…in pursuit of what makes life good.

Hitting Refresh for 2016

January14

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The holiday season hit me hard. After finishing a marathon on December 6th, I took the required week off of running to rest and recover and then blamo! the holidays hit. With little time for exercise and lots of parties and events, the pounds slowly started inching on. I gained a total of 10 pounds in the course of a few weeks. Yikes! So needless to say it was time to hit the diet and exercise hard. I thought I would share a bit about my plan here to encourage anyone else who may need to rethink their eating and exercise and to hold myself accountable.

Diet Plan: One could summarize my plan by saying it’s low-sugar, low-carb, and high in lean protein and tons of vegetables. When I say low-carb, I mean that I am not eliminating it completely, but sticking to healthy, minimally processed carbs as much as possible. I do eat whole wheat bread and pasta but really try to limit the amount as much as possible. I eat three meals a day and two snacks, spaced evenly out by 2-3 hours. I allow myself one cheat meal a week and one beer if I want it. This way I don’t deprive myself of some of the foods I love (popcorn at the movies and my once a month steak) and end up bingeing. Here is an example of a typical day:

Breakfast:

1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup blueberries
1 teaspoon crushed walnuts

Snack:
1 low-fat string cheese
2 slices of low-fat ham

Lunch:

Large salad with chicken breast, low-fat feta, and vinaigrette
1/2 roasted yam or a piece of whole wheat bread

Snack:
Apple
1 tbs almond butter

Dinner:
Chicken breast or fish
Steamed broccoli or green beans
Brown rice sometimes

Dessert:
1 square of dark chocolate

So that’s it. I like to think of it as eating as clean as possible, by avoiding most processed foods. I do allow myself some low-fat cheese for the added protein and although I’m avoiding most fats, I do incorporate a small amount of healthy fats, like olive oil and nuts.

Workout Plan: I am not running as much right now because I felt a little burnt out on it from the marathon training, but I’m having a blast going to the gym for cycling classes. I try to do cardio at least five days a week. I want to maintain that endurance base that I built up during my training. The other key to my plan is weightlifting. I let it go completely during my training and now I am focusing on regaining that strength that I had. I actually really enjoy weightlifting so it has been fun challenging myself. I am mostly doing Body Pump classes twice a week at the gym until I get back into the groove of it and then I will start doing solo lifting sessions and maybe get back to rock climbing.

My goal is to lose the holiday weight, then see if I can lose about 8-10 more pounds after that. I started on January 4th and I plan on continuing this strict schedule for at least three months. Once I have lost the weight, I will shift gears and try to maintain it as best I can.

Photo by Anna Howard Studios

The Accidental Adventurer

July21

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Or Alternate Title: How a girly-girl discovered a love of the great outdoors.
So far, 2015 has been the year of adventuring. I did say that was one of my new year’s resolutions, so I’m succeeding at least to follow through with that part of it. The thing is, I continue to surprise myself every time I try something new. I was never the outdoorsy type. Being fair skinned and easily burned with a protective mother, I shied away from being outside a lot. I discovered a love for running and being active about 8 years ago. Sure, I have had gym memberships and run a lot outside, but until recently that was the extent of what I would do to be fit and active.

This year, that concept is changing. I’ve tried snowshoeing, rock climbing, mountain biking, I signed up for my first marathon and rediscovered my love of horseback riding. I’m learning to be open-minded about trying new things. I’m discovering the balance between my body being strong enough to achieve something (which is capable of a lot more than I thought!) and my mind believing I can.

Don’t get me wrong, I still get girly about things on occasion. I complained incessantly when my boyfriend and I went on a hike that was plagued by mosquitoes. It was on that same trip, though, that I came across a big rock and decided I needed to climb it, thus the beginning of my love of climbing. I still choose cute workout clothes over practical stuff because, you know, photos. And always sneak in a little makeup even if most of it’s going to melt off my face. I want to do all these amazing things but my vanity wants to look good while doing it. It’s like I have two sides of me that compete for attention. I’m a girly girl with a badass outdoor woman inside trying to break free. Does that sound too Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Ha!

What I appreciate the most about this new adventurous side of me is how much I’m learning about myself; my capabilities and my limitations. There was one mountain bike ride my boyfriend and I went on that I met my limit. It was too technical (rocks and stairs and very steep climbs) and my lungs felt like they were going to explode or I was going to fly from my bike and hit a tree. I felt defeated a bit when I told him I could go no further, but now I’m excited to try it again after I feel a bit more comfortable on my bike.

When a friend of mine asked me recently if I want to try standup paddle boarding in the ocean, I said “No way, the ocean scares the shit out of me!” then I realized a few days later that somehow my mind had been changed and that in fact, I do want to try that. Fear is still a big factor in what I’m doing. There have been many times that I’ve been afraid of wiping out on my bike, falling from the rock wall, sliding off a cliff of snow in my snowshoes, or just somehow meeting an untimely end. My pride fears looking like a fool, or a weakling, or unfit, or generally not good enough. But then I realize, I’m out there, doing it, pushing myself to be better and that every mosquito bite, sunburn, scratch or bruise is a battle wound; a reminder to myself that I’m stronger today than I was yesterday and to keep going for it.

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