Running Start

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RUNNERS

Today Jessica and I (finally!!) took the Good Form Running class at Big Peach Running Co. I mentioned wanting to go before I started training for my half marathon, and I really wish I had taken the class before I started running to prevent the shin splints I had at the end of 2013. The class was super informative, and we both learned what we need to work on to be better runners. I learned I was running with a heel strike, and I need to stretch more to loosen up my calf muscles. I also surprised myself that I have more muscle than I think I do and having a weak core is not my issue anymore. By the end of the class, the instructor said I was running with a mid-foot strike. Success!

We went over the four basic principles of proper running form, which are posture, the mid-foot strike, cadence, and lean. I’ve watched video after video after video trying to achieve this running form, but I couldn’t put the skills into practice on my own. For instance, I couldn’t figure out how to get my body to run in with the mid-foot strike. In class, our instructor had us practice marching in place so we could feel how our feet should be hitting the ground. Then we starting running from marching, and we instantly had better running form. He instructed us to practice this move outside of class. A good trick is to march while waiting at a stop light to keep yourself moving and to remind yourself of the proper foot strike. For more information on proper running form, check out the Good Form Running website– I have it book marked!!

Jessica and I go back in two weeks for the second portion of the class. In the second class, we’ll go over proper stretching and core building exercises (which include one legged squats!). I am excited for the second class and to try out my form next weekend at my 5k. The timing on my classes couldn’t have been better.

Here’s to my running start on 2014!

… And my fantastic lunch today!

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Jeremy’s One Pan Meal (Breakfast!)

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jermmealMy friend Jeremy is one of the best cooks I know, and he cooks amazing Southern food. Lately, he’s been getting into shape. I follow, and long for (seriously!), his food on IG and Facebook. He knows I love his food, and he sent me this message of Facebook, “I made this little gem this morning. Turkey bacon, 2 eggs scrambled with fat free cream cheese peppers, onions, and sharp cheddar.”He continued, “And yes. I have decided that you don’t need 2 pieces of bacon or even 3. What I do it take one piece and I chop it up and then I scramble it in with my eggs so you get all the flavor and happiness of the smokey bacon but at much less cost.” It’s a simple one pan meal! I can’t wait to try it this weekend!

For exercise, he plays a lot of golf. It’s important to remember exercise can be about staying active with activities you love. You don’t have to go to a gym and spend hours on a treadmill. Personally, I cannot wait to hiking in North Georgia this summer. I love how Jeremy is getting in shape by cooking simple, yet delicious, meals and keeping exercise simple. He’s going to look great by summer!

Happy New Year

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foodprep988I wanted to write a super awesome New Years post about my resolutions and goals this year, but that’ll have to come later. I’m pretty tuckered out from all the New Year festivities. Above you can see a then and now picture from Thanksgiving, and you can see some of my progress. Especially now, I am definitely seeing progress. Yesterday I went clothes shopping, and I had to put back all the size extra large and large shirts. I had to buy mediums! When I started my journey, I was a size 1XL! I was plus size, and now I’m a medium. It doesn’t seem real yet, I’m super excited to keep up the exercise and food prep and see my results throughout the year.

Slim by summer! <— That’s my resolution/goal!!

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And to not take life so seriously. 

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My food preps have gotten pretty good, huh? Happy New Year! Stay dedicated!

“The difference between a goal and a dream is a deadline.” – Stephen Smith

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It’s winter. It’s cold. Do not let the bad weather stop you. Pick a race, set a goal, and go for it. Setting goals turns dreams into reality. One of my favorite quotes is, “dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die tomorrow.” Setting goals is the second part of this quote. By setting goals, you’re living like you may not get another chance to make your dreams come true. I’m taking my own advice. On January 18th, I am running a 5k with my friend Tricia. I am finally getting back to running outside. I’ve been working out a ton, but running outside still gives me anxiety (and I’ve been avoiding it). I’ve set a goal, though, and I am going to kill the 5k! I’ve always dreamed of being a runner, and I don’t care if it takes me a million tries, I am going to be a runner. So, I ran outside at the park today with Sophie, and I did surprisingly well. It’s all mental, people!

