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I RUN for Boston

16 Apr

There aren’t the right words to sum up my feelings about yesterday.  Regardless of whether or not you’re a runner, I imagine the tragic events at the Boston Marathon yesterday have affected you in a multitude of ways. As a fellow runner, I feel as if someone just attacked my friends (thanks Twitter for summing up my thoughts).  I was shocked and dismayed that something like this could have happened– at a place where elites, soccer moms, and senior citizens can come together to celebrate the sport of running together.  When I was little, I lived in the Boston area and my mom would always take me and my sisters to Heartbreak Hill to watch the runners, I was inspired by these runners and could never imagine running that far myself.  The Boston Marathon was always on my bucket list of races I’d like to do, but now I know that this is one I must complete because we must show whoever did this that we are not afraid of them.

As the running community grapples, alongside the rest of the world, with the ripple effect that this will have on the sport of running and beyond, a group of students at Boston College have found a way to honor those impacted.  They will walk the final 5 miles of the Boston Marathon route from their campus on Commonwealth Ave to the finish line area at Copley Square to finish the marathon for all those who were unable to finish yesterday. I think the symbolism is a beautiful sign of resilience.

One of the main reasons I love running: the community #handsoverhearts

One of the main reasons I love running: the community #handsoverhearts

I wish that I could join them in person, but being here in the DC area, that will not be possible.  Instead, in a show of solidarity, I’ve decided to take my own 5-mile run on Friday to “finish” the marathon for those who were unable to finish and to honor those who lost their lives or were injured celebrating one of the greatest human feats.  So who will join me on a run to finish the Boston Marathon on Friday?  Regardless of where you live, come walk or run those five miles with me and share your stories with the world. There’s no stronger statement we can send than to band together (even if it is virtually) and heal together.  As the BC student’s Facebook page says: “we decide when the marathon ends”.  Any runner knows that a marathon is the ultimate testament to human willpower: it takes blood, sweat, tears, and determination. I have full confidence that the running community (and our great country) will grow stronger from this experience and we will not cower in fear.

Running has always been therapeutic and healing for me.  I hope you will join me as we mourn and honor those impacted.  Stay strong my friends and to quote my fellow blogger Anne of fANNEtastic Food, “Let’s show the world how strong runners are. Boston – this one’s for you.

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Quick and healthy meals for the time-crunched gal (or guy)

22 Feb
One last half before the big 2-5! ha!!

One last half before the big 2-5! ha!!

Happy Friday!  I’m headed off tomorrow to run the Rock’n’Roll New Orleans Half Marathon in honor of my 25th birthday next week! I’m so excited, I’ve never been to NOLA before, and it’s always so much fun to explore a new city!

So you know the feeling, you get home late from a long day at the office, you’re already fighting the couch & TV’s siren song and your inner battle between the part of you that wants to cave and the other half who’s telling you if you don’t go sweat, those office cookies you had for lunch are going to come back and bite you in the butt…literally.  You can’t even begin to process what to make for dinner; Chinese take out is sounding really good right about now: easy and cheap!  But that same voice in your head that’s telling you to hit the gym is the same one that’s telling you that high-in sodium and gods know what else, dripping in oil is the last thing your body (or brain) needs.  So what’s a mentally-exhausted, time-crunched gal (or guy) to do?  Below are some of my tried and true techniques to still eat healthy without a whole lot of fuss.

Step away from the frozen meals!!!

Step away from the frozen meals!!!

Buy ahead of time

I’ll try to figure out the weekend before what to have the following week. Then I’ll buy all the ingredients I need on Sunday and do as much of the prep work as possible, so come a weekday night I don’t have to think about a)what to make for dinner and b) stopping at a crowded grocery store to pick up the ingredients!

Make ahead of time

Drop that Chinese food!  Make healthy stir fry in bulk!

Drop that Chinese food! Make healthy stir fry in bulk!

