January Wrap-Up

Hi Y’all,

It is hard to believe that today is the last day of January! This month, I focused on exercise and healthy living. I hope that you were able to learn a few things along the way, I know I did.
I apologize for not posting every day as I had originally intended— sometimes life gets in the way and that’s ok, right?!

Over the past month, I hi-lighted many different ways that you could infuse your daily life with a more rounded diet and exercise. I must admit, it’s incredibly hard to change your habits. Writing about it every day helped me stay in tune with my goals. However, it did not mean that I always had the self discipline I needed to succeed. Does that ever happen to you?

The series encouraged me to make a list of three measurable goals that I hope to embrace throughout the next month. Even though I won’t be writing about it every day, I hope that I continue to focus on a healthier lifestyle.

February Health/Fitness Goals:

Exercise three-four days a week.
Replace heavy lunch with salad at least once a week.
Lose 3 pounds by the end of February.
Writing goals down make them more real and help you stay personally accountable. If you made a resolution to get fit this year, don’t let January be your stopping point! Continue focusing on your goals and you’ll get there! 
Good Luck!

Friday Failures: Making a Come Back!

I believe we all aspire to be as resilient as Britney Spears. (Stay with me here!) Most of us painfully watched the teen pop star crumble under pressure a few years ago. She totally went off the deep end! However, she made a come back. She cleaned up her act, got in shape, focused on her kids and her career. It appears that she left the darkness behind her.

Not everyone can come back from humiliation with such gusto. Britney’s mistakes were BIG and in the spotlight of the whole world. Our mistakes are small and yet we often choose to hide behind our “failures” forever. Some of us rarely give ourselves permission to make a come back let alone gain the perspective that one is even possible!

In my life, I am notorious for eating a McDonald’s value meal and then following it up with a tasty treat. On those days, I usually feel ashamed and disgusted. I slipped and made a mistake. It normally takes me a week or so to recover from that mistake and start eating healthier. It takes one small thing to set me off and claim a “failure”.

I once had an instructor in college tell me that “failure” is not a reality. She said that we as a society “just give up too soon!”. If Britney Spears can bounce back from her train wreck why can’t we? I refuse to accept that my mistakes are “failures”. I will look at them as opportunities to improve my outcomes for the next time.

Britney Spears seems to have improved her outcome. She is now featured in magazines with her kids on the trampoline or with her boyfriend lounging by the pool looking incredibly fit. I challenge you to change your outcome too. Take the Britney approach and get a team of folks to support you, encourage you and love on you! Allow those individuals to hold you accountable and encourage you to stand up when you make a mistake. Give yourself permission to fail and encourage yourself to bounce back. If Britney Spears can do it, so can you!

Good Luck!

P.S. Check out my Valentine’s Day Wreath over at A Content Housewife!

Tasty Tuesday: Snack Attack

I’m addicted to snacks. I love to eat while watching TV at night not because I am hungry but because I am a creature of habit. My hubby is notorious for eating snacks at night (especially ice cream) right before bed. I have to limit my intake and make healthier choices.

My favorite low-cal evening snacks are:

Microwaveable Popcorn
Skinny Cow Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Bars
Ghirardelli Chocolate Square in Evening Dream 
(not the bar, just a square people!)
Miniature Quaker Oat Rice Cakes- Apple Cinnamon 
(I do have the habit of eating the whole bag!)
I’d love to add more healthy options to my evening snack attacks. Tell me, what’s your favorite evening snack?

Move it Monday: At Home Gym.

When the whole gym membership thing didn’t work out, I knew I had to bring things inside the house to encourage me to work out. I know my body and personality and I’ve accepted the fact that I will never be the kind of girl that just hops up and runs outdoors… so I knew I needed to create a space in my house that could provide me with the tools I need to get some cardio in.

After months of begging and making bets that I could not keep, I finally wore J down and we decided that I could get an elliptical machine. Of course, there were conditions because my start and stop behaviors annoy my husband (with good reason), I agreed to the terms and have so far (we are only three days in) kept up on my end of the bargain.

