On the Beach

It’s Monday, I’m back from my vacation, but instead of feeling down, I’m feeling revitalized! A vacation was much needed and there’s no better remedy than time away on the beach!

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Ok, so this wasn’t the exact beach, but it’s still a picture of me at the beach.

Last week, I worked Monday and Tuesday and took off early morning on the Fourth to head to my cousin and uncle’s house on the beach. Look who got to come along thanks to the heat wave!

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Simba did an excellent job adapting to his new beach house and spent a majority of his time exploring and staring outside at all the animals.

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Much of the afternoon on the Fourth was spent at the beach and it was HOT. There was a breeze when we started and the water was refreshing, but once we went to dry off, the breeze disappeared. I love reading on the beach, but there’s only so much heat this girl could take, so we headed back to shower and attend a lovely BBQ at a friend’s place.

The night was capped off with some fireworks, as the Fourth of July should. I don’t adore fireworks, especially amateur ones, but the view sure was pretty.

On Thursday, my brother and I cooked up some breakfast to get us started on the day. We spent much of the morning relaxing but when the boys went golfing, the rest of us headed to the beach. Since it wasn’t as hot, I was able to run the 1.25 mile and felt good! I didn’t end up going in the water this time, but I did take a nice walk on the beach and spent some quality time reading!

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After a refreshing shower and nice cocktail hour, we went into town for dinner. Pizza was on the menu, as we dined outside by the fire pit! We capped things off with a beverage before calling it a night.

The rain came in on Friday, but we were still able to walk around a local town. We got lunch and headed back to pick up Simba and go home. It was a lovely time!

It was nice to still have the weekend as a buffer after vacation. On Friday afternoon, I fit in a heavy barbell and jump rope workout to combat all the indulgences of the week. For dinner, I enjoyed shrimp tacos, caught up on work, and watched Game Night, which was cute.

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Saturday morning called for a run! I crushed 3.1 miles and hopped right into the pool after because even though the intense heat abated a bit, the sun was still hot! I spent a good deal of time reading before my sister and her family came over to enjoy the afternoon. We ate dinner, passed around the baby, and relaxed.

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On Sunday, I was up early to grocery shop and came home to make a veggie omelette for breakfast. After, I did a body strength circuit workout with jump roping intertwined. I was nice and sweaty after and once again ready to hop into the pool.

The afternoon consisted of reading, writing, and catching up on household things.

How was your weekend?

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denying the sweet tooth

Hi! Life is too short to deprive yourself. I respect the people who know themselves and say that they can’t stop at one so they have none at all, but a life without chocolate just makes me sad.

Moderation sounds like a sad term, but it’s true. Everything in moderation, so long as you aren’t hurting others- why is it necessary to say that?

I, Caitlin, have a raging sweet tooth. Thankfully, I can be picky about my choice of sweets, but not so particular that it prevents me from wanting things all the time. With practice, I could very much diminish the sweet tooth, but it’s not something I’m willing to part with altogether.

Ice cream is my favorite creation of earth (maybe over exaggerating, but at the moment, I can’t think of anything I enjoy more), but cookies are good too, also chocolate, and donuts. I keep ice cream in my freezer because I am a monster, but also, I don’t want to pay 5 bucks for one serving and run to an ice cream shop every time a craving hits.

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Chocolate chip cookies, homemade, or not a gross store-bought variety, are the best. I don’t buy candy bars, but work sometimes has the mini varieties, so I’ll eat one, or two, or three- but never more, I promise! Donuts are not something I indulge in frequently, but when I do, they are oh so good.

I’m also not someone who eats a lot of fancy desserts out, although, I have recently come into favor with creme brulee, because most times, I’d rather have ice cream. I’m not a huge fan of juicy treats like jelly beans or skittles, so at least there’s one vice I’ve avoided.

Long story short, I love sweets and I don’t deny that I love sweets or deny myself the sweets. However, I am careful, or try to be careful, with my intake.

Part of the issue is the idea of “treating yourself.” After a particularly grueling day, I may believe I earned that post-dinner ice cream, but wait, I had ice cream three days in a row already and have an indulgent weekend coming up, so I…brush my teeth and pretend there’s nothing friendly and comforting sitting in my fridge.

Exercising is another trap because hey! you just burned a quality number of calories and are slick with sweat, so that sleeve of cookies is not just appealing, but downright necessary to replenish calories! Nope. Unfortunately, you don’t burn that many calories during a workout and you don’t want your efforts to be for naught. So take one, two, three, and step away, depending of course on what you’ve already eaten that day.

