I always forget to write my yearly goals on Friday! So here they are a few days late:

  1. Weigh in 130lb range
  2. Get 500 subscribers to blog
  3. Earn money with blog
  4. Become Beachbody coach
  5. 3.5 GPA
  6. Write for IDS
  7. $3000 in savings, $3000 in checking
  8. Take social spring break
  9. Hold house position
  10. Have something published

So there’s that, and here’s this…a cool tid bit from one of my fave health newsletters:

Natural Ways to Curb Appetite.

Have a fabulous evening!


Day 24 asked me to examine the people closest in my life and their effect on me. Today, was slightly difficult because I am at home and my friend group will change in 3 weeks when I go to IU. For that reason, I dog-eared the page as a reminder to revisit it later. A couple of key points that I want to highlight are:

  • Surround yourself with people who encourage, support, and celebrate your successes
  • Positive people attract positive people
  • Positive people achieve positive things

Allow me to clarify a few things from the bulletpoints: 1) Spend the majority of your time with people who want great things both for themselves and you; limit time spent with people who make the same mistakes repeatedly, can’t seem to get motivated, or minimize/inhibit your success. 2) There is nothing I enjoy more than holding a conversation about excitement for a particular topic. I just like getting excited about things; whether it’s heading back to school, a new fitness routine, or lima beans…if someone is talking excitedly about it to me, I can’t help but catch the fever. On the other hand, I know plenty of people who really don’t have anything nice to say about too many things. You probably know someone like this: it doesn’t matter what you say you like, do, or want, they oppose the idea and often with uneducated opposition. Look at things with a positive eye, require the people you keep closest to do the same, and you might find your vision in life getting a bit sharper. 3) As your vision grows sharper, you are able to seize opportunities and effective accomplish things. A frequently made mistake in this point is thinking naive people achieve positive things. If we remain in the dark about challenging topics, we will never have the knowledge to push further and achieve more; that is, we never even know there is more to be done in our life. Dig deep and find your full potential, know that you can always go a step further in anything and then take the measures to do so.

And on to Challenge 2:

This is a 3- week endurance challenge for anyone looking to improve heart health, be able to exercise more effectively for longer periods of time and challenge their body. This can be done in conjunction with Challenge 1 from yesterday, or alone. Again, I am not a doctor or personal trainer, but rather, a fitness enthusiast looking to inspire others and gain some companions on my fitness journey. All you need to complete this challenge is a light set of dumbells (3-7lbs) and perhaps running shoes or whatever gear you need to complete your cardio of choice.

Step 1) Sign up and friend me on Myfitnesspal. You will be tracking your exercise on this simple site. (There is also a smartphone app for on-th-go tracking).

Step 2) Move your body 7 miles a day, 3 days per week. This can mean walking/running/swimming/elliptical-ing/etc. I would reccomend bumping it to 10 miles if you choose to bike. Here are a few options to track your distance:

  • drive off a path with your car before heading out
  • download a GPS smartphone app like Nike+(you don’t need a shoe chip and it works on a treadmill), Endomondo, WalkTracker, MapMyFitness, etc.
  • 1650 yds/1500m= 1mile of swimming
  • Walk/run/rollerblade/ride on a track 4 laps=1 mile

Step 3) Complete the following muscular endurance routine 2x per week (click links for examples and feel free to comment on this post with questions):

Modify anything that is painful. Make sure that your doctor believes you are healthy enough to complete this workout/program

Step 4) Log workouts on Myfitnesspal. The muscular strength routine can be logged as “strength training” for 23 minutes and “calisthenics” for 15 minutes

Step 5) Follow my blog by clicking “Follow” in the top right of this page. Don’t forget to friend me on MyFitnessPal, log workouts and comment “I DID IT!” on my post on August 16th for a chance to win a $10 Starbucks gift card. Two from the challenge will win!

Comment below if you’re in!


I know this is long, but keep reading–the prize is at the bottom, like a cereal box.

