Finally, A Sports Bra I Can Run In

I really like to try things on before I buy them. Historically I have bras from three places: Ross, Old Navy, or J.C. Penney.

Ross is hit or miss for good sports bras (like it is with everything, that’s the risk you take loving a place like Ross as much as I do). They do carry a wide variety of brands – Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour are all brands you can snag for a reasonable price at Ross (in more than just sports bras, too), but like I said, hit or miss.

I stopped buying sports bras at Old Navy about two years ago when they changed up their support style. I used to be able to wear their medium impact sports bra for basically everything (mind you I wasn’t an avid runner then) but now even the “high impact” style is only intended to support A-C cups (nope, not me. I’m a solid 36 or 38 D, depending on the bra).

The Xersion line at J.C. Penney is still my go-to sports bra (specifically the keyhole back sports bras). I wear them for non-running cardio (Zumba, elliptical/ARC trainer, etc.) and for lifting (currently free weights). Sidebar: I also love that whole line… great, cute, fashionable clothes for working out (or not). These bras, though, were giving me a TON of boob pain from running. They’re just not supportive enough for my ladies.

I decided to just do as much research as I could about sports bras for running. The best place to do research? Amazon reviews, of course. Remember how I said I really like to try things on before I buy them? Well that didn’t happen before I found this amazing sports bra by Syrokan (Amazon affiliate link, just FYI):

As you can see it’s a full-coverage sports bra with an actual hook-and-eye clip in the back (I leave it clipped to put it on and unclip it to take it off). The straps are thick and support super well, plus they are adjustable with super-tough Velcro on them. For me that is the best part about this bra – the adjustable straps that don’t move while you’re running. I was having a lot of actual breast pain and shoulder pain until I started wearing this sports bra. I read through pages of reviews and most of them said it runs a bit small, so knowing that I’m sometimes a 36 and sometimes a 38 I ordered the 38 and I’m glad I did – I’m currently wearing it the biggest it can be (3rd row of hooks). I was so glad it fit because even though returning things from Amazon is relatively painless, I’m terrible at following through and actually taking the things to the post office. But the best part about this bra?

It’s $24.99 with free shipping for Prime members.

Some of the bras I was looking at were $80+. For me, that’s just not realistic. I love the Xersion bras because they’re almost always on sale for $15ish. I don’t have a lot of spending money so $24.99 for a sports bra like this is fantastic for me. I’ve already bought a second and literally have a third in my Amazon cart as we speak (that and a PopSocket car vent mount… priorities, amirite?).

Ladies – what are your sports bra preferences? Have you found your perfect sports bra? Would you give something like this (having to trust reviews, not being able to try it on, having to actually go run in it to see if it works like you want it to) a try?

2018 So Far: Goodbye (almost) 50 Pounds

My January 2, 2018 weigh-in basically crippled my emotional well-being, even though I knew it was coming: 235.5.

I’d been eating like crap because holidays, and I just didn’t really care. At that point in my life, I thought I was happy. Life had it’s very drastic ups and downs, but that was my normal and I’d accepted it as such, so I ignored all of the signs pointing to “be wary, lady”.

February and March didn’t prove to be the time I was going to help myself. I weighed in at 224 at the end of March, which to me wasn’t enough progress for 90 days. I was slacking and I knew it.

Then my life changed drastically and through some really painful self-reflection, I understood that I needed to make a serious change in the way I treated myself; I needed to learn to love and accept myself for who I am and stop changing to try to fit into whatever I thought other people needed/wanted me to be. That shit was killing me.

Even then, it really wasn’t until my BFFs S+S decided to go Keto and track macros that I really straightened up. We started using Carb Manager on April 16th (I weighed in at 218.7) and hooooly moly, I had forgotten a) how much work it is to track macros and calories and b) how productive it is to track every single morsel of food you put in your body (keto or not). I managed to stick with tracking (which normally turns me into a crazy person) through the end of June, where I excitedly weighed in at 190.5! Into ONEderland and freaking loving my progress. I’ve been 80/20 keto for the rest of the year so far, and lately have been bouncing between 186-192 (the latter this morning, but whatever). Here’s pics from April 16th compared to this morning:

I oddly enough don’t feel like there is a ton of difference between these photos when I look at them, but holy hell nothing could be further from the truth:

