Lenten Do Over?

Coca-Cola_FamilyAdI promised to give up soda for Lent and it went really well

for about four days.

Oops.

I’m not particularly Catholic, so I’m not too concerned that this mistake will lead to eternal damnation (but then again, what do I know??).  However, I’m disappointed that I made a promise to the blogosphere that I didn’t keep.  So, are we ok?  Can we look past this?  I’ll try harder next time.

The thing is, I’ve been on this “lifestyle change” for awhile now – following the Weight Watchers plan and *almost* completely eliminating alcohol intake.  Diet cola is one of those little tricks that fills my belly, replaces, say, truffles, and feeds my serious caffeine addiction.

So, I’m actually not that disappointed because the past month has been one of the most successful at following “the plan”.

But, I’ll leave it to you to tell me: is diet soda doing more harm than good?  While it might be helping me in my quest for a waistline, I also have serious concerns that chemicals like aspartame cause nasty diseases.

What’s your opinion? Do I can the can?

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I’ll Never Spin Without Cycling Shoes Again (and how to wing it at the gym)

As you know, I’m embarking on an epic journey by bicycle this summer.

But since Chicago looks like a wet, cold, slippery noodle this time of year I’m relying on a couple of weekly spin classes to get some training in.  I have my favorite instructors, my favorite bike, and in homage to my 10 pounds of healthy weight loss I’m once again rocking the padded shorts sans sweat pants over top.

Today a new addition came into my life, and I’m never letting it go….

It’s a pair of ultra-cute, Velcro strappy, Giro brand cycling shoes.  With the fancy cleats on them.

Anxiously awaiting my first chance to take these babies out for a spin (pun intended)
Anxiously awaiting my first chance to take these babies out for a spin (pun intended)

I’ve traversed a couple thousand miles by bicycle (cumulatively), and all of it has happened on a heavy hybrid with flat peddles and tennis shoes.  I don’t have anything against “clipping in” – I just never really wanted to go through the embarrassment of trying to learn how to use cycling shoes out on the road and falling several times in the process.

So  I thought spin class would be a great way to rip the bandaid off…

Until the instructor didn’t show.

Fortunately, the staff to the gym was willing to open the spin studio and plug my playlist into the stereo, so I was able to wing a 50 minute class on my own.

You know, just three hills, 3 sprints, some bouts of 90-100 RPM, Missy Elliot, and lots and lots of sweat. No big deal.

And the shoes?  Well, after a little wiggle, my foot came in and out of the peddle with no problem, and the stride is so super way better and more natural than riding in tennies.

Cute Giro cycling shoes… I think I love you.

Ballerina on Wheels!

1033952_27113143588649So remember last week when I said I’d make a big announcement?

And then, remember how I said I was working on meeting deadlines?

Oops.

Anyway, here’s what the big hubbub is all about:

This July, I’m riding my bicycle 200 miles in 2 days in the Ride for AIDS Chicago! I’ll be slipping back into those beloved padded shorts and houghing it up to Lake Geneva and back in 2 days, and serving a great cause in the mean time.

I admit that bike commuting and I haven’t been the best of friends lately.  And this I intend to change.  That plus a couple hard core spin classes a week.

Here’s the thing… I can take care of the peddling part, but I need your help, too.  As part of my committment I’ve pledged to raise $1000 for TPAN, the organization sponsoring The Ride.  This is where you come in.  Perhaps you or someone you know has been affected by HIV/AIDS, or perhaps you recognize the great need for increased advocacy efforts.  Or maybe you are encouraged by a group of individuals killing themselves on bicycles for a great cause.  Whatever your rationale, your contribution of any dollar amount will not go unnoticed.

If 180 people donate $5, I will surpass my goal.

Plus, I’ll throw in a postcard from Lake Geneva.

So if I’ve convinced you to give the cost of your daily latte to a great cause, just visit this here little link:

http://rideforaids.kintera.org/faf/donorreg/donorpledge.asp?ievent=1033952&supId=375704118

I look forward to keeping the lovely readers updated throughout the journey of training and riding in this experience of a lifetime!

Further Thoughts on Lent, and a Goal (or five)

Lent is perfectly placed in the calendar… just enough time has passed to falter on New Years resolutions and people need an excuse to regain focus.  As for me, I feel pretty good about my New Years resolutions: in 2013 I’m looking to meet more deadlines, find space, and drink more tea.

For the most part, I’m keeping my end of the bargain, but I’ve also been itching to take it to the next level.

You see, I’ve been on a diet for a few months.  Let’s call it “Weight Watchers” (because it is).  I didn’t add anything food related to this year’s resolutions because, frankly, I know better.  This is my third attempt with Weight Watchers and it’s taken awhile stick.  But now that I’ve embraced the plan it’s starting to work.  Overall the thing I’ve benefitted from with Weight Watchers is a renewed mindfulness toward what goes into my face.  The problem is, I’m not losing much weight.

Maybe this should concern me more than it does…

Part of my ambivalence has to do with realizing that I abolished the plan and joyfully gained weight over the holidays. So after four careful weeks on plan I’m now about where I started.  The other part is: my pants fit better.  I actually feel as though my body is lighter and leaner even though it’s not reflected on the scale.  Given my past piss-poor relationship with food, I consider my laissez faire attitude a huge victory.  Every shred of my intelligence about food and fitness tells me I’m on the right path, and that it’s not about the numbers, but about the overall lifestyle.  Still, it’s frustrating to not see much in the way of tangible results.

