where am I, and looking ahead.

Nearly two months of a blogging break. I had no idea that 1 week would turn into one month, which turned into two. But honestly, it was a much needed break. I have had a long few months since I last blogged, and I needed time to deal with my life, without constantly trying to share it on here.

What all has been going on? Well without getting into too much personal detail (this is available for the world wide web after all) a truly difficult breakup, the stress of finishing up my senior year, the process of making post-grad plans (hello, big decisions!), and the whirlwind weeks of crying, smiling, hugging, and reminiscing before I graduated from college this past Saturday.

I don’t know if you all can tell from that list but… I have been processing a lot. I am so thankful for family (my mom is my rock), friends (seriously, girl friends are the best) and all the others who have supported and loved me these past months. Most of all, I am so thankful to have my faith. This time has been so crucial for me, and without God to trust in, I honestly don’t know how I would have waded through all of this.

At the beginning of this past school year, I chose a word to focus on. My word was trust. As a type A, organizer, planner, and all around high stress person, trusting in the God’s plan and ways has always been a considerable challenge for me.

well that word has come into clear focus the past few months. my journey this year brought me to somewhere entirely different than my “plan” had me headed. If you had asked me 3, 2, or 1 month ago where I would be headed after graduation– you would have received a different answer every time. I’m sure you all know this, but I just need to say– it is incredibly difficult to keep steadfast trust in the Lord when it feels like His plan is changing every 5 days, or throwing you out into situations you have no idea what to do with.

but through all this tumult and change (and growth) that I have been experiencing, something really special has been happening in my life. God has been so present to me in my anxiety, my worries, my fearful moments wondering what the future holds. I have felt His tangible comfort in these moments, and I have felt Him walking with my through days.

this has all really helped me to start rethinking how I can trust in God as I move forward. yes, I will continue to trust that He has a truly amazing plan for me, and that someday I will understand it. But more importantly, I am truly trusting His presence and love in my life. God is here for me, and I am appreciating that in a way that I never have before. And if I have His love and comfort, what more do I need?

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if you’re still reading you might be wondering– so what does all of this mean health-wise, and for the future of the blog?

health wise I went through an iffy place for a while. the combination of stress and starting a new waitressing job I wasn’t working out very much and lost a good amount of weight (especially considering I wasn’t trying to lose any). But after a few weeks, I was able to get back to the basics– I packed my diet full of nutrient dense foods (avocado + ground beef? yes please) and starting lifting more weights again (cardio is just ew right now. no need to burn extra calories when you’re waitressing 30 hours a week).

For the blog– I am going to continue from here with posts on fitness, food, and maybe some more faith, seeing as that is such an essential part of my journey.  I feel like this blog is such a special opportunity, and if my faith/fitness/food story can help even one person, it’s worth sharing! I may even have a new site soon, to help me move to the next phase of my story, so keep your ears open. And of course, let me know if there is anything you’d life to hear more of on here!

If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking around, I hope you’ll stay as I continue my journey!

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WIAW: fat loss distortions.

Lets talk about fat loss. A hot topic among many fitness gurus and many people around the world.  But what is a fat loss goal really? It is not a weight loss goal. If you have a fat loss goal– you should not have a “goal weight”. Muscle mass should be your goal.

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^^like any good day, my morning started off with coffee^^

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^^morning walk + sunrise. i’ll take it :)^^

Goal weights say nothing about how you want to look. How about you set a goal to do 50 squats, body weight bench presses, playing with your family for hours outdoors? That’s a goal you can work towards, and a goal that will enrich your life.

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^^breakfast: eggs, spinach, some seasoning. a side of paleo pumpkin bread and some Kerrygold butter. my favorite!^^

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^^a blurry (sorry!) lunch on the go. salad topped with grilled chicken.^^

Gaining muscle– it has everything to do with health and how we look.

