Amsterdam

Not gonna lie, this post is being made from the city hub. We are EXHAUSTED! haha! We keep trying to plug away but after 7 days of non stop city exploring and walking miles on miles from start to finish, you start to fiss out a bit.

Amsterdam is probably the coolest city ever though. It's almost like New York City in that you could explore and do fun things all day long. It also can cost ya a lot of money. Today started at the Anne Frank house which is probably one of my favorite museums to date. I don't know why but I have this odd obsession with the holocaust. I like to know all about it. It was so unreal to think about all that went on, and to hear the entire story from start to finish. It was so sad to be in the actual house that they hid for two entire years until someone told where they were, and they were discovered and sent to Auschwitz. Fun fact, Auschwitz means "Asshole of the World" and I think that's pretty accurate. They probably meant this for the Jews, but I mean it for the Nazis!

The actual building is the one on the far left!

The actual building is the one on the far left!

This was the ACTUAL bookcase that was a fake entryway into the Secret Annex upstairs. So cool that it was preserved. And also, this guy kept hitting people with his bag! HAHA!

This was the ACTUAL bookcase that was a fake entryway into the Secret Annex upstairs. So cool that it was preserved. And also, this guy kept hitting people with his bag! HAHA!

Again, I'm tired so I'm going to hit the highlights of our day. 

  • Anne Frank House
  • Pannenkoekenhuis aka Pancake Bakery
    • By far my favorite restaurant yet! Pancakes bigger than your head. I'm going to link up their MENU so you can see how epic.
  • I Amsterdam Sign 
    • The skies were beautiful for an amazing picture
  • Museums in Amsterdam
  • Heineken Brewery to find out it was $20 each
    • We decided we have spent enough money as it is, and it wasn't worth $40
  • Coffee and Dessert (a daily activity) 
  • 3 mile run through Voldenpark (beautiful park in Amsterdam) 
  • Showers and rest 
  • Begijnhof (hidden secret courtyard that closed at 5 and we went at 6-BOOO)
  • Public Library (view from the top shows the entire city and it was closed-buzz kill again)
  • Dinner at Subway and chilling 
  • Headed out for drinks tonight downtown! 

Amsterdam is a beautiful city that is super touristy so there is tons to do and see. You will not get bored here, and you will enjoy every moment, so it's a top rated spot for everyone if I had to choose ONE. We leave for our last spot tomorrow....BERLIN! We will be there until Sunday in which we finally return home. We can't lie that we don't miss our puppies! :) 

With love and travel,

Katie & Tanner

Copenhagen

So, the place in Amsterdam is the coolest modern day hostel I've ever witnessed (and this guy is trying to extend this into other countries) but it's called CityHub and he has everything we could ever need including an adapter for me to be able to plug in my mac and write this blog! :) The adapter that we had didn't match my three prong charger for my mac! BOO! 

Plus, the place that we stayed in Copenhagen was a sweet mom who didn't have the best internet so it was impossible to keep up! Copenhagen was so different than Oslo, so I wanted to update on that!

Copenhagen is known for this street I'm standing on (if you google it, this street comes up). There are restaurants and colorful buildings out on the water. It was COLD! And if you can't tell, my adapter also doesn't work with my straightener therefore Tanner loves the braid so I do the braid! haha! He says he wants to break my straightener so I always braid it. ;) 

Back to travels! :)... 

When we got to Copenhagen, we took showers and went out and about. We ended up as usual at first in cities walking SO MUCH! We just don't know their public transit at first and end up wandering a lot, but we ended up seeing so many beautiful buildings. Unfortunately, Copenhagen has Monday's off so almost everything was closed. Europeans don't work near as much as Americans which GOOD FOR THEM!! But, the castle we went to visit was not open! 

We ended up going to St Peters Bakery which is famous and oh my goodness, so worth it! DELICIOUS! We just basically explored then as we are doing now in Amsterdam, we can't keep going with no sleep so we come back midday before dinner to take naps. After our nap, we met our host and she told us all the local spots, so we hit up Doner Kabobs on our street (for only $5 each! SCORE!). We then headed out to the bars and had some drinks and played pool. We never do this kind of thing so this time together is so special. We just can't stop talking about our future together, building our lives together, building our family together, building a house together. We are just so excited living life together. 

Copenhagen is absolutely picturesque. It's much bigger (or feels that way) than Oslo.

The second day we went to the district where apparently there is hippy life everywhere. Apparently, drugs are openly sold on the streets and it's a crazy part of town. We didn't exactly see all that much craziness however we did stumble upon a church where we climbed to the top for only $5 and were able to have a view of the entire city. It was the SCARIEST location we have ever been. It looked SO unsteady up there, and it had a sign saying that we enter at our own risk, and that we did. We both decided we don't love heights too much! haha!

Before lunch, we decided we had a little extra time so we wanted to hit the gym at least one time while we were gone. It was about halfway through so we googled a gym, and found one! We ended up staying for almost two hours and just did an all body workout. We are currently training for an ultra (and have not run one day). The problem is this: Tanner is not going to run it without me, and I have bad runner's knee. I'm not one to complain so I'm not going to go into details, but I'm just going to do my best. We don't know if the ultra is going to happen and I may have to get an X-Ray when we return because it's pretty severe (and y'all know how much I hate that...I can't even think about it because it makes me so upset). Okay, enough about that but just so you know where we are at in training. 

Lifting session at Fitness World in Copenhagen!

Lifting session at Fitness World in Copenhagen!

We got the same wraps again for lunch. We actually bought four of them because we have been so starved on this trip! Hahaha! Europeans eat SO little!! And we are only eating 3 times per day because we eat out every meal so we feel like we are just forking out so much money. So, we load up when we find a deal! hahaha! At around 3, we headed for the train station for our LONGGGGG trek to Amsterdam (17 hours). 

We rode Copenhagen to Hamburg with a layover in Hamburg for 2 hours. Hamburg led us to Duisburg. We were in Duisburg from 2:30am - 7:30am. We had no heat for that entire time, so of course we couldn't sleep and just bundled in the back of a croissant shop. :( It was a pretty miserable night, however we did it together and we will never forget it. 

I know we sound INSANELY cheap. It's not like that because we do airbnb so our night stays are only like $40-60. It's about more than that. It's about wanting to go through the night so we can experience more of Europe in fewer days, and we both believe in being tough through some things to experience things. So, we manned up and endured. HA! I won't ever forget it. McDonalds breakfast soothed all the wounds though at 7am. #hashbrowns 

He gave me his coat as more of a blanket for me, and his toboggan for me to double up on my head. And this was the maybe 5 minutes he slept! haha! 

He gave me his coat as more of a blanket for me, and his toboggan for me to double up on my head. And this was the maybe 5 minutes he slept! haha! 

I will do a separate post about Amsterdam, but we are here now and Tanner is napping. I'm going to join him now! 

With love and traveling all over Europe, 

Katie & Tanner

Oslo Day 2 and Overnight Train

It always takes you one day to get warmed up in a place, and that's just about the amount of time we have in one place so this trip is all about figuring things out. It's been a HUGE learning curve as the last time I've even been to Europe was in 10th grade, and I was following adults blindly. 

Oslo was absolutely amazing the second day. You probably saw from facebook that we rode the metro to the very top (our airbnb host told us there was a cute restaurant at the top and boy was he right). We made our way through the snow. 

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We visited Holmenkollen which is the ski jump used in the Olympics. It was surreal, and HUGE but we couldn't appreciate it fully because the visibility was awful in the blizzard they were having. It was so fun to see everyone cross country skiing and all the little kids on these fast sleds they have going down these crazy snowy hills. Even though we haven't been far, I'd say this trip to the top of the mountain will be one of my favorites! 

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By the time we finished all of this it was time to go back and pack up to leave Oslo. We headed to the train station an hour early as we weren't sure what to expect. It was super easy though so we ended up reading and ate Burger King for dinner! haha! (we're so american)

Our train left at 6, and we headed to 10. These trains are never late like they would be in the US! SO STINKIN NICE! We got to Sweden (Goltberg) at 10 and left 11:40. We got to Halmstead at 12:55 in the morning. SPOILER ALERT: We ride trains at night to save money. Turns out, there is no where to sleep at the train station. HAHAA! We ended up begging a hotel manager to just let us camp out in their lobby for like 3 hours until the train station opened. We thought about asking for the continental breakfast when we left. Jk jk! Ohhhh the memories! We rode Halmstead to Kopenhaven (Copenhagen) this morning 5am-730am. We just got to our next airbnb hosts apartment where we will spend the day here. The snow flakes are the biggest I've ever seen, and we plan on having danishes in about 5 solid minutes. 

Things to Note:

  • We have a 4 country Eurail pass (Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany). That doesn't include Sweden. They tell you that you need to buy a ticket for those intermittent trains. We thought we would try NOT to do that as they are super expensive. They still let us ride ;) 
  • The conversion rate in Sweden (SEKs) to USD is 8.34. The conversion rate in Denmark is 5. From the very short moments we have been in Copenhagen, it seems to be cheaper. 
  • Our adapter is very finicky. It doesn't always want to work so that makes charging things tricky. It also doesn't have the three prong outlet so blogging may stop soon if I can't charge my computer :( :( 
  • People don't speak English as much here. The language is German. 

WHY AREN'T WE TAUGHT OTHER LANGUAGES IN SCHOOL? Every other nation is taught English. Uhhh so frustrating. We are determined for our kids to be bilingual. 

Until next time! The internet here is not the best, so I'll put up lots of pictures on these blogs later. If they aren't showing up, sorry about that. I just wanted to blog each day for like 5-10minutes!

With love and Denmark,

Katie & Tanner


Oslo, Norway Day 1

I wanted to really remember this trip because it's honestly one of those trips of a lifetime for us. We don't just go galavanting off to Europe on a whim. I'm going to do a blog post at the end of the trip on how we did the entire trip for around $2,000-$2,500 for absolutely everything (that includes both of us-airfare, room stays, trains to different countries, food, etc). I'm really excited to show y'all that. However, in the meantime I just wanted to document little memories so I can look back! :) 

I will say, yesterday was a nightmare. We love getting to airports SUPER early so we can just chill, eat the yummy airport food and hang out. We just like airports (weirdos I know but sometimes I even like when I get delayed). We left our apartment at 4:30 for a 9:30 flight. Our subway got stuck for an hour and 15 minutes because something happened with the brakes. We couldn't even get off because we were in between stops. So, we decided we didn't want to risk and got a cab NOT EVEN THINKING that it was 5 o'clock rush hour traffic on a Fri-YAY! We got to the airport at 8:30 needless to say in rough spirits. 

