Food Friday

I know I haven’t been posting much lately. Honestly, I don’t feel like I’m doing anything noteworthy enough to post about.

I run 4 times a week and do a workout video 2 times a week. Sometimes the weather is cold and unpleasant – the wind slowed me by over 1 minute per mile when running into it the other day; sometimes the weather is better – a 60 degree day is in the 5 day forecast! At least my new March goals have been going reasonably well. I’m not doing perfectly, especially at the 80/20 rule (Good “Fastnacht Day”), but I have been more mindful, especially about getting my workouts in and not eating without purpose at work. I’ve also been getting “back into shape” (not that I was really ever out of shape) and have been blasting out 5Ks in under 30 minutes (now let’s just get that back down to under 25 minutes…).

Short post for this Friday – I didn’t really cook too much this week. Mostly we chowed down on homemade veggie burgers and pizza (from various sources). I did want to do a Food Friday post to share my first experience making Thai style curry, though! I made this recipe, sans pineapple, and it was really simple and turned out great! Next time I might add some red pepper flakes and/or sriracha, though – I love spicy food but wasn’t sure how spicy the curry paste would be, so I wanted to try it plain, first. Of course it wasn’t spicy enough for me (I used to eat homemade horseradish for fun as a child…).

I’ve been making an Indian style lentil curry like, every week because it’s super easy and cheap (it’s onions, carrots, potatoes, and lentils….I’m not sure you could make something cheaper). Kris has always had this weird dislike of Indian food, though. I swear he is the only person who finds it “bland.” Maybe he has the equivalent of being tone-deaf to curry powder or something? He is very picky about which Indian restaurants we go to and so it comes as no surprise to me that my  Indian cooking talents (read: dump in copious amounts of curry powder) do not match those of the nicest India restaurants in town. I asked him for an honest opinion of the Indian lentil curry and he responded with “why can’t you try peanut curry like we get at the Thai place?” I’d be interested in trying that out anyway – any excuse to eat more peanut butter – so I gave it a shot.

The downside: it resembles Hamburger Helper while cooking. To be fair, I kind of love the cheeseburger macaroni kind…

In addition to being easy to make and quite yummy, I would like to add that the coconut-peanut curry was an incredibly healthy and filling vegetarian dish. I split mine into four servings which came to about 400 calories each, following the recipe exactly (with the exception of excluding pineapple, which just sounded weird with it). That means that with a whole serving of rice, this was a 650 calorie dinner, which is pretty reasonable. It also had several servings of veggies in it (a whole cup of broccoli in each serving!), which is good for me because although I LOVE veggies I basically just forget to eat enough of them. There are only 13g of protein in this version, but if you wanted to I am sure you could add in some tofu in place of some mushrooms or just use chicken if you aren’t vegetarian, and if you added that protein you could probably stretch this out to 6 servings to reduce calories. There is also a reduced-calorie recipe available on the website that I linked.

Sorry I haven’t been making more exciting food choices lately. There might be some changes in my life soon (hopefully good ones) so maybe they will change up my food routine a bit 🙂 I do plan on trying out a local grocery outlet tomorrow, so maybe I can at least write a bit about my cheap grocery finds…or my horror at everything being out of date.

Happy Friday! My parting gift to you is a picture of Belle trying to sleep in Misty’s bed and a picture of Misty sleeping on anything but her bed. Note: she has never used her bed.

There is a dog-sized bed in this room.

The pillow in the upper-right hand corner says “not tonight” on the other side. That was an embarrassing bridal shower gift to receive from one of Kris’s aunts!

 

March Goals

I typically don’t set monthly goals, but I’ve felt quite blah about my fitness progress lately (in addition to 1,000 other things), and I have a race coming up at the end of the month, so I thought setting some concrete goals for myself would help me to a) get my ass back into gear and b) be slightly less miserable to be around.

My first step in preparing for this month of getting back on track was to weigh myself. I do this rarely, not only because I don’t like to fixate on day-to-day fluctuations in weight, but because I only own a Wii Fit, not a real scale, so weighing myself is annoying and innacurrate. It is  usually better to just get on it once in awhile to make sure I’m not trending dangerously up or down and base my assessment more on how my clothes fit.

