Goal Setting

Setting goals is fun, the work along the way can be not so fun at times.  Setting a goal is like signing up for a race.  You are super excited when you sign up and have this vision of what it will look and feel like when you cross that finish line; then you start the race.  The first bit isn’t so bad, all the good vibes you had when you singed up are still there and keeping you focused.  Then about halfway you start to get tired, people are passing you, and you can’t see that finish line anywhere.  Now you are tired and frustrated because the finish line is farther than you anticipated when you signed up and you didn’t think it would be this hard and you start wondering if you should just stop the race because no one will care whether you finish or not.   How does this analogy of signing up for a race relate to setting a goal you ask?  Think of it like this, most people set a goal when they are happy, have very little daily life stressors on their mind, and they are feeling super motivated.  And when they start working toward this goal the initial excitement one had when setting this goal is still present.  Then life gets in the way.  When you decide on a goal you are excited and motivated but then all the other life duties get in the way and bog you down.  A work project gets thrown in your lap, something comes up in your family, or better yet a pandemic happens.  You put your goal on pause or just toss it completely.  No one will know you say, it won’t matter if I don’t reach it, it was silly of me to make that a goal anyway, unrealistic.  NOPE!  If that is a goal of yours it isn’t silly and you know who will notice if you don’t reach it?  You will, and that is the only person you should be worried about impressing.

So, this is what you are going to do.  Write down your goal, and then bullet below it all the things that need to happen in order for that goal to be accomplished.  Next you are going to set a date for when you want the goal to be accomplished.  Because a goal without a date is just a wish.  Once the date is set, you look at the bulleted list and break the time between now and the date you set up into 4ths.  Put bullet items together if they are related and put them into one of the quarter time dates between now and your overall goal.  These are now your mini goal check points.  Each time you reach one it will serve as a reminder that you are one step closer to your overall goal and will be a rewarding feeling to cross it off the list.  You can even give yourself a list of things you want to do daily, weekly, and monthly as they help you take steps toward your overall goal.  Whatever works for you is what works.

My challenge for you all is to sit down right now and create your goal and the mini goals that are necessary along the way to ensure success.  And if any of those goals are fitness or nutrition related Smarter Athlete Fitness and Nutrition is the place to be to help you reach those goals.  When you sign-up to work with Smarter Athlete your coach will design a program that is personalized to your goals and be there for you each week to make sure you are supported on your journey.  If this is what you are looking for reach out via email to paigedavis.wellness@gmail.com to learn more.

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Health versus Wellness

The terms health and wellness tend to be used interchangeably.  While these two are very connected, they are not exactly synonymous terms.  To be clear:

Health(n)- the state of being free from illness or injury; a person’s mental or physical condition.

Wellness(n)- the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.

So, in order to have one you need to have the other.  Someone can be free from a physical illness or injury and thus be healthy, but not in a state of wellness because their emotional or mental health may not be at 100%.  In order to be completely healthy ones physical, emotional, and mental health must be free from illness/injury, and once that is achieved one will be in a state of wellness.

If you are looking for ways to improve any aspect of your health in order to be in a state of wellness, Smarter Athlete Fitness and Nutrition can help you.  The coaches are dedicated to you and helping you achieve your goals.  The active pursuit of your health can sometimes be a hard and lonely road, but with Smarter Athlete you don’t have to go it alone.  Email me at paigedavis.wellness@gmail.com to get more information and get started with Smarter Athlete Fitness and Nutrition to take the first steps toward a healthier you. 15894683_1776846229307750_3069929597083203043_n

Let’s Talk About Alcohol

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I am going to assume that the title of this post is about to draw a good bit of people in, because who doesn’t love a good adult beverage??  I definitely enjoy a glass (or 3..) of wine, a nice cold beer, and a perfectly mixed cocktail; and there are times when enjoying these in moderation may not always occur(cue hangover).  The purpose of this post is to talk about alcohol and your goals.

To keep this as simple as possible I am going to talk about 3 possible goals someone may have. Goal #1 fat/weight loss, Goals #2 muscle building, Goal #3 top athletic/sport performance.  Now you may be reading these goals and be saying to yourself that these goals don’t apply to you.  Maybe these 3 aren’t your number one goal, but one of these 3 are very likely closely related to your main goal, which in most cases may be improved health and better relationship with food.  Whether these 3 goals directly or indirectly apply to you, please continue to read because you might just learn something or may know someone who would benefit from reading this.  So please stick with me.

