Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Living Primally in a Cubicle

Ever wonder how you can make your dreary cubicle existance more primal?  Here are six tips off the top of my head.

#1 - Ergonomics
Organizations today practice terrible habits with regards to ergonomic assessments.  It's highly likely that you won't get proper equipment installed in your tiny space until you evidently suffer from severe neck strain, carpel tunnel, and a bad back.  On option (as a preventative measure!) is to ask your doctor for an ergonomic assessment requisition to provide to your employer.  Also, I've heard a lot of good things about replacing your desk chair with a large yoga ball for posture (plus, you get to bounce around your office... fun!), and standing desks are also becoming a popular option for the ergo-aware.

#2 - Move
Take the stairs.  Stretch.  Do a couple laps of your floor.  All you need is a couple minutes to move your body, to come back to your desk a little more refreshed to help with your focus and productivity.  If you can hack it, leveraging your lunch hours to go on a walk or light jog is a great option.  A few years ago, I added an hour to my workday so that I could take a two-hour lunch to go to a nearby gym.  It was a great option that my employer was happy to satisfy.

#3 - Decorate and Cleanup
This one I've learned from my boss.  As opposed to the organizational charts, diagrams, contact lists and series of post-its all over the wall, hang up some pictures that actually mean something to you, like some palm trees and ocean waves from that last trip you took, or some kind of digital art that makes you feel calm.  If you work in a stressful environment, why remind yourself of everything stressful by having is lurk in ever corner of your 8x8 box.  Take some time every week to light a match and burn the piles of paper on your desk (or just file it in the right place if fire is a safety issue).  If you like your working space and is free of clutter, I'm willing to bet that this will have a positive impact on how you feel and how you work in your cube.

#4 - Stock-up
If you spend 40 hours per week at work, you might as well practice the same primal habits that you would at home.  Right now, I have a couple cans of wild Pacific salmon in my drawer for emergergency hunger pangs, a bag of natural almonds, a box of mini 85% chocolate bars, several boxes of tea.  A pair of running shoes and extra clothes might be a good idea, too.

#5 - Lighting
Office lighting sucks, and it's even worse if you don't have have window.  However, many stores sell lamps that mimic natural outdoor light, not only for those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder.  You might not be getting a full dose of Vitamin D, but it'll help.

#6 - Eat When You're Hungry
Ya, I'm bad for this.  I'll admit that I don't think I could ever do my (current) job from home.  Too many distractions, and you know exactly where to find them.  In my office, I have noticed that at times I'll look for a distraction by looking for something to eat.  Not because I'm hungry, and not because I don't want to do my work, but rather my brain is looking for a break from staring at my screen.  If you're not hungry, but looking for some food, go back to #2 and move your butt.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Things I plan to do this year

#1: Read a book a month
For some people, this isn't a difficult task.  However, my home is likely the most connected and electronically adapted home on our street.  Two PS3s (which are networked), a PS3 Move package, two large TVs, an entertainment system, a laptop, a netbook, a tablet, an iPad, a PSP, a Nintendo DS, a PC, old-school Nintendo and N64, and of course two cell phones that each have their own mini-speakers to play streamed radio.  I should be ashamed.  In all of this, I've lost my love of reading, and how it helps me sleep.  For Christmas, I asked for a book to get me started and I was provided with Women in Love, by D. H. Lawrence.  It's good so far!

#2:  Save cash
My long-term goal is to be wealthy.  Ya, I said it.  Stinkin' rich.  No one ever admits it though because it's rude, apparently.  However, it doesn't happen overnight, and one step-at-a-time.  The obvious benefit to saving cash is to pay off wedding debt or pay into my existing mortgages before making money can make, well, more money..  As I see it, though, is that I benefit to an even greater degree by helping me continue to be primal.  If I'm bored, I can find a plethora of ways to keep me entertained instead of spending money.  Like workout in my gym, go hiking with my hubby, run around outside with my very playful dogs, make a recipe book of my favourite primal meals or just find new ones to try.  As opposed to eating at expensive restaurants (a bad habit of mine...), I can make my own fancy feast at home and invite some good friends.  Crafty projects are becoming cheaper since I have now accummulated copious amounts of materials and tools.  Oh ya, blogging comes on the cheap, too!

#3: Keep as much to my primal ways as possible
This means drinking booze in moderation, bringing a veggie and cheese platter to a dinner (more snacking options for me), having a box of green tea, bags of almonds, and 85% chocolate at my desk for quick snacking.  This also means moving regularly, and lifting heavy things, keeping my cupboards primal-friendly, sleeping more, and playing more.  Reading MDA daily, too.

#4: Do some do-goody things
I'm not a do-gooder.  I'm not a do-badder, but I don't go out of my way to make the world a better place.  If you give me the option to fundraise or to donate, I'll donate everytime.  So, one idea that I've had is to make a list of all my friends and relatives (including my new ones) and their birthdays so that I can send them a birthday card.  Generation X totally sucks the big one at doing this kind of thing.  It's a small gesture, but definitely a nice one to the ones who matter to me most.

#5: Stay on top of things
I got hit last night with a $110 ticket for driving with expired plates.  Why?  Because I procrastinated on getting them renewed.  My birthday is in June, by the way.  Staying on top of things will help me clear my head, and avoid clearing-out my wallet.  (Minor vent: why was there a ride program at my exit on a Monday evening...? Apparently if you live in hickville, they expect you to be bombed on a random back-to-work day after the holidays.  WTF?).

#6: Do nice things for my hubby
I've reeled him in for life.  Might as well enjoy it.  Plus, a happy hubby is a happy wife.

