Of showing frat boys how it’s done and blowing up someone’s phone

Wrapped up Week 3 of the Still Unnamed Fitness / Health Challenge. No change in either my weight or my measurements. However, I also totally bombed my food side. I didn’t have any green smoothies or pay attention to my protein intake. I also ended up having quite a bit of soda and massive portions of candylike desserts.

I have, however, noticed a change in my strength, especially in my arms. They feel a little more solid and I can get the tiniest bit lower in a push up on my toes. I’m still a long way from being where I want to be, but every little inch counts. I was able to hold a plank for about 40 seconds without resorting to dropping to my knees. I felt like a genuine badass for the rest of the day. It’s a 60 second challenge early on in my barre class. I got through the first week of Couch to 5k. I started Week 2 yesterday. The overall change is beginning to become more obvious. I just need to recommit to my dietary goals.

Yesterday was my dad’s 60th birthday. Considering there was a point we weren’t sure he was going to make it to 59, it was a red letter day. We played laser tag, had tacos, and watched Jurassic Park for the benefit of my friends who haven’t seen Jurassic World yet. Laser tag was hilarious. We ended up playing 2 games with a bunch of frat boys. We all teamed up against them and holed ourselves up in one of the towers. My purpose was scout / shit talker. Half the fun is coming up with code names. When you’re hit, the name of the person who hit you pops up on your laser. It became rapidly apparent that a few of these fine upstanding fraternity men couldn’t be bothered to come up with names (they were from GA Tech. I shouldn’t have expected any kind of creativity). At one point, I was hit by “Spencer” and started making fun of his name. He gets huffy and retaliates with “It’s just a game”. I simply giggled and ran back to my scout position. I can only assume that he took his ball and stomped off the playground. When I was talking to the “marshal” (the employee who has to sit in there for liability reasons) after the game, she said every time they get a group like that, she hopes they all lose. I told her what happened and she got a big kick out of it. Later my mom told me I shouldn’t have made the little boys cry. ๐Ÿ˜‰

On a completely unrelated note – I learned just how annoying it is to have someone blowing up your phone. I’ve found that communication with someone you’re just getting to know is a delicate balance. You don’t want to harass them, but at the same time don’t want to seem uninterested. This girl messaged me on MeetUp, so I figured I would chat with her. She was practically interrogating me. She’d ask me a question, I’d answer with something I thought was pretty clear. Five minutes later, she’d ask me the same thing. Uh, okay? I use the app, so my phone would ding every time I got a message. I turned off the notifications and told her that I wouldn’t really be able to chat over the weekend (not a total lie). Now that I’ve been on the receiving end of it, I’m going to try and find that balance a little more. Ultimately, I ended up blocking her. Over the few days we were talking, she would ask me the same question literally five or six times. I don’t know if she was a little slow or just desperate to have someone to talk to or some combination of both. Who knows?

I’ve also decided that Sundays are reserved for sitting on my ass all day. Hello marathon of Criminal Minds and possibly a nap. Big excitement.

XOXO!

Of running like a princess and toning like a boss

Hello faithful readers!

I’ve completed Week 2 of my get healthy / in shape project. I didn’t do as well on the abstaining from soda & candy as I’d hoped. I’m not perfect (I know, it’s a shock). I only fell off the candy wagon once though. Soda caught me three times. I also didn’t have as many green smoothies as I would have liked. I had one & that’s better than none.

I did stick to my exercise goals. I went to spin last Sunday and barre twice. I was going to go boxing on Wednesday, but I gave myself such a raging tension headache, I ended up staying home from work. Long story. I also restarted the Couch to 5k program. I’m bound and determined to make the Disney Princess ย half marathon for 2016. I’ve got a reminder set on my phone for when registration opens (July 14) and I cleared out all the old data from last summer. I did the first day yesterday morning. I was quickly reminded how poor my cardiovascular endurance is. Jogging for a minute? No problem? [15 seconds later] *huffpuffgagdie*. Fortunately, my neighborhood has bike lanes and I take advantage of those. Unfortunately, those bike lanes are on some of the hilliest parts of the neighborhood. I’ll get to the bottom of the hill right as it switches over to the jogging section. Whoopie. Not.

The program calls for 3 days a week, so I’ve set a schedule of Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday mornings. I’m getting used to waking up at 5a and, rather sickly, beginning to enjoy it. It’s also finally hit the point where it’s in the 90s (30s for my metric readers) for most of the day. Going out and running that early is a lot safer. I found a barre class I really like that’s at 6a on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I think the combination will give me what I’m looking for. The barre class has a lot of bang for your buck arm work. I still can’t do a proper push up on my toes, but I’m getting there. The room has mirrors on 3 of the 4 walls so I can keep an eye on my form.

I’m noticing itty bitty changes in my body. My weight has held pretty steady. It’s only fluctuated 2ish pounds (1 kg) in either direction. As I’ve said, weight isn’t really my main goal. I’m prepared for gain over loss as my muscle mass increases. I’d rather take up less space than simply have a smaller number on a scale. I’ve lost an inch off both my chest and my waist since May 31. When I grab my upper arm, it feels a little more solid than it did before. My hips / upper thighs have refused to budge so far, but those will be the hardest to get where I want them. At least I haven’t gotten too frustrated yet. If I can keep up with my dietary changes, I think I’ll start to see real results in the next few weeks. As shallow as it sounds, I would love to see the muffin top gone (or mostly so). Of course, I’d be hard pressed to think of a woman who doesn’t want to see that part of her body flat / toned.

I’ll also hopefully have some exciting news in the next few weeks. I would be beyond thrilled if this works out. So if you have some spare mojo, finger crossing, or a goat to sacrifice, it would be appreciated. Okay, maybe just metaphorically sacrificing the goat. I don’t condone ritual slaughter of animals.

Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend. I’m off to finish inflating my new stability ball that will double as a chair. Party time.

XOXO!

Of maxi dresses and intrinsic value

This may sound like another self deprecating post, but bear with me.

First, thank you to my friends who kindly listened to the tempter tantrum I threw on Friday. Like the kicking, screaming, crying temper tantrum that one would expect from a five year old. I got myself all worked up over how I’m literally the only one in my social group who isn’t married. All of my female friends are married and have been for at least 2 years. Iย I hear the same compliments and encouragement over and over again. I’m smart, funny, pretty, and someone you just generally want to be around. As my BFF put it, to know me is to love me. My knee jerk reaction? They’re just being nice. Clearly all of that, if it’s even true, isn’t enough. Normal boys aren’t interested in me, so I need to change something about myself to be more desirable.

After I calmed down, I asked myself the very simple question that I’m pretty sure I need to write in big letters on my mirror or on a sticky note on my computer or some place where I’ll be reminded of it regularly.

Why am I basing my value as a person on a boy?

I pride myself on keeping a group of friends who don’t bullshit me. I am of above average intelligence. I’m very good at making people laugh, provided they understand my sense of humor. Attractiveness is highly subjective, but for argument’s sake, I’m of average attractiveness. I pride myself most on my loyalty. I’m the kind of friend who if you call me at 2 in the morning, clearly it’s important. I might grumble a little as I wake up, but I’m not going to ignore the call. My friend needs me and I’m going to be there. They wouldn’t be telling me all of the above if they didn’t mean it.

I’m worth something as a person independent of those around me. Yes, I feel left out. Yes, it sucks to make the inevitable comparison to my friends, then wonder where I fell short. It’s human to compare yourself to others. As loathe as I am to admit it, I’m human. For all I know, they compare themselves to me and think “You know, she’s got a pretty good gig going on”. I don’t need to pretend to be someone I’m not just to say I’m in a relationship. Sooner or later, who I really am would come out anyway. I’m a pretty damn awesome chick and if boys can’t see that, their loss.

Tomorrow morning, I’m getting back to doing things for myself. Funnily enough, it fell on the first day of the month. I reactivated my ClassPass membership & I’m getting back into that. I think part of why I gave up the early morning workouts is because it was so fucking cold. Now that it’s a decent temperature in the morning, I think it’ll be a lot easier to get out of bed. Then I have my workout done by 7a & feel accomplished before I even get to work. I haven’t been getting enough exercise & I know it’s very important for my mental health. I’m setting a weekly goal of one thing to add in my diet & one thing to remove. This week is remove soda and add green smoothies. I can store my NutriBullet at work along with frozen fruit. They get a little pissy about filling up the fridges at work, but no one cares about the freezers. It was the totally obvious solution that didn’t occur to me until last week. I love it when that happens. My goal is to build on the dietary cleaning. For example, I remove soda this week, then I remove candy along with soda the following week. I’ll add green smoothies this week, then add more lean protein the week after that. I’ll cap out eventually as I run out of ideas. I’ve learned from past experience that removing too much at once leads to bingeing later on. I’m not a big sweet eater, but when the mood strikes, I’ll have higher quality sweets on hand. There’s a Trader Joe’s about 15 minutes from the house & they have tons of healthy snacking options. This isn’t about slimming down or toning up so I’m more attractive for a boy. It’s about taking care of my body because it’s the only one I’ve got. I’ve spent too long not respecting it by dumping crap in & then just sitting around.

So there you have it, beloved readers, my Sunday morning musings. I hope that everyone has a lovely rest of the weekend & I will report back with the success of my early morning exercise escapades.

XOXO!

P.S. I’m pretty sure my mood vastly improved when I rebuilt my basic summer wardrobe of maxi dresses, maxi skirts, and sandals. Who knew not having your crotch pinched improved your mood? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Of $90 yoga pants and the perfect thing for smart people who work out

Once again, my love / hate relationship with Facebook has resulted in love. I saw an add for ClassPass and was all “Hey! What’s this?”. It’s a genius idea is what it is. For $79 – $99 a month (depending on your city. NYC is $99 while Atlanta is $79), you get unlimited classes at the studios who have partnered with ClassPass. The caveat is you can only take 3 classes at any one studio per month. I’m down with that because it forces you to expand your horizons. If you really, really love a studio, you can book directly with them, but what’s the point? If you wait it out, you’ve got 3 more classes ready and waiting. Atlanta currently has 98 studios to choose from and is constantly adding more options. As of right now, it’s only in major cities. You also get one freebie “travel” city. My sister lives in another ClassPass city, so I picked that one. It’s nice for people who travel a lot to one specific location. Be warned – it’s heavily marketed toward women. So unless you’re super comfortable around a bunch of women, I wouldn’t recommend it for men. The overwhelming option, at least here, is barre. More on why that’s a deceptive name in a minute.

There’s one thing I’ve noticed about smart people. We get bored really, really easily. My theory is our brains pick up on things very quickly and as a result get bored because, well, we’ve got it. I’ve found this in all areas of my life from tasks at work to my exercise choices. I need to accept that when it comes to exercise, I’m a bit of a commitment slut. I’ll like a workout once, then sign up for something that requires extra money to get out of OR a bunch of classes that end up going to waste because I just wasn’t feeling it for that particular period of time. This idea is absolutely perfect for me. I have no obligation to go to the same studio to get my money’s worth. In fact, after only 3 classes, I’d paid for the monthly fee and then some. I’ve taken 8 so far this month and still have 10 days left before the end of the cycle. Thus my boredom issue has been solved.

As I’ve discovered, barre classes have very little to do with actual ballet. The barre is simply a prop along with exercise balls, resistance bands, and therabands (the stretchy bands frequently used with athletes recovering from an injury). In short, it’s Pilates standing up. I wasn’t thrilled to walk into my first class to discover there were no plies or releves. At one studio the instructor counted to 10 and that threw me for a huge loop. For those who aren’t aware, ballet is counted in 8s. However, when I tried a different studio, that instructor counted in 8s. That’s not saying they aren’t a solid workout. My lower abs and quads were making themselves known. Just like yoga, there are set moves, but depending on the teacher, your mileage may vary.

Lastly, I’ve gotten sucked into the Lululemon trap a few times. It’s the “it” brand for yoga and running pants. Like most “it” brands, they ain’t cheap. They’ll range from $80 – $100 per pair. Did your eyes just pop out of your head? Yeah, I had sticker shock, too. I got a pair just to see why these are so damn popular and every time I wear them, I bitch about how hot they are. Turns out, that’s the point. They’re designed to keep your muscles warm and more loose because they don’t lose heat. Oh. Learn something new every day. I’m not going to run out and buy a pair for every day of the week, but I’ll be a little kinder to them. Downside? They stink after they’re worn. It takes a round of Febreeze, a wash, another round of Febreeze, then a round through the dryer. Even then, it doesn’t completely get rid of the smell. You have been warned.

In short, if you can get your hands on a ClassPass deal, do it. I don’t usually plug things like this, but it was worth mentioning. Happy exercising!

XOXO!

Motivational Monday: Comfort Zones

This post is more for me than you, fair readers. Feel free to jump on the bandwagon. The more the merrier, eh?

As I discussed in my post on Saturday, I’m having an internal argument with myself over possibly switching my workout routine to the early morning rather than after work. I shot off an email to the old CrossFit-esque camp I used to participate in. They’ve since expanded their locations, including one that’s only a slight detour from my way to work. They’ll call me sometime during the week to schedule my free session. I felt pretty good about it until Sunday morning. Then Hailey kicked in again.

“Pfft, why did you even bother? It’s not like you’re going to keep it up,”

“I thought we had this talk about you being late to work? Did you even listen?”

“It’s too expensive. You don’t have that kind of money,”

The same litany came out for trying an early morning yoga class. That’s all it is. Trying. I don’t have to commit to anything. It’s just an experiment. It will allow me to see exactly what impact it would have on my commute. Then I can make an informed decision. I’ll give myself two separate chances, one with yoga and the other with camp. If it doesn’t work out or I get to work too late for my comfort (at my desk no later than 8a after all the requisite cleaning up has been completed), I can stop. It’s not like the minute I get there, I’ll be forced to sign a year long contract with a cancellation fee that involves my left kidney. There’s absolutely no harm in trying. Getting up at 515a to be at a 6a class might hurt a little the first time, but again, it’s not permanent unless I decide it’s worth it. I have a very hard time believing either of them would be insulted if I said “I have to think about it”. I know the camp won’t because I’ve dealt with them before. Hard sell isn’t their style.

The same thing goes through my head regarding the technical dance studio. I have 2 classes just hanging out there, waiting to be used. I always chicken out at the last minute. Again, I’m not making any kind of serious commitment. There’s a reason their business model is a drop in system. I have a year to use the classes I buy. I just need to inch a little more in that direction. I allow myself to be intimidated. I bully myself so hard that, again, I feel crappy & stuck. What’s the worst that will happen? They won’t kick me out of class. I’m a paying customer. The other dancers won’t point and laugh. Odds are, they aren’t even paying attention to me. I’m not a disruptive student. I pretty much keep to myself in class, even at the recreational studio where I know faces even if I don’t know names. The only real challenge is judging what their definition of “beginner” or “intermediate” is. Even then, I can go to a beginner level class & if it’s too easy, then go up a level.

I don’t tolerate other people bullying me or someone I care about. It’s a lot harder to stop bullying myself. At least if I try, I’ve knocked the bully down a peg.

Motivational Tidbit Takeaway: Give it a try

XOXO!

Of late nights and early morning yoga classes

I apologize for my hiatus dear readers. Things have been busy. I’ve been staying late at work to catch up & only finally felt like I had my feet under me again on Friday. Though listening to one of the other managers (who is younger than I am) talk about how tired he is and how much effort he puts in, part of me laughed and said “Sucker!”. To think I was jealous when he got the job a year ago. Funny how those things turn out, eh? I did offer some advice on how to take breaks, but who knows if he’ll take it or not.

There was a fair bit of confusion on my part of what the expectations were when it came to staying late. My boss said the head of the department asked if I was staying late or coming in on weekends to get things current. I said no & interpreted that to mean I *should* be staying late. After staying late 3 days in a row, I mentioned it to my boss. He said there was no reason I had to stay late, but having an extra hour or so with no one bothering me can be useful. Oh.

I also took a management class taught by the head of HR. She explained that managers are paid for the job they do, not the hours they’re there. Some weeks we may work 30 hours, others we may work 60. That was Day 3 of staying late. By that point, the vicious mental cycle had begun.

I would come in swearing no matter what time I left, I would make it to a dance class. Then by mid-afternoon, I would start to feel too tired to go. By the time I was walking out of the building, all I wanted to do was go home, put on my house shorts, eat Ramen, & pretend I had no responsibilities other than getting up to pee. Hailey, of course, had a field day.

“You’re such a flake. Why can’t you show up to class?”

“Look at you wasting money. You paid for these classes after all,”

Boy asked if they offered classes in the morning so I could go before I got to work. They don’t, but a yoga studio not too far from here offers 6a classes. Then we’re off to the races again.

