Healthiest You Challenge: Week 2

And so we’re two weeks into the Healthiest You Challenge.  I’m feeling great, and I’m down 4.6 lbs! Admittedly, that’s since my higher-than-normal weigh-in, but my team went from an initial gain to either maintaining or losing this week! It’s especially tough, as our weigh-ins are on Mondays, but it’s just a big reminder to not go crazy on the weekends.

After our successful weigh-in (any loss is a loss!), we met our assistant coach, Anne, for a big group workout.  She took us outside for some running, skipping, walking lunges (OUCH!), and lots of squats.

Since I’d already warmed up on the treadmill, I tried to push myself as hard as possible during our time with Anne.

The always-popular butt kicks:

It looks like I have a tiny yellow nub for a right leg. Sexy.

Some slow and low shuffles (followed later by some speedy ones!)

LASER-LIKE FOCUS!

We even had our own mascot mascat! I’ll assume his loud, meowing was actually him cheeering us on.  Then again, his speed running away from me as I tried to take a picture of him suggests otherwise.

DON'T RUN, LITTLE FRIEND!

Oh well, he just made me run faster.

We wrapped up the night with full-team squats!  Looks like team “The Drop Off” knows how to drop it low

Drop it drop it low, girls (and guys!)

It was strange, after a long, intense workout, I burned lots of calories… but I didn’t feel very hungry.

Check out those spikes!!

Luckily, thanks to an amazing coupon, I picked up one of the new Summer Berry Blend Quaker Real Medleys. I don’t go gaga over oatmeal most of the time, but this mix was delicious.

Quick, easy, and delicious.

Just what I needed, but I just wasn’t hungry enough for anything else tonight… I’m sure I’ll be ravenous tomorrow.

Tonight was a great night for my team, and for me, personally.  I’m loving it.

If you weigh yourself, do you have particular days of the week or times of the day you like to do it?

I used to always have the weigh-in Wednesdays with Weight Watchers, but Monday nights have totally been a challenge!  I must remember: No going overboard all weekend, every weekend!

Maybe a few less late night french fries….

Crawfish Connection

Ugh. The beginning of the week was definitely an uphill battle.  Early Monday morning flight leaving my loved ones, and Tuesday was just Dreadful with a capital D.  The other capital D?

The Dentist.

Instruments of Torture?

Last year I had some pretty rough dental issues (which included a hilarious trip to get my wisdom teeth removed) and I’ve been procrastinating the last of my dental work for ALMOST a year.  Well this year, I went in prepared.

I had my iPod ready for action, and my brain convinced that the blinding light above me was the sun, on a warm Ocean City beach.

(Hey, I was trying.)

It didn’t matter that much, my hands were shaking, and I was a little panicky by the time my second cavity was being filled (I get it, I HAVE bad teeth.)

Sheer terror? Maybe.

2 hours later, I had a sore mouth, but one with severely less tooth decay.  And that’s important.

But let’s get into the real point of this post.  Tonight is an epic night: One night only Crawfish EXTRAVAGANZA at Rockfish! And that is delicious, and reminds me of other important Crawfish experiences of my life.  For a Yankee girl from Pennsylvania, I’ve had a few….

Two stand out in particular, mostly due to how incredibly different they were, and how different I was during each.

Put up yer dukes!

The first took place the summer immediately after I graduated from UNC in 2009.  Bowling Green, Kentucky, with Ryan’s dad and his dad’s buddy. It was epic, it was in a neighborhood, and…  I was on crutches.

Hungry hobbler.

Did I mention I was about 40 lbs heavier than I am today?

Basically, they parked me at a folding chair (near the keg) as Ryan brought me plates of crawfish.  It may sound pleasant but, other than the tastiness of the little critters, it was kind of lonely.

My only friend.

I ended up getting a little drunker than I would’ve liked (for some reason, everyone likes to bring the girl with the crutches beer…) and mostly felt like a bum.  Yes, part of it was the whole “broken foot” thing. But even if it hadn’t been broken, I was overweight, I was lazy, and mostly just sat around.  I didn’t really try to get around, I just felt sorry for myself.

