Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Posts tagged “healthy talk

Just The Icing, Still No Cake

Easter is on Sunday, and I’m so excited! Part of me wishes I could say it was religious reasons, but it’s not. It’s for food and shopping reasons.

Lent ends real soon. And I gave up carbs and shopping for Lent, as you know. So all of you can go from being mini cupcakes back to being regular human people. You can keep your whipped cream frosting if you’d like.

One of my friends, the lawyer has a plan for the end of her Lent. Our girl is having a birthday dinner in Chicago on Saturday night. And of course there will be a cake. So my friend the lawyer is planning on getting a piece (or three) of this birthday cake and keeping it until midnight. After dinner, and likely dancing, there will be birthday cake.

When she said her plan for ending Lent, I knew I had to come up with one of my own. I thought about making one of the amazing recipes I’ve seen on Pinterest recently, just go full carb.

But that didn’t seem appropriate. I certainly haven’t lost any real weight since I’ve cut out carbs, but I feel a bit like I’ve cut an addiction. So I think I’ll just make some roasted red potatoes to go with my Easter dinner, and leave the carbs at that.

Speaking of Pinterest, I’ve been told by a few people how amazing it is, I’ve even been called a walking Pinterest, which I wasn’t sure was a compliment. But I love Pinterest!

All the hair ideas, clothing ideas, food ideas, drink ideas, design ideas. And I’m sure that’s just tip of the iceberg. I probably has one million and one cute cat pictures, I just haven’t stumbled across those boards yet.

I’m only using it (right now) to have a board for my Stitch Fix stylist and to get great accessory ideas. I got an idea I got for how to wear a head scarf, and I tried it out on Tuesday.

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But back to the end of Lent. If I’m not going to go all carb, all day, I have to do something, and that something is going to be shopping.

It’s not going to be just shopping for the sake of shopping though. I’m going to be useful shopping. I’m going to take some of the money I’ve saved not shopping during Lent and buy a bicycle.

Every single bike I’ve ever owned has been stolen. I guess that’s the price of living in the hood (or hood-adjacent) all my life.

So while priority #1 for this bike will be the usual: it must be super cute, priority #2 is that it must must be lightweight.

The reason my last bike was stolen is because I had a cheap lock on it and kept it locked up outside. It was just so heavy to carry in and out of the brownstone where I live.

So this new bike that I will hopefully purchase on Sunday will:

1) be cute

2) be very lightweight

3) be turquoise

4) have some sort of basket for carrying things, and some other way to carry stuff on it

5) be old-style looking

6) be a relatively reasonable price

7) help me get my ass back to yoga

I’d like it to look something like this:

I just really want to get back to yoga. I always feel my best when I go regularly, I still have my monthly membership, and with a bike I can easily get back and forth to the studio.

Perhaps I’ll ride the bike even more now that Spring has truly come to NYC. With a real lock this time, I’ll have less worries of it being stolen. Then perhaps the bike can provide useful transportation as well as exercise.

Exercise is something I need in my life. Not just because I’m 30 and my body is already responding differently (ie, worse) to the lack of exercise. And not just because my family is going on vacation to the Dominican Republic this August and I’m trying get that beach body right. But because I want to feel like myself again.

I want the increased energy, I want the better sleep at night, and I want the confidence.

I want to be able to grab anything out of my closet and not have to hope it’ll zip up today. I want to wake up refreshed, not be so lethargic.

And the fact that the key to all of this seems to be shopping, well that’s just the whipped cream icing on the cake. Well, still no cake. I’m going to try and stay low carb even after Lent is over.


You Are All Mini Cupcakes to Me

Twenty-six days since my last post. As horrible as that sounds, it is an improvement over the months between the last two posts. Sometimes life is like that, you know?

I checked the weather forecast today, and for the first in months (months!), the forecast says it will not drop below freezing again. Ever again. Well, at least not for the next 10 days. God willing, it will stay above freezing all day every day for the next 7 1/2 months. Fingers crossed New Yorkers.

Checking the weather made me feel hopeful. It’s funny how my outlook on life can be tied to the weather. Not my mood necessarily, but how optimistic and productive I’ll be in a given day.

Even though it was super cold on my walk to work from the subway, I felt happy. I knew it was the last 24 degree morning I’d have to walk through for a long time, so I was feeling full of energy.

