Thursday, July 27, 2017

Gold Stars

I was going to write about something else today, but then I read a blog post and it really stirred me. Particularly this:

Ben Bergeron actually shared this blog earlier this week, sparking my thoughts for this post.

After reading it, I sat staring at my laptop for awhile picking apart why the words got down into my stomach and made me feel a little bit weird. And I realized, I am very much guilty of what he's talking about. Read the whole thing here, it's very short.

I'm competitive, and I like being good at what I do. That goes for a lot of us. I don't like losing, hence why playing on a college volleyball team that had four losing seasons in a row really got to me at times.

But those four years shaped me into someone I believe is pretty mentally (and sometimes physically) strong, and taught me a ton. I wouldn't trade my college experience for the world.


I also think that's why I stayed fairly competitive post-college. Almost immediately I got into running, and then semi-quickly I realized I was fairly good. So I started racing with the mindset of, if I didn't place then it wasn't a successful race..

Fast forward: I'm not a 'competitive' runner anymore, I wouldn't win any races at least. And that bothers the crap out of it. I really hate the s word but man I've slowed down; my mileage has gotten less and less, trading in time on the pavement for time at the gym instead; on the gymnastic bars, the barbells, in the pool, on a bike, laying on the beach.

Don't get me wrong, I feel very balanced and I love the athlete I am today. But I hate that I'm no longer great at running. More so, I really dislike the constant pressure I feel coming from literally only myself, that I need to get faster again. Because if I'm not great at it, what's the point of doing it?


Right? Wrong.

Hence the light bulb moment this morning. I had literally just come in from a short three mile run and was having an internal conversation with myself, planning to start back up on some speed work. For no other reason than the fact that I felt too sub-par.

The truth of the matter is - and why I wanted to write about this - is that we pile a lot of crap on our plates. A lot. We glorify the term 'busy' and society often conveys that if you aren't staying busy, you're basically being a slob. Which isn't fair, or true. And is a whole different discussion we can have someday.



Yet because we often have so many plates spinning at once, odds are we just aren't going to be absolutely great at everything. I cannot be a speedy fast runner, while building my strength, while actively trying to train two puppies to grow into polite adult Huskies, while balancing two part-time jobs, while trying to improve my cooking skills, keep our apartment clean, etc. etc. Not to mention the extreme guilt I feel a few times a week from the fact that I'm not practicing or taking time to learn Hebrew.

Had to sneak a pup picture in there

The list goes on - as I'm sure yours does too. Then there's the even longer list of things we wish we had more time for - and we don't even have kids yet.

At the end of the day, some of those tasks/skills will end up being done averagely, or maybe even sub-par. We won't be the best, we aren't going to constantly be winning medals. I'm never going to win any cook-off contests that's for damn sure, and I'm OK with that. I can feed myself and my husband and as long as it's not a plate full of broccoli or avocado, he's going to be happy. #Winning.

Give yourself a break. If you're trying your best, you're happy, and you're not bringing down people around you in the process - you're a step ahead of a lot others. Striving for greatness is a really fantastic goal, but we need to stop bludgeoning each other (and ourselves) to pieces when we don't walk away with gold stars in every category of life.

(Sidenote: there is a difference between putting your best foot forward and coming up short, and half-assing something)

Next time you catch yourself doing it - which I know I will at some point today - do me a favor. Stop, take a breath, and instead of lecturing yourself for something that didn't turn out as planned, instead just tell yourself:

                                                           It's good enough.

You finished the workout, but you were dead last? You only finished half your loads of laundry? You finished your run, but you had to walk half the time?  There are still dirty dishes in the sink? You made it to work on time but just realized you have a coffee stain on your pants? Your son insisted on only finishing half of his breakfast?

It's good enough.

You're alive, you're trying. Sometimes, that's just good enough. Smile about it.
Cheers - 

Kait

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Squishy

You guys. I'm going to try to keep this short, and to the point. And take it back to my roots of writing about health and fitness.

