Monthly Archives: May 2013

Reflections on My Freshman Year: Food and Fitness

Hey guys! I had such a great time with the party that is WIAW yesterday! Now back to regularly scheduled programing. 

Since I have less than a full week left of classes in my freshman year, and about a week and a half until moveout, I thought this would be a great opportunity to reflect on the healthy living journey that was Freshman year- the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. 

I guest posted for Avery a little while ago about tips for staying healthy in college. I came up with the list through some trial and error. And error. And error. I’m going to go through the journey that brought me where I am today, including future plans. Hopefully my experiences will help those of you making the transition soon!

I came into college planning on walking on to crew. I had always wanted to try it, and I am never one to pass up on a new and intense workout. I also came into college in phenomenal shape- probably the best shape I’ve been ever. Throughout high school, I loved nutrition and had my healthy eating figured out well enough. In addition, I had been training for a 10k all summer, which I completed the weekend before move in. Since most of my friends began college a month before me and softball ended around the same time, I had literally nothing to do for a month except workout to my little heart’s desire.


(Right before they left.)

I did my training runs, spin classes, weight lifting with a trainer, and agility training with a trainer. I worked out 2-3 hours a day, partly in preparation for crew, but partly because I loved these workouts, and knew I wouldn’t be able to do them when I got to college. No lie-the thing I was most sad about leaving was my gym and weight lifting trainer. 

I spent the fall rowing crew. I loved it. I was with all walk-ons, and since I was in such great shape to start with, I was one of the fastest. I loved being on the water, despite the brutal 5:15 am wakeup call every morning. I was in great shape again, though I didn’t lift weights as much. However, I fell into the trap of a new eating situation. I ate like crap. I never gained the freshman 15 because I was working out a ton, but I wasn’t fueling my body that well and didn’t feel that great. I would have morning practice, and then go back and gorge on pancakes with syrup and muffins galore, and then leave with a stomachache and an energy crash. And, it was sleep deprivation at its finest. But I loved what I was doing (rowing, not eating crap), and it was a great way to meet people and maintain fitness. 


I started having problems around the holidays-I absolutely love the holiday season, and am super into the holiday spirit and doing everything associated with that. This was the first time I really got homesick- I went home quite a bit around the holidays to do things like decorate the tree and make gingerbread. I think these emotions led me to eat as much holiday food as possible to try to fit in all that I had missed or was missing. Image

By the time it was finally Christmas, I was in a food-induced misery because I felt so awful. And as we know, sugar messes with my emotions…a lot. By the time I got to training camp (a few days after Christmas), I had lost a lot of what was left of my healthy habits.ImageI was only home for 10 days at Christmas before training camp in San Diego. This was where the walk-ons mixed in with varsity, Olympic athletes an all. I also found that while everyone else was getting faster, I was actually getting slower. I was in such great shape when I got to school that I really had no room for improvement. However, I returned from the trip stronger and more confident. ImageWinter quarter was extremely difficult for me. I was spending 5 hours on crew, taking hard classes, and getting maybe 6 hours of sleep a night. In addition, I didn’t like varsity’s workouts as much, and felt I wasn’t getting as much out of them, despite the time commitment I was putting in. I also missed doing my own workouts, which I had had time and energy for in the fall. The only way I could go to a Spin class was if I woke up at 5, finished my erg early which was only kind of possible given when the gym opened, did the spin class, and then ran. I did that maybe once. My eating habits once again weren’t great- I feel like I never really “fixed” myself from the holidays. In addition, I finally discovered a likely nut allergy, and a major problem with crashes after eating certain types of carbs. Since I had zero time or energy, I was kind of isolated in my dorm. My classes were really hard for me, and I had no time to put in to them. I could barely stay awake in class. I was really struggling. After my first Ochem midterm, I seriously considered quitting, but I loved the team, working out hard, and the athlete status. And then I got sick. One afternoon, I felt sore all over. We had a freezing cold practice on the water, and I could not warm up from it. The next morning I had a 100 degree fever. I tried to do my morning erg, but it wasn’t happening. I made plans to make it up that weekend. Then, the next morning I was still sick. I was struggling to figure out when I’d make up all these missed workouts. Before I knew it, it had been a week, and my fever was up to 103, leading to a trip to the ER. Long story short, I had Mono. And strep throat. And a cold, which led to an ear and sinus infection. And stomach flu. All at once. It was awful. I had to go home. I couldn’t get out of bed for weeks. I have never been that sick. I had to drop Ochem and math, but given how much I was struggling, this probably saved my GPA. I barely finished my last 2 classes with some extensions and really difficult days. For 2 weeks, I could barely eat at all. First, it was the stomach flu. Then, it was the swollen organs that made my stomach the size of a pea. I must have dropped at least 10 pounds during this time, although a lot of it was muscle. 

When I gained my appetite back (before I was better), I went a little crazy, indulging in all the I couldn’t eat in the previous weeks and all the food from home I had missed out on all year. Fro-yo was an everyday thing. ImageImage

I regained my sweet tooth that I had lost while I was sick, and boy did I gain it. Losing and then gaining weight rapidly kind of messed up my eating habits further. Around this time, I made the difficult decision to not return to crew. Mono was a wakeup call: what I was trying to do was not healthy. And although I do miss it, I know I made the right decision.

Soon, I was able to work out again, and boy was it hard. When you can’t even sit up in bed for weeks, imagine how hard a sit up is. I started with yoga, and didn’t lift weights until later (due to organ swelling). I wish I could say I figured out my eating habits, but the illness really messed me up. 

At the beginning of this quarter, I had such a great time- I could talk to friends until 1am, and it wouldn’t matter because there was no morning practice. Late night food parties? Sure, why not? Yeah, those habits caught up to me pretty quickly. When I finally eliminated sweets a few weeks ago, I felt way better. Now, I would say I am eating much healthier than before, but the lack of 5 hours of crew everyday is catching up to me a little bit. I never seem to have problems getting workouts in- I love them! But Id be lying if I said my eating habits are where I want them to be. 

As you can see, this has definitely been a year of ups and downs. I am currently suffering from lack of a sport- softball consumed my life all through high school, and rowing replaced it until now. I always thought that a sport was what was holding me together-before I was cleared for crew, I was going insane. Now, I am going a little bat-shit crazy, haha. I really hope my little journey helped some of you. Going home for a long time when I was sick really helped me- buh bye homesickness! However, as you can see, I am not where I want to be. So what does that mean?

Instead of taking a ton of classes this summer, I want to take some time to myself. I am taking only 5 units because I don’t want to be burned out. I want to spend this summer finding my happy place with food and fitness, and I want to put some serious work into the ol’ blog. My class schedule is going to be much more intense in the fall, so I really want to figure myself out before then.

Despite the rough patches, I can honestly say I had an amazing freshman year.

What was your freshman year of college like? Did you struggle at all?

WIAW-First Edition

Yay! I am finally doing What I Ate Wednesday!

Peas and Crayons

Thank you Jenn for hosting! You’re awesome!

I had a whole meal plan for today, but it kind of broke down later in the day. Luckily, I still have some photo-worthy shots!

I began the morning with a 45 minute Spin class, which was fantastic, as always. Then, breakfast!ImageAn obviously super photogenic biscuit from the dining hall. ImageA Harry and David pear and a hard boiled egg. Yes, I did try very hard to make this picture somewhat appealing. ImageMy gummy vitamins and calcium supplements. Yes, I am in college, and I still take gummy vitamins. Every since I had mono a few months ago and was popping 30 pills a day, I have wanted to avoid swallowing pills at all costs. Image

A much needed Cappuccino from Coupa. I attempted to use the coffee machine, but there were no cups, so I walked across the street to the actual cafe. The milk foam is way better from the real place. And let’s be honest, that’s the only reason I drink this. I had to bike with my drink. I felt like one of those cool college kids biking around with their fancy coffee drinks. However, I was very aware of any tiny bump I went over. As much as I love the idea of a scalding cup of coffee exploding onto my hand…

ImageA basic salad with Dijon vinaigrette, which I added 2 hard boiled eggs to. ImageRandom dog in the library. Soo cute. I miss my dog!

After class, I headed to the gym for a workout. I started with 4×5′ on the erg. I did the sets at stroke rate 22, 24, 26, 28, and each set had a faster split than the preceding one. Then, I did 10 minutes of abs. I’m loving this ab workout. 

I followed that with a 15 minute Crossfit style workout. Originally, the workout calls for 20 minutes, AMRAP, with 5 pull ups, 10 push ups, and 15 air squats. I can’t do pull-ups, so I do this on that pull down bar thingy. I wanted to have fewer rounds, but still get a good workout, so I changed it to 15 minutes, with 5 pull downs, 10 T push ups, and 15 goblet squats with a 25 pound dumbbell. I was rather sweaty. 

And then, it was FINALLY time to try my new Spin shoes! Here is the piece I was missing:ImageSo if you are buying Spin shoes, make sure you have this!

