Tag Archives: committment

Changing my stride: A post dedicated to Boston

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I’m sitting here pouring sweat after running my own personal 5k as I write this. Well, I actually wrote this in my head while I was running and I just had to get it all down.

I decided before I even put my running shoes on that this was going to be a bad run because of the way I was eating this week. I wasn’t even off my block before the thought of just walking entered my head. My stomach’s too full, my underwear is riding up, and why did I wear these crappy socks?

I concentrated on my stride to get those thoughts out of my head. I’m desperately flat footed, you see, and running that way has been torture on my knees. By changing my stride, running is no longer miserable for me. I’m a WIP and my calves are certainly feeling the change, but I am able to run faster, longer, and softer.

I hate that I have to work so hard to just run. I’m just not a runner. The thoughts started rushing back in my head. My foot stride is not the only thing that needs changing….

I hit a landmark in my run and I remembered how last time I took a different turn and cut my run down by a mile. But that’s quitting, I reminded myself. I had set out on a run and dammit, I was going to run!

Photo Apr 20, 9 17 15 AM

My bro and I at the race.

I couldn’t help but think back to Boston. Even miles away my community was shaken by the tragedy. Nowhere seems safe anymore…exercise has been my refuge, my escape, for so long but now the comfort and safety I used to find in it is threatened. The Boston Marathoners didn’t get a choice—to speed up or slow down—their race was taken from them. Oh, how easy it would be for this experience to stop them from running, to stop Boston from hosting the marathon, to make them stop in their tracks at the next 21st mile marker they hit. But I know they won’t.

They were my motivation to finish what I had set out to do.

I realized then that I needed to change my stride figuratively as well. Saying that I am not a runner is keeping me from being a runner! I just ran a race on Saturday, I AM a runner. I may not be a fast one or distance runner, and sure I may feel every step, but I am a runner just the same.

palace saloon race shot

My first crazy-lookin’ race photo! I feel like it is a rite of passage. This shot was taken right before I went into gazelle-mode sprinting towards the finish line!

So, I kept on going through my hilly neighborhood, passing up several short cuts. Every step made me feel even more like a runner and I was reminded of the deep sense of connection I felt with the runners and fellow volunteers from the Badass Army who came out to the 5.2 at 5 for Boston on Sunday in my town. Read more about the event that raised over $13,000 for the Boston Red Cross and united runners and supporters of the cause from all over here and here.

This experience has taught me that life is too short for all this negativity.  If there is something that you want to accomplish, just get out there and do it before it is too late! Experiences are only as good as what we make of it and attitude is everything. Runners across the country have proved in the last week that we will not be stopped and the joy of the finish line will not be taken from us!

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Change is a good thing: Whole30 Wrap-Up

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I finished the whole30

To change one’s life:

1. Start immediately

2. Do it flamboyantly

3. No exceptions

– William James

This is it, folks. My final report on my Whole30 experience. But, I can guarantee you this will not be my last mention of it, nor will this be my last Whole30. This was an amazing experience that I truly recommend to everyone who wants to learn about their relationship with food.

I’ll cut right to the chase and breakdown how the last 30 days changed me. Some changes are physical, other are deeper and much more important to me. The way I think and feel about food is forever changed.

Reading labels before I buy food or looking up ingredients from my favorite restaurants has become the norm for me. Sure, it takes a little extra time but seeing those franken-gredients help me make the right choice! Reading labels on processed food sure makes me lose my appetite! The best food is the one that has no label to read 😉

Grocery shopping and meal planning has changed. I almost solely shop the perimeter of the store (did ya know that’s where all the good stuff is?!) and I buy harder to find ingredients (like coconut flour) online. Shopping is actually easier! I only have to decide what meats and yummy veggies I want for the week because my list of pantry staples is simpler and I keep it stocked (mainly canned tomatoes, olives, and coconut milk!) The first few weeks on W30 I went to the grocery store armed with my iPhone, ready to look up any questionable items. Now, it’s starting to make sense…it’s starting to become ingrained in me.

My performance in the gym has improved tremendously. I used to struggle to find food that I can tolerate before a work out and lived on protein shakes. Now it is simple– something small like half an avocado and a boiled egg tells my body it’s go-time.

My thinking has changed, too. I am no longer impressed by magazine articles or pins that claim things like “Lose 5 pounds in one week by eating only smoothies!” When I see things like that, I can’t help but think how I was once fooled by those claims. It is so simple now. Eat healthy, real food and you will not only look better but FEEL better, too!

And on to the part you are probably most interested in…

I’m happy to announce that my goal of leaning out while still holding my own was reached! I lost some fat and gained some muscle!

