Blog Archives

A new kind of Bump.

When I was younger, my “life plan” was to be married by 20 and have at least one child by 21. I was also going to live in a purple house and play saxophone for the former President Clinton. (Because he was President at the time, also played the saxophone,  and I was obsessed with that instrument.)

Then life happened.

I starting losing weight… graduated from high school… started college… lost too much weight… struggled to find my purpose… switched colleges and degrees (again)… found a healthy and attainable weight… graduated from college… first “big kid” job in a new city… new job in a different city… met a boy and his dog… bought a house… got married… next job…

and now we’re here. I’m almost 29 years old and I don’t live in a purple house. I rarely play the saxophone for ANYONE- definitely NOT the former President.

But, now the “child” thing is happening. I’m 1/2-way to meeting our newest family member, and it’s been quite the journey so far. In terms of symptoms, I’ve had a ridiculously easy pregnancy. Aside from feeling like a walking zombie for most of my baby-growing time, I’ve had just a few aches and ailments, and I’m pretty darn thankful.

My loose skin which has hung so haphazardly for 10 years is now forming into a rounded “bump.” I love that little bump.  I’ve often found myself just holding it- holding my baby- to keep it safe and show love to both the child and my body. It’s important to do that. Just as important has been to surround myself with love- having people who support me and lift me up, who encourage me with their words and actions. I’ve felt an outpouring of all of these things since sharing our exciting news and there are so many days that these people have been the reason that I am able to remember how lucky I am.

The biggest struggle in all of this has been in the growing. In the beginning, I can remember having conversations with myself about what pregnancy may entail, and that it WILL include a weight gain. A good and important kind. And there was nothing wrong with it- as long it was done in a healthy way.  I’ve worked so hard on losing and maintaining a weight loss of over 100 pounds, and for the first time since I can remember, I’m having to process that it’s OK to gain. That when a shirt or pant or skirt no longer fits it’s a natural part of the process rather than a sign that I need to kick myself for eating all those peanut M&Ms.
If any of you have lost a significant amount of weight before pregnancy, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a weird (for lack of a better word) thing to have to accept and be OK with. It’s even harder when you have the appetite of a linebacker and a strong addiction to cake and candy and French fries that no longer seems to be avoidable. I’m certain that lost a lot of my self-control, and I swear people can just smell it on me… and know just what to offer to make me drool and make my knees buckle. I mean, even the Ice Cream truck drives by me while I’m out walking and by my house at least 4 times a week (I wish I was kidding).

So for now my goal has now been to (try to) eat healthy about 90% of the day (and yes- I do count down the minutes), as well as try to get some form of physical activity in almost every day… I know I eat more than I should, so this way I rest a little easier knowing that I’m trying. Like I said, I’m by no means perfect (like the times I’ve eaten jars of peanut butter as a “snack,” or the entire popcorn cake by myself, or that pan of delicious double cake, or….), but I give it a shot. Every day.  Just like I did before I was growing a human.

I want my child(ren) to grow up with healthy self images and love their bodies rather than avoid any reflective surface because they hate what they see. I want them to see food as fuel rather than “good or bad.” And I want them to enjoy playing rather than feeling like they need to torture themselves with exercise. I know that all of these messages- negative and realistic- are out there. And I know I can be one of the first to send the “right” messages about bodies and health from an early age.

Until Baby D arrives, I can practice being a good role model to those around me by keeping my self-talk positive, by forgiving myself for the jar of peanut butter, by appreciating the fact that I can still exercise and eat what I want.
Being love and showing love.

Let It Go without Letting It Go

psst… Did you get the title? I guess I had to be a part of the cool kids and reference the latest craze. Truthfully- I haven’t seen the movie yet. I only heard John T butchered Idina’s name. (And to be fair, I would’ve probably said something similar. Wouldn’t you?)

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. Mostly about weight loss, self image, and the journey that I’ve been on for a dozen years (WOW- it’s been that long?! I feel old). When I was 16, I tipped the scales at over 300 pounds. I didn’t see a “big person,” and it was honestly confusing to me to hold up my clothes and accept the fact that I not only filled them, but I challenged many of the seams’ thread power.

As I said, those days are long gone. A lot of hard work and much better lifestyle choices have helped me maintain my 100+ pound weight loss. I’d be lying if I told you that it has been easy. I think at some point it did get easier, but I.still.struggle.every.day. If I’m not finding it hard to say no to a pound of peanut M&Ms, I’m daunted with the task of looking in the mirror and not only accepting, but loving my loose skin and remnants of stretch marks.

Did you know that we all have bad days? Mine might look different than yours, but even the most successful people run into challenging moments that sometimes end in defeat.

The age of social media has somewhat muted our ability to accept that it’s OK to be anything less than perfect. There’s a funny picture I recently saw that has a couple happily posing while on a hike; underneath was a picture of them fighting with the title “3 seconds earlier.” Social Media allows us to share our highlight reel with the world… and if you’re anything like me, it also creates an unnecessary perception of pressure to continue “one upping” yourself or those around you.

A few weeks ago, I sat and at a pound of peanut M&Ms. Yes, an ENTIRE POUND. By myself. Just watching tv, relaxing (OK- well maybe it was a combination of stress and emotional eating a little bit, too). Anyway. When my hand hit the bottom of the bag, I was MORTIFIED at what I had done. I couldn’t believe that “I was so weak”…  in my head there were much harsher adjectives I was using in reference to my moment of weakness. Let’s just say- I was not being a nice person, and I went from a moment of pure bliss and enjoyment in the form of sweet and salty crunchiness to complete defeat and horror.

The next day I woke up still mad at myself and began plotting the things I would HAVE to do to make sure that pound of peanut M&Ms didn’t end in a 100 pound weight gain. I would HAVE to spend at least 5 hours at the gym. I would HAVE to eat one meal and nothing else. I would HAVE to not see anyone because they would surely smell the chocolate and peanuts seeping out of my pores…

HOLD UP. STOP THE BUS. 

Do you hear how ridiculous that all sounds? Reflecting back on it, I do! At the time it seemed very rational though. (And for the record- I did my normal time at the gym and ate my normal 2 meals and 14 snacks, and I saw several friends/family members. haha!)

Here’s the thing. Sometimes you’re going to have a moment of weakness. A bad day. A tough decision. And sometimes the best option won’t be the one that you choose to make. But that’s OK. Just as important as it can be to make a good choice, it is equally as important to forgive yourself for being human. As I read in a book the other day,

“Don’t let a Lapse become a Relapse.”

As both an emotional and stress eater, I know all-too-well how easy it is to fall off the tracks. One “bad” bite can lead to a “bad” meal can lead to a “bad” day can lead to a “bad” week… and pretty soon I’ve given up the gym and my 10 heads of lettuce a week.

Now I’m working on a different mindset. For too many years following my weight loss, I had a “good or bad” mentality. Everything was black and white.
Good= lots of exercise, fruits, vegetables, no fat, smaller clothing sizes…
Bad= ice cream, peanut M&Ms, not exercising, a plateau or increase in clothing sizes, marshmallows…

I was missing out on SO.MUCH. and it finally got to the point that I felt deprived and was ready to rebel by eating every “Bad” thing in sight. I’ve since learned to Let it Go once in a while… to enjoy a nice treat. I put in a lot of effort into eating healthy and exercise.  And now I’m working on loving what I see in the mirror. After all, I’ve worked really hard for the body I have for a really long time, and considering what I’ve put it through, it DESERVES love!

Think about your own life. Do you allow yourself to fail lovingly? Are you willing to forgive yourself, learn from the situation, and move on when things don’t happen according to plan?

Lettuce Eat Green

As I drove to work, I realized I had no visible green on so I quickly thought about what I could do to avoid being pinched all day (stick a green post-it note on my shirt? tell people they just can’t see my green? take a green sharpie to my skin? convince people my eyes are green?) . So far, I’ve successfully dodged each playful reminder of St. Patty’s Day.

Truthfully though? Seeing all of this green makes me hungry.
(Well, a lot of things have that same effect on me… but green really gets me.)

You see, I.Love.Vegetables.

If you opened my fridge on a Sunday night (the day I usually grocery shop), you might find an average of 10 heads of lettuce. Yes, TEN. (Please pick your jaw off the keyboard.) I bet I’m one of the few people that gets asked “Are you having a party?” every time I go through the checkout with all of my green goodness. Sometimes I’ll come up with different tall tales that I could tell the cashier to avoid telling them that they are actually just for me. Other times, I could not care less!

When I was 16 and 300 pounds, I could finish off a large Pizza Corner pizza by myself. A bag of Doritos or container of Oreos was about an hour’s worth of a TV show…. I guess my point is that my appetite has always been rather large.

I tell people that even though I’ve lost 100 pounds, my stomach hasn’t shrunk. Sometimes I tell myself that I’m going to work harder at portion control, but that usually ends by lunch time when I’m chowing down on my head of lettuce. My husband jokes that I can make anything into a salad.
And he’s right.

If you aren’t the most fond of vegetables, I speak from experience when I tell you that lettuce can be a great way to ease into this colorful, nutritious world of goodness. It is refreshing, crispy, and most kinds don’t carry too much flavor- a great way to “bulk up” a meal.

LETTUCE have some Fun:

  • Lettuce is a member of the sunflower family and was discovered as a weed growing around the Mediterranean.
  • Christopher Columbus introduced lettuce to the Americas.
  • In the United States, lettuce is the second most popular fresh vegetable. Americans eat about 30 pounds of lettuce every year. That’s about five times more than what we ate in the early 1900’s.

LETTUCE eat More!

  • Lettuce provides fiber and vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and copper.
  • The most abundant nutrient in iceberg lettuce is water (over 90%), so it can help to keep you hydrated as the temperatures go up (I mean, it’s bound to get warmer eventually).
  • The darker the green color is, the more nutrition the salad greens contain.
  • A head of Iceberg lettuce will last longer if you wrap it in a paper towel and place it in a plastic bag in your fridge.

To me, the best part about working with lettuce as an ingredient is the creativity involved. I have yet to find something that I do not enjoy on a bed of greens (I even invented a little dish I like to call “soup IN a salad,” and it is exactly what it sounds like- 100% delish!). While dressings can be a delicious addition, be sure to read your nutrition label, as the calories and fat add up quickly (thus defeating the purpose).

The weather is starting to improve and I think it’s all giving us a brighter outlook; a great time to start taking steps to feel better- inside and out. And as with all things, even baby steps add up! Have a Healthy, Happy GREEN St. Patty’s Day!

 Baby Steps

Source: http://www.extension.umn.edu

Spring Break Safety: Are You Ready?

After a long and painfully cold winter, spring break for UND students cannot come any faster! With all of the build up for a vacation from school and hopefully spending some time in the sun, how will you have fun while keeping yourself safe? For some students, taking a vacation or having a break from school might seem like the perfect time to have a few drinks, but what happens when pressure from our friends makes us feel like we should drink more? What do you do?! There are a lot of options in this situation and some things for students to be aware of.

When consuming alcohol it is important to do so responsibly, and at a pace which allows our body to process it.  Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is the amount of alcohol that is in our blood stream and can be calculated by looking at the chart below. It takes our body about 1 hour to process one standard drink [12oz beer, 5oz wine,  1.5oz hard liquor], so if you decide to drink over spring break, remember to give yourself some recovery time. Getting a good meal in beforehand and staying hydrated are also key things to remember if you are going to use alcohol.

If you are taking a vacation or plan to be around other people who are consuming alcohol that you do not know, it is especially important for you to keep yourself safe. Alcohol is the number one date rape drug, so stay in control and look out for yourself and others. More information on how to have a safe spring break and other resources are listed below.

