Cardio!

Cardio is good for your heart! Are you killing the cardio, but still not seeing many results elsewhere, like your belly? Well you won’t. You need to combine cardio and strength training in order to start building those muscles. Having muscle actually helps burn more calories during a workout, especially during weight training.

My goal was to have #absbyjanuary starting maybe around July or so. Anyway, January has arrived and while I have made progress those pesky little muscles in my belly still aren’t popping out as much as I would like.

Well I read something on Pinterest about the 11 reasons you aren’t getting rid of that belly fat. Some were well known like you are getting older and eating too many processed foods. Maybe you aren’t sure what processed foods are? Stay away from the white bread, crackers, and chips. Personally, chips are my weakness. I would choose chips over cookies (I think). Are you craving something sweet? Try eating something packed with protein instead like a hard boiled egg or greek yogurt. Always eat more fruits and vegetables! They are easy snacks on the go.

One I found interesting was that you are eating the wrong fats. We are in a society obsessed with eliminating fat when we should be eating the good fats. What are some good fats we should be consuming? Get on the avocado train!! Add it to a smoothie to make it creamier or mix up some simple guacamole with red onions, diced tomatoes, a pinch of salt, pepper, and garlic. You can put it on anything! Start mixing in walnuts and sunflower seeds into salads or oatmeal. Eat more fish and less meat and dairy products which are high in saturated fat. Eating fats should still be done in moderation though because it can lead to increased calorie consumption, so tread carefully!

Get in the gym and sweat!! If you go in there for anything other than to improve yourself–go home. I get it, some workouts you just aren’t super into but at least you are there. I have that at least once every two weeks. It happens! We get busy, but at least get in there. On the days you are feeling the gym work that much harder. SWEAT! No one is going to care about how much you are glistening. Sometimes I feel like the sweatiest person in the gym, but I also feel like a bad ass so it all evens out.

Try switching up what you do first: cardio or weights. I find I like cardio first, but on some days I find myself doing a quick warmup with some jumping exercises and running in place then hit the weights before heading over to the cardio machines. I just like working up that sweat first. Something I heard years ago in a gym was to switch up your cardio during your workout too, for example do 20 minutes of cardio on three different machines. Also try implementing some interval training into your routine. This is something I’m trying to work on. I’ve been pinning ideas like crazy about these.

Deployment: A Series

The last month?

I clearly wear my frustration, sadness, and stress on my face these days. When asked about my husband and when he’s coming home I try not to react in a way that people will feel concerned about me but it is becoming more challenging as the time draws to an end.

Last night, at my bible study group, I left after we closed out with prayer. To be honest, I almost didn’t go. I hadn’t slept well the night before and had to be up at 5 am for work…again. I went because I knew I shouldn’t be spending so much time alone, and it would make me feel better because it always does. I love the people in my group, it’s been a really great community to have.

I arrived early, as I always do. To start, we always hang out in the kitchen and catch up. I am almost always asked about my husband, who these individuals have never met, but they care about how I’m doing. I am pretty sure I avoid eye contact when people ask me how much longer or ask “isn’t your husband coming home soon?” In all reality I still don’t know I just hope it’s before the first weekend in February.

Anyway, I got up to leave so I could race home to crawl in my bed and go to sleep when one of the women caught me before I could disappear out the door. She saw in my face when I was asked earlier that I was frustrated and upset with not knowing when my husband would be returning (for sure). It was probably one of the sweetest gestures I could have received this week. Of course, since she asked the right questions I opened up a little more and stated I felt like I’ve just been in a constant state of stress. I have classes starting this Sunday, work this weekend and that is all bundled with not knowing when my husband will return. She said she would pray for peace over me and rest. I’m so grateful for her.

This morning, I spoke with my husband as I always do when I’m on my way to work but sometimes I find myself getting more annoyed and frustrated with talking and texting all of the time. It seems silly and really quite rude but I’m just over talking to him via technology. Some days it’s probably really apparent that I just don’t feel like talking or maybe I come across more frustrated or annoyed to him. I’m sure that’s hard for him too.

Today I also felt the need to ask if they had heard anything on a real date. Well the rumor last week was slightly different than the one released this week which just caused me to be more unsettled and I just wanted to hang up the phone right away and draw into myself. We didn’t talk long after that, and I quickly changed the subject to avoid getting upset. We didn’t have much to talk about anyway so getting off the phone was easy.

My husband does read my blog, so I know I will get an interesting message after he reads this. I often don’t tell him about how the deployment has been affecting me until after he reads my latest post. He’s great, I just try to avoid stressing him out more.

I’m not sure I have any helpful tidbits are encouraging words for other people experiencing a loved one being deployed, if I did I’m sure I would be lying. I do however think the last month is harder than the first for different reasons. I feel discouraged, I’m sick of doing things on my own, I’m sick of my best friend being gone.

My only advice would be that if you are feeling broken, you aren’t the only one. The time will come where your loved one is back in your arms, but until then you just need to take it one day at a time because that’s all you can do.

Keep on keeping on!

Black Lives Matter

Living in Minneapolis made this situation hit even closer to home this time around. Recently, the BLM movement spent time protesting outside of the 4th Precinct, they were going to be winding down their protest in front of the station when 2 white men and 1 hispanic man infiltrated the protest and shot 5 of them.

The most recent place this movement has been spotted in the cities is at the airport. I remember reading someone’s post on Facebook that was targeting protestors and making them the “bad guys” in the idea that this movement and particular protest affected citizens holiday travel. I understand that people spent money for their tickets or maybe they needed to get home for a funeral, but what is this community at large losing everyday? Their sons, fathers, husbands, grandfathers, uncles, and brothers. While their actions may have been an inconvenience to a traveler making their way home for the holidays, their sons, fathers, grandfathers, brothers, and uncles aren’t returning home…ever. These families rarely see justice in their situation, for example, Officer Darren Wilson wasn’t charged with the death of Michael Brown.

We start throwing out “All lives matter” and they do– that is not the point. Let me break it down. A white man, Dylann Roof, went into a church in Charleston and killed nine people in the congregation after he was welcomed and invited to pray and worship with them. Upon completion of his mass murder he fled the scene but was later arrested and transported in a bullet proof vest and protected by police men during transportation.

In 2012, the Aurora theater shooting took place. James Holmes opened fire during the midnight showing of Dark Night Rises and killed 12 people and wounded 70 or more. I knew one of the men killed in this shooting, Jesse Childress. I didn’t know him extraordinarily well, but the situation hits home when a fellow service member you’ve spent time with leaves this earth far too early. Every time the story re-surfaces it touches my heart a little differently than all of the other stories I see. I can only imagine the pain his family feels everyday dealing with the loss of their brother and child.

James Holmes was arrested after fleeing the scene in the parking lot of the theater. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

How can we ignore the injustice of this system? White men are being protected in bullet proof vests after performing mass murder, but unarmed black men are being shot on sight?

I’m in an interracial marriage, my husband is black. My children will be viewed by society as black. We will have to teach our children, especially our sons that they can’t always do the things their white counterparts do. That might include the inability to play with a water gun, a toy gun, or a be-be gun out of fear that someone may view it as harmful or aggressive. We cannot control the actions of others perception, so we will have to teach our children to modify their actions and behaviors so that they are not viewed as a threat? Not convinced, don’t understand? Watch this Ted Talk by Clint Smith.

Racism doesn’t exist. I keep hearing that. Perhaps I’m more in tune to the situation because I live it when my husband and I go out together. I see the shock in people’s faces when they meet him for the first time. I’ve also been told, “I didn’t know your husband was black.” My husband also hears “I didn’t know your wife was white.” We don’t define each other by the color of our skin. When I describe my husband I describe his personality and his character, his skin color doesn’t hinder or nurture my love for him.

Let’s be honest, if you look around your community and you’re saying racism doesn’t exist it’s because you live in a predominately white community where the largest minority group you see is women.

I went to school in a small town in Wisconsin, population 2,001. There was a hispanic family in the town and maybe two bi-racial families from what I knew or remembered. A black family moved to the area, and the oldest boy was in high school. I remember one day walking through the halls I saw a noose drawn on his locker. There was a fight, because who wouldn’t be upset when there was something derogatory and hurtful drawn on their locker? I don’t remember what the repercussions were or who got in trouble, but racism clearly existed in my town, and it still does.

I keep hearing people say-let me rephrase- I keep hearing white people say that the country is becoming too sensitive. In all reality we have been too insensitive, intolerant, and ignorant about diversity and the issues that our children will face everyday. Be the change you want to see in the world, change the world, teach your children to be tolerant, accepting, and understanding to the issues in the world.

Racism still exists.

BLOGTOBER: Workouts

I’ve been so busy I have not been able to keep up with BLOGTOBER, but I got some inspiration today while I was at the gym. 

I started thinking about how people say you should switch your workout every few weeks because your body stops building muscle. I think it’s false, or incorrectly worded. I do think you need to consistently add new things to your workout and increase the weight in your workouts, but there is no need to start a new workout every month or few weeks. 

I’ve been consistently working out for 3 months now, by consistently I mean 5 days or more a week, and I have only added new things to my workout I have never stopped my current workout and started up a different program. 

I do recommend adding new things into your regime because otherwise we tend to get bored. If you get bored with your whole workout after a few weeks then it’s up to you to switch it up.

Increasing weight and adding new things to your existing workout will help you to continue to build muscle, tone, and see results. 

 
   

I’ve come a long way in my fitness journey and I’m finally figuring out what works best for me! It’s very exciting.

  

BLOGTOBER: Pancakes and Fall

Good Morning!!

Last night I spent a good part of my evening with my mom making cheesy Halloween crafts. Nothing too fantastic just paper pumpkins and ghosts, but it was fun and it got us talking about things we used to do when I was a wee little thing.

I cooked a beef and shrimp stir fry for us which is funny because I certainly didn’t learn my good cooking skills from my mom. I always give her a hard time for being an “out-of-the-box” chef. It really gave me an appreciation for learning how to cook.

Turns out my first career field in the military was Services. The career field includes a few different jobs like lodging, mortuary, protocol, dining hall, and working at the fitness center. I didn’t dabble in the mortuary aspect-it wasn’t part of the mission at my base. I really enjoyed working in the dining facility though. Granted we had to use specific recipe cards and we made food in bulk for hundreds of people I learned a lot. I eventually started incorporating what I learned in the dining hall into my own kitchen and started with spaghetti sauce.

When I first got out on my own I didn’t cook much it was just me and I wasn’t sure about cooking, so I ate out a lot or resorted to over easy eggs and toast. Then spaghetti slowly got added into the things I knew how to cook. I started looking up recipes on food when I was seeing a guy who mentioned that I didn’t know how to cook or something rude (should have known then he was a jerk) so I made some pesto chicken with squash and zucchini. It was delicious, and I still make it today.

Then I moved in with my boyfriend (now husband) and that’s when my cooking got put a little more on track. I was having a hard time finding a job so I was staying at home. Not much to do, so I began cooking and baking more.

Now, I am able to create random dishes from whatever I have in my fridge and cabinets without a recipe. I haven’t been so lucky with my baking. I definitely need a recipe for that. The only thing I don’t measure out is vanilla.

One of the greatest things I’ve learned is simplicity in recipes. While I employ a fabulous spice cabinet, I don’t always use the ones I’m not familiar with. I bought a lot of them because other recipes I would look up at recipes that had stuff like filet powder and smoked paprika in. I’ve used them a few times, but I haven’t been ready to experiment with them quite yet.

I often remind my mom about how I feel like we had hamburger helper everyday for a year, but she swears we didn’t maybe just twice a week. I just like to give her a hard time about it. I don’t make everything from scratch, I just don’t have the time. So today, I had some pumpkin spice pancakes from a mix already created. While I love creating things in the kitchen, I just don’t have the time to always be doing it. It’s nice to have simple things to go to when you’ve just had a long day or no ambition to cook from scratch. My mom got it right there!

So here is my latest delicious Target find!

Delicious little find. Pumpkin spice pancakes. Just add water!! Only 120 calories for 2 4-inch pancakes!

Delicious little find. Pumpkin spice pancakes. Just add water!! Only 120 calories for 2 4-inch pancakes!

Deployment: A Series

I was sitting on my couch yesterday and I found myself staring at these wine bottles my husband and I decorated. It was some Pinterest idea of course. I started collecting wine bottles and whatever else worked for the impending project, we went and bought stencils, tape, and spray paint.

We went outside on a cool fall day and began our project. It was entertaining and fun to do together. Well my husband felt creative and decided to spray paint his hand print on one of the bottles, so it looks like someone is holding the bottle. I was probably a little unnerved about it at first as in I didn’t want it visible to house guests but he was so excited about it so I left it out with the other ones (we stick flowers in them). It was always a good story, and now it

These are the bottles we made, you can see the hand bottle on the right.

These are the bottles we made, you can see the hand bottle on the right.

‘s a great memory.

It’s important to create those lasting memories with your spouse as well as your family. Sometimes the best memories are developed from the simplest activities.

The beautiful gold and blue hand bottle houses a pink and white flower on my coffee table sharing memories with me everyday and stories with guests while my husband is gone, and will continue to when he returns.

BLOGTOBER: Cheat Meal vs. Cheat Day

Cheat meals and cheat days, something a lot of “dieters” look forward too. Today, I had Chick-fil-a for lunch which ended up being about 1000 calories worth of food. That’s right, 1000 calories!!! Which made me start thinking about cheat days vs. cheat meals.

Here’s the skinny! The best thing I’ve ever heard or read (no idea where I saw it because it was so long ago now) but it was an article or a blog discussing a very similar topic. If you are craving something, eat it. You can look up all of the stuff about if you are craving chocolate, then your body really wants fruit (this may not be the exact craving symmetry). But in all honesty when it comes down to actually having the craving an apple isn’t going to make me not want chocolate. I’m better off having chocolate right away instead of suppressing the craving and binging on it later.

I would ask you consider a cheat meal vs. a cheat day and for every cheat meal you have, match it with 5 consecutive healthy meals. There are going to be those days where it seems like we can’t get past all of the junk in the office or we just get off track. WE ARE HUMAN!! It happens to the best of us. Just get back on track the next day, don’t wait until Monday or the following week.

While we are very aware that fast food isn’t good for us, we still eat it or we still crave a particular thing. It may not even be fast food, maybe it’s cookies, cake, or a candy bar. Lately, I’ve been on a sweet tooth so I allow myself something sweet every day but sometimes I have a Chobani Flip yogurt instead of something like a candy bar or a cookie (who am I kidding I have a few cookies not just one).

It’s good to treat yourself, but everything is better in moderation even junk food!

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