The terms: work out regularly for the next two months or lose my clothing allowance for two months. 
We searched the internet and read reviews on a variety of low-end elliptical machines. I think it’s important to pay cash and we do not have unlimited resources to buy a beefy elliptical machine. After I researched, we were saving for the machine, when Amazon featured this baby (one of the models I had previously reviewed) as a “daily deal” and included FREE shipping! 
(Source: Amazon)
When we received the elliptical, there was a part defect but Schwinn quickly replaced the part with no additional fee. Since it’s been in operation, I have fallen in love with it. 
Here’s why I love my new elliptical:

(1) It runs very quietly so I can hear my TV shows and it does not disrupt J in what he’s doing.
(2) It is easy to use. The courses are easy to select and challenging.
(3) It has wheels and can easily be moved. We don’t have a lot of space so we’ve had to move it a couple of times and that was very easy.
(4) The monitor gives me a summary of calories burned, distance, etc. 
I am very excited about adding the new elliptical machine to my at home exercise collection. Now partnered with my wii games and DVDs, I feel like I have all the tools I need to be successful at home. 
Do you have at home work out equipment that you use? If so, tell me about it. 

Stylin’ Saturday: Pants

My thighs rub together— I am not proud of it but it’s the honest truth! I hate it! I don’t like the way it feels or looks! I despise my legs rubbing together.

Because of this during exercise, unless I am in the comfort of my home, you will not find me in shorts! I’ve tried and I hate it… Plus, I don’t actually exercise because I am constantly trying to pull my shorts down to cover my legs and keep them from riding up. Due to my utter annoyance with exercising bottoms, I buy cheap pants and hope for the best.

I like capri pants because they feel comfortable and fit well. I’m 5’2 so long pants are problematic for me as well.

Pants like these from Target run around $15 and can sometimes be found on sale. Also, the version of these pants that I own, have a little cut out in the back so it’s cute and your calf is free to breath!

I also often wear these pants made by Hanes that run around $10 each and come in a variety of colors. Originally, I purchased a pair in black and navy from Wal-Mart. However, an online search made it appear that these particular pants may not be made currently. I like them because they are loose fitting and comfortable. It’s easy to lounge or work out in these pants.

What kind of bottoms do you wear when you exercise? Tell me about it!

Also, don’t forget to join my sweet friend Kelley from the The Grant Life  and I for the linky party this weekend! It won’t disappoint.
get the InLinkz code

Friday Failures: Lay Over & Linky Party Details.

Happy Friday, Friends! This week has been really exhausting so I am looking forward to a little bit of weekend fun. Let’s kick it off with a linky party!

My good bloggy friend, Kelley @ the Grant Life and I are co-hosting the Financial Friday Linky Party over at her site. Be sure to check it out because there are some super crafts and ideas over there every week!

Hop on over to the Grant Life and join the fun!


Also, this Friday for “Friday Failures”, I think it’s important to chat about how often I just “lay over” and give up when it comes to exercising and eating healthy. My husband and I say “lay over” a lot because we have a Jack Russell named Milo. Whenever we ask Milo to do something he doesn’t want to do such as going to the bathroom outside when it’s raining or digging out of the covers in the early morning, the little squirt just lays over… literally, he drops from his stance and drops to his side as if to say, ” I give up!” 

I do that a lot too! I guess that’s why they say animals are like their owners. When I get bored or discouraged with my weight loss progress or exercising habits, I just quit or worse… I don’t even start.
I’ve had a lot of “big ideas” when it comes to weight loss and healthy eating and at the end of the day I find myself still wasting calories on treats and not getting off the couch. This year, I am hopeful that my previous failures are not my future! I am prayerful that this year, I’ll learn how to get back up when I fail and act a little less like my pup!

Hope you all have a wonderful Friday and don’t forget to visit the Grant Life and check out the cool things that are posting over there! Kelley has blessed my life so much— visit regularly and I know she’ll bless yours too!

Tasty Tuesday/Whatcha Readin’ Wednesday: Healthy Alternatives

The hubby and I do not always prepare the most healthy meals. He is a picky eater and I am always searching for easy. As a result, our meals are sometimes heavy laden in grease and preservatives.Perhaps your family is similar, your husband is a picky eater or maybe your kiddos, whatever the case may be there are some sneaky ways to introduce healthier food into your diet.

Here are a few examples that we have used in our home:

  • Ground Turkey instead of Ground Beef
  • Spinach in soup and spaghetti
  • Cauliflower in homemade mac & cheese
There are many ways you can introduce healthier food into your lives. My advice is to start slow and make baby changes. 
And now for some housekeeping items, friends! (1) I am so sorry that I am blending Tasty Treats & Whatcha Readin’ Wednesday. Yesterday was CRAZY! (2) the winner of the Women’s Health Giveaway is Vintage Modern Wife. Yay! Please e-mail me so we can get you squared away! Congratulations! 
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Have a great day y’all!

