More Self Love –Week 4 #52DTS

Happy Holiday Monday to my Canadian friends…
and Happy Monday to everyone else!
SANY5175

I’ve had a great long weekend and happy that we’ve had a bit of sunshine even!! For me it’s even better as I’m enjoying a 3 day work week because on Friday I’m going to

NEW YORK CITY!!!

I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am or how much squealing and jumping and skipping and smiling there has been leading up to this trip. It will be my first time in the city and I feel like I might not want to come home. I have a list of things I want to do and can’t wait to take lots of pictures, tweet and blog about my excursion – stay tuned!

Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to @cocomonsterblog for being the winner of Peggy’s book and some Vega yummies!! Send me an email wwleaderashley [at] gmail [dot] com and we will arrange to get you your goodies!!

Week 3 Check In

I didn’t do a check in on Friday – I’m sorry! I rocked my workouts again this week:

Monday: 60+ minutes with trainer
Tuesday: 50 minutes spin
Thursday: 30 minute run + core
Saturday: 60 minutes zumba

+ lots of walking in the sunshine

How did everyone do with their eating?

Following an awesome dinner with my roomies on Monday I ate lots of leftover soup and kelp noodles from Peggy’s book, enjoyed some delicious oatmeal breakfastsSANY5166and enjoyed some yummy meals out with friends, including a trip to Rawlicious and delicious brunch at Lady Marmalade with my little sister yesterday. SANY5180I am working on consistently making great choices, listening to my body and eating mindfully. Also still working on getting the sugar out while not feeling like I’m restricting myself too much. It’s an ongoing struggle, but it’s necessary.

Speaking of necessary…

Week 4 Challenge – Love Yourself

The process of positive self talk has been a constantly ongoing, seemingly never-ending battle for me. I’ve talked about it on the blog many times (here, here, here and here) and there have been a bazillion other times when I’ve had conversations with friends, family, WW peeps, or written in my journal about my challenges. I’m thankful that people can’t actually see inside my head because there’s some pretty messed up stuff that goes on in there.

Lately it’s been really really hard, and this was part of the reason for the 52 Days to Summer Challenge in the first place. I have been working on getting rid of the thoughts that don’t serve me, but holy jeez are those thoughts loud sometimes.

I have so many things in my life to be thankful for: amazing friends, familia, and awesome peeps who love me, a great set of jobs, performance opportunities, an amazing house with fantastic roommates etc. etc. etc. But for whatever reason, I still freak out and go to the negative self loathing place. I don’t know that my body image has ever really been stellar, but I’ve found that since beginning my weight loss journey in 2006, the issue has been much more prominent; in the years since I’ve been harder on myself since losing the weight than I ever was before.

I find that I feel better when I’m treating my body well with exercise and awesome eating, but that is not always the rule. On Tuesday I was on my way to spin class and in the elevator on my way up to the class I started tearing up as a result of some negative stuff in my head. I cried on my way home and later that evening - yes, even after 50 minutes of hardcore spin and heading home home to make green juice and a delicious, healthy, vegan dinner. This has got to stop.

I read a great post on Ange’s blog that really inspired me awhile back, especially the idea that self love is an ongoing process and that (for now) the “goal is not to eliminate negative thoughts, but to reduce the frequency of those thoughts and to counter them with positive ones”.

This week I would like you to work on self love.

If a negative thought enters your head, write it down and then take a minute to turn that thought around into a positive one. I am also going to take some time to journal some of my thoughts because I’ve found that process to be very helpful in the past.

What kind of messages have you been sending yourself? Are they things you would ever say to another person? How have the messages you’ve been sending to yourself changed over time? What process do you have to reduce your negative thoughts?

Must Have Been Something i Ate–Week 3 #52dts + A Giveaway

Given who I am and what I do, I tend to think about food a lot. Over the last couple weeks I’ve been thinking about it even more as I’ve been reading a new book about food and how it affects us:peggy_book_mockup_FI#4E9E62I was really excited when the awesome folks at Vega contacted me about reviewing Peggy Kotsopolous’ book Must Have Been Something I Ate.

For years, people have been turning to their medicine chests as an arsenal for fighting the funk…but what if you could find the best anti-depressants, sleeping pills, memory supplements and even broken heart antidotes in your kitchen? According to Registered Holistic Nutritionist Peggy Kotsopoulos, you can.

“There are elements of our lives—careers, relationships, finances—that we have no control over,” she explained. “Our diet, on the other hand, we have complete control over, and luckily it is a powerful tool for elevating our moods and in turn combating issues, like how to get more energy, how to lose weight, and how to relieve stress and to reduce anxiety.”

