Race Report: Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI 2017

Race Report: Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI 2017I was just going through my 2017 posts to put together my annual “top posts” post and I realized I never posted my race report from the biggest race of my life! WHAT??? I must have gotten distracted with the 900 changes that were going on in my life when I returned from Hawaii at the end of October.

I just wanted to send an extra shout out to my bf, Matt, who miraculously got me a hotel room near the race start the night before and after the race to make my life easier, my gf, Ashley, who turned her Hawaiian vaca into helping me have a successful pre-race week.

All the insanely generous peeps who contributed to my www.gofundme.com/kirtokona campaign, and everyone who took time out of their own busy lives to track me, text me, send me good vibes, and share their love and support with me through social media.

Anyhoo…here it is…

Without the never-ending love and support I get from those around me, I would have never had the amazing race and experience I did in Kona.

I am forever grateful!

Thanks for being part of my life!

To watch any of my other race reports…

www.youtube.com/fitnessdivakir

See you soon!

My Top 11 Blog Posts from 2017

Top Blog Posts From 2017The reason I started my blog about 3 ½ years ago was to share my life experiences and hope that they would help others going through the same stuff. The reason my blog is all about food, fitness, finance, and fun in your 40s is because those are the 4 issues in my own life I struggle with the most. I know there have got to be others like me out there, so I am putting my life out there in hopes of connecting with other like me. We are not alone!

My favorite part about sharing is when I get a message from someone saying how much they appreciate what I wrote because it helped them in some way. My mission in life is to inspire others to be better just by being myself. This is how I can do that!

So THANK YOU for loving me for ME and not because I have accomplished something or did something amazing, but because I am human and flawed and need love and connection as we all do!

I was reminiscing about 2017 and looking through my posts from the past year. I wanted to share with you my top 11 of the year. The reason they are my faves is because they are the ones that gave me the most response from others that they appreciated the post. And the reason there are 11 is because 11 is my favorite number!!

So without further ado…

MY TOP 11 POSTS FROM 2017…

Transition to a Plant-Based Diet with Ease
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/transition-to-a-plant-based-diet-with-ease/

Daily Dose of Hope
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/daily-dose-of-hope/

Baby Steps: Love Yourself More
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/baby-steps-love-yourself-more/

Homework: Plan Ahead For Success
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/homework-plan-ahead-for-success-myfitnesspal/

My Friends ROCK!
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/my-friends-rock-sending-kir-to-kona/

Race Report: 2017 Ironman Boulder
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/race-report-2017-ironman-boulder/

One Day At A Time
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/finance/one-day-at-a-time/

Homework: Share Your Story
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fun/homework-share-your-story/

Suck It Cosmo!
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fun/suck-it-cosmo/

Haters Gonna Hate
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/business/haters-gonna-hate/

Homework: Let It Go
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fun/homework-let-it-go/

Thanks for being a part of my amazing life!!

I hope you decide to make 2018 your best year EVER!!!

Stay in touch!

www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/newsletter

See you soon!

My Next Big Adventure!

My Next Big AdventureI tend to set big goals and work towards accomplishing giant feats. And since I have gotten in the habit of announcing all my goals and dreams and plans to the world, when I get done with one thing, people always ask me what’s next!

I usually have a plan and a plan after that plan! But last year after my 2 year goal of qualifying for and racing the ironman world championships in Kona, Hawaii, I didn’t have a plan.

I had no idea what was next for me. Throughout 2017, my year of transition and change, when people would ask where I was going to live or what I was going to do for money and other “easy” questions, I didn’t have an answer. Instead I would say time and time again, “I’m open to what is next for me.”

And I was.

I didn’t make many plans or set many goals throughout the year. I took one day at a time, one moment at a time, and learned to live in the moment and be grateful for where I was right then and there.

It felt uncomfortable at first, but over time, I truly began to be open to what was next for me. I took advantage of every opportunity that was presented to me, even if I had no idea where it would go or what it would do for my future.

And by the end of the year, when people would ask me what was next, I could say with 100 percent certainty that I was open to whatever was next for me. I would take on whatever was presented to me, and make the very best of it, knowing that that was where I was supposed to be in my life.

So although I was very VERY surprised, I was not scared, when I found out six weeks ago that I was going to have a baby.

I stated over and over again that I was open to what was next for me in my life, and this is what the universe gave to me.

