Monthly Archives: January 2013

Meltdown No. 1: Achieved

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Welp, it’s official: yesterday I had my first wedding-related meltdown.

A full-on, panic-attack, freaking-out, waterworks-and-a-snotty nose, the-world-is-coming-to-an-end-today meltdown.

It was not pretty. In fact, I’m quite sure that if anyone had been a fly on the wall during that event, they wouldn’t have known whether to feel sorry for me or to grab some popcorn and settle in for the entertainment. Ian caught the worst of it on the phone, bless his heart…

On the other hand, I’m giving myself props for making it 47 days before said meltdown 😉 That’s gotta mean something, right?

Thoughts post-meltdown:
I know that I need to “let go and let God.” I’m just such a damn control freak!

I’ve become an expert at micromanaging — not the best way to work with those who are trying to help me plan this shindig.

I should’ve called Lauren…

If our roles were reversed:

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The way I imagine my mom and my best friends to be feeling presently:

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Why are floral arrangements so freaking expensive?!

Will I still have friends after this is all said and done? (Please?)

A girl whose parents live on my parents’ street called her mom just a few weeks before her wedding, sobbing because her fiance didn’t have a belt that matched the golf shoes he was planning to wear that afternoon to play a round with the girl’s dad. Hey, I could be that girl!

WHY are floral arrangements so freaking expensive??

[Miles for the Month: 35.71. Last January, I “traveled” 25.01 miles. If I were adhering strictly to my challenge, I would’ve traveled 170.96 miles this month. Of course, mileage doesn’t account for strength training, beginning a new semester of graduate school, or starting my Practicum… 😉 I know, I know — “no excuses, play like a champion!”]

Drawing Conclusions

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My week-long nutrition calculating culminated yesterday!

(Geez, what is with this woman?! She won’t stop talking about protein and carbs! Enough already!)

I know, right? 😉

First, let me just say that writing down every morsel I put into my mouth was tedious and at times, difficult. I found that without actually altering the amount of food I was planning to eat to suit this task, I did measure a number of foods I normally wouldn’t (e.g. number of Wheat Thins, tablespoons of salsa, teaspoons of salad dressing). Without knowing the amount I was eating, nutrition labels would have been all but useless. Also, it was eye-opening to see how many so-called servings of food I actually consume when I bypass measuring and just eat. That said, here are the last few stats*:

Monday — 262.5g carbohydrates, 65g protein (woohoo!), 48g fat, 26g fiber

Tuesday — 231.5g carbohydrates, 76g protein (score!), 56g fat, 28.5g fiber (win!)

Conclusions
To be honest, I can’t draw too many conclusions other than that I’m not consuming enough in any category every single day. I hit my protein intake mark three days out of five, so that’s nothing to scoff at! I only hit my fiber mark twice, so I’ll be looking into how to up my fiber intake per diem. I never hit my carbohydrates or fat marks.

Reactions
I am one hundred percent surprised that I never once hit my RDV fat or carbs intake marks. Before I began tabulating everything, I thought surely I consumed enough fat and carbs to satisfy the RDV requirements (and probably several other people’s, as well). Perhaps this is where the answer to my personal hunger games lies; carbohydrates fuel the body through strenuous exercise as well as daily living, while saturated fats satiate the body and make it feel artificially full. Perhaps if I am not eating enough of either, my body is going into conservation mode because it never detects fullness and therefore feels that it needs to hold on to fat reserves and sources of energy. In a circular effect, my body needs ample fat and carbohydrate intake to signal it to allow me to lose weight through diet and exercise without feeling the need to hold on to those nutrients. This could be the answer to my weight-loss plateau, as well. Many people told me that at the beginning of my weight-loss journey, I would shed pounds like they were nothin’. Further down the road, they said, I would hit a plateau and it would seem as if I’d never lose another pound (for most people, I assume that’s how those “last ten pounds” feel). I’ve been hovering around the same weight for a few months now with little noticeable progress. I think I may have finally found my answer! Now, uncovering the solution to my intake woes is another story… Looks like more research is next on my to-do list!

