Motivation Monday? Days Off

Normally on Mondays, I post my last workouts from the week before, but I’m not going to do that today. I was sick for most of last week so I barely worked out at all. And I’m OK with that.

Maybe this isn’t the most Motivational Monday type of thing to post, but there are times when it’s absolutely a positive thing to not go to the gym. First of all, going to the gym when you’re running a temperature and coughing non-stop is just plain bad manners. Who wants to get everyone else around them sick? Secondly, working out with a fever can make it worse (you’re raising an already elevated body temperature).

On a slightly different note, you don’t have to be sick to be “allowed” to take a rest day. I know most of the posts on #motivationmonday are more along the lines of “No days off” or “Every day is a good day to workout”, but sometimes a rest day can be exactly what you need. If you got 3 hours of sleep, you’re not going to have a productive workout, you might be better off staying at home and taking a nap. If you really, really don’t want to go and you’ve been consistently going to the gym for awhile now, take a day off.  The pursuit of fitness should be life-enhancing not life-draining. I workout because I like feeling strong, fast, and capable. I’m just generally a happier person when I exercise.

I think that having an inflexible stance on days off can kill some of the enjoyment you get from the gym. It can make it feel like drudgery, which is terrible for long-term adherence to an exercise program. The best exercise is the one that you’ll actually do 😀 Might you get better results going to the gym 6 days a week rather than 4? Yes, but if you’re going to only stick to going 6 days a week for 2 weeks before saying, “Screw it. This is taking up all of my time and stressing me out.” and quitting the gym all together, then 4 times a week might be more realistic for you. I like to maintain a certain amount of flexibility with my programming (move a rest day a day earlier so I can postpone a workout) which makes my exercise schedule fit my life (as opposed fitting my life in around my exercise schedule).

That being said, you do have to be careful when allowing yourself to take days off because you don’t feel like it. Explore the reasons that you don’t feel like going. If you’re exhausted and extremely sore from workouts in the days leading up to the day off, taking a day to recover won’t hurt. If you’re bored because you’re doing the same workouts over and over again, then it’s time to develop a new training program or try a new form of exercise to mix things up. If you don’t feel like going to the gym because you’re feeling sort of blah and lethargic, you probably will feel better once you lace up your sneakers and start working out. This is when you need to get a little tougher with yourself and give yourself a pep talk. Valerie Waters always says, “You’re one workout away from a good mood” and I agree with that 110%. That’s one of the things I use to get myself out the door when I might rather stay on the couch and vegetate.

The bottom line is: know yourself and listen to your body. Work out most days, but don’t be afraid to take a rest day if you’re sick, burnt out, or really just don’t feel like going to the gym.

Stay happy and healthy everyone!

 

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Thinking Out Loud- Sick Day

Thanks to Amanda for organizing this linkup!

I woke up this morning with a fever and a sore throat. I saw this infographic on precision nutrition about whether or not you should exercise when you’re sick. I think it’s a handy guide if you’re not aware of the general guidelines of exercising when you’re sick. As I suspected, it’s best for me to not workout today.

I’m hoping that I feel better soon, I hate not being able to get in some activity during my day.

Luckily, I have the day off from work today, so I can just focus on resting. I also have Friends on Netflix (I’m already on Season 5, I should probably be embarassed), a fleece blanket, and plenty of fluids (water, tea, and kombucha). I think if I keep this up, I’ll be better son.

I can’t wait for my boyfriend to come home from work. It’s so lonely being stuck at home without him here to take care of me. I’m going to keep this post short so I can get back to Netflixing and napping.

Stay healthy during this cold season! Don’t forget that exercise can boost your immunity.

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WIAW

Thanks to Jenn for organizing this linkup!