The problem with losing 110 lbs, though, is that because I am almost constantly afraid of gaining my weight back, I imagine that my clothes are becoming tight/ I am becoming fluffier even when that is not the case. I assumed that based on my “terrible” eating over the last 2 months since I last weighed myself, I was going to have to set a weight loss goal (I was guessing I had gained at the very least 10 lbs). Imagine my surprise when I got on the scale to find that my weight my exactly the same as it was in early January (128ish). Now, I’m sure I haven’t exactly maintained my weight to the ounce, but it was a signal to me that I have been overreacting about my “bad” eating, especially with all the activity from my occupation that I do not account for.

I am very glad to find that I don’t have to set a weight loss goal for the month! That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to try to fix up my diet a bit, though – I probably have been eating a bit too much pizza and ice cream for the sake of overall health and nutrition, even if my waist line has been spared the consequences thus far. With that being said, here are my goals for March:

  • Work out at least 5 days per week (4 runs and 2 days of strength training, one can be doubled up)
  • Actually stick to my calorie goals  on a weekly basis – perhaps try to figure out how much more I should be eating now that I have a more active job if I want to be able to eat more to reflect that
  • Follow the “80%” rule – the idea I often see touted on the internet that a “diet” should allow for 80% “good” eating and “20%” bad if you want to actually be successful and non-miserable. While I am obviously not going on a diet, I would like to try to pay more attention to how many of my calories are coming from completely non-nutritious snacks, like Cadbury Creme Eggs (side note: their calorie amount just isn’t fair)
  • Don’t eat anything that isn’t “worth it” from the pizza buffet at work. While this is a more subjective goal, what I mean by this is don’t just randomly eat pizza rolls and dessert breadsticks just because they are there; rather, do something like eat a couple slices of pizza and a couple mozzarella sticks because I haven’t eaten lunch yet. Basically, only eat with actual purpose.
  • Only drink 5 alcoholic beverages per week. While I don’t have an alcohol problem, it is basically empty calories, and I usually have at least 1-2 drinks (usually just non-exciting beer like Yuengling, too) per night, which is at least 150 calories of actual nutrition I could get per day. This allowance gives me enough slack to have one after a stressful night at work or when relaxing on an evening off.

March is off to a great start so far! The weather is good (until tomorrow); I’ve set some goals; and I got in a TON of exercise today – a 5K run (under 30 minutes for the first time in months) AND a 5K walk with Kris and Belle.

Bit of a short post today. I’ve been very busy this week! I was only supposed to work today and Tuesday, but I was called in to work for 2 hours on Wednesday and 7 on Thursday. Our weeks at work start on Tuesday, so my only day off this week is tomorrow, which should be quite busy as well – grocery shopping, 3 mile run, dropping Kris off to play Warhammer at some point, and then going to a reunion party with the awesome people that I interned with 4 years ago when I moved here. I have lots of good news, though:

  • Our Roku arrived! It cost more than an Xbox live subscription (we opted for the Roku 3 so that we could wire it in to the internet), but in the long run should keep us from having to pay that subscription again and again. We successfully watched 2 episodes of House of Cards on it. That show is just TOO intense.
  • Our cell phones arrived, too! Wow, now it sounds like we are big spenders. It just happened that both our cell phone contracts and our Xbox live expired in the same month. We have been planning these purchases for a long time and we will actually save quite a bit of money in the long run. Plus, these are used Nexus 4’s off Ebay, not like, brand new whatever phone is fancy now.
  • I got a hair cut! I always neglect this but I want to make sure I am looking nice and neat in case I ever get any more job interviews. Plus it always makes me feel nice 🙂
  • Belle and the cat, who shall be dubbed “Misty” unless the vet reveals that her fur was in fact thick enough to conceal her manliness, are doing much better together than we anticipated they would.  Kris let her in during the middle of the night last night and Belle did not fuss about her sleeping on the bed. I went out and bought all of the necessary cat stuffs today, so I guess she is ours now. Fun story: it took me 10 minutes to check out at Walmart because the lady did not want to use my coupon that applied to 20lbs or more of Tidy Cat cat litter for a 35 lb container of it. I apologized to the other people in my line.

Look how well we are all doing 🙂


Now, on to the food!

