Healthy Mind + Body

Weekly Goals #2

20190203_130709346_iOSAlthough many of us (myself including) suffer from the “Sunday Scaries”, it’s not an excuse to lay around in bed, wasting away your precious energy on whatever it is that Monady may hold.

Over the last month I have been setting myself up for success by creating “SMART” weekly goals:

Specific: state exactly what you plan to do

Measurable: provide a way to quantify/evaluate your progress

Achievable: make these realistic and within your abilities

Relevant: set a goal that makes sense within your current goals, scope of practice, ambitions

Time-bound: state when this will be completed–deadlines!!

Silly goal: “I want to lose weight” This sets you up for failure because you literally have NO plan of action set behind these words. When? What’s the deadline? What are the specifics?

SMART goal: “By the end of March, I will have lost at least 3 pounds of body fat” This is a specific, time-oriented goal. You know what you want and when you want to have it completed by.

Although I’ve been a planner and list maker my entire life, I too suffer from the “I’ll get to that later” syndrome, and end up putting it off for months. By creating 2-4 SMART weekly goals, I’m allowing myself to “get to it later” but also providing myself a doable deadline.

How did last week’s goals go over?

  1. Update my FedLoan account for the 2019 year: Got this acccomplished right away on Monday. This is something that literally takes 5 minutes max, but is one of those “it’s so easy I’ll get to it later” situations. DONE!
  2. Donate my clothes: I’ve had these clothes bagged up for about 7 months in the corner of my living room. Knowing I was going to walk right past the donation bin on my way to the store, I brought them with me and completed this on Wednesday. DONE!
  3. Complete 2 chapters of my Ex Phys book: I am working towards my C-EP certification (more on that later), so I’m making realistic goals of how many chapters to get to each week. So far, I completed one….but hey, there’s still daylight to finish the second chapter. (almost) DONE!

Let’s see what this week’s goals consist of. These ones will be listed in a more SMART fashion:

  1. By Sunday of next week, I will have ran a minimum of 20 miles at a 9:50 pace or below.
  2. By Sunday of next week, I will have read 2 more chapters from my Ex Phys book.
  3. By Sunday of next week, I will have gotten my car washed/vaccuumed (thank you unnecessary snow days for making my car disgusting…)
  4. By Sunday of next week, I will have cleaned out my entire kitchen of any unused food/baking supplies/plateware that I have not used within the last 3+ months (I have so many unnecessary containers, pots/pans/shaker bottles that take up wayyyy too much room–they all need to GO!)

What are your weekly goals? 

Healthy Mind + Body

New School Year, New You: 2016-2017 Goals

Good morning everyone! In my last post I mentioned how important journaling is, and how it can really help you reach your spiritual sense of happiness, so I’ve decided to get back on my blogging game as this is a sense of journaling for me. I had my cup (or two) of coffee paired with my bowl of oatmeal + 1 scoop of cinnamon protein powder, and now I’m just typing away before I set off for the typical eight hour work day. Life’s been moving at a fairly fast pace lately. I feel like it was just last week that I was crying in Shawn’s arms when he left for basic military training, but that was over 3 MONTHS ago already! Now it’s time to really buckle down lately with so many upcoming events:

The start of the new semester

The start of a new job working under two professors

The start of a new major (exercise science)

The start of a whole new type of relationship (long distance)

Prioritizing people, places, events, and ideas has always been a struggle with me. I tend to put academics over everything, which sounds like the best thing in the world…I mean hey it’s gotten me this far, but mentally it’s a struggle bus.

I put together a simple list of goals that I aim to achieve and nail for the 2016-2017 upcoming school year.

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Some people may look at my list and think “ok laugh..that’s easy to do. and eating when you’re hungry? Come on that’s easy too” But when you’re mind works like mind, sometimes those two things happen maybe once or twice a month. Making a list of things you want to accomplish based off of YOUR needs is key. No matter how little or silly they may be. Sometimes it’s just the feeling that you can cross it off at the end of the day—that accomplished feeling, that makes everything that much better.

 

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Healthy Mind + Body

Healthy: Are you?

Healthy—what exactly does that short, simple word mean? Many people associate the word ‘healthy’ or ‘good health’ with looking fit, not being obese, being able to run a mile, eating an apple, and/or being free of sickness. But what exactly does being ‘healthy’ truly entail? I can remember sitting in my undergrad class learning about the topic of health. At this time my caloric intake was about 1000 on a good day accompanied by intense strength training workouts, so my mind was usually falling asleep or not entirely grasping any concepts by this 11am class.

