Fitness hiatus: Graduate school takes over my world

On February 17, when I was worried about what bra I should wear while working out, I received my comprehensive exam questions.

In order to obtain my Master’s of Communication from Wichita State University, I must take and pass comprehensive exams, a four-hour essay during which I will answer six of the 20 questions I received to practice.

Since February 17, I have not attended Muscle Pump or Power Yoga at the YMCA. I have not gone running in my neighborhood, even though the weather has been perfect for it. I have not done much of anything for my fitness, except for the occasional spring walk with my dog.

In addition, I have not done much of anything for my body internally. Excessive indulgence and stress eating are terms to describe my consumption habits. Too much chocolate. Too much fried food. Too much fast food. (Luckily, I enjoy Subway enough to soften the blow of my take-out habits.)

I may have lost 10 pounds last year, but I am not on track to lose another 10 pounds. In fact, I’m not on track to lose the five pounds I have gained since February 17.

Five pounds.

I’m not joking.

My clothing is not too tight yet, and perhaps that’s why I haven’t noticed the five-pound weight gain. (I have avoided the scale.) Perhaps I haven’t noticed it because the muscle I used to have has been replaced by squishy fat.

I am actually not too bothered by how much I weigh right now. I’m not overweight. But I feel unhealthy.

Feeling a way is a better indicator for health than looking a way, and I don’t feel well.

Graduate school and comprehensive exams have been my life. Every night. Every week. I have studied and studied and read and read, and I am prepared.

Hope for health comes in the form of a deadline.

Tomorrow, Saturday, March 31, I will take my comprehensive exams and end the torrential cycle of sitting on my butt and stuffing my face full of French fries and Ramen noodles.

After Saturday, I will pass my comprehensive exams. After Saturday, I will be free from my laptop, my notes and my books. After Saturday, I will be on track to losing the weight I gained, replacing it with muscle and training for a few 5K’s I want to race.

I am prepared, but I am nervous to take my exams. I am nervous I will choke or fail or fall apart, but I am also excited. I am excited to be done with them, to be free of them, to go back to the gym again, to cook and eat well again.

Lisa Johnson Fitness described how to get back to the gym in Getting Back on Track: How to Return After a Fitness Hiatus:

  • Acknowledge that you slacked off. Pretty sure I just did that.
  • Don’t try to make up for lost time. Thank goodness! I do not have to double my efforts to fall back into fitness.
  • You didn’t lose as much ground as you think. According to Lisa, I should feel healthier and better able to work out by my third or fourth effort. (I didn’t take that long of a break.)
  • Set a fitness goal. My goal is to go to Muscle Pump and Power Yoga twice a week and cook and eat real food again. (No more couch. No more Ramen.)
  • Bribe yourself. I plan on bribing myself with a professional massage. My back will appreciate it.

Wish me luck! (For my exams and my fitness freedom.) See you Sunday friends!

Prairie Fire Marathon 2012: The 5K version

I participated in the 2011 Prairie Fire Marathon. By “participated,” I mean I stood in a line with several other volunteers with Gatorade in one hand and water in the other. I was at the Mile 11 station with Diets in Review!

(I won the fake award for not getting any Gatorade split on me by the runners. Go me!)

I want to participate in the 2012 Prairie Fire Marathon, and by “participate,” I mean I want to run.

Of course, for my first race, I do not plan to run a marathon or even a half-marathon. The Mayo Clinic recommends the 5K, a 3.1-mile race, for beginners, and that sounds just right for me! (It’s just like porridge.)

Runner’s World puts together training programs for beginner and advanced runners for every distance. It’s $20 so I do not plan to purchase it, but if you want to run a 5K and need a professional training program, you are more than welcome to share it with me.

Here is a snippet from the plan:

  • Weekly Routine: Four days of rest, 3-4 days of running
  • Weekly Mileage: Six to 15 miles. (Holy cow. 15?)
  • Long Runs: Start at two miles and peak at four.
  • Speedwork: None (Wha? Sad face.)

I know a few ICT girls who want to run the race, too, but I’m not sure if they’ll be heading for the 5K, the half or the full. (Probably the longer races. These girls are in better shape than I am.) No matter! Maybe some of our training days will coincide.

I have until October to prepare. I have no goal other than to finish the bloody thing. I am totes doing this.

Totes.

Get even skin tone and other skin tips

Since I am on a quest to discover the perfect foundation, I thought I should explain why.

(Hint: It’s not just because I have a zit farm on my face.)

When I went through puberty (ew. gross.), I did not suffer from some of the same follies many girls and guys suffered from, such as crazy skin problems.

No. I did not truly run into crazy skin problems until graduate school.

Stress. It’s a killer.

Now, I am sure my face is a hot mess because karma is… well, you know. My skin is violently rebelling against any treatment I try.

Proactiv didn’t work.

Apparently, graduate school stress is also making my face change colors. Not occasional colors like sun-burnt-red or oops-I-popped-a-pimple-purple, but regularly occurring colors like rosy-rosacea and dry-skin-scratched-red.

OK. So all of those colors are reddish, but I want my face to be one color. Preferably a peachy pink color! (I use peach-colored blush to pull it off in the meantime.) I do not want bright red blotches on normally pale skin.

Not my thing.

Even tone is my goal! Sun damage and scarring are two culprits of permanently uneven skin tone. (Otherwise, I’d just have the occasional summer sun burn and a few acne scars.)

Assistant Professor of Dermatology at New York University’s Medical Center Doris Day, for Women’s Health Magazine, recommends using an over-the-counter lightening cream with Sepiwhite, which fade existing blotchy-ness and prevents new spots. Day recommends Olay Professional Pro-X Discoloration Fighting Concentrate for which I have a coupon. Bonus.

If you prefer a natural approach to evening skin tone, which I usually would, but I haven’t got the time, you can try lemon juice, oatmeal, honey and milk.

We will discuss dark circles on another day. (Those I definitely got from graduate school.)

Deli meat: Packaged or fresh?

I do not often visit my supermarket’s deli counter.

One time I asked for lamb shoulder, and the butcher looked at me like I was nuts. Apparently, lamb was out of season?

Whatev.

I usually just shop the meat sections and grab the usual: ground beef, ground turkey, chicken, pork chops and veal (if it’s on sale). I only buy frozen fish: salmon and tilapia.

I did not, however, realize that the supermarket deli sold sliced meat for sandwiches. I avoid packaged sliced deli meat unless it’s on sale. Not just because I don’t want to pay full price, but also because I don’t actually like deli meat that much. It’s so salty.

But if I can get fresh sliced deli meat from a butcher?

Um. Yes.

According to Recipe.com, the only instance you should visit the deli counter is when you only need a few slices of a product.

And, really, packaged deli meats come in 8- and 16-ounce portions. Husband and I do not eat that many sandwiches.

The next time I decide to make Italian Turkey Sandwiches, I’ll get my sliced turkey (and pastrami for Husband) from the deli counter.

The best food for runners: Eggs!

Husband recently discovered the deliciousness of runny egg yolks.

I swear he’s behind on the times. I’ve known runny egg yolks were delicious since the beginning of time.

Not only are runny egg yolks amazing, especially on toast or bagels and YUM, but egg yolks are also good for you!

Seriously!

Luckily, they (whoever they are) changed the rules about eggs.

In fact, because of the easy-absorbing egg protein, the egg is one of the best foods for runners.

According to Runner’s World, eggs are good for losing weight, protecting your heart, fighting inflammation, maintaining bone strength and maintaining vision.

Sounds good to me!

Since February 17, when I received my comprehensive exam questions, I have gained four pounds. I plan to eat eggs every morning to improve weight loss and protein-muscle repair, and, of course, to enjoy eggs. (I also plan to go to the gym again… after comps.)

Plus, my heart is under constant stress. I am such a paranoid hypochondriac hot mess that I’m surprised the poor thing just hasn’t quit on me. Keep goin’, baby! I will feed you egg!

I’m already blind as a bat so I doubt eggs will really help me vision. I already eat tons of carrots! (Or are those just good for eye health?)

Husband and I have eaten commercial and cage-free eggs and found the taste is about the same. As it turns out, the nutritional value is the same, too. When I can, I’ll buy cage-free because it’s good for the chickens, but no way until I can afford that extra $1.20. (I know. It’s only $1.20.)

The article on Runner’s World features four recipes, but I only liked the sound of the 20-minute skillet dinner. I love eggs and greens, and tomatoes make my soul happy. I think I’ll have to make some tomato soup soon…

What’s your favorite egg dishI made a frittata once, and it was amazing. Like an egg cake!

Athletic strength building exercises

Husband likes to lift weight with his workouts.

Of course, he doesn’t lift nearly as much as he used to. Jiu-Jitsu is his workout of choice, and, to compete, he has to maintain a certain weight. Muscle weighs too much to be building big ones! (The muscles he has are lean.)

I want lean muscles, and I’d like my quad and calf muscles to regain their horse-like size and appearance. I don’t care if that sounds weird. I used to have super legs.

Muscle building for athletic strength relies on just three moves –so says a bodybuilder blogger. (I tend to believe people who work out for a living. His name is Jeremy.)

Pull-ups

Pull-ups work the body’s “pulling” muscles.

The bane of my existence in grade school was the President’s Fitness Test. Apparently, the president believed I, as a grade school child, should be able to perform a pull-up.

WT… No.

However, since I was a grade school girl, all I had to do was hang there. Apparently, the president did not know of my mad monkey bar skills or he would have had me do something harder.

In grade school, I just hung on a bar. Now, I use a chair to perform a pull-up, since I still cannot do one on my own.

Well done “Presidential Fitness Test.” I learned a lot. Well done.

Husband can do substantially more pull-ups than I can. Show off.

Push-ups

With push-ups, on the other hand, I am proficient. (I do not have to be on my knees anymore! Triumph!)

Push-ups work the body’s “pushing” muscles, which are quite different from the pulling ones, I’m sure.

I do push-ups every day at work during my lunch (and squats).

Deadlifts

According to the blog, deadlifts work every muscle in the body, much like running, and are what Jeremy considers the best move for athletic strength building.

When I was in high school, I did a lot of deadlifts. I deadlifted the bar, and I honestly didn’t try too hard.

I believe it is about time to strengthen my upper body, especially since upper body strength is so important for running and running form.

Wavy hair without the heat

Since I posted “Curly hair without the heat,” I have attempted to curl my hair using the headband method three times.

I even bought new, thicker, no-slide headbands to increase the opportunity of pretty curls!

After each attempt, I woke up to messy, ridiculous curls, not the loose, beautiful ringlets featured on Pinterest.

If it worked for you, I’m glad, but I have to find another way to curl my hair without the scalding heat of a curling iron.

Plan B: Gorgeous Soft Waves without the Heat by Pretty Gossip

Source: prettygossip.com via Shae on Pinterest

The hair featured by Pretty Gossip is much thicker and much longer than my hair, but I have got to do something.

Short of getting a perm, if this doesn’t work, I don’t know what I’ll do!