All posts by meless50

Just a regular ol' gal with a years-old weight problem; the problem being I've never met a food that I didn't like and haven't been able to commit to regular exercise. I love my son and husband 100 percent, and I am trying to do the same for myself.

Truth Be A Five-Year-Old

Kids say the darndest cruelist meanist truth.

Do you have kids? If so, you’ve more than likely been in a situation where they blurt out something completely inappropriate about someone. Despite having many conversations that we don’t talk about how people look, once at a restaurant, my then-four-year-old shouted out (while laughing) “look at that guy’s fat belly.” I was horrified and immediately apologized. I felt terrible for the man in question. Of course, the thing is, he did have a fat belly. You see, children, maybe due to lack of a filter, speak the truth.

And it sucks.

My stomach has been bothering me all day. I have no idea why, just one of those tummy ache days. So after dinner tonight, we went outside for a little two-on-one baseball action. My kid asks why I’m not running the bases. I say that I have a stomach ache. He says, “probably because you’re super fat.”

So there it is. I know it shouldn’t bother me — kids say things out of line; they don’t know what they are really talking about; another excuse. Bullshit. The kid speaks the truth. OK, I might not be “super” fat, but right now, for the way I feel, I may as well be a circus act. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing, the super fattest woman in the world.

Now I’m not sitting here crying. I’m not mad at the kid. I’m not really much of anything.

No, that’s not true. I’m angry. I’m angry for being this weight. I’m angry for not working harder to change it. I’m angry for being lazy and having little self control.

And let’s be honest, I’m a little angry at my kid, who I’m sure thought he was joking, for telling the truth.

Hungry Hungry Emily

“But moooommmmm, I’m SO hungry.”

“You’re fine. You are not going to die of starvation.”

This is a conversation I’ve had countless times with my son and it got me thinking. If he’s not going to starve from not eating for a couple of hours, what makes me think I will? Yesterday I was sitting at work and the second I felt hungry I turned into a crazy person — I have to find something to eat, what am I going to eat, I don’t have a snack, OH MY GOD I am going to starve!

You know when you hear about people having an out-of-body experience? I had the same thing. Except instead of seeing the white light, I saw myself in the Hungry Hungry Hippos game (you remember it, the hippos have to gobble up the marbles). It was quite the vision.


Of course, I wasn’t going to starve. It was 10:45. I had eaten breakfast only a little while earlier (although, granted, maybe not enough) and was going to eat lunch a little while later. But instinctively, as soon as I felt hungry, I was ready to eat. But I didn’t. I had to consciously think about it and said out loud (albeit quietly since I was in my cube), “You can eat lunch after 11:30. Until then, you’ll just have to deal.” So I drank a cup of water and for the next 45 minutes thought about how hungry I was. Then I got caught up with something and missed my 11:30 time. I didn’t even notice until it was 12:30. Hmmm.

Here’s the thing, and this is just my opinion so feel free to disagree. I think when you are trying to lose weight, it’s OK to feel hungry. If losing weight is largely due to a decrease in food consumption (or calorie consumption, whatever) then don’t you have to be hungry for it to work? For me, part of this journey is not just the realizations but accepting them as well.

So there will be times that I will be hungry. I know there’s a meal coming somewhere behind so I don’t need to panic and I don’t need to start eating whatever I can find. I can be hungry and not turn into a raging lunatic. There will be times that I will be hungry and times that I feel full.

Sometimes I’ll choose to eat and sometimes I’ll choose not to. Whatever the case, I need to be in charge. Food is not the boss of me!

A Change Will Do You Good?

Change is good, right? Yes and no.

You know I got a new job in February (which is going great so don’t think I’m about to knock the job!). I knew that the company had a wellness plan and since my commute was cut shorter I had all these ideas for my extra hour in the morning. I swear, I pictured starting the job and dropping 10 pounds in the first month. Except guess what happened? Yup, I gained 10 pounds in the first two months. So what went wrong?

For one, a wellness plan only works if you actually do it. I had to wait one month to sign up for it, which for some reason really threw me off. When I signed up, I spent the next month downloading lots of great information and not doing anything with it. I printed out food diaries and then didn’t track. I got great advice on sleep, stress, nutrition, activity, etc. It’s all in a file on my desktop.

