A new you doesn’t start with a New Year

Anyone else feel like the week between Christmas and New Year is rest week? Between my graduation, getting a life back, reconnecting with friends, Christmas, and work, I’ve been slowing catching up with what’s happened in the last month. 2014 isn’t even here yet and I already know it will be wild. Actually, it won’t take much after the tedious, mind-numbing year I had finishing clinical.

With graduation, Christmas, and parties, my house (and my tummy) have overflowed with yummy treats. Twitter, FB, and the blogger-world have been full of cookies, diet plans, resolutions, cheese platters (mmmm), and those who keep powering through with workouts or those who’s biggest workout is lifting another plate of fudge. I’ve taken the middle of the road by still enjoying happy hours, wine time, parties, and friends, but decided not to do any baking this year. I also made a secret stash for January and February of all my holiday candy instead of eating it all now (out of sight out of mind, right? maybe?). I had some amazing cupcakes left over from my graduation party and decided to cut them up in little single servings and freeze them so I could have an after dinner treat later. It’s all about the little steps. January is such a high pressure month of lose weight! salads and chicken only! no bread! no carbs! gym 7 days a week! No wonder we give up and hope for the best next year.

As we end 2013, I hope you realize your new life doesn’t start January 1st, or on a Monday, or when you turn 21. There are thousands of moments a day where you can change your life. They might be tiny, they might be monstrous. But realize a day isn’t wasted because you didn’t seize that moment. Just make it right the next time. My dumb example (but I know it happens to all of us ) is when I made it a cupcake lunch earlier this week. Did I make it a cupcake dinner? No. Was the day ruined? Nope. I had a balanced dinner and moved on. Don’t kick yourself and write the day or week off because you failed at one moment.

Here’s to taking flight and living in 2014!

PS- Here are some pics from this week. I made the best of some nice weather and decided to start working on my post-graduate body. No need to wait till 2014.  There will be no 2014 resolutions for me. Just taking flight and living each day.

Nellie playing in the snow! Snowy prairie walk Kansas beauty 100 stairs

 

Take flight!……And nose dive…..

Perhaps you’ve seen some of the articles circulating on blogs lately questioning how people censor their lives through social media. You know, putting up all the pretty, perfect pictures of their well-balanced, organic, local, hand-picked meals but forgetting to post the pictures of the cheese puffs and doughnuts they wolfed down in a stress-induced panic. While we turn to social media for support and inspiration, some of us can walk away feeling pretty crappy about our life when we compare ourselves to the picture perfect lifestyles.

As many of you know, I’m in my last year of graduate school to become a nurse practitioner. This entire year is dedicated to clinical rotations (otherwise known as “free labor”). 25-30 hours a week is dedicated to learning how to assess, diagnose, treat, and manage newborns to older adults and making sure I’m not passing off minor symptoms for something major (like death). Oh yeah, I’m still working 40 hours a week at night at my ever stressful job of trying to pull people back from more death. Personal life? Non-existent. Running? My heart aches for it. The person who would spend 10 days camping outside now sees sunshine on her walk to and from the car. Auuggghhh, it’s like a knife to the heart.  It’s just killing me!! Stressed, unhappy, and a little depressed is an accurate descriptor of my current situation. What’s making me happy now?? Here’s the big confession…..BACON, FRIED POTATOES, and DILL PICKLE CHIPS. Yes, Miss Thang here, whose last post was about making green smoothies, is now using grease, salt, and fat as her support system. I’ll give you a minute to gossip about that little piece of news…..

Last week I had a “get your sh*$ together” moment where I realized that all of my negativity and stress is REALLY affecting how I feel. I rarely post on Facebook because I’ve noticed that most things I want to say will put me in that friend’s category of getting blocked because I have nothing good to say and I DON’T want to lose friends because I’m a Negative Nancy. I thought about an anti-depressant (nothing wrong with them, I prescribe tons at work) but after more consideration, I felt like it was more of a lifestyle issue and a pill would just be a Band-Aid covering a bigger problem. I woke up between shifts to an amazing, sunny 75° Saturday. I took a great walk, soaking up some Vitamin D (low levels can cause depression), and then hit up Costco for some frozen anti-oxidant berry mix, kale, fruit, power veggies salad mix, and Greek yogurt. At the end of the day, my body really does crave clean eating and I know I respond really well to it. The dill pickle chips, while so good, just leave me feeling sluggish, hungry, and only give me about 5 minutes of satisfaction. To me, it’s not worth the trade. Like I’ve said before, I’m not a big believer in always depriving yourself of foods but I need to stop the habit of reaching for the bacon for a 5-minute comfort.

I’m always seeing posts (usually on Mondays) were it goes something like this “cleaning the fridge out today of all my junk! It’s just chicken and salad from here on out!” Good for you for taking that step! Just realize a healthy life is not always perfect. I have to break my relationship with bacon (sob). Do I feel bad about the last couple of weeks? Eh, no. I’m proud that I realized the habit I was getting into needed to end and I took action in conquering that craving.  Am I committing to green smoothies everyday till I die? Eh, no. I’m realistic. At the end of the day, I want to be healthy and happy and not full of guilt. My commitment is to do what makes my body and me feel happy and good. Spending time in the produce aisle and outside with my puppy helps me achieve that feeling. Today is the time to stop looking for that fast fix and spend more time cultivating a lifestyle of health and happiness.

Take flight and live!

a.

Find your peace

Find your peace

Fall fun!

