A Hiatus and Lessons Learned

4 Dec

Hello there. My blog is W.A.Y overdue! I have been on a hiatus with school being so busy and it’s past time for an update!

Since my last post, I have been regularly attending CrossFit Lake Effect.

I have learned SO much over the past 6 months since joining. Here are a few things I have come to appreciate:

1. You are not in competition with others. We are all in competition with ourselves.


2. Progress is slow at times. Trust the process.


3. Focus on the positives, not the negatives. For example, I can’t do a pull up YET, but I have been working to Rx my weights on many workouts.


4. Beauty is integrity and commitment — It’s not in a dress size or on a scale.


5. Focus on encouraging and loving others, and encouragement and love will find its way back to you.


More to come…But it’s time to get to the gym! ❤


Food Sensitivities and What You Can Do About It

26 Jul

Healing Health

A few years ago I was really struggling with my health. Don’t get me wrong, I ate “healthy” and worked out like a fiend {spin class 5 times a week, P90X, Boot camp classes, and running 20-30 miles/week}. But I felt sick, run down, and had ZERO energy. I couldn’t lose any weight. I still say that I’m the only person who trains for a marathon and gains weight {no, it was not muscle}. Being tall is helpful, no one can really tell if you gain or lose those 5 lbs, but that wasn’t really the biggest issue. I felt like I was literally killing myself with my diet and exercise. No, I was not eating fast food or potato chips. I was not a couch potato either, but sometimes, a lifestyle that we think is “healthy” can turn out to be unhealthy.

Mistake #1: Going Vegan


I can only speak for my own body, but this did not go well for me. I bought a juicer and juiced all my veggies and fruit. Which, I actually still do from time to time, BUT I was only eating fruit/veggie juices, Soy burgers, Lots of SOY products {I never want to see Tofu again}, and grains. RESULT: limited calories and deficient protein = weird things to happened to my body. Instead of an attempt to heal my stomach issues, going vegan intensified it. {Soy is the devil. ok not really, but I have a complete and total aversion to soy because of how awful it made me feel}.

Mistake #2: Keeping a food journal

Almost every weight loss program you see tells you to keep a food journal. So I did. And I did the math and factored in how many miles I was running, and how much food allowance I had to use…Worst idea ever. It might work for some people, but it just made me think I could eat more at the end of the day, “Oh I ran 5 miles, I can eat 500 more calories…of TOFU.” Yuck. I used apps and measured my food, but this made me almost obsessive compulsive with tracking. A major time suck.

Mistake #3: Eating Like a Bird

I had it in my head to eat 6 snacks/ day and not eat full meals. Sound familiar? More horrible weight loss advice. The problem was that I never felt satiated. I was always “hungry” and almost always overate my snacks…trail mix was trail meal. 2 oz cashews, uh no. More like 1lb bag of cashews in one setting. And there’s always the “well, I’m not eating a meal, so I can just eat more of this…” mentality. Seriously, worst advice EVER.

Mistake #4: Using Exercise to Beat Myself Up. 

If I ate too much in my food journal one day, I would make myself run extra miles. However….I’d come home really hungry again…and then eat everything back that I ran.

RESULTS: Tired, run down, chronic IBS, and “skinny fat”. Sound fun?

I went to many doctors both holistic and clinical to figure out what was going on. They always said, “seems like you’re doing everything right.”

I finally threw in the towel, decided to be an advocate for myself and dumped all the fads. I stopped shopping at the health hurt {aka the over priced supplement store} and started an elimination diet- where you cut out certain food groups to find what you may have an allergy to.

What I discovered:

I can’t tolerate:

  • grains: flour, oats, barley, etc.
  • starches: Potatoes, rice
  • legumes: Soy and beans {but I can do peanuts}
  • Dairy: No milk, cheese, butter, or yogurt {Greek yogurt seems to be ok though}
  • Highly processed protein bars full of mystery ingredients…Or any other highly processed foods.
  • Coffee
  • Beer and wine: gluten and sulfates

I do very well on:

  • MEAT- chicken, turkey, steak, fish, pork
  • EGGS – I eat A LOT of eggs
  • Low acidic fruits
  • Veggies
  • Nuts: Walnuts and Almonds {for some reason can’t do cashews}
  • Quest Protein Bars
  • Whey Isolate Protein
  • GNC Pro-Sculpt  {I drink this in the morning with my vitamins instead of coffee}

