A Newer Me

If you follow me on Facebook, I know some of you are probably like “oh, no. Not another Becky post”…

BUT I have to share the fillings my cup got last week, and that means more and more sharing from this shareaholic. More about my daily life (which isn’t always gravy, and you need to see that side of me). More about the kids (have you liked my blog Facebook page?). More about the bags and accessories I am obsessed with. More about the God who made me, molded me, and saved me (and proved to Greg Willis and I TWO TIMES yesterday that He has our back). And more about my fit life and, yup, weight loss and motivation for YOU to be the healthy you that’s right for you.

Anyways, I stopped posting my weight loss for a few reasons. People did get tired of it. Some may have been struggling themselves and couldn’t stand seeing my successes. And it humbled me, but made me lose something 99% of you have been…my AMAZING SUPPORT SYSTEM. So it is starting again.

I survived the holidays at my lowest. Got inspired again by my friend and Resting Place pal, Pam, and dropped a few pounds in January. Then, in February,  my work world changed. I sat in a war room every day until this week. It meant little steps.  Cafe. Pizza. Skipping meals. Getting home very late. Going in very early. Forgetting about ME. I luckily survived with a plateau at 174.

Recently, however, I became a Beachbody Coach for two reasons. One, I need my own accountability. If I tell someone how to be healthier, I need to be healthier. Two, I have inspired a lot of you and I HEAR YOU. LOSING WEIGHT AND FEELING GREAT IS NOT EASY. I want us all to be Thrivers (more on that soon!). I want all my loved ones around, and I know you all may not have the support and accountability my dietitian gave me. So, here I am. A coach.

A coach who lost 2.5 pounds almost immediately doing Piyo. A coach who skipped Piyo two days last week and still ran at Marathon Relay pace with no running in 4 weeks. TWICE. A coach that ate pizza, kicked back, had ice cream and cocktails then gained 4 pounds back last week. A coach who came home to a husband (who is also a coach if you are a guy and like nope…not going to a girl for advice) with a ton of energy and ab definition just from drinking Shakeology three days while I was gone…paired with pizza and chef boyardee. A coach who has lost 5 pounds since Monday and is SUPER proud to tell you she is 0.2 pounds from her low that hit before Aruba. A coach who used to teeter toward the 300 pound mark and is VERY close to hitting 50% weight loss.

Most importantly, tho, I am a Coach who wants to help and support you like you’ve done for me. So even if it is not jumping on my new venture, know I am here for you. That’s why you will see a newer me out there, at least on Facebook and Instagram.  And Twiiter? I’m coming back for you. Trust me. Loves yinz’all.

Need some inspiration or information?  Let’s talk. Comments, email, or any of the links above get you straight to my phone and into my heart.

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Mama and the 'lil Burghers are part of a #FitFamily

The Awesome Wheat Germ

*articles may contain affiliate links*

I know you’re all about to get your 4th of July on, so please don’t be all “you’ve jumped the Shark, Becky” on me. Ever since I started to eat healthier, my eyes have been opened to some really interesting and delicious foods that have either supplemented my meals or replaced the old addictions. Recently, I was able to add wheat germ to this list of yummy foods.

Wheat Germ
Source: Kretschmer.com

Before I was contacted to check out Kretschmer Wheat Germ, I had no idea what it was. This superfood (like flax and chia) can be used as a substitute in your favorite recipes to have various impacts on your nutrition. For instance, you can use it to lower your sodium and boost your protein (two of the biggest wins for me in my journey). There’s a really handy guide here that will help you discover the choices that are best for you and your family.

Studies show that wheat germ is great for athletes, expecting moms, kids, seniors, and healthy eaters. Below are five tips that were shared with me on the overall benefits of wheat germ. Happy, healthy eating!

