Tips & Tricks: Minimize Efficiency, Maximize Step Count

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  1. Park out in the back forty, but do it on purpose

Most people consider scoring a close parking spot something worth celebrating. I consider finding a spot at the back of the parking lot – preferably away from other cars – a win. I even like to park in a different parking lot whenever I can. For instance, today I parked in front of a different building on my work campus and walked over to my building. For me, there’s nothing better than a morning walk before having to sit inside at a desk for hours on end.

  1. Take the shopping cart back into the store

Don’t just use those convenient little cart corrals. Walk from your spot (in the back of the parking lot) back to the store and put it where it belongs. You’ll get extra steps and brownie points from the poor employees who have to traipse all over the parking lot gathering them up.

  1. Multiple trips

Seeing as I’m a woman, I was born with the ability to get all of my groceries in the house in one trip, no matter how much I bought. It goes against all of my instincts to not just load up my arms and go, but the multiple trips in and out of the house gets me some needed extra steps. Act like a man; one bag at a time.

  1. Don’t use the nearest bathroom

I’ve been informed that this might be a luxury only someone like me (i.e. young, never had children, etc) can afford but I figured I’d put it here anyway. If you can, don’t use the bathroom that’s closest. Most likely there’s another one around somewhere…go find it. The bathroom closest to me is 43 steps from my desk. The next one is 80. Don’t ask me why I know this, I just do.

  1. Pee break = lap around office

After I’ve wandered to the farthest bathroom and finished my business, I like to make a lap around the office floor. I’m lucky enough to work in a fairly large building, so it’s a decent amount of steps. Especially considering I drink at least 4 liters of water while I’m at work, so I’m constantly making these trips. Bonus: it lets me step away from work for a few minutes.

  1. Hour lunch break? 30 minutes for eating, 30 for walking

It doesn’t take you an hour to eat lunch, stop kidding yourself. Eat your lunch, then get walking. Walk around the building, walk around outside, walk to your car parked in a distant parking lot for no other reason than to say you did it. Just move.

  1. Make conference calls the playlist for your walk

You know…you don’t HAVE to sit at your desk staring at the cubicle wall while listening in on a conference call. Shocking, right? Plug in your earbuds and listen while you’re going for a nice little stroll. Multitasking at its most productive.

  1. Link your computer to a printer at the other end of the building

There’s a printer 3 aisles down from my desk. I never use it. I took the time to connect my computer to a printer at the other end and side of the building. I don’t print things frequently, but when I do at least I’m going on a little journey to get it.

  1. Use other’s unhealthy habits to encourage your healthy ones

Both my supervisor and manager are pretty heavy smokers. Whenever they go for a smoke, I go for a walk. My theory is that if people are allowed smoke breaks (you know, time away from work to do something TERRIBLE FOR YOUR HEALTH) then I sure as shit should get time away from work to do something good for myself.

  1. Walk to the mailbox

I never get my mail before I pull into my driveway. I always park my car, take my things inside (using two trips), then head back out to go get the mail. My driveway isn’t very long, in all honesty, but it’s still more steps than I would get if I got the mail from my car. A bunch of small habits can lead to big results.

Body Love and Dieting: They’re Not Mutually Exclusive

At the recommendation of a very dear friend, I have started reading “Things No One will tell Fat Girls” by Jes Baker aka “The Militant Baker”. If you’re not familiar with either of those names, here’s the SparkNotes version. “The Militant Baker” is a blog written by Jes Baker which is all about body love, body image, feminism, and fatshion. To be completely honest, I’ve never read her blog. Jes is, in short, one of the biggest voices in the body love world right now.