  1. I’m down another 32.7 lbs between these photos
  2. I’m down two pant sizes (from 16 to 12, and my 12s are big these days)
  3. My smile is freaking REAL
  4. I have actual love for myself: my heart, my brain, my body – ME. Actual real love. I’ve learned to prioritize my own needs before prioritizing others, and I’ve accepted that it’s okay to be what I want to be in life; I don’t have to change into what I think I’m supposed to do/be…I’m free to exist exactly as I am. While obviously weight loss plays a big role in my happiness, it isn’t everything. In fact it’s the opposite – getting to a place of self-love and self-acceptance is why I’ve been able to kick so much (of my own) ass this year. It’s the most beautiful cycle… love yourself, make progress, love yourself more, make more progress.
  5. Let’s give another read for #4, because holy shit I didn’t know it’d take 31 years to get here

I’m so super-close to having lost 50 lbs this year. People keep asking me what my goal weight is, and I keep telling them: I don’t know. I do know that I don’t want to get over 200 again, so I need to lose another 10-15 lbs so I can eat to my heart’s content over the holidays (I said it on IG and I’ll say it here, please save your judgement, I do what I want).

I cannot thank my amazing support system enough for helping me figure myself out and understand what changes needed to happen for me to get where I am right now (happy, holy hell). I’d list you all, but that’d be awkward and weird, so please, if you think it’s you, it probably is: thank you, so freaking much.

Onward and upward. Oh and I’ll try not to go six months before I post another update ❤

Weigh-In: Down 9.3 LBS! Woop woop! (Plus, Last Week’s Meals)

Hi, loves!

Well, I obviously gave it away in the title… down another 1.5 lbs at yesterday’s weigh-in, for a total of 9.3 lbs gone since I started back on the path of goodness on 9/4! Man, that feels good:

weigh in 9 16

I probably should’ve gone for the “HELL YEAH” but it’s my scheduled cheat day (still logging, though!) and I’m feeling like, OMG WHY AM I DOING THIS. But anywho.

Here’s what I made for food last week:

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I already reviewed the Chicken Thighs with Shallots & Spinach in my last blog post, but I’ll definitely be reviewing some of the other recipes I found last week, too.

Now it’s off to finish off this logged cheat day with style – MREOW. I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday evening!

Recipe Review: Taste of Home Chicken Thighs with Shallots and Spinach (LC, HF, GF)

As part of my calorie-counting plans,  I wanted to use actual recipes *gasp* for my meal plans. It’s just a little less thinking for me to plan all the things when I can at least start somewhere with an ingredient list. I decided last week that I wanted to incorporate at least three new meals or meal ideas into our week of dinners. Of course that meant heading to my favorite place to find such things, Pinterest.

I searched “low calorie dinners” and got really good results, but for things I wasn’t really down for spending the time/money on. Bird really love chicken thighs, so I narrowed my search to “low calorie chicken thigh dinners” and voila! Success. One of the results that came up was a list of 30 Healthy Dinner Recipes in 30 Minutes from Taste of Home. There were quite a few recipes in there I was interested in, but nothing strikes my fancy like a dish with spinach. I put spinach in my scrambled eggs every morning I’m home (I drink BPC when I have to travel) and so finding a recipe that would just allow me to buy a bit more spinach? That’s meal-planning winning fo’ sho. Enter this freaking gem of a dish: Chicken Thighs with Shallots & Spinach by Jenna Johnannes from Wrightstown, WI.

Here’s the ingredient and instruction list:

Ingredients and Instructions for Chicken Thighs with Shallots and Spinach

And here are the changes I made:

  1. Instead of using seasoned salt, I used himalyan pink salt and Simply Organic Herbs de Provence (affiliate link for Amazon, just an FYI!). I also added waaaay more than 1/2 teaspoon of the herbs, because YUM. It’s so delicious.
  2. I went with the reduced-sodium chicken broth. I’m sure the wine would be delicious, but meh.
  3. I used full-fat sour cream (Organic Valley makes reallllly good organic sour cream!) because I don’t believe in low-fat and fat-free things, except for cooking spray, lol.

I also logged all of the things into LoseIt as a recipe and put it as 4 servings (she listed six, but I try to make things that we can each just have half of, that way there aren’t leftovers to mess up my pre-planned lunches). Here’s what the recipe looked like:

my version

1010 calories for the whole shebang is perfect – that meant a 505 calorie meal for each of us. SO EXCITING when it just works out well! I knew that probably wasn’t quiiiite enough food for me after a really long day, so I added a side of roasted zucchini (zucchini, chopped with olive oil + salt + pepper, roasted at 400 degrees for 15 minutes) so the total meal came to 606 calories (29.4g fat, 14.2g net carbs, and 39.7g protein). Also, it plated up beautifully:

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This recipe was definitely a winner – can’t wait to rotate it in to a meal plan again in a few weeks!

