Yummy Monday

Its Monday so that means another Full Circle delivery today!!

Today’s produce box included: green leaf lettuce; celery; baby spinach; carrots’ 2 ruby grapefruits; 3 oranges; 3 kiwi and a bag of crimini mushrooms.

As I have in previous weeks, I also ordered some additional items: a cucumber; green onion; green bell peppers; bananas; whole wheat bread; whole wheat pasta and pumpkin seeds.

As has become our tradition, my roommate and I sat down Sunday night to plan out our menu for dinners for the week based on what’s coming in the produce box:

Monday- Chicken, spinach salad & bruschetta
Tuesday- Shrimp, kale & coconut rice
Wednesday- Homemade veggie pizzas

The rest of the week we will each be preparing meals on our own as I will be working or not home those nights.

For the rest of my meals, I will be focusing on my favorite breakfast of peanut butter toast & fruit and taking cheese sandwiches for lunches.

ADVENTURE MONDAYS

As my roommate and I have both been off on Monday’s lately, my roommate has declared Mondays to be “Adventure Mondays” where we will go out and explore the various sights around Seattle whenever we both have the day off. Today she didn’t tell me where we were going, just loaded me and the dog in the car and we headed out. We ended up at Gasworks Park.

We  then went to see the Fremont Troll, had lunch at a dog friendly pub in Fremont then did some window shopping. We finished out the day with grocery shopping, then came home and cooked dinner together. It was a really awesome day and I am looking forward to our next “Adventure Monday!”

When was the last time you took an adventure day?

Finding Inspiration

I think that we all have points in our life where we struggle to take the next step on our journeys. There are days that we just cannot convince ourselves to workout or eat healthy, days when we fight against taking the steps necessary to help us reach our goals. What do we do during those times? Do we cave in and give up, or do we keep going forward? And if we push forward, how do we find the way? I think the answer lies in how we find our inspiration for the journey we are on.

There were reasons for all of us when we started out on our journeys, things that inspired us to take the first step. And this applies whether it was starting a healthy lifestyle journey like mine, or the pursuit of  a career, music, whatever. Initially something lit the spark and started us working towards our dreams. But once that spark is lit, how do we keep it going? How do we build that spark into a flame that will continue to motivate us until we reach our goals? The answer is slightly different for each of us, but here is what keeps me going…

First, I have a lot of visual cues to remind me of what I am trying to achieve. I have my one year and five-year goals posted on the wall behind my computer. This keeps me aware of what I am working to achieve right now. Then there are quotes all over my room reminding me to never give up, to go “confidently in the direction of my dreams,” and to believe in myself. There are other quotes throughout as well. And one of the biggest visual inspirations for me is my vision collage. It hangs on the wall by my bed and has images and sayings reflecting my goals. I update this collage every so often with new images to keep it fresh and so that it always draws my eye.

This is a full view of my current collage.

And a detail view of part of one section.

There are other places I find inspiration as well… movies, music and books. In movies, I find that I am often moved by minor characters who are intended to support the plot, but grow and develop in ways that make them shine; live Neville in the Harry Potter series (ok this applies to books as well). I find a lot of my inspirational characters and movies are not the ones people typically think of as motivational. 

Music really speaks to me. As I mentioned before, I always have music playing and I am really drawn towards powerful songs about struggle and rising above. One of my absolute favorites is Stand Back Up by Sugarland, but I find One More Time by Kellie Pickler to be intensely powerful and motivating as well, though many would look at it as a song about breaking up and heartache (I’ve even been told by a friend that it’s a depressing song, but I don’t interpret it that way).

I have already talked about how much I love memoirs. Reading about people who have pursued their dreams while leading ordinary lives shows me that my dreams are possible to, that I can overcome any obstacles in my way if I put my mind to it.

Essentially I keep myself surrounded by images that renew my conviction to pursue my dreams. Inspiration can be found anywhere in my opinion, even in out of the ordinary places.

Where do you find your inspiration every day?

The People

I tossed around several ideas for today’s blog, but what I kept coming back to is the people in my life who are there to support me and help to make me who I am.