If my mind cannot stop thinking about something sweet, but I haven’t been my best, I’ll have one Oreo and try to savor it, then walk away. I’ve honestly had this box of Oreos for a few months because I only eat one at a time.

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Mostly, I try not to keep too much temptation at my place. If I’m going to indulge, I want to truly enjoy the treat and make it special. Ice cream and an occasional Oreo are the only exception!

detox

We’ve all had those weekends- we eat too much, feel bloated, tired, gross (for lack of a better word and yet, that word fits perfectly). I’ve heard and read a lot about detoxing- pills, juices, shakes, etc. I promise, nothing beats good old-fashioned moderate eating and exercise.

Here are some of my tips to not let the negative sway you in the direction of unhealthy choices.

  1. Stay positive. Always. Health is a progression. I have the body type that will always require me paying attention to what I’m eating, but I’m determined to not hate myself regardless of what shape my body is.
  2. Rephrase the word “diet.” Especially after heavy eating weekends or vacations, my body craves healthy foods and my mind sets itself on about eating healthier in general. Great, don’t see it as a diet, but a way of life. Mostly, I eat healthy, sometimes I indulge more days than others. Diet is not cutting food groups or counting calories, it’s the way that you eat and it’s not temporary.
  3. Drink water. Drink it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Drink it before and after that third cup of coffee. I’ve challenged myself to drink a gallon of water every day for a month-I’m on my second week- and I feel great. I’m less tired, I’m never thirsty, but I always have to pee. Always. Drinking water helps flush out toxins and maintains health inside and out unlike any other exterior substance.
  4. Drink tea. I drink at least one cup of tea every day. Green tea in particular has huge benefits. I sip on mine, sometimes with honey, lemon, and cinnamon, sometimes plain, every morning after my standard cup of coffee. For an extra spark, add a dash of cayenne pepper as it may help rev the metabolism. To ease digestion and stomach aches, drink peppermint tea. Just trust me on this one. And it’s naturally decaffeinated, so drink it whenever!
  5. Exercise. Morning, afternoon, or night. Move. Lift weights too, it’s the best.
  6. Don’t overthink it. In many cultures, food is energy, but it’s also celebration. Indulging is a part of life, it should be a part of your diet. Follow the moderation rule as much as possible, but know that there are days when that isn’t going to happen and it isn’t going to matter. It shouldn’t the next day either.
  7. Meal prep. Figure out your favorite, veggie-heavy recipe, and have that be your go-to meal for post-weekend (or whenever-day) indulgences. Mornings always call for a hearty bowl of oatmeal with berries, lunches will be a salad or stir fry, and dinners a piece of fish with rice or quinoa and lots of veggies. Basically, eat a lot of veggies, but again, that should be a constant.
  8. Avoid sugar. I have a dangerous sweet tooth, particularly for chocolate, ice cream, and cookies. I don’t cut them out of my diet, but I try to pay attention to the quality of the treat, as well as the timing. Despite my best efforts, I’ll sometimes feel guilty about eating something, particularly if I feel like I’ve already been bad. Guilt lends to negative connotations surrounding food and eating. Also, the more sugar you eat, the more you want it. Take a break for a day or two to refresh and ensure that whatever sugary (or savory) indulgence you crave is actually enjoyed.
  9. Eat normally. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, you need energy. Just because you ate too much one day, doesn’t mean you don’t need food the next. Pay attention to what and how much you’re eating, but eat.
  10. Occupy your mind. Nothing leads to negativity faster than overthinking it. Too often, I get trapped worrying about my eating habits and berating myself for not knowing or doing better. Sometimes, this could lead to “well, I’ll start over tomorrow” or a sense of hopelessness. The more you think about eating and food from that negative lens, the worse you’ll feel. Do something else you love: read, go for a walk, do a crossword, play a game, watch a movie or TV, text someone, browse the internet, write, find a new hobby.

Food

I have a bunch of food pics collected on my phone that I need to share. So here we are.

Peanut butter topped waffles with a drizzle of honey and fruit.

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A bowl of oats mixed with peanut butter and blueberries.

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Crockpot cherry oats with walnuts and fresh banana.

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Shrimp, cheesy orzo, spinach, and a salad.

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Cod with some greens and rice.

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I was very much into the cheesy orzo for a bit. This time around served with chicken tenders and broccoli.

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Alfredo pasta with sausage, red pepper, zucchini, and spinach.14B535B1-911F-4E75-A8E4-3923F11A331A

BBQ steak nachos with a spinach salad.

