Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Updates from the Fat Girl's Diary

For nearly my entire life, I've battled my weight. For those who've never had a weight problem, you might imagine that it's as simple as merely cutting back on what you eat and exercising.

But what if you lived in a world where eating 1500 calories a day and running 15 miles a week didn't do squat for your weight loss plan? What if you cut down to 1200 calories a day and STILL didn't lose any weight?

And so now you understand my problem.

My 2011 plan to lose weight began with a vow: this was the year I was going to try EVERYTHING.

I began the year with tests. Perfectly healthy. In fact, sickeningly so. Resting heart rate: 68. Cholesterol: 167. Blood pressure: 110/77.

I consulted a dietician and sent her my stats and a sample menu of what I ate on a daily basis, including the ridiculous caloric binge at Red Robin when I was actually trying to make better choices. The chicken roll up, by the way, has more sodium, fat and calories than a simple burger. Who knew?

She looked at my 3-day intake and declared that I wasn't eating enough. 1500 calories a day and running 15 miles a week? Not enough food. Eat more. Also, I wasn't getting enough vitamin E which meant I needed to eat more seeds and seed oils.

I adjusted and promptly gained weight and shin splints. I reduced my running to 6 miles a week. Still gained weight, shins still hurt.

Someone told me about interval running: Run balls out for 30 seconds and then walk. I quote: It MELTS the fat from you.

I like the idea of fat melting...but balls out with shin splints? Nuh-uh. How about I do an easier version of interval running? A total of 2 miles, including warm up and cool down, with short distances of easy running with shorter distances of walking?

Much, much better. Still not losing...but not gaining. My legs take on a more defined look. I can see a noticeable difference in how my clothes fit. Around June, I decide to take my measurements. They frighten me and I now realize precisely why I have to shop in the fat-lady section.

July: I went back to the doctor's and stepped on the scale. I gained. My doctor looked at my legs. "At least you're muscular." Words every woman wants to hear. "I think you eat too many carbs," he said. "Maybe you cut back on your carbs. Come back in 3 months."

And so I cut back on my carbs. Hard-boiled eggs and yogurt for breakkie. Chicken breast and fruit for lunch. Cheese stick, veggies and a piece of meat for dinner. Peanut butter as a snack. Weekends are tough. I like beer. I switched to light beer. No soda. I drink a lot of PowerAde Zero, iced tea with sugar (yes, sugar) and low-calorie juices.

20 pounds gone as of this morning.

I'm a long way away from the 100 pounds I needed to lose, but I'm 20% there.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

30 Days

When I was unemployed, all I dreamed about was having a job. I thought, "Oh, man...if I could only have a job. I'd hug it and squeeze it and call it George..."

Well. Maybe not George, but you get the point. And when I finally got hired, I thought it was going to be great. After 30 months of scraping by, and it was the scraping that made an immediately identifiable fingernails down a chalkboard kind of sound, I thought I had scored a golden fucking ticket when I was offered a job. Oh, boy. It was going to be great. I'd have somewhere to go every day, meaningful things to do every day, people to talk to...every day... Oh, yessiree. It was going to be one giant possibility, and I was going to LOVE it.

Weirdly enough, I loved my old job. And so I automatically assumed that the new job was going to be just like the old one. It was a hard pill to swallow, learning that the new job wasn't anything like the old one.

No file access means I'm an editor and not a writer.
I can't update my own files. I have to hand-write them on a hard copy and then walk them over to a crabby woman who does the minimum. She won't ask for clarification. She won't spell check. She won't think. She'll just do.

Hand-written changes? I'm gonna need a LOT of correction fluid.
I haven't hand-written anything more than "Happy Birthday" or "Please return to sender" for 20 years, and I no longer think in terms of using a pen and paper to express my thoughts. I begin writing and then realize that what I've started isn't at all what I want to say, or I think of a better way to write it out mid-sentence...and then I want to re-write it all. On a computer, you just hit the backspace key. It's like it never existed and I hand over a finished product that looks neat and clean. On a piece of paper, however, I have to reach for the Liquid Paper for re-writes. My hard-copy edits sport scars, scratches and smears from improper or multiple applications.

Failing the Vulcan Mind Trick.
Guess what I'm thinking. No. Go ahead. Guess. The Jelly of the Month Club? Nope. I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 17,363. Guess which number. 7. No, that's not right. Guess again. 33. Nope. 732. Try it again. It's an even number. 9,214. How many times have you guessed? I don't have time for this.

My boss and I play this game a couple of times a week. I try to guess what she's thinking and she tells me I'm wrong. It's fun. When I try to anticipate, I'm smacked down for rushing into things. When I wait, I'm not proactive. When I ask questions, I'm being deliberately stubborn. I'm just not getting the work. I'm failing and it's my fault. Having so many years of experience, I should just KNOW. I'm not working up to my potential. Nobody has time for multiple rewrites...but let's just send out V1 to a client and see what happens. Oh. You've potentially jeopardized our client/corporate relationship by your mistakes...but nobody will show you the comments. They're just. so. long. Pages of comments. Oh. You've embarrassed the company. You've embarrassed me.

I interrupted this tirade: You sent it out without looking at it first?

She blinked: Yes.

I sat back: Oh. That's on you, then. I'm not taking responsibility for that.

30 days.
She signed my employee performance evaluation. F. I received an F. And she gave me a stern warning: If I didn't improve in 30 days, I'd be out on my keister.

Meanwhile, we've been meeting every week in her office. She wants to know how everything's going. I tell her it's fine. She tells me that my latest piece of writing needs changes. I make the changes. And then she "adjusts" them further, writing down how many times she has to look at my assignments before they're "client-worthy."

30 days comes up tomorrow. I'm not feeling good about it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Living in the Moment

When the Universe tells me to live in the moment, I want to shout back: I will if you'd do something to improve the view.

I've worked hard, tried harder....hey, Universe...can you meet me half-way? I'm busting my ass down here. Throw me a bone, wouldja?

And then I remember another lesson: when it's hard, it's because I've got a lesson to learn. When it's easy, I'm more likely to become complacent, cocky, lazy, redolent and dependent. I don't learn when it's easy. I coast. I don't develop myself. I follow the same path and, as a result, wear a groove into the rug. That's not life. That's existence. Know the difference.
Embrace the difference. Live the difference.

What does it mean to live in the moment? It's learning to stop wasting precious energy by worrying over what might be versus what is. Ruining now with poisoning thoughts of what may happen isn't productive. It's a waste of time. More importantly, it's a waste of now.

Living in the moment is moving forward knowing that there is fear, but I can't let fear stop me because then it will be my master. I can acknowledge it, and then I have to move past it. Being brave isn't existing without fear. It's about moving forward despite the presence of fear. Have courage no matter what.

Living in the moment is understanding that there are pitfalls and pinnacles both, and I must learn how to ride them equally well. One cannot exist without the other. They are mutually existent polarities, and therefore drawn together by forces beyond my control. Every negative has a positive. Every positive has a negative. Use both and learn.

Living in the moment is taking small pleasures where they are offered, but the hardest part is recognizing them for what they are. Small pleasures are a distinct part of the present and the present is now. Live in it.

How much time have I wasted in counterproductive activities? How often have I ruined today with thoughts of tomorrow? How many times have I railed at the Universe to pick me up and carry me because I'm tired?

More times than I care to admit.

When I'm free of worry, dwelling on the negatives, and able to move beyond fear, it's then that I know the Universe carries me. It feels like flying.