Confession

165.8.

My current weight. I am putting it out there for all to see. I am not where I’d like to be. I gained 25 pounds since my celiac diagnosis. First, I was in denial. It was only 10 pounds. I’ll lose it easily. But it just kept coming. Then came anger. How the fuck did I gain all this weight? Fuck celiac disease. Yes, I kept blaming my celiac disease. Going gluten free can cause weight gain but I think mine was probably just the first 10-15 pounds. I put on those pounds pretty quickly after going gluten free. The other 10 pounds? I slowly packed those on.

I was depressed about having celiac and going gluten free. So I ate. I ate crappy gluten free baked goods because I could. I ate entire packages of Glutino cookies because they were better than my beloved Oreos.

But I think I have finally reached acceptance.

self confidence
Probably one of the last times I felt happy & confident in myself.

I know I gained the weight and I’m not happy with it. I know only I can change it. So I started. In July I focused on eating healthy. The past week or so I have been tracking my food. I redid my calorie and macro calculations and am working to hit those goals. Anyone know how I can reduce the number of carbs? I eat WAY too many carbs for being gluten free!

I am slowly trying to get active again. I am working towards my 10K steps per day and 10 plus minutes of stretching. I am slowly adding running back in. And by the end of August, I hope to start lifting weights again. I was feeling so much stress earlier this summer. Work was crazy. Running my own business on top of work and then trying to fit in workouts was making me crazy.

So I stopped.

Often we neglect our mental health, but it is just as important as our physical health. We need to make sure our mind is healthy. My anxiety was getting crazy high. I was starting into a downward spiral of depression. So I stepped back. I thought, what can I drop and/or refocus on? For me, it was working out and eating better. I couldn’t skip my job. We kinda need the money. I don’t want to give up my business. I am still trying to grow it to where I want it to be. So I stopped my workouts. I still took daily walks. I started making better food choices.

I started small and am building towards where I want to be.

What else happened when I gained all this weight? I lost my self-confidence. I want that back. I want to feel confident in everything I do. I want to feel good in my clothes. Right now all my clothes feel too tight or don’t sit well. Plus, I am wearing the same few pieces all the time. They are easy. I know they fit somewhat ok. It’s time to start utilizing everything in my closet. I want to wear skirts and heels. I want to put on makeup and feel pretty again.

I truly believe that sometimes you need to fake it until you make it. I know if I start dressing like I feel pretty or sexy, I will actually start feeling pretty and sexy again. My plan is to get in the shower just 5 minutes earlier. Five minutes should give me enough time to pick out a different outfit and put on some eye shadow and mascara. I can put on lipstick at work after I eat my breakfast.

How do you boost your self-confidence when you aren’t feeling 100%?

Follow me on Instagram to keep an eye on my journey! I try to document my fitness and food!

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June and July Wrap Up

July is coming to an end. How have I done the last few months?

Not that great.

I have given up on working out. I was being so sporadic I didn’t feel it was worth it. I did better in June than July but I can’t get my head in order. My 9-5 has been crazy this month and despite having good intentions every morning I am dead by the time I get home. My head is spinning and all I want to do is zone out and relax. I have been giving myself permission to do so. I think it is important for my mental health to just have some downtime.

I have been focusing on eating better. And I would say 90% of the time I have been doing pretty well. I am eating fruits and vegetables and filling up on protein. I am limiting my sweets and doing really well in this category. July has seen me eating a lot of potato chips and pretzels. I apparently am heading towards a salty binge. Week days are so much better than weekends because I tend to graze when I’m writing or editing photos.

I am giving myself permission to take time and get one area of my life somewhat controlled before I add another element. For July I really focused on my food and will continue to do so through August. My plan is to reintroduce workouts in September. I want to try running again plus restart the Bikini Body strength program. It’s a 6-day program but I plan to start slow and do just Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and the weekends. I will rest on Tuesday and Thursday. Once I feel comfortable with that, I will add in one more day to do the program as written.

I think mental health is just as important as physical health. Stepping away from exercise is both bad and good for mental health. I know I feel better when I workout but right now working out is causing me to stress more. I am still taking walk breaks every day, just not doing strength or cardio workouts. I would love to but I need to get my mental health in order.

