For a very, very brief period I thought my interest in health and fitness could translate into blogging about food and workouts. Ha. Ha-ha-ha. No.
I realized quite quickly I don’t want to create my own workouts or recipes…? Lucky for me, and you, that corner of the blogging market is extremely saturated. There are tons of ab rocking ladies who will show (and sell) you their workout plans, and lots of others who are incredible in the kitchen and spend hours recipe testing.
I literally just ate three slices of deli turkey and a third of a cauliflower head dipped in guac for dinner. Last night was a whole cooked beet, a nectarine, more cauliflower with guac (stop shaking your head and try it), and more deli meat. I’d describe my eating style as “bizarre grazer”, especially when the husband isn’t around. When it comes to recipe creation, I don’t think whatever-I-literally-don’t-have-to-cook-and-can-eat-basically-raw qualifies…
So yeahhh, that dream was short lived.
Yet, I still feel passionate about how working out relieves my stress and makes me feel strong and happy. Despite my food intake sometimes being odd, I loved how I’ve reached a point where I eat what makes my body genuinely feel good. Sometimes that’s liquor and a donut. But more often, it’s greens and lean protein and fruit.
I also am interested in mental health because wow are these conversations so neglected. I find it so rare to read personal testimonies or blog posts about feelings of inadequacy and anxiousness and stress, and how to relieve these things. How to cope and maybe even sometimes, overcome.
I came to terms with the fact that it was never recipes and workouts I wanted to write about. It’s wellness. It’s my perception of personal wellness. And yours, too.
The World Health Organization describes it as,
““…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
The National Wellness Institute says there are six dimensions of wellness, which you can read in full here. Other sources argue there are seven, eight, and even nine dimensions to personal wellness.
I look at wellness from a more basic perspective. I believe it’s simply taking a mind, body, and soul approach to your health, and considering them all equally important. That last part is key.
To me, wellness is about finding the balance. It’s avoiding placing excessive value on any one part of your health. Only focusing on social fulfillment, or only focusing on school/work, or only focusing on eating healthy/working out, etc.
For example: Abs are cool, but I personally have discovered the effort for me to get them, is not worth the sacrifice. I don’t want to say no to every social event and even my own husband when he asks to treat me to dinner just to eat boiled chicken and broccoli for every meal to achieve abs. I prefer balance…
I view wellness as an on-going journey to achieve a state of healthiness in all aspects of your life.
If I’m not writing about travel or marriage on this space of mine (and let me just quickly add I don’t have infinite finances to constantly travel or a husband who wants me to divulge every detail of our relationship so I occasionally need new material) I want to write about wellness.
Not 10 leg exercises you can do in your living room. Not a recipe for broiled chicken avocado super squash sunflower saffron salad. Not a how to guide on the thigh gap.
I want to share how I’ve struggled with anxiety throughout most of my life and how I’ve coped with it. I want to write about how training for a half marathon was one of the most challenging, but empowering things I’ve ever done. I want to talk about how I try to live with a 80/20 mentality on healthy eating, and how I’ve moved away from a damaging cycle of counting calories and rule ridden eating.
I would love for future blog posts on wellness to be more of an open forum, too. Share your stories if you can relate. Give me your thoughts if you don’t agree. I would guess the definition of health and wellness is a bit different for each and every one of us…
The oh so real post-vacation blues hit heavy today.
I spent the holiday weekend in Austin, Texas with my two closest friends here in Washington. It was a fantastic, fun-filled three days. Coming back to work, working-out, and starting the Whole30 was a bit of a blow. Amplified even more so because my husband has officially deployed**. It’s been a stressful couple of months planning for this and now that it’s here (and by here – I’m here and he’s not) it makes the post-vacation low, even lower.
This is my first time dealing with a deployment, so unfortunately I have no advice or insight of my own. I have advice and insight from others, some of which has helped and some of which has not. The comment “you knew this day would come/you knew what you signed up for” has been particularly UNHELPFUL. If you know any service member significant others in your life, please resist saying that. Literally nothing can prepare you for the extended absence of someone you love so dear.
But alas, my blog is not about to turn into a journal of my deepest feelings. I have other outlets for those. Kind words are always appreciated, and once it’s a little less raw/emotional I hope to talk about it in a more constructive way!
Today’s post is about my first official day of the Whole30, which was pretty ambitious considering I got home from the airport at 10pm last night. I grocery shopped at 7am before working from home for the day and meal prepping between meetings and work. It has gone rather well for day one, all things considered. I spent the weekend in Austin letting myself enjoy BBQ, Tacos, Brisket Benedict (OMG), wine, and a bit too much hard liquor, so I naturally wanted to eat healthier today.
I bought the Whole30 book over the holidays and read it on my flight home just before the New Year. If you’re considering the Whole30 – Read. The. Book. One of the most crucial, stressed steps is you have to stick with this for THIRTY days. They outline really important reasons why you shouldn’t cheat, or why you should even start over if in fact you do. I wanted to kick this off on Jan 1, but after reading the book and understanding the purpose, I knew I had to wait until after my Austin trip. I was not about to do Whole 30 in the land of barbecue and biscuits.
Blogging about this on DAY ONE is to keep myself accountable. If everyone knows I intend to stick with it, maybe they’ll save the invite for happy hour or skip offering me a doughnut at work. Seriously guys – help me, I’m weak.
I am a huge advocate of meal prepping, even when I’m not on a diet or health kick because of how little time I have during the week. Commuting 2.5 hours a day puts a damper on daily home cooked meals. I’d highly advise meal prepping for the Whole30 to prevent cheating. This works for any healthy eating efforts. If you always have your prepped food ready to eat – you won’t grab something you’ll regret. Today, I made:
The main goal of the Whole30 is to change how you think about food, and a byproduct of the program could be weight loss. Again – read the book. This isn’t a diet or a lose weight fast plan. It’s about eating whole foods while cutting out certain harmful food groups for 30 days and to see how your body reacts/feels. I’m curious to see if I’ll have some of these sugar withdrawals everyone talks about, or if I’ll start crying every time I see cheese. God, I love cheese.
Observations after day one:
I plan to have a half way update and end update, so stay tuned!
My mom and like 2 other people keep telling me to blog about all the places I travel so I am going to TRY and get an Austin post up by the weekend. We’ll see how cranky no alcohol and the inauguration makes me 🙂 🙂 🙂
Hope everyone else’s resolutions are off to a swimming start!
I fell off the healthy living horse.
I fell hard and I have been avoiding getting back on again. It has been a chaotic few months prepping for the move, actually moving, and then getting settled back in with a new house and job. Those are all excuses, I know. I am sure plenty of people keeping working out and eating right through all these trials, but I was not one of those people.
When I have anxiety I go through waves of not eating and then eating too much. At 19, those waves left me too skinny. At 23, those waves are leaving me too soft.
Damn my cocky little college aged self who believed I had avoided the Freshman 15. The real life 15 has hit me with a vengeance. Bulking last summer from Crossfit and then having to quit due to injuries also didn’t help. I was left with too much muscle that wasn’t being worked on or worked off consistently, and then with a poor diet this summer it’s been a train wreck.
But I’m not posting an update because I’m STILL keeping unhealthy habits. I’m posting because when I got back home from a trip to Minnesota last week I decided enough was enough.
Healthy eating and consistent fitness are back in my life. And so are Food & Fitness Fridays!
“This Is Why I Can’t Lose Weight”
This saying started as a joke with a coworker at my last job and ended up teaching me the first steps to take to lose weight.
The two of us would eat SUPER healthy at work. Salads for lunch. Fruits and veggies for snacks. Then at nights and during the weekends? We’d eat like shit. Wine. Beer. Pizza. Ice cream. Fast food. Big dinners at nice restaurants. We’d always take pics of our food or gush to each other about what we ate and come to the conclusion – Yep, this is why.
So when I decided that I was sick of this slowly creeping weight and what I saw in the mirror, I started with the “This Is Why” culprits.
And here’s just a little bit of proof that I’m serious about this!
Baked salmon & broccoli for multiple lunches this past week + no-sugar whole wheat banana and farmer’s market blueberry muffins for a light snack (about 175 calories each)
Baked egg & avocado topped with pepper & parmesan for breakfast!