Fast forward to Spring 2011.

Still eating. That's so Jordan.

Two years later, I was a totally different person. Crawfish boils are social events, and I actually treated this one (a fraternity event for my beau’s chapter) as it should be treated.  I ate and drank, but that’s not ALL I did.  I met new people, I ran around, I enjoyed the music, I danced.

A lot.

I like to move it, move it.

I can’t help but feel a special connection to crawfish boils.  They combine some of my favorite things in this world:

  • Southern tradition
  • Good food
  • A heavy hand with the Cayenne pepper
  • (Usually) tasty beers
  • An opportunity to get acceptably messy while eating
  • Socializing

And the first time I went to one, I missed out on all of that (except the food and beer.)

Now I know that, as with all my favorite food events (Brazilian steakhouses, barbecues, DIY taco nights, Fondue, hibachi) it’s very easy to overeat if all you focus on is the food. But if you appreciate the WHOLE experience, there’s so much more to it.

Crawfish: Bringing people together.

What’s your favorite interactive dining experience?

Healthiest You Challenge: Let the Games Begin!

So I haven’t necessarily been the healthiest Holly lately. There have been pork parties, Beer Festivals and entire bottles of champagne, and a few too many Easter Peeps (when you’re at the Peeps mecca, it’s hard to resist).  And I’ll let you in on a little inside scoop: It’s sort of been on purpose.

I know, I know, what kind of a reformed overeater am I?

The kind that’s been gearing up for something big.

I was notified, not too long ago, that I was selected to participate in a most EXCITING adventure! UNC Health Care and 1360 WCHL are putting on their second annual Healthiest You Challenge, during which 8 teams of 8 will compete against each other for 8 weeks to get fit, get healthy, and get down to business.  We had our weigh-in on Sunday so, I’ll be honest, I might’ve crammed a few extra pork bites in the mouth before the big step on the scale!

All the stats!

My blood pressure was apparently a little higher than usual, I’m hoping that had more to do with the pork I crammed in my mouth earlier in the day, but hopefully a chat with my coach, an RD/LDN, could help me out.  I’ll work on it.

My team, The Drop-Off, is sponsored by The UPS Store.  Ha, get it, the drop-off?  While this does mean that our shirts are a weird looking brown/tan/beige/skin color, it also means WE COULD GET SOME FREE COPIES!

The little things, eh?

Yesterday, we had our launch. This included meeting our teammates and our coach, as well as a little tour of the UNC Wellness Center, our headquarters for lots of the workouts and services offered.

Sweet cardio section!

I loved their vast machine area, lots of cardio AND weights, something for everyone.

Upstairs track

We also checked out the track on the second floor, which also housed the cycle room or the Zumba room (I think it’s a multi-purpose room, depending on what day of the week it is).  On the left, you can sort of see the blue of the pool room. They also have a whirlpool and a sauna (!!!!! YES !!!!)

Another bonus?

We are REQUIRED to take advantage of a free massage from Massage Envy.

Fine, pull my leg.

I started off today strong, tracking my food intake and exercise on MyFitnessPal (I guess I’m the last human on the planet to try this out?)  It told me that “If every day were like today…   You’d weigh 164.2 lbs in 5 weeks.”

Little does it know that, in the next 5 weeks, all kinds of craziness will go down. I’ve got a trip home this weekend, a visit to Jersey in the middle of May, and that mysterious “Triangle Bucket List” that I’ve still yet to get all on paper.  But, with vigilance, exercise, and moderation, I think I can do it.  And I know I’ve said that whole “I can DO IT! I’m gonna stick with __ plan!” in the past, I think that those plans (30 Day Shred, Fitbook) were a little too unfamiliar. This plan feels more like Weight Watchers, which is what I had so much success with when I first lost 40 lbs.

Tracking.

Balancing.

Sweating.

I got this.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN...

Let the 74th Annual Hunger Games 2nd Annual Healthiest You Challenge begin!

A Tale of Three Zumbas

I just love the heck out of some Zumba.  Apparently, this is abundantly clear to anyone who participates in class with me as, today, as I was leaving the gym, one woman came over, having just sweat next to me for an hour, and said,

I just love your enthusiasm and energy in the class! It really just makes me wanna work even harder!

