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Life-Style Changes

October 21, 2011

Recently I’ve been attempting to take better care of myself both physically and mentally. I’ve been trying to eat better foods, exercise more often, get to sleep early, and surround myself with positivity (which I realize sounds cheesy but bear with me and just go with it). Since I started college, I’ve been neglecting my health and just eating and drinking whatever I want without thought of repercussions. I suppose this was okay for the 18 year old Anna, but the 21 year old Anna is starting to worry about old habits dying hard as she grows older. Yes, I am very aware that I’m not really old yet, but I fear that if I don’t make a life-style change now while I have the ambition and time (and metabolism) to do so, I won’t ever do it. With my family’s history of heart disease, arthritis, and who knows what else, I need to get in shape now or face the consequences in the future. So here’s some stuff I’ve been doing!

First, I’ve been trying to eat healthier. My first three years of college were full of afternoons and evenings where I’d go out to eat somewhere with friends. As fun as this was, I now have neither the metabolism nor the income to do such things anymore. So New Orleans restaurants and I have sadly decided to separate. I still go out to eat occasionally (usually I get really intense cravings for certain things), but now-a-days I’ve been cooking my own meals. They’re usually made of random ingredients that I have lying around in the fridge or pantry, but I have been pretty successful in making some pretty delicious things (at least I think they’re delicious). I’ve been trying to fit more vegetables into my diet too, so they’re usually at least semi-nutritious (depending on what I cook them with).

Starting my new job has made my attempt at healthiness both harder and easier for various reasons. Depending on the day, I usually work a good chunk of hours where I sit at a desk in front of a computer and type my life away. This would be the opportune time for me to snack on something, but since I’m not at home, I usually don’t have anything readily available. I have been bringing granola bars or dry cereal with me lately and it sufficiently quenches my hunger until lunch or dinner. I’ve also been eating relatively light lunches along with my snacks in order to stretch out my food intake during the day. So far, I’ve been doing an okay job of this… until I get home and see that container of left over Cream Cheese Icing in the fridge… Also, my office often has leftover food from conferences and such, usually desserts, and I can’t help myself when it comes to free food!

Next, I’ve been working out more. In the morning before I go to work, I go to Tulane’s rec center and work out for about 35 minutes, and then get ready for work. This works out (haha, get it?) pretty well, especially since the shuttle I take downtown (where work is) has a stop right in front of the gym. This usually causes me to have semi-bad hair days, but I think the health benefits outweigh my lack of straight hair (I usually end up putting it up anyway). I eat a little bit of yogurt before my gym workout (just so I’m not running on empty), and when I get to work, I drink my coffee and eat some oatmeal. This usually holds me over until I eat lunch around 11. What’s especially good about working out so early is that there is always something for me to watch on the tv! (Boy Meets World, ABCFamily @ 6-7AM).

After a long day of work and/or class, I head over to Pure Barre. So you may be thinking, “What in the world is Pure Barre?” Well, let me just tell you! It’s a workout that was developed with ballet, yoga, and pilates in mind that uses “isometric movements set to fantastic music,” or so the website says. It’s super-duper hard, but man does it provide results. I’ve been at it for a month now, and I can see the definition of the muscles in my legs and seat that definitely wasn’t there before. It’s absolutely horrible while you’re doing it (the legs are the hardest for me), but I always feel really good afterwards (like I could conquer the world since I just conquered that horrible abdominal exercise). I also have a strange appreciation for today’s pop music from it as well. Every time I listen to the radio, instead of making me want to dance, it just makes me want to tuck and lift. I would recommend it to any woman who wants to make a major change in how her body looks but more importantly feels. And don’t worry if you can’t do all the exercises right off the bat (I know I definitely couldn’t); you get better over time. Just remember to keep that seat tucked!

The final thing that I’ve been doing is surrounding myself with positivity. No one likes a negative Nancy, so I’ve been trying really hard to take my cynical and sarcastic attitude and keep it locked away from social situations. I’ve also been a tad bit more proactive recently (and if you know me at all, you are probably aware of how apathetic I can be). I’m still pretty uncaring, but I can at least make my own decisions now. I am also more responsive to people that I feel are stepping over me (literally and figuratively). At shows or festivals, I have found that I have become more like my older sister when it comes to people bumping into me or trying to push me back. She is the queen of regulating, and though I haven’t really gotten bold enough to start that, I at least have the capacity to keep people from knocking me over (literally and figuratively). I need to stand up for myself after all!

I think that’s about it for now. Maybe if I start doing anything else, I’ll write an update. Baby steps, right? It’s just a little strange that I’m writing about this now since I didn’t go to the gym this morning, I won’t be going to Pure Barre later today, and I will be eating a huge hot dog and drinking copious amounts of alcohol tonight. But hey, it’s Homecoming weekend and my family is coming to town!

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