I have not journaled much in June and not at all in July. I plan to start adding that back in during August. I will start off with once a week and build from there. I also want to start reading before bed again. I have a stack of magazines that are calling my name but I have picked surfing Facebook or playing Candy Crush instead. As much as I enjoy mindlessly playing around on Facebook, I need to use my time better.

It’s been a rough summer but everything gets better eventually, right?

How do you keep yourself motivated? What do you do for mental health? Tell me in the comments!

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International Yoga Day

June 21st is international yoga day and I’m taking that as a sign.

Yoga
What happens when I try to do yoga

I need to get back on the horse. I used to do yoga after *most* of my runs and all my long runs. I stopped running and therefore I’ve stopped doing it.

I probably need more yoga than most people because I am literally the least flexible person on earth. I’ve never been flexible, even when I was dancing five days a week. This is probably why I never became a professional dancer. I do much better and actually get a little flexible when I actually stretch daily and do yoga at least once a week.

And now with my increased emphasis on strength training, I need to do more stretching.

I am the least flexible and I am pretty sure I have the world’s rightest hips. My squats are nowhere near ass to the grass. I’m lucky if I can get parallel. I use a lit of hip openers to work on gaining flexibility in my hips to help improve my lifting.

Like most people, I sit at a desk for 8-9 hours a day. I try to get up and do posture checks but I know I need help here too. Even at home I have horrible posture. What helps posture? Yoga.

I also benefit from the mental aspect as well. I feel less stressed when I take the time for yoga. I need to learn to shut my brain down and certain poses help with that. I always feel better after a good session.

Lastly, I’d like to work on my balance. You’d think after 20ish years of dance I’d be a pro at balance. Nope. I’m only graceful and balanced while dancing. Yoga, and many of the individual poses, are great for balance work, which is helpful in real life.

I pledge to start doing yoga once a week and stretching daily. I really want to feel strong and healthy, both mentally and physically.

What do you pledge to do to be healthier? 

Follow along on Instagram to see my workouts!

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June Dairy Month

dairyI have a problem. I am addicted to dairy products.

I am not worried about this addiction. I love dairy, especially cheese. And Greek yogurt. In my neverending quest for more protein, I tend to reach for those products quite a bit. I have Greek yogurt for breakfast and string cheese for lunch. I drink chocolate milk after runs. My chocolate milk comes in a glass bottle from a local farm. I love buying local and the fact that the glass can be reused in my home or taken back to the farm for them to reuse. Helping the environment one milk at a time.

I am obsessed.

I grew up in Wisconsin, the dairy state. The town I grew up in had June Dairy Days. I vividly remember the parades. The park and downtown became a carnival. Rides, games, friends and fun. These are memories I will cherish. Life revolves around food, memories and bonds are formed over dinners.

If I didn’t grow up surrounded by cheese, would I still love it?

I think so. A girl and her cheese: a love story.

I truly believe that cheese makes almost everything taste better. Cheese improves even the most boring, bland foods.

Lately, I find myself eating more dairy in order to get more protein. I can only eat so much meat and I am not a fan of protein shakes so I depend on a lot of dairy products. Muscles to build. Most days I can fit all the cheese into my fat goals. I try not to go over fat too much, it’s a balancing act.

I am always on the lookout for new products and new ways to get protein. My favorite yogurt? Noosa. I wish the sugar was lower but it’s gluten free and the lemon flavor is fantastic, especially if you add raspberries to it. I also love Siggi’s, which is an Icelandic-style yogurt. Want to know more about what I eat and how I strive to reach my protein goals? Follow me on Instagram! I post images of food… a lot.

How do you make sure you hit your protein goals? Tell me in the comments. I need some suggestions!

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Struggle and May Wrap Up

Struggle is my word this month.

May has been a rough month.

I got aboard the struggle bus and keep trying to get off. I don’t know why I am having such a difficult time. Or why I can’t seem to get myself to workout, despite wanting to workout and wanting to change. I started bikini body on May 1st and should be starting week five but I am only in the middle of week three.

WTF is wrong with me?

