Staying on Track During Thanksgiving

Well, damn. It’s been some time since I’ve been here. If you saw my Insta story on Sunday, you know I’ve had a few weeks of feeling really down – about work, about fitness, about nutrition, about my body…the list goes on. But, I’m back! It’s time to stop feeling sorry for myself. And time to be grateful for all I have. And this is the perfect week to (re)start that mentality, after all, it’s about giving thanks!

Below is an article I wrote for my office’s wellness committee last week that is relevant to the time of year, but also how I’m feeling in general.

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, and for spending time with family and friends. But let’s be honest, it’s also about the meal. Whether you love your nana’s homemade stuffing, Aunt Carol’s sweet potato casserole, or that pecan pie that has been in the family for generations, Thanksgiving is not known for being low calorie, low sugar, or portion-controlled. Therefore, many people often struggle with food guilt, the food coma, and wondering what or how much to eat. Follow some (or all) of these tips to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal and still stay on track:

Don’t Skip Breakfast

Skipping the AM meal(s) to save your appetite will only lead to a [insert favorite food here] binge session at the dinner table (e.g. four helpings of nana’s stuffing). Instead, make sure to eat a breakfast containing protein and fat to stay satiated while finishing up the preparation activities. Good options located here and here.

Get in a Workout

Get the family outside and throw around the ‘ole pigskin, or participate in a local Turkey Trot 5k. If that’s not your family’s style, go for a walk (alone or with willing participants), or hit up your favorite fitness class in the morning. Mom won’t miss you too much for an hour (or less)!

Participate in the Meal Prep

Healthy doesn’t have to be bland, and yummy doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Offer to prepare a side or dessert (or both!) that is delicious and nutritious. It’s an easy way to be helpful while also ensuring there are some actually healthy options on the table, not the “seemingly healthy but actually very bad” items (lookin’ at you green bean casserole). See here, here, and here for lighter recipes.

Hydrate

With WATER, not just mulled wine or hot apple cider. Make sure to take in eight glasses (or more) of H20 throughout the day, and drink a glass prior to sitting down for the main meal. This will prevent you from mistaking thirst for hunger pangs. It will also help you refrain from overeating (think “eyes bigger than stomach”).

 Cut Yourself Some Slack

Enjoy the day. After all, it is one day (minus the yummy leftovers. See healthy options for post-Thanksgiving here). Remember to be grateful for your family and friends, for your health, your job, your dog, etc. Drink some fancy red wine, eat the mashed potatoes and gravy, and remember that you will get back on track. Don’t let food guilt bring your down this Thanksgiving. It will only make you stressed, and less likely to enjoy the holiday.

See other healthy Thanksgiving tips here! I hope you found this helpful!

Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

XOXO,

Brynn

The (Sober) Life of the Party

I recently posted a tweet by Chance the Rapper on my Instagram (reposted from Spiritual Gangster) that not only hit home for me, but with followers, and some of my friends too. There seems to be a constant pressure to be “the life of the party” or “the drunk girl dancing on a table”…unsuitable surfaces if you will (shout out to sorority sisters). I’ve learned that it’s not only possible, but OKAY to have fun without food and alcohol – either by being the “odd girl out” at a party or by choosing to have fun a different way.

To be completely honest, I haven’t mastered this yet.

To be completely, completely honest, I’m in Santa Fe for a wedding, and pondering 1. how / when I will indulge, 2. how I can still “have fun”, 3. how I will not be a “Debbie Downer”

Just wanted to level the playing field. Gotta keep it real, ya know?

HOWEVER, I will say that I have made some serious strides in the last few years. I used to be baffled by weekends without drinking. Brunch is what you do in DC (between museums and monuments and rooftop bars). When I started at my gym, a coach told me to find other things to do. I realized that hanging with friends was always surrounded by drinking or eating. Eventually, I started to take long walks in beautiful DC with friends, try a new museum, or check out a hiking spot. That slowly transitioned into me being able to go to happy hours and brunches and make a game time decision about what I wanted to do. Now, that’s not to say that I don’t drink or indulge (#prosecco #chocolate), I just pick and choose when I want to consume it, and how much.

What I’ve learned is…if I don’t groan about it (which I often still do) 1. I still have fun, and 2. most people don’t know or care what I’m doing (apparently the world doesn’t revolve around me always???)

