Monday, October 17, 2011
This is going to be a bit of a mixed bag blog 'cause I don't have a central focus right now.
Topic Numbah One.
I am cold.
Well, not RIGHT now (as I am in the office), but this is nuts. Here it is, we are less than 2/3 of the way through October and all I can think of is, I hate this, I am miserably cold and we aren't even halfway through the autumn.
Now, some things are conspiring (but hear me out!) to keep me cold. One is, I could be wearing a warmer jacket. But I did that last year, and all that happened was that I was still cold, and then, when it got really bad and I was at Defcon-5 in terms of bundlage, I had nowhere to go, for months.
At some point, one gets too Eskimo-ey, and you end up looking 5' x 5' and are wearing a ski mask and hey, I suppose I could knock over a liquor store while I'm at it. Long as they've got heat.
So my plan for this year is to make the effort to stay strong as long as possible. Hence this morning, I had on a short-sleeve shirt, a long-sleeve moleskin shirt over it, a fiberfill vest, a pair of fiber-y fake-o pretend wool gloves, a pair of chinos, regular socks and regular sneakers. And I was cursing the day and thinking about how much I wanted my leather jacket. But I am trying to hold out for an under 50 degree morning for that, or November first, whichever comes first.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I moved to New England voluntarily. And I love it here. But after losing a good 135 lbs. (and despite the fact that I still have a passel o' insulating fat), I am still freezing once the mercury goes below 60.
See, this is one of the things they don't tell you about losing a boatload o' weight - JUST HOW FREAKIN' COLD YOU WILL BECOME FOR THE REST OF YOUR *(CHILLY)* DAYS.
Don't tell me to chillax.
Every day is chill, babe.
Topic Numbah Two.
I am working now (I told everyone on the planet; I have little doubt that you are now sick of this), and the world of regular work is, still, a source of great amusement, mystery and fascination. I find the land o' cubicles to be captivating much of the time. Life's little observations, as it were.
Case in pernt.
This morning, I break out the NEW oatmeal. It is not much different from the old stuff, save that it comes in a nifty vertical pack to save space and it has some mild chocolate-y flavor. I am looking forward to this as I have a sad little life and need the excitement. I go to the coffee area (where, among other things, there is a cappuccino machine the size of Neptune that makes sounds like an aircraft carrier when it's engaged) and I begin to pour hot water into the acid green bowl (hey, it wakes me up!) and then I start pouring coffee into my big honkin' BU mug. I figure it is good coffee if it is named after some Third World Country (in this case, Sumatra).
And I must've been staring at the oatmeal a lil too long, as I am tired and I am zoning out, plus I am not yet caffeinated and the NEW oatmeal has larger oats than the old stuff and so it is not absorbing the water as quickly. I suppose I appeared contemplative.
So some dude I had never seen before comes over and says, "I can never get the amount of water, right, either." And I snap out of it and realize he is talking about the oatmeal. We begin discussing the fact that the only good way to eat oatmeal is if it is barely wet. Flavored wallpaper paste is my oatmealian Nirvana. The spoon MUST be able to stand up.
I go back to my desk (Note: Oatmeal Dude is kinda good-lookin') and I suddenly think, Was Oatmeal Dude hittin' on me?
I have no idear. Not that I care or anything (I am married, etc. and even a serious bonding experience over Splenda-flavored spackling will not make me jump ship or anything), but it did give me pause.
That was a few hours ago and since I never saw Oatmeal Dude before, and I have not seen him since, I am instead suspecting that this was a Sumatra coffee-fume-influenced fever dream and instead I was probably just talking to the cappuccino machine.
Topic Numbah Three.
There was a recent article, er, somewhere (perhaps in my fever dream) about what Steve Jobs can teach us all about the world o' work. And all I can think of is, now that the dude is dead, his name is gonna be used to invoke all sorts of stuff. Not that this was inaccurate or not nice or whatever, but I predict that, at some point, we will begin to see those awful chain letters with positive messages of hope that, if we break the chain WE WILL DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH INVOLVING SHOVELS.
But ... the article.
It said, among other lovely things, that one should do meaningful work.
And yeah, that's an awfully nice thing.
And I know people, here and elsewhere, who do awesome, meaningful work. They are nurses, they save the environment, they are teachers, they invent stuff, etc. etc. etc.
But yanno something?
Quite a few of us do things that are pretty dang mundane. This morning, I ran four database reports. Now, financial decisions will be made based upon my stuff (yes, the company I work for is more or less right in the gunsights of the Occupy movement - we see them nearby, every morning. There are often the sounds of singing coming from their lil encampment), but, really, c'mon, people! Empires will neither rise nor fall based upon my happy little database reports.
And yanno something?
It's all good.
And I don't mean that in a patronizing - "oh, it's okay that you're not important" kind of passive-agressive BS manner. No.
Instead, what I mean is, many of us do not make either the grand gestures or even the midrange gestures. We make small gestures. And those remain vital as well. Empires may neither rise nor fall, but we still help make the Earth turn.
We make your morning coffee. We drive your bus. We deliver your paper. We walk your dog. We fix your computer. We sell you your insurance. And yeah, we deliver database reports, too.
We are the fabric of life, just as surely as the heart surgeon and the astronaut and the soldier are. We are everyday Janes and Joes. I hesitate to use the phrase "everyday hero", as I feel it is overdone. But the finish line is the same for all.
And yeah, there's even an actual weight loss point in the midst of all of this Sumatra-fueled brain mixmaster detritus, so thick that you can stand up a spoon in it!
We all LOVE the grand gesture, the big thing. And big things are nice. They are happy things where we circle the date on our calendar and we burn it into our brains.
But the real work of weight loss, and of maintenance, is in the little gestures, the small moments. That piece of pie that goes untouched. The walk that is ten minutes longer. The heavier groceries that are carried. The water that is drunk instead of soda. It adds up, and it works.
And it is what makes our own, little, private Earths turn.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Right now, there's not much in mine. I have a lovely cold, first one of the season. This is, in part, related to the temperatures wildly fluctuating recently. It's also due to the stress/lifestyle change of starting a new job. My sleep schedule is different, my foods are different (albeit good), my exercise is different, my clothes are different. You get the picture. Differences, in my life, abound.
I had a talk with my folks relatively recently. They are considering moving, and have found a good, suitable place (my father is eighty; my mother is not too far behind). And ... suddenly there is a lot less enthusiasm for the move. I don't know if it's that they've run out of gas. I suppose that is a part of it.
But another piece of it is a resistance to the changes. The place will be smaller. They will be in another section of town - which means distance from some friends. Shopping will be different. Etc. etc. etc. on and on, changes, big and small.
And, well, YEAH. Things are going to change. For better or for worse, they are going to change. And they are going to change whether that change is desired or not. A choice is made, even when no choice is made. Instead, it becomes a passive choice, an acceptance, perhaps, but also inaction.
Just because they, perhaps, do not move, or do not move with gladness in their hearts, does not mean that moving stops being a good idea. It does not mean that time ceases in its endless march.
And the same is true for all of us.
As we step along, we can choose to be healthy, and do the right things, or not, or we can sit around and let life happen to us.
It is often a lot easier to just let life happen to us. And as we go along, and it's a chore to climb stairs or walk a mile, we shrug and say to ourselves things like ~
* That's just how life is
* I'm not meant to be at a healthy weight
* It's my bone structure/my genetics/my mother/my horoscope/whatever that is to blame
* C'est la vie; I'll fix it later
And later never comes. Or, if it does come - as is in my own case, BTW - it is so much harder, for we are older, and that makes the gradient that much steeper, and we have gained more weight, which makes the road that much longer.
And it's so hard to eat right, or drink the water, and we shrug and say things to ourselves like ~
* I'll only have a little bit - but that bit isn't so little
* I can't drink that much water! I can't live in the bathroom
* Only 400 calories for a meal? I can't live this way!
