Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fit Tip Tuesday #2: Schedule Your Workouts

As anyone who has been following along for a while knows, I'm on the final weeks of Bikini Body Mommy. It's a 90 day challenge of workouts, which typically amount to 3 days of cardio, 3 days of strength training. As I have about two weeks left, I'm starting to wonder what I'll do once Bikini Body Mommy Ends. How will I keep going? I'm also taking a Zumba class, and there's about a month of a break between this class ending and the next one starting.

Something that I've learned is that I do much better when I have a plan for what I'm going to do for a workout. I'm much more likely to get something in when I say "I'm going to take the dogs on the trail on Saturday," rather than "I'm going to fit in cardio sometime this weekend."

With my challenge and class ending, I need to start finding workouts to plan out ahead of time. I'll be writing them into my planner so that I have a reference to go off of. I think this is a perfect time to pull out my workouts from when I was signed up for personal training, and maybe do some of those. If I have a plan written down, then I know how long it's going to take, and I know how to fit it into my day. There's no putting off my workout to the very last minute, then getting bummed when it's midnight and I haven't worked out.

So make it a plan to work out! Figure out your own schedule and stick to it, or join a challenge! Find what works for you.

Have an idea for what I should try next? Comment and let me know!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Skinny Caesar Salad

So if you read my blog at all, you know that I love getting yummy and healthy food ideas off of others' blogs. Well The Healthy Collective (who is also hosting the Squat Challenge that I'm currently rocking) posted a Skinny Caesar Salad Dressing a few months ago, which I happened to stumble upon recently. Hubby and I have a love for caesar salad (anyone remember me gushing about my $16 salmon caesar salad??). 

So this Skinny Caesar Salad Dressing was SUPER easy!

1/2 cup Skim Milk
1/3 cup Light Mayo
Juice of 1 lemon
1 pressed clove of Garlic (optional)
A few dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
And of course Grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)

I skipped the parm (added it to the top of my salad afterwards), cut down on the lemon juice because hubby is NOT a fan, and rather than a pressed clove of garlic, I just poured in some of the liquid from my jar of minced garlic.

I combined all of the ingredients in a large bowl and used a whisk to mix it to a smooth consistency. At first I thought it was going to be super runny, but it actually thickened up really well as I mixed. I added a ton of lettuce (I had a salad blend in the fridge, but I guess romaine would be the ideal choice), and tossed the salad to evenly coat the leaves with dressing.

Hubby in the meantime had cooked up some shrimp with some cajun powder, so I split the salad into two large bowls, added shrimp on top, and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. 

Hubby thought it wasn't caesar-y enough for him, but I thought it was excellent (obviously, since I'm posting it here). Next time I'd add more of the lemon juice (as the recipe calls for) and use more salad than I did (I was worried about adding too much for the bit of dressing I had, but there was actually plenty to coat, and some left in the bottom of the bowl).

I put it into my fitbit this morning, and no surprise that it was a healthy dinner. Food amounts listed below are for 1/2 recipe, since hubby and I split it.

I think next time I have a craving for a caesar salad, I will DEFINITELY be making my own. I usually have all of this in my kitchen (except lemons, which I need to start buying regularly).

So there's a yummy, healthy, easy recipe for a quick weeknight dinner (could you ask for any more than that?). Try it out and let me know what you think. Caesar-y enough for you, or no?

Have a happy Friday! 

Side note -- Anyone ever head out to pick up lunch with something in particular in mind, only to come back with something completely different? I got lunch at Panera Bread today, planning on some broccoli soup and a salad. Came back with french onion soup and a Mediterranean veggie sandwich. I blame it on the fact that I was craving a healthy loaded salad, and I figured anything that came in a you-pick-two would be disappointing. Of course I am not at all saying Panera's salad choices are sub par, just that I don't think the half-salads compare at all to getting a full one.

Disclaimer: I do not own that caesar salad photo. I just suck at remembering to take photos before devouring awesome meals. This photo belongs to howstuffworks.com at http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/who-invented-caesar-salad.htm

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

W.I.A.W #1 and National Nutrition Month

Dare I try another weekly blog post link-up? I think I dare...

Welcome to W.I.A.W. or What I Ate Wednesday. Ideally, I'll be taking pictures of what I eat and sharing a day in the life of making healthy choices and taking baby steps every Wednesday.

As I totally forgot to take pictures of my food yesterday, I'm tying into National Nutrition Month for my first WIAW and doing a general Make Healthy Choices post.

For National Nutrition Month, EatRight.org is encouraging bloggers to write about what "Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right" means to us.

I think some of the most important things I've been learning as I've been focusing on being healthy are that not only can healthy food be incredibly delicious, but also how much better I feel when I hydrate and eat right!

It's also really easy to make a healthy and nutritious meal that TASTES GOOD! You don't have to sacrifice health, taste, or time.