I said thanks, letting her know that it meant a lot to me knowing I could contribute to the workout.  And I’ll admit, more often than not, I like to take zumba class seriously. When instructors say, “Oh, it’s just about having fun! Don’t worry if you don’t get the steps,” I say, “NAY! If it were PURELY about having fun, I’d be off at some discotheque with some cute skinny jeans and a bandeau under a tank top. Instead, it’s about getting my sweat on to some of my favorite jams, and incorporating pure joy into fitness.”

Ok, I don’t really say that, as I’m likely winded already and toweling sweat off my face and that’s a lot of words to say between water breaks.  But I do take it as seriously as I take any workout.

That is to say very seriously.

That’s why, today, I decided to look at three different Zumba experiences I’ve had in the month of March, with three different instructors, and investigate the differences.

Up first: Zumba Red

Colors = Different Instructors

This class, taught in the beginning of March, was by a instructor that I’ve come to dread.  If I’d never taken a class before, and she was my instructor, I might not know any better.  But I’ve taken dozens, from MANY different instructors, and I’ve become a bit of a snob.  Instructor Red takes things easy. While she occasionally mentions the higher level options, she rarely never demonstrates those options. She also sticks with the most traditional of the traditional Zumba songs. I’m talking almost entirely samba, salsa, and merengue. Sure, there’s the occasional hip hop or contemporary song, but it’s often the slowest of slow, and the moves are repetitive and uninspired.

I find myself having to invent my own “higher level options”, jumping when she steps, lunging when she leans. It’s a challenge to me, not to keep up with the instructor, but to keep making up ways to keep the workout exciting.  It’s a shame, I’m sure she has the best intentions, but she’s the kind of instructor that would be better suited for Zumba Gold. Also, I tend to like it when I can sing along with the music. When every song is in Spanish, I can’t. And that’s the worst.

If you look at the image, too, you can see the deep drops in heart rate. I love a little breather now and then but, when my heart rate dips to 120 and I’m not cooling down… that’s a little bit of a bummer for me. When I only have about an hour to work out, I like to get the most bang for my buck.

Zumba Blue

I’m pretty sure the initial spike up to 201 was a fluke, but I will say that the blue instructor always starts the class off with a bang. He (yup, it’s a dude!) teaches the most athletic Zumba class I’ve ever attended. There’s jumping, shaking, quick feet, and core work. But despite the variety of exercises, I am sweating the entire time. He probably plays the most “contemporary” music, with a lot less focus on the traditional Latin tunes. I know that’s not maybe the most kosher, but it helps me when I’m drenched and gasping for breath to at least be able to say the words of the songs in my head.  Also, one of his favorite songs to play?

That’s right, the hit song from the Madagascar 2 soundtrack.  Listen to it, and you’ll be able to imagine the booty shaking and thrusting that goes on in this song.  I LOVE it.

It doesn’t hurt that he’s nice to look at, but that’s neither here nor there.

Zumba Yellow

Instructor Yellow is a firecracker. She’s a ray of light every day that I get to work out with her, and she fills the group fitness room with light (that’s why I chose yellow for her.) Mixing traditional Latin music and current songs, she is never afraid to challenge us with a song that doesn’t seem like a “Zumba” song. (Country Girl, anyone?) While there is never truly a “slow” song, she tends to feel the crowd out and throws in a slightly slower paced one every now and then if we’re huffing and puffing.

The thing I like the most about her, though, is she makes the class interactive. She invites the boys to the front of the class every now and then for a particularly booty-shaking-focused jam, she calls people out when they’re really rocking, and she always knows what to say to pump us up for a song. Also, unlike Instructor Blue who has a more athletic, though slightly jerky pace, she has a nicer flow than all the other instructors I’ve worked with in the past. She doesn’t restart songs if we aren’t dancing immediately when it starts (which I think can mess with the flow of the class) and, if she messes up, she always recovers with grace and a chuckle. She just seems at ease all of the time, while simultaneously making the class feel comfortable AND kicking our asses.  It takes a powerful character to accomplish all that at once but, despite being tiny, she packs a wollop!  You can tell if you look at the heart rate chart.  Woo, nelly, no joke!

It doesn’t hurt that her outfits are bright and exciting, making her a flash of color across the stage at the gym.  She’s just the best.  And when you find a Zumba instructor you click with, you just know.

What makes a group instructor particularly great in your opinion?

Vanity, Thy Name is Lulu(lemon)

I’m a fairly confident lady.  I have confidence in sunshine.  I have confidence that my adult acne will keep me getting carded well into my late 20s. But I also have confidence that, with the right attitude, you can look any which way and still turn heads whenever you walk into any room. Even at my lowest of lows, I still walked with my head held high, chest out, and rocking the good posture my mother taught me that us tall girls tend to forget when they’re in a crowd of tiny princesses, at least out in public.

We all have our private moments, the times when we don’t feel 100% about ourselves.  We can get down on our looks, and that’s never a good feeling.  Those moments can seem way bigger than the confident ones.  I remember the first time I spotted stretch marks on my stomach, and Ryan consoling me as I cried my eyes out, hating the mirror that revealed my flaws.  I remember the time that my best friend told one of our mutual buddies that I had big eyebrows, not knowing I was within hearing distance.  I still accidentally over-pluck with that memory in mind.

But I also remember the glorious moments that can always block out the bad ones.  I remember the time a fellow called me a blonde paradigm (WHAT a compliment!!) I remember the way Ryan looked at me when I walked out wearing the dress I wore tomy cousin’s wedding. I remember prancing around at the shore, tan and beach blonde, without a care in the world. And now, as vain as it sounds, I have a new memory to add to the list.

That one time that I felt like a fitness GODDESS in my new pants.

Fierce, yeah?

I want to save this on my computer forever. Who’d ever think that I’d be my OWN fitspiration?  Maybe it was just because it was a perfect Saturday morning, without a care in the world, and I was headed to BodyJam for a killer workout.  Maybe it was the delicious pescatarian week I’d had. Probably, it was the new Lululemon “Astro Wunder Under Crops” that my mom picked up for me when we were in DC this weekend.  But I just felt like a million bucks.

The workout class was fantastic, a solid BodyJam with lots of fun tracks and moves not unlike Jagger.

Brought to you by the letter A for AWESOME!

I decided to keep the party going in Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods…  My haul was epic.

Boxes and Barramundi!

Walking out of Trader Joe’s with a box kind of makes me feel like a badass.

So many frozen fishies!

Indian Goodies!

I kept my headphones on through all the stores, dancing my way through the aisles, and though my lunch was a basic egg-salad salad with spinach, eggs, carrots, green peppers, I predict my next few meals are going to bright, festive, and fishy.  Just the way I like it.

Ok, I guess if I want to shower, I have to take these crops off…  drats.

Chime in! Let’s get vain… What’s making you feel gorgeous today?  

Lifestyle Changes and Family

The past week has been filled to the brim. Beer events, flights, Portlandia, work, Fat Tuesday, and that pesky sleep thing.  You know, one of those weeks where you sometimes forget to breathe.  The dust is starting to settle, though, and I figure it’s time for a post about something that’s been flitting about in my brain for a while.

It’s been almost 2 years since I made the biggest lifestyle change of my 24 (and a half! I’m officially 6 months from my birthday!) years of my life.  I decided I was going to lose the excess weight from my body, resume the exercise that used to be a central focus of my life, and stop eating crap.  My family couldn’t have been more supportive.  In fact, my mother’s Weight Watchers account was probably my most frequently visited website on a daily basis.  My brothers were huge inspirations to me, as they’d both sculpted their bodies through P90X, regular visits to the weights rooms, and diet changes. Every time I came home, I was greeted with hugs and compliments.  Of COURSE it felt great.  And it fueled my fire, and it made me hungry for more progress.  I don’t believe I ever visited the land of Eating Disorders, but I definitely regulated my food intake more than most people I know.  It just worked for me that way, so I stuck with it.

