Wednesday, February 24, 2010

And So It Begins...

Well, actually it began Sunday. Rehearsals for my next show that is.

TOO MUCH TO DO: The big balancing act starts once again. Monday I was blessed with a Work From Home day, so I had plenty of time to get in a workout since I had no commute. Yesterday began the tricky “just make it work” method of trying to squeeze in exercise on limited time. It was tough. I need some minutes when I get home to have a snack (because I am usually really hungry when I get home) and relax a bit before jumping into a work out. I did okay during my last rehearsal process, but there were some rough weeks with no time for exercise which I definitely can't afford in these last months. One thing in my corner is that the rehearsal space is a mere 15 walk from my apartment. I can use all of the time savings I can get!! One thing NOT in my corner-the death of my elliptical machine on Sunday. This is no good! While I was on it on the belt on the wheel broke and according to my husband, it doesn’t look repairable. While I try to get variety and have been more devoted to full body workouts and core/ab workouts, my trusty elliptical is always a great way to get in some big calorie burn quick. UGH! This was going to be a key to success with my new rehearsal schedule. I say at times like this that getting up early to work out is the best option, but it's really hard for me. Getting up is tough, yes, but I also get nauseous when I exercise in the early morning.
TOUGH TIMING: This week we are beginning at typical 7pm start time, but next week it gets even hairier as rehearsals begin at 6:30pm. Yowsa. That is early enough for a full time day jobber without having to throw in exercise, so it will be a big challenge! We also go later than a typical rehearsal schedule, so I will be getting home around 11pm each night at the earliest on the weekdays. So goes the life of an actor still depending on a day job, but I must say that ultimately I am so very thankful to have acting work. Our lovely director said that she once likened being an actor as to be a ditch digger during The Great Depression. It's hard work and you don't get paid well (one day I will, but not right now) but if you complain there are hundreds of people who would love to have your job. Now mind you I understand that this is an extreme comparison. It’s more like “balancing a day job and cultivating an acting career is like being a ditch digger….” We actually enjoy our acting career. Not a perfect analogy, but you get my drift.

HAIR: Speaking of my career, I recently got time with my print agent who agreed to meet with me regarding a change with my hair. I have what I call "beachy" hair. Not curly, not straight, just wavy (which can mean terribly frizzy especially in the dry MidWest) and loooong. We discussed coifing a more polished look to open me for more print opportunities. My hair is younger looking than I am and I need to look more my age. I have been contemplating a major hair change for a year now and have been scared to do it (Hello! PSYCH 101-using hair to cover up and hide), but I know it must be done to benefit my career and embrace a new decade in my life. (Plus my new show takes place in the 1930s, so it's a must for a proper 'do.) It’s also going to look great! I’m embracing my new slender self and will not hide anymore! So I am headed to the salon on Saturday after rehearsal and will have my hair cut.
Here is some background on my fear of shorter hair. I'm embarrassed in a way to share some of my terrible insecurities from the past, but they are a part of journey to become the person I am today who thinks I am super important and loves myself enough to spend a whole year cultivating my health and fitness, so it's relevant to mention. I basically have two pictures in my head when it comes to me with shorter hair. One is my junior year high school picture and one is a series of photos taken while on a road trip my freshman year of college. In both of these photos my hair is about chin length, terribly styled, and truly unflattering (along with terrible 90s clothing and caterpillar eyebrows). More so, I'm just embarrassed of how I looked and embarrassed that I’m embarrassed-make sense? While I won’t be going this short on Saturday, there is a little nervous part of me that has kept me from taking this leap in fear that I’ll somehow be transported back to this awkward insecure look. However, I know that I am no longer that same insecure pudgy girl who was sad and unhappy with herself. I am BB30 and I rock everyone’s face off ! It's thrilling and nerve racking, but mostly I am excited to make this change for me. I feel good about it! Another component is that I will have to go back to the land of daily hair rollers which I abandoned ten years ago. This means I’ll need more time in the morning-add that to the list of things to squeeze into my day! My thoughtful husband gifted me with some rad hot pink fast heating rollers to help me out. They heat up 75 seconds!

CLOTHES: Since my body has been changing I am in need of a new wardrobe. I've been finding it really difficult to find pieces I like. Shopping makes me tired! In the past two Saturdays I have tried on 24 things and only ended up with four. All of this took several hours. Whew. This weekend when I shopped I put the longest layers of my hair in a little bun in the back of my hair to see what clothes would like with my new look. I loved it. I loved the way I looked with new hair and clothes that fit. I loved that I loved myself! I loved knowing that my hard work is paying off. What a great feeling. Since I am addicted to TLC's What Not To Wear I always imagine that Clinton and Stacy are watching me shop haha!
Have you had a busy schedule pose a challange to get in your work outs lately?
Do you love What Not To Wear Too??

Friday, February 19, 2010

Interesting Discussions and Inner Health

This is a bit of a hodge podge of various things I wanted to share.

I've had some interesting little chats with some co-workers recently:
Yesterday I was in a brief discussion with a co-worker about food and weight loss and such (my office announced a weight loss initiative). Anywho, they brought up someone they recently met who is terribly skinny (as in maybe there should be concern) to which I (of all people) countered that some folks just aren’t into food. I have no idea what enigmatic gene makes one not love food and putting delicious things in their mouths, but there are in fact some people who simply eat to live. My co-worker’s response was, “well that’s what you are becoming.”

“ME?! Heck no, I love everything I eat. If I don’t like something I don’t eat it.” I said.
“Well, I could never like the things you eat. I’m envious of that.” they said.
Hmm…I know that actually liking vegetables and such has made it a bit of an easier path, but I realized that it is an actual gift, the one bone I have been thrown on this hard road from bulge to bikini. My co-worker dislikes most vegetables and has said his idea of a healthy dinner is a spinach salad covered in blue cheese dressing with croutons and cheddar cheese sprinkled over it and don’t forget the bacon bits. Woah.

The same co-worker and I discussed calorie consumption today. He said he thinks he easily eats three to four thousand calories a day. Magically, this person is not obese and does not exercise. Of this I am the envious one! I think it's very easy to eat this many calories, but I also know that I can't go beyond a certain amount many days in a row without gaining weight. This is a fact.

Another co-worker stopped by my desk to say hello a couple of weeks ago. We chatted about all of his recent traveling and the lack of exercise time and loads of work dinners. He mentioned that now that he has stopped traveling for a bit he is back in the gym and has been enjoying rowing. He said he may have to quit rowing at the gym though , because the rowing machine is “behind all of the treadmills the fat ladies use and I don’t want to look at their butts.” Amazingly I gathered all of my strength, held my tongue and did not injure him. How insensitive! UGH!

Inner Health
For my hippy women’s monthly seminar we get home practice to do if we wish. This month focuses mostly on taking care of ourselves (being mothering to yourself), as well as taking note in your food choices: What drives you to eat certain foods, how you feel about certain foods, encouraging us to choose healthful natural choices. How fitting. It’s a helpful reminder that those diet sodas I do still enjoy sometimes are really just a once in a while thing-they are full of chemicals after all. It also helps with one of my latest weaknesses-savory flavored pretzels. They are full of chemical flavorings so I remind myself that I should have them a few at a time and only if I really want them. Thinking of foods that I eat in terms of how nourishing they are to me is both challenging and very useful to battle cravings and make good choices.

Have you had any interesting conversations lately? Any insights to your insides?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oh WOE -megas

So I think I am Omega 3 deficient. Despite throwing in Omega 3-rich flax seeds ito some of my meals I don’t think I am getting enough. I could take a supplement, but Flax Seed Oil supplements come in gel caps, as in gelatin, as in animal bones. If I am going to eat bones, why not just eat some darn salmon?!

