Tag Archives: health

Red Carpet Ready…

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I know I’ve been quiet. I have many posts half-way in the works and then never get them completed. There is so much I want to share with you! And I miss this creative outlet.

It’s okay though. Around these parts I’ve mostly been managing my back and leg pain and am anxious for my appointment with the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow. It was almost canceled due to an insurance misunderstanding. This has been very frustrating, to say the least. I’m so lucky and grateful to have a chiropractor that keeps the pain as minimal as possible; but I’m ready for some answers and to move in the right direction toward healing.

And while I have no reason to walk {well, limp} down the Red Carpet myself, the Oscars are being presented this weekend! I am actually really looking forward to Seth MacFarlane as the host. It’s going to be terribly funny! I don’t think I’ve seen any of the movies up for nomination this year. One of these years, I want to see them all and be the judge myself. Don’t they have those Oscar Movie Marathons at the theaters?

And to honor the Oscars, this month’s Birchbox theme was Red Carpet Ready:

February 2013 BirchBox contents

February 2013 Birchbox contents

Although there is a new theme each month that is the same for all members, Birchbox recipients may receive different contents. My box contained:

  • Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate & Caramel Square – HELLO! It’s chocolate. It was packed into my lunch for the next day to enjoy with my coffee.
  • Curly Hair Solutions Rev Up Volumist – Okay, I have wavy hair more than curly. Sometimes I can make it work, sometimes I can’t. Sometimes I just want it straightened. This stuff remind me of the Spray Gel I used to use in Junior High to scrunch my curls. That pretty much sums it up.
  • theBalm cometics Mary-Lou Manizer – This is a luminizing powder that I’m still learning how to use. It may do wonders for my uneven skin tone and dark under-eye circles. Luckily, Birchbox offers tips online as well as how-to videos. I received theBalm’s Hot Mama Shadow & Blush All-in-One in last month’s box and love it!
  • Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm – I really didn’t know what a Beauty Balm was until now. From the Birchbox website: “Their premium formula is a five-in-one primer, serum, moisturizer, SPF, and sheer tint. It uses exotic caviar extract and other actives to tame problem complexions.” I would agree. I love this stuff. Excellent to get up in go in the morning! And I think it’d be perfect for travel, too.
  • Juicy Couture Couture La La Fragrance – I liked this much more than I thought I would. All the Juicy stuff I’ve smelled in ads and magazines never really suited me before this one!

Which Oscar-nominated flicks have you seen and/or want to win?

Have you ever done an Oscar Movie Marathon?

Cheers~
Carrie

Notes to My Healthy Self

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Dear Healthy Self:

Move because you can.

Be grateful.

Be grateful that you can run, skip, dance, walk, bike, swim, workout, do yoga, lift weights and sleep comfortably. Some people can’t.

If you are having a day where you don’t “feel” like being active or working out, don’t use that as an excuse. Because that is all it is – an excuse. You may think you are “exhausted” but you really aren’t. Exhausted means that your muscles are so weak that you can’t get them to move your body parts. You wouldn’t be able to get out of bed if you were exhausted. You might be tired, maybe even really tired. But that is still no excuse. Workout first and then go to sleep. You’ll be glad you did.

Any excuse you make for not being active and/or working out is just LAZY. Yes, that is right. If you don’t want to move, you are being lazy. I’ve been thinking about people who physically cannot  move… how frustrated they must be with those of us in America who are obese. I can only imagine that they look at us and wonder why we aren’t moving when we can. They are probably wondering why we are wasting this ability, an ability that they may only dream to have. I bet they think it’s lazy and ungrateful, too.

I know this because I can’t move like I could before and I’m jealous of those who can. Be grateful and move.

Love, Carrie

~

Since my last post about my back pain, I’ve been seeing a chiropractor. He put things in motion, referring me to a neuroclinic to schedule an MRI. The results of my MRI show a herniated disc, which my chiropractor identifies as being a 7 or an 8 out of 10 being the worst possible scenario I could have. It could be from an accident or fall, but I don’t recall anything major. He suspects its degeneration from within the last 10-15 years. The photo of the MRI itself scared me the most. I’m trying my best to get that image out of my head.

Now I wait to meet with an orthopedic surgeon to discuss my options. At least I’ve managed the pain for now. It was the worst of my life. I took for granted little things like picking items off the floor. {Boy do I drop stuff a lot!} I’ve taken for granted putting on my socks and getting out of bed.

Until then, I can’t run. I can’t stretch. Anything too active right now could cause an inflammatory flare up and more pain. Now I just wait. It’s frustrating. I learned from Emily at Blogging Runner that I should avoid reading too many running blogs right now. Boy is she right about that! It’s not that I’m not excited about your success. It just makes me sad that I’m not doing it, too.

I have fears. The fear of returning pain. The fear of getting to the half-way mark of my weight loss and gaining it all back due to my lack of inactivity. I need to learn to adapt.

I am not looking for pity, here. {I know no one wants to hear about it over and over again.} I’m merely writing my thoughts so that I can come back to them at a later, healthier date. In fact, I want to be positive and live my life as normally as possible. I need to remember all that I am grateful for now. I need to stay healthy mentally to get through this.

You won’t see any running posts from me for some time. I’ll have to put those 13races in 2013 and 10k goals on hold for a while. I may start sharing my daily eats on the blog like you see over at My Bizzy Kitchen and Running with Racheal to help hold me accountable. I find that when these gals have posted things a few times, I am more likely to try out what they are making {i.e. lasagna soup from Two Dogs in the Kitchen & hardboiled egg sandwiches}. I love when they share or link to recipes, too! I’ll let you know which ones are worth it or not.

So I’m letting go of this post and am putting my energy instead into the following:

health quote

To your health.

Be grateful,

Carrie

Back Pain, Running and Doctors…

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I haven’t run since Dec 27th.

Yes, that’s right. Despite my declaration to run 13 races in 2013, I have not been running at all.

I have back pain. Pain that I think/thought was another run {excuse the pun} with sciatica, has taken it’s toll. It started right before Christmas, but I tried to just take it easy and remembered what I did last time to heal. I tried to sit the least amount possible. {That’s tough to do when you  have a desk job.} I’ve been sleeping on my side with a pillow between my legs. I tried to keep moving, but all the while being conscious and careful about how I moved.

I even ran. It seemed like running made my back feel better!

Then it slowly got worse. I think trying to pick up Benny in the middle of the night over Christmas, so that he wouldn’t wake everyone up, exacerbated it. {Benny can’t hear very well, so he won’t come when you call him.}

I considered seeing a doctor. But my doctor left my clinic late last year. And we got new insurance. How does one start to look for a new doctor? {I had been thinking about it anyway. I never really clicked with the one I had.} I tried to do an online look up on our insurance website. Can they make those anymore confusing?

Then, last week, when it was icy, I almost fell in a parking lot. Of course, as I slipped, correcting my balance in order not to fall aggravated my back even more. Ugh. I decided it was time to go to Urgent Care. I finally just called the insurance company to make sure that my usual clinic was in-network.

Doc gave me some meds – a muscle relaxer and some pain killers – to be taken only at bedtime. I was to take Aleve or Advil during the day. I had been taking Tylenol, but he said that this was too wussy for this job. I tried to collect as much information as I could from him; but by the time I walked out of there, I realized that I was just really confused.

Was this sciatica again?

Was he just treating the pain?

Why were no follow up visits recommended to see if I my back improving?

How long was this going to take?

But here’s the worst part.

I asked about running. Yeah, I hadn’t been doing it anyway; but I wanted to know what I could or couldn’t do and what I should expect. His response:

“No. No. No. No running or any exercise of any kind until you no longer feel pain. You’ll want to do some core exercises and core work. But not now. No stretching until the pain goes away. You could do a little walking. But you have to be very honest with yourself if you feel any pain at all.”

UUUUGGGHHHH!!!

I never, ever, ever thought I would say this, but I JUST WANT TO RUN!

