Oh, the places you’ll go!

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August is going to be all about traveling near and far to places I’ve never been before. If you’ve been following the blog from the beginning, you’ll know that I started to get out of my comfort zone when I visited the amazing country of Costa Rica in 2013. I guess you could say I was majorly bitten by the Travel Bug! Luckily, I wasn’t bitten by any of the actual bugs I saw- some moths were the size of birds! Unfortunately, I won’t be traveling out of the United States again for the foreseeable future, but I found a lot of great places in the country to visit to get out of my comfort zone.

San Francisco AKA City by the Bay

A colorful way of getting introduced to San Francisco AKA the City by the Bay.

Continue reading

Getting Uncomfortable: Guest Post by Gina Horkey

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I’ve been so busy working on what I’m writing for next month’s blog posts that I have slacked in July! Luckily, I have the wonderful Gina Horkey, who has been published on The Huffington Post and is the author of The Horkey Handbook, to write a guest post for this month. So far, Learning to be Leigh has been focused on getting out of health and fitness comfort zones and this post is no different. Gina is taking a personal approach to let you all see why it’s so great to expand your comfort zones and be the healthiest and best feeling version of YOU! See how Gina got out of her comfort zone and improved her body and lifestyle: Continue reading

Gluten-free: the bandwagon that you’ll want to jump on.

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In my month of going gluten-free, I have come across many other people who have tried it for multiple reasons. Not a single one of my new gluten-free friends has anything bad to say about their decision and have seen only good things from abstaining from gluten. As for myself, I have noticed that my stomach appears flatter and I feel so much better for being more conscious about what I’m putting in my stomach. With it being the middle of bathing suit season, who doesn’t want to be less bloated and look better at the pool or beach? Raise your hand!

It will be hard to avoid the grains and bread that scientists and the government say you’re “supposed” to eat every day. (I learned a lot about how current nutrition guidelines actually make us sicker from the New York Times bestseller Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis – visit his blog at http://www.wheatbellyblog.com.) You’ll catch yourself with a warm, buttery roll in your hand at the dinner table, wishing you didn’t have self control so that you can shove a plate of pasta in your mouth, and drooling over a massive sandwich…or maybe that’s just me. However, if you can stick with it and feel for yourself how amazing it is to be gluten-free, it will get easier to order a salad or some meat and veggies. It’s not like I’m telling you to give up cheese or frozen yogurt.

Here are some testimonies from some other people who have gone gluten-free and what effects gluten has on them: Continue reading

Proteins in Wheat Endosperms (AKA Gluten AKA The Devil)

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If you’re like the people in the Jimmy Kimmel clip I posted earlier this month, you MIGHT know that gluten is found in bread and other products made with wheat…but that is where 99% of people’s knowledge stops. I am still learning the ins and outs of gluten and how to live a gluten-free lifestyle, but am finally starting to grasp how gluten affects the human body and even the brain.

So, let’s dig into the mystery behind gluten! Continue reading

I need a muzzle.

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I’m a few days into my new gluten-free lifestyle. I wish I could tell you that it’s SO easy and I haven’t been dreaming of eating bread…but I can’t. In my 27 years on earth, I’m used to eating pretty much whatever I want and trying to change that is no walk in the park.

Yesterday, I had my hand in a bag of pretzels without even realizing it! They weren’t the fancy, gluten-free kind of pretzels either. Continue reading

Is going gluten-free for me?

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This month is taking me wayyyyy out of my comfort zone by going GLUTEN-FREE!

Anyone that has seen me eat knows how hard this challenge will be for me. While I tend to be conscious about what I put into my body, I do enjoy quite a few foods that contain gluten.

After chips and queso, my favorite food is pizza. I eat pasta at least once a week and will sometimes have a quick sandwich on my lunch break. So you’re probably wondering why I’m going to try the gluten-free lifestyle and are hungry after I mentioned all those foods. Continue reading

Make your planks harder…if you dare!

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If you started the 30 Day Plank Challenge with me, then you’re probably as bittersweet about the last day as I am. There were times I had to put my knees on the ground because my core didn’t get as strong as the 30 Day Challenge thought it should be at the end of the month. And if we’re going to be honest with each other, it got really boring holding a plank for more than a couple of minutes. Or maybe I have undiagnosed ADD.

During my journey of planking, I came across a lot of variations of planking that complement and increase the benefits of a regular plank. Learn about these variations at the following link for Women’s Health (a great magazine for women that either want to get in shaper or already are in shape) demonstrating a few ways to switch up your challenge.

(Sorry, but you will have to manually copy and paste this link.) http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/plank-exercise?cm_mmc=Pinterest-_-womenshealth-_-content-fitness-_-makeplanksharder

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This photo from Women’s Health demonstrates a rotating plank. I don’t have the balance for this particular variation,but good luck to you!

If you haven’t started the challenge yet or are still working toward the end of the 30 days, I recommend incorporating some of these variations into your daily planking so that you don’t get as bored as I did. The link will show you ways to do a side plank, and if you’re feeling super athletic, you can do a plank into a push up and go back up into a plank. I tried this one for “fun” and quickly realized how much upper body strength is necessary. If you are trying to get a great upper body, try this!

As a result of the 30 Day Plank Challenge, I do feel that my core is stronger, but I didn’t notice a visible difference. We all want abs of steel, but don’t get discouraged if you haven’t noticed a visible difference either! I promise that your muscles are so much stronger than they were on Day 1 regardless of the lack of a six-pack staring back at you in the mirror. Like I said in my last post, planking works best as an addition to the workouts you’re already doing and you should feel the difference in your posture and other exercises that you do. Maybe you’re walking a little taller? I know I am!

I’m going to continue planking as a part of my workout program and hope you’ll do the same. Let me know what you thought about the 30 Day Plank Challenge or if you’re excited about starting it! I hope you’ll continue to join me as I start a new challenge to get me out of my comfort zone next month!