Monday, September 28, 2009
I've got big news. I'm finally down to an overweight BMI for the first time in probably a good 18 years. I owe it to you all and I thank you. But that's not what this blog is about.
I had this topic kinda planned so I do want to write about it. As for the BMI thing, there's always next week. It ain't going anywhere. Except downward. :)
I've been totally overwhelmed lately and so have many of my friends. I think it's this time of the year. The weather changes, school starts (even if you're not in school, it does still affect what goes on in the world. Here in the World's Largest College Town, the effects are rather drastic), leaves begin to fall, etc. Carefree Summer slips away and is replaced with Responsible Autumn. And suddenly you're overwhelmed and feel like you're running in place.
I originally wrote this as a post on a friend's page and then realized, hey this would make a good blog entry, so I've expanded it a bit.
Here's the rules (Or, at least, my idea of same. Your mileage will vary).
* Say "no" once in a while, say, to every 5th thing. Good, bad, big, small, just say no. You can't. Too busy. Overextended. The cat needs to be shampooed. Whatever excuse you can come up with or even try flying without one. After all, you accept that from others, yes? So they'll accept it from you. Say no and move on.
* Once you've established that you say no on occasion (e. g. you have boundaries), start to cull your preexisting stuff. That is, say "no more". Let's say you've done it 50%? 75%? 90%? Then maybe it's time to hand it off to someone else, whatever it is. Let's say you're making a quilt. Maybe hand it off to a friend (or even your daughter if you have one) and see how it goes. If you're handing it off to your daughter, you might need to supervise of course, but what would happen if she did it, or did some of it? Would the world stop spinning if it wasn't perfect? And maybe, just maybe, it'll be a little better, that her lack of experience could be charming, or her lack of preconceptions could bring in fresh ideas. By the way, next time, try doing this earlier in the process. In other words: delegate.
* Corollary to the second one, particularly if there is no way to hand it off to another: say "we're done". Or, rather, YOU are done, but the nicer way to say it is, the whole thing is done. What I mean is not to abandon things at their height, but to simply drive a stake in the ground at some point when it's appropriate. Columbus pitched a flag into Hispanola and declared, "I claim this land for Spain!" He could have walked in five feet or five miles (I have no idea which), and it ultimately didn't matter. He just declared he was done. So stick a fork in some things sometimes. Claim this land for YOU.
* Get away. For a minute. For an hour. For a day. For a week. Whatever can be budgeted in. I have a friend who I walk with, an hour or so, every week or every other week. We have it as an Outlook recurring calendar item. Sometimes we reschedule, or work intervenes and we can't go. But every Thursday the reminder (Thank God it's Thursday!) comes up, and we at least think about going. And often we do. Last week, we walked past the Aquarium. Next week it might be to Beacon Hill. It need not be with a friend and it need not be walking. Sometimes you just need to get outside, or get up and stretch, or take a bubble bath. Do it. The junk you have to deal with will still be there when you get back, and it wouldn't be diminished or added to that much if you were or weren't there for a minute or an hour or a day or a week. So get outta Dodge.
* Get organized. The house keys have a home (mine live on a rack by the door). The canned goods live in one particular cabinet. The clothes are massed by type, or color, or outfit, or season, or level of formality. Whatever is your system, make it, embrace it and use it consistently. A few seconds here and there, getting the canned goods in the right cabinet or the clothes in the right order, will save you serious time down the pike. This kind of time investment pays you back with interest.
* Once you've got a few of these going, pick and choose what else you want. Some things are mandatory (you have to pay your taxes; the kids must be fed; etc.) but for the things where it's not quite such a stark requirement, be selective. Don't want to host the Xmas party like you've been doing for the last three years? Then say you can't do it. And if it falls through, well, that's unfortunate, but maybe the people who you would have normally invited will begin to come around to realizing that someone has to make it happen. Either they'll ask you to do it again (you need to be firm!) or will drop it completely. Decide which is better, which is worse. And if it comes back to you to host it again, insist on help.
* Finally, hate to say it, but multi-task wherever you can and wherever it makes sense (and is safe: don't text and drive or anything like that). That is, use your time as efficiently as possible. Email. Call. Use cut and paste. Microwave stuff if you need the time. Chop the vegetables while the pasta water is boiling. Run the printer while you're on the phone. Have short meetings instead of chasing a bunch of people -- bring them together (and focus!) to forge a quick consensus and give everyone their marching orders. Get your cardio in by walking your errands (dry cleaning, etc.) instead of driving.
In short -
* Don't take on too much more. Stop being everyone's go-to for everything.
* Delegate and hand off.
* Stop projects a little early if you can. If not every i is dotted, unless you are performing brain surgery or rocket science, no one will either notice or care.
* Take some breaks and "me" time and separate yourself from the hustle and bustle when you can. Even small chunks of time can be very meaningful.
* Get a handle on your life by spending some time organizing things. Hunting for stuff is very time- and labor-intensive, so minimize the time you spend doing that by spending some organizational time now.
* Be choosy (where you can) when it comes to future projects. Do a cost-benefit analysis in your head - will this work for you? Will you get a lot out of it? For things that are more trouble than they're worth, let 'em go.
* Multi-task and hyper-efficiently use your time as much as is practical.
Above all: hang in there.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Yes, I take it. Here's what my experience has been like.
Monday, September 21, 2009
The title of this blog is actually not my favorite line from this song. My true favorite is "think of me and try not to laugh". But that's not true about me. Feel free to laugh. I know I do. Life's absurd at the best of times. Might as well go with it.
I've just returned (yesterday) from an all-too short vacation on Cape Cod where I watched my calories religiously but did not get enough cardio. One pound up, eh, I'm fine with it. It's not like there's no reason for the increase.
I also wanted to do a bit of a month in review as the last one I did was a vlog.
Band 33.25" personal best
Waist 22.5" personal best
All of the measurements are within 2" of the lowest they've ever been. Right now my hip is the most stubborn in terms of hitting a new low. It last turned over in June. Everything else turned over no earlier than the second week in August.
I would like for my hips to get with the program already.
But, well, one of the byproducts of massive, fast weight loss is, my body shape is, every day, resembling Saturn more and more. Not the car company. The planet. Where's the rings? You guessed it. I wear 'em on my hips and my big ole butt. Hence the desire to have surgery.
Energy Levels and Mood
Both have been eh. Work has not been too terribly fine and so I am under stress because of that. I have been doing my best to medicate myself with exercise rather than with food. So far, so good.
Talk about your self-medicating.
My minutes have been off the charts lately. I routinely have somewhere in the top 10 or even top 5 in fitness minutes for many of the teams I'm on. Plus I've passed over 50,000 fitness minutes. Yes, folks, it's true.
I've been on a treadmill for the equivalent of over 34 days and 15 hours and some miscellaneous minutes.
No wonder I'm sick of the magazines at the gym.
I'm in the high 180s. This is my fourth week in 180-ville. It took 13 weeks to go from 199 to under 190 so I imagine it will be at least another month before I leave 180-ville, despite my best intentions.
I am not using that as an excuse to stop eating right, or dog it when it comes to exercise. It's just a likelihood. The more you lose, the tougher it gets. This is all because of plucking the low-hanging fruit. Everything that is even remotely easy or obvious, I've already done. I seem to have a fairly large loss about once every three weeks, then a couple of setback or status quo weeks, then another surge. This was a setback/status quo week. Perhaps next week will bring a smaller surge. Who knows? It's a complicated system, I figure.
I will finish taking alli in about 50 days or so. I will have surgery in less than 120.
I'm open to suggestions.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I got together with another friend yesterday. This was to mainly hang out, plus there was a new little cafe near her apartment that is kind of a wheatgrass-y kind of spot, so we figured we'd try it. She works as a personal trainer/in-home fitness instructor so she is well-versed in what I'm doing and is very supportive. The title of today's song refers to her company.
We walked over to the cafe and it turned out to be closed. Peeking in the windows revealed a good-looking spot, what Hemingway called "a clean, well-lighted place". Maybe next time.
So instead we walked, and we went out to Newtonville, which is a haul. And we talked. I mentioned that I don't have any sort of a work-style Winter coat. I've got a trench coat but it has no liner. Plus I've got a Winter jacket. But I don't have anything I can possibly wear with a skirt once the temperature really, really dips. Her suggestion was to try something vintage. Plus we were going in the right direction, so we walked to Second Time Around in Newton.
This is Newton, there is money. Hence any second-hand clothing store was bound to have good stuff. Plus it's just fun. After having seen her place, I realized she's into old-fashioned stuff. A bonus: it was a beautiful day for a walk.
And I knew we were getting a lot of walking in but it wasn't until just now, when I checked the mileage. It is close to (keep in mind this is by automobile directions and not on foot) 3 miles.
I'll get to how I feel in a moment. But first! Vintage stuff!
Yes, there was a yellow fringed jacket from the 70s, perhaps earlier. There were Asian-inspired gowns. Interesting purses. Hats! We went in the back and looked at coats. There were two that caught her eye. The first probably would have fit me; she was swimming in it. But I decided I wasn't too interested in the colors. It would have been a good coat for her, except for the size. The other coat, though? Oh, man. Calvin Klein, never worn, originally 400 smackers. But it was just stunning on her. But, eh, even vintage it was serious ka-ching. And she wasn't even the one who needed a coat!
I didn't see a coat I liked that would have fit me. But ...
I backed up into a rack. I felt something fluffy. It was soft. I turned. It was teal. Oh, lovely.
A teal cardigan. Fits a tad small but will be perfect soon.
Cashmere, thank you very much.
This is vintage. There was a price for after a certain date: $22.50.
But the date was October. Hmm.
October of 2008.
I went to the cashier. $55, she said, pointing to the tag and showing me that the lower price date had not yet come to pass.
Er, no, see? It's 2008, not 2009.
Well, I'll be.
She gave it to me for $20.
I feel like I got away with Grand Larceny.
We walked back to my friend's place via a different route. This was up the world's biggest hill.
And I kept up! I was huffing a bit, and speech was a tad labored (isn't that the so-called fat-burning zone anyway? It's all good), but holy cannolli she's a personal freakin' trainer!
You gotta understand, two years ago I was working for a company, lovely people (where my friend from my last shopping trip/makeover was my boss, actually) and one day we decided to go walking around a track at a neighboring school. And that day, I could not walk far enough to get TO the track, let alone walk around it.
And now I'm keeping up with my friend the trainer.
That got me thinking.
Why do we make friends? How do we do it? And how do we sustain those relationships? And why?
Of course we make friends in order to form companionships. We do it all sorts of ways, including being thrown together for work or school, or actively getting into situations (e. g. volunteer work), or becoming accustomed to people by seeing them a lot (say, at the gym). We might even actively go out and shake hands with anyone we see, trying to make friends. Sustaining is effort, it's getting together, it's calling and it's writing and it's paying attention.
But, ultimately, why do we KEEP friends?
I think the trick is to be friends with people who can benefit you in some way. I don't mean in a mercenary sense, e. g., what have you done for me lately? I also don't mean that you should drop people who the going is tough. What I am saying is, cultivate relationships that are beneficial. Give yourself those kinds of goodies -- they are as sustaining, if not more, than food goodies. Make your memories with them.
It's called a memory BANK for a reason. It's not just an array of choice experiences; it's also, literally, a bank. As in, you make deposits and you make withdrawals. Deposit good experiences. Withdraw them when you're feeling lonely or down.
Yesterday, I didn't just score a great sweater.
I also scored a great memory.
A great deposit was made yesterday.
PS Next time - I really need to buy a coat somewhere! But I gotta add, after 6 miles plus of walking yesterday, my calves and knees are barking a bit. But I'll live. :)
Monday, September 14, 2009
Last Saturday, a friend of mine (she's actually a former boss - best boss I ever had!) and I went to get kind of mini-makeovers. We just wanted a girly day, e. g. No Boys Allowed! With my birthday just passed and hers in a few days, the time was right to treat ourselves. But, we didn't have a huge budget, so we went for impact.
The first thing we did was go to her salon. I had not been to a salon since, I kid you not, the day before my wedding.
I've been married for nearly 17 1/2 years.
Ever since then, I have cut the bangs and my husband has cut the back. I knew it did not look that good, but it was money thing, plus I didn't care much and, well, you know what it's like. For so many of us, for so long, spending money on ourselves for anything that did not appear to be 100% necessary has felt frivolous and selfish.
Well, it's not. It's just a haircut, fer crissakes.
The guy parted it on the side and clipped off maybe two or three inches. He thinned out the bangs and swept some to the side (I'll be growing those out). Then he dried it straighter than I think it's ever been.
I looked really good, if I may say so myself. :)
I love the cut, it's pretty easy to maintain and I feel like things are getting healthier in that area, too. I figure I will see him again in maybe 10 weeks (budget -- the dude is NOT cheap). And, yes, I'll still need to clip my own bangs until then. But I'll follow his lead and keep them wispier, and keep the side part.
My friend got her hair colored. It's nearly black, so any grey shows. She, too, looked great.
We then went out for sushi, and then hit the mall. The first stop: Nordstrom.
Now, Nordstrom isn't exactly budget. The idea, though, was to get me a bra fitting. Because, lemme tell ya, things are not what they used to be.
I must've tried on a good 17 bras before settling on two everyday ones and a sports bra. I'll need more, but won't bother again until after surgery, as things are going to definitely change again. My new size? The same as the title to today's blog song.
The bras were costly but I'll wear them a lot. I even left the store wearing one. Er, under my clothes.
Then it was time to hit the freebies. We went to Aveda and Sephora, as my pal had some coupons, mostly birthday stuff. I bought a lipstick at Sephora and they signed me up for their birthday club. Even though my birthday was over a week before, they still gave me the gift, a set of three free lip glosses. At Aveda, we both picked up skincare samples, plus I got a hair straightener sample.
Then it was time for Talbot's. I've had some stuff from there, and loved it, but I know Talbot's is also incredibly costly if you don't watch things closely. I ended up getting a lovely off-white sweater, which will probably fit me even after surgery. It was very comfortable and professional-looking, but I can also dress it up with a necklace and wear it to go out.
Next we got some coffee and gabbed and took pics (there are two photos of my new haircut in my gallery). Then it was time for one last trip, to Lord & Taylor. After that, we figured, it would be enough.
I ended up getting a heavy pair of dark green slacks for work. Hence now I have a completely new outfit and can use all of that at least until surgery. The pants probably won't fit after surgery, but that's all right. They'll serve a purpose.
All told, when you count the haircut, the clothes, lunch and coffee, I spent just under $350. I figure, yeah, it was costly, but I don't normally spend a lot on myself.
Plus it plays into something I have been wanting to do but have been unable -- until now -- to put into practice. This is the desire to own fewer articles of clothing, but make them better ones. So far, so good.
In the meantime, I also want to say, I suddenly had a measurements turnover. I hit new personal bests in a lot of areas, including my band. Funny, when you look here: www1.macys.com/campaign/socia
l?campaign_id=39&channel_id=1 , they say my size should be one cup size smaller. I suspect, for real, I'm somewhere in between. But the band size is right, which I think can be the greater part of the battle.
I'm also, suddenly, smaller in my waist, belly, hips and keister. But that's not due to shopping, that's due to the informal 5K Mr. J and I ran yesterday. Hey, ya gotta keep in shape for the competitions.
Hence it was a really full weekend. If my hairdo is a tad flattened, it's because I've been sleeping on the bus.
This week will be a short one; we will go to Cape Cod on Thursday, and will stay until Sunday. Waves and sun, here I come.
But first, a mirror check. ;)
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