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Finding the balance of physical and mental health through adventures and fitness

Tag Archives: work

“Some people can’t believe in themselves until someone else believes in them first.”– Sean Maguire, from Good Will Hunting

I can be like this.

But,  it used to be worse.

I used to feel – I used to believe that I couldn’t do great things unless someone else saw it in me to. That kind of thinking got me no where. That kind of thinking caused me to set goals that never really were about me. I’m a little more risky with my goals now, but I still look on with caution at times.

I think we all need some kind of validation that we’re making the right moves.

I was driving in the car the other day and I had the radio on, which may seem like a normal thing. But sometime over the summer when I was figuring out my life for lack of a better phrase, I found myself stuck on sports talk radio. I know that’s really weird and JP doesn’t understand it either, but I found myself unable to change the radio station.  However, about a month ago, I started playing with the buttons to find something else.

Again, this is weird for many people, but to me it makes sense and for others with anxiety or trauma in their past, it’s going to make sense to. Voices that seemed calming for a few months with concepts that I had to focus on so I understood the discussion weren’t necessary anymore. I didn’t need to hear those specific voices over the airways any more to get through my drive.

So, I’m driving and I’m listening to the radio and the guest of a show talks about how when we are determined to achieve something we look forward at what is still yet to come. He said, it’s reasonable to reflect because we do need to think about where we came from sometimes.

He then continued to compare it to driving.

You drive by looking forward. Yes, you do use the rearview mirror or side mirrors to see what’s happening behind you, but if you continued to look that way the whole time you’d crash. He explained that to move forward you need to see straight ahead of you and with a wide windshield you can see so much more road than you do in the overhead mirror looking back.

I don’t know why, but this just clicked and then the skies open up and things felt good… no, not really, but it did click.

I didn’t think I would ever be here. I’ve said that before. But with the first week of classes behind me, I really never thought I would be here. When I started this degree, it was solely to be able to be more educated and better qualified to assist others.

I think experience is important. For me it was hard to listen to a doctor who had never been overweight or never struggled with their health in the ways I had. It was hard to connect with people that couldn’t empathize with me about how I saw or felt the world. I think experience is necessary to be able to see the world from multiple points of view, but I also believe you need education behind you to further that experience or provide some foundation.

I know people can be successful with one or the other, but for me, I want both because you don’t know what you don’t know until you learn what you didn’t know.

Thinking about the conversations in class and the state of affairs of healthcare and health education and stigma in general – I’m thinking more about population health. That’s what public health is anyway. I found it interesting because it intersects everything I practice and preach – mental and physical as well as how social relationships make an impact on both of those aspects of health. Population health asks how do we assist large groups of people, how do we to educate different populations at their level, how do we create an environment where people who want help can ask for it, how to provide resources and tools to prevent illness and disease.

I love working with clients on an individual level, but if there isn’t access to basic needs like healthy food options for the short term, they won’t be able to see how to create a plan for the long term.

It’s weird to say that coaching may never be full-time like I thought I wanted it to be, but I think that also means that there’s more possibilities than I imagined. I guess the road is wider and continues on.

I think working with individuals has shown me that I can teach, that I can make a difference in how someone sees themselves and therefore sets, works towards and achieves their goals. Going back to school has shown me that it can start with an interest and with hard work, it can become more than Googling research articles for fun.

We all have doubt.  I have doubt. But little things over time can help us change how we see ourselves and our abilities.

Week one of the spring semester done, fifteen more until graduation.

Let’s make some magic happen.

❤ Cristina

 

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When I started my weight loss I never thought there would be an end to it. I thought it would take a life time to lose weight and be healthy. Last year I talked about this before my surgery. Even days after my surgery I still couldn’t believe I had accomplished the weight loss aspect of getting healthy. I couldn’t believe the turns that my journey had taken and where I ended up. There are still days that I wake up and say, “yep, this is my life.”

I’ve battled, sometimes floated, with what life is like maintaining a healthy, normal (relative to me) weight and size. Maintenance is harder than losing. It’s 100% true. I haven’t been losing weight for health since last year and I know that seems confusing for people who have started following me within the past eight months. That’s also the difference between using your body for sport and just living life and focusing on overall health.

In previous posts you can see a shift in my mindset, in my mental health. Just like in the tone of someone’s voice, there are times you can see in my writing that things were bothering me, or just weren’t going in a direction I had been anticipating – which ultimately threw me off. While I’ve been stressed from classes, it’s normal stress, it’s not stress than gave me the urge to write, so I haven’t blogged, but I’ve journaled.