Thus I am struggling against my very black and white thinking. There has been something so healing and wonderful about not eating animal products-so much more overwhelming and fulfilling than I ever imagined, but at the same time I really think I need some fish. At first I felt amazing, but the past two weeks or so I have felt decidedly UNamazing. Without changing any of the things that were making me feel so wonderful on a plant based regimen, I now feel tired, irritable, and blue-very blue, and dying for a piece of salmon (I am salivating at the thought of it at this moment). Of course I’ve headed straight to the world’s library, the internet, to see if my diet could be the problem. So far all signs point to Omega 3 Deficiency.

I sometimes smell meat dishes and think they seem fabulous and read menus at restaurants and know a chicken, pork, or beef dish would probably be delicious, but I am not tempted. I’m only tempted by fish, mainly by salmon. My meatless hero Alicia Silverstone even mentions the occasional “slip” and how her love for meaty sushi sometimes gets the best of her. Heck, macrobiotics is basically veganism with a little fish thrown into the mix, so it’s a healthy thing (more so when you know exactly where it’s coming from of course).

I have to ease up on myself and know that there is no harm in taking some bites. If I feel awful about it, then I don’t have to do it again. If I feel tons better after a little bit, then I know it’s something that I need every now and then to maintain my health. I think I need to listen my cravings on this one.

Oh the tangled web of figuring out what’s best for me. Nutrition is tricky! It's amazing that there is still so much mystery after eight months of focusing so intently on health. There is just no perfect path to follow. Everyone’s needs are different. Everyone gets balanced in a different way.

I do know that my favorite super food is still vegetable juice (with a little hot sauce and some lime or lemon juice). I mentioned a while ago, but it is the Elixir of Life. I drink it most days after work when I get home. I feel so good after a big glass of it!

What foods make you feel amazing?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Something to Stew About...

As winter becomes unbearable across the U.S. (it’s even snowing in Dallas, TX today), there ain’t nothin’ like a warm pot of stewy goodness to warm your bones. Here is a protein packed simple lentil stew I came up with and enjoyed recently. (Bonus: It's even better as leftovers the next day, or in my case, week!!)

BB30s Lentil Love Stew

You’ll need:
6 cups of veggie broth
2 cups of dry lentils

1/2c-1 cup of chopped carrots
1/2c-1cup of chopped daikon radish (no biggie if you can’t find it-try some parsnips or more carrots)
1/2c-1 cup of chopped purple onions
5-6 cloves of chopped garlic (less if garlic isn’t your thing)
Curry Powder

Bring the six cups of veggie broth and lentils up to a boil.

Add in the chopped vegetables

Turn heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes (I went and cleaned a room with my 20 minutes-bonus exercise points!!)

Check on the stew and add in the spices (about 1/2tbsp or so of each and salt and pepper to taste-but frankly-seasoning is all relative to the eater-so use however much you like)

Simmer a bit longer (I let a lot of the liquid cook out of mine)

Eat as is or put a big ladle of it atop your favorite whole grain like oaty Kamut Flakes or brown rice.

This is the brand of Kamut Flakes I use and love. I found them at a kosher grocery store. I love trying out new whole grains. Changing up textures is one way I keep my mouth from being bored!!


Monday, February 8, 2010

It's In The Bag

First, I'm getting nervous y'all! I'm feeling a little overwhelmed and like I'll never be able to firm up my remaining jigglies in three short months! I begin rehearsals for a new show in 1.5 weeks and each night begins earlier and goes later than a typical rehearsal schedule, so I really may not get a lot of opportunity to exercise. I have a good rhythm of cooking a big pot of something for lunches during the week, so I don't think it will be too much of an extra hassle to prepare grab-n-go dinners to have handy as well. Heck, maybe it will be helpful since I won't be home being tempted to snack! I just need to make sure to pack enough-I definitely had to do some trial and error to perfect how much food to bring with me to get me through a  work day. In fact, I'll share with you my typical lunch bag:

I always eat breakfast at home, but I typically feel hungry again by 10:30am or so and I eat a fiber filled apple to tide me over until lunch.