Top 5 Overall Tips

  1. Energy: On the go? You need to keep your body fueled, and not with empty calories. Wheat germ is a fast, easy and inexpensive way to get the nutrients you need to fuel up or recharge.  It contains B vitamins, protein, carbs and healthy fats. Spike your smoothies, yogurt or oatmeal before running out the door.
  2. Bones, teeth, and tissues: Working with calcium to build strong bones and teeth, phosphorous is necessary for the growth, maintenance and repair of all tissues. Women can especially use a boost of phosphorus to assist calcium in keeping bones strong.
  3. Immunity: Wheat germ is a good source of zinc, a mineral your body uses for hundreds of functions, such as helping wounds heal and fighting off viruses – helping you avoid that nasty cold! Each serving of Kretschmer Wheat Germ contains 10% of your recommended daily value of zinc to keep you healthy.
  4. Slimming Down: When you’re cutting calories, wheat germ helps ensure you’re not also skimping on nutrients by delivering the essential vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy and fuller, longer. Sprinkle it on everything from cereals to soups to boost the vitamins and minerals, or use it to replace less nutrient-dense foods in cooking, like breadcrumbs.
  5. Antioxidants: Wheat germ is an excellent source of Vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant that helps to protect cells and tissues from damage and may ward off certain diseases.

 

When you are looking for this product, it may be in your grocer’s cereal or baking aisle. If you are interested in this specific brand, head over to their store locator for a grocer near you.

Watch this page for great summer recipes using wheat germ! 

Creative Bioscience

*articles may contain affiliate links*

If you’ve been following along with this ‘lil blog for awhile, you know that I jumped into a weight loss journey three years ago. I’ve been proud to say I’ve done it without any miracle drugs or quick fixes. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been curious. It means that I have found that the best solution for me is to just eat right, exercise, and believe in myself.

That being said, you’re probably shocked to see that I’m about to review a dietary supplement here. Well, it’s true. I was asked to check out Creative Bioscience, and I figured why not give it a try. It’s not like it’s claiming to be a miracle worker. The supplements that this company has are there to support your efforts to eat right and exercise while providing you with some help in the “energy” and “appetite control” areas.

Skeptic self aside, I said yes. That was a few weeks ago, and now it’s time to give you some info about their products and tell you about it.

First off, when you head over to CreativeBioscience.com, you will notice that the headline is “Designer Diet Products”. I’ll be for real, I almost bailed on this opportunity when I saw that, because I don’t believe in a “diet” but in a lifestyle or journey. If you can’t afford (either financially, mentally, or phsyically) to go on a journey to eating right, you are not going to be able to afford the products of our country’s yo-yo cycle of quick win products. You have to be dedicated. Sorry for the soap box, but I have to tell you my honest truths around here.

So, I stuck around a little longer and read that the products are a supplement and they actually promote that you follow a list of programs to help you with your food intake (which isn’t that far off from what I’ve been doing to shed my 116 pounds). I went ahead and said yes and have given three products a try.

The hcg 1234 product has yet to enter my system, and here’s why. It’s to be used as a supplement for your diet, which is fine, but the description is:

Suppresses appetite and metabolizes fats. This formulation is for use with 500, 800 or 1,200 calorie per day weight loss protocols.

I eat 500 calories at breakfast alone. Currently, I am popping 1600 calories, but when I was training for the Marathon Relay, I was up to 2,200 most days (under my nutritionist’s guidance). So, those counts scare the life out of me. If these drops are going to work, I think it’s going to have to be under one of those ranges. The products do come with 24/7 support, so I gave their 1-877 support line a call to talk about this. Yup, in order to be able to drop a pound a day, they do recommend exercise and the 1,200 calorie diet. Since I am not ready for that, I did have to set this one aside.

I was also sent a bottle of the rcc 1234 which is a 4-day rapid colon cleanse. We’ll be going to Aruba very soon, and I haven’t been feeling quite myself, so this might be an option I include after the holiday weekend to feel back to my normal self. It’s to be used to supplement any part of your diet, so I am expecting it to go smoothly with my current plan.

