Sunday, February 16, 2014

Suddenly, Everything Has Changed + Green Lemonade

I guess it only feels sudden when I start thinking about it. Last year, around the beginning of the year, I was angry and I was miserable. All due to a relationship that honestly I don't even know how to explain or categorize because it was just...apparently not a thing. I was probably in that rut for a good 4 months. It sucked and it took me so long to feel like myself again. In that time, I discovered a lot about myself with the help of some friends. I probably haven't shown enough appreciation for these friends, but I hope that they know how much they helped me. They supported me with tons of fun distractions, accepting me when I was having a low day, and always reminding me that I was worth more than how I felt after that blip on my radar.

I changed a lot of things. I started watching wrestling. This sounds so pointless and dumb to most people and I get that. I'm a 26 year old girl watching sports entertainment that is most popular with 12 year old boys. Get over it. It got my ass back in the gym; it still took me the better part of the year to find what worked for me and what I enjoyed (and honestly until just a few weeks ago to start seeing weight loss results). I realized that I love lifting heavy. I love love love it...I honestly feel that part of the reason that Valentines Day wasn't as obnoxious for me this year was because I made huge leaps and gains during the WOD that we did the night before.  Even before, when I was going to 24 hour fitness, those classes were HARD and CHALLENGING and so EMPOWERING. I know that most women like to sweat and exert as little as possible when they work out, but just trust me when I say that the feeling at the end of an all out brawl of a work out is the most amazing and accomplishing feeling ever. All that the 'experts' say about endorphins and how exercising activates them is true. Even when I have a bad work out, I feel better overall because I worked hard and I did it. I truly believe that that was really what I needed after last January. I needed it in a big way, and it's finally really coming to fruition.

Things are different in terms of how you deal with stress, anxiety, frustration, and sadness when you live far from your family. Though the support is still there, sometimes a phone conversation doesn't cover it all. It's hard to learn how to support yourself when you are used to having those people near you for those times. It's easy to fall into unhealthy thoughts and habits when you live alone with your dog. No one is following you around saying 'hey, don't stay up all hours of the night upset..give yourself a break and sleep on it' or 'yeah, cleaning is a bitch and takes forever, but you will be so much less stressed in a clean apartment' or 'just go out for a few might feel better'. The hardest thing to do is then training yourself to do these things even when ever fiber in your body is telling you to screw it.

I've learned that it is really important to have and to find different kinds of things that make you happy and satisfy you. Get to know yourself better and pay attention to what triggers your ruts or your low days. Try different things to get out of them; lingering in a rut does nothing for you or your happiness. You deserve that happiness.  Keep an open mind and find different things that intrigue you; look off the beaten path. I feel like I've lost my point within words so I'm going to post a recipe for yall and call it on this one.

Green Lemonade!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Realizations through my Fitness Journey

When I first moved to Dallas, the gym attached to my apartment complex offered a discounted membership and discounted training sessions. Always hopeful to get fit and lose weight, I immediately joined the gym and got a trainer. The trainer was a good guy and put a lot of effort into helping me out, but one thing that he said to me has really stuck in my mind and has really stood out to me in the past few weeks as something that's always bothered me. It really isn't anything awful by any means and I'm sure than most if not all trainers think this way or have said something similar to this to their clients.

He told me "My business is to make you look good. If you don't look good, I don't look good".

Totally makes sense, right? I mean he IS a personal trainer; his job is to help his client find visible results from his training regimen.

And so we trained, and so I saw no real always, and I felt awful about it every time that I went down for our sessions. He tried to help me with my nutrition as well; I guess I look like I eat worse than I really do. It makes sense, but it's not true. I would say that since I graduated college, I eat about 80%-90% healthy each week. I don't do restrictive diets because they are miserable; I have realized that eating what I like or what I want, in moderation, and taking into consideration everything else that I eat, leaves me a much happier and more energetic person.

Here are several truths that have never helped my weight loss situation and how they affected me at that time.

