Hi everyone! I’m still alive! Life has been pretty busy between vacation, what feels like endless doctor’s appointments, decision making, and good ole' physical therapy. I'm currently working on a huge post in regards to my current physical well-being. To hold you guys over as I diligently work on the post, I'm going to do a photo dump of random pictures from my vacation to Wildwood, NJ last week.
This was one of the first pictures that I took during my trip. I have the maturity level of an 11-year-old boy. But hey now…they even sell shirts that say, “I grabbed a wiener in Wildwood!”
I’ve decided that I need one of these little guys in my life. Look at the peeper on the left!
I also really enjoyed playing around with different looks during vacation. :)
It wasn’t chilly at all during vacation. Isn’t that obvious?! I blatantly acted as though it was snowing on the beach. I swear I’m 80, not 25.
Wind was never an issue either.
But the sky was pretty cool.
And Sean totally cooperates when I ask him to smile. Squinty Magee gave me a smirk. Close enough.
Okay, okay…so maybe he does occasionally cooperate with me.
But no matter the case, I will always love him just the same. He is my best friend.
Guest Post: Five Common Weight Loss Myths & Mistakes: Are You a Victim?
Are you sick of intensive dieting with no results? Beware: You may have fallen for one of these common weight loss myths! If you find you are a victim of the pervasive misinformation that has saturated our understanding of weight loss and dieting, don’t be discouraged – recent studies show that these myths even fooled scientists! Remember, no matter how many tips, tricks and trends you come across, the reality is that there is no “secret” to weight loss success: ultimately, you need to burn off more than you consume. Weight loss programs and fad diets are a dime a dozen, so when you’re looking for the best weight loss plan, be sure to avoid anything that aims to sell you on “quick weight loss” without requiring any work on your end. Here are a few weight loss myths to avoid for a happier, healthier you:
Lifting Weights Doesn’t Help With Weight Loss
Not only is this untrue, but lifting weights can actually be an incredibly beneficial component of your weight loss regimen, particularly as you age and begin losing bone density. Lifting weights and regularly doing muscle-building activities like crunches and push-ups will help you to build muscle, which in turn helps you naturally burn more calories. In other words, building muscle improves your overall body composition and allows you to continue losing weight, even after you’ve stopped working out. While the number on the scale might not change much, you’ll firm up and lose inches, which is what really counts. In fact, numerous studies have shown that those who add weights to their routine lose the same number of pounds as those who stick with cardio – but the pounds lost are nearly all fat! Here’s why: regular cardio and aerobics help to reduce flab and burn calories, and when you throw in weight training to strengthen your lean muscle mass, the combination transforms your body into a 24-hour fat-burning machine!
Intensive Cardio Is King
First off, the “fat-burning zone” isn’t nearly as high as you might think, so you don’t need to race off at top speeds to lose weight. Cardio does burn more calories as you’re working out, but that doesn’t mean you should rely solely on it for weight loss or overexert yourself to reach your goal. Cardio exercise is excellent for the heart and lungs, and a 20- to 30-minute walk each day will go a long way in your quest towards a healthier you. That’s right: Walking, not running, is one of the best activities you can add to your workout schedule, and it’s something that nearly any person can enjoy. Take your exercise regimen one step further and start each day with an exhilarating outdoor hike – a key component of The Biggest Loser Resort’s results-driven, award-winning weight loss program.
Diets Are Temporary
To begin with, you need to change the way you view eating and work on your relationship with food. If you think of a diet as depriving yourself of the things you enjoy, you won’t be as motivated to lose the weight – and you’re much more likely to gain all of that weight back once you’re “done” dieting. Instead, view food as a means of nourishing your body, plain and simple. Once you’ve altered your mindset in terms of why you eat, work on when and how you eat; in other words, learn to embrace moderation. If you want a piece of chocolate once in a while, have it – just avoid eating the entire pan of brownies. Diets aren’t a short-term commitment; they’re a crucial step in the long-term overhaul of your relationship with and understanding of food – a body-and-mind transformation process that is guaranteed to yield lifelong results if maintained properly.
