Tag Archives: healthy-living

My Positive Side to Running

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Thanks to all of you for your support and responses to yesterday’s post. Don’t worry, I’m officially over my temper tantrum. Sometimes I forget to be grateful that I can run. I liked a phrase I overheard at the race on Sunday. Someone waiting in line to start waved to a friend and yelled,

“We’ll be wogging today!”

Too cute. Maybe that’s why I never think of myself as a runner. I’m never going that fast. I’m just putting one foot in front of the other, moving my limbs and allowing my lungs to just breathe. Sometimes I need to forget about what it is or what it isn’t. Sometimes I forget that I need to:

I want to enjoy it for what it is, what my body can do. So that is my plan. I also have a few things in the works regarding running over the coming weeks, so I hope you’ll follow along. Until then, I need to remember the positive side of running:

What is your favorite motivational quote?

Cheers~
Carrie

Love with Food: Back in Skinny Jeans!

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I received my Love with Food box yesterday! Because I knew it had shipped, I suspected that it was sitting in my mailbox. Knowing how much I love to tear these boxes open like it’s Christmas, I decided to do my run first. Of course, on my way back, I could bring in the mail and rip open the box, kind of like a reward.

And so it began…

This Month’s Theme:

Back in Skinny Jeans Noshables. These are all favorite picks of healthy-living blogger Stephanie Quilao. She’s also the author of the book Back in Skinny Jeans.

The Contents:

Contents & Descriptions

After sifting through the contents and drooling over the goodies, the first thing I ripped open was this:

Tropical Blend Crunch Dried Fruit

I had just finished a run and was waiting for my husband to get home because we were going out to dinner – surprise surprise! It was the perfect little snack before going out. Crunchy, but still has the sweetness of the fruit. There are no additives either. In fact, I just love their ingredients list!

Along with the tropical fruit:

Roasted Edamame Crunch Dried Snack

I’m saving this for Rob to try. He had his first edamame just a few weeks prior and loved it. {Say what?!}

Then there’s this:

Barney Butter Almond Butter

I’m sure you know what this will end up – in a Magic Smoothie!

And this little guy reminds me of my days in France!

Bonne Maman Muscat Grape Jelly

I do remember, on my first trip to France in high school, some peers getting up earlier than others just so they could make their way to the breakfast table to get the “good” flavors of jam and jelly. Even as a teenager, we were truly kids. I’ve never had the Muscat grape jelly, so this is exciting! Although, I thought Muscat was a white grape. {Remember, there are different varieties of grapes!} Maybe the Muscat de Hambourg grape is not?

Reading the insert, I learn that Bonne Maman also uses no additives. It’s originally a French company, though; so that doesn’t surprise me.

But then there’s this dilemma:

Almond Butter & Jelly: They put these two in the same box for a reason!

Hmmm… What’s a girl to do now?

For breakfast this morning, I tried:

San Franola Granola with Raisins

I was impressed that the granola had 10 grams or protein. I emptied it into a bowl and splashed a little unsweetened vanilla almond milk to make a cereal. Mmm… There was a flavor there that I recognized, but couldn’t quite place, so I checked the ingredients list: It was molasses! The subtle, unique sweetness brought me back to my days as a kid eating molasses cookies. I have never had granola like this before. I re-read the ingredients list. The composition looks pretty straight-forward to me! I know what all the ingredients are and can pronounce them – a great way to determine that your food is truly more natural and less processed.

Ingredients List: Oat bran, almonds, flaxseed, whey protein isolate, honey, rolled oats, raisins, molasses, water, expeller pressed non-GMO canola oil {this impresses me!}, psyllium husks, cinnamon, vanilla extract, maple extract, salt, stevia

I was excited to receive coffee this time. Hazelnut is one of my favorites!

Teeccino Herbal Coffee Sampler

Until I opened up the pack and realized there was more inside!

Entire Teeccino Cofffee Sampler!

What surprised me is that it isn’t coffee at all.  As you can read in the box contents list earlier in this post, this beverage is “Made from a blend of herbs, grains, fruits and nuts that are roasted and ground to brew and taste just like coffee, but without caffeine or acidity.” I’m going to throw the French Roast in the coffee pot this weekend and see if my husband notices. If I tell him what it really is, he’ll make up his mind that he doesn’t like it before he even tastes it. Unless he’s reading this post. In which case, he’ll tell me that it’s all mine. 😉

And lastly…

Balsamic Dressings

Balsamic can be a little overpowering for me, so I’m curious as to how these will taste in salads. But these are the perfect packs to tote with me to work for lunch! I just got some salad mix in my CSA box, so I’m actually going to try these in my lunchtime salads today and tomorrow.