Day 23 began before the sun rose; I woke up at the booty crack of dawn (3:45am Chicago time! Thankfully 4:45am “my” time) to run the  Rock n’ Roll 5k in Chicago’s Grant Park. Most athletes at this event competed in the half marathon, a 13.1 mile feat. One of the amazing athletes happened to be my sorority sister, Michelle, who raised nearly $8000 dollars for cancer research (she was the TOP fundraiser in the Chicago area) and killed her first ever race out of love and compassion for her mom. Seriously Michelle, you are an inspiration. But Jeremy and I decided to forget about training plans and Gu packets, enjoy a quick 3.1 miles at my favorite event ever, and enjoy cheering on the whopping 19,000 that tackled 13.1. What a fun, fitness-filled day it turned out to be! Jeremy and I both did better than we expected to do, completing the lake-front course in about 21:00 and 24:00, respectively. After we finished, fueled up with protein bars and bananas, and socialized with a few other 5k competitors, we watched and cheered on the half-marathoners at mile 6 (I also admired their cute running attire). Then we got foam roller messages, enjoyed a free concert from Cobra Starship, and gave Michelle sweaty hugs as she crossed the finish line. I love runners, running events, oh, and running swag.

I want to thank you all for allowing me to complete the task for day 23 of PUSH. Chalene wants me to make a promise to someone that I will complete my goals. So guys, I promise you, I WILL reach 500 subscribers on my blog by creating a more exciting, inviting site and WILL see my weight to the 130 lb range by tracking my calories, practicing portion control, and exercising often. That was easy.

Now, for the crazy cool, crazy rewarding, crazy simple challenge(s):

Challenge 1: Track it 5lb challenge- lose 5 pounds, in 3 weeks, in 5 steps

More than 66% of Americans can reap health-related benefits by dropping 5 lbs (If you are at a healthy weight or don’t feel this challenge is for you, see Challenge 2, tomorrow). I am going to provide you with the steps you need to safely and effectively lose some extra pounds and feel more fit.

Step 1: Calculate BMR by clicking on the link. This number will tell you how many calories YOUR body uses just by functioning on a daily basis. For example, a 5’5″, 140lb, 20-year-old women burns 1,406 calories per day. The average American woman is 5’4″ and weighs 165lbs; she burns 1,503 calories per day. Knowing how many calories you are burning without exercise allows you to determine the number of calories to eat and burn through exercise each day.

Step 2: Create close-to an 850 calorie deficit each day. To begin we have to revamp calorie consumption. You will eat around 1200 calories per day. If this seems like an itty-bitty amount, try eating 4×300-calorie meals throughout the day to keep your energy up. My advice for limiting calories? Plan meals, track meals, enjoy meals; that is, try to think ahead about and even write down what you are going to eat a day ahead time; join myfitnesspal , friend me on the site (don’t worry, I can’t see your weight or what you eat, just your exercise and pounds lost), and use it to track the foods you eat; eat the healthy foods that make your body happy.

Step 3: Work out! You’ll be sexy and I know it. To determine how many calories you should burn through exercise complete the following equation:

BMR-1200 calories= diet deficit

example for the average American woman: 1,503-1200= 303 calorie diet deficit


850-diet deficit= necessary calories to burn through exercise

example: 850-303= 547 calories

That final number is the amount you should be burning 6 days per week through exercise. It may seem like a lot, but the average woman can torch that amount by doing Zumba for 50 minutes, power walking for an hour, or interval training for 45 minutes.

These steps leave enough wiggle room for a day off of exercise, as long as you stick to 1200 calories.

Track exercise on myfitnesspal, as it will provide with calories burned.

Step 4: Commit. Tell a friend or family member what you’re doing. Write your goals and numbers down. If you hate the idea of tracking online, you can do it in a journal by looking up calories in food and calories burned online. It is simply easier to rely on a website to do the calculations for you. Finally, subscribe to my blog by clicking “Follow” in the top, right-hand corner and comment on this post making a promise to me; hey, I made two to you, above!

Step 5: On Wednesday, August 16th, comment on my post of the day with “I DID IT!” and two challengers will receive a $10 Starbucks gift card if they have been tracking on myfitnesspal (I say, nothing is wrong with the occasional iced coffee with soy, we all need our vice!).

To recap:

1) Calculate BMR- signing up and plugging in weight and height on myfitnesspal will do this for you. 2) Eat 1200 calories a day- myfitnesspal almost always suggests that number for a goal of losing 1-2lbs per week; the site allows you to look up what you eat and track the specific foods and serving sizes in your diary. 3) Work out! This is a challenge, so working out 6 days a week should take some determination and focus, not to mention scheduling. Make it a non-negotiable part of your day, like brushing your teeth. Track activity /minutes exercising on myfitnesspal to see how many calories you burned. 4) Commit already! Grab some friends, make a promise and join me on this three-week journey to forming fit habits. 5) Follow my blog, friend me on myfitnesspal, and comment on my blog post August 16th for a chance to win a Starbucks gift card!

