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Happy Yogaversary To Me

I just realized that today is the one year anniversary of my yoga practice.

I went to yoga with a tired mind, tired body and timely groupon. Over the last year, I’ve become physically and mentally stronger. I’ve found peace when there has been turmoil. I’ve found strength in times of weakness. I’ve found calm when there has been chaos.

Life is crazy, yo. But yoga has been a constant, gentle, strengthening reminder that we are but one in this big crazy world. And we’re all in it together.

Namaste.

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Yoga Update, Onzie Review and Giveaway!!!

Practicing yoga on the reg has affected all areas of my life. I’ve experience the obvious benefits like increased flexibility, better balance, and more strength than ever before, but it’s the increased mindfulness and awareness that keeps me coming back for more. One of my yoga instructors said it best when she said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that the practice of yoga helps us mentally and physically deal with difficult things. If we can overcome them in class, we can apply that to our daily life. Meaning that yeah, holding pigeon pose for 60 seconds is no walk in the park but we are teaching our mind to bear the unbearable, one long, deep stretch at a time. 

We can observe the uncomfortable sensations, not become attached to them, and ultimately, let them go.

How I apply that to my daily life is never ending, from waking up in the middle of the night to a crying baby to resisting the chocolate candy dish at the receptionist desk to anonymous internet haters. Observe that this lack of sleep or craving or meanie is part of life, but do not become attached and let. it. go. aaaaaaah. It feels so good!
I’m a total heat junkie and love, love, love practicing my yoga in a group setting where the temp is cranked up to 100 degrees or higher, but that’s not always possible, so I keep up with my practice at home. I typically use my home practice to do a 20-30 minute warm up and then focus on a few poses that I really want to get better at and I have the luxury of trying again and again without breaking the flow of a regular class.
This weekend, it was wheel (Urdhva Dhanurasana), crow (Bakasana), and side plank (Vasisthasana) with a leg lift.

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(Warming up with some upward dog during my vinyasa.)

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Wheel pose. Still a work in progress. I need to get my hands closer to my head and/or push back with my legs more. The fact that I can even press up with my arms up at all is amazing to this girl who has never done a pull up in her life.

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I’m obsessed with the detail of this Onzie sports bra and tank (paired with the full coverage shorts).

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There was a time not to long ago where lifting my leg up was a laughable proposition. Ultimately, I’d like to get to the point where I can grab my top leg with my hand. That would be amazing.

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Reverse namaskar, y’all.

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And for my last trick - CROW! Ugh, it’s so hard. I can finally hold it for one full second. But, I still need the pillow….

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All of my outfits in this post were graciously provided by Onzie (pronounced own-zee). I am so in love with the quality and styles this company offers. In a sea of lululemon, the vibrant colors and unexpected prints are a delight. The line was created by a 20-year Bikram yogi and blends the best of traditional yoga wear with modern innovation and a touch of whimsy.

Onzie is perfect for the hot room. I wore the long legging and all-in-one tank (top pictures) to my hot flow class on Monday and was comfortable the entire time. The fabric is very different than anything I’ve seen or worn before. It is meant to fit like a second skin and was very thin. But miraculously, it also smoothed everything out and was not at all see through. The long leggings I’m wearing are the Black Magic style and magic is the only way I can see that they are able to achieve such a thin, comfortable, moisture wicking and opaque material. Their styles are so great outside the yoga studio as well and would be well suited to pretty much any flavor of fitness.

Anyways, enough of my rambling. Onzie is giving one of my readers their very own complete outfit!!!! You’ll get the long legging in black magic and the all-in-one tank in black with an attached sports bra in black magic. The top retails for $59 and leggings for $65. I am so in love with this whole outfit and I know you will be too. Use the rafflecopter widget to enter (if you’re reading on your tumblr dashboard, you’ll have to click through to my blog). You can get up to four entries.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Yoga During Lunch

I think the number one question I’ve gotten about my adventures in hot yoga is how the heck I manage it during my lunch break. There are a few factors that come into play to make it pretty easy for me to do this.

