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fitness

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Work It Out

September 12, 2014

prAna clothing shoot | espresso and cream

You guys, let’s get honest for a minute. No one told me that when you get pregnant it’s not just your stomach that gets bigger; everything gets bigger! Honestly, I’m working every day at embracing those changes and loving my growing body, but putting on old clothing that doesn’t fit the same way anymore doesn’t do much for my self confidence.

This has been especially true when working out. I immediately went out a bought a size up in some of my favorite workout shorts and purchased a few looser tops for working out, because nothing zaps my motivation at the gym like feeling gross and uncomfortable. I’ve been trying to stick to a fairly consistent workout routine lately, mainly consisting of lots of long walks, my beloved Tracy Anderson Pregnancy Project videos and my friend Robin’s “Balanced Beginnings” Pilates videos in addition to light weight lifting.

So when prAna asked if I would like to partner together, I jumped at the chance. The prAna Minneapolis store is only minutes away from my house and I’ll admit that until this project rolled around I had never stepped foot into the store. It was so fun getting to shop at the store and pick out the pieces I thought would transition well with me throughout the fall.

I was really impressed with the quality of all of prAna’s clothing as well as the comfort of all the clothes I tried on. They’re so soft! In the photos above I’m wearing the Eliza Jacket in coal and the Gabi Legging in black. The leggings are some of the softest I’ve ever worn, perfect for my body right now when comfort is king. And I can easily see this jacket being worn much of the fall as temperatures get a little cooler.

prAna clothing | espresso and creamWhat are your favorite active wear brands? I’m always dying to find new favorites! 

Madison

*The clothing in this post was provided to me by prAna. Opinions are 100% my own and always geared toward the best interest of E&C readers. 

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September Goals

September 11, 2014

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Over the last couple months I’ve really let my monthly goal-setting fall to the wayside, haven’t I? First trimester took everything out of me and goal setting was last on my list of things to do, behind basic tasks like cooking, cleaning, going to work and washing my hair more than once a week! Now that I’m staying awake past 8 pm and functioning like a normal human being again, I’m feeling inspired to start back up with goal setting as we welcome in my favorite season.

FITNESS
Do the Tracy Anderson Pregnancy Project 3 to 4 times /week + Continue to Walk 5 to 6 times/week
These videos have been such a blessing to me! I’m only wishing I would have discovered them sooner. I’ve struggled a lot with knowing how much to push myself in pregnancy when it comes to fitness, especially given my history of miscarriage. Although I know many women can safely run throughout their pregnancies, pushing myself to that degree just hasn’t felt right to me, so I’ve been looking for other ways to stay fit. I was fearful that Tracy was going to be a drill sergeant in her videos (just a notion I had about her) but she is incredibly affirming in her approach to prenatal fitness and pregnancy in general.

FINANCES
Stick to Our Budget
Two months ago, Joe and I decided to switch to a cash envelope system for discretionary purchases (aka everything other than mortgage and our auto bill pays) because I was having a tough time sticking to the budget we created in Mint. It seemed I was always looking back on the month’s spending, rather than proactively monitoring our expenditures.

Since I’m a very tactile person, having to deal with cash has been super helpful in curbing any impulse purchases. Plus, it’s fun to see the end of the month roll around when all our envelopes still have a little cash left in them. We’re already putting money away into our 401k’s and into savings each month, but with a baby on the way, it’s nice to save a little extra.

PERSONAL
Spend Less Time on Technology
Gah. Does anyone else find themselves mindlessly scrolling on their phones as they wait in line, sit on the couch and wait for the elevator? I’m finding myself guilty of mindless consumption of technology more and more, and I hate that I always feel glued to my phone. The other night Joe and I were sitting on the couch watching something on TV and I noticed that we were both mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. I don’t think there is anything wrong with Instagram, Facebook and the like, but when it takes away from face-to-face conversations, it becomes a problem. I’m making it a goal to leave my phone at home more often and give more attention to friends and family when I’m with them.

Make Time to Rest
This seems like a cheater goal, doesn’t it? Our fall is already looking super busy and very scheduled. I’m flying once in September and Joe and I are flying once in October and November, plus we have a lot of other social commitments on the calendar. Although all of the things we’re doing are fun, I’m making it a goal to be more mindful of creating restful times during the week and saying “no” when I can so that we don’t end up sick and exhausted by the time the holiday season arrives.

What about you? Do you have any specific goals for September or this fall in general? I had a friend at church say how they felt September was the new January and I loved that idea! Here’s to making September all about fresh starts!