In the vibe of eating better and enjoying healthy food that tastes good, here are my examples for WIAW:

First of all, here's an example of a typical lunch that I bring to work. On the bottom there I have a salad. I have a new love for salad with balsamic vinegar thanks to my New York trip a few weeks ago. This particular salad was a lettuce blend, a bit of bacon, some parmesan cheese, and of course Lavender Balsamic. Simple, healthy (minus the bacon but whatevs), and delicious. I also eat a greek yogurt almost every day mixed in with granola (you can't really see it in the plastic baggie behind the banana), and raspberries. Some days, like this one, the yogurt serves as a mid morning snack, and others it's my lunch. I buy chocolate flavored protein granola, again focusing on health AND taste. Behind the yogurt is a protein shake. Honestly, I'm sick of stocking up on these at Sam's Club, but I tend to rely on them to get me through Zumba. I need to find a way to make one at home that will last all day in my lunch bag. Finally on top is an apple and a banana. I try to bring at least one fruit with me each day.
Sometimes I add candied pecans, pistachios, or flavored almonds to round out the meal.

Of course behind the food in the pic is my water for the work day. I carry about 3 liters of water to work each day, and I've even written times on the bottles to make sure I'm drinking it throughout the day. On Zumba days I bring another 24oz bottle to leave in the car and add to my water consumption.

Healthy dinners can be super easy. I've gotten into a habit lately of doing some kind of seafood on salad with another veggie on the side for dinner (tonight, for example, is flounder with salad and asparagus). This pic is from last week when I was using up the last of the groceries we brought home from the market in NY. I cooked some sausage in red sauce, julienned a few zucchinis to saute, and added in some cooked broccoli rabe. It made a fabulous pasta replacement (though hubby did not agree. He took the meal sans zucchini and added his own protein pasta to the mix). 

And of course it's important to always be mindful of health when eating out. AE and I went on a mommy/daughter lunch date after her flu shot booster. We went to Cafe Rio (my new fave), where I got a pork salad (if you've never been to a Cafe Rio, you HAVE to go and try the barbacoa pork!) without dressing. I only ate enough to get all of the fresh lettuce off of it, and then had it two more times for leftover lunches by heating it up and adding more lettuce. Yum.

Another lesson I've been working on for myself is that not everything has to be full of sugar to be satisfying. If you ever went to Starbucks with me in high school or college, you probably heard me say that I liked the idea of coffee, but really preferred "flavored coffee beverages," aka frappuccinos, macchiatos, etc. Well surprise surprise, I don't drink that anymore. Now it's plain black coffee, decaf if I'm not feeling the caffeine, with two splendas, please and thank you. (I know splenda is now coming under fire as not being healthy, but I follow the mantra of everything in moderation, so I feel fine about continuing to have my two splendas in my coffee).

So readers, the big things I'm teaching myself and trying to pass on are to make healthy choices, take baby steps, and never beat yourself up for not doing your best. This morning I gave in to laziness and ordered a sausage, egg, and cheese asiago bagel with my coffee. After plugging it into my fitbit log, I totally regretted those 650 or so calories, but all I can do is trudge on and continue to make the best choices for the moment. It's not realistic to say I will never eat at McDonalds again, or I will always at well, or I will totally cut out soda. It's more about making the best choice in the moment and moving on.

My take on "Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right," is that eating right does not have to be boring. Healthy food does not have to be bland! You can add tons of yummy seasonings and healthify favorite meals by swapping out a few ingredients. I'll be the first to admit that hubby and I occasionally have pasta carbonara for dinner still, but we swap regular pasta for protein pasta, and we strictly make it the Italian way: eggs, bacon, parm, and pasta. We also focus more on portion sizes and don't split a massive pot two ways. Everything is ok in moderation as long as you continue making healthy choices along the way.

Hope you enjoyed my first WIAW as well as my National Nutrition Month blog post. Next week I'll try to have a real WIAW post with a day in the life of food choices. :-)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fit Tip Tuesday #1: Do What You LOVE!

Fit Tip Tuesday Button

Like I said in my previous post, I'm starting to link up with Fit Tip Tuesday!

Today's tip: DO WHAT YOU LOVE!

While I am going to swing this obviously toward fitness, it is actually a tip that applies to ANYTHING you do in life. You will never be happy with what steps you take and what activities you choose to participate in if you do not love them.

For instance, I LOVE Zumba. I have adored it ever since my first Zumba class. Right now I'm taking a 2 day a week Zumba class, and plan to up it to 3 days a week this Spring/Summer. Also, the more I work on Strength Training, the more I fall in love with it too. 

A few weeks ago, I posted on here that I was going to do "Run This Year" and start tracking my running to accumulate to a goal over the year. Problem: I hate running. So anyone who knows me probably read that post and went "yea right, no way is she doing this." As you may or may not have predicted, I totally forgot all about that goal until now, and am gracefully giving it up.

On that same thought, it is OKAY to give up something that you don't love. If you try something new and you just aren't into it, even though you really thought you would be, that's OK! The most important thing is to find what works for YOU! We are all different, and that's why there are always a ton of ways to do anything. Fitness is SO important, and it's something you will be striving for the rest of your life. Do you want to rope yourself into something you hate or make it fun?

It doesn't just apply to working out. It applies to everything. Eat what you like, do what you like, have fun with what you do. 

As for me: I'm going to keep up with my Zumba and my weights, pick up FUN races occasionally, and continue to make healthy choices that don't bring me down. You'll never stick to anything you hate.

Now go, be healthy, and make choices that you love! Go check out The Skinny On Health and all of my other fellow bloggers who are joining in on Fit Tip Tuesday!

Update, New Changes, Squat Challenge!

Oh it makes me so sad to see that I haven't posted since February.
I feel bad that I haven't had time to post, but on the other hand it feels good to NEVER open my laptop at home (except the other day when hubby and I had bills to pay). I need to find a balance where I can write regularly. Hopefully that balance will come soon. In the meantime, sporadic updates it is, and maybe my newest projects will help me post regularly.

Remember a few weeks ago when I posted about Run This Year? Yea, well it's mid-March and I think I'm just going to chalk that up for an epic fail. That's the thing when trying something new: you try out a million things and find a handful that work for you. Run This Year: Yea, not it.
So on to my new projects:

Fit Tip Tuesday Button

First up, I'm going to start linking up with The Skinny on Health for Fit Tip Tuesday. Stay tuned: Fit Tip Tuesday post to follow this massive catch up. ;-)

Second project: I'm starting a Squat Challenge with The Healthy Collective. It's a 30 day challenge that starts TODAY! My wonderful little sister is joining me, and anyone else who wants to tag along, please do so. 

Today is day 1, so 50 squats. No biggie. Totally not looking forward to the latter half of these 30 days though. Good thing I <3 Squats.

I'm reworking my schedule some and trying to figure out how to build time for blogging, because I love catching up on here and using my own blog to keep myself motivated (and I'm like 350ish blog posts behind on Bloglovin', so I need to find time to catch up there too). I started double-booking things and forgetting about things I had scheduled, so I finally bought myself a paper planner. I haven't had one of these since before AE! Maybe I can figure out a fun way to at least find time to blog once a week, if not more.

And final thoughts: Thinking about totally pulling back or ridding myself of Facebook. Anyone done that before? Thoughts? I think I need to take some time in the coming week or so and take a good look at my settings. Maybe I can figure out how to cut back and make myself happy without losing good contacts along the way...

Start Small Pic: http://olivelifestyle.com/14-healthy-choices/
Fit Tip Tuesday: http://www.theskinnyonhealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Fit-Tip-Tuesday-Button.jpg
Squat Challenge: http://thehealthycollective.com/squat-challenge-2-march-11/

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Getting Back on Track

Ok so I had a fabulous weekend visiting family in New York. It was a fabulous weekend full of visiting, chatting, and of course eating lots of New York bagels. We went out to eat a few times, and I tried to make generally healthy choices (well, except for pigging out at the pizzeria on our last afternoon there, but again, who passes up New York pizza? A crazy person, that's who). I had some fabulous orange roughy with a tomato/breadcrumb topping, and discovered a new (unsurprising) love for broccoli rabe. I also have a newly discovered love for balsamic vinegar on my salads (yum).

With all of the visiting and everything, I totally did not work out. I did my Friday morning workout, skipped Saturday cardio and Monday strength training. I did go to Zumba last night (because: Zumba), and then because I am totally EXHAUSTED from the busy weekend (and the INSANE traffic both ways), I totally slept through both my alarm and my fussing baby until 6am. What does that mean? No morning work out. Boo.

So in between mixed workouts, making it through the last of my New York bagels (one left on the counter which will likely be breakfast tomorrow) and yummy expensive candies (finished those up today), and being generally exhausted, it's time to get myself back on track. It's convenient that my last post was about making a habit. I'm in the midst of a "Fight Thru," and have to work hard at it. Hubby and I discussed  my missed workout this morning, and agreed that it's a priority for me to get it done tonight. I'm going to make up Monday's workout on Saturday morning, and hit the weekend cardio at some point. I'm at day 51, dammit, I  will finish this challenge!

Tonight's dinner plan: find a healthy recipe for the 2 lbs of cod that we bought fresh at a market in NY, along with some pre-cooked broccoli rabe from the same market, and probably a salad with chipotle ranch for the hubby and lavender balsamic with evoo for myself. (Points if you know what evoo stands for!)

I'm trying to find some interesting 5Ks to sign up for as well. I have my sights set on one in July, but I'd like a couple along the way too. I also need to start thinking about what to pick up when BBM ends in a little over a month.

And the last note for today: I am officially in love with candied pecans. I've been starting to look at recipes, but if you know of any good ones, please share.

Image credits: http://avrilcarpenter.com/looking-for-inspiration-to-exercise-then-read-this-immediately and http://sayingimages.com/motivational-fitness-quotes-pictures/

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

BBM 45 Day Update and Making a Habit

BBM Update

So I am 45 days into Bikini Body Mommy, which puts me officially at the half way point. I did my weigh in this morning and I have lost 7 lbs (I was one pound lower on Sunday, so maybe I've really lost close to 8 considering fluctuations?). I'll do my half way pics tonight and I can't wait to see the differences.

I feel a little bit different in how my clothes fit. My work pants are tight as always, but maybe a little bit less? It's my jeans, however, where I feel a difference. I know I'm not ready for a smaller size yet, but I felt like I was pulling my jeans up all weekend. How is that for motivation to keep going? Also, I noticed my watch is super loose. I think it fit fairly well when I got it in December, but yesterday I actually went so far as to take a link off of it, because it was slipping around my wrist (it's a bracelet/watch, so it's supposed to be a little loose). It still slides back and forth pretty well, so I think even without a link it's still a little bit looser than it was when I bought it.

