What’s Your Body Type?

Whenever I would open a magazine and see an article titled, “The Best Clothes/Food/Exercise for you Body Type,” I’d devour the article, thinking it would give me some insight into what was best for my body. Was I Kapha, Pitta, or Vata? What about Ectomorph, Mesomorph, or Endomorph? Don’t even get me going on the fruits and vegetables! There’s the usual apple, banana, and pear, but I’ve also recently seen carrot enter in into the equation. Maybe it’s where I held my fat–abcentric, hipcentric, glutecentric, or omnicentric? The list goes on and on and the more I’d read, the more confused I would get. How are we supposed to keep all of these straight? How are we supposed to fit perfectly in one category?
Body type workout

The ONLY time I ever found a label that fit me was in an article in a fitness magazine back in the late nineties. Based on the descriptions of the body types, I was a “spark plug,” which basically meant on the shorter and more compact side. Finally there was a name that I could grab on to and define myself. I was also drawn to this name because I felt it described my personality–someone with a little bit of sass.

Vitruvian woman

Spark plug (shorter with thick limbs)

Despite finally having a “label” for myself, though, I’ve sometimes found myself envious of other body types. Wouldn’t it be nice to be a bit curvier, with slightly rounded hips and a larger bust? A friend of mine has this body type and I think she looks fabulous–so feminine with her curves, someone who looks like they’d give the most wonderful, comforting hugs.

What about a long, lithe dancer-type body? These women always seem so elegant with their endless slim limbs. Again, I have a friend with this body type and she owns it, but this will never be me.

And then there are the people who seem to have muscle all over. Wouldn’t it be great to evoke a sense of powerfulness just with the way your body looks? People would think twice before messing with you and you look like you could conquer any physical feat. Though I don’t have any friends like this, Tina from Carrots ‘n’ Cake comes to mind.

A body-type thing I have learned from this picture: spaghetti straps do not properly complement my shoulders!

A few recent conversations have led me back to what I, what we all, need to remember, however: we’re all unique, with our own quirks, our own advantages, and our own weaknesses. We shouldn’t long after having another person’s body because we will never have it. I’ll never have Jillian Michaels’ abs, but she’ll also never have my butt (which, believe it or not, is the body part she doesn’t like!). I’ll never be taller, my arms will never be longer, and I will always have a short neck with a round face. In fact, I distinctly remember my doctor telling me way back when that I would couldn’t change the fact that I had a round face, no matter what. Life is too short to get hung up on what we don’t have instead of celebrating what we do have.

Buffalo Bill train

The things you can do with strong legs and arms

So I’ve been trying to celebrate parts of my body that I may take for granted. I have these strong legs that have always been that way. I even jokingly call them “thunder thighs,” but in a positive way. As in, “Check out my thunder thighs! They could squeeze you to death!” I’m trying to feel lucky that I don’t have to worry about busting out of tops or having inappropriate cleavage thanks to my insanely small bust. And as I admire long, elegant fingers and compare them to my “doll hands,” as my father-in-law calls them, I remember all the little places I can put them or pry things open that someone with larger fingers can’t.

We need to honor our bodies just as they are. Treat them with respect. Properly fuel them and move them and love them.

So, at the end of the day, I’ve finally found my body type: me!

Questions: Have you gotten hung up on finding or understanding your “body type?” Have you found ways to celebrate your unique body? What are you most thankful for about the way your body was built?

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Friday Favorites

Aaaaaaaand it’s Friday again! After a busy week (and a somewhat busy weekend), I’m looking forward to chilling out tonight! Meanwhile, here are some of my recent favorites, following a similar format from my last Friday Favorites post.

Celebrating…Saint Patrick’s Day! We went out to dinner with my grandmother (the one who made me 1/4 Irish!) and chowed down to corned beef boiled dinner and shepherd’s pie. I even dressed up my fridge for the occasion. Contributing to the green: mixed greens, spinach, dill, beet greens, kale, pepper, fennel greens, dandelion greens, romaine, and celery. Nearly half of that food is for Wilbur to share with us.

St. Patricks Day fridge

Lots of green for Saint Patrick’s Day!

Watching…Vikings

This is the show that holds us over while waiting for Game of Thrones to come back on. It’s not always the best acting or the best plot, but it’s interesting to watch this culture we know so little about. One of my favorite parts of this culture is the strength of the women, whether it’s the female warriors (“shieldmaidens“) fighting beside the men, a female earl, or the ones left back at home to rule while the men are away plundering. I’m trying to convince WHH to do a couple’s costume for Halloween.

Vikings logo

Reading…A Dance with Dragons (aka Game of Thrones book 5). As you may remember, I’ve been slowly getting through this series since last year and I’m nearly done! I’m pushing to finish before season 5 premiers on April 12.

