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Clara Barkton

I’m sick.

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I hate being sick, and I really hate missing work because I’m sick. Does anyone else suffer from serious guilt when they have to call in sick to work? What is it about us that makes us want to refuse to take a break, even when our bodies desperately need it?

Anyways, last night I started feeling gross, and today I’m pumping the OJ and the DayQuil hard.

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When I was younger, I used to secretly love sick days. A chance to stay home from school and watch TV all day? Awesome!

Now, I hate being sick. Unfortunately, I’ve struggled with being sick this year. Towards the beginning of the year, I fought chronic digestive problems, and I’ve caught my fair share of bugs since then. It’s annoying.

I know that I did a lot of damage to my body during my active ED, but it’s frustrating being patient and waiting for my immune system to fully heal itself. It seems like I catch every single bug that passes through work.

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If only life imitated Stinson.

On the upside, I can take this as a lesson in why I want my body to heal. It’s definitely an incentive to keep pushing to live a healthier life.

But until then, at least I have my own Clara Barkton to nurse me back to health.

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Since we’re talking about my health today, I want to make an announcement that’s hopefully going to affect my health and my wallet in positive ways.

I’m going to give vegetarianism a whirl. Working with animals, I’ve started thinking a lot about the factory farming industry in America. If I know that it’s inhumane to eat Roxy or Callie, why should I feel like it’s okay to eat Bessie the cow?

I’m not going to get on a soapbox and preach to those who eat meat…I don’t know if vegetarianism is going to be right for me. But I do know that I want to eat as healthy as I can to help my body heal itself. I don’t believe that factory farmed meat is healthy for me, and it’s pretty tough for me to afford humanely farmed meats.

It seems like the logical solution here is to, you know, not eat meat.

I’m going to give myself the full month of November without eating meat and then reevaluate how I feel (meatless Thanksgiving…I know!). Until then, there will be lots of updates with recipes, factoids I pick up along the way, and posts on how I’m feeling.

Also, I’m ashamed to say, half marathon training got a little derailed, but I’m hoping to be healed enough this weekend to try a 10 mile run.

Hopefully my little doggie nurse will make me feel all better.

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What a headshot.

How do you react to getting sick? Do you enjoy a day off, or do you feel guilty for missing work?

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Just for fun

A fly on the wall

Eep! This is the longest I’ve gone without blogging since I started Adventures in Living Lean. And I’ve missed it. I was dealing with some family things this past week, and honestly, blogging wasn’t a priority.

It is really cool that I’m at a point in my life again where I can say “family comes first” and mean it. Because when I was 17-22…it didn’t. Social life definitely came first. And these days, it just doesn’t.

However, I did sneak in some social life time last night to see my friend PJ play with his friend’s band.

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There’s the man of the night with me and my roomies. Also, if you watch Walking Dead, he was a walker on the first episode of season 3. Yeah, he’s pretty cool. I guess.

I tell you, I have talented friends. Now, can they help a girl out?

It’s strange to go back into a bar after staying out of them for a while. I spent quite a few years of my life being a barfly, and eventually, it stopped being fun. I didn’t want to go out, but I felt like I had to in order to have a fulfilling social life. Today, I go to a bar when I have a reason to (even if the reason is that I just want to shoot pool with some buddies), instead of feeling like I’ll be left out if I don’t show up that night.

There’s been an interesting shift in planning my social calendar. Instead of saying “which bar do you want to go to?” we say “well, we could watch movies, play board games, or go hear a band.” Planning my life doesn’t revolve around the bar.

Frankly, most of the time, I’d rather catch up on my Tivo and go to bed. I keep telling you guys, as much as I pretend I’m cool, I’m really lame. I guess that’s where acting like an adult comes in.

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Nah, I’m not depressed. I actually like being an adult. Most of the time.

Of course, it saves me from looking like I could be Tara Reid’s long-lost sister.

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It’s so much more fun to watch the girls who act like this instead of worrying about being the girl who could act like this.

