Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Today is the much-anticipated (and by some, much dreaded) 4.0.1 patch day for WoW. Extended server downtime/maintenance. It's the day all us junkies and addicts and addicts-in-denial sit at our computers refreshing WoW Insider or the official server status page, message boards or Twitter to find out when our realms are back up.
Okay, I try to not be THAT bad, although some people get so bad that they're like the people who threw hissy fits the night Starbucks all across the country closed for a few hours, just because they couldn't get their sugar-laden caffeine fixes.
I suspect I'll be doing my share of refreshing Twitter or using the talent calculators to work out my I'm-SO-happy-to-go-back-to-Fire spec.
But there are plenty of things I can do in the meantime...
-I have those few bills sitting on my desk that I want to pay before we leave for BlizzCon next week.
-Which reminds me, I need to transfer some money to The Guy's account for the trip.
-I need to make a grocery list and hit the grocery store. This is keeping in mind our new food goals and eating habits that we want to start up so we're acclimated when we get back from Anaheim.
-I have posts I want to make to our guild Game On blog: "Water: It does a body good", "Why 5 mini-meals?" "No alcohol? Are you CRAZY?!" and "Freezing rice to save time."
-I need to add a page of sub-rules to the Game on the blog, and update the players.
-I need to do at least 1 load of laundry.
-I need to do the dishes (finish filling the dishwasher, run it, and wash the pots and pans in the sink)
-I need to take the garbage out. I also need to do some exercise...I'm thinking I can combine a 20-minute walk with the garbage run to get in some daily exercise.
-I gotta find my appointment card for my facial tomorrow so I remember what time it is. >.>
Not to mention the usual tasks of cooking, eating, showering, etc.
Hmmm...looking at this list, I DO hope that the servers are down for most of the day!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
A little more about me, what I'm doing, and why I'm doing this, that is! I'll write more serious posts later. ^_^
Growing up, I was always fairly skinny. I had some thickness in my body here and there through high school, but I still weighed in between 120-130, and I was active and on the athletic side (swimming, marching band, etc.). I wore a size 6 or size 8 depending on the cut/brand. I've always had hips, so no matter how skinny I was, I needed the size for my curves. I liked my body. I think it was like a Catherine Zeta-Jones type of figure.
When I got to college, I joined the crew team. Instead of GAINING the "Freshman 15" I LOST it. I think I got down to 115 (saw that number on a scale when we went on a regatta and we all had to weigh in for category placement: featherweight, lightweight, heavyweight), but since I didn't have a scale in my dorm room I didn't know or keep track of my weight. I just remember my parents visiting for Parent's Weekend, and in that mad scramble for finding something to wear, I grabbed a pair of jeans I had in my closet. I remember putting them on, pausing, looking down, and being pleased. My mom even commented that I had lost weight. "Mom," I said, "I haven't been able to wear these jeans for 2 years. I'm not sure why I brought them, but I think it worked out for the best!" That felt GOOD.
My weight fluctuated during college. Because I was one of the smaller girls, I was moved to coxswain during my sophomore year. Problem was that I continued eating like a rower, but I was no longer rowing!
My "senior" year (I was a 4 1/2 year student) was spent in Paris. The summer before my trip, I got up to 150. I managed to shed about 10 pounds before I left, but I risked putting it back on. However, I did the opposite. Since I was walking ALL the time (in heeled boots! Carrying a large laptop!) and took SOME care in watching what I ate, I shed the weight and got back down to 115. I looked AMAZING. I knew it, too. I felt confident and unstoppable.
The next several months made a grand attempt to stop me, too. My mom died of breast cancer the summer I got back, about 3 weeks after my 22nd birthday. I went back to school (out of state), and my boyfriend--who had admitted he had cheated on me--dumped me a month after my mom died, and then basically told everyone that I was sleeping around on him all summer. Thing was, it was jealousy. He had that "She can have any guy she wants, so she's going to leave me...better invent some reason to leave her first and spare yourself the pain" jealousy thing going on because he knew I was turning heads.
Being in a fragile enough state from losing my mom, I was not able to confront and correct his lies. Which many of my "friends" took as consent, since I wasn't denying anything he said. You know, "friends" like that aren't worth keeping. I STILL didn't let it get me down too much, held my head high, and had te best semester of my college career to honor my mother's memory.
Life after college wasn't what I'd hoped it would be. I graduated with my degree in French and Business, and wanted to become a corporate buyer (make use of the international business program I took part in), and I was particularly interested in the fashion industry. Problem? No retail experience. Sure, I worked front-end at a grocery store, and later in an aviary for a vet/bird store when I was in high school, but that's not the same. So I had to first get a job in retail.
