Sunday, March 29, 2015

Why You Need A Goal

Goal setting is something that as a teacher I talk about almost daily. Setting short term and long term goals helps me grow as an educator and is something I feel really strongly about that students need to be exposed to-- especially in the age of instant gratification and constant distraction. In my personal life, goals play a significant role in my fulfillment as well and I've come to the realization that goals are an integral part of a happy existence for me.
I hate being bored--as a mother that is rarely an option in the day to day in terms of my activities, but I have found that boredom can take many forms. It can sneak into your life in many places-- maybe your stuck on autopilot at work, or you are bored with the monotony of your daily routine, or you're tired of eating the same old boring food, or doing the same boring workout. A lot of times I think we get blinded by busyness and don't realize we are unfulfilled in some element of our life until a larger crisis presents itself.
I believe goal setting is the key to avoiding boredom and to filling fulfilled and identifying what can help us grow as individuals. It  keeps us vigilant to our wants and desires and ambitions as people and helps to guard our individuality.

(Here comes the obligatory running story...)
After my Disney Race, that I had focused my energy towards 100%, I decided that I was going to take a break from running and tryout a different workout program. I thought it would give me a chance to do something else, create more time in my day, and avoid the onslaught of the hot Texas temperatures that I'm sure are just around the corner. So I started doing the workouts, but I wasn't really into them- they didn't give me the release that running does.  Since I didn't really have a big race goal, I was working towards I didn't feel the need to push as hard as I had when I was training during January and August.  And so a lot of the positive changes I had made in building myself up to get ready for my Disney Race and working towards that goal became less of a priority.
Running gives me that outlet to give myself goals that I can build toward each day, that I feel proud when I accomplish, and that gives me the ability to help and encourage others to go for their goals, too.
I decided after some thinking that I needed running. So I decided that I would set a goal for myself-- a mile a day everyday in April. And then I asked people to join me because I need that accountability and community to encourage me and push me. So now there's more than 10 of us setting goals-- for fitness, and for fun, and for fulfillment. What are your goals? Are you thinking about something you want to do but it seems out of reach or impossible? You CAN do it-- but you have to plan for your success and make little choices each day to reach the bigger goal.

If you want to join us this month starting on Wednesday, April 1st send me a message on Facebook and I'll get you added to the group!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

(Meal) Planning for Success---

Did you realize that about 80% of weight loss is determined by what you put into your mouth. That means even if you are working out like a beast or running a million miles, if you put crap into your body the results that many of us are seeking are going to be harder to come by.
Meal planning has always been something that I struggle with so I often fall into a pattern of just   fixing the same thing and then get bored of whatever it was I was eating and often allow myself to make poor decisions that slow or derail my goals.
I have been working on being much more diligent with sitting down and coming up with new ideas for what I want to eat. I am not dieting so I don't want to eat "DIET" food-- first off it usually sucks and second it's usually not that good for you anyway with the additives and extra sugar that are often put into lower calorie foods.  So I have focused on trying to eat foods that are whole foods, limit the processed stuff I'm taking in, and working on portion sizes. My typical week usually looks something like this
What I have found since I started being more diligent in my meal planning is that I have added a lot of new options into my diet that provide some variety and help me keep from getting bored.

So here's my tips for getting your meal planning going:

  • I always drink my Shakeology for breakfast- Shakeology is a nutrition dense meal replacement shake. On workdays I am always rushing to get myself and Carter out the door on time so we don't get caught in crazy traffic. I don't have time to whip up eggs everyday-- or at least I don't want to make the time to make eggs everyday. Since starting the shakes in January I haven't missed a day (except for the day I had a stomach bug and couldn't keep anything down). It's become my new go to in the morning ( I used to stop at Sonic for a drink every morning). It powers me up, tastes great, and takes about 3 seconds to make and clean up. (Interested in more info? Check out ) 
  • Snacks: I used to be the worst about eating snacks during the day and then being so hungry after school and going crazy before dinner. I have been trying to incorporate snacks twice a day that incorporate a little bit of protein and some carbs to keep me at a baseline so I don't blow the whole day in a few minutes by making a bad choice when I'm super hungry. 
  • Meals: I always try to give myself a decent portion of lean protein, a veggie, and fruit. I have been trying to incorporate more low glycemic fruits, especially in the evening. I really like raspberries. 
  • So how often can you cheat? Aim for one splurge a week. Plan it--- relish it---and then get back on track at the next meal. I have found the more my body has gotten used to healthy food the better choices I have made even at splurge time. The best meal I had in months was a delicious Sea Bass with Roasted Brussels Sprouts at one of our favorite restaurants here in SA.  But remember occasionally we all have to 