Goal #1: Fat/weight Loss-

If your goal is to lose some fat and lower your weight alcohol can be a speed bump in this process.  All of those beverages advertised as “low carb” or “low calorie”, while on the nutrition label may show that there are less carbs than the comparable drink, the ABV content is not being considered.  Macronutrients are the foods we take in that supply a caloric value to our diets; and believe it or not alcohol is our 4th macronutrient.  Just so happens that alcohol supplies calories to our diets without supplying any nutrients, so the ultimate empty calorie item.  There are 7 calories/gram of alcohol consumed.  This does not mean carbs in the drink, but solely how much alcohol is in the beverage (enter ABV).  This means that when you are monitoring your calories while trying to lose weight and are accounting for the nutrition label calories you might be underestimating how many calories you are taking in per beverage.  Another pesky detail is that your body will place metabolizing alcohol in your system first and the food consumed during this time may not be metabolized fully and thus end up being stored as fat when there is excess.

Goal #2: Gain/build Muscle-

Two main issues when it comes to alcohol and muscle building is: 1. Alcohol dehydrates you and this directly impacts your muscles, 2. Alcohol messes with protein synthesis and thus inhibits muscle growth.  When something is dehydrated it shrinks, so when you consume alcohol and are dehydrated your muscles become less stretchy and a bit ‘dried out’.  This can lead to higher susceptibility to injury of muscles, which would then lead to the dreaded rest/rehab period.  Protein synthesis is a process in your body that involves the breakdown and rebuilding of muscle in your body.  If this process is impacted your body will not create new protein and thus not be able to build larger, stronger muscles.

Goal #3: Top Athletic/sport performance-

Like I said before alcohol dehydrates you and I am sure you have all heard that athletics and dehydration are not a good combo.  Dehydration like I said above can lead to possible injury, it also impacts the nervous system, and studies have shown marked performance decreases in individuals participating in their sport compared to their hydrated counterpart.  Beyond dehydration (I hate to break it to you) alcohol stays in your system longer than you think.  Unfortunately for females, we have a smaller amount of the alcohol metabolizing enzyme compared to men, so we don’t metabolize alcohol as quickly.  This means we will feel the effects of alcohol longer than a male of the same height and weight as ourselves.  Head on over to this link from the NCAA to read some other impacts of alcohol on performance.  And yes, it is true, and not just the NCAA scare tactic to keep college kids from partying all the time.  In addition to all of the above said effects of alcohol on fat loss, metabolism, and protein synthesis, alcohol will also impact hormones, sleep, and decision making.  All of these things can impact sports/athletic performance.

Now don’t take this as me telling you to cut out alcohol, because I am surely not going to stop drinking my wine and mules after saying this. I am simply sharing some knowledge I have so that you all can make more informed and conscious decisions the next time you head to happy hour with some friends or open that bottle of wine or beer as you sit down to dinner.  Planning ahead, moderation, and consideration of where you are at in regard to your goals are all important when it comes to any decision you make with your health.

“Dieting”

If you open the dictionary and read the first definition for the word diet you will see this; Diet(noun)= the kinds of food that a person or community habitually eats.

If you walk around asking random people you pass what the definition of diet is you will likely hear something along the lines of “foods you eat so you can lose weight”, or “something followed in order to lose weight”, or maybe “not eating sugar and carbs”.  This is the issue today and the issue I have with the word diet, not because it is a bad word, but because the connotation has become something negative and restrictive.  Diet should not be removed from the language, because the word at its core refers simply to a food consumption pattern of a person or group of people; a lifestyle if you will.  To keep this post short, I want to talk about a mindset shift from hearing diet and thinking restrict to hearing diet and thinking lifestyle.  Your diet should be something that supports your lifestyle in the most nutritious and health-beneficial way,while still giving you a sense of freedom.  Change the mindset from “I can’t eat this or that because…” to “I want to eat this, so I will have it while still eating foods that align with my lifestyle”.  Think of your diet as a toddler.  You know you don’t tell a toddler to not touch something or do something because the toddler will inevitably do exactly what you said to not do.  If you have a restrictive diet, full of “I can’t eat” foods youare very likely to constantly think and want those foods.  Telling yourself you can eat anything you want to eat, so long as it supports your lifestyle, you are more likelyto desire the most beneficial foods most often. 