Listening…to A Dance with Dragons. Yes, I know. Pretty ridiculous. I knew I wouldn’t get through the entire book on time for the premier, so I got the free month on Audible and now listen on my drive to work, my lunchtime walk, and my drive home from work. I have to say that even though I don’t love the voices the narrator does (characters seem to be either English, Scottish, or Irish), I am that much more obsessed with the series because I’m able to be that so immersed in it every day, even consulting A Wiki of Ice and Fire whenever I need more information or a memory refresher of one of the previous books.

A Dance with Dragons Audible

Eating…three new recipes this week, all of which I failed to take pictures of! I made Baked Maple Chicken with Wild Rice and Pear Pilaf, Late Winter Harvest Quinoa Bowl, and Curried Chickpeas with Spinach. My favorite by far was the quinoa bowl. I had never tried nutritional yeast before and I’m definitely digging the cheesy flavor. I have a lot of the almond “cheese” left over that I will be sprinkling on top of salads and soups!

Late harvest quinoa bowl

Source

Running…this pyramid interval on the treadmill. I’ve learned that I need to be very careful with my treadmill running. In addition to changing my cadence, running on the treadmill also changes my stance and I do find that it bothers my IT band and previous glute injury site a bit, so I need to be careful and not do it too often. But after an insanely cold winter that still isn’t letting up, I needed to get in a run. This kept me from getting bored and though not overly challenging, it was enough to get on a good sweat.

Planning…our summer vacation! With the Euro way down, me about to be in nursing school the next two years, and some major purchases being probable in the next few years (next house, cars) we decided to seize the opportunity and travel to Europe again! After falling in love with Switzerland the last time around, I knew I wanted to hit up Austria in the future, so that’s on our list of possibilities, along with Germany, Prague, and Budapest. Price will determine where we end up since we’re not as decided this time around as to our destination(s). Any suggestions?

Salzburg

Source

Questions: Did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, whether you’re Irish or not? Do you prefer to read books or listen to them? Made any new recipes recently or tried any new workouts? Are you making any summer vacation plans?

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! Let’s mix it up and do some fun Friday Favorites, shall we? Here are some of my recent favorites:

Watching…Top Chef

I’m definitely getting more inspiration in the kitchen by watching this show. Only one more episode left! I like them all so I’ll be pretty happy with whoever wins. Plus, the fact that it takes place in Boston this season is icing on the cake!

Top Chef Boston

Source

Listening…to sports radio, trying to figure out what the heck is going on with #deflategate. I can’t believe my beloved Patriots, especially Tom, would cheat. I wonder if you tested all balls at every single NFL game if they end up getting deflated by the second half.

98.5 The Sports Hub

Source

Eating…this delicious roasted carrot soup. The recipe is from the January/February 2015 issue of Women’s Health Magazine in which they talk about soups as the juices for cold weather. Couldn’t agree more! We haven’t broken out our juicer since late fall and all I’ve been craving is some nice, warm soup! Don’t have time to make your own? Check out a family friend, The Splendid Spoon, where you can buy delicious soup online.

Roasted carrot soup

Drinking…Emergen-C and Echinacea tea. 😦 Was a bit sick midweek, so I’ve been having it 1-2x a day since my symptoms came on. I swear they made me better within a day!

Echinacea tea Emergen-C

Wearing…my bunny slippers under my desk at work. My feet get so, so cold all the time, especially in the winter. I recently learned that it’s something WH bro and I share, so there’s got to be some genetic component to it.

Bunny slippers

Reducing…my chemical exposure. We asked for stainless steel cookware for Christmas to replace our nicked-up non-stick cookware that creeped me out every time I used it. There’s a bit of a learning curve (e.g., don’t soak in water, don’t use abrasive cleaners, don’t add butter/oil until after the pan has heated up-which is the opposite of non-stick, etc.), but I am happy with how evenly it cooks our food. Plus, it should last us a lifetime! Talk about a win for reducing consumer consumption and being healthier!

Stainless steel cookware

Re-purposing a salad from Portland Pie

Questions: What are some of your favorites lately? Do you watch Top Chef? Made any good soups lately? Have perpetually cold (or hot) feet? Are you concerned with reducing your chemical exposure?

2015 New Year’s Goals

Hi there! I know it may seem a bit late to be posting my goals only now, but I wanted to review last year’s and have time to really think about what I wanted to accomplish this year following the craziness of the holidays. As you know, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions. From the name to the concept, I have mixed feelings. You can read more about my thoughts on the subject in last year’s New Year’s Goals post.

