Monday, November 9, 2015

Self Confidence

Today's post is about my journey towards mental and emotional health and wellness

In lieu of a break-up, I've been reading a lot of articles and talking to a lot of friends about what makes a good and lasting relationships. 

I've learned that at the end of the day what I really need and want out of a partner is a best friend, someone to push me to become the best version of myself, and someone who chooses to love me every day. 

Then I got to thinking even harder about those traits...wait a second...first of all...I need to be those things for myself!

When you get dumped, especially when you get dumped for someone else or for what you consider a silly reason, it's hard not to fall into a negative spiral and start to blame and belittle yourself.  What did I do wrong? What's wrong with me? Am I not good enough? Am I too fat?  Am I not smart enough?  Am I not fit enough? Is he more attracted to her?  Is she prettier than I am?  Is she funnier than me? (scratch that one...I'm pretty damn funny).  I'm not quite sure how to not get my head to go to those places after those types of things, but I'm quite sure the solutions are in being a great friend, pushing yourself, and making the choice to love yourself ever day.  Seems pretty simple, but for some of us, it can be a bit of a challenge.

Are there ways I screw up?  Every day! Do I have areas I could improve? Sure do!  That's the great thing about being an aware human.  We are capable of change and growth.  I've never been the one to take the attitude "well..that's just me".  There are some things that are uniquely me, but the inability to grow, learn, and become a better person is not one of those!

So what am I going to do? Or what can you do if you're in a similar slump? 

Being a best friend: Being a better friend to my friends, family, and self.  Being patient and forgiving with myself.  Continuing to laugh at and with myself (in a non-crazy way....well...probably also in a crazy way).

Pushing myself: Writing this blog and physically writing down goals and celebrating the achievements great or small.  Exploring and learning new things.  Not being afraid to fail.  Dust myself off and try again if I do fail! Love with abandon!

Loving myself everyday: Making the commitment to the one person who will always be there: ME! Looking in the mirror every morning and saying "Hello there, gorgeous!" (even on days I put about 1% effort into getting ready, mismatched socks, bags under my eyes, hair going the opposite of the intended direction, coffee probably somewhere on my shirt...all around ms.frumpy days).  Making one of those lists of things you love about yourself.  Is it cheesy? Maybe! But let's do it!

I'm pretty sure I know every song (not really, but it's frightening how many I know...particularly in the 90's genre), I cook like a motha' (nice double meaning there ;) ), Quick witted, Thirst for knowledge, Loyal, Love to try new things,  Adventurous, Well traveled, Goofy, Driven, Funny, Supportive, Nurturer, Nature Lover, Talkative (can also be a negative at times...but we are staying on the positivity train right now), Hard worker, Nerd, Killer fashion sense (with exception of ms.frumpy days), Great road trip partner, Great partner/partner, Honest, Animated, I would like to say athletic..depends on the day, I can be pretty awesome at board games (unless it's Monopoly...aint nobody got time for that!), endearingly terrible at singing, Good with kids, A hidden 6 pack, Strong legs....I could go on...but you've probably stopped reading and I probably should write it all down somewhere less public :)

All around like to consider myself a Renaissance woman.  I'll go lift some heavy weights and go do ballet the next day (well...I haven't done ballet in years, but I could!!!).  Listen to some gangster rap, then listen to Yo-Yo Ma...although...let's be honest...dude is a thug ;)

Feel free to post your I love Me's in the comments below and we can just have a full on love fest, are pretty awesome too! 

There is that famous Dr.Suess quote "Today you are You, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive who is Youer than You."  I am Me, and nobody else gets to be me, and THAT alone is pretty darn cool!

I hope you can find some strength in this blog post, I know I did! Stay Strong! Here is a song for you :)

Sunday, October 18, 2015


I've written a lot of serious posts lately, so here is a very fun and singularly focused blog entry!

I definitely can't say that I'm a great cook, but I can say there are a few things that I'm great at cooking.  Although I can't seem to grow it in my garden, cabbage would be one of those things.  Seem strange?  Not when you were raised on the green (or red) leafy goodness that is cabbage.  Sauerkraut, sauteed cabbage, corned beef and cabbage, halushki (cabbage with noodles), halupki (stuffed cabbage) name it...I love it and have probably made it!  Today and I am going to talk about two cabbage dishes I feel I do particularly well and then give you a few links to some of my favorite Ukrainian dishes that my Baba makes (and Baba does it the best!).  Because, it's getting cold outside and who doesn't love a good hearty cabbage dish?!

