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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!

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!

So We Meet Again

This post has been in my drafts for exactly one month and I haven’t published because I’m too embarrassed. Too ashamed. Too angry. Too frustrated. Too tired. And most of all, too over it. I’m not sure why I am finally publishing it. Maybe I’m just sick of it all and ready to move on. Maybe I’m hoping someone will have the magic answer for me. Maybe I just need some support. Whatever the reason, here it is.

I got on the scale this morning, saw THAT number and thought, “so, here we are again.” This is not where I want to be. Of course, I didn’t need the scale to tell me any of that. I have a mirror; I can see what I look like. I have pants; I can feel how tight they are. I can tell that I physically feel crappy. My stomach hurts. I’m more tired. My skin even has a different look.

I’ve been slowly gaining since the summer. One pound here, half a pound there. But guess what all that adds up to? Me being right where I was two years ago.


I just can’t believe it. I cannot believe I am here again. Let’s be honest, there’s one word that comes to mind when we gain back our weight: FAILURE. There’s no getting around it. No blaming anyone else. It’s not the weather’s fault that it got cold out or the winter’s fault that it’s dark so early. It’s not the box of chocolate’s fault that I ate the entire thing (and two more). It’s not my dad’s fault that he brought over a cake for at least 20 people and that I ate more than half. It’s not my son’s fault that he still wakes up during the night and then very early in the morning and so I’m tired. It’s not the train’s fault that it has a schedule and so I have to leave the house early in the morning. It’s not my husband’s fault that he made a heavier meal and that I ate multiple servings. It’s not the internet’s fault that it has way too much information so that I get totally overwhelmed trying to understand every food, additive, preserve, diet, exercise, activity, etc.

Sure, there are a number of circumstances that contributed to this: depression, work situations, money troubles, etc. Frankly, I’m pretty overwhelmed with life in general. But it all comes down to one thing. It’s me. It’s my fault and mine alone. That also means there’s only one person who can fix this. Me, Myself and I.

So here I go again. I don’t have a plan. I don’t have a clue what I’m going to do.

What I do have is knowledge about everything I need to, the tools to make that happen (for the most part), and the experience to put those in place. I know I will get back on track, but that first step is a hard one. And the first step after you’ve taken that first step a million times before (or at least a dozen to be more accurate), to me, is even harder.

I want to look in the mirror and be happy with what I see. I want to put on clothes and still breathe. I want to see a picture my son drew and not think, “please don’t let me be the fat one.”

I want to be healthy. I want to be healthy. I want to be healthy.

I read an article the other day about a lady in her 60s who was a surrogate for her daughter, and the first thing I thought was, “I’d never be healthy enough to do that.” Never mind that no one has asked me to, nor do I plan on it, the point being that my health is always on my mind.

So that’s it. I’m back here and there’s nothing I can do about that. I can, however, do something about what comes next.

I’m done with this whole failure bullshit. Let’s go. It’s 4th and Goal with the game on the line. I have only one option. Win. Success. Health.

Turkey Trot: The Aftermath

Sounds dramatic, huh?

I’m sure you read my post about getting ready for this year’s 5K, after seriously struggling last year. And I know you are dying to to find out how I did. Of course, if you follow me on Twitter, you already know . . .

. . . that I kicked ass!

And just to clarify my own tweet, I beat my time by 3 minutes and 24 seconds. (And lordy, you know 24 seconds make a difference!) My goal was to finish in 48 minutes, which would have been a two minute time cut. So I beat that goal and more, so you could say I’m pretty stoked about that!

The funny thing is that I felt like I was really having a hard time during the race so the final time kind of surprised me. They threw me for a loop this year and reversed the course direction, so instead of going down a steep hill with about a mile left, we went up a steep hill about a mile in. And I mean steep. Actually, it was one little hill, right into a bigger hill, right into a really  big hill. We had gotten off to a good start so I was disappointed to come to a slow down so early, but I trudged through and just kept telling myself that the worst was over early on so the race could only get easier. It was tough. My legs were jello after only 20 minutes, but you best believe I was going to keep going strong.

Did I mention that I had some encouragement along for the ride?

Me and mom. All I can focus on is how cute mom looks and how my shirt is all jacked up and stuck on my belt.

That’s my bestie, mom, on the left. Even though her rah rah-ing sometimes annoys me, there is no one else I’d want to do this with! I don’t think I mentioned before that I’ve been doing the boot camp with mom, which is one of the reasons I’ve loved it so much! (Awwwwwww!)

Anywho, we rocked this race. 2012: Chip time, 46:48; Pace, 15:04 vs 2011: Chip time, 50:12; Pace, 16:10

I’ve done bunches of 5Ks over the years, but the last time I was under 47 minutes was at least nine years ago and I think more like 10 or 11. So, yeah, that’s pretty awesome.

So to recap, mom and I are awesome and killed it this year. I’m already looking forward to next year. I’m gonna smoke those turkeys.

(Turkeys, get it? It’s a Turkey Trot? Sigh.)

Turkey Trot Trot Trotting Along

Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving, which can only mean one thing . . . it’s Turkey Trot time!



I’ll be doing a Turkey Trot 5K to benefit the Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services, which assists homeless and low-income families and individuals. It’s my second year doing this race and I’m really looking forward to it. One, it’s a good cause and two, I really sucked it up last year and know I’ll do better this year.

Last year was tough, I really struggled through. Even though I was at a lower weight than other years, I actually was in much worse shape. I was completely unprepared for the race, even though I had registered well in advance. I wasn’t doing any activity and for some reason, thought I’d breeze through. I’ve walked lots of 5Ks without trouble in the past, and I guess I thought I could just jump right back in. Big mistake. I struggled almost from the start.

Cut to this year and I’m more prepared. One, I’ve been doing a boot camp class since September that has really helped with conditioning. I’m able to run more than 15 seconds and have much more endurance. I’ve also been doing a little more exercise than before. I’m not kidding myself that I’m doing enough activity or that I’m going to be able to run a 10-minute mile, but I’m doing more than before and I will be able to step up my game. Last year I also had trouble walking in the cold weather, so in addition to the outdoor boot camp, I’ve been walking in the mornings to get used to that weather. I think a big problem last year was that I was unfamiliar with the course and kept thinking I was nearing the end (despite knowing how long I had been walking and so there was no way it could be the end!). It should help this year knowing the course and also accepting that even if I improve my time, right now I’m not going faster than a 15-minute mile, so unless I’m nearing 45 minutes, I gotta keep going!

Sooooo the race is tomorrow. I’m excited and kind of nervous. I think I will do better and hope I’m not setting myself up for disappointment. I guess if I do the best I can do, there’s nothing to be disappointed in.

I’m also excited to be adding on two virtual races. (If you don’t know, a virtual race is just what it sounds like – a race you can do from anywhere!) The first one I signed up for  is Just Keep Sweating‘s Racing for Relief. While it does have a fee, the fees are donations to the American Red Cross and all proceeds go to Hurricane (Super Storm) Sandy Relief efforts. Although it was many moons ago, I went to school at Hofstra University on Long Island. I lived in the community and always felt like a native. I have a lot of family and dear friends in that area, including in Long Beach/Lido Beach and across the way in Staten Island where the devastation is heartbreaking. So as soon as I saw this virtual race, I jumped at it. P.S. There also are cool prizes!

The second virtual race is just for fun. It’s A Journey to Thin‘s Third Annual Thankful Healthy Blogger 5K. I’m not going to lie, the prizes in this race are pretty awesome!

So what about you? Are you doing a Turkey Trot tomorrow?  Do great!

I’ll post back after my race tomorrow and let you know how I did. Wish me luck!