The Princess Treatment.

24 Jan
I was taught that if I wanted something done right, to do it myself. The idea of letting someone else do something that I would normally do for myself, is not just a nice gesture, but it makes me feel uncomfortable. Recently, I’ve started to explore my gender role in a relationships. Even though I am still heavenly single, I’ve been able to reflect over the weekend before attempting to write a post on gender roles – why we play the role we do, and how it effects us.

After exchanging countless text messages and emails, I decided to arrange a first meeting for one of my dubbed “matches” from eHarmony. I kind of convinced myself to go, because maybe I’m being too selective when it comes to my dates, etc but he sounded like a nice guy, and the fact that he was in the town next over was a nice plus. From the first few minutes of our exchange, it was clearly evident to me that I couldn’t play my role of being independent in this potential relationship. He insisted he get my coffee for me, he insisted he put in the Splenda and the vanilla powder (“oh no, I can do that for you”), and throwing away my trash. I felt smothered, immediately. His gesture to play the gentleman, the super chivalrous one (because he tells me it’s the “right” thing to do) not only made me feel super uncomfortable, but question why is he going out of his way for me when putting the Splenda, etc into my drink is such a small thing? I almost felt babied, and incapable of doing something for myself… as if the way I was doing it the whole time wasn’t what he felt was the right way to take care of it.

Deep down, I want someone to be chivalrous when appropriate. There comes a time and place for everything, and the icing on the cake was he insisted to walk me to my car in broad daylight. Alright, buddy… if it’s the nighttime – yes go ahead, and walk me to my car. That’s a nice gesture to ask, especially considering I am a female and any person could take me down. But really, walking me to my car in broad daylight? His answer for everything was “it’s the right thing to do”.

Whatever the right thing to do, isn’t the right thing for me. Sure, there are some gestures that I am perfectly OK with, but after dating someone and not receiving the “princess treatment” (chivalrous acts and Prince Charming romance), I became accustomed to basically, being treated like shit. It sounds terrible, but he didn’t always open the door for me. He didn’t always think of me first. He didn’t always pick up the bill if were grabbing coffee. I kind of wondered what about me does not qualify for the Princess Treatment? I am a woman, but I’m an independent one. Sometimes, I purposely didn’t take care of the things I normally would for myself, just to see if he decided to chip in and take care of it. Unfortunately, the task never got done. I was left to do it.

You could say, in all fairness… I dated jerks. I never got the Princess Treatment. I expect to be treated like a princess, in the appropriate times and places. With all the snow and crappy weather, I would greatly appreciate it if for once, I didn’t have to clear the snow off my car myself. I would greatly appreciate it for once if I didn’t have to ask you to hold my hand as I’m walking over a patch if icy-snow. Is that really too much to ask!? However, I do know that the women in my Italian family expect that Mr. Awesome in his awesomeness, would really play the role of the Italian male. The Italian male is the provider. All of the Italian women in my family have played their own independent roles, but because I insist on doing things myself, I almost wonder am I turning myself off to other men because I refuse to be willowy?

Looking back at history, women have always fought for being recognized as an equal to men. There are so many strong, independent women that I look up to, that I always have admired for their perseverance and strong willed personalities. We have fought for equal rights. We have fought for being treated equally, having the same rights as men. I can’t imagine not being able to express my thoughts because my gender is not that of a male. I’m certainly not trying to get into a heavy debated argument, but while I’m being told by women in my family to expect the Princess Treatment, I have a very hard time swallowing it. The whole thing about how I deserve it.

The whole thing about how I deserve it. What do you prefer?

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The Fear Monster.

15 Jan
On Friday evening, I wanted a challenge. To run faster. I knew I was ready, but something inside me say “don’t even think about it”. I knew that if I wanted to achieve big things, I had to at least try. That if I tried, I couldn’t fail. But if I somehow quit on myself, that I couldnt achieve big things that I dream of.

