Thursday, March 7, 2013

Beyond Limits

I had a moment the other day.
A moment of realizing I am more than I have ever given myself credit for, and I have a feeling many of you are doing the same.
So buckle up my foxy followers, cause it is story time!
I have a whammy of healthy encouragement every Tuesday and Thursday in the form of back to back classes: Body Conditioning which roughly translates to you are getting college credit for going to the gym, and a basic, yet awesome health class. Now since I injured my back at work I had been woefully unable to work at my full potential when I hit the gym, but this last Tuesday I was ready.
I ran, I lifted and I worked my body hard. It felt so good and must have shown because even my instructor said it was clear I had worked hard that day. In my exhausted yet euphoric elation I headed back to take a quiz in my health class (which I aced, thank you kindly), completely forgetting what was to happen after the quiz: Fitness Testing.
Now the push ups were fine, but what I had dreaded and seemingly blocked from my memory was the 12 minute "run as much as you can" test.
All of a sudden I was back in 3rd grade when my P.E. teacher told me to run through my asthma and I fainted on the field with kids laughing at me.
Was the shame of my childhood limitations to hinder me even now?
This was a class I love, a teacher I respect. How could I handle the embarrassment of abysmal failure?
The answer was simple: I couldn't fail. I had to push myself, try my best.
Despite working out already, despite being tired or stressed from life, I put on my headphones turned up the Pokemon Theme Song and began.
It started slow. I am built for short intense bursts of speed not long steady jogs. I walked 3/4 of a mile, but when I hit that orange cone I booked it. I ran at my max, past my max. It was only a 1/4 of a mile so I could do it. I hit that orange cone and began to walk. Next quarter, hunched over gasping for breath. Second quarter, I was walking upright, breathing hard. Third quarter I was power walking, excited for passing that next cone. Fourth quarter comes around and again I ran and ran.
I felt good, I felt strong.
In the end I only made it around the track 3.25 times which puts me in like the super low percentile of wow you can't run very much, but that's not the point! The point is I didn't walk the whole thing (many people did). I didn't give up, I tried my best! I pushed myself. I was flushed, sweating and having difficulty breathing but damnit I felt awesome! For those three 0.25 miles I was a beast. Best part of the day?
As I was leaving my teacher said I earned my shirt today.
My superhero shirt.
So when you think you can't, try anyway. Never limit yourself, keep pushing because one day you'll realize there are no limits, only obstacles to overcome. Next time I will run half, then maybe 3/4, and even if it's hard, soon I'll be able to race around that track.
Find your inner super hero and push beyond your self implicated limitations.

Getting Stronger and Fox Kisses, 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Holy Back From the Dead, Batman!

Wowzers Bowsers, people of the interwebs. It has been a shame inducing 3 months since I last posted on this blog!!! So much has happened so it's time for a lovely...*drumroll*


Well my lovely cats and kits, it's been a rollercoaster of a time these last few months away.
Why haven't I been blogging, you few may wonder? 
Two jobs and full time student does crazy things to your schedule, lemme tell you, and sadly your waistline. I got sick AGAIN and injured my back so I was out of commission for a good month and a half. Getting sick really gets me down in the dumps, and I ended up following into a pretty bad depression. Sickness doesn't just affect my mental and physical state, but hinders me at work and school and makes me even more stressed. This stress lead to stress eating and weight gain (not to mention more sickness) which lead to more stress. Finally after some old illness symptoms started showing up again, I decided I really had to stop doing this to my poor bod!
What about my dreams and goals? 
What about the fun things I want to do?
Can't be done if you're in bed sick all day!

So as of today I decided to restart my body and mind. 
I'm attempting for the first time to go vegan and am looking really forward to giving my belly a welcome break from dairy and eggs. I'm also cutting out gluten just to make sure my body hasn't been reacting poorly to it. My new second job is at a healthy vegan gluten free cafe so, ya know, that makes it SUPER easy because I am craving yummy healthy food all day.
And what of the mind? 
Well I decided to start blogging again of course!
I debated whether I should scrap it and start again like I always do, but decided against it.
Blogging keeps me motivated and accountable. I also wanted to solidify the habit again, because I have a goal.
By this summer I want to be finished with LGFandF.
Hear me out! Despite my yoyo weight I plan to be at my health pinnacle by the summer (or at least pretty damn close). It has been my plan this whole time to, at the end of my health gain journey during the hopefully lifelong maintenance, I can focus on the blog I really want to make which will be called A Fox in the Flowers.
(formerly Fox and Frills).
Did y'all forget my love of foxes?
My fashion and slice of life blog is sort of my reward for a job well done. 
So here is to persevering even when we fall behind, and putting one foot in front of the other to a bright day.