Along these same lines, I’ve wanted to write a blog for the past couple weeks about the anxiety and shame overweight people have when they first start working out. I said to myself too many times to count that I’d join a gym once I lost enough weight to not be the fat lady at the gym. I know I am not alone on this, either. I also always wanted to grab some shoes and run on the sidewalk, but I didn’t want others to see my belly bounce or see my terrible form. Worst yet, I didn’t want them to look at me a think, “look at her trying to be thin, she’ll never lose weight” and laugh out-loud at me. I didn’t want people to know if I failed. I’m telling you, I had these thoughts daily as I ate Taco Bell secretly in my car at night. I’d think this would be my last fast food meal, and I’d start working out soon. Then all the anxieties and images of super fit and “perfect” people at the gym pointing and staring and actually coming up to me and saying I’m too fat to be at the gym. My fears were really, really detailed! Sometimes I’d cry and sometimes the Taco Bell was comforting. I’d go back home and go back to Taco Bell the very next day.

I remember when I first started running with Jessica (who is very slim but works out a ton) at LA Fitness. I was done with my run, and she was going to run a little longer. She told me to stretch. There was another row of treadmills behind us packed with people (all really in shape people). She kept looking back and telling me to stretch. I just stood there paralyzed. I didn’t want the people to see me try to touch my toes and stretch, and I didn’t want to admit to her I was too embarrassed to stretch in front of others. Finally, she finished up and we stretched off to the side.

I was surprised when I read Fit to Fat to Fit, because it’s about a male trainer who purposely gained weight to understand his clients better and to show them weight loss is possible. He went from super confident to experiencing some of the same fears of judgement and social anxiety I’ve experienced since gaining weight. He stood in front of his closet trying on clothes over and over to find something that made him look less fat. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been late to hang out with friends, because I’ve tried on twenty shirts to find out that hides my back fat roll (which I no longer have!!) and my stomach bulge. I’ve actually canceled many, many times with friends at the last minute, because I couldn’t bare the thought of being the fat chick at a bar or swanky restaurant. To all my friends, I apologize. I’m surprised ya’ll stuck around with how many times I’ve shown up late or not at all.

Being heavy consumed me. It took over my life. I couldn’t get up from my desk at work without thinking about looking fat in front of my coworkers. I could go on and on and on. I never changed, though, because I had irrational fears of active people rejecting me. The funny this is, now that I work out at the gym and in a challenging group exercise class, I know my fears couldn’t be further from the truth. At my group workout class, Blast 900, so many of my classmates have come up to me after class to tell me good job. They’ll comment and say it’s great I’ve made it to so many classes. If my form is bad, they’ll stop to show me lift the weights the right way. In the gym, no one has ever looked at me weird or said anything mean. My fears were all in my head. Furthermore, I now know a lot of active people are really positive people. They’re excited you’re getting healthy, because they’re passionate about health. They want everyone to be healthy! They’re proud of you for trying to get into shape.

And you know what, if I ever do run into the one negative person who does say something about my weight, I don’t care what they have to say about me or my form or my fat rolls or anything else for that matter. I’m out there trying. I’m out there trying to be better. That’s what matters. You’re out there trying. You’re out there trying to be better. That’s what matters. Please don’t allow yourself to be trapped in the same cycle I was stuck in for years. It’s such a debilitating state to live in– just step into a gym or go for a run outside– you’ll be glad you did.

It’s all mental, people!

P.S. Check out this kickass kickboxing class you can do with dumballs or just your arms at home. I loved it!

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” ― Benjamin Franklin (Food prep every week!)

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My weight loss habits are starting to truly become habits. Working out and eating healthy have become normal parts of my life. I went to my Blast 900 class three times last week, and I worked out once with my trainer, Cecilia. That’s a lot of weight training and cardio! After my circuit training class at Blast 900 on Saturday, I was so worn out! It was a good worn out, though. I am consistently eating better and keeping up with food prep, as well. I feel like I’ve gotten the basics down, and I am starting to learn about how the body burns fat. I am starting to learn what food actually does to your body when it breaks down in the digestive process. I am starting to form my own opinions on what is healthy and what is not healthy, instead of simply mimicking my peers.