Stepping on that treadmill was scary. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I knew what I wanted to do. I knew that running at my comfortable pace of a 4.5mph wasn’t going to cut it. I had the music. I had everything going for me. There was nothing stopping me, except my mind. What did I have to loose? Nothing, but I had everything to gain. I started running. Pushing myself a little faster. Faster. Before I knew it, I was crusing at a 6.0mph. Fast. Somewhere in betwen the excitment of “running faster”, I found myself crying I found myself in the middle of loving this challenge, but also wanting to quit at the same time.

The point is, you can’t quit on yourself. If you do, you won’t achieve anything. Sometimes you find yourself in a moment of doubt when you’re afraid of what might happen. That’s why I love challenging myself with running. I love putting a big hairy goal in front of myself, and conquering it – even if I suck doing it.

The goal? Conquered. 2mi 23min 11:26min/mile.

Hot and Cold.

15 Jan
Mother Nature brought presents. Two feet of a snow and a cold.

Needless to say, I’m still not feeling that awesome. I haven’t been eating that much the past few days. Except, it was super awesome to score two days off from the snow. The kids in the neighborhood were making snow forts and snowmen in their front yards. I wanted to be out there, sleeding and pretending I was five. Instead, I spent a full day in bed sleeping.

Now on to the good stuff (or whatever I decided to take photos of). On a positive note, I have been completely caffeine free for nearly a week. Every now and then, I’ll have the craving for a cup of energy, but I know it’s not going to do anything for me, except give me a crash a few hours later. This morning, I visited Starbucks to try their skinny caramel macchiatto.

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It was horrible. I added a lot of Splenda to sweeten it up because honestly, the sugar free syrups don’t typically do it for me because they’re so tasteless. It was good to try something new, but if I do order a Starbucks, it’ll be the original drink, but the decaf version.

In case you forgot, we are foodies. During the Winter months, my Mum is always making various soups from scratch. A few days ago, I had a bowl of delicious sausage soup. And, if you’re wondering – I ditched my Vegetarian diet recently (sorry to disappoint). For a sweet treat, I had a few small handfulls of homemade trail mix: peanut M&M’s, regular M&M’s, two kinds of raisins and almonds. It’s so good, see…

jan15-lunch

After lunch, I decided to visit REI. The nearest location is right down the street, and even though I’ve driven past it dozens of times, I’ve never been inside. Let me tell you, I was a kid in a candy store. Oh, it was heaven! I found myself browsing the various fueling gels, and CamelBak’s. In fact, I had to replace my first CamelBak Better Bottle, and my outreach to CamelBak through Twitter was a failed mission. I had to replace my bottle because it was leaking, somehow. I also picked up these treats, which I am eager to try.

jan15-fuel

I haven’t experimented with fueling too often, but I thought.. let’s try it! Also, I took some tips from Carrots ‘N Cake. I remember reading that she’s a fan of the GU vanilla bean. I was super psyched to see they carried it. I also picked up some others. There was so much to choose from, and I wish I asked someone who was an experienced runner, of what they like best. In the past, I have used gummy bears, but I didn’t chew them during my run. I was so focused on running that I couldn’t even deal with popping something in my mouth for an energy boost.

Next post up? Pushing beyond your fears.

Getting Healthy With It.

10 Jan
Getting back on track is really hard. Especially after the holidays, and with all the extra sweets lingering around the house, I did my best yesterday to remove whatever I had in my secret stash and throw it away. Seriously, I can’t have that stuff near me. It spells trouble from the first bite, and if it’s too tempting and I know I can’t resist, it’s better off in the trash.

Before bed, I try and remember to plan my meals ahead using my favorite memo application for iPhone. I’ve tried the pen and paper model before, but I always get so self critical that I wish I wrote “breakfast” differently, etc and well.. if I write it on my iPhone using Awesome Note, I can’t complain or become OCD-ish about my messy handwriting. It was nice for a change to have a plan of attack in the morning, especially where I’m always crunched for time.

