Being Bridget Jones

{April 23, 2010}   Falling into old habits….

I’m not going to lie to you my dear followers. I have not been blogging this week because I have been busy, sick, and most of all frustrated. Why frustrated you ask? Because my diet and exercise routine has not been going as well as I hoped. I had a few really good days last week and last weekend. I was eating well, went on a jog before work a couple times, and was feeling good about the whole process. I hadn’t had chinese takeout or any kind of non-subway fast food in over a month. My weight loss is still hovering around 6 pounds. Go team Ashley!

But, the problems really started last Friday. Last Thursday, I was told that my temp job would be ending early, and we would have until Sunday to get as many hours in as we could. So, suddenly I was working 13 hour days and working on Sunday. Telling myself this was a unique situation, I allowed myself to eat the free pizza that  our employer had delivered (which is pretty awesome of my temp employers, who I love). At least I was still drinking tons of water, and eating fruit and veggies for a snack. This slow decline in my eating habits continued downhill on Sunday when I took a break to get food and instead of going to Subway, I decided what I really wanted was….more pizza? Really Ashley? I know you like pizza, but two days in one weekend?

I started eating well again on Monday morning (s0me cereal and fruit), and on Monday I took a long walk slash jog down to the Zoo and all around the zoo, which is tough. It felt good though. What did I do as soon as I finished my jog? I went out with some friends to lunch, where once again I could have taken control of my food intake but instead I decided I really wanted…..a hickory burger. With fries. And a sip of my friends milkshake. It was delicious, but pretty much worth my weight in salt and fat. I should say that I will never give up burgers. Ever. But, maybe after a weekend of already not eating well, I should have made an attempt at getting something a little healthier. The rest of the week was a complete downward spiral. I wasn’t feeling well some days, I had tons of plans, and I hadn’t gotten a chance to go on a diet friendly shopping trip. I ended up eating what was in the house, went out for chinese and ate anything covered in chili at the Nats game. It was a hot mess. A chili covered, deliciously hot mess. Awesome, but I realized I started feeling not good about what I was eating, which rarely happens to me.

But, don’t be alarmed those of you who read my blog for the uplifting optimism and witty repartee. Luckily, this week showed me a few things about my new road of wanting to get healthy. First of all, I found out what I can do to help myself eat healthier. The first thing I need to do is make sure I am grocery shopping consistently so when I do get bored or lazy, there are healthy options for me to immediately reach to. I realized that when I was bored and had healthy things, I munched on nuts or applesauce or other relatively healthy items.  Even if I didn’t want to do much cooking I could make a healthy sandwich or a lean cuisine. But, when I didn’t have a chance to go shopping, I immediately reverted back to eating crap. So, lesson learned.

Also, I learned that I need to start saying no when people offer me free food. just because they are offering me free food, doesn’t mean I have to take it. Even if I do take it, I can take less of it. One piece of pizza instead of two, or one cookie instead of three. I know I have the willpower to do this, it is just something that I will have to get used to. On the plus side, I know that I made healthier choices then I normally do. I took veggie pizzas instead of meat, and I still stuck with water and some healthy snacks. I did some exercising….it’s some improvement!Very proud now that I come to think of it.

Finally, I need a routine. I am forever planning things out and making a checklist, so why I did I think this would be any different? Hell, I plan out when I am going to clean and when I am going to do laundry or take a nap on an hour to hour basis. It’s kind of lame to be honest, but it helps keep me nice and focused. I need to start a calendar or a checklist that has a list of my meals and workouts. I think that once I have this in place, all will be progressing once again in the world of bridget jones!


{April 14, 2010}   The new bar scene?

Helllllo, my apologies for being delinquent in writing some new blog posts, but in awesome news I got a temp job! It can be pretty boring, but I love being able to get out and be productive during the day. Unfortunately, I did have to work 11 hour days for the first three days, hence the lack of blog post. I must say that my whole new diet and exercise regimen was almost derailed by this first week of work. I was working 11 hour days, and with half an hour for lunch, I couldn’t do much more than run to Subway or Vapiano for some awesome pizza. And by the time I got home, don’t even talk to me about wanting to take a jog or do some pilates. Truth be told, I was just being kind of lazy. I was drinking plenty of water and snacking on almonds and pecans, and I even split my pizza up between two days. But, this week I have already planned out my meals, and I am going to have more normal hours to give myself some workout time. So, never fear! More awesome blog posts to come on that!

