Late Night Hunger Pangs

As much as I am not a fan of it, I work second shift at my job about 90 percent of the time. This means, with my hour commute, I’m not home until 11:30pm-midnight five nights a week. While I was one of those kids that stayed up until 2-3am in college (and high school…whoops), my sleep schedule has somehow regularized itself over the past almost year since graduation. When it hits 11pm, I start yawning. I’m usually out by 12:30-1am and awake by 9-9:30am. The only problem? Sometimes I don’t even get off of work until 11pm. Frustrating? Extremely. I think it’s the hour commute that makes it the hardest. And I’m talking a no traffic hour commute, as in close to 60 miles. One of my main sticking points when looking for jobs now is, at least for the most part, regular hours. I have no problem going in early or staying late or working weird hours on occasion but I’m 23 and since picking up a job at 16, have yet to have any form of regular schedule, let alone weekends.

But that’s not why I decided to put down my book and write this post. What I noticed in the past probably couple months is that when I get home from work, no matter how much I ate or how well I spaced my meals out, I am hungry when I get home. Or even if I’m not that hungry, I automatically go to the fridge and open it. I’m fabulous at grazing the fridge and pantry as it is (boredom eater…I know), but it’s started to get pretty bad. I don’t understand why my body gets hungry at midnight, or wants me to eat at midnight. I’ve gotten good at meals being at 11am, 3:30-5pm (sometimes a snack, then a meal at 5), and again at 8. I don’t like eating at the whacked out times but I have to sit with 60 patients for a half hour at 5pm for their dinner and it’s really hard to not eat with them.

breakfastegg Generally, my meals are healthy throughout the day, though the past week I’ve noticed myself eating significantly more. For example, I made myself a hearty breakfast of egg, chicken, leftover jalapeno pesto, and swiss cheese atop toast (homemade bread, too!) and only two hours later I had made myself a smoothie of frozen fruit and broccoli, strawberry protein powder (wouldn’t do that again…chocolate instead), yogurt, a few chocolate pieces, and milk. Both were great healthy options but I didn’t need both and not within a two hour time span. I was stuffed for HOURS. I ate again later at work, nothing heavy, but still came home at midnight and managed to annihilate leftovers.

What I used to do in PA was mix frozen fruit with a few super dark chocolate chips and that satisfied me. Maybe it’s being home at my parents’ house that makes me want to eat more, even though overall they have less of a selection than I did. I think I had more fresh produce, weirdly enough. My parents are better at meal planning than I am, however. I just go to the store and see all the produce and think, “I could cook that? I could cook that!” I should start a cooking show and have that as my trademark.

So that’s what I did last night when I started wanting something in my belly. I think it’s kind of like my latenightsnackaddiction to smoking – I just want the familiarity and comfort of putting something in my mouth. All jokes aside, because I did just say “THAT IS WHAT SHE SAID” aloud too, I don’t like my nocturnal eating. I’ve done it since I was a kid, I used to sneak snack cakes (sorry Mom) and other like things. I don’t know where or why the habit came from but by now, I’m sick of it. So I think I’m going to do what I did with smoking – cut it short, then cut it out. I’m going back to the frozen fruit plan where I have a bowl of frozen fruit when I get home with my tea for a week or two, then I’m not letting myself eat when I get home anymore. I have to remind myself that I’m not actually hungry, if I were, I could’ve eaten at work where I have a stockpile of healthy frozen meals and dishes in the freezer. Last night I mixed frozen fruit, probably a cup, a 100 calorie packet of cocoa roasted almonds (favorite), and a small handful of M&Ms, because I’m out of my super dark chocolate. The M&Ms are my dad’s, I think. I am assuming these blossoming chocolate cravings are coming from his side of the family.

To complete my motivation fail out, I haven’t been to the gym in a week and a half. Okay, so some of you are probably rolling your eyes. For me, trying to get into shape, that’s a big deal. But, I do have plans to go Saturday as part of a girl’s day. Which I will be regaling to you in UTMOST DETAIL after Saturday. Man-thing and Taylor’s other roommate are out of town visiting family for the weekend so we are taking advantage of this rare momentous Saturday off! Well, it’s rare and momentous for me, not so much for her. Speaking of Man-thing, I had this weird moment the other night where I admitted that was uncomfortable with my body and didn’t like it very much and it made me shy sometimes and shameful. He, being a proper Man-thing, told me I had nothing to be ashamed of at all.

yogaclassI just need to get back into the swing of things and stop moping over my crap schedule. Yes, it sucks and yes for some reason I’m the only long term full-time staff member without a regular schedule now but I can roll with the punches and still go to classes. I’ve been a little freaked out about going to the yoga class on Thursday mornings though, because I felt like a total moron last time I went. I’m not sure why, it was Yoga 2, but I struggled with some of the moves and felt like I was in positions wrong. It was bizarre.manthing

Last bit – I went against the grain and dyed my hair dark for spring! I’m a brunette again! It’s actually darker than I intended, but, I still like it. Man-thing does too, I think. He had been trying to convince me to go dark red! By the way, I added the hyphen because every time I typed “Manthing”, I pictured a furry beast in a top hat.

Planning posts for the week as I type, because I’m finally out of my funk and back, baby!

-a.

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Finding my spring before Spring

Hello all! Sorry for the impromptu vacation – life has been both up and down the past few weeks and somehow mindbogglingly hectic. I think I made that word up. I’ve been trying to fit a solid workout in before work almost every day, which is great for my health, but leaves little time for blog updates. And by the time I get home from work I’m usually exhausted and just want a book and a nap.

Plus, every year right before Spring arrives, I go through a couple weeks of being down. Call it seasonal depression, call it hormones, who knows. But I’m generally very unhappy and very unmotivated. I work really hard to bring myself out of it, and usually I’m back to my normal self within a month. Not sure why it happens, but it certainly didn’t help my writer’s block. I talk about this because as someone who currently works in mental health, I think it’s important to communicate these feelings. By burying them, we’re making the problem worse and increasing the already ludicrous stigma people have of them.

I’m sure everyone gets down every once and a while, or maybe you’re one of the surprisingly large number of those who suffer from seasonal or year-round depression. I have to tell you, the one thing that makes me feel better, that’s a reprieve from the "I don’t want to feel this way anymore", is being outside and being with others. Two weekends ago, I believe, I spent the afternoon outside actually getting a bit of a sunburn (this is exciting for me) and drinking coffee with a friend, then went to the park in Frederick and sat on a bench and read "Brave New World" for the first time since high school. It was beautiful. I watched the likely hundreds of people in Baker Park that afternoon enjoying themselves. Funny how nice weather can bring just about anybody outside and in a good mood.

Where is your favorite place to be when it’s nice outside?

alyssahikeI went hiking for the first time in a long while last week as well. One of the things I really missed from living in PA was my access to hiking trails; I used to live about ten minutes from Caledonia State Park and hiked there on a near daily basis last summer. I moved back to Maryland and thought the nearest hiking trails were at Harper’s Ferry – which I’ve hiked a few times now. Turns out, I have very nice access to the Appalachian Trail only fifteen minutes from my driveway. So I spent about an hour feeling the trails out, both North and South, to see how tough they’d be. I like really steep, rocky trails every once and a while, but I’m definitely more into ones that let me enjoy myself and don’t have me sweating too much.

What kind of trails do you enjoy when you go hiking?

alyssahike2I’ve also been struggling a bit with my weight loss – I’m working out now up to five days a week, and still haven’t seen very much weight loss. Now, I know that it very well could be muscle gain. But, being honest here, it is a little disheartening sometimes when you jump on the scale two weeks later and don’t see a change. I’ll have to find a way to keep my head up.

How do you deal when you’re unsatisfied with results?

