Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dedication & Committment; Working out as a Mommy

The question I get asked most frequently about fitness is "how do you stay motivated to workout with 2 kids?". The answer? I don't. Okay, hear me out. I do have a real answer for you, but it's one that requires a little more than a few sentences.

Motivation is usually what drives us to start a diet or workout routine in the first place. You go to the beach, see the gorgeous girls in itty bitty bikinis, and feel a sense of self doubt and insecurity. I've been there, MANY times. Back in 2006, I was a newlywed. I was also a bit on the heavy side, a size 12. This was before kids, mind you. My husband had just returned from Iraq, and since we didn't have the big wedding that we were trying to plan (schedule conflicts with his homecoming date), he booked us a cruise as a wedding gift to me! It was the sweetest thing ever, and I was so excited. I had never been on a cruise before. He gave us a honeymoon :) Well, I spent most of that cruise indoors, and not in my swimsuit. It was so hard for me to go out in my tankini (yeah...the TANKini) and feel confident in front of girls half my size with my newlywed husband. So...BAM! Motivation. Does it last? Hardly ever! If it did, most of America would be fit. The problem is that motivation does not last.

Is motivation what drives me at 5:45am to roll out of bed, throw on workout gear, and take the assault of Harper's 45 minute Crossfit? Oh hell no.

It's not motivation anymore. It's 2 things:

Dedication & Commitment

I'll go into these more. Dedication is just what it means, being dedicated to fitness, being healthy, and fitting into my jeans. Dedication and habit also go hand-in-hand here. Habit also helps me roll out of bed in the morning, too. Honestly, after taking care of everyone in my house all day long, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and chasing after my 5 and 1 year old, the last thing I want to do is get up at 5:45am and see Harper's face before the sun rises. I do it, though. I owe it to myself to be healthy. What I've found is that the hour that I workout each morning is dedication to myself. I owe it to myself to be the best version of me that I can be. I owe that to my family as well. They deserve the best from me too, and that includes having a happy mommy and wife. You'd be amazed at the changes in my family life and marriage that being healthy has made.

Commitment is very similar, but it's more of a promise I've made to myself. I've promised myself that for the rest of my life, I will be healthy. That's a huge promise, but I will live by the commitment I've made. Too many people count on me to be at my best, and others need my help (like you lovely people reading my blog now!). I've made the commitment to fitness, and it's paid off, but the journey is never over. The hardest part of my jorney is now, while I'm getting comfortable with my "new self" and living the lifestyle. Fighting to maintain is hard. Fighting my "old self" is hard. Commitment is what I have when everything else fails. I committed myself to this lifestyle, and I will live my life this way now. I know there is no going back for me, even if that means I have to miss an hour of sleep or relaxing time when my kids are still sleeping. I will do it. I not only commitmed myself to this life, but my family as well. My kids deserve to be healthy and have a good example of a healthy lifestyle. I will stay committed for them. Does that mean we don't loosen up and have dessert ever? Not at all! We just do things like that in moderation, and we teach them the value of health and fitness.

I know what you're thinking "but HarperGirl, you haven't told me how you work out with kids in the house!!". Honestly, every house and routine is different. If you have the committment and dedication to this lifestyle, you will find a way. Sometimes that means rearranging your schedule, or missing an hour of sleep time, or putting down the remote and DVRing your favorite show instead. If it's important to you, you'll find a way to workout. Plain and simple. If I can do it with a newborn and active 3 year old, then I know you can, too. Even when I was tired from being up every 2-3 hours at night with my newborn, I still got up and did my workout because it helped me wake up and greet the day. I'm just now finished with a run, and my energy is through the roof!

Where there is a will, there is a way. Look at your schedule and routine at home. Write it out, even. Then take out all the non-essential things. I'm sure there is 20-45 minutes in there somewhere that you can do a workout. If I can do it, anyone can!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book Review; Awry

Okay, I know what you're thinking, "HarperGirl, this is a fitness blog! Why are you reviewing novels?". I'm reviewing novels because I love to read, and it deters me from binge eating from boredom. Plus, it's my blog, and I can review whatever I please ;) So there.