I didn’t make anything new this week, so I thought this might be a good time to do my Clif vs. Luna vs. Luna Protein vs. Larabar comparison. I touched on some of this in a previous post, but I’ll provide a fuller version here.

I have always been a pretty religious adherent to Clif bars, but mostly because I heard of them first, did not think they were gross when I tried them, and then only tried gross things like Quest bars.

I happened to try the Larabar Alt bars once when I had a coupon for them, and found that I enjoyed these quite a lot as well. I then basically bought combinations of my favorite flavors of those and Clif bars based on price.

I had been completely avoiding Luna bars because I felt that it was silly to have a protein/granola bar “for” women. When I was picking out bars at my local grocery store, though, I decided to give their “Luna Protein” line a try because they were much lower in calories than Clif bars with a similar amount of protein. I then noticed, though, that the regular Luna bars had a decent amount of protein, so I grabbed one as well, just to compare. My comparisons are based off of eating these different bars in the middle of long shifts (we don’t get breaks).

The verdict: I have now tried all of these kinds of bars, with the exception of the regular version of Larabars, and the only one I am not a fan of is the Luna Protein bar. First of all, it looks like this:

It bothers me that it is trying to look like a chocolate bar instead of something that is pretending to be healthier than a chocolate bar. Also, the appearance is misleading, it is nothing like a candy bar.

I also did not like the taste of the Luna Protein bars. I had chocolate peanut butter and cookie dough flavors and did not think either one resembled its namesake. Furthermore, the texture was off – I feel like these had a similar texture to Quest bars, which are extremely grainy. Perhaps I am the only person with these texture issues, but it was a huge turn off for me. Finally, I did not see much nutritional benefit to eating these fairly gross bars over the others – I think they only had 1-2 extra grams of protein. I know other things matter, but I primarily eat these bars as large snack/small meal substitutes when I lack access to normal meals for hours at a time, so I am looking for something that is filling rather than something that provides empty calories, which typically means something quite high in protein and/or fat. Despite the high protein, I actually did not feel very full from these at all, perhaps because I did not find them satisfying to eat.

The verdict: I will probably keep Clif and Larabar Alt in my rotation (especially the peanut butter cookie Larabars…I swear they are just mushed up coookies), but I will be giving Luna more of a chance. I found that some of the Luna flavors, like white chocolate macadamia nut, are actually tastier and more aesthetically pleasing than the Clif version, plus they seem to have more nutritional bang for the buck (less calories, core 4 vitamins, and about the same amount of protein). There are also some unique flavors! I’ve had lemon and peanut honey pretzel now, and there is a box of “nuts over chocolate” downstairs that I picked up on sale at Target to work my way through. My personal opinion is that it is silly for them to market them as a women’s bar, though – why not just make all Clif bars more like this? I will never understand!

Long Weekend, Long Run

Kris and I had quite the interesting and eventful long weekend!


Saturday

On Saturday, we woke up to….more snow! Apparently 10 inches on Thursday wasn’t enough.

I was supposed to work noon – 8ish but I ended up working more of a 3-7 shift because we were so slow that they had me come in late. This gave me time to join Kris and Belle for a walk, which was fun because Belle LOVES fresh snow, apparently. On a typical cold day, Belle barely wants to go outside; with the fresh snow lately, she has been SUPER excited to go for walks and jump around in the snow, even if it is too deep for her properly walk through.

I also ordered a Roku 3 on Saturday morning! For the last several years, we have been using our Xbox live subscription to watch Netflix on our TV. Kris hardly does any console gaming anymore, though, (he has converted to mostly PC) so the subscription seemed like a waste of money. Technically, a Roku 3 costs more than one year of Xbox live, but the goal is for the thing to last more than one year. Our only hang up: it is supposed to arrive on Friday, and our last day of Xbox live is tomorrow! I am hoping the box arrives early so we don’t have to huddle around the laptop to watch House of Cards.


Sunday

Sunday was the day of my long run. I was DREADING going for this run… 5 miles on the potentially icy sidewalks?! I knew I had to do it, though – I haven’t run that far in nearly 2 months, and in a few weeks I need to run twice that distance! The run went better than I had anticipated, with only a few random blocks that had not been shoveled. I will say that after my 5 mile run yesterday and 3 mile run today on those uneven surfaces with varying degrees of traction I am quite sore.

