Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dear Siri Om, you rock (plus a new job!)

Yesterday I had a really great Bikram yoga class with Siri Om at Bikram Yoga Fairfax. It was one of those classes where I took myself to the yoga studio because I really needed to take class to work through some stuff mentally. It was probably because I didn't go to yoga on Saturday or Sunday (poor life choices, I'm telling you), but I am so, so so glad that I went on Monday.

I think the clean eating makes my yoga practice easier. I felt so strong in all of the balancing series, and even was able to get both legs locked out in standing head to knee to the point of beginning to bend my elbows below my calf muscles. And I didn't sit out any of spine-strengthening series, which is a big accomplishment for me!

The best part of class, though, was that it was like Siri Om was talking directly to me during the dialogue. I should back up and say that taking classes with her is a treat every time because she radiates positive energy and inner peace. She is obviously so convicted in the healing power of Bikram yoga, and it's just inspiring. </end crunchy-granola talk> Anyways, during class, she talked about how your practice, and life, is a journey and that it's so important to enjoy the journey in order to really appreciate the destination.

It's pretty incredible that sometimes you hear exactly what you need to hear from an outside party who has no idea what you're going through.

In other news, I started a new job at Carlyle, which is a part of the Great American Restaurant chain. I attended an orientation tonight, and I am so excited to learn and interact with people on a daily basis -- especially since I love the food! It's really an organization full of people who love what they do and are passionate about providing fantastic service and building connections. I am so ready to enjoy this part of my journey :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Egg whites: one of my favorite foods!

I know most people think they're gross, but I actually really love egg whites. And that's a good thing, because my new plan has me eating a minimum of six egg whites every day, more if I choose. Egg whites are a pretty solid choice nutritionally because they're pure protein - one large egg white has four grams of protein and only 16 calories.

The easiest way to prepare them is to cook yourself an egg patty in the microwave. I picked this up from another blog I read called Run, Eat, Repeat, and it's so simple that I have to share! Basically, you get a microwave-safe bowl, spray it with cooking spray, and put four egg whites into it. Microwave it for 1.5 minutes, but be sure to take it out of the microwave if it starts to pop (otherwise you'll end up with a mess). If you sprayed the bowl prior to cooking, your egg patty will slide right out either onto a plate or only a homemade breakfast sandwich.

Here are my favorite ways to eat egg whites:

By themselves: sprinkle with salt and pepper (or my favorite, garlic powder!) and serve with ketchup on the side. I use reduced sugar ketchup, and I actually like it better than regular.

In psuedo-fried rice: I make fake fried rice by combining cooked brown rice, egg white, veggies, and seasonings in a pan on the stove. Combine until the egg whites are cooked and enjoy!

In a one-bowl-mess: Basically, I top a base of brown rice with vegetables, chicken, egg whites (scrambled on the stove), and tomato sauce. This is one of my favorite meals to eat.

On a breakfast sandwich: Toast a bagel thin or a deli thin, spread cream cheese lightly on one side and place a slice of cheese on the other. Top the side with the slice of cheese on it with an egg white patty and then add a spoonful of tomato sauce or pesto for extra flavor.

You can also use egg whites in smoothies, oatmeal, pancakes, and more for extra protein. Egg whites really have no taste to them, which means they take on the taste of whatever you cook them with!

Any other ideas of how to use egg whites? I've got a lot to eat and could use some suggestions!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Lunch today included an ENTIRE CUCUMBER.


As I had mentioned in an earlier post, I met with a nutritionist at my boxing gym last week. She explained that after analyzing my body composition, activity level, and fitness goal (competing in Miss Virginia USA in November!), I’d be receiving a personal nutrition plan via email. I spent all day Thursday (the day I was supposed to receive it) refreshing my inbox – I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to receive an email, it felt like Christmas! Finally, on Thursday night I received my plan.

I chose to meet with a nutritionist because I was having trouble eating enough calories worth of healthy, wholesome food to supplement my activity level – I really just had no idea how to do it! Her plan has me eating 1800 calories a day, with the majority of my calories coming from healthy fats and protein. It has me eating clean – lots of veggies, lean protein, oatmeal, etc – through 5-6 meals a day. It is a plan that is sustainable, especially since it comes in this handy Excel spreadsheet that lets me make substitutions if I don’t want to eat whatever is on the plan for the day.

Yesterday I got to go grocery shopping (one of my favorite things to do!), and got everything I’ll need for the next week or two for $50 – thanks to Safeway’s Just For U program, I was able to save over $25!


What I bought:

Proteins: 3 dozen eggs (cheaper than buying cartons of egg whites!), turkey, tilapia, boneless skinless chicken breast, tuna, plain 0% fat Greek yogurt, walnuts

Grains: (I already had brown rice and quinoa at home) Quick cooking oatmeal, whole grain waffles (not clean, but allowed!)

Produce: Bananas, apples, strawberries, spinach, broccoli, cucumbers, green peppers, frozen broccoli, canned green beans

So today is day two of following her plan, and I’m actually finding it hard to eat everything I’m supposed to be eating. For my second meal today, for example, I had chicken, brown rice, AN ENTIRE CUCUMBER, and walnuts. And that’s just one meal!

I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on how it’s going, and to share any tasty recipes I come up with (be on the lookout for a post about how to not get bored with egg whites).

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Friday, July 27, 2012

What's inspiring me this week

Thanks Kasey for reminding me that I haven't done one of these posts in a while! Here's what's inspiring me from Pinterest this week:

Friday, July 13, 2012

My abs are starting to show and it is very confusing.

Some crazy things have been happening in my life recently. Well, one crazy thing really. Over the last few days, while staring at myself during Bikram class (that's what you're supposed to do, I'm not narcissistic, I promise), I have begun to notice something strange going on in the general area of my abs. Something resembling the outline of a six pack? Like real athletes have? It's all very confusing.