In contrast, a certain weight, that number on the scale, has very little influence on our health. Sure if you have a lot of weight to lose, it might be a little fun to watch your scale go down but 1) that is fostering unhealthy behavior and thought and 2) isn’t it just as much fun to watch your clothes become looser?

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^^class, followed by a 30 minute sprint workout. It was the bomb.^^

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^^dinner, was the same as breakfast…one of those days, ya know.^^

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^^fro-yo with my roomie. to discuss her wedding and life as college seniors :)^^

The scale doesn’t validate us, and it also can’t measure your health, it is literally just a matter of how hard gravity is pulling on your body. Yep.

I also want to point out that not everyone is created to look the same. Your healthy body weight is different from another person’s, and that is beautiful!

go on over to Peas and Crayons to read more WIAW posts!

New Year’s Resolutions– a resolute resolution on resolutions.

    It’s 2015!

Happy New Year, friends!

Did you party the night away? Did you get that midnight kiss?

I spent my night more low key, working on some medical school applications while enjoying the classic Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve Show. T. Swift, you did not disappoint.

So now, it’s January 1st. And I’m sure some/most/all of you have made lofty goals for the 365 days to come. It’s natural- new year, new start, right?

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Maybe not. What makes January 1st so special that you magically become able to both set and achieve all your year long goals? I’ll let you in on a little secret– nothing. So why don’t we take a step back, and not try to radically change every area of our lives in 1 day, okay?

The great thing about goals, is that they give us something to work towards, a purposeful direction to move our lives in. The bad thing about goals, is that we tend to make them all or nothing. And when we take a misstep, suddenly the goal is thrown out the window.

Well, it doesn’t have to be that way this year! Are you ready to change? Great, we can make SMART goals to work in that direction. But the reality is, change doesn’t happen in a day, a week, or really even a month. If you are trying to change your diet, your body, your attitude, etc…. think about how long it took you to get to the place/state that you want to change. 1 year? 2 years? Your whole life? So, give yourself a break and stop expecting that you can change in a matter of weeks.

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^^we’ve all seen this right? it’s just flat out wrong. This study in the European Journal of Science found that it actually takes 66 days for a new behavior to form. Just let that sink in– more than two months. So don’t be too hard on yourself.^^

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So just quickly– what are SMART goals? SMART is an acronym that I actually learned in my Nutrition class this semester and I love the guidelines it lays out.

Goals should be:

1. SPECIFIC. Simple and clear goals to define what you want. who/what/where/when/which/why

example: This month I will move more by doing 10 minutes of yoga every morning and going to the gym 3 times a week.

2. MEASURABLE. Goals should be measurable in a way that you can have tangible evidence you have accomplished this goal. Will you know when it is accomplished?

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3. ATTAINABLE. You can reach almost any goal, but it is also a matter of mindset. If you set a goal, you can find yourself beginning to change your life around that goal. You might think you don’t have time to go to the gym, or cook a healthy meal, but if you really make these goals a priority in your life, you will see ways to reach them that you had not previously considered.

4. REALISTIC. Are you willing and able to work toward this goal? Losing 50 pounds in a week is not a realistic goal, and when you set goals like this, you are setting yourself up for failure. Take time to consider what is realistic or not when you set your goals.

5. TIMELY. This kind of goes along with Attainable/Realistic– if your goal has no time frame, there is no sense of urgency, no reason to get yourself in motion. Set a realistic timeline, but something needs to be there to keep yourself motivated!

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I hope you guys enjoy and can set some SMART Goals this year!

check out Thinking Out Loud for more January 1st ramblings!

Happy New Year!

WIAW: being healthy during stressful times.

Yesterday was the last day of classes of my Fall Semester Senior Year.. oh my. And my first official final as well, oh boo. But the food was good!

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^^breakfast: eggs, celery, and guacamole. simple nutrition.^^

Breakfast was eaten while finishing up a paper for my music class. Rushed, but..that’s finals for ya.

