April 28, 2009

Daily Struggle

Today I decided to write about something that is a daily struggle for me.

Motivation. (Have you seen it lately, because I sure haven't!)

I'm feeling a lack of it in some aspects of my life. Mostly in the area where exercise and healthier eating are concerned. When I am honest with myself, this struggle worries me a bit. I say "worries me" because I know how I respond to things and the minute I let myself slip on something it becomes a snowball effect.

I'm not someone who goes to the gym 7 days a week, but I do make an effort to go at least 3-4 times a week and do some type of activity on the weekend. Lately, I've been having days where I don't feel like exercising, then before I know it, a whole week has gone by and I haven't made it to the gym once. So, the question I pose to myself is: If you know this is your pattern, then why do you do it? (I'm not looking for answers, just venting about some things going on in my head!)

The other area where motivation lacks lately for me is on the healthy eating front. It is so easy to fall off the wagon where this is concerned and I am well aware of that fact. Right after college, I let some things get out of control in my life and my weight was one of them. Thankfully with hard work, I was able to regain control of my weight and also start a fitness routine.

Weight has never been about the number on the scale for me. It is about my health. About 7 years ago, I visited the doctor and got a real wake up call. She told me that I really need to start exercising or my overall health *would* be affected by my "sedentary lifestyle". It wasn't until this doctor had the guts to tell me she was concerned about my health that I actually looked at myself and saw who I had become, physically. (I say physically, because I whole heartily believe that I have always been the same on the inside. Weight doesn't change my feelings, nor does it change my hopes, dreams or fears. It does change my health and therefore my future.)

What I started noticing about myself was hard to see, even more hard to feel. I didn't recognize myself in photos, I wasn't able to do daily activities with out being winded or out of breath. I had that major wake up call that people talk about and I vowed to change my life, for my health.

I changed things like instead of eating a cheeseburger & fries, I ate grilled chicken sandwiches & baked potatoes. I stopped keeping 2-liters of soda in the fridge, limiting myself to 1 can a day & carried bottled water with me everywhere. I stopped buying things at the grocery store that I knew I would eat all in one night, like a bag of Doritos!

I started walking. Simply walking. I would go the mall, before it opened, and walk with a friend. She helped me learn how to use fitness equipment at her apartment's gym, and as time went by, I saw small changes in my life, like way my clothes fit & how I felt in them.

Overtime, my hard work paid off. I lost quite a few pounds and felt so much better, physically and emotionally. When I went to see that same doctor a year later, she looked at my chart and asked me "how did you do it"? My answer was simple. I changed my life.

I write all this background information to help myself remember about the struggles I've face with weight and motivation to work out. I've tackled it before, the ups & downs, and it will be something I struggle with every day. I'm writing all about this to remind myself that it's okay to have a "off" day or even an "off" week, the point is not to give up. It's about following through on the long term goal of living healthier.

As I finish this post, it feels really good to write about this part of my life. I've told several people "my story", but sometimes it's good to re-tell it to myself also. I know I have the motivation to live & eat healthier, now it's just digging down deep and picking myself up to get back on track! Thanks for listening.

April 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Big Girl!

Shout out to Miss Lexi...she's turning 2 today and she is full of spunk and attitude, which I love!! Readers of the blog may remember previous posts about Lexi and a special walk last summer that was held in her honor. If you would like to learn more about Lexi, check out this link. Happy Birthday big girl - lots of love to you today on your special day!

April 14, 2009

Cookie Recipe

You may know my love for chocolate. While some may not understand my desire to always eat chocolate, others will be right there along with me on this fun recipe I recently came across from a cooking website.

Many holidays through out the year have speciality candies/chocolates that are only available surround that special day. Case in point - my beloved Cadbury Mini Eggs! Our Best Bites website has a to die for recipe posted using these sweet treats and I can't wait to make them this weekend!

(Photo Credit - Our Best Bites)

April 09, 2009

Chicken Bacon Shish Kabobs - Yum!