This was the worst – completely snow covered for an entire block. Fun fact: my GPS thinks this is a 300 foot elevation change, for some reason.

When I got home from work, which was fortunately not cut in half (remember, I am a server, so a short shift on a Saturday + slow business from the bad weather meant a HUGE cut in wages for the week), Kris and I tried letting the “stray” kitty that has been coming around. We noticed she was friendly and started regularly leaving food out for her about 3 weeks ago. Our landlord recently told us that she was abandoned by some neighbors that moved out which helped us to understand why a “stray” was so friendly and dependent on people for food. She is so friendly that we were worried she had been de-clawed because she has never tried to scratch us! She is very scared of Belle (I don’t blame her – Belle is not directly aggressive towards her, but is confused and distressed by her presence) but we are slowly working towards acclimating the two of them.


Monday

Today was incredibly eventful!

Since Kris is a government employee, the hardworking taxpayers of our commonwealth paid him to stay home and celebrate the most important of all holidays, President’s Day (that was sarcasm). We started out the day with some cinnamon rolls and attempts at cat-dog diplomacy. It went ok. The cat was too nervous to eat, but she successfully swatted at Belle’s tail and stepped on Belle once without anything terrible happening.

What a scaredy cat! She doesn’t have a name yet. We are considering both “Turtle” and “Gandalf the Grey” to suit her coloring.

We then finished watching Battlestar Galactica. I know we are about 10 years behind, but Kris and I are terrible at watching TV. And by terrible, I don’t mean that we watch so much TV that it is a bad habit or something. I mean that we actually struggle to watch TV. It is difficult for us to watch more than 2 episodes of a show in a row so we are incredibly slow at these things. It has been several years, so I shouldn’t worry about spoilers, but I am talking about the end of a series, so all I will say is that while I liked the “big picture” ending in terms of where they ended up, there were several elements of the last season, especially in the last few episodes, that I found pointless or that tarnished previous events in the show.

Because we finished this show we were able to move on to our two episodes of House of Cards for the day! As a political scientist, I obviously love this show. I will also say that as a political scientist I find none of the characters on the show surprising. What can I say – my discipline fosters political cynicism. Obviously no spoilers here, but my only concern with the show right now is that I am afraid they are too conveniently disposing of certain plot points from the previous season. I am willing to watch the whole season before finalizing that judgement, though. Also, no matter what Claire does, I will always admire her fashion choices. If I had a bazillion dollars I would probably dress exactly like her.

I think these looks would work just fine with curly brown hair and freckles. I already own big plastic glasses and a blue button down. Mine might have been $4 at Goodwill, though. I don’t really have an image source, I found it on Pinterest.

I also committed to a major decision today…”new” smartphones. Kris and I have had smartphones with Verizon for about 4 years, and our contract expires this week. When we originally got them, it was the best deal because he gets an employee discount and we had truly unlimited data. Obviously the cell phone service provider market has changed over the last 4 years, though, and now we are paying nearly $200 a month for two phones and if we renew our contract we will lose unlimited data. One of Kris’s coworkers recently switched his family to T-Mobile, where he is paying less than half of what we currently pay. The data won’t be as “truly” unlimited (our speeds will be slowed at a certain point), but there won’t be a sharp limit like we would have with Verizon, and we will save A LOT of money. His service in our area is perfectly fine and a friend with T-Mobile was able to use her phone at my parents, so I feel fine about switching away from the coverage that Verizon provides (always a concern because they live in the middle of nowhere; so do Kris’s parents but not a single provider gets service at their home so that is irrelevant). I had been putting off committing to the T-Mobile decision because of the upfront cost, though – while we would still save money with the financing plans they offer for phones, we knew we would save even more if we brought our own purchased phones on in the long run. At the suggestion of many things I have read on the internet and Kris’s coworker, we broke down and purchased 2 used Nexus 4’s today. We got the phones for less than $200 each so after 4 months the phones will essentially be paid for in savings – less time if we can sell our own phones – but because we have always relied on Verizon phone subsidization and always purchased brand new phones it is a little bit scary to be doing this. I hope that it works out!


