Reflections

September has always felt like a fresh start thanks to countless years at school, but this one passed by in a blur thanks to my move. It strikes me how 2016 has been such a bizarre and impactful year in my life, both good and bad, from the very beginning. I lost my beloved cat and  aunt, both who I still can’t believe are gone. I became a personal trainer. Made new friends. Moved across the country. Started a new job. And I’m sure there are many other factors that have gone into this year. I’m not sure what’s to say about it other than a person’s ability to adapt is weird and empowering.

Tuesday’s most exciting part of the day was the fact that I mastered how to make a latte. My mom insists the foam makes a woman, but I was just focused on getting the milk to look like that. Yay me. Listen, it’s pertinent to my job.

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Breakfast was a yummy bowl of oats with almond milk, banana, raisins, walnuts, honey, and cinnamon. The picture makes me want to eat more right now.

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Lunch was another serving of quinoa and red beans with Brussels sprouts and spinach. No picture was snapped, but it looked just like it did yesterday.

Since it was National Taco Day, I decided to make more tacos for myself. This time, I grilled up some cod and served it over a medley of zucchini noodles and red pepper. Topped with soyaki and some hummus on the side.

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I’m doing pretty good for myself cooking. According to the scale at my new gym (that I don’t know if I trust or not), I’m down four pounds since I’ve moved. I’ve felt lighter and my clothes fit nicely, so I’ll roll with it.

I’ve remained solid in the exercise department even though it’s not my livelihood at the moment. Tuesday’s workout was a run/walk combination that ended with four minutes of HIIT that left me breathless. After a little yoga, I called it a night!

I already prefer working out in the evening to waking up before the sun, so long as I go to the gym before heading to my apartment. Routine, people. It’s a beautiful thing!

Happy Wednesday! We’re halfway through the week!

I Ate A Frog’s Head (But It’s Not What You Think)

I would admit that while I am typing up today’s blog post, I am sipping on my second cup of coffee, which just so happens to be pumpkin spice, but I’m afraid you might judge me. It’s not my fault the pumpkin spice k-cups are on the shelves and one of my favorite flavors. We’re almost well into September now, what with it being the second day. It’s a judgement free zone here. Kind of. Okay, it’s still early, but it’s tasty!

I enjoyed a very non-seasonal cup of coffee with my breakfast this morning of the french vanilla variety. Also one of my favorite flavors. It complimented the flavors of my meal, which included scrambled eggs with a sprinkle of colby jack goodness, waffles with a dab of butter and maple syrup (I’m really not sure what this craving is about because I’m not usually of the maple syrup loving, but in moderation, I don’t think there’s a danger- my teeth feel kind of gritty after though), and a big bowl of berries which were super sweet.

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Is it me or does my breakfast look like a frog’s head? I guess I’m just artsy that way.

Dinner last night came in stages because I was called into work. I quickly threw together a peanut butter roll-up, a greek yogurt, and grapes to enjoy over the course of a few hours. When I got home, I had a salad with some steak on top.

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All were excellent and nutritional.

As for my moment of strength yesterday, it may sound counterintuitive. I think I mentioned how my workout consisted of heavy strength training (if not, my workout yesterday consisted of heavy strength training), and since I’ve changed up my routine to include only six exercises on this day, I’ve felt myself grow stronger. For barbell strength days, I focus on six power moves- deadlifts, shoulder presses, rows, squat presses, leg presses, and bench presses. I perform each move using the pyramid method of reps, which is 10x10x8x8x6x6x4x4x2x2. Starting with 10 reps, I use the lowest weight and go up as I go down in reps. By my last two sets, I am maxing out on how much weight I put on the barbells.

I’ve been gaining progress on my deadlifts in particular, and I felt like I could really max out on my last two sets, pumped myself up, set up in the correct position, and found I could not lift that barbell. This will happen. That hasn’t happened to me in awhile, which maybe means I’m not pushing myself hard enough. It’s a good reminder that progress will always have to be made, but hard work will get me there. There’s strength in failure too, so long as we learn from it.

In the making-Caitlin’s-life-easier variety, I learned how to Air Drop pictures from my phone to my computer so that I no longer have to email them. All those emails go undeleted by Ms. Laziness, which clogs things up and makes everything look cluttered. I’m not a fan of clutter, but it happens if I don’t take the time immediately to delete. Air Drop is a friend. Thank you, Air Drop.

Readers seemed to enjoy my big bad post on stir fry, so I will try to do more of those as I go! I think just talking about how I eat healthy in general is something that appeals to people. It’s not easy, but it should be. We’ll just have to be rebels and find our way around what society deems “convenient.”

Hydrate Till You Glow

One thing I find I don’t frequently, if at all, talk about is what I drink. I drink a ton- of water that is. Another important facet of my weight loss and sustainability has been my habit of staying hydrated throughout the day. This seems easy peasy. We all need water to survive. It’s funny though how, if we don’t focus on it or make it a point to drink more water, we end up not drinking enough. People rely heavily on coffee to stay focus and energized, and believe me, I get it, but water helps a lot too, and you would probably feel a lot better if you drank more water.

Every day, even before breakfast, and we know I love breakfast, I have a large glass of water. I chug it down, whether my body feels up to it or not because it instantly makes me feel more awake. It’s like magic. Then I’ll move onto my warming cup of coffee. Coffee is another thing I have been working on. I do love it, but I’ve been trying to train myself to drink it black. I moved on long ago from any kind of sweetener (except for Iced Coffee where I still use half a sugar packet-ugh!) and only drink it with milk or cream. There was that awful realization that the creamer I was using had a ton of creepy, icky fake things inside so I quickly moved away from that and now use a dash of half and half whose only ingredients are milk and cream. Slowly but surely I’ll move away from even that.