Second, I went from public transportation to driving. My commute went from more than an hour to 15 minutes – yay! But I really didn’t realize how much walking that public transportation commute got me. Just the train station to my office and back was a few thousand steps. The other part of that is I went from city to suburb, which means driving everywhere. Previously, going out for lunch at work meant walking wherever. And I’m a big walker so working in D.C. was perfect. I’d walk anywhere in the city rather than metro or cab. Now going out for lunch is walking to the car and driving somewhere. At the old job, I would do an easy 10,000 steps on the pedometer. Now, I struggle to get the 7,000 wellness program marker.

The third change is my actual office. Previously, window office with lots of natural light and space. I also turned off the overhead fluorescent lamps and used natural light lamps. Now, I’m in a tiny corner cubicle with terrible lighting and nowhere near any sunshine. It didn’t occur to me at first that this was an issue, until I really started thinking about why I was gaining all this weight. I’ve read a very little about the effect natural light has on our physiology, and it does seem to make a difference.

And, oh yeah, there’s my sleeping. I’m not a great sleeper to start with. I have terrible insomnia and generally wake up a few times during the night. Plus my mindset has been that since I have an extra hour in the morning, I can stay up an extra hour at night. The problem with that is that my husband still gets up at 5:30 and some mornings I can’t fall back asleep after he gets up. The other problem is I have a very cute little boy who has never been a good sleeper. There are many a morning that he’s up before 6, so that extra hour goes right out the window.

Lastly is extra time. I thought I’d have much more extra time with the new job because of the shorter commute, but I didn’t realize how much I was able to do at the old job. One big thing is that I had about 40 minutes each way on the train. Sometimes I napped, sometimes I read, sometimes I did bills, make grocery lists, etc. Either way, that time is gone. I’ve definitely struggled with going from work, driving home and then getting right into everything. Driving 15 minutes home and having 45 minutes of me time on the train is definitely not the same thing! The other part of this is how much personal stuff I was doing at the old job. For one, I worked from home at least once a week. I think most people who work from home will tell you, I’d get more done one day at home than three days in the office. Because of how much I was able to do, I’d take an hour of those days to do meal planning, hit the grocery store, or exercise. I haven’t done much meal planning since I started the new job and finally realized it was because I had that time before to do it. Also, the work I was doing went in waves. When I was busy, it was 12-hour nonstop days, but that also meant that there were times when the work was slow. I definitely took advantage of those times to do things I personally needed to get done. (Side note, I regularly worked nights and weekends so it’s not like I wasn’t putting in my fair time!)

So what’s the solution? I can’t put a window in my cube. I can’t walk to work. I can’t put an extra hour on the clock. But I can do something.

I can get up and move. One of the funny things about working here is that with the wellness plan, you get points for certain things that you can trade in for money, gift cards, etc. One of those is wearing a pedometer and getting different points for different step markers. So you’re constantly seeing people walking around trying to get more steps. They walk in the hallway, up and down stairs, and around the parking lot. I’ve been walking across the street into a neighborhood that at least gives me something interesting to look at. I can’t always use my whole lunch break to take a walk, but even if I have only 10 minutes, I know I can hit the parking lot for a quick walk. This also helps with the natural light situation. I got an indoor plant for my desk so maybe that will help too, who knows!

I’m going back and actually reading all those things I downloaded and just filed away. There’s some pretty good stuff there. I’ve also rejoined Weight Watchers. I’ll do more on that later, but for now, I really need the accountability that comes with the weigh ins, and the tools it provides to succeed.

I’ve really been trying to get better sleep, which I know effects not just my health but my work production, attitude and more. It’s hard with the insomnia, but I’m trying!

As for the extra time situation, there’s not much I can do about that. I can’t create more time so I just have to use my time more efficiently. I can run some errands during lunch. I can carve out me time on the weekends (much to my husband’s dismay!). I have to find time for meal planning and ME planning!

OK, so this change threw me for a loop but I’m back in control. So, yeah, a change WILL do me good. I just have to make that change work!

Friday Favorites – 4/5/13

I love Friday Favorites because (1) it puts me in a good mood thinking about things that make me happy (duh) and (2) it helps me remember all the great things that happened during the week because, unfortunately, I usually focus on the negative.