However, fast forward to just sleeping on the plane, reading Gone Girl, and waking in Oslo, Norway! HOLLA!!!! It was tough at first because we had NO idea what were doing, everything was in another language. We ended up walking around ALOT but found our way through the metro system to our airbnb host. Y'all, this. apartment. It's like a dream. It's a family renting out a bedroom, and it's like a modern day oasis. Pictures don't do it justice.

See THIS LINK if you wanna check it out (and side note on the budget Europe trip-this stay was $44 for the night)

I'll go through our day quickly because I just want to hit the highlights! 

  • Norwegian Cafe for sandwiches and coffee 
  • Met Airbnb host and road around in his car back to his home
  • Went to get pizza at a local pizza shop
    • She told us the weather was awful and we thought it was fine. It did turn out to be INCREDIBLY cold and windy. We ended up stopping at an H&M we saw for cheap sweaters haha! On the plus side, I got a sweater for $4.50. Like what?
  • Vigelsparken Sculpture Park
  • Walked to the water (that was LONG)
  • Drinks on the water front and walked into little shops 
  • Dinner at Peppes Pizza (but we didn't get pizza again haha) 
  • Back to airbnb host home and talked with them for a long while 
  • Out for drinks in downtown Oslo

We are JET LAGGED to say the least. We have been up for 40 hours and are going to be going to bed VERY soon!!! I wanted to share some fun facts about Norway too if you've never been

  • They are all tall, blonde and beautiful as you imagine. 
  • They are the SWEETEST, and kinda shy people. 
  • Norwegian dollars are called "NOK" or "krona" and the conversion rate is 7.67 kro for a dollar. So they will say things such as "Your check is 260" and you gasp. That's actually $37 for dinner. 
  • Oslo, Norway is known to be the most expensive city in the world. Recently their coin became worth less and the dollar has strengthened so therefore just this summer the conversion was 5 kro. We calculated this to save us $100 for just one day. 
  • They have a 25% tax on almost everything. That also adds to the expense. 
  • They don't "salt" the sidewalks so therefore there is gravel on every single place you walk. It makes it hurt to walk after awhile.
  • You ALWAY take your shoes off at the door. 
  • It's MUCH MUCH quieter and smaller than NYC (of course) but is considered the "city" which is kinda cute. It's very peaceful for us. 
  • We are 6 hours ahead of y'all so it's 6pm there and 12am here. 

On that note, I think that's it for today! GOODNIGHT! 

With love and travel, 

Katie

Multivitamins

So, when you start on your weight loss journey, we all know how this works. You want to get healthier, and with that, comes a multivitamin. There are a few things that normally go along with a diet even if they really aren't 100% necessary: 

  • Limit diet soda intake 
  • Limit sugar, salt, cholesterol intake
  • Start taking a multivitain

It's what society has shown us goes together, right? Haha! Any who, I have realized how very important a multivitamin is. While it's really super great to get your macronutrients in place for weight purposes, it's really important for long term health to look at your micronutrients. 

You won't be able to get this in your foods unless you are superwoman/man. The amount of micros that are listed on your label are just the minimum requirements to not go into deficiency but you need more than is listed. The easiest way to get all of this is just taking a simple multivitmain every day. Do I take one everyday? No. Should I? Yes. My husband saw me taking pictures of the multivitamins and he said "You better not say you take them everyday" because he knows I'm the worst at remembering! Hahaha! 

I know that we always think that we need to take them, but do you know WHY? I wanted to share what was in your typical multivitamin and why it's important for your health. 

There are SO many companies out there, and many of them just want your money so make sure that you have a reputable brand and website that you are ordering from. We always use Allstarhealth.com, and I know this can even be overwhelming because there are still tons to choose from. We chose Body Strong Woman Multi High Potency based on: 

  • PRICE PER TABLET
  • DOSING- The amount of each vitamin and nutrient that were included in the tablets 

You can break down your vitamins into two categories: 

  • FAT SOLUBLE VITAMINS (Vit A, E, D, K)
  • WATER SOLUBLE VITAMINS (B-complex, B1-thiamin, B2-riboflavin, B6-pyridoxine, B9-folic acid, B12-biotin) 

I would like to go ahead and let everyone know that I did that from memory. HOLLA! Thank you brain for working for once. ;) 

Now, let's break down what's important in those vitamins. This is going to be like the shortest version you will ever find. These vitamins do FAR more than you could know and are important for many many reasons. However, I doubt that you guys want to be reading all day. If so, maybe take a multivitamin class as I'm sure there's one out there. 

  • Vitamin A-eyesight
  • Vitamin E-increasing energy (can even help with muscle fatigue whoop whoop)
  • Vitamin D-strong bones
  • Vitamin K-skin
  • Thiamin-breakdown of carbs so that they are utilized properly in the body
  • Riboflavin-helps metabolize fats, increasing energy, healthy skin, aging, nails, eyesight
  • Pyridoxine-PMS, fatigue, depression, boosting immunity
  • Folic Acid-mostly used in pregnancy for neural tube defects or cancer prevention
  • Biotin-healthy skin, hair and nails

Now, let's move into minerals. There are so many minerals it's overwhelming. I'm just going to give those that are included in my multivitamin so that we can keep this brief and why you need one. I think even from just the vitamins listed above, you can see why it's so important for your health to take one of these daily. I know we tend to not think about these things when we are younger (or at least I don't).

  • Calcium-strong bones, prevention of osteoporosis
  • Iron-prevention of anemia (only for women because of the menstrual cycle)
  • Iodine-thyroid function (needed but not made in the body)
  • Magnesium-energy, endurance and help with bowel movements
  • Zinc-growth and wound healing
  • Selenium-heart health 
  • Copper-helps reuptake of iron {impaired growth, increased risk of infections}
  • Manganese-weak bones (osteoporosis)
  • Chromium-controlling blood sugar, cholesterol, and depression
  • Potassium-heart health or used in the event of high calcium
  • Boron-building strong bones
  • Silicon-fake boobs (jk jk), weak bones and heart disease

My point of going through all of those and listing them all out was to make a point to myself and to you guys that there is almost no way that you could get all of these vitamins and minerals in things that you eat everyday. If you are able to, then I'm impressed and I'm sure there is some shake out there that promises to fulfill all of your needs but for me, I'll just stick with my multivitamin. 

I know that it can be overwhelming with knowing which one to pick. There is no right answer. You should look at how many tablets you are going to be taking a day. Mine is three, and I'm not a huge fan of that. You should look at price obviously but if it's super cheap then you know that it's probably not the best. Google the company and read reviews and you will be able to discern if you think it's reputable or not. 

With love and multivitamins,

Katie



Layne Norton Interview

Well, today is super special to kick off an interview series on the blog! I thought there could be no one better than Layne! I think you'll love to hear from him as much as I did. I also just wanted to formally tell him thank you again for taking the time out of his day to answer a few questions for me. 

LAYNE NORTON TALKS

Hi Layne! I think we all know who you are, but if you could just give us a quick intro of who you are, what you are currently competing in, and the credentials that you hold?

ell I guess the best way to describe myself is a meathead science geek.  I love to train heavy and I also love to understand why and how the body gets stronger, more muscle, and changes body composition in response to training and nutrition.  I have a BS in Biochemistry, a PhD in Nutritional Sciences, I’m a Natural Pro Bodybuilder, and a Drug Free Pro Powerlifter.  I also own BioLayne LLC a consulting company that I offer training and nutrition consultations as well as seminars and camps across the globe.

How did you originally get started in bodybuilding and the fitness industry? 

I was picked on a lot as a kid and didn’t get much attention from girls so I figured that if I started lifting weights I might be able to fix that.

You are well known for your flexible dieting approach. It gets a really bad reputation for people just eating junk. Can you explain what you feel that means for the average person looking for weight loss or just one piece of advice for someone starting out? 

It’s all about sustainability.  We don’t have a weight loss problem.  People can lose weight just fine.  In fact, research shows that obese people at some point in their life will lose a significant portion of their bodyweight.  So what’s the problem?  They do not keep it off, in fact they end up regaining all the weight and in approximately half of those cases they actually put on more than they had originally.  Why? Because they follow diets that aren’t sustainable.  The research shows that the number one thing for success in maintaining weight loss is that people make it a lifestyle.  Thus if someone loses weight by eliminating carbs from their diet, they aren’t going to maintain that unless they never have carbs again.  Good luck with that.  Or someone decides to do paleo… so you’ll never eat bread again? Good luck.  So I focus on trying to make fat loss sustainable by TEACHING people how to use skills that they can use for the rest of their life to effectively self monitor.

I remember when your wife first started her reverse diet and all of her videos. Was she technically the first client that you ever had to try this new approach? 

No I had other people try it, I guess I just had not called it a reverse diet.  But in the offseason I was always trying to add more calories if I could to people’s diet as it just made logical sense that if they could maintain their bodyweight on higher calories, it will be easier for them to drop bodyfat when they start a fat loss phase.

For funsies, what are your current macros? I know others want to know what to eat to sustain your physique. 

Right now I’m consuming 225g protein, 420g carbs, and 95g fat on training days and 225g protein, 280g carbs, and 95g fat on my offdays.  Right now maintaining just above 205 lbs and pretty lean at that intake. 

I know that we all set goals for ourselves, so I’m sure everyone would love to hear what your personal goals are in powerlifting and/or bodybuilding and in the industry professionally?

My goal is to continue to push for evidence based recommendations in nutrition and training programs and to hold people accountable when they give bad advice.  It’s gotten ridiculous.  Just yesterday I saw an Instagram account with 1.4 million followers that was promoting chin exercises to help lose chin fat… I’m not making this up.  This garbage needs to stop.  {{I'm just gonna give an amen on that one}}

For me personally I try not to look too far ahead but I’m doing IPF Worlds in Finland for powerlifting in summer and I’d love to medal representing the US, I think that would be amazing. 

Lastly, do you have any motivational tips or quotes to share?

Probably my favorite quote is by Admiral William McRaven at a commencement speech where he was talking about the hardest part of Navy Seal Training.  He said “You will fail.  You will likely fail often.  It will be painful.  It will be discouraging.  At times, it will test you to your very core.”

It’s so true from the perspective that whenever you have a goal you are going to have setbacks and failures.  The one constant with people who are successful is that they never quit.  No matter the obstacle, no matter the enemy, no matter the odds, they keep going no matter what.  And that is the most important determinant of success. 

Find Layne on all social media outlets as he shares tons that has been life changing for many people.

FACEBOOK

YOUTUBE

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

With love,

Katie

Weekend without an iPhone

One word = peaceful. 

I learned a lot about myself in the past three days. I'm almost glad that my dad didn't overnight my phone (when at first I was like UH) because it gave me a serious amount of time to reflect. I think this is the longest span that I've went since I started this blog as well that I didn't blog, and that actually I was not excited about. This week just got crazy with going to Shelby and so I focused 100% on keeping the girls on my team taken care of and then I knew I'd get back to blogging this week. 

I love my iPhone. It has every capability that I could ever need, but I find myself {sinfully} almost addicted to it. Even when I have things that I need to do, I find myself scrolling through instagram for no good reason just mindlessly. Many times, in the middle of scrolling through social media, I'll snap out of it and realize how much more valuable my time could be spent. 

This weekend my emails piled up. This weekend I was out of the loop on some texts with friends. But this weekend, I also spent the most quality time with my husband that I have in a long time. This weekend I was able to relax and just worry about the emails that were piling up for today. This weekend, I was able to disappear into a book for a few hours with no distractions. This weekend, I went to the gym and worked out without constantly checking instagram between sets which really actually throws me off and I was able to go to a house party and dinner with friends without worrying that my emails were getting crazier and crazier.

A good habit I started in January was getting up before the sun, reading my Bible for the 365 program of SheReadsTruth, jotting down what I read, then reading God Calling.

A good habit I started in January was getting up before the sun, reading my Bible for the 365 program of SheReadsTruth, jotting down what I read, then reading God Calling.

Ironically, I was reading in Matthew where the Lord not only makes it a choice for us to take a Sabbath but he makes it a COMMAND. We have to step back sometimes and focus on Him for one day. He knew then and he knows now that we are all VERY busy and he gets it however it doesn't make it okay to not have one day with him. So, he commands that we take a Sabbath which I'm committed to doing now. One day per week, I'm putting the phone AWAY.

I realized how much I was letting social media have such a clutch on my heart. I think that many times girls look to social media and think how they want this girls body or this and that and I preach how we should do otherwise. I firmly believe that. However, I compare myself to their following. I see pages BLOW UP overnight, and I think "what am I doing wrong?" (I'm talking like hundreds of thousands). I look through pages, and think how I really need to work on doing "this more or that more" to be able to build a name for myself better. I look to my own page and think how a certain post may not be getting very many likes, and how I guess people aren't that into what I said or posted (Now you know what I'm really thinking hahaha).

I went for a run and didn't have something to track my mileage and time. I find myself hitting a mile mark, hearing the split and thinking "uhhh I need to speed up" and it was so nice to just run 16 miles without any of those thoughts. 

The last thing I learned is a cool one to me. I learned that it's okay to have a thought and not tell someone immediately. Everything in our generation is "urgent" and everyone is constantly talking on texts. If I have a thought, I text it to a friend which then becomes a conversation. I love catching up with friends, but sometimes there is nothing to catch up on because every thought is always texted to one another. I want to resolve to stop that completely and instead of just constantly being on my phone texting people, I want to internalize thoughts more and decide if it's warranted to be talked about in more detail and then catch up in person or over the phone more.

It's not that I don't want to be connected, and that I hate social media or something like I hear people say sometimes. I've built what I have because I LOVE it. It's absolutely fun for me, however I just think that obviously there is a time and a place and my husband and my God deserve my undivided attention when they are talking to me. 

Seems to me like every time something bad happens, it's always a blessing in disguise so I'm going to keep that in mind.

With love and peaceful weekends,

Katie

Stop Trying So Hard

We all try way too dang hard to be perfect. Chasing perfection is a term that LaraCasey uses (whom I adore), and I love that. You will never be perfect. The only perfection that we have in life lies in our Father. 

I could pick out perfections in my body, in my life, and in my business. I could sit here all day and compare myself but when I got to point B that I wanted to reach, there would just be a new Point B to achieve. 

However, in fitness, I think that people try so hard for something that really isn't as complicated as we make it. I know that it can be really hard to not form a relationship with food, but man I wish that for everyone. 

I have learned a lot of mental strength through the years. I think that it helps me with many things and I'm very thankful to have adopted this at such a young age, but I am a VERY anxious person. However, I have learned how to look at life through an outward lens. When I'm inside of a stressful moment, I step back and think about others who weren't me personally and weren't going through it, how would they view this situation? 

They would probably tell me that God was going to use it for a great good. They would tell me that I am beautiful just the way that I am. They would tell me that cake is meant to be enjoyed and family is meant to be cherished. They would tell me not to make an idol of fitness. Why don't we extend this same grace to ourselves? We should. This thought process of stepping back has literally changed my life and you can ask many of those that know me on an intimate level how drastically this has changed me.

We want to lose weight, so we chase perfection. We spend YEARS doing diet after diet only to rebound when if we would just take the process slow then we could just rest. We would never have to "diet" and we could just change small things. You shouldn't have to cut out everything in your life. If things come up, you shouldn't have to forfeit everything that you are trying to accomplish. There should be no all in or nothing at all. There should be no "diet vs gluttony." 

Again, it all comes back to the mental aspect of things. I know that many times I don't "get to eat" the things that some unhealthy people like a daily allowance of cookies and fast food that never ends. But, I do have those things in moderation. I do enjoy those things and they are more enjoyable when I do have them because I know what it means to be HAPPY and FULFILLED in my daily life.

I always get asked about cheat meals and how to approach them. For me personally, I don't even do them. I find that even that word makes me uncomfortable (everyone is different but just hear me out). I think that cheat meals makes it sound like that what you are doing during the week just epically sucks and so you must have this epicness on the weekend to get you through the next awful week. That's not what I want for anyone. I want you to enjoy your weeks enough that you don't even need that. 

Life is going to happen. It's simply inevitable. I have learned after years at this game that life ALWAYS HAPPENS. Did I expect to be in North Carolina this week and missing workouts? Uh no. Did I expect to not have my food or anything prepped? Uh no. Does that mean that I should just have a week of gluttony and start over when I return. No!!!!! There's too much back and forth. My sister in law made chili and cornbread last night and I had both and there's nothing wrong with that. If your grandmother makes cakes, have a bit or have a piece depending on your hunger. If you are going on a trip, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Our bodies tell us so much more than we give them credit for. 

Tshirt: Sheisclothing

Macronutrient balance is wonderful and going to the gym and being all hardcore is wonderful. I'm hardcore, and I'm dedicated but I think that it's time we recognize the difference. It's okay to have a diet coke. It's okay to have salt. It's okay to have chocolate, pizza, fries, and it's okay to miss workouts. You've got to step on the outside and focus on the long term. If you don't adopt it as a lifestyle then it becomes a constant hatred in your life. "Oh, it's that time again. I have to torture myself on a diet" when really it should just be something that supplements your daily walk. 

Believe me when I say that I KNOW that this is easier said than done, but I would love for us all to practice stepping on the outside of our personal walks and speaking to ourselves in the grace and kindness that our best friends would speak to us. 

With love and chasing perfection, 

Katie 

What Marriage Means to Me

Let me tell you, this is not an advice/how to blog. Lord knows, I'm 25 years old and have been married for almost 3 years so I know that I don't have even close to all of the answers, but I just wanted to share the way that I approach my marriage. I also am very blessed with a man of God who leads me in that way. I know there are SO many circumstances when the way I view things would not really apply but I wanted to share.

Yesterday, Tanner said "I love how our marriage is just ..... strong." 

I think that's a good way to describe it. I will explain what we mean. When we decided to get married after only dating for 5 months, and we got engaged, we had a conversation. We talked about how if we were going to do this, we needed to be sure. This was fast and if we really felt the calling that our engagement was to happen so soon, there could be no doubts. We talked about how once it was done, it was done. It didn't matter what happened. It didn't matter the circumstances. We were together always, forever, and ever.....and ever. 

After all the engagement to wedding excitement died down and we were settled in Raleigh, I remember having a minor freak out. This had nothing to do with my love for Tanner, but I was like "Oh my gosh, this is forever....and ever." I knew though that God had led me to this man that I was deeply in love with so that feeling faded quickly. 

kiss.jpg

We like to describe our relationship almost like you would your mom or dad or brother. It's hard to explain but the point of that is to say that it does not matter at the end of the day what happens, your love for them is never ending. Family is forever, and so is marriage in our eyes. 

Don't get me wrong, I think that we are lucky in the fact that we don't really fight much. He annoys me with how loud he chews, and I annoy him that I lose my keys every day but for the most part, it's minor things. We laugh because the more time that goes on, the further we fall in love, and the less we argue. We have learned over time that marriage a lot of times means acceptance. There is no changing of the other person, but you just have to love those qualities that may cause you to nit pick at one another after spending so much time getting to know each other so deeply. 

I feel like that our marriage as of right now sounds very formal and that's not what I want to portray. The point that I want to get across is that even when it's not passionate, even when it's not Valentine's Day, and even when we go weeks at a time that we are so busy that we can't see straight and hardly even speak to one another, it's an understood fact that "I love you with all of my being. You are one with me, and that will never change." 

Valentine's Day is so cliche, but it's also a really great time to reflect. Just like the New Year is cliche, but it also gives you new perspective. I love all of these holidays. We were able to just take the day to be with one another and talk about our marriage. We talked about how we really have begun to think as one. When I hurt, he hurts. When he is stressed, I begin to feel myself getting stressed. We have found that we really bounce off of one another's emotions (which can be dangerous at times), and it's pretty phenomenal to watch that happen to yourself after being married for just a short time. It makes me excited for what 10 years will look like. 

