Welcome to 2014

Feels a lot like 2013 still. You know how people ask if you feel older the day of your birthday and the answer is always no because one day typically doesn’t make a lick of difference? That’s how the new year is. Nothing is going to magically change unless I change it, and even then it’s not magic. Here we go 2014…bring it.

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Starting…NOW

Remember to enter my Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon race entry giveaway – 2 winners!

I don’t have any epic revelations about 2013. It was a good year, as years go, and I enjoyed it. But I am ready for 2014. I’m not typically the kind of person who sets to start on a workout or to eat healthier on a certain date or day of the week. If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it now. So, while I’ll try and be my healthiest in 2014, I know it is an everyday choice. Not a choice to start next Monday or on the first of the month. I think this is something that I want to really be diligent about in 2014, eating better.

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With healthy eating you have to make a decision every time you eat something.
Is this fuel for my body?
Am I hungry or just bored?

I slip-up all the time when it comes to eating. I can’t help it, I love Five Guys Cajun fries, I enjoy Cheez-Its and I really like cupcakes. None of these are healthy in any way, but I am not going to deprive myself, I am going to make better choices the rest of the day. I am trying to stay away from overly processed foods but it is hard when the American lifestyle relies heavily on them (hello, Cheez-Its). I already make almost every meal myself and I rarely use processed foods, but when I need a meal in a pinch or something to fill in, sure I’ll go for that box of Macaroni and Cheese (white cheddar all the way).

There is no diet or weight loss pill that is going to change you. YOU have to change you. Your body is no one else’s responsibility, what you eat is no one else’s responsibility, your exercise is no one else’s responsibility. Whenever I eat too much or something clearly not healthy I start over again, right then. If you say you are starting on a certain date or day of the week or when the month begins then you are allowing yourself to keep going on the course you are trying to get off of. Start eating better NOW, start exercising more NOW, start taking care of yourself NOW.

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You don’t need sweeping changes overnight – Get rid of ALL the junk foodOnly eat salads and chickenExercise everyday for an hour. Make small changes along the way, this will ensure they are the right changes for you and your journey. We all have a different journey, find out what makes your special. Don’t try and follow my menu and exercise, because it may not be best for you, a stock menu wasn’t made for you, you need to figure out what your body likes and when it likes it. Maybe cut out that calorie-filled coffee drink each day, cut back on the donuts, start to drink more water, try and exercise two days a week. Small choices end up being big in the end. These small choices become habit and habit is your new normal.

So, take it slowly with the resolutions and let yourself ease into them and find your groove.
Happy New Years Eve!

Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon: Race Entry Giveaway

Now that the two ‘eating’ holidays are over you can attempt to get back to a regular routine. A lot of people I know are setting some great goals or resolutions for themselves for the next year. My main goal: don’t suck. Generally that gets me through a lot of situations. Apparently, only 8% of people achieve their resolutions says Forbes. And a lot of resolutions don’t even make it to February. Wow, right?

One of the most popular resolutions is to get healthy/lose weight/get fit. A great way to get fit/lose weight/get healthy is to exercise. My favorite form is running. Training for the first 5k is very common among new runners in January. Maybe the seasoned runners are making a resolution to run a half marathon or a full. All very ambitious, but reachable, goals.

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As you know, am the inaugural Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon race ambassador (or queen Ambassador as my title stands). I love that I have the opportunity to talk to everyone more about this race and how much it means to me. I learn so much more about what goes into the makings of a multi-race event – hint: it’s a hell of a lot more than you think.

As part of my ambassador-ship I have two free race entries to giveaway to my readers! The free entry can be used on the 5K, Owens Corning Glass City Half Marathon and the Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon (the free entry cannot be used on the marathon relay). If you aren’t from Toledo or NW Ohio, why would you want to run Glass City?

* This marathon is a Boston Qualifier. There is very little elevation change which means this is a fast and flat course.
* Commemorative finishers medal (for the half and full)
* Commemorative finishers glass mug (for the half and full)
* First-time marathoners get a commemorative coin to mark the event
* Chip timing
* Finishers certificate
* Results book (mailed after the event)
* A great expo
* Massages after the race and entrance to the post race party

I have run both the Owens Corning half marathon and the Medical Mutual marathon and I loved both courses. There were tons of volunteers around, great spectators and ample water stops. I am 99% sure I am running the full again in 2014.

