Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Oh how I wish this were like the Oprah show where I could get a bunch of free stuff just for playing at home! But alas, this is not that blog. It IS, however, a blog asking for your best suggestions for a few things that I need to go out and buy this week. So here we go Sparkers - give me down low and dirty details on your favorite...
I'm obsessed with Lane Bryant Cacique bras and I'm SOOOO sad that I'm going to have to shop for another variety, and soon. I love Cacique for their sexiness AND all-day wearability! I usually wear push-up (I'm a big girl, but the girls need a little extra oomph here and there), and I like the low cut variety so I can wear low cut shirts that still look awesome. What are some of your go-to brands?
I detest Old Navy jeans. There is so much lycra in them they bag out and make my ass look 5 times bigger than it is in about an hour of wear. I've heard similar things about the Gap curvy fit jeans. No surprise since they come from the same family of manufacturers. I'm still a petite 16 in regular stores (inching towards that 14 really soon) so I need jeans that still fit big behinds, but that look great wear after wear after wear.
CUTE, CHEAP SUMMER TANKS & TEES
Same deal on the stretch factor. I've bought out Old Navy's stock of everything I remotely like. I have a coupon for Gap outlet. I've also hit up Marshalls and TJ Maxx. Anywhere else I should be looking that has good deals on summer stuff?
Like the bras, I have sworn by Lane Bryant Cacique underwear for years. I'm terrified at the idea of trying to find a new brand that I love as much as them. I like classic, cotton thong underwear (which you will know if you wear it needs to fit properly so as not to be uncomfortable!). I guess this one is really going to be touch and go for me since usual sizing guides indicate that I should be wearing a size that is way bigger and baggier than I find comfortable. So I'm gonna have to try a few and see how they work. What do you swear by?
WORK OUT UNDERWEAR
Can't wear cotton thongs all the time. When I run and do zumba classes I need stuff that covers everything and is breathable and sweat wicking. Send me your best finds!
Now - here are some brands that I LOVE and fully endorse!
I won't wear anything but SmartWool. Even in the summer. I got a couple of pairs of these for Christmas and there is NOTHING out there like them. They're cushiony and soft for long runs, but my feet are never too hot or too cold and they NEVER stink! Gotta love that!
Land's End basic swim suits are the BEST for laps. They last forever, don't wear out too quickly from the chlorine, are high enough cut in the leg and low enough cut in the neck not to look dowdy, but they tuck everything in nicely to cover trouble spots. You can get them with extra tummy control if you want and with or without a water bra for added support. They also come in lots of fun colours and are one of the cheaper suits on the market.
So there's my list. Let me know what you like and what I should be out there looking for! I'm planning on doing a bit of Saturday shopping!
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
I think I have a tape worm. Usually the onset of warm weather takes away my appetite, but this year, the onset of the sun has brought out my ability to bike and run and swim and sit out soaking up the rays. I'm already more tan this year than I usually am by August from all the time I've spent outdoors and that makes for one HUNGRY GIRL!
But this is getting ridiculous. I've been very obviously over my calorie limit almost every day for about 2 weeks now. I've been drinking and haven't been saying no to that piece of cake at the cast party, or the extra little treats that have snuck in here and there - "because I'm working them off anyway" - is what I keep thinking.
Well, the scale this morning says something different. I'm NOT working them off. I'm gaining weight. And it needs to stop. But it's crazy. I can't stop it. I'm hungry (physically hungry) all the time. Case in point - I usually don't eat lunch until around 2pm. It's currently 12:30pm and I just scarfed down a whole leftover Pita Pit dinner from last night's work meeting AND extra pita, tzaziki & hummus to go with it. I'm not hungry any more - but give it a few hours and I'll be back to the fridge again. AHHHHH! It's so frustrating.
