Getting Back Into Routine

Happy birthday to my brother’s girlfriend, Cait!

So my sister and I might be the nerdiest sisters around. In truth, she’s the smart (and nerdy) one as she’s a librarian, but we both know more about Harry Potter than is probably the norm.

Such knowledge comes in handy when it’s trivia time. Listen, there are few things in life of which I am certain, but Harry Potter is one of them, so when it came time for trivia, you better believe I was confident.

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Lauren and I knew we didn’t need anyone else on our team and we ended up taking down the rest of the (much more stocked) teams to be crowned champions.

I think it’s okay to gloat a little bit!

It was the cherry on top of a great week of relaxation and vacation!

Monday hit full force with an early wake-up call, but it means I had a far more productive morning than I would if I slept in too late. Here was my beautiful breakfast.

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I love vacation and the occasional indulgence it brings, but I am always so ready to get back into my typical eating and exercise habits. It’s amazing how much the food you eat affects so much of your life, from how you feel to how you look. I tried to be careful-ish, especially when it came to eating between meals (which I didn’t), as well as alcohol consumption, but I definitely didn’t deprive myself of some extra savory and sweet foods.

To help get back into that healthy eating flow, I planned my meals for the week ahead of time. Lots of fruits and veggies make up some well-rounded and nutritious meals, but with a heavy yum factor!

Monday’s lunch was inspired by an unplanned trip to Trader Joe’s. In my defense, I only went to the store next door to pick up a prescription, but it wasn’t ready yet, so I stopped in! Chicken tikka masala minus the rice because I wanted that piece of naan and sautéed spinach. It looked heaping when I tossed it in a pan, but alas, it shrinks down to a mouthful.

Dinner was kind of a beauty, including salad topped with the usual selection of veggies, balsamic, and feta. For protein, I cooked up Buzzfeed’s garlic parmesan chicken tenders, and zucchini to use up the rest of the mixture! On the side, greek yogurt, blueberries, and almonds for a hit of fat and some extra protein.

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A quick breakfast of a hard-boiled egg and cheesestick fueled my Tuesday morning workout, before I came home for a post-workout whole wheat protein waffle and berries.

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Lunch was already assembled, so I apologize for the ugliness of the picture. Packed up includes more of those chicken tenders and zucchini, a medley of carrots, celery, and red pepper with hummus, and Greek yogurt with raspberries and walnuts.

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Inspired in part by the workouts of Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, and Katie Ledecky, because let’s face it, they’re amazing, I decided to go lighter weight with a heavy focus on bodyweight exercises, and higher reps. I’m not too fond of high reps, but I’m looking to slim down and those exercises lead to it! I’m also upping my cardio, particularly with intervals running and sprinting on the bike, as well as jump roping.

Monday’s focus was on the chest, triceps, and shoulders, with a heavy dosage of core- all day every day! I can’t tell you how great it felt to be back in action! After my strength training, I jump roped, 1minute on, 30 seconds rest x 5, and hopped on the treadmill for a 20 minute workout, 2 minutes walking, 3 minutes running at a higher clip than I usually would for a longer run.

Tuesday’s objective included the back, lots of legs, and more core! For my cardio dosage, I took to the spin bike and cycled happily away. Right now, I like to ride in position one (flat on the seat) for 2 minutes, position two (standing up straight) for 2 minutes, then position three (hovering over the steering wheel) for 2 more minutes x 3 or 4 depending on how much time I have left.

On vacation, I took the entire week off from standardized exercise. I contemplated going on a run or two, but it was honestly super humid outside and I wasn’t feeling it. I wouldn’t normally suggest taking a whole week off, but I go hard 5-6 days a week and my body needed it. It helps me in particular because I know I’ll get right back to it once that week is up. Much of that no-exercise allowance is mental as much as it is physical.

Glad to be back to it!

Vacation Recap!

Happy birthday to my cousin Erin!

Vacation is a glorious thing, but so is settling back into routine. After a week away, I’m ready to get back into my usual healthy eating and exercise schedule- more on that later though. Let’s talk about the fun!

I started my vacation early Saturday morning with a trip to the mountains of New Hampshire. I didn’t take too many pictures, but here’s one with the view from the house.

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On Saturday, we enjoyed lunch before heading to the house to get situated. Fun story: my parents and I were walking on the road to stretch our legs and explore a bit and were met with a very low, threatening growl. Pretty sure it was a bear! You can imagine we hurried back to the house and didn’t do much more exploring around the house! For dinner that night, we ordered in and enjoyed the view of the stars on the porch.