Unfortunately, this weekend was not all fun and excitement, at least in terms of health. I am very proud of myself for sticking to my commitment to run, despite the snow and ice – trust me, it was tempting to give up while slogging through 12 inches of snow only .6 miles into a 5 mile run on Sunday – but my diet has been terrible lately. I will have one or two “good” days a week where I stick to my calorie limit, but the rest of the days have been relatively bad.

I will start out strong in the morning, and most of my meals with be healthy, but a big problem has been my work schedule. I have to eat before my shifts or I will be STARVING and eat a bunch of unhealthy pizza place food, and sometimes I end up eating a bunch of it anyway (especially if I work during the times when we have our pizza buffet and I am encouraged to take food home that is being thrown away); sometimes my shifts are long so I have to eat during them anyway; and I am invariably hungry when I get home from work. I feel less “bad” if I come home and have something like nuts, hummus and crackers, or fat-free popcorn, but “good” calories still count. I just hope I am burning some extra calories with my more active job.

My general attitude has been a problem as well. I am still on the hunt for a full-time job, obviously, and despite the fact that I should be elated that I have had numerous interviews after only being on the job market for about 6 weeks, I can only feel fear that I will never get a job offer and I will spend the rest of my life waiting tables with a master’s degree. I have expressed this fear on here several times, so I apologize for being repetitive and whiny, but it has been a major issue with my diet. This was especially true this weekend – I had a really bad night at work on Saturday (pissed off a table) and spent most of the night crying after I got home. Yesterday and today were a lot better, but a lot of today’s “fun” came from eating unhealthy food – we started with cinnamon rolls, went out for Mexican and ice cream, and I have eaten about 2 lbs of chocolates I bought when I was feeling miserable still on Sunday morning. I just want to eat out of nervousness, boredom, and sadness all of the sudden, which is surprising to me because this has not been a real obstacle before. I know I am just making excuses and that it might actually help me to feel better if I were to increase the healthiness of my diet but it has just been a bigger obstacle lately. Hopefully I can stick to my goals a little better in the coming week. Who knows – maybe I’ll even get some good news on the job front?

I Also Can’t do Yoga

My last post concerned exercises that I am bad at doing. Today reminded me that I should probably add yoga to that list.

Some of you might be aware that this winter has been particularly unpleasant. I really assumed we would be thawing out by now and I would not have to worry about snow until next December-ish. We got about 9-10 inches of snow today, though, so obviously I was wrong. Last week when we got about 6 inches I mentioned that we hadn’t had this much since “snowmaggedon” in 2010…. well a week and a half later and we get pretty much the amount of snow we got during that storm. Everything was shut down pretty much…even the pizza place, which warned me I would probably be called in was apparently closed.

At least the massive amount of snow has been balanced by pretty much the best clean-up efforts I’ve seen in the city all winter. My street was plowed multiple times (it took nearly a week to be treated after the ice storm) and some neighbors even came around the block with their snowblower! We’ve taken Belle for a couple of walks, and while the park is still completely covered in snow – to the extent that Belle must leap through it because it is deeper than her legs – the sidewalks are relatively clean, so I should still be able to get a run in this weekend.

Snow almost up to my knees!

Coming in at 9 inches this morning.

Belle making an epic journey up a hill.

She wound up covered in snow!

Kris built a snowman. Sorry it doesn’t have a face, we couldn’t find any implements under all the snow.

Anyway, despite the possibility that I might be able to run later in the week, I was certainly not going to be able to today – it didn’t really stop snowing heavily until late in the afternoon. I’d planned on this, though, and decided to run Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday and just do a workout video today (I have to work 10 hours Friday and Saturday). I don’t really like to put all my runs together and then have a lengthy break like that, but with my work schedule and the weather I felt like I had no choice.

I decided to choose Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown as my workout today due to the fact that I was looking for something different and it is very highly rated on Amazon Prime Instant Video. It is important to keep three things in mind, though:

  • I have never really done yoga and know nothing about it
  • I have no balance
  • I have no coordination

Therefore, a yoga workout video wasn’t just something “different” for me…it was incredibly challenging! I had no idea what any of the position names meant and was scrambling the whole time. Kris also became concerned because he kept hearing me yell at the TV. This is because I was falling over during certain poses. As I said to him afterwards “I didn’t really feel like that was an intense workout, but it was a very difficult workout.”