Don’t forget to check out the Spring Break Survival event in the Memorial Union Loading Dock, Wednesday, March 12th from 6:30-9:30pm for games, food, and fun learning activities for how you can have a safe spring break!

Other Campus and Community Resources:

http://und.edu/health-wellness/

http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/

http://www.cdc.gov/family/springbreak/

http://www.safespringbreak.org/safety-tips/

Winter: You WIN.

I’m going nuts. (Like, even more crazy than the norm.)

This winter is breaking my will. Yesterday I did so many “laps” around my house trying to find something to occupy my time that I started crying- CRYING!! After a series of questions from my husband and tissues, we determined that I’m stir crazy and just tired of being so cold.all.the.time. (Seems like a logical reason to cry, amIright?!)

My story is not unique. I think pretty much all have nearly reached breaking points in what has turned out to be a long, polar-vortex-ridden winter. It’s March and we’re still waking up to ridiculous-below-zero temperatures.

My friends… as much as we hate to hear it, to think it, or to believe it… we must press on and hold on to hope that warmer weather is on its way. And not just a “temporary warm up,” I’m talking about lasting above zero temps. In the meantime, I think it’s important that we take care of ourselves and each other.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing, and perhaps even more prominent this year. People suffering from SAD often feel tired, moody, or depressed for a length of time on an annual basis. It’s more common to see SAD around the winter months, but it may also be experienced in Spring/Summer. Treatments include light therapy, psychotherapy, and medications.

If you aren’t diagnosed with SAD, you might still feel the symptoms (and if you’re like me, you can add stir crazy and anxious to the list). This is the part where taking good care of yourself becomes really important:

  • Drink plenty of water to keep flushing out your body and avoid dehydration. Establish and then keep a consistent sleep schedule- even on the weekends (make sure it’s enough).
  • Fruits and vegetables are also an important part of staying healthy; vitamins and minerals from these foods will help you- inside and out, head to toe.
  • Get off the couch and MOVE. When it’s -50 outside, the last thing anyone wants to do is jump in the car and go workout, but trust me on this one: just get there. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve wanted to take a days off because of the cold, but I can tell you I’ve never regretted going. I’ve also “treated” myself to some new workout DVDs (dancing ones are my favorite, because we’re all dance stars in our living rooms) for those days where it is absolutely impossible to go anywhere (we’ve had our share of those as well).
  • Do what delights you. Find your creative outlet and go wild. I’ve gotten quite a few puzzles put together this winter, and I couldn’t be more excited every time I open up a new one. (And if puzzles don’t scream “go wild,” I’m not sure that anything does!)
  • Think positive. I know, this is one of thee HARDEST things to do when you live in a place where it hurts to breathe… but do your best. Surely there are GOOD things in your life that give you reason to be thankful and smile? If not- look harder.
  • Make sure you are keeping in contact with the people who make you happy. Find fun reasons to get together and laugh (gym dates? trying a new sport like cross country skiing using equipment from the Outpost? lunch dates? book club?). Talk about life, or the Olympics, or the latest award show, or whatever you enjoy. Even though I’m a self-proclaimed social butterfly, there have been long spurts of time in the past few months when I just couldn’t bring myself to talk to anyone besides my husband and our dog- and even that was a struggle. In those moments, I’ve been thankful for the gentle nudges and lunch dates with friends and family- something that I could look forward to.

I’ve given you a few things to help you get through the final stretch of this crazy winter we’ve been having…

Now tell me: What would You add to the list?

 

A workout playlist that’s PROVEN to get results? – Yes please!

If you’re already struggling with your New Year plans to get fit, it may be because you’re listening to the wrong kind of music during your workout.

Sports psychologists from London have discovered that specific genres of music are best suited to specific types of exercise, and listening to the wrong kind of track could hinder your performance. 

