August Foodie Pen Pals Reveal

Good morning everyone! It’s the last day of August which means it is time for the Foodie Pen Pal Reveal!  This was my first time participating in the exchange and I had a blast picking out items for my pen pal and trying the goodies that Brooke from Not On A Diet sent me!

Brooke contacted me very quickly to inquire about my food preferences, potential allergies, and general likes/dislikes. Just a few weeks later, I came home to a box waiting on my porch. I squealed with glee when I figured out that it was my Foodie Pen Pal box! Let’s take a look at the great things Brooke sent me.

That’s 3 varieties of yummy oats. I enjoyed the cinnamon roll oats as a mid-afternoon snack, the muffin variety is my daughter’s new favorite, and even the hubs like Coach’s oats!

Brooke did a great job of balancing the healthy foods with some great snacks and treats! My box included a jar of PB2 which I have been adding to my smoothies, a breakfast cookie, raspberry licorice, and all natural fruit leather!

But my two favorite things from the exchange were the cinnamon sugar pita chips and the miracle noodles. I used the miracle noodles in place of regular pasta and it was a hit!  The cinnamon sugar pita chips were HEAVENLY and did not last long at my house.

Thanks Brooke for such a great box! 

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If you would like to join in on the fun, check out Lindsay’s blog “The Lean Green Bean” for all the details!

Leibster Award

The very funny (sometimes snarky) Stephanie of Live Like a Grrl nominated me for the Leibster Award on August 9th.  My apologies to Stephanie on taking so long to accept this award. But better late than never, right?

Here’s how the award works:

1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Then answer the questions the tagger sent for them, plus create 11 questions for the people they’ve tagged to answer.
3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
4. Notify the people you have tagged.
5. No tag backs.

Eleven Things About Me: 

  1. I would prefer to be barefoot 24/7. Alas, I am forced to wear shoes to work and to workout. But at home, I am barefoot.
  2. I love the smell of apple pie candles. In college, I had 30 of them in my apartment – and yes, I burned them at the same time.
  3. I taught myself how to make homemade biscuits at age 10.
  4. I have a small scar on my face from birth – I got stuck in the birth canal and the docs had to use forceps to pull me out.
  5. I own over 300 romance novels – and I don’t feel bad about that fact.
  6. My list of 300 romance novels is organized in an Excel spreadsheet.
  7. I enjoy cleaning – I actually get giddy when I can handscrub my floors.
  8. I have to close all the closet doors in the house before I can go to sleep at night. (I guess I think this will keep the monsters away?)
  9. My favorite color is yellow. 
  10. I love all sports! My daddy would tell me sports stories as bedtime stories.
  11. I have broken the same bone in my right foot – 5 times.

Questions from Stephanie:

  1. Sweet or salty? Both – I adore chocolate covered salted pretzels or chocolate covered nuts!
  2. Road bike or mountain bike? I live on a dirt road so a mountain bike is a necessity!
  3. Heels or flats? Umm…neither (see my desire to be barefoot 24/7)
  4. Comedy or tragedy? Comedy – I love to laugh!
  5. NPR or Rush? NPR
  6. Cake or pie? Cake
  7. PC or Mac? I am a PC gal!
  8. Beach or mountain?  Love the mountain air!
  9. Numbers or colors?  Colors!
  10. Winter or summer?  Winter!
  11. Wine or cocktails? Cocktails!

My questions to you:

1. What is the story behind your name (i.e. named after family, fictional character, etc?)

2.  Why did you start blogging?

3. What is your “guilty pleasure”?

4. What is your favorite color?

5. What is your dream job?

6. If you won a million dollars, what is the first thing you would do?

7. If you could meet anyone, past or present, who would it be?

8. If you house caught on fire, what one item would you take out with you?

9.  Do you have any scars?

10. Piercings or tattoos?

11. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

 

And I am tagging anyone who reads this….so feel free to play along in the comments!

Why Do You Run?

