Sunday, November 17, 2013

Free-kend/One-a-week

I've been slowly integrating many small changes into my daily routines, hoping to make a large impact on my life and my lifestyle.

I decided that it might be easier to change if I only made one change a week. That way I can keep going with the things I have already changed and just make one small adjustment to my current routine. A good comparison? The snowball effect.

Four weeks ago, I decided to start keeping a daily log of everything I eat, everything I spend, and all of my exercise. A week later, I started using my lunch breaks to go for long power walks. I've slowly increased my mileage until I now have a few different solid 4 mile routes. I can't even tell you how much my days have improved now that I take the time to step away from my computer and enjoy some fresh air. I listen to NPR podcasts and unwind and get my heart-rate up a bit.



But seriously....who WOULDN'T love to walk around this?!

Ballantyne Corporate Park

The week after that, I stopped taking the elevator. Still keeping my log. Still doing my daily walks.

Last week, I started flossing my teeth every night.

This week, I am going to start moisturizing my hands and feet every night before bed (they are starting to get cracked -- probably from my lunch walks while wearing Toms and also from the change in weather).

I know those seem to be very minor changes, but if I keep adding them up and adding them up, my whole daily routine will evolve into me taking better care of myself and my body and making the most of my days!

This weekend was another experiment -- I wanted to have a whole weekend where I didn't spend any  money. I normally drop a hundred dollars or so  on dining and entertainment and it becomes SUCH a budget buster!

On Friday, I made crockpot dinner with food I already had and we had dinner with friends. I spent $0! On Saturday, we made breakfast with food we both had in the fridge. I went to the dog park with Nala and then headed home and did a workout.




Sleepy Nala after a romp at the park and a bath.


On Saturday evening we, went to Treehouse Vineyards with a Groupon I had purchased a while ago. Hellooo free wine samples and a nice bottle of wine! Dan then purchased dinner at a cool restaurant called Bibi's.



Some vines at Treehouse Vineyards in Monroe.

This morning we had coffee and looked at rentals. In the afternoon, we used leftover ingredients to make nachos and then he watched football while I watched "Bomb Girls." Then we both worked out and spent the evening with my roommate and her family.

All in all, I spent less than $30. I bought a few random things here and there (my damn dog is sooo spoiled!) but didn't spend ANY money on food or entertainment. I am definitely going to try to have more Free-kends, because I ended up being $119 under budget for the week -- and would have been $219 under budget for the week if I didn't have to pay a deductible for my car repair.

I am quite happy with my ongoing progress -- I definitely feel that I have turned my life around since I moved down to NC. I'm feeling good and know that good things are ahead :)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Resolve Results

You may recall that I set quite a few goals for myself for this past week, and here are the results:

1) No grocery shopping: I did not spend a penny on groceries until we had to buy something for a party on Saturday and for Sunday breakfast. It was great to use a bunch of things I had hanging around in the cupboards and fridge! And I still have more to use up for this coming week!

2) No coffee: I did really well with this one. I drank a lot of tea this week (so obsessed with Market Spice Orange Cinnamon tea). When Saturday morning hit, I was jonesing for a Starbucks and got an iced coffee w/ creme brulee syrup and cream. YUM. 

3) No going out to eat: I only went out to eat for one meal this week (Friday night) for date night w/ my boo. I ate in for every other meal and brought a lunch every day this week.

4) Exercise every day: I walked/hiked 22 miles this week. I walked every work day during my lunch break and did  a 6 mile hike on Saturday. Today is Sunday and I haven't done anything yet...will maybe consider using the treadmill this evening.

5) Budget: I did spend $72 over my budget but there were  a few unusual expenses in there (having to fill up two tanks of gas, since I got a rental car that was on E the day after I dropped off my own car, which I had just filled) and a friend's 30th birthday that we obviously had to celebrate in style! 

I will say that keeping track of my budget has made me much more conscious of my decisions and how I try to rationalize a  lot of the things I want to buy to myself. I think it's important to recognize how so many small indulgences of things I tell myself I "need" add up. I am hoping to be under $350 for next week. We shall see!

I've been keeping a daily log of everything I spend, everything I eat, and my exercise for the day. I ordered a daily planner for 2014 so I can continue this tracking because I think it's important to track my behaviors so I can learn how to modify them and make better decisions in the future. 

This week's goals:

1) Spend under $350 for the week.
2) No going out to eat for the work week. Can go out to eat 1x over the weekend.
3) Exercise every day: a minimum of 30 mins/day -- okay to take one day off. Walk on lunch break (minimum of 2 miles) every work day (unless it's raining). Also, should do one hour of circuits at least three times this week.
4) No buying coffee.
5) Take the stairs every time.
6) Floss teeth every night.

Pretty similar to last week's goals, but also modified to account for the things I've learned this past week.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Slump & Resolve

I was in a major life slump last week. Minimal exercise -- totally pumped the brakes on my 30 day shred progress! -- terrible eating habits, and a bit of financial stress.

On Sunday, I looked at myself in the mirror and thought Self, these are ALL things that you can control. You have the materials and tools to build and sustain a wonderful life...why are you letting yourself live this way?!

The night was spent looking at mortgage rates, discussing the future, and taking a step back from myself to reassess myself.

Today marks exactly 5 months since I started working at Liberty in Charlotte and it is time for me to stabilize! I have taken care of all of the crazy abnormal expenses that come with moving and adjusting to a new lifestyle. Time for me to start making smarter decisions that will lead to a happier future for myself (and not to mention a happier day-to-day feeling!)

I woke up at 6 a.m. today. I was ready by quarter of 7....I'm normally not even out of bed by that time! But it felt good!

I made my breakfast/lunch, planned dinner, got gas and made it to work 30 minutes early.