Whatever you can make in advance and freeze, creates a simple solution to the “ I don’t have time to make food”.  I love to buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts in bulk. I then put 1 breast into a quart-sized freezer bag, pour enough marinade (I prefer homemade, but even simpler is to use a store-bought marinade or dressing, but watch sodium and sugar levels!) into the bag to cover the breast, seal, label/date and toss into the freezer.  So when I come home from work, I choose a marinated chicken, throw it in the sink to thaw and then hit the gym or whatever.  After I’m done relaxing, I just toss it in a oven-safe dish, bake it and voila! My protein is done!  Now all it needs is a salad or some roasted or steam veggies and I have a healthy meal that was super simple!

Make in bulk

If you don’t mind eating the same thing for several lunches & dinners in a row, then this is perfect for you.  I will double my recipe and then have leftovers for the rest of the week.  My favorite is making a double batch of turkey taco meat, then I can have a taco salad for about 4 lunches and 4 dinners!  I never tire of taco salads! YUM!!

And finally: K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid!)

This looks like a simple and healthy meal to make!

This looks like a simple and healthy meal to make!

It’s so much easier to manage 1, 2 or even 3 ingredients than 15.  Unless you’re a professional chef or have a competent sous chef, a weekday night is NOT the appropriate time to try out a new recipe with some 20-odd ingredients.  Simple ingredients=quicker prep & clean time=MORE GLORIOUS FREE TIME!  I pick a protein and a veggie (or 2) to make a quick and healthy meal.  I keep the prep simple and try to use no more than 2 dishes, but it’s even easier if you cook all your ingredients in the same pan/pot/tray.  A crock pot is great for this, you can turn is on in the morning on your way out the door and then you get home and you’ve only got clean-up duty!

So that’s how I manage to cook simple meals that are nutritious and filling without spending 2+ hours in the kitchen every night!  Save the fancy meals for your Saturday nights!  What are you favorite tips and tricks to save time in the kitchen on a weeknight?

Is your job killing you?

19 Feb

I know it’s been far too long since I last posted anything, but the holidays ate me up and spat me back out and then work has just been nonstop. So apologies! Speaking of work, I want to focus today on the thing most Americans find themselves doing for prolonged periods of time everyday…SITTING!!!

Our body was designed for movement!

Our body was designed for movement!

I, like many Americans, work a “standard” 8-hour/day desk job that involves sitting for hours on end at your desk with little to no movement.  This is especially bad because linkages have been drawn between prolonged periods of sitting and an increased risk for many health issues such as obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol etc.

The human body was designed to move…a lot.  So while it’s great that you may be exercising for 30 minutes to an hour every day, if you then proceed to plop down on your couch or chair post-workout for majority of the other 12 hours you’re awake, you could be counteracting all that good you just did.  So how do you continue to move while at work or home?  Read on for what I do to keep moving on the job!

Don't let your day start like this!!!

Don’t let your day start like this!!!

If you live within a safe walking or biking distance of your office, job, kids’ school, etc., instead of wasting  gas (did you know that Americans waste 1.9 billion gallons of gas per year in traffic?), leave a little earlier and hoof it to your destination.  It’s a great way to keep moving and you don’t have to waste hours of your life stuck in traffic!  In 2007, commuters in urban areas spent an average of 47 hours a year stuck in commute traffic, imagine what else you could do with those hours!!

Walking or biking is also a great option for those who take public transit, especially if you’re cash-strapped (like yours truly), it saves a heck of a lot in metro fares and helps you avoid the sweaty crush of rush hour on public transit.

Bonus– if you are able to walk/bike your kids to school, you will be instilling positive lifelong habits in them.  Now I get that in this modern age, having the ability to walk or bike everywhere is probably not practical or safe for everyone, but if you can, isn’t it worth the extra time?  I sure think it is!

18fitness.600

Wouldn’t you just love if you were able to walk all day? I know I would!

Now, let’s say you’re at work and you’re not lucky enough to have a super health-conscious organization which would provide you with a treadmill desk, then how do you stay moving?  I use several tricks to get moving throughout the day.  Firstly, I ditched my desk chair and bought a cheap 75cm stability ball from Amazon and use that to sit on throughout the day.  The minor movement helps me from feeling like a bump on a log, but doesn’t’ interfere with my work productivity.