Her philosophy sounded right up my alley and I instantly loved the beautiful, fresh design and pretty food pictures. The book is broken down into sections food’s connection to mood, weight, beauty and healthy with chapters focusing on things like energy, sleep, sex, metabolism, digestive health, PMS and even muffin tops. Peggy’s writing is fun, friendly and easy to follow. There are diagrams and charts to illustrate her ideas and a collection of awesome recipes utilizing everything she talks about.

The recipes are whole food focused, mostly vegan (there is cheese used in 1 or 2), some raw and really easy to follow and make. So far I’ve made the Thunder Thigh Thinning vegetable soup, BeYOUtifying cleansing cocktail and the creamy coconut kelp noodles. SANY5171It was my first time making kelp noodles and was impressed with how easy they were to deal with! I rinsed them a lot before mixing them together with the other ingredients and sauce, but loved their intriguing texture and neutral flavor. Peggy’s coconut sauce was all kinds of amazing and I’ve definitely been enjoying this dish for lunch for the past couple of days. The veggie soup was incredibly easy and the cleansing cocktail was similar to my fav morning juice blend. I can’t wait to try more of the recipes, especially the desserts like the “I Heart” key lime pie and quinoa cookies.

The book reminded me of WHY I eat the way I do – to feel the best I possibly can. Sure, weight loss/maintenance is an absolute benefit, but it really comes down to promoting health, wellness and feeling the best that I possibly can. While the book is definitely a little bit female-skewed (references to Oprah, hotties and tips for being a sex vixen will do that) it is light-hearted, accessible, and a fast read. She explains her ideas thoroughly with a good mix of facts and anecdotes and I will definitely be rereading sections of this book that deal with issues close to my well-being as well as making more yummy recipes!

Week 3 – Get Your Eating In Check

Food is such an important part of this whole journey and this week I’d like you to focus on your eating. Is what you’re eating helping you reach your goals and hit your full potential? Are you eating mindfully and nourishing your body? Or are there things in your diet that need to go? How are you keeping track of it?

You challenge this week is to focus on your eating and reflect on your food-life connection. For some of you this is going to be really tough, and for others you’re going to feel like this isn’t even a challenge at all! Be honest with yourself and like the previous challenges, push your limits and see what you can accomplish this week!

Would you like a chance to be inspired by Peggy’s perspective on the food-life connection and try some of her amazing recipes? If the answer is yes, be sure to check out the giveaway post for your chance to win a copy of her book and some samples of Vega products!

Check In #2–How Scary Was It?

Hello 52 days-til-summer-ers (so catchy, right?) how’s it going?

How scary was it?

Everything “scary” that I did this week was related to activity:

Sunday: run outside on the boardwalk in the Beach with my dear friend Justin
Monday & Wednesday: work out with new trainer
Saturday: get butt kicked by old trainer w/
TRX

On the running front – I’ve never claimed to be a runner. In fact, when I was in junior high, the last memory I have of running was crossing the finish line after doing the 12 minute run (or 1600m or something equally horrific), FALLING and skidding across the pavement, imbedding my knees with gravel and crying a lot.

True story.

So any run is a feat for me. Justin called me on Sunday and asked if I wanted to go for a run and I fear aside, I just went for it. While I’ve done my share of running a la treadmill, it’s rare that I run outside, but was up for the challenge! It was tough and a bit scary, but all kinds of awesome.

My workouts with my trainers this week were pretty awesome, but I definitely pushed myself which can be totally scary. My new trainer says I don’t say enough/make enough noise when I work out (I think it scares him a little…) but it was definitely tough and I was DEFINITELY sore more of the week. This afternoon I did a bunch of TRX stuff and my bum is already killing me. Never a good sign for tomorrow.

I’ve seen some cool stuff happening with my #52dts peeps happening across Twitter and the blogsphere:

  • @GregMaddeaux was out running and is working on his cardio
  • Leah has been sharing food journals and rocking the Power Foods
  • Megs is getting her butt into gear and working on her fear of success
  • Laura tackled level 3 of the 30 Day Shred
  • Danielle signed up for a new gym and is working out like a superstar

Check out these peeps for some inspiration or check out the #52dts hashtag on Twitter to check in!

Have you been reading your list of reasons this week? How’s your workout calendar looking?

Check back on Monday for some yummy food pics from this week, next week’s challenge and an awesome giveaway!

