Thursday, August 23, 2012

Blog 141: Self Challenge

So. I am in an uncomfortable relationship with most of my clothes. In that they are getting uncomfortable for me to wear due to the snug fit that I believe is a direct result of being 8 months post grad school. I barely ever ate anything other than coffee with granola bars or dry cereal in grad school. That + stress = woohoo, thin! But not quite healthy. However, I did get rid of most clothes that fit too loosely because HELLO, not flattering. And my closet was/is overwhelming, so getting rid of the frumpy stuff made sense. Unfortunately, now I've come to a place where even the jeans that just barely got kept (because I liked them too much despite that they were loose) are fitting me good and snug. 8-10lb does not sound like a lot until you put them on a 5'4 small frame. Now, I truly believe that my system is technically HEALTHIER now than it was at this time last year. It's not like I've been eating fried Twinkies every day for the last half year. I've been making fairly healthy choices, just need to adjust my portion sizes, probably and activity level, definitely. I don't believe the BMI is a totally accurate reflection of overall health but mine is still in the healthy range, so it's not like this was an earth shattering body change that everyone does a double take noticing (even if it was, those people are jerks.)

And while I would love to be totally evolved and accept this as the post grad me, very few of my clothes are flattering right now, and I miss wearing them. I'm not sure I have 1 pair of jeans that I actually love the fit of with the new weight. And you guys, I'm broke. I'm on shopping lock down. So buying several items in the next size up so that I can be fabulous AND comfortable is not entirely feasible. I'll have to do the next best thing: wear my most comfortable and flattering pieces while working to feel better in my jeans again. If by the end of this, my clothes are still snug, I will accept it as a sign, and start remodeling my closet. Deal?

I've been working on cooking for myself more and making better choices (still hard to part with the various candy addictions throughout the day) and off and on sort of committing to working out, but starting next week I am embarking on an actual, intentional challenge. I was going to do it in conjunction with actually TRYING for improvement during the Ingram's Fittest Executive challenge (unlike last year when my life was so consumed with school and internship stuff that I could only muster halfway decent before and after scores with no meaningful improvement.) Unfortunately, our company is not going to be participating in the Ingram's Fittest Executive challenge this year. After kindly listening to my brief, whiny, entitled meltdown on the topic, Boyfriend patiently suggested that maybe he and I just do something. So, next week we're going to start P90x. We'll complete a work out every day, most of the time together but when schedule or travel prevents, we'll still do the same thing, but obviously at our own time. I'll be especially intentional and mindful about my meals/snacks during that time too.

I promise, I am just trying to get my pre-grad school level of fitness back. You know, a fatty cut of bacon is much thinner but way less healthy than a cut of lean steak. I believe I was kind of "bacon-y" in grad school. Very little muscle. I lost my ability to run more than a mile at once (from half marathon shape!). This is not entirely about weight loss. In fact, I expect to lose very little actual weight. I hope focusing on fitness leads to less inches, but overall I just want to be strong and healthy. To prevent myself from flipping out and making this all about counting calories or a number on the scale, I'm setting some boundaries:

1. No more than 2 weigh ins. One at the beginning of the 90 days and 1 at the end. My weight fluctuates a good 5 pounds depending on hormones, and I know it takes awhile for the muscle developed to totally replace fat loss - and that muscle is more dense. So, in order to not make this one of those things where I weigh myself every day and then freak out and refuse to eat more than dry cereal and broccoli as a result of what I see, I'm limiting the weigh ins. The benefits of exercise and healthy choices are much further reaching than an arbitrary number on a scale. I imagine I'll be too busy feeling energetic (after I am sore forever.) and strong to think too much about weight. (Not. I will always think about weight. That is why I only get 2 weigh ins.)
2. No skipping meals. I'm mostly guilty about this at breakfast. Sometimes lunch. The thing is, earlier in the day is a better time to get your calories anyway. Not that I'll be actually counting calories because:
3. No calorie counting/points. Weight Watchers is an excellent program and I am grateful to it for teaching me the awesomeness that is fiber and protein. BUT. Again with the obsessiveness. I'm way too much of a rule follower to keep this healthy. And by that I mean that I overachieve and try to follow rules that aren't even there. 20 points a day? HOW ABOUT 14? I'LL EAT ONLY 14. And then we're back to broccoli and dry cereal and opening a can of green beans, dumping it into a bowl, sticking into a microwave for 2 minutes, and calling it "dinner." "VEGGIES ARE ZERO POINTS. EAT ALL THE GREEN BEANS."

Here is the set of guidelines I hope to follow for at least 80% of the time on this 90 day challenge. 80% because I think being flexible with yourself is important and makes you more likely to succeed. And also because my birthday falls on a Monday within the challenge so I'll probably be breaking each of these guidelines then.
1. Done eating by 7pm. I want to give my body the night to deal. I'll keep downing all that water though. WATER WINS. Which brings me to #2...
2. Water/milk only during the week (alcohol allowed on weekends/special occasions. Try to avoid pop altogether.)
3. Eat with intention (meaning up the veggie content and prepare some stuff ahead of time) - plan healthy snacks and mostly homemade meals. Do a very honest self-check before having seconds.

And that, my 3 readers, is it. Super simple. But I still find a way to type forever about it. Thanks for reading anyway. If you did.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Blog #140: Oh, lately...

Just some good clean fun is all. Thrown in with some tire failings and superhero boyfriends and delicious meals and football & baseball games. And fun outfits and shrimp boils I love it all.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Blog #139: This is terrible news.

I often use the internet to diagnose myself with a myriad of serious illnesses. Usually in jest. However, once or twice (or every time I feel something "not right" - I'm very aware of my body and its processes) I do actually use Web MD, Google, and the like to investigate my actual symptoms in the hopes of finding the root of my discomfort so that I can save the copay and treat it on my own. And here's the thing: at least 3 times in the past 2 years, I have gone to the doctor and been given the exact diagnosis I hypothesized. And it's not things like "common cold." My most recent foray into the medical field on the internet was a skin thing and while I am lucky to have insurance so I could use my good sense to make an appointment about it, I still spent hours tracking down a diagnosis. And out of dozens of possibilities, I was right. I am GREAT at internet diagnostics. It saves me a lot of money in copay, because if it's not too serious, I don't go in.

We're all on board with my online investigative prowess when it comes to my minor illnesses? Good. So, now to the bad news.

On twitter I've been whining about my sinuses lately. The BFF suggested starting an antihistamine regimen which I will probably try. This post nasal drip is maddening.  However, I've noticed one other concerning element of the sinus drainage/headaches. The past week or so I've had 100 calorie dark chocolate bars (Trader Joe's FTW) as a dessert after lunch. Within 10 minutes of eating the bars, I would start to notice my headache getting exceptionally worse. It wasn't like crawl under my desk and die worse, but it was a noticeable increase in sinus pain/pressure. I ran out of the bars but had some dark chocolate chips (what can I say, a girl needs dessert!) that I brought today. I took like 10 of them out of the bag for a late morning snack. We're talking 10 tiny dark chocolate chips. I ate them and they were delicious. Then, a few minutes later, I noticed my sinus headache worse than it'd been all morning.

I googled "headache after eating chocolate" figuring it would just say something about sugar or something (even though it was a tiny amount, and I don't get the headaches after other sweet indulgences) and I found this article:

If you're allergic to chocolate or the dairy in the chocolate product, you can experience sinus headaches within minutes after consuming chocolate. Increased levels of histamine from an allergic reaction causes soft tissue such as the sinuses to become inflamed. During an allergic reaction, your immune system mistakes the chocolate or dairy as a harmful substance and attempts to fight it off with antibodies and histamine.

I may have a chocolate allergy. Let's all take a moment to let this sink in. I have joked about wishing I were allergic to the foods I love so I wouldn't eat them all the time, but never have I truly wanted for dark chocolate to be taken from me. Are there support groups for this? I need to figure out my new normal.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Blog #138: Wherein I beg for an Olympic Medal and am overly proud of myself for doing ordinary adult things.

You guys. I want to tell you how grown up I was this weekend. I mean, yes I took some naps and most of Sunday was spent in bed or on the couch but hear this: I was exceptionally adulty.

Maybe it's my new living situation that has me hyper aware of how I leave things because I did 2 cooking projects over the weekend that would have left my kitchen destroyed all week (month?) back when I lived alone. But not this time. No, I cleaned up after myself RIGHT AWAY and left the kitchen how I FOUND it like I was at my mom's house or something. Plus, these cooking projects were in order to plan ahead for lunches and dinners so as to avoid eating out! Just like I said I would! So instead of zipping out to spend $8-10 on a meal, I now have a good 8-10 meals that didn't cost me much more than that to make total!

Chicken Salad I made Friday night while being super-grown up.

Not only that, but Friday night. I did my laundry after only 2 weeks (instead of probably 6) so it was only 2 loads. Then, instead of leaving my clothes in the hamper or throwing them on the floor, I put them away immediately. That's right! No procrastinating. And while the laundry was going and chicken boiling for my chicken salad I ran the vacuum in the living room just for maintenance sake. Not because I spilled flour while trying to make cookies in front of my DVR (something that frequently happened at the old place.) Just because I thought, "Hm. It's been a few days since the living room has been vacuumed. Maybe I'll do that real quick." I also got my workout in even though my roommate was out and no one would have known otherwise. Friday & Sunday with their cooking projects and uncharacteristic cleanups were certainly one of my crowning moments in adulthood. And I went to work Saturday so that gets me grown up points too.
My spaghetti squash cooking project 

Lest I get too full of myself or you all think I've totally reformed, here are some "not so" adulty moments from the weekend:
- Saturday upon getting home from work at 3:30 I snacked on some Trader Joe's mini chicken tacos in bed before napping for 3 hours and then sitting in front of the TV watching the Olympics with a bottle of wine until 11pm. No workout. Oops.
- I didn't get out of bed for the day until after 11 on Sunday. And while I was working on my super adult spaghetti squash cooking project, I was also playing Super Nintendo with my roommate.
- We had wine and girl talk in lieu of a workout Sunday. Oops.
- Basically, every night during the Olympics has featured me on my couch for at least 4 hours straight.

May have spent an hour or so rocking the Super Nintendo.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Blog #137: On the whole August Challenge

Greetings, blog. As I mentioned the other day, I'm challenging myself to not eat out at all in the month of August. I promise this has nothing to do with the Chik fil a thing (though I would start to question my eating habits if I felt that my own patronage would make or break a fast food restaurant. I think I've eaten CFA maybe 5 times in my whole life. I just hope Chipotle never becomes so controversial that my mere consumption or desire for a burrito bowl reflects my character and personal life philosophy. Because I love my Chipotle burrito bowl and will miss it this month.) ** (Also, PLEASE read through the link on my last post re: CFA. I want to communicate about the tough issues with kindness and love and the recognition that very few things are as black and white as we'd like them to be. Culture wars be damned.)

Anyhow, the night of the 1st the boss actually gave me 2 tickets to go with my boyfriend to sit in the fancy seats at the Royals game that include all you can eat and drink, so I technically ate restaurant food but I didn't buy any, and this is really more about cost than consumption anyway.
very exclusive entrance

So close!
Here are my priorities for the August Challenge:
1. Save money!!! I haven't taken a HARD look at how much I spend per month on premade food, but the fact that I am averse to even thinking of adding it up means that I should concentrate more on groceries and learning to cook for 1-2 regularly than quickly zipping through my nearest Wendy's or Panera. The days of grad school are over and I have the time to spare, so there are no excuses.
2. Be Healthy. This takes #2 because I believe it's pretty much a side effect of preparing my own food anyway. Also because if someone (usually my boss on occasion, see post script) is going to bring in food from somewhere to the office and offer it to me, if it's something I love I will take advantage of the cost free treat! But health is a motivation here. My roommate and I have committed to doing the 30 day shred this month and have been adding in a mile jog/mile walk with it as well. Hopefully by making smarter food choices and doing the workouts I will start to feel less sluggish and fatigued overall. I can't wait to compare how I feel now with how I will feel at the beginning of September. Plus, my summer clothes are actually much more forgiving than my fall clothes when it comes to fit. The flowy skirts and dresses have allowed for me to fill out with BBQ and beer this summer and my skinny jeans aren't going to be so kind.

This whole thing was going to be a lead up into telling the story about how I was so dedicated to the idea of my "no eating out" that when I forgot my lunch for work yesterday I ended up scrounging until I found some raw broccoli and ranch I had left in the fridge and made myself some rice I found in my desk drawer flavoring it with old pizza hut parmesan cheese packets rather than go get food... but now I've typed so much that to tell that story in an interesting way would take way too much more time.

** Literally right after I typed that about Chipotle, my boss sent me a text telling me to place an order for Chipotle that he would pick up and bring in for lunch for several of us at the office. I kid you not. Yes, I will have a free burrito bowl and chips thankyouverymuch.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Blog #136: Various things I Care to To Think/Talk About more than Chik-Fil-A

1. The Olympics. They are the best. I don't even know what's going ON when I see two people in what look like space suits waving swords at each other until one of them lights up for some reason but I'm still totally enthralled. Granted, my favorites are gymnastics, beach volleyball, swimming, and track... but I could literally sit and watch every minute of all of it in fascination. I watched what I think was water polo while working today. Oddly enough, even if my favorites were on TV for any other kind of championship that wasn't the Olympics, I'd probably yawn and watch reruns of Friends insteads. But, because it is the Olympics, it matters.
2. For my job today I googled the following things: hookah catering, strolling magician, stone temple pilots lyrics. My job is so fun.
3. No eating out challenge this month! I won't be eating at any restaurants... especially not the fast food kind (regardless of presence of waffle fries/polynesian sauce/alleged bigotry) because I need to save money and eat better anyway.
4. I am REALLY not interested in getting into the whole Chik-fil a thing but I like the way this blogger talked about it.

That's all.