So my diet {if you want to call it that- I think of it more as healthy living} resembles the Paleo diet. I did not set out to eat Paleo, it just so happened that I’d look up recipes with the foods that I COULD eat, and I’d stumble upon paleo sites. There are a lot of people who are skeptical of the Paleo diet, and I think that’s good. You should be skeptical about any diet or lifestyle changes that you make. You need to be your own advocate after all. But I’ve found that it has really turned my health around. I have more energy, stamina, and I’m happier – my moods don’t fluctuate {no more blood sugar roller coasters}.


paleo pyramid

To sum it up – you need to find what works for you. You shouldn’t feel like you’re on the Struggle Bus everyday. It’s good to be worn out once in a while and need a rest day…but if you’re worn out everyday, somethings wrong.

Have you tried an elimination diet to figure out what you may be intolerant to? Blood and Allergy tests don’t catch everything. If you’re frustrated with everything you’ve already tried, an elimination diet can be the remedy to pinpoint your intolerances.

RANDOM RANTS: Things people say to me that irks me:

Person eating doughnut will say, “Oh, Paleo, that’s bad for you.” Yeah…  Because Dunkin’ Doughnuts and McDonalds is so much better for you?

“CrossFit is dangerous” um.. NO. a sedentary lifestyle is dangerous.

Crossfit is not dangerous

I will never judge someone for their lifestyle choices, I have not walked in their shoes. I just find it so funny that people will readily judge others who are trying to make positive changes, or trying to better themselves. It almost convicts those who don’t. I think we all have a God given desire to become the best versions of ourselves. But we are also our own worst enemies when we combat with our self control, motivation, and priorities.

Health is a choice in many cases. The Bible says that Blessings and Curses are choices. We can follow God’s word and way of life, or try to do it on our own. It’s a choice to be obedient. God gives us free will. In realistic terms, this means we can choose to focus on the positive and mediate on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure” Philippians 4:8,  or can fixate on the negative, live in fear, and remain stagnant and let our feelings control us.

More important than diet and exercise is the worth of a person. We should never judge another’s worth by their girth…if they can do a pull up or not, or if they can grow a power beard 😉

Remember too, that we are all a work in progress. Everyone puts on their grown up pants the same…One foot at a time.

lifes too short

Your Turn:

Do you have food sensitivities? What do you do when they strike?

Have you made fitness mistakes? What have your mistakes taught you?

Fighting Fear by Finding Faith and Fitness

24 Jul

“The Only Thing You Have To Fear Is Fear Itself” -Churchill

Of one thing I am certain, you will face challenges everyday.

How you respond to life’s challenges is what defines your character.

Romans 5

I’ve faced a lot of challenges in my life {who hasn’t?}, but when I compare it how blessed I’ve been, the challenges seem so abysmal, that I’m ashamed to have focused on the negative and pitied myself. It’s all a matter of perception. We can get stuck easily on what has hurt us that we let the past hinder our future, when in fact your past does not determine your future; it’s made you who you are, but it shouldn’t define you.

Don’t let your past steal from your future, instead enjoy the present. And BE present. How many of us are constantly rushing around, thinking of the next thing we have to do? No wonder so many of us struggle with anxiety. One thing that I am practicing is being PRESENT. No matter what I’m doing. Even the things I don’t always enjoy. We are not promised tomorrow. Who are we to number our days? Don’t live like a zombie, eking out your days. Live with intention everyday. Not just on the weekends. LIVE. Don’t just survive. There is always something positive to focus on, even on your hardest days.

I enjoy history, and so I thought I’d share my favorite Abraham Lincoln quotes with you. They always inspire me and help me to refocus my priorities.


The first one reminds me of CrossFit, but it applies to all aspects of life. Failure in itself is not bad – it’s proof that we’re trying. I pity the person who hides themselves away, avoiding life because they’re scared to make mistakes. I make mistakes all the time, and I’m proud of it because I’m learning from them. As I tell my students,  “it’s O.K. to not know but it’s NOT O.K. not to try.”

CrossFit makes me feel like I’m going to throw up everyday…that nervous feeling…like your first time on a roller coaster, or a first date. And I. LOVE. IT. when’s the last time you’ve really challenged yourself? Tried something hard? You won’t die from being uncomfortable. I was so scared to be a teacher too. not knowing if I had what it takes. I still rely fully on God and His grace in order to be the teacher my students deserve. But I fight for it everyday. The day I stop fighting will be my last. This life is a battle. Push back the dark, because you never know who needs to see your light.