As a 45-year-old, who was not trying to get pregnant, who had been on birth control the majority of my adult life, and rarely had a period to begin with, the chances of me getting pregnant were less than one percent. So I know this baby really really REALLY wanted me to be her mother.

So that’s it! That’s my new adventure for 2018. I feel excited for this new chapter of my life, and I know without a doubt this is where I am supposed to be right now and this is what I am meant to be doing.

P. S. It’s a girl!

Come along for the ride…
www.Facebook.com/FoodFitnessFinanceFun

And stay connected…
www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/Newsletter

See you SOON!

My Fave Vegan Cheeses

My Favorite Vegan CheesesThe number one reason people tell me they could never be vegan is because they could never give up cheese. I get it! It took me months to give up milk and eggs, but literally years to give up cheese.

I’m not an expert on the science, but I do know there are ingredients in cheese that act as opiates, which are highly addictive. So basically, it’s not our fault we can’t kick the cheese habit! BUT! If you have a strong enough reason to give it up, going “cold turkey” is the only way to kick the addiction.

Here are the 2 reasons I wanted to give up cheese:

Health:

Cheese is highly inflammatory. As an endurance athlete, I create so much inflammation in my body already, I don’t need the added joint and muscle inflammation. To compete at a high level, I need to recovery quickly from each workout, and inflammation delays that recovery.

Animals:

I used to think dairy wasn’t cruel treatment of animals because I just figured “cows needed to be milked”. The more I learned about the dairy industry, the more I was repelled about the practices of most dairy farms, and didn’t want to contribute to the abuse of animals anymore.

Once you have decided you want to give up cheese, you are on your way. Unfortunately, it’s not easy! Fortunately it is easier for you NOW than it was for me 10 years ago!

WHY? Because non-dairy cheese subs are 1,000,000 times better than they were even a year ago!!! They are healthier, have much better consistency, and many even taste like cheese!

I have tried pretty much ALL non-dairy cheeses, here are my 3 faves…

Slices:

I am a grilled cheese fanatic! For my grilled cheese I need a cheese that melts well and tastes like “American”, “Cheddar”, or “Provolone”. Follow Your Heart brand slices have all 3. I love the flavors, consistency, and meltability of all their slices. These aren’t in most grocery stores, but are in most health food stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts.

Shreds:

For meals like pizza, lasagna, and enchiladas, I like to use shreds since I’m pretty lazy and don’t even own a shredder. My fave shrerdded “cheese” is So Delicious brand “Mozzarella” and “Cheddar Jack”. These melt easily, taste great, and are stringy and gooey like real cheese! These are newer and harder to find. The So Delicious website has a store locator for you. I found them at Whole Foods.

Blocks:

This was the biggie for me. For years during my quest to give up cheese, I was fine with the slices and shredded options, but couldn’t find a block with the flavor AND consistency that I loved about cheese. So every once in a while I caved and chowed a block of cheese.

Along came Follow Your Heart Blocks and I was FINALLY able to give up cheese 100%. I love the consistency (hardness) and flavor (mozzarella and provolone are my faves). I can cut up pieces to have on crackers or just unwrap and take a bite directly out of the block with 100% satisfaction! You can find these at any health food store and Follow Your Heart has a store locator on their website as well.

I hope these are helpful! It took me years to find cheese alternatives that were good enough to help me give up the real thing, but once I found these, the rest was history! I haven’t eaten cheese in 3 years and don’t miss it AT ALL!!!

To be a part of our Plant Powered Community…
https://www.facebook.com/groups/plantpoweredforlife

To get a weekly easy vegan recipe in your inbox…
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Or text FFFF to 22828

Enjoy your new “cheese”!!

See you soon!

Why I Love Native Foods Cafe

Why I Love Native Foods CafeWhen I was in Hawaii last year, I met a fellow vegan, who is also from Boulder, and we started talking about our favorite vegan restaurants in Boulder.

I told her that I loved Native Foods Café, which is a chain restaurant that mostly serves “fake” meat meals such as hamburgers, steak sandwiches, meatball subs, Rubens, chicken salads, and stuff like that.

She told me that she hated Native Foods because it’s just a bunch of fake meat and not a real vegan restaurant.

I completely disagree. And here’s why…

1. I love Native Foods because I can take anyone there with me whether they are vegan or not, and they will have a positive experience, a delicious meal eating plant-based food. This is really important to me because I am passionate about being vegan for the animals, the environment, and my health, and I want to share and spread that message will all the peeps I love in my life.