I’m not sure when it happened, but despite the fact that I’ve maintained my 40-45lb weight loss for the past year and a half, the people closest to me started to have different thoughts.  No longer were the comments your basic “Wow, you look great!” or “You’ve gotten so fit!” but sounded a little more like, “Oh, come on, just eat the pizza!” or “You don’t HAVE to go to the gym every day do you?” “Do you really write EVERYTHING you eat in that little book of yours?”

It may have stemmed from the weekly weigh-ins.

Maybe it was the decision to give up drinking soda this year.

Perhaps it was the choice to go Pescatarian for Lent this year.

Not that tough when you can still eat this.

But they started to worry about me.  Now, I’ll admit, my family is pretty basic when it comes to eating. I don’t think I even have a vegetarian cousin or uncle. The idea of pescatarianism strikes them as outrageous, as a huge difference from the norm.  After researching the lifestyle for a while, and looking back on my own regular eats, it isn’t that much of a stretch for me to attempt pescatarian eating for 40 days.  And I don’t want anyone to worry about me.  I’m still going to work out, but I take rest days.  I’m still going to blog about my food and exercise, but I’ll never post about everything I eat.  And yes, sometimes my methods may seem a little “out there” to the average Joe (or Josephine), but I know how my body works.  I know how my habits work.

My brother brought up a good point when we were talking about all of this, and that point is that you should be able to enjoy something if you really want it.

For me to make a serious life change, I need to go drastic first, and then temper it. When I first started Weight Watchers, I tracked every bite of food and drink that went into my body. And now, I know a more general idea of what eating healthy is about, so I don’t have to know the points value of those Cheez Its I just wolfed.  I won’t drink soda for the next year but, after that, if I want a soda, I’ll have one. And if I don’t, I’ll know it’s because I lost the taste.  I won’t eat beef, poultry, or pork for the next 37 days, but I’ll be with you if you want a steak dinner on Easter.  I like to challenge myself, it helps me learn what I can or cannot do, and what I need or do not need.  Two years ago I learned that  I don’t need an entire frozen pepperoni pizza for dinner.  Now, it’s time to learn something else.

It’s important to have family, friends, romantic partners, etc. to be there and act as the occasional check and balance when you’re starting something new in your life.  But it’s also important that you stick to your goals (your well-researched goals that will not endanger your life).  And if I ever make a decision where I can’t eat pizza, please, someone, slap me.

Totally pescatarian friendly 3-cheese pizza!

Asiago flatbread topped with herbed goat cheese, parmesan, mozzarella, sugar-free sauce, spinach, onions, and Morningstar spicy “sausage”.  Hell to the yeah.

Has your family or friends ever been worried about your health following decisions you’ve made?  How did you get past it?

(SIDENOTE: My family and I have spoken about this at length and they’re not worried anymore, as I explained myself, my decisions, etc to them and let them know I wasn’t just jumping into some trendy fish-eating fad diet!  All is well, don’t want anyone to worry about THAT!)

Fit with Fitbook: Week 2

Another week, another dollar.  Only it’s been a week and a day, and I’ve only spent dollars (you know, on important stuff like wine tastings and half-pints of beer). So, in truth, that phrase doesn’t apply, whatsoever.

Another 8 days, no dollars.  BUT I can chalk another week off in my fitbook endeavors.  I’ll be honest, this one wasn’t quite as successful as the first.  Then again, when you have two days where entire daily food entries read “Didn’t eat much other than brie… but there was a lot of brie”, a one pound gain isn’t really worrisome.  In fact it’s somewhat impressive.

I only eat carbs when they're paired with wheels of brie. #healthy

Luckily, the half-pound of soft cow’s cheese that I inhaled over the weekend and the massive quantities of beer and chocolate from Wednesday at Big Boss did not actually translate to the gain that I feared when approaching the scale.  And I’m gonna give a lot of credit to this little guy:

I haven't come up with an official name, but it feels like a fellow

Looking back at my weekly wrap up, here’s a little summary:

