Monday, July 30, 2012

Fifty Shades of Fitness

Fifty Shades of Fitness. What? Well, you don't need to read the book to understand what I mean. I think I can explain the concept and keep the blog Rated G. In Fifty Shades of Grey, Ana and Christian enter into a contract. You've probably entered into dozens of contracts in your life. Typically, there is an offer and an acceptance (Leave me alone lawyers. I know I've left something out). In the meantime, there might be a bit of negotiating. In Fifty Shades, the contract contains hard boundaries and soft boundaries. Well, I have plucked that idea out of the novel and applied it to the fitness world.

Here's what we are going to do - enter into a contract with yourself. Let's be honest, when it comes to fitness, we all have at least two personalities. There's the no-limits, dreamer. That version of you is the one that watches the Olympics or the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and promises yourself you are going to run 10-miles per day and never eat again. This version of you has tunnel vision straight to the results. Then, there's the realist. The realist knows his or her limitations. The realist knows when he or she is not a morning person. The realist knows that gym memberships only end up draining the bank account, because frankly, you're not a gym person. You are going to bargain with yourself to come up with the most workable plan.

Original Language: I will never eat sweets again. No alcohol. I will run 30 miles per week.

Self-Reflection: Dear Self, you love sweets. They make you happy. Also, they are okay in moderation. No alcohol is fine. You don't really like to drink anyway. You do like to have  glass of red wine with your girlfriends sometimes, though. Thirty miles per week? In this heat? You're crazy. 

Revised Langauge I will never eat sweets again. I will limit my sweets to weekends and in moderation. No [occasional] alcohol. I will run 30 [10-15, revisit in the Fall] miles per week.

So, Step 1 is to have the inner-dialogue. Figure out your hard boundaries and your soft boundaries. Your hard boundaries are things you simply refuse to do or not to do. For example, I refuse to give up dessert completely. It is non-negotiable. However, I can find healthy, Diabetic friendly recipes. A soft boundary might be running in the morning. It's something I am willing to try, but I know I still need to figure out the morning blood sugar thing. Also, consider what you like. Are you a gym person? Do you need the accountability of a personal trainer or buddy? Do you need variety? Are you a DVD person? Can you stick to a routine like Insanity or P90X, or do you always quit? Is yoga for you? Are you a morning person? Do you rely on the internet? Are you working a lot? Take inventory of your likes and dislikes and establish your boundaries. No one knows you better than you. If you create a realistic, personalized plan, then you'll stick with it. Take the two versions of yourself and come to a meeting of the minds. (Note, you don't actually have to write this down unless you are OCD and that is the only way it will happen). Decide whether you want to tackle diet alone. Do you want to tackle fitness alone? Do you want to attempt both together? (recommended, unless you need baby steps, which is fine).

Step 2 is to get organized! This can be so fun! When you look at your digital calendar, how do you plan your life? Day-to-day? In weekly chunks? Monthly? I love the weekly unit. I find it just right to get myself organized. I will make my Pure Barre appointments for the week. From there, I figure out which days to run (usually based on the ten-day forecast), and what will be my rest day. What works for you? From there, if you decide to write it down, decide how you want to do it. You can look up printable schedules and print them. If you are super-creative, you can make your own printable. You can simply use your iCalendar. Whatever works for you is the best approach.

Step 3 is to get inspired! What or who inspires you? Olympic athletes? If so, watch the Olympics before a scheduled workout. You'll think of what they go through and feel like you can conquer anything. Personally, I am inspired by magazines and blogs. If I know I need to run one day, but I really want to sit on the couch, then I may download the latest issue of Shape Magazine and give it a read-through. Usually, the combination of pictures and motivating stories put me in the right frame of mind. Also, a less-than-stellar post-prandial blood sugar can send me hoofing it out the door. I check into my favorite blogs. For example, Createlive's latest blog post totally inspired me! It helps that I know these girls, and their fitness enthusiasm is contagious! It is a great resource for recipes, workout ideas, etc. I plan on keeping that weekly log she showed us. Finally, if you don't have a Pinterest and you're a visual person, get one. I have a board for fitness, food, and Diabetes. I mean, I have a ton of others, but these are what keep me inspired!

Why did I think of this? I am tired of people being discouraged by diet and exercise. If someone told me I had to give up sweets altogether, I would be a miserable person. Anytime I have tried to do that, and I am around people eating dessert, I imagine myself slow-motion-tackling those people into a wall out of savage food-envy. Hence, the hard-boundary. By having an honest conversation with yourself, you can learn where to cut corners. You learn your own pace. You know when it is time to challenge yourself more. You know when you've breached the contract. You know when it is time to renegotiate. So, create a reasonable plan. We have this one life, and it should be a healthy one. NO MORE QUITTING BECAUSE SOMEONE ELSE SET YOUR STANDARDS.

July is almost over. Start in August. Please, PLEASE keep me posted. Truth be told, you can inspire people.

After just a two-miler, I was a sweaty mess. 

