How it’s going

Hi Friends!

So as I posted last week, I am working on being more conscious and mindful of my food and fitness choices. I really want to feel my best as I enter the next phase of my life as a post-grad. To start being more aware of what I eat and how I feel, I am making it a goal to write it all down (and snap photos when possible). Food journaling is not just a useful tool to watch calories but it also helps to monitor how certain foods make you feel–energetic, tired, bloated, calm, etc. Our bodies are very intuitive; we often eat or avoid foods that make us feel less than stellar. Unfortunately, we we are busy, overworked, and overstressed we eat for comfort and for what is convienient and appealing. We rarely stop to ask our bodies “what do you want to eat right now” and “how does that food make me feel.” Enter, the food journal. By journaling our food, we stop and let become more aware, more mindful, and hopefully more health conscious. The goal of journaling is to realize that fruits and vegetables make you feel more energetic and full of life than thpizza and chips. So what are some of my recent eats?

Grilled Chicken Salad with brown rice

Eggs and oats, a breakfast staple

Almond butter and banana open-faced sandwich and apple, both topped with cinnamon!

A blurry picture of tonight’s salad topped with an avocado and turkey burger. Glass of sangria on the side to celebrate the arrival of summer weather 🙂

Tell me: what are your breakfast, lunch and dinner staples?? I am in need of fresh ideas!

-Em

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Recommitment to Self

Hi Friends!

I know it’s been quite a while, I have missed being here! So many times I have been wanting to write and share things with all of you but I kept letting life get in the way. I am just under a month from my last graduate class and 39 days until graduation, but hey, who’s counting 🙂

With those big milestones coming up, and my impending entry into the real world, I have been thinking deeply about what I want for my life moving forward. I am still lost on the job search aspect but I am taking the time to look at that critically. I am unable to move out anytime soon, however, I am considering where I will want that to be and with whom I want to live. I have also begun to think about my health; my commitment to having a fit mind and body. I know that I should be taking care of myself better: eating more fruits and veggies, finding exercise that give me strength and vitality, getting enough sleep on a regular basis, and having a more consistent mindfulness/meditation practice. 

With a month to go until the end of grad school, the time is now. I am starting today, to take better care of and be more gentle with myself. I would like to share my journey with all of you. I will be posting as often as I can different meals, workouts, thoughts and musings. Until then, here’s a picture of my family and I after my big brother, Dan, was sworn in as a firefighter last week:

Image

Be well and talk to you soon!!

 

xoxox

Em

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2011 Highlights

Hi Friends,

Happy New Year!!! How was your NYE? Mine was a great night of dancing and drinking out in Boston with some of my favorite people. Pictures were not taken but we had lots of laughs the whole night and memories were definitely made.

Yesterday as I got ready for NYE, I started thinking back over the past year. I wanted to look back through my posts from 2011 and I was really amazed at the changes that I have gone through in the past year. I honestly feel that I am such a different person than I was a year ago; this year has been filled with ups and downs but I’ve learned much about myself and my own personal strength. I’ve also to try to let go of feeling the need for control and to spend more time focusing on the positive parts of life. On that note, here are the highlights from 2011:

Birthday celebrations with my girl friends 🙂

Mountain views at Sugarloaf in Maine

Views of Mount Washington from WildCat Mountain in New Hampshire

Spring skiing at Sugarloaf with my Aunt MaryAnn and Jackie (it was in the 40’s this day!)

I became a Warrior!!! My best friend Jenna and I after the Warrior Dash 🙂

Beachy days with Jackie

Fun on the 4th!

Seeing my aunt alive and well after a really scary car crash

Celebrating 24 with the people that I love 🙂

My first summertime trip to my aunt’s farm in Maine

I had a fabulous time with my family and friends at Jackie’s big sister’s wedding

Starting my internship, which has been incredible and challenging, and also taught me the new skill of riding a dirt bike with a clutch 🙂

I ran my first 10k!!!! I trained for and ran the Tufts 10k for Women this past fall and it was incredible 🙂 Can’t wait for more!

Got smurfed on Halloween 🙂

Ran a 5-miler on Thanksgiving! Was definitely amazed at how far my running has come, my first 5k was two years ago that day and this year I kicked up my milage and speed 🙂

Had a family reunion with my Dad’s side of the family (minus a few)

And another the cousins on my mom’s side of the family (minus my cousin Brian)

I saw SANTA!!! And Jackie and I took an awkward, “we’re scared of Santa” photo 🙂

Tell me your favorite 2012 memories; link to your list if you’d like 🙂

Happy 2012!

xoxo

Em

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Friday Fitness Survey

Hi Friends!

