Tag Archives: health

Losing It

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Okay, okay, I’m not talking about the big “IT.”  I’m talking about losing some poundage!  If you’re a longtime follower of my blog, I’m sure you remember me mentioning multiple times over the last few years wanting to lose a few pounds.  I know I was far from alone in wanting this in the months leading up to my wedding.  I totally believe that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and I don’t agree with the immense amount of pressure put on brides to be a stick figure.  But on the other hand, I had been just a little over my ideal weight for years and I figured the wedding was the best excuse I would ever have to drop it!

So in January (along with millions of other New Years Resolution-makers) I commenced my very own Operation Flab to Fab!  The happy news I can now report is that I have lost 24 pounds!!!!!!

After a rainy hike almost a year ago…carrying a little extra weight!
On a recent hiking trip…trimmed it up a bit!

I don’t think the difference is too obvious in photos but people have been noticing in real life, which is nice!  Now you may be waiting with bated breath to hear my big, miraculous, easy weight loss secret…

Welp, I’m sorry to disappoint but I made this happen with the two classics: DIET and EXERCISE.  Since January, I’ve been using www.myfitnesspal.com to count calories.  This method works well for me because I can really eat anything I want, I just have to budget for it!  I also experimented with counting calories by the week, instead of by the day, so that I could have some extra treats (or beers) on certain days of the week.

Fitness wise, I’ve been pretty active!  On June 2 I will be running my first half marathon and training for that has definitely kept me moving.  I’ve also been going to yoga class once a week, biking, and hiking on days off.  I’m all for putting the effort into exercise in order to earn those extra calories!

I don’t want to make it sound easy, because it definitely hasn’t been.  I LOVE cooking, baking, eating out, going out to bars, and pretty much every other unhealthy hobby out there.  Thinking of the wedding, support from Zach, mental toughness, and encouragement from a couple other dieting friends has helped me get this far.  The thing is, I’m not done yet!  I have a mere two and a half months until my wedding and three weeks until my final dress fitting and I still would like to lose six more pounds.  Despite my success so far, I feel like I’ve hit a wall.  I’ve been making too many excuses and cheating on my eating far too much!  Getting close is not enough; I want to meet my final goal!  (Which is still in the middle of my healthy BMI range, FYI.)

So I guess part of my reason for writing this is to ask for some support and accountability!  The clock is ticking and I really need to recommit in order to get my body to truly FAB status by wedding time!

Does anyone have any tips for getting through the last few pounds?  Any other encouraging pre-wedding weight loss stories out there?

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Veggie Vendetta

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I’m about to tell you something you might find shocking.  But hold onto your hats, because our wedding is going to be a….

That’s right folks!  I am a longtime vegetarian and Zach rarely eats meat nowadays.  So we won’t be serving anything that used to breathe and have eyeballs at our wedding.  I think a lot of our non-vegetarian friends and family members are surprised we’re doing this.  But really, even if we were hiring a caterer, I wouldn’t want to pay for people to eat in a way I don’t believe in.  Because we’re cooking all the food ourselves, of course we’re not going to serve meat.  I don’t even know how to cook it!

We’re having a vegetarian taco bar!

I hope that people aren’t upset about not eating meat and I really hope they enjoy our food.  If it forces them to try something new, then good!  Maybe some will realize that it is possible to eat a satisfying and delicious meal without meat.  Maybe some will freak out and slam burgers before they come.  I don’t really care.  At least we’ll be showing off our values (and our mad cooking skills, hopefully) on our wedding day!

As a side note, I have been to several weddings at which vegetarian options were not even offered!  Maybe I have a slight vendetta, but after not being able to eat at weddings I’ve been invited to, I am super pumped to turn the tables on everyone and not serve any meat!  I promise that the food will be delicious and that there will still be lots of protein (beans, guacamole) and cheese (we’re not vegan).

Is it crazy to have a totally-veggie reception?  Do you think people will freak out or enjoy the food?  Have you ever been unable to eat at a wedding reception?

#WEverb12: WATCH

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2. watch [LIVE]: What movie did you see this year that you would recommend to a friend?