I will tell you right now that I LOVE Love with Food. I haven’t even considered canceling. It’s just one of those things that is fun and easy. I haven’t been disappointed in anything I’ve received. Plus, I get to learn about food products that I may have not learned about before! Furthermore, proceeds go to feed hungry children. It’s only $10 per month + $2 shipping. How many snacks did I get out of that? Much more than $12 worth, for sure.

Trying new food products and helping hunger causes – that’s a win-win, right? Sign up for Love with Food!

What snack have you had that surprised you most? Why?

If you belong to Love with Food, what was your favorite treat this  month and why?

Cheers~
Carrie

Why not a 10k?

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I ran another 5k race this weekend.

Actually, it was a 5k and 10k race. Why didn’t I give the 10k a try?

I’ve completed four 5k races prior to this one. I’ve run two 5-mile runs on my own. A 10k isn’t much further than that. So why did I run the 5k?

I actually had {secretly} considered running a 10k before my trip to Ireland this fall. I had researched and came up with a training plan. I found a few 10k races around the Twin Cities.

Then I did something I probably shouldn’t have…

I calculated my approximate finishing time and checked the race results for the previous year… I would have come in last.

Obviously, that’s a fear of mine. The races were just too small to have a bunch of slow people like me. So I backed away. I lost of my confidence. Sure, that may sound like I’ve given up, but I haven’t. I didn’t back away completely! I signed up for a few more 5k races so that I would keep running all summer long.

I’ve been struggling with taking off the same five pounds this summer. And while I’d like to be further along in my weight loss, I’m actually proud that I haven’t thrown in the towel just because it’s summer. I could have said, “Screw it. I’ve messed up already, I’ll just start again in the fall.”

That may have been what I used to say; but this time, I’m not on a diet. This is my life. I’m learning healthy habits that I want to stick. I don’t want to wait until after vacation. I don’t want to wait until X event has happened in my life to “start over”. Sure, I may have overindulged more this summer than not. I may have not worked out five to six days per week like I used to when I was losing more weight. However, these 5k races have still held me accountable.

I kept running. No matter what, I always ran three days per week.

Before I began running, I would have never had this attitude.

You see, for me, running became a workout plan that I had to follow. In order to complete my goal of running my first 5k race, I couldn’t skip a scheduled run! With any other workout, I used the old, “Ugh. I just don’t feel like it today.” But I knew that when you miss a stepping stone in your race training, you throw everything off-kilter. There really wasn’t room to make up for it.

This is why it kept me going.

So, naturally, my next step would be to try to complete a 10k race, right? And although scared, I had considered it. But in the back of my mind, I remembered what I’d heard about marathoners not losing {much} weight while training for endurance races.

Then I read this post by Ann at Twelve in Twelve. She’s run several races {twelve of them in twelve months, in fact} and expressed her struggle with losing weight. Her trainer makes a great point about waiting to run a marathon until she’s lost the weight so that she can run as fast as she can! It’s worth a read.

Later, I read more about high-intensity interval training and building muscle in the book The Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous Project by Esther Blum.

A lot of what I read just reminded me of what I should be doing if I really want to lose weight. However, the following line really struck a chord with me:

“Still not convinced HIIT will be effective? Look at the physique of a marathoner versus that of a sprinter and tell me who has more muscle!”

Wow! After having watched those Olympic sprinters just a few weeks prior, this visual really drove home the point.

That’s not to say that I think marathon running is a bad thing. I have the utmost respect for marathon runners! Endurance training absolutely has its place. In fact, for the first time ever, I actually know someone personally who will be running a marathon here in the Twin Cities. And I’m completely bummed that it’ll take place while I’m across the pond. I would have totally gone to cheer her on! Angie is an inspiration!

My goals right now? In order to continue my weight loss, this fall and winter I’ll be running intervals and lifting weights.

Don’t worry, I’ll run a 10k this spring.

{See I’m putting it out there in writing!}

I have already downloaded the 5k to 10k app. I have already run five miles at time and a 10k is not much more. In fact, I do have a 5-mile race planned when I get back from my trip abroad. So that’s really not that big of a deal, right?

Still, you know what? My 5k run this weekend was a very hard one. I couldn’t even have imagined running a 10k that day when I was struggling so much with the 5. They are still a challenge for me. However, my goal now needs to be to continue to lose the weight and get faster at my 5ks.

There’s plenty of time to work on endurance when I get to my goal weight.

Come back tomorrow for my Race Day recap to see who I met!

What are your current fitness goals?

Cheers~
Carrie

You can still get an A without all the correct answers…

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Lately, I’ve been reading about the frustrations of people who are in the process of losing weight or of those who have lost weight and are struggling with maintenance. The theme I’m noticing is feelings of guilt for having gotten off track or not having “figured it out” like they thought they had. We’ve all been there. And I know that deep down, these people know that we have good days and bad days, and that they will eventually pick up and move on. Sometimes it just feels good to get it out and confirm that we aren’t the only one experiencing it. Because we aren’t.

We all have days of clarity when we feel triumphant, where everything just clicks. Then we have days of utter confusion. You know those times when you say to yourself, “Why can’t I get this right?!” Jen, a priorfatgirl even called it a “roller coaster of healthiness“.

So I’m writing this on day of clarity, when I feel great and things just make sense. That way, I can come back on a day when I feel confused, defeated or like I’ve failed.

One day not too long ago, when I was out running, this thought popped into my head:

You can still get an A without all the correct answers.

Let me explain.

I was a pretty good student in school. I got A’s in my classes most of the time. {And yes, the plural of the that letter grade does have an apostrophe so as not to be confused with the word as.} 😉

But you know what? I didn’t get every answer on every assignment and test correct. But I still got good grades. I still learned. My teachers did not fail me for not getting every question right.

So why is it that when we decide to lose weight or improve our health we feel like we must carry out every detail of our plan perfectly? Why is it that if we make one mistake or go off our plan we suddenly feel like we’ve failed. Why can’t we just learn from our mistakes and evolve on this trek, like we do with everything else in our lives? We do we feel like we have to start over?

This is one of the problems with “diets”, in my opinion. So many people {myself included} have started and “failed” because we think it’s an all-or-nothing process. We have an optimistic mindset at first, but when we make that first mistake, we consider it “failure”. Instead, we should focus on progress. When it comes to weight loss, it is the downward trend that matters most. It’s changes you make and habits you form for a lifetime that matter, not eating one cupcake after seven days of not doing so. That’s why I’m not on a diet. Instead, I’m learning to make small changes and evolve on this path toward my well-being.

You can still get an A without all the correct answers.

Think about it. If we get one thing wrong in class, we don’t fail. We still learn. And in life, isn’t learning from mistakes the best way to do so? So let me ask you…

When you make a mistake in life, do you start over from scratch again? If you fall down {literally}, do you have to start all over and learn how to walk again, as if you are a baby? No. You already know how to do it. So you just get back up and carry on. This may come back to you from a previous post:


Yes, I am about to hit you with a bunch of inspiring, positive, motivational quotes. But just remember that:

When I was setting goals to earn trips with The Traveling Vineyard, I taught a class on how to do it. I used this analogy: If you are going on a roadtrip across the country and you encounter a roadblock, you don’t just turn around and go home. You’ve come too far! So what do you do? You find another way!

“When you encounter a roadblock, find a dozen ways to get around it and take action.” ~ Unknown

Sure, that may sound great for a long-term goal. However, what if you make that one mistake and it’s just eating you up. Consider this:

“If you miss your exit on the highway, you don’t pull over and just quit. You make a U-turn and come back.” ~ Unknown

Don’t be so quick to fail yourself. Instead, learn from your mistakes, find new ways, adapt and evolve.

Today, I want to know:

In what area of your health would you give yourself an A?

What inspirational and motivational quotes do you love?

Cheers~
Carrie

What I’ve Learned from Blogging

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I came late to the blogging party.

I didn’t start to really read blogs until I came across a weight loss one while searching for kohlrabi recipes one day. That started a chain of events that led to Season It Already! 

I discovered that I could learn from and be inspired by others looking to improve their health. Before that kohlrabi recipe search, I didn’t know that this outlet was even available to me! I didn’t realize that healthy living blogs existed.

