Archive for June 2012

Update on progress thus far:

Let me just preface this by saying I am a healthy eater—Monday-Thursday. Typically, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, all bets are off. On weekend evenings you can find me with my hand in the trail mix container preparing myself for the regret I will feel the next morning. No way to spend 3/7ths of my week, right? Right. So last night I didn’t exactly adhere to my “no eating after 8pm” rule (and was rightfully called out by my boyfriend who knows my eating habits and goals for my eating habits like the back of his hand); however, my after-8 snackies of choice included a bowl of fresh berries and two gluten-free graham crackers. I woke up happy with my progress as the difference between what I consumed last night and what I consumed last Friday night was probably about 1500 calories. After my small win last night, I am ready adhere to my rule tonight.

On to day 3: choosing my PUSH goal. This is the single goal from my list of 10 crazy cool accomplishments I would like to check of in the next year that will lead me to checking off others on the list.

My Push goal (In 1st person as if I already achieved it): I have 500 subscribers to my blog.

By gaining followers I will:

  • earn money
  • establish professional relationships
  • gain credibility

More tomorrow!



Day 2 of PUSH, Chalene instructs readers (do-ers) to compile a list of 10 awesome, “crazy cool” goals they would like to achieve in the next year if all cards are stacked in their favor. The requirements for the list? It is to be rewritten on a weekly basis; it is to include one health goal and one financial goal; it is to be challenging; it is to be specific. 

Here is my goal list for the week:

  • Weigh under 140lbs (something I have not done in 3 years)
  • Have $3000 dollars in savings and $3000 dollars in checking
  • Establish personal relationship with at least one professor
  • earn a 3.5 cumulative GPA
  • reach 500 subscribers on blog
  • play an active role in my sorority (hold house position)
  • take a spring break
  • actively support charitable cause
  • work for IDS (IU student newspaper)
  • get something published in a magazine
  • get ACE certified (American Council on Exercise)

I will rewrite this list each week…maybe my goals will change, who knows?

I believe I have posted about this book before, and because it is so life-changeingly amazing, I am going to post about it for 30 DAYS!

The book of wonders, the wellness guru’s bible, the 30-day challenger is PUSH by Chalene Johnson. I have been a fan of everything “Chalene” since I was 14 years old and purchased my first of what seems like hundreds of workout DVD’s: Turbo Jam, the DVD format of  her group exercise class, Turbo Kick (I teach this format and live to twist, hook, and pump it!). Recently, friends have been asking what the deal is with the book I always have on hand and because I simply cannot release MY copy from my grip long enough for my friends to complete the 30 days, I thought I would take you all through my 30-day experience, day by day, so that you can decide if it is worth purchasing for your own benefit.

Obviously I won’t share every detail of the book, as I am a huge supporter of Chalene and the principles for which she stands and therefore cannot cheat her out of a book sale (or several…everyone buy it and join me on this journey:)). However, I will share my responses to the challenges she presents each day and a few details about the contents in the book. So without further adieu–day 1:

I decided last night that I really needed to commit to something to PUSH me in the direction of my occasionally overwhelming, yet attainable goals for myself; I turned back to day 1, pg.3, and defined my life priorities. Chalene instructs readers to do this right out of the gates, before any goal setting commences, so that when the time comes to map out goals one can be sure that they are properly aligned with their life priorities. She also advises leaving off of the list any priority that is so deeply rooted in who you are that it needs no though. One of my rooting priorities? Family. I don’t have to think twice about respecting my parents, enjoying and loving the two of them and my sisters. I am in college so my time with them is for the most part dictated by breaks and I am not the type to jump at every opportunity to avoid family time; I embrace it.

My first step that I wrote in my notebook was my priority brainstorm list:

  • health & fitness (there are aspects of this priority that have become for me, a part of who I am, but there are parts that could definitely use work and committment, and for this reason I left it on the list)
  • emotionally valuable relationships (boyfriend, friends, peers)
  • professionally valuable relationships (employers, coworkers, mentors, fellow students, professors, “connections”)
  • college (in general: academics, social, extracurriculars)
  • helping others communicate with themselves (self-understanding)
  • helping others communicate with the world around them
  • drive

Can you tell I thrive on communication? Hence my blog; hence the journalism major; hence my weekly coffee dates with anyone willing to chat over lattes for a solid two hours.