Not to mention, I save tons of money not drinking. Or buying Gatorade and Advil for the hangover. Or trying to blot out the moral hangover. Let’s just agree, hangovers of all forms suck.

As you’ve gotten older, how has your social life changed?

What do you and your friends normally do for fun?

Budget shopping · Just for fun

My favorite things: legs edition

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Clearly, this picture constitutes everything I like to wear on my bottom half. End of blog.

Really, I’ve spent time over the years finding what products I can’t live without, workout or otherwise.

Nike Tempos

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I have a rainbow of Nike Tempo running shorts. That picture is probably only half of the Norts (Nike shorts, see what I did there?) that I own. Some are in the laundry, some are at my parents, and some have probably been sacrifices to the closet gods over the years.

I wear them all.the.time. For running, for walking, for weight training, for circuit workouts, for grocery shopping, for laying around the house, for sleeping, etc. If it’s an occasion where I’m not required to look like a semi-decent human being, I’m probably wearing Tempos.

I’ve been on the Tempo track since high school and early college. They’re just so darn comfy. And the length hides my upper thigh chub. In fact, when TJ Maxx had them on sale, I eventually had to ban myself from going. Seriously, I’d walk in for a tank top and walk out with 6 new Norts.

Joe’s Jeans Honey Curvy Boot Cut Jean

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Another closet staple since early college, the Honey Boot Cut has been my large-bootied and small-waisted self’s best friend. For eons (okay, puberty to 19), I struggled to find jeans that wouldn’t gap like the Grand Canyon in the back. If they fit my waist, they weren’t going over my hips. If they fit my hips…gap city, trick, gap gap city, trick.

Then Joe’s entered my life. I’ve never had a gap issue with the Honey. I would probably have built a collection worthy of its own closet now, but I couldn’t wear them when I was at heavier weights.

But since Joe is fitting again, our relationship has resumed. The length, the hip-to-waist ratio, the fabric—it’s all spot on. They’re pricey, but I can often find them on sale at Loehmann’s and Nordstrom Rack. Or ask really nicely for them for Christmas.

Spanx Look-at-me Leggings

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Spanx. The word itself brings to mind celebrities shimmying into they’re control tops before hitting the red carpet. But since I’m nowhere near a red carpet, I decided to take a more laid-back approach to my muffin-top wrangling. Or, my mom bought me the leggings and I fell in love. Take your pick.

These are perfect under all those slightly-too-short dresses that I bought thinking they wouldn’t shrink in the wash. Spoiler alert: they shrunk. And are now not so decent for wear by themselves. But these leggings fix that. Don’t worry. I’m not running around with my booty out. I’m just a little more modest than wearing mini-mini-mini dresses in public. Or private, for that matter.

Not only do I get a great way to wear dresses that had been eliminated from my wardrobe, but I also get to reap the smoothing benefits of the LAM’s. They just have a way of making little lumps and bumps disappear. It’s a beautiful thing.

That wraps up this episode of My Favorite Things. I know you’re feeling the urge to run out and buy all this stuff right now, just because I said it’s cool and you want to be like me… DO IT. DO IT NOW.

Do you have any brands you swear by?

What is your favorite brand of jeans?

Any pricey items you think are totally 100% worth it?

Healthy living

Taking it back

In my post yesterday, I talked a little bit about how much the UnderArmour What’s Beautiful challenge inspires me.251198_436011746456385_125224122_n

One of my favorite things I’ve seen from the challenge is the concept of “taking it back”. What exactly are they talking about? Under Armour is talking about taking back the concept of the woman athlete from the media. Women who work hard, get sweaty and dirty, and who don’t lie about busting their rumps in the gym.

It got me thinking about the things I’m “taking back” in my life.

I’m taking back my health.

I’m taking back my confidence.

I’m taking back my beauty and my strength.

I’m taking back my self worth.

I’m taking back all the things that ED stole from me for the last decade.