There is a silver lining to my embarrassing inability to do this beginner yoga video, though: it gives me a challenge to work with. I also think that working on it will be very helpful if I ever improve – perhaps my balance and coordination will become better, after all! It also gives me more chances to practice the terrible push-ups and lunges. I would do this video again…but let’s just ignore the fact that there is apparently a “level 2” for awhile.

 

 

 

Yay!

Guess what I did today?

I went for a run! Outside!

I was super slow, but please keep in mind that most of the park was still covered in snow; I have a sore, stuffy nose; I haven’t run in like 2-3 weeks; and I am still sore because Jillian Michaels is tough. I’ll take finishing a 5K at any pace, right now. Keep in mind that I am about as graceful as a dog in snowboots in the snow:

It was actually quite funny – I used to chicken out if the weather was less than 20 degrees, unless it was REALLY sunny or I had a friend going with me and I didn’t want to seem like a chicken. Today, it eventually got up to 20 degrees, but it was still only 13 when I left my house and I was excited, if only because the “feels like” temp was also 13 degrees instead of like, -4. When I got to the park and was waiting for my GPS watch to find satellites, a man (side note: he had the prettiest dog ever – a brown cocker spaniel; when I was a kid we had several of these dogs so they will always hold a place in my heart) actually had a conversation with me about what a beautiful day we were having. Before this winter I couldn’t imagine a conversation about 15 degree weather involving the word “beautiful.”

The other good news? Here is the weather forecast for the next 5 days:

No terrifying snowstorms or polar vortexes in the forecast; most of the snow and ice might even melt when the temps get up into the 40s, there. I am really looking forward to being able to get out there and run. Last January I was able to squeak in 9 runs and I wasn’t even really trying or training for anything; I even spent about a week doing almost no workouts because I was out of town for a funeral. This year, I’ve done a grand total of 5 runs because of the weather, and will only get up to 6 if I run tomorrow. If I want to run as many miles as I did last year I’m really going to have to work hard in the coming months!


In other news, today was in general a busy day! I got up, took Kris to work, then came home to walk Belle and go for a run. Then I went back to meet up with Kris for lunch at a local place called Neato Burrito (this lunch will be featured more heavily in Food Friday tomorrow). This took forever because Kris was in a meeting and got let out for his lunch break late.

Then I had to go to the grocery store because we were basically out of food and alcohol and I needed to pick up some medicine. The grocery store took over an hour and I spent about a billion dollars. I feel like using coupons is costing me more money – since I started using them, I’ve been spending substantially more. However, I only bought one thing (nuts) that I would not have otherwise purchased without a coupon, so I don’t know. Using coupons also takes forever; I have to find them, print them, remember them, then stand awkwardly in the store trying to find the right one. I’ll experiment a few more times and see what happens. It could also be that I’m trying a lot of new recipes that require ingredients that I don’t have around and I forget to grab the first time through the store because I’m not used to them. It could also be that we are just eating out a lot less and therefore still saving money even if we are spending more at the store (other than when we went to Indiana, we haven’t spend much more than $20 eating out 1-2 times per week; we usually do that a couple times plus like one $40-50 meal out because we are obviously very frugal people /s).

After my over an hour long adventure at the grocery store (I also had to get beer, which is a completely separate process in our lovely state, and I had to get gas points loaded on my card from the store card from a time I forgot my card), I basically came home for like 45 minutes and, after putting all the food away, screwed around until it was time to pick up Kris. Fun story about this, though: the stray cat I posted about the other day has been coming around more (we think the neighbors stopped feeding it), and we have been feeding it Belle’s food in an old dish on the porch. I decided to buy the poor thing some real cat food (will save us money because Belle eats pricey food), and when I got home I saw the cat sitting near our porch. I told her I had a present and got the bag of cat food out of the car. She jumped all the way over our stairs and onto our porch in one leap and sat right by her bowl! I wish I had a picture, because it was super cute. When I finally went to pick Kris up, he was in a meeting again, and I had to wait like 20 minutes for him again. I’d be mad if I hadn’t paid so many tax dollars for him to be sitting in there :p At least we finally made it home where I made some delicious eats that I will further discuss tomorrow and got to relax with some beers while watching the IT Crowd.

