A bad week for fitness

What a week!

Apologies for the lack in content, folks, but I have been one busy kid.

Remember when I mentioned my big girl job? Well, I “started” on Monday. (By “start,” I mean “I’m just going in to learn stuff” because I don’t actually work full-time until December.)

And, now, you are asking yourselves: “How will she work while teaching and finishing her master’s degree?”

Good question. I made a decision not to teach next semester. I made another decision not to write a thesis. I made yet another decision not to apply for doctoral programs next fall.

Why?

I have been a student, in school, for the majority of my time on earth. All of it, actually.

It is time to grow up. It is time to leave academe.

No worries, though, I will be employed! And I will finish my master’s degree next semester sans the teaching gig.

And, now, back to your regularly scheduled Shae Day!

And it is confession time…

I missed Shocker Fitness Monday, Wednesday and Friday (today), and I ate straight crap food all week like pizza, donuts and French fries.

Problem. Serious problem.

For the past two weeks, and especially this past week since my mentor/teacher/friend passed away, I have felt fatigued, sick and downright depressed.

Since I am so tired… I do not want to wake up early and workout. After a long day of working, teaching and school, I do not want to leave home and workout.

Since I am so busy… I have not eaten on a regular schedule. Breakfast at 10 a.m., lunch at 3 p.m., dinner at 8 p.m. Sleep(?) between 11 p.m.-1 a.m. What kind of schedule is that?!

In between all the eating, not sleeping and working I do, at some point, I have to study… It’s not going well.

I have three papers to write, loads of data to analyze, a few tests to study for and a presentation to prepare for a “conference” (It’s at WSU) – all of which must be done by Thursday, Dec. 8.

Three weeks.

I have three weeks.

I have never feared nor anticipated the end of a semester as much as I do now. PLEASE END. NO PLEASE I NEED ONE  MORE WEEK.

Ridiculous.

If you could read my mind: “Should I stay up all night and sleep early tomorrow evening? Should I work on my papers tomorrow evening? How much sleep do I really need to function tomorrow? Is three hours enough? I have to get that paper done. Holy crap! It’s almost Thanksgiving! I have time off next week to get work done. When is that paper due? I think it’s due after Thanksgiving. Wow. I really need to workout. Have I gained weight? No. But I’m all squishy. Is that a new stretch mark? Man, I want some fries.”

And this is why my husband thinks I’m crazy.

Because I am.

After work, I went for a 10-minute run around my neighborhood after doing this 7-minute warmup. I notice I run faster when I’m alone at night. I also did a 10-minute strength circuit when I got home.

IN MY NEW SHOES! Review to come soon.

I hope that, until the semester ends, I will be able to work out for 20 minutes in the morning and 20-30 minutes in the evening.

I also hope I can stuff less food in my face.

Wish me luck! (Or stitch my mouth shut. Husband will appreciate less talking.)

Announcement!
skinnyshae turns 1-year-old on November 23! How should we celebrate my birthday? ;)

Thoughts, Food and Food Thoughts

I’m still not feeling peppy.

The morning post was scheduled from last week, and I didn’t have the energy to take it down before it published. That was last week’s peppiness – not false, just badly timed.

I decided that tomorrow I will be a good teacher, a fastidious student and a team player – all of which I need to be tomorrow – but not until tomorrow. I will be peppy tomorrow.

I will also write “tomorrow” one more time.

Tonight, however, I’m glad to sit on the couch and reflect while my husband plays Skyrim. (KILL ALL THE DARGONS!)

I went to my new job today! Nothing newsworthy happened so we will save that story for another blog post.

I went to my new job prepared, though, just in case. I made a big-girl-job-lady-on-the-run breakfast: Strawberry-Banana Smoothie and Coffee. Big girls drink coffee (and so do caffeine addicts).

The WPC mug was a gift from a scholarship Les helped me receive to pay for a summer class. Just another reason he was awesome.

