Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Splurge v. Steal Throwdown: Sport Support

I was recently discussing my Lululemon addiction with a friend. Said friend is more responsible than I am when it comes to workout clothes. She pointed out that generally, she'd like to spend money on clothes she wears out and about, and not clothes she'll sweat in. While I agree with that sentiment in general, I do love good workout clothes. I spend quite a bit of time in my running clothes, and I want to like wearing them. 

Sports bras are key to a good workout. They need to be supportive and comfortable. If you buy them from Lululemon you can end up spending quite a bit, so lets compare to a cheaper option: 




The Lowdown: 

Lululemon: Comfortable and supportive. Does the job perfectly. Enough said. It will cost you over 50 dollars

Champion: Almost as perfect. Slightly less breathable, but still supportive. 8- 16 dollars at Target. 


Champion! You can't beat the price, and the level of quality isn't enough to justify splurge. 

I will say, this top IS worth the splurge. It feels like you are running naked - highly recommend. 

Money saving tip: Don't wash your workout clothes with any other type of clothes. Don't wash them with cotton. Do wash them in cold water, tumble dry low, and don't use any kind of fabric softener. All of the above don'ts will ruin the porous wicking that makes your workout gear so nice.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Is it Fall Yet?

Is it Fall Yet?

I have the whole apartment to myself today!!! Boyfriend is in Chicago doing an in-person fantasy football draft (I know.) so I'm enjoying spending the day doing all the things he hates - watching trash t.v., making the apartment into a make-shift yoga studio with indie music and candles, making a healthy vegetarian dinner (acorn squash - YUM) and online window shopping. This is my fall lust list. MAYBE if I'm very good I can buy a couple things on it. Can you tell I have an obsession with neutrals in fall? Yes. I do consider olive a neutral. Links below! 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Clothes were expensive, must fit into them.

I recently discovered that I could find out what google search terms led people to my blog. One big one was - "detox." If you've been reading this blog you know I don't often blog about dieting or juice cleanses. However, now that the bar, and post-bar vacation (post soon) are over, the "detox" googlers of the world may find something relevant on this blog. It wont involve counting calories or crash dieting, but it will involve a whole-hearted attempt at a healthy lifestyle. 

A couple months ago I was pulling on a pair of jeans when - SNAP - the belt loop came off. I thought "wow these jeans must be old," and sewed the loop back on. I didn't start to really worry until this happened with another pair of jeans, then another. It was then I accepted that mayyyybe I had gained a bit of weight. I resolved to do something about it. I ate well for about three days and then the weekend - and the DC bars - beckoned. "Come have fun...." they said. My resolve failed. My jeans still didn't fit well, so I resolved again. Once more the bars beckoned....and again my resolve failed. Are you getting the picture? 

This is not the first time this has happened. There are two elements in my life I have identified as weight-gain-causing culprits: 

1. Living in a city 
2. Being in a happy relationship

I know this because when one or the other of these elements occurs - I gain weight. 

Cities: I am a city girl at heart. I want to be in the middle of it all, meet all the people, and yes - eat all the food. As soon as I hear about a great new restaurant, I want to eat there. That place that makes great cocktails? Make me something with bourbon please! Happy hour? Okay! Add together all this and it's surprising I can still fit into ANY of my clothes. 

Happy Relationships: I have to admit it - I'm really happy in my relationship. We both like to eat. It's also hard that he could consume the entire contents of the Crispy Creme store down the street and fail to gain an ounce. Le Sigh. Seriously though...I know you all have experienced the - we'll just watch a movie on a Thursday night....oh holy hell how did we finish two bottles of wine - phenomenon. 

I have further proof these elements are the cause of weight gain. The beginning of my 3L year, about exactly a year ago, I moved back to Bloomington after spending the summer in DC. Boyfriend, a year above me, had graduated and stayed in DC. Living in Bloomington alone until December, I easily got back to my ideal weight. I didn't diet. I just ate like single Brittany and didn't go out generally more than once a week. I'd been to every bar in Bloomington about 90 times before, so I didn't feel the need to go again. I would still order Indian food on a weekly basis, I was actually running less than usual - I simply wasn't drinking much. I also tend to eat a lot of veggie- based dinners by myself. 

