Let’s talk clean eating…

I tend to focus a lot on exercise. I love exercise and I get it. I know what I’m doing & I’m confident that if someone told me to go run 13 miles right now, I could (maybe… ha). Like I’ve said before, exercise is my drug. I haven’t talked much about nutrition recently, another passion of mine. It used to be a hobby… I would look up fun recipes on Pinterest, cook them, and hope they taste good! That was actually an initial idea for this blog – all about the recipes I tried and failed. I still consider diving into that a little more, maybe later. Anyways, clean eating isn’t a choice for me anymore.

After a recent nutritionist visit in the PCOS clinic, my eyes have been opened to what does and does not work for my body…. At the start of 2015 I jumped on the Paleo bandwagon. Ya, you heard me… Paleo. People may believe it’s a fad diet, or it isn’t healthy. Well, I don’t have a choice. I MUST keep my carbohydrates and diary intake to a minimum due to the metabolic makeup of my body. I should only consume “high quality grains” such as quinoa & sweet potatoes. I should keep my diary intake to only high quality no-sugar added Greek yogurt. Otherwise, I should be consuming a diet in high protein & high fiber — this will be made up of lean meats, quality vegetables & MINIMAL fruit. There is such thing as too much fruit, go figure.

See, this is more than a fad diet or something silly, it’s a lifestyle change for me. I have always eaten very healthy & clean for the “old me”, but recently my eyes have been opened as to what clean eating means for the new me. Everyone’s bodies have different types/amounts of food they can and cannot tolerate, and unfortunately, my body is unable to tolerate those savory yummy carbohydrates. In order to have it be a true lifestyle change, I still need to enjoy life.  So, I plan to stick to Paleo 90% of the time and enjoy life 10% of the time. If I find that too hard, I’ll consider going 80/20, we’ll see how it goes. Cheat meals are real, and so are slip ups. I still kick myself when I slip up, but I need to learn NOT to. We are all human, we all make mistakes… it is OK.

Despite the fact that I have always eaten clean (and exercised like crazy) my visit to the PCOS clinic was overwhelming. I left the visit feeling defeated and unsure of where to go. I did not have this positive attitude when I left this visit. I wish there was a magic answer to fix all of my problems due to PCOS.  I cried, I lost it… I went to the gym to sweat it out & that helped. I talked to my best friends, they were all angry for me and were really empathetic. I think my mom cried for my frustration. One conversation really stuck with me… I talked to one of my best friends, Courtney, and she said something that totally helped me stay positive… “you inspire so many people, including me! and I love you for that”. Courtney, that helped me more than you can ever imagine. Thank you, I love you! >>> Shameless plug, check her out over at ataleoftwocs.com

You never know what battle someone is fighting. I am fortunate enough that I have a strong network of best friends and family that understand the struggles I have gone through. Each and every one of these amazing people has supported me thus far and I know they will continue to support me. Without them, I would be lost. Thanks guys, I love ya!

I will not let PCOS define me.

I will thank my stars every day for the amazing people in my life.

I will be a fierce Paleo dieter.

I will join Crossfit next week… oh, did I let that slip?! Ya, more to come on that. 😉

xo. P

2015: the year of love.

Long time no talk! What better way to start 2015 than with a blog post? I went a little MIA during finals week last semester & then I really took a step back during the holidays from everyone and everything, except my family and dear friends. I needed to “cleanse” myself of everything including work, Boston, social media & just my routine. I am now back in Boston, back at work & feeling rejuvenated!

Ever since 2012, each year has had a slogan. I have tried my best to live up to that slogan. Let me take you on a quick recap of these slogans so you can understand a little bit more…

2012: the year of selfish Paige. I went through a bad breakup at the end of 2011, so 2012 was MY year to do whatever I wanted & guess what, I did. I made some mistakes, mistakes that I learned from. I made some amazing decisions that have put me where I am today. Without this selfish mentality, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

2013: the year of change. I moved to Boston, started graduate school & started a new job. I am horrible with change, but these changes have made me the best version of myself. So, thank you 2013 me, thank you for accepting these changes and killing it.

2014: the year of YOLO. I was kidding when I made this slogan, but it ended up being true. I made the best memories with the best friends this past year from the White Mountains to Boston to New Orleans. I did everything & anything and said “yes” to almost anything I could. I partook in many firsts – first half marathon, first Spartan Sprint, first race series, first best friend vacation, first time my broken heart from 2012 actually felt fixed. Looking back, I don’t regret anything from this past year & that is the best feeling.

2015the year of love. Now, I don’t mean finding love – though, that wouldn’t be terrible if that happened. What I mean by love is loving myself. Despite all of my YOLOing (ha) in 2014, I have struggled with loving myself. I want to look in the mirror and say, I love the way you look, I love who you are as a person and I love what you value. On the outside I may look like I have it all together, but this is incredibly false. This girl still needs a lot of work. I am hoping to achieve this through a few different ways.

Here is how I plan to fall in love with myself in 2015:

  • Eat Clean. I have succeeded with this amazingly & plan on continuing this lifestyle. But, I’ve taken it to the next step already & have started the Paleo lifestyle. This will help me love myself because my stomach will continue to be happy & I will have more energy than ever! More to come on that!
  • Muscle Definition. Through weight training, yoga, spinning & my at home Beachbody workouts, I hope to have defined muscle. With that being said…
  • Do Yoga. In the past 6 months I have added yoga into my exercise routine and it has been the best addition to not only my physical well-being, but my mental well-being. After pounding the pavement for 20+ miles a week while training for my half marathons, my body needed to be exercised differently & now I am in love with yoga and how it makes ME feel.
  • Travel. I’m going to London in May & I plan on traveling a bit while I’m over there, too! I can’t wait! I hope this experience allows me to learn more about myself and allow me to fall in love with myself outside of my comfort zone. I also plan on traveling to the West Coast within the next year to visit one of my best friends who recently moved out there. Let’s go on adventures, 2015.
  • Challenge Myself. This is fairly broad and can be defined in a variety of ways. I did a pretty good job of challenging myself physically in 2014 but I want to continue that into 2015. I want to run another half marathon (or two!), run a Spartan Super (next step up from the Sprint) & compete in the Tough Mudder. Not only do I want to challenge myself physically, I want to challenge myself intellectually, too. I want to continue to grow and learn in my masters program. Most importantly, I want to challenge myself in my career. This may be the most difficult challenge for me & to be honest, I am not quite sure where to start.

This list may change and evolve, but right now, this is the list that makes me want to move forward into 2015 and make it the Year of Love. It’s no surprise that more than half of them are exercise and nutrition related. I guess fitness & nutrition really are my passion. I’ve always known that but re-reading this list just hit it home for me.

Have you thought about the years past and what their “slogans” would be? What would 2015 be for you?

xo. P

Here goes nothing…

Let me air something really personal to me that I feel the need to share, discuss & hopefully help someone along the way that is experiencing the same problems I am…. disclaimer: this is a pretty personal post.


For those of you that know me…

– I find happiness in fitness, I may even consider it my “drug”

– I eat clean 90% of the time, cheat 10% of the time

– Every day I strive to be better than the last

– I set goals and I try my best every damn day to reach those goals

I NEVER GIVE UP.

For those of you that may or may not know, I have been experiencing struggles with my health for the past 2 years, and more prominently during the past 8 months. Things have not been right since I graduated college in 2012. Things have not been “normal” & I haven’t felt like myself, on both the inside & outside. I am by no means a superficial person, but I find comfort when how I feel on the inside reflects how I look on the out & when how I look on the outside reflects how I feel on the inside.

In 2012 I chose to take myself off of the birth control pill, I didn’t like how it made me feel or act. I was the thinnest I had ever been & felt great on the outside. But, I was affected by it in ways that were not fair to myself or the people in my life. I was also trying to take a more natural approach to things and completely rid myself of unnecessary hormones in my body. Well, didn’t that backfire….

I did not have a menstrual cycle for 8 months after that. Sounds great, right? No. I didn’t think much of it right away considering I took myself off of the pill. Hormones are bound to be funky and take time to readjust. I knew something was up though when it hit 6 months of no period. This just doesn’t feel right.  I also knew that not getting a period for that long is unhealthy and can lead to serious problems down the road. I went to go see my mom’s OBGYN to get things straightened out. Long story short, I tried starting on one round of straight estrogen for 10 days to get things going, that failed. I did a second round of the same regiment – success! I then started back with taking a birth control pill (against my will).

Fast forward just a few months later, I go to put on a pair of pants for work that just fit me a month ago… they didn’t fit. Ya, I had been commuting to and from Boston and sitting for longer periods of time than I EVER did in college, but I had not changed my commitment to exercise or eating healthy. What. The. Hell. My natural response.. cry, scream, give up.

