Day 4: Arms and Abs

Hey, lovelies!

I’m not feeling too hot and it’s a busy day here at the agency, but here’s day 4 of the program, as promised!

On the sets you’re performing 10 reps, challenge yourself with heavier weights. Also, the cardio can be done on ANY machine, just do 30 sec. at high intensity (about a 9 or 10 on a scale of 1-10) and 30 seconds medium intensity (4 or 5 on a scale of 1-10). For example, I did this on the Arc Trainer this morning and put my resistance at 45 for 30 sec. and 15 for 30 sec. (the resistance went up to 100). I was a super sweaty mess by the end!

armsandabsday4Happy, happy Thursday!

 

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Everyone Will Always Have an Opinion

….. And I’m learning to take it with a grain of salt.

I’ve never been really skinny or overweight. I’ve always been an average-size woman (I can say that because I’m 22 now) with curves.

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‘Cause my body too bootylicious for ya babe

I had body image issues for a while and thought that once I became “thin” all my problems would go away.

Wrong, wrong, more wrong. Because guess what happened when I became “thin” (I say that in quotation marks because while, yes, I have decreased my body fat percentage & have more muscle definition, my blood work and energy levels indicate I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been) — now no one will shut up about how thin I look, and not in a good way. I’ve had family members say they’re concerned about how thin I’m getting, and I “better not lose any more weight because I don’t want to look sick.”

Then I began to wonder, where did I miss the happy medium? I made a decision to get in shape and eat healthy and in the process, my body changed. Now that I’m teaching group exercise on top of my regular workout routine, I’m burning more calories. TRUST ME PEOPLE. I EAT LIKE A (healthy) PIG.

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Except on my birthday. PS — I owe you all a birthday & race recap post!

My point is that in every aspect of life, someone will always have an opinion.

You should eat more. You should eat less. You should accept the job. You can’t succeed in that area. You don’t have enough experience. You should totally eat 90 pounds of broccoli and 99% fat free chicken breasts every meal of every day. Don’t look at your phone past 10 or else your brain waves will spontaneously combust while you’re sleeping.

OK, now I’m being facetious but you get the point. If everyone just focused on their own self improvement, there would be no time left to criticize others.

I’ve learned you can’t make everyone happy. Everyone will always have an opinion. Be smart enough to know who to listen to and who to tune out. Ultimately, you’re the only person who knows what’s best for you. 

Happy Wednesday, lovers! Keep it sassy. 

[Of Possible Interest:]

The Connection Between Sleep and Appetite via Psychology Today
The Sincerest Love – The Love for Food <– an article after my own heart. Love this because it talks about food in a positive way
When Everyone Has an Opinion About What You’re Doing via Positively Positive <– great advice for dealing with conflicting opinions

Sticking to a Plan

“The more you stick to a plan, the easier it becomes.” 

When I first started eating “healthy” (and by healthy I mean eating Subway because it was better than McDonald’s) halfway through my freshman year of college, I didn’t realize all that I was doing wrong. I was running and eating “healthy” and never seeing results.

I struggled for the longest time with not eating enough, eating too much, restricting my diet to <1,200 calories then bingeing. To be honest, I’ve just recently overcome this and become comfortable in my own skin. It’s been a long journey of trial and error. (You can read my full story there) <– Even looking back at that picture I realize how much I’ve changed since a few months ago!

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I often forget how far I’ve come because sticking to a plan is second nature to me now. Eating healthy is second nature. Working out is second nature. Going for walks is second nature. Being active instead of watching TV is second nature. Preparing healthy meals is second nature.

MealPrep

What started out as such a struggle has evolved into habit. I’m healthy, active, happy and enjoying life 🙂 It’s not easy at first, but it’s worth it. I wouldn’t trade my journey for anything in the world because I’m finally comfortable in my own skin. Sure it took (lots of) tears, sweat and hard work but I wouldn’t change a thing!

What’s your plan for living a healthy lifestyle? Has it become easier since when you first started? If you’re just starting now, do you ever feel overwhelmed? I did too, so let’s chat! 

Things I’m Loving and a 5-Minute Stir Fry

Good afternoon, my loves! Yesterday marked my very first day of my last semester of college. Where did the time go? I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on my college memories recently and if you read my blog post on Sunday, you’ll see I have a whole new perspective going into this semester. (Quite possibly my favorite blog post ever, I cried writing it… Shhh don’t tell anyone I’m sensitive 😉)

Things I’m loving lately:

Spending time with my friends & dinner dates

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B.A.S. aka Big A** Salads (term courtesy of the health and fitness Instagram world)

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School — I love getting organized for the semester and I’m so passionate about my classes. Every time I’m surrounded by my professors, advisors and peers I feel so grateful to be part of such a selective major. Our professors genuinely care and so do the students so it’s a very inspiring atmosphere.

My beach trip with my mama

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Being back at my home gym!

Wine 🙂

maddie

My 5-Minute Stir Fry

StirFry

This is such an easy way to make a large amount of food in a short amount of time! Have to feed a few mouths? This is perfect! The beauty is you can add as little or as much as you’d like.

My stir fry includes sweet potato chunks, onions, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms and tilapia. 

Directions:
1. Start by cleaning and chopping all produce.
2. In a separate pan (or if you have a grill/George Forman) cook your tilapia or choice of meat
2. Steam the broccoli and cauliflower (I bought mine in a microwavable bag which adds to the efficiency!)
3. Poke holes in your sweet potato and stick it in the microwave (about 8 minutes if you’re short on time) or in the oven for about 45 minutes
3. Spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray or add extra virgin olive oil
4. Add onions and mushrooms to skillet and sauté for 2-3 minutes
5. Add tomatoes, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, and sweet potato for about a minute
6. In the last minute of cooking, add your meat to the stir fry and stir to combine flavors (the tomato gives this dish so much flavor, but you can also add spices if you’d like!)
7. Pour into a dish and ENJOY!

With the exception of the sweet potato (and depending on what meat you choose), this whole process only takes about 5 minutes! Perfect for those of you short on time or just lazy (guilty) and want a quick, simple and DELICIOUS dinner 🙂

Appreciate the Journey

Hi everyone! Sorry I’ve been so distant from my blog lately…. Although I feel hesitant to apologize because 1. I’m enjoying life and 2. I want to write quality, meaningful material and haven’t had the time to put much effort into it. I can’t wait to share all my adventures and reflections with you all soon! I’ve been road tripping back to Florida and made it all the way down to the Keys, which is where I am currently. It’s raining, so I’m spending some much needed time giving my poor neglected blog some lovin’.

If you know me, you’ve probably heard me say once or twice how much I hate Florida. “I can’t wait to get out of here after graduation,” or “I’m definitely not raising my family in Florida,” have been topics of conversation with anyone who asks what I plan to do in December when I graduate. How closed minded is that?! Also, if I end up getting the job of a lifetime in Florida, would I really pass it up simply because it’s in Florida?

Simply put, no. Never. I’ll go wherever my best opportunity lies. While I would love to move out of Orlando, I shouldn’t discriminate against all of Florida. After all, check out our view from dinner last night.

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Also, has anyone ever frowned on the back of a jet ski? I think not.

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Florida, I love you. I’m sorry I was ever so mean to you 🙂

Moral of the story: Appreciate the journey, not just the destination.

In my case, I’ve been so concerned about “leaving Florida” after I graduate instead of appreciating the beauty that surrounds me. Sure, Orlando isn’t the most glamorous place in the world… to me. But that’s because I probably take it for granted. Many people think that people who live in Orlando go to Disney every day and wake up with Minnie Mouse coffee mugs and Donald Duck slippers… No. Most of us never go to Disney. We would be broke if we did. However, I want to cherish the time I have left here and all that Florida has to offer, positive and negative: the beautiful sunsets, the heat and humidity, the annoying tourists, sunshine, tan skin, the beach. I plan to make the most of my time here in case I do move out of Florida. Have you ever seen the movie “Yes Man” with Jim Carey? That will be me. You all will hold me accountable, right? 😉

In health and fitness, we’re often so focused on the end goal that we lose sight of our smaller accomplishments. Do your pants fit a little better than they did last week? Celebrate! Did you resist eating that cheesecake because you knew it would bring you closer your goals? Celebrate! Did you lose 1 lb. out of the 30 you want to lose? Celebrate! No accomplishment is too small. I’ve gotten discouraged because I’m so focused on the bigger picture. Where does it all end? When is enough, enough? When will I be satisfied? It can be RIGHT NOW, but only if you let it. Strive for your goals, but don’t forget to celebrate the journey and all the accomplishments that come along with it!

See you again soon with some great travel recaps and a huuuuge summer reflection post!

My Three Favorites… Combined!

Nothing makes me happier than combining three of my favorite things in the world:

Almond Butter, Cinnamon & Sweet Potato

SweetPotatoAlmondButter

This is so simple and delicious! Just cut half a sweet potato into 1″ thick slices, top with almond butter, sprinkle some cinnamon and ENJOY!

You’ll Fail and No One Will Notice

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We’re all scared of failure, whether it’s in the form of rejection, loss of pride or embarrassment. If you’re interested in someone, I’m sure you can relate to staring at a text message for 10 minutes, deciding whether to send it or not. You change what you’ve written 15 times as if the other person will actually notice a difference. Why? You’re scared of being rejected. If you’re in the workforce, I’m sure there are times when something has bothered you or you have a great idea for a new project. Rather than addressing it with your boss, you choose to remain silent. Why? You’re scared that your proposal will get shot down or your problem will be regarded as insignificant and a waste of time. Either way, you’re scared of being embarrassed.

Our brains react the same way to fear whenever it’s presented to us, whether we’re approaching someone we find attractive, sending the first text, asking for a raise or stepping foot in the gym for the first time. We’re scared that we will fail.

Fear is a learned behavior. We learn to be scared of situations based on previous occurrences that have happened in our lives. Perhaps you’re scared of initiating conversation with someone because you were rejected before. You’re scared to start a new diet plan because the last one failed.

We all have the mentality that we have something to lose if we take a chance. In other words, we build up the worst-case scenario in our minds. We’re scared to quit that job that we’re so utterly unhappy with for fear that we’ll run out of money. We’re scared to step foot in the gym or switch up our routines because we will look like idiots if we don’t know how to properly perform an exercise. We’re scared to start eating healthy because surely we will hate it and will revert back to our old ways and gain even more weight.
We would rather avoid failure at all costs than taste success. 

I found this quote in a magazine the other day:
Failure Quote

I laugh in the face of failure… Mwahaha 😛

Think about that for a minute. Everyone is so concerned with their own failures and embarassments; do you really think they’re focused on yours? In the worst case scenario, those who are close to you will learn of your momentary failure, but they will soon forget. Failure should not be seen as a roadblock, but rather a learning process that helps us grow. Ultimately, failure takes our relationships to greater depths and our dreams to new heights. If you didn’t fail, you’d keep doing the same things over and over without seeing results. If you NEVER fail, you don’t learn. And if you don’t learn, you don’t succeed.

Start weighing your risks and their rewards. The greater the risk, the greater the reward. If you fail, so what? At least you’ve tried. And you’ll never have to wonder “what if?”