weekend living

I would be remiss not to start today’s post in commemoration of 9/11. I can’t believe it has been 17 years. Such a sad day for the country. It was also the day of my nana’s wake, so my emotions were frenzied. Let’s all take a moment to think of the victims of this day.

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My weekend started on Friday with dinner with my mom and my brother’s girlfriend, Cait (girlfriend-in law?). It was a lovely night and we were able to sit outside and enjoy the nice weather…finally.

On Saturday, I had a relaxing morning with breakfast and some TV watching with my mom.

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The afternoon was productive with some errands, veggie prepping, and a workout. My jump roping was a little challenging as my shorts kept falling down!

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That night, I met up with some friends to attend a 30th birthday party. I was in charge of this veggie platter flower.

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Sunday was another productive day with lots of shopping. I should probably reel in on the clothes shopping for my niece. Everything is just too darn cute! She needs clothes, she’s been naked baby all summer with the heat!

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Once we got home, I had a quick bite to eat before heading out on a 4 mile run.

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My two running goals right now are to 1). Run a 30 or under minute 5k and 2). Run a half marathon. More on point numero uno tomorrow!

On Sunday night, the fam squad came over for an excellent homemade Italian dinner. A perfect way to end (or start) the week!

aaaand we’re back.

We’re looking a little different around here these days! A fresh start was much needed and I think things are looking good. Please also note that in order to find the blog, the link is now http://www.strongerwithcaitlin.com.

Here’s a funny story to start your Monday off on the right foot. A week ago, in the wee hours of the morning, I heard Simba playing. He jumped up and was super cuddly, a common occurrence for him. Still half asleep and in the dark, I start petting him until I feel something moist but solid next to him. At first, I felt bad for the little guy, thinking he threw up or had a hairball, but then I realized in a year of having him, he’d never been sick. It hit me, in one of those sickening punchy ways what it was. A DEAD MOUSE. I threw it across the room and jumped up, trying to be quiet and thankful to Simba for his hard work, but also deeply disgusted. I stepped on it. At 4:30am, I was scrubbing my hands and feet and then had to throw away the mouse before work.

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How are you?

I’m feeling quite well! My mom and I are on Weight Watchers together and we’ve both made great strides. Thus far, I am down 14.2 pounds.

This weekend, I tried on a pair of black pants I had purchased a few years ago assuming they would fit, but they were always too tight. They fit PERFECTLY this weekend. It’s the small things with weight loss that keep you going.

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I’ll be back tomorrow with a weekend recap. In the meantime, check out the new sections of the blog, including an updated My Weight Loss Journey, Personal Training, and Writing.

Enjoy your Monday!

Love Letter to Exercise

It was the summer before my senior year of college and I had no idea what to pursue in my professional life, but I knew I did not want to present myself to the world in my current condition. I was obese, self-conscious, and overwhelmed. Rather than sink further into this black hole, I decided to pull myself out of it.

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After work, every afternoon, I put in 15 minutes on the clunky elliptical we had in the basement. I blasted music and endured it. As the days and weeks passed, I started putting on episodes of favorite shows, like Friends and Golden Girls, and worked until the end. It wasn’t long before I realized how much I enjoyed the effort, the slick sweat and short of breath feelings grew addictive.

I could go for an hour, playing with speeds and intensities. I was losing weight and I felt good about myself for the first time ever. I was in complete control, pushing my body to limits I thought I would forever detest. My body craved more. After my elliptical session, I would do sets of jumping jacks and started lifting the light weights we had lounging around. By the end of the summer, I was more determined than I had ever been in my life and I knew I would keep going once I was back in school.

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At my college, there were two gyms- one in the main building of campus and the other in the basement of a dorm. I loved both, they became safe spaces of comfort. Lifting weights awakened my body in new ways. I’d feel sore the next day, but it was a result of achievement rather than a painful deterrent. I had no knowledge about how to lift weights, no idea what exercise worked what muscle group, I just tried what I saw other people in the gym doing, or what I read about online.

In these days, I racked up one-two hours every day at the gym. It’s not what I recommend for everyone, nor something that is doable for busy people, but it was my saving grace. Gone was the anxious girl who ate her emotions. I found my strength.

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February of that year, I decided to tackle the treadmill. Growing up, I loved playing sports, but I hated to run. I started at 30 minutes, walking for 4 minutes and running for 1 minute in 5 minute increments. By Red Sox opening day that year, I took my runs to the outdoor track down the street and was running 3-4 miles at a time. I was a runner- and that is not something I offer lightly. To this day, I am not quick or smooth or a model of running perfection by any means, but I can run for miles and I will never forget what that means to the girl in the summer of 2011.

By graduation, approximately one year later, I was 100 pounds down, exercising six days a week and maintaining much healthier (and happier) eating habits. I was sad to be leaving school, but I was excited to see what the future held. That is not to say that I didn’t struggle after. I’m still confused as to what to do in my professional life in many ways, but that is the product of living.

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But this journey that I continue on, allowed me to be okay with putting myself out into the world, to experience and experiment. I tried several different jobs and trusted my instincts enough to walk away from something that wasn’t right for me. I studied to become a personal trainer and help others who struggle like me or just need a little guidance and push. I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my dreams and listened to my heart when I knew it was time to come home to my family.

My life is not perfect. I am not perfect. I eat too much, I have a lazy exercise day or choose to gasp- take two days off from the gym sometimes- but mostly, I’ve maintained these healthy habits. Eating is a large part of losing weight and maintaining a healthy life, but exercise was my gateway. Without it, I would not have the strength to endure, two of my favorite words.

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Exercise is my time. No matter what, I will always have that hour in my day that I take for myself. It doesn’t have to be a full hour, it doesn’t have to be a perfect mixture of cardio and strength training, and it doesn’t always have to be crushing and exhausting.