Typically
A typical day in meals looks like this — Breakfast: coffee + Splenda + a splash of skim milk, Greek yogurt, Kashi cereal + fresh fruit; Lunch: spinach salad with cucumber, tomato, broccoli, baby carrots, and Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing (or) quinoa bowl with shredded lettuce, quinoa, sour cream, fresh salsa, black beans (or) hearty soup (Italian Wedding-Style, Mexican Tortilla, French Onion, Homestyle Chicken Noodle); Snacks: almonds, Asian pears, Wheat Thins, KIND bars, bananas, blue corn tortilla chips + fresh salsa; Dinner: pasta + sauce (or) hearty soup [if not for lunch], fresh tomato + cucumber slices in apple cider vinegar + black pepper; Late snacks: frozen fruit, sugar-free Jell-O, decaf coffee + flavored creamer

*Just as a refresher, I based my “stats” on the recommended daily value for a 2,000-calorie diet; I currently have no precise way to measure how many calories I burn or need to take in per day. Also, I did not include my weekend meals, as they were atypical of my diet, eaten at a restaurant, or homemade sans nutrition info.

HELP! I’d love any suggestions you have for how to increase my intake in any of these nutritional categories! I like to eat as many “whole” foods as possible, without a lot of the processed stuff and without calorie-counting.

My Comfort Zone

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Stepping outside of my comfort zone is not something I relish doing. However, it’s something I’m almost always really glad I did. As I mentioned, this semester I am beginning my Practicum experience requirement (100 hours) for my Master’s degree. I accepted a position at a school for children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral disturbances that require them to be at least temporarily removed from public schools.

Last Wednesday, I met with my supervising Practicum professor and my on-site supervisor. I was quakin’ in my boots at the prospect of beginning my first real counseling experience — until my on-site supervisor informed me that I’ll be working with the younger children, some of whom have autism. I love working with individuals with autism. My mind immediately flashed to my interview for my internship at the Faison School in 2010. That experience was perhaps the farthest I have ever stepped outside of my comfort zone; I had never before worked with children with autism, nor did I know what the hell I was supposed to be doing. And yet, I survived… and re-applied for two additional summers. And loved every minute of it. If a = b and b = c, then a equals… I can survive this, too!

This morning, when my alarm rudely awakened me at 6:55, I was immediately nervous about beginning Practicum. Then, I checked my email and the news. Due to freezing rain — and this being the state of Virginia, which causes people to compulsively close or delay the schools, as well as forget how to drive, the moment the skies darken — I was asked to arrive at 10:30 instead of 9:00. That relaxed me a bit. Unfortunately, I was awake 3 hours before I needed to be out the door, but it gave me a few extra minutes to linger in a hot shower. I had enough time to drink an extra cup of coffee, pack my lunch without haste, dress and style my hair (which would have been wet had I left at 8:20 instead of 9:55), and even read a few more of the 87 pages assigned in my Tuesday class. Okay, truth be told, I also had time to watch one-and-a-half episodes of Boy Meets World while I got things done around the apartment 😉

With all that unexpected time, I arrived at the school 20 minutes early, relaxed, alert, and prepared. And I had a wonderful first day! It really helped my anxiety that my on-site supervisor is so laid-back and encouraging of self-directedness. She was super flexible about the time and duration of my lunch break, and she encouraged me to simply observe today, to watch and listen without taking detailed notes and to start getting to know the peculiarities of such a unique environment. For the first day of a new “job,” I could not have been more far-removed from my comfort zone; and yet, I felt so genuinely comfortable in my own skin. I think it just goes to show that when I don’t build things up in my head, they aren’t ever as anxiety-producing as I’m anticipating. I’m truly looking forward to going back on Thursday!

Question: What takes you entirely out of your comfort zone? Like or dislike trying new things?