2015 goals list

I actually have very few brand-spanking new goals this year. Most of my goals are continuations from last year. I think I did good work on them last year, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement and growth. The sky really is the limit sometimes.

I also scaled back on the number. I had a few too many last year, which I felt left me unable to truly focus on each of them, and given goal #1 below, you’ll see why I scaled back a bit.

Personal Goals

NEW:

  • Be present

This is my “theme” of the year, if you will. Last year I started the year’s theme on my birthday and carried it through the year. While I will continue to live out that theme as well, I want to shift my focus a bit.

As you may have noticed in my last few New Year’s update posts, I griped a lot about how time seemed to be going by too quickly. At the beginning of December, knowing the rush that the next few weeks would be, I vowed take at least one moment each day, even if only for less than a minute, to be present. I plan to continue to focus on this in the new year until it becomes a habit.

Here & Now sign

c/o blog.whileyouwereaway.org/

  • Volunteer

I went to orientation for our local animal shelter back in early December as I wanted to volunteer to work in the barn. They required a certain amount of hours per week I am unable to commit to while I’m still taking class, so I hope to get back to that once I’m done with class.

OLD:

  • Continue to try new foods and incorporate them into our weekly meals

bourbon mixed drinksDoes having a bourbon mixed drink for the first time count?

  • Travel
    • NYC this spring?
    • Big trip this summer: We’re starting to brainstorm and my first choice is Ireland! Husband is thinking National Parks in the west.  Any other suggestions for affordable (<$3000) trips from the East coast?
  • Continue to read more, especially once my class is over late winter

Game of Thrones books

These dense books took up most of 2014 (+ the fourth one)

Professional Goals

NEW:

  • Start nursing school in the fall! I am so excited to finally be on my way!

OLD:

  • Continue to work on the blog, learn more about blogging, and network with other bloggers
  • As time allows, get personal training and/or nutritionist certification. Maybe I’m crazy for still having this up here…

Health and Wellness Goals

NEW:

  • Be able to do an unassisted pull-up

An unassisted pull-up is one of those exercises that, to me, exemplifies great upper body strength. I want to go after that.

Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar

We have one of these door frame pull-up gadgets at home, so I can get on that one easily enough, adding in the assisted machine at the gym. Anyone have any tips for attacking this one?

Questions: Did you make any New Year’s resolutions or goals? If so, would like to share them? Do you have mixed feelings about resolutions?

2014 New Year’s Goals Check-In

Happy New Year all! Can you believe we’re already more than a week into the new year? Last year went by so quickly!

2015 winterscape

I know many of you followed along with my monthly goal updates for 2014, which abruptly ended in June thanks to my crazy summer schedule. I didn’t want to just let it slide, though, so here’s one last check-in. And as for this year’s goals? Stay tuned for those in my next post!

One big, overarching theme? I didn’t take into account how much time I would need to devote to class and thus not be able to devote to everything else. This means I didn’t get as much done as hoped, but am happy with how much I did get done given my limited time.

Anatomy & Physiology book

Personal Goals

  • Try a new trend/clothing item I wouldn’t normally: A?

Believe it or not, towards the second half of the year, my approach to my wardrobe took a completely new approach. I started minimizing big time, donating items I didn’t love, keeping things that I did love but that were too big (for potential maternity clothes some day), and selling other items on ThreadUp. Some of this minimizing was inspired by Caroline at Un-Fancy, Jennifer of The Daily Connoisseur/Madame Chic, and Anuschka of Into Mind. I was trying to be someone I really wasn’t by going for the trends, and in developing more of a minimalist wardrobe, I feel I’m being more true to myself. I love being able to know exactly what I have to wear for certain occasions and having some great go-to pieces. I still have a few gaps to fill, but I’ll get there slowly. I’m all about quality, not quantity.

Into Mind Minimalist Wardrobe

c/o Into Mind

  • Take more pictures: B

I’ve been decent about taking pictures, and made more of an effort over the holidays. I’ve found that if I tag team it with the husband, we get some great pics. I would love to make a 2014 “yearbook” of sorts in the coming months, inspired by Young House’s Love annual albums (who else misses them?!). Something of slightly better quality than our (mostly free) Shutterfly album. We finally picked a wedding picture to be framed, too! Woohoo! Only took an entire year!

  •  Make a new menu item weekly: B

While we didn’t make a new item every week, we certainly expanded our horizons food-wise. I credit a lot of this to watching Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and continuing our open-mindedness following our trip to Europe. I’ve even developed a higher tolerance to spicy foods, which the husband is very happy about!

Korean side dishes

Side dishes from a recent trip to a Korean restaurant

  • Travel: B+

We had a quick weekend away in Maine for a family wedding, made it out to Colorado to visit my brother, and went away to western Massachusetts for our five-year anniversary. Add in some random weekends at my parents’ lake house and another at their new ski condo, and I’d say that’s pretty successful given my schoolwork schedule.

