Relaxation

It’s almost that time of the semester when midterms are bogging us down. Instead of stressing out and putting my body into a frenzy, I decided to take time for me! One of my favorite ways to relax is taking a nice hot shower and using a refreshing face mask.

After I was done with my face mask, I still didn’t feel totally relaxed… so I found the perfect bedtime yoga video! Boho Beautiful is now my favorite Youtube channel because they have so many awesome videos about yoga, exercise, health and nutrition.

~stress free~

– Liz

Review – Don’t Make Me Think

After reading “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug, the title is truly fitting. An overall concept in the book is making websites user friendly, therefore by not making the users think as much as they should have to. In order to have a good website you first need to start with that principle and base everything off of that. Things that can make a website easier to navigate are colored links different than the rest of the text on the page, headers, buttons that are easy to read and understand, as well as other grouping organizational methods.

By not having to “think” as the reader, Krug also points out the importance of usability. The website should be able to be navigated by a person of “average” ability for its purpose and not cause the user to get “frustrated”.

“Self-evident” and “self explanatory” are also other concepts that Krug puts importance on. For a website to be successful and useful it should be self-evident and self explanatory, which goes along with its usability. It should be easy to use and easy to understand.

It is very important to make sure the user can “scan” the website and find what they are looking for. Because most people don’t take a great amount of time reading a website, it is recommended by Krug to design a website page like a billboard. Keep the same design throughout the pages, keep things in groups, keep areas defined and clear, and keep things clean.

Going along with this idea of keeping things to the point for optimal user scanning, good websites do not have unnecessary text. When a page has too many words, it can cause the user to be leery of reading the page or article and leave the website. If a user can’t find what they are looking for easily, like a keyword for example, they will also leave the website. A good website should be useful to the reader and should make the reader want to visit because of its accessibility.

A user also should not have to use an excess amount of clicks to find what they are looking for. They can not see how large a website is from the home page, so it is a better idea to keep buttons and links clarified and available so that users can get optimal accessibility.

I think reading this book while beginning a blog is a great idea. It is important to organize your pages and words from the start so that the whole site can have a cohesive feeling. This cohesiveness causes a feeling or organization and ease when looking at a site. For me, it was helpful to learn this information and get tips in order to make my blog more visually  pleasing and more easily navigated.

Not only is the visual cohesion important, but also the style in which you write. I think that by keeping things neat and to the point, you avoid excess material that is not important to the user and is practically a waste of time for both the writer and the reader.

 

Fresh Air

My favorite way to enjoy the outdoors is by playing golf. Many people think that golf is not a great source of exercise, but it definitely is when you opt out of riding in a cart and walk 18 holes. Most golf courses are over 6000 yards. That’s a pretty far walk!

In my bag, I always make sure I pack plenty of water and healthy snacks. My favorite things to eat while playing are carrot sticks or bananas. It is important to stay hydrated and energized on the course so your physical and mental game can be the best they can be.

When I am home, I love to play golf with my dad. Thankfully at school there are some great deals to play golf for students. At the Mark Bostic UF course they have awesome student rates to play the course and after 3 P.M. they have a twilight rate where you can play as much as you want until dark.

Some people may think golf is frustrating, but to me it is a great way to relax and enjoy nature. For me it is a great way to relieve stress and focus on my mental health. Nothing makes me happier than enjoying fresh air and taking in all the beauty that can be found on the golf course!

– Liz

 

Stay Active

Throughout my time at UF, I seem to always find myself struggling to make ‘me’ time. Between studying for the next big exam and creating a vibrant social life, I feel sluggish from time to time. Then I always realize, “I probably need to catch up on my sleep and get back to the gym.”

Its hard to create a routine in college that you can stick to on a daily basis. You may not make it to the gym everyday, so it is good to try to include as much activity in your daily schedule. Here are some of my favorite ways to stay active when I don’t have much time.

Walk! Don’t Ride
One of the easiest ways to burn some extras calories is to walk to class! Wake up a little earlier and skip out on the bus ride to get your heart pumping. Walking to class is also a great way to get a closer look at campus and take in all the beauty. Your calves will thank you.

Take the Stairs
This one goes along with walking to class; pass up the elevator and take the stairs. This is an easy alternative if you don’t have time to spend 30 minutes on the stair – climber at the gym.

Actively Socialize
Instead of sitting at home hanging out with your friends or hitting up the bars, try to plan a fun social activity. These can range anywhere from a trip to the pool for a swim and tanning, a hike through Payne’s Prairie, a fun yoga class, and so much more. This week my boyfriend and I turned date night into an evening at the golf course. We both love to play golf, so we spent the evening hitting balls at a range that stays lit at night.

Home Gym
Exercise in your apartment or dorm if you can’t make it to the gym! Some of my favorite workouts come from my Jillian Michaels’ Get Ripped in 30 DVD that only takes, you guessed it, 30 minutes! Just taking time to stretch in the morning and night can do wonders to keep your head clear and your body feeling good.

Get creative with staying active. Your body and mind will thank you during finals week!

– Liz

img_5516
My friend Jaime and I, freshman year.

Can I Eat That?

img_2150

Pizza. Something I crave almost on a daily basis. Ok maybe not that much, but I DO think about pizza A LOT. Finding out I had PCOS made me think, what can food can I eat that I like that won’t make me balloon up?

To begin, carbs are a big no-no. Our bodies do need some carbs, but the healthier kinds that come from whole grains and vegetables. Processed white breads and pastas contain too many bad carbs and sugars for my body to handle compared to someone with a healthy metabolism. This has to do with the side effect of “insulin resistance”. My body doesn’t process the insulin that I already have efficiently enough for me to eat foods with an excess amount of sugar. Luckily for me, my doctor put me on a medication that I take twice a day to help regulate these sugar levels, but still I rather cut out as much sugar as possible to lose weight and stay healthy!!!

OK – back to pizza. Obviously pizza has its fair share of carbs, so I had to get creative. Pinterest is my life saver and I definitely recommend it to find every type of “carb free” or “low carb” recipe there is. One day when I was searching, I came across a “low carb pizza” recipe. Of course I had to try it! The recipe called for eggs, an egg white, coconut flour, and any additional spices my heart desired. I chose a combination of oregano and an Italian herb mix. Magic! A low carb pizza crust that I could top with whatever I wanted! I topped it with organic, low sugar tomato sauce, organic halved cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. Amazing!

This definitely helped with my on going pizza craving. Although I can’t lie and say this different pizza crust was as good as the classic, it definitely gave me hope for food options that fit my new lifestyle. Here is the pizza recipe that inspired me to think outside of the usual (pizza) box.

– Liz

Maybe Tomorrow

There is only one time during my life I can remember when I was somewhat happy with my weight. That was junior and senior year of high school when I was working out twice a week with a trainer, as well as more on my own, and aspiring to play college golf. That dream later became forgotten as I decided to follow another dream of attending the University of Florida (where I am starting my senior year now). Besides this time of “skinny high school bliss”, I have never liked my body. I wouldn’t say that I look overweight, it’s just hard when you are a 6 foot tall young lady and feel much bigger than all the shorter, tiny girls.

Growing up my family taught me a love for food. My grandmother is from a small town called Douglass in South Georgia, and had to cook since she was a small child. It could be any insignificant day and she would have a reason to cook a huge dinner with all the fixin’s just to show her love for us, make sure we were fed and not hungry. Food equated to love; if something was going wrong or you were down for any reason, food was the answer.

Living this way was like a rollercoaster. I would wake up and say “this is it, today is the day, I finally want to feel happy and healthy again,” but of course some obstacle like a midterm or paper would stress me out and I would turn to good ole reliable; food. “It’s ok, maybe tomorrow will be the day I really kick this. I’ll feel more rested then and can really go to the gym.” I’d reassure myself. This constant cycle was killing me, my confidence, and my ability to focus on what was really important – my health.

This past summer before I began my senior year as a News Telecommunications major/Poli-Sci minor at UF, I went to my doctor to be blood tested for a thyroid condition. Over summer I went to the gym almost everyday, tried to eat healthier on a “buddy system” with my mom, and tried as hard as I could to de-stress as much as possible. Despite my valiant efforts, I was not losing the weight I wanted to. After a week or so, a nurse called and said all my test results came back fairly normal and the doctor had no reason for alarm. Of course I was happy to hear everything was “normal”, but deep down I knew something was wrong. So I went to my OB/GYN for a more in depth look at my hormones.

After a few tests and examinations, my lady doctor was right. She suspected that I had a condition called PCOS. PCOS, short for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, is a “problem in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance” according to webmd.com. Many small cysts may grow on the ovaries, which causes the hormonal imbalances leading to weight gain problems, insulin resistance, acne, infertility, excess facial and body hair, and anxiety. If you ask me that all sounds pretty terrible and at the moment I was devastated. One day it would be harder for me to have kids than other women, I would have to get my eyebrows and lip waxed more than usual, and worst of all I would have to try even harder to lose weight than I already was.

This blog is about my new journey of living a healthy, balanced life with PCOS. The key here is balance. Just because I have a condition that I have to pay special attention to, I will not let that define my life. I am not PCOS. I am a 21 year old girl (almost 22), who loves to have fun with my friends, attend football games, be creative, and enjoy life. While there are many things I should not eat with PCOS, there are many yummy things I can still eat – which I will discuss in later posts. I hope to bring hope to other women with this condition and share my experiences as I am figuring out how to live a healthy life that I love.

– Liz

img_1705