I’ve officially joined the What’s Beautiful challenge, so I’ll be updating with videos on their website (ahhhh! Vlogging…big fear of mine!). Whether or not you want to do a challenge like I do, I want to “challenge” all of my readers to find something beautiful about themselves to celebrate today. See what I did there? Consider yourself challenged.

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No matter what we’ve been through, celebrating healthy living and treating our bodies well is a major milestone in any woman’s life. And we don’t celebrate it enough. Whether it’s losing weight, gaining weight, mastering a new yoga pose, setting a PR, or just feeling better, every step we take is a beautiful, thrilling thing.

And we don’t rejoice in it enough. I know I’m bad to beat myself up over little things.

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But I have a lot to be proud of. I’m training for a half marathon and running 9 (!) miles tomorrow. I’m reestablishing a regular yoga practice. I have more confidence, and I feel lighter and happier.

That could just be the almond M&M’s talking. After all, chocolate always makes me happier.

Even on days (like today) that I don’t eat as well as I wanted to, or I didn’t work out like I’d planned, I can be grateful for all the things I can do now that I couldn’t when I was consumed with disordered eating. You know, like focusing on my running, and not worrying about what people think of the “fat” chick trying to run. Never mind that I’m always inspired when I see a heavier girl pounding out the miles…no one would ever think the same about me.

Because I am so special and different that the entire world focuses their energy on me. Duh.

What are you going to celebrate about yourself today?

What are some of your healthy living goals for the rest of the year?

Get fit · Healthy living

Excuses, excuses

So far, so good on Operation Earlybird. I got up early on Monday and Wednesday and did 30 minutes of exercise. It made a big difference in how I felt throughout the day, and I’m planning to keep the cycle going until it’s habit.

However, I had to seriously talk myself into getting out of bed both mornings. I mean, full-on internal dialogue with the proverbial angel and devil on my shoulder.

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The conversation goes something like this:

Angel: “Time to work out!”

Devil: “Hit snooze. It’s fine. You’ll work out tonight.”

Angel: “You know you won’t work out tonight. That’s why you started getting up early.”

Devil: “Okay, then you’ll work out tomorrow.”

Angel: “That defeats the purpose of today. You’re not going to fall back asleep anyways and you’ll feel guilty.”

This convo goes on in my head for at least ten minutes in the morning. Have I mentioned that I’m so not a morning person?

Thankfully, the angel on my shoulder has won so far. I think it involves her threats to slap the devil into next week. She’s feisty.

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I love this quote. If working out and eating right are truly important to me, I’ll find a way to make them happen. If not, I’ll keep making the same excuses I’ve made for years.

In honor of that, I’m listing some of my favorite excuses and how I can bust them up. Like. A. Boss.

  1. “I’m too tired to work out!”…“Working out gives me more energy throughout the day. What now?”
  2. “I’m still sore from yesterday’s workout. I can take today off.”… “Isn’t a workout one of the best ways to flush lactic acid out of your system? Nice try!”
  3. “The rest of the world is still sleeping.”… “Except for the people who aren’t making excuses.”
  4. “I’ll workout tomorrow. I promise!”… “Yesterday you said you’d start tomorrow. Guess what? It’s tomorrow.”
  5. “Missing a day won’t kill me.”… “Maybe not, but the disappointment you’ll feel for skipping might.”

Take that, excuses. My internal dialogues can get a little sarcastic and catty.

Today is one of my allotted days to sleep in, so I face a different set of excuses today. The excuses that tell me it’s okay to sit on my bootay and eat chocolate all day. Not that there’s anything wrong with chocolate.

I’m going to bust through those excuses by doing a short run and a circuit workout. I think. I might do an extended yoga practice. But I’m going to break a sweat no matter what.

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I love the UnderArmour What’s Beautiful campaign. I love that they focus on health rather than a picture of rock hard abs. This is a big excuse buster for me. It doesn’t matter what I do. It matters that I move every day, whether that be running, yoga, strength training, or dancing around like an idiot.