I grilled out last week and tried this recipe. It turned out awesome! Here is a picture of it from the website allrecipes.com and a link to the original recipe. I was so excited to eat these kabobs, I didn't even think of taking a picture of them, that's how good they were! I did make a few slight changes, so here's my take on the recipe.

1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 package of large mushrooms, cut in half
2 green onions, minced
3 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken breast - cut into chunks
1/2 pound sliced thick cut bacon, cut in half
1 (8 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained
skewers for grilling

* In a large zip lock bag, mix the teriyaki, olive oil, honey, and green onions. Place the mushrooms and chicken into the mixture, close bag and toss all together. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 1 hour.
* Preheat grill for medium high heat.
* Wrap the chicken chunks with bacon, and poke onto skewers so that the bacon is secured. On separate skewer, alternate mushroom halves and pineapple chunks.
*Grill meat skewers first, cook around 15 to 20 minutes, until bacon crispy and juices run clear. Toward end of meat cooking, throw on mushroom/pineapple skewers for a few minutes. Rotate often so they don't burn.

I served it with white rice and it was sure tasty. This is a good alternative to the traditional Kabobs made with Italian marinated chicken (or beef) with onions, peppers, & mushrooms. Add this one to your list this year for grillin' - I bet you'll like it!

April 02, 2009

5k Pictures

LW & JJ along the course of the Heart Mini 5k run....
This is after about 2.5 miles...woo-hoo...almost finished...Another picture from around mile 2.5 or so, I could see the red balloons for the finish line from this point...LW & JJ crossing the finish line...
My goal was to finished under 40 minutes, so I was very happy to see my official time of 39:02!

April 01, 2009

My 1st 5k experience

Followers of the blog have read about my training for the Heart Mini 5k race that took place this past weekend. This was the first 5k run I've participated in and I can say that it won't be my last! Overall, I had a really good time being part of the event and found the course to be challenging, yet not too bad that I don't want to run ever again!

Mother nature was not too happy over the weekend, so the temps were cool (in the 40s) and the rain came down in spurts throughout the whole morning this past Sunday. Despite these elements, I laced up my new jogging shoes, wore my running pants & our nice new Local 12 team shirts for the Heart Association race. For the larger organized races, runners get a chip to attach to their shoes that tracks their run time & breaks the total time into the pace of each mile ran. I hadn't heard about this part, so when I found the chip in my registration bag, I was a little surprised about how to attach it..but from the photo below, you can tell we got them attached just fine!

JJ and I line up side by side, near the back of the starting line and started our iPods just before the gun sounded to start the race! It was a slow start with almost 1,700 people who ran/walked in the 5k race. (Overall there were over 13,000 people who participated in the Heart Mini Marathon weekend events.) We started out with a slow walk, all huddled together because of the cold and wet rain that came down right as we crossed the start line.

I felt really good for the 1st mile of the run, slow and steady wins the race, I kept telling myself! Heading out of downtown Cincinnati was a great feeling as I was checking out all the different people jogging beside me. The first half of the race included a small incline, but mostly downhill - which is great - but b/c this course was an "out & back", the second
half of the race included that dreaded steady incline that felt so nice jogging downhill! At the halfway point (1.5miles), I hit the water stop and turned the corner to head up that hill. I kept telling myself, steady and strong, remembering about my form, trying not to hunch over as my feet shuffled along. I almost made it up the incline without walking, but my breathing got the best of me, and I decided to take a break and walk it out. Once the pavement leveled out, I picked up my pace and jogged it in the rest of the way! Just as we approached the finish line, I popped out my ear buds and heard all the other runners and people cheering us on as we stepped across the finish line. It was really awesome and such an amazing feeling to have completed my first 5k!
I definitely had the "runner's high" that morning, enjoying putting that medal around my neck (and wearing it ALL day long when we got home). I can't say that I'll be a marathoner, but I'll be signing up for more 5k runs and will keep jogging as part of my weekly exercise routine for sure! There will be some pics from along the race route posted soon, so check back in you're interested in seeing us in action. Thanks again for all your support throughout this journey.