Madison

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Fitbit Flex Review

June 12, 2014

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A few weeks back I posted a photo of my new Fitbit Flex on Instagram. I got a lot of comments asking for my thoughts on the Flex, and now that I’ve had some time to wear it and use it for a few weeks, I feel ready to share my thoughts. I should mention first that my Fitbit Flex was given to me free through a program at work. We logged our fruits and veggies every day for 5 weeks and received a Fitbit at the end, which means a lot of my co-workers are walking around with the same green Flex.

Appearance
My biggest hang-up with the Flex before receiving it was the appearance. It’s not ugly by any means, but it looks much more sporty than the clothes I usually wear to work. I found that after wearing the Flex for a few days, I quickly got over this issue. Sure, it looks a little sporty but for work and play I don’t mind wearing it at all. Additionally, swapping out band colors is quick and inexpensive and I think when I get around to buying a grey or black band I’ll like it even more. Did you hear that they are planning on doing a collaboration with Tory Burch? I may be the first person buying a gold bangle for my Fitbit!

Comfort
I don’t wear many bracelets at work because I find they get in the way with typing and working on my computer. The designers did a great job with the Flex because it doesn’t bother me at all throughout the day. It’s amazing how comfortable it is to wear the Flex!

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Utility
Prior to getting the Flex I knew that 10,000 steps was the recommended number to get in a day, but I had no idea what 10,000 steps really looked like or if I was getting anywhere close to that number. I’m very active many days at work, so I figured I was doing pretty good, but I didn’t have any data to back that theory up.

My first observation wearing the Flex was how little things add up to big things. When I park at the back of the parking garage, take the stairs a few extra times, go on a short walk with the dogs around the block a few times,  it’s much easier to get to 10,000 steps. Of course, I knew this in theory, but I like having tangible evidence that little things add up. It motivates me throughout the day to take  walk around the building or take a short jog if I’m low on steps for the day.

The sleep function is one of the most interesting features of the Flex. You tap the Flex five times to let it know you’re going to sleep, and again when you wake up. In the meantime, the Flex keeps track of how many times you are awake in the night and how many times you are restless. It gives you a little recap each day on the efficiency of your sleep.

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Ease of Use
This is one of the strongest areas for the Fitbit Flex. Once you set up your Flex you can track your progress on your desktop at fitbit.com (as seen above) or you can track your progress on the mobile app that automatically syncs with your Fitbit via bluetooth. The desktop interface has much more information but I love the mobile app for convenience. Both interfaces allow you to change your goals based on personal preference.

There is also a place to log water intake for the day (a favorite feature of mine!) and your food and calorie intake. Since I already use My Fitness Pal, I linked my apps to streamline the process. The whole system is very easy to use and quick to set up, which I appreciated. It’s certainly not a product where you need to be super techy to use and enjoy.

Overall
I really love my Flex! It’s been so much fun to know more about my fitness and activity levels along with my sleep patterns. For the price (a little under $100) I think it’s a great value and I really enjoy using and wearing the Flex.

Do any of you have a Fitbit or something similar? I would love to know if your experiences have been the same! Love it or leave it? 

Madison

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Eating With and Without Rules

June 5, 2014

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I’ve mentioned this before, but Instagram has quickly become my favorite form of social media. I share a lot of food photos on Instagram, and some of those photos include meat now and again. And, as you can probably guess, it means quite a few people have questions about if I’m still a vegetarian or not. The short answer? No.

It’s been quite a while since I talked specifically about my food choices, and truth be told I’ve been on a bit of a food journey over the past few months.

Over Christmas and the entire month of December I decided to give paleo-style eating a try. I heard great things about paleo from a number of people and wanted to see what all the hype was about. As you can imagine, it was a huge shift for me having been a vegetarian for the last 3 years. After about a month of eating paleo, I realized that it wasn’t an eating style that suited me at all. I loved the focus on whole foods, but I really missed my grains and their filling nature.

What really sent me fleeing from paleo was the fact that I actually gained weight during that month and I felt sluggish. I’m not saying this to bash paleo in any way, since I have had friends who love it and thrive eating that way, but for me and my body it wasn’t a good fit. This experiment further emphasized what I’ve always believed: A one-size-fits-all style of eating just doesn’t exist.

After my experiment with paleo I was at a loss as to what was next. Go back to vegetarian? Eat completely without rules and restrictions? While I don’t really like food labels, I did crave some type of structure in my diet so going without any guidelines seemed strange, too.

