Tuesday, May 31, 2011

JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge 2011

First - CONGRATS to Sarah, winner of our Girl Shot Shirts Giveaway!

I (Julie) mentioned previously that I took part in the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge as a non-competitive walker/jogger.  As my first race in a very very long time, it was a good 'warm-up', though I use that term loosely, as it was FREEZING. Chicago was pummeled with rain this past week, and had temperatures in the low 40s (Fahrenheit)  on race day. My two race buddies and I debated not going, as it was pouring rain up until about a hour to start time, but I'm glad we decided to go. Due to the weather and the huge crowd, we jogged very little and mostly walked, with a finishing time of 54 min.  As our purpose was just to have a good time, our mission was accomplished!

Here are some pictures from the race......

 Proof I used a port-a-potty. This is a big deal. (I fear germs)

 Pre-race smiles! (or maybe we were just frozen like that, I'm not sure)

 Keeping warm...

Run, Julie, Run!! (Ok, we staged this, I just ran for the camera. BUT, we did run a little.) 

Note: Short people are not good at the 'put your arm out and take your own photo' thing.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Getting Stuff Done

Have you entered our T-Shirt Giveaway yet??? Entries are open through tonight!!

This week was a little chaotic for me (Julie). I had some appointments throughout the week that interfered with my regular workouts and I had family visiting for the Memorial Day weekend. We ATE like there was no tomorrow, so I'm a little scared to get on the scale. They just left about 1/2 hour ago, so I'm waiting until tomorrow to see how much damage has been done. (Yes, I'm a coward). This week I also participated in the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge, which is a 3.5 mile race through Chicago. It is a run/walk, so I did it as a non-competitive runner with two fantastic ladies. We tried to run a bit of it, but ended up walking due to it being SO CROWDED we had a hard time navigating the crowd moving at a jog. We finished in 54 min, which is fine by us. I hope that, by the end of summer, I'll be running this sort of thing, but this one was just for fun. Tomorrow I'm back on the wagon with the running and the eating! I'm starting at Week 5, Day 2 again and hoping to move forward form there.

This week, Emily says....

This week has been pretty good for running, but not so good on the diet... I decided to only repeat one day of Week 4 and then moved on to Week 5. On Memorial Day, I did the third day of Week 5 - running for 20 minutes without stopping! I was SO proud of myself when I got done! From here, it's only a short leap to running the full 5K! There's a forecast for steamy hot weather this week, so I'm trying to go for my run earlier in the morning that I have been these past two weeks.

How about you? How are your goals and projects coming?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Girl Shot Shirts GIVEAWAY!

Oh yes, you read the correctly-- we have YET ANOTHER great giveaway!!

I'm really excited about this giveaway for two reasons-- one, Girl Shot Shirts makes adorable, high quality stuff, and, two, the shop is run by a 4th grader. Yes, you read the correctly-- check out her shop announcement:

I am a fourth grade girl who came up with a great idea. I make clothing items for all things girl. I love sports,art, holidays, friends and so much more. With the help of my parents I set up and printed my original sports and girl themed artwork on t-shirts. Designing and printing my shirts is a whole family affair. I love it when people wear my original designs. When we started printing my designs we decided that we wanted our pieces to be unique and individualized. That is when we decided to repurpose some of the materials. I create fun and unique shirts that any girl would love and wear. I hope to make girls happy and feel good with a great shirt. 

How awesome is that?? I don't know about you, but in the 4th grade I was too busy reading Bop magazine and doodling Mrs. Julie Ann (Insert Celebrity Last Name Here) on all my notebooks to do anything this awesome.

Girl Shot Shirts sent me one of these fantastic "I Know I Run Like a Girl" shirts, and it has become my go-to shirt for the gym.  It is comfortable, and the neckline is just right so it doesn't feel like your shirt is strangling you. (Strangling t-shirts is one of my pet peeves-- this shirt passes the test with flying colors!) It would also make a great pajama shirt or just every day shirt, it's so comfortable!

Luck for one of you fantastic readers, Girl Shot Shirts sent me one "I Know I Run Like a Girl" shirt (size XL)to giveaway!

Here is how to enter:

Mandatory entry:
  • Follow this blog and leave a comment telling us what you were up to when you were in the 4th grade. Be sure to leave an email address so we can contact you if you are the winner. 
Additional entries (please leave a separate comment for each entry):
  • Visit Girl Shot Shirts and leave a comment telling us which items are your favorite.
  • Purchase an item from Girl Shot Shirts.  For each item you purchase, you get an extra entry!
  • Tweet about this giveaway. Leave a link to your tweet in a comment.
  • Blog about this giveaway. Leave a link to your post in a comment.
Giveaway entries open until 11:59pm Chicago time on Monday, May 30th, 2011. Winner will be announced on Tuesday, May 31st.  This giveaway is open to anyone, world wide.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Something is better than nothing!

Hey, it's Emily!

I posted earlier in the month about finding time to work out, but what happens when you just can't fit in your workout? Whether it's a doctor's appointment scheduled during your workout time or the last day before a deadline, sometimes your workout just can't happen as planned!

