Online Now
100,000 or more SparkPoints
JESPAH's Recent Blog Entries

I Can Solve the World's Problems Without Even Trying

Monday, August 22, 2011

I ran my 21st 5K on Saturday.

And that continues to be a weird and amazing # of times and, each time I add to it, I continue to marvel at the fact that I only first started running (read: jogging, walking and wheezing) them in June of 2009.

Now, this was not a great race. I found myself feeling awful about halfway through the first song. It was horribly humid out (although not super-hot) and that just sucked the life right out of everybody. I could feel myself getting very, very red in the face and all I could think of was: this is why I carry a cel phone with me on these races. 'Cause I might find myself needing a ride in a nice vehicle with a siren.

I persevered. I was able to finish, and I actually only hit the middle of the song right after the finisher song. It was the fourth-worst time I have ever had. One reason is because I have, again, gained a bit. But it was also the godawful humidity. My husband was wheezing, and so were a lot of other people who were younger and clearly weighed less than I did. To me what is truly amazing is that, for the three times I did worse, I actually weighed less (in fact, for this particular race, I weighed the most that I have since I have started doing these). In fact, one of those races was run when I was 39 pounds less. That is no typo. Wacky.

And so I am here, folks, as something of a poster child for the fact that these can be done even if you are not near goal, even if you wheeze and snort like a Clydesdale, even if you pant like a Labrador Retriever. They can be done when the weather is bad, including hot, cold, rainy and humid -- I have run 5Ks in all of these conditions. The only weather conditions I have not run a 5K in are snow and a hurricane. They can be done when you are in a weird head space and they can be done when the scale is unkind. They can be done when you feel fat. They can be done when you feel it's just not gonna happen.

We are on an incredibly tight budget these days, but we are making money for doing these. Part of it is because they often support causes that we believe in (this one was to support a land trust called the Cape Shore Foundation). And we get free tee shirts and whatever swag they are handing out (we've gotten 4 pint glasses already, and 4 finisher medals between us). But it's also for the socializing and the fun. And, it focuses our efforts. It just seems to drive us more to "train" for a 5K, rather than just endless walking and jogging that, bottom line, doesn't seem to get us anywhere, at least not spatially.

But it does get us somewhere emotionally. I cannot begin to tell you how people clapping at the end -- for me, yes! -- how that makes me feel. And it is weird. I was always the last one picked for sports when I was a kid, and I was not an overweight child at all. I was just ... last. For whatever reason, save for exactly one time that I still remember from a good 30 years ago, I was ALWAYS last.

And I am often the last runner (for this time, I actually beat 10 people, which shocks me). I am well aware that one of the reasons I get applause is because people (a lot are regulars) see me and think: okay, now they're gonna hand out the prizes. Yay!

But I don't really give a damn why they are clapping. Perhaps, by then, it is oxygen deprivation, but I like to think they are applauding for me. It is my personal 5000 meter dash at the Olympics.

I do these even though I know that the only chance I've really got to ever be in the top three for my age group is to age into a smaller group and, perhaps, trip my competition as they sprint by me. But I don't care.

So -- quit worrying about how you're going to look, or even how it'll hurt for a day or two afterward (It will. Now you know.). And just go out there and do it. I'll be out there, too, wheezing like an old-fashioned locomotive, trying to trip you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TCEDEROTH 9/10/2011 9:51PM

    Jes, that's not merely applause for you, it's a well deserved ovation.

Report Inappropriate Comment
JIBBIE49 9/3/2011 8:36PM

    emoticonI admire your determination to run the races. I'm to frugal to spend the money on them even to walk. But, I know it is better that you do what you enjoy than spend the money at the BINGO HALL. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

    Nice work Jes

Report Inappropriate Comment
MARCHMAID 8/26/2011 6:53AM

    Wish I could get enthused about something today--reading this four days after you posted. Hope you're still up! ; )

Report Inappropriate Comment
KSGROTHE 8/25/2011 3:53AM

    I had gotten behind on your blogs, and I'm so glad I read this today! I love your blogs! They always make me laugh and think. I haven't tried running yet. I worry about a knee that I have problems with. I love to walk, though. I've walked a couple 5Ks for charity in the past, but not recently. I trained for and walked a half-marathon distance last year and thought I'd try to find a half-marathon that I could walk, but that never happened.

Keep up the good work with the running and the 5Ks! emoticon (although I'd recommend against any tripping emoticon)

- Karen

Report Inappropriate Comment
SHEL1181 8/24/2011 2:22PM

    You're amazing!!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CAROLISCIOUS 8/23/2011 8:49PM

    Very motivating JES...don't plan a 5K for this weekend...or you might have to check hurricane off your list!

Report Inappropriate Comment
KASEYCOFF 8/23/2011 3:09AM

    Hon, I hope you know how inspiring and encouraging this blog is - because you make me feel as tho yes, I CAN do this!!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
MALCONTENTION 8/22/2011 9:22PM

    So impressive! Go, JES!

Report Inappropriate Comment
FIT_TERI 8/22/2011 1:51PM

    I think they are applauding for you, as they are for each other runner that finishes while they're standing there. That's what you'd do if you were standing around at the finishing line! There's kind of a camaraderie to it, I think. Or paying it forward (or maybe backward)....."people cheered for me when I finished, so I will cheer for someone else".
emoticon on the 21st 5K!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MS.ELENI 8/22/2011 1:07PM

    Another awesome blog. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 8/22/2011 10:30AM

    Great blog, as always...! Hate those muggy, muggy days that bog a body down so that even great tunes can't help us much...ugh! Good for you to do it and push through anyway!


Report Inappropriate Comment
NANCYBOAT 8/22/2011 10:14AM

    WOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Congrats on finishing - that's *awesome*

Report Inappropriate Comment
TELERIE 8/22/2011 8:56AM

    I wanna do a 5K race with you! We can wheeze and snort and laugh and waddle together towards the finish line!

Report Inappropriate Comment
BLUEANGELLK 8/22/2011 8:44AM

    Congratulations to you!!! I don't care if you snort like a Clydesdale or pant like a Lib you are a running hero to me!!!! Your descriptions are too funny!!! I was picturing a horse, a dog and a train running the race with you!! Keep up the good work!

Report Inappropriate Comment

I'm Pretty Sure it Ruled

Monday, August 15, 2011

So, last Wednesday (not Friday) I went to a networking event for young hip happenin' entrepreneur types.

And, as usual, very little actually was accomplished. But it looks good, right?

It's funny. These are the kinds of things that you're always told to do when looking for work. Go out and meet people! Trade business cards! Smile! Show, in five seconds, how TOTALLY FREAKIN' AWESOME YOU ARE!!!

Yanno, I did the networking thing for a good year.

And out of it I got an equity-only role at a company that, let's face it, is not on the fast track to funding. Lovely guys -- I adore them! -- but we are not gonna be skinny dipping in a pool full of cash any time soon.

Hence I go to events like that one.

And, it burns me up, really. Not that the event was bad. It was fine. And I know that a lot of it is me. It is me not wanting to deal with the nonsense. It is me not wanting to do the superficial bit any more. It is me tired of hearing about yet another wacky idea that isn't past the drawing board stage. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know Twitter was once like that (micro-blogging? How droll!). So were a million other ideas.

So much of it is perception. It is Junior High all over again. It is -- is she wearing the right whatever? Is she young? Is she ...


Yep, there's that.

Yanno, lots of people look at the overweight, the obese and the first things they think are ...


I don't try to lose weight in order to please a bunch of yahoos like that. And I don't want to work for them if they suddenly love me because I am within spitting distance of 199 versus having been in spitting distance of 350.

It is amazing, and it is disturbing, how we judge each other, and we are judged. And it's based on appearances.

Did we not learn anything back when we were 13 years old, and it hurt, either us or people who didn't deserve it? Didn't we get it? Don't we get it NOW?

I challenge you - anyone reading this - to go onto the page of someone on here who is bigger than you are. Look around. They hang out in teams with names like "Must Lose over 100 lbs.". You know 'em.

I challenge YOU. Yeah, YOU.

Go to at least one of those people and tell them something positive. Give them hope. And make it personal. Not just, the pictures of your daughter are cute. Yeah, the daughter is cute. But what about the mother?

I challenge YOU.

And then it really will rule.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KSGROTHE 8/25/2011 4:12AM

    This is a great blog! (And that video you linked is hilarious!) I've been judged for so long that I find myself judging, although I try not to. My sister, the one who had to comment on how FAT I had gotten when we we both in our 20s, is now apparently over 300 lbs. She went to the emergency room with chest pain not long ago (she's only 37, for gosh sake!), and all her doctor told her was that she needed to lose weight and should look into gastric bypass or lapband. I hope she doesn't do those because so far she hasn't shown that she can change her lifestyle to lose weight. I've invited her to SP at least twice, but so far she has refused to check it out. I may refer her to your story or to some other other inspiring blogs this time to show her what amazing people are here.

Anyway, I will try to start encouraging others more on SP. It usually inspires me some to encourage others, too. I could use more inspiration. emoticon

- Karen

Report Inappropriate Comment
TEENY_BIKINI 8/18/2011 7:40PM

    Wow. That was just a fantastic blog. I am so over the superficial glaze that is heaped on so many things as well. I look the way I look. That's it.

You are quite lovely.

Thank you.


Report Inappropriate Comment

    You always have a really effective suggestion. One thing is for sure Jes your ideas are take it to the bank solid. Maybe the Bot Boys are still in the dreaming stage but they are lucky to have your sense and experience. If they will ever have success you will be a big part of making it real. And that is all I have to say about that.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 8/16/2011 11:56AM

    How about that? Just yesterday, BEFORE reading your blog I've been noticing a big fellow coming regularly to the fitness center where I go and decided, you know, I'm overdue for paying forward some SPARK!

I approached him and complimented him on his fortitude and regularity in working out. Turns out he's aroud 350 with multiple back surgeries that are highly limiting but he's really putting in the effort. He looked into bariatric surgery but can't stand our local one and only bariatric surgeon (whose reputation is pretty consistently poor, per many folks I've heard). I shared with him some more promising surgeons outside our area and how I used to be 450 and how helpful I'd found SparkPeople which he'd never heard of.

Felt so good to do this!


ps...and do I EVER hear you re: the superficial bit. Can't think of a bigger turn-off! At the fitness center I get so steamed up over all the crap on the tube, Kardashians, ET's fascination with who's hot & who's not, yadda yadda...yeesh!

Comment edited on: 8/16/2011 11:58:36 AM

Report Inappropriate Comment
CAROLISCIOUS 8/15/2011 9:09PM

    I accept your challenge...and I totally agree with your blog.

Report Inappropriate Comment
TELERIE 8/15/2011 3:58PM

    Those events often are so fake, no wonder you are tired. (And I never fitted in at junior high..)
Went off to meet your challenge today, thanks! MUAH!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MS.ELENI 8/15/2011 1:40PM

    another great blog.
The perfect job for you is just around the corner

Report Inappropriate Comment
SHEL1181 8/15/2011 12:00PM

    Awesome blog! I love the challenge too! I get so tired of the junior high mentality that a lot of people seem to have. I know sometimes I am just as judgemental just with things other than weight......I'm trying to work on that. Thank you!!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
FIT_TERI 8/15/2011 11:13AM

    I love your challenge. Off I go to meet it.

Report Inappropriate Comment
ANONYGIRL 8/15/2011 11:01AM

    Doing this now...Thanks for the idea!

Report Inappropriate Comment
IFDEEVARUNS2 8/15/2011 9:58AM

    Sorry you're feeling a tad down - I meet your challenge every day, but you're right, the world is superficial. It does get tiresome. Some folks will never learn. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

Thoughts Meander Like a Restless Wind Inside a Letter Box

Monday, August 08, 2011

My husband is a wonderful man with several jobs around here. He is the main garbage dealer-wither. He does the bulk of the laundry (I do most of the putting away). He does much of the post-meal cleanup (I do most of the prep). He does a lot of the yard work (I deal with the car). It is, we feel, a pretty equal partnership.

He has two jobs, though, that are pretty much just his: bat removal and killing the big bugs.

Now, bat removal, fortunately, doesn't happen too often. I tend to scream like an extra in a cheap horror flick and hide under whatever is available to hide under. Last time, it was the desk where I am sitting right now, so I got to be up close and intimate with the constellation of dropped (milk-free) Cheerios that are all over the immediate floor area.

Then there is the ritual slaughter of the really big bugs.

This morning, I was going downstairs, minding my own business, you know, thinking about getting a water refill and selecting a particular flavor stick. You know, the great mysteries of life that we all ponder at about 9:30 AM.

When, on the window sill just above the window seat (this house is over 100 years old so we have wacky nooks all over the place), I see --

the thing.

It is HUGE.

Okay, not huge.

But it is close to an inch long.

Black as midnight, with antlers, er, antennae. A beetle.

Now, it shouldn't really matter, right? It is neither a termite nor is it a roach. And it's nowhere near where I normally hang out. For it to get here, into the computer room, would probably involve a few beetle generations, assuming it could (a) find a mate (b) raise the children to continue the quest to find the computer room and (c) pack enough food and beetle sweaters for the journey (that area gets kinda chilly in the winter).

I am safe, right?

Oh, no.

Now, Mister J has already gone to work.

It's just me and the beetle, and the constellation of Cheerios which are still underneath this desk.

Perhaps the beetle wants the Cheerios? Perhaps the constellation is a subject of their songs and stories, their myths and legends?


I hit it with the newspaper, of course. And I scoop it onto the tray that I am taking downstairs. I get the tray to the kitchen sink.

And -- eek! It moves!

Now I get the neon hunter orange flyswatter that we keep for just such occasions and I tip the tray so as to get it to land on a placed paper towel and then I give it what-for.

Take that, you jespah-worshipping, Cheerio-coveting, window seat-squatting minion of Satan!

Normally I would provide a burial at sea, but the paper towel precludes that. Therefore, a standard burial is provided, straight into the dark blue waste can in the kitchen which fortunately has a heavy enough lid that it would take an army of beetles -- even huge mutant black Satanic ones -- to lift.

I sigh and survey my dominion. I get my water refill (orange flavor stick, for those of you keeping track at home). And I go back upstairs, secure in the knowledge that being a Sparkie has truly helped me to gain confidence and overcome my fears.

But I still ain't touchin' no bats.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IFDEEVARUNS2 8/15/2011 9:59AM

    You'd love our Texas roaches!

Report Inappropriate Comment
ANONYGIRL 8/10/2011 12:05PM

    You would die at my house. D.I.E. I live in deep thick woods and my home is host to all manner of big icky bugs. Spiders that, even after they've shriveled up and died, are as big as the palm of your hand. I never get food eating nasties or roaches or even ants, but I do get 'OMG what is this call the discovery channel this is the first time it has ever been seen, maybe they'll name it after me!' bugs.

Report Inappropriate Comment

    I'm with Pickie. You need those little bats to eat your bugs. Make friends with your bat I say. People will be very impressed (as they run screaming into the Cheerio keeper.


Report Inappropriate Comment
CAROLISCIOUS 8/9/2011 8:26AM

    Thanks for the very descriptive story and the good laff! What's a "flavor stick?"

Report Inappropriate Comment
FIT_TERI 8/8/2011 10:41PM

    LOL!!! I love this. I have told my husband that the ONLY reason I am married to him is for critter removal (we have a cat who occasionally, but rarely, hunts). That and opening those pesky jars. Of course, that isn't actually true.

Report Inappropriate Comment
LTRUM71 8/8/2011 6:56PM

    Too funny!! I hate big bugs (and little ones for that matter).

Report Inappropriate Comment
TELERIE 8/8/2011 6:47PM

    I'm SURE you're their goddess, dear! Jai Guru Deva!

Report Inappropriate Comment
PICKIE98 8/8/2011 6:24PM

    I am so disappointed in you!! Why did you not save that beetle for the next bat that comes swooping down to kill you in your sleep????Bats eat bugs, bugs are your sworn enemies, born to antagonize you, why did you kill the one thing that would distract the bats and veer them away from your face with your mouth hanging open while you sleep? Who knows what crawls in and out of our mouth when we mouth-breathe, asleep?? My DD woke up one night(she is NOT afraid of spiders) to find a big hairy spider(size of a quarter) crawling OUT OF HER MOUTH?!@!!!!!!!
It took me a month to pay for all the mouthwash she used, not to mention bug spray, electric bill from her sleeping with all her bedroom lights on!!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MOTTAMAMALOU 8/8/2011 5:32PM

    emoticon You are too much!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MADERINERUE 8/8/2011 3:24PM

    Brave, brave Jespah. I had previously ceded Bug Control to my better half, as well, preferring to spend my own time screaming, but after a recent "conquest" of his that resulted in roach (yes, roach) guts all over my kids' bookshelf, well, it's up to me now.

(Me, trying not to hurl) emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
TEMPEST272002 8/8/2011 2:08PM

    Thanks for the laugh. Too funny! Having once been bite by a poisonous spider, my big old hubby now squeals like you do. I get to be the official bug-remover at our house. And no - I don't kill them. I put them gently in my hand and carry them outside. My parents were hippies. Explains a lot.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 8/8/2011 1:51PM

    Cute story...hey, your title, isn't that from an old Simon & Garfunkel song...?


Report Inappropriate Comment
MS.ELENI 8/8/2011 12:03PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Too funny. My Bill is in charge of mice in back yard. And like you.Any big bugs in house

Report Inappropriate Comment
THECITYMOUSE 8/8/2011 11:55AM



Dear GAWED how I lurve yew!!!


Report Inappropriate Comment
BLUEANGELLK 8/8/2011 10:37AM

OMG!!! You are a stitch. You take what could have been an ordinary experience and written it so well that I have tears rolling down my face laughing at the idea of giant beetles worshipping at your feel. Not that you don't deserve it, but really, I found someone who thinks of these crazy things just like me!!! Asan example, just yesterday I asked a woman I know who just donated a kidney to a friend if the doctor had to fill up that newly created space with something. I suggested the fluffy sweet white stuff from inside a Twinkie. Don't you think that would work?? It has a forever shelf life like the rest of the snack

P.s. My desk has the sam cheerio constellations under it. Do you thing we are looking at the sam cheerio universe?

Report Inappropriate Comment

    Thanks for sharing! I really enjoyed the giggle. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

Let Yourself Be Free

Monday, August 01, 2011

I keep glancing at the popular/promoted topics -- you know the ones on the right side, when you're on most pages (although not on private Spark pages or the Start page)? And they are one long festival of depression.

* How do I handle going to a restaurant when others are dieting?
* How do I deal with people sabotaging me?
* How do I handle negativity re my choices?
* How do I handle criticism?

I am paraphrasing but this is the general gist.


Let's look at all of these separately, mmmkay?

* How do I handle going to a restaurant when others are dieting?
-- Have you ever gone to a restaurant where not everyone was eating the same thing? If the answer is no, you are either only 3 1/2 years old or are mistaken or have had an interesting time of it. You eat salad, they eat steak. You eat an omelet, they have pancakes. You eat grilled chicken, they have lasagna.

So what! And, BTW, do you remember what you had for dinner the last time you dined out? No fair, don't cheat by looking at food logs. It's a simple question: DO YOU REMEMBER? 'Cause if you don't, THEY don't. It. Does. Not. Matter. BTW, do you remember what THEY ate? No? Then even better.

Order what you like, the way you want it. If someone comments, they comment. Let 'em.

* How do I deal with people sabotaging me?
-- How are they doing this, exactly? Are they filling your coffee cup with teaspoons of sugar instead of Equal? Are they buying the wrong stuff at the grocery? Are they eating ice cream in front of you?

TAKE CONTROL. Become the food shopper, and put the junk back if someone tries to put it into the cart. And talk to your family. Tell them this is important to you. Most people -- if they love you -- don't want to act like jerks and really don't want to harm you. They may not even know. So tell 'em! And if they DO know, and they STILL do it? Call 'em on it, for the act of passive-aggressive hostility that it is.

* How do I handle negativity re my choices?
-- Not everyone is gonna love what you do. When I was 14, I bought a dress with my own money. I had not worn a dress for years, but I liked this one. It had an off-white background and a black graphic floral pattern. I liked it. My mother HATED it. But yanno something? I was wearing it, and not her. And, BTW (if you know "Color me Beautiful"), I am a Spring and she is a Winter. We have never looked good in the same things and have never had even slightly similar tastes in clothes. That's not going to change any time soon.

I wore the dress anyway. So what to do if someone criticizes your salad, e. g. "Oh, just one lil bite of pasta/birthday cake/chips/whatever won't hurt you!" "Ugh, I hate salad, how can you eat THAT???" Heh, no, get thee behind me, Satan. Eat your salad anyway.

* How do I handle criticism?
-- The same way you do in any other aspect of your life. Do your best not to take it personally and, instead, try to learn from it. A lot of people mean well, but they don't know shinola about weight loss. Do what you do with any boring drone -- pretend to listen, nod and smile politely. Offer an occasional "mm hmm" or whatever acknowledging noncommital sound you prefer.

And then go ahead and do what you need to do for yourself anyway.


Free yourself from the tyranny of thinking that you need to kowtow to others' expectations.

Live your life, not the one that others expect or think is somehow better for you. They are only projecting their own insecurities onto you.

Be Teflon, and they will fly right off.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NVDONNA 8/6/2011 2:05AM

    We all need to take responsibility for our actions. No one can make us do what we do not want to do. It is all up to us to make our own decisions and stick to our own plan. If we don't it's our own decision and making excuses is not owning up to the fact that we were just not being in control.

Report Inappropriate Comment
HAPPYWRITER7 8/3/2011 6:46AM

    Here Here!
You were hitting the heads on nails all over the place! It's so nice to see a blog like this. It's such a welcomed change.

Report Inappropriate Comment
TELERIE 8/3/2011 5:08AM

    Oh my! I love your blogs! How I've missed them!! MUAH!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SWEETZMIX 8/2/2011 12:23PM

    Great advice. It's all about taking control. I feel that way today. I need to take control!

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 8/2/2011 8:49AM

    Get behind the wheel and take charge of your decisions and choices...! Simple, yet at times challenging steps to take!


Report Inappropriate Comment
CAROLISCIOUS 8/1/2011 9:21PM

    Great blog JES. Human nature sure drags us down the "woe is me road." I hope you added your thoughts to those folks asking the questions.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CAMILLEMANS 8/1/2011 3:21PM

    Your message has deeply impacted and moved me. I am actually shedding a tear with the honesty of the message and the dry humor it was delivered with. You have stated things in quite a wonderful perspective. Thank you.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
FIT_TERI 8/1/2011 12:10PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
MS.ELENI 8/1/2011 12:07PM

    You gave me a lot to think about. This may be your best blog ever. Thanks for sharing.You are just so smart. Maybe it will rub off on some of us. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
TEMPEST272002 8/1/2011 11:48AM

    Great blog! I often wonder at all the negativity. It's really a matter of perspective. When people go on a diet, it's all about deprivation. Me, I'm making healthy choices to have a bigger life. No deprivation here.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DMPRIDER 8/1/2011 10:36AM

    Good advice, good strategies, as always!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MARCHMAID 8/1/2011 10:28AM

    I second the "run your own race" notion!

Well said!

Report Inappropriate Comment

    Phew. Say it sistah!

Report Inappropriate Comment
LAB-LOVER 8/1/2011 8:46AM

    To quote one of our SpBuddies: "Fa La Stinkin' LA!"

Or as they say in the running world "run your own race!"

Two thumbs up!

emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

If You Arrive and Don't See Me

Monday, July 25, 2011

I have thinking about budgets a LOT lately.

There's a pretty obvious reason. Unemployment is now gone. So we have to, quite literally, watch our pennies. We turn off fans and lights after each other. We sit together if we turn on the a/c (fortunately, the heat finally broke, so we can keep the a/c off -- and most of the fans as well -- and save more $$). And, of course, there's also the food budget. No more presliced mushrooms. I slice them now, and we save a buck. We eat more beans (they're good for ya! Just don't stand downwind of my home, mmmkay?) than chicken. Our salads are not piled quite so high. We use coupons. We look for generic alternatives. The once weekly dinner out is down to once every other week. It may end up being once per month but right now this scarcest bit of luxury is something we are holding onto.

I suspect that, at some point, this will translate into some losing (not this week, but TOM is looming). If nothing else, it should translate into some more cooking creativity. We are finding all sorts of interesting leftovers in the freezer, and they are finding their ways into our meals.

So -- anyway -- I wanted to talk about calorie budgets, and making good food choices. So many of us are overweight because of junk food, bad, greasy cakes, stale company meeting cookies, day-old doughnuts and the like. I suspect that few of us are, truly, carrying around extra poundage because we got too much Kobe beef or truffle oil or pheasant. And food need not be expensive to be good, of course. I am not saying that we didn't overindulge on things that tasted really good, or that were even good for us -- we just overdid it. Repeatedly.

If we are on a calorie budget, it makes sense to choose the best foods, right? To spend our caloric "money" wisely, and carefully decide where and how to spend it. Why purchase junk that won't be sustaining? Why not work to get the best that you can, within your limited means?

And that got me to thinking, which is always dangerous.

The idea of choosing the best foods reminded me of someone I knew a good 25 years ago.

I worked with a gal, a secretary, who was up to her eyeballs (and beyond) in debt. She made, probably, about $11k/year (I knew this because she told me; this was Delaware and apartments were $150/month for nice ones) but was in debt to the tune of about $50k.

Yes, more than she made in 4 1/2 YEARS.

And what was she buying?

It wasn't medical care or a house. It wasn't even a car. It was ... stretch pants. And blousy tops. I bet she had one for every day of the season, let alone week. She bought and ate fast food (yes, this was a large gal), and I recall overhearing her tell one of her pals, "I got a new credit card offer in the mail; the limit was $5,000 so I got it and once I got the card I went out and spent that sucker right up."

And I am thinking, huh?

You are destroying your future and essentially creating indentured servitude for yourself, probably for the remainder of your life, for Wendy's hamburgers and cheap stretchy pants from KMart which will not last beyond five washings. ARE YOU OUTTA YOUR FREAKIN' MIND?????

And becoming overweight, at least for me (and possibly for you), was not a festival of eating amazing foods, but just too much of them. I was not gorging myself on caviar and lobster and chateaubriand and truffles.

Nope. I did it on Taco Bell, stale old potato chips and low quality vanilla ice cream -- and a lot of it was foods that were not even marginally delicious, let alone super-delicious (and of course, as you are well aware, it need not be expensive in order to be super-delicious).

Essentially, I put myself into indentured servitude with my weight, and I sold myself out for cheap, much like the gal with the rainbow assortment of stretchy pants and no retirement fund.

The freedom is to eat the super-delicious (or at least rather delicious) foods, in moderation, LOVE them and stay out of indentured servitude.

Sparklies of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your calorically-induced chains!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PCOH051610 8/1/2011 1:57PM

    Our mutual friend Tempest272002 suggested I read this blog and am I ever glad I did. I'm thinking we are in similiar financial situations. Right now I have unemployment but my husband isn't working and his unemployment has run out too. We are lucky we have saved for retirement in the years that we could and are debating dipping into those now to see us through.

I've got several relatives like your friend from years ago and you know what? They are still acting the same way with the simple knowledge that "oh well, we'll go on welfare". Drives me nuts. Welfare is there for people who truly need and deserve it...not because you spent money you didn't have on the the latest stretch pants! Ha!

Thanks for making me see that food is like a financial budget too. We love to eat out and have to cut it back...err...out for awhile. Luckily we still have a freezer full of stuff I could be cooking up to see us through.

I think you are mentally a lot richer than you think you are! Once again, thanks for the great blog!

Report Inappropriate Comment

    Wow Awesome perspective. How easy it is to look at what someone else's doing and think, "are you INSANE?" yet I do the same thing in another way. Nobody ever said it better than Shakespeare, "Oh what fools these mortals be!"

Thank you for giving me something to think about. You are so, so right -- years of the indentured servitude of not being happy in my own skin and not being able to do all the things I really love and enjoy because of my weight has not been worth the fleeting pleasures of fast food and junk food that does not even taste amazing.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CAROLISCIOUS 7/26/2011 9:50PM

    I can't help but wonder where your former spendalishus co-worker is now...that's very scary. Yet I'm willing to "spend" my weekend calories all at once by eating out...or by nibbling without care on some stupid snack like cheddar goldfish.

Report Inappropriate Comment
KAYWEB555 7/26/2011 8:26PM

    Good Blog, Thanks for sharing your thoughts ! Gives all of us something to think about! food stamps only go so far, so I started a veggie garden with the help of a friends back yard ! we have tomatoes , peppers, lettuce raspberries, strawberries, beans! It sure will starte soon helping out with the stretch of the buck.

Report Inappropriate Comment
ANONYGIRL 7/26/2011 8:23PM

    I eat a lot better now than I did when I was gaining. I got fat on good-tasting food, home baked and made from scratch, but devoid of nutritional value and heavy on carbs. And I told myself I ate healthy because I cooked it all from whole food. Right.

Report Inappropriate Comment
AMBER281 7/26/2011 5:38PM

    I love this blog. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MARCHMAID 7/26/2011 11:02AM

    Well turned phrases here. ; ) I'm going to carry the image around with me for a while. Actually, I HAVE put on my weight by eating too high on the hog mostly. Too much of too many good things over the years. It's only recently that I realized and have acted on that understanding. For me it's been about my husband's love of companionship while eating. Really. I cook for him and eat even when I'm not hungry to be "sociable." Then I ate out of boredom and fatigue. No more of that sort of servitude for me!

Report Inappropriate Comment

    I do love the way you think. What the heck is Kobe beef by the way. Oh I could Google it but I just know there is a story behind this.

Report Inappropriate Comment
WOLFKITTY 7/26/2011 2:03AM

    This is awesome! :)

Report Inappropriate Comment
TEMPEST272002 7/25/2011 2:29PM

    Great blog! I'm right on top of our budget & I make sure we live within our means. Sometimes that means we live very simply. So this is a great analogy for me.

We almost never eat out at restaurants, but I've become a great cook. Most of what we eat is better tasting than restaurant food anyhow & a fraction of the cost. Instead of going out to eat, what about date night with hubby at a cooking class? Could be fun!

What you said about selling out for crap food - that hit home & will stick with me. Thanks!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CANNOTFATHOM 7/25/2011 1:47PM

    Great blog! You are right junk food can be cheaper, but I buy the better quality foods by what's on sale and utilizing our farmer's market.


Report Inappropriate Comment
BLUEANGELLK 7/25/2011 1:10PM

    Being an indentured slave to food really got me thinking. Even now as I am trying to eat more healthfully, I find myself staying home and by myself more. I am trying to stay away from the temptations of fast food and large meals out, but what I am doing is further making me a slave to food. It is just slavery to healthier foods now. I need to be able to live my life AND make smart choices about food, not wait until I get thin before I live my life again. Thanks for the thoughts!

Report Inappropriate Comment
NORAB52GOOD 7/25/2011 11:46AM

    Thinking is indeed a dangerous pastime. emoticon Your idea of indentured servitude is an interesting one. I often consider calories in terms of how much something 'costs' or if I can 'afford' it or indeed if a particular food is 'worth it'. It helps focus my mind and make things more logical instead of emotional. And if I am going to limit what I eat, I am damn sure going to enjoy what I do eat! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
DMPRIDER 7/25/2011 10:25AM

    Thanks JES, this is a really good way to look at things as we track calories and try to stay "on budget" and in range.

Report Inappropriate Comment
1CRAZYDOG 7/25/2011 10:15AM

  Terriffic blog!!! To me there is NOTHING that tastes as good as being healthy feels!!!!

And boy, there were so many, many things that I make NOW that are as described, a "poor man's meal", but we had not idea! All we knew was it tasted good and it was surprisingly healthy! Keep those recipes as a treasure! They are!!!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SWEETZMIX 7/25/2011 10:05AM

    You know this made me think when I was younger my mom used to make white rice and fried eggs. Supposedly a lot of Puerto Rican families ate this as a regular meal, but my mom would make it when money got tight. And you know what, we loved it lol We knew nothing about it being the poor mans meal for her to make. Some of the best meals are made when money is tight, you become more creative and put more effort into the meal.

Report Inappropriate Comment
BYEPOUNDS 7/25/2011 9:47AM

    When things were really tight when i was a single mom, we made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and went on o picnic, instead of the fast food place. To this day my kids comment how they loved the picnic, I didn't share with them that things were tight then, and I'm surprised that what they wanted was my time. Thanks for your article, it made me think of the past in a different light. Best to you!

Report Inappropriate Comment

First Page  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 Last Page