Monday, January 31, 2011

My Tried-And-True, Make-Me-Famous Diet and Exercise Plan!

So I was one of those losers who made a New Year's Resolution to eat better and go to the gym more. I'm doing it a little differently this year though. Instead of following a specific dieting or exercise plan, I'm just kind of winging it. That's usually a disaster for someone like me - I usually require very strict rules for this sort of thing, otherwise I go tumbling off the wagon faster than you can blink. But I figured that I'd give the whole no-structure thing a try, and see where it went. 

After a month of doing things my way and still seeing results, I excitedly spoke to my parents about how much money I'm going to make when I market this delightful new weight-loss and tone-up plan to the masses. I've seen results in only 4 weeks - that's even less than the Special K diet boasts, and my way sucks a lot less than eating Special K for 2 meals a day! 

But since I love you guys, my dear readers, I'm going to let you in on the secrets of my plan. It's called the "Eat as much greek yogurt, eggs, and salad as you want, chug one protein shake after every work out, drink lots of water, and go to the gym 4 or 5 times a week" plan. 

As I explained this to my mother, I stopped to laugh as soon as I finished reciting that very long title, and said "Oh wait... someone has already come up with that, haven't they? It's called common sense." 

As much as I'm sure Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers don't want you to know this, the biggest dieting secret of them all is that there IS no epic weight loss secret, and you don't have to pay any of these companies to tell it to you. I haven't cut anything completely out of my diet. I still have a drink when I'm out at the bar. If I'm PMSing and I want a piece of chocolate, I have it. I just do what makes sense. Eat things that you know have nutritional value, not empty calories. Don't drink away your calories with soda and sugary juices when you can have water, coffee, or all natural juice. Don't get suckered in by all the frozen diet meals that have enough sodium to choke a horse. (Yea, I eat them sometimes too, just not EVERY NIGHT). 

And if you do have a night where, say, it's your birthday and this guy you used to work with brings you his awesome lemon squares and you're at your favorite bar with the great mozzarella sticks and you can't help but have some... go ahead. Don't beat yourself up about it, but just don't let it happen again for a little while. And maybe push yourself a little harder at the gym the next day. The more you deny yourself things and make yourself miserable, the less you're going to want to stick to it. Any woman knows that telling yourself you can't have chocolate when you're PMSing is cruel and unusual punishment. 

So the bottom line here is... you can lose weight, or tone up, and see results in a fairly short time just by USING COMMON SENSE! It's not as bad as you think it's going to be. 


Friday, January 28, 2011

When I Grow Up...

When we're kids, we all talk about what we're going to be when we grow up. And for years now, I've been waiting for that magical moment when I "grow up". When I'm a full fledged adult, and I look like it, and I act like it. But I look around me, and I look at my peers, and all I can think is... we're getting older, but we're not growing up. Or at least, a lot of us aren't. Our manner of dress hasn't changed, and we still watch the same kinds of movies. Some of us go to work, but we still talk and act the same way we did in high school. Is there some big change that is still forthcoming, or did I blink and miss it? 

Or is it that there's no great change at all? I can point to people ten years my senior who are no further along in their lives than I am right now. I can point to people twenty years my senior who have established careers, but socially behave as though they're still 17. I can look at so many people that I know, or am friends with, and wonder "Do we ever really grow up?" 

In some cases, it makes me happy. I like knowing that there's no cut-off age for thinking Harry Potter is cool, and that I'm still allowed to get excited over watching a Disney movie. But in many cases, it troubles me deeply. Does this mean that we might not necessarily reach a point where we're willing to commit to mature relationships? Are some people just never going to stop being selfish and insensitive? Is binge drinking going to continue to be amusing to some of us for the next fifteen years? Is dabbling in drugs still going to be the fad when we're in our thirties? When are we going to look in the mirror and say "Alright, it's time to stop this bullshit."? 

Those of you who have known me a while know that I have dated a very wide range in ages. In spite of this, many of the older men I've dated were no more mature than I am right now. Sure, I had the one who actually acted his age (with the appropriate degree of bitterness to boot... oy!) but most of the rest? Not so much. I mean, really, who continues to string women along and manwhore at age 46? Who continues to lay around the house stoned into their 30's? I have a less wide-ranging view of women, simply because most of my female friends are a lot closer to my own age. But we're not angels either - most of my female friends in college didn't give a crap about when they graduated, or if they did at all. We're living in the age of apathy, it would seem. No one cares enough to motivate themselves to do the right thing... or to do anything at all! 

The more I sit around and think about it, the more I think my epiphany about growing up actually came three years ago, when my roommate dropped out of college. I had gone off to college and immediately morphed into an OBNOXIOUSLY good girl. I went to class every day, I got good grades, I made Dean's List (a trend that I believe continued every semester), I got a job (which I still have), I didn't drink (oh, how the mighty have fallen...), or smoke, or do drugs, or have sex (What? Don't have sex, because you get pregnant and die!). The more my roommate cut class, drank, and didn't fulfill her obligations, the more I took it upon myself to succeed and prove that I was above that kind of behavior. I still think that in my first year of college, I aged about 10 years. 

And yet, it hasn't done me much good. I've graduated now, but I don't feel any more grown up. And looking around me, I'm not sure I'm supposed to. I don't know anyone in their 20's who I would consider a grown up, and I have friends who are married, engaged, pregnant, working, graduated, raising kids, and all manner of other things one would associate with "adulthood". But still, something's missing. Perhaps it's in the way we carry ourselves, or the way we regard ourselves. Perhaps we don't want to get there yet - perhaps we're not ready. Or perhaps we're already as grown up as we're going to get...


Sunday, January 9, 2011

An Education

I just finished re-watching a film my ex-boyfriend introduced me to over the summer. It's called "An Education", and it's about a young girl studying to apply to Oxford who falls for with an older man. He shows her the finer and more exciting things in life, though throughout the course of the film, it becomes apparent that he's not the most upstanding of citizens. However, in spite of being an incredibly intelligent girl, and in spite of seeing this unfortunate truth, the girl sticks it out. She sticks it out until it's impossible to do so any longer. 

All through the film, I'm sitting there shaking my head. "Get out while you can, Jenny," I think, the first time she questions this man's character. Because I've been in her shoes. We all have, I think. We find someone we like, they make our life exciting, and so we make concessions. We overlook their flaws. We let them get away with murder because it's easier to just focus on the good things, and ignore the less savory traits, even if we logically know we're there.

I've probably done this more times than one person ever should. I've dated some real douchebags, manipulators, potheads, manwhores, unmotivated slackers, insensitive assholes, and emotionally abusive jerks. When I'm really lucky, I get a spectacular combination of many of these traits in one loser. 


When it comes to the end, I'm always the one who gets dumped. I'm never the one to walk away first. And somehow, I always wind up heartbroken. Which is the mother of all ironies, considering that by that point, I've realized that I'm in a bad situation, and haven't done anything to change it. In fact, once I'm deeper into relationships, I find that I spend  a lot more time miserable than I spend happy. Whether it's because I'm worried about the other women they're seeing, or frustrated that they're not communicating with me, or straight up angry that they're taking me for granted, I am often unhappy. 

So as I watch this film, and I watch this girl stick it out because things are exciting, and maybe that balances out the sting of sadness when something bad happens, I see myself. And I see many of my friends, too. I've hated plenty of guys my friends have gone out with, and I'd never understood why they were sticking it out with them as much as we tried to make them see they were no good. 

Why in the heck do we do it? Why do we subject ourselves to that kind of unhappiness? It doesn't make any sense. I know I tell myself when I'm in the moment that the moments of happiness outweigh all the things that I can see so plainly to be wrong. And maybe they are. But most of the time... I don't think so. 

I think sometimes we're blinded and comforted by the kind of security there is in being in a relationship, even if it's a bad one. I was always able to find some sort of comfort in the idea that at the end of the day, I had someone, and I had hope that it would work. Even if I was miserable at the time. Which makes no sense at all, because hoping it would work would only be hoping to resign myself to more misery, or hoping that the guy would change and suddenly stop sleeping with other women, or sitting on the couch smoking pot, or manipulating my emotions. And we all know that the latter doesn't happen - we can't change people who don't want to be changed. 

So what do we do? How do we learn from our mistakes and get ourselves out of situations we know are no good for us? Am I the only one who continues to make the same mistake over again? 


Saturday, January 8, 2011


Earlier this week, I got a phone call from a theatre in Virginia where I had applied for a job nearly a month ago. I've been firing off resumes left and right lately, but I haven't gotten many calls. In fact, I was taken completely off guard by what turned into a phone interview, because it had been so long since I'd applied, and I didn't really think I'd get the job. 

Later in the day, two of the people on my reference list contacted me to let me know the theatre had contacted them to ask about me, and that they'd given me glowing reviews. Now, I'm generally a pessimist when it comes to the job hunt, but after hearing this, even I had to stop and think about it for a moment.

The job would require me to pick up and move to Virginia for a year. If they offered it to me... would I go? 

I wasn't sure then, and I'm not sure now. For as much as I always want to just go someplace else, there is always something holding me back. Some doubts, or some attachments, there's always something. 

So what's holding me back this time? Well, for starters, I've still got a few months left on the lease for my apartment. I'm not going to get to live in a building this nice for a long time after my lease is up, so I might as well enjoy it, right? And my retail job... I don't like it anymore, and yet, after 3+ years I still haven't been able to pack it in and just quit. And then there's a boy. There's always a boy. There's always a boy, the situation is always complicated, but it always makes me want to stick around with high hopes that things will work out for me. They generally don't, but hey, who knows? 

It's ironic, but the thing I never seem to worry about is my friends and family. My family is my family, and they'll be here for me when I get back regardless of where I go. And my friends, if they're true friends, will be too. So when I look at the stuff that makes me doubt whether I should leave... I feel stupid. 

A friend of mine from high school packed up and moved to New Zealand last week. I had fallen mostly out of touch with him, and was completely shocked when he told me. And incredibly jealous. Partially because I've always wanted to go to New Zealand, but mostly because he's got courage and freedom that I crave, but never seem to have. 

I can't figure out why, but it seems I always feel stuck.