healthy habits 2019!

One of my 2019 priorities is my health so I thought I would share some of my habits to kickstart the year!

Plant Based!

Processed with MOLDIV
July 2018 to January 2019

A picture says it all! I decided to go completely plant-based (vegan) in July of this year and it has radically changed my life for the better.  Not only have I lost +30lbs just through diet, my skin has never looked better (along with my vitamins!) and by eating whole foods (non-processed food) I just feel wonderful!

Not to mention:

vegan_for_everything

Some awesome documentaries and resources can be found here!

Forks Over Knives – Netflix, about the health consequences of eating animal protein — it’s no coincidence that diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity plus so much more has increased with the amount of animal protein being consumed.

I Love Vegan –  holy vegan recipe batman…. they have everything here – literally you will miss NOTHING by going vegan!

Veganuary – An awesome challenge for the month of January to go Vegan!!

Sleep Tracker!

For those of you with a fitness/activity tracker like Apple Watch, Fitbit etc this is a game changer!  A few years ago I talked to a nutritionist who actually prioritized sleep as the first thing to conquer/change in a daily routine for weight loss.  She would see clients lose weight just by increasing their sleep!  Of course sleep is directly linked to health and wellness.  I am someone who had no idea what my ideal sleep was, or what my sleep patterns meant for my days/goals.  Pre-Apple Watch life I would have inconsistent habits with sleep (I still LOVE a good all nighter – but my body hates them).

I started tracking my sleep and within 2 weeks I had confirmed that 7.5 hours was my ideal sleep target to function at my best each day!  With 7.5 hours I felt rested, ready to engage, brain ready to work and body operating at an awesome foundational level.  Now it’s easy to prioritize sleep so I work/live my best life!

Oils!

groucy_pants_blend

Surprise! Oils are a HUGE part of my health and wellness regime!  I use them for everything – both physically and emotionally!

Oils to aid in metabolism, support anxiety/stress, help for restful nights, ease stomach discomfort, support lady health, support glowing skin… basically EVERYTHING.

I’ve found out so much about the efficacy and safety of essential oils and I will forever only recommend doTERRA because they are 100% clear in their process/practice and commitment to wellness with oils.

Exercise!

Tannith and I decided to get back into the whole ‘workout thing’ since we both feel so much better when we do move our bodies!  We turned to Betty Rocker (you’ll remember we did a 90 day challenge and both saw awesome results back in 2015!) and I’m already LOVING her new workouts and the burn!

It really helps with stress management and my confidence when I am moving/toning my body.  Plus, I get to use my fancy basement gym equipment!

Well there you have it.  Just a few simple ways I’m investing in my health in 2019.

When I take care of me, I can do more for the world and others!

xo

gfk

Advertisements

Fitness Journey 2.0

workout-quotes-1

I titled this fitness journey 2.0 but let’s be honest, it’s like on update 14.4. When we moved back to Denver, I just got out of habit with fitness and wellness. I stopped going to acupuncture, I stopped riding everyday, I stopped a lot of healthy habits.  And you know what? I’m not mad about it.  It was an incredibly stressful year when we moved back and working out wasn’t a consistent priority.  I did HIIT workouts, Betty Rocker, ran and biked some, but after a while I would stop due to weather, health, or just because Law & Order was on.

So here we are 2017, for the last 4 months I have been consistent and the results are insane and am highly motivating. In November, I joined the rec center that is literally a 5 minute walk from our house and started riding.  Then in December I started a program from Massy Arias.  I did it again in January and now in Feb am getting into some new workouts at Crossfit! I ride the spin bike probably 2/3 times a week to prep for my ride in September with the Tour de Cure.

I also have been meal prepping my but off – here is my typical day:

Breakfast: 1.5 Cups Eggs Whites, 2 C Sweet Potatoes 4oz ground turkey

AM Snack: 1/4 C Cashews – Apple

Lunch: 6oz Ground turkey/1 C Broccoli/ 1 C Potatoes

PM Snack: Beef Jerky/Apple/LaraBar

Post workout: Vega Performance Protein

Dinner: 5oz Ground Turkey/Unlimited Salad

PM Snack: nuts/salad/almond milk latte

Plus you can see from my last post The Nausea – I got rid of hormones that derail my day and weeks. No more bloating, cravings, and emotions telling me to sabotage my success.

Here are my before and afters.

32091610264_58555ccb0d_c
From September 2016 to Jan 2017
32120987273_bc3620466a_c
Two week difference – dem abs!! 

Starting Feb 20th, I’m doing Whole 30 again.  Just as a reset, you’ll notice the menu above is paleo – but I have been sneaking processed food here and there – like that red velvet cake Rob insisted we make for V-day.  But again, I’m not sweating it (well literally I am lol).  It’s funny though a few days of frosting and I was craving it again, so time to nip it in the bud! 😉

I’ll update as I Whole 30 it up!

The Early Bird….

If any of you have ever traveled with me or lived with me, you’ll know I am a royal crab in the morning when I first wake up. I don’t think I’ve ever been a true morning person.  I think this some deep rooted shit from my childhood, because Lois has ALWAYS been a morning person.  She wakes up at 4am willingly and seizes the day, everyday. I remember as a kid I would cry, scream, and nap all morning because I was sweepy! But, honestly I can’t pretend this was when I was a small kid – all through high school I wasn’t trusted to wake up alone so she would have to call the house to make sure I got my ass up.  Lois also turned to insane tactics to wake me up – my least favorite was her singing Dean Martin’s ‘Volare’ at the top of her lungs.  I still can’t even listen to that song without getting sickening chills down my spin.   In Chicago, I had some progress in getting up, I would start my work shift at 7:30am BUT only so I could leave at 4pm. At my current job we don’t have clockin/out so the motivation to go in early is low since I’ll get stuck there until 5/6 anyways.  Anyways back to the story, I hate waking up early, but over the past year and half I have developed the worst SNOOZE issue.

27817890424_9765c5634c_z
you would think a naked cat butt to the face would get me up…

What is a SNOOZE issue?  Well for me it’s acute and it involves hitting the snooze button for up to TWO HOURS…. I know it’s insane.  I have to set my alarm for 5:30am to even dream of getting up at 7:30am…

I had picked up a ‘retro’ (read 1980s) alarm clock a few months ago that was literally just for show over the summer.  It sat right next to my head (like my phone) so whenever my phone alarm sounded I would just naturally hit SNOOZE and go back to ‘sleep’ for the 9 minutes I was allowed.

Well over the weekend I turned 29 and decided I needed to make a few changes to my daily schedule.  SNOOZE issue was top of the list.

So here’s what I did:

I moved that 1980s alarm to the other side of the room on our new dresser.  I set it for a realistic time (6:15am).  Now that’s all good and well, in the past with the my phone I would do the same thing and then still find the time to SNOOZE for hours. So I had to make a promise to myself to not lay back down, not to hit SNOOZE. I literally had to tell myself, SNOOZE does not exist.  I also had to have a ‘chore’ or something I wanted to do in the morning (i.e. harvest tomatoes in the garden, crochet for 30 minutes, journal, answer work emails). Notice I don’t have ‘go for a run’ etc becauce those ‘chores’ although make you feel great are not the motivator for me anymore.  I hate running in the morning and know myself well enough to know I’m not getting up for that shit. SNOOZE.

Now it’s been 5 days of actually waking up on time (6:15am) and I love it! I’ve been able to do a lot of things that I would normally not get to do until later in the day.  I get to show some extra love to the tribe, play in my garden, clean, do laundry, type this blog post, and plan for world domination.  It’s funny how a seemingly small change can have such an impact on your day and attitude. I haven’t felt grouchy, frazzled, or foggy walking into work.  It’s really been enjoyable.