First of all, when you realize that the workout isn't going to happen, don't beat yourself up about it!

Try to modify your activities throughout the rest of the day to get more calories burned than usual, doing such things as:
  • Standing up and pacing while you are on the phone. Not only can the movement keep you from getting distracted by things on the computer (guilty as charged!!), but you can burn some calories while walking around.
  • Taking some time to stretch, do sit-ups, or while waiting for anything, whether it's copies or waiting for a pot of water to boil.
  • Using the stairs instead of the elevator (or basically walking anywhere you might normally take a more "convenient" route)
One "off" day is not going to kill you, just don't let it become a habit! You can always get back on track after a setback.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Getting Stuff Done + Giveaway Winner and COUPON CODE!!!

Happy Monday!

First, our T-Shirt Giveaway winner is Diana. Congrats! Diana, you will be hearing from MK Design Haus soon with details regarding your prize! Didn't win? NO WORRIES! MK Design Haus is offering a special discount code just for our readers!! Use code RUN4IT to get 5% off your order now through 5/31/2011.

We will have YET ANOTHER giveaway later this week, so stay tuned!!!

Last week I (Julie) started out really great until the weekend. I ran 5 days this week, completing the week 4 of the C25K program twice in full, and tossing caution aside and running for a full 15 min non-stop on one occasion. I had two events with lots of eating over the weekend which, with the exception or a cake splurge, I thought I made decent choices, all things considered. Except my scale does not agree. This week I am participating in the Chicago JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge through my work. It is a 3.5 mile walk/run (I'm registered to walk) through the city. I'm just doing it for fun-- I'm not ready to run/race yet, but I figured it was a good way to start myself into these sorts of things. Over the weekend I have some family in town so I'm hoping I manage to make it through without gaining back all the weight I've lost. (Seriously.....if you know my family, you now this is a real concern.......we like to eat...)

Emily says....

This week had some give and take. When I started running outside, it was very discouraging, but Friday's run was much better! I think I'm going to do Week 4 over again, because I could never complete the second 5-minute run, but I did come very close! Every now and then, I am spicing up my "off" days with a workout DVD, which gives me some nice variety. I also need to start a strength routine. Hmmm... I should get working on that! Weight has stayed largely the same, due to me going out to eat with friends and family now that I'm back in town. That will change soon, and I should be back on the weight loss track by the next check-in!!
**Edit** I finished a Week 4 run this morning! Woohoo!!

How are your goals and projects coming?? Let us know. (New to "Getting Stuff Done"? More info here.)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Adapting: Getting My Diet Back on Track

**Don't forget to enter our t-shirt giveaway, entries end at 11:59pm Chicago time, tonight!!**

I’ve mentioned a few times that healthy eating has been hard from me since developing the latex allergy.  As noted in this post, a number of fruits and veggies are related to latex, so my healthy options are more limited than they used to be.   I’m SUPER lazy in the kitchen; I hate ‘cooking for one’, so I’m really good at opting for easy, not-healthy options like pizza, take-out, or mac-n-cheese. These are all rough on the wallet as well as the jeans-size. Actually, the only thing I do enjoy/do well in the kitchen is bake, but we won't even go into that here... :-)

Back in the days when I was at my most fit and thin, here is an example of my diet on an average day:

Raw almonds, 100 calorie pack of cookies, or Triscuits

Low-fat yogurt (usually strawberry or lemon) OR low fat string cheese
Raw veggies (usually carrots and celery)

Grilled chicken breast or whole wheat pasta in tomato sause
Steamed Veggies (usually green beans or zucchini)
Brown or wild rice, or sometimes baked potato

Melon or fruit
Sometimes low-fat ice-cream

Here is what that diet looks like if I cross out everything that I can no longer eat due to allergies:


Raw almonds, 100 calorie pack of cookies, or Triscuits

Low-fat yogurt (usually strawberry or lemon) OR low fat string cheese
Raw veggies (usually carrots, celery, or mixed peppers)

Grilled chicken breast or whole wheat pasta in tomato sauce
Steamed Veggies (usually green beans or zucchini)
Brown or wild rice, or sometimes baked potato

Melon or fruit
Sometimes low-fat ice-cream

It’s a bit complicated, because if you were dutifully cross referencing my list with the list of latex reactive foods, you notice that some things I didn’t cross out are on the list. Like I mention in this post, not everyone reacts to all the foods, and, sometimes, a person reacts to more foods that others. This being the case, there have been times where I’ve had to go a week at a time without eating any fruits or vegetables in order to calm a bad reaction back down to a manageable state.

What does all this mean? I eat a lot of carbohydrates.  Part of my goal with getting fit and training for the ½ marathon is finding a way to make my new dietary restraints less limiting.

Let’s complicate things even more! Did you notice I crossed off yogurt? Most low-fat yogurts are labeled to contain ‘other fruit juices’.  Frequently, those ‘other fruits’ are pineapple.  If I want to eat yogurt (which had never really been my favorite, so I have to be really trying to behave myself to try), I get plain yogurt and flavor it with a little bit of fruit jam (I'm not hard core enough to eat plain yogurt with no flavor). I've recently started eating some Greek yogurts, which are really high in protein and (generally) not sweetened with pineapple, so that has been a great discovery!