  • The Good: Worked out before my glass night on Thursday, avoided my standard fare of pickle chips with my beer buddies, burned 4,140 calories during the week (over a quarter of that was just from Monday’s INSANE workout), and despite a few minor/major bumps on the road, I never fully “gave up” on a day by succumbing to fully eating awful from start to finish
  • The Bad: 2 days where “Brie” was a major food group, skipped dinner on Saturday, missed my workout on Sunday due to kind of feeling sorry for myself (I know rest days are great, but this was just laziness).
  • Notes: Unless I’m like… on an epic vacation, there’s really no need for an entire day of indulgence, it’s nice to treat treats like what they are: special. Meal skipping makes me cranky and hungry and lame. My weekend eats need more structure.
Other updates:
  • This “no soda” thing is really easy now that I’ve stopped, you know, buying soda.  I think it’s one of those “out of sight, out of mind” things.
  • Grapes are nature’s candy.  Seriously. They’ve totally owned my sweet tooth.  Gotta stop at Target to pick up more.

    Grapes should always be eaten out of wine glasses. New life rule.

  • I did my first official “Meatless Monday” last night and it was a SMASHING success!! More on that later.
  • I love the calm post-sweat session where I just sit down in the gym and write up my workout and my daily eats in the fitbook (if you’re interested in getting one, and don’t wanna click through to the last post, here’s a link to the fitbook store!)
  • I forget how amazing wearing a HRM during a workout is. Remind me to never forget that again, thanks.
So yes, abbreviated update:  Weekend spent eating brie by the chunks + overindulgence on Wednesday – two rest days = 1 lb gain
However, I felt so much stronger in BodyCombat and CX30 on Monday, and the moves are getting easier, so I’ll say progress is progress.
UNRELATED: Anyone have a favorite method of cooking 4 lbs of country style ribs/pork butt?  Because when I see it on sale for $6, I can’t resist.  And now I have 4 lbs of meat.  And I live alone. And ate vegetarian last night.
Smooth, Jordan.

 

 

Getting Fit with a fitbook

Long ago (March 2010, to be more specific), I started Weight Watchers with the help of my mom, aunts, and cousins. I’m the only one of us that really stuck to it, long term (I know that they gradually dropped off the plan one by one), with busy things like children, jobs, running households, etc. I was lucky enough to have a fairly empty plate, though (not literally!) which allowed me plenty of time to focus on meal planning and the like.  It was a fantastic method, for me.  However, after about 6 months, with a weight loss of about 40 lbs, I was working out 3-5 times a week and was much more active in my life. Ryan and I were living together, I started playing volleyball, I met new friends, and started getting interested in craft beer.  The idea of tracking my points was getting a little boring, and there were too many things I wanted to try without adding up points and doing math all the time. Plus, tracking all the craft beers I was drinking was getting a little shameful.

450 calories for 12 oz? I'll take two!

Well, new year, new you, all that jazz. Only it took me a week or two of the new year to really kick into high gear.  After a busy first weekend with all sorts of St. Anthony Hall fun times followed by a crippling sickness (ok, I’m being a baby, it was just a nasty flu), Martin Luther King Day was the start of my new year.  And, since I fare better with a plan, I had a handy tool to help me out.

Presenting the FITBOOK!

My fitbook was sent to me after participating in a little Twitter chat, and it’s been waiting for me to open it up for quite some time, now. When I opened it, there was a WEALTH of information to fill out including weekly goals, daily logs, and spots for inspiration!

Week 1 Wrap Up

The fitbook has room for 12 weeks of recording and normally costs $22.95, with a 4 pack going for $79.95.  The focus is both on nutrition AND fitness, which I like (instead of just tracking my food). There’s not a specific focus on calories, but a more general attitude relative to food (and SMILEY FACES!)

Easy peasy

The left side is for fitness.

Shakey arms are the sign of a good workout, right?

I think this section would probably make more sense if most of my workouts weren’t group fitness classes, but would be great to record weight-lifting sessions.  It’s nice to have somewhere to record my fitness workouts other than just on Garmin Connect, though.

Can't really tote this JPEG along with me

Anyway, I think I just needed a handy, portable way to track my eating and exercise in one location. And, since I can basically palm the fitbook, it works out perfectly.

Note of progress?

At my doctor’s appointment a little less than 2 weeks ago, I weighed in at 178 lbs.  Today’s weigh in? 173 lbs!!  I also tested my body fat percentage, and am happy to report 24.8%.  Making progress, folks.

And, don’t worry, calories or not, there’ll always be room for craft beer…

 

Taking the Plunge… Literally.

I needed a change, fitness-wise. I was getting bored and, as much as I love to Zumba with the best of them, a girl can’t live on Zumba alone. And then, the other night, at Dick’s, I decided what that change would be.

I grabbed about a dozen different sizes of bathing suits (what the FORK is racing suit sizing?! Luckily I found this website to help with bathing suit size conversion). After wiggling, jumping, hopping, and tugging the bathing suit (which I’ll now refer to as a batherbecause that’s my term of choice) into place, losing any and all sex appeal, and ogling my goodies in the mirror, I knew it was the right move. It’s the TYR Women’s Alliance Team T-Splice Maxback Tank Swimsuit Doesn’t that sound badass?

And, since my mom loves me, she treated me to my newest workout gear.

For whatever reason, I already have goggles. They’ve been sitting next to my tower fan for over a year now and, honestly, I just needed a reason to look fiercer than I normally look.

And, when I was at the store looking at swim caps, I thought “Go big, or go home” and grabbed the neon pink latex cap.

Sexy, Can I?

It’s funny, when I was younger (from about 7-13) I was a HARDCORE swimmer. Practicing all my days (summer and winter), a bather was my second skin, and I was so fast at flipping a swim cap on, you’d think I was born to be bald.  But, when I got to a point where the juice wasn’t exactly “worth the squeeze” I transitioned to the “tall girl sports” of basketball and volleyball, leaving the chlorine and swimmer’s ear behind. As I fiddled with my swim cap, wondering how on earth all my hair was going to get in that latex glove, I actually had to give myself a pep talk.

Come on, Jordan. You’ve done this THOUSANDS of times before. Your head can’t be that big, right?

Well, I was correct and after no more than 4 failed attempts at donning the proper head gear, I was ready to do the damn thing.

No, that's not a picture of 10 year old me. That's yesterday.

I headed over to the pool, dove in, and it just felt so right.  I’ve never liked running, so I can’t just “throw on some shoes and run.”  I can, however, throw on a bather and swim.  So I did.

Reunited, and it feels so good.

I swam 40 laps, alternating freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke.  After that, I grabbed a kickboard and did ten laps of kicking (again, either freestyle, breaststroke, or backstroke).  I felt so strong, I was breathing hard, and my total yardage was 1,250.  That’s 510 yards short of a MILE!! And I think that’ll be what I can shoot for, next time.

This is the perfect addition to my workout repertoire.  It’s a full body workout, it’s low impact, AND it lets me live out my Mermaid Woman dreams in a safe and healthy fashion.  Win, win, win, all around.

Have you ever picked up a sport or hobby you left for years?  How’d it go?

 

The Grossest Parts of a Healthy Lifestyle

**HEADS UP!! This post talks about some gross stuff like bodily functions and fluids. If you’re not into that, go look at this video about Catvertising**

Hey there folks!!

I know I’ve been a bit of a jet setter lately. In fact, I just formally received my A-List Status from Southwest Airlines thanks, in part, to my glorious Chicago trip this weekend!  All that flying can really wear a girl out, though, so I took Monday off from the gym.

Yesterday, I decided to go back and MAN, I was feeling it!  It was sweaty, it was hot (I think NC got up to 77 degrees last night!) and it just felt great.  It got me to thinking a bit, though, about all that goes into this whole “Healthy Living” stuff.  And as much as I wish I could live off cocktails, oysters, and rich scallops every day, the fact of the matter is that I made a conscious decision to live better, be healthier, and that’s what I’ll do (despite the temporary setbacks).  While it’s helped me lose weight and feel awesome, it’s not all glitz and glamor, though. In fact, there are some aspects of “Healthy Living” that are just plain gross.  So I’ve decided to share with you all

The Top 5 Grossest Parts of a Healthy Lifestyle (at least for me)

1. Realization

Afternoon Snack? Why not?