Deep breaths...deep breaths....this was one of the best books I've ever read. Awry is the 2nd book in the Archers of Avalong series, and there will be a 3rd book! I was speechless after the end chapter of this book!

What I love: STRONG female lead. There is no "Bella" in this book. Scar (we are on a nickame basis now!) is a strong leader and I love that about her. No vampires, angels, zombies or typical YA stuff that is really popular right now. Flashbacks rock in this book. Tristian and his amazing green eyes! Oh Tristian, how I adore you. Most of all though, I just love how refreshing this story is. It's completely different from anything out there in the YA fiction world!
Here is the book syopsis:
Sometimes love is meant to be. But is the death of you....

Seventeen-year-old Scarlet has just died. Only, dying isn't unusual for a girl under a centuries old curse that left her semi-immortal.

This time, though, she comes back to her current life instead of awaking in a new one, and she realizes the curse is changing. Together with the immortal Archer brothers, Scarlet must piece together her life and try to break the curse before her impending death comes again.

Scarlet wakes up from "death" to find the twins in battle with each other, and she still doesn't remember her past. In this book though, we learn where she came from through flashbacks. We really start to see the real story behind Tristian and Scarlet, and why Tristian is somewhat distant with her in this life. I enjoyed the flashbacks so much, and normally I'm not a fan of flashback chapters in books. This was beautifully done though, and we learn about Scarlet and who she actually is. Then all hell breaks lose at the end, and we are left with another cliffhanger. I had a smile on my face, but I was so shocked at the end, too! I wish I could write more about this book, but then I'd give away so much that I'd spoil it for you. No spoilery posts here!

Basically, you need to read this book this summer. Everyone needs to know about this series! Here is the link on Goodreads to the series:
Click for the Archers of Avalon Series!!

Here is the trailer for book 1

And here is book 2's trailer

So, hot boys, mystery girl, flashbacks from the 1500's, and mythology. What else could a girl ask for?

Go read these books, and then come back here and tell me how you liked it!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Insanity Update

I am currently in week 2 of month 2 of Insanity. I can't believe it's been this long already! I've completed day 44 today of Insanity. I've noticed some major differences between month 1 and 2. First, month 1 workouts are significantly shorter. They last maybe 30-45 minutes at most. Month 2 goes over an hour in some workouts. Intensity is also a huge factor. The intervals are longer, 3-4 minutes a round. My muscles freaked out the first week from the new workouts and the higher intensity intervals. I was retaining water, too, so I felt a little off.

Now I'm in week 2, and I feel a little more normal. I have yet to lose any real weight, but my body fat percentage is pretty low anyways, so I'm not really concerned about losing pounds. I did notice my muscle mass starting to rise over the past few weeks though, which would account for the 2 pound I've gained while on Insanity. I have also lost inches, which makes me really happy! I can see where I've lost inches.

Here is my inches:
Waist- lost 1.5"
Hips- lost .75" (hardest place for me to lose!!)
Legs/thighs- lost 1"

Not HUGE losses, but definite change. I don't have much left to lose here, so I'm really just toning. My cardio is better, which is also making my run time better, too. So I can't complain! I've had some really good workouts with Insanity, and I've lost inches and increased muscle mass. So far, so good!

Summer is in full-swing around here, so I have my kiddos full time at home. I've been busy with them and trying to make sure we have lost of fun this summer. I've been trying out new recipes. I've been trying to make my own protein bars at home, and they are hit and miss. I found a pumpkin one that I like, and today I'm going to try a different kind. I've also (finally) received my PB2 Chocolate and regular peanut butter. I've been experimenting with protein shakes for my husband and I. I created this one:

It's a chocolate peanut butter & strawberry protein shake, all for about 250 calories! I used 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder, 1 cup of almond milk, a few frozen strawberries, 1 tblsp of chocolate PB2, and a teaspoon of truvia. Blend and drink! It's really good, and my favorite right now! If you try this one, let me know what you think!

Working on more posts. If you have an idea for a topic that you want me to cover, please comment this post and let me know! I'd love to hear from you!

