Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Morning Workout Transformation

Let's kickstart this post with a disclaimer: I've "worked out" in some form since the 8th grade. I started running in an attempt to make the track team (didn't happen, I'm a terribly slow runner with no real gusto to try and be faster), and then continued doing so in high school in my attempts to turn my body into a duplicate of Sydney Bristow (see: ALIAS).

Then, in the 9th grade when the cool thing for the drumline to do was hold their drums above their head during the last play of the football game (I just get cooler and cooler), I incorporated "weight lifting" when I just about dropped my snare drum on my head.

That being said, I've never been a fan of working out in the morning. Ever. Growing up in Houston, there were a few times in the summer when I tried to get a run in first thing in the morning. They were always terrible. I was sluggish, nauseous and hated it. I accepted then that I would never be a morning workout person and instead accepted sneaking out for runs at 11 o'clock at night (sorry mom!).

Fast forward to last year. My job requires a lot of random overtime, which means my evenings don't allow for consistent workouts. I'm a fan of hitting the city streets for a run during my lunch hour, but I wanted to do something more, so I finally decided to give morning workouts another shot. It's supposed to be amazing for your metabolism, so I figured I'd push through and really try to give it a fair shot. My goal was three weeks straight of waking up early to work out. 15 sessions in my gym, aka my second bedroom.

Now here I am, a year later and still waking up early to work out. I will tell you, winter is the worst. Waking up when it's dark and cold is almost as bad as stepping barefoot on a lego, but you can power through it. I've even gotten so used to it, I'll wake up twenty minutes before my alarm and give myself time to slowly ease out of sleep. I've been able to incorporate lunch runs into my HIT training, and frankly, I'm not sure how I'm still able to walk. I think it's my dedication to not missing out on happy hours with friends after work.

Think you can't convince yourself to roll out of bed at that first alarm? Think of it this way, even if you fall back to sleep, you'll only get another hour of probably crummy sleep, right? Might as well get up and burn those calories. It will wake you up more than coffee will, trust me.

Feeling like you'll be sluggish because you just woke up? Do that HIT program or weight lifting series in front of the mirror. There's nothing more motivational than seeing a glimpse of your abs in the mirror, or something jiggle that you'd prefer didn't.

So get on up just a tad bit earlier and get going. You'd be shocked at how much better you'll feel during the day.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Oil Pulling aka Am I a Hippie?

It happened. 27 years into my life and the dentist finally dropped the bomb on me.

I have a cavity. 

I understood, but I refused to believe it. I brush my teeth. I floss (ok, that record isn't perfect but who's is?) I even use a hydrogen peroxide mix as a mouthwash and teeth whitener, so what's the deal Doc? He said, "It's a cavity, these things happen to everyone." Nope. That was the moment I decided I had to find a way to beat this thing on my own. No drills, no fillings, au naturel baby. 

The first thing I tried was adding cod liver oil to my nightly routine. I would have been fine taking it in a pill form, but my mother said the best way to ingest it was as a liquid. So I did, and it was awful. Mint flavored fish oil for the girl who hates fish. Every night I took a tablespoon of the oil and followed it with a butter pill (seriously - the butter is supposed to help your body soak up the oil. Don't ask.) and went to my next dental appointment expecting him to whoop with surprise and tell me, "Your cavity is completely gone, it's amazing!" 

That didn't happen. 

The cavity was still there and I was reeling from taking cod liver oil on the reg. So, I took to researching other options and stumbled across oil pulling. I saw it before I took on the liver oil routine, but didn't think I would have time to swish coconut oil in my mouth for 20 minutes every morning. I have coffee to drink and make up to put on, there's no time for additional dental hygiene! But, with the failure that was cod liver oil, I decided to try it. Post-work out and pre-work travel, I put a spoonful of coconut oil in the old mouth and got to swishing. I was able to wash my face and do my hair, and even do my make-up. This must be the amazing technique called multi-tasking! 

20 minutes pass and I spit the liquid into the trash, feeling nothing different except for a heightened amount of phlegm. I've now been pulling oil through my teeth for a little over a week, and would love to say my teeth are whiter and I can feel the cavity sealing itself, but I can't. I mean, maybe my teeth are whiter, but no one has commented on it on their own. 

I'll keep this up until my next dentist appointment, because if nothing else I think it's helping, and maybe that's all I need to nurse these chompers back to perfect health. I will admit, with this development, I'm starting to accept the fact that maybe I am more of a hippie than I have admitted to. More on that next time. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

7 Day Detox: Day 13

I'm one day away from my 2-week goal and I've hit a snag. My first set-up/blind date is tonight at a place where you paint and drink wine. I'm excited, but am faced with a conundrum. End the detox 24 hours early or tell him I'm not drinking and why? I feel like explaining the whole detox idea would be a huge deterrent - why would you need to refrain from drinking alcohol for 2 weeks if you're not addicted?

Touche, dear-date-that-I-haven't-met-yet.

The good news is the detox experiment worked. I was able to remove alcohol from my life without avoiding social interaction. I remembered what it was like to hang out with friends because you enjoyed their company and simply wanted to be around them, not because you wanted to get a beer and needed someone to do it with.

I have found that the idea of a Corona with a lime after work, or a glass of wine to go with dinner is often born not because I need the drink (that was never the case), but because it makes me feel like an adult (which is a weird thing to want to feel). It's a mini-celebration to the end of another workday. Growing up, eating a bowl of popcorn was the end of my day dessert - I think it's time I get back to that.

Overall, I'm pleased with the detox and results. I'm excited to try and weed out activities that revolve around drinking and incorporate some good, old fashioned fun back into my life. I'm eager to start drinking slower, enjoy the drink for what it is and not for the potential buzz it could give me. Let's see how long that lasts...

Monday, January 12, 2015

7 Day Detox: Day 9

I made it through the weekend unscathed and have come out the other end feeling great. I woke up Saturday morning after a wonderful night's sleep feeling extra skinny and ready to take on the day, and boy did I. After the game Friday night, I sat with some friends at the bar and hung out while they drank. I happily said "No thank you," to the servers when they continued to ask if I wanted anything, and I got home by ten o'clock. It was wonderful.

I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was so hang out with friends, still have fun, and not drink. While the beer looked yummy, I wasn't dying to have it, and it wasn't consuming every thought that went through my mind.

Sunday was easy enough to avoid drinking and thoughts of it. Fog and cold made for a dreary day, which made it incredibly easy to stay inside on my couch before having to work that afternoon. I'm sure when the weather gets warmer, it will be incredibly difficult to pull me away from the lure of a patio, but hopefully at that point I will have really nailed down my ability to say no and drink slower.

The biggest takeaway from this weekend was how wonderful it was to wake up feeling refreshed after a night of good sleep. No drunkenly passing out, or even having a small buzz that affected my sleep. It was glorious.

I will admit, today I thought it would be nice to grab a beer with some friends and catch up, but it wasn't driven by wanting a beer. It was to do something different. I'd say that's progress, wouldn't you?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

7 Day Detox: Day 5

It happened yesterday. The moment I had been waiting for. 3 o'clock came, co-workers started discussing their post work plans that involved happy hours and my mouth started salivating. A draft beer sounded so delicious and all I could think was, It's been a hard day, one won't be so bad. It was the moment I said to myself, A beer would be nice, I deserve it, that I really

Hold up! Since when did a busy, challenging day warrant a drink? Since when was I the person that wanted to go home and have a drink instead of getting in a good workout or cooking a yummy dinner? Who have I become?!

In that moment, I decided to realign my priorities during this detox and focus on my health and well-being. The fact that getting a drink to cap off my day was a bigger priority than doing anything else is a bigger issue to me, so much so that I'm going to make this 7 day detox a 14 day detox and really commit to it. I'm sure with the additional week I'll have a ton of opportunities to share my socialization around booze without consuming it, so get excited.

Instead of doing any drinking, I went home, worked out, took down all the Christmas decorations and took my dog to a friend's to play. WHAT a good dog owner I am! And those were all things that would not have taken place had I opted to slip a brewski into a koozie and park it on the couch. This detox could not have come at a better time.

I hope I turn into one of those super healthy people who only put organic and God grown foods in their mouth and practices yoga so much that they can hold Crow pose for hours on end. I definitely think that's where this detox is heading...

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

7 Day Detox: Day 4

These past two days I've been really lightheaded. Yesterday, I blamed it on taking too much melatonin but I have it again today. Is this alcohol withdrawal? I have no shakes, no all-consuming desire to crack open a brewski and throw it back, but I do have this weird sensation in my head. I'm going to hope it's the beginning of an illness instead of being alcohol related...

I puzzled the entire evening last night. My friend came over and, after I confirmed I was enjoying a booze-free week, she decided to join me in going alcohol free. It was wonderful to catch up and challenge our minds without pouring pointless calories into our bodies. On a side note: she picked the hardest puzzle known to mankind. Penguins on snow. White penguins on white snow. 