Let’s Talk Faith {I do not push my beliefs on anyone, but I speak candidly about my faith because It is a huge part of who I am.}

When you recognize that control is a fallacy, you can begin to walk in faith. I have no control over my life. I’ve given it all to God. This doesn’t mean I’m irresponsible, rather, I take each day as it comes, and each opportunity as a blessing. I am so thankful that I DON’T control my life, but rather that I live by faith. I’m sure if God let me plan my life, I’d be miserable. I’m so grateful that God is in control and not me. When I watch everything fall together, so effortlessly, I know that God is behind it, working small and large miracles that I am unaware of. Never give up. Never stop praying- You have no idea what God is working out because of your prayers..even when you can’t see it…especially when you can’t see it.

no fear

Your Turn

What or who pushes you? 

What have you avoided doing because of fear? What can you do about it?

What are You Waiting For?

22 Jul

Time is Fleeting


Time is constant and it will pass by whether you’re sitting on your duff doing nothing,  or if you’re doing something proactive. So I’ll start with this question:

What are You Waiting For?

I’m going to challenge you. Not only you, but myself too, to NOT BE COMFORTABLE. Humans are creatures of habit and we can easily be swayed away from things that challenge us. But change doesn’t happen when you’re comfortable, life doesn’t happen when you’re comfortable. Think about your best memories. They are probably surrounded by events where you had to push yourself or do something out of your comfort zone. I’ve never once heard someone say that they have great memories of sitting on the couch. Right?!

So many people think that life will be perfect if they could just lose weight, make more money, or find that person to complete them {random rant: people shouldn’t complete you, they should complement you, but we should never rely on someone else for our self worth or identity..we need to find ourselves and where we are in your own faith walk first}. 

The truth of the matter is that If you wait for the perfect conditions, they will never come.

Stop waiting, Start living. Push yourself. 


The older I get, the more I’ve learned to stop relying on my feelings on whether I do something or not. Because being an adult is all about doing the right thing. You do the right thing, and then the feelings will come. If you only work when you feel like it, you’re bound to get fired, or fail; if you only mow your lawn, clean your house, or workout when you FEEL like it, things are going to go to “Hades in a Hand Basket” pretty quickly. I can honestly say that I’ve never felt like doing laundry or the dishes…and I certainly don’t FEEL like waking up every morning at 4:30 am to feed my dogs…But Rocky gets up on the bed, puts his face two inches from mine, and whimpers.

2013-07-17 10.56.22


How can I say “NO” to that face. Gets me every time.

I’m not saying don’t listen to your feelings at all, or don’t trust your gut instincts, BUT feelings are often fixated on the temporary and not the permanent. It’s all about will power and integrity. We need to overcome our “Feelings” in order to condition ourselves to have integrity and build character.

TRUTH: There is nothing more attractive than integrity and humility.

TRUTH: There is nothing more repulsive than someone who weasels out of things {a.k.a a schmuck, or schmuckery}

Don’t be a flake. I say this in the most sincere way possible, because I have been known to be flaky a time or two as well, but you need to let your “YES” mean yes, and your “NO” mean no. It’s biblical – Matthew 5:37


Our society today seems to scream, “Do what makes you happy.” But  does doing whatever we FEEL like doing really make us happy? I don’t think so. Carbs make me extremely happy when they’re in my mouth, but they make my body feel and preform like crap. So, will that cookie REALLY make you happy? NO. Or skipping they gym to lounge on the couch…does that make you proud? NO. Or sleeping in because we NEED those 10 extra minutes…does it really make our morning run better? {Fun Fact: pressing snooze is actually worse for you if you don’t plan on getting at least an extra 20-30 min of sleep. You need a full REM cycle to feel rejuvenated, but you can’t get there in under 20 min. So continually pressing snooze actually stresses your body out and will make you more tired than if you just got up}.

So what are you waiting for? Start living, stop just surviving.

What makes me truly happy:

  • My Faith
  • My Family and Friends
  • CrossFit
  • Teaching
  • My Dogs
  • Cooking Paleo

Nothing that I mentioned is easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.

work hard

You’re Turn:

What truly makes you happy?

Are you THRIVING, or merely SURVIVING? and what can you do about it?





Get Right

20 Jul

Gaining Confidence

2013-07-20 21.02.09


How to focus on your strengths when all you see are your flaws.

