Ghost Town

Today was an absolutely gorgeous day. It was the taste of spring that I had so been craving. Bring on the sixty-degree days, I am MORE than ready.

Unfortunately, I was stuck inside for a good part of the day, so I didn’t get to swallow up the sunshine as much as I had hoped! Sad!

After some fumbling around for transportation, I made my way to the gym this evening and walked right into The Most Beautiful Scene in All of the Land. The instant I pulled into the parking lot, I knew it was going to be a good gym night– there were about seven cars. That’s right guys, seven, not seventy. I couldn’t believe it! The gym was a GHOST TOWN! I had free reign of the whole place. I even managed to make my way to the weights! (Which are usually overrun by lots and lots of very, very large men.) Strangely, I think I was a little taken aback by the situation so my workout wasn’t quite as well-planned as it otherwise would have been! I spent a little bit of time on the treadmill, a little while on the elliptical and hit a few different weight machines. I closed off the night with a (semi-spastic) ab workout on the mats with far fewer reps than I had actually intended to complete. Don’t you worry, I’ve got tomorrow’s workout alllll planned out. The freedom of hopping around from machine to machine and not worrying about the line forming behind me, nor the general, anxiety-producing vibe of having an overcrowded facility gave me a second lease on (gym) life! I am really hoping that this little reminder of what an accessible, uncrowded gym can do for the soul will be the push that I need to force myself to hop over to the gym first thing in the morning. It’s time to get serious about this!

(Actually, it’s time to hop-to some big changes all the way around. The lunches, the snacks, the self-control, the gym, the running. Today is tomorrow!)

And speaking of healthy snacks, let’s talk about my newest obsession:

cookie dough

 

Raw cookie dough. Only not.

Back in college, one of my favorite healthier snacks was a peanut butter-Greek yogurt dip that I used to make by combining plain Greek yogurt, peanut butter, and honey. In that dip, there was significantly more peanut butter than yogurt (the yogurt really just served to “dilute” the peanut butter a bit in order to make it slightly lower in calories and also to change the consistency a tad).

And then, I tried this. Oh my dear goodness.

Take one 6 oz. cup of PLAIN Greek yogurt and stir in about a tablespoon of creamy peanut butter. Swirl in about a teaspoon of honey, and add a spoon or two of mini chocolate chips and bam, it’s cookie dough-flavored Greek yogurt. It is so, so tasty I can’t hardly believe it! On top of that, just one serving proved to be extremely filling. Plus, I totally felt like I was getting away with something so calorically sinful, when in reality, it was just a fun way to get some healthy fat (from the peanut butter) and mega-doses of protein (from the yogurt).

And now it’s time to play a rousing game of “Let’s See if Brittany Can Get to Bed at a Reasonable Time Tonight!”

Happy Daylight Saving Time day! I hope you have all started to recover from your lost hour!

 

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Preemptive vs Reconciliatory Workouts

Do you like my fancy pants words?

Did I just wreck it by saying “fancy pants”? Probably.

So let’s talk about work food. Today, my work food consisted of one serving of Progresso Hearty Tomato soup that I followed up later in the afternoon with a Clif Builder protein bar.

Are you disgusted? I certainly am. One of these days, guys. I swear. I’ll get my act together.  (Things started off well enough with a nice, filling bowl of oatmeal topped with a spoon of peanut butter. So filling and tasty! Maybe not all is lost.)

We have reached a point, my friends. I have never been one to hide my less-than-wise eating choices from my dear readers. Garbage plates have made it to the blog. Cakes have made it to the blog. Unreasonable amounts of chocolate have made it to the blog. But I am starting to notice an unsettling trend in my eating habits: I am being careless. I am ALL about splurges. I am 100% for celebrating special occasions. For giving in to those random “you-know-what-would-be-delicious-right-now?” cravings. But the one thing that is absolutely essential, is awareness of what you’re doing. What are you eating? Why are you eating it? Recently, my answers to those last two questions have been “Junk.” and “Because it’s there.” Time for some discipline! I have decided to start tracking myself again. Not to the point of “dieting,” but just to get myself back in the groove of holding myself accountable for making healthier choices! Read: BRING SOME DECENT FOOD TO WORK SO YOU DON’T STARVE ALL DAY AND EAT LIKE A PIG ONCE YOU FINALLY LAND BACK HOME.” Fortunately, I think that (overall), my relationship with food is very healthy, I enjoy eating healthfully, but I can also appreciate my treats. And come to find out, when those treats come in moderation, it makes them even more enjoyable. Time to snap back into action! 

