Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Celebrities & ED's

Two of the hot stories making the rounds on the gossip blogs this week have been Katie Couric disclosing her bulimic past, and Lady Gaga's weight gain and subsequent cry of "eating disorder."  These two ladies have made the same admission, but I can't help but feel that one of them has cheapened the struggle for those in the depths of the disease.  Let me explain.

The photo that inspired my fury.
Katie Couric "came out" (I hope I am not offending any gay people by using this phrase but that's really how it felt when I told my family.  My big dirty secret was out there for all to see and to judge.  And trust me, there was judgement.) on her talk show while talking to Demi Lovato about Demi's struggle with the disease.  Katie's problems had been in her early 20's when she was just starting on the broadcast circuit and, to me, seemed heartfelt.  She wasn't doing it for attention (Tyra Banks she is not), she was just relating to her guest. It lacked sensationalism, which I think is a good thing.  I took her seriously and could tell she understood many of the same things I had been through.

Then you have Lady Gaga.  Like all things Gaga does, she "came out" in a way that reeked of a calculated PR move.  After some unflattering photos from her recent concerts were published in some tabloids, Gaga admitted she had gained 25 pounds in the past few months.  Great, good for you, you eat, and you enjoy life, I dig it!  What I did NOT dig however was her reaction to the "haters"  today.  She posted a photo of herself, looking waifish mind you, in just a bra and underwear with the caption "Bulimic and Anorexic since age 15..."

To this I say: bitch, please.

I always try to be supportive of women, famous or not, when they come out and admit they had an eating disorder, but Gaga posted this photo under the guise of promoting body acceptance, which is the last thing I think it does.   For one, anyone who's had an eating disorder and been treated for it knows about triggers.  You'll notice in this blog I never talk numbers, inches, pounds, or clothing sizes (except for my Gap post) because I know they can be triggering.  So to post a photo of yourself where I can see your ribs and IN YOUR UNDERWEAR doesn't scream body acceptance, it screams insecurity.  She is posting these photos to prove to the haters she's not fat.  THAT'S body acceptance?  No, that's narcissism.

I have no idea if Gaga has had an eating disorder or not, and just because she doesn't think about some of the treatment buzzwords before posting does not mean she never struggled.  Maybe she never got treatment.  Many don't.  But to try to twist the story around to imply that we should be ok with her weight gain because she had an eating disorder is ridiculous.  We should be ok with her weight gain because she's still a healthy weight and SHE'S ok with it!  Why do we need to see photos of her in next to nothing to "prove" that she accepts her body?

It really pisses me off when someone with influence in the public realm dumbs the issue down to such an extent.  Instead of inspiring conversation like Katie Couric's revelation did, Gaga reduced her struggle to a sight gag.

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Skinny" people have feelings too.

The blogosphere is all atwitter (social media pun alert!) about a recent post in which the author discusses why gay men hate their bodies.  Since I am fascinated by the degrees of body acceptance in cultural groups different from my own, I was very excited to read this, especially given the fact that it had stirred up a lot of anger in the blog community.  Though the post was maybe slightly too tongue in cheek at times, for the most part, I understood where the blogger, Orlando Soria, was coming from.  LA is a city of Barbies and Kens.  It's hard to feel good about yourself some days, no matter how skinny you are.

I figured there would be the usual critics shouting "it's what's on the inside that counts!" The typical name calling as people criticized him for being narcissistic or superficial.  What I was not prepared for was people saying he had no right to feel this way since he was thin.

To which I say, are you fucking kidding me?  (pardon my French)

Yes, this is what some "skinny" people really DO
see when they look in the mirror.
NEWSFLASH: being skinny is not the key to self esteem!!!  When I was at my lowest weight I was also on my knees in a rest stop bathroom throwing up the road trip junk food I had inhaled in the car.  Do you think I felt GOOD about this?  No.  Every time I looked in the mirror I wanted to punch the fat slob that was looking back at me.  And it's ok for me to feel that way.  Just like it's ok for a person at ANY weight to feel good about themselves.  Who the hell are we to decide how a person should feel about themselves?

Seriously folks, I know a lot of people think that skinny people have no reason to ever feel bad and I wish that was the way the world worked but it's not that simple.  That was the biggest lesson I learned from my ED, when I had to say to myself, "Congratulations, you're skinny.  And where exactly has that gotten you?  How has it changed your life?"  The answers to those questions were, "nowhere," and "It hasn't."

So before you start completely invalidating a person's feelings because to you they look perfect, maybe just try listening to them and understanding where they're coming from.  Sometimes that's all we need, is someone to listen and recognize our feelings as valid.  THAT will help to build a better self image than any amount of congratulations for fitting into a size 0 ever will.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Denial ain't just a river in Egypt

I'll admit I currently have one large fault as a woman: I hate shopping.  I used to love it but ever since I've become stupidly happy with my life, the idea of "things" just doesn't excite me as much anymore. Sadly, we do not live in a world where clothes that fit and that I like magically appear in my closet so I was forced to go shopping today.  And instead of being a fun, zen like activity, I left the store infuriated.  (and not because of the prices!)

How my jeans normally fit.
I headed to the Gap for some basics and soon made my way to the dressing room with 2 sweaters, a pair of jeans, and a pair of shorts.  I even had a little pep in my step because it's been so long since I've been able to go in a store and find something I'm even interested in trying on.   That old feeling of being on a shopping high was returning!

Then, I discovered the ridiculousness that is Gap's vanity sizing.

When I tried on the jeans that were in my usual size, they were too big.  And I don't mean there was room to pinch an inch, I mean suddenly I was standing there wondering why it was so drafty in the dressing room until I realized it's because my pants were down around my ankles.  One size smaller?  Too big.  Two sizes smaller?  Now we're getting somewhere but it was at this point that I stormed out of the store in disgust.

How pants at the Gap fit.
Really, America? THIS is what we've come to?  We're so in denial about our own weight problems that instead of being responsible for what we put in our mouths we have made it so that manufacturers realize the key to our wallet is to call a size 16 a size 8?

This is complete and utter bullshit.

I am so sick of the entitled, coddling attitudes this country takes towards ourselves and I'm here to call it out.  If you want to/need to lose weight, deal with it like an adult.  Figure out what's going on, take responsibility for it, and make a change.  I absolutely realize a lot of weight problems are driven by emotional issues, but that is not an excuse!!!  The only person who can make any changes in your life is YOU.  So WHY are we blaming everyone else but ourselves?  Think we're not?  Then how do you explain how one of the biggest stores in America has CHANGED it's sizes in order to accommodate our new girth?

Maybe this sounds odd coming from me because I am very much about feeling good about yourself.  But let's turn the tables: would you think it's good that Gap is making a size 0 fit like a size 8 in order to help me deny I have an eating disorder?  NO.  I would hope you would tell me to get my act together and realize that I'm NOT healthy even if some designer's mislabeled pants tell me I'm fine.

It's time for all us of to put our girl/boy pants on and DO something instead of spending millions of dollars creating things to help us avoid facing our problems.  I know I can't single-handedly go in and re-label every pair of Gap jeans correctly, but I hope that I can inspire just one of you to make a change.