Breakfast was… awesome. The Kashi Go Lean Toasted Berry Crumble cereal rocks. It’s like my healthy fix. It’s the perfect mix of sweet, and granola like texture, without being too sweet. Breakfast was also paired with a kiwi-blueberry mix I got from Whole Foods. The fruit was also so delicious that I nearly ate the whole container. It was yes, just that good. I also had a Clif fruit twist. It was yummy!

jan10-breakfast

Whenever lunchtime strolls around, I don’t have a lot of time to eat. My lunchbreak is thirty minutes, and it flies by before I know it’s over. Thinking ahead, I brought a healthy mix of items for lunch. A couple of days ago, my Mum made this chicken dish (I want to call it chicken cordon blu?), but it was breaded chicken and on the inside it was wrapped with ham and cheese. I paired it with satuteed brocolli. Unfortunately, because the lunch items were so old, it was tasteless! So what was lunch? Carrot Dippers, left over pretzels from morning snack, and coconut water. I did eat some of the brocolli, but added some salt for flavor because it really needed it.

jan10-lbitems

Around 2:30pm is when the caffeine slump hit. I was quite tempted to grab a Dr. Pepper from the machine. I can’t believe it’s been restocked. I wish it wasn’t so I wouldn’t be tempted. But I resisted. If I had the change, I would of gotten a can, but what would of that done for me? On that same note, I purposely brought the coconut water to wean off any lack of caffeine induced headache. When the kids left for the day, I got the munchies big time! I didn’t really have an afternoon snack in mind, but I knew that if I didn’t satisfy what I wanted (there goes that emotional eating again..) I was going to be in trouble.

Snack was… good, but not as satisfying. I ordered a Starbucks strawberry banana smoothie.

jan10-sbsmoothie

But it wasn’t enough. When I got home, I ate four very small oatmeal cookies. I really could of opened up the bag of salt and vinegar chips I bought yesterday at Whole Foods. I almost did, but then I thought “dinner is soon” so why spoil my appetite? The smoothie was good, but I was hungry for something solid aside from the cookies. I tend to get the munchies around 3pm, but I was pretty impressed that breakfast kept me satisfied despite how “small” it was.

PS: I do like the photo “pairs” better than single photos.

Healthy Beginnings.

10 Jan
Here are a few simple (almost) revised resolutions for the new year

Eat breakfast seven days a week, no excuses
I admit. I’m not a fan of breakfast, but I was pretty damn excited to try my new Kashi cereal. Let me tell you, it rocks. Whenever I have eaten breakfast in the past, it’s never been cereal just because I have textural issues with um, soggy cereal syndrome. But really, I was so impressed with the yummy sweetness of the cereal that once I downed nearly a cup of this healthy crack, I wanted more.

Cut out caffeine, completely and yes, half-caf is still cheating
Tough one. I drink coffee seven days a week. I do. I have one cup a day, sometimes two… but it’s always one. It’s in the mornings, as I’m on my way to work. I decided to cut it out because well, I’m too dependent on it, I’ve noticed it messes with my normal sleep schedule, and it bothers my stomach. So far so good, I haven’t had any caffeine today what so ever even though at 2:30pm I got a craving for a can of Dr. Pepper. Luckily, I didn’t have any change because otherwise, I would of made a trip to the soda machine and got what I wanted.

Drink more fluids, especially water
I think plain water is disgusting. Sorry, it’s gross. I filled up my CamelBak (24oz) of cherry pomegranate Crystal Light. For the first time (and please don’t laugh) I drank all 24oz of flavored water at work. Not only did I finish it, but I also brought pineapple coconut water with me to aide with any potential headache because I’m kicking the caffeine – and if I don’t have coffee, I get headaches. Yeah, I’m that “depedent”. The coconut water was quite tasty, and pineapple is where it’s at.

Going to bed does not mean “play on my iPhone until midnight”
I need more sleep. I need more sleep. The goal? Be in bed before midnight on weekdays. On average during the week, I’d go to bed around 12:30am-ish and wake up always later than I planned. I’d set my alarm clock for 5:45am (plenty of time to wake up, eat breakfast and maybe squeeze in a workout? which never happens), but I always hit snooze. Why? Because I’m not getting enough sleep. I think if I got at least 8hrs of sleep a night, I might not be so zombie like at work sometimes.

That’s it, but it’s pretty concrete.

Energy Boost.

9 Jan
I remember when I was working in Retail, a coworker of mine decided to give up caffeine. In fact, one of my other coworkers there (who was a Starbucks junkie herself) decided to join in. I thought “why not?”. Let’s just say that I lasted a week without caffeine, and it wasn’t easy.

I’m going to do this again, but succeed. The thing is, I can’t tolerate caffeine. I know I’ve been drinking it (I’m talking coffee) for so long that I almost don’t know what it’s like to be off it. Sometimes I’ll do the half-caf variety, but in the end I always find myself replacing caffeine instead of food. The coffee/soda caffeine mix blocks out my ability to sense when I’m hungry.

Secondly, it really bothers my GI tract. It’s one of those things that I sometimes can have but when it bothers me, it really causes trouble. It’s too risky, and why risk it? In the end, it’s not worth it.

The replacement? There isn’t one. It’s no coffee or caffeine. Not getting a coffee is going to be tough. Instead, I need to reprogram my brain that food is fuel, not coffee. Who wants to drink their calories anyhow?

I hope to survive this time.

The Whole Story.

9 Jan
Yes, I’m petite. Yes, I can kind of eat whatever I want, except… little did I realize that the “whatever” part would eventually catch up to me. When I was younger (and I’m talking about my early twenties), I had a stomach of steel. You name it, I ate it. McDonalds, Burger King, onion rings, French fries, sweets of all varities… I ate it. In fact, I loved these things so much that sometimes I accidentally over induldged, only to wonder why I did that. Why did I eat a Burger King junior whopper, a medium French fry and a side order of onion rings? It wasn’t so much that I didn’t enjoy the meal, but it was the after effect that really caused the most internal and emotional stress.

The transition into a brand new year has been difficult. Of course, I want to leave some old habits behind and create new habits. Except, it’s taken me a couple of days to get my healthy mojo back. Because I don’t need to eat any more sweet treats, I threw out whatever candy and sugary crap I had into the trash. I can’t even attempt to stare at it any longer when I’m going through the cabinets. All of the bad food throw away, required a trip to Whole Foods.

jan9-wfgoodies

I made out like a bandit. I always find a trip to Whole Foods so cleansing. During this trip, the intention was to pick healthier choices of the things I’d normally eat, but with a twist. I can somehow get lost in the produce section. I really wanted to pick up some organic apples, but I knew that I’d literally have to watch the apple consumption because I have a really hard time digesting them without taking medication first. Do I always have medication on hand? No, but I really should keep a few pills on hand just in case I get into trouble.

As you can see, I did indulge a little bit. Of course I picked up salt and vinegar chips! They really are my favorite, but here’s the thing. I am not a fan of diets. I never ever blog about a “diet” I am on or some crazy meal plan that I saw in a magazine. I try not to “banish” one food item because that only makes me crave it more! Other goodies I picked up were, well… yummy things!

I should point out the breakfast items. As for you my dear ignored friend, I will do my best to make you apart of my morning and leave the caffeine behind. I’ve heard great things about Kashi cereal, and wanted to try. Why? Because it sounds delicious, and secondly… it’s loaded with fiber (which still scares the crap, um.. out of me!) and protein. Good stuff.

A special thanks to Diana for her suggestions of how to nix the sweet stuff and make healthier choices!