Weigh In Wednesday - January 28

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hello friends! I'm having a slower start to the morning today after my exam on Monday. Yesterday we started our Behavioral Medicine block which I'm pretty excited for - Psych has always been a love a mine! 

Weighing in today, things are moving slowly but steadily.

Height: 5'8"
SW: 236.2
Last Week: 198.0
This week: 197.0
Change: -1.0
Total Loss: -39.2

I'm a little frustrated since I have been working out consistently. The problem is, because my Crossfit class is a beginner class and focused mainly on technique, we do stand around A LOT. I'm definitely not working out for an hour (more like 15-20 minutes) which means I really could go to the gym afterwards to get my full amount of activity. Ummm...and of course you can't outtrain a bad diet. In  I got lazy a few times this week and made some not so healthy options like post-exam brunch (that toast is HUGE) and Wendy's after my dentist appointment. 

I also need to watch all the "hidden" calories in my food. Like adding a little cheese to my eggs or BBQ sauce to my chicken. All those things add up over the day and I don't always record them in MFP. I definitely need to tighten things up and start meal prepping again! This leads me to my next announcement...

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know that I recently committed to do a round of Whole 30 starting THIS Sunday, February 1 running until March 1. 

I created a private Facebook group for anyone that is interested in joining me - we have about 15 people so far! If you are interested in Whole 30, shoot me an email and I will add you to the group/send your more information.

Whole 30 is something I've been wanting to try for a long time but it never seems like the "right time." Then I saw one of my favorite bloggers, Andrea @ A Doctor in the House, was doing it while in RESIDENCY. No excuses there! I have way more free time than a resident, that's for sure! 

I'm not going into Whole 30 with the goal of losing a bunch of weight. Weight loss is certainly something I hope happens, kind of like when I did the Advocare challenge. It really jumpstarted my weight loss and helped me gain confidence. This challenge is more about helping myself function at 110% and feel amazing! Lately I feel like my skin is looking dull and breaking out more. I'm also having more frequent tummy issues. Most of all, my energy and especially my mood have been suffering. I think a lot of this is due to the winter blues but I also think my diet could be contributing to the problem. Ever since I added dairy and especially grains back into my diet, my symptoms has gotten worse. Add in alcohol and sugar, then it's clear why things aren't getting better. 

Basically, I'm just looking forward to hitting the reset button and seeing how my body responds to whole, real foods. I've heard SO many wonderful things about Whole 30 and I'm hoping it works for me, as well!

I'm excited to try new recipes and step up our culinary game! Nick has said he will give it a try with me so I hope having his support will make this just a tiny bit easier. I love that he is willing to put up with all my crazy ideas :)

One thing I'm not too excited about is taking out most legumes. I've read "It Starts With Food" (which is what the program is based on) so I understand the scientific reasoning but I'm not sure it's compelling enough for me. Still worth a shot but I'm going to miss beans in my chili! 

If this peaks your interest at all, shoot me an email! I'd love to have you in our group for support, recipe swaps, and maybe some new friends! 

Any suggestions for Whole 30? Have you done it before? 

Training Diary #1

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Today I'm going to recap my training from the past week - Crossfit and half marathon training. I think it'll be great to refer back to, week to week, and also help me stay accountable as my mileage increases! 

Monday - Crossfit 7-8p
  • This week we started barbell/lifting movements which I was super excited for! I've been lifting on and off since the summer but everything I've learned has been via youtube or bodybuilding.com. It's so nice to have someone watching my form and correcting my mistakes.
  • Movements learned: strict press, push press, push jerk
Tuesday- 3 mile run

  • I did about 3 miles at the gym on the treadmill but I'd much rather run in the cold at this point. I hate the treadmill! For some reason I run a little slower and just get bored more easily running in one place (go figure, right?). I also practiced some barbell stuff from yesterday. I need to start doing pull-ups and push up practice, as well!

Wednesday - Crossfit 7-8p
  • I can't remember what we learned at this point (need to write these entries as I go next time). I do know that I'm loving barbell work and that I'm not a big fan of bodyweight exercises like burpees...which means I need to do more of them to get better at it. 
Thursday - Crossfit 7-8p

  • In addition to the movements of the day (which I can't remember...) we also redid one of the first WODs we completed in the first week.  I was so excited that I took a whole minute off my time in just two weeks. I think the big helper was learning to row more efficiently (faster is not always farther)! My pushups are still pretty bad (more like belly flops) and ring rows are tough, too. It's pretty clear that my lower body is ten times stronger than my upper body and abs! 

Friday - Light Gym Day

I spent most of the day studying for my exam on Monday which wasn't too great for my back so we went to the gym in the evening for a short treadmill workout and some strength - just another review of the moves I learned that week. Nothing too exciting!

Saturday - 6 miles

It was time for my long run on Saturday afternoon between study sessions. The weather was pretty nice - sunny and in the low 40s but a bit windy. For long runs, I like to mix things up and run at different locations. The last thing I need is to be visualizing how far I am in a run. Instead I just try to enjoy my surroundings while listening to good music or a podcast!  

