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Archive for March, 2011

Priorities

I’m working on a few new posts to share with you very soon, but today I just can’t get my head in the game to wrap anything up. My thoughts have another priority.

Last Monday, my 20 year old cousin Kayla had a nosebleed that lasted 6 hours. She felt fine for a while after it stopped, but soon began the excrutiating headaches. On Thursday she decided she couldn’t take it anymore and went to the doctor. They did a cat scan and discovered a mass. An MRI would later reveal a tennis ball-sized tumor filling almost her entire right sinus cavity. 

After a biopsy on Sunday, she was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, already stage 4. Right now the doctors, Kayla and her family are trying to decide the best method of treatment; whether they should operate immediately to remove the tumor or begin chemo and radiation to shrink it before performing the surgery.

So, if you have a second today…and tomorrow…and the next day, please send up a prayer to whatever God you believe in for Kayla, her family & her doctors. And hug your loved ones. Very, very tightly.

Eff cancer.

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*cue the Hallelujah Chorus*

I have fallen in love with strength training. Yes, that does warrant the post title. It’s a near miracle.

I’ve been dabbling with weights for most of the winter. The colder months are my husband’s slower time at work which means we’re able to go to the gym together more often. He’d printed off a few workouts to take try. I was beyond bored with bouncing back and forth between my treadmill and elliptical workouts so I agreed to give his workouts a try. He encouraged me to use something heavier than the 5lb. weights I tended to pick up whenever I did something non-cardio. I was surprised by how quickly I started to notice results, not only in the way I looked, but also in how I felt. I was also surprised by how much more I enjoyed strength training when it was challenging!

Then came this book:

I was hooked from the very first page and read it cover to cover in about 2 days. The author is funny, but it’s clear that he’s very serious and passionate about what he’s saying. A lot of the information goes completely against the things women are either taught or assume about lifting. At first, I was afraid this guy was going to end up being a complete nut job and I would regret reading the book. However, the more I read the more his research, logic and phlosophies seemed to be in line with my goals. The information was enlightening and very, very empowering.
I’m only 3 workouts in to the workout plan so I can’t speak to the whole, but so far I’m LOVING it. The instructions for each exercise are well-written and easy to follow. The workouts I’ve done so far have been challenging without being overwhelming. I feel like I’m making the most of my time in the gym without having to spend hours and hours there. And, when I leave, I feel pretty darn tough. 😉

I will admit, I was a bit skeptical about the protein shake thing. The author suggests that you MUST drink one after every workout for various reasons. He then names his favorite brands…and discloses that he and some of his co-authors write articles for these brands’ websites. My knee-jerk reaction was to discount the information as marketing hype that would result in the authors’ financial gain. However, after my first three workouts, my body had begun to form a different opinion. I’m going to start trying post-workout shakes this week and I’ll share my thoughts later.

I know this book has been controversial and that there will be loads of people out there who disagree with the author and with my love for the reading material. For me, it’s been a fantastic resource and I’m looking forward to continuing with the workout plan. Strength training can be daunting. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about it and/or anyone who says: “I’m interested. Now what?”

In case you didn’t know, I have a mild obsession with flash mobs. Being part of one is tops on my bucket list. I found this one when I googled the spelling for “hallelujah” (don’t hate) and had to share because it’s particularly awesome.

Have you read NROL4W? What are your thoughts?

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I didn’t do it on purpose, but layers were a common theme in yesterday’s eats.

When I was cleaning out pantry the other day, I found an upopened box of oatmeal I forgot I’d purchased. I go in spells with oatmeal. I’ll eat it almost every day for breakfast, get burnt out, take a break from it for a while, then rediscover my love for its wholesome goodness. The last few months have been one of those vacations from oatmeal, but finding it made me go “Mmmmmm.”

I didn’t just want a boring bowl of oats with toppings. My solution? Oatmeal parfait!

It’s really just layers of blackberries, vanilla Oikos, and oatmeal with a peanut butter stir-in. Eating it this way made it feel almost more like dessert than breakfast. Food should be fun, right?

There really is coffee in the mug. It was not layered. It was just coffee. And it was delicious.

 

Lunch was a little something I like to call a garbage salad. Basically, I just scour my fridge for leftovers and make a salad out of them. It cuts down on the food waste and the creations tend to be pretty delicious. Plus, it’s fun to be creative! I feel like a mad scientist.

This one turned out to be a hybrid of buffalo chicken salad and taco salad.

~2 handfulls mixed greens
~3 oz. Italian dressing marinated chicken breast (leftover from meal swap), tossed in buffalo wing sauce
~chopped tomato & sliced green onions (leftover from Sunday’s supper salad bar)
~shredded mozzarella cheese
~3 Tbsp. reduced-fat sour cream, mixed with powdered ranch dressing mix

Very, very yum.

Dinner was not made in layers because there was no dinner. Monday nights are fasting nights for my husband and I. This is NOT weight loss related. It’s something we’re doing once a week as part of our Bible study. I’ve started to enjoy the weekly experience and am beginning to truly connect with the meaning behind the practice.

How do you make your food fun?

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Last weekend, I did my very first trail run, the Muddy Leprechaun 4-miler. It. was. AWESOME! I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. It was a touch on the cold side and a bit windy, but I’ll take that over rain or heat any day.

The day was special for another reason. It was my husband’s first race! He’s not a runner and didn’t do any training beforehand to train, but I told him I’d go at his pace and I was fine with walking, as long as we were doing it together. We jogged a little at the beginning, but then mostly walked the rest of the first 2-mile loop. It was so nice to get outside and be active, all with the one I love!

At the checkpoint, W peeled off and I was on my own. A lot of the walkers were only doing one lap so I was a ways back from the last of the runners. The devil on my shoulder was saying “Just stop now. You’re going to be last and you don’t want to make everyone wait for you.” Thankfully, the angel on my other shoulder must be a runner because she was screaming “C’mon! You know you want to really run that trail!”

So I did.

1/4 of a mile or so was on the bike path, into the wind. The turnoff to the actual trail was at the treeline waaaay off in the distance. See it? Kind of? It felt like it took an eternity to get there.

A right turn, a gravel path that ran along the tree line and then into the woods!

 

I thought it would get harder once I was on the dirt, but it actually felt a lot easier. I’m pretty sure that had a lot to do with being protected from the wind. I did have to watch my footing. There were lots and lots of tree roots and some spots were really muddy.

I loved the sound my feet made when I was running across the bridges.

Coming out of the woods, the trail went back to a mix of sand and gravel. Sort of. With all the rain we’d had the week prior to the race, it felt more like wet cement. Still, the sky was beautiful and the natural surroundings were pretty amazing.

After the stretch in the last picture, it was down a hill, around a corner and just a quick jaunt to the finish line. Guess who ran into a FENCE instead of into the finishing chute? That’d be me! It was a wire fence that only came up about waist high. They had flags tied to it that looked exactly like the flags tied on either side of the finishing chute and spaced about the same. I knew to run between the flags. Obviously I just misjudged which ones. By the time I realized what it was, I’d already run smack into it. Not my most shining race moment. Embarassed doesn’t even begin to cover it. Also not the greatest picture of me ever taken, but I just ran 4 miles in cold and pretty vicious winds. I’m allowed to be a bit scary looking. Oh, and you know you love the stylish Garmin-on-the-outside-of-my-shirt look, don’t you? Sometimes you do what you gotta do…and sometimes it’s just not pretty. 🙂

Overall, I loved trail running. Pounding it out in the mud and through the woods made me feel tough. There was something so freeing about it.

And the swag was pretty sweet…shamrock socks and a pilsner glass!

I had no idea what to expect as far as time went since this was my first trail run. I finished my second 2-mile lap in 24:07 with split times of 11:22 and 12:45. Not bad considering I usually pace between 11:00 and 11:30 on flat, paved courses. And I stopped quickly a few times to take the pictures. All for the love of blogging, I’m willing to sacrifice a little off my time. 😉 

Have you done any trail running? If so, what do you think? If not, is it something you’d like to try?

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My hiatus has been semi-intentional. Truth be told, my support system IRL has sort of collapsed. I’ve gone pretty internal when it comes to all things related to my eating right and exercise. And, in response to the Dr. Philesque question, “How’s that working for you?” It’s not. At all. I’m coming out of my self-imposed shell and coming back to the blog for support I’ve come to know and love. And the support I need now more than ever.

I wrote out a really long, rambly post with the details of my support system collapse, but I’m too nervous to post in fear of who might be reading.

Long story short, there’s someone in my life who was instrumental to getting me started on my healthy living journey and helping me along the way. This person has gone from being extremely supportive to being super competitive. “Anything you can do, I can do better.” 

It hurts to hear someone who was once your biggest cheerleader now pointing out your trouble zones and all the things you’re doing wrong…and not in a loving , intended-to-help kind of way. I don’t even know if this person realizes that they’re doing it, but I have to learn to let it be their problem. It seems to be stemming from a combination of Type-A personality (which I can totally relate to), an extreme case of perfectionism (also something I struggle with) and jealousy. It’s not that I’m running around bragging and boasting, but it’s impossible to hide when a visible, physical change is the payoff for what you’re doing. I’m sorry, but I won’t apologize for putting in the hard work and having others notice and compliment me on the results.

Another blow came when, out of the blue, someone who goes to the gym with me very regularly told me they don’t like to work out with me. They told me I rush through the workout, it makes them flustered and then they quit before they’re finished with the workout. Coming from someone so close to me, this made me feel pretty down in the dumps. I will admit that I don’t mess around when I’m at the gym, but I had no idea that it was impacting someone else’s workout. I don’t want to stop working out with someone who means so much to me, especially someone who would rather not go to the gym at all than to go alone. Fortunately, I’m close enough with this person to have addressed the issue. After some thought, I told this person that we should continue to go to the gym together, but maybe try doing different workouts. They didn’t like the idea at first, but we’re going to give it a try and see how it goes.

Hopefully my abbreviated version of this makes some sense to you. Writing this has actually made me super excited about getting back to the blog and sharing my healthy livingness with all of you!

Do you ever find it challenging to balance support with competitiveness? How do you deal with this?

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