I’m currently twenty-seven pages in and I am struggling. I just finished reading a guest essay about diet culture and how it’s basically the root of all evil. The essay is called Living the Dream at 250 Pounds or “Why Diet Culture is Full of Shit and can Suck my Lady Dick” by Virgie Tovar of #LOSEHATENOTWEIGHT. Basically, the essay says that if you’re dieting, you can’t possibly love yourself. Which…what? I do agree that diet culture can be toxic when taken too far. When people cross the line between dieting/healthy living and pro-ana (anorexia) ideology. Eating disorders are incredibly serious and it’s very possible to cross that threshold from “dieting” to “disordered eating”, trust me…I’ve crossed it. But losing weight in and of itself, isn’t harmful. Wanting to get healthy so you no longer get winded from a flight of stairs isn’t harmful. Wanting to make sure you live a long life so you can see your nieces and nephews grow up isn’t harmful.

I’m currently eleven pounds shy of my highest known weight, actively following Weight Watchers and exercising, and I’m honestly the happiest I’ve ever been. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see something or someone I hate. I just see myself; a 25 year old woman who has a great job, a beautiful home, and an adorable but trouble making puppy. I see a woman who went on vacation this summer and wore several two-piece bathing suits and didn’t bother covering up. I have a boyfriend who treats me like a princess, and loves me exactly as I am, but also gives me his full support while I’m on this weight loss journey. A boyfriend who makes me feel beautiful even when I first wake up and have mascara in the corners of my eyes and ogre-like morning breath. Making healthy choices and going on daily walks, which I happen to love, doesn’t negate any of that. It adds to it. When I’m outside on a sunny day with my puppy’s leash in one hand and my boyfriend’s fingers tangled in the other, I feel incredible. I feel light, and happy, and truly blessed. When I make dinner and it’s mainly green beans and broccoli with a little bit of grilled chicken, I’m excited to eat because green beans and broccoli are fucking delicious.

I’m getting more and more heated as I write this. Because seriously…fuck anyone who tries to take my happiness away from me. Fuck anyone who says that because I’m following a certain diet I obviously hate myself. Fuck anyone who tries to tell me how I feel. This body of mine, this fat body with all its rolls and stretchmarks has gone through a lot with me. It’s gotten me through dance recitals and golf tournaments. It has taken me all around London, Paris, the Netherlands, Croatia…It has been broken, and bruised, and burned, and scratched but it’s still here. It’s still here to take me on walks, to be loved by my boyfriend, to be fed more green food than it has had in all its 25 years. I love this body. I love what we’ve been through, and I’m excited about where we’re going.

I don’t know if I’m going to even finish this book. As I wrote this little rant I realized I may not even need it. If it’s a guide to loving yourself, I think I managed to reach that point without it. If it’s anti-dieting propaganda, it’s two-hundred some pages of garbage. I’m done with things that try to dictate my feelings and my life. Fuck all of it. I love myself.

Tips & Tricks: Tried and True Tips for Ultimate Water Consumption by a Self-Proclaimed Water Drinking Pro

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First of all, I’m not going to insult you by saying you should set a water goal. You guys are masters at setting goals (and then crushing them). So, here we go.

  • Bring all the water you want to drink throughout the day with you

I hoard water bottles like a dragon and its treasure. I swear I have more water bottles than I do actual dishware. So, I utilize them. I fill up 4 one liter bottles each night before bed, stick ‘em in the fridge and then grab them out and put them in my work bag the next morning. Then I remind myself how freaking heavy that bag was on my walk into work and that it would be super great to have it be considerably lighter on the walk out.

  • Drink water you actually like

I HATE the water at work. I think it’s disgusting. Before I moved into my own house, I used to fill up a gallon milk jug from my parents’ house and take that to work. To this day, their water is the best I’ve ever tasted. I don’t like Dasani water, or Aquafina. I’m not even super fond of the water at my house (that darn city water…I’m a simple country girl who likes well water, okay?). I have a Sodastream though and that has been my saving grace. I only drink it with the diet lemon lime flavoring and it’s AMAZING. It’s also good to put in smoothies with pineapple and blueberries. Anyway, I’ve found that when you have water that actually tastes good to you, it makes it a lot easier to chug-a-lug all day long.