Want an example of one?  After my disaster of a shopping trip I took the stairs, all 6 flights of them, back to my car instead of taking the elevator.  If we all start making little changes maybe these sizes will go back to normal, our health care premiums will drop, and we'll live longer, better lives.

It's time to take off your fat pants, America.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Healthy Life Mantra: I Don't Give a $*@&# !

I spent many, many, many years being a slave to what my peers thought of me.  I asked for a nose job for graduation, (spoiler alert: I didn't get one.), I gave way too much of the money I earned working as a bra salesgirl (yep) to Express and Abercrombie so I could look cool, and yet, those damn "popular" kids still found ways to make me feel like crap about myself.

In college, this trend continued.  Same for my first year out of college.  Til I made my first big decision all for myself: I was moving to Los Angeles.  Everyone had an opinion about this: my parents (don't go!), my sister (don't come back!), my main gay (girl, don't forget to write!), but for the first time in my life I made a decision for me and frankly, I didn't give a $*#@ what anyone else thought.  This turned out to be one of the greatest decisions I ever made.

If anyone tries to rain on your parade just give 'em a Nene.
Thus, the era of not giving a fuck was born.

Suddenly, I was making choices for ME and no one else.  And many of those choices have gotten me to where I am today which, I'm happy to report, is the happiest in my life I've ever been.  Now, before you get all excited that I'm giving you permission to not give a damn about anyone but yourself, bear in mind there are limits to this.  Let's explore.

Example A: "I don't have to workout because I don't give a $@%& if people think I'm fat."
Example B: "I don't have to do the new ballet barre class every twit in town tells me I have to try, I'd rather learn to box."

Now, which one do you think is the correct implementation of my foul languaged life mantra?  Duh, Example A.

I kid, I kid.  Obviously it's Example B.  The underlying sentiment of the whole thing is to make yourself happy and ignore anyone who tries to get in your way.  You don't have to go to spin class just because I love it.  Your goal in getting fit doesn't have to be so that you can look good in a bikini if you don't give a $*@^#( about swimming.  It doesn't matter what your motivations, habits, and patterns are as long as they are making you happy and successful.  Who cares if people think they're weird?  Not me.

The best part of this mantra is that it isn't limited to the superficial things.  For instance, some people find it strange that my boyfriend and I only see each other 2 or 3 times a week.  But guess what?  I don't give a $*@#!  I am stupidly happy with him, we trust each other, and we both like our space.  So this is what works for us.

My point?  Do what works for YOU even if it's not "normal."  Do what you like even if it's not "cool".  And if anyone chooses to judge you for it?  Just don't give a $@#*!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mom was wrong: peer pressure makes us better people!

One my mom's favorite phrases as a teenager was the oh so annoying, "If *friend I told her was cooler than me* jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?"  Of course, at the time, my smart ass answer was "Yeah, if it looked like a good time!"  But fortunately I did not have a lot of friends that were in the habit of jumping off of bridges.

Oh I do so love a good pun!
However, according to according to this article , peer pressure is not always a bad thing.  The gist of it is this: the 5 people in your life you spend the most time with directly affect your level of success.  You are the "average" of their level of success.  So, want to be more successful?  Spend more time around more successful people!

I thought about this and realized this doesn't have to be limited to just your success at work, it's totally true for your health/fitness success as well.  In college, I lived with a roommate for 4 years who was a cross country runner in high school.  During that time, I ran my first half marathon.  Prior to that the most I had ever run was probably 4 miles.  But because of the time I spent with her, and the fact that we loved to obnoxiously challenge each other to see who was "tougher", I became a long distance runner.  (OK so our drinking contests were the negative version of this but hey, nobody's perfect.)

So if you want to increase your chances of fitness success, spend time with your friends who like to go hiking on a Sunday morning instead of doing sake bombs on a Saturday night.  Go out to lunch with your coworker who always has her fridge stocked with fruit instead of a candy jar on her desk.  Become BFF's with your trainer, make a skin coat out of them, and assume their identity.

OK just kidding about that last one.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Me and Charlize Theron

Who the hell am I comparing myself to a supermodel, you ask?  Well, according to a nifty little chart from the BBC, our BMI's are probably pretty similar.

What am I talking about? This, the global fat scale!  This is a fun and informative gadget where you enter your weight and height and it spits back a bunch of information at you like what your BMI is, where you rank on the national scale of your country (average, above average, etc.) and what country's people your BMI most resembles.  Mine is South Africa, hence the Charlize Theron connection.

Here's an interesting fact: I had a few of my friends do this and not one of them had a BMI similar to an American.  My friends are a pretty fit bunch so I wasn't too shocked, but it says a lot about the size (literally) of our country when people who are of a healthy weight are not the common denominator.

This is not ok.

Yeah.  I said it.

I know you have heard me preach about body acceptance day after day, but there is a big difference between acceptance and denial.  We are a country that's in denial.  And because we see so many people around us who are also in denial, this has become the new normal.  I repeat: this is not ok.

When I was in throes of my ED, running to the bathroom to throw up my food post meal was my "normal".  Is that an ok health behavior to you, dear reader?  No?  If you saw me doing this would you try to tell me to stop?  Well then why should I stand by and watch you eat yourself into an early death?  Someone needs to grab us by our collective shoulders and shake us into waking the hell up.

Yes, losing weight is hard.  Yes, it can be un-fun.  And yes, even once you lose the weight you have to maintain healthy habits, which isn't as easy as downing 4 beers on a Friday night.   But what IS fun is being able to go hiking with your friends, to be there for your kids into your old age, to be able to move a table you bought off craig'slist into your apartment (Did it this week, thankyouverymuch!).

The only way we can improve our standing in the international health rankings is by each making a commitment to our own health.  I'm not asking you to be responsible for the American population's average BMI, just yours.  So check out your chart, and if you don't have a healthy BMI, let's get moving! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Parents just don't understand.

I recently came across another article in that favorite tabloid of mine, The Daily Mail.  This one was written by a mother who was a former bulimic and how she approaches weight issues with her children. You can read it here.  Basically, the woman's 10 year old son complained that he had a belly and mom agreed with him.  While I think it is important for parents to be realistic with their children, I also think that there are ways to talk to kids that emphasize health and not weight.  This is not one of those ways.

Will Smith, circa 1988, made a good point.
My own parents were great examples for me to grow up with; I cannot recall one time during my childhood that I ever heard my mom express any dissatisfaction with her body, and my dad was a super athlete who worked out every day.  However when I "came out" about my eating disorder they made some of their own cringe-worthy comments that sometimes surprised me. Fortunately I was at a point in my recovery that I was able to see the comments for what they were: confusion about how to deal with this a situation they were unprepared for.

But the aforementioned article & my own parents reminded me of an important lesson that we often forget:  parents are not perfect.

Yes, I can judge this woman for what she says to her son, but I also understand that she is coming from a place of love, even if I feel that the execution is wrong.  As much as therapists want us to blame our parents, I think that if you can remove yourself from a conversation in which your parents made a misstep, you can (usually) find that the comment is coming from a good place.

BUT, just because it's coming from a place of love doesn't make it ok.  If your mom or dad is consistently making comments that bother you, don't just assume that if you roll your eyes or indulge them with a "ha ha" that they'll understand the effect their words are having on you.  Sometimes you have to take the bull by the horns and say "Hey, that really hurts my feelings."  9 times out of 10 your next of kin will probably be shocked to hear this and will instantly knock it off.  But you must remember that family (and friends) are not mind readers.  From time to time you will have to help them help you feel good about yourself.

I think it's important for us as adults to make this distinction and stand up for ourselves.  We are no longer the defenseless kids who would be grounded for talking back to our parents.  If someone makes a joke about you going back for a second slice of cake/being single/laying around in your PJ's watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade instead of going for run, it's important for your own self awareness and acceptance to let them know if it makes you feel bad.

In the words of Jerry Maguire, help them help you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How I starved myself & gained 30 pounds.

One summer in the midst of my eating disorder I decided I could no longer handle the bingeing and purging and was going to starve myself.  I had always beaten myself up about what a "lousy" anorexic I was but I was at a point in my illness where I didn't feel I had any other choice.

This was me around any food, not just cupcakes.
So I did.  I ate minimal calories, worked out maximum hours, and led a completely miserable existence.  I got dizzy every time I stood up, was winded by the effort it took to blow dry my hair, and twitched more than a crackhead every time I was around the day old Panera sandwiches they were serving at the executive luncheons.  I was tired, I was hungry, but I lost some weight so ultimately the end justified the means, right?


Eating excessively small amounts of calories over an extended period is not a "lifestyle choice."  It sets you up for bigger binges and at the same time slows down your metabolism.  This is a recipe for weight gain, not weight loss.  Plus, once you start eating like a normal person again your metabolism does not catch up quite so quick.  It can take years to get your body back to it's maximum calorie burning potential.  (It took me about 2 years and a nutritionist to fix the damage I'd done to myself.)

So, yeah, I lost 15 pounds.  And I was a completely raging bitch while I was doing it. I finally couldn't take it anymore and just wanted to eat reasonably.  So I did.  And I gained back the 15 pounds I'd lost PLUS an additional 15 thanks to my metabolism that had been part of a hit and run against my own body.

The only thing that can create sustainable, long lasting weight loss AND encourage your friends to still speak to you is by eating right and exercising.  I know that you've heard this a million times & that you've probably had a stomach flu or two that left you feeling a little lighter on your feet once you were able to stand upright again.  I wanted to share my experience so that you can hear a real life example of someone who tried it & was momentarily successful with it, and then had to learn the hard way that the inevitable failure is ten times (or pounds) worse than the original five pounds you were unhappy with.

This is one time where you shouldn't follow my example.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation: Eat it right, get it tight.

This is not a good look.
What you eat can really make or break you in the fitness department.  Eat a bunch of gummy bears pre-pilates?  You're going to cramp up AND negate any of the calorie burn you get during your session. (Not that I'm speaking from experience...no of course not!)  Do this on a consistent basis and next thing you know your snake/twist is for shit and your Lululemon is cutting off your circulation.  Not cute.

This week, let's put all of the crappy 4th of July holiday eating behind us and face forward.  (Bonus: you can't see the effects of said eating on your ass when you're facing this way!)  Yes, junk food is addicting and can be hard to give up so let's take the challenge of cleaning up our eating in my favorite way: baby steps.

Your challenge this week: craving junk food?  OK, fine.  You can have it if, and ONLY IF, you complete these 2 steps before inhaling those Oreos:

  1. Eat a healthy snack that includes some kind of protein first. (apples and peanut butter, string cheese, hummus & carrots, you get the idea.)
  2. Distract yourself for 15 minutes post snack.  I don't care what you do as long as you aren't cruising the Funfetti website.  The idea is to distract your mind from the craving & that distraction paired with a steady blood sugar will kick the junk food's ass to the curb.
Let me know how it goes!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Preach on, Kelly Clarkson

A friend of a friend of mine recently made the very difficult decision to go to rehab for help with a problem he's been having.  Though all of my eating disorder treatment was outpatient, I know how hard this decision is to make and I admire and applaud him for his strength.  Talking to my friend about it has caused me to reflect on my own treatment experience and how true the old adage, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," really is AND how helpful that phrase can be when you really USE it to help you get through a challenge, be that a fitness one or life in general.

See?  There's always a bright side.
Though it sucked, my experience with my ED is probably one of the best experiences I've ever been through.  Yes, I said that an illness that was causing me to make myself throw up 6 times a day, go to the gym for 4 hours at a time, and skip friends birthday parties because I was "afraid" I'd have to eat is one of the BEST experiences I've gone through.  I learned more about myself from it than any other single event I've gone through in life, and it has made me into the relatively self aware person that I am today.  I mean, hell, my boyfriend told me (with a straight face) this weekend that one of his favorite things about me is how rational I am.  I know that this is largely because of how all of my treatment throughout the ED taught me how to think.

When you're going through something that is so overwhelming you want to crawl into bed for a week, it's very easy to do just that.  What isn't easy is looking at the situation and going, "Wow.  This is HARD.  How do I get through this hardness?"  Sure, you can stay focused on the crappy events at hand and wallow in your misery, but what does that accomplish?  The most valuable thing that my treatment ever taught me, the thing that literally defines the aforementioned cliche is to look at a shitty situation and ask, "What can I learn from this?"

If I related every lesson that the ED taught me I'd be here for a week, but asking that question may be what saved my life.  It allowed me both to acknowledge all the bad feelings I was having (something that the ED never did since instead of feeling the feelings I would just stuff myself full of food and throw it up instead) AND forced me to say to myself, "Ok self, you're going through this and it sucks, but what can you learn from it to make it slightly more bearable?"  That latter option is what really made me turn the corner in recovery.
Sing it, sister.

Whether you're dealing with a workout slump or a boyfriend who cheated on you, finding the silver lining will make it that much easier to get through the rain.  Haven't been to the gym in a month?  Maybe your brain is trying to tell you you're bored with your routine and need to shake it up.  Boyfriend slept with some floozy?  That gut feeling you've been ignoring about him is probably right and in the future you should trust yourself more.  See what I mean?  Suddenly the situation isn't so overwhelming and is downright interesting!

Ok, so it may take some time to get to feeling THAT positive about hard situations, but I promise, much like your muscles, if you continue to train your brain to think this way it will become stronger & more fit just like your body does after regular time in the gym.  Give it a try!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Let's be honest....

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I've been struggling this week with my own motivation to work out.  I've been eating ok, but I have been feeling rather uncomfortable in my own skin and frustrated with myself for getting in my own way and, in some twisted way, intentionally sabotaging my own happiness.

Just having a sad panda kind of day.
Everything in my life is going pretty great at the moment: I just started a new job & I really enjoy it, I just made it "official" with my boyfriend, it's summertime....life is good.  But with all of this good comes a lot of change and change causes me anxiety.  As I've talked about before , this kind of anxiety manifests itself to me a via food and exercise obsession.  I am having trouble letting myself simply sit with that anxiety and instead I am taking it on myself by not exercising and focusing my energy on how "lazy" and "fat" I am.

I was thinking about all of this tonight when I came across this article in my favorite British tabloid: The Daily Mail.  In short, a judge ruled that a hospital must force feed an anorexic woman, aged 30, who was in danger of dying, despite both the girl AND her parents saying it is the girl's choice whether she lives or dies.  I really don't know where I stand on this issue.

When I was in the worst of my disorder I knew that if I did not do something to pull myself out of the misery that was my day to day existence that there was a good chance I'd end up another statistic of the disease.  (Eating disorders are the most fatal of all psychological diseases with the most common cause of death being from suicide.)  I was fortunate enough to be able to cling to some sliver of hope and decided on my own to get the help that I needed.  But that was the key: *I* decided.  No one forced me.

Can help be effective when it is forced and not willingly entered into by the sufferer?  I tend to not think so.  When my best friend confronted me about my issues and told me I needed to get help, I got a lot worse.  It wasn't until *I* made the decision to get help that I actually got better.  So what does forced treatment for this girl do?  Keeps her physically alive, yes.  But what good is being physically alive if you hate every second of it?  So what's the alternative?  Let her kill herself?  That doesn't seem like a good option either.  What's the happy medium?

Living in recovery from an eating disorder is like asking an alcoholic to move into a bar.  You still have to deal with you triggering substance every day of your life.  I'm not saying I have the answer to this problem. But when I see articles like these and I know most readers are probably thinking how obvious a solution seems to them, I feel like I must speak up, as someone who can see the situation from both perspectives.

Just some food for thought.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rut busting.

I may be blogging about fitness, a spin teacher, and getting certified as a pilates trainer, BUT that doesn't mean that I am immune to the occasional bout of the fitness rut.  You know the feeling.  You've been on a long streak of working out, feeling great, bouncing to the gym in the morning, and then one week you decide to take it easy and the next, you CANNOT get yourself out of bed, no matter how many alarms you set.  This is fine, and needed, on occasion.  But what happens when it drags on?  When two weeks drags into three and suddenly your jeans are feeling a bit more snug.  How do you bust out of it?

That's part of the reason I issued the Monday Morning Motivation 10 minute challenge.  As much for you as for me.  Maybe even (seflishly) more for me.  I am having a hell of a time meeting my weekly goal of 3 cardio workouts a week.  So I went back to basics by focusing on just 10 minutes a day.  Here are some other tricks I use to pull myself out of a fitness rut:

- Eat better:  If I'm skipping the workouts I at least try to rein in my snacking a little bit so that I don't get SO panicky and so, "eff it, I've screwed up, now I'm going to screw up in a BIG way" and start ordering stuffed crust pizza from Pizza Hut.  Less Cheez-Itz, more carrots.  If I'm doing something healthy for myself, I am much more likely to get out of my own way and back on the fitness wagon faster.
Does your treadmill look like this?
You might be in a rut.

- Take the stairs: OK so walking up 5 flights may not be equivalent to a full spin class but it's better than nothing.  And sneaking in activity reminds my body that it actually does like to move.  When you're in one of these ruts I think it's important to not become lazier than a sloth or you'll never get back on track.

- Change it up: I've been working out in the morning forEVER.  So during this period of rut-ness, I've switched my workouts to the evening.  I don't want to stay on this schedule forever, but for now, it's the difference between not working out at all and doing something.  I've also been running by the beach instead of on the treadmill.  Little breaks from your routine can make a big difference.

- Commit to a new fitness endeavor & tell people about it: I am a loudmouth.  I like to brag about my fitness achievements.  So if I sign up for a 5k and start telling people about it, I would rather gargle with ground glass then not do it.  I am too proud.  This doesn't work for everyone but is a GREAT motivator for me.

The most important thing I think you can do when you're stuck in a fitness rut is to not beat yourself up about it.  That doesn't give you license to sit on the couch and eat bon bons and tell yourself it's ok, but you don't need to berate yourself 8 hours a day either.  We ALL go through this at one time or another.  It's ok to have short "off" periods.  Just be sure to keep an eye on yourself and keep trying to do little things throughout the rut and trying out new activities, workout schedules, or trainers until you bust out of it.

I'd love to hear your rut busting techniques so leave a comment or tweet me!

Monday, June 18, 2012

You get what you give: not just a one hit wonder.

Sadly, since I'm a pop culture addict, the phrase "You get what you give," brings to memories a one hit wonder band from the 90's called The New Radicals.  My boyfriend when I was 16 (hi, Tim!) was one of four people in America to buy the full album, so I heard the song often.  Thus, whenever this cliche is uttered I immediately start singing, "Wake! Up! Kids!  We've got the dreamers disease, age, 14, they got you down on your knees, da da da *mumble mumble* you only GET WHAT YOU GIIIIIVE!"  ((Check out this cute little video to hear it in all its train wreck glory. Oooh, penguins! )

Remember these guys?  Uh...me either.
What does this have to do anything?  Well, for one, the story amuses me, BUT the real reason I started on this tangent is because no where does the phrase "You get what you give" ring more true than in the gym.  This is what got me hooked on spin.  Sure, when you run a mile, you're only running as fast as you can push yourself,  but since I don't give a crap about running fast this was never a motivating factor for me.  BUT, put me in a dark room with Britney Spears blasting and some muscley sweaty man yelling at me to move my ass and I channel my hatred towards him into a killer workout that leaves me wanting to make sweet, sweet love to him by the end of class. (Damn you endorphins.)

I remind my students of this when I'm teaching my own classes: why did you drag your ass out of bed at 6am this morning?  To watch me work out?  I don't think so.  The ONLY person you are cheating when you don't give as much as you can during a workout is....yourself.  Sucks, doesn't it?  You think I don't see you pretending to twist the resistance knob to the right as we climb a hill in class?  I do, but even if I didn't, it doesn't mean you burned more calories because you were able to "trick" me.

Whether you want bigger muscles or a smaller size of Sevens, the ONLY person who can make that happen is YOU.  If you're not willing to put in the blood, sweat, and hours it takes to train and to shop for healthy food, then your dream will remain that: a dream.  

Whining doesn't burn calories.

Drop and gimme 10! - Monday Morning Motivation

Happy Monday Morning, ya'll!

Challenge of the Week

Get off your lazy butt and do 10 minutes of some kind of physical activity.

No GPS needed for this road map, just grab your MMM!
Like I said, I don't care if this is daily or just once this week, I want you to get out there and do just 10 minutes of exercise.  Try to pay attention to how your body and mind are feeling during the 10 minutes, but if the only thing you can is, "God, I hate this, how long til these 10 minutes are up?" then I give you full permission to zone out and think about something else completely.  We can work on visualization during another challenge.  This week, your sole focus is 10 minutes of activity.

Let me know how it goes!

Monday Morning Motivation - How it Works

Hello and welcome to a new blog feature!

A few MMM challenges & you'll have
sweet lats like him in no time!
Since I A) love alliteration, B) am lacking creativity while thinking of this blog post and C) love to achieve mini goals, I am starting up this motivational section.  Here's how it works:

Each Monday morning I'll post a new challenge, based on some things that I talked about in the previous week's postings.  What you do with this challenge is up to you: maybe you choose to complete it on Monday and that's it.  Maybe you want to do it 3 days a week, maybe 5.  It's your challenge, do what you want with it.