LUNCH BOWL (I change it up, but lately this is my standard.)

  • I take a big rubbermaid container and fill it up with chopped, calcium rich, figure friendly greens (typically mustard, turnip and/or collard-there are some great pre chopped mixes out there, but fresh is of course magical and there isn't extra waste with packaging and such). I give it a shake or two of sea salt and some pepper, because greens are bitter and need a little something.

  • Then on top of that I layer between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup of a pre-cooked whole grain such as red wheat berries (soooo delicious), quinoa, kamut flakes (so oaty and comforting), millet, or barley.

  • On top of that I layer between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup of beans such as black, kidney, pinto, or if it's today-mung beans (I think the word mung bean is so weird don't you?). Sometimes I use canned beans, but I try to cook them ahead from dry if I can.

  • I'll throw in random seasonings for taste and variation like Tony's Creole Seasoning, cumin, or turmeric. I typically add in herbs and a little olive oil to my grains when I first cook them so they're ready ahead of time.

  • Sometimes I sprinkle in roasted flax seeds for some nutty Omega 3 action.

  • Come lunch time I will put my container in the microwave for about three minutes and the greens get nice and cooked under the grains and beans.
As yummy and satisfying as my lunch bowl is I get hungry again around 3 or 3:30pm. (Apparently I'm a metabolic machine now! Hahaha) So, I enjoy a baggie of baby carrots-more good-for-you fiber! Sometimes I'll bring some hummus along (but just a little bit-no more than two tbsps) My carrots and apple are interchangeable-sometimes I want my carrots in the morning and my apple in the afternoon.I listen to what my body says it wants first.

What else, what else? I have let two tough broads into my work out life lately. Meet the saucy Jeanette Jenkins and loveably feisty Jackie Warner:

I have done Jeanette Jenkins' Exercise TV 45 minute Kick Boxing workout a couple of times now and it's a great overall strength and cardio routine. I like it very much and feel really bad-ass and cool when I do it! They don't have it available to peak at online or else I would share :(

Did any of you watch the reality show Work Out on Bravo? Jackie Warner and her fierce abs were the star of that show, and I've been doing two of her works outs (one longer and one just focused on abs), because she knows what's she's talking about!
Click here for a snippet from the longer one.

Be sure to keep me posted if you find a great work out dvd you think I should try!

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Is It That Time Again Already?

Here are my latest measurements:
Jan 3rd Waist (at belly button): 30.75
Feb 3rd Waist (at belly button): 30 inches
Down 3/4 inch! Down 3.5 inches total!

Jan 3rd Hips: 36
Feb 3rd Hips: 36
No Change. Down 3 inches total!

Jan 3rd Arm: 10.75 inches around
Feb 3rd Arm: 10.75 inches around
No Change. Down 1 inch total!

Jan 3rd Thigh: 21.75 inches around
Feb 3rd Thigh: 21.75 inches around
No Change. Down 1.25 inches total!

Hey 3/4 inch in my waist ain't too shabby! I am a little surprised that after so much hard work and additional workouts over the past month that I haven't shaved off a little more, but I am seeing tone and definition, so that is awesome and most important.

I am definitely battling some harsh winter blues right now, but I know I would be in an even worse place mentally if I wasn't eating kindly and cleanly and exercising. I've started taking a B-12 supplement in hopes for a boost. One thing about not eating meat and dairy is that you miss some B-12. This isn't a loop hole in the system, it is because our soil today isn't as rich and healthy as it used to be. It's so overtreated now that all of the healthy bacteria that houses B-12 is missing and we're left with animal guts (literally) as the only place to get it instead of in our vegetables. So I take a dropper of liquid B-12 most days. Have the winter blues hit you?

Only three months left folks until I have vowed to feel fit and confident enough to wear a bikini. It's exciting and motivating and terrifying all at the same time! The hardest area is the ol' abs. I feel like I can't do enough ab work! I remind myself that I am working through a lifetime of squish and to be patient and kind to myself about it!!