What’s Happening

My life has been busy. Like so busy that I kind of forgot I have a blog. Here is the super fast recap.

  • The Etsy shop has been up and running for about 6 weeks. I didn’t realize how much work it was going to be, BUT, I’m loving finally having a way to sell my personal work. If you love flowers, beaches, landscapes and pretty things, then check it out. I’ve had 2 sales in the first 6 weeks (woohoo!) and my goal is at least 10 by the end of this year. Why so low? Because I know Etsy shops take time to get off the ground. If I make 10 sales, I’ll be psyched. If I go over that, I’ll be over the moon.
  • Photo session season has picked up. Which means I’m getting to play with lots of cute babies and families, celebrating lots of love, and just editing away. I moved to a new gallery system, which has been getting some rave reviews, and I’m just overall super busy. I’ve already had several shoots, including my spring mini sessions two weekends ago, with several more on the horizon!
  • My allergies are in full swing (like so many people) and I feel like crap 99% of the time with them. Needless to say, I was lazy and didn’t exercise for a solid two weeks. And I also chose to eat whatever I felt like. I’m back in the exercise groove, and re-starting Couch to 5K for my thousandth time today. I’ll finish it the week I leave for Spain. So it’s a good time frame and a good goal!
  • Stay tuned for a couple of reviews coming on the blog courtesy of SweatPink. I love being part of this community and can’t wait to bring them to the blog!

And that’s about all for now.

Happy Tuesday!

It’s Smoothie Time!

Happy Thursday!

I know, I’ve done a sort of disappearing act in the last couple of weeks, but quite honestly, I haven’t had the time or motivation to post much. After the ‘Growing Up Alex‘ series was completed, I wasn’t quite sure how I could back to my own posting. I was so honored to have her story on here that I didn’t want to cover it up by my own silly posts.

So I took a breather, except for the Boston Strong post last week.

But I’m back, and trying to brainstorm some new posts for y’all. Telling Alex’s story has inspired me to tell me own story as well, except mine has to do with anxiety and depression. That will be coming.

As for today – see below for my latest obsession.

We bought a NutriBullet over the weekend and I’m obsessed. I love making new concoctions and healthy smoothies. I’m definitely jumpstarting my mornings with these delicious drinks and I know I’m giving my body plenty of good vitamins and nutrients it needs. This morning I created one that I’m lovingly calling ‘Everything But the Kitchen Sink’ because I literally threw like 8 different things into it.

  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 8 baby carrots
  • 8 cherry tomatos
  • 2 broccoli florets
  • 3 slices of pineapple
  • 4 raspberries
  • 4 slices of cucumber
  • 1 tsp of xanthum gum (for thickening)
  • Water

I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious this was. And super filling.

My favorite one that I’ve made so far was a Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie.

  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of Teddie Peanut Butter
  • 8 oz of almond milk
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon
  • ice (to make it nice and cold!)

photoIn other news, I’ve decided to stop tracking everything I’m eating and just focus on eating clean and good portions. I feel like I’m starting to focus to heavily on calorie intake and calorie burn, and instead just want to focus on being healthy. I know what makes me feel good when I eat and I know what makes me feel crappy, so we’re going to stick with that for now.

Anyways, I hope you all have a fabulous Thursday!

 

 

It’s Sunny……

And if you’re a New Englander like me, then you know what a huge deal this is.

It literally rained for almost 3 days. Roads are flooded. Rivers are flooded. Parking lots are flooded. People’s yards and basements are flooded.

My car was not thrilled about driving through giant lakes in the road yesterday morning.

photo

But it’s sunny out. Just not slightly sunny. Like full out, no clouds in the sky, let’s get sunburned sunny.

Normally Tuesday would be a barn night for me. Unfortunately, I woke up with a very stiff and sore back. Ugh. Looks like tonight I’ll be doing some serious stretching. Also planning on taking a long walk outside and just enjoying the beautiful weather. My work is right next to a long rail trail in town and I’m thinking it would be perfect for tonight. I’d like to run a little bit too, but we shall see how the back holds up. I’m dying to hit the pavement with my running shoes instead of being on the treadmill. Let’s just say I’m ready for the heat wave outside.

hot weather

Okay, it’s not that hot out. But right now, 50 degrees will feel like a heat wave.

 

I Need More Sun, At Least That’s What the Doctor Told Me

I need more sunlight. I guess in reality we all do at this point. Especially those of us who live in New England. It might even go for everyone in the United States this year since this winter was just brutal all over the country. But I was told specifically by my doctor that I need more sunlight.