For the most part, I only need to re-vamp the early part of my day to accommodate my new diet. The items that I used to eat for dinner and snacks are mostly ok, it’s breakfast and lunch that need some help.  So far, I’ve worked on eating more oatmeal and high fiber cereals for breakfast and/or lunch. Prior to starting my big ‘get fit’ crusade, I was eating a lot of muffins and bagels which, though delicious, are not so good for the waistline.

Slowly but surly, I'm making progress. My next goals are  1) to eat more lean proteins, 2) monopolize on the fruits and veggies and I can eat, and 3) replace potatoes and other starches with whole grains like quinoa and brown rice.

Help me out! What are your favorite fast-and-easy, yet healthy dinner recipes?? Forget about allergies, share what you are cooking! I’ll steal your ideas and make them work in my own, special, latex-free way!  

Friday, May 20, 2011

Inside and Outside

Hey, it's Emily again! Sorry I've been kind of MIA, I moved back to Ohio from Wisconsin for the summer and finished up final exams in the last two weeks. It hasn't left me a lot of time to blog! Thanks to Julie for picking up the slack!

**Don't forget to enter our t-shirt giveaway, ending May 22!**

Oh, the sheltered world of the gym. I had been using the gym at my university, but since I’m back in Ohio for the summer, I have no free access to a gym. I am seriously going to miss the treadmill.

What? you may say, She is going to miss the treadmill? Who actually likes treadmills anyway? But, as someone who loves to have control, the treadmill was great for me because:

  • I could see exactly how far I had gone
  • I could choose exactly how fast I would go
  • I could control the incline
  • I could look at average pace, calories burned, and other fun stats like that
  • The treadmill was inside, in a (mostly) climate-controlled environment

I went out walking with my mom on Wednesday. She’s working toward a different goal (hiking), so we walked a hilly route for about 3.5 miles before I started out on my “run.” I had ABSOLUTELY no idea how different running outside would be. I had to keep a strict eye on the second hand of my watch, I had no idea how fast I was going, and I did not get too far before I realized I had been pushing too hard - I was completely out of breath and my legs were not happy. UGH! How frustrating!!

It’s not like I can avoid this transition to outside, but I was not prepared for it! Now that I know what I am facing, here’s how I’m going to fix some of the things that I didn't address before transitioning outside:

  • I will use a podcast or my own mix of music that will tell me when I should be running/walking. This will allow me not to focus on my watch, but to focus on the road, my pace, and my breathing.
  • I will map out my run ahead of time on Google Maps, runningmap.com, or something similar, so that I know the mileage for different roads (and then I can figure out how fast I need to get down certain roads to maintain the pace I want).
  • I need to keep the weather in mind! It’s been chilly here lately, so I had to borrow a long-sleeved running shirt from my mom the other day. I know it will start getting pretty muggy and warm in the mornings, so I’ll make sure I’m out and running before it gets too hot! (I also need to not avoid going out when it's raining!!)
Does anyone have more advice for this transition from inside to outside?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Last Hurrah - Binge Eating & Diet Sabotage

**Have you entered our MK Design Haus T-Shirt Giveaway yet?? Open until 5/22**

Hi- it's Julie again. You've been getting a lot of me, but I promise, I haven't shoved Emily in a closet or anything. You will be hearing more from her soon! 

I've been thinking about how our brains play into our fitness a lot latley.

Mostly I've been thinking about the idea of the 'last hurrah'.  You know what that is-- the 'I ate really poorly this yesterday/today/this week so I might as well call this my 'last hurrah' and eat junk until __________ when I start over for real,' reaction to eating poorly.  Or, even on a smaller level, 'I already ate the _________ today, I might as well eat the ___________." (If you are me, both those blanks are probably filled with the world 'cake').

The first time I was ever put on a diet I was ten years old, and in the almost two decades since then, I still can't figure out exactly why our brains work in this self destructive way.  For most of us, we know that what we are eating at the time is not good for us, and, for most of us, we know the consequences. And yet, I have the 'last hurrah' dialogue in my head at least once every two months.

