Making Time for Exercise

Hey everybody! How you doin’ out there? I feel a little distant this week… because school is in FULL BLOWN “GO” mode, and life is just moving along at a crazy pace. Here’s what my schedule was like yesterday: Work from 8 AM – 3:30 PM. Class from 4:00 – 7: 00. Participate in Social Media Panel from 7:00 – 9:00 PM. Eat Dinner at 9:30 PM. Work on homework from 9:30 – 11:00 PM. 11:00 Go to bed.

Thankfully not everyday is as crazy as that, but today was not much better with working from 9:00 – 5:00 PM and then heading right to the hospital for allergy shots from 5:30 – 6:30 PM and then the rest of the evening being spent doing homework. It’s exhausting, right? It’s exhausting and I’ve been slacking about fitness because of it.

Fitness is fun with Richard Simmons! Why can't it be like this every time?!

I work with a wonderful and very funny friend named Jenny. She’s become a Weight Watchers buddy for me, and tonight, a reality check. We were texting back and forth about a Zumba class for $5 that’s offered at my workplace at 7 PM. I normally leave work at 5 PM, so I’ve been hesitant to stay for Zumba because that’s two hours of “home” time I get to have. After I hemmed and hawed and explained why I didn’t want to stay for Zumba, she hit me with this one: “You know you’re going to go home and veg and not exercise! If there’s no time to exercise then you won’t lose weight as fast as you like.”

She’s right. I’m the mayor of excuses village. When it comes to weight loss, I transform into a flubbery, blubbering “But this is why this happened! It’s genetics! It’s because I’m bloated! It’s because my jeans weigh a pound and a half! It’s because I ate that salty soup!”

The reality is that I need to be accountable for the mistakes I make in regards to weight loss, just like I am at work. If I screw up on something at work, I fess up, because usually just admitting your mistake is going to make it better. Like when I got busted in a meeting this week by my colleague as I was doodling hearts and stars all over my legal pad .”Did you get that, Alyssa?” she said, with a bit of sarcasm in her voice. With a straight face, I looked up and said, “Nope. I wasn’t listening. I’m sorry, can you repeat it?” There’s no need to lie because I’m transparent about my actions at work. I’m not perfect. I will never be. I have no problem admitting it. Perfection isn’t the problem, its commitment. It’s willpower. How bad do I want this?

I’m struggling because I am genuinely, honestly busy. I don’t have a lot of free time. But I need to make this a priority, just like I make work and grad school and my husband and my friends and family a priority. How do you fit it all in? We’re all busy, so I can’t keep using it as an excuse. Life is busy. As John Lennon once said, life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.

Do you find lack of time can screw up your eating or fitness habits? What do you do to be prepared? Any hints for a gal like me – short on time but big on hope?

Homework.

Today’s lack of a blog is brought to you by HOMEWORK!

Today I chose to walk for an hour with a friend (earning 7 activity points AND catching up with my gal Kelly), buy my cake decorating supplies, stop by whole foods to buy olives, re-pot 7 outdoor pots with new flowers, clip coupons, start my seeds in a greenhouse tray, grocery shop, buy a new patio set off of Craigslist and watch the Oscars instead of doing homework.

So now? It’s homework time. If y’all wanna see what my homework looks like, head over over to http://www.heardio.wordpress.com. Regularly scheduled programming will be back up tomorrow :o)

(But – isn’t it better to see SOMETHING rather than nothing?)

Weekly Weigh In #5

Well, folks – Weigh in was today – and let’s get right to it- I’m happy to report this week that  I

lost 2.6 pounds

I worked really hard this past week to correct some of my previous mistakes. I drank way more water, put the kibosh on the junk eating, and got some activity. One night when I as feeling bingey, I had hot tea instead of a salty, crunchy snack – and I also had a terrible cold, so that probably helped keep my appetite from going all nutty. I also had motivation on my side, because there was no way I wanted to come back on here today and report that I had gained weight (again).

