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When You’re Down, Does That Mean You’re Out?

If you’ve been following, you might remember that one of my 2014 resolutions was to plank everyday.  Checking in two weeks later and I must admit I’m lucky if I’ve planked half the days that have gone by.  What I came to realize was that all of my past, successful resolutions were all goals that omitted something from my life.  I didn’t shop for a year, didn’t eat meat for a year, didn’t drink alcohol for a year… all things that took something away.  This year I switched it up a bit.  Instead of eliminating something from my life, I tried to add something… and I’ve failed… or have I?  

My 2014 resolutions to blog, plank, and run all revolve around adding to my life.  It’s something I haven’t focused on in a long time and something that I haven’t had immediate success with now.  But, does that mean that I’ve failed?  I don’t like to think so.  Just because something is taking more time to succeed at doesn’t mean I should abandon it, right?

So I am starting fresh.  I’ve decided to keep a tally of how many days I can plank in a row.  Kinda like those workplaces that have the number of days without an accident, I will have a number of days with planks.  That way if I miss one day, my resolution isn’t out the window.  I’m not giving up on it that quickly!  Resolutions are all about making yourself better, and this year I will get better at planking! You have my guarantee! Now do you have any resolutions you’ve already given up on? Why? Why not just start new? It doesn’t have to be January 1 for you to change your life.

 

This girl has gone 1 day planking!

Escape the World

I recently came across a list of things to be successful posted by a Facebook friend.  It got me thinking about the road to success and what we define as success.  

Answering from my early teen years, the response to “what is success?” would have been money.  A successful person is someone with loads and loads of money.  If i were to answer that same question in my late teen years it would have been to be hot and charismatic. Someone that could walk into a room with all eyes glued to them and wow the crowd.  Now, years after I’ve left my teen years, my answer has strayed so far from those things that I thought mattered back when my high school peers shaped my opinions that it’s amazing I got to the point I have.  

Sitting here today asking myself what success is, only one answer comes to mind: happiness.  To be successful, in my opinion, is to be happy.  Back in high school I truly thought that being the richest or the hottest girl would make me the happiest.  I saw what others had and I wanted it.  I think any high school girl can relate to wanting to be the “popular” one in high school.  

But, the glorious realization came to me in my final year of high school that materialistic and surface things doesn’t necessarily guarantee happiness.  It dawned on my when some of my “friends” told me they could no longer hangout with me because I no longer had a house with a pool and my status “fell” since I refused to get drunk at parties.  What I learned that fateful afternoon was that if you put stock in surface, shallow, worldly things instead of digging deeper and looking on the inside, everything can go up in smoke.  However, if you look inside yourself and stop letting others define you but instead decide for yourself what matters most by how you feel, there’s no more facade.  

A 68 year old lady from my run club summed it up best when she said, “as soon as you care what others think, you’ve lost.”

I had a personal realization that it is me that define my life.  I decide my worth and I decide my actions.  I can choose to feel down in the dumps about not meeting this or that standard, choose to be upset because I can’t afford the latest trend, and choose to be mad because so and so doesn’t like me OR I can choose to be joyful with myself, choose to have self-confidence and self-worth, and choose to not let possessions decide my happiness.  

When I decided that I was enough, I realized the potential life had to offer me.  The world is now my oyster and mine for the taking, rather than the other way around.  I freed myself from the dictation of others and now am the author of my own story, and I’ve never felt so capable before.  

 

Rainbows and Butterflies

It’s amazing how one thing, one choice, one action, one act of God can make such a huge impact on the direction of your life.  One moment you are just strutting along, living your life, and the next thing you know you’re turned upside-down with your plans completely thrown in the trash.  Everything you knew, or thought you knew, thrown out the window.

You’re probably following me if you’ve ever ended a long term relationship, lost a loved one, received an upsetting medical diagnosis, uncovered a lie, and the list goes on.

I was thinking about this topic quite a bit recently since my life got turned upside-down two months ago and will again next month when I move completely across the world.  Little did I know that it would happen again with a torn knee ligament a week before my marathon.  And now it may happen again tomorrow as I have found out that an act of God may change my plans.  Ladies and gents, my local airport is now under a blizzard warning.  A full blown blizzard is wrecking havoc on all three of the airports within a 150km radius of my house that fly to my destination.  

So what do I do? I could be all rainbows and butterflies and say I look for plan B.  I accept that my plans need to change and I just roll with it.  But truth be told, I’m a planner.  I thrive on control and knowing what’s going on.  And when my plans have to change last minute, or when something that I thought was true turns out to be a lie, I lose my shit.  My face gets hot, my chest tightens, and all I want to do is cry.  I want to stomp my feet just like a toddler and have everything go back to being my way. But alas, I’m not a toddler.  I’m somewhere in my twenties and I’d probably get taken away by airport security if I threw a hissy fit at the gate when my flight status gets changed to cancelled… but I’m getting ahead of myself, it’s only a blizzard warning thus far.  Flight is still scheduled.  

But guess what I’m going to do.  I’m going to be all rainbows and butterflies.  Because I am an adult now and I have to accept that plan A just won’t work.  I need to think on your feet and come up with a plan B and C just in case, and I need to put a smile on gosh darn it because I’m still alive after all.  And that’s what I’m going to try to do.  Tomorrow when I get all packed for the airport, I’m going to put on my big girl pants and be prepared for the worst.  And if things do not go my way then I’m going to try my hardest to look on the bright side.  Besides, things could be worse… I could be in class.  And after all, I’m a firm believer in Karma and you don’t want any hissy fit vibes being let loose in the universe.  

Haunting Dreams

Do you ever have a dream where the emotions feel so real that when you wake up you still feel them? I have this. A lot. Last night I had a dream where in it I got into a huge argument; it was like I was reliving one of my recent experiences but in a completely different dream setting. Unfortunately, it left me harbouring anger and sadness when I woke up. All of the feelings I have been working hard to overcome and move on from washed over me this morning in a fresh wave.

So what do you do when you have been doing everything in your power to get on with life but your subconscious lets you down and feeds you to the dogs in your dreams?

After thinking about how I could prevent these dreams in the future, I started thinking about why I dreamed what I did and I came to some conclusions.

First, as much as I focus on moving on, the truth of the matter is that I’m focusing on it. Instead of letting go, I’m bringing the issue with me wherever I go. In all of the conversations with myself trying to get me to take a step away from a large part of my past, I bring up the past. I don’t know why I thought focusing on my past would somehow help me stop thinking about it, but I did. Just last night it crossed my mind before I drifted off to sleep. There I was, laying in bed thinking, “who needs that? Your awesome on your own and screw the rest of it.”

Sneaky, sneaky little bugger. Even in a pep talk, there it was.

Secondly, and as hard as it is to admit this to myself, but maybe I haven’t quite gotten over the issue yet. Because, when something consumes your thoughts it then still holds some importance to you. And as much as I’m fighting this having importance in my life, it does, and it has done so for the past couple years.

Many of my friends were so amazed at how I handled the situation. They chalked it up to my logical mind and how I can compartmentalize. If anyone asked me about why I wasn’t showing strong public signs of remorse or sorrow, I would respond with “I deserve better” and leave it at that. Because that was the truth. If someone doesn’t want to be in my life anymore, you won’t find me begging and pleading with them to stay. Why would I want someone who wasn’t giving their all to stay in my life? But even though I firmly believe in this it doesn’t automatically mean I can forget what was promised, and now broken. It also doesn’t mean my feelings are as logical as my thinking.

So where does this new enlightenment leave me? Reading it over, it may sound all nice and dandy but it doesn’t leave me with a direct action plan to eliminate the issue. Or does it?

Moving on from today, I know I have to stop focusing on the issue. I need to look at what I can do and what I am doing instead of what I’m no longer able to do. I need to look at the new and exciting opportunities I have ahead of me instead of the events in the past. If I want to truly move on, then I need to live on. I need to look on ahead and stop focusing on the past. But not necessarily forget the past. I need to learn from it. TSN summed it up in SportsCentre yesterday: instead of running from your issues, run with them and soon you’ll see they’re not really issues anymore.

And in the end, we all know it is time that heals all and I have to allow myself to take the time I need.

But to help temporarily, I may just use Abigail Breslin’s 2014 resolutions to help me along.

My IIFYM Kickstart

If you’ve been following along you’ll know I have now committed to if it fits your macros. I’ve had some feedback on my twitter asking about how I started, so I thought I’d post the details about my first couple days with IIFYM. Note: this is my personal experience and may not necessarily be right for everyone; please keep in mind that I am a beginner at IIFYM and am learning more everyday.

I decided to try IIFYM because I have played around with my diet and nutritional habits and found the best success when I specifically focused on my protein intake and getting in enough (over 150g). As well, I have noticed that the people I follow that are doing IIFYM have been able to get results that stick – since it’s “flexible” dieting you don’t deprive yourself of treats forcing you to inevitably fail by indulging, whether it be a birthday cake that is your demise or Thanksgiving dinner, life will always throw treats your way and I’ve found deprivation doesn’t work for me; that damn pumpkin pie at holidays calls my name and ice cream in the summer time, I mean how can you not? Thus IIFYM seemed like a good fit as it would force me to up my protein game while still allowing me the flexibility my life demands.

