Quick Thoughts: Day Two

Captain’s Log: Whole30 Day 2

Well, after eating compliant for the entirety of yesterday, my lovely friend M and I decided we’d just start our Whole30 a day early, immediately removing the pressure of “DAY 1 WHOLE30 OMG” and setting us on a good path for the rest of the week. I’ve been reading extensively about what to expect on Whole30 for the first few days, largely so I can prepare my coworkers for any unpleasant mood and/or gastrointestinal side effects, but before starting, I didn’t think the rules of the Whole30 timeline would apply to me. I mean, it’s not a radical shift of my eating habits. Was I really going to experience the “Hangover” they tell you to expect on Day 2? I know my body has some gunk to clear out, but I really didn’t think I’d experience things like mental fog, a headache, a general malaise and an overwhelming desire to stay in bed until I remember how to pronounce my name again. Like, that rule wasn’t going to apply to me, right?

WRONG.

VERY WRONG.

I’m working on a post for later this week that I really wanted to put up today, but sorry guys, it’s just not going to happen. I’m just busy enough at work that it would be tough to proof properly on a good day, but I am legit going through these waves of “MENTAL CLARITY!! Nope total mental fog. I FEEL GREAT!! Oh dear god my head hurts.” Since when is a hangover from EATING HEALTHY worse than the hangover I had on Sunday after drinking tequila for 6 hours at my partner-in-crime’s golden birthday this past Saturday? The human body is a mysterious thing.

TL;DR: Everything hurts when you try to be healthy.

Sugar, Sugar

Back towards the end of February, I was casually stalking my own Instagram when I saw that I’d posted two pictures in Locust Pose within two weeks of each other. I had some time to kill, as I was waiting for feedback on something for work before heading home for the night, so I edited the photos next to each other and was really surprised to see a noticeable difference in my backbend – in just 11 days! I posted the picture, and then put my phone down, checking in a few hours later when a notification came up that my anchor G had left me a comment. She left me a really sweet note, one I’ve gone back to read a few times, asking questions like how long I practice every day, and closing with something I hear somewhat frequently after people find out I’m a yoga nerd: “Help me, I’m inflexible.” Knowing she’s usually game for a dare, I posed a challenge to G: starting on March 31, she completes the Erin Motz/Do You Yoga 30-day Challenge on YouTube that inspired my entire yoga practice, and I’ll finally complete my first round of Whole30.

Now, for those unfamiliar with the Whole30 program, it’s essentially a 30-day reset that’s intended to remove irritating foods from your diet and give your gut a chance to heal before re-introducing foods slowly to determine what and how different types of foods affect your body. It’s a simple premise: for 30 days, cut out dairy, legumes, grains, preservatives and sugar, and focus on eating whole foods: meats, fruits, vegetables and good fats. The point is to break the cycle of mindless eating and snacking, and focus on good things that complement your body chemistry instead of aggravating it. G was the first of my friends to discover the program and give it a shot, but admittedly (and sorry G!), my lovely friend M is the one who’s really pushing me to finally commit to a full round. M has completely transformed not just her diet, but her whole life through five rounds of Whole30 in the past year; it inspires her the same way that yoga inspires me. We’ve even piggybacked on each other’s new obsessions, with M joining me for yoga classes and challenges every week, and me slowly adapting the principles of whole foods into my everyday diet too.

The big question I get from people when they find out I’m doing this starting next week is why. “You’re already thin!” (Because no one looking to improve their well-being ever did so from motivation that wasn’t weight loss), “Are you still allowed to have wine?” (Did you just ask me if alcohol was involved in a body detox?) and the big one: “But if you already don’t eat most of those, why bother?” It’s a valid question, and for the most part, it’s true – I won’t necessarily be changing my regular diet that drastically. But despite all the other changes in my diet and my life, there’s one little thing I just can’t seem to give up on my own: sugar. Sugar, you delicious, delicious devil. It’s not even that I eat sugar or sugary things all the time – I drink coffee and tea black and I’m not really a dessert person. But I have two massive downfalls in the sugar spiral: I can’t say no to the chocolate drawer at work, and god dammit I love my wine.