* I'm a junk food junkie. Don't take away my burgers and fries!
* The kids' Halloween candy doesn't count because it's their candy, right?
* If I don't track it, it's like I never had it, right?
And on and on, in these seemingly endless circles of denial. And I understand some of it, or at least some degrees of it. I get the thing about the bathroom - so the answer is to do your best to spread out the water, and it won't be so bad. And you'll get used to it (Really!). I understand the 400 calories thing. It can feel like deprivation when you are getting started. But you will get used to that as well. And you will get used to eating better foods as you go along, too. You become used to what you do. Continue eating junk and you'll never get used to eating right, and eating less. But eat less, and eat better food, and you will start to actually CRAVE it.
Resisting doing well for yourself is not harming anyone but you.
Complaining about what you need to do is not getting you anywhere.
Cheating on the tracking, the weight training, the water drinking or anything else is not somehow fooling the rest of us. We are watching, a little, but, frankly, we're doing our own things, yanno. And we are not weighing and measuring how you are living YOUR life. Ultimately, you have to do well for yourself, and be honest with yourself, and face up to what you are or are not doing for YOURSELF.
The rest of it is noise.
Monday, October 03, 2011
Okay, so I realize this group was, like, the '90s version of ABBA, but I don't care. I like the song's pseudo-reggae beat. And I kinda like the lyric I quoted in this blog title.
It's week #2 of work. And this is not a huge deal by any means. I have been through this drill many, many times before. It's funny how you can get right back into the groove with very little preparation or mental psyching. Hey, I know how to do this! And now I'm moving in and just doing it. There's lots to learn but the basics, to me, are simple. Competency returns with very little fanfare.
And yanno ...
We restart weight loss all the time. Don't we?
And most of us have the information, and we remember it. Or it's a small thing to be reminded and then - yeah, that's right! - and we are ready to go. At least, intellectually, we are.
Now, this is not to say that certain information is never proven wrong, or is never hidden. There are plenty of diet traps out there in Restaurant Land. Companies LIE.
THEY LIE LIKE RUGS IN ORDER TO GET YOU TO EAT THEIR FOOD!
We see this all the time. Some terms are regulated; others are not. So we see all sorts of stuff on menus and it's not necessarily good for us at all.
That information is helpful. Personally, I often read the Spark Showdowns although I believe that, often, some of it is reaching. Telling me that an 800-calorie appetizer is the better choice is, well, silly. I eat about 2 1/2 times that amount of calories in a DAY. I am not about to blow that much of my diet budget on a stupid appetizer.
But I digress.
My real point in all of this is that most of this is not about the information.
EVERYONE HERE SHOULD KNOW THAT FRIED FOODS ARE BAD.
EVERYONE HERE SHOULD KNOW THAT TOO MUCH SALT CAN MAKE THEM BLOATED.
EVERYONE HERE SHOULD KNOW THAT THEY NEED TO DRINK WATER.
EVERYONE HERE SHOULD KNOW THAT EXERCISE WILL HELP THEM TO LOSE WEIGHT.
It is not about information. It is about motivation.
You need to be able to make your choices with confidence. You need to be able to say no with conviction, if something is presented that is no good for you. You need to split out your time and your energy and find a way to do things for yourself, because God knows most of the people here find time to do for others.
No one can teach you motivation, I'm sorry to say. It is a far different animal.
All that can be done by the management of Spark is to give you information. And here on the blogs, what we, your peers, can do is, we can share our own motivations, in the hopes that you find a way to siphon off a little of it, and cobble it together into something that works for you. Or we share our triumphs. Or our frustrations, or our sorrows. Or our setbacks. And, the hope is, you see something in there, and it drives your motivation, or it pumps some gas into that tank. Or, perhaps, it just begins to point you in the right direction. But you will get there when you get there.
This race does not go to the swiftest or the strongest, even as we are all attempting to become swifter and stronger. It goes to the one who is in the light, and who tries to shine that light on others. But we all climb up in there on our own.
As the song says, no one's gonna drag you up.
You have to get there on your own.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Tomorrow, I go back to work. Things are delayed for a day because the silly drug test last week was delayed by a day (the testing center's computer was down. Sheesh!).
No worries - it's kinda nice to have an extra day to myself, knowing that I am actually going to be making some money, and soon. See, that's the thing - I've had people say to me - isn't it great being out of work? You can do what you please!
Er, no, you can't. You should be watching your pennies. And there are few people to hang out with, anyway (and you should be networking with 'em, not hanging out and watching interminable reruns).
I feel it's a bit like that, in terms of having lost a boatload of weight already. Oh, you can relax! You've already lost over 100 pounds! The rest should be easy, right? You already look radically different!
Well, heh, yes, THAT particular mountain has already been climbed, true. But it does not mean that suddenly life is a festival of hangin' out and doin' nothin', or I'll be right back there. And, by the way, it also does not mean that exercise is easy. It is less painful, yes. I don't have the huge pain afterwards unless I've done a 5K or something comparably strenuous. These days, I pretty routinely walk for about 80 minutes, usually for around 3 1/4 - 3 1/2 miles. I don't need recovery time from such things anymore. But I've still gotta get out and do 'em.
So many of us have no problem (well, we probably grumble about it) getting up and going to work in pouring rain, or when we don't feel like it, etc. Now, we may take a mental health day here and there. But the bottom line is that we usually get up and get out there and do it.
Why is it so hard to do that with our health? Why does a drop of rain, or a little feeling that we don't feel like it, or the promise of almost any kind of alternate activity, derail the good intentions of so many of us?
When it's pouring rain, and we have to go to work, what do we do? Oh, we may want to stick our heads under the covers and return to Dreamland. But we suck it up, and we grab an umbrella and we go.
Grab an umbrella (or its equivalent) and solve the problem that's holding you back, and GO. YOU are just as important as the Holbrook account, as the Davis report, as the patient in Room 123, right? RIGHT?
You are your own most important project.
Monday, September 19, 2011
I had a rather mixed week recently.
Because of getting a job, people suddenly want to see me/us. This is nice, but I was out of work for over a year and a half. I suppose now I have optimistic things to talk about. Shrug. It's fine and I don't begrudge it. It's just that I do actually have to get my act in gear for the job. Some of that work takes longer than other aspects. But doing it does take time or, like today, it involves distance (I am going to Worcester today to wrap up most of my stuff with the 'bot boys).
First, my folks came up, so before that we were in a frenzy of cleaning. Cleaning, of course, needs/needed to be done, but it was a lot to do. Then they got here, and we were both reminded of, well, the changes that are occurring. Don't want to say anymore.
Then on the weekend we went to a friend's (she used to be my boss a good seven years ago) house for a gathering of the people we used to work with (we meaning me and my colleagues; my husband never worked there). That was great fun, with a LOT of laughing but we stayed a LONG time, and I ended up leaving with swollen tonsils that are not yet gone. Whether that was from talking (there was no alcohol at the party) or fatigue or allergies, I have no idea. I have the two hour each way drive to Worcester today, and that is not going to do my tonsils any favors.
I need to stay in bed, or at least close to home, and rest. Plus I need to cook stuff in preparation for not only next week (which is supposed to be when I start working) but for later as well. Oh and I will need to have the plumber come in, and deal with (and pay for) all of that.
Plus somewhere in there I am supposed to get a drug test for this job. No one has even contacted me to schedule it. So that is yet another unnecessary source of stress.
It feels precarious, this job, as if by "forgetting" (I will call them tomorrow if I don't hear anything by the end of business today) to schedule the drug test, they are telling me something about being hired, that it's a will o' the wisp.
I know that that is not true, of course, but it doesn't help matters one iota.
So I feel turned around, and twisted. Things are going to fall into place. I know this intellectually. But I am still feeling like something is nagging at me. I don't suppose anyone else has ever welcomed a drug screening as much as I will once the stupid thing is scheduled.
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