They found that rap music provides the best beats per minute for stretching and running, while dance music is more suited to strength training.

Pop music is best used during warm up and cool down, but rock music should be avoided during exercise due to frequent changes in tempo that can affect your rhythm.

The research was carried out by sports psychologist Dr Costas Karageorghis, the Music in Exercise and Sport Group at Brunel University in London and Spotify.

The team analysed 6.7 million Spotify playlists containing the word ‘workout’ in the title and compared the different beats per minute (bpm) to those used in certain workouts.

For example, a person’s typical stride rate while jogging or running is 150 to 190 strides per minute.

If these figures are halved it gives a range of 75 to 95 bpm – the beat range found most commonly in urban music, particularly rap.

Many of the lyrics in rap music also ‘imbue the physical energy’ best suited to running, explained the researchers.

Whereas pop is perfect for slower, more repetitive-type tasks, including aerobic warm up and cool down because many pop songs ‘have regular rhythmic patterns and beats.’

Dance music is best suited to strength and weight training because its ‘fast, rhythmical, bass psyches people up before weight training sessions.

Elsewhere, Dr Karageorghis said that for maximum effect, people should use songs that remind them of their adolescence and early adulthood to make them feel youthful and fit.

He said: ‘A suitably motivational playlist can help to ‘colour’ the symptoms of exercise-related fatigue, like breathlessness and a beating heart, in such a way that they are interpreted in a more positive manner.

‘This means that at the point when your body is shouting stop, the music has the power to lift your mood and beckon you on.’

Celebrity trainer Joey Gonzalez added: ‘During workouts, an hour-long mix of strength training and treadmill-based cardio intervals, we try to match our runs and exercises to the beat of our music.

‘For example, timing the treadmill sprints to the chorus of a track with a great hook, or playing a slower song with bass for incline jogs, and even matching steady consistent beats for long endurance runs are all part of our strategy.’

Whereas rock music should be avoid during cardio and high-intensity workouts because the different changes in tempo can affect a person’s rhythm.

Based on the findings, the researchers have compiled a playlist with song suggestions for cool down, aerobic warm up, varying levels of cardio intensity, strength training and cool down. Music Playlist

Information taken from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2538601/The-workout-playlist-thats-PROVEN-work-Scientists-analyse-beats-songs-reveal-perfect-exercise-tracks.html

I’m not Resoluting.

I’m done with the whole “New Year, New Me” thing. Saying something like that would make me a liar. The truth is, I woke up the same on Wednesday, January 1st as I did on Tuesday, December 31st… well, I did pick up a nasty cold. But you get what I mean. My name was still Stacey.

For too many years, I told myself that I was going to make some sort of positive change on Monday (mainly to lose weight). Oddly enough, Monday never came. I would just allow myself to make a few extra less than healthy decisions the weekend before, digging a deeper hole, and never doing anything to reconcile it. I’m not sure why it was too hard for me to believe that I was capable of a happier, healthier life. I guess it was too easy to stay stuck. And so the weight just kept coming, week after week and year after year.

Sometimes I would actually start exercising or cut out a candy bar here or there, but by the end of day 1- MAYBE day 2- I was done. It was too overwhelming to think about the bigger picture- how much weight I really needed to lose, or NEVER eating chocolate again, or dealing with 2nd day exercise soreness… excuses were my easy out.

Every year around this time, gyms and produce aisles are flooded with eager “Resoluters.” They feel an awakened sense of determination to really make it this time. And to those people I say: “GO YOU! Welcome to a better way of life!” I encourage you to stick with it, even if a negative voice in your head starts to creep in and whisper lies and excuses. Know that you are stronger than that voice, and every.little.bit counts. It took me 16 years to get to 300+ pounds, and I assure you it will take me working at it the rest of my life to stay healthy.

