Nov 11

Fitness slacker

It’s been several months since I last checked in with my fitness goals, and you know why: I’ve been slacking.

Generally, what happens is I’m very disciplined for a few months, then when I lose a little weight, I begin to slack. This was okay when I was already skinny because gaining a couple of pounds wasn’t a big deal, but now that my usual weight is skinny plus SEVERAL extra pounds, when I gain another two or three pounds, it makes a difference. Like bulging hips and thighs difference. Like spare tire difference. Like back fat difference. Like shorts that fit two years ago that no longer fit difference.

I’ve tried a few tactics that haven’t worked for me.

Eating Paleo-ish. If you don’t know, the Paleo diet is basically like the Atkins diet but somewhat healthier. Depending on how strict you are, you’re supposed to eat mostly animal protein and vegetables, plus a little fruit, dairy, and nuts, virtually no sugar, and absolutely no carbs like rice, pasta, and bread, not to mention sweets and pastries.

My problem with eating “Paleo-ish” is that while at first I did cut back on carbs, after I lost some weight, I added carbs back in on top of all the extra protein I was eating. More protein and carbs equals more calories. More calories and no increase in activity equals weight gain.

Going to the gym after work. My bus home passes the gym so it seemed stupid not to get off one stop early and go in. For a while I was really good. Three times a week (I work in my office three days, from home two days), I’d fool myself by thinking, All you have to do is go in the building, to psyche myself into going.

But somewhere along the way I fell out of the habit. Suddenly, I got tired of carting my stuff around. I hated getting home so late. I started getting tired. After working a full day, then commuting back home, I just didn’t have the motivation to also hit the gym.

I just got lazy.

Doing yoga on my own. Because I was going to the gym after work, I felt less motivated to go on the days I worked from home, which are also the days of my yoga class. I did yoga on my own, which was better than nothing but definitely not as effective as a class.

How do I know? One day I went after a couple of months of no classes, and I ALMOST DIED. Well, not really. The class was tough and afterward I was sore for a very long time.

Setting goals. You’d think setting goals would be a good idea, and at first it was. I was determined to check off all four “Do cardio” boxes every week. And sometimes I did, but of course, more often, I didn’t, and then I’d feel lame. I’d feel like I was cheating by putting something other than running or the elliptical, like walking or burpees, in those cardio boxes. Then I started to feel like, Why bother at all if I can’t check all four of those boxes?

So what am I going to do instead?

Eat in moderation. Duh! I want to continue to avoid carby snacks, sweet or savory, but I have to remember to not go crazy with the protein. Something kinda Paleo that I’ve been doing is having yams for breakfast, if only because they’re so tasty.

While we were visiting my parents in NJ in September, MB commented after a couple of days that I suddenly looked healthier. He put two and two together – we were eating my mom’s healthy Chinese food every day – as did I: we were taking three mile walks every day.

I think MB has made a conscious effort to suggest healthier options for dinner. Instead of pizza a couple of times a week, now he’s been cooking more, or suggesting more Asian cuisine and less diner food. While he’s a skinny guy who can eat just about anything, I’m not.

As for me, I’ve decided to. . .

Walk a lot more. Now instead of going to the gym after work, I walk to and from the train station on the days I go into the office. That’s two miles each way, three times a week. The walk (one way) is about 40 minutes, which is actually the same or even faster than my bus, and a hell of a lot more relaxing, especially in the morning when not a lot of people are out.

Right now the weather is really good for walking. It’s a little chilly, which is good because I’m sweating like a pig by the time I get to the train station, but since I get to wear jeans and T-shirts all the time, this doesn’t really matter. When it starts to rain more, that’ll be a bummer.

Also, I’m saving on bus fare, which is $2 each way, three times a week, or a total of $48 for the month. And after work, MB usually meets up with me in the middle, and we walk part of the way home together, chatting about our days and sometimes stopping somewhere for dinner. Another good thing is that the walk is fairly flat, an important consideration in this town.

And I’ve never felt unmotivated about walking. I’m an impatient person and hate waiting for the bus. With walking, I have total control over how quickly I get to the train station or back home.

Go to yoga class. Like I said, I get so much more out of a class than yoga on my own. I just don’t push myself enough, and also tend to do the same positions again and again. My teacher mixed up the routine, corrects our form, and sometimes talks us through the positions, reminding us to hold our muscles in a certain way. By myself, I tend to do the minimum.

My goal this month is go to yoga every week, twice a week. Once a week is pretty good, but going twice makes a real difference. Last month, I went twice just one week and even that made a difference. Plus I want to do cardio three times a week, two times before my yoga class and once on the weekend.

Track fitness, not goals. But I just talked about goals! Well, those goals are in my mind. In a spreadsheet (yup, a spreadsheet), I’m just tracking what I do each day, whether it’s walking, running, yoga, or weights. This way at least I’ll want to do SOMETHING every day, to avoid having a blank sheet spot on my my spreadsheet. For instance, this past Sunday I didn’t feel like doing anything, not even going for a walk. But I wanted to have something to put on my spreadsheet. So I just did a round of weights.

The results so far? I’ve probably lost two or three pounds, but more importantly, I feel better. My spare tire has shrunk a little, and I’m not disgusted by my reflection in the mirror. I still have a ways to go, but my new tactics seem to be working.

So far.

May 10

Babbly little update

It was nice to take a small break from writing this weekend, after last week’s busy schedule.  I did work on stuff, but in a leisurely way.

I’ve decided to continue with my corporate mystery.  I can’t remember if I wrote about this, but I was going to throw in the towel since I was so bored writing it.  I had an idea for another novel, but I was just as bored starting that.  At least with the corporate mystery, the characters are more developed in my head, and I know where the story is going.

We saw Iron Man 2 over the weekend.  I was expecting it to be lame, but we both enjoyed it.  I had read something about “too many villains,” but I didn’t think there were, especially compared to that one Batman.

I finished the fifth Harry Potter and now am reading Love in the Time of Cholera.  I like it, but I really love the Harry Potter books.  Just two more in the series!

This weekend I started my “diet,” which for me means “not eating like a pig” as well as making sure I eat enough so I don’t binge later.  For instance, at Nick’s Crispy Tacos, I usually just get one fish taco (fried: baby steps), which doesn’t quite fill me up and then I end up eating a meal at 4, as well as dinner at 8.  So this time I added the tortilla soup, which was AMAZING by the way.  That satisfied me but I didn’t feel stuffed and gross.

I have to remember to incorporate soup whenever I can.  One, I love it.  Two, clear soups are pretty healthy I think, usually full of veggies and lean meat.  Three, like I said, they’re filling but don’t make you feel gross.

Last night we had fish dinners at Grub Stake, and I refrained from eating my potatoes.  Just my salmon and veggies.  MB got an apple crumble dessert and I had just a bite to taste it.  Later I had part of Luna Bar for my “dessert.”

Today I need to work out!

In other news, I finally got an interview!  I haven’t had any luck so for this particular position, I decided to have fun and be honest.  My application email wasn’t so much an application as an essay incorporating what they asked for.  Not a dense essay but sort of ranty and conversational, the way I write some stuff for The Nervous Breakdown.  The interview’s on Wednesday.

May 09

A quick one

I can’t decide whether or not to go to BookExpo at the end of the month. I have till 5/23 to sign up for the early bird prices, which seems to be cutting it pretty close to the date of the expo. Maybe they have fewer people signing up this year.

The last time I went it was fun, though overwhelming. I heard some great talks, and got lots of free books. This time I’d have the additional perspective as a wannabe-librarian.

School is finally winding down. I’m nervous about my presentation tomorrow. I’m just talking about my corp speak project, but I don’t know if I put it in the right format. All this design science stuff is hard for me to grasp. I have another presentation on Monday but that’s on my patient sastifaction paper and I’m pretty familiar with that. Sunday I have a final but it shouldn’t be a big deal.

I’ve started trying to up the intensity of my workouts. This past year I’ve been sort of lax, or at least hit a plateau, and ended up gaining about 5-7 pounds. Not a lot but enough to go up a pants size. Actually I was relieved to see that small weight gain; I kept thinking it was more like 10 pounds.

I want to incorporate longer runs into my routine, but lately I haven’t had the time and/or motivation. So instead I’m including some “hill” work (i.e., increasing the incline on the treadmill) and speed work into my 4 miles runs. I think makes a difference. Plus it alleviates the boringness.

MB showed me some exercises he used to do when studying martial arts – they’re supposed to make your butt rock hard, including that area beneath the cheeks. You lift your pelvis off the floor, as high as you can, making sure your upper back and arms are relaxed, and your stomach is flat, and then just hold it as long as you can. I can do a couple of sets of ten slow breaths right now.

Then lift just the right hip,and the left, holding each for as long as possible. Finally, something like a pilates move: pelvis in the air, one leg straight up, and just holding it. In pilates you bring that leg down about 8 times, which is HARD. I don’t know if it’s doing anything for my butt, but my abs and quads are tighter. Maybe I’m doing the exercises wrong. :P

Aight. Back to work.

Jan 09

Back finally

Was in NJ for two days but it felt like much longer.

The meeting started at 9 AM on Wednesday so I went down Tuesday night. I thought taking the train wouldn’t be a big deal, but man it was a pain in the ass. I had to switch at Newark where I just missed my connection and had to wait around for almost half an hour. And that is not a nice station. I thought New York Penn was crummy, but that’s a palace compared to Newark. Plus I had my suitcase that I had to drag up and down steps.

The train ride itself was fine. But my station stop was deserted and I had to call a cab, which meant waiting in the cold.

I know, I’m a big fat whiner. If it were for myself, I wouldn’t complain as much, but since it was for work, I feel I have every right.

On the way back to New York yesterday, I hitched a ride with my new boss, who had booked a car. I don’t really know why he didn’t check with me to see about transportation. On my old team, we always tried to coordinate so that we didn’t end up booking a bunch of separate cars.

I’m not sure how I feel about my new boss overall. He seems nice, but I do like my old one better, at least our personalities matched more. He has a softer touch and is more organized and visual, like me. We both need to look at things to understand them, and he’ll often draw his ideas out, which is perfect website work.

My new boss is much more of a talker. For instance, he’ll want to discuss some document without actually looking at the document till finally in frustration I have to say, “Can you please take a look at it and you’ll see it already includes what you’re mentioning?” Plus he’s a big fucking joker. I mean, I like someone with a sense of humor, but the way he jokes around is irritating. I can’t even explain it. What he says isn’t clever or ironic – he’ll just state the opposite of what’s obvious, and then laugh and laugh and laugh.

At dinner this week, he mentioned that if he had to do it all over, he’d have been in sales instead. I say he’s a perfect fit.

The meeting itself was incredibly boring. I don’t think I needed to be there. It was everyone discussing all this shit, when really all I need to know is the outcome so that I can implement it on various websites and whatnot. I don’t need to be on the “journey.” But of course I have pretend to be interested, otherwise I’m not a “team player.” (Barf.) One good thing is my old boss was also there, in his new promoted role, and he praised the work I did on this Sharepoint site, and my new boss was there to hear it.

The hotel was pretty nice though nothing special. At least it was clean and seemed new. And dinner was good though my entree choice, the mahi mahi, was sorta boring. My appetizer, roasted beet salad with arugala and goat cheese, however, was delish.

I didn’t work out at all at the hotel. I had big plans to get up at 6 and get in a run before leaving for the meeting, but I couldn’t get up before 7 either day. This morning I had my follow up appointment with my doctor and found out my cholesterol level is higher than it was last year – over 200. :( Last year it was around 180.

I think the culprit is this delicious Greek yogurt that I had been eating every night for the past several months. MB got me hooked on it. I thought I was being all healthy eatiing something with calcium and live cultures, but I ignored the fact that it has like 10 grams a fat per serving. And I was downing that stuff just about every day.

So I’ve switched to low or non-fat yogurt, and will try to swap out my second cup of coffee with green tea, and have more nuts, fish, oatmeal, and berries. And be more consistent with exercise. This whole year I’ve been pretty lax. Hence, the additional 5-8 pounds on my hips and thighs, and the higher cholesterol.

I hope to check out the Y near my apartment this weekend. They’re offering a free day pass to be used before February 2. Now that I have class Wednesday afternoons, I won’t have time to work out on that day, so I want to incorporate weekend workouts. The Y is only slightly cheaper than New York Sports Club, but it’s much closer to my place. I could go on my way home from class on Sundays.

I can’t believe it’s only 1:15.

Oct 06

Excess baggage

This morning I bit the bullet and got on the scale. My suspicions were right: I’ve gained some weight.

Yesterday my suit pants, which were practically falling off me in May, fit much better. That gave me a clue as to my extra poundage. (You’d think the brownies and chips and gelato would be enough.) Plus a feeling of general fatness.

This summer I was very lax with my workouts. I went from a strict five times a week to a lazy maybe three. Plus I had changed my schedule, going to the gym in the afternoons, which allowed me to rationalize having a sandwich at 5 before my workout, and then dinner at home around 7:30 or 8.

An extra meal a day + junky indulgences + fewer workouts = excess baggage

It’s just a few pounds so I’m not panicking. I know I just need to cut out desserts for a while as well as those extra meals. Plus exercising in the mornings will be better for me because:

1) I’ll get it overwith and won’t have the chance to miss a workout because of a late day at the office
2) I’ll feel calmer and more centered for the rest of the day
3) It’ll rev up my metabolism for several waking hours
4) I won’t feel the need for the extra meal in the late afternoon
5) I’m more energized in the morning and usually have better runs than in the 5 to 7 PM time period

On another only slightly related note, I hate it when people make sex noises when they work out. Am I at the gym or on a porn set?