Don’t Let The Mirror Steal Your Joy

Real talk tiiiiiiime.

Last week, I completed a fun workout outside. I think it was this one:

5 rounds
  • run the cul-de-sac (~200m)
  • 60 sec squat jump with knee up twist (15#)
  • 60 sec v-ups
  • 60 sec down dog spiderman pushups
  • 60 sec reverse lunge with kick (30#)
  • 30 sec side plank right
  • 30 sec side plank left

It involved running, so you know I felt extra accomplished when I finished. I was hot and tired, but I also felt energized and strong.

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But then I looked in the mirror, and all of a sudden I didn’t feel as satisfied with my workout anymore. I honestly think I’d been watching too many Crossfit videos that weekend, so all I had been looking at were bodies like Stacie Tovar’s:

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I’m obviously not as fit as a Crossfit Games athlete (or almost any Crossfitter, for that matter), but when I looked in the mirror, I subconsciously compared my body to fitter, leaner bodies.

And that stole my joy.

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We’ve talked about the comparison trap 1000000 times on this blog, but it never seems to fade away (for me at least). Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe that I am in a healthier place than ever, mentally. But it’s still important to realize that aspiring for thinness OR fitness can be dangerous (← great article from Spoon University).

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In other words, aspiring for another person’s body (seeing someone else’s body as #goals) is denying yourself the opportunity to realize the amazing things about your body and what you can do.

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If I let myself define my workouts by how I look afterwards, I will end up miserable, and working out will become merely a means to an “end”— to have a certain physique (which is actually not an end because physical aesthetic alone is never fulfilling IMHO).

This doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t set goals, but I think there’s a difference between setting goals to be like someone else and setting goals to be the best version of yourself at this stage in your life.

Even with that perspective though, how can you tell what “your best” is? Am I not doing “my best” right now just because I’m not pushing myself to lift the heaviest weights possible, to run more, or to eat less sugar? Maybe. But I’m going to say that I am doing my best, because I have other priorities ahead of fitness (that is, fitness that goes above and beyond basic fitness for health) towards which I devote my time and energy as well.

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Since I’ve been working out when I feel like it and in a way that feels right for my body on each day, I’ve truly come to love working out. When I started this blog almost three years ago, I probably said that I loved working out, but I don’t think I truly did. I was still forcing myself to work out when I didn’t want to and to do workouts that were way too intense for what I needed that day.

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throwback to when I went to New York Sports Club in high school

This also doesn’t mean that you should never work out if just because you don’t feel like it. However, if there is one Pinterest quote I am willing to share over and over again, it’s this one:

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So cheers to moving and grooving…

…whether that’s running or walking…push-ups on your knees or clapping push-ups…air squats or heavy squats.

…whether you have a cut six-pack or a “muffin top” with those spandex capris…a perky butt or a cellulite-dimpled butt…biceps or no biceps (I happen to have the latter on all three of these)…

Don’t let the mirror steal your joy. Let exercise itself be your jam, not just “the body” (whatever that is to you).

So tell me:

Have you ever let the mirror steal your joy after a workout?

Other thoughts! 

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A Look Into My Interesting First Week of Second Semester

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Thinking out loud today with my fave!

1) We’re almost done with our first {short} week of classes, and I’m pretty pumped up!

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It’s been exciting to reunite with friends, and my classes are equally as exciting. I’m taking intro to nutrition, behavioral biology of women, exercise physiology, biomechanics, and modern dance (again!). Geeking out!

2) There have been some less exciting things happening this week as well though. I (and a lot of my friends) came down with a cold, and I strained the back of knee somehow after my extra long day of physical activity on Sunday. The latter gave me a limp for a few days, but I think it’s on the mend… Except now there’s a huge knot in my mid back that kinda hurts when I breathe.

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^^^I’m really okay though.

3) Rachel and I got right back to work on our food bucket list on Monday. We chose Anna’s Taqueria for some burritos!

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My burrito: rice, chicken, grilled vegetables, lettuce, salsa, cheese and guacamole lovingly hugged together by a warm, whole wheat tortilla.

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Rachel and I agreed that these weren’t the most flavorful burritos we had ever eaten, but we were hungry and cold, so these totally hit the spot!

4) Although I miss cooking my own meals, I certainly cannot complain about the food here at Boston University.

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lighter breakfast of whole wheat toast with almond butter and banana, blueberries, and a hb egg

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part of a sick day lunch: tomato kale florentine soup + cornbread

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free pasta supper at the Catholic Center!

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salad + pork and rice with mango salsa

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plain yogurt with granola and banana

5) I ate three bananas yesterday.

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6) Speaking of food and classes… For my nutrition class, I will have to record a whole day of my typical eats for a project. This includes breaking down the calories, macronutrients, and micronutrients, and then we will analyze what we should add/subtract from our diets.

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I’m not really nervous about the project, but I’m definitely thankful that I’m taking this class now rather than earlier, when I may not have been as secure in my eating habits. Nevertheless, I will take all analyses with a grain of salt!

7) Scenario #1 from yesterday:

Girl at the gym: *points to the small bottle hanging off my backpack* “Is that antibacterial hand  stuff?”

Me: *embarrassed* “…Uhh no it’s hot sauce.”

Girl: “It IS Sriracha! I thought so. I was going to be so disappointed if it wasn’t.”

People get me sometimes.

8) Scenario #2 from yesterday:

*I’m walking down the street bundled up in the frigid cold while listening to music.*

*A middle-aged, white-haired man wearing a Big Bird costume (carrying the head part) walks past me. He looks frazzled and seems to be asking another student for directions. It all just looks like part of a montage as I listen to my music.*

*My jaw drops slightly.*

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Pretty sure this was my exact reaction.

9) To end on a meaningful note… There’s an ongoing service project that a few of my dear friends help organize every week called Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen. The participants make sandwiches and bring snacks, socks, blankets, gloves, and other clothing items around downtown Boston by foot to people who are homeless. I walked with them for the first time this past Sunday, and it was a humbling, upsetting, joyful, and inspiring experience all at once.

If you live near a fairly large city and are looking for a way to reach out personally, I think this is a simple yet effective service project. (Strength in numbers! Make sure to bring friends, both male and female.)

10) Hope you all have a marvelous day! Dance like Brad Pitt a little.

So tell me:

What were/are some of your favorite college/high school courses?

Has anything surreal happened to you recently (like my Big Bird encounter)?

What do you like in your burritos?

Do you have a favorite service project?

Awoken By Hunger

I woke up at this unsightly hour (for a Saturday morning) with a growling tummy!

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Despite having two snacks after dinner (a protein shake and then yogurt with dried figs), I should have guessed that I would be hungry pretty early in the morning since I had dinner earlier than usual (5:20 PM). I was still sleepy, but I was really hungry! Thus, I brushed my teeth (I always brush before eating in the morning) and had a nanner with some unpictured cashews.

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I waited for about 20 minutes, but then I was still hungry (what the…?) so I ate a bowl of cereal and called it a small breakfast. I’ll probably have another breakfast when I wake up again later though! It is so important to listen to your body’s hunger cues, even if you aren’t expecting to be hungry at a certain time. In the past, I would fight my hardest to fall back asleep and wait for “my real breakfast time.” No bueno.

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Note to self: If I go to bed 7 hours after dinner (went to bed at around 12), eat basically another meal. I mean, it just makes sense. Snacks won’t quite be enough. 

Maybe my body has been repairing its muscles like mad too, because my legs are not that sore today— Hallelujah! Alright, back to bed for me!

So tell me: Have you ever been awoken by hunger? 

 

 

Eating Before Bed

Good morning!

Ben and I are going on a hike soon, and I’m so looking forward to it! We went hiking a couple times last year and I loved it. Not only is it great exercise, but the fresh air, beautiful views, and quality time with my brother have made it one of my favorite activities. We haven’t gone in a while, and I’ve been begging Ben to go on another hike with me. Today is the day! Praise God for the beautiful weather here.

Just pray that we don’t get ticks or come across rabid raccoons. Apparently those are hazards at the place we’re hiking. o_O

Eating Late at Night

I enjoyed a banana with pepita sunseed butter and some yogurt for late night snack at around 11.

My uncle from Canada, who is a nutritionist and dedicated athlete, was talking to me about the benefits of eating a nutritious snack before going to sleep. I used to buy into the myth that eating too soon before bedtime would result in energy just chillin’ out in my body, not being used up. Basically, the reason many people don’t eat 2-3 hours before bed is that all this unused energy will turn into fat. Sadly, I have purposely ignored my hunger at night, thinking I wasn’t doing anything that needed that much energy anyway and could just sleep through it. As I exercised more, however, I quickly realized that going to bed hungry was just not a good idea (and frankly not very comfortable) because my body needed the nutrients for muscle recovery and growth…and sometimes just because it needed FOOD. Even if I don’t exercise, I am now no longer afraid of eating before bed if I’m hungry.

Another reason I used to not eat before bed was because I was afraid I’d be too full for breakfast, my favorite meal of the day! Crazy, right? My uncle assured me that breakfast is 6-8 hours away, which is quite long enough for my body to become hungry again. And he’s right, I’m still usually hungry for breakfast. Yes, sometimes I have a little less of an appetite, but once I start eating breakfast, I usually have no problem polishing it off.

I did a little research on this particular myth and found some recurring points.

From FitDay and Real Simple:

  • “Our bodies need fuel constantly, not just when we are awake.” (FitDay)
  • Your body will only store excess calories as fat. Eating at night does not in itself contribute to weight gain.
  • Nighttime snacking becomes a problem when the foods eaten are unhealthy and/or when too much food is eaten

My uncle also told me that after a day of training, muscle builds while sleeping. And if you’re interested in bulking up, here are some muscle-building pre-sleep meal ideas.

Some of my favorite “midnight snacks”:

  • Yogurt with banana slices and/or peanut butter
  • Small protein shake (I will probably post a recipe later!)
  • Bowl of not-super-sugary cereal
  • Fruit with a handful of nuts

I try to include a little carbs, proteins, and fats in each snack, just as I try to do with all my meals! I don’t have a snack every single night, but I try to if I work out or if I’m just hungry.

**Please remember: I am not a professional by any means. My uncle is though. Nevertheless, this is simply my own experience and what I found through some internet research. As always, do what works for you and whatever your doctor may order.

Hope that was some helpful information!

Breakfast

Well, even after my very late snack, I was still ready for some overnight oats! I’ll post my recipe and how exactly I assemble my overnight oats soon.

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Favorite breakfast

Happy Friday, everyone!

So tell me: Do you like hiking? Thoughts on eating before going to sleep?