Healthy Habits I’ve Kept, and Healthy Habits I’ve Lost

27 Mar

After I lost the majority of my weight, I became obsessed with having as many ‘healthy habits’ as I could in order to maintain my weight. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve gained a bit of weight back. So, I thought I would highlight some of those healthy habits that I’ve kept and which ones I’ve lost in the past year or so. I would like to get most of these healthy habits back, so I’ll say it, then I’ll do it!

Healthy Habit I’ve Kept: Eating a healthy breakfast.

breakfast

I’m actually great about eating a healthy breakfast. I always manage to get a good balance of protein, carbs and fat, and I always get some fruit and/or veggies in there as well (definitely try peas on your eggs if you haven’t already). Unfortunately, it’s usually lunch and dinner when I fall off the wagon. I haven’t been very good at bringing snacks with me to work, so by lunch time and dinner, I’m starving and I end up eating way too much. I can definitely improve in this area by snacking smart.

Healthy Habit I’ve Lost: Taking the stairs

My office is on the third floor, and I used to be religious about taking the stairs every single time. Well, I’ve definitely lost this healthy habit. Starting today, however, I decided that I’m banned from the elevator. I think I can improve here by giving myself some sort of stair related reward. A star chart in my office? A weekly stair climbing goal? I’ll think on this, but in the meantime if you have any suggestions, I’ll take them.

Healthy Habit I’ve Kept: Running

So grateful for this one!

running

I’m training for the Flying Pig Half Marathon in Cincinnati, and I’ve been pretty great about sticking to my training plan. I’m definitely going to stick with it! I’ve also purchased two five-class passes for a local yoga studio, so I’m definitely getting my yoga in. The only thing that is suffering fitness wise is weight training. I have no interest in doing even a short body weight or free weights exercise lately. I don’t know what my deal is. I can improve here by making a workout plan each week that includes a yoga class, running and one or two strength sessions.

Healthy Habit I’ve Kept/Lost: Counting Calories

This one is a toss up. Although I’ve been logging my food religiously, I’ve gotten in the habit of ignoring things like cocktails and sugary creamer in my coffee.

IMG_5789

Green beers on St. Patty’s Day

I know these things add up – to a lot – but I’ve been having trouble tossing them and not logging them at all is absolutely terrible. I can improve here by logging these things so I can see the damage I’m doing to my healthy lifestyle, and hopefully cutting back on these things.

Healthy Habit I’ve Lost: Walking

It’s been a long winter, huh?

image (6)

I used to walk Frank every morning and walk home from work every evening — and that was the very least amount of walking I would do every day. Since we’ve moved to the new house, I haven’t been walking to or from work because it’s a bit farther. But, as I learned during some nice weather we had last week, it’s not too far to walk. It turns out that it is exactly 2 miles from my office to our front door, and it’s a nice walk through the park and everything.

As for walking Frank, I’m going to commit to start walking him in the mornings again. The reason that stopped is mostly winter. It’s been dark until after we leave for work, and the evenings have been cold. I walk him when I can — but I need to do it more often. We both need the exercise. While I’ve kept up very long walks on the weekends (we usually do 3-4 miles most weekend days), he deserves a walk every single day.

Healthy Habit I’ve Kept: Drinking water all day

image (16)

I have a water glass at my desk that gets filled every time it’s empty. I’ve kept up with my all day drinking water habit, although I tend to slip a little during the weekends. Although I’ve kept up this habit, I could definitely improve.

I think, overall, I can see where I’ve been slipping in these healthy lifestyle habits. I need to keep up with these things in order to stay healthy and happy. I mentioned my weight gain at the beginning of this post, but really I just want to keep my healthy habits up so I can live my best life. I do feel that I became a little obsessed with these habits after I lost the weight, but now I feel like I’ve become too complacent with them. I’d like to find a happy medium. As I’ve mentioned before, I am perfectly content with my body right now.

Do you commit to healthy daily habits? Which areas can you improve on? Which habits are you keeping up with?

That Time I Did Two Races in One Weekend

25 Feb

Last week, I did something crazy.

Every winter, there is a local “Winter Series” of races held in Barboursville Park: a 3 mile, 4 mile and a 5 mile race. I’ve never signed up for the full series (but I’d like to next year), but one of the races always seems to catch my eye. Last week, I noticed that the weather was supposed to be perfect over the weekend, the 5 mile race was happening on Sunday and it just so happened that my long run in half-marathon training was 5 miles exactly. After hitting up my fellow trainees on Facebook, I got a partner and paid the $15 for the race registration.