The past five weeks have been tough to say the least. The idea of balance has really taken a new life form. This past week was the first week in a month and a half that I felt I truly had routine with everything and felt some kind of peace with all aspects of my life.

I have four days left of classes, then 13 days off before starting the second summer session. I decided to take anatomy and physiology this summer because they’re foundation classes for my program. I need them to take other courses and by doing them in the summer it allows me to get ahead in my program. I also decided to take nutrition this summer because I have a big interest in it from my own experiences and I felt that it would be a good class to take at the same time as an intense lab course. In the long run taking these three classes actually saves me a year of school because of timing. I have busted my ass to think differently and learn how to study differently, learn how to memorize information. I have pushed myself to the point where I’ve said to JP “I don’t think my brain can hold anymore information.” His response – “Cristina that’s not how the brain works.” Thanks babe.

The past five weeks I have gone to class Monday to Thursday from 8 am to 12 pm. On Monday and Wednesday I go to work right after class and I’m there until about 6 pm. On Fridays I work from 6 am to 1 pm. I’ve been working with nine amazing clients this past month, a few new and a few re-occurring. Professional Cristina has been in full force with appropriate pockets to study. Days are packed! But I also made sure that I had the chance to have breakfast every morning with JP before we went our separate ways and that we had dinner together most nights too. Balancing professional Cristina with my relationship made it hard for me to figure out how to keep fitness Cristina in check so that personal Cristina felt that she had alone time away from professional development and relationships.

This isn’t being selfish, this is being realistic. You can’t give all of yourself to everyone else and then expect that you have energy left to give to yourself. I told JP this.

I told him that I missed my morning workouts. Yes, I was still going on Sunday morning’s while he’s still in bed, but I did miss the work week morning lifts. I like how they started my day. So we picked a day that he could do breakfast on his own and made sense for my class and work schedule – Wednesdays. In a perfect world, I’m working out five days a week because I like how it makes me feel. Monday’s and Saturday’s are rest days because that makes sense with my schedule. I have three back and leg combo days and my friend Alicia created two upper body days for me with the idea that one could be dropped if I getting to the gym wasn’t a priority one day – and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes focusing on my nutrition becomes the focus because doing homework and study is a priority.

I tell my clients on every check in that success looks different every week. I ask them do they believe the previous week was successful when they think about their goals that were initially set and what the outcomes were. I ask them what will make this upcoming week successful. If the goal is to get to the gym five days in the upcoming week, will four days still make them feel accomplished? If they reevaluated goals in the middle of the week after realizing they may have taken on too much, is that success – allowing yourself to reevaluate and not feel defeated? Is success partly looking at what you have accomplished and understanding why other things weren’t done and maybe continuing to work on them each week instead of setting a hard deadline?

A YouTuber I watch often made a video about this over the past week and it had me saying yes, over and over again. Success is different for everyone and it will even look different for you each week.

Finding a new routine took a lot of effort and is still taking a lot of effort to ensure that I feel like I’m doing everything I want to, everything I need to and that I still have time to breathe. But like I do with my clients, I ask myself what good still happened this week, what was I able to get done.

This week – I got four lifts done (skipping today as a rest day). I got a 98% on my quiz in A&P. I got a 94% on my exam in nutrition. I had date night with my boyfriend and ate the most ridiculous of ice cream sundaes. My lifts felt better than they have in weeks. I wore a crop top and wasn’t self-conscious about it. I gave myself a break from studying for two nights so I could relax and be strategically spontaneous.

Maintenance is hard, but to me it’s not necessarily about the scale or the tape meaure. Finding a new routine is hard. Shifting focus is hard. It’s through what challenges us that makes us better. The qualitative goals challenge us more than those that are quantifiable and they should. It’s like oxygen, we know it’s there because we’re breathing, but mostly we’re trusting that it doesn’t run out and leave us gasping. We have to gauge our progress in our qualitative goals based on feeling and we have to trust ourselves that we’re doing everything we can.

I am doing everything I can. I feel pretty good about the future.

❤ Cristina


I know I’m not alone in feeling that some days I’m just keeping my head above water. I’ve said it before, and I’m gonna say it now too, every day is what you make of it. If you have an outlook that it’s going to be a good day the chances are a lot higher that that’s going to be true. The same goes for negative thoughts going into a new day as well. I make lists to keep me organized and to give me some sense of control. I’m the kind of person that needs to see things being checked off as they happen. I’m not unique in this way, they call those people Type A.

I keep a handwritten calendar and a digital calendar just so I always have a place to write things down at all times. My handwritten calendar is at home and sits on my desk or in bed with me while I do homework or client check-ins. I keep a notebook on me at all times so I can jot down ideas as they come and go, mostly for stress relief, but sometimes just to write something that I’m thinking about. I blog because writing helps get everything out of my head and onto a screen so that I can reread it and make sure that I’m able to make some sense of it.

But through my lists, calendars and words sometimes it’s seems like I’m just going through the motions. Sometimes I feel like there’s a current pushing against me and pulling me down. And sometimes it’s in my head. I tell my clients it’s about stepping back and saying “no one is making you do all of these things. These are things that you want for yourself, for the long term, to better your opportunities.” And sometimes I remind them that it’s it’s OK to sink to the bottom and look around before bobbing right back up to the top.

Today I’m reminding myself of this. I just need to make sure that I get a big gulp of air just in case I sink down again.
Two weeks ago I was given my work schedule and I was booked for full-time hours. I wasn’t hired to be full-time, that’s not part of the plan. I’m going to school full-time and I’m coaching at what I consider to be a full-time caseload.  Working a retail job full-time was never part of the plan. I pointed this out to my manager and he told me that he felt bad because he knew I wasn’t making a lot. I told him I never approached him about getting more hours so he should’ve never assumed that this would’ve been OK – he needs to ask me before adding this many hours to my plate. I told him that I would try to handle it because I didn’t want to put him in a position since the schedule was already made, but the sinking feeling has been happening on and off. For those who don’t work retail – part-time is about 20 to 30 hours, but I was supposed to be scheduled for about 25-27; full-time is 30 to 40. The past two weeks I’ve been booked for 36ish hours, not including breaks.

I’ve got a lot going on, I like it that way, but after being on leave for so long it’s an adjustment being this busy again. I’ve been steadily chipping away at my lists and making sure I can check things off, but as each day passes and to-dos are completed, more are added to the list. Because I recognize that I was going to become overwhelmed, I decided to not take on 12 clients this month. I had a few clients tell me that they wanted to take charge and go on their own, something that I definitely encourage. It’s an opportunity for them to take with they’ve learned and apply it on their own terms, but there’s also allowed me to downsize slightly. For me this meant instead of 12 I took on eight individuals. That’s a manageable number, some of them are reoccurring and some of them are new, which means they’re on different check-in schedules.

Today started as an amazing day and I’m going to try to finish it that way, but right now as I’m writing this I’m frustrated. I’m stalled in one of my papers, and struggling to get the words out. The other paper I have no issue with and the outline itself is about the length of the paper supposed to be. But – I have a few chapters of reading I need to get done too and discussions. Just because there’s a paper to write doesn’t mean that the rest of the work is paused.

I was supposed to have therapy today, but since we went to an every other week schedule, he took me out completely. I need to send him an email to reschedule, but I also need to look at my calendar and see when I have time. Sadly I fear that I won’t have time for at least two weeks because of class and my outside-of-the-house job. I had some things I wanted to talk to him about – classes and work, personal things like prep and JP. I talk to JP and I talk to friends, but being in therapy is different.

I just wanted the break from everything. I love the gym because it gives me a place to release energy, but that doesn’t mean I have the chance to get thoughts out of my head – that’s what therapy and writing are for.

Right now, I don’t want to go to work because when I finish posting this I’m going to be highlighting through journal articles for my paper, which has had to evolve into something more broad due to lack of accessible research. I can think of all the other things I need and want to get done. I’m working on dividing my list: things that NEED to get done and things I WANT to get done. Ultimately, I WANT to get the dishes cleaned and out of the sink, but that can wait until tomorrow. I’m sure some of you could argue that I didn’t NEED to go to the gym, but ultimately – I did, that’s part of the plan. I did cut off two exercises for timing and went as hard as I could with what was on the agenda.

So the plan for the rest of the day is to at least pretend to breathe, make a cup of tea, knock out at least another paragraph of my paper, set a timer to work on client work and head off to work for the night. I’m bringing a text book to work tonight to read at least a chapter and check that off the list.

I have two more shifts this week and I have Friday off from my out-of-the-house job, which will give me time for writing my papers and client work. If I can just make it through this week, I will be gold.

On a positive note, even with this frustration I don’t feel anywhere near as stressed as I did months ago. That’s still something.

❤ Cristina


So I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while and I’m sitting down and doing it.

One of the excuses I’ve used in the past in relation to eating healthy and/or working out is that my work gets in the way. In some instances I would say well I have an event to go to and it’s hard to mingle when everyone else is eating. This is true, when you see someone drinking wine or eating mini quiches, you want it. When you have a lot day of meetings it can be exhausting to get to the gym. Completely true, getting there is most of the battle. The problem with these two thoughts is that you’re putting something else above yourself. While my career is important to me, I know my health is too. When I’m eating well, I have more energy and I’m happier. When I get my workout in, I’m more productive and again, happier.

I travel for work a few times a month and I meet people for lunches and dinners, all of these are day trips, but it still adds the hard task of staying on track. Most restaurants don’t have an easy way to track their meals, but if you have an idea of portions then eating out can be easier than you think.

Most of my success I have to attribute to meal prepping and planning.

Last month I went a conference that last two nights and 2 days. I have been to day conferences before and I know that they usually involve mini muffins, juice and coffee for breakfast; salad with very little protein for lunch and dinner is on your own. I LOVE mini muffins, but I don’t like the extra sugar and wasted carbs that come with them. I knew that was going to be something I wanted to skip. I also don’t drink juice. Even when they say they aren’t from concentrate, they have high sugar content. Again, why waste precious carbs on something so empty?

I went into this with a goal: I wanted to stick to my competition prep lifestyle as much as possible. So I took what I knew and went from there. The first thing I knew was that the hotel had a gym I would have access to. I honestly had no excuse to not use it in the morning. So I packed two days workout clothes, headphones, lifting gloves and shoes. I didn’t know what kind of equipment there would be, but I knew I could improvise if I needed to. Since I had planned on lifting and I knew that there was very little protein typically served at these functions I packed 2 servings of my cellucor whey protein. Scooped, bagged and in a tupperware so it wouldn’t spill.

The next thing I knew is that I really like a high protein and carb breakfast. This always keeps me full the longest and helps me prevent snacking. Since I’m picky with weighing things that I can’t scan, I brought my own apples, one for each day.

I called the hotel to see if there was going to be a fridge in the room that I could use for free. Guess what? There was. So I also brought Chobani Greek yogurt: 1 they were one sale, 2 perfect portions for breakfast.

I looked at the conference schedule and noticed that lunch would be later than I was used to on both days, so I packed snacks. I packed fun carbs, protein and healthy fats:

  • Scooby Snack graham cracker packs
  • Mozzarella cheese string cheese
  • Quest bars
  • Kind Bar
  • Pretzels
  • Caramel Rice Crisps (think mini rice cakes)

I have sad obsession with string cheese, but it’s got great fat and protein. At 80 calories, it’s great to help hold you over until you get a plate in front of you. That plate was definitely my concern the first day because like I mentioned I knew breakfast items weren’t well rounded. To save myself some heartache, I brought 1 meal prepped meal of chicken, brown rice and asparagus.

I’m not saying that you need to do this to be serious about your health, but if you have any concerns you should take matters into your hands, so I did. I’m glad I did. Lunch was a salad with some romaine mix and maybe 2 ounces of chicken with a side of bread. I actually had people staring at my lunch and saying that they wish they had thought ahead.

Even though it sounds like I brought a lot, I was able to fit it in a normal size lunch bag that fit into my work purse, which could fit a small child in it :] I had an ice pack so everything would last the day and it eased my mind that my food was on track. This doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy myself though. With Starbucks on the main floor, I had a blendicano post-workout both mornings and the second day of the conference there was a cocktail hour during the closing.

Here comes the sneaky, everyone else is eating and I want to as well. You have to make to decision, does it fit my goals today? does it fit my goals tomorrow? will I beat myself up if I eat it? I have had a bad relationship with food in the past. I’ve had moments of binging, just like many women have, but the best way I find to prevent that is to not tell yourself you can’t have something. One bad meal isn’t going to hurt you, just like one good one isn’t going to make you thin overnight. I skimmed the room and saw what they had laid out. From pitas and hummus (very typical) to chocolate covered strawberries and some mini custards and dessert cups, cheese platters and alcohol.

Knowing I wanted to be able to enjoy a good dinner I grabbed one strawberry and a few pieces of cheese and pita. I know the problem can be saying stop, you’ve had enough, but there can also be a problem depriving yourself. I don’t believe packing my own food prevented me from enjoying my time at the conference, I think it gave me piece of mind and allowed me to scope out what food options there were. Something as small as bringing my water bottle helped I me hit one of my goals: at least 160 ounces of water. I don’t always hit this, but I knew I could focus on it.

I don’t think that these concepts are ones you can use for just travel, if you sit in an office like I do, then bring them to work daily. I keep a gallon jug of water at my desk and I fill my water bottle from it. I bring my meal prepped meals to the office and put them in the fridge in a bag with my name on it. There’s nothing wrong with packing a lunch. I also work out on my lunch hour sometimes. I work two jobs and it can be hard to fit it in during normal hours, but I know I can always take my hour break at work. I can always use the gym on campus. Don’t have a gym? Maybe walk around the building or a few laps on the floor. Maybe walk up and down the stairwell.

I love my job, but I can’t let it dictate my health. I sit down almost all day, and even that can lead to poor food choices. If you want this, do it for yourself. Recognize that small changes can be made. Don’t let work be another excuse.

 

 

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❤ Cristina

 


While I didn’t check everything off my list from my vacation, I got A LOT done! I did a few runs into the city/around my neighborhood. I lifted, yoga’d, didn’t zumba, but rowed, cooked, ate and slept a lot too. I saw friends and explored a little too. I got back to work Thursday and dove right in, HELLO, ALUMNI WEEKEND!

Here are my 100 Happy Days photos to recap a bit.

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Day 22: long distance relationships are my best relationships

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Day 23: Funny Faces at the end of a long day

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Day 24: gaining a little speed

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Day 25: Event weekends. We lose our minds, but it’s a damn good time.

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Day 26: new running applications and data

 

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Day 27: 3 years of June Alumni Weekend’s. Change happens, slowly but surely.

Out of all of these photos I have to say I’m most excited about the weightloss changes. I can’t wait to see next year’s comparison; hopefully bigger changes.


 

For Sunday Funday, I laid in bed for an hour or two, then ran some errands and then decided to go exploring. While running errands I stopped by Barnes and Noble, being on a budget, I didn’t buy anything, but I did take some pictures. These are the books I want to read this summer.

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With a full tank of gas, I got in the car, jumped on the highway and just started driving. Backroads, main roads, local ice cream shoppes. Two hours later, I turned on my GPS and headed home.

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It was good to have the music loud and the windows down. I think I’m prepared for a busy week at work. Tomorrow I have to work both jobs, so I’m going to try to get some cardio in during my lunch hour, with fingers crossed that I don’t tire myself out for my shift.

I hope you all had a great weekend !

 

❤ Cristina


Day 4: crazy coworkers who make the shift go by super fast! Some people don’t have one job, I’m lucky to have a second one to help pay my student loans. I have so much fun at work with these crazy ladies! #100happydays #happinessdoesntcomeinajar #workhard #retailtherapy

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Seriously? Is it just me, or does this week seem to be flying by a little faster than it should? I’m not complaining because I love the weekends like the next person, but I kind of want to be like, can I get off this ride, it’s nap time!

Last night I had a work event so I was out super late and didn’t get to bed until later (11 ish, I’m getting old!), so I thought my lack of sleep would make today drag, but it didn’t. By the time I looked at the clock it was lunch time and I drooled over Don Draper watched Mad Men and ate my lunch. The afternoon went by just as fast as the morning and I got a chunk of work done.

Since I didn’t have to work at my retail job, I knew I wanted to get to the gym, but I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for tonight. I texted a friend of mine who teaches Zumba and does a class on campus a few times a week. I had taken her class when I was at my old gym and we stayed in touch. She said she was teaching tonight and I should come by. MUSIC TO MY EARS!

As soon as I got home, I got straight to business- changed into my workout clothes and made myself some dinner. Her class is from 730 to 830 and dinner after was out of the question.

 

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I made buffalo chicken salad with extra Frank’s Red Hot. I’m obsessed with hot sauce and I’ve been craving wings lately, so this was a good alternative. While there is some cheese on my salad, everything else I’ve eaten today was squeaky clean so a tiny bit wouldn’t hurt and I would rather get rid of it faster than have it sit around or throw it out (world hunger and all).

After all the eating I did today I feel pretty good. It’s day 3 and I’m way less bloated than I was on day 1. Changing my workouts up a bit is also feeling pretty good too. I’m pushing myself without feeling like I’m going to far or have the chance to injure myself.

After dinner I worked on a recipe post from the other night and then headed off to Zumba. I had never done any of the routines in this class, but I picked it up pretty fast. We did the Footloose line dance, and OMG your left leg gets such a workout! There needs to be a change up when you switch sides and use the right. I’m sure I’ll feel this in the morning.

I had some awesome energy after class so after I got home and showered I made two things to eat over the next few days: another pizza and paleo breakfast muffins. I put onions and mushrooms on this pizza because I had some left over veggies in the fridge. I definitely let it cook a little longer than the one from the other night, yay for crispy crust!

The breakfast muffins are actually on my 50 recipes in 2014 list and something I found on Pinterest, but the post is from another fellow WordPress blogger. Check out my post and check out Pop an Egg on It, the blog I got the recipe from.

Well with the momentum of the first three work days, tomorrow is packed so I’m heading to bed. Happy Hump Day!

 

❤ Cristina