Friday, January 30, 2015

Outside Running

I seriously can’t believe that January is over, peeps! This year is already FLYING by. As mentioned before, I am currently training for my 10K, which is February 28th so I have exactly 1 more month to get my act together. I did a practice 10K in the gym on a treadmill a few weeks ago and was able to alternate walking and running with a time of 1 hour and 20 minutes. I’ve been working on my outside running game as I know running among the elements is totally different. However, I’ve been hit with the sickness that will not leave so it’s not going well. Before the plague hit, I ran/walked 3 miles outside and was able to keep my pace at around the 12 minute mile mark. Let’s just say my dislike of outside running is still strong. I do not get how you people do it. I ran at dusk one Sunday and it was about 60 degrees on this particular evening so I wore a long sleeve shirt. With a mix of Miley and Britney blaring, I was really excited about how well my pace was going and at around the mile 1 mark the sweating started. I instinctively used my sleeve to wipe my forehead and kept running. Soon thereafter, my nose started running because of the cold (and impending plague that will hit me the very next day) and I instinctively used my sleeve to wipe my nose. Eventually, I realize I’m using the same sleeve each time and now there is a mixture of sweat and snot all over my face. Super cute, right? Disgusting. Normally, at the gym, it’s a cozy temperature and I can use my towel, which is neatly folded on the top of my treadmill, to wipe my forehead. Maybe I should invest in a utility belt for outside running. One pocket for tissues, a hook for a towel, a pocket for Chapstick and my key, and perhaps a holder for a tiny flask of water. I could always start training Oliver for running and make him wear a backpack. He would be a terrible running partner with his short legs but he would be extremely cute with a backpack. I’m thinking a bold stripe or plaid print. Anyway…I did brave the gym for the first time in over a week on Tuesday and was able to mildly breathe. I clocked in 2 miles of run/walk and had a really slow time. My body is still recovering and it’s demanding I rest. I have severely backed off of the gym and am getting more rest days but I can feel myself losing muscle density. Yesterday, I did a light leg day and am really feeling it this morning.  Why is it that you miss 1 week at the gym and it's like you haven't been in a year?  It's so incredibly frustrating that such a short amount of time can undo all the triumphs you've had.  The struggle of sickness is real and is a huge deterrent for stepping up my game. Hopefully, I’ll be back on top soon!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tastes Blog-Worthy Good

One of my new favorite weekend activities is going to grocery stores to scour for fantastic food finds. I recently made a trip to Wal-Mart and the new-to-Gainesville Lucky’s Market and discovered some foods that you can’t find at the normal grocery store that are definitely good enough to be mentioned on the blog.

Yogurt: I saw someone post on Instagram that the Dannon Light & Fit Greek yogurt comes in salted caramel flavor. I set out on a quest to find it! I finally found ONE cup left at Wal-Mart. It was absolutely amazing! It was a limited edition flavor and I’m totally afraid I will not be able to find it again. I might need to talk to someone about ordering some as it was THAT GOOD! While there, I also found that Dannon Light & Fit makes a vanilla cupcake flavor whips yogurt. This flavor isn’t the normal 80 calorie yogurt and had higher carbs and sugars than I would normally eat in a yogurt but I treated it as, well, a treat. It didn’t taste very much like a vanilla cupcake so I would pass on this purchase in future. I was also able to find a few more flavors that aren’t available at my normal grocery store but the salted caramel was the only blog-worthy flavor! Call a girl if you are able to find a surplus of them in the Gainesville area.

Gluten Free: I browsed the gluten-free section as I’ve noticed that these items do tend to have lower carbs when compared to similar foods. I found the amazingly tasty Udi’s Ancient Crisps in several flavors like sea salt, cheddar and jalapeno cheddar. While at Wal-Mart, I found the jalapeno cheddar for the first time. You get like 18 crisps for 14g carbs, 2g sugars and 3.5g fat. I paired these with some salsa and it was on point! If you have portion control issues, I recommend pre-packaging little baggies for yourself as these chips can be addicting. I also found a brand called Van’s and they make a few different items but I purchased some cheese crackers and for 30 pieces you get 20g carbs, 2g sugars and 5g fat. These little crackers are made with oats, brown rice, millet, quinoa and amaranth. They’re not too cheesy in flavor and could use more but I made my own snack mix by using ½ a serving of this and mixing in some white cheddar popcorn. Boom Chicka Pop and Smart Pop are still my favorite brands.