Carbohydrates are your primary source of energy, and they aid in repairing muscles during the recovery period after a workout. While an overabundance of refined sugars in your diet will contribute to a larger waistline, that doesn’t mean you should avoid “good” carbohydrates like fruits and whole grain. Make smarter choices about the carbs that go into your body, but don’t completely deprive yourself of the food you (and your body) enjoy.
The BMI Trap
In your quest for weight loss, you may think there’s a number you need to be married to – a lofty weight loss goal that may be completely unrealistic and only serve to further discourage you. Most often, that number is selected based on what the supposedly all-knowing Body Mass Index has to say. However, the problem with pounds is that they don’t all look the same. Your height and muscle mass can greatly skew your BMI number and make it seem like you need to lose more weight than necessary. Instead, set small goals for yourself along the way, so you can acknowledge the minor achievements on your path to weight loss success. Similarly, you’ll want to reassess your overall weight loss goal, disregarding the BMI trap and forming your expectations based on a fat percentage test and your current state of mind. In other words, measure your success by how you feel and how many inches you are losing – not pounds.
At the end of the day, there are countless gimmicks, tricks, and lies about weight loss that are designed to make us buy a certain product or live a certain lifestyle, false information that capitalizes on our inner desire to be the best versions of ourselves. These myths negatively influence the way many people view dieting, and greatly affect their ability to lose weight. Luckily, you can help dispel these myths! Pass on the truth to the people you care about by sharing this article with your friends and relatives. If they then share this information with their friends and relatives – well, who knows, you may even transform someone’s life. Encourage people to seek out weight loss programs that support real results over the long-term, not a quick fix, starvation-based program that is unsustainable. Armed with the right fitness and nutritional education, you can finally overcome your lifelong struggle with weight loss.
Guest Post Bio: The Biggest Loser Resorts are award-winning wellness destinations in Chicago, Malibu, Niagara, and Utah. Each resort offers an affordable fitness, dieting, and relaxation program to help guests develop healthy lifestyle habits. If you’re ready to improve your life, book your stay at The Biggest Loser Resorts.
*If you’re interested in snagging a spot for a guest post, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be more than happy to discuss details! Topics can be success stories, tips, recipes, etc. as long as it’s related to healthy living.
Motivation tip: Drop the “all or nothing" attitude. You’re only setting yourself up for failure or disappointment every time something doesn’t go quite as planned. So you didn’t make it to the top this time. And? That doesn’t mean you should drop everything and start over. Go about it this way: You did it. You made a mistake (it’s human). You learned. Now, use your new found knowledge to keep climbing the mountain. If you have to stop, just enjoy the view. Bask in the glory of the things that you’ve already accomplished. On the plus side, you’re still closer than you were before, right?! There’s no point in sliding all the way to rock bottom only to end up climbing the same mountain two, three, or even ten times. Talk about exhausting!
People that love to run tend to train pretty hard, and some even verge on overdoing it. While regular, high-intensity training can help you reach your running goals and get you in great shape, it can also lead to a variety of different injuries.
If you love running or rely on it as exercise to stay in shape, chances are you aren’t going to stop, and you don’t need to. You do need to be careful with your body, however, and make sure you do as much as you can to prevent injuries that can hobble your running schedule and your body.
Every athlete in the world knows the importance of stretching; however, it’s pretty easy to get in the habit of skipping your stretching routine, especially if you’re in a hurry to get your workout going.
Ideally, you want to reserve about 10 minutes before you go running to stretch. Stretch your whole body and do running-specific stretches like high-knee drills and bounding arm circles. If you’ve had any recent injuries, taking a few minutes to make sure that area is loose and warm is important as well.
You should also take a few minutes to stretch after you’re done running to prevent muscle soreness. This is particularly important if you run every day because muscle soreness can cause you to alter your gait the next day, which could result in an injury.