Consequently, I had a very productive day at work. I’m talking a cross-everything-off-your-to-do-list, come-up-with-new-tasks-cause-you’re-in-the-mood level of productiveness.

And not feeling completely drained from the combination of “work and not completing said work” has led me to writing this post.

I want to talk about shopping. I gave up shopping for Lent. Shopping and carbs.

Shit, it’s been hard. I may or may not have fallen off the wagon a couple of times. For carbs, falling off the wagon includes eating 4 french fries or sweet potatoe fries or a bowl of cereal here or there. Otherwise, I keep my carb intake to less than 15g per serving.

It’s really impressive that I haven’t made myself a big batch of mashed potatoes. I miss potatoes. And breadsticks. And cake.

For shopping, falling off the wagon looks like this:

While I’m still trying to figure out my own home-made shampoo, Carol’s daughter has some amazing new products I’m trying, even though I should’ve waited until after Easter.

And also like this:

This is my current “everyday” bag for the beginning of Spring. Technically neutral, so cute, holds everything I need. Now I definitely should NOT have bought it, but I love it so.

And… also like this:

This I bought the day I bought all those Carol’s Daughter products… I needed something to carry them home in! When I was at the airport, everyone that looked remotely my age was carrying these super stylish and fun backpacks, so I joined the trend. I have nothing to say for myself.

But other those lovely finds, I only purchased what was pre-ordered (meaning, I never had to click “checkout”), and food, which was allowed, as long as it didn’t have carbs.

Most of my favorite places to eat have very little carb-free options. Everything is fried or in sandwich form or served over pasts. I miss sandwiches. The willpower it took to avoid Potbelly’s during lunch one day is what led to the pink bag pictured above. It was either that or walking to Penn Station to buy a Cinnabon.

I miss Cinnabon. I haven’t had one in literally years. But still…

I’ve been coping with what I gave up for Lent by living vicariously through others. When I went to Indianapolis to visit my friend who just had a baby, we went grocery shopping, bought the baby a dress, and had her take pictures with the Easter bunny. That was good money spending, it scratched the itch a bit, you know?

She looks like a doll. A little doll nestled in an Easter basket. Her daddy picked that dress for, and he did well, if I do say so myself.

She looks like a doll. A little doll nestled in an Easter basket. Her daddy picked that dress for her, and he did well, if I do say so myself.

When it comes to carbs, I’ve gotten quite creative. I’ve been eating meals that are basically exactly what I’d eat if I turned vegetarian, mixed with a whole bunch of meat.

For example, I made a dish with quinoa, black beans, red onion, olive oil, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, basil, and sauteed kale. It was a hearty, delicious, low-carb dish. It was still low carb because I only had a 1/3 cup cooked quinoa in one serving of it.

But because I’m me, I added bacon to it and ate it alongside siracha, worchester & white balsamic glazed chicken wings. I’d be such a good vegetarian, but I don’t wanna, and you can’t make me.

And another way I cope with carbs is to imagine those around me as carbs. Like in a cartoon where the hungry character imagines their friend as a turkey leg.

I’ve been imagining my co-workers as all sorts of things. They get a kick out of me figuring out what each person is. I have a buttermilk biscuit, a single breadstick from Olive Garden, fried zucchini, a blondie, fettuccine alfredo, and squid ink gnocchi just to name a few. Drool.

And those of you who are reading this, in my mind you are all mini cupcakes.

This image comes from

This image comes from The Cupcake Blog. If you  bake, seriously check out this blog.

Perhaps you are 24 assorted flavors, like you get in the grocery store, but a good grocery store. Like Publix. With whipped cream frosting and no artificial colors.

I miss Publix. They’re down in Florida and they made the best sweet tea. And fresh hoagie rolls. And breaded chicken tenders. And store-brand cookies. Simply the best.

Okay. Moving on. Staying strong.

There are benefits to all of this deprivation. Saving money is nice. And not gaining weight is also nice.

I’d like to switch from “not gaining” to “actually losing”. I have a plan for that. I’m back down to only the one job because working 14 out of every 15 days was B-A-N-A-N-A-S. After a few days off with absolutely nothing, I’m planning on taking my ass back to yoga.

Even though my bike was stolen, I’m thinking I’ll just walk there because driving then finding parking is ridiculous.

Which brings me back to the weather. It’s feeling so spring-ish that I feel like walking 20+ minutes to my yoga studio.

Or maybe I’ll take the money I’ve saved the last 5 weeks and buy myself another bike next Sunday.

This is the best part of spring. Feeling like the possibilities are endless is one of my favorite ways to feel.

Potential is my drug.

I’m off to do bit of window shopping. Cupcakes and bicycles.


Chicago-Style Girl’s Workout Plan, I Wanna See You Workout

If you scroll down to the very bottom of my blog page, you’ll see a few things.

There is the standard search box you’ll see on all blogs, but I’ve cleverly hidden it in plain sight so you can’t easily find it, bah ha ha. Actually, I just didn’t know where else to put it because I didn’t like the look of it on my right tab column.

There is also a job disclaimer that my people request we put up so that my words are not associated with the company. I totally get that, but I’m such a huge fan of donation, I’m happy to claim my words as my very own. Go sign up for organ donation people!

But the other thing you’ll see at the bottom is the MyFitnessPal Ticker and My Tracy Anderson countdown. Both are at the bottom so as not to depress me on a daily basis.

The Tracy Anderson 90 day countdown ended August 16, 2013. That counts as a super-duper fail. I didn’t get past Day 10. It’s just so hard. Whine whine, fill in whine here.

And I don’t have access to a scale anymore. I intend on getting this cool bluetooth scale that goes with the fitbit.

Image via Amazon

Image via fitbit

These were my intended birthday gifts. They still are my intended gifts, even though my birthday was three months ago. The husband and I are working it out.

Perhaps if I can avoid Queens in general and potholes specifically, I would’ve had my birthday gift by now. Stupid Geico insurance deductible.

Moving on. Because I don’t have access to a scale, I have no idea what I weigh. But I’m almost certain I’m at my highest weight ever. Seeing as how I never really effectively kicked off the weight loss in the first place, that’s less upsetting to say than you’d think.

Working 4p-midnight is detrimental to my life plans. I’m not a morning person, so I struggle to get up before noon. I’d have to get up and start working out by 10 am to have enough time to really workout and get to work on time. And now that I’m helping babysit at the home I volunteer at, there’s even less time. Weekends are out because of the soup kitchen and church.

I know. Excuses, excuses.

Having said all of this (what kind of jerk has 300 words of introduction?), I have a plan to kick-start my new healthy New York life.

This plan includes spending money, but not a lot of money.

Amazon Local has all these great options for things to try. Normally, I would look at it for deals at restaurants and cool live events. But then I thought, why not use it for purposes other than taking in hundreds of calories in food and alcohol?

There are some really great deals available now too.

When I was in search of adventure the other weekend, I considered finding a rock climbing place, but didn’t pursue it because most indoor places do belay, and you need a partner.

Guess what? Amazon Local has a deal on the one indoor rock climbing place in Brooklyn. I checked out the website for Brooklyn Boulders, and it looks pretty cool.

While I was looking around for deals, I also came across a yoga/pilates studio, a kickboxing class, and a ballet/zumba studio. All of these sounded interesting, but I decided to go with the kickboxing because that’s one I’ve never done before, but always found interesting as a concept.

So I have pre-paid (at amazing discounts by the way) for a whole day pass at Brooklyn Boulders and 10 kickboxing classes at Village Kickboxing Fitness. Y’all know I love me some Greenwich Village, so any reason is a good reason to spend more time there.

Image via Amazon Local

I’m hoping that pre-paying will really encourage me to make it happen. I have until the end of July to use the promotional offers, but I intend to get started on them within the next few weeks. It’ll give me something to do while the husband is gone for the month of February.

I used to rock climb at this place that was in a south suburb of Chicago, but that ended when I grew my nails out for the wedding. You simply can’t rock climb effectively with long nails, and I grew them pretty long y’all.

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But now they are shorter, though still nice. If I really like the rock climbing, and if I can find someone to commit to actually going with me, I’ll keep the nails short.

With any luck, rock climbing and kickboxing will add some variety to a workout that I already enjoy (but, ahem, never make time for), and I can finally get back on track with exercising.

I’m doing okay diet-wise. I’m not on a “diet” per se, I use the word diet simply to refer to the food I choose to eat. I’m doing this pseudo vegetarian thing now. I barely eat meat anymore. I certainly haven’t lost the taste for it, I just choose better options, like black beans or chickpeas for protein.

And if I’m successful with my 30th birthday bucket list (which I promise to write a real post about soon), I’ll be able to add tofu to my list of protein options.

I don’t do too much in the way of frying, and I haven’t eaten any fast food aside from the occasional french fry in months. I just feel better when I’m not eating all that processed food, you know?

So I am going to risk the craziness and officially reset the 90 day countdown. Just so you know, this is not a 3 month thing, it’s 90 days of working out. I have to assume that I’m not going to work out more than three days a week.

Let’s be honest here I don’t have the time or the motivation.

But I’m going to set a timer for 90 workouts at three days a week. Maybe some weeks I’ll do more and that will balance out the weeks I’m sure to do less. I will also count those kickboxing classes and the rock climbing, which could turn into a membership as well.

So yup, I’m spending money in an attempt to look and feel better. If I were rich, maybe I’d be getting liposuction and hiring a personal trainer. I guess it’s a good thing I’m not rich because that just sounds like too much, right?

Wish me luck, y’all. Here I go again.

Day 90 is… August 27, 2014.

Damn, that seems far away. But it’s not really because that’s with me exercising only 3 days a week, so that’s 30 weeks. I think that’s a more reasonable goal because it lifts some of the pressure to try an exercise 6 times a week, which I was never able to sustain except when unemployed.

And if I”m doing it over that period of time, it will hopefully become a real lifestyle change. The Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis program continues after the initial 90 days, and she has a pregnancy workout plus a post-natal workout. So none of my life plans should interfere with the success of this.

I’ve written myself into excitement for the possibilities. If I do the home workout 3 times a week, swapping out one day every two weeks for a varied activity, it could work.

I can attempt running again once it’s warm outside. I have this amazing book Born to Run, available on Amazon to thank for even feeling like I could do this cause I kinda hate running. Read this book, and you’ll feel like you could become a supermarathoner. Or at least make it around the block more than once.

I can also try ballroom dancing again. You should try to polka for more than 10 minutes straight and tell me that’s not a workout.

Maybe I can even go back to hot yoga, which I truly loved deep down in my heart.

Any day now, or rather in like 7 months, I’m going to look and feel amazing. You just wait and see. I can’t wait to start complaining that none of my pants fit anymore. Well, that’s actually a current complaint because they’re kind of tight, but I’m hoping for it to turn into a complaint that they’re too loose.

Day one begins today. Anyone want to join me on MyFitnessPal so we can encourage each other?


Why Did I Eat Flamin’ Hots Before Exercising?

So, I’ve been exercising more regularly, and I’m finally starting to feel the effects that come along with continued exercise.

I sleep better, and need less hours of sleep overall.

I feel more hungry for healthy food and less hungry for unhealthy food.

My clothes are even starting to fit better. I long for the day when this yo yo thing I”m doing with my size in clothing is done and I’m maintaining a healthy weight and sexy body.

Lastly, I’m enjoying the feeling of motivation. Even when I have a good excuse not to work out, I’m taking that extra step to workout. I’m hoping I can keep this up because it feels great.

So on to the point of this post. I love flamin’ hots. I haven’t eaten them in a while because they are basically the ultimate unhealthy junk food when it comes to me. Don’t know what flamin’ hots are?

I didn’t actually eat the frito lay flamin’ hots though. I got that good local Vitner’s cheesy hot.

I’m not downing ho hos or anything like that. But I’ll eat the hell out of some empty spicy carbs. Enter Crunchy Hot Kurls.

I bought some on a whim on Father’s Day when I stopped in Walgreens to grab a can of assorted nuts for my dad. He really likes the assorted nuts, so I grabbed them. I just couldn’t pass up the snacks for myself.

Since it had been so long since I’d eaten flamin’ hots, I didn’t finish the bag in one sitting.

The next day, I finished the  bag, and it was so delicious.

One hour later, I was starting to workout. My workout involves a lot of laying flat and also having my head pointed toward the floor (i.e., lower than my heart).

That situation is not good for digesting all that spice and Red 40. I felt some horrific heartburn/reflux type pain. I was able to finish my workout, but I needed all the water when I was done.

Now that my goal is to work out daily, I pretty much cannot ever eat those chips again.

At least not two days in a row.

Or right before I work out.

Or at all.

Will I completely swear off spicy empty carbs? No, I can’t do that. I love flamin’ hot funyuns too much for that.

But I know I don’t ever want to feel that pain of all that spice making it’s way back up out of my stomach again. Kinda kills the endorphin buzz that exercise brings, you know?