Recipe For Inspiration: Get Healthy

flywheel seattle, shoes, fitness
Hideous shoes at Flywheel

Like basically every other woman in the United States, I have battled my weight for most of my life. There were two marvelous years in high school where my body, freshly released from a casing of baby fat, was actually something I was proud of. I worked out/took dance/tumbling classes once or twice a day, five days a week, and also, because I had the metabolism of a 14, 15, 16-year-old, chased those workouts with Otis Spunkmeyer cookies and Cheetos.

A serious battle with depression my junior year of high school left me with an extra 50 pounds, 50 pounds that I still haven’t shifted (in its entirety) in the past 13 years. I have tried diets, spent lots of money on gym memberships, attempted to re-introduce my body to dance via Zumba– but nothing stuck. About two years ago, after seeing a few horrifying pictures of myself from vacation, I decided to go on a diet, joined a gym, and after about 3 months, I’d lost 12 pounds. The first 12 pounds seemed magical enough for me to quit dieting all together, and so I decided just to self-regulate–I’d eat what I wanted and diet when the scale got too close to the danger zone.

Unfortunately, this plan did not account for a multitude of life changes in the ensuing years, and so I gained most of that weight back–a full six pounds of which I packed on between Thanksgiving and Christmas OF THIS YEAR (In the words of my spirit animal, Dr. Mindy Lahiri: “Guys, over the holidays, I had like five hams and a goose. I am a wolf in a children’s story.”)

I love to cook, I love to eat, and the idea of denying myself the simple pleasures afforded me by a job well-done in the kitchen seemed too much. But I also come from a family with a history of high blood pressure and heart problems, and I know that keeping fit and healthy will help me along toward a long and happy life.

Spurred on by everyone else’s favorite reason to make major life changes, the brand new year, I decided to take stock of my diet and increasingly sedentary lifestyle. With the help of the My Fitness Pal app, I recorded the calorie count for what I eat on a normal day. And it was SHOCKING. Grazing in the office, unregulated happy hour, and a Coke here and there really and truly add up. I mean, I knew I wasn’t eating well, but I didn’t realize just how poorly I was eating until the thousands of calories were staring me in the face.

So, I made a pledge to cook five nights a week, to replace my beloved Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s with an ounce of dark chocolate (I have a sweet tooth!), to stop drinking Coke (sniff, sniff), to eat a real breakfast, pack a healthy lunch/snacks for work. I enrolled in Flywheel classes. I am currently following Bon Appetit’s Food Lover’s Cleanse. I have realistic expectations: I do not think I will ever get back to the size I was at 14–I mean, I am not 14 anymore. But I want to teach myself how to make healthier food choices and reintegrate fitness into my life (also one of my 30 Before 30 goals is to lose 30 pounds).

As adults, we quickly fall into routines that we think are unchangeable–habits that may not be great, but seem to just be. But I realized that if I approached my job the way I approach my health, with a lack of motivation rooted in the thought that “this is how it has to be,” I wouldn’t have a job. To be healthy and happy with my body, I have to put in effort and I have to make changes.

My scale hasn’t moved much, and truthfully, I’m trying to ignore it lest it give me too much or too little encouragement, but I feel a little bit better, there’s a little bit more spring in my step. And most importantly, I don’t feel like I’m punishing myself with these changes–I feel like I’m improving my life and taking a more measured approach to the things I choose to put into this one body I was given for my limited time only trip around the sun.

How do you keep motivated to make healthy choices?

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30 Before 30-#17: Establishing a blog schedule #18: Sticking to that schedule

Over the weekend, I received an email from WordPress telling me that my domain would be renewed soon. That triggered a couple things for me–how much did I pay for sweetnessandsnark.com and also, “YOU HAVE A BLOG.”

In October, I started a brand new job. It’s a job in a field I never would’ve previously considered being a part of, but it’s a position that traffics primarily in my most favoritest thing of all–TELEVISION. This has meant that while I am happy (professionally) for the first time in my life, I have neglected my fledgling blog as I have thrown myself into my work.

But now, I’m pretty settled in, and ready to start attacking this blog with a vengeance. To that end, I’ve established a blogging schedule, starting Friday!

Monday:
Overnights: Sundays are filled with an alarming number of shows, and I’m going to start recapping a couple of my favorites; either Real Housewives of Atlanta or Revenge.

Wednesday:
Recipe for Inspiration: And this won’t just be cooking, although I imagine a fair amount of the posts will deal with cooking–it will also focus on recipes for inspiration, be it travel or fashion or beauty-related.

Third Thursday of the Month:
30 Before 30 Rundown

Friday:

Friday Five–This will be a rundown of my five favorite things from the previous week. This week will focus on winter beauty items, but the subjects will vary.

I’ve also got a trip to London planned for February, so you can expect some delightful posts relating to my 2nd favorite European city.

Anyways, I’m back!

30 Before 30: The Climb

#10 Finish a Hike

The summer before my junior year in high school, I briefly dated this very outdoorsy, All-American guy. He had an American flag as wallpaper in his bedroom, and routinely drove his family’s John Deere ride-on mower through the streets of our suburban town as an act of not-so-quiet rebellion. One weekend, he and some of our other friends decided we should hike Mount Si, a mini mountain about 45 minutes from Seattle that is pretty popular with day hikers. Being the ever compliant teenager, I agreed to go, even though the thought of climbing a small mountain in the middle of the summer seemed like the worst idea, ever. I packed some water, a granola bar, and attempted to seem enthusiastic about the trip.

No one else, it seemed, had decided to pack any water, and my already pitiful water rations ran dry pretty quickly into the hike. I got thirsty, and my then boyfriend said we should find a creek. “Anything that’s moving is safe to drink,” he said.

He was very wrong. Long story short, I spent that night in a hospital because I’d contracted giardia. Once I’d been fortified by several hours connected to an IV drip, the ER doctor gently laughed at me and encouraged me never to drink stream water, moving or not, ever again.

I decided that meant “do not ever hike again,” and so I spent the intervening years silently judging all of my very, very Pacific Northwesterner friends for willingly submitting to what seemed to be a form of self-punishment.

Last spring, I met someone who was an avid hiker, and he suggested we go hiking. Wanting to impress him and also acutely aware of how stupid it sounded to never do something again because of one bad experience, I agreed to go.

We chose Rattlesnake Ledge and were rewarded with a beautiful, clear, and warm-ish Seattle summer day.

There were points during our ascent where I was sure I was going to pass out and then roll down the side of the mountain and die and times when I stared jealously after infants being carried to the top in Baby Bjorns, but I was also buoyed by my fellow amateur hikers who sat next to me on tree stumps and rocky outcropping, red-faced, gulping for air, and grimly focused on getting to the top of Rattlesnake Ledge.

Rattlesnake Ledge
Rattlesnake Ledge

And if I’m being totally honest? It was absolutely worth it. There are few things in the past couple of years that I can point to with real satisfaction and say “I finished that.” My line of work means I’m frequently greeted with projects that might ship but are never really perfect or complete. But finishing that hike and being able to say that I’d actually accomplished something I never thought myself capable of? A real personal triumph. I won’t ever be an avid hiker, and I don’t know when I’ll do it again, but I truly enjoyed myself.

True to my ultra clumsy ways, I faceplanted (twice) on the way down, but even the scrapes and bruises didn’t take away how proud I was of finishing the climb.

Rattlesnake Ledge, Washington
View facing Mount Si from Rattlesnake Ledge