-30-

Oh hello there! It has been almost 2 years since I have written anything on this blog! I wanted to end this phase of my life on the right note and give my (three) fans closure on what in the world is going on with me!

-30- means “end of story.” It was also the title of the last episode of The Wire. 

Here goes!

2014 – Life is going ok that summer! I suffered a horrible breakout because I was using the Clarisonic on my face 2 times a day!!!! I had no idea what was going on!!!!!! That is ok … that has been long rectified! Hair was still growing, but I did not notice length retention as much because once I hit waist length, I just did not do progress pics! Nathan finished law school and failed the bar. Law school did a number on our relationship.

2015 – Oh what a year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! At the end of January, Nathan and I break up. He makes plans to move back to Hawaii in early February. I meet a handsome older gent on Valentine’s Day and step into a relationship like no other. It was filled with highs and lows. He was well-to-do, so I had dinners out every night at great restaurants all over Portland. I had access to his home in the hills overlooking the city. We went on trips, but all was not well. Slowly but surely, I began to feel insecure and did not know why! The root of that insecurity was because I was in an emotionally abusive and neglectful relationship. I was never skinny enough, working out hard enough, etc. He never told me how he felt about me in any positive way. It was constant belittling, even though I lost 10 pounds (hooray!) and got stronger (my max squat was 180 lbs)! Another sad thing is that my beloved Yorkie, Landon, passed when we were on our way to Las Vegas for the Mayweather fight on May 1st. I was beyond devastated.

Well, that relationship ended in August and I met a guy (who I am still friends with!) that I had a great time with until The One came around in September …

I met The One on match.com. He messaged me my first or second day on the site. At first, I had him filtered out because he was too young for me (he was 34 at the time, my minimum was 37). I decided to answer him anyway. He seemed cute from his picture. He asked me to meet him on Labor Day afternoon for a drink. I agreed. It was the most boring date I had ever been on. He was fidgety, talked incessantly about things I did not  care about and barely asked me any questions. I kept looking at my phone. After 90 minutes, I said I had to go. He walked me outside and said “I’ll see you soon!” and I thought “No you won’t!” I immediately went to the store and got a pack of cigarettes and went to take my emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend food because he was sick. That is how bad it was.

Tuesday, he texts wanting to hang out and I put him off … Wednesday the same. Thursday I was in the mood to get dolled up and go out to eat on someone else’s dime (remember I was used to dinners out with the ex), so I text him and asked if he wanted to meet up. Of course he did. This date went sooooooooo much better and I found out that he was funny and witty … nothing like the dry accountant that showed up on Monday! We have been together ever since. Within two weeks, he asked me to marry him in my pantry! HAHAHAH!

I am in such a good space and am the happiest I have ever been with someone! Life is very, very good and I do feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams!

OK … this is a hair blog. So what’s the tea on the hair? My hair is doing alright! 2015 was a horrible year for it, though! I stopped taking birth control back in April because I was tired of the faux hormones and the side effects. I suffered from migraines and nausea almost like clockwork. While I felt better, my estrogen levels plummeted and my thick hair began a pseudo postpartum shed in June (right on cue!) Throughout the summer, my once lush ponytail got thinner and thinner! One the upside, also got thinner and  thinner. I lost about 12 lbs after coming of the pill. I had to sell my old lulu, as they were too big. I was able to wear their Speed shorts, because now I had legs and thighs that I was proud to show off! The shedding stabilized in August and I had a few “strings” left. I also noticed that it was getting very tangly and I would comb knots out of my hair while detangling. That was due to a horrible leave-in that I had to replace my beloved Alterna White Truffle Elixir! I still had length, but it was nothing like it was in early May and June. I swear it went from waist length to mid-back length without me even cutting it!