  • Figure out HOW you like to drink your water

So this sounds a bit weird, but I’ve found that drink water much quicker through a straw. I like to just sit at my desk with the straw permanently in my mouth while I work on my laptop. In fact, I’m doing it right now. So I have a really cute 1 liter cup that looks like a mason jar and it has a straw, so I pour my lemon lime water from my hoarded water bottle into my cute cup and away I go. If you like drinking it from a cup with crushed ice, then get yourself a cup with crushed ice. If you like drinking straight from the water bottle, then do it.

  • Don’t have other options in the house

The only thing I have to drink in my house is water from the faucet. So even if I wanted a Diet Coke (and trust me, some days I think I might kill a man for one) I don’t even have the option. It’s not like I’m going to go all the way to the store for one pop (or soda, if you’re WRONG). Remove liquid temptations and eventually the urge to go for something else will dissipate.

  • Think of the benefits (of having to pee all the time)

I’m serious on this one, guys! When you drink a lot of water it seems like all you’re ever doing is going to the bathroom. But think about the benefits. For starters, it gets you away from your desk for at least a couple of minutes. You get some GD peace and quiet. And, if you get up to go as soon as the urge strikes, you can take the long way to the restroom in order to get some extra steps! Lastly, I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure that holding your pee increases the risk of getting a UTI, so going frequently can only help, right? But seriously, water helps with weight loss, clear skin, increases energy, prevents cramps, regulate body temperatures, etc. etc. etc. Does pop do that? What about beer? Sugary juices? That’s what I thought.

Things I’m Diggin’ Vol. 2

The-Guide-to-Dairy-Free-Coffee-Creamer-Silk-Almond-Creamer-pictured1. Silk Almond Creamer – Like many of you out there, I am completely incapable of functioning without a morning cup of coffee. Death before decaf and all that. I also HAVE to have some sort of creamer in it; I will not drink it black. Unless my best friend’s dad made the coffee…I don’t know what it is, but Papa T can brew a mean pot of the good good. Anyway, having a slight lactose intolerance and using a dairy creamer every single day was kind of like playing Russian roulette. Look, nobody ever said I was the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, okay? However, now that I’m trying this whole vegan thing, I’ve found Almond Creamer by Silk. It’s not as sweet as my other dairy-based stuff, but damn it’s delicious. I have tried both vanilla and hazelnut and I have not been disappointed. The only downside is that I’ve only been able to find it in small containers at my local grocery stores, so it gets a bit pricey having to buy more frequently.

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  1. “Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man – This. Mother. Flippin. Song is so catchy. It’s a more recent release that I first heard on Sirius XM channel 36 Alt Nation maybe a couple of months ago and I was hooked. Being a newer song and on a forthcoming album, they play it pretty frequently (as in, I can almost put money on being able to hear it in the morning on the way to work and in the afternoon on my way home) but I’m still not tired of it, and you can bet I crank that shit every time. It’s actually number 1 on Alt Nation’s “Alt 18 Countdown” right now. Give it a listen, get your groove on, and wait (not so) patiently for the release of Portugal. The Man’s eighth full length album, Woodstock, on June 16th.
  1. Smashbox Cosmetics “Be Legendary Liquid Metal” lip color – Two weekends ago I experienced a relationship rite of passage when I dragged my boyfriend into Ulta with me. Honestly, we’ve been together for going on 6 months now, he’s lucky it didn’t happen sooner. As with almost any other time I make a visit to The Promised Land, did I need anything? No. Did I buy things anyway? Don’t ask stupid questions. Once he got over his amazement of the amount of makeup, and the fact that I was testing colors on the back of my hand (poor boy has so much to learn) he ended up helping me pick out of couple of lipsticks. One of his picks was “Be Legendary Liquid Metal” lipstick in Petal Metal by Smashbox. It’s a super metallic rose gold color and boy howdy do I ever love it. I think my favorite part is that when I put it on in the car, my boyfriend kissed me and asked, “Okay but how does this color look on me??” I love that ridiculous boy.

