i’ve made some health and fitness goals

I’m once again here with a Friday post that expands the bounds of this blog. What can I say, I like to babble about whatever’s on my mind. I’m into it.

Anyway, today’s topic is health and fitness.

The backstory

A few years ago, I began my career as a teacher and had not a thought in my mind about health and fitness. I was much too preoccupied with lesson planning, grading papers, and catching up on sleep. Plus, I was on my feet all day long and most likely hit at least 10,000 steps a day–not that I had the tracker to prove it. Regardless, my unhealthy eating and lack of thought in the fitness department wasn’t affecting me too negatively.

About a year ago is when I decided to take a step back from teaching, move back in with my parents, and find a new job. I was no longer getting all those steps in, but I had a ton more time to do my favorite free time activities–read and surf the interwebs. Neither activity is particularly active, as I’m sure you all know. Unfortunately, these activities, combined with everything else happening (or not happening) in my life, made me progressively less fit by the day.

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Now that I’ve been working at the same job for four months, and am planning to stay on for longer, I have settled into a routine and realized just how gross I’ve been in terms of health and fitness. I’m not necessarily talking about weight here; just in general, I wasn’t thinking about what I was eating or being active. Simply put: I got lazy.

Then, a month or so ago, my best friend got engaged. I won’t say this was my motivation to start being better about health and fitness, but it may have been the catalyst. My younger sister and I both realized that if we wanted to look dang good in wedding photos, and feel good about ourselves in general, we would have to start taking action. And so we have!

How I’m taking action

I started by tracking my calories. Notice I don’t say “counting” like most others would. I like thinking about it as tracking, simply seeing what I’m eating, where the nutrients are coming from, if I’m getting enough protein and fiber in a day, etc. To start, I wasn’t even concerned with going over my “calorie limit.” I just wanted to get a look at what I’m working with and see if I could notice any trends.

I use the My Fitness Pal calorie counter, and you’d be surprised by how fun it is, especially if you get friends or family to do it with you. Yes, it can be depressing. It can be shocking when you learn just how much sugar is in that smoothie you just ordered, or how many calories are in a burger at your favorite restaurant. But it’s also extremely informative. It has helped me learn that I hardly ever get enough protein, I usually consume too much sugar, and I only get enough nutrients if I eat my fruits and vegetables. Sometimes easier said than done.

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Finally, the fitness. My sister and I both agreed that we would be more motivated to get active if we had the opportunity to do things together and possibly take some classes. So, our conclusion was to get a gym membership. It’s expensive, but I already feel that it’s worth it. So far, we’ve been going three times a week–two times to do our own thing (walk, use the bikes and other machines) and once to take a Zumba class. I think it’s been going great.

The number one reservation people seem to have about joining is a gym is worry over making time for it and getting their money’s worth. I’ve found that somehow I feel like I have even more free time in my days now that we’ve been going to the gym–how does that work? I suspect it all comes down to scheduling and prioritizing. When you make the time for something, you don’t notice that a little bit of your free time is gone. You still fit in all you want to do at some point in the week. And when you start to feel restless and ready for another workout, it’s a positive, doable thing, not something negative that will take time away from whatever else you’d like to do.

My overall goals

As I’ve gone through this experience in the past month or so, some overall goals have shaped themselves. This has been a real discovery process for me, and I am so pleased that it began in the first place and that it began organically, if you will. For the most part, anyway.

My goals aren’t anything specific; I think that’s where I would start getting frustrated with myself and possibly too obsessed with results. I’m thinking of a broader picture, here. This isn’t just a thing I want to do to lose weight right now. I want to make a lifestyle change.

So, my goals are simple:

  • Eat clean (aka cut out processed foods as much as possible)
  • Eat balanced meals
  • Be active (ideally, working out 3 times a week)
  • Do what works for me

That last one is the kicker. As I’ve read blogs, watched Youtube videos, and started my own fitness journey, I learned one important thing: There is not just ONE way to go about being fit and healthy. There are many ways. It’s up to me to figure out what works for me, and that will take some experimentation.

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Having this mentality is what will, I believe, give me perseverance with this life change. It has kept me positive and excited about it so far! I won’t deny that I’ve been stressed a few times, but I’m learning how not to be. It’s a process, and it’ll be a long one, but it will be worth it.

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Do you have any health or fitness tips to share? And what are your favorite ways to eat veggies? That’s honestly what I need the most help with right now! Comment down below!

Until next time,
Brianne

 

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the curse of crochet

If you’ve read any of my monthly wrap-up posts, you know that I include a little section about my “crafty” things because I’ve been crocheting like crazy since the start of the year. Obviously, I am still obsessed with crochet, but also…it feels like a curse sometimes. Here are some reasons why.