The Whole30 confirmed my suspicions that the headaches and all around cruddy feeling I have been experiencing so often is definitely related to food. The entire month I did not experience any of those awful feelings I have grown so used to!

Though it took a while for things to level out, I got some long-awaited relief from digestive problems. I finally realized that feeling like a blimp after I eat is NOT a normal feeling.

Before the Whole30, sometimes I felt like I was wearing down. I always had some sort of ache here or pain there. Even though I worked out harder than ever I forgot about my usually achy knees and feet.

Unfortunately, the reintroduction did not go as planned. I knew that it would be hard with my first “day off” being Easter weekend. I kept it paleo for the most part, with the exception of a slice of cheese and settled for a gluten-free cider when all I really wanted was a beer.

And I was instantly reminded why I did the Whole30 in the first place. I felt awful. I immediately got a headache from the sugar and my stomach hurt, too.

Then my almost-90-legally-blind amazing grandmother made her peach cobbler for Easter…well, there was no way I was passing that up. This woman makes the most delicious and beautiful peach cobbler I have ever seen.

Grandma's Peach Cobbler

Grandma’s Peach Cobbler

Even though I did not make it through the proper reintroduction phase, I think I did pretty good by not binging on anything and everything in sight. I had a few treats that I consciously decided to eat. I was not too strict, but I was not too laxed, either. Even so, I started experiencing ALL the symptoms I mentioned earlier that had improved while I was on the Whole30. Well, there’s that reinforcement I was looking for!!  Although I don’t know WHAT specifically makes me feel sick, I know that eating like a cavegirl is the right choice for me.

Have I inspired you to give it a try? How did your Whole30 reintro go? Let me know in the comments section!

Coming up next week I’ll share my favorite new food find since starting the Whole30 AND I am going to give one lucky reader a freebie to try!

The other side

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If you haven’t already made a commitment to live #happilyeverstronger by making healthy food choices and exercise a priority, I hope that I have inspired you to start thinking about it. If so, congratulations and welcome to the other side! I truly believe that physical wellness is a large part of our journey to happiness.

So, if this is you…fear not. Everyone has to start at square one at some point. After all  I’ve never heard of anyone coming out of the womb completely jacked, have you? I didn’t think so.

When I first made that commitment  I was lucky to have people in my life to guide me through the next step. But, I realize that not everyone has family or friends that are well versed on the topic of eating clean or exercising  There are tons of resources out there to help you and overtime I plan on collecting the ones that have helped me and putting them all in one place!

In the meantime, I’d like to share with you something that has been on my mind for a while and especially this week. I love to share my fitness pursuits with my lovely lady friends 🙂 and take every opportunity to drag (sometimes kicking and screaming) friends with me to the gym, a class or even just my driveway. I even force encourage my mom to lift weights while recovering from a recent surgery. So, I tend to hear this comment a lot– “I’d like to start going to the gym, but I just don’t know what to do.” or “I really like the free weights, but I don’t know if I am ready to do them on my own.” Let’s face it– those guys at the gym wearing homemade sleeveless shirts with huge neck muscles are intimidating with their grunting and slamming of weights (Hey buddy, you’re not supposed to do that at the gym, ya know?)

This is all true. But, as I tell all my friends you just need to give yourself a little more credit, take a chance, get over there with the big boys and give it a try! Let out a grunt (really, try it, it’s liberating!) I love being one of the few females in the gym NOT on a cardio machine or the circuit, but I’d like to see more of my fellow sporty girls over there even more! And guys, I’m taking a stab in the dark here but I am going to guess that it is pretty impressive and dare I say HOT when a girl has the confidence to do these exercises?! {Disclaimer: I am not dissing cardio machines, the circuit, or the people that use them! Cardio is a necessary part of working out and circuit training is very effective, BUT it is also necessary to give your muscles some variety!}

I am a self-proclaimed weight training spokeswoman. I am relatively new to it myself, but I am having so much fun learning and pushing myself farther than I ever thought possible! I never feel more #BADASS than when I am bench pressing. I have a long way to go to reach my weight training goals but I am super-psyched to get there! I am also by no means an expert on exercise or fitness (though hope to be able to say differently one day) but I do want to share with you some things that I have learned along the way and where I learned them from…

exercise wordle

Think about the fitness goals that you have for yourself. Do you want to build endurance? Increase visible muscle? Get STRONG?

Well, this sh!t’s about to get real. (Not really, I’ve just always wanted to say that 😛 ) What I mean is that later this week I will give a break down of weight training goals and some basics on the strategies to achieve them! Keep following for more and let me know how you feel about working out at a gym in the comments section! Use #happilyeverstronger on twitter to tell me about your workout this week!