I’ll admit, my former eating habits never felt exactly “healthy” but, most of the time, I just didn’t even think about it.  When you decide to make a change to eating better, though, you have to take stock of what you are eating.  And that initial “stock taking”… to begin with, that’s already pretty gross.

Splitting a large pepperoni pizza used to be the norm. Not a homemade one, either. A greasy, cheesy gooey delivery pizza which left me lazy as a loaf.  The chemicals, the preservatives, the sheer volume of calories and fat that I was putting in my mouth… No wonder I spent the first year after college basically shutting down my body.  In the winter, I hibernated. I was like a chubby bear. The realization of what you put in your body before you decided to take control…. gross, shocking and gross.

2. Fun With Fiber

Sweet Beany Goodness

When I first started Weight Watchers, there was a focus on fiber content in food. It actually went into the equation to figure out the point value of foods. And man, I was all about it. Fiber One cereal, black beans galore, the occasional Metamucil, bran, oats, why not?

Well, as I’m sure some of you are PAINFULLY aware, there’s a song about what happens:

Beans, beans, the magical fruit… the more you eat, the more you poot! (or toot)

Fiber makes you poot. And also, it makes you poop.

There’s no better way to put it. And when my old diet used to consist of carbs on carbs on cheese on carbs, pooping wasn’t exactly something I thought about all the time.

Fiber leads to pooping. And sometimes, that’s gross. Overdo it on fiber, and you may overdo it on pooping. Or at least pooting. And I’m not a doctor or anything, so I don’t have fancy words to say it better than that. Try to find the balance that’s right for you and you can avoid being that stinky (healthy!) person that no one wants to hang out with for fear you’d trample over them on the way to the bathroom.

3. Texture Trouble

Oh yes, they’re oats. (Click on link for Vegan Homemade’s post)

No offense to anyone who loves them, but overnight oats look gross. Chia pudding looks gross.  The texture in some of these healthy foods…. is gross.  Cottage cheese, riced cauliflower, I looked through my photos to see if I had a picture of these from my own files.

I didn’t.

Because they look gross.

The texture of these foods may not be incredibly appealing. That being said, their texture does nothing to detract from their tastiness (though I’m still holding out on cottage cheese). But man, the texture… it took me a while to get over it. Blech.  Oh well.

4. Asparagus Pee

Since I’ve already written about how frequently you pee when you guzzle water like it’s going out of style (as well as some ways to keep yourself busy in the bathroom!), I figured I should focus on another pee-related topic.

Asparagus pee!

I love asparagus.Asparagus is great for detoxifying, it reduces pain and inflammation, can reduce the risk of heart disease, and is just plain good for you.

I love the flavor, I love it roasted, I love it sauteed, I love it steamed, I’ve even had it fried and loved the HECK out of it.  But no matter how you prepare it, the next time you pee, it’s stinky.  It’s a fact of life.  Put asparagus in, get stinky pee out.  Basic math, really.

At the end of the day, though, the benefits of asparagus far outweigh the bummer of asparagus pee.  And really, it’s nothing a quick flush can’t fix.

5. Sweat, baby, sweat, baby!

Drenched

It wasn’t until I started working out REALLY hard that I realized it.

You sweat everywhere!

This is not ground-shaking, mind-boggling news. It’s just that I didn’t really think about it before.  I’ve been to fitness classes where I’m pretty sure my ears have sweat coming from the lobes. For me, the most drenched area (and thus, the stem of my love for capris) is the shin region. I don’t know why, but my shins just pour perspiration. No amount of antiperspirant will prevent me from “pitting out, ” so why bother?  As long as you’re not stinky (does asparagus make your sweat smell , too?) it’s just part of being a human. But group classes and killer workouts have definitely made laundry day come around much more frequently in my household.  An easy price to pay for a fitter future, but gross, nonetheless.

Since I’m not a runner, I’ve never had to deal with bladder control during a race BUT let’s just say that, if peeing your pants is cool, consider Lauren Miles Davis (that’s definitely HER story to share!)

Do you have any particularly gross aspects of your own healthy lifestyle that you’ve learned to embrace?