CoffeeStrawberry-Banana Smoothie
Ingredients
– 12 oz. skim milk
– 5 frozen strawberries
– 1/2 banana
– 1 tsp. honey
– 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
– ripped up spinach

Directions: Blend it all together and drink!

I know. Spinach, right? Well, I have read a lot of bloggers do this. I put a lot of trust in to those ladies this morning, allowing them to be in control of my breakfast.

Good thing, girls, it turned out tasty. I couldn’t taste the spinach, which is what I expected.

Second bit of food: Re-purposed leftover P.F. Chang’s. What do you do with not enough Mandarin Chicken to fill you up?

P.F. Chang's Leftover FoodPut the leftovers over spinach. Ta-da! Salad!

Since I was at school and work all day, and I knew I would not want to cook when I got home, I planned an easy dinner.

This is the next installment of semi-homemade with skinnyshae!

Crunchy Onion and Chicken Noodle Casserole
Ingredients

  • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can  CAMPBELL’S® Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 1/4 cups  milk
  • 2 cups (4 ounces)  FRENCH’S® Original French Fried Onions
  • 1 cup  frozen vegetables of your choice (Peas and Carrots!)
  • 2 cups  cubed cooked chicken or turkey
  • 2 cups  curly egg noodles, cooked and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups  shredded Cheddar cheese
  • added spices: garlic, black pepper, paprika, thyme

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Stir soup, milk, 1 cup French Fried Onions, vegetables, chicken, noodles and 1/2 cup cheese in a 2-qt. baking dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until hot. Stir. Top with remaining cheese and French Fried Onions. Bake 5 minutes more until onions are golden and cheese is super-awesome melted.

Let’s look back…

I opened milk, a can, another can, another can, a bag, another bag and another bag. I then mixed it all together and baked.

Casserole = absolutely no work.

(Note: I have a picture, but since I’m feeling lethargic and upset, I did not try hard to take a good picture. My picture is not appetizing. Look instead at these lovely cheese covered bread chunks!)

On occasion, I will splurge at the store and buy fancy cheese. Fancy cheese is located next to the fresh fruit & veg section with the olive bar and assorted over-priced nuts.

I usually get the smallest fancy cheese I can find, and it’s usually brie. (One time I got a goat cheese variety, and it was really awful. I like goat cheese, just not at Dillon’s apparently.)

But Dillon’s bakery is neat-oh! because they have premade bread dough. It’s like Papa Murphy’s take-and-bake pizza.

Dinner tonight required absolutely no effort. Schweet.

Eating will require a tad more effort on my part over the next few days. On Sunday, I had no appetite, but I forced myself to eat because I knew I would regret NOT eating later.

Unfortunately, my sad turned in to straight emptiness, which I filled with food. Awesome.

I weigh… too much… and I feel miserably fat.

Tomorrow, if I have time, I am going to run around my neighborhood, and on Wednesday, I’m going to kill it at Shocker Fitness.

Food is fuel, not emotion. Food is fuel, not emotion. Food is fuel, not emotion.

Challenge: I must find a more constructive way to handle stress and sadness. Go! (Ah, crap. This sounds hard.)

Skinny shopping list

Today is grocery day! Another chance to save money, use coupons and still eat healthfully.

Let me tell you… Not easy, but I’ve got to do it, and I usually don’t do the best job. I just keep trying.

I found a skinny shopping list – the groceries of skinny people – to “follow” on my trip today. I wonder how well I’ll do…

Skinny Shopping List
Apples… are full of fiber and uber delicious. Similar to the sugar boost of a large candy bar, apples can boost your energy while filling you up with enough fiber to keep your full for far longer than a Snickers. Pears have more fiber, but “they’re ripe for half an hour!” (Eddie Izzard). Both fruits are rich in pectin, which lowers blood sugar.

I pick up five or six green apples every shopping trip. Better or worse than red or pink? I’m not sure. Green apples are sweetly tart!

Berries… are high in fiber and packed with antioxidants. Naturally sweet and filling, berries are great for breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between. Plus, Women’s Health Magazine once advised that you should stuff your face with them.

Berries are expensive and do not come in portion sizes that I desire. For instance, a package of blueberries QUICKLY rots from the bottom up. If I do not eat ALL of the berries (huge package) the same day I bring them home, I cannot eat any of the berries.

Crunchy veggies… such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, are low in calories, high in fiber and full of potassium and calcium. Green leafy veggies are loaded with calcium – some even more than milk.

Broccoli and cauliflower are pretty much “banned” from the house. Husband hates broccoli, and I hate cauliflower. I’m willing to eat as much cabbage as I possible can, though. LOVE cabbage. Green cabbage on the list!

Mushrooms… blech! Low in calories but unfortunately disgusting. No mushrooms in my house!

Nuts… awesome! Protein, fiber and healthy fat found in almonds, walnuts and peanuts! LOVE! However, I cannot keep nuts in the house for very long. Husband covers them in peanut butter for double the yum and devours them in one setting. All of them.

Have you ever fed a behemoth? It’s hard. (Behemoth is one of my GRE words!)

Oatmeal… We have oatmeal, I just need a recipe for oatmeal that doesn’t taste like cardboard.

Beans… are not glamorous, of course, but they are super nutritious. Dana @mylittlecelebration puts them in brownies! My next mission in baking? Putting protein and fiber filled beans in something sweet and sneak feeding it to my family or husband.

Beans on the list!

Quinoa… is too expensive for my wallet, but it is a protein-filled whole grain of goodness! No quinoa for us this week.

Fish… is on the menu at least once a week at our house. Easy to flavor and quick to thaw and cook. Check out my baked tilapia! It’s so yummy.

Our frozen store is running low. Tilapia is needed!

Lowfat yogurt… is filled with all the good things you’re supposed to get from dairy products. Buy plain or Greek yogurt and sweeten naturally with berries or nuts.

Husband and I tried Greek yogurt… twice… and we really wanted to like it, but it’s just so gross. We have Yoplait Lite! in the fridge. No yogurt this trip.

Eggs… Oh. My. Goodness. I love eggs. Eggs are good with everything, just like apples or crackers. Spicy eggs, sweet eggs, savory eggs, you name it, I’ll eat it. And we’ve only got three left! :( Eggs on the list.

Olive oil… should be used to cook everything. It’s just that awesome. But we’re stocked so no olive oil for me this week.

What’s the first step?

Finding recipes/food that we’ll eat for the next two weeks, and then I will gather my coupons, make my list and go hunting for the best and healthiest deals.

Wish me luck! Update when I get back from the store.

Clean bill of health!

On Monday, I went back to my doctor to get this checked out. (Caution Male Readers!)

For the past six weeks, I struggled to reduce the (overly) large amount of caffeine I drink on a daily basis by MORE THAN HALF.

Well, I did it!

My doctor told me she could really tell I cut back on the caffeine, and then she said that I had to keep it up.

I believe her exact words were: “And not a pot of coffee a day.”

And she said it with a “doctor glare.” You know the one.

Weird thing: We discovered I have one big rib on the right side. It’s just larger than all my other ribs. (I checked.) Fantastic.

I promised. Of course, I might have to break that promise come August.

School is soon! I’m excited, but only because I need to accomplish things. I need to accomplish papers and speeches and teaching.

Ugh. I’m not good without school, I suppose!

Unfortunately, with school comes Ramen Noodles and all-nighters, which leave me too exhausted to workout.

I’m gonna get fat. Boo.

Currently, my workouts and diet are going… OK.

Dieting is just no fun, and daily I learn that I eat too much by counting calories. Counting calories is impossible.

I did Pure Cardio of Insanity today, and it went well. I pushed my body until my legs went out and I fell on my butt.

Twice.

Yeah, I went back for more.

And I died! (Eddie Izzard)

Well, my computer is acting weird, and I have studying to do… Hate on the GRE with me!

Also, I have a gross giant zit on my face. I would show you but the picture wouldn’t turn out right.

WEIGHT DROP!

While I truly believe that I will gain weight by the end of Insanity instead of lose weight…

I LOST 4 POUNDS!

Woo hoo!

I’m so excited! Can’t you tell?

I feel good today! Good workout today! Still bites on the dieting front. :)

I’m a busy bee right now, but when I get a break, I’ll let you know how my six-week checkup for this problem went.

Workout hiatus

I am on a workout hiatus – and I’m not even sure I am using that word correctly.

How long has it lasted?

Almost a week.

I feel bad. I do not have a good reason. I am simply lazy.

When I workout next, it’s going to hurt…

Why is exercise the only path to weight loss? (And diet… diet and exercise.)

According to an article by Livestrong, weight loss requires cardiovascular exercise, such as Insanity, which is practically nothing but cardio. The Mayo Clinic recommends 30-60 minutes of cardio daily.

Problem: Link to the article is broken… Sorry…

That 30-60 minutes must run outside of our normal daily cardio activities, such as climbing stairs in the house, vacuuming and walking to and from the car everywhere we go, which burn barely enough calories to impact our fitness regime.

We have to do more, but it doesn’t have to suck… of this I beg to differ. The following exercises are based on calories-lost by a 160 pound person in one hour.

Running is the best exercise you can do to burn the most calories in the least amount of time. Running at 8 mph –roughly a 7.5-minute mile –you can burn 986 calories in one hour. If you add hills (incline on the treadmill) or sprints (book it!), you can add even more calories burned.

However, who in their right mind runs for an hour at that pace? Break in up into 30- or 15-minute intervals, which also sounds pretty terrible.

Rollerblading –much more entertaining than running –ranks among the highest calories burns at 913 burned in a one-hour session.

I haven’t been rollerblading since I was in middle school.
I was in better shape when I was 12.

Tae Kwon Do is a total body workout that builds cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, movement, coordination and strength (but, then again, so does yoga). In one hour, you can burn 730 calories.

Jump rope, which I hate, can burn 730 calories in an hour.

Why do I and many other women of my category of… size… hate jumping rope? It hurts the chest area. Ouch!

The resistance of a stair-climber machine can burn 657 calories in one hour as well as build lower-body strength. Horse calves! Don’t let the Stair Master be your only cardio activity.

Jogging, much like running, burns a lot of calories. Some are not so hot at running a mile in 7.5 minutes –namely me –and jogging at 5 mph for a 12-minute mile sound way better! One hour can burn 584 calories.

Basketball and football also burn 584 calories in an hour.

What about soccer and softball? What about tennis? I don’t know. You’ll have to check those on your own!

Swimming is a great total body workout because you use almost every muscle in your body. All strokes increase cardio and muscular fitness while burning 511 calories an hour. Swimming is not simply for leisure. Have you ever felt exhausted after taking a few laps around the pool?

Floating doesn’t count.

Cardio can be fun! You can do cardiovascular exercises you actually enjoy, instead of continuing to stamp out miles on the track.

However, there is a form of exercise you must do that is only as fun as it can be.

WEIGHT TRAINING.

Women especially need to get into the weight room to build muscle tissue. We are not naturally inclined to build lean muscle like men –who can build muscle like little protein machines. (Well, hulky protein machines.) Good example: Women body builders have to use some kind of hormone therapy to build all that muscle.

What? You don’t think it’s important? Here are 12 reasons as to why you should.

  1. You’ll lose 40 percent more fat.
  2. Your clothes will fit better.
  3. You’ll burn more calories.
  4. Your diet will improve.
  5. You’ll handle stress better.
  6. You’ll be happier.
  7. You’ll build stronger bones.
  8. You’ll get into shape faster.
  9. Your heart will be healthier.
  10. You’ll be more productive.
  11. You’ll live longer.
  12. You’ll be even smarter.

Boot camp workouts? Yes. Please.

Insanity?

…Tomorrow. Definitely tomorrow.

The bane of my existence…

I worked out today!

Of course, it was only Cardio Recovery, filled with exercises I’m good at. Squats, plank, yoga, etc.

No cardio.

Maybe I hate cardio… No. I still think I hate it all.

Anywho! We’re not going to talk about that today because I hate it, and I’m in a good/sleepy/goofy mood! (Plus, I got a lot of stuff done at work today, too, so I feel accomplished at something.)

Instead, we’re going to talk about one of the many banes of my existence: cellulite.

Did you shudder? I did.

Cellulite: Hold the Cottage Cheese, Please
By Stephanie S. Saunders

(Apologies. I cannot find the original link to this article)

One of the most hated words in the English language must surely be cellulite.

For the 90 percent of women who are plagued by the “cottage cheese” dimples that can run across the backs of arms and the entire lower body, it can seem like the ugliest thing in the world. Sure, you can hide it beneath clothing, but once bikini season hits, it’s all over.

From a self-consciousness point of view, it’s as if you’re back in middle school. You might as well make it a trifecta of humiliation by slapping on some braces and a lime-green prom dress.

While there’s no way yet to completely rid your body of cellulite, there are a few ways to help improve its appearance.

(Fantastic! Lay it on me.)

The term cellulite refers to the dimpled appearance of skin that can occur at any point on the body where the skin is thinner. Under the upper layer of skin, there’s a layer of connective tissue that holds fat into place. In most women, this connective tissue has gaps in it, which allow the fat to push through, creating a bumpy appearance. The difference between fat and cellulite is simply where the deposit lies in relation to these gaps in the connective tissue. That, and the fact that even with weight loss and muscle gain, so-called “normal” fat may disappear, while cellulite seems to want to continue keeping your thighs company indefinitely.

(So far, dear article, you continue to depress me.)

Cellulite can occur in the thinnest of women and men and doesn’t seem to discriminate based on nationality, financial standing, age or weight.

There are believed to be hormonal and hereditary issues that can contribute to causing cellulite. Other causes may include poor circulation, lack of exercise and even too-tightly fitting undergarments.

But no one really knows for sure why 10 percent of the female population is gifted with not having to deal with cellulite, while the rest of us have rear ends that look like a giant golf ball.

(I hate those… lucky… freakin’… not fair…)

So when faced with the appearance of orange peel (orange peel?) on your thighs, what should you do?

Well, there’s good and bad news. The bad news is that there is no actual way, surgical or otherwise, to get rid of cellulite completely at present. No amount of vacuuming, injections, creams or painful massage will eradicate it permanently. But there are many things that can potentially improve the appearance of cellulite. The following is a list of options, ranked from the least to most invasive and/or expensive.

Diet. There are several diets out here that claim to remove cellulite from the body. After a bit of research, you’ll find that most of them are just healthy eating plans that tell you to reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption, avoid processed foods, and drink plenty of water. This, of course, doesn’t really bring anything specific to the table for cellulite. It might help you lose overall body fat, which will reduce the appearance of the lumpy stuff, but no amount of pineapple consumption will completely remove it.

(Darn liars…)

Exercise. Magazines are full of articles on exercises to ban dimpled thighs. Again, these exercises are designed to promote muscle growth and fat loss. Unfortunately, a lot of them are exercises that only target very specific areas, which will not benefit your overall fitness level and are fairly pointless, considering that you can’t spot-reduce fat. Hard cardio and a toned physique will go just as far, if not farther, for reducing the appearance of cellulite. Overall, continuing with your P90X or INSANITY® workout plans will do more for you than will any number of leg lifts alone.

(Of course…)

Tanning. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has again come out with studies on how horrible the effects of tanning beds and baking in the sun can be. Tanning has now been compared to cigarettes and arsenic. Which is unfortunate because a little color on your skin can do more to mask extra bumpy tissue than just about anything else. Luckily, there are an abundance of tanning creams and spray-on tans out there that can give you a similar effect without the risk of skin cancer. Just be careful with application, and if you go the professional route, make sure the folks you choose know what they’re doing. I once attended a black tie event with hands the color of a pumpkin. Not pretty.

(Totally not me… it was the author. I don’t attend black tie events. I don’t look good in ties.)