I am so serious about getting my body back on track both internally and externally. I feel so vulnerable sharing posts like this with the world, but I truly believe it helps me stay on track. It is so easy to become unhealthy in the culture of consumption we live in. Sometimes just a little inspiration and encouragement is all we need.
“The key to making healthy decisions is to respect your future self. Honor him or her. Treat him or her like you would treat a friend or a loved one.”
― A.J. Jacobs,
Running has been my jam lately.
These Alaskan winters keep me so cooped up when the sun starts to shine consistently and the snow melts off the trails, I am itching to get outside…
Not just for sunbathing! Although that was glorious this evening. Can you believe this photo was taken at 8 pm? Alaska, ladies and gentlemen.
Itching for the outdoors has translated to miles and miles of running and I am loving it.
My pace average might not be improving immensely, but I am feeling stronger and more at-ease each and every run.
But one of my favorite parts of running – outside of the endorphins, killer workout, and health benefits – is the music.
Every good run needs an even better playlist. Here’s my ultimate compilation of songs to motivate and keep the pace while getting your next run or jog on.
I want to note this is not my preferred taste in music. I’m more of a Weepies, Postal Service, Hozier, Lumineers kind of girl….but none of those artists make me want to get outside and kick ass working out.
Hope this list can inspire you to get outside during this sweet summer!
It’s not quite fitness or food related but it still has to do with my image so I’m reaching a bit this morning. Bear with me.
This week has been a week of confidence boosters in all the best ways, but especially in my career. I received a well-earned promotion at work that I feel has blossomed into all aspects of my life.
I was reminded by my boss and by my self while tackling my new work load that I can handle this. I am driven. I am passionate. I am intelligent. I am confident in who I am. I got this.
Call me vain. Ask me if my head will fit through the door. It’s fine.
I remember the me from college who had nothing in common with any of the girls in my major and struggled to feel as if I would “fit” in this field. I remember feeling uncertain if I’d ever find success in marketing/advertising/PR because I didn’t network enough or suck up to people or fit the “mold”. I remember trying too hard to be friends with people who lived in a different, entitled world. I remember their faces when they discovered I was engaged. I remember being one of three people who stood on the one side of the classroom because we were the sole students interested in doing communications in government or the non-profit sector, while everyone else boldly claimed they wanted to do lifestyle PR or become publicists or event plan for corporations.
I remember that unsure girl lacking confidence, and I much prefer the me I am now. Confident or vain, if someone feels they’re synonymous, I’ll take both.
You should too.
Rock it. Flaunt it. Own it. Don’t let the uncertainty that once weighed you down, or the question of whether you fit in deter you from chasing your dreams.
My husband and I (Still married and killing it in my career. Shout out to everyone who gave me those pitiful, judging looks.) decided to celebrate the promotion, our soon-to-be new duty station, and the warm weather with a night on the town.
I have never felt more confident in who I am or the direction I want to keep heading from here. Hint: That direction is UP.
Today I’ll leave you with two pieces of wisdom since they’re both so relevant:
“I don’t fit into any stereotypes. And I like myself that way.”
― C. JoyBell C.
“So you’re a little weird? Work it! A little different? OWN it! Better to be a nerd than one of the herd!”
― Mandy Hale
The first two months of 2015 have seriously been a blur.
Between a car wreck (I am okay!), a trip home to Minnesota, some cold weather issues with our rental duplex, the absence of my husband for five weeks, and a cold streak that almost drove me to insanity…
Let’s just say I’m glad it’s March on Sunday!
Working out and eating healthy was fairly sporadic for me in January, but February has been significantly better. I’m hoping warmer weather, less snow/ice, and the amazing news we received last week will continue to motivate me through March.
After some confusion about what to do regarding fitness, I have somewhat of a routine down that is maintaining my current weight and keeping me in shape. I’m not right where I want to be, but I’m content for now.
I am hoping to do a few 5K’s and a 10K before we leave Alaska, so this is running oriented. This schedule is straight forward and can be done by anyone with a simple gym membership (Planet Fitness, Gold’s Gym, etc.).
Cardio: 3x Runs + 1x alternative cardio day / Week
1 run for distance
Currently averaging 4 to 5 miles currently, working my way up to 6, 7, and 8 mile runs by this summer.
