Go Read a Book

My strategy for New Year’s Resolutions this year was to make a bunch and hope at least one stuck…and it worked! Reading is something that I’ve always enjoyed (especially when I was a kid) but haven’t made much time for lately. My resolution to read one book a month has been relatively successful; There were a couple months I didn’t read and some months where I read three books in three days. Reading has been a wonderful (and relaxing) hobby that beats boredom. I read in bed, on the couch, on the front porch, in the park across the street, and at the beach. Best of all, it can be a FREE past-time!

I have a Kindle but find I do most of my reading on my iPhone. Before you picture me squinting at my phone trying to make out miniscule font, hear me out. The Kindle app is great. You can change the font size, the brightness, the layout (vertical and horizontal) and even change the colors so that the background is black and the text is white. This is very helpful when you’re reading in a dark room late at night and the brightness of the phone makes your eye close involuntarily (I know, it happened to me last night). I find the navigation and the simple tap the screen to turn the page motion much simpler than the clumsy buttons on the Kindle. I also, after a year and a half, can’t seem to remember that my Kindle isn’t touch screen (That’s not a complaint, just user error).

Oh, and did I mention that the Kindle app is free?? That’s my favorite part. Not only can you get the free app on your phone, but there’s also a version for tablets and computers.

Here’s the link to download free Kindle apps

After that, it’s super easy to download eBooks. One of my favorite strategies is to check out the “Top 100 Free” column on the right side of the Kindle eBooks page and the $3.99 and under section. A lot of the free books are steamy romance novels but there are some goods finds as well. Also, many of the classics (books from Jane Austen and Edgar Allen Poe, for example) are free in the Kindle store.

Having a Kindle in any form also comes in handy when you are so obsessed with the first Hunger Games book that you cannot possibly wait to start the second one (and third one). Yeah, that happened.

A New New Leaf

I miss blogging.

I tried to keep up with it…I really did. I just didn’t feel like my heart was in it though. And after a lot of thought, I concluded that my problem was that I had lost sight of what I wanted this blog to be. It had become more of a recap of what I do in my (less-than) exciting life and less about what I have learned about the how to be “healthy.” I became a health teacher because I want to help my students improve their health, since I had to figure out how to do that all by myself (and I’m still learning). That is what I want this blog to be as well: a place where I can share what has helped me lose over 30 pounds, set and meet goals, and love myself more. Of course, this is my perspective. What works for me might not work for everyone. My ultimate goal is to help people live longer, eat better, and enjoy life.

Also, I’d like to thank my friend Kirsten for reminding me that I can have a positive influence.

 

And because every post should have a picture, I will end with an excellent reminder to be present.

Mindfulness

Your Feet Hurt Because You’re Kicking Butt

I remember the first time I saw this race sign I didn’t really get it.

Running has made my hamstrings hurt…my hips hurt…my knees hurt…and even my stomach hurt on occasion. But it never made my feet hurt.

Until I started doing long runs, that is.

I’ve been sticking to Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 training plan to prepare for the Run to Remember half marathon in Boston (11 days…yikes!) Before this, I hadn’t run farther than a 10K. As I started increasing my mileage and doing my long runs, I began to understand this sign.

Yes, my feet are hurting. And yes, I am kicking ass.

Wintery Wonderland

Mother Nature is making up for lost time this winter because it’s snowing like crazy right now.

This week I’ve been substituting for the art teacher at the high school I did my student teaching at, but I’m home today because it’s a snow day! I loved snow days as a kid, but I definitely love them even more as a teacher.

Cash spent his morning whining as he paced around my apartment. This dog is obsessed with snow! After I got tired of listening to him, I bundled up and we ventured outside.

I planned to walk down to a new-to-me trail that isn’t too far from my apartment so I could let Cash run around without a leash. Unfortunately, it was a lot colder and windier than I expected and my hands were freezing even though I had gloves on. Cash was having the time of his life but was starting to form icicles on his face and snowballs on his paws. We did a loop around the neighborhood before coming in the dry off.

