Friday, January 13, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Monday, January 9, 2012
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Saturday, January 7, 2012
This is the time of year when even people who hate the gym think about going to the gym. Many of us are still digesting whole floors of gingerbread houses, and jeans that fit comfortably in October are now a denim humiliation.
Sweating is a good way to begin 2012. Exercise, like dark chocolate and office meetings that suddenly get canceled, is a proven pathway to nirvana. But if you're going to join a gym—or returning to the gym after a long hibernation—consider the following:
1. A gym is not designed to make you feel instantly better about yourself. If a gym wanted to make you feel instantly better about yourself, it would be a bar.
2. Give yourself a goal. Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds. Maybe you want to quarterback the New York Jets into the playoffs. But be warned: Losing 10 pounds is hard.
3. Develop a gym routine. Try to go at least three times a week. Do a mix of strength training and cardiovascular conditioning. After the third week, stop carrying around that satchel of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.
4. No one in the history of gyms has ever lost a pound while reading "The New Yorker" and slowly pedaling a recumbent bicycle. No one.
5. Bring your iPod. Don't borrow the disgusting gym headphones, or use the sad plastic radio attachment on the treadmill, which always sounds like it's playing Kenny Loggins from a sewer.
6. Don't fall for gimmicks. The only tried-and-true method to lose 10 pounds in 48 hours is food poisoning.
7. Yes, every gym has an overenthusiastic spinning instructor who hasn't bought a record since "Walking on Sunshine."
8. There's also the Strange Guy Who is Always at the Gym. Just when you think he isn't here today...there he is, lurking by the barbells.
9. "Great job!" is trainer-speak for "It's not polite for me to laugh at you."
10. Beware a hip gym with a Wilco step class.
11. Gyms have two types of members: Members who wipe down the machines after using them, and the worst people in the universe.
12. Nope, that's not a "recovery energy bar with antioxidant dark chocolate." That's a chocolate bar.
13. Avoid Unsolicited Advice Guy, who, for the small fee of boring you to death, will explain the proper method for any exercise in 45 minutes or longer.
14. You can take 10 Minute Abs, 20 Minute Abs, and 30 Minute Abs. There is also Stop Eating Pizza and Eating Sheet Cake Abs—but that's super tough!
15. If you're motivated to buy an expensive home exercise machine, consider a "wooden coat rack." It costs $40, uses no electricity and does the exact same thing.
16. There's the yoga instructor everyone loves, and the yoga instructor everyone hates. Memorize who they are.
17. If you see an indoor rock climbing wall, you're either in a really cool gym or a romantic comedy starring Kate Hudson.
18. Be cautious about any class with the words "sunrise," "hell," or "Moby."
19. If a gym class is going to be effective, it's hard. If you're relaxed and enjoying yourself, you're at brunch.
20. If you need to bring your children, just let them loose in the silent meditation class. Nobody minds, and kids love candles.
21. Don't buy $150 sneakers, $100 yoga pants, and $4 water. Muscle shirts are for people with muscles, and rhythm guitarists.
22. Fancy gyms can be seductive, but once you get past the modern couches and fresh flowers and the water with lemon slices, you're basically paying for a boutique hotel with B.O.
23. Everyone sees you secretly racing the old people in the pool.
24. If you're at the point where you've bought biking shoes for the spinning class, you may as well go ahead and buy an actual bike. It's way more fun and it doesn't make you listen to C+C Music Factory.
25. Fact: Thinking about going to the gym burns between 0 and 0 calories.
26. A successful gym membership is like a marriage: If it's good, you show up committed and ready for hard work. If it's not good, you show up in sweatpants and watch a lot of bad TV.
27. There is no secret. Exercise and lay off the fries. The end.
Where's my infomercial and best seller?
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Friday, January 6, 2012
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Monday, January 2, 2012
This year I’m participating in The Happiness Project – sponsored by Rebecca at weightwars.co.uk. The project is based around the book and focuses on … well, finding happiness. I know that the search is not simple and it won’t be resolved based on a book … but I think it’s a good starting point.
So the first task is to come up with 12 commandments to live by/try to achieve or accomplish throughout the year.
1. Start the day off by giving a little something to charity (This is something my mom got me started doing. Every morning one of the first things I do is put a coin into a jar. It’s not much – around 25 cents. The point is not the amount. The point is to start each day with the intention of giving to charity. The point is remembering how lucky we are despite how terrible things may seem at times. At the end of the there will be enough money to make a small difference to someone.)
2. Spend more time with my parents (I’ve been so busy over the past two years with my PhD and all my other stuff that I really haven’t spent as much time as I would have liked to (should have) with my parents … I plan to correct that.)
3. Eat well and exercise regularly (I am definitely doing well on the exercise front. I just need to continue to make sure I’m eating well too.)
4. Get things done – stop procrastinating! (Procrastination should be my FIRST name I do it so well … I get so distracted at times, or I just don’t want to get some tasks/work done – so I procrastinate … which only ends up making me feel more stressed about leaving things until the last minute. I’ve done this all my life – it’s time for a change!!
