The End of Challenges

Okay, it is time for an update for the Epic 50 Day Christmas Challenge.  Or should I say the EPIC FAIL of my 50 Day Christmas Challenge.

IF you remember, here were my goals:

  1. Beginning today and for the next 50 days, I’m going to follow Lindsay Nixon’s slimming options. I’m not going to cheat and eat candies, breads, chips, and vegan junk food.  I’m really going to eat clean!
  2. 64 ouces of H2O daily! It’s happening!
  3. I’m not going to run or do any of the boot camp exercise groups that I adore. No long and vigorous exercise sessions.  I’m going to focus on yoga, push-ups, and planks.  Probably 15 minutes a day or so.
  4. Along with these, I’m going to try and add some good habits. First up is flossing my teeth nightly.  I do it religiously for a while and then I don’t.   I really want to make it a habit that will stick.  After about 2 weeks, I’m going to add getting enough sleep to the agenda.  7+ hours minimum.  I’m so bad at staying up late and then getting up at the crack of dawn.  No more.  Sleep is so crucial to good health!  Then after another 2 weeks or so, I’m going to add on making sure my sink is clean every night.  My hubby and I are so bad about leaving dishes!  We rinse them out but we don’t take that extra step to unload the dish washer so we can put the dirty ones in.

So for #1 I started off pretty good.  I was following Happy Herbivore’s slimming options and had gotten to the lowest weight I had been all year.  After the marathon, I couldn’t stop eating!  I saw a post on a Marine Corps Marathon FaceBook page from another marathoner that said she couldn’t stop eating either.  That just gave me more of an excuse.  After a week, I tried to get back into really watching my diet but I just couldn’t muster up the motivation.  For the last 50 days I’ve been eating everything in sight.  (and even some omnivore dishes too – cheese included!)

#2 I’ve done really well on!  On Black Friday, we got a new Big Berkey Water Filter and I have been rockin’ the H2O.  We use our Berkey water for cooking, drinking, and even for washing our fruits and veggies.  We also use it to water our organic micro greens.  I’ve got this water challenge in the bag for life!  We even got a Berkey shower filter so we can let our bodies’ largest organ, our skin, enjoy the benefits!  Thanks so much to my sis and brother-in-law for this suggestion!

 

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For #3 I didn’t run, do yoga, or practice my push-ups or planks.  I did go 4 times with my good friend Heather to Burn Boot Camp.  I loved it!  It is sorta like Camp Gladiator except that you are indoors and they provide all the wonderful equipment!  They were running a New Year’s special and I have signed up for the next 6 weeks with them.  I want so desperately to get stronger and I’m not going to get it done on my own.

For #4 I did pretty good on flossing and I have done great on sleep.  I failed miserably on keeping a clean sink.  Oh well.  No Fly Lady certificate for me!

So there you go.  Looking back over the list, I don’t think it was as epic of a fail as it felt like.  So that’s a good thing.

Since it is almost 2019, my gut reaction was to buckle down and whip out a new set of challenges and give it a go again.  However, my WordPress buddy that inspired me to take on this challenge, recently published this post that has me questioning everything!

I also love this post from Happy Herbivore and everything from this blogger!

Whether or not you make a list of resolutions or try some 30 day challenge, I pray your New Year is blessed with love, kindness, and all the blessings you could ever imagine!

Happy New Year!

 

 

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50 Day Christmas Challenge

My WordPress buddy who I swear is my long lost sister since we are so much alike, has been posting some monthly challenges and experiments lately.  She’s a wine lover and decided to give up alcohol for 1 month to see if it would help in weight loss.  She also just did an intermittent fasting challenge.  Check out her blog.  It’s really inspiring!  So inspiring, she has motivated me to make a blog post and I haven’t touched this blog since December 26th of LAST year!  And I used to love blogging.  Hmmm, wonder what’s up with that?!

Anyway, I have this little countdown app on my phone and I used it to count down the days until my last marathon.  It was the Marine Corps Marathon and I ran it on October 28th.  It was a wonderful experience and my hubby and I had a nice vacation.  He hadn’t been to DC before and we did all the touristy things.  We had a ball!  I promise.  I’ll write up a race review ASAP!   But for starters, here’s our celebration photo.  Ron ran the 10k that day and had time to shower and nap while I finished up the marathon.  LOL

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Getting back to the app, when I went in to amend it, I found that I could pick any date on my calendar.  I randomly picked Christmas since I don’t have another race until next spring.  I watched the little app count down last week and I realized it would be getting close to 50 days out soon and an idea popped into my head.

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What if I did a 50 day challenge!!!  But what could it be?  I had already told my running coach and running friends I was taking a break from running.  My original plan was to take all of November off.  What would happen if I took December off to?  I remember last year I had a January marathon and I loved it so much because it kept me focused all through the holidays.  Maybe I could use the 50 day challenge to keep me focused this year?

I adore Lindsay at Happy Herbivore and she preaches that “abs are made in the kitchen.”  You know, the whole you can’t outrun a bad diet manta.

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So that was it.

I was getting burned out on running and I was ready to take a hiatus from it.  I have some IT band issues that need more time to heal too.

Here’s the plan:

  1. Beginning today and for the next 50 days, I’m going to follow Lindsay Nixon’s slimming options. I’m not going to cheat and eat candies, breads, chips, and vegan junk food.  I’m really going to eat clean!
  2. 64 ouces of H2O daily! It’s happening!
  3. I’m not going to run or do any of the boot camp exercise groups that I adore. No long and vigorous exercise sessions.  I’m going to focus on yoga, push-ups, and planks.  Probably 15 minutes a day or so.
  4. Along with these, I’m going to try and add some good habits. First up is flossing my teeth nightly.  I do it religiously for a while and then I don’t.   I really want to make it a habit that will stick.  After about 2 weeks, I’m going to add getting enough sleep to the agenda.  7+ hours minimum.  I’m so bad at staying up late and then getting up at the crack of dawn.  No more.  Sleep is so crucial to good health!  Then after another 2 weeks or so, I’m going to add on making sure my sink is clean every night.  My hubby and I are so bad about leaving dishes!  We rinse them out but we don’t take that extra step to unload the dish washer so we can put the dirty ones in.

So there you go.  My Christmas present to me.  In 50 days I hope to be a lean, strong, flexible, rested, push-up machine that just happens to have healthy gums and a clean kitchen!    Ha!

What gift would you like to give yourself this year?  Do you like countdown apps?  Are you a list maker?

Thanks so much for spending time out of your day with me.  I pray your holiday season is joyous!

Melissa

 

I’m not a Millennial but I am becoming a Minimalist!

My Facebook friends know that I read the book 29 Gifts last month and I completed a month of giving.

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It came very easy to me and I loved each and every day. The gifts ended up giving back to me. I learned that even though I am a glass half full kind of girl and very giving by nature, by giving with intention it opens my heart to peace and joy beyond compare!

My FB freinds also know that my sis challenged me this month to join her in the Minimalist Game.

My husband Ron and I started on July 8th. Each of us are giving away 8 things on the 8th of July and then 9 things on the 9th of July and so forth. I added it up and when it is all said and done each of us will have either trashed, recycled, given away or sold 496 things each. That’s almost 1000 items!  Last year we read, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing so Ron and I do have a head start and have paired down so much already. We are very excited! If you are interested, there is a movie on NetFlix right now that can inspire you.

Well what no one knows yet is what has been happening to me since.

When I sit down at night, Ron is usually already sitting in his Lazyboy and has some History Channel or NatGeo show on.  I often love those shows but sometimes I want to watch the latest episode of Alone or The Pioneer Woman.  Ron is not a fan of either of those but he will watch them with me on occasion.  On Monday night I was all caught up on Alone and PW so when I set down, I asked him if we could switch to Apple TV and watch YouTube videos on minimalism.  Every video we pulled up was good to me but Ron wasn’t in to it at all.  Somehow we ended up on this channel:  Living with Lucie and we proceeded to watch for goodness knows how long!  Lucie is young.  We could be her parents.  I have no idea what in the world compelled us to keep watching but we both loved her!  I asked our 22 year old daughter Lydia about Lucie and she knew her well.  I think Lucie must be a big deal with Millennials.

We watched the video when Lucie didn’t wash her hair for 2 weeks.  We watched when she lived on $50 one week.  (She lives in NYC)  We watched when she went without her phone for 5 days.  We watched when she tried to produce no trash for 5 days.  We watched when she wore the same outfit for 5 days.  And of course, we watched when she tried minimalism for 5 days.

So what do I proceed to do on Tuesday morning? I immediately tried to see if I could go without my phone for 5 days.  I did have a caveat that I could use it only for phone calls and for texts from people that didn’t know I was trying to not use my phone.  I also allowed myself to use it for Audible when I was driving only.

I made it okay through Tuesday.

However, today I have failed.  I was eating lunch in the break-room and I was at a table by myself.  There were 2 young females (I guess you would call them Millennials) that I did not know that were sitting at a table beside me.  The first thing I noticed was that one of them had a cloth napkin in her lap.  I was so impressed and knew this was something that I was going to try to incorporate so I wouldn’t have to waste the company paper towels.  I already do not use the plastic cutlery and bring my own silverware from home.  I even brought an old cutting board from home today to leave at work so I could cut my apple.  (Yay for getting rid of a home item and yay for having something to use to cut my apple on each day and not waste a paper plate!)  I was feeling so good.

However, since I didn’t have my phone, I had to listen in to their conversation.  They proceeded to talk constantly about how much stuff their parents had and how they didn’t want any of it.  I started to feel uncomfortable and I couldn’t take it any longer.  I had to do something!  I reached for my phone and started scrolling.  I challenge you.  Try it!  See if you can sit alone and eat beside other people that are talking and do nothing.

Anyway, due to this conversation I overheard, I’m really going to try and not push my stuff off on Andie and Lydia.  I told my FB freinds that I had to save some cookbooks that I was going through for Andie but I’m really going to try and not give anything else.

What is so sentimental to me, is not to them!

Last year after The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I made a lot of progress.  I took pictures of the girls’ homemade Christmas ornaments that they had made in Girl Scouts and school.  After I photographed them, I gave the ornaments a kiss and put them in the trash.  I thanked the ornaments for the joy they had given me and said goodbye.  (Please don’t think I’m crazy….that is what the book says to do.)  We hadn’t used them in years on the tree and I don’t know why I was hanging on to them for so long.

Anyway, I guess to sum it up.  I’m trying to be more conscious about everything.  I’m trying to use my phone less.  I’m trying to produce less trash.  But someone, please tell me that there is research out there somewhere that says that by not using the paper towels at work and washing my own cloth napkins it s better for the environment.   I’m already wondering if the little bit of dish soap and water I use at work to wash my lunch dishes is better then just bringing my lunch in disposable containers.  It must be.  I hope!  I know my lunches are way healthier than a frozen dinner anyway.

Tonight I’m tackling the VCR tapes and the DVDs.  My biggest number so far that I’ve gotten rid of has been 32 Playdough containers.  I had a big plastic tub filled with small Playdough containers and loads of cookie cutters for my grandchildren.  Since the Playdough was pretty dried out anyway and since the grandchildren have moved so far away, this was  an easy decision.  I kept all the cookie cutters though!  Also, you’ll be proud to know that I trashed the Playdough but I recycled all the little containers.

I think the VCR tapes and the DVDs will out number the Playdough tubs!  So excited!

I know I’m behind on race reports and I have them in my draft mode.  I promise to get them up soon.  I’ve got to do a post on my Slim in 6 video challenge too.  I’m doing pretty good but I haven’t’ been perfect with it.

So long for now!  Happy Running!  Happy Eating!  Happy DeCluttering!  and now Happy using our phones less, and Happy producing less trash!

Make sure you have your stainless steel straw too in your purse!  Go strawless!

Muuuuwah!  xxoo

PS… go check out Lucie and get inspired!

 

 

 

 

Resolve

The end of August!  How in the world is it almost fall already?

Time go so much faster than it used to!

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I thought I’d pop in and give an update to my New Year’s Resolutions.

  • First up was the Run Streak.  I ran every day for 65 days.  Most days I ran at least 3 miles but there were some of the days that I only ran 1 mile.  Two times I ran in place for 10 minutes.  I know, Crazy!  I really wanted the sweatshirt and I was so hoping I could make it all year but it wasn’t in the cards.  On the day before the Chattanooga Half Marathon, I “forgot to run.”  I didn’t realize it until the next day and I was so bummed.  I truly just forgot.  After that, I didn’t have the heart for it anymore.  I may try it again next year and see if I can get farther.  Maybe not though.  A runner I met on Facebook that  is much faster than me told me her secret to going fast is scheduling in a LOT of rest days.

 

  • Next was the Tai Chi and Kung Fu experiment.  I was a student for 3 months and made it to Blue Belt and boy was it fun but very, very, hard.  I passed the Tai Chi test too. This proved to be the most mentally challenging thing I’ve done in my adult life. I really loved it but after the Blue Belt test we had to purchase mouth guards and then we had to start sparring.  Like in real fighting.  Ummm, No thank you.  I respectfully withdrew from class and wished Ron the very best.  I secretly think he’s happy I’m not a student anymore.  He was excited to share it with me but in the end, it was his thing and not for me.

 

  • When I gave up Kung Fu, I knew I needed something for cross training.  I had huge success last year with Cross Fit and I really enjoyed it.  However, I really wanted to work out in the mornings before work to help use my time more efficiently.  My coach’s box had a 5:30am class and I did try it a couple of times.  I’d leave the box as close to 6:30am as I could but more times than not, I’d still end up in bad traffic.  Sometimes I wouldn’t get to work until 7:30 and I’d have just barely enough time to shower and get to my desk by 8:00.  It wasn’t working.  And, even though the 5:30am coach was awesome, I missed Liz, the owner and head coach.  I was very close to giving up on my goal of morning workouts and just sucking it up and trying to make it to after work sessions.  However, my good friend and running buddy, Amelia, had been talking about Camp Gladiator.  It just so happened that they were running a huge promotion.  I tried it out in March and was hooked.

Let me give you all a review of Camp Gladiator.  Each time you go to camp you “check-in.”  I’ve checked in 41 times so far since March 16th.  That’s an average of 2 times a week.  That’s pretty much what I was doing last year with CrossFit.  My goal is 3x week so I’m hoping to up my game for the rest of this year.

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Camp Gladiator has outdoor camps just about everywhere.  I think there is something like 75 different locations and times in the Raleigh area.  It’s a group fitness class with a personal trainer.  Most of the camps are in the mornings but they do have camps after work and even a new one coming up during the lunch hour.  They have a couple of locations that offer Saturday camps.  You have to bring your own mat and dumbbells but CG provides all the other equipment.  A couple of the camps have indoor locations at area churches and such but some just have parking decks and awnings to get under if it rains.  It really isn’t a problem at all.  I think it has only been raining 2 times that I wanted to go to camp.  1 time I went to the camp at the United Methodist Church in Garner since they have a gym and the other time I went to my regular camp at Cameron Village.  I run all the time in all kinds of weather.  Cross Training outdoors is no biggie at all.  In fact I love it!  This is going to sound cheesy but near the end of the workout when we are stretching and on our mats, I love to stare off into the sky.   I look at the moon and stars and the clouds.  I notice the rising sun.  It really is a great source of inspiration.  Think about it.  How many chances do you get to lay on your back and look into the heavens on a regular work day?  Sure you can when your at the beach on vacation but how often do you do it during a normal week?

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The way CG works is they have 4 weeks at a time for camps.  Each week is different:  Endurance, Strength and Agility, High Intensity Interval Training, and lastly Peak or Metabolic Conditioning week.  The 5th week is what they call Bold Week and that’s when you can choose to take a break or try a different kind of workout.  During these Bold weeks they have things like Zumba, Cardio Dance, Yoga, Run clubs, etc.

Camp Gladiator has helped me a lot with strength.  I’m doing so much better on push-ups.  I can do 10 now on my toes but I don’t go very low.  One of my coaches told me she wants me to stay on my knees for a while longer until I can get stronger.  Not gonna lie here, it hurt my feelings but I know it is the  truth.  Form over speed and number of reps!  I’ve still got a lot of work to do in the flexibility area also.

The best things about CG is all the amazing people.  Everyone is so nice and supportive.  All the coaches are very motivating.

  • My last resolution for 2016 was to try and not buy anything.  I’ll do a separate post on this.  I haven’t been perfect but I haven’t given up either.

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Best wishes to all as we strive to make the most of our time and push forward in our goals.

Good Vibrations

Last Thursday my good friend and co-worker, Susan, called me and invited Ron and me to go see Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys with her.  She had 3 tickets and her daughter and daughter’s boyfriend had to cancel on her unexpectedly.  For a split second when she invited me, I thought about my long run that was scheduled for Saturday.  I knew if I stayed out late there would be no way that I could make it up in time to get my run in.  I had promised my coach and other running friends that I wasn’t going to miss any more long runs and I was so close to thanking Susan but giving her my regrets.

For some reason though, I didn’t.  I told her I’d ask Ron and get back to her.  I gave Ron a call and within minutes we had plans to go the the award winning, Pet Sounds tour.

Susan’s gracious gift of the tickets was amazing.  We were honored to treat her to dinner.  And, what restaurant is right across from the Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts?  You guessed it!  My favorite…….Living Kitchen!

Susan is an omnivore but she was sweet and seemed to enjoy the raw veggie creations.  We had so much fun at dinner!

We got an appetizer but they were so fast with our choices we barely touched it.  It was yummy though.

