Snippets of Virginia so far

Well, Ive been home in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley for a little over a week now, and I am thoroughly enjoying my time.  There has been a lot of fun times catching up with friends and family, and also a lot of time just relaxing and reading and watching movies and such.  I must say I am a HUGE fan 🙂

So, what have I been up to?  Well, the weather has been BEAUTIFUL so there have been lots of walks on the country roads…

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Running at the park…

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Visiting some wineries…

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And playing with the pug outside 🙂

 

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There have also been a lot of fun workouts…

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Some awesome food…

 

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And strawberry pie and vanilla ice cream 🙂

 

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Hope everyone is having a great memorial day weekend!!!

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Chocolate strawberry crunch yogurt

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Sounds delicious, right?  Well this was my breakfast the other morning, and it was pretty close to eating desert for breakfast.

So whats in the bowl?  Well I took some nonfat, plain greek yogurt and stirred in a spoonful of chocolate protein powder for some sweetness.  Then I chopped up a bunch of strawberries, a few almonds, and about 1/4 of a dark chocolate Zone bar to put on top.  I intended on sprinkling chia seeds on top as well, but I was so excited to dive into this creation that I forgot.  Oh well, this bowl will surely make another appearance and next time I will remember.

Oh, and this meal is twice as good if you are shoving strawberries in your mouth while you cut more up to put on the yogurt.  Im kinda obsessed with strawberries right now…

Now, the past few posts have been rather reflective in nature.  Lets just say the whole back injury thing gave me too much time to think.  I have a few more recent thoughts to share, but this is just a little life catch-up….in case anyone cares 🙂

Im home in VA for a bit visiting friends and family.  And loving every minute.  Normally Im home over holidays, and spend most of the time running all over the place trying to see my own family, and fit in my friends when they aren’t tied up with their own holiday obligations.  I swear I often return to PA totally exhausted.  But this time Im home for about 3 weeks, although a few of those days will be spent in Indianapolis for a conference.  So I get to relax, see my family, and just enjoy the things I miss about living in the Shenandoah Valley.  And Molly is taking full advantage!

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In some other good news, Im pretty much 100% back to working out like I want.  I was a little sore in my back/glutes from a workout over the weekend, so I realized I still need to be a liiiiitle bit careful.  But for the most part I can workout without worry.  Man Ive missed this.

So, I thought I would share my workout from yesterday.  I am LOVING circuit training right now!

  • 15 minutes cardio – then do the following circuit twice through
  • Squat to shoulder press – 12x
  • Bent over row – 15x each side
  • Burpees – 20
  • One-leg deadliest – 10x each leg
  • Kettlebell swings – 20x
  • Hip bridge with leg extensions (bridge up and extend each leg, one at a time) – 10x each leg
  • Plank row with rotation (see link, but I didnt do the pushup) – 10x each side
  • Plank jumps with a jack – 20x
  • Forearm plank, one-arm plank right side, one-arm plank left side – 30 seconds each
  • Finish with 15 minutes of cardio

This was actually harder than I thought it was going to be!  By the time I got to the second round the burpees and plank jumps were KILLLLLLLING me.  I was stopping to catch my breath with about 5 burpees to go, and another gym member started talking to me (Im working at the place I used to work, so some of the members who are still there remember me and want to say HI).  Normally I am very short with people and don’t like to be bothered during my workouts.  But I stopped and chatted for a bout 5 minutes because 1) This was one of the members I have known for a long time and wanted to chat with him and 2) I was about to die from burpees and was secretly thankful for a break!  But the workout was super fun….expect to see lots more like this on the blog!

Hope everyone had an equally great start to the week!

Motivation Monday: Progress, not perfection

Just a little thoughts to start out the week….

Lets face it, none of us are perfect.  We know that.  We say it over and over again…but then most of us continue to expect it from ourselves and others.  Kinda silly, right?

Well, for awhile I was pretty gosh darn perfect with my diet…at least for what I considered to be perfect at the time.  For a few months it was not going over 1500 calories a day.  I probably would go 2-3 weeks at a time and never break 1500 calories…and I was weighing and measuring EVERYTHING.  And then for a few more months it was 1200 calories a day.  Again, I would go weeks at a time without splurging and going over that range.

So yes, for a short period of time (probably 6-9 months) I was as close to perfect as I will ever be with sticking to a calorie range.

But now I just cant do it anymore.  I still count calories most days, at least loosely in my head.  But to get back to that level of perfection is very, very challenging.  I can do it, but its hard.  And it comes with a lot of sacrifices.  Those who know me well know I don’t like to eat out often…but to get back to that level of perfection I would NEVER eat out.  Or if I did it would have to be at a place with all of the nutrition information posted.

But once I burned out on the calorie counting another not so great thing happened…suddenly I wanted to eat everything.  I used to be a stress eater, but calorie counting squelched that.  So I stopped calorie counting, and stress eating was back in my life.  And wouldn’t you know it, I gained weight.  Not a ton, but enough that my clothes felt different, and I can tell a huge difference.  So now instead of being depressed and starving myself, Im constantly thinking about how my legs and stomach have extra jiggle.

So the point of this is that Im trying to find a balance.  I want to eat healthy and maintain a weight I am happy with, but not drive myself crazy getting there.

One of the faculty I worked with at Pitt would always say “Its progress, not perfection” when working with our weight management participants.  I said this time and time again, but recently it is something I seem to have forgotten.

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In the past few weeks I think I have definitely made PROGRESS on getting back in shape (stupid back injury) and getting my diet back on track.  I was tracking calories again, but now Im focusing on eating intuitively.  Not eating for boredom or stress, but listening to hunger cues and following them.  But again, Im not perfect with this.  And maybe after a few weeks of this I will go back to calorie counting.

Since I actually was about as perfect as you could be for a small part of my life, its really hard to go back to accepting progress.  Im pretty stubborn, and typically find a way to achieve any goal I set my mind to it.  But Im learning that what I have to do to achieve those goals isn’t worth it.  So Im back to focusing on PROGRESS.  For now that might mean just decreasing the stress eating and maintaining (versus gaining) my weight.  In terms of fitness, I had to take about 6 weeks totally off from running, and had been dealing with IT band issues for a few weeks before that, so its going to take me awhile to get back to the running shape I was in.  So every run I do around three miles is feeling a little better, getting a little faster.  It is PROGRESS.

So this was sort of just some rambling, but I hope it motivates some of you to focus on the progress you are making on your own health goals!

Once again a runner

Yep, Im officially declaring that “Im back” to the world of running.  Over the past 5 months running and I have had a very rocky relationship.  I was burnt out, plagued by injury (first my IT band, then the infamous fall) and I haven’t really felt like a “runner” either physically or mentally.

But this weekend I finally ran a full three miles….no walking.  And I have no idea what my pace was, but I felt like I was RUNNING again, not just shuffling along.

Those of you who don’t necessarily align yourself with the running community may not understand the significance of this.  Other of you know exactly what Im talking about.  Because once you become a runner, the only thing that makes you feel like yourself is running.

For some reason, three miles is my default definition as the minimum distance to be qualified “a run.”  Yes, you can run less than that, but it woudnt’ be classified as “run.”  At least to me…obviously everyone has their own definition.  So finally running an entire three miles for the first time in a few months truly was significant.  I ran/walk this distance the other day, but it just wasn’t the same.  Now I can finally say that I went on a run.

I have had varying degrees of dedication to running throughout the past 12 years since I started running the summer before my senior year of high school.  But except for a few other periods where I have struggled with an injury or two, I have always held strong to at least three mile runs.  I have run in the morning, evening, afternoon, inside, outside, on vacation, through all four seasons and in many different states.  I have ran alone, with music, with silence, and with my best friends.  Those 25-30 minutes have been with me through all stages of my transition to adulthood…college, my first job, and 5 years of grad school.  I think the only reason I survived grad school in Pittsburgh was being able to head out of the office and three blocks later be on a trail by the river (don’t ask me WHICH river, however) overlooking downtown.  This provided me a nice break from the bustle of the city, the pace of grad school and gave me a better perspective in life.