I wish I had a some magic answer to put here right now regarding how to avoid this, but the truth is, I don't.  But, I have learned a few things over the years that help.
  • Avoid people who want to sabotage you, especially during the first month of your healthy eating. I find that if I can get a good month of good eating under my belt, I'm less likely to go on a junk food binge.  Partly, this is because I'm doing well and don't want to mess it up, and partly because once I've put good food in my body for a month, junk food just makes me feel gross and sluggish and I don't really want it. Avoiding our saboteurs is sometimes easier than others.   For me, my saboteurs are mostly a few of my close friends who have never had to diet and are magically thin without really trying.  They find people who count calories or who have to choose their foods/beverages carefully irritating because they don't understand how one glass of wine or one scoop of ice-cream can really make a difference between success and stagnation for someone struggling with weight. They are the chief advocates of, "Come on, enjoy it now, start tomorrow...." Trying to have a heart-to-heart with them about how and why you choose the foods you do can sometimes help, but sometimes, I have to chose to not see them. This is more difficult if your saboteur is a spouse or significant other. Maybe I'll do a whole post about diet sabotage soon and we can all discuss this together. 
  • DO hang around people who support your eating! Friends and family who know you are trying and very quietly, without being nosy jerks, support you are the greatest asset in avoiding junk food binges. Like, the friend who will make a healthy dinner the night you come over, or the co-worker who makes sure the cookie plate is not in front of your desk.  Last week, my coworkers were amazing in this respect-- there are constantly cookies/treats on the end of my desk for people to munch on when they enter our suite. They know I try not to eat them, and last week there was a strawberry on the cookie platter. One of my co-workers dabbed the strawberry on every cookie so I couldn't eat them. (I did warn others, don't worry. I didn't let any other possible allergics fall victim to the strawberry venom.) :-)
    • Don't let your diet kill your social life. This is hard, especially considering I just said that part of my method of avoiding mass junk consumption is to avoid certain people at certain times. And, honestly, I usually do have to go a little under the radar socially for the first month or so of my diet to get things started. Once I'm doing well, I'm far less likely to make poor food choices.  Also, make sure you are on a plan that lets you be social. Even if you lose weight a little slower than with a really strict plan, you have to be able to function in all areas of your life or else you will not be able to maintain the weight loss.  I've dropped a lot of weight fast on a few occasions, but as soon as I resumed my life, it all came back 
    • Food is Medicine, Not Fun. This sounds lame, and it's only partly true, as, especially us Americans, love to use food as recreation.  BUT-- it is a mindset that can lead to better food choices while being social. If you can look at a menu in a restaurant and choose with that mantra in your head, you are less likely to be tempted by the delicious mac-n-cheese or other diet-destroying dish.  Also, it is a phrase I throw out at some of my saboteurs.  They know when I say it, they are starting to push the line between being nice and being a jerk.  They may not understand how they are being jerks, but they know enough to change the subject once I say it. Thinking of food as medicine also helps me focus on letting the situation be fun and not the food itself. As great as great food can be, the fun part of going out or being with friends should be the friends part.  
    • If you are going to hurrah, hurrah on something that is worth it.  Sometimes, we all need the day or meal where we eat what we want, even it if sets us back a little. Make sure you pack that day or meal with things you really love so that you feel satisfied, not just whatever junk is around. Even better is if you can plan for it-- like, a two weeks ago I had a birthday dinner  for a friend. I ordered a delicious, DELICIOUS cake from one of my favorite bakeries for this event, and I did not want refrain for having some.  Knowing that, I planned to eat really well the day before and after to make room for some of my caloric transgressions at the celebration. I also pregamed for the event by reading the online menu for the restaurant and noted a few of the less-horrible for me options so that I was not sucked in by the cheeseburger, but still ate something delicious. Something else I've learned to do when I know I'm going to eat poorly for a day/meal is to go grocery shopping the day before so that the next day, my fridge is full of healthy things and I won't be tempted to make one night of bad eating into a week of bad eating. 
    What are some of your tricks to avoid the junk-food-binge??

      Monday, May 16, 2011

      Getting Stuff Done + T-Shirt Giveaway!!!

      It's Monday again, even though I'm not sure how it happened.

      First, I'm please to announce that the winner of the Suits Me Swimwear giveaway is 'FallingLadies'.  Ms. FallingLadies-- you did not leave an email address!! Please contact me before Friday, 5/20/11 or a new winner will be chosen.

      Second....our weekly updates....

      My week has gone well. I was ridiculously scared to start week 4 of the C25K program because it has 5 min running stretches, as the 3 min stretches in week 3 were conspiring to kill me. BUT-- I realized that if I took my speed down, I could do them without fear of death. So, I'm running a lot slower than I'd like right now, but I'm able to do longer stretches, which is more important at the moment.Weight loss is still slow-but-steady at a pound-ish a week, I'm down a total of 8lbs since I started trying to loose weight a couple weeks before we stated this blog and the running process.  This week, I think the greatest thing for me is the amazingness (is that a word? it is now) of my friends and family who are being SO SUPPORTIVE of this process.  Seriously. There aren't words for all the support I've received since this started, and if karma is real, everyone should be getting a delivery of a million dollars and a house-broken puppy that cleans floors and windows. 

      Emily moved this week. (GAH! We all know what that's like!) So, between moving stress, finishing her semester, and eating all her food to clean out her fridge, she hopes to have maintained her current weight and will resume trying to lose once the dust has settled. And, for a moment I will digress and brag about my cousin being awesome-- because you must know that she is back in her hometown for the summer playing a pivotal role in an international children's project that promotes peace keeping and international understanding. She is awesome.

      How are your goals/projects coming? Link up and let us know! (New to "Getting Stuff Done?" Welcome! More info here.)

      But wait, there's more!! We have another giveaway!

