Caution: Approaching the Danger Zone

danger tape

Anyone who has ever been on a health kick/dieted/tried to change their lifestyle is fully aware of the Danger Zone. The Danger Zone is a place where you suddenly find yourself after a long day with too little to eat and a mound of work that needs to get accomplished before you can even begin to think about sleeping the stress of the day away.

IMG_2643After working a Color Run on campus for 5 hours with only a bowl  of Cheerios to tide me over, I could sense I was heading towards certain trouble. Then after a meager long overdo lunch of a peanut butter sandwich and an orange, I could see the Danger Zone coming into clearer focus. When I realized that I would be stained blue all day and didn’t have a hope of making it to the gym, my eyes started casually glancing around for that familiar yellow tape. And now that I have a whole list of chores to complete (involving homework, studying, laundry, shopping, and writing papers), I am staring down the bright and risky entrance that is the Danger Zone.

hp birthday

Now when I say Danger Zone, someone’s first thought may be of a horrifying place where mayhem and madness rule, carrying the very real risk of deadly harm. False. The DZ prides itself on having warm cookies and pizza to greet me with, and there wouldn’t be a care in the world while I was chowing down on popcorn and Twix bars and chocolate and Chex Mix. I just know they’d have some Disney movie or Harry Potter film playing to entice me to stay longer. And in the Danger Zone, the word “work” is the most foul of the four lettered words (both in terms of exercise and school). The real danger comes after your blissful oblivion, when you begin to count up your calories and look at the clock forlornly wishing that Time Turners were real.

But luckily I’ve seen the warning signs. My lack of eating balanced meals throughout the day, the stress I’m feeling towards my To-Do list, and the fact that my morning was eaten away by an exhausting event are all spinning me around in circles and pointing me in the direction of trouble.

So tonight, I’m prepared. I’ve got some water to combat my hunger, I’ve got some plans to study outside of my room and in a public area where binging on peanut butter is not socially acceptable, and I’ve got the knowledge that I’ve made such tremendous progress.

What does your Danger Zone look like? What are some signs that you’re approaching the DZ? What do you do to stay out?

Yes, It’s Worth It

nothing is worth it

Things have been going pretty darn good for me lately. Pretty darn fantastical wonderful stupendical, in fact.

These past few weeks have seen me exercising like a lunatic, falling in love with the gym all over again, and finding any excuse to get outside and move my body (no matter how embarrassing I may look). And all of my little fat cells absolutely hate me for it; which all my little brain cells love me for it.

Just thinking back a few months ago, I remember trying to hide my general unhappiness with being overweight and out of shape. Mostly, I would eat to make myself feel better about being overweight. Yeah, that doesn’t make sense to me either….though it worked fairly well. While I was eating I felt good. While I was eating I could forget about wherever my worries lay. While I was eating I was content.

And then after the eating I was anxious and worried and disappointed and upset and emotional and disappointed and defeated and sad and angry and disappointed. Which would make me eat more. But eventually everybody reaches their food limit, and there were times when I literally could not continue eating. So then what? Well, then I was stuck with those unhappy thoughts and no way of comforting myself. Cue public service announcement on the dangers of relying on chocolate and peanut butter to solve your problems.

But now that I’ve seen the brilliant and divine light of exercise and healthy eating, I’ve come to a stunning realization.

Eating keeps you happy some of the time; fitness keeps you happy all of the time.

Even when I’m not running around at the gym and shoving apples into my mouth, I find myself in a better mood. When walking around campus, I notice that I’m smiling with confidence. I go home at night and instead of wallowing in self-pity, I do a few jumping jacks and call up a friend. Eating better and exercising has enriched almost every aspect of my life (though maybe not the aspect that involves free time).

While there are days that I struggle and times where I know it’d be so much easier to call up Papa Johns and order myself a whole pizza with mushrooms and pineapple, on most every day, I am thrilled to be alive and actively participating in my life.

It was a tough transition. It is still hard. But it is and will always be oh so worth it.long road worth it

Cat Cardio

Some days, I may not make it to the gym. Other times, I’ll find myself too worn out to go for a jog. And on occasion, I’ve been known to avoid the workout DVDs in favor of good book. But no matter my “official” exercise for the day, one form of activity I can always rely on is my cat cardio.

The term, “cat cardio” may not be familiar to some, though the process itself has been around since the dawn of time and was most likely popularized by the ancient Egyptians, those so devoted to physical fitness and felines that they resurrected huge monuments to honor those delightful creatures while getting in their strength training for both this life and the afterlife. In modern times, in order to complete an invigorating session of cat cardio, the participant must have:

  • A cat
  • A toy/string/ball of paper/pouch of cat nip/tantalizing finger/flashlight/toe

You can get an amazing workout with half the equipment needed for conventional forms of exercise!

[Cat food, vet bills, constant animal smell, fur balls, scratched furniture, shedded hair, carrying crate of doom, pooper scooper with accompanying poop sold separately]

IMG_2213Simply place the toy/string/ball of paper/pouch of cat nip/tantalizing finger/flashlight/toe within reach of the cat, and watch the instinctual progression of events take place. The cat will find itself compelled to play/grab/bat/go bonkers/nibble/chase/chomp, at which point the participant will find themself compelled to throw/yank/toss/hide/move/create dizzying patterns/dance a jig until the cat is sufficiently entertained and the exerciser’s heart beat can be heard over the ensuing purring.

Then, repeat.

And do not stop under penalty of scratches, the silent treatment, and smelly and unburried bowl movements.

If you anger the cat, you will never survive to recommit yourself to those workout DVDs you had foolishly forsaken.

Your only option is to continually participate in this cat cardio session constructed by Hates and perfected in the underworld where those who committed sins most foul (by preferring dogs) are forced to think of new cat cardio routines involving bicep curls and brushes. You’ll have to learn to shower while throwing their toy; it’ll be required that you study for classes while crumpling your former Ancient Medieval Rhetoric notes into tiny balls for the beautiful devil to bat around; you’ll even have to accustom yourself to writing blog posts while sporadically moving your hands and feet in order for the cat to remain actively engaged.

The results are permanent, but unfortunately, the activity is endless.

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Smart Choice Menu

Every week, the University of Maryland posts a specialized menu to their nutrition web page. Deep within the confines of the nutritional battlefield that is the college campus cafeteria, can be found  a ray of light, a prospect of hope for when that heat-lamp warmed pizza riddled with grease and untold delights seems almost too tempting to resist; there can be found, a Smart Choice Menu.

This smart choice menu has been my saving grace. Instead of relying on tuna fish sandwiches every day, the menu provides healthy options throughout the campus. I can mix it up between the salad station, the Mexican station, the pasta station, and I can still get my tuna fish on occasion. I’ve even taken to customizing it around my work schedule and to fit my pescetarian lifestyle.

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But I seem to get a whole lot more than variety from this smart choice menu, I also receive:

  • The convenience of not having to scour the dining halls for healthy options
  • A variety that doesn’t get me fed up with healthy foods
  • Knowledge that it’s A-Okay to eat pizza every now and again
  • The joy of marking off a week of healthy eating
  • Support of my weight loss efforts from the University

I’m sure that I’m the only person in the entire universe of existence in both this and every other dimension who uses this smart choice menu. And that’s just fine with me. As long as this little scrap of paper keeps mixing up my meals and counting my calories, I’ll never have a reason to renounce it.

The 6 Most Shockingly Irresponsible “Fitspiration” Photos

I love this post (as I knew it before it was famous) and wanted to celebrate the fact that someone has deconstructed the messages that we (as fitness wannabes) are being sent regarding health. I don’t know when we stopped motivating ourselves though internal pride and started relying on unrealistic and hurtful comments and pictures. But I am most definitely glad that these messages are being questioned. Stay fit for your health, stay happy for yourself.

Reembody

The Reembody blog, up to this point, has been a thoughtful exploration of human movement, a subject about which I am extremely passionate.

Today, however, I’m mad and I’m going to tell you why.

I have been planning a blog post for a while on fitness misinformation, and it was originally going to be the same kind of thoughtful deconstruction found in my other installments. But then I read this and it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever found in my newsfeed: so beautiful, in fact, that the rest of the health and fitness propaganda floating around Facebook like turds in a pool started to really, really piss me off.

So thoughtful deconstruction has been postponed for another day. Instead, we’re going to take a good look at a few of those turds and get pissed off together because, when someone preys upon your insecurities in an effort…

View original post 1,993 more words

A Magazine Named Fitness

A few months ago, I signed up to receive a two year subscription to Fitness Magazine for the low low rate of $8 (which I felt was actually a rockin’ deal). I’d never really subscribed to anything before, and was ready for an adventure on if I would find the magazine useful (for more than swatting at bugs), helpful (for more than just showing me how to look good in workout gear), or entertaining (for more than just laughing at the silly and ridiculously challenging exercises they’d bid me to do in order to get a sizzling sexy summer butt).

Yeah right...

Yeah right…

So far, I haven’t been disappointed. While Fitness subscribes to the typical magazine fashion of having ads on nearly every other page, the majority of the articles/pictures/recipes/exercises are intriguing and tend to spice up my routine once a month (even if I don’t end up following through with them).

But, there has definitely been one blessing from this magazine subscription which was my primary purpose for signing up for these 20 issues in the first place; it keeps me accountable. Knowing that I will get a new issue every month seems to keep me on track. Even if I haven’t done well for a week or two, I’ll receive the newest issue and recall all the times that I’ve read this while being devoted to my health, all the promises that I’ve made to myself back in February when I decided to give this thing a whirl, and I’ll remember all of the positivity and support that I’ve received in the form of women expressed in text.

While I may not need to know, or I may not necessarily even care, how to keep my ankles looking young, I do appreciate the support that I seem to derive from these colorful and engaging pages being delivered to my house.

Plus, the covers usually always make me laugh; who needs a revealing bikini to get fit?

Instead of making me feel bad about myself, this cover just makes me question the definition of "fit"

Instead of making me feel bad about myself, this cover just makes me question the definition of “fit”

Orange You Glad You Ate This Fruit Today?

I’ve started losing weight again. Hurray! I’ve also started eating oranges again. Double hurray!

Not only do they provide a wonderful way of relieving anxiety (as peeling oranges may or may not be proven to reduce stress). Not only do they promote weight loss (as eating oranges may or may not be proven to help shed weight). Not only do oranges make a tasty and delicious treat for any occasion (as even smelling oranges is most definitely associated with happiness and good times). But oranges are so much fun to eat!

Here are some more credible websites that are discussing the amazing benefits of oranges:

Natural Weight Loss

All the Benefits

About the Orange

Health and Pretty Pictures

I swear that the majority of my weight loss last year can be credited to eating oranges. Despite their propensity for eroding tooth enamel with their acidity, I try to eat about one a day. And I must say, I’m loving the results right now!

Not to mention, I have so much fun eating them!