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Sunday, we went to a bit of a theme park. There was a mountain coaster that featured individual carts that carried you up at a leisurely pace before thrusting you down the mountain at a speed you can control- full speed, baby! Another attraction was an alpine slide. To get there, we took a ski lift, which was cool if you looked out at the mountains and uncool if you looked down. The slides did not feel as stable, so I definitely did not go as fast because I could just see myself getting tossed off! The other attraction I tried was the tower we leapt off into a huge balloon thing- great description, I know. The initial height was about 35 feet (I think), but the second one was more. It’s funny how scary it was, even though I knew it was perfectly safe. That night, we ordered in again and relaxed.

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Kayaking was our main plan of action on Monday. I wished I could share the sights, scenes, and struggles of our kayaking trip, but I could envision myself capsizing and left my phone in the safety of the car. Water levels have been low due to the lack of snow this past winter, but there were only a few parts that were too low that you couldn’t get through without getting out of the boat and pushing. Even though we were going downstream, kayaking is challenging, especially figuring out the strokes and proper form, but it was a lot of fun and a great workout! After a much deserved lunch, we headed back to relax before going into down and exploring the shops.

After breakfast on Tuesday, it was time to hit the road! The trip is a long one home, but the scenery is amazing. I fell asleep a few times, but you better believe I was excited to sleep in my own bed. Oh, that was until I discovered the MOUSE droppings in my newly washed sheets. YUP. We have a mouse (I hope just the one). I was already missing my cat, Bandit, but even more so now that I know he kept the rodents out. So sleep was a little wary that night, but once I woke up Wednesday morning, it was time to head in the opposite direction to the ocean!

My mom and I made good time in the morning and thanks to the rain, it was a perfect day for a movie date. We saw Bad Moms and though it was a little strange in a few parts, I laughed out loud quite a few times. Everyone else on the Cape decided it was a great movie day too, so we had to sit in the front row. After the movie, we headed to my uncle’s house, said ‘hello’ and stepped out for dinner. Wanting to stretch our legs, we walked to the beach- bear free!- and stopped for an ice cream before going back.

The end of the week/weekend gifted us perfect conditions for the beach. Thursday, we had breakfast and relaxed before even more relaxing on the beach. The water was super warm, which meant I was on shark alert, but was much appreciated from the humidity. That night, we enjoyed some beachside dining, more ice cream, and some Olympics watching- amazing stuff!

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Friday, my mom, cousin Maura, and I took a trip to Provincetown as I’ve never been there and neither of them had been for awhile. It’s a typical oceanfront town, but fun nonetheless. We were up early to beat traffic, had a delicious breakfast at a local shop in town, and enjoyed a trolley tour around the area. After a bit of walking around and some shopping, we decided it was time to go back and hit the beach. The waves were incredible, but it was rocky getting in and out, so that led to some dangerous-ish conditions. That night, we made dinner at home and watched more of the Olympics.

My dad and the dog came Friday night, so on Saturday, we went for a very sweaty walk before going back to the beach. Thank goodness for the breeze! After an excellent dinner out, it was time to head back home. It was nice to be back in my own bed again, even though I’m on high alert for the mouse, and Sunday was the perfect day to prepare for Monday.

Great vacation!

Thursday Food Round-Up

Happy Thursday, party people! We’re almost to the weekend, which means I’m almost on vacation. Here’s a few food pics to brighten up your day.

Waffles and berries!

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Quick breakfast of scrambled eggs and fruit to fuel my run.

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Quick lunch of leftovers in the midst of a busy work day.

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Steak tips and salad.

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Salad lunch with some grilled chicken.

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Hope that this day is treating you right! So far, it’s spectacular out there!

Weekly Workouts

I find that pre-planning my workouts make for more efficient, butt-kicking exercise. I don’t dramatically change everything up every week, but I do switch things around to keep my body guessing. Making something up in advance, helps keep you motivated and present. Exercise is all about routine because once you get to that point, it sticks, and it’s hard to live without it!

Day One started on Sunday with a run. I haven’t gone four miles in awhile, but it felt wonderful. I finished with a cool-down one mile walk.

Day Two is strength training day one, including chest and triceps, biceps and shoulders, and core- ALWAYS core. Three exercises for each muscle group, five sets of eight reps a piece, means I’m lifting heavy!

