Sunday, August 25, 2013

Surround yourself with people who push you forward

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I find inspiration everywhere, but more importantly, I draw inspiration from the people around me. While in Vietnam last year, my friends and I discussed what we look for in friends. My view has always been that the people you surround yourself with bring you up and push you forward. These are the people who make you a smarter, funnier and better version of yourself.

As I'm on my fitness journey, I've been thinking a lot about  my friends and realizing how lucky I am. 

My friends are fit. Diane is my fitness partner during the week. We take classes together every day, talk about going to Crossfit throughout the entire day and high five each other pretty much after every exercise. From bike rides to runs to going to the gym every day at work, I'm lucky to have a group of friends who push me to do all kinds of fitness. I could probably do this all alone, but I would have have such a harder time pushing myself to get moving.

My friends are thoughtful. Dasha is always encouraging me in so many ways.  I'm always impressed with the things she remembers and takes to heart. It is 8,000 little things that mean so much. From just asking how it is going to a surprise bike jersey on my desk (to celebrate our new cycling goals). She got me to sign up for a 5K and is always bringing up fun activities that align with my new healthy lifestyle.

My friends are healthy. Joelle is constantly reading about healthy lifestyles and telling me different tips that she is trying. From gluten free to raw to just plain clean - I love learning about it! I love being friends with someone who is interested in super eating. She inspires me and makes me even more glad I've decided to make changes in my life.

My friends are passionate. Sam teaches school in Oakland and she is constantly inspiring me to love the things I do as much as I watch her love teaching. She believes in what she is doing wholeheartedly and that makes me so excited. Her passion for her job is rare. When I see how Sam is passionate, I know I need that same passion for my fitness journey (and life in general). I have to be excited and focused 100% on my goals. 

My friends are dedicated. Kathleen is always working on some crazy craft project. She can sit and work to perfect her cross-stitching for hours. It takes her a long time to get them just right. I'm learning that weight loss is a stitch by stitch process. It's mostly tedious and long. I have to be patient and dedicated to make it happen. I can't get discouraged or I'll just put myself further from my goals. 

I want to be the most dedicated, thoughtful, passionate, healthy, fit human on the planet.  I love that I have people around me teaching me how to be all of these things. The list above is limited - I wanted to show 5 people who I see all the time in San Francisco. There are so many more people supporting me each and every day with phone calls, chats, emails, etc. I'm also lucky to have an awesome family that I get to lean on. Together, we're actively changing my life.

Who inspires you and how do they do it?  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Looking fabulous at the gym

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In my new adventures of working out, I've found that it really helps and motivates me to be in clothes that are not only comfortable, but also very cute. I used to wear oversized tshirts and cotton yoga pants, but now I've moved into more sleek performance wear. It makes me feel so much better and happier when I'm half dying in the gym.

I love color so while I normally sport dark pants, my shirt, shoes and accessories are all up for grabs. They tend to be pink, purple and green. I've recently added in orange and neon yellow and love love how they look. I adore matching and so tend coordinate all of my outfits from my socks to my bra. It's the little things that get me there and make me excited about my workout. Whatever works, right?

Below is my current favorite workout outfit:

PantalonesI love the stripey pants from Old Navy. I think they are just a fun spin on my normal black compression pants. A lot of my friends wear Lululemon and I think those pants and shirts are adorable, but for $15-20 Old Navy activewear is a steal. I love having a bit of compression because it feels supportive while I workout.
Shirt: I like this sort billowy shirt because it isn't so form fitting. For someone like me who is working on their fitness, tight on problem areas is not so fun. Feeling good about yourself is synonymous with comfort and so finding the right balance of fitted and loose is important. 
Sports bra: Having a great sports bra is absurdly necessary. I love Moving Comfort and the Fiona is my absolute favorite. I want to get a couple of their racerback bras as well so they go with some new workout shirts I've been wearing. I have 5 of these in all different colors!

