Foodiacs Spring Fling

Happy Friday, y’all! The lovely people at Foodiacs are holding a giveaway during the month of April- check out the link on the sidebar for details!

Thoughts For Thursday

To be honest, I was really really freaking kind of depressed yesterday. You see, on Saturday, I went for a nice long run, and during the last half mile or so, I got this pain on the side of my butt. I thought it was just a spasm or a cramp, so I pushed through and didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t go for a long run again until Tuesday, and for the majority of the 5 miles I did, I was in pain. Pain in my calf, pain in my knee, pain in my ass. Once I got off the treadmill, my butt/hip area was hurting so much, I could barely walk. I tried stretching, I tried walking around, and nothing helped. I hobbled home, sat on the heating pad, and tried not to sulk. I woke up in pain, and made an appointment with my General Practitioner (GP). My GP had me do some stretches and determined that based on the location of the pain, I had bursitis. She prescribed me an anti-inflammatory, and told me to make an appt with my orthopaedist to get x-rays. Oh, and she told me not to walk unless absolutely necessary. No walking, no running, no biking, no elliptical. Umm, excuse me?

photo cred: sportlink.co.uk

To say that I took her advice lightly would be a flat out lie. I was immediately overcome with feelings of anxiety, guilt, and depression. Doesn’t she know that running is one of my biggest stress relievers? How can I go from doing cardio 5-6 days a week to nothing? Why me?!

I think my responses were pretty standard of someone who has established (and become addicted to) an exercise routine. The important thing to do is to challenge those emotions, so that you can return to thinking rationally. I don’t talk about my job or internship that much, but I’m currently interning at an Eating Disorder Outpatient Program, so I facilitate group and individual therapy. On Monday, I led a group about distorted thoughts and the importance of recognizing and replacing negative self-talk. There was a lot of discussion about All or Nothing thinking, and ways that you can compromise with yourself to accept alternatives. I did a lot of emphasizing on the fact that behaviors do not define a person: this is something I had to remind myself of yesterday.

Just because I can’t run for a few days/weeks/whatever, does not mean that I am a bad or lazy person. The amount of exercise I do, what I do or do not eat, and how messy I allow my apartment to get during midterms is no indication of how good a person I am. In a society in which those who have a “healthy” diet or frequent the gym for hours at a time are deemed “good,” I think it’s easy to lose track of what actions and activities make us feel good about who we are. I also think that we focus on our exterior more than our interior because not only is it easier to make changes, but it is the side of us that people see more. Receiving validation from external sources is a huge self-esteem booster.

photo cred: coachbetty.com

So what’s my point in all this? That we are a society of labels, and it is up to the individual, not their peers, to determine what they want their labels to read. Instead of letting one label, that may or may not have a negative connotation, define us, I think we should embrace the multitude of things that we do. Someone with a psychiatric diagnosis is not bipolar, they have bipolar disorder. I am not an injured runner, I have an injury. There are so many more activites that I do in one week than run, and I will not let an injury disregard the rest of the challenging and rewarding things that I’m capable of.

–Ariel

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Hey y’all! You can now find us on twitter @Positive_Regard!  Follow us, we’ll follow you– it’s a good thing.

I Got It From My Mama

Growing up, I loved shopping with my mom. She and her best friend would take me with them whenever they went to Sims, TJ Maxx, and the outlets. They taught me how to look for the best bargains, but emphasized that quality always outranked quantity. Thanks to these fantastic women, I have an eye for sales. Not just clothing or shoe sales, but groceries too. One lesson that my mom taught me is to always watch the screen when a cashier is scanning your groceries. I used to get embarrassed when my mom would say “excuse me, but this rang up $4.99 and the sign on the shelf said $3.59,” but as I got older, I came to admire her gumption. Many stores will give you the prices listed on the shelf, and some stores will even give you the item for free if it scans incorrectly. Mike and I went grocery shopping a while back to buy chicken for him, and the massive package we were purchasing scanned incorrectly- you better believe that I said something, and the store gave us the chicken for free!

