On Sheeple and Smart Cars

Everyone has an opinion.

For a few years now, I’ve had no car. It’s been moderately unpleasant, but not excruciating.

On one hand,  life without a car in New Jersey can be tricky, especially as a lawyer and as someone who dabbles in local politics.

On the other hand, I live in a very urban area.  My town sits directly on the Hudson river across from midtown NYC, and having a car around here is a pain. Parking is expensive (200-300$ month), unpredictable, and inconvenient.  Even if you can afford parking, good luck finding it.

Despite living in an urban area with a terrible parking situation, I recently came to feel like my lack of transportation was holding me back.

I needed a car, but I needed something cheap and I wanted something tiny. I did my research, and test drove about a billion cars (well, actually just a few). Finally, I narrowed my search further to just two contenders:

  • The Fiat 500; and
  • The 2016 SMART ForTwo

In all honesty, I preferred the Fiat. The Fiat is slightly bigger (which I didn’t like) and slightly more expensive (which I felt was OK). But the Fiat is real car whereas the SMART is *almost* a real car.  So in an ideal world, I would have gone with the Fiat.

Unfortunately, although similarly priced, the lease terms on the Fiat were not feasible for me, while the SMART was very much affordable. Also, if I chose Fiat, I’d have to shell out an additional $200/month for parking (at least!), whereas the SMART parks for free. So I went with the Smart car.

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Here I am in my silly little car.

I really love my little Smart car, but it’s a weird car and it’s not for everyone. First, it’s about half the size of standard car. Second, it only has two seats. To make things worse, previous models have been heavily trashed due to poor performance.

For most people, the SMART is the definition of impractical. But for me, it’s the most practical car I could have right now. I have no children and no need (or desire) for a roomy car. I live in a land notorious for a lack of parking. I like how it drives, and also, I can afford it.  Most importantly, I can park it.  In sum: it works for me.

So why am I posting this on FatGirlsFitness?  Because my car works for me, and it might not work for you. And that’s a metaphor that transcends the automotive realm.

Here Come the Trash Talkers

Since I’ve gotten my new car, I’ve heard nothing but trash about my decision.  A normal thing to say to someone upon the acquisition of a new vehicle might be something along the lines of “hey dude, congrats!”  But be wary my friends.  If you get a weird car, the opinions will come, and they won’t stop coming.  They’ll say:

“Wow – you actually paid for that golf cart?”
“That’s not safe on the highway”
“Did you do your research? You could have gotten a 2003 Acura for the same price.”

Here’s the thing.  I  really don’t want a 2003 Acura, so please don’t make me have one. I want a 2016 SMART. How do I know? Because that’s the car I got. And interestingly enough, every single person who has actually stepped foot into my car loves it. It’s only those who have zero experience with my car who seem to develop such strong feelings against it.

So yes, I actually paid for the “golf cart.” Actually, I find it drives beautifully on the highway – you should try it.  Yes, I did exhaustive research. In fact, it was based on that research that I determined that the Smart is the most practical choice for me.

But still, it might not be practical for you.  And that’s OK.  That doesn’t mean it’s impractical for me.

Teachable Moments

I think there are more than a few teachable moments in the tale of my new adorable car.

  1. People have a hard time wrapping their heads around things that are unusual or new, but most still feel a need to have an opinion on all things. It could be your car, your diet, your job,  or your fitness routine. This is human nature.
    • “CARS SHOULD HAVE FOUR SEATS AND SHOULD BE A OF A CERTAIN SIZE”
    • “Fat is the devil”
    • “If you don’t eat six meals a day, you’ll go into starvation mode”
    • “You can never lose weight without a dedicated workout regime”
  2. What works for you might go entirely against conventional wisdom for any number of reasons. Maybe conventional wisdom is wrong, or maybe it simply doesn’t apply to your circumstances. Maybe conventional wisdom is 100% right, and you are a freaky mutant who just won’t listen. So who cares? Be your freaky mutant self. You weren’t put on this earth to be practical. You were put on this earth to do whatever  it is you want to do. (Unless what you want to do is diss my car).
  3. Peer pressure is strong.  We are hardwired to want acceptance. Why else am I writing this blog post? In some way, I’m still trying to justify my “impractical” decision to the universe, even though I know in my brain that I made the right choice for me

Moral of the story?

Don’t give in to those who will shower you with haterade.  If you do anything in this world, you’re going to get criticism that you probably don’t deserve, even if it’s something as seemingly inconsequential as leasing an unusual car.  Take the criticism, and use it only to the extent that it benefits you.

But if you do give in,  that’s ok too. You might end up with a 2003 Acura. And maybe (just maybe) that would be the perfect car for you.

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Happy Holler-ween

As the sluttiest of all holidays, Halloween is a great time to enjoy those weight loss results.

Here is what I look like now:

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neanderthal

And here is what I used to look like just a few years ago:

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yikes!

Just in case you think I’m particularly strong in the willpower department, I can assure you that I’m not.

I’m also not particularly hard-working, never deny myself chocolate, and NEVER exercise unless I actually want to (that said, I enjoy walking).

I’ve struggled with weight for a long time, and it took me a lifetime to figure out what works for me. For me, it boils down to three things:

  1. Keeping bad stuff out of the house;
  2. Setting myself up for success (ie.. understanding the reality of willpower depletion, and knowing my own weaknesses);
  3. Eating mostly veg, and a little bit of everything else

This is not just about looks.  It’s about empowerment mental health, and also physical health.  It’s about being a version of yourself that you are genuinely proud of.

Living a lifestyle that allows you to feel and look your best is not easy, but it’s also not that hard.  Every person deserves to look as beautiful and vivacious on the outside as they feel on the inside.  You just need to figure out what works for you. And never give up on yourself.  Past results are NOT binding! 

If you find yourself in a bad place now, just know that I’ve been there, and so have my friends and co-contributors to this blog. I don’t mean to say you’re not good enough as you are, but rather that you should live the full life you want to live.

You don’t have to lose a billion pounds this week, and you don’t have to run a marathon today.  Just make one small change and stick to it this week.  Next week, try another.

If I can do it, then anyone can do it.  Put in the effort now, and make the small changes.  By next Halloween, you’ll be strutting your stuff with the best of them 🙂

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Cheat Clean Pizza

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This pizza is awesome and so is my Pusheen cat eating pizza shirt

You are so lucky that I am not greedy when it comes to sharing food or I would have never provided this gem of a product to you. It’s called Real Good Pizza and it’s delivered straight to your door.

Christmas came early this year and all of Santa’s Little Helpers are putting together these little, beautiful, tasty pizzas to drop at your front door. Just because you’ve eaten bad here and there doesn’t mean you’ll get a lump of coal this year. Santa actually wants to help you reach your goal while enjoying guilt free, gluten free, grain free pizza.

Whoever created this is like the Steve Jobs of pizza or wait, the Mozart of pizza, ok last one, the Picasso of Pizza (ba dum tss!)

These 5” pizzas are packed with 25g of protein and only 4g net carbs. This is a low carbers dream! Three styles available for purchase: Pepperoni, Supreme, and Three Cheese 

Shipping is free and usually arrives within 2-3 business days and if you use code Rachel , you will get an additional 10% off your order.

Prep is easy as well- either microwave or oven and it has such a fresh taste. I served it along side a salad and was totally satisfied. My Husband is a huge evening snacker but he was so happy with this dinner that he didn’t reach for a snack last night. This is the definition of #cheatclean

One more thought before I go-

Pizza is life!

XOXO,

Rachel

Crock pot comfort soup

I love stews, soups, and meat and potatoes… Guess that’s the Russian in me, huh?

It’s almost October and while the days are still warm the nights are getting cooler. I love fall weather, fall outfits, decorations, tea and coffee… Call me a Basic Bitch but I don’t care!

The crock pot gets used here and there throughout the warmer months but it really takes real estate on the kitchen table during the colder months. I am a huge fan of soup. I could eat it breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s filling, easy to make, low cal/low carb and comforting. I made a huge batch Sunday night and having it for lunch every day this week.

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I got a little over zealous with the black pepper yesterday

1.5cup per serving

Ingredients:

  • 2 large onions-diced
  • 2 large celery stalks-diced
  • 2 large carrots-diced *In our house, the more carrots the better. Especially because our dog loves boiled carrots. Most of the time, I empty a small bag of baby carrots in the soup and scoop a bunch out for Mr.Marty Party Pants
  • 4 slices cooked bacon diced (do not get rid of bacon drippings)…If you prefer sausage, I bet some crumbled sausage would be good
  • 1 TSP Salt and pepper (or more to taste)
  • Italian seasoning to taste
  • 4 cups chicken broth (I used College Inn)
  • 1 LB boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into itty bitty pieces
  • 2 Cups fresh spinach
  • *Red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

  • Cook bacon
  • While bacon is cooking, chop up onions, carrots and celery
  • Chop up chicken and season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning
  • Remove bacon from pan and cook chicken in drippings (add oil or butter if needed) until chicken is browned
  • Remove chicken and saute veggies for about 5-10 min then add one cup of the chicken broth and cook for another 5 minutes, scraping the pan to loosen browned bits
  • Add chicken, veggies, bacon and remaining broth to crock pot and cook on high for 3 hours
  • After 3 hours, add spinach and stir till wilted

The end!

XOXO,

Rachel

Hump Day snackaroo

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This picture does the fudge no justice…just sayin’ …don’t judge a book by it’s cover

On Wednesday’s I usually post music to get us through the rest of the week but today I decided to share a no bake-6 ingredient fudge recipe.

Some strawberries, fudge and a little mid week lovin’, not a bad deal, huh?

Low carb mid week lovin’ fudge:

Ingredients:

  • 3oz Baker’s unsweetened chocolate (this can be purchased at any supermarket in the baking aisle) *one bar has eight servings = 90cal per serving 1g of NET carbs per serving
  • 4tbls butter
  • 1 tbls coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter (or peanut butter of choice)
  • 1 tbsp sugar free syrup- I used Torani (Found mine at Home Goods)
  • 1/3 cup honey but I am sure agave or maple work

Directions:

  • Melt all ingredients in microwave or double broiler if you have the patience
  • Line a meatloaf pan with parchment paper
  • Pour mixture evenly throughout pan
  • Freeze for about 2 hours but longer the better

XOXO,

Rachel

 

Updates-Taco Tuesday Recipe-Music

Hi All,

Can’t believe it’s already September! Speaking of which….Why are Halloween decorations already for sale? No, wait, why are THANKSGIVING decorations already for sale?

Stop- slow down…smell the roses! Time is flying by so fast… everybody needs to relax.

My Husband and I completed our second mud run- Warrior Dash … what can I say, we love getting down and dirty.

We wanted to get one more trip in before the end of the year so we will be celebrating Thanksgiving in Prague!

This past weekend my two other blog-mates and I got to stand along side our friend and watched her marry the love of her life.

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I discovered a delicious taco bake recipe that I would like to share with all of you! I am in love with this recipe for several reasons: It’s versatile (can add/swap ingredients), make a big batch to last all week or to freeze, it’s low carb, easy and quick to cook.