Fox Kisses, 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Food Coma Revival

That is how I have been feeling for the duration of the Thanksgiving weekend. 
It has come to my immediate attention that I am not physically incapable of eating the way I used to eat.
Now, I knew that before the holiday, but the poor damage done to my internal functions made that explicitly clear. It wasn't so much the quality of ingredients I was ingesting (and my vegan seitan roast was downright healthy AND delicious, thank you Post Punk Kitchen!) it was what they actually were.
Sugar and excessive wheat or starch based carbohydrates seem to be doing more damage than previously thought. 
So how does one combat those Holiday belly blues?
Detox that crap.
I found myself the other day, not craving more potatoes and pie, but rather a nice big salad.
When a birthday the other day had me finding myself at an Italian restaurant, pasta sounded awful, but a nice salad hit the spot.
Vegetables and fruits are natures pepto as far as I'm concerned. 
Fill your body with natural fiber (both soluble and insoluble) to help flush out the body and do a little cleaning. 
Flush your body above and beyond those 8 cups of water, by drinking more H2O and naturally detoxifying green tea. As tempting as leftovers are, leave them to the rest of the family or share them with friends. You've had your few days of feasting but why ruin the tasty memories with upset stomachs and migraines. Don't feel bad for celebrating during the holidays because indulgence won't kill you. It's overindulgence that often comes back to bite you.
Thankfully my upcoming yuletide rarely presents the same tendency for excessive food consumption that Thanksgiving does, so my road back on that horse is clear and welcome. 
I hope you all had a great holiday and plan on recovering if need be in style.

Food Comas and Fox Kisses, 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Hiatus (Only for a few days people!)

I wouldn't even call this a hiatus, so much a small vacation.
As you've noticed I didn't blog Monday or Tuesday due to a really close friend visiting from Boston which was a total surprise (except I was in on it, so not really). I have eaten terribly this last two days in his honor (and by terribly for some reason that means I ate a lot of Hawaiian sweet rolls and chocolate) but I am determined to not eat poorly for Thanksgiving in retrospect (or Black Friday for that matter). 
So while regular scheduled posting is on hold for the rest of the week, do be aware I will be taking photos of my Thanksgiving Cooking extravaganza (recipe for my Vegan centerpiece found here of course). 
So be sure to stay tuned, and please...
Don't get trampled on Black Friday.

Thankfulness and Fox Kisses, 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Late November Weigh In (170 lbs)

So I won't lie, I totally forgot I owed you all photos of me from my weigh in the beginning of November!
Then I realized it was my positive thinking Thursday and decided today would be the perfect day.
I weigh in every month at my local Herbalife shop of magic (*not official title), and was really paranoid after how awful October was. So you can bet I was shocked,
and I mean SHOCKED, 
when I got my results.
Not only had I not managed to NOT gain weight, but actually lost 5 pounds, but my body fat percentage went from that horrific 37% it was in October to, wait for it, 
I am LESS than half the body fat percentage I was in September. 
My 50 year body age went all the way down to 28!!! 
I may or may not have danced a ridiculous jig upon learning this information.
So not only is this a post about me losing weight and more importantly, unnecessary body fat, but my positivity comes from the fact this was accomplished in a month that I had basically thrown away. Now yes, those body fat measuring machines can be innacurate, and hey maybe it is a fluke, but I am really seeing a difference now and I am definitely 5 lbs lighter than I was. 
I have 10 more pounds until I hit the thinnest I have been in my adult life, and while I have had a couple November struggles, there is still half a month to go to make an impact. I have confidence that come January 1st I will break my almost lifelong plateau of being 160 pounds and see my UGW (ultimate goal weight) right around the corner. 

Photographic evidence! Hurray for that side shot, muuuuch better.

