Sunday, May 31, 2009

Self Imaging

I'm sick.

My coworker's chest cold has turned into, for me, a raging chest infection, that the CVS minute clinic said I will need to have a chest x-ray for if I start having chest pain.


I'm afraid that this might post pone my big work out schedule. But I'm trying not to go there right now.

I'm watching America's Next Top Model, which normally I would not condone watching for good self imagine. But there's one girl who is getting a lot of flack for being muscular--that apparently she's only good for being a sports model. It's ridiculous. You can't be muscular (god forbid, you be healthy), you can't be curvy--they let the one "plus" size model go after 4 weeks. And what really blows my mind is how much these girls smoke, one of them is on the edge of alcoholism, if she isn't already full blown.

Back to the muscular girl. Being healthy should be the beautiful standard. So many models are so unhealthy and it's what we all strive for, which is RIDICULOUS. We'd all like to be stick thin, with no boobs, our clothes hanging off of us. What about being healthy, strong, toned?

I've struggled a lot with this recently. If I had one secret that I'd never like to share with anyone is this:

I'm horribly insecure with how I look.

Even now, writing that out, I'm very very tempted to delete it. But it needs to be said...because so many people suffer from this. The interesting thing is that someone can say "ugh i hate blank about my body" while the girl standing next to them can say "oh man I wish i had that girl's blank." Its self perception. For many people, myself included, we are our own worst enemy.

I wish that I had the knowledge to get away from the horrible things that we say to ourselves. I don't want to admit it, but every morning there is one thing that I never fail to do: after throwing off my pajamas, look in the mirror and say to myself one of two things: "I look thin" or "I look fat."

How pathetic.

How realistic.

Those three words that I say in the morning will shape my entire day. I will obsess over how my pants feel. I'll look in the mirror and tug at the skin around my face. I push my sides, jiggle my thighs and reinforce allll day. If I say that I feel thin...then my pants are some how loose, my arms look great, etc. etc. It's a vicious battle, and there's no way to talk myself out of that first sentence in the morning.

Of course, right now, it doesn't help that I can't work out because my lungs are in such bad shape from this chest cold. The lack of endorphins keeps me down.

I was really looking forward to kicking off to a healthier few weeks with the 28 Day Body Shapeover...but with this chest cold, I'm not allowed to work out for at least five days. If I do, there's a chance that I could aggrevate it and make it worse. I've got a stressful day at the office coming up, too. Getting back on track at the office and then getting through Impact Day.

Yuck. Too much negativity for one entry. The thing that I tell myself that does get me off my own back is this: "You can change things if you just do it. Take it day by day." So, just gotta take it day by day. Get back on track, get healthy, and get going.

For now, I guess more Top Model is on the books.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

5 days Before the Shapeover

So, as you may recall, when I started this blog, I was all about Volumetrics. Don't get me wrong, I still am. I endorse calorie counting, becoming aware of the ingredients in your food, and making smarter choices--like ordering dressing on the side, knowing how big a real portion is, and learning to cook for yourself.

And yet, I knew that I would eventually fail at this. There's a certain peak at which you lose your mind and count everything (I was probably about 6 weeks away from this miracle), and then there's that week point (about 7 weeks in) where you lose the time/interest/and time for the grocery...there's a breaking point.

I'm doing a redirect. I am good about watching what I eat, which is really the main case that I have for doing a calorie count for a few months. It's good to know what you consume. I cook my meals using pam, I make Chadd's dinner with a ton of butter. The list could go on. But the point remains...calorie counting is, at worst, a learning experience.

I bought a book on Monday called "28-Day Body Shapeover," by the guy who wrote one of my favorite sculpting books for women--"Sculpting Her Body Perfect." This guy has the right idea--the way to tell how heavy your weights should be, how many reps, which exercises, how often, etc. I have used this book as a cheat sheet for...3 years? I'm going to give the 28 Day Body Shapeover, well...28 days.