And what these bloggers were writing about had nothing to do with new gimmicks, quick-fixes or perfection. Their words reflected real life. They illustrated real struggles by real people with real feelings. Sometimes the bloggers succeeded in finding solutions. Sometimes they failed. But they always got back up. And isn’t that what life is really about? Perseverance.

I found that because of their realness, I can relate to what is said online in the blogosphere more than I can relate to any highly researched how-to book. And who would have thought that other people’s real words would inspire me and give me more motivation than I’ve ever had before?!

Still, when I decided to start my own blog, I didn’t have the intention to write one about weight loss. Instead, my husband and I wanted to account for all of restaurants we were trying with a whole slew of Groupons we had accumulated. You see, we often eat out and forget if we liked something. If it’s been a while since our last visit, a dish’s name may look familiar and we can’t remember if it’s because:

  1. We tried it and loved it.
  2. We tried it and weren’t a fan.
  3. We wanted to try it next time.

I know, I know. If we totally loved something, we shouldn’t forget it right? But we aren’t getting any younger. This blog would document our experience for us, saving us money and calories. That way, we didn’t spend either on something we didn’t enjoy. It would also give insight to other Twin Cities residents or travelers on where to dine and what to expect. We often look for reviews on restaurants before we dine out. {My husband found one of our favorite restaurants that way!} It’s our way of giving back.

In addition, I wanted to share my love of wine with the world. While there are so many wine blogs out there, I knew I didn’t want to make it my entire focus. But I did want to incorporate it somehow. And since food and wine go hand in hand, it was only natural.

Still, while I already had a sense of the the wealth of knowledge I gained from reading blogs, I really had no idea how much writing one would benefit me. So here’s a list:

  1. Reflection – Because I’m often thinking about what to put next in my blog, I reflect more often on my day. I really hone in on what I’m experiencing and I try to put things in perspective. Whether or not I end up blogging about it, this introspection has helped me learn a lot more about myself.
  2. Positivity – Blogging has helped me see things in a more positive light. While I do share struggles and negative experiences on this blog from time to time, I’ve learned how to frame things differently. This helps me work through internal struggles. When I’m feeling down, trying to find the positive lifts me up thinking how I will have to describe it to someone else. Think of those friends on Facebook who are always posting something negative. Who wants to read that?! Instead, I try to find a positive angle or determine what positive results can come from something difficult.
  3. Gratitude – When I’m feeling the bouts of negativity, I try to think of as many things as possible for which I’m grateful. I may write a list of 100 or say 100 things out loud to myself in my car. Similarly, it’s wonderful how thankful I feel after writing a blog post on a passionate topic.
  4. Accountability – Blogging holds me accountable. Or rather, it helps me hold myself accountable. I make a statement of something I will do publicly and I know I must follow thorugh!
  5. Enjoying the Moment To me, this always sounded cliché. Then, the day that I was searching for kohlrabi recipes, I found the Escape from Obesity blog. The blog had a section entitled Habit-A-Week Challenge. I loved this idea of making small changes and I planned to follow the challenge to have something to focus on each week in order to make lasting changes. That was until I got to Week 5: Slow Down. As a busy person, this was something that was very hard for me to do. Even when I have time, I’m in the habit of inhaling my food and not being very mindful. Lyn indicated that one way to do this was to stop and give a moment of thankfulness. Then, she suggested taking time to really look at and smell the food. I always thought I did this to some extent, but it wasn’t until I started blogging that I realized that I never had. For my blog, I began taking pictures of  meals – mostly meals when dining out, but sometimes when eating at home, too. Before digging in, I now stop to take pictures of our food. I’m forced to pause, really look at it and give it some attention. It’s amazing what trying to capture a photo of what you’re eating will do! Hint: It will slow you down and make the experience more meaningful.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be giving our Restaurant Impressions of places where we dined while on vacation in Michigan visiting family and friends. I’ll intersperse these with local Twin Cities Restaurant Impressions and other healthy living and Wine Wednesday posts. If you aren’t from Michigan or don’t intend on traveling there, please stay with me on these posts anyway! You might learn a thing or two that you hadn’t expected.

From these Michigan Restaurant Impressions, you may take away:

  • Tips on healthy eating while dining out or on vacation.
  • Inspiration for creating your own dish.
  • Your own sense of gratitude.

