Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Wow! So last night I took my first official ballet class in a little while... let me say this: ouch! Even though I do plies galore going through my day and tendu after tendu as I do stupid things like brush my teeth, class kicked my butt. I am in every sense still a beginner in ballet as a dance form, but I really thought I had kept up better than what I found out last night! Haha, which will make this class SOOO worth it.
The instructor is an amazing ballerina, having danced in top world class troupes, and here she is teaching a group of lowly ballet dropouts and returns :) She really is delightful. Very very skinny (90lbs maybe? and like 5' 5"?), but she certainly does not make the rest of us feel like our size will inhibit us from progressing in ballet and in her class.
As for myself, at some point in high school my leg muscles grew fairly, well, defined. Some say it was the running, some the skateboarding/in-line skating. I think it was that I simply stopped stretching. And I never really re-incorporated stretching, not really... I think something in me at the time thought why spend time on stretching when I can burn more calories by doing a little more running or lifting? And you ever notice how most workout videos spend like all of 3 minutes on the stretch portion? Probably for the same reason.
Stretching, friends, is one third of fitness. While I may lament that I can no longer do a full splits, stretching is about so much more than just vanity. It's about helping your muscles rebuild (faster and stronger), getting oxygen through your body, and keeping joints and ligaments nimble as you age. Well, maybe those reasons aren't compelling (see: sexy) enough. Stretching will build longer muscles (not all bunched up), and it will for sure help one, say, take up ballet.
There's a dance study near where I live (the class I am currently going to is in the city at a cultural center, my husband takes voice, guitar, banjo etc. while I take my dance). The class near where I live is 5 (by car) minutes, instead of 50 minutes (by train) from my home. They have a combination of serious dance training and cardio dance/ballet strength classes. The fact is that I probably would not be able to try this studio till the summer when my husband won't have the car all the time.
So, in the meantime, for fun, I went ahead and ordered the Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis series. It's shorter segments than her original videos, but it might be worth a shot.
But those dont come for another couple weeks.
So in the mea-meantime, here is the program I'm setting out to do. I really am serious about wanting better flexibility, but at the same time I dont want to overwhelm myself with big changes, so here you have it:
(Oh! I forgot to mention, yoga and meditation are huge helpers with BD, EDs, etc. My counselor will be thrilled if I take up yoga.)
Mon: Ballet class
Tues: Zumba class; NYC Ballet (any video); 10+ minutes yoga podcast
Wed: TA Cardio Dance; TA Matwork (any video)
Thurs: Zumba class; NYC Ballet (any video); 10+ minutes yoga podcast
Fri: TA Cardio Dance; TA Matwork (any video)
Sat: Cross train (ie, not dance); 30+ minutes yoga video or podcast
Saturday, February 26, 2011
As a young girl, middle school to be exact, I was often home alone and hungry. Both my parents had to work through the evening often (my dad a college professor and my mum a midwife). To solve the dilemma of my empty tummy I began cooking.
I remember the first day the idea hit that I could prepare dinner, eat it, and have it available to my parents when they would eventually return home. My first attempt at solo cooking was a dish that happened to capture all the nostalgia of my childhood in Costa Rica (at the time, we had recently moved up to the States)- what better menu could I pick, but arroz con pollo? Ones first foray (besides the lemonade my friend A- and I tried to selling to our neighbors, consisting of fresh squeezed lemons and sugar... we forgot the water) into solo cooking ought to be firmly built on the best of one's proceeding cooking heritage. I thought about the deliciously tangy dishes of arroz con pollo I would run to first at all the church pot lucks in Costa Rica, and I imagined myself turning out something similar.
Well first problem, no chicken. My mom never bought meats except turkey breast and tuna to facilitate my dad's low-cholesterol needs. I then remembered tuna being served with rice and peas at my friends house (to be known as arroz con atun).
So I merrily went on my way cooking a giant pot of rice, with a whole ton of peas and a pouch of tuna. I added any spice that suited me as I had little familiarity with each of them. For all my good and nostalgic intentions, I had not imagined the dish I made: burnt, overcooked, and a mish-mosh of too many spices, and did I say burnt? Like smoking.
Such a disaster did not discourage me (although I could see in the strain of my mother's face that she took the loss of all those ingredients a little hard). I soldiered on and soon became quite adept at cooking- and all sans recipes. At the time, internet was not as fluid or familiar as it is now to the average household, so it would have never crossed my mind to go google a recipe, google-huh? And cook books were full of crazy words and signs. My mom had taught me some of the basics, like what a tsp is, but sautee, pan-fry and double-broiler? Jibberish.
