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 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 :)

Monday, April 8, 2013


Bodies are crazy. They are capable of so many things. There are so many things that can go wrong with them. They are so complex  and yet, as owners of our bodies, we tend to simplify our actions by not being more aware of what each action requires.  Typing, in our minds, means putting our fingers on keys and moving them. But it is so much more than that. So much happens within our bodies that we cannot even begin to comprehend.

My body is constantly reminding me of it's power over me. Reminding me that no matter what, I don't really have control over it. I make some decisions regarding where my body goes, what it does, what goes into it, how it moves, but if it - at any point - doesn't want to do any of those things, it will protest.

Last week, I had an amazing week full of skinny days, strong days, fast days. There were several days where I felt really good about my progress, about my weight, about my agility and strength and speed.

Today, I had a really shitty run. It was jolting to think that I had been taking those miles for granted or perhaps being overconfident in my abilities.

I would like to blame my new sneakers for this shitty run, but what if it's not the sneakers? What if it's me? What if my body just couldn't run today, for whatever reason? Strange to think about.

Now, on to my sneaker review.

So I have owned my Reebok Realflexes for a bit over a year. I have really enjoyed running in them. They are lightweight, comfortable, and very flexible. They are not good for hiking or biking, but they are great gym shoes. I had read that you should get new sneakers every few hundred miles and thought it might be time to retire the old gals. Plus, new shoes are fun.

Throughout my running career, I have battled with shin splints or general calf pain. I stumbled across the Asics Neo Gel 33 running shoes, which had 4.7 star review averages with thousands of reviews, which I thought was pretty impressive. They were also touted as being really good for relieving shin splints, due to the cushioned gel sole. I thought I would give them a whirl.

They might not look that different to the naked eye, but I couldn't believe how incredibly different they felt. The first time I put on the Asics, it literally hurt to jam my foot into them. The tongue is kind of weird and kept getting twisted and putting pressure on the top of my foot, which was awkward. By my third time wearing them, this has somewhat resolved, but is still an annoyance. Additionally, they are much heavier and much bulkier than the Reeboks. They are higher off the ground, more cushioned, and have a wedge-like heel.

What this means is that my gait has been altered - a lot. I don't know what I normally look like when I'm running, but I FEEL that I look like an idiot when I run in the Asics. It is so hard for me to keep a steady pace because I'm not just very comfortable in them. I feel clumsy, out of shape, and worst of all - my legs are killing me! They feel tired and sore and more splint-y than they have in a long while.

I am going to give them one more week to redeem themselves and to allow myself to properly accustom to their step, but if I am still having these issues at that week's end, I am going to retire them to a life of bike riding and walking and invest in another pair of Reeboks.


I went for an outdoor run today and it was nice to be out in the sun, in the fresh (warm!) air, enjoying the scenery. I discovered some back roads I hadn't known about and it was nice to explore and take in the pretty houses and see all of the people working outside and also enjoying the first taste of spring.

I did end up walking a majority of this route because I felt terrible, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I encountered some really crazy hills -- one that I thought about turning back on since it was so long and steep and tiring. I think I may have to take my bike around here at some point, though I'm not sure I would make it up that beast!

Heading to the gym tomorrow and for my first bike ride at Cheshire on's to another week of fitness!


And, on the topic of my first tattoos this weekend:


Thursday, April 4, 2013


Happy to report that the scale still reads 150, despite a weekend full of burgers, french fries, ice cream, and sangria. Maybe the 8 miles I walked between Saturday and Sunday have something to do with it? Or the fact that my diet has more or less settled since then? Regardless of cause, I am SO happy with my progress.

Yesterday, I tried on my shorts from last summer and all of the 12s I had bought were too big. I even slid right in to 2 pairs of size 10s that I could barely button less than a year ago. Score.

Everything is starting to fit differently and better. I am starting to see real definition in my arms (is that a muscle in there?!) and legs and I just feel strong, in general. I hope I never stop feeling this way.

In the spirit of excitement, I want to share a few discoveries/purchases with you that I'm either enjoying or intending to enjoy on this never-ending fitness journey.

Weirdest thing, first.
a)  The Scunci No-Slip-Grip "Super Bandz"
I bought these on a whim at Stop&Shop the other day because they tout themselves as being able to self-adjust to your hair in just one loop. I personally think they look like Lifesavers and was somewhat skeptical of their ability to hold my unruly mane in place. Ummmm what?! They are amazing. They look kind of weird, like a realllly thick rubber band, but HOLY CRAP they work SO well! I ran my little heart out and my hair was flopping around and it didn't even slide down a centimeter. I am excited to keep them in my car, purse, and gym bag for future use because I think they are going to be my new best friends. And the best thing is that they don't rip your hair out when you take them out.

b) Sony MDR - AS20J - Active Style headphones w/ soft loop hangers
My favesies headphones. Just bought my second pair. They loop around your ear and sit comfortably in your ear canal. They don't move around when you're running. And they have an awesome clip that attaches to your clothing so the wire isn't flopping around like a jerk. I would be lost without them!

c) Apple iPod Shuffle
I strongly believe that workout music can make/break a workout. I used to tote around my giant iPod touch, which I would holster onto my pants (and which would sometimes drag them down). Then I graduated to mounting my giant Android on an arm band and strapping it to my arm. These days, I am clipping this small glorious creature to my tank strap and going. It has 2GB, which is the perfect size to accommodate a hand-selected electronic music playlist I have aptly entitled "Workout Mix." I love how portable this guy is. I love all of the songs on it. I love how simple it is to skip songs and adjust volume while running. And I love how it weighs absolutely nothing and does not get in my way whatsoever.

d) Asics Gel Neo 33

Okay, these are not yet in my possession...I just ordered them last night. But they have AMAZING reviews. And I read an article about how gel shoes may help reduce impact, thus reducing shin splints -- which is one train I'm ready to jump on. I also have to admit that I am a fan of the obnoxious colored gym-wear people are sporting these days. These aren't too outlandish, but I think they're a step in that direction. I am excited to give them a go and shall report back once I have something to report.


My one gripe of the week is that it is April and I had to wear my winter jacket today. What gives, Mother Nature?! This is b.s. Good thing I'm moving South...