I swear, I thought my Garmin was incorrect - there's no way I averaged 10:16/mile!!! What??? I rechecked with MapMyRun and it seems legit. Is it too early to thank Crossfit for getting faster? I'm sure that's part of it!

Sunday - Crosstraining - 2 miles + 20 min elliptical

I intended to run 4 miles outside today per my training program but my knees were just not feeling it after 6 miles the day before. The weather was cold and snowy so I chickened out a decided to cross train instead. Definitely can't do that anymore, even when the weather isn't cooperating!

Overall I think the week was successful. One thing that is desperately lacking in my schedule is more time for stretching and mobility work. For the upcoming week, I really want to focus on daily stretching and lots of breaks during studying - I sit entirely too much and my back is paying for it. I also want to make sure I get all my training runs in this week - no excuses!

I'm kind of nervous to start "real" Crossfit classes in a week. Right now we have a lot of downtime during the hour where we are just learning the movements or watching demos, etc. When I compare what we do to what the regular class is doing, it's really daunting! They typically do a strength component followed by a WOD and some mobility and stretching so it's movement non-stop! When I talk to some of my fellow beginners, we're just like "how are we going to do THAT?" One day we will though and it'll be fun to look back to see progress.

How was your week? 
How do you get more stretching into your day?

Life for the Next 2.5 Years

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A couple weeks ago we got the opportunity to do something pretty exciting... choose our 3rd and 4th year clinical rotation schedules!

It's really crazy to think there is a light at the end of this long,winding tunnel...and also kind of scary! In just a few short months (6 to be exact!) I will be responsible for real, live patients. They won't be actors presenting a clinical scenario. They won't be SIM patients that we can simply unplug or reset. These are people with REAL problems, real lives, and real...everything!

Side note: One of my fave apps is Resuscitation - practice being an EM doc!

This isn't my first rodeo in the patient care role. As many of you know, I worked as a nursing assistant (CNA/STNA) during my gap year but nothing too substantial. Even within that year though, I feel like I gained a fair amount of confidence in working with patients and families in especially vulnerable positions (bathing, feeding, assisting with wound care, etc). I guess what's so crazy to me is that my role will be a lot different than that of a nurse or tech. I hope I will still be able to create meaningful relationships with my patients and their families, even though I'm doing different things! Working as a CNA was one of the most intense situations I've ever been in. It is strenuous work but the patients really keep me excited and engaged. I know rotations are going to be difficult in other ways so I'll be depending on those moments to keep me going again!

So my schedule! Our school selects rotation schedules via a lottery system. We were all given a random number and then we all waited in our lecture hall for them to call our number (this was also random) - basically medical school BINGO. The clerkship coordinators released a list of 12 possible schedules and many of us prioritized the lists according to our interests.

There are a lot of strategies to creating your schedule:
  • Do things you enjoy first/middle/last
  • Do things you don't enjoy first/middle/last
  • Start with Family Med or Internal Med
  • Don't do Surgery during the holidays
  • It doesn't matter at all, etc.
Basically depending on who you talk to, your schedule prioritization can be set up in a myriad of ways. The good and bad news is that it doesn't matter all that much in the end (again, just what I've heard).  My schedule strategy didn't end up working out (apparently everyone else wanted the same group as me) so when my number was *finally* called, I went with 4th choice. Whomp. Later on though, a friend and I realized we actually wanted to switch groups so I ended up with the schedule below! In the end, it doesn't really matter. I would've been fine with either in retrospect.

Study swag

For those who aren't familiar with how clerkship rotations work, 3rd and 4th year are the "clinical years" of my medical education. Each month I will rotate within a different specialty learning the ins and outs of patient care, diagnosis, and treatment. Likely I will stationed at a hospital or clinic and paired with an attending physician and will become part of the medical team. Lots of H&Ps and doing what people tell you to! These two years weigh heavily in the residency match process so it's important to do well!

Here is my 3rd year schedule:
  • July 2015 : Emergency Medicine 
  • August: Psych
  • September: Pediatrics
  • October: OB-Gyn
  • November: Internal Medicine 
  • December: Emergency Medicine 
    • BREAK
  • January 2016: Elective - TBD
  • February: Surgery
  • March: Radiology/ 2 weeks vacation
  • April: Ortho/Sports Med
  • May: Internal Medicine 
  • June: Family Medicine 
Whew! I'm kind of bummed that I have EM first thing. For one, I'm very interested in EM and I feel like I won't know anything about it yet! Two, EM is pretty intense & requires you to know about many different areas. I hope it will go ok!  The good news is that we get TWO EM rotations. 

I am happy to have Peds and OB-Gyn early on because I'm really trying to figure out where I want to focus my efforts for 4th year rotations. Right now my specialty interest lies within Peds and EM but OB sticks around in the back of my mind, too. 