I enjoyed mostly on the stove items, that featured mostly rice or pasta, plenty of produce, and then either beans or tuna. I found my favorite flavors to be zesty spiky ones, with a hint of sweetness. Usually all my dishes used garlic, lemon, basil and parsley.
And I have to say that to this day that those zesty zippy flavors remain some of my favorite. Of coursed I've branched out to enjoy spicy flavors of all kind, bittersweets, mellows, and earthy ones.
Over the past week I've found myself in a cooking frenzy. I'm not sure what happened but I grew tired of the quick, functional meals I was feeding myself and my husband. Grain. Protein. Veg. Fat. Done. Zzz.
To be honest inspiration hit when I decided I wanted to bake a sugar cookie, and a good one. I was never completely happy with the Joy of Cooking recipe (although good), and found a fabulous recipe on the blog nutriontokitcen.com. The blogger is a nutritionist, so her recipes are wholesome and delicious, and her writing informative and inspiring.
I proceeded to look around at her other recipes, intrigued, and then noticed a list of recommended links. I clicked on the one for David Lebovitz, which sounded familiar. Davd Lebovitz is a renowned pastry chef, now living in Paris, France. His blogs are all things tasty and delicious interspersed with tales and tips on being amongst the Parisians. I've spent hours (oops!...) already reading his blog posts, and reminiscing on my own food experiences and foibles in France.
Thanks to both these bloggers my taste senses have been revitalized and I have rethought my kitchen to be more produce-, herb-, all things delectable- filled. I am excited to finally be keeping fresh herbs in the house (after failed attempts to get basil and thyme plants to thrive in our sunless apartment- if the darkness depresses me, how can I expect them to fare any better?).
So as a taster, this is what she ate (my own recipe):
Post-Valentines Not-so-hungover chicken:
We ate this the day after valentines, and the not-so-hungover part refers to the fact that we didnt finish our sparkling wine that night before since it was a little hard to palate (yes it was French, and the French like their wines, even the sparkling ones, bitter, or dry, what have you... not to mention it was only $10... haha!) Disclaimer: this is very imprecise since I worked au pif and wrote nothing down. Merder!
olive oil for the pan
3 cloves garlic
1/2 an onion
2 bay leaves
1 can tomato sauce
2 chicken breasts
red pepper flakes
Ok, white wine with tomato sauce? Why? BEcause I wanted to.
1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onion. After maybe half a minute add the garlic. Cook them both until translucent.
2. Turn up the heat to medium high andadd the chicken. Let it cook some if it is still thawing (confession...)
3. Pour white wine to taste on the chicken, and season with salt and pepper.
4. Add the canned tomatoes, the bay leaves, basil, oregano and rosemary. And more wine. Then turn down the heat and let it bubble.
5. After a bit of bubbling (some of the sauce has cooked down, but not by loads), add kidney beans and some red pepper flakes. Be careful, since the red pepper flakes will disseminate their heat pretty well. Oh, and more wine if you've got and you want to.
6. Ok, so if the beans are heated, the tomato sauce cooked down, and the chicken, when sliced a bit in the center to check for done-ness is dones, take that fresh parsley and sprinkles sprays all over the dish. Further season with salt and pepper to tast.
Now, I can't say this is exactly what I did, since it was like a week ago.
If you dont have white wine, obviously red would be perfect, or even balsamic. You could also hold off on adding any wine/vinegar till towards the end of the cooking process so that it all doenst get cooked off. I was, after all, trying to put some bad wine to good use.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
So I slid in my TA cardio dvd today for the first time in over a week (somehow she wasnt in the rotation over the past few days). Within the first combo I was getting cramps- and I never get cramps!
Oh no! I thought. I must be falling out of shape I thought. I haven't weighed myself in a while due to being too lenient with my food intake, less regular exercise and well I guess weighing yourself can be emotionally troubling anyway. Well these cramps brought an onslaught of fear-induced criticism. 'You've been eating horribly!' 'You haven't been pushing youself when you workout!' "Do you want to gain weight?" "Dont you want to be a personal trainer, you need to set a better example?!'
I looked at myself in the long narrow mirror I prop against the table when I dance to check my form and was aggressively picking on each bit of body where I swear I had gained.
Well the truth is that I don't know if I've gained or lost. It's true my eating habits have been a bit irregular. With all the difficulties of the past month I've learned how easy it is for me to fall back into old coping habits. It was unfair, however, for me to say I haven't been pushing myself. I mean, I've been feeling down! Two deaths in a months time, and my mom's surgery. Yup, I've been feeling down. And since I haven't been ready to accept that these events affect me, I haven't been properly attentive to my discouragement, thus the use of old, familiar coping habits.
I feel too that Ive been grasping too hard. I've been putting to short a leash on myself regarding what counts as success and failure, whats good or bad. I noticed that in the past few weeks my gray-scale has shrunk to include only the extremes of black and white.
I tried to stop counting calories and just focus on reporting to my nutritionist in order to be more intuitive about eating, but the issue is that she doesn't really give me feedback. Like, helping me to see where I might be eating emotionally, or where my habits need tweaking. I'm sorta on my own... So I think I might keep using the tracker until I see her again. I need some accountability I think. Calories aren't the only forms of accountability but they can be helpful.
(side note: my downstairs neighbor has been blasting music allll day- rockabilly is taking over my brain!)
What prompted this post was my surprise at how when I was in pain, with cramps I immediately broke into a slew of negativity- how mean is that? If it were my husband I would tell him to rest, take it easy, and try again when he felt better. And if it was a client! All the more gentle!
So- why cant I extend that same kindness to myself?
The fact is that all those harsh thoughts are in no way helpful. They wont make be a better, happier, kinder, nor thinner person. Ha.
So here's the real story. I had cramps since I just had an afternoon snack. What was the snack? Homemade frozen yogurt! (no sugar, very low fat, made only with organic low-fat yogurt and fruit) Not a bad food to cramp on. I am also prone to fatigue right now since I think I've been fighting a virus since the weekend (extra thirsty, sleepy, sniffly, etc.) And finally, if I have some underlying frustration with my food habits then I should get in to my nutritionist and see if she can help me out before I beat myself into a pulp ;)
Thanks so much for listening Sparkies!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Blogging is back :D
Ok, so first fitness since I find that most fun
2/14: Turbo Jam (40 minutes); TJ Sculpt
2/15: Insanity Fit Test; Zumba
2/16: Insanity Plyomettric Cardio Circuit; TA Sequence I
2/17: Insanity Cardio Power & Resistance; Zumba
2/18: Insanity Cardio Recovery & Max Recover; NYC Ballet
2/19: Insanity Pure Cardio &Abs; Jog 30 minutes
I'm following my nutrionists portion guides and working on focusing less on calories and more on fulness ratings.
8 hrs comes naturally now after the Spark sleep challenge
I'll commit to group tonight, and every day for the rest of the week I need to do a mood log and commit to one DBT/CBT exercise per day.
For every day of wise-mind eating I get a small prize (I have a bag of goodies) and for every 4 days I get a slightly bigger prize (again, another goodie bag).
Monday, January 10, 2011
I want to report that I followed my plan from last week wonderfully! Yay!
1. I followed my exercise routine
1,B. By doing the Spark Bootcamp Challenge videos, as of Tuesday when I joined the team, and
1,A. By following the workout schedule I set for myself (I did make a few minor adjustments and lightened the load on Friday and Saturday since I felt I was burning too many calories- yup, I said it)
2. I slept about 8 hours each night :), felt great
3. And I ate in my calorie range, between 1500-1900 cals each day.
After every four days of wise, conscious eating I get to pick a prize out my goodie bag. So, tonight I'll be picking out another prize :)
School started this week, which for me means only 1 class and the comprehensive exams. I'll also be working two jobs, but I'm not worried since neither are loads of hours. Overall I feel good about this semester. The biggest challenges will be 1) Finding a job for once I graduate 2) Condo shopping in the city, and more seriously 3) a family member close to me is donating an organ, so going in for surgery soon 4) and my grandfather and law will pass soon from cancer.
There are certainly some big challenges on the road ahead, besides the stresses of school and such, but I feel more able than ever to embrace them. I feel more steady than ever before, and others are benefiting from that steadiness, not just me and my waistline.
For now, here's my plan for this week (it will be pretty redundant from last week- I'm going to become the most boring person on earth, repeating the same goals again and again to myself, but all so that I give myself the time to learn them, while at the same time interjecting them with new challenges them here and there to tweak, prod and stimulate change and growth)
1. Follow my workout plan for each day, as follows
1, A. The Spark Botocamp Challenge video each day
Sun.- Bootcamp video
Mon.- TA Cardio Dance (50min), TA post-pregnancy matwork (45min), Bootcamp video (10min)
Tues.- Bootcamp video (10min), Zumba class (50min)
Wed.- TA Cardio Dance (50min), TA post-pregnanc matwork (45min), Bootcamp video (10min)
Thurs.- TA post-pregnancy matwork (45min), Bootcamp video (10min)
Fri.- Zumba Cardio Party (42min), Bootcamp video (10min), TA post-pregnancy matwork (10min)
Sat.- Run/jog/walk hills and sprints (30min), Botocamp video (10min)
2. Sleep about 8 hours each night, as possible
3. Eat within my calorie range of 1500-1900 cals each day
Thanks for the support!!
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