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Stress Management

June 19, 2012

PhotobucketI like to take my real life experiences and turn them into blog posts for your pleasure. Unfortunately, this post is more a do as I say, not as I do lesson on (you guessed it): stress management.

I am now at an age where I’m starting to face some normal, but big decisions in my life: career goals, relationship goals, and general responsibilities that will began to shape my life long-term as an adult.

I don’t think stress is unhealthy by any means and often it is a good motivation to make positive changes in your life, but how you choose to handle stress can be where the question of health factors in.

I’m personally wrestling with the above examples I listed and used them as an excuse to eat frozen yogurt three days in a row. This is an example of UNHEALTHY stress management. Instead here are some things I’m going to do this week to help manage the stress I feel:

  • Write things down. Whether this is a journal type entry, or a list, getting ideas out can help ease my mind.
  • Listen to music. Finding music that helps connect to your feelings can be very therapeutic.
  • Workout. I want to use the rage I feel to motivate myself physically. I’m going to lift heavy things, and rage on the sidewalks around my house. Be afraid, people. Be very afraid.
  • Talk to friends. That’s why they’re your friends right? Often times they can offer a perspective you haven’t considered, or at least just a listening ear.
  • Accept the feelings. A lot of stresses can’t be fixed immediately. Instead of fixating on your problems, or trying to find immediate solutions, learn to be okay with feeling a little frustration or anxiety. If you can survive with the tension peacefully, you’ll feel better until you’ve alleviated the source.
  • Remind yourself that it can’t last forever. It won’t. Take solace in the fact it’s temporary.

Notice I want to focus on managing stress here, not fully alleviating it. Growing up is scary and this won’t be the last time I face a multitude of options that make me feel uneasy. The most exciting part in all of this is that I have my entire life ahead of me. I’m only scared because I have seemingly limitless options, and really that’s an amazing thing–as overwhelming as it may be. The world is my stressful little oyster and I’m excited to see how the next chapter unfolds.

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Healthy Relationships

June 5, 2012

PhotobucketMy goal for 2012 was to be healthy in all facets of life, including relationships. I find myself in one again, and aside from emotional health (arguably the most important factor in a relationship), we are striving to adhere to healthy eating and exercise routines. Since relationships generally seem to give people a sense of comfort and acceptance, it’s not uncommon to see one or both partners pack on some pounds after they’ve settled down. Instead of giving in to those fuzzy feelings and taking advantage of now having a partner to check out new restaurants with, we have employed some tactics to aid us in making weight loss progress:

  • Staying active together. Yesterday we played badminton for a bit after work, and over the weekend we rode bikes around town. We still get to spend time together like we would cuddled up on the couch, but while being active and burning calories.
  • Preparing healthy meals together. Now that I’m in a relationship this is the perfect time to try out new recipes AND to share recipes we each like with each other.
  • Grocery shop together. Don’t you want to be part of one of those cute couples at the grocery store? Even if this isn’t one of your aspirations, it’s good to chose foods that you both agree on. We grabbed some jerky and nuts for movie snacks this weekend, and often grab ingredients for meals together too.
  • Dine out together. Yep. You read that correctly. There are healthy dining options if you plan ahead. Read menus and make sure you know what you’ll be getting ahead of time, and then go out and enjoy eating a salad or some naked chicken wings with the one you love.
  • Set goals together. I mentioned before that Sam would be cooking me a steak once I’ve lost 100lbs. Don’t think that transitioning from friend to boyfriend gets him out of that commitment. Setting goals is beneficial for many reasons and doing it together helps keep both of you accountable.
  • Talk about it. We have many conversations surrounding health and weight loss. I express my fears to Sam about gaining weight back if I lose sight of my diet and exercise routines. It’s important for your partner to know your concerns so he or she can be supportive whether or not they also have weight to lose.

Now that I’ve got this mushy, couples post out of the way expect a billion more of them because I’m a happy girl and it’s my blog.

Protein Powered Treats

June 4, 2012

PhotobucketYesterday Lyndsi made an amazing recipe I had to share. I will warn you that if you lack self-control (as I do) these are dangerous to have in the house because you will eat them all, but they’re definitely a healthier alternative to regular cookies.

Protein Balls

1 cup oats, 1 cup natural peanut butter, 3 scoops of vanilla whey protein, and agave (She didn’t measure but said she used 2 squirts out of the bottle). Mix together and form in to balls. Place and store in freezer.

