Friday, June 22, 2012

New York Adventures and A Weight Watchers Meeting

Almost 5 days in New York and I have already learned a lot.  This city is filled with some of the most beautiful, oddest, smelliest, need-to-eat-a-sandwichest, and most talented people.

And while I know I am going to love my summer here, I have decided that without a doubt, I am not someone who wants to live here forever.  Therefore, this 3 summers living in New York is PERFECT because in August, I can go home to my dog, my man, my car, my HOUSE, and my friends.  :-)  However, with that said, I am sure you aren't reading my blog to hear about the things at home that I am missing.  New York is a wonderful, eclectic place and I am loving my daily adventures roaming around the city.  My top thoughts on NYC so far:

  1. If you sightsee on your own, there is a good chance men will give you their phone numbers.  (I got 2 and a free coffee!) 
  2. A bad tour guide can make a 2 hour bus ride seem like 5. 
  3. Having tourist footwear is better than the blisters that ensue. 
  4. Gaming stores in Minnesota are better than in Manhattan. 
Everyday I have been writing in my NYC exclusive journal.  The hope is that I can really document my summer here and remember all of the adventures that I went on.  My journal is filled with a detailed account of each day in New York.  And while I wish that I had time to really type out ALL of the things that I have done and experience, I will instead try and give you the Cliff Notes version.  So, what I will do is a brief synopsis of each day with a highlight from that day.  And at the end, I will close with some advice from my Weight Watchers meeting.  

Day #1
After moving in and adventuring around for a bit, I wandered down to Washington Square Park.  I walked, read, ate, and enjoyed being in the beautiful weather in NYC.  Washing Square Park is alive with performers, kids singing, people reading... There was even a man who had a baby grand piano that he rolled into the park to play for the people sitting around.  It was just the perfect way to begin my NYC adventure. The highlight, a set of Twin street performers who spun each other on the tops of their heads and were completely un-PC in their jokes, but completely hilarious.  

Day #2
My second day in NYC was all about figuring out how to get around and hanging out with friends.  I had the chance to have a lovely lunch with my friends Maggie and Liza on the deck of Maggie's apartment building.  We had sandwiches and chatted.  I hung out at home for a bit.  Skyped with my Ashland coach buddies and then headed to dinner with another wonderful friend and her boyfriend.  Anna, Randall, and I hate a great dinner and a chance to catch up.  I love knowing that this summer we will all hang out again.  The highlight of my day, Obies in NY.  Gotta love it.  

Day #3 
As I mentioned in my first NYC post, I am determined to experience as much of NY as I can.  So, I decided that for 2 straight days I would do some of the most touristy things.  Who knew that I would barely scratch the surface of touristy NYC.  I didn't get to the Statue, Ellis Island, or really most of the big ticket items.  However, I got up early determined to go on an adventure.  I arrived outside the Spiderman theatre at 8:30 and sat and read until 10.  I got my tickets for the show that night and headed on my adventure.  I decided the best way to see as much as possible was to spend the day on a double decker bus.  Our tour guide was GREAT.  He was this big guy from Brooklyn.  I would not ever want to get on his bad side.  He clearly loved the city and knew so much about it.  I learned a lot from the tour.  Things that most New Yorkers already know, but I thought were fascinating.  Example: SOHO=South of Houston St.  The tour was a GREAT way to get the flavor of the different parts of the city.  And for me, I made notes about where I want to go back and spend more time.  Places that I wouldn't have ever gone if I hadn't seen a glimpse of them on the tour.  The bus went all around downtown.  It so much fun.  One VERY important piece of information that I have to add before I go on to the next part of my adventure was that on the bus was where I also got given my first phone number.  The son of a family on the bus handed me his number when he got off.  I didn't talk to him or his family at all. I must have looked lonely just sitting there.  Ha.  

After getting off the bus, I headed to Top of the Rock.  Ah!  It was JUST beautiful.  Breathtaking even.  Although, I did learn that it is hard to take your own picture when you are traveling on your own. :-) On my way up to the Top of the Rock was where I was given my second phone number.  One of the guys who was working there chatted me up while I was waiting in line for security.  After I came out of the bathroom, boom, there he was with his phone number.  I told him that my husband probably wouldn't appreciate me calling him, but thank you.  Granted I don't have a husband, but I wear the ring that JD gave me on my wedding finger, so the story doesn't seem to unrealistic.  Afterwards I sat and read in the plaza.  It was just spectacular.  Dinner with some of my Minnesota faves, Kris and her daughter!  We ate delicious Cuban food.  Then I headed to Spiderman, the musical.  It was exactly what I expected.  A spectacle.  Terrible story line.  Ok music.  Good performances.  Glad that I only paid $39 instead of the $150 that the normal ticket was.  Then I headed home.  These 2 paragraphs can't even begin to really capture what the day was like, however, it was just a great day.  The highlight of my day, reading in 4 different parks or plazas. 

View from the Top of the Rock

Me at the Top of the Rock
Day #4
Another day of being a tourist for me.  Took the bus tour of Brooklyn.  Sat next to a wonderfully lovely family.  It was HOT HOT HOT.  Sweat was dripping all over, all day.  No joke.  Gross.  The day went along fine.  I walked around after the Brooklyn tour and went on the NBC tour!  That was VERY cool.  The day's end was not as great as its beginning.  It was almost a tragedy.  I went on a "Night Tour".  There were several things wrong with my "Night Tour".  I suppose it was actually a night tour because it happened in the night hours.  However, the pictures made it look like we would be on the bus looking at the different monumental places in NYC when they were lit up at night.  Wrong.  It was a combination of the downtown and Brooklyn tour at 6 pm.  Nothing was lit up.  We didn't stop anywhere new.  It was just sad.  Also, it said non-stop.  It wasn't non-stop, we stopped several times.   One time so that the bus driver could buy cherries.  No joke.  

Now, you might think that all of of this sounds bad... but the worst part of the tour wasn't the lack of new scenery or the stops.  This "Night Tour" was where I learned how TERRIBLE a TERRIBLE tour guide could be.  First of all, he said, "If you will" at least once or twice per sentence.  His jokes were just awful.  He spent 3 minutes making a joke about Puff Daddy's different names.  And I am very serious.  It was painful.  Uncomfortable.  People were awkwardly laughing and looking around.  The Australian couple kept looking at their watches and shooting sympathetic looks at me because I had no one to suffer through the tour with.  And to make it worse, anytime that the tour guide made a joke that people didn't laugh at, which were most of them, he would say, "Ahhh whatever."  In case you didn't think that was bad enough, on the tour he pointed out important landmarks like Victoria's Secret, Starbucks, and the gas station on our right.  I am NOT kidding.  Painful.  Painful.  Painful.  The highlight of my day, the NBC tour.  Our tour guides were HILARIOUS, knew a lot about the studios (although I suppose that was their job), and CLEARLY loved what they did.  I learned Alec Baldwin has hosted SNL the most.  I also learned that the Dr. Oz studio is pretty small.  AND they keep all their studios at 40 degrees using refrigerated air, not air conditioning.  Great tour.  I recommend it to people visiting NYC. 

Picture I took to show my students that even in Brooklyn they want you to read! 

Health Updates 
The big part of yesterday was that I went to a Weight Watchers meeting.  It was actually really good.  It regrounded me.  I haven't worked out yet.  Although, I have been tracking all of my food and walking as much as possible.  Going to the meeting reminded me that I can't eat whatever I want JUST because I am walking everywhere.  It was good.  It was a wake up call.  :-)  She said something that really made sense to me.  When you hit goal, nothing much changes.  You only get 2-6 extra points a day.  That's not that much.  I guess why it hit me so much is that I have been just eating whatever I want here.  I can't do that.  I need to continue to be conscience.  This is a LIFESTYLE change!!!  I can do it, I can do it, I can do it!!  The trip to Whole Foods last night will help and I will continue working on my summer goals.  

Other Random Pictures 
Cool street art. 

Street Performer
Note that there is no one sitting in the chairs watching the performers.  TOO HOT!
We were all sitting safely in the shade. 

Happy Friday everyone! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

New York Entry #1

It's 5:00 am in New York and I should be asleep.  However, I have been awake since 3 am.  Annoying.  However, I have my 50 Shades of Grey trilogy to keep me company.  I am currently sitting in the small kitchen in my new dorm room/living quarters for the next 8 weeks.  I am trying to be really quiet as to not wake my roommates and I am hoping I am succeeding.  Although I did go to sleep around 10, so that's almost 5 hours, which is my norm.

For those of who don't talk to me on a regular basis, you may be thinking to yourself, "New York?  Our Minnesota theatre geek has headed to New York?"  Yes my friends.   8 weeks, the big apple and me!  I was accepted into graduate school at NYU and for the next 3 summers I will spend my summer in New York learning how to become a theater educator.  Very exciting stuff.

The rest of you might also be wondering, "What's all this have to do with your weight loss journey?"  In a nutshell, everything.

