FRENCHIFAL's SparkPeople Blog FRENCHIFAL's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Your morning inspiration Now that the temperatures have dropped, I've been having trouble motivating myself to run. As I'm browsing the web, looking for motivation, I find the one thing that would make me run in sub-freezing temperatures. <BR> <BR> Zombies. <BR> <BR> Yes, it's childish, but they freak me out. I had nightmares for a week after I watched Day of the Dead. <BR> <BR> So here's what I'll picture while I'm running! I hope this inspires you to get up and move too!! <BR> <BR> <img src="http://phot... Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:01:25 EST Finishing the 5% Challenge It's been a great month! During this challenge, I've been rock climbing, hiking, kayaking, biking, and running. I made it through my first backpacking trip, my first kayak pool session to learn to roll, and my second half marathon. <BR> <BR> It's been a GREAT month!! And I do have some results to show for it: I've lost 8 pounds total, an inch off my bust and hips, and a couple of inches off my waistline. <BR> <BR> Here were my starting measurements: <BR> Weight: 172.5 <BR> Bust: 41 <B... Sat, 15 Nov 2014 12:49:33 EST Official Race Photos! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 08:45:24 EST Second Half Marathon Done! So here's my back story. I tried to talk myself out of this at least three times in the past two weeks. <BR> <BR> First, I was worried about my Monday midterm. I wanted extra time to study...and two weeks out, looking at my run schedule, I felt like I was being an irresponsible student by not prioritizing studying above everything else. Then, over last weekend, with the cold snap that moved in...well, I really thought about giving up when I saw that it would be barely above freezing. And... Sun, 9 Nov 2014 12:34:41 EST Miss Kitty: the Lurking Bathtub Monster So here's the situation: Madison is COLD right now! And I've managed to CATCH a cold...and after running at the Arboretum this afternoon and missing my bus, I was chilled to the bone by the time I got home. <BR> <BR> All I wanted was a hot bath. <BR> <BR> Sadly, the tub was taken... Thu, 6 Nov 2014 19:10:40 EST Happy Halloween! A Spooooky Backpacking Trip! A belated happy Halloween, Sparkfriends! <BR> <BR> Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. You get to pretend to be someone else for a night, and it is always so surprising to me who my friends decide to dress up as! Plus, you have apple cider and mulled wine, adorable kids in adorable costumes, carving pumpkins...I love it all! <BR> <BR> But this year, I forewent (is that a word?) the annual traditions and went backpacking instead! Check out the SPOOOKY pics I took along the way! <BR>... Sun, 2 Nov 2014 21:53:09 EST Have confidence in yourself! Haha, a friend posted this on Facebook, and I loved it! Whenever I feel my self-confidence slipping (which happens a lot!) I remind myself... <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Say it - and own it - especially on the days when you don't feel it! Self-confidence is always sexy...and far better than the alternative! But it's good practice, and hopefully will make you laugh at the same time! Sat, 25 Oct 2014 10:40:29 EST Stay strong! <img src=""> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:23:19 EST Fall Colors - the Hoofer Extravaganza! I got some really AMAZING pictures from this weekend's extravaganza! Sadly, I only got to hike for a couple of hours, since I took on a lot of the food prep...I made blue cheese potato salad, Italian pasta salad, and bro-cole-i slaw (with broccoli and cabbage). But here's what I got to take! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.spar... Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:57:39 EST Yesterday's Run... Yesterday, I headed to the UW Arboretum for my run. Which was FANTASTIC! I haven't done much trail running, and I'm learning that it carries its own risks. Because my knees and back feel GREAT, but my feet are more sore than usual. Disadvantages of roots and rocks... <BR> <BR> I took a 5 minute warmup (walking .25 miles), then ran about 7.75 1:30!! Not a terrible pace at all!! Then a 15-minute, .5 mile cool-down before stretching and walking out the last of the kinks. <BR>... Sat, 11 Oct 2014 11:31:25 EST My legs are black and blue! I went climbing at Devil's Lake again this weekend...and this weekend's trip was less geared to beginning climbers and much harder!! <BR> <BR> It's so funny...I had originally wanted to climb to build upper body strength. It is NOT about upper body strength! Where I was struggling was flexibility. There were several places where I wasn't flexible enough to reach holds, and that was what stopped my climb. <BR> <BR> Since I couldn't always get a foot up where I needed it, I used my calve... Mon, 6 Oct 2014 17:54:30 EST Do you ever have those days... <img src=""> Wed, 1 Oct 2014 12:10:07 EST I've got the last of my kayaking certifications! One of the things the UW outing club provides - and rightly insists upon - is that everyone who is out on the water, hiking, climbing, etc. should know what they are doing and be safe doing it! So to be able to climb, you need a basic belaying go canoeing, you need a canoeing certification...and so on. <BR> <BR> Today, I got my last BASIC kayaking rating- so while I need many more to do the toughest courses, I am certified to do lake, river, and sea kayaking on my own. I... Sun, 28 Sep 2014 17:38:26 EST Climbing at Devil's Lake One of the first things I did when I moved to Madison was join the Hoofer's Outdoor Club - which was a GREAT move! This weekend, there was a HUGE event at Devil's Lake, about an hour north. I got to do some pretty intense hiking...and learned to rock climb! <BR> <BR> Check out the scenery! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpe... Sun, 21 Sep 2014 12:38:24 EST Welcome to the Jungle! There is always a downside and an upside of unpredictable weather! <BR> <BR> It's been COLD in Madison the last couple of days! As in, down to the 40s at night. Which has made running and biking a lot easier...I don't overheat, and so I can move faster and make it farther. <BR> <BR> The downside? I had to bring my plants in tonight. I guess it's a good thing I didn't get a community garden plot here, everything I had would probably die when it got down to freezing last night! <BR> ... Fri, 12 Sep 2014 22:57:46 EST Important Anniversary! Today is my one year anniversary...of quitting smoking! <BR> <BR> <em>236</em> <em>408</em> <em>283</em> <em>408</em> <em>236</em> <BR> <BR> Quitting sucked. It was THE hardest thing I've had to do in my life. And I regained about 20 pounds from September to December....but then, I got going on my quit project: running. <BR> <BR> In May I ran a half marathon - my first!! My goal was 2.5 hours, and I finished in 2:33:40, so I did really well! And I've already regi... Wed, 10 Sep 2014 23:25:59 EST If traditional motivational techniques aren't working... <img src=""> Sun, 7 Sep 2014 15:41:38 EST Finally starting to feel like home! It's been almost 3 weeks, and I'm finally starting to feel like I'm at home! <BR> <BR> My assistantship starts on Sept. 1 - and I'm taking one workshop before classes officially start, so I've only got a few days left before I become a student again.. Which is strange...but I'm also really looking forward to it!! <BR> <BR> I've biked to campus and back a couple of times, and run several times. I'm about a mile from the start of the bike trail system that leads to the lakeshore trail, so i... Sat, 23 Aug 2014 15:01:39 EST Miss Kitty: Afraid of Moving...But Lovin' the Boxes! Poor Miss Kitty. I did my best to prepare her for the Big Move. I bought her a kitty harness and leash...and when that didn't fit, I bought a dog harness instead. (She's gained a bit of weight...) I put a comfy blanket in her carrier, and took her out and about - to Petsmart, to the vet, even on errands and trips to the drive-thru, to get her used to being in the car. <BR> <BR> After all, for a cat that hasn't left an apartment in over 3 years, being in a U-Haul and driving 6+ hours cros... Wed, 13 Aug 2014 11:49:19 EST How did I get so much STUFF?! Let me start with the basics: the last two months have been very busy! Starting in mid-June, I worked two full-time jobs; I was still with the environmental non-profit, but I also taught English and Career Exploration classes for Upward Bound's summer semester. Which, as a first-time teacher (who also assigned several writing assignments for both classes), took A LOOOOOTTTT more time than I expected! Plus, I was only a couple of weeks into my microeconomics class, and had to complete weekl... Fri, 8 Aug 2014 10:20:23 EST It's been a rough week! The week didn't start off well for me. On Monday, my parents