Now for my top 3:

  1. Health and Fitness
  2. Relationships (combined 2nd and 3rd point from above)
  3. College

The reason I placed health and fitness at the top despite my already neurotic obsession with almost anything that gets a good sweat going and pantry filled with larabars, brown rice, and Shakeology is because I feel there are still things I can change within myself to honor this priority to look and feel my best, to consequentially excel in other area of my life such as my relationships, my academics, and my work/hobby as a fitness instructor.

Chalene calls for identification of habits and actions that are in and out of line with my top priority.

I will honor my top priority by:

  • getting 1 hr of morning exercise 4x per week and 1hr of daily exercise (this means anything from a run, to Insanity, to the classes I teach, to gentile yoga) 7x per week.
  • getting to bed before 11pm before “early” mornings
  • keeping track of food intake and weight
  • listening to my body (while eating/working out/living)
  • not eating after 8pm (this is just a habit that I know sets me up for a really bad time with a bag of trail mix and bowl(s) of ice cream

The following actions would be inconstant with my top priority:

  • skipping workouts
  • getting less than 7 hours of sleep consistently
  • eating unhealthy foods often
  • mindless snacking
  • eating gluten (I am intolerant, so it leaves me feeling less than my best)
  • eating more than one serving of dairy a day (also mildly intolerant to milk products)
  • skipping meals

To honor my number one priority, I will limit:

  • late nights
  • skipping workouts
  • dairy
  • gluten products
  • snacking
  • low-nutrient food

To honor my number one priority, I will make the following changes:

  • stop eating after 8pm
  • plan for indulgences
  • weigh myself often
  • hit the hay earlier
  • track calories daily
  • add 2 weekly morning workouts
  • keep motivation up on weekends

Finally, my priority statement:

My number one priority is to improve and honor my health and fitness by listening to my body and remaining mindful while eating, working out, and moving through daily life so as to demonstrate for others through structured fitness, healthy eating, and respectable habits that when you value your own well-being, you are able to place that same value on the health and well-being of others.

This will undoubtedly be the longest post of the 30-days, so continue reading, hold me accountable, and please, please join me!




1. I LOVE sweets. If I could eat a nice diet of cake, cookies, and salad everyday, I might just do it.

2. My dog and I have a love/hate relationship. Sometimes I ignore him, sometimes he ignores me, and sometimes we’re nice to one another. Regardless, Leo is the cutest doggie ever and I decided to whip up a nice cake to celebrate his 8th human-year birthday. Unfortunately his 56-year old stomach apparently can’t digest cake  very well; therefore ,I helped him out by eating his piece. I am so kind.

3. I am always experimenting in the kitchen on the weekends. I try to make recipes gluten-free and vegan all the time. 80% of the time, whatever I have concocted is thrown out because it tastes like pencils or bouncy balls. But last night—I GOT IT RIGHT! Now, I did have the help of gluten-free cake mix (Arrowhead mills chocolate) but subbed pure pumpkin for the eggs to make it vegan and used a dairy-free icing. The cake turned out so yummy and everyone else liked it as much as I did. So when you’re craving a little somethin somethin, try making yours a bit healthier, vegan, or gluten-free if you so choose.

Back in March, I pounded the uninviting pavement of Elkhart in search of a job. The lack of finds are what gave the proverbial pavement an heir of gloom. Nevertheless, before I exhausted my resources for making a few summer bucks, I racked my brain for all the ways I could rake in the cash regardless of how glamorous or career-applicable the job. It finally hit me: Swim lessons! 

I taught for a few years in high school but always dreaded my three hours at the pool shivering, head pounding from screaming toddlers, and permanently soaked with the scent of chlorine. Nevertheless, it was money and I was willing to do about anything less working a line with ex-jailbirds to make a dollar.

Here I am, a week and a half into my first session of swim lessons. I requested all level P1’s which means that prying them away from Mom is practically half my job. I still have kids that whimper the entire 35 minutes their in the water and kids that disregard on a daily basis the fact that they cannot touch, and need to hang on to the wall to prevent um…drowning. The reason I am telling you all about my super stellar summer stint is because yesterday I noticed something about the kids that I think we over-18 folk take away: they have an end goal in mind and they get the job done.