                                                    November 2012                September 2012

Celebratory Fox Kisses, 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pace Yourself

You bet your sweet ass I do.
The argument against women lifters is something I have touched upon in a previous post, which I encourage you to read, because I am not tolerating this "Don't Lift" mentality prevalent among the ladies of the world.
So I'll give you a moment to go read up on that.
Good, since now you are convinced you should lift weights we are on the same page!

Lifting weights is not rocket science. You pick a weight that is both challenging and tough enough to build your muscles, but light enough so you can actually lift it MORE THAN ONCE (I'm looking at you power lifters). The repetition, or "reps" is how many times you can lift that weight.
I can hear you all mentally thinking "Thanks Sherlock, we know how to lift."
Well as long as you're practicing good form and slowly increasing your weight, you should be good to go.
But how is your pacing?
Aha! That's what I said after listening to the Vegan Body Revolution's Podcast the other day as he is talking to me about tempo. 
See, it isn't just about the weight you are lifting or how many times you can lift it, but the pace and tempo with which you lift and lower that weight. If you are pulling like a machine to get through your reps as quickly as possible, you may be doing yourself a serious disservice. 
And I don't want you to do that!
Cut The Fat, another podcast I listen to and have referred to before, mentioned that the better exercises are the ones where they put full concentration into their exercise and tighten each muscle with purpose. 
Now I am not saying you need to tempo yourself as precisely as Thomas Tadlock suggests to start, but begin to make yourself aware of how quickly you are doing your weight lifting. Concentrate on your muscles and slow it down to where you feel yourself gaining strength and vitality with every passing second.
I.E. make every movement make you feel like a badass.

Weights and Fox Kisses, 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Take a Leaf Out of Popeye's Book

"I'm Popeye the Sailor Man, 
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man.
I'm strong to the finich
'Cause I eats me spinach.
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man."

Ah the cartoons of yesteryear could teach us a lot about chivalry, friendship, courage, and the importance of leafy green vegetables. Thank you, Popeye.
Everyone's favorite cartoon sailor had it right. In every episode, some nogoodnik would attempt to cause trouble, and every time a quick pop of the can of spinach down the gullet would imbue our hero with superhuman strength and vitality, and while spinach might not give you instantaneous muscles to make that mermaid on your bicep shimmy, the effects are far from a cartoon exaggeration. 

Let's state a fact: You just can't go wrong with leafy greens. 
High in nutrients and phytochemicals, SUPER low in calories. It's pretty much always a win-win.

One cup of raw spinach has only 7 calories, and while it has only a gram of protein, it is packed with vitamins and minerals. A cup of cooked spinach has 40 calories and 5 grams of protein. 
Check here and here for a complete nutritional rundown.

One of my favorite aspects of spinach is its versatility. Here's a little secret: I don't really care for cooked spinach at all. Something about the texture. I prefer my spinach like all my leafy greens: raw! So how to make the most of this nutritional powerhouse in it's raw state? Here's a tip and a recipe to help you use your spinach!

Spinach, especially baby spinach, has a very mild flavor in its raw state. I like to take a cup of organic baby spinach and blend it into my fruit filled protein shakes in the morning! Not only does it add an awesome serving of veggies in the morning and shock my body with some healthy nutrients, but it doesn't change the taste! (though it will change the color, so just be aware).

This is a heinously simple salad, but it tastes so flipping good.
Serves 1

2 Cups of Baby Spinach
1-2 Tbsp Fruit Dressing of your choice 
(I prefer Trader Joe's Champagne Pear Vinaigrette)
1/2 Medium Granny Smith Apple
1/2 Cup Canned Garbanzo Beans 

Cut up your granny smith apple into slices or chunks and toss all ingredients in a bowl. 
Proceed to find fork and stuff your face. 
Calories: 178, Protein: 9 grams, Vitamin A: 81%, Vitamin C: 44%, Iron: 37%

What can I say? I LOVE the perfect combination of fruit and veggie in a salad. 

So the moral of the story is, if you want a quick and versatile leafy green that won't overpower your food, but will succeed in supercharging your body, give spinach a chance.

For a super article on everything else spinach has to offer, check here.

Strong to the "finich" and Fox Kisses,