had to take their older dog to the vet to be put to sleep. It's been years since I lived with them, so I hadn't noticed how much she had aged...but when I went to the vets office to meet them, she was very emaciated, had no energy or interest in what was happening, her back hips were so bad she could barely stand, and her belly was distended - apparently, she had urinated blood that morning. My parents had been talking about how ... Fri, 18 Jul 2014 12:08:55 EST Declaring my own Independence! Several years ago, before I started to embrace healthier habits, I hated holidays. <BR> <BR> Holidays meant that my family would all be together...and in my mind, they were all judging me. I've been curvy since puberty hit, but after I left for college and got up to my heaviest weight...well, I felt like holidays were a tribunal, with my whole family studying me, watching every bite I put in my mouth, and judging me for each and every one of them. <BR> <BR> Silly, yes. Paranoid? Definite... Fri, 4 Jul 2014 22:14:50 EST My garden is starting to look delicious! It's been a few weeks, but my garden has already grown so much bigger!! <BR> <BR> In early May, I tilled one half of my plot and put in 6 tomato plants - and then it froze again. Luckily, 5 of the tomato plants survived! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The last weekend in May, ... Sat, 28 Jun 2014 13:50:48 EST I can't lie...I've been freaking out! It's been a couple weeks since I wrote a blog, and I have to be honest....they haven't been good weeks. <BR> <BR> The emotional eating beast reared its ugly head, and it took some time to get control of myself again. Today, I finally added all of the food I've been eating (and drinking), and I've been averaging 3500-4000 calories a day over the last week! <BR> <BR> <em>227</em> <em>230</em> <em>227</em> <em>230</em> <em>227</em> <BR> <BR> I can't believe I let th... Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:40:18 EST Miss Kitty is not happy... She actually did pretty well! The fact that it was hot probably helped...the water felt good. But she sat nicely in the sink, and my dad (the poor man) didn't even have to hold her while I went to get a towel! <BR> <BR> Getting her dry, on the other hand... Tue, 27 May 2014 11:46:57 EST My garden is good to grow! In early May, I went out for the first time. I tilled half of the 20X10 plot, and put in tomato and pepper plants. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And a week later, we had another hard freeze. <BR> <BR> Sigh.... <BR> <BR> So I waited until this weekend, so that my new plants wo... Sun, 25 May 2014 23:19:14 EST I tried to walk Miss Kitty. It did not end well... I'm preparing for the move to Wisconsin, and one of the biggest concerns I have is how Miss Kitty will handle it. <BR> <BR> I rescued her outside the apartment complex where I live about 3 years ago. She was very skinny, but otherwise still in pretty good shape. My roommate was the one who really wanted her...but she bonded to me pretty quickly. In fact, she follows me from room to room, sleeps in my bed - either on my chest or next to my pillow - and lays beside me on the couch, by my ... Thu, 15 May 2014 10:26:19 EST Happy Mother's Day! To all my Sparkfriends who are moms...Happy Mother's Day!! <BR> <BR> On my end, it's been a great weekend! I woke up bright and early Saturday morning, and walked the 1.5-ish miles to the farmers market, then to the food cooperative. Walking home, which included hiking up a big hill, with two bags full of veggies was a GREAT workout!! <BR> <BR> My parents and I celebrated Mother's Day on Saturday. I cooked dinner for them - homemade hummus and bruschetta with toasted sesame bread, salad, ... Sun, 11 May 2014 18:47:37 EST My dogs are barking! But I'm glad I did it... Today I ran the Indy mini-marathon!! <BR> <BR> I'm especially excited because this was my quit project. As of Monday, I've been 100% nicotine free for 9 months! <BR> <BR> My goal was to run this race in 2:30:00...and I was really close! All in all, I'm really happy with how I did! <BR> <img src=""> Sat, 3 May 2014 14:51:17 EST Why does size matter? It's so funny how we judge ourselves and measure success! <BR> <BR> Last weekend, I went to Indy to visit with some of my best friends, and we had a lot of fun! We tried some local beers, ate a delicious and healthy dinner at a new Thai restaurant, and did a tour of downtown Indy in a quad cycle!! Here are the pictures: <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> After I s... Mon, 28 Apr 2014 21:52:12 EST Won the Sampling Blitz Photo Contest!! So excited! It was another great day...though a little chilly! <BR> <img src=""> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 10:46:18 EST De-Trash the Wabash and Posting a Loss It's been a long time since I've written a blog! I can't believe I've stayed away this long...but my brand-new laptop arrived yesterday, so it will be so much easier to stay in touch now! <BR> <BR> Today has been a great Saturday! I weighed in at 162.6 - which means that I've earned my 10 pound weight loss trophy!! After I quit smoking, and then the holidays...well, it looked like I would just keep gaining weight forever for a little while there! But I'm steadily losing, and have been ... Sat, 19 Apr 2014 14:12:40 EST How a person with a cat eats? A friend just posted this to my Facebook wall...and in my case, it's true if I'm eating anything milk or cream based! My parents dogs are worse, though. They will literally snatch food right out of your hands! <BR> <BR> What about your pets? Do they steal your food? <BR> <img src=""> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 09:44:27 EST Falling a little behind on mini-marathon training Despite my best efforts, I've started to fall behind on my training schedule. <BR> <BR> The treadmill at my apartment complex' gym is STILL out of order, and has been for almost a week. So I've been running, and getting in some great times and mileage...but only when the weather cooperates. <BR> <BR> And I've been getting a few twinges in my knee - likely old war wounds aching with the weather changes - so I haven't been pushing myself as hard. For most of my runs, I've been fine, an... Tue, 25 Mar 2014 10:31:00 EST 5% Challenge Results I'm really happy with the results from this challenge! <BR> <BR> Here was where I was at the start of the challenge: <BR> Weight: 167.8 <BR> Bust: 40.5 <BR> Rib Cage: 32.5 <BR> Waist: 34.5 <BR> Hips: 42 <BR> Thigh: 24.5 <BR> Body fat: 35.62% <BR> <BR> I didn't manage to lose the full 5% - in fact, I lost exactly half of the weight I set out to lose. <BR> <BR> But I've made a lot of real progress! Here are my measurements today: <BR> Weight: 163.6 (4.2 lbs lost) <BR> Bust: 40 (-0.5") <... Sat, 15 Mar 2014 09:08:17 EST ADVICE NEEDED: Nutrition for Running/Training? I've been working really hard to keep up with this half-marathon training program...but I'm starting to run into a wall. <BR> <BR> And it's definitely what I'm eating! <BR> <BR> After my birthday, I cut out alcohol and processed sugar. I've also increased my protein intake over the last few weeks, so I'm eating about 90-100 g every day. And I'm working to get my sodium back into normal ranges...but I REALLY crave salty foods after a long run! <BR> <BR> It's definitely helping! <BR>... Fri, 14 Mar 2014 11:13:31 EST Some mornings are just brunch mornings! When I woke up, the sun was shining...the forecast was mid-40s by this afternoon, and I'm planning a long run today! Great reasons to indulge! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Mmmm...buckwheat and cottage cheese pancakes with baked apples, and a potato roasted with basil! Sun, 9 Mar 2014 11:21:34 EST How a housecat hunts squirrels... Miss Kitty cracks me up! <BR> <BR> My apartment complex has squirrels nesting in the attic, and they drive poor Miss Kitty crazy! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Sun, 2 Mar 2014 08:03:08 EST Six Month Anniversary - and my reward! As of yesterday, I've officially been a non-smoker for six months!! <BR> <BR> I've been keeping track of my estimated savings, and I've already saved over $550! My main distraction - and motivator - has been running. I managed to push myself up to the holidays...and it started getting harder to stick with my goals (since my parents both smoke, there was a lot of temptation, and I was running less). <BR> <BR> So I started following a half marathon training program, with the idea that it wo... Tue, 25 Feb 2014 14:26:27 EST Today's reminder to run <img src=""> Mon, 17 Feb 2014 11:31:41 EST Thanks for your support! I feel bad that I haven't blogged in a couple of weeks - but it's that time of the year where I really don't have much to say that isn't political! <BR> <BR> My job right now is all focused on the Indiana State legislature, and I can't even talk about some of the proposed bills without getting fired up! Grrr.... <BR> <BR> It should all be over in early March. But for the last month and a half, it's been 12-15 hour days at the office, working a full day every Saturday and at least a few ho... Wed, 12 Feb 2014 09:34:35 EST Pardon my math..but I was too excited to keep this to myself! I hate the treadmill. I would assassinate a treadmill Office Space-style if I could, I hate running on treadmills that much. So I've focused on the math to keep myself engaged, and push myself to put in the extra work. I HAVE run 7.5 miles before. But it was part running, part walking, and lots of rests along the way. <BR> <BR> It was two weeks ago when I first got up the motivation to push myself into running without a walking break, and I made it 40 minutes without slowing down! Tod... Sat, 1 Feb 2014 21:57:22 EST Advice Needed: Planning classes, want to know what sounds good! I'm planning out events for the food cooperative, but I'm starting to run out of ideas! <BR> <BR> Here's what I have so far: <BR> <BR> For February, I'm aiming to have a couple of Valentine's Day themed events. I've booked a foods teacher for a "Healthy Hearts" nutrition class, and set up a DIY Edible Facials spa day. We also have a fermented foods class - focused on raw sauerkraut. <BR> <BR> For March, I've got a St. Patrick's Day brewing demonstration - with a focus on "green" beer (i.... Fri, 31 Jan 2014 20:50:31 EST Can't Sleep - Clown Will Eat Me.... Okay, not really... <BR> <BR> I've suffered from insomnia for most of my life, and I've always had an issue with nightmares and night terrors. So my brother got me a magnet, as a joke. It says "Can't sleep. Clowns will eat me." <BR> <BR> It makes me laugh, and reminds me just how silly most of the things that keep me awake really are. <BR> <BR> I really haven't slept well since the holidays. Part of it is stress. Part of it is my diet - I WAS doing better...and then I worked late yes... Tue, 28 Jan 2014 11:16:25 EST Today's achievement: Miss Kitty gets a bath 2 <BR> <link> </link> <BR> <BR> I'm not sure if this video link will actually work...but I got some assistance from my dad (because no one else loves me enough to endure THIS!!) and he retaliated by taking a video of Miss Kitty and posting it on Facebook! <BR> <BR> It was an interesting way to spend my three-day weekend! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Sun, 19 Jan 2014 12:51:38 EST 5% Challenge: Day 1 It's been a roller coaster for the last few months...but I'm finally back on track, and seeing the first sign of progress! <BR> <BR> For me, the first sign that I'm getting stronger: my weight goes up, my waistline (barely) shrinks, and my hips and thighs get a little bigger. It's a side effect of starting to build more muscle. <BR> <BR> I virtually gave up through the holidays, but I don't really feel like I'm starting from scratch with running and cardio - but it's been months since I ... Sat, 18 Jan 2014 11:03:36 EST Rewarding myself along the way After Christmas, I decided to give myself a personal gift: I ordered a water kefir kit! <BR> <BR> I've had water kefir before, and I really enjoyed it - plus, it's a great source for natural probiotics. And the grains last for a really long time, so I can make water kefir juice and/or soda for months off of the one starter kit. So...I figured it would be a good gift. <BR> <BR> And then, I had my first-in-a-long-time exercise streak.. I worked out for at least half an hour for the past ... Sun, 12 Jan 2014 18:45:37 EST My Inner Dialogue... <img src=""> Thu, 9 Jan 2014 15:34:08 EST The most inspiring quote I have ever heard... <img src=""> <BR> <BR> On those days when my motivation is flagging, every time I want to skip a workout, or eat that extra piece of cake, I remind myself: I want to be GREAT! Tue, 7 Jan 2014 10:11:50 EST It's not instantaneous... It's a hard lesson to learn. You can't change overnight. <BR> <BR> Last year, I decided that I didn't want to set resolutions for New Year's. Instead, I "broke up" with some of those trigger foods, deciding that they needed to be banished from my diet. <BR> <BR> So, of course, I had to have a "last" meal...for all of those trigger foods... <BR> <BR> <em>4</em> <BR> <BR> You know the story. If it hasn't happened to you, you're lucky - and it's probably happened to someone you kn... Fri, 3 Jan 2014 12:31:58 EST