“How would you classify someone as being healthy?” asked my professor.  I started to wake up and think about it. I knew I wasn’t healthy, but I really wasn’t sure what a “healthy person” entirely consisted of.

 

“To be healthy” she continued, “five areas need to be fulfilled: you need to be satisfied socially, intellectually, physically, emotionally, and spiritually”

Socially: being able to connect with others and build positive relationships that make us feel good about ourselves

Intellectually: having the ability to open our minds to new thoughts, ideas, and experiences; having the drive to try new things and take on new tasks

Physically: being able to maintain a healthy lifestyle that doesn’t keep us fatigued/worn out by daily life stressors

Emotionally: Understanding that life can bring about stressful situations and understanding how to cope with such events. This also includes the ability to share joy and love with others but also grief and pain

Spiritually: The ability to establish peace and wellness within ourselves and others–having values and acting upon them.

 

I looked at her and kind of sunk in my seat.

– I never felt I had time to make friends or partake in social activities (and my social anxiety is about 7/10, so that didn’t help haha) so my social health suffered

– Being overworked in school, at work, and in the gym, my desire to try new things and take on more tasks suffered

– I overworked myself in the gym, so I wasn’t physically healthy

– I understood that life had it’s ups and downs, but handling them correctly (and not just isolating myself/skipping class for a month) was very weak

– there was no such thing as peace and wellness in my mental dictionary

 

I realized that most of those five components weren’t being satisfied! No wonder I never could classify myself as happy, even with all the success I’ve had.

I decided to reflect on my undergraduate lifestyle and am putting a new outlook on life: HEALTH.

 

Here are some ways that I plan to be healthy this year, and ways you can be too:

  • Exercise! Whether you’re interested in hardcore strength training, running a 10k, a cool dance class, or just a light walk on the treadmill, all of these options are great! (physical)
  • Exercising…..with a friend. If anyone knows me, they know I dislike working out with a person. I like to go in, do my things, and finish up feeling accomplished. After sitting  down with Katie over some coffee the other day, we both realized how isolated we can be when the school year starts up. So we made a pact to have our Monday Morning Cardio Sessions together. By including a friend, you have set plans and cancelling is NOT okay! If either one cancels, make an agreement that he/she has to buy lunch for both of you Winking smile (physical, social)
  • Talking with Shawn: Although I am a HUGE fan of communication in relationships, I tend to keep mine inside in hopes to prevent an argument or fight…aka not good! After talking with Shawn about my goals to be healthy this year, he really coaxed me into always telling him how I feel, what’s on my mind, what I fear, and if I’m uncomfortable/don’t agree with things. Sometimes I just try to keep them inside because I don’t want to come across as this rude, obnoxious girlfriend but in his words: “you can tell me these things without being rude” and that’s when it kind of hit me–of course I can! This may be easier said than done, but in the long run it’ll be the most beneficial task I take on (emotionally, intellectually)
  • Keeping a journal: I always have a lot to say, but sometimes I just don’t have anyone to say it too, or I’m too nervous to speak. Journaling is a great way to get your thoughts out, get your ideas on paper, and sort of vent. Buy a cute notebook, cute pen, and set aside just 15 minutes a day! (intellectually, emotionally, spiritually)
  • Joining a club: Freetime for me will be fairly limited with the amount of work I’ll have piled up, but whether it’s taking on an exercise science club or maybe the Health&Human Services Student Advistory Council, doing so will allow me to stimulate my mind, talk with others about ideas I am passionate about, network, and enjoy the company of others (intellectual, socially)
  • Eating healthy—this one is a no brainer for me! Eating healthy always makes me feel better; both physically and mentally. Fueling my body right always makes my performance in school, work, and the gym THAT much better (physically)
  • Reading for growth: Again…little free time but I’ve become very interested in self help/self awareness books regarding leadership lately. Reading to better yourself is a great tool, and a great way to satisfy the (spiritual) component. Currently working on reading The Alchemist

 

This is a great visual representation of the five components of optimal health.

Ask yourself: Are you healthy?

 

 

 

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Healthy Mind + Body

10 things my parents taught me by age 21

20160430_132216630_iOSGoing to college wasn’t a choice for me: it was mandatory for me to succeed in my goals.

Going to a college six hours away from home? Now THAT was a choice.

Leaving my family was a choice. Keeping in touch or choosing to pick up the phone or even answer their messages was a choice. Staying close was a choice.

Growing up, I lucked out. I grew up in a family that sheltered me, guided me, cared for me, fed me, yelled and punished me when necessary but celebrated me when it was necessary as well. Disagreements arose and frustration occurred often between my parents and I, but so did jokes, laughter, and family outings.

