Just a little blog about me and mine.

Harmony September 18, 2009

Filed under: family,finances,fitness — Katie @ 10:54 am

I’m not a very new-agey person, but I’ve noticed over the past few weeks that I find a certain harmony and wholeness in focusing on going to the gym, eating healthy, and managing my money wisely–all at the same time. I’ve always read that you should never try to break or start more than one habit at a time if you want to succeed, but I’ve noticed that the opposite is true for me. Each good habit fuels the others in a circular way. Lack of time and money (created by going to the gym and simultaneously cutting back on expenses) foster good habits and keep me away from bad habits.

Here are a few further thoughts on why this works for me:

  • When I go the gym I feel so good that afterward I want to eat healthy, light foods that will refuel my body. I also drink a lot more water during the day because when I don’t I can feel that my body doesn’t perform as well when I work out. So while it’s hard to get home late from the gym and then have to cook dinner, I don’t actually have the desire to just grab something quick and unhealthy on the way home.
  • Since I’m also trying to watch our finances more closely, we plan our meals a week at a time and have all needed groceries on hand. When I do get home late from the gym late and need to cook, I know what we’re cooking that night and know that everything we need is thawed out and ready to go. I have also been trying to plan easier meals on nights I’ll get home late, and even cook larger amounts on other nights and have leftovers.
  • Since we tightened our budget, I have less available funds to spend on going out to eat, going to movies or other entertainment, so I actually have more time to go to the gym even though it’s time consuming. I’ve been going Tuesdays and Thursdays when I get off of work, and don’t get home until close to 8pm.
  • When I eat better, I feel better and have more energy, so it’s easier to generate the energy and motivation to go to the gym–which makes me feel even better. When I eat poorly, I feel sluggish and even sort of sickly so I certainly won’t go to the gym even if it would make me feel better–instead I’ll get home, crash, snack, and sit around on the couch all night.
  • This new routine also affects how much alcohol I buy and drink. I really don’t drink very often, but when I do drink, it’s usually social and it’s not just usually one drink. But wine and beer is expensive, and full of calories, so by not wanting to spend an extra $10-$15 on a bottle of wine at the grocery store, and not wanting to consume an extra 500 calories or so when I’m trying to eat better, I don’t really buy or drink much alcohol.

It’s only been a few weeks since I’ve started this new routine of being all around healthy and awesome, so I can easily back slide (to use the lingo of my southern religious roots), but I keep reminding myself how good I feel when I go to the gym, how much better I will feel about myself if I get in better shape and lose weight, and now nice it will be to increase our savings and have more money for the future.

I’ll close with a somewhat embarrassing and self-effacing story from last Friday. I had my gym back packed and in the car but felt tired and cranky and worn out after work–I even ended up staying almost an hour late to finish up some things. When I left I really didn’t want to go to the gym. I called PL and said, “I either need you to talk me into going to the gym or tell me it’s ok to come home. I want to go home and drink and eat pizza and sit on the couch.” She knew I was in a classic foul mood, and would be even worse all evening. While I was whining about going to the gym I still drove that way instead of towards home, I turned onto the road and even pulled into the parking deck while still on the phone with her being in a bad mood. I was so grouchy I even pulled back out of the parking lot and decided to head home instead–I didn’t want her to be right that I’d be in a better mood if I went to the gym, so I’ll go home and be a pill all evening–that will show her! But I didn’t want to be in a bad mood, and I didn’t want to be cranky with her all evening when she did nothing wrong. I also had just told a co-worker that I was going to the gym after work, so I exited the parking deck, drove back around the block, pulled back into the parking deck and walked to the gym. I didn’t have a great workout, I hadn’t had enough water that day so I felt sluggish, but I went and then felt a 100% better and less grumpy and managed to have a good Friday night instead of starting a fight.


People are commenting on blog posts from a month ago, so it’s time to update my blog more often April 21, 2009

Filed under: family,fitness — Katie @ 9:50 am

I’ve felt busy lately, but I guess I wasn’t doing anything exciting enough to write about.  Or, just too busy to realize I was doing some fun things along with all of the work.  Lots of work.  Then some more work.  But I feel bad complaining about how much work I’ve had to do lately when PL is studying 19 hours a day right now for finals.  Things have slowed a bit this week at work, so it’s nice to try to get organized and dig through several piles of papers that I didn’t touch last week since I worked on just one huge project all week. 

It’s also nice that I don’t have a crazy week this week since PL has her first final tomorrow, and I can keep her fed and keep the house from becoming a disaster area.  She’s also a sucker for people who can’t take care of themselves–her words, not mine–so a panicked classmate has been hanging out at our house a lot studying with the calm and brilliant PL.  I have absolutely no clue what they are talking about most of the time, so I just cook for them and then go to the back of the house to read.