And finally, I was sent the eac 1234, an energy and appetite control supplement. I am most excited about this one because it’s one I feel strongly that it’s okay to take. Here’s the description:

This is a very effective supplement that can be used in conjunction with any weight loss program or as a healthy diet lifestyle management tool. It helps curb appetite and boosts your energy level.

I’ll have another post coming your way in a few weeks to tell you about how the rcc and eac tests are going along with my current food and exercise plan. If you are interested in forming your own opinion of Creative Bioscience and all of the other products they have to offer, head over to creativebioscience.com.

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National Running Day

It is #NationalRunningDay,  so of course this is a running post!

I love 54 degree run days.
I love the fact I ran now and can option in a yoga workout later.
I love my Under Armor shoes.
I love my run path.

I hate hip pain.
I hate having asthma.
I hate humidity.
I hate lost GPS signals.
I hate I only had time for 2 miles today.

Today is a gorgeous day that we were given. I could have kept running, but the get to work timer is on. Someone else tag in and enjoy this beauty today, please?

2 miles. 10:56 per mile. Onward and upward.

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To be honest? I really hurt today. My lungs hate me. My hip hurts to the point I can barely walk. My anxiety and stress are high. But guess what? If I hadn’t ran, these things would be even worse. Even our bad runs and days have silver linings.

Like Wings

Sometimes, dealing with my anger has a positive impact. On Sunday, I was running behind getting out the door for a run.

I tried to sneak out, but Evan woke up. Greg was visibly irritated that I was awake but not dealing with him, but I need to run when my inhaler is ready. I actually yelled at Evan to hush and I would get him breakfast when I got downstairs, but I wasn’t moving fast enough. Greg had to get up and handle the situation.

Again, I tried to sneak away. Arianna had other plans. She woke up and was cranky from being under the weather. I got crankier and plopped on the couch.

It looked like I wouldn’t be running,  my family needed me.

Greg looked me in the eye and brought me to reality. I needed to get outside.

New shoes, a great temperature, anger, and what Kim defined as marathon muscles pushed me to a 9:49 mile. If you are keeping track, that is 11 minutes less than my first mile ran and 5 seconds less than my Marathon Relay fastest mile.

Like wings.

I flew.

It felt amazing.

And I kept the pace up for the next .3 miles before turning around to head home.

Then I swallowed a small bug and started to overheat. Hello, 11 minute mile. 

Dry heaving due to overheating was next. Swollen throat, thank you Sunday mowers, and eating a ladybug sized bug finished my 3.1.

My wings weren’t so happy at the end, but overall pace was still under my relay pace. Phew.

But that 9:49? It makes me realize how much is possible in this running journey. Can’t wait for the next fastest mile!

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Unrelated photo...how I ended that night.

Some Time for You

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I heard something profound this week. Something that really stuck out to me.

Give yourself permission to be a better me so you’ll have a better we.

It hit home, and ever since, I have been rolling those words around in my head.

Over the past few days, that has meant that I put time on my calendar for me.

Personal time on my way home + gym or ymca classes.

Reading.

Organizing.

Being still.

Praying.

Saying no.

Leaving work mostly at a decent hour.

Resetting my eating habits again (my body loved this and rewarded me with a loss of 3.6 this week).

…The only thing missing was a run (because I totally switched up my workout schedule which likely led to the loss, too). But it is ok. The road is calling me in the morning. 

And I can’t wait to keep having more time for me…so I can be a better mom and wife.

Go. Block yourself at least 15 minutes a day for the next 7 days. You will be glad you did.

Broken Hearts, Broken Toes, and Broken Records

It has been four days since the Pittsburgh Marathon and I cannot get off my runner’s high. The entire weekend was dedicated to the Marathon, so it will likely be hard to come down from this.

I mean, c’mon. Take a moment to go here and look at what this city is like during the Marathon (source: pittsburghmarathon.com).

Legit. We #lovepgh. Deeps.

But to my race [weekend] recap.

