Posts Tagged ‘diet

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When my alarm blares that dumb iphone harp noise almost every morning and almost always before 7:30am, I rarely welcome the electronic instrumental cacophony. Each Tuesday and Thursday it sounds at 4:52am, and all other days I usually set it with the intention to run around 7am. Funny thing is, the only time I hop up with intention is on Tuesday and Thursday–when I rise before the sun. On those days, I teach a Cardio Fusion class at 5:30am and know that I have people counting on me to give them their solid sweat for the day. The other 5 days it is always a gamble whether or not I will actually get up at the time I planned. Similar thing with these blog posts–I told you all I will finish and blog about these 30 days; so, I am. Build a fortress of accountability and you will succeed in your goals.

1. Get a success buddy. You have a goal? I bet you know someone with a goal. Propose to them the idea of keeping one another accountable. Maybe you would like to start a blog and your friend would like to build an online business? Starbucks has wifi; have a working coffee date. You want to lose ten pounds and your boyfriend wants a six-pack? Do your cardio together. Log your workouts and food on myfitnesspal. Ok, those are totally both examples from my life; my creative example-generating skills are clearly off today. Whatever your goal is, find a goal-oriented friend and take on to-do’s together!

2. Keep a written record steps along the way. Food journals, to-do lists, measurement recordings, and success diaries are all perfect for tracking how you’re doing and identifying where to go next.

3. Make a public proclamation. HELLO INTERNET! I AM TELLING YOU NOW THAT BY THIS TIME NEXT YEAR I WILL HAVE A SICK-NASTY (THAT MEANS COOL) FITNESS AND HEALTH WEBSITE WITH 500 SUBSCRIBERS AND WILL WEIGH UNDER 140 LBS! Something like that, or something less obnoxious will do. Don’t keep your goals a secret. Because then your successes are a secret; and secrets are no fun unless they involve birthday presents or parties.

4. Make a contract. This, to me, seems only necessary if you REALLY need a push. If so, write your goal, when you plan to achieve it, a reward for when you achieve it, and a consequence for the slight chance you don’t.

5. Join a like-minded group. Feeling less than fit? Join a group fitness class. I’ll skip the preaching about benefits of group x because you probably know that this will turn into a 1000-worder if I’m not careful. Need to boost that GPA? Find or form study groups, and actually study. It is so empowering to be surrounded by people who share your goals, passions, and desires (this is the main reason I love endurance sport events; not because I am ultra-competitive, but because I love the positive fit-minded atmosphere).

6. Use social media. I just used my blog to tell you that I WILL achieve my goals, and I use it to update you on my progress. When I am done writing this, it will go straight to Facebook and Twitter. Share your goal-related thoughts on the same forums where everyone else shares their last meal and current geographic whereabouts. I care more about you getting an ‘A’ on a paper or making it to the gym than I do that some girl I graduated with not enjoying her shift at 7-11. Delight me with positive posts, pretty please.

Follow these steps and make things happen!

I am making things happen, by the way. In the next week, my site will no longer be iAMincharge.wordpress.com. I officially purchased a domain and will be claiming my own space on the internet. Stay tuned.

Back in highschool, I did what I wanted; I didn’t pay much regard to the wants or needs of others. And then I went to college and realized how easy I had it back at home. My mom did the dishes, my dad mowed the lawn, my teachers gave me step-by-step plans for success, and my friends usually said yes to everything. High school is a far cry from the real world. In the real world of college I had to wash my own dishes (in an often puke-scented mop closet); I maintained my own space (I know maintaining an 11ftx8ft dorm doesn’t seem like much, but with two long-haired clutzes living in that space it got pretty messy); I kept a planner and sought  resources for academic help that were never mentioned by professors in lecture; I made friends who were busy and learned to prioritize. Last year, I began to really appreciate the occasions when someone said “yes” to helping me out and began to pay it forward. I was definitely a “no man” for the first 18 years of my life and am now more selfless.

Selflessness is an admirable trait right? Right…ish. It can be what allows you to make the days of others or ruin your own day, day after day. I want to use my best friend Elyse as an example of someone who could back off the yesses on occasion and probably gain some peace of mind from doing so (btw Elyse is one of the few specific examples I will ever give in my blog because she totally takes my self-improvement talk like a champ). I have witnessed this girl give the shirt off her back to someone, volunteer for hours on end when she could have been working for money, and leave almost every social event to shuttle her siblings around. She is a classic “yes man” and gets great reward out of helping others. On the other hand though, Elyse gets little recognition from many of the people she helps out, little time to spend with friends, and little time to herself. Because I care about her success and her happiness, I notice that sometimes people take advantage of her giving nature. I think if she would balance her yesses with nos, she would benefit academically, physically, and emotionally from taking some time for herself. If you are a “yes man” you probably could to.

We all know I am big on balance: balancing workouts, eating, and life. Surprise, surprise, balance is the bottom line of today’s post. Try responding to requests/invites with your schedule and overall happiness in mind. Will saying no to helping with a neighbor’s garage sale in favor of a beach day with family end in major negative consequences? Probably not. Will saying yes to a professor who would like you to come in for extra work on a paper instead of going to party with friends change something in your life for the better? Potentially.

On another note: I am officially starting my own challenges (both challenge 1 and challenge 2) today. I ran 7 miles this morning and have been tracking like a good girl. It’s definitely not too late to start. If you follow the instructions provided at either link any time this week, you are eligible to win a Starbucks gift card. Let’s end summer in the fittest way possible!

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 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!


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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