Other than clothing, we also had the Fit Test again today, which was the workout we did on Day 1 and Day 15. Today I did it with no modifications, which felt amazing. The only counts that weren't higher from the last two times were the ones where I removed mods, which is to be expected. Also, I feel better in Zumba, and I feel like I'm actually making it through really well. She pulled out the original song set from January last night and I felt like I was really able to make it through... until the second to last song, haha, but I pulled through in the end. :-)

I'm still doing fairly well with my eating. I am realizing that I am probably not eating enough, so I need to find healthy ways to up my calorie intake. It's a nice problem to have, though. I'm choosing healthy options when going out, and even able to "splurge" at a restaurant and still maintain my goals! Hubby and I went out last weekend for Valentines Day, and I figured I'd overdo it on the calories. We went out to Brewer's Alley in Frederick, which is one of my favorite restaurants. We shared some oysters on the half shell for an appetizer, which was super yummy (and healthy) as always, and then for the actual meal, I really wanted salmon, but didn't feel like having any of the sides that came with it. Instead, I ordered a caesar salad and had a salmon fillet on top, and it was like the best salad ever. We even split a brownie sundae for dessert, plus I had 2 glasses of wine, and I still was in a good range for calories when I got around to updating FitBit!

Making a Habit

When I got to day 30, a close friend of mine told me that it takes 21 days to make a habit, so I was already in really good shape to maintain the workout routine. Hearing that got my curious, because I still felt like I could fall off the wagon at any time. I did some research, and came across several articles.

There was a study done in the UK in 2009 that says that it takes on average SIXTY-SIX days to make a habit stick. That could be something as simple as eating fruit every day, walking for 15 minutes, etc. The blog post that referenced the article, The Happiness Project, posted on Psychology Today, states that there's variation in that number. Some people form a habit in more time or less time.

I also found a post on Forbes from last April that goes further into the "developing a habit" concept. This post breaks it down into 3 steps, The Honeymoon, The Fight Thru, and Second Nature. The author says that at first, the habit is easy. The Honeymoon phase is where you may take on too much and you feel like there's no problem in creating this new habit. The Fight Thru is the next step, where you start to experience set backs and lack of motivation. This is the important time to remember why you are making the change and keep overcoming the obstacles. The Fight Thru may continue to happen over and over. The author states that you will likely hit 2-3 fight thru phases before going on to the third phase, and you may even go back to phase 2 from phase 3, and have to get through it again before going back to maintenance. The third phase, Second Nature, is where the habit has really taken shape. It's easy to maintain it because it's what you always do. You'll hit setbacks, go back through a few Fight Thru's, and make it back to maintaining it.

The research snob in me loves verifying the claims that turn into fact from being passed from one person to another. This "21 day habit" is probably one that messes lots of people up, because they expect it to be easy after 3 weeks, and when it's not, it's probably disappointing. I know with myself, that I have to constantly push myself, or I will completely fall off the wagon. Last week, for example, we had a big snow storm. Zumba was cancelled on Thursday, and I had injured my calf earlier in the week. I decided to take the day off and not do cardio at home. Friday I did my BBM workout, and then Saturday I lost motivation again for cardio. After taking two days off last week, it was totally tempting to not do Monday's workout. It can happen at any time in the process to hit an obstacle and be ready to call it quits. What makes the difference is when you tell yourself that is NOT okay, and keep going. Don't take minor setbacks as the end of the road, just find a way to push through!

Anyone else working to change a habit? Share! Comment! :-)

Image Quote - http://ourhealthylifestylejourney.wordpress.com/tag/weight-loss-quotes/

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Run This Year

So on one of the blogs I follow, Fitness, Health, and Happiness, there was a reference to "Run This Year 2014." The concept is that you run 2014 miles in 2014. Am I going to do that? Hell no.
However, there is an option to add your own challenge. As I'm trying to get myself into running, I decided I would log 100 miles in 2014. Notice, I said "log" and not "run." I'm going to let myself run/walk like I have been, because I don't want to set a goal that's too lofty starting out. I want to motivate myself to keep going and following along, and I want to keep these healthy habits.

Run This Year 2014 is free to join, and you just go to their page to keep logging miles. They will send out periodic mileage reports as well as have some giveaways and such during the year. I think with the custom challenge, anyone and everyone should join and at least try to do something. I'll be your accountability partner! Keep following along on here, and I'll make a point to post the "Run This Year" banner and link to the blog every time I log miles. As of right now, I'm only logging what I have in my RunKeeper app, which is 3.92 miles. If you decide to sign up, please comment and let me know! Follow along with me and we'll keep each other updated on our miles. Even if you decide to just do a half mile a week, it's great to step out of your comfort zone and set a goal!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The New Me

Does anyone else have this perfect image of themselves that they always hold onto? In my perfect world, I'd be totally fit (working on it), and I'd be a pseudo-hippie (I love the idea of eating clean, buying organic, and making my own stuff, but still enjoy using modern conveniences). I'd be totally active and outdoorsy, and I'd absolutely be a runner. I'd be babywearing (check) and cloth diapering (check), and I'd make AE's food (um, about that...).

I've always felt like this vision of myself was unattainable. There's no way this full time therapist could be a "crunchy" mom and also be active and healthy and all organic. After a month of focusing on health, however, I'm starting to feel like I can be the girl in my vision. I took a look at myself yesterday as I was running errands, and started to see the beginnings of my perfect world falling together. I'm still a long way off, and it'll take hard work, sacrifice, and probably some compromising from my plan, but the baby steps have started.