Creams. There are thousands of topical treatments available that can cost anywhere from $10 to several hundred. Most of them have the common “active” ingredients aminophylline, caffeine and theophyilline. Sad to say, none of these creams can deliver the needed concentration to the necessary depth to make much of a difference in the connective tissue. They’re promoted as increasing circulation, but ultimately, you’re just using a very expensive moisturizer.

(Celtrixa is a lie. Wait… that’s for stretch marks. Still a lie.)

Massage. Massage is another attempt at breaking down connective tissue and increasing circulation in the area. Unfortunately, cellulite is a tougher problem than can be fixed by a single day at the spa. However, there have been studies that consistent, rather aggressive massage techniques can really assist in the cottage cheese reduction process. Before scheduling a daily visit from your massage therapist, though, try intensely rubbing the affected areas on your own with a moisturizer for a few weeks and see if there’s any change in appearance. Thankfully, most cellulite appears on areas of the body you can actually reach.

(…areas you can actually reach? Back cellulite! The itch you just can’t scratch… lol.)

Wraps. (What? I’ve not heard of this.) Wraps have been around forever and still have devoted followers all over the world. The idea of the body wrap is to dehydrate the area, removing all excess water, supposedly creating a leaner appearance. Wrestlers and ballet dancers alike are infamous for wrapping themselves in plastic and sitting in a sauna for ridiculous amounts of time to try and drop “weight.” These results are temporary and will usually return to normal with any intake of water. Wraps may in fact moisturize the skin, but so will a bit of inexpensive aloe vera cream.

Supplements. Supplements can be extremely effective in helping you achieve fitness goals, but like all things I’ve mentioned thus far, no combination of herbal remedies has been proven effective in the fight against cellulite. Most contain some sort of ginkgo biloba, sweet clover, grapeseed bioflavinoids, oil of evening primrose, fish oil and soy lecithin. All might assist your metabolism, and possibly your immunity and brain function, but none will make the dimples disappear.

(Lies, lies, lies…)

Injections. Here’s a cellulite remedy that can cause actual discomfort. Mesotherapy is a series of injections to the cellulite-affected area. Very similar to Botox® for your back end, it’s highly controversial and can require up to 10 visits to see any results. The medication injected has been approved by the FDA for other cosmetic issues, but wasn’t designed for use on cellulite, and is so new that all potential side effects haven’t been discovered yet. Before you choose to go this route, make sure to discuss it thoroughly with your medical practitioner.

(No thank you.)

Suction massage. (Say what, now?) Endermology was created in France about 15 years ago for the temporary reduction of cellulite. The machine creates suction, pulling and squeezing affected areas, which eventually seems to redistribute the fat somewhat, but in truth, it doesn’t change the fat’s makeup. Sessions last about 45 minutes, require 10 to 12 visits, and are rather expensive. Without regular maintenance visits, the appearance of cellulite will simply return.

Lasers. The FDA has approved two different laser options, both used with either a suction device or massage therapy. A low-level laser is radiated on the skin as some type of massage is administered. Both TriActive and VelaSmooth® require as many sessions as Endermology, in addition to continued follow-up maintenance, and can cost thousands of dollars. The effectiveness of laser treatments on cellulite is still unclear, but for individuals with enough cash to spare, this presently seems to be one of the best possible options for cellulite reduction.

Remember, while many of these approaches can improve the appearance of cellulite, none seem to remove cellulite completely or permanently. Until a method is found that will accomplish the total eradication of cellulite, it might be better to spend less money on expensive creams and injections and more on nutritious foods and activities that support a healthy lifestyle. Not only will this help to improve your skin tone, but it’ll make you feel better about your whole body, inside and out. And isn’t that more important than a few extra dimples?

(The answer to that question is most obviously… no. Ditch the dimples!)

Now, to all you ladies out there with perfect skin and cellulite-free thighs, I sorta hate you. Don’t take it personally.

The bane of my existence! Cellulite! We’ll talk about armpit hair and stretch marks on another day.

Remember: Don’t buy the creams!