Things I Learned Last Week

… I’m obsessed with infused water. I may be late to jump on the infused water wagon, but better late than never. I purchased these bottles from Amazon and tried them out for the first time last week. Wowza. I am in love with “mojito water” – lime slices with fresh mint. Yum, yum, yum. Blackberry, cherry and lime is next on my list to try.

… My college roommate makes the best chocolate chip cookies EVER. When Allie and another of my college housemates came over to visit me my new baby yesterday, she brought the world’s best chocolate chip cookies. She claims Pinterest deserves the credit, but Allie is seriously one of the best cooks/bakers I know. That plate of cookies is quickly disappearing! As much as I am loving the cookies, getting to hang out with two of my best friends was the sweetest part of yesterday.

… Roasting a chicken is surprisingly easy. There are a few things that have intimidated me in the kitchen in the past: grating ginger, deep-frying, anything that calls for tofu and roasting a chicken. But thanks to my sister, I decided to give roasting a chicken a try. I’m happy to report that it was fairly simple and not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Even though the ick factor was pretty high (touching raw chicken is ALWAYS gross), I’ll definitely be doing this more often. I made chicken chili and chicken salad with the meat – and I plan on making broth with the carcass. I feel like Julia Childs!

… Winter often lasts well into April in Northeast Ohio. I didn’t technically learn this last week (I’ve lived in Ohio my entire life), but for some reason, I seem to forget it every year. And judging from my Facebook feed, I’m not the only one. Everyone seems to have their own opinion about the snow we got a couple of times last week, but one thing is for sure: we are ALL ready for warmer weather. Speaking of – it’s 48 degrees and sunny right now. Time for me to get outside!

All the best,

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Tips to Start Off a Healthy Week

Last week, I got the OK from my doctor to start exercising again (yay!). I haven’t been able to work out at all since October, so I’m anxious to get back into my running shoes and back into shape. I’ve signed up for the Bike MS Pedal to the Point, I’m going to play in the Blondes vs. Brunettes Powder Puff Football game to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association, and I’m considering doing a duathlon in late July. Is it obvious I’m trying to make up for lost times? 🙂

Of course, being excited about getting back into shape and actually getting back into shape are two very different things. I’ve heard time and time again that planning is key to starting a healthy lifestyle, however, this is where I always fall short. If the best intentions got a person in shape, I would be running a marathon every weekend. Unfortunately, that is not the case. So in honor of the first Sunday of operation “Whitney Gets Back Her Fitness Mojo”, I wanted to share a list of must-do steps to kick off a healthy week (via Fitsugar).

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1. Plan your meals. What do you mean a glass of wine and a bag of chips isn’t a healthy dinner? Planning meals in advance is key for me: I’m too often tempted to grab take out or eat junk food for dinner, especially when life gets hectic. Before I go grocery shopping, I scour my Pinterst boards (here and here) to pick some recipes I want to try and then fill out my meal planning template (here: Meal Planning blank). I also like to prep as many meals as I can on Sunday – this decreases the likelihood that I won’t skip making a healthy dinner because I’m too tired.

2. Prep your kitchen. I love this article’s tip about putting smoothie ingredients in individual bags. Part of the reason I don’t make smoothies as much as I should is because they take some work, so I’m definitely going to prep these bags in advance. Now if only someone would invent a self-cleaning blender…

3. Stock up on work snacks. If you’re like me, you tend to fall victim to the 3:00 slump. Low energy makes me grab for the nearest candy dish or vending machine snack. Bad news for fueling a healthy body. So prepare for this and make sure you have nutritious snacks at the ready. Just make sure they are snacks you actually like, or you won’t be satisfied and end up reaching for that brownie anyway.

4. Schedule exercise. Any trainer will tell you that the best way to fit in a workout is to treat it like a meeting or date. Actually writing a workout down in your calendar makes it much more likely you will keep your commitment. I’m horrible at this. Simply terrible. I too often treat exercise as low-priority – I fit it in after I’ve done everything else, so it doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should. For me, signing up for a race and setting a training schedule keeps me on track. I also follow the girls from Tone It Up! – they put out a weekly exercise schedule with toning moves and training tips.

5. Pack your gym bag. This all but guarantees you will have everything you need to get your workout on, which means you’ll be less likely to skip a workout. Plus, by packing your bag in advance you can make sure you look totally fierce for your workout. Looking good = feeling good.

6. Take time for yourself. Most of us are probably thinking, “Yeah right.”  But seriously, taking time to re-energize and relax is important. It makes us better friends, spouses and parents. I really like to read, catch up on my DVR or chat with a friend. With a glass of wine, of course 🙂

Here’s to a healthy week!