I may not be a morning person, but I’m sure enjoying pretending I am! 🙂

28424170670_8b0d1d66e0_c
i have time to make leopold take pictures on the porch
28085490794_b2a036fb27_c
i have time to take morning light pictures of my pug hair covered crafts.
28705448101_22e6ded20c_c
i have time to see a raccoon has been in my squash! 
28782516185_e04d077f4e_c
i have time to harvest some pole beans!

Bathroom Before & After

So this is A LONG TIME COMING I’m pretty sure I’ve been promising the before and after here for months…. well it’s FINALLY HERE!

Boy oh Boy was this bathroom a project. When I first started this ‘mini-refresh’ I thought it would be new paint and a shower curtain………

Here’s what I really ended up doing:

  1. Removed shower stall
  2. Re-did all caulking
  3. Restored Window
  4. Restored Medicine Cabinet
  5. Painted walls
  6. Painted vanity
  7. painted heating vent
  8. Replaced toilet
  9. Deep Cleaned
  10. Changed cabinet hardware
  11. Replaced broken soap dish tile
  12. Repaired vanity drawers
  13. Lined vanity drawers

It took ~30 full hours to restore all these items over the course of 4 weeks.  I had to sand and strip almost every surface to remove rust, paint, caulking, and calcium build up from the untreated well. Well enough chit chat – PICTURES!

BEFORE:

25848671566_f49876bb2d_c
just grimy – shower stall covered in calcium – toilet filled with rust and calcium

25245861813_779f71b2ea_c25245829913_89d99fac48_c

25241865514_247f6170fd_c
mmm moldy calcuim

25573976960_ba7dbca916_c

 

26034230246_805e2f10ff_c

26011362786_dea681c986_c
rusted out window in the shower

Please feel free to go shower now after you’ve looked at all of those grimy/nasty pictures.

and now…. drum roll please!

AFTER

27526319493_094d630fbd_c
I made the shower curtain from IKEA fabric.

27526132494_ccaebfcd81_c

27525808233_a1ca344129_c
I chose a light mint green and I love it. 
26293058961_b9039d646c_b
this cabinet is one of my favorite things. 
26570339975_48eb9afedb_c
I worked so hard on this damn rusted window – just need to fix the cracked sill. 

My HCG Weighloss Journey

So I have been wanting to write this post for a year.  However, I figured I needed some time/evidence/and some personal research before I dished about my weight loss last fall and then keeping it off for over a year.  I lost the weight through a controversial method – the HCG Protocol.  Some see it as no better than a diet pill, for me it was in no way shape or form ‘the easy option.’  Also surprisingly, through HCG I learned just how important nutrition and fuel is for my body. It went from the sole desire to ‘look a certain way’ to being able to fuel my life and be healthy.

Shall we look at a before?

8/2013

Now what about an after (april 2014)?

i know a 'paleo' diet of at least 1600 calories a day and running 2-3 times a week works for me.
i know a ‘paleo’ diet of at least 1600 calories a day and running 2-3 times a week works for me.

And now?

i need fuel for zee muscles!

Let us begin.

About a month after I got sober in July 2013, I realized that just stopping my alcohol consumption would not magically make me lose the weight I had, for years, deduced must be there because of booze/booze related consequences. After a month sober, I physically felt better and mentally felt great, but still had every excess pound on me.  Now at this point, it had been years since I exercised regularly and I had 26 years of bizarre eating habits going on.  A prime example of my ‘bizarre’ eating habits is ‘oh no I can’t eat that whole serving of chicken breast, instead I will only eat half and  use those ‘saved’ calories to consume some M&Ms’ – makes total sense…..  However, before HCG I had tricked my brain (but not my body) into thinking all calories were equal.  Of course I’ve heard the opposite of this said everywhere; at the gym, at WeightWatchers, at CrossFit, at Title Boxing, at Whole Foods, on Dr. Oz, in People Magazine, etc etc… but I never really believed it. Why? Because I wanted to eat the bad shit.  Plain and simple.  Sure an avocado is amazing for your body/nutrition, but a donut is more fun!  Also I am a ‘victim’ of the generation that was told fat and calories are BAD!  Something we as a culture are just starting to wake up from….