First and foremost, of course is my family. My parents are amazing and have supported me every step of the way in everything that I’ve done. They prefer that I don’t talk about them on social media, so I will simply say that there has never been any doubt in my mind that if I needed anything, my parents would be there.

And then there’s my brother, who is truly my best friend. He has come through for me more times than I can count and is always my go to person when I have an issue and just need to vent. I know that I can tell him anything and he will always be there for me, no matter what.

There are also some really amazing friends, both back home and here in Seattle. Out of respect for people’s privacy, I won’t give anyone’s name or reveal any really private information about them, but I do want to recognize and thank them. Hopefully, if they read my blog, they will recognize themself by what makes me think of them.

Back home I have an amazing pair of friends who are a couple. I was friends with J first, long before he even met O and we instantly hit it off. We even lived together for a year, and while we have had our share of scuffles, I know that he is behind me in whatever endeavor I choose, they both are. Now that we live so far apart, its hard to keep in touch, but they are never far from my mind. All I need to do is see a tomato, Bumblebee Tuna, Denny’s or Spiderman and my mind instantly turns to J, there are songs and movies that also bring him to mind. And for O, it’s just a matter of hearing a Miranda Lambert song or eating a croissant and he is instantly in my thoughts.

There is another spectacular friend that I met back home and then followed up here. I’ve even lived with her for a time. We have virtually opposite tastes in everything from music to books, but I know that she is there for me and hope that she knows I am there for her. I can tell her pretty much anything and she will support me and cheer me on. In fact, next to my family she is probably my biggest cheerleader. It’s hard for us to get together often now because both of our schedules are so busy, but there are things that make me think of her as well… like Stephen King, Fringe (the TV series), Panera and Las Vegas.

Newer friends to my life who have become very special and I know are there for me include another J and T. J has opened his home to me and helped me in situations when I have been struggling. He has accepted me into his life as though I were a member of his family. Again, we have a hard time finding time to see each other due to our busy schedules, but things that bring him to mind are paintings, ice cream, views of downtown Seattle & popcorn. I have thankfully been able to see T every couple of weeks, and we chat frequently via text. He has been one of my biggest cheerleaders as well, especially on my currently healthy lifestyle journey. I think of him whenever I see a cyclist, go to Mac Grill or Stanford’s, or drink beer.

There are 2 other people who are really supportive of me as well, my boss and my roommate. I was very lucky in finding my job that it came with such a great boss who has become a friend. And I was even luckier when I went looking for a place to live and found my roommate, I couldn’t ask for a better one (no offense to any of my former roommates who may be reading this).

So that is a brief look at the people who support me. I would love to talk about some of them more, but will only do so if they don’t object. I just know that I am a very lucky woman to have such amazing people in my life!!

Who are the people who support you in your life?

5 Things About Me

Since its Friday, I thought I would share 5 random things about myself that have nothing to do with my weight-loss journey and everything to do with the rest of my life.

1. I am the proud mama to a 4-year-old tuxedo kitten named Disney who is the light of my life! She entertains me daily and reminds me that I am loved. She is the traditional black and white and I just adore her and spoil her rotten!!

2. I love music!! I always have music playing in the background, especially when I’m working out. While I like most types of music, and even played an instrument back in high school, my go to music is Country!!! I love all of it, though my favorites are Sugarland, Rascal Flatts, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Gary Allan and Taylor Swift.

3. I am a total bookworm. I love to read, and read from a wide variety of topics. One of my favorite categories right now are memoirs… especially those involving cooking or travel. But I also love romantic suspense, young adult series and fitness or writing books as well. Right now I am currently reading 9 different books!

4. There are two sports that I love to watch… baseball and NASCAR. I am from San Diego and will always be a die-hard Padres fan, though am starting to root for the Mariners now that I am living in Seattle. And as far as drivers are concerned, my number one is definitely Tony Stewart!!!

5. I am an aspiring writer… and not just of blogs! I have been writing poetry since I was very young and have even had a few poems published. I am also toying with the idea of a novel and am doing research for some article ideas that I want to pitch in the near future.

So that’s a quick look at some of the other pieces involved in my life that work alongside my healthy lifestyle. As I have said before, I think a truly healthy lifestyle involves balance! I plan to share more about these pieces in later blogs, and also to share additional pieces of my life as we go along.