How do you bust through your mental excuses?

What’s your favorite way to sweat?

Budget shopping · Recipe time

Oh, slow cooker, my love…

Dear slow-cooker,

You are the light of my life. You make the most delicious meals with so little effort on my part. The perfect fall and winter foods are child’s play for you.

Pot roast? No big deal.

Lamb stew? On it.

Pulled pork? Bring it on.

I just thought you should know how grateful I am for your awesomeness.

Love,

Caroline

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I seriously love the slow cooker. Unfortunately, I’m currently lacking one at my casa, but my wonderful mother let me use hers (exactly like the above picture) all day today to make a twist on a traditional beef stew.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good, traditional beef stew, but I also love trying new recipes and playing in the kitchen.

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So, so, so true.

Yesterday, at Harry’s Farmer’s Market, I came across a pretty good price on stew meat, so I picked up a pound. That’s not even close to how much I usually use, but it will make enough servings for me to have leftovers this week. Remember folks, I’m lame and cook for one.

I decided to take a Mediterranean twist on traditional stew.

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It’s not the prettiest picture, or great quality, but that’s what I get for packing it up and taking it to my house before remembering I wanted to blog about it.

Mediterranean Stew

Ingredients

  • 1 lb stew meat
  • 1 bag Whole 365 frozen Mediterranean blend veggies
  • 1 packet garlic vinaigrette mix
  • 2 small potatoes, roughly diced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (I use low sodium)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic

Directions

  1. Put meat and veggies into slow cooker.
  2. Mix broth, water, seasoning packet, and garlic together in a small bowl. Pour mixture over meat and veggies.
  3. Cook on low, 8 hours. Serve hot.

Easy-peasy. It makes 3 large or 4 medium servings. For a larger group, I’d double the ingredients to make a big batch of stew. The stew itself has a nice little kick from the garlic and the red bell peppers, but is still mild enough for most palates. Also, you can leave out the garlic if you prefer something milder. That’s what I love about cooking…the results are almost endlessly customizable.

All-in-all this stew cost me about $9 to make. That’s a little pricy for me, but it still comes out to under $3 per serving. Considering I can’t eat at McD’s for that, I’ll totally take it.

Healthy food and some extra moolah in my pocket? That makes this broke girl very happy.

Do you have any awesome slow cooker recipes? Do tell!

Do you like to cook? What’s your best dish?

Healthy living · Just for fun · Running

Talkin’ peppy

Since I have to head back to work tomorrow, I decided to take it easy today. That is, after I earned it with a long run this morning.

The first day of the Great Early Bird Experiment went well. I woke up and the (not) crack of dawn (7 am) to get ready for an 8-miler.

It. Sucked.

I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to give up on a run so badly before. In fact, at mile 5 I did give up. I had just taken a gel and drank about 16 ounces of Powerade, and I was trying to talk myself into finishing my last three miles. But I just turned off my Nike+ and stopped. Keep in mind, I was still 3 miles from home. However, I stopped for a few minutes to stretch and give myself a pep talk. I had been running without music, so I popped my earbuds in and started jamming out to some 90’s music.

I pushed through. It was ugly, it was slow, and it wasn’t fun, but I pushed through it. And I’m proud that I did.

After the run, my mom came up and we did a little dress shopping for my friend’s wedding.

David’s Bridal and Jessica Simpson to the rescue! I won’t be revealing the outfit until the wedding day, but I’m pretty excited about the choices.

I usually hate shopping for dresses. I don’t have a lot of confidence dressing up for events…I still feel like a little girl playing in mommy’s closet. This is one of the first events I haven’t been able to go to my LBD for. I decided on a grown-up, sophisticated look for this event, and hopefully, I’ll own it. I’m still working on the confidence, but it’s coming a little at a time.

Now, after a full day of running and shopping, I’m going to spend the rest of the evening curled up under a blanket, reading this:

Feet up, magazine in my hand, Once Upon a Time on the boob tube. Can it get better?