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 accounts...it 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