Days 7-10

Day 7, 8 and 9:

I have nothing but energy on these two days. I’m beginning to see why people love these products. At the gym, I feel more energetic. On my runs, I want to go a little bit farther. At work, I can use my brain more than before. And best of all: NO COFFEE.

On Day 9, I was staring at a computer for 12+ hours. Needless to say my energy was lacking and I decided to crash instead of hitting the gym. I’ll make up for it in the morning though.

Day 10:

I’m finished with the cleansing portion! Now for the Max Phase, where my body will be retaining more nutrients and my body will receive the “best tools to achieve my next weight-management goal.”

My next weight-management goal? I’m really not sure what they are. I know I’m feeling great right now, and I hope that feeling lasts.

I’m at the gym right?

The gym is a microcosm of the earth’s inhabitants, therefore mysteries abound. 

The following are a few that I observed during my adventure tonight:

  1. A see-through lace tank top isn’t exactly “gym attire”
  2. Make up doesn’t help you sweat any less
  3. Mean stares seem to be the part of the salutation norm
  4. If you really need to have a conversation about your garden club meeting, can you do so in your car before you hop on the treadmill?
  5. Turn it down please

Let me elaborate before you accuse me of being a mean person. 

The dreaded club clothes: I don’t think that everyone should be in compression gear and dry fit material; that would be obnoxious and sometimes we can’t splurge on a tank we’re going to sweat our asses off in. A basic T-shirt will suffice. Nike shorts are a hot commodity these days, I hear. There are so many options…I just can’t fathom going through my closet, picking out a shirt I might wear to Fred’s, and rocking it in the gym while I’m doing squats.

Make up is nice sometimes: This one I just can’t wrap my head around. I enjoy going to the gym bright and early. It helps me clear my head before the day starts and acts as a stress relief for the rest of the day. I would NEVER wake up an hour earlier to make sure my false eyelashes looked halfway decent. I can totally understand if you’re coming straight from work and want to get a run in. I don’t think an early morning gym session constitutes a full face of make up.

Staring is awkward: Why are people so mean at the gym? Why do you look so mad? What’s really going on? I have so much respect for people who are attempting to live an active lifestyle. Why would I ostracize someone with a mean stare just because he/she doesn’t look like a “regular?” Again, I rarely go to the gym at night so this is just an observation from one random evening at my local gym.

Talking about ferns: Having a conversation while in close proximity to others is a little weird. Having a conversation while on the treadmill adjusting your incline is really weird. Save it for later please. It’s common courtesy.

Rocking out: Hey bro, I’m so glad you enjoy Limp Biskit. It reminds me of sixth grade, which was a good year for me. Please do your dignity a favor and turn it down a notch so I don’t have to hear your bench press pattern that just so happens to coincide with the rhythm of the song.

I suppose this is my attempt to figure out these quirks. I love going to the gym because it’s my “me” time. I can stay as long as I want most days, and I can get some serious tension relief. It seems as though some people still crave a distraction (besides the obnoxious amount of TVs displaying Sports Center) from their gym routine. Maybe you should try a new circuit set or a new form of cardio?

Personal Motivation

 

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Who knows? Maybe only 5 people voted. Thanks for voting anyway!

The results of the poll I posted earlier show that most people feel as though they have a lack of motivation, a lack of time or a lack of energy to take the next step toward a healthy lifestyle. Honestly I expected this. These options are the “me” options. They have to do with what we think of ourselves as individuals versus taking a look at external variables.

This begs the questions: how do we motivate ourselves, give ourselves enough time to devote to our health, and become energized about the idea of working out daily and preparing meals? The answer isn’t clear-cut. I can only speak from my personal experience.

I became motivated to pursue a lifestyle change instead of participating in a crash diet when I noticed I was losing my breath walking across campus or up a flight of stairs. Pictures didn’t help either. I knew that now was the time to change my habits (while I was in college and, by definition I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T. I had the ability to try new things without asking for permission. Motivation for me came from something that scared the hell out of me while simultaneously lit a fire under me.

As far as time goes, this is a pretty simple answer. MAKE TIME. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Sacrifice an hour watching Netflix to prep your meals or figure out what you want to eat for the rest of the week. MAKE TIME to get up a bit earlier and go for a 30 minute jog or walk. MAKE TIME to go to a Zumba or Spin class twice a week. Pencil it in your planner, set a reminder on your phone, etc. Just do it with no excuses. If you don’t start today, will you next Monday? How about next month? How about right before the holidays then slip a little then not have any time at all? Just do it…with no excuses. A little bit a day goes a long way.

Energy. This is a tough one because every body is different. I have more energy for the gym in the morning before class or work, and that metabolism boost lasts throughout the day for me. However, you may be completely different and the afternoon or even late night is what suits you. I can promise you this though—as soon as you start exerting more energy each day through exercise, you will in turn gain more energy to use for the rest of the day. It’s a simple but beautiful concept.

 

Paleo and Red Wine

So that’s an oxymoron of a title. 