PRO TIP: Sip on club soda (+ lime, lemon, orange, etc.) or nurse a drink during the night. Get your dance on, be the jokester, hold court at the end of the table…just continue to BE YOURSELF.

I hope this helps anyone trying to live his or here #bestlife while striving to reach goals! Just know you’re not alone, it’s possible to have fun soberly, and if you don’t make a big deal about it, you’re most likely golden. And if people have a problem with it, share the Chance the Rapper quote (that’s both facetious and not).

Additionally, check out the wellness trends of 2017 from one of my favorite sites, Well + Good (specifically #9 and #13).

XOXO,

Brynn

Resetting with Wanderlust 108

108 – Unity. Wholeness. Infinite Love. Cheesy? Perhaps, depending how you feel about yoga and the spirituality surrounding it. I never got into that part, but I can see the benefits, and sometimes I wish I did. I do like the spiritual meaning of 108, and think it could be applied to most things in life.

I attended the Wanderlust 108 festival by RFK stadium in DC yesterday. It’s a traveling one-day festival that promotes finding your “true north” or your “best self”. My friend and I found out about the DC event months ago, and I was hooked. While I’m no yogi, the festival name and the mission behind the events are SO ME, and so applicable to my life – my passion for health and wellness, my goals, and this blog. I am in search of becoming my best self, and I am navigating my way through this journey (side note: I am obsessed with the logo and associated merchandise…obviously).

Advertised as a “Mindful Triathlon”, the full day event consists of a 5K run / walk, yoga class, and meditation (which I suck at, but more on that later…). Participants then choose optional activities to do, such as essential oils class, aerial yoga, acro yoga, flow + restore yoga, and hula hooping. Participants are also able to walk around the market to check out the various vendors, grab coffee and food, and check out the adidas x wanderlust tent and the kombucha garden! There are also free samples everywhere of amazing products (I went HAM on the free stuff, as you should).

I had to wake up before 7am on a Saturday, which isn’t cool, but I was excited. After getting to RFK, meeting up with friends, registering and setting down mats, I immediately set out to find coffee, because duh. I got the regular brew + almond milk at the True North Cafe, scarfed down a banana, and perused the market for samples and athleisure. The day was awesome, especially coming off a week of indulging (I give myself some slack because #birthday). It felt great to reset and get back on track a bit.

Wanderlust Ready

You can’t head out to the Wanderlust 108 festival without a bathroom selfie. Duh.

5K

The 5K started with a pep and a stretch. Normally, I would want to jog this, but decided to walk with friends and be “mindful” of the type of tri this was – no competition, just feeling good in your body, mind, and soul. So we walked, and I dealt with my inner nagging thoughts: “you’re lazy“, “do you even run?”is this even a workout?” “look at the runners”. I can be so mean to myself. Here I am, spending the day at a health and wellness / yoga festival instead of bottomless brunching, and I’m STILL not doing enough apparently. Luckily, I managed to get past those thoughts and enjoy walking around with friends deciding what to do the rest of the day

Yoga

We participated in the group yoga class with Chelsey Korus while the sun showed absolutely no mercy. The cool tribal paint on my arm smeared somewhere between downward dog and warrior two. It felt great, and it reminded me that I should incorporate more yoga into my regimen, solely to stretch and strengthen my body.

Meditation

As mentioned earlier, I am not good at meditating. I used to do that self-deprecating gloating about being “too busy”, “too uptight”, or “too in my head” to bother with meditating. While I know the benefits of slowing down, relaxing, and finding contentment, I’ve never been able to do it…though I should really say that I haven’t really wanted to, or tried to really meditate. This was no different, except that I laid there the whole time instead of getting up and skipping this part. The sun continued to beat down on us, but I tried my best to remain still. I found myself trying to control my thoughts, trying to stop thinking, and having moments of “real meditation”…but definitely wanted this part to end sooner. It made me realize I should try an app or go to a class to try it again. What harm could it do?

Afternoon Activities

Unfortunately, I was unable to do acro yoga or aerial yoga, so I participated in the essential oils class, which was interesting to learn about. Refrained from purchasing anything prior to doing additional research (my bank account can thank my “hard science”-trained boyfriend for that one). I purchased items at the adidas x wanderlust tent, tried the kombucha, ate lunch, and grabbed more samples of some of my favorite items.

