Learning to Say NO(vember)

In case you’ve been following along, last week, as an homage to my Spartan warrior brother and a service to my body, I undertook a little Jan1 Kickoff Cleanse last week. In order to remind my body what whole foods were like, how to workout every day, and that not ALL meals have to center around cheese. I get that, for many folks, this might not seem like much of a challenge, but for a busy (but aren’t we all that’s such a copout) cheese loving lady like myself… it was certainly a wake-up call.

Yes, I'll vote for Brie for President.

Yes, I’ll vote for Brie for President.

Claire and I tracked our eating and activity for three days, with some simple rules.

No booze. Daily exercise. No coffee/soda. Whole/Unprocessed foods.

We each had bonus, personal goals. Mine were 50 each of sit-ups and push-ups and 15 flights of stairs.

Here’s what I learned:

  • Getting violently sick on the first day of a cleanse, while probably not typical, is also…. not beneficial to getting you on board. Yes, I unfortunately got “down with the sickness” Tuesday around lunchtime. This left me bedridden for most of the afternoon (luckily I’d exercised in the morning).
  • Woman CAN live on spaghetti substitutes and juice alone. Ok, lemme explain: Between the two of us and our 6 non-juice meals each over the course of 3 days, half were either spaghetti squash or zoodles (zucchini noodles, duh). Convenient, nutritious, and fun, these non-noodle noodles became a staple in both of our homes.
  • Trader Joe’s, while normally falling under my brain as a “Can do no wrong” establishment, may need to rethink the cold-pressed juice line.
    Not my best friend.

    Not my best friend.

    While, in a pinch, these proved decent sustenance in a hurry, I found myself retreating to my FAVORITE juice spot in the city, Ryan Crown’s Juice Club, at least twice. These bottled beauts from TJs are efficient, but they don’t hold a candle flavor-wise to a fresher juice.

  • The Big One: Fitting workouts in is easy…. when you realize you have to say NO to other things.

And so that brings me to the overall reflections on the experience. We will start with Claire’s thoughts, since I figure it’s nice to share a totally different view. So, from Claire (tidied up by me, since this was via a gchat):

Wise girl, right.

Wise girl, right.

I’m never, ever a dieter. I tend to just eat what I want, and consider “eating healthy” in a vague sense. It works out, and my general inclination is on the healthier side. That said, I’ve really lived life without reflecting on eating habits, just kinda feeling like “it’s fine” and letting it be. This experience was helpful in a “know thyself” way. Working within a framework, a prescribed set of rules, made it more apparent what my habits and inclinations are. It was really helpful to realize that VARIETY is my bugaboo, in the sense that I found myself so bored of the same salad or zoodles, and that I really need to mix it up in order to continue eating healthy. I feel like I CAN take on any kind of health/exercise challenge, recognizing that I’ll succeed as long as variety is taken into account

And now, from the horse’s mouth (in this case, I’m the horse):

Spitting straight fire

Spitting straight fire

have done the diet thing. I was a dedicated Weight Watcher for about a year, losing approximately 40 lbs in a very healthy, but very track-heavy manner (if you’re ever bored and feel like perusing my original foray into blogging, check at that sweet tumblr). I left this challenge feeling stronger, more in control. And it lasted well into the weekend where, other than an evening out for a buddy’s birthday, I maintained those healthy habits. I worked out 6 days last week. I didn’t feel bloated or puffy at all. I slept like a lamp. And while, for part of the week, I was going pretty track-happy with Claire, the rest I went off-book. But the reason I was able to do this was because I said NO to a handful of things. As a blogger and a general gal-about-town, the opportunities to splurge are borderline endless. It’s realizing that you DON’T have to go to every restaurant opening, every food and beer pairing, or you DON’T have to eat every dish served at that fun happy hour. In fact, you don’t even have to drink! THE HOUR CAN STILL BE HAPPY!

Real talk.

