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I killed the camera

22 Feb

Last night I spilled water all over my purse and drowned and killed my camera. I tried to dry it out, that didn’t work. There won’t be any food photos for a few weeks. I have yet to check the memory card to see if some great weekend food pictures survived.

I’ll still be posting, but no photos or recipes for a little while.



Happy Valentine’s Day

14 Feb

I used to be one of those anti-valentine’s day people but not anymore. I’ve softened up over the years. What not to love about a day of hearts, warm and fuzzies and lovie dovies!?!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all my readers!

Flourless Fruit Hearts

Flourless Fruit Hearts

A Slump

16 Dec

Maybe it’s the weather, maybe the stress and monotony of work, maybe it’s other personal stuff, but I’ve been in a slump. It’s this phenomenon that I know exactly how to change and at the same time I’m not doing anything about.

I’ve been diligently working out on the weekends. During the week I head straight home from work.  I cook or read or study when I get home. I stay up later than I want and then I go to bed late. Then I sleep in, get to work later that I wanted and start the same cycle. I already know that I focus and feel better after having gone to the gym, yet there are those days that I just don’t do it.

Then there’s my social calendar, I can’t seem to create a balance. I schedule to hang out with friends or go to events during the week and that throws off my schedule. I stay on track with training when I don’t plan to do anything with friends but then I feel like a hermit.

The truth of the matter is, I’m healthy by many standards. I eat well, I run, I lift weights. But that is just not the game that I’m playing. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to have a lean muscular body type like the women in fitness competitions (I’m not kidding, since I was 8 I remember watching shows of fitness competitions). For as long as I can remember I have been talking myself out of going for it. It may not be everyone’s goal to look like Jillian Micheal’s or have arms like Angela Basset or Madonna, but that’s just what I want. My current workout regimen is just not cutting it. It takes so much more than doing an ab workout once every couple of weeks to get rock solid abs, it’s not going to work to eat pizza a couple of nights per week or eat cookies over the holiday season. Maybe some can get away with it, but I don’t have those kinds of genes.

The question is, am I willing to do what it takes? Am I willing to listen to my trainer? Am I willing to go the extra mile? Am I willing to train those days that I want to the least? Am I willing to do what it takes? Will I even like it when I get there?

I have no idea but I do know one thing, I won’t know until I just go for it and I won’t know if I keep talking myself out it.

Breakfast Burrito Perfection and a Party

10 Dec

Good morning everyone. A breakfast burrito is the perfect thing to wake up to on a cold winter morning. Warm eggs and warm turkey bacon wrapped in a warm tortilla with some hot tea on the side, perfect. I’ve been making these for breakfast as least a few times a week for the last year and I have yet to get sick of them. Probably because the combinations of healthy options are endless. I think this is the best one yet.

Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast burrito

From the bottom up:
Spinach tortilla
Homemade arugula pesto
Organic baby spinach
1 slice of turkey bacon
2 eggs, over easy
Avocado slices
Valentina hot sauce
Toasted flax seeds

Later tonight I will be attending the holiday office party. I hear that there will be an amazing buffet and an open bar. Looking forward to it.

Life Priority List

21 Oct

Over the past few weeks I’ve been struggling greatly with my schedule. I have many projects, commitments and a full calendar. I schedule everything and I typically tell people, “if I don’t write it down, I won’t remember it.” For the most part this system has worked the past few years.

What’s been happening lately however is I’ve been feeling like I’m always working on stuff that I don’t care about. I feel like I have to get so many things out-of-the-way before I begin to work on the stuff I want to work on. For example, I experience not having enough time to plan my meals and I’m always cutting my workouts 5-10 minutes short. I’m spending a lot of time working on random favors and returning phone calls. Meanwhile I’m getting busier, missing events and double booking. Over the past few months any attempt at revising the way I schedule events has been unsuccessful, in fact it’s been getting worse.

Earlier this week, I worked with a friend who is masterful at scheduling. I wanted to get to the bottom of what’s been going on with my schedule. He had me make a list of all major areas of my life and major projects. I then ranked them from most important to least. The results were VERY eye-opening, I noticed that I have been spending most of my time working on the lowest ranked areas. The areas of my life that I care about the most have been getting the least amount of attention. It’s no wonder I have been experiencing such little satisfaction in life and why I have been so frustrated with my calendar.

Cooking, meal planning, exercising and spending time with my friends and family are on the top of my list. These are the things that keep me happy and I haven’t been making them a top priority. It’s time to change all that. I don’t know exactly how it’s all going to work out, but I can feel a major shift coming on.

