Category Archives: Health

Some Thoughts on Fitness

I have never been an athletic person. Even as a child I avoided physical activity like the plague. Gym class was torture, I hated every sport my parents ever signed me up to play, there are numerous pictures of me looking miserable on rollerblades or a bicycle. If forced I would play tag, but only freeze tag where I would immediately try to get frozen which meant I was now able to just stand quietly while the rest of the game progressed around me. I would have much, much rather been alone with a book or my American Girl dolls.

hate bike riding

like let’s not.


It shouldn’t be a big surprise then that working out is a struggle for me. It’s the biggest mental challenge I have on any given day-forcing myself to work out. When I woke up this morning with an achey knee and an overwhelming desire to just sit quietly in my kitchen and write, I was wracked with guilt.

“Just because your knee hurts doesn’t mean you can’t do an upper body workout,” said the devil on my shoulder.

“You deserve a rest day, stop being so obsessive. You work out for at least an hour 6 days a week! Enough is enough!” said the angel on my other shoulder.

Today, obviously, I listened to the angel, because here I am. But I still feel guilty, and I don’t like that.

This guilt isn’t coming from anyone but myself. If I texted my trainer right now she would probably tell me it’s fine to take a rest day and to just make sure I don’t lose momentum for tomorrow and the next day and to not eat like a monster today. She’s not a drill sergeant, she understands life is a thing that happens and rest is important.

The guilt comes entirely from myself and this obsession I have about being a certain weight for my wedding in 38 days (but who’s counting?).

Am I the skinniest I’ve ever been? No. But I am the strongest I’ve ever been. And my wedding dress fits. And I wouldn’t be ashamed to be on the beach with my smaller-than-they-used-to-be stomach rolls. So why am I still obsessing?

I have no idea. But I do know it has to stop. I can’t keep beating myself up about a weekend spent eating off-plan, or a missed workout. I need to focus on what I’m doing right and not worry so much about being wrong. I think if I didn’t have the wedding as such a concrete goal I may not feel this way, but with just over a month left every missed or half-assed workout feels like a gigantic failure.

I do know that after the wedding I need to re-evaluate what fitness really means to me, and what place it has in my life. I can guarantee post-wedding it will not mean working out 6 days a week and spending astronomical amounts of money on gym memberships. I need to find that happy medium where I still feel proud of the things my body can do, but I’m not crazed about hitting that next goal.

The “fit life” might be having a moment right now, but deep down inside I’m still that kid who would rather be laying down in a hammock with her book, and I have to remember that that’s okay.
 

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The Best Homemade Cold Brew


Cold brew is having a moment right now. Starbucks recently added it to their menu as a limited time item and it has been so popular they’ve just decided to make it a permanent menu item. They’ve also decided to start raising their prices.

A Starbucks habit was already expensive, so these price hikes are really a blow to the wallet. Their cold brew is usually my special “treat” whenever I need a little pick me up, but a friend recently told me she makes her own at home and it is just as good.

“I’ve been down this path before,” I told her. “I’m not soaking tons of coffee in water and then straining it through three layers of cheese cloth and an industrial coffee filter. I’ve tried it all and it’s messy and I end up with bits of soggy coffee grounds in my cup. No thanks.”

But she swore it was super easy and I wouldn’t have to filter anything. “Fine,” I conceded. “What’s your trick?”

Her trick is nylons. Like the socks. That your grandma wears.

I was now even more skeptical of both her method and potentially our friendship. But she told me to trust her so I did.

Her method is this:

  1. Fill the sock with ground coffee of your choosing. I used whatever I happened to have at home and I didn’t measure anything I just guessed. I would say that if you want your coffee stronger use a stronger coffee blend and put more in your sock. At this point your sock will 100% look like a turd. Do not be alarmed.
  2. Put the sock in a pitcher of cold water. I tied a knot in the end of mine, stuck it in my pitcher, and let the little tail hang out. It will now look like a floating turd. Still, do not be alarmed, it will eventually become soggy and sink a bit. SOUNDING DELICIOUS ALREADY. My pitcher has a lid so I stuck that on top to secure the tail and keep the sock-turd from sinking to the bottom.
  3. Put in fridge over night. Probably important to note that if you live with others you might want to let them know what the science experiment in your fridge is. Especially if your pitcher happens to be see-through.
  4. Pull the sock out in the morning and throw it away. The coffee grounds in the sock essentially acts like a tea bag and turns your water into magical caffeinated elixir. AND THAT’S IT. No crazy filtering into three different containers needed.

So basically my friend is a genius and I will never doubt her crazy ideas again. At least when it comes to coffee.

Now go off and enjoy your super easy and delicious summer beverage! Tell your friends!

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On Falling Off the Wagon & Hopping on a New One

This summer has been a doozy for me. A lot of change happening, some of it exciting, some of it terrifying, some of it huge mistakes, but all of it at least a little bit stressful. Really, this whole past year has been a roller coaster ride. I’m struggling my way through it, and I know the ride will have to end eventually, but some aspects of my life are taking hits along the way.

Namely, my eating habits.

My eating habits are a roller coaster all their own. I’ve run the gamut from no carb, to low carb, to tracking calories, to cleanses and juices. I always end up back on the “to hell with it” plan, which happens when it all just becomes too much to keep track of and I just want pizza and beer, dammit. Needless to say, it’s a frustrating cycle.

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With how overwhelming this summer has been for me, my eating has really taken a hit, especially in the last month. My workouts are still on point, and I’m still trying to make healthy choices when I can, but I know I could do better.

When life slows down a touch (hopefully in the next few weeks), I’ve decided to try my hand at my next “diet” endeavor, flexible dieting. You may have also heard this called #iifym or “if it fits your macros”. IIFYM in extremely general terms is finding a balance of protein, carbs, and fats that helps your body perform at its optimal level. Your personal macros depend on many different factors. You can calculate your own or have someone who knows about these things calculate them for you. I did some Googling and calculated mine using a combo of http://www.iifym.com and Krissy Mae Cagney. Once you have your macros, you can eat whatever you want as long as it – wait for it – fits your macros. Cookies? Yup. Cake? Yup. Ice cream? Heck yes.

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Of course, it’s all in moderation. You couldn’t actually eat at KFC on the reg and hit your macros. I’m not certified in any kind of way to get into details about any of this, so I won’t, but all I did was Google and do a bunch of reading so if you’re interested I suggest starting there.

While the concept seems simple and the fact that nothing is really restricted is a huge draw, it still has downsides. Specifically, you have to track everything you eat and it definitely involves a certain level of planning. I do find I am at my best when I make a meal plan and prep everything. However, I don’t  always get around to doing that and the past year of my life hasn’t been great for having the capabilities to control cooking and groceries. Once that all changes (soon I hope!) I really want to get back on board.

Anyone out there tried IIFYM? It seems super popular right now and I don’t want to be left out. It also kind of seems like a no-brainer and one of the healthier, more balanced fitness trends I’ve ever gotten on the band wagon for.

 

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