Turkey Burgers: I’ve never been a huge fan of ground turkey or chicken. It kind of grosses me out so the only way I figure I am able to eat turkey burgers is to buy the pre-made patties. This way, I can avoid seeing and touching the meat. Please don’t ask why it weirds me out so much because I, honestly, have no idea. I also need A LOT of flavoring. I found some Jennie-O turkey burgers that are seasoned and have some veggies cooked into them for extra flavor. They’re actually really good. Obviously, red meat has a ton of fat so these burgers are about ½ of what a pre-made beef patty would be. I added some mayo/ketchup/relish sauce on top, which was extra delicious!

We have a new grocery chain in Gainesville, Lucky’s Market. If you guys haven’t heard of it nor have one in your area, it’s described as a mix of Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s with better pricing. I haven’t quite determined if the pricing descriptor is accurate but we shall see. I was totally GEEKING out in this store. I was actually quite annoyed because I wanted to go up and down every aisle reading every label and that was getting in the way of the millions of people who were also shopping there. This store was and is packed every day of the week. I’m hoping it slows down when the newness wears off. I was able to find my beloved Halo Top Creamery ice cream so I no longer have to tote it back from Whole Foods in Orlando. They had so many foods that I’ve been actively looking for based on recommendations of my fellow fit friends on Instagram. I was able to find about 6 different flavors of Boom Chicka Pop and I purchased the cheddar caramel combo bag. Holy amazingness! I couldn’t put this popcorn down. SO GOOD! I really can’t say it enough. It’s a smaller portion size with higher carbs and sugars than the salt flavor but it’s totally worth it. I was also able to find the Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips, which are delicious and more nutritiously sound than regular chocolate chips. I finally found unsweetened chocolate almond milk but it really leaves something left to be desired. It’s not enough of a chocolate flavor to curb a craving. I really prefer making my own with the syrup or powder, see Mo' Dairy, Mo' Problems post for deets, but this is obviously more carbs and sugars per serving.

I’m really excited about making a return trip to Lucky’s and to continue to find foods to report back to you guys. Feel free to tag me on Instagram in any finds that you want to share or comment with your favorites! Happy snacking!

Monday, January 26, 2015

This Week= 1, Sarah= 1.5

Sorry for being MIA lately, friends, but I am sick, AGAIN, and had a pretty terrible week. Working in an office building is the absolute worst. I hadn't been sick in years and now it seems I get sick about every 6 months. It started with a twinge in the back of my throat last Sunday and was full-blown plague by Monday afternoon. I skipped the gym all week and am focusing on listening to my body, which is telling me I need to rest. For some strange reason, I only crave toast when I'm sick. It started in college and I want buttered toast with jam and tea all the time. I gave in and had some as it was the only food that didn't make me want to vomit. The upside of being sick is that I lost 6 lbs. in 1 week. Eating about 1200 calories a day helps you lose weight quickly! I got down to 201 lbs. at one point, which is so incredibly close to a big goal that it’s not even funny! It won't stick as I resumed my regular eating on Friday. I also indulged in some cupcakes, a buffalo chicken wrap and curly fries, Gatorade, and orange juice over these last few days. This bout of sick is so much worse than the last time. I thought about braving the gym on Friday morning but I was exhausted by just taking a shower. I tested negative for flu, then it was believed I had strep but I now just have a ton of congestion with a terrible cough. I’m absolutely exhausted.

This past week was completely winning before this weekend rolled in. I decided to go home to Orlando because I really needed some mommy snuggles. I’m 28 years old and still want my mom when I’m sick. This also means we did a whole bunch o’ shopping! I’ve conquered another size and bought clothes with letters I’ve never seen on tags before (M, on one particular sweater!!!!). I got some SUPA cute clothes and am really excited to debut them this week! Being skinny is seriously SO much fun. Trying on clothes is no longer the worst experience of my life. This was ever so obvious as I was strutting around Macy’s in my TWO new coats yesterday. My coat game is coming back strong, y’all. I was sad to lose some of my most favorite pieces because they’re basically tents now but I’m finding new (and cuter!) things every day. Thank you to my stylist, momma dukes, for keeping me clothed!  I promise I'll have some posts worth reading up this week.  I just need some time to de-clutter my brain.  Happy Monday, everyone!

Friday, January 16, 2015

525,600 Minutes

You Broadway (and later, movie) nerds will inevitably burst into song reading today's blog title, which is courtesy of the musical RENT. It's been 525,600 minutes since I last weighed 291 lbs. On January 16, 2014, I took the bravest of steps and admitted I had a problem with food. I acknowledged and accepted my flaw and sought help to overcome the obstacle that was at the forefront of my life. You know the story, I made the appointment, had a consultation, and lived the most embarrassing and empowering moment of my life in seeing that high number on the scale below my feet.  I cannot communicate into words the importance that decision has made on my life.