Sauteed cabbage:

Seems very straight forward, but I have noticed a few things that can make or break this dish.  First thing would be in selection of the cabbage.  I have found a very fresh juicy cabbage, tends to not saute very well.  Seems like it would be the opposite; however, I've found the extra moisture in the cabbage prevents the cabbage from really softening up and getting sweet.  I like to pick fairly dry cabbage (green would be my preference..even though red cabbage has a higher level of anthocyanins...which are supposed to have anti-inflammatory properties...I'm going on taste).  When cutting up the cabbage, I cut the cabbage in half and remove the harder "core" portion of the cabbage then I slice the entire head into thin slices (slightly thicker than coleslaw size).  I like to cook my cabbage on medium high heat using a combination of olive oil and butter (I've used just olive oil or even bacon grease...both work well...that combo is my favorite).  Cook until cabbage is soft, transparent-ish, and maybe even starts to brown a little bit.  SALT WELL!!! I've forgotten salt before, and this is crucial to the taste! Follow these steps and you will be left with the perfect, sweet, delicious sauteed cabbage.  Unfortunately for your roommates, spouses, pets, you also may be left with the cabbage toots!!! (don't act like it's never happened to you).

Halupki Soup (Stuffed Cabbage Soup):

Halupki is one of my favorite Ukrainian dishes, you may know it as stuffed cabbage or for you Polish folks golumpki.  It is usually a meatball with rice and onions (my family would call that a porcupine meatball) with cabbage wrapped around it cooked in a tomato sauce.  It's delicious, BUT a lot of work.  You have to boil the leaves and try to wrap them around the meatball and pray they stay together in the pot.  I'm lazy, so I ditched the rice and made it a soup!  I don't really measure things, so pardon the vague-ish'll figure it out...I have faith in you! 

1 lb ground beef (cook and drain grease)
1 yellow onion diced
1 green cabbage (look for a cabbage that suits the description above)
big can of stewed tomatoes (the can that would be bigger than the can of spaghetti o's...if you can't find stewed dice or whole would work fine too)
tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
Bacon grease (or olive oil)

Slice and saute your cabbage with the onions in the same way mentioned above (I like to use bacon grease in this case to add more flavor to the soup!  don't forget the salt!).  Add the cooked ground beef, onions, cabbage, to a pot or dutch oven.  Add in your tomatoes and tomato paste.  I like to add water (usually putting water into the tomato can to get any additional tomato residue out of the can) to thin out the soup a little bit.  This will be based on your preference on how soupy you like it.  Taste and salt and pepper to your liking.  I would cook on medium until everyone is partying together in the pot, then turn to low or simmer for at least an hour.  Make sure you are checking your pot so nothing gets burnt on the bottom! Slightly brown cabbage is yummy, but burnt cabbage is nasty!

That is a meal that will last me several lunches and dinners and warms my belly on these chilly fall days.  Below you can find a few more of my favorites! Enjoy!

If you try any out...let me know.  I'm also open to any comments or improvements to my recipe! AND if anyone knows how to fix my sad cabbage plant, I'll love your forever! 

Stay strong! 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Making Moves

My blogs recently have been very reflective and looking back, acknowledging mistakes I've made breaking down where things went wrong.  Now it's time to look for solutions move on and make positive changes in my life.

First step is forgiveness.  When you make a mistake that causes a relationship to be strained, you acknowledge your mistake and ask that person for forgiveness.  When you make a mistake that causes your own path to be strained, you forgive yourself. I think people (especially me) forget to forgive themselves.  You can't keep raking yourself over the coals when you mess up.  You have to learn and move on! Or as a friend told me "you can't drive a car forward looking in the rear view mirror" (well...I'm sure you could...or someone could..but I get it).

My new motto is you have to do good to be good and to feel good (yes...I realize it probably should be "do well" sounds better this way :-P ).   So, what am I going to do to feel good?

Do "good": Start every morning with a positive thought or intention (they always like to use the phrase "set your intention" in yoga)
Start every morning with a healthy breakfast! This may mean waking up early to give myself extra time to prepare and enjoy.  I suppose starting out the morning not in a rush would be a fresh change for me! 
Try and maintain a positive attitude throughout the day and see the best in others and myself.
Challenge myself physically and mentally.  I have sort of fit a plateau strength wise and I need to switch somethings up and really challenge myself! I need to read and learn more about the world around me.
Be active every day! Even days when I don't go to the gym, do something! Go on a walk, stretch (goodness knows I need to), or even work outside in my garden! I've got a bad habit of coming home and pooping out on the couch! 
Get involved!  I used to volunteer a lot in high school and some how the business of adult life has changed that.  Now that things have slowed down a little, I have been able to sign up to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity (probably won't happen much until next summer) and signed up to be a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sister (fingers crossed they want me).
Give people the benefit of the doubt...even if you think they don't deserve it
And FORGIVE others and myself

I think making small choices in your day to be better will overall improve your attitude and help you to make positive choices in your day.