 

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^^lunch: salad, salsa, chicken. chips feta. simple, on the go lunch, eaten while studying for my Cervantes/Don Quijote final.^^

After taking my final on the monstrous/incredible novela Don Quijote, I headed to the gym to work off some stress. Sprints alternating with strength training moves like squats, pull ups, push ups, bicep curls, etc. Finished up with 5 minutes of stair stepping sprints.

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^^love my new Reebok sneakers..$24.00 from Cyber Monday sales!^^

Finals is such a crazy time, and I have to do my best to stay healthy and focused. My top priorities are eating well and sleeping enough. I aim to get about 8 hours a night,  and include as many vegetables and healthy fats in my diet as possible– brain power!

If  I have the chance to workout I try to fit it in– living on campus with a gym nearby certainly helps. Even if I just bike or walk on the treadmill while reading over pages of notes, I feel so much better when I have movement in my day.

dinner was enjoyed on a date with my best friend!

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^salad with chicken, cranberry chutney, cucumber, greens and chips.^^

the date continued for a fun dessert date at Tandem Coffeehouse and Crepreie.

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^cute.^

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^^his: latte. middle: peppermint chocolate crepe. mine: almond milk latte.^^

Check out WIAW for more delicious eats!

Questions of the day:

What is the craziest thing going on in your holiday season?

How do you stay healthy in a stressful time?

WIAW: catching up!

Hey guys! Long time no..talk! It’s been a loooooooong two weeks. Tests, quizzes, papers, and more. But the real reason I haven’t been blogging is…my phone stopped working! And I honestly didn’t realize until then,  just how much easier it makes …everything. First of all, I didn’t take ANY pictures without my phone. I’m a college student, and I’m not going to carry my camera around ALL day, so I basically rely on my phone for food pictures. Second of all, I just felt more stressed/busy- everything took more planning because once I went somewhere I knew I wouldn’t be able to change the plans//contact anyone.

Anyway, long story short, my new phone finally arrived yesterday (after being sent to New York instead of South Carolina..) , and I also finished two tests so I am back to share my recent eats & activities!
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^^Breakfast of the champions? Well, at least it was color coordinated. 1 egg, spaghetti squash, and a delicious slice of paleo pumpkin bread that I definitely need to give you guys the recipe for^^

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^^Furman Fall, I really am blessed to go to such a beautiful school^^

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^^and to go there with my best friend.^^

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^^a treat from the Dining Hall while I was studying for my tests yesterday. gf corn flakes, chocolate chips, a little greek yogurt, and peaches. you just need a treat sometimes, ya know?^^

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^^One of my favorite on-campus dinners: a large salad from the ‘pden’ aka our mini food court. You get lettuce + 7 toppings, and they chop them all up. Mine was cucumber, bell pepper, turkey, parmesan cheese, strawberries, walnuts topped with red wine vinegar and olive oil.^^

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^^after a long day, I was starving when I got back to my apartment. These chips– cooked in avocado oil instead of a harmful seed oil — and they happen to also be extremely delicious^^

check out Peas And Crayons for more WIAW fun!

Questions of the day:

what have you been up to lately?

worst experience you’ve had with a phone?

WIAW: Why Dieting Isn’t for You.

Primal, Paleo, JERF, vegan, vegetarian, keto, atkins, low carb, low fat, high protein, IIFYM; 3 meals a day, 6 meals a day; all natural, organic, local, grass-fed, non-GMO… so many diet choices out there. How do we choose the one for us?

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^^Morning walk around my beautiful campus lake. I captured this picture and didn’t notice the cool cloud reflection until I checked it out later.^^

The answer is simple- we don’t choose a diet. We live, we eat, we fuel our bodies in ways that make us feel happy, energized, magnificent, and vibrant. This may sound cliché, but isn’t that the real goal of food? We don’t want to feel weighed down, sick, or tired after every meal. But we also don’t want healthy eating to become a burden, another stress in your already hectic life.