I don't want to stop exercising. I've made the commitment to continue biking to work as much as possible this summer. But it's only since I've started biking that I've turned into the food ogre. And I do know from wearing my Garmin on one ride that I'm burning way more calories than Spark is telling me I am from tracking my exercise. And the good news from all of this is that my legs and butt have toned down and are starting to look killer now - which is exactly what I wanted to have happen. But this weight gain this morning ain't no patootty muscle building. It's purely and simply a food baby.
I just closed my show - so I should be able to get back to focusing on making healthy food at home and not eating out as much, but because I usually put off everything until my show closes (as I have done again this time), this week is full of meetings (which either involve food directly, or happen after hours so I can't get home to cook dinner), dates (which definitely involve food and drinking, and not usually of the healthy variety), and a lot of additional stress at work to get caught up on everything I've put off until now. And stress makes me eat for sure.
So the deal is this:
1. I've been lazy with my food tracker, so I'm food tracking EVERYTHING again. No cheating. If it goes in my mouth, it goes on the tracker. And already today sucks cause I have at least 10 hours until my work day is done and I only have 300 calories left. Poop.
2. Water, water, water. No more diet coke. There's no need for it anymore. Diet coke withdrawal sucks for me big time. It's not just about the pick-me-up in the afternoons, but because I use it as a treat instead of sugar or other things. It does help curb my chocolate cravings, but I know that I tend to eat more and put on pounds (or just not lose them as easily) when I'm drinking that crap. So I'm going to start a streak in Spark to get me through ridding my days of that again.
3. Grocery shopping and planning meals for the weekend. I've been pretty good about this all along, but pay day falls on a weird schedule this week, so I'm down to my last dollars and thus don't have any good food in my fridge at home until this weekend. So left over pitas from the work meeting will have to continue being my lunches for this week, despite the added salt. They're better than some of the other things I could be eating.
4. Just keep exercising. My body WILL get used to this level of burn eventually. It's been over a month now, but it's gotta kick in soon. I'm not convinced that ALL of this hunger has to do with the added calorie burn. I know some of it is emotional - and emotional tied to physical is the worst, because you eat to feed the physical hunger and then KEEP EATING to feed the emotional.
5. No more booze. Stop it. The celebrations are over, there is really no need to drink wine and beer a couple of times a week. Last night I had a meeting with the cast and crew of the cabaret show that I produce. We had a really great week last week (we made a lot of money from a deal I set up) and the cast brought me a beer to the meeting as a thank you. I drank it. And I was the ONLY one drinking! What kind of crap is that??? Oh, and I also had an iced tea sitting in front of me that was really all I needed with dinner. Drinking needs to stop. Even on dates. No reason I can't drink something else and keep my head in the game and the over-eating from lowered inhibitions at bay.
So that's the game plan. I've been reading a lot of these blogs from other people lately too. Common Sparkers! Let's kick ourselves in the butt a little and not waste this beautiful summer being bigger than we need to be! Enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of the season and love how being healthy and happy (and not eating crappy food) makes you feel!
Monday, May 30, 2011
I wrote a DailySpark Guest Blog! You can find it here:
Although it's a little dated now, I'm particularly proud of this one. Hope you all enjoy it.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
I said I was taking a month off running. I made it 22 days.
When I woke up this morning, I never would have thought in a million years that tonight would end off as it has. Over the weekend, I did something to my back and had to bump up my regular chiropractor appointment which wasn't supposed to be until Friday of this week to Wednesday morning (the earliest I could get). Because I'm sore, I opted to take a rest day today from Boot Camp cardio. I did just the video, and rather than bike to work as I have every other Monday this month, I plodded to the bus. Sitting is what kills me when my back is out, so work today was filled with lots of ups and downs to the water cooler and the bathroom to stretch things out. By the end of the day I was feeling better and decided to use up a Groupon deal that I had for the movies and bought a 6:45pm ticket to 'Water for Elephants'. I also had a deal for Running Away Multisport that expired today, so after work I headed over to the store to pick out something nice. I walked around the bikes and shoes and sifted my fingers through the tech gear, salivating over all the expensive equipment. I ended up choosing a pair of rechargeable LED night lights for my bike (an investment that would have set me back a pretty penny without the deal) and made my way over to the movie theater. Since I hadn't planned on seeing a movie and it was definitely dinner time, I decided to hit up the snack bar. I ordered a dry popcorn and diet coke (a BIG treat for me - not exactly "dinner" but oh well!) and found a seat in the dark theater.