My plans for the rest of the day include cleaning/organizing/working out. And maybe a nap.

Cash’s plans include playing with his rope, sleeping, and wishing he were outside.

Happy Thursday! 134 days until Run to Remember!

What I’ve Been Eating

I’ve been trying to cook more to avoid the “ohmygosh I’m too hungry to make something at home but not so hungry that I can’t spend ten minutes prowling the Whole Foods hot bar and another ten in line at the cash register where I spent 1/5 of what I make in a day of substitute teaching” frenzy. At least I don’t have to wash any dishes. Lately, my go-to meal is soup. It’s nice to eat something warm when you keep your apartment at 55 degrees in the middle of winter…and it’s simple! I just throw a bunch of stuff into a pot and let it cook for a while. Last week I made a giant pot of chili with black beans, pinto beans, and lentils and I had lunch and dinner planned for every day of the week. (I don’t want to think about chili for a while).

Today, I was inspired by a recipe from Angela at Oh She Glows. When I read about this vegan tortilla soup, I knew it’d be something I would enjoy so I used it as a guide to make my own. The ingredients in mine:

  • Diced carrots/celery/onion
  • Minced garlic
  • Diced zucchini, red pepper, and green pepper
  • A small can of green chilies
  • Fire-roasted tomatoes with chilies (I really like green chilies)
  • A can of black beans, rinsed and drained.
  • Vegetable broth
  • Cumin, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper
  • Cilantro (I buy frozen cubes of cilantro at Trader Joes…best idea ever)

And then I topped it with avocado, cheese (not vegan) and crispy tortilla strips that I made from a corn tortilla. They were tossed with a little olive oil, sprinkled with chili powder and salt, and broiled until they were crispy I got impatient and took them out. The tortilla strips and avocado were incredibly addicting on top of the soup. Next time, I’d leave the cheese off. The soup doesn’t even need it.

And then I did what anyone without a job would do. I ate lunch in bed.

I’m just trying to stay warm.

Run to Remember

In 2011, I dreamed of running a half marathon.

I’m not sure when this dream started. It might have been when I crossed the finish line of the Trail to Ale 10K and I was still standing. Or after reading other runners’ inspiring accounts of finishing their own half marathons.

I tend to be slightly self-deprecating when it comes to ideas like this. To me, running a half marathon was more of a dream than a reality. I could never run 13.1 miles.

But my dream grew as my runner friends asked me when (not if) I was going to sign up for a race. My response? “In 2012.”

Well, it’s 2012.

And this year, I am going to prove myself wrong.

I stumbled on this race a couple months ago and shared the link with my favorite runner friend, Kassi. We had both chatted about wanting to run a half marathon and I knew she’d be very interested. She suggested that we register immediately (that’s why she’s my favorite). Unfortunately, the timing was bad for me and I knew I’d have to wait until January to be able to afford the registration fee. We didn’t mention it again until she posted this message on my facebook wall:

So I checked my email and found this:

And on May 27th, 2012, I will be running this:

Let the training begin.

Resolutions

I used to think that making resolutions for the new year was cliche and purposeless. What was the point in making the same promise every single year to “lose 15 pounds” and “exercise more”? I created these vague goals for myself but obviously lacked the motivation to follow them through. I have heard and read and seen countless stories about other people who’d make themselves the same promises that I did and lose steam around February or March (I don’t think I ever even saw my resolutions through to the end of January). Obviously, there is a right and a wrong way to make resolutions.

My first rule: my resolutions would have nothing to do with numbers. No weight goal, no calorie-counting. I’ve tried both of these strategies more times than I can count and neither has worked for me. Being healthy to me involves changing my lifestyle, not the number on a scale. That being said, my health-related goals might just help me lose the weight I’ve gained this winter.

My second rule: my resolutions need to be specific and attainable. What does “eat better” actually involve? What am I eating? How can I achieve that?

