Friday, August 23, 2013

Real Talk 
So life has been a bit weird lately. It's been full of good stuff...but it's also been full of kind of meh stuff. I *hate* the word "funk" and when people describe themselves/others as being "in a funk" but since I don't have a better alternative, that's what I'll go with. Hi my name is Kayla, and I'm officially in a funk.

I've got a lot going on right now. I graduated a week ago and am trying to balance finding a job with getting ready for the wedding with getting ready to move. These are all exciting things (getting married is definitely at the top of the exciting things list) but for some reason I just don't feel like my normal self. I think a lot of it is stemming from not knowing what the heck I want to do with my life now that I'm finally done with college. I've always had such clear career goals (they would change, but at least I always had something) and now I don't. I totally get that a lot of graduates feel this way, but it sucks and I just wish I could get some sort of answer. I feel like I need to do some serious soul-searching but haven't actually read any cool self help books or listened to any inspirational speeches. I'm 23 and I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

And with the wedding, I just feel so overwhelmed with ideas and things to do and expectations and sometimes when I get that way, I just sort of shut down and don't do a darn thing. So here I am, the wedding less than a month and a half away, and I'm just casually visiting my parents and avoiding any sort of responsibility regarding wedding planning. It's just not as carefree as they make it seem in the movies. I truly can't put into words how happy I will be to be freaking MARRIED, get to see family and friends I haven't had the chance to see in ages, and celebrate this incredible day with everyone, but I wish the whole planning-a-party part of it would plan itself. (Please note: I am a control freak and everyone has been so generous with offering to help. I am not at the stage of acceptance yet. Talk to me in a month, though.)

Then the whole moving in 2 weeks thing. I just feel like I have to pack and organize and get rid of things and figure out what furniture we need and how to decorate and how we're going to actually make time to move everything up three flights of stairs (yes, watching an A&M game IS more important than moving in on the actual move-in date) and on and on. I want our first home together to be perfect!

And now let's get to my health. My eating and exercise habits have just been awful since graduation. I'm not even craving healthy foods...I'm starting to get to the point where I am so stressed that I'm not even that hungry to begin with, but when I am hungry please just give me a cookie and a coffee. I did exercise for the first time in over a week today and it felt darn good, but I really had to force myself. It didn't come as easy as it did a few months ago, and that bums me out. 

I guess the whole point of this is to say that I feel like I've taken some steps backward and am just standing there, unable to do what it takes to move forward again. Hopefully exercising tonight was a baby step in the right direction again. 

If anyone does have any suggestions on how you are able to get out of a "funk," feel free to share! Goodness knows I'd love to hear some success stories here.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The End of the Bikini Series

Well guys, it's been quite the Bikini Series! I can't believe it ended on Friday. It was bittersweet, for sure. I feel like I progressed so much in the past what, 10 weeks?, than I have in the past 5 years. I can't wait to share my story!

As you can tell, the 7DSD ended early...mid-Day 5, to be exact. I've always had a hard time sticking to a strict eating plan, even if it's just for a short set amount of time. I can totally see myself giving it my all before my wedding but I just couldn't this time. I would have been disappointed in myself, but I accomplished some other incredible stuff this Bikini Series that really just meant so much more to me.

This past weekend I made a trip to see my fiance and man, did I fall off the wagon. The weekend was perfect but it involved a lot of non-TIU approved foods and no exercise whatsoever. Isn't it funny (but not funny at all) how everyone feels awful after they've been eating right and working out for weeks and then they have a bad long weekend and it's like all of their progress is gone? That's how I kind of feel right now. I know that's not true at all and I think realizing that in itself is really important. Knowing I can make myself a cup of mint tea tonight, set my alarm for an early morning BC tomorrow and start fresh is incredible. 10 weeks ago, I would've said 'so what, what good will that do?' But now I know that slip-ups are a part of life and being able to bounce back strong is the true test.

I have a week left of summer school and I'm turning the weekdays into a 9-5 job. What a thought, huh, living like the majority of the TIU girls out there?! I'll be waking up early for my BC's, "working" throughout the day, completing my PM workout and relaxing at night. I'm kind of looking forward to trying out this new routine, especially since I'm praying to be in the position of having a full-time job by the end of the summer!