Impulse control is a big issue with me, and I think the more positive and mindful I am throughout the day the more I will think about the outcomes of my actions.  Hopefully that will help me from eating an entire Against the Grains pizza in one sitting!

Let's see how this works out! I'll keep you posted! Moving upwards and onward! 

Stay strong! 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Gut Check...Literally

Happy Monday! I'm celebrating my last summer Monday to sleep in and enjoy myself by waking up at 6am and cooking lunches for school :-/  I suppose it's better to get in the habit now then having that rude awakening Thursday morning!

I finally stepped on the scale yesterday.  It was as bad as I expected.  I know it's not all about numbers it's not really about looks, but my feeling very much matches the scale.  I don't have as much energy as I used to and my confidence is a bit shot.  This is my literal 'gut check'.  It's really easy to go down a negative path here, but I'm going to look on the bright side and use this as an opportunity for self reflection (I think I blogged about that a bit last time).  Life is a learning experience, if you let it be.  You can either be defeated by your mistakes, or learn and grow from them.  A friend of mine got me into the "Art of Charm: Confidence/Relationship&Dating Advice/Biohacking/Productivity" podcasts.  They are primarily directed towards men, but I think that a lot of them are applicable to both men and women.  I was listening to their episode on "How to Get Over a Break Up" (not directly related I know) and this quote really stuck with me.  It can apply to so many different areas of our lives and help with mental and physical health and growth.

"Start putting together pieces that you may be able to take responsibility for that you want to change and start working on those moving forward.  Because, if you're going  to be a different person, guess what? You're going to have to do things differently and you're going to have to create new habits  that are going to lead you into being the new person you want to be moving forward.  Use it as a learning experience.  We're not all perfect and the older you get the more stuff you take responsibility for, the better you're going to be feeling about moving towards the future...adopt the mindset that this is a learning experience"

(Sorry Aunt Bun, my loyal reader and grammar police.  I know that's a run on like many of my sentences are)  I would argue to say NO ONE is perfect, but that doesn't take away from the power of that statement.  So here I go...creating new habits.  Today's habit being--FOOD PREP!!! 10 chicken breasts at bagged up and in the freezer waiting to be my lunch.  It's hard when you wake up at 5:30am and get home about 7pm in the evening to be prepared to make healthy choices.  It's especially hard when there are no good choices at or around your work and I tend to make poor choices anyway when I'm rushed.  I really hope I can keep this up!  Maybe try some new recipes to share with you all?  Another habit I'm going to try to start is reading more, not just about health and healthy habits, but keeping up with current events and reading more for enjoyment.  If I find any good health ones...I'll post them here!

That's all for today.  I've been a bit long winded lately! Thanks for sticking through the end...or skipping to the end ;)

Stray strong!  I know I'm trying to! 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Embracing the Pain

It's been over a year since my last post.  I had sort of been stagnant and hadn't had anything exciting or interesting to report.  I forgot the whole meaning behind myself doing this blog.  It's a journey through the exciting, boring, easy, and difficult times.

I started this blog two years ago, but in some ways I feel back where I started.  I've slipped  back into some bad routines, but this is my wake up call.  When people would compliment me on my weight loss, I used to say "Thank you, I've been working hard".  I can't necessarily say the same thing now.

When I first started CrossFit and this blog it was a form of therapy for me, means to embrace the struggles I was facing at the time.  I have always struggled with health, body image, confidence, direction, and attitude...just to name a few.  I learned so much in that first year and embraced it all.  Now that I've found myself back in a rut, it's time to look back and reflect on some of those lessons I've learned and use them for the motivation I need now.

I'll put them in list form, because I like lists!

1. Hard work pays off.  Not only does it pay off physically, but it pays off emotionally.  It is rewarding to achieve something you have worked so hard for.  It's a way to put your stamp on the day.  Some days it's going to be hard to work hard, and that's ok.