I am no doctor or personal trainer; I just love fitness and improving my health and want to inspire you  and provide you with simple steps to do the same. If you complete these three weeks with me you WILL adapt healthy habits and WILL have the chance to win a Starbucks card. I know what it feels like to need a push in the right direction, a companion on my fitness journey, or a cut-and-dry plan for success; here are all three of those, friends. I want you to do this with ME! Please share this with friends and anyone you know, the more healthy, happy people we have in this world, the merrier.

Tomorrow: Challenge 2 for those in a happy, healthy, weight range.

*Your doctor should confirm that you are healthy enough to participate in this challenge before you commit.

Day 22 will be pretty quick since I am currently enjoying carrots and hummus lakeside in downtown Chicago–distracted from life and couldn’t be happier.

A day away from everything is nice. Sometimes when you get too wrapped up in the ins and outs of productivity you become counter productive (cue the endless Dexter episodes and a pint of fro-yo. I often distract myself with food when I am overwhelmed.

Do you turn to food when you feel a certain way other than hungry? My “false hungries” are boredom, stress, and exhaustion. Today is all about random eating, what causes it, and how to prevent it.

First, ID your random eating triggers; mine are disclosed above. Then, figure out what feeling it is you desire in opposition to the one pushing you toward the Skittles and doughnuts (Jeremy, my boyfriend and first fitness buddy picked those “red zone” foods; I usually gravitate towards ice cream or anything dipped peanut butter). When I am bored I want to be busy; when I’m stressed I want to be a productive powerhouse; when I’m tired I want to feel energized. Finally, nail down a solution to ridding yourself of toxic feelings without turning to the pantry. Because, face it, few of us rummage through the produce door for yummies to quell our emotions.

Here’s a list of my personal solutions for:

Boredom- check off to-do list, get ahead on choreography for classes/schoolwork/etc., call a friend, go through old email newsletters

Stress: take a step back with a bit of outdoor activity, yoga, meditation, create a timeline to be as efficient as possible

Exhaustion: energizing yoga, low-cal coffee drink, rest

Come up with some of your own solutions and put an end to the false hungries. Please, please, please see me tomorrow, as I will posting a challenge that involves PRIZES!


On the topic of having a diet yesterday, I wanted to share this because it is simple, true, and effective.

Hungry Girl – Friday Newsletter.

Day 21 of PUSH is one of my least favorite simply because it confuses me a little but I’ll give you the gist of it and then dish up my day for you.

Day 21: the 80/20 rule. If you have done any dabbling in diet books or articles, you have probably heard at one point or another the concept of eating healthfully 80% of the time and less than beautifully 20% of the time. Chalene goes beyond applying this idea to food intake by relating it to life in general. She explains that 80% of your efforts will yield 20% of your results. As I write this now, Day 21 is clearing up for me. The big breaks, the major strides, the life changing moments often come from a single string of events, not the web of effort you put into specific tasks. Take my blogging goal for example, right now I am clearly still in the research phase because as I spent hours yesterday trying to figure out the best way to purchase a domain and download software and basically do everything that involves self-hosting a blog. All of these little tasks that are taking up so much time are not going to get me 500 subscribers. My writing, the photos to come, the easy stuff will get me to that point. But we cannot neglect the seeminly less important 80% of work, as it is the foundation, just not the direct recipe, for 80% of our success.

Today I woke up ravenous! I taught three classes in three hours last night and followed them with only a smoothie since it was kind of late. When I woke up though, I had that, “my stomach is eating itself” feeling. I had planned to run to teach swim lessons this morning but after filled myself up with a 550 calorie fruit and rice cereal bowl, I knew the running was better left for the afternoon. Biking sounded more stomach-friendly, so biking it was. After teaching lessons and riding my bike 7 miles, I was ready for lunch at about 12:30. But I stared in the fridge for about 15 minutes and couldn’t decide what I wanted, so I munched on fresh cherries for a few minutes and finally decided on a veggie burger patty with fat free sharp cheddar cheese. I finished my lunch off with “ants on a log,” if you didn’t have this as a snack when you were little, I would say you’re not American but I am going to give you a chance to redeem yourself by trying it today.

The super-secret “ants on a log” recipe: celery, peanut butter (I used pb2), and raisins (I used a dried fruit/seed trail mix)–Spread the celery with PB and sprinkle with raisins. YUM!

It’s my last day of Max Recovery during my 60 day Insanity journey. When I finish that, I’ll take a 4-mile or so jog and enjoy the sunshine at the pool!

Happy Friday!

I have no brilliantly inspiring excuse for my absence yesterday. Guess I just decided to be a normal 19-year-old for the day: procrastinating, sitting, aimlessly wandering in my own thoughts. The past two days I just wasn’t feeling like bulldozing through tasks as usual; so instead I plowed through about 9 or 10 episodes of Dexter, some sushi and fro-yo. Hey, I am a work-in-progress (a.k.a human). But today, I zipped up my big girl pants and put my nose to the grindstone at a pitch-black and RAINY (yes, rainy in Northern Indiana–a rarity as of this summer) 4:50 am and I feel powerful.

Day 20 covers 10 habits that Chalene says are the diet foundations of successful and fit people. I would say that I practice about half of the list well and the other five or so could use a smidge to a ton more practice.

  1. Eat within the same daily menu. That is, stick to a rotation of about four different options for each meal and snack. This keeps you from rollercoastering calories by eating a 200 calorie lunch one day and an 800 calorie one the next. Some of my favorite rotations for lunch include veggies topped with a gluten-free, vegan burger and some type of non-dressing condiment (hummus, guac, salsa, marinara), brown rice pasta with pesto or marinara, grocery store veggie sushi, and a raw veggie/fruit plate with hummus. For breakfast I almost always go with Shakeology concocted with different, under 300 calorie recipes (I love Chocolate with PB2, half of a frozen banana, and coconut almond milk). Sometimes, though, I will go with oatmeal or a bunch of fruit. My snacks of choice are iced lattes, g-free nutrition bars, berries, or trail mix (portioned out or someone stop me). For dinner, it’s usually another smoothie on a busy night, or whatever massive amount of veggies I can get my hands on. I love trying new things and usually do so in restaurants but the Elkhart-area dining options make it pretty easy to avoid “blind-dining” as there are few options so I really only eat at about five of them.
  2. Eat breakfast. Like Nike says guys, “Just do it.” You’ll have more energy and focus. In a hurry? Drink your breakfast in smoothie form or test out a few nutrition bars.
  3. Drink water. Plain and simple. At least 12 x 8oz. So 96oz minimum. I am hardly ever without a water bottle and my current hydrator of choice is the 24oz bubba keg sport; I drink about 6 of them or more a day.
  4. Eat small and often. I find that four, approx. 300 calorie meals per day is best for me right now. Breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner. Find a pattern that works for you and stick to it.
  5. Eat whole foods first. Did you have to peel it/wash it/cut it up/add spices before eating? When hunger strikes, it should be your first pick. Did you have to microwave it/unbox it/ unseal it. Consider the list of ingredients and nutrients before chowing down.
  6. Know your food. I preach research more than anything else. If you are informed about nutrition, you will always have that voice in your head pushing you to make positive, energizing food choices. Keep track of serving sized and calories; when you get in the habit, dishing out a healthy single serving will become automatic.
  7. Eat favorite foods carefully. Welcome to the weakness of AnnMarie, dear readers. You’re talking to the girl who could down four sushi rolls solo and top it off with a pint of ice cream if she had the chance (and has come fairly close on many occasions). Don’t keep this stuff in your house until you know how to handle it with care. I am still getting there.
  8. Don’t keep red zone foods in the house. Kick out the junk like packaged cookies, chips, and ranch dip and make plenty of room for nutritional treasures healthy energy bars, pre-washed lettuce blends, and hummus.
  9. Close the kitchen after dinner. I will say that I have made great strides in my practice of this habit since starting PUSH. I almost never eat after 8 anymore. Whenever I stay out of the kitchen after dinner, it much less of guilt sanctuary come morning.
  10. Use your resources at restaurants. Yes, dressing CAN come on the side, Yes, you can get that grilled instead of fries. Ask and you shall receive; and if you can’t, dine elsewhere. I love restaurants like Flat Top Grill and Chipotle where I can decide exactly what goes into my meal.