I decided to go back to eating vegetarian 85-90% of the time and allowing myself meat when my body craved it or it was the healthiest choice available. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been in an airport or restaurant and been stuck eating a baked potato or something similar in the name of being a vegetarian when, in reality, getting a grilled chicken breast would have been the more nutritionally-sound choice. It didn’t make sense to me to make an inferior food choice in the name of following a set of self-imposed rules.

The past few months of eating with a more relaxed yet mindful approach have been wonderful! I don’t eat much meat during the week, but occasionally I’ll have a hamburger on the grill or a little shaved turkey with my lunch. As always, the meat is more of an afterthought and the veggies are front and center on the plate. It’s freeing to be able to make the choice to include meat now and again without having to eat it all the time. The more I play around with what I eat, I have realized that all-or-nothing rarely works.

How do you approach your eating style? I’m curious if others of you steer clear of hard and fast food rules, too?
Madison

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June Food and Fitness Goals + May Goals Recap

June 3, 2014

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May Food and Fitness Goals
1. Drink at least 80 oz of water each day
Why didn’t anyone tell me how great drinking water makes you feel?! Actually, people did tell me that drinking water all day makes you feel much better than drinking coffee all day, but I never listened. I’m a convert for life. After my first two cups of coffee, I’ve been switching over to water for the remainder of the day.
2. Lose those last 3 pounds my body has been hanging on to recently.
Done! I’m back to wearing all my favorite items of clothing. It’s amazing how a few extra pounds can make such a difference. It’s not about being “skinny” but about feeling healthy and like my regular self.
3. Exercise 45 minutes 5x a week
I’m not sure if I hit this goal or not since I didn’t really track my exercise each day, but I think I was close. Joe and I have been playing a lot of tennis, which means we can be exercising for 1 1/2 hours on any given night. I think makes up for any of my shorter workouts. I’ve also been upping my running mileage and getting in more runs in the 3 1/2 to 4+ mile range. The plan is to find a half marathon to sign up for later this summer or fall. I’m really missing having something to train for and the feeling of going on a really long weekend run.
4. Make a vitamin and supplement plan and stick to it
For a number of reasons (too lengthy to go into with this post) I have had to re-vamp my vitamin and supplement routine. I bought one of those little plastic pill boxes to keep track of all my vitamins, yet another example of how I’m 80 years old at heart. I’m taking a daily vitamin D, a series of herbal supplements from my acupuncturist, Metanx, fish oil and a baby aspirin daily. I’m also looking to add a daily DHA supplement soon.
5. Log food and water intake in My Fitness Pal each day
I didn’t really succeed in this regard. After a few weeks I lost steam and got a little bored with logging all my food. Now that my body has settled back to my regular weight, I’m less interested in a daily calorie tally.
6. Participate in my friend Robin’s (free!) Pilates Summer Series
I had such a great time participating in the Pilates Summer Series! It’s amazing how doing just 5 to 10 minutes of toning Pilates each day can make a difference in your body. The videos are still online and will remain on Robin’s site, so head over there and browse. I’m planning on continuing to do the videos in the weeks and months to come!

June Food and Fitness Goals
1. Try One New Fitness Class I’m an introvert at heart, although you probably wouldn’t guess so if you met me. Sometimes I shy away from trying new things, like a new fitness class at our gym. My goal is to mix things up by trying at least one new class this month.

2. Drink 80 oz Water Daily
Keeping this one on the list because it’s a new habit and I think I could use a daily reminder to keep it up.

3. Eat More Mindfully/Practice Intuitive Eating
Sometimes I find myself getting caught up in the routine of eating, rather than listening to what my body is saying. this month I want to focus on eating more intuitively and base my food choices and the timing of my meals around what my body is saying instead of based around what time it is or what I feel like I should eat.

4. Beat Joe in a Set of Tennis
Joe and I made a list of summer goals, and this topped my list. We’re pretty competitive in tennis and it’s one of the few sports we can play together where I hold my own. I’ve come very close to beating him already this spring/summer. Joe says I haven’t been “big enough to handle the moment!” Ha!

5. Get in 10,000 Steps Per Day
I recently got a FitBit Flex through work and have been having a fun time tracking my steps each day. I’m making a conscious effort to get in at least 10,000 steps each day. On the weekends it’s much easier than during the week, but I’m finding that most days I do get above the 10,000 step mark. It’s nice to have a tangible reminder to take the stairs and walk more throughout the day.

What are your food and fitness goals for the month?

Madison