Gratitude and perseverance – those are the real lessons in blogging.

What’s one important thing you’ve learned from the blogosphere?

Name one thing you are grateful for today.

Cheers~
Carrie

Don’t Wait Until After Vacation

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Today we return from vacation. It got me to thinking about my I’m Not on a Diet post.

Vacation was great. It was relaxing and enjoyable. I’m living life. And I’m happy.

I once had the mentality that, in terms of my exercising and losing weight, that I would “get back on track” after vacation. Or… after this big event or that stressful life situation. Or… on Monday. However, about a year ago, I finally realized that:

  • There will always be vacations. {Thank God!}
  • There will always be parties, weddings and big events.
  • There will always be stressful or unexpected life situations.

I had to learn to live healthfully despite all of those things, because they will always be there. I decided to change my habits slowly. I decided not to deprive myself. I decided to indulge once in a while, but not over indulge.

I’ve found that happy medium. And it truly is happy.

How many times do we overeat or eat something we consider bad and then feel guilty afterward? The food did not make us happy.

On the other hand, how many times do we start a diet with the intention of sticking to it, but then become anxious in situations where we encounter something we can’t have? We feel deprived. The thought engulfs us. It’s all we can think about.

Neither of those situations makes us happy.

Instead, happiness, for me, can be found on a line between the two. I learned that I can have anything I want in moderation. I’ve even learned that some things I think I wanted, I really didn’t. {Really, the thought of Oreos are better than Oreos themselves.} I don’t feel guilty, nor deprived. Sure, I may slip over to one end of the spectrum or the other from time to time. But I recognize how I feel when that happens and now know how to find my way back to the middle.

For me, happiness also means relaxation. I used to be believe that if I had a rough day that I “deserved” to relax. But I never truly relaxed sitting on the couch when I knew I should be working out or cooking something healthy. I felt guilty instead.

However, when I discovered that working out led to relaxation, the more likely I was to do it. After getting a run or workout in, I felt like I had accomplished something. I didn’t have to worry about it. I could sit down and truly relax. That kind of relaxation feels 100 times better than the kind where I tell myself I just deserve to relax and  do nothing.

For me:

Happiness in Health = Moderation + Relaxation

In the past year, I could have made plenty excuses to go off my path. I could have “started over” every time I made a mistake. I could have waited until after the next holiday, vacation or event was over to do so. And I could have inflated my Day 1 weigh-in every time with a “last meal” that I knew I couldn’t have on my plan. But I decided not to do that this time. I decided to do all of these things instead:

  • Go on a food tour of Northeast Minneapolis.
  • Take cooking classes.
  • Attend a Leadership Convention for the Traveling Vineyard. {Lots of wine and good food!}
  • Go to a Twins game and a Saints game.
  • Host friends and family in town.
  • Go up north.
  • Go to an out-of-town wedding.
  • Try new restaurants using Groupon.
  • Attend concerts and plays.
  • Watch numerous Packer games out.
  • Exercise on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Conduct in home Wine Tastings.
  • Go out-of-town and enjoy Christmas with my family.
  • Enjoy fondue with friends.
  • Play lots of Texas Hold ’em.
  • Start a blog.
  • Vacation in Hawaii.
  • And Much more…

What would my life last year look like if I decided to either:
Wait to get healthy until after each of these events was over
OR
Wait until I was “done” losing weight and getting healthy before I did any of these things or skipped them altogether?

I would feel guilty in either situation!

So, I didn’t wait until after vacation. I just started. I knew that I had to learn along the way and that I wouldn’t have all of the answers or be perfect. But most importantly, I knew I didn’t have to.

Was I considerably healthy this past vacation? No.

Did I overeat? Yes, a few of times. {Boy did I learn from that stomach ache!}

Did I incorporate some healthy pieces? Yes. {I actually craved good salads!}

Did I workout? Yes! While I wanted to do more, I did get my three proposed runs in.

Did I enjoy myself? Absolutely.

Did I learn what I can do next time? Without a doubt.

We’ll see what the weigh-in says tomorrow. I fully expect to have gained five pounds. But I’m not starting over. I’m learning and making changes every day from the day before. It reminds me of what Kate said in a cooking class: “Success is made from mistakes well-handled.”