This week I’m keeping a log of how I spend my time to see where the hours of the day go versus where I think they go. Although nothing has changed in my calendar, I now know what’s important to me and it’s already become easier to make choices on what to participate in and what to decline.

Do any of you have a life priority list? Have you found that it helps with your scheduling and planning?

Feeling Great in my Skin-Bag

16 Sep

Fitness and health have been an important part of my life since I can remember. I think I’ve intuitively known the importance of fresh, natural ingredients since I was 8 years old when I made my first batch of brownies from scratch. Even at 8 I knew that there was something off about buying brownie mix from a box and just adding water.

You could say that this fitness journey has been a lifelong journey. I am in the best shape of my life at 30 years old. I’d say that the last three years have been the most significant part of the journey and particularly the last three months.

Over the last three years I’ve learned to eat for fueling my body and having it work as efficiently as possible. I rarely eat for emotional reasons anymore, and I especially don’t eat ‘treats’ because I’m having a bad day. I have participated in six triathlons, a five-mile race, the Hustle up the Hancock and can hold my own in the weights area of the gym.

All of this work has paid off, I feel great, I look great and others are noticing too. I was with my family over the weekend for my cousin’s baby’s Christening and many of them I haven’t seen in over a year. I had at least five people tell me how great I look and/or ask me what I’ve been doing. My answer, “Changing my lifestyle. Eating organic, naturally growing foods and not eating anything processed and diligently working out with my personal trainer.”

It is that simple. Of course there’s more to say and there is the day-to-day stuff I deal with, but after all that’s what this blog is for. 🙂

My point, however, is that I am so happy to be a woman who is proud of her physique, able to take compliments and fulfill on a secret dream I’ve had since being a teenager. Where I’ve never been too heavy, I’ve been a size 12 for most of my teenage and adult life. I just bought some size 4 pants and feel comfortable wearing spandex shorts now. When I was  younger I would look at girls wearing spandex shorts and think that there was something wrong with them, like maybe they don’t eat or something. Secretly I just wanted to look as good as they did in the shorts, I was jealous and didn’t see how it was possible. I too wanted to look that good, but I did not want to compromise my health and didn’t know how to achieve it.

Over the wedding weekend I got one of the nicest complements I have ever received from the bride. She posted on her Facebook page under my photo “Joanna you took 1st place in my favorite dress of the night! You looked stunning!” Awwww, how sweet is that! You could call it bragging, but I am taking the complement and sharing it with you all loud and proud. 🙂


Me at Vanessa's wedding

The best part is that I’ve only just begun. I will be running the longest running race of my life later this year, I’m still lifting weights, I’m learning to cook more delicious recipes as the days go by and I am learning to have those around me support me in my fitness goals and take on their own.

Are you the type that loves to take complements or do you shy away from them?

Breakfast Burrito and Following my own Advice

11 Sep

Good evening! It feels like I was just sitting at my kitchen table eating breakfast and already I am on the train on my commute home. It was a loooong day, sure there was a mountain of work to do today, but that’s not why it was such a long day. Before I get into that, here’s this morning’s breakfast burrito:

Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast Burrito

From the bottom up this one has:
Whole wheat flax tortilla from Trader Joe’s
Raw organic spinach
2 eggs
Part-skim Monterrey Jack cheese
Valentina hot sauce
1 TBS toasted flaxseeds

So, on to the topic of having a loooong day. It started off poorly when last night I didn’t go to bed until 1am knowing I had to be up at 7am. That’s 6 hours of sleep, one hour less than I know I need. I of course didn’t fall asleep right away, so it was probably more like 5.5 hours.

I’m going to demonstrate exactly why you should get enough sleep by describing what happens to me when I don’t. So use me as a bad example and learn. 🙂

For starters, it was so difficult to crawl out of bed this morning. All day my head has felt very fuzzy, like I couldn’t focus on anything. It’s taken me twice as long to complete simple tasks. I got about half of the work I wanted to get done today. My body has been aching, not like when I was sick, but all the soreness from the gym and poor posture has been kicked up a few notches. My mood has been very pissy and crabby. I ended up going to Starbuck’s to get coffee, normally I don’t do that. If I want coffee I make organic coffee at home and drink it with raw honey and raw milk. (They don’t have those kinds of ingredients at Starbuck’s) We were working on a very cool, very fun project at work and I was crabby about that too. Also, I am way too tired to workout today, so now I am going to be skipping the gym. You see, not sleeping enough leads to all kinds of mischievous behavior, body pain and a bad mood.

