March 27, 2014

NSV Thursday

Yup, that's surprise on my face.

So this happened last night ^ ^

And that's my NSV, boom.

Okay, yes, that's my NSV but you KNOW I have more to say about it!

A very good buddy of mine (who is on her own healthy journey and has lost more than 90lbs; so proud of you Charmissa!), and I have started a wellness group at our company.  It was all her idea, I'm just along for the ride and thankful she asked me to assist.  Basically, we get together every other week with our colleagues and provide an opportunity  to share tips, resources, ideas for being active, and generally leading a healthy life.  Each week, we provide a topic for discussion and this week we will be talking about adding something new into your life.

The concept behind trying something new is that when you're starting out on a journey, attempting to try to CHANGE your entire routine is completely scary and overwhelming and utterly daunting.  You've got your routine that has worked for you, maybe you have a family that you're working around, too.  And whammo!  This happens:  "That's it!  Today is the day we're never eating anything unhealthy again!  I just went to the grocery store and spent $400 on vegetables and paid for a gym membership; we're doing this!"  We have ALL done high hopes of being able to maintain it. But how often have we all tried that only to realize that it doesn't always work?  And two weeks or a month into it, we abandon our new plan?  Maybe you abandon it because your family hates all the food you're making...maybe you abandon it because it's just too expensive...maybe you abandon it because what you've decided to try just doesn't fit into your life in some way.  It happens to all of us.

But here's a great concept...what if we just decide to add a little something new to our routines?  Nothing big, just something really sort of simple.  Charmissa reminded me how when I started out, my ultimate goal was to lose weight, but I decided to START out by just changing my recipes to incorporate healthier ingredients.  Not a big change, just a little change.  Still eating things I loved, just making them a little healthier.  Once that became a routine, I began to incorporate some exercises into my week...I tried lots of different things, and some I liked and some I didn't.  A year ago, about this time, my friend Katie from KTJ Weighing In announced a Virtual 5K so I decided that I'd try to train for it.  It just so happened that on the same day of the virtual 5K, June 1st, there was an actual 5K locally, so I took the plunge and signed up for the race.  (Read about it here.)  I tried something new, decided that I would commit to just this one race, and if I hated it, I'd never have to do it again.  But the thing is that I loved was hard...but it was amazing.  I never would have been able to experience that feeling if I hadn't tried something new.  And here I am, almost a year later and I'm a runner now!  I knock out 5K's on my own all the time and a lot of the times, I try to run 5 miles or more!

See how little things can lead to big things??  And you don't have to burden yourself with some grand big plans to make huge changes to do this...just try to add a healthy component to your day, your week, etc.  It doesn't even have to be a physical I mentioned above, I started to introduce new ways to cook foods and make them that's just how we eat.  Again, my buddy Charmissa reminded me how hard it would have been (and probably disastrous!) to say to my Hubs, "This is how we're going to eat now.  Quinoa and chick peas for life!"  Uh, yah, never would have flown.  But ever so slowly, he started to try some of the things I introduced.  Some stick and some don't - he's still not a fan of quinoa.

Back to the pic above.  That's me, last night, deadlifting 145#s, for the first time.  I tried yet another NEW thing; it was amazing.  And I can't wait to do it again...and to lift heavier.

Get out there, try something new, and see where it leads you.  I guarantee you'll be so proud of yourself for doing it.


March 25, 2014

I'm Letting it Go

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Hello friends!

It's been a little while since I've posted here on my journey and in truth, there isn't too much exciting that has been going on.  I'm still just plugging away here, doing my thing.

That's sort of the thing about healthy living, isn't it?  Not a whole lot of exciting things that are new to report, just living it day to day.

And that's kind of what I wanted to touch on today.  Recently, I posted on Facebook that I had been fighting my Inner Fat Girl a lot this Winter...mentally it's been tough.  I haven't fallen off the wagon or gone too far astray, but for a little while there (about 8 weeks), she was pretty loud in my head.  And mostly just about food - it's always about food for me - and she wanted some really tempting stuff!  I tried not to listen to her but do you know how hard it is to fight that bitch every single day?!  I did it, though, I fought her and she's FINALLY shut the Hell Up for the time being.

When you're fighting like that in your head, it's exhausting and over the course of the past few weeks, I've started to analyze where the exhaustion comes from.  Now, I have told you all how much I love food.  If I had a better metabolism, let me tell you, this whole "getting healthy" thing may not have happened...I would have been happy just strutting along with my lithe body eating bagels and pizza and baked goods for the rest of my life.  But alas...

After analyzing, and admittedly over analyzing, I realized it's because I have this worry in my head that everyone has this expectation of me.  I KNOW that I've made it up in my head; nobody has time to worry about me when we're all just trying to get through our days, but it's there, that worry.  This blog has been a blessing and a curse.  I started it for accountability, and over the course of time, it has honestly been a huge support system for me - I love how much support I get from my fellow bloggers and followers.  But on the other hand, I think that's where the expectation part comes my head everyone is watching and waiting for me to succeed.  And how great is that???  It's AMAZING; everyone is rooting for you.  But the thing is, I don't always succeed...some days I fail...and so in my head, there's a feeling of failure...and maybe it's not so much about failure, but maybe a feeling like I'm disappointing people?


Some days I get through the day and there's this feeling of relief that I conquered another I ran a marathon and I just hit the finish line.  Then I get up and do it again the next day...oddly, my "best" weeks are the ones where I get to the weekend having done amazingly all week...again, I breathe a sigh of relief.  But do you see where the exhaustion comes in??  I need to slow down and just do what I have to do without trying to just get through the day.


