Tag Archives: health

Good Time Management Will Help Your HealthGoals 

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I’m a procrastinator. I think, to some extent, most writers are. When I was a newspaper reporter back in New Jersey, I would do all my research for an article, all the interviews, even outlines, and then just sit on the story. For days. I still do that at times!

I am learning, sometimes the hard way, that managing my time more wisely helps me make better choices throughout the day.

For example, this morning I wanted to get up earlier to have time to walk/run before work. But I hit the snooze button. Even though, my life and blogging guru Javacia had just reminded us on Facebook yesterday that getting up earlier is paramount to achieving your daily — and larger — goals, I still decided to sleep a little longer.

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However, once I got up, I made the most of my time before work. I cleaned one of the bathrooms in the house, ran to the grocery store for some healthy snacks to keep at work (thanks Publix for opening at 7 a.m.!), and I even started this blog post (which I’m finishing while on my lunch break!).

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Trying to cut out Diet Coke as much as possible this week!

There is time in each day to achieve small goals — and as Javacia has also coached me on, breaking down larger goals into smaller, more manageable tasks can bring those larger goals into reach even faster.

As you know from reading my blog, one of my major goals is working on my health and fitness. Fitting in time to grocery shop, prepare meals, work out and get enough sleep seems impossible at times. Here’s a few suggestions (that I need to put into action more often, too!) that will help you in this area:

1. Meal plan to make grocery shopping more efficient. When I plan out dinners for the week, and think of simple lunches to prepare, I can get all my shopping done in one trip. This makes it easier to have healthy ingredients on hand, including snacks, and makes grocery trips less frequent and less of a chore. I highly recommend keeping snacks to last a whole week at the office, too, so you don’t reach for the convenience of the vending machine.

2. Workouts can take place anywhere, anytime! As many people have pointed out to me over the years, workouts don’t have to be at the gym or last for hours, or even a full hour. Get some movement in, whether it’s a video tape or Wii game at home, a walk around your office building or neighborhood, or a circuit in the living room while watching a favorite TV show. And one of my favorite ways to socialize is to meet a friend for a class or a walk. Get that time with your besties while getting your workout in, too!

3. Make sleep a priority. I love to sleep. Like, LOVE it! I’m not ashamed to go to bed early. But sometimes turning off the TV, putting down the iPad or closing the book can be hard. I’ve recently become less of a night owl because I realize I am usually more productive in the mornings. At night, most often, I’m just killing time on Pinterest or Facebook. So going to bed — for me, by 10 p.m. is ideal — ensures that if I get enough rest, I’ll wake up ready to tackle the day. And the TV show, iPad and book will always be there the next morning (that’s what the DVR is for!).

I’m a big fan of keeping lists, and this also helps me schedule time for what I need to do. I have weekly tasks (like cleaning and laundry) and daily tasks. Here’s my schedule for today:

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I highly recommend keeping to-do lists for your larger goals, but also daily schedules to help keep you on task. I’m trying something new, too, where I clean one thing every day so I don’t go crazy with a huge cleaning list that needs a bigger chunk of time. I’ll let you know how this goes!

How do you manage your time? Are your health goals built into your daily schedule?

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The Confidence To Be Curvy {Even If You Want To Lose Weight}

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be healthy — about society’s definition of health, the medical community’s definition, my own personal definition. And then the other day I came across an older post by CeCe on her blog Plus Size Princess. She had to defend her use of the phrase “weight loss” because while she promotes body positivity, she also promotes working out and eating foods that are good for you through her PSPfit program.

I actually felt bad for CeCe because, as someone who also wants to stand up for having a healthy body image, I am working on losing weight and trying to work out regularly and eat healthfully. I don’t understand why we have to choose between one or the other. It’s like you get backlash from people who think the only way to be healthy is to be thin, yet you also get women who are happy being curvier who don’t want you to promote weight loss.

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Here’s the thing: We all just need to learn to be supportive of each individual’s feelings about his or her own body. Period.

If you are heavier and you want to rock your body in whatever fashions you love and you don’t really worry about going to the gym, that is your prerogative!

And, if you’re like me and you want to be comfortable in your own skin at any size, while feeling good about eating healthfully and getting your sweat on, go for it!

I don’t want anyone to ever think that I am not OK with their life choices based on whatever size they currently are, or the size they want to be. And I would hope that others wouldn’t judge me on that either.

I want to lift others up — I want to lift my own self-esteem up — no matter how much I weigh. But, if we’re really being honest here, I will tell you that I’m not truly happy with myself at my current weight. However, while I may feel happy when I lose 20 or 30 pounds, that’s still not technically a weight that most of society would deem a good goal. But my definition of happiness is my own.