5 miler

 

It may seem crazy to pay $15 to run a scheduled training run, but I find the race atmosphere to be considerably motivating. I knew if I paid money, I would run and I would try hard!

Then, something kind of crazy happened. My friend Sarah posted on Facebook about signing up for the Marshall Recreation Center’s Indoor Triathlon, which is something I’ve always wanted to do, and despite the fact that I hadn’t been in a pool or on a bike in over a year, I immediately signed up. Pretty much right after doing so, I had a bit of a panic attack — a triathlon one day and a five mile race the next, on top of the fact that we had planned a surprise party (at my house!) for my sister-in-law’s boyfriend and I had a few other things on my to-do list!? I knew it was a lot, but after I paid good money I wasn’t about to back out. I pretty much put it out of my mind until later in the week. On the days leading up to the race(s), I took a couple of back-to-back rest days and just tried to relax. Then, on Friday I realized that I had no idea where my goggles were and I didn’t know if my TYR swimsuit even would still fit, considering I purchased it when I was twenty pounds lighter. I went to pick up my packet for the tri, and realized that the little equipment shop at the gym didn’t sell goggles. Uh oh.

I woke up bright and early on Saturday on a mission to get everything ready. I went to Wal Mart and found goggles, a swim cap and some fuel (energy jelly beans!), pulled out my old TYR suit (still fit, sort of) and packed my bag as best as I could.

photo 1 (6)

The triathlon, luckily, was a very short distance: 300 m swim, 8 mile bike (on the spin bike) and 2 mile run (on the treadmill) and the transitions would not be timed. I knew I would be able to finish everything, so I went into it just wanting to finish and have fun. When I signed up for the race, they asked me to estimate my swim time in order to set up heats. Since I hadn’t been in the pool for ages, I had no idea what to estimate, so I over-estimated — by a lot. That meant that everybody I knew was in a lower heat than me. I waited around for nearly two hours to get in the pool. Luckily, that meant I got to watch everybody else and got some good pointers.

Sarah rocking the 300 m swim.

Sarah rocking the 300 m swim.

One thing I noticed was that a lot of people went out very fast and ended up having to switch to breast stroke or back stroke to catch their breath. I knew I would have to do this eventually (breathing while swimming isn’t a strength), but I knew to rein it in a little at the start to not wear myself out too quickly. When it came time for my swim, I had just downed my energy jelly beans (those things are great!) and I was ready to go! I ended up swimming a lot faster than I expected with a finish time of 6:09! I was very happy with that time.

Next up was the bike. Since transitions weren’t timed, I should have taken a bit more time between skills. I was so amped up that I rushed up to the bike and hopped on immediately. I ended up finishing the bike in a decent time — 14:26, but when I got off the bike I had a side stitch. Again, I should have taken some time to breathe, but I was in a hurry to finish so I hopped right on the treadmill.

tri finish

I ended up running the two miles slightly slower than I had hoped, and ended with a total time of 40:53. I was very proud of this because I didn’t train at all, and this is my very first time attempting a three-sport race, or even doing three different sports in one workout! I definitely want to do this again. I’m hesitant to say that I’ll try a triathlon, because the gear needed is pricey, but I will definitely sign up for the indoor event again. It was very fun!

After the triathlon, I was busy, busy. Zach and I had to run some errands, I had a workshop to attend, and I had to do some straightening up since we were hosting a party that evening. Needless to say, I didn’t make through much of the party before heading to bed — I was so tired! Not to mention, I had  a five mile race the next day….

I woke up on Sunday not feeling so hot. So, I made waffles and vegged on the couch. I could see out my big front window that the weather was getting nicer and nicer, so I texted my friend Shannon to make sure she was still in for the race. She was, and though I thought of backing out, I pulled on some running clothes and headed out the door. The weather was perfect. It was like we were meant to run that day, because about an hour after we finished the rain started and then it turned to snow.

I won’t go into much detail about the race, just that Shannon and I both just treated it as a training race. We both ran with our music on low and talked the whole time, running just under an 11 minute mile pretty much the whole time. The course was great, and it was a change of pace from our usual long run courses, so that was helpful. We ended up finishing in just over 55 minutes, which was confusing to us because our GPS was telling us we were running under an 11 minute mile the whole time. Then, when we both looked at our devices after the race, they both said that we ran about 5 and a quarter miles. So I don’t know if our GPS devices were off or if the race course was long. At any rate, we finished and felt great. Plus, pizza!

5 mile run

 

I think all races should have pizza at the finish line!

So, I finished two races in two days and I lived to tell the tale. I’m glad I did it, but by Sunday night I had trouble keeping my eyes open.

Question of the Day:
Have you ever done a triathlon? Did you love it? 