Comments are love <3 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Insanity; Starting Month 2

Hi all! I meant to post sooner, but we've had a little situation going on here in Okinawa. This, to be more specific:

Say hello to Typhoon Guchol, a category 4 typhoon headed straight for Okinawa. Yay. So we've been cleaning up around the outside of our home, getting last minute items for our typhoon kit, and making sure we have things to keep the wee ones happy during the storm and possibly after in case we lose power. It's starting to rain now, the winds are picking up, and it'll be hitting us sometime tonight into tomorrow morning.

I am pretty sure Shaun T tried to murder me yesterday.  I started month 2 yesterday (fit test and max interval circuit), and I am feeling it! My muscles have felt the shock in a huge way; I have gained 2lbs of water weight alone since in just 2 days!! No worries, it's normal. It's my muscles being shocked from the new routines. I have done my research on this. I had recovery week all last week, and now it's the first week of month 2. I am on day 37, and my glutes are on FIRE. I feel every muscle in my body right now. It's a good hurt...a good hurt. The workouts are more difficult and so far they have all been longer (around an hour each vs 40 minutes). I did better on my fit test again yesterday, which was a YAY moment for me!

I have a book review waiting for you all for Anew, and let's just say...WOW!! I can't wait to write my review for this. It is a must read! I absolutely loved it, cover to cover!

Be on the lookout for another post very soon, including my book review!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Comfort Food

Admit it; there is at least one or two meals that you go to when you're stressed. Why does food make us feel better when we are stressed out? It does for a few moments, while that food is in our mouth. As soon as our plate is gone though, that guilt usually settles in. It does for me, anyways.

*picture courtesy of Yahoo*

I did something I don't normally do this weekend; I had dessert! Granted, it was a special treat, and I didn't binge, but I still consumed probably 300-400 extra calories in that little meal. Immediately after the last bite was gone, I felt awful. Why did I do that to myself? WHY? When I knew I'd feel terrible.

In my group, HomeFront Warriors, we've had a few discussions about this lately. Quite a few of my members have done the same thing and felt guilty lately. What should you do when this happens? I have a few tips for you!

Before I eat a treat (dessert, comfort food, etc.) I take a few steps.
-How many calories is in this meal? Take note so you know exactly what you're eating, even if it's an ugly number of calories. You still need to know. It's essential for tracking your food.
-What is the serving size? Never go over 1 serving. It's all about portion control! Don't deprive yourself be eliminating the foods you love completely, but keep it in check, too.
-Think to yourself "if I eat this food, how will I feel after?". If it will just make you feel worse, then I'd stay away from it. If you can feel good about that small portion and your calorie allowance is good for the day, then go for it!
-If you still feel guilty after the food is gone, then do something active after. After I had dessert the other night I went for a light jog on the treadmill. It made me feel better to be active afterwards. I got a little endorphin high, plus I made my calorie burn goal for the day by doing a little more activity.
-Ask yourself "do I really want this food, or am I really wanting something else instead?". Did you just have a fight with your spouse? A bad day at work? Kids driving you nuts? Sometimes, food just isn't the answer. If you're eating because of your emotions, then find out what you really want. The food isn't what you really want. I had to find this out myself, and it was really difficult for me. I had to face my problems head-on, instead of hiding and eating my emotions. I would go talk my problems through with my husband, friend, or co-worker. Or, I would go read a book and relax. A good book and a bath will do WONDERS for you! Point: don't eat comfort food because you're stressed. Work though those feelings. You will thank me later when you are not emotionally eating anymore.

Tracking your foods will also allow you to really know if you should eat that comfort food or not. If you are not tracking your food, I highly suggest that you start. It will change the relationship you have with food. Learn what your body needs.

Eat to fuel your body, not to comfort your mind!

I hope these tips help!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

HarperGirl Reads: On the Island

It's my first book review (other than fitness book)! YAY! Okay, so I read this book in less than 24 hours between last night and today. I couldn't put it down.