But, now the time has come for my first post about dating. I have never been great at dating. When I was younger I was just nervous about the whole idea. Hell, I got stood up on my first date! My parents were going to drive us to Skate City when I was in seventh grade. It was traumatizing people! But, I think I have two main “issues” when it comes to dating. And I don’t say that in a judging way to myself, because I don’t think there is one correct way to go about this whole dating thing. My first issue is that I really want to be friends with someone before I date them. As I said in my first post, this was easier when I was meeting new people all the time in school. But, now it has gotten to the point where I am having a hard time meeting new people, even new friends. I have fallen into my routine of hanging out with the same people, people who I love, but clearly at this point I know that I probably won’t be dating any of my long term male friends.  My second issue is that I am….picky? Or do I just have standards? Lets take this one at a time….

First of all, now that I have slowed my meeting of new people in organic, friendship building ways, I have decided to jump into new dating horizons – online dating and the happy hour scene. The happy hour scene is a hard one for me. I am a very social and outgoing person, but the idea that I have this half an hour to meet a person and make a good impression so they want to see me again makes me nervous. It’s like a freakin job interview. It freaks me out. Apparently, according to my roomie, I have also have problem with the follow through. Take for example my last experience getting chatted up at Borders. I was sitting in the back reading books on photography when up walks this nice british guy. BRITISH. He started talking to me about what I was reading, why I was sitting in the back of the store, and general flirting. And then a perfect time came for me to say something like….whats your name? What do you do? Want to get some coffee? But, noooooooo. We just stared at each other in awkward silence until I went back to reading. Next time my friends, I will grab the bull by the horns (or the British man by the tie).

So, I guess my best bet is the online dating. In a way, I can get behind the concept of online dating. First of all, you automatically know someone is there in order to get a date. No time wasted trying to figure out if a person is single, or actually flirting with you. So one hurdle down! Point for you online dating. I get to see a picture of these people, they can tell me what they do, how old they are, and whether they do drugs.  It’s great…. and why is it great? Because I have standards. Everyone thinks they have certain standards when it comes to people they are willing to date. For me, it it totally easy to weed people out from an online profile. You took a picture of yourself looking like a serial killer? No sir, i think not. You smoke? Sorry buddy. You can’t spell? It’s done with. Over 35? I think it’s just a little too much for me. And you are not going to hear from me if u txt lk this, k?  Except maybe that’s not what I should be judging people on. I mean, let’s be honest. The guy I dated last was a 39 year old bartender who texted like a 13 year old. And I had a great time dating him….until I found out he had a girlfriend. Douche. My friend Kara thought she would never date a smoker or someone who couldn’t spell, and she has found years of happiness with her wonderful boyfriend Greg. I don’t want to compromise my standards, but what if the one is hiding out there behind one of the walls I have built up?

Well those are my ramblings thus far. I hope you have been mildly entertained my friends, and as always thank you guys SO much for all the support you have given me since I started this crazy blog!

First of all, sorry for haven’t writing in a few days, but I have been out and about doing new things and having Easter with my family. On another random note – I got a temp job starting tomorrow for the next two months. Hallelujah to having some money coming in…..and while we’re talking about money….

Why the hell is getting healthy so expensive? As I told you in my first post, I was excited to start working out, and aiming towards a goal of running the Army Ten Miler. Well, sadly the Army Ten Miler is now a no go, mainly because of a money issue. When I looked up all the registration information, I was surprised to find out that it cost $55 to register. I know it is a fundraising run, but really $55? Really? Le sigh. I decided I needed to look over my budget and see if I could spare an amount equal to a pretty good grocery trip, or some new summer outfits, all so I could run my tiny legs around the mall. I finally decided that it was worth it to me to have that goal to work towards, but by the time the Army Ten Miler was sold out. I was pretty frustrated, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little relieved about not having to pay the $55. It is not just this registration fee that makes working out expensive. When I first started this, I decided to go the “cheap” route of getting healthy. I always knew that I was going to forsake a gym membership, and I wouldn’t be joining Jenny Craig or anything like that. But, even the “cheap” version adds up. The DVDs I got are about $14 bucks a pop. I decided to take advantage of the tennis courts near my house, and the free help of my friend Chris, but a new tennis racket cost me $30. I need some workout clothes and especially some new sports bras.  I am not a flat chested girl, and a good sports bra is pretty important. Sadly, I only have one. Do you know how much a good sports bra costs these days? Geez. And don’t even get me started on a good pair of workout shoes.

And it’s not just the workout equipment itself. Eating healthy is also pretty expensive. Healthier food is more expensive and takes more time than unhealthy food. There is a reason that fast food is so popular. It’s fast, it’s cheap.

But, do not fear! Recognizing the problem is the first step to fixing it. I will start saving money that I usually spend on going out to eat or out for happy hour into a fitness budget. Not all of it clearly; you will have to take the cheesecake factory from my cold dead hands. But, at least some of it can be reapportioned, just like the priorities in my life!

Next time: Am I too picky when it comes to men? Am I setting my expectations up too high? Does online dating make me discard men that I would normally like in person just because they can’t spell or look sweaty in pictures? These are things to ponder for my next, ever exciting, blog entry.

{March 31, 2010}   Feel the Burn

First of all, thank all you guys reading for such a positive response! I have heard alot from my law school friends who agree that it is hard to get social and get in a routine now that we aren’t in school anymore. Obviously, it feels great to know that I am not alone. More importantly, thanks everyone for their awesome comments about my get healthy plan. It is wonderful to hear so much support and I really appreciate it!

Todays post is gonna focus on my new workout/eat healthy plan. I need a better name for it…..the skinny bitch plan? Wait, isn’t that already a copyright? Damn it. Anyway, starting on Monday I accompanied my roommate on a trip to Trader Joes. I never really thought much about TJ, believing it to be high priced and pretentious like some other markets that carry whole foods which shall remain nameless. Turns out, I was wrong. TJ was a great place to get my diet going, for no other reason than the sheer variety of tasty looking healthy foods they have. Apparently, I am going to be on a first name basis with Joe now. Maybe he will be my new relationship. I started thinking about all the foods I generally crave which I then order out…..burgers, mexican, chinese. Thanks to trader joes, I was able to find some organic, fat free chicken gyoza, some cheap but lean hamburger, whole wheat tortillas, low fat cheese…..and I managed to get all of it for much less than I normally do. So, the last two days I have been feasting on hummus, frozen naan, fat free burritos, shredded wheat, nuts, water and canteloupe. Was anyone really aware of the awesomeness of canteloupe? I think not.

Also, mad props to my roomie going shopping with me! Not only was she able to encourage my food choices, but watching her shop and pick out fruits, veggies, lean meat and the like was very inspiring. Did we make perfect purchases? Of course not! But, by and large it was much healthier than is my norm. Plus, she has a vw bug, so we can’t fit an excessive amount of groceries in at one time.

Now……the workouts. The most dreaded part of this whole thing. Its not that I have something against the idea of exercise. I love watching other people workout. The sweating, the grunting, the bouncing along to music. It looks fun. RIght? Right? But, I also know that starting to workout was going to be hard for me. If I wasn’t going to be frequenting the gym, I would need to find a more fun way to workout. Cue my workout DVDS. Yesterday, I started with my carmen electra cardio striptease dvd. Laugh all you want – that shit is crazy. I managed to just get through the warmup yesterday (followed by 10 minutes of pilates burn). Was I aware that I had hips? Vaguely. Did I realize it this morning when I woke up…..why yes, yes I did. It felt good, in a “holy crap, why am I in pain?” kind of way. Also, I think there is something to be said for the psychology of sweat. After only half an hour I was sweating like a whore in church and it made me feel strangely productive. This morning I decided to switch it up and do the stairs in my building as a cardio workout. After going down all 9 and then back up about 5, I wanted to keel over and die right in the stairwell. Note to self: At least you did the stairs! When’s the last time you did that? It was a good reminder that I am not going to start out great at this workout thing, but I need to keep on keepin on!

Next time: Maybe I will get a date? Maybe I won’t? And why the balls does it cost so much to try and get fit??

{March 29, 2010}   Why Bridget Jones?