Yep – my blood tests show I have a pretty major Vitamin D deficiency. I was a 26. Based on the vitamin D scale, the deficiency range is 0-30. It’s not like… insanely low, but she said it’s low enough that we need to get it boosted ASAP and it could help with a lot of the things I’ve been dealing with. She told me to start taking a supplement immediately, preferably 5,000 IU a day, and I should start to see some improvement. Plus with the weather slowly beginning to warm up, it means spending QT with the sun when I get out of work.

Of course, once I found out about this deficiency, I wanted to learn more. I wanted to see if some of the things I’ve been feeling correlate with this. So I started searching. And below is what I found from various health websites across the internet.***

What is Vitamin D and what does it do for the body?

Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium and keep it balanced within our bodies. It essentially helps to keep our bones from becoming fragile and brittle. Studies have shown that it can help in the prevention of osteoporosis, lower blood pressure, decrease inflammation in the body, reduce the risk of allergies, decrease dental cavities, and help with the prevention and treatment of depression. (1)

Needless to say, it does a lot for our bodies.

What causes a deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiencies are really common, and my doctor told me she sees it all the time up here due to our long winters. Essentially, it’s not healthy for humans to be stuck inside without the sun. I say we all move south!

Anyways, the number one cause of a deficiency is lack of sunlight. Natural sun is a huge source of vitamin d and when we don’t have much exposure to it, we don’t get our vitamin d. Darker skin could also cause a deficiency because it has more melanin, which absorbs UVB radiation and doesn’t allow the skin to produce the amount of Vitamin D3 it needs. A person with paler skin will absorb more sun, thus producing more Vitamin D3. (2)

A recent study also has shown that obesity could be a cause. Essentially there is a relationship between your BMI and Vitamin D deficiency; the higher your BMI, the lower your Vitamin D levels may be.(3)

Additional reasons:

  1. Malabsorption
  2. Age
  3. Medications and Medical conditions (3)

What kind of symptoms does it cause?

Vitamin D Deficiency can cause such symptoms as tiredness, general aches and pains, or sometimes no symptosm at all. More severe deficiencies could have pain in bones and weakness, and frequent infections. (4)  See below of a list of common symptoms found on Dr. Frank Lipton’s website.

  • Fatigue
  • General muscle pain and weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Joint pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Restless sleep
  • Poor concentration
  • Headaches
  • Bladder problems
  • Constipation or diarrhea (5)

Are there any risks?

Essentially, if your levels become to low and it’s not caught, your bones could become thin or brittle. And we don’t want that to happen!

Bottom line: It could explain a lot of the problems I’ve been dealing with for a while now. Fatigue, muscle cramps, weight gain (I’m still pretty sure that’s just from being lazy and eating bad for so long, but whatever, it’s a symptom, I’ll add it to my list), restless sleep, poor concentration and headaches. I took my first dose of the supplement today, so we will see how I feel in a week!

***Disclaimer: All information found was just based on various health sites I researched for Vitamin D deficiencies and should not be taken as medical advice. The information above was found by doing searches on the internet so that I could learn more about Vitamin D deficiencies.  If you feel that you have may have a deficiency, or any other medical problem/deficiency/illness, please consult with your physician.

Sources:

  1. http://www.medicinenet.com/vitamin_d_deficiency/page4.htm
  2. http://www.medicinenet.com/vitamin_d_deficiency/page6.htm
  3. http://www.medicinenet.com/vitamin_d_deficiency/page7.htm
  4. http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/am-i-deficient-in-vitamin-d
  5. http://www.drfranklipman.com/symptoms-diseases-associated-with-vitamin-d-deficiency

To Wake Up or Not to Wake Up?… That Is The Question

Have you ever had one of those mornings where you just could not wake up? I have them a lot. But this morning was probably the worst one in awhile. I figured it would be hard to get up this morning. It was day 2 of being back to morning workouts. The first week is always the hardest. I made sure I laid everything out last night, and went to bed by 9 PM.

And yet this morning, I could not get up. I woke up briefly before my alarm went off, shut it off, rolled over and went back to sleep. I laid there and I could hear that voice inside my head telling me to get up and go to the gym. But I couldn’t break my body out of that paralyzed slumber. Even when my fiance came in to say goodbye as he left for work, I could barely wake up.  I know part of this was due to a massive headache . But, the other part was that my body just did not want to be awake. After another hour or so of dead sleep, I got up.

Once I rolled out of bed, I still could barely wake up. A shower and a cup of coffee didn’t wake me up either. Needless to say, it was a rough morning. I think I finally felt “awake” by about 8:30 AM. And I say “awake” loosely as it took another coffee on the way to work and a cappuccino this afternoon to keep me functioning.

The one plus side – I’m not beating myself up about not getting to the gym. I knew that if I didn’t make it this morning, I would still get to ride tonight. Which would be my daily workout. I had just hoped I would get two workouts in today. Oh well!

Back to the new normal morning routine tomorrow.

Gym  – Shower – Coffee – Get ready – Food prep for the day – Work – Home/Dinner/QT with my other half – Sleep – Repeat

Have you ever had trouble just getting out of bed in the am? What’s does a typical morning routine look like for you?

Clean your gym machines people (you never know who’s paying attention)

Happy Monday friends!

Today I’m all about the gym. Mainly because I had my first pain-free workout in nearly 6 months. I’m thrilled that the cortisone shot really seems to be working and doing what its supposed too! This morning’s workout was simply a ‘Let’s get used to being up before dawn and get your cardio back’. I did 35 minutes on the elliptical followed by some upper body lifting. I really like the nautilus machines, but since it’s been a long time since I’ve used them, I kept the workout small. I did tricep curls, bicep curls, the row and pulldowns – 3 reps of 10 at 30 lbs, except the bicep – I only did 2 reps.

collage

Anyways, on to the real reason for this post. Cleanliness at the gym.

We all know gyms are not the most sanitary places. People are constantly sweating all over everything. In reality, it’s pretty gross. But we all go, because we want to be in shape, or get in shape. Especially those of us in the cold arctic weather of New England who can’t work out outside basically from November until March (or evidently April this year). I mean you could… but it’s cold. And I just don’t like the cold.

I ALWAYS clean my machine when I get on it and off it. I’m not a germophobe by any means, but it’s one place that totally grosses me out. Just the thought of someone else’s sweat that I don’t know being all over me just makes me start gagging.

jwoww gaggin

Source

After finishing my workout on the elliptical, over to the weight machines I went. I sprayed down my towel, cleaned the machine and hopped on the first. I did this for the four machines I did. By the time I got to my fourth (and what I would soon learn to be my  final machine), I noticed a woman behind me lifting really fast. I had just finished my second rep and was taking a quick break. She got up from her machine, passed by GLARING at me, and jumped ahead to the machine in front of me. It was obvious she needed MY machine and was mad that I was on it when she was on it.

Okay….

1. I was on the machine before you got over here so chill out and wait your turn and…

2. There is an identical machine directly next to me. Use that one. You don’t need to go in a straight line. It’s not going to kill your workout. I promise. Just use that one.

Anyways, as I started doing my final rep, I watched as she whipped out another set on the machine in front of me, got up and proceeded to go back to the machine behind me. I immediately wanted to throw up.

SHE DIDN’T WIPE DOWN EITHER MACHINE! I was getting ready to get on the machine she was just on (the identical machine next to it was being used) and was absolutely disgusted. Okay, I know I wipe down machines before and after I use them, but I do it partially because I don’t know who used it before me. Watching someone as they use a machine and sweat all over it, and then leave it without cleaning it disgusted me so much I left. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I wasn’t about to clean the machine she just sweated all over. Maybe subconsciously, I didn’t want her to get the benefit of having someone else clean her machine, but come on people. How hard is it to clean a machine after you use it? It takes 10 seconds. I keep my paper towel with me and just re-wet it when I need it.

So thank you to the woman who didn’t clean her machine in front of me. I ended my workout early because I decided I’d rather be a germophobe then finish my workout and have to clean your sweat off of the machine. (I know. I’m insane.)

Moral of the story: Gyms are dirty places… even the cleanest ones, and you should all clean your machines. You never know who’s watching and ready to use your machine next. And who would rather leave than have to clean the machine you just sweated all over 🙂 (AKA me.)

Things I’m Saying to My Personal Trainer

My good friend, and health guru/coach Molly,  wrote a fantastically awesome post about all the things she’s tired of hearing as a personal trainer. This is my response to said post.

Here’s the thing, you may be tired of hearing it, but I can guarantee that us folks who are still trying to maneuver around the healthy-living/gym-stratosphere, are probably going to continue saying these things. And we’re going to keep wondering if what you’re telling us is really true. Because, for most of us, we don’t really know what we’re doing or talking about, but we think we do because we read tons of fitness magazines. And aspire to be healthy.