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^^Breakfast: scrumptious Coffee Cake Banana Bread from PaleOMG topped with Kerrygold USA butter (grass-fed and seriously amazing) + Trader Joe’s sliced turkey.^^

Eating healthy is about what’s doing best for your body. Not what’s best for my body, or Jillian Michael’s, or Michael Phelps’. We’re all unique, so how could we possibly all thrive on the same exact diet? It doesn’t make sense. If you feel best eating 6 times throughout the day, do it. If you feel best eating 2-3 bigger meals- that’s great too!

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^^Lunch: spinach, salsa, cucumber, peppers, avocado, and sliced turkey.^^

I always thought that to be healthy, I had to mold my food to certain rules, a certain “ideal”, or to look exactly like some healthy person I admired. But I have finally come to a place in my health journey where I know that my body will let me know what it wants, and respond well when I nourish myself well.

And the same goes for you! If what you are doing works for you- gives you energy and leaves you feeling great- then keep doing it. If it doesn’t– change that. But realize that what you eat is a lifestyle- one of the most important parts of your life. If you keep perpetually sticking yourself on another diet, you will feel restricted, overwhelmed, and not living to your fullest health potential. That’s not what any of us want!

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^^Snack: an apple + Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter.^^

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^^Workout: Stair Stepper, Bike Intervals, and an ab + box jump circuit. Sweaty for sure.^^

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^^Dinner: Crock pot chili topped with shredded cheese. My first successful crock pot meal! I just poured everything together before breakfast and by 4 pm it was ready. I could get used to the crock pot life.^^

Whatever way you choose to eat I have two simple suggestions.

1. Eat Real Food! Whatever foods you choosing, eating them in their most natural, local, unprocessed forms, is always a great choice.

2. When you choose to indulge- enjoy it! One splurge a week, even a small treat each day is not going to send your health in a downward spin. Health is about more than your physical health- it’s mental, emotional, spiritual, and more. If that piece of chocolate or scoop of ice cream makes you happy- go for it!

Question of the day

What way of eating is working for you lately?

For me, it’s been a good amount of protein, loads of vegetables, and good fat mixed in.

the weekend of 9 miles.

this weekend was filled with friends + fun {ok, and some schoolwork too}. the perfect mix, no?

Saturday:

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This Saturday started off early with a trip to the annual sale at Sunrift Adventures in little ol’ Travelers Rest, SC. Isn’t that the cutest name for a town? It literally got its name from being a rest for travelers before they went on a bit north where you come to the mountains. It’s also because travelers would have to wait here during the winter before the snow cleared and they could pass over the mountains into North Carolina. Pretty cool.

At the sale, I planned to look for a bike. My apartment {on campus} is pretty far from main campus this year {about 1.2 miles. which sounds close, but it’s the farthest you can be from academic buildings for my lil’ school. the backyard of our building is the gate to leave hah}, so I was looking for a bike to make the morning commute a little less painful. Unfortunately, all the bikes were considerably more than I was looking for. Oh. Guess I’ll be looking at Walmart or some garage sales.

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After breakfast we headed over to The Forest Coffeehouse for some coffee to wake up. My treat to thank the boys for waking up before 9 on a Saturday! A feat in itself.

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A little later in the day, we drove to Whole Foods + Trader Joe’s for some groceries and some lunch! Yummmmmm. I’m a total sucker for the Whole Foods prepared foods sections. Can y’all resist? This plate is a total mish mash- strawberries, lettuce, roasted peppers, buffalo tofu {legitimately delicious, probably the best tofu I’ve ever had. My meat-eating boy was actually the one who suggested it. So, that’s a good sign} quinoa salad, and a little apple crisp because either A) I have no self control or B) I hadn’t eaten yet and had no discretion in loading my plate up. {answer is actually A and B}. Everything was delicious. I felt so spoiled, enjoying a classy meal, on a beautiful day, with a bunch of great friends.

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We stopped to see some puppies…these were 5 days old. My heart melted into mush for these little guys!

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Workout happened later in the day, as a study break. Some biking, elliptical, arc and then a barbell circuit with the boy.