      Like many of you, I spend more time than I care to admit trolling around etsy.com. On a recent peruse, I fell in LOVE with the "Bake, Eat, Run" T-shirt from MK Design Haus. It pretty much explains how I got into this whole running mess to begin with. I was even more excited when I found out that, not only do they make awesome shirts, but MK Design Haus donates 10% of each purchase to charities in their local area.

      Mary of MK Design Haus is giving away the T-Shirt of the winner's choice from her shop!!

      Here is how to enter:
      • Follow this blog! Leave a comment saying that you follow AND which item from MK Design Haus you would choose if you win. Don't forget to leave your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner. (This entry is mandatory)
      For additional entries (please leave a separate comment for each entry):
      • Follow @JVdesigns on twitter and tweet about this giveaway! Leave a link to your tweet in a comment.
      • Purchase an item from MK Design Haus. Leave a comment saying what you purchased. You get an additional entry for each item you purchase!
      • Blog about this giveaway! Leave a link to your post in a comment.
      • Link up to today's "Getting Stuff Done". You will automatically be given an entry in the giveaway if you link up.
      This giveaway is open to US residents only.
      Giveaway is open until 11:59pm Chicago time, Sunday, May 22, 2011. I'll announce the winner on Monday, May 23, 2011.

      Sunday, May 15, 2011

      Check Out Our New Look!

      **If you haven't entered our giveaway yet, it's not too late! Entries open until 5/15!** 

      Do you SEE how pretty our blog is??? 
      THANK YOU SO MUCH to Melissa for the facelift!!

      Thursday, May 12, 2011

      Cut Out the Fitness Noise- Making a Workout Plan that Works for You

      **If you haven't entered our giveaway yet, it's not too late! Entries open until 5/15!**

      I can't tell if this issue is just me being a little bizarre, or if it applies to more of us.

      Does anyone else have a hard time filtering out the fitness noise?

      Like, there are so many sources telling you to do so many things in so many ways and you almost don't want to do any of it because you can't do all of it?? And then, if you're me, you just get angry at everything, because, well, that's what I do.

      I've been feeling that a lot latley. 

      I mentioned in a recent post about my knee injury that I met with a trainer at my gym to set up a fitness program.  She was really nice, but she made me the least realistic plan ever. I left kind of angry, but mostly because I felt like if I didn't go with the new plan, I'd never lose weight or get anything accomplished, which is kind of how I think the fitness industry wants me to feel.

      When the meeting started, I told her that I have my cardio plan, but I needed some guidance in terms of adjusting my weight regiment  and stretching. She was really adamant that I add some of the gyms fitness classes into my regime.  She cited sound reasons for this-- varied muscle movement, a variety of cardio, stretching and strength, etc.  I left with a plan has me running four days a week, doing weights 4 days a week, and attending fitness classes, including cardio, strength and yoga, 5 days a week.  The weights and the running I'm fine with, but adding in fitness classes, though I'm sure it would be extremely beneficial, makes my daily workout about 2.5-3 hours long.

      More problematic is that I can't lay on my gym floor. The floor in 2/3 of the gym is made of rubber, which contains latex, so I can't sit or lay on it. The other area is carpet, and this where the classes take place. Thought the carpet is latex-free, it is walked on by everyone who waked on the rubber and rolled latex heavy mats, balls, etc., all over it.  This concept is really hard for some people to understand.  Even when she was showing me stretches, half of them involve laying down, and I just can't do it while I'm there. I can do it at home, but by the the time I get home, it's a little too long after my run to be as beneficial or to help my knee. I know I should have stopped her immediately and told her to show me something else, but she was really having a hard time understanding what I was telling her, and just kept suggesting I lay on a towel, so I just let her do her thing, knowing we were wasting time.(In her defense, she was really sweet, she just didn't get it.)

      The trainer also put me in two dance based fitness classes, as they lay on the floor the least, but, uh, to be honest? I'd rather be locked in Guantanamo than dance. I'm a hazard to anyone with in fifty feet of me if I dance. And I hate it. Back in my musical theater days, every. single. choreographer I ever worked it threatened me within an inch of my life, thinking it could somehow make me coordinated. I actually made the Guantanamo comment out loud during our discussion and it confused the poor girl even more.

      On my way out, the trainer asked if I felt good about the plan and how excited I was to start. I was honest and said I didn't think the plan was realistic at all. I think I hurt her feelings and I felt a little bad. She then started spouting about how following would lead to 2lbs a week in weight loss and how great a balanced program it is, blah blah blah.

      And that's when my brain freaks out.  I start to think, "I HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO DO THIS OR I'M NEVER GOING TO LOSE WEIGHT AND I'LL BE STUCK LIKE THIS FOREVER."  When the truth is, I don't. Would it be ideal? Yes. But, I work. I try to have a life. I have a ton of boring, everyday stuff to do, like, laundry and cleaning my bathroom. Doing my runs and some weights 3-4 times a week is enough.  Is it perfect and balanced and everything a fitness instructor dreams of? No. But it is on par with the recommended amounts for the average person. And it is a healthy amount.  Even if I managed to find a way to pull off her plan for a the next 10 months while I train for the 1/2 marathon, I will immediately gain tons of weight as soon as I stop, because it is an unrealistic amount of exercise for a person who works full time.