Tonight’s blog is pretty short, I know. But I have actually written it twice because there was an error when I tried to post it the first time (grrr!). But it’s also pretty late and I am ready to head for bed.

Are there any pieces of your life that you would like to share?

New Outlook

As I mentioned yesterday, I am shifting my focus away from weight-loss and back to making healthy choices in the hopes of getting my activity level back to where it was. I also stated that I would be posting my training plan through the end of May in today’s blog. The more I think about it, though, having a set training plan leans towards obligation rather than focusing on fun in my activities again, so I decided to alter that a bit. Instead of creating a set training plan, I have created a list of fun, active workouts with a goal of including at least 2 each day. Without having a set structure I have to follow each week, I think that I will be more likely to incorporate more activity into each day.

Here are the workouts currently on my list:

Walk
Strength training (aiming for 3 per week)
Run (aiming for 3 per week)
Zumba
Kickboxing
Dancing (either free style or with a DVD)
Bike
Elliptical
Hike
Yoga
New fitness classes at gym
Anything else I can think of (swimming, pilates, horseback riding, skating, whatever!)

I think this gives me a wide variety of fun things to choose from that I can fit into my day at various times. I am going to try this out for the month of May (and the last few days of April) to see if this does the trick to get my activity level back where it needs to be AND to see if I’m having fun with my fitness again. My new lifestyle is supposed to be about enjoying my life in a healthy way and if I dread exercise or see it as a chore, I am less likely to follow through, but making it into a game increases the likelihood that I will be more active.

I will report back each week and let you know how things are going with this new fitness outlook.

Adjusting Focus

I have realized over the past few days that somehow my focus has shifted from getting healthy to losing weight over the last few months. And I think this is why I have been struggling to get all of my workouts in and to actually lose weight. When I was focused on getting healthy and making choices on whether or not something would help me reach my goals, I was choosing the healthier option more frequently. I was also focused on my workouts and enjoying them! Since my focus has shifted away from the healthier choices and more on the weight lost, I have been making less healthier choices (like eating half a bag of mini Heath bars in one sitting) and my workouts have started feeling like a chore. How did that happen?

I think there are two elements that have caused the shift. One is that I was in the dreaded 180s, my stumbling block of all times past. I think when my weight hit that level, my brain kind of freaked out and I was just focused on getting out of the 180s as quickly as possible (which turned out to take a few months). The other factor, I think is some of the challenges that I am involved in that set the goals for the challenge as certain amounts of weight lost. Both of these combined made me more aware of the numbers on the scale, to the point that it became my focus.

Making the scale my focus, treating myself well became secondary and workouts were designed to lose weight rather than to build strength, be active and have fun. Exercise became more of a chore than a fun activity, so I started skipping workouts more frequently. Which in turn made it harder for me to lose weight.

So now I need to readjust my focus away from the scale. Yes, part of getting healthy for me is losing weight, and yes I still have a lot of weight to lose. But my ultimate goal is health, regardless of the number on the scale, so I need to get back to making healthy decisions for me and not for weight loss. I need to get back to fitness for the sake of fun rather than because I need to burn x number of calories today (and the irony is that I burned way fewer calories when exercising for weight loss than for fun).

Because I am committed to these challenges, I will step on the scale for my specific challenge dates, but I will be putting it away the rest of the time. I will also be adjusting my schedule so that I can get back into the gym and into a Zumba class or on the bike for some cross-training. And dancing again! I can’t remember the last time I danced!! I will be posting some fitness goals tomorrow that I want to work on through the rest of April and May… with the emphasis on fun activity! Yes, I am still training for a 5k, I just need to embrace the enjoyment in my training runs again, rather than looking at them as a calorie burning chore.

A friend of mine just posted an exercise challenge on her blog and I was really tempted to join her in it, but then I realized that it might reinforce the exercise as a chore mentality that I am trying to get away from, so I decided instead to focus on active fun instead of trying to get in a set amount of exercise. I believe that through fun, I will naturally increase my daily activity again.

Monday Meal Planning

Today I received my second produce box from Full Circle Farm.