I remember in 2012 my parents dropped me off to college with my roommate and boyfriend at the time and all I could say was “Ok bye, see ya, leave…NOW!” And was off doing my own thing. Sure, my family and I were close, but it wasn’t to where I planned to call them every day or check in weekly. Homesickness seemed non-existent to me. Seeing them only twice a year at Christmas and my birthday in June didn’t seem as though it would pose a problem.

Throw in a heartbreak that I never thought would happen, 40 + hour workweeks while attending an honors college, and the depressive thoughts that could prevent anyone from leaving his/her bed and you change your mindset real quick.

Looking back at that, I’ve been out on my own for nearly four years and my relationship with my parents has changed for the better. No, I don’t call them everyday and update them on my every move, but maybe once a week or so I’ll let them know I’m still alive. I’ll fill them in the latest date I’ve been on, talk to my dad about the latest workout I’ve been trying or maybe some new ways to alter my diet, and maybe even post on their face book and actually acknowledging their existence Winking smile 

 

So Sue and Luke, this post is a shout out to you guys. Here are the top ten things you both have taught me that I’ve realized at age 21.

 

10. Don’t underestimate yourself:

The hundreds and hundreds of times I’ve applied and been accepted into programs, leadership groups, awards, and scholarships still blows my mind. My self esteem and confidence has always been on the low side, but you taught me to believe in myself.

9. Pick up your things and put them back where they belong

Dad, remember that time you threw my baby doll’s ballet slipper in the trash because I didn’t pick it up when I was done with it?  I cried (and I’m still not over it!) Now I’m 21 and I’m not over the fact that my friends, room mates, partners, and co-workers cannot simply use something and put it back where it belongs instead of leaving it lye around the area. Thanks for making me development this trait!!

8. Don’t fear change

Moving nearly every year gave me the opportunity to learn from new environments and make friends with new faces. I’ve learned that pursuing new career paths and taking up new and unfamiliar opportunities can get me further in life than I believed it ever could.

7. You are beautiful

Beauty is more than the physical traits of a person. It’s their mannerisms and quirks; their personality traits. My parents made sure I knew that I was beautiful whether I believed it or not.

6. Watch what you say and who you say it to

Every time I vented or gossiped about a certain girl/boy growing up, my mother remembered every detail of it. Years later when I would bring him/her up, she could remember the previous stories I told about that person. So watch what you say about someone and who  you say it to—once it is out there, there’s no getting it back.

5. Never discourage someone’s likes, dislikes. If anything, encourage it

My mother never turned her head when I told her I wanted to dye my hair. From black hair, to red hair, to black tips, maroon tips, blue streaks, she was there when I wanted these things done. She encouraged my all black wardrobe growing up and would even find clothes to add to the collection. My dad came with me to get my lip pierced although he thought it was the farthest thing from a good idea. All of my likes and interests never aligned with my parents, but they never once told me how “wrong” it was to feel a certain way about things. Now I live everyday listening to people’s perspective and interests and finding and enjoying why they feel certain ways. I’ve learned to be accepting and encouraging because of my parents.

4. Work first, play later

This is NOT the case for everyone, but I hope my future children develop this mindset. Jumping off the bus in elementary school, I would come home and immediately empty out my purple Winnie the Pooh backpack and begin my homework before I even THOUGHT about knocking on our next door neighbor Sara’s house to see if she wanted to play outside on the swing set. fifteen years later and I still have that mindset—do all my homework, email all my clients, prep all my meals BEFORE I even think about going on pinterest and getting lost in a world of recipes for an hour (or four…hehe)

3. Always wear your seatbelt

Every time someone comes in my car, whether they are significantly younger or older, or whether I get in THEIR car, I always make sure the seatbelts are on…even if we’re just going from one parking spot to the next. Growing up with a police officer father will really engrain things in your mind. other similar ideals include: do not drink and drive, do not get in a car with someone who has been drinking, always wear your helmet (even when you’re a 21 year old biking to class…) and never talk to strangers (unless you’re in a grocery store helping them choose the best type of cheese or BBQ sauce)

2. Your true love may be someone who is your complete opposite

Everyday I wonder how in the world my parents ended up together. A ginger and a brunette…an overall health and fitness enthused man and a “I’ll eat what i like” perspective woman…a short tempered and “one hour early is late” mindset filled man with a relaxed tempered “5 minutes early is good enough” woman…where are the similarities? I’m only 21, but I’ve spend countless times X’ing out people who had no similarities to me, or who fell into my mold of the ‘mohawk –tattooed-fitness enthused alpha male that chances are I passed up several people that could have treated me way better than I have ever been treated previously. with that being said I also learned to let love find you, and not push for something that isn’t there anymore.