  • Read more, especially instead of watching TV: A-

I definitely went through phases of making a conscious effort with this. Instead of eating weekend meals in front of a screen (whether the TV, my phone, or my computer), I make myself sit down and read a magazine or a book. Though I enjoy less screen time, I also look forward to sitting down to eat dinner and watching an episode of one of our new favorite shows, Chopped, with WHH. It may sound silly, but we have learned a lot from this show, becoming more adventurous in the kitchen and looking forward to trying even more new foods. The way the chefs have to make do with the ingredients has definitely inspired me to try different concoctions at home.

Chopped tv show logo

I do so much reading with my current class (microbiology) and now that I’m onto the last published Game of Thrones book, A Dance with Dragons, that I look forward to watching a bit of the show and discussing with WHH what we’d do in their situation. But overall, TV consumption is down!

A Dance with Dragons, A Feast for Crows

Four down, one to go! 

Haha. I think this one was a bit ambitious given everything that was going on. The newly renamed TRY / In 2015 board got very little love last year aside from our homemade kitchen shelves, refinishing our new kitchen island, and adding some mixer attachment hooks on the inside.

Refinished kitchen island

There are definitely some items on my radar to do for this year, such as organizing my gift wrap that currently resides in the basement (I’ve always loved wrapping gifts!), creating vacation boxes to hold those random papers from our trips, and getting new items on the blank walls in our bedroom and living room in addition to the photo book already mentioned. I think these will be manageable given my class is over in March.

  • Simplify house further: A

I have to give myself a pat on the back–I seriously rocked this one this year, especially towards the second half of the year. In addition to minimizing my wardrobe, I took a good, hard look at some stuff and had no problem getting rid of it. I’ve gotten better with separating the emotional attachment of items. My mom’s been giving me a bunch of stuff lately as she’s been cleaning out their house, such as my old ski jacket (below) that still kind of fit me.

One quick trick for getting through the emotional part? Take a picture to remember it! A picture takes up a lot less room, physically and mentally.

Old coat

(This was actually cool back in the early ’90s…I think…)

I have loved the effects of minimizing our house and hope to continue this trend into the new year.

  • Meet with financial advisor: A

We got this done in the fall and were actually so relieved that we’re on track with retirement! What a weight off of our shoulders! We’re going to meet with him a few more times to figure out how to best plan for future expenses (travel, next house, next cars, etc.) to put us in the best place financially. The better off we are, the more choices we have!

  • Write reviews, such as for products and travel: B-

I have been good about this moving forward, but still think about the great places we went and haven’t done yet. I’ll hope to get to this once class is done.

Walkabout Florence Riomaggiore

One of the highlights of our trip: this tour of Cinque Terre (this is at the last stop in Riomaggiore)

Professional:

  • Take co-requisite courses for nursing school: A+

A&P I & II are all done and I’m about halfway through my last class, microbiology!

  • Start nursing school: TBD

I’m officially in to start this fall! Woohoo!!!

  • Get better at WordPress and blogging in general: B

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the blog has been put on the back-burner due to classwork. Since I wasn’t doing much with it the second half of the year, I’m not going to worry too much about this one. I seriously don’t know how I managed to write three times a week last winter and spring without losing my mind!

blog banner

This could use some jazzing up

  • As time allows, get personal training and/or nutritionist certification: TBD

I obviously didn’t have the time to do this last year. Classwork was my first priority

Health and Wellness:

  • Try a new physical endeavor as my body continues to heal from all of the injuries last year: B+

I didn’t get as far as I hoped given my never-ending tennis elbow saga (which, knock on wood, is still going well!) combined with the nagging plantar fasciitis (again, knock on wood, going well!). However, I did branch out from my regular Jillian Michaels love affair to include barre3 and more yoga than I had previously. I even felt confident enough in my elbow to get back to some kettlebell workouts last month! More on this subject in another post.

Stadium running

First time working out at a local stadium this year

  • Work on reducing exposure to pesticides, hormones, chemicals, and other toxins: A

Though we already had a low-chemical lifestyle, I wanted to do more. I tried hard this past year to find affordable, yet effective replacements for our everyday items. The majority of my beauty routine, which is minimal anyway, is now “green” or chemical free (I use EWG’s “Skin Deep” database to double-check all beauty/hair/body items). We concentrated on buying more of our regular items organic, meat being the biggest, and most expensive change. We also frequented more farmers’ markets.

Finally, the end! A recap of January through May:
January: C
February: B-
March: B+
April: B+
May: B+

And the final for this review: B+

Yay! I will take that! I bit off a bit more than I could chew given everything going on and trying to maintain my sanity at the same time, so I am very happy with that!

Questions: Did you make any resolutions or goals last year? How did you do with them? Did you hold yourself accountable at the end of the year?

Quick Tip: Take Off Your Shoes

Hi all! I know it’s been a while, but I am still here and still dedicated to this blog. I’m just trying to figure out a schedule that will work around my life. I’m back in class (microbiology) and fall is a busy time of year, but I do miss interacting with all of you and sharing ideas on how to live a healthy life.

That being said, today’s tip is something I’ve adopted over the past few months. I told you how much I enjoyed the Not Just Paleo podcast with Dr. Ray McClanahan and how it really got me thinking about foot health and shoes. It influenced me to adopt more of a shoe-free lifestyle (when appropriate). We’ve always had a no shoe policy in our house to keep down on tracking in dirt, allergens, and any nasty chemicals. Our shoe collection by the door can attest to that:

Shoe tray

In the warmer months, we just take our shoes off and walk around the house barefoot. Yes, this flies in the face of advice I was given and have given for anyone with plantar fasciitis. In fact, I’m kind of convinced that my podiatrist’s advice to wear shoes in the house may have made it worse/prolonged it because I found that my ankle mobility decreased. Since kicking the shoes off and keeping up with my exercises, my ankle mobility has increased.

Bare feet on wood floor

Bare is best!

In the cooler months, we have our slippers waiting for us by the door. Our slippers are fit loosely, have minimal support, and wide toe boxes. We’ll be breaking those out soon given the recent decrease in temperatures we’ve had here in Massachusetts!

I even make a point to walk around our yard barefoot and do some sprints, or “strides” as runners call them, across the grass. I walk across dirt, stones, you name it. It’s healthy for our feet to have a variety of surfaces so we can develop muscles that have been weakened through our shoe choices and the fact that we do need to wear shoes in our modern day.

Running barefoot on grass

Source

Next, I’m going to experiment with more minimal/barefoot shoes. That will be a post all on its own once I have enough data for you. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

Questions: Do you make a point to go barefoot? Do you have a no shoe policy in your house? Do you run around outside without shoes? Is foot health important to you?

Quick Tip: Get Outside!

Hi all! So happy to be back here again!

I wanted to let you in on a new healthy habit of mine: getting outside. More specifically, I’ve been spending my weekday lunch time outside. Not a revolutionary idea in the least, but it’s been a big change for me as I would usually spend that time writing blog posts, reading other blogs, and catching up on personal things that needed to be done.

Corner desk

Type, type, typing away…

It started when I was still in class this summer. I felt like I was missing out on some beautiful summer days, spending all of my time at work or inside doing lab experiments. I decided that instead of sitting inside, why not go outside? It was also nice to warm up from the chilly indoor air conditioning (yes, that blanket that I’m using in the picture above for padding is also used to keep me warm!).

While reading, I would make a point to be in the sun for 10-15 minutes to get some vitamin D. I’m glad I did this because I recently learned that even after over a month of doing this and also taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D a day, my levels dipped back down! Do you remember when I was able to get it up to 61 ng/ml? Now look at it! Back down to 38!

Vitamin D July 2014

I obviously have some vitamin D issues. Despite taking a multivitamin, an additional vitamin D supplement, getting sun, and having a healthy diet, it keeps trending down! My PCP told me to increased my dose to 5,000 IU/day, so I’m hoping that, combined with continued outdoor sun exposure, will keep it higher.

When class ended, I decided I would still go outside, and this time go for a walk. I love my BalanceBall chair, but sitting all day isn’t so healthy (and I do transition to a modified standing desk for a few hours most days). So walking seemed like a natural way to stretch out those hip flexors and get the benefits of some low intensity exercise.

Summer stroll scene

Scene from a weekday stroll

Though the amount of time I’m able to be outside for a walk varies, I am able to get out most days. A couple of weeks ago I got out every single day!

Daily walking habit

While going for one of our nightly walks a few weeks ago, I proclaimed to WHH that I intend to keep this habit throughout the year, safety permitting. Granted, I may balk at the idea when it looks like this outside:

Massachusetts polar vortex 2014

But I will try my darndest and push myself to do it. The fresh air, the sunlight, seeing nature (even if it’s just trees on a busy city sidewalk) are refreshing. We’re meant to be outside! We are not meant to be holed up in front of electronics all day.

Massachusetts walking path

Lucky to have this near my work

Questions: Do you try to get outside during your lunch breaks at work? Have you started a new habit lately?

Are You Orthorexic?

(Sorry for the radio silence after last week’s post. Class is taking up a lot of my time, so it looks like some weeks may be one post, some weeks may be two.)