[Thursday — 234g carbohydrates (hoorah for quinoa!), 32g fiber (RDV reached!), 55g protein (RDV reached!), and 28g fat. Friday through Sunday, I did not keep tabs of my nutrition intake due to traveling, unavailability (i.e. Ian cooked dinner Saturday night), and meals eaten at restaurants. The experience of tabulating my nutrition intake without tabulating calories consumed is certainly proving to be interesting.]

Sat(h)ur(s)day Thrills #4

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Guess I’m a couple days late for a “Thursday Thrills” post, but there are a few things I have been loving as of late. Better late than never, hmm?

Number one: the sock bun. I realize I’m way late on the style timeline, but I just discovered a few weeks ago how great a sock bun works in my long, not-so-straight-but-not-quite-curly hair, thanks to this awesome tutorial:

I bummed a tube sock from my dad, cut off the toe, and I’ve been sock-bun-stylin’ ever since. I’m (kind of) trying not to over-utilize the style, but I’m obsessed. It works great for class, my Practicum site in a school setting, formal occasions for Ian’s med school events, and an all-around comfortable, classy way to keep my (desperately in need of a trim) locks out of my face. [All of my photos of evidence are embarrassing “duck face” selfies. Pass on sharing.]

Number two: “couple friends” dates. Ian and I recently discovered that no matter where we are — Hampden-Sydney, the ‘Burg, Richmond, even Roanoke — we have couple friends to make Date Night plans with us. For example, one of Ian’s best friends and his girlfriend were supposed to be celebrating his birthday with us in RVA, but the “blizzard” caused travel difficulties for everybody’s small cars. We were bummed that we’d have to cancel our reservation at Capital Ale House… until Ian suggested that we try one of his closest med school friends and his lady! They were amped to go out to dinner, and the restaurant and bar crowds were surprisingly light. There’s little else that I enjoy more than good food, free-flowing good beer, and conversation with good friends.

Number three: my traveling jewelry case. I discovered this gem one day while I was out shopping post-Christmas with my mom. It is ahh-may-zing.

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Perhaps what I love best about it is that it’s double-sided. And that the pouches are clear. And that it folds nearly flat in my weekend bags. As well as the (unpictured) wooden hanger feature at the top. Alright, so there are quite a few things I love about it. Full disclosure — I picked this baby up at Cato. As much as I love the jewelry tree I bought a few weeks ago, its primary function is aesthetics rather than organization.

I hope your weekend is excellent, blends! I’m off to start beautifying for the formal Ian’s class is sponsoring tonight. Should be an interesting adventure traversing the icy streets in heels 😉

Question — Have you tried the sock bun look? What do you think of it in general?

Arosto + Nutrition Log

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Tonight, one of my closest grad school friends and I had a dinner date at a new wood-fired pizza joint in town, Arosto. Both the dinner date and the location were her idea, and she even picked me up! Now that’s a good friend 😉 She had the BBQ Chicken Pizza (BBQ sauce, chicken, red onion, mozzarella, cheddar), while I tried the Julianne Pizza (Romano sauce, spinach, pesto, chicken, Roma tomatoes, mozzarella, feta). We swapped slices so we could try each other’s; both were delicious, but I’m big into pesto and spinach. The Julianne was a hit, and so was Arosto!

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(I normally don’t drink soda, but I’m a total sucker for Coke in glass bottles… And this Coke was naturally sweetened, so it wasn’t saccharine-sweet!)

The pizza place was super cute and very artsy and mod-looking, and obviously very popular! We parked ourselves at a table for two-and-a-half hours talking wedding, and people were steadily streaming through the door and forming a line that stretched outside. It’s only been open for a week, and it’s already doing booming business — probably due to rave reviews like ours!