And while we are on the note of lifestyle accountability, let’s talk gym routines.

Back in the day, when my job was just ten minutes around the corner and my workday began at 8:15, I was able to make it to the gym in the morning. And when I had days off (during the week), I was able to take a few classes here or there, or at the very least, make it in at a decent time where I would not only have the option of using the activity room for my circuits and random workouts, but also of having my choice of equipment to use. If it was feeling like a bike-to-treadmill-to-elliptical-back-to-bike kind of day, I could hop around the gym floor to my little heart’s content, but that is NOT the case anymore. Nowadays, I leave the house for work around 6:30. Even on the days when I tote the gym bag off with me, by the time I return home, it’s prime time at the gym. Good luck getting in the door! As you have probably figured out though, that is just about the only option that I’ve got, but space and machine-availability isn’t my only problem with evening gym time. 

Recently, I have come to notice that when I used to make time for the gym in the morning, it would start my whole day off on the right foot. Not only did it make me feel good about myself from a psychological standpoint and give me a clearer mind to charge through my day with, but kicking the day off with some good ‘ole physical activity would set me on the right path for my eating habits too. The physical activity would encourage me to eat a healthy breakfast. The healthy breakfast would stick with me and keep me full and keep me from making bad decisions throughout the rest of the day. Long story short, an active morning led to healthier choices throughout the rest of the day.

On the FLIP side, an evening appointment with the gym seems to be more of a “Uh oh. Where did those Oreos go!!?!? Time to run it off!” type of affair. It’s all about cleaning the slate from the rest of the day, and it’s a terrible way to go about things!

So, it’s time to make some changes. To make some scheduling accommodations, some food changes and to get back on the path that I was trucking down so happily for the better part of 2012!

As I have mentioned very briefly, next week, my company’s 8-week walking challenge begins! I think this might be the perfect time to set all of this in motion. I wonder if maybe I can some of my co-workers to join me…

So here’s my question for you, what do you do when you suddenly realize that your recent habits haven’t been the best for your long-term health and fitness goals? AND

Do you prefer early-riser workout time, or pm-punch of activity?

I hope you all had a great day and I will see you all again tomorrow!

 

When You Think of Things, Do Them

Hello my friendlings. ( <– I probably lost some street cred. with that one.)

I hope you had a nice Tuesday. I had a bit of a chaotic day at work today, I seemed to be bumping into strange little snafus around every corner! Fortunately, it was definitely not just me who was feeling the strange vibes. It’s always a bonus to not feel like the ONLY nutty one around.

Mini Rant/ Word-to-the-wise: About a week and a half ago, I received an e-mail at work that was offering a company step challenge. It’s one of those extended programs that companies can join in on as a team in order to make healthy changes. Every participant is given a pedometer to monitor their steps and there are fun little prizes along the way. I saw the e-mail right away and immediately wanted in. STUPIDLY, I waited, and waited, and waited and didn’t respond so that I wasn’t the FIRST one on board and let the opportunity slip right past my face! I came to this revelation today and flew down to the coordinator’s office to see if I could still sneak my way onto the team. HOPEFULLY they will still let me participate as the actual challenge has yet to begin. It is so “right-up-my-alley” I don’t know how I missed it! And by only a day. 😦 So what’s my word to the wise? DO THINGS WHEN YOU’RE THINKING OF THEM. There have been SO many times that I put things off, or promise myself that I’ll “do it later” and I end up forgetting entirely. It’s THE most frustrating feeling in the world, so spare yourself the agony and just do things when they first pop into your mind! If there’s no particular reason to put them off, then don’t!

Ehem. Sorry about that.

In other news, the weather here in WNY is absolutely ridiculous! It was GORGEOUS and sunny this afternoon (and by “gorgeous,” I mean 45 degrees), but by about 8:00 it was freezing cold and sleeting/ raining/ snowing. The roads are a mess already! Let’s hope things clear up by commute time in the morning!

After work, I made my way over to the gym and raced through an arm/ab circuit and followed it up with about 25 minutes on the elliptical. I really wanted to run again tonight, but for some reason, last night’s treadmill trek left my calves in some serious pain today! I figured I’d go for the zero-impact elliptical today. I  can never really get into elliptical-ing like I do with the treadmill or an outside run. It’s a great exercise and always leaves me sweating and feeling the burn, but I just don’t enjoy it! Not even a little. My arm/ ab circuit was quite a hodgepodge of exercises, but it was a pretty good one and flew by pretty quickly which is always a bonus.

And because I know you were wondering, here’s the song that has been fueling my workouts this week:

Are you embarrassed to know me? Don’t be. Embrace it.

(I may or may not also “sing” along to this song in the car. Loudly. Badly. Happily.)

I hope you have a great night and a wonderful Wednesday!

A Frazzled Morning

Hello everyone!

Today proved to be an extremely productive day at work, but boy, was it off to a bumpy start.

I am not entirely sure what faction of Murphy’s Law causes this, but it seems to me that ANY TIME I make plans for myself for “first thing in the morning,” I end up sleeping later than EVER and rushing through my morning. I hate frenzied mornings and I am a firm believer that what happens in the moments after you wake up can really set the tune for your whole day. But this morning, I rolled out of bed about 45 minutes after my alarm went off, took twelve thousand years to get the coffee pot working and for some reason, spent about three times as long choosing an outfit and getting dressed than I typically do. There came a time where there was some serious emotional strife that was directly related to the color of my socks. I was quite a treat. Anyway, I hurriedly dumped some coffee in a travel mug and rolled out of the door with still-wet hair, no real lunch to speak of and some serious frustration.

I must say, however, that ONE of the perks of having a significant commute is having that time to get your bearings. Even though I felt like a tornado racing through the house this morning and left in utter disarray, I had PLENTY of car time to get my wits about me, let the caffeine sink into my bones and work its magic and zone out to some tuneage. Not a bad deal. (Except for when it comes to gas and mileage…eesh.)

Fortunately, it was also a GORGEOUS morning. (Albeit FREEZING COLD.) Check out the view of the lake:

photo (72)

 

Not too shabby, eh?

So by the time I got to work, I was feeling MUCH more like a reasonable, normally-functioning human being which was quite a relief. I managed to tackle some major tasks today that I was pretty proud of! Part of my morning even had me crunching numbers OLD SCHOOL style. I even figured out percentages and sales discounts BY. HAND. Yes, I know, this is not complicated math, but my math skills leave MORE than a little to be desired. I was so happy, I saved the sheet of scrap paper that I used to make the calculations. Perhaps I should stick it on the fridge. 😛

And best of all, my evening actually loaned itself to some good, old-fashioned gym time. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it before the front desk closed which meant no access to my favorite multi-activity room (that’s where I like to do my circuits/ ab workouts), but I did get a good cardio workout in which is good news. Especially since 2013 is turning out to be the Year of Races afterall! Helllllloooo 10ks!

I hope you had a fantastic day and I will see you all tomorrow!

I seriously need to work out a new alarm clock system… Sheesh.

Caterpillar Convictions

Hello, my friends. I hope your Tuesday was terrific!

My morning was off to a little bit of a bumpy start. About five yards before my exit from the Thruway was up, I realized that I left a couple of semi-important things at home sitting by the front door. As luck would have it, this flustering revelation came in JUST enough time to rattle my cage and I promptly zipped right past my exit! (Yes, again.) Fortunately for me, I was able to turn around pretty quickly and get right back on track. Oy vey.

So now let’s talk about food.

Food:

This morning, I had breakfast waiting for me in the refrigerator. Overnight/ Refrigerator oats have been a BIG deal in the blog world in recent times. I tried it on a couple of different occasions over the summer, but could never really get into it. The texture is a little bizarre and the flavor is… well, complex, but recently, I gave it one more shot and I am hooked. While I’m still not exactly crazy about the oats, I cannot BELIEVE how filling this breakfast is. And on the plus side, you make it ahead (the night before) and leave it in the refrigerator to set up. By the time you’re ready for breakfast in the morning, the consistency is just right and you have yourself the World’s Most Filling Breakfast. Additionally, it’s kind of fun to play with the yogurt flavor/ fruit combinations. Best of all, there are only three ingredients: Greek yogurt, chia seeds (<— remember my obsession with these over the summer? It has returned with a vengeance!), and oats. Easy as pie. You can top ’em off with any of your favorite fruits which will really help the texture factor and also adds some sweetness!

ONOATS

On a slightly related note, I cannot tell you how wonderful these little split plates are. I found them 2 for $1.50 at the grocery store and they have  revolutionized my life. In this instance, I prepared the DELICIOUS-LOOKING (not.) oats on the larger side and sectioned out some frozen strawberries to thaw in the smaller portion. It works terrifically.

For lunch, I had pretty much the same deal as yesterday: shredded chicken on a sandwich thin:

photo (56)

It doesn’t look like much, but it packs a flavor punch and once again, is so, so filling. I discovered this chicken “recipe” on a blog a while back and will occasionally return to it. My favorite part is that it’s a make-ahead meal. You can get a few days out of a couple of chicken cutlets and have it ready to go for lunches. We all know that satisfying, simple lunches are my new schtick and this one certainly fits the bill. The next time I make the chicken, I will be sure to post the whole process. It is so, so simple which makes it twenty times better!

I also temporarily reverted to my old habits and finished lunch with dessert:

photo (52)

I will always and forever love my greek yogurt + banana combo deal.

Dinner tonight came in the form of a sweet potato that I cooked in the microwave. I know you’re jealous.

Also, in the 5ks & Coffee Beans spirit of COFFEE ADDICTION, allow me to introduce you to the bag ‘o beans that has been making my world go ’round for the past couple of weeks each and every morning:

Dunkin_Donuts_Pumpkin_Spi

Source.

Of course, I didn’t discover this coffee until it was on sale at Target, but I was hooked at my first sip. It is a wonderfully bold, spicy coffee that I could drink by the gallon. My travel mug full of this stuff is the only reason I am able to maintain my sanity on the drive to work. This weekend, I returned to Target to stock up and there was only ONE BAG LEFT. And as you may see, it is a LIMITED TIME ONLY flavor. So. Sad. Good old Dunkin’ is already on to their Mixed Berry, Coconut and Strawberry Shortcake flavors! Nonsense.

Let’s skip right along to my workout before we get on to the caterpillar business and namesake for this post!

Workout: 

For sanity’s sake, I decided to come home after work for a bit before heading to the gym. I figured that by pushing it back by a little while, maybe, just maybe, I’d be able to actually procure a treadmill. Or an elliptical. Or a bike. Or a locker. I did! It was, however, incredibly hot. So hot, in fact, that the windows were steamed. Who knows what is going on with that place.

I was feeling pretty tired by the time I finally made my way out tonight, but I committed to two miles on the treadmill and my beloved leg press machine. I zipped through an incredibly mixed up two-mile run/ incline power-walk and then made my way to the leg press. (The man on the treadmill next to me was shooting me mad weird looks as I constantly switched up my incline and speed on the second mile of that run. I think he thought I just didn’t have any idea what I was doing. We won’t tell him that he may have been right! 😛 ) Anyway, I was in and out within half an hour and boy, did I work up a sweat! Despite the fact that, once again, there wasn’t a single woman in the WHOLE facility (25:1), it felt great to get in and out of there without waiting in an awkward treadmill line or being in the midst of 2,000 other people.

And now for some desk drawer wisdom.

When I realized that I was going to have my very own desk and office at this new job, I decided that I wanted to make those spaces as motivating and positive as possible. It may sound silly, but a couple of encouraging words in the midst of a stressful day can actually work wonders on the old psyche.

One of my very favorite proverbs of all time is this guy right here:

photo (53)

Naturally, I couldn’t pass it by when I found it printed on a magnet a while ago. Over the years, it’s sat in many different places (perhaps most prominently, it was proudly displayed on a couple of my dorm room fridges). And now, it sits on my desk drawer and reminds me that just when things are looking bleaker than bleak, there is something beautiful waiting. I know, I know, it’s a little cheesy, but it is a phrase that has given me hope and insight through some choppy waters and it makes me smile every time I see it.