  • The hot yoga studio I attend is about 5 minutes from my office, so the trip there and back is really fast. The lunch time classes they offer vary from 45-60 minutes depending on the day. I try to squeeze in a 90 minute class on the weekends.
  • I pay a monthly membership fee which includes mat and towel service. I hop in the shower immediately after class and I also don’t have to worry about lugging towels or a sweaty mat back and forth. Everything is ready and waiting for me when I need it. The yoga studio I attend also keeps shampoo, conditioner and soap in the shower which is such a convenience.
  • I keep my “yoga bag” in my car which includes products that multitask to get me back to fresh ASAP after my shower. The essentials are:

Deodorant. no explanation needed
Honest Co. Body Oil. I’ve tried several lotions but none are as fast absorbing and as moisturizing as this stuff. Plus since it’s an oil, it’s really easy to slather on after my shower.
Beauty balm. It does multiple duties as moisturizer, sunscreen and foundation
Bronzer. for a little color.
Cream eyeshadow. I apply it with my finger.
Mascara
Hair dryer. Still loving this one. I dry my hair until it’s not sopping wet and let the rest air dry. Product is essential for reducing poof. I love Frederic Fekkai’s glossing cream.

  • My yoga bag stays in my car at all times. In the morning,  I just add whatever yoga outfit I plan to wear and clean underwear I plan to change into afterward.
  • On days I know I’ll be going to yoga, I strategically plan my work outfits. I pick things that are looser fitting, breathable, washable and easy to strip off and on.
  • Most days I bring my lunch with me. My current favorite on-the-go lunch is a whole wheat tortilla slathered with guac and layered with turkey and baby spinach. I roll up the whole shebang and have a super easy, healthy, non-messy lunch I can eat in my car on the way back to work. 

 

My Road to Yoga

Sooo, it looks like there are a handful of you that actually want to hear about my yoga experience. Your wish is my command. I figure I’d start this series on how I started going yoga in the first place. I’ve got a whole string of post ideas coming - how I hot yoga during my lunch break, what to bring to hot yoga, some of the favorite things my yoga teachers have told me, my favorite online resources for yoga, and some more I’ll probably come up with later. If you have any specific questions, please ask and I will dedicate a post to answering you.

I’ve done yoga off and on for the past 4 years, but mostly off. Two years ago I bought a groupon for a local Bikram yoga studio and I was totally hooked. I loved the heat and the sweat and the deep stretching I was able to accomplish. I always left feeling like a million bucks (but looking like a million butts. see what I did there?) I totally loved the act of the yoga but I did not love the studio. Like at all. It smelled funky. I found the owners rude. The room where 50 people got super sweaty had a carpet floor. ewww. And they asked for donations for water… from the water fountain. wtf. I didn’t want to pay a premium price for a less than premium experience. 

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Anyways, I quit yoga and it was shortly thereafter I found the Tracy Anderson Method (TAM). I love, love, loooooove me some Trace-inator and was a loyal follower of hers for 2.5 years. Her method will truly reshape your body and turn you into the hottest, best version of yourself. I did TAM all through my pregnancy and even on my maternity leave once I felt good enough to start exercising again and got the go-ahead from my doctor.

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But then, I went back to work. womp womp. Fitting in a full workout that left me feeling good was HARD. When I work out, I want to work. I want to sweat a lot, and I want it to hurt a little. And unless I got up at 4:30 am to get in a workout, that level of exertion was just not possible. And getting up at 4:30 am is impossible. Because in addition to working, I get up early to prepare everything for daycare, get myself dressed and I love to sit down for a 20 minutes sipping my coffee in the morning and reading through my favorite blogs - in silence - before I get Nora up and the day really begins.

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I had been back at work for about a month, I was trying to walk during my lunch breaks to fit in some fitness but there was one fatal flaw - my work has no showers I walked a fine line between walking/running enough that I didn’t sweat too much and walking/running enough to get in some good exercise. And honestly, I hate running. hate hate hate hate it. I really appreciate and understand the effort and dedication that goes in to being a serious runner. I ran cross country for 4 years and track for 6, so I get it. But I just don’t enjoy it.