PL and I did actually spend a few hours together, awake at the same time even, over the weekend.  On Saturday we ran in the Sweetwater 420 Festival 5k.  We’re up to a point where we can run for 25 minutes or so straight through, but we’re slow and that doesn’t get us very close to 3.1 miles.   We took some walking breaks, and it was also a really hilly course…but we finished and got a cool t-shirt.  It’s really motivating to me to run in a crowd like that, and to start in the same place as the really fit looking people.  We quickly fell back in the pack though and our pace group is the group of slightly overweight, slow people who need to walk a lot–which we totally are–but we think of ourselves as being in the fit group so we’ll keep running until that’s true.  Now that the semester is almost over, the weather is nicer and it’s staying light later, I feel like we will be able to run more regularly.  We also started putting star stickers on the calendar on the days we run, and it might be silly, but it is extra motivation to see lots of stars up there.


30 to 30 March 30, 2009

Filed under: fitness,food — Katie @ 4:01 pm

I was counting weeks on the calendar recently for some vacation and work things (6 weeks until we take our just booked vacation!), and realized I will turn 30 in 30 weeks. So far I feel ok about turning 30, but ask me again as it gets closer. I will be 30 with a 26 year old girlfriend, so that makes it a little better 🙂

I do feel like turning 30 is a big deal (and I will have a big party to match) and I hope I can be fairly intentional and reflective about the fact that it is a milestone. I’m sort of always having a career existential crisis, so turning 30 won’t make that any better or worse. But I think the area I want to focus more on is improving my overall fitness and health levels since it’s all downhill from now on. My family has the most rockin’ genes ever: high blood pressure, diabetes, breast cancer, colon cancer and more diabetes. A lot of that is prevented or made better by fitness and nutrition though.

Since I was about 10 I’ve been overweight and even though I played sports it didn’t get any better. In 2004 and 2005 I lost 38 pounds by making better food choices and learning more about healthy foods. I didn’t do any intentional exercise then, but I was living in DC and walking a bit everyday which helped I’m sure. Since moving back here I’ve gained 16 of that back, even though I’ve been a fairly consistent (maybe a little lazy) exerciser. To be a really healthy weight, I probably should lose that 16 pounds plus another 10 or so. Since losing about a pound a week seems to be ideal for doing it in a healthy way and being sure it’s long-term, and I also have about 30 weeks to go until I’m 30, it works out to be a pretty good plan. Thirty weeks would also be a little extra time too to make the goal since there’s some parties and holidays and vacation in there (which always includes lots of eating out and drinking–especially since PL wants me to go dancing, that’s even more drinking).

So, now my goals are public, and I have a deadline, so hopefully that will help me over the next 30 weeks. The end of Girl Scout cookie season will help too.

Since I’m a nerd I made a little Google docs spreadsheet with a list of the Monday’s between now and my birthday (October 15). I put a section for weight, and down the list I wrote goals according to weeks. For example, at 5 weeks, my goal is to lose 5 pounds. I also made a goal to focus on for each week, just to help break the overall project into smaller pieces. These goals are things like “run every other day this week” and some other things not as directly linked to weight loss, but are good for me like cutting down to 1 soda a day or less and eating vegetarian one day a week.

This week my goal to focus on is writing down what I’m eating. Just like when starting to budget your money, you first just write down what you spend to see where it goes, I want to start with writing down what I’m actually eating. Hopefully that will show me where I’m running into trouble and help me make the right changes. I don’t claim to be the most consistent exerciser, but I’ve been doing it and also gaining weight while doing it, so the formula is breaking down somewhere (beer? late night cereal? check, check).

I’m doing this on The Daily Plate, now hosted at It’s easy to enter foods and get accurate serving sizes, choose how much you actually ate, when you ate it, and see how many overall calories you’re eating. This seems helpful because we do fairly well with cooking healthy meals at home, but we don’t always eat just one serving of something and snacks really seem to be what do me in. I recognize that it’s not a controlled experiment just to write down what I’m eating, since I know that if I actually had to write down that I ate like 8 Girl Scout Samoas yesterday I probably would have stopped eating them at 1 or 2.


ATNTFTB: Great Workout, Forget the View February 19, 2009

Filed under: fitness,in the news — Katie @ 7:53 pm

Today’s article stands out for the quirky factor of the event chronicled, but also because of the juxtaposition of reading (and then blogging) about extreme sports instead of actually going running.