I didn’t see a lot of movies this year, sadly. You know, traveling and being broke and all that. So my picks are two great documentaries available on Netflix instant.forks

Forks Over Knives is a shocking/inspiring food doc about “The China Study”, all the things that are wrong with the way we eat in this country, and the benefits of a plant-based whole-foods diet. REVERSE diabetes by changing the way you eat? Apparently, it’s possible!

happy

Happy is a crazy awesome doc about “positive psychology” and the factors that affect the human race’s happiness around the world. Hint: it has a lot LESS to do with money than we think.

Runnin’ Runnin’

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I read a lot of blogs.  My Google Reader is always wayyy too full of blogs of all different types: weddings, travel, cooking, lifestyle.  I don’t ever read magazines though.  I think I just find real life stories, written in first person, much more interesting than celebrity gossip and what-have-you.

Strangely, one type of blog I find really fascinating are running blogs.  This is strange because I’ve never liked running.  Yet I read about these amazingly buff women running 20 miles a week, training for marathons, RUNNING marathons, and seeming to love it.

I read them and I think, “MAN, I want that!”  I am jealous of their awesomeness at exercise and their amazing high-mileage accomplishments.  Then, one day I found this training plan…

I think you know where this is going.  I’m trying again.  Although it’s never worked for me in the past, I just can’t give up.  I have no money for a gym membership right now, and I have a wedding dress to fit in next year!  Plus, I’ve got the jealousy of these awesome ladies whose blogs I read.

So I found this: Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Program.  And it seemed strangely doable, and strangely exciting.  This is not a promise, because running 13.1 miles, for practically TWO HOURS, still seems insane to me.  But I am officially beginning Week 3 of this program, and so far so good.  Today I did my second “long run”, four miles, and it kinda sucked, mostly because it was so freakin’ hot outside!  The Ohio summer may not be the best time to be attempting this.  But attempting it I am, so far.

The thing is, races are expensive, and running an actual race just sounds kinda “meh…” to me.  However, if I really manage to get through this whole program, I should probably celebrate by running an actual race.  Maybe.  What do you think?  Should I be researching early-September 1/2 marathons in this area?  Or should I wait a little longer to see if I can stick to the program?  Am I just being crazy?

Physical Challenge Life List

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As our time here is winding down, I’m overwhelmed with mixed emotions.  Partly happiness about going home to friends, family, grocery stores and farmers markets, microbrews, and a kitchen!  But a big part of me is very very sad to be saying goodbye (for now) to all the adventures, the constantly-changing scenery, the daily challenges of travel, the cheap street food, and the gorgeous hiking.

Feeling victorious after climbing the highest peak in El Salvador!

I do feel like I’ve matured a lot on this journey, and one of the ways I’ve matured is in regards to my outlook on health.  I used to say that I wanted to die before I get old.  I don’t want that anymore, but I do want to be a super healthy, on-the-go old person.  I think it makes sense to say that accomplishing that goal depends a lot on the investments I make towards it now.  I’ve preached about the organic, vegetarian diet on here before, so I don’t need to go into that again.  And yes, I will always have a sweet tooth and a baking addiction, but moderation is the key.

I’ve kind of gotten over drinking on this trip.  I think an occasional, special-occasion, in-moderation drinker is what I would like to be.  I’m just getting too old for the college-type shenanigans!  The less I drink, the healthier, happier, and more alert I feel.  I’m sure this is a normal transition that most people go through, otherwise there would be a lot more 40-year-old running around doing kegstands.  But still I read what I’ve written and think, “Oh my gosh I’m becoming a lame old lady!”  C’est la vie.

Also, all the hiking, pack-carrying, and occasional surfing we’ve done here has gotten me into better shape than I’ve ever been in.  I’ve still got a spare tire but I am stronger than I’ve ever been in my life.  And it feels great!  What sucks is that with our return to Ohio looming, I’m already missing all the awesome hikes, mountains, beaches, and activities available here.  I really want to maintain, and hopefully improve, my fitness level once we get home.  It’s going to be hard in Ohio, because I’m not a big fan of running, and gym workouts are just so boring compared to mountain climbing!  Our time in Ohio will be brief, however, and I’m committed to finding ways to stay moving somehow.  Once we head west again, fitness can become a lot more fun.

Because I love lists so much, I came up with a new goal list of all the “physical challenge”-type activities I would like to accomplish in my life.  This will probably get added to a lot as I think of new things.  Not all of them are super-physical, some are just outdoorsy activities.  Hopefully I can check one or two within a year of getting home.  These are the things that get me excited and motivate me to work out hard (well, other than wearing a wedding dress next summer)!

Physical Challenge Life List
1. Master surfing

2. Master rock-climbing

3. Master snow-boarding

4. Climb Cotopaxi (Ecuador)

5. Climb Mt. Whitney (California)

6. Climb Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)

7. Hike the Grand Canyon, to the river and back

8. Bungee jump at Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe/Zambia)

9. Ride in a hot air balloon

10. Really give yoga a try

11. Learn to swing dance

What do you think of my list?  Way too ambitious or do-able?  Has anyone else ever made a list like this?

Guest Post: How Zach Became an Almost-Vegetarian

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As a lot of our friends know, I have been vegetarian for 5 years now.  Zach is not vegetarian; so many people ask him how he deals with me and if he misses meat.  I asked him to write a guest post on the subject.  One thing I want to clarify is that I have never asked him to not eat meat; he can do whatever he wants!  My policy is just that I won’t buy it or cook it; so if he wants some it’s up to him.  And, honestly, Zach doesn’t really cook for himself much so he doesn’t really eat much meat.  And, as he says, over the past year he’s found that he likes it this way!  But there was never any pressure from me.  I encourage everyone to rent the documentary “Food, Inc.” for a vastly more in-depth explanation of this subject.  I also encourage questions on this post as this is a subject I am passionate about and would love to discuss more.  Without further ado, my lovely partner Zach:

When I met Carrie in 2009, one of the first things I heard about was her vegetarianism.  This plays a big part in her life and at first I thought “she must be crazy” and “what do you eat?”.  Of course she educated me.  After cooking together almost every day for the past year, meat has been almost completely eliminated from my diet.  How do I feel?  Better probably.  Every time I eat lots of meat nowadays, I feel disgusting when finished.  All the fats in my belly and greasy fingers.  Not that I won’t eat meat if someone is making it for me, but I haven’t gotten any from the store since Safeway gave me a free Turkey for spending $100 last Thanksgiving.  (Note from Carrie:  And that turkey is still in the freezer.  As I said, Zach doesn’t cook for himself.)  There are some very logical reasons I see to not eat meat.

Reason 1: Health.  Have you ever seen how the meat you buy at the grocery store is raised?  “On the farm” you might say.  However, that is unfortunately not true.  Most meat we eat is raised in a factory.  Unless you buy meat that says “local/organic” or “grass fed” your meat is probably made it a factory.  And I choose “made” over “raised” because most chickens we eat don’t even see the sun in their lifetime.  Some don’t even stand.  What does encompass the majority of a chicken’s life?  Lying on the ground in a pile of all the other chicken’s shit waiting to die a fat unhealthy bird.  All they eat is food fueled with growth hormones to make them unhealthily fat, and did I mention they live life in a house full of shit?

Reason 2: Morals.  Does it seem right to raise millions of beautiful creatures just to make them fat and eat them?  Some never get the right to stand.  They are born, grown at unnatural rates, then killed.  If they die before they are big enough, they are thrown into the mix that feeds the rest of the fat creatures about to die and be eaten.  People tell me that we should eat meat because we are at the top of the food chain.  How many animals have you actually killed and eaten because you are stronger?  I would be willing to bet that most americans have never killed an animal that they planed to eat.  That is not to say that there isn’t a large portion of the nation that does shoot their own food.  I did shoot a rabbit once, and ate it.  I shot it and it didn’t die, so I had to club it on the head with my rifle.  This wasn’t fun for me, since the rabbit was so cute.  Think of all the meat you eat in a given month.  If you had to personally decapitate every one of those chickens, you would at least appreciate your food a lot more.  I would even be willing to bet that you would choose to plant a garden instead.

Reason 3: Cost.  I don’t have hard facts on this, but I have noticed that we spend way less money that carnivores.  We can get a whole bag of veggies at the farmers market for under $20.  You know I’m right, enough said.

The reasons go on and on but the point I try to make remains the same.  I’m not trying to convert everyone to vegetarianism, but it would be nice if people at least thought about what they ate.  For that matter, I wish people thought about half the things they do in their lives.  Don’t do something just because it’s the only way you know how.  Educate yourselves.  Don’t be on of the millions and billions of ignorant people who do things because they are told it’s the only way.  Do things because you have decided that it is the best way.