JESPAH   188,268
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She could annihilate a guy

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The above is a song by DJ $crilla about my sorority. For anyone in the know, he mentions a lot of inside information. Definitely made me smile.

Yes, I am a Pi Phi.

And the reason I'm posting this is because I'm going to MIT tonight to do a Pi Phi thing. I haven't done anything sorority-wise in a few years, except read the quarterly magazine. Dunno if I'll get really active again as I have a life and a husband and hopefully a job soon, but I remember this as always being fun and man, it's been a while.

And -- I'm wearing a grey skirt (with a lavender sweater set -- total sorority chic). While that's unremarkable in itself, this is the skirt that was too tight in the hips a few weeks. No longer, baby!

I'll eat dinner right before I go, and will save a few calories for a yogurt when I get home. There are always hors d'ouevres at these things, and possibly also cookies, so I'll just drink water, think happy thoughts and mingle like I'm supposed to. Gonna wear my pin and everything.

It's good to be doing something different, something that's not about getting a job (although I may have some news in that area, more tomorrow) or my family member's health (test results won't come in until Monday, we think) or even about dieting and exercise. Just different.

In the meantime -- for any fellow Pi Phis who may stumble upon this post -- I even remember the words to a lot of the old songs, so ocean to ocean, ring ching, and room-de-ah-dah to you. And a special secret handshake, too .... ;)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JESPAH 4/25/2008 9:08AM

    My favorite otter! Hugging you back from MA!

It was fun. There were actually no snacks or even water -- just watched a big honkin' presentation, then mingled. Had a few women asking me if I'm a collegian. Heh, I guess Clairol Nice 'N Easy #204 really does cover the grey.

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AHHHME 4/25/2008 1:38AM

    Congrats on your lose skirt!!! Outfit sounds cute to me! Hugging you from VA :)

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Deconstruct me and consume me

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Well, I had the big interview. And I came out of it terrified that I haven't gotten the job.

Now, I recognize that a lot of this is the emotion of the medical thing going on and I'm finally able to let it affect me. And so it has. I also recognize that I have a tendency to have an impression at the end of an interview that's the opposite of reality. I didn't think I'd get Choice #3 (I thought I was wildly unqualified) and they were throwing money at me. I thought I would get Choice #2 and I heard this morning that while they liked me as a person there's a technical bit that I don't have. But all is not lost there as there could be something later.

And now this one.

Plus, of course, my agita also comes from Choice #2 now no longer being viable. Ai yi yi.

And on top of that I watch the masonry guys work and start to panickily (is that a word?) wonder about all the simoleans going to them.

Tomorrow I'll go into the agency, make an appearance and take a few online classes again. I'll tailor them as closely as possible to the things that people have been objecting that I don't have. If I can't salvage the current round perhaps I can salvage some future opening somewhere.

And of course I need to hear how the medical thing did. I need a walk -- a long one -- to beat back THAT demon. Oof.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JESPAH 4/24/2008 9:23AM

    Aw, Em, I'll send you a SparkMail.

I do want #1, but right now I still have to at least go along at the agency so that I can get paid. The difference between $$ from the agency and from Unemployment is a factor of over 100% so the longer I stay with the agency, the better it is. All of the juggling is draining, though.

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EMMASMART 4/24/2008 8:51AM

    You sound like you really don't want choice #1. Because it lieu of taking #1 you are taking classes. Do you really feel that way?
I'm doing medical stuff too. Tests yesterday and today. We are starting to know what is wrong.


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Eight cylinders all mine

Monday, April 21, 2008

Well, more like six. I own a Saturn.

Today I had to take it in for service, which is, you know, whatever, except that it's also Patriots' Day. Hence while I could get there just fine, getting home was a chore. Not fun, not fun at all. Ended up with a trip back that took twice as long as normal. Oh and a $400+ bill for various repairs (I had been saving up a bunch and of course had the time to deal with it ...). Got home to find the masonry guys working on the house. I don't think I've mentioned them.