The fact is, my health, and anyone’s health, is a personal choice and, I believe, something to be discussed with your own doctor. I do believe that regular movement — whether it’s simply walking or more strenuous workouts (your choice!) — is healthy. And I do believe that certain foods are obviously more nourishing for our bodies and some foods should be eaten only in moderation. But that is my definition of health. And if that definition awards me good sugar levels, cholesterol numbers, blood pressure and the ability to live life to the fullest (which, thankfully, so far it has!), then that, in my book, is success.

As CeCe said in her post: “I finally understand that the most valuable results I can strive for are health related, not scale related.” That is definitely something I am working on, and I hope I can fully feel that way one day, too.

Whether or not I lose the 20-30 pounds that I’d like to lose, and then reevaluate where I want to be, I still want to be happy with my body and the things it affords me to do in the meantime. I still want to love myself and strut confidently in my favorite outfits.

We all deserve to feel that way — and we shouldn’t judge each other based on size or shape or skin color or hairstyle — we should just applaud one another for feeling good and doing good.

So go out there, be who you are, and do it confidently. And to CeCe — keep doing you!

The Next #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k: July 18

I know, I know what you’re thinking: a 5k? In July? Seriously, Jen?

Yup! Look, if I was able to start my #stellarmiles challenge last summer, we can certainly run or walk 3.1 miles on July 18 … as long as it’s early. Like, really early.

So I hope you will get ready to meet me at 7 a.m. on Saturday, July 18, and run or walk with me!

5k magnet Please let me emphasize the WALK portion of this #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k. I want to encourage everyone to challenge themselves with the distance of 3.1 miles, but know that walking the entire way, or part of the way, is absolutely 100% OK! If you want to run the whole way, that’s OK, too. The more, the merrier!

During the next couple of months, I will offer running and walking tips in my new monthly newsletter (subscribe to the right!) with links to other articles or inspiration. Look for more on this topic via my Facebook page or my Instagram account, too.

And don’t forget that if you’re reading this blog outside of where I live in Alabama, you can join in virtually! Tell me how your training is going, ask me questions, and then run or walk with me on July 18. I will do another Instagram challenge that day with a giveaway included! (Stay tuned to the blog to check out what my friends won by participating in the last Makeshift 5k! I’m slow getting this prize to them, but it’s coming!)

As I work on my goals for May to find balance between eating more healthfully and still continuing to exercise, I don’t want to let my walking/running ability slide. So having a goal like this Makeshift 5k to work on, in addition to going to my boot camp, spinning and yoga classes, will keep me on track and give me a goal to work toward.

Will you join me for the #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k on July 18? I hope so!

Midmonth Update: Workouts & Food

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I am a few days late checking in with y’all on how my monthly goals are going.

This month I really wanted to focus on eating, and I am not doing too bad. I will admit to eating a few too many sweets — what is it about baked goods that makes me go weak in the knees? But more often than not this month I have turned to some fairly tasty, healthy snacks, namely The Good Bean’s roasted chick peas, dried apricots, fresh raspberries and portion-controlled cashews.

My weekends have been … OK. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I haven’t had some indulgences on the weekends, because I have. I do believe that if I keep myself in check during the week, I can still have a little leniency on the weekends and lose weight. But admittedly I need to work on my weekend food routine.

Another area I need to work on is preparing meals. I am a big fan of grocery shopping only once or twice a week for the items I need for all of my meals — but lately I feel like I’ve been at the grocery store every other day. I actually went last night, and I got the ingredients for meals for throughout the week. I will check in soon with some of the dishes I am eating for lunch and dinner, but this will be my week to stick to the plan and not give in to the ease of picking up food and bringing it home, even if it is a salad!

As for workouts, I’ve been pretty happy with my progress! I hit up Firm Body Boot Camp last week, spinning and yoga. The week before I was nursing my sore knee, so I focused more on my eating, but last night I went for a short walk/run, and thankfully I felt pretty good! I want to fit in at least two walks/runs and a boot camp class for the remainder of this week.

I really am learning that when I eat more healthfully and drink a ton of water, the weight comes off a little easier and I simply feel better. Of course, this is my biggest struggle, so I am taking it one day at a time. My workouts fuel that healthy attitude and make me feel stronger and less stressed. So finding that happy balance with food and fitness is my focus this month, and so far I’m pretty happy with how I’m moving forward.

Check in with me on what you’re working on during May! Are you making progress with your goals? We’ve got this!

Midmonth Check-in: April Goals

I’m checking in with y’all this month to report on how my fitness goals are going so far. I can’t believe it’s the 15th already!

I have been working on my speed to get ready for the Makeshift 5k I will run on Saturday, April 25. I haven’t run this month as often as I would like, however, as I started going to a new-to-me boot camp class! It is INTENSE — but I’ve left each class feeling strong and invigorated.

I like to imagine I'm The Rock while at boot camp — ha!

I like to imagine I’m The Rock while at boot camp — ha!