All I ask is that you commit to completing this task ONE time during the week.  And tell me about it.

Comment, send me an email, tweet me, whatever.  I am your one woman fitness cheerleader but I need to have things to be cheering about.

Now let's do this damn thing.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Affirmations: not just a bunch of touchy feely BS.

The Holstee Manifesto.  My guidelines for life.
When I was in the beginning of my struggles with my eating disorder, one of my biggest reasons for resisting help was because I hated what I perceived therapy to be.  I thought of it as a bunch of relaxation exercises with hippie dippie instructions like, "Feel the river filling up your body and washing away your worries."   I figured my eyeballs would get stuck staring at the ceiling because I'd be rolling them so much.  This is also why yoga has never resonated with me.  (I have since learned that there are many different styles of yoga so please, yoginis, don't freak out on me.)

I was very surprised when I went to therapy for the first time and found that there are a lot of therapists who understand my want and need to be able to explain my feelings in a logical way.  It doesn't have to be new age-y music and waving bundles of sage around.

But there is one thing that even the most practical of therapists continued to suggest to me and I continued to resist: affirmations.

I hated the idea of looking at myself in the mirror and a la Stuart Smalley saying cheesy stuff like, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me."  I still hate it.  But one day my roommate/life coach changed my whole perception of these nifty mind tricks.

She had heard a story on NPR that talked about affirmations that presented them simply as affirmative statements to yourself.  I guess that's kind of what Stuart Smalley does, but this seemed way less hokey.  For instance, one of hers was, "I will floss my teeth today."  Not, "I will floss my teeth in order to feel my healthy beautiful gums flourishing in all their grandeur," simply, "I'll floss."  Well, now that I could do!

I've been doing it for the past few weeks and color me shocked, it actually helps!  Starting the day off with a practical discussion with myself keeps my brain on the straight and narrow without making it a gag inducing "affirmation" that I'd never take seriously.  I've even found "affirmation art" like the Holstee manifesto at the top of this post that resonates with me in a positive way without laying it on too thick.  (You can purchase it here.)

So if, like me, you find affirmations too hokey, try to think of it as simply giving yourself a pep talk.  To use a sports metaphor that even your boyfriend could be into: you are the coach of your life.  A good coach never lets the players on the field without firing them up first, why be a player in your life without the same thing?

Ten, hut!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Give me 10 minutes.

Listen up, folks!  I'm about to let you in on the only 10 minute exercise plan that will actually work.  Guarantee it!  No Jersey Shore meat head endorsements, no clearly photo shopped before and after photos, no overpriced horrible tasting supplements to buy.  This will get you on the path to fitness, change your body, and send feel good signals to your brain and the best part is: it's free.

"Lies!" you say.  "If it sounds too good to be true it probably is!"  Well yes, my wise fitness-y grasshopper, usually that is the case.  But this time, it's as easy as it sounds.

OK Homer, but give me 10 minutes on the treadmill first!
Tomorrow when you wake up, (or head out of the office, depending on your exercise schedule) dreading your workout, I want you to tell yourself, "All I have to do is run/bike/hike/swim/spin/boot camp for 10 minutes."  10 minutes.  That's it.  And after 10 minutes if you would rather stick forks in your eyes then do another minute of physical activity, you can stop.  For real.  Go sit down on the couch and open a beer for all I care.  What I do care about is those 10 minutes.

You see, one of my favorite things about exercise, in addition to making us fit into our clothes, is that once you start doing it, your body releases these nifty little hormones called endorphins.  Know when else your brain lets these fun little chemicals out to play?  During an orgasm.  So it's true, exercise really IS as good as sex!

My point is: once you start doing a physical activity, even if you try to make excuses to yourself that would put a 7th grader who forgot to do his homework to shame, chances are you'll keep going for longer than your initial 10 minutes.  You'll be hitting your running stride, checking out that cute girl/guy on the treadmill next to you, and next thing you know 10 minutes are up.  And since you've already driven to the gym/hiking path/pool, found parking, and dealt with that annoying guy at the front desk who always calls you "bruh", you might as well continue kicking ass and taking names for another 20 minutes or more.

Everyone can find 10 minutes. And heck, if you need another reason to give it a shot think about this: every 10 minutes you exercise, somewhere a Kardashian loses it (and it's crappy weight loss product endorsement) wings.

Don't let the terrorists win.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Change sucks, and that's ok.

If you're a thinking, feeling human being reading this post, and not just some spambot, (or the Canadian porn star serial killer) then you probably already know this, but I'll say it anyway: Change is HARD.   It wreaks havoc on your emotions, your lifestyle, and if you're an emotional eater like me, your body.  I have tried reading countless inspirational quotes to chase the negativity away, have recited numerous affirmations to myself on a daily basis and yet I still have days where I want to crawl into bed with Twitter and a pile of chocolate and not face any of the daily struggles that surround big changes.

Change is hard.  Have a meltdown, but don't give up.

Deciding to lose weight or get fit means there are going to be changes in your lifestyle.  And what many people don't realize when declaring, "I'm going to lose 20 pounds!" is how uncomfortable those changes can be.  They go to their first summer BBQ, feeling sanctimonious about their new lease on life, and they shun the hot dogs and beer, no problem.  But then they have a bad week and next thing you know they're saying, "To hell with it!" and piling their plate with potato salad.

In order for a muscle to become stronger it has to be broken down.  This is what happens when you lift weights.  When you challenge your muscles with resistance you make micro-tears in them.  When these tears repair themselves, your muscle builds back stronger and larger.  (This is a very simple explanation of a complex process, so if you want to understand this further, don't listen to me, read more here .)  Lifting weights doesn't feel like skipping among the tulips.  It's WORK!  And life, like your muscles, works the same way.

We are inundated with so many positive messages about how fun and easy change is, (thanks, Oprah!) that I think we often are surprised when we go to make our own changes and experience a lot of discomfort.  What the Dr. Phil's of the world don't talk about is how much of a struggle change can be on a daily basis.

Well, no more.  I'll be the first to tell you, "CHANGE SUCKS!"

It forces you out of your comfort zone, it makes you break habits that are familiar and comfortable, and it requires you to take a risk.  It's going to make you mad, anxious, and frustrated.  AND THAT'S OK.   I give you my blessing to have an epic meltdown at least once during your process of change.  I promise you one day even Heidi Klum collapsed at the end of her treadmill in tears while she was trying to lose her baby weight.

So stop beating yourself up for being human, but whatever you do, DON'T stop pursuing your goal.   The end always justifies the means.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The price of fitness

Being a 6 foot tall woman, pants are very important to me.  Specifically, the fit of my pants.  Haunted by photos from my childhood where my pant legs were hanging 3 inches from the floor, paired with (traumatic) memories of my mom asking me when the flood I was prepared for was happening, it's become one of my "things." (Unsurprisingly, therapy is also one of my "things.")  Consequently, I will spare no expense when it comes to the cost of my pants.

What does this have to do with anything?