Move it Monday: Pilates

Several years ago, my mom bought Winsor Pilates  DVDs. I gave them a few half-hearted attempts. Pilates is tricky because it seems like all you are doing is holding stretches, but then the quiver starts and it gets hard fast! The image above seems rather simple for example but with your core engaged, it can become very challenging! 
Over the next bit, I tried Pilates from time to time. Enrolled in a six week course at the Y with my sister and then practiced on Monday evenings for a while at a local Yoga Studio. I really love Pilates because of the burn! Pilates has a way of making you feel sore for days… the type of soreness that makes climbing stairs a challenge, rising from a chair breath taking and quick movement nearly impossible! 
Pilates focuses on building flexibility, creating long lean muscles and increasing core strength. The principles of pilates include: concentration, control, centering, flow of movement, precision, breathing, powerhouse and neutral spine. Combined these principles really can dramatically change your body if you are disciplined in practicing it. 
In the Lexington area, I would recommend checking out Bliss Wellness Center and take a class with Kara Best. She is ah-ma-zing! She really pushes her students to learn the foundational principles of Pilates while keeping good form! 
Enjoy the burn, friends! 

Style Saturday: Finding the Right Shoe

Recently, I read an article on WebMD about finding the right athletic shoe  and realized I need to think a little bit more about my shoes when I am exercising. The article explains that you need to update your shoes after a couple hundred miles and you should not make your shoes multi-task. Previously, my thoughts on buying new shoes have been something like “I think I need a new pair of shoes today! These look kinda crappy!” With that mindset, its no wonder, I get blisters on my feet.

Realizing I had a minor problem, I did what every wise woman does, I did some research and found two pair of shoes that would meet my needs of cardio/running and hiking (hubby preferred!) and promptly placed them on my “Wish List”.

These Nike Running Shoes at Dick’s are within my price range and are made for running. 
They meet my three major requirements: lightweight, Nike (I like the way they fit compared to other brands) and has good arch support. These shoes will be perfect for jogging (if I ever really start doing that!) and using my elliptical. 
These New Balance Trail Runner Shoes at Altrec are within my price range and made for hiking and trails. The hubby loves to hike and I never have the right shoes. Often times, I’ll just ruin a regular pair of tennis shoes when we hike because I don’t have an alternative. I searched high and low for  shoes that I actually like for hiking. I’m not into the bulky look! These shoes are lighter than standard shoes and have the sure lace to help remove the shoe lace concerns related to being outdoors and it protects your toes from various rocks and such with the Rock Stop technology! 
Finding the right shoe is a challenge so I am hopeful that I’ll be able to buy these two pairs while the price is right and the product is available! 

Have you found the right shoe for exercising? If so, tell me all about it! I’d love to hear about it. 

Friday Failures: Gym Memberships

Have you ever purchased a gym membership and realized you are throwing money down the drain each month? Have you ever locked yourself into a contract and recognized that you have no intention on integrating exercise into your life? I have… more than once.

I joined Shapes Fitness before because I tricked myself to believe that I would work out more if I surrounded myself with like minded women. I canceled my membership because I tricked myself into believing that I could not attend the gym because it was five miles out of my way!

I joined Urban Active (you can read more about that here) because I tricked myself into believing if the gym was close (less than a mile from my house!) I would go before or after work. I canceled my membership because I tricked myself to believe that I needed to be surrounded by like minded women. I needed the encouragement.

Truth is… I wasted hundreds of dollars and did not create habits in the gym because of one reason— I did not want to do it! I did not have the motivation to exercise regularly and my habits did not change simply because I had a gym membership!

A lot of times, we trick ourselves into believing that if one thing happens that the outcome by default will improve. Many times that is not the case… in my life that’s proven true over and over again! Gym memberships work for some people. They are dedicated and are energized by the idea of working out in a facility that has all the bells and whistles. In theory, I am energized by that too… I just lack the drive to actual make it happen! I had to be real with myself and break free from the statistics. I refuse to be one of the 40 million Americans that have a membership they do not use!

Gym memberships aren’t for everyone and that’s ok. It does not mean you are a failure! It means you are smart enough to understand your lifestyle and your level of commitment.

Keep working at it until you find the routine that is best for you! Good Luck!