running

Sleeping with Lions

I am constantly amused and, in most cases, distraught, at the way my cats behave at night.

I have probably mentioned several times that I have two cats. Florence is only a little over a year old, and Zooey just turned one year.

Cats are nocturnal, which is rather unfortunate for any human who wants to get a full nights sleep. Dubbed house-cats, they certainly have not lost their wild-animal behaviors. They go on the prowl, snoozing all day and stalking at night. The use their fangs and claws, to show they mean business, and they are always ready to save me from a dangerous ant or fly.

They nap a good 16-20 hours a day, sleeping in hidden locations so they cannot be seen by other predators (the vacuum and brush being a common threat).

Then, at night, the hunt begins.

To start, Florence will be napping in her usual 11 p.m. location, which is either one of our couches or under a desk. Zooey comes to wake her partner-in-crime up, typically by going into the kitchen to get a snack before their late-night escapades.

I can respect their sleeping schedules, now why can't they reciprocate the favor? No worries, their cuteness makes me forget.

I can respect their sleeping schedules, now why can’t they reciprocate the favor? No worries, their cuteness makes me forget.

Upon hearing this, Florence wakes up, does some pre-romping yoga and will typically trot around until Zooey is done.

And, just when I think everything will be normal, just for once, they start.

They chase each other back and forth, from the front of the house to the back, clambering into anything that may have gotten in their way. They run up and down the stairs; thump thump thump thump THUMP and then launch themselves around the corner to do it again.

Then they roll around. Zooey will pounce on Florence, and Florence will lunge at her like two lions fighting for the last bit of zebra. As they tussle, toss and turn on the floor, they meow and hiss and growl–and then stop for a brief moment, just to lick each others fur out of their toes.

It’s all good fun, for them at least.

I’m glad they like playing together, but if they could understand human-talk, I would plead, “Do you have to do this at 12 a.m.?” I snuggle into my bed at somewhere around 1 a.m., hearing silence that I have been longing for. But then, Zooey decides to go to the “watering hole,” which in my house is either the leaky sink or the fish tank. This makes more noise, either the clanking of dishes in the sink or the glub glub glub of the fish tank filter being unplugged.

Zooey also picked up a wonderful habit, which includes leaping from a chair and latching onto our hanging basket plant. If I didn’t fear the safety of the plant and ceiling, I would say this Tarzan move is hilarious.

Although domesticated and living in the comforts of our little abode, I can say these felines will never truly lose their wild side. The question is, when will my lions ever let me have some rest?

Advertisements

Being a Better “Me”

I do this every year. I claim that I will work out, and be healthier, but it never happens. Do we every truly commit and complete our resolutions? I know I never did. Sure, the month of January would go smoothly with me eating right, but I would soon give up and go back to my bad habits. I think this year it will be different. I decided I truly will be a healthier person. But let me blab to you about my life story, so you really will get the feel of why I want to make a change.

I had a good childhood. I was always the smallest kid in my class, and the most petite. I did have stick-like legs and arms, and rarely gained weight. My friends parents would call me a garbage disposal, and they would always plop extra helpings of food on my plate, trying to “fatten” me up, so to speak.

Then of course, puberty took its toll, and I realized I no longer had that awesome metabolism like I once did. Sure, I could still eat as much as I wanted of all the delicious foods my friends were wary about, but I had noticed I was developing a pudgy tummy. I still was the smallest of my friends though, so I never thought anything of my growing pouch of flubber.

I ran a lot my with my family when I was younger, and we always played a ton of sports that involved getting too sweaty. Both my mother and father were extremely fit back then, and are to this day, even if they are creeping into their mid 50’s. My mother is in better shape than I am, and my father has enough muscle that scared any of my potential boyfriends away.

I joined track in high school, and with all the working out I was actually hungrier than if I wouldn’t have been working out. The good thing was I got toned, and I felt a lot more in shape, even if I did have the appetite as a hungry-hungry-hippo.

Unfortunately, once high school ended, I certainly wasn’t driven towards exercising and eating healthy. I (embarrassingly) consumed too much fast food the year before freshman year. Obviously, this is a huge cause of weight gain, and add on the fact I wasn’t very active (I worked all summer) you can bet I packed on the freshman 15 before school had even started.

Thankfully, college changed my eating habits. I lost the 10-15 lbs just by cutting out fast food altogether (and swearing off the garbage). Since I commuted, I was forced to pack a healthy lunch, or I would be forced to spend $10 on a salad from my school’s pub.

