Thursday, February 25, 2010

Resolutions Checkpoint

I was reading through back posts of Diets are Crap last night and I came across my post about new years resolutions--specifically what mine were and I figured it might be a good time to review them, assess progress, and make adjustments if necessary!

Here's the post if you need a refresher.

1) Finish my weight loss to my ideal (and healthy) weight by the end of February and maintain it.
Status: Yellow light.  While I'm 14 pounds into that 22 pound goal, I likely won't make it to the full 22 pounds by the end of know, unless I donate a kidney and half my liver.  I'm okay with this progress so far.  My clothes are getting bigger, my hip bones have made their presence known (especially when one collided with the table the other night.)
Updated Resolution: Finish the 22 pounds by the end of April.  Giving myself 2 more months allows me to work on taking out 1 pound a week and finishing easily.  While my caloric output has recently jumped up, it's still not enough to make it easy to blow through 2 pounds a week.

2) Get pricing for new counter tops for Ikea.
Status: Green Light. While I haven't gone to Ikea yet, I still have about 10 months to get out there. After the month of March (which is going to be insane), I have some plans stirring for April--and a lot of them involve home improvement (closets, desk, counters)

3) See my two best friends in their respective cities. I'm on my way to one in a few weeks--Vegas, baby!

Status: Green Light. I had a great time with J in Vegas last all I need to do is get to NYC to see my other J!  Again, I have plenty of time.

4a) Continue my savings/investing pattern that I established this year.
Status: Green Light.  Yaay financial security!
4b) Make and following a cleaning schedule to avoid stressing myself out.
Status: Red Light. To be quite frank with you, I didn't even make a schedule.  Bad bad bad.  Maybe I'll get to that this weekend...I also have intentions to delegate chores. 

5) Have 1 date with Chadd a month.
Status: Green Light. It's been pretty easy to do this since our birthdays are in January and February.  Hopefully we'll keep the pattern up through the year!

6) Study for and take my personal training certification exam. Also, stick with the yoga.
Status: Green Light. My personal training study stuff gets here tomorrow afternoon and aside from the snow delays, I've been good about going to yoga every Tuesday morning! 

On the To-Do List (the post following resolutions), I just started to chip away and got in touch with one of my Group Fitness Coordinators to find a good Registered Dietitian.  I'm dropping by the gym tonight to fill out the paperwork for getting probably 4 sessions with her.  Since I'll be starting my personal training soon, I want to make sure that I'm pairing it up with the right nutrition.  Review to come!

How are you doing on your resolutions?  Do you remember them?  Do you have new ones?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Group Fitness Etiquette

My no-tap step days are off to a rocky start.  Last night, after practicing for a combined total of 6 hours, including an hour and a half before class, I subbed for the second time at my gym.  See below post for what no-tap step looks like.  I got the first part of that combo down--through the twirls.

I won't hail myself as a hero because it was a pretty rocky class.  I'm getting better, but that doesn't mean it's a class I'd want to take.  I wasn't surprised when two people left my class halfway through.  It's okay, it's not my class and I made it pretty clear that I'm learning no-tap step and that it's not easy.  I definitely appreciate the people who stayed and stuck it out with me...But the manner in which one woman left my class inspired this post. 

Never taken a group fitness class?  Need the rules for the road? Here ya go.

1) No talking during class.  This is pretty self explanatory.  It's fine to come in chatting, exchange a small comment with your friend, mutter to yourself, etc., but full blown conversations are both rude to the instructor and to the other participants. Plus, think about it like this, if you can talk while you're in a class, you're not working hard enough.

2) Be careful how you leave a class.  I've left classes before and I never hold it against someone when they leave my class halfway through, but please be considerate on how you do it.  The first reason has nothing to do with my feelings, but more of safety concern.  When you leave a class, give a little wave when the instructor looks at you.  We're most concerned that you've gotten injured or aren't feeling well.  Second, if the class isn't something you like, you're not happy with the sub, etc., as frustrating as it may be, please don't throw your arms in the air, scoff, and storm out of the class, leaving your bench behind.  If you're not getting the workout you came for, by all means, excuse yourself.  But be polite.  Instructors have a pretty thick shell, but for the sake of other participants, make your exist quietly.

3) Clean up after yourself.  Enough said, right?  If you took it out and used it, you can put it away (neatly, please). 

4) Be aware of others.  Recognize that the word "group" in group fitness means that there will be others around you.  In a crowded class, I know it's hard, but try to respect other's space.  Try not to block someone out from the mirror, make sure that if you're in a class that moves around the floor quite a bit to give ample space to yourself and those around you.  Likewise, need a water break? No problem--but when you come back, watch out for arms and legs of those between you and your space.

5) Timely Arrival.  I'm actually really chill on this one for my Sunday class because it's mostly my regulars and they're comfortable with our schedule and they know what they need for class.  Here's the deal: instructors are asked to start their classes on time and end on time.  You come to a class because it fits your schedule, right?  Right!  We like to keep it that way and if we spend the first 5 minutes of class in set up, you're losing valuable workout time.  Best practice is to follow the instructor rule--if you're not there 10 minutes early, you're late.  I recognize that some gyms are really bad about leaving time between classes, but try to get there at least 5 minutes early, especially if you're new to class, so you can ask for help if you need it--this is especially applicable for cycle classes.

6) Listen to Cues. Instructors are generally told to never specifically tell someone they're doing something wrong.  Now, in some classes, usually an abs class or a yoga class, it's common place for an instructor to walk around making corrections to people's form.  For the most part though, we recognize that you don't like to be called out in a class.  So we give general cues.  Example: "When doing a triceps kickback, make sure your upper arm is stationary, you should be only moving from your elbow down," if I'm saying it, it's usually because I'm seeing it.

Other things to keep in mind:
- If you are thirsty, don't wait for a break--get some water
- No one will remember if you were good, bad, or if you said "woot!" in the middle of class.  Embrace the energy, it makes class more fun and you'll burn more calories
- Take your instructor up on their invitation to have you talk to them post class.  We love talking to you and answering your questions. We're nice.  Please introduce yourself, especially if you're a regular.
- Push yourself.  Don't waste your time coming to class for a sub-par workout--we want to see you sweaty.
- Have fun.  If it's not fun, we've not done our job. 

Happy group fitness going!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday Linkage

It's Tuesday, so you know what that means!  Linkage!

1) Thanks to my friend over at Running for the Carbs you can now figure out how to alleviate some of that IT Band soreness: Tight IT Band?

Don't know what your IT band is? Oh yes you do.  You've certainly felt it before if you're over 18 years old.

That bastard puts a real wrench in morning running sometimes.  Related, I think I've finally found what is causing my mom's hip pain (Hi Mom!), related to the IT Band:
2) What is Trochanteric Bursitis?  Scary name...for a not so scary problem.  Stretching is the answer.

And related to stretching...and in honor of my Tuesday morning yoga:
3) Yoga in the Office - I wish there were pictures for this, but the stretches are pretty self explanatory and won't have your officemates giving you strange looks.  Whether you know it or not, a lot of these moves are natural reactions that we have. 

Unrelated, one of my Sunday morning participants sent me this article about Zumba:
4) Finding Fitness in Rhythm and Movement - Talks a little bit about how zumba started, profiles a woman who loves this particular workout, and has a great piece of advice--do the workout that isn't a workout for you--it should be fun (I don't mean easy), but you should look forward to going!  This article's from the WSJ, so it's only available for a few days before you need to pay for it--click now!

Tired?  Me too.  But not tired enough for one of these:
5) 10 of the Worst/Most Fat Filled Starbucks Drinks - yes, granted, these are for the Venti, but oh spare me.

Final link, it's about food too (sorry, no recipe this week, I've been too tired to experiment).
6) How Restaurant Menus Make You Spend More - And spending more often means more than just money....think about the calories, too!

Alright, that's it for the Tuesday links.  Remember to send me links that you think others should see!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The No Tap Dilemma

I just have to say.  I'm trying to teach myself how to teach no-tap step.  It looks something like this:

Not even kidding you, I can't even figure that out mentally.  I feel like that kid in the back of the So You Think You Can Dance tryouts who was outstanding on their own, but just falls apart learning the choreography in 10 minutes.

The real lesson here is this: I should have learned this a LONG time ago.  Just because I hate no-tap step doesn't mean it shouldn't be a part of my repitore.  And, not going to lie, I really have had a good time running around my living room, "dancing," and scaring the cats.  Since our place is pretty small, I actually am about to head over to Chadd's office to take advantage of the big conference room where I will hopefully land this combo (see above video) before I teach tomorrow.  If you want to see the results, come to class tomorrow night at the WSC, Dupont, 6:30.

My New Favorite Running Mix

This weekend was awesome in that kind of way where I have to ask myself if I did anything, then, when I realize that I did, I feel massively accomplished.

Saturday I got up before noon (1 pt. for me), while Chadd went to CPAC, I had a 6 mile run on the now showing sidewalks of Northwest DC (except for one bad part around the National Cathedral).  Goodbye snow in 50 degree weather!  Prior to this epic run, I updated my iPhone, and while I managed to delete most of my photos, any new contacts from after June 2008, and generally confused my very old computer, I also updated it to the point where I can actually get new apps (amazing!) and update the music on it.

Here is my new favorite running playlist (Artist: Song) now found on my phone:
1) Pretty Lights: More Important Than Michael Jordan
2) Midtown: Your Love
3) Metro Station: Shake It
4) 3Oh!3: Don't Trust Me
5) Forever the Sickest Kids: Breakdown
6) Cobra Starship: Good Girls Go Bad
7) Lady Gaga: Bad Romance
8) David Guetta: Sexy Bitch
9) Ke$ha: Tik Tok
10) Cascada: Evacuate the Dancefloor
11) Justin Timberlake ft. Timbaland: Carry Out
12) DJ Khaled: We Takin Over
13) Lady Gaga ft. Beyonce: Telephone
14) Franz Ferdinand: Take Me Out
15) Anberlin: Adelaide
16) Angels & Airwaves: Start the Machine

The mix clocks in at around an hour, perfect for a 6 mile training run (time built in for the poor decision to run down Wisconsin on the first nice Saturday afternoon of the year), stoplights, and about 10 minutes of stretching.

I also started on Friday night with a work to exhaustion workout--basically, 1 move per muscle group at moderate to heavy weight, reps till exhaustion, usually in sets.

Example: Bicep curls, 12.5 pound weights, 3 sets of 15 reps, or til exhaustion (20 reps on the last set for me)

I'm doing the "to exhaustion" workout for the next few days--I did it again on Saturday after my run, a modified version with my class on Sunday, and since I've got boxing tonight with my morning gym buddy, I'll probably take tonight off and get another exhaustion workout in tomorrow night before my second attempt at teaching no-tap (haaahahaha), especially since I have to practice tonight after boxing.  The point of the exhaustion workout is to do it for an entire week, once every 6-12 months to jumpstart your body and break a plateau.  I'll report on Friday night or Saturday how it went.

Anyway, enjoy the playlist--what's your favorite song(s) for a good workout--running or otherwise?

Friday, February 19, 2010

100 Posts Later, I Stood Up For Myself

I want to be an Olympian.  It's terribly depressing to me that I generally suck at every sport or physical activity I've ever done aside from aerobics and running.  Last I checked, there isn't a gold metal in yelling and stepping in place, and I'm not built for running that turns into competitive running.  I'm not just saying that--I have a broken foot (now healed)  to prove it.

I hope everyone's been watching the Olympics.  This is actually my first year of really truly watching the winter Olympics, which I usually watch for the ice skating and then forget are on.  I really think that the winter Olympics are by far the most dangerous combination of sports that exist.  Sadly, we have a reminder of that with the death of the Georgian luger, and you only need to watch a downhill alpine skiing race for 5 minutes to see a wipe out that could potentially kill or severely injure anyone.  Like any NASCAR fan, I've waited for the crashes, but I've also come to hail these athletes as some of the best in existence.  I'm amazed by their abilities.  It inspires me to do better, to train harder, and to say something to my counselor at work I hadn't really expected to say.

We have a review 2x a year where we're given a rating on a scale.  My counselor is a good guy, he works hard and he cares about my progress.  He began our conversation by talking a little bit about the next step in my career and the types of activities I'd need to be doing to move from being a good, solid employee, to an exemplary one.  I've seen friends of mine hit this point in their career and I want nothing to do with it.  Work life balance becomes a lot more of a work life blend.  I could go on, but I won't.  It's a choice that people make and if that's their passion, far be it from me to condemn them.  It just isn't mine.

I stopped him and told him that I was fine being a good, solid employee, that my passion was really in what I did outside of the office (fitness), and since its company policy that they're okay with me having a work/life balance, and that they are happy when we're good, solid employees, then I had made up my mind.

Bottom line: For the first time in my life, I haven't given 110% to something.  I've only given 100% because I want to dedicate whatever spare time I have to being an instructor, a trainer, and an athlete in my own right.  Why?  Because it makes me want to get up in the morning.  Simply and honestly put, it's my passion.

My counselor, bless him, looked at me for a moment and then really surprised me by saying:
"I am really glad to hear you say that.  It's really the first time I've gotten to see your personality, normally you just tell me everything's fine.  You seem a lot happier; I'll support you in that decision and I'll defend you if it comes to that."