I did the first week pretty easily but the second week started off badly and went downhill from there. Monday of week two started with three buses not showing up so I stood outside for 30 minutes then, of course, the bus was packed and I had to stand for another 30 minutes. By the time I got home, I was exhausted and my feet/legs were killing me. Tuesday I actually did my workout (Yay me!) but Wednesday was a Dbacks game and Thursday we had to run to Costco. Friday was another bus fiasco. I really don’t know why I keep taking the bus. The afternoon ones are always late or non-existent. I am always good on the weekends though!

StruggleThen I took pretty much a week off.

I don’t even know or remember why. Bad week at work. Feeling sorry for myself. Frustrated at my perceived lack of progress. All of the above and then some probably. I did finally decide to workout again on Sunday. I started where I had left off, plyo + HIIT day. I did three of the four rounds of plyo and was done. I couldn’t do anymore. I was exhausted, about to get dizzy, and had zero energy. But I did what I could and that is what is important.

So then I decided to try getting up at 4 am to see if I could do better before work. It lasted two days. I went back to after work and have done pretty well.

I started a personal photography project to track my health, fitness, and progress. I hope it will help keep me more accountable to myself. It seems to be working and also helps improve my photography skills. The project is making me think more creatively about what health, fitness, and progress represent and how I can show these in different ways.

Follow me on Instagram to see posts of my progress, food, and puppies. Ok, they are full grown dogs but they are still puppies to me!

The struggle. It’s real. What have you been struggling with lately?

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Where have I been?

I have been MIA for the last few months.

I fell behind on everything! I did finish my 12-week weight lifting challenge, although it was not perfect or pretty! I struggled toward the end and missed a few workouts but overall did pretty well. I also stopped tracking my food for a few weeks, which is never a good idea. I gained a little weight and started feeling fluffy towards the end.

I have always had trouble gaining strength in my upper body. I struggle to even lift heavy when it comes to arm work. It’s just very hard for me and I often want to give up. But I pushed on and did all the arm workouts. I even tried to keep increasing weights; it’s just so hard when you feel you can’t do it. I worked hard the last 12+ weeks and it is starting to show in my arms and back.

weight trainingI am pretty damn proud of those gains! You can see little bumps and definition in a few spots.

I have decided to continue on with weight training but with a slightly different program. I liked the Home Edition I started in January but I want to try something new. I started Bikini Body from Jessie Hilgenberg Monday. It started with biceps & abs and my arms were like spaghetti by the time it was over. I struggled with 8 and 10-pound dumbbells on a few things but a few others I need to push harder next time.

I also did negative chin-ups which were more like drops than negative. HA

Tuesday was booty and is always my favorite day! I love me some squats. Although I hate lunges. Make the lunges stop!!!!!

So for the next 12+ weeks, follow along with my Bikini Body training on Instagram. I post something from *most* workouts.

As far as running, I tried again in April and still had the vertigo-like feelings. It happens about 20-minutes in. I will have to make an appointment and see if there is anything that can be done. It has to be something with my inner ears from when I was sick in January. Hopefully, it is something that can be fixed because I really miss running and feel that I still have a lot to accomplish there.

We just got back from the Big Island of Hawaii, so look for some photos on Instagram and check back here for a blog post in the near future.

So smooth move of the last few months? I decided I wanted to start wearing heels again at work. I love heels and feel they add to your outfit (plus it makes your calves look killer). I had them on for about an hour and went to pour myself some coffee. I was standing by the coffee maker, reaching for the pot and I rolled my ankle. Luckily, I had flats with me and I switched out. I get to work before everyone else so no one noticed my switcheroo!

Tell me in the comments what you have been up to recently?

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Marathon Troubles

The Marathon: is it the ultimate runner’s goal?

I pose this question because for several years it has been my goal. After I ran my first half I thought, I could do a full. I didn’t set it as a goal at the time but it was in the back of my head as something I wanted to do. I ran three more half marathons and then set my sights on a marathon.

marathon
Bundle up to run long in Wisconsin

I started planning to run a marathon in January 2015. I had run my best half, shaved nearly 10 minutes off my last PR, and felt really confident in my running. In the fall I began training but struggled to get runs in, weekdays and long runs and eventually dropped down to the half in November. When I went to the expo in January 2016 I signed up for the marathon again for 2017.

