Monday, January 21, 2013

The Nerd Inside of Me

This Saturday, as I was curled up watching Mama Mia! at home, Garrett decided to sidle up to me and judge my choice of movie. I said something sassy as he took up too much room on the couch.

"Mm, you're so cool," he said in reply. And then: "Wait, no. You're not cool. You really are not cool."

He wasn't being mean; he was being honest, thinking out loud. Truth is, if I were describing myself to someone, I wouldn't use the word "cool". But, still. My feathers were ruffled.

"What do you mean?" I asked, offended. "I can be cool! I am cool!" I retracted inside of myself to the awkward 7th grader who vied to be cool more than anything. And then, luckily, I came out of it with a laugh. I am so not cool, and I'm totally fine with it. Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, straight from the horse's mouth: I am anything but cool.

If you know me, I'm sure you don't need an explanation on the matter, but just in case...

My favorite genre of music is folk.

I own all seasons of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman on DVD.

My first love was an Appendix gelding named Jasper.

I have red hair. And freckles.

I watch the Anne of Green Gables series at least every 3 years.

Historical fiction novels are my life away from life.

Bagpipes make me cry instantaneously. A lot of things make me cry instantaneously.

My favorite movies are period pieces.

I talk to my dog. Regularly.

I frown upon those who use poor grammar.

I can't wait to be 30. 40 sounds even better. Don't even get me started on 65.

I'm more awkward than not.

I do not think that Dubstep qualifies as actual music.

Low-rise jeans? Psh. I pull up all of my pants to sit directly below my belly button.

Although he no longer shares my bed, I still keep Bamboo, my childhood Panda, on the top shelf in my closet.

I have a blog.

...and that's not even half of it.

Yup, I'm a little bit of a nerd. A girl who loves horses, acoustic music, and history. I talk to dogs, read too many books, and can cry at the drop of a hat.

I am not cool.

Sorry, 7th grade Audrey, if I disappointed you.

Actually, no; sorry that I'm not sorry. I tried to hide my nerdy self (like that's possible) for far too long when I was younger. Not anymore. I have embraced who I am, and continue to every day.

I've got a nerd flag, and I'm flying it high.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Attempted Detox

This week, I ventured on a journey far from where I've ever been before. I did a juice detox (well, kind of).
I am a girl who doesn't diet (I think may have tried in high school?) and loves her body. So why did I do this to myself? Because of the latter: I love my body. After the holidays and my post-holiday week-long binge, my body felt disgusting. My insides didn't feel clean. My body was craving fruits and vegetables (can you believe it?!), so fruits and vegetables I gave.

This was only a two-day cleanse, and although I am sharing it with you here, I verbally told very few people. I didn't want to raise any eyebrows in concern. Yes, I am that much of a fat kid. And, while I wrote up-to-date posts here while I was doing my cleanse, I decided not to publish it until after I was done, so little faith I had in myself. I didn't want to disappoint myself that much more by not following through with it and having everybody know. Again; I am that much of a fat kid. 
If you are reading this, don't worry. My mental (and physical) well-being is just fine. I only wanted to clean both out by offering them wonderful foods in their truest form. I know something like this is hugely atypical of my character; again, do not be concerned. Yes, I still like food as much as you know me to. And yes, I plan on getting back to my regular eating self (maybe a bit healthier?!!) today. Below is my documentation on "the cleanse".
I ask you two things: do not pass judgment, and let me do it my way.
Day 1: Tuesday
I woke up super excited to do this. I mean, look at all of these things that I was going to fill my body with over the next three days!:

But, in true Audrey tradition, I messed it up right away. After two trips to the store, I couldn't find fresh ginger. I made the decision that replacing fresh with ground would just have to be ok. But what I didn't do was my research: 1 tbsp fresh ginger is equivalent to 1/8 tsp ground ginger. And I read the recipe wrong (I blame the early hour of the day). Imagine my dismay when I made the following Berry Breakfast Smoothie:
1 cup frozen unsweetened raspberries

3/4 cup chilled unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup frozen pitted unsweetened cherries

1 Tbsp honey

2 tsp fresh ginger

1 tsp ground flaxseed

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

...and instead of using 1/4 tsp (the equivalent of 2tsp fresh) of ground ginger, I used TWO TABLESPOONS of ground ginger. Do I even need to describe how awful it tasted?
I got mad at myself for wasting an entire batch (I did try to drink it all but just couldn't) and didn't have time to concoct another before heading into work. I grabbed a banana and ran out the door. (Okay, okay, I know. This detox is supposed to be all liquid. But I'm going to snack on raw fruits and veggies from time to time. I don't care if that negates the process. I'm still only consuming raw fruits and veggies, whole or juiced. Get over it.)
Luckily, I only worked a half day today. After doing a short 25 minute ride and teaching a 60 minute riding group (in which I ran about 30 paces of 30 feet to keep up with the kids), I was hunnnnngry. But my mood was still high, and I was determined to go start (over) this thing right.
So, for lunch, I made the Berry Breakfast Smoothie the right way and it was deeelicious. Great, I thought, I can do this.

That was around 12:45pm. I needed something else a little later before running errands, picking up the husband from work, and going to the library, so I concocted another smoothie, known for its immune-boosting qualities (great! So many people are sick right now).
At 3:45pm, I made the following Lemon-Blueberry Smoothie:
1 cup purified water
¼ cup organic blueberries
1 organic lemon (whole)

Two words: Wow! and Tart! Wow because did you know that you can put a whole lemon, peel and all, in a blender, and it will blend away? Sweet! And tart, because, well, I think you know. Holy sourness!
This smoothie tied me over, but not for long.
I left to embark on my errands with my head held high and feeling good about myself. Are my insides healthier yet? Because I sure do feel better!
Fast forward 20 minutes to picking up Garrett and being instantaneously cranky. My spirits started to fall as my attitude started to sour...could I do this?
After a few deep breaths and moments of self-doubt, I decided that I must do this! I can't give up now, not after a couple of measly hours. Have you no self-control, Audrey? No stamina? With a renewed courage, I returned home to make this nutrient-packed smoothie for dinner:
6 carrots
2 large tomatoes
2 red bell peppers
3 cloves garlic
4 stalks celery
1 cup loosely packed spinach


It smelled so good. And, after a day of sweet juices, the spiciness was appreciated.
But then I could only get halfway through it. It did sate my appetite, though, and my stomach stopped rumbling. I left it out for a while and took gulps when I decided I could bear it. Ugh, I wanted whole food so badly. I busied myself with re-organizing my closet to get through the (mental?) hunger pains for the rest of the night.
Day 1 is complete! It wasn't easy. I wanted to quit. I was bored and wanted to cook. Or snack. Or eat a pizza. I am an indulgent person, especially when it comes to food. If Garrett weren't watching over me so quickly, I would have given up for sure.
Day 2: Wednesday
I dreamt of an LGO pizza, Starbucks coffee, and Chipotle last night. Seriously, Audrey? Are you really that much of a fat kid?
I deserve to be at least 50 lbs heavier.
With this morning came a fresh start with a whole new positive attitude.
"You can do it, Audrey!" I thought to myself, "one day down!".
I never have a large appetite in the morning. Of course my attitude was positive.
I started out with the same Berry Breakfast Smoothie, drinking it slowly on my commute and during the first 30 minutes or so of work.
10:00 rolled around. This is usually when I allow myself to have a snack. I really, really wanted Goldfish crackers. Or the ice cream cake I saw in the freezer. Or anything solid.
11:00 came by, and I decided to let myself eat a banana, slowly. I sliced it and ate it over a period of 15 minutes. The act of mastication satisfied me greatly.
1:05: It's current time, and I'm checking in. I'm not excited about lunch hour. I brought the remains of my dinner smoothie from last night. I am going to have a whole hour to think about food (as if I haven't been spending the whole day doing so already) without the distraction of work. I hope that book I got from the library last night is a page-turner.

1:30: I'm not happy. There's ice cream cake in the work freezer, and I really want a slice. The Goldfish crackers on the table are taunting me. I was excited to consume this ultra-vegetable-packed smoothie last night; now, not so much. I can't focus on my book. I want to quit. Don't do it Audrey, don't quit.

Doing the cleanse during work was hard. There were SO many good things to snack on, and I love snacking! I need to be on my feet moving around in order to be too distracted to think of food. Sitting at a computer all day certainly didn't provide enough distraction.

But I got through work. And I got through picking Garrett up at a restaurant and being suffocated by the smells of cooked food. I'm so close to closing day 2, I thought to myself. Just get through this day. You can eat real food tomorrow.

I started out with intentions of doing a 3-day cleanse, but my weakness prevailed. While my body did feel good, I was bored. I wanted to spend time researching recipes, planning meals, and cooking. I didn't suffer any withdrawals (can you in just two days?), and other than a little residual belly rumbling, I felt fine. But the thought of doing another day was just way too depressing.

I researched two-day fruit and vegetable cleanses, and, low and behold, they do exist! In many shapes and forms!

Am I giving up? Maybe. Do I feel ok about it? Yes.

While I had tomorrow to look forward to, I still needed to finish out the day. For dinner, I made the following smoothie:

1 avocado
1 banana
1 cup blueberries
1 cucumber
A fistful of kale 
Almond milk
And, it was pretty good. A little too thick for my liking, but bearable. And the flavor wasn't awful. I consumed half of it and saved the rest for breakfast (why not start the day out right?).

Day 2 complete! Cleanse complete! I did it (again, kind of)!