The shoes took some getting used to. The weight is on a slightly different place, and it was a little odd at first, especially out of the saddle. I especially loved them for doing sprints though. I felt like I could go much faster. I was on the bike for about 30 minutes. Tip: before you attach yourself to a bike, know how to detach yourself. Yeah. I spent a good 10 minutes looking like and idiot trying to figure out how to get the shoes off the bike. In case you’re wondering, you twist. Oops. ImagePost-wrokout fuel, plus pre-workout this morning. These are just ok, but they’re perfect for before a morning workout.ImageI was blown away by the veggie options at dinner today! I had a garden burger over salad, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted carrots, and cabbage.ImagePlus some extras:ImageImageAnd a studying snack (I have an impossible Chem midterm on Wednesday):ImageFor those of you that don’t know, I’m just coming off of a 3-week no sweets challenge. The last 2 days have been interesting…I haven’t gone crazy with the sweets, but a) they’re not as good as I remember and b) I definitely did not miss how they make me feel….

As a study break snack, I had some dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, and this creation:ImageYes, I am a college student and I eat everything out of paper cups. This was inspired by my protein cookie creation of the other day. All it is? Sunflower seed milk (yes, it exists. No, I would not recommend it. Almond milk is better), unsweetened coconut, and a mashed up ripe banana, all heated up in the microwave to make a gooey, not too sweet pudding-like thing. I added a small square of dark chocolate, but I enjoyed it more plain or with a touch of sunflower seed butter. Better without chocolate? That’s a sure sign my tastes are changing! I finished off the rest of the banana (I only used half) with some sunflower seed butter. 

I love making non-dessert desserts. Especially of the microwave friendly variety. In paper cups. No shame. At least this is just slightly more photogenic than my old creation- mashed banana and dark cocoa powder in the microwave (yes, in a cup).ImageI cant wait for the baking/food freedom of summer! I have a banana bread creation in mind- look out for that in a few weeks!

Have a great day, and Happy What I Ate Wednesday!

…And the World Didn’t End

First of all, Happy Memorial Day everyone! I want to take a minute to remember all those who have made sacrifices to our country. 

memorial day.gif


My day has been rather low-key. I actually got to sleep in today, and got 10 hours of sleep! When was the last time that happened?? Unfortunately, my allergies were going crazy this morning. Naturally, that would happen the same day I run out of tissues…I’m not sure what I might be allergic to or why it is such a problem all of the sudden, but it sure is annoying!

I planned to take some homework with me to the dining hall so I could grab brunch and then do work until I was ready for the gym. I ended up having a larger brunch than planned, so I was there for a good two hours, reading about Darwin’s finches (I’m in a class about evolution).

Upon arriving at the Spin bikes, I quickly realized that I was missing part of the shoe that would be integral in using my new shoes. I guess there is some clip that screws into the shoes. I am obviously so knowledgable. My wonderful mother went out and bought one for me though, so whenever I see her next, and I will finally be able to try my shoes!



It looks something like this.

I did a short workout at the gym- 2 sets of 10 minutes on the erg, with the stroke rate 18, 20, 22, 24 for 4′ at 18, then 3′, then 2′, then the last minute at 24. I followed that with 10 minutes of abs. Why was my workout short? Because today kicks off my half marathon training! I am going for a 3 mile run with my sister pretty soon! In 10 weeks I will be running 13.1 miles!

I spent most of today doing laundry. Unfortunately, after my first load in the washer, there were no dryers free, so I attempted to hang everything in my room. Luckily, now everything is in the dryer! I usually do laundry early in the morning before everyone is awake, but I slept in today so that wasn’t really an option. 

The only other noteworthy thing from today- I ate dessert. I’ve gone more than 3 weeks without, but I finally caved. I had a chocolate avocado cupcake and some dark chocolate. And you know what? Nothing happened. Sure, I feel a little sick, but the walls didn’t crumble around me, and I didn’t eat an entire batch of cupcakes. Nothing tasted quite as good as I was expecting. I also realized that I am probably eating too many sweets that aren’t technically desserts, like muffins and pancakes. I intend to continue avoiding sweets after this-I just don’t feel that great; however, if something is amazing, I might try it. The biggest downside- I had wayyy too big of a snack recently giving I’m running in 30 minutes. Ugh. Oh well, what can you do? Sorry I don’t have any pictures from today. I’ll compensate like I normally do, with an adorable kitty picture! (And only 2 weeks before you guys get ‘fresh’ kitty pictures!)



GUESS WHAT GUYS!?!? I got Spin shoes! I am so excited! I plan to go to the gym later tonight to try them out! And look how pretty they are!ImageImageAnd the best part? REI was having a weekend long sale, plus I had store credit, so my total balance was only $10. Not bad!

Ok. Now that that excitement is over, I’ll go over the last couple of days. Last night, my sister drove me to REI to get Spin shoes, and then we stopped at a Ramen restaurant afterwards for dinner. I’ve never actually had Ramen before (besides Cup o Noodles).

We started off with some delicious Japanese salads and edamame. ImageImageChopsticks are most definitely not my strong point; especially chopsticks with a salad! Jeez. 