However, I digress, I wanted to lose the weight. I was single, sober, and by golly I wanted to be thin.  (Yes thin, not healthy – we will get there) When thinking about the way to lose this excess 30 pounds I had with me, I immediately thought of the HCG Protocol. I have had several close friends see long term success with HCG so I figured I would try it in Chicago.  Oddly enough, there is a medical clinic just two blocks from my house that advertises (in giant neon flashing lights) that they have the HCG Protocol there.  I took it as a sign from some ‘diet higher power’ and made an appointment.

Now here is where the risk got high.  This HCG protocol was not cheap.  In fact, it was a cool $1000.  I was weighed, questioned, pinched (for BMI), and had an EKG done for heart health in my consult.  The Doc said – it seems like a good fit for you.  I agreed (good thing I had that 0% APR Chase Slate card on me!).  I’m going to give the canned version of what the next 42 days of my life were like.  First off, I was to inject myself daily with HCG (which some of you may recognize as a hormone produced by pregnant ladies) and follow a very strict meal plan of specific foods that were under 500 calories a day.  This may sound alarming, because well it is pretty insane. But, I had seen the results of the folks that followed the protocol and so I followed the instructions.

The first two days of injections you get to pig the eff out.  NO JOKE. There’s a little bit of a ‘science’ behind what you want to eat (more fats/proteins), but basically anything you want in an quantity until you are so full you may vomit all over yourself.  I vividly remember this was the last time I ate Taco Bell. It was amazing.

Day Three – 42. 500 calories MAX a day.  Of only certain proteins (chicken breast/certain fish), leafy greens, and two fruit options (apple/grapefruit). So I wasn’t miserable. 1 – because the pounds fall off by 1-2lbs per day. So it was at least results producing. 2 – the HCG chemically tells your brain/body you are satisfied at 500 calories and thus is allowed to burn your fat without knowing you are actually starving yourself. I don’t know the real science behind this – this was my attempt at not putting you asleep but sharing my process. Now this whole 500 calorie business is serious. I recall one day chewing (NOT EATING) 10 sticks of gum and because of the sucralose in the gum I gained 3 pounds. Once I realized that was the only thing different in my diet I made sure not to do that again. That was early in the protocol too so it reinforced that cheating was going to really sabotage this.  Plus I JUST SPEND A GRAND ON THIS. (Believe me I hyperventilated about it many times – but stress deters weightloss so I had to calm the eff down and be thankful that card was 0%APR for a year longer)

During these 42 days I also had weekly (every Sunday) doctor visits where I would weigh in, get my weeks worth of shots and a weekly B12 shot.

So, naturally there is fear about the sudden stopping of the shots and then increasing the calories.  At the end of the 42 days I had gone from 195lbs to 166lbs.  For the next two weeks following the protocol I had to increase my calories to at least 1500, BUT remain on the same selection of foods. Now 1500 calories disappears very quickly in a diet where you can have nuts, pasta, pizza, sugar, soda, but when you can only eat eggs, chicken breast, leafy greens, apples, grapefruit, certain fish… it takes a lot of those things to get you to 1500 calories. For the first time in my life I felt like I was gorging on healthy foods.  The doctor said I would probably continue to lose a few pounds which I did – I finally ended the weight loss at 164lbs. This re-introduction of calories is also so important because it sets the ‘base level’ for your metabolic function.  So if you follow the 500 calorie days, then biff it in the 2 week post weeks the whole thing was WORTHLESS.

After the two weeks I was able to introduce basically everything except starch and sugars into my diet. Obviously this means bread is out. Sugar is the goddamn devil, but again that’s a conversation for another day.