Our Own Worst Critic

Working at a salon for a number of years qualified me as a psychologist. Ok, not really, but it should! People will tell their hairdresser things they wouldn’t even confess to a priest. One thing that became a pattern, was how insecure people tended to be about their hair. You could tell a lot about someone’s self esteem by how they asked you to do their hair…

“Can you cut it to hide my double chin?”

“I need bangs to cover my big forehead”

“I can’t have short hair, it will make me look fat…”

“Can you move my back hair to my hairline?” {no lie, that was said…}

I’ve literally heard it all. When they’d debase themselves in this way, I always pointed out something good about them. It was clear they needed some positivity spoken into their lives. I wasn’t handing out white lies either. I sincerely think everyone has something beautiful about them. God makes everyone so unique. I love looking for the beauty in every person. Of course beauty isn’t skin deep. Not at all. And a beautiful face will turn hideous with an ugly attitude. But my point is this- we get so fixated on the things we don’t like, that we forget to appreciate the good things about us too.

A surefire way to give yourself bad self-esteem is to focus on your “flaws”. I call this “The Pizza Affect”.

The Pizza Affect

Think of it this way- if you eat pizza everyday, you’d probably get pretty sick of it very quickly {or any other food}. But if you save Pizza for special occasions, or a “free day” on your diet, you’d look forward to eating it and think it’s the best thing ever!

Well, think of yourself as that pizza. You see yourself everyday, so you don’t notice the special things about you. You look in the mirror every day and see the same eyes looking back at you. But those same eyes might just make someone else weak in the knees. You’re smile, which may seem ordinary to you, may make someone else’s day. You are just too use to yourself to appreciate yourself.

Do You Suffer from Pizza Affect?

Steps to Restore Your Confidence:

I won’t lie, I’ve struggled with insecurities just about my whole life. However, I am not the type of person to sit and dwell. I have to DO SOMETHING.

first and foremost, the best thing that helps me is prayer, and knowing that God has made me for a purpose, and that He doesn’t make junk. I have been blessed with this life, and I want to do as much with it as possible.

Next, get moving. I feel the most alive and the happiest when I’m working out. You need to find a positive activity that pushes you out of your comfort zone and challenges you.

Lastly, build community with others. Humans were meant to live in community with one another. We need each other for support. It’s actually more prideful to not ask for help, than it is to recognize when you need it.

What Moves Me?

Church – I love my church family, and it’s so awesome to be able to connect with others who have the same belief system and morals and to learn from one another. Also, church provides me with the opportunity to serve others. I work with Middle school girls at my church and I love seeing them grow stronger in their confidence and in Christ. Middle School is such an awesome time to positively influence young girls to have confidence in themselves, and I love serving in this way.

CrossFit – Have you done CrossFit yet? Let me rephrase, Have you gone to CrossFit Lake Effect Yet? I love my gym. It’s like a family, I never want to leave when I’m there. Which is surprising because the workouts practically kill you. But my whole perspective of fitness has changed since going to CrossFit Lake Effect. It’s changed how I see myself too. I no longer fixate on being “skinny” or about how many calories I’m burning…primarily because I know it’s a lot. But my focus has shifted from working out to be “skinny” to working out to learn proper form and skill.

My goals have changed from “Fit into skinny jeans”, to “Be able to squat my body weight {using a bar…not just my own body weight}, Do pull ups, push ups, double unders, and a box jump where I don’t land like an elephant…” The by product of learning these things are a lean and muscular physique – By practicing and getting better at your skill, you end up burning a lot of calories, and sculpting your body. I have been happier with my body in the past month of doing CrossFit, than I have in the past 10+ years of running.

This way of thinking is a HUGE shift for me. Before I was tormented by insecurities and a slave to the treadmill. I ran to be skinny, but now I want to be a better athlete..{ok, I just want to be considered an athlete}. Better body image just comes with the territory when you do CrossFit. Every week I notice that I’m getting stronger and leaner. And it is so mentally liberating to not force myself into what I want to be…instead, I focus on my improvements. I have a L.O.N.G. way to go, but I am so happy to have found my CrossFit Family ❤ They are the greatest group of people, they are encouraging, funny, and overall just wonderful!

Your Turn:

What do you do when you start to feel insecure?

How often do you step outside of your comfort zone? 


Faith, Fitness, and Humble Pie

19 Jul

Priority Check

Here’s a Confession: My priorities have been completely out-of-wack lately.

It’s been hot, and sleep has been fleeting, so I’ve been reading THIS book until the wee hours.



I was hoping to gain insight on how to get better at CrossFit…maybe Froning had some crazy diet plan or advice that would make everything click for me. To my surprise, what I gleaned most from Froning’s book, is that I need a priority check.

This has been my first summer as a teacher, and I am not use to having so much free time. I’ve worked hard my whole life. Missing Prom to wait tables, always working on birthdays and holidays, and really long hours. It’s almost a culture shock to have so much time to myself. But with much time, comes much responsibility {something like that, right?}. I really love CrossFit, and the CrossFit community. I plan to go 5-6 times a week and work on improving my skills. But I do need to recognize that there are other priorities that I have neglected in light of my new found passion.

Froning explains his priorities as the “Three F’s: faith, family, and fitness.” I’d say mine have been Fitness, fitness, and fitness lately. Although I know I need to step it up and work harder in the gym, I need to leave it there. When I come home I need to be home, when I go to work I need be at work. Men are typically better at compartmentalizing than women. Women tend to carry things around in their heads all day, and instead of leaving something alone, it will spill over into everything else, and build. Sometimes this can be an advantage, but most of the time, it adds unnecessary stress to our daily lives.


How to Get Refocused

I think it’s important to note that I’m not trying to say fitness is bad, or an obsession. It just needs balance. I’m not going to workout any less, or not try as much. In fact, I want to try harder! But it’s not my religion. I need to remember these steps to maintain my priorities:

1. Pray First

2. Think of others before myself

3. Give my best effort, everyday, to everything

4. Pray as if everything depends on the Lord, and work as if everything depends on me.

I don’t want to do anything half way. I want to be able to give my all in every aspect of my life, and that includes relationships and work too. We are all works in progress, and all have areas we need to strengthen.

mumford and sons

What about you?

Can you relate?

What do you do when you need a priority check?


What to Eat in the Heat

17 Jul

Eat Smart in the Summer

It’s hot. Really hot. And cooking just seems unbearable, even in the air conditioning. You don’t really want to eat something hot either, just the thought gives you heat stroke. So what do you do? Stay inside all day and not eat? NO. You eat smart. Eat cold things that lower your body temperature, and eat things mainly comprised of water. Most fruit is 80% water, and very filling. So here are some ideas for you to cool off with:

1. Frozen Fruit 

Take your favorite fruit and toss it in the freezer for an hour or two. The sugars actually crystalize and taste sweeter too. It’s like a popsicle! But healthy.

2013-07-17 10.53.35

2. Bananas

The heat depletes us of essential electrolytes and potassium. Eating a banana is a great idea if you plan to take your workout outside {Or do CrossFit @CrossFit Lake Effect 🙂 }


Photo Credit HERE

3. Almonds

Almonds are always wonderful, but they have the healthy fats and protein your body needs. When cooking meat is out of the question, reach for some raw, heart healthy nuts.


Photo Credit HERE

4. Whey Protein Smoothies

Probably a favorite of many. Protein shakes are easy and nutritious. They quickly absorb into your system, and are very refreshing. You can mix it up by sneaking spinach in, or adding fruits.

2013-06-19 21.25.332013-05-12 06.38.12

5. Greek Yogurt Parfait

I love dessert, but I don’t like the heavy feeling that comes with it. Instead of eating ice cream this summer, my new favorite treat is a greek yogurt parfait. I use 1/2 cup plain 0% Fat Greek Yogurt, 1 Scoop french vanilla {or chocolate} whey protein, 2tbs PB2, and a frozen fruit of my choice. If I just came back from a workout and eat this is lieu of dinner, I’ll add a handful of walnuts too.

2013-07-15 20.36.56

Table Scraps: How to take care of your Dogs in the Summer

2013-07-17 10.56.22

My dogs are use to running 3- 4 miles at least 3 times a week, but when temps reach the 90’s, they don’t get a whole lot of exercise. Here are some helpful ideas for taking care of fido in this heat.

1. Use the opportunity to give them a cold bath

2. Put ice cubes in their water bowls {This will turn into “bob for the ice cube”}

3. Get them a new toy. I bought both my dogs kong treat balls and I fill it with peanut butter. This keeps them preoccupied and running around the house for hours. They also play keep away with each other – helps keep them entertained.

2013-07-14 18.48.24

4. Play fetch inside. My floors are ruined already, so I have nothing to lose. I try to give my dogs a little bit of a cardio workout throwing their balls down the stairs.

Your turn:

What do you eat to beat the heat?

Do your animals {kids} keep active, even in the heat and humidity?

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