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One of my shorter posts, but nonetheless a thought that was in my head, so I decided to type it up and share with you all.  If  you are looking to move from a restrictive mindset to a lifestyle mindset when it comes to your diet and need some help head on over to Smarter Athlete Fitness and Nutrition and you can sign-up to get a coach to help you through the process.

Listening to Your Body

Listen To Your Body | Harmony Yoga Redondo Hermosa Manhattan Beach ...

Your body has a lot to say and is in constant communication with you.  Whether or not you are listening is the issue.  From waking up in the morning feeling tired to craving certain foods to feeling sore; your body is trying to tell you what it needs in order to be at its best.  I am going to try to cover these various messages your body is giving you in as succinct a way as possible, because each message could be a blog post in itself.

Let’s start with cravings.  Cravings can indicate anything from you aren’t taking in enough calories to support your expenditure, to some type of memory has been triggered that is making you want a certain food, to your hormones being at work, just to name a few reasons.  To avoid turning this into a psychology and physiology paper as I explain the interplay of memory and hormones on food cravings, I will just be talking about taking in calories to meet expenditure.  When you are undereating your body wants to get in energy as fast as possible in order to refuel.  This is why we tend to reach for the bag of chips or the cookies because our bodies have learned we can get a lot of calories in very quickly and often it is pretty tasty.  Learning to take in the proper number of calories to support your daily life is very important.  Your goals determine how you should be eating; when looking to lose weight and get leaner you will need to take in calories at a deficit, when you are looking to put on mass and get bigger you will need to take in calories at a surplus, and when just looking to stay where you are and support your daily life you should be eating at a balance.  This equation doesn’t look the same for everyone though, it isn’t as simple as just eat less than what you expend to lose weight and eat more than you expend to gain weight.  Each person is different and will respond to diets in a different way.

Waking up in the morning feeling tired can indicate that your quality of sleep during the night wasn’t that great or that you are not getting enough sleep.  Getting enough sleep is an easier correction to make than trying to figure out how to improve sleep quality.  Having a daily schedule and bed-time routine helps make getting the proper number of hours of sleep a little easier.  If you know you are going to wake up at say 6am every day, and that you want to get 8 hours of sleep then you should be in bed and asleep by 10pm every night. In order to make that happen you should develop a bed-time routine that allows you to be in bed and asleep at 10pm.  This can look something like finishing dinner by 8:30pm every night, turning off the television and putting away other screens (phones, tablets, laptops, etc.) by 9pm, having a book to read before you go to sleep, and maybe you have a white noise machine to help you fall asleep as well.  We as humans like structure, and by creating a routine for falling asleep it will help signal to your body over time that once ‘x,y,z’ happen you should be asleep.  Now waking up feeling tired due to poor sleep quality can be signs of not eating enough as well, having high levels of stress which causes your body to release cortisol outside the natural circadian rhythm, or you could have some illness present causing you to not get in a good sleep.  Depending on what the reason is for sleep quality determines what step you need to take next to improve the quality of sleep. (That is post for another time though)

Now to address being sore.  It is good to be sore because it means you have challenged your muscles enough be in a state of re-synthesis.  You worked out hard and now your muscles are repairing themselves.  It is not good to be so sore you can’t move every single day of the week.  Being in a constant state of muscle repair means that you never give your muscles a chance to fully recover and this can lend itself to injury.  Click here to read a previous post of mine on the benefits of resting and taking a day off from your training.

So, if you are reading this sentence, I am going to assume you clicked that link and read (or re-read s/o my loyal following) my previous blog post.  Taking a day off from anything is important to both physical and mental health.  You need to step back from whatever it is you do during the week in order to come back to it refreshed and excited to work at it again.  My fitness fanatics are probably thinking in their heads right now, but what about an active recovery day?  Yes, those are good but what are you calling active recovery?  For me an active recovery day is a leisurely walk or a casual bike ride.  It isn’t me jumping into the pool and swimming laps (no matter how slow I am going, swimming is actually a very interesting exercise modality when it comes to energy expenditure), or going for a long run, or going to the gym and doing accessory lifts.  Active recovery should be incredibly low impact compared to your weekly training.  There is nothing wrong with moving on an off day, but this movement shouldn’t be intense or high impact.  Off days are intended to be for taking your foot off the gas and giving your body the chance to recover and refresh.

This turned out to be longer than I intended, but the thoughts just kept flowing.  The sad part is I could have written even more, the science behind all of this are textbook chapters in exercise physiology.  What I want to be the takeaway here is listen to your body, it knows what it is saying and wants to support you as best as it can.  Taking a day off is fine, taking multiple days off is fine, you need to listen to what your body needs when it comes to rest.  Eat well and eat to support your goals, you get one chance and one body when it comes to living life, so live life well and treat your body right.

To Lift or Not to Lift?

The answer to that question is yes.  There are many benefits that come from resistance training.  The type of training you do depends on what you are looking to get out of the workout regimen you are doing.  Are you looking to improve your mile time or are you looking to put on muscle mass and see some muscular definition?

Endurance type athlete:

Lifting weights is still something that should be done.  The type of resistance training you do here should be muscular endurance training.  By strengthening your muscles so that you are able to perform multiple reps with little rest allows for lowered fatigability of your muscles.  Increasing time to fatigue will make running easier because your muscles will be able to perform at a desired intensity for a longer period of time.  It is also another way to add stress to your muscles and thus your bones without putting your joints through the same ranges of motions that you go through when running.  This can help alleviate some stress added to joints and allow for proper rest at these joints.

Looking to build muscle:

Yes, this is the perfect scenario to follow a resistance training program.  Depending on your training age and history with lifting weights, along with your goal will determine what training program you should follow.  If you are a novice resistance trained individual than you will see results quickly upon following just about any training program.  This is due to neurological adaptations that are occurring.  The more advanced you are in resistance training the more thought out the program you follow needs to be.  There needs to be progressive overload, programmed weight percentages of maximum and the proper rep scheme to allow you to reach your goal.

Outside of helping you reach your desired sport performance goals; resistance training can help you improve quality of life as you age.  Sarcopenia is a typical ‘side effect’ of aging, and results in muscle loss.  By performing resistance training exercises throughout the lifetime, you will slow the muscle loss due to aging.  Another ‘side effect’ of aging is decreased bone mineral density.  Once again resistance training to the rescue. Muscles originate and attach along various bones throughout the body.  By training muscles and putting stress on muscles through resistance training you are putting stress on your bones.  The added stress to bones, when done properly and with a knowledgeable strength coach/trainer, will make bones stronger and thus maintain a healthy bone mineral density.  Another benefit of resistance training is the metabolic cost associated with it.  When looking to lose weight, in particular burn fat, running is typically the first thought.  This thought is true, running allows for fat to be ‘burned’ during the run itself, but once the run is over that ‘fat burn session’ ends as well.  Resistance training on the other hand allows for ‘fat burn’ to occur well after the resistance training session has ended.  When lifting weights, you are breaking down muscle tissue in order to build it back up into a larger and/or stronger tissue.  This process is protein re-synthesis and can last up to 48 hours post resistance training bout (enter DOMS).  The re-synthesis is intensity dependent.  While your body is resynthesizing, it requires energy and thus has a metabolic cost, which in turn allows for ‘fat burn’ and consequently weight loss.

Basically, no matter what you want to do or what life-stage you are in, lifting weights is probably a good idea.  Improve your runs= lift some weights.  Grow muscles = lift weights.  Slow some down side effects of aging= lift weights.  Lose some weight/fat= lift weights.  When done properly and following a well-designed program, lifting weights is always a good choice.  Another thing to consider when lifting weights and seeing desired results is proper fueling, but that is a story for another time.  So get out there and pick up some heavy(-ish) stuff : )

Freshmen (Quarantine??) 15

So, this post started out as advice on how to make better food choices during your time at college, since it is often a difficult transition to go from being under the watch of your parents to making decisions on basically everything on your own.  Now with the presence of COVID-19 and the new ‘normal’ (is anyone else as tired of hearing that phrase as I am?), I decided I would make this a two-for-one kind of thing.  The concept is pretty similar between the two.  Going off to college and living in quarantine/isolation/social distancing introduce a whole slew of stresses and anxiety triggers.  Whether it is the stresses of new people, new experiences, and not having your parents there to help guide you in your decision making process that comes with freshmen year; or it is the stresses that come with the uncertainty of COVID-19, not having a job, worrying about the health and well-being of your loved ones, or having your everyday schedule completely thrown, your body will respond to stress the same way.