This post is kind of all over the place, but I just wanted to check-in! Now excuse me while I go peruse the new TIU shop...!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

7DSD: Day 2 + Day 3

Oh hello again! I'm going to keep this short and sweet because I have to get to bed. #grandmastatus so I can wake up and start my day off right with a BC! Day 2 of the 7DSD was Sunday and it was pretty great. I logged a lot of miles and kept it LC&G! I added some almond butter to my banana at lunch but other than that, I think I stuck to the plan pretty well. Not too much to say! It was Father's Day so not eating the homemade apple crisp my momma made was hard, but I successfully resisted the temptation.
Day 3 of the 7DSD was yesterday, Monday, and man was it rough. It started off so well with a long walk, some of the daily challenges incorporated throughout my morning while doing homework, and healthy meals through M3. But after that, my stomach went crazy on me. I tried to nap it off because I was also exhausted but I couldn't even sleep I was having such bad pains. I had to get in the car and drive an hour away to take a test for my online class, and I ended up stopping to get ginger ale and crackers at a gas station. Neither really helped that I know of, and of course I should've made myself a mug of ginger tea or something instead! Anyways, my eating went out the window along with my exercise yesterday which was a bummer, but it didn't get me down...I let myself sleep in and then had a great day today :)

I'm hoping to get back to my 30 Day Push soon. School work completely took over and everything "extra" was kind of pushed aside these past few days. Yikes!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

7DSD, Day 1

Welllllll, this slim down was off to a rocky start. I kind of anticipated that, though, and I'm proud of how well I did considering! My best friend came into town to visit! I splurged a little when we went out to eat at a cajun restaurant last night (and my momma introduced me to a "Sloe Gin Fizz"...oh yes, I loved it) and then went to the movies and indulged in some candy. Does anyone else have those Wonka candy machines in their movie theaters or malls? They are so cool and gimmicky and suck me right in. Oh and we saw "This Is the End" which was hilarious, but probably only if you're obsessed with the Superbad cast (we are). 

Today we woke up and I made us some protein pancakes with unsweetened coconut and pineapple mixed in because I didn't have any berries to make the 7DSD ones yet. I made some mini ones to take with me as M2 and M4, and ate some grapefruit with coffee and a Bombshell Shot. Then, we hit up my town's downtown for some light shopping. I was even able to pass up candy and free samples (5 points for Kayla!). At lunch, I wanted to take her to my favorite downtown spot which I know has salads. I kind of figured there would be a tuna or other fish salad option, but there wasn't. And then I saw "vegetarian migas" and just had to get that instead, along with a soy capp. Oops! But I kept thinking, it could have been worse.

Afterwards, we headed to TJ's and Whole Foods to do some shopping...because I'm pretty sure we enjoy a little luxurious grocery shopping more than any other kind of shopping. They're kind of a drive from my parents' house so I don't get to go that often. Both places were packed! I picked up the new (to me) tropical Zico, eggplant hummus, tempeh ($2?!), and face moisturizer ($4?!?!?) at TJ's and then some bulk items, a locally made kombucha to try, and a mini packet of coconut butter to try at WF. We indulged in some Dunkin Donuts (we're both from the northeast where they were on every in Texas, it's a rare sight to behold) to pick up some 99 cent iced coffee, which we both ordered black. Oh yeah! 

For dinner, I ate a pre-made black bean burger and edamame. I'm planning on making the black bean burgers from the TIU plan tomorrow to have for the week, along with my tempeh, tofu, and Gardein chicken for protein. I went for a long walk as a study break tonight and it was just perfect. You know those walks/runs where you just feel like you're in that scene from (500) Days of Summer where everyone's so happy and dancing? It was just a glorious evening walk. Then, the song "On Top of the World" by Imagine Dragons came on my shuffle and I actually listened to the words for the first time and the second verse just clicked so hard...

"I've tried to cut these corners
Tried to take the easy way out
I kept on falling short of something

I could've gave up then but
Then again I couldn't have 'cause
I've traveled all this way for something"

Bear with me, because I realize this is starting to sound like an AIM profile circa 2005. But you know those songs that you hear in a whole new way, or actually listen to the lyrics, and you just feel like YES that is me, that's my life! I love music because of that. When it just clicks, it's perfection. 

Anyways, hearing that combined with the chorus was just so inspiring to me. For so long I really have been just trying to take the easiest road...whether that's because of pure laziness or just because I didn't believe in myself, who knows. There's so many times I have given up and given in to those negative feelings about what I made of myself and my life. But I'm so glad I never fully gave up because now I'm finally starting to get back to that determined girl I used to be, but even better than her, really. I'm starting to feel so darn good about where I'm at in life. I'm starting to worry less about what other people think and starting to worry more about myself and my goals. It's kinda great!

Okay /end mushiness. Like I said, it was a rocky day, but one that ended on a high note. Hope everyone else who is doing the 5DSD or 7DSD is rocking it, too!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

30 Day Push: Day 3

Today requires you to create a list of 10 goals that you want to accomplish within the next year. Here we go!

1. Head up an organization at church and truly live my faith.
2. Get down to 120 pounds.
3. Pay off half of my student loan debt.
4. Save/invest at least 20% of my paychecks.
5. Travel around the U.S. and to a few countries.
6. Build an incredibly strong relationship with my future husband.
7. Find a job that allows me to help others.
8. Start a successful blog.
9. Go back to school.
10. Maintain a strong relationship with my friends and family, and continue to make new friends!

