Active Jobs and Weight Loss Maintenance

I had a fairly productive day today!

Kris and I have been practicing getting up early because… I start a new job next week! I’ll need to be there at 8 am everyday, and while I’m used to getting up to take Kris to work by 8:30, I’m not quite used to getting up early enough to get both of us ready and out the door half an hour earlier! The good news is that the weather is warming up so we should both be able to bike to work, cutting down on the inconvenience that will arise from having 1 car and slightly different hours. Today getting up early was necessary, because Kris had a doctor’s appointment in another town at 8:30. No worries, just some boring (because they were normal) bloodwork results.

After we got home, I had to really motivate myself to go for my run (the rest of this post will get more into why I was so demotivated), but I went out and got in 4 miles before our “100% chance of rain” weather started around lunchtime. Then, after I got home, I set to work making a lunchbox for my bike that I adapted from this tutorial (I lined mine and put in insulation so that I can keep things cold with an icepack). I have panniers, but liked the idea of a bag I could attach somewhere else if I needed more room in the panniers or if it was a more casual day and all I needed to bring along was my purse and a lunch! While constructing it went very well (I made Kris one for Christmas so I was practiced at all of the quirks of the project), I did run into a couple of obstacles:

Misty trying to help. She also tried to climb into my sewing machine case! Oh, and that cute shoe fabric is the lining.

The bag is bigger than the triangle below my top tube 😦 I told Kris I’ll just have to buy a second bike so that I can use the lunchbox 😉

After all of that I even made a “nice” dinner of lentil curry for us. Now I’m sitting at Panera Bread relaxing. Warning: they somehow put twice as many calories into their baked goods as other businesses. The carrot cake muffin I had was almost worth it, though. The cinnamon crunch bagel (which I should have had instead) is more than worth it.

Now, on to the topic of this day’s post. When I started working as a server, I knew it would be a more active job and was glad that might help to burn off some of my winter fluffiness I’d packed on. I soon realized, though, that I was insatiably hungry all of the time and regularly going over my calorie limits – and still going to bed hungry! I felt very guilty about all of the breadsticks, mozzarella sticks, and wings I was devouring at work on top of all of my other food, and, as I mentioned a couple weeks ago when I set myself some short-term goals for the month, was guessing rather than losing weight I had probably gained it.

When I weighed myself at the beginning of March, though, I hadn’t gained a pound – I had to ask myself “why?”

When I began to think about it more seriously, I considered the fact that most calorie counters have an adjustment for how active your job is. I’ve always put in “sedentary” even though my jobs (teacher, retail) could probably be classified as closer to “lightly active” because I did not believe that I was burning the 200 extra calories that MyFitnessPal claimed per day at those jobs – I figured an extra active day was just an added bonus.

When I began working at the pizza place, I operated under the same assumption: perhaps I’d burn a few extra calories, but I’d just consider it an added bonus. When I realized that I was maintaining my weight pretty well despite my terrible diet, I looked to see what MFP thought I should be eating in my new occupation, which it classifies as “active” and was at first surprised to see it was 400 calories! But then I thought about it – I burn about 60 calories on a 20 minute (1 mile) walk. If I am walking for, say, 3 hours out of my shift, that would be over 500 calories burned – plus I am usually carrying heavy things around while doing it! I haven’t made it a habit to add 400 extra calories in a day, but I’ve felt WAY less guilty about munching on a breadstick if I am truly hungry since making that realization.

I would say that there are cons to having a more active job, though. If one’s active job is at a restaurant or retail store (well, one were food will be available), the temptation to eat food that is “bad” for you will be high once the insatiable hunger hits. Now, a breadstick isn’t inherently “bad,” but it isn’t very filling so if I eat that instead of a more filling snack, I am more likely to be hungry and eat even more calories later. I am also more likely to eat things that are calorie bombs, sending me well over my calorie limit even with the extra calories I burnt at my job, such as multiple slices of deep dish pizza (that I don’t even like! I’m just starving!).

If one doesn’t work at a restaurant, I’m guessing the opposite problem occurs – you are starving, but are too busy at work to get food, and are therefore under-fueled, irritable, and likely to grab fast food on the way home. I’m guessing in either scenario you are also more likely to want to come home and relax with a glass (or two) of wine/beer! I am guessing that you can connect many of the goals I have set myself for March with these particular problems that arise from working an active job at a restaurant, such as allowing fewer calories to be “empty” calories and trying to eliminate eating without purpose while at work.

My main approaches to combating this have been to bring healthy snacks along with me and to make sure that if I have a calorie bomb at work, I use it to replace my dinner (usually it turns out I’m not hungry after eating something like half a stromboli and 4 mozzarella sticks anyway).