Broken Hearts

Our weekend started on Friday when we headed to the Expo. Hands down, this was the best decision we made. Last year, it was crammed, picked over, and ended poorly (with me going on a shopping binge out in McKnight). This year, it was open and easy to get around. We even had time to put in our shake out run, a 1.7 mile run from the Casino to the Convention Center, then a walk back.

My heart broke a ‘lil, however, because the booths weren’t as great as I remembered last year / my company (who is a sponsor of some of the race weekend events) didn’t have a booth / I wrote on a virtual board about what I #runfor (as did Greg). It got a bit real.

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Those wouldn’t be the first tears I’d shed this weekend. Oh no.

Saturday, I volunteered with the Social Center (which meant I got to help out with the @pghmarathon Twitter handle). My duties were answering runner’s questions about the events, cheering on the runners in the 5k and Kid’s Marathon, and ensuring sponsor shout-outs were published. For instance, I was behind this sweet tweet.

cutchtweet

So why was my heart broken? Well, I got to meet Cutch! My heart shouldn’t have been broken. But when my kids saw this photo of us, Evan got a ‘lil mad (“that’s not my daddy”). Ha!

Arianna was just mad I was with her boyfriend. Well then.

The entire day was incredible. It made me want to be able to do more of with social media and events, and of course made me love this city even more. Heart unbroken.

Sunday morning, it all came back. We were running late (which is usual when I am trying to get my man out the door). I really wanted to see my friend Steffani before she started her Half Marathon and also to cheer for Ryan (who was the first leg of our relay). We got downtown with what I swore was an okay amount of time…until we hit solid traffic at the North Shore exit. It was ok. We were going to the Ohio River Boulevard Exit. It was NOT okay. Duh. The West End Bridge closed early, which meant that we couldn’t get off that exit and directly to the Casino. 15 minutes of stress later, we pulled up to the Casino, ran through, and waited for the T. We were on the T for the National Anthem and Corral A starting. There’d be no seeing Steff or Ryan. There’d be no seeing Corral B, either.

The announcer asked the crowd who was a newbie and the tears fell. My heart broke because I really wanted to be in Corral C, waiting to run a Half. I really did. My broken heart. It didn’t get better as the rain started to fall, I got cold, and we watched C and D pass by without seeing Ryan or Steff.

Broken Toes

After watching thousands of runners pass by, Greg and I headed to Fort Duquesne Boulevard to watch some more. I really wanted to see Ryan because I’m a planner and I really wanted to know that sending Greg over to Station Square happened at just the right time. We never saw Ryan pass us, and when runners from Corral D started to pass by, we decided it was time to get to our Relay Exchanges.

We took the T from Gateway to Steel Plaza where I took Greg’s long layers and left him to head to Station Square. I had to catch the shuttle to Mellon Park. We kissed goodbye and my butterflies started hard core.

Forty-five minutes later, I was at Mellon Park and struggling with RaceJoy (like everyone else) but found out that Lindsay was about halfway through her leg. (You can read her post about the day here, she’s super fast at this daily posting thing and I love her joy and reecap.) After a quick chat with Greg, two potty stops, and lots of jumping around to stay warm, I headed to the official exchange area.

When the announcer yelled out our bib number, I started to cry (again). Watching Greg run down the stretch of Fifth Avenue that had for so long been my home was an amazing feeling. Plus, we were running for the Heart Association and I swear to you I could see Uncle Byron pushing him toward me. Honest. He was so fast!

I handed him his medal and added a solid minute to our time because I hugged him, cried, and would not shut up. He had to tell me to move it, and move it I did.

As you can tell, my feet were already tired when I took over the relay at mile 15 point something. I had 7,000 steps in for the day at that point, and would log over 30,000 in the day. My feet hurt but I had some crazy speed.

The first half mile rushed by. I was at a 10:00/mile pace which is HUGE for me. Huge. Pace for mile one was 10:36. Not my fastest mile ever (10:14), but fast enough. The sun had come out, and I knew I needed to save myself for some good hills.