I think it's important that if I choose to open my own gym, I can offer a "See It in a Month" option. You know that pre-wedding, pre-high school reunion, post-baby one month boot camp. I'm a little nervous about the diet that goes with it. It's not something that is sustainable for my lifestyle. For example:

Day One:
Meal One:
- 1/2 cup oatmeal
- 1 scoop whey protein powder
- Coffee or tea

Meal Two:
- Strawberry Smoothie (1 c. strawberries, 1 scoop whey, 1 tablespoon flax oil, crushed ice)

Meal Three:
- 6 oz. grilled chicken breast
- large salad

Meal Four:
- 1 pear

Meal Five:
- 6 oz. flounder
- 12 oz. yellow squash.

I can do 28 Days. During those 28 days, I'm going to have to think of a follow up plan. Stay tuned...

In the mean time, I'm going to be home with my family for my brother's high school graduation, where I plan to indulge in wine, good food, and Florida heat.

You'll probably get a wine-induced post from me along the way.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I got home last night and almost crapped out on my run. I was getting tired, I knew that, even though I had plenty of time, I had plenty of things that needed to be done....namely procuring a new hair dryer and going to the grocery.

And then the most amazing thing happened. I remembered how good it feels to throw on a pair of sweats and a tank top, slide on flip flops and run errands.

So, I charged up my iPod, found my Nike + iPod shoe chip and set course for a 5k. From my place, a 5k gets me just past the Naval Observatory and then back--this is taking the route up Mass Ave, which showcases one of the biggest, longest, hills in DC.

One of my coworkers was supposed to join me, but she decided to go her own way last night.

Fine on my end, the weather was gorgeous last night, a real runner's dream: mid 70's, slight breeze, sunny. When I got home, I changed into my sweats and walked over to the bigger safeway to get some of the items we've been missing: milk, yogurt, veggies, lean cuisine. And headed home, talking to my med school friend who has arrived in the states, finally!

When I sat down at my desk last night, a few things hit me:
1) I like running with people
2) I miss having a group of friends.

Last year, I played kickball with a good friend of mine. Times changed, we went our own ways, and I quit kickball. Someone mentioned the Hashers the other day and it flooded back to me--the hashers are a group of runners (though they claim to not take themselves too seriously) who drink at pit stops through their 4-6 mile run, and then hit the bar afterwards. Their attitude seems to be a mix of ultimate frisbee (they sing songs), kickball (alcohol), and the crazy runners (because who else can drink and run 4-6 miles?)

So I did a little research and joined the mailing list for the White House Hashers. We'll see how that goes. Potentially, the first run I'd be able to make is Monday...

I'll let you know if I make it Monday.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Best Sleep

Time to take a break from doing not much of anything.

It's a pity that somehow someone can't find a way to evenly distribute the work we had over the past six weeks to this week. I'm bored with nothing to do, so I'm obviously thinking about the gym.

Last night, I had my first personal training session with my coworker, where I basically worked her as hard as I could. The good side of this is that a) it's probably improving our working relationship, and b) I got a good work out, too.

The work out was classic--20 minutes fast jog/run on the treadmill, very very fast (not short) arm routine hitting biceps, triceps, back, shouldes, chest, then on to lunges and squats. We went through abs and stretched out. A good work out by all accounts.

I can feel my body responding positively, even just in self perception, after three days of working out. I stepped on the scale and after those six weeks of hell on my body, I'd only gained 2 pounds. So I'm down to just 6 pounds lost...but that's something, isn't it?

The best thing to come of the working out, and I'm sure it has something to do with Chadd coming home last night, was that I finally slept through the night. No waiter dreams, no nightmares, nothing. Just sleep. And while I was exhausted when my alarm went off, since I was up late to pick up Chadd from work, I felt like I'd actually slept.

Goes to show...making yourself physically exhausted, even if you're mentally done, provides the best sleep.

Today, my favorite tool is You can map your run, determine just how far you're going, check elevation, etc. Awesome! Definately going to try it out tonight...


Monday, May 18, 2009

When Pizza Doesn't Have Calories

This weekend a happy/sad thing happened.

One of my best friends in the world graduated from college and packed up and left DC for her amazing new life as a TFA teacher in Las Vegas. I know she'll kick ass and being an incredible influence on many many students lives out there...but I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you that I'm truly heart broken that she's leaving the city.

I met her in probably my first semester of teaching aerobics. She was one of my more friendly regulars...and when I asked if anyone was joining greek life that year, she said she was and named the co-ed frat I was in. We bonded and when she rushed, she became my little and my best friend.