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1. It has ruined television watching for me.

Why? Because I can no longer sit still and watch a TV show for an hour straight–heck, even half an hour straight–unless it’s a series I’m super into (Game of Thrones, anyone?). I NEED to keep my hands busy and my mind slightly occupied. What better way to do that than work on a crochet project?! My fingers start twitching if I go too long watching something without crocheting.

2. It has eaten my bank account.

This one is pretty self explanatory. Suddenly I have no money for fun things because oops, I spent $30 on yarn. For the second time this week.

*shrugs*

3. It steals time away from reading.

How rude is it that I started to love crochet right as I rekindled my love for reading? Now I feel like a kid, forced to split up her time between her divorced parents: one night I get to read, the next night I have to crochet. I’m bitter that my eyeballs can’t work independently, so I can have one to read, one to work on crochet. (How awesome would that be?!)

4. I’m pale as heck and it’s crochet’s fault.

Because, see, crochet is an indoor activity. At least, it is for me. When you have endless supplies, balls of yarn, and are working on a huge afghan, going outside in 75 degree weather to crochet doesn’t sound nice. Crochet is a perfect activity for winter, when you can curl up inside, by the fire, with a mug of cocoa. NOT for summer, when you need to get outside and soak up the Vitamin D.

5. It’s addicting.

Or maybe it’s just me. But with crochet, there is so much to learn, so many possibilities, so many challenging projects to take on. My ideas are endless! As soon as I finish one project, I immediately want to start another. I WILL NEVER ESCAPE. (Not that I want to.)

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So there it is. Crochet is a curse, an addiction, a money- and time-sucking hobby. But, I still love it with all my heart.

Stay tuned as I finish up some projects and attempt to take some decent pictures to share on the blog soon.

Until next time,
Brianne

 

awesome book moms…do they exist?

After celebrating Mother’s Day with my mom yesterday and being inspired by some fellow book bloggers today, I thought I would write up a post on Awesome Book Moms. Perfect time of year to show moms some appreciation, right?

Except, I have a problem.

I’m not sure Awesome Book Moms exist.

Okay, I admit, this is an exaggeration. The posts I read from other book bloggers featured some great Awesome Book Moms. However, when I went through the list of books I’ve read this year (33 so far), I realized they didn’t include even one mom for me to gush over in this post.

All 33 books I’ve read in 2017 fell into one of these three categories:

  1. Awesome Book Mom did not exist because Main Character was an orphan
  2. Awesome Book Mom was icky and decidedly not awesome–she was not supportive of Main Character and not worth of any sort of gushing
  3. Awesome Book Mom was great but played a very small, if not insignificant, role in the book

What is with this? 

I know 33 books is not a huge number in the grand scheme of things, but I still find it astounding that there wasn’t one Awesome Book Mom within my 2017 reads. What is the meaning of this? How dare we treat our moms this way?

I have a few theories as to why this could be.

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First: Perhaps it has to do with the genre I’ve read most this year–fantasy.

How common is the main-character-is-an-orphan trope in fantasy books? Answer: VERY COMMON. Like, more common than common. Not to mention the mom-died-when-Main-Character-was-young trope. Just as commonly common. At least in the fantasy books I’ve been reading this year. So, obviously, there can’t be Awesome Book Moms in books that simple don’t have any moms. Makes sense, I guess. Still makes me frown.

Second theory: Moms are easy obstacles for the main character.

Have you seen this in books? Sometimes Book Moms are made out to be so caring and cautious that they just get in the way of the main character accomplishing their goals and dreams. As such, they become almost an antagonist or enemy to the main character. Why can’t we have a healthier balance of this? Moms can be caring, but they can also be supportive.

Or, on the other hand, Book Moms might disapprove of the main character’s goals and dreams, getting in their way and becoming an enemy in that sense. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but I would hope most moms could eventually support their children’s goals and dreams. I guess not Book Moms.

My last end-all theory: We take our moms for granted.

Authors aren’t the only ones who fall prey to this, but it certainly becomes clear in books. Let’s be honest–moms really are awesome. Where would we be without them? (Not existing, that’s for sure.) We take our moms for granted, and in novels, that means their awesomeness doesn’t get the chance to shine through and make a difference toward the main story goal. Moms deserve more, don’t they?! Authors–and the rest of us–just don’t give moms the credit they deserve.

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So there you have it. I, for one, am now on a quest to find some more books with Awesome Moms in them.

Do you know of any Awesome Book Moms? Am I just reading all the wrong books this year? Leave a comment down below!