Do One Thing That Scares You–52 Days Til Summer Week 2

Welcome to week 2!

So excited for everyone that has joined the challenge and hearing about everyone’s progress last week! I’ve had a lot of fun chatting with people on and offline about the whole thing and am so glad that the concept is resonating with people. Hearing all of your success is absolutely inspiring me!

This week’s challenge is going to push your limits – in the best possible way.

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If you want results, you need to push yourself, so just get rid of the excuses and challenge yourself. Do one thing this week that scares you.

Now, I know you may be thinking, “Ashley, I just started with _____. I’m ______ and _______ and it’s going to take me a little while to get used to _______.”

Seriously.
Cut the BS and just do it.
Stop making excuses and just go for it.
How could you push yourself this week to help yourself reach your goals even faster?

Maybe it’s related to activity. Maybe it’s ridding yourself of a habit you can’t get rid of (caffeine, sugar, white flour etc). Maybe you’ve been thinking about cutting out meat or dairy or too many treats. Maybe it’s something you’ve wanted to try but haven’t. I know it’s only week #2, but why not make the next 44ish days the best they could possibly be? You can take this challenge however you wish, but I can’t wait to hear about how you’re pushing your limits in our check in on Friday.

This week: do something that scares you.

Friday Check In Numero Uno–52 Days Til Summer

I’m THRILLED that more than 25 people have signed up for this challenge between the blog, twitter and facebook!! So incredibly exciting and I know that y’all are going to accomplish some amazing things before summer!

My Week

One of my commitments is around physical activity. General activity and more yoga. Here was my week including plans for the weekend:

Sunday: 90 minute Bikram yoga class
Monday: 30 Day Shred
Tuesday: Nada
Wednesday: Nada
Thursday: 60 minute
Fit Chicks Boot Camp sopretty(Yup. That’s' how happy I was when boot camp was over)
Friday: 30 minute run at lunch (or class if I make it on time!)
Saturday: 45 mins cardio

I would like to work towards doing the 30 Day Shred on days when I can’t squeeze in an outside workout, but sometimes I’m way too busy or just not home enough. It was a busy week and I’m proud of the work that I did!

Another one of my commitments is around tracking my food intake and I’m happy to report that I have been tracking everything! I’ve been using e-tools this week and really loving it. Makes everything so easy to calculate and keeps me accountable. Love. It.

Speaking of eating… I ate some pretty yummy meals this week. On Wednesday I had a picnic with Nicole which was totally awesome!! I made the spring awakening salad from the Crazy Sexy Life siteSANY5160and she brought some delicious roasted veggies plus Mary’s cracker sticks and hummus. SANY5161We followed our delicious vegan lunch up with one of these awesome (and unpictured) breakfast cookies that were so delicious. I made them with quinoa flakes instead of oats and added some dark chocolate chips. Next time I would use less sugar, because I don’t think they need as much (especially with the chocolate chips) but they were stupendous and really easy!

I also had Jessie over for dinner before boot camp last night and made some green chile enchiladas that I had seen in the new Weight Watchers magazine. Perfect for Cinco de Mayo!SANY5163Ours did not look like that. SANY5165BUT they were delicious, oh-so-easy and awesome fuel for our workout. I have no idea how to make them prettier, but I am not ashamed of my non-blog-worthy photo!

I sang in a cabaret on Sunday and felt awesome in this dressSANYO DIGITAL CAMERAYay for positive self talk! It was a really awesome show. I love that I get to do what I love so often.

Some #52dts shout-outs going to my dearest darling Jessie for kicking butt last night at boot camp and to Laura (my best friend from the 6th great who is all kinds of awesome) for getting back on track and remotivated with the challenge.

There will be a new challenge up on Monday. Please feel free to link to any blog posts you’ve written about the challenge and don’t forget to use the #52dts hashtag when tweeting. My twitter doesn’t want me to create a list apparently, so hopefully I will have that done over the weekend.

Now it’s your turn!

How was your week? How did you find the challenge? Did you come up with some compelling reasons that truly resonate with you? What are your commitments? How did you begin to work them into your life?

 

52 Days Til Summer Challenge

I had a mini-epiphany the other day…

I’m tired of feeling the way that I do.

I’ve really been struggling with my body image for the last 14 months. While it’s really been longer than that, the last 14 months-ish has been really rocky for me and I’m done with feeling this way. It’s exhausting and draining and is doing nothing for me. Last week someone said “get rid of the thoughts that don’t serve you” and it really hit home. That idea coupled with thinking about my past experiences in the midst of a workout led to the idea behind this challenge.