Also, everyday things that were difficult before are becoming easier. For example, before I started working out, if I tried to put on a sock or shoe by balancing on one foot, I’d wobble all over the place. If I carried in a ton of groceries all at once, they’d be super heavy. I don’t notice these things anymore. I am started to get stronger, and I am starting to become a little coordinated.

Progress, folks. I’m seeing progress.

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Put the Lime in the Coconut

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“Coconut oil provides additional benefits. It strengthens the immune system and promotes optimal development of the brain and nervous system. It protects against cancer and heart disease, and promotes healthy bones. Finally, coconut oil seems to be the best fat for ensuring the proper uptake of omega-3 fatty acids into the tissues.”

– Weston A Price Foundation

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When I arrived home tonight from my Blast class, Liz sent me a Facebook message telling me about oil pulling. She’s been oil pulling, and she’s barely been sick this year (which is a big thing for her since she’s sick a lot). This was music to my ears, because  I went to my first Blast class since being sick tonight. My legs were still sore from my trainer on Saturday, but I couldn’t run at the speeds I could a few weeks ago from my endurance going back down from being sick. I also could barely lift the 5 pound weights when I could do the 10 and 12 pound weights before. I’m going to have to build my endurance back up… Again. Again!!! I really don’t want to keep getting sick once a month. I quickly read up on oil pulling, and I ran across the street to get some organic coconut oil. I didn’t even think twice about it! I’d do pretty much anything at this point to keep from getting sick. Yes… Even that!

I’m curious to know what you thought that is… Moving on.

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In a nut shell, oil pulling is swooshing a little bit of coconut oil in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes everyday. It helps with your dental hygiene and helps remove toxins from your body. Oil pulling helps asthma, diabetes, arthritis, eczema, migraine headaches, and many other chronic illnesses (and I have asthma and eczema). It also prevents common colds, and it’s super easy to do! I will admit it was odd at first, but I did my swooshing while I did my extra stretches after Blast class. I am going to try to do this everyday in the shower. With my neti pot routine and this new oil pulling routine, I hope, hope, hope, pray, pray, pray, and beggggggg, I don’t get sick anytime soon.

I also food prepped yesterday. The turkey meat balls were fantastic today!!

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Having a blast!

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This week I finally tried the Blast 900 class my friend kept telling me about, and it’s hard as hell! The Blast 900 website describes the class best, “BLAST900 is a fat shredding, muscle toning, personalized group exercise class in which people of every fitness level alternate between cardio on a treadmill and strength training on the floor, each working at their own pace to reach THEIR maximum effort. Our specific formula for creating our class structure is what guarantees each client THE ULTIMATE WORKOUT and will forever change how you look, feel and perform.” Everyone is supposed to burn 900 calories by the end of the class, and I believe it! The picture above is immediately after my first class. I was completely covered in sweat! By my third class, I was able to run at the 7 speed on the treadmill (which I’ve never done), and I was able to walk at the 21 incline setting. The weights are intense, too. There’s absolutely no way I won’t get into shape (score!) if I continue with this class. It’s super intense with non-stop movement for a hour. After my third class, I could really feel the muscle soreness. I’ve been tired since yesterday morning!

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I also bought a Fitbit Flex this week. It’s the neatest little device, and it’s awesome to see how sedentary I am during a workday. I saw how few steps I take on a normal day without working out, and it’s actually really crazy how little I move around. The Fitbit also tracks my calories, sleep, water, food intake, and I can track my friend’s progress, too. It’s really neat! I’m looking forward to tracking my progress throughout the next couple of months.

