needles in your body 🙂 No but seriously, read here for the health benefits of acupuncture.

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And if you’re looking for supplement / nutrition information… look no further!

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So let me quickly say a huge thank you to Mind Your Body Oasis for hosting this event! I had a GREAT time exploring the facilities and there was an excellent group of lady bloggers I had the pleasure of meeting.

Ericka from The Sweet Life with Ericka wrote up a great review of the event so go read that right now. So did Allison from Wicked Health Washington

I also had the distinct pleasure of meeting Kristine and Lexie (the ladies behind The Workout Wonks) and Sarah from Passion and Laughter. Fun story, Lexie is a former yoga teacher of mine and I had NO idea she was behind Workout Wonks. Other bloggers in attendance were Magie E Pasta, Planes, Trains, and Running Shoes, and A Knack for Nutrition

I personally think parts of Arlington are tragically short on good yoga studios so if you’re in the market… give Mind Your Body Oasis a try!

Questions for you guys:

  • Have you ever tried acupuncture?? What did you think?
  • What sort of “extras” do you like to get from a yoga studio?

Workouts I Love/Hate

It’s downright balmy here in DC today, which I could not be happier about. I have been over winter since February, so I’m thrilled to see warm weather finally making an appearance (my toes are also finally making an appearance… three cheers for sandals!). When I showed up at the gym to warm up this morning, I saw my trainer was already outside in the courtyard with a client. I was stoked to have my first outdoor session!

Today’s workout featured something that was new-to-me… BATTLE ROPES.

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These are definitely a lot harder than I thought they were, especially when combined with all the other upper body work we did this morning. I was BEAT by the end of our session.

During / after my workout, I was thinking about different exercises that I love or hate. I don’t know about you, but I make myself do the exercises I hate the most because I figure that must mean I need to work on them! That approach might not work for everyone, but I get really motivated to works towards conquering a move that I find difficult. I came up with the following lists.

LOVE

  • Burpees
  • ALL plyometrics
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Push Ups
  • Planks
  • Sit ups or Oblique Twists

HATE

  • Plank ups – my trainer LOVES these but I think they’re SUPER hard. By the end my abs AND chest are burning! 

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  • Step Ups – It’s not that I really mind these but I feel like they take FOREVER (probably because I have to do each side individually). Sometimes I get scared stepping down that I’ll roll my ankle or something!

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  • Leg lowers (or ANY ab exercise where I have to move my legs up and down together) – my abs are pretty strong but my hip flexors are one of my biggest weaknesses. I can bust out a bunch of ab exercises but throw in some movement the requires my hip flexors and I’m toasted.

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  • Close Grip Pull Ups – My trainer loves to throw these in at the end of an upper body workout, when I’m totally wiped. These are the only exercise where I reach a point of actual muscle failure. He has to be there to spot me lest I plummet to the ground. Some day I will master you pull ups!

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Questions for You Guys:

  • Ever used battle ropes before? What did you think?
  • What exercises are your favorite / least favorite?

Intuitive Eating 21 Day Challenge – Final Thoughts

I spent the month of March focusing on Intuitive Eating. I participated in the Studio Eats 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge, had three one-on-one calls with Jamie, attended one group conference call, and read most of the book. (My initial thoughts on the challenge can be found here). It’s April and it’s time to reflect.

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How did the month go? In a word (ok two)… life changing. I really don’t want to turn into the “anti-diet” crusader or anything… but this approach to eating and living works for me. I am a chronic, life-long devotee to dieting and I needed something serious to make a change in my life. Deep down, I’ve always felt that there was something wrong with my body and the way I look. I was heavy as a kid… it’s not completely shocking that I felt this way. I used dieting and restricting to feel control. The best part about my IE journey is that I feel more in control now than I ever have, and I’m not dieting for pretty much the first time ever.

Right now I am eating and drinking what I want, when I want. I have found that by giving myself complete free reign over my eating and exercising, I am eating less, feeling more satisfied, not binge eating, and finding much more pleasure in my workouts. The ultimate moment of truth came last week though. I decided to not weigh myself for the entire month of March, which terrified me. I have this irrational fear that if I’m not dieting and monitoring myself, I’m going to balloon up and gain a ton of weight. I was feeling nervous, I mean I had been eating EVERYTHING I wanted for a whole month. I took a deep breath and stepped on the scale. And it hadn’t changed even an ounce. I weighed exactly the same, and I had enjoyed my life so much more in that month. That’s when I knew this was for me.

What was the hardest part? Learning to trust myself again. I have accepted responsibility for being overweight throughout my life. So I thought I was flawed. There was something about me that wasn’t programmed correctly. When left to my own devices, I would get fat again. The hardest part about this journey was to stop fighting myself. I told Jamie during one of our calls that I had a really hard time realizing what “hungry” felt like, because I only ever allowed myself to eat when I was “ravenous”. She pointed on that this is common in chronic dieters. I had this perception that I only deserved to eat a certain amount, at certain times, and only when I was absolutely starving. Throughout this month, I have worked really hard to trust my body to tell me when it needs fuel and what it is craving. Totally wild.

What am I focusing on now? I want to continue to honor my hungry, feel my fullness, and throw out my food rules. I am also working on challenging the external food police. The past weekend I was at a restaurant and ordered a salad and an entree. Our waiter made a completely harmless comment like “Are you sure you want all of that?” (apparently my entree was comically large… half of it is currently sitting in my refrigerator). In the past, such a comment would have sent me into a tailspin. But now that I’m challenging the “food police,” I simply laughed and told him I was sure I could handle it.