By last August, my 6 pound baby had grown to about 12 pounds and I really couldn’t hold her for more that 15 minutes at a time before my back would ache and I would need to put her down. It was then I discovered a hot yoga studio had opened up about 5 minutes from my office. And, serendipitously, there was a living social deal for that very studio. I jumped at the chance to try it out and haven’t looked back. 

I try to go to yoga at least four times a week, but never less than three. It is truly a 45-60 minute (depending on the class) chunk of time I completely and selfishly devote to myself, and it’s about the only chunk of time I can do that. It allows me to bend, stretch, refocus and reconnect with myself. I leave feeling brighter, lighter, better, happier and just plain good. After class, I’m mentally and physically ready to take on whatever other challenges life presents. I am not exaggerating when I say yoga has vastly improved the quality of my life. My back rarely aches when holding Nora for extended periods of time and I find myself taking things moment by moment, which is a great way to not feel overwhelmed on days I am anything but. At this point, I can’t imagine life without yoga.

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In today’s news that absolutely no one cares about but me, I got into wheel pose today, y’all!!! That’s the pose pictured above. I go to hot yoga classes during my lunch break and I aim to go a total of around 4 times a week (but certainly no less than 3). I had just tried this again on Saturday and failed, but today I did it. It felt so good and I was so proud of myself.
They say that wheel pose counteracts stress, anxiety and depression (in addition to the physical benefits) and I am totally buying what they - whoever they are - are selling. I’ve been feeling so happy all afternoon. I’m not sure if it’s because I finally did something I had not previously been able to do or because it just feels good to bend. Probably both.
I know I haven’t really talked a ton about my yoga practice on this here  blog. I’m still a total newbie (going on about 6 months), but it has quickly become one of the most important things I do for myself. I totally believe that because of yoga I am a better wife, mother, employee, and person. I’ve been thinking about devoting some blog real estate to talking about my experience but what I want to know is - are you interested? do you care? are there specific things you are curious about? FYI - I strictly practice hot yoga which is heated to a temp of about 105 degrees and 40% humidity.

In today’s news that absolutely no one cares about but me, I got into wheel pose today, y’all!!! That’s the pose pictured above. I go to hot yoga classes during my lunch break and I aim to go a total of around 4 times a week (but certainly no less than 3). I had just tried this again on Saturday and failed, but today I did it. It felt so good and I was so proud of myself.

They say that wheel pose counteracts stress, anxiety and depression (in addition to the physical benefits) and I am totally buying what they - whoever they are - are selling. I’ve been feeling so happy all afternoon. I’m not sure if it’s because I finally did something I had not previously been able to do or because it just feels good to bend. Probably both.

I know I haven’t really talked a ton about my yoga practice on this here  blog. I’m still a total newbie (going on about 6 months), but it has quickly become one of the most important things I do for myself. I totally believe that because of yoga I am a better wife, mother, employee, and person. I’ve been thinking about devoting some blog real estate to talking about my experience but what I want to know is - are you interested? do you care? are there specific things you are curious about? FYI - I strictly practice hot yoga which is heated to a temp of about 105 degrees and 40% humidity.

fit and fabulous: Week 3 and stats update

Hooray! I’ve finished up the first month on this fit and fab journey. Well, technically, since I didn’t start until June 10, I only had three weeks of June devoted toward my fitness goals. These past three weeks, I strived to get my diet under wraps and start a regular fitness routine. And I’m happy to say I achieved both of those.

DIET

With the exception of vacation last week (more on that impact on my weight loss later), I ate a diet built around lean proteins, vegetables and fruits. I eliminated most processed foods in my diet; the main culprits being frozen yogurt and potato chips. 

EXERCISE

I wanted to get back to some kind of exercise routine and my goal was to get in three fitness sessions each week. Between walking on my lunch breaks twice a week and doing Tracy Anderson’s post pregnancy DVD on the weekends, I did it! Yesterday, I even popped in a Tracy Anderson dance cardio DVD and hoo-boy am I sore today!

OVERALL CHANGE

Lost one pound. womp womp. For those counting, that means the scale this morning read 154. It’s less than I had hoped, especially considering that before leaving for vacation, I was actually down four pounds. It was really hard to stick to a diet while on vacation because I didn’t have the same time and availability to prep my foods, and when you’re eating large family meals with 11 other adults, it’s really hard to be too picky about the burgers and potato salad that someone else put time and energy into making for you and are now serving to you.  Sure, I know those can be chalked up to excuses, but you know what else?  I was on vacation. I wanted to enjoy myself without overindulging too much and I did just that and don’t feel guilty about it.

I had originally intended to post photos as well, but I’ve been tending to a sick baby the past few days as well as unpacking and gearing up for the work week, so that didn’t happen. I think I’ll just post before and afters in September when I hopefully wrap up this journey. Hope that’s okay with you!

WEEKLY INSPIRATION

One of the things that really gets my butt in gear when it comes to eating right and exercising is that I remind myself that this day/week/month will pass. I try to take a very pragmatic viewpoint and remind myself that eventually I will be at the end of the day. Or it will be Friday. Or it will one day be July 4th. Then, I look at my available time and realize, I can either use the next hour sitting on the couch watching My Strange Addiction on Netflix, or I can get up and do some exercise and then watch My Strange Addiction on Netflix. That segment of time will pass no matter what. And the truth is that there is not a single other person on earth who really gives a sh*t what I do with it. No one cares if I exercise. No one cares if I eat the grilled chicken instead of the fried chicken. No one. So, if it’s to get done, I need to care about it. You know what they say: if you want something done, you just gotta do it yourself.

JULY GOAL

My goal for July is to lose 6 pounds. This is more than 1 pound a week, but less than 2. It’s aggressive but doable in a healthy way. I know it will require focus and determination and I’m up for the challenge.

Now tell me, how did your June shape up? (pun intended)

fit and fabulous: Week 1

Alright friends, I’m 1 week in to this fit and fabulous journey and so far, so good. I figured I’d touch base every week with what I ate, how I worked out and a little bit of inspiration. At the end of each month, I’ll share stats on my progress to date.

I’m not following a paleo diet, but when looking for foods that incorporate lots of veggies and proteins, many paleo recipes fit the bill. Also, I am a creature of habit and tend to eat the same things for breakfast and lunch. If you follow me on instagram (@thedailyjulie), I sometimes post the food I’m eating while on this fit and fab journey. It’s riveting stuff, I know.

This past week looked a little something like this (in order of food eaten. I get up at 5 am, so I have to have something to eat right away and then “breakfast” is a couple hours later):

Monday: chia seeds soaked in almond milk with a handful of blueberries tossed in; coffee with 2% milk and a touch of sugar (not going to give this up. no way. no how); breakfast: paleo pancakes; lunch: creamy cashew chicken soup; dinner: jalapeno turkey burgers with avocado on the side; chocolate cake in a mug

Workout: none

Tuesday: Breakfast and lunch were the same as Monday. Had dinner at my parents since Jason was out of town - salmon, salad and mashed potatoes that my mom made. drank an oatmeal porter beer.

workout: walked for 45 min on my lunch break

WednesdayBreakfast and lunch were the same as Monday. Jason’s home! so, dinner was the jalapeno turkey burgers (I made the recipe and frozen half to make the rest when Jason got home). I also introduced him to the cake in a mug. we’re both fans.

Workout: none

ThursdayBreakfast and lunch were the same as Monday. Dinner was this jalapeno dijon grilled chicken, served with a side of quinoa and assorted veggies.

Workout: none

Friday: Breakfast and lunch were the same as Monday. For dinner, we grilled porkchops and topped it with homemade mango salad and a spinach side salad. I made a creamy dressing for the salad with avocado as the base instead of mayo.

workout: Tracy Anderson Post Pregnancy DVD

Saturday/Sunday: On the weekends, I have a much less structured eating schedule (my lunch isn’t confined to a specific one hour window), so I just try to stick to eating lots of vegetables and saying no to bread. I also drink a little wine and allow myself one “cheat” meal. This weekend, my cheat was homemade nachos for lunch on Sunday while we watched the NCSU/UNC baseball game. 

workout: Tracy Anderson Post Pregnancy DVD on Saturday (no workout on Sunday)

Fit and Fabulous Inspiration!

I decided that if I’m going to get back into an exercise routine, having something to wear other than my super sexy, paint stained, used to be black but now they are gray yoga pants circa Old Navy 2005 would help. So, I placed my first Ellie order and I am so in love with what I got. Ellie is yet another subscription-based company (I think I need a 12-step program), but they are focused on workout clothes that blend the line between fitness and fashion. Plus, their stuff is pretty high quality (they are trying to compete with a certain yoga and run clothing store named after that yellow citrus fruit) and it’s  $49.95/month which sounds like a lot until you realize that you get two pieces of your own choosing each month for that price. You don’t have to subscribe to purchase from them, but that’s where the real savings is at. I had been wanting a pair of flared black leggings but since the Lulu Lemon black fabric recall, I hadn’t been able to find any that I love. Until these…

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I’ve already worn Ellie’s solar flare leggings (pictured above) three times (I only got my order last Thursday…) I l-uh—huh-uhve them and the fabric is very comparable to that used in the magical Lulu Lemon wunder unders.

I had heard mixed reviews on this company, but Ms. Day’s reviews gave me the push I needed. I’m already looking forward to placing my order in July.

So yeah, cute workout clothes are my current inspiration :). I used my Ellie referral link above , fyi. 

I know a few of you guys have reached out to let me know you’re on this fit and fabulous journey, too. How did your first week go?

Here we go! Fit and Fabulous Day 1 and Plan of Attack

Welp, here we go. Time to get down to biznass with this fit and fabulous journey. Here’s how I plan to attack these 15 pounds over the next three months:

Food:  I’m still breast feeding/pumping when I can so it’s important that my diet not be too restrictive. I recognize I still need more calories to produce the boob juice while I’m able. Some of my old tried and true tricks like cutting out all carbs or kick starting weight loss with a juice cleanse are just not going to cut it at this point in time. What I am going to do is stick to whole grains, lean proteins, lots of fruits and veggies and healthy fats (like coconut oil, avocado, etc). What is off the table (pun!) are refined carbs. So no desserts, nothing with white flour, no more sugar in my coffee (ugh), no fro yo (double ugh), etc. I’ll update each week with what I’ve eaten.

Exercise: This is really going to be the hardest part because I just don’t have any clue when I’m going to find time to exercise. I already get up at 5 am and for a hot sec I briefly thought I could  get up at 4 am to workouuuu…..um…… no. So, we’ll see. My goal for June is to get in 3 workouts a week. I’ll start slow and hopefully add one at a time until I’m working out 5 times a week. My workout of choice is going to be Tracy Anderson’s post pregnancy DVD (use that link to get it for $9.99) and/or metamorphosis workouts (starting over from the beginning of hipcentric). Walking with an 11 pound baby strapped to me also seems to be a good cardio option these days.

And now, for the pictures. I’m really dreading posting these and hope I don’t hate myself for this later, but it’s time to get real and part of sharing this journey on the blog is to hopefully seeing real progress in 3 months. So, it’s good to know where we’re starting. And by we, I obviously mean me.

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(fitness) sizzlin’ hot for summer, week 2

I don’t really have a good name for this weekly recap. Please feel free to suggest one in the comments.

Hi lovers! I am happy to report that this week was mucho, mucho better on the fitness front. I managed to work out five times. yes! Well, technically the fifth time will be tomorrow, but if I visualize it, it will happen, right? I’m currently on Level 5 of Continuity 1.2. To explain that a little better, I did the first 90 days of Tracy Anderson’s Metamorphosis, which she just calls good ole Metamorphosis. But that was last summer. After Metamorphosis you move on to Continuity which you do for the rest of your life, basically. The first 90 days of Continuity are 1.1, the next 90 are 1.2 and the 90 after that will be 1.3. Then, I’ll go on to 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3. ya dig? 

Anwhoziwhatzit, like I said, I’m on Level 5 of 1.2 and I’ve basically been sore since I started it. And, I’m only two workouts in. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, then you know that I basically think Tracy Anderson is a genius. After a year+ on this loony program, I sort of started to think, “oh yeah, I got this. I’m a pro at this stuff now.” wrong. Just when you think you know everything Tracy knows, bam! she gives you a new level to shake things up. I am contorting and twisting my legs and balancing on one arm in ways I didn’t think possible. And I swear I can see the love jiggle just melting away. Swear. So, that’s pretty awesome. Mind you, it’s also awesomely hard, but at least I feel like all my work is not in vain. I can’t say the same for the hours of spin I used to log at the gym.

Okay, on to food. Half of the time I actually remembered to take pictures of what I ate. The other half I didn’t, but I’m trying to get better. Remember that I promised I’d tell you everything I ate, so that’s what I’m trying to do. I hate those blogs or magazines that talk about food to eat and they are like eat oatmeal for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and lean proteins and veggies for dinner. That’s great and all, but I need to know EXACTLY what to eat. So, I put together an extremely overly detailed recap for you. Bear in mind that I’m doing low carb. Not to be confused with no carb.

Breakfast. I mostly eat eggs for breakfast and if I have an avocado in the house, I’ll chop 1/4 of it up and put it on top of my eggs. Also, I am a creature of habit, so add toast under the eggs and this is exactly what I eat for breakfast 250 days out of the year. I don’t really have any other good ideas for a low carb breakfast. Do you?

Lunch. Salad. That’s it. I didn’t do a good job at the grocery store last weekend (read: I didn’t go), so I’ve had to rely on salad bars and restaraunts which is mostly annoying for me and probably the waiters, too. Also, salads don’t photograph very well on a camera phone and they are pretty disgusting looking anyways, so I’m just warning you.

This is a cobb salad I made at the Whole Foods salad bar. Except there is no avocado because they don’t offer that at the salad bar.

And this is a chicken salad from Chipotle.

Other salads included a taco salad at a Mexican restaurant, a gross salad from a coffee shop (note to self: don’t expect a good salad from a coffee shop), and today’s lunch was a smoothie. I like to change it up every once in a while.

Dinner. Every night was indeed a protein with veggies. And I didn’t photograph any of it. Blerg. So, I guess I really photographed way less than half of my meals. Let’s see if I can remember what I ate. Monday night we had crab cakes that Jason brought back from the coast (or was that Sunday?). Tuesday night we went out to eat and I got fried catfish (low carb, not no carb) with crispy kale and coleslaw. Wednesday I had… oh gosh… what did I have on Wednesday….Oh, grilled chicken with corn and roasted tomato salad. Thursday, I made salmon and attempted to recreate the crispy kale I had in the restaurant on Tuesday but it wasn’t nearly as good as the restaurant version. Tonight, we’ll probably grill something… maybe pork… and I’ll saute a very large zucchini squash I bought at the farmer’s market (which is also where the eggs and kale came from. support your local peeps, y’all).

I weighed myself today and I’m down 1.5 pounds from when I started. Woo hoo! So, I had some froyo to celebrate.

And if I’m being honest, I celebrated on Tuesday and last Sunday, too. Oopsies.

Oh, there were also a couple of bowls of fruit randomly thrown in there when all I really wanted was froyo but was exercising my willpower. It was sort of a good substitute, but not really. I mean, it tasted delicious but was just missing my beloved sweet, creamy and awesome froyo.

(fitness) Summer Weight 2012 - Week 1

hi!

Remember me? I’m that girl who was all gung-ho about working out and eating low carb 9 days ago. Well, here’s a tip: Don’t commit yourself to a workout plan the day before your lady parts visitor comes. This past week, I managed to work out twice. And pretty much every dinner was ice cream or potato chips and wine. definitely wine. It didn’t help that Jason was out of town, so I didn’t really have anyone to suggest I eat more well balanced meals this past week. 

Anyways, this is a pretty lame update, but I promised I’d write one each week, so this is it. This coming week will be better. Swear. I’ve stocked up on eggs and vegetables and chicken - my main low carb diet foods. 

Anyone else have a better go of it?