First Step is Admission: I’m a Grazer

Anybody who knows me knows that I am not always the most healthy eater, and much like a cow, I am a grazer. I am on a lifelong mission to give my body the fuel it needs, while maintaining my snacking ways, without denying myself delicious foods (sadly, I did not inherit my mom’s ability to enjoy raw veggies as much as tortilla chips). The struggle is real, kiddos.

But I have great news! Summertime is the best time for finding healthier snacking alternatives. Here are a few of my favorites:

1229903_10101794142535873_1323238134_n.jpgFrozen grapes –
They’re like delicious little popsicles. Buy grapes (I prefer red, seedless), wash grapes, freeze grapes, enjoy grapes. While sometimes a little pricey, and not a great source of protein, grapes prove to be a great source for vitamin K, vitamin C and potassium. So they’re working hard for your bones, heart, muscles and immune system.

Veggies and dip –
Not all dips are totally bad, and if they’re the vehicle to getting veggies in your body, then don’t totally count them out. Everything in moderation, right? My favorite dipping utensils are: carrots, cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts. Tip: buy fresh, whole veggies and clean/cut them yourself. They’re both healthier and MUCH cheaper.

My fave dips include:

  • Tzatziki – This heavenly white dip is made with a Greek yogurt base, shredded cucumbers, fresh dill, salt and garlic. The brand that I eat (Cava) has just 35 calories in 2 TBSP. It’s a much healthier alternative to ranch.
  • Hummus – Hummus is made from mashed garbanzo beans, ground sesame seeds, olive oil, garlic and spices. This dip is a significant source of fiber, which supports heart health and weight management. It’s also a great source of protein. Tip: Some people are getting real into the soy bean version of hummus… but beware of soy beans as they, like corn, are rarely non-GMO.
  • Fresh salsa – Homemade or fresh salsa is both delicious and an excellent source of vitamin C. Most contain about 10 calories in 2 TBSP, and boast 0g of fat.

Air popped popcorn –
This stuff’s the shit. You save money, you save your body from weird chemicals and you reserve the right to season it as you please. I season mine with pink Himalayan sea salt and a little bit of butter. But for reference, let me just quickly list the ingredients in a standard “Butter” flavor of microwave popcorn:giphy-downsized

  • whole grain popcorn, palm oil, salt, natural and artificial flavors [milk], color added, TBHQ (which is a preservative). Ew.

Great, so scratch out the fake crap and you’ve got what I make at home for WAY cheaper. My ingredients are: organic whole grain popcorn, sea salt, butter. Tip: Americans have an unhealthy fear of butter. Real butter, in moderation, is not bad for you. It’s certainly better for you than whatever the “natural and artificial” flavors are they’re putting in your microwave bag.

Let’s be honest, I’m not cutting out the occasional Twix bar and don’t you dare ask me to give up pretzels, but it’s good to look for some healthy snacking alternatives. Want to determine if something is “healthy?” Here’s a checklist that can help you decide:

  • Is it whole?
  • Is it fresh?
  • Can you read the ingredients and do you know what each of them is?
  • What type of fats are in it? Don’t hate on all fats, but try to stay away from saturated fats and run for your life if something has trans fat.

loveB

 

 

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All the Small Things

Ok, so not everybody has time to work out, and not everybody has the drive to workout. That’s cool. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t extremely simple things you can do each day to help with overall health. Here are just a few things to consider as you go about your day:

  • Stairs, Stairs, Stairs: While you’re young enough and you don’t have seriously achey knees, take the stairs every single chance you get. I got into this habit because I like to cruise through the airport, so instead of waiting for crowded elevators or escalators, I started taking the stairs. Honestly, give me one reason this isn’t a good idea?
  • Walk This Way: Try to make the time to walk either aimlessly or as a method of transportation. After I adopted my dog, I saw a noticeable difference in my body just from walking her a handful of times a day. We were given two legs with an incredibly complex structure of bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons that we should probably put to use, if we can, no?
  • Clean(er) Eating: I am not one for denying myself the things that I love. No fad diets for this chick. However, if there are things in your diet that are terrible for you that you could totally live without, drop ’em. One day, I decided to stop drinking Coke, and for the most part, I don’t miss it, and neither does my body. Coke, bye.
  • Water, Water, Everywhere:  Our body is 60% water (the heart and brain are about 73% water and the lungs are 83%!!!). I don’t have time to type it all, nor do you have time to read it all, but water does a gazillion things for you. Drink up, thirsty warriors.
  • Down to the Core: The jury is still out on standing desks vs. Swiss balls as chairs. But nobody believes that slouching all day long is any good for you. As you sit (for hours and hours and hours and hours) at work, activate your core in order to hold your shoulders up and your stomach in. This will actually be hard at first, but good posture leads to a stronger core and vice versa. It’s really a win-win.
  • Zzzzzzz: Get the sleep your body needs and deserves. Treating yourself right isn’t just about exercise and diet, it’s about allowing your body to relax and recover. It’s likely talking to you and you’re just not listening, yo.

