Bittersweet

Days off are just the best. Having a bonus day is a freeing feeling. The weekend is obviously wicked great but an extra day off- damn. I can’t say enough how much I appreciated not having to go into work today. Thank you, Presidents. Also my apologies to those reading who didn’t have a free day today- you know I’d give you one if I was in charge!

I planned last week to go to ZenGo Fitness in Bethesda, MD today. It’s a spin studio a little out of my way, but I wanted to try spin somewhere other than my gym to get a better feel for what’s out there. When I found out that your first class (and spin shoe rental) is free and didn’t have money holding me back, I decided to go for it.

Now- I had heard “things” about ZenGo. And by things I mean- it’s a hardcore experience. It’s pretty much like what you think of when you hear someone say “spin class.” Loud music. Dark room. Shouting instructors. At my gym, spin is always a challenge, but the instructors don’t yell or scream. The music is awesome, but they don’t blast super fast beats and blare intensity into your face. Spin at my gym is a good balance of being difficult but also encouraging and fun. Hence why I go he he.

The description ZenGo gives of its style is as follows:

Impactful beyond recognition, this is not your garden-variety cycling class. ZenGo provides an experience so intense and unparalleled, your mind, body and life will soon crave the charge.

I really had no idea what to expect but after a solid breakfast of overnight oats (today’s variety was made with coconut milk, pineapple, and banana… I’m preparing for my April vacation to Miami, guys), I headed up to Bethesda to check this place out.

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It was a really cool little studio and the staff were all wicked nice to me. Plus- the whole experience was free and you can’t beat that. I felt a little out of place with the type of people who were there- think very rich Bethesda power couples on a day off from their high paying fancy jobs. Bethesda is known for being populated with wealthy, highly educated adults. There were a lot of stay at home Mom types in their brand name workout gear and a lot of pairs of Uggs in the shoe cubbies. No judgement- just very different from the “grittier” feel of my gym and the people who go there.

Also, I had never worn spin shoes before! My gym lets you wear your sneaks. It was kind of cool actually to lock into the bike with the special shoes. I felt like I had better control over my feet because they couldn’t slip out of the holsters.

Now for my review of the actual class… holy crap. A little too much for my liking but it was definitely fun. While the instructor was nice, I just don’t really like people grunting, yelling, and screaming at me. Some of her “motivational pushes” just felt kind of fake- I wasn’t buying it. I feel bad saying that but I honestly didn’t feel motivated by her shouting things like “show me your swag” in a kind of weird, deep, sexual sounding voice. It’s even weirder thinking about it in hindsight.

Other ways this class was different than what I was used to:

  1. There was very little structure to how much resistance should be on your bike during each segment of the songs. She would say “high resistance” sometimes, but I always felt unclear if I should be on a hill, sprinting, or what. There were parts where she would say high resistance so I would be slowly spinning my wheels pushing forward, but then I looked around and saw people flyyyying on their wheels. I thought to myself, soooo what are we doing now? a bunch of times.
  2. They incorporated a lot of arm work to exercise our abs in addition to just straight up spinning. We did a lot of leaning back and leaning forward which amounted to crunches basically
  3. There were light hand weights involved briefly toward the end of the class. I finally discovered why 1-2 lb. hand weights exist!

I will say- the music playlist was great. Ending the class with a Coldplay sprint was amazing. And I had to fight the urge to belt out some Taylor Swift when that was played. Also, the room itself was pretty cool (definitely not temperature wise). It was super dark and super low lit. The bikes felt so shiny and new to me- sometimes really nice exercise equipment is refreshing to workout with.

I don’t think I’ll be going back, but I thank ZenGo for giving me a solid workout. I definitely sweat up a storm. The people were nice and I’m glad I gave it a shot, but at the end of the day, drop-in classes are too expensive and it’s kind of a hike from where I live. BUT more importantly I think I just prefer the more low key nature of my gym and how we do spin.

The rest of today has been spent catching up on Season 2 of Girls, doing some blog work, and playing with my new Erin Condren planner! If you’re looking for a wonderful life planner, this brand was recommended to me by a good friend (shout out to Alex!) and so far I love it.

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P1000467Even though I run my life based around my Google calendar- if I had life my way- technology would be obsolete and we’d all go back to pen and paper times. My blog would be a weekly column in some magazine and we’d all be offline. BUT I digress and conform to society. ANYWAY I prefer having things written on paper so having a sturdy and pretty life planner to carry around with me shall be great.

I hope this planner can help me feel more organized and at ease. I also hope it can remind me to yes plan, but also take one day at a time.

With all the food changes going on in my life per recommendations of my registered dietitian, not getting overwhelmed and taking one day at a time has been key. I’ve always struggled with that concept but I’m trying even harder these days to remember it and embrace it.