“I get to go see mommy now?” I hear this line approximately 15 times a day, as it is asked following the completion of each tough skill like “submerging eyes, nose, and mouth” or “front gliding 2-body lengths.”

Usually the answer is “In a little bit, but can you do it again so we make sure your mommy sees it?” 

They just want to get back hugs, kisses and cheerios; most could really care less if they can kick with straight legs or retrieve and object in chest-deep water. So the little munchkins get the job done to go back to mom. They may be whining, getting water up their nose, or freezing the whole time; but they stick it out.

So many of us complain about the journey and forget about where the journey may lead us. Take a college education, for example; as students it is easy to feel that our lives are lived in between tests and quizzes or from syllabus week to finals week. We moan, gripe, and pull our hair out in stress. But with work, comes reward. Our earning potential will increase and doors will open for us. In fitness and health sometimes the 5:30 am workout seems less than exciting, or that green salad doesn’t look quite as good as the pizza slice. Healthy choices mean healthy bodies and healthy bodies mean healthy lives. 

Stick it out, stay on the path to success–even if your bottom lip quivers or you get a little water up your nose.

Road Trip! For every 100 times a caravan to a desirable destination is proposed among college students, one actually happens. The reality is that at 18-22 years old, most peoples’ car-packing, money-budgeting, and direction-giving skills are far from their peak, making many trips more hassle than their worth. So whats a ‘kid’ to do? Pick one or two journeys worth embarking upon and leave the rest of your travel time up to your parents (family vacays can be seriously enjoyable and also free for you).

If your summer involves some type of travel be it with your parents, college friends, or buddies from home, it is always a good idea to stay active even if there wasn’t enough room in your duffel for two 10-lb dumbbells or a yoga mat. I have options on options for destination workouts!

  • Scenic run: running is popular for a reason…it’s simple, free, and can be done anywhere. Lace up your shoes and check out your  surroundings. Make sure you have a GPS or are super-sure of where you’re headed.
  • DVD’s: by now you all know I am a DVD junkie. There is something really satisfying about knowing you squeezed in a workout in your hotel room before a day of activities…literally squeezed it in…between the two full-sized beds, strewn clothing, open suitcases, and people trying to get ready.
  • A whole new workout! If lucky you are headed to a resort or exciting town, check out local (or free at a resort) workout classes and expand your fitness horizons.
  • Hotel gym: fitness rooms are under-rated. Many have an elliptical, so you can take a break from reading Cosmo by the pool and read it and burn off last nights dessert as well. Treadmills are also more versicles than people give them credit for; try side shuffling to work the hips or backwards running for the hamstrings.
  • Old fashioned circuit training: my least favorite form of working out is still a very handy go-to. Do 15-20 minutes of jumping jacks, high knees, sit ups, etc. Stretch at the end. Check out fitness magazines for other handy circuit training options.

Stay active, have fun, travel safely.

Two or three months ago I developed something that I self-diagnosed as eczema on my chin, neck and chest: bumps, dry skin, itchiness, irritation–the whole deal. I tried a few cortisone creams and exfoliates daily, to no avail. It wasn’t until I did the Clean program (see previous posts) and removed gluten from my diet, that it disappeared.
I found this very interesting and decided to research symptoms of gluten intolerance; sure enough, eczema was a common symptom along with lack of energy, mental fog, achy joints, digestive discomfort, etc. So, I cut all wheat products out for 5 days (as I was back on a normal diet after the Clean program). My neck is completely clear! I decided to test it out last night and eat some cake at a graduation party to see if it would affect me and I woke up with an itching neck! Crazy!
Obviously, I have not been allergy tested and have not been seen by a doctor on this topic, but through listening to my own body and doing a bit of research I discovered a root to my own health issue. This saved me probably years of trying different skin creams, hundreds of dollars in co-pay fees for doctor visits and lots of discomfort. Sure, it stinks that I need to avoid wheat products to feel my best, but there are tons of healthy, tasty, gluten-free options for almost everything out there.
The point of this post is not to commend myself for my ability to conduct an affective google-search, but rather, to encourage you to listen to your body. Listen carefully. Is it telling you something? If that something is positive, it is worth listening. If that something is negative, it is worth listening. Seek out answers for negativity in your body–a bit of detective work can totally change your health!

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