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Non-Food Related Weight Loss Goals and Rewards

Short purple hairRewards are a big part of the whole diet and weight loss cycle.  “If I do X then I can have Y.”  Which doesn’t seem that bad but a lot of people rely on food or drink as their rewards.  “If I workout all this week, I can have fries this weekend!”

I’m all about rewards but feel like we should start moving away from food/beverage rewards and start focusing more on non-edible rewards for our hard work.  Maybe a massage?  Or a new outfit or pair of shoes?

Setting rewards definitely helps keep us focused and to stay on track.  I don’t think it’s bad or counterintuitive to set rewards.  I do feel that we should make these rewards something that are also going to make us feel awesome and keep us on track with our goals.

I have set up several rewards for hitting my weight loss goals.  There was a time when I didn’t even think that I would make it to any of those rewards.  It seemed so far down the tunnel that I didn’t know if there was light at the end.

This month I have hit one of my goals and was able to reap the reward.  It was amazing!

I have always wanted purple streaks in my hair but never pulled the trigger and got it done.  Lots of reasons why but the most recent one (and most silly!) was because I thought that I was too chubby to pull it off.

Because of that reasoning, I made it one of my rewards.  Something to work towards because I really wanted that purple!

And I made it!  I’m down 25 pounds thanks to working out and eating well.  That was my goal, once I was down that amount, my reward was to go and get some purple in my hair.

BOOM!

Now I have awesome purple hair (it’s hard to capture in a picture but it’s rad, I promise) and I feel amazing thanks to all the hard work I’ve been putting in.

Do I have more goals?  You bet!  I have several for when I reach my happy weight and I can’t wait to get there because I will get to do all these awesome things.

So do you have a reward for hitting a weight loss or workout goal?  If not, set one today and keep a note of it somewhere so you have a visual of what you’re working towards.

 

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This Week In Pizza And Fitness

Grain Free pepperoni pizzaThe pizza this week was super simple, pepperoni and some pickled jalapeños on top!  The crust was the same base as last week.  I still don’t have any cassava flour so it was all almond flour and tapioca flour.

For some reason, yeast is not an easy thing to purchase here.  All the stores carry only the small little packets of yeast that are on the pricey side.  I recently ordered some Bob’s Red Mill yeast off of Amazon and I love it!  So far it’s been the best yeast that I’ve used and it comes in 8oz bags which is bigger than the jars of yeast that are available.  If you’re looking for yeast, check out Bob’s Red Mill (not an ad, I really like this yeast).

Scott and I have come to a conclusion about Pizza Thursdays though.  We’ve decided that we’d rather have pizza on occasion instead of having it each week.  For me personally, I have found that I really would rather have a big plate of protein and veggies over the pizza.  The pizza is delicious, don’t get me wrong!  But it’s not as satisfying as having veggies and fish, for example.

So pizza is only going to be on occasion and not a weekly thing.  I know, just as we were getting started again with Pizza Thursday, we’re nixing it.  It won’t be gone forever!

Fitness

Fitness has been going strong this week but running hasn’t been at the top.  We’ve been getting hammered with a ton of rain lately and getting out to run hasn’t happened all that much.  I know we need the rain but I have been bummed that running has been mostly sidelined.

Monday and Tuesday I did Max 30 workouts.

Wednesday was a day off.

Thursday, Run!!  There was a break in the rain in the morning so I was able to get out for a run.  It was glorious!

Friday, either another Max 30 workout or a 21 Day Fix workout.

I did get a chance to run last Sunday as well and that’s been all for this week.  It’s supposed to rain the rest of the weekend and possibly snow on Sunday.  Yikes!

How was your fitness this week?

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May Goals

Fort Collins TrailNew month means it’s time to set up some new goals!  Let’s check back with April’s goals and go over those.

Getting up at 6am during the week

I have successfully established an early morning routine.  I’m in bed early and because of that I have no issues with getting up early in the mornings.  I have two days during the week where I can sleep in but otherwise I’m up and getting my day started.

I feel so much better when I follow this routine.  I am much happier and get so much more accomplished!

