F&F Friday Favorites ~ 1.31.14

You guys. THANK YOU for making me feel better this week! Sometimes it just really helps to put things out there. Today we’re back to regular F&F programming. ūüôā

Friday Favorites

Lots of favorites to share this week! Enjoy!





That’s all for today!

–Let’s chat–
Share your favorites from the week in the comments. I always like to see what everyone else is reading!

Bloggers Have Bad Days Too

For the most part, I consider myself a “feel good” blogger. I mean, every day at 7:00am, I’m here checking in with all of you to see how you are doing and providing you with (what I hope) is some daily inspiration. I like to keep things light and happy. I love sharing healthy living tips, workouts, recipes, and little slices of my life. I love motivating you to be the best you can be.

Hotel Workout

But you know what?

Sometimes I am just not in the mood to be cheery and write a feel good post.

When I read other blogs, there is nothing that turns me off more than hearing about how amazing every part of life is. You guys must know what I mean. The bloggers that say every workout is THE best one, the people who never binge on anything except lettuce (please), and the ones that give off the vibe that nothing ever gets messy. Of course when I read other blogs, I consider that I’m reading someone else’s highlight reel, and there probably aren’t a lot of bloggers out there who actually WANT to share too much of the negative. I mean, I guess bloggers who complain all the time and are negative are ones I want to stop following too, so there’s definitely a fine line between over-sharing/being a negative nancy and also keeping it real/being transparent with your readers. I’m all for sharing the personal stuff if it’s done in a real and tactful way that people can relate to, but I’ll be the first to admit it’s a tough balance sometimes. And I never want to give off the vibe that I lead a perfect life.

Because nobody is perfect. And bloggers have bad days too.


Yes, you heard me. Bloggers are not perfect. I have less than ideal workout sessions sometimes. I f*ck up in the kitchen (a lot). I get in arguments with people, sometimes for stupid reasons, and sometimes (gasp) because it’s my fault. I worry about finances and my future. In fact, I over-worry (shocker). Usually I over-think everything too (another shocker). And I can’t reign it in when I get like that (sorry co-workers… and family… and friends… and Tim…).


Yesterday was just one of those bad days for me. Usually a bad day in my book is when multiple aspects of my life are stressing me out. One thing? No problem. Two? Annoying, but manageable. It’s when I get overwhelmed by several things at once that I feel like I’m losing control. And I hate not being in control of things. When this happens, my time management skills go right out the window, and my anxiety levels go through the roof. Oh, and then I eat. A lot. <—not lettuce.

A couple of things I’m dealing with right now:

1. An extremely stressful situation at work that’s challenging my patience and motivation levels.

2. Family issues. Nothing new, just the same type of things resurfacing and the continued issue of being helpless and having no solutions or services available. Not exaggerating. How can the mental health system be so EFFED and leave SO many families out to dry? Probably a post topic for another day.

3. Finally, my ankle is still bothering me from when I rolled it in class last week. This makes me SUPER cranky because I know I should rest it for it to get better sooner. But resting also equals not being able to do my number one stress management strategy (exercise). CONUNDRUM because now how am I supposed to deal with #1 and #2?

An extremely miserable Athena ensues. One that just wants to do THIS:


I hope you guys appreciate my honesty today and aren’t annoyed by it. I’m never going to post multiple cranky or complaining posts a week. But I also never, EVER want to give off the vibe that things are always happy. I want to be authentic without boring you of every single nitty-gritty detail of the things that may go wrong in my day-to-day, behind the scenes life.

What I CAN say is that despite the negative, I do still try to look on the bright side.

So I will leave you with something I am feeling really happy about this week. And that’s how many of you have emailed me or let me know that my post on Sunday about heavier lifting has inspired you to increase your weight, go out and buy new weights, or try something new for strength training. That keeps me going, knowing that at least in one area of my life, I can make a difference and am not helpless.


To anyone else out there not having such a great week, I hope this post helped you feel like you aren’t alone. And I encourage you to find that one silver lining. It helps.

–Let’s chat–
Thoughts on the “perfect life” perception? Anyone else having not such a great week? Are you someone who tends to get overwhelmed when there’s a lot going on at once? What are your tips for snapping out of a funk?

Journey to Fit: Mary’s Story

Welcome to my new blog series, Journey to Fit!

Journey to Fit will feature an F&F reader with an inspirational weight loss story to share. The men and women featured in Journey to Fit each paved their own path to a healthy lifestyle, and I am thrilled they are willing to share their journeys on my blog. Everyone has a unique story and approach to healthy living, and each and every person had to start somewhere. I hope you find this series inspiring. Enjoy!