Add Strength Training to Your Routine
Many runners don’t think about strength training, but it can have some vital benefits. Strength training regularly improves overall athletic ability and physical power in your running, but it also strengthens muscles, helping them to fight off strain-related injuries.
For runners, body-weight strength training exercises are ideal, and heavy lifting really isn’t beneficial. If you’re going to lift weights or use machines, choose lower weights for more repetitions instead of heavy weights for fewer repetitions.
Heavy weight will increase bulk, which won’t make you a more efficient runner.
Take Rest Days
As much as training the right way is important, taking rest days to allow your body to relax is essential. When you just start out, taking a day off after a workout is ideal.
As you progress or if you’re already an experienced runner, taking two rest days off per week is beneficial for some. If you’re training for a marathon or other goal, taking only one rest day per week is fine, but you need to be careful when it comes to listening to your body and any growing injuries.
On your rest days, try doing something beneficial for your body like getting a massage. Massage therapists who use aromatherapy, or practicing self-massage in conjunction with aromatherapy, can be helpful for easing sore muscles and relaxing after a workout.
You don’t have to wait for a rest day to get the benefits of massage and aromatherapy, however. You don’t need more than a free hour to unwind and relax after working out.
In addition to stretching, strength training and using massage and aromatherapy to rest, it’s also essential that you eat right and drink plenty of water when you’re training. It is also very important that you take the necessary daily vitamins to keep performing at your best.
Doing all of these things together can help you reach your training goals and keep yourself free from injuries in the process.
Virginia Cunningham is a freelance writer and active runner whose writing offers tips and advice to those seeking help to improve their own running. With a balanced diet, enough rest and daily yoga, she is always improving her performance.
*If you’re interested in snagging a spot for a guest post, please e-mail me at email@example.com. I’d be more than happy to discuss details! Topics can be success stories, tips, recipes, etc. as long as it’s related to healthy living.
God, will you ever get surgery for your lose skin? It's really gross
Well, for starters…it’s LOOSE, not lose. And that’s pretty rude because you don’t understand my situation. If I could magically afford cosmetic surgery at the drop of a pin, I would. But I can’t right now, and I have no choice but to be okay with it. I sincerely hope that you grow up and learn that beauty is more than skin deep. I didn’t lose weight to merely look better. I lost weight to add quality and years to my life. And I did.
Sean and I are, of course, still getting along just wonderfully. In fact, things couldn’t be better. He is my rock, especially with all that I’m dealing with at the moment. About 1 month ago, I step into his house only to find flowers and a homemade card waiting for me on a table. He’s so sweet. :) That very same night, we went to a ‘Half Christmas’ party that was hosted by one of his friends. We literally celebrated the halfway point to the holidays, haha! We cooked on the grill, ate watermelon, and enjoyed the company of one another. There was even a festive glittery, purple tree set up in the backyard. There’s never a dull moment with Sean’s friends…that’s for sure.
I’ve been trying to enjoy the summer as much as I can, despite my constant, daily basis pain. This week begins week 2 of physical therapy - not too much relief as of now. Unfortunately, sciatica and back issues aren’t very easy to resolve, and the pain can get pretty intense.
Maybe I can go back to duck watching while I heal like I did back in the day (kidding). I looked pretty cool with my Minnie Mouse purse, because ya know…3-year-olds have important things to carry.
I’ve been to a couple of Pirates’ games this summer, both of which they won - they are having an awesome season. The last game I went to had 2 extra innings, but the boisterous New Yorkers that were sitting behind us made for a very good time!
I’ve also been spending a lot more time with my mom. For one of our recent mother/daughter dates, we went to IHOP, and I had their Simple & Fit vegetable omelette made with spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes. It was delicious, something I absolutely recommend. After breakfast, we partook in some retail therapy. I spotted this gem in Target…
Just, why? WHY?!!!!!!???
My best friend and I went to Taylor Swift’s concert on the 6th. I’m a TS crazed fan, so I was uber excited! Phenomenal. She never ceases to amaze me with her live performances.
And, I’ve certainly been enjoying the very few days of sun that we’ve had this summer. The weather has been so insane lately. Mother Nature has a serious case of the blues.
