50 ways to treat yo self

I’m on a swing of working out again. Does anyone else do this? I can be a little bit obsessive and extremist, so maybe it’s just me, but although I try to workout consistently all the time, I go through periods where I’m super committed to it, and periods where I am just completely uninterested.

Right now, we’re on the upswing, which is great. I firmly believe I’m my best self when I’m working out regularly, so it’s nice when I feel motivated to do so.

In that spirit, I present to you, my superheroes, A List of Non Food Rewards.

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It’s hard, I know! When we do something difficult, we feel like we should be rewarded for that! Sometimes, it’s worth it to treat yo self. But there are better ways, most of the time, than to put food in our bodies that is counter productive to our superhero status (Ninja Turtles notwithstanding!)

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Ready? Here we go.

  1. New nail polish
  2. Mani Pedi
  3. New book
  4. Episode of a TV show or a movie
  5. Reward Jar (put a set amount of money, like $1 in a jar every time you workout)
  6. New workout clothes
  7. New purse
  8. New workout music
  9. Earn your Netflix/Hulu, etc. Set an amount of workouts for a month and cancel your subscription for the next month if you don’t make your goal
  10. A trip to the library
  11. an all out, guilt free Pinterest binge
  12. time with your favorite video game
  13. Take a Nap
  14. Try a new fitness class
  15. invest in a fitness accessory like a smart watch or wireless headphones
  16. Get a massage
  17. Take a morning off to do something you enjoy but don’t have time for (this might be hiking for me)
  18. Buy yourself flowers or a new houseplant
  19. Get the most recent issue of your favorite magazine
  20. Take a class in something you’re interested in (for me this would be some patterning and sewing stuff, but maybe it’s cooking, photography or math. You do you)
  21. Take a day trip and enjoy it!
  22. Watch a favorite sport- in person
  23. Register for a race or competition
  24. A healthy food kitchen gadget
  25. New Tupperware or lunch box
  26. The beginnings of a new hobby- sketchbook, camera, tennis racket, etc.
  27. New coloring book and markers or pencils
  28. new Journal or planner
  29. new mug or travel mug
  30. new water bottle
  31. new outfit
  32. Hair cut or color
  33. new Jewelry piece- you decide how fancy and expensive!
  34. Get your friends together for a night out
  35. Take a weekend away
  36. new candle or diffuser
  37. Plan your dream vacation
  38. …and take it
  39. Get a tattoo or a piercing
  40. a new piece of art for your home
  41. piece of exercise equipment
  42. a tool or tool set (drill, dremel, etc)
  43. new app
  44. your favorite spa treatment
  45. Use a sticker chart! This sounds silly, but I’ve done it, it WORKS
  46. Buy a lottery ticket
  47. Buy expensive socks. They’re ridiculous but worth it.
  48. Have pictures taken
  49. Try out personal training
  50. Get your car professionally detailed

 

Whew! There we are, 50 ideas to treat yo self… without eating your weight in donuts.

 

Superhero Action of The Day: What are your favorite ways to reward yourself?

10 reasons to exercise (that have nothing to do with your weight)

It’s Wednesday! It’s Hump Day! You can do this! Halfway there!

Today at the gym, I hopped on a treadmill and ran/walked a 5k. It’s been a LONG time since I did that- I used to be a regular runner, albeit never a particularly great one. But I ran several times a week and got up to doing three or four miles without a break. And then, as is the way of things sometimes, I got hurt. I developed some pretty gnarly plantars fasciitis, severe pain in my right heel and was forced to stop running.

I’ve talked already about my personal struggles with dieting and exercise. Because of those struggles, I’ve decided that it just isn’t healthy for me to focus my fitness efforts into weight loss and calorie counting. So when I turned again to running as a form of exercise, I found it really easy to train- more miles, faster miles, etc. In the last year, when I haven’t been running as much, I’ve had to work on finding other good exercise goals- and that hasn’t always been easy. So tonight, I thought I would share a few reasons to exercise- that have nothing to do with body shape or size.

Ready? Here we go!

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  1. Exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy. I know that can seem counter intuitive, but when you find something you can enjoy doing, you will find happiness in it.
  2. It builds confidence. It’s a lot easier to make hard phone calls, have hard conversations, and in general be a superhero when you feel good about yourself. And one of the things that makes me feel good about myself is seeing slow but steady gym progress.
  3. Exercise builds strong muscles. Stronger muscles have a ton of health benefits- everything from better heart health (Heart disease is the number one killer of women!) to greater ease of movement.
  4. It releases stress. When I started boxing, I thought the best part was going to be a killer upperbody workout. While that is certainly true, the honest to goodness best part is that whaling away on a heavy bag eliminates just about every piece of stress you’ve ever felt. And if you’re angry with someone, my recommendation is to picture his or her face on said heavy bag. Is it the most peaceful mindset in the world? Probably not. But I’m telling you, it’s incredibly effective.
  5. You’ll sleep better. If you’ve ever lain awake at night tossing and turning, you know how torturous it is. The best way I know to fix that is to work out hard- expend enough energy to make your body tired enough for sleep.
  6. You’ll have more energy. Again, it may seem counter intuitive, but regular exercise makes one more energetic- and who doesn’t want that?
  7. You’re less likely to get sick- from everything from the common cold to cancer. No, I’m not exaggerating.
  8. There are a whole host of brain benefits too- everything from memory improvement to boosting creativity and productivity.
  9. Helps you make better food decisions. I don’t know why it works, necessarily, but it seems to be true across the board- once you start working out, more conscientious eating often follows.
  10. Exercise is a (vital) part of self care. The best superheroes take care of themselves AND others. Your workout every day helps you do just that.

How to Grocery Shop like Supergirl

Hi Superheroes! Happy Tuesday!

Today, we’re going to take a spin around my favorite grocery stores and see how we can make this regular task a little less… boring and awful.

To be fair, I don’t mind the grocery store. But I have a system (surprise!) that makes it pretty painless.

So let’s dig in!

First of all, make a plan. We’ve already talked about meal planning. That’s definitely how I make my grocery list. If I’m really on top of my game, I even organize my list by type of item, if not by department of the store. Once you’ve got your list, you can feel confident in what you need to get, and it’s easier to keep interlopers out of your cart!

Choose a time that doesn’t suck. There are times when the grocery store is more crowded. My recommendation is to avoid the store at those times. For me, that means I avoid the store like the plague from 5-7 pm on weekdays and completely on Saturdays. It just isn’t worth it. My favorite times are mid afternoon weekdays, evenings or Sunday afternoons.  Really, the less people in the store, the happier you’ll be. That also means you avoid upcoming holidays if at all possible, in case that wasn’t obvious.

Eat a snack before you go. You ever go to the grocery store hungry? And then you get to the checkout and you’ve spent $50 more than you intended and you get home and you just can’t understand how those donuts, cheetos or beer ended up in your kitchen. This is solved by eating before you go! Grab a kind bar or some beef jerky and get your shop on. On that same note, take a drink with you! I usually have water or club soda, but I’ve been known to pick up a drink at that super handy Starbucks kiosk in the front of my store when I need a pick me up.

Use headphones. My distraction of choice is almost always audiobooks, but good upbeat music works well too! Not so loud that people can’t get your attention if they need it- but enough to put you in a good mood!

Shop the outside of the store. This is an oldie but a goodie: nothing good happens in the inner aisles of the Grocery Store. Stick to the outer edges and avoid the treacherous ice cream and cookie aisles.

And as a bonus tip, find a grocery store you really like, but also one that is convenient for you. For example, I love Trader Joe’s… but the nearest one is a full 20 minute drive in the opposite direction of anything else I do. So I mostly shop at Kroger, which I like better than Meijer, and is more in my price range than Whole Foods.

And there you have it! 6 tips to make grocery store trips less painful! I hope this helps you out there!

Superhero Action of the Day: What’s your favorite Grocery Store? Why?Leave me a comment or let me know by using #Superheroliving on social media!

 

OMP: Super food Tacos

Hi Superheroes! I took the weekend off to unplug a little bit- thank you for that luxury!

But it’s Monday… and YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS: Tomorrow is Taco Tuesday. So, in honor of everyone’s favorite midweek party, here’s a recipe for 5 minute tacos that are even pretty good for you.

No, it is not too good to be true. Fair, you have to either prep the ingredients or have them on hand.

But full disclosure, I bought all of these ingredients at the grocery store. And all I had to do tonight was assemble my tacos and chow down.

The crux of this recipe is my favorite deli find: Superfood salad. I get it by the pound at my local Kroger store, but just in case you can’t find it, I have a couple of links to recipes so you can make your own.

If you just don’t want to make your own, any kind of slaw will taste great on this. Trust me, though, it’s worth it.

Superfood salad options: one two (this second one is Pin, but the recipe is in the caption!

If you’re stuck between those two recipes, my personal preference would be the dressings from the first and the ingredients from the second. I think.

Ok, now that you’ve got your superfoods, we can make some tacos.

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Superfood Tacos:

flour tortillas

carnitas (I got some in the meat department at the store, but I’ve made my own in the crockpot, too)

queso cheese

guacamole

your favorite salsa (I’m really into fruit salsas, but savory would be good too!)

and of course, Superfood Salad!

Instructions:

Arrange flour tortillas on a plate or platter. Add a couple of Tablespoons of carnitas, a couple Tablespoons of Superfood Salad, a spoonful of guacamole, a spoonful of salsa, and a sprinkle of cheese to each tortilla. Fold or roll. Eat and live long and healthy.

Superhero Action of the Day: I want to hear about your weekend! What superhero adventures did you get into? Share them to my page on Facebook or #Superheroliving on Instagram!

 

A few words on spending time with people

Today, I had the unadulterated joy of spending the majority of my day with my (almost) 93 year old grandmother. She is a joy. Smart, funny, self deprecating, kind. We had a lovely afternoon catching up, and then, this evening, I went to a potluck dinner with some of the people from my church. I was the youngest one in the room by a solid twenty years. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

And that made me think about how valuable it is to spend time with people from other generations. Whether it’s spending time with kids, or people older than you, I hope you find time to learn from these people.

There are a million things we can learn from people who are different than us, in general. But people with more life experience are a wealth of… well… experience!

And if I have to explain why that’s valuable… too bad, I can’t.

 

Superhero Action of the Day: Call your parents or grandparents, if you still can. Or think about a way to get to know someone of a different generation than you.

5 ways to fight muscle soreness

Oh, my superheroes. Yesterday was leg and booty day at the gym.

I tried a new workout.

And today, I might be dead. Seriously, my glutes and my quads huuuuuuuuuurt.

We’ve all been there, right? Whether it’s workout recovery, aftermath from a hard day of moving or something else, we’ve all had sore muscles. So today we’re looking at some ways to combat muscle soreness! Ready/? Here we go!

  1. Foam Rolling. If you haven’t tried a foam roller, you definitely should. It hurts like crazy, I won’t lie to you. It’s part of my workout tonight, and I can’t really say I’m looking forward to it. But it helps a LOT. It works by breaking up lactic acid pockets in your muscles. I think. Science was never my strong suit. Anyway, foam rolling. Check it out.
  2. Take a bath. Warm baths are better, although you might see ice baths in the movies. Add some epsom salts for extra soothing power!
  3. MOVE. Take a walk. Integrate some low impact cardio. Do some stretching. I know it will hurt. But you’ll feel better after! I promise!
  4. Make sure you’re hydrated! Drink plenty of water, your muscles will thank you for it!
  5. Drink some caffeine. I know it seems counter intuitive, but caffeine helps your muscles recover!

 

So there you have it, friends! Some ways to fight soreness for my superheroes!

 

Superhero Action of the Day: What are your favorite ways to get rid of soreness. Let me know!

www.superheroliving.blog Baby Steps

Baby Steps

If you’ve been reading along, you know I haven’t had the easiest Summer. It’s been hard to figure out this full time freelancing thing!

So today, I went to work at one of the schools where I have some Summer work and worked for several hours. I went to the gym and lifted. I came home and took a shower.

And then I gave myself a reward.

And Penelope and I went and got ice cream.

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Because here’s the thing. Sometimes, you have to take baby steps. Sometimes, you have to acknowledge where you are and appreciate that spot. Sometimes, even if you’re not where you want to be, you have to appreciate that you made steps.

Sometimes,  that’s what it takes to get you moving tomorrow.

So! If you’re struggling this Summer too, first of all, know that that’s absolutely ok. Struggling is fine. Struggling is good. Struggling only becomes a problem when you don’t do anything about it. You have to keep moving forward. It’s very important!

But if you’re struggling, you just take one step today. Just one. You even get to decide what the step is! Maybe it’s taking a shower. Maybe it’s making a tough phone call. Maybe it’s going to work, or the grocery, or just leaving the house. Maybe it’s going for a walk.

Whatever you choose, do that today. Do it again tomorrow. And you continue to make those steps until you can add another step.

 

You got this. We got this. I promise.

4 ingredient pineapple smoothie- www.superheroliving.blog

OMP: 4 ingredient pineapple smoothie

Happy Sunday, superheroes! I hope you’ve had amazing, refreshing, restful, adventurous, SUPER weekends.

And now it’s Sunday! If you’re back to the grind tomorrow, YOU CAN DO IT! If you’re less scheduled right now, like me, let’s try to do some productive, healthy stuff this week! Ok? OK! Go team!

This afternoon, Penelope and I went for a long walk. It’s a route we do fairly regularly, but usually first thing in the morning, not at 5 pm. Anyway, when we got about 2/3 of the way home, I started dreaming of something cool and refreshing to drink when I got home. Milkshake…nah. Ice cream run? I really don’t need to do that… Water? Let’s be real, only as a last resort. (I’m not a good water drinker, unfortunately!)

But! I had frozen pineapple, and I just new I could do something with that.  And sure enough, it worked out exactly right for a cold refreshing drink. I started with a cup of water in my blender, and added about 2 cups of frozen pineapple. I started blending that together and then added about 1/2 cup of milk. I’m out of almond milk currently, but I think if I were going to recreate it, I would use 1 1/2 cups of almond milk instead of water and dairy milk. Once I got it all blended together, I added about 2 tsp. of honey, and about a TB of lemon juice. I blended that in a little bit, poured it in a glass and drank up.

It’s sweet, a little tangy, bursting with pineapple flavor, and best of all, really pretty healthy and low calorie! Enjoy!

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4 ingredient pineapple smoothie:

1 1/2 cups of almond milk (or milk of your choice!)

2 cups frozen pineapple chunks

2 tsp. honey

1 TB lemon juice (to taste)

 

Blend together all ingredients until smooth. Pour into tall glass and enjoy! Makes about 24 ounces.

 

Superhero Action of the Day: What’s your favorite summer beverage? Let me know so I can try it out!

clean house

Today, we’re being a little less thought provoking, and a little bit more practical and helpful.

Today, I cleaned my apartment. If you don’t know, I live in about 550 square feet, so I’m not exactly an expert on keeping a giant house clean. But, here’s what I do every week for base levels of cleanliness- and in what order. When I do things this way, it takes me about 2 hours or so to get my place in fine running order, and then I can go about my day!

So, here we go:

FIRST: I collect all of the dirty dishes, put them in the sink, fill the sink with water and soap, and leave those bad boys to soak. For a while.

After I start the dishes, I spend a few minutes in the kitchen. I start by putting a small bowl of half white vinegar and half water in the microwave and turning it on for about 2 minutes. During those two minutes,  I finish cleaning off the kitchen counters- trash, recycling, put things away, etc. When the microwave goes off, I place the bowl on the counter, and use paper towels to wipe out the microwave. I use the warm water from the microwave to wipe down the counters and the outside of the fridge. I check and see if there are things in the fridge that need tossed, and then I haul trash and recycling to the trash can. IMG_1325

Then, I move on to the bathroom! I put things away, first, and then use some all purpose cleaner to spray down the tub, sink and the outside of the toilet. I shake my rug out (usually out the window). I replace towels as needed. I scrub the toilet and reapply the scrubbing bubbles gel stamp thingy.

Bedroom is next. I make the bed first. And then I get any laundry that needs put away folded. I dust off dressers and clean off bed side tables. I put away jewelry that’s sitting out, and tuck any loose shoes back into their cubbies. IMG_1293

Living room is next. I deal with mail and clutter, I fold couch blankets and fluff pillows. Then I clean out the cat box and throw out the dirty litter. While I’m at it, I make sure all of my trash cans are empty. IMG_1103

Next up, floors. I use my swiffer almost exclusively. I start in the kitchen again, and I do all of my floors. Sometimes it takes more than one pass for me. Fur is a real problem around here!

Now, last step! You didn’t forget about those dishes, did you? Wash those dishes up right quick, and then wipe down the sink.

There, not so bad, right? Now you can get on with your day in a sparkling clean house! Have fun!

Vulnerability

You know what one of the hardest things in the whole world is?

Being vulnerable. Telling your truth. Especially when you aren’t proud of what you have to say.

Being vulnerable. Especially when you’re scared.

Being vulnerable. When you’re used to being strong.

Being vulnerable. When you’re ashamed.

Being vulnerable. Like, ever.

This week, I’ve had to face a couple of hard truths. The biggest one, of course, I shared with you all last night. And that was hard. I didn’t start this blog to be a downer. I started it to encourage and help people. But I also started it to be honest. I started it to practice my own vulnerabilities. I started it to be brave. I started the blog to be a superhero.

But then I realized something.

You know how in the comics or tv shows, sometimes something bad happens to the hero, or, more frequently his (why are they always men?) love interest, and the hero goes to some scary, dark place, pushes every one away and goes strong and silent? And if you’re anything like me, you scream at the page or the screen and say “YOU MORON, let them HELP YOU. You can’t DO THIS ALONE, DON’T TRY.” And then they go off and do it anyway?

Or, even worse, someone you care about in your life pulls that crap? Won’t let you help with something? Insists on doing it him/herself? Whatever it is- and whomever? And you fume and rage and think, STOP IT, LET ME HELP WITH THIS. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Well. I realized recently that I was doing the same thing. Maybe not quite as dramatically (at least, I hope), but it certainly has been affecting the way I behave.

So, in the interest of being brave, I’m trying to be vulnerable about my struggles. Because that’s a big part of being brave for me. So I hope you’ll bear with me! This is part of my superhero training.

I know the struggles will pass. I know that I have an entire village of people itching to help. But I also know that shame dies in a petri dish of honesty. So vulnerable honesty is what we’ll go with. Even when it’s difficult.

 

Superhero action of the day: find something you’re afraid of talking about. And share it with someone. Tell them how you feel. You can do it! I believe in you.