The first step in switching to IIFYM was to find out what my macro targets should be. I used the calculator on IIFYM.com to help me out. I tried both the Mifflin-St Jeor formula and the lean mass formula to see what the numbers of each would be and decided to use the lean mass formula in the end. For my goal I selected “fat loss” and because I tend to do things balls to the wall I went for the “reckless” option. The final step was to select my nutrition plan and I went with IIFYM and the suggested protein and fat options.

Ta da, out spit my numbers! IIFYM Macros

The next step was to see if I could actually have a day of eating that would hit these target. Side note: I have been using myfitnesspal to track what I eat for a couple years, on and off, so I already had an established account with many recipes already imputed. I used myfitnesspal, picking various food combinations and seeing if they fit my macros. After about ten minutes I had two days set out. The first day was relatively healthy. I added in a lot more fat than I normally do by adding olive oil to my breakfast and used a Quest Bar and whey protein shake to hit my protein target. In the second day I wanted to see if it truly was a “flexible” way to eat and created my day around a piece of my mum’s homemade cheesecake. The formula held true and I was able to hit my targets and stay in my calorie range for the day. Check out the myfitnesspal days below (click to enlarge):
MFP1MFP2

stalkDisney

I am running (or supposed to be running – more on my injury later) the Walt Disney World Marathon next week. As everyone knows, Disney goes above and beyond on just about everything they put their name on. There is no difference with their races. If you’ve been around runDisney events in the past you may have come across the runDisney meet-ups.

RunDisney meet-ups are free events hosted by Disney that have included meeting Jeff Galloway, character meet and greets, a group run, free swag, and lots more! In order to be one of the lucky ones chosen to participate in the meet-ups, you need to RSVP by email to a specific email address. Historically, for the WDW race weekend emails needed to contain your full name in the body (one name per email) and be sent to wdw.sportsmeetups@disney.com. The meet-up information would be posted in a blog post on http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/ at any time ranging from 10am-3pm, anywhere from 4 to 14 days in advance. Fanatics were known to “stalk” the blog, refreshing the page every minute for days on end in order to get in. The smart people would already have a draft email up on their computer or phone ready to be sent as soon as the post became live.

As time went on, the meet-ups gained in publicity and popularity. With each year, the time before the meet-ups reached capacity became less and less. Last year sending an email a mere 2 minutes after the blog post was made wasn’t enough to make the cut (I have personal proof on this). It’s tough competition to get into meet-ups and the enthusiasts looking to get in for 2014 were prepared to refresh the blog for days in order to not miss the announcement.

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 22.38.29
So there I was at 9am this morning, joining hundreds of other fanatics in stalking the blog. At 10am all of our hearts got a jump as a meet-up RSVP was posted, however it was for Disney Blogs and not runDisney. The meet-up, which the majority of us tried to RSVP to anyways despite not being a runDisney meet-up, was for food trucks in Downtown Disney the Thursday of race weekend (http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2014/01/rsvp-for-our-food-truck-meet-up-at-downtown-disney-at-walt-disney-world-resort/). I sent my RSVP 5 minutes after the post was made, but alas was not quick enough to make the cut. Luckily for me, in this meet-up attendees are allowed to bring guests and I was invited with one of the quick respondents (I will be blogging about this event next week Friday).

After spending another hour constantly refreshing the blog, I decided that I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to a meet-up this year and resigned from stalking. I also still do not know if I will be able to run next week due to my injury and thought that a healthy participant would be able to get more out of the meet-up. Looking back in retrospect, boy am I glad I stopped when I did as just before 5pm today news broke that there was not going to be a runDisney meet-up this year for the WDW race weekend. Interestingly enough the announcement did not come from the official Disney blog but from a Disney fanatic blog (http://www.disneyeveryday.com/the-future-of-rundisney-disney-parks-blog-meet-ups-looks-bright/#sthash.2hdW4P3W.gbpl). It was further confirmed by other Disney insiders that this was indeed the case and that everyone should cease their stalking.