My plans to challenge myself tomorrow, hanging out with friends at our my favorite margarita joint have been scrapped, and I feel like the whole purpose of this blog series was to challenge my willpower in social settings. So now, it looks like I'll have to challenge my determination elsewhere, and if it's a Friday or Saturday I'm afraid my ability to refuse might wane. Only for you, my few readers, will I do everything I can to say no, short of sewing my mouth shut. 

I feel a little phlegmy...maybe I am getting sick. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

7 Day Detox: Day 3

I wasn't exaggerating when I said everything in my life & social circle seems to revolve around alcohol! Maybe an hour after posting Sunday, a friend texted and asked if I wanted to get beers or dinner. Thankfully, after having talked about loving puzzles only last week, she also put that forth as an option, which I happily accepted.Yesterday, after having told them about my detox before I even wrote that first post, two friends chose to send Snapchats of their evenings, complete with booze. Then another friend offered to buy me margaritas.

I held strong.

So here we are, day 3, and all I can think is how clean and refreshed my body must be. I imagine it's swimming in a crystal clear lake and can count all ten toes while giggling at the fish that swim by. Or that my insides have just finished running a marathon and looked like a supermodel while doing it. Yes, my body must be perfect now.

...I'm sorry, it's only been how many days? Less than 72 hours you say? Damn. Maybe my body is still wringing out the toxins then.

I will admit, I am pleasantly surprised with how easy it's been. Sure, seeing my friend have a glass of wine while watching The Bachelor made me want to shove my cuddling dog from my lap and immediately do the same thing (I don't even watch that show) but the point is, I didn't.

You can start engraving my trophy now.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

7 Day Detox: Day 1

Alright readers, I've decided. A week long detox from alcohol that, in a perfect world, will go longer. Seven days without alcohol? That's easy, you say. And theoretically, it is. I'm by no means addicted to booze, but as single female in her twenties, most of the social activities among friends consist of getting drinks, drinking at dinner, or hanging out with drinks. It all comes back to beer and booze.

That being said, I'm going to rock these next seven day sans alcohol without becoming a recluse. You want to meet up for margaritas after work? Let's go see a movie instead. Go get drinks after the game on Friday? Let's go bowling. I'll blog about all of it - from my friends demanding we get margaritas as I sit there pretending my lemon water is that wonderfully frozen concoction (seriously, they're fantastic) to suddenly thinking a Corona sounds delish after seeing it on TV (way to advertise, Ceveceria Modelo).

Again, I can't stress enough that this detox is born out of the seemingly constant presence of booze in my social situations. I want to get back to the days where putting a puzzle together and catching up was welcomed, or watching the game meant making queso, not punch. This blog will hold me accountable, because now that it's out there, how embarrassing it would be to fail.

Looks like I need to go buy a puzzle...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Best Show You're Not Watching

Here's a quick throw back to yesteryear and when I made a point to update this old blog regularly (hello out-of-college unemployment, I kind of miss you). I started a series creatively titled The Best Show You're Not Watching so I could help spread the joy of TV shows I watch that just about no one else does.

It's time to add to that series with a smashing new show titled, Almost Royal, airing Saturday nights on BBC America. It follows brother and sister duo Georgie and Poppy Carlton, heirs to the throne of England, as they take a roadtrip across America. Let's watch this wonderful preview below, shall we?

As you can tell, Almost Royal is a splendid mockumentary show following the siblings as they live without their silver spoons and instead with their father's recently filled urn. I love George's seemingly constant confusion and Poppy's knowledge that it is in fact, all about her. That's how I live my life and I don't hate it.

I also feel the need to bring attention to their fantastic Twitter personalities.

It's a quick, 22 minute show that I guarantee will elicit at least one laugh from you, if not more. We're going to be blessed with Episode 7 this Saturday at 9pm, so catch up on what you've missed and invite your friends over before you hit the town to share this hilariously funny gem of a show.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What's done is done -- William Shakespeare

No matter what you do or how hard you try, it seems impossible to avoid regret. Even if just for a moment and despite your best intentions, it's impossible to avoid even the slightest tinge of regret. And to be frank, I hate that.

The picture says it all, which I think is why regret is the worst. What you have is exactly what you wanted at one point, so why are you wanting to take it back? I brought this upon myself, so I feel guilty when I'm upset at the outcome.

Of course, we only regret the difficult decisions. The ones that didn't have a clear result or outcome, the ones that left the future up to chance. The ones that don't live up to your expectations. Which leads to another thing I hate: expectations. There is no way to avoid disappointment when you have set any kind of expectation.  The definition itself sets the word up for disappointment and regret. Expectation: a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future; a belief that someone will or should achieve something. I think society has gotten bad at expecting too much, then wallowing when reality lets them down, instead of being proactive and doing something about it. We all need to make a point to nix our expectations if we're not going to do something about making sure they come to fruition.