      I'd like to be able to say that this whole, kind of funny, story is simply just one experience with one trainer at one gym, but I don't think it is. I, actually, really like the culture of my gym and all the people who work there. I believe this is the nature of the fitness industry-- to somehow trap you into thinking you must make it your life or not have it at all. Like, if you aren't at the gym 3 hours a night, you are somehow a failure who is going to be fat and die of diabeattack (that's my own person combination of diabetes and a heart attack).

      I'm working on filtering out this noise and doing what I know works.  I'm trying to be open to learning new things without being forced into a plan or agenda I don't want or can't do. I'm trying to remember that one does not have to do ALL to do SOME.

      Tuesday, May 10, 2011


      (Hey, it's Emily!)
      As I've reflected on my progress thus far and how much I have to do to be ready for a half marathon, I thought… Holy moly, I have such a long way to go!

      Monday morning at the gym, I started week 4 of Couch to 5K and I struggled. A lot. The fear that I won’t be able to run a full mile without walking started to creep in. In elementary school, I wasn’t the fastest at running the mile, but I ran it. I think I finished it in about 10 minutes. Now? Not so much. Including the walking warm-ups and jogging, I’m averaging just under 14 minutes a mile.

      Even if I get down to 13 minute miles, it would mean that those 13.1 miles of the half marathon will take me just over 170 minutes (2 hours and 50 minutes). If I think about how quickly that time passes while I’m driving or working throughout the school day, well, that’s not so bad. But put me on a treadmill and say, “3 hours, go!” and that’s a whole different story. That’s a real hit to my motivation.

      The reason why I have not consistently stuck to an exercise regimen is that it’s extremely hard to keep up my motivation. If pounds weren’t falling off as fast as I desired or I skipped a workout, it was easy enough to say something like, “What’s the point?” or “Well, I didn’t go yesterday… and today I’m SO tired, so I’ll go tomorrow.”

      As Zig Ziglar said, "People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily." Here are some things I use to keep me motivated:
      • I have a printout of my workouts that I can “x” off when I complete them. After a tough workout, it feels SO good to cross it off and it’s a tangible sign of my progress.
      • I have an inspirational drawing. I found a picture of Belle (the Disney princess) drawn as if she were a runner (with modern running attire and headphones, no less), printed it out, and added my own artwork so that it looks like she’s about to run to the Cinderella castle at Disney World. I colored it in and have it hanging in a place where I see it every day. The visual representation of my goal (running the Disney Princess Half Marathon) reminds me that I have something very exciting in my future!
      • Supportive people. I couldn’t do this without all of the support I have from friends and family. The fact that my cousin Julie (and likely, a few other people) will be running with me, keeps me on task. I can’t let them down!
      • Personal goals. While running the half marathon is the overarching goal, my personal goals for weight loss and becoming healthy give me a different aspect of the running to focus on.
      What are some things that cause you to lose motivation? What motivates you to continue your workout regimen?

      Monday, May 9, 2011

      Getting Stuff Done

      Happy Monday!!
      (Remember, participating in today's link up automatically gets you an entry into our swimsuit giveaway.)

      Well, I can add to my list of stuff to get done, "remember to get Emily's progress info", because it's Monday and I totally forgot to ask her. JULIE FAIL. :-) (Edit: Emily's progress info is now at the bottom of the post!)

      I had a good week this week! My knee enjoyed some much needed rest and by the end of the week I was back to adding some running into my workout. Today is the first day I plan to be back to the Couch to 5K plan, starting back at week 3, day 1. Even with the reduced workouts, I lost one pound this week. One pound a week is slow, but if it can keep it up, I know it is weight loss I can maintain, so I'm happy with that. And, I'm happy to say I budgeted my eating well enough that I still enjoyed a night out for a friend's birthday that involved things that were fried, cheesy, and covered in frosting, so I'm thrilled. (Those were separate things, by the way-- the fried, the cheesy and the frosting....though I could be on to something.......)

      I'll update with Emily's progress as soon as I have it! Here it is!

      Emily's week: This past week was just insane at school! It was the final week of classes, so I did indulge in some chocolate a few nights... and copious amounts of cheese. (Hey, you can't live in Wisconsin without enjoying cheese. I think it's a law or something...) Despite the chocolate and cheese, I have continued to lose weight. I'm around 8-10lbs. total lost, but it fluctuates.

      How about you? How was your week?
      If you are new to 'Getting Stuff Done', WELCOME! Details and info can be found here.
      Remember, your goals and updates can be about anything you are working on, they don't have to be health and fitness. Join us! Link up! :-)

      Friday, May 6, 2011

      Swimsuit GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!

      Emily and I are really excited to host our first giveaway! And, I'm not going to lie--I'm super jealous of whoever wins this and not-so-secretly wish I could keep it  for myself! (I actually just ordered myself one so I don't have to steal the one we are giving away from the winner. I can't wait for it to arrive!)

