addicted

Fruit.

Been eating a ton of it because it’s 0 points on the new Weight Watchers plan. And I’m enjoying it more than ever before.

I’ve been hearing that same sentiment from a lot of people who’ve tried the new WW plan. Being allowed to eat unlimited fruit without having to pay for it with your points bank, especially for those of us who followed the old Weight Watchers plan for years (where most fruits were 2 precious points per serving), is God’s gift to snacking.

I’ve actually never been a huge produce person. As a kid, it was a constant battle and as an adult, I know I’m supposed to eat produce, but ugh. I usually want a piece of bread or cheese instead. I also rarely cook, so unless someone else is preparing my veggies, I’m eating them raw. And fruit just never sounded quite as appealing to me as, say, a cookie.

But that’s all changed now that I can eat as many strawberries as my heart desires without worry. I’m obsessed. Now, at age 30, I’m finally getting nearly as many servings as one’s supposed to have in a day. And weight loss aside, I can totally tell. I feel healthier, I’m generally fuller longer and my skin even looks better. My therapist told me recently, “You’re glowing! I said, “It’s the bananas.”

I’m really into blueberries right now. Like, I’m inhaling almost a container’s worth a day. Can’t get enough.

 

spring in july

If you’ve yet to check out Spring, the site I’ve been contributing to lately, get on over there!

It’s a lovely corner of the web created by four successful, passionate women – entrepreneurs and bloggers in their own right – who’ve come together with a singular focus on mind: To inspire you to “design a life you love.”

Obviously, I like that.

Throughout the month of July (which is coming to such a swift and sudden close, I almost can’t believe it!), I wrote four pieces on the theme of Self Care:

Self-Love Advice from a Former Fat Girl

3 Reasons to Skip the Gym

A Lesser Person Couldn’t

Without Condition

I’ll be back contributing to Spring in August on the subject of, what else, inspiration! If there are any specific topics you’d like me to explore or any questions you’d like me to ponder in my August articles, shoot me an email: jenifercurran@gmail.com.

…and it’s good

You know what I realized?

It’s so easy to keep an automatic running list of what’s not good enough – what I’ve yet to do, yet to accomplish, what’s been hanging on my To Do List for weeks, the fact that I don’t keep my clothes folded as neatly as I “should,” that I wish our apartment had more light, that I am nervous to turn 30, that I’m too old, too young, too inexperienced, too unmotivated, too ambitious, not ambitious enough…

I could literally find a fault, major or minor, with every aspect of my life if I wanted to.

It’s a tape in my brain and it might be the default. It might play over and over again if I leave it unchecked. I have to actively work to change those messages, otherwise I will tell them to myself all day every day.

The funny thing, the TRUTH, is that there’s no way I’m as much of failure or a slacker or a troublemaker or a messy-clothes-offender as my brain would like me to believe. There’s just no way. Because I do my best every day to be a good person and to work toward things that fulfill me and to be supportive and kind in my relationships.

So why isn’t THAT the tape that runs automatically through my head?

I don’t know why it isn’t. But I don’t really need to know. All I need to do is gently switch that mean, judgmental, always-wants-more tape to “mute” and go about my happy life.

Because most everything is exactly as it should be.

And it’s good.

something to keep in mind…

Last week I wrote a post called “feed yourself – a word about diets and cleanses” and I told you about my friend Fitzalan, who discovered, after getting her resting metabolic rate tested, that she hasn’t been eating nearly enough calories to keep her body healthy.

Well, she has a new post up this week where she shares how things are going since she’s been increasing her daily calorie intake. She’s trying to eat more (while still making healthy choices) under the guidance of a nutritionist and has been doing so for a week. Guess what? SHE LOST TWO POUNDS. BY EATING MORE. Amazing…

Of course it doesn’t always work this way. Often we have to eat less to lose weight, but not in Fitzalan’s case. And it makes me wonder how many women are stunting their body’s natural processes by eating too little. Because they’re afraid to eat too much, because they think eating less is always better?