Obviously, faith is a huge part of our marriage and Christian marriage is always described as keeping God at the center. What does that even mean for your day to day life though? Let's be real here. That's hard. 

It takes conscious and sometimes awkward effort. 

Awkward? Yes. When we get in the heat of a moment, after much counsel in bible studies and friendships within the past 6 months, I'm able to consciously make the decision to back down. He does the same. It's a mutual agreement that somebody has to and so we both end up doing it. And it sometimes ends in these weird moments where one person is really jacked up and the other has backed down, and so you feel almost like "okayyyyy now I feel dumb because I'm flipping out and you're not."

We did a foot washing at our service. We wanted to portray John 13:1-17 in our marriage. Jesus washes the feet of His disciples to symbolize service and humility. That's how we wanted to model our marriage. (And side note on the subject of awkward: people thought this would be awkward but we did it anyway)

I've been doing a bible study with my girls for the past little while called Love and Respect. If the man loves you, you will want to give him respect. If you respect your man, then he will love you. This is somewhat how we are calculated (please don't get all feminist on me here as I think we can agree that's how things are most of the time). However, neither one of you can expect the other one to do it first. If Tanner is making me feel a certain way, then it does not matter. I do not "deserve" his love, and I will still give him respect. The same goes for him. If I'm not giving him respect, he must still love me. Conscious, daily efforts. 

This takes work that then becomes more natural, and it has been so worth it in our marriage. We have never had anything but a strong marriage but this just makes every day wonderful. We have visibly been able to see a change in the love that we feel for one another. It's even deeper than ever. I like to think of it as we have emptied ourselves out to one another, we let the Holy Spirit pour into us, and with that we are able to pour that out into one another. 

I love him so much. I love him beyond words. I also know that he feels the same and he expresses that often. He tells me I'm beautiful like too much (okay not too much haha). However, I think that we both know that marriage is something that you have to make efforts towards or it won't be as wonderful to go through every single day together.

With love and marriage, 

Katie

All photography by: SaraJane Case

Weight Loss Confusion

How many different ways are there to lose weight? Like honestly, it's such a huge industry, there are about 900 different ways. For someone who is just starting for the first time, this can be really tough. 

What would be the first steps that you take when loosing weight? You might look at Shape Magazine and they say to try these few exercises and eat whole nutritious foods and look like the model on the front of the magazine. 

Then, in today's world, you may get on Instagram. You start looking for fitness motivation and you happen upon someone who loves taking classes. They look awesome and they take classes and only eat a plant based diet.

Then, somehow you find yourself on a bodybuilder's page and you see that they eat 6 square meals per day of high protein low carb, they are ripped to shreds, and they lift weights with no cardio.

Then you find me, and you're like "okay i'm really confused!" hahaha! I thought I couldn't run and lift? hehe. 

Then you read an article and you realize that you are eating too much protein and it's bad for your kidneys and saw Forks over Knives so you go vegan. Then, you realize you are eating too much soy and that can cause cancer or something. 

You stumble upon a weight loss company and they tell you that they have this special shake or special pill or special injection that can make you lose weight really quick. NOW WE ARE TALKING, RIGHT?

Like, honestly, what gives? Where does it end?

I just wanted to share a few helpful tips as you are getting started. 

1. THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY. 

Everyone has a different approach, and different goals. That's totally okay. There are many different routes to weight loss and choosing one that you like best is important. I get so tired of people hating on different forms of exercise. Like "BRO, maybe they don't want six pack abs and big biceps, AND THAT'S OKAY!"

2. IF THEY TELL YOU THAT IT HAPPENS FAST, RUN.

Honestly, can we let go of instant gratification? PLEASE. If you lose weight quickly, the chances of it staying off are really minimal. You know this. You are told this 100 times, but yet we still yearn to be that person that loses 10 pounds in 1 week and never gains it back. If you take care of yourself and your metabolism, you can be fit and healthy for the rest of your life in a very maintainable way if you are smart. 

3. DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY.

I never tell clients they can't do a certain workout. If you wanna do spin class, you do spin class. If you wanna do a beach body program, then you go for it. If you want to run, then let's do that. The biggest thing is not the immediate weight loss. The goal is to make it sustainable and you aren't going to be able to sustain something that you hate. Find something active you enjoy whether that's skiing, hiking, tennis, yoga, spinning, or racket ball. 

The same goes for diet. If you hate eating meat, then just don't eat it. You do need protein. Protein is a good thing. But, you can find many other ways to get adequate amounts.

4. KNOW YOUR AESTHETIC GOALS.

Yoga and fruits and veggies will produce one physique. Bodybuilding and high protein is going to produce another. When people come to me and ask that they lose weight but not look like me, I get it. I know what they want, and that's not a problem. You need to be realistic with yourself with the goals that you want to reach. 

5. ONCE YOU KNOW YOUR GOALS, DO THE ROUTE TO GET THERE. 

I am a no excuses type of girl, so if you say that you want to build muscle but then you refuse to lift weights, those two just can't go hand in hand. If you want the results for your end goal, then you've got to put the work in. 

But what is the best way? You just simply want to lose weight and you don't know which option to take? My personal opinion is that you need to seek knowledge. You need to learn about the nutrition in foods, and you need to just MOVE. At the end of the day, we can make it really complicated but it pretty much comes down to: 

caloric deficit & movement

You can spin a million different ways, and these shakes can promise you this or that but the shakes work because they have a certain caloric/macro intake which is less than what you are normally intaking.

I hope this helps those that might be confused on which route they want to take. You take your route, and be happy with it. Whatever you do, it MUST be sustainable. 

With love and weight loss,

Katie

What Your Pharmacist Actually Does

I've had this idea in my head that I would write this post. I feel that I'm in a great position actually to write it. I don't feel like if I was a practicing pharmacist that I would want to write this but since my career has did somewhat of a 360, I am able to take up for all the pharmacists out there. 

I would like to start with the usual disclaimers: I know that your job sucks no matter what you do unless you are really lucky. I know that everyone has a hard time in job settings so I'm not saying that yours is any worse than a retail pharmacist, but I just want you to know some things that you might not know. There are also stinky workers in any profession. There are stinky pharmacists. There are stinky Target workers. They are stinky financial brokers. I can almost bet you though, your pharmacist doesn't stink. Here's why:

When you come to the pharmacy, I know how the drill goes as I tend to almost do it myself even though I know better. You walk in, there's soft music, no one else is really there except for maybe one other person. You see the pharmacist back there on the computer almost looking as if they are doing nothing at all, and so you drop off your script. They tell you it's going to be a bit, and you're already annoyed because you had to wait at the doctor's office but whatever, you'll wait a little while. You tell them that you'll stay because you see that no one else is there so it certainly won't be THAT long. 

Ten minutes goes by, and you are steaming but you're holding it together because you're not a confrontational person. But at fifteen minutes, you are DONE. You are saying something. 

Counting in Belize! The pharmacy explanation below does not apply to Belize! Haha! :)

Counting in Belize! The pharmacy explanation below does not apply to Belize! Haha! :)

Let me explain. 

I'll explain the entire process from start to finish. This would be a semi easy patient. 

If the pharmacist had 0 other customers then they would take your script & check to see if it had any other issues with the way the script was written. If there is an issue with the script (which many times there are), then the doctor would have to be called. They may have put the wrong strength or the wrong dosing just because they aren't as familiar with the drugs and in a rush. You can't assume what they meant. You have to call and verify. You get off the phone and you enter in the prescription. Depending on where you work, if the technician enters in the prescription and tries to run it through the insurance. If you are a good little patient, your insurance works right. I would say there's a 20% chance that your insurance won't work. There's a red flag. One of these red flags could be that the insurance requires a prior authorization of this medication. 

What is a prior authorization? Well it's pretty common so you should know what it means. Explaining it to customers makes them just think that the pharmacist epically sucks when it's entirely 100% out of their control. The pharmacist must send paperwork to the doctor's office. The doctor's office will get the fax, and the nurse will have to get in touch with the doctor who will verify that the patient can actually be on that medication. The doctor's office will then fax the insurance company to say "Yes, this patient ACTUALLY needs THIS specific medication and you should cover it." The insurance company will then fix the red flag on our end. 

Now we have that done! So the tech is done entering but you don't want to die right? The pharmacist has to check that. Now the pharmacist checks it, and 99% of the time it's right. There could be a scenario where it's not right so the pharmacist may fix it themselves or they may have the tech fix the mistake. THEN, the tech can begin filling the script. 

Depending on where you work, the tech has to find the med, scan the med, scan the label, count, fill, stick, boom! Done! This becomes so fast it's like Ricky Bobby! 

Then, it finally goes to the pharmacist for the final stages of being checked. The medication that the technician put into the bottle is verified for color and the pharmacist looks at the bottle to make sure that the tech did in fact use the right med. There are many computer programs that help with this but the pharmacist must make sure that if your medication is new that it doesn't interact with anything that you are already on, or make sure that you know any pertinent information about this medication as you begin taking it. 

Okay, that's one script. A SLOW store does 150 scripts per day. A busy store does 600-800 scripts per day. Every company is trying to make a dollar so who do they cut first? Techs. Tech hours. Pharmacists are left sometimes alone depending on the volume of the store, so that process must be done from start to finish by themselves. 

During this time, there are 5 people waiting in line to pick up their meds. So, the pharmacist may stop for a second to ring those people out. When the pharmacist picks up one of the bags for one of the patients, they realize that one of their prescriptions was not covered under their insurance that they dropped off yesterday. The patient is PISSED!!!! The patient is pissed at the pharmacist. The pharmacist has 0 control because it's 100% the insurance but the patient goes off on the pharmacist. Then, the phone rings. The pharmacists asks the patient to hold on line 1 as she's busy. 

She's so cute in the pharmacy! haha ;) 

She's so cute in the pharmacy! haha ;) 

The pharmacist looks at the queue. The doctor's offices have opened. They are sending in electronic scripts. The queue has 15 new scripts. crap!

The patient still doesn't understand why the insurance won't cover their meds. "Can YOU call the insurance company because YOU ARE THE PHARMACIST AND YOU DO NOTHING ELSE RIGHT?" 

