Let's Chat: All About The Week

July 24, 2014

Happy almost Friday! I am so happy it's Thursday evening, my body is aching. This week was absolutely exhausting.  It was all about 12 and 14 hour work days: meetings upon meetings, lunches, visitors, client dinners, and assisting my President (which is part of my normal duties, it was just escalated this week). It was a ton of work because I organized the agendas, meetings, and meals, then attended it all as well. I rocked high heels all week, too! My feet are killing me. I have to say though, now that it's over, I feel accomplished and proud. I truly love our weeks that are a bit chaotic like that.

Monday morning, I went to purchase drinks and refreshments for the week. Of course with my luck, the flood gates of heaven opened, and I was out in it all day. Wednesday evening I had a strategic planning dinner meeting. I was able to pick the place. We went to a restaurant called "131 Main". I had never tried it, but really wanted too. Simply put, it was great. I am still salivating over my meal! I had a delicious pear martini and the best, juiciest, and most tender steak. The mashed baby reds were phenomenal too. If you are ever in Charlotte, you must try it.
Last week I lost 2 pounds! That brought my total to a 62 pound loss since November 25th. However, I am sure after this week, I gained the 2 pounds back, ha. I was a little off schedule with working long hours, missing the gym some, and eating off of my plan. That's life though and it will happen. I just have to be flexible, find a balance, and always get back on track -- which I do. Tuesday night was one of the evenings I did not have to go to a dinner meeting so I went to the gym per usual. For some reason, I had the BEST work out I have had in a LONG time. I did 30 minutes on the StairMill alternating between 65 SPM and 90 SPM-- I even threw in a couple of sprint intervals at 160 SPM. I did my usual upper body weight circuit, backsquats, then I did a mile and a half of sprint intervals in our indoor track. 

The sprint intervals were the icing on the cake. I ran track in high school. My short, muscular legs were of good use for speed running. I was a fast runner. I never sprint anymore though. When I was heavier, it hurt too much, so I just left it alone. I forgot how high sprinting makes me feel. I literally pushed through my sprints like I was running for my life... and it was incredible. I knew I would not be able to workout Wednesday, so I made sure I pushed myself with a vengeance. Wednesday I was sore. Today I am deathly sore! Talk about hurt so good. The craziest part is that my lower abs were the sorest of all. Running really uses your core so I was happy to be that sore. My core is weak. My legs were also screaming. I couldn't train I was so sore. Delayed onset muscle soreness was in full effect. I will absolutely be incorporating sprints in my weekly training routine now. Lesson learned!

My birthday is Wednesday! I will officially be the big 2-5, which in my opinion, is a pretty big milestone! I will be a quarter of a century old. I will not longer be in my early 20's. I will be 5 years away from 30. Holy crap, where does the time go? I swear yesterday I was boarding a plane for California for my 21st birthday. Since my birthday is Wednesday, my mom came down today and is staying until Sunday. We got the celebrations started early! We went to Kohls and I got a super cute pair outfit: a pair of faded jeans with holes and a fun black tank. After, we went to one of mama's favorite restaurants in Charlotte, "City Tavern". I sipped on a delicious Cosmo, she had her usual Sangria, and as we were leaving, my waiter gave us a piece of chocolate cake for my birthday! We were stuffed so it is in the fridge now. 
Every once in a while, I like to promote my good blog friends, sponsors, and/or anyone else that sticks out to me. I happen to have a few amazing sponsors this month who definitely deserve to be recognized. Please head over to their blog, say hello, and make a new friend. Also, on Wednesday I updated my advertising page, so if you have a blog and/or business and you would like to work together, let's talk!

Maegen. My good friend and former co-worker at Urban Active Fitness. She is a beauty queen (in my eyes and in a lot of pageants eyes as well, ha!) but she is so, so, much more than that. I was really happy a few months ago when she told me she started a blog for one of her classes. Luckily, she still writes even though the class has ended. Maegen writes about a lot of social issues that we as women have to endure in today's world. The standard definition of beauty, unrealistic expectations, and pressures of today's media. We are so much more than our outer appearance, and Maegen's mission to make sure every woman knows that. I am all about empowering women -- I am a total girl's girl, so I want to support and help her every way I can. 