The masonry stuff is due to damage from rain, gutters and assorted sources of dampness. It will be, heh, a serious chunka change to get it all done (they're ripping out the old stonework stuff and replacing it with stucco). Dunno how long they'll be busy but right now my car's parked on the street. Fortunately I don't have to actually drive it anywhere until next weekend (food shopping). It's after five already so eventually they'll take their truck and skedaddle and then I'll be able to move my car into the garage. I hope.

And, on top of this, on top of tomorrow's interview and on top of everything else there is the family member medical test tomorrow.

Life is busy. An old curse is, May you live in interesting times.

Yeah, I can definitely see that as a curse. Things are too interesting right now.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JESPAH 4/22/2008 10:07AM

    Yeah, it was definitely not a good time financially to get work done on the house, but this is stuff we've been putting off for years.

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EMMASMART 4/22/2008 9:09AM

    This all sounds expensive. I hope the interviewing is going good.

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JESPAH 4/22/2008 5:59AM

    Thank you, Penny. Good vibes make a huge difference!

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CANNOTFATHOM 4/21/2008 7:43PM

    Sounds like your plate is full! Keeping good thoughts for you!


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One Pill Makes You Small

Sunday, April 20, 2008

And that pill is alli, and I'm here to tell you that I'm living proof that it really does work.

Now, let's get one thing out of the way from the get-go. I don't work for alli and I get zero profits from them. I am also neither a doctor nor a pharmacist. I'm getting my info from my own personal experience plus from what I've read and heard, both here and on alli's own boards.

I'm writing this entry mainly because I've had several people now send me Sparkmails, asking about alli. Hence I wanted an all-inclusive place where I could just send them a link. My apologies for not personalizing every single response but my time is just too short these days.

I have been on alli since 1/19/08. Today is 1/20/08 so it's been about 90 days AKA three months. But I should also mention that I had started portion control 10 days before that, and has started exercising 10 days prior to that.

Here are my own experiences.


Current weight: 302.4. DOWN 43.6 LBS (Monday is my official weigh-in day so I should be close to this)
Bicep: 17.25" DOWN 1 3/14"
Bust: 52.5" DOWN 2 1/4"
Band: 46" DOWN 1 1/2"
Waist: 43.25" DOWN 5 1/4"
Belly: 59.25" DOWN 1/4"
Hips: 50.25" DOWN 3/4"
Rear: 53.75" DOWN 8 1/4"
Thigh: 30.25" DOWN 2"

As you can see, my inch loss is not wholly uniform but what seems to be happening is that I'm going from an apple-type shape to more of a pear- or avocado-type shape. My natural shape is close to the avocado. Hence what is happening is that while my bust might not be shrinking as quickly as I'd like, I am definitely losing visceral fat which is considerably more important than the cosmetic stuff.


I started at a 26/28. Now, all of my 28s are gone. I wear size 26 jeans with cotton long underwear underneath and without discomfort or any muffin top. I have worn some 1 x and 2x shirts which fit me, and a size 24 top isn't too short. Bras fit better and are first (tightest) hook for the most part. I fit into the white jacquard bra easily. My size 28s have all been given to Goodwill, as have some of my 26s. Right now the main reason for not wearing too many 24s yet is that my hips are still large. Hence I can get on a blazer (for example) but it doesn't lie right on my hips. That will come with time.


I went from maybe 2 or 3 reps in a day to 50. My resistance bands went from 0 reps to 100. Walking went from 2.5 mph to 3.5 mph. Weekend walking is getting to be more of a habit. We generally do one day/weekend; should do two. Walking is also more than just the one block; we now do more like six blocks, Extra weekday walking exists and is done about three days per week.including some uphill. Calf bounces are up to 100 - 200/day from 0.

My arms are mainly toned except for the triceps. Thighs are getting toned. Belly (on the sides) is showing signs of the beginning of toning. Calves are starting to look good. Face is getting thinner.


The weekday routine is pretty easy. Water intake is 64 oz/day every day. Weekend and restaurant eating are harder but manageable. All junk is out of the house.