Another problem I have found is that burning all of those calories at work is physically exhausting. Often, when I head out for a run, my legs are tired, stiff, and painful the whole time. The tiredness in my legs really slows me down – on days they are fresher, I am much much closer to my old paces; days like yesterday and today, I’m struggling to stay under 10 minutes per mile. My legs aren’t the only part of me that is sore, either – I’ve found that simple workouts with 3 lb weights as part of workout videos are more difficult now, even though I’m stronger, because my arms are always worn out! In general, I think that trying to work out 6 days per week AND work such an active job has really taken a toll on me – I don’t get any “real” rest days, so I always feel a bit run down. My run yesterday was miserable – my legs were in pain the whole time, and I felt sick to my stomach, which made it hard to motivate myself today. I felt a bit better today, but my legs still felt like crap, so I might give myself some “rest” tomorrow (I have an 8 hour shift) by skipping my 45 minute home workout I had planned to see if that helps at all.

Now, the fun part of all of this reflection will be that I’m moving to what is going to be, at least in comparison, a very sedentary job next week. Don’t worry, I have some plans for that I am working on to stay active and healthy 🙂


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!


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.




Stair Workout and Food Friday

The outside world is still covered in ice, so I have been spending the day inside again. I tried to mix up my workout a bit by incorporating a “15 Minutes and You’re Done” workout from Real Simple magazine. Kris and I jokingly refer to this magazine as my “housewife magazine” because it is most certainly targeting that audience and sometimes I find the content quite baffling. I don’t actually subscribe to any other magazines, so it might seem weird that I do this one, which doesn’t seem to match up with many of my tastes. I won a subscription to it about 2 years ago, though, and I really do like a lot of the content (makeup, cleaning, and cooking tips, typically), so I kept it. Also I’m not really sure how to cancel the subscription.

I was hoping I could link to the workout on their website, but it doesn’t seem to be up yet. Therefore, you will just have to settle with my (inadequate) description. The workout makes use of your stairs to incorporate both strength and cardio moves and despite its name, took me about 10 minutes. I did this workout 3 times and then added in 10 additional minutes of circuit-training style workouts in order to get in 40 minutes of exercise and burn about 300 calories today. I found the workout surprisingly intense – I was sweating more after this than after my Jillian Michaels* video I did yesterday. Here are the steps to the (10-minute) workout:

  • Walk up and down the stairs 4 times. Focus on stepping down on your heel to work your glutes.
  • Run up and (walk) down the stairs 4 times, again focusing on the glutes.
  • Stand with one leg on the 2nd step up and do a step up. When you come back down, bring the leg from the 2nd step behind you and go into a lunge. Do 1 dozen of these for each leg.
  • Sit on the edge of the second step with your legs out straight and your arms behind you on the third step in order to do tricep dips. Do 2 sets of 10 and run up the stairs between sets.
  • Do “skaters” up the stairs. Basically go up the stairs 2 at a time swinging your legs out to the edge of the stair. Do 2 sets.
  • Get in a plank position with your hands on the second step up. Do 1 dozen mountain climbers.

Fun fact: doing the mountain climbers reminded me that I could use the stairs to do incline pushups instead of knee pushups. I really struggle with pushups – it is hard to move from knees to full military style! The incline pushups are a nice challenge for me in between these difficulty levels.

Food Friday is going to be relatively boring today. I have worked every evening this week so I didn’t really make very much food! I did, however, try two things for the first time today:

Both of these experiments went rather well!

I have been using beans a lot lately and I know that using dried beans instead of canned saves a lot of money, but I hate hate hate cooking beans. I almost always forget to stir them and they will cook off all of the water and burn sometimes. Using the crockpot took WAY longer, but was so much more convenient because I could just forget about them (until the last couple hours when I needed to go check on them to see if they were done). I separated my pound of beans (chickpeas/garbanzos) out into 4 containers – 1 for the hummus, and 3 for the freezer. This means that for $1.25 I got the equivalent of 4 cans of beans! I bet I could get them even cheaper if I am able to find bulk dried beans rather than 1 pound packages.

The equivalent of one can of beans in each container. I just got dirt cheap containers for this purpose so my Tupperware isn’t always tied up in the freezer.

Covered in bean liquid for freezing.

The hummus is something I’ve been thinking about making for a long time, but I’ve been avoiding it because tahini = $$$. The recipe I saw was on budget bytes, though, which is a blog about how to make cheap awesome food, which helped to convince me that making it myself would actually be cheaper. After buying all of the ingredients I am guessing that even if it is not cheaper it will at least not be more expensive – the priciest thing I had to buy was the tahini, and to be fair it was only $6.50 and will make like a million things of hummus. Hummus runs about $3-5 per tub at my store and we tend to go through about 2 things of it per week so I am thinking that even if this isn’t cheaper it will be more convenient to just always have the ingredients to make more laying around.

Blurry ingredient pic so that you can get an idea of what I used to make this.

Actually making the hummus was incredibly simple. Basically all you do is put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix until it’s nice and smooth. Mine did turn out a little bit runny but I think I know why that occurred. My tahini had not yet been stirred up yet so it was very oily (like natural peanut butter before you stir it). The recipe also called for 1/4 cup of lemon juice, which seemed like a lot, and I was right – the hummus is WAY more lemony than I would want. I think next time I will use only a tablespoon of lemon juice and adjust from there. I will also try blending the ingredients before adding any water to see if it is even needed (the recipe said to start with 1/4 cup and go from there). I might also add more roasted red pepper, but that wouldn’t change much of the consistency – more the flavor. I would say that I am happy with how it turned out, though, and I definitely plan on doing this again!

The hummus, sprinkled with paprika!

Hopefully I’ll have more food to talk about next week. I have a 10 hour shift tomorrow so I should be able to continue my protein bar experiment. I am also planning on trying a new recipe on Sunday. If I don’t get a chance to write again over the weekend, have a nice weekend everyone!

* Something that I feel needs mentioning. I don’t watch the Biggest Loser, so I will let others out there who do be the voices heard concerning the controversy surrounding the winner. I will limit my comments to saying that I find it very sad not only that the show allowed this to occur, but also that they encouraged it (by having her be the winner). I also find it sad that the show probably did this because this is what society values – even if she is predominately facing a negative reaction now that she is underweight, she became that way and the show encouraged her to become that way at least in part because of the value that society places on being thin.

Snow Daze

The last few days have been a mess. Sunday night we went to bed with warnings that we would receive quite a lot of snow overnight into the next morning. When we woke up in the morning, it was already snowing, and the weather reports were calling for snowfall of 1-2 inches per hour. Kris already had a 3 hour delay for his office building, and later in the day they cancelled work for all state employees.

I was nervous because I had a job interview, but I figured that if the roads were bad enough, they would cancel (because the employees of the organization would not be going to work), and that even if I had to go in it was only 5 miles away and I had four wheel drive. It turned out that they had to go in to work that day because they had an event later in the day (when the weather would be better) that they needed to prepare for so I ventured out. Kris went with me in case I got stuck, but it went rather well. I think it helped that it wasn’t really icy at all.

Around lunchtime the weather improved quite a lot and Kris, Belle, and I were actually able to go and enjoy the snow! It was weird because Belle normally HATES snow but she LOVED this snow – probably because it was quite warm out (right at freezing) and it was the perfect snow for packing. She made us run with her through the park (you will see from my pics how much of a workout this was) and she was even chasing snowballs that Kris was throwing! There were a lot of snowmen being made out there, but unfortunately I didn’t get any very good pictures of them to post.

Kris shoveling in the morning – it snowed so much more after this that I almost forgot he shoveled!

I am standing on the running path in the park in this photo. Belle insisted we run on it.

I thought this photo was neat. The snow covered “field” in this photo is the river – you can’t even tell it is a river!

I was supposed to be off at the pizza place on Monday, but, surprise surprise pretty much everyone called off. You know when you are driving on the highway and you see a long driveway going up a mountainside into the woods and you pity the person who has that driveway in the winter? Yeah, apparently all of my coworkers live in those houses and only the ones with giant trucks can make it out. The manager called me in because she was the “only” one there – note that she meant the only one to wait on customers; a cook and a driver had made it in.

I only live about 2 miles from the restaurant so it was no big deal for me to go in Monday, but little did I know that I would end up working 4 days in a row because of this snow! Originally I had only been scheduled to work Tuesday and Wednesday. I ended up going in on Monday from 3 until near close; and then yesterday we had someone preemptively call off for today, so I will be working 5-close tonight, too. Then I have only 1 day off before a 10 hour shift on Saturday! At least I will be making lots of money?

On top of the snow that we got yesterday, late on Tuesday night it began to sleeting/freezing rain. We woke up Wednesday morning to find the city coated in about 2 inches of ice, which was actually a lot worse than all of the snow. Even I considered calling off of work, but Kris really only had a 3 hour delay this time (to be fair, it did stop freezing after the sun came up), so it made no sense to drive the whole way to his office and back but not to the pizza place, which is closer. When I got there at 1, the store manager was literally the only one there this time, and even she had been late – after all, she does live on one of the aforementioned driveways (and was not even supposed to be working, but had a better vehicle than anyone else for the ice).