As for the second half of the year, not as interesting for me but I'm so happy to have Family Med and Internal Med for my last two months - hopefully those will help me study for Step 2 boards!

Speaking of boards. I have decided to definitely take USMLE and COMLEX Step 1 this June. So far I have COMLEX scheduled for June 8th at 8 am. Now I'm just waiting to get approved to sign up for USMLE (hopefully the week after COMLEX) and then I'll be set.  I have been advised repeatedly to take USMLE (particularly by EM residents) so I'm just gonna do it. :I

As promised, I will detail my boards prep plan in an upcoming post. My school is providing a board prep program that begins after Spring Break so for now I'm just using my question bank and trying to finish out my remaining courses strong.

I'm not going to share my 4th year schedule just yet because it is largely up in the air. We get a TON of electives which is great because 4th year is when you typically schedule "audition rotations" at places you may be interested in for residency.  For me, that means I'll be trying to set up a couple rotations in Ohio/Indiana/Kentucky.

That's all for now! 

Weigh In Wednesday - January 21

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

An InLinkz Link-up

Hello friends! Let's just jump right into things, shall we? I'm sticking firmly in the 198 range this week, just a small loss. We did go home this past weekend to Cincinnati and there may or may not have been a party bus involved for our friend's birthday. Whoops. So cheers to maintaining!

Height: 5'8"
SW: 236.2
Last Week: 198.4
This week: 198.0
Change: -0.4
Total Loss: -38.2

Unlike in the past, we did a pretty good job of getting back on track the rest of the weekend which I'm sure helped in this week being a small loss instead of a gain. The good news is that we really don't have much going on until April (aside from my BIRTHDAY next week) so I'll be able to focus solely on my goals/training for the next few months. Whew.

We arrived in Cincy on Saturday morning and immediately went to the park to get my long run in before I made any excuses. How could I though? It was 50 degrees and sunny, maybe a little windy, but still perfect for a good run!

For Christmas, Nick gave me a Garmin Forerunner watch - LOVE! I don't have to run my Nike plus app (which is always inaccurate) so I just enter the data after the fact. I should have read the instructions though because I didn't hit "play" on my watch until about a mile into my run. Gotta say though, I love it! 

Yay for a nice 5K time! I would love to get that under 30 minutes one of these days!

So far, so good on my running training. I have a big 6 miler coming up on Sunday - no big deal, right? I think I'm going to run on the Monon Trail, I need to switch it up! And then I'll have to lock myself away to study for my upcoming Derm exam on Monday. I feel so behind! 

Crossfit has been going well! We finally started learning barbell techniques which is what I've been waiting anxiously to learn! On Monday we started with strict press, push press, and push jerks, then we did a killer WOD - there was sprinting involved and you all know I'm not a fast runner. 

I think this is unrelated to training by my mid-back (right at the thoracolumbar junction for all you medical people, maybe L1-L2 at the lowest) has been bothering me lately. It doesn't feel muscular in nature because it isn't crampy or achy and it doesn't radiate. I literally feel like one or two of my vertebrae are poking out where they shouldn't be. No sharp pains or jolts, just bothersome. I'm hoping to figure out what it is soon! It started during my first week of school, maybe from poor posture while sitting. Made worse by significant extension and flexion, basically anytime I drastically change the curve of my spine. Anyway, I'm gonna keep an eye on it.

I think that's all for now. Just sticking to my schedule and hoping for the best! I slowly feel like I'm finding my school groove. I'm ready to be done with Derm! We have Psych next which I'm intensely excited about! 

How is January shaping up for you?

Finding Your "Why"?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

So we've all done it. Started a shiny new diet, gotten all excited and maybe even made some type of monetary investment like buying shakes or a gym membership, cleanse-this & detox-that. 

Now fast forward a couple weeks. All of sudden, the new wears off and things aren't as bright and shiny as they once were. Maybe you're cranky. Maybe you're sore and tired. Maybe you've already "cheated" or even given up.

When we find ourselves in this situation, I think it's important to ask ourselves two questions:

  • Am I doing something that I would be happy sustaining for the rest of my life?
  • Why am I motivated to continue doing this?
I've talked a lot recently about the first question. In general, I've started to realize that the BEST (for me) way to approach weight loss is to make subtle changes to your daily routine/habits.  Because in the end, what good is it for me to lose X amount of pounds if I'm just going to go back to my old habits after I've lost the weight?  Weight in and of itself isn't the REAL problem. We have to correct the underlying behavior/psychology is the changes are going to last.

That's where the WHY comes in.

For a good portion of my life, I was (and still am) motivated by the aesthetic side of weight loss. How will losing weight make me LOOK better? Certainly clothes will fit better, maybe people will think I'm thin or better looking. I don't know. Vanity only takes you so far though and typically it isn't enough to make me go for a run or say "no" to cookie dough when it gets really tough. We need more to motivate us. And as I continue on this journey, my motivation and my "why" have shifted tremendously.