So, you want to keep the customer happy so you call the insurance company. They put you through to a customer service rep after like 10 minutes of waiting on the phone then they tell you that the patient has not renewed or paid their bill so they are no longer covered. You tell the patient. The patient yells at you because they didn't pay their bills. You finally manage them. The line is 10 deep now. You can hear people in the back of the line talking about how awful the pharmacy is and how it always takes forever. 

You look at the queue. It's up to 25 new scripts. Your tech comes in. THANK GOD. 

You ask them to fill the 60 scripts that you had already put through earlier. They start counting like a mad man. The phone rings. 

Someone comes to the counter with a rash that you have NO idea what it is but you tell them to try Benadryl. You ask the tech to take over the line because they are done filling those meds and now you need to check them. Your tech had just come in and was really frazzled but managed to only mess up one script out of 60. (good lord knows, I was a messy tech HA) No big deal. You'll fix it. 

I'm going to stop here because I think I've made myself clear. This does not include all of the internal things that your pharmacist has to do for working for a specific company. This is just the run of the mill. Your pharmacist does not pee. Your pharmacist does not have lunch except when they sneak behind the stack of pills in the back and shovel it in. Your pharmacist is not out to get you, forgetting about you, and your pharmacist works really hard. Many times, your pharmacist when just starting sheds many many tears. 

bestie in the pharmacy.jpg

Retail pharmacy has become a one stop shop like a convenient store. People expect fast food meds, and it's created a monster.

If you are still reading, then you are awesome and do me a favor. The next time you go into your pharmacy, tell them you really appreciate them. That pretty much never happens. 

With love and pharmacy,

Katie

Beginner Lessons to Macros

So, I really have a passion for helping those just starting out if you can't tell. I feel like with the knowledge, you can conquer the world. I also know that when many people first start macro counting, they are completely overwhelmed and think that it's not for them. I wanted to ease your mind a little with a process I see happen every single time someone begins counting for the first time. 

1. IT'S NOT AS HARD AS IT SEEMS.

I know that when you first start, you think it's this crazy puzzle that you can't figure out. I hear all the time that it's just too hard. I PROMISE you it's not as difficult as it seems. It takes time to get used to it, but keep the faith. It WILL get easier. I could probably put quotes from about 50 different clients who could attest to the fact that it DOES in fact get easier.

2. YOU REALLY DON'T HAVE TO EAT 87 CHICKEN BREASTS TO REACH YOUR PROTEIN GOAL.

There is protein in everything. In a piece of bread, there is 5g of protein that I buy. There are quest bars, cottage cheese, beef jerky, greek yogurt, eggs (and eggs can be used in about 1000 different ways and recipes), and protein powder (not just protein shakes but recipes with protein powder in them which actually taste good unlike protein shakes hehe ;)). 

You get used to this, and I promise that eating 100+ grams of protein per day becomes easier. It's just that as a society our protein intake is about zilch to none so it seems impossible.

3. SIT DOWN AND SPEND SOME TIME GETTING TO KNOW MYFITNESSPAL (or whatever app you choose to use).

You can't expect to start on day 1, and be a pro. I can't tell you how many frantic emails I have received after day 1. It's just like anything else. You've got to spend time and learn how to do these things. 

Start on day 1 just entering in all the foods that you normally would eat if you weren't doing macros even if that means McDonalds french fries. You will REALLY shocked I believe at the foods that aren't as awful as you would think. There are certain foods that have reputations that are terrible when really, you could easily fit them into your day. Why do you think everyone rants and raves over doughnuts? Or pizza? It's not that these things are EASY to fit into your day, but you CAN if you want. No one goes nuts over an Otis Spunkmeyer muffin that has 22g fat and 54g carb. That just is a bit excessive. Haha! But a slice of pizza at average 13g fat, 22g carb with some protein! Anyone can fit that in! And it's fun!

Back to the point. Enter the foods in that you would normally eat, and see where you are at. Go from there. If you are on my team, no one gets mad at the others for saying "Hey I have this many grams of this left, any ideas?" It's not a stupid question as some make it out to be. We aren't all culinary geniuses that can come up with these things, and finding meals that others eat is fun and helps you with the learning process.

4. "BUT THAT'S OBSESSIVE. I REFUSE TO SPEND SO MUCH TIME ON THIS."

I promise that once you get used to it, you learn what's in foods and you hardly have to think about it anymore. You get the meals that you are comfortable with and that you think are yummy and then you know what it looks like to fit macros according to your goals. 

Stick 2-3 weeks with it. I can almost GUARANTEE that you'll see so much of a difference in how much time you are spending.

5. IT MAKES ME OBSESSIVE.

If it makes you obsessive, I've said time and again that it's not for everyone and that is fine. My point of this blog is that it's not HARD. 

6. DON'T BE AFRAID TO DO LITTLE AMOUNTS OF THINGS. 

You can judge me all you want, but I like to have chocolate with coffee. Therefore, I may have 1/8 of a quest bar just a little piece of chocolate. This isn't restriction, dang it. It's just I'm not hungry for an entire quest bar but I want chocolate. Or I may want to have a teaspoon of peanut butter on my waffles versus an entire tablespoon because a tablespoon is actually a lot. I may want some crunch in my greek yogurt so I add 5 vanilla cupcake goldfish. I might want a doughnut from dunking but I know I don't have 17g of fat left for a cookie dough filled doughnut. So, I cut the thing in half and save the next for the next day. This isn't restriction. This is having doughnuts and pizza every day of my life.

Here's the broken down version of how to begin counting: 

You use addition. You think of foods to fit a puzzle.

That's it. I promise it's not hard. 

But, now you are like "NO NO I HAVE DONE THIS AND IT'S NOT THAT EASY COMING UP WITH FOODS." You get to the end of the day and you have 20g fat over and 50g protein under and you are just DONE.WITH.MACROS. Haha! Hear me out. 

If you are finding you are way off, then that means you need to plan better. Plan out full days in the beginning to get used to things. If you plan a day out and you are short 15g fat and over 20g of carb then you go to your cute little myfitnesspal and you find a piece of bread and you take it off. You replace it with peanut butter. Let's say you plan out a day and you are 50g under on protein and over on carbs and fat. It's the same simple solution. You go to your myfitnesspal, you take off your bread/pizza/skinnycow/pasta/peanutbutter and you replace it with a grilled chicken salad. 

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below as I would love to help you get started.

With love and macros,

Katie

How to: Improve your Instagram Newsfeed

Hi, my name is Katie, and I like quality images. 

I know this is a weird topic but honestly I think it's important (or at least it is to me). 

It sounds awful but I've kinda "had enough" and I won't go into those details but I just can't take some of the images I was seeing every day. So, I had to start weeding them out. I went on a cleanse a few weeks back and deleted many accounts and every time I see one on my newsfeed that I don't enjoy, I unfollow. I don't mean this to be mean. I just simply want to follow creative, well done, good intention pages. Wanna know why pinterest was such a successful hit when it came out? WONDERFUL IMAGES. These were images that were created by really talented bloggers. Pinterest was created basically to give bloggers more exposure. There are so many ACTUALLY talented people out there in all aspects of things that you enjoy and I just really encourage everyone to clean up their feed as it can bring such joy (or maybe I'm just weird because I've been really excited about this post). 

Here's how I do this: 

1. GO TO THE PEOPLE YOU ARE FOLLOWING. 

When you look at their name, and you can't even place who they are or what their "genre" is, defollow. I'm going to sound so hateful and mean, but I'm just trying to be real with ya. ;) If you look at their name, and think EW then defollow. You don't need negativity in your heart popping up on your newsfeed. BYE FELICIA. 

2. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TOPICS? 

Here are some examples: 

  • Do you like reading? 
  • Do you like Jesus? 
  • Do you like interior design? 
  • Fitness? This can be broken down further:
    • Healthy lifestyle (more blogger well done images)
    • Foodies
    • Runners/Triathletes
      • These pages are ENTIRELY different than the next bullet point.
    • Fitfam?
      • would probably put myself in this category and I'm trying to honestly change to healthy lifestyle but it's very hard to switch your audience. People want to see selfies. If I put up well done images, my followers aren't interested. If I put up selfies and ab pictures, BOOM! Haha. You have to know your audience. I don't bore them with my real life anymore-they simply just don't care.
      • This includes harsh images non photoshopped, mostly selfies, gym workouts, and iPhone pictures of food 
    • Nudity eh? I'm putting this under fitness because that's what they like to call it.
  • Photography?
    • Portraits
    • Nature
  • Organization? 
  • Outdoors?
    • Skiing
    • Hiking
    • Mountaineering
    • Bouldering/Rock Climbing
  • Lifestyle Bloggers?
Paul is a really great example of a foodie! He takes time and attention that he puts into his pictures. The recipes are healthy and great however the photography of his images are what appeals to me and makes me want to follow him. 

Paul is a really great example of a foodie! He takes time and attention that he puts into his pictures. The recipes are healthy and great however the photography of his images are what appeals to me and makes me want to follow him. 

3. FIND ONE-FIND THEM ALL.

I used to be like "Man, I love this page but how do I find more like it?" The only time this method wouldn't work is if you are following me because I have way too many interests. But the gold mine is if you go to that person and look at who they are following. This will show you many more pages that are very similar.

Normally, the runners will be running in their main picture. The fitfam will have a competition shot. The small business owners will have a logo like mine. Outdoor people will have mountains. You will quickly learn and so you know not to even click on pages to know if you want to follow them or not. When I click on a page, I know immediately if I want to follow them. If their images are wonderful (and I really aim for wonderful), then I follow. If they aren't, I don't. It's that simple. I normally want to follow each page for a specific reason which is why I also know that people don't want to see a lot of my real life. 

If I click on a page that's meant to be interior design and I see like iPhone bad lighting photos of their dog like five times on my first impression, I'm not going to follow them. Again, I feel I must reiterate that I'm not being mean, I just want my newsfeed to be a continual pinterest board basically. That's just me, and you may be different and that's cool too. The exception to this rule is lifestyle bloggers that I follow. I follow them because I want to follow their life therefore I want to see their child, dog, plants, etc. Haha! 

Everyone has a different "theme" to their page and I like following pages with a well stated theme. I like a page that's organized for what their topic is. If they have bright white images, I love a page that has all bright white.