My First Home DIY Project

21 Feb

Good morning! 

When Zach and I bought our home last summer, it was pretty much move-in ready. We liked the paint colors and general decor of the house, so we just moved our stuff and started living there. Despite having a lot of ideas of things we wanted to do eventually, we agreed with could live with the house as is — with one major exception: The downstairs/guest bathroom. 

downstairs bath 1

This is actually the only photo I have of the bathroom in (some of) it’s former glory. The previous owners were kind (?) enough to also leave the fishing-themed shower curtain and garbage can, which you can see from this photo I replaced promptly. Also, that cabinet above the toilet was just — odd. I’m pretty sure that the previous owners re-did the kitchen and this cabinet was left over. It was very awkward in the small space. 

The above picture was taken as I was prepping to remove the wallpaper. I used a steamer (as you can see above) to remove it. It was very slow going. I swear, they used some sort of industrial bathroom-strength wallpaper glue on that wallpaper. It took me a whole day to remove one wall, and then an entire day to do the other wall. Next, I removed and painted the baseboards and chair rail, and painted the trim around the door. Then, the bathroom stayed like that for about…5 months. 

Finally, about a week or so ago, we bought the paint and started painting the walls: 

 

Painting progress

Painting progress

When I painted the trim, I used white Valspar paint + primer that we had in the basement. When we decided on the main colors for above and below the chair rail, I decided to use a light grey above and a darker grey below. Well, lesson learned: Always go a shade or two darker than what you think you will need to use. The “grey” color above the chair rail looks identical to the white trim and white ceiling (I think it comes through a little more grey here. In person, there is no difference). Here’s how it looked in progress after I painted below the chair rail: 

bathroom edit 2

 

I’ve never painted a whole room myself before, so I was really worried about the splotchy-ness of the paint, but I was told to relax, it would look better when it was dry and it did! Before I painted, Zach took down the eyesore of a cabinet, and then last night he hung some beautiful white floating shelves. Here is the finished product: 

bathroom done 2 edit

 

I bought a few accent pieces at Target last night — that cute yellow bowl (holding cotton balls) and that yellow candle (smells SO good). Despite sticking to the yellow/grey theme, I love the pop of green with the towel. I’ll probably add a blue one too. I also hung a couple prints from our wedding. This one reads “This will be the best day ever”. 

bathroom done 3 edit

This print reads: “We are so glad you are here” –  Zach said, “We are so glad you’re in the bathroom!?” — he’s a joker. But I wanted the guest bath to feel warm and welcoming to guests! Hopefully nobody else takes it that way :) 

bathroom done 4 edit

 

..and a shot of the shower curtain, which was a wedding gift and I love. 

I’m so happy with how it turned out! The floating shelves are functional, but so much better looking than that bulky cabinet. The only thing I’m regretting right now is not buying a hand towel/bath towel in this design last night at Target: 

target towel

 

…but Zach agrees it would fit perfectly so we’re planning to go back and get it this weekend. I’m so, so pleased with how this little project turned out. I have always wanted to be a person who does her own home projects. I realize this is just a small one, but hopefully we’ll branch out to larger projects soon. I’d love to do a backsplash in the kitchen! 

Question of the Day: 
Do you like doing home repairs? 

 

On Weight Gain and Being OK With It

7 Feb

Hello!

There is something I want to say, and although I rarely blog, this is a topic I would like to blog about. But first, let me rewind.

bigger

I’ve been a lot of sizes over the past 8 years or so. The photo above is probably not me at my heaviest, but it’s close. Here are some at my smallest, and there are more because  I can look back and go “Damn, girl”:

Sorry for the grainy photo on the left, but my legs were looking good then.

Sorry for the grainy photo on the left, but my legs were looking good then.

So all in all, after weighing over 200 lbs in 2007 (ish), I’ve lost and kept off about 50-60 lbs. That number has gone as high as 70 total pounds lost, but has settled on about 50 at this point in time. Although it’s been almost 7 years since I began my weight loss journey, I still worry about getting back up there, and when I recently gained 20 lbs after my wedding, I got a little freaked out. You’ve heard the statistics that so many people gain back the weight they have lost. It’s sort of similar to being in remission from a life-threatening illness, the longer you go without gaining back the weight, the more likely you are to keep it off, but it’s always a struggle. I hate to compare my weight loss to a life-threatening illness — being overweight, despite the horror stories, isn’t a death sentence. Everybody has a different body type — I just knew I had let my body type get a little to heavy when I decided to lose the weight.