We - as a world -  including myself - can be incredibly lazy. We like it when things are easy; our lives are constantly being simplified by advancements in technology.

Example: There are buttons, little clicker things, that you can now order on Amazon and keep in your pocket/purse whatever. When you click the button, it will re-order the product that you are out of.



What.

"Honey, can you click the Tide button - we are almost out!"
6 hours later a bucket of Tide is sitting on your doorstep courtesy of Jeff Bezos.

That's cool and all, get yourselves as many clicky re-order buttons as you want. Here's what really irritates me when it comes to trying to make things easier/cutting corners.

Fitness.
Exhibit A, on the left:

When I open Pinterest and see pins like that I want to bash my head into the wall.

Now - I've literally written about this on here before, but the fact that I still see crap like this splattered all over social media makes me feel like I need to reiterate.

There are not six exercises to BANISH SQUISHY BACK FAT. You will not simply just do six exercises over and over for 20 days - and suddenly have a back that looks like that.  Also what in the F@%K is squishy back fat? Why is that even a phrase? Do some people have hardened back fat?

If you want to lose weight, if you want to build muscle, if you want to lose fat, you have to put in work and you have to sweat. If you want to "tone up your butt" - you can't just focus on your butt - that's not how it works. That's called spot targeting/spot reduction and it's a garbage catchphrase. It doesn't work.


I'll wrap up, because honestly I'm kind of fired up and could angrily type about this for the next hour. If you are trying to get in shape - if you're looking for some kind of fitness results - there are plenty of great workout regimens out there that can help you do that. The amount of 'boutique' style gyms in this world is now mind-blowing, you have unlimited options to find something that you like that will make you sweat and help you see results.



You also have the outdoors, and a pair of running shoes. And sit-ups, and air squats, and push-ups, and burpees - the lists goes on - and all those things are free.

Lastly and also importantly, I will copy and paste exactly what I said over two years ago. Remember, the phrase 'you can't out-exercise a bad diet' is more true than you want it to be. Pizza and beer for dinner five days a week will catch up with you - no matter how often you may be working out. Abs are made in the kitchen - Google will 100% back me up.

Last but not least, drink your water. 

I rant, because I care. And because I've made all these mistakes myself.
Cheers -
Kait

Friday, July 14, 2017

5 Things Friday - Trader Joe's Edition


I've mentioned on here before that grocery shopping isn't my favorite thing to do here. Take that with a grain of salt - it's not like I'm trudging through a muddy market and can only pay in cash - they have normal groceries stores. Most are just smaller, with less of a selection than what my spoiled millennial self is used to, so that rarely am I able to just go to one and get everything that I want in one trip.

First world problems, I know, I know.

So like I've also said in the past, I try to shop online for a good majority of stuff - anything that isn't perishable. And then there are both of our wonderful mom's who love us so much that we semi-regularly get boxes full of food from them as well.

Typically their boxes are exclusively stuffed full of food from Trader Joes. Which even the dogs now get excited for, because they love Trader Joe's dog treats. So for my Five Things Friday today, I think I'll share our top five staples that we always ask for when offered a Trader Joe's shipment. (Keep in mind, I would pretty much have everything shipped if I could but anything that needs to be kept cold just ain't gonna make it across the ocean and arrive in edible condition, as shipping time averages 8-10 days.)


Beautiful.

You may find this topic incredibly dry and if so, feel free to close the window now. However if you also get riled up just by hearing the phrase 'let's go to Trader Joe's' read on - and also - please share with me some of your all-time favorite TJ's staples, so that I can have some new ideas next time I send my mom to the store for me.

#1 - Plantain chips. This one sits far above all the rest of the list. They have both salty and sweet, both are great, salty always wins though (we actually even make nachos with them sometimes).

