Tuesday, January 11, 2011


It's snowing here in Philadelphia, and I'd like to tell you that I'm huddled inside, working away at my thesis or some such thing.  But instead, I'm doing what I do every Tuesday night: baking cookies while watching The Biggest Loser. 

And randomly picking up weights during the parts where the trainers yell at the contestants, and doing some strength training because the trainers are scary.

Yep, while the cookies are baking.  Let's just say I'm a bit of a contradiction.

Mimu does it with me, too.  Well, except for the weights part.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

On New Year's Resolutions

In my previous post, I talked about my goals for 2011.  It's going to be a big year - full of changes, mostly exciting ones - and I really want to set myself up for as happy a year as possible.  And because of this, I wanted to make my "resolutions" as simple as possible.

Now, you may think that sounds silly - shouldn't I want to make as many goals as possible so that I can achieve a lot this year?  But really, it's the opposite.  There is nothing wrong with New Year's resolutions - they are a good way to take stock of where you are at regular intervals, and think about where you'd like to be and how to get there.  But so many people fail at resolutions each year (think about all the gym memberships wasted by February!) because they set too many goals, don't think about a plan of action, and basically get overwhelmed and give up.  It's the same reason crash diets don't work in the long run - trying to overhaul your life overnight is not sustainable.


I don't need crazy resolutions to make this year an exciting one - a year full of job and life changes, friends' weddings, families moving together, etc. should be very exciting all by itself.  The reason I set some goals for 2011 is to be able to make the most of this year.  In most of the stages of my life thus far, I've breezed past the things I should be enjoying - this time I want to slow down and cherish the exciting new things coming my way.  That's why most of my resolutions focus on enjoying things (like the move or defending my thesis), putting my energy into what I'm doing (like a new postdoc this summer and the beginning of Brendan's and my life as a live-in couple), and remaining calm when things don't go exactly as planned.

On that front, I have been doing really well with the remaining-calm thing so far!  I had a few incidents that required my extreme patience, and even required my mantras, but I stuck with this whole calm outlook and have felt much better for it.  I also want to recommit myself to doing yoga at least once a week - since I can go for free at Lululemon and have four more classes left on my pass for a hot yoga place, that should be simple enough, and it definitely helps me stay calm and introspective.

The only two goals I made this year that aren't just a savor-the-moment sort of thing are to get financially stable and to lose a bit of weight.  I can't work on the financial thing very much just yet, but I'm trying to be mindful of my spending so that I can save a bit more than I currently do.  But where I think I'm going to make some strides this spring is my fitness.

I have a few new fitness toys in my arsenal this year that I'm really excited about!  In addition to the TRX that I'm hoping to try out in the spring (I know there's a bit of a backup, but I think it should still be before my move!), I have some new shoes and a new piece of equipment:

Vibram Five Fingers KSO
Of course, by now everyone has a pair of these, so I'm just jumping on the bandwagon - but it's a good bandwagon to be on!  I got these from Brendan's parents, and I absolutely love them.  They are a bit weird at first, and they're going to take some breaking in, but I really enjoy running in them.  I wore them on a warm-up run/walk on the treadmill so far, and they felt light, streamlined, and comfortable.  I wouldn't recommend anyone wearing them for >1 mile of running or walking at first - I did a very slow run/walk for a mile, and my shins hurt for a few days.  I will be wearing these more and more as the snow/dirt combination that's on Philly's roads clears up.  Having new shoes and a new thing to learn about running should keep things exciting this year!


Schwinn Magnetic Bike Trainer

So, a few years ago I bought a bike.  I had grand visions of biking outside, and getting in better shape from biking as well as running.  Unfortunately, the bike I bought was from Target, and it's just too heavy to be fast.  Without being able to improve on it, biking along the river trail and trying to avoid hundreds of pedestrians and runners is just torturous.  I'm pretty sure that it won't get any better when I move, either, because of the hills around Brendan's house - he and I may go on a leisurely ride every once in a while, but I probably won't be training for the Tour de France any time soon.

Enter the magnetic bike trainer.  This little thing holds the bike upright with the back tire on rollers, so that my bike can basically serve as a stationary bike.  That means that I can catch up on my shows while I'm working out - which certainly means that on days I don't feel like going down to the gym, I have no excuse to get in a few minutes of exercise!  I ordered one of these yesterday using trade-in credit from books at Amazon, along with an Amazon gift card and a check from Christmas.  I went with the Schwinn over the Bell because it's foldable and has three resistance settings.  Now, even though I got free Prime shipping (thank you for loving students, Amazon!), I still need to wait until the end of the month to use it, because I already brought the bike up to Brendan's and need to get it back.  Only a few more weeks, though - I can't wait!!

I think this year is going to be great, and even though I'm totally swamped with work right now, I'm really looking forward to the exciting changes ahead.  Hopefully my resolutions for 2011 will help me stay balanced and enjoy all the good things the year has to offer.  And hopefully with the help of my new fitness toys, I will end the year a bit lighter than I began it!

Coming soon: The last New Year's post, I promise - my food goals for the year!