Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Well, I flunked my first real challenge to my healthier eating plan. I went over to my friendís house for dinner on Saturday to watch my team play and ended up devouring about two fried fish fillets, a half cup of macaroni and cheese, green beans and salad. I also had two glasses of wine. I ended up crashing at the house because of the wine. The next morning, we went out for brunch and I had four slices of French toast with butter and maple syrup, two sausage links and one scrambled egg.
I did just about everything wrong, but there were two things I got right. 1) I did some extra exercise; 2) I resolved to get back on track at the following meal. After that fattening brunch, I was back on a healthier eating plan for Sunday dinner and fully back on track by Monday.
I weighed myself this morning to assess any long term damage. I lost half a pound of water weight Iíd gained from TOM. If I stay on track, I will be okay.
I am realizing that it is not the occasional lapses that mess up goals, but the relapses where you just throw your hands in the air and give up. I didnít and I havenít. I am continuing to follow the mantra I got from a Spark People motivation page, ďAim for better everyday; never perfect right away.Ē
Friday, March 30, 2012
If you canít already tell it by viewing my home page, Iím a huge Jayhawk fan and this is a BIG weekend for those of us who follow KU. Tomorrow evening, Iím going over to a friendís house for dinner, drinks and basketball. Iím looking forward to it, but going to gatherings like this one is fraught with pitfalls.
When my team plays in the NCAA tournament, it can be stressful because Iím usually biting my nails, holding my breath and watching the game with my heart in my throat. Itís the classic thrill of victory or agony of defeat scenario. Either way, Iím at risk of overeating.
Somehow, I need to figure out how Iím going to escape this evening without ingesting 12,000 calories in one sitting. The dinner menu will include fried fish from a favorite fish house, macaroni and collard greens. There will be an assortment of drinks including the dreaded (and sinfully delicious) chocolate martini. Not eating will be rude, but overdoing it is harmful.
So far, Iím planning to do the following:
1) Bring a low cal dish on my own.
2) Get some extra exercise in. If I work out today, tomorrow and Sunday, it might help.
3) Eat fish, leave the macaroni alone and load up on greens. Limit myself to one alcoholic beverage and drink diet coke or water the rest of the evening.
Hopefully, this will be enough of a plan.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Sometimes I ask myself why it's so difficult to lose weight when I know what I'm supposed to be doing. The answer has nothing to do with knowledge but everything to do with emotions. I've known this for years, but really want to understand more. I've been reading books and articles that focus on the psychology of being overweight, versus the "how to" type of literature.
I know these things about myself in a nutshell:
1) I eat when I'm celebrating
2) I eat when I'm depressed
3) I eat when I'm anxious
4) I eat when I'm stressed
5) I eat when I'm bored
6) I eat when I'm angry
7) I eat when I'm socializing
8) I eat when I'm alone
9) I eat when I'm hungry
10) I eat when I'm NOT hungry
For me, dropping weight requires a focused mind. I have to be in the right state of mind, where I believe change is possible and can manage the changes through small, consistent and sustained behaviors. Maybe I can't exercise 5-6 days a week, but I CAN exercise 3 days a week. Maybe I can't give up my BBQ (a fifth food group when you live in Kansas City), but I CAN substitute BBQ chicken for spareribs every other meal. Maybe I can't live without sweets, but I CAN try new lower-cal recipes that satisfy my sweet tooth. Maybe I can't be perfect, but I CAN choose wisely 90% of the time. Maybe I don't record my eating daily, but I CAN track my eating 3-4 times a week.
I am ALLOWING myself to NOT do this perfectly. It is amazing how free I feel knowing that no food is going to be off limits and that mistakes, lapses are not only okay, but permissible and forgivable. It does a lot to overwrite the negativity that creeps in my head.
I am now preparing for how I will cope when life gets in the way. When I am stressed, anxious and depressed and want to eat something junky--what behavior do I substitute instead. The answer? Housework. I know that sounds simplistic, but I've decided that dishes, vacuuming, making up beds, dusting or whatever else needs to be done is a good coping mechanism. I'm rewarded with a clean environment and getting a bit of exercise in the process. Household chores are mindless activities that keep me busy doing something other than eating. Plus, I can turn on my favorite music and just do my thing.
Other ideas are walks, pedicures, massages, bubble baths and, yes, a single glass of white wine (which I wouldn't do if I had any alcoholic tendencies).
So far this time around, I've dropped the 20 lbs I gained while unemployed. I'm looking forward to dropping the next 20 lbs and fitting easily into a size 14. My size 16W's are getting loose, so I will need to go shopping in another month or so.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Slowly but surely, I'm putting my life back together. I found another job. It doesn't pay as much as the one I lost, but I like what I do, my boss, my work environment and my co-workers. What's nice is that I get more than 2 weeks of paid holidays a year, and a month of vacation time.
I moved into more affordable housing, so I can travel, shop and do other things besides sit around and be house poor.
I am also now a grandmother to a beautiful baby boy, who has turned out to be a blessing. He is almost five months old, now and what they say is true; it's MUCH more fun being a grandparent than a parent. Plus, I am young enough that he will be grown before I collect my first social security check.
On the downside, I am now officially prediabetic. The diagnosis was a wake up call for me to get serious about my health habits. Since my diagnosis, I've dropped 15 of the 20 lbs I gained while unemployed.
I have a high school class reunion in 2013, so between my health and the reunion, I have more motivation than ever to drop weight.
No matter what obstacle life throws my way, I refuse to give up.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
(continued from Sept 11 blog)
I thought my troubles were behind me when I quit working for Miranda. After six years of employment and months of bullying, I snapped up the first job that came along. It was a small non-profit that provided human services to the poor, a cause that resonated close to my heart.
My initial interview for the position was with a man, whom I'll call Dick. Dick was a buttoned-down type with a sinister edge. He gave me the creeps, because there was something about his demeanor and personality that I found unsettling. My position would be reporting to his boss, "Antoine" who served as the organization's executive director. I briefly wondered why Antoine was not involved in the interview, but dismissed it from my mind.
When I got the job, I was elated because it meant no more Miranda and no more abuse. I had a large office, two direct reports and a part-time assistant. After orientation, I started to settle into my position. True, I had taken a 10% pay cut from the job I had with Miranda, but I was still very happy to be there and working for a great cause.
My troubles started almost immediately. I am an industrious worker, but even for me, the assignments rained down at a furious pace. I delegated what I could, but the workload was overwhelming and the job was much broader in scope that the job description. I tried to resolve this issue by talking to Antoine. Instead of responding directly to me, Antoine preferred to communicate through Dick, who served as his messenger boy. Antoine never stopped by my office to make small talk. He didn't seem to want to speak to me at all, which made no sense to me. One day, Dick said "Antoine didn't want to hire you; you are here because of me." Uh-oh.
Over time, I noticed many things about the organization that I found peculiar. Dick kept a photo of Antoine on his desk next to his wife and kids. They did seem unusually close; almost like brothers. The organization only had a $2 million budget, yet they spent $500,000 for directors to travel all over the place. Some of the supplies donated to the organization were useless, yet they were kept in inventory to inflate the assets on their annual audit and minimize their program/administration ratio. I was asked to allocate my timesheet hours to various restricted programs although I had not worked in those areas.
The organization placed little emphasis on helping the poor or on the quality of services provided. They kept no data on how many people they served and what kind of services they received. Although they spent $500,000 on travel, their information systems was running on a hamster wheel and ready to crash at any time. Anti-gay slurs were routine, and the Chair of their Board, whom people almost worshipped like some sort of demi-god controlled administrative decisions. There was only one other female director, but they wanted to demote her, have her report to me and get me to fire her to avoid a wrongful termination lawsuit. They also wanted me to fire one of my subordinates, which I refused to do until I could assess his performance on my own.
Overall, I was a fish out of water. I felt like I had joined this wonderful organization only to discover there was nothing but smoke and mirrors behind the curtain. The day I was given an assignment with an unrealistic deadline and no control over the work, I knew I was through.
The day we parted ways was low-key. As I'd mentioned in a previous blog, I handled myself with all the professionalism in the world after Antoine told me. He asked me when I wanted my last day to be. I told him "Today." I had several projects I had finished but not submitted. Why give them the satisfaction of my work? I packed my stuff and walked out.
Unemployment is a drag. Some days you feel worthless, other days you're optimistic. You have lots of free time to spend thinking, analyzing, job hunting, crying, bitching, pissing and moaning. You spend lots of time wondering how you ended up where you are at. You withdraw socially because you tire of providing a long answer to the basic question, "where do you work?" At a time when you need to become a networking fiend, you feel like staying in bed, eating ice cream and watching "Law and Order" re-runs.
I threw my healthy eating and exercise habits under a bus. I was too stressed out and consumed by the job search to focus on change. I made a conscious decision to put weight loss on a back burner until my life calmed down.
When I found my new job I was elated. I'm happy to report that I'm in a much healthier environment. It's a step back for me career-wise. I no longer have an office and no longer supervise. I'm also making 25% less than I did working for Miranda. But its nice to be in a happy, healthy environment.
How did I find the job? Networking, of course. I called a colleague for a job lead and she recommended me to her former boss. Turns out it was a woman I met 18 months ago while doing some civic group volunteer work. In addition, she knew one of the people I listed as a reference. Also, on the day of the interview I had a nice conversation with the receptionist, who told me last week that she'd mentioned how pleasant I was to the hiring manager. Throw in my education and experience, and they hired me.
I regained the weight that I lost at the beginning of the year, but I'm fortunate that the damage wasn't worse. I'm ready to refocus and strive to eat better and exercise more. Onward and downward!!
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