Celebrating Small Victories

Today I had a small victory, my belt was able to tighten one hole comfortably. I had decided not to weigh myself because I not only don't have a working scale, I also have a tendency to obsess over every ounce and fluctuation on the scale. The months have not been kind to me since February. The trigger was a sprained ankle which prevented me from running for several weeks. I think the hardest part of running is starting and moving. I'm not going to make excuses for slacking off, but I'm sure my schedule just made it that much more difficult. 

I started a new job the beginning of October and with it, a new schedule and less stress. Its easier to change a small part of your daily routine when your daily rituals have completely shifted. I have now managed to get in 3-4 runs a week averaging 2 miles. A little on the low side I know, but it's a start. Tonight, I'm attending a running group. It definitely helps your commitment to get a workout in when you are meeting up with others. The urban run group I joined so far has been super supportive of my desire to get back into running shape after being out of it for a while.

How to Hack Yourself For A Morning Workout

 Now is about the time of year that the zeal of those New Year's Resolutions starts to fade (for some, that happened about two weeks ago, no judgement). If you are starting to lose the motivation to skip the snooze button; here are a few tried and true methods to getting past your workout hurdles in the morning and allow you to get your workout on.

* Set the thermostat to begin to increase to toasty, toasty warm about an hour ahead of the time you want to get up. That nice warm bed will be less inviting if the air around is just as warm.

* Put your alarm (whether your phone alarm or an actual alarm clock) across the room, so that you have to walk to it to turn in off. You are less likely to just hit snooze, turn over, and go right back to sleep.

* Set your alarm so that it goes off with no time allowed for snoozing to get your workout in. No snoozing allowed. Tell yourself this. Brutal? Maybe, but trust me, it works.

* Next to where you put your alarm, put a small pre-workout snack. Something you know that your stomach can handle, and something that doesn't need to be refrigerated. This can be a banana, a protein bar, trail mix, a sports drink, or whatever works for you. When your alarm goes off, you are going to walk across the room, turn it off and devour it. Do it right away, before you can think. This will jolt you awake, at least a little bit. You will feel alert enough, that you might as well get your workout in no matter how tired you are, now that you are awake and all.

* Caffeine. If you are recommended by a doctor to avoid caffeine at all costs, ignore this. If you have a programmable coffee pot, program your coffee maker to start just a few minutes before your alarm is set to go off. If you have to press a button to get it started, make a beeline for it once that snack is consumed.

* Sleep in some of your workout gear. Not your sneakers, of course, but perhaps your workout pants sports bra (if yours isn't too uncomfortable) and tee. It's like a promise to yourself to get your winter workout on.

Try a few of these and you may just get into a habit of early rising and make your New Year's Resolution become a resolution no more.

Pushing Past the Wins

The hardest part about making huge life changes is taking the first step; in other words, starting to make a big change in your life is being dissatisfied enough with one aspect to be willing to change it up and get uncomfortable. I am less than five (5!!!!) pounds away from reaching my initial healthy weight goal (I have a few vanity pounds on top of that, but the healthy weight is the important part) right now, and let me tell you, the hardest part is continuing to be diligent enough with tracking what I eat in my food diary. Laziness is part of it, I admit; I have been so happy with the progress I have made so far, that it is easy to get complacent and just be satisfied with my initial accomplishments.

To make matters worse, I am just now back on my running program after my half marathon recovery and respiratory crud. It feels great to hit the pavement again; I did a pretty fast (for me) 2-miler yesterday morning. The hubs and I have decided to run a 15K in January. Partly, it's to keep me on track through the holiday insanity that is going to ensue, and partly it's for the swag. Seriously, check this out:

2013 HC this is your goodie bag_WITH sizing chart

Plus you get hot chocolate and chocolate fondue at the end. If you are in Atlanta in January and want to check it out : http://www.hotchocolate15k.com/atlanta/.

I guess the best way to keep on track is to constantly add new goals and allow yourself to completely celebrate the wins. By the way, to embrace a win, here is an image of me and the hubs showing off our completion medals from the Silver Comet Half last month:

Menu Planning: Great for Everyone

Hey Everyone!
I'm continuing on with posts about my lifestyle changes with an approach to menu planning. One of the big contributors to my success so far has been cooking the majority of  meals at home.Whether you are trying to stick to a budget or are trying to change your eating habits; planning out your meals and cooking them at home is a great way of finding success with your goals. 

The process usually starts with sitting down once every two weeks and planning out meals. I usually repeat the first weeks' meals the second week to cut down on groceries, expenses and some work. There are some meals that are repeats every week, while others are rotated in and out depending on what is seasonal. One hint though, if you are repeating one week's recipes and there is an untried recipe, make sure you plan for a back up. Otherwise, you will end up with extra ingredients for a recipe you don't like.

Also, make sure you sketch out your meals with regard to how accomplished you are cooking (ie, if you can barely toast bread you might be better off learning how to cook, say a warm grain salad, as opposed to an elaborate 12 page dish from a new cookbook). Keep it simple and delicious and you will set yourself up for success, not failure.

To help you out with all this cooking, you might want to enlist the help of a spouse, roommate, partner, or another family member to help you out with the cooking a few days a week. It helps a ton, trust me!

Anyway, without further ado, here is an example of a week's worth of menu planning ( keep in mind I am a vegetarian)...

Vegetarian Chili Night

Stirfry ( Spelt Udon Noodles, Tempeh, Frozen Stir Fry Veggies)

Tempeh and Poblano Tacos with
Sprouted Grain Tortilla

New Recipe Night!
Panang Curry with

Spiced Eggplant and Peppers with

Homemade Pizza

Roasted Carrot Soup
Grilled cheese Sandwich

Fruit & 100 calories of Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios)
Hard Boiled Egg & Snackable Veggies (Celery/Carrot sticks, Cherry Tomatoes, etc)
1/8 c dried Fruit & 100 Calories of Nuts ( My usual Pre Workout)

Lowfat/Fat free Cottage Cheese
Coffee with Almond Milk
Cooked Grains with cinnamon, honey, almond milk
Coffee with Almond Milk
Scrambled Eggs with Veggies
Coffee with Almond Milk

With an apple and an orange
Cheese sandwich
With an apple and an orange
Baked potato with cheese and frozen veggies
With an apple and an orange

I then base my grocery list off my menu plan and go from there. I usually, however, also grab a few quick and easy substitutions that don't require much cooking in case a day is super crazy.

Oh, and just in case you were interested...the obligatory before and now shot (I know, I know)....
Photo: A cute couple at GCSS' "A Night To Remember."  How do we look?

Designer Shout Out: Stephanie Gentry

Hey everyone!
This past Friday I got a chance to check out a trunk show at Moxy Boutique (@MoxyAtlanta) featuring a collection of a dear friend of mine, Stephanie Gentry. This current season's collection is completely in silk and microsuede, featuring incredible structural details. I totally want one of her trenches (So soft!)!

You may think me a little biased, but she was one of the emerging designers featured at the most recent Phoenix Fashion Week.
Definitely check out Stephanie's clothing (follow her @SGentryDesigner) and if you are in the Atlanta area, make sure you take a moment to look through the goods at Moxy as well.