“And that was it. Right there. That was the moment. I suddenly realised that unless something changed soon I was going to live a life where my major relationship was with a bottle of wine… and I’d finally die, fat and alone, and be found three weeks later half-eaten by Alsatians. Or I was about to turn into Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.”  – Bridget Jones Diary

For those of you familiar with Bridget Jones Diary, you will understand the quote above. For those of you not, let me enlighten you. Bridget, a smart and funny woman living in England, has just realized that her life is not what she wants it to be. She decides that she is going to buck up, fix those things she doesn’t like about herself and have lots of sex with Hugh Grant and Colin Firth while doing it. Well, it turns out that this is my Bridget Jones moment, although I am pretty sure that my dreams of Colin and Hugh will remain as such. I have much more self esteem than Bridget, and I don’t drink much or smoke at all. But, this past year has been a rough one, and I finally realized that there are some changes I would really like to make. Since August of 2009, I have been unemployed despite graduating with honors from law school and passing the Maryland bar, living a completely sedentary existence and my love life is completely stalled. And i’m going to do something about it.

This blog won’t focus much on my employment situation, as there are plenty of other blogs for that. This blog will focus mostly on my goal is get healthy and take control in my desire for some sort of lovelife.

First, why the sudden concern with going on dates? I have never been a big dater, and although I love men I have never been in a long relationship. And I don’t mind it that way. I was raised to be very independent, and marriage and a white picket fence is not really on my list of immediate goals. Definitely, not until I am 30.  But, I think at some level everyone wants that person who you can cuddle with and fly kites with at the monuments and who doesn’t run when you have food poisoning. For the first time in almost 20 years, I am living fully and completely in the real world and not in the educational system. Of course, my parents instilled “real world” skills in me long ago, and I have been aware of the realities of paying bills, maintaining credit, and caring for kids (aka my cats) since I was young. But, one thing you can’t be prepared for when you leave school is the sudden isolation from your peers. Of course, I am plenty social…when I want to be. I have my roommate, and the group of friends that I go out with on a regular basis.  It is different than when you are in school though. In school you are forced to interact with a new group of people on a regular basis – through classes, clubs, and social events hosted by the school and your friends. I guess I always assumed that I would meet someone to date under these conditions. I would know that they have qualities I am looking for, and I could interact with them in non-forced situations.

Clearly, this didn’t happen. I made it through law school and college without finding that one person who makes my cute little heart go a pitter patter. Unemployment hasn’t made the situation any better. It is pretty hard to meet new people when you hang out on with your cats for most of the day. In fact, the last person I had any romantic interaction with was the bartender at the bar where my roommate and I go for drinks occasionally. So, part of this blog will be dedicated to my forays into actual dating, via blind dates, online dating, and sheer luck. But, not craigslist. A girl has to have standards.

The second part of this blog will focus on my desire to get healthy. Notice, I don’t say skinny. For those of you who have met me, I am not Kate Moss. I have been overweight since I was about 10, when the doctor said he wasn’t concerned with my weight because I was about to hit my growth spurt. My growth spurt turned out to be about an inch! Thanks, doc! Anyway, my weight has never been a huge issue for me. Of course, it is part of who I am and I get irritated when I can’t get the cuter dress, or I have to shop at Lane Bryant. But, because I have wonderful friends and family, it has never been a characteristic that defined me. I have been a size 20 since I was 17, and I have not gained or lost more than 10 pounds since that time. However, at least during college and law school, I made some attempt to be active. I would walk around campus, walk to the shuttle, take the stairs, carry heavy books, and even occasionally take a yoga class. Once I finished the bar and the reality of my unemployment sank in, I started living an almost exclusively sedentary lifestyle. I haven’t been inside a gym in a year. I take the bus or metro everywhere. I spend hours a day sitting on the bed, couch or desk chair. And the bags of Quiznos and Burger King have become all too common in my trash. Then my friend Anne asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. I know she and all my other friends love me the way I am, but I decided it would be nice to walk down the aisle of her wedding with a new frame, 30 to 40 pounds lighter and healthier. Her wedding is next April, so that is my current goal which this blog will discuss. Furthermore, I was inspired my roommate who suggested that we sign up for the Army 10 mile run in October. Coming from a girl who used to cry when we ran the mile in middle school, this is a revolution.

So welcome! I might just be venting, but maybe you will see something of yourself in here. Will there be days when I break dates because I would rather sit on my ass and eat Burger King? Yep. But, hopefully this blog will be a chart of success over the next year….

et cetera