Two Week Challenge: Don’t Stop Believin’

It’s been a little more than 2 weeks since my last 2 week challenge… Lately, my “challenge” has been life itself!

The past few weeks I’ve been totally consumed with apartment hunting. With a fairly low budget and high hopes, it was an uphill battle from the start. I feel like all I’ve done the past few weeks is search through endless craigslist ads and attempt to squeeze in apartment showings around my work day. Apartment hunting is EXHAUSTING, you guys. After missing out on a couple of places that I really wanted, I’m thankful to finally be able to say that I have a place to live come August 1!

In between apartment hunting, in an attempt to relax and decompress, Tall Guy and I have been grilling a bunch and I’ve done my best to get my tanning in during the weekends, which is not an easy task when you’re running to the other end of the city to see an apartment at 9 am on a Saturday!

When life got super hectic, running, exercising and eating right were the last things on my mind. Some days it was hard just to stay afloat! So my (now month-long) running challenge did not go as planned. I’m disappointed, but I’m still not giving up. Somewhere in the chaos, I decided that being so hard on myself was not helping the situation. It’s not the end of the world if I don’t get to run every time I want to. There are a lot of other exercise activities I can do instead, and I’m working on getting over my “run or bust” mentality. That’s not to say that I’m not still attempting to establish a running schedule, but I don’t want not being able to run to stop me from doing something else that will help out my fitness efforts. So I’ve started lifting weights every now and then. Teensy tiny little 5 lb weights since I’m a weakling, but weights nonetheless! And I’m walking as much as possible (which is not hard since I walk everywhere and lately have been going to the end of this city and back to see apartments). And in the meantime, I’m taking comfort in the wise words of John Bingham.

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Runnin’ Runnin’, and Runnin’ Runnin’, and…

OK, you guys. My attempts at getting on a solid running schedule have mostly failed. First it was a forgotten brace and uncooperative weather, then it was my injured ankle, traveling, more bad weather and playing doctor to one very sick and immobile Tall Guy (his knee cap is broken- don’t even get me started). Is this the universe trying to tell me something? I don’t know. But you know what? FUCK THAT. I’m not giving up.

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I’m officially putting my foot down. I’m not going to let life get in the way of my running efforts any longer. How will I do that, exactly? I have no idea. But I’m sick of always being on the cusp of getting a good routine down, but never quite getting there. No more. Do you hear me universe? NO. MORE.

Any advice? Share it in the comments! (I need all the help I can get!)

 

2 Week Challenge: Running, Part 2

I’m sad to say that my last 2 week challenge did not go super well.

I started it a little later than planned due to some minor issues, so I really didn’t get everything going until two weeks ago today (my “2 weeks” was technically up last Wednesday). Oh well, at least I started, right?

The first run was TOUGH. I was really out of shape. Like, my lungs felt like they were about to explode, out of shape. Not fun. But after I ran, I felt so good! Which totally made the run worth it and which is something I need to remember more often. Not only did I conquer my fear of getting back out there, but my whole body just felt… better. So I tried to carry that thought with me when I felt like I wanted to sit at home instead of go out for my next couple of runs. And while I still had to repeat “I AM going for a run” the whole way home from work on some nights to make sure that I did, in fact, go for a run, knowing how great I would feel after definitely helped keep me motivated.

The actual running went OK, but not great. I decided not to track my runs, or my time, or anything like that because I really want to do this based on feel to take a bit of the pressure off. I’m obviously still trying to push myself each time I go out, but I decided I didn’t need a timer or a GPS tracker to do that. I’ve been pretty happy with that decision, but it has made it kind of difficult to track my progress. I’m not even sure if I’m running a mile yet or not…. Given that, I get frustrated because I want to be going on these long, steady runs, but instead I end up out of breath and struggling after about 10 minutes. I’m trying not to get too upset about it since I’m just starting out… Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all.

Some things that are actually going well:

– It took me about 3 runs to find my pace again. I’m so happy to have finally found it because that means runs are slightly easier, if only for the first few minutes. (At this point, I’ll take whatever “easier” I can get!)

– I’m already starting to recover quicker after runs. After my first run, it took me about half an hour to finally get my heart rate back to normal and my breathing regular. Now it only takes me a few minutes. That’s a win in my book!

– Tall Guy says that he can already see a physical change happening. I, on the other hand, don’t really see anything different… Who knows whether he actually sees it or not (although he will read this and tell me, again, that he does), but it’s nice to think that changes can happen that quickly.

– I love feeling like I’m working toward something. I may not be the greatest runner right now, but I know that if I keep up with it for a few weeks, I’ll feel better both physically and mentally and each run will be easier than the last.

I did decide to change the plan from 4 days a week to 3 and knocked off Saturday runs. Aside from the fact that I’m not capable of a “long” run right now, trying to fit in a run on a busy weekend was a little too much for me, especially since I still have to force myself to run in the first place. I plan on bumping up to 4 days a week when I get a little more comfortable with it and it becomes less of a fight to go out.

Although I struggled a bit, the first week went fairly well. Unfortunately, the second did not. I didn’t run last Wednesday due to the monsoon-like weather we had here in Philly. As a matter of fact, my running spots were all submerged in water, anyway…

flooding

Then I ended up getting sick on Thursday night. I had the whole nine- fever, chills, aches and pains. Not quite a running ready body. I wasn’t anywhere near healthy on Friday, so I opted out on that night as well (also on most of the work day, but that’s another story).

So that brings us to today, and another 2 week challenge. Since I’m not entirely happy with how my first running challenge went, I’m going to extend the running challenge for another 2 weeks. There are a lot of goods things that came from my first challenge that I’m hoping to build on, so I’m feeling pretty positive about these upcoming runs. Running is really important to me, and I want to make sure I’ve established it as a routine before I move on to something else.

Today, I’m happy to feel healthy again, and I’m looking forward to a great run later!

Any running tips for me? Leave them in the comments!

2 Week Challenge: Workin’ on my Fitness

OK, so the healthy eating challenge lasted about two and a half weeks, but I’m happy to report it went very well!

Once I got past the initial junk food/carb/everything delicious and bad for you cravings, it was really easy to stick to eating healthy. I didn’t ever put any strict limits on myself. I ate carbs and had the occasional chocolate or two, but I made sure not to let those little treats ruin the whole two weeks. When I did indulge, I paid careful attention not to gorge and only to eat enough to satisfy the craving. A lot of times, though, I didn’t even want to indulge. I was feeling so good that I didn’t want even the slightest little junk food to make me feel bad (read: bloated and gross). My body is a temple, you guys.

For me, the key to my healthy eating challenge ended up being portion control. I focused on eating smaller portions at every meal and really paying attention to when I felt full. I was amazed to see how satisfied I was with eating such small meals. And on top of that, indulging didn’t feel so awful when I only ate a tiny helping of something not-so-healthy.

I think my best moment of the challenge happened last Sunday at brunch. Tall Guy and I were in Boston visiting my family and we tried out a new restaurant that had been recommended to my mom. I ordered the Eggs Benedict, which is my favorite egg dish of all time and hard for me to pass up when I’m out to breakfast. When the food was brought to our table, my meal looked so good! A few bites in, however, and it was a very different story. There was no Canadian bacon, subbed instead for sliced avocado and tomato, which would have been fine if the Hollandaise sauce tasted lemony like the menu promised, but the eggs were completely flavorless. And the potatoes, while fried nicely, were accompanied with sauteed Vidalia onions and too sweet for my taste. The only part of the meal that was really pleasing to my palette was the side salad that came with the dish. Now, normally, I feel like if you pay for it (or someone is paying for it), you should eat it all. But with my healthy eating in mind, I decided it would be ridiculous to eat something that I didn’t enjoy, especially since it wasn’t super healthy anyway. Instead, I ate the side salad and half of the Benedict and let Tall Guy finish the rest. That may seem like a tiny victory, but to me it became clear that the two week challenge had really changed my thinking about food, which is a huge win in my book.

Doesn't that look delicious? Looks can be deceiving...

Doesn’t that look delicious? Looks can be deceiving…

On to the next…

Running! I still consider myself a runner, despite the fact that I haven’t run on a consistent basis since before I ran the Philly half marathon in 2011. But I really, really love running and have been attempting to get back into it for some time now. For a variety of reasons, the latest being a weak ankle that continues to give me problems, I haven’t been running on a regular basis. That ends today.

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It’s hard to get back out there after such a long time. My muscles are weak, I can’t run that fast or that far, and I have a nagging thought that I’ll look stupid against all of the “experienced” runners. But the things is? That stuff doesn’t matter. Running (and exercising in general) isn’t about how you look, how fast you can go or how you compare to other people, it’s about how you feel. One of the reasons I love running is because it’s a total body workout and you start to see results fast. I can probably barely run a mile right now, but I know that if I keep at it, I’ll be able to breeze through a mile in no time and will be on to bigger and better distances before I know it. There’s not much more you can ask for in an exercise routine.

So this next two week challenge is to run 4 out of 7 days each week. Since I know that I’m the type of person who does best with a schedule, I’ve decided to run M/W/F after work and do a “long” run on Saturday mornings. I’m going to start slow, to make sure my ankle can handle it and that I don’t do too much too soon and injure anything else, but I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to make this schedule work!

And one thing I will definitely be doing is making a running playlist! Any song suggestions for me?

I know that getting out there today will be the hardest part, but I’m excited to get started so I can become a “regular” runner again soon! Are you a runner? Have you been wanting to get into running, but just haven’t done it yet? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

Happy running! x

Ch Ch Ch Changes

I’m a perfectionist. I can’t help holding myself to very high standards and am very hard on myself when I don’t meet those standards. So when it comes to making changes in my life, I try to go all in. I’ll start a week off eating super healthy and exercising every day, and if I haven’t kept up with those things by the time Wednesday rolls around, I’ll totally botch the whole idea and decide to start over again the following Monday, leaving myself a good few days to lay around and eat whatever I want. Not exactly a recipe for success…

I’m happy to say that I’ve finally begun evaluating my “all or nothing” approach. Clearly, when you set your sights high, it is near impossible to ever meet them or be satisfied with whatever good things you do end up accomplishing. For me, setting unrealistic goals that I couldn’t possibly meet all at once meant always stopping and starting and never really getting anywhere in my healthy living endeavors. And boy, was that frustrating.

Right now, I’m trying to focus on creating healthier habits so that they become second nature down the line and I can live an all around healthier life some day. I don’t have the worst eating or exercising habits (I love fruits and veggies and walk to work every day), but I do have a sweet tooth and cravings and a love of Netflix, which doesn’t exactly make for the healthiest lifestyle. I also apparently have a thing for run-on sentences today…

About a month or so ago, I decided that enough was enough. I was going to make some changes and they were going to stick, DAMNIT! So clearly what I was doing wasn’t working. Ok, fine. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? In order to create habits, you have to change little things that you do on a daily basis. I decided that I would give myself “2 week challenges” and focus on one habit for two weeks straight before moving onto another habit I wanted to form.

I decided to start small, since I figured it was probably a good idea to start with something I was likely to accomplish, that way it would be a morale booster of sorts for my next challenge. So my first 2 week challenge was to make my lunch the night before work, instead of the morning of work. Now, if you’re a procrastinator like me, you know the drill. I always had the time to make my lunch the night before, but then why would I do that when I could just as easily make it the morning of? Well because it’s not that easy to get up and make a balanced lunch when you love to hit snooze and barely have time to comb the dry shampoo through your hair every morning… Hence why I REALLY needed to get my act together. I’m proud to report that at the end of the 2 weeks, making lunch became part of my nightly routine. And it didn’t kill me. Or really take away from anything else I did at night. On top of that, I was already eating healthier because prepping ahead of time meant bringing adequate (and healthy!) snacks and not running out to the corner store to get a bag of chips. So really, why didn’t I do this sooner?

I’m now in the middle of my second 2 week challenge! This week, I’m focusing on healthier eating. As I mentioned earlier, I have pretty good eating habits in general, but lately it feels like I’ve been letting loose and splurging a little too often… Not really ideal with bikini season being RIGHT around the corner…

First, I was all…

But now I’m all…

See the difference?

How do you make little improvements in your life? Let me know what works for you in the comments!