In other news…

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m not calculating nutrition information for meals eaten out (for my sanity’s simplicity’s sake). Calculating the carbs, protein, and fat I’m eating is much more difficult than I anticipated. You’re probably thinking, Duh! Well, recording any foods with nutrition labels (e.g. almonds, milk, canned soup, soy sauce, bagged baby spinach, bananas) is relatively simple. I’m running into challenges in areas such as leftovers. For example, I took a bottle of Vitamin Water with me to class last night, but I finished it today. I added all of the nutrition info to yesterday’s log, but that’s not entirely accurate. Same with the stir fry I finished for lunch today. I calculated the info for the sauce (soy sauce, honey, Marsala wine, oil) and the brown rice on yesterday’s log. I did not include any nutritional info for the squash, celery, baby carrots, onion, broccoli, or green pepper on yesterday’s log because I didn’t want to mess with figuring out the size or number of ounces of veggies used. I also didn’t include any of this on today’s log, mostly because just a few bites were left over.

To be honest, I’m not feeling satisfied with my nutrition log. I knew when I decided to calculate this information that fresh, raw foods wouldn’t be included, but it feels incredibly incomplete without the total package. I don’t want to start calculating this information in the middle of the week, though, or there won’t be an accurate basis for comparison. I did decide to start calculating fiber, however. How could I have left out such a crucial component of my diet?!

That said, today I consumed 75g carbohydrates (though I made up for this deficit with my scrumptious Julianne pizza), 33.5 protein, 42g fat, and 11g fiber. Topped off with a delicious cup of hazelnut decaf while I settle in for Toddlers and Tiaras 😉

My Personal “Hunger Games”

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Maybe I live an insanely blah life, or maybe I tend to enjoy things that other people loathe, but perhaps the only thing I like one of my favorite things about starting a new semester is renewing myself from the inside out.

Last semester, I wrote about my near-constant hunger. I consulted my doctor and had bloodwork done, but I only experienced relief for about two months. Of all of the factors we discussed that could have been contributing to my hunger, my doctor and I never discussed whether I was eating enough of the right stuff. For example, I know my diet is full of leafy green veggies, water, fresh fruit, and a variety of bright colors… but I don’t know whether I’m consuming enough healthy carbs or sufficient protein.

At the beginning of this semester, in order to combat my baffling hunger, I’ve decided to keep a log of the (measurable) carbohydrates, total fat, and protein I’m consuming during the week. Being that I’m not a registered dietician, nor am I in the habit of driving myself insane, by “measurable” I mean that raw, fresh, and whole foods will not be included (unless they are supplied with a label) — because I don’t want to measure the number of raspberries on my cereal or Google the nutrition info for one-third of a cucumber. This also means that I won’t count meals eaten out (which are typically on the weekend, anyway).

I am NOT counting calories. I hate the idea of a restrictive diet; I prefer to make an attempt at eating as many whole, fresh foods as possible to strive for balance. Sometimes, I eat what I want when I want to eat it. C’est la vie. I’m not going to get my panties in a wad over a cookie or a Diet Coke.

I am also NOT turning this exercise into one of my myriad “challenges.” I do not intend to alter the foods I normally eat to fool myself into believing my carb/fat/protein consumption is sufficient or over-and-above. I’m simply making a record so I can ascertain whether my consumption is compatible with my RDV and my level of exercise.

Not because I think you’re on the edge of your seat biting your nails with anticipation, but because blogging is an easy way to hold myself accountable, I’ll be reporting back with stats!

Here’s to (hopefully) solving my hunger woes, and to being one step closer to a fitter, more nutrition-oriented me! 😉

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Could there be a cuter way to take notes?!

[Edited to add: Today I consumed 164g carbohydrates, 39g protein, and 8g fat. Low on all counts.]

Fresh Powder, Brah

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Boy, have I missed blogging the past five days! I’ve been receiving update emails from my favorite bloggers, and I felt so behind on posting! So full of new ideas! I haven’t been sitting on my bum for five days, though. No sir.

On Thursday, most of the great state of Virginia got dumped a surprising amount of heavy, wet snow. The kind that falls in huge, fat flakes, and that makes driving (and attempting to go anywhere near a grocery store) treacherous. I truly thought that the previous week’s 60-degree temps would have made the ground far too warm for snow to stick or accumulate, but it turns out that my logic is every bit as unpredictable as VA’s weather patterns.

My dad and I took full advantage of the only substantial “fresh powder” Charlottesville has had all winter by skiing at Wintergreen Resort. Well, he skis; I snowboard 😉 Anyway, I was rushing around like a mad woman in the days preceding this ski trip in order to succinctly pack 6.5 weeks’ worth of clothes, Christmas gifts, acquired add-ons, and stuff that had been slowly and sneakily taking over every square inch of my room at home. I knew that when we got home from 4 hours of driving, 4 hours on the slopes, and more than a little anxiety and adrenaline over the impending “blizzard” predicted for the state, I wouldn’t want to do anything but pour myself into bed. Check.

There is nothing in this world quite like the feeling of flying down a mountain at what feels like Mach-3, the wind whistling in my ears, snowflakes being sucked past me, gliding over hills and valleys, dodging flags and fence posts, hearing the crunch of snow beneath my board when I finally spray-snow-to-a-halt at the orange flags approaching the lift. It literally feels like I am defying death, defying everything that seems humanly possible with regard to speed and balance and precision. My knees burn, my fingers tingle, my lips are so chapped they feel like they’re not a part of my face, and my heart races. Snowboarding is one of the most incredible things I’ve learned.

I must admit, I have spent so much time learning to snowboard and working on my technique on icy, synthetic snow that I didn’t quite know how to handle the real deal. I’m not fond of the words “I can’t” in the context of what I am physically capable of accomplishing, but there were multiple runs down the mountain when I literally could not move my board forward an inch. Twice, I ended up unbuckling my ratchets and walking the rest of the way to the lift. [If you’ve ever seen a snowboarder walk attached to his/her board, it is as exceedingly uncomfortable as it looks to walk with one leg twisted 90 degrees toward the other.] Sometimes, I fell in pockets of powder so deep, the drifts came up to my knees and the snow covered my board, making it impossible to gather momentum. Some of the slopes Dad and I are accustomed to skiing weren’t open because the resort hadn’t been able to blow or retain enough snow to cover the grass. No matter — Mike and I tore it up!

There were pros to it snowing while we were skiing, too. (Aside from the beauty of fresh, clean, white snow. I’ll always be in awe.) When I wiped, the fresh snow was refreshingly cushiony; I’m used to bruised hips and swollen knees and tender wrists after a boarding trip on icy slopes. I boarded off the lift successfully every single time. Because the weather wasn’t looking good for the mountain, there was hardly anyone at the resort. I’m sure it’s overrun right now, though, with it being a holiday weekend. Perhaps best of all, I measurably discovered how much more in shape I am than when we skied last year! Usually my entire body is sore for days afterward, but this time I just experienced some stiffness in my upper arms and my thighs. I was also impressed that we stayed on the slopes for the entirety of our four-hour lift ticket, with the exception of a quick Gatorade-and-granola-bar break. We’ve still got it, Dad 😉 I wish I’d had a way to record photos and the miles traveled via boarding for my 2,013 in 2013 goal, but alas, my personal bank of athletic equipment isn’t that advanced.

Another reason I haven’t blogged is that I’ve been at Ian’s family’s home in Roanoke since Friday evening. We’ve been car-shopping for him most of the weekend. It is one of the strangest feelings in the world to be browsing for a “family-friendly vehicle” at 24 years old. [Let me clarify that we have no intention of needing Ian’s new car to be family-friendly within the next few years. But when we do require such a car, because mine is not, we won’t be able to afford to buy a whole ‘nother one.] We’ve also been working a little bit on the wedding-planning agenda with Bonnie, my future mother-in-law. I was really excited to show her all of the material I’ve been gathering and the research Ian and I have done; my mom and I have done a lot of tossing ideas around, and I didn’t for one minute want Bonnie not to feel a part of it all.

Lastly — and honestly, depressingly — graduate classes resume tomorrow evening. Yep. I have class on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. Guess that’s part of the total private-school package. I’ve been prepping as much as possible for the start of the semester, but mentally I’m not in the game yet. However, regular blogging, regular workouts, and regular clean-eating resume tomorrow (woooohoooo!).

Well, it’s dinner time between football games, so catch ya later, blends!