Embrace the messiness of fitness- the sweat, the confusion, the pain, the results. It does wondrous things for the body, physically and mentally.

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Let the Rain Come

Hello Monday and hello to you!

Once again, I can’t believe how fast the weekend flew by. I had a ton of fun in the sun and spent the majority of the weekend relaxing. It might be a rainy week ahead, but at least we’ll all be at work anyway.

My friend/client snapped this shot of me training her on Friday afternoon. We were laughing, but really I was trying to get her to stop talking long enough to actually exercise!

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Lunch was a BLT salad.

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That afternoon, this guy had his annual check-up. He’s doing great! I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since I adopted him. He’s the joy of my life.

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Later, I got to cuddle with the cutest baby I know, little Lily.

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On Saturday, I woke up and had a breakfast of an egg on toast with a sprinkling of cheese.

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It fueled me through a 2.25 mile run, including a massive hill at the end. Woo.

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My reward was an afternoon on the beach with my BFF!

It was a blast soaking up the sun and diving into waves. We headed into the city after for a drink and to walk around. It was such a lovely night outside and it was great walking around our old college neighborhood.

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Sunday morning included what I’m branding the BELT- bacon, egg, lettuce, and tomato. Delicious! We attended mass in the morning in honor of the anniversary of my grandfather’s passing.

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It was a nice moment to celebrate with family and we all went out to eat after.

That night, I went on a long walk with my parents, made these Skinnytaste bagels, and got some Sunday night things done.

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Anything great happen this weekend?

lifely things

It’s been awhile since we’ve just chatted, so I’m back with a few life updates. As you know if you’ve been reading for awhile, I’ve been a cat mom for the better part of a year now and he’s pretty much taken over my life. He enjoys looking out the window, demanding pats, and following me around the house so that I cannot be productive. Simba is a sweet and healthy boy and I am very grateful for him!

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He needs to be touching me at all times.

I’m back to working as a personal trainer, which I love. It’s a rewarding experience to help people begin or re-inspire their health journeys. As I’m learning, there’s never an end,- until, you know…the end- and there’s a whole world of complicated health and wellness information to dissect, so it’s nice to help and learn from clients!

For the past few months, I’ve also been trying to lose weight again. It’s not always a fun or easy process and there’s many ups and downs, but thus far, I’m down ten pounds. For the past few weeks, I’ve been losing 2 ounces a week consistently, so it’s something. I’ll include a little more about that, including what I eat daily in an upcoming blog post.

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Much of my week, as everyone’s does, resides around work and daily happenings. My workouts have consisted of three days of running and three days of strength training with shorter bursts of cardio.

Another big part of my life right now is my now month-old niece who is a darling! I’m not sure how her parents feel about posting pictures of her, so I’ll hold off for now. It’s crazy to think that this little bundle, who I didn’t know for 28 years and five months, has now become an integral part of my life.

On weekends, I try to incorporate a healthy mixture of active and relaxing. Since the weather is getting nicer, I enjoy walking, running, hiking, and biking (and staying far away from the gym!) for exercise. Going out with friends and staying in with Simba are equally important.

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In addition to picking up my writing, I’ve been reading a lot, from fun summer reads like The Last Mrs. Parrish and some words of life wisdom, such as The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, as well as teaching myself basic coding to gain some computer skills.

I’m excited that summer has finally arrived and happy to be back writing to all of you.

Happy Thursday!

better late than never…

Sorry this is coming to you late today! Yesterday, my sister and her husband came over for dinner and between socializing and preparing for my early morning, I ran out of writing time. Better late than never!

The weather was SPECTACULAR around here yesterday and today. I know it’s problematic BIG TIME in the long run, but for now, I’m enjoying small favors. It’s tough going from the constant warmth of LA to the seasonal changes of the east coast.

Someone really loves the nice weather, it makes window-watching purr-fect.

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On Tuesday, I slept in a bit and warmed up with a quick strength circuit of all body exercises. At 7:00 am, it was already in the 50s, so I threw on a sweatshirt and a baseball hat and hit the streets. I got through 3.2 miles fairly comfortably (oof, the double adverb!) and felt nice and strong!

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For breakfast, I enjoyed a breakfast sandwich consisting of an egg, chicken sausage patty, and a slice of pepper jack all on top of an english muffin, berries on the side.

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For lunch, I had leftovers beef, broccoli, and cauliflower with brown rice.

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I helped my mom make an awesome dinner of blackened salmon, steak tips, cheesy potatoes, asparagus and red peppers, and caesar salad. It was SO good and I’m sorry for the lack of pictures.

By the time I hopped into bed on Tuesday night, I had reached 20,000 steps! Hope everyone’s having a great Wednesday!

snacks for days

Yesterday was my rest day, so I enjoyed a walk around the neighborhood, as well as some running around with Simba. He has this one mouse toy that he loves, but keeps losing so it’s a constant struggle to stay on top of it. Right now, it’s hiding in my pocket until I can supervise playtime.

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For breakfast, I enjoyed leftover pancakes, greek yogurt, and blueberries.

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I had two snacks throughout the day, the first was a homemade trail mix consisting of a tablespoon each of pumpkin seeds, peanuts, almonds, and cashews, as well as a clementine.

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My second snack was a simple combination of baby carrots and almond butter.

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I try to make the most of my snacks with protein, fats, carbs, and veggies and fruits, which helps me get nutrients and feel fuller.

I had a gorgeous, but un-pictured BLT for lunch, subbed cheese for mayo because bleh!

Dinner was another not-photographed dish, chicken broccoli ziti with spinach.

I’m super excited to get outside and run today! In theory, (and by the time you’re reading this, I will be finished) it’s supposed to be in the upper 50s/60s today! C’mon spring, goodbye snow!