Monday, February 28, 2011

Weighing In

Friday I boarded my scale for the first time in months. I had been fearing it with the fierce December and January that I spent couped up at my day job for loooong hours with limited exercise. Luckily I think my month of fitness reboot has been successful and the numbers were excellent (about two pounds lighter than my birthday). Almost ten months of maintenance is pretty awesome if I do say so myself. It was very motivating to keep going and push further.

I went to kick boxing again and it was great. Tough, but great. The instructor gave some actual instruction on form which was awesome. I felt tough and scrappy and alive. It feels good to punch through your frustrations. I like having the variety of dance work outs, yoga and super high impact cardio all in the same week. While there are standard moves in each class, each time is different so you can be distracted with getting the different combinations down and feel less like you are working out. I love that and I love that I can get home relatively early since I am an old lady and like to go to bed early. On another note I have been getting less sleep lately due to Mr. BB30's schedule which is not good for me. He opened a play and immediately began rehearsing another so if I want to, you know, see him and stuff, I have to stay up late. Ugh. Typically I'd go to bed without him, but I had a crazy creepy nightmare last week that was so vivid I have been scared to go to sleep alone (think the girl from The Ring sitting on top of you smothering you-yep, scary!!!!!!!!!!!!)

I digress. One day I will be brave and do abs class. Oh how that scares me, but it's the only way to firm up the ol' belly (so I can fight off Samara when attacks me in my sleep)!
She's knows I have weak abs!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Zumba Enigma

My Monday ended with a blissfully fun Zumba class that included one Bollywood Style routine which I LOVED. I want to take some Bollywood dance/fitness classes but the only places I can find in Chicago are super inconvenient (aka I will easily find reasons not to go). It's just such fun to dance it all out. The instructor picks great music and creates really fun routines. If Christina Aguilera is singin' I want to be dancin'!

Tuesday night the Zumba class was later with a different instructor. I knew it was going to be a guy and was interested to see how that would go. In walked a dude. A big tall manly dude (with a teddy bear face). Teddy RuxMAN was going to teach Zumba? The music started and he moved so well and so fluidly. He must have thought I wasn't enjoying myself because I kept catching glimpses of my face in the mirror and I looked so baffled. Surprisingly his routines were much cutesier than the other instructor's. I can't accurately describe what an enigma it was. This football player was in touch with his hips, dude could Zumba.

Last night I tried Yoga Sculpt. Again, thank goodness I've done some yoga before because in true form there was no instruction. There were some adjustments here and there, but it was everyone for themselves. Yoga Sculpt is just what it sounds like: Yoga with some small weights. I used only 2lb weights since I wasn't sure what I was in store for. I could have easily done 3 pounders. I was feeling wussy since my opposite arm is starting to hurt in the same way my old injury did. Get thee to acupuncture! I definitely broke a sweat and feel like I got a good workout from the class. It's the most interesting thing offered in the 5:30pm classes on Wednesdays, so I bet I'll go back.
I'm feeling motivated by all of the nice lean muscle I'm seeing during my workouts lately. I guess with Bikram the room was dim and I was so focused on form and breathing that I didn't really get to take a good look at myself. There's a long lean woman in here and she's coming out! It's exciting. With all of the shaking and such in Zumba I definitely see that I really need to do dips and curls everyday. I have some serious under arm I-was-once-chubby jiggle. Having some shoulder and tricep muscle actually makes it stand out worse! In all (ok 80%) seriousness. Does anyone have a Shakeweight? Are they effective?

Monday, February 21, 2011


On Friday, in my quest to reignite my exercise regimen, I attended my first kick boxing class. Not true blue, actual punching bag, kick boxing, but exercise, aerobics style kick boxing. I am very glad I had done On-Demand kick boxing in the past (oh how I miss you On-Demand Exercise TV) and TaeBo (long ago), because like the PiYo class, there was no form correction or true direction of any kind. There is no possible way there was a clear cut routine planned out. The instructor (who was ripped and could be Jillian Michael's sister) must have shot a zillion milligrams of B-Vitamin, because she burst in the room Tazmanian Devil-style and begin punching and kicking and jumping around the room (and of course, yelling). If I didn't know a little something about proper form or what terminology she was using (hook, jab, uppercut) I would have been lost (and injured). Thanks to the fact that I can pick up on choreography and learned some stuff from Jeanette Jenkins, I hung in there and did fine. I thought I would be super sore the next day, but I was surprisingly fine. Sunday I hurt.

Overall, it is astonishing to me that this place can continuously get away with no instruction on form. My guess is that the super serious clients/attendees do personal sessions there as well where they get pointers and the others don't attend frequently or just quit before they can actually injure themselves. Still, I'm shocked. In their defense (even though I haven't disclosed the name of their establishment) I have to say that my instructors for PiYo and Kick Boxing were subs and not the regular teachers. Still, train your subs! They could hurt people! I'll try the kick boxing again, because I got some serious high calorie burning cardio, but really, my heart is with Zumba.

Do you kick box?

Friday, February 11, 2011

What Room Are You In?

In case you weren't aware, The Nine Rooms of Happiness, is out in paperback! I know for me when I am stressing or have anxiety about something it all mushes together and can make me feel crazy or out of control (which usually makes me want chips and treats and way too many indulgences.) This book helps me to compartmentalize areas of stress and get to the root of them. This is why I connect so well with this book and separating areas of my life into rooms of a house. Yes, the bathroom is a battle ground sometimes-it's a source of relaxation with nice hot baths, but we also weigh ourselves there and beat ourselves up sometimes when we look in the mirror. The Office (where I am most days) is where you deal with frustrations and joys about career and money. The Kitchen is where I go for joy and community but it can be a tough room because that is also the food room. One of the biggest things it helped me with is understanding that while things are going bad in one room, things can be going great in other rooms. That is key for a recovering black-and-white thinker like myself.

In the back of the paperback the authors Lucy Danziger and Catherine Birndorf include excerpts of people who applied the book to their lives. I am so incredibly honored that I have a mention about my using this blog as well as their book as a way to get to the root of food issues and how I have used it to help me establish a way of saving money so I can build up strong enough savings to take a leap of faith and find happiness in a career.

Please give this book a read, you'll be better for it! I'd love to chat about it with you!

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Hearty Meal for a Frosty Day

I randomly came upon this recipe of the month in an actor-y e-newsletter. We just had a blizzard, so a cozy stew sounded perfect. Seriously. Make this. It's hearty and delicious. It's starchy so keep your portions in check, but it's full of flavor, protein and fibery goodness.

Moroccan Chickpea and Lentil Soup

2 cans chickpeas (rinsed)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
½ cup diced celery
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large tomato diced
1 ½ quarts vegetable stock
¼ lb. dried green lentils
½ cup long grain brown rice
½ -1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (save some for garnish)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Juice of 2-3 lemons (plus a little zest for garnish)
Heat the olive oil in a medium stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and celery and cook until the onions are translucent and the celery is tender. Add the ginger, turmeric, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and about ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir and cook for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, the vegetable stock, lentils, and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook at a gentle simmer for ½ hour. Add the rice and season with a little more salt (about ½ teaspoon). Continue to simmer for another ½ hour. Add the cilantro, parsley, and lemon juice and cook uncovered for about 5 minutes.
To serve, garnish with a little lemon zest and a bit of cilantro. Makes about 12 servings.

Go crazy with the lemon juice and's what gives this soup its kick

I paired a nice cup of this with a big bowl of vitamin rich steamed greens dressed with a kiss of Earth Balance and some sea salt. Seriously, I am just a person who really loves vegetables. I am lucky. How does this not look appealing?!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

On Muffin Tops

I have a muffin top. Monday my jeans were snug. I truly thought I was doing well and this has thrown me for a loop. Haven't I risen above all of this unhealthy fretting over myself? Wasn't I just thinking how well I was doing despite holidays and lack of time to exercise in January? Wasn't I just thinking my shoulders looked awesome in the mirror? Didn't I just rededicate myself to fitness last week?

I know how to jump start my body again. I know it will only take a week or so of extra care to deflate and not feel out of control (because really I think I may have just been on a sodium binge.) I guess this just goes to show how easily we can slip back into old ways of thinking. Seriously, I was on the verge of mental breakdown Monday morning over feeling bloated (thank goodness for meditation and breathing). I feel like it's important to be real and not sugar coat my ongoing journey with a healthy body and healthy self view. Monday I felt sad, mad, frustrated, stuck, and scared.

I know what bad habits led me here. They include but are not limited to: Harmless handfuls of afternoon candies (there is soooo much candy for the taking in my office), extra glasses of wine I needed because my day was tough, a few chips at night, too many diet sodas because I needed caffeine to survive my tough day. All of these have contributed to my muffin top and I was an active participant the whole time. I have to take responsibility for that. I also know that some of my angst is residual frustration over the fact that Friday I received a last minute call for a print ad and odds were really strong that I would book it or at least be called back. I've heard nothing. Ouch.

I took the bull by the horns and avoided small cheats and drank lots of water. I did an online reservation for Zumba at the fitness center where I will be exercising for the next two months courtesy of Groupon. Dancing always makes me feel happy and I had been so excited to try Zumba. I was put on a wait list. Boo!! On that no-good-very-bad-day I felt extra disappointment that I might not get to go. However, I knew I couldn't use it as an excuse not to exercise when there were other classes I could take. Luckily I got  into the Zumba class with no problem. It lived up to my expectations. It was such a blast. I got my dance on and my cardio on and had a ball doing it!!! It made me so happy! I can't wait to go back. We had ourselves a full fledged blizzard in Chicago last night so I couldn't go Tuesday or today. Frown! There isn't a Zumba class on Thursday nights, but I will pick something else to go to after work tomorrow (just not PiYo!). I am committed!

So, the past three days I have been more conscious of little nibbles and such and I already feel a difference. Extra bites are really one of my biggest downfalls and I just have to pay attention!