The first retail job I had was for a large corporate chain of trendy clothes that had a "work your way up the corporate ladder" program. However, my store was in a mall that was going out of business (there was a new mall being built) so we had limited training and hours because we were pretty much one big clearance rack.
The second retail job I had was for 3 1/2 years for a smaller company that sold high-end women's clothing, but I was in the outlet store. I got to assistant manager, and even temped as the store manager (I won't go into the "office" politics), but there was no breaking into corporate there either.
My next job was marketing manager of a small start-up. When that job fizzled, I became a contractor for an email-marketing project for a fairly significant IT company. That job was a dream...it mixed my love of marketing with international business and my hobby of website creation.
It had a negative impact on my weight, though. When I worked in retail I was on my feet 8+ hours per day. If I wasn't selling, I was cleaning, handling shipping, stocking...you name it. It was still very active. But out of retail in the tech industry, I had a more sedentary lifestyle. Before I started that particular job (while I was still with the start-up) I managed to get back to 150. 154 to be exact, but that was also with winter clothes on. That was when I tried Weight Watchers.
I went to WW with a friend, and for a while it worked. I tried to get The Guy to follow the WW rules/Points system too, but he has a tendency to "bend" the rules when he hasn't officially agreed to them. (In all honesty, I think he's just embarrassed about the idea of admitting he has a weight problem to strangers...he has a hard enough time talking about it with me.) My friend also began to "bend" the rules, citing her vegetarian diet as her reason to go to the meetings but not really follow either plan. She wanted to do a diet she did before that worked really well, except when she did that she was like me when I was in Paris by walking/biking all over the city she was living in at the time.
So I understand that Weight Watchers DOES work for many people. We did really like our group meeting leader person, but unfortunately so did a LOT of other people. You know how if you have a large group of people, the more likely you are to have some people in the crowd who annoy you? Yeah, we had them. We had a couple women who wouldn't let anyone else get a word in (even the leader had to interrupt them all the time), you had the few that spewed misinformation, you had the Product Placement Girls (the ones who found a New Miracle Drink to replace their Red Bull habit and was also sugar-free and we should all try it!...turned out they were selling it through a pyramid scheme type business), you had the ones who wouldn't stop asking questions...you get the idea.
So between losing my motivation and support from my friend as well as the large crowd at our favorite WW meeting time, we stopped going. I had gotten down to 143 or so.
We later tried going to a gym together, but once again my friend "made up her own rules." It was one of those circuit gyms like Curves, and we arranged to go to this particular gym because it was about halfway between our homes, and on her way to work. She soon started "not doing the circuit" because she "wanted to do her own plan," then started oversleeping, then told me that she just wasn't going to show up.
Um, yeah. For many other reasons, we don't talk anymore.
So back to the sedentary lifestyle...despite my best efforts, during and between those two jobs, I ballooned to about 195. Finally, in the beginning of 2008, I had enough. That February/March The Guy and I decided to give Nutrisystem a try. It. Worked. I discovered a lot more about portion control since it was a better introduction to measuring, I liked the program, and the food was decent. By my 30th birthday (in June) I had dropped about 30 pounds and was still going strong.
Then my dad got sick. He went into the hospital for a "stomach problem" (just imagine the worst constipation coupled with nausea you can think of), and when they operated to investigate the block, it was discovered that he had very advanced, very aggressive cancer. Thing was, he had been to the doctors before and they couldn't find anything wrong. He had been traveling so they suggested maybe a parasite. Nothing was turning up. But the location of the cancer is what made it so difficult to diagnose. We were told that even if he had all the tests done, they still probably wouldn't have been able to catch it until it was at this stage. The first diagnosis was colon cancer, starting where the big and little intestines meet (around the appendix area), but it was spread in such a way that it MIGHT have also been pancreatic...see what I mean? In the end, we just had to call it "abdominal cancer" because they couldn't figure out the exact starting point. At that point, it didn't matter. Dad didn't make it to 4 months after he was diagnosed.
This time, I crumbled. Work was stressful (more office politics), the family stuff was stressful, I lost my job after the holidays (I did a good job with my project to the point that the different departments all wanted control of their piece of the pie, but no one wanted to pay for a contractor), my grandfather died, my pets died (I had pet rats, and they lived out full lives, but it was still a bad time to lose THEM too), the differences between my brother and I came to a head where I no longer talk to him, my fiance lost his job...it was a never-ending series of events that made it hard to even get out of bed some days.
