Tag Archives: exercise

Anniversary News

21 Oct

londonHello, all you skinny people. We’ve made it to year two (ermeygerd!). Dunno how it happened, but you all stuck with me, and I am ever grateful for it.

For the past two years, I have gone through literal ups and downs in trying to stay current on this site without brow-beating my readers. I want you all to grow and thrive. I want you all to explore the different aspects of yourself that challenge you and make you better. Your health is so important, and I hope that through this blog I’ve helped you see this.

All of this is to say…there’s news. I was recently offered a position in my company that would require me to move to London. So, I’m moving to London. I’m beyond thrilled, excited, nervous, anxious, stressed and everything else that goes into a big move like this. I’ve been waiting to tell you all for months about this, but only recently have details been hammered out.

What does this mean for I’m Skinny, Now What?

Well, I’m sure you’ve noticed I haven’t been posting as often as I had been. That’s more laziness on my part than anything. I still fully believe in the message of this site that the work doesn’t end when you’ve reached your goal weight. There are tons of stories to tell. But I had a lot on my plate and something had to give. So, for the near future, posts will continue to be infrequent as I gear up for this move in the coming weeks. But that doesn’t mean this is the end.

I’ve never lived abroad. I only have two stamps in my passport. This is the beginning of a whole new adventure. Prepare for I’m Skinny, Now What?–London Edition. How will I cope with the food that everyone warns me about? What will my new schedule to do my exercise routine? What new workout routines can I get myself involved in across the Atlantic?

There’s so much to explore in the coming months and I can’t wait to tell you more about them.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for sticking with me for the past couple of years. We’ve still got a ways to go, but we can do it.

And if any of you have any tips on how to stay fit in London (or any tips about London), please let me know.

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Hulu Is My Personal Trainer

31 Mar
My favorite show: cardio kickboxing.

My favorite show: cardio kickboxing. Courtesy of Hulu

My weight-loss journey has taught me a lot about myself. I’ve learned how to challenge myself to do new things. I’ve learned that raw kale tastes like the boulevard of broken dreams. And I’ve learned I’m an outdoor person.

I had never really seen myself that way. I have pretty tricky allergies that make it feel as though my throat is closing up on me. But since I began running, I’ve found out that I can barely tolerate the treadmill and would much rather be on the trail. Having the breeze in my face to cool me while I’m packing on the miles and watching the city go by is an ideal Saturday morning for me. It’s been almost three months since I was able to do that.

This has been the coldest winter ever, forget what Sister Souljah told ya. I haven’t experienced temps above 60 degrees since September. And I hate the cold. I’m miserable. Calgon needs to take me away to a beach with a mojito and a cabana boy to adjust my umbrella. I’m holding out hope for a little warmth soon, but really I’m just tired of being cold.

Me, three weeks ago

Me, three weeks ago

Still, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. And this girl’s gotta stay on her grind. Sure, a workout will warm me up for the time being, but I’ve still got to go outside and deal with the elements.

Or do I?

I’ve made a new winter friend. His name is Hulu and I pay him $7.99 a month to help me with my workouts.

I’m ridiculously cheap. I really don’t like pulling out my check card for any reason. Every time it happens, I feel a little piece of me is being deducted from my account. I’m two steps away from being a cord cutter. Still, I’ve been able to find value in my new workout partner.

Hulu often touts its current programs like “Scandal” and “Gotham.” It’s great if you want to catch up on your shows from the past week or even look at some old stuff (hey, “Mary Tyler Moore Show”). But the hidden gem is the workout programs it has available. You can get an hour’s worth of cardio kickboxing, Pilates, zumba, yoga, etc., right in your living room.

To me, it’s better than buying a workout DVD because if you don’t like the Hulu video, you’re not stuck with it. You can try a different instructor or workout. The downside, however, is that the videos aren’t updated very often, so you can get in kind of a rut if you haven’t found an instructor you like.

There are lots of cheap options out there besides Hulu, like CosmoBody or DailyBurn. But I prefer Hulu because the workout programs are in addition to the other programs I watch. Plus, at just under $8 a month, it works within my especially thrifty budget.