Favorite tweet: (because I swear this really happens) Screen shot 2013-04-04 at 2.31.49 PM

Favorite thing I ate: Hubby’s beef tagine with couscous. He’s Moroccan and an amazing cook. I don’t really need to elaborate.

Favorite thing I did: Massage. My husband gave me a gift card for a massage for either Mother’s Day or my birthday in May 2011 and I FINALLY used it. One day later I was all tensed back up, but at least when it was happening, I was so relaxed!

Favorite unexpected moment : Getting a free salad at Panera after telling the cashier my order was wrong the last two times. It’s the little things, people.

Favorite thing my five-year-old said: (while he was swinging his coat at me and I was putting my coat on) “What? Do you think your coat is protection or something?” I know I shouldn’t be amused at this, but c’mon, how can you not be?

Favorite time waster: Pinterest’s Gardening category. We have small front and back yards and no money for yard stuff, but I love to look! PinterestGardening

Happy Weekend!

The Tale of Two Pedometers

I know a lot of people think pedometers are full of it, but for me, it helps to keep me going. When I look down at 11 a.m. and see only 1,000 steps, it gives me motivation to go for a walk during lunch. (True story, it happened today!) I’ve also noticed pedometer peeps are loyal to their brands. I’ve tried too many pedometers to count and always come back to the Weight Watchers pedometer. While it seems to give me a few extra steps, I’ve found it to be pretty reliable. Plus, if you accidentally drop it in the toilet (and bonus if you have a husband who will stick his hand in to get it out), it will keep working. Not that that’s happened to me or anything.

Moving on. My new job has a fantastic wellness program (more on that in another post), part of which is earning points for certain things that go toward rewards like gift cards and cash. Um, hello, up to $500 a year! That’s a pretty nice shopping trip! One of the ways to earn points is by wearing a company-provided pedometer, which you then upload your steps for points. (Their marker is 7,000 steps.) As much as I love my WW pedometer, I need the money, honey! OK so I finally got my new pedometer and wore in Sunday. That day I did Just Dance on the Wii, tons of cleaning, played outside with the kid, etc. Looked at the steps at the end of the day, fully expecting at least 10,000, and saw a grand total of 5,625. WHAT? That cannot be right. Here’s the thing I find strange about this new pedometer. There is nowhere to adjust the stride. You put in your height and weight online and it automatically calculates it for you. You cannot change it.

I was sure it wasn’t counting the steps right, but what’s a girl to do? Bring on the test, of course!

Monday I put on both my new pedometer and my trusty WW one. It was a good day for the test because I was off work and out all day, so I was going to do tons of walking around. I mean my Costco trip alone had to have been a couple thousand steps! (BTW, I have this new trick at Costco where I do one aisle on each side at a time so that I have to keep walking across the store for more steps. I’m sure the other customers find it annoying but I could give a crap; I need that movement!) So what do you think the test showed at the end of the day? Guesses? Anyone? Bueller?

Even I was surprised at this:


I know it’s a little hard to read with the light reflections, but yes, you are seeing that right. The WW pedometer showed 10,108 steps and the HealthMiles pedometer is at 6,332. I’d say a 3,776 difference in steps is pretty significant.

I’m sure the HealthMiles pedometer isn’t counting right, but it also got me thinking: maybe the WW pedometer I love so much isn’t counting the steps correctly either. On to the 100-step test. I took 100 physical steps. The WW pedometer counted 112 steps and the HealthMiles pedometer counted 37. I’ve since done that a couple more times, and every time the count changes.

This brings me to one conclusion: pedometers are ridiculous! I know two things to be true: (1) pedometers are a great way to be conscious of your activity and a great motivator to get up and move, and (2) pedometers are not a completely accurate measurement of steps taken.

Back to my real problem. I need to hit 7,000 steps a day to get my points and I have a pedometer that’s under counting. I guess I could call the company and try for a new one. But maybe the better solution is to keep this one and, excuse my lame humor, really “step it up” to get 7,000 (which is really more like 10,000). Either way, I’m moving more than before and that’s probably the more important thing. Of course, a little extra money never hurt anyone!