My #1 goal that will help me achieve the rest is the second half of #1 up there. Oh yeah!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

30 Day Push: Day 2

The second day of this challenge is all about determining your priorities. Chalene says in the video that this is the day a lot of people kind of mess up on, or don't really understand. I watched the other video she recommends to learn more about what she thinks are the foundation points of your life. There is also a worksheet to fill out, with the first part being a "Priority Brainstorm." I decided to focus on the areas of my life I want to work on and exclude the ones I have a pretty good handle on at the time (what she calls, "intrinsic priorities"), such as my relationships and workouts (I think they've become a solid part of my daily routine).

1. Reading and learning everything possible about the local food movement, farmers markets, gardening, rooftop farms, etc. *
2. Reading and learning everything possible about health, nutrition, and fitness. *
3. Spending time daily with God, in prayer, reading the Bible, and in Adoration. *
4. Cooking and eating as clean as possible every single day. *
5. Searching and applying for postgrad jobs every day. *
6. Deciding if I want to go back to school within the next year or so and what I would want my concentration to be.

Next, you're asked to star the top 5 areas of importance (which I did above).

After that, you're asked to write down your top 3 priorities using kind of ambiguous language and in no particular order. I decided to mesh some of them together.

1. Read about the topics of food and health that interest me every day. Use what I learn to help me eat cleaner.
2. Spend time praising God every day.
3. Search for a job and make my future a priority.

Next, rewrite the list in order of importance to you.

1. Spend time praising God every day.
2. Search for a job and make my future a priority.
3. Read about the topics of food and health that interest me every day. Use what I learn to help me eat cleaner.

Take the number one priority and complete the following statements.

The reason why I have placed the greatest importance on this area of my life is because: I truly believe that God has a plan for me and will lead me in the right direction if I listen to Him and let Him.

I will honor my number one priority by vowing to do my best to always: remembering to pray and set time aside in my busy life to build a relationship with Him.

The following action(s) would be inconsistent with my commitment to my number one priority: Believing that I can do everything in my life by myself, without the help of God and others. Failing to thank God for my blessings, and failing to help others experience blessings of their own.

To honor my number on priority I will limit: pushing my beliefs to the back of my mind. I do this so much and they really should be the at the forefront.

To live my life according to my number one priority I need to make the following changes: I need to set aside even just 10 minutes a day for prayer and contemplation. I need to be willing to allow God to show me what I need to see, and stop being so reluctant to listen.

Finally, you're asked to create a "Top Priority Clarity Statement."

My number one priority is building my relationship with God. I believe that learning more about my faith as a Christian and my Church as a Catholic will allow me to strengthen other areas of my life, specifically how I see my body (and how I wish to treat it and take care of it) and my relationship with my future husband. My life is always so wonderful when I have spent a consistent amount of time on this in the past and I want to make it a permanent part of my life.

Whew! If you read through all of that, thanks! So far I'm really liking this program and can't wait to keep following it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

30 Day Push: Day 1

I seriously love the TIU Community. Everyone knows just the right thing to say in every situation, amiright? Anyways, a few girls recommended checking out Chalene Johnson's 30 Day Push in which you sign up for this free program to realize and achieve your dreams. Sounds great, count me in!

Day 1 requires jotting down what we want to be known for, what are values our, etc. Sidenote: love that this only takes 5-10 minutes a day. I hope I'm not reading too far into this challenge, but here is what I came up with:

1. I want to be seen as a role model for others in regards to health and fitness. I want to inspire others to take care of their bodies and families.
2. I want to be a strong woman who is fully capable of doing things for myself. Don't get me wrong, I am probably a bigger fan of chivalry than feminism (oops) but I don't want my future marriage to prevent me from learning all of those important things single women in their 20s need to know when living on their own!
3. I want to discover what it is that I want to do with my life. For so long now, the idea of doing something to fight childhood obesity (and adult obesity) has been lingering in my mind. But what do I do exactly? What kind of career allows me to do that?
4. I want to become an even greater woman of faith. I want to do more than just thank God for my blessings and go about my day. I want to really grow in a relationship with Him, and frankly that gets put on the back burner more often than it should.
5. (This should be more up towards the top but...) I want to be healthy. Learning to make exercise a part of my everyday life and choosing LC&G options over junk is something I just know I need to make a priority. If I'm happy and healthy, I will be able to help others around me, too.

Woohoo, Day 1 is complete!