My favorite time of year is here! I can’t get enough of the colors, weather, and fall activities. Last weekend I volunteered in the medical tent at the Kansas City Marathon. I really wanted to pay back all the love I’ve gotten as a runner over the years and thought I would do so in my hometown’s big race. By the way, KC was just picked as Frommer’s top 10 world destination cities for the year. This race will take you by many beautiful sites that make KC so awesome! Seeing how a medical tent is designed for 12,000+ runners was really interesting. We were right at the starting line so we got to absorb all the excitement of the pre-race chute and the elation of finishing. We handed out lots of Band-Aids for blistered feet and ice packs for sore knees. Some people had to be carried in for severe leg cramps (ugh, so painful) and our massage team helped with quick relief. Many of the nurses were scanning the finish line looking for people who were shaky on their feet or who were shivering and looking like they were fighting off some hypothermia. There was lots of happiness and excitement as people crossed the finish line but there were some sobering moments during the race. Hold on while I drag out my soap box….. If you are going to run, please train! I am guilty of not being really aggressive with this when I train for a race but I always keep up some level of cardio fitness through the year as a baseline. If you just got off the couch and decided today will be the day you run a 5K, your body (or heart) might decide it’s the last day you will ever run. Also, I had no idea how many people get disoriented while running. We’re talking about not knowing their phone number or how to spell their last name. Please, please, please, at the very least, write your name and number and emergency contact info on the back of your bib. Even better, invest in a nifty RoadID bracelet or something similar. It sucks when you’re trying to give medical attention to someone who can’t talk. You will never be that strong or that in-shape where a medical emergency won’t affect you.

That afternoon, the bf and I went to Weston, Missouri, just 30 minutes north of Kansas City. This super cute town was settled in the 1830s and is still full of old charm, big red barns, apple orchards, and great food and drink. My top picks include: Weston Red Barn Farm for apple and pumpkin picking, the Vineyards for an amazing meal, Pirtle’s Winery for wine tasting, and Weston Brewing Co. for drinks in a cave. Isn’t Pirtle’s the cutest place ever for sipping a glass of wine?My other favorite thing I tried this week was Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle mix. Fun fact: when I was about 6 years old, I remember thinking, “someday when I get married, I am going to register for a waffle-maker.” I was dreaming big ladies and gentlemen. Well, I haven’t gotten married but I did get a waffle-maker. I guess dreams do come true! Anyways, the mix is awesome! Add a scoop of protein powder and some pecans and you have a delicious fall breakfast!

What are some of your favorite fall traditions?

My goals update

October! My favorite time of year! It seems like every Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest I see is overloaded with pumpkin pie spice lattes, butternut squash soup, and last-minute marathons before winter hits. This marks the first year I’m not running a fall race which makes me so sad. Last year I did the Marine Corps Marathon in beautiful Washington, DC and I must say, you HAVE to run this race at least once. The course is absolutely beautiful and it’s super fun to see many of the DC landmarks. To make up for missing a race this fall, I am volunteering at the Kansas City Marathon. I’ve always wanted to give back the love I’ve gotten during my races and I thought this year would be a perfect opportunity. Now that it’s getting closer and I hear more of my friends entering, I think I’ll have a slightly sad heart. Oh well, more motivation for finding another great marathon! Speaking of which, does anyone have a great recommendation for an awesome winter race?

At the beginning of this semester, I talked a lot about my goals for the rest of the year. Since I’m deep into projects and tests, I thought I’d give an update of how it’s going. So far, my butt is still fitting into my jeans. Major goal accomplished! I have planned ahead making sure I have lots of fruit, precut veggies, yogurt, and other healthy snacks ready so I can grab and go. Making sure my fridge is stocked keeps me from relying on takeout. My stress level is WAAAYYYY down too. It really shouldn’t be. I had to scrap a research project this week and I’ve pulled a couple 36 hour days with no sleep. Major difference is I’m taking more time for friends when they want to get together and I’m taking lots of running/walking/get outside breaks. I’m also learning to make more short-term goals to accomplish big projects and if I do get stressed, I make sure I step away from the situation to breath and re-focus instead of letting the stress build up.

(This is my favorite breakfast right now- oatmeal with cinnamon, cherry preserves, chopped walnuts, and vanilla almond milk. It tastes almost like the cherry crunch dessert!)

Some obstacles I’ve met this semester is my sleep schedule. I’ve had some 36-hour no sleep days which are awful. I don’t recommend that and I hate that I try to practice being healthy but screw up my body this way. Some days are unavoidable with my night work schedule falling into a day class schedule which coincides with a test or paper. I want to be more proactive in managing my time so I don’t have this problem.  I also need to figure out better solutions to my carb cravings. I don’t believe eliminating anything, and as an active person, I need carbs. However, I don’t need a pan of mac and cheese. While I haven’t given into that craving, it’s a nagging thought all the time (mmmm, cheesy pasta).

Since I’m new to the blogging/social media world, this next tip might be well-known to all you super bloggers. One of biggest things that has helped me this semester is Twitter! Gotta say, I never saw that coming. Having just joined this year, Twitter has been amazing helping me stay motivated. It pushes me to stay fit, eat healthy, and find other people who have the same goals. I’ve loaded up my follow list with mostly fitness, health, and clean eating lovers. Their continual positive tweets through the day has motivated me more than once to work out or eat better. I really recommend doing the same if you need a little extra support in keeping your fitness and eating goals. Look for me on there too @TakeFlightLive

(Nellie- my other great motivator. When all of her balls are sitting at my feet and she’s giving me this stare, I know it’s time for a walk break.)

What is something surprising that has helped you stay motivated?