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  1. Deleting things that no longer bring joy – I’ve always been a big advocate of “weeding” out things and people in life. Some people think it’s kind of harsh to cut people out of your life, and depending on how you go about doing it, I suppose it could be. However, if people are no longer bringing positivity into your life I don’t see the point in keeping them around. Life is far too short to keep people who do nothing but drag you down front and center. This doesn’t just apply to people though! No longer enjoying Tumblr? Delete your account! I recently did this after having my account for 7 years and I feel so much better about life in general. I know that probably sounds dramatic, but I genuinely feel much lighter. You don’t really realize just how toxic Tumblr is until you just get rid of it all together. I’ve also deleted apps, cancelled subscriptions, and weeded out my closet. Some might call it “spring cleaning” (done late) but I call it cleansing.
  1. Flowy pants that are at least one size too big – Don’t get me wrong…I love a good skinny legged pant as much as the next person, but sometimes I don’t want to wiggle, jump, and fight my way into my pants at the ass crack of dawn. Sometimes, I want to let my ankles breathe and feel the swish of fabric against my skin. Cue flowy pants that are at least one size too big. I currently have three pairs that I absolutely love. They are the comfiest mother freakers I’ve ever been able to get away with wearing to work. Two of them are colored and patterned so I pair those with a tighter fitting solid color shirt (tucked in, so I don’t look like a complete blob) and some strappy sandals. The solid black ones get to be partnered up with pretty much any shirt I can randomly grab out of my closet (again, tucked in) and whatever shoes I see fit. It’s simple, but it’s cute and comfy and just professional looking enough that I don’t have to worry about “getting a talking to” at work.

Vegan, Baby

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One day while at work, I overheard a conversation regarding a supervisor’s recent and significant weight loss. Seeing as I am constantly on the lookout for tips and tricks to aid in weight loss my ears instantly perked up. He was describing how he switched to a whole foods plant-based diet after watching Forks over Knives, a documentary on Netflix. Intrigued, I decided to join in on the conversation. Talk turned to how since switching his diet/lifestyle he has lost fifty-some pounds, and has more energy than ever. His wife, who made the change with him has lost around forty pounds. They just eat a plant-based diet. That’s it. No crazy supplements, no intense workout schedule, just simply eating whole foods. It seemed too good to be true, but it was obviously working for them.

That night I decided to give the Forks over Knives documentary a watch. I was FLOORED. The Western diet is so excessive and unnecessary yet we never seem to question it. We eat meat, eggs, drink milk and have no idea that these things are actually causing more harm than good. The documentary is filled with so much fascinating information, I had to pause it at least 7 times to call my mom and gran to tell them the latest incredible discovery. They honestly got sick of talking to me and said they would just watch it on their own. I was totally inspired to learn more, and adopt a whole foods plant-based (vegan) diet for myself.

I spent the next week or so following vegan foodies on Instagram, reading blogs, watching more documentaries, investing in plant-based cook books, etc. I cleaned out my cupboards, fridge and freezer, throwing away some and giving away most. I felt as though I was totally prepared to take on this new lifestyle. I ate oil-free, salt-free French fries, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, black beans, all the broccoli, peas, green beans, corn, carrots, and cucumbers I could get my hands on. I had giant bowls of whole grain cereals with almond milk, veggie burgers, veggie hotdogs, I thought I was totally killing it…until I stepped on the scale. In about a two-week’s time I managed to gain a whopping ELEVEN pounds by eating a vegan diet. I was devastated.

So I went back to my previous diet using the Weight Watchers points system, and researched how the hell I managed to gain so much weight in such a short amount of time, consuming foods that are proven to be better for me. Turns out, I wasn’t alone. If you Google the phrase “gained weight on vegan diet” you’ll get back over 600,000 results. Apparently it’s pretty easy to go a bit overboard when switching to a vegan diet. I wasn’t ready to give up on transitioning to a whole foods plant-based lifestyle, but I was scared to death of continuing to gain weight.

