There is a Mouse in the House

[This post would have been up much earlier had a mouse not invaded my house and nearly attacked me!]

[Yes, I am being dramatic. But, yes, there was a small mouse in here earlier. EEK!]

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who read yesterdays post, and for all of the positive feedback and motivation! I was pleasantly surprised by how many people read the post, and commented on it. Knowing people will be following my progress throughout this challenge (30 day gluten-free, dairy-free, 30 minutes of exercise challenge: http://wp.me/pQbAA-1yE) will absolutely help keep me going. Maybe others might be able to find motivation here, as well!

If you are someone who has experience with a gluten-free/dairy-free (or both) diet, or great thirty minute exercise ideas, please feel free to pass them along. I would love any tips and/or ideas! I have already received a few, which I am very grateful for.

Here are some of the things I bought at the store this week to help me in this challenge:

Gluten free pretzels

Gluten free waffles

Sweet potato chips

Dairy free, coconut milk yogurt

Coconut milk

Coconut milk creamer

Chex cinnamon flavored cereal

Gluten free chicken sausages

Lots of fruits and vegetables

My format is going to [hopefully] be to write about the previous days meals and exercise every day, just as an FYI.

So, on to yesterday…

For breakfast I had two hard boiled eggs cut up, along with a diced avocado, topped with spicy mustard. I took a picture, and then for some reason deleted it, sooo…no picture of that. But, it was really good. I loved the addition of the mustard.

For lunch I had a BIG, delicious salad.

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For snacks, I had a Lara bar (the chocolate chip cookie dough flavor is wonderful), and some gluten free pretzels.

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Since we were ridiculously excited for how nice it was outside yesterday, we decided to grill. We had grilled chicken and veggies (red pepper, onion, and eggplant).

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I had some tea after dinner as my treat for the night. I love having (caffeine free) tea before bed. Helps me relax, and it’s almost like a cue for my body to recognize that it is bedtime. Plus, it usually helps curb any leftover hunger that dinner didn’t satisfy (doesn’t always work, but usually does).

For exercise, Maggie and I went on a lovely walk (for about 45 minutes to an hour). It was beautiful again! I am getting used to this. Please don’t take it away from us, Mother Nature.

I’m off to enjoy a small glass of wine. That mouse rattled my nerves!

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My 30-day gluten-free, dairy-free, 30-minutes of exercise a day CHALLENGE

Having a baby changes your body in all sorts of ways. This is something I obviously knew before I got pregnant, but was a whole different ball game once I actually was pregnant. I’ve been through many different phases with my body throughout pregnancy; it is an ever-changing relationship. In the beginning of my pregnancy, it was hard to accept that my body was growing. I was just talking about this with my brother the other day; last summer while I was on the beach I was very newly pregnant — i.e. in the “is she pregnant, or just gaining weight?” phase. It’s crazy because it is SUCH an exciting time — the new feeling of WOW I’m going to have a baby! — that you don’t want any negative thoughts to creep in at all. During this time, it was also a little tough to accept I was going to have a whole new body for 40 weeks.The thought of putting on 30+ pounds scared me. But don’t worry, I went above and beyond that! I gained around 50 pounds.

After the phase of “is she pregnant, or just gaining weight?” came the actual bump, and I must say I loved this phase! The bump is fun. Embrace the bump. Rejoice in wearing pants with stretchy tops and eating lots without worrying about your stomach showing (because it’s obviously going to show anyway! And in a cute way). Even though I did love my baby bump, there were days when I wondered how I looked — I gained a decent amount of weight, and even though the bump is great, gaining weight in my arms, thighs, and face wasn’t as great. It was all part of my process (which is fine!), but towards the end of my pregnancy I was ready to do away with that part of pregnancy. Now that my beautiful Maggie is here and I am no longer pregnant, I am going through a whole new phase with my body. This is also a confusing phase. I call it the “I am amazed by my body but also don’t want to look pregnant anymore” phase. I truly am amazed by the human body; I grew this awesome (and I mean awesome in every true sense of the word) human in my body. I pushed her down my body, and out into the world. She looked into my eyes minutes after she was born. My body gives Maggie the food and nourishment she needs to survive. It’s all so cool. I am so thankful for this body which gave life to my daughter.

Now, while I am in total awe of my body, at two months postpartum, I am ready to slowly start dropping some of the weight I gained throughout my pregnancy, and hopefully eventually toning back up. I gained a lot while pregnant with Maggie, so the thought of dropping a ton of weight intimidates me. Over the past two weeks when I thought about it, I would feel overwhelmed. Where will I start? Can I really do this? Will I fail and be at this weight forever? I decided a few things.

1. It took 40 weeks to put this weight on. It’s going to take a while to take it off. Accept that. Be okay with that. Move on.

2. I am a competitive person by nature (even if I am only competing with myself), so I decided to start my journey with a challenge.