While the choice not to have a meet-up this year makes sense with the inaugural Dopey Challenge filling up the race weekend schedule, it disappointed many that Disney waited so long to break the news. Some stated that it was arrogant of Disney to allow people to think they were waiting for a meet-up when one was never coming, allowing Disney to use the extra hits on their blog for an extra marketing opportunity. I’m not going to lie, if I had spent all of today dedicated to the Disney blog I might have some bitter feelings as well. On the other hand, meet-ups are free and have never been guaranteed by Disney so there is always the risk of one never being posted. And, as Amanda Tinney posted on her blog disneyeveryday.com, “there are already so many things to do at the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend besides the meet up. Four parks to explore. 4 endurance events, including a brand new 10k race. Kids races. Pasta in the Park Party. Special breakfast events. A Cool Down Party. And a four day Health and Fitness Expo chocked full of merchandise and seminars.”

In the end, despite not being a meet-up, WDW Marathon Weekend will still be a magical experience. For me there is even the added events that being a member of Team in Training has to offer. I’m excited to be able to spend 6 days in Orlando. If you will be at WDW Marathon Weekend, I hope to see you there. May it be a fun filled weekend for all!

IIFYM

If you’ve been involved in the fitfam twitter community at all in the past couple of months you’ve probably come across the acronym IIFYM.  IIFYM or if it fits your macros is a dieting plan that focuses on macro nutrients.  I’ve been following a few accounts that have committed to IIFYM and their results are intriguing and impressive, so I’ve decided to dedicate January to trying out IIFYM.  I went on iifym.com to get my breakdown and the calculator spit out 1,658 calories per day with 166g carbs, 46g fat, and 145g protein.  My goal is to lose body fat and I did pick their “aggressive” option; I’m moving in a month and I’m determined to see some results! 

After getting my macros, I then spent about 10 minutes on myfitnesspal planning out my next two days to hit my targets.  Surprisingly, I found it easier than I originally thought.  Looking at my planned days it seems like I’m packing in a lot of food but I have to keep in mind that it is a strict plan and everything must be counted (aka no midnight cups of hot chocolate left out of tracking).  In both my planned days I have included a protein shake to help me hit my protein target.  I am really excited to see how this all works out and if you have been doing IIFYM give me a shout! I would love any advice or feedback you can offer!  

Finding Motivation In A Mobile World

Since I’ve made my New Year Resolution to blog everyday, I’ve tried to make posting as easy as possible for a lifestyle on the go. Luckily, I’ve found the wordpress app for my iPhone.

With the way technology and the internet has exploded, I wasn’t surprised that there was an app for blogging. I can now tweet, blog, and track all from my phone. It’s really quite crazy when you think about it. But, does this access distract us from what’s going on around us or enhance it?

I personally like to think it enhances my life. Since starting my twitter account @livefitandfree I’ve been able to meet some fantastic people, discover new recipes, hold myself accountable, and encourage others as well. Just yesterday it helped me get closer to my goals as I was encouraged to discard a bad food option (cake) and make protein pancakes instead (recipe at the bottom); they were healthy and still hit my sweet tooth. I was also able to share my recipe with another account.

I’ve also found that by using social networking health and fitness apps on my phone, like myfitnesspal, I’ve been able to share my accomplishments with the #fitfam and those that follow me, while also getting support when I hit speed bumps in my journey. I believe it’s been a big part in my relatively consistent health and fitness journey for the last two years.

Now with adding blogging to the mix I already know some people are thinking I’m spreading myself too thin. But I like to see it as enhancing my journey even more. Instead of tweeting just the surface, I now have a platform to go a little more in depth. I’m hoping it helps me look a little deeper myself but also get a little bit deeper feedback from my followers. As well, with some of the life changing events I’m about to embark on, I’m hoping to use this as a way to stay in touch and update some people from home.

In a technological world that’s mobile and instant with so much opportunity offered at fingertips, it’s a personal choice whether you want to capitalise on the possibilities it has to offer and I’m not going to let it pass me by. It’s also a personal choice whether you use technology to participate in positivity or negativity. It can be a slippery slope using the internet with so many different opinions and personalities able to freely post. To get the most out of it, I choose to ignore any negativity or bullying that comes my way and try to offer a positive outlook to all of my followers. Remember, you choose who you follow so there is no need to continue following an account that is bringing you down. Let’s all strive to support and motivate one another with kindness and positivity; I know that by participating in that sort of social networking I will only be making myself better!

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes:
1/2 c uncooked large flake oatmeal
1/3 c milk
2 egg whites or 1/4c liquid egg whites
1 tsp pumpkin spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 scoop whey protein powder or 3/4 scoop casein protein powder

Blend oatmeal, milk, and egg whites. I use a magic bullet.
After stir in pumpkin spice and cinnamon.
Lastly, slowly mix in protein until a smooth, batter-like mixture is made.
Cook on the stove like typical pancakes.
I serve with 1 tbsp peanut butter and syrup.