1 run for time
Currently a 5K as fast I can run it. 26:40 is my time to beat.
1 interval run
At least 3 miles doing various interval runs. Example: Run 1 minute at 7:30 pace, then walk 45 seconds at 15 min pace.
1 cardio day using stair machine, elliptical, or stationary bike
I prefer the literal stair machine with the moving stairs you have to climb. Do that for 20 minutes or 100 floors. You will be covered in sweat.
Strength: 3x / Week –
In combination with any of the above cardio days. Leg day consists of squats, deadlifts, abductor/adductor machines, leg press, etc.
In combination with any of the above cardio days. Arm day consists of dumbbell workouts, bench press, dips, holds, push ups, etc.
Nike Training App Day
I can not say enough good things about this app. It’s easy. It shows you how to do every movement and you can pick workouts to target body areas. I do either one 30 minute workout, or two 15 minute workouts focusing on certain areas of the body. This app is GREAT for days I can’t (or won’t) get to the gym.
Yoga: 2x / Week –
I pair yoga with Nike Training App days and active rest days to give me a little more movement and flexibility on days I’m not going to the gym! Yoga by Adriene is my favorite YouTube resource for yoga practices.
Active Rest Day
Skiing/Hiking/Excessive Yard Work or Walking
I try to workout 5 times a week. Occasionally I hit six days, but more often than not I sub a gym day for an active workout day. I rather go hiking or skiing with my husband than hit the gym anyway, so I’m more likely to take these days when he’s home!
Once a week I tend to do nothing. And by nothing, I mean nothing. It’s usually the day I’m the most sore or in the worst mood.
The most important thing I have learned from creating my own workout schedule again and not going to classes with other people is NOT to schedule each workout on specific days. I never say to myself “Mondays are long run days” and “Tuesdays are leg days”. I used to get so disappointed if I didn’t achieve the workout I had planned – so I approach it differently now.
I think about everything I need to do that weeks: 4 cardio days with at least 3 runs, 3 strength sessions, 2 yoga practices, 1 active rest day. Then I cross it off as I go. I let my body decide what it’s ready and willing to do each day from that list. Sometimes I get my least favorite things out of the way first, and sometimes I save them for the end to torture myself.
I know this isn’t a conventional workout plan if you’re running a race in the near future or preparing for some weightlifting competition, but I’m not currently focusing on one goal. I am just trying to stay in shape and enjoy fitness. I will force myself to work harder closer to that 10K and when we leave for Washington, but for now, just maintaining is good enough for me.
It’s the 2nd, so if you’re like me your New Year’s Resolutions are already dutifully typed or written out awaiting completion (or failure) in the year ahead.
And if you’re not like me, your list is blank. Actually you don’t even have a list. Resolutions are pointless. You’re tempted to stop reading.
Either way – hear me out!
I used to make resolutions along the lines of “lose 10 lbs” and “avoid all sugar”. I’d lose maybe 4 lbs that year and definitely eat way too much sugar feeling discouraged when the
year month drew to a close. For health and fitness resolutions last year, I wrote down just one:
“Join Crossfit and try it out for at least 6 months”.
It was simple. Straight forward. Reasonable. And I made it happen. Pick a resolution that’s attainable. Making a resolution to join a fitness class near you that you’ve been too hesitant to follow through with is a great resolution. Fitness classes are a commitment; a monthly fee that you feel guilty about paying without attending. Committing to run a 10K or Half Marathon or even a 5K is another reasonable resolution. You decide, you commit, you pay for the race, and you have to do it.
Want a food resolution that isn’t “no sugar”, “eat healthy”, “eat out less”? Commit to eating out no more than twice a week. Once you hit two meals out, all other meals have to be homemade. Or commit to learn one new recipe a month. Or commit to only putting one junk food item in your grocery cart every week. Just one you have to savor all week long.
Stop telling yourself to “lose weight”, “work out”, and “eat healthy”.
This year, write down:
1. Join those barre fitness classes I keep walking by every day
2. Eat out no more than 3x / week
My own health resolutions for 2015 are:
1. Run at least 10 miles every week (cumulative)
2. Practice self control when eating socially. Pick healthy options when out with my husband or at a get together with friends. Low-cal alcohol, salads, vegetable apps, etc.