I'm drooling

#2
- Bars. I have a bad habit (I think it's bad?) of eating two small lunches - one before and one after our mid-day workout. So typically the first half of lunch is a bar and some fruit. I used to exclusively stick with Larabars, but I'm also now also a fan of Quest Bars when I need a change up.  I ALSO just saw that Perfect Bars are now going to be carried at Trader Joe's as well - which are my ultimate favorite.

#3 - Jerky. Andrew might list this as his number 1, not sure, but he can finish off a bag in one sitting. Both beef and turkey are great, and while it's not the cheapest of snacks, it's some great quick protein.

#4 - Trail mix. Any kind really - but if it has chocolate in it, it's extra special :)



#5 - Any kind of treat. Andrew's mom recently sent us cowboy bark and I'm pretty sure I single-handedly finished off the bag over the course of last weekend (Andrew doesn't really like sweet things - confusing - but a win for me). However those dark chocolate pretzel thins are also pretty amazing... chocolate covered almonds... honestly, if it has chocolate, ship it.

Bonus: My sister made me aware of their Everything Bagel Seasoning last month. Since my mom has shipped it to us, I've been putting it on A TON of stuff - Andrew's daily scrambled eggs... sweet potatoes... and the best yet, pictured below.

Avo Toast and Eggs

That's all I've got. Tell me your top 5 - and then go out and have an awesome weekend.

Cheers - 
Kait

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Summer

Laying on my stomach on my cartoon beach towel that I've had for way too long, it feels like it's 100°. Fahrenheit of course, Celsius conversions will forever escape me and I gave up trying awhile ago although that's what they use here.

Of course it's not 100, it's probably not even 90 yet, but something about the humidity in this city kills me. I glance to my left and can literally see those heat wave things coming off of the sand. 

Sweat rolls down my forehead. What I thought was a mid-week beach break treat yo' self was actually just turning into a heat stroke.


Never did I think I would live in a climate that I found to be too hot, to be honest.

I shift again, and a girl in a purple thong bikini catches my eye. It's not out of the ordinary on the beaches of Tel Aviv, but her put-togetherness, her long manicured nails and large floppy beach hat make me overly aware of my disheveled hair and lack of makeup. She kind of looks French.

I wonder if I'll ever muster the courage to wear a thong on the beach, I ponder. Just about anything goes here; speedos are right and left, the less clothing the better it seems. I conclude that there's no point in burning my butt cheeks just to show some more skin.

It's kind of funny, we often get questions from our friends and family (particularly those planning to visit), "Do I need to cover up more? Do I need to wear pants? Should I buy a one piece?"

No. In Tel Aviv at least, you should do the exact opposite. You will see just about anything and everything; nothing shocks me anymore after walking up and down the beach for almost a year now.

I shift from my stomach to lay on my back, and make the mistake of putting my feet on the burning sand, quickly correcting it by burrowing my feet underneath. The breeze feels great, and I consider for a second actually going into the sea. Until I remember the warning from friends that it's jellyfish season, for at least another week.


Yeah no thanks.

To my left there's an old man whose a deep shade of brown that my ethnicity will never allow me to reach. I wonder how he's asleep when we are basically sitting on the sun. I'm jealous of his beer next to him.

We need more post-it notes, I remember to myself. Post-it notes are one of my odd loves in life; actually, making lists on them is. It was on my list today to try to find more post-its, and some cheap plates. You know what I mean - everyone needs at least a few crappy plates that you and your husband can easily chuck into the microwave/into the dishwasher/onto the floor without worrying about damaging them. Our old ones from the Target dollar section were getting disgusting.


Oh Target, I miss you. #2 behind Trader Joes.

I should probably wander down Allenby Street before heading back home to get some work done, and see if I can find a store that sells both post-its and plates together. Odds are low, which is why we now just order roughly 75% of things we need off of Amazon - even if we have to wait a week for it.

I stand up and immediately slip on my Birks to get my feet off the sand. Maybe I should stop at the juice stand on my way, in order to avoid heat exhaustion on my mile-long walk home? Sounds like a plan.