Was it worth it? Meh. Yes. Would I do it again? I don't know. Do I depend on food and eating too much? Yes.
The cleanse was worth it because, although I only did it for two days, I do feel better. I kind of feel like I pressed a re-start button on my body. And, although weight loss was not the goal, I did drop 3 pounds (which I'm sure will come back just as quick). The biggest change that I noticed, though, was having a nice, level energy. For two mornings and two nights I woke up without having to press the snooze button and went to bed early without difficulty falling to sleep. That was pretty awesome.
What wasn't awesome? The current nagging of my stomach and the boredom that ensued. I never really was satisfied, and I missed chewing. God, I sound like a cow (not because I think I'm fat but because cows love to chew). If I decide to do this again, just if, I will add a little bit of lean protein in to fill me up more and hopefully fuel my stamina to continue cleansing longer (but does it count if you add animal products in? Probably not. I think that's just called healthy eating).
Did I learn anything new about myself? Nothing new, necessarily, but maybe got to know myself a little bit better. I am indulgent. I have problems controlling my impulses. And I rely on food way too much. I'm not ashamed of it, though. You heard it here: this girl loves to eat.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Do it for YOU

So we meet again, January. You try to hide yourself in the guise of new beginnings, but I know your true self. You're just the month-long hangover from the holidays. People get wrapped up in your game of renewal and self-improvement, but I won't be a contender. No New Year's resolutions here, no siree.

I don't like to make promises that I'll knowingly break. That's why I don't make New Year's resolutions. People get wrapped up in planning to make these positive life changes, but how many of these changes actually come? Like it or not, you're the same person on January 1st as you were on December 31st. If you want to change, great. Do it. But change is a gradual process, my friends. You don't wake up, decide to exercise and eat healthy, and poof! lose 10 pounds. Sorry. That doesn't happen. I'm not saying you can't change, I'm just saying that you can't change quickly (at least if you want that change to stick).

Do I sound cynical? Maybe. But I'm just being realistic. Don't plan to make any life transformations just because everybody else is planning to right now. Make changes only if you want change. If everything in your life is right on track, great. Keep living that way. If there are some issues that you'd like to address and improve, go ahead and address them. Decide how you are realistically going to execute making those issues better. Don't set yourself up for failure, because then you'll just feel worse in the future than you do now.

Like I said, I didn't make a resolution this year. Life is going pretty well. I set some goals for myself to attain about a month ago, but I did those for myself and not because a societal timeline expected me to. Do you want to know what I did on New Year's Day this year? I spent 90% of it on the couch, sleeping and watching movies next to my husband. We split a half-dozen bagels and bucket of cream cheese between us. I didn't feel an ounce of guilt; it was what we needed. The holidays and traveling were exhausting and we needed rest. We haven't laid around like that in ages. It was well-deserved.

Garrett and I spent all week eating with abandon and lazing about the house after work. We were nursing our post-holiday cheer hangovers. I don't think we gained any weight over the holidays; instead, we gained weight this week. We're not feeling so good about ourselves--fatty foods and lack of exercise will do that to you--so we gave ourselves until tomorrow (Monday) to indulge. Come tomorrow, we'll pick up exercise and healthier eating. Garrett is better at that stuff than I am, so for me, it'll be a gradual process. I'm not promising myself any weight loss; I just want to feel better.

This is my plan for feeling better: start working more lean proteins, veggies, and fruits into my diet. Am I going to nix all of my favorite foods? Hell, no! At least not right away. Depriving myself of Goldfish crackers and replacing them with carrots is not going encourage a happy relationship with healthy eating. I'll still order a cheeseburger at my favorite restaurant, but maybe I'll get a side salad instead of fries. Then the next time I get that cheeseburger, I'll ask for it without the bun. The next time after that, maybe I'll get a bun-less turkey burger without cheese. Do you see where I'm going here?

In addition to gradually transforming my diet of carbs-carbs-fat-carbs-fat-fat-fat-carbs-protein-carbs-carbs into a healthier one, I am also going to pick up exercise. It's been a while, so I'm not expecting to be able to run long distances or stretch down to my toes immediately (yes, it's been that long). Am I going to work out every day, and measure calories burned? Nope. Am I going to set a goal of running, doing yoga/bar method, and riding each at least once weekly? Yes. Because those goals are attainable for me.

Please don't get me wrong here--I will not judge you if you make a New Year's resolution. If you follow through with it, I'll be your biggest cheerleader. "May the odds be ever in your favor" (hehe).

Just remember, slow and steady wins the race.

(Want an example of slow and steady? Today I woke up and ran two miles (small victory for most of you out there, but great for me), and then made a wonderfully delicious, fat-and-calorie-packed brunch--a last meal, so to speak. An early morning run followed by a meal of whole-wheat raspberry ricotta scones, peach and sour cream pancakes, and sausage links was the perfect start to my day. And I don't feel an ounce of remorse. I gave some, I took some. It's what I have to do if I plan on any follow-through. It's what I had to do for me.)