The iconic ballad in RENT then asks, "How will you measure a year?" No, the answer isn't 365 days, 52 weeks or 12 months. The answer, dear friends, is in the details of life.  It's fair to say my last year will be measured by numbers: 84 lbs. lost, 62 overall inches gone, 6 sizes dropped and 191 gym sessions.  But beyond the scale and figures, I will measure the last year in moments, victories and milestones. My past 525,600 minutes were filled with laughter, tears, sweat, cravings, defeat, celebrations, cupcakes, miles and a whole lot of happiness.  This past year has been the GREATEST year of my life. Wanna know the funny part? It was still filled with the bad shit that every year carries. I got my heart broken, the Gators had a terrible football season, I didn’t make my goal, friendships faded, work was stressful, I have friends and family with health issues and personal struggles, and there were a ton of unexpected disappointments, but through all of it I accomplished something I’ve never been able to before. I was actually successful at losing weight! Losing weight will trump any negative parts the year sent my way. I gave myself completely to this mission and dedicate every day to it. I went ALL IN and put faith in myself.  

I understand many of you won’t get it and some even think that losing weight isn’t a huge deal. Quite the contrary. I feel like I talk in circles a lot and that’s because I really can’t describe how momentous this year has been for me. I’m a different person now but I will always remember where I have been. My outlook on life is positive, my confidence is at an all-time high and I’m happy. To any of you reading who may be struggling with weight loss, do this for yourself! I am in awe at how great life is as this girl. I know it’s hard to rationalize that losing some weight can make life so much better but IT DOES! I am eternally grateful to God (or karma, or whatever deity you pray to) for igniting the spark that jump started this second life. I am blessed with this able body and positive mind, which power me through each day. I know I’m sounding like an anti-depression commercial again but I may or may not be coming down off a gym high. Endorphins, peeps! Go get you some! As I venture into this next phase of training and my next 525,600 minutes of life as Sarah 2.0, I’m excited and optimistic. Thank you, as always, for following along with me!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I Saw That on Instagram

I’ve been majorly slacking in the Supa Proud Wednesday award presenting. Please accept my apologies. Today’s post will be solely dedicated to being supa proud because I have a post coming out on Friday for my 1 year anniversary. Please, no gifts. First, a major announcement for Sarah Chose Happy, I will be deleting my Facebook account dedicated to the blog. It’s really annoying to upkeep 2 Facebook pages and all the followers are friends with me on my personal page. I created the 2nd page in order to allow people to read my blog in Facebook and to keep it separate from my personal life stuff. However, this blog is super personal and is my life so why keep them apart? I’m not really sure anymore. To supplement this, I am going to dedicate my Instagram account to primarily focus on my fitness and food. I’m really hoping to see an increase in Instagram followers, which will get me more blog readers. I want to reach people who might need it--a laugh, inspiration or good kick in the ass to get off the couch. For those of you who don’t follow me on Instagram, click the icon on the right banner to find me. For those of you who don’t care to see my fitness, food or blog posts on Instagram or Facebook, feel free to un-follow me. Bye, Felicia (sorry, I couldn’t help it)!

This week, I’m awarding my friend Candice with a supa proud award! Candice WAS what I would like to call a cardio bunny. She would go to the gym and would only do cardio. I finally convinced her to not be scared of the weight machines and that she seriously needed to work weights into her routine to see the results she desired. Well, dear reader, she DID IT! She walked up to those machines, read the instructions and lifted her some weights. Candice, I’m so proud of you for overcoming your gym-timidation and doing this for yourself! If you can’t figure a machine out, you know how to reach me. However, I believe you can do it and I’m SUPA PROUD of you! Keep going, girl!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Tat, Tat, Tatted Up

I adventured with my friend over the weekend for my 2nd tattoo of life! I know, pause for shock and awe, as most of you didn't know I have a 1st tattoo. I was referred to as the, "Didn't look like a tattoo kind." My first tat is not heavily advertised because it's 10 years old at this point and on my back where no one regularly sees. My pink hibiscus flower tattoo is more about the experience than the meaning. I was with my best friend; we thought we were such rebels getting tattooed without our parent’s permission or knowledge. Obviously, our parents found out a few months later. The tat is such a representation of my life at the time I got it. I was obsessed with the color pink and anything Hawaiian/surfer/Roxy/etc. even though I’ve never even been surfing. Idiot.  However, I love that it links my PIC, Kate, and I together for life.

My friend, Heidi, approached me about wanting to get a new tattoo and I decided it was time for my next one.The issue, and #1 reason it took me so long to get another tat, is that I couldn't decide what I wanted! There are too many things I would like permanently ink on my body so it's hard to narrow it down to something with such importance that I won't hate it in 20 years. I have greatly wanted a "Choose Happy" tattoo but have envisioned it on my rib cage and really wanted to be slimmer and cut before inking. I was determined to wait on that idea and I poured over quotes and symbols to find an alternative. I've also always wanted a foot tattoo but the aftercare process for one is NOT in line with my new life. You can't wear socks or shoes (that cover it) for 2 weeks. That's not gonna work for this gym rat! I couldn't find any tattoo idea that I loved as much as my mantra and blog inspiration. Suddenly, it's Saturday night, I'm half naked in front of strangers and needles buzz in the background. Old Sarah would never have done this tattoo. I was in my bra and jeans in front of total strangers. This was the biggest shock of the whole experience to my mom who knows my aversion to even removing my shirt for the doctor. I'm up on the table and regretting eating a big dinner and wearing extremely tight skinny jeans. I decided that "choose happy" would have to be my next tattoo because it truly defines me. The plan was to just go to the shop to get our tattoos drawn and make appointments for ink. While there, there was no wait and the artist who does great script work was available! We picked our fonts and I added an arrow. The arrow addition is pretty obvious as my choosing happiness is a journey.

I’m so glad that I decided to go with my gut and ink my slogan. I LOVE this tattoo!  Good thing, right? This tat sits among my bountiful stretch marks (inevitable!!) as a permanent reminder of where I've been and where I'm going. I will never forget the girl I once was. I know I get wrapped up in the excitement of a transformation photo and relish how great life is now. Friends and family are always quick to point out that I was beautiful then and am beautiful now. I know that, too. I love the girl I used to be as she's the one who made the incredibly brave step toward a happier life. She's the one who believed she could and she's the one that did. I'm just here carrying on life for her.

Thank you, Heidi, for photographing this moment and for sitting with me as I made funny faces of pain!  Also, thank you for this experience so I could work it into a blog post.  Love you! :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Go Heavy or Go Home

The holiday season is finally over and it’s time to get this booty back into gear. I’ve been doing a ton of reflection over the last 2 weeks and have finally settled on some 2015 goals. Post to follow later this week. I survived the holidays and have maintained my weight through December. I weigh in tomorrow at the doc and will see where the month has left me. Right now, I’m sitting pretty at 206.2, which is an 84.8 lb. loss so far. I keep closing my eyes and saying a little prayer when I step on the scale each day with fear that it’s the day that the food choices catch up to me. The one consistent in my life is my ol’ reliable gym. The gym misses me and greets me with open arms when I’ve been gone for a few days. Regardless of travel, I still managed to squeeze in my workouts. I ended my Christmas vacation early in order to get back home and sweat. I finally reached the point in my life where the gym is just second nature. I don’t have to force myself to go, I don’t need any bribes and I take advantage of every minute I have to spare there. Consistently working out is the greatest gift I’ve given myself this year. It’s made me more confident, healthier and strong. I had the freedom to take a few days break and enjoy my birthday, a Savannah vacation, Christmas and New Years because of working out.

As stated before, my resolution for 2015 and an aid to my goals is to step up my game. I’ve decided that 2015 will be dedicated to strength training. I’m getting a generous offer from a close friend to help train me and start heavy lifting. I have been pre-training for this for the last few months with focused gym sessions on muscle groups and have been diligently researching. Muscle development is a huge component of burning fat, even while the body is at rest. For those of you concerned, I’m not becoming a body builder or a fitness competitor. No spray tans and glitter bikinis for this girl.  Girls thinking that weightlifting will make you bulky or manly couldn’t be more wrong because we lack enough testosterone. From the beginning, the overarching goal of this entire mission of mine has been to be fit. I’ve lost the bulk of my weight at this point and it’s time to become the fittest Belle at the barbell.  We started two days ago with the new training schedule and I was sore within hours.  I am always the first to admit when I need help and I definitely need help to get through my new strength goals.  I cannot wait to share all the details about my trainer with you because SHE'S AMAZING!  She corrected my form, diagnosed my sporadic knee pain and called me out on my horrendous posture, all within the first 5 minutes of our session.

In conjunction with the new training regimen, I’m also changing my nutrition to incorporate carbohydrates to help rebuild muscles. With the help of the My Fitness Pal app, I am now focusing on counting my macronutrients. The three macros are carbs, protein and fat. Optimal percentages for daily target are a constant debate but I have settled on a plan for myself and will go through a testing phase. Again, I’m not an expert so all of this is completely based on my research. I’ve given myself a 6-week trial period to start. Hopefully, at the end of that time, I can report positive findings!

I’m extremely excited to begin this next phase of training! Progress updates and photos will be coming soon!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Off The Record

Confession time! I totes lied about my underwear choice on NYE. I totally caved and wore red. I couldn’t help it! I have bouts of superstition and 2014 will be an incredibly hard year to top! I couldn’t risk not having a repeat of the same level of greatness in 2015. Whew, I feel so much better. I’m also ready to remain poor in 2015 as punishment for choosing love over wealth and success. I had an amazing NYE and I hope y’all did, too! I am incredibly grateful for the many new friendships and deepened “old” friendships bestowed upon me this past year!

I understand that you all come here to follow my nutritional and fitness journey but part of my choosing happiness equates to my dating life. The worst thing you can say to a reporter is, “Off the record.” Well, a lot of my writing material has to be off the record because it’s personal. I, obviously, put a ton of personal details on this blog but I can’t do the same when other parties are involved. To supplement my lack of detailing boys I meet or dates I go on, I offer you entertaining anecdotes about how my friends torture me over my perpetually-single life. My membership finally expired, thank you baby Jesus. What a waste of my life. I find it INCREDIBLY suspicious that the day my membership expires, I have 3 people interested in me, according to the e-mails. Ridiculous. My friends (cough, cough Tracey) have always wanted me to join the dating site Farmers Only. This past weekend, I finally agreed to let them use my information to see the cowboys on this site. Like all great decisions, this one was made over whiskey. Let’s just say it’s been 2 days and I’m ready to hit the delete button. Most bachelors are over the age of 40 and the one SUPA hottie we found is probably a fake photo. Who poses shirtless, abs perfectly highlighted, with a goat? Models. The answer is models. I admitted that my ideal match is a little bit country, which I define as driving a truck, having a dog with a manly name like Butch or Duke, and who listens to some country music. I would blame Gainesville but I’ve always loved pick-up trucks. It’s because I was raised in Kissimmee where we had Rodeo Day as a holiday from school. True story. My perfect-man details only fueled the Farmers Only fire. The only thing I can offer a farmer is that I look cute in cowboy boots, I’m willing to operate a tractor and I love animals. Beyond that, I’m not really into mucking stalls or roping steer. I’m assuming these are all things that farmers do. Regardless, browsing the few profiles with my friends over Crown Royal provided some entertainment. My profile doesn’t even have a photo and I’ve been “flirted” with 6 times. Guess farmers are on that whole looks don’t matter thing. Sorry, Hoss, this cowgirl is on to greener (and younger) pastures.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Step Up My Game and Don’t (bleep) Up

Welcome to 2015, loves!  I hope everyone rang in the New Year with fireworks, booze and high hopes.  My resolution for 2014 was to do more of the things I love and make me happy- writing (check), baking (not so much), have fun (double check).  For the first time in I’m not sure how long I didn’t resolve to lose weight.  By George, it actually worked!  I’m telling y’all, this reverse wish and resolution thing has something to it!  For 2015, my New Year’s resolution will be to step up my game.  With my year anniversary approaching, I’m moving on to phase 2 of my journey.  Details will be coming soon but for now I label it as stepping up my game.  I’m increasing workouts, changing my eating and plowing ahead to make goals.

I’m EXTREMELY excited to report that I have signed up for my first 10K.  Usually, you’re supposed to start with a 5K but go big or go home.  I’m also not running the entire 6.2 miles as it will be more of a run-slash-walk with my best friend who will be 7 months pregnant at race time.  This will definitely help take some pressure off because I’m not fast, at all, but I am lapping the Sarah of last year.  Training to run outside in the elements starts NOW.  Pray for me, friends.

In 2015, I also hope to change a few habits that I really need to get under control.  I’m resolving to lessen my cursing.  I’m not cutting cold turkey as I believe that will be asking for me to fail.  I have a lot of new babies coming into my life this year and I want to set a good example for them.  I still stand by my theory that sometimes a moment dictates a properly placed F-bomb, but I promise to try really hard to choose words that reflect my intellect and extensive vocabulary because I am a lady.  Sometimes.  I think you get it.  I have offered up to my friends the opportunity to punch me in the arm when I fail, which thrills them to no end.

CHALLENGE TIME!  It’s January and I need to get my STUFF (nudge, nudge) together.  For January, I’ll be doing a butt challenge because I’ve gotten huge booty gains over the last few months and want to keep progressing.  Click here to get help with any of the moves.