Saturday, September 9, 2017

Got Tips?

A few weeks ago, as I was eating Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for breakfast, I decided that I really wanted to get healthier. I have hypothyroidism and I blame EVERYTHING (weight gain anxiety, bitchiness, headaches, network connectivity problems etc) on it. I have come to realize that my thyroid is always going to affect my life, but using it as an excuse, as convenient as it may be, is not helping me. I'm the queen of excuses when it comes to eating right and exercising: I'm tired, it's cold out, it's hot out, I need to organize my sock drawer, I worked ten hours today, I just have watch this episode of 30 Rock for the twentieth time.

My friend Aurora, who is a trainer, put together a great workout plan for me. She introduced me to TRX which I'm loving. The workout plan is a great combination of upper and lower body exercises, core strength and cardio.  I have been doing great, I even went for a thirty day straight workout streak and crushed it. You can check out my Instagram and Twitter to check out my streak pictures.

I'm now struggling with eating well. Since my insurance blows (I'm talking to you, United Healthcare), I was off my injections for about a month. I am now back on it and starting to feel normal. While I was off of it, I was eating EVERYTHING in site, especially candy and pizza. I gained weight, but I think because I have been working out consistently, I don't think I've gained as much as I could've.

So, I'm cleaning up my diet. I'm working on mindful eating and eating more (ANY) vegetables and fruits. It is basically more water and less crap. My recent blood work showed that I have very low iron, so I got an iron infusion last week and will have another on Thursday. I'll also be looking into some iron enriched foods (yay, hamburgers) on top of my iron supplements. Even more so, I have been doing more research into the science behind healthy living (see graphic below) and learning more about other supplements like this NAD+ one. I know I will feel better and get results if I discontinue my Reese's Peanut Butter Cup breakfasts. 

I know everyone has heard a ton of healthy tips, but these are the ones I like:

1) Small steps/goals

The first step I took was to contact Aurora and put together a fitness plan. If you don't have a trainer, Pinterest is a great resource for all sorts of workouts. My goals for the next couple weeks is 36 oz of water daily, cut carbs and continue to follow my workout plan.  No step or goal is too big or too small! Maybe you just want to drink a glass of water a day, maybe cut down to one candy bar a day or maybe you want to try a new fruit or vegetable weekly. You can focus on one goal or a few, whatever works for you!

2) Do what you like

One of the main reasons why I like my daily workouts is because I actually like doing the workouts. I have been loving the TRX and the circuits that Aurora came up with have great variety. Most of circuits are easy, but intense. Don't force yourself to run if you hate running, don't drag yourself to a yoga class if you hate mediation and breath control. Don't go to group classes if you don't like people, like me-haha. Go out, try some new workouts and find something you like. Don't dread your workouts, otherwise you are less likely to do them.

3) Treat Yo Self

A reward system can really help with motivation. They can be daily, weekly monthly or all of the above. I love watching Parks and Rec so during and after my workout I watch it. I treat myself to books, makeup or sometimes just a glass of chocolate milk. Once I complete my eight week workout cycle, I'm treating myself to a manicure and pedicure. Figure out how you want to reward yourself and get moving! Like your goals, no step is too big or too small!

4) Give yourself a break

I always struggle between giving myself a break and being too easy on myself. As I said before I'm the queen of excuses so sometimes giving myself a break is tough. Am I really tired or I just don't feel like working out? Sometimes my knee is truly hurting and swollen, but maybe it isn't THAT bad and I can push though. It's always a tough call for me. Normally I'll start the workout and see how I feel. I always do at least ten minutes. Matt also helps me too by encouraging and cheering me on, which is amazing and sometimes super annoying-haha!

Here is some information from Elysium and tips from other bloggers as well:

Image credit: Elysium

Aurora and I will be reevaluating my workouts this weekend, so there will be a few changes ahead, including some new TRX exercises. I'll be bringing my resistance bands on our trip next week, so I can keep up with my strength training. Our hikes will definitely count as cardio!  

What tips do you have for starting a healthier lifestyle? What's your #SmallChangeBigGain?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Phew! That Stinks!

As many of you know I am an ambassador for Medi-dyne. I get to try some of their products and review for you. I have a discount code that will give you 20% off each order which is fantastic!

This past cycle was all about sweat and odor and I think everyone can relate to the stink of workout clothes and gear.

I have tried the Medi-Dyne's Stink Free Shoe and Gear Spray and the Stink Free Detergent and it's true, they do get the stink out! Best of of all Medi-dyne is a cruelty free brand and that's always important to me.

I have been a big fan of the Stink Free Shoe and Gear Spray for awhile now. I have the full sized bottles and a few travel sized ones. I have used it on all types of shoes, sneakers, boots, and sandals. I have also used it for my bags, jackets, hoodies, sports bras, and more. I have even used it on my dogs beds and in my car. You can also use it on guards, pads, and gloves. You can even use it to get the stink out of lockers! It's perfect for any sport. It comes in a spray pump and all you have to do is spray, let it dry over night and then smell the next day to see if it meets your stink free test. Initially, you may need to do several applications to get the stink out and once you do, you can stay stink free by continuing it on a daily or weekly routine. I really like that the spray is orderless, because a lot of sprays are just as bad as the stink from your old favorite sneakers!


The Stink Free Detergent has been a great for my disgusting workout clothes. I'm currently on a day twenty three of a workout streak and let me tell you, the workout pants, shirts, socks, and sports bras have been piling up! Since I do laundry on the weekends, my clothes stay in a basket just screaming to be washed. Our dog goes near them to smell and immediately walks away from the basket.

The Stink Free Detergent comes in a thirty ounce bottle and they also have two ounce travel packets. It is safe to use in high efficiency washing machines, environmentally safe, and cruelty free. It is safe to use on all high performance fabrics, it removes sweat stains, and it is residue free. Plus, it doesn't contain perfumes or phosphates, which is plus for people with sensitive skin. You can also use Stink Free Detergent without a washing machine which is great when you are traveling at campsites or hotels.

2Toms Stink Free products aren't just for athletes either. I have heard and read reviews from people who have used these products on their families everyday clothes (especially socks!), uniforms (police officers, fire fighters etc) and have been impressed with the results.

So, head over to Medi-Dyne and take a look at their products and take advantage of my 20% off your entire order code: AJH20 You can also check out my reviews on Medi-dyne's ProStrech, Sports Shield, Grip Shield and StretchRite.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Our Little Jager

We got Jager, like Guinness, at the Durham Animal Shelter. I was looking online one day and saw him on the website. He was named Hank and I knew I wanted him. I convinced Matt to go and look and as soon as we walked in we saw him! He was out in the lobby and I knew that, as I always say to Matt, that it was meant to be. He was so freaking cute!

Jager and Guinness got a lot pretty well. We decided to hook up their cages to one giant one so they could be together during the day. Jager was pretty well behaved except for a few memorable incidents. He stole a part of a Christmas ham, our door blew open and left our house and went into our neighbor's house and went to sleep in their living room, and of course, there was the time he ate almost everything under our Christmas tree.

The afternoon that we were supposed to leave for WV for Christmas we heard some scratching nosies at our front door. We unlocked the door to find Jager had unwrapped and eaten a whole mess of gifts under the tree, including his and Guinness's gift. He chewed up rawhides, treats, wrapping paper, gift cards and lord know what else. He was a still small but his belly was HUGE. We were worried that he would have some major digestive issues while driving five hours to WV. Thankfully, he slept it off during the ride to WV.

In 2013, Jager was diagnosed with diabetes which was a huge shock. We started him on insulin shots twice a day and had to monitor his sugar with a glucose meter. Shorty, after being diagnosed with diabetes his eyesight got worse and one day we was completely blind. We took him to a dog ophthalmologist and made an appointment to have cataract surgery. The ophthalmologist said that when Jager woke up from the surgery he immediately wanted to get up and go once we realized he had his sight back.

As the years went on, he had a few minor issues with increased protein levels and infections, but all in all he was pretty healthy. In the most recent months, we noticed that he wasn't doing well and finally, when his back legs were no longer working, we knew it was time.

Jager was always good for snuggling. He loved to sniff people's ears. He hated to get his paws wet and refused to go out when it was raining. We affectionally called him "Princess Pretty Paws". He loved squeaky toys and having his ears rubbed. He loved licking plates, especially when we had pasta. He was great at catching popcorn when Matt popped popcorn from the popcorn maker.

Everyone knows that putting a pet down is truly heartbreaking. We had Guinness and Jager almost as long as we have been married. It has been difficult without him, but we are getting through it. We still have our crazy, Sammy, who is still a handful at two and half.

I would like to thank Dr. Brink at Falls Village Veterinary Hospital for always being there for us. She takes amazing care of all our dogs and is amazing.

Even though a piece of our heart is gone, we know he is at peace.

Getting In Shape......AGAIN

I haven't blogged in awhile, most because I have been feeling like crap. My thyroid and vitamin levels are out of wack AGAIN and I have been super frustrated and down. The injections I was on to help control my eating disorder was denied by my insurance, even though my doctor wrote UHC a letter stating I needed to be on it. I gained all the weight back that I lost and that is insanely discouraging. UHC blows. I miss my BCBS coverage. I have been struggling, but lately I have been motivated. We are heading out west in September and will be doing some hiking and I really need to work hard get in shape. I need to buckle down and get rid of my excuses.

We have removed all the candy from the house and have replaced it with a lot of high protein snacks plus I have been drinking lots more water. I decided to call upon my friend, Aurora, to help me get in shape. I've know Aurora and her husband since college and we ended up living near each other. Aurora is a certified personal trainer and AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor . We met at my house today and she walked me through all my workouts and I'm excited to start. She brought her TRX training kit and I was surprised that I really liked it. I was afraid that I wouldn't like it because I have a very weak upper body, but it actually helps me a lot. It takes a lot of pressure off my knee which is a huge bonus. Aurora set me up with a eight week plan so far and it is totally doable. I feel very motivated and confident after working with her today. She is so supportive and motivating. I'm hoping it with stick.

I have been getting Hyalgan injections for the past four weeks and have my last one scheduled for Friday. My knee is still swollen but it isn't sliding out or causing my any pain. I'm hoping these injections, strengthening my body and my future weight loss will prevent me from having a knee replacement for at least a few years.

The bag ass needle that gets injected into my knee

I will be writing a separate blog about this, but sadly, we have to put our dog, Jager, of twelve years down in May. We miss him so much, but we know we made the right choice.

So, that's it for now. I'll be updating weekly about my progress. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Grip Shield Review

I have tried almost all of Medi-dyne/2 Toms anti-chafing anti-blister products and have had great experiences with them. My all time favorite product is Sport Shield Towelettes because they saved me from dropping out of the NYC marathon. I had horrible chafing while training for NYC and I haven't chafed since using the towelettes. I obviously put it on before I run or walk and then I put the towelette in my bra so I can keep it handy if a hot spot comes up.

Another great product is Foot Shield and I use that most days because it helps keep your feet dry and order free throughout the day. You can use it for all types of shoes including boots, sandals, and with or without socks. Shake well and then roll on the bottom of your feet, including between your toes. The formula contains tea tree and other essential oils, helps prevent athlete's foot and fast drying. It isn't sticky and smells minty.

This time around I got a sample of Grip Shield to try and I was kinda bummed. When I was going to the gym, I was constantly using the rowing machine and always got blisters. I would've benefited from Grip Shield then 100%. I quit the gym because I had hypothyroid flare and I wasn't going often enough. Then, my knee flared up and had to go to the orthopedic because I thought I would need that knee replacement. Thankfully, I don't need the replacement yet but I'll be getting five injections in my knee over a five week period that will help my stability. Anyway, I felt better after a cortisone shot, so I decided to use Grip Shield while doing yoga on my CopyCat Yoga Mat. Whenever I did yoga my hands got sweaty, I felt nervous because I felt my knee might slip, or worse my hands would slip and face plant on my mat.

You just put a bit in your hand and rub all over your hands, palms and wrists. Air dry for about fifteen seconds and you are good to go. You can reapply as needed. It dries quickly and dries clear with no residue or flaking.  I also use it on my feet and toes to prevent slipping. The only complaint that I have is the smell. It isn't strong, but it smells of alcohol in the bottle. When it dries on my hands it smells odd as well, but can't pinpoint it. The smell wouldn't prevent me from using the product at all because it does work great! No slipping or sliding and I feel confident using it with my knee.

You can use Grip Shield inside gloves which is a bonus. Grip Shield can be used in many sports including rowing, tennis, baseball, softball, basketball, rugby, bowling, cycling, football, golf, gymnastics, hockey, skiing, and yoga. Plus you could benefit from Grip Shield if you need a firm strong grip on the job, for example if you are a mechanic or have an industrial job. Athletes and anyone who works with their hands will benefit from Grip Shield.

You can try Grip Shield or any other Medi Dyne/2Tom product and use my 20% discount code for 20% off every order. Just enter code AJH20 to receive your discount. Feel free to share with friends and family!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Angels Among Us 5K 2017

On Saturday, our team "Take That, Tumors!" participated in the Angels Among Us 5K at Duke. We have been participating in the event since 2011 and have raised a total $9,313 over those years.

Take That, Tumors!

This year my husband, Matt, designed our shirts and they came out fantastic, unfortunately, we almost didn't get them. A few weeks ago, we ordered our shirts through our usual company and received an order confirmation and that the order was paid for by our two sponsors, Matheson Law Office and Healin' Feelin' Therapeutic Massage. On Thursday at 4am, I woke up and realized that our shirts hadn't come in. I got up panicked and went to my email and checked for shipping info anywhere in my emails. My heart dropped as I realized there was none. I immediately emailed them with my concerns because I got the order confirmation that they were paid for. When I got to work on Friday, I called the company a couple times and left messages, but no response. Thankfully, my friend Julie helped me by emailing and calling local businesses to see if anyone could help us get our shirts done in less than twenty four hours. 

We got a call from Susan from Custom Screen Printing LLC and she was unable to do it to herself because of a family matter, but she helpfully referred us to Janine at Signworx . I cannot stress how much these two women helped us out! They were in constant contact with us to get these shirts done on time, and on a Friday no less. Amazingly, Signworx finished the shirts about 6:30pm that evening and we were able to wear them to the race proudly. The shirts came out fantastic and we got tons of compliments. 

Our team and I are truly grateful for the hard work and determination of these two women and their staff. They calmed us down and assured us it would all work out. It shows me that people in this world are still willing to help others and will take that extra step to for success. It also convinces me that shopping local is the best option hands down. We look forward to working with them in the future and hope you will use them for your printing needs as well. They also provide a ton of other products for business and advertising needs. 

We also want to thank our sponsors, Matheson Law Office and Healin' Feelin' Therapeutic Massage. Matheson Law Office has been sponsoring us since the beginning, back in 2011. This year was Healin' Feelin' Therapeutic Massage first year sponsoring us. We appreciate their support and hope you will check out their Facebook pages. 

Here are a few other pictures from the event and we hope you will donate or join our team next year!