But my post-run blood sugar was well worth it :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Next Chapter

You know that song that goes "Baackkk tooo liiffee. Baacckk ttooo reaallittty"? Well, it is in my head. Why, because that's the road I am on. Yes, I know. I maintained an annoying online presence filled with stress-induced bar tweets and Facebook stati. Truth be told, that's how I deal with insecurity. I put it out there and hope for some advice or encouragement. Why else do you think I have a Diabetes blog?  I'm swimming in a sea of uncertainty, and it helps me feel better about myself to share. Sharing is caring. Or something?

Well, I just want to dedicate a paragraph to the past. The past few months have been a whirlwind of events. When I was diagnosed with Diabetes, I was so scared for my academic future. I simply was not sure what my life was going to look like from day to day. Come to find out, Diabetes is not that big of an obstacle if you have a handle on it. If I don't pass the bar exam, I won't blame Diabetes for one second. That being said, I've worked harder these past two months than I ever have in my life. Come what may in October, I am very proud of myself and my classmates. I kept my composure reasonably well throughout the process. I followed the Barbri Pace Program, so I felt comfortable with the rate at which I was studying. Some days were more overwhelming than others. You know, those days when you are getting less than half of your practice answers correct...those days were confidence-crippling. Then, the night before Day 1 of the exam, I bawled. I didn't even realize how much pent-up stress I had mounting. The good news is that I was pretty zen throughout the exam itself. I don't know what I would have done without my mom agreeing to babysit me for two days.

But it is over. Trust me, I am beyond glad. But I know myself. I know how I thrive on structured, scheduled days. I am already trying to figure out how to fill my spare time with productivity. I want to get a fitness routine with a healthy diet. How long does it take to get a six-pack? I want to set aside time for the job search. I want to read a lot of classic novels. I want to spend time with my dog and my nephew. I've never been too great at sitting around twiddling my thumbs. Face it, there are only so many Kardashian episodes to tide me over. I want do want to watch the Olympics! USA! USA! I want to go raid Stephanie and Samantha's house for Project Runway Thursdays (duh). There is something magical about having very few obligations. I am not a mom. I am not employed. I am not studying for anything. I can really do a little bit of "me-time" while I am job-hunting.

Anyway, I'm back to the blogging grind. I'm proud of where I have been and excited about where I am going. Pass or fail, law or no law, I have far too many interests not to achieve something awesome.

Welcome, readers, to the next chapter...

While my mood fluctuated, Rosalyn's was always the same - pure joy!

My nephew is growing up so quickly! Slow down! 

Organized Chaos. A millions essays + a million practice tests + crazy highlighting =  will she pass?
Time will tell...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Popcorn and Coke

I know I said I wouldn't post until after the bar exam, but sometimes life hands you moments of intense perspective-shifting, and I want to be able to capture the sentiment while it is happening organically.

One of the things I love most about our society is just how hyped we get about the movies. You know, Batman has been a huge part of the American culture for decades. Little boys everywhere have dreamt of being a superhero like that. We are fascinated by good versus evil, justice and rough-justice. When The Dark Knight came out, we all marveled at the genius that was Heath Leger in the wake of his tragic passing. We saw what it meant for a struggling actor to pour himself mind, body, and soul into a character that will go down in history as one of the very best. It's been a couple of years now, and America has geared up for The Dark Knight Rises. People gathered in different cities to see midnight showings. Maybe it took a healthy dose of popcorn and coke, but tons of people sacrificed sleep to be a part of the Batman experience.

So, by now, you know where I am going with this. A man, for whatever reason, opened fire at the movie theatre, killing some, and wounding many more. While I am always interested in what possesses a man to do something like this, my mind is stuck on the horror these victims have experienced. My mind is on the victim's parents who typically take comfort that the movies are a safe place for their sons or daughters. Odds are that you will not be a victim of a massacre when you go to the movies. That's what makes this a compelling story. What are the odds? The fact is that tragedy can strike in any setting brought on by a variety of stimuli.

What do I take away from this? Well, friends, you don't know when your time is up. You can get a disease, and survive it. You can get a disease, and it gets you. You can get a disease like mine, and live alongside it. You can get into a car accident. You can mix the wrong medicine, like Heath Leger. You call fall victim to addiction, like Whitney Houston. You can be going to the movies with your popcorn and coke when someone opens fire.

With all the stress of the looming bar exam and a daily grind-out with Diabetes, it benefits me to step aside for a moment and soak in the enormity of the situation. I am but one person in this big, bad world. I have a crummy, but manageable disease. In the past few months, my universe has felt so small and self-centered. You know, as though I am the only one in the world who has ever had to study for the big test. It's sad, really.

While I never wish tragedy on anyone, it has served an important purpose for me. It has allowed me to zoom out and see the world on a human-scale, rather than just a Jordan-scale. It has reminded me that there is much more to life than tests and test-induced anxiety. I have treated all of this studying as though it is the bain of my existence, but what a privilege it is to wake up, breathe in the air, make your cup of coffee, and learn subjects to prepare you for a test for which you have earned the right to sit.