2. I would love as many people as possible out there to be eating more plants and less animals. I think the world would be a more compassionate peaceful place if more people ate more plants.

3. The majority of people who are giving up meat and dairy are not ready to eat a dish like lentils and Bulger.

4. Most people already love nachos and mac and cheese. I feel like we are going to get more people to consider the plant-based lifestyle, when it easily fits in with their current lifestyle, believes, and way of living. And what’s already comfortable for them.

So are chicken wings made of tofu the healthiest vegan option? Probably not. But the average person would much rather eat vegan chicken wings than blocks of tofu mixed in a kale salad or something similar, which is what many vegan restaurants serve.

Plus, it’s always fun for me every once in a while to have a giant plate of nachos or a buffalo chicken salad with ranch or something fun that I’m not used to having or that I won’t make it home.

So I’m all for these “transitional vegan” restaurants such as Native Foods Café. I think they play an important role in introducing the plant-based vegan lifestyle to people who typically wouldn’t even consider eating this way.

What are your favorite vegan restaurants??

If you want support in your plant-powered lifestyle, join our community here…
https://www.facebook.com/groups/plantpoweredforlife

Or get easy vegan recipes in my weekly newsletter here…
http://www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/Newsletter

See you soon!

My Word For 2018: Trust

My Word For 2018: TrustEvery year I choose a word that will help guide me through the upcoming year. This year I chose “trust” as my word, or it chose me!

Last year I learned to be open to change, the unknown, and what was next for me. In the process I have become a more flexible and malleable human, which in my opinion is one of the great characteristics of success. I am learning to adapt to change and “go with the flow”, which is something I had never been good at in the past.

With my new found adaptability in life and comfortability with change, my next step is to trust what will come next. Trust that I am working toward where I will be going to next. Trust that the universe will provide for me. And trust that I am on the path I am meant to be on.

One of the things I have struggled with in the past is letting go of an outcome. In the past, I have typically only done actions and activities that move me toward an outcome I am sure of, or that I have more control over. It always felt good to be in charge of my life and create what I want, but it is also exhausting to constantly be pushing toward something. And devastating when all my hard work, time, and energy doesn’t end in the result I was hoping for.

In my year of trust, I am looking forward to letting go, learning to follow my intuition, listening to my body, heart, and soul, and seeing what becomes of me and my delicious life.

Part of trusting is knowing that everything happens for a reason and that it will all be ok in the end.

Just thinking about it makes me uncomfortable still, but I know with time and practice and patience and forgiveness when I screw up, it will soon be a part of who I am, like change and flexibility now are.

I encourage you to pick a word for YOUR 2018. Something that will guide you into the next phase of your life. A word that helps you become the best version of yourself. An idea or concept that will ultimately bring you peace and happiness and unconditional self-love.

And have the best 2018 EVER!!

I would love to know what your word is this year!

Join our supportive community…
www.Facebook.com/FoodFitnessFinanceFun

And our GRATITUDE group…
www.facebook.com/groups/iHeartGratitude

See you soon!

Focus With Your Word of the Year

Focus On Your Word Of The YearEach year I pick a word that encompasses what I am working on in my life and want to accomplish in the following year. I don’t try hard to find a word, I wait for one to choose me. I reflect on the past year, think about the upcoming year, and then meditate on how I can be the best possible version of myself.

I always want to be taking baby steps toward my ideal life, so my word helps me stay focused and reminds me of my priorities.

Last year my word was SIMPLICITY. I spent time in 2013 getting rid of physical stuff when we got rid of everything and moved into the RV. I spent 2014 simplifying my businesses, debt, and finances. And then I spent 2016 working on my time management and making space in my life for the things that were most important to me.

In 2017, I wanted to simplify even further, working toward resolving some of my complex emotions and cleaning up my mental garbage I had been clinging to for too long. I wanted to create more space in my life, more systems to make my lifestyle goals work, and make a life I could feel at ease with.

I had no idea how this would all matriculate, only that I was craving more simplicity in my life.

Throughout the year, when I was feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I would remember my word and see what I could get rid of. Even when I was living pretty much out of my car, I would always find something to get rid of.

Sometimes it was material things, sometimes de-cluttering my lists, sometimes deleting files from my computer, and sometimes just saying “no” to opportunities, people, and activities, which isn’t always easy!!