Thanks for sharing these Lyndsi. They’re going to be my new cheat treats when I reallllly want peanut butter cookies.


May 15, 2012

PhotobucketI’ve posted numerous times about New Years Resolutions. Despite my distaste for them, I made a few this year, one of which is getting into yoga, and yesterday I tried yoga for the very first time.

I was nervous because my body isn’t terribly flexible and my gym doesn’t have a class for beginners, but my friend John insisted that Paul, the instructor at Oakway, was awesome and encouraged me to go for it.

Here are my feelings on yoga in a list format:

  • It’s definitely not as difficult as I had expected
  • Despite being a group class the experience was very individual
  • I need to be more patient with my body
  • I am capable of a lot more than I thought
  • I need to keep going to see improvement
I plan on attending class again tomorrow. There were only two poses I had trouble with and those were more of a lack of balance (which I think will come as I grow more confident) and not a lack of flexibility. Overall I would say it was a really good experience and my muscles definitely feel better than they have since I’ve been training this hard. It’ll be awhile before I’m enrolling in Bikram’s Teacher Training, though.
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Rough Days

May 11, 2012

PhotobucketThis morning has not been an easy one for me. After the Spartan workout I did on Tuesday, my upper back has been fiercely locked up and crampy. On top of that I’m passing kidney stones, so I just feel like crap. But, I’m posting because days like today can easily derail fitness and weight loss progress if you let them. The good news is, you don’t have to fall victim to yourself.

The first thing I wanted to do when my alarm went off this morning was to call in sick to work, and go back to sleep. Why? Because I am in so much pain, but guess what, it’s going to hurt regardless of where I am or what I’m doing. I laid on the heating pad until my muscles were limber enough for me to move around, got up and went for a run. Trust me, I realize this sounds insane, but here’s why I needed to run:

If I let myself call in sick I would’ve laid around the house all day, probably over-eating and definitely not exercising. I  struggled through that run. It was slow, I had to take walking breaks, and I felt terrible. But, it got me up and moving! Compared to running, sitting at work doesn’t seem so bad. And, the running helped get some endorphins moving around in my brain which naturally helps ease some of the pain that I’m feeling.

I also NEED to break the habit of babying myself with cheats when I don’t feel well. When I’m home sick I let myself eat comfort foods (CHEESE). But, if I eat crap right now it’s not going to make me feel better, it’s just going to make me feel worse. Despite the pain I need to stick to my diet and within my calorie limit, especially if I am going to be doing less exercise because I feel ill.

It’s important to remember that everyone has rough days. If things are really bad I definitely suggest seeing a doctor (I pass stones all the time, so this isn’t really a concern for me), but just remember that cheating on your diet, or giving yourself an excuse to be absolutely sedentary isn’t doing yourself any favors. Today I am going to feel like crap no matter where I go or what I am doing, I might as well make it the best day it can be despite the circumstances. In the words of my former roommate Ashley, “keep calm and carry on.”

Mirco Goals; Revisited

May 10, 2012

PhotobucketLast week I talked about setting mirco goals, because long-term goals can seem overwhelming. This morning while running I realized that since that post I have set two, and figured I should share them with you. This is a blog about my personal experience anyway, so imma post what I want!

The first revolves around an artisan chocolate bar that I was given at last weekend’s race. Instead of consuming it in one go, as I wanted to TERRIBLY after the race, I put it in my freezer. Once I hit 28% body fat that sucker is mine. I’m currently at 32%, so this will be a few weeks. But every time I open the freezer I see it and remind myself of what I’m working toward.

Second, I have set a date with my friend Sam to eat steak and drink a martini once I’m down 10lbs from my last weigh-in. Steak isn’t a lean meat used for fat loss, but it is one of my favorite foods. And, while losing body fat is my main focus, seeing overall numbers drop on the scale is an indication of hard work too. I have an update on Tuesday and I’m really hoping to see a significant drop in my overall body weight. Plus, this will mark 100lbs lost since I started this journey, so that deserves a steak!

These goals are important because they really do help me stay on track. When I am craving chocolate I remind myself that I am so close to that reward, and keep myself from cheating. Or, when I’m out running and feel like I should take a walking break, I remind myself that just a few pounds more and I get a juicy steak and just push past the pain. Once I reach these goals I’ll set more, and soon enough I’ll be at my final goal without even stressin’ it.

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