Hiking Solo

Recently I talked with a coworker about her love of hiking. I have never really been hiking before, and thought it sounded kind of boring. Me? Alone? Trees? Why? Sounds unproductive. My brain works at a different speed than that. I need to stay busy to feel like I’m accomplishing something. But my brain also told me that I needed this. I needed to unwind, disconnect from technology, people, and reconnect with what I wanted in life and what was important to me. So I asked her for a good route here in Wisconsin and she delivered! I decided on Kettle Moraine State Park, the Zillmer Trail. I did about 5 minutes of research on what to bring, it was only a 5 mile hike after all…

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Make sure to bring:

Water, small and filling snacks, (as not to get a stomach cramp) a book to read, something to take notes down on when you have an epiphany, more AND less clothing in case it’s hotter / colder than you thought, toilet paper, bug spray, sun screen, some kind of hat, good hiking shoes, some way to communicate with the outside world in case of bears / rocks / werewolves or other dangers, and an open mind.

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I went hiking on the anniversary of the passing my Step-Mother who was in my family for 19 years before she succumbed to cancer. I had decided this hiking trip would be my date with her, where I can walk around the woods and talk to her, shut off from everyone, and just be me. I had a few goals going into the woods as well, so I could have an objective when I came out the other end of the trail.

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Hiking goals:

  1. Figure out what I want from the next 5 years.
  2. Figure out what I LOVE in this life and don’t budge on letting those things fade. Keep the things / people / places you love, dear to you. And keep them. It’s what makes you, you.
  3. Figure out what I want from the next man in my life and what I’m willing to settle for and not settle for. This is really important. DO NOT SETTLE.
  4. Love yourself first. Drill it into my head.
  5. Talk to the woods. Step mom. Grandmother. Chipmunks. A random snake.
  6. Listen to music and dance a little in the woods. This happened as well.

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Hiking lessons learned:

  1. Everything in life is about balance. Working out / rest days. Eating well / comfort food. Helping others / taking time for yourself. Social time / alone time. Accepting life / changing your future. When the scale tips too much in one direction is when life gets out of balance. You can feel it, and you can adjust accordingly.
  2. Only accept from a future partner the love you put into the relationship. Don’t settle for less than how happy you are being alone. A partner should be an ADDITION to your life, not someone that makes your life less amazing.
  3. Life is short. Grab it by the cahones. Take it. You only get this one precious chance.
  4. Your past isn’t you. YOU are you. Your past just makes you who you are today, in this moment.
  5. Accept others / love yourself. Love others / accept yourself. But love yourself first. The rest of the things you’re looking for in life will follow.
  6. You can love without expectations. Love others because you are a loving person. Don’t expect others to give you the care and generosity that you would give to them. You only get hurt when you expect. Just be careful about being taken advantage of. You’re a person with needs too.
  7. You are not crazy for talking to relatives that are passed. If you think they can hear you, they can. Who is anyone else to say otherwise.

SO it may sound crazy but when I was done with my 5 mile solo hike I was a little different of a person. I forced my overactive anxiety ridden brain to shut off for a few hours, no one could get a hold of me, and I had to think about what I needed instead of what other people needed for once. So get out there! Unplug and unwind, reconnect with nature, ask yourself, what do I love / need? What makes me happy? And then go after it!

 

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Ideal Shape up 12 Week Challenge

I posted in the past about the 15 day challenge that my friend and I did, and completed, a program by Trainer Lindsay Matthews from the IdealShape site. Best of all, it’s FREE. The meal plan, the workouts are all on YouTube, and there are Facebook groups you can join for support as well. It’s my kind of workout plan! The workouts are 6 days a week, but only 30 minutes a day, complete with a warmup and a cool down video. I was skeptical about the challenge because I’ve never stuck to a workout plan in my LIFE and never seen results when I did. But little did I know, I have really only stuck to plans that have lasted 3 or 4 weeks and then given up… But I have to say, this was different. It took a few weeks for me to see results, and a few more for everyone else. It took about 5 months for me to have to go buy new clothes, and see a real difference. I tell myself, it took me 33 years to put this weight on, it will take me more than a few weeks to take it off!