Side note: If you’re young and just entering the workforce and you are at a company that glorifies a “work hard play hard” lifestyle, remember that it’s fun. Super fun, actually. But it’s not healthy or sustainable. Remember to put your FOMO aside once in a while to get a good night sleep.
loveB

 

 

Checking In

Oh hey there. I’ve been missing you all. I took a short break from blogging, not intentionally but because life has been busy in all the right ways recently. But I am back, and figured that a good place to start would be to check in on how I am doing with my 2017 Goals. We’re one quarter of the way through the year. Here’s my progress and the completely ambiguous score that I’ve given myself.

The Ones Who Matter

  • Current Status: In just three months, I have already made some amazing memories. I also had my first Galentine’s Day trip with two of the most beautiful souls I know.
  • What I’m Looking Forward To: A few friends are getting married this year and I hope to be able to celebrate with them! I’ve also got a killer 4th of July road trip planned.
  • Score: 7. I can do better, particularly with the long-distance friends.

My Best Friend is a Pit Bull

  • Current Status: I remain painfully aware that Annie won’t live forever, and it’s almost debilitating. I’m super fortunate to have people in my life who understand how important Annie is and include her whenever possible. We have spent very few nights apart this year, aside from some travel. And my saint of a mom came up from South Carolina to dog-sit while I was in Ghana!
  • What I’m Looking Forward To: Annie is coming on the epic 4th of July road trip. I am also excited to continue a fun tradition that we started last summer. We skateboard to a nearby park where I work out. Then we skateboard home. It’s a great way for us to both get exercise and spend quality time together.
  • Score: 8. I still think I could do more. I specifically should hire a dog walker, as my work days are long.

Selfie

  • Current Status: Feeling good. In a steady workout routine, eating pretty well at home. But most importantly, I am not letting the stress of life hold me back from doing adventurous and exciting things. Like my recent, spontaneous, trip to Ghana. I’m surrounding myself with beautiful people who raise me up and bring out the best in me.
  • What I’m Looking Forward To: Continuing this trajectory of happiness, knowing good and well that I will encounter a few potholes, but feeling confident that I’m armed with everything I need to get past them.
  • Score: 9. Nobody should ever get a 10 when it comes to self-improvement.

I am still becoming who I’ll be. And if you ask me in a year, I’ll tell you the same thing. If you ask me when I am 100, I’ll repeat myself once again.

loveB

 

 

 

Biz Trip Health Tips

Hi. I’ve missed you all! Work took me on an awesome, but exhausting trip to the Super Bowl. My business trips are usually jam-packed, high-stress and complete with a lot of fun, late nights. In order to keep up (both mentally and physically), I’ve learned a few routines that I stick to diligently. Check /em out, and let me know what you do to stay sane on business travel.

Pace Yourself: I’m lucky that many of my work trips are complete with cool parties and late-night events. But if I am going on a four-day trip, I know that I can’t stay up until 2 a.m. every night. I’m not 23 anymore. Pick and choose when to stay up late. Maybe go to the evening event, but skip the lobby party later.

Hydrate!: Hydration is always important and I am the WORST at it. But I drink water on the plane, and if there is not a big bottle of water in my hotel room, I’ll make sure to buy one first thing. Drink water throughout the day, the evening and then a TON before bed. When you change timezones, temperatures, schedules, etc. it is easy to get sick. Water is like a miracle drug, acting to both prevent and cure.

Keep Your Routine: Packing is easier when you don’t have to consider workout clothes. But if daily workouts are part of your regular routine, DO NOT STOP when you’re on the road. Making time for myself is the best way to handle stress. I wake up by 6 a.m. each day and by the time I’m done with my workout and coffee, everyone else is just rising. Here are some of my favorite parts about working out on the road:

  • Exploration: Running around a new city is a great way to learn your way, scope out restaurants, or have yourself a fun adventure. Be careful though. If you don’t know the city at all, ask the concierge. I typically look at Google Maps to locate a nearby park or river running trail. Some of my favorite cities to run in are places I went for work, like Austin, TX and Columbus, OH.
  • Creativity: Some hotels have incredible gyms. Others offer a very limited selection of machines and weights. But get creative in there. No matter what they have, you can figure out a kick-ass workout that will leave you feeling energized for the day.
  • Resourcefulness: If your hotel doesn’t have a gym and you aren’t into running, no problem. Find a nearby park with open space and maybe some benches and do a quick bodyweight workout (see below for a list of things you can do with no equipment). No time to leave the room? Move some furniture aside and do something to get the blood flowing and your heart rate up.

