I’ve been Shredding for 30 days, and I’m not talking about paper. Or cabbage.

I’ve officially been doing Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred workouts for thirty days. Of course, keep in mind I stuck to level one for twenty-ish days and am now basically alternating levels one and two after five consecutive days of level two, but the point is this thirty-day situation has been going on for thirty days. Seems like something to celebrate, doesn’t it?

I tried on the Rock & Republic jeans I bought over a year ago this morning. The fit when I bought them, but for the past year, I haven’t been able to pull them up all the way over my ginormous slightly larger than ideal thighs. It was a shame – I like them a lot, and when they fit me, a smaller, more svelte version of me, they looked really good. And this morning? When I tried them on? Not only did I get them on all the way, I was also able to zip and button them while standing (as opposed to while laying down on the floor, legs in the air, hoping gravity would work its magic). I still have some work to do, but this is major progress for me. It was a really good start to the morning.

Now, what does that have to do with the circuit training I’ve been doing with my good friend Jillian? Well. Let me tell you. This Saturday at Safeway, I bought (among other things) a jar of almond butter and two packages of single-serving popcorn. As of Monday evening, the almond butter was gone. As of Tuesday evening, the popcorn was gone. So, Saturday through Tuesday went something like this:

Image

Yet, still, my waist remains at 23″ (that’s how small it was before the Buenos Aires trip/July pastry bonanza of 2011). I’ve been “shredding” and walking 4-8 miles (usually 7) every day with limited exceptions. That’s all I do. It’s really not a lot, considering the Shred is only half an hour per level. Absolutely maintainable, and I know when I finally make it to level three, I’ll be in even better shape.

I love that I can occasionally get away with eating somewhat healthy food in larger than normal quantities and still maintain (and get smaller!). Or, you know, I could have pizza, same effect. I have no idea what I weigh now, but I’m wearing most of the clothing I was wearing at my smallest, which is what matters – plus, I have muscle tone and definition that I don’t think I’ve had at any point in my life, so that’s a major benefit. Of course, my T-Rex arms are still only using the 2.5-lb weights. But who cares? It seems to be working out just fine.

The system itself took awhile to grow on me, but once I realized that the hard work was starting to pay off (in the form of more defined arms/back/shoulders, at first), I started looking forward to getting home from work so I could exercise. It’s perfect for my lack of attention span for physical activity – ahem, some physical activity – and I know I’m working hard, even when the moves start to feel easier. I also didn’t like Jillian in the beginning, but she’s grown on me as well – I like how she seems to know when I’m getting tired and want to lay down on the couch instead of finish the circuit. How does she know? Can she see me? Creepy.

Image

Anyway, the point of this post is to let all you fellow foodies know that 30-Day Shred is awesome (because when you do it, you can eat more food, and what foodie doesn’t love that?). In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s that circuit training in general is awesome, but this is easy and quick and I can do it at home so I can be gross and sweaty without witnesses. Fairly confident I wouldn’t willingly subject witnesses to that kind of traumatic experience.

Also, for the record, to serve as proof that I ate well this week aside from the popcorn and almond butter, I present to you Monday’s lunch:

Image

(If anyone asks, I’ve been working this whole time.)

Happy Wednesday! Not hump day. That’s not work appropriate.

Despite the obvious pitfalls of going back to school – going into more student loan debt, starting over in my career, changing everything about my life – I can’t help but feel as though I’m doing the right thing. I haven’t felt this creatively inspired since I was in college. And excited! There’s no way I’d be this excited about business school or law school. And isn’t that the point? Life should be exciting. It shouldn’t be sitting behind a desk all day, making decisions that don’t mean all that much in the long run.

I’ve been chipping away at my portfolio, which is due on July 23. I’ll admit, there’s been a little bit of procrastination going on. I brought my MacBook Pro to work today so I could make some headway on the porfolio – which I’m going to be submitting in the form of a website – and actually did as I’d intended. Right now, it’s just the template of the front page, but I have a sitemap in mind and I have a good idea of what I’ll be including. I want to do more with motion graphics than I have in the past. Not a lot, because I like a cleaner design, but some subtle effects, like onmouseover icon animation. And I still have to clean up some of my older work and upload it, since some of the sites aren’t live anymore. All these details…

On Monday, I called my grad school financial aid adviser to pepper her with questions. As it turned out, they’d just finalized my award offer, so she gave me the news. Basically, what it boils down to is this: I’ll be able to afford school and have some additional loan money, but I’ll still need a full-time job in order to pay rent and eat food and otherwise live like a normal human. Well, there goes my original plan of just being a full-time student, but somehow I knew I wouldn’t be able to get away with that one. The good news is, I don’t need to be getting paid as much as I am now in order to afford the same things, so I can get an easy full-time job when I move down to San Francisco in January while I’m in school. Not like the one I have now, where it’s literally in my job description that overtime is required, despite the fact that I’m a manager and don’t get paid overtime.