  • sleep: My sleep schedule has been ruined since I was 7, I used to stay up reading, now I'm semi nocturnal
  • stress: I had just started my first full time job, in customer service at that
  • early mornings: I finally conceded that working out early in the morning was not for me; I need my sleep, I don't need to "get up and get it over with" because I will just end up tired instead of refreshed
  • LIVING UP TO OTHERS EXPECTATIONS: my trainer pretty much told me that if there are no visible results, that I would make him look bad...which obviously means that i look bad. I didn't want to let him down, so I worked as hard as I could. With the minimal results I was seeing, I doubt he felt that way.
I know my body well enough to know that it takes a LOT for me to start seeing any takes even more for my weight to drop. It's exhausting and it's hard, and I finally realized that I did not need someone making me feel bad about it being the person in charge of my training regimen.

4 years later, I am still (and always) working on being okay with taking baby steps to my goals. I HATE being on the slow train. It's not because i am not 100% committed to being fit and attaining these goals, it's that I know where I can commit and where I cannot.  Theoretically and if I was talking about someone else, I would have no problem with that, but since I am talking about myself, I do have a problem with it. I just want to make sure that the changes that I make can be sustainable, and that the foods I choose to eat are something I can sustain for the rest of my life. If that means I can't eat 100%, 90% clean, I am okay with that. It's difficult, and not feasible in my life right now.

And in honor of me getting back to making delicious healthy smoothies this week, here's a recipe for a healthy and delicious green smoothie! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Shame on Food Shaming

I am scared for our children...yes, the children that all of us in our 20s, 30s, even the teenagers...will have.  If we keep thinking about food as "bad" and "good", we are going to warp their perception of nourishment from day 1. I'm not even worried about obesity at this point, I'm worried about how they will perceive food and "healthy" eating.

My cousin, Jacob and I were enjoying a delicious challah french toast breakfast over Thanksgiving when we began discussing my plans for the [distant] future. The conversation shifted towards the eating habits of our contemporaries. He is 18 years old and I am 25 years old; the age difference has no effect on the perception of food and eating of our generation.  To most everyone, food is bad, if you eat less food, you will lose weight, be "healthier", be "skinnier" and be "better".  Everyone obsesses about counting calories, doing detox cleanses after holidays or before big events. Calories are drastically cut; I used to be in the 1200-1500 calorie a day mindset. I know MANY people who think that this is a healthy and beneficial way to lose weight and be healthy.  Fat is the enemy, carbs and sugar are the enemy...When sugar is the enemy, fruit becomes the enemy. FRUIT?! REALLY?!

On top of all that craziness, there's food shaming..."are you really going to order that"..."do you really want to eat that?" Well, what if I do? What if I keep my eating balanced and in check and I want to treat myself...What's wrong with eating the burger with the bun? What's wrong with getting a side of fries..what if I only planned on eating half of it and who are you to tell me that I shouldn't be eating something?

--you go, Cindy! enjoy those fries!

Now let's look into the future. Are these habits that we want to pass on to our children? Do you really want to make your 10 year old daughter feel bad for what she orders? Those of us who are health conscious and do care will probably be providing our children with healthy choices at home. We will teach them how to make good choices and we should do that without making them feel bad for eating food that might not be so healthy every so often.

Food shaming can also lead to the development of eating disorders. If you've seen any "thinspiration", you see things that urge one to ditch the cookies for a thigh gap, ditch the ice cream for visible hip bones, ditch the chips for visible collar bones. These thoughts are unhealthy and so harmful. The last thing that I'd ever want to be is the reason that my future children have an eating disorder.

Calorie restriction in general is not good for the body. Most people use that as a reason that they don't need to work out. I get it-some forms of exercise are not what? You don't like what you're doing? Find something that you do like! There is so much out there and so many things for us to try that "i don't like working out" shouldn't even be thing. Find something that you enjoy and it won't seem like work.  Some form-ANY form of cardio and strength/conditioning-your body will thank you for it every single day.

Food should be enjoyed; a diet is what you's not meant to be a temporary edit to what you eat, it should be the way you eat your entire lift.  My crossfit coach looks at it this way: if you're choosing to do a certain "diet"-raw, no carb, paleo, etc, ask yourself, can you do this for the rest of your life? I am I going to want to and ENJOY eating this way for the next 70 or so years? Probably not, and that's reality. Unless your health literally depends on it (severe health conditions...), you should not have to or want to restrict your diet. I don't know about you,  but whenever I "cannot" eat something, I only want it more, which leads to me eating crazy to get around it, or eating crazy amounts of what I said that I could not eat.