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reset eating

If you are a fan of eating, like I am, then following a balanced diet can be difficult. Fall starts us out with tons of tempting treats, which is followed up with winter (when we’re covered up) and we greet the holidays with abandon. Spring might make us feel as though we should rein in the eating a bit, but the days get warmer and ice cream (although a valid year-long treat) seems that much more appealing.

I think the stress of my move has revealed itself most in my eating, and unfortunately, I’m not one of those people who “just can’t eat” when they’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious. I’ve not gone completely off the wagon, but there are definitely things I need to cut back on.

Here’s how I hit refresh.

No, I’m not a fan of the juice cleanse or other crash diets, although I will up my water and tea intake (exnay on the honey). I don’t love the idea of tracking every calorie for the rest of my life, but I when I feel as though I’ve been consistently overeating for too long, I’ll download a free app and force myself to pay more attention to what I’m putting into my mouth because, much like at Target, the little things add up.

While I do not believe in completely cutting things out, such as essential nutrients found in fats and carbs, I do try to make a solid return to eating as clean and fresh as possible. I’m good about eating my fruits and veggies, but I’ll include even more in the form of soups, salads, or stir frys for lunches. I’ll make sure that my snacks are planned and packed in advance: hard-boiled eggs with a piece of fruit, trail mixes, peanut butter toast, hummus or almond butter with carrots and celery sticks, yogurt and berries with walnuts are all go to faves.

But mostly, it means not dipping a hand into the candy bowl at work or giving into every craving for chocolate. The more you eat sugar, the more you want sugar. I do indulge my voracious sweet tooth on the regular, but I try to make a real effort to eat a treat mindfully, slowly, and with a lot of appreciation so I can enjoy it and not feel as though I need more.

In the beginning of my weight loss journey- FIVE years ago, FIVE – I got a lot of leeway on the eating front because I hadn’t been working out and the addition of exercise to my life was astronomical. Obviously I changed my eating habits for the better, but exercise will only get me so far with weight loss these days and as I grow older, my metabolism will also be less forgiving.

Although, of note, I believe my exercise routine helped kick my cold in three days while others around me suffered for weeks. Just sayin’.

Eating can be stressful, especially if you aren’t feeling healthy or strong, but it’s also an enjoyable experience that should always be enjoyed. I find that when I’m overeating, I’m enjoying what I’m eating far less. It becomes a dirty little secret, makes me feel guilty and sick, which detracts from my confidence. Food and eating is not the enemy, but a return to moderation is always important and always possible.

The most important part of hitting the refresh button for me is finding a positive mindset. My body and mind are strongest together. If I feel bad about myself or have negative feelings towards my body, I tend to be crankier, more anxious, and unhappy. But by treating my body well even in the smallest ways, like wearing a ridiculous face mask, working through a particularly challenging workout routine, getting a pedicure, doing yoga, going for a walk, or just standing in the mirror and offering myself a genuine smile, I find I can face the day in a brighter way.

I got this reminder for a reason.

 

 

workout updates

I’m quite pleased with my new workout routine I crafted a week ago. Before, I would either do total body almost every day or break it in different variations of triceps, biceps, chest, back, shoulders, and legs. For whatever reason, my body rebels against leg day and I have struggled to not resent those days.

However, I think I’ve found my antidote. Many people who do split routines do legs all in one, but this time around, I decided to break it up much like I do with the upper body. Here’s what my new routine looks like:

Day One: Triceps, Chest, Quads, Core

Day Two: Quick Total Body (Run Day)

Day Three: Biceps, Back, Hamstrings, Core

Day Four: Quick Total Body (Run Day)

Day Five: Shoulders, Ab/Adductors, Glutes, Core

Day Six: Yoga (Run Day)

And on the seventh day, I deserve a helluva rest!

Again, I’m only on my second week of this routine, but my muscles are sore and feel as though they have received the proper attention to each group. On Week 1, I ran through each exercise in three sets of twelve reps and Week 2 is four sets of ten reps at a slightly higher weight. For Week 3, I’ll do three sets of fifteen reps at a lower weight, and then my highest weight on Week 4 for five sets of eight reps.

Repeat.

For strength training, I like to incorporate body strength moves with weight training for the best results. For example, I’ll throw in some plyometric moves to hit my lower body, such as jumping lunges or jumping squats, and for my upper body, I’ll add a lot of push-ups and triceps dips. This adds a nice little dose of breathless to the equation.