And I know that I’m going to keep saying these things to you. So be prepared to keep rolling those eyes…

“I don’t want to use those weights, I’m afraid of getting bulky.”  – Let me start here by saying, when I say this, it’s not out of fear of getting bulky. It’s because I don’t really feel like lifting 15 lb dumbbells over my head in a fly motion or whatever you feel like calling it. They feel wicked heavy, and I’m tired. Bottom line. So, you’re going to keep hearing this. And you’re going to have to keep telling me I’m not going to become a she-hulk. And I’m going to keep pretending I don’t know that, just so I can try to get out of lifting weights. Or at least the heavier ones. Give me a 5 lb dumb bell and I’ll go to town. 15 lbs… no flippin’ way.

And for the record… maybe I’ll start sneaking a little bit of testosterone into my diet just so I DO bulk up and I can be like ‘I told you so… the 15lbs was way too heavy. Now I look like a man.”

On another note – if you google She-Hulk. It’s a real thing; like actually a comic book character.

“Can we just focus on my abs? I want to lose the weight there.” –  Yep, I know that there is no way to spot reduce fat (remember, I read fitness magazines), but I’m still asking because I’m hoping that you’ll know a way to make it happen. I’m also testing you to see if you’re lying to me. IF you tell me yes, then I know you’re just appeasing me because it can’t happen like that. If you tell me no, then I’m going to cry and decide that I don’t want to work out anymore. Because it’s too hard to lose weight. Seriously, just tell me I’m going to do 50 sit ups and immediately have super model abs. It will make me happy. And if you tell me this every time I ask this, eventually I will have awesome abs and the problem will be fixed.

“I don’t want to do this exercise. Can we try something else?” – Let me first tell say, I pay you to get me in shape. Having said that, I should have full control over what we do in our training sessions. And if that means, I want to sit on a recumbent bike, barely peddling, while reading a book, you’re going to let me do that. Remember, YOU’RE STILL GETTING PAID. Sure, I know, you secretly LOVE making me want to cry as I do ten more pushups and a 5 minute plank, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I’m only paying you so I can say ‘Yeah, I get to work out with my personal trainer today.’ It makes me sound like I’m a beast at the gym.  Let me do this occasionally… especially if I’m exhausted. And then occasionally I won’t complain about the masochist exercises your about to make me do.

“I don’t get how I’m not losing weight! I only eat Greek yogurt for my breakfast!” – We’ve been brought up in a culture where we’ve heard reducing calories and eating healthy helps up lose weight. Now we’re hearing that we should be eating more to lose weight. Quite honestly, I’m eating Greek Yogurt for breakfast because I’m so overwhelmed with the millions of options that it seems like the quickest and easiest when I have to work. Let’s be serious. I don’t have time to make anything in the morning. I barely have time to get a workout in, and get ready for work.  Greek yogurt with fruit sounds like a grand breakfast to me. And it’s high in protein. And lower in calories. Sounds like a win/win to me!

“I’m not seeing any progress. Nothing is changing!” –  In my one session a week with you, on the weeks where I’m not demanding to sit on the recumbent bike, I expect you to work miracles. And by miracles I mean, lose 10 lbs without lifting a finger the rest of the week. That’s how this whole weight loss thing works right? I work out once and WHAMMO the weight comes off. No? Oh. Okay. I guess I should probably start at least walking on the treadmill when I’m not working out with you.

“I’m going on vacation in a few weeks and I want to lose 10 lbs.” – I know. I probably should have thought of this before my vacation snuck up on me. Like 4 months ago. But let’s be honest. Pizza and beer were way more fun than working out and eating healthy. So now it’s time to crash diet until vacation when I can gain all of it back. That works right? You can totally help me do this right? I mean, 10 lbs is only 10 lbs right… it shouldn’t take THAT long.

So there you go personal trainer Molly. The reasons why we say the things we do when we’re working out with you.

*Disclaimer – I’m not stupid and I know half of the things I said in my responses sound absolutely ridiculous. The point is just a fun response to the things personal trainers are sick of hearing. This is more about the things that come to my mind when hearing these things;  I don’t speak for the population or majority.

**Disclaimer 2 – I’ve known Molly a really long time. We totally poke fun at each other all the time. It’s normal. She knows my eating and workout habits. She knows I’m a lazy bum most of the time, but also knows how long it’s taken me to lose 10 lbs (I hit it today and it’s been almost 3 months!). I trust her 100% with her advice and know that she’s not lying to me when she tells me these things. I just don’t always like to listen to her. She will totally agree with me on this too.