So that’s what this Jan1 Challenge will entail. Beyond a shift in focus to cleaner eating and consistent gym-hitting (even if it’s 20 minutes, even if it’s 15!), it’s the self-goal of learning to say NO. NOvember seems like a time to start, since it’s built into the name and all, but I think it’s the beginning of just what I need.

Finance Bros and Fitness Woes: Jan1 Challenge

Have I ever told you about my brother? Not the littlest one I visited in Australia. And not the Philly-based one, he’s the oldest (though I really still consider them all my baby brothers.) Nope, this is the middle brother, the middle child, Con.

I know, ladies. Calm down.

I know, ladies. Calm down.

After you’ve taken a moment to chuckle at my dad’s silly face in the background, you can admire that stud of a brother (my genetic pool is like… stupid good looking. I get it.) And then, you can reflect on this:

This 24 year old man is, and has been for the past 18 years, the most intense human I have ever met in my life (his first 6 years were pretty mellow.) When he wanted to pay his way to his high school French trip, he exceeded fundraising enough to get a digital camera for the stay. When he wanted to switch weight classes in wrestling season, he spent more time in the gym than any kid on the team, some of them combined. And whether it’s work, eating, going out, or hitting the gym…. he goes hard. He’s a finance bro to the core and, if you know any of them, you know the type. It was no surprise to me, then, when he and his friends committed to this concept. Something totally foreign to me. But something I’m finding pretty appealing at the moment.

It’s simply called Mar1.

Nah, it's not anti-radiation missiles. but this came up on google search so...

Nah, it’s not anti-radiation missiles. but this came up on google search so…

It stands for March 1st, but it really stands for so much more. It’s subjective to the participant but, at the core of Mar1 is this: Until March 1st, each individual committed to Mar1 lives a particularly Spartan lifestyle. They work hard in the office and harder in the gym, often opting for two-a-days OR two hour sessions. They aren’t overly indulgent because it’s sweater season. They’re eating clean, living off of salads and grilled chicken breasts. They’re not on juice cleanses, but they’re also not going out during the week. Instead of bears hibernating, this band of bros hitting the ground harder than before. And they’re my inspiration. See, the thing is, I may be a little bear-like in nature. When the weather gets cold and the days grow shorter…. I just want to climb into a cave full of blankets and emerge when it’s time to “spring forward”.  I’m no good at getting to the gym when there is darkness as I leave the office. And, though I’m definitely a morning person… where are the Zumba classes at 7am?! (Spoiler alert: they’re not at my gym!)

I'll be over in this closet with these 18 towels and blankets.

I’ll be over in this closet with these 18 towels and blankets.

But, though the austerity of a full dedication to Mar1 might not be in my wheelhouse…. I think I can confidently commit to a modified version. A Jan1 or “JanWun”, if you will. My dear buddy Claire and I (you might remember her from A BUTTLOAD OF MY LIFE) are kicking this JanWun off accordingly this week with a 3 day health kickoff. We’re getting started with the help of some TJs cold-pressed juices, a lack of dairy products (farewell, sweet cheese), a commitment to exercise each day (see you Wednesday, November Project), and a general “Just say no” to processed foods.

Yeah, it’s no juice cleanse. And we’re not the hardcore finance bros that have any interest in spending 2 full hours at the gym…. but I think we’re both ready for a little kickoff to remind our bodies that just because it’s cold outside, doesn’t mean we can let our inner bears out (I’ll try to refrain from my standard nickname of Claire-bear for a little while).

Yup. This is a picture that exists on the internet.

Yup. This is a picture that exists on the internet.

I’m not going to set any weight-related goals. I’ve done that in my life before and, while it’s effective, it turns me into a person I don’t necessarily want to be. But I AM going to commit to this. There’s been a lot of food and beers lately, but not very much sweat. And, come on, I wouldn’t write a blog about ALL THREE if they weren’t equally important! Right?


Good talk, I’ll see you on the other side.