By the end of the year, I had made room for whatever was next to come for me and my life. I enjoy seeing space on my calendar and like to over-plan the time each activity will take me during my day. It’s relieved stress, anxiety, and over-whelm which causes me to over-eat and under-sleep. So a total upward spiral!

Focusing on this one word helped me in all areas of my life throughout 2017. I still have some work to do (as always) and still would like to create more systems in my businesses and life to simplify even further, but I’m constantly a work in progress and I know it will come.

I’m excited to see what comes of my 2018 year of “trust”.

What is your word?

What is a word that encompasses not only what you are working toward in your life, but also what you want right now?

What would help give you peace of mind?

What would help you love yourself and your life more?

What would help fill what is missing from your life?

What is something you have always wanted but were afraid to go for?

If you haven’t put any thought into any of these questions, take some time over the next few days in silence or mediation or before you go to sleep at night or in your car before work when you have a few minutes to yourself, and consider picking a word for yourself for 2018.

I would love to hear your word for 2018.

Join and share in our community…

www.facebook.com/FoodFitnessFinanceFun

Here’s to the best year EVER!

See you soon!

Time Management For Dummies

Time Management For DummiesIf you are like me, you have a hard time getting everything you want done in a day, week, month, year! In fact, it’s not even a “hard time” it’s more like IMPOSSIBLE!

I get frustrated because there is so much I want to do in my lifetime, and try as I might, I can’t seem to find a way to add hours to my 24 hour day. And unfortunately for me, my body needs tons of sleep to function properly, so giving up sleep to get more done is counter-productive for me. Boo!

Since I can’t find extra hours, I have learned a way to make the most of the time I do have, and I have developed a simple monthly process I use to fit in as much as I possibly can. Like anything, it takes practice to get this down, but after a couple months, this will be a quick, easy, painless, and mega beneficial process to help you make the most of the time you have.

Here’s what to do…

  1. Make a list all the goals or things you want to accomplish for the following month
  2. For each goal, list all the activities it will take to reach that goal
  3. Schedule first all the time sensitive activities into your calendar
  4. Schedule second all the highest priority activities into your calendar
  5. Fill in the remainder of your calendar with the other activities
  6. If you have way too many activities and not enough time, go back to your goals and rank them on importance
  7. Repeat until you can schedule all your activities into your calendar

If you still can’t fit everything in, you need to make some decisions about what is most important to you.

Unfortunately we all only have so much time and typically have way more things we want to add into our lives. Is there something you can take out that you don’t love? That isn’t serving you anymore?

PRACTICE! Like anything this takes practice! It may be months before you can actually get everything you want into your schedule!

Be patient and forgiving. You WILL mess up! It WILL be frustrating! It’s OK! Stick with the process and the results will come!

This is a great time of year to start working on this to make it a habit. I love when we have a new month AND a new year to start working toward creating our life instead of letting our life just “happen”.

Please reach out if you want help with this process. I have helped hundreds of people with this over the years.
We are all in this together! It’s not easy, but it’s worth it! email me!

See you soon!

Winter Fun For Triathletes

Winter Fun For TriathletesAs an triathlete, it’s important to have an “off-season”.

This is a time where you forgo your structured training for a period of time, get caught up on all the work, family, household, business, vacations, chores you half-assed during your season, and restore a little balance in your life.

Most triathletes can do this very well…for about a week! And then we want to go back to the scheduled, rigorous training we did all season. Which is NOT a good idea. Without taking time off, most athletes can get burned out, over train, or worse, injured.

In Colorado we can’t compete year round in triathlon without traveling to warmer, drier climates, so for most Coloradans, our off-season is the Winter months.

But don’t let Winter get you down! There are a ton of fun things we can do to give our minds and bodies a break while still challenging ourselves in our sport.

Winter Fun - Cycle CrossCyclocross:

Cyclocross is sport that is a cross between mountain biking, obstacle course racing, and cross-country running. The bike courses combine riding on pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills with obstacles that require the rider to dismount, carry the bike, and remount often.

Cyclocross is very hard and will help with sprinting, bike handling, and maxing out your heart rate. They do make cyclocross specific bikes, but as a beginner, you could use a mountain bike. I am actually trying this out for the first time this year and have my first race THIS weekend! YIKES!

Swim Meets:

Masters Swim Meets are a fun way to challenge yourself while becoming a better swimmer. Since you already swim as a triathlete, you don’t need to get any new equipment. Learning all 4 strokes will help your technique and feel for the water. Swimming in a Masters meet is low key and anyone can join.