All this is to say, I'm trying to make a point to expect nothing so I won't regret anything. Regret is a useless emotion; it gets nothing accomplished and leaves me with negative feelings that I'd rather avoid altogether.  Happiness truly is reality sans expectations, and I'm all about doing what I can to be happy. I know I can't avoid regret or completely remove it from my vocabulary, but my goal is to get past that twinge in record time and move on. It's in the past and can't change, so there's no point in wasting any more time on it.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Reputations. We all have them and we all have to deal with them; my question is, to what extent? Where do you draw the line between caring what people could say about you and living your life how you want?

There's no way to get around or out of having a reputation. It's human nature for people to talk about others and make judgements and assumptions. It sucks, but it happens. It's impossible to control what people say about you, so why is so much weight put on it? Why do we care so much about what people say about us, especially when we know it's not true?

It seems like we only care what people think when it’s wrong, and even then, there’s nothing to be done about it. The lie has already been said, the rumor already spread, so why spend any more time pondering over what has passed? And if it is in fact a lie, why not let it roll of your shoulders as you move on to bigger and better things? You know the truth, the people who matter know the truth, and anyone else clearly isn't a great friend anyways.

There’s a fine line with reputations; not caring at all could turn around and bite you, but caring too much could make you miss out on things that could have been amazing. I’m not one to alter my behavior because someone thinks I’m too much of a partier or a hermit or a boozer. I know who I am and I know where to draw the line. I can’t stop people from thinking I go crazy on the weekends, or conversely never go out, so what’s the point in trying to change their minds? I'm by no means going to go out and make stupid decisions that could get back to my employers and sacrifice my job, or my friends and sacrifice relationships, but maybe that's because of how I was raised. Don't do something you wouldn't want everyone to know about. Ultimately, I have two people in my life to please and he knows what is and isn't truth.

The quote above says it all. Reputations are hearsay; character is what you actually are. If you’re happy with your choices and who you are, who cares what your reputation is? If that’s what prevents you from getting a promotion or building a better friendship, then you shouldn’t be trying for that anyways. An avid reader, I'm not one to judge a book by its cover, or reviews, and I do my best to incorporate that into life as well. 

So the next time you believe what someone says about anyone but themselves, take it with a grain of salt. Actually, don't take it at all. Throw that salt back at them and let people show you who they really are. You never know who could surprise you. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Cohabitation Effect: Fact or Fiction?

Living together before marriage: do or do not?
I'm a Southern girl who was born and raised a Lutheran, and according to some co-workers, this is why I am against living with your significant other before marriage. According to an article written by Meg Jay for the NY Times, cohabitation in the US has increased by 1,500% with more than 7.5 million unmarried couples living together. And subsequently couples who live together are more likely to divorce than couples who do not. So, why do it?

The resounding response among those I asked was that you have to live with a person to truly know them. That everyone is on their best behavior until, apparently, you live together, at which point the real person you're dating comes out. I would hope you're not moving in with someone that you've only just started dating, that you move in together after at least a year, because in my mind living together is pretty serious. And if you've been together that long and they're still on their best behavior? Let me know where you met them, because I want to find someone like that.

I think that's where I fall on the other side of the fence on this debate. Serious. I understand some people live together because it's easier than having 2 rents or mortgages to pay, and if you are at each others house all the time...but that just sounds like a recipe for disaster. You're not living together for commitment purposes, mainly for convenience, so what's to stop one of you from calling things off and moving out the second the other leaves clothes on the floor or moves your spices?

I think nowadays, too many people take what used to be serious steps in a relationship with the mindset of, well, if it doesn't work out, I'll just move or we'll get divorced. There's an easy out that prevents people from working through things, and what once was sacred is now just, meh. Yes, I completely understand and see that that statement makes me the most traditional person, I am who I am. That being said, I can understand where my debaters are coming from, in a sense. You say you want to make sure you mesh with this person 24/7. Fair enough, but what I'm hearing is, you want to take the uncertainty out of a relationship. You want to see how they deal with conflict when one arises between you two? I'm sure there will plenty of opportunities to experience that when you're married. And ultimately, how long do you live together before you finally tie the knot? Do you set a deadline and, if you're still together when it comes, you get married? Or do you wait for a reason to end things?

Yes, I'm a traditionalist and I understand that I might be a dying breed. But I don't see the point of living with someone before marriage. Why buy the cow if you get the milk for free?