Instead of thinking about all of the ways I need to change myself in 2014, I spent my New Year’s Eve celebrating the blessings that 2013 brought. I married a wonderful man, moved into our first home, fell in love with a black lab named Abby, welcomed my first nephew, traveled to new places, got to know some great people, and faced some health problems head-on. Good and bad, it all helped to shape me into who I woke up as this morning.

Let’s try something new this year. Let’s not wait for 2015 to work on that goal. Let’s not wait for Monday. Let’s just start now. Believe in yourself enough in this moment to take the first step… and then keep walking. (or skipping)

Mr. & Mrs. Dimmler-423

You CAN curb running ailments!

Need an improvement in your running or cycling performance, I know I do. Strength training with heavy or explosive movements will help improve your performance. People can’t forget about the importance of strength training because many endurance athletes avoid this type of training due to long recovery time, muscle soreness, and fatigue. runner1However, it can definitely impact your overall fitness and improve areas of your body that don’t get much toning from running or cycling. Your legs may be in amazing shape, but adding strength training for your arms, shoulders, chest, and core can help balance out your body.

I enjoy running but the past three years I’ve been having runners knee. Runner’s knee is inflammation of the underside of the patella (knee). I didn’t know back then that strength training would help with my knee problems, but it does. Since I started strength training a few years ago I now have zero or low knee pain because I have incorporated strength training into my work out three times a week and I can enjoy running again. Strength training is important in an exercise routine because it helps improve your performance and helps build the stamina and strength for muscles and ligaments for running or cycling (as well as other aerobic exercises).icingknee

— Kelsey Olson, FLEX Intern UND Wellness Center

Gobble til you Wobble?

I ran across this saying while looking for a festive picture this morning and had to laugh. It wasn’t long ago that I lived by that motto throughout the holidays. From the time I woke up to the time my head hit the pillow, I thought about what bar or cookie, side dish, or “main event” I was about to indulge in. I ate until I was ready to burst, and usually had one more bite- JUST to be sure I wouldn’t feel hungry in 10 minutes.

Yikes.

I think about that mentality now, and I just think: Yikes.

Although our society often makes this time of year about the food, the expanding waistlines, the food comas, and the once-a-year delicacies we are about to indulge in… I challenge you to do a little reframing this year. For me, Holidays have become more about the togetherness, the fun traditions (like digging out my “Festive” Thanksgiving sweater vest), and love of others, rather than the food on my plate. Don’t get me wrong- I have my favorite foods that I enjoy as well, but now I try harder to concentrate on the conversation rather than the fork-to-mouth ratio.

One of my favorite things is now a bundled up brisk walk around the block with my aunts and cousins mid-afternoon. I know, it sounds crazy when you consider the temperature and quite often the wind, but it’s a great way to catch up with each other, get energized and burn off some of those extra almond bark pretzels I’ve enjoyed.

I want to hear from YOU!
Have you made any changes to the way you approach the Holiday season? How do you stay on track?

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Wellness Center FAQ- Intramurals

 

 

What sports does the UND intramural program offer?

-         In the first half of fall we offered: Flag Football, Volleyball, Dodgeball, and Inline Hockey.

-         In the second half of fall we offer: Basketball, Indoor Soccer, Badminton, Indoor Frisbee, and Hockey

How do I sign up for intramurals?

-         UND students can sign up individually or on a team at imleagues.com/und

Where can I find the schedules for intramural sports this semester?

-         The second half the semester sports will start on Oct. 21st. The link for the intramural homepage can be found at:

und.edu/health-wellness/wellness.

Where are the rules for the intramural program?

-         The intramural handbook and rules for each individual sport can be found on the intramural homepage

How much does it cost to make a team for UND intramurals?

-         The prices for each individual sport will be listed on the intramural homepage, but prices normally range from $85-$120

Where do intramurals take place?

-         Most take place in the Wellness Center or in the Hyslop, but Flag Football takes place on the aerospace fields by Biolife, and Hockey takes place in the Ralph Engelstad Arena

How can I get involved in the intramural program?

-         We are currently hiring! Jobs are posted on UND student employment JobX site

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