One of the things my R.D. wants me to do everyday is to eat a snack after dinner as a way to up my calorie intake. When she initially said that I was totally on board. Then she said that she wanted it to be something like chocolate or cookies. Now don’t get me wrong- I love both of those things and still have been consuming them occasionally since I started my healthy lifestyle journey. BUT having them every night? I cannot lie, the thought definitely stressed me out. I’m sure you’re laughing right now- wow she’s complaining about having to eat DESSERT every single night. what a hard life. how is that even a challenge. Hell, the Allison of a year ago is shaking her head at me. But you have to understand that its something I’m not used to. Eating dessert every single day was something I used to do when I was really unhealthy with my eating habits. I of course worry that this will lead to a slippery slope of bad habits that I used to have and that I’ve worked so hard to change.

But I have to remind myself that all the changes I made and bad habits I broke over the course of the past year were forever changes. I made them and have stuck to them because they are changes I believe in. So while I am mandated to eat ~200 calories of chocolate and a glass of milk tonight, that doesn’t mean tomorrow I’m going to go hog wild and eat a pan of brownies or a giant cake. Everything in moderation- I know that- my brain knows that- and that belief isn’t going to change. Right now, my body needs more. It needs these things to help me gain weight and help my mental recovery.

I will not sabotage my progress and journey of gaining more weight. I will stick to the doctor’s orders and have my final meal of the day which is no longer dinner, but dessert. It’s bittersweet (quite literally)- it’s fun to be eating desserts every night (and when Will is here he partakes with me so I know he’s lovin’ it) but it’s also a HUGE stressor for me. But I wouldn’t be making progress in my R.D. goals if I didn’t feel like all this was challenging.

Plus, I’ve allowed this assignment to open up some doors into the world of sweets here in DC. I’ve been slowly making my way through all the treats this city has to offer, but now I can tackle my dessert to-do list so to speak a little faster. Definitely a pro of this new R.D. plan. Some of my nights will be something more along the lines of a KIND bar or some chocolate covered raisins, but I decided to make tonight a dessert out night- it’s a holiday, right?

Today I walked into Sticky Fingers Bakery in Columbia Heights for the first time (a crime, I know). I’ve been meaning to go but never got around to it.

Screenshot 2013-02-18 at 5.42.19 PM

They’re a well known establishment around here and they specialize in vegan friendly products. On their website they explain part of their credo:

Taste is the first and foremost priority. Making vegan sweets and eats which are healthier than the non-vegan counterparts, but just as tasty, is our mission. If we won’t eat it, neither will you. So far, we seem to be getting it right. After 10 years in the making, we are growing strong and setting the bar for all vegan bakeries and cafes.

The story of its creator is so fascinating and downright cool!

Sticky Fingers is the food-child of Doron Petersan, junk-foodie genius. Living the life as an Italian-Jew from New York-turned-vegan was ever so challenging. Craving traditional guilt laden foods, she was determined to unlock the secrets of creating their animal-free counterparts for everyone to enjoy. With a degree in nutrition and food science, Doron brought memories of favorite treats to vegan reality.

While they have a wide selection of eats available (which I cannot wait to go back and try), I knew what I was there for: a cupcake. Deciding which one was the hardest part but I made my choice: Salted Chocolate Caramel.

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P1000471The frosting slid around a bit on my way home but say hello to my final meal of the evening. I’m pumped to find out what all the positive buzz is about.

Also when I was out, I had to grab some new quality pens for my planner (it deserves the best treatment and I’m so OCD) and some body wash. When I was at CVS I spotted these:

P1000469I recently discovered how much I love prunes but I had bought whole prunes. I’ve been trying to slice them myself to add to oatmeal and yogurt but they’re so sticky and not very easy to cut. I had no idea they had an alternative! I gasped when I saw these. I actually had the same reaction for the prune raisins that I did for the cupcake. Who am I? Hey- prunes are DELICIOUS. Try them.

Alright. On that note. It’s time for me to bid you all adieu for the evening. I may just finish season two of Girls tonight… have I mentioned how much I love days off?

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo

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10 thoughts on “Bittersweet

  1. I remember when upping my calorie intake was really challenging at first but I found that when I had treats I truly enjoyed-albeit terrifying, like an ice cream sundae- it made it infinitely easier to get those calories in. It will take getting used to but I’ve honestly found that dessert is the one meal that I DONT fear. It’s upping my regular meals that has always been the hardest for me.

  2. If you want some recipes for less scary desserts, I have some ‘healthier’ recipes. Oatmeal applesauce cookies (lots of fiber!) and whole wheat angel food cake (super high in protein!) are two of my faves.

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