How has your Friday been?? Mine has been a very on the go day! I went out Christmas Shopping with my mom and Aunt:

(The two of them on our trip to California in 2010)

We went to Target, HomeGoods, Sports Authority, Marshall’s, The Hallmark Store, Payless, and Trade Joes! I actually did not do too much buying, just a pari of Champion yoga pants (in short!) from Target for my mom and a few random items from HomeGoods for myself 🙂 My shopping is pretty easy this year, just my mom, dad, brother, and god daughter. I helped my mom pick out a few gifts including a gift for my little cousin, Abby, inspired by Pinterest!

Such a cute gift idea for an aspiring baker 🙂

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I am currently on the couch with some tea, gearing up for my first Friday night out in Boston in over a month! Being a grad student, I am definitely not a typical, social 20-something on my weekends. That being said, I am really excited to be getting out tonight with some of my good friends. Before heading out I wanted to share a survey that I have been seeing around the blog-world today, enjoy!

Five Fitness Things I Can’t Live Without:

  • Body Pump
  • Running
  • Spinning
  • Yoga
  • Skiing

Most Embarrassing Song I Listen to While Working Out:

There is nothing that I listen to that I am ashamed of but one of my greatest workout tracks has to be “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” by Wham!

Favorite Pre-Workout Snack or Meal:

Original Puffins…I go really light before I workout

On My Fitness Bucket List:

  • 10-miler or 15-k
  • Bike race
  • Hiking Mt. Washington
  • Skiing out west or abroad

Must Have Tech Tools:

  • iPod
  • MapMyRun App

Top Exercise Gear:

Motivational Mantras:

  • Running is a privilege
  • You’re stronger than you know

Favorite Cardio Exercise:

  • Running
  • Spinning
  • Walking

Favorite Strength Moves:

  • Chest Presses and Fly’s
  • Squats
  • Planks

That’s all, fill it out and leave me a comment with the link!! Happy Friday!!!

-Em

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On This Thanksgiving…

I woke up early and donned an outfit of spandex:

I posed for pre-race pictures with friends, in the 28 degree sunshine!

I ran 5 miles in 46:34, a PR for my first 5-miler 🙂 Oh, and the ocean views were gorgeous!

I came home and watched the parade with my lively and loving family:

I eventually took a shower and got dolled up:
I went into the garage to enjoy the food and family, under the Christmas lights:

I filled my plate with GF pork stuffing, brussels sprouts, kale, sqaush, and turkey, of course! With soup and sangria on the side 🙂

I raised a glass to my wonderful family who have loved and supported me, especially in the ups and downs of the last two years:

I looked over at my grandparents and was thankful that they have been there for so many of the big events of my life:
I admired and was thankful for my good genes, as proof by my 93 year old Grammy:

 And I witnessed a pardoned turkey and that put a smile on my face:

Unphotographed was the two servings of gluten- and dairy-free pumpkin pie and pear and cranberry crisp that I gobbled up 🙂

Tell me: what did you do to be thankful this year?

-Em

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Full-Day Wednesdays

Good evening friends!

Happy Hump Day! How has yours been? As usual, mine are a bit long but I was well prepared. The night before long days, I usually prep my lunch and dinner and have my bags packed. The less I have to do in the morning, the better. I woke up around 7 7:30 for an 8:30 spin class at the gym. Since our gym switched over to Les Mills classes (the company that creates Body Pump), there’s a few 30 minute spin classes which I love; they are quick, intense, and make me feel like I can get in my fitness without loosing my whole morning. After spin I came home and had a solid 2 hours to have breakfast, get ready, and transition to internship mode.

The great thing about afternoon-evening hours at my site is that I avoid traffic=way less stress. Traffic is just one of  those things that gets me frustrated…I know, I’m working on it 🙂 I got in at 11:45 for a 12 meeting, just enough time to prep my materials for my evening group to give myself a 15 minute break after the meeting. It’s all about the prep, people! I think I’ve mentioned this before, but my group involves an incentive program using dirt bike with middle school kids. Until this year, I had never rode a dirt bike or anything with a clutch for that matter. I struggle with new activities when I don’t pick up on them quickly; this is definitely an activity that is both new and challenging. I was feeling a bit less stressed about our group because my supervisor was co-leading a training, taking some of the pressure and responsiblity on me. The group went really well…until the point where the bike got away from me and I went crashing down on my shin. 

I’ll spare you the actual road rash pictures, they’re not pretty! It was a tough moment; trying to be a leader while wanting to cry my eyes out. Thankfully, my supervisor is a great group leader and amazing in a crisis; she delegated, redirected, and calmed me down. The great thing about middle school kids (yes, they are great!!) is that they are able to feel empathy without making it a huge deal; they under-react and move on quickly. I was grateful for my supervisors presence and even more grateful that my late evening client canceled. I drove my bum legged self home and reheated my pre-prepped dinner:

This is one of my favorite meals on the go: brown rice with steamed veggies, almonds, craisins, and today some fresh mango. I top it off with some Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (the gluten-free/health food alternative to soy sauce) and I’m good. Total prep time for this meal is about 15-20 minutes tops: 5 minute rice, chop the veggies, steam them in the microwave, throw together almonds and you’re good. It’s also great because it doesn’t necessarily need refrigeration thanks to it being meat-free.

Right now I have a full stomach, an elavated and iced leg, and am catching up on DVRed Parenthood (instead of being with a family therapy client…almost seems wrong).

Tell me: when was the last time you took a major spill?? Are you a klutz? I know I am!!

lots of love,

Emily

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Self-Care Series: Sleeping

Hi Friends,

I realize that I often talk about my own self-care practices on the blog but only in little snippets. My goal with this series is to take a look at different aspects and forms of self-care and help to explain how they work and how they can work for you. Although I am not an expert on any of these topics, I feel the information and experience I have gathered is something to be shared. Please leave me comments or messages regarding feedback about my posts or any question or insight you may have!

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Sleep is essentially the bodies way to recharge and repair at the end of each day. To function at our best, experts suggest between 6-9 hours, depending on the person. Sleep is not just about quantity, however, it’s the quality that is important. Lately, I have been struggling to get quality sleep; while I am in bed 7-8 hours each night, I am often waking up and not getting into “deep-sleep.” This problem has lead me to examine my sleep habits and my sleeping environment; there are many factors about sleep that can be controlled for and lead to a better and more restful nights sleep.

1. Make your sleep space a place of comfort and relaxation:

A great sleep space has to appeal to you visually and also be functional. A good set of sheets and a comfortable mattress (or mattress pad) and pillows can do a lot to improve your sleep. You want sheets that can breathe and a pillow that supports your sleep style (side, back, or stomach sleepers each require different types of pillows).

2. Scents can be helpful to induce sleep and relaxation:

Lavender is a great scent for helping to induce sleep; I used Trader Joe’s Lavender Hand and Body Lotion. Some people prefer to use candles, oils, or linen sprays; any of these are great as long as they work for you. The purpose of having a scent, such as lavender, is twofold: not only does it help to illicit relaxation but it also is also a way to associate a certain smell with sleep.

3. A calming activity, such as reading or meditation, can be helpful in transitioning from a busy day to sleep.

The two things I do before getting in bed are a few minutes of deep breathing and a bit of leisure reading. Deep breathing, stretching, and meditation are great ways to calm the mind and body. Relaxation techniques such as these, when practiced regularly, are shown to relax the body in the midst of stress and anxiety. Leisure reading is also a great way to escape the events of our own lives and get wrapped up in some other place or space. The books I keep by my bed are light novels, inspiring self-help types (really recommend The Happiness Project), and the Bible.

4. Create separate spaces for separate activities.

To read, I sit in my chair with low lighting c/o my lap:

To do work I sit at my desk:

Separating spaces of work, relaxation, and sleep is so important. In my psych classes, I’ve heard several times that the bed is the place for only two things…and well, we’ve been talking a lot about one so I think you can guess the other! Living in my parents house, the only space I can really claim as my own is my room, so I have to make the most of it! That means having a desk/work area, a big comfy chair for reading and tv-watching, and of course my bed for sleeping. Your bed needs to be a place that you associate with sleep; if you find yourself waking in the night for longer than 20 minutes, the best solution is to get out of bed until you are tired again.

5. Fill your space with objects and images that give you peace:

My seaglass and seashell collection; a remind of my favorite getaway, the beach 🙂

Having items around your room that bring up positive images and memories is a great way to create a relaxing environment. The items can be souvenirs, photos, inspiring quotes, or framed pictures; any items that conjure up good feelings. I like to collect quotes and sometimes buy cards or paintings with inspiring sayings; good thoughts for good dreams. A great source for these is Quotable Cards which I love to buy single ones of and frame them.

A final tip is to dress for comfort; clothing and room temperature really matter in terms of good sleep. Your room should be cooler than 68 degrees and be mindful of having too many clothing layers, which can cause you to wake up feeling over heated. Having a great nights sleep requires different things for different people, but having a peaceful and relaxing place is a great start.

Tell me: what helps you relax and be reading for bedtime?

Have a great night and get some rest!

lots of love,

Em

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