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October 2015 / May 2016. 167 lbs vs 150 lbs.

And again, after photos in August 2016 after losing almost 30 pounds! (After weight being 140 pounds)

By no means was I overweight, but I was wearing a “plus size” in pants, and the Wii fit told me I was overweight for my height… And that was discouraging. But my best friend was doing this challenge at the same time I was so we kept each other on track, and I’m SO happy I did. I’ll be starting the program over when it’s done, and just picking up heavier weights to keep improving and getting stronger.

I also gained some important habits in the last 16 weeks too like my eating habits, (I can’t really eat fried foods or too much dairy or sweets anymore.) I eat way more fruits, veggies, and lean meats. I also drink WAY more water than I used to. I get up earlier in the morning and feel like I spend less money on food since I just buy almond milk and protein powder now for breakfast instead of cereal, eggs, oatmeal, and a ton of other random stuff. If anything the 12 week challenge was a gateway into a healthier lifestyle because I started to see and feel results, it’s something that helped me build my confidence and made me a better person overall.

Bottom line, I recommend it!

 

Age Really is Just a Number

So now that I’m in my 30’s I get down now and again about feeling “old”. But something I have realized recently is that AGE IS JUST A NUMBER. It’s technically the number of years you’ve been on this planet, and that’s all! It’s how long you’ve been on Earth while it’s rotating around the sun.

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If you treat your body poorly, you’ll die sooner, and your body is “older”, with a sooner expiration date than someone that’s healthy. If you treat your body right, and eat well, sleep enough, don’t smoke, get exercise, then your body is younger, extending the expiration date. You keep your body in better shape overall, and you’ll live longer, and your body is technically “younger” than someone actually younger than you in years that treats their body worse than you do.

What a brilliant concept to think that I’ve been on this earth 33 years and my body feels the same / better than it does when I was 25. That means I’m fixing to be around longer, and all of the work I do for my longevity, keeps me running smooth, like taking care of a classic car. A classic car from the 50’s can run longer than a car from the 80’s if it’s taken care of better. So I’m going to stop worrying about my “age” and how “old” I am compared to those around me, because you’re only as old as you feel. Ah, age is really just a number, after all!

Makeup Faves

Simple Living to me also means simple routines. Simple routines that cost little money, also save time. I have a very simple face routine, and I know I’ve posted about it before. I shared what I like to use as face wash and moisturizer. As I get older, I like to use a simple Aveno lotion for my face, since the anti-aging ones tend to make my face a little oily.

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Here are a no-makeup shot and a full-on makeup shot of my old mug. As much as I love to play with makeup and get all “dolled up” I sure love taking it all off and having a fresh face. As for wearing makeup, Here are a few of my favorites:

Neutrogena Foundation. It has great coverage and doesn’t dry me out like some foundations. I also use their powder on top of it all.

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The Naked2 Pallet from Urban Decay is all I need to color, shade, and fill eyebrows. I LOVE the brush that comes with it too! Find it at Ulta.com. It was a present, otherwise, it’s a little more expensive than I would usually get for myself. But seeing as how awesome it is, I would get it again.

Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Pink Truffle is my absolute favorite! It’s only $9 in drugstores too, which is a great price! It replaces chapstick, lipstick, and lip gloss in my purse. I, of course, still keep a plain chapstick in my bag for the boyfriend, but the Lip Butter is amazing. It keeps my face looking fresh and awake, even if I’m wearing little other makeup. It also adds just the right amount of color, and since I’m super pale, I tend to look almost corpse-like in the winter, so the tint is amazing.

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The Elf Blush in Candid Coral is available for just $3 at Target or Amazon. It goes on light, and you can add more if needed. And you can’t really beat the price.

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I love this mascara to finish things off! It’s only $7 at drugstores and on Amazon. It’s dark and really boosts my fine lashes up. It’s naturally colored, so I feel safe putting it on my eyes.

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This is also a MUST. It’s only $8 on Amazon! It’s the Physician’s Formula 2 in 1 Liner. I’m a fan of the liquid liner, the good old cat eye. This is an eyelash strengthener AND a great precision liquid liner. It’s designed like a marker, so it’s easy to put on.

Those are my favorite makeup items! What’s in your makeup bag?

Body Confidence: Lessons Learned from Today & from Old Hollywood.

I had a craving to watch something European tonight and decided to go with Roman Holiday. So far I’m about 20 minutes in, and Audrey Hepburn is being a spoiled little princess. Literally. But what had me thinking while watching was A. Thank you powers that be for Gregory Peck, and B. How SMALL is her waist? It’s so small! Like, my leg is bigger than her waist! So I looked it up. This chart shows ALL of the sizes of old Hollywood actresses. Audrey Hepburn’s waist is 20″. That’s all! But she also only weighs 103 lbs and was 5’7″. A tiny girl!

Now, I weight about 160 and am 5’5 1/2″. I do NOT consider myself large, or overweight. But I hate knowing that I’m considered to be “overweight” according to the Wii balance board (that I just cursed and then sold). I’m also not considered “lean” or “small”. Today, women are generally larger than women were 60+ years ago. Call it genetics, dieting, the “american” way of eating, and lack of general control, but when it comes to me, I eat really well, lead a somewhat active lifestyle, and am still “overweight”.

Which is why I wanted to do this IdealFit 15 Challenge. To see if it’s possible for me to become the best version of myself I can be. The new Macro based diet that comes along with the 15 day plan consists of mostly protein has me realizing how good I thought I was eating, and how well I actually was eating. I work at an organic grocery store, and have started getting my groceries from there lately. I have been an organic eater for about 6 years now as well. But I was eating WAY too many sugars, indulging in treats rather often, and eating too many wheat glutens, and way too much dairy (thanks Wisconsin!), and not nearly enough veggies or lean proteins. These are things that I will be changing in the future. I also had to take my measurements recently for the food / workout challenge and here’s what I measured up after a week in:

  • Waist: 27.5″
  • Stomach: 36″
  • Arms: 11″ (I lost .5″ in a week)
  • Butt / widest part: 43.5″ (I lost 1.5″ in a week)
  • Chest: 35″
  • Thigh: 26″
  • Calf: 14″ (I gained .5″ in a week)

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I’m not ashamed of my measurements. I haven’t worked out regularly in a long time, but working out 6 days a week has me feeling stronger than I have in a while. (I did a FULL push up!) I try not to compare myself to any one else, because I know I’m the only ME. But comparing myself to old Hollywood to see who I have the most in common with is just fun!

The winner is: Marilyn Monroe!

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We are basically twins.

  • Closest in height: Marilyn Monroe! We are the same height exactly!
  • Closest in weight: Marilyn again! She was 115 – 150 throughout her career.

And THIS is the woman that is considered a sexy women, in her day. Heck, now-adays too. The one that weighs the most out of all of these women. Weight aside, you know what made her a sexy woman? It wasn’t her waify, breathy voice, her blond ringlets, or her tiny waist. Sure these things may make a man physically attracted to a woman, but it was her CONFIDENCE in real life. The sexiest thing a woman can wear! She exuded it, and it so was obvious. She loved herself, she knew herself, and she was proud of herself. Sure she struggled a lot in her life with an identity, love, and outside influence, media, and everything that came along with her fame, but she OWNED all of it. She did her best and kept her sense of humor till the end of her life. Now there’s a lesson to be learned here…

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Now, I know I’m me, and not a Hollywood celebrity. I don’t want to be a celebrity. I am too much of a hermit for that! BUT I am starting to love my body for who I am, and know that it’s my body that keeps me alive in the world, I should treat it right, to keep it running well. Confidence and loving myself isn’t based on how I look, and if I can take a lesson from Marilyn, you can have your photo taken on the beach with your flaws exposed, no photoshop, and look stunning, because you’re confident about who you are.

A friend posted something on Facebook this morning that will stick with me. It was an article about how a girl’s mother hated her own body, and passed that insecurity down to her own daughter, and how to break the cycle. “Let us honor and respect our bodies for what they do instead of despising them for how they appear. Focus on living healthy and active lives, let our weight fall where it may, and consign our body hatred in the past where it belongs.”