The price of the item is not always the best price to look at, either. My mom taught me to look at the unit price (usually the price that’s on the left) instead of just the price. This is very helpful in determining how much bang you get for your buck. I wanted to get some shredded wheat yesterday, and saw that one of the name brands was on sale. I checked out the unit price and compared it to the generic brand, and saw that the generic brand was still cheaper per pound! Just make sure that the unit prices you’re checking are consistent. Some list their price per pound, some list the price per ounce, and some list by 100 count.

photo cred: tradingupdowntown.com

Being conscientious is extremely important, especially if you’re like me and are a grad student who is tight on cash. One of my New You Solutions is to be a better shopper. It is very rare that I buy anything other than groceries or gas, but even with those, I want to be able to leave the store saying “that was money well spent.” It is very easy for me to walk into Trader Joe’s, Target, or J Crew (swoon!) and convince myself that I need all of their new and/or seasonal items. A new cardigan here, some fancy black licorice there- this unfortunately adds up very quickly and could leave you with the dreaded feeling of “buyers remorse.” This is where my “money well spent” motto came in. I never want to leave a store again thinking about whether or not I should have spent money on something. To ensure that I’m saving the most money I can, here are a few steps that I take.

For grocery shopping:

1.  Always look at the weekly circular before you go to the store. If you don’t get the circular in the mail, all stores have their circular posted on their website. You can check the sales with those items on your shopping list and stock up when prices are low. You should also have discount cards for those stores that you frequent the most. I have discount cards for all supermarkets and chain drug stores within a 10 mile radius of my apartment. Unless you’re going to a store like BJ’s or Costo, discount cards are free and very useful.

2. As mentioned above, always always look at the screen when your items are being scanned.  It may seem trivial, but it all adds up in the long run.

3. Again, I mentioned above that you should be comparing unit prices, not just the sale prices. It’s good practice.

4. Coupons are your friend. You can find coupons online, in the newspaper, and sometimes in the store circular. Every little bit counts, right?

For clothing shopping:

1. If you can avoid it, don’t shop retail. As I said, I am a big advocate of quality over quantity, but that doesn’t mean that I drop a lot of money on good quality clothes. I am a big fan of Marshall’s and TJ Maxx, because they have designer clothing for a fraction of the retail price. If you have any outlets around you, that is another great place to find deals. The first place I go to in a clothing store is the sale rack. Check for signs, too. Some stores have signs above their sale racks stating that everything is an additional % off, which is always a plus

2. Shop online. This can get sticky because you aren’t able to try on the clothing that you want to purchase. Fortunately, most stores have very good customer service and return policies, and you can either mail back your purchase, or return it to a store that’s near you.

3. Sign up for a store’s mailing list. I’m sure nobody wants their inbox to get bombarded with more emails, but many stores send out coupon codes that you can use online, or coupons you can use in the store.

What are some tips that you follow to save money? We’d love to hear from you! Comment or email us at apositiveregard (at) gmail (dot) com

–Ariel

Present and Accounted For

Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, I made some rough draft New You Solutions. I thought that if I reframed the way that I thought and lived, that I would see a positive change. Unfortunately, life got in the way, as usual. I wanted to make a whole list of things I wanted to accomplish, but to be honest, I’m not in the right mindset yet. It’s a struggle for me to find an hour or two to frequent the gym a few times a week, let alone try to go rock climbing or make tiramisu from scratch (two things I’d eventually like to do).  I have been actively trying to stay on top of my exercise routine and eat what makes me feel good, but something still felt a little off. Enter: the moleskine wellness journal.

photo cred: mojolondon.co.uk

My birthday was last week, and this was one of the fantastic gifts that Marissa gave me. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. The journal is divided into sections: Personal Goals, Execise Log, Diet, General Health, Games/Sports, and Inspirations. There are another 6 sections with blank labels, so that you can create your own! I know the importance of writing things down so that they’re concrete, but now that I have something a little more “professional,” I find that keeping track of what I do is much easier. Another important aspect of writing down your goals/activities/diet etc is that it makes you accountable. For example, I got home from my internship on Monday night and began snacking away on some dark chocolate. I wrote it down in my journal and saw that I had quite a bit of sweets that day. The next day, I labeled my diet “Low Sugar Day” in an attempt to cut back on the refined sugars. Did I feel guilty that I ate sugar and chocolate the day before? Not really- it was delicious. Did I learn from my journaling and make changes accordingly? Absolutely. So expect some weekly updates about the goals that I’ve set for the week, and how I’m progressing!