Of course part of my "why" includes wanting to be healthy and free from chronic disease. Being sick is expensive and I'd much rather put the work in now than look back 20 or 30 years from now wishing I had taken better care of myself (while still having a full, happy life!)

I also want to be around for a long time - for my family, my friends, and most of all, my husband and our future children. Being able to keep up with people and do things I enjoy is also important to me. As I lose weight, I also gain more energy, more confidence, and a love for cooking, trying new things, running, etc. So far that all makes sense and probably reflects how a lot of people feel about weight loss.

Now for something a little more controversial. 

I realize there is a growing movement to accept or love yourself at any point in your life.  I totally support that notion but I also think it can lead to complacency

I have to be totally honest, a lot of my "Why" comes from the negative feelings I have about myself. It bothers me that I can't just throw on whatever I want and feel good about myself. I don't like that I can't do a pull-up or burst out a ton of solid push ups. I regret that I run pretty slowly and that my idea of a sprint is more of a slow jog for some people. I hate that food has a greater pull or influence in my life that it does for other people. Whatever the things are, I'm not completely comfortable or accepting of who I am TODAY. But isn't that how change happens? 

Hold up a second. That's not to say that I hate or loathe myself. I'm just not comfortable with where I am. Am I proud of how far I've come? Yes. Do I see positive changes in my body? Absolutely. But am I 100% happy with who I am right this minute? Nope. And I don't think you have to be! You can love yourself and still want to be BETTER. It's not all sunshine and rainbows. And maybe we shouldn't pretend like it is!?

What I'm suggesting that the next time you look in the mirror and start to think an unkind thought about yourself, harness that negative energy and use it for motivation. Use that thought to push a little harder, eat a little smarter, meditate a little longer, extend kindness to someone else, etc. Accept that you are uncomfortable instead of denying it or trying to put a smile on your face. Don't dwell and use those feelings for "evil" against yourself, just use it to get better. 

Last night at Crossfit, we had to do a lot of lifting and sprinting. Sprinting is not my strong suit at all. I wanted so badly to walk mid-way through our workout except there was one girl who kept running past me on every round. Man that pissed me off. I must be more competitive than I thought! You better believe that when I run from now on, I'm going to remember being passed and I will use that feeling to push a little harder. Eventually I will get faster! 

I hope what I'm trying to say makes sense. There's nothing wrong with loving yourself for everything you are (or aren't). I just can't, in my own mind, accept that everyone has to think or exist positively 100% of the time. I'd love to know how you all feel about this!

What's your "why"? 
What keeps you going when the journey stops being bright and shiny?

Half Marathon Training 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015

It has begun.

Half marathon training 2.0.

Last year marked my first half training program and left much to be improved upon. If you would like to read about my halfs, you can find them here & here.

For me running has NEVER been about achieving a certain time but rather about finishing and improving. I just want to get BETTER than I was before. I know I'll never be an elite runner but I love running because it truly doesn't matter! I can enjoy it as a hobby and a form of exercise with no pressure whatsoever.

So this year I decided to sign up for another half marathon, except I wanted to up the ante. I'm not quite ready for the rigor of marathon training at this point in my life but I still wanted to challenge myself - enter the Flying Pig 3-Way Challenge.

On Saturday May 2 I will run the 10K and then the 5K, with about an hour in between. Then on Sunday May 3, I'll run the half marathon for a total of 22.4 miles. Really, I'm just doing it for the bling! ;)

Last year, I "followed" the Indy Runner's Half Marathon program which met every Tuesday night for long runs and various other days for easy/shorter runs. While I enjoyed having people to run with, I didn't really get a chance to meet many people AFTER the runs and Tuesday nights were pretty tough when you had 6+ miles to run. Eventually I started doing my long runs on my own on weekends. 

This year, I decided it would be a good idea to have someone create a personalized training program for me since the 3-Way Challenge involves multiple races and it's my first time. I found Out for a Run when I saw Lindsey in Women's Running Magazine/Instagram. After a thorough questionnaire and a few back-and-forth emails, my training program arrived! 

I have to be honest. I'm kind of scared of my program. Obviously there's more running than I've ever done on it and it involves a lot of back to back runs. My longest run is scheduled for two weeks out, peaking at 14 miles. 

I'm a rule follower. So there's something about having an outsider source prescribe a program that somehow legitamizes it for me. Someone has taken the time to assess my fitness goals and has determined this is what I need to do to get there. If I follow my program, I should succeed! Plus making a monetary investment helps as a motivator, too. 

So while I'm not going to share my exact plan, I can tell you it includes 2-3 easy or speed runs a week (3-8 miles), 1 long run (4-14 miles), 2-3 cross training days, and one rest day. 6 days of training a week with a rest day for tons of stretching/foam rolling/walking. I'm pretty excited to see how my body transforms with this approach. 

Here is my tentative race schedule for 2015. Since my long runs are scheduled for Saturdays, I'm trying to plan a few races during the harder ones just to keep me motivated and honest with my training. 

2015 Race Schedule

Feb 1 - Groundhog 7 miler
Feb 21 - 5K + 5 mile Polar Bear Doubler
April 11 - Hoosier Half Marathon
April 18 - Carmel Half Marathon
May 2 - Flying Pig Marathon 5K + 10K
May 3 - Flying Pig Half Marathon

After May, I'm not sure where my running will take me. I start my clinical rotations in July so I may start to focus more heavily on lifting/Crossfit or I may continue on to run another half or two.  If I decide to run, this will likely be my schedule:

Sept 19 - Indy Women's Half Marathon
Nov 7 - Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon
Nov 26 - Thanksgiving Day 10K

With boards approaching, it probably seems a little silly to be training this hard but I'm actually looking forward to it. I do my best work when I'm busy and I think the intense physical demands will force me to be efficient with my time and take good care of myself. Hopefully all this running will help my brain and body run at peak performance! 

Here's hoping the weather warms up so I can leave the dreadmill behind! 

Any runners out there? Have you ever done multiple races? Any advice?

Weigh In Wednesday: January 14

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Anyone else tired of the cold yet? I am! It's been a very icy couple of days here in Indy but we made it through! I've already had my first exam of the semester - currently studying Dermatology which is actually turning into a review of a lot of systemic diseases we've learned that have cutaneous manifestations - Lupus, Diabetes, various infections, etc. Skin is a lot more exciting and complex than I expected it to be! Still, derm is not in my future. Dermatology is actually one of the most competitive specialties, which I can totally believe when I get my doctor bill in the mail. They have it MADE! Not a lot of derm emergencies out there so the lifestyle is prime. 

Anywho, things are going well on my side of the Internet. Getting back into the swing of school has been challenging but still doable. Obviously it's hard to go from being lazy on break to studying and managing my time but I've been doing it!

I finished my first week of Crossfit but man was I super sore! Like I'm kind of embarrassed with how sore my abs and shoulders were for nearly a week. I'm sure it was a combination of not working those areas for a while and just doing NEW movements but still. The WODs (workout of the day) we have been doing have been a lot shorter than what I typically see for the "regular" class. 

People talk about how Crossfit teaches bad form or encourages extreme exercise/disorder but that really hasn't been my experience thus far. The box I'm checking out has a month long on-ramp class where we've been learning all the essential movements. They told us from the get-go that good form and functional movement are MUCH more important that just finishing the workout at all costs. When your form starts to suffer, you need to scale the workout appropriately (decrease weight, take a break, modify the movement). It was really encouraging to hear this and realize this method can be used for people of all fitness levels

 In addition to Week 2 of Crossfit, I'm also starting my half marathon training this week.  Last night was my first "easy" run - just a 5K. LOL at that. I remember when running a mile was a struggle not too long ago. To this day, the first mile is always the hardest no matter how long I run but once you get in the zone, its pure gold. 

According to my Nike+ app, this was my first run since Thanksgiving that was over 1-2 miles. Whoops. To me that just proves that running is like 90% mental -- I've been struggling along telling myself I need to walk when really all I needed to do was push myself a little more. Boom. 3 miles at a respectable pace! 

For the record, tomorrow I'm going to post about my half training schedule and my upcoming races! I feel like it warrants it's own post :)

My nutrition has done a 180 since Christmas Break. We've really been trying to load our meals with tons of vegetables and fruits. We ate all our meals at home last weekend which was a first. Usually we go out to dinner on Friday or Saturday nights.  

Recently I made some Chicken "Zoodle" Soup - subbing typical noodles for zucchini. Hands down the best chicken noodle soup - better than from a can!

I still make room for some treats like this yummy dark chocolate. Sometimes I top it with a little nut butter or a handful of almonds/cashews. 

I also made some bison stuffed peppers soup yesterday - I'm anxious to have some for dinner tonight! We basically thrive on leftovers - I make a large portion of chili/soup/meat & veggies so that we have something to take for lunch! 

As far as weight loss goes, the scale is slowly moving. Part of the reason that it's moving so slowly is the Crossfit. When I start lifting, the scale doesn't budge as much due to the inflammation (soreness/muscle tissue damage). When I do mostly cardio, my weight changes much quicker initially. I'm trying to stick it out and not get discouraged becauses it's only temporary. Despite the scale not going down as much, I feel my body tightening up a bit and feeling stronger!

Height: 5'8"
SW: 236.2
Last Week: 201.4
This week: 198.4
Change: -3.0
Total Loss: -37.8

Onward and upward. My 25th birthday is in two weeks so the vane side of me has a number in my head I would like to reach before then {189}. In all reality, I know it's a long shot and it shouldn't been my focus but it's still interesting to think about :) 

Finally, I'm not sure if you're allowed to celebrate dating anniversaries once you get married but today is our 8 year dating anniversary! 8 years ago tonight this sweet guy asked me to be his girlfriend after months of flirting and nightly phone calls. Numerous proms and school dances later, we went off to IU together and the rest is history! 