Since then, I've seen her almost every class I've taught. Last summer, she basically lived at my place when I lived by myself. We had marathon girl date weekends, where I picked her up from work on Friday night, we went out that night, then hit up Philly pizza, or took in all day concerts while taking a day off work (warped tour) ...she was my go-to person here.

So, Friday, after work and running a few errands...I almost reluctantly threw on something to go to DC9 for indie music and a 6 dollar open bar (rail drinks only--this keeps me good, I can't drink hard liquor without feeling like I want to throw up). After her brother and his girlfriend left, she and I walked home so she could say good bye to the cats, then we jumped in the car to go to Philly pizza one last time.

Philly pizza is something of an institution. Incredible pizza for almost nothing. At 1 am, it's like a slice of heaven. It rivals jumbo slice any day of the week, because it's even good sober. It seems like everytime my friend and I had a girl weekend, Philly pizza squeezed its way in and it became something like a tradition.

And that's when pizza has no calories. Because after 4 years of girl dates and punk shows, late night pizza, long ponderings over a bottle of wine, and 5:50am boot camp...there's only one way to say goodbye--in the least dramatic and normal way possible.

Good luck, lady! Come visit for calorie free pizza any time.

The Biggest Loser (Office Addition)

So my team has decided to do the biggest loser challenge. This would be great if anyone of them needed to lose weight, but they don't. So I'm having to restructure our approach. Why me? Because I've been designated as Bob/Jillian.

Now, let me say right off the bat that I have a big issue with Biggest Loser. I don't subscribe to the methods they do--at least, not for the millions of Americans who could lose 20-30 pounds. If you are about to die of a heart attack, incur extreme health issues, etc. Then I'm willing to cope with the idea that you should lose 10 pounds a week. Often times, for people who are morbidly obese, they do need to lose a significant amount of weight in a very short time. However, this is an extremely rare case. People who need to lose between 10-50 pounds, and potentially more, should go about it at a rate of 2-5 pounds a week. 5 pounds being for people who are on the higher end of the needed weight loss--your body will help you out when you start losing weight if you're severely overweight. Men also tend to lose quite a bit of weight in the first few weeks.

So, we've modified our approach. We're looking to become more lean, with better definition. A couple pounds off wouldn't be harmful either.

So here we go.

Today was the walk of shame, meaning we all emailed each other what we ate over the weekend. I'll discuss mine in a later entry to be entitled "When Philly Pizza has Calories"...

For now, off to a team lunch to enjoy their last meal before dieting and exercise kick in.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The First Run

Chadd tells me frequently that sometimes he needs a break from something. It's usually much more big pictures--like his love of baseball, doing triple jump and track in high school, political discussions...or something very ephermerial games (he then goes on a movie streak, or some other media based entertainment).

I understood this in a way that was very conceptual. I go in phases on things, but I tend not to actively make a decision to "take a break" from something. Usually, I lose interest, or put it aside for a while without really realizing it, then I loop back around when I realize what I'm missing.

While I might still not have grasped the idea in an active sense, I have finally understood my reasons behind why I lose interested and why Chadd takes active breaks. As you may have guessed, it has everything to do with my sudden lack of exercising beyond teaching twice a week.

I made a post a few weeks back about the increase in my henious hours--the three 50 hour weeks and what that would do to my exercise life. That was an additional 2 hours at the office a day...and since I often have evening activities that are non negotiable (examples: Catholic class, literacy tutoring)...that meant being at the office an hour earlier and working through my lunch break. It's silly, but those two hours wear you out...especially over the course of 5 weeks...and then two weeks of 55 hour requirements. I obviously didn't make it through those three weeks with the healthy eating and exercising regiment I said I would.

For that matter...I lost all interest in anything. It wasn't that I didn't want to finish painting the condo (next weekend's activity while Chadd's out of town), nor was it that I wasn't interested in spending time with my friends, or reading the new book I picked was that I was wholly disinterested in everything beyond just dying to get home, avoid work for a bit, throw something together for dinner (which usually started out frozen--if I was lucky, I had the patience to wait 20 minutes to have one of the amazing and healthy eating plan abiding Home Bistro meals mom sent me for my birthday), and then get back to work before I gave up and went to bed.

Rodan + Fields gives me energy to at least get to work and stay at work, mostly because if I'm out of the house, I'm busy brainstorming, even if I'm creating powerpoints and answering scores of angry emails.

Seeing Chadd when he came home from work and get in bed at 4 am because something to look forward to, even if it meant waking up in the middle of my sleep cycle.

I stopped sleeping well because I wasn't exhausting my body with working out.
I wasn't working out because my mind was too drained and miserable to comprehend changing and then leaving the safe haven of our condo to go back into the world at the gym.

So my days became:
1) wake up miserable from bad sleep
2) stay tired all day
3) get home too tired to consider gym
4) load self conscious with guilt
5) stay up late trying to squeeze any productivity outside of work into my day
6) go to bed late
7) fight my mind moving a million miles an hour trying to find a way out.

That must be the cause of obesity.

But after wading through that depressing half of the's the good news.

Being at home with my folks in the glory of the Florida sun, where I spent my high school years, is restorative. Seeing family is always a positive experience for me, but combine that with temperature in the 90's, a pool, and tons of sun after a few weeks of gray, cold, rainy weather back in DC...and things automatically get a facelift. I've been sleeping because I told the world, via my curt out of office message "I will not be checking email or voicemail while I am out of the office."

So today, after we got home from seeing my mother's new art studio in the next town over, I turned to my brother and said "wanna go for a run?"

I have seen the misty, 40 degree weather in DC and said to myself "You love running in this weather, get outside." and I haven't. I havent' even wanted to, and then been too lazy...I just haven't wanted to run. And if there's one thing I've never truly lost interest's running.

So, my brother and I changed into running gear, got outside in the nearly cloudless sky around quarter of 5 and just went out for about 3 miles. It was fast, it was hot, and we came home, dying to get into the pool. But, running down the road, past the semi-green lawns, dying in the direct sun, I saw a shadow of myself in front of me. My quads were well trimmed. My pony tail bouncing beind me, the subtle rise and fall in my distinctivly distance runner gait...and I felt like my old self.

I remembered training in the summer heat three years ago--had it been that long?--between jobs, trying to get my 6 miles in, 9 if I was lucky...and how that felt, the sweat dripping down my back, into my eyes, off my hair. My hands basically as wet as if I'd just come out of the pool. And did I love it...of course.

I loved going to the casual barbeque place where I waitressed that summer and pulling my blonde hair through my black hat, sliding into my khaki shorts and black polo and stretching out my legs as I took orders. Loving my freckles and my dark brown arms.

And I wonder where it is that it all went away. The answer could not be as simple as "the extra 10-15 hours required at work"....but maybe it is. Maybe it's not those hours directly, but their effect. I'm sure I could have made myself go for a run, or get up and get to the gym, but I didn't. Even when I did, I sat on the bike and looked pathetic, huffing through law and order on the distracting tv screen.

I've finally figured out the solution, though I have yet to see how it holds up in practice. Part of the reason I felt so bad was because I didn't do what Chadd does and declare and active break from an activity. I'm smart enough to know that I wont' get through 6 weeks of horrible hours at the office and maintain the same standards for my diet and exercise. I should have compromised, created a plan, and then eased off on my guilt trips. Chadd actively makes decisions even to "Do nothing" on a weekend...because then he feels like he made the choice to hang out...and it wasn't a waste of a day. I have a large amount of guilt when I return to something I let slide, whether I knew it or not.

Now it's time to rededicate. I have one more week of 55 hours (44 of which I'll make due to my PTO), and hopefully I'll go back to 40 hours. I'll start up slow on the healthy eating and the working out...and this time, I'll actively give myself a break when I know that I can't balance it all.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Working Hard or Hardly Working

The title isn't meant to talk about what I'm doing in the present moment on company time (you're reading it). I gave my company 14 hours yesterday and the day before that, and a few on Sunday. I was encouraged to hit 40 hours this week (I go on vacation tomorrow, please note the day--it is currently wednesday), which was apparently very kind of them seeing as I have a required 55 hours this week and next.

In case you didn't know, working 40 hours in three days (Plus a little weekend time) is something of a nightmare. Everything else in my life has been put on the wayside.

