Health and Fitness

I got a newsletter in my inbox today from a site that I ordered some fitness tapes from when I was in college. I never unsubscribed from their newsletter, and now that I'm older than 21 I actually really like to read them. Often they have excellent articles on why you shouldn't eat preservatives and processed food, or drink soda, or why moderation in your diet is the best policy instead of following fads. Today's newsletter gave a few tips on how tiny changes in your habits may make a big difference in your efforts to eat better, etc. I'll repost them here.

1. Wait 2 minutes. Cravings will disappear after two minutes if you walk away and turn your attention elsewhere.

2. W.I.W.M. When you really crave something unhealthy, answer this question: "What do I Want More," that piece of chocolate cake, or a body I feel proud of? And on rare occasions, it's okay to pick the chocolate cake!

3. No one's perfect. Don't allow one bad choice to result in bingeing the rest of the day, or falling back into old habits.

4. Focus. Make eating purposeful, not something mindless to do while watching TV, driving, or sitting in front of the computer. Whenever you put food in your mouth, try to engage all of the senses in the pleasure of nourishing your body.

5. Don't skip breakfast. Start eating a filling breakfast, but one that's lower in fat. It will help you eat fewer total calories throughout the day.

6. Veggies. Most of your plate should have veggies and/or fruit on it at both lunch and dinner.

7. See what you eat. Eat your food off of a plate instead of straight out of a jar, bag, or box.

8. Don't buy it. Stop buying the food you snack on all day. Just eliminate the temptation.

9. Eat more fruit. A person who gets enough fruit in their diet doesn't have a raging sweet tooth.

10. Watch what you drink. Cut back on or cut out high-calorie drinks like soda, sweet tea, lemonade, and especially alcohol. People have lost weight by just making this one change.

I especially like #1. I'm very prone to craving sweets and I don't even think about not giving into them. Maybe if I distracted myself for a minute, I could keep from eating a lot of the pastries and whatnot that I'm tempted to eat.

I do #4 a lot at work, but fortunately it's mindless snacking on all the produce I bring with me every day (carrots, oranges, apples, etc.).

On an unrelated note, I think I'm going to have to start paying for my gym membership out of pocket, so maybe I should get down there to those yoga classes that I'm so excited that they offer.
  • Current Music
    Jamie Cullum - Catching Tales
my kitty

The last 4 weeks

Ugh, I'm SO glad the last 4 weeks are over. It's been stressful and life-sucking, but I made it through. And actually feel good about it. :)

Let's recap:

Feb 7th - Genetics Department Journal Club presentation. I have never given journal club to this crowd before, and I wanted to do a good job, since there are some fairly intimidating faculty who regularly show up. I also didn't want to put everyone to sleep. I chose what I thought was a pretty provocative paper, but it was completely outside of my research area, so I had tons of background preparation to do in order to present the paper. This involved a few late nights at Tao of Tea, which I recently discovered. They have the most beautiful teaware! And really good food, with beautiful presentation. It's a shame they are a bit pricey. :( Anyway, the journal club went over famously. I was able to handle all the questions thrown at me, including some by my boss, and no one slept!! I even had people come up and talk my ear off afterwards about how they thought the paper directly related to their research. Crazy. :) I joked later to my friends that for next year's journal club presentation I can totally slack off because people will already have a good impression of me.

Feb 15th - Tartar Fellowship Application deadline. This was so not my finest hour. I was not very motivated to write for this, but I ended up pretty satisfied with the proposal (I looked back at last year's and it was ass). However, through some miscommunication, my boss ended up having to write my recommendation letter, oh, about an hour before the application was due. Yeah. Way to look like you're on top of things. I think I cried in the bathroom for a while after that went down because I felt like such a jackass. Thank god for classmates who can pick you up from a bad situation.

Feb 20th - Lab Meeting Presentation. Let it be known that I hate giving lab meeting. Primarily because my project seems to change so often that I come to lab meeting with very little data and a bunch of shit that I plan to do, because everything has changed since the last time I had to present. Whereas everyone else has all this data because their focus is always the same. Anyway. The point is that it's demoralizing. Until this time! This was my best lab meeting ever. I actually had an interesting piece of data, AND (with the postdoc's help) I had gotten our lentivirus protocol to work (not working great, but working), and had pictures of GFP-expressing cells to show for it. AND people actually talked and tried to give helpful suggestions instead of just staring at each other waiting for lab meeting to be over.

Here, have some GFP-expressing cells:

Mar 9th - First TAC Meeting So within 6 months of passing your qualifying exam, you are supposed to form a thesis advisory committee and have a meeting with them to get an idea of whether your thesis project is going in a viable direction. Preparing for this meeting means reading as much literature as humanly possible, writing a summary of your project, along with what you've accomplished, and putting together a presentation of your data and your plans. Problem is, this is supposed to be a helpful forum in which to guide you - but the only reference point you have thus far for being in a room with 5 faculty members and presenting a research proposal is your qualifying exam, a terrifying, fear-provoking reference point. Of course all the reassurance in the world from older grad students did nothing to assuage my crazed preparations for this meeting, complete with not being able to balance lab work and staying up until 5:30am the night before reading papers and finishing my powerpoint presentation. It was, of course, not at all like my qual, and was in fact actually a really good meeting. Everyone had good ideas and questions, and was very supportive. The 3 things of note: 1) if someone asked a question and my boss and I both started to answer, she would actually stop talking and let me answer, which I appreciated; 2) one guy had a really nice model system we hadn't thought of in which we could do some cool experiments, and he's going to help us set that up in our lab; 3) they kept questioning why we wanted to follow this one line of experimentation, but when it was clarified that the mutation I discovered is actually not published yet, they freaked out and said it was imperative that I follow that up (which is what my boss and I had been saying I was going to do all along! :P ).

So I spent all day Saturday in my pajamas (which was fabulous). Tomorrow it's back to the gym (that totally has been neglected since all this stuff had to be taken care of). And I just have some very straightforward things to do this week, and then I get to go home and visit my family! And my best friend happens to be home at the same time - I haven't seen her in almost 2 years! - and I will get to spend an entire day with her. I'm so stoked. :)
  • Current Mood
    pleased pleased
my kitty

New meme

I can never pass these up . . . :P

The Everything Test

There are many different types of tests on the internet today. Personality tests, purity tests, stereotype tests, political tests. But now, there is one test to rule them all.

Traditionally, online tests would ask certain questions about your musical tastes or clothing for a stereotype, your experiences for a purity test, or deep questions for a personality test.We're turning that upside down - all the questions affect all the results, and we've got some innovative results too! Enjoy :-)

You are more emotional than logical, more concerned about self than concerned about others, more atheist than religious, more dependent than loner, more lazy than workaholic, more traditional than rebel, more engineering mind than artistic mind, more idealist than cynical, more leader than follower, and more extroverted than introverted.

As for specific personality traits, you are adventurious (100%), intellectual (80%), adventurous (75%), romantic (71%).

Young Professional88%
Life Experience

Your political views would best be described as Socialist, whom you agree with around 83% of the time.
Your attitude toward life best associates you with Upper Class. You make more than 0% of those who have taken this test, and 45% less than the U.S. average.

If your life was a movie, it would be rated PG-13.
By the way, your hottness rank is 71%, hotter than 96% of other test takers.

brought to you by thatsurveysite

Now back to preparing for my TAC meeting. *sigh*
  • Current Mood
    chipper chipper
my kitty

Follow-up #1 to Obligatory New Year's post

So I thought I would post a follow-up to my New Year's post, and kind of assess how it's been going.

  • the gym. Had a little bit of a slip lately, since I had to give department journal club (which kicked so much ass, btw) and then I had the Tartar Fellowship deadline (I liked my proposal, so keep your fingers crossed), but prior to that I was keeping up with 3x a week or so at the gym. So I need to get back on the horse, now that those critical deadlines have passed. I really lost all balance trying to prepare for those 2 things, so hopefully I can do a little better for the next few school-related things I have coming up and not let them eat my life.

  • knitting. Hmmm. Well, I finished cygnusx5's scarf (though I need to get my finishing needle back from BP so I can tuck in the loose ends) . . . and that's about it. I haven't made it to any knit nights yet. I've been working pretty late and I haven't felt like going when Thursdays roll around.

  • having people over for dinner. Haven't followed through on this yet, but mnemosyne9 has volunteered to be our first victim! :P

  • taking advantage of cool Portland events. Okay, I'm starting to feel like a loser here . . . wait! I took a class at Tea Zone a few weeks ago - the one about pu-erh tea. And I signed cygnusx5 and me up for the Gongfu Ceremony class this month. And we took that massage class at PCC, even though it was kind of a bust. And we're going to Seattle to see Spyro Gyra, which isn't a Portland event, but it's something fun. :) So, ha! Guess I'm doing better at this one than I thought.

  • reading journal articles. Ah! I've been doing this too. :) And since I have a committee meeting on March 9th, and I want to write an NRSA for April 8th, I need to keep this up. :)

  • getting up in the morning. I was doing really well w/ this until I fell off the gym wagon. Some days I was even in lab and productive at 6:30am! (Which meant that my ass was on the Greeley bus at damn 5:30am . . .) That alone is back-pat-worthy. :) But even after I fell off the wagon, we've still been getting to work at least an hour earlier than before. So this is still a go. But I think I need to add getting more sleep to this plan as well.

  • getting a regular massage. I guess the PCC class counts for January, and I have a massage scheduled for next week, so I'm doing good with this as well. :)
  • Current Mood
    chipper chipper

Obligatory New Year's post

So even though I don't really believe in New Years Resolutions™ I thought I would use today as a time when I could look over my priorities and things that I've already thought about implementing in my life and jot them down.

  • the gym. I know, this turns up on everyone's list, but I've already started going a few times a week, now that the march wellness center is open. It's a really beautiful facility, and I have free access to their yoga classes. And they have a fantastic sauna in the women's locker room . . . it smells like warm pencil shavings. :) Anyway, I want to keep up with what I've already started, and eventually bump up the frequency to 3-4 days a week (once I'm not so freaking sore anymore!! I'm at 2 days a week right now). I'm not really going to monitor my weight or whether my ass/thighs shrink from my efforts - I really just care that I feel better, and the rest will follow in due time!

  • knitting. Something else I've already started back doing, since I'm currently making cygnusx5 a scarf, and I bought some yarn for a scarf for me as well as yarn to make scarves to hand out downtown, but mainly I need some help finishing the Hip Hop Coat I started *gulp* almost a year ago! To my credit, I ordered the yarn last January so I could put in 3 months of work on it before qual hell started, but then when it took 3 months for the yarn to show up (stupid fiasco with Blue Moon Fiber Arts, who I will NEVER buy from again), I've made slow progress. The back of the coat is finished, but that's all. And since the knitting involves some techniques I'm not really familiar with, I will need some help. So! The point here is that I have been meaning to go to the Thursday night open knitting at The Naked Sheep, and I will start doing that so I can finish my coat. That will force me to work on it, and maybe I can finally finish it! (and wear it before the summer)

  • having people over for dinner. I don't know why this doesn't occur to me, but we *never* have people over! I think that once a month we should have friends over for dinner. I really don't know why we don't already do this . . .

  • taking advantage of cool Portland events. Every week I read the Portland Mercury there are really cool theater productions, independent films, concerts (large and small), exhibits, and so on that we never take advantage of. Once a month, cygnusx5 and I should pick a cool event and go to it.

  • reading journal articles. One goal for school is to read more. I forget that it motivates me in the lab and makes me think about my project.

  • getting up in the morning. This is already partly tied to going to the gym in the morning, but cygnusx5 and I have gotten into a terrible habit of sleeping in on weekdays. I'd like to work harder to rectify that. Which reminds me to keep practicing this cool trick for not hitting the snooze button.

  • getting a regular massage. I have been so happy to be able to get a massage after big events like quals, but it would definitely serve me better if I got them on a semi-regular basis. I'm thinking maybe once a month would be good. Plus the march wellness center has a day spa and I get 10% off as a member. One of my friends mentioned their 30 minute "stress buster" neck and shoulder massage, which would totally fit the bill!

  • Current Mood
    pensive pensive
my kitty

new meme

Given that quals are hell, I figured it appropriate to see exactly *where* in hell I am.

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Third Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Low
Level 2 (Lustful)High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Very High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)High
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)High
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Moderate

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test
  • Current Mood

the anti-bingo!!

My husband and I went out to El Gaucho (a very nice steakhouse) for our anniversary tonight. This restaurant is well-known for its table-side flambe, including desserts like Bananas Foster.

So the flambe guy rolls his cart over to our table to prepare the Bananas Foster, and he's very chatty. Nice guy, quite jovial. He asks if we're celebrating anything tonight (the restaurant gets mainly business diners and special occasion diners), and we say its our anniversary . . .

Flambe guy (FG): Oh! You guys look happy . . . you must not have kids. *smiles*

me and hubby: *laugh* *laugh* Oh, that's funny!!

FG: Oh . . .you *do* have kids? *is confused* (apparently laughing didn't mean 'no')

me: no! (in a 'you've got to be kidding me' tone)

FG: Yeah, you guys look so relaxed . . .no cell phone on the table . . .
I was like that once!

me: *laugh* Huh, I never thought about that!

FG: You guys gonna have kids?

me and hubby: no, no . . . *grin at each other* (it's even funnier since I'm sterile now)

FG: more years of being happy then! *smiles* *flambes*

Chalk one up for childfree marriage, my friends! And happy anniversary to us!