For my core training, which I do every day at the end of my strength routine, I’ve tried to be better about hitting each spot of the comprehensive core. I do a lot to hit the obliques, like twists and lean downs, as well as stretch out the upper and lower portions of my stomach with rollouts or leg lifts, and finally strengthen the lower back  and pelvic regions with supermans and hip lifts.

On my non-run days, I do little bouts of high intensity cardio, including the spin bike and jump roping. It’s been awhile since I’ve jump roped, but I’m getting back into it and I just love it. It’s one of the best total body workouts you can do.

I’ve left the gym feeling sweaty and accomplished, which is really the reason we go in the first place. Or at least for me. I can’t speak for you.

My workouts are intense, but I love the challenge. My problem area has always been the eating and I know I need to rein in the sugar and extracurricular eating I tend to do when stressed or bored. Mindlessness is nobody’s friend, but I am feeling better about it.

What makes you feel strong?

Living Well

When I’m feeling overwhelmed and a little lost, I tend to eat too much. Not eating comes when I’m super stressed, which I’m happy to not be enduring, but the other side of it isn’t healthy either.

It’s easy to use the excuse that we’re in the holiday season and bad eating choices are all around us. I’ve been eating mindlessly, which leads to danger. When I first arrived in LA, I was on point with eating and exercising and had lost a few pounds, something I could tell from my loose fitting clothes. These past few weeks have proved difficult and my waistline is feeling it. I know it hasn’t been anything too crazy, but a constant pushing it off ’til tomorrow only lends itself to poor and unhealthy habits.

Exercise is my strong suit. As a personal trainer, I love formatting and executing a new workout that I know will crush me and push my body to new heights. That sounds terrifying to put it like that, actually, but I mean it in the best way possible. I love sweating during and after a solid workout. To me, there are few greater daily accomplishments.

I did take most of the week off with Thanksgiving and all that traveling, but I got back into it on Sunday with a killer workout. I worked through three sets of twelve reps. First circuit was tricep dips, jumping lunges, and front raises. Second included burpees (death), push-ups (more death), and high knees (not so deathly). My third circuit took me through resistance band bicep curls, a plie squat to step ups, and supermans. I finished with a core circuit of pike rolls, side plank twist dips, and cable ab presses. For cardio, I did 18 minutes on the spin bike and left the gym a bundle of sweat. Since it was nice out, but windy and cold, I ran a mile outside. It’s been awhile since I’ve run outside and run a straight up mile for that matter- I’ve been working on intervals more to stave off treadmill boredom- and I felt more tired than usual, but still strong.

Strength is an emotional and physical attribute that constantly needs to be developed and honed. It’s ever-changing depending on circumstances. Find it, use it, and whether you succeed or fail, learn from it. Thankfully, I have a constant reminder of how far I’ve come and how far I have to go.

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Most of the time, I don’t think twice about my post-work workouts because it’s just part of my routine. It feels good to end the day that way, although my running suffers a bit. My Monday night workout was another total body knockout. All circuits again, I started with some barbell work. In sequence, I performed a row, clean, front squat, to shoulder presses. The second circuit incorporated dumbbell chest presses, skull crushers, and alternating hammer curls. Next up, I went through kettle bell swings, split squats, and kickback deadlifts. Each circuit was 5 sets of 5 reps with heavy weight. To top things off, my core circuit included v ups, rollouts, and medicine ball twists at 3 sets of 20 reps. Cardio was HIIT cycling with another mile on the treadmill.

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I’m amping up my routine and reeling in my eating habits. It will help that I am blogging regularly again because I have to share what I’m eating with you.

Monday’s breakfast was a warm homemade waffle and fruit.

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For a snack, I spread a scoop of peanut butter over a slice of whole wheat toast.

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Lunch will be the same throughout the week: quinoa, chickpeas, zucchini, red pepper, carrots, and soyaki.

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My pre workout snack was a cheesestick and a handful of wheat thins.

Soyaki drizzled salmon, spinach rice, broccoli, and more soyaki was on the menu for dinner. I’m getting decent at cooking salmon, but I think the soyaki helps a ton.

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Mindfulness can be hard, while reaching for a bite of this and handful of that is easy and instantly satisfying. Longterm, leading a healthy lifestyle and feeling good and strong in your body and mind is more important and satisfying. Eating will always be somewhat of a challenge for me, be it ingrained habits or unlucky genes, but I refuse to see such a natural component of life as a negative. Yes, I will enjoy the holidays and every day life, just as much as I will eat mindfully and healthfully, but as the saying goes, “it’s all in moderation.” Moderation takes practice, as do all the good things in life.

Live well!