It's mid-January. How are you doing on your goals? 

*Side note* Make sure you are hopping around and checking out each other's posts! I'm going to make a very concious effort to do better at this myself! It's all about positivity and encouragement!

WIW January 7

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Hi friends and welcome to the first Weigh In Wednesday of 2015!  Guess what I forgot to do before I left the house? Yeah. Weigh in. 

I'm still very sore from Crossfit on Monday - some major delayed onset muscle soreness "DOMS" mostly in my arms. And that, my friends, is why you should've abandon exercise for weeks and then try to go HAM on it right away. Whew. I'm a little nervous to go back to Elements tonight - hopefully it's a leg based workout and not more arms! 

Yesterday I took the day off from working out. I just stretched and foam rolled - my bootay is getting used to sitting all day listening to lectures/studying again so I had some nice booty and leg knots to roll out, too. And of course I dance around my apartment look a goof while doing dishes, laundry, etc.

I've been cleaning up my diet after a VERY indulgent Christmas Break.  I'm trying to be a little bit tougher on myself than usually so I can kick some of the cravings I've been having for all the crunchy, cheesy, gooey things I let myself have...like this:

A delicious place for brunch in Cincinnati - fried chicken, spoon bread, mac & cheese, and grilled cheese. ALL THE CHEESE.

Family guac when a friend came to visit - not pictured: fish tacos and margaritas.

Just trying to focus on MORE veggies, moderate fruit, more protein, few grains/dairy/sugar. LOTS of water! The goal is to make the above indulgences a little fewer and far between - not all at once! Balance is the goal. Will I give up dairy forever? No. But do I need cheese on my eggs, on my stuffed peppers, milk in my coffee, etc. every day? No. Our meals as starting to look more balanced again and my husband and I both feel BETTER making healthier choices.  Some of my favorites so far:

Chicken, lots of green beans, smashed potatoes

Make ahead egg cassarole with turkey, peppers, onions, and sweet potato plus tons of water!

Study snacks: avocado hummus & baby carrots

Chicken meatballs with spaghetti squash and half an avocado.

So basically, things are getting back on track slowly but surely. It helps SO much that N is on board with the "plan" - I think I may have convinced him to try Crossfit this weekend, too! We know what we need to do, now we just gotta stick to it!

In about two weeks, I'll officially start my half marathon training so before then I just want to get back into running shape. Hopefully all this Crossfit will help. I'm really dreading running outside in the cold but....it might have to happen. GAH.

How is your 2015 going? 

Trying Something New

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Last night I attended my first night of Crossfit Elements at a local box - man am I SORE! I have the opportunity to try things out free for two weeks before deciding to continue the elements course and join the box.

I can't tell you how GOOD it felt to be working out with people again! I really feed off positive vibes & I love that people cheer each other on (this is also why I love running). Nearly everyone in the class was new to Crossfit so we were all in the same boat. Everyone was at different levels of fitness and knowledge about the sport and yet it was scaleable to our personal abilities - that's the mark of something good to come.

Last night began with a dynamic warmup: jumping jacks, arm circles, etc. Then we went over three basic movements: air squats, push ups, and ring rows. At first I told myself it would be easy - I've done all those things before, right? WRONG. Squats are my jam, I can do them forever but push ups are a totally different beast. Especially when you realize you've been doing them all wrong on a regular basis. By "wrong," I mean compared to the proper Crossfit style pushup. I'm sure there are multiple ways to skin a cat but for our purposes, its more like this:

If you do yoga, it's basically a Chaturanga pushup. I've been doing a wide grip push up since I can remember which I realized isn't really targeting as many muscle groups. I also realized that I'm not coming all the way down - or the full range of motion. Anyway, pushups were interesting and I definitely realized how much upper body strength I'm lacking...particularly on the actual "push UP" part. :(

So after we reviewed the three basic moves, our instructor has do a benchmark workout that we will repeat in two weeks to see if we improve. We had to go in groups of 4 because there were limited rowers available so I volunteered to go first. Then I realized I was the only girl who volunteered and I was going to be working out with a group of guys. Not that it's about competing or "beating" other people but I was immediately worried I would be super slow compared to them...spoiler alert: I didn't do too bad in comparison.

When I finished the WOD, I was toast. My arms immediately started to seize up. Not in a painful way but more in a "oh shit, here comes the lactic acid and inflammation" way. My lungs were on fire - I've only worked out 3-4 times in the three weeks or so. I'm definitely not in top shape. At the same time though, I felt REALLY good. I almost NEVER push myself that hard at the gym these days but something in my came alive again. Maybe some endorphins kicked in, maybe it was the competitive spirit or the fact that I was being timed. Maybe it was fear of being last to finish. Whatever it was, I can see why people enjoy it! 

This morning when I woke up, I felt the familiar soreness of a job well done. Not that every workout needs to leave you sore and/or miserable, but it's really gratifying to feel that ache again. 

