Monday, November 26, 2012

Think/act: Being thankful

November is nearly over, and since I've seen many people make a list of the things they are thankful for, I thought I'd make one of my own. I try to show gratitude and find the beauty in things every day, but I sometimes get bogged down in work/life. I thought this would be a good way to reflect on the things that matter most. Plus, it gives me an excuse to make a list. I love lists.

Right now, I am thankful for:

1. My loved ones. Whether it's family or friends, people I've known for years or only a short time, they are the foundation of who I am. I am lucky enough to know some beautiful and talented people who constantly inspire me. As Chris McCandless once realized (in what is probably the most heartbreaking revelation of the whole book), "happiness is only real when shared."

2. My health. I don't have health insurance, and I am so thankful that the few health problems I've had are manageable and don't currently require any doctor visits.

3. My boyfriend. His infinite patience and gentle spirit floor me. He is a constant reminder that life is incredible right now, and that it's OK to slow down enough to appreciate it.

4. My roommate. I'm certain he's the sole reason I survived grad school and my exams. His deranged sense of humor matches my own to a T, and his endless intelligence always drives me to pursue my own academic goals. 

5. Running. I can say, without a doubt, that it has changed my life. It's changed the way I think about my own body, and about my strength. It's helped me learn to mediate. It's helped me learn to push myself farther than I ever though possible. It's helped me appreciate who I am and who I can become. I've written about my relationship to running many, many times here, so I won't go on.

6. Spin class/cycling. I never though I'd like anything as much as I like running, but spin class/long-distance cycling are close. I feel strong in a different way, and the teachers I've had have been so encouraging.

7. My cat. And really, all animals. They've taught me humility and compassion, and remind me that I am not the center of the universe. 

8. My music/vinyl. Besides running and good people, there's nothing that makes me happier than a good record. Last weekend, I was lucky enough to snag a limited-edition copy of Joe Strummer's final performance in 2002. Listening to it reminds me of how important music was to me in high school -- and how important, though in a different sense, music is to me now.

9. Feminism. Without feminism/women's studies, I know I would not be who I am now. Feminism completely changed the way I see the world. It's changed the way I view politics, gender roles, power dynamics, race, sexuality, and so much more. And, as I continue to learn more about feminist theory, I hope to continue to become more progressive and inclusive in my own beliefs.

10. Literature. It's tied with music, without a doubt. Reading is my oldest and dearest hobby. Like feminism, it's affected the way I see the world and people different from me. And the best books and short stories push me to keep working at my own writing.

11. Grace and forgiveness of others. Without that, I'd be alone. I'm flawed and stubborn, but my loved ones forgive me and love me anyway. I might be more thankful for that than for anything else.

Week 9: Move/make

Today's weight: 174.0 pounds.

Monday: Off
Tuesday: Spin class (1 hour)
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Ran 40 minutes
Friday through Sunday: Off

Thoughts on food:
Survived my first vegetarian Thanksgiving. Was able to find plenty to eat and, more importantly, got to spend several meals with loved ones. I can't think of a better way to eat.

Overall reflections:
For only getting two workouts in last week, I'm feeling all right. The holidays were relaxing and fun, and exactly what I needed after a rough week at work. Last week, I saw my best friend's new baby, and spent some quality time with my favorite people. Everything else just doesn't matter right now.

I read a blog post last week about letting yourself eat at Thanksgiving, and it resonated with me. I've always found those articles on "how to stay healthy over the holidays" and "the right foods to eat to stay on track at Thanksgiving"  ridiculous. It's one or two days of special meals, tops. Their tone of constant-vigilance is exhausting. If you gain a pound or two, who cares? It's not the end of the world. I'd rather enjoy myself and my family's excellent cooking, and worry about eating healthy and working out on the 360 days of the year that are not meal-based holidays. It also frustrates me that they are always geared toward women. If you're healthy, and your family and friends are healthy, isn't that enough?

So, as far as last week goes, I'm not feeling guilty at all.

Even though I'm not feeling guilty, I do like working out, and I feel good when I do it often. So, for this week, I want to:
  • Work out four times. 
  • Check out a yoga class (if it fits my work schedule).
  • Cook two meals.
  • Reflect on what I'm thankful for.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Week 8: Move/make

Today's weight: 175.0 pounds.

Monday: Spin class (1 hour)
Tuesday: Ran 40 minutes
Wednesday: Spin class (1 hour)
Thursday-Sunday: Off'

Thoughts on food:
I have been on an restaurant-food binge. Vegan pitas, seared tuna steaks, fancy sushi rolls. Everything I've eaten has been delicious, high-quality food from local restaurants. But there's been a lot of eating out. Cooking? Not so much.

Overall reflections:
I think I'm making a new resolution: If I'm going to eat out, I have to go to a locally-owned restaurant, and not a chain. I hate most chain food, anyway, especially when I live within half an hour of towns with amazing mom-and-pop restaurants.

Also, this last week of workouts? Whoops! I had plans every night after work Wednesday through Friday, and was out of town all weekend. Those workouts just fell to the wayside.

I have kept up with spin class, and have been running on the treadmill -- I made good on two of last week's goals. I did not run outdoors, even though it was a beautiful weekend, and I didn't cook (surprise).

So, for this week:
  • Get back to working out at least four days this week.
  • Stop eating out so damn much.
  • Cook some simple meals (I planned meals for this week, and already stuck with it for today, so I feel good about that).

Other than that, I'm not going to worry too much. It's a holiday weekend, which means being even more busy, and my best friend just gave birth to a beautiful little girl. Life's too nice to worry about much.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Move/make: Weeks 6 and 7, Take 2

Today's weight: 177.6.


Week 6:
Monday: Spin class (1 hour)
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Elliptical (30 minutes)
Thursday: Off
Friday: Ran 30 minutes
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Off

Week 7:
Monday: Spin class (50 minutes)
Tuesday: Spin class (50 minutes)
Wednesday: Ran 40 minutes
Thursday: Met w/ personal trainer
Friday: Off
Saturday: Ran 30 minutes
Sunday: Off

Thoughts on food:
Last week was my busiest so far at work. I worked late or through lunch almost every day, grabbing snacks when I could. My diet has been awful -- it's always the first thing I neglect. I met with a nutritionist and found out two suprising things: I'm eating way fewer calories than I thought, and nearly 50 percent of those calories are from fat. So, this week's project? Eat better. It's almost certainly why I'm not losing weight very quickly -- my body is malnourished.

The funny thing is, I don't eat meat, I don't smoke, and I rarely drink. I don't eat fast food, and I stopped buying things like chips and cookies to keep in the house. I even gave up Diet Coke. Because the worst things I eat now are cheeses and nuts, I (mistakenly) assumed my diet wasn't so bad. So, it was an eye-opening meeting. And I shudder to think how unhealthy I would be if I was doing all of the above things.

Overall reflections:
I am so happy to have discovered spin class. The days are shorter, and it's dark by the time I get home from work. That means I can't run outside anymore -- the first time I haven't been able to do that since I started running. I've been pretty down about it, but spin class looks like the thing that'll get me through the winter. I love it!

My meeting with a personal trainer was good, too. I learned what I need to work on, and I wasn't overwhelmed or intimidated. She was very nice. After the holidays, I want to keep meeting with her. It's expensive, but my girlfriend assures that the money she spent on a personal trainer was some of the best money she ever spent.

I accomplished everything off of last week's list except for cooking. My job was so, so exhausting these last two weeks, and I learned that I totally neglect healthy eating when I'm stressed at work. So, for this week:
  • Keep going to spin class.
  • Continue to make peace with the treadmill (I learned last week that a good iPod playlist makes all the difference).
  • In general, embrace the fact that I can't run outside anymore during the week, and take advantage of weekends, when I can go outdoors. 
  • Buy and make some (very) easy meals -- I'm talking frozen veggies and salmon filets. That easy. I hate frozen food, but it's got to be better than bread and cheese five days straight. Right?