In fact, it’s strange not moving. But it also hurts to do the simplest things, too… Like putting on my socks in the morning or bending down to get a file at work.

So. Incredibly. Frustrating!

My husband is frustrated, too, I’m sure. But he’s been trying to be very patient and understanding with me. I’m trying hard to ask for help and he is trying hard not to be annoyed with me for asking him to do the littlest of things. I guess if we are going to grow old together, we might as well get used to taking care of each other from time to time.

That’s even more of a reason to try to keep ourselves as healthy as possible!

While I’ve been maintaining instead of losing weight for the last few months, I now fear that I’ll gain due to this lack of inactivity. Because I really can’t do anything but lie down, I’ve started to binge. I forgot what this felt like. I’m learning that frustration leads to binging for me. And right now, I have more time to eat. But due to my lack of activity, I need less calories. It’s a challenge.

And these pills… They don’t feel like they are doing anything. I remember the first time I had this incredible sciatica pain, it took months to go away. They gave me Vicodin. I didn’t feel like it did anything. I told the doctor this when he started writing my prescriptions this time around.. He said we’d give Percoset a try.

I don’t feel like it’s doing a thing either. But maybe the problem is in my expectations. Maybe I should just be glad/lucky that I’m sleeping mostly through the night. Maybe I shouldn’t expect that there should be little to no pain upon waking.

At least we know that I won’t be addicted to narcotics. I really don’t understand what it is people when they get woozy on these drugs. I don’t feel that at all. Because of this experience, I don’t see what the big deal is. Of course, I will still follow doctors orders by not taking them before driving or at work.

Despite all of this, I need to learn to be positive through the pain. I know that I need to picture myself well again. I need to take this in stride or my mental state is going to be just as miserable as my physical state.

So here’s to looking to the positive side of this experience:

  • I am grateful for my body and that I have the ability to run. I always said that before. When people asked, “What made you decide to start running?” I replied, “Because I can!” Not everyone can. But I had the legs and the ability to do so. So I took full advantage of it.
  • I have permission to be lazy. I can lie on the couch with a blanket, a heating pad and catch up on bad TV. And not feel guilty. Because that is what I’m supposed to do – nothing.
  • If I get bored of watching TV and movies, I can read – one of the things I love doing and made a point to start doing again.
  • I will appreciate it even more when I start running again. It’s just going to be challenging to start out slow and build my way back up.
  • I am determined this time to get on the ball with core work. I don’t want to go through this again.

And I’m going to do the Challenge Obesity 5k, even if I have to walk the whole damn thing. So now you have no excuse! Please join me and Team Season It Already!

Once my meds have run out, if nothing has changed, I am determined to find someone who can help me. In the meantime, can you help me out by answering a couple of questions?

What is the best way to find a new primary care doctor?

What is the best way to begin core work?

I have yoga and pilates DVDs and loved taking classes in the past. But what are your favorite resources that you use?

Feel free to add anything else positive to the mix. I’m open to any and all positive vibes coming my way!
Cheers~
Carrie

GoBites – Do I need an intervention?

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Okay, I just might need a subscription box intervention!

After my sign ups with Love with Food, Birchbox and Barkbox, you would thought that would have been enough.

However, I recently received a Plum District {Groupon-like} offer to get half-off on a GoBites subscription. I really did think twice about signing up for another box. But when I went back to the offer, it was SOLD OUT! Of course, this made me want to try it even more. I went to the GoBites website and found that they had a free-sample offer. I could receive four GoBites for free and only pay $4 shipping. {Normal delivery includes 14 GoBites for $28, shipping included.}

What an excellent way to give me a taste! I couldn’t pass up a $4 sample. {Note: it seems as if the sample offer is no longer available.} All I had to do was answer a few questions about my likes, dislikes, diet and lifestyle. This helps them decide which GoBites are for you. The concept is to offer nutritious, natural, portion-controlled between-meal snacks.

My GoBites were delivered quickly:

I opened the box to find an introductory pamphlet as well as a list of which GoBites I received. When there is food around, Benny likes to sneak into photos just like he did in this post and in this one. This time was no different:

Opening my GoBites box…

Included in the box were nutrition facts for each one of my GoBites. LOVE THIS!