I started “Perfect Paleo” three weeks ago today. A personal trainer at my gym advised me to try this nutrition plan when I explained my daily workout routine. He also suggested this plan to me because I was beginning to experience some strange side effects when I ate foods with high sugar/fat contents. (I just had an annual check up yesterday, so let’s hope I get definitive results soon.)

Since starting Paleo, I feel more energetic throughout the day, I feel physically lighter, and I have gained a true sense of what I ingest each day. Paleo has been a relatively easy transition for me because I love veggies and lean meats and enriched carbs have never made me feel satisfied. I am learning to eat to fuel my body rather than indulge each day because I “deserve it” for one reason or another.

Therein lies a serious problem. We use food as an incentive for good behavior; we use food as a means to gather and celebrate. We have become dependent upon rich food for each meal because we know it’s easily accessible. It’s less expensive (and easier) to grab fast food than it is to buy fresh produce, prep that produce, pack that produce and bring it to work/class.

So…why the title? 

I still have my cravings, those mainly being red wine and dark chocolate. See? Even my cravings have done a complete 180. I used to crave Cinnabon and frappacinos with extra heavy whipped cream. It’s all about teaching your MIND that your BODY needs something more substantial that will provide it with nutrients. With Paleo, I am learning to tailer it to my needs, and that is an ongoing challenge. We’re human so we crave things we love. I love red wine, so I’ll drink it every once in awhile and not feel bad about it.

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I like to choose one night a week (usually Sunday or Monday) to prep my lunch meals for the week. I separate everything in containers and keep them fresh by opening the lids overnight if necessary. 

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This is what I packed for a 4 day weekend trip. I knew that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to go to the grocery store, so planning ahead was a necessity. Making your health a priority is key to your overall motivation.

I’ve recently been asked by a few people about tips and recipes, which gives me such a sense of pride. I would eventually love to post recipes, tricks, etc. I like to say that I’m definitely no professional. I will be the first to admit that nutrition and dietetics can be an insanely complicated field. I know what works for me, and if I’m able to help inspire or motivate someone to positively change their lifestyle, I’ll be elated.

Here are a few tips that come to mind in the meantime:

  1. Drink water…all of the time. Buy some cute tumblers and bring them everywhere
  2. Get rid of the butter; use a couple tablespoons of olive oil instead
  3. Throw your salt away and invest in some Mrs. Dash
  4. If one of the first ingredients listed is “enriched ________” just say no
  5. Eat twice as many veggies as you eat fruit; fruit just acts as sugar if eaten in large quantities (fructose)
  6. Change up your meals and try new things
  7. Exercise…seriously. Challenge yourself each week, each month, each year, whatever it takes to sweat some more
  8. Make time for your health
  9. Incorporate a buddy (or several) and make healthy eating/living fun
  10. Motivate yourself mentally each day; focus on the positives and tell the negatives to back off

Changing my habits hasn’t been easy, and I’ve faced several challenges. Knowing that I’m doing something good for my body each day keeps me going though.

Eat right, geaux hard

Disclaimer: I’m no professional.

I live in a city that could be considered a “foodie” town. Baton Rouge boasts holes in the wall that you always want to revisit, the usual chain restaurants, Cajun cuisine galore, and I don’t think the culinary geniuses that invade LSU’s campus on any home game during the fall deserve to be left out.

Point blank: it’s hard to eat right here. I mean, Cane’s Chicken Fingers was founded here dammit. Instead of Starbucks on every corner, we have Cane’s drive thrus open until 3 a.m.

I have felt the gurgling deep down in my gut that occurs after you devour a Box Combo at 2:50 a.m. with your best friends at the Cane’s on Highland. I have woken up from a food coma after killing a Chimes Brunch. Hell to the yes I’ve gorged on jambalaya on game day leading to my quick demise and prayers for nap time as soon as possible.

What I have learned after a couple years’ worth of these experiences is that I no longer want that lifestyle. I never felt good. Eating is easy; eating is a necessity for survival. I’m pretty sure cavemen didn’t have a deep fryer, though.

So…I decided to get motivated and live the way that I knew was the best for MY body. Every body is different, as genetics dictates. You have to tailor any generic plan to work for you, not against you. Step one on the road to health was my diet. “Diet” has a negative connotation associated. I have never considered myself to be on a diet. I like eating whole foods, fruits, veggies, lean meats and nuts. I love drinking water. Here’s an example of my usual lunch:

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My staples are a quick salad with spinach, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, red onions, lots of bell peppers and light balsalmic dressing or even just oil and vinegar; a turkey wrap on a whole wheat tortilla with hummus as spread; trail mix including plenty of pecans, peanuts, almonds, etc., with chocolate covered raisins (my vice); Greek yogurt of some sort; and a few other randoms depending upon how long my day is. I like to eat my lunch piece by piece versus as a whole. It helps my metabolism and I don’t feel “too full” at any point in time.

There are days that I get invited to lunch for work or don’t have time fix something like this. It’s all good though. Everything in moderation, I say. (As long as it’s not a Big Mac…that just doesn’t work.)

I love brussel sprouts too. I get made fun of frequently by my boyfriend for my love of them. He has a point, I guess, because I’m making them tonight.