1.  Try your best in all that you do

Perfectionism can really mess with your mindset, but after hearing my father constantly tell me that as long as I try my best, that’s all that matters, I’m slowly becoming more accepting of that thought. Sure, I’m still hard on myself when I don’t get the highest grade, or get the award or whatever it is that I am aiming for, but as long as I learn from my mistakes and try my hardest, that’s all I can really ask of myself.

Healthy Mind + Body

Bikini Competition through an Eating Disorder Victim’s Perspective

20151109_231323000_iOSIt sounds pretty ironic right?

“Let the girl with disordered eating habits, low self-esteem, and 10 year history of yo-yo dieting compete in a bikini competition”

 

 

That was my first thought as well. How could I, the girl who after months of therapy sessions and dietitian visits and doctor visits, be “okay” enough to compete in a sport that revolved around rigorous training and demanding calorie needs and restrictions.

Sure, my dietitian told me I “graduated” from disordered < 500 calorie/day eating to a healthier, daily eating schedule. But did she know I just lied and made my food journal look like ideal, perfect American diet with 50% of calories from carbs, 30% from fat and 20% from protein? Did she know I wasn’t mentally healthy yet? No, but in order to end those monotonous and silent sessions with Carol in which I never wanted to speak at and to free up my Wednesday afternoons from dietitian visits, it had to be done.

 

And it was stupid.

Because ten years later and I’m still where I was. Except I’m not the same emaciated 90lb girl. I was a regular BMI, starving girl who would gain weight after anything more than 1000 calories due to the starvation mode that I’ve been stuck in. I was sick and tired of being well…sick and tired. I was tired of the fear I had behind food: behind rice, and peanut butter, and potatoes, and oils. And that sounds extremely silly; as my gym owner called it; “the killer carbs!”

 

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But you can’t laugh at my fears; you can’t laugh at the disorder that’s fueling these fears. You certainly can’t laugh at my attempt to wake up everyday and fight it.

So what in the world would force me to change? I was tired of striving for a feeling of happiness through health that I wasn’t obtaining; I was tired of being afraid. And maybe it was egotistical of me, and maybe it was selfish, but I wanted to look and feel better. So I contacted a friend regarding bikini competitions and how to get involved.

Now, I was about a BMI of 24 in the beginning of prep, close to the overweight zone due to muscle mass and some excess fat.

I was given a meal plan to follow and weekly check ins to see how the diet worked and if we needed to tweak it. Now, following the diet was key to success. A lot of people found it hard to follow because it eliminated so many things. But for me, following this diet added more calories than I was already eating; more carbohydrates and fats than I was already eating. And the anxiety began there, but I put trust in my coach that it wouldn’t lead to a weight increase.

Trust is key, that’s an important element I learned.

Seeing that I had to eat pastas and sweet potatoes (yes—they are healthy complex carbs which take longer to digest and are full of fiber & key nutrients…but tell that to a girl with an ED or someone recovering and they won’t listen) made me nervous, but like I said…trust.

After weeks went by, I started dropping some weight and losing some inches; a very healthy progression. Sure, I plateaued several times, and I won’t lie, I’m fairly certain it’s due to the fact that I overtrained several days a week and sometimes I chose not to eat that extra carb choice in the day because I was too afraid too, and that’s my own damn fault—you LEARN from your mistakes.

My diet included several different foods all laid out with relative times an portion sizes, such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, tuna , chicken, oils, salads, rice cakes, etc. I wasn’t used to eating all of these different foods–I mean I was a vegetarian prior to this, so it was a whole new experience!

Now I sit here and type to all of you as I eat some egg whites and 1/2 a sweet potato in prep for Saturday’s competition. Yes—I chose to compete again. Why? Because this whole journey…this experience…this six long ass month experience of 3AM gym sessions, two a days, “no I can’t drink” speeches, HELPED me. How did it help me you ask??

  • I don’t fear carbs like I used too. Actually, I want a freakin bowl of my mother’s ziti (ground turkey and low fat cheese of courseWinking smile ) and a turkey sandwich with whole wheat bread.
  • I found the connection to food, your body, and your energy output—I see how important food choices are to your body for athletic performance
  • I found motivation in myself that I never thought I had
  • I found a new appreciation for food and health: FUEL your body with healthy choices. In other words, eat better not less.

Doing this competition (along with my desire to please everyone and to not let someone down), I wanted to win. I wanted to be the best. Weekly/Bi-monthly check ins’s with coach to ensure I was on track really helped me well….eat. It also helped me change up my workout routine and learn the importance of strength training. I no longer am that cardio bunny–but a strong woman–both mentally and physically.

Sure, my mentality is and always will be skewed. I feel as though I will always see a plate of food and see numbers instead of deliciousness; calories/fat/protein instead of how aesthetically pleasing it looks

 

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But that’s just who I am. If it becomes a problem and interferes with my social life like it used to (sorry girls from the 8th grade soccer team…I really did want to get that pizza after the game I just mentally couldn’t go!) then  I know I need to get help. I think it’ll always be with me, but more so it’s the actions I can control and how I go about dealing with it that can change.

Overall, many people think competitors, whether you’re doing bikini or figure or you’re a male doing bodybuilder or physique (or one of the other trillion classes they have…) that you’re going to have tis disordered mindset and that you’re diet is just super unhealthy and blah blah blah. Well PERSONALLY lemme tell you—this saved my life. This saved my mindset. And I can’t wait to continue to compete.

 

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Healthy Mind + Body

Mondays: How to Deal With Them

Monday written in letter beads and a coffee cup on table

 

 

20160425_134251319_iOSOf all of the days of the week, Mondays are notoriously known for being the most dreaded one. The majority of people have the weekends off to relax, unwind, and essentially do more “fun” things instead of “work things”. As sunday winds down though, we are all struck with the fear of the returning Monday. My question though is why.

Why is it of all days, Mondays are the worse? Why not Tuesday? or Thursday?

Many people find it harder to wake up on Mondays than all other days.

I’ve compiled some things that I personally do that really help prevent and ward off the Monday Strugglebus!

1. Wake up at the same time everyday (or close to it):

Yes…I know…waking up early on the weekends if you don’t have to is never fun,but your body will thank you. Studies have shown that waking up at a similar time everyday has been beneficial for health. By keeping yourself on a set schedule, you won’t have that “I can’t sleep in tomorrow” mindset because you’ll be on the same sleep pattern all week.

2. Setting aside “me time”

This goes for ANY and EVERY day of the week: I find me time SOOO important, mentally and physically. Although many people aren’t considered a morning person (my room mate being one of them hehe Winking smile ) Finding time for yourself before you have to get in the work mindset is so important. For me, I go to the gym in the AM and enjoy my cardio: that’s the time where all my good thoughts and ideas come in. I let my brain wander to what I need to do for the day, who I need to email, what clients need to be seen, what I’ll make for dinner, etc. I follow that up with some coffee, a post workout meal, and a few minutes of instagram and pinterest Smile . and THEN I get my day started.

3. Prepping the night before:

This also goes for ANY and EVERY day of the week, but Mondays especially. I always get my clothes out, keys laid out, lunch packed, breakfast pre-prepped (as in dry oats measured and placed in a bowl, coffee all ready to be brewed, etc), so my mornings can go nice and smoothly.

4. Make a Monday Playlist:

So this may sound silly, but it works! I usually listen to music as I’m showering, getting dressed, or making breakfast (or all of the above!).Making a playlist that gets YOU pumped and excited and in a good mood is a great way to ward off any negative vibes that could be brewing early in the AM. Somedays I’m really feeling the mellow acoustic tunes, like Jack Johnson, but when I really need a pick me up I tune into Spotify’s “Hit Rewind” playlist and start to jam out. It’s also great to play in the car if you have a long commute.

5.  Making a to-do list the night before:

Set aside time on Sunday to plan out all of the tasks you want and need to get done. Prioritize them however you ‘d like. For me, I make a list of the things I need to do followed by the tasks that I would love to do if I have time. I break it down by times and time allotments. Having it written and laid out the night before helps you when the morning comes

6. Enjoying a “cheat” meal on the weekends versus an entire “cheat” weekend:

I’m not a fan of the word cheat because I believe in everything in moderation for the average American, but many people choose to eat a healthy diet throughout the week and splurge/go hard on the unhealthy food during the weekends. NO NO NO! Having this all-or-nothing attitude during the week and over-indulging on the weekends can make you feel fatigued, bloated, tired, and crampy on Monday. By enjoy a “cheat” meal on the weekends is perfectly fine, but be mindful and be sure to have some healthy snacks and meals on hand as well.

7. Plan something fun and exciting for Monday:

Many people dread waking up on Mondays due to several reason, work and school being the two most popular. But who would dread waking up for a coffee date with a friend? Or knowing they have dinner plans with their best friends? Or even a date to the newest movie? Having something to look forward to on a Monday can make them seem a little less dreary. For me, my plans today consist of work followed by a bike ride and park trip!

How do you make your Mondays easier??