So what did the protocol teach me? A LOT.  It actually retrained my ‘yo-yo dieter’ brain into eating proper and good nutrition. Gone are the days of skipping dinner to eat a pack of M&Ms or have a sugary cocktail. Now I want to eat to fuel my body.  In the past year I have learned that I can do anything with my body – ride 1000 miles on my bike, walk around Thailand, craft, walk my pug, discover Chicago, run an 8 minute mile, and learn to box.  In September I took a break from my usual 2 hour daily active regime (3000 calories/day intake) and got a little confused.  I started letting the empty sugar calories invade my day instead of eating cashews/avocados and other healthy fats. I blame seasonal induced lameness.  I got on the scale on 11/3/2014 and weighed 175lbs (at night after eating all weekend long in Des Moines) and was bummed.  I knew what I had to do….  Today (11/10/2014) I’m 164lbs as I have cut the added/processed sugar from my diet for just the past 7 days. (What’s that base level weight?! you are a real thing?!)

In conclusion, the HCG for me was the best option and it came at a time when I was most focused and inspired to do this. I followed the Protocol to the ‘t’ and lost the 30+lbs in the 42ish days.  I have successfully kept off ALL the weight over 14 months later. To say I am happy with the process and the results is a gross understatement. The HCG protocol retrained my brain to care about my nutrition and my health, not my calories.  Today and this past year I have experienced the healthiest relationship with food I have ever known as an adult.  It may seem extreme, it may not be your cup of tea, but it allowed me to reach a level health wise that I am so proud of. I know what works for my body and I am happy that finally at 27, I have a healthy relationship with my body and with food/nutrition.

If you have questions you can email me at ghostfaceknitter@gmail.com – I would love to educate anyone interested in this process. I also understand many people do not agree with this protocol, I understand that as I was once very against this (until through my close friends was shown long term healthy results are the outcome) – please don’t demean my journey as I would never demean yours.

Thanks for reading.

GFK

XXX

ONE YEAR BOOZE-FREE.

sober me

Wow. It has been one entire year since I stopped drinking. I remember on day 4 looking at my ‘quitter app’ thinking ‘gosh four days is not very long… but soon this will say 1 month, then 6 months, and then 1 year – you can do it.’ I had no idea I would grow and change so much. I had no idea I wouldn’t have to endure my life anymore. I had no idea how fucking happy and awesome I would become during these 365 days. I shouldn’t act like I can’t believe it, because I can – I made all the choices to stay sober and did all the work. I guess if anything I just can’t believe how amazing life is sober and I am in awe everyday at how much more awesome life gets.

On July 24, 2013, I knew I was done with alcohol indefinitely. It had been a long time coming and after years of saying I could control my intake and my drunk behavior, I reached a point where I knew I was not in charge of my drinking anymore. Drinking just was not fun. I would lose important things, spend money I barely had, looked terrible, felt terrible, and emotionally was just a vacant person with no self esteem. I wasn’t drinking round the clock or taking nips here and there, but I was not able to separate drinking and priorities anymore. That sounds sad, and honestly it was. I would try to do things and ultimately I would psych myself out or not be reliable or consistent about anything. Then, I think of all the drama and the anxiety I have caused for family and friends. The erratic and inconsistent behavior was just a drag for me and for everyone around me. Living paycheck to paycheck because of uncontrolled spending sucked too. Drinks? Sure! Dinner out? Sure! Random crap because drinking makes preplanning impossible? Sure! Plus don’t forget I was supporting a household!

The first few months I felt firm in my decision and very nervous around drinkers, like I had something to hide or be ashamed of. I can laugh at that now because I’ve come to find being sober is a characteristic almost all people envy. Heavy drinkers always commend me on my sobriety and ‘wish’ they could do it. I’ve had people be critical and worried that I chose to get sober without AA or a formal support group, but honestly it’s been incredibly easy to be sober. I don’t put myself in situations that would illicit me not being sober. That means emotionally and psychically. I can very easily go to bars/clubs/events and have a blast – the best part is that I don’t spend hundreds of dollars, talk out of my ass to strangers/friends, and then I remember everything and truly enjoy it.