The first one is a personal challenge I know I can accomplish with a little motivation. The second resolution is incredibly difficult for me. I am awesome at eating healthy when alone or at work. It’s when I’m surrounded by loved ones I seem to indulge in cookies, pastas, sugary alcohol, and the like. When I’m in those situations in 2015, I want to at least have healthier food in front of me to absentmindedly eat.
The second resolution will seriously be put to the test on my first vacation of 2015. When in Minnesota, I intend to order salads on salads on salads. Except for breakfast.
If I’m at a brunch or doughnut shop I don’t intend to mess around…
Creating specific, defined health & fitness resolutions makes it more likely we’ll follow through with them for the whole year instead of just the first two weeks. Make reasonable resolutions this year. Resolutions you can feel good about accomplishing when 2016 rolls around.
“We are what we repeatedly do.”
I quit Crossfit almost a month ago.
I love Crossfit. I am going to say that openly and honestly for anyone reading this with smug satisfaction. For all the people I’ve met who love Crossfit, I’ve met the same number of people who make it their mission to berate and criticize it. Don’t go into reading this with the perception that I’m about to tear Crossfit apart. I love this sport.
But I can’t do it anymore.
The full definition from Crossfit, Inc. can be found here, but I prefer How Stuff Works‘ summary:
“CrossFit is a program developed to offer a full-body workout that combines elements of cardio, weight lifting, gymnastics, core training and more to prepare the body for the unexpected.”
My own definition of Crossfit would be: An amazingly good workout led by experienced coaches in a positive environment using your body instead of machines to become strong and fit.
I had an upper back/rhomboid injury about 18 months ago. It was a severe muscle spasm while doing a Jillian Michael’s workout video (long before I ever stepped foot in a Crossfit gym). The muscle was sore for a few weeks after the initial incident but I was mostly running, so it didn’t act up too much.
I moved to Alaska shortly after the incident and continued cardio with some rudimentary resistance training on machines for exercise. Occasionally my back ached but never more than an evening and ice or heat would have it feeling normal by the next morning. But after 6 boring months at Planet Fitness, I joined Crossfit.
The fallout began when that same muscle I’d injured in May 2013 began to have flare ups that became worse and worse and the worst (last month) when I had to say enough is enough.
I can’t Crossfit because: My upper back/rhomboid pain flares up with overhead and twisting movements. Thrusters, snatches, overhead squats, russian twists with kettle bells, etc. would make my back ache and ache and ache. Thrusters were the worst and I could pin point any day I did thrusters, I would spend the next couple nights on the floor of our living room with a foam roller and a heating pad.
I have a pretty low pain tolerance (my best friend who got a tattoo with me is nodding her head in agreement) so Crossfit was just no longer worth the days of pain, doc appointments, deep tissue massages, heating pads, ice packs, and uncomfortable aching at work.
I had to be done.
Considering I’m still pretty heartbroken about having to quit I like to think I have a pretty unbiased point of view when it comes to Crossfit. Looking back on the 10 months in this sport, here’s my take.
– Amazing workout
– One-on-one advice/training/help
– Fun, upbeat, positive environment – it’s impossible to not get pumped up when you’re lifting heavy and feeling like a rockstar after busting out a pull up or deadlift or enough burpees that you’re lying on the floor in daze
– Knowledge of how to safely and correctly do MANY different workout movements. From squats to pull ups to kettlebell swings to rope climbs. I know what to do and what not do thanks to the coaches and Crossfit
– Group setting gives a competitive edge at least for someone like me who occasionally will run an extra mile on a treadmill just to outrun the person next to me….
– FOR ME, it agitated an old injury (please note this is not the case for many people)
– I had no interest in Olympic weightlifting or competing
– The cost. Crossfit is expensive whether you’re in Kansas, California, or Alaska. I’m now saving $120/month.
– Time constraint. I had to be at the class at a specific time each and every day. I would leave work in a hurried rush trying to make it to a class that started 15 minutes later.
I would recommend Crossfit to anyone and everyone, especially Crossfit Fairbanks. Great coaches, great program, and a lot of fun. If you have an old injury, don’t be deterred until you give it a try. My back would rather have me running or biking or doing pretty much anything that doesn’t involve heavy weight above my head. But that is just me.