Sometimes, it takes a while to develop healthy eating habits. I was fortunate enough to have developed them growing up as my mom was interested in healthy and balanced eating. Healthy food is not bland and it is not boring. There are so many ways to make tasty, healthy food and I strongly urge everyone reading this to look into them. Treat yourself when you go out,  but keep your home healthy. You'll feel better and you won't have so much unhealthy food in your house.

And be sure to drink water, lots of water...for every drink you have...EVERY drink you have, drink a glass of water...Get enough sleep, and be sure to decompress every once in a's not difficult to lead a healthy life, we just have to get the right way to do it in our brain and keep going. We need to teach THAT to our children instead of calorie restriction and food shaming. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes; there is no ideal and none of that will get you to that ideal body.

Recipes of the day!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Make it meaningful, Accomplishments, Lungs for Life, and tons of WODs

I was out in South Carolina for my yearly trip to see two of my best friends and run a 5K in memory of my friend's father. This came after an extremely enlightening and interesting week spend at my company's national sales meeting, which my team was so fortunate to be able to attend. To say I learned a lot would be an understatement. After being away from work and the meetings for almost two days, I have been able to let things really stew and bubble up inside of me. I definitely left more invigorated both professionally and personally.

My mission in life now is to make sure that everything that I do has value. I want to make every interaction that I have meaningful in some way. I want to get some value out of every single thing I do, whether it's something that I have to do, or something that I really want to do. I want to find ways that I can improve myself and ways that I can truly be the best person that I can be, for myself and for others as well. It is so easy to coast through life, to go through the motions and not really think about what kind of an impact you make on people daily without even realizing it. You may not even realize what kind of impacts your own actions and decisions have on yourself until much later. I want to make sure that my time is spent doing things that I love or spent doing things that will make me a better person and will make my life more enjoyable-even if I don't see that in the short term. I challenge you all to do the same.

I am working on creating better habits. We all know that my sleeping habits are awful-I refuse to let that affect my life any longer. I have so many improvements to make, but I can already see how far I've come from simple changes that I started only two or three months ago.  Today, I'm proud of myself for many reasons, and I'm not ashamed to say that. I'm not going to hide it because some people around me might be struggling; my pride and happiness with myself should not be something that I deny. I sometimes forget that I can be a good friend through empathy instead of through sympathy.

I'm making great progress in Crossfit; I did have to take last week off due to a sales meeting and other travel, but I am glad to be back at it.

I finished the Lungs for Life 5K in 43:45. This was slower than my normal time, but it was cold and the course was hilly...and we did not get enough sleep before the race-this is normal.

This is a really bad picture of me, but I had so much fun with these girls! We do this every year and we are not stopping any time soon! A great cause and a great time to remember those who we have lost to lung cancer.

And here are the Crossfit WODs that I've done (and made pretty) so far...I have absolutely no regrets about leaving 24 Hour Fitness and joining North Frisco Crossfit. It's such a great box with great people around. They're very motivating and supportive...they stay with you and keep you going through your entire matter how much you are struggling or how long it takes you. They understand that everyone starts somewhere and that not everyone is at the same level.

So, starting from the very beginning:

Foundations class began the week of October 1...

Then we got into the REAL Crossfit nitty gritty

So I definitely forgot to prettify some of the WODs that I've done, but this is where I stand today. It was a great work out.  I'm feeling very accomplished tonight.


Lungs for Life 5K

North Frisco Crossfit

My Fitness Instagram


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ruts, Stress, Crossfit, and Teriyaki Stir Fry Salmon with Rice and Vegetables has been a crazy few months. I feel like I am finally getting out of a rut by fixing things that I thought were getting me out of a previous rut. That probably makes absolutely no sense, but I will explain. My answer to any rut that I get in to is "clear your head, work out". I always feel better after I do and am usually ready to tackle whatever I have going on that I can control. I had been taking beyond full advantage of my 24 Hour Fitness membership: classes at least 4-5 days a week, free weights on the off days...I felt great, but I was still so stressed out. I chalked it up to a group project that I was working on for my creative problem solving class.