Sweat does wonders for my hair…said no one ever. I hope everyone else is having a great summer! :)
Thanks for the cheesy title opportunity Taylor Swift…just throwing some humor in a crummy situation.
Well lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m 92, not what will be 25 this month. I’m too young for this. I’m in pain practically all day, every day. And while some moments are definitely worse than others, the pain still lingers. I have had too many to count days when all I wanted to do was cry due to discomfort. Yesterday, for instance, was notably bad. On my way home from work, my left lower leg and foot went about 85% numb as I was driving. Lovely.
I feel like my quality of life is waning, and for me, it should be the complete opposite. And it was…until November of last year. I find the pain more and more difficult to hide. My face often cringes during the 8+ hours that I’m on my feet when I’m at work. That is certainly not helping in my recovery whatsoever, doctor agreed. It’s frustrating. Going back and forth for the last 8 months to this very day has been both emotionally and physically exhausting. X-Rays, MRIs, bone scans, prodding, poking, and opinion after opinion after opinion. Somehow, I’m managing to remain somewhat composed as I figure out my game plan for recovery so that I can begin running again.
And I do realize that I haven’t been as active on here as of lately, and I sincerely apologize. Life is pretty busy, but I still love and appreciate each and every single one of my supporters. You guys have been my rock through my ups and downs. And you have helped me gain the courage and strength to stand again and again…even when I’m not in what you would call ‘high spirits.’
I went for another MRI a couple of weeks ago, this time, for my spine/lower back. It wasn’t too bad, a short 20 minutes, which is incomparable to the torturous 1 hour MRI of my sacral/hip region. That was awful, more so because I had an overly full bladder that my previous ortho noted on my MRI during my follow up (funny but awkward).
Looking stylish in my hospital gowns.
I wasn’t able to follow up with my orthopedic until this past Tuesday. I anxiously waited for over 1 hour to be seen after checking in; he was super behind.
Brooks. Run wait happy.
I mean, I suppose it’s a good sign because others, along with myself, were willing to wait. But I’m not going to lie, I did get a bit antsy, mostly because I was exhausted and just wanted to go home and relax.
Eventually, I found myself sitting on an exam table eagerly waiting the doctor’s arrival. He came into the room after looking at my MRI results, and explained that the diagnosis is a slight left herniation of the L1-L2 disk. So there’s that. He did more manipulative testing after I re-questioned my ongoing knee pain. For one of the tests, he had me lie on my back, and proceeded to place his thumb and index finger on the upper sides of my kneecap. He pushed down towards my lower leg and asked me to flex my quad. OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I shrieked! The pain was so bad that it actually made me jump uncontrollably. He concluded that I also have patellofemoral arthralgia, aka patellofemoral pain syndrome…muscle imbalance issues that I can’t seem to shake.
So what’s the prognosis? It doesn’t seem as though my herniation was severe enough for him to mention the possibility of surgery, so that’s truly a blessing. He prescribed me an anti-inflammatory and 4 weeks of physical therapy (back and knee program 3 days per week). I’m to follow up in 4-6 weeks if I note little improvement or none at all. If that is the case, he wants to proceed with a treadmill test to rule out chronic exertional compartment syndrome. And if I test positive, surgery will more than likely be in my future. I’m praying that this isn’t the case and I’m able to find relief with my PT, which starts Monday evening.
I’m not running again until this pain goes away. That’s my decision. My ortho didn’t say nor insinuate towards me never being able to run again, so there’s still hope for me! In all honesty, I just have to remain positive.
Light at the end of the tunnel.
I can’t lose hope.
Hope is a precious commodity.
It fuels our drive.
It gives us the courage to continue through any struggle.
Hope gives us the desire to face another day, to strive to overcome its challenges and work for new ones.
Hope gives us glimmers of tomorrow, of the possibilities that lie in our future and of the paths we need to travel.
Hope lightens our steps when the road is strewn with obstacles, and helps us decide on a route.
