Wise Words

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“Live from the heart of yourself. Seek to be whole, not perfect.” – Oprah Winfrey

I first posted this photo on my social media accounts thinking I would kick off the day with an inspiring life quote. I initially took it as a generalized suggestion of living a life of fulfillment – in work, family, friendship, love, etc. – rather than striving to be perfect in everything you do.

Working a job that you leap out of bed every day to get to rather than one that you hate but tolerate because it pays you a great salary; remembering that your family is the most important element in life, and that nurturing your relationships with each member means more than, say, a night out with friends, because in the end your family will always be there; holding onto friends that accept and love you for who you are, flaws and all, rather than people who you constantly have to impress and chase for approval; recognizing and admitting your faults and mistakes in your relationship with the person you love so that you can both rest assured that you are understood, rather than being hard-headed and in need of being right.

The more I reread this quote, the more I recognized how much it pertains to every aspect of life.

Because this is a fitness blog, I looked for ways in which it could be attributed to health, fitness and being comfortable and confident in your body. I have worked hard on finding my “happy body” for a while now. I have pushed myself to limits that I never thought I could reach, yet still find myself thinking, “really? That’s it?” or, “I’m not seeing any progress,” or “I should be HERE by now, but I am still down here.” I think these things because I allow myself to get stuck in the “I must be better, I must be the best” mindset. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be better, but, why must we want to be the best?

In the back of my mind I know that my progress goes hand-in-hand with the effort I put in. I know that I have my bad days, my cheat days. I know that there are times that I am going to miss the gym, or eat something that is “off-diet,” but why beat myself up over it?

What’s perfect to me, anyway? I should be telling myself, “wow, you’ve never looked like this before,” or, “you feel better than you ever have,” or, “your hard work has and will continue to pay off.” I feel fulfilled and I will keep working hard to feed that fulfillment, regardless of my end-game desires.

We must seek to be whole, not perfect. Who IS perfect anyway?

Thanks for the morning inspiration, Starbucks.

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One Year.

20140224-110238.jpgI never thought I would post this. It’s been a year since I began my weight-loss/fitness journey.

I am not much of a selfie poster; definitely not much of a personal photo poster. Every time I looked at the photo from last year and compared it to a progress shot, I thought hell no, I will never share this with anyone beyond my boyfriend and perhaps my mother. I hated, well… I hate looking at it. But then I thought, why not? You may not be comfortable with how you looked a year ago but that’s just it… it was a year ago. It isn’t today. You’re better today. Why not allow yourself to be proud of how far you have come rather than hide it?

I did something about it, that’s what matters.

Today I am far more comfortable and confident in my own skin, I am healthy, I am fit, I am 40lbs lighter and I feel that I earned the right to post a damn selfie.

This is a year’s worth of hard work. This is a year’s worth of not only undergoing a total body transformation but a lifestyle transformation as well. I committed myself to a regular workout routine (that I once considered an obligation and now I consider a want and a need), and I have also changed my eating habits drastically.

It’s true, what they say, about eventually not craving the crap once you stop eating it. People tell me to splurge, let loose a little and go ahead and “let yourself” eat some cookies – everyone else is.  But that’s the thing… it’s not a matter of not allowing myself anymore. I just don’t want it. I don’t crave it. I don’t need it.  I prefer a yummy smoothie over a plate of bacon for breakfast; I prefer a nice salad topped with all of my favorite vegetables, egg, chicken, you name it… over a burger and french fries; I prefer to snack on blueberries, cherry tomatoes, and hummus and carrots instead of a bag of chips.

Now, I don’t deprive myself of a “treat” that doesn’t fall within my regular diet if I do occasionally  want something like that; I know I am allowed to and I don’t cheat myself. I just no longer have the regular taste for it and that’s just fine.