Enter Jordan David of Conscious Muscle; a vegan bodybuilder and online vegan fitness coach. It was through pure luck, or perhaps some sort of Divine Intervention that I stumbled across his Instagram profile one day. I got the distinct feeling that maybe this guy held the answer to my failing vegan lifestyle transition. A fair bit of research and some positive input from my sister-in-law later and I was purchasing his “Transformation Package”; a package that contains a personalized nutrition guide/menu, a training routine to compliment the nutrition guide, and unlimited guidance and coaching for the first month of your program. I recently received my personalized nutrition guide and training program, and it is a bit daunting…I’m not going to lie. However, I’m confident that having structure and a coach for guidance will help me succeed in transitioning to a vegan lifestyle and ultimately lose weight and insure I have a long, healthy life ahead of me. I plan to begin the program on June 1st, and am spending today and tomorrow preparing myself –and my fridge- for this change.

I will be documenting this lifestyle change via this blog and my Instagram. I hope to inspire others to adopt a whole foods plant-based diet, and become knowledgeable enough to answer any questions people may have. For now, I’d be more than happy to point you to reputable sources of information 🙂

Things I’m Diggin’ Vol. I

 

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  1. Harry Styles’ debut solo album “Harry Styles”. I have to admit, at first listen I wasn’t completely sold. However it was also about 5:30 in the morning on a Friday so I wasn’t super pleased with anything or anyone. It took 2 times of listening to the complete album for me to decide that, yes, I love it. It’s so different from what we’re used to getting from Harry with One Direction which made me realize that maybe what we were getting from him before wasn’t the whole (or perhaps true) Harry Styles. It’s easy to identify the musical influences and I gotta say…the boy’s got A+ taste. Fave tracks: Carolina, and Kiwi.

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2. My whole “trying out a plant-based diet” thing which I’ve just realized I haven’t actually written about yet oops – more on that later…has me discovering, trying, and enjoying (about half of the time) a plethora of new foods. I came across Black Jewell Popcorn and decided to give it a go. Turns out, this is some of the most delicious popcorn I’ve ever had. The box proudly boasts that it “Pops pure white, contains protective antioxidants, [is] 100% Natural Grain, gluten free, and Non-GMO verified.” So yeah, it’s pretty darn good for you. In Weight Watchers terms, it’s only 4 SmartPoints for 3 cups of popped popcorn which is actually quite a lot. If you’re in the market for a guilt-free snack, I highly suggest Black Jewell Popcorn.

3. Loafer mules. I don’t even own a pair (yet) but I’m freaking obsessed. It all started with those dang Gucci fur loafers, you know the ones, and here we are. I think they’re a spring staple, really. Throw on some cropped pants, a sweet blouse and slide into some mules and you’re out the door. I’m currently on the waiting list for 4 different pairs from Forever 21 and have a bunch on my wishlists at various stores. I’m just a bit concerned because I have stupidly wide feet, so I’m not sure how they would fit. Guess all I can do is buy a pair and find out, right?

4. Celebrity book clubs – but not Oprah’s. Although Oprah’s Book Club was sort of the leader in terms of celeb book clubs and had a good run of 15 years, it was never my jam. However, Florence Welch (of Florence + the Machine) has a book club called “Between Two Books” and it’s a total winner. There’s a Facebook group as well as an Instagram account, although I’ve found the latter to be the most up-to-date. I’ve read a few of the titles selected and they’ve all touched me in the profound, beautiful way only good literature can. Another fave celebrity book club of mine is Emma Watson’s feminist book club “Our Shared Shelf”. The group started on Goodreads, and also has an Instagram account. If you’re looking for more fem lit, then this book club should be your first and only stop.

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5. Gallo Family Vineyards “Sweet Pineapple” wine. Seriously, this stuff could end wars. Or start them, I suppose… Either way, it’s delicious. Very sweet (some might argue too sweet) but it’s light and refreshing and perfect to sip on a toasty day – like today! It has no nutrition label, and the Weight Watchers app didn’t recognize it when I scanned the barcode so I’m deeming it ZERO SmartPoints, please enjoy responsibly 😉 Side note: there is also a “Sweet Peach” flavor which will knock your socks off if you’re into that sort of thing.

Spring Update

Hey everyone!

So I got an email the other day about my account going to be charged X-Amount of money in order to keep this domain and it made me realize that I better start you know…using this thing if I’m gonna be paying for it. I want to try to use it as more of a every day blogging platform type thing. Okay, I don’t think that made any sense, but hopefully you’re still picking up what I’m putting down. That having been said, here’s a month by month update on my life so we’re all on the same page going forward.

Continue reading “Spring Update”

Bite, Chew, Swallow

You could feel it building all day. Or, not building. Crumbling. You could feel your grip on it slipping through your fingers like the grains of sand that made up the beach you frequented as a child. You know you have no choice. It’s going to happen. You don’t want to binge. You’re not even hungry. But you keep shoving the food in. You’re terrified. Bingeing is terrifying. Not because of the amount of food/calories you’re consuming, but because of the complete lack of control you have over the whole thing. Your body is acting completely independently from your mind. You don’t even take the time to consider what you’re doing. You hardly take the time to breathe. Bite, chew, swallow. Bite, chew, swallow. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat until there are no more bites to be had. Until your spoon scrapes the bottom of the container. Until your hand reaches the slippery bottom of the bag. Until the plate is no longer home to a mountain of pizza rolls, but to a few crumbs. The only evidence there was ever a mountain there to begin with.

You’re struggling for air. You’re uncomfortable. You can feel the consequences of your unwanted actions settling in to taunt you. Have you always been able to feel your neck? If you turn your head side to side, will it sway with you? Your jeans feel too tight. Did they cut into your flesh when you put them on this morning? Are they even really doing it now? No. It doesn’t work like that. Your feet begin to tap restlessly on the floor. They want to take you to the scale. Your mind isn’t ready to deal with that. The back of your throat itches. Clear it. Your fingers twitch. Run them through your hair to stop them from doing something stupid. Something you’ve never gone through with before, but have thought about doing over and over and over again.

Your brain slowly starts to come back online. Blink, blink, blink. Notice the carnage surrounding you. You want a drink of water to wash the lingering taste out of your mouth but you’re not sure your body can take anything more. A groan. Was that you, or the floor boards protesting your weight? Go upstairs. You can feel the masticated food slosh in your stomach as you go. Track down the biggest sweats and sweatshirt you own. The ones that should make you feel like you’re swimming in cotton. The ones that trip up your feet like vines in the jungle. You strip off your clothes, not making eye contact with mirrors. Not making eye contact with yourself. Don’t look down. Your normally massive outfit feels suffocating. Deep breaths. You climb into bed, ignoring the squeak of the mattress and frame. Deep breaths. Tomorrow is a fresh start. Tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow you will be better.

What I mean when I say that I want to want you

What I mean when I say that I want to want you,
is that I want to crave the feel of your lips on my skin.
I want to become breathless from your kiss – not because I’m terrified,
but because I’m overwhelmed by the taste of your lips.
What I mean when I say that I want to want you
is that I want the urge to trace your freckles with my tongue
like some erotic connect-the-dots constellations in the night sky.
I want the tug of your fingers through my hair and
the pinch of your teeth on the sensitive skin of my neck.
I want the thoughts in my head while all of this is happening to be
something other than a list of the contents of my fridge.
What I mean when I say that I want to want you
is that I want to want you in the way you deserve to be wanted.
But you can’t force a feeling that’s not there.
So maybe what I really mean when I say that I want to want you,
is actually that I want you to want the way I want you.

I want you to want the fact that sometimes I don’t want to be touched
that I don’t understand the concept of “spooning”
that sometimes I don’t want to hold your hand
because I hate how sweaty it makes my palm.
I want you to understand that none of that means I love you any less.
That sometimes the soothing wash of your words over me feels
better than the brush of your always slightly chapped lips.
I want you to understand that I feel so fucking much
that even though you’re sitting on the opposite end of the couch
I feel you all around me like a dense fog over a still pond.
And I know that I’m asking too much.
I know not just anyone is going to want the way I want them.
But I want you to want to at least try to want the way I want you.