Motivation Station

...or lack thereof.
{my unmotivated face. cute, I know.}
Do you ever have those days where you just can't bring yourself to do anything? I feel like I have those days more often than I would like. I like to think I am able to keep a fairly positive attitude even when my motivation is absolutely lacking, but still. This morning, for example, I decided to do some HIIT and dance type Blogilates videos for my morning cardio. After getting through one video though, I just did not want to keep going which stinks because I thought I was motivated to work out!

Honestly, it has always been difficult for me to find my drive. I have loving parents who never pressured me or pushed me to be something I'm not. I found the most incredible man who loves me no matter what and has never had a complaint about the way I eat or look. I don't have any serious health concerns that I need to be helping. Believe me, I consider myself very blessed because of all of this. So where is the motivation?

Joining Tone It Up and transforming my life really has to come from inside me, and lately it's been getting harder and harder to know that I'm doing this for my own benefit. I don't want to say I feel guilty for putting so much energy into myself (I'm an only child, so this is nothing new! Kidding, kidding...kind of) but in a weird way I kind of do. Or shouldn't I be doing other things like reading, working, or helping out others more? It's also getting harder to resist comparing myself to others. All of the TIU girls who are able to fit in their workouts and then some every day make me wish I had the motivation and drive to do the same. I admire you all so much, but I just can't find it in myself to really challenge myself.

I think I'm just having one of those off days, but I find comfort in writing all of this out because I know I'm not the only one who loses their motivation now and then. For those of you reading this, where do you find your motivation? What pushes you to work hard when you feel like just laying in bed and watching tv?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Oh, hi there! & Summer Bucket List

{gotta have that cliche beach picture ;)}

Well well well, it's been awhile, huh? I'm just going to throw this out there right now: I am the WORST at time management. As I type this, I'm thinking about all these other things I need to do and feel like it's just impossible. It's really challenging to find that balance in life and to make journaling/blogging a priority! Has anyone ever tried any of those programs that help you realize just how much time you're spending doing non-important things in order to make more time in your life for important things? I need to get on one of those, stat.

A little life update real quick: I'm taking 2 summer classes, keeping up with the Bikini Series, freaking out about how much wedding planning there still needs to be done, and freaking out about what I want to do with my life once I graduate in a few months. Oh, and then there's this whole thing called summer and being home with my parents for the last time as an unhitched lady and wanting to spend a ton of time doing fun things with them. It's crazy, I tell you! I really really really give all the credit in the world to people who can successfully manage their time well. The people who have a cool blog, a great marriage, 5 kids, are involved with their church and kids' school, and are writing a book on the side. WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?! Share all your superhuman secrets with us please?

So far, this Bikini Series has just been incredible. I'm starting to see major changes in my body and I'm really feeling great. Right now my back is killing me from the new arm workout. I don't think my back has ever hurt this bad due to muscular's kinda cool! Anyways, I'm having a great time "getting to know" everyone through Instagram and Twitter which is so crazy because I really do feel like I have all these new little friends that if there was some huge Tone It Up convention, we'd all meet in person for the first time and it would be like we've known one another for ages! Does that make sense? There should totally be a Tone It Up convention. And of course I'm loving keeping in touch with my accountability partner. I feel like if we lived closer than a plane ride away, we would be real life besties. It's so cool connecting with someone like that, and I'm so glad TIU brought us together! /end cheesiness

Wow, look at me just rambling on! How about a very belated TIU Bucket List?! Okay! (Starting with the real wishy things, and ending with the things I know will happen but it's just fun to put them on there too!)

My TIU Summer 2013 Bucket List
1. Go to the beach. I haven't been to a beach in like, 2 summers. And I have a super cute new bathing suit I need to wear at a beach and not just a pool.
2. Get a massage or a facial. I've never gotten either and they just sound so luxurious  And with sites like Groupon, I feel like I could actually treat myself at a reasonable cost. 
3. Complete C25K/Run a 5K! Oh my gosh, I'm almost there. Pretty sure I'm going to cry the first time I run a 5K without stopping. Oh yeahhh.
4. Be confident in summer clothes. Shorts, tank tops, and bikinis! Heck yeah I'm going to feel good :)
5. Take a road trip to somewhere new and/or CAMPING. My fiance and I have been talking about going camping for so long now and we just haven't bit the bullet. But I want tooooooo.
6. Finish 3 books. I am notorious for going to a library, checking out 10 books, and then just letting them sit there until they're due. I want to love reading again and there's plenty of books that I know will help me to!
7. Plan this wedding! It'll come together, I know it.
8. GRADUATE. Still don't want to think too much about this until summer classes are over and I get my grades but please!

Whew! And one more thing... I want to say a ginormous thank you to everyone I've met through TIU. I know this has been said a lot by everyone, but I really and truly mean it from the bottom of my heart. Everyone's story is so inspiring and your kind words are just all that it takes to get me through a rough workout. I can't imagine being without this community. 

