I love you more than coffee (but please don’t make me prove it)

I have a love-hate relationship with many things. Packing for vacation, Christmas music before Thanksgiving, the movie Frozen… but I think the biggest love-hate relationship of all is that of one with coffee.

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My rich, versatile, caffeine-infused coffee.

I have a real problem. Well, my roommate might call it a problem. But she only knows of the love relationship I have with coffee. This, usually, is not of huge concern with me. Coffee is great! I don’t understand how some people genuinely do not like the taste of it. You can add as much giphysugar and milk as you want to practically alter the original taste, and you can still call it a cup-a-joe. You can have it hot, cold, in the form of lattes or ice cream, or even eat chocolate covered espresso beans for goodness sake! How many other drinks can you do that with? Don’t say alcohol, that’s cheating.

So now you’re saying, “Wait, Megan, coffee sounds amazing! How on earth is loving this wonderful drink a problem?” Well, let’s start off with the amount of caffeine I am inadvertently putting into my body. Yes, I do benefit from the extra boost in the mornings, but if I try and go one day without my brown elixir, I will wind up with a pounding headache for an entire day from the lack of caffeine. The caffeine also can cause dehydration, if one doesn’t drink enough water. Plus, if it’s being drunk in latte or mocha form, I’m of course adding unnecessary sugars and calories to my diet as well.

I still like to believe that coffee has a lot of benefits for you, too. Many times I have reread this article on Runner’s World to make myself feel better about my coffee consumption. It does provide energy, antioxidants, and it literally makes me happy!

So why not suffer from caffeine-induced headaches for the rest of my life? Because I hate them and I don’t want to deal with it, duh. And I really shouldn’t be that addicted, anyways. Life with coffee is all about balance (as is life with many other things, but more on that later). I can enjoy a cup in the morning, and that should be enough to tie me over.

But even now, I sit writing this in the bistro of my college library not just to enjoy my warm beverage, but to listen to the sounds of a coffee pot dripping and the smell of espresso wafting through the air. And it’s comforting. Some of my favorite moments in life involve a cup of coffee. Holding a warm mug as I read my Bible on a rainy day, waking up on Christmas morning to my dad brewing a pot for us to enjoy while opening presents, or meeting friends at a local café to catch up on life. Coffee isn’t just a drink; it’s part of an experience, something that can bring people together. And how can you not love that?

It’s just those dang headaches.

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I’m back(?)

Well it’s no secret that I’ve been on somewhat of a hiatus with this blog, really taking a break before it even got started. When I got shin splints this summer I got really deterred in terms of my training, taking a break from running for about two more weeks to let my legs fully heal. Here’s a small overview of how the rest of my summer went:

  • Once my shins healed, I started the 21 Day Fix program after 4th of July weekend. With the intense daily workouts, I did not do any actual running, but the exercises obviously included plenty of cardio. I was also very aware of what I was eating and the portion sizes. I lost about 8 pounds and was feeling great. (For the record, I would recommend Beach Body’s 21 Day Fix to anyone. It is pretty intense, but have modified workouts included in the exercise sets for those just starting out.)
  • The week after 21 Day Fix ended, I went to the beach. Thinking I was still going to stay as active as I was on the program, I was a lot more lenient about what I was putting in my body. Thoughts are a nice thing, but thoughts don’t keep you in shape – actually exercising does. Pretty much ruined everything I had just earned in the weeks prior.
  • Spent the last few weeks of the summer working and moving, and just getting ready for the school year in general. I was working out a few days a week, but not as hard as I had been before my injuries.

It is unfortunate that all my hard work ended up going to waste. And I know that only I can be to blame. I was still nervous about experiencing shin splints again those few last weeks of the summer, so I was purposefully taking it easy. Since school has started, it’s been hard juggling two part-time jobs, a full school load, and my senior thesis project – a.k.a. the bane of my existence – while also trying to find time to go to the gym and making sure I’m always mindful of what I’m putting into my body. Oh, and this new thing I’ve been trying out called a having a boyfriend. Yeah, that’s a fairly new development, but he’s been a real blessing.

North Shore Cancer Run 2014

Oh, but I did run a 10K this month!

Anyways, this probably sounds like a lot of complaining (except maybe not the boyfriend part – you’re welcome, Wes) and I realize that people have it way worse than me and still find time to take care of themselves, blah, blah, blah… I get it. I realize that I have let myself down. And that’s why I stopped writing for so long. But as the semester is slowing down, and I’ll have more time in the coming months before I GRADUATE (WHAT?!), I wanted to resurrect this blog and start over.

 

But this time around, I don’t want to limit myself to writing about running and eating well. Yes, I want to be healthier in those aspects, but I want to be healthier in all aspects of my life. In friendships, relationships, spiritual life, and work ethics. So now, I will be writing about whatever I darn please! This will allow me more freedom in my posts, and probably lead to more consistency. I really hope to keep this going. So, my virtually non-existent Internet friends, please bear with me as I try to revamp this blog, as well as my life.

What am I doing?

I have no idea what this blog is going to look like. I have virtually no experience with writing a blog. I should probably be disheartened by this fact, but I’m not. Being a communications major, writing is something I’m used to. Writing about myself for all to see, however, is a little daunting. But so are the changes I want to make. So why not conquer them together?

Speaking of changes, I guess I should start setting goals. I don’t know when I want to accomplish these by, so let’s just say they should happen “eventually.” But let’s not define “eventually” as when I’m 30. We’ll define it as a few months to a year. Here we go:

  • Run a 10K under 57 minutes (about a 9:10 pace)
  • Actually do the speed workouts I say I’m going to do
  • Actually do the strength training I say I’m going to do
  • Just eat better stuff, and less crap

That’s pretty vague. But again, I don’t have structure for anything yet. And these are all attainable goals.  The first goal is a little more specific, and I’m not going to be able to accomplish that without the second and third ones. As I start to do speed and strength workouts (hopefully starting today after work?!), I’ll post exactly what I’ve been doing during them.

As for eating, I tend to eat a lot of crap. My weakness is donuts. And living within a 5 mile range of about 15 Dunkin Donuts does not help. I live in New England, where you can find a Dunks on every single corner! My will power is going to have to increase a lot as I drive past my go-to DD on the way to church every Sunday. Updates to come on that, I’m sure.

This blog is not going to be offering professional workout routines or diet recommendations. I have no grounds to be giving that out. This is more simply going to be a chronicle of my journey to a healthier life, and some encouragement for anyone who chooses to read this. As I mentioned before, I am going to slip sometimes. But that’s what is so great about being human; we aren’t perfect, and it’s in our nature to make mistakes. So if anyone else is trying to lead a healthier life and feels like they can’t because you keep going back to old habits, don’t give up! I’m not planning on it. If I can do this, so can you. Don’t let one bad decision to eat that extra cookie keep you from reaching for the fruit next time.

I’m Done.

That doesn’t sound like a very encouraging title for a first blog post.

What I mean is I’m done with giving excuses as to why I’m not living the way I want. I want to eat more things that are good for me. I want to be able to run a race under a 10-minute pace. I want to make time for working out and planning healthy meals. Yes, I am busy. I am a college student, I have a job, and although my brother would probably tell you otherwise, I do have friends. That can make for a fairly full schedule, but I really would (and should) like to have exercising and eating well as some type of priority, too.

That’s not to say I am totally unhealthy. I ran in a 5k this weekend. My mom and I run in Disney’s Princess Half Marathon every year. And I don’t only eat cake (although, it may have served as my breakfast once before). But, I typically only work out when I know I need to, like when I am training for a race. And although I don’t only eat cake, I also don’t only eat kale (I never eat kale).

I think I’ve finally gotten the kick in the butt I need to actually do this. Although I don’t know how it’s going to happen yet, I thought I would chronicle my changes to keep myself accountable and maybe find some inspiration to give and get back from others. These changes I want to make aren’t going to happen overnight, and I’m probably going to slip up. But I’m human, and I’ve gained enough inspiration from others already that I don’t want to give up on this. This is going to be a lifelong journey of changes.

Why do I think I need these changes? I’m not fat, but I’m not skinny either. I’m not doing this so I can look good in a bikini. I want to have more energy, and learn to make healthier choices that I can continue to make for the rest of my life. I mean, if a hot bod happens to be a side effect, I won’t be complaining, either. But that’s not the focus. I can live with how I look. These changes are something I’ll be able to keep with me my entire life, and hopefully pass along to others.

There have been so many people who have motivated me to start this process already – friends, family, even bloggers or writers I’ve never met – that got me thinking: If I did this, maybe I could be one to inspire others as well. So I thought it would be cool to take this journey alongside you all. Actually, right now I am probably speaking to no one, since this is my first post. And I’ve probably written too much that even if someone did come across this blog, they’ve already stopped reading. So I should probably finish this up.

I’m ready to make the change. Hopefully there will eventually be some others who will join in following this journey, and maybe gain some inspiration of their own to do it as well! I’m sure this will develop some type of structure as I go along, so those of you that bear with me, I promise it will get better 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Megan