Hunger is okay except for PMS week. Otherwise, I can roll with it. This month I am going to do an experiment and attempt to really keep things under control during PMS week, which should be this coming week, as I have learned that the added progesterone produced before and during menstruation can really burn fat. Since the weather is good, I'll walk more, basically keep myself away from food and salt in particular.


I have had exactly one, and that was in February. It was good to have it and get it out of the way. Knowing what it is and how it made me feel, I have vowed to never have it happen again. It came from not watching portions on otherwise healthy chicken. Being careful has prevented the TE from returning.


alli works by removing about 1/4 of the fat you're eating, so essentially you get what's almost the boost that exercise brings but with a guarantee that it's fat that you're burning rather than losing hard-earned muscle fiber. It also keeps you honest -- if you go above about 19 grams of fat in one sitting, look out! Also, alli offers its own message boards, nutrition log and fitness log. Those are all far less sophisticated than here on Spark, but they are still easy to use and the message boards have the added bonus of being extremely private and vigilantly moderated, so members can feel safe posting. alli's main upside, far as I'm concerned, is it gave me a good kickstart. It got me working and thinking and getting into the right mindset. It was, without a doubt, what I needed to get off my butt and start.


The first one is cost. alli ain't cheap! But there are a few things that can be done. First, it can be claimed under Unpaid Medical Reimbursement as it used to be a prescription medication (Xenical). Plus, the cheapest place I have found it is on Amazon (I don't work for Amazon, either). Amazon not only has it inexpensive (versus CVS, Walmart, etc.) but it also offers the 15% off subscription plan. If you have a little cash to invest in starting out, Amazon saves considerable cash later.

alli also offers coupons and deals, plus I was recently given a coupon for a 90-pill supply (one month's worth) for free, just for being a community leader on their message boards (yes, I'm as chatty there as I am here and elsewhere online).

Another downside is treatment effects, but anyone carefully watching their intake should not experience them. And, anyone who has had one who has honestly observed and understood what happened and why, should not have a recurrence. I have seen people on the alli boards who admit that they have had more than one treatment effect -- those are people, so far as I am concerned, who are not seizing learning opportunities.

Another downside is, how much is it really doing? My activities since the beginning of the year have translated into almost 63,000 calories being burned. That's 18 lbs. Now, let's say I've exagerrated my fitness accomplishments. Even by a factor of 10%, that's still about 16 lbs that have peeled off because of walking, weights, resistance bands, stability ball, the exercise bike, etc.

The diet itself is 1800 calories and 60 grams of fat. My resting metabolism dictates that I should be feeding myself something like 3000 calories in order to maintain myself in over 300-lb. splendor. Hence I'm eating a caloric deficit of 1200 calories/day. This should translate into 2 lbs./week. Again, if I've understated calories by a factor of, say, 10%, then let's say it's really 1.8 lb./week. It's been about 14 weeks. So give 25 lbs. over to just caloric restrictions.

That's 41 so far. Where have the other 2.6 come from? alli.

As I stated above, alli pulls off 1/4 of the fat. But I'm only intaking 60 grams of fat in a day. Hence alli is peeling off 15 grams of fat. Every gram of fat is 9 calories, so 15 grams of fat represents 135 calories. It takes 3500 calories out to drop a pound, so that means every 26 days or so, off goes a pound. Hence -- three pounds off with alli.

Still, three pounds may not seem like a lot, considering the expense, the treatment effect and the vigilance. Hence it's not necessarily the right decision for everyone.

The final downside is that I've been told that, after maybe six months, it won't be as effective for me. Whether that's due to me becoming somehow resistive, or being below a certain weight threshold, or due to sunspots, I have no idea. So in the meantime I work out like a fiend (I've missed only one day since the start of the year, and that's because I had a touch of influenza), eat right and continue to build better and better habits, for the inevitable day when alli just doesn't give me the kick that I've been getting from it so far.