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Food-wise this past week, I did pretty good. I had a lot of protein shakes, protein, veggies, and fruits. Eating healthy is getting easier, but I am not perfect. I am starting to see results. I took a picture (below), and I was surprised to see I am slimming down. I guess there’s a part of me that still doesn’t believe all of this will work, but it’s starting to show. I’m glad I don’t have to cut my calories super low to lose weight, because I do enjoy food too much to do a super low calorie diet. It may take me a while longer to lose weight, but I am proud of doing it the healthy way. textScreen Shot 2013-11-17 at 6.41.42 PM

“Autumn… the year’s last, loveliest smile.” ― William Cullen Bryant

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The past couple of weeks have been a wirlwind! We had Halloween, my birthday (had a great friend breakfast and went to the World of Coke), a trip to Houston, and work has been crazy! I’ve been on IG a lot, because it’s faster, but I’ve missed posting here. I did crossfit in Houston with my friend, Barbara. I had a great time, and I really enjoyed the group aspect of the work out. I’ve also been working out with my trainer, and we went hiking at Kennesaw Mountain today. I had a blast, and it was a total workout! I’ve been working on my diet (trying to cut out sugar, especially).

I need to start working on my cardio routine again, though. I need to find a routine that works for me, but it’s all a work in progress. I’m trying to decide if I want to try crossfit or do this Blast 900 class which combines cardio and weights with interval training. Or I keep going to the gym on my own. I’m hoping I pick one soon!

I am trying to say no to all the extra holiday treats. This is a tough time of year to try to be healthy! I’m going to keep trying, though. It’s tough to say no to all the wonderful cookies the venders keep sending. Not going to lie. 😉

Here’s a ton of pictures of my workouts, hikes, food prep, and a few fun ones!

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Nailed It

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Today I worked out with @cecilia_parreira (find her on Instagram!). She’s Mike’s partner, and I really enjoyed the work out. I do have chin splints, so we slowed down my speed but upped the incline. I do did get winded and got a good workout in, but the workout wasn’t as severe on my body (which was nice). I guess I do have to admit I was totally out of shape when I started all of this, and I need to really start from the beginning. Heck, when Lindsey and I started walking in May, I couldn’t walk for 30 seconds at a brisk pace without getting winded. My heart actually hurt when I tried to push it too quickly (that’s when I realized I need to get up and exercise more). We’re going to run outside on Wednesday. I have issues with running outside on the pavement, so I am looking forward to her tips. Stay tuned!

I also food prepped tonight, and I’ve been sipping water out of my new favorite water bottle. I actually drink more water when I enjoy the water bottle I’m drinking out of… I know, I know. I’m weird. 🙂

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Last, but certainly not least, I’ve discovered icing my legs. It totally burns while doing it, but it actually helps. Who knew?

 

P.S. SEE… I’m figuring this exercise thing out!!

Doing It Wrong

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These photos inspired me today! I have my Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter all following healthy posts. I look through my feeds before getting up in the morning, and the inspiration helps me throughout the day. Instant inspiration!

But I totally think I am running wrong. Running outside is still incredibly difficult for me, and I think it’s because I am running without proper form. I am sure it will take me awhile to build up my endurance and muscles, but I feel like I am in more pain now than before I started. I am meeting my temporary trainer (he’s leaving soon) Mike and his trainer friend at Piedmont Park tomorrow. I hope it doesn’t rain, because I am super excited to get 2:1 training on how to become a better runner. I’ll keep you posted!!

Also, Jessica and I are going to our first yoga class this Thursday. I’ve gone to a hot yoga class in Houston, but I’ve never been to a regular class. I bought a yoga mat today. I’m super stoked! I’m also stoked about the new cardio DVD I bought tonight. If anyone can teach this chick to dance, it’d be Madonna!

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Last but not least (because who doesn’t like to shop?!), I got some great deals on athletic clothes. I love thrift store hunting on the weekends, and I found a brand new zip up sweater for $3. I also found some yoga pants at Target on sale for $5. I also bought five more of my tank tops, because I have a feeling they’ll disappear once winter kicks in. I wear them under another shirt right now, but I am hoping I’ll feel comfortable enough to just wear them soon. I do just wear the tank top out running with Jessica. It was 5 AM and dark, though. I don’t think that counts.

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Have a wonderful and healthy labor day!