Thinking Out Loud: Challenge Yourself

Remember the other day when we talked about saying yes? Sometimes it’s easier said than done. Saying yes is easy when it’s “Wanna meet at Portillos after work?” or “Wanna stay in, curl up on the couch and watch a Chopped marathon?” But what about things that push you out of your comfort zone?

It sucks. Saying “yes” when you’re happier opting out can be uncomfortable, awkward, and downright risky. But what kind of life lesson would it be if we just said yes to the things that were easy?

So today I’m thinking about the things I’ve done lately that have pushed past my comfort zone.


Group workout + Networking event

On Tuesday night I attended a group workout and networking event held on the west side of the city. Now, usually anything west of the highway means I won’t go. I’m a bit of a hobbit in this way — I have my “zone,” and I won’t venture out by myself. Not only was it a hike via public transportation, but it was a workout followed by a networking event (drinks/appetizers/cool new health products). Networking is not my strong suit. Contrary to what it might seem like on this blog, I don’t like talking about myself, and sometimes I psych myself out when meeting new people and get nervous. But it was a wonderful opportunity to support a lululemon ambassador from Shred415 and I knew the store was looking to have presence there, so I said yes.

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I basically faked it til I made it but it was awesome! The workout was held in a giant warehouse/studio space and even though it was only 20-30 minutes it was great. As you know I love group fitness in any form and this was like group fitness on steroids! We did a Shred415-inspired workout so you can imagine it was sweaty as all get out.

I said yes, got my sweat on, networked a bit after the workout, and, what do you know, I came out alive! I even got to meet some of the higher-up ladies for lululemon so that in and of itself made this challenge worth it.

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#diningin challenge

In terms of food, I thrive on “going with the flow” of my cravings. As I’ve shared before with my own health journey, years back I struggled with strict rules and consequences if I didn’t follow those eating rules. Nowadays I think I’ve completely thrown myself at the other end of the spectrum, almost as if to prove to myself just how “healthy” I am. And while I’m not saying I should go back to serious food structure, there’s something to be said about self-control, listening to your gut (literally and figuratively), and making food choices based on things other than “oooo that looks good! I’ll take it!” So I decided to challenge myself this week and see if I have the mental game to spend money on food only in the grocery store, and nothing outside those walls.

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I hit every food group, made pulled BBQ chicken in the crockpot as a good protein base to use throughout the week, and made sure to include some sweet/saltiness. Let’s be realistic: this isn’t Whole30 this is “don’t run to the 7/11 at 10pm for a bag of tortilla chips.” And you know what? It hasn’t been tough at all. Now, granted, when Friday rolls around and I can’t spend any money on food or drinks I’m going to have to come up with some pretty creative ways to get my drink on at the bars, but that’s neither here nor there. For now, this is a success story.

So far so good:

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Overnight Oats: 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup almond milk, chia seeds, millet, cinnamon, stevia, slivered almonds, and a scoop of pb

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Grilled cheese: havarti cheese, tomato, and (of course) another slice of bread on top

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“Homemade” trail mix for quick energy bursts in the afternoon (plus unpictured almonds)

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Pulled chicken sandwich, roasted crispy sweet potatoes, roasted cauliflower and broccoli

luluΒ photoshoot

I guess calling this a photoshoot is a stretch, but I took some photos for our store’s social media pages and it was one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve done in awhile. I am about as awkward as it gets when it comes to any kind of “candid posing”. So when my manager asked if I’d be willing to do showcase some of our new spring pieces, I almost said no, as I’ve said no in the past. But hey, I have to practice what I preach, right? So I said yes. And, once again, I survived (and had a lot of fun doing it).

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We even got a hilarious shot out of it. I was trying to do a stretching pose and ended up looking like George Washington crossing the Delaware (minus the sword, sadly). I knew the second I saw it I had to get the two side by side. My coworkers and I were in stitches.

unnamed (15)Moral of the story, saying “yes” isn’t always easy. And it might not always turn out great. But I like to think that the consequences of missing out on a fun opportunity outweigh actually saying yes and it not going well. I’d rather have the latter and know I at least gave it a try! Why be scared of taking chances?


  • How did you last challenge yourself?
  • Have you ever said yes when you didn’t want to? How did it turn out?
  • Best meal you cooked this week with ingredients from the grocery store….go!


  1. Totally can relate to challenging yourself!!!!! Sometimes I get stuck in a “rut” with my work, school, workout routine and then make no time for anything else. But I just think to myself that I don’t want my entire life to just be a lame, boring routine because life is supposed to be enjoyed. So I just suck it up and go, even if I’m tired, and I usually end up having the best of time, creating real memories with friends πŸ™‚

    Didn’t really cook much this week, but I definitely enjoyed tons (and really too many) desserts this week. Not even sorry about it. Well, the headache I got after all the sugar kinda sucked, but YOLO. Sometimes you just need a cupcake (or two haha).

  2. Love the pics Lauren! Looking good! Happy and healthy for the win! πŸ™‚
    I eat in pretty much everyday – we only tend to eat out once a week on Saturday lunchtime! Best meal I made this week was a butternut squash chilli! So tasty and yes a veggie dish! shock horror for me haha!

  3. I feel like I’ve had to push myself to try workout classes in new studios lately through class pass…even though I was really excited to try it out, its still tempting to only stick to the studios/classes that I am comfortable with.
    My meals this week actually weren’t’ very exciting! But burgers and sweet potatoes last night were good, as usual!

    1. Trying new studios is absolutely terrifying! You have no idea where to go, who to check in with, who to talk to…and everyone else seems to have been going to that studio for years haha. It’s just awkward! But that’s a perfect example of how you just have to get over that awkward hump and then voila, you’re a pro πŸ™‚

    1. That sounds awesome! You can make seemingly-indulgent food at home and 99% of the time it’s nowhere near as indulgent as a simple dish you’d get in a restaurant — because at home at least you can control portions and how much butter/oil stuff is cooked in.

  4. I love this! Ugh, I’m a little too good at saying “no”. I would love to challenge myself to say yes more often, even if just for a 2-week period to see what’s it’s like. Looks like you survived and even enjoyed the things you said yes to πŸ™‚

  5. Look at you crazy girl! GDubs challenged himself–you can too! Though he didn’t have the benefit of luon lol. I have trouble with challenging myself often, too. I get very comfy in my comfy pants and don’t want to get out there. Or want to get out there, but then don’t feel like it at the last minute. So honestly my challenge can be just not chickening out!

  6. Hahahaha what a spot on George Washington impression. Nice work πŸ˜›

    I made a pasta and bean toss from the Runner’s World Cookbook (which is my FAVE. Highly recommend it) on Monday and it was delicious. Granted, my version ended up being a bit different from the version in the cookbook (i.e., it called for broccoli, but our broccoli looked suspicious, so I chopped up a green pepper and put that in instead, because broccoli and green peppers are both vegetables and both green, and are thus interchangeable…right? Hahaha.), but I really liked it! I certainly enjoy going out to eat, but I really do like making meals for myself at home a lot. It’s so much cheaper and usually SO much healthier.

    1. Ok apparently I need to invest in this cookbook! You’re obsessed! Haha. And yes, of course, vegetables that are the same color are interchangeable…(although I guess carrots and orange peppers might disagree πŸ˜‰

  7. You crack me up! That workout event looked all sorts of amazing, and you did fabulous in the photo shoot! I would have been super awkward too.

    My last challenge was this morning when I woke up @4:45 to go to a spin class – too early for normal humans.

    Have you ever said yes when you didn’t want to? How did it turn out? – Yep, and it usually turns out fin!

    Best meal – Oven roasted cabbage steaks with an over-easy egg on top, sweet potato fries + avocado smeared on everything… such a random combination but sooo delicious!

  8. Best meal is GOING to be an African peanut soup!!!!! So stoked!!

    Challenge–conquering a V4 at the rock climbing gym and hitting my pull ups super hard til I couldn’t hold on to the bar.

    Love the photoshoot haha! Must have at least sorta been super fun πŸ˜‰

    Have the best day ever!!!!

    1. I’ve never had that! I had African chili and that had peanut butter in it…so I’m guessing same flavor profile? So interesting! One of my fitness goals is to be able to do pull-ups…check back in 5 years haha. I hope you have a great day too, beautiful!

  9. Yay for saying yes – I love this! I am with you about not passing the expressway. It just seems like a hassle. Sometimes it is worth it sometimes it is not. A chance I guess I am willing to take. Also, I noticed Coconut greek yogurt was in your cart. I am absolutely loving that right now πŸ™‚ Like LOVE! Lastly, I did a Lulu photo shoot and was so so so awkward. Your photos look great!

    1. Thankfully I just discovered a bus that makes it semi-easy to go to that area — but in general, “west of the highway” seems like another state to me haha. Oh my gosh that yogurt is my favorite! I put slivered almonds in it and it’s awesome!!

  10. I definitely feel like I’ve got to step out of the box more and challenge myself. In terms of workouts, I’ve been doing tons of new stuff, but life things….not so much. I need to make a change there. I’m actually trying to come up with some new, fun, challenging things to do with my boyfriend every once in awhile – maybe some rock climbing? (I’m scared of heights haha). Kudos to you on trying out all these new things!

    1. Hey one step at a time! If you’re shaking it up on the workout front I’m sure your personal life is soon to follow πŸ™‚ Rock climbing is a blast — I haven’t done it in years but its popularity seems to be coming back

    1. I’ve already noticed a huge effect on my bank account haha. I need to save up for things like races, for goodness sake! And if I like cooking so much, why was I dining out so much? Duh! I can’t wait to go out to eat next week though, truth be told. The social part is what I miss too πŸ™‚

  11. Sorry but the George Washington reference had me cracking up big time. For what it’s worth, I think you did a great job on the shoot. I hate having my picture taken [when I know it’s being taken], so I can imagine that feeling pretty awkward. And the best meal I cooked this week was probably brownie oats for breakfast. Kind of been crazy about the chocolate lately…

  12. I have found that things that take me outside my comfort zone are usually the best for me. That doesnt mean things that are obviously not a good idea like jumping off a building, but the times that I have grown the most are times where I have had to do something uncomfortable. It is always good to know your boundaries and not say yes to every little thing because that can also be detrimental, but things that don’t post a threat in that way can have amazing results.

    Glad you are getting outside your comfort zone!! Those pictures are too cute πŸ™‚

    1. Haha agreed that there are boundaries to what’s good to say yes to. But the feeling after you’ve taken a chance is such a great one! You really do feel like you’ve grown.

      I missed you at Sweat on Monday! I went in the afternoon. But starting next week I’ll be there at least 3x per week so our run-ins will definitely be more frequent πŸ™‚

  13. That workout event looks like it was fun! I am really bad at getting outside my comfort zone lately when it comes to networking, but you’re right, you’ve just got to “fake til you make it” if you’re not quite there yet!

  14. I love your mentality! I know when it comes to particular social events I have a tendency to say no if I don’t think I would enjoy it, and you are totally right I need to start saying yes! Now granted I will still consider my Friday nights days to just lounge around and be a HUGE bum, but from now on I think if I can make it to something that I am invited to (as far as work and appts go) and I am all in!

  15. Way to step out of your comfort zone! It looks like it all worked out for you and I think the pictures look good πŸ™‚ I definitely say ‘no’ to a lot of social events, I think part of it is trying to find people who have similar interests to me. I think I need to branch out and try going to different events even if it means going alone!

    1. That’s what I was so worried about– going alone! But luckily a bunch of my coworkers ended up coming at the last minute. If I had been there alone it definitely would have been 10x more awkward, but I even talked to a few other people during the workout and I bet I would have gotten even more networking done had I been forced even more out of my comfort zone (but let’s take it one step at a time haha).

  16. Good for you for stepping out of your comfort zone!!
    I haaaaaate networking and small talk. It’s a form of torture for introverts. I’ve gotten better at going to those events, but that doesn’t mean I’ll like it πŸ™‚ Thankfully I’ve found an awesome group of bloggers in Calgary and I’ll usually invite someone to come with me so I’m not completely alone.

  17. I just started working as a personal trainer recently and it challenges me every day. There is so much thinking on your feet and working with people to get to their goals. It keeps motivating me to do better. Love your photoshoot shots – you go girl! πŸ™‚

  18. Ugh! Lately all I have been doing is eating OUT! And let me tell you, it gets old pretty quickly… Ugh! I ACTUALLY made a pact with myself that TONIGHT I am making dinner at home (it’s cooking right now) and I plan on not going ANYWHERE after dinner either! It is so very important to be selfish every so often, so an early bedtime for me tonight after a home cooked meal is totally in ORDERRR!! ha! πŸ™‚

  19. I last challenged myself by taking an extra day off of work this week. I logically could have worked, but I let it go. The best meal I cooked was cheesy vegan quinoa with broccoli with my sister last night. It was a night of good food and fun πŸ™‚

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