Want to win one of two free entries to your race of choice at the Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon (sans relay)??
And if you tragically don’t win a free race entry you can register here

**Tell me what race you would enter if you won this free race entry (1 entry).    

Please do not forget to include your email address. Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

**For extra entries do any of the following:
– Follow me on Twitter (1 extra entry)
– Become a fan of There Are Two Sides on Facebook (1 extra entry)
– Follow me on Instagram (1 extra entry)
– Follow me on BlogLovin or through your email (1 extra entry)
– Follow me on Pinterest (1 extra entry)

(This giveaway ends on January 10, 2014 at 12:00pm EST)

I am not buying you a race entry, the amazing people who put together this race weekend are allowing me to sneak you in for free because I am an ambassador. 

2013 Goal Review

That’s that. Another year is over and as I look back on my 2013 goals I realized that I kinda sucked at them. Here is what I was ambitious enough to set as goals:

1.  Train for, and hopefully run in, my second marathon. I want to run the Glass City Marathon on April 28, this was my very first (and thus far, only) marathon and I would like to complete it again without the knee pain and having to walk for half of it. I feel that if I train the right way and not skip out on half of my long runs like I *may* have done in 2012 I’ll beat my time by leaps and bounds! I did NOT run my second marathon in 2013. My knee surgery in October 2012 was still causing long run knee pain, so I took it easy in 2013.

2.  Be a better friend. I have had a hard time over the last few years with being a good friend. Ask any of the people who I would call my friends the last time I spoke to them, or hung out with them.  My name is Amanda and I am a horrible friend to keep. I am horrible at planning time to see my friends, returning calls and texts. I am horrible to make plans with because something always changes. In reality, I am talking to you, Michele. I feel as though I have neglected my friendship with you and that saddens me in so many ways. I have been through so much in the 10 years that we have known each other and I have never given you the attention and support that you deserve. I hope I can be a better friend to you in 2013. Yup, yup, yup. Another thing I didn’t really do at all. I can’t really tell you the last time I saw the majority of my friends. I seriously need to get out more. 

3.  Be a better wife. I need to work better as a team with Jeff in all aspects of our marriage, including the kids, the dog, the house, bills and everything else that goes into a marriage. I am more of a do it myself kinda person, but that isn’t how a good marriage works so I need to talk to Jeff with all of my wants and needs and issues in our marriage, handling them myself won’t do any good. No marriage is without its issues for sure. Our issues just need to be worked through. 

4.  Attempt to get my medications in check. My bipolar is slowly getting under control and more manageable. I was more depressed than manic when I was off of meds so we have the depression licked compared to what it used to be but I know there are times where I can still get manic at the drop of a hat and I don’t listen to anyone when they try to calm me down. Jeff and I recently finished season 2 of Homeland on Showtime and that show has opened my eyes to what a person with bipolar looks like from the outside, I know what they feel like but I had never witnessed someone going through symptoms. It was amazing. It was scary. It was heartbreaking. But I also felt relieved. I was relieved that other people go through what I do on a daily basis. I finally realized that meds and a good support system are the only things that are keeping me from a year long depression and a manic spending spree. Once again, I rely on Jeff more than any husband should have to put up with and he continues to be amazing every step of the way. I really lucked out with him, I count my blessings each time I look at him. Oh, yeah, back to the point of managing my meds, I am experiencing a side effect with one med that I am not sure I can live with for the rest of my life, so I will continue to be open with my doctor so we can find the best option for me regarding treatment. At least this was a win for me! My bipolar meds are doing a great job for me. I feel so much better each day and I am having less and less huge mood swings. Of course, it is always a work in progress, but at least for now, I feel good. 

5.  Pull it together. I need to get back to the cleaning and organizational systems that help to keep me sane. I know it is something where I just have to do it, but man have I been slacking on keeping things looking presentable. Don’t put it down, put it away is one of my favorite sayings and will be permanently tattoo’d on my hand someday I think just to keep me from dumping stuff all over the place. This has gotten better. Not perfect, but it never will be of course. I have a new cleaning checklist for the week/month/year that has helped. 

6. I will get down to my goal weight of 115-120 and I will maintain said goal weight for the remainder of the year. I am only 11-16 pounds away from my goal range and I would give up so many things if it meant that I would drop those 11 pounds in a hurry, but I know that true weight loss doesn’t work like that and if I do this the healthy way it will come off around 2 pounds per week. Which puts me at my goal weight sometime in the beginning of February. That is, with plenty of dedication. Ah, the goal weight. I am only 4 pounds over the high end of my goal weight range, so I’ll take that for a win, too. I need to continue to focus on what I want and why I want it, instead of eating half of a container of peppermint ice cream. Not that I would do that. 