Additionally, I exercise regularly. The gym has become my home away from home. When I’m away on a break day or something, I miss it. People look at it as obsessive, but I don’t. I wake up in the morning and yearn for the exhausted feeling of accomplishment that I get at the end of a great workout; I crave the endorphin high I feel from a run, especially ones that are faster and further than those previously; I stretch and get excited when my muscles are so sore that I struggle walking to the bathroom or removing my clothes for the shower because I know that the soreness is a sign of a killer workout.

I also look forward to signs of progress. To me, there are few feelings better than noticing your progress – no matter how small. The little changes in your body that sometimes even happen in just days, that the average person wouldn’t notice (if they do, they’re looking too closely), but you do. It’s the best. I get excited when it’s time to try a new workout routine, and it’s thrilling to me when I give a new meal plan or exercise a shot and can notice the changes that occur with it.

Learning my body has been interesting, difficult and exciting all the same.

So yes, I will flaunt that selfie and I won’t feel an ounce of shame about it!

Back in the Game

I am finally back in the swing of things and am slowly but surely starting to feel strong and healthy again. After having a bit of a set-back from an invasive  surgery, I wasn’t able or allowed to workout for two straight weeks. I also wasn’t sleeping well at all due to the discomfort. During the week following that “red zone”, I started to ease myself back in to a regular gym routine, however, I wasn’t able to do much lifting. I started small doing a little cardio here and minimal and light lifting there, avoiding anything that would cause pressure on my surgery area.

Let me tell you, it was rough! All I wanted to do was lift something heavy and run run run. I’m glad I listened to my doctor, family and a few wordpress followers (thanks, guys!) by not jumping into anything that was too heavy, too soon. If I had given in to my crazy need for a good workout, I could have lengthened my recovery time, thus resulting in more laying-on-the-couch misery!

20140130-090917.jpgWhile I was recovering, I focused heavily on my diet. I always eat well but figured that if I was going to be forced into temporary laziness, I might as well cancel out some calories that I would have otherwise burned at the gym. I tracked what I was eating on MyFitnessPal to get an idea of the number of calories I was taking in, and have continued to do so ever since.

I eat small and often – usually every hour and a half to two hours, depending on what I have. I feel like I eat non-stop but the frequency and portion size helps prevent your body from having the opportunity to store additional calories as fat. For example, 2 large egg whites and some blueberries is only about 75 calories, but for me, it is filling enough to keep me comfortable for the small length of time between that meal and the next.

I also drink a TON of water. I did a small test the other day to see how much water I drink on a typical day. My water bottle is 30oz and on a regular work day I drink at least 2 – 2 .5 of them. In the morning I have a glass and at the gym I have at least one full bottle. At home after the gym I have a couple of glasses as well. So, I figure I am consuming about a gallon (128oz) – if not more – a day. Drinking water throughout the day and with each meal helps make you feel more full, thus preventing you from over-consuming your food. The mind has a sick way of making you feel more hungry than you are, and before you know it you have consumed about twice as much as you needed to feel full, and about twice as much as your body can successfully digest before storing the rest as fat. I also usually have lemon in my water which is great for cleansing the body, digestion and boosting your metabolism.

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My diet consists of lots of fruits and veggies, low carbohydrates, and high protein. I even started to do a little bit of my grocery shopping in the gluten-free/vegetarian section at the market, where I found this new granola that I am obsessed with – KIND Healthy Grains! It’s relatively low in calories (1/3 cup for 120 calories) in comparison to other granola brands that I have had. It’s also rich in Omega-3 and is 100% whole grain – made with quinoa and has chia seeds! I have it almost every morning with low-fat greek yogurt and some kind of fruit mixed in – blueberries and/or bananas is delicious with it.

Now that I am out of my awful no exercise phase, I am weaning myself back onto lifting heavy. My surgery was almost four weeks ago and the discomfort I felt on my first days back at the gym is slowly starting to go away. If I feel any at this point, it’s usually only after the gym rather than during my workout.

