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Archive for the ‘Experiences’ Category

Five Rice Crispy Treats Later

In Experiences, Thoughts on March 28, 2011 at 2:39 pm

If you feed your appetite (be it for sweets, clothes, sex or attention) is it forever satisfied?

The other day I was convinced I deserved a homemade rice crispy treat. Perhaps I did (after all, I’d been eating well and working out regularly). The first bite reassured me that my decision to break healthy-diet-protocol was worth every calorie. But as I swallowed the last bite and licked the sticky marshmallow off my fingers I found myself immediately wishing I could have another one. So I did. Then I felt guilty enough that I managed to make it about 30 or 40 minutes before the sugar crash brought me sulking back to the container of rice crispy treats for another fix. Five rice crispy treats later the container was empty and I wasn’t any happier than I’d been at the start of this dietary glitch.

We often fail to recognize that our appetite will never be filled and that only in the moment of the act (while tasting the candy and experiencing the following sugar-high, while kissing your lover, or while being applauded by an overwhelming audience) are we satisfied. Satisfaction is temporary, in this sense.

(On a side note, I’d argue that there is a place that you can find true joy and everlasting satisfaction… read Phillipians and you’ll know what I mean.)

But for this moment, I just wanted to share my revelation that working out has lasting results and eating badly has lasting results. The lasting results of the former are wonderful (energy and fabulous physique) and the lasting results of the later are discouraging (gaining weight and feeling sluggish). That doesn’t mean that the later doesn’t have a great moment of satisfaction when you’re taking a bite of a krispy kreme donut and enjoying its light and airy, warm, sugary goodness. But it does mean that I’ve decided the momentary pain and frustration that goes into sweating at the gym for 45 minutes is well worth the following results, whereas the 45 seconds of bliss found in a cupcake are not really worth the guilt and dissatisfaction that inevitably follows the last bite.

I may very well have deserved a rice crispy treat the other day, but no one (surprising as this may be to a few of you) deserves five.

Today’s Matchup: Percent vs. Pound

In Experiences, Thoughts on March 21, 2011 at 4:34 pm

“You can either be a skinny-fat girl, or a hot girl,” she said matter-of-factly, “which would you rather be?” After a stubborn pause of frustration I muttered unconvincingly, “A hot girl.”

Moments ago I had reminded my trainer that today was “measurement day” (after every 8 sessions or so he measures my weight and body fat). I already knew from the scale at home that I’d gained weight and I was dreading the opportunity to let my trainer in on my little secret.

“First up: the scale,” he stated with far too much enthusiasm. -Dun, dun, dun- I took a deep breath and turned my head away; too embarrassed to watch as he slid the weights around assuming at first that he’d made a mistake. Nope, you were right… I’ve gained weight. Probably because he was completely aware of my impending reaction, my trainer noted the weight and said absolutely nothing. Unfortunately, we had to wait for another trainer to finish calibrating her clients body fat, giving me the chance to glance at the weight my trainer had noted: 130 pounds. (It may even have been 131 pounds and I’m just in denial about that last pound, I’m not sure at this point… but I hated the number either way.) My goal coming into the gym was to weigh 120 pounds (preferably less for wiggle room) and I now weigh 130 pounds!? I started training at 127 pounds and I now weigh 130 pounds!? How much was I paying this guy to help me gain weight!? (Heck, I could do that at home for free; just give me a half gallon of ice cream, a spoon and five minutes!) I stood casually, but my clenched jaw gave me away. “You’re frustrated,” my trainer confirmed under his breath as we took residence in the fat-calibration-cubicle.

After bending that way, turning my palms this way, lifting this, holding that, being pinched, and being prodded my trainer smiled as he took down the numbers he’d calibrated and calculated my body fat percentage. I knew I came in to training at 23% body fat and had lost 4% in the first four weeks… so I was hoping that I hadn’t gained too much of it back during the last four weeks. I glanced at the number he was writing down and leaned closer to make sure it really did say… 17%. There had to be a mistake… I had gained 3 or 4 pounds, so logically I should have gained body fat, right? Anticipating my thoughts, my trainer started into a mini-lecture reminding me that muscle mass weighs more than fat and I had gained muscle and lost fat… hence, I had gained weight, but lost body fat (and inches… my clothes were fitting much better, I was buying size ‘small’ again, I’d lost half a shoe size (that one stumped my trainer as he said, “well that’s a first”), and I’d been measured for a bridesmaid’s dress at 32″bust 24″waist 34″hip; a perfect size zero). Still… I didn’t look convinced.

With an agitated, “Come on,” my trainer motioned for me to follow him toward the front of the gym and stopped a female trainer asking her what she thought of my numbers. She looked over the sheet silently and finally said, “so what’s the problem?” I rolled my eyes, already aware of the trap they were setting. “There isn’t a problem, the numbers look good right?” and he proceeded to explain my dislike for the weight gain and my desire to weigh 120 pounds.

That’s when the female trainer got frustrated… Read the rest of this entry »

Cheater Cheater

In Experiences, Thoughts on March 9, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Three times in one day? I may be on the right track, but I am on the wrong train!

I was doing quite well with the “No Caffeine” kick until last Friday and Saturday rolled around. I had the best excuses ever to cheat: Friday I was setting up for a wedding I was in charge of planning and Saturday was the wedding.

In that 48 hour span I regretfully admit that I visited my local Starbucks 4 times. The first time on Friday when the rehearsal was about to begin and I recognized I needed to be up until midnight if I was going to complete things (and what better way to stay up than via Starbucks). Saturday morning I treated myself to my usual, but I think secretly I’d been planning to cheat on the day of the wedding all along. Saturday afternoon my side-kick requested Starbucks while I was on a last minute run to the store and I couldn’t help but get myself something as well… (in my defense, I was dumb enough to get a frap and it melted before I had more than two sips and then someone threw it away without asking). After the wedding was over, the reception had wrapped up, and we’d finished cleaning the church I drove to Starbucks to meet some friends and got a Grande of my usual because: A) I was exhausted B) Someone else was buying and C) I knew the cheating during my “No Caffeine” kick had to come to an end that night.

So, here I am headed to Starbucks to do my homework and meet a friend and I’m not sure what I can have that isn’t caffeinated and won’t stain my teeth besides water. Sad day. But, I seem to be holding up without unexpectedly breaking down into tears at random moments during the week. Can lack-of-caffeine do that to you? I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

If it isn’t caffeinated, it’s just staining your teeth

In Experiences, Quotations, Thoughts on February 28, 2011 at 3:06 pm

A grande soy awake tea latte with vanilla? Yes, please.

While I’m not a fan of black coffee (but I commend those of you who can enjoy the false advertisement of warm, rich aroma accompanied with an unattractively strong flavor & bitter aftertaste), I can enjoy an excessively sweetened coffee with the best of them. (Try a Starbucks raspberry white chocolate mocha sometime! It may put some weight on the hips, but it tastes like a liquid truffle. a.k.a. Heaven.)
On the other hand, I love tea. I like nearly all flavors of tea. I like tea with lemon and honey when I’m feeling under the weather. I like tea with sweetener at anytime of the day. I like chai tea. I like herbal tea. I like hot tea. I like iced tea. (By the way, in my head I’m rambling like Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers when he’s talking about maple syrup, “I know everything there is to know about maple syrup… I put a little in my hair, what do you think holds it up, slick?”) There are few things better than pulling your knees to your chest with a warm cup of tea between the palms of your hands and taking a deep breath over the steaming liquid.
That’s why it was so devastating for me to discover… wait for it… I’m addicted to caffeine!

Yes, it’s true; I’m reliant upon my Starbucks caffeine fix these days! I realized this the other day when I went without my usual tea latte for the first half of the day and got a massive headache that nothing seemed to satisfy… aside from another tea latte. Yep, the moment I swung into Starbucks and walked up to the counter (I don’t even have to order, they just ask what size I’m feeling today) and had that Soy Awake Tea Latte with Vanilla in my hands, the headache began to recede. At that instant I froze in a fleeting moment of terror as I realized I had a caffeine addiction I probably needed to break. It isn’t like I don’t have multiple reasons for eliminating Starbucks from my life (I mean, I’m a gold member for a reason! I spend WAY too much money on that little bit of energy, supposedly addiction free.) but I knew from previous experience (in the diet soda department) this was going to be rough.

So, as of recent, I am caffeine free. I went through about two days of terrible headaches and I’ve had an energy lull every day since I gave it up (last Thursday), but I’m convinced it’s in my best interest. Not only will my hips and trainer thank me… my bank account will be fat and happy, as well. (About $3.00 per drink, about 5 drinks per week, about 2 pastries per week, about $3.00 per pastry, comes out to about about $21 dollars a week. And that’s being lenient with the actuality of my addiction, considering the last time I reloaded my card I skipped the usual $20 I previously limited myself to each week and put $50 on it. I should’ve known right then and there that I had a problem. That, or the day that I purchased a pastry and the guy said, “I’ll see you in an hour.” Wow.)

“Why not go decaf?”, you might ask. Because I’m convinced that if it isn’t caffeinated, it’s just staining my teeth.

Hi. My name is Jennifer and I’m a caffeine addict… about to undergo intense cravings & painful with-drawls.

Wish me luck!

Social Suicide in One Fell Swoop

In Experiences, Thoughts on February 1, 2011 at 12:23 pm

This wouldn’t be all that embarrassing if there was a party at the gym (do they host parties for their members?).

This wouldn’t be far from plausible if it was a formal gym (how cool would that be?).

This would appear to be normal behavior if it was New Years Eve (because everyone goes to black-tie affairs just like movie characters on New Years Eve, right?).

This IS social suicide among the female ranks.

And yet (I’m embarrassed to admit that) today I plan to walk out of the gym in shocking red lipstick, disco-ball 4″ stilettos (as my sister-in-law so dubbed them when, against her better judgment, I wore them in her wedding) and a short, flirty cocktail dress.


I’m happy to announce that my roommate got engaged this past weekend and one of our girlfriends has decided to host an all-girl cocktail party in her honor. I’m so excited! I’ve been holding on to this little teal cocktail dress for the past year, just waiting for a moment like this to come along and justify my whimsical purchase. So when’s the party? Tonight? Perfect, it’s the same night that I have personal training. But, what time am I supposed to show up to the party? Oh, 7pm? Perfect, I finish my training at a late 6:30pm and it usually takes me the next half an hour to tame the sweat I’ve accumulated and gather my locker into a bag I can then barely manage to carry to my car (both due to its weight and my sore muscles informing me the workout ended half an hour ago, honey). So how in the world am I going to make this happen?

I expressed my concerns with my trainer (mostly because I wanted to judge his reaction to my considering getting ready at the gym and walking out in a cocktail dress – needless to say he was embarrassed for me, but probably secretly crossing his fingers that I’d do it). That’s the problem with this situation. It isn’t that I don’t have time, because my trainer changed our session from 5:30pm to start at 5pm, thereby giving me a solid hour in which I can shower, put on make-up and do my hair (and furthering my suspicion that he wanted me to go through with it). The problem with this situation is that by walking out of that gym looking like I don’t sweat and my make-up doesn’t smear girls avoid eye-contact and don’t smile at me. The problem is that by walking out in street clothes (which for me include a cute pair of stilettos, designer jeans and a pea coat… I can’t help it if I love style) I get glares that could do more damage than the comments they’re suppressing in their head. The problem is that if I can get evil glares from the clothes I wear normally, from sweaty make-up (it’s bare minerals by the way and it doesn’t even come off when I swim if I don’t rub my face!), and from a confident strut (for the record, I practiced hard to learn to walk like that in stilettos)… then what kind of verbal reprimands, audible scoffs and future invisibility shields will they throw at me when I walk through the gym in cocktail attire? Dear God, please save me!

I have enough trouble making girlfriends as it is, the last thing I need is everyone hating me for what is, quite honestly, a pretty good reason.

Why are the girls locker rooms as far form the front door as possible!?

Maybe I’ll hide my short skirt under a long jacket…

My Conversation with an Opinionated (& Wise) Old Lady at the Pool

In Experiences, Quotations, Thoughts on January 25, 2011 at 1:10 pm

When you’re squeezing yourself into a speedo you tend to discover parts of your body you didn’t know you disliked five minutes ago.

I had just finished tucking my body into the black spandex one piece suit I’d purchased earlier that day (By the way, those things are way too expensive for how unflattering they are!) when an elderly woman a few lockers away began to speak. Her voice was darling and had a thick accent (was it Dutch?).

“You have beautiful color,” she stated with a smile as she motioned to my legs.

“She can’t be serious,” I thought, but there’s something to be said about children and mature adults; they rarely lie to you about what they think (maybe what they’ve done, but not what they think). “Thank you,” I managed and politely made eye contact.

“You don’t…” she paused as she fumbled for her words, presumably trying to translate her thoughts into English, “… you don’t use those tan beds, do you?”

I smiled secretly thanking her for knowing exactly what to say to subside my discomfort and momentarily boost my self-confidence. “No, I don’t,” I half-lied (reasoning with myself that it doesn’t count when you can’t remember the last time you were in one) and then continued, “My family is Portuguese, so we’re just this color.” There was no pride in my statement, it was simply a polite, factual (okay, semi-factual) response to her inquiry.

“That’s good,” she interjected (It’s good that I’m Portuguese?), “because those tan beds are bad and you can get cancer.” (Ahhh… it’s good that I don’t tan.) As if knowing I probably hadn’t fully believed her the first time she said it again for good measure, “Beautiful color.”

I turned the corner and smiled to myself, casually sauntering toward the pool sporting a speedo with new found confidence.

What had changed? What did I have to be confident over in this moment that I didn’t have five minutes before I met this woman? Nothing. I found myself struck by the thought that perhaps confidence was attainable after all. I mean, here I am working out trying to change my body and gain confidence and she’s sitting there completely confident in her speedo swimsuit, at least 40 years older than myself, honestly probably wondering why I look so distressed at my 25-year-old reflection in the mirror.

My epiphany was simple: perhaps we look for confidence in the wrong places. After all, if confidence could only be found in the attainment of an ideal body, then not only would we be grasping at straws but there would come the day when gravity rips our confidence out from underneath us. This isn’t to say we shouldn’t work out, treat our bodies well and try to be the best person we can, but perhaps our five minute warm-up would be best spent reminding ourselves of the reasons we’re lucky, the reasons we’re loved, the parts of ourselves others like and we should too. Why was I not looking in that mirror thanking God that I’m tanner naturally than the average Oregonian after a week of sleeping at the tanning salon? Why was I focused on the way the swimsuit cut into my butt instead of being thankful I have a butt? I think the old lady in the locker room would argue that what we see in the mirror is rarely a reflection of our physical self, but rather a reflection of what we think of ourselves.

Seriously, the wisdom elderly people have to impart upon us is amazing… if only we take the time to listen.

Me in a Speedo? Ha! No.

In Experiences on January 24, 2011 at 9:50 am

It felt like I was a firefighter scarfing down spaghetti dinner while waiting for the bell to ring or a police officer listening in for a call from headquarters while licking the donut crumbs off his fingers. I was sitting at Starbucks sipping an awake tea latte, dressed to hit the gym at any moment, but the call never came.

My invitation to workout at the gym on my day of rest came and went. Eventually they informed me they weren’t planning on going anymore… oh, really? Shocker. Perhaps to ease their own guilt, they invited me to join them at 8pm Monday (today) at the gym for a swim and bike ride. I really wanted to play the stubborn role and either use some lame excuse (not like watching The Bachelor with my roommate) or blatently say “no thanks”. I agreed, commenting solely on the late hour at which they wished to meet up (all the while reminding myself to have my roommate record The Bachelor).

Sunday was officially a day of rest from the gym. Instead I went shopping and I think I burned more calories trying on clothes than I do running a mile on the treadmill! Hey, a girl can hope.

One thing (perhaps the ONLY thing) I didn’t buy while I was shopping yesterday was a swimsuit. You know, the speedo kind that swimmers wear at meets (always five sizes too small for them… they must need assistance getting into those things). I own two piece bikinis. I own a swanky one piece, ruched, white halter. But I don’t own a suit that will stay on while I swim laps in a pool. Let’s be honest, I’m not excited to sport a tight piece of spandex that requires me to shave every inch of my body. Yet today I must run to Dicks Sporting Goods (where do you buy speedo swimsuits?) and purchase a suit if I plan to meet up with my friend at 8pm tonight.

Ugh… wish me luck.

(I always wear heels with my swimsuits, don’t you?)

Sassy Saturday Assignment

In Experiences on January 22, 2011 at 7:33 pm

What do you mean you just worked out at the gym by yourself and I didn’t die of embarrassment!? ~Conversation I subconsciously had with myself on the drive home today.

By about three o’clock today I was wondering whether my personal trainer, Nick, had forgotten about me, so I called the number he’d rang from the other night. As the phone quit ringing and an automated female told me to leave a detailed message after the tone, I hung up.

Forty-five minutes later he texted me, “What’s up?” After gently reminding him of his promise to provide me with a weekend workout he apologized for not doing so sooner and then sent the following text: “All exercise sets 12-15 reps. Follow the template: Quads, Chest, Hamstrings, Back, Biceps, Triceps. Pick one exercise for each of those body parts.”

So I split a turkey wrap with my roommate, slipped into some yoga pants and drove to the gym. (By the way, Saturday is definitely a great day to go to the gym as there’s hardly anyone there.) I completed all of the exercises Nick showed me last Thursday and found I was worn out, so I headed home for a shrimp scampi pasta dinner.

I am so thrilled with my workouts thus far, but I think my diet needs a major overhaul. When Nick and I are in person next Tuesday we’ll probably get a chance to sit down and discuss what I eat and how I should modify it. When we do, hopefully I’ll still get to indulge in the occasional chocolate (my new favorite, in place of the previous forerunner: ice cream).

So, while I was at the gym today, someone invited me to join them at the gym tomorrow, which is great motivation to hit the gym on my “day of rest”.

Progress: Many of the places on my body that I want to change are sore (which generally means change is coming)!

A Personal Trainer’s Opinion of Pizza

In Experiences on January 18, 2011 at 8:41 am

Tuesday was my first personal training session. My trainer’s name tag reads “Nicholas”, but I’ve decided to refer to him as Nick. He’s only an inch taller than me, on a good day, and he’s 24. Per the unwritten agreement of personal trainers, he’s rather easy on the eyes & extremely fit.

We will be meeting at 5:30pm every Tuesday and Thursday. I’m excited and very nervous for our sessions!

This Tuesday we spent the first half of the hour discussing whether I have a history of disease or disorders in my family. We also discussed my diet just long enough for him to realize I wasn’t joking when I said I’ve eaten pizza five days in a row. As I admitted I’ve not been eating breakfast these days and I never drink water, he sounded like a broken record, “You’re serious? You aren’t joking!?” I truly baffled him when we calibrated the fat on my body (there’s no better way to get to know your trainer than letting him pinch every place on your body you dislike) and my BMI wasn’t that bad. “Surely a girl that has her dietary habits would have a BMI worse than this? Maybe she was joking about the pizza.” he must have been thinking before he pointed at his chart and said, “You’re here and in the next four weeks we’re going to get you here.”

Nick didn’t spend much time telling me what I should eat, but he did encourage me to drink water. Somehow I suspect I’ll get a five page paper on the cons of pizza and the meal plan I would ideally be following in his eyes when I see him tonight.

The second half of the hour was spent learning how an elliptical works, how to perform split squats with 10lb weights, how to create a body bridges with a yoga ball, how to perfectly do lat pulls, and how to work my butt and hamstrings… haha that was so embarrassing. “Are you using your glutes, and not your back, like you’re supposed to?” he inquired as he stood up. “I don’t know, I think so.” I retorted mid lift. Standing next to me he chuckled, “Yep, you’re doing it right. I can see it.” I laughed aloud to hide my utter mortification.

The last two days I’ve written down everything I put into my body. Yes, pizza was one of the items, so was red licorice and greek yogurt with honey. That way when I see my trainer tonight I can get a more specific response to my diet and the things he would change (like not eating pizza). I’m not looking forward to working out for an hour tonight and not get the half hour grace period at the beginning. Perhaps Nick will make tonight’s workout bearable or, dare I say, enjoyable?

A new goal I’ve added to the pot: learn to look attractive while sweating profusely and breathing heavily at the gym. Wow, really?

Wish me luck on the red carpet!

Roll Out the Red Carpet… at a Gym?

In Experiences, Thoughts on January 17, 2011 at 1:38 pm

“Would you prefer a male or female?” Rich asked. “Male!” I shouted in my head as my body stupidly sat there stammering. “Be honest,” he recommended. “I guess… a guy?” My lack of confidence in my own answer sounded more pathetic in person than it does here on paper.

So that was it. Friday I went to the gym after work to workout and I left the gym after a 2 mile run with a new (male) personal trainer. I have no idea what got into me. It was money I didn’t need to spend on a guy I don’t know teaching me things I will most assuredly despise. Okay, I’m being over-dramatic. Despite the drama, however, I did leave the gym Friday signed up for eight personal training sessions (once a week for eight weeks). I’m delighted to familiarize myself with the gym. That’s a large reason I wait in line to use the treadmill or avoid gyms entirely; I’m not sure how to use anything else. With my luck I’d be the girl doing lat pulls facing the wrong way or using a shoulder press as a leg press. According to Rich, my trainer will help me learn to use the machines with confidence and know which machines I want to use to accomplish the outlandish goals I have for my figure.

*****

Yesterday was Sunday (my day of rest) so I did not workout. I went to church and then critically judged dresses, hairstyles, bodies and lifestyles of each celebrity walking the red carpet with unforgiving ferocity as I watched the Golden Globes with my friend.

*****

Today I woke up and attended at 5:30am spin class! Yes, you read that correctly. I woke up at 5:00am and slept-drove to the gym to voluntarily ride a stationary bike for an hour. I invited a friend, but she said cycling intimidates her. So I went it alone. For some reason I seemed to think that no one goes to the gym at 5:30am, so I chose not to do my hair (just threw it in a curly pony tail), not to wear makeup, and not to wear cute workout clothes (a t-shirt, leggings & mismatched socks, baby!) which turned out to be horribly incorrect. Three bikes away was a wildly attractive guy and here I was in a room with mirrors for walls sweating profusely with a pained look on my face almost the entire hour because I forgot to pee. Why me?

*****

Tomorrow at 5:30pm I WILL be wearing make-up, cute workout clothes, and have recently peed when I meet my new personal trainer! I think there’s some fine print rule with personal trainers that you must be excessively fit and abnormally easy on the eyes to apply for the position. It’s no wonder we’re intimidated by the gym. It has less to do with the place and more to do with the freakishly attractive figures lurking around every corner and seemingly watching you. When I go to the gym it’s like an hour long red carpet appearance in which you’re judged for your clothes, your hair, your figure, your lifestyle and all you can do is smile, try not to sweat and hope they’re staring from a flattering angle.