I guess a few goals met is better than none!
Did you meet your 2013 goals?

2014 Healthy Living Goals

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Designer Whey.

I guess this will count as my list of goals for 2014. It is a smidge different because I’ll actually give myself a game plan on how to achieve the goals, rather than dreaming for something and being surprised that it didn’t come true. You have to work on a dream to make it reality.

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Make my words count for something. I am amazing at making plans and having them organized and ready to go. Then a short amount of time passes and I stop with my plans. It’s not that aren’t as important as they were before in any way, I just have issues with follow-through. I am horrible at finishing things, and typically they are the kinds of things that will better my life somehow. When I give up on things I am taking great possibilities away from myself, especially with my health.
How am I going to make this happen? I am going to make myself follow-through on things. I need to make appointments with myself to get these things done, naturally I’ll use my beloved Erin Condren Life Planner.
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Get my diet under control
. I have the best of intentions when I am meal planning and when I am at the grocery store. I buy everything I need and make my healthy meals and then the snacking begins. It is typically late night snacking, which quickly turns into binge-eating. I need to make 2014 the year I get control of my urges to binge eat.
How am I going to make this happen? I am going to make sure I am getting a higher amount of protein. Over the summer I followed a high protein diet and that is when I lost some good weight and saw some nice muscle definition come through. I have used Designer Whey in the past and I really did love it, so much that I have been buying it for myself quite frequently. I use their protein bars as snacks between meals because they seem like such a great treat, all covered in chocolate! For either my afternoon snack or as a post-workout protein surge I have their protein powder. I love the chocolate flavor and the white chocolate.  When I am at my desk I like to drink some of my protein via protein 2go. They are flavored  packets (Crystal Light-style) that get mixed into water. They come in three flavors, my favorite being the mixed berry. Yes, this post is sponsored but the truth of the matter is that I use these items weekly in my house. The protein bars, protein powder and the protein 2go are all available at my local grocery stores and at the Vitamin Shoppe. They are easily accessible to me and that is what makes them great to have around.
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Find my happiness. Mental health is extremely important to healthy living. I really can’t tell you the last time that I was truly happy, that I woke up each day and was content with everything (or mostly everything) in my life. Part of this is my own doing and part of this is being depressed. I have trouble getting over the bad things in life, I tend to hold onto them and let them define who I am and how I feel about myself. I have horrible self-esteem and thing very poorly about myself. I can’t take compliments and will usually argue with the person giving it and give them reasons why I don’t deserve the compliment. I always put myself last, and sometimes I take myself out of the equation entirely. I am still trying to figure out how my brain works on my mood-stabilizing medicine. Bipolar has taught me a lot about myself and my actions.
How am I going to make this happen? This is the hard part about finding happiness. Sometimes happiness just happens, it isn’t found. But, I do think it involves doing more of the things that I love; writing, running, reading, movies, friends. I don’t put myself first in a lot of situations, but I need to start to do so.
bfb2d5fc776ac0533b4998f661a5449adbf5c2f050dab6969145454ee4173661Stop skipping exercise. I am awesome at letting myself quit things (see above about the follow-through). Not only do I quit projects, healthy eating, cleaning…but I also quit exercise from time to time. I let myself take weeks and weeks off at a time without a second thought. My brain tells me I need to exercise but my body says that the couch misses me.
How am I going to make this happen? Again, I refer to my planner. I have my mileage written down each week in the planner, I look at it and think ‘huh, I should have ran 3 miles yesterday.’ Then I change the channel on the tv. This kind of thing won’t cut it. I need to make exercise a priority for my overall health, this is part of putting me first. Actually using my daily planner is key to keeping myself on track.
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Allow myself to stumble. I hate people seeing my flaws. I hate people thinking I’m not a good person. I hate not being the best me I can be. But I am going to try to be proud of who I am, even with my flaws. Ugh, this will be an ongoing process and it will be SO good for my mental health.

What kind of healthy living goals do you have in mind for 2014? They can be physical, mental or emotional as they are all tied into your health. 

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic day with their friends, family and loved ones!

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Monday’s Motivation

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