You can read the reviews here on Goodreads. I bought it for a few bucks on my Kindle.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads:

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day. T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends. Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

I really, really liked this book. It was a short read for me, but I was completely lost in this book last night. It kept me from getting into the fridge for a late-night snack, that's for sure! It's a great summer read for the beach. It was short, sweet, and really action-packed too. Just when things die down, BOOM!! Something else happens and you're getting a cramp in your hand from holding up your Kindle too long. I read until my eyes drooped last night. It's told from T.J. and Ana's prospective, which I liked so you can really see what's going on in their heads and how the situation effects both of them. Seeing that I'm close to Ana's age, and a teacher, this book really appealed to me. Although, I normally go for the YA Paranormal books.

What is next on my list to read?

This is a book I've been waiting on for a while now. It's the follow-up to Archers of Avalon. It comes out Tuesday, so stay tuned. I'm sure I'll have a post up by Thursday on how I liked it! The last book left such a cliffhanger that I am itching to get my hands on this book!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Insanity; Month 1 is Complete!

Hello, lovely readers! It's Friday, which means another week of Insanity is behind me. Today I hit a milestone; I've completed month 1! I stuck it out and I'm moving onto Recovery Week, and then into the notorious month 2. From what I've been reading, month 2 is where everyone really starts shredding and losing weight, and also where you see the most results. So, of course, I am uber excited.

My husband is also itching to get to month 2. I have to tell you, after several months of working out with my husband, I've come to love it. We push each other, encourage each other, and we have a lot of fun doing it together. I used to hate working out when he was home, especially in the beginning. I was so embarrassed. Here is my husband, this badass Marine in fantastic shape, watching my 200lb self trying to get through a push-up or simple round of jumping jacks. I was so embarrassed! Now though, we can do the same workouts, and I've come to love our workouts together. He pushes me, I push him, and we are more on the same fitness level (to a point). He's still better than me, of course, but we can at least do the same program now! We were doing Crossfit together (Bob Harper's Crossfit) before we started Insanity. We plan on going back to that after Insanity. Today though, I didn't get to workout with him. I'm sure I will this weekend though.

This week I've been outside as much as possible with my kids. My BodyMedia band really helps me to be more active and mindful of how much activity I'm doing everyday. I love incorporating my kids into my activity every day. We've been playing at the park, playing in the water, swimming in the kiddie pools, and kicking the ball around out back. As I type this, the pool is being filled again since the sun is out again today. I've been working with my oldest on his site words to help prepare him for Kindergarten too, and that is going better than expected! His word bank is growing quickly. It's very humid out, so I've had to create indoor activities for the boys too, since we can't spend ALL day outside. We've all gotten some sun this week :)

I've also been jogging/walking at night after my boys are in bed. Trying to meet my daily step/activity goals on my BodyMedia band. I love getting check marks on all of my daily goals. It's hard to get them all checked, especially my food intake, but I try everyday. Playing with the kids and walking at night really helps that! I end up jogging and running usually, but I just can't help myself. I love to run! I plan on running next week a lot when I'm in Recovery Week.

Enjoy your weekend!

Until next entry,

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Happy National Running Day!

Happy National Running Day to all!! Did you go on a run today to celebrate? I ran last night, when it was the 6th here in Japan, along with my Insanity workout. I'm doing an Insanity/running hybrid. I love running and just can't give it up, even while doing Insanity. I do Insanity in the morning, and run at night. Mad calorie burn!!

Here is my badge :) If you ran today, you can log your miles! Go to and log in what you ran! I did this morning, and got this cool badge. There is still time left, go run!

Why do I run? I run because I can. I run because 2 years ago, I was 100lbs heavier and literally couldn't run more than 50 feet without wanting to die. I run because it makes me feel strong and beautiful, even with sweat dripping down my face. Running makes me feel like I can conquer the world. I run to clear my head, listen to amazing music, and zone out with no distractions. I run the hills here in Okinawa just so I can stand at the top and look at the ocean, knowing that I conquered another huge hill. It empowers me, it burns mad calories, and it's something that I never thought I could do. I run because I CAN.

