Category Archives: Guest Posts

8 Daily Habits to Foster Your Most Important Relationship

Happy Marvelous Monday, everybody!! Hope you all had a fabulous weekend. Unfortunately, the weather here in PA was dreary on Saturday, but Sunday was bright and sunny! Kayla and I started our day with a 90-minute spin class with our favorite instructor, Karen. It’s the BEST way to start my week!! Of course, I used my Armour39. 900 calories burned..WOAH!

90min

Check out that #WillPower score!

Hopefully we can all agree that nobody likes a selfish person. With that in mind, we usually try our best not to be a selfish person. Sometimes, that leaves us stressed, overworked, and not caring for ourselves the way we should. It’s alright to be a little bit selfish sometimes. If you don’t take care of and love yourself, then who else will!?

selflove

One of the (many) benefits of going to the Idea World Fitness BlogFest and talking to so may amazing bloggers is that I also get to hear their point of view based on the spiritual journey that accompanies living a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Here are 8 daily habits to foster the most important relationship you’ll ever have –  your relationship with yourself!! I had a little help from some of my blogger friends 😉

1. Every morning, look in the mirror and say 5 “I AM” statements. “Every morning, I say them and I really believe them!”

– Lyndsey from The Balanced Brunette

2. Treat yourself to a massage – doesn’t have to cost a penny! “I give myself a scalp massage everytime I shampoo. Feels delicious!”

-Elizabeth B.

3. Exercise and honor your body with movement! “I make working out a priority because it’s what I want for myself. I used to feel guilty doing it if something else needed to be done – cleaning, working, shopping, etc. I decided that my health is important too and I deserve it! :)” 

-Runnin’ Rocker at RunninRocker.com

4. While ‘me’ time is necessary, take time to cherish your loved ones! “I try to get my husband to watch the kids while I take a nice (hopefully long) shower and then I hop in bed with the kids to watch Angelina Ballerina together before putting them to bed.” 

-Kristin from Exploring Domesticity

5. Take a second (or a few) and just breathe. “I work in a ridiculously stressful environment. I stop once or twice a day and breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth, and tell myself “I am awesome.” Only way to get through my day sometimes!”

-Libby from Bruises in the Frosting

6. Disconnect (from your electronics!) “I turn my phone off at a certain time so I can pray and get enough sleep.” 

-Tasha from The Hip Healthy Chick

(Side note: I deeply admire and respect Tasha’s commitment to her religion. Often times it is one of the few things that keep people sane. Whether your ‘disconnect’ time is spent praying or just deeply thinking, it’s important to allow the spiritual side of yourself to breathe.)

7. High-intensity exercise is a great release – but low-intensity exercise can be just as effective on your stress levels. “Work out each day for sure, but I make time to practice yoga each day because it always makes me feel great and destressed.”

-Marlene from Fit Delight

8. Sun’s up, fuel up! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – seriously! “Eat a healthy breakfast! Loving yourself means giving your body the proper nutrition so you can be your best at anything you do!”

-Michelle from Shell Loves Fitness

8b. Don’t just eat breakfast – enjoy breakfast! “I always wake up early enough to give myself a nice, relaxing morning. I make my coffee, make my oatmeal and take my time eating breakfast while relaxing, sometimes out on the patio if it’s a nice morning! It sets the tone for my day rather than rushing around getting ready as the start of my day. Sometimes I’ll watch the news, or read other blogs or do work on my own blog in this time. It’s my “me” time.”

-Kayla from Blondes Have More Run

Special thanks to all the lovely ladies who contributed to this post!

Occasionally when I feel inclined to write, it’s usually because it relates to something I am experiencing in my own life. I’ve been dating someone for the past few months, and it’s awesome! Sometimes, however, it’s so great that it’s easy to forget that I need to take care of myself as well – as opposed to depending on someone else to do it for me. Being in a relationship with someone you connect with is a great feeling, but it’s important not to become too dependent on love from them and only them. Before they ever came along, it was love from and for yourself that you had to rely on.

I hope you all enjoyed this post – please, comment and respond!! I also encourage you to check out these girls’ blogs and follow all their awesome posts! 🙂

What is something you do each day to show yourself love??

Inspiring interview with Crohn’s sufferer and advocate!

Happy Friday!!! So looking forward to the weekend. My foot is getting a littttle better and I’ve actually been enjoying swimming this week! I think I’m going to incorporate into my exercise routine more often.
So as ya’ll know, I’m attending community college this year, meaning that I’m able to see some friends from high school! It’s always comforting being around people I’ve known for a while. One of these people is this kick-ass girl named Shelbie. Shelbie has Crohn’s disease – an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea and even malnutrition. Inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people.
The inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease often spreads deep into the layers of affected bowel tissue. Like ulcerative colitis, another common IBD, Crohn’s disease can be both painful and debilitating, and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications.
Diagnosis
When were you first diagnosed with Crohn’s? What were your symptoms?
“I was diagnosed when I was 12 years old; I had just started 7th grade. My symptoms included severe stomach pain, fatigue, the inability to keep food down, constant diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss. I was so malnourished when I was diagnosed that I weighed a mere 67 pounds.”
Circa 2005, right around itme of diagnosis.

Circa 2005, right around itme of diagnosis.

It was extremely hard for her to even partake in daily life. She was so sick all of the time, just being awake and trying to go to school was a huge struggle. Plus, She was hiding her symptoms from her peers and most of her teachers.
“I mean, what 12 year old wants to explain why they’re running off to the bathroom every 20 minutes? Having Crohn’s disease is messy. Your symptoms are often seen as “taboo” or not talked about because they deal with the gross aspects of the human body. i.e. pooping. Needless to say, I didn’t have a social life. I was too fatigued to even comprehend trying to maintain friendships.”
Treatment
When she was first diagnosed, she was put on a heavy amount of steroids as well as other drugs.
About 6 months after diagnosis and starting treatment. "As you can see, I am a lot heavier and my face was really puffy. Weight gain and a rounded moon face are common steroid side effects.

About 6 months after diagnosis and starting treatment. “As you can see, I am a lot heavier and my face was really puffy. Weight gain and a rounded moon face are common steroid side effects.

“The steroids kind of suck. The side effects are terrible and include weight gain, heart burn, body hair growth, and puffiness in the face causing the appearance of a “moon face.” The first four months I spent on steroids, they did absolutely nothing for me. I was just as sick as ever. Finally in January, my doctor started me on Remicade, a form of infusion therapy. The remicade ended up being my saving grace and after a few months I was put into remission. I was able to eat normal food again, and live a mostly normal life. The downside to the drug was that it has a lot of lifelong side effects, including being very hard on your liver. Let’s just say my liver will never be able to handle the alcoholic lifestyle I initially planned for myself. :P”
All of her life, Shelbie has been very active. From the first grade, she started cheerleading and doing gymnastics.
Shelbie at one of her last cheerleading games. :(

Shelbie at one of her last cheerleading games. 😦

They were my passion, and as corny as it may sound, it was my dream to become a professional cheerleader. My whole life revolved around that sport, so when I got sick and couldn’t physically do it anymore, I felt like my dream was shattering. It was certainly really hard to give up the sport, especially at such a young age.
Since then, I hadn’t really cared much about living a healthy/active life until a little over a year ago. I had just gotten home from living in Australia, and had experienced some unwanted weight gain. I saw what my lifestyle abroad had done to my body and I was determined to gain back my confidence. Both of my sisters are big runners. I mean big, like “let’s go run a marathon this weekend” big.
Shelbie (left) and her sister at a recent Color Run

Shelbie (left) and her sister (right) at a recent Color Run

I decided I wanted to become a runner like them. I started using the couch to 5k app and ran 3 times a week. I also went to the gym nearly every day and ate very healthy. I lost 30 pounds and ran in my first 5k (the color run) last September. Since then I’ve been running increasing distances and now I’m training harder than ever for my first half marathon!!
Shelbie (right) and her sister (left) after the run

Shelbie (right) and her sister (left) after the run

I know what it’s like to have to temporarily put life aside due to a medical condition, having to only focus on getting my body back to health – but Shelbie deals with it everyday. Shelbie, and people like her who suffer from chronic diseases, are true soldiers in my eyes. She is one of the most positive, upbeat people I’ve met and is so kind. It’s always a pleasure to run into her in the halls at school!
Honestly, I wake up every morning telling myself that I’m going to feel good and that I’m not going to feel like sh*t. My plan is always the same: to get ready for my run, make a protein shake, and go. I wish everyday were that simple, but it’s not. Sometimes I wake up, go to the bathroom, and end up spending 40 minutes on the toilet. It it what it is. When I feel better, then I go on my run. It’s all about being flexible with what your body needs and being to adjust accordingly. Staying positive has helped a lot. Mind over matter. It works.
Shelbie signed up for Team Challenge in the beginning of July. Team Challenge is an organization associated with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Basically, people all over the country sign up for Team Challenge and then need to raise a certain amount of money for IBD research before they run their half marathon. It’s similar to Team in Training.
shelbie6
Shelbie is running in the Las Vegas Half Marathon in November, so she needs to raise $3,800 before then. If not, she’ll have to make up the difference!!
To help raise the funds, Shelbie is planning an outdoor fundraiser that will  have live music, food, baked goods, raffles, and kids activities. She’s even raffling off 2 tickets to an Eagles 2013 Football game. There will also be a run/walk/hula hoop aspect to the event for those who love to stay active like her! It certainly isn’t mandatory to participate in the run/walk/hoop, but it’ll still be fun! It’ll also be good for new runners who want practice/want to meet other runners without feeling the pressure of a more serious race setup.
Here’s how you guys can help!!! 
By coming of course!! Shelbie needs all of the support she can get, so why not support her by coming out and having a good time? $20 gets you an awesome t-shirt designed by Shelbie, as well as free food, music, and access to the run/walk/hoop.
All proceeds made at the fundraiser will go directly to the CCFA (Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America) where they work for finding a cure for these illnesses. After all, 1.4 million Americans are affected by Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis every day.

5 things friday – back to school!

Hello friendos! Happy Friday! I hope you all had a fabulous week – mine was just…long! Today I’ll be doing 5 things friday, so let’s get right to it!

1) $1500 scholarship awarded to me from My Hometown Heroes

 

scholarship

 

The letter reads:

Elyse,

It’s a privilege & honor to award you with this scholarship allocation. We actually had a nice contribution come in recently, so we wanted to kick it up a notch. 🙂 Your positive attitude, survivorship, & active lifestyle will inspire many. We’re grateful to contribute to your future & success.

Enthusiastically,

Danny H.

I’m so thankful that there are people like him able to help and inspire others – and I hope to be able to do the same thing eventually in my life.

2) If you haven’t entered my giveaway yet, hop to it!! Only 2 more days left til it ends!!!

Nuun Hydration Giveaway

3) I started school this week. I have to say, I am more organized and on top of things than I ever have been before. I keep track of everything in my weekly/daily planner, I always make sure that my daily workout is a priority, and I never sacrifice the nutritious quality of my meals. My classes aren’t as intimidating as I’d thought. I feel like I’m able to focus more on academics there particularly because I’m not living on campus or heavily concerned with the social aspect.

Being as busy as I am, I have to prep my meals for the week ahead of time and pack them the night before so that I’m not rushing around in the morning – especially for days when I’m at school most of the morning and afternoon, then have to head to work after that.

You can read more on how to stay on top of living healthy in college at In It 4 the Long Run, run by Georgie, who was kind enough to allow me to write a guest post with 5 tips to living healthy: college edition! 🙂

4) I didn’t do a What I Ate Wednesday post – sooo here’s today’s lunch! 🙂

photo

 

5) To stay on top of our fitness routine, sometimes Kayla and I have to get to the gym suuuper early. On Thursday, we decided to take the 5:45 AM bootcamp. The fact that it was that early already had me scared – and when the instructorunrolled a big piece of paper with the WOD, I just. No words.

It consisted of:

  • 5 laps around basketball court
  • 150 jumping jacks
  • 15 burpees
  • 15 push ups
  • 25 crunches or 5 sit ups
  • 15 box jumps
  • 25 air squats
  • 25 jump lunges

He originally told us to get through it two times…but as we neared the end of the second round, he told us to go again! Then, as we neared the end of the third round, he told us to go A-GAIN!! I was exhausted, but felt so proud to have been able to complete more than I set out to! I can also notice a big difference in my endurance levels – even though my muscles are fatiguing, I still find it in me to keep going. You can read about Kayla’s take on the class on her blog, Blondes Have More Run 🙂

 

Questions for you:

Did you start school this week?

Any interesting workouts/recipes you’d like to share?!*

*I haven’t been doing much cooking lately, so I’d love some suggestions!