It’s my very own little Pinterest “inspiration” board right on my desk drawer!

So here’s my question for YOU. What is your favorite proverb/ motivational quote or quip? I have a zillion and one, but I think the caterpillar one will always be one of my very favorites!

Have a fantastic Wednesday and I will talk to you again tomorrow night!

It Must Be Monday

Oh, the humanity.

photo (48)That, right there, is my whole entire day in a heap on the floor. I was laying next to it for a while, but I managed to pry my limp soul off of the ground and find my computer just to write this little post for you. I hope you appreciate it.

The day started off promisingly enough, as you know, I prepared my whole day last night. From breakfast to lunch to my gym bag for after work, I was rearin’ and ready to go. It didn’t take too long for things to take an…interesting(?) turn. The whole vibe of my day is really pretty clearly illustrated with one short anecdote: today, the bathrooms at work were out of order for hours due to water pressure. Fun, right? Wrong. Sure, running water (or lack thereof…) can’t define a day, but it can certainly throw a monkey wrench in the whole thing!

Lunch time looked a little like this:

photo (49)

Although you can’t see it, the sandwich thin is filled with shredded BBQ chicken. It was quite tasty and SUPER easy to prepare. I even managed to incorporate a whole serving of fruit into this one in the form of an orange! How far we have come from the protein bars of last week!

And now, let’s talk about workouts.

So this is nothing new, but I have had (nearly) enough. Tonight, after a looooong day at work followed by an interview (this time I was the interviewER instead of the interviewEE which was a nice little switcheroo!) and some random work-related shopping tasks, I made my way to the gym to meet up with Katie. When I arrived, guess what was waiting for me….

Well, I will tell you what WASN’T waiting for me: a treadmill. Or any of the other machines that I was hoping to use. As I mentioned yesterday, I have actually really been itching for a run. It is something that clears my mind and drives me and makes me feel powerful and I love that feeling (even though that powerful bit is usually wiped away pretty quickly by feeling like the Grim Reaper is knocking on my forehead…) Anyway, I have been feeling like I’ve been a little tangled up in my own thoughts quite a bit recently and nothing does quite as good of a job at clearing that up as a nice little run does for me.

(WARNING: Gym rant ahead.)

So what did I do? I stood around for a bit, waiting around and attempting to predict when/ where a spot would free up. In the meanwhile, I did jump on an elliptical and “ran” like my life was depending on it. Eventually, a treadmill was finally available and I scooped it up right away. By that point, I was even more frustrated than I was when I got there, but I think my frustration and fury fueled a SUPER run. I didn’t go far, but it was fast and furious. I was actually pretty proud of myself by the end, but despite the fact that it was a great run, it didn’t really produce that feeling of clarity that I was so looking for. I’m pretty sure that was because of the initial stall when I first got there accompanied by the fact that the whole day was just plain infuriating. I don’t think that I actually ran long enough for it to have that de-escalating effect, but it still felt great to be being ACTIVE again. Enough was quite enough.

Now, with all of that being said, I am seriously considering switching up gyms again. It is so insanely frustrating to me to not have the equipment available to me when I finally make my way to the gym. Granted, if I were still able to go at 9:00 in the morning, I am sure that I would have the whole floor to myself again, but that just isn’t possible anymore! I counted today, there are 12 treadmills available and at the peak hours, that isn’t even 1/4 of how many should be there. When I was at college, this was the name of the game. It was a total crapshoot whether or not you’d get ANY air time with the machines you wanted. Skulking around behind the treadmills until one was available was a sport in and of itself. This was especially the case in the weeks right after New Year’s, but hey, that’s what you get when you throw thousands of students plus faculty and staff members into the same facility. That was kind of expected. But when you’re actually paying for a membership, that really doesn’t fly with me. I am not sure what the answer is, but if I can find a cheaper alternative that is still semi-convenient, it is MINE.

Anyway, better luck to me tomorrow, huh? You can’t win ’em all! Time to read and make my way to dreamland very soon! (Waking up at 5:30 takes some getting used to!!)

I hope you had a fantastic day and I will see you all tomorrow!

Switching Purses

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!!! Dear readers, it’s time to getcher commenting fingers workin’! I am in the process of organizing the FIRST EVER 5ks and Coffee Beans giveaway for you guys. Hopefully this works out, and if it does I will be so endlessly excited. It is something very near and dear to my heart and I would love to share with you guys, BUT you’ll have to start commenting if you want in! (Might as well start now! Comment on today’s post, comment on yesterday’s post. Comment on a post from three months ago, just start talking!)

The topic for today’s blog post is entirely random and came to me as I was getting ready for my morning late last night.

Since my morning today did not include a trip to the gym, you’re stuck listening to me ramble about purses! (For those of you waiting with bated breath to find out whether or not I was able to wrangle some cardio machine or mat time today, you must wait until this evening’s post.)

And now, for the main event.

As you know, I love my accessories. I don’t spend much money on them, but I like to have quite a selection. Take purses, for example. I have a big box full of purses and wallets and wristlets and they are all my friends! (She says as if that is a perfectly normal thought.)

Last night, I decided to switch things up from a big, tote bag-style purse that I’ve been using to a very small wristlet and it was then that I discovered the meaning of life  started to think about some random personality quirks and “slices of life” that can be seen just by shuffling through the innards of a handbag.

You would think that a purse would be sort of like the answer to one of those “if you were stuck on a desert island, what would you bring with you?” questions. For example, there are a few completely random things that you will never, ever catch me without. (And if you do, lookout, because chances are you’ve crossed the path of a monster.) But I really hope I would re-evaluate my choices if I were planning to land myself on a desert island.

These things include:

  • Bobby pins: Toting 12,000 pounds of curly nonsense around on my head has instilled in me a deep-seated fear of ever being caught without one (or ten) of these miraculous little devices.
  • A flash drive: This probably stems from my college days where I’d be shuffling between home, school and work like it was nobody’s business. Being caught without a tangible way to save my work was my worst nightmare. Never leave home without your flash drive.
  • A protein bar: This may be the most logical, potentially useful one. These suckers can really fill you up. When I get hungry, I get incredibly tired and cranky and a stowed-away protein bar has saved many-a-day from ending in a fit of malnourished frustration.
  • A combination lock: This one comes from being a member of a gym that doesn’t have enough lockers for all of its patrons. I HATE being stuck without a lock and having something that I want to stow away (like my coat… or my boots… or even my keys!) Sure, it would make sense for this to stay in my gym bag, but I don’t use a gym bag. So there goes that idea.

How many of these things would help in a natural disaster? Probably none. Maybe the protein bar. (At least for an hour or two), but as I said, they are entirely random and 100% me.

Switching purses is like starting anew. You get rid of the junk– the old receipts, the half-opened sticks of gum, the wadded up balls of who-knows-what and you put everything into a proper place. Somethings just don’t make the cut, but for the lucky ones that do, there is a special little place for everything and everything must go in its place.

Of course, some big life decisions come with switching purse sizes. If you’re upgrading, what do you do with all of the space? Do you find something to fill the void or do you enjoy the freedom of carrying all of your groceries home in your purse? If you’ve decided to downsize, now you’ve really done it: how many lip glosses make the cut? Do you actually need that last volume of Time magazine “just in case you get stuck somewhere and your phone runs out of charge and you have absolutely no choice other than sitting down and catching up on the world news?” What about that flashlight that you won’t have space for anymore? Sure, you don’t need it, but that’s always the case until you really, really need something, isn’t it?

So what things always make the “purse cut” for you? Are you a serial purse-switcher or are you one of those people who can stick with the same one for months and you just happen to be a little better about organizing it than some people I know (coughcoughmecoughcough)?

I hope you have a fantastic day and I will see you all tonight! (Hopefully I will have wonderous tales of how I made it to the gym this afternoon and had my choice of every machine in all of the land and frolicked about on the open floor and jumped from free mat to free mat where I completed 1,000 different ab exercises on each one just because I could. But I doubt it.)