3. Blogging helps me stay accountable. Once I put something online, I’m like, “OK I HAVE to do it now. I can’t lie to the people!” So, I am going to blog about this thirty day challenge.

4. I will not let myself get overwhelmed. I am going to take this journey step by step. If I just follow the rules I have set, I know I will see results by the end of the month, which will then hopefully give me motivation to keep going into May with another challenge. That’s the mentality I have, and hope to continue to have. Also, no bending the rules whatsoever!

5. The most important reason for doing this challenge is that I want to be healthy. I let myself enjoy many, many treats while pregnant, and even during these two months after having Maggie. While I was pregnant, I didn’t want to worry about whether it was okay to have ice cream every night or not. I wanted to indulge. I knew what I would be faced with after I gave birth, and I was okay with that at the time. But now it’s time to have a more healthy diet and attitude (think more vegetables and fruits and less five slices of pizza binges, or whole box of Girl Scout cookie snacks).

So, the challenge is to go gluten-free, dairy-free, and to exercise for at least thirty minutes a day. This means exercise of any kind! Walking, running, weights, yoga, etc. Pinterest has been super helpful in organizing my ideas for this challenge. Check out my gluten-free, dairy-free, 30-min exercise board here: http://www.pinterest.com/thedailycraic/gluten-free-dairy-free-30min-of-exercise-a-day-apr/. This is not going to be easy. (I LOVE cheese, so that will be the hardest part of this, I think). However, I just want to challenge myself to try this out and see where it gets me by the end of the month. It’s an experiment.

I started the challenge yesterday, April 1st, and it will go all the way until the end of April. At that point, I will evaluate how I’m doing, and I may decide to start a new challenge. The goal of this April challenge for me, is to get back in the saddle — to kick start my healthier lifestyle. Wish me luck!

Day one went pretty well. Maggie and I went on a walk with my sister Megan and my nephews Declan and Brian. We were walking for about an hour and fifteen minutes; it was so nice out! Hopefully now with the weather getting nicer Maggie and I will be able to go on a walk everyday.

For breakfast I had two hard boiled eggs and an avocado. Lunch was a salad and a bowl of strawberries and grapes. My snack was a Lara bar (the pecan pie flavor is SO delicious) http://www.larabar.com/. And dinner was banana bread pancakes (my picture looks disgusting, but they were actually good). I found the recipe on Pinterest: http://www.dailybitesblog.com/2013/03/19/5-ingredient-banana-bread-pancakes/. I was still hungry after eating my pancakes so I decided to roast some red potatoes. They were great and satisfied my hunger. Throughout the day I also had some coffee (with coconut milk creamer instead of half and half), as well as Mother’s Milk tea http://traditionalmedicinals.com/products/mothers-milk/ (really good, and helps my milk supply).

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On two different notes:

Yesterday Maggie was officially two months!

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And today is Autism Awareness Day http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/world-autism-awareness-day. Take time today to learn a little more about Autism. Or hug someone with Autism. I know I will.

Here are Maggie and I lighting the world blue.

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Do you know where my motivation is?

I’m a tall person. A very tall person. I’m also relatively thin; I have been my whole life (thanks Mom!). Actually, in high school I was extremely thin. And just a FYI: extremely tall + extremely thin = gangly awkwardness. The more I got into sports (especially basketball) I became more fit (and less freakishly skinny). I was toned, athletic, healthy and thin. I’ve always been 100% proud of my body. I honestly haven’t really had many complaints over the years.

Of course I’ve gained weight since high school – show me one person who hasn’t and I’ll give you a hundred bucks (or I may just curse them out?). I can’t say I worked out much in college (unless you count dancing on a Saturday night, or participating in drinking games as a workout?) yet, the scale never really went up. I slowly started to gain a little bit of weight starting around junior year in college. However, now that I’m 24 and not in my teens anymore, surprisingly my body gains weight a weee bit faster!

Now, I’m not writing this to brag about having a good metabolism. I’m also not writing this as a ‘skinny girl’ bitching and complaining about the extra weight I’ve gained since high school. I don’t have a problem with my gaining weight, I have a problem with the core problem: my laziness. I’m writing this because I have been hiding from the gym and neglecting work outs for…(I hate to say it)…months, and I need to do something about it. I envy people who love working out – who enjoy running, have a great time at yoga and spin until they can spin no more. I need that in my life.