After my water and coffee during breakfast, I’ll move onto another tall glass of water and a cup of tea. I do drink my tea completely black because I like the taste more that way. Tea is something I drink way more of in the cooler months because hot tea just doesn’t make me feel great when it’s hot and humid outside.

Throughout the day, I make a conscious decision to drink water on a consistent basis to the point where it’s not even conscious anymore. If my glass or water bottle empties, I fill it and drink some more. I am especially aware of how much water I drink on the days I run because not enough leaves me parched and tired, while too much makes me have to pee- having to pee while running makes running not fun.

One trick I’ve learned in drinking water is by infusing it with fruit. That ish is everywhere, first seen at my undergrad cafeteria. It’s another obvious, and these infusers are everywhere. It softens up the bland taste of water and makes it go down easier. I’ve never loved juice or any of the fancy waters they make sweetened. It always tasted false and full of product. With my more defined and healthier palate, I can’t drink any of that stuff at all.

To get that palate, I had to let go of something I never thought I would be able to- soda. Listen, diet soda was a fixture of my childhood and life, mostly because I spent a lot of time with my Nana and her sister and they were diabetic so they drank a ton of soda. I get it, we didn’t know how bad it was then, nor the importance of drinking it on the rare occasion. I was popping soda like I pop water now. NOT GOOD. I gave it up for Lent one year and I was literally having dreams about it. How sad is that? I was so addicted to that carbonate stuff that I barely functioned during those months.

When I was first getting serious about my weight loss, I knew that soda would have to go. It ended up being not as hard as I thought. My roommate and I made a joint goal to not drink it for a week, then pushed it to two. Then we decided we would give it up for Lent again, indulged in one more glass, and I haven’t drunken it since. There is the rare occasion that soda will find itself into a mixed drink, but I’ve found that I am put off by the taste and it makes me feel gross. Since going off the good stuff, I realized that I have more cravings and appreciation for naturally sweet things, like fruit and vegetables. That’s probably a combination of not engorging myself on fake products, being conscious of what I’m eating, and appreciating food more in general.

Sometimes, life can seem boring when you only drink water, coffee, and tea, especially when you are out to a restaurant. In these cases, if I’m ever feeling left out when one of my friends or family members orders a soda, I go for an unsweetened iced tea with lemon. The other downside is that I have to pee all the time. It’s never-ending and I have no shame.

Another drink I haven’t talked much about is alcohol. I do enjoy a glass of wine with dinner on the rare occasion, especially if we are having Italian, but even then I’d rather spend those calories on a cookie. I’m not much of a drinker and I don’t have to drink much to have fun. On holidays or special events, I’ll probably drink more wine than normal, but it doesn’t take much to leave me flushed. When I go out with friends, it can sometimes seem awkward if I don’t get much to drink, but again, I’d rather spend those extra calories on food, and also, it’s just expensive to go out, sheesh. I’m not against drinking, and I’ll indulge every so often, but when it comes down to it, I’m not that adventurous. I like wine and if there isn’t any good wine or if I’ve had my fill, I drink water. No apologies.

Now, excuse me. I am about to enjoy this large glass of beautiful water.

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If Normal Existed I’d Be In Trouble

As we stumble upon Wednesday, I can’t help but highlight two blaring reasons why I am not a normal human being, if “normal” in fact could be defined. That is a conversation for another time, but right now we are going to focus on two events that happened to me over the two days of the week so far.

Monday: I had to take a walk to get something work-related, so I’m on my way back and thoroughly enjoying the nice weather and am a bit lost in my thoughts thinking about writing ideas and what to put for my next blog post.

And I’m probably also trying to focus on not tripping in my sandals because on Friday there was a minor incident when I tripped up the stairs and spilled coffee all down the left sleeve of my white cardigan. The same coffee I considered finishing in the car before work, but decided to bring with me in order to really savor it. The shoes are too damn cute not to wear, so I just have to walk extra careful-like.

But that’s beside the point. The actual point is that I’m too caught up in my own little princessy world that I don’t notice the white van pull up next to me, or the man leaning out of the window to wolf whistle at me, very loudly I might add. I was so scared that I jumped and fell into the bushes. I suppose it could have been worse if I fell into the street, but I was still mobile as I was falling so I almost did a somersault, which actually would have been awesome.

If normal were to exist, one might complete a casual hair flip and keep walking with a slight bounce in their step, perhaps giving a quick glance to the driver. I fall into bushes.

Tuesday: I pulled dirty underwear out of my pant leg. I can’t even preface that. This is what I get for wearing the same capris two days in a row. I left my dirty, albeit adorable zebra-print panties in my pants and wore them the next day only to find them pooled around my knee. We are very grateful, and by we, I mean me and everyone else in the world, that they didn’t just fall out of my pants and that I could casually, unnoticeably just pull them out under my desk and sneak them into my bag. But the worst part of all of this is I didn’t even notice until more than half my day. More than six hours had passed and they were just chilling (hanging?) there without me realizing.

If normal were to exist, one would not have dirty underwear leftover from the day before in their pants. Or one might consider buying another pair of pants.

My life. You’re welcome. Just call me Clumsy Caitlin.

Case in point:

If I were normal, this post would be no fun to read.

Side note to go with the following picture: People need to stop having graduation parties so I can stop being tempted by cake. This is me dying.
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