I definitely felt relief when that class was over with, but I soon found myself with the same lingering stressful feeling.  This time, I looked to some major issues that I had been having with my car and my effort to overhaul needed personal improvements at work. Combine this with a traffic ticket, the process of buying a new car, and a new semester in a managerial accounting class. Obviously, my stress levels were through the roof. I started shaking up my workouts a bit; trading some of my classes at 24 Hour for social runs and other events and Luke's Locker and some heavy weight sessions at my friend, Sean's gym.    I was still exhausted every day, rushing to do everything, and I felt like there was still something off.

I realized the other day, after a long drive to Forney, that I needed to cancel my gym membership. I recently decided that I wanted to try Crossfit out. I tried it for a 3 week foundations class and realized that this is what I was looking for. I am not going to preach Crossfit to you, don't worry, but I will explain why this change came about.

Though I loved the classes that I took at 24 Hour, I literally was doing the exact same thing every day:
Monday-Body Pump-same moves to different music
Wednesday-repeat Monday
Thursday: Kickboxing-same [awesome] routines rotated every week
Friday-repeat Monday

Let's look at the timing: I get off of work at 5; these classes started at 5:30...BARELY enough time to run out of work, get to the gym, change, and get ready for the work out

Crossfit WODs are different every single day. At the gym that I go to, we work on a skill for the first half of the hour and then do a WOD to end the class. It's cardio, it's strength, it's skill, it's metabolic training, and it's ALWAYS CHALLENGING...since it's timed and measurable, you don't want to half ass it, you want to see your best, you want to be totally exhausted and accomplished by the end. Yes, this is possible in the classes that 24 Hour holds, but this is visible; each class is a test of where you are on that day at that moment. You don't want to slack and you don't feel the urge to slack off.

Crossfit is at 6 or 7: plenty of time to get home from, change, walk the dog, and even begin to prepare dinner on some days. I am so much less stressed, even I can't believe it.  I never thought to reevaluate my fitness routine, but I'm really glad I did.

Lots more to update on, but I'll share that soon! I'll leave you with my recipe of the day.

Teriyaki Stir Fry Salmon with Rice and Vegetables

So super easy and delicious! I'm actually addicted, I eat this all the time (And right now-no joke)

1 frozen salmon fillet
1 bag frozen stir fry vegetables
3/4 cup of brown rice and lentils (cooked)
Teriyaki Sauce

To make the salmon: Put the frozen fillet in a skillet and cover with water half an inch over the salmon; cook on med high for 10 minutes or until boiling. Take it off the heat and leave for a few minutes. Put salmon on a plate and cut it up into bite size chunks.

Empty the bag of frozen vegetables in a skillet with some EVOO. Cook on medium until steamed/not frozen.  Add salmon and rice/lentil and a little more EVOO. Stir to mix around and add some teriyaki sauce. Stir and cook for a few more minutes until it is sizzling and steaming.

--hoping this will be me again soon! I'll post videos of my 2 big lifts from the summer soon!


Sunday, July 14, 2013

My Number One Rule to Getting and Staying Fit and Healthy

Find what works for you and GO FOR IT!

You don't like to run? Don't!
You don't like to use machines? Don't!
You'd rather use free weights? Use them!
Hate cardio classes? Don't do them!
Not a fan of even going to a gym? Great, build your own gym or find routines, DVDs, etc that you can do at home.

Every BODY is different. We respond to everything differently and we lose weight and gain muscle at our own rates in our own time.

I know that I don't always have the iron clad will power to eat super clean. If I did, my transformation would be so much more obvious at this point.  AND THAT IS OKAY! I watch what I eat and I do work out classes and routines that I like.  I've asked people for advice and then used that advice to build my own path to success.

I know that it may seem easier to have someone tell you exactly what to do, but think of how much more frustrated you get when you don't see the results on yourself that this other person has had, or what has been guaranteed to you.

Looking into my past efforts to get fit and lose weight, I KNOW that this was a huge problem for me. With the exception of one trainer that I had, all of my other trainers had the "stick with this and eat super clean and you will see these results" Well, I did...and none of that happened, so I got frustrated, my eating slipped, and I thought that there was something wrong with me because my body was not responding in the way that someone else said it would.