So I think it’s time to take it up a notch.  By notch, I don’t mean a juice cleanse or joining The Biggest Loser, I mean Lent.

Having mastered the vending machine last year, I decided that I was up for another 60-day challenge.  What better excuse to deprive yourself of superfluous indulgences than Lent?

2336_12
So long, old pal

Disclosure: I made a not-so-public pledge at New Years to dramatically reduce my consumption of alcohol.  I was drinking enough that my energy levels were consistently low, as was my motivation and zeal for life.  Plus, I’m pretty sure I’ve pegged alcohol in causing my waist to rapidly disappear over the past year.  I made a promise to myself that I was going to cut back, and I did.  I’ve gone from 1-2 drinks a day to 1-2 drinks a week.

Long story short, it’s working, my waist is shrinking, but unfortunately I replaced one vice with another: caffeine

Give up coffee? Are you kidding me? Not a chance.

I’m kicking the diet cola for 60 days.

That deliciously refreshing, bubbly treat.

A caffeine boost that I can drink after 4pm and get away with.

I’m giving it all up.

This will, I imagine, save me a boat load of money and dramatically lower my consumption of caffeine and chemicals.  The replacement: tea, which promotes adherence to one of my three resolutions… win win.

Teaser:

There’s one more goal I’ve added to the pile for 2013, but you’ll have to wait until the next post for the big reveal.  Here’s a hint: it involves padded shorts.  See you on Wednesday!

I work out

Since starting my diet, I’ve had minimal success, waning motivation, and a bucket of Halloween candy.  Even so, I’ve still managed to stay (relatively) honest on Weight Watchers and lose a couple of pounds.

Today I’m kicking it up a notch.  A former student of mine is studying to be a personal trainer and he agreed to train me two days a week (the poor fool).  Training someone who lacks motivation is hard.  Training someone who is older than you, your former teacher, also a trainer, and lacks motivation is crazy.  And, for my part, incredibly humbling.

Thanks, Alex. I hope you know what you’ve gotten yourself into…

I have to say, though, I’m really excited to have some dedicated time to me.  When you spend as many hours a week in a gym as I do, it can be hard to get there again and push yourself… even with all the knowledge and resources imaginable at your fingertips.  The times in my life when I’ve been able to afford a trainer were awesome, and this trial run will, I hope, motivate me to prioritize my own health and fitness as much as I do my students’.  When I look back on this moment, with those pesky 15 pounds gone, I’m sure it will be worth it.

I’ll keep you posted.

Crafty Lady goes on a diet

For the most part, I eat healthy foods and I’m an active person.  My day job requires that I teach nearly 18 hours of fitness a week.  I particpate in extra curricular fitness events.  I eat well, and have fresh fruits and veg every day.  Although I’m fairly confident of my ninja status among my students and peers, I still struggle with my weight from time to time.

I’ve been feeling a few pounds creep on here and there over the past four or five months, and I’d like to nip it in the bud while my pants still fit…

time to attack the spare tire. Like the warrior I am.

…and before I hit the beach this Christmas.

So, I’m resorting to an old standby and have picked up a(nother) subscription to Weight Watchers online.  This is my third or perhaps fourth attempt with WW, and I’ve always been successful.  You see, I know the right foods to eat, I just eat too much of them.  In an effort to hold myself accountable, I’m laying myself out for all you creafty readers to see.

I’m going on a diet.

Or, a lifestyle change – whatever.

Words of encouragement?

Damn you, foam roller!

I have a secret to tell you.

I’m a fitness instructor who doesn’t go to the gym that often…. shhh!!

I hate to admit it, but I’ve been to my local Ballys (now LA Fitness) exactly once since I moved (last February).  I’m a prime example of a person that had a routine (we were going at least twice a week), and lost it as soon as something (or lots of things) changed in my life.

Ok, look, during the year I teach a grand total of 18 fitness classes a week, work 12 hour days, commute 20 miles a day on bike, and operate a small dance company.  So that’s my excuse.  But in the “off-season”, that is, the break between semesters, I decided it was time to make good on the $25 a month that is deducted from my account every month.

I’ve been wanting to grab some new tips for the workouts I give in class, and make sure I look ripped on the first day of the semester in January.  Determined to not wait for another “tomorrow”, or, God help us, until January 1 to go back to the gym, I boldly went where no Lauren (that’s me) has gone before: a Pilates class.

I hate Pilates.

It doesn’t make sense to me and just makes my neck hurt.  But, I recognize that people who do Pilates regularly look extremely buff.  I haven’t taken a Pilates class, in fact, since college, and after going I pretty much feel the same way about it that I did before.

Except, perhaps, for the foam roller.

This thing is awesome, and something I never knew could be incorporated into a Pilates workout.  Providing both cushion and support, and a wicked test of balance, that little log of foam kicked my ass.  And I like a good ass kicking now and again.

I love that feeling after you work out.  That soft pain developing in your muscles, adrenaline pumping through you.  And, Pilates aside, today I feel that, and I want to feel it again tomorrow.

Foam roller, I think I’m in love with you.

Long story short, the holidays are tough for me… primarily due to my loves for cheesy made-for-TV movies and pie.  I work really hard and when I get the chance to relax I often relax hard too.  However, when I squeeze back into those tiny stretch pants I wear every day at work, I want to feel confident.  I’d like to know that the students are looking at my face and not my butt.  Or, if they are looking at my butt, they’re thinking, “Man alive! She must work out”.

Because, you know, of course I do!