Still, there are those pinching pennies much harder than I am. For you guys, YouTube is a great option. You have to do a bit more digging to find what you’re looking for, but the options are greater. If you find a YouTube channel that works for you, good for you. And let me know which ones you like, because I’m always on the lookout for a new workout.

Daytime Diva vs. Nighttime Ninja

9 Mar
Courtesy of Tumblr

Courtesy of Tumblr

It’s no secret that I’ve been lamenting the snow-pac-ageddon of 2015. The winter blues have made it all but impossible for me to wake up in the morning. And when I do keep my eyes open longer than 10 minutes, the comfort of my bed won’t set me free. My bed holds me hostage in the morning because it knows that eventually I’ll have to deal with the ridiculous cold that awaits me.

So instead of torturing myself with an early wake-up call, I’ve been working out after work. Sometimes I’ll actually go to the gym if I feel like being a bag lady. For the most part, though, I’ve been coming home to make use of my exercise DVDs and some videos on Hulu (an excellent source of material, btw).

Right as I was getting comfortable in my routine, this happened.

snow_melt

Courtesy of Tumblr

 

The sun is finally shining! The temperature is finally rising above 12 degrees. I don’t have to wear my grungy puffer coat. With the time change and the impending warmth comes a return to my daytime active lifestyle. We’re in the finicky weather season, so I won’t be getting up too early. But I can feel myself readying for the sunshiny days ahead. Running on the path. Morning yoga classes. Early boot camp.

Being a nighttime ninja served its purpose to prevent me from being too slovenly. For me, though, daytime diva is where it’s at. Still, I learned a few things about myself during the long, dark, cold days of winter.

1. Winter mornings suck. I forgot how depressing it can be to wake up in the morning and it still be dark outside. I don’t have to be at work until 11 a.m. Imagine waking up at 7:30 in the morning and it still being pitch black outside? Nothing makes your bed more comfortable that the dark of night…or day.

2. Population control. There are even fewer people in the gym at night than there are in the early afternoon. Because my work hours are so wonky, I’m coming into the gym right after the post-work crowd finishes its sweat-a-thon. It’s an in-between time where gym staff can really wipe down the machines (not the half-ass wipes they get from preoccupied gym rats). It fills my need for quiet.

3. Hunger games. Working out at home has made me hyper aware of my kitchen. It’s not like I woke up one morning and was surprised by my fridge. It’s moreso that post-workout meals seemed even more important. And those meals seemed to be larger. I’m not on any workout plan right now, so I haven’t been portioning out my meals. So the spinach, chick-pea, pasta salad was run through pretty quickly. As were my Mott’s Mango Peach applesauces. And, of course, my goldfish crackers. Working out in the daytime will definitely give me better dietary focus.

4. I can’t wait for winter to be over. I miss running in the park. I miss not having to strap on 10-15 extra layers of clothes, undergarments and coats. I miss the ease of a morning workout. It seemed like less of a chore when I was doing it in warmer weather. Winter workouts feel like a punishment, especially in the mornings. At night, it feels like a continuation of the workday, not a way to start the day.

There are 11 days until spring. But with the weather warming up, I’ll return to daytime diva status in no time.

How (Not) to Lose 10 Pounds in a Week

4 Mar

I rarely gamble. I’m not a fan of it. I play the lottery maybe twice a year. I rarely go to casinos, and when I do, I don’t gamble. There’s a higher chance of failure with gambling than there is of winning. My money does better for me when it’s in my pocket.

I liken gambling to get-rich-quick schemes. There’s always a hidden cost that you weren’t prepared for. Those emails from Nigerian princes asking you to hold their millions in your account? Those phone calls from random utility operators saying you’re paying too much, even though you’re using the only utility available in your area? Publisher’s Clearinghouse? It’s all a scam to make you think that hard work isn’t the way to get things done.

The same thing goes for quick-fix diet scams. “Eat this, lose 10 pounds in a week.” “Just five minutes a day and you’ll drop 20 pounds in a week.” “The only diet pill you’ll need to get bikini ready in just two weeks.” I call bullshit.

