Friday, October 31, 2014

REFLECTION: Halloween Flash Backs

Happy Halloween!

This morning I got my workout on early and then hit the grocery store to buy a pumpkin to decorate in honor of the Teal Pumpkin Project. If you missed my post about this initiative, check it out here. Anyway, this was a pretty sad attempt at a teal pumpkin (see pic below). I tried mixing blue, white and light purple from the paints I had on hand thinking it may do the trick. Unfortunately it turned out more of a light blue than teal. After it was done, Erik, who happened to be an art/graphics major back in the day, was quick to inform me that I needed to add green. Oh well... better luck next year!

Now onto other Halloween ramblings...

While working out this morning, my mind started wandering to Halloween festivities in the past. Halloween is one of my all-time favorite holidays. My family and I watched the movie Hocus Pocus approximately one million times (slight exaggeration, but maybe not), while growing up and we always had fun picking out or making costumes. After the trick-or-treating years ended, surprisingly dress up didn't end. After growing up, Halloween became known as one of the BEST party weekends of the year, especially during college and a couple years post. However, Halloween did not mean one night of celebration. It meant multiple nights and multiple costumes for me and friends.

Below are a few of my favorite homemade costumes through the years. A ninja turtle costume while living in Australia studying abroad (2007), a Katy Perry California Girl while in the Disney College Program right after graduating (2010) and Oscar the Grouch my first couple months living in San Diego (2011).  

So while my mind was wandering on the treadmill this morning, I started thinking about how I really felt during those Halloween festivities that meant partying multiple days on end. Being 100% honest, while I wouldn't trade those memories with friends or the lessons learned during those years, I also wouldn't want to go back to that time period either. Here's why:
  • I felt an extreme pressure to drink to fit in and socialize. This was a self-inflicted pressure as I attempted to use alcohol to make me a more outgoing person in uncomfortable social environments. 
  • I always felt so crappy and embarrassed the next day. Even if I literally did nothing "wrong," the next day I always felt embarrassed or a little ashamed no matter what. I'm a super emotional person (maybe you pick that up in my writing), so me + alcohol = HIGH EMOTIONS. I don't miss crying or getting upset over issues or people that have no concerns with while sober. Yeah... don't miss that at all! 
  • The amount of time and energy I put into trying to "undo" the damage from drinking from a physical sense drove me crazy. While all three of those photos were taken, I was restricting calories during the day to try to "save up" calories for drinking, to then come home after the party ended and feed my starving body. The next day, despite a hangover, to the gym I would go to do cardio, cardio, cardio. It was a vicious, unproductive and unhealthy cycle. The Oscar costume I was particularly proud of because I was at my heaviest, holding lots of weight around the middle, so this costume covered in just the right way. 
Fast forward time and tonight I will be driving Lyft, trying to "hustle" as I'm pursuing my dreams with fitness and writing. Times have definitely changed, right? This afternoon, I'll be making crock pot stuffed peppers (the festive orange ones, of course) and will enjoy fully before heading out to drive. While I'm not someone against drinking, I now only do so if a very special occasion and in small amounts. I'm truly happier without it. If my "why" resonates with you for any reason, know you don't have to live a lifestyle full of partying to still have a good time. In fact, I'm having more fun and am a lot more confident and happier with who I am now.

Hope you have a blast tonight, drink or no drink! ;-)


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

INSPIRATION: Attitude of Gratitude

It's hard to believe that Obsess Less October is almost over. Really, though, where has the year gone? There are only a couple days of readings, videos, reflections and personal development exercises left for those who signed up for this month's challenge.

The reading for today is centered around this article "How Worried Should You Be About Your Life?" and developing an attitude of gratitude. The daily prompt encourages participants to create a list or a Pinterest board expressing personal gratitude.

For about 15 minutes this morning, I created my own personal Attitude of Gratitude board. While I started this little assignment in hopes of inspiring others to participate in the activity, it ended up being really beneficial. Simply reading the words about gratefulness and adding some photos to this board truly created a feeling of peace. If we're always looking ahead, but never stop to be thankful for where we've come from or where we are now, nothing will ever be enough.

Check out the full Attitude of Gratitude Board (so far) and share links to your own inspiration board in the comments below. Can't wait to see what you're thankful for today.

Oh, and before taking off... What challenges would you be interested in joining in the future? So far we've had Sugarless September and Obsess Less October. Currently on the look out for challenge topics for the months ahead!

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Best Kind of Workout

In recent weeks (seems like yesterday because time is flying so fast), a few friends and I walked the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K Walk in Balboa Park, San Diego. 

After participating in the event this year, I realized these types of walks/races are some of the best workouts, and here's why: 
  1. There's a strong sense of camaraderie. You feel the excitement and buzz in the air, despite that these events typically take place super early on a weekend! This doesn't happen when you're jamming to your own tunes at the gym.
  2. It seems effortless. This may not be the case for everyone, so I'm not trying to downplay 5k walks in that sense, but effortless in that it's FUN while you're walking so you aren't concentrated 
  3. You get to catch up and spend time with friends. Life gets busy when you're in the real world. While you may have good intentions to see friends often, it doesn't always happen during the work week or when weekend schedules fill up. Signing up for a walk or race together gives you plenty of catch up time. Talking and walking is a perfect mix, passes the race time quickly, and going back to #2, it makes everything seem more effortless. Afterward, you and friends may even want to grab a bite to eat after the race where you'll get even more time to spend with friends which is so important for your emotional and mental health. You'll be going for the healthy brunch option, though, right?
  4. Productive morning = productive day. Although races and walks may seem "too" early, it's actually beneficial. By the time you get back home, there's still an entire day ahead to do whatever you need to do. 
  5. You're giving back and making a difference. Similar to sharing a sense of camaraderie, participating in event walks and races is one of the best kinds of workouts, because you are giving and bringing awareness to a good cause. You never know when a certain cause or campaign will mean more to you than it does today. Throughout my time at Ithaca College, I was heavily involved in American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. I didn't know why, out of all the organizations at Ithaca College, that one stuck with me from freshman to senior year. Fast forward a bit and my grandfather discovered he had cancer. Ironically, he had cancer the entire time I participated in that organization, but we didn't know it yet. Last October he passed away. This was a big reason for me wanting to walk in event this month. While it may be for a different type of cancer, it's still an important cause. As noted already, it may become more important down the road, personally. I'd rather not wait until that's the case to participate. 

Throwback: Making Strides two years ago.
Pre-Avery dog and pre-lifting life (Oct. 2012).

No, you might not be burning a ton of calories, but these types of walk events offer you a little boost, make your healthy lifestyle more fun along the way, all while working toward a good cause.

Who's ready to sign up for an active living event? Leave a link to an upcoming event you'll be working toward in coming months? On the look out for my next sign up, so looking for suggestions!

This post is dedicated to my grandfather, Tom Harkenrider.
We miss you every day!

Share It