Probably the reason I made it past my birthday (July 30) and remained sober for those first few critical weeks was my dearest friend Tannith. Our friendship, her support, and her own sober journey allowed for me to have someone I trusted to turn to when I had questions or just observations about this new sober world. Her support and enthusiasm for sobriety showed me that it entails a world without ‘missing’ because her life is so much more full in sobriety too. Tannith, you were my rays of sunshine in the dark and lonely storm. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you and your family sharing this journey with me. I am especially glad that we have a true friendship and can experience it all sober. I love you and am so grateful for you.

While I’m thanking people I should also commend my family. Mom, you were always right – booze is lame. Thank you for supporting me and dealing with the old Brianna. Thank you for not ever saying ‘I TOLD YOU SO!’ and especially thank you for being my friend. Words can’t even express my gratitude for your love. Dad, thanks for reminding me to not be so hard on myself and taking me to the edge of my thoughts and comfort zones. You are able to transform the way I see things and I’m so grateful for you.

Honestly, I think back to the person I was a year ago, and I don’t even know her. I am so happy. Truly happy to be sober and to be enjoying my beautiful life. The more removed I get from my old life, the more wonderful I become. I cannot stress that enough, sober living is so marvelous. This world is stunning and for me, alcohol makes everything fuzzy. I will never be sad that I cannot drink or rather will not drink, because I am in love with reality.

I am so fucking proud that one year ago today I finally let go of alcohol. I gave myself the opportunity to grow and to become this person I truly love. Goddamn, life is good.

xxx
GFK

Lost in Oblivion

Well June has historically been a quiet blog month for me and this one is no real exception. I guess the summer is always strange for me. Don’t get me wrong this one is great so far. I’m loving riding my bike around the city (my arm is finally okay to ride – not okay for pushups/inversions), the warmer weather is so awesome, friends are wonderful, there’s LOADS of events, and just exploring. However, summer is always full of so much change for me. I never have a summer that doesn’t almost ‘redefine’ me. Two summers ago, my grandma died – the dude left me – then I decided to move to Chicago. Last summer, the dude left me again, I got sober and changed most of the things I felt/did/experienced. This summer is the first summer that I am genuinely happy with me, my life, and my goals.

Something I’m working on personally is living in the moment. I tend to be a very goal orientated person. I find that most of my past four years has been spent saying ‘when I graduate…’ ‘when I take the GMAT’ ‘when I get a job’ ‘when when when’…. Well, it’s a fine line to look forward to something, like a vacation or a special occasion, and to live in that moment – instead of this one. I find that my expectations become insatiable when I begin to focus on something in the future. I have to say it was quite the wake up call when I did not do well on the GMAT. To go from such a structured ideology of what my plan was going to be, to actual reality was my signal to slow down. There are so many opportunities and options out there. What is it that I really want? I’m working on that now, because my ‘master plan’ has changed greatly as of two weeks ago.

This moment is special. I am in the best shape I have ever been in, in my entire life – mentally, physically, spiritually. I am so full of excitement about my hobbies and my interests, sometimes I have to just tell myself to ‘simmer down buddy’. This moment is my life. I’m so proud of my life. I’m proud of who I am and I have to constantly remind myself that although I do have goals and that everything is a process, that the journey itself is something to relish in versus endure. I’m not sure why I’m writing something so personal here, I guess I just feel I should document this for myself. This blog is living journal for me and occasionally I’ll randomly read something from years back and just marvel at all the things that have happened. It’s important to remember that this moment is special.

Anyways, I finally understand what everyone was talking about when they said ‘summer in Chicago is so amazing.’ It really is and I’m so happy I gave myself the opportunity to enjoy it.

I’ve been listening to a lot of this song lately too. Oblivion by Mastodon. “Leaving you behind was my lonesome song”

And of course as always Pallbearer.