Rumbles

10 May

So this morning I ate a hearty breakfast and made it to work, enjoying the brisk weather on my journey.

I get to my desk, faced with an assignment that is far from exciting, and my stomach starts grumbling at me. Here is where I will have the most issues: is my stomach actually hungry or is it due to boredom? It is much more exciting to me, and has been in the past, to sit and snack as I work. Does it make me more effective at my work? No, of course not. In fact, it’s both a distraction and leads me to need to clean off my keyboard more often.

I always assumed that being at work was “safe.” At work, I don’t have a large fridge and freezer and cabinets full of food beckoning to me. In fact, the office is constantly inundated with food. Try this I made! Here are the leftovers from this presentation! As a person trying to eat right, the conditions are far from ideal.

In that same vein, I don’t want to feel pressured to reveal to my colleagues right away that I am trying to make healthy changes in my life. It feels so personal as I take the first few steps. I’m afraid of failure. My grumbling stomach reminds me how easy it would be to give in.

Today I will not give in. This blog for now is my outlet to give myself support through the hunger pangs that are not actual hunger pangs, but my body expecting the poor treatment I have given it in the past.

Tonight, I will do something physical outside. It’s 72 degrees and simply heavenly outside. I stayed true to my other commitments by eating a banana this morning and avoiding food late last night, so I’m on a roll!

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This Work Was Made For Walking

10 May

One of the best parts of living in the DC Metro Area is the ease of getting around without a car. Sure, a car is more convenient on our trips to Target or Costco, or for a weekend jaunt to the Outlets/IKEA in Woodbridge, Charlottesville, the beach… Hold on there, got a bit distracted.

So mostly, I walk. Every morning, I walk .6 miles from my apartment to the Metro (downhill, heck yes!) and once I get to my stop, I walk another .6 miles from the Metro to my office building. Yeah, it is not a delightful commute in the rain or the snow, but most mornings it is a good way to wake myself up and get my body moving.

My job involves LOTS of meetings. I work for a non-profit, part of many coalitions, and I have a regular meeting to attend nearly every week. Since we are a non-profit, we don’t have extra cash laying around to take taxis to these meetings. Most of the time, they are conveniently within walking distance. To give an example, one day last week I had one meeting 7 blocks from my office, and one later in the day 8 blocks from the office. The roundtrip walks on those are another way to get in some additional exercise!

Predictably, my commute home involves the same 1.2 mile trek. This means, on an average day, I am walking at least 2.4 miles, and at most up in the 5 mile range.

All of this walking is good for my body. I’ve been lucky in that my eating habits of late have been atrocious and I have not gained much weight.

My goal is to add on to how much I walk every day. When I get home, especially when I am sleep deprived, or my allergies are bad, the last thing I want to do is go back outside. But we have a really neat trail along the front of our apartment complex that goes on for a few miles on flat ground. It’s my goal at least one evening this week to tackle that trail out and back for at least a mile to see how I like the walk and to get more exercise in.

Do you have a walkable area near your place? Also, have you done Couch to 5K? I am considering tackling it again, but would be open to other introductory running alternatives.

Late Night Snack

9 May

Unfortunately (or fortunately…) this post does not refer to the Ben and Jerry’s flavor of the same name.

As I am transitioning into healthier living and eating, I am trying to notice my bad habits and act to correct them. I’m a night owl, and I’m often up until midnight or so despite getting up at 7 or earlier for work.  I just like staying up late, I always have. After law school, while studying for (and passing!) the bar exam, I found my productivity was better if I slept 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. One of my worst habits is eating late at night, since I’m awake for several hours after I eat dinner.

Credit: Flickr user Rich Anderson

Sure, sometimes eating a later dinner is unavoidable. I work until 5:30-6 every night and I have a commute that can take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour, depending on the lovely DC Metro. I or my boyfriend (or both of us!) cook dinner nearly every night. Depending on the process, it can be late when we actually eat. Some nights, like this Thursday, I have an evening meeting which makes eating earlier totally impossible.

But this post isn’t about those times. This about those evenings where I make and eat dinner, relax in front of the TV to cheer on my Gators, or to watch NBC comedies on Thursday, or Sports Night on Netflix. Then simply, due to boredom? Or not listening to my body’s cues correctly? I get “hungry.” Usually I’ll go for something salty, but every once in a while it’s something sweet.

The other evening was the perfect example. The boyfriend was out, I was watching a basketball game I cared about, and all of my mealtimes had passed. I got out a candy bar purchased a while ago from the fridge. Just ONE piece, I told myself. I ate it, faster than I thought I would. Well, now I had better even it out. Another piece down, only a few minutes passed. Three more pieces later, I had eaten more than half of an incredibly rich candy bar, and I had nothing to show for it.

I was up late and felt ashamed for eating from boredom or loneliness or misinterpreting my hunger.

Not only that, eating late is associated with some bad side effects. One study showed that eating late at night led to twice as much weight gain as eating the SAME number of calories during the day!

So, starting with tonight, no more late night snacks that turn into de facto late night meals. Instead, I’ll reach for a glass of water to satiate my stomach.

Does anyone else have issues tackling late night hunger?

FMM: Two Famous Women

9 May

Before I ever made the decision to start a blog, I became an avid reader of blogs. My Google reader is overflowing with blogs, from healthy living and weight loss blogs to college football and wedding planning (for my BROTHER).

Blogging is really about a community. Bloggers feast on other blogs as inspiration, as an outlet, as fun. When you read the more publicized blogs in these realms, you constantly see references to other bloggers. The connections are real and enviable.

One of the most inspiring blogs I read is from Kenz, All the Weigh. Kenz has a fun feature called Friend Makin’ Mondays, where bloggers who read her fantastic blog answer a question and then comment on other blogs to connect bloggers with others.

Here are the ground rules from Kenz if you want to participate:

If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: http://www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. By linking back here, everyone will have an opportunity to be equally heard.

FMM: If you could meet someone famous today, who would it be? And why?

This is a tough question for me. I would want to meet someone who is famous but who also could inspire me in my career and in my life. So I’ll split this two ways.

My professional desire would be to meet Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice.

Justice Ginsburg is a powerful and effective advocate for women and the poor in the United States. She has been on the Court for many years, and is one of the oldest Justices. Some are calling for her to retire while Obama is still President, but I think she should stay as long as she wants. She is sharp and always quick to defend her opinions. She can still reach across the aisle – she and Justice Scalia are great friends. I think learning from her would be an awesome opportunity.
My second, more mainstream choice for a famous person I want to meet would be Tina Fey.

Credit: Wikipedia

Tina Fey is hilarious. 30 Rock is one of my favorite shows. One thing that not everyone realizes about Tina, though, is that she used to weight more than she does today. She was working at SNL when she lost 30 pounds. All of a sudden, the decision was made for her to be on camera. She realizes the ridiculous standards that women are held to and speaks out about them in her humorous way. She became the first female head writer of SNL around that time too, in a world where female writers have trouble breaking in.  She now has 30 Rock under her watch. 30 Rock is consistently groundbreaking and a great comedic outlet in my life. Tina is pregnant for the second time, and just published a book.  What more can she do? I would love to meet her and learn from her, but also just to soak up her comedy.
Thanks again to Kenz for hosting Friend Makin’ Mondays!

Bananas: Friend or Foe

9 May

I am not a picky eater by any means. In fact, I have a rule that I abide by, and I make my boyfriend (who lives with me) abide by too: you have to take one bite of something before you can say that you don’t like it. With any good rule there lies an exception. For him, it’s onions (one of my favorite foods) and for me, it’s bananas.

Credit: Flickr user denn

Why don’t I like bananas? I harken back to my days as a tiny baby, when my mother said I disliked bananas, from the very beginning. Even when bananas were one of the few solid foods I was allowed to eat, I turned up my nose at them. If that’s not a real distaste, I don’t know what is. Growing up, I recall constantly eschewing them wherever I went, avoiding foods that included them, always saying they were my least favorite food. My mom did get me to eat them for a short spell by chopping them up and mixing them with the powder that came with jello. Who knows exactly what that turned them into, but they tasted rather candy-like. Even still, I never kept up eating them.

In reality, I think it’s the texture. I’m very texture-based in my eating, and the mushiness of the banana has always made it hard for me to chew and enjoy. I tend to like things that are crunchier – I just find them more satisfying. On the other hand, I also find crunchy foods harder to stop eating once I get on a roll (see: tortilla chips, especially), so it may be time to switch to mushy foods.

There are so many great reasons to eat bananas:

  • Lots of  vitamins B6 and C
  • One of the few reliable sources of potassium in my diet
  • Linked with reduced risk of colon cancer and breast cancer
  • Easily portable
  • Incredibly inexpensive

When I look at that list compared to tastes kinda slimy in the other column, I realize I should embrace bananas.

This morning, I went for a bowl of plain yogurt, a drizzle of honey, a whole banana chopped into slices, and some Kashi Go Lean for crunch. The verdict? Not that bad, especially with the yogurt. As long as I pair bananas with some crunch, the taste isn’t that bad.  I get a breakfast that is well rounded and should satisfy me longer into the morning, instead of being tempted to reach for a snack around 10 a.m. like I usually do.

Will I be snacking on bananas every day now? Not necessarily. But maybe bananas can be like fizzy water, making an entrance into my diet by opening up new frontiers. And saving me money at the grocery store!

Let me know of any other great ways to incorporate bananas into my diet, especially ones where the sliminess can be concealed!

What’s in a name?

9 May

For my inaugural post, I figured Mother’s Day was an appropriate day. My mother has recently been making major changes in her life, despite personal physical challenges that would inhibit even the toughest people I know. My little brother is getting married next year, and his wedding has spurred my family to take a look at living a healthier lifestyle. My mom has been walking over 7 miles every day, eating healthier, drinking water. She’s incredibly impressive once she gets her mind on something.

I, however, am slower to commit to making major personal life changes. I will stick to something for a month, maybe two, before I relapse back into the comfortable way of doing things, my habits and routines a warm blanket around my life.

I tested myself, and acing my test was the inspiration for this blog’s title, My Fizzy Water. My fizzy water is the seltzer water I drink every day, while at work, sometimes a bit at home. I love the bubbles! It wasn’t too long ago – 4 months ago – that I never drank seltzer. If you had asked me if I like Perrier, I’d crumple my nose in disgust. I was drinking diet sodas – Diet Mountain Dew, Coke Zero, Diet Ginger Ale, and on and on, like they were going out of style. I never drank enough water, and often found myself dehydrated. If a day went by where I forgot to drink my pop (midwestern girl here) I’d suffer from a massive headache, a midafternoon crash I’d have difficulty recovering from.

One day, I decided to go cold turkey. No more diet pop. Not only was it an expensive habit, the thought of how my body reacted to the caffeine dependency frightened me. When I took a look at the list of ingredients on a can, I also wondered how all the chemicals affected me.

When I stopped, my body suffered. My headaches were brutal, lasting over a week. My body was crying for an influx of the artificially sweet nectar.  I resisted. Instead, I tried a seltzer water. My life was changed! It was just the right amount of sweet to satisfy me, and the fizziness tingled my lips and made my mouth happy.

I noticed other changes too. I actually had MORE energy than I ever did before. I didn’t get headaches like I used to. My stomach even felt more settled after breakfast and lunch.

Do I ever feel the pull of a refreshing Diet Coke now? I do. And I allow myself to slip up every two weeks or so. It doesn’t taste like it did before. There’s a bitterness to it, a rougher aftertaste. I don’t have one and immediately want more. Instead, I’ll take my fizzy water.

My goal is to apply this attitude to other segments of my life. I know I could be healthier. I know that I can make changes now.

I broke my foot this spring, and this week I am cleared for full physical activity for the first time since February. I’ll be using this blog to chronicle my journey as I attempt running (well, jogging for now…) and other new exercises with a goal towards personal improvement.

Join me as I drink my daily fizzy water and become a healthier version of myself.