If paying for this guy to train you is what
will get you in the gym, count your pennies
and do it.
Sometimes in order to commit to fitness, you have to make it one of your "things."  And by thing I mean you make it a priority in your budget, not just your life.  Yeah, 24 Hour Fitness has great membership fees that can run you only $20/month, but if the closest one to your house is 10 miles in the opposite direction of your job and your apartment, how likely is it that you're going to make a habit of going there?  Or maybe there's a gym in the same shopping center as your office that you're a member of, but you'd rather gargle with ground glass than shower there before work.  You can either go at a different time, OR you can spend the extra money to find a gym with eucalyptus towels that will start your day off right.

The amount of money I spend on my pilates every month could cover the lease of the brand new Acura TL I'm coveting.  Yeah, it's that expensive.  But you know what?  Pilates has made me leaner and been way more fun than any other exercise I've ever tried.  It's why I've stuck with it for 3+ years and it still challenges me every session. I know if I went back to training on my own I'd be bored in a month and frustrated by the lack of changes in my body.  And so, I drive a 2013 Acura in my dreams, and a 2003 Lexus, with a dented front end, in real life.  Because I'd rather spend my money on getting visibly ripped 6 pack abs than on a sexier vehicle to drive my less sexy self around in.  

So take a look at that gym membership that's automatically being taken out of your bank account each month but that you haven't actually put to use in 6 weeks.  I bet if you stopped going out to (likely unhealthy) lunches twice a week at the office and combined that money with the gym fees you're already paying, you could go check out that new cardio barre studio you've been wanting to try.  Or pay for a trainer at that personal training gym right next to the office.  I bet you'll even be surprised at how good it feels spending the money on something that you enjoy and can stick with even if it costs more than the Joe Gym membership.  

Remember, fitness doesn't have to feel like a punishment.  Much like life, it's ok to indulge in luxuries if ultimately it'll help make you a happier, healthier you.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Future You

For today's inspiration I look to my roommate, aka my pseudo lifecoach.  (You can have your own direct access to her advice in 140 characters @thejulieeffect .)  We have had many a chat about everything from men to work to families and one of the most wise and universal pieces of advice that Julie has given me is this:

"What's best for future Marna?"

This phrase fell on deaf ears for a long time, or rather a mind that was quick to forget it.  Butwe were having a conversation the other day where this advice was again brought up (probably about something deep like why our DVR wasn't recording Real Housewives of the OC),  and the profoundness of it finally hit me.

Future you.

What will make a better you tomorrow:
What exactly does this mean?  It means making choices that while they might not feel the best right now (not buying the Cadbury mini eggs), it will make life better for the you of tomorrow (no guilty feelings about inhaling the bag of mini eggs in under 5 minutes).  Seems easy when you think about it that way.  So let's apply this to a larger life decision, which is where it will really punch you in the throat.

Say you go on a first date with an awesome guy/girl.  Witty banter, delicious food, sparks are flying, everything's great.  He/She mentions in passing they're not really into the whole "commitment thing" but what do you care?  This is date one.  Well, date one soon turns into date two and then comes month one and month two.  You're really into this person and you think you see a future with them.  But they have mentioned again that they are not looking for a relationship.  You know you SHOULD get out, but you like them so much and think if you just give it "one more week" they'll realize how awesome you are and they'll lock it down.

So you wait.

Another two months go by and there's still no sign of commitment.  Your feelings continue to be hurt when you hear about other dates he/she have gone on, when they fail to call when they say they will, or when the only time they call is around 1am on a Saturday.  When you're together you feel SO good but you spend most of the time you're apart feeling bad about yourself.  Here's where you ask yourself: what's best for future you?

.....or this?
While waking up tomorrow after dumping him/her might suck, think about the you 2 months down the road. This toxic person is out of your life and there's now room in your heart for someone who is funny, sexy, smart, kind, AND wants to be in a relationship with you.

That's choosing future you.

I understand I digressed from the fitness angle of it here, but having emotional health is as important if not more important to your health success.

To wrap this up on a fitness-y note: every morning when my alarm goes off at 6am my first thought is, "Ugh, can't I just skip the gym today?"  Yes, me, who gets up most mornings before work to work out STILL has this battle with myself every day.  But when I think about how I'll feel in 3 hours after my workout is done, I know that future me will feel MUCH better if if I get up and do the damn thing.

So next time you're struggling with a decision big or small, forget about yourself in the immediate moment and focus on the you 2 hours or 2 days from now.  That "you" knows what to do.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I apologize for the lack of posts as of late.  I talk about consistency but am not practicing it myself, clearly.  I'm trying, but between 50+ hours of work, pilates teacher training, starting to teach spin classes, and a new man in my life, spare time is at a minimum.  That being said, no excuses.  I will try my best to be better!

In the meantime, here's some interesting tidbits from around the web:

Here's a lady who knows
a thing or two about a thing or two.
Pilates: not just for chicks.  Next time your boyfriend says he doesn't want to do pilates because it's a girl thing, show him this article.  I think Dwayne Wade and LeBron James count as good company.

Fashion steps up.  Italian Vogue editor, Franca Sozzani admits to fashion's role in the wider spread of eating disorders.  As a former sufferer, I agree with some of her points and disagree with others.  But I find it...validating almost....to hear someone in fashion finally say, "Yes, we have played a role in the increasing numbers of this problem."

I have been worrying about my sugar addiction a little more lately and really committing to change.  (Not easy).  Though it's the Daily Mail (which is known to be a load of crap) This article gave me yet another reason to reign in the sugar habit.

Most fitness blogs are for crap.  I just spent 10 minutes cruising around FitSugar trying to find SOMETHING worthwhile to include here which proved to be an impossible task.  However, Gawker got it right.  I of the Tiger is a straight talkin', ass kickin', fitness know-it-all in the positive sense of the word.  Listen up.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Yeahhhh, I'm going to need you to come in on Saturday....

Every Monday morning at 5:45am my alarm goes off.

It wakes me from the dreams of a fun filled weekend and shakes me back to a reality filled with emails to answer, phone calls to return, and 50+ hours spent chained to my desk.  While this sounds quite unappealing (and trust me, a lot of the time, IT IS) there's a method to the madness and that "madness" is a paycheck.  I go to work every day so that I can bring home a paycheck and be able to afford a roof over my head, food on the table, and the occasional overpriced pair of designer jeans.

Let's take this example and apply it to your body.  

What if you looked at your body as your full-time job, with your health as your paycheck?  I imagine you'd be treating it a heck of a lot better than many people do on a day to day basis.  You'd probably be working a little harder and paying a little bit more attention to what goes in your mouth if you knew that at the end of the week it meant you'd have money to be able to buy yourself some fancy shoes at Prada.

OK, so this is not quite what I mean.
Unfortunately, most people don't take their health nearly as seriously as they do their work.  Have a meeting with the boss at 5pm on Friday?  Bet you're not canceling it even if you spill chicken parm all over your tie while you're at lunch.  Have to stay 20 minutes late to finish that very important project?  This annoyance is reason to cancel your gym date with your bff and go home and watch this week's episode of Revenge with your good friends Ben & Jerry.

What am I getting at?

Working out should be an appointment that you can't cancel.  Eating right should be a deadline that you can't miss.  Look, I get it, work is demanding and it's hard to make time to go to the gym.  But when did keeping the ol' ticker working so that you can oh, I don't know, stay alive become something that can easily be brushed aside while you'd miss your first born's birth before you'd ignore an email from the boss?

It's time to get your priorities in order.  I'm sure every one of us could find thirty minutes somewhere in the day to go for a walk.  It's why my alarm goes off so ungodly early.  I may not always want to get up that early but I know what my morning gym session does for my mind and my body so, much like a weekly meeting at the office I'm required to attend, I do not cancel on myself unless there are extreme circumstances.  (And yes, occasionally a very hot man in bed with me qualifies as an "extreme circumstance.")

Eating right and exercising are not options, they are essential to your longevity.  You're not going to have the time to spend all that money you're killing yourself to earn if you are literally killing yourself by not taking care of your health.  So stop thinking of it as something you'll do "when you have time" and start making it a daily date that will get you fired if you miss.

The boss has spoken.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Baby steps to the elevator....

Since I live in Hollywood and work in the industry, my thinking is often influenced by the entertainment industry.  (You just have to look at this post and this post to see what I mean.)  So today let's take a look at what one of my favorite movies, What About Bob, can teach you about your fitness goals!
Baby Steps.

I love this magical phrase!  Heck, I live this magical phrase!  We all know "that guy."  That guy who's never run a lap in his life but all of a sudden gets a brilliant idea that in order to motivate himself to be fit he'll sign up for a marathon that runs in a month.   He trains like hell for 3 days and then gives up because he hurt himself or he's feeling lazy and if he can't run that marathon goal he set for himself, then why bother running at all?

"That guy" is an idiot.

OK, idiot is harsh, let's call him misguided, shall we?  The intention is good, the execution is all wrong.  What he should do is break his plan down into baby steps.

I'll give you an example of a friend of mine, we'll call him Matt.  I would always talk to Matt about how great it felt getting up in the morning and working out before I went to work so, inspired by my waxing poetic, Matt decided to try it himself.  The first day, his alarm went off and he was awake but he stayed in bed.  The second day he got up but he complained to me that he was a failure because he only worked out for 10 minutes.  Man, what a loser, right?

WRONG!  This is baby steps at work!!

Instead of beating himself up for only working out for 10 minutes in the morning, I told Matt he should congratulate himself for getting up and working out for 10 minutes more than he did yesterday morning.  Then tomorrow he should challenge himself to get up and work out for 20 minutes.  Before he knew it, he would be getting up and working out for an hour in the morning and the whole process would be a hell of a lot less painful than Matt was already making it for himself.

Stop trying to go from 0 - 60 in a millisecond.  If a Porsche can't do it, what makes you think you should?  Pick one goal for yourself that you are going to do for one day.  That's it.  One day.  Don't think about tomorrow or yesterday, focus on this one day.  When you achieve this goal for this one day, then take stock of how you feel.  Did it make you feel good?  Great!  Try it again tomorrow but just for TOMORROW only.

Stop overwhelming yourself with the big picture and how many minutes on the treadmill it's going to take you to get there.  Yes, you can have an overall bigger goal, but during the process set those mini goals for yourself.  It makes habit changing much more manageable, enjoyable, and likely to stick.

What are you going to do today?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stuff Your Face Sunday

I apologize for the lack of posts last week.  Was having the worst week of my professional career.  Utterly miserable.  Though I am happy to report that I never found myself blacking out and waking up covered in Cheez-it dust, so I'm proud of myself for that!

Anyhow, time for this week's Stuff Your Face Sunday.  This week's menu was pretty quick to put together, which is always appreciated.  After venturing out to my personal idea of hell, Trader Joe's on a Sunday, it only took me maybe an hour and a half or so to actually cook.  Ingredients were simple, prep was easy, and cook time was only 15-20 minutes per dish.  All around win.

I like bowties on my men...AND my pasta.
I started off with this lemony chicken made with cream of chicken soup.  I realize that cream of chicken soup is straight out of the trailer park but I LOVE IT.  It's salty and creamy and chickeny, what's not to like?  The recipe is so simple and it made the house smell great.  I put it on top of farfalle (my favorite) and though I would've preferred to have had whole wheat pasta, unfortunately TJ's was out of it for some reason.  And they call themselves a health food store....

I'm hopeful it tastes as good as this looks.
Next we had this savory salmon recipe.  I apologize, I have no personal photos of this dish because, frankly, my fish looked like a flat turd.  Charming huh?  I used a white-ish frozen salmon filet and that combined with the marinade made for terrible presentation.  Fair warning: if you're using minced garlic keep an eye on the stove and cook it at a LOW heat.  That stuff burns fast and then you'll have a really dark brown marinade.  I haven't tried it yet but I worry the balsamic may be a touch overpowering considering that it was making me cough when I was inhaling it's fumes during cooking.  I'll report back on this later in the week.  In the meantime, this is what it was supposed to look like.  Thank you allrecipes.com for taking nicer photos than I do!

Yes, I eat my pudding out of a champagne
glass with my initial bedazzled on it.
Don't judge me.
So those are the major meals and now, for the all important snacks.  For my morning snack I'll be repeating last week's slice of whole wheat bread with cream cheese, spinach, and turkey slices.  Delicious, nutritious, easy to put together, travels well.  BUT for my afternoon snack, I got a bit fancier.  OK, not really fancy but a lot more exciting for my tastebuds.  I dusted off an old recipe I used to eat ALL the time during my obsession with weight training and eating protein.  I call it simply Protein Pudding and it's brainless: take cottage cheese and blend til smooth, add a little milk if needed to thin it up BUT bear in mind it gets a bit thicker after you refrigerate.  Then, take whatever flavor instant fat free sugar free jello pudding powder that you prefer and mix in to taste.  When you eat it, you can add fruit like I did or not.  So this fancy looking "dessert" is actually sugar free AND protein packed!  Genius!  I used cheesecake flavor which goes very nicely with strawberries, but I've also done chocolate (sometimes with protein, sometimes not) which is equally delicious.  I think I'll try freezing these this summer and see if it works as a popsicle, mmmm.

So there we have it.  Now I'm downloading new music for my MP3 player (I'm one of 3 people in the world who doesn't own ANY Apple products) and making myself a new running mix for my workout tomorrow.  I'm ashamed to admit I just added a Demi Lovato song into the playlist.  And yes, I am almost 30 years old.

Have a healthy week!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Stuff your face Sunday....on Monday.

Well, my first attempt at my food photo filled post was a big fat FAIL.  Spent so much time cooking that I ran out of time for posting yesterday so here ya go: healthy food porn to start your Monday (err...Tuesday by the time many of you read this) off right!  I promise I'll try to be better.  I love alliteration so Stuff Your Face Wednesday is just not as pleasing to my inner grammar nazi.

So!  One of my "secrets" to healthy eating during the week is to cook a bunch of food on Sunday.  I pick out 2 major meals that I'll eat for lunch and dinner all week, make a bunch of it, and voila, I don't have to make any "big" food decisions til the weekend.  (I always eat breakfast, I just tend to eat the same thing over and over so that doesn't vary much.)

Here are this week's culinary adventures:

Cheese + chicken = happy mouth, tiny butt
String cheese chicken!!  Find the recipe here.  This is my favorite meal this week.  Melty mozzarella cheese, chicken, and a psuedo fried taste thanks to the bread crumbs.  I made a few modifications: didn't use sun dried tomatoes or paprika because I don't like either, but I dipped it in tomato sauce when I ate it.  It tastes like a pizza minus the carb coma.  For a side dish I made flavored cous cous with pine nuts.  Easiest recipe ever:

Herbed Cous Cous (make as much or as little as you want)
Whole wheat cous cous prepared according to package but using chicken broth instead of water
parsley flakes or whatever green spices you want to use
toasted pine nuts

To round it out and get a fruit/veggie serving, I had a bowl of strawberries which are coming back into season in California.  Boom.  Done.

Have salmon, will travel.
Dinner was what the recipe called "melt in your mouth salmon."  You can get the recipe here.  However!  Let me warn you: I definitely modified this recipe so it probably wasn't as melt in your mouth as originally intended.  But we can't all be Paula Deen and get a seven figure paycheck for getting diabetes so I strongly advise against ANY recipe that calls for 1/2 cup of butter.  I used about 2 tablespoons so my marinade was more vinaigrette-y than thick gravy.  Trust me, my thighs thank me for it.  I actually made this to take to my man friend's house for dinner and while I didn't think it was my best effort he couldn't stop talking about how much he liked it.  This could be because he's a bachelor and lazy so rarely cooks anything for himself that takes more than 5 minutes, this could be because he wanted to get in my pants, or it could be true.  Try it, and you be the judge.

Oh and don't forget your veggies!  I kept it simple for my man friend and myself: fresh arugula with olive oil and coarse sea salt.  It was a really light and delicious dinner and with enough arugula you can get a good 2 veggie servings in without going to bed feeling like a beached whale.

I like to eat so I always have snacks on hand.  I was very excited to try this one: Cheesy Quinoa Bites!  Again, I modified it.  I only used 1/4 c of parmesan cheese.  I figured between my string cheese chicken and this, that was more than enough to hit my cheese quota for the week.  I like it as much as the next girl but I also know I don't want my ass to start resembling a big squishy chunk of brie.  I also used egg beaters instead of real egg.  Fair warning: this makes a LOT.  Be sure to have enough mini muffin cups on hand.  I threw half of them in the freezer for that week in the future when I'm busy having a Sunday Funday and mimosas are more of a priority than cooking quinoa.  They are a little bland and I haven't figured out the dipping sauce that will most perfectly complement them but I have to disagree with the author: I definitely don't think it will be anything in the honey mustard family.  I may try some warmed olive oil with minced garlic in it.

And when you're all done, hopefully you have something, or should I say someone, like this to help with the clean up.  Happy chewing!
The Conehead: not so effective for cleaning, highly effective for entertainment.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

You talkin' to ME?

Do you understand the words
that are coming out of your mouth?
We've all got an inner monologue and I'm pretty sure that everyone's inner voice has the nasty habit of being negative from time to time.  Hey, we're human, it happens.

But so many people have an inner voice that pops up way more often than it should, and it tells them terrible things about their own body.  You ate too much, you ran too little, you are not good enough.  Many of us become so used to hearing these messages that we even start to believe our own negative hype.

Let's put this in perspective.

Think about a negative thought that you may have about your body.  Now, imagine saying that thought, out loud, to your best friend.  Or your sister.  Or your dog.  Like this:

"Hey best friend, if you don't lose 10 pounds, no one will ever love you."

WHOA, hold the heck on, you say.  I would never talk about my best friend like that!  He/She is so awesome, who cares about 10 pounds?!


Why is it ok to tell ourselves these awful things that we would never in a million years say, or even think, about the people in our lives that we love so dearly?  Newsflash: it's not.

Thinking about my eating disorder this way had a huge impact on my recovery.  I first read about this concept in this great book Life Without Ed by Jenni Schaefer .  She described looking at her eating disorder as an abusive boyfriend named Ed (ED = eating disorder.  Convenient, huh?).  So many strong women like Jenni, and myself, would never take crap from a boyfriend but yet engage in a never ending abusive relationship within their own mind.  If some dude I was dating told me my butt was looking a little big in my pants, his own ass would be cold and alone in bed that night.  But yet, I used to tell myself that, and worse, multiple times a day.

So the next time you're berating yourself for going to happy hour with an old friend after a particularly bad day at work, or ordering dessert at your friend's birthday dinner, think about saying those thoughts out loud to another person.  Then flip your own internal script.

Mama always said, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Happy Oreo Day!

Apparently it's the 100th Birthday of Oreo so I'm helping myself to 2 of these puppies.  Hey, the office bought a bunch of Oreos, who am I to not participate?  But you'll notice I ate only 2....not the 10 I really would've liked to inhale.  Alllllll about the balance people.

It's also National Frozen Foods day....but I will not be celebrating with a Hot Pocket.

The only workout buddy who never flakes

Who could it be?
I love a good workout buddy.  After I missed a spin class we'd planned on taking, I once had my workout buddy call and leave me a voicemail saying, "I'm looking to cast someone for the role of WORST FRIEND EVER and she needs to be reallllllly fat.  Byeeee."  He was teasing & I laughed so hard I cried but trust me, I never missed a spin class I scheduled with him again.

However, people are not perfect.  Inevitably at some point during your relationship, your workout buddy will get sick, tired, hungover, or all of the above.  So while I LOVE a good gym partner, I also understand the limits of the relationship. (now if only I could apply this lesson to men...)

So what if I told you I know of a workout buddy who would NEVER cancel on you.  Who would always be happy to get your butt out the door rain or shine, hot or cold, hungover or tired.  Sounds too good to be true, right?  Well, it is almost is.

Best.  Workout Buddies.  Ever.
 Meet my favorite "people" to workout with: Sadie (in black) and Maggie (the tall one).  When I adopted Sadie 6 years ago she was 80 pounds.  80 POUNDS on that small little body.  (To give you perspective, in this recent pic she is at a happy healthy 48 pounds.)  She clearly needed to lose weight.  So we walked.  A lot.  And guess what?  Not only did SHE lose 20 pounds but *I* lost 13!  We didn't do doggie Crossfit or any of that nonsense....we just walked.  We walked for about 20 minutes every day and the weight fell off of us both.  Now Sadie is a bit older and more arthritic, so I take my roommate's dog, Maggie.  Maggie is always game for a 6 mile hike, 5 mile walk on the beach, or even a 4 mile run.  And she always is SUPER excited about it.  What other workout buddy have you had who bounces off the walls because they get to go run with you?  Her attitude is infectious and her happiness during our exercise motivates me to go farther and faster because she is having so much fun.

These buddies come with their own set of issues even though they are consistent gym partners.  So PLEASE don't adopt on a whim.  They require a lot of time, energy, and money.  BUT the love they give back is tenfold and you'll always have a friend ready for an outdoor calorie burning adventure, even when you're not.

If that's not a win-win, I don't know what is.

UPDATE:  Well looky here!  Was doing some dog related research on the ol' internet and it seems I'm in good company in my thinking of dog as fitness partner.  Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) says she used her dog as a fitness trainer when her doctor told her she should drop a few pounds. Not so Fat Greek Wedding anymore!