Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I might not understand, but I know it's right

Hey everyone!

Valentine's Day is around the corner and this story is somewhat a tribute to this day. Instead of rambling on I'm just going to dive right in to the story.

When I was a senior in high school I lost my mom to breast cancer. This was without a doubt the hardest thing in life I've ever dealt with. However, instead of staying sad and pained and incapable of existing without positivity, I continued to live my life. Just like my mom would want me to. I spent the next year in Israel where I learned about religion, and above all things, what I consider to be the most important yet hardest lesson in my life to understand. That lesson is, "everything happens for a reason." Whether i know the reason now, learn why ten years in the future, or maybe never know, there is a reason for everything in this world. I told my sister this idea, and naturally her response was, "what was the reason for what happened to mom?" Just the thought of the tragedy was, and still is a wound that may never heal/ I still don't know the answer why but I'm sure I will come to understand much later in life.

What really brought me to talking about this subject was a podcast I listened to this morning called, "Harder To Kill Radio." It's another fantastic podcast discussing ways to become the best version of yourself possible. Towards the end of the interview the host asked her guest, "what advice would you give your 20-year-old self?" This got me thinking. Though I'm only a few years over 20 I'm sure I could have done something better before. So I looked back the the cause and effect timeline of my life, especially in regard to health, fitness, and happiness, and then it all made sense. I should have told myself not to drink sodas. However, sodas caused me to gain weight and become unhappy with the way I looked which forced me to make changes for the better. I should have told myself not to drink so much alcohol, but I learned I prefer to live life through a sober eye with so many new adventures to experience and goals to accomplish.

A few years ago I was in a relationship. We were together while I was living in Israel and then when I started college in Mississippi. She moved away to school as well which made our distance greater. Through the years of our relationship we grew as individuals, but not as much as a couple. We'd grow so fast that during the one or two weekends a month we'd see each other it was as if we were spending time with a completely new person. There were things I wanted to do and activities to enjoy at school and in life. My issue was I didn't want to upset her in any way, so I would avoid having the fun I wanted. I hate being the cause of someone else's pain and chose to sacrifice my own happiness for her.

One night it all ended. We were skyping and she terminated the relationship. I was shocked, hurt, I even cried. But the next day, I wasn't completely devastated. Yes, my entire life just changed overnight, but I also felt free. Somehow I knew this wasn't the perfect relationship for me. We didn't have much in common toward the end and it was time for a change. Over the years my friends would ask why I never ended it, why I'm still with the girl and all those questions single friends typically ask their taken friends. I thought it was because I was happy but I now understand it's because everything happens for a reason and I was waiting for the right one; the perfect girl.

This is one of the biggest, most obvious examples in my life of the idea that everything happens for a reason. I was in this relationship for several years. I did poor in school (coupled with a concussion) which sent me back to Dallas. The classes I took in Dallas were not the best for me so I didn't pay enough attention and even skipped some classes, sometimes to go on a few dates. After all is said and done, all the pain and choices (some might have seemed bad at the time) have brought me to find the perfect girl.

On behalf of Valentine's Day, and wuv, twue wuv (whether or not you understand the reference everyone should rewatch the Princess Bride) I hope no one ever stops looking for their true love. And remember, no matter if you don't understand right away or even if you never will, if it's great or if it's horrible, everything in life happens for a reason.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, February 4, 2016

That's one crossed off the list

Hey everyone!

Mitch here.

I've never written a blog pos, so this is a new learning experience for me. The other day I decided to come up with a bucket list and one item on the list was to create a blog or podcast. I definitely don't have the equipment, or funding, or a large enough following to justify a podcast, so here I am cowriting this blog with my lovely girlfriend Ashley.

Considering this is my first post and y'all don't know me all too well, allow me to give you a brief narrative of how we came to this point in time.

Several months ago, three of my best friends and I decided to recreate a drinking game from one of our favorite tv shows. Needless to say, we had a fun time. This was one of the last hangovers I had and one of the last ones I ever wanted. There are a potentially countless number of times I've said the phrase, "I am never drinking again", but I guess I never really meant it. This drinking game was the catalyst for some great changes. I wanted to become the best version of myself, and the best part was that I didn't make this a new year's resolution. Resolutions never really stick, but I was determined to make this a permanent fix.