When things get stressful your body craves those ‘junk food’ options, and it becomes a viscous cycle; you get triggered by a stress I said above(or another one because the list is endless) and so you reach for the bag of chips or the pint of ice cream, and then you get down on yourself for making that choice, then life steps back in so you need another bag of chips or chocolate bar, and on and on.  So, I am going to share with you a list of things you can do to help you make better choices and hopefully help you combat those stressful moments, while still living the college life or the quarantine life, or just plain old life.  You can keep these in mind when walking into the dining hall, walking into your kitchen, or heading into the grocery store.

  1. Fill one plate up with veggies. This can be a salad or some raw veggies.  You can choose cooked veggies but try to limit the amount of the cooked veggies if prepared in a lot of oils and butters.
  2. Fruit with every meal. A cup or half a bowl berries or diced melons. An apple, orange, or banana.
  3. Opt for water. You can also have your coffee, if you are like me and can’t go a day without it.  But limit the sugar/sweetener in it if you drink multiple cups day, that way you aren’t taking in calories through sugar in your beverages.
  4. Lean protein options like chicken and turkey will be the best animal protein go-to.
  5. Fish and other seafood are good options when you are bored of chicken and turkey.
  6. If you want a burger or pizza try to double the veggies you get at that mealtime. You will still enjoy the burger and pizza but will fill up more on the ‘better options’ so you don’t overeat and go back another slice or another handful of fries and back again and again.

And just remember to be kind to yourself.  Don’t approach mealtime or snacking with a “I can’t” mindset, as this will only make decisions harder.  Feeling restricted will box you in and make every choice you make feel robotic, and that isn’t how life should be.  If you approach your meals and snacks with the mindset that you are choosing ‘X’ because you know it will make you feel better that will give you a sense of empowerment; knowing you are in control of what you eat and thus your health and your life.  Freshmen year and quarantine are hard enough times in themselves and you don’t need to add to the already stressful moments by getting down on yourself for food choices.

Self-Experimentation #1

Hello friends.  Today I am sharing with you all my plant-based diet experience.  For starters, I did this to give myself some experience with this diet prior to conducting a possible study that asks participants to partake in a plant-based diet intervention for a 4-week time period.  I am an advocate of being your first client, especially when you are going to be asking someone to make a change to their lifestyle, you should be able to relate and pull from your own personal experience when looking to help someone else.  I also did this from a place of interest.  There has been increasing talk and ‘popularity’ when it comes to a plant-based diet, so being the nerd I am I wanted to see how I would respond to this dietary change.

So, for 2-weeks I went plant-based.  My shopping cart at the grocery store didn’t look all that different from my normal omnivore diet shopping cart.  The veggies, fruits, beans, and grains remained the same, the only difference was there were no eggs, cheeses, yogurts, or chicken to be found.  I also decided that I would be eating ad libitum (without restrictions).  This means I ate when I was hungry and did not track macronutrients or calories.  I felt this would reflect how many people who change from an omnivore diet to a plant-based diet make the change.  I did not purchase any plant-based protein powders because 1. I wasn’t tracking macronutrient intake, so hitting a protein goal wasn’t on my list, 2. This dietary change wasn’t one I planned on doing for more than 2-weeks due to things going on in my life, and 3. I prefer to get most of my food requirements from actual foods and I didn’t want to get a protein powder because I don’t want to use whatever I didn’t finish after I switched back from this plant-based diet.

I really didn’t feel any different in daily life or at the gym compared to when I was eating my omnivore diet.  I did actually feel a little more run down and would wake up some days feeling sick.  I also was feeling more sore than usual.  Some things that could account for how I felt beyond diet was the amount of stress I was feeling from school and work, poor sleep, and possibly not enough caloric intake compared to what was being burned throughout my day.  I will say that the day after I ended my 2-week experiment I woke up feeling like garbage, super congested and was waking up every hour that night to blow my nose because I couldn’t breathe.

I’m about 1 week back on my normal omnivore diet with macronutrient tracking and I am feeling much better than last week and like my muscles are recovering much better post exercise.  I am not sharing this to persuade people to eat a certain way, just merely sharing my personal experience.  Like I have said many times before diets aren’t one-size fits all, and what works better for me won’t necessarily work best for you or someone else.   This was not the most scientific experiment as I could have controlled for chance much better, but it was overall an interesting experiment.  I don’t think I will be removing animal-based foods from my diet anytime soon, especially with my current exercise goals, but I am glad I did this and stay tuned for my next nutritional self-experiment.

You and your diet were on a break!!!