Love you all, goodnight from deep in the heart of Texas!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bikini Series Goals, Revisited

 If it's important to you, you will find a way to accomplish it. #inspiration #truth #goals #quotes #life
{gotta love corny quotes!}
Whew, it's been awhile! This Bikini Series has had its ups and downs for me (mostly ups, I'm happy to say) and it has really pushed me more than I've been pushed in years. I've been a lousy goal setter in the past, but I want to change that...especially for the remainder of this incredible series! Here are my 3 realistic, attainable goals:

1. Eat fruits and/or veggies with every M1, M3, & M5.
I'm really struggling with the whole LC&G thing here. Truthfully, I'm a vegetarian that has a hard time eating vegetables unless they are disguised in a green smoothie. I'm finally starting to realize that exercise is only a small aspect of changing my body and that in order to see results, I need to clean out my diet. One cannot live on Clif bars alone! ;)

2. Fit in 2.5 miles of cardio every day.
After last week, I'm quite behind on #100BySummer. I really need to be doing 3.5-4 miles per day! I don't want to overload myself though, especially since my miles can only be achieved walking or jogging because I'm without gym equipment for the next month. I will still be continuing my C25K program (on week 5 now, whaddup!) and will also sneak in extra walks with my parents.

3. Complete at least 2 toning and/or stretching routines every day.
Between the Tone It Up routines and my newfound love/hate relationship with Blogilates...there are a TON of toning and stretching routines out there I'd like to try! I have a love/hate relationship with toning and realize there is still a lot of work to be done. I want to feel strong at the end of this series! I feel myself getting stronger, but not strong enough yet.

Well, there they are! I'm excited to tackle the next 24 days with these goals in mind. I'm taking one summer class now and will be adding another one to my plate on June 6th, so it'll be tricky to try to balance it all but I'm confident it's completely possible with the help of my wonderful TIU sisters!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

I Survived!

Typographic Print, Digital Print Typography, Inspirational Quote Wall Decor, Retro Wall Hanging, Motivational Quote Wall Art Digital Print
{awesome quote from this etsy shop}

Please excuse the melodramatic title, but that's kind of really how I feel about this past week. I had finals, final projects, lots of work, some bad news about how I did on my finals, an event in which my car broke down, a phone call in which I was told my car isn't even fixable and needs to just be donated somewhere, and a lot of other miniscule stressors I won't bore everyone with.

But there was plenty of good things that happened, too! I get a small break from classes, I got so spend more time working out, I got to meet a TIU sister in real life, my fiance graduated, and my parents come into town to visit. Yay! However, these 2 sets of events made this week feel like one big roller coaster ride. Here's a secret: I am not a big fan of roller coasters...real or symbolic. I hate feeling like I'm not in control. In situations like these, I really struggle with just letting go and offering up all of my frustration to God. I've gotten better and don't hold on to the bad things as long as I used to, but it's still a struggle. I've mentioned this before, but seriously every time I see my TIU sisters' positivity, either expressed directly to me or just as an individual expression in the form of a tweet or picture on Instagram, I can't help but feel lifted up. I think this community really helped me more than I thought it could this past week, even if I was lurking the majority of the time and not interacting as much as normal.

I've had some major achievements this week which I would like to quickly celebrate! I still exercised *almost* every day, and when I was able to dedicate more time than normal to a workout, I did. I really do feel myself getting stronger and slowly more toned. And I am craving workouts! I actually want to be working towards my goal of running more or being able to do more than 2 burpees in a row. I am starting to have a major love/hate relationship with planks and TIU tummy tucks. The girl who hated exercising is starting to actually like it!

I've also been eating way better than I would be if I had gone through all of this a month ago. I've definitely indulged a little but resisted the more processed/starchy options and gone for more fruit and veggies instead when making my plate of food. I've been taking the buns off of my veggie burgers from our favorite restaurant, and I ate eggs and potatoes that were not in a tortilla yesterday at brunch. Things like that have been a struggle, but I realize how much lighter I am feeling now without eating all of those starchy carbs every single day.

I can't wait to get the new schedule tomorrow and make a meal plan to go along with it. I'm looking forward to conquering this week! Even though the craziness is far from over, there's just something about starting "over" with a plan at the beginning of the week that makes me feel confident I'll be able to keep it up and kick my working out and eating right up a notch.