Hope puts a smile on our face and a glimmer in our eyes.
Hope lets us see love as it blooms.
Never lose faith in your abilities, trusting instincts you have inside, they will guide you through your journey.
And always have hope.
Always look to the future.
Always believe that the best is out there for you to find.
Never lose your hope.
Never lose the faith you have in who you are.
Because with that faith in yourself, lies the essence of your hope.
Thank you to a dear friend of mine for sharing the above quote with me. The tidal wave of support from my family and friends leaves me drowning with love. And this is one flood that I don’t want to be rescued from. I thank you.
So as most of you all know, I’ve been dealing with a nagging injury after running the Marshall Mangler 50K on November 11, 2012.
Another participant stopped along the course and taped up my knee because he noticed that I was limping.
Ever since, I’ve had some sort of ache or pain just about every single day. I’ve been back and forth between doctor’s visits, physical therapy sessions, and various testing. Now here I am at the end of June, almost 8 months later…still searching for answers. I’m becoming increasingly frustrated as the calendar pages turn. June 8th was the last time that I ran, and it ended on a pretty bad note. Basically, my iliotibial band syndrome symptoms reappeared out of nowhere, and at the time, I was finally making progress or so I thought. I’m at the point where I’d be completely ecstatic with being able to run 1 mile 100% pain free. While this whole no running thing is tearing me apart, both inside and out, I really need to figure out what’s wrong with my body before I even think about beginning again. I have had some new symptoms appear in my lower left leg in recent weeks that ultimately pushed me to making yet another appointment with my orthopedic. He first wanted to rule out a tibial stress fracture, so he ordered a bone scan. That was done on June 14th. I’m afraid to even add up the money and time taken off from work that has gone towards figuring out the root issue of everything.
Just a FYI: I don’t experience all of these symptoms on a daily basis, but here’s a list of the things that I’ve been dealing with for the past several months - newer symptoms included (left leg only).
BACK: Tingling along entire spine, dull ache in lower back
BUTTOCKS: Radiating pain
KNEE: Throbbing and pulling sensation on and below the knee cap
SHIN: Sharp pain along shin bones
CALF MUSCLE: Tightness, very sensitive to pressure, numbness associated with running 3+ miles
ANKLE: Pain presents mostly in front, but occasionally along the Achilles tendon
FOOT: Sharp, stabbing sensation on top of foot
I gave this list to my orthopedic during the follow up appointment to my bone scan, which was on Thursday morning. He assured me that my bone scan was completely normal. Long story short: no stress fracture. Once that was established, he performed a multitude of manipulative testing to determine strength and symmetry. So, what’s next? Based on my list of symptoms, he seems to think that I may have a disk or nerve issue within my lumbar spine. I injured my tailbone back in September during the Run For Your Lives 5K, and I could’ve very well screwed something up in my lower back as well. He ordered a MRI of my lumbar spine, and that is scheduled to be done tomorrow evening. So once I receive the news from this test, I’ll update all of you with the results. Send good vibes and prayers my way, please! I just want to feel like a healthy young adult again.
Putting what I learned from P90X to good use!
Thumbs up for endorphins!
Right now, I’m maintaining my fitness through cardio-based cross training, core work, and weight training. I’m still and will always be a runner. I’m just a runner in remission.
It took me a little while to open up this magazine and relive this tragedy. I wasn’t physically present, but I was emotionally and spiritually present. Running has made me feel like I actually belong somewhere. It gave me confidence. And what I had to endure to get where I am today has made me very strong. I may be fighting an injury, but I will always be a runner. This issue will be tucked away in a safe place.
I tried these new flavors after spotting them in Target several weeks ago. I’m certain that I embarrassed my mother with my overly excited facial expression. The Carrot Cake flavor is spot on, and the Sierra Trail Mix isn’t my new favorite, but it’s tasty nonetheless!
I finally ordered prints of the pictures from when I had my guest appearance on the Today Show. I bought the above picture frame when I was in NYC at the NBC store. I can’t believe that this happened over 6 months ago already!