Now, F’s goal isn’t necessarily to lose weight – she wants to maintain her weight while being healthy. But isn’t it interesting as hell that she was eating less than 1400 calories a day forever and now she’s eating around 1700 calories a day – and she lost weight? The body is a fascinating machine. And it likes food.

Something to keep in mind…

who stands like that?

(image via Jezebel.com)

I’m not crazy about magazines like this one, but I’m not gonna lie – I totally read them from time to time. Like at the dentist’s office or the airport. Or when one winds up in my purse because somebody took money out of my wallet and handed it to the guy. Sheesh.

They’re candy, for sure. But I tend to agree with Jezebel.com‘s assertion that these types of magazines claim to be about women’s health, but are more often about how to lose weight, get thin and be a super woman while you do it.

Still, I usually feel hopeful when I open one up. Something on the cover catches my eye (“Get fit for life in 4 minutes a day and never break a sweat? NO WAY!”), but by the time I flip to the article, I’ve already seen 12 pictures of perfect women in bikinis who couldn’t pick a stretch mark out of a line-up, and four different “Lose 12 pounds in 2 Weeks!” diet menus that are so unrealistic for my lifestyle I might as well be homeless.

My self-esteem tries to pretend it hasn’t noticed the hot bikini babes or how different my thighs are from theirs, while I curse my inability to enjoy salmon. Or cook almost anything.

But, blah blah blah who cares, right? We’re all “victims” of our “culture” and who needs another blog entry about women’s magazines and how they make us feel bad about ourselves. (This won’t be the last one…)

I’m only bringing it up today to mention the following: Do you realize how far to the right Kim Kardashian is actually crossing her leg to achieve that weird angle? I mean, she looks good. But I guarantee, if you could see both her legs, they’d  look bizarre as heck. Who stands like that?!

Oh, magazines. We will never quit you. And you will never be honest with us. It’s the perfect dysfunctional relationship.

Pass the cookies!

feed yourself – a word about diets and cleanses

I don’t believe in cleanses. I don’t think they’re necessary. There, I said it.

I believe that our bodies like to eat, want food, need fuel, crave calories. I don’t believe in not eating for periods of time.

Yes, I realize there are certain cleanses where you do eat. I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about the ones where you drink juice.

I don’t have any scientific evidence to support my disbelief in cleanses. Although the Mayo Clinic does say, “The digestive system and bowel naturally eliminate waste material and bacteria — your body doesn’t need enemas or special diets or pills to do this.”

That. I like that.

Just Mary’s Mary Rambin is on a cleanse right now. I know she’s done cleanses in the past and I’m sure she’ll do them again. I don’t know her personally, I only read her blog, but I remember her once explaining via her blog her reasons for doing a cleanse and they all seemed valid and justified.

To each her own and I know Mary knows what she’s doing when it comes to her body.

Me? I don’t believe in cleanses.

While we’re on the subject of dieting and restrictive eating, I read something very interesting this week on Happiness Awaits, my friend Fitzalan’s blog. (Fitzalan is a great name, right?) In her post entitled “Nourishment” she talks about getting her resting metabolic heart rate tested. Here’s what she learned:

“I actually need 2187 calories a day…my goal is to maintain my weight. I have been getting ~1400 calories a day. I have basically been starving my body and that is why I am always exhausted and want to go to bed at 8PM.”

My jaw hit the floor when I saw that. She has been inadvertently denying her body almost 800 calories a day! I’m so happy for her that she discovered this.

Naturally, now that she’s challenged with the goal of consuming MORE food, not less, she’s nervous, like many of us would be. She said, “Eating more in my head equals gaining weight, which is something I obviously do not want to do.” She’s consulting a nutritionist to find out the best way to go about it.

I don’t write about Fitzalan’s situation to wag a finger at her – she was doing what many of us do – striving to maintain her weight, to be able to have an indulgence every now and then and not have to pay for it later. She was doing what she thought was best for her body.

But she was unknowingly starving herself to avoid gaining weight. I think her story is important.

Ladies, let us not go crazy with the rules and restrictions and 2, 3, or 5 pounds. In fact, I’m going to lighten up on myself about by my own goal to lose 10 pounds.

UGH. WHO CARES!

(Let’s be honest, I’m still trying to lose 10 pounds.)

My point is, crash diets and cleanses and not eating and not eating enough and over-exercising and stressing the fuck (yeah, I said it!) out about it all has got to stop. It’s good to be mindful about your health and weight, but Love First.

how to quit your job – 5 steps

If you want to quit your job, you are like a staggering number of people in America today. CBS News recently reported that only 45% of US workers find their jobs satisfying. And that’s lowest rate ever recorded in the 22 years they’ve been studying the issue.

If you aren’t happy at your job, why not take the plunge? Yes, there are risks. Yes, it can be scary. But quitting your job to pursue something that makes you happier and more fulfilled is never riskier and scarier than the alternative: remaining stuck a mindless cycle of dreading every day and complaining over a tub of ice cream or a bottle of wine every night.

I quit my job and lived to tell the tale. I worked as a grouchy office assistant for many boring years and it made me want to commit mass murder. I was the ugliest version of myself when I worked at that job. I was dismissive, short-tempered, difficult and I loved rolling my eyes behind people’s backs. (Okay, I still do that.)

Now, 7 months after quitting, I’m happier and more hopeful than I’ve been in years. I might even be a little smarter too. I’m not an expert, I’m just someone who’s been through it and come out thriving on the other side.

The list I’m about to share might seem simple. That’s on purpose. No matter what we may have been led to believe by maybe our parents, our culture, or our bank accounts, quitting your job is simple.

Scary? Risky? Non-traditional? Maybe.

Rocket science? Absolutely not.

Here’s how I did it:

1. Decide WHY. I knew I felt unhappy at my job, but I had to determine exactly why, or I wouldn’t know what I was aiming to fix.

Start by asking yourself why you don’t like the work you do. Is it the people? The atmosphere? The work itself? Is it you? Are you making the situation worse than it is?

Be honest and specific. Make sure you truly know why you want to quit.

2. Decide WHAT. What next? New office? Home office? New career entirely? New city? Decide what you want out of your new lifestyle. If you already know what you want to do – great! You’re well on your way.

For some people, deciding what’s next is the hardest part. Just remember, it doesn’t have to happen right away. Spend some time paying attention to details about yourself that you might not always consider. Like, do you like walking to work? Do you mind commuting? Do you want to work with people, or by yourself? Ask friends and family to tell you where they think your strengths lie. There’s information in those details. Take the time to figure it out.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do next when I set out to quit. I knew I wanted to work for myself, have more control over my own schedule, feel creative, productive and active. It took me about a year to mold that into a career direction. Once I quit my job, I ended up opening an online bakery, becoming a freelance writer and focusing more on my comedy career. And I’m still growing and changing all the time.

3. Decide WHEN. Give yourself a goal date. This helped me tremendously. When I was 27 years old I promised myself that I would quit my desk job by the time I turned 29. When that date rolled around a year and a half later, I briefly considered NOT quitting yet – maybe I could save more money, maybe it wasn’t the right time?

Ultimately, though, I knew I owed it to myself meet the deadline I’d set. When I really thought about it, a new reality was already within reach…so why not go for it? It was the right move. It got me out of a job that I could have stayed in my whole life.

What will it take to get to the next step? Classes? Networking with a new group of people? Delving deeper into a hobby to discover how you might be paid to do what you love? Determine what smaller steps you’ll need to take between now and then. Then set a deadline and commit to it.

4. Save money. From the moment you decide you want to quit your job – in fact, even if it’s just an inkling in the back of your mind – start saving money. Check out my article “10 ways to save for a desk job escape,” which I wrote a few weeks before I quit. Cut corners when you can and trust that you are building an essential nest egg to help fuel your journey outta the doldrums.

My savings was account one of the best things I did for myself. I was able to pull in new income shortly after my desk job ended, but I needed that savings to float me through a few tough months later on and to make ends meet along the way. I was really amazed at how far it took me.