So here's my look at myself and my day:

A day in the life -- Monday 2/10

So Mondays are my day off. I work 10 hour days Tuesday through Friday, and get to stay home with AE on Monday. Being my day off, it varies. I could spend the day at home cleaning or, on days like yesterday, spend most of the day running errands.

I always start Mondays off with my Bikini Body Mommy workout. I always aim to get up before AE to do my workout, but being my day off, it's hard to motivate myself to get out of bed. Yesterday, AE hung out in her little car toy on the floor while mommy did her workout. Yesterday was "Love your legs and booty," and my legs are still feeling it today.

We then do breakfast. AE has a fruit/oatmeal combo and some formula, and mommy usually opts for a protein shake. Then time for AE's morning nap (my shower time).

After nap, we had lunch (leftover wings for me and formula/fruit for AE), and started getting ready to head out the door.

First step was to Martin's for some more coconut oil for cloth diapering.

Then I stopped to buy a used (new with tags!) hiking backpack from a local mom. Brand new $300 Kelty Kids pack for $100! Awesome deal! Now we just have to use it!

Got coffee (black, two splendas) on the way to the Board of Ed for fingerprinting and a badge. Did I mention I'm officially a school therapist on Thursdays? I work at a middle school through a grant that my agency got through the end of the school year.

Went into Shepherdstown, WV for some shopping. I LOVE Up On the Hill, and was trying to get my hands on a new wooden Spock teether for AE (dogs got a hold of the last one), among other things. I was deeply disappointed to find that they are no longer shipping to retail stores (boo!), but got a Beetles-esque submarine teether instead, a handmade toy that looks like one of the characters from Little Big Planet, some new cloth wipes, and some all natural balm for AE's dry legs.

While in Shepherdstown, I decided to check out some of the stores down there that I always drive by, and have never dropped in on. I went to Two Rivers Treads, which I didn't realize at the time is focused on minimalist footwear, and got fitted for some shoes. Now to decide if I want to go the minimalist route and actually buy some, or if I want to get some traditional shoes.

I also stopped at a neat little juicing shop (hence the green juice pic), and got a "Green Lemonade," which was kale, apples, and lemons. Yum! Not bad for a first green juice.

Final stop was to the outlets to get some cold weather running gear (let's not have a repeat of Sunday, shall we?). Got some neat cold gear at the Under Armor outlet. Also dropped into the Vitamin World outlet and chatted some with the girls in there about our area's sore lack of any kind of natural food store.

Home for a nap with AE before hubby got home and we got into our night time routine.

Anyone else notice a trend with my day? I was pretty pleased to see that I am starting to become the person that I've always wanted to be. I'm making healthy choices, choosing natural products, and staying pretty active lately.
Next steps? Looking into making my own cloth wipe solution and considering an invite to join a ballet class... Basically: focusing on being healthy and loving life.

Have you made any healthy changes lately? Tell me about them!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Trudging Through the Hard Days

So.. yesterday was rough. Even though Sunday is the Bikini Body Mommy rest day, I tend to have super busy Saturdays, so I usually rest on Saturday and make Sunday my cardio day.

During the week, I have my Zumba class on Tuesdays and Thursdays for my cardio, but on the weekends, I usually try to do a walk/run around the neighborhood (or on the trails if it's nice) with one of the dogs. We have two labradors. Miles is almost 5 and around 90lbs, and Molly is almost 2 and around 60lbs. I usually choose to run with Miles because he is a much better running partner, but then Molly usually flips out when he's gone. I usually go running during one of AE's naps, so if Molly is flipping out, she wakes the baby.

Yesterday we had plans in the afternoon, so I decided to run in the morning. I chose to take Molly with me for the first time, because AE was napping and I knew Miles wouldn't flip out on his own and wake her up. I didn't really think about the fact that it was 26 degrees and I don't have legit running gear, and I just put on some sweat pants, a thermal long sleeved shirt, and my sneakers and went out the door. Let me add that I have also NEVER been a runner, and actually even got myself excused from the 15 minute mile in gym class and did mine in more like 20-25 minutes.

So back to yesterday. I grabbed Molly and out the door we went. First issue: Molly is a PUPPY and I forget that. It was almost like every time I really got into it, she would see something interesting and STOP dead. Second issue: she kept tripping over her leash, so as we got farther along, I had to hold my arm out so that the leash was held straighter and she had less of a chance to trip. Third issue (yes, there's more): I start getting sick about a half mile in. Let me remind you, I am NOT a runner. I have never run in the cold like that, and I thought I could just go out there and make it happen. Bad idea. I started getting nauseous and my chest started hurting, so I already had decided to cut it short and aim for about a mile total, rather than the 2 miles I usually go for. Fourth issue: on our way back, Molly slams into my leg, and I almost completely trip over her. Ugh. Needless to say, by the time I got home, I was totally over working out.

Got home, felt really sick. Water didn't help, hot shower didn't help. I was wheezy and felt like I couldn't breathe. Finally, after a while, I started feeling better. Why am I going into the drama of my bad workout day on here? To keep myself accountable and Keep Going! It sucked, yes. It does not mean I need to stop running (or attempting to run) outside. I think I've finally figured out my 30 day reward. I am going to go out to the outlets today and try to find a cold running outfit for future cardio days. I also apparently need to take Molly out more often and train her to not kill me when running.