I am also working on the issue of body acceptance. That’s going to be a big one for me, because deep down I wish I looked fundamentally different than I do. But I never will. I will always have the same basic shape / frame and it’s due time I got “good” with that. Every day, I stand in front of the mirror and make myself say something positive about my body. When I’m exercising in front of a mirror, I do the same thing. I force myself to say positive things like “You look so strong”. It might seem very narcissistic, but don’t worry I only say it in my head 🙂 Jamie and I discussed this issue on our last call and I know I have the power to change how I view myself. It’s all mental!

Questions for you guys:

  • How do you express “body acceptance”?
  • What lifestyle works for you? We’re all different after all!

Spring 2013 To Do List

Creating a seasonal to do list has become on of my favorite things. [You can see my Summer 2012, Fall 2012, and Winter 2012/2013 lists] This is going to be a SUPER busy Spring (as evidenced by the fact that I am not posting my Spring To Do list until April 1st… whoops!) so I wanted to streamline my list this season.

  1. Try two new fitness workouts – I still haven’t tried barre and I have my eye on a couple places in my travels.
  2. Set a new 10K and 5K PR – This is the spring of speed! I’m running a 5K this Friday night and I’ve got a good feeling 🙂
  3. Hike Sugarloaf Mountain – I loved hiking Bull Run Mountain last summer and Great Falls this winter. Want to keep it up!
  4. Travel to Boston – One of my best friends moved up to Boston at the beginning of last summer and I haven’t made it there to visit her yet (SHAME). I am committed to making it happen this Spring.
  5. Cook seafood at home twice – I wrote a post after the FIRST time I cooked fish as home. Haven’t done it much since then (except here I think). Want to try my hand at some new and more creative recipes with seafood.
  6. Do 35 unbroken full push ups – I have totally caught the strength training bug and I’m loving the results I’m seeing already! Between working with my trainer and on my own, I think 35 full unbroken push ups is well within my grasp.
  7. Try two new yoga studiosYou’ve all been following along on my journey to find the perfect yoga studio (Reviews here and here so far) I want to give two more studios a try this Spring. I’m thinking Tranquil Space and one other.
  8. Buy my wedding dress – I’ve not been great about keeping you guys updated on wedding stuff so far (if I was a smarter blogger I would because my page views go WAY up when I write about wedding stuff). I’m having a really hard time settling on exactly what KIND of dress I want to wear at the wedding, and I hate being so indecisive. 
  9. Plan more fun adventures with MikeMike and I were on a really good streak for a while of planning monthly “date nights” (some examples here, here, and here), but we’ve fallen off the wagon a little bit. I want to be more intentional this spring about planning special outings together (just the two of us!)
  10. Read 5 books – I’ve been on a big reading kick recently (Some examples of book reviews here, here, and here). I’ve always been a big reader / book lover, but my reading definitely ebbs and flows at times. I want to keep up my current enthusiasm by reading 5 new books this spring (I just finished Crossed by Allie Condie and I’m halfway through Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Trebole and Elyse Resch!)

And this post needs a picture… so here’s some glamour shots of Fig and Little Mac at the vet (not happy kitties)

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The Spring of Speed

My identity as a runner is not rooted in speed. I have been perfectly happy as a solid middle of the pack runner and get my kicks from distance not time. However, last spring I noticed that I was getting a little bit speedier from not really trying at all. I think I was just getting better at running and training for the marathon, so I was naturally get a little faster. Mike is a speed lover. He loves to push himself to meet new time goals and do track workouts. He pointed out that if I was getting faster without trying, maybe I was more capable of speed if I actually did put some effort towards it. Since my distance game has been off recently (you can read mournful posts here and here), I have officially decided to deem this… THE SPRING OF SPEED!

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Some commonly accepted ways to improve speed are:

  • Run consistently – this means both during the week (3 – 6 days of running) and throughout the year (don’t “stop running” or get completely out of shape)
  • Include speed and hill workouts – Speed workouts are typically slightly shorter and more intense effort than mid-distance or long runs. Some examples of good speed workouts here, here, and here. Hills can mean just including more hills in your running routes or doing specific hill workouts. Some examples of hill workouts here and here.
  • Strengthen your legs and core – I don’t think this requires a lot of explanation. Read more here and here.
  • Do more plyometrics / sprints – I love plyometrics (I’ve talked about this before) and “jump” training is definitely associated with improved speed. Same with sprints! Read more here and here.

 Here’s what I’m doing to get faster:

  • Four runs per week. Monday is short, hard speed work. Wednesday is slightly longer, moderately hard effort. Friday is easy. Saturday is long run. 
  • Lady Ripped. I’m hoping that in my quest to get lady ripped and heal my knee injury, I’ll also get faster! I’ve been doing 100 x more strength training in the last month than I have like… ever. Hopefully I’m on the right track.
  • Boot Camp style workouts. I’ve been attending a bunch of different classes and incorporating boot camp style circuits with plyo into my solo workouts.
  • Actually racing 10Ks and 5Ks. Right now I’m signed up for one 10K and a couple 5Ks this spring. I normally never sign up for these distances and focus more on distance. I really want to improve at these shorter distances so I’ve gotta race them!
  • Hills. I incorporate hills into pretty much all of my outdoor runs (I don’t live in a particularly flat area) but I’ve never done a proper hill workout. I want to give one a try sometime and see how I do.

Questions for you guys:

  • What kinds of fitness goals are you working towards this spring?
  • Have you ever worked on improving your speed? How did you do it?