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Day Three (two for strength training) is all about the legs, back, and core. Same set-up with that first day of strength training, heavy lifting five sets of eight reps. For legs in particular, I like the combination of heavy compound movements with fast-paced plyometrics. Jumping lunges are pretty close to death.

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Day Four is another run, this time with some time and speed intervals tossed within. It keeps my heart rate up without allowing my body to fall into a steady-state rhythm. After I finish, I like to do some Yoga, whether it’s just planking or getting into a full sequence, depending on time.

Day Five is more strength training focused on chest, triceps, biceps, shoulders, and core. This time, I’m lifting lighter weights at three sets of twelve reps, which helps build my endurance.

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Here we go at Day Six! Legs, back, and core get the three sets of twelve reps endurance treatment.

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Though strength training is the focus four out of six days of exercise, I do usually finish up my workouts with at least 15/20 minutes of cardio. Lately, I’ve been completing a super sweaty and crushing ride on a spin bike, which I much prefer to the other types of stationary cycles. I’ll occasionally spend a few minutes on the elliptical or treadmill amping up those intervals. On days where I don’t have a lot of time, it’s all about jump roping and battle roping.

The seventh day is always built for rest! You don’t have to workout six times a week to be healthy, I just happen to need it for my wellbeing. Rest is always important!

Meal Prep

As I said yesterday, this week in particular is busy for work (especially in the mornings), so packing healthy food ahead of time is key. Yes, it takes time, but your body and brain will thank you for it later as you reap the benefits!

Here’s a sample of what I’ve been eating both today and yesterday as I’m on the move.

Hard-boiled eggs because you can’t beat the punch of protein. With a cheesestick, I add a hint of fat that will keep me moving, either before a workout or in the mid-morning between breakfast and lunch.

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Almonds with raisins also make a perfect snack combo. I tend to make my own trail mixes, except for the occasional one from Trader Joe’s because a lot of the store bought varieties are laden with sneaky sugar and weird add-ins.

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Today’s lunch is a big, heaping salad topped with feta and grilled BBQ chicken. Hummus and a small whole wheat pita will accompany my meal.

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I also will be enjoying plain kefir with a dash of cinnamon and raspberries, but I didn’t have the space to pre-make it as the fridge is stocked.

Monday night’s dinner was a zucchini noodle concoction.

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Chopped tomato and mozzarella.

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With basil and chicken sausage.

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Lots of veggies, protein, and fats make for good, yummy eating! It also means I won’t be reaching to make bad choices or not eating enough during the day. There’s always a healthy balance!

Harry Potter and the Strength Inside

Such a wonderful weekend! After work on Friday, I got moving in the kitchen to chop up some salads for dinner for me and my sister. Once we were done eating and chilling for awhile, the family (minus my brother-in-law who was on a hiking trip) went out for some ice cream on a perfect summer evening. I’m loving the purple cow frozen yogurt, which is black raspberry base with dark and white chocolate chips.

The next morning, I was back at it for work, and when I got home, it was nice to relax by the pool. Later that afternoon, my sister and I headed into town to get our tattoos. I’ve been wanting to commemorate my weight loss journey for awhile, and I finally found the perfect encapsulation!

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Strength is a reminder of what I’ve done, yet it is does not describe the end result so much as the path I had to take, the choices I had to make, and the ideology I possessed in order to keep going. The supremely cool part about it is that it’s written in my own cursive! Now whenever I’m running or lifting weights, or need strength in any other little or big task, I can just sneak a glimpse and move forward!

Up next, Lauren and I had a celebration to attend. Not only is July 31st the birthday of the greatest writer who ever lived, JK Rowling, and her creation, Harry Potter, but there was a midnight release of the next chapter of the Harry Potter legacy. The Cursed Child is in play form, which I wish desperately I could see in London, and it was fantastic. JK Rowling asked fans who saw the show not to spoil it and fans who were waiting eagerly to see or read not to seek spoilers, and I listened. Don’t mess with the queen! I read it in under three hours, crying, laughing, and reminiscing. A real blessing.

Here are some highlights of the midnight release at Barnes and Noble:

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Such a treat to wake up on Sunday morning, make an amazing breakfast, and read this spectacular play!

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After reading, I got down to Sunday chore business. First, a four mile run and a one mile walk that I crushed- thank Dumbledore for no humidity! Next, a little vacuuming action, some meal prep for the busy work days ahead, laundry washed and folded, and blog posts to write!

An awesome Sunday!