I mean, let’s just take a minute to appreciate a few things quickly. THERE IS A FULL DRAWER IN MY OFFICE FILLED WITH CHOCOLATE. Mini Snickers and Take 5s, Halloween-sized Hershey’s and sometimes if we’re good there’s a stash of Twix. Perhaps people exist who can enjoy a single piece of indulgence from that black hole of cocoa goodness, but I promise you I’m not one of them. On a normal day I’ll work through at least six to eight pieces of candy, and on a bad day, I stop counting when it hits double digits. Getting to the kitchen and the bathroom requires passing the magical chocolate drawer and I swear there’s a silent siren song every time you’re in it’s wake for “just one more piece.” And that’s not even the bad one. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITHOUT MY WINE. Stupid alcohol sadly breaks down into sugar in the body, which means no wine, no whiskey, and no poor life… well okay, I make stupid decisions when I’m not drunk too. I mean look, I’m not saying I’m a booze hound who can’t go a month without getting plastered, but there is nothing quite like winding down at the end of a long day of work with a glass of red wine and something on Netflix. 30 days sounds like a lot of time to have to face life’s pressures with a clear head, instead of talking to Mr. Goodbar and some pinot noir about them.

So why bother? Because beyond the promise to G, I’m actually really looking forward to this. First, my body needs a reset, badly. The insanity that has been March at work meant most of my meals this month were delivered, and while we obviously could have made healthy take-out choices, we decidedly did not make those choices, especially not during Hell Week last week. Beyond work, the last time I went out-out, I blacked out like a college freshman and apparently, according to the grapevine because memory serves nothing, made out with a friend’s friend’s sort-of ex (oops). And on top of everything else, working 16 hours per day plus weekends has cut into my normal yoga practice, leaving me tight-muscled and cranky – a reset in all things will do wonders, I think. It goes beyond clearing the gunk out of my body that’s accumulated in the past month though. I think part of me has been pushing doing a full Whole30 because I was worried for a long time that it may stir up some long-dormant feelings from my eating disorder, like I would start with good intentions and end by taking everything too seriously. It’s that reason, more than the others, that I feel like I owe it to myself to give the 30 days a shot. After all, what better way to face the dragon head-on than with 30 days by someone else’s food rules.

The people who “created’ Whole30 have a saying to help put the program into perspective: “Giving birth is hard. Beating a heroin addition is hard. Drinking your coffee black for 30 days is. not. hard.” It’s a great way to put the program into perspective for a lot of people, but honestly, it doesn’t really apply to me. I’ve never given birth or fought a drug addiction, and I’ve always loved my coffee black. So from March 31 through April 29, instead of holding on to their words when I’m desperate for a glass of pinot and a piece of chocolate, I will remind myself of three things: (1); If M can do this five times in a year, I can do this once. (2): If G can suffer through 30 days of yoga, I can suffer with seltzer for 30 days. And (3): Beating anorexia is hard. Leaving the person you thought was the love of your life is hard. Laying off the wine and sugar for 30 days is. not. hard. And plus, if I’ve learned anything from the hard stuff I’ve lived through in the past few years, it’s so much sunnier on the other side.

Friendly Conversations: Dos

Shorter round-up today – I kept forgetting to write all the fun things down! Here’s a fun snapshot of life in the past two months:

On Atlantic City pick-up lines
Man: Guess what ethnicity I am
M: No thank you.

On weekend theme songs
Me: I’m going to make a cheese plate and open some wine. Any preference?
Mama B: Whatever you want! (sings) because you know I’m all about that cheese, that cheese, AND PINOT!

On Ladies Who Brunch.
Mama: I want a real breakfast. Like, French toast with a side of pancakes.
Me: That sounds AMAZING.
Mama: I know right? I bet it’s definitely trending on Instagram.
Me: ????
Mama: You didn’t even know I knew that, did you.

On Post-Ballet Activities
Twinster: I am SO EXHAUSTED.
Mama B: UGH me too.
Me: Oh… so I’m gonna go to the hotel bar alone then.
Twinster: Oh, I mean I’m not that tired.
Mama: I’m never too tired for the bar!

On 70-hour work weeks
Me: WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS DAY. Ugh, sorry guys, I’m just exhausted and cranky.
Coworker: I know, it’s a long week. If it helps, I left a chocolate chip cookie on your desk.
Me: …. Please marry me.

On Actual Friendly Conversations
Me: I’m heading up to Washington Heights, thanks.
Cab driver: No problem! Have you ever taken an Uber?
Me: Um. Yes?
Cab Driver: Well would you like me to tell you why Uber is evil?
Me: Honestly man, I don’t mean to be rude, but I just talked for 16 hours straight and I need this to be a quiet cab ride.
Cab Drive: Totally understand. So this one time, when I used to drive for Uber…
Me: (falls asleep)

My Life, as told by Google

One of my favorite things to respond when someone asks me a question is “let’s ask the Google.” Can’t remember the first day of spring? Ask the Google. What day of the week does the fourth of July fall this year? Ask the Google. Want to know exactly what red lip color T. Swift wears so you can potentially buy it? Ask the Google! (Just kidding, I didn’t do that)…(Twinster found out for me and we found it in Boston ps it’s AMAZING). I feel like my Google search history says a lot about what’s going on in my day-to-day life, from the silly searches on celebrity dirty laundry, to more serious things, like looking into potential causes for a random migraine before naturally leaping to the conclusion that I’m dying (thanks WebMD). In the busy past few weeks of my life, I’ve asked a lot of the Google, a byproduct of spending a lot of time on my own trying to fill hours in between working.