I wanted to write this post after I’d been done for awhile, just to make sure I wasn’t shooting myself in the foot by quitting and the pain was from my posture at work or how I sleep
My last Crossfit class was November 14th. In just under a month, I’ve had only two evenings of minor back pain. Both I can attribute to specific movements I did at the gym. That’s the least amount pain my back has been in since last spring…
I have lost about 4 pounds since quitting which is a lot more disheartening than it is positive. I’m losing all muscle and from places I wish I wasn’t. I’m having to pull up my jeans. Again. UGH.
I’m on a pretty wonky workout schedule right now, and I’d love a little guidance. Shout out to all my fit bloggers – WHAT NOW?
We PCS (permanent change of duty station to all you non-military folk) in the late summer, so I don’t want to become too invested in another big workout cult until our next duty station. I am SO down to try boxing, more intense yoga, or barre fitness wherever we end up next. But until we move, I’d like to save money and stick to the two on-post gyms and the great outdoors when is isn’t negative 30!
Anyone have a good online resource for a workout schedule?
Although I’m seriously bummed about having to say good-bye to Crossfit (it honestly felt like a break up when I sent the e-mail), I’m excited for the fitness opportunities up next. I never intended to go crazy competing with Crossfit, so maybe there’s a much better fitness cult for me right around the corner…
“Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because your health is worth more than learning.”
How does one avoid sugar? How?
I crave sugar constantly. I would exaggerate and say it’s a drug, but no exaggeration is necessary. Sugar is literally a drug.
I’ve tried the quit sugar cold turkey method. I’ve tried the allow it in small doses method. I’ve tried eating it whenever I crave it (all the time?!) method. Nothing seems to be able to change my relationship with sugar, and I’m at a loss.
If anyone has some fool proof methods to make me view sugar as disgusting and not worthy of my obsession, please do tell. Please.
My ass will thank you.
In the mean time, here are a few tricks that have kept me from gaining 100 lbs from my love affair with cookies, cakes, ice cream, chocolate, and more. I’m no expert with a Victoria’s Secret bod, but I’ve stayed relatively fit despite this problematic habit of mine.
1. Avoid. Don’t buy sugary treats. Don’t keep them in the house or at work or in your car. Don’t walk by them in the break room. Avoid the break room entirely if needed. Don’t stop anywhere with an ice cream store next to it. Avoid. Avoid. Avoid. The sugar can’t harm you if you don’t have access to the goods.
2. When unable to avoid, Distract. When my husband is shoving an entire pint of ice cream into his mouth at once – I have to distract myself from grabbing a spoon and joining in. Drinking water. Chewing gum. Mindlessly chewing on peas or carrots or any other easy grab vegetable with low calories and low regrets. Anything to DISTRACT.
3. Remember. I know promoting self love and body positivity are really important, but when one of our clients – A BAKERY – brings in bags of yesterday’s cookies for the office to eat I have to get real and remember why I’m doing this. Looking at photos of my Crossfit inspirations or other fitness gurus I admire helps remind me WHY I’m saying no. I’ll quickly glance on Instagram at Revie Jane’s latest ab-tastic post or even a celeb swimsuit pic. It’s brutal, I know. But it’s a great reminder.
4. Control. When all else fails – practice the one trait I’m hypocritical preaching about because it’s my weakest. Self control. Eat ONE cookie. ONE piece of cake. ONE cupcake. 200 or 300 calories won’t kill me or anybody else. Heck it may even fit into my macros. The whole I’ll-stop-after-one is usually where I fail miserably.
If you thought I was joking, I’m devouring a cup of cinnamon sugar pumpkin seeds at the moment. I’m justifying this snack because helllooooo pumpkin. Super food. I’ll ignore the butter and sugar it was doused in before baking…
If you’re looking for the perfect way to eat those health packed pumpkin seeds, here’s the recipe!
Also, I am excitedly typing this post on my brand spankin’ new computer. The keyboard works, the charger works, and everything loads in a timely manner so it’s better than any other computer I’ve had in the last three years.
Hope your weekend is filled with as little or as much sugar as your little heart desires!
“Unless life also hands you sugar and water, your lemonade is going to suck.”