First up is my friend and Oak Square Y groupie, Mary!
Marys Journey 1
Mary began exercising consistently in 2009, but it wasn’t until January 2013 that she had an a-ha moment and lost 25 pounds in six months. She has since been able to maintain her weight loss!
Mary, tell all my F&F readers a little about yourself.

I am in my late 20’s, live in the Boston area, and work full-time for a medical software company. I have always been an active person. I sailed competitively all 4 years of college in Newport, RI and was a competitive swimmer for 10 years. I love the ocean, beach, and skiing in the winter.

When did your fitness journey begin? Was there a specific moment or event that triggered it for you?

I have always enjoyed working out and have been a member of the Oak Square YMCA where Athena teaches for nearly 6 years. In November 2012, my work hours changed slightly which allowed me to find more time for the gym. But it was last January (2013) that was my trigger moment. I was at breakfast with my cousin Alice, a certified wellness coach, after my first yoga class. I told my cousin that I had started to find the time to¬†work out 4-5 times a week but hadn’t noticed much of a difference in my weight. It was then that my cousin told me I needed to start focusing more on food and that diet is just as important (if not more) as working out. It was at that moment I realized even though I was working out 4-5 times a week, I needed to change what I was eating.

Marys Journey 5

What lifestyle changes have you made since the beginning of your journey?

To focus more on food, I began logging my meals and food in Lose It. This helped me realize first HOW much I was eating, and then I soon became more conscious of WHAT I was eating. I also make a meal and exercise plan every week, which is something I didn’t used to do. I am very consistent in working out 5 times a week and meal planning for Sunday-Friday. It doesn’t always happen that I have 5 nights free a week, so many times I work out in the morning before work. For meals, I figure out if there are any nights that either my boyfriend or I won’t be home, and then I fill in what we will have for dinner every night on the nights we will be. On Sundays I buy everything I need for the week. This helps both my wallet and my time because I am not running to the store multiple times a week.

Did you encounter any challenges along the way, and how did you overcome them?

One of my major challenges was how busy of a year 2013 was for me. I had two best friends get married, 6 weddings to attend in total, and lots of social activities! It gets hard on weekends away to find time to work out and eat healthy. But I told myself as long as I didn’t gain any weight while I was away, it was okay. I told myself not to dwell on that extra glass of wine or serving of cake, and that I was good with giving myself a pass every once in a while.

My biggest challenge, however, was when I stated to plateau. That was really hard for me because I was still doing everything right but the scale stopped moving. It just so happened that it was at that time everyone else started noticing my weight loss… right when it stopped happening. I struggled with that, but I started switching up my workouts by introducing hot yoga. I also began taking protein powder, which I attribute to beating the¬†plateau.

Marys Journey 2

Aside from the weight loss, what has been rewarding for you? What differences do you notice in how you felt then versus how you feel now?

It feels great to see the hard work pay off. I feel stronger and have a higher endurance at the gym, which feels great. I also did the Oak Square 5K this year, and while I didn’t reach my goal to finish under thirty minutes, I finished in just over 30:30, so I consider that a great accomplishment! ¬†Finally, this fall I participated in a 5 mile paddleboard race, and even though I hadn’t done any paddleboarding all summer, my abs and lower and upper body strength lead me to finish in two hours flat.

Marys Journey 3

What are the next steps in your journey?

I do want to lose that last 5 pounds. My original goal was to lose thirty pounds, so I’d love to push through and lose that last five. Now that life has started to slow down a bit, and there are no big life events on the close horizon, I think this is a great time for it.

What tips would you offer others who are trying to lose weight or exercise more?

It really is about what you eat. I struggled with this a lot at first, but its true that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. I love working out, so that part wasn’t as hard for me. But not having bread or pasta daily did not come as easily. I’ve learned to love a lot of “new to me” foods like spaghetti squash and cauliflower. It took time, but it’s all worth it in the end!

Marys Journey 4

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

One last thing that has been rewarding for me is having really great support from my boyfriend, family, friends, and gym friends (who are now real friends!). Having a group of friends at the gym that always say “see you tomorrow” is awesome for support. My gym friends are what keep me going back five times a week, week after week!

Halloween: Gym

Mary, thank you so much for sharing your story. I love seeing the progress you’ve made and how far you’ve come. You rock class week after week, and your hard work has certainly paid off.

Readers, leave Mary some love! If you or someone you know has a weight loss story to share, please email me at fitnessandfeta@gmail.com. I would love to feature you. This series will run as long as I receive enough content to keep it going.