The movie was great, the popcorn was salty, and the diet coke hit the spot. I thoroughly enjoyed my evening. As I left the theater and walked out into the dark, humid night, something hit me. I didn't want it to end yet. It was still relatively early, and as I waited for the bus to take me home, it dawned on me. I wanted to run. Like, right now. At 9:30pm.
Deciding not to let the feeling get away from me, I raced home and jumped into my running gear as fast as I could. I laced up my shoes and started my Garmin and practically flew out the door. It was 9:42pm. I shortened my regular 5 minute warm-up walk to 3 minutes and took off on my regular route, by feet pounding the pavement. Yes! It felt SO good.
Now, I NEVER run at night, let alone LATE at night. Usually after work I am so beat, my energy is in the stinker. Getting through a night run can be like pulling teeth for me, so whatever stars aligned tonight I will never know, but I am so grateful for them (although I'm assuming the stars names are "salty carbs" and "caffeine").
The smells are different on a night run - I ran through late night dinners, meat on the BBQ and open restaurant patios. Through stale beer from bars and lingering cigarette smoke from a few lonely souls on the street. I ran past lilac blossoms and the smell of mud. Of garbage that has been sitting all day in the Chicago heat and the moist smell of grass being watered by a leaking hose. Good smells and bad smells - I took it all in, the humid, night air against my face with just the slightest cool breeze.
Tonight I ran with the rabbits. I saw three different bunnies darting in and out of the bushes as I passed, running along-side me in the grass. I smiled and laughed at each one - reminding me that it's ok to be a turtle sometimes too - as long as you keep on going.
The dogs are different at night - as are their owners. And unlike in the morning, where I share the streets with cars and drivers on their way to work - tonight I shared the sidewalks with couples and people sitting out on front stoops enjoying the beautiful weather.
With every corner I turned, my body glistening with sweat, I felt stronger and more alive. I set out to run 3 miles - I ran 3.5 because I could. Tonight I ran after 22 days of not running because I missed it. And I knew that once I missed it badly enough, I would come back to it with a vengeance. But quite honestly, I was scared. I was scared that I WOULDN'T miss it. I had a bad race on May 1st - and honestly, it wasn't that bad - it was just..."hard" - I still set a personal best, but I was disappointed in myself that 3.1 miles felt so darn difficult after having run such a great 8K only a couple weeks earlier. So in a fit of "I don't wanna" I quit. I stopped running and poured my energy into other things, saying I would come back to it when I missed it. Not knowing if the "missing it" would ever happen or not.
I don't know when I will run again, but I do know that it won't be that long until I do. After 22 days away - I can honestly say that running is a part of me because I missed it. I actually missed it. I know now (like, really know, in my soul) that there will be good runs and bad runs. Tonight was a GREAT run. And I can't let the outcome of one race ruin my joy for the sport. Maybe I just don't like racing all that much. And that's ok too.
The bottom line is this (and I am so thrilled I can now say this and truly feel that it is true): My body LOVES to run. And so I will.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
I stole my blog title from today's guest dailySpark blog by Samuel C Klontz: www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=bik
The blog is about bike commuting to work - the benefits and the hassles. But ultimately it IS about burning calories over gas and for the most part, really enjoying the daily trek to and from the office.