  • I will allow myself a piece of dark chocolate at the end of the night to as a small daily treat if I stayed within my calorie goal or did extra great at my workout. I have found that milk chocolate is my kryptonite-- it'll just be gone. Dark chocolate satisfies the craving but is so much richer that a smaller amount gives me adequate satisfaction (Ghiradhelli's Sea Salt Soiree is our favorite)
  • I try to plan my meals each Saturday and then create a shopping list that I take with me to the store on Saturday morning. It helps shorten the shopping trip and I have a mission instead of just wandering around until inspiration strikes. 
  • I use a spreadsheet template and save my meal plans each week. That way I can easily go back and reference recipes (I link them in the spreadsheet) or look at weeks where I did well and try incorporating some of those same foods if I hit a plateau. 
So that's what I've got today-- make a plan, follow it, and get ready to see some results. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How Did Running Change You?

One of my favorite magazines to read is Runner's World. On the website, they have motivational stories that share how people have been transformed by their running journey. I was reading through them and decided that I should write my own. So here's my story...

NAME: Evie Edwards
AGE: 31-derful
OCCUPATION: High School Teacher
HOMETOWN: San Antonio, Texas ( I guess I don't say my childhood hometown anymore which is kind of weird)
FAMILY: My boys- husband- Cory, Son- Carter
1. What prompted you to start working out?
I started working out in earnest and focusing on my health and nutrition in the fall of 2006. I had spent most of my childhood and my entire college life overweight. I had just started dating Cory and I wanted to feel better about my physical appearance and also feel better physically.
2. How did you start?
 I started working out by attending group exercise classes at the Texas Tech Rec Center- kickboxing, step, spin, weight lifting. I didn't actually start my running journey until the Spring of 2011.
3. Describe your regular workout routine.
 I try to workout ideally 6 times per week. 4 runs and 2 cross-training or yoga days.
3. What was the biggest hurdle to working out and how did you get over it?
Initially it was not having confidence in my ability to complete the exercises or sticking out in class. I started going to the classes though and had so much fun I soon got over those initial insecurities. In running, I really didn't think I could do it initially. My runs were so hard for the first month and full of a lot of self-Doubt. I got through it by just continuing to go out each day and try and looking for small things to improve.
4. What's the most rewarding part of your running life?
 The best part of running for me is working towards a goal and having the satisfaction and pride of saying that you completed it! Nothing beats a finish line high.
5. Did you have a weight-loss goal?
When I started my fitness journey I wanted to lose 50 pounds. I weighed 190 pounds which on my small frame was a lot of weight to carry around. I eventually went down to around 140 give or take a few pounds. When I was pregnant with my son I gained about 45 pounds so my weight loss journey began a new following his birth. I recently have gotten back down to around 145 and hope to continue on with a healthy happy fitness filled lifestyle.
6. What’s the secret to your weight-loss success?
Consistent exercise routines and making healthy sustainable choices in eating have given me the most long-term success
7. What kinds of changes did you make to what and how you ate?
I am most successful when I track what is going in my mouth. I like the myfitnesspal app. I alaotry to focus on getting well-rounded choices that include all the macro-nutrients I need and I also credit Shakeology with my recent success in losing weight.
8. What advice would you give to a beginner or someone just starting out?
Give yourself time to get better. I would say it took me a solid 1-2 months before I actually started to like running. Sign up for a fun race with a friend and commit to training.
9. What are your favorite motivational quotes?
-It always seems impossible until it is done. ~ Nelson Mandela
10. What's your idea of a Rave Run?
I went to New York City shortly after I started running and was so jealous of a race that was going through Central Park and wished I could have been part of it. I hope to run a half-marathon through Central Park one day. I am also looking forward to visiting Northern California this summer and hopefully going on some runs there!

11. What's your must-have running gear?
I love the Brooks Ghost series of shoes and my Nike+ Running App on my iPhone. I also love CW-X tights (capri length) and Feetures Moisture Wicking Socks and Sweaty Bands headbands. Other than those things I'm a minimalist!

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Most Magical Run on Earth!

I wanted to take few minutes to debrief my Disney Run before all the magical details escape my memory. To start off, this whole Disney Extravaganza started last year when Mary and Amanda had started running and completed their first half marathon here in San Antonio, which gave me the umph to get off the couch and lace up my running shoes again because I spent most of that race jealous that I wasn't running with them. We decided that we should probably go ahead and go somewhere pretty awesome and that perhaps a destination run might have to become and annual tradition.
For literally years, I've been eyeing the ads in Runner's World for the Disney Princess Half or the Tinkerbell Half Marathon and Mary and Amanda are Disney aficionados so the choice was a pretty natural one for all of us.

When we were perusing our options of races we settled on doing the Glass Slipper Challenge which consisted of running a 10K on Saturday and a Half Marathon on Sunday. We signed up on one of the most chaotic days of my life as Cory and I  were trying to move out of our house, but it was necessary since these races sell out FAST. And then all there was left to do was wait...oh and train my ass off.

I did two races to prepare for Disney the Chosen Half Marathon in October and the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in December. Both were underwhelming performances for me time wise at about 2:15. In January I decided to join a Beachboy accountability to group to help me prepare for success at Disney because I was tired of not feeling good about the effort I had put in on Race day. So from January to Race Day I was diligent-- workouts 6 days a week, great nutrition, drank my water, Shakeology every day. I could feel myself getting stronger and faster the closer we got to race day.

The theme of the Disney trip was get up before the sun. So I got up at 4:30 the day of my flight and managed to escape any crazy polar vortex delays and made it to Orlando about 1:00 Eastern.  Friday was Expo Day. Here's some pics
New Balance Expo Fun

Costume Fashion Show for Amanda's Parents the Night Before Race 1

Saturday: Enchanted 10 K
3:30am Wake Up Call. We were out the door by 4 and freezing our butts off at the start by 4:45-5am. We decided that since we all run at different paces we would run the 10K together and stop for character pictures during this run because I was set on running the half on Sunday seriously. We dressed as the 3 Fairies from Sleeping Beauty for this one thanks to Mary and Amanda's excellent crafting skills. Other than a cold start this was a great run which mostly wound through Epcot.

We spent the rest of the day shopping for spaghetti fixins for dinner and soaking in the Hot Tub. 

Sunday: 3:15am Wake Up. I needed some SUPER strength to pull off day three of Middle of the Night Wake Ups-- hence the costume-- also I wanted real running clothes---Sorry people who are girlier than me but a skirt is not appropriate attire for kicking ass.  

We had a longer walk to the start line, but it was at least not as cold on Sunday. Since I was in an earlier corral, I had to part ways from Mary and Amanda on the way to the corrals. Here's us all dressed up and ready to go

The race went spectacularly for me. I felt strong as we started and was keeping a consistent pace around 9 min miles. I skipped most of the character stops for the first half of the race because the lines were INSANE. I did stop to get a castle picture in the Magic Kingdom and then stopped some during the second half of the race because the lines were mostly non existent. 

I have one question-- WHERE'S THE RUM?

So I finished the race in 2:04. Ten minutes faster than the same distance two months before. I felt great about my performance and enjoyed getting to spend some times with two of my best friends. 
Following the race we went to Epcot and had cocktails and pastry--and felt zero guilt. By the end of the day we figured we done a full marathon. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

To see the world...

This week as I climbed on the treadmill for my last long training run for the Disney Race I started to shuffle through channels on the Tv since running 10 miles meant I had a significant amount of time on the treadmill. After discovering that there is nothing on at 6am on a Saturday. so I figured that I'd watch a movie that I had recorded during our free trial of HBO. When it was out in the theaters I had seen some previews for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty-- and thought I might check it out when it came out to rent. When I pressed play my single greatest hope was that it would entertain me for the course of my run-- it really ending up being a fabulous movie that got me thinking.
The basic premise of the movie is that the title character is a guy who works for LIFE magazine and the magazine is facing layoffs after being taken over as a .com operation. Walter is a guy who has given up on adventure in his real life and his thoughts often drift to these fantastical daydreams of a life of adventure. As the magazine is set to publish its final print issue- Walter is pulled into adventure from his ordinary life when the cover photo that a famous photographer/adventurer has mailed to him goes missing.
I loved the message of the movie because how many of us can relate to the idea of adventure that we often neglect in favor of responsibility. We daydream about what life might be if we went here,or did this, or looked a certain way instead of taking risks and seeking adventure and transforming ourselves into the best person we can possibly be. 
I'll confess-- I am a sucker for responsibility and routine and have often let everyday excuses get in the way of pursuing my goals. The past month and a half has been all about taking risks and trying new things and finding adventure. I'm looking at the world though a filter of possibility instead of one Of obstacles. 
Today I'm on a plane and in the course of the next 48 hours I will have run 19.3 miles using only my own strength,determination, and willpower to do it ( and I'm doing it while wearing wings and a superhero mask). That is an incredible adventure and incredible test of the human spirit and the body's stamina. But if you had asked me about these goals a few years ago I didn't believe I would ever be able to run--- but I sought it out --I looked for adventure. 
Maybe today you have some dream or goal you want to achieve but you are stuck in a daydream hoping for it to happen but not taking action. Make today your adventure. There is no guarantee of success or that the dream won't transform and take a different shape as you pursue it but there is a promise of LIVING life fully and without regret. And you never know.. You might surprise yourself with just how much you accomplish.

Friday, February 13, 2015

It's Still A Mile...

When I started running one of the biggest things I used to get caught up on was thinking that I needed to be faster to be a "real runner". I would talk about how slow I was, I would not want to run with other people because I thought surely I would slow them down. Over time, I have improved. When I first started running my big goal was to be able to run a mile in less than 10 minutes-- and my secret goal was one day run fast enough that my Nike app average pace per mile would be less than 10 minutes per miles.
That being said I often wanted to be faster but I didn't do the things to make me faster as consistently as I should have-- like doing interval workouts, and running hills (ugh hills........I hate them), or feeding my body with food that would fuel it instead of make it have to work harder. As a I got back into running again post-baby I knew I was going to have to deal with being slower because I was out of practice and heavier-- it was almost as bad as starting from the beginning again.
I have run two half marathons since October, and both have been disappointing time wise to me. Last July two of my best friends and I decided to sign up to run the Disney Princess Glass Slipper Challenge ( 10K on Saturday; 1/2 Marathon Sunday). I decided in December/January that I was going all in for this one-- I want to be able to get to the finish line and feel like I KILLED IT. So I've been feeding my body consistently healthy choices, drinking Shakeology that is pumping me full of nutrition dense superfoods first thing everyday, and I have been working out 6 days a week doing PiYo or strength on the days I don't run. I also check-in daily with a group of people who encourage me to keep going, help me brush of the setbacks, and are all working towards living a healthier lifestyle. And you know what---- I AM GOING TO KICK ASS. I feel so strong that I just know I am going to feel like I gave this race my all. I hope that the time will be faster, and I think because of the consistency of workouts and nutrition it will be-- but the benefit of going all in has been the  difference its made in my attitude and confidence. And just like the picture says-- It's still a mile whether I run my fastest race or my slowest. Can't wait to update you all next week!

I 'll be helping lead challenge groups starting next month-- if you're interested in getting accountability for a healthier lifestyle, learning more about shakeology, or trying out new recipes I'd love to chat with you about those goals and how I can help you accomplish them. Don't let where you are right now determine where you stay- a mile is still a mile no matter the pace.
CLICK HERE to let me know if you'd like to know more

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Get in the Arena!

So if you read my last post, you know that I 've started a new journey as a Beachbody coach. I'm starting to wade through everything that means and figuring out how to communicate with people the absolute breath of fresh air this program was for me.  One of the things that we are encouraged to do as coaches is to spend time in personal development each day-- pursuing our business, but mostly building our strengths so that we can help others.

In my search for something to feed my soul, I came across a TED talk by Dr. Brene Brown-- a sassy Texan who researches shame and vulnerability.  I was so enchanted with the TED talk ( and her quantifiable approach to such a fluid topic, that I immediately ordered her book, Daring Greatly and am working my way through it.

I have always been an introvert to the core and am content with small circles of close friends-- it feels safe and comfortable to me. But I think what this book  and my experience with Beachbody is helping me develop in myself is a passion for others and pulling me outside of the small comfortable circle I have created for myself. I mean honestly, introvert or not, you don't survive 8 years in the classroom without loving and wanting to help people. So I'm excited by this new venture-- but the excited where I feel vulnerable too-- what if I fail to reach my goals, what if I'm not great at this, etc. But what I'm learning from participating in the challenge groups and sharing my story with other challengers and by allowing myself to be vulnerable is that life is more full.  Dr. Brown put it beautifully in her talk--- "Vulnerability is not weakness. Vulnerability is courage."

So I'm going forward in this journey courageous-- not to say that there won't be failure or disappointment, but I won't let those things define the path- they'll be bumps in the road, but not the end of the road. I'll be the man in the arena and not the critic in the stands.

Do you want to know more about Challenge groups? Do you want to get in the arena? I'd love to talk more with you about goals, challenges, and how we can do life together! Click below to tell me more and I'll be in contact to share more with you.
Get in the Arena with Evie Form-- CLICK HERE

Monday, January 26, 2015

A New Adventure...

So I had started writing on this blog again when I thought I was ready to start focusing on my fitness again after Carter made his debut... But NEWSFLASH... This motherhood gig is hard sometimes. So when I wrote my previous post over a year ago when I was 7 weeks postpartum I clearly was still sleep-deprived and not thinking clearly when I thought  I was ready to go again.
I have been working in getting back into running over the past year ( well really since about August) and have done a 10K and 2 half marathons this fall and will be running the Disney Glass Slipper Challenge in about 4 weeks with Mary and Amanda. It has  been a fun race season especially having great friends to share fun healthy experiences with. ( And wait til you see the costumes we've cooked up!)

So I've been working on the running piece of my health for several months but my times have still been significantly slower than my prior races before baby. A lot of that has to do with me focusing on the fitness but neglecting my nutrition and still carrying a few pounds of baby weight around ( even though my kid is approaching 1.5 years old)
This December I finally got to a point where I felt like I was tired of feeling bad from the food choices I made and discontent with being that person  who has a kid and then just hangs on to the weight because they're a mom. Enter Jackie Stradtman!
In the middle of December Jackie started a group on Facebook to try a week of healthy recipes. I was in a food rut making a lot of the same dishes over and over again and getting no results.. I was also eating a lot of my stress at work especially in my witching hours between the end of school and dinner time.  I signed up the same day I saw the group. The group gave me great ideas for new healthy recipes and the accountability to check in at the end of the day which helped me think about the choices I was making each day. As the group came to a close after that week I knew I wanted more. I wanted the accountability I wanted to mix the nutrition with my fitness journey. As we wrapped up the group I got to talk with Jackie who told me more about some of the products and programs Beachbody had to offer- including Shakeology.

I decided to go ahead and order Shakeology because I thought it would be a good jumpstart to healthier eating habits and working on making better choices moving forward. After I ordered Jackie contacted me about a 3 week challenge that would be starting in January. I was thrilled to get an opportunity to have the community and accountability that the group offered and again signed up quickly.
That group finished today and was a great step in the right direction for me. I lost several pounds (YAY) but more importantly the group offered me great community and encouragement to make great choices the last few weeks. As things wound down yesterday I chatted with Jackie on the phone and have decided to become a coach doing the same type of encouragement with other people. I'm hoping to find people along the way who want support to push towards their goals--- whether those are weight loss goals, fitness goals, or just people who want someone to negotiate their path to a healthier life with them (like the recipe group I started out in). The added benefit is that I get to grow along with people and have that accountability that drew me to the group initially in my life as long as I'd like .
I am looking forward to getting organized and getting going ASAP. If you're interested in joining a future group I'd love to tell you more about my experience!