I spend a lot of my day reading health reports and studies, so when I’m doing that, I like to jerry-rig a standing desk by stacking some large books under my monitor and stand while reading.  I will also stand or pace while on phone calls.

Take your meetings outside!

Take your meetings outside!

Another way I get moving is instead of calling or emailing a colleague who is just down the hall, I take a walk to see them, not only is it nice to have some face to face interaction, it’s a good opportunity to stretch the legs.  When the gang just needs to get out of the office, we try to do walking breaks instead of coffee runs.  When we just to need to vent or gab outside of the office, we much prefer to take a nice stroll around the White House (weather permitting of course) instead of spending 5 bucks for a calorie-laden Starbucks.  It’s a great opportunity for bonding, fresh air, and getting the blood circulating again!

When the drama ends, your movement begins!

When the drama ends, your movement begins!

The movement doesn’t end once you get home!  Next time you’re watching your favorite TV shows, get up and move during the commercials. Do whatever you feel like, but some good ones are push-ups, sit ups, marching in place, jumping jacks, or squats.

These are just some easy changes that I use in my life every day to stay active all day, long after I’ve finished my workout.  How about you? What things do you do to keep moving all day?

Saving Your Skin from Winter

12 Dec
Protect your skin!

Protect your skin!

As fall fades into winter, you may notice some painful skin changes taking place.  The skin is the largest organ in the body and it deserves just as much TLC as you give your (fill in favorite body part here).  As the weather gets colder, the water in the outermost layers of the skin begins to evaporate into the drier air of winter, this causes the skin dry up and get very itchy, scaly, and flaky.  It can even become painful and crack and bleed.  So just how do you keep your skin silky smooth instead of having a fish ask you for its scales back?

Eliminate the superhot (and long) baths/showers

It may feel wonderfully luxurious to thaw out in a nice hot bath after a cold day on the slopes, but resist the temptation.  Superhot water zaps moisture out of your skin leaving it drier than before.  Keep the temperature lukewarm and keep the baths and showers sub-20 (preferably 10 or less on most days).  If your skin has gotten to the point where it’s itchy and painful; a short, lukewarm bath with oatmeal can help to soothe irritated skin.

Check your body wash

If you haven’t already, now would be the time to switch a moisturizing body wash/bar and chuck that ultra-drying bar soap!  I love Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash with Nutriummoisture and Dove Winter Care Body Wash with Nutriummoisture.

clarisonic_mia_sephora_holiday_setExfoliate

While it may sound counter-intuitive, it’s more important now than ever to exfoliate.  Winter slows down the turnover of your skin cells and exfoliation helps to slough off that dead skin to make way for the new skin.  Everyone’s skin types vary, but do a whole body exfoliation at least once a week in the shower (I don’t have a particular favorite).  For my face, I use my Clarisonic Mia every night with my face wash and use an exfoliating scrub once or twice a week.  I love my Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Gentle.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!

Eucerin makes great products, that don't leave you greasy

Eucerin makes great products, that don’t leave you greasy

You should already be in the habit of slathering on some moisturizer every time you get out of the shower, but in the winter, a lightweight lotion just might not do it.  During the winter, I switch to a heavier lotion or a cream if I get really dry. Right after I get out of my shower, I quick towel off and then use moisturizer on my whole body.  After a shower, especially after an exfoliation, your skin is the most receptive to moisturizers.

I always keep lotion in my desk at work, but during the winter, I switch out my light and fragrant lotions for a heavy-duty workhorse.  I try to use it as often as I can remember.  My favorite lotions?  Hands down, I get the best results with Eucerin and most of their products don’t leave a greasy feeling on my skin.

TLC for your Face

I'm a huge fan of Kate Somerville products, I only wish they weren't so pricey

I’m a huge fan of Kate Somerville products, I only wish they weren’t so pricey

Since most people’s faces do not mesh well with general body lotions, I thought it’d be important to address the face separately.  Everyone has their own routines, so I suggest that you stick with what you know. But sometimes your skin, especially mine, needs a different routine in the winter months.  Below is my winter skin care routine, which varies little from my summer routine, except for the fact that I use heavier creams and gels in place of light-weight, oil-free lotions.

