A Few More Words on Food and Also Running Because I Don’t Know Who I Am Anymore

After about a week of reintroducing non-whole30 foods back into our diets, it became clear that a.) certain foods definitely trigger feelings of UGH I FEEL AWFUL and b.) we could maintain the weight loss but would not reach our ultimate goals if we were “good” during the week and then went crazy on the weekends. So, we’re on Day 2, again. Obviously we spent the weekend “clearing out the alcohol” in the house in preparation. It’s also obvious that of the 15 pounds I lost, about 10 of it came straight from my boobs. (Hi, Dad!)

In addition to realizing I may never eat pizza again (bread: why you gotta make me feel like garbage?) I’ve been having a hard time reconciling some negative feelings about running. For the longest time I’ve been saying my ultimate goal is to run a half marathon (ideally before I turn 40, which means that would need to happen this year), and now that I’m training for a 10k, I’m not so sure that goal interests me any longer. As someone who struggles a lot with guilt over “quitting” I did some serious thinking about what was going on here, and it wasn’t the extra work that would be involved, or intimidation over the effort required. I’m simply not enjoying the activity itself. And that added another layer of guilt: not everything in life is enjoyable, right? So now I had “don’t be a quitter” and “you can’t expect to have fun all the time” running through my head (with a little bit of “you’ve been telling people you want to do this and you’ll look dumb if you don’t” thrown in).

But here’s the thing: I run because I enjoy it. It’s purely a fun hobby. Sure, I set some goals and run races but at the core of it all is my enjoyment of it. And if that is lacking, why push myself to do more of it? If my mom told me she wasn’t enjoying quilting much right now, would I push her to sign up for more workshops and buy more materials and patterns and judge her for taking a break (or at least finishing her existing project but not necessarily lining up another one)? Of course not. So why so much pressure? Am I not enjoying it because I feel pressure to be hitting certain goals? Do I need to switch up my routine so it doesn’t feel like an obligation? I’m honestly not sure. But I do know I’d like to find my way back to enjoyment, and part of that is because I know I’m at my best when I’m spending time outdoors and taking care of my body; running has fed that need. Maybe it’s time to find other ways to do that. Not that I have to abandon running altogether, but maybe not assign so much importance to it as A Thing I Do or as part of my identity.

Please note that the irony that I am writing about nutrition and exercise given my fondness for pizza and Taco Bell is not lost on me.

 

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A Lot of Words about Food

Ed and I just completed a round of whole30 and if there’s one takeaway I really am like Oprah in that I love bread.

For the uninitiated, whole30 isn’t a diet per se, but a way to rethink your relationship with food and sort of detox, but not in a strict calorie-counting way. For 30 days we eliminated dairy, legumes, carbs/flour/grains, sugar, and – wait for it – alcohol. Ed was smart enough to buy the official program cookbook, and thank god the man can cook because there are no short cuts; I am now making a modified (but very tasty!) ranch dressing from scratch to avoid the sugar and dairy in store-bought. Black coffee or most teas are fine and that really brought into focus that a.) I do not care for black coffee and b.) I was drinking a shitload of coffee each day, piled high with sugar and half-and-half. Cutting out booze was actually the easiest thing, even for winos like us, but did affect our social lives as I just didn’t feel like going to a bar so that I could sip water and not eat pub food. Actually, we’ve only eaten two meals out in the last month, which means more money for things like redecorating our living room. Yes, we have filled the carb-shaped holes in our life with throw pillows and floating shelves. You can take away my pinot but not my bougie tendencies.

One of the biggest mental revelations was how much more organized we had to be/have become. No more impulse Round Table Pizza deliveries when we felt tired; we (OK, Ed mostly because he is a little pickier) had to meal plan and prep and shop each weekend. Lunches had to be packed the night before. We started using our evenings to organize our home, instead of just plop on the couch with a bottle of wine (although there’s still some couch-plopping with LaCroix water because The West Wing isn’t going to re-watch itself, friends). The lack of caffeine/sugar highs and lows has led to some stellar productivity at work, too.

Physically, the changes were slower to manifest. The 30 day kickoff coincided with a new running program; your girl is now training for a 10k! I figured my healthy-eating-well-hydrated self would be a superstar, but it turns out some carbs really are needed for that long-term energy. I’m actually struggling a lot with increasing my distance and find I’m worn out way earlier in a run than I should be, which is discouraging. I need to find ways to incorporate good carbs back into my diet so I can get out there and enjoy running again. And then there’s the weight issue. The program discourages weighing yourself during the 30 days and to focus more on overall well-being, how clothes fit, and energy level. I was straight-up pissed when weight started melting off Ed almost immediately, while I felt I looked the same. About two weeks in, a pair of jeans I wear all the time felt a little baggy so I gave in and weighed myself: I had lost at least 10 pounds since starting, and 15 since the beginning of the year. I’m wearing jeans – comfortably – that haven’t fit in a year, and friends say that I look different, although I don’t quite see it yet.