 

In this box I received red leaf lettuce, broccoli, carrots, a pint of strawberries, an avocado, 3 oranges & 3 roma tomatoes. I also added a loaf of oatmeal buttermilk bread, a jar of peanut butter and some bananas.

Because this wasn’t quite enough to supply me with meals for the entire week, I also hit up the local QFC and picked up some groceries to round out my lunches and snacks for the week.

I got some red and green bell pepper and a cucumber to round out a salad, some chocolate almond milk, cheese, hummus, soup, crackers and some Food Should Taste Good chips and pita crisps, plus a carton of yogurt. My roommate and I also picked up the fixings for our dinners this week as well.

I will be preparing a large salad to take for lunches this week, plus the hummus and chips. Breakfasts will be peanut butter and toast plus fruit. I will also be making some protein shakes this week because I am just not getting enough protein in each day (and I’m NOT a vegetarian, I’m just a carboholic).

For dinner tonight my roommate and I made chicken, potatoes & bok choy. Tuesday I will be working, so will have a salad and some leftover chicken for my dinner. Wednesday will be taco night, followed by spaghetti on Thursday and a big salad (and leftovers) on Friday. My roommate’s son spends the weekends with his dad, so it’s just us on Friday and Saturday nights.

My roommate is really excited about planning meals in advance. She’s seen me do it with my lunches and stuff and decided that it really makes sense for us to plan out our dinners in advance… it also helps to save money at the grocery store!

On another note…

If you look at my to do list for this weekend, it seems like I really didn’t get anything done. I took yesterday as a complete rest day because I haven’t had one is quite a while, but I really didn’t do much of anything other than read. Today I had plans for some cleaning around the house, but ended up taking a hike instead. I think that was a much better use of my day than cleaning out my dresser drawers to be completely honest! The trail was incredibly beautiful and I really wish I had remembered to bring my camera so I could show you some pictures, but I didn’t. If you are familiar with the parks and trails in Seattle, we hiked at Carkeek park, which has several wooded trails that follow a stream and ends down by the beach on the sound.  Next time I will definitely make sure to bring my camera!

Training Tool

I decided today that I wanted to talk about my training, and with that one of my favorite training tools. I think that one of the best investments I ever made was purchasing a Gymboss interval timer(http://www.gymboss.com).  I own the pink one pictured here.

I absolutely love this timer and use it all the time. It comes in really handing for my 5k training right now, since I am doing run/walk intervals. I can set 2 different interval times and the number of times I want to cycle through the intervals. Since I usually take a longer route than it takes to finish my timed intervals, its great to know when I am done with the training runs and can focus on my walk for the rest of the distance. It beeps at the end of each interval, then has a different beep that it uses for the end of the last interval.

In addition to the intervals, you can use it as a regular timer and a stop watch. I use both of these functions as well in the course of my workouts. And sometimes use the timer for other things around the house as well (like to let me know when to get off the computer and get something done!).

** All comments and opinions are my own. I purchased my Gymboss for full price and am not being compensated in any way for my review.

This week’s training plan:

Sunday- Run/Walk 5k training (2/3 x5)
Monday- Cardio rest; strength 30 min full body/ 30 min upper body
Tuesday- Run/Walk 5k training (2/3 x5); 2 mile walk
Wednesday- 4 mile walk; strength 30 min full body
Thursday- Run/Walk 5k training (2/3 x5); 2 mile walk
Friday- 2 mile walk; strength 30 min full body/ 30 min upper body
Saturday- 4 mile walk

What training tools do you love?

Organic Produce Delivery

I first learned about CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) about a year and a half ago while I was still living in San Diego. I was really interested in the concept and have been wanted to join a CSA for about a year. Once I moved to Seattle, I started researching the options that were available in the are. There were a lot of things to consider when deciding whether or not to join, and once I decided to join, which one. In the end, I decided to go with Full Circle Farm (http://www.fullcircle.com/).

Full Circle is not technically a CSA, though it grew from a CSA. They do farm organically and all of the produce they deliver (whether grown on their farm or from a partner farm) is grown organically as well. They also partner with other local businesses to provide other items for delivery as well, such as artisan breads, eggs, dairy, meats, pastas, etc. They believe in supporting local businesses, providing high quality, organic (when possible) food, and in sustainable farming… things that I support as well. They also deliver to my door which was a big consideration as I don’t have a car. I felt really comfortable signing up for weekly deliveries with them and was really excited to receive my first order.

This morning I had my first delivery waiting on the porch at 6am. Since I decided to order some additional items to go with my produce box, I had 2 boxes waiting for me.

Inside my produce box were romaine lettuce, baby bok choy, radishes, a red bell pepper, 2 avocados, 3 tangelos, 3 Gala apples and 3 D’anjou pears. I have never really eaten pears before, so I was excited to try them!

In addition to the produce box, I ordered some bananas, celery, cucumber, eggs and a loaf of bread.

My roommate and I took full advantage and prepared a yummy breakfast of farm fresh eggs, toast, and leftover potatoes, plus sliced banana and diced pear. It was all so good! Later in the day I had a tangelo for a snack. I love having all of the fruit and veggies available for snacking throughout the day! Tonight we are planning to put together a salad to go with our dinner as well.

I am really happy that I decided to sign up for this service. It has truly met all of my expectations and then some! They even include a newsletter with recipes in each box (I also had a welcome letter, plus the packing list of what is included in each box).

This week I will be feasting on egg salad sandwiches and salads for lunch, and dining on fresh fruit with my breakfasts… I love it!!

** All opinions in this blog are my own, I have purchased the produce delivery and am not being compensated in any way for my review.

Believing I Can Run

I am training for a 5k, I think that I’ve mentioned that a few times. I have walked multiple 5ks (and longer events), but I have never run one. I’ve always wanted to run, I’ve always said I’m going to run, I’ve even started training to run, but deep down inside, I’ve never BELIEVED that I can run… until today.

I have had a lot of success with my journey right now, and have hit several different milestones lately, but there have still been doubts in my mind about what I will be able to accomplish in the future on this journey. In the last two days, however, I have been able to put most of those doubts to rest!

Yesterday I broke through a weight loss barrier that I have not been able to cross in the past and weighed in under 180 lbs for the first time in I don’t know how long. At some point in my 20s I weighed under 180, as I mentioned in my last blog, but never since. I now weigh 179 and that helped me to recognize that there are no barriers to me losing all of the weight that I need to.

Then today, I convinced myself that it was time to get back to my 5k training. I started training a while back and got through week 1 of my 8 week program with no issues (walk 4 minutes, run 1 minute, repeat 4 times), but something kept stopping me from moving on. First it was all of the hours I was working between my job and my extern, then it was just fear, I think, that made me continue to make excuses why I couldn’t get a training run in. Week 2 is still pretty simple; walk 3 minutes, run 2 minutes, repeat 5 times; but something was holding me back. Until I got out there today, I didn’t realize what it was… I didn’t believe that I could really run. I thought that 2 minutes of running would be too much for me and that I would fail and give up and I just kept avoiding the run in order to avoid the failure.

But I did get out there for my run today and I was scared in the beginning. The first time my Gymboss beeped for me to start the running segment, I was full of doubt, but based on my success in weight-loss and my determination, I said that I would push myself to try to go the entire 2 minutes. And I did it, and I was fine. The first 2 minute run wasn’t bad, neither was the second. I was smiling every time I hit the walking segment because I was doing it! I was running! And I wasn’t dying or giving up! The third run was a little harder, partly because their was a slight incline, but I made it through, then the 4th, then finally, the 5th run… and even though I was praying for the beep that would signal the end of the 2 minutes, I pushed through until the end. Am I going to feel it tomorrow? Probably. Am I going to run again before work on Tuesday? Definitely!

This run was truly life changing for me today because it opened my eyes to the fact that the only thing that has ever been holding me back in the past is me and my fear of moving forward. But I’ve proved to myself that I can get past that fear and I feel so much stronger now! Do I think the rest of my journey is going to be easy? No. Do I think I’ll be running marathons in no time? No, but I will be running them eventually, as I always dreamed. And I am going to reach my triathlon dreams too! Right now I know that I am afraid of the cycling and swim portions of the triathlon, but I also know that I will be able to move past that fear and conquer it. There is no holding me back now!!

What have you overcome that has held you back in the past?