I’m really fired up about this

Please enjoy this slightly dis-jointed Monday rant 🙂

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about Beach Body or Team Beach Body coaches (or whatever its called) and 21 Day Fixes and what not. And while I would never knock anything that promotes healthy habits… the name “Beach Body” already sets me off.

Let’s make something clear: EVERY BODY IS A BEACH BODY. EVERY BODY IS A BIKINI BODY. Please, wear whatever type of swimsuit you want. Just because you don’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model doesn’t mean you can’t go to the beach. That is ridiculous.

It’s great to make healthy choices… but if you join a cult crash diet or program, it’s not going to be sustainable. Everyone’s body is different, so what works for you, might not be right for someone else. I got “really fired up” about this a few days ago, hence the blog title.

A while back I wrote a post about my thoughts and experiences with body image. Because we are constantly bombarded with messages about how our bodies should and shouldn’t be, I would like to re-share some of these thoughts (a.k.a. picture me shouting this from the top of a mountain because that is how strongly I feel lol).

It is our every day thoughts and actions that cause things like this to happen. It’s a side comment from a family member, teacher or coach, who maybe meant no harm at all, maybe not even directed at you, that spirals into thoughts of “I need to be better/skinnier/different” and “Why do I look like this?”

Of course we already know it’s about being constantly bombarded with images of seemingly perfect-looking people and ads for weight loss nonsense, but it’s a lot deeper than that. It’s the way people talk about body image. I’m all for body positivity, but why does it have to be such a big deal? Why do we make such a big deal about putting “plus size” women in Sports Illustrated? I mean, that’s great. But talking about how it “makes history” and how she’s a role model for plus size women everywhere is just more labeling and objectifying.

Constantly hearing things like, “she must have gained weight” or “she’s so skinny” or “I shouldn’t have eaten that” or “you’re wasting away over there” or ANYTHING relating to body image is what causes this to happen. People often think they’re giving a compliment, but they don’t realize the damage it can do. Words are important. People hear what you say, even if you don’t always think they do.

Find what works for you and do it. Be a runner, walker, Zumba-er, body builder, yogi, whatever you want. But don’t let it consume you. Your happiness should not be rooted in how you look or how you think others perceive you. The end.

###

Being a morning person

When my alarm goes off before 6:00 a.m., I’m usually not happy. I’m disoriented and probably still tired. But I put my feet on the floor and drag myself out of bed. That’s the first step. Add a little caffeine and… ta da! excited, happy morning person.

People are often surprised to hear that I wake up early to run or go to the gym before work. I’m not sure why though — there are plenty of people that do the same (just ask all of my morning gym BFFS) ((jk, I don’t talk to them)). It might seem crazy to non-morning people, but to me — it’s the best time of the day.

The peaceful morning quiet is one of my favorite things. No one else is up — just me. And while, most days, I’d rather slip back into bed and sleep for an extra 2-3 hours, I’m always happy that I didn’t. On days when I do let myself sleep in and not work out, I find myself feeling less energized when I get to work.

I started working out in the early mornings my senior year of college. I had three jobs and a full time class schedule, but that wasn’t going to stop me from exercising. I vowed to go to bed early and get to the gym right when it opened — and it stuck.

I don’t know how people commit to an after-work fitness routine. By the time I’m done with work for the day, all I want to do is eat dinner and collapse on a couch for the night. But to each their own.

And that’s just the thing. You don’t have to be a morning workout person — but you CAN. It’s very possible and great. It helps you start your day on a positive note. You get to wake up, rock out to music or a podcast and reflect on life — all before 8 a.m.!

MindBodyGreen has a great article on steps to become a morning workout person, but I have a few more to add:

  1. Prepare your clothes, food, bags you’ll need to take to work, etc. the night before. Your morning routine will go much more smoothly if you prepare the night before. Plus, you’ll get to sleep for that extra 15-30 minutes. All you have to do is jump out of bed, change and go.
  2. Music, music, music. I’m all about the Spotify playlists. I listen to upbeat jams on my drive to the gym to get in the sweating mood.
  3. Be strict about your bedtime. This one is tough, but it’s the most important. Getting enough sleep is what will help you stick with your morning workout routine. Find a bedtime that works for you and stick to it — your body will thank you!

My sister recently outlined her feelings on this subject in a blog post. Check it out here.

fitness-motivation-quote-i-regret-that-workout

###

I made sweet potato chili in my crock pot

Lately, I’ve been trying to focus on eating real, whole foods. I’ve been reading ingredient labels more and trying to stay away from words I can’t pronounce or don’t know what they are. This stems from endless researching to figure out my digestive issues and following healthy food bloggers on Instagram.

There’s something to be said about watching portions, eating a balanced diet and blah, blah, blah, but if you’re also ingesting a bunch of weird preservatives and chemicals, what’s the point? Your body was meant to run on real food. Now if only Whole Foods was less expensive.