From a sociological standpoint, this has been absolutely fascinating. Food – and sharing a meal together – is such a huge part of our culture and how we bond, and when I had to decline invitations (with a quick but firm explanation) it really bothered a lot of people. So many “Can’t you make an exception?” and “One slice of pizza won’t kill you!” with the always fun suggestion of “Why don’t you come with us and not eat?” The quick answers to each are “Of course I could but I don’t want to,” “I should hope it wouldn’t,” and “Nah, I’m good.” A few people would make comments about being good vs bad and that sure as hell brought up a lot of feelings for me. One, I wasn’t trying to be some martyr or be “good” or prove anything to anyone else. This was about my health and getting my body back to a place where I was caring for it rather than hating it. I have zero opinion on what everyone else wanted to eat and drink, and yet there were daily comments on what I was or wasn’t eating. Second, I have spent a decent chunk of time and brainspace getting away from assigning my eating habits and food choices as “good” or “bad” and I really didn’t want to fall down that rabbit hole again.

Now that the 30 days are up, we’ve decided we’d like to keep going, but maybe allow for some exceptions on weekends (i.e. occasional dinners out) since we like how we feel and we’re eating delicious meals so why not? I do need to get more involved in the meal planning and prep so this isn’t solely Ed’s burden, as well as research the best ways to get my energy up for my longer distance runs.

In related news, I could go for a bagel right now.

The State of Things

I try to keep it light-ish (or at least politically neutral, although anyone who knows me in real life knows I’m a liberal pansy so whatever) around here but also this is where I go to word-vomit my feeeelllinnnggsss so here we go.

I’m legitimately terrified about the state of our nation right now. Finding a balance between staying informed but also taking a break from the news so that I don’t lose my shit is going to be key here. Ed took me away for my birthday last weekend and while I’d check my phone for directions to a restaurant I’d sneak a peek at the news pouring in. “Oh, the ACLU is blocking the ban. Make a left here to get to the champagne tasting room.” It was jarring and weird for both of us. The good news is that being in a state of abject terror distracted me from the fact that I turned 39 on Sunday (hold me).

So I’m doing what I can, where I can. I’ve set up monthly donations to Planned Parenthood and IRC. I need to budget in the ACLU there somewhere. When I was a starving student I remember a volunteer coordinator reminding me that if I didn’t have money time can be just as valuable, so it’s time to identify where I can give that, too. Thanks to My Civic Workout I receive a handy email each day to give me one action item to make my voice heard, often with a recommended script so there’s basically no excuse not to do something. It still feels Sisyphean in nature and like I could always be doing more. I also remind myself that I still need to go to work to get the paycheck that allows me to donate to the organizations I support, and that I’m not going to save the world by angrily re-Tweeting instead of having dinner with my dad. Not that I’m giving myself a hall pass from participating in civic life, oh no: I plan to recruit my family into this, too.

I promise to try to get back to the content you know and love: product reviews, dick jokes, and stories about a time when I acted like a complete moron (so, any given day). But I may indulge a little ranting (or, basic signal boosting of things that are of interest and concern to me) here and there. Hopefully a little of both will provide relief in this weird, uncertain time.

Self-care Sunday

Gearing up for the first full week at work in what feels like forever coupled with rain and wind storms makes it easy to cocoon and nest.

  • Ran a 5k: My first San Francisco race! Between the lightning and broken branches I doubt I’ll forget it. My first memory of San Francisco was when we met up with my dad after one of his races so it was exciting to get to experience that for myself.
  • Brunch and mimosa: See above.
  • Facial: I love running outside but my skin takes some abuse from the wind and cold.
  • Bubble bath: The eucalyptus bubbles instantly make my legs feel better.
  • Pajamas fresh out of the dryer: Yes.

Here’s to setting goals and making things happen!

Self-care Sunday (on a Monday)

Not that anyone asked, but I think I cracked the code on a nice little self-care routine to ease back into work after a glorious 10 days off. This may become my new Sunday routine because I need a way to shake off the Sunday night blues.

  • Quick (2 miles) run outside: I have a race in a few days and this is part of the training plan, so I’ll adjust my mileage as needed. And hopefully sleep better.
  • Face mask: winter is murder on my skin so I’m doing everything I can to keep it happy. Plus I look insane and like to startle Ed.
  • Wash makeup brushes: in addition to being a key piece in not being gross, this will also keep my skin looking good. Win-win.
  • Deep condition hair and cuticles: OK, clearly a big part of this routine is appearance-based but it makes me feel better, OK?
  • Brooklyn 99 and The State marathons on Hulu: Self-explanatory if you know me at all.

Feel free to adapt any of these for your own purposes. Happy New Year! Take time to take care of yourself.

These Are the Daves I Know

Quick aside: I have been coughing like Doc Holliday for about a week and instead of trying to “tough it out” I went to the doctor today like an adult and got a prescription and here’s hoping I actually get some rest. I feel completely fine except for this loud, hacky cough but man I could use some sleep because I am starting to look rough.

Anyway. *Claps Briskly*

We’ve been living here for two years and people keep asking if we’ve made friends with the neighbors. And the quick answer is no. We just don’t see people enough to feel like offering an invitation to socialize on purpose (as opposed to basic elevator chit-chat) with anyone. Plus, I am always afraid that I come across as desperate or weird or clingy when making new friends because I get all excited like a puppy. But that hasn’t stopped me from making up little stories and nicknames for the people I encounter most frequently. So without further ado, here are the Daves I know.*

  1. Cute Chiropractor Next Door: Sort of a bro-y guy who is very friendly and has a really nice girlfriend and a teeny-tiny dog who Molly has tried to befriend but the dog is not having it. They seem like a nice couple and he always holds the elevator door for me, and I think they wouldn’t be totally weirded out if we asked them to hang out or had a doggy playdate. But he reminds me of the guys I always had crushes on who would flirt with me but then make out with one of my friends and thank me for introducing them.
  2. Hot Dad: No idea if this guy is actually a dad, but he’s preppy and handsome and a little older and seems like he has nice dishes and matching towels and doesn’t wear too much cologne so yeah OK he’s what you might call “Christen’s type” I guess if we’re putting labels on things. I have a weird not-crush on him where I get bashful when we ride the elevator together but also, you know, HAPPILY MARRIED over here. He always says hi to Molly which I find endearing.
  3. Perfect Family: The dad is very tall and always dressed in tech exec chic (blazer, nice jeans, good shoes) and the mom is very petite and always in head-to-toe Lulu Lemon and the baby is adorable and never makes a single sound. They seem really happy and into the kid and always offer to ride a different elevator so the stroller doesn’t crowd us, but I always insist we can scoot over. I kind of love them.
  4. Loud Family: A single mom with three kids (two girls and a boy) who you can hear coming from a mile away. They are just so loud at all times. The boy is fond of making fart noises in the elevator and I have to fight back laughter every single time.
  5. Date or Daughter Couple Down the Hall: She’s not insanely young, but the guy looks a lot older than she is. The first time I saw them together I quickly assumed she was his daughter and then some body language cues quickly clued me in that that was not the case. He’s always wearing a t-shirt and cargo shorts while she dresses really cute and I can’t tell if he’s clueless or just thinks he’ll look more youthful if he dresses like a 14 year-old boy but it isn’t working. Anyway, they always seem really happy so that’s cool.

*I get that song stuck in my head roughly twice a month. Canadian sketch comedy bits from the 90’s for the win!

The Rotten Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree

I spent last Thursday-Sunday in Chico to help my mom out after her shoulder surgery. The procedure itself went very well and her surgeon (who’s really cute so I’m glad I wore a dress and touched up my lip gloss) is happy about how she’s healing and said it went better than he expected. As much as I’d prefer to visit my parents under less-stressful circumstances, it was nice to get some alone time with them. I mean, I love that Ed gets along well with them and he’s clearly the son-in-law of their dreams, but there was something comforting about being our little three-person comedy troupe like when I was a kid. It didn’t take long for us to slip into old inside jokes and dated pop culture references. And my mom was in rare form, offering up some choice quotes.

Behold:

  • “You look like a Mexican wrestler.” – Upon seeing me in a Tony Moly sheet mask
  • “Look, I’m a known entity so fuck you if you don’t like me.” – In response to peer feedback at work
  • Dave: “What if use some Grecian formula?” Mom: “What if I Grecian divorce you?”
  • “Is he/she a millenial? I fucking hate millenials.” – In response to me telling a story about anyone remotely annoying
  • “Are you wearing sunscreen every day? You’re starting to look wrinkled.” – First thing in the goddamn morning, thanks

I really don’t have a point here other than documenting this for any future competency hearings and also to let you all know where I get this sunny disposition from.