I chose to not completely give up, right around this realization that none of my pants fit, I moved into the city. The second I moved into the city, I joined a gym & instantly had so much more time for LIFE. I was able to exercise after work, prepare all of my meals & enjoy walking around the city. My stress level significantly decreased & I was happy. I was determined to get back into those pants. I knew I could get “back on track”.

Things still weren’t normal. I couldn’t seem to regulate & I couldn’t seem to get that weight off. I noticed a flare up in my acne (I had really bad acne early in college & after much trial and error I figured out a regiment that worked!) & I felt “dense” on the inside.  I knew I needed to take action, something was wrong.

Countless PCP visits, countless OBGYN visits – they all told me I was stressed, that I was adjusting to a new lifestyle post grad, I was overwhelmed with work & that my schedule was a lot with starting grad school. And you know what I heard? All I heard was NOTHING. They were not taking my problems seriously & they blamed my missed periods, weight gain & acne flare ups on stress.

I wanted to give up. But, I didn’t give up, I couldn’t give up. I knew something was wrong. I’m very aware of my own body & I knew something just wasn’t right.

I googled. I searched all of my symptoms high and low. I did research in medical journals. I talked to the endocrinologists that I worked with. I honestly became obsessed with figuring out WHY I was gaining weight, missing periods & just not feeling “right”. I came to the conclusion on my OWN that I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrom (PCOS). I knew that all of my symptoms were exactly what they were talking about.  I reached out to one particular endocrinologist that I work with who works at the hospital across the street. She had a recommendation that I be seen in the PCOS clinic at this hospital. Thankfully, she passed my name along to this particular provider & I got right in to see her within a few weeks. (Working in healthcare does have it’s perks!!)

“There is no real one test to diagnose PCOS” is what my MD told me. I described all my symptoms & told her my story over the past two years. She then laid out a road map for me of all the tests I would need to have done. We needed to eliminate all of these other possible health issues before we could diagnose PCOS. I cried in her office out of pure frustration. I just wanted to fix all of this… now.

Countless blood tests, ultrasounds & other miscellaneous tests later… I had whacked hormone levels & was diagnosed with a POSSIBLE case of PCOS. After all of those tests came back, she needed to start my menstrual cycle and get my hormone levels up to where they should be. I would see her in 4 months. So, I wait and the mystery continued for 4 more months….

Here we are, 4 months later, another round of blood work and glucose intolerance tests completed. I now have an official diagnosis of PCOS. This is a fresh diagnosis to me as I was just told this a few days ago. I haven’t shared this with many people & I am not sure how I feel about it. I thought I was OK with it, until I started doing more research… it’s hard to have kids, it’s hard to lose weight, I am at a higher risk of developing diabetes… the list goes on.

One particular risk of having PCOS has already impacted me… I have high cholesterol. At 24, a girl who hits the gym 6 days a week, runs half marathons, eats super healthy…  has high cholesterol. I was devastated. How could this be?

There are a few ways I can handle this:

A. Crash & burn, give up, cry, forget even trying

B. Remain status quo, keep doing what I’m doing and hope for the best

C. Kick it into high gear, see a nutritionist & get back to my personal trainer

What option do I choose? Option C. I am going to start seeing a nutritionist to make sure I am eating to control my high cholesterol and I recently purchased a personal training package to focus more on weight training over the winter. This, of course, is for two purposes… help to build muscle, to build my metabolism & hopefully lose weight AND to build strength over the winter months before I start training for my next running adventure next fall (maybe for a full marathon, details to follow!).

In the meantime, I am trying to understand my diagnosis, research for PCOS “blogs” and see what other individuals with PCOS have experienced & more importantly…stay positive. This isn’t the end of the world, this is just a speed bump that will slow some things down and make a few other things in my life complicated. This isn’t death and this is by no means the worst thing that could happen to me. It is frustrating and it is disheartening, but it will be OK.

I will continue to run. I will continue to workout. I will continue to eat healthy. I won’t give up.

I know this isn’t my typical post nor is this completely relevant to “eat clean, train dirty” … but it is relevant to my life right now and it will significantly change how I approach nutrition and exercise moving forward…

Thanks for listening.

xo. P

Massage…. please!