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend and celebrating their achievements, no matter how small they might seem :) You guys rock!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Next Chapter

{from here}
Hello hello! How are all of you Beach Babes doing on this fine Tuesday afternoon?! I'm doing fabulous! Why am I in such a good mood, you ask? Because...FINALS ARE OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There are not enough exclamation marks in the world to describe my happiness. Okay I guess they're not technically over for me yet, I do have one last online final due by Thursday, but I'm not as worried about it. And I get to complete it in the comfort of my yoga pants and oversized shirt. Oh who am I kidding, I definitely went and took my final today wearing that ;)

If we're being completely honest here, this was a rough semester for me. I know this is about to sound complain-y and I don't mean it to, but I took 21 credit hours, worked 2 jobs of about 25 hours a week, and tried to start some wedding planning on the side. It was absolutely insane, and while I love the pressure of a busy schedule, my grades were pretty difficult to keep up with compared to previous semesters. I have felt pretty gloomy leaving my exams this past week because I just don't feel confident about how I did on finals and this semester as a whole in 2 of my 6 classes. I'll be cutting it close and I absolutely hate that. But there's nothing I can do about it now besides move forward and accept whatever is given to me--even if it means having to retake a class over the summer.

The cool thing about this round of exams was that I continued to eat fairly healthy and work out throughout them all, which I believe helped lead to a positive attitude! I usually give into eating greasy tacos and pizza while studying, and then feeling sorry for myself if I don't do so well on the exams, but not this time! In high school I was so good about keeping a positive attitude. That started to decline over the years, but I have found it creeping back into my life!

I'm ready to kick the Bikini Series into full swing now that I won't have such a busy schedule! Although I've been following the vast majority of the workouts, I haven't been dedicating the amount of time to them that I've been wanting to. I am still (and probably will always be!) constantly inspired by the TIU community and my wonderful accountability partner. Every time I check Instagram, I want to try a new healthy recipe or workout--it's amazing!

I have big plans for the remainder of the Bikini Series...I want to blog regularly, read for the amazing TIU Book Club, try tons of new recipes and workout routines, and even make some videos! I'm such a huge fan of various YouTubers and although I'm quite shy, vlogging always seems like so much fun! I also want to continue connecting with other girls in the community. The constant outpouring of support and love has been overwhelming! It's so cool to be able to see others successes as well as their struggles, and how they have been able to overcome them.

Anyways, to all those out there who are still finishing up final exams--good luck! You can do it! The next month and half has so much in store for us all...I just can't wait :)

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Choices We Make

Bloom Where You Are Planted 
{print from this etsy shop}
Y'all, it's been one of those days. You know, the day that completely tempts you to just go ahead and eat that slice of pizza and give up? Well here's the cool thing. I felt that temptation when my fiancé ordered a pizza last night and when I held it on my lap on the drive home, but that temptation wasn't as strong as it used to be. For those wondering, pizza is by far my favorite food. I grew up around New Haven, CT where there is all sorts of pizza snobbery (thin crust, homemade sauce, real Italian cheeses). But after coming to Texas A&M, the land of cheap college pizza places and late night study sessions, I found myself liking pretty much pizza from any location. Oh and pizza rolls, those are a big thing here. Hope you aren't drooling too much yet!

Anyways, usually I'd give into a slice (or 3) of pizza but not this time. The point of this is that for the past week, I've found myself craving fruits, greens, and clean protein. Last night before heading to the library to study, all I wanted was a protein smoothie. Excuse me, what?! It unfortunately didn't satisfy my hunger for too long (who knows the healthiness of the soy protein Jamba uses...) but then I eventually ate some Morningstar Buffalo Wings (okay NOT the cleanest, but I'm pretty sure they're at least slightly better than pizza). Oh and at the library, I drank a plain chai tea. Yes, I willingly chose a library beverage that did not include mocha and/or caramel syrup.

This morning before my first final of finals week, I even opted for a positive attitude. I tend to go into tests with the excuse of how I procrastinated and didn't start studying until the night before, so if I do bad it's because of that. Well this time, I had started studying earlier. And I felt fairly confident with the material, way more than I had been for the first 3 tests for this particular class. I said a quick prayer and completed the test with little anxiety. 

After the test, I chose to walk to work instead of take the bus across campus. It had been cold and windy all morning (insert comment about bipolar Texas weather/global warming here) but I started to feel the warm sun on my face and knew I needed to take advantage of the walk. It felt great--although I was slightly embarrassed when my dress kept flying up and giving the appearance I was mooning the entire university (don't worry, I had leggings on).