Nothing worth having is easy to get. If you read the small print on these ads, they’ll always say the results aren’t typical. Nine times out of 10, you’ll be the rule, not the exception.

People often ask me how I lost the weight. The simple answer is diet and exercise. But if you have a half hour, I can give you a rundown. I started preparing my meals at the beginning of the week and portioned them out so I wouldn’t overindulge. I made sure to schedule my workouts into my day, leaving room for the sudden happy hour or late night at work. I always had a Plan B if my scheduled workout wouldn’t work out that day. I can mentally calculate all the calories I’m consuming versus the amount of energy I’m expending.

That’s just the truncated version, and I still never lost 10 pounds in one week.

You’ll see shows like “The Biggest Loser” and think to yourself, if they can do it, why can’t I? It’s because you have a life outside the show. While you’re sitting at home watching these people’s journey toward a healthier life, they’re on a treadmill or eating one egg white every five hours, with a handful of raw almonds in between. It’s not practical.

We all have lives to lead. I’m not saying losing 10 pounds in one week isn’t possible. Anything’s possible. But does that make it right? I don’t think so.

This journey is a rough one. It is filled with starts and stops. The thing I want people to realize is that you should start with realistic expectations. Ten pounds in one week? Sure…if you chop off your arm. Ten pounds in two weeks? Very possible with a very strict diet and workout regimen. Ten pounds in three weeks? Totally doable, still with a strict diet and workout regimen. Plus, if you hit your target in two weeks, the third week’s weight loss is bonus points (if that’s what you were looking for).

Think about short-term and long-term goals and what’s achievable in that time. Don’t let the stress of losing weight make you gamble on a magic pill.

What quick-fix routines have you seen lately? How do you keep focused on your short- and long-term goals?

Why I’m not a winter warrior

25 Feb
Well, it bothers me! Courtesy of Tumblr

Well, it bothers me!
Courtesy of Tumblr

I live five blocks from the subway. In Manhattan, that’s an OK deal. Compared to other boroughs, that’s a luxury. Five blocks may not seem like much. You’d think it’s about five minutes from the train to my door. And you’d be right.

What you’re not considering is the elements. The elements are wind (I live right by the river) and water (mother-effin’ snow). In case you live in California or Hawaii, you’re likely aware that it is cold as a penguin’s nose out right now. For some reason Mother Nature raised her hater-ation game to a new level. Boston has had so much snow MIT students are actually climbing a mountain to class. There are icicles hanging in the underground subways stations. Schools in Texas—Texas of all places!—are getting snow days because the world is just too damn hot.

And with all of this, my favorite activity has fallen by the wayside. That’s right, skinny people, I haven’t run outside in more than a month. I did a quick run while visiting family and friends last month, but it was 50 degrees out. I had to leave my jacket in the car.

I’ve said before that I’m getting better about lowering my degree threshold for a run. I’ve got it down to 37 degrees. But that’s above freezing. You know why? Because I am not a winter warrior.

Winter Warriors are the people who say eff it when the thermostat drops below 20 degrees. Their endorphines and sweat will keep them warm. That’s beautiful. Do you, boo. I am not one of those people.

I don’t like going outside when the wind is whipping my hair back and forth like Willow Smith. I hate when it feels like I’m being smacked in the face with icicles. Running with my hands in balls makes them hurt even worse. So now instead of focusing on my breathing and my pace, I’m focusing on the pain in my hands and if my nose will fall off from being so cold.

That’s too much stress. I run to clear my head. Running is simple: you just need good shoes. The winter requires much more thought and effort: thermal-lined pants (possibly two pair), knee-high socks to keep your calves warm, shoe spikes in case you run into a patch of ice, a beanie to keep your head warm, gloves, and a jacket. It’s just all too much.

I applaud anyone who can look outside, see Elsa’s playground and think it’s the best time to get in a run. It takes true dedication not just to your health but to your sport to continue on in these conditions. Get in a couple of miles for me. Runners are my people. But on this, we take separate paths.

I’ll be hanging out at the gym, putting in my time on the elliptical.

Would you consider yourself a winter warrior? How do you keep warm on winter runs?