ShoesThe shoes I bought off Amazon because I love Asics and I fell immediately in love with the crazy amounts of color on them. I love them, they make me smile and they are comfortable to boot! I need quite a bit of support and these aren't as totally cushioned as my running shoes (Asics as well), but these give me enough support for Crossfit and Cardio Sculpt.

Heart Rate monitor: I mentioned in my exercise post that I wear a heart rate monitor for all of my exercise.  The one in the picture above is the same model, but mine is actually black and hot pink. I wear a HRM so I can keep track of my calories burned and know that I'm exerting a consistent amount of energy in each workout. When I'm in class and I see that my calories burned isn't where I want it to be, I just pick up the pace. It's a great motivator. When I'm at home and working out by myself, I just try to burn the same about of calories within the same amount of time as my normal fitness class. 
Hair ties: I love these little hair ties that have the not in them. I find they don't get tangled in my hair and I don't mind wearing them on my wrist as a bracelet. Also, they come in a variety of colors, which is obviously important. 
Water: I'm terrible and love bottled water. During my fitness journey, I've turned from a hummingbird drinker into a more normal human being. This Metromint sort of tastes like toothpaste, but is very refreshing. The bottle is also aesthetically pleasing, which doesn't hurt.

What helps you get excited for the gym?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Do something that scares you

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In her book, Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg asks, "What would you do if you weren't afraid?" She asks the question in relation to work, but I immediately thought of my personal life. I'm on a crazy scary adventure. When you begin losing weight it feels like looking up from the bottom of the mountain. You can see the goal in your head (hint: it's the top), but you're all, how am I going to get up there?

Inka trail, January 3rd, 2013
The journey isn't about quick fixes (which sucks), but about making sustainable changes in your life. You have to have a vision of what you want and you have to make sacrifices to get there. I can't think of anyone who thinks "hmmm I'm going to change the way I've acted for 20 years, this is going to be fun!" It's about facing the scary things in your life. I'll be honest in the beginning it isn't fun and in the middle it isn't that fun either. You have to believe that you are going to get there. Being afraid of making changes is normal and it takes a big leap of faith in yourself to get there. You just have to jump.

Talking about weightloss 
The first time I posted a progress pic to Instagram I immediately deleted it. I wasn't ready to share with the world my "before" because I wasn't even ready to accept that as my "before". I've always known that I was overweight, but I tried to never let it bother me. In fact, I made a point of always making sure my weight was not the reason I could not do something. But by focusing on making it not an issue, I was slowly creating a scary (and literal) elephant in the room. I was not comfortable talking about it. When you voice something it becomes real and part of me was terrified of making my weight loss journey a real thing. Now, talking about my journey is something that makes me excited. I'm over the moon about the changes I've made in my life and excited to share as I go along. I've accepted that this is a "real thing".

Stand Up Paddleboarding
I was sitting in the back of the car in Austin during my July 4th vacation when my sister suggested stand up paddleboarding (SUP). The funny thing about this is that she has been suggesting going SUP for YEARS. What was the difference this time, you might ask? Well, for starters, there was another person in the car with us.

Enter: Sam. Whereas I am seeing red signs and do not pass go at the suggestion of paddleboarding, Sam gets very very excited. Turns out, she has done it before and had a great time. I remained dubious. I have a funny (and not effective) tactic when I'm scared of doing something. I just start hoping/wishing/praying that it won't work out. Even after it had been decided we were going to go paddleboarding, I was just sitting there thinking that the store might be closed or there would be too long of line for us to go. Wrong.

It all worked out and 45 minutes later I was sitting on a board terrified of standing up. When you are overweight, balance is one of those things that you aren't that great at. I didn't want to fall in the water, but what would have been worse for me (and more embarrassing) was giving up. I gritted my teeth and felt super afraid while moving wobbly legs on a tilting board. One leg followed the other and I stood up for the first time. I was super unsteady, but I was on my way!