I started getting into the swing of marathon training during the summer. I wanted to get into a routine and make sure I was prepared. My “official” plan started on August 31st. I worked my butt off during the summer/fall when Phoenix was having highs off 115+. I dragged my butt out of bed at 4 am to beat the heat.

I ran through the “winter” here and even put in my longest run on Christmas eve in Wisconsin. I had to wear my trail shoes because of ice and snow. I was bundled up in many layers. I put in my time. I put in the effort, for six plus months. I was determined. I was going to finish this marathon, even if it took me forever.

Then I got sick.

I came home from Christmas in Wisconsin with a cold, which turned into a sinus infection. I had hopes of still running the marathon, though. I had about 15 days to recover and get better. By the time the marathon date came, I was feeling better. The nose was feeling good, the cough was better, and I could sleep through the night.

So I went out for a test run.

And I got dizzy. At around the two-mile mark, the world started to look like I was in a funhouse mirror situation. Trees were getting bigger and smaller. The ground was going up and down. I stopped running and tried to walk but I was all over the sidewalk. People driving by probably thought I was drunk. I couldn’t walk in a straight line so I stopped. I sat. I waited until I felt better and walked home. I wasn’t pushing myself. I wasn’t trying too hard. I was actually going slow to test my breathing and cough.

I think, so this isn’t a usual issue, that it has to do with my cold and sinus infection. I have always had a lot of inner ear problems so I am guessing it is something like this. Because it feels like vertigo when it’s happening. I also made sure I’ve been well hydrated and fed before heading out (trying to eat pretty nutritious foods). My heart rate wasn’t super high, in my normal run range. I don’t feel any strain in my heart or lungs. It all seems to be in m head, literally and figuratively?

I waited a few days and tried again. The exact same thing happened. This was just days before the marathon.

I didn’t run my marathon.

And I am depressed. I put in so much work towards a goal and couldn’t complete the goal. I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t know if I will ever reach my goal of running a marathon. I haven’t run in about two weeks. I am afraid I won’t ever be able to run again. I haven’t been able to bring myself to run again. I am afraid it will keep happening. I have been able to do other cardio and strength training without issue.

Next week. I will try again next week.

Tell me about a goal you feel you might never reach and what you are doing (did) about it.

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Proyo and Getting Strong with a 12 week Challenge

12 weeks to buff and I’m doing it with ProYo.

ProYo

I wasn’t able to complete my marathon this month (I’ll post a separate post about this later) and decided to participate in a strength training challenge instead. I purchased Jessie’s Girls Home Edition before Christmas and had started it as cross training for my marathon. Jessie’s training is basically 6 days a week and I was doing it 2-3 days a week, so I hadn’t gotten very far into the plan by the holidays.

When the 3k challenge was announced I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do it since it started the day after my marathon. I knew I wouldn’t be able to commit to six days a week right after a marathon. The Jessie’s Girls facebook group (which you get access to when you purchase a program) encouraged me, and others, to sign up even if you couldn’t commit to the exact program. I signed up.

And now I am doing the program as it is written because I did not run 26.2 miles. I just started week two and am feeling pretty good. I am trying to push myself in the workouts and really increase my upper body strength. But how do you keep muscle soreness to a minimum and increase those muscles?

Protein. Lots and lots of protein.

I love meat but there’s only so much meat one can eat before wanting to get protein from a different source. I try protein shakes but they make me incredibly thirsty and therefore I try to avoid them. So how do I get a big hit of protein without meat or protein shakes? I have a ProYo.

WTF is ProYo you ask?

ProYo is a sweet (pun intended) way to get a good dose of protein. ProYo is protein packed frozen yogurt and it is DELICIOUS. ProYo comes in several flavors: banana, chocolate, vanilla, and blueberry pomegranate. My favorites are the banana and vanilla. Each tube has 20g of protein. That’s quite substantial. Trust me. I’ve been trying to get creative in how to up my protein intake.

proyo
ProYo was busy every time I went by at the Gluten Free Expo but I stopped by three times. It was my favorite booth! Not kidding when I say I stalked them

I will be the first to admit I am not very creative in the kitchen. I make pretty basic meals. I follow recipes because I can’t create them on my own. So I eat my ProYo as is. Frozen yogurt. Yup, I am boring. But… so many people get creative with their ProYo. ProYo has an entire collection on their website of fun ways to use their products. I may have to try a few out someday.