Absolutely love this page!! She is an interior designer based out of NYC and her images are just immaculate. 

Absolutely love this page!! She is an interior designer based out of NYC and her images are just immaculate. 

4. GO TO PINTEREST

I actually search out quality pages. I really love interior design (not that I'm good at it by any means but I love looking at it and dreaming how I will one day deck my house out when really I'll never spend the kind of money it takes but that's beside the point here). I go to pinterest and my board that I have saved for my future home. I click on the blog that's attached to the images. I find their social media sites and I click on the instagram link and I follow from there.

This is one that I just found today. You know that it's legit just by looking at this. She has almost 200K on instagram. You know her page at least has something that appeals to a big group! 

5. SEARCH HASHTAGS

I actually find this to be the least successful. I never find good quality pages this way because everyone hashtags and there aren't like specific hashtags that people use that can narrow a search down. So, a fitness blogger from NYC might tag NYC but so would some random person visiting so that's hard to shift through. 

Lastly, I wanted to share some pages with you that have quality images for you to follow as I know it can be hard to get started. I'll break them down into categories so that you know if you would be interested. I may come back and edit this list later because there's no way this will be all inclusive. Wanna know something that I think is a shame? The fact that people hate shoutouts. I get that it can be annoying if its all dumb shoutouts but if someone truly deserves it and has an interesting page, then I wanna know about it. It's a shame that it becomes so hated on. So, I'm going to shoutout many pages. 

Healthy Lifestyle

  • nycpretty
  • sweatstretcheat
  • leangirlsclub
  • evannclingan
  • corinanielsen (she's kinda fitfam but her images are too good for that so she will go in this category)
  • giantinheels

Fitfam (these are actually good pages)

  • vmfitness
  • ladyfit
  • jai_fitness
  • jessi_jean_fitness
  • gymgirljessie
  • kiracrush
  • therippedbarbie
  • torilifts
  • passion2befit
  • megmo7
  • alexajeanfitness
  • leanna_carr
  • dallasrae

Foodies/Food Bloggers 

  • Sprouted Kitchen
  • KinFolk 
  • wholelivinglauren
  • skinnykitchen
  • neuroticmommy
  • Sammybfit
  • runningonveggies (runner also)
  • cookeatlift
  • chocolatecoveredkatie

Interior Design 

  • sarahdorseydesigns
  • houseofjadeinteriors
  • janabekdesign
  • fashionablehostess
  • hugsandpunches (she is an all around blogger but she has some awesome home ideas)

Small Business

  • emilyley
  • valmariepaper
  • twinkletwinkleliljar

Christian/Lifestyle Bloggers (not the same but I'm grouping them together)

  • Hugsandpunches
  • emilyley
  • taza
  • laracasey
  • girlmeetslife (just found her and she's such an awesome NYC blogger to follow)
  • sarajanecase (She was my wedding photographer but she's incredibly inspiring and empowering)
  • jessigreenny
  • coralncognacs
  • thetaleofanuglyhouse
  • bowsandsequins
  •  

Outdoors (I have this new obsession with nature and these pages make my heart come alive with the mountains and snow)

  • roundtheworldgirl
  • correyrichproductions
  • contagiousoutdoorsporting (this one is cool because they tag all of the people in their images so you are able to find more amazing pages)
  • jboggs32

Runners 

  • sarcasminspandex
  • jennammchugh
  • angigreene
  • runtrimom
  • runnersgonnarun
  • nycrunningmama
  • ahappypace
  • heatherrosescott
  • heather_runs74
  • mileposts
  • irongirlnadia (this girl has ran 120 marathons and is 30 years old I believe #unreal)
  • run_far
  • run_emz
  • babfitrunlift
  • theathletarian
  • fitandfaithfullc
  • happytrigirl
  • ironmomkim

I hope you enjoy reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it!!! 

With love and instagram, 

Katie

 

Maintaining Muscle with Running

How in the world do I do it? Shouldn't I have a pancake booty and completely non existent shape by this point? Runners are always stick thin right? They can't have muscle! 

Well, I beg to differ. I feel as if overtime a picture of a runner is shown, it's someone who only runs and does like ultras and is vegan. The epitome of a runner. They then proceed to show you a picture of a sprinter or a bodybuilder or someone who works SOLELY those muscle fibers. Here's an example: 

Muscles are in style right now. They are trendy right? Okay maybe not but kinda with the surge of the infamous instagram fitfam but everyone looks at this and thinks "Ew, I'm not running anymore. No no no" 

Okay, hold your horses. Let's begin. Today's lesson is going to be quite short. I wish I had time this week to do a full in depth post on this, but time constraints have me this week. I'll re-visit this very soon though. First, as I stated, sprinters are most likely weight lifting and runners are most likely not. People train for their sports so it's really obnoxious to see pictures such as these. 

I want to start this by saying that maintaining muscle mass while running is really not all that hard. If you are wanting to lose fat, steady state cardio is not always the A plus way to go. If you are losing weight while running long distance, you will most likely lose some muscle mass. This is not to say that you shouldn't run if you want weight loss because at the end of the day, refer back to yesterdays post of WHY I run.

The biggest most important thing for you to do is RECOVERY. How do you recover? You structure your workouts accordingly and you .... EAT. Eating is always fun but it's crucial for this. This is the only way to fully make up for the glycogen stores that are lost after your runs. If you work with me, you know that I will encourage 50g of carb per hour extra on top of normal macros for long runs. I make sure to always have a carb heavy meal after my runs. This is crucial to not depleting muscle.

For recovery, I also take BCAA's. Tanner takes them before and after. I have this really weird aversion to supplements (probably a little too hard headed about it) but I don't like it. I only take them after but if you are not weird like me, then the studies have shown that it's best before and after. 

Also to recover, I have to be intentional with my workouts. I can't blast my leg day and expect to be able to perform later. This is something that I really had to get used to. I went into the gym every single session to wake up the next day with my entire body hurting. However, when I'm trying to do long distance runs, I can't do that. LESS IS MORE. 

You have to be specific. This is an example of what a week would look like: 

Sunday-Long Run 

Monday-elliptical recovery (15 minutes), Shoulders/Chest

  • Sometimes I don't even do the elliptical but if I'm sore and want to keep fluid muscles, I'll do this. With living in Manhattan, I feel I get enough recovery type work on my legs just walking around.

Tuesday-Leg Day 

  • I prefer to do my leg day earlier in the week. My goal with my training is not to become too sore but lift with intentions each week to increase lifts and get stronger. If I do become sore, then I have almost an entire week to recover before long runs on Sundays (I go to church at night-I felt I needed to let you know that LOL).

Wednesday-Intervals/Back/Abs (all running done on treadmill)

  • I don't want to be changing going from the gym to outside running and it's much easier to do interval type work on the treadmill. This is NOT sprints. You do not want to sprint as this is just energy you don't need to expend. If you are doing a leg day, you are getting stronger for running faster.

Thursday-Mid Week Longer Run

  • Alex Viada would be mad at me for this run. It's "junk miles" as he would call them. These are miles that have no intention but to run them however I have found that this works for me. I have noticed that I need them for mental more than anything to be able to trust myself that I can in fact run longer than 5 miles.  

Friday-Tempo Run/Bis/Tris (tends to be my longest day)

  • I know that for some, this may seem like too much. This ends up being at least a 1.5 hour workout. I know that for time constraints, this may not be feasible for some. However, I really want to be a well known athlete, and I have practiced soccer or cheerleading almost every day of my life for 2+ hours per day so 1.5 hours in a workout is nothing. I do however try to keep most workouts to 1 hour.

Saturday-REST

  • I'm learning every week how important it is to rest especially with how hard I push my workouts during the week.

As you can see, this is 4 days of running per week. 4 days of lifting. There are many different combinations that you can do but this is just one split that I've fallen into recently that I love. 

The biggest key is eating to recover. Your body is not just going to melt away that you have built. You just have to be specific. Don't do workouts that you don't need. The times I perform the absolute worst are when I go skiing or when I go to a concert the night before. It's not rocket science. I'm just over utilizing and when you are already putting so much into your training, you've got to be particular. 

This just touches the surface, but I thought this would help explain a little of how I structure things. 

With love and running with strength, 

Katie 

5 Reasons that I run

So, we all hear over and over that steady state cardio is not the way to burn fat. We are all told that we need to lift weights for results. We are all told to do this, and to do that. I was told that I had to stop running to be able to gain muscle, and I listened. I spent a good 6 months where I believed it. I am so glad that I decided to start back. I wanted to share today just why I run {when everyone seems to be hating on what they like to call 'cardio'}. Tomorrow, I will share with you the steps to be able to incorporate both.

Can we start by not calling it cardio? It's like not calling a soccer player, a soccer player. It's like telling them they are just kicking a ball or something. It's not cardio. I'm a runner. ;) 

1. I LOVE IT.

How about that? I'll be danged. It's quite a foreign concept in the world of fitness and health to actually enjoy yourself but there is nothing like finishing a run. There is nothing like completing a race. Nothing can compare. Tanner is finally understanding now that he's training at high mileage. It's just amazing.

2. IT CHALLENGES ME 

Y'all, I know that "cardio" isn't easy. Everyone wants to talk about how they hate cardio. Well, that's most likely because it's hard work. But, I'm okay with that. I want to challenge myself. I want to be able to look back at something and be proud that I accomplished it. I want to be an ATHLETE. I want to be able to prove my placing by my ability to perform and train.

3. IT GIVES ME SOMETHING TO TRAIN FOR.

I absolutely ADORE training season. I love pushing myself knowing that there is a deadline and I'll get to cross a finish line. I get emotional when I think about it because my passion just burns so much for it. 

4. THE COMMUNITY

I have been in many fitness communities. They are all wonderful, and they all have really wonderful people, but there is something about endurance athletes. They get you. They don't compete with you. They don't want to change you. They just accept you for the insane nature of running in extreme weather. They understand when you give up things to train. They just ... get it. 