I’m enjoying the 0-point fruit and keeping our fruit man in business at work – it’s only $3 for a giant container of fresh pineapple with chili and lime. I’m also trying to limit my nighttime eating, and save my “extra” points for weekends, because that’s when I struggle. I even managed to fit in homemade popcorn and still lose- a splurge at 10 points for a big bowl with real butter.

I really want to stay on track this week, because I’m 1.8 pounds away from losing 5 pounds total – and it’d be really nice to reach that goal next week. It’s funny because this week I lost EXACTLY what I gained last week. Heh. I guess my body, like myself, is a little bit neurotic about symmetry ;)

How are you doing this week?

 

 

 

 

Needles in my face

Most of you know I’m a severe environmental allergy sufferer. In 2009, I finally made the decision to start immunotherapy, or allergy shots, after I spent a whole night lying in bed crying because my skin itched so bad. I’ve been doing shots for just over three years now, and while I no longer break out in hives, I still rely on a daily allergy pill and can quickly feel the effects of allergies if I’m not medicated. It sucks, but I also love California, and am not willing to give up on this gorgeous state because of a few pesky pollens.

A friend of mine swears by acupuncture for her allergies, claiming that the soothing effect of needles in her face causes little histamine fairies to wave their magic wand and make her allergies vanish into the sky. Okay, that last part I might have made up, but I decided it was something I should try. One advantage to being a poor, stressed-out grad student is I have access to low cost health care. In this case, an hour of acupuncture costs a mere $20 – a price I’m definitely willing to accept for a chance at relief.

What I imagined acupuncture would be like.

In true Alyssa fashion, I had pre-conceived notions about the procedure that MUST BE TRUE, like, the whole hour session would consist of me being jabbed several times with long, hot, spiky needles, and it would be anything but relaxing. The acupuncturist, a lithe, wispy woman, first asked me several questions about my overall health and then looked at my tongue. “You’re getting a cold,” she said. Bingo! I was getting a cold. Apparently acupuncturists can tell a lot about your health by the color and coating of your tongue. Mine was blue – a sure sign that rhinovirus was moving in.

After my brief oral health history, we went into a small room where I took off my shoes and laid on a cot. She quickly began inserting the needles, and it was really just a faint “tap tap” and then they were in. The only needles that I felt were the two on each side of my sinus – there was a little bit of pressure as they were inserted, but then, the pressure in my nose magically cleared up, and I felt like I could breathe. I had three needles in my hand, one on each foot, one on my right ankle, two in my sinuses, and one on my forehead. They really didn’t hurt and once they were in, I forgot they were even there.

She placed one more needle in the center of my forehead, turned off the light, turned on a heat lamp over my feet, and left the room. Soothing music trickled out of the speakers and I just lay there for 45 minutes… relaxing, thinking, wondering if this could help out more than one of my many ailments. Acupuncture is said to be a good form of relief for things like stress, anxiety, allergy, fatigue and sluggish weight… all things I could benefit from.

She came back in 40 minutes later and said that most of my health concerns were from low energy overall, which wasn’t helping my immune system fight off allergens. She recommended coming back once a week for a while, and seeing how I do from there. I’m definitely going to give it a shot, because why not? If I can inject things I’m allergic to in my skin, or pop a pill, why not give something holistic and risk-free a chance?

Have you ever done acupuncture? Would you, or is the thought of needles that keeps you away?

 

 

 

 

Weekly Weigh In #4

Remember last week how I was all amped up about losing another coupla pounds to make it to five pounds lost? Yeah… me neither. My Seattle weekend was awesome, and I didn’t make the healthiest choices, but I hoped with all the walking I did and a little bit of luck, my weigh in wouldn’t be TOO catastrophic. Well, it was. This week I

Gained 2.6 pounds

I know! Yikes! It burns your eyes, doesn’t it? I was surprised. I wasn’t majorly surprised, bu I didn’t think it would be over two pounds. Whoops. Let’s get real though. I ate a cupcake.