September rolls around and I am near the end of a relaxer stretch. Hair is fine, length is stabilizing and growing. I eventually stretched for 6 months once I finally ended it in October! On October 9th, 2015, a cloudy and rainy fall day, I had what I called D-Day for my hair. I was doing my relaxer prep. I clarified, did my ApHogee 2 step, deep conditioned … the norm. I skipped pre-pooing and just went to clarifying my hair. I had not washed my hair in 2 weeks and had been wearing it in a bun. OH. MY. GOD. My hair became so matted when it was time to detangle. I was afraid I was going to have to cut my hair!!! I was almost in tears! (I am cringing as I write this … with my relaxer prep pre-poo in full effect😉 ) I had no choice but to detangle. I used tons of conditioner and eventually got my hair detangled 90 minutes later (The One was returning from NYC that night so I had nothing but time). I was even supposed to get a blow out but had to cancel! You should have seen how much hair was lost. I typically save my hair to track shedding, but could not even stomach to see it. I remember having just balls of hair sliding out. I didn’t know how I didn’t end up bald! I estimate I lost about 25% of my hair that day … no lie. And with that, my hair’s length was just gone. I think it may have been a sad BSL at it’s longest point. My troublesome right side looked like it was damn near ear length … LOL … nah, it was definitely between APL and BSL. I was sooooooooo sad, but had no choice but to start over. I pretty much cut out roller sets and heat for about 2 months and let my hair air dry and wore buns. I started to see some progress in December around Christmastime. My hair was thicker and stronger. I was also retaining a bit of length. I still noticed something that had been bothering me since I moved into my new apartment in June. I noticed that my hair always seemed dry and lackluster. The right side just laid there so lank, dead. It responded to heat, but within an hour or two, my whole head of hair just felt “swollen” and “puffy.” I had no idea what was going on. Something told me it may be the water quality. I assumed that since I lived in the Pacific Northwest, my water would be as good as it was at my old apartment. Boy, was I wrong! I believe the pipes were old and that this water was more chlorinated that my old apartment’s water. I was about to move in with The One anyway, so I ordered a handheld shower filter AND another filter that attached to the spout … to be doubly sure! SURE ENOUGH … it was the water quality. Once I began washing my hair with the filtered water, it became soft, retained moisture and the right side sprang to life again!

Today, my hair is on the rebound from the setback of the fall! I have all these little baby hairs growing up! I am still trimming to keep things even since my hair is not as thick due to the shedding! My hair is now at mid-back length again. It will probably be waist-length again by the early autumn. Even though I must the volume of my ponytails and such while on birth control, I notice that my hair does grow faster without it. That is one thing I have never had a problem with and that is growing hair! I have stopped trimming so much so that I can actually retain some length! Moreso than the length, I am excited to see my hair thicken back up as the new hairs mature and grow! My volume was on borrowed time with those pills, as they mimic pregnancy …

Speaking of pregnancy … that will probably be my next blog! After a lifetime of not wanting children, The One and I have decided after our marriage in the fall, if God blesses us, we will become parents! I have even started collecting diapers (hahahah!) We are heading to Australia in December … maybe we will be so fortunate to create there! HAHAHAHHA! I will link that blog once I begin it!

Thank you to those who took this journey with me starting in January 2012! I have been through so much since then … got to past waist length, lost it all, now growing it back! I loved the community of learning and cheering each other on! And while I still love my hair, there are only so many Wash Days I can write about … they are pretty much the same now! My life has taken a different direction and my priorities have shifted a little! The abundance of time I had to dedicate to writing with a partner in law school is no longer the case with a partner who works the same hours as me!

If you are interested in life updates, you call follow me on Instagram @ellenwindsor. I will also post a link here when I start the blog chronicling the next phase of my life journey!

Until next time, happy hair growth and many blessings!

LaShanda

Fitness Friday: The Importance of Rest!!!!

“Liz.” That is what I said when we were going around the room introducing ourselves. I quickly laughed and said “LaShanda” and kept it moving. This was last Monday. I was worn out and fatigued, but had gotten adequate sleep. I went to the gym later that day to do my lifting, but I could barely get through the workout. It was like I was in a fog, and I didn’t know why!

Then came last Tuesday. Our security guard asked me: “Are you alright? You look a bit tired.” My eyes were puffy and I moved quite slow. I replied that I was a bit tired, but I was alright. I was talking to my friend Tracie about these mystery symptoms and she said: “You could be overtraining.” WHAT? Is there such a thing? Too work out too much?