No gym, limited space, no problem! Here are some of my favorite activities that require no equipment:

Legs:

  • Squats
  • Lunges (many variations)
  • Single-leg deadlift
  • Hip lifts
  • Leg lifts

Arms:

  • Push-ups (a few variations)
  • Bear crawl (a few variations)
  • Tricep dips
  • Inchworm (also stretches your hammies!)
  • Plank jacks

Core:

  • Crunches
  • Plank (many variations)
  • Side plank
  • Russian twists
  • Toe touches
  • Bicycles
  • Dead bug
  • Crazy Ivans

I hope you get a little more out of your next business trip, and feel healthier when it’s all over. Thanks for reading. Love you all!

loveB

 

 

 

I’m Just Waiting on a Wild Sun

Actually, that’s a lyric from one of my favorite bands, but I am just waiting on any ol’ sun. For anybody who is not lucky enough to live in a place as wonderful as Colorado (I’m obsessed, can you tell), you know the woes of those dreary wintry months. You know what it’s like to leave for work in the dark, return home from work in the dark, and have nothing but overcast weekends.

READ: 2017 Goals

We’re getting into those dark and gloomy winter months here in DC, and each year I dread it more than the last. Since moving back from Colorado, where they have 300 days of sunshine a year + ample vitamin D, I’ve developed seasonal depression. It kinda snuck up on me, at first!

My Warning Signs: (First, as always, let me preface this by saying that I am not a licensed medical professional. But seasonal depression can typically be self-diagnosed)

  • Sleepin’ In – The first thing I noticed was extreme difficulty getting up in the morning, even with ample hours of sleep. As somebody who is typically a morning person, this was very strange.
  • Fatigue – I also found that by 7 p.m., when I got home from work, I felt ready for bed. I had no appetite. But the fatigue wasn’t just evening sleepiness, I felt weak at the gym and had to dig deeper for the motivation to drag myself out on a run.
  • Netflix + Isolate – In those dark months, the introvert in me took the reigns. Making plans felt both exhausting and overwhelming. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see friends or be social, but I wasn’t up for making any effort.
  • The Bear – An ex boyfriend once pointed out to me that (and writing it here makes it sound so much worse than how he meant it) I’m like a bear in the winter. I put on just a bit of weight and I am much more anxious and moody.

I’d say the bear comes out as a result of all of the other factors. My schedule is uprooted, I don’t feel good, I feel isolated, I’m tired and life seems to be just about work and sleep. Boring! So it is no surprise that I realized I was suffering from seasonal depression. For others, some of the warning signs may be different, even more severe in some cases. But there is hope!

What Worked For Me:

  • Work Hard, Feel Good – It may be harder to motivate, and you may need to decrease mileage and weight, but keep pushing yourself to get out there and workout. Or perhaps give yoga a try. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which trigger positive feelings. It will also help you keep a routine.
  • Now Talk it Out – Even if you feel the need to isolate, don’t push people away. It has helped me so much to be able to talk to friends and know that most of them suffer from seasonal depression as well. Sometimes my girlfriends and I will turn to the same channel, drink wine from the comfort of our own home and text back and forth. Depending on how severe your symptoms are, you may also want to participate in some kind of talk therapy. This can help steer your negative thoughts back toward the light.
  • Soak Up The Sun – When the sun does peek through, try to meet it halfway. Take a five-minute break during the workday to go outside and soak up some vitamin D. Sun in the weekend forecast? Plan an outdoor activity like hiking or running, even if it’s cold.
  • Back to the Basics – As is the case with basically every ailment in life, healthy eating habits and plenty of water will never do anything but make you feel better. Many people experience a decreased appetite and feel less thirsty during the colder months, but keep doing what you do all year.

Good news, folks! Less than three months until spring. Until then, feed and exercise that bear!
loveB

 

 

2016 Grand Finale

I started 2016 with three main objectives for bettering myself (I will not use the “r” word), and before I talk about 2017, let’s check in on how I did this past year. Although I would like to start a dumpster fire with much of 2016, there are definitely reasons to feel accomplishment and pride. Let’s have a look.giphy (10).gif

  • My Health: I still ate too much sugar and about 300 too many bagels, however I prepared healthy, home-cooked meals for dinner more nights than I ate out. Let’s call this a win.
  • My Mind: Nothing is without setback, but I am pleased to announce that I have recently accepted a new role at my company that I am absolutely thrilled about. My work life was great in 2016, and I was lucky enough to be a part of some epic activations. I dealt with some pretty big emotional hurdles in my personal life, but I feel stronger because of them. Another win.
  • My Body: My body and I worked together to accomplish some awesome things this year. I PR-ed in two 10 mile races, and for the most part felt great all year. In the past couple of months, I’ve noticed some new old lady aches and pains, but I’m taking them in stride! It’s a draw.

I can’t say that I’m sorry to see it go, but I can say that I am excited for 2017 and the endless possibilities it holds!
loveB

 

 

I’m Back + I’ve Missed You

Hello everyone! Some of you have been following this blog for over a year. Others may be here for the first time. But regardless… WELCOME!
What’s New
I have become increasingly interested in, and challenged by, capturing my own imagery while working out. It’s a challenge that marries two of my favorite hobbies… fitness and photography. So I’ve re-named this blog FITSPECTIVES because I want the visuals to be as important as the words.

As I embark on the journey I’m calling Blogging 2.0, I really want this to be valuable to those reading along. So, let me know what you want to hear more about. Workouts? Training while traveling? Fitness fashion?

Enjoy + please share your thoughts!
loveB