Wednesday, September 07, 2011
My BFF moved back to the states with her new hubby about a week and a half ago, and they came to see me over the holiday weekend. There was a part of me that thought it would be just like old times....we'd hit a few dance clubs, bars, drink a lot, sleep past noon. You know, the old college days.
I guess we all have to grow up!
On Saturday, we went to Adelino's (only tapas place in town). We ate a lot of good food, drank a great bottle of wine, and chatted a lot. And of course, reminisced about the foods we used to eat.
Eating back then was, well....atrocious! We had an open campus lunch in high school, and every day we would go to a very cheap Chinese buffet or to Mad Mushroom pizza. We'd haunt the coffee shops on campus, drinking about a gallon of milky chai apiece, and then we'd go to the Purdue union (back in the days when they had a real pool hall) and munch on nachos or more pizza and guzzle red cream soda while we played.
Living in the Netherlands and having a hubby that cooked was what turned her eating habits around. She laughed when I told her I made everything (even marinara) from scratch now. Three years ago, when she left for Amsterdam, I was still in my whole "I'll never cook, that's so antiquated and anti-feminist" stage. Even when my friends and I got together in the kitchen, it was boxed mac n' cheese (which I usually burned because I forgot about it) and pizza rolls.
I hadn't really thought about how much my diet had changed...or how much my habits had changed. I knew I was eating healthier, but I had never realized just how bad I used to eat!
We also talked about exercise. Moving to Kentucky from Amsterdam, my BFF was used to walking, riding her bike, or taking the train everywhere. Not so much where she is now. She was complaining that she was starting to get lazy, since she never walked anywhere and didn't even own a bike (they bought new stuff when they moved back here) -- luckily for her, our other BFF from high school owns a bike shop here in town!!
She asked how I exercised, and said it was "obviously working." Coming from an August where I was working all the time, pretty much didn't exercise or cook any of the fancy, gourmet dishes I used to cook, I laughed and said thanks. Her response: "You were always skinny in high school, but you didn't have those kind of muscles back then!"
All this time, I was worried about the fact that I weigh more now than I did back then. I was worried because my cup size had gone up, and I was worried that my metabolism had slowed down and I wasn't losing weight as fast as I used to.
We all grow up, though. And I grew into someone who takes care of herself, has muscles, cooks healthy and gourmet foods from scratch, and at the end of the day loves herself and her life!
My friends are lucky, they've really grown into the same type of people. They eat healthy, they exercise, they take care of themselves. Far from our usual routine back in the day, on Sunday we took a hike through Happy Hollow park, then walked around campus for a few hours before heading over to the pedestrian bridge. On Monday, we grabbed a couple of coffees from our old haunt and played with my other friends daughter (who just turned 1 year on Sept. 4!!), and just talked.
When my BFF was packing up the car and getting ready to leave, I asked if she had had fun, seeing as how we had a pretty slow and lazy weekend. She told me that she had slowed down too, and that the lazy weekends are the ones where you really get to know each other. E.g. -- I had never known before that she was allergic to bananas and melons. We never really ate healthy food back then.
It's good to stay grounded as you grow into the person you want to be. Remember where you came from, visualize where you're going, and love yourself every single step of the way, even on the hard steps. There are times when it's easy to feel like you're losing ground, or at least not gaining ground....and those are the times to get together with old friends and remember who you used to be!!
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Yesterday, I was having one of those days. You know what I mean -- you feel fat and bloated, you're freaking out about the zit that appeared on your chin once you were in the office (where you don't keep a cover stick), you brought a salad for lunch but your co-worker ordered pizza and you're fighting the temptation to have just one slice!
I kept trying to talk myself up, and pull myself out of it. I didn't completely succeed, but I also kept myself from eating that pizza by telling myself I'd regret it at the hot yoga class I signed up for --only to get a call that the class was canceled! I kept myself from completely giving in and just having a miserable day right up until 5 or 5:30, when I finished up a meeting on a very low note. But at 6:00, I finally left the Indy office knowing that I had to do at least a couple of hours of work when I got home (which wouldn't be until 7:30) -- and I was slumped and trudging when I left. I knew I had to work very late the next day too, and I was mentally giving in to a horrible Wednesday.
On the hour and a half long drive home, I decided that I was not giving in! I was NOT letting the rest of my night be ruined because of one bad day, and I was not having a bad day tomorrow too! So I called up my parents, told them that I had some work to do still but I wanted to have dinner out. I had resigned myself to the inevitable and comforting Taco Bell, and the guilt that comes after, so getting someone to go out with me was a good first step.
After dinner, headed to the office and finished up the last of my work. Then, with 20 minutes left before the mall closed, I decided to treat myself! I wanted to get a new top to wear the next day...which is already starting off as bad as the other, so the special treat is helping me keep my spirits up somehow!
I found a pair of white slacks for $10, and a gorgeous blue-violet top for $6. Whole outfit, under the budget I set for myself! I was practically skipping out of the store!! Big deadline today, extra work tonight, and an even bigger deadline on Friday -- PSHAW!!
So even though I'm literally the only one in the office today, I dressed up, did my hair and makeup (which happens maybe once a month when I have an important meeting, so if any of my co-workers decide to actually come in today, they'll be shocked!) and I'm ready to face the world! I really suck at those bathroom-mirror photos everyone else seems to be so good at, but here is me smiling through another long day!
Sometimes one little thing is all it takes to head off a bad day before it starts!
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
I know I tend to write longer blogs, but I honestly don't know what to say today! But I still feel compelled to say something...so here it goes!
Losing the warm summer weather is always hard for me, and I find myself in a very pensive mood today. I'm going to be starting P90X on Thursday (working late yesterday and today, and going to Indy tomorrow, so realistically not sooner). I cooked a lot this weekend, so I've got tons of healthy and delicious foods in my fridge. And I have the cutest kitty in the entire world cuddling up on my bed (until about 4-4:30 every morning, this morning she made a loud crashing sound and scared the heck out of me!)
What more could anyone want? Life is good, even if it is starting to feel like I need to pull out my sweaters and sweatshirts.
What's good in your life right now?
Thursday, August 11, 2011
I was driving to work this morning, and it turns out the road I usually take was closed. WHAM!! Just like that, it's suddenly hard to NOT be tense. I got worried about being late, I was frustrated at the delay, and I was getting madder by the minute at the other drivers.
Road rage is an ugly beast, that rears its head far too often.
Those negative emotions weren't doing me any good. In fact, they were very likely to get me, or someone else, hurt. So I took a few deep breaths and started trying to figure out the positives of the situation.
Positive one: it was in the 60s, not the 100+ weather we've seen for the last month and a half! This gave me a chance to slow down a little and take in some of the scenery that I usually blow right by. And it gave me a chance to practice NOT being a control freak. I had a full cup of coffee, a full water bottle, and a full tank of gas...and after a few minutes, I started to relax and ride out the wait.
STAY IN CONTROL WHEN YOU CAN...BUT WHEN YOU CAN'T, RIDE IT OUT WITH A SMILE!!
After being parked for about 10 minutes, I saw another driver get out and walk away from his car, trying to get cell reception probably. And it made me realize, I'm not chained to this car. It often bothers me that I have to work through the prettiest parts of the day, that I don't get enough time for ME. So I jumped out, walked into the grassy area beside my car, and started doing some gentle yoga stretches.
FIND TIME FOR YOURSELF, EVEN IN THE MOST UNLIKELY OF CIRCUMSTANCES!!
After about 10-15 minutes of stretches, traffic started to move a little. I jumped back into the car and inched forward to the next parking spot. When I stopped again, I was next to a guy and a girl who were SCREAMING at each other! Their windows were down, my windows were down, and it was getting a little hairy! So I pulled out my IPod and car adaptor, pulled up my happy soundtrack, and started singing along and air-drumming/air-guitaring to the music.
At first, they glared at me. Then they shook their heads, then they smiled, and finally they laughed. But when Paint It Black came on, they started singing along. Voila, no more yelling!!
OUT OF ALL THE THINGS YOU'LL ENCOUNTER IN YOUR LIFE, LAUGHTER IS THE MOST INFECTIOUS!!
