Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lose weight, save money, & it's not a pyramid scheme!

Continuing on with yesterday's theme of what we're spending our hard earned dollars on, I've come up with a new savings plan.  I don't know about you, but I have a hard time resisting cravings.  I guess that's not totally true because if I gave in to every craving I had I'd weigh 500 pounds.  Nevertheless, I know I have a tendency to spend more money than I should on food because I get a hankering for it after a hard day.  In an effort to combat this, I try to cook myself 2 main meals on Sunday that I can then eat during the week.  Saves time, money, AND thought, which I don't have a lof of after a brain frying 10 hours at work.

But I digress.  You don't care about my meal schedules, you saw the words "lose weight" and "save money" and that's why you're here.  So, what's my secret?  I'll tell you.

I've been on a Dove chocolate kick lately.  Something about the texture combined with the extra rich chocolatey-ness has been my drug of choice lately.  But do you know how much a bag of those things cost?  5 bucks and a whole lotta calories.  I'm an all or nothing type girl so if I'm going to indulge in some Dove, I'm going to eat so much I put myself into a sugar coma. This "keep a bag at your desk and allow yourself one candy a day" bullshit that Shape magazine is trying to sell me ain't happening.

The other morning I was doing some early morning mental wrestling with this craving and trying to rationalize to myself why it was a bad idea to go to the grocery store before work to arm myself with a blue bag of Dove.  Rational thought was losing to immediate gratification so I soon resorted to good old fashioned bribery.

Feed the pig, not your mouth.
I've got a big ticket item I'm saving up for to be disclosed at a later date.  (oooh, just what the blog needs: mystery!  intrigue!  What could I possibly have up my sleeve?!  I know, the suspense is killing me too.)  While thinking about how happy this big ticket item is going to make me I thought about what better use the 5 bucks I'd spend on Dove could be put to if I instead contributed it to my "big idea" fund.  And voila!  Suddenly rational thought won out and I was not only convinced not to buy the oh so seductive chocolate, I was downright excited not to be parting with $5 of my corporate slave wages!

When I got to work I immediately transferred 5 bucks from my checking to my savings account.  A little ridiculous?  Absolutely.  A lot gratifying?  Yup.

So go ahead and give it a shot, and if you think it's a bit ridiculous, you're right!  But you can think that from the bus stop while I'm patting myself on the back for my ingenuity as I drive by you in my new car.  Who's laughing now?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Am I the only one who, as a child, was disappointed to find that the answer to this simple question was, "To get to the other side,"?  No?  OK, well, I was.  And why is that?  Because I like rewards.  Prizes.  Swag.  Call it what you will, I like it.

Reward yourself with this.....
I blame my childhood for this superficial aspect of my personality and I doubt that I'm alone in this.  How many of us were rewarded with things like ice cream when we got an A on a test?  A cupcake when we were the good citizen of the month?  Yes, childhood is filled with food rewards which can become problematic when we grow up.  Have a hard day at work?  Make yourself feel better with some chinese take out for dinner.  Get a promotion?  Go out to the trendy new tapas place and stuff your gullet.  And don't get me started on the holidays.

What does this have to do with your fitness?  Simple.  Stop making food a reward.  Make it to the gym 3 days this week?  No, calling Pizza Hut is NOT the way to celebrate your success.  Yet so many people fall into this trap.  What starts out as a cheat meal soon becomes a cheat day and then becomes a cheat weekend and next thing you know you're shocked that your pants still fit exactly the same.

....not that.
I learned this lesson many years ago and have a fabulous fitness wardrobe as a result.  One day I decided to stop rewarding myself with a creation from Coldstone as big as my head and instead, once I kept up my new fitness habit for 3 weeks, I treated myself to a new piece of workout wear from Lululemon.  Is it expensive?  Hell yes, absurdly so.  But I'll be damned if I wasn't more motivated to stick with it knowing there was a pretty new tank top to show off my strong looking lats if I hit my goal for the week.

I chose 3 weeks because I can't afford to shop Lulu every 7 days, but you can pick smaller items so that you can reward yourself weekly.  Want the new Nicholas Sparks novel?  Ugh, first, get some taste, but then, hey!  Can't have it til you eat protein with every meal from Monday to Friday.  Dying to download Adele's new album?  Go to spin class 3 times and it's yours.  You're still working towards a happy weekend treat only this one isn't going to leave you bloated and craving even more salt and sugar come Monday.

Try it out and give yourself a weekly fitness Christmas only without the stress and obnoxious relatives!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hate running? Don't do it.

Listen up.  I'm about to impart wisdom that those of you who hate running have been dying to hear:

If you hate it, you don't have to do it.

Yes, I am giving you 100% permission to banish running from your fitness routine.  Starting today, you never have to do it again!  But, like most things in life, there is a catch.

You have to find what it is you do love.  People often ask me what *I* do to stay as lean as I am.  What does it matter?  What works for me might not work for you.  Take spinning for example.  I am spin fanatic!  In fact, I love it so much that 2 years ago I got certified as a spin teacher so I could share my passion with others.  "Others" started out as two friends of mine who were so inspired by my excitement about spin that they asked to come to a class with me.

They hated it.

HA!  I could've been confused by this, but I get it!  My passion is MY passion, not theirs.  They have to find what works for them.  That's why these "one size fits all" workout programs that guarantee results are such bullshit to me.  NOTHING gets results if you'd rather stick forks in your eyes than do the workout.  Yet people continue to punish themselves and attempt to stick with exercise routines they hate, and then they're shocked when they can't stick with it.

This is me giving you full permission to never again engage in a fitness activity that you detest.  You never have to run another mile, take another yoga class, or swim another lap if you don't want to.   But you DO have to find your some kind of exercise that inspires you and, in a perfect world, you look forward to doing it most days.

(Sorry, my advice of "don't do it" does not allow you to forgo exercise completely.  And if your favorite form of exercise is arm curls from the cheeto bag to your mouth I'm not going to encourage you.)

so what are you going to do today?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Imperfect links....

I really hate this story because it makes me so sad.  I know, as I'm sure we all do, how it feels to feel unattractive.  I'm so glad the internet wasn't so prolific when I was around and I hope these teenagers have strong influences in their lives who will show them the errors of this kind of thinking.  It breaks my heart.

Interesting.  Tumblr to ban 'self harm' blogs which includes pro-anorexia/bulimia ones .  I have mixed feelings about this and was actually interviewed by CNN about this very topic. (You can read a transcript here )  In a way those sites helped me feel less alone & in turn made me less likely to act out my destructive behaviors.  BUT I definitely learned a trick or two from them too.  Double edged sword.

And now onto something much happier.  I have only just met this blogger, but I love her.  Here, she discusses everything that's wrong with women's health/fitness magazines.  I was going to write my own post about this but I don't think I could compare to this comedic genius.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Protein: not just for dudes.

Ladies, repeat after me:

Protein is your friend. 

Yes, that's right, your friend.  It can't break your heart or punch you in the face.  It's there to make you full and help your muscles stay strong.  So why are so many women afraid of it?

The other day, I was standing in my favorite smoothie place in LA, Bodyfactory , which is known for it's lower sugar, higher protein, overall healthier smoothies.  After placing my order I listened to the woman behind me give hers,

"I'd like a bitty berries smoothie but please only half a scoop of protein.  I don't want to get too big."

I openly stared at her like she'd grown a second head.  Or incredible hulk muscles.  This had to be one of the most asinine fitness statements I have ever heard.  I'm here to tell you, 30 grams of protein in a meal WILL NOT MAKE YOU GET BIG.  If that was the case we'd all have rippling muscles instead of just a tryptophan hangover after Thanksgiving dinner.

This is not the result of an extra chicken breast. that a man?
Newsflash: those women in bodybuilding competitions did not just wake up one morning, eat a few extra eggs and poof! Muscles!  They have spent months training very hard and eating very specifically and you'll see that even after all that hard, calculated work, they still are no where near the size of their male counterparts.  But trust me, lifting a few weights and eating some cottage cheese will not make you suddenly rip through your brand new Chloe blouse.

So how much protein SHOULD you be eating?  Ah, the $10,000 question.  There's a whole convoluted equation that you can read about here, at Fitsugar.

Or if you hate math (like I do) you can try this: eat protein at every meal.  In a perfect world you'll be eating 6 times a day (another post for another day) and this constant intake of protein will keep your metabolism firing and your body consistently fueled.  This makes resisting the office birthday cake WAY easier.  But I promise, it will not cause you to be confused with that meathead in the cubicle next to you.

Bon protein!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fellow imperfect thinkers....

Skwigg is crazy.  In a good way.  She does crazy workouts and writes hilarious articles like this one : "Why the Scale Lies (best to just back over it with your car.)

I just love the title of this one, Three Fitness Blogs for Women That Actually Don't Suck .  Skwigg made the list so I know that Heidi knows her stuff.

This is one of my favorite girls on the web!  She's a model so I want to hate her, but how can you hate a model who eats bacon, mocks people on twitter, and still looks good doing it?

That's all I've got for now.  There is a highly selective process to make it on a links post, people.  I have to not only believe your bullshit, but laugh at it too.  So go forth and make me laugh.  And believe.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

525,600 minutes....

What'd you do with your time today?
I think Facebook is a wonderful thing.  It's kept me in touch with friends from home and my time living overseas, like my friend Erin.  In fact, as I was having a spirited Facebook debate about the Marilyn picture (see here )I came across a very relevant post from Erin's blog.  You can read it here .

Erin had a beautiful baby boy a few months ago and is now adjusting to life in her "new" body.  It is now a body that has served a much higher purpose than just looking good in a bikini: it gave life to another person.  But, like I'm sure many new moms experience, Erin has been struggling a bit with feeling good about herself in her new body.

Her post really hit home with me when she talks about how many hours she estimates she spends worrying about her body.  In 2011 alone she guesses she spent about 60 hours obsessing about what's "bad" about her body.  I don't fault her for this at all.  In fact, I admire her courage in thinking about it so directly because frankly, I'm terrified to think about how much time I spend doing the same thing.  (hint: it's more than 10 minutes a day)

But she really put things in perspective for me.  Imagine how much time is wasted by the entire population o the world per year, sending ourselves negative messages about our bodies.  Hundreds of thousands of hours which add up to weeks and months and even years.  It's incredibly saddening to think about all the good we could be doing with that wasted time.

So the next time you catch yourself dwelling on things that are "wrong" with your body, take those precious minutes and do something with them that makes you happy.  You owe it to yourself.  We all do.

Comparison Madness.

I have to get on my soapbox about this picture.  I understand that the idea behind it is to promote body acceptance and say that curvy is sexy.  I whole heartedly agree.  But why do we have to put down people with naturally skinny body types in order to life those with curvier bodies up?  I posted a rant about this on Facebook and as my friend Feo said (thank you Feo!): "Hot is hot, pounds are just a number."  Numbers are just that:  NUMBERS.  They only have as much power over you as you give them.  I haven't weighed myself in YEARS.  When I go to the doctor's office, I get on the scale backwards.  Why?  Because I don't want to give those numbers power.  I'm not perfect, and I know that if I see the numbers and I'm having a bad day I might turn inwards and beat myself up for it.  So I remove that possibility by not even knowing.  I ask myself if I'm being healthy, if I'm exercising a healthy amount, if I feel good in my skin, and THAT is my scale.  Try it!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

This is my story.

I am a survivor.

My battle with bulimia started when I was 18.  My obsession with my body started when I was 13.  My acceptance of my body started at 28.  It was a long road, but it was mine to walk.  I tripped over my own 2 feet and probably broke a toe or two along the way, but such is the path of life.  I'm grateful for my journey and even more grateful for the outcome.  I mean, hell, if nothing else I have a cool blog!!

But enough with the melodrama, that's not what this is about.

The point of this blog is to debunk fitness/nutrition/life myths that stupid magazines like Cosmo and Shape try to shove down our throats.  To figure out what your own personal ideal is and how to achieve it.  To stop looking at The Real Housewives as normal or what you should strive to be.  I want to help you be happy with being YOU.  Your rules, your terms, your life.

Throughout my treatment and even in my day to day life people often ask, "How do *you* do it?!"   How do I get myself out of bed and to spin class at 7am three mornings a week?  How did I turn the corner into true recovery?  But that's not the question they should be asking.

Instead, ask yourself, "How can *I* do it?"  How do I create a life that is full of happiness, satisfaction, and experiences?  (oh and good sex.  Lots of good sex.)  What works for you might not work for me, but that's what keeps the discussion interesting!

Women's magazines, chick lit, and even many self help books like to take a one size fits all approach to life.  I don't.  My life is like a Spotify list by a schizophrenic.  It's big, it's full of variety, and it rocks out when it wants to.  I may look at the "playlists" of my friends and see something that works for me, or something that doesn't.  I don't judge them, I just let them take that path on their own, just as I stick with what's working for me.  And I learn as I go.  I celebrate my successes and learn from my failures.  I respect the journey.

So, whether you go to the gym 5 days a week or you've never had a gym membership, you're welcome here.  Whether you want to build a defined 6 pack or just lose the leftover baby weight, I challenge you to do it.  Acceptance and achievement starts and ends with you.

Now, enough with the touchy feely bullshit, we've got some living to do!
Yup.  After an 8 mile hike, I refuel with Cheez Itz.  Works for me!