The final point is this: we all have the ability to make our own choices...hello, obvious cliché! For so long I had pawned my bad decisions off on things that "I couldn't control", like my tendency to procrastinate. We have all made the choice to be a part of the Tone It Up Team and participate in the TIU Bikini Series. Some of us are here for the first time, some of us are here after many failed attempts to get motivated, lose weight, gain weight, build muscle, etc. We all have a unique story to share, and our personal struggles and accomplishments will help others more than we might ever know. But we are all here now to help one another achieve that truly healthy lifestyle we have been craving. I hope when you are faced with a choice, no matter how small it may seem, that you remember your worth and your ability to make the best decision for you!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My TIU Hump Day

Not to be a complete copycat, but I just finished reading Alysha's latest blog post before heading over here to write and all of the feelings she wrote about describe this past week for me. It's just insane! This girl was obviously meant to be my TIU sister & accountability partner--she's so sweet and our similar interests are kind of freaky! In a good way, of course ;)

Anyways, yesterday was just a great day. I finished my last class at my university before I take summer classes online and graduate in August. There was such a weight lifted off of my chest and I felt like I could breathe again, if only for a minute! Immediately after class I had work, and decided to go grocery shopping right after to pick up some TIU necessities.
I knew I wanted to make the blueberry zest muffins and fritatta muffins so I picked up some ingredients for those. I also snagged some pineapple juice and limes to start making the Bombshell Spell from the Beach Babe edition of the TIU Plan! Finally I picked up some Puffins to eat in a pinch for breakfast (peanut butter, my favorite), some new almond/coconut milk to try, and naturally a chocolate Zico! I have the biggest sweet tooth, I could drink 10 of those a day! 

My Perfect Fit protein won't be arriving until tomorrow or Friday so I couldn't make the blueberry muffins quite yet, but in the meantime I whipped up the fritatta muffins. They kind of overflowed and I actually forgot to spray the liners with cooking spray (*facepalm*) but they turned out so yummy! I used some eggs from a local farmer and the shells were actually green and brown which was pretty neat. I always feel better about eating eggs when they come from local farms. This guy even has a photo album of his chickens at his booth every Saturday! 

For dinner, I made the Confetti Kale Salad...I was clearly in the mood to cook! It turned out to be my new favorite meal. Massaging the kale leaves beforehand made all the difference. And the dressing was so yummy--I love mustard, especially Dijon.

I had a lazy start today which was so nice--no work or class to get to until later in the afternoon :). I made some coffee and immediately did the Bikini Booty WO and Sunset WO for my BC! It was such a great way to start the day. After that, I ate a Luna bar, read Alysha's latest email and replied. Like I mentioned above, I feel like we were just meant to be little pen pals and it's so cool getting to know someone via email and hearing her story. I love it!

By lunch time I was mega hungry because I skipped M2 while I was running some errands, but I tried to keep it a decent meal by eating some fake buffalo wings, almond nuthins and avocado hummus. I made a protein shake right after so I guess that kind of counts for M2 and M3, right? ;) It had some chocolate protein the fiance uses, a banana, 1/2 of a plain Chobani, ice, and some almond/coconut milk. It was delicious and very filling.

Then I had work and ended up going to a store on campus to buy snack food with my leftover "dining dollars" that I have to use up by next Wednesday. There aren't too many healthy options to choose from, so we ended up buying a lot of junk for Landon, my fiance. Give him a Mountain Dew and a Snickers and he's a happy guy! Currently all that food is lying on the table next to me, staring me down. So far I've resisted which is a huge feat for me. There's Chex Mix Muddy Buddies and Oreos, some of my favorite junk foods! 

By the time we got home, I was famished again so I ate some habanero/BBQ flavored almonds and a Clif Bar. I finally tried to get back to studying and managed for a little before itching to go for a C25K workout before it got too dark. Landon has been my running buddy throughout this and so far we're on Week 3 which means two 3-minute runs. Man was it hard, especially after those booty workouts this morning! But as usual, it felt sooo good once we were done. Love those endorphins!
Now I'm about to eat dinner (leftover kale salad), finish the Cocktail Dress WO, and get back to studying for finals. I have one on Friday and 2 next week, ahh!

I'm about to get kind of mushy here for a second, y'all. This community of girls has already made such a huge impact on my life. I haven't stuck with something for longer than a week in a while and here I am today because of seeing all of your support and love for one another. I am officially obsessed with all of the TIU Instagram may be becoming a problem, haha. But for real I am just thrilled to be doing this all out this time. Cheers to the beautiful month of May and the Bikini Series! <3

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Rough Start

 Post-workout yesterday!

So last night I started feeling mega-stressed. I've been working out every day and eating better than usual which is great, but silly school and work have been in the way of giving the Bikini Series my all. The few minutes I've had to breathe lately are spent just relaxing because all I have done is run around! Finals are approaching, wedding planning needs to pick back up, I need to start preparing for summer classes and figure out what I want to do after I graduate--and all I want to do is connect with the TIU community, plan meals, go grocery shopping, cook, and workout!!! As an only child (any other only children out there?!), I tend to feel left out and like I'm not trying hard enough when I can't quite get on the same level of commitment as other people. I know that's silly because not everyone can find the time to work out for 3 hours a day or afford (or even find in their town!) obscure cooking ingredients, but the feeling's there. That might be another reason I was so quick to give up in the past. Not this time though ;)

Anyways, this week really is all about finding the balance for me. Right now I have some free time to catch up on the TIU blog posts and challenges, and look at the meal plan to make a grocery list. I'm just trying to take it a little at a time because that's all I can handle until the semester is officially over next Wednesday.