I wasn't aware that May was National Bike Month, nor was I aware that this week is National "Bike To Work" Week, but I'm thrilled that I'm participating in such a great thing anyway having already made the decision on my own in April to become more intimate with my pink lady bike, "Roxie" for the month of May. She's so pretty :)
As part of the Spring into Shape Bootcamp that I'm doing this month, I decided one of the easiest ways to kill two birds with one stone (getting to work and getting in my 5 days of cardio per week) was to dust off the bike, pump up the tires and darn well use it! The night before I started to ride I spent about 2 hours in the basement getting to know Roxie and all her parts. I adjusted the gear shift and the handle bars - figured out that the breaks were rubbing badly on the back wheel causing unnecessary friction and taught myself how to adjust those too. I greased the chain and oiled all the squeaky connections. I was feeling quite the handywoman by the end of it all!
It's honestly not as hard as it seems. Bikes are, by nature, simple pieces of equipment that actually have very few moving parts to figure out. And before you ride, you SHOULD be familiar with the ways in which your bike can (and inevitably will) work for you and against you. And always have a back-up plan! (Mine's loading Roxie on the nearest bus).
So far things have worked out great. After that first scary ride to and from the office, I'm now biking to work 3-4 days a week, swimming and doing Zumba for my other couple of cardio days. The first step was getting over the fear I had of sharing the road with cars and getting more confident with how Roxie maneuvers and feels to ride, switching gears and understanding what the gear shift is there for, choosing the route of least resistance with the lightest traffic and deciding whether or not I was going to ride at night. The next step was getting over the DOMS and the initial butt soreness of the first few days of riding - which is no pleasant feat, but you just gotta get back in that saddle and ride again! It DOES go away eventually.
I have now graduated from just riding to and from work, to riding to work, then rehearsal or show, then home, sometimes making a trip back to my theatre in between all of that. I can't tell you the amount of time I've saved waiting for and taking crowded rush hour buses! In fact, I have gone ahead and switched out my bus pass from a monthly rate to a pay-per-use for the rest of the summer. How's that for motivation to keep riding?! The money I'm saving will either go towards my trip to Africa in August, or to something else nice for myself.
It's not all sunshine and roses out there though. This morning a car turning left to catch a yellow light almost hit me. I've experienced riding in VERY heavy winds and fluctuating temperatures for the past week that have made the ride, at times, very unpleasant. Biking activates MAJOR muscle groups in the body including the core and the quads, glutes and calves, which I have now found makes me into a ravenous beast the majority of the time. If I'm not careful, I can easily eat back all the calories that I have burned (which surprisingly aren't as many as I wanted them to be) and so far, biking has not done me any favours on the scale. I'm attributing it to the fact that my quads are packing on major muscle, and since they're the largest group in the body, that must mean that they weigh quite a bit more than the fat that I'm losing off of them. I'll know more about my measurements in another couple of weeks when bootcamp wraps up, but for the time being, I seem to be losing more off my waist and hips, but not my legs. Whatever - I'll take it!
Biking all month has also put running on the back burner for a while. After a not-so-great 5K race a couple of weeks ago, I've decided to take the month off running. I'm giving myself a chance to miss it, because if I miss it, I'll want to do it again - and right now I don't miss it enough.
While training for races gives me a purpose for pushing myself harder and further on two feet, biking serves its own purpose on two wheels. It's providing me a daily function of getting to and from places in my work clothes (something I can't do if I'm running). I feel healthier, more confident, and I'll admit it - kinda cool out there - with the breeze in my face and the wind (hopefully) at my back!
And finally, it's putting me back in touch with my inner child. The child who won a brand new pink bike in a raffle at my local bike rodeo when I was 10, but who at that point in life was already too overweight to ride and really enjoy it. Sure I got some use out of that bike, but all too soon it was collecting dust in the garage rafters with the rest of my recreational equipment. I remember feeling a little heartbroken when my dad finally dragged it out of storage to sell at a family garage sale. Part of me wanted to protest, but a bigger part of me knew that if I wasn't going to use it, then I didn't deserve to have it. And when the little girl and her father who bought it for her walked away with their new treasure, I knew that bike belonged more to her than it ever had to me anyway.
It took me 20 years to invest in another bike. But this time I'll be darned if my pink lady is going to hang in the rafters collecting cobwebs. She was made to ride and I owe both her and myself another lap around the block.
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