Regardless if Crossfit becomes my "thing" or not, I'm so happy to have been introduced to running and weight lifting. Up until the last few years, my "ideal" body type was very different from what I picture today. When I look at myself, I see a good amount of muscle...covered in a hearty layer of fat. My point is, though, that my body type is not conducive to natural "thinness." Rather, I have a curvy, hourglass figure that craves muscle mass. More muscle = more curves. I don't have it in me to look like an actress or model but maybe my body can transform to be more like an athlete?  Maybe I should embrace these "thunder thighs" by building up my strength and using them to run hard and lift heavy. Maybe I shouldn't set my sights on being a Victoria's Secret model and instead strive to be the best, healthiest version of Heather I can be. I guess we'll see!

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet 

Ringing in the New Year - Part II

Monday, January 5, 2015

A few days ago, I talked a little bit about 2014 and took a second to reflect on my goals. Overall, it was a pretty successful year! I finished a year of medical school, got married, started a new home, and completed two half marathons. That's A LOT of cool life changes all at once. 

As 2015 peaks over the horizon, it's naturally to reassess and begin to draft ideas of where I want to go next. As happy as I am to have accomplished so much in 2014, I know that I still fell short in some areas in my life. There is always room for improvement.

So what are my goals for 2015? I really want the "theme" of my year to be all about simplicity & self-love. With those two main ideas guiding my actions and intentions, I feel like I will be able to reach many of my other goals. 

On Instagram, I already shared a few of my intentions for the coming year and pointed out that "weight loss" isn't the star attraction on that list anymore. Not because I've reached a healthy weight or that I've gotten complacent. I haven't given up, rather my priorities have shifted. 

Much of my life has been focused around a number on the scale. For the time we were first weighed in middle school gym class to near daily weigh-ins as a adult - it's truly exhausting. Within the last two years, I've slowly started to realized that happiness isn't just your pants size or weight. Nor does health and body acceptance only come to those who are conventionally thin. It's complicated & messy.

As one reader pointed out, when we start to focus on the small victories - pants that fit better, being able to run a few minutes more than last week, more energy, better sleep - the bigger picture starts to become clearer. As you will see in my goals, I want to support the small victories which will add up to the BIGGER wins down the road. 

Obviously, life isn't all about weight loss. In fact, it's only a small subset of what I do every day. As I progress into the professional world, it's important to analyze and support my development as a future physician. I want to continue to be a better wife and daughter. A better friend. A better human being. I think it's important to realize that pursuing a healthier life does not have to be our WHOLE lives, but it can be part of what makes our lives better overall. There are still so many other wonderful things to accomplish and achieve. Even better if we can find ways to incorporate ALL of these missions together. 


My goals are pretty self-explanatory. I really just want to streamline the processes of my life. Eliminate the extraneous things that don't need to be there like . For me a big part of that is spending money. 

I love shopping just about as much as I love food, hence why grocery shopping for the week is pretty much heaven on earth. I certainly get that "thrill" from a new shirt or necklace or yummy candles for the apartment and somehow it feels a "hole" when I'm feeling down or want to celebrate. As you can imagine all those little things start to add up and take up space! This year, I'm downsizing and doing an outright purge of my closet, bedroom, and other spaces (Nick will be so happy!). I will need to add to my professional wardrobe this summer when I start rotations but until then, my focus is to donate/sell all the old things I've been holding onto and limiting the new items that come in. Something that has been working for me: for every new item, get rid of 2 old items. This can be shirts, old magazines, nearly empty hairspray or mascara, etc. 

And as a sidenote, I think when you're losing weight there are many different things trying to pull at your resources (in this case, cash). Every Instagram guru has an Ebook, weight loss shake, or supplement they want you to buy. It's so easy to be attracted to these things (believe, I have two boxes of Shakeology I'm trying to get rid of...email me!). Or there's a new workout available, or you should do a juice/herbal/liquid cleanse. Or. Or. Or. Enter the simplicity principle, again. Would some of these things be beneficial? Maybe. But at the end of the day, I'm much better off learning to do this MYSELF. Researching nutrition on my own and learning to eat so I don't need five supplements filled with god-knows-what. Saves money, maybe not time, but I think the lessons are more valuable this way. Just my two cents. I told myself no more spending money for things I can get for free. I'd much rather invest in a good pair of running shoes or put money towards our belated honeymoon.

As for finding balance, I want to continue to strike a good school - life balance because I think establishing my priorities early on in my career will help me maintain that balance when crazier things like residency, babies, owning a home, etc. come along. A few people have told me in the past that I seem to have a good balance already which is somewhat true, depending on your priorities. I don't let school completely consume my life because, after all, there is life after school. It is important for me to do well in school, to learn and enjoy learning, so that always takes a high priority. However, my physical/mental/emotional/social health are also important to me via cultivating close friendships, spending time with family, having relaxation time, having date nights, etc. P.S. all you professional students out there - take care of yourself! Work hard but don't be miserable! When I started school, I realized pretty quickly that in order to have balance and be a generally happy person, I had to be comfortable with being an "average" student. B's are my best friend - "B"alance. :)

Overall, I'm pursuing a happier, healthier version of myself. Someone who can be kind but also strong. Someone who can show empathy but also assert herself. Someone who does things to improve herself not out of self-loathing or fear but out of self-love. This is my greatest obstacle in life - the feelings of unworthiness, self-doubt. Looking in the mirror and hating what I see. I don't want to feel like that anymore and as I progress in this journey, I start to see pieces of that old way of thinking starting to fall away. This year, I hope to shatter through the negativity completely.