I haven't journaled my Bikini Series intentions yet so let's start with that!

Tone It Up Bikini Series Goals

- Workout 6 days a week
- Complete a BC every day I work out (once finals are over)
- Continue the C25K program to train for a 5K (And eventually a half marathon!)
- Try a new type of workout every week
- Fit into my old size 6 and size 8 shorts for summer!
- Feel healthy, confident, & stronger by eating right and working out
- Connect daily in the TIU community (Twitter, Insta, Community, Blog)
- Connect daily with my accountability partner & group text!
- Minimize dairy consumption
- Follow the TIU plan as best as possible & make healthy choices when eating out

 My first time on an exercise bike in a while for the Biker Babes workout yesterday. I'm quite sore today :)

Even with all of this outside stress, I'm enjoying TIU so much this time around. I have already said that, but I truly feel like this time is different. Having TIU buddies to keep you accountable has already helped my attitude towards this lifestyle tremendously. You all rock so hard!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Craziness!

Whew! What a day! Anyone else have a super busy weekend?! It just completely snuck up on me!

I slept in a little because this was the only day of the week that I could, then I woke up and made a chocolate protein pancake for M1! It was pretty good, but I am using whey protein at the moment which is not my preference--hoping to order some Perfect Fit or at least get a soy option within the next few days. I am thinking about working towards a dairy-free diet again because a) factory processed dairy just grosses me out and b) it makes my tummy hurt! I don't think I'm lactose intolerant but I've definitely noticed that I feel sluggish and blah after consuming a lot of dairy.

After getting some chores done around the house, I headed to work where I ate a banana as my M2. After work I hung around and ate my M3/M4 as a late lunch: a Quorn burrito, Kind bar, and Zico! Yum! The Quorn burrito was definitely not "clean"...there were so many ingredients packed into it :\ But I needed a quick option and I wanted to keep it dairy-free, so nothing frozen with cheese. The Kind bar and Zico were delicious as always :) I'm seriously obsessed with coconut water and I completely blame Karena and Katrina! 

Then my fiance and I went to mass, came home, and did W2D3 of our C25K workout. It was challenging because I was so tired, but we finished strong :) M5 was frozen tilapia with kale chips and a Zevia. Again, completely obsessed with Zevia for a sweet treat. And root beer is my favorite! 

I guess that doesn't sound like my day was that busy--I guess I just did a fair amount of running around and working. This week is going to be even crazier with finals approaching. I probably shouldn't even be up this late but I wanted to keep on top of my journaling! Tomorrow I plan on waking up early and planning out my workouts for the week and some of my meals :) Oh, and I still need to take before pictures and measurements! Yay! Hope everyone had a wonderful sunny weekend! <3

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Blog Introduction -- Hi there!

Howdy! My name is Kayla and I am a super senior at Texas A&M University. I'm an urban horticulture major with an interest in teaching others the importance of growing their own food and eating fresh & local. I will be graduating in August and getting married to my best friend on October! This is an incredibly surreal time for me; I never thought I'd be getting married right out of college, but I am so thankful God put this man in my life and is giving us this opportunity to start a life together.

A few summers ago, I found Tone It Up on YouTube and immediately fell in love with Karena & Katrina. They seemed like they really cared about helping others change their lives for the better! I bought the TIU Meal Plan and worked out all summer. Even during a tough breakup, I was able to *almost* finish the 7DSD; I felt INCREDIBLE. I specifically remember being amazed at how strong I felt. But, as so many people struggle with, I lost the motivation right before the next semester began.

I've fallen on and off the bandwagon so many times. I'll get really motivated, spending some time in the TIU Community and reading their blog, but then bad habits kick in and there's no time to workout and eating greasy Indian food during a particularly stressful day of school and work just seems like the best option!

I got engaged right before Christmas and knew I'd have to get back into shape for my wedding. Not only because I wanted to look incredible walking down the aisle and on our honeymoon, but because this would be the start of a new chapter in my life. I want to be healthy not only so my future husband and I can live a long life together, but also so I can be a healthy mom for our future children.

Anyways, after a particularly rough semester (21 credit hours and 25 hours of work, YIKES) I have finally had enough. I'm not just doing the TIU Bikini Series to lose weight for my wedding--I'm doing it to form healthy habits that will last a lifetime. I'm a big foodie so some restrictions will be a challenge, but that's what this blog is all about: finding my healthy balance eating, exercising, and living life!

For all my TIU girls out there, please leave me your blog info so I can follow your journey for the next 8 weeks. I'm all about finding inspiration through y'all ;) We can do this!