My interest was piqued. I went to the lovely Google and searched symptoms of overtraining. Sure enough, I had them a few. Some symptoms are fatigue, malaise, increased susceptibility to illness, depression, craving sweets (well, that’s all the time), elevated heart rate and bodyaches.

I talked to my chiropractor and personal trainer at my job’s wellness center and they both agreed: You need to take a week off! The personal trainer knows that I am doing Rachel Cosgrove’s plan and she said that heavy weight training requires time for your body to heal! She told me this “Once you overtrain, you’ll never do it again!”

The take home message to was this: you are essentially tearing those muscles up and if you don’t give them time to recover, your body will send out stress signals (e.g. cortisol), which can cause those symptoms of overtraining to appear! So starting last Tuesday, I took the week off. I did not do anything, I even banned yoga! I gave my body ample time to rest and recover and lo and behold! The fog slowly lifted! By Friday, I felt 1000x better!

So what this means for me going forward is that I have to set aside one FULL day for rest. That means no more “yoga-is-my-rest-day.” The yoga that I do can get intense, so I need time to recover from that as well! Also, I was told by several people that every 6-8 weeks, take one full week off for extended recovery.

Other than that, everything is going well in my fitness regimen! I lost a few pounds of fat (yahooo!!!) and can definitely see my muscle tone!

For your viewing pleasure, here is me doing yoga on the beach a few weeks ago!

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Rollersetting Revisited!

Hi guys! It has been awhile, hasn’t it! Life has surely gotten busy around my house! Between work, work trips, and law school graduation preparation for Nathan, I just haven’t had the time (and honestly, the motivation) to blog!

But during my absence, I discovered that complacency has consequences! What do I mean? Well, here I go!

So for those who have’t followed me from my early days of my HHJ two years ago, I have had a relatively easy hair journey. I grew from shoulder length to the longest layers at my waist in about 26 months. I haven’t suffered a major setback. I retain length and my hair’s normal thickness quite easily. So needless to say, I just grew complacent about my hair journey and felt that no matter what I did, my hair would grow and be fine. WRONG!

I have been doing everything like normal: pre-pooing, deep conditioning and moisturizing and sealing. However, I have been letting my hair faux air dry because I am too lazy to roll and sit under a dryer (who is too lazy to sit?)  My hair has long let me know that it does not appreciate this method of being dried, as my hair is highly prone to tangling and breaking at the ends doing this. After weeks of having to cut tangles out of my hair and seeing my ends looking drier than hay in the middle of the barn, I decided that I have got to go back to rollersetting so that my hair is stretch out and that I can detangle and M&S on a daily basis.

Now let me tell you this, rollersetting at waist length is much different than rolling at BSL. There are parts of my hair that extend farther than my hand can reach, so I have to roll sideways just to get the ends on the roller. I am also using 3 inch and 2.5 inch rollers because my hair would take hours to dry with gray rollers or smaller.

I will take some pictures this weekend and post. Since I have posted last, I have applied my clear glaze and dusted about .75 inches off. Also, I switched birth control pills and experienced a heavy shedding episode about two weeks ago. I learned about the impact high androgenic birth controls can have on hair loss. I have since switched back to my faithful, estrogen-filled Tri-Sprintec (ugh!) I plan on adding tea rinses to my regimen for the next few weeks, hoping that helps curb any additional shedding.

That’s all the hair news I have for now! Hope everyone is well!

Fitness Friday: Regimen Revised and Updates

Greetings guys! It has been a while since I have done a #FitnessFriday post! Now I am back with the jump off!

Sooooooo … about a month ago I shared my fitness regimen. I thought I was doing very well … until I met with a personal trainer 4 weeks ago and he told me that it was way too much cardio and not enough strength training. I thought I gave adequate attention to weights, but he begged to differ. Secretly, I kind of agreed. Even though I was taking bootcamp 3xs a week, I was noticing that not a lot of weight (pun intended) was given to strength training, but more like conditioning, where you use light weights and pump out the moves as fast as you can. During the personal training session, he noticed that I was trying to speed through some of the exercises with the weights (as we are told to do in bootcamp) and he told me to slow down and really focus on what I was doing. It was that moment when I realized that I was not getting the weight training I needed and decided to follow my advice to you all and re-visit The Female Body Breakthrough: The Revolutionary Strength-Training Plan for Losing Fat and Getting the Body You Want by Rachel Cosgrove. I also picked up another book, The Rules of Lifting for Women: Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess by Lou Schuler and programs designed by Alwyn Cosgrove, Rachel’s husband.