GoBites Nutrition Facts

Then, the GoBites themselves:

Nicely packaged GoBites with ingredients written on each one.

Although I only received four GoBites, it took me a while to finish the box. I needed to find place in my day when I could allot the calories. I always try to use up perishable snacks first, so I could keep these longer. The size of the packages are very convenient to take with you:

GoBites Convenient Package Sizes

After having tried all of the GoBites in this sample pack, here are my thoughts on each one:

  • Antioxidant Mix – This was the first one I tried. It was a little strange in texture and flavor. The pieces were a little chewy. The dried pineapple pieces were quite yummy and the best part; but there were just a few big chunks. I would have liked more of them or just in smaller pieces. I think if they were smaller, they would be distributed better throughout the rest of the mix and maybe make the overall flavor better.
  • Forbidden Rice Mix – I loved this one! It was spicy and just what I had been expecting! Probably my favorite of the four.
  • Tropical Gluten Free Granola – I haven’t loved a lot of gluten-free knock-offs, so I was surprised to find how much I liked this one. It was coconutty and bit chewy, very different from anything I’ve had before. But I really enjoyed it!
  • Pineapple Coconut Mix – Of course, the pineapple in this was just as good as the stuff in the Antioxidant Mix, except there was more of it. YAY! However, the pieces were big again, making it difficult to get the pineapple and coconut in one bite. Once the pineapple was gone, I was left with coconut shavings, which aren’t that exciting by themselves. Smaller bites of pineapple would allow me enjoy it like trail mix, in smaller handfuls.

Overall, all of the GoBites were satisfyingly filling snacks that kept me going without wanting more. The GoBites company recommends eating two of their GoBites each day as in-between meal snacks. I can’t see myself doing that. I could see myself eating these from time to time, but I don’t think enough that I’d like to activate an actual subscription.

While I may need a subscription box intervention, the truth is that I like that I can try out each one and decide which ones I want to keep. The fact that most of them offer introductory deals makes that easy. Now they just have to win me over… 😉

What is your favorite between-meal snack and why?

Cheers~
Carrie

Local D’Lish Cooking Class: Healthy Cooking for One

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I loved the last cooking class I took at Local D’Lish so much that I wanted to do another one! In fact, when the opportunity came up to take a class from the same instructor, Kate Moore, I suggested the Healthy Cooking for One class to my single friends.

We all know that it’s hard to cook for one, or even two, without having a ton of leftovers. My husband hates leftovers (except for a couple of dishes), so I wanted to learn how to pare things down, too.

I was surprised that Kate recognized my friend Jared and I from our previous class! She told us that she didn’t know which class it was that we attended, but that we would recognize a few things she likes to do in all classes. But truly, I believe that the more you hear something or see something done, the more you really understand and remember it.

Kate in action

Kate was her usual fun, quirky relaxed self. Her main goal is to empower people in the kitchen. I love that! I am becoming more and more comfortable with whipping up my own dishes and not having to follow a recipe exactly as written, or even use one at all! From experience, as with anything else, the more you do this, the easier it becomes.

Her handouts always include extensive information. While she doesn’t follow her packet from start to finish in class, it’s excellent to bring home and use as a reference.

Kate’s life experiences make her more than qualified to teach a class such as Healthy Cooking for One. She lost over 50 pounds just by cutting portions by half, eating twice as slowly and enjoying real food!

Her formula for a meal for one:

vegetable + starch + protein

=

1 to 1.5 cup veggie + .5 to 1 cup starch + 2 to 4 ounces of protein

~

I thought that in the past year, I’d come to learn true serving sizes. For the most part, I have. However, this class made me realize how little I really need to buy when I shop. Some examples:

  • 1/2 of a small potato is a good portion size for one person
  • 1 egg = 2 ounces protein
  • pasta or rice for one person = about a half cup

Kate is great at showing how to make one dish with a particular ingredient and then take anything leftover of that ingredient or reuse it in a different way later in the week.