AM:

Wash with a gentle cleanser (I use Kate Somerville’s Gentle Daily Wash)

I then use a facial serum to retain more moisture (love Kate Somerville’s Quench Oil-Free Hydrating Face Serum)

I follow-up the serum with an oil-free moisturizer, I find that if I don’t use oil-free in the morning, by 2pm I look like an oil slick.  I prefer Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Moisture SPF 15

PM:

Remove make-up, if applicable (an oft-overlooked step, but vital).  I use Neutrogena’s oil-free make up remover.

Cleanse with Kate Somerville’s Gentle Daily Wash in conjunction with Clarisonic Mia.

Once or twice a week, I cleanse sans Mia, but follow up with an exfoliating treatment. I prefer Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Gentle.

philosophy is another favorite

philosophy is another favorite

Two or three times a week, as long as my skin’s not too dry, I will use an alcohol-free, gentle toner, such as Neutrogena’s alcohol-free toner.

I will then use whatever treatments I feel I need (anti-aging, anti-oxidant serums, acne, eye cream, etc.)

I finish by using an ultra-hydrating moisturizer (creams or gels are more effective in winter than lotions because they’re thicker). I tend to mix this one up and rotate between philosophy and Kate Somerville lines: philosophy’s take a deep breath, keep the peace, or hope in a jar and Kate Somerville’s Oil Free Moisturizer or Goat Milk Cream.

Block the Rays

Sunscreen is not just for the summer.  Winter rays can be just as intense if not more so with reflection off the snow, and since people generally forget about sunscreen if it’s below 60, winter’s sun can cause a lot of damage to your skin. Continue to use at least SPF 15 on your entire body and SPF 30 for your face.  You should be able to find lotion that has SPF built in, so it’s one less step to think about.

Mitten the Mitts

Treat your hands right!

Treat your hands right!

It’s so important to treat your hands well during the winter.  You ask a lot of them and they can dry out very quickly.  I keep a hand cream with me at all times (Eucerin’s Intensive Repair Extra-Enriched Hand Creme is a favorite) and I use it multiple times a day.

Wear gloves! Every time you head out into the cold, make sure you’re wearing gloves, this helps your hands from losing precious moisture.

Splurge on a paraffin wax treatment during a manicure session a few times this winter.  Your hands will thank you!

A friend recently suggested that before going to sleep, you should slather yours hands in a super-rich Shea Butter cream, then slip on gloves and hit the hay.  I haven’t tried it yet, but she swears by it.  She says you feel funny (and a bit “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”) at first, but then you get used to it and it does wonders for your hands.

Invest in a humidifier

A humidifier will replace some of the humidity that is no longer in the air.  I have one and love it.  I highly recommend the Air-O-Swiss AOS 7147 Ultrasonic Humidifier – Warm and Cool Mist.

Hydrate, but not for your skin

The age old myths is that drinking lots of water keeps your skin glowing, but that has long since been debunked.  However, drinking water does wonders for your general health, so continue to drink your 8 glasses (or more) a day!

Stay Active

Stay active, even when it gets cold

Stay active, even when it gets cold

By getting regular moderate to vigorous exercise, you improve your blood circulation and keep fresh, oxygenated blood pumping through your entire body and this includes your skin.

Hopefully, by using these tips you’ll be able to save your skin this winter and prevent that awful scratching and flaky.  What are you favorite skin saving techniques for winter? Share below or tweet me @LindseyKate228.

Keep on sweating!

***I received no incentives for endorsements of the products featured in this blog post. I paid full price for them and support them on my blog because they work for me, but you may find your skin reacts differently to them!***

Inspirational Story

11 Dec

Here’s a fabulous story about one girl’s journey to combat her weight problems and she’s only 9 years old. An inspiration to all!

 

If she can do it, so can you!

Keep On Sweating!!

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