And so I analyze and analyze some more...and what I've come to realize is that this journey is's hard...and there are times when I feel like I'm starting over again and again...but the thing I need to keep reminding myself is that I am not on a journey to a certain destination; it is not something I have to do for the time being.  I am on a journey to live a healthy life for the REST of my life.

I have been working hard for over two years and I'm more than halfway to the goal weight I set out to achieve in the beginning...but somewhere along the way, I'm starting to realize that what I do every day is what's important.  It's not only going to help me get there, it will help me stay there, and I will be able to sustain it for a lifetime.

And as far as disappointing people, I am working hard at getting over that.  I am proud of how far I've come...I did it for me.  I need to keep reminding myself of that.  It's corny but I read a lot of quotes; some of them are so profound, aren't they?  And lately, I've been seeking out the quotes about happiness and being kind to myself and hope and possibilities.  Because isn't that what we all are hoping to achieve out of life?  I am so beyond blessed with the most amazing supportive husband, and wonderful friends and family.  I'm also extremely grateful for all of the support I've found through blogging.  THOSE are the things that I'm going to nurture.


Of course I'm going to keep on doing what I love:  working out and eating delicious, healthy food.  But I'm also going to work out and eat some delicious, not-so-healthy food, too. 

Most of all:  I'm going to work on cutting myself some slack and letting it go!

And yes, I do realize that after typing this entire post, somehow I've inadvertently referenced Frozen...

March 5, 2014

Guest Post, David Novak, Healthline - Healthy Fats

Hi everybody!  Today I'm bringing a great bit of information about adding healthy fats into your diet from Healthline.  For so long, I have been trying to cut fat out of my day, when really we need it in our diets!  Fat, the good kinds, are really great for us.  So read on for more information!

Most people assume that all kinds of fat are equally bad; however, this depends on what type of fat and the amount of fat being consumed. Fats are categorized into four major types: saturated fats, trans fat, polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. All of these fats play a major role in either boosting or aggravating our overall health.

Trans fats and saturated fats are best known as the “bad” fats because they can increase the risk of diseases, including cancer. They also elevate the body’s cholesterol level, which can cause cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks and stroke. Polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fat, on the other hand, are known as “good” fats, because they actually work at lowering cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Here are several tips on how to maximize the benefit of these healthy fats:

Monounsaturated fats
Monounsaturated fat is a type of healthy fat, which is physically liquid at room temperature, but can turn solid if chilled. Taken in moderation, this fat is found to help reduce bad cholesterol levels in the blood, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. It can also maintain healthy blood sugar and insulin levels, which is particularly important for those with type 2 diabetes. While most foods contain a combination of different types of fat, there are some that are dominated by monounsaturated fat along.  These foods include olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil, grapeseed oil, avocados, macadamia nuts and peanut butter.

Polyunsaturated fats
Polyunsaturated fats are liquid in any temperature. Two main varieties exist: omega-3 fats and omega-6 fats, also known as essential fatty acids.  These fats can’t be produced by the body naturally, and even though they are known as a healthy type of fat, moderate consumption of polyunsaturated fats is still recommended.  Why? Because research suggests that excessive consumption can contribute to certain types of cancer. Good sources of polyunsaturated fats include mackerel, herring, salmon, walnuts and sunflower seeds.

Tips for Choosing Healthy Fats

  Eliminate trans fat from your diet - Trans fats are liquid oils mixed with hydrogen, creating a solid form of the fat.  This is done so these fats’ shelf life can be prolonged. Trans fats are commonly found in commercially prepared food products such as frozen dinners, cookies, crackers, pre-mixed cake mixes and fried foods. Trans fat is considered an unhealthy fat because it increases bad cholesterol (LDL), while lowering the good cholesterol (HDL).  Doctors recommend avoiding foods high in trans fat as much as possible.
  Limit saturated fat intake - Saturated fat derives mostly from animal products such as poultry, full-fat dairy and meat. This type of fat is known to increase the risk of heart diseases and type 2 diabetes, so it’s advised to limit these fats in your diet. Sources of saturated fat include vegetable oils, such as palm oil and coconut oil.
Consume at least one source of omega-3 fats daily - Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat, which have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and inflammatory conditions. Omega-3 fatty acids also play a vital role when it comes to emotional health and cognitive function. Excellent sources include albacore tuna, herring, salmon, mackerel and sardines.
  Use liquid plant oils - Plant-based oils are the safest form of oil, especially when cooking with them. These oils are comprised mostly of polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat, and they are extremely healthy for you, promoting good heart, joint and cognitive health. Examples include canola oil, walnut oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, peanut oil and sesame oil.
  Replace bad fats with good fats - Substitution is the best way to maximize the benefit of good fats, while lowering your bad fat consumption. You can use olive oil instead of butter, white meat instead of red meat, or frozen yogurt instead of ice cream.

Recommended cholesterol and fat intake

Type of fat
Food sources
Saturated fat
Consume no more than 10% of total calories.
Coconut oil, lard, palm oil, butter, bacon, hot dogs and sausage
Monounsaturated fat
No specific recommendation, but staying within the total fat allowance is necessary.
Peanut butter, nuts, seeds, avocados, peanut oil and canola oil
Polyunsaturated fat
No specific recommendation, but staying within the total fat allowance is necessary.
Salmon, herring, mackerel, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, corn oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil,  and soybean oil
Trans fat
No specific recommendation, though the lower the amount the better. Avoid trans fat from synthetic sources.
Commercially-prepared food products such as cookies, cakes, desserts and snack foods
No more than 300 milligrams a day
Seafood, chicken, pork and beef dishes, burgers, eggs and dairy desserts

David Novak’s byline has appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world.  He’s an avid health enthusiast, and frequently is featured in regional and national health publications. He is also a weekly writer for Healthline.  To visit his other stories on Healthline, visit