BTW -- What is it with labradors and trying to run into you? Miles always runs right in front of me too. I have to be careful not to trip over him too.

And for anyone interested in my pathetic "Fastest Mile Ever!" here is a screenshot from my running app.

Today was strength again, and we had a KILLER leg workout. My legs are burning just sitting in bed typing this. Got to keep the motivation going! :-) Anyone reading along have cold weather running tips, please share!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Inches and Pounds

Ugh. Weighing in. Part of day 30 was the 30 day weight and pictures. While part of the BBM philosophy is not weighing often, I have been doing a weekly weigh in to keep myself on track. This week I found that I went up in weight, though I'm still down from my starting weight. I've lost all of 2 pounds. Totally disheartening to see the scale not budging, or even going up from last week. I didn't do measurements, so I can't tell you if I've lost any inches, but I did take before pictures. I compared my day 30 pictures to the before pictures and can MAYBE see some changes. Again, total downer.

Despite the disappointment in the pounds and inches, however, I feel better. I need to focus less on what I weigh and how my clothes fit, and more on how much better I feel day to day. I'm not dragging as much anymore. I love going to bed before 10 (before 9 if I can make it happen). I have more energy. I feel stronger!

I'm hoping that the pounds and inches will start to disappear soon. I also know that I put on all of this extra weight in a year or so, and have maintained it for almost 5 years. It'll take some time for it to go. No one loses 50 lbs in a month.

I also have to remember that as a woman, our bodies fluctuate. It's hard to start seeing consistent changes when things like water weight come into play. Being up this week may have nothing to do with progress. It may be that I was retaining water this week, and next week I'll drop again.

Bottom line, it's not about being skinny, though that would be nice. It's about being healthy. It's about stopping the binges, reducing the sweets. It's about choosing water instead of soda, almonds instead of chips. And it's about being active, and a positive, healthy role model to AE and to anyone else who needs the inspiration.

Thank you to my few readers (and maybe to more as this blog takes shape) for the support and encouragement as I go along. Keeping a positive mindset is one of the best things we can do when trying to make a change. Change doesn't happen overnight. We need the motivation to keep going until we start to really see changes! Love you all.

Photo from: http://theberry.com/2012/02/28/need-a-little-motivation-31-photos-2/workout-motivation-1/

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Getting Past the Hurdle of Hating Working Out

I hate being active. There, I said it. I hate working out, running, getting my butt off the couch.

When I finally start being active, I love it... for a second. A couple minutes in, I feel like I'm gonna die. At that point, I can either stop, and just totally give up for the day, or I can drink some water and push through.

After completing a workout I didn't want to do, I usually feel awesome. So for me, the challenge lies in A) Getting up and moving, and B) Sticking with it to the end. It's hard to get going, knowing I hate it so much. Particularly when my alarm is going off at 5:15 in the morning and I just want to roll over for another hour of sleep.

The last couple of weeks, I've had to try much harder to get my butt out of bed and do my workouts. Last week, I hated my BBM workout, so it was twice as hard. It's time to get back into it! Yesterday's workout was challenging, but fun. Today, I took advantage of the fact that Zumba is tonight and stayed in bed 'til the very last second. I am incredibly sore today, and in reality, I would have definitely benefited from getting out of bed when my alarm went off and doing some YouTube Yoga.

So today, I need to refresh my drive, get some motivation. I'm going to start a pinterest board of motivation pictures I can look at when I'm starting to fall off the wagon. I'll do what I need to in order to keep that spark going. Hopefully tomorrow I'll drag myself out of bed in time to work out, make breakfast, and get to work.

On that note, I am THIRTY days into Bikini Body Mommy. Am I drinking the Kool Aid? No. Am I totally happy with the program I'm doing? No. Am I going to do BBM again? Maybe, maybe not.

But I'm working out! I'm getting back into it! I cannot wait to finish BBM and figure out my next plan of action. I plan to treat myself to a Bosu when I finish, and I think I'll pick up some of the workouts from when I did physical training, and try to incorporate those on my strength days. I'm LOVING doing Zumba, and am hoping to be able to continue that with the Rec Dept.

I'm also eating better! When I have a snack attack, I reach for an apple or some nuts. I'm still a sucker for sweets, and totally ate way too much on Superbowl Sunday, but it's just one weekend. I can bounce back. Moderation is key.

I'm so proud of the changes I'm starting to see and the person I'm forcing myself to become. I can't believe I am one third of the way done with BBM, when I was sure I'd be quitting it just like everything else I've tried. Follow along as I find the new, healthier me.

Motivation image: http://www.thefitnessfashionista.com/in-a-workout-slump-heres-a-little-motivation

Friday, January 31, 2014

Making Healthy Choices

I'm posting from my phone for the first time, so this will likely be short and sweet. I'm not posting as often as I'd like, but hopefully life will calm down some soon and I'll find more time to write about life.

