Thursday, December 27, 2012

10 Quick Confidence Boosters

I was looking through some of my favorite articles at and thought I'd share this:

Confidence is easily attainable and makes a huge impact on how others view you as well as how you feel about yourself. Try these instant boosters to put a little spring in your step:

  1. Straighten up. A recent Ohio State University study found that the simple act of sitting up straight and adjusting your posture can significantly boost your confidence.
  2. Note the positives. Look in a full-size mirror and pick five things that you feel good about, recommends Leslie Sokol, PhD, coauthor of Think Confident, Be Confident. Make note of both your physical attributes (eyes, lips, hair, nails, legs, feet, toes, smile) and your style (hairdo, clothing, stance, makeup, shoes, jewelry).
  3. Break a sweat (or not). Go for a quick stroll around the block when you’re feeling down. The simple act of exercise (doesn’t matter how long, how intense or how often) gives you an instant body image boost, according to University of Florida research.
  4. Get a haircut. Although it may seem trite, a new ’do is a quick way to feel better, says Sheenah Hankin, PhD, author of Complete Confidence. Changing your look or just indulging in a little “me” time can up your self-esteem in a big way.
  5. Schedule a girls’ night. In a recent Tupperware survey for their Chain of Confidence campaign, 85 percent of respondents, age 18 and older, said that a supportive network of female friends is more likely to make them feel confident in the long run compared to looking attractive.
  6. Lend a hand. If you want to build your confidence in a big way, volunteer for an organization or group that needs help, says Susan Newman, PhD, author of The Book of No. The gratitude you receive will reinforce your self-worth immediately. Check out or to find an opportunity in your area.
  7. Look on the bright side. Think back to the most recent experience where you think you fell short or messed up, and force yourself to name a few things that went right, suggests Marci Fox, PhD, coauthor of Think Confident, Be Confident. Burned that batch of cookies? Maybe, but did you get to spend some quality time with your kids and finish a knitting project while waiting for the treats to bake?
  8. Make a list. Avoiding things that are stressing you out increases anxiety and cuts down confidence, says Dr. Hankin. Write down anything that may fall into this category, such as calling people back or paying bills. Start with just three things and do them today.
  9. Set a (small) goal. One of the most effective ways to build self-confidence is to break down large goals into small, doable action steps, says Sharon Fountain, president of the National Association for Self-Esteem. For example, if you’re trying to shape up and lose weight, make it a goal to eat at least three servings of veggies today.
  10. Try something new. Tackling something you’re scared to do or something that seems difficult increases your sense of well-being, explains Dr. Newman. A few suggestions to get started: Learn a new language, try flower arranging, take a tango class or register for a night class at a local community college in a subject that interests you.
 Have a great day!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Marathon Training

So, although I haven't really been running regularly (my ankle still isn't quite right) I've decided to start marathon training. I found a plan at that really makes me believe I can do this! It's a 20-week program with 4 runs per week and 2 days of cross-training and strength training. The running is intervals (think Jeff Galloway) which I think my ankle will thank me for ;)  And with starting it today, the upcoming half-marathon I want to do will fall in nicely.  I'm not ready to sign up for a full marathon yet, but I want to know that I CAN do it. Once I get through the training I'll decide whether or not to sign up for one.

I think if you click on this you can see it at full size.
Today I ran 40 minutes doing 4:1 intervals. I played around with the speeds until I settled on 6mph/4mph. It went really well! I'm hoping that after a few weeks I'll be able to start working on speed again. I'd like to make my intervals more like 7mph/5mph. Anyways, I'll try to post progress reports at least once a week.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Banana Bread (from Forks over Knives)

So the banana bread was a success (other than needing a few more minutes in the oven)! As usual, I forgot to take a picture before I sliced it up :(

Here's the recipe:

  • 2-3 ripe bananas, mashed (2 if med-large, 3 if on the smaller side)
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used vanilla coconut milk)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional but worth the extra calories!)
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Combine flour, soda, and salt in large mixing bowl
  3. In separate bowl, combine bananas, maple syrup, applesauce, milk, and vanilla
  4. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet, mixing until everything is evenly   moistened. Stir in walnuts if using.
  5. Pour batter into non-stick (I used Pam) 8 x 4 loaf pan
  6. Bake for 55 - 60 minutes (I baked for 58 and it could have definitely used at least another 5 minutes)
  7. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from pan, then let cool completely before slicing.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ten Things Thursday

I never know what to post on here, so how about some randomness?

1. I went back to the gym today and ran for 30 minutes doing 2:1 intervals. I'm amazed at how quick I lost my endurance for straight running. At least intervals shake things up a little bit, hehe. My dislocated ankle may also be partially to blame.

2. When I got home from work tonight I threw together a Vegan Banana Bread (new recipe I found in the Forks over Knives cook book). It should be ready in about 20 minutes, so if it turns out any good I'll post the recipe tomorrow.

3. I stopped at Giant on my way home from work tonight and it's definitely my new favorite grocery store! It's huge, had everything I was looking for, prices were good, and they're open 24 hours! Yay!

4. Our new condo is less than 5 minutes from Tyler State Park, and that's where the Bucks County Half Marathon is, in April. Perfect timing to put together a new training plan!

5. I'm an employee of Weight Watchers and even though I've had the new program materials for over a month, I still haven't looked at them. I'm putting that out here to get it off my procrastination list ;)

6. I put up the Xmas tree and decorated it, but I am just not into the holiday season this year, at all.

7. I love my mom :)

8. I hate driving. Absolutely HATE it. Especially at night, or in traffic. I hate driving.

9. I sure could go for a huge steaming cup of coffee.

10. I think the Banana Bread is ready. Oh, I have to pass the coffee pot on my way to the stove!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dark before the Dawn

It's been a long, difficult year that started when Chase passed away the first week of January. I couldn't find a job locally (besides part-time at Weight Watchers) so I was driving 2 hours each way back and forth 3-4 days a week to my "regular" job. We got a new puppy, Lucy, who was (is) more than a handful and required constant supervision. This kept me from my regular routine of running, studying, computer time, etc... I know- excuses, excuses. I also gained 10 pounds this year. I was registered to run a half-marathon on October 28th but then I dislocated my ankle. I didn't go to the actual race but I did run (well, more like hobble) the HM on my treadmill so I wouldn't feel like a complete loser. Then to top it all off, at the beginning of November my husband got laid off and we lost our house with less than 30 days notice to move.

But things are beginning to look up! We moved into a new place last week, which I already LOVE! I'm only 15 miles from work so I started back full-time as of today. Lucy is 11 months old now so she's getting a bit easier to handle, and she's already made a lot of new friends here! We're in a dog-friendly subdivision and the main road is a 1.15 mile loop, so we walk that anywhere from 2-5 times per day. Hubby just went on a 2nd interview and should be starting a new job (with a higher salary) on January 1st. And I found a half-marathon in April that's less than 5 miles from our new home :)  I'm also back to tracking my food and being mindful of what I'm eating.

So I'm not waiting for January 1st to make a new start. I'm doing it now! Who wants to join me?