I noticed a few things while reading these books … I was not lifting heavy enough weights, I was not getting enough protein in my diet and I was doing too much cardio (gasps! Isn’t that what we are told to do?) I am following Rachel’s lifting plan, as I found Lou’s a bit hard to follow and a lot of the exercises are the same since of the close relationship between the books’ authors. I started last week and it forbade me to do any cardio (that means machines, kickboxing, bootcamps, etc.) and just focus on weights 3xs for the first 2 weeks, which I did. It was sooooooo hard because I am not used to working out and not being drenched in sweat (but trust me, I got sweaty!) I almost felt like I was cheating! I am currently in week 2 of the program and tomorrow (3/24), starts Week 3, where I can throw in some 2-3 days of cardio/conditioning.

So do I notice anything different in 1.5 weeks of lifting? YES! MY GOODNESS! I think my metabolism is just revving up, because I have been noticing that I get hungry every few hours … and it is a different hunger. It almost burns (I call it “Hunger Flames”) and it just sneaks up on you with a sense of urgency. I was in the shower Sunday and had to hurry up and get out because I felt faint! I notice that I crave more meat and protein, as that is what keeps me full!! Bodywise, I have noticed my arms look a bit firmer, but that is about it. I think that Week 3 and beyond is where you really start to see results. I will be taking some photos and posting them next week.

On my next Fitness Friday post, I will also have my goals and current measurements. This is the metric that I choose to use to gauge progress because I do not rock with the scale. Here is an article that I loved back in the day about why the scale lies. Also, in the books I just mentioned, they frame it as losing fat, not weight. Losing muscle is nothing to cheer about!

Here is my revised Fitness Regimen. Just like a hair regimen, we have to make changes from time to time, depending on what is going on and what our bodies need.

* denotes change in regimen

Sunday – Yoga

*Monday – Instead of weights and kickboxing, I am doing only weights due to the intensity of the workouts. Honestly, kickboxing class got boring right fast because the instructor does the same moves.

Tuesday – Bootcamp

Wednesday – Yoga

*Thursday – Weights … for the time being, I am not attending bootcamp class at my job so that I can focus on weights

*Friday – Weights

Saturday – Bootcamp

Now it would not be right if I didn’t leave you with a Lululemon Workout Outift of the Day!

This was me after yoga class on Wednesday, goofing around! I am wearing a Push Ur Limits tank and Roll Out Crops. I was wearing these colors to represent my second favorite ACC team, Duke, but it wasn’t enough. Both NC State and Duke were eliminated in the NCAA last week. Boo!! Thanks to my friend, Tracie, for snapping these photos!

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Wash Day: When keepin’ it real goes wrong …

Wow! I am overdue for a hair post! Here’s a quickie! Things have been so busy lately and I have just neglected my poor blog (which I am known to do from time to time!) I must confess that I drove 4.5 hours one way this weekend to the Lululemon outlet halfway between Seattle and Canada! It was totally worth it and I will do it again every three months!! When they heard that I started driving at 4:45am to get to the store at opening, they treated me like a queen! Anything I needed, they got me! A lovely lady even price matched a jacket for me … knocking $30 of the price just because I drove so far!

Enough of the Lululemon talk! Ok! So here is last week’s Wash Day at the gym. I pre-pooed with coconut oil, conditioner and safflower oil for 7 minutes in the steam room. For some reason, I just wasn’t feeling the 110 degrees last week! I washed as normal and conditioned in the shower. I deep conditioned with L’Oreal Total Repair 5 Damage Erase balm and sat in the steam room for 5 minutes. I will definitely sit longer next time and bring a turban. It was so hot in there, I thought my hair would disintegrate since I had it down! I detangled and headed home to apply my leave-ins.

When I got home, I rewetted my hair and applied my normal leave-ins and decided to let my hair really air dry instead of doing the faux air dry method.