I am always trying to improve my diet and increase my ability to practice each and every one of these habits; it is most important to remember and accept that we are always a work-in-progress. Try picking just one habit to focus on this week and notice how you feel. Which habit could you work on to improve your energy and well-being. For the next week, I am going to focus on eating favorite foods carefully and will report back with progress.

Today is going to be a confessional of my sometimes violent internal battle with the dieting vs. having a diet concept.

First of all, I know, or at least seem to have a pretty accurate grasp on what is healthy and the some of the latest research on nutrition and fitness related topics. For a long time, I battled what I knew to be correct. I wanted to be 1 in a 1000 that could eat like a madwoman and stay trim. I’m not. I am the same as everyone else; my body hoards sugar in visible places just like the next guy’s and no amount of running is going to undo the consumption of a left over, chocolate, gluten-free pancake topped with a cup of fro-yo, four gluten-free graham crackers dipped in Nutella, 3 servings of rice chips, and a serving of sweet potato fries. That is what I consumed today when I got home from instructing swim lessons; I was tired from having gone to bed at midnight and waking up at 4:50 and hungrier than sin because my 150-calorie Shakeology didn’t exactly hold me for the nearly 8 hours (during which I taught a 45-minute Cardio Fusion class and did my own Insanity workout) between when I woke up and when it was time for lunch. So, you can infer that the cleanse I mentioned yesterday didn’t go so well. It would work more effectively for someone with normal workout habits (i.e. 1 hr a day), I presume; I will keep it in mind for finals week during fall semester since meal prep is a cinch and I won’t have time for more than an hour of exercise a day.

Second of all, quick fixes aren’t the answer. I have read and tried plenty of tricky, gimmicky plans for weight loss and honestly, they just lead to misinformation, fallout, and frustration. For the first time in years, I have come to terms with the idea of putting a valiant effort into attaining the body I desire. I track calories and I exercise with intensity. On top of that, keeping a mostly vegan and completely gluten-free diet helps me function at my best. I find that telling myself that I WANT to eat healthfully keeps me from caving to most cravings (or temptations from friends). Of course, during any journey in life, not just a health and fitness journey, there are going to be assiting road signs to your destination and there are going to be road blocks. In my opinion, the pizza and brownie the other night weren’t a road block for me; today, on the other hand, has been. But what can I expect? I just had 18 great, productive, amazingly healthful days in a row. Next time I will shoot for 28 days in a row! Improvement is the only way.

My 5 tips for having a diet (and how I could take my own advice):

  • Read up- know what is healthy and what isn’t. That will help you to decide what foods to include on a daily basis and which to include less frequently. I am actually pretty good, maybe nerdy-good at this one.
  • Know your numbers- do you work out a minimal, moderate, or maximal amount? Do you need a miniscule or monstrous amount of food? Awareness of the calories you burn and consume is important for keeping a balanced diet. This is where I went wrong the past few days. Since committing to the use of Myfitnesspal.com I am almost always able to maintain energy while creating a caloric deficit; but yesterday, I began the Shakeology cleanse and even added two unapproved servings of fruit to the plan and it just wasn’t enough to keep my energy going through several hours of intense physical activity and even lead me to overeat.
  • Pick some principles- What rules do you want to live by in your diet life? I choose not to eat meat. I choose to keep dairy at but a few servings per week. I don’t drink pop and I steer pretty clear of fried foods. Maybe you want to cut out red meat, or sweets 6 days a week. Rules help give us structure. Abide by a few.
  • Listen to your body- Often cravings or digestive discomforts are signaling to us something about what we are or are not eating. Do a quick Google search the next time you notice an intense desire for a certain food or an out of the ordinary tummy issue and explore the option of food being the root cause. Adjust your diet accordingly.
  • Accept diet differences This goes beyond diet and extends to other facets of life; we all share this world an should make it a point to get along regardless of our personal preferences. Though I am a vegetarian (nearly vegan), I cringe when I hear people get all preachy at the sight of a steak. Of course, I will explain my diet decisions if someone asks about them but I am not going to whip out every fact I’ve retained about energy expenditure, saturated fat, and animal abuse to try to “convert” them. I push my diet on family and dearest friends occasionally (since my parents still love steak, my sisters still frequent taco bell and my boyfriend still loves doughnuts, I’d say a lot of it is frivolous pushing; though, my best friend is vegetarian now and my boyfriend did devour tempeh fajitas yesterday), but for the most part I live by the idea that I am trying my best to do what makes me feel happy and healthy and I just want others to do the same.

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