“New” (to us) Car and More Workout Videos

I did a second Jillian Michaels’ workout today to stay warm during our freezing cold temps (we are up to feels like 2 degrees!). I mean, in comparison to others, we are lucky, but I really don’t like to go out unless it feels like more than 15 degrees. Today I did “No More Trouble Zones.” This was a very similar workout – 6 circuits, each targeting different parts of your body. This one does require light weights, but that is still pretty minimal equipment. It also had a lot more ab work which was exactly what I needed – my core is so weak that the residual soreness makes it painful to sneeze!

Of course, Ms. Michaels had numerous silly things to say again in this video. Notable examples: “You don’t burn any calories if you are only working out your arms” and “I don’t like machines at the gym for inner thigh workouts because you don’t want to use weights and build muscles there, you want to use your own bodyweight in order to make the muscles long and lean.” Um, I hate to break it to you, person who is actually a professional in this field, but you do burn calories moving only your arms – just fewer calories than moving both your arms and legs, which is what I am presuming you meant in this context, as you were explaining why we work both at once. Furthermore, bodyweight counts as weight, especially for beginners, who are probably carrying extra weight in those areas and would not be able to handle additional weight. No matter how much weight you use, if you are pushing yourself on your workouts and eating properly, you will gain muscle, meaning that your workouts are building muscle just like the ones at the gym. No matter how much fat you lose, if you do not gain muscle, your inner thighs will still not look “lean.” This isn’t even getting into the idea of whether women “should” be muscly or not and how certain areas of our bodies “should” look. I’ll have you know that I’ve run 2 half marathons and my inner thighs are still terrifying according to your standards, Jillian. I think it is pretty cleat that nothing will “fix” them, not even your leg lifts.


Now, on to my other exciting news. A few days ago, I was complaining about the situation that Kris and I are in for car buying. We had hoped this year after I moved back to go down to one car so that we could upgrade a bit, but the timing was a bit off (the story of our lives this year!). I was annoyed that I would not be getting the exact car I wanted, but now that it is over and we have our “new” (6-year-old) car I am feeling much better.

I am going to miss my old car dearly. My old car was a 2008 Chevy HHR that my dad helped me pick out RIGHT before cash for clunkers would have occurred. I had purchased a 15ish year old Grand Am that was a POS less than a year earlier and was really itching to upgrade. My dad saw an HHR at the mall and decided it was the perfect car for a young woman who wants a cheaper, smaller car, but still needs to haul a few things once in a while. A few months later when I was actually ready to get a different vehicle, we went down the dealer who’d had it at the mall, and the exact same car my dad had seen – in bright orange – was there. Keep in mind that this was pretty much the height of the car recession, so it was pretty much impossible for them to sell cars. I obviously got an incredibly good deal on it – the dealer where we got our “new” car has an HHR of the same year (but with less miles and in better shape than mine) listed for only about $1,000 less than I paid all those years ago. That car and I have been through a lot – multiple moves, hundreds of trips between Indiana and PA, and several phases of my life. I actually told the car that I loved it was going to miss it. Here are some pictures of my favorite orange car all decorated up for our wedding:

Our financial situation made it less feasible to keep two cars around, especially if one of us can’t drive! Hence, the HHR had to go, even if I loved it. Plus, it was time to move from a car that is “me” to a car that will be good to share with Kris for a family. Even if this car is not the EXACT one I was itching for (a brand new Subaru Forester that we cannot afford at the moment), it really does have all the features we wanted: AWD so that it isn’t as terrible in the snow; a roof rack to put the bicycles (and other cargo) on; plenty of cargo space for all of Belle’s crap (and ours, I suppose); heated leather seats because I’m always freezing and like to spoil myself with luxury items; and good safety ratings for all of those wrecks that I get into. It does have slightly worse MPG than the HHR (17ish vs. 20ish) and it isn’t orange, so it will be hard to spot in parking lots, but I think the pros outweigh the cons. Here are some pictures:

Yeah, it doesn’t get much more generic looking. And someone else on our block has the same one. I bet I actually break down in a parking lot crying because I can’t find it someday.

Luxurious interior!

Space for ALL THE THINGS!