I am going to visit my boyfriend on the beach in just two weeks – got to get bikini ready!!

Don’t Give Up

20140123-115001.jpgI have been rather down on myself since I had my surgery a little over two weeks ago. My body did exactly what I had feared during the time that I wasn’t able to exercise. I put on a few pounds, I felt gross and I was extremely unhappy with how I looked.

All I wanted to do was ignore what my doctors told me and go to the gym. I am visiting my boyfriend in a few short weeks and I needed my beach body at its best! However, a few little birdies reminded me that doing so would hinder my recovery and make my wait even longer. Longer? Hell no!

I know this meme is in reference to not giving up on your workout when it gets tough – but I thought that it fit how I have been feeling lately. Despite the set-backs I have experienced, in the end you are better off not giving up on yourself and your body no matter what circumstances you might be in.

Where’s That Six Pack???

20131106-144518.jpg I don’t always do sit ups, but when I do, I immediately check in the mirror to see if my six pack has arrived.

Had to share, made me  laugh. Don’t we all, though? Whenever I have a hard workout, I rush home, rip off my clothes and examine my body to see if it paid off with a six pack or a significantly boosted ass. Then I remember that that isn’t how it works!

Just a couple weeks ago I remember texting my boyfriend after spending what seemed like my entire afternoon working on my “abs,” saying that if I didn’t have a six pack after that workout, I would be absolutely SHOCKED.

Waiting for the results to show is a pain in the butt (literally and figuratively), but it’s all about patience – something that I fully admit to lacking.

Hi, my name is Katie and I have zero patience.

But I am working on it, I swear.

A little over a week ago I wrote about needing to get my act together. I have! My weight is back down to just one pound higher than my lowest weigh-in overall, making me just 5lbs shy of a total loss of 40lbs. My goal is to hit 40 by the new year, but I am not banking on it because I turn into a garbage disposal over the holidays. Wishful thinking!

 

Turn a Setback into a Comeback

I am not at my best. I have had a few “cheat” weekends that I haven’t been able to bounce back from yet and it’s a total buzzkill.

It’s so hard to eat clean and train the way you are used to when you are out of your element! The past two weekends were spent out of town with friends and my boyfriend. Plenty of drinking and unhealthy eating. Suffice it to say, I have gained a few pounds and feel nasty. While I was able to sneak in a hard workout on both weekends while I was away, it wasn’t enough!

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Lucky for me, my boyfriend and one of our friends workout the way I do so they were itching to get to the gym just as much as me. So, when I DID workout, they were killers because I had drill sergeants at my side. But, of course, they weren’t killer enough to cancel out the damage done at all the bars and restaurants.

When I haven’t been out of town, I can’t say that I have done my best to eat well. I mean, I don’t have a terrible diet… I naturally prefer healthier foods (with the exception of nachos. I am always down for some nachos), but I just haven’t tried as hard.

Additionally, work has picked up to the point that I have had more off days than I would like. My job requires a lot of late nights making it really hard to get to the gym AND get enough sleep. I suppose I could take it back to my early morning gym trips pre-work, but then I would be running on 4-6 hours of sleep or less. And as we all know, sleep is just as important as exercise.

On top of that, I pulled a muscle in my hip over the weekend (at least it was from exercise – I think) and am unsure how much running and leg work I will be able to do this week.  I finally registered for the Hot Chocolate 5k and need to be running much more than I have been over the course of the last few months. I still have over a month to prep for it but I need as much time as I can get. The pain I am feeling is indescribable. I can barely sleep on it and walking (stairs especially) is brutal. I have been using a heating pad and plan to ice it tonight.

I know this sounds like excuse after excuse. But hey, at least I recognize it. I know that we all have our setbacks – it’s impossible to train and eat perfectly all the time. While I don’t consider a few bad weekends and a couple of pounds a HUGE setback, I don’t feel great which is reason enough to look at all of this as a setback and use it as motivation to kick my ass back into gear.