You see, I've never had toned abs, and I've certainly never had a six pack.Not in high school when I was cheering and playing softball, not during the last time I was competing in swimsuit pageants, never. It is almost surreal, and probably the second greatest thing to happen since I started this whole yoga-boxing-running-lifting journey (number one is that my arms are getting toned. I really used to hate my arms, but that's a different story for a different time).

At first I thought I was imagining it (hence why this is the first time I've mentioned it), but sure enough, over the last week, I keep seeing the beginnings of six pack showing up.

I had a trainer once (hi Kyle!) who told me that it's 70% nutrition. Now, I've had some pretty awesome results, especially in the fitness/strength department, with exercising alone, but I really haven't been serious about my nutrition. But now that I'm starting to see results from my workouts, I really think trying to clean up my diet (not diet, clean up what I'm eating, period) might be what I need.

My boxing gym is pretty great, and I have a free appointment scheduled with a nutritionist on Tuesday. I'm really excited to discuss my goals with her and see what guidance she has for me. I think it's going to be tricky, because I really need to be sure I'm eating enough calories, especially with marathon training starting.

Sidenote: by the end of tonight, I'll have another tab on the top that's a daily log of my workouts. I typically record them on a paper calendar, but I figure I'll share them with you too!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Weekly Workouts

I've alluded to this before but: over the last two months, I've worked out A LOT. I've been lucky in that my part time job affords me the time to be able to be active as much as possible. It's the reason I've shaped up so quickly.

The bottom line is, if you want results quickly, you have to work hard. A lot. And you have to eat enough to fuel all of the exercise you're doing -- this part is the most important.

Anyways, the real point of this post is this: I really need to start planning out my workouts in order to balance all of the activities I like to do. Earlier today, I went to my gym to do an upper body workout and realized I hadn't been there in two weeks! Plus, with marathon training starting, I have to plan all that in as well. I currently have three different memberships (whoops): One to my regular gym where I run and lift weights, one to my Bikram yoga studio, and one to my boxing gym. Sidenote: I joined a boxing gym. Yes, I love it, and yes, it kicks my butt every time I go. I justify all three because they're all for different activities, so dropping one would mean I lost one area of my training.

So Wednesdays are now for planning. And I'm sharing it here so that I can hold myself to following through on each part, and so that you can get an idea of what I'm doing to kick myself into shape. So here's this week:

Morning: Bikram yoga
Afternoon: Kickboxing, Lower body, 3 mile run

Morning: Boxing

Morning: Boxing
Afternoon: Bikram Yoga, Upper body, 3 mile run

Morning: Boxing
Afternoon: Bikram Yoga, Lower body, 5 mile run

Morning: Bikram yoga
Afternoon: Kickboxing

Morning: Bikram yoga
Afternoon: Kickboxing, Upper body, 3 mile run

Morning: Bikram yoga, Boxing
Afternoon: I fly to San Antonio for ANTSO National Miss Nationals!!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

On DG, Greek Life, and Convention

Last weekend, I was blessed to be able to attend Delta Gamma's 65th International Biennial Convention in Indianapolis. It was truly one of the highlights of my Delta Gamma experience, and a great way to revisit my year as a CDC. I got to see many of the presidents I worked with over the year, meet the president of our chapter at the University of Virginia (where I will be taking on the role of ATC), catch up with fellow CDCs, and gain further appreciation for being a Delta Gamma - an organization that I chose to be a part of, and one that in turn chose me.

Look, Steph, you made the blog!!

Greek Life has the potential to change lives because it adds something to the undergraduate experience of men and women across the country. Let's be honest, if it did not offer something beyond partying, it would not still be relevant on our campuses.

I don't think I've posted on this before, so I'm going to do it now, in part as an answer to a challenge issued by Circle of Sisterhood founder Ginny Carroll during her speech at Convention. She challenged us to share with others why Delta Gamma meant as much as it did to us, and to share the moment when we were proudest to be a Delta Gamma.

One of my proudest moments as a Delta Gamma was when I returned to our Gamma Xi chapter at Texas Tech University in the Spring. I had visited the chapter in the fall and had had a really wonderful experience with the women, making a lot of connections and really enjoying my time in Lubbock. When I arrived in March, the chapter gave me a standing ovation, and I was greeted with hugs and smiles. The outpouring of love, support, and true sisterhood (despite these women having only known me for one week) was overwhelming.

The truth is, I have a lot of proud DG moments because DG has had such an impact on my life. I honestly believe that the organization has given me leadership and teamwork skills that I would not have been able to learn elsewhere, and I can say that members of my organization - collegiate and alumni alike- have shaped me into a person I am proud to be.

I believe that Greek organizations are capable of being catalysts for change and for good on college campuses, should collegiate members embrace the values that their organizations offer. I know because I have seen (and have been moved to tears by) it on campuses all over the country - large, small, public, private, you name it.

Delta Gamma, and other Greek organizations, remain relevant not because of the drinking, the partying, the hazing, but because they teach young adults how to live with values and purpose. They offer a secure, supportive setting in which 18-23 year-olds can grow as students, as leaders, and as friends. They are places in which young women and men and built up, encouraged to push their limits, and comforted during hard times.

What's more is that they offer a network of other members that span generational and geographical gaps. I have been inspired by Delta Gammas in collegiate chapters in Montana, Colorado, Maryland, Texas, Ohio, Florida... just to name a few, and by women at many different stages of life. I have learned and grown from their experiences in the organization.

There is truly no other subset of organization that offers quite the same experience.

If you're Greek, what's your proudest Greek moment? And if you're not, when have you seen a Greek organization at their best or worst?