In New York City on February 3, 319 people participated in the 32nd annual Empire State Building Run-Up. Participants race up 86 floors–that’s 1,576 stairs. The Empire State building stair well is closed to visitors every other day of the year, so it’s cool that they open it for the race. But, ouch.

In other news, it’s colder today than I thought it would be and more windy too, so we felt that we had a good excuse to not go running. Instead, I changed out of work clothes, ate some Cocoa Puffs and watched the Rachel Maddow Show Podcast.

We’ve been fairly faithful runners lately, and progressed back up after some cold weather laziness to week 4 of the Couch to 5k running plan). I also have a shiny new green Ipod Shuffle (a great Valentine’s day present from PL) so I’m enjoying some weird techno funk running podcast to help pass the time. But not today. Today, I’ll just read about the 15-20 minutes of agony of other people.


New Wheels September 27, 2008

Filed under: family,fitness — Katie @ 11:28 pm

While our fellow Atlantans were waiting in long lines to get gas, PL and I invested (and by invest, I mean spent a crap load of money at Target) in alternative transportation today.  Check out my new ride, a retro looking 18 speed Schwinn:

PL got a Schwinn mountain bike since the height of this one was a little better:

Both bikes are not quite as pastel in person, but mine did come with that cool rack.  I like that it’s a little retro looking since I like the old cruiser bikes (they fit right into my black Chuck Taylor obession) and PL’s is Duke blue so she’s happy.  If you haven’t noticed, I buy green things and she buys blue things, if given a choice.

I somehow made it to adulthood without wearing a bike helmet and by jumping on trampolines with their springs exposed, but we decided we needed helmets anyway. I apparently have the same size head as a 10 year old, and the youth helmets fit me better than adult ones.  I resisted the urge to get the teenage boy helmet that said “Rock” on it and had a skull picture, but it was a hard choice.  I ended up with a light blue one with a cool graphic of birds on a wire–I would not be surprised to find fabric at Ikea that looks like my helmet.  PL got an awesome blue one with a flower graphic.

Once we went home we had to put more air in the tires (luckily I already had a pump from a flat wheelbarrow tire, so that was one less thing we had to buy).  It was about 6pm at this point, so we decided we would take a quick ride around the neighborhood.  About 2 miles later, I was laying in the grass in our front yard, gasping for breath, dripping with sweat and wondering why Atlanta is so damn hilly.  We’ve been running fairly regularly since April and going to the gym for more than a year before that, and I thought I was in halfway decent shape.  PL handled the ride a little better than I did (if there is any justice in the world, her legs will be sore tomorrow too), and I think she has a better grasp of changing gears and going uphill.

Tomorrow I will attempt to ride 1.7 miles to the library to return a book and pick up my Nicholas Sparks book (see previous post) and my Yoga for Dummies and Living Room Yoga DVDs that are waiting for me.  My plan to go to the Farmer’s Market (3.2 miles) and feel smug for carrying my organic vegetables home on a bike will have to wait until I’m in a little better shape since the trek there is a bit hilly and on busier streets.

I really hate not being good at something (shocking right?), and thought riding a bike would be a bit easier.  I rode my bike a lot when I was a kid, driving through mud and jumping off of dangerous things with the neighbor kids, but 3rd grade was 20 years ago.  I felt that age again though when I sped downhill feeling the wind on my face.


Get Fit With Fido July 16, 2008

Filed under: fitness,pets,volunteering,Why didn't I think of that? — Katie @ 9:19 pm

The Seattle Animal Shelter operates a BRILLIANT volunteer program called Get Fit With Fido.  Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings, volunteers pick up shelter dogs, put them in adorable vests that say “I’m Available for Adoption” and take them running. 

According to the organization, here are the primary goals of the program:

  • Vigorously exercise dogs that are confined to kennels for long periods of time
  • Find loving homes for shelter dogs
  • Increase public awareness of the shelter and let people know that adoptable dogs are not routinely “put to sleep”
  • Recruit volunteers for various programs at the shelter
  • Encourage runners and joggers to adopt dogs for companionship and safety

I started running in March, right after we adopted a great shelter dog we named O’Malley.  He came to live with us on March 1st.  By March 3rd, it became apparent that he needed more exercise than just a daily stroll around the neighborhood.  It was also clear that he didn’t know what a leash was, and was a pain to walk with at first because of the pulling, and the marking, and the smelling everything.  Patience and training improved his leash behavior, and when he sees us pick up the leash he knows it is time to go for his jog.  Running with our dog has improved our fitness, allowed us to meet our neighbors, and gave us a calm and well-behaved dog.  Georgia is a state with one of the highest number of unwanted but adoptable pets in the country.  Perhaps a similar program would help shelter dogs become more adoptable and more visible.