27.

That’s my age. As of today. 27. I usually love birthdays; birthdays, for me, are a valid and reasonable excuse to take the day off from work, pig out, be lazy, and do whatever the hell I feel like doing. My birthday is a free day. It’s also the day I make resolutions for the rest of the year. It’s my actual New Years’ Day.

27 is weird. 26 was hard enough; I had to come to grips with the fact that I was on the downward slide into the dreaded 3-0, so scary that the 3 and the 0 cannot be in such close proximity as to be adjacent. Yikes. What do I have to show for the past 20 + 7 years of my existence? I am not famous, I am not rich, I am not skinny (although I am still healthier than I was two years ago). I don’t love my job, nor do I love my adopted city anymore (sorry, Seattle, but it’s true). My life is in a state of flux as I’m trying to lose weight again and move my non-skinny ass to San Francisco.

I did, however, get a new workout outfit yesterday:

The pants and the jacket are new. I like the jacket because it has zippered pockets and is warm and rainproof… plus, it was on sale. Happy birthday to ME.

Anyway. Today, instead of indulging in the aforementioned lazyassness, I went for a 10-mile-long walk, right on the heels (no pun intended) of my 13-mile walk yesterday. I’ve decided I’m a hardcore walker, apparently. I opened an account on DailyMile and have committed to updating it. Now, here’s the logic: I’ve been working out every day (just about), for an hour a day, in the fancy new gym. I spend half an hour on the elliptical, then fifteen minutes on the treadmill at 4 mph, then fifteen minutes on the stationary bike, or some other combination that totals an hour. I’ve been doing this for the past month, plus a low-calorie diet, and my pants still don’t fit. Whaaaa?

Okay, so, look at my legs in those pants. There’s a little fat, sure, but that’s mostly muscle. They’re getting bulky. Ugh. No more elliptical. It’s all walking from here on out. My legs do not need any help being bulky, thankyouverymuch.

This, by the way, is how much I walked today.

Enough of that…

Time to decide on my goals for this year!

1. Move to San Francisco, ideally by September.

2. Lose 20-ish lbs by the time I move to San Francisco; a.k.a., look like this again:

3. Walk at least 35 miles per week. Totally doable, since I can already easily walk 6 miles a day.

4. Finally learn how to budget… or win the lottery. Preferably the latter. Although gambling probably doesn’t fit too well with fulfilling the former. Kind of a flaw in the plan.

5. Keep my remaining plants alive. Poor plants.

6. Make more of an effort with general upkeep: get mani/pedis, schedule hair appointments before my hair becomes an unstyleable mess, clean my apartment at least once a week (including vacuuming the couch and dusting), etc. Maintenance is a good thing. Grown-ups do it.

7. Have a better attitude at work. They may annoy me and I may not want to be there, but I have to make better use of my time until I get to leave. I feel better when I make an effort.

8. Make more of an effort to spend time with my remaining friends in Seattle before I leave them for good. The ones that haven’t flaked out on me are the keepers, they deserve the effort.

9. Start refocusing my energy on hobbies I’ve neglected, like music.

Okay, I was going for 27 goals, but it turns out I only have 9. Overall goal: be better. The end.

I love healthy food blogs.

Pictures of food… people writing about food… people writing about getting healthy… it all makes me so happy. It also provides a welcome distraction during my otherwise hectic workday.

I’m doing another juice fast today. It was either that or make a lunch and bring it into the lunch meeting I had at work (complete with the requisite pizza and not-too-healthy salad). I chose the juice fast because my leafy greens were in danger of going bad, and there were just too many to eat all in one day, so I juiced them. Juicers are handy like that.

Honestly, I wasn’t even tempted by the pizza today. I occasionally have weak, pizza-craving tendencies, but after seeing what eating all that cheese did to my skin (major breakout, ick), the whole idea of eating that much cheese is really off-putting. Also, the grease, and the bread. I really prefer thin crust – better yet, cornmeal crust, and I like more gourmet-like pizzas, the kind that contain things like goat cheese and pesto and spinach. Mmmm. That kind of pizza would have been tempting. But, snob that I am, mozzarella and pepperoni on a thick, starchy, white flour crust did not tempt me into submission.

It looks like it’s shaping up to be a beautiful day today, but that’s based on the view from my office window. I’m sure once I venture outside that it will be quite chilly, like it was yesterday. I’m so sick of winter. It doesn’t even matter that it’s the second day of spring; it’s still winter in Seattle. Bleh.

I’ve been preoccupied with planning my birthday festivities this week, to the point where it’s difficult to think about anything else. My mom will be here on Friday afternoon and wants to finally meet some of my coworkers (last time she was here, I had just been promoted and didn’t want to be parading my mommy around the office – all my colleagues are at least fifteen years older and I was trying to avoid drawing attention to my already glaringly obvious youth. Seriously. I’m also younger than my employees). The birthday party is on Saturday – a larger-than-expected group of friends and I are going to karaoke. We’re talking serious karaoke, because that’s how I roll. I was putting together my setlist during the lunch meeting. It’s just too bad I’ll probably have to share the mic – one of the many disadvantages of inviting so many people to karaoke.

The challenge this weekend will be to continue eating well. I already plan on doing another juice fast at some point next week, because I know how my mom usually influences my eating habits; the key will be not going overboard. I have to remember how much better I feel when I eat the way I’ve been eating: salmon, veggies, fruit, eggs, no bread, no pasta, no rice (I know it’s gluten free, but it’s one of the things I tend to overeat because it’s not exactly nutrient-rich). Of course, I’m fully prepared to indulge on Saturday night. I have yet to decide whether to order delicious specialty cocktails or stick to my favorite new low-calorie drink, Diet Coke and vanilla vodka (surprisingly good – tastes like a root beer float, I think, although it’s been ages since I’ve had a root beer float). Diet Coke, I know, is not great, nutrition-wise, but I’ve never been a big soda drinker, so I don’t think it will hurt me. I will, however, accept suggestions on slightly more sophisticated low-calorie drinks. Another one I’ve heard of is Diet Sprite & vodka (is it Diet Sprite or Sprite Zero? Am I getting my fizzy clear sodas confused?), but apparently bars in Seattle have a hard time stocking diet sodas. Anyway, the point is, if I keep it low-calorie I can drink more without as much guilt. Something to ponder.

Okay. At this point I’m just rambling, and I keep snoozing a reminder, so I should probably get going on the thing it’s reminding me to do. Back to work!

Cleanliness, finally.

I cleaned my apartment last night. Not just the type of cursory cleaning I do on a somewhat weekly basis when it’s too cold/I’m too tired/this bad TV show is too addictive/I don’t wanna vacuum, dust, or move; a real, deep cleaning that involved removing and scrubbing the stove drip trays and vacuuming the couch cushions. I’d put it off for many weeks months. Okay, maybe only a month or two. In my lame defense, I did go to New York for a week, and impending vacations can be a fantastic distraction from necessary chores.

I almost didn’t do it, too. I didn’t want to go to the gym last night, which is unusual for me, so I had to justify it. I wasn’t feeling like cleaning at first, but once I get going… it’s hard to stop me. I started cleaning at 8, right after a delicious dinner of roasted chicken and asparagus and a spinach salad, and wasn’t done until after 11. I’m actually still not done. I need to clean the shower and wash my sheets and towels, take my suitcase down to the storage unit, and move all the boxes from the things I ordered on Amazon last month to the recycling. I was tired, though, especially after vacuuming the couch – that’s hard work. FYI. Don’t even think about vacuuming your couch unless you have the time and energy to devote to doing it right. It was totally worth it, though. My couch looks beautiful and as clean as the day I got it.

Anyway, it’s amazing how much better I feel when my living space is clean and tidy. It makes me feel organized and clean and ready to take on any challenge, or at least organize any challenge into manageable sections. I’ve heard – maybe just from my mother, but she’s as citable as any source – that when you clean, you’re also organizing your thoughts. My thoughts seem tidier today than they were yesterday. I feel more focused.

The little two and a half day juice fast helped me to put my relationship with food into perspective again – it really did function as a “reset” this time. And my jeans fit a little better than they did before I left for New York, so that’s a plus. I may do it again tomorrow, especially since I’m having drinks with some friends tonight (and Googling low-calorie cocktails today… vodka and Sprite Zero, anyone?).

Breaking the second juice fast, Day 3.

Well, I made it two and a half days before I was absolutely craving a salad. The need to chew overpowered me. And I figured it would be wise to break the fast before I started craving something really bad, like cheesecake or a hamburger (I don’t even like burgers, that wasn’t really a danger). So I had a Heavenly Salad with smoked salmon from The Juicy Cafe. It was delicious. If you work in downtown Seattle, you should check out this place – they also make wonderful juice, and I’m sure their smoothies are also quite delicious.

Anyway, now that I’m done with the fast, I’m committed to once again eating healthy. I get lazy and reclusive on occasion and make things like shirataki noodles with lots of cheese and random vegetables, which I guess is fine, but eating that much cheese wreaks havoc on my skin and is, frankly, not all that great for me. I haven’t been eating enough protein and my non-veggie carbs are a little high. I recently discovered Kamut Puffs – 50 calories per cup! – and, while better than most other snack foods, going through a bag a day is not great. Calorie counting only works if you’re also monitoring your macronutrients, and I do better with a higher protein diet.

The problem I discovered with the fast yesterday was that I didn’t have the energy to work out, and I’ve grown attached to my gym time lately. Working out makes me feel good, and I was a little bummed yesterday when I couldn’t. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing a juice fast every other day, or once or twice a week, and I may do that, but it’s too difficult to maintain for more than a day or two.

Lesson learned! I’m resolved to take better care of myself and monitor my macronutrients more carefully. If I get tired of the food I’m eating again, or my eating habits get out of control, I can always do a one- or two-day reset with the juice – but next time, definitely over a weekend. Weekends are soooo much easier.

My second attempt at a juice fast, Day 2.

No. Energy.

I just stared at the screen for about ten seconds after I wrote that because I couldn’t remember what I was doing. Guess my concentration and attention span are also suffering today.

All this may be due to the fact that I got up at 4:45 this morning instead of the standard 6:30, or it may be due to the lack of solid food. I keep seeing/smelling solid food and wanting to chomp on it.

I didn’t have this problem last time I fasted, I realized, because the first two days of that fast were done on a weekend. I remember day 3 being fine. Fortunately, no one has brought in a pie today (it’s pi day… get it? Yeah, I work with actuaries), but there are cookies lurking and I glimpsed a lone muffin in the breakroom.

Sigh. Hopefully tomorrow will be easier.

My second attempt at a juice fast, Day 1.

The last juice fast lasted until the evening of Day 6, at which point I decided I’d earned real food. Of course, then it got snowy in Seattle and I foolishly decided to gorge on cookies. Uh, note to self: gorging on cookies? Always a bad idea.

Anyway, it’s March now. I’ve been eating mostly good stuff for the past few months (after the snow-related cookie binge), and just got back from a week-long trip to New York, my new favorite city. Of course, I didn’t eat perfectly while I was in Manhattan, but I did happen to do a lot of walking, so I’m sure it all balanced out (that’s how that works, right?). I finally got back to the gym once my apartment management finished renovating it – I think the lack of gym really helped to derail my fitness efforts for the past few months. However, I’m getting frustrated that it’s taking so long to fit into my clothes properly.

The juice fast really was working before I abandoned it completely in favor of the deliciously unhealthy things that came out of the oven. My “fat pants” (not many people would consider size 4 jeans “fat pants,” but whatever, it is what it is) were getting loose again on day 6. My face was thinner. I felt more energetic. I think the danger lies in the weekend; I like to be a lazy bum on the weekends, but I also get bored, and boredom often leads to TV, which often leads to snacking. I think I’ll be okay now, since I’m working out again, so I’ll have something to keep me occupied. I’ve noticed that working out every day also really helps to keep me disciplined about my diet and even about work.

Now, to help keep me motivated, here are the Reasons I’m Doing This:

  • I want to be healthy, of course.
  • I am in the midst of trying to decide whether I want to live in San Francisco or New York. I want to be in fantastic shape when I ultimately move to one of those cities (right now I’m leaning more toward San Francisco, but the pendulum just keeps swinging).
  • I want to fit into the majority of my wardrobe staples so I don’t have to keep wearing the same outfits. Wearing the same outfits all the time is annoying. I also can’t afford to buy a whole new wardrobe again.
  • I want to try out for The Voice (by video submission, because I don’t live near any of their audition cities), and I want to look my best in the video. My best is about 15 lbs lighter. I think the video is due by mid-April.
  • I want to start my 27th year off right – healthy and happy. I’m mostly healthy now, but I’m not as happy as I was when I was lighter. I know it’s not all about weight, but it is all about being happy with the way I look, and I’m not really feeling that way right now.
  • I know I can do this. I love the feeling of accomplishing a goal that isn’t necessarily the easiest to accomplish, and I need to feel that way again – this is something I feel I need to do for myself.

My goal end date is 3/23, which is next Friday. My mom flies in that day and I’ll be celebrating my birthday that weekend (although it is the following Wednesday). I may pick it back up during my birthday week, depending how far I get with it during the first round.

Or maybe I’ll fast for a few days, have one day of food, then go back to fasting. That might be easier/more practical. I’ll keep it somewhat flexible so I don’t get down on myself if I don’t make it the full 10 days… I think that’s better.

I also think this would be easier to do in New York. There were juice bars all over the place… it was fantastic. I can only think of two juice bars in downtown Seattle, one at the Convention Center and one in the Market. Just one of many reasons why New York is awesome.