What a weight off of my shoulders.  So, with that, I'm ordering my personal training studying materials, and getting to work. I now have 120 days to certify.

One of my gyms has also asked if I would be interested in representing them at a Les Mills certification for Body Pump (one of my favorite classes).  Three days of learning and doing, and I cannot wait.  What an great gift to be chosen!

Chadd, the most wonderful boyfriend, gave me my birthday present last weekend at dinner:  personal training sessions.  Ever concerned about my self image, he prefaced the gift by saying that if I wasn't interested, I didn't have to accept the gift and that this shouldn't reflect at all on me, but that he thought this was something I would enjoy.  You can imagine my reaction...


I freaked out a little. I have always wanted my own trainer to push me.  Hell, Olympians have trainers!  The most elite athletes in the world have trainers!  SIGN ME UP!  Chadd's intention was two fold: not only do I want my own trainer, but since I'm taking my exam soon, he wanted to make sure that I had someone who could help me as I got ready.  How awesome.

In summation, on this Friday afternoon, I feel like I've done a Herculean feat--I stood up for my passion and I was supported.  Do something today to stand up for your passion and tell me how good it feels

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tuesday Links (A Bit Late)

This sno"vacation" has put my mind on deep freeze and I've been a little slow to thaw, so while I get back into the fluidity of my normal routine, bear with me.  Like how I used a few water/snow metaphors there?  That's the kind of week it's been.

Anyway, here is your weekly round up of links:

Raising Awareness of Eating Disorders
I really enjoy reading articles by people who suffer from eating disorders.  Not because I want them to have a disorder, but because I think it makes the larger problem more real, more understandable, and hopefully blazes the path to recovery.  Kelly Zentgraf writes a very real article about her struggle and the lack of understand from the world at large about eating disorders.  Most insightful, I thought, was her discussion of why people develop disorders--it's not just "oh the media said I was fat."  Sadly, she says that she's heard people say "I don't know why, it just felt natural."

Fitness as a Full Time Pursuit
This is a great article that one of my participants sent to me (Thanks, Manny!)  For anyone interested in how to pursue something off beat (and along the fitness path) this is a great boost for morale. It's also a well written, interesting article.  Check it out.

Spicy Red Lentil Dal with Winter Veggies
My aunt gave me a fabulous birthday gift--a subscription to Fine Cooking.  If that wasn't already awesome, what's even better is that Fine Cooking posts their nutritional facts in the back of their magazines.  Without the lamb, you're looking at something around 320 calories for a cup and a half of the dal.  Please ignore what the reviews say, I thought this was an amazing recipe, and very filling.  I recommend making jasmine rice (easy to do, especially in the microwave) to pour this over.  Now, if only I could manage to make naan...

Sweetgreen Has a New Location
Hurray for clean, local food, green business, and entrepreneurial endeavors!  Stop by Sweetgreen in Logan Circle if you've never been to see what I rave about.  My recommendation: The Guacamole Greens (with Chicken) and of course, sweetflow.

That's the round up!  If you have links, post them before or feel free to shoot me an email!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Feature--Make the Realist Do It

I apologize for my unannounced break from the blog world, but I am back!

I'd like to announce a new feature of the blog--Make the Realist Do It!

As I pursue a career in fitness (be it part time or full time), I feel like I should at least have some sort of first hand experience with a lot of things people ask me questions about.   So, if you have questions about a diet book (no crash diets or pills, please!), then please--ask!  I'm open to trying any diet book, workout routine, life changing book, etc.

The stipulations are:
- If I think it's not healthy, I won't do it, but I will write a review of the book and why I think it's dangerous
- I will see the program through to the end or 2 months--whatever comes first
- There will be a 1x a week update on the book/program

So, go ahead, put me to the test and have someone else be a guinea pig for you before you take the dive!

Later tonight I'll post a review of a recipe I tried last night from Fine Cooking--Spicy Red Lentil Dal with Winter Veggies.  Amazing!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How to Work Out in the Snowpacolypse

So I told myself yesterday that I'd get a 2 hour gym workout in today.  With the blizzard the worst it's ever been through the past week, I figured the gym wouldn't be open.  I didn't call, but since I didn't sleep at all last night (see my last post), I figured I'd change my workout to an indoor workout.

Originally, I was going to get a 30 minute cardio session on the stairs and then a bosu workout.  That all changed, for the better, and here's how:

We live in an 8 story building, so I decided to do 10 rounds on the stairs, punctuated with intervals:
Round 1: Run up, walk down, 50 jumping jacks, 50 sit ups, 50 leg scoops
Round 2: Up, down, 50 jacks, 50 squats, 50 jumping lunges
Round 3: Up, down, 50 jacks, 50 seconds of wall sits
Round 4: Up, down, 50 jacks, 25 push ups, 50 seconds plank
Round 5: Up, down, 50 jacks, 25 squats
Round 6: Up, down, 50 jacks, 25 lunges
Round 7: Up, down, 50 jacks, 25 bicep curls with detergent bottles, 25 triceps kickbacks with detergent bottles
Round 8: Up, down, 50 jacks, 25 bicep curls, 25 triceps kickbacks
Round 9: Up, down, jacks, 50 seconds of plank
Round 10: Up, down, and finish.

All in all, it took about 50 minutes, maybe a little less.  Definitely not as fast as it could have been, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't work up a good sweat.

I did scare the crap out of one of my neighbors who came out to do her laundry while I was in the middle of jumping jacks.  But all in all, it was a great workout that I would suggest to any fellow DC'er who is stuck in the snow and has access to their stairwell. 

In addition to all that, K and I went down to a snowball fight between GW and Georgetown.  While the snowball fight was pretty short itself, getting down there, we ran through knee deep drifts of snow to get there and then back uphill after the fight. 

Stay safe in the snow everyone!  New blog ideas coming out tomorrow!

The Best Laid Plans

Remember how I mentioned our little snow situation up here?  Well, it got worse.  Worse to the point of a whiteout and even things that were managing to stay opened through the first part of this blizzard are closed. 

In addition, I could not for the life of me fall asleep last night.  I tried watching two episodes of BBC's Wild Pacific. Maybe it's because it's not narrated by David Attenborough, maybe it was just because Chadd wasn't home,who knows, I could not sleep.

When I finally did drift off around 3, the damn cat got up and started howling for water.  I turned on the faucet and he drank for about a solid 5 minutes.

7 am, the winds started.  The window above my head creaks like crazy in a wind storm, add the snow and ice and as it shattered against our window, I was woken to the sound of shattering.  Thankfully not the windows, probably just the ice build up around it.  Not ideal for getting up at 8 am to hit the gym, if it's even opened.

New plan involves a home work out, which I almost never do.  I'm going to call the gym after I finish my work, but for now, the I'll be running the stairs until I can't anymore, then getting creative with my bosu that I am now so glad that I haven't sold.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Great Snowpocalypse

Oh man.  Have y'all checked the weather over here in DC lately?  Let me tell you.  It has NOT been really conducive to working out...or eating well, especially since we're basically working with empty grocery shelves.

Alright, enough excuses.  I lost a pound last week, which I feel good about, but I can't afford to slip backward. My birthday is on Thursday and while I won't be at the goal I set for myself, or even the "I'd be okay with the goal +5 pounds" I'm only 3 pounds off of that (as of my last weigh-in).  I can't tell you that I'm disappointed in myself.  I'll tell you why.

While everyone is going snow-crazy, I've been very fine to work at home, take time to relax and clean the house (we did an epic clean this weekend), and regroup mentally.  It's probably a sign that the pace I've been going has been a bit harried and that I needed a little break.  The key to a healthy break is when you can pull yourself out of it before you start to kick yourself and feel bad. 

I watched The Biggest Loser tonight, which always boosts my motivation, signed Chadd and I up for a couples team at the Run Amuck May 1st in Rockville (a 5k race/obstacle course), and made a plan.  Remember what I said about a plan and a promise a few months ago.

Here's my plan.  Chadd's staying at a hotel tonight down by his office so he can actually get to work tomorrow, which means that I'll go to bed tonight at a decent hour.  I got a lot of work done today for my job, so I can afford to get up and go to the gym for 2 hours.

1 hour cardio: half hour run, half hour bike
1 hour weights: 3 sets, all muscle groups.

I promise myself one last good workout in this year before I kick off my next birthday year on the right foot.

I've taken a few good days off and now it's time to add elements of my life back in, one by one.  I assume the Fed will open again on Thursday, which means I'll be back to work, I'll add that piece of the puzzle back in and then the world will begin on its crazy pace again. 

Check in with yourself occassionally. See when you need a break.   Take one, an appropriate one, then get back on track.  It'll (hopefully) make you look forward to your next workout and getting back on track.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Moroccan Pita Sandwich Recipe Review

Do yourself a favor.  Go home tonight, hell, leave work early, and pick up the stuff to make this incredible recipe for tonight.   This is my new favorite food. I burnt out on the eggplant mushroom thing I talked about almost a year ago...yes, it literally took me a year to get sick of it...and immediately have a new replacement.

The Moroccan Pita Sandwich is amazing.  If you can't find the tahini paste, neither could I because my safeway sucks, but I just added more garlic and lemon and found that it tasted just fine.  I might add chopped cucumbers next time.  Regardless.  This is ridiculously easy to make, filling, and so good.  I was craving something very earthy and ethnic yesterday, so planning for this meal was well timed.  Some people in the reviews say they used plain yogurt instead of the Greek, which I'm sure is fine.  I keep Greek yogurt at home anyway because I prefer that texture (it's almost kind of like French yogurt).

If you want to make this even easier on yourself, I'd suggest even skipping making the meat into patties and just cook it all and divide it into 4 portions. 

In other words: this recipe gets my enthusiastic two thumbs up.  I'm already looking forward to lunch.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Baby Steps

Hello blog world! 

I have to share, tonight I had an audition with the sports club where both Chadd and I go.  I finally bit the bullet and asked about their sub list.  I do like going to a gym where I'm only a client...but the more I've gone, the more I've loved it and the more I wanted to be a part of that culture.

I auditioned with the group ex coordinator who shares my dream of making fitness a full time occupation.  She's actually done it and we had a great conversation about it.  I taught a brief combo, I showed her some more advanced moves I knew, etc.

Offered the slot on the sub list on the spot!  One step closer to my dreams of being in a gym all day. 

A Day in the Life

5:40: Phone alarm goes off for at least 1 minute before I hear it. I get up, hit snooze, pray cat is still asleep.
6:00: Radio alarm goes off in the kitchen.  Cat awake.  Get up, turn off.  Back to bed.
6:13: Phone alarm goes off and I calculate how long it will take me to get to the gym, get a good spot for yoga .... time to get up.
6:22: Cats fed, contacts in, yoga apparel on, checked my caloric burn from yesterday: 2256, about 250 less than target.  That's what I get for 30 minutes on the bike instead of a 3 mile run.
6:25: At gym (3 minutes or less in a jog.)
6:30: Sitting quietly, until skin and bones late yuppie comes in and literally puts her mat basically over mine.  "excuse me" would have sufficed.  The three of us who have been there scoot over to accommodate for queen of the universe.
6:33: Class has begun.  Mind going....blank.  (side note: Yoga has become an intensely personal time for me.  I am shocked with how in touch with myself I am without actually thinking during this hour.)
7:10: Oh my god am I wearing deodorant?  Okay whew.  Girl next to me isn't.
7:35: Rubbing palms and feet together to come out of fetal position (aka, nap time.)  The walk home is oddly peaceful.  It's busy walking home from the gym, but I'm still in my prana bubble.
7:40: Home, begin to brew coffee, briefly check email.
8:00: Out of the shower.  I've mastered the 5 minute shower (I use a timer).  Despite how good the hot water feels after walking home...I'll never leave if I take my time.
8:20: Lunch packed, coffee ready, dressed, wake Chadd since he has a meeting at 11. Begin commute.
8:50: At the office, take the stairs.  Begin coffee.
10:00: Oatmeal
(136--110 for low sugar instant apple cinnamon oatmeal, 26 for the milk that went into my coffee)
10-11: Emails, small tweaks to work products, log oatmeal calories, update private blog with yesterdays' calories for co-blogger, mentally tab up what I packed for snacks/lunch.  Pretty good.  Realize I forgot water bottle. Fail.
11:10: First snack--2 plain rice cakes with 1 tbsp. reduced fat creamy peanut butter. Update calorie log.
(70 for the rice cakes, 95 for the peanut butter)
11:36: First wave of exhaustion hits.
12:14: Not hungry, but wondering if I should eat anyway, just for an energy boost.
12:35: Coworkers ask me to have lunch with them, take the stairs down to the cafeteria, Chadd calls to give me an update on some stuff.  Shovel in lunch post phone call, return to desk, by way of the stairs.
12:50: Log lunch calories.
(Baked Eggplant, Mushroom, Tomato thing: 168, 100 cal pack of chocolate pretzels: 100, apple: 81, total: 349.  Total for today: 652.)
1:35: I wish I worked at a gym.  All I can think about sitting here is how my muscles are cramping up. 
1:45: Take elevator and kick myself while going up three floors.  Walk around following my client, pushing for decisions.
2:10: Pushing accomplished.  Stairs down three levels.
2:48: Send email to girlfriends about pole dancing aerobics intro class this Saturday.  Review to come. (I have a groupon for 5 classes, might as well take a 6th for free so I don't fall on my face)
3:16: Sharing hope with K that it snows tomorrow so I can work from home and clean the house.  Trying to determine what part of my Sweet Green salad to cut out so it can drop below 500 calories. 
3:28: Eat applesauce cup.  (51 calories)
3:58: Hungry again.  This, I'm sure, is an emotional hunger. I want to distract myself for the next hour, so my stomach is taking over.
5:15: Leave early, hurry home in the cold.
5:40: Home, quickly changing to go to the gym.
5:50: At the gym, 30 minutes on the treadmill, between level 6.7 and 7.5.  2 miles at level 7.5.   Finish with cool down, dripping sweat and face burning, but all together, feeling pretty good.  Spent most of my mental energy thinking about running the next few races coming up.
6:40: Walk to nail salon.  Am given a glass of cold (?) red wine, and immediately melt into pedicure chair where I bid farewell to my running callouses.  (Red wine, 100 calories)
8:10: Sweeeetttgreeeennnnn. I realize while I'm here that my salad is pretty calorie heavy (over 500), most of that comes from the avocado, and of course the dressing.  It's a light dressing in the sense that it's not creamy and most of it is made of cilantro, but I know it doesn't help that I have them pour it over my salad. The Sweet Flow is just frozen yogurt, literally plain yogurt, frozen and is delicious, low in calories.
9:00: Home to make dinner for Chadd and shower.
10:30: Watching Biggest Loser on DVR.

Total calories: 1528; total burn: 2568, Deficit: 1040.

Boring, I know, but there it is!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tuesday Links!

Alright, before we get to a day in the life of the Realist, let's do some Tuesday links!

First, I'm making this tomorrow night:
Moroccan Pita Sandwich; at 370 calories, that's a nice, big dinner.  It'll make great leftovers, too.
I recommend to everyone embarking on a weightloss/healthy change journey to roll up their sleeves and try one new recipe a week from something like Cooking Light.  My parents gave me the Cooking Light massive binder cookbook and it basically is the best thing since Splenda.  All calories, fat, carbs, protein, etc. is listed. If you have issues that require you to be aware of any part of your dietary intake, switch to recipes that let you know their total ahead of time.

This is a great article from my Pact Buddy, B.
Put "I" Into Your Workout
This article talks about making yourself responsible for your own well being.  The knife cuts both ways.  Consider this in terms of excuses and praise:
Excuse: It's too cold to go to the gym today.
I statement Excuse: I am letting the cold stop me from going to the gym today.

oooooh.   Suddenly it's not the cold, but YOU deterring yourself from the gym.

Praise: Man, my cycle instructor is great.  She's made me work really hard lately.
I statement Praise: Man, I am awesome at cycle.  I listened to my instructor and I really pushed myself.

Is the scale making you sad?  IT'S JUST A MACHINE.
Take the Stress Out of Weighing-In
Part two in a three part article from the same guy above.  This is a great way to remind yourself that it's not all about weight.  It's about your health.  I'm guilty of feeling caught by a lot of the feelings in this article.  It's a nice perspective check.

And for a little inspiration:
Notes from the Universe
My mom told me about this site and honestly, I love it.  I signed up to receive the daily Notes from the Universe.  They're a little weird, but never in a way that actually weirded me out.  It actually, honestly, makes me feel special.  I look forward to this email every morning.  One from the other day that has stuck with me:

If you knew how much you have in common with every single person now living in time and space Mia - in terms of your greatest hopes and dreams, and your deepest fears and worries - you'd wonder how I manage to tell you all apart.
And from this day forward you'd likely think of every single one of them as "dearest," just as I do.


The Universe
P.S. Yeah, like twins, to the power of 7 billion. But not to worry, dearest Mia, I can always tell it's you by your saunter.
I couldn't tell you why, but that, for some reason, has stayed with me.  It's like a hug from the universe every morning.
And with that, you have your second issue of Tuesday Links!  Please let me know if anyone is interested in becoming a guest blogger for next Monday!  Don't worry, you don't have to ID yourself.  You can be Jane or John Guest Blogger!
Prepare for the day in the life coming up later today!

Monday, February 1, 2010

How to Achieve a Situation (Or Issue)

I don't want to follow in Mike the Situation's footsteps, so Chadd and I have agreed to call my abs "an issue."  They may be upgraded at some point, but for now, they're an issue.

Anyway, I had a few people ask me how I did it.  Basically, here it is, here is what I did. I'm not saying it will work for everyone, I'm not saying it's easy, this really is a change of lifestyle.  But hey, here I am to tell you that it works and that it really wasn't that painful.