Somewhere in miles 2 – 4 during my favorite part of the relay (Homewood, yinz made me so HAPPY to run through your town), my toe started to throb and it would not stop. I watched my pace go up 30 seconds, another 30 and then steady off. I hurt, but I didn’t want to stop. I knew the toe I broke last year had rebroken, but I was not about to get a medic. No way. I was gonna finish this thing.

Broken Records

Technically, I was running two legs of the relay. This was a 6.1 and 4.7, so 10.8 miles. My watch logged 11.1. Let me say that I didn’t like the way the fourth exchange happened. I was forced to the left through the exchange, but then yelled at by volunteers for not stopping. I know that I am not the only runner who ran more than one leg. It irritated me, but pumped me up.

I’m not crazy about my pace in miles 2 to 10 because it was all over the 11 minute mile board. Not consistent, but there were hills. And mile 24 and 25 (my 9 and 10 miles) can bite me. Legit. I wanted to stop so much. 10 was my second slowest mile of the day and yet the levelest. Go figure. It was so close to the end.

Mile 10 to 11 made for a broken record for me. Runner’s high set in. It was a combination of looking for Greg in the crowd (he wasn’t there), being cheered on by spectators in the finish shoot, and getting ticked off at the “1/2 mile to go” sign that was a lie. I broke a personal record and logged a 9:54 mile! No idea I had that in me, but I sure did.

And compared to my 10 Miler pace in November (11:42), I *unofficially* put in 11:20/mile for my longest run since last year’s Half. It was also 1:57 per minute per mile faster than my Half pace. Record achieved.

Greg and I met up and tried to find the Heart Association’s tent. Unfortunately, no one was there when we arrived, but we took a photo anyhow.

I tried to avoid the Finish Line Festival because there were just too many people there, but we did walk through to cross the river back to the Casino. More tears and more falling in love with this city and my addiction (running).

Finishing among marathoners was super inspiring. I will do this one day, I will. Crazy, yes?  More tears, broken bones, and more records to break.

Top 5 Places Along the Pittsburgh Marathon Course

There are some really awesome spots along the Pittsburgh Marathon Course. As someone who has ran the majority of the course (Half Marathon in 2013, legs 4 and 5 of the Relay in 2014), I have picked out my top 5 places along the course. Will you be running any part of the Pittsburgh Marathon Course in May? Look for these!

pittsburgh marathon course

A few years ago, it would have been a true April Fool’s Joke if I wrote about running a mile, let alone a Half Marathon. Over 110 pounds ago, I set my heart and my head to a goal – to run a Half Marathon. Thing is, I never spoke it until a ‘lil over a year ago when I trained for my first half, the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.

Becky at her First Half Marathon – 2013

Now, there are still times that I don’t think I am really a runner, but I am. My feet move me, my lungs sure feel it, and I have at least five medals to prove it. When I was matched up with Jennifer, I got really excited to be able to share part of my story on her blog. I tossed around a few ideas and decided with a ‘lil of a month to go until the Pittsburgh Marathon, my “Top 5 Places Along the Pittsburgh Marathon Course” would be a fun fit for today. Although I am not doing the Half this year, I’m running two legs of the Marathon Relay and am excited to see my favorite places soon.

Top 5 Places Along the Pittsburgh Marathon Course

5. The starting line. Emotions soar as you inch your way (literally) to the starting line. It’s incredible to be part of such a large group of people — all ages, sizes, races, genders — with one common goal. Music is blasting, people cheering, and cameras snapping. I definitely ran the fastest quarter mile of my life (to that point) as we ran past through the starting line and I waved HEY to my husband.

4. The North Shore. Be ready to smell some amazing bacon wafting through the air from Bistro to Go. Run past PNC Park and the Children’s Museum. The harmonica guy. So much cool Pittsburgh “stuff” to run past. It’s truly part of “running home” (this year’s Marathon Theme).

3. The Birmingham Bridge. This, to me, is the make or break of the race. I made that bridge my “you know what” because I realized that “OMG, bridges are really big hills”. You get to see the city. Half Marathoners will be bracing themselves to go up the hill to Duquesne and saying farewell to the relayers and marathoners. It was definitely a defining moment in my running life.