I could blame my lack of motivation on a number of things:

1. The winter sucks and makes me want to hibernate

2. I work long hours and oftentimes my job can be pretty stressful. When I get home from a long day I just want to relax. Flip side? I’m not a morning person, so working out at 6am truthfully makes me want to upchuck

3. I don’t like any of the classes at my gym

4. The one class I did looooooooove (hip hop) got canceled and has since been replaced by a Zumba class taught by a woman who moves slower than a turtle

5. Bottom line, I feel like I haven’t found a class, activity or work out I love.

What I’m looking for, or think I need:

1. A hip hop class (they’re so much fun and I get a great workout!)

2. Possibly find a basketball team to play on? I also like to swim, so maybe look into the Y (somewhere with a pool) so I can incorporate that into my workout

3. I need to try to like yoga

4. I need to get into some sort of routine/schedule – i.e. Monday is hip hop, Tuesday is basketball, Wednesday is yoga, etc. This includes more sleep every night!

5. Bottom line, I need to just suck it up and get ‘er done!

The topic of body image has always fascinated me. A woman’s body is a beautiful thing. Too often we complain about our bodies, compare ourselves to other women, turn the pages of our latest fashion magazine with envy, try on outfit after outfit hating everything we put on and beat ourselves up over that cheeseburger and fries we enjoyed or the extra pound we’ve gained.

Our society tells us that thin is beautiful. Toned, tight bodies are what’s hot. What happened to individuality and unique bodies? I know I’m never going to be ‘perfect’ according to Hollywood (for example), but I know I can be perfect to me. What’s perfect? A healthy, in shape body. When I’m taking good care of myself (and yes, that includes still enjoying cheeseburger, fries, cupcakes, etc. every now and then) I feel great. I have more energy and I’m proud of myself.

I lost my motivation. It has run far, far away from me, but I know I can (and will) get it back.

PS: Currently accepting any suggestions, tips, advice, etc.! :)

A VS model isn’t happy with her body? Seriously?

I often see this woman on both the commuter rail as well as the shuttle I take from North Station to Kendall Square in the mornings. She seems very nice and is always friendly towards everyone. This morning I overheard her talking to someone about how ‘they’ were looking for a house in Newburyport. Isn’t it funny when you learn something about someone you don’t really know but you see everyday? I wanted to interrupt her conversation and say, ‘Wow, congratulations! I didn’t know you were looking for a house in Newburyport!’ Most likely she would have thought I was a weirdo… Anyway, not only did I see her on the train this morning, I saw her on the train this evening as well. After she got off, I saw that her husband was waiting for her. When he saw her his eyes lit up! She hurried over to him excitedly – both with big smiles – and grabbed onto each others hand. He started chatting right away, catching her up on all of today’s events. I heard them laughing and thought how wonderful this was to watch. I don’t know for a fact or anything, but my guess is that they’ve been married for a long time. They know each other like the back of their hand, and they still can’t wait to see each other after a long day at work. They still have so much to talk about and not only that, but their love for one another is still so evident, even a stranger can see it.

In other news…

No need to feel guilty for drinking too much coffee! Apparently there are plenty of benefits that come along with your morning cup, your mid-morning cup, your afternoon cup, your pre-commute home cup, etc. etc. etc.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2VINwp/www.bz9.com/benefits-of-coffee//r:t

Cafenation is the hot spot in Brighton to go for some coffee and crepes. Try it out -

http://ow.ly/1uHk2      http://cafenation.com/

A Victoria’s Secret model is not happy enough with her body? Is that a joke?

http://www.allure.com/beauty/blogs/reporter/2010/04/is-anyone-happy-with-their-bod.html

Come on? On one hand it’s like – how can she even say she wants ‘more of a booty’ that she’d be happy with that? She has a perfect body – she shouldn’t want more or less of anything! On the other hand, maybe she has a fast metabolism, is naturally thin and after losing baby weight had no shot of having curves. Maybe now she misses them and wants them back? Doubt she’ll go as far as gaining extra weight in order to get those curves back! I wanted to post this, because it truly goes to show you that you can be 5’10, 120lbs and still not be satisfied with your body. You can be 5’5 and 155lbs, or 4’11 130lbs, 5’8 185lbs, and you’re not happy with your body – you want to be skinnier, you want bigger boobs, you want a smaller waist, longer legs, more junk in your trunk and so forth. Wish for what you will, but remember, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Whether you’re happy with your body or not, setting a goal to run a race (be it a 5k, 10k, half-marathon, marathon) will definitely make you feel good about your body. You’ll feel strong and proud. Consider it…

And if you do consider it, remember that it’s not all about what your body can do, it’s also about what your mind can do. Here are a few pointers from MORE magazine that will help you keep your mental focus in tact during the race.

http://www.more.com/2029/4337-training-tip–sharpening-your-mental?sssdmh=dm17.440999&esrc=halfmarathon_Wk7&email=2450190409

And with that, I’ll leave you with this:

Remember my friends and I went to Shecky’s Girl’s Night Out? Well, my beautiful, trend setting friend Christine (X) made their website in her awesome red coat! Check her out -

http://www.sheckys.com/fashion/slideshow/boston_trend_report_7886-4.asp#read_article

It’s been a long one – time for bed! Goodnight :)