1) Set a goal for yourself and make it realistic.  My goal was 22 pounds by my birthday (in 2 weeks) and I made this goal late October/Early November.  I knew it was a bit of a stretch, so I had a modified "I will be happy with myself if I do X instead."  That goal was 15 pounds.  I could go all consultanty on you and say to make it a SMART goal, but I can't remember the acronym, so just make sure that it's measurable and that you have a date attached to it.

2) Enlist Help.  Remember my Pact buddy?  She's been great and without her, I wouldn't be here.  We blog every day on our private blog.  This person keeps you accountable and also gives you someone who will be sympathetic to you when you have a "I really need pizza and wine" day.  You may need to join weight watchers or something to find that person, but it's easier/better if its someone close to you.  If you're that kind of person, you can also find free online communities.  Check out Peer Trainer for a good resource.

3) Count Your Calories.  I know that this went the way of the mixtape--why bother listening to the radio to record songs when you could log onto itunes, right?  Wrong.  In this case, the old way is the best way.  Measure your food.  Look up calories (you can google it, or use SparkPeople).  Read labels and stick to the serving sizes.  Depending on how many calories you burn, you need to cut between 500 and 1000 calories a day to see weight loss.  1 pound = 3500 calories.  So if you want to lose 2 pounds a week, you need to be cutting back 1000 calories a day.  It starts by writing down everything.  I mean everything.  I never said this was a quick fix!

1 packet instant oatmeal: 120 calories

Apple: 81 calories

Also, I think it's ridiculously important to know what goes into your food.  Take back control of what is put in your food.

4) Determine your burn.  This one is hard.  Here are a few sites that will at least help you:
Calorie Count (this is pretty accurate)
Health Status

To be honest, I use my BodyBugg for this.  It's the one thing that I've found to be the most accurate and my burn was my missing piece.  You need to determine what you burn to make sure that you're accurately achieving the deficit that you think you are.  Write this down every day next to your calories consumed, deficit written as well.

5)  Plan it all out.  Make it easier on yourself, instead of getting to the end of the day starving and only having 10 calories left to eat, sit down on Sunday night and write out your menu for the week.  Go to the store and pick up those 100 calorie snacks, lean cuisines, whatever it is that will make it easier for you to space out your calorie needs.

6) Give yourself 1 day to splurge per week.  I'm not saying to go out and clear out the all you can eat buffet.  But now is the time to have a slice of pizza, or go out for a nice dinner and not worry about the calories in the steak.  It makes it so much easier when you know that you have 1 day to fudge, whether you use it for a celebratory dinner or for a day when you're captive to office food.  Life happens.  Your diet must be flexible.

7) Weigh in 1x a week, same time, same day, same scale.  Weighing in once a week under those circumstances gives you the most real picture of your weight loss.  Try and do it first thing in the morning.  If you notice your weight going up, reassess your meal plan/burn goal.  Ladies, keep in mind we do have more fluctuations than men...

8) Reward yourself at milestones.  I recently bought a groupon for a massage that I plan to use at -20 pounds.  Only 7 pounds away!  My Pact buddy is eyeing a pearl necklace to match her goal weight dress.  Just make sure your reward is NOT food based, unless it's something fun like healthy cooking lessons. 

9) Give yourself time.  I've given myself about 3 months to get here and I know I'm not done yet.  This is not a quick fix, but this is a realistic life style change. 

10) Forgive yourself. This is the most important one.  We all slip up now and again.  But when you have a bad moment/day/week, get over it, forgive yourself, and start anew.  Just because you slid backwards does not mean that you have to start all over again. You just need to keep going from where you are. 

It all comes down to this simple fact: when calories in < calories out, you get weightloss.  I encourage you, if you are pursuing weightloss, to boil it all down to this simple fact.  Learn what you consume, learn what you burn, and make it part of your daily routine.

If you want a day in the life of me, I'll post one tomorrow.  But there are the guidelines.  Tune in tomorrow!  A day in the life of me.

There Is No Finish Line

Today begins a new month and according to a variety of sources, this is supposed to be a month of great change and new beginnings and wonderful things happening.  Whether or not that's true, focus on it and it will happen.  "Thoughts become things, so choose good ones."

Keep in mind that health and fitness is not an end goal, it's a way of life.  Weightloss may come to an end and maintenence may begin, but that doesn't mean to abandon everything.  This is one of my favorite Nike ads:

Make health and fitness a way of life this month and you'll never have to worry about it again.

Second post coming later today about how I got to where I am!