I’m feeeeeeeeling goooooood

First of all, I love Michael Buble’s version of this song (not that I don’t love Nina Simone’s — mmph) but damn, that boy is a delight to ears (okay, okay, and the eyes):

As I mentioned in my last blog, I had a pretty eye-opening weigh-in two weeks ago. I was sort of in shock, disbelief… how did I let myself get back to this weight? I didn’t have the excuse of a car accident, it’s been two years since my head/spinal injury and even though that certainly plays a role, I could have adjusted by now and still been on my game…. without excuses, I just had me to blame.

I took some time to write in my personal journal to get a grip on myself. I’ve been coasting. A lot of things in my life had been a result of me coasting instead of working toward my goals. I’ve worked on a lot of those things – gotten my shit together in so many ways. But weight loss… something so important to me for so many reasons… I was just fucking around, ignoring it, putting it off, being lazy. It was time for a change.

It’s always nice when you make a commitment to something and see immediate results:

September 10 17 Weigh In

Yeah, yeah, that’s what up.

Here’s what my focus is on:

  • Meal planning (with intention of cost-savings and calorie counties)
  • Meal prep (getting all my basics cooked every Sunday so it’s not overly difficult to stick to plan because I’m being lazy)
  • Calorie counting in LoseIt, my fave app for weight loss (and totally worth the paid version; they’re a great company and the freaking data is amazing)
  • Carb-conscious (aiming for less than 100g of carbs per day, and those carbs need to be valuable, not empty)
  • Organic eats (my body is important to me and I want to treat it like I give a shit. I accept the trade-off of the cost of organic food to the cost of going to the doctor’s, something I rarely do unless it’s related to my injuries)
  • Do-able (for me) exercise (walking/hiking and Zumba once a week. I’m still considering a gym membership but have to talk to more doctors first about lifting with a spinal cord and brain issues)

Is all of this planing, prepping, and counting a pain in the ass? Yeah, kinda. But look at this progress. I can have an extra few hours a week to do whatthefuckever, or I can hunker down and take care of myself. I’m choosing me.

And it’s working.

Weight Loss Pro Tip: Use a Big F*cking Cup

In case you missed my IG post earlier this week, I had a miserable minute or twelve when I weighed myself and had gained a substantial amount of weight (substantial is in the eye of the substantiater – YMMV). House-buying, work-changing (eventually? Shoutout to my job for keeping me around <3), living-in-two-places, moving, (temporarily) losing our Maine Coon cat… the excuses are limitless. I was eating like shit and telling myself all the physical labor from moving would keep the balance.

WRONG. 

I weighed in at 230.2.

230.2. 

Fucking. Hell. Man.

I haven’t weighed 230 since after I put weight back on post car-accident. Granted, the lowest I’ve gotten since my car accident is 202. And my current weight pre-moving was 217.8. But, still. That number hit me like a ton of takeout containers. Normally I’d wallow in self-pity and give myself another five days of eating bullshit to get my ass in gear, but nope – straight on the calorie-counting train of goodness.

A big part of successful weight loss for me is drinking water – I know, I know. That’s a big part of successful weight loss for everyone. But listen – for me, it’s one of those things that if I don’t constantly have water near me, I’ll forget about it until I’m so dehydrated I can barely function. Enter my Weight Loss Pro Tip: A Big Fucking Cup (I edited in the title because not everyone knows me and my foul mouth :D).

Bird got me this for Christmas last year:

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It’s 24-oz and, most importantly, it has a STRAW. I drink out of it ALL THE TIME. Having it near me and it being so accessible – I just do. I’m on my fourth one today and it’s only 6PM. That means I’ve already had 9 cups of water. It also means I’ve peed about 10 times, but I digress. Bonus: it saves you some small change when you get it refilled at Starbucks – just tell them you have a “personal cup” and make sure to take the lid off/straw out for them.

PS – I have been faithfully planning/tracking my food for five days now (today included) and am already down 3.8 lbs. So, wahoo to me and eff you to my recent poor decisions. Time to kill it.

Running Races…But Which Ones?!

Guys. I am having a REALLY HARD TIME picking my races for this year. I’m not in love with spontaneity. I like to know things ahead of time. Really far ahead of time. I set the goal to run more races, and here I am, only technically registered for one.

The one race I’ve registered for is an amazing OCR that I can’t wait to run in June with JAM. It’s called MuckFEST and it’s one of the big events that the National MS Society uses to raise money for their amazing cause. We’ll be running in the Philly event (not actually IN Philly, for the record) on Sunday, June 4th.

The other race I know I’ll be running is the third annual Chesco Half Marathon and Memorial 5k (5k for me, please and thanks… hills are for babies! ;)). The mission of the Chesco Half is to help spread awareness about, and prevent, domestic violence. I volunteer for this organization, headed up by the lovely Jess Rigo, and let me tell you–what an emotional event. I posted back in July of 2016 about my own experiences having been abused for a large part of my life, and being able to help the fight in preventing such circumstances is a big, big deal to me. I’m thankful every day that I’m able to pay forward some of the help and love that was given to me during my roughest times. As an added bonus, I’ve been running this race with my darling friend Sara G. every year, and I love getting to have that event to look forward to with her 🙂

After that, I’m unsure! I’m considering the Hershey 10K after a request from a friend to run it, although I know I can’t keep up with him, so really we’ll just be in the same race, not at the same pace! I’m open to pretty much anything, even if there is travel involved (hey hey, two goals with one stone). Let me know if you’re registered for (or considering registering for) any races in 2017… I’d love to to add them to my “possibility” list!

Recipe Review: I Breathe I’m Hungry’s General Tso’s Meatballs

One of my “To Do’s” in my planner yesterday was to pin new recipes, which I did during my lunch break at work (because at least then I’m not making myself ridiculously hungry by pinning delicious food!). One of the recipes I came upon was for I Breathe I’m Hungry’s General Tso’s Meatballs, which immediately intrigued me because I fucking LOVE Chinese Food. And it’s one of my go-to cheat meals, and since I’m trying to avoid cheat meals right meow, it seemed like a perfect substitute. I had other plans for dinner, but as I was still at the grocery store at 8 o’clock last night, these made a much more time-friendly (read: me not murdering someone out of hanger) option.

Let me just tell you–these meatballs are BANGIN’. 

They’re made with chicken and a lot other ingredients I had to purchase (rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, etc.), so I’ll definitely be making them again. Initially I was going to roast some broccoli to have with them, but then decided on cauli rice instead:

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IBIH’s General Tso’s Meatballs over Cauliflower Rice – YUM

I was a little hesitant from the get-go because when I mixed up the ground chicken, almond flour, ginger, egg, and scallions, it was, well…disgusting. Goopy chicken all over my hands, and I was just worried they weren’t going to hold consistency. But they did! I fried them in Filipio Berio Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil for about 8 minutes per side to make sure they got that crunch Melissa talks about in her recipe post.

For the sauce, I had to make two edits:

  1. Our grocery store (Redner’s) only had gigantic bags of dried chiles, which I just couldn’t reason buying because I knew I wouldn’t use them all. So I got a can of chipotle chiles in Adobo sauce from the “mexican foods” aisle. Then they were drained and seeded and replaced the dried ones in the recipe.
  2. Because of this^, the total of the xantham gum in the recipe was upped by 1/4 tablespoon to accommodate for the extra water from having those chiles instead of dried ones, which worked out perfectly in terms of the sauce and it’s marvelous consistency.

Guys–the sauce in this recipe is fantastic. It was aromatic, had a perfect flavor profile, and the perfect kick of that classic General Tso’s heat. I loved the sauce on these so much, I’m tempted to make a double batch of the sauce next time I make the meatballs, so I can have more of a coated cauli rice dish! As always, Melissa, I just adore everything you do!

Any other interesting meatball recipes out there I should try? Please do tell!

Holy Shit, It’s 2017

When you’re waiting and waiting and waiting for a thing to happen, and then it happens and you’re not even sure what to do with it….

Oh hey, 2017.

Except that I am sure what to do with it–Kick It In The Ass.

Last year was mediocre. It wasn’t terrible, and it wasn’t great. It had moments of each of those… losing one of the most inspiring women I know to cancer, and running my first half marathon, for example. But overall, I don’t feel like I owned it. I feel like I let it happen to me, instead of taking control of it. So that’s my goal for 2017: take the bull by the motherfucking horns.

Goals:

    1. Lose weight. IDK how much, IDK how quickly, but I’m not content with my weight so I’m going to keep working on it. For me, setting numerical goals leads me to creating crazy, unmanageable habits that always lead to failure, so I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to work on it. Be better. That’s all I can do.
    2. Read more. I have 100’s of books, but I tend to end up spending my time watching TV and playing video games, both of which have their merit, but I’d like to spend more of my free time reading and taking in the knowledge the rest of the world has to offer me. I’m starting out with Eat & Run by Scott Jurek, one of the world’s foremost ultrarunners.
    3. Learn to use my sewing machine. I don’t why I keep putting this off… it’s not going to be difficult, and I have so many bits of fabric and things already, so I just need to do it.
    4. Run more races. Last year I KILLED IT with my racing goals (ran multiple 5k’s, a 10k, and my first half marathon) so I want to keep it up. Someday I’m going to run a full, and you never know when the inspiration to do it will hit. I also want to join up with JAM and do some more OCRs, too 🙂
    5. Keep up my volleyballin’. I’ve learned SO MUCH this year from my amazing teammates, and I’m actually starting to feel like a real player. I’m going to keep on keepin’ that up in 2017, because volleyball is BADASS.
    6. More dates with my friends. Sometimes I go months and months and months without seeing people I truly love and care about, and I want to stop that this year. Even if it’s a Google hangout/Skype date, I want to see more of the lovely faces I adore so much.
    7. Happy Planner my life. I got my first Happy Planner (did you know there is an entire community full of planning addicts? I had no idea, but now I’m in it, sooo, yeah.) and I freaking LOVE it (and capital letters, apparently).
    8. Travel more! Bird and I did more travelling last year than we have in years previous, plus I took a girls vacay with Steph, and it was really, really lovely. I want to expand that this year and do even more! Plus I really get a kick out of the gamification of TripAdvisor… 😀

I think eight goals is enough? Who knows. I’ll edit them as they need to be, but right now, I’m pumped.

What about you?  Did you set new year goals and/or resolutions? Is there a difference? If so, what are they? Tell me tell me tell me!

 

KetoDelivered Review: Coffee Blocks

Because I plan my meals out like a lunatic, it’s taken me awhile to fit the Coffee Blocks from my KetoDelivered box into my schedule, but I finally tried them this past Friday!

Coffee Blocks – $23.95 for an 8-pack (and free shipping in the US!)

I switch between having BPC for breakfast and having hard-boiled eggs. I’ve been having hard-boiled eggs for like, six months now, so it’s going to be BPC time again soon. I have an AeroLatte at work, so I’m fairly well prepped, but totally into the idea of being able to use a to-go option instead! I made them at work, which according to the lovely fellas that make them is how the idea was started–not hauling all yer hubbub to work to brew and blend:

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“Why Coffee Blocks” – http://www.CoffeeBlocks.com

I took one our lovely Star Wars Tervis Tumblers to work with me, and followed the instructions to the T (which is normally not my style, but coffee is deserving of nothing less!). It was definitely easy to make, and there is no waiting or anything of that nature, it’s just ready to go. Some of the reasons why I love it:

  1. It’s made in ‘merica! (Wanna chat about politics sometime? Hit me up at ketodeb@gmail.com :))
  2. Super-high-quality organic and/or grass-fed ingredients–all five of them.
  3. Uhh, it’s EASY. Who doesn’t want their breakfast (or whatever other meal you want to use it for) to be super simple and quick? Especially if, like me, you don’t eat until you’re at work.

My hold-up:

  1. I don’t know why I’m numbering this list–there is only one hold-up. I do not particularly care for the taste of coconut oil. When I make my own BPC at home, I use salted butter because a) I mean, I love salt, and b) it helps mask the taste of the coconut. Coffee Blocks, to me, tastes way too coconutty. That being said, I know my bird will love them, so he’ll benefit from them being in our pantry 🙂

Overall review: While the flavor of the coconut oil is a hold-up for me, that doesn’t change the fact that this a great product, made by what seems to be a great company. For me it’s a 4/5, but for anyone who doesn’t mine the coconut oil flavor, I don’t think you’d ever rate it less than a 5/5.

Thanks for the box, KetoDelivered! To get your own box full of small batch Keto food delivered right to your door, visit this link: http://www.ketodelivered.com/?aic=LVH3BW5