“It really doesn’t take very much product to cook a meal for one person! Minimize leftovers so each meal is fresh and different to keep your palate interested,” she said.

In both classes I’ve been in, Kate has made a Bean Dip to start. She knows her students are hungry and wants to tide them over in class! Her handout gives a list of flavor profiles, so that you can make this bean dip at home with a variety of beans and spices depending on your your mood or what you have on hand. Which dip she makes is dependent on what fresh ingredients Local d’Lish has that day! As students, we get to taste it every step of the way, so we can understand the importance of seasoning.

Kate asked me something I liked about the last class and I told her that she made the best dressing I’ve ever had! She then inquired if I made it at home after class. I told her I did, but that, although good, it didn’t turn out as yummy as hers. She said, “Well, let’s take this opportunity to practice!” She had me come up in front of the class and put the herbs in the food processor and taste and adjust!

She also taught me (er, the class) to start learning how much a measurement is… to just count. Pour olive oil into a quarter cup and count while it’s coming out. That way, you’ll have an idea about how long the stream takes when you are pouring the oil into a food processor. She said you can do that for anything when learning measurements and becoming more comfortable with winging those.

In this class, she also made her own Herbed Boursin. I totally fell in love with this store-bought cheese spread when I studied in France. My host family would serve it after almost every meal. But the one that Kate made one is even better! Everyone in class went crazy over it. The dish was empty before dinner was served.

Just like the dressing I posted from the last class, you make the herbed cheese by using a base and adding directional herbs:

Herbed Boursin as taught by Kate Moore

  • 1 eight-ounce package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup chopped herbs (50% parsley and scallions/garlic, 50% directional herb)
    • directional herb = the herb you want as the dominant flavor. I think Kate used sage in this class.
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • optional: citrus zest or juice to taste

Put everything into a food processor and mix. {Kate suggests that if you don’t have one you can finely mince all the herbs by hand and fold them into the softened cream cheese.} As always, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper or more herbs. *Option: Swap cream cheese for butter to make a compound butter. It will freeze beautifully!

Now that I’m writing this post, I’m realizing how extensive this class was! She made a bunch of different kinds of dishes to demonstrate the speed and ease of putting something healthy together. The Toasty Garlic Tomato Kale made us drool! My friend Jen said, “Wow, now I know what to do with kale besides make kale chips!” Kate recommended serving the Toasty Garlic Tomato Kale over rice with a fried egg on top. Oh yeah, baby.

Speaking of eggs, she told us we all needed to practice flipping an egg in the frying pan. Jared was up to the challenge:

Kate showing Jared how to flip an egg (uh hem, without a spatula)

During our break, Kate kept encouraging us to give it a try, that we had nothing to lose. Only one other gal was brave enough. I just wanted to try it at home. My fear? That I’d flip it on myself , burning myself in the process and ending up covered in egg yolk. Yeah, didn’t want an audience for that!

Jared’s attempt to flip! SUCCESS!

Kate made cabbage two ways. One was an Asian Slaw and the other was just sautéed with butter, sage and apple. That cabbage in my CSA box always sits in the fridge too long before I end up using it or throwing it out. I never thought to sauté it. The flavors were soooooo good!

At the end of class, Kate served up everything she made Family Style for us to eat:

Salad greens with the dressing I made!

Leftover Bean Dip, Toasty Garlic Tomato Kale, Kale with Potatoes & Herbs

Asian Slaw, Sauteed Cabbage, Sauteed Veggies, Ginger-infused Rice, Chopped Fried Eggs

My beautiful plate: A little bit of everything

If you haven’t taken a cooking class yet, I highly recommend it. I also recommend taking one with Kate. You’ll learn so many tips and walk away with not only with a pleased palate, but also with a new sense of, “Hey, I can make that, too!”

Please share your favorite, easy go-to recipe for one or two people!

Cheers~
Carrie

Women Run the Cities 5k

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One of the things that I think holds me accountable for running, or working out in general, is signing up for another race before I finish the next one. That way, I have to keep going.