I guess what I'm trying to communicate here is that while I'm working hard for a very thankless and unfulfilling job (at least it has been for the past few weeks)...I'm hardly working on eating well. I'm more concerned about the fact that I've given up sleep (or rather, it's given up on me) and that I can't remember what day it is often.

Chadd did the most wonderful boyfriend thing this weekend. He booked a massage for me on Saturday at the four seasons. A body treatment AND a massage, to be precise. 80 minutes of bliss in a very swanky spa. After lunch out, we came home and I did exactly what one does after a massage and lunch...sleep. That night, we went to Fogo de Chao, the world famous brazillian steakhouse....and what can I say, the way to my heart is through a spa treatment and then multiple cuts of wonderfully cooked beef. Texas girls are pretty simple, it seems.

While we were seated at the restaurant, Chadd told me "this is a special occassion. eat whatever you want." Now, dont get me wrong, Chadd doesn't watch what I eat an harp on me for his own pleasure. I've enlisted him as my watchdog, which worked very well when we had the same schedule.

I will say, I've been decent about eating despite my horrible schedule. Remember my last post about the minus one pound weekend. I didnt' weigh in this week, but it's probably very similar to the last time I weighed in. Work takes away my time/desire to cook something.

I've been either not hungry, or craving pasta and grease. I never give into the grease--though Five Guys was very close to winning the battle last night--but the pasta, I do. I try to stick with a lot of lean cuisines and healthier sandwhiches and snacking.

Come to think of it, I eat better than I feel I do...but I know it's no where as regimented as it should be. That's how we get into trouble. We lose focus, then its not a priority, then we get out of the habit and before you know it, it's easy to push take out for three nights in a row under the mental rug.

I've done okay with it, in all honesty. Of course, I'd rather be spending my money on something else than food, I'd also rather go back to cooking. I enjoy cooking. It's very relaxing to me. This would also probably help me sleep.

If anyone has ever been a waiter or had a crazy busy job that requires extreme multitasking, then they'll understand how this goes. When you're a waiter, often times you have something called "waiter dreams." I didn't know that other people had them until I read some guy's blog about being a waiter in NYC and his friend asked him after he'd left the industry and found his way back, if he'd started having waiter dreams again.

Waiter dreams are unique. They're a very strange combination of things. Usually, the dreams aren't bad, but they tend to last all night, you can wake up and go right back to them. They're unusually realistic for dreams--at least 3-4 nights a week when I was a waitress, I'd have waiter dreams:

Drinks to table 101, dont' forget a side of ranch for table 112, and the two top in the corner is finally all here, must take their order. Don't slip in that puddle. Remember to grab the pitcher of beer from the bar, swing around and hey, tie your shoe, don't forget your pen is in your hair. Ed's the cook tonight, did my hostess finish wrapping silverware?

Almost never a bad dream. There was rarely a dream about chilling out at the bar with my friends after work or sitting at the hostess station. Always moving. I've been told it's because your brain is constantly juggling simultaneous tasks by bringing them into your short term memory--that second bucket where you have about 5 minutes to keep it there until you lose it...your brain likes to do a dump of those, much as you would defrag a computer. Boom. Waiter dreams.

That happens a lot now that I'm working this many hours for my day job and constantly trying to brainstorm and grow my new business. Rodan + Fields is by far the most energetic job I've ever had. I love it. Perhaps I should have known that I was always meant to be in sales (like my Dad) and own my own business (I think I had three of them when I was growing up). But I am constantly working (when I'm procrastinating with Deloitte work, I'm doing R+F stuff--today was a HUGE win over at Nordstrom's with a Chanel woman with friends in need of work)...and so my brain is constantly working on overdrive.

For the past three weeks, I've not been sleeping well, if at all. Last night, I got three hours. The past week, aside from this weekend (where Chadd and I went to sleep at a normal time), I haven't slept well. Lots of waiter dreams for R+F -- sending emails, having interviews, doing demos, etc.

I think this post probably lost it's purpose. Bottom line: working hard (when it's not something you love...aka, my day job) can make you hardly work on yourself. I am on a quest to figure out how to conquer that. But maybe that's the Holy Grail. Suggestions?