A great lesson for everyone out there!

 

IdealFit 15 Challange

In the spirit of New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve decided to give a challenge a go. My bestie came to me with the idea of this 15 day challenge that Trainer Lindsey from IdealFit has presented to women. There’s a meal plan for those 15 days, depending on your weight, which you have to follow almost EXACTLY, and there’s workouts associated with days 1-15, with a break in the middle. How hard can it be?

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I’ve had the opportunity to download the meal plan, the food you can and can’t have, and the workout list, and it’s kind of hard! Well, the planning is hard. The first two and last two days of food is the same. The meal planning is pretty simple for those first 2 days, you just have to figure out what you need for those two days, and cook enough on day one to last you through day 2. Then it gets tricky… There’s 3 different sets of meals for the other 11 days that you can choose from. As long as you eat those foods, breakfast through dessert, in those 11 days, you’ll be fine. Now, with meal planning and prep, My friend and I decided to do 3 days of one meal plan, 4 days of another, and 4 days of another. Then we can prep food for 4 days, the day before. It’s WORK. And science, converting grams to oz, and oz to pounds. I went through the ENTIRE plan and figured out a grocery list that will get me through the 2 weeks. Here is that list —> Groceries Ideal 15

I spent about $40 on chicken, greens, and veggies and berries, $8 on corn tortillas, cereal, and rice cakes, and $10 I gave to my friend for splitting things with me. I also spent $10 on a pound of top sirloin. I also buy everything organic! The only thing I have left to get is another steak for days 10-13. I already had the vanilla protein powder, and she gave me scoops of chocolate protein that she had for some of the meals.  That’s about $68 for 2 weeks. And with the additional steak I’ll get, it’s about $78 total. So $40 a week? Not bad!

We also found a calendar that you can edit to keep track of the meals, and I’ve edited it to my plan. Here is the document! —> 15 Day Fit Body Challenge Meal Plan Calendar

I also made a prep list of what to make for which days, so I can prep meals in advance, and just grab them out of the fridge. Especially since I’ll be eating 2 of my 6 meals at work! Ideal 15 Prep List

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Sign up here! 

I think the real challenge here will be drinking the recommended gallon of water a day… It’s hard enough to drink 64 oz that I try and drink in a day. I KNOW it’s only 15 days and I can’t expect drastic results, but with the high protein, lots of veggies, and low carb food plan, it will help me to eat better, plan ahead, and jump start my fitness routine.

Wish me luck!

New Years Resolutions Tips

So it’s that time again. The time when you start making promises to yourself and those around you, to make life changes for the better. I do it every year! What are you resolving to do, really? Be the best version of yourself that you can be. Does it sound cliché to say that you should do that all year long, anyways? But what better time than January 1st to jumpstart your goals, abilities, and mindfulness. Now I won’t tell you what to aspire to resolve, that’s up to you. But when you’re jotting down goals for 2016, why not keep some things in mind.

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  • Try to think about health, career goals, family, money you want to save, talents you want to fine tune, taking a class to hone in on a skill or learn something new.
  • Travel. The world is so small! Why not resolve to visit a new place this year? Even if it’s in the state you live in.
  • How about spreading your goals out over 12 months, one new goal per month.
  • You can even make a jar to fill with notes, like jot down things that you want to do, things that make you proud or happy, or even memories. Then next new years you can read the notes and remember the previous year.
  • So… weight loss. We all resolve to lose weight and get in shape. But when we don’t “lose 20 lbs” like we want, we get discouraged and quit. Why don’t start small, and work up from there? Resolve to exercise 150 minutes a week. Resolve to eat organic, raw, or just healthier in general. Resolve to wake up an hour earlier a day and have a good breakfast, and take a walk. Baby steps! Here’s a great article on the subject.
  • How about a reading resolution? My night stand looks like the return pile at Barnes & Noble. I have so many books I want to read! How about instead of watching reruns of NCIS I can read a book to lull me to sleep, aiming for one book a month. Here’s a great list of books on self improvement.

Try this print off to get you started from Life with My Littles! And here’s another one that’s pretty good too from Hitha On The Go.

Happy New Year!