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Saturday night, we headed out to support our Furman Paladins Men’s Soccer team against College of Charleston. The game turned out to be SUPER suspenseful, tied at 0-0 at the end of both halves. We went into overtime, and within 4 minutes, a freshman scored the winning goal. It was even more awesome considering they had just put him in for OT and it was his first appearance of the season. Woo! Go ‘dins!

Sunday:

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A full breakfast…oats with a little granola for crunch, mini apple, apple cider vinegar, and my  beloved coffee.

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Then I headed downtown for some church time with the boy. We’re currently in the process of figuring out which church we’d like to belong to in Greenville. So far Christ Church, and Renewal have been great, but we’re going to try a few more out settling on our final decision.

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After heading back to school, I made myself a little lunch in the apartment. Veggies, black bean burger, and plenty of hummus. Those cherry tomatoes have my heart.

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Afternoon snack- greek yogurt for some protein and granola for some carbs.. I was fueling up ….

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Because I was about to go run 9 miles! My farthest distance yet. I still can’t really believe it happened… but I am so so happy I did it!

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Mid run photos never turn out too well….

The run was a LOT harder than my 8 miler last week. For almost the entire run, my legs felt tired and I really had to drag them along. Maybe it’s from a bit too much activity this week? Maybe I was dehydrated? I’ll have to reassess for my next long run!

Anywho- I finished it! And felt like a champ!

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After my run, I quickly showered and dress {a challenge when my legs felt like collapsing} and headed over to the Vista House {an intentional Christian community} for their Sunday night $4 dinner. It was amazing {and mostly local/seasonal :)} as expected. Rice and beans, salad, homemade bread, and some avocado.

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When I got back from dinner, I did a little {we’re talking MINIMAL} more homework, then got up to some tomfoolery. Mostly taking selfies, eating some cookie dough {hey I ran 9 miles! I got to reward my bod a little!}, wearing my compression socks, and cuddling with the roommate and boy. It was the perfect end to the weekend!

Can’t wait to see what this week brings!

weekly activities.

one of my best friends has been visiting me for the past week.. hence the sporadic postings. Here’s  a quick update.

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workouts:

Sunday– I ran to the gym (1.1 miles) then Arc-ed it up for 45 min

Monday– Lots of babysitting (5 hours….pics below), plus 10 min of Elliptical, 30 min of Arc

Tuesday- Walking ~4 miles (just to get to class/back and the gym/back it’s legit.) Elliptical 10 min; Arc 20 min

Wednesday- 5 mile run, woo! Did this outside at 6 am and….let’s just say it did NOT go very well. I didn’t drink any water beforehand, or bring any with me. By mile 4 I was pretty miserable, I even walked a few times. Hey- not every run can be great right? Makes the good ones feel more awesome!

Thursday- babysitting again. It’s a tiring day y’all! I love that the kids want to run around outside though- sooooo much better than keeping them stuck inside!

I biked to/from class {thanks to the boy for letting me use his bike}.

Later- I jogged 1.1 to the gym; Arced for 25 min; then jogged/walked home. I couldn’t figure out why my legs were so tired… then I remembered the painful 5 miles yesterday morning. oops.

Friday- we shall see! I’m supposed to have an 8 miler tomorrow but I’m postponing it to Sunday so I’ll probably do some sort of elliptical/biking today. Plus I’m totally lacking strength this week, so maybe some arms.