Here are my resolutions:

For this week:

- No grocery shopping (except for produce). My cabinets are full of dry goods and I have a bunch of meat in the freezer. I don't need to spend money on groceries when I already have so many!
- No coffee. I will be drinking tea, instead. It's cheaper and less caloric.
- No going out to eat. This is an expensive and unhealthy habit. I should be making bigger dinners so I can have leftovers for lunch. I don't need to go out just to go out.
- Exercise every day. At least 30 minutes a day of walking and/or aerobic exercise. Need to get back into my videos for bigger impact and to maintain/strengthen the muscles I had built! And I need to keep doing my daily lunch walks to ensure that I'm stepping away from the computer and taking a breather.
- Budget. I should not be spending more than $350/wk. That is absurd for one person. I need to be saving and I need to not be dipping into my savings to pay off my credit card. This means I'm spending too much!!

Long term:

- Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes a day for a minimum of 5 days/wk.
- Maintain budget of spending under $350/wk every week. I should be saving $1000/month. If I'm not, I'm doing something wrong. I will be keeping a weekly log of all of the dollars I spend per week to ensure that I'm not going over budget or dipping into my savings.
- Limit going out to eat 2x/wk -- 1 lunch/wk and 1 dinner or breakfast/wk. That's it.
- Find more fun, free things to do. And creative ways to spend time w/ my boo that don't involve going out to eat or going out for drinks or spending money.




Thursday, October 24, 2013

Uber October Update

It is completely unintentional that I should update this blog exactly one month from my last update. Since that time, I have made small but positive changes in my day to day routine in an effort to Improve My Life.

But first, let's start with some pictures. Because those are clearly the most fun and inspiring part of this never-ending fitness journey!

Today, I've actually put some comparisons together for you (and for me).


 Changes I see: My chest and arms are definitely more muscular (thanks for all of the plank moves, Jillian!). My arms are more defined and my waist seems more streamlined. That and I'm smiling. Makes a big difference!
 Changes I see: It's funny how I always put my left elbow out farther than my right one. My back looks more tapered, there is less of a fat build up. My arms are definitely more defined.
Changes I see: I think my chest, arms, and abs look pretty legit in this pic. I finally have some definition in all three!

The craziest thing is that I haven't really changed sizes or weight from day 1 to now. I think the weight I'm at is the weight that my body is destined to be. I don't weigh myself anymore. I don't care about weight. I care more about how I feel and how I look (mostly how I feel). I am stronger, I am leaner, I feel better and more healthy. Those are the important things!

Now, the next portion of our show: IML Updates!

1) Do what needs to be done: It's official -- I am NC responsibility-free!!! Nala was spayed last week, all of my medical appointments are finally finally done, my car (aside from the hit and run damage I prefer not to think about) is all set with good ole NC and I can fully focus on building my life here without annoying administrative tasks hanging over my head.

I am making strides at work, settling in to a great life here and constantly searching for more and more ways to Improve My Life!

2) Maintain exercise of 3x/wk: This month has been GREAT. I just completed Day 16 of the 30 Day Shred. Once I've finished that, I will move on to the Ripped in 30 video. The possibilities are endless!

I've started doing a few things in the last week or so that I think are going to greatly improve my day to day and my overall fitness.
a) I've started drinking Kcup coffee instead of Starbucks -- cuts down on $$$ and calories. The KCups I've substituted are Donut Shop's 'Sweet & Creamy' -- they have sugar/flavor/cream in them already (magically) and are only 80 cals.
b) I've started taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator. I work on the 4th floor, which = 8 flights @ 13 stairs/flight. I am out of breath by the time I reach the top. Someday, I hope not to be! It's a small step, sure, but a good one!
c) I've started going for power walks during lunch. In the summer it was so hot and humid that I would do anything to avoid being outside and sweating like a hog. Now that it's fall and the weather is more temperate, I've been ungluing myself from my desk chair, putting on a podcast, and taking a nice 1 to 2 mile walk around the corporate park. I seriously think this is making me more productive. When I come back to my desk, I feel refreshed, almost as though I am starting the day from scratch. In addition, it tacks an extra couple of miles onto my daily workout regimen!

3) Make conscious food choices: I've been trying to go out for lunch a lot less. Going for walks instead of eating out = a lot healthier (and cheaper!). I've been making big meals and taking the leftovers in with me for lunch.

I've also switched over to Greek Yogurt for breakfast. I eat yogurt/fruit/kashi for breakfast every morning.

For dinners, I try to do high protein/veggie and low carb. Of course, I still allow myself to splurge (especially on the weekends!).

4) Enjoy my hobbies: Have done  a few crafty projects over the past month. Am knee deep in a few new books, which is great. Jumped wholeheartedly back into piano playing and ordered some new books, which actually just came in today! Can't wait to try them out! Have been busy and social and active and having a great time!

5) Keep my close friends close: Trying to keep in contact with people when I can! It's hard to find time to chat with everyone's schedules being crazy. Thank the lord for internet communications! Also, thanks to my mom and sister who both made the trek to come stay with me (and fill up!) my weekends this month! It was fun to be reunited and partake in some of our favorite pasttimes (shopping, vineyard-ing, eating out, bonfires).

6) Do what I can for my health: I've been slacking on the dental flossing a bit, but other than that, things have been great! I've increased my activity and made strides to keep my physical and mental health in check. Positive attitude FTW.

PS: It's currently 45 degrees out. Am I in the right state??

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

IML Updates - September

Pumpkin spice season is upon us! The days are cooler, the sun sets earlier, and the humidity has finally lifted! Things have been pretty busy and pretty fun this past month. Of course, I had my fair shares of fitness ups and downs...but when don't I?

1) Do what needs to be done: Finally! I'll all done with doctor's appointments, I am officially a Tarheel and have all of the necessary paperwork to prove that myself (and my car!) live and work here! Next up will be getting Nala spayed and after that, I'm pretty much home free in the responsibility department!

2) Maintain exercise goal of 3x/wk: Even though I often feel like I haven't been exercising very much, looking back at my daily mile account http://www.dailymile.com/training proves otherwise. I've been fairly consistent with my training. I've been meeting this minimum 3x/wk exercise goal.

In fact, I recently started doing the Couch to 5k program and so far so good! I am FINALLY doing my first 5k on 10/5 and have pledged to do a Sprint Triathalon next September, so I'll have to make sure I'm in tip top shape for that one.

One of my coworkers makes it a point to do a 5k every month, just to ensure that she's not getting rusty. I think this is a great idea and might steal it from her...

3) Make conscious food choices: I try (sometimes). This will forever be my downfall. I just love food. I love buying it, making it, serving it, eating it. In fact, I have a new dinner club -- we meet every Wednesday. Last week was homemade grilled pizza and s'more brownies! The week before was cheddar beer fondue and chocolate fondue. All delicious. All somewhat unhealthy.

And then there's this little thing called "going out to eat." It's a money suck and also a calorie bloat. But I just love it. It's social, it's fun, and there are so many amazing places to eat in this area. I know I could really IML if I cut back on this excess, but that would mean making a major life change. I'm not sure I'm ready to give that up just yet...

4) Enjoy my hobbies: I've definitely cut back on reading and music-making this month, not sure why. I have been crafty recently, which is nice. And doing a lot of travel. Spending a lot of QT w/ my pup and enjoying seasonal things. Overall, I'm pretty happy with my day to day.

5) Keep my close friends close: Definitely still trying to keep in contact with people via Lync, gmail, the phone. It's hard but I so care about preserving these friendships. It does suck knowing that I can't take a weekend trip to visit my friends and family because I'm in the middle of nowhere. I have to keep reminding myself that moving here was the best thing I've ever done for myself and my life...

6) Do what I can for my health: On it!

Heading to Seattle for a nice long vaca w/ the boy! While he's conferencing on Thursday/Friday, I'll be gym-ing it, spa-ing it, and shopping. What a life!

xoxo

Monday, September 16, 2013

PSL challenge

As if being a Gold Card holder (aka: congrats! you've spent a shit load of money on Starbucks!) weren't enough to get me in the drive-thru, they had to go and bust out my Achille's heel: PSL (Pumpkin. Spice. Latte. aka liquid crack). Now, I have modified this little baby to perfection. I do not actually order the PSL. I order an iced coffee with pumpkin sauce and 2% milk.



But it's addicting. Oh so addicting!

I crave it daily. I drink it (almost) daily. It is terrible for the wallet and more terrible for the body.

I need to break out of this SB rut. Therefore, I am challenging myself. Self: you are not to engage in any drinking of any form of the PSL for the next 7 days.

It's going to be hard. Sitting here at my desk, I am dreaming of the sweet elixir. But it's become necessary for me to wean myself off of this delicious coffee treat for a week just to prove to myself that I am not, in fact, an addict.

Wish me luck...


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Picture update - September Style

I seriously can't believe that it's already September. It feels like I moved here only one month ago, and yet it has actually been 3 months already -- one quarter of a year! I'm so excited to see what the fall and winter are going to be like here. And I'm most excited to eat SO MANY pumpkin things. My pinterest board is literally bursting full of pumpkin recipes.

The past month has had it's fair share of ups and downs in the nutrition and exercise department. If you look at my DailyMile , the last two weeks of August were REALLY good for me, with at least one workout a day. The week before was not so good - I only got in three workouts.

But overall, I am pretty happy with my continued progress. I got in a bunch of new videos this month and have been trying them all out and rotating them through my repertoire. It's keeping me from getting bored and also showing me some rad new moves!

Pixor time!

As of September 1, 2013:






Old School, January 1, 2012:



Thursday, August 22, 2013

Suits.

Nothing is more disheartening than feeling really good about how much you've been exercising and how well you've been eating than trying on a bathing suit that you thought looked okay on you a year ago and now looks wretched. I have a hard time believing it all has to do with perspective and the new standards I have for myself.

In other words, UGH.

Monday, August 19, 2013

IML Update - Halfway thru August

The first half of this month has been crazy-busy! I feel like I've had things to do every single day..though I'm not complaining.
My calendar - first half of the month is pretty full!
 
Of course, good intentions are often lost in the day to day scuffle. The start of every week inevitably leads to the start of new weekly resolutions.

For instance, this week I am trying to detox a bit before heading to Asheville for a mountain-cabin-spa-hiking weekend getaway here: http://www.thewaynesvilleinn.com/

In the last week, I spent way too much money on going out for coffee, so I'm trying NOT to go out for coffee at all this week. Additionally, I went out to eat on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday...and will be going out while away this weekend. Trying to eat low carb and healthy from Monday thru Friday. And finally, last week was NOT my best workout week. I am resolving to be better this week!

Now on to the good stuff!

1) Do what needs to be done: Getting my NC license plates is still hanging over my head, but I am not looking forward to having to use some of my FTO to make it happen, so I'm still procrastinating.

I DID, however, start a budget, and have redistributed my paycheck to ensure that I am saving more and spending smarter. I would like to be able to save an additionaly $10k by next June, which seems daunting but is also do-able.

I have two more doctor's appointments to attend to and then I should be in the clear for a while!

2) Maintain exercise goal of 3x/wk: I SERIOUSLY killed it in the start of August. I was working out every day at least once a day and several times I worked out both in the morning and before dinner. Last week was a bit lackluster -- I had 4 workouts, but definitely phoned it in.

I discovered a new bike trail system about 20 minutes from my house. And while the route is only about 6 miles on its own, we found some fun neighborhoods to ride through and are going to explore the area some more this coming Wednesday. http://www.carolinathreadtrailmap.org/trails

I've also ordered 6 new workout videos in the last month and am trying to slog my way through them so I can pick and choose my favorites and know which ones I have time to do when.