5. IT GIVES ME ALONE TIME

I'm a hyper focused human being. I tend to be very determined in everything that I do. I know that running is just another thing that I'm doing, but it's actually a time that I can get away from the chaos and just have the quiet of my mind to just pray and think about the day. As the mileage gets higher, the endorphins become more intense and at the end of long runs, you feel on top of the world {with today being an exception where I didn't complete my long run-WHOMP!}

6. BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO LISTEN TO PEOPLE WHO SAY I CAN'T.

Hehe ;) Pretty self explanatory but I just wanted to prove that I could. I found those that modeled my style. I let them inspire me. I wasn't sure if it was "okay" at first but I wanted to do it so I just did. Now, I couldn't imagine things any other way. Alex Viada has modeled hybrid training and is releasing a book on March 3rd that I'm EXTREMELY excited about. He is an ultra runner and can also squat/deadlift 700+. He is a freak of nature but he teaches that everyone can do this. And so can you. 

I hope that this will inspire you to not worry about the steady state cardio rumors and get to running.

With love and running,

Katie

Grocery Shopping

Hey y'all, 

With living in Manhattan, it can be difficult to get to a grocery store. We always have to make this something on our to do list. So, every weekend we set out at 8am on either Saturday or Sunday to make the trip. I don't know if it was because it's Super Bowl Sunday but normally Saturdays at 8am aren't that crowded. If you have never experienced grocery shopping in NYC, it's insane. You have to plan it out. The line wraps around the building every single time. And it was exceptionally bad yesterday. We decided to load up more than usual because we keep running out of food!!! 

When I got home, I realized that Trader Joes has some awesome food items that I always get that are so macro friendly, and so I wanted to share those with you. I know that normally in other areas, people may not always go to Trader Joes, but I think it's worth the stop if you have one. 


I honestly love this pico! It's so great for salads because it's like 10 calories per 2 tablespoons so it's a great way to add some flavor! I put 2 tablespoons pico, mustard and rice vinegar on my salads every single day! 

I actually get these at Whole Foods and they are normally near the Bakery. I've seen people use them as a base for a little low carb home made pizza but they are like the pork reign type texture but just don't have as much flavor and each "cake" is 16 calories-4g carb! HA! I love them to be honest! (Disclaimer: I eat plenty of high carb things-I just like to have these low calorie items on hand)

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Excuse the awful dimly lit photography! I really want to edit these pictures, but my computer is being so weird with the editing functions!! But I wanted to share these with you guys! 

Egg white salad with chives! The macros are awesome! The entire container has 120 calories-6g F // 4g C // 14g P! So delicious too! They have another spicy flavor as well. 

This dip is awesome! This is perfect for a party (Super Bowl anyone?) I am thinking of starting a healthy brunch for the ladies in my life to introduce them to healthier options that don't taste awful and I thought this could be used in some form or fashion! In 2 tablespoons, the macros are: 2.5g F// 2g C // 1 g P ! Yum yum! 

Okay this is a show stopper!!!! I don't know about you guys but I love chicken salad and I've been wanting to make my own, but well, we all have time constraints and I just haven't gotten around to it! I am still going to make my own but until then, this is perfect! In 1/4 cup, there are 1.8g F // 1.5g C // 8.5g P !! Such a great addition to a sandwich! I LOVE this and it's made with Greek yogurt versus mayo but it still taste just as good! 

This is my new favorite EVER! These taste seriously amazing, and I could have one everyday and the reason we got 2 packs is because we pretty much have been eating one per day. They are 96% lean ground beef, and they are already pattied out so it's just perfect. We get the whole wheat buns from Trader Joes (only 18g carb, 15g fat) and have a wonderful burger! We were discussing today how they taste as good as a burger you could get from anywhere that was terrible for you. Ha! 

These two make a delicious dinner! The alexia brand has all kinds of fries but I have this thing for texture in my fries. It makes my taste buds go insane (in a good way). They sell these at Whole Foods, and they are meant to be a "healthier" version of processed fries! haha! One serving (85g) is 7g fat // 21g carb // 2g protein. The key with these is that you probably should weigh them if you are closely counting macros. The serving size says "Approximately 12 fries" but that's normally false, so you want to weigh out 85g. The nutritional label is also for when the fries are frozen (which is somewhat depressing as they weigh much less after being cooked haha). Just a few tips for that!

Anddddd, the chile lime chicken burgers are saved for last. Seriously, amazing. I know I keep saying that but let me tell you, my taste buds do not go unsatisfied in this house. I eat yummy foods every single day, and I never feel deprived. It's all about just looking a little bit harder for those foods that are healthy but still yummy! You don't have to eat unsatisfying nasty foods all the time to be healthy. One burger has 150 calories // 6g F // 3g C // 19g F! 

I hope this gives you a few more ideas so that your taste buds are a little more satisfied this week! Trader Joes did not sponsor this post hahah! ;) 

With love and food, 

Katie 

Partner in Crime Benefits

So, I will first hand admit that having a workout buddy is not my idea of the best time. I have always preferred to work out alone. I just feel that i get a better workout and I get it done faster and it's just my alone time. However, I have started training for this ultra and it forced me to run with him {kinda}. I hated it the first few runs. HAHA! I felt that he was lagging behind and that I was having to go slower. Now that he is gaining endurance, he will probably be leaving me in the dust any day now. 

However, I have grown to really look forward to our runs together. I've noticed that there are times when I probably would delay my run or shorten the intensity and he keeps me going, and I keep him going. We joke that we are both so competitive that we never bring it up until later how much the other one pushes us.

And turns out, this is scientifically proven. 

This junk works. 

Having a partner can be really helpful in your overall fitness success. I don't mean that it has to be a significant other at all, but just someone that you can rely on to keep you accountable and for you to do the same for them. 

Here are some reasons that you should work out with a partner: 

1. THEY KEEP YOU ACCOUNTABLE 

I think this is the biggest reason and it's a gimme. You know that if you have someone waiting on you at the gym that you will be. If I know that I'm going to be standing my friend up, that will give me more motivation to get there versus just standing the gym up. 

2. THEY PUSH YOU WITHOUT EVEN REALIZING IT 

According to a study done by Society of Behavior Medicine, your performance improves by almost 200% (doubles) when patients were told that their score was based on who worked out the least (they were testing this with time on a bike). When candidates were alone on the bike, they went far less amount of time and they were all told to push as much as they could. Over time with consistently working out with a partner can drastically change your results. 

3. IT CAN ELEVATE YOUR MOOD

One study shows and this is hilarious that men and women were tested together for their mood during a workout together. They had different groups. Some were dressed bad, and some were dressed well both men and women. The women with the dressed up men were found to be more relaxed while men that were with the pretty dressed up women were less relaxed. HAHAHA! The men were getting distracted basically, and couldn't workout well. So, the tip here is that if you are a women and you want your man to get buff in the gym, dress down! Science people. Science. 

4. TIME FLIES WHEN YOU'RE HAVING FUN

I notice every single time that I run with Tanner, the runs go by so much quicker. We don't talk all that much (he gets cramps, haha) but I just find that the time just seems to fly by. 

There was an article also that said that if you sweat together, you're immediately the best of friends! hehe jk! I made that up, but it's probably true!! Working out with partners can really help you get that push that you need to get out of the door, work hard in the gym and continue that trend knowing that someone else is counting on you. 

With love and partners, 

Katie 

 

Macros in Your Favorite Alcohol

The alcohol topic gets brought up a lot. I made a post one time about how to count macros with alcohol which can be found HERE.

Today, I wanted to just make it super easy and name some alcoholic beverages and what their macros were and how I calculated that so maybe it would be easier to count. 

I'm going to stick with the basics today (Beer, Wine, Vodka, Champagne) but I think it'll give a better understanding of how to count! The label doesn't tell you everything.

Basically, don't pay attention to the carbs that they give you. That's not going to tell you the full story. 

You can do this two ways. Alcohol has been shown to be metabolized like carb or fat. So, you can split the calories between both or just use it towards one. {Disclaimer: They don't know 100% how it's metabolized and it definitely dehydrates you so it's not something that you should have all the time, but if you want it, you can still fit it in.} 

144 calories in PBR / 4 = 36 g CARB  

OR 

144 calories / 9 = 16 g FAT 

OR 

144/2 = 72 calories ; 72/4 = 18g carb AND 72/9=8g fat

Michelob Ultra is advertised as the healthy beer and basically at 95 calories, it has ~24g CARB. 

OR 95/9=10.5g FAT 

Or, as I said you can split the calories in carbs and fat. 

95/2=47.5 calories for each; 47.5/4~12 g carb AND 47.5/9=5.3g fat 

VODKA IS A FREEBIE RIGHT? Yea no. That's what I used to think. How does it have 0/0/0? Well, all the calories are from ethanol and again we have to calculate that. 

64 calories / 4= 16g C (in one shot; 1 shot=1 oz = 30mL) OR

64 calories / 9 = 7g fat OR split it 

64/2=32calories 

32 cal / 4 = 8g carb AND 32/9=3.5g fat

I loveeee champagne! And in comparison with beer and wine, it's a better option unless you wanna drink straight vodka. YUCK. I will say that my new favorite drink is diet tonic water and whipped cream vodka! BOOM SO GOOD! 

Okay, time for the math. 

78 calories / 4 = 19.5 g carb OR 

78 calories/9 = 8.6g fat OR

78/2=39calories in each ; 39/4=9.75g carb AND 39/9=4.3g fat 

Last but not least, WINE! 

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5 ounces is typically the size of a normal wine glass although they are all very different, however that's what I did this based on. I prefer white, but for you red lovers, you would do the same thing. 

{Note: All wines, all liquors and all drinks are different. If you are drinking whipped cream vodka as opposed to regular, there's going to be more calories and carbs in that from the sugar. So, first and foremost if counting your alcohol look it up in myfitnesspal, and then calculate from there.} 

100 calories / 4 = 25g carb OR 

100/9 = 11g fat OR 

100/2 = 50 ; 50/4 = 12.5 g carb AND 5.5g fat 

I get A LOT of questions about alcohol, and even when I refer to my MACRO BASICS FOR BOOZE post, I feel that people are still confused so I wanted to break it down in the simplest way possible.

I would also like to give the disclaimer that I never drink alcohol...ever. Hehe jk! ;) But really, I don't drink very much at all. HA! 