Free Shit

Who doesn’t like free shit?! Loved sampling and grabbing some of my favorite items at the Wanderlust 108 market

Overall, it was a great day. It reinvigorated me, after a week of feeling bloated, and lethargic due to constant over-indulging. It also reminded me that I need to continue “finding my true north” and determining who I want to be, what I want to do, and how I want to do it.

Insp

YASS. Found one of my dreams on the giant dream catcher inside the Samsung tent at Wanderlust 108

Are you on a journey to find your “true north”? How are you navigating your journey?

XOXO,

Brynn

Shaklee Healthy Cleanse Thoughts

Sometimes I do right by my body. Sometimes I don’t.

While I am a proponent of balance (gimme some wine with that kale), for my goals, I know I need to stick to fueling my body with the right foods most of the time. And when I don’t I can see and feel the difference.

Due to work stress, weekend travels, and events, I let myself slide more than usual the last few weeks, and I really needed a way to refocus. Enter the Shaklee Healthy Cleanse.

It’s NOT a juice cleanse. I do NOT sell it. This is NOT sponsored. Just an honest opinion.

One of my badass, super athletic friends has been using Shaklee products for a long time, swears by them, and began promoting them over the last year. As a wellness guinea pig and supporter of my friends, I decided to see what it was all about. Why not try a week-long cleanse with some virtual supporters and see if there are results?

What does it entail?

  • Eat real food – unlimited fruits and vegetables (depending on the type), 1-2 servings of protein per day; avoid dairy, nuts, legumes, processed foods
  • Take natural supplements 2x daily
  • Go about your day normally (that includes workouts!)

Does it work?

  • Did I lose a few pounds? Sure – 5 in July and 3 this week…and I cut the cleanse short / drank coffee with coconut milk most days (not sorry about it)
  • Do I feel lighter? Yep
  • Do I look more toned? I mean…I noticed very slight changes in my stomach (my biggest “problem area”)
  • Do I feel better? YEP. How can you not after consuming only vegetables, fruits, and lean protein for 4 days?
  • Is it a miracle worker? NOPE (side note: if you find one, let a girl know plz)

Will I do it Again? Probably! Even when I run out of supplements, I like the idea of having a reason to eat a certain way. You might say, “come on Brynn, just eat that way normally”, and I would say that I do for the most part. But there’s something really helpful about having a reason / being held accountable, either by myself to finish the cleanse, or by the virtual Facebook group of fellow cleansers.

It’s not for everyone. Some people may steer clear of anything with “cleanse” in the name. Some people might not want to take supplements. You do you, boo.

Figuring out what makes you feel and look your best is important, and there are so many things out there to try. I’m just over here checking ’em out one by one 🙂

 

XOXO,

Brynn

 

 

 

 

My Fitbit Died And I’m Not (Currently) Stressed

A few weeks ago, I read a post by The Cutting Veg entitled “Confessions of a Step Addict”. While I liked it, I immediately decided that I was just fine with utilizing technology for health purposes and continued to walk around my hotel room in an attempt to reach my step goal at 11pm).

But then my Fitbit died.

And I threw a bit of a tantrum à la toddler Brynn. And then I mostly got over it.

Not surprisingly, life went on. I walked around DC – from Chinatown to Georgetown to Foggy Bottom to Adams Morgan.  I embraced the odd but amazing 75 degree weather in August. I enjoyed my friends, and the hours spent outside on a Sunday afternoon.

I have NO idea how many steps I’ve in the last two days.

I couldn’t log tonight’s workout.

I wasn’t able to connect my Fitbit to MyFitnessPal and see the results.

I was a little stressed. But also, I’m free.

Finally, that blog post made sense to me. How many times did I pace around my apartment or hotel room (as seen on SnapChat and Insta Stories) to get to my step goal? How many times did I freak out that I wasn’t logging my workout correctly? How often did I spend more time checking my stats than focusing on a run?

While technology can do amazing things, and while I definitely am in the market for a Garmin running watch or an Apple watch (birthday is next month just sayin’), I’m trying to learn how to just enjoy more.

Enjoy how I feel during / after a workout.

Enjoy running (lol) outside in the city in which I pay rent but barely see.

Enjoy the hikes with my boyfriend or the bike rides with my mom.

Enjoy nourishing and delicious food that fuels my body without knowing if my calories burned far outweigh my calories consumed (that’s for you, #gymsquad).

This is definitely a work in progress – I just looked down at my tan lined wrist and made a sad face – but it’s worth it. Even if it doesn’t last long, it’s a really good learning moment.

Do you focus too heavily on technology? Does it mess up an entire workout if you forget to log part of it, or it dies in the middle? Breathe. Read the aforementioned article. And learn to listen to your body as well as your devices.

XOXO,

Brynn

fitbit-post-e1503975427883.jpg

Headphones. Phone (1 of 2). Fitbit. Runkeeper. Instagram post. Will I stop using them? No. Should they control my workouts? Also no.

 

Strugglin’ In OKC

I’m currently on my fourth travel project nearly 1.5 years after starting in commercial consulting, so this whole “Monday through Thursday living in a hotel and eating at restaurants” thing is not new. You’d think I’d have this travel thing down, right?! Wrong.

Okay, not wrong. I could do worse, believe me. I usually do pretty well. I aim for three workouts during my four travel days, and I try to buy snacks (read: kombucha) at the nearest Whole Foods (Sprouts works too) ((yes, I will drive an extra 15 minutes)). But sometimes, I still struggle.

I normally give myself a few weeks to acclimate to a new client. Though I receive the “you’ve been staffed!” email and immediately head to Google Maps to check out restaurants, fitness studios, and grocery stores nearby – doing all the pre-work ahead of time, it’s actually acting on it that takes some time. And that’s okay! I get that. New place to explore, new team to meet, new great food to eat (yes, even in OKC).

But…I’ve been traveling here for two months. I should have a routine. I’m not bouncing from city to city (on the weekdays). I stay at the same hotel, go to the same Starbucks, head to the same client, and rotate the same nearby lunch places. Every. Single. Week. You’d think I’d be a rock star.

But, the past week and a half have been hard. I’ve been unmotivated to workout, and I’ve struggled with eating healthy. There were external and internal factors working against me. It wasn’t the best few days at work, and I wasn’t feeling great (#monthlyannoyance). When I get moody, I eat worse. When I eat worse, I feel gross. When I feel gross, I get upset (and continue to eat poorly). I complained to my nutritionist. I cried to my boyfriend. I wasn’t myself at work. And I didn’t really workout – the one thing that could give me endorphins (happy people don’t kill their husbands, amirite??). It was all around a disaster in my opinion. Not to be dramatic or anything…

And this week, I worked out once. Today. Wednesday. Mid-week. And I’m okay with it (after freaking out about it yesterday). Because I’m back! Because a few days off is a “drop in the bucket”, according to my #gymspirational gym friend. Because I know how to get back on track, (like dying at Orangetheory and having a smoothie for dinner). Because bettering my health is a journey. There are going to be some road blocks, and I’m going to have to navigate them.

If you “fall off the wagon”, get back on! I promise it’s going to be okay. I have to tell myself this often. And you should too!

XOXO,

Brynn

Navigate (v.)

The word “navigate” has a variety of meanings:

  • to travel over, through, or on (water, air, or land) in a boat, aircraft, etc.
  • to plan and direct the course of a vessel or vehicle
  • to make sequential progress through something

…to name a few. Each of these pertains to my current lifestyle.

  • to travel over, through, or on (water, air, or land) in a boat, aircraft, etc.

Well, this one is obvious. On any given day, I’m on a plane, train, or automobile – literally navigating my way through airports, cities, and countries – whether for business or for leisure.

  • to plan and direct the course of a vessel or vehicle

I am constantly planning (and re-planning) and determining my next course of action. Where do I want to be in five years? How do I want to look? How do I want to feel? I am always working to figure out what I want, and looking for ways to get myself to that point. My to-do lists, planners, Pinterest boards, and podcast / Instagram choices, etc. are ways for me to help plan the next month / year / five years / rest of my life. #controlfreak

  • to make sequential progress through something

I’ve been on a journey to weight loss for 15+ years. I’ve been on a journey to optimal health for the last three or so. The most progress I’ve made physically has happened in the last two. The most progress I’ve made mentally, has been just over one…and it’s the one of which I’m most proud. I’ve come a loooong way from the insecure, self-deprecating, unhealthy girl. I’ve made progress over the course of  this 15+ year journey, and am hoping for more.