Boy, did I  get some different results! My hair felt a lot thicker, but that is because my hair shrank up more from air drying that it does when I sit under the dryer! Also, my hair had about 10 different textures going on, as you can see in the close up! Some hair was shriveled up, while some hung loser. It made me look like I had a chewed up hairline! I immediately thought about the Dave Chappelle skit “When keepin’ it real goes wrong!”

HAHAHAH! Well, I wore it in a ponytail and bun this past week anyways, so it is all good! Here are a few of the photos that I captured!

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Fitness Friday: Worksite Wellness

Greetings guys (on Sunday!) I wanted to have this week’s fitness post focused on worksite wellness.

I work for the state government here in Oregon, specifically the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). OHA is comprised mostly of people with Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees, nutritionists, doctors, environmentalists, epidemiologists and so on. We work to improve health outcomes of Oregonians, including ourselves!

I am very fortunate to work with the OHA. There are tons of worksite wellness perks that come along with the job. As I previously mentioned, we have a gym on my floor where I can do weights, cardio or use the AV system for videos. Everyday, they offer group fitness classes such as yoga, strength training and bootcamp! There are also Nia and Tai Chi classes (I do not take those). Membership is $4 a month with classes costing $5 per.

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Our building is 11 floors and there are signs everywhere to encourage us to take the stairs. A few years ago, they placed handy signs on each level of the stairwell, telling us things like “Fight Fat. Frequent these flights!” They also put a call out for artists to paint the stairwells so that we would have something beautiful to look at as we take them!

The sign under floor 9 reads “In one minute, a 150 pound person burns approximately 10 calories walking up stairs and only 1.5 calories riding an elevator.”

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We also have a cafe that serves healthy foods, for the most part (with fried foods as well! YUM! hahhah!) There are salad bars, hot soup, and healthy entrees. I bring my lunch most days, so I don’t eat there often.

Additional worksite wellness perks we have are:

  • Breastfeeding and pumping rooms – these are where mothers can go to have a quiet, clean place to nurse or pump. I don’t plan on ever needing these rooms, but they are nice to have. I also use them for my dressing room when the locker room is crowded.

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  • Sick room – Sometimes, you need to rest at work. We have a quiet, dark room with a cot and some pillows where one can take a nap and rest at the office. I have used this room a few times to catch a quick snooze!
  • Gym reimbursement – Up to $15 a month!
  • Flex time for wellness – I love my work schedule! I go in at 7am and leave at 3:30pm. Our schedule in between is pretty flexible. I take lunch at varying times, depending on my workout schedule. We have 45 minutes for lunch and can stay later or come in earlier if we want to take fitness classes. It is a great change from my first job when I had to be there at 8 and stay until 5 with a 1 hour lunch at 12! No thank you!!!
  • Bomb insurance! – I am able to go to the chiropractor or acupuncturist for $10 a pop. My physical therapy co-pay is only $5. I could not imagine having to do the treatments I do now out of my own pocket!
  • Free Weight Watchers – I do not use this, but there are people who do!

The most important worksite wellness piece to me is my standing desk! Since returning to the office environment, I began to get neckaches, backaches and headaches sitting all day. I starting chiropractic care, with some results. Then I was referred to physical therapy and acupuncture, which has changed my life. The last piece of getting my strength back in my neck and shoulders was to take a stand … literally! I asked to get a standing workstation. I heard rave reviews about it from people in other sections who had them. Our manager got one and told me he loved his, so back in September, I got my standing desk! So, I stand almost 7.5 hours a day and I love it! It has changed how I dress for work (no more heels, mainly flat boots and tennis shoes) and it has changed my life! I no longer have constant nagging pain from sitting all day! I feel like I have more energy. I do not think that I could go back to sitting all day at a desk. It would literally kill me!

Here is my standing station. I have dual monitors, as every researcher should! Notice how my chair is pushed under my desk! I rarely use my chair anymore! Also notice how I am looking up clothes on one screen and working on the other! HAHAHAH! Also, it is important to note to use a high quality mat to help buffer you from concrete floors! 

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Hopefully for those ladies who work, you will be able to have a few options to maintain wellness while at work. I find it refreshing that many companies are now realizing the importance of ensuring workplace wellness for their employees, as it cuts down on sickness and insurance premiums, to name a few benefits!

I would go on a rant why every employer should, but that would bring on PTSD from writing grad school papers!😉

 

Wash Day and potential change in them!

Greetings everyone before yoga class!

I wanted to do a quick Wash Day post, which I haven’t done in a while! Honestly, if you read one Wash Day post from me, you have read them all, but I did something a bit different today, so I thought I would share!

I joined the gym in our town that has a steam room, so for my pre-poo, I slathered some cheapie conditioner (I think Vidal Sassoon’s moisture line) and sat in the steam room for about 10 minutes! Honey, sitting in a steam room that is 110 degrees for 10 minutes is about equivalent to sitting under a dryer for 5 hours! I have been debating getting a steamer, but have put it off because of my potential move and storage space. Now, I don’t have to! Majority of my hair is low porosity, meaning that I need heat and steam to open up my cuticles and force the product in. If I don’t, then product just sits on it, never really absorbing it. I have been doing homemade steam treatments since the beginning of my journey and it is nice to be able to reap the advantages of full on steam treatments! Even my skin feels and looks better!

I came home, rinsed it out and washed with my GVP Tea Tree shampoo and Alterna Caviar Volume. I deep conditioned with my Silk Elements Kera Minerals for 30 minutes with heat and 90 without (I fell asleep!) I rinsed with cool, did my Roux for 2 minutes, then final rinsed with cold water. My leave-ins were: Alterna Photo Age Defense, Alterna Caviar Texture, Pureology Colour Fanatic and Carol’s Daughter Monoi Serum. I did the faux air drying method and sat under the dryer for 20 minutes.

We were going out to dinner last night, so I wanted to wear my hair in a high bun. I remembered that I had a donut that I tried to use about 18 months ago and my hair would not cover it, so I just threw it under the sink, waiting for the day that my hair was long enough to cover it. I found the donut, used it as directed and pinned my hair around it, creating a neat, high bun. I thought it was quite nice and polished! I would have had Nathan take pictures, but I didn’t want him to see me while I was getting dressed, so I took some selfies in the mirror!

So the change in Wash Day is … I think I may start doing them at the gym! Yes! Weird huh, but I think using the steam room for my pre-poo treatments and deep conditioners will be a great idea! It will also cut down on the time it takes me to do Wash Days. No more sitting under the dryer for 4o minutes to an hour to ensure my hair has absorbed the conditioning treatment, as 10-15 minutes in the steam room for the pre-poo and deep conditioner will definitely do it. My first gym Wash Day will be next week, so stay tuned for that one!

Ok, here are some pictures. The first set is my hair after I left the steam room! My hair swells, then dries to form these little waves. The second set is my high bun with the donut.

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Until next time!🙂

P.S. Just in case you were wondering what I wore, I wore my French Connection Stripe Dress – Kiren 3/4 sleeve with some burgundy Jessica Simpson leather booties and some black stockings! Not to toot my own horn, but when I wore this dress back in NC, it was a headturner, for sure! This skinny girl does it noooooooo justice! One of my guy friends (who is as gym-crazy as me) told me that me in this dress inspired one of our other girl friends to get back in shape! I do what I can!😉

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GAME ON!!: Fitness Link Up and Looking Hot While Sweating!

I don’t do social media anymore (does blogging count?), so I miss out on the #ManiacMondays, #WackyWednesdays or whatever alliterative description the internet decides to use for a specific day. I don’t even tell my closest friends about my blog! It’s just an outlet for me to remember what I did to my hair and I love it when people stumble upon it! (Hello new friends!)

However, I saw on Saving Our Strands a call for link-ups for fitness and this is where I can shed my anti-social skin and share my story!

Let me start by saying this … I was never big, so I don’t have a dramatic weight loss story to tell. Throughout my childhood, I was normal weight. I played outside and played softball. In high school, I ran cross country and track. I also was lucky enough to have PE and recess on an almost daily basis, with our teachers never letting us sit down! Genetics also plays a role. My mom is very little (she is skinnier than me). She has a high metabolism, as does my brother and my granddad. My dad’s family, while gifted with beautiful hair, was not blessed with this high metabolism.