Much love,

Sunday, June 3, 2012

How's everyone's weekend been? Ours has been pretty good here. I have been really, really busy! I've been on a cleaning and organizing kick all week, and I've got a lot done in our home. Saturday was my "rest day" from working out, so I wanted to keep busy. My husband took our oldest to see The Avengers at the movie theater (his first movie at the theater!!), so I had a few hours to myself. What I wanted to do was sit outside, drink & book in hand, while our 1 year old napped....but with the constant downpours that afternoon, it was just impossible. I ended up organizing, and I'll show you what I did in another post!

Here is a run-down of my weekend:
-Rest day Saturday
-Organized the boys' clothes in bins
-Organized hall closet
-Laundry/Cloth Diaper was day
-Finished "Shadows" book
-Pizza night for the boys, salad night for mommy
-Went to BX, got a few things we needed
-Commissary (military grocery store)
-Insanity with the hubs this afternoon
-Rearranged living room
-Made a "to donate" box, filled it up with my clothes

Yeah, I'm a little tired. I did, however, stumble upon these beauties at the grocery today!

I cut these babies up tonight and I can't wait to eat them this week. I'm on a serious pineapple kick. Friday I had amazing totals with my armband, and this thing is working wonders for me. It's helping me stay accountable and I love it. Totally worth every penny!! Check this out!

Sometimes making my step total is difficult, so I've been walking on the treadmill at night to help me meet that goal. It honestly takes maybe 10-15 minutes to walk around 3,000 steps! I honestly sleep more than what that says, there's no way I'd run on 5 hours of sleep, that is just how long it logs me sleeping very soundly in REM sleep. I toss and turn quite a bit, so my sleep is really broken up. If you are thinking about getting a BodyMedia band, do it. I am in love with mine!

Have a happy Monday everyone!

Friday, June 1, 2012

HarperGirl Reads!

When I started losing weight I came to the conclusion that I must  have eaten a lot throughout the day before, because I had all this free time that wasn't spent in the kitchen! I needed to replace the act of eating with something else. I took something that I love, reading, and made it into my new hobby to replace eating. This is just one thing I do to get my mind off of food. My husband bought me a Kindle for Christmas 2 years ago, and I honestly think it's my favorite gift ever from him.

Books are something that I cherish. My love of reading developed in my childhood. As a teenager, I'd rather read a book at night than go out with friends. Books were a way for me to escape reality for a while. Sometimes, I really needed an escape. My most favorite place in the world was a bookstore. My mom would often find me there, huddled in a corner with a stack of 10 books in my lap. I have a very extensive book collection, and you can imagine how heavy that can get when you are a military family moving from place to place. Books are extremely heavy when they are packed in a box! When Amazon introduced the Kindle a few years ago, I knew it would be absolutely perfect for me to take to Japan! I could load all of my books on it, and save space and precious weight (we can only take 2500lbs of stuff coming from the US to Japan) at the same time.

This was shortly after I got it! I downloaded my favorite books to it, plus games and other things just to make sure I had something to do when  a food craving struck. I downloaded Bob's book to it, and began reading that one immediately. I love a good read when my kids are in bed, or even while they play outside!

This was taken on my back screened-in porch last spring. As you can see, my youngest was in a bouncy seat enjoying the fresh air, and my oldest is playing in his cozy coupe while I enjoy some Edward Cullen goodness ;) <---don't hate!! I made time for my books. I know when my food cravings strike, 2-5PM, and 8-9PM. I made sure I had a book on hand or something else to do so I wouldn't binge between meals.

So, what are my favorite books, you ask? My favorite books are usually YA paranormal, which includes everything from vampires to angels to things that authors just make up! I have a few favorite series:

-Significance series by Shelly Crane
-Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent
-The Premonition Series by Amy Bartol
-The Archers of Avalon by Chelsea Fine
-The Existence Trilogy by Abbi Glines
-My Blood Approves series by Amanda Hocking
-The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer

Seriously really good reads, all of them. I'd love to do more posts about what I've reading from time to time on my blog. Although it's not fitness related, it is helping me cope. I read fitness books and non-fitness books. I already show the fitness ones I read. Would any of my lovely readers be interested in seeing the books I love while I read them? Comment and let me know!!

With love,

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