My plan is to continue that class twice a week, and get my workout schedule more down pat so I can also run a couple of times a week, too. I also still want to get to yoga on Wednesdays and spinning on Tuesdays as much as I can. I went to spinning last night and realized it had been too long!

When I switch up my workouts like this, it really does help keep me excited about exercising. Sometimes I get too bogged down in a routine, so a fresh class, a new challenge, really does go a long way with me.

I recently reposted on Instagram a photo and message from Lena Duhnam, of Girls on HBO. She wrote that working out has helped her anxiety, OCD and depression. I am blessed that I don’t deal with those issues, but I do have some stressful factors in my life that, without regular exercise, I’m sure would cause me to worry (sometimes needlessly) even more.

Whether you like to walk, run, dance, lift weights … it doesn’t matter! I just think finding a physical activity, no matter what it is, is so important. I know it helps me tremendously!

Another thing that helps me? An accountability partner! As Sherri and I were going through our Scale Back Alabama program, I was so pleased to find someone who didn’t mind if I texted her when I was tempted to eat something not so healthy … or after I had already done so! She’s a great, natural-born cheerleader who supports the goals of everyone around her. We both lost some weight during the challenge, which was great! But we gained something, too — a great friend! Although we had been friends before this challenge, coaching each other toward a goal brought us closer, and I’m so grateful for that!

We celebrated at a Birmingham Barons baseball game with our husbands this past weekend!

We celebrated at a Birmingham Barons baseball game with our husbands this past weekend!

How is your month going? What would you like to accomplish during the rest of April?

April Stellar Miles & Goals

Welcome to April, everyone! I can’t believe we’re already in the fourth month of 2015. Time seems to be flying by this year. In fact, in just under two months I will celebrate my first wedding anniversary! Wow!

Want to know what other anniversary I just passed? Five years since I started running! Since then I’ve run two half marathons, a few 10ks and lots of 5ks … it’s been quite a ride! I’ve had my ups and downs, but it’s still a form of exercise that I really enjoy.

As you know I am currently working on trying to get faster. I had a great 3-mile run on Friday — I ran the first two miles at a pretty good pace, and then walked a third mile. I was pretty pleased with my time because the first two miles were at a faster pace than my pace during the 5k I ran while in Texas for work.

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I’m hoping that I can build up to running the full 3 miles without stopping to walk (though walking is fine — nothing wrong with it!), but I think that’s one way I can work on my overall pace and 5k time.

The other ways that I will work on getting faster include interval training and hills. I read from several sources (mostly Runner’s World), that this is how many runners increase their speed. One commenter said it can be as simple as adding short stretches of sprints into your run, then building up so that maybe you’re running at your usual pace for several minutes, then sprinting for a minute, etc. I think I can handle this, though I’m sure it will be a little tough!

As for hills, I have plenty of those in my neighborhood! I will start to take different routes and rather than walking the hills, like I often do, I will run them at whatever pace I can handle.

If you have any experience in trying to increase your speed, please feel free to give me some advice or refer me to any articles you would recommend!

Lastly, how did your #stellarmiles go for March? I had a great month, thanks to my work trip! I hadn’t originally planned on counting a portion of the miles I walked there toward my miles for the month, but after my first day it became apparent that I was going to get quite the workout each day, so I thought I should go for it. I racked up a total of 31 miles in March!

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Since I know I’ll be out running a lot in preparation for my totally made-up Makeshift 5k on April 25 — scheduled for 9 a.m. at the Green Springs side of Lakeshore Trail — I’m going for 30 miles again in April. I hope you’ll join me for #30stellarmiles in April — and for the Makeshift 5k on April 25!

photo (7)Do you have any running or other fitness goals for April?

Got That 5k Goin’ On

I’m back from my trip to Texas for work, and although I didn’t get in any strength-based workouts, to say I was on my feet a lot would be an understatement! I walked almost 10,000 steps each day and on Saturday, when I ran the Run Your Bass Off 5k, I had more than 12,000! I was really pleased with that, and pleased with my 5k time — 45:40 — because I hadn’t trained at all.

So, you probably know where I’m going with this — now I want to beat that time!  I’m not going to sign up for an official 5k because of my budget. But I am going to set a date, April 25, and train to beat that time. I’m not sure how much progress I can make in one month, but even if it’s just a little, that’s fine by me.

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I will run this 5k on Lakeshore Trail in Homewood, so if anyone wants to do a Makeshift 5k with me that day, you’re welcome to join me! We will each run/walk our own race, our own pace, and meet at the finish line. Let me know if you’re interested!

I’m not exactly sure how I will go about getting faster. I’m going to research some training programs and see if I can find one to help my pace but also take into account my abilities. I don’t think I’m quite at the 10-minute mile mark right now! But maybe I’ll get there one day!

I’ll keep you posted on how training is going and the other workouts I’m doing, too.

Here’s to more miles!