First off if you get the reference from my post title then I love you.  Second, this is me explaining why calling it a cheat meal/cheat day kinda makes me roll my eyes.  Before I get started I just want to say that I’m still working on removing that phrase from my own lexicon, so I indeed roll my eyes at myself and I don’t want you people to think I am attacking you all and being holier-than-thou.  Now with that disclaimer out of the way let me explain.

The more people in the field of nutrition that I meet and learn from, the more I become aware of the effect language has on mindset and people’s relationship with food.  The word cheat has a very negative connotation that is associated with some hefty consequences.  In school, especially colleges, if you are caught cheating you can get expelled.  In relationships if someone is found to be cheating trust is lost and the relationship may even come to an end.  When we refer to cheating on one’s diet we immediately think of eating ‘bad’ food.  This thought process and phraseology can lead to individuals having unhealthy relationships with food.  Everyone is different, no one is the same, and thus no one should eat the exact same foods and in the exact same way.  Someone’s diet should be individualized and made to meet the needs of the individual, and so if someone wants to eat a burger or have some cookies for a meal than that’s cool.  This person is meeting a specific need or desire.  Having a burger every single meal or eating 5 cookies every time you walk into the kitchen is not the best nutritional decision one can make(But this is a whole other post topic in itself).  Lets say someone has 2-3 servings of fruits and vegetables with every meal they eat throughout the week along with lean meats, hearty-whole grains, and essential fats, and little to no processed foods and refined sugars; and Saturday this individual just wants to enjoy time with friends and they go out to dinner at the best burger place in their area and finish at their local creamery for dessert.  Most people in that situation would say, sounds like a great cheat meal/cheat day, but there will always be that negative connotation that is pinned to the word cheat, and that could lead to some feel bad about making those food choices.

The phrase cheat day/cheat meal has to go.  I am personally working on not using that phrase myself.  You aren’t doing something bad or something wrong when you eat something that might not align with your normal dietary choices, you are merely living.  So instead of calling it a cheat meal/cheat day, why not try calling it a free meal/free day, or a no-strings-attached meal/day, or a break meal/break day, or even…wait for it… a day/a meal.  It is okay, like I said, to eat something that doesn’t align with your whole-food, non-processed, organic, little to no refined sugar, or whatever nutritional/dietary food choice plan you ‘follow’.  Just remember the next time you stray, and your diet tries to make you feel bad for that, remind it you guys were on a break and you did nothing wrong.  You were and are free to make your own choices independent of it when you decide you need a break.  If you don’t believe me just ask Ross 😉

Life

Hello, hello, hello!!

Haven’t posted anything in a while, but I am just sitting at a Starbucks(that I walked to from my lovely apartment) trying to do some school work but I keep finding myself drifting focus from my school work.  I keep looking out the window and just thinking about life.  I know I talk about finding what sets your soul on fire and determining your purpose in life, and honestly every time I think I have that figured out something changes.  This is the one reason I don’t like school, and if you know me you know how much I love school and continuing to learn and gain knowledge.  The more I further my education the more people I meet and the more life doors are opened to me.  At the heart and center of what I want to do with my future I know I want to help people and make a difference in the lives of others, but each semester there are more avenues presented to me through which I can achieve that goal.

What has remained the same though, is that I know I want to do something with nutrition and do something with a gym, but recently other thoughts have come to my head about what I could do beyond that.  Another thing that gets me is the idea of having to start over in a completely new place, if and when I get accepted to a PhD program.  This idea scares me a little, unlike going off and starting college and graduate school away from my family, this time I don’t have the safety net of knowing I will have people who are there to support me.  Whether that was my teammates during undergrad or my friends that remained in the area when I started grad school.  Pursuing my PhD means leaving my comfort zone and potentially starting out somewhere where I would have no one I knew, in a place far away from those I love.  That is a really scary thought to me and sometimes makes me question whether this is something I want to do.  But those thoughts don’t last long because, in my gut, I know my purpose is to use the opportunities I have been fortunate enough to experience to help others who may or may not have been afforded the bountiful luxuries I have had in my life.  The way in which I do use these opportunities may change in my mind from day to day, but the core purpose has remained the same for as long as I can remember.

I guess I’ll never really figure out this life thing, but its nice to think I’m doing what I can do it to the best of my abilities.  So I leave you all with this; trust your gut and keep seeking out what sets your soul on fire.  Even if you never really figure it out, you can get very close, and hey you may even do something amazing during the process.

<3PD