So, here I am 7 years later. So much has changed. I went to graduate school, and got a job that has nothing to do with what I went to graduate school for. I met the love of my life, and a bunch of really great long-lasting friends. I got engaged, married, bought a house and adopted a dog. Life was good, so we went out for wings, and beers. We stayed at home and got pizza. Then I stepped on the scale and noticed that I had re-gained 20 (ish) pounds.   My immediate reaction was to freak out, and express my discomfort with my husband, who of course said I looked great but he supported whatever I wanted to do.

So, I started working out again and trying to eat right. I’ve been doing that for about 2 months now and I’ve lost about….6 ounces. That is not a joke, I literally have lost 6 ounces in two months. But, then something amazing happened. I looked in the mirror and decided I liked what I saw. I can’t squeeze into my size 6′s, and my size 8′s look a little silly on me. But I decided that I didn’t care.

I’m still working out (although not nearly at the intensity I once did — I now consider going for a long walk a workout, and the old me would have, well, not), and I’m tracking my food through My Fitness Pal, but I don’t stress if I go over my calorie count. I can’t say I would be comfortable gaining any more weight, but I can say I don’t really care if I lose anymore. It’s all about comfort, and I feel like I’ve gotten there.

 

A Spring-Like Weekend

13 Jan

We had amazing weather this weekend, and I really took advantage of it.

Yes, we take walks in the cemetery.

Yes, we take walks in the cemetery.

I think I mentioned here before that the one problem with our new house was the lack of sidewalks around the neighborhood. Lucky for Frank, we’ve figured out a solution. It turns out that there is an entrance to the Spring Hill cemetery only half a mile from our house, so we’ve been taking advantage of it every time we get the chance. The cemetery is huge and has lots of hills, so it’s perfect for long walks. It may seem kind of weird to walk in a cemetery, but it’s actually very peaceful and seems to be a popular route for walkers (there are lots of garbage cans for Frank’s waste bags). Don’t worry, we’re very respectful and stick to the walking paths.

Frank certainly enjoyed it. When he yawns, it means he's having a good time.

Frank certainly enjoyed it. When he yawns, it means he’s having a good time.

After our walk, I got to work on this weekend’s January Cure challenge: Tackling the kitchen. As it turns out, the kitchen was the part of the house that I picked for my ‘big’ goal for the challenge, so I was excited to get to work. I started by moving everything from the counter-tops to the dining room table:

photo 1 (4)

 

Then I got to work scrubbing the counter-tops, cleaning out the fridge and wiping down the cabinet fronts. Once the initial scrub was done, I re-organized everything on the counter-tops and re-organized the inside of the cabinets. Ok, you know how to clean a kitchen so I won’t go into too many details. Here’s the finished product:

photo 2 (4)photo 4 (1)

The funny thing is, I know how to clean a kitchen too, but it’s incredible how dirty a kitchen can get when you only “surface” clean it. I definitely will keep this in mind next time I do my daily kitchen cleaning. The worst part was the refrigerator — wow. After this challenge is over, I’m going to make a list of things that need to be done daily, weekly, monthly and annually — that refrigerator is going on the monthly list. I guess you just don’t notice  how icky it gets until you take everything out and start scrubbing. After all was said and done, I got a smile on my face every time I walked into the kitchen. I love having a clean home!

Now that the kitchen has been tackled, I need to get another “big” project for the remainder of the challenge, so I’ve decided to tackle our storage spaces. We have a pantry located directly outside of the kitchen that has become a dumping ground, and despite having shelves in our basement, everything is just tossed down there. So my goal is to get those spaces under control. I think once all is said and done, this challenge is going to make such an improvement on our home.

The other task for this weekend was to shop for ingredients and make a nice meal. I put that off to do sometime this week, because Zach wanted to get out of the house for dinner last night.

The weather this weekend was top notch in Huntington. I mentioned our Saturday walk (I wore capris and a light jacket!) and then on Sunday, I had a training run planned with a few friends. I wore a running skirt and a light jacket and felt great the whole time. Yay for nice weather in the middle of winter! Frank went with me on the run:

photo 2 (3)

 

He’s not the best training run partner, but I know he appreciated the exercise. So far, half marathon training is going super well, so I’m grateful for that. After the training run, my healthy and productive weekend gave way to a dinner out (hot wings – yum) and some couch time with the husband and The Golden Globes.

Question of the Day:
How was your weekend? 

 

How To Cook a Turkey, By Kristy (Age 8)

10 Jan

how to cook a turkey

 

This was re-written by my grandmother, but I’m sure my mother has the original somewhere. I’d say Zach is happy I’m a better cook now than I was back then. Happy Friday!