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Stop the Gym Snobbery!

I’ve been noticing something happening on Facebook lately: more and more people are posting about exercising. I think this is awesome (you’re working hard – be proud!), however, what I do take issue with is a sudden onset of “gym snobbery” in some folks.

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What is gym snobbery? Well, my definition is the act of expressing any sort of superiority over others based solely on the fact that you work out, especially when your comments are directed at other gym go-ers. For example, around New Years, I can’t count how many people posted rants on Facebook about “resolutioners” and how they need to get out of the way / go to another gym / give up already. One particular ranter really grated my nerves when he said these “fat, lazy” people should go “back to their couches where they belong”.

Yikes.

I’m all for freedom of speech, but really people? This really bugs me for several reasons…

1. First, I find it unbearable (and even laughable) how big some people’s “Facebook balls” are. Why has it become acceptable for people to say horrible, hurtful things on social media? I would bet my last dollar that 99.9% of those posting about these so-called “fat, lazy” people would never, ever say something like that to someone’s face. So why is it ok to hide behind the facade of Facebook? In my opinion, it’s not, but I’m sure the reason is because it’s safe. Any retaliation will be minor – and can easily be ignored. So what if you work out and have big muscles – if you have to hide behind social media to rant, you’re a bit of a chicken. And for the record – starting a sentence with “No offense, but…” does not give you free reign to just say whatever rude or callous comment you’d like – in real life OR online. What’s the point of working on your external appearance if what’s on the inside isn’t so pretty?

2. Secondly, be nice. You were not born lifting weights and running a 6-minute mile, so don’t expect that of anyone else. Any time we make a change in our lives, whether that’s eating better, working out or quitting a bad habit, we need to start from square one. Getting into shape takes time and commitment for anyone, including yourself (if you recall), so why are you expecting someone else to know their way around a gym immediately? As someone who will be VERY out of shape once I can start exercising again, I beg you: please give us time. Yes, there will be people who stop going to the gym after a few weeks, but that’s their decision to make. Do you really want your cold stares and eye rolls to be part of the reason they quit? I sure wouldn’t.

3. Finally, isn’t it kind of ironic that people who are so devoted to physical fitness are the ones chastising others’ efforts to get into shape? Exercise is recommended for almost everyone’s well-being, so it should be encouraged and ANY effort applauded. The fitness buffs I respect the most are not the ones with the nicest abs or the fastest mile time. Instead, they all have the following characteristic in common:

They support and encourage others’ accomplishments, no matter how trivial the accomplishment may seem.

A story involving my mom is a perfect example of this. For most of her life, my mom was very active. She played several sports in high school and was part of a co-ed softball team for many of her adult years. But as it often does, work, children and life in general got in the way of maintaining that lifestyle. However, this year, my mom decided she wanted to start doing 5K races. She did her first one this earlier this month, and I am so proud of her!

The new runner - at our celebratory lunch
The new runner – at our celebratory lunch

Did she come in first place? Of course not. In fact, she even took breaks to walk. Did the runners and race volunteers waiting at the finish line roll their eyes and shake their heads when she finished? Of course not. They cheered and encouraged her to finish strong. And you know what? My mom cannot wait to do her next race. I wonder if she would feel the same way had those people reacted negatively.

Bottom line – if a Boston marathoner can congratulate a woman who just ran a 5K more than three times slower than he did, you can certainly support someone who is using the elliptical for the first time.

So – stop the gym snobbery! Instead, be the person others seek out when they have questions, want advice or just need motivation. THAT will make you attractive on the inside, since you clearly already have the outside covered.

I love this. IT'S STILL A MILE!
I love this. IT IS STILL A MILE!

Welcome Baby J!

Five days after my last post, Ryan and I got the surprise of our lives: our little guy decided to make his grand entrance into this world 4 1/2 weeks early on February 19, 2014. Baby J came into a house with two ecstatic parents and two furry big brothers.

The past month has been very interesting to say the least – on top of all the normal stress of a newborn, J spent 9 days in the NICU and less than a week after we brought J home, I was hospitalized with an infection for four days. But – as I write this, on J’s original due date – I’m happy to say that everyone in our household is happy and healthy… if not a little tired. Ryan and I (along with Sarge and Gunner) are adjusting to having our newest family member around – and he’s fitting in quite nicely. We’re unbelievably blessed and happy finally have our son here!

Ten cute little toes!
Cute little toes!

 

All the best,

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