Closing out 2017

There are 3 days left in December. That means for the next 3 days Instagram, Facebook, and other various forms of social media are going to be packed with photos, blog posts, memes, etc about new year’s resolutions. People are going to be setting goals, picking apart their good and bad moments of 2017, and sharing what they would like to “work on” in 2018. What will make you or them a better person?

I have such a love/hate relationships with resolution, intentions, or whatever you may call them. When it comes to setting goals for the new year I could take it or leave it, and there are many reasons behind my indecisiveness.

Before I dive into that, let me go ahead and do the cliche “look back at my 2017”. I’m actually doing this more for myself. This was a big year for Jeff and I. There were exciting moments, new experiences, big changes, accomplishments, and definitely times where our patience was tested. We definitely took 2017 and made it a year to remember…

We extended our family by 1 furry friend…

Ok, this actually happened at the end of 2016, but I’m wrapping it in to 2017 because I had no idea how much getting a dog would effect our daily lives. Our weekly routines, workout schedules, weekend plans, and overall freedom (and lets face it…. personal space) completely changed. It wasn’t until the start of 2017, that the new excitement of getting a puppy wore off and we really dove into making Eddie a part of our family that would stay for years to come. If you haven’t noticed yet… I’m OBSESSED with our dog. He brings so much joy into our lives and taught us a lot of valuable lessons including: don’t be selfish, adapt to change, be more flexible, be patient with others (that was a big one), and love unconditionally.

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I started a new job…

While I loved the family I gained with my previous job and adored my patient population, it was time for me to try something knew. I wanted a new challenge and something that would continue to bring me the same joy my last job did but test my brain in new ways that could help me grow as a person and a dietitian. I was given the opportunity to work with a very special group of children at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and am thankful every day that I can even be a small part in their lives. Besides learning from my colleges and gaining a new group of wonderful friends and peers, I am truly gaining new skills which help fill in gaps that I was missing before.

We built a new house…

This was definitely not in the plan for 2017. We wanted to buy our first home, yes, but we had never really thought about building our own. What a test of our patience and ability to communicate (insert laughing emoji). I say that truly with a smile on my face because with every argument or disagreement came laughter the next day and a decision or agreement that was better than we thought. Jeff…. I’m just saying, we still haven’t used that cable outlet that was 100% NECESSARY in the guest bedroom.

I am so proud of our home and have loved the decorating/nesting process. No, it’s not quite perfect yet, but its getting there! If only I could make decisions without driving to the same store 5 times before I pull the plug and go with my first thought.

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We settled in to year 2 of marriage…

Yes, I think this is something to be proud of! Year 1 was bliss and year 2 was still bliss with a little more adulting aka learning to make and agree on big decisions together. Paying big bills, learning to budget, choosing this or that, building furniture, picking out tile for the living room (LOL); these are all things that have made us communicate and perfect our style of communication. No, it’s still not perfect, but I always look back on our marriage prep through our church. The couple we met with told us one of our strengths was communication. Well hot dog ! !

If one thing is for sure, I couldn’t have gone through such a busy, hectic, and trying year without my number 1 supporter (a.k.a. Jeff — if I’m not being clear!). I am so excited to see what year 3 brings!! I can’t believe it’s been 7 years since I met a cute, tall, blonde boy from Arizona who had no idea what snow was until he didn’t have a winter coat during the first blizzard of the year 🙂

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2011

2017

I graduated from grad school…

CHECK !

I can mark that off my list, and that’s all I have to say about that one!

OK!

I’m sure you are sick of reading this (if I didn’t lost you way back when I started babbling about my dog). So, here’s why I have a hard time being totally gung-ho about resolutions.

Sometimes I think they are a cop-out. If I say I’m going to do X…. does that really make me a better person? I can say a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to follow through? A lot of common resolutions…. losing weight, eating healthy, going to the gym more…. are truly actions that you can either make a point to complete or not. Saying I’m going to the gym 5 days a week sounds great in theory… but there are weeks where I don’t even come close to doing this. If I really wanted to complete that goal, wouldn’t I have started it a while ago? Why wait until a specific day to make a change that could potentially be really good for me? On the other hand, I do think holding yourself accountable is a big part of making lifestyle changes, so if posting on Facebook that your NY resolution is X will make you more accountable to doing so then by all means do that!

I don’t always feel this way about resolutions… sometimes I also feel that resolutions can be very negative. Life isn’t all about not eating carbs, drinking only water or going to 4 cycle classes a week. If we make these things such a big deal, is that really contributing to happiness? To me, sometimes this can  cause more harm than good. I don’t like feeling that I HAVE to do something. That kind of takes the enjoyment out of an activity that I could potentially love to do.

If I am going to set a resolution or intention for the new year, I want to truly make a point to act on it every day. I want it to be something that will change more than a physical appearance, but help me become a better person, wife, friend, or whatever it may be that I want to work on. With that said, I’ll leave you with 2 of my “intentions” for 2018.

  1. I want to be more present. I don’t want to check my phone while I’m at dinner with my husband. I want to be fully dialed in to conversations around me. I don’t want to check to see who liked my last Instagram post that was posted 10 minutes ago. I really want to be more present in all aspects of my life.
  2. I want to pick the positive path more. I think it’s really easy to get wrapped up in someone else’s negativity. It can also be easy to compare yourself to someone you admire or someone who just has a presence in your life. Sometimes I can get down on myself or a situation easier than I’d like. I want to try to nix this habit and really be as positive, loving, and happy as I can be always. Why sweat the small stuff?

 

I hope you all have a wonderful and amazing 2018… and as always, don’t stop cooking in that kitchen!

 

Enjoy everyone ❤


Setting Realistic Goals – The Do’s & Don’ts

Happy Sunday everyone! So, throughout my blog I talk a lot about weight management, positive body image, and being happy with yourself as a person. I discuss these often because all of these topics I am very passionate about and have either thought about a lot or experienced aspects of them in my personal life. Today I want to give a good foundation for change. Even if you are practicing good self body image or working more on your own personal happiness, it’s always OK to want to better yourself. There are always going to be things you want to try or want to work on. For example, one of my long term goals since I have been in college is to be a good and competitive runner. When I say competitive, I don’t mean compete in the olympics or run as my career, but I want to PR each time I compete in a race. I want to test myself and see my name crawl up the list from 500 out of 1,000 to 100 out of 1,000. These are personal goals of mine and running is something I enjoy. This brings me to my first “don’t” of setting goals…

1. Don’t compare your goals to others’. To add on to this a little…. don’t set trendy goals. 

This is probably the most important thing to remember when setting your goals. Set goals around something you are passionate about or enjoy. I would never set a goal to compete in crossfit games. I admire people who do this and think they are way stronger than I ever hope to be, but it truly is not something I am interested in. There are plenty of “fitness fads” that come around for a few months and then fade away. For me, running has and probably always will be my number one way to exercise and remain fit. Because of this, I set my fitness goals around running. When I achieve these goals it makes me feel happy, empowered, and want to push myself further!

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Have you ever heard of SMART goals? SMART goals stand for simple, measurable, achievable, realistic (some people say relevant), and time bound. Using this concept is a great way to evaluate goals in your personal life and make sure you are setting yourself up to achieve them. This brings me to a “do” when setting your own goals.

 2.  Do set standards with your goals. Give yourself a time limit, and a way to            measure what you have achieved.

Whether you want to become better at meal prepping or you are training for your first half marathon, giving yourself standards is important! It helps hold you accountable and give you a way to measure your success. For example if you are really working on planning ahead and meal prepping, perhaps set a goal like “By this day next month I will try to prep at least 3 meals/week to bring for lunch at work.” If this time next month you are still dragging your butt and that grocery list never quite makes it to the store to get your supplies, maybe you need some help setting up a new plan or need to find a new motivator to complete this goal. One of my running goals has always been to decrease my half marathon time by at least 2-4 minutes each race. Believe it or not I have been running halfs (I’m not quite motived yet to complete a full) for about 5 years, and each race I have in fact decreased my time. This is something that is always in the back of my mind when training and it is very clear if I achieve it or not come race day.

3. Do set realistic goals and KNOW what is actually realistic for yourself.

Setting unrealistic goals leaves potential for you to feel unsatisfied or frustrated if you fail. It also increases the chances that you won’t follow through with the goal or will burn out early. An example of an unrealistic goal would be: “I will loose 20 lbs in 2 weeks before I go to my high school reunion.” This is unrealistic for a few reasons. The first is 20 lbs in 2 weeks is not feasible and it is not safe. Safe weight loss that remains off is about 1-2 lbs per week. If someone is telling you that you can lose 20 lbs in 2 weeks, automatically know it is a scam (just an FYI!). This goal also has an external motivator, not an internal motivator. Wanting to lose weight to feel better physically or better your health is an internal motivator. Wanting to lose weight to impress others is external. If you do not complete this goal, you are not only going to feel upset with yourself, but you will feel like you are disappointing others. Stick with internal motivators. If you feel like you need more motivation, surround yourself with positive people whom will check in with you and help hold you accountable for the right reasons. For example a friend that will attend fitness classes with you can help you meet your weight loss goal by giving you someone to exercise with and hold you accountable to actually show up to the class!

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The last thing I’m going to touch on is so extremely important and should perhaps be the first thing to think about before even starting the goal-setting process.

4. Do set goals that will make you happy. Happiness is key; goals that can interfere with that should be put on the back burner or adjusted.

Sometimes I cringe when I hear people complaining about goals.

“I can’t believe I signed up for X…. it is such a waste of my time.”

“Training for X has been so stressful. I can’t wait until it is over.”

“Trying to lose 50lbs has been so depressing. I feel like I can’t eat anything on this diet.”

Stress can do so much harm to both a physical and mental state. Setting goals can be stressful, but the satisfaction and motivation of working towards something you want should eventually replace the initial stress of trying something new. If a goal is causing more frustration than satisfaction from seeing progress, you may need to re-evaluate the goal or maybe take a look at why you set it in the first place. I would never tell someone who hates to run to run a marathon. Don’t lose sign of your end results and find ways to motivate you that don’t interfere with your daily happiness!

 


Pick your passion and roll with it!

Happy Friday everyone! This post is going to dive into some of my thoughts about physical activity and trends with exercise. I know people can get very passionate about exercise, so just take everything with a grain of salt and hear out my perspective!

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Sometimes we get caught up in trends and forget to pay attention to what we truly enjoy. What makes your heart full and your body happy? Of course this can be related to food, but trends can also effect other parts of your health and well-being.

The main things that come to mind when I think about this topic are work-out trends. I have tried a variety of different exercise regimens or classes from basic work-outs at the gym to yoga or spin. I definitely thank undergrad for that, because I was able to take a variety of classes such as TRX, Pilates, yoga, and cycling all for free. This gave me the opportunity to dive into new things and see what I really liked!

The problem with trends in any aspect of life (exercise, health, dieting, clothing, etc) is that we often get caught up in what is most “popular”. What is everyone else doing? Everyone else likes cross-fit, so shouldn’t I too?

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I am focusing on the exercise aspect because I think that keeping up with trends in exercise can often times be the most discouraging or frustrating. I remember when the cross-fit trend started and I thought to myself, “Am I supposed to try this? It’s so not me or what I enjoy about exercising?” With social-media being a hot way to communicate, we often times get wrapped up in what others are doing and what we think we should try to “get fit” vs really tapping in to what we love and enjoy. I have realized over the years that I continuously go back to running, so I have used this as an opportunity to perfect and really focus on this passion of mine.

When you are looking for a way to stay active, go for what you enjoy, not what is trending on Instagram or Facebook. When you enjoy the type of exercise that you are doing, it often times makes you more willing to continue and push yourself harder. Of course, trying new things can be fun, exciting, and you might find a new way to be active that you really enjoy, BUT don’t feel like you have to love something just because every else does!


How do I stay engaged and interested in running and not burn myself out? I challenge myself by running various races or switching from long-distance runs to quick sprints on the treadmill. I thrive off exercising in group settings. I love pushing myself to be faster and catch up to someone ahead of me, so running a 5k or training for a half marathon is something that really challenges me and pushes me to better myself! When I really do need a break, I go to my other loves — yoga and pure barre. Yoga is very relaxing for me and my body. Pure barre is a total “rock out to awesome music and feel my body shake” type of work out (you know…the ones where you can’t walk the next day?!).With these breaks in between races and an occasional HIIT workout, I have totally found a system that works for me and keeps my interest.

I encourage you to find something you enjoy and really dive into it. Become comfortable with yourself and where you are with exercise and fitness and always remember change takes time!


The good, the bad, and the doughnut

Happy Monday everyone! I want to chat about something that I really truly believe can be helpful to anyone who struggles with “eating healthy” or making “good” food decisions on a daily basis. I have heard a lot of people suffer from guilt after they eat something or feel bad about a meal they consumed that maybe was out of the ordinary for them. I think many people can fall into this category at times, myself included, but there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel here. I have some freaking fantastic news for you if this is something you have struggled with in the past… there are no such thing as “good” and “bad” foods….

I don’t remember the last time a doughnut chased me into my car and tailed me all the way to work or a giant bowl of ice cream held me hostage in my living room after adding a few extra chocolate chips on top. Foods are not evil and they are also not a magical source of fuel that will make you grow wings and fly around your house in healthy bliss. Everything that you put into your body will be digested, utilized for energy if necessary, stored for later used, or excreted from your body. Yes, some foods will provide more nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and give your body a more efficient source of energy, but that doesn’t mean that they are “super” or have magical powers. We all know an apple has more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than an ice cream cone.

The term “orthorexia” was established in 1996 and is something that you may or may not hear pop up more frequently when talking about eating disorders. There is a fine line between trying to be healthy and being health-obsessed. Orthorexia nervosa is an intense obsession with healthy eating, not necessarily being thin or loosing weight. It’s sad to me as a dietitian that in a way our society has created this diagnosis. All of the muscle-pumping, ab flaunting, carb shaming folks out there who make unrealistic expectations for the average American need to think twice about what they post on their daily feed.

These extremes now seem like the “correct” way of living a healthy lifestyle. Uneducated or unqualified professionals are filling minds of those who are grasping for a purpose or want to feel happy and healthy with a bunch of hyped up crap. People feel guilty about eating a “bad food” or only want to share when they have something “super healthy” and clean. I’m all about sharing the food love and love to see people following their “fitness” or “health journeys”, but by all means please don’t let other’s experiences shape your feelings about yourself. Enjoy a treat when you really want it and DON’T fell guilty about it.

While I always preach moderation, not deprivation, I know this can be easier said than done. They key is to remember that everything doesn’t go down the drain from ONE meal…. ONE scoop of ice cream… ONE piece of cheesy, decadent pizza. You will be ok. Don’t beat yourself up because you had a pastry with your co-workers this morning at work. The day just started and a dark cloud doesn’t immediately appear once that pastry hits your tummy. Your blood will still flow fine, and I promise you won’t turn purple and fluff up like an umpa-loompa (how do you actually spell that??).

I felt like I needed to write this because after my last personal post, I received so many positive comments and messages that it made me feel like I need to keep sharing. Yes, I live for what I do and I promote eating for good health, but I am also human. I know that words of one can effect the actions of another, and I want to help squash negativity around these topics in any way that I can.

With that said… go kick some butt today and enjoy the rest of your Monday!

 


La Grande Orange Grocery

Ok, I know I skipped a few weeks but it is time for another local eats post! Today I’m talking a little about La Grande Orange, which is one of my favorite brunch and/or lunch spots!

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Located on 40th St. and Campbell in the center of Arcadia, this quirky and unique “grocery” is fill with eclectic grocery and decorative items to purchase, fun and funky desserts, and a variety of sandwiches, salads, and fun breakfast dishes. Don’t worry, they also have pizza if you aren’t in the mood for a salad!

Every time I have a guest or visitor from out of town, I always want to take them by this spot! The grocery part of the restaurant has so many fun items to look through, such as unique cook books, specialty birthday or holiday cards, jewelry and clothing from local designers, a variety of wine and beer, and other unique items that can serve as fun gifts or conversation pieces.

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Every time my mom is in town, she loves to go through and pick up a few items to take back with her. We also can’t help but grab a few of the desserts to share with our family. If you are a dessert lover or have special dietary needs, there are also gluten-free options if needed!

What are my favorite items at La Grande Orange? If I am coming for brunch, I almost always get the Heriloom Brown Rice Bowl which is made with quinoa, black beans, pistachios, feta, greens, a fried egg, and harissa. It is filling, super flavorful, and perfect after an early morning hike! I am also a big fan of the Vegetarian Sandwich filled with fresh veggies, herbed goat cheese, and havarti.

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I owe a lot of my favorite local finds to one of my good friends who also shares my love of food and eating local! When I first moved to Phoenix, she was the first fried to really help me feel at home and get me involved in all that Arizona has to offer in terms of food and fitness! Because of her, I also love to hike and explore new trails throughout Arizona. There is so much that this wonderful state has to offer, all you have to emerse yourself in the culture of Phoenix and enjoy!

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