Running several times a week

I didn’t get to run as much as I would have liked thanks to weather and muddy trails but I did run a good bit. I only focused on running as my main exercise last month because I was working towards establishing a good foundation. I feel like I have that now and am looking forward to increasing distance.

Going full on Primal with eats

Done!  I’ve been mostly Primal since February but last month I decided that this lifestyle was fully working for me and it was time to embrace it.  I posted all my eats on Instagram and aside from some tots on occasion, my eats were entirely Primal.  It’s amazing how much better you feel when you eat well!

Overall I feel that last month was a success and that I met all of my goals.  Now it’s time to improve on them!

May Goals

A lot of goals I have for this month are more professional focused but I do have a few personal goals as well.

Keep Running, Run Farther

I am still focused on running and now want to work towards increasing my mileage.  My big goal is to work up to a six mile run.  I’m not sure if that’s something I can achieve in one month as it takes me a long time to be able to add on mileage.  However I am going to work towards increasing my mileage and break past the two mile run zone.

Add In Strength Exercises

Since I was so focused on running, I stopped doing other exercises and I definitely notice a difference!  I’ve lost some of the strength I built up when I did Max 30.  My endurance and cardio are still good, thankfully!  Along with running, I’ll be doing the Max 30 routine again.  This will help me gain some strength back and also should help my running as well.

What goals or items are you looking to accomplish for the month of May?

 

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Chubby In A State of Fit

Winding TrailWhen we first moved to Colorado I had the visions of becoming a stronger runner and running on all kinds of trails. This was my dream but as it turned out, not my reality.

I was a few pounds heavier when we got here thanks to the stress of losing our first dog, selling our house, and packing up everything to move to a state we had never been to before.  The move was exciting but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t also a tad stressful.

We started our life in Fort Collins and that’s where my healthy lifestyle changed for the worst but (spoiler alert) also for the better.  I’ll get to that in a minute.

I had the worst time running.  I was never what would be considered a fast runner but when I got here the elevation smacked me down to the ground.  Suddenly I was running really slow, needing to take walk breaks, and having a horrible time trying to breathe while running.

It sucked.  Sucked hard.

Whenever I tried to talk to others about it, everyone just looked at me like I had three heads.  As if the concept of struggling to breathe was so completely foreign to them that they thought I was making it up or being overly dramatic about the situation.

I started to feel isolated, like I was the first person to ever experience this before in all of Colorado. Sound ridiculous?  It totally does.  Until you are surrounded by folks who all do some sort of activity and they look down their nose upon others who don’t.  I realize that sounds very dramatic and that obviously not everyone in Colorado is this way.  But when you are struggling to do something that you have easily done for years and everyone around you acts as if you’re being ridiculous and please just get over it already, that is exactly how it feels.

Scott always supported and encouraged me.  Always. But when you’re struggling through a one mile run and your husband can just go out and easily run 3 miles like it’s no big deal, that doesn’t really help matters.  That only made me feel worse.

Why is exerting myself at high altitude so hard while everyone else seems to have no issues with it?

This is what caused to me spiral down into what I’m labeling, “A Running Depression”.  And I spiraled down hard. I didn’t have anyone to connect with or a support system so I stopped caring about anything, most especially me.  I gained a bunch of weight and didn’t give a flip about anything.  Someone I knew (I am not saying friend because they clearly are not) even stopped talking to me because I wasn’t running and had gained weight.

Thanks buddy! You’re awesome!

I couldn’t connect with others and when I tried to “talk shop” about running everyone would just stop and stare at me.

Here I was this chubby chick who talked about how I used to eat half marathons for breakfast, and everyone gave me the side-eye like I was lying.  Well there’s a smack in the face for you.  That stung.  I’m chubby so obviously I have no clue about exercise, right?  (And yes, people still do not take me seriously when I try to talk about running or share my distance running history.)

That forced me into isolation even more.  Every time someone brought up a race or was looking for some advice for running, I couldn’t even join in the conversation since no one would believe me or take me seriously anyway.