      'Suits Me Swimwear' has a latex-free, 'diet proof' swimsuit. Yes, I said 'diet proof' (and latex free!). The suits are made of a fast-drying, latex free polyester that is machine washable AND dry-able. The material won't fade from pool chemicals,  stretch out over time, or shrink in the dryer like a regular swimsuit. Double plus bonus? They are made ethically in the United States.

      How is a swim suit 'diet proof'??? It's a wrap-around design that lets you wear your suit in multiple ways/styles.  If you are feeling skinny, wrap it so your belly shows. If you are feeling a little squishy, wrap it to hide your problem spots.  It is also perfect for ladies who are pregnant, as it will fit you before, during and after you have the baby! All the styles have a kind of retro, elegant look that I really love. Not sure how this works? Check out the video demonstration on their website.

      THE BEST PART?? They are super affordable. They range in price from $20-$50. Not only is that way less than I paid for my last bathing suit, it's way less than most latex-free products.  Also? I also really love that they use real people in their website photos, not teeny tiny ladies with their rib cages poking out. Check out some pics!


      We have one ladies style suit in the 'womens' size (120-250lbs) in the 'pastel fern' pattern to give to one lucky reader!

      Here is what you need to do to enter:

      • Follow this blog! Leave a comment saying you follow! Don't forget to leave your email address so I can let you know if you are the winner!

      For additional entries (separate comments for each, please!):

      • Follow Julie (@JVdesigns) on twitter and tweet about this giveaway! Leave a link back to your tweet in a comment.
      • Blog about this giveaway! Leave a link to your post in a comment.
      • Join our 'I'm getting stuff done' link-up on Monday, May 9th. Everyone who joins the linkup will automatically be given an entry into the giveaway. 
        This giveaway is open to anyone, world wide. Entries are open until 11:59pm Chicago time on Sunday, May 15, 2011. I'll post the winner on Monday, May 16, 2011.

        Thursday, May 5, 2011

        That's a Pain in the Knee

        Part of learning any new sport is having some aches and pains until you get used to it. This may very well be why I don't like sports. :-)

        Part of learning is also knowing when aches and pains are more than aches and pains. I learned this the hard way. Since I stared week two of 'Couch to 5K', my left knee has been bothering me. I wrote it off and kept going. Last Monday, I whacked my knee against a desk and I suddenly found I could not ignore the pain any longer. I went to the doctor, thinking I knocked something loose when I hit my knee on the desk, but it turns out, the desk has nothing to do with it. My tendon in my left knee pulls a little wonky (apparently-- who knew??!!), and that, combined with the fact that I'm running with some (or a lot) of extra weight, caused a wicked case of tendonitis.

        The doctor prescribed rest, ice, anti-inflammatories, and physical therapy. The kicker? The physical therapist that my insurance covers can't get me for a MONTH. He said the physical therapist would work with me on taping the tendon, stretching, and strengthening my quads. I do not want to lose and entire month of training, so I'm trying to do the best I can on my own with the information I have. I took just under a week off from the gym and limited my walking/movement for that time. I've been icing my knee throughout the day, and have been trying to stretch the best I know how morning and night. I'm using the elliptical machine now that I'm back at they gym, but I've only got a good 15 min. in me before the knee is extremely unhappy.

        Per the suggestion of my doctor, I'm adding quad machines to my weight regiment at the gym, and I made an appointment with a trainer at my gym to help develop a plan for me based on my newly discovered wonky tendon.The trainer at my gym was super adorable and gave me some great ideas, but she also wants me to work out 2-2.5 hrs a night, 4-5 nights a week, to which I say, "HAHAHAHAHA!!!" She was super sweet, though.  I'm going to try some of what she showed me in terms of stretching and weights, but, like Emily wrote about earlier this week, it's hard enough to fit in my  one hour 3-4 times a week.  Also, I'm nervous to do anything that I won't be able to maintain on a permanent basis. (Her plan involved running and several fitness classes per week, including yoga which I can't do due to the rubber floor at the gym). I'm sure I could make the gym my life for the next 10 months and drop weight faster, but then I'll just gain the weight back when I get bored of having no life outside my workouts. As much as this is all about running 13.1 miles, it's more about creating something I can maintain. 

        I tried to google how to tape my tendon, and it turns out there are, like, 2038403284932 ways to take a tendon, and I don't want to chose the wrong way and cause any further. The doctor said that taping would be the thing that was most helpful for me, as it will help hold the tendon in place, so I'm a bit disappointed that I can't have that happen immediately. I tried to get a tendonitis band from both the running store and the drug store, but they all contain latex, so that was a bummer. (Don't even get me started on the dude at the running store who didn't believe in my allergy and gave me funny faces and kept trying to give me a rubber knee brace! I was three seconds away from turning green, and yelling 'you won't like me when I'm angry,' Hulk style.)

        The most disappointing part of this situation is that I'm supposed to do a 3.5 mile walk/run the day before I could get into the physical therapist. I'm registered as a walker and have two, non-runner friends doing it with me, so the plan was to walk; however, if my knee can't shape up, I may have to drop out of the event, which I don't want to do. Secretly, I wanted to run at least half of it before this all happened.