Breakfast

Tangelo

Tangelo

Greek yogurt with maca, coconut, cinnamon, and stevia

Greek yogurt with maca, coconut, cinnamon, and stevia

Lunch

2 eggs, chicken sausage, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots

2 eggs, chicken sausage, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots

Snacks

IMG_0013

Ginger candies because I got a little bit nauseous

Ginger candies because I got a little bit nauseous

Vitamin D and fish oil

Vitamin D and fish oil

Gluten free crackers

Gluten free crackers

Dinner

Salad with tuna and anchovies and mashed sweet potato with cocoa and cinnamon

Salad with tuna and anchovies and mashed sweet potato with cocoa and cinnamon

Dessert

Dark chocolate peanut butter. As good as it sounds. (Plus it has less sugar than nutella)

Dark chocolate peanut butter. As good as it sounds. (Plus it has less sugar than nutella)

I think my food was only OK. Other than some nausea yesterday, I’ve been feeling pretty good after the Whole30. I’m still experimenting with reintroducing foods and in what quantities I can reintroduce them.

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Sisterhood of the World Blogging Award- Serious Thoughts on the Super Bowl

Thanks L for nominating me! It took me a little bit of time to respond to this because of my post- whole30 chocolate coma and then I was prepping to watch the Super Bowl.

As a Boston-area blogger I feel obligated to give a shout out to the PATRIOTS!!! WOOO HOOO! How crazy was the last minute of that game? The bouncing catch…The endzone interception…The brawl in the last 20 seconds…None of us knew what to say. I’m psyched that the Patriots managed to win!

Also, I have to say that Missy Elliot was the best part of the half time show. I completely forgot about her! But I love her songs (especially when I’m feeling like I need a little late 90s-early 00s nostalgia to power me through a workout). I didn’t really like the rest of half time show, but at least they played Dark Horse (which I like to run to…I think this is the post where you all lose faith in my taste in music). I think the costumes were a little over the top and I don’t think Katy Perry is the greatest dancer (which I thought being able to put on an athletic dance show was the whole point of singing along with a prerecorded track?). I like listening to her music, but I would have rather watched someone else at the half time show.

Now for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Survey Questions

Here are the rules that go along with this award:

  • thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their site
  • put the award logo on your blog
  • answer the ten questions sent to you
  • nominate seven blogs
  • make a list of ten five questions for your nominees

1. Why did you start your blog?

I started my blog because I was extremely bored with what I what I was doing for a living and needed a hobby that fed my soul. I’ve always been passionate about healthy eating and fitness and I wanted to have an outlet where I could express that (and stop annoying my friends and family). I find it very relaxing to sit down at my computer and write about my day or share some knowledge that I’ve discovered from doing my own research.

2. What Jeopardy! category would you clear, no problem?

I don’t watch Jeopardy so I’m not that familiar with the categories. If there’s anything that’s like “Pop Culture”, I’d be good at that. I’m usually pretty clutch with the pop culture questions whenever I play trivia with my friends. I wish it were something more useful, but I am who I am.

3. Three things you’d like to accomplish this year (they can be as small or monumental as you’d like).

1.  Continue to focus on exploring my passions and personal growth. I’m looking into exploring some volunteer opportunities and taking classes in the upcoming months. If/when I have something concrete to share, I’ll post about it here.

2. Make my blog better. I think I need to overhaul the look and I want to try to post more often and more consistently.

3. Start dressing better- my current style is basically pajamas and workout clothes. I need to step it up a notch.

4. I feel like I might need to set a more focused fitness goal. I have been currently training to look and feel good. I’m not sure if I want to do another distance race this year or focus on the 5k or try something completely different (triathalon? bikini competition? boxing lessons? gymnastic classes? prancercise? the options are endless)

4. Your perfect day: Go.

Wake up and have a quick breakfast and go outside and get some exercise (this time of year I think cross-country skiing or hiking on snowshoes would be awesome). Come home and do some reading by the fireplace with a mug of tea or hot chocolate. Hang out with my boyfriend, friends, and family for the rest of the day. At night unwind with an episode or two of Broad City, The Mindy Project, Vanderpump Rules, or Real Housewives of Anywhere (I’m such an intellectual).

5. What is your favorite place that you’ve traveled and why?

I think my favorite place that I’ve traveled was Vienna. I really got to know and appreciate the city because I lived there for 4 months (Yay for studying abroad! One of the best decisions I made in college!) There’s a lot of interesting history that took place there from the Hapsburg Empire (which always seemed to be strapped for cash for a huge empire) to Freud founding psychoanalysis. It has some amazing architecture (I lived right down the street from the Hundertwasserhaus). The food was AMAZING (I ❤ the coffee). Plus, when the weather was nice, you could go to the public gardens and have a picnic (with wine and beer- I know this goes for most of Europe, but I still count this as a perk 🙂 ). More than any other place that I’ve been, it sort of feels like home because I was able to get so comfortable with it.

Bonus round: What cheesy song do you have memorized?

I think the real question here is “What cheesy song don’t I have memorized?”

 

My nominees:

http://www.kaybueno.com/

http://faithfitnessandlaughter.com/

http://theloveishere.com/

https://ieatirunblog.wordpress.com/

http://www.alivenwell.net/

https://jaclynpetermann.wordpress.com/

https://nourishmefit.wordpress.com/

My questions:

You can also answer the questions that I was asked if you would like, or make some combination. Whatever floats your boat (this is supposed to be fun, not stressful!)

1. What’s your favorite thing about blogging?

2. What was your proudest moment?

3. What’s your favorite store for relatively cheap, cute clothing (see goal number 3 on my list)?

4. Do you like variety in your workout routine or are you a creature of habit? Why?

5. If you could only eat chocolate or nut butter, which would you choose? 

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Week 4 Reflections

Thanks to Amanda for organizing this linkup!

The finish line is in sight! I’m not going to lie, I’m looking forward to being able to introduce a wider variety of foods into my diet. I’ve been eating pretty well this past month but I’m happy that I’ll be able to eat things without poring over the ingredients. I still plan on keeping most of my meals paleo approved, but I think it will be nice on my early workdays to be able to quickly eat some yogurt and fruit before I go into work (the quickest breakfast I came up with on the whole30 was tuna and salad or fruit, but tuna is not the easiest thing to eat at 5:30 am IMO).

I’m going to be paying close attention to how I feel. If I introduce yogurt and feel crummy, I’ll take that as a sign that I have a problem with dairy and cut that out of my diet. I think yogurt is the logical place to start with reintroducing dairy since it’s low in lactose and has probiotics which should help with digestibility.

As far as grains go, I’m going to start with naturally gluten free grains and see how I feel before introducing anything else. If it turns out that I only have to avoid gluten, then I’ll be pretty happy since that seems to be pretty manageable to me (there has been an explosion of gluten free options with increasing numbers of people going gluten free in recent years)

My thoughts on the whole30 experience? I’m glad I did it. This showed me that I’m stronger than food cravings. I think I will continue to use the willpower I developed on the program to allow myself to indulge without going completely off the rails. I think there’s more than one way to be healthy and I think I can be healthy without being 100% paleo. Did my body composition improve as much as I hoped? No, so I think that to meet that goal, I’d have to become stricter with my calories and macronutrients. I’m not sure if that’s worth the trade off. Did whole30 clear my skin? Not completely. Did whole30 fix my stomach issues? I think things have definitely improved, but I’m still not at 100%.

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6 Ways to Fix a Diet That’s Gone Off Track

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I think this is a topic that could use some attention this time of year. Everyone has been indulging in treats while simultaneously vowing that this is the year that they get in shape and make real changes. How can we address this widespread cognitive dissonance in a way that is relatively painless? We can start off with some steps to fix a bad diet.