It's all about perspective. My heart goes out to the victims in Aurora, CO, who were just trying to go to the movies. My heart goes out to the suspect's family who are trying to understand. I hope we can all realize that there is a lot going on beyond the blinders of our own daily struggles.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Music, Diabetes, and a Brief Hiatus

'ello world! (as I laugh to myself because, by "world", i mean the fifty-or-so of you who read this). This is the Monday when Barbri really amps up, so I will not be posting blogs until the exam is over (July 25th, I believe). If you read a post by me before then, please leave comments telling me to go in a hole and study. I'll try and jot down ideas for posts as they come to me, but I really need to rid myself of distractions, which is very hard for me. 

I just went on a 5K run in the rain. Sometimes, you just have to run in the rain. There is something a little more raw and satisfying about running in the rain. I don't know what it is. It's just rain water, but for some reason you feel like you're conquering something mighty. 

On my run, I had a playlist (duh.) On my playlist, I had a song (bigger duh). In this song were some lyrics (are we feeling a little nursery rhyme-ish yet?). In these lyrics, I found a tiny triumph.

In the clearing stands a boxer 
And a fighter by his trade 
And he carries the reminders 
Of ev'ry glove that layed him down 
Or cut him till he cried out 
In his anger and his shame 
"I am leaving, I am leaving" 
But the fighter still remains 

Yes, "The Boxer" by Simon and Garfunkel. I love lyrics that speak to a variety of situations. With Diabetes, every day I have to make the choice to engage in the maintenance. I could roll over and surrender, but such adversity brings out the fighter in me. 

With that in mind, I am off to tackle the home-stretch of bar exam preparation. Wish me luck :)

For your listening/viewing pleasure, here is my favorite band (do you have to ask?) covering "The Boxer" in Nashville -

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sorry for Feeling Sorry

I didn't know what people were talking about when they'd say "Pray for Trey". In fact, I didn't even know it was a local story. That is how much I have had my head buried on the sand these days. Well, it is amazing how God hands you a dose of perspective sometimes. This afternoon, I was busy feeling sorry for myself after my manicurist decided to tell me that she noticed that I had put on weight. Yeah, I know. I told myself I'd stop letting that get to me. Well, I kept noticing all these tweets and statuses about Trey, so I googled. Much to my dismay, this young man lost his life to pancreatic cancer today. So, in honor of Trey, I vow to do my BEST to let go of the vanity. I vow to acknowledge that mine is a disease that can be managed. If I had half the perspective Trey had, then I would realize every day that my body, health, and very life are a gift. I think it is high time that I actually embrace the concept instead of merely blogging about it. It is time to take faith by the hands and finally start leaping...

Sunday, July 1, 2012

New Month, New Leaf (Leaves).

Each time January 1st rolls around, we get busy making promises to ourselves, large and small. We call them resolutions. Some of us write them down in colorful sharpie marker, confident that this year will be the year they all get accomplished. But, you know what, one of the biggest obstacles in achieving goals is the timeframe we give ourselves to accomplish them. 365 days is a long time.  I don't know about you, but sometime around March, my motivation begins to dwindle. Even goals such as "I want to lose 30-pounds this year" are a bit unfeasible. Sure, a year is plenty of time to lose the weight, but I don't think the goal is specific enough in terms how that is supposed to happen in the immediate sense. Instead, it might be easier to give yourself monthly goals to help accomplish the yearly one. That is what I like MOST about 30-day timeframes. It seems like sufficient time to establish most good habits, even if the goal takes longer.

You know what today is? July 1, 2012. You know what day of the week it is? Sunday. Set the tone for July and your upcoming work week by doing something good for yourself today. I am not suggesting that you get out in 100-degree weather and sweat. Do something that will allow you to sit in bed tonight and feel both accomplished and motivated for the upcoming week and month.

Here are a few of my goals this month -

1) Don't be so hard on myself.
2) Stick to the rigorous study schedule. The end is in sight, and the goal is to pass.
3) Don't fear the low-glycemic carbohydrate.
4) Take the dog on a walk first thing in the morning. If for no other reason, then to clear my head for the day.
5) Continue to diversify my workouts. That includes incorporating my bike and yoga.
6) A cup of green tea per day.
7) C'mon, Jordan. SPF when you are in the sun...

Goals for today -

1) 1 hour and a half of exercise - Pure Barre + Bike Ride
2) Dishes & Laundry put away
3) Barbri Catch-Up
4) Cook the Quinoa Burgers

I haven't perfected the frap quite yet, but it sure does taste good on warm mornings :)

I like to start off the day with this positive reminder. 

I gave this bread a shot. Just to warn you, it is not low-carb. If you are interested in Gluten-free, however, it is VERY tasty.

This is evidence that I ate too many carbs for breakfast. So, I decided to go for a twenty-minute bike ride. You see where the hill starts to decline on the right side of the screen? That coincides with my blood sugar dropping during the bike ride. With insulin on board, I went from 212 to 136 (and falling) in twenty minutes. I ultimately leveled out at 115. I really keep an eye on the down-trend when I do this to make sure it doesn't drop too low. It usually doesn't when I am too high at the start. 

These are also a delicious gluten-free choice. Each grocery store trip, I like to buy one or two gluten-free options. Most of the time, I am shocked at how gluten-free alternatives do not compromise taste. I made nachos with these chips an hour ago, and they were delicious.