As much as I love where I live, there was a lot of, “what the hell am I doing here” moments.  Again, something I never talked about because if I couldn’t even share my struggles with running, I obviously can’t share my struggles with life.

Joining a running group? Ha! My pace is considered walking to them.  “Slow” here is a 9 minute mile.  I didn’t even run that when I was at my peak let alone now.

There was no place for me.  I didn’t fit in.  I was in a very dark place for about two years because of this.  I was unhappy and oh man did I hate that time.

Did I get past this?  YES.  I am here to tell you that there is light at the end of this dark tunnel.  I finally found a support group.  It is online, not local.  I was able to connect with a bunch of other women who are also working towards either getting back their healthy lifestyle or are starting a brand new healthy living journey.  We all support each other.

Because of this I was able to start working out at home.  I was able to get my shit together.  I worked out at home for two months doing an exercise program called Max 30.  I was able to drop some weight and bump up my endurance since I was doing HIIT style workouts.  Which are HARD.

This is what gave me confidence.  I tested the waters and tried running again.  I could do it!  I ran a whole mile without stopping!

I am slow.  It takes me 30 minutes to run two miles.  Sometimes I have to walk for a few seconds.

I am OK with this.

Because I know that I’m on the right path and I’m doing what is right for me.  I’m done caring what others think because I’m making progress.  On my terms.

I’m doing my own thing, I have a support system, and I’m making progress.  This is all that matters to me right now.

And OK, yes, I’m also silently flipping everyone the bird who treated me like I was crap.

This will be something I’m constantly battling.  Even now, when out on a hike, a hike that would be considered “easy” by others, I still have to stop and catch my breath. “Easy” hikes are challenging for me.  I’m a slow hiker.  Again, I’m OK with this, because I’m outside and doing something I love.  I’m just a little slower and I do not have a problem with this anymore.  I would rather be a slow hiker verses being someone who doesn’t hike at all.  I am not that girl anymore who doesn’t give a shit about anything.  I don’t ever want to be that girl again.

I was prompted to share my story thanks to Outdoor Beginner’s post.  Because she shared her story it made me realize that I am not alone.  That yes, struggling with exercising at elevation is a thing and many people are currently working through it.

This was really comforting for me and made me realize that I should share my story too.

I’m here to tell you, that there are others who struggle with exercising at elevation. You are not alone. It’s hard and it takes time.  You will get past it but it does take some time and everyone’s timeline is different.  If you are feeling isolated or feeling like you don’t have support, reach out!  If you need support, let’s talk so that I can help you and help you connect with others who are going through the same thing.  Support is key so that we don’t feel so alone and isolated in the land of the fit.

Also, for those that are active and fit and doing their thing, if someone tries to reach out to you and talk about their struggles, don’t blow them off.  Don’t tell them to just get past it.  Support them and help them through it.  They opened up to you, don’t squash that.  Be a friend.

 

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Trail Running Tips For Newbies

Trail running As I’ve started this new running journey I have taken to the trails around Fort Collins.  I like the peacefulness of the trails and enjoy the added challenge of running on rocky uneven ground while going up an incline.  It’s hard, I kind of suck at it right now, and it’s glorious.  Trail running also makes me feel like a badass.

But I’ve learned a few things along the way.  Things that others don’t seem to talk about when they post tips for trail running or write up their experience with trail running.

Obviously I’m not a pro, I’m just a beginner trail runner but these are the things that I’ve learned during my experience so far.

Get trail running shoes

This seems like a no brainer but you’d be surprised how many people don’t and then end up with a twisted ankle. My shoes pictured above are not trail runners so don’t get those.  You need shoes with more stability and more cushion between your feet and the trail.  In those shoes pictured I can feel every rock and it’s not fun.  Plus they aren’t as stable as a trail runner would be.

Trails are uneven and rocky, some of the rocks might move on you as you run.  You’ll need stable shoes to handle the terrain and give you support.  Plus trail runners will have much better traction.  I’m currently in the market for some good trail runners.  Once I get some, I’ll share that experience as well.

Don’t tie your shoes too tight

You don’t want your shoes so loose that your feet are sliding around, that isn’t going to do you any good.  But tying them too tight means your foot won’t have the flexiblity to move around.  Remember you will be running over rocks and sometimes going up an incline.  Your feet need to be able to have full range of motion to be able to handle the terrain.  Tie your shoes too tight and you risk having your shins and calves cramp up as you run.

Also, make sure to pick up your feet!

With road running, we can get by with shuffling our feet as we run.  That kind of running on the trail will set you up for a tumble.

With trail running you really can’t shamble along because the trail is so uneven.  You have to make sure to pick up your feet so you don’t trip over a rock or something else.  The minute you stop picking up your feet, you’ll stumble.  Trust me, I’ve done it plenty of times!  Thankfully I haven’t taken a header on the trail.  That would be no fun!

Trail

Trail running is dirty business

Trails can be muddy but most often they are going to be dusty.  And trail dust gets EVERYWHERE.  It gets in your clothes, all through your shoes, and if it’s a breezy day, expect it all over you.

You’ll discover that you have specific socks just for trail running.  They will be easy to spot because they’re the ones completely stained with trail dust.  Trail dust does wash out but only so much.  It leaves skidmarks on your socks.   Once you take to the trails is when your trail sock collection begins.

You will encounter wildlife on the trails

Depending on where you live, this could be as benign as seeing deer while running, or it could be as serious as seeing rattlesnakes or bobcats on the trail.  Pay attention to your surroundings!  This is also why I am completely against listening to music or a podcast while running or hiking.  Even if you leave one earbud out, you still aren’t going to be fully aware of your surroundings and won’t hear a rattlesnake if you happen upon one. Getting people to quit music while running is harder than getting people to quit sugar.  But trust me, leave the music behind and just hit the trails and enjoy your surroundings.

Wear Sunglasses

Even if it’s not that sunny out, you will still be dealing with bugs and trail dust.  Especially if it’s breezy you want to make sure that your eyes are covered so no dust or small rocks get in your eye.  Speaking of bugs….

You will eat a bug

It happens, you’re breathing hard and then all of the sudden, UGH, down went a bug.  Don’t sweat it, take a drink of water and keep going.

Always take water with you

Unless you’re only running a short distance and by short, I mean like a mile, then you’ll need water.  It’s a trail so it’s going to be a little more challenging than just running around the block.  Trail dust (see, it is everywhere) can get in your mouth and throat.  Plus if you’re going up in elevation, you’re going to be exerting yourself more and will require more water.

Stopping to walk is OK

Some parts might be too rocky and unstable to fully run on.  Some parts might be a little too challenging at the moment to run.  Some parts the incline might be a little too steep. Stop and walk it out.  No shame in taking a small walk.  Better to walk until you have more stable footing than risk an injury or a fall.

If you’re thinking about hitting the local trails for running or if you’re just starting out, these are just a few things to keep in mind.  The main focus is your safety.  Always keep that in mind as you head out for your trail run and you’ll have a successful run!

Are you a trail runner?  Any lessons you’d like to share?

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Yogurt For A Healthy Belly

yogurt bowlYogurt is one of those grey areas when it comes to Primal eating.  Some are for it and some are totally against it since it’s dairy.  I’m Team Yogurt.

For those that have issues with dairy, yogurt is something that can be tolerated.  This isn’t the case for everyone, obviously, but for many yogurt can be a part of the diet.

Yogurt also provides us with healthy bacteria needed for digestion.  Yes we can get that from other fermented foods as well but I do feel that if it works for you, yogurt should be in rotation in your diet.

There’s no way to know if one can tolerate yogurt unless they eliminate it for a time (30 days is optimal) and then slowly reintroduce it.

I recommend going with Greek yogurt in the reintroduction phase.  Plain full fat (0% fat yogurt is not a good idea) Greek yogurt.  It has a little bit more protein plus you don’t have to worry about thickeners or added sugar (which can trigger digestion issues).