5. Read more (particularly non-PhD related stuff!) (I miss reading for fun. The past four years have been filled with reading journal articles and books about globalization, language, culture, and identity etc. As interesting as they were, I really miss picking up a novel and just enjoying it for reading’s sake, not because I need it for my thesis. I have many books on my ‘To read’ list … I need to tackle them.
6. Don’t skip out on something just because it scares you (This is something that was a frequent theme last year – there were so many things that I was intimidated to try, particularly when it came to exercise … afraid to go faster, afraid to lift more weight, etc. but in the end, I could do it and I would feel so proud. This year I don’t want that initial fear to be an issue. I want to have the confidence to just go for it!)
7. Be kind and patient (I believe these are two very important ingredients to a happy life!)
8. Have the courage to speak your mind (I often bite my tongue and don’t say what’s on my mind … in the end, the person who gets hurt the most is myself … and it’s MY fault. I need to have enough confidence and courage to know that my opinions count, and even if others don’t agree with what I have to say, my voice has just as much right to be heard.)
9. Put yourself first (I think there’s quite a balance to be struck when it comes to being kind … and putting yourself first. I guess this commandment would fall in line with ‘It’s ok to say no.’ A lot of times I feel obligated to do something even if I don’t want to do it, again, like I said in #8, it’s really just my fault for not being able to stand my ground and speak up for myself. This year, I will try to rectify that. It doesn’t mean that I will strive to be selfish; it’s about realizing that I’m just as important as other people.) [You have no idea how hard it was for me to just write that.]
10. Avoid people who bring negative energy (People have problems. Heck, I have a zillion problems, but there are some people who just really bring you down. The negativity and ‘woe is me’ attitude is constant … or they are highly critical of everything you do – though sometimes I think that is envy disguised as criticism. These people need to be dropped. I have enough negative voices in my head to deal with. I don’t need anybody else’s as well!)
11. Work hard and play hard (I’ve got to find a balance. I seem to either do one thing or the other. I’ve spent week after week at my desk not talking to anyone and being completely anti-social, only to exhaust myself or make myself ill so I couldn’t even see my friends if I had wanted to … not this year. This year I will strike a balance.)
12. On days when everything seems particularly hard and challenging – Don’t lose hope; remain confident and optimistic (Some days are just bad days. It’s ok to have bad days. It’s ok to take a day off from the gym or sleep in for a few extra hours. It’s ok to take a break … just don’t give up. ‘Fake it till you make it’ used to be a ‘commandment’ of mine … although I still believe it to a certain degree, I also think it’s important to realize when you just have to pause and give yourself a moment to breathe.)
Of course, my overarching commandment for the year is: Let it Go
The next part of this task is to share some secrets of adulthood – what are things that I have learned over the years that are worth sharing …
Secrets of Adulthood
1. This too shall pass – pain, heartache, sorrow are temporary; some take longer to pass than others, but eventually, things will get better.
2. Think before you speak – once you’ve said something, it’s out there. You can’t take it back.
3. Never make big decisions when you are emotional – this is related to #2 but slightly different. Anger, sadness, jealousy are very strong emotions – be careful what you do when you’re in a state of heightened emotions … as with #2, a lot of times things you say/do cannot be reversed.
4. It is better to give than receive … but don’t it be a one-way give/take relationship for long. I know people that are more than happy to receive, and while I am happy to give, after some time, I do start to feel unappreciated. If you’re always buying lunch for someone or always making the first move to arrange get-togethers and the other person doesn’t reciprocate. Stop. Friendship is a two-way street.
5. Others cannot read your mind – if you have something to say, SAY IT – This is something I still have a hard time doing. I often sit there with my teeth clenched and 1,000 thoughts racing through my mind … but I bite my tongue and don’t say anything. Well, now I think that’s rather foolish. It doesn’t mean you have to be unkind or aggressive – just speak your mind.
The final task is to come up with 5 goals revolving around a month-specific theme. This month’s focus is Vitality. I like the idea of having one focus for each month. I’ve found that trying to work on several goals at once can be very overwhelming. For me, the more overwhelming things get, the easier it becomes for me to just push my targets aside and say – it’s too much. I just can’t.
The idea of having monthly goals that revolve around a central theme is to work on mini-realistic, sustainable-goals so that they add up to big, positive changes by the end of the year (hopefully).
The five goals I’ve set to boost my vitality this month are:
1. Remember to take my vitamins/supplements daily (This may sound like a silly one to start off with, but for some reason I keep forgetting something so simple.)
2. Replace refined sugars with fruit (My biggest problem is my sweet tooth. Although I try not to bring sweets into the house, I still have a craving for sweets. This year I’m going to try and have more fruit to reduce the cravings for other sugary foods.)
3. Watch my carbohydrate intake (I think I’m doing fine nutritionally, but my carb intake is still high and I really need to rectify that)
4. Get more sleep (My insomnia often gets the better of me. My sleep over the past month and a half has been declining – I’m at about 4 hours/night at the moment. I really, really need to sleep more if I expect to have any energy to get me through the day and through my workouts!)
5. De-clutter (I have a lot of stuff … and frankly, I love my stuff!! Lately, however, it’s all getting to be too much. I just want to lighten the load and hopefully lessen some of the pressure I feel being bound to all this stuff … and by relieving that pressure, perhaps I will boost my vitality as well!)