All the weight I lost? It came right back. I was 195 before...I know at one point during this new peak I saw the scale hit about 198.8. I was NOT happy to see that number. (I never did see it tip 200. I'm glad about that.)
This year I became determined to turn things around.
A friend of mine and I began talking about getting into shape. My friend played football in high school and intramural football in college, so he had been very fit. He was blessed to have the naturally athletic-skinny body so he wanted to put some muscle back on, but he understood how I wanted to turn things around again. And he's the right kind of motivation for me. As much as my fiance is a good person, his methods of "motivation" just didn't work as well as our friend's methods.
So my friend and I made a pact to start getting back in shape and bettering ourselves. We started on June 1 by eating healthy and exercising. I got back down to where I am now...180. (Technically I weighed in at 179.4, but I had some "tummy trouble" yesterday, so I think I'm probably dehydrated and stuff too.)
We've been slacking, but despite our MUCH BETTER SUPPORT than I've experienced in, well, forever, we discovered we mere missing something to keep us going. Recently, one of our other friends discovered the Game On! Diet plan, which is basically turning getting healthy (not JUST losing weight, because someone like Leo doesn't need to lose any weight) into a fun competition. We decided it would be a lot of fun to do with members of our WoW (yes, we're World of Warcraft gamers) guild. Everyone could benefit from becoming healthier, especially with the holidays looming around the corner, but we're also a competitive group of people. One of the stipulations of the Game On program is that you work in teams, and that there's a prize at the end.
Teamwork is great...it's what we've been doing all along. It's what you do at Weight Watchers meetings, it's what The Guy and I would do to each other to follow our Nutrisystem plan, it's what Leo and I were doing since June. But positive motivation only works so well. Even if there's a prize at the end when you reach your goal, it's easy to say, "Meh, I'm tired...I'll exercise twice as hard tomorrow."
What I like about the Game On! system is that it also has a NEGATIVE motivation: Losing to the other team. If you slack during the week, even during the day, you lose points, which brings your team's points down, and in the end you might end up owing the other team 5000 in-game gold or might be stuck farming up rare pets. Because the prize has to be something you want to WIN and also something you DON'T want to LOSE!
It should be fun!
So yeah, that's where I am now. We're going to start our competition in about 2 weeks. SparkPeople should be able to help keep me on track because I do better with the types of tools it offers. I'm working on figuring out meal options so we can come back from California and jump right in.
I had really wanted to go to BlizzCon this year in costume, but I really didn't want to take the time to make a great costume while feeling like a blob underneath it. Next year, though...NEXT YEAR I will be rocking the midriff-baring costumes I have the material for!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
"Just a quick post." Watch, there will be NOTHING quick about this!
So, why SparkPeople? Well, I had downloaded the app to my iPad as a way to count calories and track my exercise and water. I had another app that was a decent calorie counter, but I wanted to give something a little more robust a try.
The app itself is okay. It's buggy, can crash, and can be slow. The food database is pretty good, though, and I liked that it actually had a meal plan to go with it. However, I found another problem with the meal plan: It showed you the foods involved in your planned meals, but never said what those meals actually were supposed to be. So a list of foods involving a cup of beans, some rice, some veggies, and a flour tortilla...well, you can assume it's a veggie burrito or something, but what about the random fruit that's also listed? I figured it was time to check out the website...
Now the website, combined with the app, I LIKE. I like having the meal plans and exercise log and everything at my fingertips. I like that it's integrated with the app so I can track my foods and water and exercise on the go. I like that the meal plans have a recipe along with a food list, as well as a weekly grocery shopping list! All the things the app was missing as a stand-alone tool suddenly made more sense!
This said, I may not follow the meal plan perfectly. I would like to, but I have The Guy to worry about. And he gets fussy when I set off into diet land and try to encourage him to join too, but he never does. We're actually organizing a Game On! Diet with some friends, because I can at least get him to agree with that. My plan? To work with the Sparkpeople meal plans in conjunction with the Game On! meal plan to strike a happy balance that The Guy can agree to. I think working with the two meal plans should be easy enough, it's getting him to not act like a big baby about it or to "make his own rules." He does that.
Anyway, I think SparkPeople will help my own motivation as well as our friends who are doing Game On! with us. Even if they don't join (we're starting in 2 weeks after BlizzCon--and if I like SparkPeople in those 2 weeks I'll be sending them here) at least I might see something that is useful and motivates me that I want to pass along to them.
I'm really excited about this. I do well with structure and plans, and I do well with tools like journals to jot down my thoughts (it's why I have no fewer than 3 journal/diary apps on my iPad!) and articles to read. I do well when I'm motivated. Well, I feel motivated now...time to make some changes.
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