Sunday, January 26, 2014

You Know it’s Cold When…

     It’s cold as frozen shit here in the American Midwest and it doesn’t seem quite fair. Especially when comparing temps with other ‘classically cold’ places;

Temperatures this Monday;

Anchorage, Alaska: Hi 41⁰F   Lo 35⁰F
Moscow, Russia:     Hi 12⁰F    Lo -6⁰F
The North Pole:       Hi 29⁰F    Lo 15⁰F
Me:                            Hi 2⁰F      Lo -15⁰F

     At least it will be colder at the South Pole with a high of -30⁰F and a low of -33⁰F but that’s really not that comforting. Good luck, everyone, and I'll leave you with my list of the top ten You Know it's Cold When...

10.  You’ve turned the heat on as high as it can go.

9.  You take showers to stay warm, not to get clean.

8.  You stop shaving your legs because you need that extra hair to stay warm.

7.  Given a choice between a smoothie and bland hot cereal for breakfast, you choose the cereal and are really excited about it!

6.   You stop doing the dishes and cooking because it’s too cold to be in the kitchen.

5.  You have to seal up your a/c unit to keep from freezing inside your own home.

4.  You start to think of 10⁰F as a lovely, warm day.

3.  You have to rush out and buy a space heater as a matter of safety.

2.  You pile all the blankets on your bed, make a nest and proceed to hibernate like a bear (including bringing snacks).

1. Your cats join you.

my sealed-in a/c

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fit & Fabulous: I Lost 3lbs!

     Hooray!! I lost 3lbs already!! I’ve been on Weight Watchers for almost three weeks now, but at my last weigh-in (last Friday) I lost 3lbs!!

     So exciting!!!

     I’ve officially retired my largest belt since it does no good for me anymore and I’m on the second to last hole of my second-largest belt. 

     So what have I been doing? Well, I haven't been doing much exercise although I did get these two in (from my Yoga Challenge);


     I haven’t gone to any meetings yet because the ‘Arctic Chill’ snowed me in for about a week. (Also, my apartment flooded AGAIN but that’s another story). I followed the Simple Start plan for a week to the best of my ability and then switched to the full plan because I got tired of eating the same thing over and over. It’s really my own fault; I just chose a few recipes from their list and only ate those for the whole week. Unfortunately, I can’t really afford to make a bunch of their meals at the same time so I’m not sure how I’m going to conquer this hurdle but I’m working on it.

     So the Simple Start plan is this; they have a list of recipes to choose from and each meal you eat from one of the recipes on the list without worrying about or even recording portion sizes. It’s similar to their Simply Filling plan which is an alternative to tracking points. I did enjoy not having to count points and such but the tracking app for simple start was very simplistic. There’s no way to record if you don’t follow the meal and there’s zero flexibility for eating recipes not on their list.
The regular plan is a little challenging for me because it’s not like 1pt= a certain number of calories. Their points are based on the assumption that not all calories are alike and it is more difficult for your body to process some foods than others. I admit I don’t really understand it very well. So there’s been a few times when I’ve gone to eat a meal that I would usually think of as a good choice and I calculate the points later and find out that they are WAY too high for me to eat on a regular basis while on weight watchers. Such as; peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or this pesto pasta dish I get at the cafeteria at work (turned out to be a whopping 24 points!). 

     It would be really helpful for me to get to a meeting and find out what other people are eating, hopefully I will be able to make it this Wednesday!


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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fit & Fabulous: Weight Watchers and the Yoga Challenge

       I started Weight Watchers on Monday. While I was staying with my parents to get away from my flooded apartment, I came across this coupon in the mail for a free Weight Watchers meeting with purchase of a monthly pass. I didn't think much of it at first, but it kind of stuck in the back of my mind. I've never done the popular diets; no South Beach, no Atkins, mostly because I think cutting one thing out of your diet is not really the answer. Plus, I know that I would never completely cut out sugar or carbs, and once you start eating those things again, the weight will come back. 95% of diets fail*. Which is why I've tried going the route of lifestyle change.

