Got That 5k Goin’ On

I’m back from my trip to Texas for work, and although I didn’t get in any strength-based workouts, to say I was on my feet a lot would be an understatement! I walked almost 10,000 steps each day and on Saturday, when I ran the Run Your Bass Off 5k, I had more than 12,000! I was really pleased with that, and pleased with my 5k time — 45:40 — because I hadn’t trained at all.

So, you probably know where I’m going with this — now I want to beat that time!  I’m not going to sign up for an official 5k because of my budget. But I am going to set a date, April 25, and train to beat that time. I’m not sure how much progress I can make in one month, but even if it’s just a little, that’s fine by me.

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I will run this 5k on Lakeshore Trail in Homewood, so if anyone wants to do a Makeshift 5k with me that day, you’re welcome to join me! We will each run/walk our own race, our own pace, and meet at the finish line. Let me know if you’re interested!

I’m not exactly sure how I will go about getting faster. I’m going to research some training programs and see if I can find one to help my pace but also take into account my abilities. I don’t think I’m quite at the 10-minute mile mark right now! But maybe I’ll get there one day!

I’ll keep you posted on how training is going and the other workouts I’m doing, too.

Here’s to more miles!

Posted in exercise, Fitness, Health, Running, Walking, Workouts | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Working It Out

Had to give y’all a quick update on how my workouts and nutrition have been going lately! In yesterday’s post I expressed wanting to cut down on the “fat talk.” That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to work on my health and fitness. It just means I want those goals to come from a place of love for myself and not from criticism or society’s prescribed notion of how I “should” look. So, here’s an update:

1. Workouts — I’ve been pretty consistent lately, getting in a run/walk or strength-based workout each week, plus a spinning class and a yoga class. While I’ve worked out about four times each week since I got back from my business trip at the end of February, I would like to add one or two workouts a week to that for the rest of March and going forward. Today I am leaving on another work trip until next Monday. I went for a run Monday night, and I am doing a 5k with coworkers on Saturday while in Texas. I hope to fit at least one or two more strength-focused workouts in while I’m away.

2. Nutrition — As usual, this is where I’ve been struggling. I have had moments when I’ve made the right choices, and moments when a cheeseburger or brownie craving has gotten the best of me. I still wholeheartedly believe in the 80/20 rule — eat well 80% of the time and allow yourself indulgences 20% of the time. It’s keeping to those percentages that’s always been tough for me! It’s a daily struggle, but I am working on it. And I’ll keep reminding myself that each time I succeed, I’m doing something good for myself and that in itself is a great reward!

The good news is, I have lost some weight since I first started my Scale Back Alabama journey! A huge thanks goes to my friend Sherri, who joined me for a fun workout this past Saturday. Her encouragement and support, plus putting up with all of my text messages, has been the best part of this endeavor!

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Mid-workout at St. Vincent’s on Saturday!

I’ll let y’all know next month at my final weigh-in, April 12, how I’ve done overall. Wish me luck!

Posted in Accountability, exercise, Fitness, Health, Healthy Eating, strength training, Weight-loss | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ban The ‘Fat Talk’

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On Sunday, I posted an article from The New York Times on my Facebook page called “The Problem With ‘Fat Talk.'” The author, Renee Engeln, a psychologist and professor at Northwestern University, says that studies have shown that fat talk “was linked with body shame, body dissatisfaction and eating-disordered behavior.”

While this is something many of us have known for a while, that and that fat talk rarely helps anyone lose weight, studies have also shown that fat talk doesn’t only harm the person doing the fat talking, but it’s “contagious.”

“We can’t control a lot of things in this world. We can’t stop advertisers from Photoshopping images. We can’t stop the fashion industry from preferring skinny models. But we can control the words that are coming out of our own mouths. And when women question whether their bodies are good enough, they may well be causing other women to do the same.”

When I read this, it really spoke to me. Sadly, I have been the one doing the fat talking on occasion, though it’s something I am really trying to stop. I know that it doesn’t do my self-esteem any good to comment out loud that I don’t like my body … it doesn’t do any good to say it internally, either.

But to know that I may cause other women around me to think poorly about themselves, or to join in the damaging fat talk, that makes me want to think twice before speaking.

And it’s because I know how they feel. I have been around plenty of women who say things like, “I’m fat.” Or “this shirt makes my stomach look huge.” You’ve all heard the comments. And how did they make you feel?

I’ll tell you how they made me feel — badly about myself. I would automatically either chime in with something like, “You look great, but these jeans give me a definite muffin top.” Or internally I would compare myself to that woman and think, “If SHE feels fat, what does that make me?” I’d wonder how someone so thin or fit could call themselves fat — as if being fat is the absolute worst thing in the world — when I am so obviously overweight.

All this kind of talk does is make us question ourselves and society’s ideas of how we’re “supposed” to look. I think women often think they’re deflecting attention, or maybe they’re fishing for compliments … or maybe they really do have a disillusioned idea about their own bodies.

Not only is that not good for themselves, but it’s also bad for everyone around them.

Learning not to talk about ourselves this way is hard, some would say impossible, especially when we’ve been bombarded with images and opinions about the “perfect” female figure since we were children. When we’ve been taught for so long that only certain body types are the acceptable body types, we, of course, are going to question our own bodies and, most likely, make disparaging comments about them.

We have to start banning the fat talk, and it has to start with not just the words that come out of our mouths, as the author of the article says, but also with the words we allow to bounce around our heads.

When we start to think negatively toward our own bodies, we must stop ourselves and replace those thoughts with things we do like. We must rely on a list of the positive attributes about ourselves to build up our self-esteem to the point that those negative thoughts never enter our minds.

And when those thoughts don’t enter our minds, they won’t be on our lips. And we won’t cause other women to think negatively about themselves, too.

Posted in Acceptance, Body Image, Confidence | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Spring Window Shoppin': Ava & Viv, Belk

Last week I took a quick hour to attend a spring fashion event at one of our local Belk department stores. The weather has been getting nicer here in Birmingham, if a bit rainy, but I’m already feeling the desire to throw on dresses and sandals!

I’m still trying to stick to a strict budget right now, so although I’ve been checking out the new styles in stores, my wallet has remained closed. Still, I thought I’d show you a couple of pieces I like, in case you’re in the market for some new duds.

First up, thanks to Belk for the fun Girls’ Night Out, including yummy snacks and a free makeup application! I had my eyes done by Jonathan Reign at the MAC counter — my favorite makeup brand! And I used what he taught me to create a look for my friend’s wedding this weekend. He was a great teacher!

photo 4 (20)photo 5 (14)Next I made my way to the plus-size section of the store. Admittedly, when I first walked up, I wasn’t too impressed. It baffles me why so many department stores put a lot of their styles for older women up front. What I mean is: Not all plus-size ladies want to wear shift dresses with jackets over them, a la the 70-year-old ladies you see at church on Easter. There’s nothing wrong with these dresses, for certain ages. But show off the younger styles as well, so you can attract a broader customer base!

Luckily, I didn’t give up after that first glance because as I wound my way through the racks, I found cuter dresses (I didn’t even look at the other clothes; I wanted dresses!). I had spring weddings and tunics to wear with leggings on my mind, so here’s two dresses I liked:

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London Times, $68 (on sale); Beige by ECI, $58 (on sale)

The dress on the left would be great for a wedding, shower or even work with a blazer or sweater. And while I like the tunic on the right, especially the colors, it may hug my body a little too much for my taste. I am trying to branch out and wear more body conscious styles … but I think I need baby steps!

Next up, my try-on sesh at Target to check out the new Ava & Viv line! I wrote about this new line quite a while ago, so this post is a long-time coming. I loved some of the styles, especially the patterns and colors. But the fit of some of the clothes left me a little disappointed.

Let’s start off with the so-so finds:

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Ava & Viv blouse, $25

So I’m sure you can see my issue here. The 2X, my usual size, was snug around the middle. Sure, I could’ve left the last button open and it would’ve worked, but sometimes I wonder if that looks sloppy. So I tried the next size up:

photo 2 (50)Clearly too baggy. In the larger size, the shape just doesn’t do anything for me.

Next I tried the palazzo pants. The idea of palazzo pants has had me excited since last season, and I sadly failed to scoop up a pair from TJ Maxx that I loved, and then couldn’t find again when I returned to the store. These from Ava & Viv feel a little too wide for my taste. What do you think?

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Ava & Viv palazzo pants, $30

Maybe a better fitting top would’ve made a difference in my feelings about the pants!

Now, on to the successes! I did love these ankle pants, though they run a little small. I think they would go with a lot of items I already own, so I may purchase them soon! (Focus on the pants!)

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Ava & Viv ankle pants, $30

I also loved this lightweight sweater, even though I usually shy away from high-low styles because I’m not sure they’re that flattering for me. This worked, though! (Sorry it’s so blurry!)

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Ava & Viv sweater, $28

I also loved the flowy blouse you see in the photo above, on me below! This would be my #1 pick to purchase, for sure.

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Ava & Viv flutter top, $25

Finally, I loved this blazer, but forgot to take a pic of me in it! It would be a great staple for anyone’s wardrobe.

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Ava & Viv blazer, $35

Did you like any of these pieces more than another? What are you looking for to add to your wardrobe for spring?

Posted in Clothes, Fashion, plus-size, Shopping, Style | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Look At Yourself Through New Eyes

Yesterday I posted a selfie on Instagram after waking up, sans makeup, hair tousled.

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I felt others may share in these same feelings as I have been experiencing lately, and may also need to examine how they view themselves. So often we let the stresses of life — work, finances, family — cloud our minds and then seep into how we think about ourselves. We place too much blame on ourselves, especially over things we can’t control, and then that negativity can start to cloud how we feel about our looks, our bodies, our self-worth.

I decided yesterday morning that I needed to change my tune. I know I am strong and worth so much more than I often give myself credit for. I need to start owning that and stop chipping away at it with self-doubt.

Do you ever feel this way? Do you ever let those negative voices creep in?

It’s so easy to let those voices run rampant. But I think there’s a couple of ways we can start seeing ourselves through positive eyes:

1. Write down your attributes. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but whether it’s in a journal or the notepad app on your phone, write down a list of things you like about yourself and review it whenever you need a reminder.

2. Enlist the help of a friend. No on likes to fish for compliments but we all feel doubt sometimes, so a close friend will understand your need for a pep talk. Make sure you return the favor when he or she needs it!

3. Repeat a positive mantra. Think of a phrase or search for a quote that makes you feel good about yourself. When you’re feeling stress and starting to beat yourself up, use this mantra and deep breathing to bring yourself back to a place of self-love.

What would your mantra be? And share some of your attributes with me in the comments!

Posted in Acceptance, Body Image, Confidence, Happiness | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Stellar Miles & Fitness Goals: March!

How did your walking and running goals go for February?

I had a bit of a rough month, between being sick for a week and going away for business for a week. I’m happy that I still got in 19 miles (woot!), but I’m ready to up the ante for March.

This month my goal is 30 miles!

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I’ve been a little stagnant with my workouts lately, as evident during the at-home workout I did last night. After a circuit of push-ups, squats, knee lifts, burpees and planks, I was wiped out! Tonight I plan to go to spinning, and tomorrow I’ll enjoy some great stretches at yoga. But I need to challenge myself, so walking/running 30 miles for March will hopefully help!

I also am still planning to start a boot camp-style class soon. I’m a little intimidated and worried I won’t be able to keep up. But I need to just take the plunge and give it a shot!

Do you have a fitness goal for March? Will you walk/run 30 miles with me?

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Healthy Reads & Inspiration

I’m back! The last couple of weeks were busy, especially the fun-filled week I spent working at the 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro in Greenville, S.C.

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This is the biggest bass fishing tournament of the year, and I’m proud of my coworkers for pulling it off in such a great fashion every year! Good times were had by all, including a few glasses of wine and a few chicken tenders, handfuls of trail mix and shared desserts. Needless to say, I’m working on getting back to a better place eating-wise, and I stocked up on groceries to make lunches and dinners this week. Luckily I did a whole lot of walking at the Classic, including one run on the treadmill before the days got too hectic. I forgot to wear my FitBit on one of my busiest days, but other than that I totaled roughly 60,000 steps in six days. That means I met my goal each day!

But I’m looking for the inspiration and motivation to jump back into watching calories; eating more whole, clean foods; and getting back into working out — with a newfound dose of energy.

Here’s a few articles to get amped up for the week!

Here’s a piece I wrote recently on a boot camp-style gym in Homewood, Ala.: Boot camp classes find home in Homewod

And an interview I did with Sophie Gray for about her downloadable high-intensity workouts and nutrition advice.

The Truth About Detoxing from Women’s Health. I’ve always wondered if detoxing really works, so this article opened my eyes a bit!

Looking for some new workout gear? Here’s some great plus-size brands from Buzzfeed: 11 Awesome Brands For Plus-Size Workout Clothes

Let these blogs help you learn to love your body — Love the skin you’re in: 9 uplifting body-positive blogs from Mashable.

Some recipes from Pinterest I hope to try soon:

Tex-Mex Breakfast Sandwich
I think I could make these ahead of time and add avocado and salsa just before eating each morning.
Turkey & Laughing Cow Cheese Wrap
I’m not a fan of cucumber, but I would substitute celery or lettuce for some crunch. I can’t believe I never thought of using Laughing Cow cheese on a sandwich or wrap before!
Creamy Avocado Chicken Salad
I think I could leave the mayo out of this altogether and just use avocado to make it “creamy,” then eat this in a lettuce wrap or atop lettuce as a salad.

I hope you have a happy, healthy week!

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Posted in Body Image, Clean eating, exercise, Fitness, Food, Health, Healthy Eating, plus-size, Recipes, Workouts | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment