FRENCHIFAL's SparkPeople Blog FRENCHIFAL's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community I love using ACTION shots as progress pics! For the past few months, I've been struggling to regain the strength and stamina I lost after my ankle injury. <BR> <BR> In my mind, the weight is just a side effect. Now that I'm back to healthier habits, my weight ups and downs show me when I'm making progress, and when I'm letting myself get detoured by bad habits. <BR> <BR> Bad habit #1 is still my diet. I'm doing a lot better at eating fresh veggies, but I still give in to time constraints and eat convenience foods too often. <BR... Fri, 14 Aug 2015 15:11:32 EST Balance. One of the things I struggle with most is finding a healthy balance. <BR> <BR> It's not a unique challenge, especially to most of us here on SparkPeople! We all have multiple obligations, competing goals, and too much we want to do in the little time we have. But it's an ongoing challenge for me...and it seems like every time I do manage to find balance, something else gets added that tips the scales, and I have to start the entire balancing act again. <BR> <BR> When I was younger, this w... Sat, 1 Aug 2015 13:48:46 EST Backpacking in Door County I can't believe it's already been 3 weeks! We had a LOT of fun, and I got a really great workout! I'm definitely still a nervous leader - I WAAAAY overpacked on food and extra layers, which is very obvious from the size of my pack! Still, it was a lot of fun!! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http:... Mon, 6 Jul 2015 15:56:14 EST Climbing at Devil's Lake Last weekend, I went climbing again. Check out the pictures! I'm the one in the blue-green tee and grey capri leggings. (And sorry that SP won't post them facing the right way...) <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> ... Sat, 4 Jul 2015 12:01:48 EST Time to Catch UP! Hello Sparkfriends! I'm sorry it's been so long since I've posted a new blog...between backpacking, kayaking last weekend, and rock climbing yesterday...and the start of the semester, it's been a crazy couple of weeks! <BR> <BR> As soon as I have a chance, I'll post more pictures! But for now...I've been doing really well at focusing on healthy eating and making small, positive choices! From the time I was injured, in early January, to the end of April, I was in a bit of a funk. A funk t... Sun, 28 Jun 2015 09:08:40 EST The Arboretum (aka my new office!) I REALLY love working here! It's so beautiful!! And today, my entire job was to hike around the trails and get to know the different areas and conservation efforts happening around the Arboretum...I really can't believe they pay me to do this!! Enjoy! <BR> <BR> The building where my office is located: <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Wed, 10 Jun 2015 23:16:28 EST Morning Wildflower Hike This morning, my interviewee canceled, so I found myself with no plans...and took the opportunity to head to Governor Nelson State Park for an early morning wildflower hike! It was beautiful...and a great way to start the day! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Wed, 27 May 2015 12:40:01 EST Paddling the Chain of Lakes Today, I went up to the Waupaca chain of lakes, and paddled my way through 12 of them! <BR> <BR> A couple of the lakes allowed motorboats, so I didn't get pictures...I was afraid I'd lose my phone if I got caught in a rough wake! But I did get some great pictures of the smaller lakes - which were the prettiest anyway! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sat, 23 May 2015 21:48:34 EST One year. It's been a crazy year! <BR> <BR> In the past year (ish), I've run three half marathons! I'm getting used to whitewater kayaks and sea kayaks, and I'm learning to be comfortable strapped in with a water skirt. I've hiked and backpacked through some of the prettiest places in Wisconsin! I've learned to top rope, belay, rappel, and climb. <BR> <BR> I also fell off a bouldering wall, and sprained my ankle, but we'll get to that... <BR> <BR> I survived my first year of graduate school!! Wh... Thu, 21 May 2015 10:09:08 EST Some family troubles lately I haven't shared too much about this recently, but my family is going through a pretty rough time right now. <BR> <BR> My dad's mom is in extremely bad shape. For my entire lifetime, she's struggled with her weight, and all of the related conditions that came with that. Recently, she's passed 475 pounds, and has diabetes, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, fibromyalgia, sleep apnea, hear troubles, and virtually no cartilage left in any joints. Over the last couple of years, she's bec... Mon, 11 May 2015 22:01:08 EST Racing, One Year Later It was exactly a year ago today when I ran my first race. And while the dates didn't line up QUITE perfectly, I ran a "commemorative" race yesterday to kind of mark the occasion and see how far I've come. <BR> <BR> This was, by far, my worst race to date. For several reasons, but I will say this: when your physical therapist warns you not to overdo it or push yourself before you're ready, LISTEN!! <BR> <BR> My body was not ready to run 20K - I still was able to finish, but I suffered ... Sun, 3 May 2015 11:22:35 EST Five things I learned from kayaking Tonight, I went on my first kayaking trip of the season! It was sooo nice to be back on the water!! <BR> <BR> The outing club owns a bunch of small whitewater "play" boats, very light and maneuverable, and I'm trying to get used to them. Particularly, I'm trying to get used to being strapped into it with a spray skirt! Here are a few of the things I discovered - or rediscovered - on the water tonight! <BR> <BR> 1) Geese are MEAN! <BR> Seriously!! We encountered some very angry geese... Wed, 29 Apr 2015 23:55:24 EST Spring sprouts and seedlings! A few weeks back, I started the process of sprouting seeds. <BR> <BR> The lettuces didn't sprout, so I'm currently attempting round 2 of lettuce sprouting. SOME of the herbs sprouted - I tried 3 each of basil, cilantro, parsley, and oregano. 2 each of basil, parsley, and oregano have sprouted...but no luck with cilantro yet. <BR> <BR> Most importantly, either tomatoes or peppers sprouted. But the pots got moved...and I'm still not very good at figuring out which it is! <BR> <BR> I w... Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:39:35 EST The Annual Climbers Cleanup Yesterday was the Annual Climbers Clean-up at Devil Lake...and the mountaineering group I joined sent a group for graffiti removal! <BR> <BR> I REALLY questioned whether or not to go. I ran an Earth Day 5K that morning (of course, I questioned whether to go to that too), and actually managed to run almost the whole thing! I only had to walk up the steepest hill - and I finished in 34:08, an almost 3-minute improvement over my March 5K!! <BR> <BR> I went to the local climbing gym on Frid... Sun, 19 Apr 2015 11:51:20 EST This week...the NACHO debate It's been one of those weeks - between the back-to-school blues, heavy workload and deadlines, cold and rainy weather...I've really been craving comfort food. <BR> <BR> Which for me = NACHOS! I gave in and had some last night, but this is how I've felt all week! Welcome to my internal dialogue... <em>334</em> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://p... Sat, 11 Apr 2015 13:11:20 EST Where I recommit... One thing I've learned is that I never really start over... <BR> <BR> I have all of the extra weight I gained, but also the extra experience and knowledge. I never have to go back to square one. So instead of starting over...I recommit. <BR> <BR> As I've previously expressed, midterms were hard. I had two weeks where I stress ate, emotionally ate, and drank more than I should. I was also far too busy to cook or do food prep, so everything I ate was prepackaged or from a take-out resta... Fri, 3 Apr 2015 11:43:02 EST 4 Things I Learned on Today's Bike Ride Today is the first day of spring break...and after two very challenging weeks of midterms, project deadlines, paper submissions, and data verification, I am really excited to be slowing down and taking some time for myself! <BR> <BR> So when I was preparing to head back to campus, for an appointment with my professor, I decided it was time to pull out my bike. The weather is turning warmer, the snow has all melted...and I finally had time to take a slower path! <BR> <BR> Altogether, I bi... Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:07:04 EST Weekend hike Yesterday, I went hiking with a couple of friends at a park I hadn't visited yet - Blue Mounds State Park. It was beautiful!! <BR> <BR> The weather was perfect, in the low 40's, but there was still a lot of snow on the ground. And we timed it to get back to the overlook tower at sunset. The view was incredible!! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="h... Mon, 9 Mar 2015 10:58:27 EST Finished... I think I've finished it...let me know what you think! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Sun, 1 Mar 2015 14:32:01 EST Need help finishing my latest painting I decided to start with this picture as a model/base: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Here's what I've got so far: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> ...and how I got there... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sp... Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:22:10 EST Outdoors... It's been a great weekend so far! Yesterday, I went snow shoeing on the lake, and today I went cross-country skiing. The place we went was a lot hillier than the place I went last time, so I KNOW I got a great workout! <BR> <BR> But I'm not sure I believe the Sparkpeople trackers. I do NOT feel like I burned 800+ calories on today's trip. Still, today is the first day in weeks that I didn't suffer from food cravings and/or emotional eating urges. I actually just finished a really heal... Sat, 21 Feb 2015 20:21:11 EST Ten Pounds?! Over the years, as I have gained, and lost, and regained yet more...10 pounds kind of stopped seeming significant. After all, when your entire goal is 10 pounds it's huge! When it's a quarter, or less, of your goal, you just don't feel like it's as big of a deal. <BR> <BR> As I cried on my roomie's shoulder (metaphorically) about my weight struggles - particularly, my regain since being injured - she decided that I needed a perspective change. And she gave me a VERY EFFECTIVE perspective ... Wed, 18 Feb 2015 14:48:58 EST Pause... In early January, I fell off a bouldering wall. Badly sprained my ankle... <BR> <BR> I was in a brace full-time for two weeks, then I could only take it off at home for another two weeks... <BR> <BR> It would swell up just from a long walk for the first week. Even now, it's still a little swollen and tender when I move too much... <BR> <BR> For the first three weeks, I was really positive. I mean, it sucked, but I tried to think of it as an opportunity to catch up on the stuff I usually... Sun, 15 Feb 2015 10:07:18 EST My First Painting It's been one of those really crappy weeks where I should have just stayed in bed! Actually, it started last week - when I went for my first run since hurting my ankle, and it swelled up and ached the whole next day. I iced it, babied it, and wore the brace when I went skiing last weekend. <BR> <BR> Which was SOOOO much fun!! <BR> <BR> But I fell three times, and in the process my poor ankle got banged up again. So it really shouldn't have surprised me that the physical therapist told ... Fri, 13 Feb 2015 19:50:44 EST Finally got to SKI! This weekend, I finally managed to go for my first cross-country skiing trip! <BR> <BR> I was one of several beginners on the trip - and we had a REALLY hard time staying upright once we were going downhill! At one point, the guy in front of me fell. I tried to steer around him and fell, and the guy behind me fell trying not to run us over... <BR> <BR> Don't ask me why falling on my bum was so much fun, but it was! :) <BR> <BR> Check it out! <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeopl... Mon, 9 Feb 2015 16:06:29 EST The Bathtub Antics, Continued... So, it's a fact: Miss Kitty is the cutest, sweetest, funniest, smartest, greatest cat in the whole world. You can trust me. I'm not biased! :) <BR> <BR> Her bathtub antics continue...and somehow, in spite of myself, I cannot stop taking pictures and videos. She's just too cute! Sat, 7 Feb 2015 11:05:21 EST Winter Carnival Tonight was the outdoor club's big welcome back event...and coming on the heels of this weekend's blizzard, it was a beautiful night to get out and explore! It was also my first time walking on the lake - I've been so nervous that the ice will break underneath me, but watching people ski over to Picnic Point gave me the courage to do it! <BR> <BR> What a workout! And check out how beautiful it was! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR>... Mon, 2 Feb 2015 21:22:26 EST I met a nutritionist today... Everything I've learned about healthy eating comes from what I've read - articles, recipes, books, etc. <BR> <BR> And one things I've learned is that the most dangerous thing you can do is assume that you know everything! So when I found out that students could sign up for free sessions with a certified nutritionist, I wanted to go and learn more about healthy eating...especially with the plateaus and struggles I've had in training for the half marathons, and my steady weight gain over the... Thu, 29 Jan 2015 22:12:07 EST Don't let this happen to you! Not sure I love some of the words in this cartoon...but you get the idea! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 13:06:00 EST Advice, please! I've been struggling a bit lately, which is - sad to say - not outside the norm for me when it gets cold. <BR> <BR> I like being outside, and I NEED to be active. Yes, need. I go stir crazy when I can't get in a walk or run pretty much every day, and I start getting twitchy when I stay inside for too long! <BR> <BR> I had thought I was set up for a better winter, even if it is colder here in Madison. I signed up for several shorter winter races, I'd been going to pool sessions and the ... Sat, 24 Jan 2015 11:18:08 EST Miss Kitty the Conqueror Since I haven't been able to play as much as usual, Miss Kitty has been improvising with my hair ties...and I've been so bored, I have WAAYYY too many new pictures and videos of her. Fri, 16 Jan 2015 12:45:13 EST Prepping for a new semester... My roomie and classmates have teased me about my coffee obsession more than once...and have shared some fun jokes and pics over the last few months! <BR> <BR> So here's some caffeine addict humor! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Mon, 12 Jan 2015 16:40:41 EST TGIF...well, almost :) This is how I feel today! Hope it makes you laugh, too... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Thu, 8 Jan 2015 13:07:13 EST The continuing adventures of Miss Kitty and my bathtub... I will never understand the appeal of the bathtub...but someone continues to frolic in there every chance she gets! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Tue, 6 Jan 2015 15:11:25 EST HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope you're off to a healthy and happy 2015! As you think about your resolutions for the year, don't make negative resolutions. Don't phrase your goals in terms of what you'll lose, but rather, what you'll gain. <BR> <BR> Better yet, decide what you do well, what makes you shine brighter than ever, and resolve to do more of that! Resolve to keep doing what you're doing right! Resolve to keep being awesome...nay, be awesom-ER! <BR> <BR> <img src=" Thu, 1 Jan 2015 19:37:26 EST It's not you, it's me... Dear Taco Bell/chinese takeout/pizza AND pizza rolls/all of the other fatty foods that are so absolutely delicious I can't stop when I'm no longer hungry and have to eat until I'm about to bust a gut: <BR> <BR> Dear sugar and cake and cookies and ice cream...and I better stop this list before I cue the river of drool... <BR> <BR> Dear emotional eating, sugar addiction, self-doubts, body image issues, feelings of worthlessness and unlovability, and all of the other negative voices telling me... Sun, 28 Dec 2014 01:12:33 EST My healthy - and happy - Christmas My poor parents... <BR> <BR> They usually host a high-calorie Christmas dinner of glazed ham, cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole, and cheese biscuits - plus lots of cookies and cakes! <BR> <BR> This year, my parents came to visit me. So our traditions were changed a little...after all, I'm a little hard to keep up with sometimes! After yesterdays run, I finished baking quarter-recipes of 5 types of Christmas cookies - Russian teacakes, cranberry drops, peanut butter blossoms, coconut m... Thu, 25 Dec 2014 23:50:49 EST Happy Christmas! Happy holidays from me and Miss Kitty! <BR> <img src=""> Thu, 25 Dec 2014 10:37:06 EST The Semester is Finished! I finished my last final yesterday afternoon! I went out for a few drinks with my classmates last night, slept in this morning...then went to the Aveda school to get a new hairstyle! <BR> <BR> Before: <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> After: <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.c... Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:38:55 EST Lotus I love my roommate's dog, Lotus! I know I haven't posted many pictures, but today I went to the dog park with them, and I got some great pictures! Isn't she adorable?! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <... Sun, 14 Dec 2014 15:54:51 EST Sing it, Miss Kitty! My roommate and I have been enjoying messing with poor Miss Kitty...she just makes it so fun! Thu, 11 Dec 2014 17:52:11 EST Santa run! I just ran the Madison Santa Run - it's an untimed 5K fun run. My goal was to run my first 30 minute 5K today. <BR> <BR> I started my stop clock on my phone when I crossed the start line, and pulled it out after I crossed the finish line... <BR> <BR> 28:03!! SO HAPPY!! <BR> <img src=""> Sat, 6 Dec 2014 15:58:51 EST Miss Kitty is NOT HAPPY! I took Miss Kitty home for Thanksgiving. I knew it would be rough, but I didn't want to leave her alone for 5 days...especially for the holidays. <BR> <BR> She did NOT appreciate my sacrifice. The only time she WASN'T hissing at my parents dog or caterwauling up and down the hallways was when she decided to hide under the furnace for half a day. <BR> <BR> I really thought my parent's dog ate her... <BR> <BR> Well, and of course when she was rolling around in their bathtub and purring lik... Tue, 2 Dec 2014 15:24:41 EST HAPPY THANKSGIVING! <em>426</em> <em>429</em> <em>465</em> <em>429</em> <em>426</em> <BR> <BR> Happy Thanksgiving, Sparkfriends! <BR> <BR> I'm thankful for a year of healthy living, happy memories, and great achievements! I'm thankful for friends who understand and support me. And right now, I'm thankful for a day of indulgence...and antacids. <BR> <BR> No matter what your Thanksgiving has been like - one of these should be guaranteed to make you chuckle. <BR> <BR> Cheers! <BR> <img ... Thu, 27 Nov 2014 20:30:31 EST 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