I'm out at a training all day, and as usual I brought my straw cup with me (3 cups of water) to keep chugging the water throughout the day. I also stopped for my coffee fix on the way (the training was about 40 minutes away so I wanted something for the ride) and packed an apple for layer. Unfortunately, early into the trip I realized I skipped breakfast (uh oh!) and the apple became breakfast. When I got to the training I made sure to fill up on the fruit, but decided to treat myself to a bagel and cream cheese (panera breakfast, yum! Asiago cheese counts as protein, right?). As 10:30 rolled around, I didn't have my packed snack to rely on, or the nuts I wanted to bring from the office, so I went for a half bagel (baddd).

This training is AWESOME. It's being presented by the Upside Down foundation which is an incredible group focusing on brain development and how that impacts childhood and adolescence. The first half was on how child abuse affects the brain and the afternoon is on suicide and brain development.

Aaanddd lunch... so panera catered again (double yum!). I loaded up my plate with fruit, salad, and a pickle spear, then grabbed a bacon turkey bravo and chips. I sat down, looked at my plate, and decided I needed something better. I got up and swapped my sandwich for a Mediterranean veggie. Sat back down, and decided that wasn't enough. Swapped the chips for an apple. And then, I did something I CONSTANTLY struggle with: I didn't finish my food! I ate the fruit, salad, and pickle, and decided I was full. Not full, satisfied. The sandwich and apple are saved for that 2pm slump, when I'll need a healthy boost, and can avoid the siren call of the cookies.

I am DETERMINED to make a change in my life. I'm noticing changes in my cravings (hello, almonds), and it's getting easier to say no to sweets (I've had a dove bar in my desk at work for over a month). I'm hoping the scale and mirror will reflect this soon, but I just keep reminding myself that it's not about the weight, it's about being happy, healthy, and active for AE.

Moral of the day: it's ok to give in and make a "bad" choice when striving to be healthy (bagels...), as long as you don't let it ruin your day. And the brain is incredible!

...so much for short and sweet...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Being as Productive as We Can and ZUMBA!

Accept you’ll never get everything done: You haven’t “done everything” until you’re dead. So instead of freaking out about the fact that there will always be more to do, decide which activities really fall within the “Critical must-do” category and let go of the rest. If the activities in the second “Would be nice to do” category get done, great. If not, it probably doesn’t matter very much.
Quote taken from an awesome blog: Run to the Finish

If you know me well, then you know that I obsess over getting everything done. If I have someone coming over to our house, I focus like crazy on cleaning, and really stress over whether I'll finish. I get upset when I plan to get X, Y, and Z done for the day, and I don't even make it that far because AE had a bad day, I'm not feeling up to it, or something just got in the way. The husband has been amazing at helping me off my ledge when things don't go the way I plan, and I'm not as productive as I'd like. I was going through my bloglovin' feed (did I mention I love bloglovin'?) this morning and came across the above quote on another blogger's post this morning. It really resonated with me. I need to keep this in mind in everything I do. I cannot continue to overload myself and then blame myself for not getting to everything. I need to accept that my house will never be pristine, I will never cross everything off the To Do list, and that's ok. As long as AE grows up happy and healthy, hubby and I continue to make healthy choices, and Love and Family are what come first in our house, we'll get to the rest eventually.

In other news, I talked a close friend (and recent relocation to Western Maryland, YAY) into joining Zumba with me. I had been looking into joining a gym, and complained that I really just wanted to do Zumba, and if I could just pay to take those classes, I'd be happy. Well, a coworker suggested I look into the Recreation Department in our county and see if they offer anything. Lo and behold, Zumba started the following week! This is now week 2 of Zumba, and after getting snowed out on Tuesday (Boo!), I am super stoked to go tonight after work. I LOVE Zumba! If you haven't tried it yet, you really need to. It's an incredible workout and it's SO Fun!

So to end this ramble, have a wonderful day, weekend, week, month, year. Remember to focus on your priorities and let the rest go. And above all, live a happy, healthy life. <3

Thursday, January 16, 2014

SUPER Yummy One Pot Pasta

I have recently discovered bloglovin', which is a collection of blogs from around the net. There are blog of almost any topic you can think of. In the theme of my new healthy focus, I've started following a lot of blogs focused on fitness, health, and nutrition. One of the blogs I've been following is A Beautiful Mess, and I've been finding the neatest recipes on there.

Last night we had One Pot Pasta, which was adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe (thank you, Martha). It's SUPER easy, and incredibly delicious. I am not a fan of chives, so I added in extra oregano and cut out the chives. I also used Barilla Plus instead of regular pasta to throw in some more protein and fewer carbs. Basically you just throw everything in the pot, simmer and stir. When the pasta is al dente, you let it muddle a little in the pasta-water-turned-sauce, and serve with fresh basil and some feta. Hubs and I ate almost the whole thing! Later that night, I went to log the calories in my fitbit, and found that even though we both ate probably way too much, my part was only a total of 375 calories! Whoa! Totally making this again. It's perfect for a busy weeknight when you don't feel like cooking. I cooked this while loading bottles in the dishwasher, and it was off the burner before I turned the dishwasher on. You have GOT to make this! :-)

Try it? Love it? Comment and let me know! Thanks again to the girls over at A Beautiful Mess for posting this amazing recipe.

Know any other One Pot Pasta dishes? Please share! I'd love to have a handful of these to put in my weeknight dinner rotation.