The Plan

I guess my plan is reflected in my goals. 

As far as school goes, my focus is shifting to these two very important board exams (USMLE & COMLEX step 1) I'll be taking in June. 8 hours of testing the first two years of medical school. I will certainly be blogging about my preparation, including the materials I will be using, very soon. Just know that I'm going to KILL these exams. *imagine me punching them in the face*

Final exam studying! 

Married life: this is actually one of the "easiest" areas of my life. I've been amazed out how well N and I have come together as a married couple in the last 6 months. Since we never officially lived together, I expected to have more challenges getting used to sharing a space with another human but so far, so good. Because N has been working a lot, it's not a big deal that I study a lot. When we are both free, we really enjoy our time together. As I've mentioned before, we've started going to the gym together and aside from the holidays, we try to keep each other accountable health-wise. We both love to cook (clean up is a different story) so we do a lot of eating at home, even on weekends. So our plan is just to keep doing what we're doing - support each other, share the responsibilities of the household, and savor the free moments of time, even if its just cooking a meal together or watching a movie. 

Spirituality: I don't talk about this very much on my blog but from our wedding planning I'm sure you realized N & I are both Catholic. He was born and raised, I converted when I was 13 years old. Within the past year, we've stopped attending mass regularly for no particular reason. I think we would both like to prioritize our faith and make involvement in our local church important again. (Are you happy, Mom? I know you're reading this :) 

Hobbies: my hobbies outside of running and blogging are pretty limited but I'm working on that. I certainly wish I was little more exciting. I'd much rather read a book than go bungee jumping but I'm certainly open to anything that comes my way in 2015. I do want to continue this blog and making a habit of writing 2-3 times a week. That's probably the best I can do. I'm not sure how long I will keep the blog going but for now, here I am! 

Finally, for fitness,  I set a lofty goal of completely 12 races in the next 12 months. I stopped signing up for 5Ks last year since I can run them on my own and I don't usually like to spend the money. I MAY have to enter a few to complete my goal (shoot, didn't I just say I was spending LESS money this year?). So obviously running is going to start being a thing in my life again. I kind of fizzled out after my last half marathon. 

Running and possibly Crossfit. I signed up for a Elements (read: beginner) class at my local box which is free for the first two weeks. I want to see if I like it or not! One thing that has really been missing in my life since moving to Indianapolis was the group aspect of fitness. I used to LOVE my aunt's boot camp classes - a) because someone was telling me what to do & b) because I had people to do it with. When working out, I really thrive off of other people's energy and effort. It's also nice to have someone telling you what you need to improve on and if you need to correct your technique, etc. Anyway, I've really lost my zest for fitness - we start tonight and I can't wait! 

Do I still have weight goals I want to meet? Yes. During December, I regained the 5-6 pounds I lost during November. So my first goal is to get those pounds off. After that, it's another 5 lbs, and then another until I reach where my body wants to go. Hopefully that number is in the 150s but who knows. I just want to be healthy and strong.

My food plan (eating/diet/whatever you want to call it). Last month, I told you all that I had started Weight Watchers, again. Another impulse decision by Heather-spends-a-lot. From the very first meeting, I pretty much knew it wasn't going to work for me at this stage in my journey. Everything that made me quit the first time was still there. WW seems to conjure up my disordered eating habits from high school (that I still battle today) - restricting points, scale obsession (exercising/sweating up a storm before a weigh in, restricting liquids, etc), skipping over healthier choices because they have a few more points, going off plan the day of a weigh in, etc. The point is, I'm not doing it. 

What AM I doing? I'm keeping it simple. Eating whole, healthy foods in appropriate portions. I'm sticking with My Fitness Pal - logging my meals and workouts. The end. I'm keeping my macros right at about 30% protein, 35% carbs, & 35% fat (fewer carbs on non-training days), but I will not be obsessive. I am going to minimize dairy, grains, added sugar, etc. (things we KNOW contribute to cravings, weight gain, body fat, etc). and focus on getting as many nutrient-dense plant and animal foods as possible. Simple and I know it works for me. The best part? It's FREE.

Since this is starting to get kind of long, I'm going to end it here. I have a tendency to ramble.  

This is where the 2015 begins - in the choice to be better than last year. I can't wait to read your goals for the year and watch you all achieve them. Let's have the best year, yet! 

What is your #1 goal for 2015?
What is the "theme" for your year?