No one can be in control of every situation, and anger doesn't fix the problem. It makes it worse. Find the silver lining in the situation. Ditch the anger, ditch the frustration, and learn to get through every problem without panicking or hurting yourself! If you can weather life with a smile on your face, you'll find yourself a lot happier...and people around you will follow your example.
Thursday, August 04, 2011
I've been thinking a lot about what a healthy lifestyle really MEANS lately. With my parents health problems, serious hatred of exercise, and love of foods that most people agree are NOT HEALTHY, I've really been wondering...how do you make a healthy lifestyle FUN rather than a chore or a habit that you have to develop? How do you learn to LOVE healthy living?
For me, dieting never worked. The minute I told myself I COULDN'T have something I would become OBSESSED with having it! Cutting anything out will never ever work for me. So I made a deal with myself: if I want it, I have to EARN it.
Example: I tried for years to cut out desserts and sweets, and failed every time. In fact, I GAINED every time because the minute I couldn't have dessert I would deprive myself until I binged. New rule for myself, implemented over a year ago: if I want dessert, then I have to make it myself, from scratch, the healthy way. I still have dessert now, but it's once every three or four months, not weekly. Because it takes longer to make it and the clean-up takes yet longer, I don't feel the need to go through the whole process on a regular basis. And I've found desserts that are healthy now -- real cheesecake that I beat and whip with nothing but agave and lemon zest, carrot cake where I start with two cups of carrots I've grated myself, etc.
And here's the amazing thing: the desserts actually TASTE better to me now, yet I don't crave them, and I don't hoover them. I SAVOR them, because I can remember all the hard work and love that went into making them.
So -- rule one for a healthy lifestyle, NO DEPRIVATION! Who wants to live a life of deprivation? Instead, set regular goals for yourself and EARN your occasional treats. Let yourself have that glass of wine if you can fit it into your daily goals, or if you hit a workout goal, or even just because it's been a while since you treated yourself.
MODERATION and ACCOUNTABILITY are the real keys to a healthy lifestyle. It's not numbers, it's not statistics, it is YOUR LIFE and only you can decide what works and what doesn't work.
I also used to make myself get on the elliptical every day, and make myself run, and HATED every minute of it. My parents have this exact problem -- exercise can be hard, it can be boring, and if you don't like it you won't do it. Sure, you can make yourself, but who wants to live a life where you have to FORCE yourself to do things you don't want to do?!
So...rule 2: find your favorite hobby (or hobbies) and make THAT your workout. Do you love watching TV? Watch it from your stationary bike or stability ball, or do what I do -- step aerobics while viewing. Do you love to dance? Dance while you clean, dance while you cook, dance while you watch TV -- just make sure you're moving and grooving! For me, I love being outside, and I love being near water. I'm not the best swimmer in the world, and I tire easily, but I still do it! Kayaking, hiking, biking, camping...they can all become your way to exercise, and you can turn them into family events, mini vacations, or just an hour out of the house! Having trouble fitting it into your daily routine...make it PART of your daily routine! Bike to work. Walk to the grocery store. Set a family biking adventure time for Saturdays and one or two days during the week!
I used to think I had all the answers. Dieting and losing weight were simultaneously the easiest and the hardest things I had ever done. Easy because it was just a numbers game, and I could do the math. But hard because I didn't WANT to do it.
Figuring out a healthy lifestyle that fits you is the same in a lot of ways. It's easy, because it lets you find ways to do the things you love and learn to CELEBRATE YOUR LIFE! And hard, because you have to put yourself out there. There are no excuses for not doing it, because it is YOUR life...you don't take vacations from living, you don't ever stop living. And trying new things, new recipes, new adventures and experiences is HARD for a lot of people. Some of those new things will not be your cup of tea, but you never know if something will be come your greatest passion UNLESS YOU TRY IT!!
This is just what I'm discovering on my journey so far, and what I'm trying to share with my friends and family who look to me for advice. I'd been really naive if I actually still thought I had all the answers -- because then the rest of my life, my healthy life, would be pretty boring! Figuring things out for yourself, thinking for yourself and OF YOURSELF, are the only constants. That, and making sure that you are not MAKING yourself do anything -- instead, LET yourself do it and CELEBRATE while you do it!!
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