However, on a positive note, I do definitely feel my legs muscles coming back to par. And I’ve been killing tricep dips – I’ll post the soreness-inducing workout with my “Pesto Stuffed Chicken” recipe in my next post. Speaking of food, I’m very into Chobani with Q’ia again. Q’ia is an organic mix of hemp, buckwheat, and chia seeds we get from the local organic store, M.O.M. I usually use peach Chobani – the meal is pretty filling for regular mornings, though I noticed that I have to eat something right after working out if that’s all I eat beforehand.

Tonight, I’m back to trying new recipes. I’m combining an idea I saw on the Cooking Channel (I hate admitting this, but I love ‘Brunch at Bobby’s – he makes great meals) and a meal I repinned on Pinterest. The idea: Jalapeno pesto. The meal: Pesto Stuffed Chicken. I’m going to combine and make a basil-jalapeno pesto and stuff chicken breasts with that. I’m going to try to go super light on olive oil, maybe switching with a little lemon juice, and follow Bobby’s lighter hand with pine nuts to save on fat. I know it’s healthy fat, but it’s a lot of fat nonetheless. I have chicken breasts thawing at the moment, so you all will be privy to the glory (or terror) later tonight or tomorrow.

Lastly, one big shout out to friend and former roommate Anne: thanks for the comment. I needed the reminder; it acted as the kick in the butt I needed to open up Windows Live Writer and start blogging again.

I’m going to go enjoy this bizarrely nice weather (it was literally icing yesterday and today it’s in the 50’s and sunny) and make me some pesto!

– a.

The Leibster Award

leibster

How excited am I? Super duper excited. First of all, one huge thank you to TheSecretLifeCoachofDC, a blog I already read and love. I believe she actually found me first, commenting on a blog post a while ago. She rocks seven different ways.

What a wonderful way to brighten a rainy day after a rather rough weekend. This week’s looking up though, thankfully.

So, here are the ‘rules’, if you will, of this award:

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you.

2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself, and create 11 questions for your nominees.

3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 other blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.

4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog.

 

Questions from my Nominator:

1. If you could were a superhero, what would your name be?

        Something X-men-y, like “Rogue” or “Phoenix”.  I’d want my powers to be something along the lines of reading emotions and influencing others. I wouldn’t want it to be Sookie Stackhouse-esque. More like something I could decide.

2. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?

        Honestly? The community I’m finding. I never realized how many people I had so much in common with, and how much I could learn from others. I love sharing myself with the world. It makes me think about what I do, think, and eat more carefully.

3. What blog do you follow most religiously?

        PBFingers, Piloting Paper Airplanes, Pink Pistachio, and Army Pants and Flip Flops are the ones I follow most religiously.

4. What is your biggest fear in life?

        That I won’t be successful. That I won’t be happy with myself and my life. I’m terrified of failure.

5. Are you a Harry Potter fan? If so, what was your favorite book?

        OH MY GOD YES. I actually put off reading the first book for a significant amount of time, like probably almost a year, because I didn’t want to be like everybody else. And then, one night, I guiltily read the entire book and FELL IN LOVE and wanted to be Hermione in the movie. My favorite book is probably the sixth or seventh. I’ve read the seventh book no less than fifteen times.

6. What’s your favorite Halloween costume that you’ve ever worn?

        Well, considering that for the better part of my childhood I was a princess in varying forms, I don’t have too much to go on. In college, I mostly threw things together and I’m still embarrassed by some (the “Morning After” in particular…they’re called pants, self). My favorite might be the year I went as the guy from Scream and everyone thought I was a dude. Weirdly enough, I’m not the world’s hugest fan of dressing up for Halloween. It’s one of those “in theory yes, in practice…eehh…”

7. Favorite workout routine?

Oh, it’s a tie!

– Total Body Conditioning: A class at my gym. My favorite instructor is upbeat, does the workout with you so she knows when to slow it down or speed it up, and makes me feel like I’ve worked every muscle in my body. Love it.

– Yoga. Now, I am an all around yoga fan and my favorite aspect of the practice is the deeper spiritual state I am to find within myself. BUT there is one instructor who does that and leaves my shoulders, arms, abs, and back sore the next day. I can appreciate that!

8. What is your dream career?

Freelance writer. Honestly. But, because I know that getting ‘there’ will be a long and difficult road unless I come up with the next great American novel, I also have my sights set on working in administration in a higher education setting. I would love to work with students in college.

9. If you had to choose a color to represent your personality, what would it be and why?

Hmm. I think my personality color changes with the colors I decorate my room. Sometimes it’s a pale yellow, sea foam green, or kind of cloudy blue. Others it’s that perfect pale peach. The book “Delirium” described a color that I still love: a sort of gray right before the sun rises. A fawn gray with a promise. Not a direct quote, but still that color. I think they all describe me. I’m a constantly changing personality!

10. Do you believe in horoscopes? Why or why not?

Not particularly. I like to listen to them sometimes for the fun of it if someone’s reading them.

11. Name your greatest passion in life.

Life itself.

11 Random Facts About Moi

1. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. It’s really hard for me to hide how I’m feeling.

2. I miss swimming so much sometimes I’m afraid I’m just addicted to the chlorine.

3. Countries I’ve been to include: Spain, Portugal, Canada, Mexico, Aruba, Haiti, and Jamaica. There are a few other islands in the Caribbean but you get my drift.

4. I am inescapably shy sometimes. At my job I’m fantastic at introducing myself to people I don’t know and striking up conversations but throw me in a group of people and I don’t know most of them? Oh look there’s a TV, I think I’ll befriend that for a while.

5. My biggest pet peeve IN THE WORLD is when someone doesn’t respond to a text that’s a question/pertinent or a phone call.

6. I love tea. Especially yogi tea. Mmm.

7. I love cleaning, especially other people’s homes. I have my entire life. I used to babysit and clean, I cleaned my friend’s rooms when I slept over. Cleaning my own car? Not likely. Cleaning your car? Suuure! There’s probably some weird underlying psychological factor to it, but who cares? Clean stuff!

8. I love cooking for the process. Often times I don’t even want to eat what I make because all I really wanted to do was make it.

9. I can sing and play piano. Zing!

10. I won first place for a straight news story in a countywide newspaper competition.

11. In fifth grade, I lost the middle school spelling bee by misspelling the word “psychology”. Guess what I studied in college?

Questions for my nominees:

1. What is your favorite book of all time?

2. What was the most awkward date you’ve ever been on?

3. Which words do you have the most trouble spelling off-handedly?

4. If you could live one day in another era, which would it be? Why?

5. Paper or plastic?

6. If you could stand in front of Congress and deliver a world-ending filibuster, what topic would you choose?

7. What are ten things you’re thankful for today?

8. If you could be a character in a movie, who would you be?

9. What is your greatest pet peeve?

10. What is your weirdest quirk?

11. Do you make your bed everyday?

Nominees:

Aileen at Army Pants and Flip Flops

Ebenezer at ZinRunning

SenselessandWed

Meg at RunFitKin

David at CollegeTri

Leslie at AndHerLittleDogToo

I need eleven, so I’ll be updating this within the next day with the rest!

An update on my life:

Sorry I haven’t been updating the past two weeks – This time of year is hard for me because, for some reason, I always seem to get depressed for a few weeks in the beginning of spring. Not Christmas, like most normal seasonally depressed folks. So motivating myself to do things for the pure pleasure of it has been harder. But I’m forcing myself out and about because I need it. Don’t worry though, I still have a workout for all of you involving 50 kettle ball swings (oh faaaave) and pictures of Steve. letitstrengthenyou

I think I need to get back to doing things for me again. I’ve been really focusing on the guy in my life and, you know, it’s not healthy for me. Not insulting him or anything, just reminding myself that I should be finding things that make me happy and if someone else wants to share in them, they can.

I’m off to work – Hopefully I’ll have a post for you tomorrow afternoon!

– a.