I had chicken ramen for dinner, which was really delicious and warm. It’s been a tad chilly here lately (relatively of course).Image

Upon returning to school, I decided to do a little “baking” experimentation. My friends had been talking about making coconut bread, so the idea had been planted in my mind. I really don’t have a lot in the way of ingredients; I am out of eggs. So I figured, why not try egg white protein powder?ImageI mixed up some unsweetened shredded coconut, egg white vanilla protein powder, vanilla, and a bit of sweetener, and then popped it in the microwave. I was not expecting the result- it tasted just like a coconut macaroon! I will post the recipe as soon as I perfect it. (Well, as soon as I get my act together enough to actually measure it). I tried it again today, and cooked it for a bit less, so it was almost like a pudding. ImageImageAs you may notice in the first picture, my hand is a bit colorful. Yesterday, I tie-dyed with my dorm. I’ve never done it before, and I had a ton of fun with it!ImageIt had to sit in a plastic bag for 24 hours, and it is currently lying in my room attempting to dye every surface. I’ll post a picture as soon as it goes through the wash! 

Today, I went on a rafting trip with my dorm, and had a great time despite some initial difficulties. The river we were going to was about a two hour drive away. An hour in, the check engine light when on in the bus, and we pulled over. The driver got out and inspected things, and then we were back on the road….for less than an exit. We didn’t even make it onto an offramp before the bus driver pulled over again. The engine was pretty badly overheated and the steering was locked up. There was smoke or steam coming out of the back of the bus. We had to call for another bus which was coming from pretty far away, and wouldn’t be there for another hour. The bus driver finally agreed to at least pull off the freeway, and from there, we had a little freedom to walk around and find food. I ended up with a chocolate banana smoothie from Starbucks. It was also around this time that I realized I had lost my lunch. The dining hall gave us all packed lunches for the trip. I’m pretty sure someone stole my lunch because a lot of people had more than one, and I had…zero. Near my seat, I found a lunch that had been ransacked (as in, no sandwich or chips), so I rescued an apple out of it. 

We ended up getting to the rafting place about two hours later than we had planned. 

Before I go on, let me just clarify that this is no white water rafting. It is way tamer! We were in big rafts and had paddles, in a river with a slight current. Being out on the water made me realize how much I missed rowing! I had so much trouble rowing forward. I ended up just turning around and rowing crew-style. Of course, this wasn’t exactly heavy duty rowing. The whole trip was just super relaxing, and it was a great end of the year dorm event. I’m going to miss living with these people! It’s insane that in a little over 2 weeks, my freshman year will be over! At the same time, this has been a pretty long year in that I’ve had soooo many experiences, and so many memories. Jeez, now I’m getting nostalgic! I’m sure week 9, midterms (yes, I have a midterm in week 9), and finals will take my mind off of that! 

How has your long weekend been? What did you do?

3-Day Weekend


Hey guys! I’m just going to pop in here quickly today! I think it may be nap time soon. Even if I stay up late, I cannot sleep in to save my life. Naps, however, are a completely different story. 


Yesterday, I finally did another timed mile. It was 20 seconds faster than my last one, but still way slower than I need to be, or am used to being. It made me really realize that I need to work on speed work a ton. I also did some sprints of various distances, and then core. I’m actually kind of sore from that yesterday. 


At breakfast, at first I couldn’t figure out why I was so hungry, until I realized that it was already 10 am. I love that classes don’t start until later for me on Fridays!ImageYogurt bowl, plus half a whole wheat bagel topped with cream cheese and egg whites. 


It was such a beautiful day yesterday. WIndy, but very clear. Image


I stopped at a cafe to pick up lunch between classes. I grabbed a yogurt parfait and a packaged burrito. The burrito was a really strange choice for me; it is definitely not something I would normally buy. I’m not a big burrito eater, especially not pre-packaged ones, so I shouldn’t have been surprised to be underwhelmed. I decided to just eat the beans out of the middle. Classy, right?Image


And since I really don’t have that much to say, here are a few more pictures. One more note: I AM GETTING SPIN SHOES TODAY! SO PUMPED! Any advice?ImageGuac. Guac. Guac.


ImageYeah. No one wakes up early.ImageImageI was in the mood for a waffle this morning, and I decided to just go for it, instead of fight it. I would probably end up losing that battle anyways. I topped it with blueberries- delish!


Ok, two more notes: Only 2 weeks left of school! And then I swear the food part of my blog will be much healthier/more interesting. And, is anyone going to the Healthy Living Summit? I really want to go, and I am just trying to figure out if that would be at all feasible for me. It is before school starts, so it is a possibility! I’d love to meet some of you guys!


Have a GREAT 3-day weekend!

Any fun weekend plans?