She and I ran the whole place by ourselves until about 4ish, when a manager from another store who lives downtown came in, and then at 5 two other people came in and that was it (I stayed until 8:30, we close at 10). We weren’t too busy but we were for the level of staff that we had, especially because there is some big gun enthusiast festival thingy in town and they were all coming to eat pizza. The most amusing part of this is that people kept calling for delivery. Since we had no delivery driver, we had to tell them it was carry out only. Then they would reveal that they couldn’t come get carry out because their car was stuck in their driveway! Now, I will admit to ordering a pizza or two in the snow before, but what makes a person think that if they can’t get in and out of their own driveway that some guy in what is probably a crappy old car (remember – they deliver pizza for a living) is going to be able to handle it? It’s not so much rude as it is baffling.

This is the condition of our street, by the way. Yes, there is a street under all that ice! It’s a little better now, but I still had to go help push someone’s car down the street in the middle of writing this blog post. Don’t drive rear wheel drive in the winter, folks.

Obviously this weather is keeping me from running outside AGAIN. I can hardly believe it was in the 50s last weekend. This has been the most brutal winter since we moved to Harrisburg in the 09/10 winter when “Snowmaggedon” (if you don’t remember it, it shut down most of the east coast for several days) occurred. I can’t wait for it to be over. I’m ok with listening to Jillian Michaels pretend that I can spot reduce fat, but I want to start training for my 10 mile race I am planning on in March. I had been planning to start following a specific training plan next week, but we are supposed to get more snow this weekend so I doubt that is going to happen. I will just have to see how in shape I am by the time that the snow melts and hope that I am able to run 10 miles at all by then.

“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!




Winter? Guess it’s Time for Workout Videos

A few weeks ago, I signed up for a fitness buddy on r/xxfitness and had almost completely forgotten. I finally messaged my buddy yesterday and was complaining about my winter workout woes. At first, she didn’t know what to recommend – she apparently lives in one of those typically warm southern states or something. She then had a great idea – workout videos! I was also pushed towards this choice by Amazon Prime Instant video, which chose yesterday to remind me that I haven’t been using my instant video privileges and that there are a bunch of workout videos on there. It was like the stars had aligned!

I used to do workout videos all the time when I was first trying to lose weight. I still remember the first time I tried the 30 Day Shred. It was maybe 1-2 months after I started my weight loss journey and I had gotten up to running a whole 5 minutes in couch 2 5k. Surely if I could run for 5 minutes I could do 6 minute circuits…or so I thought. I think I texted Kris halfway through the first circuit to tell him I was afraid I was going to pass out and to come check on me if he didn’t hear from me in half an hour. I then laid on the bed, unable to move, for quite some time and did not reattempt it until the fall. I think it was in October/Novemberish of that year that I was finally able to get through all 3 levels in 30 Days, and I haven’t really used workout videos much since then due to running or having gym access instead.

This puppy is better at mountain climbers than I was.

I don’t have a lot of home equipment  – a yoga mat, steps, and some 5 lb weights – so videos that make use of very minimal equipment. The Jillian Michael’s videos are perfect for this. She does bother me a little bit with some of the comments she makes about how women’s bodies should be or assuming how we want them to be, but they are good workouts and I know she is pandering to an audience who predominantly wants her to say those things. Today I tried her “Banish Fat Boost Metabolism” video. The title alone annoys me – doesn’t all exercise help you to burn body mass but also build muscle (thereby boosting metabolism)? It had great reviews on Amazon, though, and requires no equipment at all, so I decided to go with it.

I would actually highly recommend this video. As with all of her videos, it is a very good mix of strength and cardio, which I enjoy doing to avoid boredom. It is REALLY long and I almost did get bored, but I felt worse giving up on the video than I would have after say 20-30 minutes of circuit training on my own. I had to make it to the cooldown, not fast forward! If a 45 minute workout isn’t your thing, though, you could probably easily shorten this by skipping 1 or 2 of the SEVEN circuits (some are easier, some are harder). I was really glad that I did it because it really kicked my ass, even though it should not have. I mean, I’ve run for far longer than 45 minutes…45 minutes of jump squats and crunches should be a cinch, right? Again, I underestimated the video. I am super sore was out of breath, sweaty, and half-assing some moves halfway through. Anyone seeing a pattern?

Even if I have workout videos to keep me in shape, I am hoping to get back outside soon. I feel like such a baby complaining about the snow, cold, and wind, but even Belle drug me home after about 2 blocks today when I tried to take her for a “real” walk. It was just too windy for her, apparently!