3) Make conscious food choices: This one is always a struggle. I know I have been going out to eat a lot this month, what with parents visiting and birthdays etc. The times that I do cook at home, I'd like to think that the meals I make are relatively healthy. I've been cooking pretty low carb and high veggie/protein. Even the desserts I'm making are health-conscious (like this berry crumble -- which is basically just berries, cabernet, brown sugar, oatmeal, and almonds)

The beginnings of a straw/blue/black berry crumble.
 
I definitely consumed WAY too much coffee for the good of anyone. I'm not one of those people who needs coffee to function. I don't crave it every day. I don't wake up with a headache if I don't drink it. I just plain and simple like the taste.Therein lies the problem, friends. The reason I like the taste of most coffee is because of the unhealthy crap that is loaded into it. My go to drink is a Grande Hazlenut iced from Starbucks with one pump of classic syrup (which is basically just liquid sugar, since I think normal sugar is too grainy) and cream. I also like taking a break and getting out of the office. Or just having something to sip on while I work. But, it's expensive, it's not good for me, and I don't need it. So I shall bid it adieu (at least for this week!).

4) Enjoy my hobbies: This month has been amazing. I got some new ink:


The royal suits :)
 
 I went for bike rides, to museums, went kayaking, visited with friends (and family!), went shopping, cooked, worked out, did some crafting, ate at some super fabulous restaurants, worked on some duets, spent QT with my boy and with my puppy, and just genuinely have had an enjoyable month so far!


Monsterface
The Bechtler Museum


Myself & my parents in NoDa
5) Keep my close friends again: Have been doing a somewhat okay job with this one. I've been trying to reach out to as many people as I can to make this happen, via text at the very least. Of course, GChat continues to be a god-send. There are some people who I can feel slipping away a bit and need to kick my communication w/ them back into high gear! But in general, I am quite satisfied with my current social life!

6) Do what I can for my health: I'm trying and will keep on trucking. Every day is a winding road.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Picture Progress - August

It's been nearly a month since I posted my last picture update!

The last four weeks have been full of ups and downs. I took nearly a week off from fitness due to having a terrible case of sinusitis followed by a bad medication reaction, both of which drained me of all energy and air. The week directly after that was full of friend visits and lots of going out to eat.

The last week has been a complete 180. I have been exercising every day for the last 10 days at least once a day if not 2x. I have actually started to super enjoy and look forward to my daily workouts in a way that I never have before.

Videos in rotation:

- Jillian Michaels "30 Day Shred" - an oldie but goodie. 25 minute workouts, 3 levels, circuit training
- Jillian Michaels "Ripped in 30" - another circuit training, 35 minute workouts, 4 levels
- Biggest Loser "Cardio Max" - up to 50 minutes of 3 levels of cardio (I do the whole video for max results)
- Biggest Loser "Power Sculpt" - up to 50 minutes of 3 levels of "sculpting" (I do the whole video)
- Jackie Warner "Power Circuit" - 40 minutes of intensive full body strengthening focusing on core muscle groups

I just ordered 6 more videos and can't wait to try them all out! Also going to invest in a kettle bell and some heavier weights.

And now, the results:

You may remember this sad sack: 1/9/12

Another view, 1/9/12

Definite progress as of 7/1/13

7/1/13

As of today 8/6/13

8/6/13

Just to prove to you that this is, indeed, me. 8/6/13
The results aren't totally drastic, for the aforementioned reasons, but I am definitely seeing some more muscle definition. Actually, the place I feel it the most is in my arms -- I should have flexed. Next time!

My back actually looks less in shape to me, but it could be the angle of the photo. I also see a huge difference in my hips (these pants did NOT fit me 1 month ago and now they are baggy at the hips) and my legs (I no longer hate my knees!).

I am super looking forward to seeing the photo progress one month from now. I better be able to keep this up!


Thursday, August 1, 2013

IML - A new month

Wow, it's August! Kids are already starting to prep for back to school and I feel like they just got out two weeks ago. Time flies when you're having fun :)

1) Do what needs to be done: Staying super on top of my bills. Just need to get my NC license and I will be golden. I went to the License Center on Tues hoping to get it taken care of and did not realize I would need the title for my car. Boooo waste of time.

New specs & sunlight
Have had several doctor's visits and established some primaries. Also had a Lasik eval and the doc advised I should wait another year before I get it, since my eyes are still changing. Kind of a bummer, but ended up getting some new glasses and will be having a fitting for contacts at the end of the month, which will be interesting.



2) Maintain exercise goal of 3x/wk: The last two weeks I have managed to just barely eke out 3 workouts/wk. Last week was particularly rough, with lots of chillaxin because I was pretty darn sick. I did do a bike ride on Saturday w/ my boy, which was fun (until he punctured his tire on some glass). Managed to get about 9 miles in before that fiasco.

Have decided to sign up for an all-female Tri with my roommate -- will be on September 22 and consists of:
- 250 yard swim
- 2 mile run
- 9 mile bike ride

A pretty nice beginner's Tri! I haven't been swimming in a really long time, so I need to start training for that and the running. Went for a run on Friday night and felt pretty good, minus shin splints. I think I did about a mile.

 

Post-run and feeling good!


This week is looking much more hopeful! I'm attempting to detox from a few day stretch of lots of eating out and little movement. Did the 30 DS on Tues, tried out Jackie Warner's 40 minute total body circuit last night, and did it again this morning -- hopefully to be followed by some of the Biggest Loser "Cardio Max" video tonight. Feeling good about this week so far!

3) Make more conscious food choices: I seriously don't even want to talk about this. Between Saturday and Tuesday, I probably ate out like 6 times.

"Detoxing" right now, starting yesterday. Had yogurt, kashi, and nectarine for breakfast and had a wedge of brie, dried apples, strawberries, and two slices of turkey for lunch. For dinner, made an egg white omelette w/ black beans, spinach, avocado, tomato, scallions.

Today is much of the same, methinks. Friday, will be going out for dinner for a birthday and hopefully the rest of the weekend will be spent cooking in and making smarter decisions.

Red velvet cream cheese cake balls were a bake sale success @ work!
4) Enjoy my hobbies: The last few weeks have been pretty crazy busy. I've been very social and spending a lot of time out and about, trying new things and visiting new places. I've also been on a really good reading kick and am currently reading 2 books. I've started reading every day during my lunch break, which is a nice change of pace for me. Been baking and cooking, as per usual.


My roomie said this cherry merlot cobbler was "better than sex"





5) Keep my close friends: I'm getting a little bit lost in the hustle and bustle of this life and not putting as much time and effort to keep in touch with people outside of the here and now. Need to work on that. Hoz visited this week, which was fun, and my parents will be coming up next weekend, so there's that. And thank god for GChat, a friendship saviour.

6) Do what I can for my health: Definitely started slacking on the tooth care this week and will need to pick that back up. Finally got over a 10 day stretch of being super sick and feeling lousy (which also accounts for some lack of exercising). Getting a good amount of sleep. Drinking a TON of water. Maintaining my exercise goal. Now all I need to do is be a big more dilligent with my "diet" and I'm golden!

Happy August!





Monday, July 15, 2013

IML: Halfway thru July

It is hard to believe that I have been here for almost 2 months by now. It is also crazy to think how much my world has changed in that time. I am overflowing with happy and life is great! And while my workouts have slowed down a bit, thanks to a budding social life, I am still pretty satisfied with my current regime and the fact that I'm keeping it part of my daily routine, no matter how hectic the days/nights become.

1) Do what needs to be done: Just about to send my final CT excise tax in mail..good riddance, you overpriced state!! Now I just need to go to the DMV and get my NC license plates and I will be officially transitioned over! Awesome. I also made appointments to see my first doctors in NC and (hopefully) end up having lasik, which will be an amazing life change (hello, glasses since 4th grade...)

2) Maintain exercise goal of 3x/wk: Since I moved here at the end of May, I have been able to meet this goal every single week, which is pretty awesome. I have a tumultuous workout history and tend to do some binge exercising for a nice stretch before falling off the wagon for an even nicer stretch. C'est la vie. But I'm proud of the fact that I have been able to meet this goal. Last week, I did Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred 4 days out of 7, which is pretty good, if you ask me! Looking forward to much of the same this coming week and the coming weeks after :-p

3) Make more conscious food choices: Things like birthdays, boyfriends, holidays, sister visits, and travel make for difficult meal management. I've had my fair share of ups and downs in this department (and mostly down this past weekend), indulging in sweet and savory goods and lots and lots of alcoholic bevvies. Starting the morning off right with some blackberries, fat free yogurt, craisins, almonds, and cashews. For lunch, I have truffle mac'n'cheese and a banana. Will be having an omelette with peppered pork, black beans, scallions, and rotel for dinner. Damn, I love menu planning.

Other planned meals:
Tuesday: peppers, mushrooms, onions & kielbasa w/ creamed spinach and whole wheat pasta
Wednesday: spinach artichoke dip stuffed chicken and sesame sauteed bokchoy
Thursday: spinach salad w/ chicken, sesame sticks, strawberries, craisins, gorgonzola, strawberry champagne dressing

Yogurt w/ fruit & nuts for breakfast. Every day.
Leftovers from dinners for lunch. Ever day.

Things to avoid:
- coffee w/ lots of sugar or other flavored syrups
- snacking (no more food @ my desk!!!! and get rid of this chocolate)
- soda

4) Enjoy my hobbies: got my piano/sing on this past week. Felt nice to launch back into the musical side of things. Listened to some sweet jams during a sweet roadtrip to a new place with great people. Did a pub crawl/scavenger hunt of epic proportions. Reading a really great and thought-provoking book ("Visible Man" by Chuck Klosterman). Did some cooking. Some eating out. Some eating in. Some puppy snuggling. Life is grand and I'm enjoying it all!

5) Keep my close friends close: I've maybe slacked a little in this department. Did not engage in two phone calls I was looking forward to. Boo to that. But I've been branching out and trying to make new friends. I (think?) I have a friend at work, which is cool. And of course, Boy and his friends are all phenomenal. So is my fam, who I talk to on the reg.

6) Do what I can for my health: I think this is the first weekend I've had in a long time where I didn't wake up Monday morning feeling sleep deprived. I got some epic sleeping in this weekend, mostly due to not having to worry about walking the pup in the a.m. (sorry, Monster! I still love you). I've still been flossing before bed on nights that I'm home (I know -- I can't believe it, either!). And I have some doctor's appointments scheduled that will hopefully lead to big some major bodily changes for me.

Overall, as I've said a hundred times in a hundred ways, Life Is Good. :) I hope it stays this way!


Monday, July 1, 2013

Life overhaul: a journey in pictures

It's that time again: progress photos.

As usual, pretty shocked by photographic evidence of improved fitness.

Let's not forget where I started in January, 2012 (ew):



By April, I had somewhat gotten my act together:



Life got a little crazy and by the time I moved to NC, I had taken a few steps back (photos taken on June 9, 2013):




Now, less than one month later and about 20 days in the 30 day shred and a whole lot of sweating, dog walking, and miscellaneous cardio, as of July 1, 2013:




Biggest differences: my back, hips, and my arms. SOOOO much better. I am in the best shape I've been in in about a decade (gross, I'm old). I look better, feel better, and I am never going back to January's sad sack. Hoping that by the end of this year, I'll just morph into Jillian Michaels :)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Detox

I have(had) been doing a pretty decent job of watching what I eat and working out 1-2x/day. As of Thursday, this all went to shit.

I left NC for DE on Thurs afternoon. I had Bojangles for breakfast, and a salad at ChikFilA for dinner (so delish!). The next morning, I DID do a sweet workout in the hotel gym, but that was followed by a tuna melt and fries at a diner and later followed by a portabello burger and fries @ Firefly.

We spent 7 hours in the car on Friday trying to get into the festival fairgrounds. Walked around a bit, saw 2.5 shows and peaced out.

On Saturday, we had McDonald's for breakfast and then spent about 10 hours walking the fairgrounds. I pretended to be healthy and got a spinach salad w/ strawberries for lunch. Then we went to Chipotle for dinner. At least I perspired all day and drank a ton of water?

Sunday was much of the same. McDonald's for breakfast, mango sorbet for a snack, and one pancake at 12 a.m. before heading out on the longest overnight drive of my lifeeee and drinking any coffee I came across. I danced my tailfeather off that day (even dancing in the rain/mud), so I'm pretty sure I got a good "work out" in. Proceeded to spend the next 10 hours in the car and got home around 11a.m. on Sunday, slept for 3 hours and actually had a semi-productive day!

Now, I'm trying jump back in to good diet and exercise. First, I must catch up on sleep. Tonight I think I'll do some 30DS and pretend to eat healthy.

IML Update:

1) Do what needs to be done: Got my license in the mail! Now I just need to register my car and get new plates and I am officially a resident! Transferred my insurance and health insurance over last week and the to-do list is dwindling! Go me.

2) Maintain exercise goal of 3x/wk: Despite a crappy ending to my week, I did manage to get in 4 workouts (3 30 DS days and 1 day @ the gym).

3) Make more conscious food choices: I know I made some really bad food choices, but I also tried not to pig out TOO much. In the scheme of things, I didn't eat as terribly as I could have.

4) Enjoy my hobbies: finally baked a loaf of bread! Taking my puppy on nightly walks, went to Firefly festival, reading, writing, piano-ing....life is good! Now I just need to get back into biking/find somewhere to hike and I'll be even better!

5) Keep my close friends: g-chatting, skyping, texting the days away! My goal is definitely to make some more friends in this area. My roommate is gone until Thursday and if I weren't so exhausted, I would definitely be bored. Good thing I got a dog? She can be my friend.

6) Do what I can for my health: In the process of recovering from a crazy long weekend. Need to catch up on sleep, get back in my normal routine. I have to get back on the exercise train for a few days before I post my 15 day 30DS results (not as big of an impact after 5 days of doing nothing, I'm afraid!).

Stay tuned...


Monday, June 17, 2013

a better version of me

I have now officially been a Tarheel for 3 weeks.

I am still so happy and thankful for the positive changes in my lifestyle.

IML Update:

1) Reduce stress: Honestly, I might as well remove this category from my updates. I have never been a very high stress person and I continue to not be stressed whatsoever. I DID have to take the NC Driver's test this week and took Nala for her first vet's visit, so I'm getting things accomplished, which is good! I make daily to-do lists and I love crossing things off. Maybe I should change this category to: "Do what needs to be done" -- this might make more sense for me!

2) Maintain exercise goal of 3x/wk: In the last 7 days, I have worked out 6 days (1 day of rest) and done a total of 13 workouts. http://www.dailymile.com/people/MeganG148#ref=tophd

Today will mark Day 8 of Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred, though it is more of a "Shred every day for the rest of my days" than a measured workout. The roomie and I are graduating to Level 2 tonight and I am upping my weights from 3 to 5. It is going very well and I think I am starting to see some results! Too bad I'm going away from Thursday thru Sunday...definitely going to disrupt my routine. Might take my laptop to the hotel with me and do it in the mornings....

In addition, I've been biking and trying to get back into running. Last night I ran two miles on the treadmill only to be haunted by my arch nemesis, the shin splint. Today I am ordering some compression socks that will hopefully protect my shins a bit and optimize my blood flow.

3) Make more conscious food choices: I've been pretty good since I moved down here! High protein diet with lots of veggies and fruit, minimal simple carbs, only drinking coffee (1cup/day) and water the rest of the time (SO much water!). I've been cooking like crazy, which is super fun. On tonight's menu, I am making eggplant stuffed chicken breast in truffle oil and garlic asparagus. Probably to be followed by angel food cake with strawberries and cool whip...yum!

4) Enjoy my hobbies: Puppy time, biking, piano playing, reading, socializing, cooking..what more could a girl ask for? (I should be doing more crafting and less shopping).

5) Keep my close friends: Still in pretty constant contact with several friends. Making concerted effort to text people and talk on the phone and send emails. So excited that my sister and friend Kelly are coming to visit for 4th of July weekend (17 days and counting!!). I'm also going up to Delware for the Firefly Music Festival this coming weekend and will be reunited with two friends, as well!

I am trying to make friends here, but it's definitely tough. I have mainly been meeting people through my roommate, which is great. I'm hoping to forge some new friendships with coworkers and break out into the dating scene and make some friends that way, as well. It is really easy to talk to people down here, so any time I go out, I make it a point to strike up conversation with strangers. You never know who you might meet!

6) Do what I can for my health: I feel (and apparently look - based on reactions to a recent photo I posted) so much healthier! I have been spending a lot of time outside, religiously working on my fitness, eating healthier, sleeping well, enjoying a lot of "me" time, and (surprisingly!) maintaining a pre-bedtime routine that includes flossing. Who am I?! As Fiona Apple would say "Here it comes, a better version of me."

Monday, June 10, 2013

Shred

I am so happy to be moved and settled into a perfectly balanced life between structured routine and chaos. So far, I am LOVING living in N.C. And my roommate is fabulous!

Prior to the move, my workouts became infrequent as I struggled to cram in as much of my CT "bucket list" as possible. A few bike rides and hikes made their way into my life, but I certainly wasn't keeping up with the fitness routine I had been maintaining for several weeks before that.

Now that my life is coming together, I am making it a priority to take good care of myself, which is much easier when you have a) a puppy to take care of who requires a somewhat strict schedule b) less late nights spent hanging out with friends and resulting in sleep deprivation c) a much longer commute requiring that I wake up earlier.

IML updates, N.C. style!

1) Reduce Stress: I think I will fit right in in the south. I have always been a pretty low-stress person and am even more laid back now that I am amongst my kind of people. Peace out, New England anxiety-ridden folk!

2) Maintain exercise goal of 3x/wk: I have definitely been active every single day since I moved here. Having a puppy ensures I take at least 3 walks a day. I have also been biking a few times with my roommate or to run errands, have run on the treadmill, done some lifting, and started a new workout routine as of yesterday. As far as biking goes, I definitely need to find some nice long stretches of less-populated roads to take longer rides on and also want to explore some "greenways" -- which are the equivalent of the Rails to Trails in N.E.

In other news, my roommate and I are powering through Jillian Michael's 30 day shred! Last time I started it, I was doing pretty well until I re-sprained my bad ankle, so womp womp to that. Now that I am waking up at 6 every weekday to get ready for work, doing a nice 20 minute workout first thing in the morning is a great way to jump start the day. I am going to do all three levels of the shred, so it will technically be a 90 day shred. I'm looking forward to seeing some results!

3) Make more conscious food choices: I am eating way more healthily than I have in a while. Long gone are the days of traveling every weekend and eating out 3x +/wk. I have been having yogurt or oatmeal with fruit and nuts for breakfast, packing healthy lunches, and eating dinner at a more reasonable hour. I've also totally cut out snacking, mostly because I'm too busy to be sitting around getting hungry. I have been drinking approx 3x the amt of water since moving here, mostly because it's so hot/humid and I need to stay hydrated.

I am already seeing some results and think I have probably shed about 5 lbs already since I moved here, all thanks to my shift in lifestyle.

4) Enjoy my hobbies: I seriously love it here. All of the people I've met are super nice. I've been swimming and biking and reading and decorating and shopping and cooking and playing with my puppy/neighborhood children (can you believe I actually like these kids. Who am I?!). I've been busy and active and social and this is pretty much the life I have always wanted for myself. Next on the docket: make more friends!

5) Keep my close friends close: I have been making a concerted effort to keep in touch with my "home friends." I've had several long phone calls with my family and friends and sent many a text. Now if only I can convince all of you to come visit me...

6) Do what I can for my health: I feel GREAT. I am getting the perfect amount of sleep, exercise, and food intake. I am keeping up with a good dental routine. And, as always - creating happiness is the best thing you can do for your body. And right now I am overflowing with happy.

Stay tuned for some 30 DS shred results...took my Day 1 pictures and will post progress @ Day 15.

<3 br="">

Friday, May 17, 2013

The hard way

I have been pretty lazy for the last week and a half. Perhaps lazy isn't the right word for it. Busy? Unmotivated? Something.

Last week, I exercised three times - if you can call it that. I went for two hikes on Friday and walked 4 miles on Sunday. I definitely exercised my digestive muscles more than the rest of my body.

This week was off to a rather sedentary start, as well. And the weather took a turn for the cold and dreary.

On Thursday, the temperature spiked back up to a warm and sunny 77 degrees and I mounted my bike for the first ride in a few weeks.

I knew this might be my last chance to ride the Farmington Canal, so I wanted to go farther than I have been going since the start of the season. This meant one thing: conquering the dreaded, awful, terrible hill that I normally stop at.

Things were going well. The sun was shining, bugs were hurtling themselves at me, I was working up a good sweat and feeling pretty good. The hill was glorious to go down and I kept going and going until I got over 10 miles and realized it was nearing 7 oclock.

The way back was miserable. I managed to conquer the hill just fine, only having to drop down to 3rd gear to make it up that long and steadily inclining beast. But I started to feel the twinge in my foot, the twinge that could only mean one thing: impending foot cramp.

Every time I do a long bike ride, I end up getting debilitating foot cramps. My toes curl up, my leg shakes, it feels like someone is running over my foot with a car. I sometimes briefly consider amputation because the pain is so unbearable. I try to walk it off to no avail. It sometimes leaves me in tears. It is miserable.

I could feel the muscles in my feet start to twitch. I was still over 8 miles from my car. I hopped off, walked a little bit and realized that at my pace of 2.3 miles/hour it would take me until 10p.m. to get to my car if I had to walk the whole thing. I hopped back on and began the race...with myself.

Racing against your own body is a terrible thing to have to do. My hands grew sweaty, I felt anxious and nervous that my feet would seize up at any time. I pedalled faster than I have in a long time, with an average speed over 15 mph (my normal speed is approx 12.5). I just kept telling myself to go go go go go.

I was afraid to move my feet at all on the pedals or shift the pressure of my body against my foot. I was afraid to stop, I was afraid to keep moving. I counted down the miles. By the time I reached the 2 mile point, I knew things would be okay if I had to walk the rest. But I didn't. I reached the finish line, ripped my shoes off, and proceeded to get a miserable cramp in my left foot that spasmed for over 20 minutes.

Apparently, this is a common affliction. I read a lot about cycle-induced cramping when I got home. I may consider getting a primary care and seeing if they will prescribe me a low-dose muscle relaxant to take before I do a long ride for preventive purposes.

Here's a great article I found about these cramps:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/202134-how-to-prevent-cycling-leg-cramps/

And here are some snapshots from my ride yesterday:


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

IML Update - 21 days and counting

I cannot even believe how quickly time has flown by. In exactly 3 weeks, myself and all of my worldly belongings will be loaded and transported hundreds of miles south to start a whole new life.

At this time, I'm feeling pretty neutral about the move. I know that I can be happy anywhere I'm sure I will find new places and people to enjoy, but dammit N.E., you and your loveliness are creeping up on me!

I have spent the last month doing this (and loving every second of it):






I will certainly be sad to leave these beautiful trails and good times behind.

1) Reduce Stress: All is clear on the stress frontier!

2) Maintain exercise goal of 3x/wk: I KILLED it this week - doing a total of 49 miles between 2 bike rides, 1 run, and a ton of hikes.

3) Make more conscious food choices: I ate pretty alright last week, with lots of pre-planned meals and light lunches/dinners. This week (so far)...not so much.

4) Enjoy my hobbies: Last week was a whirlwind of awesome. I spent a lot of time with friends, made new friends, visited CT vineyards, enjoyed all sorts of food, went hiking and biking, enjoyed the sun, listened to good music, baked, and went shopping.

5) Keep my close friends close: All of these wonderful people keep reappearing in my life and I have to keep asking myself why I have been living here for over a year and now is the time I choose to reconnect...

6) Do what I can for my health: I feel great about my health at this time. I am drinking lots of water, exercising, flossing. I've cut down on snacking SO much since I moved here. I have minimized my stress and anxiety. I am down 12 pounds since I moved here. I have gained so much physical confidence. I have walked and biked and run so many miles I never thought I would see. In the last year or so, I have become a new person. And I like this new me.

Things to look forward to:
- road trip w/ Senor
- settling into new home (and decorating it, obviously)
- meeting SO MANY new people
- wearing dresses. every day.
- finding new places to hike and bike
- exploring my new home

Things I'm hoping to do in the next 3 mos:
- Jillian Michael's 30 day shred
- first 5k
- half century (longest ride to date is 31 mi)
- lose another 5ish lbs?
- find myself a wonderful southern gentleman
- continue on this path to self improvement



Monday, April 29, 2013

IML Update: 30 day countdown

In exactly 30 days I will be heading South. It is terrifying and exciting and heartbreaking and awesome.

As I make my way through my New England "bucket list," I am overcome with love for this place and all of the people I have met throughout the years. It is hard for me to convince myself that I can love a new place and new people as much as the ones I am leaving behind, but I am approaching this with a positive attitude. This is an amazing opportunity for me to clean slate my whole life. So while of course I will miss everything about this life, I know there are new and wonderful things to come!

Now on to the good stuff...

1) Reduce Stress: Again, pretty stress-free. Not looking forward to packing and doing some last-minute administrative stuff, but not really under any pressure --- yet.

2) Maintain exercise goal of 3x/wk: SOOOO beyond thrilled with this shift in weather. I hiked on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this week, went on a few walks, two bike rides, and one gym session. I did a total of 31 miles and looking forward to doing so many more this week.

3) Make more conscious food choices: I've been pretty alright this week. I've definitely been making a concerted effort to eat more balanced meals and not snack/binge. I've been trying to be more conscious about "eating until I am no longer hungry" rather than "eating until I am full" - which I have heard is the main difference between European and American eating habits. I think it's pretty interesting.

4) Enjoy my hobbies: I recently got into baking and have been baking up a storm, which is so fun! I had a great week enjoying the great outdoors, some great friends, the sunshine, Margaret Atwood, music, shopping, and general relaxing. Many lovely days this week -- including two half days from work!

5) Keep my close friends close: My life has literally been bursting with friends - old and new. I have had plans almost every day for the last month or so and have loved every second of it. It has been wonderful to reconnect with people and grow closer with people in my everyday life. I am going to be quite sad to leave this area and all of those friendships, but have faith that those friendships will not end just because I'm no longer 2hrs or less from everyone. That is definitely something that I have taken for granted in the past :(

6) Do what I can for my health: My job is a daily reminder of how fragile the human body is. I am so thankful for my health and am doing what I can to ensure that I stay that way - healthy. Fitness is certainly an important aspect and I feel more fit than I have in a long long time. My diet is (for the most part) healthy these days. My activity level has greatly increased in the past few weeks, even. My mental health is in great shape. I am sleeping well, maintaining dental health, drinking lots of water, and listening to my body and it's wants/needs.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Monthly Progress

Another month, another progress update.

1) Reduce Stress: I don't know how this is possible, but I pretty much feel stress-free these days. I'm thinking I should enjoy this while it lasts.

2) Maintain exercise goal of 3x/wk: Knocked it out of the park! Went for a 3 mi run on Monday, a 3 mi hike on Tues, a 2 mi walk and 15 mi bike ride on Wed, 6 mi at the gym on Fri, and 3 mi at the gym on Saturday. Niiiice. 

3) Make more conscious food choices: I did a lot of cooking this week and loved it! I whipped up some angel hair w/ sauteed veggies and grilled chicken, pepperjack spinach artichoke dip, and mussels a la vodka sauce this week...yum! I also had a few indulgences in going out to eat with friends/coworkers, but overall don't feel bad about my diet this week.

4) Enjoy my hobbies: I had a wonderful week -- went biking, hiking, visited with friends, shopped, cooked, watched some great movies, finished a novel, and am currently working on writing my own!

5) Keep my close friends close:  Had a DELIGHTFUL social week/end and looking forward to many more days of friends coming up soon! Definitely getting a little sentimental/sad about leaving New England.

6) Do what I can for my health: Keeping up my dental regimen and had a dentist visit this week, also started doing some tooth whitening. Got a lot of sleep and have definitely been pampering myself. Working out, getting sun, feeling good!

--

Monthly progress pics! As you may recall, starting pic:




Last month's pics (March 9, 2013):


And this month's pics:

Changes I see: my awesome tattoos!! I think my upper back (right under the bra) has smoothed out a bit...no more back rolls like I had in the first pictures! My arms are definitely getting more defined muscles. I think my stomach looks pretty much the same, but I'll keep considering it improvement if it doesn't go back to the way it used to look.

In terms of measurements, when I started my fitness journey I was at 32" waist, 38" bust, 45" hips.

As of yesterday, I'm at 31" waist, 38" bust, 43" hips. Not huge changes, but I'll take it. And despite the lack of changes in my clothing size, weight, and measurements, the way I feel these days is 1000" and lbs better than I did before :)