Since I am still a commuter, I spend a good portion of my day running to and from either the train or my house. It takes up time that could be spent napping, relaxing, or you guessed it, exercising. My courses were hard freshman year because I had a lot of classes that had nothing to do with my major, so I often spent most of my free time keeping my grades up. I would go straight home and change for work, or sometimes, go straight from school to work. I always work until 9 p.m. so I don’t have much free time when I get back home. It’s quick eat dinner, get ready for tomorrow, and do my homework or study. As you may guess, exercising was not on my to-do list.

Now, this year, I had a hard time managing my time. I have another job working at my school in the marketing and communications

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. " Thomas A. Edision

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. ” Thomas A. Edision

department. It’s not a grueling, physical job, but I do have to be in the office for it to count as work. It takes up time that I would probably spend doing homework (or maybe exercising?) but I love the job, and I love the experience I am getting. So, it’s been hard to work in eating right and exercising, on top of going to school full-time, working two part time jobs, and having a social life.

Some people tell me, “I don’t know how you do it, working and going to school.” Sure I love the money, but to be honest, I love the jobs just as much. I always wondered how other people stay active even with a busy life. How do they get up at 4 a.m. and go for a 5 mile run before heading off onto their commute for work? How do they squeeze in working out at the gym after an eight hour day at the office? How do they find time to pack a healthy lunch, when it’s easier to just pick up lunch at convenient store?

Well, they love it. I’d also say motivation. If you think positively, you can pretty much do anything.  I also like to think you need a support group, an entourage, cheerleaders; you name it. Just someone who will be there for you no matter what.

One of my challenges has been finding my motivation. I am lucky to be surrounded by people who only want what is best for me. But, a flaw I have is comparing myself to all my close friends and family, which gives me nothing but doubt.

It’s hard having two extremely fit parents because it seems like everything they do works for them. It’s hard having a naturally in-shape boyfriend, and friends. I look at them and think, why can’t it be that simple?

Every time I have tried to get back into my healthy habits, I have been surrounded by discouragement. Not by everyone, just some people don’t understand. They see me eating carrot sticks and a yogurt and complain, “You don’t need to eat like that, here, have a cookie.” And so I eat that cookie, because they make me feel like I don’t need to eat the healthy food. People are always telling me, “Oh stop. You don’t need to cut back, you’re skinny” or “You’re tiny what are you talking about??”

No. I’m not tiny. I’m not just some insecure girl who wants to be like the girls she sees in magazines and movies. I just want to be a healthier person. It’s not weird to like yogurt, nuts, protein bars, salads, vegetables, or fruits. I sure do love my sweets, my carbs, and my sodium. But I can’t consume it all the time. That’s not me.

I’ve started this “New Madi” thing Monday. It’s only been about a week, but I’m keeping it up. I haven’t gone crazy and eaten a whole cake. I downloaded this app on my iPod called My Fitness Pal, which helps you keep track of exercising, diet, and calories.

It sounds like every other calorie counting app out there, but so far, I have nothing bad to say. When I look down at my iPod and it tells me I ate cookies and cake as my snacks, it’s a slap in the face. It’s right there in front of me, and it gives me the motivation to do something good for myself. So, when I look down and see all these healthy things I have eaten for the day, it makes me smile, and gives me the strength to keep going.

I’m trying to add more cardio, strength exercises, and yoga into my life. Hopefully I can work out at least three times a week for the rest of the semester. I hope to hear from others about their motivation for working out, or maybe if you have a story of how you changed and became healthier!

 

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis

 

Dear Victoria’s Secret….

“Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.”
Confucius

Click on the following link.

That was the first search I got when I typed in “hottest supermodels” in a search engine.

Click on the following link.

That was all of the possible links I could pick from when I typed in “girls with good personalities.”

See the difference?

Of course, there would be more searches on gorgeous supermodels than a girl with an awesome personality.

Like my boyfriend, surprisingly, stated: “Society trains girls to be unhappy with themselves.”

Wow, who would have thought that would come out of a guys mouth?

But, what he said is true.  From the moment girls can start choosing their outfits and styling their hair, they feel this doubt that something is missing from them.  Everybody is always going to look better than you.  Always.  Even if you have the best self-confidence in the world, and even if you are the most attractive person on this planet, I guarantee you will find someone, somewhere who has outdone you.  It may not be true, but those thoughts at some point will sneak into your head.  But has she really outdone you?  Is she truly better than you?

