Days 7-12: Still stuck in the snow…

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Although the plows have been working around the clock, we are still buried under over 30 inches of snow here in the DC area. Which means, yet another day working from home (that’s a total of 7 days stuck in or around my apartment). I’m losing my mind, my will to live and my waistline, this snow better go away FAST!

Day 7: Make a “back to school” game plan

I can not believe it has been almost a full year since I graduated Georgia Southern with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. It’s crazy and kind of scary when you think about how fast time flies, before you know it, it will be May and I’ll be watching my little twin graduate and I’ll have been out of school for over a year. It’s shocking and terrifying all the same. Although I’m doing what I had set out to do, take a year off school to work, study and take the GRE and find a great program, it’s already February and I haven’t signed up for the test, applied to any schools or really saved any money for school. I’ve been really busy, in my defense, but I’ve also been procrastinating. So what better day to start my “go back to school gameplan” than when I’m stuck inside admist a crazy blizzard. 

The first piece of my game plan includes a realistic timeline for taking the GRE and applying to schools. The hardest part about the GRE will be finding adequate time to study for it. With a full time job, a live in boyfriend and 2 dogs, it’s hard to find time to do much of anything, better yet study in silence for a few hours a night. I’d prefer a full month to prepare, so I’m going to have to really concentrate and find enough time in my day to get my studying done.  The GRE, fortunately, is offered quite often, so whatever your timeline [whether it be a few weeks, a month, or even 3 months] you can find a time and place where the test is being offered. I signed up for March 12, which is a Friday, which ends up giving me a little over a month, from today, to study my tail off and prepare. Visit www.gre.org to register for a test near you!

The next step is to narrow down the list of schools I’m going to apply to and when the application deadlines are for each school. So far, I am looking to apply to schools locally in DC and Virginia and have narrowed down my list to 4 schools; American University, Virginia Tech, George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth. Each of them have different deadlines, but they are rapidly approaching [To be considered for Fall enrollment, I need to have my application in by July 1st for VT!] I know that may seem a ways away, but I need enough time to write my letter of intent, fill out the application and write my personal essay, all pieces that need to be done, and done well. So my timeline for my college applications is to have them all completed by June 1st, which is a month before the deadline.

I definitely miss school so the sooner I’m back, the better!

I love…laughing until my stomach hurts with my best friend.

 Day 8: Learn how to sew

I’m not very domestic. Actually, I’m not domestic at all. I just don’t think I got that gene. My mother, on the other hand, is a domestic goddess. She cooks, cleans, sews, totes everyone to where they need to be, shops for all the food, furniture, clothing, works…etc, etc. She does it all.[Maybe that’s why I’m no good at any of it, she always did it for me!]  I don’t cook very well, I clean when I have to, I’ve sewn maybe twice in my life and avoid any sort of housework. [Just ask my boyfriend!]  So to ease the burden of my over-worked boyfriend, and to become a bit more self sufficient, I decided to tap into my own inner domestic goddess and learn how to sew.

Sewing is really not that difficult, it’s really as easy as threading string into a needle. However, you need a set of materials, obviously, and some guidance, otherwise you are going to end up with band aids on all your fingers. Since I’m a very novice sewer, I decided to begin with the basics: Sewing a button back on a coat.  Seems easy enough, right? Well, it was! I followed these step by step instructions (http://www.wikihow.com/Sew-a-Button), and in less than an hour, my adorable floral spring trench had it’s lovely top button back where it belonged. Granted it should not have taken the full hour, but, I’m a beginner, and I’m learning! [My beautiful jacket!]

Next in my sewing adventure, I am going to branch out and learn to crochet. Which is a lot more advanced, so until I can sew a button in less than an hour, I’ll stick to that! For all the other sewers out there who are more intermediate to advanced, check out this website for fun tips on sewing!

http://www.sewfastseweasy.com/online_learning

 

I love…being able to use my left arm again! 

 Day 9: Turn off the tube!

 I watch a lot of the ol’ tube. When I get home from work, it’s on, on weekends, it’s on, before I go to bed, it’s on. I probably watch upwards of 3 hours a day, which is not only bad for my physical health, but my mental health as well. According to a study in the International Journal of Obesity, adults who watched <4 hours of tv a day showed higher adjusted prevalence odds ratio of obesity than those who watched less than 1 hour. The same study also found that the ratio of obesity was 30% higher for each hour of increased TV viewing and 24% lower for each additional hour of sleeping time. Another study by Kids Health.org found that two-thirds of infants and toddlers watch a computer or tv screen an average of 2 hours a day, kids under age 6 watch an average of about 2 hours of, primarily TV and videos or DVDs  a day, kids and teens 8 to 18 years spend nearly 4 hours a day in front of a TV screen and almost 2 extra hours on the computer and playing video games. The sad thing, though, is that I know this, yet continue to watch, all the time.  I’m a glorified couch potato, and if I don’t watch myself, I’ll soon become as large as a couch.

So, I took a stand against the television and turned it off, for an entire day. Although I mourned for a few minutes over the loss of my tube, I quickly recovered and found myself invigorated and excited with all of the extra time I had to do things I kept pushing off because “my show was on.” It wasn’t all easy, especially since I was snowed in (you know, since I have been for the past 7 days), so I had to work extra hard to keep myself occupied. But I managed to survive. I finished the book I was reading, The Time Traveler’s Wife [which is a fantastic novel], I wrote another 5 pages in my novel, cleaned the house, gave Oscar a bath (did he need it!), played in the snow with Elliot, got all of my work done, did crunches and squats, cooked dinner…Shall I go on? I felt so incredibly productive by the time I went to bed I wanted to toss out the tube and never look back! [I didn’t, of course]. But it’s amazing how you feel when you’re not glued to the tv watching reruns or sitcoms.

I’m not the only one who realizes how detrimental obsessive tv watching can be for my mental and physical health. Every year in April, the US hosts National TV Turn off Week, where millions of Americans voluntarily turn off their tv’s for an entire week. According to a National Institute of Health press release, schools, libraries, and community groups support this event by providing a variety of activities for students and their families. Studies have also shown that participants tend to watch much less television after the week has finished. So on the week of April 22-28, join myself and millions of Americans and turn off your tube for better health!

I love…that I have such great coworkers who make my 9-5 more fun.

Day 10: Outlaw soda for a month

I’m not a huge soda junkie [like I used to be] but I still consume far more cans of the liquid sugar and aspartame than I’d like to. I blame it all on the 3pm slump that steals all of my motivation, energy and attention span. Although I avoid the extra calories by drinking only diet, I still find myself feeling bloaty and bubbly after I drink one. Even though recent studies have found that there may be a link between the use of artificial sweeteners and obesity, there is still no solid link between the two. Artificial sweeteners, in reality, are safe and fine to drink…IN MODERATION. Ah, there’s that word again, moderation. 🙂 Although I know a can of diet soda a day will not kill me, or really add to my waistline, I know that I can completely live without my dairy can, or two, of soda a day. So, I’m outlawing the sugary concoction for a month, a total 30 days! I know, outlawing anything goes against my previous posts that you should never tell yourself no to any food substance (leads to bingeing) soda is not something I can’t live without. It’s something that I just have found myself attached to after working 9-5. I also don’t think I will ‘binge’ on soda, who can take that much liquid?  So instead of my normal can of soda to save me from the 3pm slump, I will have a nice glass of green or black tea, which is naturally caffeinated! (and so much better for you!)

There are so many benefits to drinking tea. For example, tea is a natural cancer fighter, and people who drink tea have a lesser chance or getting cancer. Tea also can reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff), and a study conducted found that people who drank tea lowered their LDL by 10 more points than those who didn’t drink it. If that’s not enough motivation to get anyone to switch to tea, green tea has been proven to help aid weight loss! According to www.teamuseum.com, compared to the placebo and caffeine, green tea extract consumption produced a significant 4% increase in 24-hour energy expenditure! So join me in my outlawing of soda and grab a tea bag instead, your body and mind will thank you!

I love…how amazingly romantic my fiancé is 🙂

Day 11-12: Try being a vegan for 2 days (no dairy, meat or fish)

 

I’m no complete carnivore, but I love meat. Chicken, beef, pork, fish, turkey, you name it, I love it. As a nutrition lover, I know the right kind of red meat to eat (95-5), how to cut the fat off a roast, skin the rotisserrie chicken before I eat it, however, I can’t help but feel sluggish and heavy after I eat a meal full of meat. So after one particularly heavy meat/dairy meal [chicken fettuccine and wings] I decided to try not eating meat or dairy for a couple days, just to see if I felt better. Now, I know giving up meat affects my amino acids and protein absorption, and no dairy will leave my calcium level ultra low, so I had my peanut butter sandwiches, almonds and gummy calcium vitamins stocked and ready to go.

Day 1 as a vegan wasn’t hard, it was actually really easy. I drank my coffee plain with a dash of sugar and had a bowl of fiber rich oatmeal. Instead of tuna or a chicken salad for lunch, I opted for a bowl of tomato soup and french bread, and felt just as satisfied. I munched on crackers and fruit for my snacks throughout the day which also kept me full. When dinner rolled around, it was hard to turn away from the delicious chicken stir fry my boyfriend was eating but I filled up on asian veggies and almonds. Day 2 was still easy, but I felt pretty sluggish in the morning and really missed my cream, but I perservered through. I had whole wheat pancakes for breakfast, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with veggie chips for lunch and nuts and fruit for my snack. Dinner was my hardest meal, instead of the beef and cheese tacos my love was eating, I stuck with a salad and pasta marinara. And truthfully, I did feel better. I didn’t feel as heavy or tired as I usually did after dinner. I felt lighter and happier not being stuffed to my full point.

Although I noticed a change, it’s not the lifestyle for me. I like milk in my coffee and chicken in my salad, but I’m really glad I did it.

If you are considering becoming a vegetarian or vegan, make sure to do plenty of research before hand so that you have all of the information at hand to make sure you are making the best choice for your lifestyle and your body. Before you make any decisions, make sure to consult with your doctor before you do! [Visit these sites for great advice]

http://www.happycow.net/becoming_vegetarian.html

http://www.nutrispeak.com/becomingvegan.htm

I love…my cooky mother who has no idea how appreciated she is.

 

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