The other day I was having a Google chat conversation with a friend. As we talked about our latest 5K times, newest trainings plans, and upcoming race plans, he commented “I really don’t like running.”

I ruminated on this comment for hours. Why would someone spend hours upon hours doing an activity they didn’t even like?  Sure running can provide you with cardiovascular endurance, leaner legs, and a smaller waistline — but is that enough?

The I began to ponder why I run, why I battle rain, extreme heat, and humidity all to log a few miles. And the answer became clearer and clearer, I run because I truly love to run.

Growing up, I was …um… awkward.  At only 5’0 feet tall and 75 pounds in the 8th grade, I was small, but I had arms and legs that were bigger than the rest of my body.

Those gangly limbs often contributed to me falling..a lot..and usually in very public situations. (I once stumbled down the steps at an awards assembly, wearing a dress, the entire school got a peek at my panties…oh fun!)  Needless to say, I was always the last one picked for any sports team and I spent most of my adolescent feeling like a klutz.

Then I went off to college and grew 5 inches in 4 months – I suddenly felt as though I fit in my body. But I still felt ungraceful and hopelessly unathletic.  Over the next four years, I would dabble with running – starting and stopping training plans hundreds of times. I would tell myself “It’s too hard. I am no good at it. Running is for athletes…I am no athlete”

Then in 2008, I got dumped, moved home, and met my now husband. Riding the highs of love, and wanting to look sexy for my new boyfriend, I began running again. And this time, I fell in love….hard.  I can remember the exact spring afternoon, as I ran on the treadmill, listening to Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen (ironic), I felt strong. I finally felt like an athlete.

My love for running has never wavered from that moment to now. Yes, I have been sidelined my injuries, pushed runs aside for other physical pursuits. In the end, I always come back.

I lace up my sneaks, push play on my favorite run list, and just go.  And with each step, I live those feelings of inadequacy and awkwardness further behind. 

When I run, I don’t see the cellulite that adorns my thighs – rather I see the firm muscle beneath giving me power to press forward. 

When I run, I don’t think about to-do lists, project deadlines, or responsiblity. Sometimes I dream and sometimes I don’t think at all.

When I run, I find myself calming  as I appreciate the beauty of the world around me. Beauty, that all to often I fail to see as I rush thru my day.

In the simplest sense, I run because I am a runner and runners run.  Running has become as much a part of who I am, as my freckles, my curly hair or the scar on my right knee.  My Daddy always told me “Do what you love!”  And I follow his advice each time I run.

Are you runner? If so, why do you run? If you are not a runner, why not?  What is your favorite way to exercise? Why?

A Clean Slate

For years, I have dreaded Mondays. Given that Monday marks the end of the weekend, and the start of the work week, I perceived them to be “bad” days. And like most self fullfilling prophecies, my Mondays would turn out to be bad.

However, I learning to shift my thinking about Mondays. Now, I view them as a new day, a chance to start off a new week – a clean slate if you will. I use the first few minutes of my Monday to plan out my week — the workouts, the meals, the fun.  Here’s what is on tap for my week:

Workouts:

Monday: Workout A from Phase 3 of Best Body Bootcamp; 1 hour aerobics class

Tuesday: Week 3, Day 2 of the Couch to 5k Plan – Assuming Hurrican Issac doesn’t rain out my run.

Wednesday: Workout B from Phase 3 of Best Body Bootcamp; 20 min HIIT treadmill workout

Thursday: Week 3, Day 3 of the Couch to 5k Plan

Friday: Workout C from Phase 3 of Best Body Bootcamp

Saturday: 5K run/walk with my running group

Sunday: Rest day

Meals:

Monday: Grilled Chicken Salads

Tuesday: Honey Mustart Pork tenderloin and Green Beans

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Rosemary and Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts with Roasted Broccoli

Friday: Homemade Pizzas

Fun:

The hubby and I are having a “family date night” on Friday. We are taking our daughter to the local high school football game. Then on Saturday afternoon we will celebrate my oldest niece’s 8th birthday.