With love and alcohol macros, 

Katie 

25 Years To Healthy

Wow, it's hard to believe that I'm writing this blog. This has been a long time coming (25 years to get it all figured out to be exact, 8 really stressful ones) and I have lived to tell the tale. I wanted to share my testimony of healthy living from start to finish with you today. I know that many have followed me over the past few years, and you probably have noticed changes, evolutions, and I'm sure that at times that can look like I don't have anything figured out. That's probably partly true. I think that we all go through evolutions and that's a good thing. That means that we are growing and changing. 

I have definitely had an evolution in fitness.

I started with just running and pretending to eat healthy (aka fruits, veggies, detox diets, didn't eat anything, etc..). I started Beachboy coaching, and I want go into details on that other than it's just not for me. I soon afterward got into competing. I look back on my first days in competing and it makes me mad. It makes me mad that someone made me believe I had to do the things that I did and took me away from my friendships. It makes me mad that I believed it. Nevertheless, I was "hardcore" and I did everything exactly right. I soon realized that the bro diet wasn't going to work for me. I saw everyone starting the reverse dieting and macro counting, and I KNEW I had to do that. So, I did all the research on my own, started counting macros, immediately started reverse dieting and now I'm FINALLY here. Intuitively eating in a balanced format (like macros allows) but not tracking the grams and just living life and pursuing athletics, not aesthetics.

That's just the start of the barely healthy lifestyle that I thought I was following. It has taken me SO long to find the right path, but either way, I made it and I'm so glad for the patience that I practiced over the past year to  get to now. 

In middle school and high school, I was the fast food junkie. I would eat as many fast foods per day as possible. I remember my friend telling me my junior year of high school that I was going to die and had to be so unhealthy because all I ate was McDonalds, Taco Bell, Bojangles, Burger King, Jack In the Box, Chickfila, etc, etc. I didn't care and I kinda felt cool that I could do that. I used to wonder how I did that and stayed thin, but now that I realize more about the body, I really wasn't even taking in THAT many calories. I had hardly any protein but I ate 3 square meals per day. I got a big head about my metabolism and so then I started eating everything in sight thinking that I could. 

It caught up to me.. 

I gained like 10 pounds my senior year, and I was NOT happy about it. I even can remember one of the teachers at my school (won't tell a name) who said "Woah Katie, you've been eating haven't you?" LIKE WHO SAYS THAT? COME ON. Anyway, I knew I had to take action .. 

So, I started fad diets. I tried to watch what I ate which ended in 0 weight loss. So, I was gonna do what it took. So, I would not eat for a week (or like 500 calories per day). The next week, I would start eating fast food again. I would put all the weight back on. I seriously didn't have mental issues at this point. I was just a dumb, young girl trying to lose weight. I remember 2 weeks before I started at App, I told myself "Well I know the not eating thing works, so I'm going to just stopping eating permanently I guess." Wow, what I would do, to have someone speak some sense into me that night. This is when it all went downhill. I was like 108 that night I think. 

I weighed in at App two weeks later at 93 pounds. I dropped 15 pounds in 2 weeks and I had no weight to lose. So, what did I lose? MUSCLE. I couldn't jump. I couldn't tumble. I was so dumb though that I didn't understand why. I couldn't reason with myself that this meant I needed to eat. I just wallowed in self pity, and the only thing I cared about was getting that number lower.  I thought cheerleading was the culprit for making this happen to me, so I quit rashly. I had one friend who tried to talk me out of it, but I couldn't reason well. I just did it (I regret that). 

That actually was an even worse decision. Cheerleading made me weigh in every practice. If I didn't weigh at least 90, they wouldn't let me practice. I now didn't have that, so I could weigh as little as I wanted. I knew that it wasn't healthy at this point, but I didn't care. I wanted to see how "tough" I could be.

Tough led me to 85lbs. 

I knew I had to do something. But, I'm too "normal" for that. I couldn't let people know. I had to do it on my own. I came home for the summer, and honestly don't remember how but my weight crept up to 94lbs. This was BETTER. At this point, I couldn't make bowel movements because I had no food to do so. So, I took a laxative to produce a movement. I noticed the morning after I took one, I had lost like 3lbs. This was clearly all water, but I didn't care. I started abusing them. I took them every week like clock work. But, honestly, I couldn't have produced it regardless so I did need something looking back. But, my mental state while taking them was "Yay, more weight loss." 

My mom pleaded with me and said she would take me out of school if I didn't stay where I was at least (95lbs). So, I stayed there. For the next two years. I would fluctuate between 95-100lbs but I honestly had found a relatively stable life at that place. I wasn't constantly chasing weight loss. I just ate very little (probably around 1000 calories) but I was perfectly content with that. I moved schools to GWU and this was my happiest year. I loved those girls so much. I still abused laxatives but it was more like every 2 weeks and I ate "normal". I was a functioning member of society and honestly felt more healthy than ever. I was about 100lbs. I thought I was good. 

Then, the second wave of ED hit me. I went through a break up. I started binging because I decided food was not the enemy, heartbreak was. I gained 10-15pounds in a matter of 2 months. The comments started flowing "You look amazing." BLAH BLAH BLAH! I may have looked better on the outside, but I was a wreck. 

I honestly think binging is the worse of the evils. 

Even during my lowest, my mind told me, at least I was skinny. 

I had just started pharmacy school, I knew no one, and I was the most unhappy I had ever been in my entire life. I started an antianxiety/depression medication. The black box warning on these medications is that they can swing you in the severe direction and cause suicidal thoughts. Yea, I had to get off that med quick. 

Soon after, I became best friends with Brandy. She was my first angel. I've never had a true best friend before. She was everything I needed her to be during that time but I honestly didn't tell her anything. I just thrived on her friendship and spent every waking moment with her. 

I met Tanner soon after. He was my saving grace. I told him. We started working together to fix it. Right after we met, I started getting better. I just didn't know how to eat. I didn't know what full looked like. I didn't know what hungry looked like. I couldn't produce a bowel movement without a laxative. I had damaged my metabolism so bad that those pounds I had put on, I couldn't lose no matter how little I ate. I knew so little. I ate so little. 

That's when I started running.

I used it as my outlet. It kept me sane. The binges became far less frequent. I went to therapy at a church and was able to talk it out with some other people going through the same thing (which sadly were a lot of moms). 

I decided to compete. I thought if I had a goal, I would stop binging officially. And I did. I went on a bro science diet, but I was able to commit. I stopped for my entire prep. I thought I was cured. I loved competing and prepping so much. I didn't care what social outings I missed. I was cured. HA! 

Wrong. 

Healthy does not mean not binging. Healthy DEFINITELY doesn't mean missing all social outings for competing. Healthy means being a functioning member of society in every form. I was not. I isolated myself. I knew people would judge me for the way that I ate, but I didn't want to stop. I thought the binges would start again and I was finally "better" 

I started the one cheat meal per week. The binges returned. So, I stopped cheat meals entirely. That means chicken and brocolli and sweet potato and oatmeal 6x per day, 7 days per week. If I had any event, I had SERIOUS anxiety. However, I made it work. I honestly felt okay and "thought" I had it figured out. Unfortunately, I feel that some people still do this. I know that everyone is different so I'm not saying this is 100% unhealthy. I'm just saying, it wasn't for me. 

It's just insane how I look back even one year ago and how ridiculous I still was, and even thought at the time that I was all better. Again, this is why change and evolution are so important. 

I started macro counting. MY LIFE CHANGED. FINALLY. No one understood. They thought that by weighing and counting, I was again restricting. No no no. This was honestly one of the hardest evolutions. No one got the macro thing....AT ALL. I wanted to be serious about it, and serious about my reverse because I knew what damage I had done to my metabolism but everyone just thought that I was restricting again. I knew that if they would just give me 6 months, I would prove them wrong. But, I didn't know how to explain that in more ways then I already had. I cried many tears over this because it seemed the only one who understood was Tanner.

I stuck to every gram. This was not unhealthy for me. I freakin loved every second of it. I was incorporating foods into my life that I had not in YEARS AND YEARS. My macros were low because I was coming off competition and bro life, and so it was harder but I could go out to eat and find foods that worked and I. WAS. FREE. 

Free as a freakin bird. 

I just can't even. 

Freedom.

Peace. 

Wowzas. 

Okay I'll stop. I kept reversing. I went so slow. I was so patient. I hit every gram. I knew if I would just hold out, the grass would be found that was greener. I saw that it worked. I was able to finally and I mean FINALLY produce a bowel movement 100% on my own. I kept it up, day in and day out. I never once binged. I never once didn't count. I still honestly don't even care one bit that I did that. It was 100% worth it. I was able to increase by over 1000 calories per day that I was eating. I was able to eat more carbs than I ever thought possible in one day. I know that some experience weight gain and I thought I might but I was determined no matter what to do this. However, I didn't gain weight. I was able to go out with friends and not worry. 

During my reverse, I stopped thinking about food ever.

I never think about food.

I just eat it according to my macros. 

But then a little bird in my head told me, you can't be doing this forever. You can't be 70 years old with your myfitnesspal charting your meals. You just gotta let it go. 

That brings me full circle to now. Counting was not bad for me. It was the best thing that ever happened to me to be quite honest. I have just realized that I FINALLY can listen to my body's signals. I can finally know if I'm hungry, eat. If I'm full, stop. If I want fries, eat them. If I want an apple, eat it. If I want chocolate, pizza, egg whites, or chicken, eat it. Stop when I'm full. Don't restrict but don't stuff my face. Don't punish myself with workouts. Workout to be stronger, faster, better. 

Does not counting mean not eating healthy? Uh definitely not, duh. I'm healthy because I love the way that it makes me feel. I'm healthy because of the way that it has saved me slowly but surely finding my way. I will forever be healthy. I am so glad for the hard {as hell} journey that led me to this moment writing this blog because now I've been through LITERALLY every avenue (I went vegan one time but that wasn't necessary for this story). I can empathize with all of you. But, I'm also a story of restoration. Faith and the power of prayer had CRAZY CRAZY amounts to do with the fact that I no longer think about body image but today, I just wanted to tell about all of the rest of it. 

I tried to be brief. I tried to only give important details, but lord have mercy, I've done it all. 

I hope you find this encouraging that you can too. Finding what works for you is most vital. I'm not saying my way works. I'm saying my way worked for me. 

With love and healing, 

Katie