You will always have vacations and weekends and parties to tempt you. The challenge is to learn how to deal with them now. If you are looking to get healthy, don’t wait until after vacation. Don’t wait until next Monday. Instead, do it now! Let yourself evolve and improve with each passing day…

Cheers~

Carrie

The Downward Trend

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Today marks the one-year anniversary since I’ve embarked on a quest to a healthier me.

I’m down exactly 31 lbs. Yes, it’s been slow. Yes, most people have lost more in that time frame. Yes, I’ve made mistakes. But although my pledge was 50 lbs in one year, I’m not going to gripe about 31! I’ve had a lot of Non-Scale-Victories (NSVs) along the way as well, which may be equally as, if not, more important than the weight loss itself. I’ve come to realize, though, that when it comes to weight loss:

What matters most is the downward trend!

In order for this to happen, I needed to find what worked for me. I needed to learn how to make small, lasting changes. Instead of dieting and giving up doing things and going places that I enjoyed until I was done dieting, I needed to learn how to be healthy, but still live my life. Starting a diet and then messing it up due to vacations, dinners with friends or other events always ended in failure. A year ago, I recognized that I needed to do all of those things and live a healthy life at the same time! Boy, am I a genius.

Over the past year, I’ve learned that I need to evolve in this process. There is no one right way to do anything to ensure success. Some strategies work for some people and some don’t. Some days certain things work better for me than others. It’s just good to take note the when and why of what works and what doesn’t. It helps to get ideas from others along the way, too.

I was thinking about this earlier this week because some kohlrabi arrived in my CSA box:

kohlrabi – source

I remember last year when I got a kohlrabi in my CSA box for the first time. When I pulled it out of the box, I thought, “What the hell is this?” and “What am I going to do with it?!” So I went online and asked my good friend The Google.

And The Google directed me toward this. And I made my kohlrabi that way. And it was good. And Rob even liked it. But that website didn’t just teach me about kohlrabi. It was also the first ever blog on weight loss that I’d come across – probably because I hadn’t been looking for one. {There are now thousands out there!} And the author was suggesting how I could enjoy kohlrabi. And she was right.

I perused her blog further and liked:

  • Her Produce Guide – I referred back to it when I’d get something new or unusual in my CSA box.
  • Her Habit-a-Week Challenge – It helped to teach me to focus on changing my habits slowly so they stick. Too many changes at once is difficult. Focusing on one at a time = Brilliant.
  • Her very personal blog posts – She shared feelings and frustrations during and after weight loss. They were honest portrayals of emotions we experience during this process.

Then, while perusing her page, I scrolled down and saw something on the left hand side that read:

“Blogroll: I Love ‘Em!”

Below that was a list of other blogs she reads. I don’t know why, but the Prior Fat Girl link jumped out at me, so I clicked on it. In front of me was another blog on weight loss and healthy living. Only this gal lived in Minneapolis. I found her posts very relatable and began reading her blog like a novel, going back to the beginning and learning from previous posts.

That was my introduction to the blogosphere.

That is where I found more and more information from other people around every corner.

That was where I was inspired to begin running.

I’ve learned how to evolve in this process rather than expect to follow a plan and stick with it until it’s done. Things are going to change in my life and I need to learn how to adapt. Don’t we all?

For example, I’ve got three 5ks under my belt now. And I was secretly considering doing a 10k by the end of the summer. I wasn’t ready to admit it although I’ve sort of begun training for it. Then I read this post by Ann from Twelve-in-Twelve. It reminded me that I need to change things up to continue to drop the pounds. Yeah, I’ll keep running; but I want to go back to more interval training before I continue with endurance and distance. I know I should add strength training, too, but I’m just no good at following photos in a book. For now:

I’m going to let Jillian Michaels kick my ass with her 30-Day Shred again.

I’m going back to yoga.

I’m evolving.

Growing.

Maturing.

Incidentally, I ended up taking a Blogging for Beginners Class from Jen, a priorfatgirl. Thus, Season It Already! was born. The blog, too, is evolving as I learn what I want/need to write about {Which wine did I like at X restaurant? or What how did I prep for that last 5k?} and what you like to read {that my husband is allergic to fins and feathers}.

But on this anniversary, I just wanted to thank all of you bloggers out there that I continue to learn from and all of the friends and family that have supported me along the way.

Cheers to all of you and to another year of success!

Carrie