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The tri color hummus was so delicious and that bread there is my very favorite too!  It is Great Harvest bread and they make is especially for Living Kitchen.

My choice was the Fire and Brimstone Burger with the Broccoli Waldorf .

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Words cannot express how much I loved this!  It isn’t too hot in the beginning but then after a few bites, it hits you.  I love spicy so I was in heaven!

Ron got the Rawco Taco Salad.

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Ron liked it a lot.  He wasn’t very hungry and it was a perfect light choice.  He gave me a bite and man was it good!

Susan got the Avocado and Basil Sandwich with the beet salad as a side.  She made me smile when she got the beets.  Smile

A fellow beet lover!

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Susan wasn’t a fan of hummus so she got it on the side just in case.  She said this hummus was good though.

You know I’m a sweet-a-holic so I tried a different dessert from our first visit.

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It was called the Turtle Cake but in my opinion, it was exactly like German Chocolate Cake!   Wowzer!  The very best ever!

Susan got the cheesecake.  I can’t remember if it was the Lemon Berry like I got last time or if it was the Passion Fruit.  She liked it!

If you are in the area, please give Living Kitchen a try.  I promise you.  You will not believe that it is raw and vegan!

Next up was the concert.  I was born in 1965 so The Beach Boys were a little before my time.  I do love them though.  I think it’s because my sisters are 7 and 11 years older than me.  I was able to sing along to almost every one of the songs.

My favorites of course were Sloop John B, Good Vibrations, and Help Me Rhonda.  But now after the concert, my new favorite is God Only Knows.  Susan, Ron and I had a blast singing along with all the other old folks that were in the audience.  (Ha!)

As predicted, I missed my long run last Saturday.  Ron didn’t miss Kung Fu though and he was up and out of the house by 9:00am.  I had the whole day to myself and I Googled and YouTubed all things Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys for hours.  I’m a true expert on them now.

The coolest thing was when Ron got home from Kung Fu he found the movie for us and we watched, Love and Mercy.  I ‘m so happy that Brian happened upon Melinda in that car dealership.  Saved his life for sure!

Moral of the story is, eat some plants, stick around those that give you Good Vibrations, and don’t be afraid to skip a run or two every now and then.

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Here’s hoping you have,

“Love and mercy, that’s what you need tonight
So love and mercy to you and your friends tonight”

For the Love of Blueberries

I’ve been making this awesome granola for a while.  It is to die for!  The recipe comes from Heather Crosby’s Yum Universe.  YU is a great source for vegan inspiration.  I love snacking on this granola but just recently I have started putting it in my Coconut Milk yogurt for breakfast.  I get it from Trader Joe’s and I love both the vanilla and the blueberry flavors.

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I got in the habit of eating a pound of greens for breakfast last summer when I was following Chef AJ’s program.  I know that veggies are so important but for some reason a nice bowl of oats or granola topped yogurt is pure heaven to me.

I dove into this bowl after a very hot and humid 6.5 mile tempo run this morning.  Hit the spot!

Go on over to Yum Universe and make up some Easy Blueberry and Cherry Granola.  You won’t be disappointed.  It is super easy and oh so delicious.

Since today is the 31st of December, I was wondering if you have any resolutions or goals?  I do.  I’m shooting to run everyday in 2016.  I’ve signed up for a Run Streak and I just know it is going to be a hoot.  Along with running every day, I’m hoping to hit 1000 miles in 2016.

I also am giving CrossFit a rest and signing up for Tai Chi.  My husband has been after me for a while to join him and he’s finally talked me into it.  I might do Kung Fu too.  You never know!

My big goal for 2016 is to not purchase anything new.  I’ve been intrigued with the whole minimalist movement and this one in particular keeps jumping into my brain.  Last spring I bought 3 new pair of running shoes when they were on sale and I haven’t used one of them yet.  So, I shouldn’t need anything right!?  I’m even paying for our one race for 2016 tonight so I won’t have those expenses in 2016.  Maybe I can even go the whole year without even setting foot in a store?  I could by our fruits and veggies from the farmer’s market and I could make a list of other necessities (dog and cat food, laundry detergent, toiletries, etc.) and get Ron to pick them up for us.  Who knows?  Wouldn’t that be cool if I could make it?

My huge fitness goal is to of course to try and get faster and I am going to work on it.  However, flexibility is what I’m going to really focus on.  I am so  horribly un-flexible it is pathetic.

Happy New Year Everyone!  I pray 2016 is all you are dreaming of and more!