How are you getting your sweat on this week?  What delicious meals will you be whipping up? Anything fun on your agenda?

Coming out of the Fog: Living with Depression

 My blog has been quiet for two weeks. I took that time to step away from all the various social media outlets. My mental and emotional health were at a crossroads, and I needed to step back to gain perspective.

 For several months, I have been experiencing a myriad of strange and cumbersome symptoms.

  • Extreme fatigue and a desire to sleep ALL THE TIME!
  • A huge increase in appetite and a major weight gain in spite of increased workouts.
  • Intense emotional reactions to stress
  • Increased sensitivity (think crying at commercials)
  • A feeling of being weighed down, paralyzed, or leaden

 The breaking point came when I locked myself in the office bathroom to cry. I realized that I was not behaving in a normal manner and that my attempts to handle things on my own were NOT working.  I realized that it was time to share my secret with the world. I suffer from atypical depression.

 I was first diagnosed with atypical depression during my treatment for bulimia. Atypical depression is the most common form of depression – marked by the symptoms above – but improves when a person experiences positive life changes.  For me, I have always been able to use exercise to manage my depression. .  However, over the last 6 months, things have gotten worse. I finally realized that I was not fully living life – rather I was going thru the motions.  So I talked to my doctor and we began medication therapy.  Four weeks in and I am starting to notice improvements – I finally feel like me again.

In addition to the medication, I make a few other changes that I believe will support my continued improvement. The biggest of these is a career change. While I love the company that I currently work for, the job that I am doing is not something I am extremely passionate about.  So I am leaving on September 19th, and will begin a new job on October 1st.   I can not begin to express the relief that this change brings me!

Now that my personal life seems to be more in control, I am going to start blogging, Face booking, and tweeting again! I have missed the community that I had built.   I am eager to get back to blogging about my workouts, sharing my meals with you, and fostering the relationships that I have built.

In the mean time, catch  me up.  What have I missed in your life?

Weekly Workouts: 8/13-8/19/12

Monday: BestBodyBootcamp Workout A + Circuit Intervals

Tuesday: Couch to 5K Workout (30 mins), 20 mins of 5/5 Intervals, Core

Wednesday: BestBodyBootcamp Workout B +Circuit Intervals

Thursday: Progression Intervals + Core

Friday: BestBodyBootcamp Workout C + 20 mins steady state cardio

Saturday: Couch to 5K workout

Sunday: Rest day

What does your workout schedule look like this week?

High Five Friday

It is Friday!  And while I would normally be posting another installment of “Triple F”,  I decided to shake things up this week and create a High Five Friday post!

What is High Five Friday?  It is a weekly link up hosted by the beautiful and talented Meg at A Dash of Meg.  The purpose to recognize and applaud our personal achievements each week.  I have sent in a few submissions to Meg’s post, but I thought it would be fun to share a few more over here at my corner of the blogosphere.

 

Here is what I am High Fiving myself for this week:

1. Saying no to Pizza – Now while I always advocate balance in eating and would never tell anyone to deny themselves, pizza is the one food that I truly struggle to eat in moderation. I think it is linked back to the fact that during my ED days, I binged on pizza quite a bit. Needless to say, when I joined a co-worker for lunch at a local Pizza joint, I was nervous.  But I kicked off my meal with a big salad and then enjoyed 2 thin-crust slices.  That’s it!  When she asked if I wanted more, I said no – and I meant it!

2. Recognizing that my “bad mood” was more than a “bad mood” –  For weeks now, I have battled severe fatigue. I have also become extremely short-tempered, had a lack of desire to do the things I normally love to do, and have found myself crying in the bathroom at work far too frequently.  I tried to tell myself that it was just stress, or PMS, or hormones.  But this week, I realized that I was not getting in better on my own.  So I talked to my doctor. Together, we realized that I am battling mild depression, and I have started taking Pristiq – an anti-depressant.  I have already noticed an improvement in my mood and in how I feel!

3. Realizing that not all workouts have to be SUPER HIGH Intensity –  I have mentioned before that I am participating in Tina’s Best Body Bootcamp. I am loving the workouts and have been doing them a pretty high level of intensity.  However, last night I was tired and my knees felt a little sore. I considered scrapping the interval workout because I knew I wouldn’t be able to “run”. Instead, I jumped on my treadmill and did walking intervals. Guess what?  I still worked up a great sweat! 

Those are my high fives….what are yours?  Check out Meg’s page for more high five fun!

 

Go Easy on The Flour and Sugar

These two ingredients (combined with unhealthy industrial vegetable oils) have a starring role in most packaged foods we eat. More than any other culprit they fuel inflammation, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and cancer.”

I have a HUGE sweet tooth and love to satisfy my cravings with baked goods, pastries, cakes, and pies of all kinds. Unfortunately, I have come to realize that when I indulge in these treats – it starts a vicious cycle.  One piece of pie leaves me wanting to eat the whole thing … I don’t but I tend to eat more healthy foods to combat the urge. And the end result is the same, I wind up feeling overly full.

Realizing how my body reacts to flour and sugar, I have significantly limited the baked goods I consumed. I also cut back on pastas and started eating gluten-free bread.  But it was not until I started reading labels on my favorite foods, that I realized how much sugar I was still consuming.

Here are a few switches I have made to limit my sugar consumption:

  • Traded in my morning pastry for gluten-free toast with almond butter and a smashed banana.
  • Swapped my vanilla yogurt for plain Greek yogurt and fresh berries.
  • No more bottled salad dressings for me. Now I make my own or I use homemade salsa, guacamole or hummus as a “dressing”.
  • Don’t drink sugary drinks anymore. I have reduced or nearly eliminated all sweetened beverages from my diet. Did you know that a 12 ounce sweet tea has more than 30 grams of added sugar. Even sports drinks like Gatorade can put you over your daily limit in a single bottle.   I now drink plain water, or water infused with fresh fruit (love using lemons or limes). On those rare occasions when I really, really want juice, I do a 50/50 mix of juice to water.

How are you cutting back on your flour or sugar consumption?

 

Sorting Thru the Guidelines – Approach with Caution

     When I first started my journey to a healthier me in 2007, I dutifully followed the guidelines for nutrition provided by the USDA. Then I began to read article after article about how lobbying groups were influencing those guidelines.  So I stopped, and went in search of other guidelines to follow.  I found the American Dietetic Association’s guidelines.  And once again I followed them dutifully for awhile.  Then I began participating in the 101 Days of Blogging hosted by Sarah and read day 30.

“The American Dietetic Association is sponsored by processed-food corporations and staffed by former food-company execs. Their pro-processed-food advice is often colored by that, and their calorie-counting obsessions are profoundly counterproductive.”

As soon as I read those words, I wanted to stop following all of their guidelines and find someone else’s guidelines.  Then it hit me,  no set of guidelines are perfect – they are all flawed and I have to find what works best for me.  That means reading thru the reports, the recommendations, the guidelines with a critical eye and questioning mind.  Then I test out the guidelines, see how my body responds, and move forward from that point.   Now when friends/family ask me what “diet” they should follow to get health, I tell them the diet that your body responds to.

What are your opinions on the various food guidelines available?  Do you follow a diet? 

LuLu Question #2: 3 Goals in 30 seconds

Last week, I blogged that I had begun to do some soul-searching in an attempt to make changes to my life. I told you that my search had been inspired by Krissie and her tackling of the 7 Questions posted on the Luluemon blog.  Question #1 was to define that 8 most important thing to you, here is the second question:

In 30 seconds or less, write down the three most important goals in your life right now.

Ready, set, go…..

1. To encourage my family to live a healthy life by being an example to them.

2. To pursue a career in the health and fitness industry (personal training, group exercise instructor).

3. To spend more time with my husband and daughter!

What are your goals?