For myself, I have found that yogurt in my diet has been essential with getting my digestion back on track.  While I have been doing other things like limiting alcohol consumption (can lead to leaky gut) and drinking bone broth (helps heal leaky gut) to help heal my gut, I’ve also been having yogurt on the regular.

A typical yogurt bowl for me is yogurt + fresh fruit + almonds + coconut flakes (unsweetened).  I love fresh blueberries in the spring/summer months. If those aren’t available, I’ll go with some sliced banana.

If I don’t have yogurt for breakfast then I will have it in a smoothie at lunch.  The good bacteria boost it provides is helping my digestive tract heal and get healthy again.

For many yogurt can be helpful in healing the gut and getting digestion back on track.  It can provide the much needed bacteria to help balance out digestion and get things moving properly.

 

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All The Sleeps

restorative_sleep

I’m usually in bed each night by 8pm, 8:30 at the latest and asleep by 9pm or 9;30pm.  Yeah on a few rare occasions I might be up later but not often because I will not have quality sleep if I go to bed any later.  Leaving me feeling like crap the next day which is not worth it.

Is this early? Yes.  Are most people stunned when they hear this?  Absolutely.  Do I give a flip what others think? Not at all.

The biggest question I get asked is, “How do you manage to get to bed so early?”  And my answer is because sleep is a priority for me.

Not sleeping well throws my whole system out of whack.  Digestion goes off track and sleep quality decreases.  I wake up more during the night while having trouble falling back to sleep.  The next day I feel like a zombie and have trouble focusing on projects.

Early for me used to be 9pm and I would read until 10pm.  But as I get older I’m finding that 9pm is too late.  Oh I’m sure I’ll be the stereotypical retiree who is in bed by 7pm each night and I’m OK with this.

When clients tell me they have trouble getting to bed early, I’m upfront with them about it.  I don’t sugar-coat when I’m coaching.  The reason you are having trouble getting to bed early is because you are not making sleep a priority and not deeming it as something important to you and your health.

Just like with meal planning and exercising, sleep should be considered important and if need be, put it in your schedule.  Everyone is “busy”.  Everyone has stuff to do.  But in order to work at our best we need that downtime in the evenings.  Body and mind need that time to rest.

So I’ll brush off the comments when someone makes fun of my early to bed routine because I know that I’m doing what’s best for me.  And in the end, that is all that matters.

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Giving Up Coffee

Delicious Obsessions Herbal Coffee

Scott and I have given up coffee.  Yup.  And it wasn’t an easy decision to come to either.  We talked about it at great length before we decided to make the plunge.

Since I’m in the process of working towards healing my digestive tract and dealing with very mild (super mild) adrenal fatigue, I decided I needed to cut coffee out.  It can be a gut irritant and can also be taxing on the adrenals.  In order for me to fully heal my gut, coffee needed to go.

I was never one who needed the caffeine. I just liked the whole process of morning coffee.  It smelled good and I really enjoyed having a warm mug of something to start the day.

Recently Scott and I went a day without coffee and both of us ended up getting horrible headaches later that day.

UGH

I don’t want to be dependent on coffee! Since this never happened to me before, I realized that I’m not OK with my body being dependent on caffeine.  That is when we decided to cut out coffee for the time being.

I cut it off cold turkey and just dealt with the headaches until they were no longer an issue.  Scott went a little slower and eased off of coffee.  He’s now coffee free.

I alternate what I drink in the mornings, sometimes it’s a big mug of chicken stock and sometimes it’s herbal coffee. I found a really great coffee substitute made by Delicious Obsessions.  I blend it up with some almond milk and a little coconut oil for a big frothy mug.  If you’re looking for something that won’t give you the coffee jitters, this is the stuff!  So good!

Is coffee gone from my life forever? Nope.  Only for a time while I work on getting healthy again.  I’m sure it will make an appearance every now and then when a good mug of coffee sounds great or if we’re out to breakfast.

The main goal for both of us is that we do not want to be dependent on coffee to make it through the day.  Secondary for me is gut health.

Once we both feel comfortable adding coffee back in on occasion then it will be a little treat some mornings.

Do you drink coffee and would you ever give it up?

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What Being Primal Means To Me

Roasted Carrots

Scott and I’s transition into a Primal lifestyle was a slow one.  I probably kicked and screamed a little on the way too because when I was first introduced to this way of life I was not on board.  I probably even made fun of it.

That was until I stopped working out, drank too much beer, and wrecked my health along with my digestive tract. Both Scott and I gained too much weight.  Our sleep was affected, I was unhappy, and my digestion was not normal.

Last spring I did a Spring Clean Eats challenge where I omitted some things and it was sort of like a modified Whole 30.  We did well and I learned that I really like eggs and protein in the mornings.

But not long after we fell back into old routines and it was like nothing changed.

Fast forward to the end of the year and I was over feeling like crap.  OVER IT.  Along with exercising, I decided it was time to get my diet and digestion under control.  I turned towards the Primal/Paleo community because they embrace whole real foods and promote digestive health and healing.

No other community does this in a way that I can relate to.

Since January of 2015, Scott and I have adopted more of a Primal lifestyle and we are definitely seeing the benefits. Everything is improving; weight, digestion, and sleep.  Scott now even comes to bed earlier and gets up earlier in the mornings.  A feat I never thought I would see!

We lean more towards Primal than full on Paleo.  We can tolerate high quality dairy in the form of yogurt, cheese, and butter.  Scott can even handle grass-fed milk.  We also tolerate white rice and incorporate that into our diets as well.

Beans, Wheat, Soy, and other Legumes are out.  Corn, while technically a grain, we can handle in small amounts.

I thought I could handle beans but the last time I ate a few bites I bloated up like crazy.

For me, Primal is a lifestyle and not just a way of eating.  It focuses on:

  • Eating whole nourishing foods while avoiding foods that can cause inflammation or gut irritation.

  • Exercising each day and moving my body with intention.

  • Spending time outdoors.

  • Making Self-Care a priority and not a luxury.

This is how Scott and I live our lives and it’s made such a world of difference. I don’t preach and I don’t really talk about it with others unless asked.  However, with my health coaching clients, it is the lifestyle I focus on with them since I feel it is the most healing and the most nourishing.

My whole outlook on life has since changed.  I’m inspired to be back in the kitchen cooking kick-ass meals and experimenting with foods.  My confidence has built back up, I’m happier, and I’ve been able to incorporate some running into my life again (more on this in another post).

I wouldn’t be in this position had I not decided to make a change and take charge of my health.

 

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On Health Coaching

It’s been a long while since I’ve talked about health coaching.  I feel like for some they may think this is coming right out of left field and the truth is that I’ve been a health coach for several years.

This blog originally started out as a place to share recipes and discuss my journey (and also my husband’s) towards better health and nutrition. Because I fully believe that we can heal ourselves with the foods that we choose to eat, I pursued schooling to become a health coach.  I took on clients and I helped people get back in the kitchen.

A lot happened in 2012, this was a big year for us and I was feeling all out of sorts.  I was struggling with running, struggling with a new dog that has a lot of baggage (Oh Avery, he’s a special guy.), and struggling finding my place.

I feel off the wagon.  It happens.  I have a feeling that almost everyone goes through something like that at some point in their lives.  Because I was struggling, I felt like I could not be in a position to help others so my coaching dropped off.

I went from being a super active and fit half-marathoner to not.  I was in a state where I was just existing and not really living life.

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December of 2014 was a wake up call for me.  I was tired of not sleeping well, tired of feeling like shit, and tired of making excuses to not workout.

I got my ass in gear.  Just like that.

Now I exercise almost daily, I eat well, and I feel 100 times better and more confident that I did.

I couldn’t have done this without support though.  Support is key.  This made me realize that I’m sure there are others going through the same thing and who are looking for support.  Change is hard and we can’t always do it alone.

So here I am back on track and back to doing what I feel is important. Back to doing what I’m meant to be doing, helping to support and build others up.

Being a health coach isn’t just something I’m all of the sudden tossing out there.  It’s about me getting back to me and therefore helping others be the best they can be.