Have you heard of this term? It’s a real one, I promise you, though not an officially recognized diagnosis. It means to have an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy. Sounds like an oxymoron, right?

Orthorexia origins

But on closer inspection, you can see how being consumed with being too healthy is unhealthy since being consumed by anything isn’t good. Being able to eat only something you would consider a superfood, for example, and unable to enjoy anything that’s not, or worse, having anxiety over the fact you had something that wasn’t on you “only will eat these things” list, is never healthy.

Rainbow of foods

The term was first coined by Dr. Steven Bratman. When I visited his website, I discovered he also admitted that the definition sounded like an oxymoron (great minds think alike?). He gives an example of a woman who died from orthorexia (though the lines seem a bit blurred to me as to whether she really had anorexia). Labels aside, anything that causes us to restrict food in an unhealthy way, whether we think it’s unhealthy or not, can be detrimental to our health, both mental and physical.

Salad with egg, legumes, nuts

I’m bringing this up because I have been through stages when I started to head to orthorexia-land. It’s not surprising given my history and you know how open I’ve been with my unintended weight loss last year and subsequent (healthy) gain. I’ve gone through periods, even in those healthier times, of restricting my carbs and/or dairy more than necessary.  While I do know my body benefits from being gluten-free, that doesn’t mean I have to be low-carb. And while I’ve experimented with reducing my dairy due to a potential issue with FODMAP foods, that doesn’t mean I need to eliminate it completely.

Mixed greens salad

Why all the salad pictures? I think I had been having a few too many every week. I came to realize this after recently mixing it up. Having one for lunch and having a lot more raw veggies for dinner was messing with my digestion almost as much as gluten! I shunned or drastically reduced other carbs, such as the gluten-free pasta we would make to go with American Chop Suey and instead put the mixture on top of greens. Don’t get me wrong–veggies are great for you, but anything in excess is not so great for you.

Salad prep for lunch

This makes me wonder if there is also an equivalent exercise term would could apply. That is, an unhealthy obsession with only being able to work out a certain way. Don’t get me wrong–if you find an exercise you love, you should do it. But if that exercise is causing you to become injured, perhaps you need to mix it up.

Jillian Michaels DVDs

You know I love my Jillian-inspired HIIT workouts and though I mixed up my workouts throughout the week (some yoga, some running, some strength), I didn’t mix up the intensity much. I thought the best way to go was to max out every time. I liked feeling like I had worked really hard and given my all. But perhaps I was pushing my body too much. In an effort to rein it in recently, I decided to focus on also varying the intensity and my body has been thankful.

What’s the point of all of this? To admit sometimes we don’t know everything, or what we thought worked may not. To be truthful with ourselves about our aim to be healthy and whether trying so hard is actually unhealthy. Being healthy, like all things that are worth your time, is not effortless, but it also shouldn’t consume you.

Questions: What do you think of the term orthorexia? Do you think it’s a real thing? Could you see yourself going down that path? How do you make sure you keep your healthy choices healthy?

New Year’s Goals Check-In: May

Holy smokes, it’s June! We’re nearly halfway through the year. How the heck did that happen?

You know what a new month means: a breakdown of my goals for the New Year. A lot of my answers to my goals are, “classwork is my focus right now” and I’m fine with hat, especially given that the A&P II I’m taking is only 10 weeks long, compared to the usual 16 weeks, so I’m cramming in a lot in a short time. I’m already feeling the pressure and am doing my best to balance life.

That being said, here’s how I did in May:

Personal Goals

  • Try a new trend/clothing item I wouldn’t normally: A

Even though I gained some items after going through a pile of too-big clothes I had put aside, I still have no casual/weekend clothes. I finally bit the bullet and signed up for Stitch Fix and hope that although they will have my style profile down, they push me outside my comfort zone a bit as well. I won’t receive the shipment until July and I can’t wait to share with you!

Stitch Fix Logo

  • Take more pictures: B

Picture taking has been mostly for blogging, but it’s becoming more and more of a habit, so I’m happy for that. Once my class is over, I want to go through our vacation pictures more thoroughly to organize and make notes on them as well as get them printed for a real photo album. And then there are our wedding pics…

  •  Make a new menu item weekly: B+

Another month without much meal planning, but we’re still eating plenty clean and healthy. WHH has been making up some of his own recipes, such as the sausage and pasta stir fry we had the other night that I was too hungry to take a second to take a picture of.

Something new that I did get a picture of was Brussels sprouts on the grill! I cooked them a bit in the oven first with some olive oil and garlic salt, and then onto some skewers and the barbie they went! We had to take off a few of the outer leaves on some of them, but they were delicious!