2. Learn from your mistakes.  Sometimes you have to mess up to realize how to fix what's wrong.  This one has really resonated with me recently.  Not only relating to my growth in health and fitness, but in my growth to be an overall better person.  Boy do I ever make a lot of mistakes! This is the essence of what my career revolves around.  I have kids answer questions or say certain sounds.  I let them try it their way first and then work through the problem.  That has always been my philosophy on what works best for them, and now it's my time to learn that skill.  I think this blog will really help me to reflect on where I went wrong and how to fix it.  My goal for this blog is to write about growing towards better overall health, but I think a huge component of that is mental and will help me become the best version of myself mind AND body.  Embrace the pain (I'm not talking injuries).  To quote Batman (cheesy I know...but it was on the other day) "Why do we fall down?  So we can learn to pick ourselves up!"

3. Stop making excuses and stop feeling sorry for yourself!  For solutions to this see #1 and #2.  This one has always been big with me, but has changed some over the years.  I used to think I was so far gone I couldn't be helped, it was too late to start, I can't do that, and if I complain about it maybe it will change.  Lately it been more...well I work so hard I should be able to_(full in indulgence or mistake)___.  I'm not saying never indulge or that mistakes won't happen, but it's a thin line before you let things get out of hand.  For me, it was with the food.  I used to be a clean eating machine.  It started off with a cheat meal here and there...and that didn't seem to make a difference...then it became lots of cheat meals...that didn't seem to make a difference....then it became eating out a lot...then hits and you're back to where you started! It happens little by little and sneaks up on you.  Nutrition really is key! You can't (or at least I can't) workout really hard and think it will cancel out the junk you put in your body.  I'm currently in the process of finding out what works best for me.  Being thrown into CrossFit and paleo at the same time, I dropped weight pretty quickly, but it didn't seem to be able to be extremely sustainable for me, so I'm looking for something similar and a better strategy to eat what kinds of foods when.

4.  The excitement will fade.  I think when you start anything new it's so easy to dive in head first.  When I started CrossFit, I was there 5 days straight a week and sometimes even 6!  I got the shoes, weight belt, wrist wraps, more workout clothes than regular clothes.  I was in it to win it!  There comes to be a point where it is no longer novel.  I kind of look at it like a relationship.  The "first date" butterflies are gone.  We are two years in and now we are into the hard stuff.  I still love it!

I'm sure I've learned a lot of other valuable lessons in these last two years.  Bare with me as I look back and try to learn to move forward!

Stay strong...I know I'll try! 

Monday, March 31, 2014


I'm 1,949th!!!! (In my least at the moment)  They should really make a foam finger that says that!! 

I just finished my first CrossFit Open experience! 5 grueling weeks of crazy workouts

Week 1:

14.1 The workout: 
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
30 double-unders
55-lb. power snatches, 15 reps

My Score: 146 reps (3 full rounds and 11 double unders)

Not the worst workout I've ever done, but double unders were very frustrating for me, because I had to do a single and then a I was jumping TWICE as much! Yoi!  BUT, I didn't die.

Week 2:
14.2 The workout:
From 0:00-3:00
   2 rounds of:
   10 overhead squats
   10 chest-to-bar pull-ups
From 3:00-6:00
   2 rounds of:
   12 overhead squats
   12 chest-to-bar pull-ups
From 6:00-9:00
   2 rounds of:
   14 overhead squats
   14 chest-to-bar pull-ups
Etc., following same pattern until you fail to complete both rounds
My Score: A very proud 11!! :) 
I saw this one and laughed.  I SUCK at kipping pull ups...and had never done a chest to bar pull up in my life!!! I thought I'd come in do 10 overhead squats and be done.  Well, almost...I got ONE chest to bar pull up, which is way better than none!
Week 3: 
14.3 The Workout:
Complete As many reps as possible in 8min
95-lb. deadlifts, 10 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
deadlifts, 15 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
deadlifts, 20 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
deadlifts, 25 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
deadlifts, 30 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
deadlifts, 35 reps
15 box jumps, 20-inch
My Score: 106...which would be 16 reps at 185lbs
My best workout BY FAR!!! I was pretty proud of myself here.  I think I've deadlifted 185 maybe for two reps or so ever.  205lbs is my max, so it would have been interesting if I would have made it there!
Week 4:
14.4: The Workout
Complete as many rounds and repetitions as possible in 14 minutes of:
60-calorie row
50 toes-to-bars
40 wall-ball shots, 14 lb. to 9-foot target
30 cleans, 95 lb.
20 muscle-ups
My Score: 135
The workout that made me cry!!! This workout...minus the toes to bar and muslce ups should have been my workout!!! I finished my row so quickly and wanted to bust through those wall balls and get my show how good my cleans and getting....and alas...I spent probably a good 7 1/2 min on STUPID toes-to-bar :( 50 is just sooooo many, BUT I didn't die.  I wanted to cry a bit during, and shamefully cried afterwards.  I thought that was potentially the worst workout I've ever done....until this past week
Week 5
14.5: The Workout:
21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of:
65-lb. thrusters
Bar Facing Burpees
My Score: 22:07
22 minutes and 7 seconds of torture!! I don't know if I've ever sighed and grumpily grunted during a workout so much!!! By the end, I was flopping on the ground like a fish out of water, taking a few seconds laying on the ground just to catch my breath! This one was even hard to watch other people do.  It really crushes your spirit! ESPECIALLY after you finish the first set of 21's and realize....Oh my, I still have SO MUCH work to do!
Clearly I'm not competitive and I'm NOT even remotely close to going to regionals or having a score to brag about! However, it was very fun to challenge myself and surprise myself! It was also fun to see how I stacked up compared to my region and the world.  I'm right in the least it aint the bottom! I was able to see some amazing displays of athleticism in my own gym and watch people crush the above mentioned workout..a lot of people putting themselves through that torture multiple times to better their scores!  It was fun cheering everyone on, and being encouraged and cheered on by others.  It really does impact your performance when other people support and believe in you! And we really do have a great community at CrossFit Clay United :) 

Can't wait for next year?!?! I'm 9months into CrossFit now...and will be over a year and a half into CrossFit come the open next year, so it should be fun to compare!
Taking on another challenge this weekend of another partner competition with Annie again.  I'll blog after this Saturday and share how it went! Fingers crossed my double unders show up!
Stay Strong...I'm still trying!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Body Image

April 2013         August 2013        January 2014

So here we have a pre CrossFit pic, 2ish months in, and yesterday (7 mon)  Yes I realize that is an awful swimsuit top..I have purchased a new one, but wore the same for comparison :) The difference in weight between each picture is roughly 10lbs (plus quite a bit of muscle gain).  Between the first and last picture I have lost 4 inches off my bust, 4inches off of my waist,  4inches off my hips, and 2inches off my thigh.  I can't say I have reached my goal yet, BUT I'm clearly much closer than I was in April, and I can't wait to see what the results are come April or May! :)

Body Image:

As proud as I am of my weight loss and transformation, I posted and deleted that picture probably 5 times.  I have never been comfortable with my body and putting it here on the internet for all to see is pretty frightening.  I have definitely had some harsh critics over time from middle school bullies to people who were very close to me, but overall the harshest critic has been myself.

I was at the Great Lakes Invitational a few weekends ago (a CrossFit competition in the area that brings some big athletes into town).  It was a wonderful display of talented athletes and beautiful bodies.  I found myself looking for girls about my height and build to get some good goals.  I have always found the athletic build to be the most attractive and appealing to me.  I also think it's probably the most realistic body type for me to strive for.  I'm 5'10" and have broad shoulders and wide hips.  I'm not going to look like a lot of the traditionally attractive looking celebrities, not unless I cut my legs off below the knee and develop an eating disorder.  I know a lot of models are my height, but have very small builds and I would assume a lot of them don't eat very much.  In high school my lean body mass was measured at 133lbs, so I would assume now with muscle gain it's at least 140-145lbs.  Can I weigh 125lbs like Giselle?? I wouldn't want to see myself that way or see what it would take to get that way.  Yes, I realize there are some people who are naturally very thin, but it gives usnrealistic expectations for some people who strive to look like that.

I think if I lean out another 10 or so lbs and gain some more muscle, I'll be right about where I'd like to stay and maintain forever!  With that said, I need to learn to love and respect my body at all stages.  I have a healthy goal for myself, but I have to realize throughout this experience that not everyone will agree with how I do it or how I want to look.  I have had people tell me the body type I'm aiming for is unattractive or bulky, which I was very offended and hurt by.  I have spent 25 years being uncomfortable with my body and to hear that what I am close to and what I want is unattractive?!?! It's frustrating!  BUT, then I really doesn't matter.  They aren't me.  They don't get to own my body and they don't get to experience the pride I do when I reach a goal.  Ultimately, I am responsible for how I look and how I feel about the way I look.  So I'm setting a new goal for myself!  As I reach new goals, continue to respect and love myself!  At the end of the day, a person who is comfortable in their own skin and loves them self is the most attractive anyway!

I'll get off my podium now...Until next time, stay strong!