Another inspiring blogger is Jessica. Her blog is named Healthy is Happy. How true is that, by the way? Healthy is happy. Healthy is beautiful. She is really fun to follow because with her, you get a little of everything. She is hardworking, dedicated, and passionate. She is also fun and easygoing. You get inspiring fitness ideas and her journey, along with glimpses into other parts of her life. Not to mention all kinds of business and blog information -- which is personally my favorite. You have to check her out; there is a TON to see and learn from her and her blog.

My girl, Trace. This girl is either going to inspire the hell out of you or make you really jealous. She is plugging away at her fitness and weight loss journey, and every time I see a new picture on Instagram or a new blog post, I am amazed. She really is giving this her all, made it a lifestyle, and has stayed immensely dedicated. Heck, I feel like I am going through her journey with her now. She has stayed that consistent and it has been awesome seeing her transform. She is a great friend of mine with positive energy that is contagious, and watching her succeed and lose weight keeps me motivated as well. She is definitely someone you want to get to know. 

Join the fun Friday linkup's here!

Happiness is a Choice

July 23, 2014

"Happiness is a choice" is the number one quote I live by. I have it written on my white board at work, I repeat it to myself whenever I am feeling down, and I make a solid effort to live by those words. The quote is simple, but in my opinion, it's very powerful.

Many people pour their dependency and need for happiness into their significant other. This is also true for material things, children, food-- the list could go on. However, what I see most is depending upon ones partner. I was guilty of this when I had my first real relationship a few years ago. As a result, it did nothing but tear me down. I let myself go. I let my happiness be decided by another person. One day things were perfect, the next day it was hell. I tried to always be understanding and compromise, but it was never good enough... and that is when I started to lose myself. I started to slowly transforming into someone I was not. When that relationship ended and I was on my own starting over, I realized that if I wanted to be happy, that all I had to do, was simply be.

I decided when I was 14 years old that no matter what happened in life or hardships I went through, I was always going to think positive, solve problems, find resolutions, and live as a happy person. I will never forget the day I decided to change the way I thought and saw life. I was a freshman in high school and I had recently transferred into a new school system and bullying because of my looks and weight was beginning. I was hiding behind my bed my against the wall crying because my former step-father was on one of his tangents. I was so tired of going through so much pain. Even at 14 years old, I knew that this was not was life was about. At the time, I could not control how my step-father acted nor the people at school, but I could control my mind and attitude.

A few weeks ago when I started to sink in a really bad place and become depressed, I tried immensely to tell myself over and over that happiness is a choice. I was fighting a war inside of myself -- my heart had given up and felt hopeless, yet my mind was trying to be logical and remind myself of the mantra I chose to live by. For those few weeks, my broken heart won. My aching heart broke my mind. 

I resulted back into depending upon someone else for happiness. My ex and I were talking, and I was being dragged around through an entangled web of "I love you so much", "I can't live without you", "I'm not sure what I want", "I don't think this is going to work", "You're my best friend and I want to spend the rest of my life with you", "I don't want to see you right now". One second things were great... the next second things were awful. During those few weeks, the only time I felt peace and happiness were when I had hope for our relationship and being told sweet things. The second it went opposite, I was back to my world falling apart. Living through a constant roller coaster of having my emotions and heart thrown around like trash was excruciating.

The Saturday before last, I finally hit rock bottom. I had been void of happiness, positivity, and hope for nearly 3 weeks. Thursday and Friday, things were wonderful. Saturday, things were not. Saturday evening I started to cry because once again my hopes and feelings were stepped on and completely disregarded. I was so damn angry by this point, that I lost it. I was screaming; "Why God, WHY... Why am I feeling this way? Why am I so weak that I am resulting back to a relationship that I knew was never going to work? Why am I letting someone treat me so poorly and drag me around? Why cannot I pull myself out of this?" 

Finally I was not just heartbroken. Finally, I was mad.

I do not know a lot about love, but I do that when someone loves you, they will do anything in their power to avoid hurting you. They will not worry about being "always right". They will NOT keep score. They will not be possessive and jealous to the point of degrading your confidence and breaking your dreams out of their own insecurities. They will be understanding, they will compromise, and you will work together as a team. If you do not have that... run like hell. 

That night, I reached my breaking point. I was on my knees on my kitchen floor crying, and a million thoughts were running through my head. I could not believe this is what my life was coming too from all of my hard work this year. I could not believe I had sank into such a deep depression. I sat on my kitchen floor shaking and crying profusely, and I kept repeating to myself, "I just need to go to sleep". I reached up to one of my kitchen drawers to find Tylenol PM. I was so hopeless that I was going to swallow a bunch of them so it would knock me out and I would not feel any pain. I was shaking so bad when I grabbed the bottle, that I dropped it and the pills scattered across the floor. I stared at the pills scattered on my floor for what felt like 5 minutes.

That in itself was very sobering. I quietly said aloud to myself "I have had enough. I am not living this way anymore." I am not going to dismantle all of my hard work. I cannot give up on my dreams. I cannot have someone who does not love me be my dependency for happiness. I picked up the pills, put them in the bottle, and then put the bottle back in the drawer. I took and shower and went to bed. It was about 7:30 PM on a Saturday night, but I had exhausted myself to the point that as soon as my head hit the pillow, I fell asleep.

Sunday morning when I woke up, I thought "Today is the day I am changing my life and I am going back to the woman I know I am". A woman who is working hard to be independently successful, who would never let a person treat her so poorly, a woman who knows her worth, and a woman who always thinks and lives with a positive and optimistic outlook.
That day I went to my favorite mountain and hiked 7 miles. I prayed and got lost in my music the entire time. It was a strong hike and the sun shining on me provided an immense comfort. When I came back home, I took a shower, did my hair and makeup, then went to my favorite church. It was the first time I had been there in a year and a half. After church, I went to a movie. The next day-- that Monday, I was off of work and spent the day reading and sunning by the pool. 

I pushed myself. I made myself go out and do things that I love I do to. Step by step, and day by day, I am feeling happy again. It has been nearly two weeks since I have been back to "normal", and now when I look back, I can't believe I had gotten so weak. 

I know now what happened -- I burned myself out so much that I let a false loneliness consume me. 

Finally, I had enough. I decided I wanted to be happy again. I hit bottom and in my weakest moment, crying on my kitchen floor, I knew that I had to push through this and make my mind be stronger than it has ever been before. It has worked. I am a work in progress, but I do know I am constantly learning and evolving. 

I am grateful that this dark period I lived through only last about 3 weeks, but it was literally the hardest 3 weeks that I have ever had to endure. I never want to live a life without hope. I hated life. I woke up in tears, I cried myself to sleep, I couldn't concentrate, I wanted to be alone at all times... I was simply trying to exist everyday. I do not know who can live their life that way, but I certainly can't.

I am back to blogging, which is such a blessing. I have made so many friends and your emails and support through that time was incredibly reassuring. I am back to exceeding expectations at my job and not having to hide tears. I feel motivated to push hard at my training every evening at the gym. I have made great progress with my first book. I am happy. I am hopeful. And I am this way because I choose to be. No one else in this world can be my major source of happiness. Happiness is my choice. 

The Hump Day Blog Hop!

Happy Hump Day everyone! We are halfway through the week and the hump day camel is too freaking cool, so lets have some fun and a blog hop to celebrate.

This is a little different than a link up. To participate, simply add your blog link. There is no required entry or anything like that. This is about networking, making new friends, and finding new blogs.

All I ask:
1) "The Hump Day" blog hop button button be displayed anywhere on your blog page or a specific entry with a link back to me or the weekly co-host. (Please do this. These blog hops take a lot of work and preparation.)
2) You don't have to follow me, but in the words of Blake Shelton: it'd sure be cool if ya did.
3) Mingle with your fellow Bloggers.

Image Map
The Hump Day Blog Hop

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My Weekly Nutrition and Training Plan

July 22, 2014

The below nutrition plan is what I eat Monday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday during the day I still eat clean but will eat whatever is left over or what I have around my apartment. Two nights a week I have "treat" meals - whatever I choose. They are usually Saturday and Sunday night, but it does vary. I switch up my eating every week. I plan the week before what I want to have for meals, make the grocery list, and prep the food on Sunday's. A lot of times people will ask me if I get bored eating the same thing everyday. The answer is no. It is only 5 days a week that I eat the same thing. I eat to live - not live to eat. It took me a long time to come to that.  I also do this to save money. I live alone so I can't really cook tons of different things during the week because it's too expensive and will go bad. There are also ways you can switch up your eating day to day. Like my Quest Bars for instance; I eat a different flavor everyday, same with my yogurt. You can read here for meal prep ideas!

This week, my plan will be off a little. I am working longer hours, attending meetings, client dinners, and things like that. I will be eating restaurant food more than normal and missing the gym some. I will try to keep my schedule as healthy as possible though!

Total down (since 11/25/13):  62 pounds!

Meal 1 (7:15 AM)
Green Power Smoothie and Almonds/Walnuts
1 cup of orange juice with extra pulp (yum!) with fresh spinach and kale, frozen pineapple and mango, 1 tablespoon of flex and chia seeds, and one fresh green apple cut into pieces.

Meal 2 (9 AM)

Meal 3 (12 PM) -- will vary this week
I am attending a lot of "lunch" meetings so my menu will vary; I will try to order a salad if the option is there.

Meal 4 (3 PM) 

Gym 4:30-6PM

Meal 5 (6:30 PM) [Post workout]
1/4 cup of plain grits with 2 tablespoons of turkey bacon pieces

Meal 6 (9 PM) -- will vary this week
I will be attending client dinners some, so I will eat out if so. If not...

Bed time 11PM
Sunday: (Weight Circuit + squats) - done!
-30 minutes of cardio: StairMill (90 SPM regular work and 70 SPM with skipping every other step, 60 SPM for resting work - alternating all 3 levels every 3-4 minutes. Rest work is only 1 minute)
-Weight Circuit:
   -Shoulders: 3 x 15
   -Back: 3 x 15
   -Biceps: 3 x 15
   -Chest: 3 x 15
   -Triceps: 3 x 15
-Back Squats (4 x 15. Two sets of 55 pounds and Two sets of 75 pounds)
-15 minutes cardio: Elliptical (Incline 9 and 12, Resistance 10)

Monday: (None) - Working late and client dinner

Tuesday: (Weight Circuit)
-30 minutes of cardio: StairMill (90 SPM regular work and 70 SPM with skipping every other step, 60 SPM for resting work - alternating all 3 levels every 3-4 minutes. Rest work is only 1 minute)
-Weight Circuit:
   -Shoulders: 3 x 15
   -Back: 3 x 15
   -Biceps: 3 x 15
   -Chest: 3 x 15
   -Triceps: 3 x 15
-15 minutes cardio: Elliptical (Incline 9 and 12, Resistance 10)

Wednesday: (None) - Working late and client dinner

Thursday: (Weight Circuit + squats)
-20 minutes of high intensity interval training: Tredmill (Work: 3 minutes at 3.2 speed and 12 incline and rest 2 minutes at 3.4 speed and 0 incline. No holding onto the tredmill at all)
-10 minutes of cardio: Elliptical (Incline 9/10, Resistance 10)
- 3 sets of 45 second planks
- 3 sets of "Russian Twists" with a 10 pound weight plate
- 3 sets of 20 crunches
- 3 sets of 20 heel touches
- 3 sets of  10 elevated leg crunches
-10 minutes cardio: StairMill (5 minutes at 80 SPM and 5 minutes at 60 SPM. No holding onto machine)
Friday: (Hiking)
10 miles of hiking at Crowder's Mountain

Saturday: (Weight Circuit)
-15 minutes cardio: Elliptical (Incline 9 and 12, Resistance 10)
-Weight Circuit:
   -Shoulders: 3 x 15
   -Back: 3 x 15
   -Biceps: 3 x 15
   -Chest: 3 x 15
   -Triceps: 3 x 15
    Sample workout
-15 minutes cardio: Elliptical (Incline 9 and 12, Resistance 10)

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