Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Diet Battle: Tips to Make Small Improvements

I saw this quote the other day and it really resonated with me. I've heard from multiple trainers and nutritionists that losing weight and being healthy is 80% diet. And now matter how many times I hear it or read it, my heart sinks every time. I'm not a fast-food-eating kind of girl, but I do love my queso.

The very first time I even thought about losing weight, I immediate thought I would simply increase my physical activity (ie: start working out) and the pounds would just come right off! I quickly realized I no longer have the metabolism of a 16 year old, and that wasn't going to work.I also realized that I don't just want to lose weight. Yes, I'd like to lose ten pounds or so, but more importantly, I want to be healthy overall. We only get one body and one life, so I want to take care of myself as much as possible. We recently had a wellness seminar in the office that focused on the consequences of what we eat. Our speaker pointed out that you should care about what foods you are eating not just because they may make you fat, but because they may harm you in other ways as well.With all of that knowledge, the 80% still gets me. I'm no gym rat, but I still find it much easier to go out for a run than to say 'no' to Happy Hour. Social activities involving food are my love language. They say that making small changes is easier to do than to overhaul your entire life at once. So that's what I've been trying to do. I've talked about how I struggle with motivation, how setbacks have no bearing on future performance, and other fitness topics, but today I want to share what I've learned about focusing on that 80%. Some of these things I've been successful at integrating into my life. Others I'm still working on.1. Make Breakfast EasyI eat a KIND bar every morning when I get to work. My favorite is Nut Delight so I make sure I have a full stock in my desk drawer at all times. I eat only one and that's it. No more last minute stops at gas stations on the way to work to get some powdered donuts. No more quick drive-thrus for a breakfast sandwich. Those things are so bad for you and I've found that starting each day off right has helped my energy level and reduced my stomach pains during the day.
2. Replace All Drinks with Water
Really, there are few beverages that are good for you. Coffee, tea, sports drinks, soft drinks - they all have their setbacks. I refill my tumbler with water all day at work and just sip away. I also try to order water if I go out for lunch or dinner. (Bonus - it saves money!) I often splash some lemon juice in my water if I just need something extra. It tastes better and has a lot of health benefits.It's not easy, I know. I probably still let myself have two Diet Cokes a week. But I'm working on it!3. Let Yourself Feel FullWhen you're eating something you really like, it's hard to not overeat. Try to slow down during the meal, then it'll be easier to pay attention to when your stomach is actually full. Then stop! Portion control is important. 4. Know the Difference Between Taste Cravings and HungerOften times after lunch or dinner I'll want something sweet, or salty (usually the opposite of what I've just had). I need to remember that I am no longer hungry, my taste buds are just craving something else. It's difficult to not give in to these temptations!5. Meals Should Energize YouYou know that feeling after going out to lunch? You come back to your desk and you get so tired? You hit a wall and your energy tanks? Our wellness coach told us that meals should energize us, not make us lethargic. If you are eating the right things, and the right amounts, you should feel rejuvenated after lunch and ready to tackle the afternoon. I must say I can tell the difference when I eat well.7. Keep Working Out for the 20%Even though I know the biggest battle is diet, I will continue to make physical activity a part of my life. There are so many benefits of working out that go beyond calorie burning, that it is definitely worth it to me.
Hopefully these tips are helpful to those of you who, like me, really appreciate tasty food. And hopefully I can come back to this list when the next queso-filled happy hour is staring me in the face. One day at a time!

Hot Tips for Planning an Extended Trip to Europe

If you're going to choose the best continent for overseas travel, Europe is probably it. It may not be the largest, but that gives it an advantage. You can see so many different countries within a relatively small space. Rail travel is excellent, and it's just as easy to drive or fly to wherever you want to go. Plus, the Schengen Agreement makes it simple to enter and exit different places without a complicated border check. If you're thinking about a trip around Europe, here are some recommendations for planning.

Set a Budget
You might not like it, but money makes the world go around. The first thing you'll need to consider is how much you have to spend, and how you're going to spend it. You might not get as much for your money as you would have twenty or thirty years ago. But if you choose the right places and find ways to save, you can make your cash go further. As a general rule, countries in Eastern Europe are cheaper. And they're becoming more popular as tourist destinations. When you create your budget, you'll need to think about travel, food, accommodation, and activities.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dogs are the Perfect Fitness Companion


I like to keep fit, as you can probably tell. I spend a lot of time working on my health and fitness. And recently earlier this year I made a pledge to run 30 miles in June. As you’ll be able to see from the post I took my dog, Piper Jane, with me. And that’s what I want to talk to you about - taking a dog as a fitness companion.
Now, a lot of people like to run with friends, and this is perfectly fine. However, I find that it can be difficult with different schedules and fitness levels. So I decided to start taking my dog with me, and it’s worked great! Here's why I think dogs make such good fitness companions.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Good is Worth Fighting For

Bad seems like it comes in waves. It always lurking around us, targeting people just outside our circle, constantly trying to penetrate our lives.

Lately it's been just that kind of bad news. It doesn't directly affect me, but my friends, colleagues, and friends-of-friends are in the cross hairs.

I typically avoid the news because I don't want to hear even more of it, on a larger scale. But now I can't avoid the gym TVs in the morning, blaring the latest catastrophe.

I put in my headphones and try to tune it all out.

Because most of the bad news comes just like this, as something we hear of in passing, something that causes a brief pause in our busy day, we get the mentality of "that could/would never happen to me".  Yes, we take a moment to sympathize with our friend, or our nation, possibly even reflecting on our own lives or taking action to help, but in the end we are grateful that our personal circle has dodged a bullet yet again.

I know that I am like most people. I have adopted this mentality in many aspects of my life. I am, in fact, lucky to have great family and friends, and have worked hard to achieve other successes in my life. I have a wonderful life in the grand scheme of things, and I'm sure there are times when I take that for granted.

I go 80 on the highway that has a 75 speed limit. I don't call my mother every day to tell her I love her. I don't laugh at every one of Tim's corny jokes. I reschedule time with a friend because I'm "busy" or tired. I lash out to those around me when I'm stressed.

I'm guilty, like many of us.

But I'm also a realist.

And in between looking towards the future with stars in my eyes, the moments of realism always anchor me back down. They turn off the music in my ears and open my eyes to the world around me. I hear the horror of a shooting in the news. I see the suffering of a family grieving a miscarriage. I feel the pain of a friend's marriage torn apart.

I don't think these things could never happen to me. I don't think my little slice of life is impenetrable. The realist in me knows better.

Life isn't all butterflies and rainbows. And that's scary.

So, what do we do? Do we never get married because we've seen so many end in heartbreak? Do we not have children because something can go wrong? Do we not drive because of the fatal crash we saw on the morning news?

I like to think that we, as people, choose to move forward. I like to think that we continue to remain positive despite the harsh realities of this world, knowing that while there is much sadness, there is also good. So much good.

We don't need to turn and run from the horrible things we hear or experience. We must stop and reflect, stop and help, or simply stop and listen. It's important to acknowledge the bad, to let it know we see it, and that we aren't giving up.

And then we must remember to move forward, in spite of fear. In spite of the bad that will never stop challenging us.

Because the good is worth fighting for.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Running Playlist for Fall 2015

I love doing running playlists for you guys, but this one may be the best yet. Normally they feature songs that I've been rocking out to for several weeks. But the other day I was on the treadmill and wanted something new to listen to so I launched Google Play random playlist (it's similar to Pandora) and there were several new songs I hadn't heard but that I really liked. So allow me to share the goods with you!

Friday, September 4, 2015

2015 Summer Event ~ A Taste of Tahoe

Time for another event wrap-up! Two weeks ago we took over Tahoe! And I must say, it was even more gorgeous than I remembered!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

That Time I Met Rascal Flatts

I don't care what anyone says about Rascal Flatts. I have always loved them, and always will. Rascal and I go way back.. like to Mayberry days. I've spent many summers on the lawn at Riverbend belting out their story-telling tunes.

So, when I had the chance to meet them several years ago when they came to Lexington, you can bet that I was FREAKING OUT.

We already had tickets to go when my coworker got a text from a friend who worked on the tour. He said he could set us up with some 'Meet and Greet' passes and our work day went to hell. I was making signs and practicing exactly what to say to make the boys love me immediately.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

There's Something Magical About Montreal

Sometimes I go on a site visit to a new city and I enjoy it. I come back and start the hotel selection process and log it away as another completed task. And then there are times I go on a site visit and I really connect with the city. It becomes one of those places I tell everyone about and I can't wait to return to.

Montreal was one of those cities. I love Montreal. J'adore Montreal.

Montreal has it all. If you want downtown dining and nightlife, they've got it. If you want hiking, biking and greenery, they've got the mountain! If you want river front action, check. And if you want to take a European stroll back in time, well there's Old Montreal.