Since hitting another setback in my recovery, I’ve been focusing on the things I can do, like lifting weights. I’m finally noticing progress! I started with 8 lb dumbbells, and now I’m up to 12-15 lbs! I’m finding it very difficult in getting rid of my bingo wings. Unfortunately, there are some things that you truly can’t fix without surgery after losing a lot of weight. PS: You can see my running medals and my tragic caricature from NYC in the background of the left picture. I told the artist to draw me as runner. He drew me skipping along the sidewalk with a purse. Close enough.
Women’s Running Magazine recently released my magazine article on their website. I saw it on a day that I was feeling down, so it was definitely a pleasant surprise. :)
I finally got my big girl license! I absolutely couldn’t wait for this day! I no longer have to look at that bright red line ‘UNDER 21 UNTIL 07/25/2009,’ and my picture actually looks like me again. Double win!
Last year when I went to Wildwood, NJ with Sean, they came thisclose to refusing to serve me the margarita that I had ordered. The bartender wasn’t convinced that it was me, and it also doesn’t help that I look like I’m 16 years old. I pleaded and offered to show her my Facebook and a couple of my before pictures. She finally believed me after a few embarrassing back and forth moments that we shared.
Last but certainly not least, Sean’s (#44) adult league hockey team (Ice Holez) made the playoffs. Last weekend, I played it off like I wasn’t going to be able to make it to his game, and then I surprised him by showing up to cheer him on. He was super duper happy, and that made me ecstatic! I love seeing this boy smile. :)
All in all, life hasn’t been too eventful. I’m still in the painstaking process of getting everything squared away for my return to school for Early Childhood Education. There’s just so much to do, and so little time! I’m excited to get the ball rolling though. It’s never ever too late to put a dream into action.
The WHAT has been going on in my life WEDNESDAY post.
I’m kind of obsessed with this dress from Kohl’s.
Sean’s best friend Tim married the love of his life, Amy, on May 10th. Sean was the best man, and his speech was absolutely hilarious! At least I know that I’ll be laughing for the rest of my life. :) We also celebrated our one year anniversary the very next day by going to The National Aviary.
He also left this adorable card at my bedside for me to wake up to.
I’m having an affair with a new cross training tool, the rowing machine - sorry CrossRamp! I shied away from it for the longest time for the fear that my coordination (or lack thereof) would be clumsy and awkward in nature. I chased and embraced fear one Saturday morning and fell in love immediately. See! You have to step outside of your comfort zone from time to time; you just might surprise yourself. The rowing machine is definitely a total body workout, and I highly recommend it to any athlete as a portion of their cross training regimen.
My cousin and her husband are expecting their first child come this October. It’s a baby boy! I’m so happy and excited for the two of them - just wish they still lived minutes away. But hey, that gives me an excuse to travel, right?!
I’m still working diligently at getting back into distance running full swing. Starting over is far from easy. It’s frustrating, but I’ve learned to not only appreciate every mile that I’m able to run, but every minute that I’m able to run. There are people in this world who can’t even run at all and may never be able to. I know that I’ll get there again. I just have to be patient and listen to my body - I am it’s caretaker. I am, however, currently dealing with a minor setback. I have a bit of anterior ankle tendonitis that I’m keeping a watchful eye on. I’m leaning towards the fact that there’s a strong possibility of me being an overpronator, and/or that I could be running in the wrong shoe.
Sean and I went on a Memorial Day weekend houseboat trip with a ton of other people. It was chilly, but it was definitely one of the best weekends of my life. I had a BLAST!!!!!! So many wonderful memories shared with even more wonderful people.
Last but certainly not least, I’m going back to school come spring 2014 for my dream job. Early childhood education. Just praying that finances don’t put things on a screeching halt like last time. Wish me luck!
So, I apologize for not being as active on here as I have been in the past. Work, social life, and training keep me pretty busy on most days. But I love you guys just the same! :) Keep on chasing your fears!!!!!!!
Oh wait! I have also discovered Heaven in tubular form: