Couch to 5k – Week 1, Day 1

This morning I woke up stupidly early and completed the first day of Couch to 5k! The hardest part was definitely getting myself out the door; the allure of spending a few more hours in my warm bed was almost too much for me to give up, but I did and I’m quite pleased that I did. Admittedly, I did a little more walking that I was supposed to, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it. I will probably end up spending two weeks on week one just to “catch up,” though. All-in-all, I’m out of shape, but not as out of shape as I thought I was, so that’s nice.

I’m feeling pretty victorious and healthy and proactive, so I figured that an update was in order so that I can remember this feeling the when my next running day comes around. I start tennis lessons on Monday, so I’m planning to get up at like 5:30am and go running before work on Wednesday so that I can have a day off between this run and tennis, and another day off between tennis and my next run.

I am technically a little, fledgling , wannabe runner. That is super weird, but awesome! Why did I wait so long to do this, again?

A Long-Promised Photo Post!

Alright, a week later than I planned, but here’s the photo post I’ve wanted to make for awhile now!

Work bought us breakfast today, which was an awesome start to the day. After I got off at I 1pm (yay half days!) I ended up going on a spontaneous adventure. I walked from downtown to Station Square and then took the Mon Incline up to Mt. Washington and got frozen yogurt.

Now I’m drinking Cotton Candy vodka with grenadine and Sprite Zero; I’m limiting myself to two drinks because I’m going to get up early(ish) and do Week 1, Day 1 of Couch to 5k, exciting!

Cleared to start Couch to 5k, hooray!

Exciting news! I had a doctor’s appointment this morning in which I was granted both a clean bill of health, and the go ahead to start doing Couch-to-5k, which I’ve wanted to do pretty much since I started losing weight. My doctor mentioned The Great Race and suggested that I might want to make running in it my goal with C25k. So I registered for it. And I am going to start Week 1 of C25k (and tennis lessons, too, for that matter, heh) next week.

It boggles my mind that 18 months ago I would have never, ever thought about doing either of these things, and now here I am, actually planning on engaging in physical activity for recreation. I definitely think that my health journey has changed my mind a hell of a lot more than my body. It also helps greatly that I have a doctor who agrees with me on the fact that not everyone is destined to fall into the weight ranges outlined by the BMI, but instead supports me getting me getting my weight to a place that’s right for my body and then maintaining that via healthy habits, a la Health at Every Size.

While I was at the doctor today, I also got the weird little lump on my wrist examined. My suspicions were correct, and it is in fact a Ganglion Cyst, but thankfully, I can just leave it alone unless it starts to cause me problems. I’m beyond thrilled to not have to be secretly worried that it’s a tumor anymore, so that’s a weight off my shoulders.

We’re supposed to be getting some pretty gnarly storms here tonight, so I do believe that I am going to go take a bath now in case my power goes out later.

Unlimited: Working it Out, Ch.1

After reading about the book Unlimited by Jillian Michaels on the blog of a YouTuber I follow, I decided to go for it and buy a copy for my Kindle. Having never watched The Biggest Loser, I know next to nothing about Jillian Michaels, but I was drawn to the fact that the book has guided writing prompts, which I figured would force me to think about what I really want out of life, something which is pretty crucial for me now since I really need to buckle down and decide what I want to do with myself in terms of a career and grad school. So, without further deliberation, I’m jumping right into the writing prompts.

The questions at the end of the first chapter focused pretty intently on figuring out who I am, what interests me, what sort of environment makes me happy, and what my values and ethics are. For the sake of brevity, I’m going to try to touch upon the majority of these topics by describing my “ideal day.”

On a perfect day, I would probably wake up naturally around 9am or 10am, to cold, gray weather with the threat of snow looming. I would eat a breakfast consisting of oatmeal with fresh fruit pieces and drink a glass of skim milk. After eating, I’d dress in jeans, a cute sweater, cute boots, and wool coat, and then likely hop a bus or train downtown (and spend the ride reading, of course). Upon arriving, I would stow my Kindle, pull out my iPod and listen to some twee-pop while exploring some quirky, eccentric shopping district or a farmer’s market or a flea market and probably buy some kitschy knickknack for my mantle or desk. After shopping, I’d grab lunch at a small, local cafe and watch the snow fall while either browsing international news or blogging on my netbook, or perhaps reading on my Kindle again.

With a full stomach and a slightly-emptier wallet, I’d likely either head to catch an art-house flick, or maybe get my hands dirty and work on a volunteer project (something outdoorsy like gardening or painting, were the weather warmer), or perhaps I’d head to the library and work on learning a world language or brushing up on my HTML and CSS. The end of my perfect day would likely entail sitting at my desk, in front of the window, watching the snowfall and nerding out in front some of a movie or a videogame, like Oblivion.

Going back and reading what I just wrote, I think it’s pretty safe to say that I am happiest when enjoying solitude, consuming comfort food, being casual (yet pulled together) and exposing myself to new and unique things; none of these things are particularly surprising to me, but I find it helpful regardless to have written that out regardless. How does this translate into possible career options? I’d be willing to be that I’d be happiest in a profession that allowed me a great deal of privacy and time alone when working and a degree of intellectual stimulation and plenty of opportunities to gain new skills; having a flexible schedule and a casual dress code would be also be excellent since I enjoy waking up naturally whenever I can.

This was a fun exercise and makes me believe that I will end up as an analyst of some sort, but I guess we’ll see!

Green, green youth. What about the sweetness we knew?

In an effort to break up the monotony that my life seems to have become as of late, I just booked Megabus tickets to Akron and Cleveland for day trips next month on a whim. It’s not a “real” vacation, but I am looking forward to exploring another city, eating at some new places, and taking some pictures; I’m also looking forward to actually sitting down and planning my little excursions and deciding what sights I want to see and where I want to eat and the like. I haven’t booked tickets yet, but I also want to do a three or four day trip to Toronto this summer, probably in early August if I can get a Friday and a Monday off work to make a long weekend trip out of it.

Writing about Ohio and planning these trips make think of the song “Carry Me Ohio” by Sun Kil Moon; it was one of my favorites freshman year of college.

ETA: Eh, fuck it…I just booked a trip to Toronto for my birthday weekend. Excitement!

Oompa, loompa, loompady doo!

When I went grocery shopping yesterday, I ended up buying a Wonka’s Exceptionals Scrumdiddlyumptious Bar. This purchase in turn ended up inspiring me to watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and to take a handful of pictures of my Wonka bar as an excuse to play around with my camera. I’m still not used to this camera, so I wasn’t happy with most of the shots, but these three looked pretty good to me. Enjoy!

The chocolate was amazing, by the way. I still have two-thirds of it left, and it’s taking a lot of self-restraint not to go back into my kitchen for it. Also, I’m totally realizing that I took the pictures of the chocolate bar upside-down, making the “W” look like an “M,” oops! Hooray for being able to flip images in WordPress!!

A rainy Good Friday? Go on aimless adventures and run errands!

I just watched the most recent episode of The Office, and before I say anything else, I must make two things clear:

1.) I am not a crier. There was actually a two-year period of time where I did not cry once.
2.) I am not a TV person. In fact, I only watch three shows four (Well, it will be four again when season two of The Walking Dead starts) shows. Actually, I don’t even have cable, were it not for the powers of les inerwebs,I wouldn’t even watch those.

With both of these things out of the way, I’ve got to admit that this episode made me realize that I am going to cry like a little bitch next week while watching Steve Carell’s final episode. The most recent episode had an ending that was just so endearing and sweet that I felt my eyes moisten and a slight pang of sadness at knowing that I will no longer see the antics of Michael Scott every week. As sad as it is to see one of my favorite characters leave my favorite show, the blow is softened by knowing that I can watch all of the old episodes whenever I want, so at least there’s that.

In terms of news outside of the idiotbox, I spent a ton of money on groceries today. I’m going to try to stay away from the vending machines at work (it doesn’t help that they take debit cards) and stop eating out so often, for the sake of both my wallet and waistline. I’ve realized that I really hate having to grocery shop in the middle of the week, so I guess I’m going to go back to buying a ton of food on weekends and only going once a week again. I also finally got around to trying Metromint water, and it’s pretty good…but pretty darn expensive at a whopping $2 per 16.9 ounce bottle. That said, it’s really refreshing and it’s zero calories, so I may just have to order a case from Amazon, where it’s a (slightly) more reasonable $1.58 per bottle. Ever since I got a free trial of Amazon Prime, I have been buying stuff I would normally buy elsewhere at Amazon because, without having to pay for shipping, it’s just so much cheaper to do so. Free Amazon Prime trials for students is probably one of the best examples of a loss leader strategy, ever.

I went to The Mall at Robinson today, but it didn’t buy anything other than lunch. I was just having one of those days where trying on clothes just didn’t seem appealing; it didn’t help that it was raining today, so the bottoms of my pants were wet, thus decreasing my desire take them off and put them back on a million times. Actually, I had planned on going on a picture-taking adventure, but the rain messed that up, too, but I digress. I ended up taking a different bus than usual to the mall, so I’ve finally seen McKees Rocks after hearing people talk about how horrible and run down it is for years; honestly, it looks just like any other decaying steel town around here to me. It actually seemed to be in better shape than most to me, judging from the number of businesses which were still open.

On a related note, one thing that never does cease to amaze me about this region is how economically-depressed areas and well-to-do suburbs can coexist so peacefully next to each other; the juxtaposition just makes the rich look richer and the poor look poorer. I’m sure it’s that way back in Maryland, too, but I was just too blind to notice it when I lived there.

I never know how to end entries, so I’ll just say excuse the typos, because I’m sure there are plenty!

ETA: It’s been a week since I re-registered Uninspired-Musings! Wow, that went by quickly. Even in that short period of time, blogging more regularly has made me feel more peaceful. I like it.

New gadgets, pretty art, and tasty salad make for a good evening.

As you can see in the sidebar, my commission for U-M’s zombie mascot, who I have named April, has been completed! It was done by Saku, who I found via a Livejournal art commissioning community, and I couldn’t be more happy with it. He was amazing to work with and got it done super quickly and I plan on getting more work done by him once I think of more poses for April. I do believe I’ve found my “official” artist for for my blog mascot, exciting!

In other news, my new camera came today! It’s thankfully the same shade as advertised online, so I’m quite happy with it. I haven’t had much time to play with it yet, but here’s a teaser shot of the Gyro salad (amazing, by the way) which I had for dinner tonight:

Tomorrow is my last day of work for the week, so I’m sure I’ll spend part of the weekend playing around with my camera and figuring out what exactly it can do, so I should be making a big picture post at some point late this weekend or early next week. It’s nice having a working camera again; even though I don’t consider myself a photographer by even the loosest of definitions, I do enjoy taking pictures of random things and places just because looking at things in picture form forces me to really and truly look at them instead of glancing over them.

I’m getting my fat ass back on the wagon, damn it!

For the past almost-year-and-a-half, I’ve been monitoring my food intake and forcing myself to move around and be physically active more frequently as a sustainable way of losing weight and keeping it off. It’s definitely been a slow process as the past 16 months have “only” yielded a 40lb loss, for the most part I’m okay with that because 95% of the time, the scale is either moving in the right direction or standing still. Honestly, I consider both of these things a victory considering that I actually gained about 50lbs between May of 2006 and December of 2009 due to a combination of laziness, shitty eating, depression, and more laziness.

One thing I’m not okay with however is the fact that I’ve really been slacking lately on monitoring my food intake. And honestly, keeping an eye on the number of calories I take in is the only “diet” thing I do since I still eat whatever I want, pretty much. So far I’ve been lucky and have only gained (and subsequently lost) two pounds over these past slacktastic two months, but I’m certainly not going to continue leaving my health to chance! So, I’m forcing myself to buckle down and log everything I eat again, just like I use to when I first started, for the next 30 days. No matter how far over or under my calorie goal I am, I will consider the day a success if I complete my food log.

I originally started out using FitDay’s PC software, but around January I switched to MyFitnessPal, simply because I have the option of entering my food online, which I can do from work or home, and an Android app which I can use when eating out. I really like the software I use, so I think that the only reason I haven’t been logging as of late is laziness, and that’s a really bad reason to do (or not do) something, especially when you consider that even though I don’t “limit” myself in anyway when I’m logging, I do tend to listen to what my body actually wants or needs more when I have to write it down. Nothing is more guilt-inducing than realizing that your body was craving raspberries and brie, but you gave it M&Ms from the vending machine because you didn’t want to leave the building during your lunch break in search of what you really wanted. Keeping track of what I’m shoveling into my face keeps me from eating crap out of convenience (and then ultimately going back and eating what I was craving in the first place, heh), so I’m looking forward to starting that full-time again.

On the “spend less time sitting on my ass in front of a Reddit” side of things, I’m starting tennis lessons on May 1st and I’m pretty excited about it. Depending on my budget, I’ll either be doing it once a week or twice week, but either way, it’ll be nice to do something other than DDR or hiking up Pittsburgh hills for exercise. I’m not as out of shape as I once was, so I figured stepping my game up (no pun intended) would help me burn more calories while nurturing a new hobby, so expect to hear about that in the near future, too.

I have about 50 more pounds I plan on losing (at which point I will be 15 pounds above my doctor’s goal, but oh well…I want to keep some curves), but I don’t really have any set timeframe to lose them in honestly. I’m already perfectly healthy (*knock on wood for it staying that way*): my labs are beautiful across the board and there’s nothing that being fat actually prevents me from doing, so I’m not in a super hurry, but I’m not going to lie: I like buying smaller (and cuter) clothes, so I’d like to drop two or three more sizes (probably about 25lbs-30lbs?) over the next six months so I can justify buying a whole new winter wardrobe in November. That’s roughly a pound a week, so it seems doable, but we’ll see. Honestly, I would not be mad if I only lost five pounds in that time, truth be told. I still like food and I want to enjoy it, even if it means watching the scale creep downward at a snails pace from now until I’m 25.

TL;DR – I am starting to log my food intake again, but I want to be healthy more than anything else because I have a super-awesome relationship with my body already, fat or not. Also, yay tennis lessons!

The best part of having a “real job” is being able to buy new toys at will.

After breaking my old camera last month, I spent forever procrastinating about buying a new one, but I finally did! I’m not going to lie: the main reason I decided to go for it and finally replace the thing was for making video and picture posts here using something other than my phone. Anyway, behold my newest toy, the Casio EX-Z550! (Apparently that color is “red,” but it looks really purple to me, so hopefully it’s true to the image and not “fire engine red” when it gets here on Wednesday.)

New camera, yay!

My last camera was almost three years old, so this is a huge upgrade for me: 14.1 megapixels, 4x wide angle optical zoom, 720p video recording, and image stabilization. I may just have to screw around and stage a photo shoot with my new zombie action figures (shut up, I hear you laughing) to try this thing out when it comes. Excitement!