#7: Do things that I want to do
For example, I like spending time alone.  I love making things pretty (like my house and my cottage).  I love random trips to the dollar store (ya, I'm snob but not snobby enough to overlook scoff at dollar stores).  I should call my girlfriends more.  Is this really a goal?  I think I just want to re-assure myself that I want to make my time, my own, and say to myself, "Hey.  I've got my own time to do whatever I wanna do.  Take advantage."

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 2: Chocolate cravings and berry binge

Quick post.  Yesterday was another success in my adherance to primal rules: I didn't cheat and I did exercise (slow pace).

I ate: Bacon and egg casserole with veggies, chicken and veggies, and then beef and pork chili (with veggies), berries, cheese and olives.

I drank: coffee, green tea and sparkling water.

I moved: by taking two walks with the three doggies (about 2x20min walks).

What is okay to do but I should NOT have: I had cream and a bit of raw sugar (Grok and I have a rule that we can do whatever we want to our coffee as our only vice), and binged at 10pm on shredded mozza cheese, berries and olives.  Meh, I don't really feel that guilty.

I suffered: massive chocolate cravings and sluggish energy and focus.

I reaffirmed rules for myself: (1) lay off the food after 8pm; (2) no more coffee after 12pm (exception - weekends).

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Back to Day 1 - A butt-dragging success

Photo: Maggie Smith
 Yesterday, I did not want to be primal.  Well, I did and didn't.  I wanted to be primal, but I didn't want to live primally.

The first few days of getting back into a primal routine is always the hardest.  Your energy sucks, and you're craving your favourites.  When I got home from work, it took every ounce of my being not to open a bottle of red wine or shake myself a martini.  I'm going to admit that last week, I had a drink (or two…) every night.  Why?  I was in love with a bad routine, and I used the excuse of after-wedding slack. 

But yesterday, I made it through.  And I dragged my butt the whole day.  I ate veggies and eggs and bacon and beef and pork and nuts and more veggies.  What helped was that my sister had dinner ready on the stove (beef stew!) so my evening routine included an earlier-than-8pm workout.

Unfortunately, my workout sucked.  I just didn't want to do it.  I went downstairs to my gym and looked at my workout log (lifting): October 8th.  HOLY CRAP!  It had been a whole month and a half since I last lifted!  (Not that the date made me put any more into my workout since I still didn't wanna.) 

Here's what I did: 
  • 10 minutes of sprints (5 x 20-30 seconds) on the elliptical
  • 3x12 of squats at 30lbs on each dumbell (60lbs total)
  • followed by 3x15 butt lifts (no weights). 
And then I quit.

I can't wait until my body is back to normal so I can actually enjoy a workout and do a lot more than I did.

But, at least it's a start.  Again.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Four months...

...since my last post, but that doesn't mean I haven't been primal, nor does it mean that I've lost sight of this blog.

photo credit:  Salvatore Vuono
For the past four months, I pulled off two things:
(1) the wedding of my life, for which I'll toot-my-own-horn by saying that I did one helluva job and it was my perfect memory; and,
(2) I lost 20lbs, by following my primals ways and I felt oh-so good!

Due to a summer full of weddings, parties, showers, and bachelorettes (including my own that was a full week in Cuba), I managed to only gain about 7-8lbs back from my lowest, where most of it was gained during the week of and week after the wedding.  I'm totally okay with this, and I am confident that going back to a strict primal diet will help me easily lose the weight, and hopefully more. 

In my quest to lose 20lbs, I learned some tricks that helped me:  Tracking my food and my activity was key (see previous challenge post); I learned that alcohol really does slow my weight loss; and, I don't lose weight if I don't move.

I've re-enabled this blog for the main reason that I really, REALLY, want to get back to a healthy routine after all the partying and carb-loaded fiascos, and I adore eating primally.  It's my wino pitfalls that really hurt my efforts.  And now Christmas is around the corner...

Also, a co-worker recently adopted a 30-day primal experiment that she's tracking on her blog.  After catching up on her posts, I realized how much I missed making primal a top priority, and also writing my own posts.

Here we go again!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ya, ya. I'm still here.

Sura Nualpradid
As you can see, I'm a very inconsistent poster. I, like my future husband, have a very short attention span, so we're flakey. Well, I'm definitely flakey.
Not much is new, other than Grok has initiated a new challenge. We've continued with our primal ways, but our adherence has serously been wavering (we'd only buy primal foods, but booze and trips to the cottage has us binging on candy and bread).  So, motivated with the wedding in four months, Grok created a spreadsheet and allocated a point value to each activity to be followed daily:
  • Track weight (1pt)
  • Eat clean (primal) (4pts)
  • Track food (2pts)
  • Sprint (2pts)
  • Play sports (2pts)
  • Slow and steady activity (2pts)
  • Lift weights (2pts)
And then there's this:
  • Drink alcohol (-2pts per drink)
  • Eat sugar/starchy carbs(-2pts)
  • Grains (-2pts)
  • Dairy (-2pts)
  • No exercise at all (-2pts)
By the end, whoever has the highest score wins something.  Not quite sure what the wager is yet… I think a new wardrobe is warranted!

Ya, we'll see how this goes.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I miss things. And then they hurt me.

Carlos Porto
It has been about two weeks that Grok and I have been trying to keep ourselves in ketosis.  What is ketosos?  It's means that we've been keeping our carb count pretty low at a weight-loss level as opposed to weight maintenance mode.  For the first couple days we were counting on our respective calculators (I have a Blackberry app that I use, and he uses LiveStrong). 

It's really hard to count absolutely everything all the time.  While eating primally, you don't normally need to count a thing but for ketosis you really should count what you're feeding yourself to make sure your efforts aren't going to waste.