I know that these two rules seem to contradict themselves but stay with me.

I decided to make goals in three categories: personal, health, and professional. It’s only the 3rd, but so far I’ve found them manageable and valuable. These are my resolutions for 2012:

Personal

Walk the dog every day

Stop texting and driving (a horrible habit, I know)

Read 1 book a month (doesn’t apply to the “no numbers” rule)

Health

Run a 1/2 marathon (more on this later)

Set weekly fitness goals

Plan meals

Keep a food and exercise journal

Eat more vegetables (not specific, but this is just a general rule I try to follow on a daily basis so I added it)

Professional/Financial

Get a job

Build up my savings account

Get a new car (eventually)

 

I wrote my goals on the first page of my journal to remind myself of them. I left room to add more if I think of any.

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Keeping a journal and recording the food I eat and my workouts has been very helpful in encouraging me to be mindful of what I eat. It also makes planning what I eat and what I do for workouts much simpler.

And have been very honest in recording what I ate.

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While I’ve only walked Cash once in the past three days and haven’t done any reading yet this month, I am very happy with these resolutions and hope to see them all through to 2013.

I’m Back

I took a break from blogging while I was student teaching. I don’t think anyone wanted to read an excessive amount of posts titled “I Hate Lesson Planning.” That probably would have gotten old. Here’s what I’ve been doing for the past three months according to my iPhone photos:

I was lucky enough to be able to enjoy a couple beach days…in October!

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I hung out in Portland.

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And art walked.

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Friends came to visit.

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I got an award.

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And planned a LOT of lessons.

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Beer was involved.

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I made a bulletin board.

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And hung out with this guy.

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I saw the tree lighting in Portland.

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I tried sushi for the first time! (I loved it)

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And once my portfolios were finished and my tests were corrected and grades were entered, I celebrated.

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I’m done with student teaching and I’m officially a college graduate. So what’s next?

I’ll be looking for jobs and substitute teaching in the meantime. Also, my goal is to put my gym membership to good use now that I have a lot more free time! I taught my freshman all about goal setting this semester…I should take that lesson to heart.

Summer Highlights

Happy first day of Fall!! There’s not a lot that makes me more excited than gorgeous New England foliage, wearing sweaters, and hearty comfort food.

But before I get ahead of myself, I’d like to look back on the amazing Summer I’ve had.

I graduated.

Had a graduation party.

Where I got a surprise visit from my twin sister, who flew in from Alaska (This video still makes me cry).

I became a mom to a furry little monster.

Met some new friends.

And spent time with old ones.

I went to a G.Love concert.

I went shopping.

And did some more shopping.

My cousin James came home for a few weeks.

I found some awesome roommates.

And I moved to Portland.

Where I spent some quality time on our front porch.

I started student teaching.

And I ran a 10K.

And to think, I referred to this Summer as “uneventful.”

I Survived!

I survived 6.2 miles and I didn’t vomit or poop my pants! I started my morning around 7:15 with a banana smothered in sun butter and a cup of coffee. My roommate and I left the house around 8 and walked to the start of the race.

We may or may not have been a little nervous.
We lined up around the 9:00 minute mile mark and pretended to stretch. Then we ran into my friend Kassi!

The race started just after 9:00. It was a great day. It wasn’t too hot and the views were amazing.

I felt great till I hit the three mile mark. That’s when I realized I still had three more miles to go. Each mile after that felt longer and more hell-ish than the last. The worst was the slight uphill right before the 6 mile mark. The run was physically and emotionally draining and the whole time I kept reminding myself how great I’d feel at the end. When I crossed the finish line I felt like my legs were going to collapse but I was filled with an immense sense of accomplishment. I ran it in 57:17 and didn’t stop to walk at all, which means I met both of my goals for the race. I also had a great fan club.

After we celebrated with free beer and pizza.

And my favorite monster was there too.

I love endorphins.