For weeks I have been stressing about eating and working out in New York.  As you can imagine, my students loans and lofty MN teaching salary will only go so far, so I need to be very conscience of what I am buying and a whole kitchen cooking set is not in the budget.  So, I what to eat and how to stay on plan has really be on my mind a great deal.  Therefore, the rest of this entry will talk about three things:

  1. My Summer Plan, devised by my FABULOUS personal trainer 
  2. My Feelings on the Summer 
  3. The Blog during the Summer 
This past week I sat down with Courtney, personal trainer and comedian extraordinaire.  She is probably one the funniest and most wonderful people I have ever met.  She has this way of making you feel like you could do anything and not judging if something goes wrong.  She has been one of the best additions into my life in the last couple months and I feel lucky that we could sit and formulate a plan, as well as joke about liking your own Facebook picture and renaming all the different workouts we do.  But I digress, back to the summer plan.  :-)  Last week we sat down and really thought through some feasible goals for the summer.  Since I have been training with her for 2 hours a week, I seriously don't want to lose the momentum that I have built.  Or eat whatever I want for 2 months.  That could have some serious results for my weigh-in in August.  I am sure some of you are thinking, "August! Where's the accountability?"  I know that may make you a bit nervous, but it's all part of my plan.  I am taking from now until September to NOT focus just on the scale and focus on what I am eating (paying attention to it) and the amount of physical activity that I am doing.  And so that you don't feel that I am just throwing away all my hard work, below are the goals that Courtney and I came up with (and the accountability measures  that will help keep me on): 
  1. 30 minutes of walking a day (easy to do since yesterday I walked like 4 hours) 
  2. 3- 30 minutes strength training a week
  3. Tracking everything I eat (not with points, but what I am eating) 
  4. Emailing Courtney 3 times a week and sending her pics of my food tracker and letting her know what I have been doing (whether I have done what I am "supposed to" or not)
  5. Trying to lessen my carb intake somewhat 
  6. Emailing/texting Shelby everyday (I added this one!) 
  7. In August, I will do a food cleanse
I am excited about these goals because I can for sure do them and not feel obsessive about weighing in or what I am eating.  Besides, I have been working hard with Courtney and I don't want to lose what we have worked so hard for!  There are really muscles that are starting to look AWESOME.  Don't believe me, look below at our SWEET workout pics: 

I wrote a post on my Facebook yesterday about this, but I am really happy.  I mean, truly happy with my life and the amazing people in it.  It was hard to leave to come to New York.  And while I am more than THRILLED and PUMPED to be on this adventure, there was some hesitation to leave behind my support system and my comfort zone (even knowing full well everything will be there when I get back).  My go-to hobby when I feel this way is to watch TV.  For the past 2 summers, I lived in Chicago working with some of my fave peeps ever.  However, I never really got out and explored what Chicago had to offer.  Even though I had lived there, I was living in totally different area and missed going to visit the amazing things that Chicago had to offer.  The point of this sob story is that I don't want to do that this summer in New York.  I want to experience everything that I can and take advantage of being in this city, which is truly alive 24 hours a day.  Yesterday after I arrived in my very small dorm room (more on that in a minute), I just sat on top of my dresser and stared out the window.  People, all kinds of people, walking fervently here or there.  And a giant sign saying, "It's Never To Late To Get Where You Are Going."  Now, even though I can be a habitually late person, I couldn't help but feel like this summer is going to be amazing and that I am going to go out of my comfort zone and explore what this city has to for me, EVEN when I am feeling nervous or lonely.  Or perhaps especially then.  I am not really one who likes to explore or be by themselves, and yet I somehow feel that part of what this summer is, is doing just that.  Being alone and exploring.  And being thankful that I have this experience.  :-)  Ok, so thank you for reading through that Lifetime movie that are my thoughts... However, I wanted to be honest with all of you about where I am mentally at the moment because I am realizing that it has SO much to do with how I am physically as well. 

So, onto the final piece of this blog post.  My blog this summer is going to take a small turn of content.  While it will also include thoughts about my weight loss and my exercise, I would also like to include my summer adventures and the things I do and an encounter in NY. :-)  And while I would LOVE to post about the exciting things that happened yesterday, I am going to try and go back to sleep, just for a bit, so that I can start my day with a bit more sleep. :-)

Happy Monday everyone!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Some Updates

I have had a couple of people ask me about the outcome of the Lucky Journal and what is going on with me.

Well first, The Magic Journal... I didn't lose weight that week.  But it was actually ok.  I tracked EVERYTHING.  I was SO good.  I worked out with my personal trainer a lot.  I worked out without my trainer a lot.  I worked out very hard. I worked hard.  I was proud of what I did even though I didn't lose weight and I was proud that I could tell the difference in my body.

Since the magic journal I haven't been as good on the eating front, but I have been working out a lot!  My personal trainer is kicking my butt!  She is getting me moving and actually enjoying working out a bit.

Jd and I also got a dog.  It's been GREAT for my work out routine.  I also love love love the dog.

Lastly, I am heading to NYC in less than two weeks... Soon I will be posting about my big summer plans for staying healthy. :-)