This weekend, I participated in another Sunday race – the Women Run the Cities 10-mile and 5k. Of course, I ran the 5k. While waiting for the race to start, I asked my husband if next year I should do the 10-mile. I should have lost all my weight by then and hopefully this whole running thing would be easier. He looked at me like I was crazy.

The Night Before…

As this was another Sunday race, I had all day Saturday to keep myself busy and distracted so as not to think too much. And I think I did pretty well!

We were up late on Friday hosting a poker tournament. Saturday morning, I took Sophie in to get groomed and then went straight to a coffee shop to catch up on a little blogging.

My food for the day wasn’t exactly stellar. I did a lot of eating out:

Breakfast at The Buzz: Greek Egg Bowl {their portion sizes are actually perfect!} with a White Almond Mocha {skim milk, no whip} followed by a Depth Charge {black coffee with a shot of espresso} before I left.

We had a late lunch at Devil’s Advocate in downtown Minneapolis. I had three meatballs and some polenta and washed it down with a Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic and enjoyed a New Holland Dragon’s Milk for dessert – both on tap!

I didn’t snack all day, mostly because my meals were filling and I didn’t get hungry. So dinner, too, ended up being later: A Cantina Bowl. Don’t judge. Or do.

The biggest problem on Saturday, though, I think was that I didn’t really start to get water into my system until 5pm. DOH!

I went to bed early, following my usual night-before-race ritual of showering and applying lavender oil just before bed to help me sleep. I slept okay, but that 5:30 alarm did not make me too happy.

Race Day…

Breakfast included two pieces of peanut butter toast and a banana {aka “The Usual”}. Remembering how thirsty I was just before and during my last race, I filled up a big water bottle to take with me. The 5k race wasn’t until 8:30am anyway. It was very chilly out! And while I had intended to wear long sleeves for the first time in a race, at the last minute I grabbed a fleece and a scarf. I was glad I did!

It was suggested we take the light rail because there would be minimal parking. We left the house while it was still dark, stopping for our usual coffee on the way. We arrived pretty darn early. Who knew that the light rail ran that early on Sunday mornings? There was time to check out the vendors after I picked up my number and shirt.

Time passed very slowly and I’m thinking it felt that way because I was so cold. And I am planning to run a race in October and even thought about November? I’m a wuss. In any case, Starbucks was a sponsor, and I enjoyed another small coffee from their booth to keep myself warm. Don’t worry, I pounded my entire bottle of water, too {approximately four glasses worth}. That also meant that I had to use the bathroom an insane number of times!

The 10-mile runners started out first followed by the 1-mile run for girls. The 5k was supposed to start  at 8:30, so I shed my extra clothing and handed it to Rob. {However, this is the first race I’ve done that offered a bag check.}

Shivering pre-race…

Still, we didn’t end up starting the race until about 9am. I had to pee again I kept thinking, “I could have gone and been back already!”

I hadn’t anticipated it, but this ended up being a tough race for me.

I kept a decent pace throughout, but everything felt really difficult. My body felt heavy. My breathing didn’t feel very controlled. People who passed me were chatting as if they were just taking a stroll. The route was completely flat, so what was wrong? My mind was taking over:

Why is this so hard?

Why did you sign up for a 5-mile race when you can barely do this one?

How do you possibly think you can run the 10-mile race next year?

I had to do everything I could to push these thoughts out of my mind. It was 37 degrees at the start of the race, but by mile one, I felt like I could handled short sleeves. Still, I didn’t get too hot in my long sleeves by any means.

I still don’t understand why this is so hard for me? Isn’t it supposed to get easier? When all was said and done, this was the second fastest race I’ve run. Quit complaining, Carrie. My chip time:

37:44

I didn’t feel so great afterward. Maybe I pushed myself too hard? I walked away from the crowd. After Rob caught up with me {he’s always so great to find me rather than vice versa!}, I started to feel a bit better. We picked up all of the post-race snacks and any interesting vendor freebies and headed back to the light rail. Here’s a photo of all the grub that came home with me:

The Post-Race Grub

I started to drink the Muscle Milk while on the light rail and by the time we got back to our car, I wasn’t feeling very well. I was a little nauseous. I’m not sure if it was the Muscle Milk, dehydration or something else. By the time we made it home, all I could think about was a hot shower and a nap. That’s what I did. I woke up not feeling much better, even after eating a bit. In fact, I wasn’t feeling up to anything until about 3pm. How do I expect to run a further distance if I can barely handle a 5k?

I really need to get past that.

I ran a 5k.  I ran the entire time.  I finished:

Post-race with my first ever “Finisher Medal” – with a virtually non-existent Minnehaha Falls in the backdrop

And I did get my best-looking and best-fitting shirt so far:

The Goods: Women’s long sleeve tech shirt, finisher medal, clip on reflector

List of 5k results for my personal comparison:

  1. 38:54
  2. 38:20
  3. 38:40
  4. 36:08
  5. 38:27
  6. 37:44
  • The Event: 2012 Women Run the Cities 10-mile, 5k Run & Walk
  • The Location:  Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis, MN
  • The Date: September 23, 2012
  • Night Before Dinner: A Cantina Bowl
  • Pre-race Breakfast: “The Usual” – peanut butter toast and a banana
  • My Time: 37:44
  • The Weather: Chilly. 37 degrees pre-race, topping out at probably about 50 degrees by the end of the race.
  • General Feeling: Had no expectations, but it felt pretty difficult and I felt defeated mentally and physically during the run.
  • Uniqueness: A Woman-only race, rated by ESPN as the Top 5 race for women in the country.
  • Size: Sold out to 2700 participants including 10-mile runners, 5k runners and walkers and girls running the one-mile race.
  • The Goods: Women’s long sleeve tech shirt & finisher medal
  • The Grub: Muscle Milk, rolls, bananas, Pearson’s Nut Roll, Old Dutch Salt & Black Pepper Chips, Boom Chicka Pop Sea Salt popcorn by Angie’s Kettle Corn, Bite-sized Luna Bar, Fortune Cookie

Yes, I said Fortune Cookie.

Here was my fortune:

Was I smiling? I don’t know. But crossing the finish line, there’s pride in that.

My next race scheduled is a 5-miler. I’m going to run it very slowly. I don’t want to push it too hard like I did this time. I just want to finish.

In running or in life, how do change a negative mindset into a positive one?

Cheers~
Carrie

Weight Loss Rewards and NSVs

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It’s no secret that I’ve been wavering around the same 5 pounds all summer long. That’s not weight loss.

That’s maintenance.

My friend Terri and I reason that sometimes the struggle lies within the fact that there are so many events in the summer where we like to indulge in a few extra cocktails. 😉 I also believe it’s the spontaneity of such events that throws off my meal planning. I need to learn to improvise a bit better. I’m sure you can tell by my most recent restaurant posts that I haven’t been making the healthiest choices.

Despite all that, I’ve officially, finally reached 35 pounds in weight loss!

So it’s time to celebrate. I’m almost to the halfway mark. My goal is to lose, when all is said and done, 75 to 80 pounds.

So how do I celebrate?

With rewards!

At each 5-lb milestone, I treat myself to something {not food related}. Some may say that the weight loss in and of itself should be a reward. Why, yes it is! But there’s something about knowing that I’m working toward that next little reward that won’t take forever, that really helps. One step after another gets us to the finish line, right?

What kind of rewards?

An argument I’ve heard is that it’s just too expensive to reward yourself every time a goal is reached. It is hard to buy a new wardrobe if you are in the middle of your weight loss trek. Well, I’ve found some inexpensive ways to treat myself:

  • I bought Groupons for massages or pedicures for salons nearby in which the expiration dates were at a late enough date that I could accomplish a goal before redeeming. These were often more than half off! A $95 massage and foot scrub for $29? Hell yeah!
  • I held on to gift cards that I earned {more on that below} or received as gifts. I wouldn’t use them until I’d hit a milestone. Oftentimes gift cards don’t have expiration dates.
  • If there was something I was going to do for myself anyway {i.e. needed a pedicure}, I wouldn’t let myself do it until I hit a milestone!

Weight Loss Rewards

I reward myself for every 5 lbs I lost. When I get closer to my goal weight and it becomes more difficult, I will most likely do it for every two pounds.

Here are the specific rewards I’ve given myself:

  • 5 pounds lost – used a Groupon for a pedicure
  • 10 pounds – used a $50 Kohl’s gift card I received for Christmas
  • 15 pounds – used a Massage Envy gift card I received as a birthday gift
  • 20 pounds – bought myself a Polar Heart Rate Monitor. I had been wanting to buy one for a while. I tweeted my weight loss milestone and my intention to buy one and Polar gave me 30% off!
  • 25 pounds – bought more Feetures socks {cotton is rotten!} and sports bras with a Runner’s Gate Groupon
  • 30 pounds – used a Groupon for a hot stone massage. I had never had one before. It was great!
  • 35 pounds – used a $50 gift card that I earned through MyPoints {through taking surveys and such} for TJ Maxx*

So you can tell that I prefer pampering rewards as well as rewards that encourage me to keep working out!

Rewards for NSVs

It is just as important to reward yourself for you Non-Scale Victories (NSVs) as well!

One of my favorite ways to reward myself daily for working out is this simple:

  • If I work out, I get to use my wonderful smelling body wash when I shower afterward.
  • If I don’t workout that day, I have to use regular bar soap.
  • There’s something about thinking about lathering up in something sweet and/or floral-smelling that helps get me through a {or encourages me to} workout.
  • It’s a simple, but rewarding and pampering gesture to myself.

Here are some other NSVs I’ve celebrated:

  • My First 5k – I got a pedicure. I knew I needed one for our trip to Hawaii, so I delayed it until after I completed my 5k. This is an example of a reward in which it was something I was going to do anyway, but waited to do it until after I completed my goal.
  • My latest 5k PR – I used another Groupon to Runner’s Gate to get new running shoes!
  • My first ever 5-mile run – This wasn’t a race, but a big accomplishment for me! So I signed up for Birchbox to pamper myself every month.

Is weight loss a reward in itself?

Sometimes when we are just starting out, the scale matters most because we don’t see the progress quite yet. But eventually, it does become a reward in itself.

  • Things that made us winded in the past don’t as much anymore.
  • We feel more confident and have more energy to do things.
  • We accomplish things we never, ever thought we would. {Like running a mile.}
  • Clothes start to fit better and then we start to move down in sizes.

I experienced a significant NSV last weekend.

*I wasn’t very successful finding anything I really wanted with my TJ Maxx gift card that was supposed to be my reward for my 35 pound weight loss. I hate shopping and felt defeated that day, just as I had always felt when shopping for clothes. But I needed pants for my upcoming trip to Ireland. The ones from last season were way too baggy. So I decided, instead, to take my Kohl’s ad that rewarded me a 20% discount and $10 off a $50 purchase and put them to use. I combined those with a $10 gift card that I received from Kohl’s to reward me during my birthday month!

It was one of the best shopping experiences I can remember in years.

Lately, my race t-shirts I’ve chosen have been a little too baggy that they’ve turned into night shirts. So when I was picking out clothes to try on at Kohl’s, I picked all of them to be a size smaller than I would normally try on. I even picked out one shirt two sizes smaller just because I knew the fit of the style. Besides, it was a clearance item and they only had the one size.

Everything I tried on fit me except for one item!

I’ve never had that happen to me before. I usually go into the dressing room with ten pairs of jeans and am lucky if I come out with one pair to buy. You will never know what good of a mood I was in when I went home with a bag of new clothes… new clothes a size smaller.

That was a NSV that was rewarding in and of itself.

I’m looking forward to coming up with some great rewards for my next few milestones. Got any good ideas?

  • 40 pound weight loss (although fitting into the pants I wore the night I met my husband will be thrilling!)
  • My first 5-mile race (in October)
  • My first 10k (Spring)

How do you reward yourself when you accomplish a goal?

Cheers~
Carrie