When I started this journey, I honestly thought that I would lose 60 lbs. in the first year, and the entire 200 lbs. would take about 3 1/2 years to come off. Then I changed that 60 lb. goal to my nephew's Bar Mitzvah date in late September. Now it's looking like I'll make it to 60 lbs. off by July 4th or so.

When I started, I thought it would be hard. I thought I'd be in constant pain from exercise. I thought I'd be running to the bathroom every five minutes with alli. I thought I'd be starving all the time. I thought I'd get depressed and discouraged quickly.

Instead, the opposite has happened. It's almost been easy. Pain is minimal and I even like to exercise. I miss it when it doesn't happen or it's not as intense as I prefer. I run to the bathroom as often as any other normal person. I'm not starving. I'm not depressed and discouraged. If anything, I'm upbeat and hopeful.

Whether that is all or partly or even a tiny bit attributable to alli, I thank the developers of it for making it. And I thank Spark and my friends here, for being so supportive and sweet and unwaveringly kind. I thank my husband for embracing our lifestyle and celebrating it, for learning to love fish, for learning to live without chips. He's lost 18 lbs. himself, by the way.

So thank you all and onward to a life where I never see 300 on the scale ever again.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JESPAH 4/22/2008 6:37PM

    If you need any help or have any qs, I'm here for ya. :)

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SISNAMIL 4/22/2008 11:29AM

    I have been hesitant about trying it. I may have to think that. Go ask Alice. lol

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JESPAH 4/20/2008 6:42PM

    Thanks for stopping by. It's amazed me how many people want to know about this.

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EMMASMART 4/20/2008 2:04PM

    If I could I would but I don't think I can. i am so glad that it's working for you. May you soon go to that place where 300 isn't even on the scale you are using.


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CJSTRIP 4/20/2008 2:04PM

    My husband uses Alli and has had a lot of the same experiences and results that you talk about.

I am not able to use it (I get kidney stones all the time and this could make it worse), but sure wish I could!

Lots of great information for people to use to consider if they are would like to try it!!!

Very kind of you to share this with everyone...keep up the GREAT work!!!!


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Great Googa Mooga, can't you hear me talking to you

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Confusing. That's what it all is. I just read a Spark Article on the draining effects of too many choices and I am totally, 100%, in agreement with that. It's tiring. It's ... weird.

Now, I recognize that it's a good problem to have. And I also know that I need to have patience and I don't always have as much as I should. But in the meantime, my mind continues to swirl with the possibilities. Where you start thinking of how the money is going to be spent (apparently, on masonry work on my house, heh). Or about how your commute will go. Or what clothes you will wear.

But in the meantime I have to get an offer, from either Choice1 or Choice2 (or both, oy) and then the fun will really start. Fortunately, I've been pushing the additional energy and giddiness into exercise. Last night I was exhausted and did not work out, but today I've already made up for that plus I've done today's. Since this is the second time I've done this, it does make me wonder if eventually I can start supersizing the weekend workouts on a more regular basis. Either with more reps or more weight or more different types of exercise, whatever floats my boat.

One thing that isn't confusing is that losing weight has, without a doubt, helped me in this journey. Between being more attractive and fitting into my clothes better, to feeling more comfortable in my own skin, to better body language to being better able to hike from office to office, it all helps. Plus working out to relieve the stress, rather than eating, is doing wonders for me. In the middle of all of this is the boost to self-esteem.

Yesterday, a recruiter tried to scare me, to tell me it could be months before I heard from Choice1 and I'd be unemployed so I'd better take the offer she had for me.

Ha! I don't think so.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JESPAH 4/20/2008 1:46PM

    Thanks! I still find the whole thing so incredibly weird. Pleasant, but strange. The ending is coming soon, I can feel it, and it'll be a happy one. :)

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EMMASMART 4/20/2008 8:39AM

    I'm glad the work outs are going well. I'm sure you will have a clear choice soon. The decision right now Is whether or not to wait for 1 more day to find out about choice one. All the other choices don't matter as of yet. So you can simplify it a bit and of course whether or not to supersize the work outs. It sounds like a good plan for now to me.


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