My favorite time to enjoy a ProYo? After my long runs when it’s warm out (which is almost always in Phoenix).

ProYo

So while I am over here doing my 3k challenge, trying to get all swole, eating my ProYo, you can enter below to win some of your own! Use the rafflecopter below to enter to win a mixed case of ProYo – four full boxes of ProYo, one of each flavor! I am a little jealous, I’d love to win this sweet prize!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full disclosure: I did stalk the ProYo booth at the Gluten Free Expo and they reached out after to ask me to work with them on this giveaway. I received product from them but all opinions are my own. I loved ProYo when I tried it, hence me stalking the booth for additional samples. I may have tried all the flavors but chocolate at the Expo alone. I truly believe in this product and hope you will love it as well!

Be sure to comment with what flavor you’d love to try! And use the buttons below to share with others!

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Marathon Training: Week 1 & 2

This year is different. I will complete my first marathon.

How do I know this after only two weeks of training? It is all completely mental. I am in a much better space mentally this year than last year. I have good and bad days. I have doubts but it is so much different than a year ago. A year ago I didn’t think I would ever run again. I was still struggling to accept my celiac diagnosis and figure out how to fuel my body without gluten.

I have now been gluten-free for about a year and a half. It is almost second nature to me. I still miss certain foods and the freedom to order anything but I am used to it now. I know what is safe and where I can eat. This has been a huge help in my mental running game.

I do struggle a bit with the heat and the early wake-up calls. I have been getting up at 4 AM Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and 5 AM on Saturdays. It’s tough but I actually enjoy getting my runs done and not having to worry about it after work. I might even keep this up after the marathon.

training

I am trying a new approach to training this year. I have written my entire training plan on a calendar but am not looking too far ahead. I did an overview and have an idea of dates I need to adjust and plan for but I am taking it a month and a week at a time. At the start of September, I looked at the schedule but I only start planning on Sunday for the coming week. I make adjustments as needed for the week. If things come up during the week, I change it accordingly.

For example, I didn’t take a full rest day this week but instead of doing 30-45 minutes of cross training on two days I did three days of 20 minutes each. It was what felt right and fit with my schedule. I also swapped my long run from Saturday to Sunday because I got home late Friday and knew running on less than 6 hours of sleep was not optimal. I could have slept in Saturday and then ran but it would have been hot and there wasn’t much cloud cover. Sunday morning before sunrise was much better.

Two weeks are done and just 18 more to go! I know I can do this. I am ready.

Do you want to see more on my journey to 26.2? If so, be sure to follow me on Instagram!

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July Wrap Up

My goal for July was to get back into an exercise routine and start eating better.

Did I smash both goals?

Nope. Not even close.

July ended up being a bit of a whirlwind for me. It started with the death of a family member and a quick trip home and ended with a vacation, back home. We had planned the trip back home months ago so I had two trips in one month. Needless to say between travel and work I struggled a bit this month.

The first and last week I ate pretty badly but those two-and-a-half in the middle? I rocked them! I followed my calorie goals. I aimed to keep my protein intake up and tried to get fruits and/or vegetables at each meal. I stayed away from sweets. Now I am back on track after vacation. More water. More protein. Fewer sweets.

I worked out the first two weeks of the month and then life got busy. I tried to get in my 10k steps at least but even that was difficult. I was busy at work catching up after my first trip and trying to complete everything before my second. Yup, I got tired. I got stressed and I let my workouts fall away.

I’m human. I’m not perfect.

I am not going to let my July get me down. I came back from vacation and started right back at it. I restarted food tracking. I went for a walk yesterday and a run today. I’ve got big plans and I can’t let the bad dwell. August is a new month. I will keep trying to hit my goals, to eat better and fit in workouts.

I am in pre-marathon prep. I start actual marathon training on August 29th. Yikes! I hope to have more posts about training once I actually get into it more. Hopefully, this is my year. I really want to say I’ve run 26.2 miles.

How was your July? Did you smash any goals? What did you struggle with?

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