Monday, April 27, 2015


Hello, friends! Guess who spent the weekend together, after two long years apart????

That's right! Natasha and Becky were reunited in good ol' sunny California! Only... it wasn't so sunny. Not at all. When Natasha and I started planning for her visit a few weeks ago, we had planned to so many active adventures to talk about in this blog. We were going to hike to the Hollywood sign! We were going to spin with Soul Cycle! We were going to obliterate our 10k/day walking goals! Or.... so we thought.

Sadly... a cold front moved in and our hiking dreams moved out. Despite the worst drought in hundreds of years and seemingly endless sunshine for weeks prior to Natasha's visit, it rained almost nonstop once Natasha arrived. I'm not complaining - we need the rain desperately, and it was nice to get the cold spell after an unseasonably warm spring. BUT... did it have to come the one weekend Natasha was visiting? UGH! We did make it to the Hollywood sign, but intermittent rain made planning for the hike difficult. We decided to scrap our plans, and headed to The Getty instead.

The Getty is a great place to visit if you're ever in Los Angeles. It's a gorgeous museum full of renown antiquities, art, and gardens - and it's free! Visitors are greeted with an amazing view of the city... and a challenge to mimic the Muse Pose. This simple pose is more difficult than it looks - I was surprised at the ab and leg strength it took to hold the pose just so! And it takes a lot of humility to try it... I couldn't keep my composure very long with tourists standing behind Natasha taking pics while she was taking mine. Hilarious! Beyond its beauty, The Getty is a great leisurely workout too! Located on 24 acres, The Getty gives you a bunch of opportunities to get your steps in. Whether you elect to hike up and down the 26 stories of staircases between exhibits, stroll the 134,000 square foot central garden, or hike your way up the 800' ascent from the parking lot to the center itself... you definitely don't have to be lazy when visiting The Getty. I logged over 11,000 steps during our two hour visit myself! Woohoo! Want more of a challenge? Check out this blogger's recommended Getty Challenge (I'll have to remember this for a future visit... haha!).

Saturday was another rainy day, and we almost opted to stay home and watch movies. I really didn't want to spend my day on the couch, however, and recommended that we go hike the Trail of 100 Giants in Sequoia National Forest instead. The Trail of 100 Giants is not a challenging hike - it covers just over 1/2 a mile (unless you add in the Fallen Tree Loop, which brings you up to approx. one mile), and is a fairly easy 6% grade. It's perfect for strolling, and is very accessible for those with disabilities. If you're not used to the altitude (just over 6500'), you may want to take it a little slow as the air is definitely thinner up there.

The weather was not working with us at all. We discovered that the temperature had fallen to just over 40 degrees (vs 65 in the valley) when we arrived, and it rained intermittently throughout our visit. That said, the sight is truly amazing and well worth the bad weather. We took the long route, and took our time enjoying the view and the smell of the forest. No sense in wasting a perfectly good hike due to inclement weather!

Despite the rain, we still burned a respectable 300 calories during our leisurely stroll through the meadow. I would like to go back in warmer weather and climb higher/farther with my dog, but that will have to wait for another day. All in all, I logged in approximately 12,000 steps on our second day of vacation. Ever the fitness beast, Natasha earned around the same plus she went for a morning jog bringing her steps closer to 20K. She really is a fitness inspiration y'all!

On Natasha's final day, we booked tickets and traveled to Santa Clarita to have some fun at Magic Mountain. I had always wanted to go, so I was pretty psyched to make the journey. We stuck to roller coasters all day, which I think was a good choice. (PS - the scariest ride all day was the Green Lantern, in my opinion - it looked so harmless! I was so wrong!) From an exercise perspective, our poor planning resulted in an accidental fitness victory. During our 5 hour visit, I logged just over 16,000 steps! My only regret was not finding the healthy food options earlier - I settled for a kids meal at Johnny Rockets, which blew me away. Had I consumed the entire meal, I would have consumed over 1,200 calories! And we feed kids this?! Luckily, I had the foresight to look everything up and chose what I ate carefully. So crazy!

So... my goal of having a fit staycation with Natasha was not meant to be. I didn't make it to the gym once during her visit (even though she managed to run 3-4 miles/day - beast!!!), but I was pretty happy that I logged the steps that I did. I also maintained my strength training, although I had to modify my normal routine to a bodyweight routine since I didn't have my weights or my kettlebell. We both could have eaten better during her stay, but my calorie consumption wasn't too out of control (I averaged only 100 calories over my 1,350 calorie goal all weekend - frankly, I did worse today after she left). All in all, it was a pretty fun and healthy-ish weekend. I only hope Natasha enjoyed her sun-less California adventure too!

Natasha arrived back home in DC this evening, so I guess the visit truly is over. Back to reality! I enjoyed having her visit, and showing her some of my favorite places in California. We ate well, saw a lot of fun places, did a lot of fun things, and got to catch up and talk in person for once. Watching her run every day has really encouraged me to get back at it and try and do the same! Guess we'll see how it goes. Hope you all had a great weekend too!


Becky (and Natasha too!)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Guest Post: Rachel's Story

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." - Lao Tzu

My youngest sister, Rachel, is just over 9 years younger than me. She's one of my favorite people in the entire world! Last year, she decided to make a concentrated effort to lose weight and become fit and healthy. Since beginning this journey, she has lost nearly 100 pounds! I'm crazy proud of her, and knew that others would enjoy hearing her story. So, without further adieu... introducing Rachel!