Another problem I had was setting goals that were unrealistic for my own habits. Setting an ultimate goal weight is fine, but make it reasonable and give yourself a real amount of time to do it. Don't concentrate on the time frame; remember that you're going to gain muscle weight; muscle is only more dense than fat. It takes up less space and gives you that lean and fit look.

Try not to concentrate on just one type of working out; being successful means finding some type of cardio that you like and some type of strength/weight training that you enjoy.  Being fit and healthy takes a combination of both types of training. Women: YOU WILL NOT GET BULKY IF YOU LIFT WEIGHTS. STOP THINKING THIS; IT IS A HORRIBLE MISCONCEPTION. Unless you are taking testosterone boosters or creatine, you will not get that body builder bulky look. If you are taking supplements, protein, or pre work out, don't be afraid to ask someone at GNC or Vitamin Shoppe or wherever you're shopping. Do your research; google is your friend.

Lifting weights, progressing to lifting heavy weights is good for your bone density (fight your osteoporosis risk!), good for fat burning and muscle building (turn that fat into muscle, remember, muscle is more dense, takes up less space, you want to look fit, lift weights).  Doing compound moves elevates your heart rate. There ARE ways to strength train that boosts your cardio levels enough to not actually have to do real cardio. Ladies, just promise me that you'll try to lift weights and lift heavy. It can only do good things for your body. Don't stay with those 3 to 5 lb dumbbells. If it's not challenging you, INCREASES THE WEIGHT! It won't bulk you up, it will lean you out! Want a good way to get into barbell work? Check out Body's a great FULL BODY strength class, great way to learn form and learn moves.  It is so empowering.

Find the cardio you like, and do it! Find healthy foods that you like to eat and eat them! Drink a ton of water! Learn to cook healthy and delicious foods that YOU LIKE! Make your own lunch for work or school-saves money and unnecessary fat and calories.

Enjoy being healthy! Don't restrict yourself, but don't cheat yourself. Progress at your own rate and progress WILL happen!

Here is my progress so far:

I started Body Pump last August or September; the bars weigh about a pound and my starting weights were just two 2.5 plates on the bar, so that was at 5 for everything. For tracks that reach 100+ reps on each muscle group, I am now squatting 25 lbs, benching 15 lbs (about to move that up to 20), tricep work is at about 15 lbs on presses, 7.5 on kickbacks, 10 on extensions. Lunging at 15 lbs (should be up at 20 soon), back track: dead lifts, clean, presses, bent over rows at 20 lbs (i could probably get up to 25, but I'm having grip issues), shoulder track is my most difficult track: 15 lbs on presses, working up to getting all my push ups on my toes, front and side raises still at 5 lbs each hand, rear delt raises at 7.5

Lately, I have started lifting heavier on weekends; I usually do dumbbell work and lift about 2.5-5 lbs heavier than I do during body pump; i usually do 3 sets of 15, so my body can handle the extra weight.

I'm working on my pull-ups with the machine assisted version right now. I struggled through 10 reps yesterday and am determined to keep going and work through that to be able to do real, unassisted pull ups.

I run; I train using the couch to 5K app. I find fun and inspiring 5K's to do. I spin because I am a 25 year old who never finished learning to ride a bike; my instructor is wonderful and fun.

I do kickboxing and body combat; challenging and fun classes. I like to pretend that I'm tough by pretending to fight 2 days a week.

I practice yoga for about 15 minutes every night to make absolute sure that I get good stretching and breathing in.  I also try to do an hour class every weekend.

I am crazy, i do work out 7 days a week for the most part. I do it because it feels good and it's a great release. I don't think that i HAVE to per se, but I like to. It's empowering and amazing to finish a work out, know that you did it, and that you're going to do it again soon. I take rest days when my body tells me that I need to.

Find what works for you and do it. Respect your body and love your body; make yourself the best you can be in every way possible.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Shiitake and Noodle Hot and Sour Soup

I am always amazed when I can make a dish that is from another culture that is passable to the palate.  Chinese food has been my favorite food literally forever.  Hot and Sour soup is an essential part of my Chinese food meals, so finding this recipe on Eating Well was really exciting for me. Perfectly executing this recipe was amazing.  I even bought the slow cooker liners so that I didn't have to clean a huge, annoying mess. This meal was a 100% win; even more so that it is relatively low in calories and unhealthy fats without any modifications.