1. Focus on adding nutrient dense foods to your diet
Instead of thinking about all of the things that you can’t eat, think about the things that you can add into your diet. Most people don’t eat enough vegetables. And the people who do eat enough vegetables tend to eat the same ones cooked the same way all the time. Variety is the spice of life! Also spice makes your same vegetables taste different! Try seasoning your vegetables with different herbs or preparing them in a different way (e.g. Roasting instead of steaming) to kill diet boredom. An easy way to eat a wider range of vegetables is to pick out some vegetables that you’ve never tried at the store and try to prepare them a few different ways (it can take 9 tries before you are ready to like a food). Another easy way to get some variety is to sign up for a CSA box -you’ll be sent a bunch of veggies every week and some will be new to you!
2. Eat Real Food

It’s so much easier to not overeat if the majority of your diet consists of “real” food. This isn’t to say that you can’t indulge EVER (that would be unsustainable). Can you lose weight eating twinkies and doritos? Yes, but you will feel like garbage if that’s all you eat. Food provides you with more than just calories, it’s also a source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Eating nutrient dense foods will be easier to fit into your allotted calories.

Which of the following snacks is more likely to make you feel good and keep you full for a long period of time

A) A Brown Sugar Cinnamon Poptart (210 calories, 7g fat, 35g carbohydrate, 15g sugar, & 2g protein)

B) 1 can of tuna with 2 cups of spring mix and a tbsp of almond butter(225 calories, 9g fat, 7g carbohydrate, 1g sugar, 34g protein)

Personally, I think most people would be more full after eating choice B) as a snack. And even with the enriched flour in choice A) the values for many vitamins and minerals are better with choice B). Can you make the occasional Poptart fit into your diet without derailing your progress? Yes, but processed foods should not be the cornerstone of your diet.

I have also found that when I eat foods that are on the less processed end of the spectrum (meats, eggs, vegetables, fruits, raw nuts, etc.) my cravings for junk are much less than if I am consistently eating junk food. I also feel better and when I make good diet choices (more energy, clearer skin, etc.)

3. Track your food intake

Note: This tip isn’t for everyone. If you have a history of eating disorders and could find calorie tracking triggering, do not do it.

For the rest of us, tracking your food intake can provide us with a lot of insight. There are a couple of easy ways to track this. You can use the free My Fitness Pal App on your phone (it will show you the calories, protein, fat, carbs, and more that you consumed). You can go analog and write down what you eat. I highly recommend tracking your food intake for at least 1 week, without necessarily changing anything. This exercise shows you how many calories you are maintaining your current weight on and, from there, it becomes easier to tweak it to meet your goals. Most people underestimate their calories, so it can be useful to measure everything out so you can see how much you are actually eating.

4. If Hunger Isn’t the Problem, Food Isn’t the Answer

Food provides your body with fuel. People often eat for reasons that are unrelated to hunger some of these reasons aren’t a major issue (e.g. eating a piece of pie after Thanksgiving dinner), but some of them can cause weight gain and an emotional roller coaster (e.g. “I ate half a pizza because I was stressed and now I feel guilty because I’ve ruined my diet for the day so I’m going to cheer myself up with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s”). Eating for a special occasion is one thing (one day out of 365 in a year isn’t going to derail you too much), but regularly emotionally eating can set you back. “Special occasion” eating is generally more controlled than emotional eating, so you don’t rack up the same amount of calories as you do binge eating.

There are better ways to deal with difficult emotions than food. If you’re stressed, go to the gym. The endorphins will relax you! Then take steps to deal with what is stressing you out. If you’re feeling lonely, call a friend/family member. If you’re bored, read a book (or a blog 😉 ), play a game, explore adult education classes in your area and see if there is something that sparks your interest (this is how I found the art class that I’m currently taking).

Most importantly, forgive yourself. It’s not the slice of pizza that makes you gain weight, it’s the bag of chips and box of cookies that you eat because you panicked about the pizza and decided to just say “screw it, diet’s going to have to start tomorrow” that makes you gain weight.

5. Study Yourself

Your diet is an experiment with an n=1. It only matters what works for you. Pay attention to how you feel after meals and only eat foods that make you feel good. If gluten makes you feel like garbage, don’t eat gluten. I don’t understand why some people choose to rag on people without celiac disease who choose to eliminate gluten from their diets. Why are you so invested in someone else’s diet? Who is it hurting?

Know what sorts of things cause you to overeat (or under eat if you’re trying to gain weight). For example, I find that if I eat in front of the TV, I’m more likely to mindlessly plow through a huge amount of food- so I either portion out food or I eat my meal without distraction and drink tea in front of the TV.

Pay attention to the sort of things that work for you. If eating a high fat diet helps you eat fewer calories and feel satisfied, then keep the fat content of your meals relatively high (Who cares if some macro calculator on the internet spit out a limit of 40g/day?).

6. Add in Exercise

I find that exercise makes it easier to stick to a healthy eating plan. I think that it’s beneficial chemically. There’s evidence that it can alleviate depression and improve your mood.

Also, exercise will augment the results that you see by changing your diet. Diet will take the pounds off you, but you can’t build lean muscle and shape your body without exercise. Remember, diet is what makes you look good in clothes and exercise is what makes you look good at the beach. Seeing your body change will keep you motivated and inspire you to stick to your new healthier lifestyle.

I hope this helps!

What are some of your favorite ways to return to a healthier lifestyle if you’ve gotten off track?

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Week in Workouts 1/19-1/25

weekinworkouts

Here is what I did for exercise this week:

Monday:

Quick at home workout (full body)

Tuesday:

3 mile run. This was humbling. I think this was the slowest that I’ve ever run 3 miles. I’ve definitely lost a lot of speed since I’ve been taking a bit of a hiatus from running to try to fix a couple of twinges I had been having. It was a beautiful day, so it wasn’t bad being out there for much longer than usual. This shows me that I have a lot of progress that needs to be made before my next 5k (in March, so I have some time).

IMG_1582[1]

Wednesday:

Rest

Thursday: 

Total Body Strength Training (supersets)

Friday:

2000m row
22 minutes on the stationary bike (I watched an episode of Friends- who knew that binge-watching shows on Netflix could be good for your fitness?)

Saturday:

Rest

Sunday:

30 minutes on the stationary bike

This week was lighter on exercise for me. This is why I don’t plan cutback weeks in my own training- they tend to just happen naturally.

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Whole30 Week 3 Reflections

Thanks to Amanda for organizing this linkup every week!

The third week has been going along very seamlessly. My cravings have not been overwhelming so far. I think I may have increased my fruit intake this week, so that probably has killed any sweet cravings. I’ve definitely been eating more this week, so that’s been pretty good for that too.

This weekend, I put kombucha in a wineglass (#sofreakingclassy) and drank that when I had movie nights with my girlfriends. No wine, no problem :). One of my friends was even inspired to do the same. Sometimes I think people worry that adopting healthier habits will be off-putting to their friends, but it’s not always the case. As long as you present what you’re doing in the right way, nobody will feel pressured to do what you’re doing or judged if they choose to not make the healthier choice.

I think that keeping busy is helping with my cravings, too. I’ve been steadily increasing the amount of clients that I have, so I’ve been working more hours which makes me too busy to think about food too much. I also started taking an art class, so that is one night a week where I’m busy working with my hands (not mindlessly snacking in front of the TV). Also, I find art really relaxing. It helps me unwind from a stressful day. I think I might need to create more on the days when I don’t have class 🙂 My art teacher and I got into a discussion about diet- she tries to eat macrobiotically when she can (certain foods are high yin and high yang, so you should try to eat in a way that is ultimately neutral between the yin and yang). From a macrobiotic perspective, my current diet is heavy in the yang with the eggs and meat (or was it the yin?) and sugar and milk are highly yin, so that could be why I’m craving milk chocolate. I don’t really buy into that, but it’s sort of interesting to think about.

