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One Week Down!

     Well guys, I'm happy to report that I've made it ONE WHOLE WEEK!  Yep, I have a long way to go - but I've started and I'm pleased as punch :)  (Non-alcoholic punch of course)


     To be honest, this first week was easy.  I supposed most everything is easy right in the beginning - the excitement is still there and it really doesn't seem like it's that big of a deal.  Which, in all reality, it's not that big of a deal.  People do it all the time - some people don't like alcohol, some are allergic, some are pregnant.  I, however, am not any of these things, so it's a little bit more difficult to explain why I'm not drinking it.  But I made it through a weekend camping trip and some super hot days without giving in and having a beer. Some members of my family did tell me, though, that if I cheated this weekend it'd be easier to start over than if I waited until 6 months in and cheated.  haha.  Thanks, but no thanks.  My goal in this whole thing is to not cheat - so here I go on week two!

     The biggest struggle from this past week was honestly nothing - I didn't have a day or an evening where I really had to stop myself from getting a drink.  I was dedicated and focused and it was good!  This weekend might be a bit more difficult.  On Friday Jake and I are thinking about heading to the MN State Fair - and we always make a stop by the Leinie Lodge for a cold beer and to watch a show!  So replacing that beer with a water is my game plan for Friday!  Then on Sunday is our semi-annual family birthday party.  We get the whole extended family together and celebrate all the birthdays that fall in a six-month time frame.  There is always wine, beer and - the best of them all - dad's Long Islands.  Be still my heart, those things are awesome.  So that might be difficult too.

     But, at the end of the day, I'm 100% committed and I can't wait to post again on Monday and say that I didn't give in and I've completed two out of 52 weeks!  So until next time, cheers (with water!)


The Sweetest Hallelujah - Book Review!

Since I graduated from Aquinas I've been a part of a book club with my mom, my sister and a couple friends.  It has been a great way to get together with everyone and also to find new books to read!  I've read books that I never would have picked up before and found some new favorites!  The other day I finished our most recent book and I thought it would be fun to do a book review of it (plus, I finished the book way early, so this will be a good way to remember what I thought of it :))  I always like to ready about new books, so I'm guessing some of you do, too - why not share my thoughts?!

     In The Sweetest Hallelujah we meet a young black girl, Billie, and the women who have raised her - her mother, grandmother and her mom's two best friends.  We also meet a white woman from the other side of town who lost her husband a while back and is still dealing with this loss.  Clearly, a common theme is women and their relationships.  There are only a few male characters and play minor roles in comparison to the women of the story.
     I enjoyed both the story and the setting, but there was something off about it for me.  I felt like there were several subplots which were unnecessary and only served to make the book longer than it had to be to tell its story.  I would have preferred some of these stories be shortened or removed altogether so we could spend more time in the main story line.
     Besides this, however, I did very much enjoy the book and the characters.  There were some to root for, some who angered me and some who confused me - just like real life!  I find myself annoyed when a book is full of stereotypical and one-dimensional characters, but I didn't have much of that in this book.  Hussey did a good job, in my opinion, at revealing the motivation/histories for each character which made them, their actions and their speech believable.
     Ultimately I enjoyed the book - was it my favorite book ever?  No, but I would recommend it to someone if they were looking for a new book to read!  Have you read it before?  Would you want to read it?


1 Year, Day 1

Well, today's the day.  For the next 365 days my goal is to not drink any alcohol.  I've talked a bit about this already, and I can honestly say that I'm excited to challenge myself to stick to this for a year.  I wanted to mark the first day by sharing some of my goals and expectations - so here they are!

Obviously, to go for an entire year without drinking

To not shy away from events because of not drinking.  I want to show myself (& others) that we can have just as much fun at get-together, parties, or anywhere else when not drinking.

Finding better and healthier alternatives to dealing with stress than having a drink.

To not just replace the liquor I'm not drinking with pop all the time.  I'm doing this for my health as well as a challenge, and pop is definitely not a healthy alternative!