Pasta Photo: http://abeautifulmess.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8358081ff69e2019b03eaecb7970d-800wi

Becoming a Morning Person

The last two weeks, I've been focusing on my health. It's my new thing and I'm totally focused on it. Luckily, hubby supports it and is right there with me. I've got extra weight to lose and he has health issues he wants to kick, so we're a super awesome team right now.

So anyway, I'm becoming a morning person and I LOVE it. In doing Bikini Body Mommy, I have daily workouts, and every other day is a strength day. On strength training days, I like to get up early, work out, and then make breakfast and get ready for work. I feel so accomplished when I get my workout done in the morning. Well, this week I started Zumba on cardio days with a close friend, and didn't have a reason to get up so early in the mornings.

Today, AE woke up at 5:15am (today is Zumba day), so I got up to tend to her. I decided that I'd stay up and do some YouTube Yoga, which totally made for a calm, relaxing morning. I set AE down on the rug in front of me, and she watched, played with some toys, and even laughed at me. Afterwards, I took her into the kitchen with me and made breakfast for myself and the hubs and gathered some breakfast for AE as well (apples, YUM).

It's so nice having the extra time to get up, get ready, and get out the door. I'm getting to work on time, even early, without extra effort, spending time with the dogs in the morning, and bonus: I have a healthy lunch and healthy snacks prepared each morning instead of running to Sheetz or Quiznos (the two fast food places in walking distance to work).

How do I do it? How do I manage getting up at 5am and running with it? I go to bed super early for one. The past couple of weeks, it seems like anything that needs to be done happens on the weekend. I don't run errands in the evening unless I have to. I don't spend HOURS watching tv anymore. I'm in bed between 9 and 10pm every night. Hubby loves it because he can do his P90X in peace while AE and I sleep.

I read a post on one of my new favorite blogs yesterday called "You're only one workout away from a good mood!" She talks about how great you feel after working out, and how it can really improve your day. Why save that for the end of the day? Working out in the morning brightens your day and puts you on a good note first thing, rather than waiting all day for that natural high. Plus, if you work out as soon as you get up, you can't talk yourself out of it later, because it's already done!

So follow along as I transform myself from a "get out of bed 20 minutes before I leave for work" person into a "work out, shower, and feed the baby, and still have time to get to work" person. I'm excited for this to become just another part of my normal routine. Are you dedicating yourself to the same transformation? Comment! Share what you do to motivate yourself in the morning!

Sunrise Photo: http://www.thecampuscompanion.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/beautiful_sunrise_on_green_meadow.jpg

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Challenge

I was catching up on Facebook a few days ago and saw that several of the ladies in my July 2013 moms group were signing up for the Bikini Body Mommy Challenge. I looked it up, and found that it's a free 90 day workout program designed for moms. It looked like something I could fit into my schedule, and I was excited to join other moms I know in this program. 

So Day 1 came, and I totally did not have the drive to do it. I had a busy day with a fussy baby and a sick husband. Instead of saying "yea, you're right, this is probably more than you can handle right now," though, my amazingly supportive husband asked me, "Are you going to regret this?" When I honestly thought about it, a quick workout was not that hard to do, and he was right, I probably would have regretted it. I did my Day 1 Fit Test at 10:00 at night, and of course had trouble sleeping. Now I'm focusing on getting up early enough to get my workout knocked out before work, so my evening is focused on cooking a healthy dinner, feeding AE her evening combo of formula and fruits/veggies, and getting prepped for the next day.

Those who know me well have heard this "I will get healthy and work out" mantra several times. What makes this time different? I'm not just doing this for myself. I'm not doing it so that people can see my transformation or so that I can buy smaller clothes. I'm doing this because I want my daughter to know me as a healthy, active mommy. I don't want her to remember me at 200+ lbs and a size 16/18. Hopefully when doing this for my daughter and keeping in mind that it's all for her, I will be able to stick with it this time. Kids are sponges and they are definitely affected when parents aren't healthy and when they have low self-esteem. I never want to hear AE call herself fat or go on a diet. I want her to have the skills early on to make healthy choices. I want to be active as a family, and spend family time outside, having fun.

For anyone interested, here's the Bikini Body Mommy schedule. And of course Briana from BBM's website.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 -- A Year of Health

I'm really into blogs lately. I've been wanting to start a new hobby, a way to chronicle all of my new beginnings, focus on my beautiful family, and keep track of all of the healthy changes I want to make. I don't want to plan out what exactly this blog will become, because I think that's been my downfall in the past. I plan to use this to write about what my current focus is. I want this to be a place where friends and family can catch up and follow along with my little family. I also want this to be a place where I can continue coming back and keeping up with some of my favorite websites, blogs, etc that I find along the way.

I've been telling everyone lately that I read a piece on Huffington Post about making a New Year's Theme instead of a resolution. I really grasped on to that idea, and want to incorporate it into my life. That's why 2014 is my year of health. I want to focus on making healthy choices for myself and for my family. I don't want a specific resolution that will fall apart in a month. I want to be able to refocus myself back to "Health" as many times as I need to and hopefully make some new habits along the way. Join me as I make some healthy habits, track the first year for my beautiful daughter (or the last half of it at least), and maybe pick up some new healthy choices for yourself as well.

Welcome to my new blog. If you're following along, share for yourself: what is your New Year's resolution or theme? What new healthy choices do you want to make as 2014 unfolds?