Hi guys. I'm Rachel. I just turned 26 in February, and am the proud mom of a 6 year old little girl and a 2 year old boy. As long as I can remember, I have always been chubby. I was even chubby as a baby. This made me feel like quite the ugly duckling growing up - I have always been so insecure about my appearance. 

Until recently, I have always tried to cover up. I literally wore sweaters every single day (even in the summer). As a teenager, I remember being so jealous because all of my friends were wearing stylish, cute jeans while I was stuck with unflattering, elastic waisted pants.  I felt like I would never be as pretty as them, and it had a huge impact on my self esteem. I became depressed.

I made several attempts to lose weight through the years. I would lose weight, but I would quit before I saw any real results. My diet was awful and I never exercised. I have a big sweet tooth, so I was always eating fat cakes (like Little Debbies), and would easily go through a 12-pack of soda in a day. My activity level was nonexistent - I would play board games and make crafts, but I never really left the house and never exercised. 

I was really sick of feeling like an ugly duckling. My weight made me feel like I was never pretty enough or good enough. I blamed my appearance as the reason for most of my failed relationships (which was an easy thing to do when two ex-boyfriends denied dating me). In June 2013, I decided enough was enough and I started making changes to my diet. I cut all soda from my diet, replacing it with water. The weight began to fall off, and people took notice. 

By March 2014, I knew I'd have to start exercising if I wanted to see even more progress. This wasn't easy. As I said before, I felt insecure and didn't like to leave the house so I used my tax return to purchase a Wii Fitness package to help me to work out at home. It was honestly the best motivation for me - it allowed me to start off slow and at a pace I was comfortable with. After just one month, I started to see progress! The picture on the left above was from April 2014.  A lot of people could tell how much weight I lost, which motivated me to continue. Eventually, the Wii Fitness program was too slow for me so I started doing my own thing at home, leading me to where I am now. A year later, and I'm down almost 100 pounds!

My kids inspire me to continue. They see me working out and join in. I am so blessed to have so many people cheering me on. Both of my sisters say that I inspired their own fitness journeys, and I'm so proud of that. I know that this is my life now, and I know that I will continue. And for those of you just starting your own fitness journeys? Don't give up. Remember that it takes 4 weeks for you to see your body changing, it takes 8 weeks for your friends and family to see it, and it takes 12 weeks for the rest of the world to notice. Keep going! Consistency is key - it takes 21 days to form a habit, and once that forms, it becomes a lot easier to continue. Best of luck!


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Here I Go Again

Natasha and I had great intentions when we decided to create this blog earlier this year. We had hoped that blogging would help us motivate ourselves (and motivate each other) to stick with it... to keep up with goals we had each set for ourselves at the beginning of the year. As you can tell, neither of us have kept up with the blog so far. And despite the optimism I presented in my last blog post, my dedication has significantly waned.

In my last post, I mentioned that I had recently fallen back on bad work habits. I have a tendency to do this. I want to make others happy and I don't like to burden anyone, so I take on more than I should. That said, I promised to be better. I promised to say no, and I promised to only take on what I could. And I failed. Miserably. March became a month of too much. I worked too much overtime, repeatedly staying past "lights out." I took on too many projects. I committed to too many things. Yet... the things that I should have committed more to? The things that I was hellbent on changing this year? The things that Natasha and I are blogging about in this blog? Yeah... those things I didn't pay much attention to at all. And I've been miserable, sad, tired, and angry. 

What the hell, man?!? Why is it that I'm able to forgo a social life, forgo a healthy lifestyle, and overly commit to work when I seemingly can't (read: won't) commit to something better? To things I am actually passionate about? Am I a masochist? Do I really derive some sort of pleasure from avoiding things that I enjoy?

About a week ago, I met someone who has completely dedicated their life to fitness. He lives and breathes it, and spends his free time helping others do the same. Talking to him and hearing the passion he has for the gym reminded me how much I really do love working out. I know, I know... a chubster like me with an affinity for cupcakes surely can't be serious. And a chubster like me surely is a chubster because I don't like working out... right? But... I love pushing my body to do things that I didn't think chubster non-athletes could accomplish. I love the feel of sweat on my brow. I enjoy watching my heart rate climb in parallel with the incline on the treadmill. Will I ever look like my new friend or his friends? No. Is that ok? Hellz yes! 

I make many promises to myself, and rarely keep them. A healthy person does not do healthy things as a fad - they choose to make their health a lifestyle. And yes - I said choose. We do not have to settle for mediocrity. We do not have to settle for unhealthy lifestyles that make us tired, sick, and depressed. So why do we do it? Why do we let ourselves fall to such dangerous and unhealthy habits? Why does anyone do things that don't promote a happier self?

I have many, many goals for the remainder of 2015. Some of these goals align with this blog, some don't. But... in an effort to be a happier, healthier Becks... I'm going to put a concerted effort into each and every one of them. I don't want this blog to be a cliche, rife with broken promises and unrealized dreams. I'm 35 freaking years old, dang it... Life is short, and it passes by quickly. I don't want to blink and miss it! Here's hoping I have a new blog post soon to update you on my progress. (And for the one reader who actively tells me to keep this up... thank you! This week's workouts are for you, my friend!).