To hit my goal weight by December 31st. 

I expect the most difficult days will be the special events I have coming up.  Weddings, bachelorette parties, New Years Eve, etc. I will just need to remember that these events are not special and fun because of alcohol.  It is simply an addition to these already-fun events - they don't rely on alcohol to make them fun!  I can still have a blast and stick to my goals!!

I think the most difficult days will be the ones I can't name now - the days when I'd really just enjoy a beer or a glass of wine; the days when the reasons for setting this goal seem far away and, frankly, dumb.  I have to remember that I can do whatever I choose to do, and I am capable of being stronger than my weaknesses.  

I'm going to update this blog once a week with how the week has gone - both for other people, but also for myself - so I can stay accountable and have something to look back on!  So, until next week...


My History with Alcohol

 The other day I wrote about my decision to go for a year without drinking any alcohol, and my start date is now just a couple days away - as of this Monday, August 19th I will be alcohol free!  I've told a lot of people about my decision to stop, and it's been met with mixed attitudes.  

Some think it's an awesome idea, an awesome experiment.  They're curious to see how it goes and to follow along!
Some think it's crazy and that I'll never be able to do it - or they just question why would I ever choose to do it?
Some have a very small reaction - I don't drink a lot now, so what's the big deal?  They're right that I don't drink often anymore - I'm more likely to order water with dinner and I rarely make a drink while I'm sitting at the house watching a movie.  

I'm not doing this because I believe I drink too much or too often, because I know that's not true.  I'm doing this because I truly want to test myself and push myself to do something that a lot of people define as "crazy".   I'm going to use this blog and my Facebook page, Fortitude Fitness, to share my story over the next year - as I tackle weddings, bachelorette parties, camping and the various stresses that are often met with "I need a drink".

I'd love to have you follow along with me - and if you want to test yourself and join along I'd love to share it with you!

For today, I wanted to put down into writing a bit of my history with alcohol so you all know where I'm coming from.

A lot of people drink before they've even graduated high school - heck, a lot of people drink before they've even hit high school!  I was definitely not one of those folks - I had a great time in high school without ever getting drunk or doing a keg stand.  I went to concerts, worked at a local bakery, played endless games of Cranium and just hung out - and it was awesome!

When I got to college I still didn't jump right into the drinking scene - for my whole first year I didn't touch a drop.  The last couple years I got introduced to vodka (Burnett's to be exact), beer and cheap wine - and I realized that I actually liked these things.  I had a lot of fun but I still was never a big party-goer.  9 times out of 10 it would be me plus a couple friends and we'd be playing beer pong or watching cheesy chick movies while drinking. We probably drank too much, too often, but we had a lot of fun and avoided a lot of trouble! 

Sometimes we got a bit adventurous and would run to Yesterdog in Grand Rapids, Michigan, play Beer Olympics, get written up by RAs or accidentally-on purpose break down basement doors, but it was still not the crazy college party life that a lot of people have.  (Not to say that we don't have crazy stories to laugh about now - cause we definitely do!)

After college my drinking stayed similar to what it had been - though it did drop off in frequency by quite a bit.  (I'm still not sure how I was able to drink 6 nights a week my senior year and still graduate on time with 3 majors - if anyone can explain this to me, I'll be forever in your debt!)   If there was ever a time in my life where I actually "partied" in the normal sense of the word - actually going to parties - it was the couple of years after college.  

Sometimes it would be in my home area, and sometimes it would be at what is now my house with my husband, but what was then my boyfriend's house with his roommate.  We would have crazy fun, but it's about this time that the dreaded hangovers started... and I was not a happy camper.  Somehow in college I had managed to avoided the hangover curse and could easy wake up for class and another night of drinking.  Not the case once I hit the big 2-4.  

Really, it's when the hangovers started that I slowed my drinking down by a great deal.  Not necessarily because of the hangovers, but just because life had changed and so had I.  This is where I've been now for a couple years.  Every once in a while I'll go out but I don't drink a lot.  Sometimes, though, the vodka sevens go down pretty easily and I wake up in the morning with a pounding headache and a wasted day.  And I normally end up making macaroni and cheese - because really, what's better than mac n' cheese when you're hung over?  (Except for a cheeseburger, but there's no fast food burger joint in town and you'd better believe I'm not in any state to drive to the neighboring town to get one!)

Starting on Monday, though, I won't have any of these days for quite a while, though.  Sure, there will be days that are harder than others but if I can lose 50 pounds and keep it off, if I can get 3 majors in 4 years of college, if I can study abroad in the south of France where I knew no one, I can have a bit of self-control and stick to my goals!

I'm doing this for my health, I'm doing this for myself, and I'm doing this to prove that I can do it, even on the hard days.  And really, what other reason do I need?


Water Challenge

Today on my Facebook page over at we're having some fun with a water challenge!  A lot of times people forget to keep refilling their water bottle throughout the day - but it's one of the most important things we can do for ourselves and our health!!  

I try and focus on it every day but sometimes it's nice to really focus on it - and after making some food choices this weekend to celebrate my birthday that I normally would not make, today's a perfect day to make sure I get my water intake up!

Head on over to my Facebook page and join in on the fun - and while you're there be sure to "like" it so you can keep up to date with future challenges!


1 Girl 1 Year No Alcohol

A couple weeks ago I got an idea - and idea that I thought was crazy and that a couple years ago I never would have even entertained.  The more I thought about it, though, the more it seemed like this idea was something I really wanted to try.  

I don't drink very much or very often.  I don't go out every weekend and I'm not someone who gets drunk more often than not.  I have been known to do these things in the past (yeah, college happened).  I've had a lot of fun with a drink in hand but I've also had a lot of drama, headaches and hangovers because of alcohol and choices surrounding it.  

Weddings, bachelorette parties, birthdays - all these events are synonymous with drinking way too much, remembering little of the event itself and nursing a water bottle and Advil the next morning. 

So I'm going to try something I never imagined I'd want to try - I'm taking a year off.  

No alcohol, no excuses.  Those events - weddings, birthdays, town festivals and bachelorette parties that used to get me ordering up the vodka 7s on super speed will now be experienced sober.  Pregnant ladies do it all the time - so why can't I?  It'll be an experiment in self control and learning how to have fun and relax without a drink in hand.  I'm not guessing that it will be easy, but I'm excited to try - I'm excited to be able to say that I did it, for no reason other than I want to!  

What do you think?  Am I crazy?  Inspired?  Making a mountain out of a mole hill?

If you want to dare yourself to give something up for a year share it with me!  I'm starting August 19th - the day after my first wedding anniversary.  My first drink after I make it for a year will be for my second anniversary - I think that sounds like a perfect plan!

I'm hoping to update the blog once a week with how that week went and how I'm feeling about it.  There will definitely be days it's harder than others but I'm excited to do it! 


No More Resolutions!

I just figured it out - there are less than 150 days until 2014!!! I can't believe it! I have always been one of those people who make a New Year's Resolution about health and fitness - I'm going to lose weight, work out, eat better and everything that goes along with it. And I've NEVER stuck with it! This year will be different though! No resolution needed because I'm making the changes BEFORE the New Year even hits! So on January 1, 2014 I will be able to look in the mirror and know that I ALREADY changed my life! 

Have you made weight loss or health resolutions in the past and not stuck with them? Are you ready to TRULY make a change and get your health back?? I can help you so when 2014 is here you can KNOW that you've become a healthier version of yourself and you won't have to make and break that same-old, tired resolution again! 

My next challenge group starts August 26th - we'll all be healthier, fitter and stronger versions of ourselves before the holidays hit! We'll spend 90 days focusing on health, motivation, working out, eating clean, drinking Shakeology and learning to truly LOVE and RESPECT ourselves enough to be HEALTHY!!! Comment below or email me at for more information!