5. Commit to yourself. This is the most important piece of advice I can give you. If you want to quit your job, only your commitment to doing so will make it possible. People who decide to change their lives actively change them, they don’t sit around waiting for it to happen. Lay the traps, write the plans, shake off the fear, bide your time – yes. But after that time is up, take action. There will definitely be days when it feels like a big mistake, the wrong decision, the path of most resistance. On those days, return to the WHY and the WHAT to strengthen your resolve.

You’ll never know what can be if you don’t follow your bliss. Go for it.

failure and living well

I was flipping through the May 2010 issue of Oprah Magazine last night (Yes, I read it. No, I’m not embarrassed about that.) And I came across this article all about failure and living well, written by Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote “Eat, Pray, Love” and “Committed.”

The whole piece is a great, quick read that I think every woman should read. Click here for the full article.

Here’s an excerpt:

By all rights, every one of these clever, inventive women should be radiant with self-satisfaction. Instead, they twitch with near-constant doubt, somehow worrying that they are failing at life…(And) all of them worry that they need to lose 10 pounds.

It’s terribly frustrating for me to witness this endless second-guessing. The problem is, I do it, too. Despite having written five books, I worry that I have not written the right kinds of books, or that perhaps I have dedicated too much of my life to writing, and have therefore neglected other aspects of my being. (Like, I could really stand to lose 10 pounds.)

So here’s what I want to know: Can we lighten up a little?

As we head into this next decade, can we draft a joint resolution to drop the crazy-making expectation that we must all be perfect friends and perfect mothers and perfect workers and perfect lovers with perfect bodies who dedicate ourselves to charity and grow our own organic vegetables, at the same time that we run corporations and stand on our heads while playing the guitar with our feet?

I loved this article – again, I recommend reading the whole thing – and I couldn’t agree with her more.

Try, just for a minute, to believe that everything you do and have right now is already exactly perfect. That your life today is as good as it’s ever going to get – that you will never exercise more than you do today, never be more organized, never use up your groceries any more efficiently, never fight with your spouse more constructively – the way you are today is how you will be forever.

Sure, it sounds boring and stifling. Because we are humans who thrive off growth and change. But isn’t there part of it that seems like a little bit of a relief?

We put so much pressure on ourselves to CONSTANTLY be improving, growing, changing, losing weight, gaining friends, making career advancements, having our laundry done, keeping the bathroom clean and fitting into our skinny jeans that the idea of turning off that motor for an afternoon (or a lifetime) has its merits.

I’m not saying we should stop striving. Striving is part of what it means to be a woman in today’s culture.

I’m saying we should be a whole lot nicer to ourselves about the whole game.

oil of olay – I did it!

I’m going to be 30 in less than six months.

I bought my first jar of fancy anti-aging night cream yesterday. This was on purpose. It’s time.

I tend toward melodrama.

So, I heard 7-in-1 Oil of Olay Total Effects (so many names!) is supposed to be the best of the drugstore variety.

It was $18 on sale at Target. I went there for it specifically (plus Kev and I each got a new bulletin board!), so it was a nice treat that it was on sale.

The face wash was also on sale for $6.70 and I grabbed it too. Who am I!?

I like both the products so far. The face wash feels really soft and gentle, and my skin feels more moist after I use it, even before I put lotion on. I love the way the night cream feels. It’s a little sticky at first, but then it starts to soften. And my skin felt great when I woke up this morning.

My only complaint is that both products are way too fragranced for me. I got some on my lip last night and I felt like I was tasting perfume all night long! Blech!

For $18, I’m glad I have it. Here I come, 30.

stupid brain

I took the day off today – something I don’t get to do as often as I thought I would when I quit my desk job last year.

I’ve been working a lot of hours lately – writing, baking, performing and rehearsing. I can’t wait for those hours to be fewer some day, but for now I am building something. It takes time!

It’s hard for me to take a day off – it gives me anxiety. I feel like there are things I could be doing, should be doing, like opportunities and paychecks are slipping through my fingers. It’s kind of ridiculous. So today, instead of staying cooped up in my house on the computer all day long, I decided to shut my own stupid brain up and enjoy the beautiful, warm spring Saturday, guilt-free.