My stomach is still handling this change very well. I think this points to me having removed something from my pre-whole30 diet that didn’t agree with me. I’m going to monitor my symptoms when I start reintroducing foods on the 31st of this month. I’m pretty excited to be able to eat chocolate again soon. It’s one of my favorite foods, and at the risk of being judged by the “healthy living” community, I very much prefer the sweet, creamy deliciousness of milk chocolate to the bitter, deeper, and more complex flavors of dark chocolate (I enjoy some dark chocolate, but I haven’t been missing that as much as the milk chocolate). I’m also looking forward to being able to add oatmeal and greek yogurt back into the mix. I think when I’m adding in grains, I’m going to try to stick to gluten free grains and then maybe progress to gluten containing grains to see if that is my issue. I’m also going to try to stick to lower lactose forms of dairy when adding that back in, to see if that makes a difference in how I feel. If I notice any symptoms, I’ll stop eating a suspected food and then see if my symptoms go away.

Visual progress: I think I might be seeing a hint more definition in person, but it probably isn’t noticeable to anyone but me. At the very least, I’m pretty happy that I managed to increase my food intake without adding any noticeable fat. In fact, I measured my body fat at the gym over the weekend and it has decreased by a couple of percentage points since I started working at the gym in mid-December! (I used the bioelectrical impedance scales which have a large margin of error, but the margin of error should be similar for both of my weigh-ins) I think if I want to decrease my body fat further, that will involve some tightening up of my diet. I’m not sure if it makes sense since my current state is pretty easily maintained with just making healthy choices, regular exercise, and exercising some discipline.

Progress?

Progress?

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WIAW Whole30 Edition Week 3

Thanks to Jenn for organizing this linkup. This is actually a What I Ate Tuesday.

Breakfast

Eggs, Yams, and Kale

Eggs, Yams, and Kale

Lunch

Sardines With Harissa and Green Beans With Nutritional Yeast

Sardines With Harissa and Green Beans With Nutritional Yeast

Acorn Squash With Coconut, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, & Ginger

Acorn Squash With Coconut, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, & Ginger

I didn’t like this acorn squash as much as I liked a combo I tried a week or two ago (I think I may have undercooked this squash)

Snacks

I had two of these apples

I had two of these apples

A Handful of Cashews

A Handful of Cashews

3 Bowls of This Almond  Butter & Coconut Combination (not the prettiest, but it's tasty and gives me lots of energy)

3 Bowls of This Almond Butter & Coconut Combination (not the prettiest, but it’s tasty and gives me lots of energy)

Dinner

Grassfed Ground Beef, Onions, Kale, & Green Beans

Grassfed Ground Beef, Onions, Kale, & Green Beans

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The Week in Workouts 1/12-1/18

weekinworkouts
Monday:

Total Body Strength Training (super sets). I wasn’t feeling great so this was harder than usual

Tuesday:

2.07 mile run.
This started off being pleasant, but eventually my knee and toe started to hurt (I think I either need new running shoes or a running shoe with more cushioning- I’m not really sure where to begin with that though). My issues could also stem from being on my feet the majority of the time I’m at work (which is new for me- all my old jobs were office jobs.

Wednesday:

2 rounds of Tabata followed by 12 minutes on the recumbent bike (so I could cool off enough to not sweat during my shower 🙂 )

Thursday:

Total Body Strength Training (super sets)- Except for I forgot to do my core. I was a little bit distracted, because it was a busy work day.

Friday:

I tested an arm workout for you guys (I need to edit it to make it a little more appropriate for a wider audience).

30 easy minutes on the recumbent bike

Saturday:

2 rounds of Tabata (I’m really loving these)

Total Body Strength Training (super sets)- I added in hip thrusts and I really could feel the difference in my glutes! (This is why it’s good to change up your routines every so often).

Sunday:

Rest

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