What are some ways that you stay on track?

–Ariel

Keep On Keepin’ On

I have been a bad, bad blogger, you guys. Not only have I not been cooking anything exciting, I haven’t even been on the computer in over 54 hours. Getting to the gym has also been a struggle. I don’t know about you, but this winter is hitting me hard. If I had the energy, I would make a line graph showing the positive correlation between the snow accumulation and my level of motivation. Shoveling every other day + 20 hours at work + 21 hours at my internship + running as much as I can =

Exhaustion!!!

Apologies for complaining, but I believe that venting is an important stress management tool. Recently, I’ve been going out of my way to do things that reduce my stress.

Mike and I have been going for long walks on the weekend to get some exercise and absorb a little vitamin D. We recently took a 5 mile hike around this lake, in which we encountered a flock of birds. Swans are enormous, by the way.  Don’t these remind you a little of The Beatles?!

Another way that I’ve been relieving some stress is by indulging in an hour of knitting a few times a week. I’m not very skilled yet, so I’m just trying to practice making things that are outside of my comfort zone.

Kind of like these 1 Up mittens for Mike! These were the first mittens I’ve ever made and the first intarsia work I’ve ever done. As you can see, the left one is a little wonky because that’s the one that I did all by myself without the help from my very talented mother.

Indulging in delicious sushi has also been part of my stress relief routine. It’s important to treat your body, mind, and soul every once in a while.

 

What are some ways that you get yourself out of a mid-winter funk? I’d love to hear your motivation tips!

 

–Ariel

A Girl’s Breast Friend

WARNING: If the discussion of mammaries makes you uncomfortable, stop reading. I repeat, stop reading.

Now then, let’s talk about boobs. Everyone has them- some people love theirs and embrace them, some people hate theirs, get them enhanced or reduced, or try to modify them without surgery. Regardless of size, I think that when exercising, everyone wants to feel supported, yet comfortable. There is nothing worse than worrying about how much you’re bouncing, or if someone if getting a peep show due to inadequate padding.  A good sports bra is much more than just support- it should elevate your confidence, and provide you with increased motivation.

Photo cred: enell.com

I know that may sound far-fetched for some, so hear me out. I am relatively short, 5’3″, and thanks to the traits I’ve inherited from the women on my father’s side, I have a large chest. For the most part, I’ve learned to appreciate my body. Yes, it is slightly annoying having to size up one or two sizes in button-down shirts to accommodate my chest,but I think rather than spending time on self-criticizing, that time is better spent on self accepting. The one aspect that I was still uncomfortable with was my workout attire.

Photo cred: enell.com

When I started running over the summer, I wore a North Face sports bra, plus a tank top that had a sports bra built in. Once I started to increase my mileage, I noticed some chafing under my left boob. I thought it was just a one time thing, so I readjusted and continued to use the bra. A lot of triple antibiotic ointment and gauze later led me to the conclusion that this was not a one time occurrence. However, I could not find a bra that I was happy purchasing. Frustrated with the sports bra search, I decided to use what I had- a soft sports bra that offered little support, underneath the dreaded other bra that gave me abrasions. Two sports bra. That’s right, I wore two sports bras for about 5 months. It’s bad enough having to peel one sweaty bra off your body after a long run, but two was terrible.

As usual, my sister was the one to talk some sense into me. She has been practicing Krav Maga for quite a few years now. That means that 1)she is a total bad ass, and 2) that she does a lot of high impact exercises. We were both home over Thanksgiving, and she let me use one of her Enell bras on my morning run. Not only did the bra physically change the way I held myself when I ran, it completely changed my confidence level. My posture was better, I no longer hunched my shoulders over, and I felt great about myself. My boobs did not bounce. It was hard for me to believe that was possible, and I’m still a little surprised each time I put the bra on. I know this sounds like a big plug for the company, but I don’t work for them and haven’t received any complimentary products from them. I’m simply excited that my breasts stay in place when I exercise, and wanted to share my experience with all of you. We all make sure that we have the proper yoga pants, running shoes, and other sports equipment, so why aren’t proper sports bras encouraged?

 

Has anybody else had to wear two dreaded sports bras? Is there a brand that has changed the way you work out? We’d love to hear from you!

–Ariel

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