So as a snapshot of why it’s been hard to write for the past few weeks, here is a sample of my recent Google history:

  • Bone broth helps hangover
  • Chicken bone broth recipe
  • Chicken bone broth slow cooker recipe
  • Slow cooker won’t turn on Cuisinart
  • Chicken bone broth no slow cooker
  • Best Thai delivery Upper East Side NYC
  • Sore neck
  • Sore neck from car travel
  • Sore neck yoga stretch
  • Can yoga cause a sore neck
  • Yoga headstand causes sore neck
  • Fixing sore neck from yoga
  • How long after slight neck sprain until yoga headstand
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt binge watch Netflix
  • Working more than 50 hours per week
  • Health implications sitting in a desk chair all week
  • Sitting in desk chair more tired than standing when working
  • Coffee health benefits
  • Annual cost Starbucks coffee daily
  • Am I really spending that much on coffee
  • Coffee alternatives at home no money
  • Craving chocolate alternative snacks
  • Craving chocolate eat almonds
  • Health benefits almonds
  • How many almond are too many
  • What happens when you eat too many almonds
  • Is Easter chocolate in stores
  • Single life in 20s New York City
  • Best things to do in New York City alone
  • Single life New York City NOT “finding a date”
  • Staying home alone with cat
  • How can I get my cat to use scratching post
  • Why does my cat hate me
  • Cat is acting crazy how to calm down
  • Wine delivery Washington Heights

So in conclusion, apparently my life revolves around coffee and food. I’m totally okay with that. Happy Weekend, kids!

PLD Montage: 2.1 (Life Edition)

First one of the year! I’ve really enjoyed the themed montages of the past few months, but honestly, I haven’t done enough stupid things in a condensed period of time yet this year, so a full theme hasn’t been feasible. So why not take the montage back to its roots of random stupid things I do on a daily basis!

Without further ado, here’s the first round-up of 2015: PLD Montage: Life Edition

  • I’ve started the process of looking into different yoga teacher training programs in the city, and after speaking with a very nice person at YogaWorks, decided to take a class there to get a feel for the vibe. Naturally, despite leaving with plenty of time, a snowstorm and weekend subway schedules meant I was HOOFING IT off the subway at Canal Street, desperately trying to be on time for this first class. I made it with about 2 minutes to spare, super excited I’d already signed up for the class so I knew I’d find a spot to put my mat, even if I was a few minutes late. SURPRISE: the class was packed, the instructor completely ignored me, and I got some SERIOUS attitude from one of the students when I gently asked her if she could make room for my mat (which she decidedly did not do). I stood awkwardly in the front of the room for another 3 minutes before finally saying (out loud) “Fuck this” and leaving.
    Lesson learned: if it looks like a snobby studio, and smells like snobby studio, it’s probably not the kind of place where you can forget your anxiety over yoga-induced cameltoe and get lost in the sequence.
  • I spent a really long time thinking about my first day at the new job over the Atlantic City weekend that I actually managed to keep it (mostly) together during the whole weekend, drinking enough to make friends with a cute boy that danced with me to a live band in the casino, but not so much that I couldn’t shut down his touchy-feely married Brazilian friend that tagged along. Once we were home on Sunday, I spent the day cleaning, relaxing, drinking tons of water and generally taking care of myself, even going to bed before 10 p.m., all because I wanted to be in tip-top shape come 9:30 a.m. Monday. Then my alarm went off and I woke up with the WORST migraine I’ve had in years.
    Lesson learned: No matter how hard you fight it, a post-Atlantic City hangover will always find you.
  • Something I’ve been really good about for the past year or so is packing a lunch for work. Usually it’s a salad with some kind of leftovers on it, or I’ll prep salad parts on the weekend and just assemble something quickly in the morning, nothing special. I usually eat at my desk, which was great at my last job because I didn’t have people sitting on either side of me, and I didn’t feel bad about food smells radiating from around my keyboard. This mindset means on my first week in the job I was bringing salads topped with boiled egg, roasted Brussels sprouts and garlic dressing.
    Lesson learned: There’s no better way to introduce yourself around the office without having to move than hard boiled eggs for lunch on day one.
  • HR gave me my very own candy jar as a “Welcome!” treat, filled to the brim with chocolate and Nerds and other sugary delicious things.
    Lesson learned: Apparently I can’t be trusted not to eat 3 weeks’ worth of candy in less than 5 days.
  • The other day I was so busy that I didn’t realize I was listening to Christmas music for a half-hour. Nothing like Spotify announcing to your entire Facebook feed that you were singing along to “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” in February.
    Lesson learned: PAY ATTENTION.