Delicious vanilla cupcake from Cupcake Royale

I ate three small fried donuts. I ate a large serving of garlic naan, steaming hot out of the oven and sopped in my paneer masala. I had valentine’s dinner with my sweetie and ordered extra spicy fried chicken with cajun mac and cheese. I DID manage to pass on movie theatre popcorn, and I stuck with skim milk in my chai. But not once did my finger tap open the little Weight Watchers mobile app, and not a thing I tracked. As my weight watchers leader says, “Only track on the days you want to lose weight.”. So I messed up. I’m disappointed, and I hate having to come here and admit defeat, but that’s the deal with this blog. It’s never going to be easy and it’s always going to be hard, but in the end, it will be worth it. The challenges are what will make the end result so rewarding.

So what did I do about it? I started tracking again. I also came down with a nasty head cold, so for once in my life, I have the appetite of a squirrel, which is both alarming and refreshing. I’ve been thirstily lapping up most of my points with fresh orange juice and ginger, juiced from the trees in our backyard. I’ve been slurping up homemade chicken noodle soup (my hubby rocks) and as a treat, sugar-free chai lattes to power me through the humongous lit review I’ve been working on. I’m eager to get back to working out, but even a short stroll through Macy’s today left me dizzy and hot (too much too soon… stupid cold), so I need to take it easy. (But I did score a gorgeous plum sweater dress from INC… originally $80 marked down to $19! Woohoo!)

So this wasn’t a losing week, but as disappointments often lead to, it was a learning week. Just gotta keep on trackin’… keep on trackin’!

 

Tortilla Time

Tortilla making has a certain amount of allure behind it, and if you are like I am, you like to imagine apple-cheeked Abuelitas standing over hot coals patting out paper thin tortillas with their soft, wrinkled hands, instead of scary metal machinery cranking out tortillas en masse. The closet I can get to making a tortilla is ripping open the package and throwing them in the microwave, so I was delighted when my friend Monique offered to make me authentic Mexican tortillas. Here’s what you need:

  •  2 Cups of Self Rising Flour
  •   3/4 Capful of Corn Oil
  •  3-4 Shakes of Salt
  •  1 Cup of Hot Water – not boiling, but as hot as your delicate hands can stand
  • A rolling pin or if you’re very fancy, a pelote
  •  A cast iron pan
  •  A clean dish towel and large zip lock bag

1) Set the cast iron pan on medium.

2) Put two cups of the self rising flour into a large mixing bowl.

3) Slowly add a cup of hot water, mixing the water into the dough as you go. SLOWWWWWWLY. If you get excited and dump it all in, you’re going to have a mucky, floury mess that doesn’t mix well.

Slowly add hot water

4) Keep mixing with your hands until the dough feels like bread dough – soft and pokey and mostly together, like this.

Just the right consistency

5) Once you’ve made a well-formed ball, press your thumb into the center of the dough ball to make an indentation. Pour the 3/4 capful of oil into this hole, and leave the dough to rise for five minutes.

6) Waited your five minutes? Good. Now, knead the dough again with your hands, making sure the oil is well mixed into the dough. Separate the dough into 5 separate lumps on a lightly floured cutting board.

Roll!

7) Using your rolling pin or pelote, roll the ball upward once, then downward once. Roll from side to side until the tortilla is quite thin.

8) Throw it on the hot pan. It will bubble up immediately. Don’t be alarmed if you smell smoke, that’s normal. Using your fingers (‘cmon – be daring), flip the tortilla over on to the other side. The tortilla is done when it looks like a tortilla. Don’t over cook or it will be hard and yucky. This may take some time to get right, so don’t cry if your tortilla crisps up like a critter on the fourth of July.

Brown and bubbly and delicious!

9) Wrap the tortilla in the dish towel and place it inside the ziplock bag while you cook your other tortillas. You want them to stay steamy and warm inside.

10) Serve with other yummy things. We did shredded rotisserie chicken, el pato salsa with tomato, onion and cilantro, cheese and fresh cabbage. SUPER YUM!!!

11) Enjoy fat food coma and unbutton jeans. You did it!

Yummy