I've now gone paddleboarding three times and I actually enjoy it. I've fallen in once and guess what. It wasn't even that big of a deal.

What have you done lately that scares you?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

3 things I was doing for my dog that I wasn't doing for myself

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This post could also be titled "how I was taking better care of my dog than my own body". When you have something you love, you want to take care of it to the best of your ability even if that means forgetting about your own needs. I had that moment when I adopted my dog, Sunday. I wanted her to have a happy and long life, but in the beginning I didn't know how to do that exactly. I like to research. I started out by reading all the books, obsessively pouring over blogs and talking to other dog owner/ trainers. I was going to win at dog owning.

It's ironic that I felt so strongly about how I took care of Sunday and actually followed through since I had never been able to totally do that for my own health. I was researching and following recommendations to the letter. Below are some of the things I've learned by taking care of Sunday and now actively do to take care of myself.

Measured food
Sunday gets the perfect amount of food for her body each day. She gets a half cup of grain-free, free range kibble in the morning with fish oils and plankton for her teeth. In the evening, she gets two scoops of dehydrated raw food with a cup of her fancy kibble again. That is all she gets each day and I measure each time I feed her.

I had a history of having a hard time restricting my portions. Weight watchers was always a trial for me and I felt stubborn and lazy when thinking of food journaling even when I knew that it was a proven way to help you lose weight. At work, we have two plate sizes. The cafeteria was always campaigning that we eat off the small plate (a little larger than a dessert plate). When I started trying to actively change the way I was eating, I decided that I would only eat off the small plate. If I was still hungry, I could go back and get more. The crazy part? I barely ever needed more. I had been actively overeating because the food was delicious, but more importantly because it was sitting on my plate.

Only high quality food/ no crap  
I did a lot of research in even picking the brand that I feed Sunday. I am constantly looking at ingredients lists and thinking of how I can make her look and feel the best. It is also something I love talking about and finding more information about. Also, I am always rewarded when people come up and tell me how shiny her coat is and how healthy she looks.

When I started my Paleo journey, I realized that I needed to follow some of the same requirements that I had when feeding Sunday. Sunday rarely eats grains as all of her food and treats are grain free.
I had that "ah ha" moment, when I started Paleo because one of the first things you do is cut out grains. Sunday and I were going to both be grain free. I needed to feed myself with the same diligence and rigor that I was feeding Sunday.

Now when I'm out and about thinking of what I am going to eat, I am so much more aware of what I am eating. Would I ever give a candy-esque treat to Sunday? The answer is absolutely NO and so it makes no sense that I would consume an unhealthy treat. When I start to think like that, it makes years of bad eating and being stubborn seem so stupid.

1.5 - 2 hours of exercise a day 
When I wake up in the morning, I take Sunday for an 20-40 minute walk to get some exercise. I pay a dog walker to walk Sunday every weekday for 1-2 hours.  When I get home in the evening we try to do another hour of outside time. This was all because a trainer once told me that my dog needed at least 2 hours of exercise a day to feel happy.

The funny thing is that doctors/trainers/people have also always recommended that for me. I was at at office job and definitely not moving 1-2 hours a day. I would take Sunday on walks but favored opportunities where she would run around and I would throw the ball for her. It was definitely not that active for me.

After losing an initial amount of weight with Paleo, I added in exercise. It started as two days a week and then three. I now work out 4-6 times a week and feel awesome. Sunday is also my running buddy. Her best case scenario is when we get to go on a three mile run together. We are much more active with our walks and use the time to take care of both of us.

Moving forward
I honestly think that being dedicated and disciplined with Sunday has helped me learn how to take care of my own health. It has been an awesome journey and taught me so much. The best part is that now that I am healthier, Sunday gets to benefit from that. I've been taking this one step at a time and actively reading, listening and doing. The doing is the most important part and it has made me so proud and happy to experience this change in myself.

 July 2012 
May 2013