I would love to be a food blogger….. but I’m really impatient. Staging food photos is hard work! As you will see below, I just like to snap a pic and keep moving.

I’ve been looking into trying some Whole 30 recipes and here is my first go! Sweet tater chili in the crock pot. It couldn’t get any easier. I just picked ingredients and threw them in to cook. Grains and beans (legumes) aren’t Whole 30 approved, so sweet potato FTW. Overall, I consider it a success. It’s delicious! And will be enough to feed me lunch all week. I think next time I will add a chopped green pepper for extra color and flavor!

Now on to the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground chicken
2 small sweet potatoes (peeled and cubed)
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes (I like the fire roasted ones from Trader Joes)
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
2 T. chili powder
1 t. oregano
Garlic salt to taste (I just added a few shakes)

img_6848

Directions:

  1. Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan (or just spray with cooking spray, olive oil spray, avocado oil spray)
  2. Toss ground chicken into the pan and cook until browned all the way through and drain
  3. Toss all ingredients into the crock pot and stir

img_6847

4. Set crock pot on low for 8 hours or high for 4. The sweet taters should be perfectly soft.

And serve! I sprinkled a little light mozzarella cheese on the top at first, but decided I didn’t like it. Lol it’s not the best food photo, but that’s not the point. The end!

img_6849

This weekend I’ve been binge-listening to the new Run, Selfie, Repeat podcasts by Kelly Roberts. Check her out — I think she is AWESOME and will most likely do a post about how much I love her blog and podcast very soon! Sunday night, lemon mint candle vibes, man. Also, who is Chance the Rapper? He’s winning a lot of Grammys.

###

From 5k to marathon

When I tell people I ran a marathon (or when I told them I was training for one), the reactions were often intriguing. Most commonly, it was “wow, I could never do that.” Well, guess what? I used to say that too. But to be quite frank, you can do anything you put your mind to. Seriously.

I don’t really remember why I started running. Probably because I thought it would make me skinny (eye roll). I was a junior in college and started running short distances around campus in the spring. I think I fell in love with running as an outdoor funtivity.

I’m known to be somewhat of an anxious overachiever, so naturally I started  to increase my distance. It also so happened that, at the time, I was interning for a guy who is a motivational life coach, and he helped me set a bunch of school, career and personal goals. One of my personal goals was to start running races. The first? A 5k. Then a 10k. Then leap to a half marathon. Back then, I swore I’d never sign up for a marathon.

Fast forward a few months and I completed my first 5k and 10k in the fall of 2013. After the 10k, I was addicted to the positive atmosphere of racing. I was slow, and I still am. I’m all about self improvement, but running is not competitive for me. It’s not about comparing yourself to others.

It took me a while to work up to the half marathon mark. In fact, I don’t think I would have done it if it weren’t for my best friend and I impulsively encouraging each other to sign up on a Friday afternoon in January of 2015.

A wonderful coworker of mine heard that I was training for a half and demanded that I join the “run club” at work. Run Club turned out to be him and I running at 6:30 every Wednesday morning and some Sundays. His encouragement helped me get a lot stronger and faster.

Three half marathons and a few 10 mile races later, I worked up the ambition to sign up for a marathon. I’d heard that the Twin Cities Marathon was perfect for first-timers, so I signed up with eight months to train.

Marathon training is hard. I questioned my decision a lot. Especially on long run days where there just wasn’t enough time. It felt like my life revolved around training. I definitely could have trained better, and I learned a lot of lessons for next time. Especially after I got tendinitis in my foot after a particularly tough 16-mile run. My training was derailed for two weeks only a month before the big race.

But I didn’t let that stop me. I got right back into training after my foot healed and finished out with some shorter runs. My longest training run was only 16 miles. My goal for the marathon was just to finish. And I did! I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face on October 9, 2016. It was painful, but a wonderful, positive and uplifting experience.

If you made it to the end of this post, your reward is a Michael Scott quote:

Finishing that 5k, was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I ate more fettuccine alfredo and drank less water, than I have in my entire life. People always talk about triumphs of the human spirit, well today I had a triumph of the human body. That’s why everybody was applauding for me at the end. My guts and my heart, and while I eventually puked my guts out, I never puked my heart out. And I’m very, very proud of that.

###

Here is my fitness blog

“You’re a great writer and like to be healthy! Why not have a way to tell people too?” said my extremely supportive boyfriend when I told him I created a fitness blog.

But this is more than just a fitness/health blog. This is an outlet for my passions. I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs on my journey to be healthy (both in body and mind), and various inspirational health/fitness/food blogs have played a big role.

I’m a writer by trade, currently working in a snooze-fest of a corporate office. My 9 to 5 life is less than fulfilling and I’m still trying to figure out where I’m meant to be. But for now, this site is a safe, fun place for me to share the things that I love.

Stay tuned as I study to become a certified personal trainer in the spring, try doing Whole 30 for the first time, train for races and post random rants about positivity and health all around.

###