Waiting until mid-December to give my notice is already proving to be a mental and emotional challenge. I stressed myself out during my four-mile walk this morning, talking to my mom about how worried I am about having to do year-end work (there was a lot last year) in addition to finals. I don’t know how I’m going to make this move work; my future roommate (currently living in San Francisco) and I will somehow have to find a place and move in early- to mid-January before the new semester starts in late January. I think she will probably have to do the apartment-hunting by herself in December, since I’ll still be up here, but we’ve been emailing back and forth with listings on Craigslist, so hopefully by then she and I will be on the same page about what we’re looking for. And then there’s the job aspect. But I do think it will be easier to find a lower-paying job than trying to find one in my current salary range. I just need something brainless that doesn’t require me to work more than my allotted time, and that doesn’t zap all my energy. I’d be a terrible waitress, so that’s out. I mean, I’d eat all the food before it got to the customers, and I’m already prone to tripping over my own feet without the added challenge of balancing a tray.

Speaking of lack of coordination, I finally worked up the nerve to try level 2 of 30-Day Shred last night, after something like twenty days of level 1 (I stopped counting after 10 days). Surprisingly, after hearing from multiple people that level 2 is the hardest, I actually really enjoyed it. It went by faster than level 1, and I like all the jumping. I could do without the planks, but I’ll keep working at it. The only problem is that she had me moving my arms and my legs in different directions, and that confuses my brain (which is why I never excelled in dance classes. That, and aforementioned tripping). I definitely feel the effects of the workout today, so I know whatever I was doing did something. Plus, I finally fit into my size 2 (well, size 26 because it’s designer-ish and they do weird denim sizing) denim miniskirt again! And by “fit into,” I mean it doesn’t squish my legs in unflattering ways when I sit while wearing it. In fact, there’s no longer any inappropriate squishing of anything. I’d definitely call that a step in the right direction.

Okay… this is probably enough blogging at work. Shhh don’t tell.

Feel free to skip all the words and go straight to the puppy picture.

My best friend is in the process of packing up her life and moving to Malawi for a year. My mom doesn’t like to talk on the phone for an hour when she’s home with her boyfriend. Who am I supposed to talk to about all my major daily accomplishments? Hmm? I guess I’ll have to settle for strangers on the interwebs. Hello, strangers.

Here’s what I did this weekend:

  1. Cleaned. Everything. I cleaned under my bathroom sink, and I cleaned out and organized my closets, in addition to my normal Saturday cleaning regimen. No, you don’t understand. The under the sink area had become a hazard, and my closet was brimming with clothes I kept trying on in my quest for outfits and subsequently discarding, over and over again. I think I need to have a garage sale, and maybe find a friend who has an actual garage.
  2. I watched a lot of Pretty LIttle Liars. This is my third viewing of season 1 on Netflix. I had seen it before. I wish they would post the next season so I didn’t feel like I’m memorizing this season. This show makes me want to be a skinny teenage girl; their lives seem so ridiculously dramatic and they don’t have to worry about real adult things, like eating carbs and paying bills.
  3. ImageI spent quality time with the brown dog. I’m trying to get her to sleep on her own bed instead of on my nice couch and on my bed, because she had a little bladder infection this week and… I had to take my duvet to the dry cleaner. $150 vet bill + $33 dry cleaner bill. Fun? Not so much.
  4. I successfully went to the market and spent $21 on my produce for the week, then came home, chopped everything and prepared it for my weeks’ salads (lunch and dinner). I then managed to clog the garbage disposal… and unclog it with a plunger. I know this isn’t revolutionary for most people, but I felt like a total champ when I figured this one out.
  5. I did days 12 and 13 of Jillian Michaels’ 30-day shred, level one. I realize I’m supposed to move up to level 2 on day 11, but it scares me and I haven’t mastered level 1 yet, so I’m sticking. It’s still hard work! My T-Rex arms are looking a lot more defined, too. Too bad I’m not allowed to wear tank tops to work. Plus, I’m getting smaller and eating more since I started doing this. Talk about a win-win.
  6. I got myself together and finally applied to grad school. I’m trying for my MFA in Web Design & New Media at Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I don’t know how I’m going to pay for it, but if I get in, I’m moving to San Francisco in September. Or if they let me in and September doesn’t work out, I’ll move in November-ish and start in the spring. Fingers crossed for September, though! I’ve been considering this program for about two years, and I think it’s time I just jumped in and did it. I’ll do what everybody else does and worry about the details when I have to. I’m simultaneously excited and terrified. From what I’ve read about the school, they’ll let anyone in (it’s graduating that’s the challenge), so I’m just assuming I’m already in and freaking out accordingly. Always good to prepare, right?
  7. For some reason, I’m not completely dreading work tomorrow. Probably because it’s jeans week. The grad school thing is giving me hope that I won’t be a mid-level executive drone forever, so that helps my attitude. 
  8. Darn, bedtime. I was so enjoying this one-sided conversation. I do love talking about me.