2. The miles to the finish line. Okay, I haven’t done this yet, but I did some of them during the 10-Miler in November. Fast miles happen here. Crowds in Bloomfield and Lawrenceville are VERY supportive (so I witnessed on the news). The finish line is OH.SO.CLOSE. This is going to be my most exciting part of my experience this year.

1. Anywhere your friends or family are along the course. Greg and I strategically placed where I’d need him to be and scheduled out T-schedules and walk times for him to get to me. At least twice, he got to high five me. When I did the 10-miler, he even pushed the double stroller and had my ‘lil cheerleaders there for me. It really means a lot to have your biggest fans along the course. Don’t have fans? Don’t worry. EVERYONE is there to cheer for you on race day.

Are you going to be part of the Marathon Weekend this year? If so, look  for me. I’ll be panting, running between 10-12 minute miles, and taking on the hill to Oakland, through my beloved Shadyside (thank you, Chatham College), and down the hill into the finish line. Look for me, or follow @mrsgregwillis for race day updates.

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This post originally appeared on The Firecracker Blog as part of a Pittsburgh Blogger’s April Fool’s Day Event in 2014. The following bloggers participated: 

A Librarian’s Lists and Letters

Sean’s Ramblings

Small Town Dad

Sole for the Soul

Syntaxxerrorrr

The Firecracker Blog

The Pittsburgh Mommy Blog

The Steel Trap

West of Mars

Ya Jagoff

Yinz R Readin

Yinzster

Yum Yum PGH

Pure Protein

Disclaimer: I received product(s) in exchange for a blog review. All opinions, as always, are 100% my own.

Did you know I’m back to training for (almost) a half marathon? Yup, this spring, I’m going to be running home in Pittsburgh in the last two legs of the Marathon Relay. What’s protein have to do with it? A whole lot.

Following a workout, the body needs some help repairing muscles and cells. This is normal and natural, but protein helps make that easier on the body. Additionally, it helps keep your metabolism going long after the workout.

After a run, the first thing I grab is something with protein. Lots and lots of grams of it. But when I get to add sweet to it? HUGE bonus. That’s where Pure Protein comes into my plan.

According to their website,

Pure Protein® is the nutritious protein solution for those living an active lifestyle.

You can read up more (as well as find where to buy their products) on their website: http://www.pureprotein.net/. Or, you can stick around and read about the three products I got to taste test!

Pure Protein

 

First up, you know I had to try the Double Chocolate Vanilla Crunch protein bars. These were like eating a candy bar, only much better for you. They are soft, yet have a crunch. And the chocolate tastes real, no faking around here.

The Pure Protein High Protein Bar with Greek Yogurt Style Coating (Strawberry) were a flavorful addition to my day. There are strawberry bits inside (super tasty) and were so smooth going down (thank you to the green yogurt “glaze” on top).

And the shake in Cookies and Creme was, to me, better than sucking down a milkshake and much more flavorful than chocolate milk (a runner’s favorite). In fact, I’m drinking one now as I write this (post run).

What I love about these three Pure Protein offerings is that all three filled me up and fit into my lifestyle. When I had to take runs at the gym, I could just toss them in my bag and go. They’re great for throwing in my lunch bag as a snack, too.

So, you don’t work out and are like, “who cares!”??? Well, we all can benefit from protein, young or old, active or not. Seriously. If you add a little bit of protein to every meal, you’ll not only see results, but be less hungry and have more energy to handle your day. (These aren’t medical facts that I read somewhere, they are my real life experience talking). Both my kids and husband like the benefits of protein, too. Greg was elated when I offered to share a bar with him, and Evan LOVES the smell of the Cookies and Cream shake (but sorry honey, Mama’s not sharing this one!).

Have questions about the three products I tried? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back at ya (or find someone who can help out with other questions).

Pure Protein
Source: Pure Protein