Thank You for Voting This Blog as Your Preferred Choice for Dated Pop Culture References

  • In looking for a new show to fill the Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley holes in our sad life, Ed and I decided to check out The West Wing on Netflix since I like to be roughly 15 years behind the times. I can’t believe I wasn’t more into this show when it first aired since the cast is primarily old white guys aka my personal kryptonite. It holds up well in some ways, but it’s fascinating to watch anything political through a pre-9/11 lens now. Anyway, Allison Janney is a national treasure and I am currently doodling “Christen + Leo McGarry 4ever” in the margins of my algebra book.
  • I worked from home today and while the break from real pants, makeup, and contact lenses is lovely and I am absolutely an introvert I do not like the isolation. Molly is also clearly annoyed with me since I didn’t play with her and she doesn’t have free reign of the couches. However, I had an entire pot of coffee to myself and no one has thrown a dart at my head so it’s not all terrible.
  • Last Wednesday I had my engagement and wedding ring sawed off of my red, swollen finger in the (nicest, cleanest, most efficient) emergency room. No idea what the hell happened to said finger, but the initial thought is a potential allergy to white gold. Sorry, Ed, we’re gonna need to go platinum. Doctor’s orders! Also, not my problem if I get hit on all the time now (since that’s just a constant worry up in here). I keep making jokes like this to him because I am racked with guilt and feel sad and shitty and like this is why I can’t have nice things.
  • My mom is having shoulder surgery at the end of July so I’ll head up a couple of weeks later to offer some relief to Dave and take her to a post-op appointment since she can’t drive for 8 weeks. For anyone who has met my mom, you know that she is not terribly patient, nor is she fond of relying on people (GEE I WONDER WHERE I GET IT FROM) so she should be at peak prickliness by the time I arrive. She joked that it will be a crappy remake of Driving Miss Daisy but I think we have potential to go full-tilt Grey Gardens. Minus the hoarding and stray animals, of course. I need to remember to pack my leotards and scarves to really get into it.
  • I think we should go to Mexico for Thanksgiving. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “You are model children and we respect your choices” and 10 being “WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME?” how do you think our respective parents will take it?

 

What If They Have Test Anxiety?

This morning I had blood drawn as part of some tests my new doctor ordered just to get a baseline on my health and make sure all systems are functioning. The orders on the labs for today called for an Ovarian Assessment Report, which makes it sound like we’re trying to figure out if they qualify for AP Calculus or something. I have been endlessly amused by this and sure hope they’re good enough to get into a state school.

To add insult to injury (the injury being the fact that I had a NEEDLE in my arm and got a lecture from the phlebotomist that I shouldn’t be afraid of my own blood which is NOT HELPFUL and also I’m 38 so let go of the hope that you’re going to change me, OK?) I couldn’t get the bandage off my arm and had to enlist a very nice coworker to rip it off so now the entire office heard me scream and then burst into hysterical, embarrassed laughter. It’s only Wednesday but I feel like I’ve really given it my all this week in terms of behaving like a toddler.

It’s My Blog and I’ll Rant If I Want To

This week I’m playing a super fun game of “Mentally Ill or Just PMSing?” which means someone needs to take away my ability to make any grown up decisions.

The other night while watching Wheel of Fortune (what? shut up) I screamed, “OH WELL AREN’T YOU SO FUCKING SPECIAL” at a contestant who was talking about mountain climbing so clearly I’m crushing it at this life stuff.  I’m also considering selling my ticket to see Beyoncé next Monday (QUEEN BEY) because I feel too old to go out and I don’t fit in with the people I’m going to the concert with (all lovely, all basically 17 years old) but also…Beyoncé. So, I’m trying to put a pin in the temptation to turn lemonade into lemons over here.

My mom was in town for work and stayed with us last night, but it puts this pressure on me to leave the office so I can let her in and, you know, spend time with her. Which I love! But it’s harder to do that now that my job isn’t a strictly 8-5 gig where I can pack up and leave everything behind and can absolutely predict my schedule at all times. I want to spend time with her but also? I kind of need the space during the week to be able to keep growing this career and be perceived as a valued member of the team, not someone who clocks out at 5. It’s like the Cat’s in the Cradle over here and I feel awful.

My newest pet peeve is when I ask about a deadline for a project and I’m told, “Whenever you get to it” or “No rush” so I let projects that do have deadlines take precedence and then someone randomly asks, “Hey, is that done yet? I was hoping to have it today/tomorrow/three days ago.” Just…give me a fucking deadline. You’re not doing anyone favors by trying to be “hey whatever man” when you know you need it by a certain day.

In slightly less unhinged news, I’m starting from zero and on day two of running again. It’s slow but it’s something. I think tomorrow I’m going to suck it up and start the Couch to 5k program just to make sure I don’t injure myself and maintain a sustainable schedule. It’s a little discouraging starting from scratch, but not being able to fit into half my clothes is more frustrating so here we go.