“Rabbit rabbit!” were the first two words that came out of my mouth this morning when I woke up. I am in need of a lot of luck this month! Specifically, I need all sorts of good vibes coming my way in just a few days. Ever since I signed up for this race almost a year ago, I knew October 2014 would roll around and I would be nervous, excited, anxious, apprehensive & really any emotion you can possibly think of. Well, here we are… October 2014, and I was right. I feel all of those emotions and more. Never in my life have I worked so hard for a fitness goal & given up so much to make sure that I don’t only achieve that goal, I DOMINATE that goal.

In order to get ready for my race I decided to treat myself and get a deep tissue sports massage today! I am still experiencing pain in both of my IT bands & quads. This is leading to even more anxiety and stress just thinking I won’t be able to cross that finish line (for those of you who don’t know, running races is 100% mental strength). I just knew I needed a way to help myself both physically but most importantly mentally.

“I’ll know once I get my hands on you” was the way our conversation started. Um, OK? Instant second hand awkwardness came my way. Michael specializes in sports massages. I was so excited to see him, tell him my ailments & let him work his magic. I have to admit, being a young female & having a male work on you started off slightly uncomfortable. I had a hard time relaxing. Well, I did not have a choice for very long as I was forced to relax as he pushed into every nook and cranny in my lower back, bum, and legs. It was that “hurt so good” feeling. He talked me through all of my pains & why I may be experiencing certain pains in different areas of my body.

This massage was not only a relief for my body, it was a relief for my mind. Knowing that he was able to work some magic on my tight muscles instantly put me at ease. I left there with a clear mind knowing that I took one more step towards helping myself cross that finish line.

PLEASE send good running vibes my way. I’ll be giving my legs a nightly pep talk from now until October 5th. Until then, I’ll be soaking in Epsom salt baths, heating my legs, popping Aleve & drinking water like it’s a pumpkin beer.

xo. P

The Importance Of Listening To Your Body

I’m officially less than two weeks away from my half marathon. If I said I wasn’t nervous, I would be lying. I kind of can’t believe I am this close to a goal that I have worked so hard for, and nearly dreamed about. I set this goal for myself about a year ago when I signed up and I started training heavily just about 4 months ago. In just two weeks, I will prove to myself that I can run 13.1 miles…it excites me!

But, here I am, two weeks out & injured.

I woke up last Saturday refreshed. I may have been mentally exhausted from a long week at work and a late night dinner date on Friday, but I felt refreshed in the sense that all my muscles felt really GOOD. So, I set off for my typical route down Beacon St to the Charles River. I had the goal of running 10 miles that morning & decided this would be my last double-digit run. It was a gorgeous fall morning, a little brisk, but perfect. I was running along the Charles when I had to stop at a red light. At that moment, I realized my right leg was in the most pain it had ever been in. I was confused & instantly upset. At this point, I was on mile 6… 4 miles short of my run goal. I decided to continue walking, hoping maybe it would shake out. I even stopped to stretch it out. Nothing worked. I thought about running through it, I needed to finish 10 miles, I NEEDED to. I thought about walking the rest of my route to at least get the mileage in on my muscles. All bad ideas.

What did I do? I turned around. I swallowed my pride and turned around. I walked to nearest T stop & took the T home. This was a painful walk physically and emotionally. I was beyond upset that I was unable to complete my long run goal. I was also visibly upset because I was in pain. A lot of pain.

This may have been one of the most difficult things I have ever encountered in my training program. When I set my mind to mileage goal for a long run, I stuck to it. I made sure to tell some family and friends of my weekly long run goal in order to hold myself accountable. I never ran short of my long run goal until this past Saturday.

Despite the fact this may have been the most difficult decision, it was the BEST decision. It is very important to listen to your body when training for a fitness goal. You MUST listen to your body. If your muscles are screaming at you in a bad “ow this hurts” way, stop. You do not want to overwork your body and end up injured. My injury is due to being overworked. I kicked myself into high gear the past few weeks with some taxing long runs & I neglected to properly foam roll after a few of these runs. I don’t want to blame myself for this, I can’t blame myself for this. Your body is only capable of so much and when you push its limits, it gets mad at you. My body got mad at me.

I will be taking the next few weeks VERY easy. I will be taking one Aleve with breakfast & one Aleve with dinner to help with inflammation. I will be foam rolling every morning & every night. I will NOT run more than 4 miles at once. I will be heating my quads before every walk/run/spinning class & icing them after every walk/run/spinning class. I will apply Salonpas adhesives to both quads every night for the next two weeks.

I will recover and I will run this half marathon.

Listen to your body. If you feel pain, your body is trying to tell you something. Listen to it.

xo. P