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^post 5 miler. So happy to be done^

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^the best friend visiting. love this girl^

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^first day of class…ah. I’m a junior!^

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^interviewing for the babysitting job.^

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^working it. The girls like to take pictures…I’m not complaining!^

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^nailed it. They love me. Not complaining about this either!^

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^boys are hilarious. and odd.^

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^salad from a lunch date :)^

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^hummus sando SCARFED down while babysitting^

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^salad…again!^

happy friday all!

week(end) in review. plus an un-recipe!

aka in pictures!

workouts:

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^a run, an arm workout, and some Arc training^

eats:

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^almond milk oatmeal for a ‘friend date’ Saturday morning. we chilled chez mi casa because we’re saving $$^

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^yummy, greek yogurt, trail mix, and some carob chips^

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^simple dinner all thrown on a pan together- onion, bell pepper, kale, spinach, veggie burger, and hummus. my dinners are basically all some recreation of this (if you haven’t noticed yet) but I can’t get over how simple it is to make, and how delicious it always turns out! Sometimes I throw some oregano, or cayenne pepper, or even ginger, but I’m promise this is just as good plain! Another ‘un-recipe’ for y’all!^


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^that time I dropped a 15 lb dumbbell on my ankle… ow^

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^see above for explanation of this face.^

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^because….who doesn’t take selfies on the weekend?!^

Tuesday is already 1/5 of the way to Friday! 🙂

weekend recap and some exciting news!

this weekend was go go go, which is just the way I like it. My mom and I got up every morning (at 6! >.<) to walk together, which was really nice. I’m only home for ~1 more month so I have to soak up as much family time as possible! Even if it means 6 am mornings on the weekend…

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^Saturday morning also included a scrumptious brunch with one of my best friends KP, her cousin, and my sister. We went to Maureen’s Kitchen– an amazing breakfast place right down the road from us! They’re pretty famous for their specialty pancakes (like Lemon Poppy Seed, Pumpkin Walnut, Pistachio…mmmm!) but I wasn’t in the mood for something too heavy, so I went for some baked oatmeal instead. It was mm mm good! With dried fruit and nuts mixed in, plus some milk on the side (which worked out well because it was definitely a little dry^

The rest of Saturday/Sunday’s eats didn’t get too well documented….I’m currently in my 3rd week of organic chemistry at Stony Brook University, so both days were pretty consumed with studying for that. The grade isn’t make or break, but it will definitely be a factor in my applications to med school, so I want to do as well as possible! Unfortunately that means my life right now is about 95% studying/going to class, with a mix of workouts, food, and family time filling the rest. It’s not terrible but let me tell you, it’s not how I envisioned my last month of summer!

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^here are the only 2 meals I apparently captured- dinner from Saturday and lunch from Sunday! Simple easy plates with some veggies, protein, and fats. Hummus is one of my true loves.^

Anyway! On Sunday I decided to bake up some things to have them ready in the fridge for the week. It makes my life so much easier when I’m packing lunch for the day, or grabbing a quick snack. I find that having lots of healthy (and tasty!) choices on hand prevents me from a going for the unhealthy snacks (yes I mean you- giant bag of chocolate chips!) you know what they say:

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here are some of the products:

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^steamed asparagus^

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^baked spaghetti squash^

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^and something everyone needs to make RIGHT NOW- rosemary and olive oil baked sweet potato wedges. yum! Just drizzle ~2 T Olive Oil on them, and sprinkle as much rosemary as you like^

and now……

exciting news in my fitness life! I’ve decided to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon.

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The race takes place on February 23 {2014} in the Disney Park in Orlando, FL.

For me this will be a pretty big deal! I’ve never run more than 3 miles! (before this weekend). I’ve been training for about 3 weeks already, but I didn’t want to share until I was sure about the race. It’s definite now- registered and officiallllllllll 🙂

Right now I’m following the 10-mile novice plan from Hal Higdon. At this rate I’ll be running 10 miles by September…what?! So I may look into doing another half in October (by my school) or maybe some other races like a duathlon or triathlon.

This weekend I had my first 4 miler, and I did it! It’s funny how I always think of running as soooooo hard, meanwhile I can get on the elliptical/bike/arc and go for an hour…. so why shouldn’t I be able to just run for an hour? As I was running my 4 miles this weekend I kept telling myself that… ‘hey! You workout for 40+ minutes ALL. THE. TIME. you’ve got this in the bag!’ and I did!

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Happy Running!