        In the grand scheme of things, this is not the end of the world, but I'll admit I've kind of been letting myself wallow in a little self pity. I have a personal rule that self pity-parties have a week long statute of limitations, so I'm forcing myself to get over it with in the next 24 hours.  If anyone has any 'tending to your tendonitis tips', I'm all ears!!

        Wednesday, May 4, 2011

        Finding time to work out

        There’s a big difference between knowing and doing. 

        Health experts tell us we should be working out 4 days a week for at least 30 minutes. Are most people doing that? Nope. Heck, was I doing that about 2 months ago? No way! I knew I should, but I didn't.

        When I was in undergrad, I went to the gym with my friends and was working out consistently… then things piled up and I gave up going to the gym in order to focus on other activities and looming deadlines. When you’re experiencing stress, one of the best things to do is go work out (as it’s a natural form of stress relief), but I viewed exercise as something taking up my time.

        So how can a busy person find time to work out?

        Schedules, schedules, schedules! Anyone who knows me personally (and especially anyone who has seen my planner in the last year) understands that I'm a big fan of planning. But you don't need to love planning every detail of your day in order to implement some techniques that will make sure you have time to work out!

        Here are some of the techniques I have been using so that I can have that extra time in my schedule to head to the gym, work out, and get home.
        • Multi-tasking is your friend when working on things around the house. For example, while waiting for water to boil on the stove, don't just wait around and stare at the pot or sit down and play a round of computer solitaire, do something productive like cleaning or folding laundry
        • Have consistent (or as consistent as possible) bedtimes and waking times. This will keep you rested and ready to take on your day. For me, waking up at a consistent time makes the once brutally early alarm on the workout days not as brutal, because that time is now my "normal" time to wake up each day.
        • Make priority lists each day for work/school tasks that must be done that day and focus on getting those tasks accomplished first. This prevents you working on "someday" activities for most of the day and then being crunched for time at the end of the day, which may cause you to stay up late or skip your work out in the morning to get the work done.
        • Flexibility - Don't make a schedule so rigid that recovering from a timing setback is impossible. Life is unpredictable!
        • Relaxation - At minimum, give yourself at least 15 minutes a day to relax and not feel guilty about taking time away from things that "need to be done NOW!" When I am holed up working on anything, I try to give myself an intentional break of at least 15 minutes once every two hours so that I can regroup and refocus. Refocusing on an activity with a good frame of mind after a planned break is better than powering through, losing focus, and wasting time.

        What do you do in order to make sure you get your workout in during your busy day?

        Monday, May 2, 2011

        I'm Getting Stuff Done - Link up!

        Emily and I have both discussed how part of this blog is about keeping us accountable. We have both previously started health/fitness/weight loss ventures that we have quickly abandoned. We have both set goals and made resolutions outside of fitness and health that we have let fade into the background.

        But, sometimes, when we share a goal out loud, it's easier to achieve. Once it's public, we have support and resources and community.

        We are very grateful for the supportive community we have here with all of you and we want to share! Every Monday, we'll host an "I am Getting Stuff Done" linkup.

        If you have a goal you are working towards, we'd love for you to blog it and link up! It can be any goal-- maybe you, too, are trying to drop some pounds. Or, maybe you want to feel good about how you look now. Or, maybe you are trying to get a better hold on your budget. Or maybe you are looking for a job or a house or in some other long term project. Or, maybe you just want to stop leaving dirty dishes in the sink. Or maybe it's something totally different. Whatever it is, we hope you'll share it here, either by blogging and linking, or by leaving a comment. If you have something you don't want to share the specifics of, but would like to join in, you can say just that!

        Every Monday, we'll check in and see how everyone is doing.

        What to join us?? GREAT! All you need to do is....
        • Blog about your goal or project. (If you don't blog, that's ok, skip down to the last bullet point)
        • Link up to our weekly post! Let us know how your goal or project is going!
        • Grab the button in our sidebar! Help spread the word and grow our community of supporters. Let everyone know you are holding yourself accountable and getting stuff done! (You don't have to do this, but it's be fun if you did!)
        • If you don't blog, you can participate by commenting on the weekly posts. 

        Our update on our progress for this week:

        • I generally do my C25K workouts MWF, so far, I'm done with Week 2 and will be done with Week 3 Day 1 by the time you read this! 
        • Weight loss... On track. I've lost about 5lbs since being pretty serious about my diet and running. I wish it was more, but you win some, you lose some!
        • Life in general: super busy/stressful week last week with getting ready for finals, and this week looks like it will be no different! This could account for my overwhelming desire for chocolate and comfort foods... :)
        • I was on a roll with my C25K workouts, 3-4 days a week until last week I developed severe tendonitis in my left knee. I'm temporarily on the injured list and will post more about this later this week.
        • Weight loss is slow goings. I knew this would be the case based on allergies, etc. I'm down 2.5 pounds since I started running/dieting. I find this frustrating.
        • I began the great hunt for the perfect running shoe this week. I'll write about that, soon, too!

        Your turn! Tell us about your goals/projects and link up!