The first thing I did was cut out alcohol almost entirely (not completely, everyone needs to cut loose once in a while, but my once in a while has become maybe once every month or two (if that). The next thing I did was not only drink more water, but drink better water. My friend, Artie introduced me to reverse osmosis water and my recent obsession, alkaline water. I'm up to over a gallon a day. The next thing Artie and our friend Dylan turned me on to was ONNIT!!!! Onnit is all about total human optimization (their line, but I wish I thought of it myself). Onnit is one of my favorite companies and I encourage everyone to check them out; for everyone from supplements to apparel to food stuffs.

The most interesting enhancement move I made was listening to podcasts. I love music. I love making music, writing music, and listening to music whenever I get a chance. One day I came to a realization. I'm not currently in school, I'm not studying anything other than shoes and random fitness articles. If I'm too ADD to focus on reading for more than 10 minutes I might as well find a way to learn something new. A day without learning is a day wasted. I traded music for podcasts. I started with the Joe Rogan Experience and it is still by far my favorite. I also included StarTalk with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Stuff You Missed in History Class, and all the TED talks my phone could hold. Now my conversations become a legitimate discussion rather than small talk.

Of all the things I have done to make myself the best version of me possible is learn to be happy with who I am. I always want to be a better version of who I am but knowing that it's a long journey ahead I must be satisfied with who I am now and strive for success and improvement in all my endeavors.

This brings us to the present. Now that I see the world through a more sober eye, there are so many more things I want to accomplish in life other than getting drunk again and again. I came up with a bucket list and made the accomplishments a bit more specific thanks to some inspiration from a book and website called "Level Up Your Life." With this being my first blog post I can officially cross off one item from my bucket list and try to find new things to add. There's too much in this life to have an end to my list so just as this blog will continue, so will my list.

Here's to the start and keeping it going


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Starting Up Again

It's been nearly 2 years since I've blogged. A lot has changed in 2 years, but I'm back with a few new additions: my boyfriend, Mitch, who will be blogging as well, and our 2 dogs: Lemon and Pepper.

We met last April and fast forward to now, we have merged our individual journeys to be healthier and live a healthy lifestyle. I'm not going to go into the wonderful 9 months that we've had, but I will say that I am grateful every day for meeting him and so happy to be with him.

I'm back on a new version of my old journey to being healthy. Today marked an important, but pretty scary day. I'm 27 and having what I call random annoying health issues almost daily now: migraines, nausea, neck/hip/skeletal pain, thyroid issues, weight gain/plateaus, trouble sleeping, etc etc...all of this even in our new found resolve to eating healthier and living healthier. I was at the chiropractor today and found out that my neck has no curvature in it. A normal person's neck has a 45 degree natural curve-mine is straight and pre arthritic; NOT what you want to hear at 27 years old..or ever. Along with inflammation up and down my spinal cord, this is causing or aggravating most of the issues that I've been having for the past 10 years.

Basically when your vertebrae and spinal cord are compressed out of their natural curve, everything gets compressed and smushed; the ligaments and nerve endings are compressed like kinks in a hose, so the fluids, nutrients and impulses necessary to keep us mobile, feeling good, and functional don't get to where they need to go in the proper amounts. It's no wonder that I've been feeling so crappy for so long.

The good thing is, I have found a great (new) maximized living chiropractor who will be working with me to adjust my body back to how it should be as well as working with me to create a lifestyle that supports these healthy adjustments. I now also have Mitch who is going to make my lazy ass do whatever therapy I am given so that I can get back to normal. (Yes, I also see doctors who have prescribed medications to remedy these issues, but there are other things associated that can help relieve them-this is my goal here. I've been denied visits to doctors because my levels were not "bad enough" to warrant seeing a specialist, so here we are)

This blog SHOULD be chronicling our creative improvisations into leading a healthy lifestyle. I hope you enjoy it, I hope it inspires you. We want to better ourselves and enrich our lives. We want to explore, be healthy, and have fun. We are also normal people who hold jobs, struggle on occasion, but still want to enjoy all that we have.

I want to be honest about the difficulties of being healthy and staying healthy within the pressures that we put on ourselves; I want to explore different ideas, I want to share, and I want to take suggestions. Let's be real, because often what we portray to others isn't real and it creates a rift as well as the need to be perfect all the time. Let's face it, that's not possible

I'll stop here because I'm rambling; I have a lot to say, but it doesn't truly belong here yet.

Thanks for reading, let's get this thing going...but first, to work on getting an actual real night of sleep.

Still working on a new name for the blog.


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