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.

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 🙂