I may have two cats, but I am certainly not a crazy cat lady who is alone in life.  I have an awesome relationship with an awesome guy.  But how come when the Victoria’s Secret catalog comes in the mail, I page through it, ogle at the stuff I can’t afford, say that all of the girls are ugly and airbrushed, rip the catalog up, and then be upset for a good hour because my body will never look like that.  I know I can get at least one guy, but why do I feel sorry for myself?

Training.

Here’s what I said to Colin: “I don’t like it.  I try not to feel bad, but every time I see girls like that or think about being in a bathing suit I feel all bad.”

Why do I feel so bad?  What does “she” have that I don’t?  Okay, her stomach is a little flatter than mine, and her face is a little clearer, and she does have a really nice outfit on, but why do I have to hate myself?

Don’t even get me started on how girls act around attractive women.  As soon as a striking young lady walks in, clearly she looks really nice, girls go:

“Oh my gosh, she’s such a slut”

“Her dress is way too short.”

“Her hair looks bad.”

“She’s not even pretty.”

We all have been caught saying these things.  Why can’t we just say, “Wow that girl looks really good, and she is quite attractive.”

Yeah, that’ll happen once I can look at the VS catalog without wanting to crawl in a hole and die.

We can’t feel good for other people unless we truly feel good about ourselves.

Colin: “It’s not your fault, but it doesn’t have to be like that.  Try putting on a bathing suit and noticing all the things you do like about what you see.”

Easier said than done my friend.

But of course, he does have a point (of course he always has to be right).  Why can’t I look in the mirror and compliment myself on how good I look, or the good things about me?  Why do I always have to put myself down?  Sometimes it’s easy to get into that flow of woe-is-me-I’m-fat-ugly-and-no-one-likes-me phase.  But it is also very easy to get out of it.

So, instead of feeling sorry for myself, I went for a run with a good friend, which helped me clear my mind and made me feel good about myself.  Us women should try and feel better about ourselves and focus on everything we have that other girls don’t.  And we should appreciate the beauty in others instead of always putting them down.  They probably feel as self-conscious as we do, and if they don’t, then kudos to them.  They’re just trying to walk on their own runway.  As we all should!

Watch this video.  I was first introduce do this in my Women Studies class, it’s on the Dove website.  “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted.”

The Detox Diaries: How to Eat Out (And Not Starve)

Today was day five of my body detox.  Started off with a light breakfast of a banana and some strawberries, and a cup of Salada’s Purple antioxidant tea.  I drank some water, stretched, and had a very successful run.  It was quite the beautiful day, so that made the run even more enjoyable.

I was excited for today because my boyfriend was coming home from college for the weekend.  Since we normally go out to eat on Friday nights, I figured we should value the tradition and find an eatery that contained food he would enjoy, and that was detox friendly.  There is a place called Saladworks that has numerous locations, and luckily one in our area. Colin (my boyfriend) was not particulary interested, but I was quite persuasive.  I figured it would be good for both of us to enjoy a healthier meal, together.  Now of course, Saladworks doesn’t just have salad.  They also have soups, panani’s, and wraps.

The atmosphere was very relaxing.  There is huge open space, with the option of a booth or table for seating.  When you go to order, there is a long section of salad toppings.  Anything from olives to artichoke hearts. They also have many different types of meat and cheeses, and a plethora of dressing  options.  It essentially looks like a Subway, only with salad fixings instead of hoagie fixings.

I was up first, and picked my lettuce base.  I chose spring mix, and salad toppings of onions, black olives, carrots, garbonzo beans and a black bean medley.  For my drink, a water bottle.  Colin chose a salad called “Tivoli,” which had iceberg and romaine, radiatorre pasta, pepperoni, tomatoes, baked ham, pepper jack cheese and oven browned turkey.  His was a lot more heartier and broke several rules in the body detox.  Our salads were huge, and I hungrily gobbled mine down.  There is nothing like a big salad on a beautiful day.  It was very satisfying, and I will surely go again (detox or no detox).

This day proved that I can still have a good time with friends and loved ones while on a detox.  I was able to successfully find a place that catered to my needs, and Colin’s.  Thankfully, he enjoyed the salad as much as I enjoyed mine.  It was a great evening, and I am wondering what tomorrow will have in store for me.