Things I would like to focus on:

  • Feeling great
  • Eating well
  • Shedding a few pounds
  • And oh, maybe getting back to something like this

So I thought about what has worked for me in the past when doing all of these things, especially when I was losing weight the very first time, and the following came to mind

  • Group support
  • Challenges
  • Accountability

What better way to accomplish all of that than through a group challenge!! So I bring you…

52 Day Til Summer
#52DTS

I wanted a catchy name and rather go with “Motivated in May” or something to that extent, I figured SUMMER is a great motivation for many of us. I also realized that my feelings were not unique to me. Many of the people I talk to on a regular basis or who are actively involved in the blog/Twitter world could benefit from some guidance, extra motivation and incentive.

Because yes, there will be prizes!

With May 1 marking 52 days til the beginning of summer on June 21, the challenge was born. Beginning this week there will be 52 Days Til Summer posts on Mondays (this week Tuesday because the weekend was crazy) and Fridays. Monday’s post will give you a focus for the week and detail the week’s mini challenge. If there is anything you would like to focus on in the next few weeks, please let me know and I will work to incorporate it into a challenge. Friday’s post will be an opportunity to check in, brag a little, talk about any challenges you may be having and really establish a bit of community. I will be posting these on both my blog and my Facebook page, so you are welcome to respond in the comments section of either or both. I will also be putting together a Twitter list with anyone who would like to participate and using the #52DTS hashtag when tweeting about the challenge. Please feel free to follow the list and use the hashtag to your heart’s content.

Week 1 Challenge:
Why the heck are you Doing This?
And how are you going to make it happen?

I picked up a copy of The Beck Diet Solution last week because it was mega on sale and I remember many people saying great things about it on the Weight Watchers message boards back when I was losing weight. One of the exercises is to develop your list of reasons that you want to lose weight. You were to make these reasons into a list and write the list on a cue card that you could carry with you and read at least once a day.

Inspired by this activity, I made my list last week and also made a list of commitments to myself in order to achieve my goals. Some of my reasons included:

  • to be the healthiest me I can be
  • to feel strong
  • to be in control
  • to start liking pictures again
  • to get rid of the thoughts that aren’t serving me

I also made a list of commitments that are going to help me achieve these things. These included eating well, tracking and being physically active. I printed off my list and put a copy in my wallet so that I can read it at least once a day and feel inspired when I need that extra little kick of motivation.

Part 1 of the first challenge is for you to do the same thing:

Challenge 1 Reasons and Commitments

Develop a list of reasons as to why you want to get active, eat healthier or shed some pounds. They can be as general or specific as you need them to be – just make them relevant to you! One of my reasons was to “look like my headshot” which really resonates with me. Once you’ve got your list, make yourself a list of commitments that you’re going to adhere to for the duration of the challenge (and going forward, because we know that everything you need to do in order to lose weight, is everything you need to do to keep it off) This list may change and grow over time, but again make it relevant to YOU.

Part 2 of the challenge is to get moving:

May Calendar

I used to make these calendars monthly and for whatever reason, I stopped and started using my own home calendar. This calendar is for you to track your workouts! Every day you do some physical activity, give yourself a sticker on the calendar. It’s amazing just how motivating stickers can be!! The objective here is to get as many stickers as possible and I will post a new calendar at the beginning of June to take us through to the end of the challenge.

I’ve also put both of these documents into a google doc for easy access

Part 3 of the challenge is to sign up!

Leave a comment on my blog or in the notes of my facebook note to let me know that you’ll be participating. Feel free to introduce yourself, state some reasons why you want to participate and maybe even some of your commitments from your worksheet or your workout plan for the week. Also include your Twitter name so I can add you to the list.

This initial sign up will also ensure that I have your information for the prizes that will come later – more info to follow – but I promise they’ll be fun and exciting!

To recap this week’s challenge:

  1. Develop your list of reasons and commitments. Print it off and put it somewhere where you can see it every day. In your wallet. At your desk. In the space next to your bedroom door. Just post it and read them every day. And start working towards them!
  2. Get moving! Give yourself a sticker every day you work out.
  3. Sign up! Leave me a comment so I know you’re doing this with me

Friday May 6 will be our first recap post. Whether you want to lose weight, get more physically active, meet some like minded people, have group support or just have a general tune up before summer, this challenge is there to help you. I’m so excited for everything we’re going to achieve over the next 52 49 days and can’t wait to see your results!!