Full.

After a blissful week disconnected from work and the general responsibilities of being an adult, I begrudgingly made it back to the real world yesterday, settling into my desk around 8, hoping to get a head start before the rest of the office made it in. As people saw I was on GChat again, and the office slowly filled up, I was asked every which way by every single person “How was your vacation!?” I think people expect to hear one of a few stereotypical responses to that question, like “Great!” and “Very relaxing!” and “Too short!,” but my take on our jaunt up north for four days last week was a little different. The best answer I could come up with for every “How was Maine??” thrown my way today was “Full.”

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Dis is Maine.

Let’s start with the obvious: aside from that time my lovely friend M and I plowed through a meal intended for 6 people while spending Thanksgiving in Amsterdam, I have never eaten so much in my life. Having also grown up in a beach town, I was prepared for lots of seafood, maybe accompanied by vegetables or maybe just next to more seafood and crinkle-cut fries, but we took eating to the next level in our mere 96 hours. None of us had any intention of turning down plates because they “weren’t healthy” or we “weren’t hungry,” so we encouraged each other’s bad decisions and ate our way up and down the coast: pizza and duck fat poutine in Portland, chowder and fried clams in Portsmouth, pancakes and french toast and bacon for breakfast on two consecutive days, a full lobster bake, and an interesting experiment with butter sandwiches (yup) after either the third gin cocktail or fourth bottle of wine on the cold Friday night. Everything had a drink with it, mimosas with breakfast, cocktails after lunch, wine after dinner; yet despite food comas by all and not enough water by normal standards, none of us felt any less than refreshed in the mornings, pain washed away by the sea air and a steady feeling of relaxed calm I’ve never felt in the city.

The weekend itself was filled with activities, though nothing that had a time frame or even too many boundaries. Time at the beach melted into time shopping in Portland, into time at the outlets, spending money we don’t have on things we absolutely need. We spent as much time as possible on the beach each day, digging toes into the cold sand on Thursday morning, bathed in sunshine till the rain moved in, tossing bocce balls and tossing back drinks all day on Friday, climbing rocks on Saturday to find a secret spot for just the four of us and taking pictures of everything on Sunday. Nights were spent curled up in sweatpants with an unlimited supply of red wine and an ever-present game of Cards of Humanity, graciously gifted by my partner-and-crime R and her Scot H for the weekend after they had to cancel coming last minute. M’s mother kicked all our asses one night as she laughed uproariously at everything and asked us repeatedly not to judge her for all the best answers. It hit me at one point on Thursday night, after the first of the four perfect days, that I hadn’t laughed like that in months.

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My lovely friend M told us that she can feel a shift in perspective the moment she crosses the state line into Maine, like the city hustle and everything alongside it melt away once you’re within state lines. Given this was only my second time to Maine ever, I didn’t quite have that feeling when we passed the “Welcome to Maine!” sign, but I sure felt something over the next few days. I felt it waking up the first morning, after the best night of sleep I’d had in months, to the gentle waves of the ocean undulating in and out of earshot, just faint enough that the whole world felt silent, and just loud enough to call us to the sand. And again, sitting in a car with my best friends, singing along to all the bad 90’s music, the perfect autumn colors flying past us on the still-full trees. And then again on the last night in Cocktail Cove, an aptly named secluded/secret mini-beach, where we sat on jagged rocks with beers in plastic cups, watching the sun languidly lower into the horizon, the colors changing from soft pinks and yellows, to bright blues, to pale greens, to black.

It wasn’t an epiphanic moment of clarity, that last night, but more like an easy calm setting in as I looked around at the beautiful sunset and the people around me. It’s corny, and cliched, but there’s something about staring into a clear sunset, into an ocean horizon, that reminds you how small these moments are in the grand scheme of life and things. It reminded me how small the little insecurities I’ve been carrying around like a bomb for months are, nothing more than Post-Its slowly losing their sticky before falling to be forgotten and trampled by rain-soaked feet. And it reminded me that it doesn’t take an army to have a good time, doesn’t require a big fanfare of drinks and shots and boys and bad decisions. Right then, I just needed a few days on the beach, listening to the sea breeze, digging my feet into the rocky, cold sand, with nothing on my mind but how beautiful everything was around me, and how my life was, and is, so very full.