“You can’t do that. You’ll be late to work. You were already asked if you could be here by 7 instead of 730. You’re already in trouble,”

Yes, my boss did ask if I could be at work by 7. He’s at work by 7 along with my employees. That said, one of them has another job & two of them have kids. They have to work around those time constraints. It’s also not my business what time my boss comes in. Going to a 6a class would put me at my desk around 745 or 8. My official start time is 730. As I said, those times are flexible. My pay isn’t docked for missing a partial day or working varied hours. It’s not like I can’t trust my employees to not goof off until I get there. If anything, one of them is going out of her way to be conscientious & make a good impression. Does Hailey care? That would be “no” with a side of “nope”.

I remember when I was doing CrossFit in the mornings before I would go to work. I felt great. I didn’t need coffee or anything artificial to get me going. My office had a gym &, by extension, showers. I could clean myself up then head up to my desk. I can’t see why the same thing wouldn’t happen with another type of exercise like yoga. It’s a hot yoga studio, so I could get more of my sweat on. Full disclosure, I don’t feel like I’m getting a good workout unless I’m practically bleeding sweat. I’m not a fan of standard yoga simply because I don’t get that kind of sweating. Ironic for someone who doesn’t enjoy being sweaty. Also, CrossFit can be quite pricey unless you sign a contract. See above for issues regarding contracts. Apparently we have showers in the building as well, but I’m not sure where they are / how often they’re used. Though a hot yoga studio should have showers. ๐Ÿ˜›

All I’m left with is feeling crappy & stuck. Nine times out of ten, I end up listening to Hailey. I choose to do nothing. Which, in turn, makes me kick myself for not stepping outside my box. I’d like to believe sooner or later, I’ll get completely fed up & start to break the cycle. I just need to stop getting myself so worked up over it first. Take the babyiest of baby steps. As my bracelet says “The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step”.

XOXO!

Motivational Monday: Depression

My depression existed long before my abuse.

When I was 12, we moved from a (relatively) small town in Virginia to Atlanta. The Internet was still a novelty in those days (“Get off the phone! I need to use the Internet!”). My main method of communication with my friends were letters and phone calls. These were also the days of land lines where calling outside your area code came with a higher charge. Thus, my phone calls were limited to 30 minutes or less. I had a hard time making friends in my new school because almost all of the other kids had been classmates since kindergarten or first grade. The only people I really made friends with were the other 2 new girls. To say I had a hard time adjusting would be an understatement. I got better when the Internet & instant messaging became a thing. I had an unrestricted way to communicate.

I wrote a lot of poetry during those 2 years. I know most people make fun of poetry, but to my 7th grade self, it made the most sense. It was a way to get all my feelings out in a form I could relate to. I kept the book & reread it after I graduated high school. I wrote some very dark things. There was no danger of me killing myself, but my heart broke for that girl who had no idea what to do. She did the best she could with a lot of feelings that she didn’t fully understand. Then came the abuse & depression reared its scraggly blonde head once again. I told you that story to tell you this one…

I wanted to share a tool my therapist gave me to keep depression at bay. It’s not a solution by any means. Always, always listen to your health care provider (mental and / or physical) first. It’s just a trick that can help when you’re feeling particularly challenged. It’s called CESS. It stands for Creative, Exercise, Self Care, & Spiritual. Ideally, you hit all 4 on any given day. Realistically, it’s 3. I recently reimplemented this in my life & I noticed a shift. I keep a journal & at the end of the day, I write down each point. Some things even overlap. If I go to dance, that covers both Exercise & Creative. Depending on the style or the tone of the class, it can even cover Spiritual. Reading a book covers Creative because your brain has something else to chew on. You may choose to practice an instrument, paint, or write.

Self care & Spirituality are easily the most personal & sometimes the hardest to incorporate. Personally, I take self care very literally. Taking a shower, brushing my teeth, putting on make up, or using nice smelling lotion all cover that point for me. Self care for you could be taking a night off, watching TV, & focusing on yourself rather than someone else. It could overlap with exercise by taking a yoga class, for example. Spirituality is where I tread very lightly. For me, meditation right before I go to bed satisfies my spirituality. I was raised Catholic, but I don’t relate to it at all any more. I spent the weekend with my dad’s family who take their faith very seriously. My dad himself takes his faith very seriously, especially given how hard this year has been for him. Whatever allows you to feel a connection with the greater world, universe, or what have you, is exactly what you need to do.

CESS is the root of “cease” or “cessation” which means “to end” or “to stop”. It won’t stop depression in its tracks, but it can slow it down long enough to allow you to get back on your feet.

Motivational Tidbit Takeaway: Cease & desist

XOXO!