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Enough of that. The second step for a healthy lifestyle was for me to forget the intimidation factor of a gym. I finally got some courage and bought a membership. That was probably the best decision I’ve made in my collegiate career. Fun fact about me: I don’t particularly like the UREC. It’s always busy regardless of what time it is, there isn’t enough space or equipment, nagging, nagging, nagging. I do LOVE the Specialty and GroupX classes though. They rock.

This post isn’t a means of bragging about my progress or an attempt to get accolades. I want to share my journey just in case there is someone in the position that I was in a short 6 months ago. I needed personal motivation as well as external motivation. I found it over a period of time, and it’s certainly not at its peak. Always remember that being fit and being skinny are two completely different things. Being healthy and being skinny are also two completely different things. I’ll never be skinny. I’m a thick and “bodacious” woman (check number four on the list). I dig that about myself.

Always stay positive about progress and keep the negative thoughts at bay. Honestly, you’re more critical on yourself than 99% of the people around you. I’m saving the last 1% for your mean great aunts that probably (if they are anything like mine) yelled about you getting fat at age 10 to each other over straight bourbon. Classy shit.

I’m reaching goals and setting new ones each day. That’s my motivation. Oh, and the hopes that I’ll live an incredibly long and healthy life with the people I love.

ImagePlease disregard the bathroom selfie on the right. The left was my freshman year of college.

Please don’t hesitate to comment or ask questions. Remember the most important thing is how you feel at the end of each day.

If only Richard Simmons was my instructor

You have to admit he had a way with words and his projection of those words.

(Disclaimer: This was inspired by a long run and a glass or two of red wine.)

I’ve been working my ass off since November in terms of fitness. It’s difficult as a college student to genuinely be healthy–mind, body, etc.–but I’m trying. It’s not a matter of hours you spend being active or the amount of calories you intake, though, and that has been difficult for me to conceptualize. 

I played 3 varsity sports in high school. I was always tired of running in circles for coaches (literally in cross country). My problem was that I never saw the benefit of being incredibly active. I was more concerned with how my body looked versus how I felt. By the time I came to LSU, I was burnt out on sports and suicide drills. And maybe this is super cliche, but now that I’m at the point in my life where I’m really comfortable in my skin…I would rather feel good than be concerned with how I look in an obnoxiously tight dress. 

I think that’s the bulk of the problem, America. We are so transfixed with our physical image versus how we feel when endorphins are released or how being all-around healthy (diet, exercise, sleep) can make EVERY LITTLE thing you do 10x more enjoyable. Seriously. Even the mundane things that you really can’t stand seem a little less annoying because you’re not exhausted and you’re energized by something other than an extra grande cafe’ latte. 

I’m no fitness expert, but I notice that now I look forward to my morning workout and afternoon jog. It clears my mind, releases some built-up stress and anxiety and makes me excited to take part in whatever I have planned for the rest of the day and night.

Every body is different, and we all find our solace in varying ways. Exercise is the same way. If Zumba is where you feel most comfortable, dance your ass off. If you would rather run the levee when no one is around, I understand completely. My one piece of advice: Give your body a chance to feel the best it can ever feel and it will repay you in the long run. 

“What does Richard Simmons have to do with anything, Erin?”

Well that’s a great question. 

The title works well…let me explain. Sometimes we need a little motivation. We like that instant gratification of ‘mapping our run’ or ‘checking in’ at the gym on Foursquare. If you need someone to truly motivate you to get to that next level–whatever that level may be–just ask. I know it seems odd and makes you feel vulnerable, but I guarantee that someone reading your post on Facebook or tweet about wanting to walk the lakes or check out a Group X class at the UREC will respond and want to know when you’re going. 

Take some risks; sweat a little more; forget about who’s watching you.

You have one life. Make it a healthy one. 

I am my worst critic

Being a human being can be challenging.

I am well aware that I am going to be the first person to have something negative to say about myself in my very own head. As Hannah from Girls states, “No one could ever hate me as much as I hate myself, okay? So any mean thing someone’s gonna think of to say about me, I’ve already said to me, about me, probably in the last half hour!”

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We do this to ourselves, ladies and gentlemen. We refuse to believe that people compliment us genuinely because they want us to know how much they love our hair, our sense of humor, our room decor…whatever. Compliments are hard to come by. Therefore, I have to take Amy’s advice in her most recent Smart Girls video concerning negativity when she advises us to just say “Thank you” when someone gives us a compliment.

Example: I think it’s a pretty valid estimation when I say that a roundabout 85% of people are intimidated by gyms/fitness clubs. We second guess our abilities when someone brushes past us that has a better body or–even worse–a smile on his/her face AT THE GYM.

I’ve taken it upon myself to start being more healthy simply because I am getting older. I suppose that along with the fun being a 21 year old provides, I really need to start thinking about how good I want to feel when I’m 31. I have taken a pledge to no longer criticize myself if I am unable to do something on the first try. It’s all good; I’ll make it work one day.

So my advice coincides with Amy in that sense. Enjoy yourself a little more every day. Laugh at silly things and don’t be so hard on yourself. Surround yourself with people who uplift you. Keep that head up. You’ll master your current goal one day; it might not be today, next week or next year.