Homebody: My January Cure

6 Jan

In an effort to branch out more with blogging, I’d like to include more home content here. As a new homeowner, I’m interested in and participating in more home improvement projects. Zach and I would would like to improve our home while we’re there — maybe we will live there forever, but if we don’t, we want to be able to sell it for more than we bought it for. Our first big project is on the horizon: We are getting new windows installed any day now (the company is just waiting for a good weather day to do it)! I can’t tell you how excited I am for that, as we have two huge picture windows on the front of our house that are old and needing replaced.

You can see one of said windows in this photo, the other is behind us. (photo by Courtney Bell Photography)

You can see one of said windows in this photo, the other is behind us. (photo by Courtney Bell Photography)

In the meantime, I’m trying to keep the inside of our home as nice as possible, but it’s tough to keep the clutter under control. When we lived in our apartment, I feel like it was easier to keep it nice because it was so small I was kind of forced to. Now I have lots of storage where I can stash things which is a recipe for disaster!

I decided to participate in Apartment Therapy’s January Cure this year which will kick start a year of keeping our home clean and organized. The first task was to complete a list of projects, room by room which was pretty easy for me. This weekend’s tasks were to buy flowers:

photo 1 photo 2

I ended up getting two bunches of flowers at the grocery store for $1/each (they were on Manager’s Special), which instantly brightened up our main living space. I’m always so glad when I buy fresh flowers for the house, even if it doesn’t seem like a worthwhile expense when I’m at the store.

The next task I tackled for the weekend was to stock up on ‘green’ cleaners. I ended up just stocking up on vinegar and baking soda, to make my own. I followed this recipe and put it into an old Mr. Clean spray bottle:

Basically, I just combined the vinegar, baking soda, dishsoap and lemon essential oil and let it foam up for a while:

photo 2 (1) photo 3

..then filled the bottle with water. I used this cleaner to clean up everything this weekend, and it worked very well and smelled great! I’m a big fan of using vinegar and baking soda as cleanser, if only for the reason that it’s so much cheaper than buying the pre-made stuff (even the green cleansers). In fact, I cleaned my oven last month and because I despise those stinky chemical cleansers so I sprayed my oven down with a vinegar/water/lemon juice mixture and sprinkled the whole thing with baking soda. Then I just sat down with a bucket of warm water and scrubbed away. You wouldn’t believe how sparkling clean my oven got! I will never go back to those stinky oven cleaners again.

The final task for this weekend was to thoroughly clean all the floors in the house. Basically, we were to pretend that a floor inspector would be checking our work when we were done. We have a 3 bedroom Cape Cod house, in which the entire upstairs is our bedroom. We have a full bath, walk in closet, bedroom and sitting room up there. The rest of the bedrooms/bathrooms are downstairs. It was definitely a huge selling point for me, it’s so nice having that space up there just for us, and I think that will be the case as our family grows. It’s all carpeted up there and the floors do not see the care that the downstairs hardwood does. So, I started up there first thing Sunday morning. I quickly noticed that the tricky part about this task was that I was going to have to do some other cleaning/organizing before I was able to clean the floors as thoroughly as I would like. Example: Our closet

I love our closet

I love our closet

I really love this closet. Again, it was a huge selling point when we decided on our house. It’s a full walk in, one side for Zach and one for me. We even have a cute little window in there to brighten things up. Lots of shelves above, tons of space. But my side basically looked like a bomb had gone off. Poor Zach was being overrun by my mess. Especially now that I’m having a little trouble fitting into my clothes, I would throw things around in there. Well, I knew I’d have to get everything off the floor to properly vacuum in there so I figured, why not go ahead and re-organize? I’ll spare you the details (although they are pretty fascinating to me), but I’m so glad I did it. It was so easy to get dressed this morning.

Doesn't it look nice? Now to keep it that way...

Doesn’t it look nice? Now to keep it that way…

After I finished vacuuming upstairs, cleaning the baseboards and mopping the bathroom, I vacuumed the stairs and it was all downhill from there. I’m no Martha Stewart, but I do clean my hardwood floors once a week (ish), so downstairs wasn’t too hard. I did keep in mind the very thorough nature of the cleaning project, so I broke the house into sections. I would sweep with the broom to get the big stuff, then run the vacuum on the bare floor setting, then use a paper towel and my green cleaner to get the corners, then mop. I seriously could not stop looking at my clean floors when all was said and done:

photo 3 (1)

Ignore that bare corner where the Christmas tree used to reside. I need to do something with that space…

The first week of the January Cure was a success! I’m definitely inspired to keep going and hopefully by the end of the month we’ll see a serious improvement in the cleanliness/organization of our house!

Question of the Day:
Has the new year inspired you to clean up your house? 

 

 

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