Taco bake recipe found here *I did make some changes to fit my needs so check out the original if you do not wish to follow mine

Ingredients

Crust

  • 4oz of cream cheese softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon taco seasoning
  • 8oz shredded cheddar cheese (I used taco blend- that’s what I had on hand)

Topping

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 teaspoons taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (I did not have this on hand so I used marinara and tasted just fine!)
  • 4oz chopped green chilies
  • 4oz shredded cheddar cheese (I used taco blend)

Directions 

  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • Beat cream cheese and eggs until smooth
  • Add whipping cream and seasoning- blend well
  • Grease a 9 x 13 pan
  • Spread shredded cheese evenly throughout the bottom of the pan and slowly and evenly pour egg/cream cheese mixture on top
  • Bake for approx 30 min
  • While your crust is baking, cook the beef until brown.
  • Drain fat
  • Stir in chilies, taco seasoning and tomato sauce
  • Once crust is cooked, remove from oven and let it sit for 5 min. Then spread meat mixture over crust, top with additional shredded cheese.
  • Lower oven temp to 350F
  • Bake for another 20 min or until bubbly. I like my cheese more burnt so I baked for approx 30 min.

Additional topping ideas:

  • Salsa, guacamole, sour cream, scallions.

I divided the pan into 8 squares- one square for lunch each day this week and some left over slices for Hubby to enjoy with a side of brown rice and salad.

Sooooo… some music for ya. I have to listen to people all day long and sometimes, I just love the silence. Don’t we all? But, I don’t like to work out in silence… that’s just boring. I have found a happy medium for anyone in the same predicament.

Instrumental music! Don’t sigh at me. Give it a chance… here is some of the music I’ve been listening to:

Lindsey Stirling- Swag

Lindsey Stirling- The Arena

Lindsey Stirling- First light

Audiomachine- Legions of Doom

Jorge Quintero- 300 Violin Orchestra

London Music Works- Requiem For a Tower

Roberto Concina Escala Chris Elliot- Children

I have some more recipes for you but I will be posting in the days to come. Let me know if you like this music, I can give you all some more ideas.

Xoxo,

Rachel

 

Indecisions of Greatness

 

I don’t think I’m alone in hating decisions. They’re hard. They suck up your life energy.  Before I make a decision, I feel like my stomach is going to fall through my asshole.  Immediately afterwards, I feel like a wet rag and my brain hurts.

I’m working on getting better at making decisions. I’m meditating, thinking, and trying my best to generally chill the fuck out.

But until then, I’ll be making indecisions. Specifically, indecisions of greatness.

Indecisions of greatness happen when you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, but at least you’re doing something that’s good for yourself. Or at least less bad for yourself than something you might otherwise do.

Example 1. I’m stressed about something that comes up with work.   I don’t know what to do. Normally, I might procrastinate and eat a delicious bagel filled with all of my favorite things. Today, I’ll procrastinate by going for 10 minute walk.

Why is this good?: I’m still procrastinating, so I suck. But maybe by channeling my procrastination in a slightly better way, I’ll feel slightly better about myself in general, therefore slightly less anxious, and therefore slightly less likely to continue procrastinating. I’ll probably continue to procrastinate, but at least I’ve improved my odds.

Example 2. I don’t know what’s going on with my life, and I’m sad. Sundays in particular make me sad.  I really want to light up a bowl and become one with my couch.  Instead, I will make an indecision of greatness. Maybe I’ll still light up a bowl, but I’ll tune into a Continuing Legal Education course instead of succumbing to another season of Hoarders.  And maybe I’ll take notes. And maybe I won’t light up that bowl after all.

Why is this good?: I’m still self-medicating and sloppy, but at least I’m not watching Hoarders. I’ll become a better lawyer (and arguably BETTER at being lazy).  Maybe that course will help me get better at helping someone else someday. Maybe I’ll forget the whole thing.  But if I’m using my sloppy Sunday for even .001% self-improvement, I’m making an indecision of greatness. And that is OK.

Indecisions are not good. But indecisions of greatness are better than indecisions of sorrow. They might not be a step forward, but at least they are not a step backward.

You can’t always be on the ball. Because the ball is round, legs are not good at standing on balls, and learning balance takes practice.

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