       But lifestyle change has not been working very well for me because I just haven't really succeeded in making enough changes. Last year I lost 10 pounds using my serving size diet and jogging, but since then I've fluctuated within about 4 pounds and just lately coming back up to 171lbs. I had some real success dealing with my binge eating and I cut that down significantly. I have real meals now (whereas at my worst I would have 'cookie dinners').

       But I still want more. I can still eat half a dozen donuts in a sitting without blinking an eye and that is actually something I tend to do when I feel low or when I have cravings that I just can't forget about or control. I'm still not great at dieting more than 3 days in a row and exercise has gone down the toilet since it got too cold to swim.

        My habits are still not going to get me to my goals of getting back down to a normal BMI, not having my thighs rub together and being able to dress how I want. 

       So I'm trying something new. I'm not totally sure about their points system, to me it seems needlessly complicated, however i do like that there are 0 pt foods (bananas, mandarin oranges) so even if I hit my point limit for the day hopefully I'll still have something I can munch on if hungry. I like the idea of social dieting; having the weekly meetings and the support of a leader. I haven't gone to any meetings yet, but I've scheduled one for next Wednesday. Hopefully with some regular, positive social support I'll be able to further cut out binge eating and get more motivation for keeping up with exercise.

   So keeping this all in mind, I am also restarting my 28 day yoga fitness book^, I've done 3 days so far and I've made this thing on my wall, not sure what you would call it:

    Each circle is a day of exercise and it goes through all the 28 days of my yoga book with a cardio session every third day. I'll pull them down every day that I complete one.

    More updates on Weight Watchers to come; hopefully it will be what I need to finally reach my goals.


*The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Weight Management: A Step-by-Step Program by Michele Laliberte, Randi E. McCabe and Valerie Taylor

^Richard Hittleman's Yoga 28 Day Exercise Plan by Richard Hittleman. Note: if any of you look up this book and read it, YES, I know it's VERY sexist. But it was a gift and it's the book I used to start yoga, it also has a lot of wisdom despite the fact that it was written for 1950's-style housewives.

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Dear Universe, This is My Holiday Post

A lot has happened in the past couple of weeks; I’ve had some time off from work, my apartment flooded, and I got in some good quality time in with the family. My week off from work has flown by as if it was only one day, and I suppose that’s to be expected. It’s been nice not working and I’m not happy about going back, but I feel like I’m doing things to help my situation and that helps me not feel hopeless. I’ve even got some new year’s resolutions that I’m going to get to in a minute.

                My apartment flooded Saturday night; the carpets were soaked and even had little puddles here and there and there were about three inches in the kitchen. Luckily, my clothes closet, bathroom, and the closet where I keep my litter boxes were spared (I don’t even want to think about soaked litter boxes!). At first, it was just too overwhelming. When I got home that evening there were already maintenance men in my apartment trying to suck out the water with various hoses. My cats were frightened and stranded on the windowsills and each step I took in my apartment just made disgusting sucking noises. I was grateful I had chosen to wear boots, especially when I waded through the kitchen to check out the situation. 

                I text-ed pretty much everyone that I knew (this isn’t the kind of thing that happens every day) and was just about to order a pizza - cooking in a kitchen full of water did not seem like a good idea – when my dad texts me back saying they have an extra litter box with fresh litter and that I should go there. So I packed up my cats and headed out.

                My cats are super-pals but they’re very different from one another. I have an ultra-friendly, the-world-is-my-oyster grey tomcat (Ditto) and a there-was-a-small-noise-the-apocalypse-is-happening-now! moody little tortie queen (Cleopatra). Guess who was yelping in a high-pitched voice the whole way to my parent’s house? No, that was Ditto. Because when it comes to car rides, he’s a sissy. Seriously, I think his voice went up a whole octave. Cleopatra was uncharacteristically quiet, perhaps thinking, “dude, not even I’m that much of a diva.”

                Once I got to my parent’s house Ditto gave Cleopatra her diva-status back, and greeted everyone with enthusiasm while his friend hid under the bed for the next four days. The trip has made me consider that maybe Ditto needs a house with at least five people and two stories because he was so excited to see everyone and spent all his time wandering around, exploring every little thing he could get into.

                So I spent Christmas with a little more family time then I’m used to. The first couple days were fine, and Christmas was really nice. It really is something special that my family gets together every year to open presents and be together even though things are kind of crazy with my grandfather in a nursing home in the next state over. My mom was so busy going back and forth to take care of him that she didn’t have time or energy to do any Christmas decorating or preparation. But, my dad and sister took care of the cooking and my sister, brother and I did the decorating. We even had some family friends come by and give my mom a fully-decorated Christmas tree for the porch! I feel lucky that my parents have such great friends.

                After our little family gift exchange, we traveled to my cousin’s house for lunch and then on to my grandfather’s nursing home for a visit. My mom had to stay there to help out so my dad and I cooked a small dinner at my grandmother’s place. It was odd since that’s the usual site of our large family holiday dinners and grandpa is usually the one to do most of the cooking. It was really strange to see him unable to remember what happened in the last hour and unable to stand up or walk on his own. He was still telling his bad jokes, though; whenever he did speak it was in puns.

                We had to stay an extra day to help get grandpa to cancer care and help grandma fight the nurse who kept refusing to give grandma the help she asked for. Most of the nurses were very caring, but this was an obstinate one. My mom was able to contact a superior and I think she may have gotten the nurse in trouble, but I heard the way that nurse talked to my grandma and she deserved to get in trouble!

                Things went downhill mood wise for me on the way back to my parent’s house. Somehow I missed taking my meds for two days, probably because of the change in routine. When I was able to visit my apartment, I was super-thrilled (read angry) to find that it smelled like death and the carpet was filthy. The maintenance man had promised me that they would clean the carpets by Wednesday at the latest; which I thought was odd since that was Christmas, but he still said Wednesday! By Friday it still wasn’t done and I was seriously livid. My parents were getting on my last nerve and my apartment was still a crazy wreck. I had to throw so many things out because they were soaked and smelly. I still need new bookcases, but I think for now I can live with the old ones as long as I don’t sniff them. I lost a lot of books, too, and a ton of cat toys. One of the scratching posts was actually broken in half (how the F did that happen??). 

But anyway, if I talk too much about that I’ll get too angry again. Fast-forward a few days and my carpets are clean (I didn’t have to yell too much), and my furniture is in the proper places. Laundry’s still not done, but I can only do so much. And, I’m looking forward to a new year with plenty of optimism and a new master list of hopes and changes to make.

Hopes and Changes
  •  Bring back Spa Saturday: Every Saturday morning I will pamper myself with any lotions, body scrubs, deep hair conditioners and soaks that I own. 
  •  Paint nails once a week
  • Get new glasses 
  • Get a haircut
  • Make sure to blow-dry my hair after showering because it looks 100% better
  • Shower at least every other day
  • Start weight watchers
  • Re-start yoga 28-day challenge and do cardio every third day
  •  Make a zazzle store with my photography
  • Start crafting on etsy
  •  Be more regular with blogger posts
  •  Continue to work on getting away from the tv and doing other things that I like
  •  Develop my hobbies and interests
  • Set up a savings account for graduate school
  •  Interview teachers, social workers and psychologists to see if I would like to do their job
  •  Commit to keeping the kitchen clean
  • Look at other apartment complexes, especially with second-floor apartments
  •  Work on making my apartment a home that makes me feel more comfortable
  • Work on preparing for things ahead of time so I can be on time and prepared in general and when I go out
  •  Set up my new therapy light and sunrise/sunset-simulating alarm clock (Christmas gifts to myself)
  • Spend more time playing with my cats, it helps all of us be happier

         So, I hope all of you out there had a lovely holiday. And even if it wasn’t perfect or even that good at all, I hope there were good moments that you can concentrate on. As Lizzy Bennet would say, “In such cases as these, a good memory is unpardonable. “ (Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice)