Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Finding Freedom in Fitness: My Journey


Finding Freedom in Fitness



When I was younger, I never wanted to exercise.  I wasn’t on any sports teams, and because I was homeschooled I didn’t have any kind of Physical Education class.  I hated running and walking farther than a few feet.  My parents always encouraged me to be physically active because I would “regret it later if you don’t start now”.  The state law says that children aren’t allowed to ride in the car without a car seat until they weighed 100 pounds.  I didn’t weigh 100 pounds until I was about 10 years old (far behind most girls my age).

I never worried about exercising when I was younger because I was so skinny.  Extremely skinny.  My friends that were my age could pick me up easily because I was so light.  I could eat whatever I wanted and not gain any weight.  I never had a problem with any of this and it was all great until it came to get new pants.  I hated pant shopping, and still do.  No pants ever fit me.  When I was finally big enough to wear an extra small in the juniors department in tops, I was still wearing a size 10 in children’s pants.  I was also pretty short which made things even worse.

Last fall I got fed up.  I was tired of being tiny and not being able to wear anything.  I decided that I needed to gain weight in order to be able to wear the clothes I wanted.  So I would eat and eat and still not have anything to do with exercise.  I didn’t notice any significant changes and I was still sewing the waist of my pants to make them smaller.  One day, I just thought “what am I doing?  Trying to get fat just to be able to wear my jeans?” And I realized, what I needed to do wasn’t just sitting around waiting to gain enough weight, I needed to become stronger and gain more muscle instead of fat.  The only way to do that was to workout.

I watched some videos on fitness to get inspired and motivated (because honestly I had NO clue where to start).  This is when I found Sam Ozkural.  I started watching some of her videos and she is AMAZING (I highly recommend checking her out).  One day in September, I put together an exercise routine and gave it a try.  I have to say, it was hard.  My body wasn’t used to using up all that energy at once.  But after I finished that first workout, it felt amazing.  Not so much the next day, however.  My legs were so sore I could barely move.  But I felt better than I ever had before.

At first, it was really hard to stay motivated.  The first few months I had a hard time staying focused and on a schedule.  It was hard not seeing the improvements right away.  It was hard to get through the workouts because I was getting tired in the middle of them, but I kept going.  Kept pushing myself harder each time.

Almost a year later, so much has changed.  I’ve been working out consistently 3-4 times a week and I love it.  I can get through the sessions now without getting too overwhelmed or tired, and it is sooo rewarding afterwards.  I still feel tired after a workout, but it’s a good kind of tired.  I can endure longer days without becoming exhausted.  I’ve noticed changes in my body too.  I’m much stronger now (it’s not super visible yet but the muscles are there!), my stomach muscles are stronger, and I’m in much better shape than I was before. 

Now I look forward to my workouts instead of dreading them.  Now I don’t exercise to gain or lose weight.  I don’t obsess over the models on Instagram and try to look at them.  Because I don’t think that should be the purpose of fitness and exercise.  It’s okay to be skinny or a little heavier, every body type is beautiful.  Because it’s YOUR body.  God didn’t make you to look exactly like someone else.  You are unique and special in your own way.  At the end of the day, it’s about being confident about who you are and how you were made.  And that’s what fitness is about for me.


P.S. I still can’t fit in any pants and that will probably be a struggle for the rest of my life

Monday, June 25, 2018

Through Trials of Temptation...


Through Trials of Temptation…



This post is going to be a little different than what I usually write about.  I’m not giving you tips on how to live a good life, telling you what to eat, or what make-up products to use.  I’m hoping that today we can have a heart-to-heart conversation about a problem that is very real and persistent in the lives of so many people. I prayed a lot before I opened my computer to start writing this.  And I pray that you will open up your soul to receive the message I’m going to attempt to convey here.

The only resource I’m using today in this post is my Bible.  I want this to speak to everyone reading this, but specifically the young people here like me, who may be struggling with this issue right at this moment.  There are so many issues going on in our world today that people my age are struggling with and maybe they don’t have anyone to tell them these stories, or maybe they don’t know Jesus at all.  Whatever the case may be, I want this to speak to them.

Eve was the first human to struggle with this.  God had given her and Adam one simple rule to follow.  That rule was that they could eat from any tree in the garden of Eden, all except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16).  So God told Adam that he could have the fruit from ANY tree he wanted except for that specific tree, or if they did then they would certainly die.  He had a lot of options in the garden for food.  But one day after Eve was created from Adam’s rib, a serpent came along and asked if she and Adam were allowed to eat fruit from the garden.  Eve told the serpent what God had said.  The serpent told Eve that they would not die if they ate the fruit, but that they would be like God and know good and evil (Genesis 3:4-5).

So here she was, in the middle of the garden talking to this serpent, Eve probably didn’t know what to do.  She could just ignore the temptation and follow the rule God had given her and Adam, or she could eat the fruit like the serpent told her to do.  Well, Eve gave in and ate the fruit.  After she ate some herself, she gave some to Adam (and here we also see Adam being tempted by his wife, Eve) who also ate the fruit from the forbidden tree.  This is where sin first began.

Once they had eaten the fruit, what happened next?  Did they die immediately like God said they would?  No, but as you can imagine, God wasn’t so happy.  The first humans had disobeyed him and He decided they must be punishment.  His punishment for man and woman was not death as He had first said, but He punished them by giving them physical and emotional pain that would affect them later in life (Genesis 3:14-19).

Because Eve gave into temptation, sin entered the world.  If Eve hadn’t given into the temptation and didn’t eat from the forbidden tree, could you imagine what our world would be like?  No one would make mistakes, no one would make bad choices, there would be no such thing as a crime, everything would be perfect.  Not exactly.  Because when we sin, we learn from those mistakes and those lessons make us wiser for the future.

Let’s take a look at another example from God’s word.  This time we’re in Matthew chapter 4, during the time when Jesus was fasting for 40 days.  He was led into the wilderness by Satan, who told Him to make stones into bread (Matthew 4:3-4).  Jesus resisted, only to be tempted again by Satan to throw Himself off of a high point on a temple (Matthew 4:5-7).  Again, Jesus resisted.  After that, Satan told Him to worship him and he would give Jesus kingdoms and thrones.  By this time, Jesus had had enough and sent the devil away.

Jesus did not give into the temptation.  Keep in mind, He was also fasting so He was probably very hungry.  But Jesus does not give into any kind of temptations.  He is the example we should live by each time we are tempted by something in our lives.  We cannot resist temptation as easily as Jesus, because we are only human and not perfect.  But we can surround ourselves with positive people and influences that will help us make good decisions.

If you’ve ever been in a tempting situation, you know it’s not so easy to say no.  In fact, it will probably be one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do.  But the one thing you can do is in that moment, just pray and ask God for His guidance on what you should do.  Then all you have to do is ask yourself, “would Jesus do this?”  That should help you and give you all the wisdom you need to make the best choice. 

Adam and Eve brought sin into this world, but you always have a choice to sin.  We are not perfect and will always make mistakes, but luckily we have a forgiving father in Heaven who does not judge us by our past mistakes and loves us even when we do wrong.  There is nothing greater than His love and grace and He is with us in every situation we face.



Tuesday, May 22, 2018

7 Ways to Stay Healthy and Fit This Summer


7 Ways to Stay Healthy and Fit This Summer

I am so excited to finally announce that…SUMMER. IS. HERE.  For me this means: a trip to the beach, staying up late, bonfires, the county fair, and of course the most important part, no school.  Although so far my summer hasn’t been all that exiting because all I’ve done is binge watch 13 Reasons Why Season 2…but that’s not the point.  Anyway, now that school is out I want to try to post more this summer, so keep an eye out for more new posts.

            Summer can be quite busy for some people.  Traveling, parties, festivals, and all kinds of things can fill up our summer days.  During all this it’s easy to get distracted from our healthy habits and lifestyle.  So today, I want to share a few tips that will help you stay on track during these next few months.


1.  Try some new healthy recipes

We all get bored of eating the same things all the time.  This summer, instead of getting lazy and converting to a junk food diet, try some fresh new healthy recipes.  Pinterest has a variety of easy, healthy recipes that are perfect for summer.  Try some fresh salads or cold veggie wraps for a delicious, healthy meal after a long, hot day.


2.  Change your workout routine

I don’t know about you, but I get tired of doing the same workout routine after a while.  Summer is the perfect opportunity to switch things up a bit and try some new exercises.  Or if you don’t want to change everything completely, try your current routine in a new order.  If you keep the same routine for a long time, a) well it just gets boring, and b) it makes exercising a little more interesting when you have something new to try.  Try a few different things and find what works best for you and your body!


3.  Spend  time outside

It’s summer.  The weather is finally warm, and the great outdoors are practically calling your name.  Take the opportunity to be outside and enjoy the season.  Buy some yard games such as corn hole, latter ball, or a badminton set (which you can find at stores such as Walmart or Target for pretty cheap).  Evenings are the perfect time for having a nice fire in a fire pit.  Take advantage or warm weather and don’t forget to wear sunscreen (because no one likes sunburns)!


4.  Start a new book or series

No more schoolbooks….so that means there’s plenty of time for what I like to call pleasure reading.  Summer is the perfect time to spend your days outside reading a good book.  Set a goal for how many books you hope to read this summer and finish them!  I like to get on Goodreads to check my “to-read bookshelf” and read reviews on books I’m thinking of reading.


5.  Tan naturally


The chemicals used in fake tan sprays and lotions can be harmful and toxic to your body, so avoid using them.  You can get a tan just by spending a few hours outside.  Just an hour each day can get you a little darker (30 minutes on your back or stomach, then switch sides).  But make sure you use sunscreen or else you’ll get a bit tanner than you had planned.


6.  Be active in fun ways

Exercising doesn’t always have to mean squats and lifting weights.  You can easily stay fit by doing some fun things.  Try bike riding on some trails, going on hikes, or even swimming a few laps in the pool.  These activities keep you active and are enjoyable, plus you’re having fun and it doesn’t even feel like a workout!  Grab a friend to do these things with to make it even more fun. 


7.  Drink lots of water

I know this is something you should be doing all year, but during the summer, it is especially important to stay hydrated.  Heat strokes are a real thing, but you can avoid that by drinking lots of fluids.  This summer try to stay away from sugary and energy drinks that are unhealthy and bad for your body.  Try to drink as much water as possible (I usually try to drink 64 oz. a day) and you’ll be good to go for the summer!



That’s all I have for you today!  I hope you enjoyed these tips and if you have any tips on ways to stay healthy this summer, I’d love to hear from you!


Monday, May 14, 2018

My Trip To Washington, D.C.!




(Disclaimer: nothing said here is to “brag” about what I have been fortunate enough to experience.  I wrote this because I know some people like reading these types of posts.  Please feel free to click away at any time you wish).
My Trip To Washington, D.C.!

What’s up everyone?  I hope you’ve been doing well.  I know I’ve been happy to finally see some sunny days and warm weather, and I’m also happy because guess what?  I just got back from vacation!

I’ve wanted to do a travel post for so long now, but the problem was I didn’t travel anywhere.  UNTIL NOW.  So now I’m so excited to tell you all about where I went and what I did while I was there.  Being in high school, it’s a little harder to travel because of many factors, but I’m always thankful for every trip I’m able to go on.  One of my goals for in the future is to travel more (maybe visit another country someday?), so if you like this post please let me know if you’d like to see more travel posts in the future!

So without reading the title of the post (which you probably already have if you’ve made it this far), can you guess where I went?  If you said Washington, D.C., you win the prize (the joke’s on you though because there is no prize).  Anyway, yes I went to Washington, D.C. for the first time a few weeks ago with my family, for a few days.  I thought I’d spend today telling you about my experience there.

Day 1
So on the first full day there (Sunday), we had planned to spend the morning going around and visiting the monuments.  The problem, however, was that it was VERY windy (and just for the record, I’ve been to Chicago too and D.C. was the windiest place I’ve ever been in my life).  So instead, we went to the Museum of Modern History.  I have to say though, that for a Smithsonian, it definitely wasn’t the coolest museum I’ve ever been to.  It had some things that were interesting, but for me it was just another museum.

            After eating lunch there (we packed sack lunches every day we were there), we headed over to the National Archives.  For me it was a super cool experience to be able to see the founding documents.  Obviously I’ve read them in school, but it was a completely different experience to actually see the original documents and read the real handwriting.  We didn’t spend a lot of time in the rest of the building, but it was nothing special anyway.

            After that we spent the rest of the day going to the monuments that we were supposed to go to in the morning.  The weather was slightly better (and less windy) in the late afternoon.  Instead of walking, though, we rode the Metro bus around to each stop (which saved my poor legs a few steps). 






Day 2
            In the morning, we hit up the Museum of Natural History.  Again, I wasn’t too impressed.  I did like it better than the modern history one, however (probably because they had live fish).  We at lunch there then took a bit of a hike to the other side of town, where we got a glimpse of the White House.  It was pretty far away, but now at least I can say I’ve seen it.

            After that we went to what was probably the coolest place I’ve ever been on earth.  If you go to Washington, D.C., make sure you go to the Renwick Art Museum.  I’ve never been a huge fan of art museums in general, but the stuff in this place is unlike any art you’ll ever see.  I’ll let the pictures do the talking on this one….  

When we got done at the art museum, we went and ate at a restaurant called “Old Ebbitt Grill”.  10/10 would recommend eating there if you’re ever in the area.  I got the turkey burger (also would recommend) and it was delicious.  So that was about it for day two.






Day 3
Tuesday, on our last full day in D.C., we went to the Arlington National Cemetery in the morning.  While we were there, we got to watch the “changing of the guard” ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider (and if you don’t know what that is, I’d recommend looking it up online and watching a video of it).  There are so many soldiers buried at Arlington, many who have served in more than one of the wars.  It’s not the most “fun” or “exciting” thing to see in Washington, but it’s well worth the visit.

In the afternoon, we got to take a tour of the Capitol building.  This was super cool because even though we didn’t get to see all of it, we got to see the Rotunda, along with two other rooms.  The art and structure inside the building is extremely unique, and it’s something to definitely try to do if you’re planning a Washington, D.C. trip.  The tour is electronic, so it’s easy to hear the person talking, while looking around at the same time.

The last place we visited was the Library of Congress.  This was probably my second favorite part of the whole trip, because the inside of it is pretty cool.  You are even able to see part of Thomas Jefferson’s famous book collection, and (through glass) are able to see the main part of the building.




That about wraps up the summary of what we did in Washington, D.C..  While it wasn’t my favorite trip I’ve been on, it is well worth a visit once in your lifetime.  There is an extremely large amount of history held there, and we barely even saw a fraction of it.  But overall, I had a great time there and I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to go.


Friday, April 27, 2018

Going Vegan for A Week



Eating Vegan for a Week

            “You’re crazy right?” yeah, that’s exactly what I said to myself too.  There’s all kinds of crazy rumors about vegans.  A lot of people ask “so what do vegans eat?” and don’t actually know what vegan means.  So if you’re one of those people, here’s something that will make things a lot more clear for you”

Vegan- no animal products (dairy, meat, eggs, etc.)

At first it seems really scary, but when you think about all the things you CAN eat, it gets better I promise.  In fact, there are probably things you eat every day that are vegan and you don’t even realize it.  It’s not always necessary to change your whole diet (unless of course it’s for a health related reason).  It’s easier to start out with the foods you’re already used too, instead of suddenly changing everything.

So now I’m going to tell you about my experience.  I would like to say, however, that if you’re seriously considering becoming a vegan to give it a lot more time than just one week, which is what I chose to do.  Lifestyle choices like this take a while to take effect.

Monday


From my journal:

[eating vegan] was a lot easier than I expected it to be.  I barely even felt tempted to eat anything else.  I think the most important thing is to have the right mindset (saying “I CAN do this” instead of “this is way too hard”).  I ate dinner at Olive Garden and it was extremely difficult to order something that wasn’t vegan, but overall it was a good start to the week

So obviously the first day wasn’t too hard, aside from the Olive Garden part.  Olive Garden is one of my FAVORITE restaurants ever, so getting something vegan was a little hard for me (but I still enjoyed it anyway).  Also, I have a short story about the whole Olive Garden experience.  So I wasn’t sure if I could have the breadsticks they serve, so I asked the waitress about it and she told me the breadsticks were not vegan, and did in fact, have egg in them.  So I went home, disappointed, but later as I was looking on a website that tells you about the food at Olive Garden (for vegans, vegetarians, and people with allergies), it said that they were indeed vegan after all.  So if anyone who works at Olive Garden is reading this, you owe this girl some breadsticks.

What I ate:
Breakfast- apples and cinnamon oatmeal
Lunch- chickpea salad (like chicken salad except made with chickpeas and vegan mayo. Tastes DELICIOUS), Trisquit crackers, and mango
Dinner- pasta with marinara sauce and salad
Snacks- waffle fries from Chick-fil-A

Tuesday
From my journal:

Still going strong!  Today was a little harder than yesterday, just because I felt “restrained from eating other foods.  I felt really tired in the morning, but I’m not sure if it was from my new diet or from something else.  But other than that, day 2 was a success!

            So yes, the motivation and perseverance from day 1 had worn off by day 2, but still pretty good by my standards. I read that it’s important to make sure you’re getting the correct amount of protein and vitamins that are in things like meat and dairy, so that’s one thing to remember if you’re considering going vegan.  I wasn’t trying too hard, since it was only for a week, but if you’re going to be eating vegan for a long time, make sure you’re eating the proper amounts of protein and vitamins.

What I ate:
Breakfast- peanut butter whole wheat toast
Lunch- chickpea salad and harvest grains (a mix of quinoa, orzo pasta, and corn from Trader Joe’s.  THE BEST)
Dinner- leftovers from Olive Garden, salad, and garlic toast
Snacks- orange, mug cake, cereal

Wednesday


From my journal:

It got a lot harder to stay focused and not eat things that I can’t have.  I think it’s mostly out of laziness because it takes a lot longer to prepare vegan and healthier food.  But on the positive side, I am getting more used to it.  I definitely don’t miss eating meat.  I’ve noticed I feel really good after I eat too.  I don’t feel bloated or sick after I eat which is really nice.

            That was when I started to notice the effect of what I was and wasn’t eating.  I really don’t like meat that much, so that was why I said it was one of the easier parts.  Also, I wasn’t feeling sick or bloated after I eat too, which is something I normally feel after I eat a big meal.

What I ate:
Breakfast- apples and cinnamon oatmeal
Lunch- baked potato and brown rice
Dinner- Mexican chopped salad wrap and tortilla chips
Snacks- apple, Trisquit crackers

Thursday


From my journal:

I expected to give up by now and eat something I can’t have, but that still has yet to happen.  Today I felt a little more “full” from my meals than I have the last few days.  The problem is that these foods still fill you up, but not for as long so you’re hungry more often.  Today was definitely easier and I’m still not missing anything.

            So yes, by this day I’ve gotten in the rhythm and routine of this, still not missing anything.  Also another thing is that like I mentioned, you still feel full and fulfilled from these meals, but just not for as long.

What I ate:
Breakfast- cereal
Lunch- Mexican chopped salad wrap and tortilla chips
Dinner- pineapple stir fry, peas, and a corn muffin
Snacks- crackers and hummus, mug cake

Friday


From my journal:

Still going strong as a vegan!  I really thought I wouldn’t last this long, but I’m actually starting to like it.  I feel less conscious of what I’m eating now, like it’s become a routine.  I haven’t been missing the way I used to eat either, and I’m considering sticking with this if it is successful.  Now all I have to do is make it through the weekend!

Okay so by this point I’m starting to get used to it….and surprisingly liking it!  I didn’t have to think as much about what I was eating, and nope, still not missing anything.

What I ate:
Breakfast- cereal
Lunch- pasta and fruit
Dinner- enchiladas, white corn, and corn muffin
Snacks- ritz crackers, trisquits and hummus

Saturday
From my journal:

            Today was probably one of the harder days because I went to work and all the food there was so tempting.  Then I went to Cracker Barrel for dinner and they had hardly anything that I could eat.  I still feel pretty good though (besides hungry all the time).

            So like I said, I went to work where I was pretty much surrounded with things I couldn’t eat.  Resisting the temptation was so hard, but I only had one more day left so I couldn’t mess up at the end right?  And let me just say, restaurants really need to get on it and have more vegan options.

What I ate:
Breakfast- apples and cinnamon oatmeal
Lunch- black bean/hummus veggie wrap, apple, and pita crackers
Dinner- salad, fresh fruit, and fries
Snacks- toast with jelly

Sunday


From my journal:

            Today was the last day!  I’m so happy but also kind of sad at the same time.  I’m really glad I did this experiment because I felt so good about what I was eating.  One thing I did crave today was dessert….not surprising, really.  Anything with sugar was on my mind today.  I also didn’t feel as full after lunch, which is one of the biggest things I’ve noticed this week.  But I did it!

            It’s such a good feeling to prove yourself wrong.  I never thought that I would last the entire week, but I did!  Like I said, I craved a lot of sugar today but I craved that even when I wasn’t a vegan.  But I had a lot of motivation to stay focused obviously, since it was the last day.  But I did it!

What I ate:
Breakfast- cereal and toast
Lunch- salad, pita chips, and hummus
Dinner- Samosa patties,


            So that was it!  As I said, I’m so glad I did this because you really do feel better about what you’re eating.  I would totally encourage doing this if you’re considering being vegan or vegetarian.  Just try it out and see how it goes.  Also, if you’re already vegan or vegetarian, send me some of your favorite recipes! 


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Spring DIY: Flower Wall Hanging


Spring DIY: Flower Wall Hanging



Good evening (or afternoon, morning; whatever time it is for you)!  I asked you guys on my social media what kind of posts you want to see in the near future, and I’m here to deliver your first choice, which was a Spring DIY.  While I was looking for inspiration, I had a hard time finding something that wasn’t too difficult or Easter themed.  I came across these flower wall hangings, and I thought these would be the perfect thing to make because one, they’re super easy, and two, you can even leave them up through the summer!

            This project only takes about 30-45 minutes in only 5 easy steps!  The supplies cost under $10.  The items you will need are:


  • A stick from the yard that is fairly thin, but not too thin that it will break off (I painted mine black but that’s optional)
  • String or ribbon (the thinner the better)
  • Fake flowers (I purchased mine from the dollar store.  Make sure you pick matching colors that will look good together)
  • Scissors
  • Wire cutters



Step #1



Cut 4 strands of ribbon, each about 4 feet long.

Step #2


Start cutting the stems off the flowers with your wire cutters.  Make sure to leave about an inch left to have something to tie the ribbon on with later.

Step #3

Lay the ribbons out on a flat surface and start to organize your flowers to where you want them to hang on the ribbon.  Make sure to scatter them so you won’t have just rows.  You want them to be organized, but yet not look organized if that makes sense


Step #4




Starting at the bottom, begin to tie the flowers onto the ribbon.  Make sure you tie them tight.  I double knotted mine just to be safe.  Also make sure you leave room at the bottom.

Step #5




Tie your finished ribbon onto the stick, about 2 or 3 inches apart.  Then, hang your new decoration up! 





And that’s it!  Super easy and simple.  This will make a perfect decoration for a party or photo booth.  The bright colors re perfect for spring and even summer, and the best part is, they won’t die on you! 

Happy crafting!