Well here comes my 20s. I am not overweight, but I am not toned. I have long abandoned working out except for superficial walking and jogging whenever I felt like it. In spring 2006, my dad gave me the surprise of a lifetime … a cruise to Hawaii for my college graduation (this trip changed my life forever – stay tuned)! I had until the fall to get into great shape so on Memorial Day weekend 2006, I began my fitness journey and haven’t looked back! I started out doing ExerciseTV on Demand (RIP!!) videos and recording Total Body Sculpt with Gilad! A bonus was that he filmed in Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, HI, which is where I was going!

Me and my boyfriend at the time also moved in a brand new apartment complex in Raleigh, NC with 2 state-0f-the-art gyms at my disposal. I worked out almost everyday. I got down to 118 lbs at one time (which is a bit too thin, no one liked it), but slowly started to get to my set point of about 130 lbs. When I graduated from college and got a full-time job, I would exercise on my lunch break. I would run about 2 miles at a nearby path, do sprints in the parking lot (which prompted one of my co-workers to ask if I was going insane) or go home to the gym. I made working out a priority, which I still do to this day. I am fortunate enough to work for the government where they offer us $4 memberships to a fitness club located on my office floor. There, I use the AV system and do Insanity (or another video) and they offer us classes like yoga and boot camps. I am also going to be joining the LA Fitness in Wilsonville so that I have access to more group fitness classes, especially on the weekend. I LOVE working out in a group setting. I find myself pushing a little bit harder when I have others around! With all of the access to fitness that I have, I have NO excuse not to work out and I rarely make them. There are times where I may go a week or so without working out if I am on vacation, but if I am at work or home, I’m hitting the gym!

Sooo … with that said, I also want to say that despite me working out for the past 7 years, my weight has fluctuated. I have been up to 140 and down to 118. I think it has a lot to do with hormones, water retention and muscle gain/loss. In Hawaii, no matter how hard I tried, I could not get down to 135, despite me arriving on the island at 130! I lived a very active lifestyle in Hawaii, but just couldn’t shed the weight. I think it was me constantly retaining water due to the heat, because when I came to the mainland, I would cut weight almost immediately! I no longer weigh myself, as I can tell how my clothes are fitting and my measurements. The scale never tells the whole story, so keep that in mind!!!!

So enough of the backstory …. here’s what I am doing now to stay fit!!! I told myself that I was going to get a new workout wardrobe in 2014 to keep me motivated to take my fitness to the next level (go hard or go home!) I had been wearing the same Old Navy cotton yoga pants and Danskin Now tanks for eons, it seems. Now that I am doing high intensity interval training (e.g. Insanity), I need performance gear that will wick sweat, unlike my cotton workout clothes that just got drenched. I asked a lady at work where she got her cute workout clothes from. They were colorful, sexy and functional at the same time and she suggested I try Lululemon. Nathan and I stopped at the Lululemon Outlet in Burlington, WA on our way back from Canada and boy, did that start something! I began going to their retail stores and buying their running crops and tops. They are compression capris that fit like a dream and make your tush look amazing! They also wick sweat and allow you to wear them more than once before washing due to their Silverescent (or anti-stink) technology!

I am absolutely obsessed with my Lulus! I swear I am more motivated when I work out now! Sometimes all we need is a little make-over and upgrade to take us to the next level. If you have a chance to get a piece (or more), I highly recommend them!

Here was my WOOTD (workout outfit of the day). I went to bootcamp this morning since our office was closed due to snow and I will be going back to kickboxing tonight.

I am wearing Luluemon No Limits Tank and Lululemon Run:Pace Crop (my Valentine’s Day gift from Nathan!) Here’s some arm shots, too!

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And to prove that the struggle is real when it comes to my hair when working out … here’s a shot of my hair after I got home from boot camp class. It is a puffy, sweaty mess. I will co-wash it tomorrow and just spritz on some moisturizer until then! For this upcoming Fitness Friday, I will share a typical weekly workout schedule!

Ugh! This hair is a mess! I just want to say “Bye Felicia!!”

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