Side note: I love squash. I ate it at least twice a week for dinner. 

Boyfriend thinks stuffed squash is a side-dish you serve with a london broil. 

So that has led me to now - where I am just not happy with the way my clothes are fitting. Let me tell you - I have invested way too much money in my clothes to buy an entirely new wardrobe. So there has to be a lifestyle change. like I said...I have made half-hearted attempts at this about ten times before. So let me chronicle a few things that don't work for me. 

1. Weight Watchers: I think this works for other people. The fact that it didn't work for me? That probably had a lot to do with the fact that I stockpiled all my points so that I could drink 4 whiskey bourbons on Friday nights. I don't think that is the intended product usage? I also don't think its a great program for serious runners. Although again, maybe it would have been if I hadn't stockpiled all my points for dinner/ drinks. Attempting to subsist on grapes and greek yogurt until 8pm so you can have vodka pasta and red wine for dinner is likely to put a damper on any metabolism. 

2. Attempting to out-exercise a bad diet.  This worked for me until I turned 25. It's sad that it doesn't anymore. As long as I was running 20 or more miles a week, I could eat what I wanted. No more. The summer before my 3L year I tried running over 35 miles a week to out-do my happy hour diet. I ended up gaining weight AND shinsplints. This winter I gained weight while training for and running a marathon. My friend, at some point, 

You cannot out-exercise a bad diet.

3. My Fitness Pal. Again, I think this works for other people. My issue is the way it calculates calories. When you exercise, it lets you eat all the calories you worked off to hit some goal of calorie balance every day. This is fine, unless you exercise a lot. A 10 mile run would earn me a crazy amount of extra calories, which I then felt free to stuff my face with in the form of chipotle and IPAs. Even if you are burning a lot with exercise, your body probably will gain weight in the face of that delicious onslaught. Also, I cheat at My Fitness Pal. I know it doesn't make any sense, but I absolutely lie to it. So that makes it useless. I think for me, counting calories stresses me out and puts my focus on weight instead of health. The only times I've been able to lose weight are the times when I don't focus on it too much. 

Here is what does work, and its SHOCKING: Eating well and cutting out alcohol most of the week. This breaks my heart a little because I like red wine. I like white wine. I also like steak. I loooove cheese. But if I couple a reasonable amount of exercise with a good diet, I immediately start to feel slimmer, I feel healthier, and I am a nicer person. 

Lately, I have felt sluggish. I don't feel that great about myself, and I feel irritable quite a bit. I know that it's going to be hard. However, this time I have to make a wholehearted effort to do something about the situation.

Let me also say this is NOT ABOUT LOSING WIEGHT, although I do want all my skinny  jeans to fit well again. It is about feeling better, healthier, and happier. In all honestly the point where I feel at my best probably isn't more than a couple pounds difference from where I am now. However, the point at where I feel the most energized and fulfilled is pretty far away from my eating habits as of late. So with all that said - here is my plan - which I am sharing with you as a way to keep myself accountable, and perhaps to encourage others who may not need to lose a great deal of weight, but simply want to be healthier. 

So, I'm going to try my common sense rules: 

1. Limit alcohol. 

2. Healthy food. One or two fun meals a week. By healthy I mean this: cook it yourself, eat lots of veggies, don't dump the whole container of goat cheese in the salad (Yes, I do this). 

3. Moderate exercise. For me, this means 4- 5 runs a week coupled with some yoga and strength training. 

That's it.  I know it will be immensely harder than it looks. But I know from experience that once I start feeling better, its easier to keep on track. 

I wont: count calories, eat fried foods, or attempt to balance a trip to Pitango (their hazelnut gelato drowned in espresso = life-changing) with a six mile run. 

So we'll see how this goes!