I have a lifetime, well from age 12 to 29, of going to bed late and not getting enough sleep. For me, this is a habit to break. I have to treat it as such. I’m going to try something new:
all electronics off at 10.45pm. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Are you like me with having a habit of sleeping too little? Or are you someone who gets your 7-8 hours per night no matter what? I’d like to hear from you both.

Daily Actions, Day 18
• Logging my food intake everyday — done
• Doing my workouts and logging them everyday — done
• Getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night — not done, bad
• Ask at least one person per day one of two questions: –  not done, as a result of above
What are your dreams? What do you like about your life? What are you grateful for?

In addition to the daily actions I will take some other miscellaneous actions:
(These won’t get a check mark until I do them later in the month, but I’m keeping them here as a reminder)
• Host a ‘Clean’ dinner party at my home once a month — Hosted 1st party Sunday 8.29
• Get a Sub Max test
• Clean two closets — one closet is clean
• Paint bedroom walls

When Sick, Let Yourself be Sick

10 Sep

I had these great plans to post something everyday this weekend. I was going to finally do that follow-up post about foam rolling, post some photos from this weekend’s weddings, experiment in the kitchen and report, etc. Instead, I was sick and sleeping all weekend and I don’t have too many complaints about it either.

Yes, I felt horrible and my body was achy and all I could do was sleep.  Yes, I have a ton of catching up and house work to do. Yes, I’m sad that I didn’t get to write all of those awesome posts. Yes, I AM happy that I gave my body and mind all the time they needed to fully recover.

The old me would have been stressing out about not blogging, not having my meal plan for the week prepared and freaking out about missing three days worth of workouts. The old me would have also gone back to work on Tuesday without being 100% better. The old me also would not have gone to the doctor at all.

The new me left the to-do list on the table all weekend and called in sick on Tuesday. On Tuesday I went to the doctor to make sure there wasn’t anything seriously wrong, I went to the Chiropractor to get an adjustment along with a boost to the immune system and I got a massage. Luckily, after going to the doctor I found out there was nothing wrong, I had just caught a virus and fought it off naturally.

Health is not just about clean eating and working out. There is also the part about taking care of yourself when you’re sick. Allowing yourself to listen to your body and so you know what it needs. I don’t like to take any kind of medication unless I absolutely have to. I was able to fight off my sickness without taking any meds, just rest, water, and vitamin C. I really don’t think that would have been possible had I been stressing over my to-do list or getting back to work. Stress doesn’t make things happen any faster or more effectively, it just produces extra Cortisol, and we learned about the effects of too much Cortisol a couple of weeks ago.

I’m not a health care professional nor am I suggesting you do the same when you get sick, I just know what works for me. I believe in preventative care and eating right for health, that’s why I choose a lifestyle that incorporates eating clean and seeing a Chiropractor as regularly as I can.

There’s something amazingly inspiring about doing absolutely nothing for a few  days. After having taken that break, I have a new relationship to my ‘to-do’ list and I am reminded of what’s important to me: friends, family, happiness, being stress-free.

As far as my daily promises that are supposed to be at the end of every post I didn’t worry about them over the last few days. They’re back today with what I accomplished today. No problem, it’s that easy just to start again. 🙂

Daily Actions, Day 17
• Logging my food intake everyday — done, started again today
• Doing my workouts and logging them everyday — done
• Getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night — done
• Ask at least one person per day one of two questions: –  didn’t do it, will do it tomorrow
What are your dreams? What do you like about your life? What are you grateful for?

In addition to the daily actions I will take some other miscellaneous actions:
(These won’t get a check mark until I do them later in the month, but I’m keeping them here as a reminder)
• Host a ‘Clean’ dinner party at my home once a month — Hosted 1st party Sunday 8.29
• Get a Sub Max test
• Clean two closets — one closet is clean
• Paint bedroom walls

Being ‘Dress Ready’

3 Sep

This weekend I’m going to two weddings. As with any wedding, I had to find a great dress for the occasion, and did I ever. I’ll post some photos after the weekend but that’s not what this post is about.

The wedding weekend had me think about a common thing that women say and do before weddings. Have you ever heard a woman say or maybe you yourself have said,  “OMG! I have to start working out so I can fit into my dress.” I know I have. Or if you’re a man, you have said or thought something along the lines of, “Better hit the gym ‘cuz Cabo is coming up in three weeks.” I’m going to use the example of the dress in this post, but this is applicable to both genders.

I have found myself in the past thinking I had to crash diet and workout extra long to be able to look good for one night. I’d proceed to eat fewer meals, hit the gym for twice as  long and immediately when the event was over, going right back into my old habits. This is totally not a healthy practice. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with cleaning up your diet and stepping up your workouts a few weeks before any event, be it a wedding, vacation or a day at the pool.

I do think that there is an underlying issue that leads to this type of behavior. When I would crash diet and crash workout, the context I had for my body image was that it wasn’t good enough as it was, in some way I was inadequate the way I was and had to take some drastic measures to try to get myself to some imaginary place that would be good enough. That’s quite a mouth full, but the bottom line was I didn’t have a positive relationship with my body.

At the time I wouldn’t think to myself about my self-image and adequacy, I just wanted to look good in a dress or a vacation. I think that for everyone there is some value in taking a look at the way you relate to your body and notice if it’s a positive relationship or negative. Is it nourishing or is it abusive? Maybe it’s detached or unacknowledging.

I’d like to propose a revolutionary idea: Being Dress Ready (or if you’re not someone who wears a dress, Being Beach Ready).What if, instead of trying to get your body to look some particular way for an event you could have your body ready for any event. All there would ever be to do is kick things up a notch in a way that doesn’t drastically alter your eating and training  habits. Imagine, each and every day you treat your body like the temple that it is, feeding it, nourishing it, moving it so that when the occasions come up, it’s ready for you. 🙂

Sounds like a much more relaxing experience to me. There’s already so much emotion when it comes to weddings, vacations, special events why not give yourself a break beforehand?

The Battle (with Myself)

2 Sep

I imagine that many of you who have been reading this blog see me as someone of extreme will-power and motivation. I struggle with will-power and motivation just like everyone else.

Even on the best days, my mind likes to go to battle with itself. Right before a workout on any given day, my mind does two different things. The first is it gets really excited to go the gym. It imagines the hard work, the sweat pouring down my forehead, the burn in my muscles and how good my body is going to feel when it’s over. About three seconds later, my mind thinks of fifteen reasons why I shouldn’t go to the gym, why it won’t be fun and why just this one time I can skip and how much better it would be to go tomorrow. My head starts to get cloudy and tired. My mind then tries to convince my body that it’s tired and hungry.

This process lasts anywhere from two to ten minutes. These days the “gym-going” side almost always wins. It wasn’t always that way though. There was a time when the “put-it-off-for-one-more-day” side would mostly win. That side has been so over-powering that I’ve made it all the way to the gym parking lot, parked, paused for 30 seconds and drove back home. In fact, I almost did that last night.

Yesterday, I was already in a crabby mood when I arrived at the gym. I hadn’t gotten enough sleep and I had left my cell phone at work. After changing in the locker room I realized I left my heart rate monitor in the car and my sheet with my workout for the day in the office. Those were plenty of GOOD reasons for turning around and going home.

The good “gym-going” side prevailed yesterday. I stayed and did a bicep workout. I just made it up, I improvised. Guess what? I felt great afterwards and today I have some sore-@## biceps. 🙂

When did the shift take place? Hmmm, great question. I could have easily just walked out of the gym and gone home. If I could pick apart my brain and tell you what happened I would and I would study it myself so I can prevent this the next time.

I think what’s changed is something that I started to point to in yesterday’s post, having a group and changing my environment. Having a group to do exercise with is awesome from a social point of view but the real power of it is having people to be accountable to, having an environment that calls forth my health and fitness goals.  That kind of environment doesn’t  just happen automatically. It requires sharing about my fitness goals, even when they’re kind of embarrassing. If the people around aren’t open to it then find new people to share with. I started this blog as a way to have the general public and particularly the regular reader be my partners in accountability. I know that if I skip on a workout then I have to post it at the end of my post and explain what happened. I write this blog in part to inspire others and I want to be credible that means I have to be on my A-game.

Thanks Katya for bringing up this topic, I had been thinking about writing something about motivation and I got to do it much sooner now. I go through this process everyday, I am no different from you. You can begin to change your environment too, that’s where the power is because you alone with will-power will only get so far.

Are there any struggles you’ve had in maintaining your fitness routines? Did you overcome them? How did you do it?

Daily Actions, Day 9
• Logging my food intake everyday — done
• Doing my workouts and logging them everyday — done
• Getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night — 7 hours last night
• Ask at least one person per day one of two questions: – done
What are your dreams? What do you like about your life? What are you grateful for?

In addition to the daily actions I will take some other miscellaneous actions:
(These won’t get a check mark until I do them later in the month, but I’m keeping them here as a reminder)
• Host a ‘Clean’ dinner party at my home once a month — Hosted 1st party Sunday 8.29
• Get a Sub Max test
• Clean two closets — done with one
• Paint bedroom walls

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