Until next time,
Brianne

so i guess i’m accidentally participating in tome topple

So I’ve come to the realization that I’m (maybe not so) accidentally participating in Tome Topple.

Here’s what happened: Initially, when I heard about Tome Topple a few weeks ago, I didn’t think I’d participate because I didn’t want to limit myself in regards to my reads; I like to go with the flow and see what calls to me. And I THOUGHT a few books I wanted to read next were short and wouldn’t qualify. But here’s the reality: 3 of the last 4 books I’ve picked up qualify. (And the one that doesn’t I think I might save for later.)

So, hooray?! I’m probably the only person accidentally joining Tome Topple Round 3, but I’m going with it.

Let’s back up. For those of you who don’t know, Tome Topple is a readathon hosted by Sam at thoughtsontomes (yes, I KNOW I just mentioned her in another post but I really do love her videos and we have such similar tastes and opinions) and a bunch of other awesome readers. Round 3 started April 7 and will continue until April 20. The only “rule” is that the books you read must be 500+ pages, aka “tomes.” There are also other challenges, such as:

1. Read more than 1 tome
2. Read a graphic novel
3. Read a tome that’s part of a series
4. Buddy read a tome
5. Read an adult novel

So, since all my recent/current reads are 500+ pages, I decided I’d join in. I may be late, but hopefully no one minds.

 

My Reading Plan:

✓ Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones (506 pages) > see my review here

✓ Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson (588 pages) > review coming soon!

☐ Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (532 pages) > currently trying to read

 

If I manage read all three of these, I’ll complete challenges 1, 3, and 5! All of these are parts of series, to the best of my knowledge, and Warbreaker is an adult novel. I’m really going to try my best to use this as motivation to finish Strange the Dreamer, since I’m struggling with it a little bit

So, yay! Tome Topple! I was initially intimidated, but I guess I like to be intimidated because nearly all of the books I read lately are 500+ pages. Apparently it’s a thing for me.

Are you participating in Tome Topple? If so, what books are you reading? Let’s talk!

that feeling when…

There’s a particular feeling you get when you finish an excellent book. You know the one I mean. Anyone who loves reading–actually, anyone who has even read just one book that they connected with–knows this feeling. It’s like your mind is whirling, yet it’s at peace. You’re deliriously happy yet screaming despairingly because the book is over. You’re about to burst from emotion but can only stare at a wall trying to comprehend what’s happening to you.

That feeling.

Somehow, I lost that feeling over the last few years. I’m not sure how; looking back, I think I was just too preoccupied with life, with pursuing other feelings, with the go-go-go that success seems to require these days. I was taken over by trying to figure my life out. And that was okay. More than that, it was necessary.

Now, though, I find myself in an odd place. Two years ago, I thought the go-go-go would never end, that I was on a rise to the top and nothing was going to stop me. I was wrong. Lots of things have stopped me. And I now find myself at a standstill of sorts, in a melancholy, slow part of life in which I’m not quite sure if I’m happy but I do have more free time to read. And, of course, I have time to rediscover that feeling.

That feeling is what’s getting me through my days right now. Sort of a depressing thought, but it’s true. I have other things going for me, of course, but letting myself get lost in a good book for a few hours a day is what I most look forward to and what I can’t stop myself from doing. One of my unofficial resolutions for the year was to start reading more, and boy, have I accomplished that resolution and then some. I’ve read at least a little almost every day of the year so far, and I’ve rediscovered my love for books, which may or may not be my one true love and calling. (Still trying to figure all that out.)

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Most recently, I finished the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. Each one of them gave me that feeling and then some. Shoot, I could keep reading this series for days (and well, *ahem*, that’s exactly what I seem to be doing, but that’s beside the point). Reading these books, I was transported to a new world, made some new friends, loved and lost and learned and triumphed. The experience was wonderful.

I consider myself really quite lucky that reading the Mistborn trilogy wasn’t the first time this year that I’ve gotten that feeling. I’ve been able to catch up on so many books I missed out on over the past few years, and I’ve made plans to continue reading even more. I have rediscovered this passion of mine, and I don’t see myself letting it go very easily ever again.

That’s what brings me here, I guess. I need a place where I can gush about books that make me feel that type of way, or critique books that didn’t quite hit the mark. And maybe more, who knows? I used to fancy myself a writer once upon a time, so maybe I’ll use this blog to tap back into that. Maybe I’ll be inspired to revisit old writing projects. Or maybe I’ll just share pictures of all my knitting and crochet projects like the little homebody I truly am.

Either way, I’m here and giving this thing a shot. I promise I’m friendly, so don’t hesitate to say hello should the desire arise. We’ll see where this thing takes us.