Exercise Epiphany (Clean Eating and LiveFit Program Update)

The half-way point of the Jamie Eason LiveFit Program has come & gone so I thought I would share an update. Especially because I’ve had some very enlightening breakthrough’s. **This is probably my most personal post ever because I’m admitting some pretty honest truths about my healthy journey. And they aren’t all happiness and sunshine. So here are my Exercise Epiphanies!

vacation fitness collage 1

  • As per clean-eating requirements, I eliminated all wheat and gluten products from my diet. I also eliminated dairy with the exception of Greek yogurt. Cutting out all cereal, bread, bagels, pasta, crackers, etc. was hard. I’ve never craved cereal or bagels so much IN MY LIFE. My body has never had a negative reaction to gluten, wheat or dairy to begin with. Eliminating these from my diet for almost two months did not yield any observable improvement either. Therefore I don’t see any health benefit for me, personally, to avoid them. I haven’t had a bite of bread in months, and you know what? I want some freakin’ toast.
and don't even get me started on chocolate. ;)

and don’t even get me started on chocolate. ;)

  • Going along with the clean eating… Though I didn’t “cheat” (eat processed foods) hardly at all, I would often make the mistake of overeating my allotted peanut butter, oatmeal, protein shake, and protein bars. Fruits and veggies are delicious, but when I am hungry/bored/stressed, my automatic response is something carb-y or fatty. Abiding by the ingredient restrictions, I did reach for an approved item like almond butter or Quest bars…but typically never stuck to a serving size.
  • One of the blogs I follow “MoonFitness” created her own free e-course on body image and mental health. I just got lesson two in my email today. That girl is inspirational :)

weight rack

  • After 7 weeks of honest commitment and gym sessions, I’ve learned that a weight-lifting-dominant workout regimen is not for me.  At least not at this time in my life. I loved everything Jamie Eason had to say on her bodybuilding.com interviews. The new perspective on fitness (something other than long-distance running) was really intriguing. But since I was 14 years old, my body has developed through long-distance running. It’s the body I am used to. Cutting back cardio (like less than half the usual) and hitting up serious weights (bench press, deadlifts, olympic squats, cleans) has started to transform my body……and I’m not sure I’m a fan. My shoulders and biceps have serious definition. My quads are more muscle-y and my calves look crazy. But to me, the look isn’t feminine. I do enjoy the fact that I can leg press 200 lbs. That I can hit up the squat racks next to the boys with confidence. That I can do more pushups than ever before. But I’m not looking to “make gains” and increase noticeable muscle mass. I was so proud of myself for starting this program because it stressed being STRONG not SKINNY. But for the sake of being completely honest, the idea of putting on muscle mass frightens me.

Gallatin rec area horse run (stronglikemycoffee.com)

  • This probably just has to do with my personality in general but I think the strictness of this lifestyle has made me more anxious than ever. On the Warren Buffett trip, I was stressed out beyond a healthy level by the fact that there were no clean options for lunch and dinner. Missing workouts for three days brought unreal anxiety. Overexercising the next week was countered by oversnacking on protein bars and peanut butter. Which brought more guilt. Get my drift? It’s an unhealthy cycle that I believe was perpetuated by the severe guidelines I had brought upon myself. By commiting to 100% clean, I had given myself no lee-way. Any slight deviation from the plan was an automatic “failure.”
Much needed girl time (stronglikemycoffee.com)

A much-needed night in with Gilmore Girls and Tea.

  • Working out in the morning > Working out at night. The feeling of accomplishment after a kick-ass workout is worth waking up at 5:22am.
  • There is a lot of controversy on this topic…. and I’ve decided that I am “Pro” makeup-at-the-gym. ;) If a little mascara and a dab of lip gloss make you feel better about yourself, go for it. No need to shame a girl for some vanity at the gym. Personally, I think it helps detract from my bloodshot uncaffeinated eyes ;)
  • The more I workout, the more I want to workout. Running, biking, intervals, squat jumps, planks, box jumps, dips, leg lifts, machines, free weights, plyometrics, hiking, dancing, jump rope- they bring me so much joy. :)
  • No one places as much self-worth in your appearance as you do. (I’m speaking to myself here, though I’m sure many other people can relate.) Your daily fluctuations on the scale are not immediately evident to everyone else. In fact, if the scale is just another source of anxiety then put the silly thing away for now.

I will never stop LOVING fitness. Self-motivation has made it a habit to compete with myself daily. When my alarm clock goes off, I JUMP out of bed (to the coffee pot, of course.) I smile at the gym. I take pride in improvements. However, I do not consider weight lifting to be a primary source of my fitness. I would like to limit my weight room time from 5 sessions per week to 2-3. Also adding 2 HIIT sessions per week, and bumping up my weekly running mileage a bit (which shouldn’t be hard, considering where it is now).

exercise epiphanies at lake mary lookout // stronglikemycoffee.comSo that’s my current outlook on the program and my lifestyle. I think the halfway point was a good time to evaluate my situation. I’m at a point where 100% clean-eating isn’t necessarily healthy for me and my workouts need more variety. Clean eating is still my goal lifestyle, but maybe 100% commitment was a little idealistic. I just want to be less rigid on myself.

Well it’s Monday, so I’ll be at yoga tonight. And yes, I still hate it.

Namaste compadres. :)

Clean Peanut Butter Banana Cups

What’s a girl to do when her clean cooking partner-in-crime is 200 miles away?

Skype, of course.

Chelsea & I love new healthy recipes. (**By the way, she launched her own blog! —–> seasunseasmiles.wordpress.com**) Being in different cities calls for creativity. We “baked” together via Skype and the result was these unbelievably-delicious-not-to-mention-super-clean cups.

Clean Peanut Butter and Banana Cups Recipes  Stronglikemycoffee.com

With our laptops in the kitchen, we threw together coconut oil, cacao powder, peanut/almond butter, bananas, honey and a little bit of salt. The recipe was inspired by The Whole Pantry app. If you use cupcake wrappers or mini candy wrappers, they come out looking like a perfect peanut butter cup with rippled edges and everything :)

Chelsea’s batch came out significantly better than mine because I decided to add Greek Yogurt, which seriously disturbed the texture. I threw the batch out and made another. 50x better.Skype and bake (stronglikemycoffee.com)Peanut butter and coconut oil are clean, yes, but also very calorie-dense.I decided to add a fat slice of banana to the middle to make each cup more substantial without adding another 100+ more calories.

The Recipe:

  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs Stevia
  • 2 Tbs peanut butter, almond butter, or any nut butter of your choice
  • banana, sliced
  • cupcake or candy wrappers

1.) Mix the coconut oil, cocoa, salt, honey and stevia together.

2.) Spoon 1/2 tablespoon of chocolate into each wrapper (makes 4) and freeze for 5 minutes.

3.) Spoon 1 tsp peanut butter onto the chocolate. Top with a slice of banana and add another spoonful of chocolate mixture.

4.) Allow to completely freeze, about 30 minutes.

There’s your clean dessert! A perfect serving-size indulgence free of any chemicals, preservatives, additives and processed sugars.

Clean peanut butter cups with banana and coconut oil  stronglikemycoffee.com

I’m eating one for dessert right now while I catch up on Grey’s Anatomy :) Sound like a low-key Friday night? Well that’s because I’M RACING A 5k TOMORROW MORNING!

My first “race” since the marathon. It’s just a local road race put on by my school’s ROTC but I’m excited do something competitive again and see what kind of shape I’m in. Plus I really want to see how many army boys I can outrun ;)

Lists on Lists // De-stressors

I am officially enrolled in classes for the first semester of my senior year of college. It honestly feels like only a year ago I was a senior in high school, giddy about the possibility of running cross country in college, and lining up official visits with coaches. And here we are, the aftermath of my decision.

This morning I sipped my coffee and ate a Quest bar after my 6:00am workout at the rec center while making my typical to-do list/meal plan for the day. (I do this in Excel & I have way too much fun with colors and fonts.) My life practically relies on my day planner and schedules. For example, exhibit A:

To Do list spreadsheet

This is just a sample, and my real to-do list is about 15x longer. Group projects are my life right now. The never-ending schedule has started crowding into my all-important 8 hours of sleep. It started to stress me out.  What did I do? Made a list of stress-busters. Naturally.

Kenzie’s List of Healthy Habits to Adopt for Eliminating (or at least reducing) Stress: 

***First let me preface by saying that I am no model for a stress-free lifestyle. I sincerely am adopting these habits for myself during this last month of the semester***

  • Unplug at night. Read a book (like my new Sports Marketing textbook, Skinny Confidential’s Lifestyle Guide, or the The Maze Runner!)
  • Sip a cup of green tea daily.
  • Keep a journal *see below*
  • Take two yoga classes each week (Monday/Thursday)
  • Take a 10 minute walk in the middle of long study sessions
  • Plan one “cheat” meal a week (for my sanity!)

Roomie Macys drinks

Starting at the top of the list.

I have realized that its habit to check Facebook/Pinterest/Gmail/Bloglovin/Hulu when I’m “winding down” for bed. Which does the exact opposite. . . Not like there’s anything useful on these sites after 9pm anyways. Social media takes over enough of our lives during the day. Cue a real live bed time story :)

Habits for a Healthy Mind (stronglikemycoffee.com)

I added “keep a journal” specifically because of this Carpe Diem Journal my friend Emily bought for my 21st birthday. I haven’t touched it yet. Only because I wanted to save it for something substantial. I consider blogging a form of journalism, but it is highly-filtered because I keep 85% of my life private. This particular journal is “goal” themed and you know I’m all about those. So I am making it a point to write a couple times a week for myself. It should be fun to look back on and see which of my goals I actually accomplished. :)

Then there’s those yoga classes. . .

I hate yoga. I am impressed with anyone who can sit peacefully for an hour and not feel extremely antsy. When I’m in the gym, I’m there to push myself, work hard, SWEAT. And you’re telling me to just sit here and breathe?? Isn’t that an automatic bodily function . . .?

You’re saying “inhale // exhale” but I’m thinking “if I do laundry tonight, I can wear those cute jeans tomorrow.”

A restless brain like mine could seriously benefit from a forced-relaxation session. Or 30. I’m not going to like it, but I will try. :)

Lastly: cheat meals.

Wildflower Dinner

Clean eating is a wonderful challenge. But as with anything that’s 100% extreme, deprivation can make you go loonie. The fact that my roomies keep ice cream stocked in our freezer. . . or the fact that the girl next to me brings heavenly toasted bagels to class. . . or the fact that the chocolate-covered pretzels call to me every time I walk through Sprout’s. . . are out of my control. But they seriously test my will power.

I don’t want to deprive myself, because that’s not healthy either. So planning a “cheat” meal once a week is just enough to avoid a case of the grumpy-gretchen’s. BUT not dangerous enough to undo the whole week’s worth of work-outs. Limiting it to a “meal” and not a “day” keeps it in control. This might also be an excuse to pop open a bottle of my birthday wine that’s been decorating my counter-top for far too long ;)

So that’s the game plan for a happy end-of-semester. Plus it’s 8:54pm so I technically have to log off in 6 minutes! ;) I would love some of your best stress-reducing tips though.


Goodnight Friends!

 

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