You’ll find all levels from past Olympians to those who need to rest for a breath at each turn. And as an adult you can swim as short as a 50 yard race! It’s harder than it sounds!

Road Running Races:

In Colorado, there is a 5K pretty much every weekend throughout the year. You can also find several 10Ks and half marathons each month, as well as at least one marathon each month.

This is a great time to work on speed since your legs won’t be as tired from your bike miles you put on while triathlon training. If you want to move up to the next distance in triathlon, incorporating longer runs is a great off-season goal.

Strength Training, Core Work, Yoga, Meditation:

All the important components that make up a well-rounded athlete that we tend to minimize or skip all together during our season because let’s face it, we all only have 24 hours in a day!

Get back to the basics. Make these activities a habit now so that when you start adding back in your swim, bike, and run next season, you can continue to practice them. You may not be able to spend the same amount of time on them as you do during your off-season, but you can find ways to incorporate them in smaller increments throughout your training week. I am actually doing a yoga streak this month!

Plan Next Season:

This is my favorite off-season activities. Set goals, choose your races and prioritize them. Register for as many as you can and for the ones that aren’t open yet or you don’t have money for, put them on a list in order of importance with the registration opening date and price and put the list where you can see it daily. Post your goals and tell a trusted friend or two to keep you motivated throughout the winter.

Hope your Winter is super duper fun and you come back next season refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to ROCK!!!

Stay in touch!
www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com

If you want help planning your season, reach out! I LOVE PLANNING!

See you soon!
Brrrrrr!!!

Surviving the Holiday Feeding Frenzy

Surviving The Holiday Feeding FrenzyIt’s that time of year again when many of us throw our nutrition and exercise plans out the window!

And we all know the result…an extra 5 or 10 pounds and a major panic attack in January. For those of you under the age of 30, that New Year’s Resolution of yours will take care of things. For those of us over 40, it’s a little more complicated.

What to do? Here are some tips on enjoying good holiday food without packing on the pounds…

1. Practice mindful eating

One of the best things you can ever do for yourself is to learn how to eat mindfully. With roots in Buddhist teachings, mindful eating means paying close attention to the taste, texture, and “mouthfeel” of every bite you take – of slowing down and savoring every single bite.

Mindful eating also means paying attention to internal cues for hunger and satiety and heeding those cues as often as possible. Studies show that mindless eating almost always results in excess calories.

Here are a couple of excellent articles on mindful eating:

2. Stay active

Weight gain can occur with as little as 100 extra calories a day but working out can keep that from happening fairly easily.

I usually plan a longer workout the days before or after a big event to balance the extra calories I consumed. Exercise can also help you manage stress which is likely to come in handy during this time of year.

Here are a couple ways to make exercise fun and easy:

3. Eat regular meals

Many people skip breakfast thinking they are saving a few hundred calories but this practice is ineffective in promoting weight loss. In fact, studies show that people who skip meals frequently are almost always overweight.

By eating regular meals you are much less likely to overeat at parties or when surrounded with yummy holiday food. Sit down and have a balanced meal three times a day; don’t eat in the car or in front of the TV. Have a small snack before going to parties or gatherings where you know there will be lots of food.

I always drink my Shakeology for breakfast so even on the days when the rest of my meals aren’t as healthy, I at least got one great meal in for the day!

Here is how I keep my holiday eating in check:

4. Modify holiday recipes

Many cookie recipes can easily be made with less fat or a fat substitute, like canned pumpkin or applesauce. I have been experimenting with making recipes vegan and so far they have all tasted AMAZING!

Many recipes, you can easily shave a few hundred calories off of each meal without noticing any difference in taste or texture.

I have lots of modified recipes in my weekly newsletter!

5. Don’t drink your calories

One of the easiest ways to gain weight is to drink excess alcohol, soda, or any kind of sweetened drink. Even fruit juice has a fair number of calories and should be consumed in moderation. Choose sparkling water or a natural low calorie beverage when possible.

Most of all, remember what the holidays are all about…being with friends and family. You can enjoy your Holidays and Year End Celebrations without loading up on fat, sugar, and alcohol!
If you want any support or accountability, I have ongoing online support groups for health, fitness, and weight loss!

Join our community…

And love yourself enough to live a healthy life!

Happy Holidays!

See you soon!