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So as I have already said, Im not sure where I want running to take me next.  I have to admit that I have been neglecting doing anything for my IT band, my injury nemesis, since I fell over 6 weeks ago.  And on Saturdays 3 miler I was already beginning to feel some tightness.  I would like to train for some 5/10ks and maaaaaaaybe even a half marathon or two this fall, but Im not totally sure my body will let me.

For now, I want to work on gaining back endurance, leaning down a bit, and getting back to winning or at least placing in my age group in the local races like the ones pictured below 🙂 (photo source:  GoErie.com)

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Im just happy to report I finally feel like myself again.  Funny how three miles can do that.

Baby steps

Ya know, life has a funny way of giving us what we need….which is not always what we want.

Earlier this winter I was struggling with running.  Those of you who followed along with my 50 day challenge probably remember I was having mixed emotions with running, and scaled back on the cardio and started doing cross fit.  Well then in the last week of March I fell flat on my butt when taking the dog out on the ice.  Thankyouvermuch Erie for snowing like crazy in March.  Sheesh.

Anyway, after I fell I was struggling.  Everything hurt.  For a week after I fell I tried to workout like normal…everything from crosfit, to spinning, to running.  Yeah, all the things someone with a back injury shouldn’t do.  Eventually I gave up and went to the doctor and physical therapist who said I had sprained my back.  So I spent a few days laying on the couch trying not to cry and catching up on Grey’s Anatomy.  Eventually I progressed to hot yoga, then walking, then the elliptical…and finally RUNNING.

I remember thinking how funny it was that in the middle of March the last thing I wanted to do was go for a long run.  And a few weeks later when I couldn’t, that seemed like the only thing that would make me happy.  Yeah, like I said.  Damn life.

So maybe I needed just a liiiiiitle extra time off from running?  Regardless, thats what I got.  And I missed it.  And Im super happy to be back.  Ive missed looking down and seeing these on the pavement 🙂

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So today I decided to try my longest run so far:  3 miles.  Ok, it was a run/walk.  And really it was more of a shuffle/walk…I don’t really feel like Im truly running yet.  But I was OH SO thankful to be able to just throw on my running shoes and go outside and enjoy the morning.

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So what does the future hold for me and running?  To be honest, I have no idea.  Maybe Ill  stick to local 5 and 10ks.  Maybe Ill train for a half marathon.  Maybe Ill decide I never want to run more than three miles and go back to cross fit.  All I do know is this injury has taught me what a blessing my body is and how I should treasure the ability to MOVE each day, regardless of the activity.  Right now Im just happy to be back in my running shoes 🙂

Welcome!

Greetings!  Welcome to My Fuel and Fitness Diaries.  Some of you followed my 50 day clean eating challenge where I was blogging formerly at Eat Clean Eat Real.  Well, as much as I want to continue to eat clean (and lets say Ive been slipping again) I wanted a name to reflect my love of fitness as well.

So this blog has no “rules,” and Im sure I will do some challenges along the way again.  But I just want a place to record my love of healthy food and workout adventures.  Since I sort of fell off the blogging bandwagon the past few weeks Im realizing that my blog was a great way to stay accountable.  I like helping people stay active and eat well, and blogging is an outlet for that.

Speaking of challenges, Im currently doing the nHerShoes “Summer Shred.” There is a wonderful group of ladies doing this “shred” and we are sent workouts and meal plans each week.  As much as I know about fitness sometimes it is nice to have someone else tell me what to do!  Im only doing half of the workouts since the other days Im running (the limited amount I can) or doing other cardio.  The cardio focused workouts look super fun, lots of body weight exercises and plyometrics….but my back is just not quite ready for that much jumping.  But Im going to keep the workouts and hope to make it through them all one day!

I haven’t been following the meal plans, but have been  trying to eat clean.  Some days are better than others, but Im hanging in there!

So, I hope you will continue reading.  I look forward to sharing my adventures with everyone 🙂