Grilled Brussesls sprouts

  • Travel: A

With our plane tickets to Colorado booked and filling in some details with my brother, we need to get a bit of a loose itinerary, and start to think about booking some places to stay when we’re not with my brother. This vacation is well-timed to be a couple of weeks after the end of my course. I will be wanting some R&R and to finally enjoy the summer!

  • Read more, especially instead of watching TV: A

I made a conscious effort at this one this past month. Instead of eating weekend meals in front of a screen (whether the TV, my phone, or my computer), I’ve made myself sit down and read a magazine or a book. I’ve enjoyed this immensely and found a lot of satisfaction in finally being able to read something other than my textbook or A Storm of Swords (as much as I enjoy the series, I’ve been reading it since late last fall).

Check out this interesting stat I came across in my Women’s Health Magazine.

Americans ate 118 fewer calories in 2010 vs 2005

This month has consisted of nothing but the necessary, so a no-go on the Pinterest board. I’m scaling it again because of classwork.

  • Simplify house further: B+

Another bag of items went off to be donated as well as another Thred Up bag in the mail! We’re getting there, little by little!

  • Meet with financial advisor: TBD

As I said last month, I’m scheduling this for the end of the summer when I will be done with classes for a few weeks and can properly concentrate. This time I just took it off so it doesn’t affect my GPA. 😉

  • Write reviews, such as for products and travel:C+

Have not done this, but scaled due to class. Will try to make a better effort this month and do it in small chunks instead of thinking of all of the different places I should review and get overwhelmed. As my co-worker says, you need to eat an elephant one bite at a time.

Elephants_at_Amboseli_national_park_against_Mount_Kilimanjaro

I feel as though I have a line of elephants to eat. Image c/o amoghavarsha.com

Professional:

  • Take co-requisite courses for nursing school: A+

I finished A&P I with a 95% average and am in the third week of A&P II. The weather was too lovely this weekend to be stuck in the basement, so I tucked myself into a little corner outside to do my endocrine system dissection. WHH admitted his sick curiosity had him peeking over at me while he was doing yard work. He gave some pretty priceless faces.

A&P II dissection kit

  • Start nursing school: TBD

Still on the wait-list for Fall 2014. Focusing on getting through A&P II, and then I’ll go from there.

  • Get better at WordPress and blogging in general: B

The blog has unfortunately fallen by the wayside a bit thanks to classwork. I’m okay with it for now since that is where my focus needs to be, hence why I’m not being harsher with my grading.

  • As time allows, get personal training and/or nutritionist certification: TBD

Constantly thinking about this even though I just need to concentrate on one thing at a time. It’s always in the back of my mind, though.

Health and Wellness:

  • Try a new physical endeavor as my body continues to heal from all of the injuries last year: B+

I finished the Return to Running program in May after six months of making my way back to running! I haven’t pushed my body much since that time as my plantar fasciitis has been rearing its ugly head a bit. It’s partially my fault–I haven’t been as religious with icing and massaging–and partially being on my feet for two weeks at work. Now that I’m back at my desk, it’s getting a little better. I’ve been varying my routes and surfaces a lot, so that has been fun.

New England white church

I love the quintessential New England sights during my runs.

Something that’s not so fun is my nagging tennis elbow. When I went back to the orthopedist earlier in May, he told me to take the next four weeks and stretch–that’s it. Well, I  have, and guess what? No difference. I haven’t stayed off of it completely because I don’t want the tendon to get tight from no use, but I don’t do anything that hurts it.

I go back to him on Monday and I’m kind of dreading it. I know he’ll offer me another cortisone injection and will make a convincing argument, but I don’t want it. PRP or prolotherapy are the last options before surgery, which I also definitely don’t want. While it’s holding me back from doing a lot of workout moves that I want, I am just going with the flow more than I used to.

  • Work on reducing exposure to pesticides, hormones, chemicals, and other toxins: B+

We’re still conscious of the types of meats, dairy, and other food we buy. I’ve been going to Whole Foods more regularly to buy their organic almond milk, which is surprisingly less expensive than our usual grocery store. I go through a decent amount of it every week between smoothies and my new obsession, overnight oats.

Gluten free overnight oats

That brings us to the end. A recap my monthly grades for the year:
January: C
February: B-
March: B+
April: B+
May…B+! Still holding steady and I will take it!

For the past two months I’ve talked about how I want to work on slowing down. It hasn’t happened to the degree I would like, but both myself and WHH are conscious of taking small steps to make it happen. June isn’t quite as jam-packed for us as May was, but it is slowly filling up. It’s often WHH’s busiest month at work as the school year comes to a close and everyone’s rushing to get everything done.

Though he is technically off for two months, he will be keeping himself busy with some classes and curriculum planning because he finally got his dream job last month: a full-time high school art teacher. So proud of this guy.

Two thumbs up

Out celebrating last month

All in all, June is still looking busy, but we have time planned to kick back and relax, if only for short bursts of time. I know we’ll make every effort to enjoy those moments, no matter how brief, so that it recharges us to go on to the next thing.

Questions: How are you doing with any goals you set for the year? Do you have time planned in the next month to relax a bit? Any accomplishments that you want to brag about?

Mixing It Up

Hi all! I know it’s been awhile (or, at least, a little longer than my usual), but last week I said that I’d probably move to two posts a week and that’s where it’s at. I was hoping to do more of a Tuesday/Friday schedule, but that didn’t work out this week. So I’m mixing it up and doing Wednesday/Friday.

I’m also mixing up a lot of other things in my life right now. Or at least it seems like a lot for me being the creature of habit that I am. When I find something that works for me I like to stick with it. That being said, it is good to get some variety in your life and everything in moderation is always what I’m preaching, so I best be practicing it, too!

On the food front, I’m mixing up my breakfasts again. I had been sticking to a yogurt parfait in the morning for nearly a year. Yes, a year. I’d sometimes mix it up on the weekends and have oatmeal or go out for breakfast, but I always missed my parfait. You’d think I would have gotten sick of them, but surprisingly not.

Pumpkin parfait container

Then, a couple of months ago or so, I changed it up and moved to smoothies for breakfast. Except, again, every.single.day. I finally decided this week that I’m having a combination of items for breakfast throughout the week (smoothie one day, yogurt another day) and I should branch out and try a chia pudding or overnight oats. I’ll let you know if (when!) I do how they come out.

Almond Coconut Milk Smoothie

Also something I have nearly every single day? An apple with nut butter for my afternoon snack. Notice that I did say nut butter, which implies a little variety. It used to be peanut butter only, but I had branched out a while ago and have since been using sunflower and almond butter as well. Remember my stash that I keep at work (upside down, of course!)?

Peanut and sunflower butter upside down

I’ve recently started including pears (gasp!), watermelon (no!), and today, an orange (mon Dieu!)! I think I’ll have a handful of nuts with my orange, though. Doesn’t exactly go with peanut butter. Like, the one thing that doesn’t. Probably because nothing rhymes with orange. 😉

Orange with smiley face

I may have drawn on my orange…

That may not sounds like a lot, but for a type-A, sticks-to-a-plan person like me, this pushes me outside my comfort zone a bit. And is if that weren’t enough…

Ron Popeil but wait there's more

I’m also mixing up my workouts! With the week or so hiatus between classes, I made it to the gym a few times. I ran on the treadmill, did some Little-style walking hill intervals, and hit the heavier weights. I definitely missed the variety of the gym.

I’ll be back at home a lot now that I’m in the midst of a really busy 10 week class, so I wanted to be able to mix it up at home as well. I downloaded the Nike Training Club app after reading about it on Courtney’s blog. I did one of the 15 minute butt workouts, combined with the first five minutes of an abs/glute workout, and I’m still sore two days later! I love that you’re coached through each move and everything’s timed for you. The only thing I didn’t like was the inability to skip a certain move.

Nike Training Club app

I’ve also been expanding my yoga practice thanks to YouTube through my TV via our Wii. I’ll generally search for “yoga for runners” or “yoga for hips” and I’ll get some great results from that. I love the variety since my yoga library is limited both in terms of DVDs and what’s available on On Demand (we have the least expensive cable option) and I’m definitely not one to do my own yoga workout.

You know how else I’m mixing it up, but is actually not working in my favor? Being on my feet a lot more at work. With our medical record Go Live, I’ve been in the infusion room for the past week instead of my desk and I’m doing a lot of standing around. For some reason, standing, as opposed to walking, really bothers me and has made my PF flare up a bit. So I’m easing up on the running for right now so as not to aggravate it further. It wouldn’t be a problem except that it was like going from 0-60 MPH. I went from all sitting to all standing. This week’s been a better variety of sitting and standing, so thank goodness for that.

What prompted me being all kinds of wild and mixing it up? I’ve just felt a bit “off” lately. You know what I mean? My body’s been a bit fussy in terms of GI issues and generally feeling tight, so I’m trying to figure out what I can do to make it better. I’ve also recently discovered the idea that gluten may not be the only issue for me–that FODMAP foods may also be to blame, hence the slight dietary changes. I’m not going all in just yet because that would be a lot of food to change up at once. Plus, it’s ice cream season.

Double fisting ice cream

Questions: Do you tend to stick to certain habits? Do you need to make yourself change things up or do you look forward to it? Is there anything you’ve changed up recently?