Monday, November 12, 2018

On Speaking Up.

NOTE: I started writing this post on 11/9, this past Friday.

I'm feeling kid of blah today when I should be celebrating! It's FRIDAY! Woo!

It snowed today for the first time of the season. It was pretty!

But I don't know, I just feel kind of down and blah and tired and...

I guess the main reason the wind is out of my sails is because I'm feeling self-conscious. I actually spoke up today at work about some concerns I had about being heard and feeling part of the team. It felt... very awkward even though I got good feedback from my boss and from my co-worker. It's a slightly weird situation in which I've come in to a small team of two women who have both worked for the company close to 30 years doing the same job. Things are changing and moving along and they are too, but as the new person who's only been around for six months, it's an interesting dynamic. I won't bore you with details and I can assure anyone that I do like my co-workers and I am very happy at my job. I realized during the convo, and said, that I think part of it for me is that working for this company makes me so ambitious! I want to do stuff, I want to contribute, I want to get shit done, you know?

But I have to be patient with how things are now and the fact that I am still the new person in our little office. My boss has told me this before, too. I know she is supportive and sympathetic.

One thing that my one co-worker who was part of the discussion (the other one was out today) was that while I feel like I am not being heard, she feels like I have to disagree with everything they say. (So, to be more clear, we're talking about formatting/designing documents. I have a professional and educated background in graphic design, while no one else in my area does -- though my two co-workers have been doing this for decades.) Hey, I don't dispute what she is saying, because I do often find myself disagreeing and saying so when it seems appropriate, which is... often.

I need to learn to step back a bit and take things in before I try to really inject what I feel I have to offer, I think. I guess I am not used to doing that! It feels uncomfortable. Part of me feels sorry that I did speak up, but part of me is relieved. Growing pains, I guess. It was nice to have that conversation in the open and with my boss present so that she knows what the concerns are about all around, not just me and not just them.

So there was that, but also remember how I mentioned emailing my favorite parfumier about collaborating artistically somehow? I did get a nice response from someone at the company saying that they are actually rethinking their marketing and that she'll pass along my info and links to that team to see if there is a potential fit. Hey, it's better than just a flat-out no. I still doubt anything will come of that inquiry but you honestly just never know.

Speaking out can be scary! But it can also be really good for you.

I feel like I am still getting my sea legs at work. I mean, I feel very comfortable doing the work I am doing, and I like the people I'm working with in general (although it really bothers me when someone says that they don't like cats -- I have a hard time getting around that), but I am still having trouble fitting in and I'm trying to figure out why.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Thoughtdump. (But Not Just Politics.)

Politics, yes, but keep reading for non-political thoughts, too.

Today is... a total mixed bag. I was SO pumped up yesterday after voting (which I did first thing in the morning because I was so excited, was number 26 in my district!) and really hopeful. You can probably guess that I was routing for a massive shift in the opposite direction for our government this election. To say that I am not a fan of 45 is an extreme understatement. But, there were more local races that I had my eye on, too. I have lived in New York state my whole life, and while everyone knows it's a reliable blue state on the surface, what many don't know is that there are rather large swaths of the population that are quite conservative and vote red consistently. Basically, if it weren't for New York City and a couple other larger cities in the state, New York would be a solid red, or at least a swing state. Niagara county, where I live, is one of those places generally. It gets really discouraging to see.

So, I was pretty sure incumbent US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) wouldn't have a problem keeping her seat. She won handily with 66% of the vote over her Republican challenger. Hooray!

The good news in New York state is that its government has flipped back into a democratic majority. I was very disappointed about some local races, though. The first one was for the seat held by incumbent Congressman Chris Collins (R), who has been under investigation/indictment for felony insider trading; he actually WON. He won. Do you know by how much? ONE percentage point.

This right there, folks, this is why it is so important to get out and vote. People think their vote doesn't matter, doesn't make a difference? It sure can, and it sure does.

I'm still shaking my head over why people want to re-elect someone who's got a felony charge hanging over his head.

Another race that I was excited about was Carima El-Behairy's race against incumbent State Senator Chris Jacobs (R) in the 60th district. I've known Carima for almost 20 years and was so hopeful that she would get elected there. Unfortunately I don't live in the 60th and couldn't vote for her myself, and it was too late before I realized that I could have still been actively supporting her since lots of people I know do -- we have quite a cut-up puzzle of districts here in western New York (oh, you know... gerrymandering). Carima put up a good fight but fell short with 42% of the vote.

Meanwhile, in my district, the 62nd, republican incumbent Rob Ortt ran practically unopposed for the second time in a row. That's right... no one challenged his State Senate seat in 2016. For shame. This time, he actually did have a challenger running under the Green Party line -- except very few people knew about him! In fact, I didn't find out about Peter Diachun until just over a week ago. Even then, I couldn't find out much about him except that he was a retired chemist running on a shoestring budget with the strict intention of only holding office for one session in order to get the New York Health Act passed. I emailed him expressing support and he sent me a link to his website, which I hadn't been able to find on my own, funny enough.

I wish I had been able to support him better, too! As you might imagine, he did not come close to winning the seat, with just over 10% of the vote. Sadly, 20% of the 62nd district voters chose not to cast a ballot at all for this office -- it was recorded that they left that circle blank on their ballots.

For shame.

I've learned a few things about myself during this election.

+ I need to be more proactive in learning about candidates and what my choices are way before the actual election (duh)

+ I need to pay attention to local races going on around me so that I can be supportive of candidates that I feel are deserving, even if I can't vote for them myself.

+ I want to become more active politically, somehow.

+ I want to pay more attention in general. Since the 2016 elections, I admit it -- I've been burying my head in sand a lot! But that will get anyone nowhere, am I right?

+ I'm realizing that my ambition to go into environmental science work is indeed a political act in itself, which makes me even more excited about it.

One proactive thing I did when I voted this time was ask the polling place workers how I could volunteer during future elections. It turns out that, bonus -- they actually get paid, paid well, and tax-free to boot! Also, in my voting district, they're in desperate need of workers. So I actually followed up and called my Board of Elections and left my name to be considered. The man I talked to on the phone this morning was actually really grateful to hear from me! He told me how busy the polls had been yesterday and how short they were of workers, and was also glad to hear from a younger person. I had to laugh at that one and made sure to correct him on that! But it sounds like (and seems like) many polling place workers are on the older side, so... I guess in comparison I'm a spring chicken.

I'm excited to be part of the process next year!

+ + + + + + + + +

In other news, er, thoughts...

I haven't weighed myself in a while, and I think I am going to stop food logging. I feel like I've been doing OK with my eating and really trying to pay better attention to what my body needs. I just don't feel like fussing so much at this point. As you know, this will likely change again in the future, but for now, this is what feels right.

I keep almost pulling the trigger about starting to make art again! It feels like an itch that I am going to have to scratch really soon. That said, I had one of my older small paintings sell at a group show I had a few paintings in recently, so that felt great. I also have a commission that's been in the works for almost two years now that I finally told the client (a very old friend of mine!) that I'm just going to set a real deadline so that it just gets done. So, by December 15th, Maria will finally have her Finland painting! Hooray! I also have a pile of small canvases that I am anxious to put something down on -- portraits, more houses, animals, still lives... I just want to try all those random ideas floating around in my head.

I have a deadline. It starts now.

(I've always worked far better with a definite deadline; don't ask me why.)

I did a crazy thing and emailed my favorite parfumier to say how much I love her fragrances and how I would love to collaborate with her as an artist and/or graphic designer. I'm sure nothing will come of it, but... you don't know until you ask the question. So I asked!

I'm trying to think of other "crazy" things I can do to get side work that I love and believe in.

Budgeting is still a priority but all kinds of things have happened this year, and it's been a roller coaster. I want to make paying bills and saving money easy. Is easy the word? More automatic? I am constantly scribbling in my notebook making the money I earn at my day job work for the expenses we have, but it hasn't been easy without the buffer of all the part-time stuff I had been doing up until a few months ago. We're making due, it's not horrible, but I hate worrying about it. So I need to make a plan so that I can fix that. And I know I can. (I've been listening to lot of Dave Ramsey et al, discarding the Christian stuff and taking the rest. I can hack it!)

I'm excited about my future wardrobe but won't be able to fully implement it until I have some money set aside. It's OK. I can wait!

Phew, that was a lot. Let me ask you: Do you mind that I don't often post photos? Funny enough, for a very visual person my blogs tend to be pretty wordy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

In Response To... Minimalist Suggestions

If you've been reading along recently, then you know that I've been thinking a lot about clothes lately, and how I'm aiming to streamline my wardrobe into something really user-friendly and completely non-stress inducing. 

One of the things I enjoy in relation to all this is reading certain minimalist blogs. I am totally all for minimalism and the impetus behind it. AM I an actual minimalist, though? Um... no. I like the idea of it but I live my days with piles of books and magazines on most flat surfaces and piles of clothes anywhere that makes relative sense (oh, you know, piled on any flat surface, including the floor. Oops!). Anyway, I was reading one of my regulars and this post, 3 Types of Clothes to Declutter Today made me want to write a response. 

Spoiler alert! The three types of clothes mentioned include holey clothes/clothes that need repair, aspirational clothes, and nostalgic clothes. As a whole, I agree with the sentiment -- in most cases these kinds of clothes are often good for nothing any more. But somehow I feel the need to defend them! Let me take each category one by one:

Holey or otherwise compromised clothes. The post mentions so-called "ethical" bloggers who learn how to repair clothing so as not to contribute further to landfill, and to give a new lease on the life of beloved pieces. I LOVE those people. I can sew! I'm not fully embroidering things like you see in the link, but I do made hand-sewn repairs from time to time -- like the inseam of my last pair of black leggings, or replacing a button on a shirt or cardigan. I don't have a big pile of to-be-repaired clothes, so I don't even know why I'm harping on this except that I don't see anything wrong with having a reasonable pile to work on while you're bingeing on The Handmaid's Tale or re-watching the entire series of Twin Peaks. (I finally watched the first episode of The Handmaid's Tale last night, by the way -- holy cow is it good. And super depressing. And then I took a candlelit bath in lavender epsom salts and went to bed.)

Aspirational clothes. I actually have aspirational clothes that have become nostalgic clothes, ha ha! But seriously, I guess in the back of my head I still have this thing where I really think that I am going to lose all the weight that I would want to lose if someone just snapped their fingers and made it happen, i.e. to become a size 12 or 14 or something, and so I just utterly refuse to donate or sell the items I have in my closets or in a lonesome pile somewhere that fall under this category. They include:
  • Things I bought when I was semi-close to being able to wear them, but never made it (from years ago but also within the past two years)
  • Things I bought when they weren't even close to wearable but were super cheap on sale that I was just like fuck it (thanks, Target)
  • Things that I used to be able to wear and still love and just won't give up on (also nostalgic)
  • Things that I just love whether I was able to wear them at one time or not that I have grown to love as objects
There's everything from band t-shirts to pretty dresses to elaborate kimono to wool pencil skirts and winter coats to pink corduroy pants. Maybe I'll photograph or even draw them one day and share. Hm, maybe that could be my next art project!

Wrapping things up... ah, nostalgia. My favorite!

Nostalgic clothes. The main pieces I am thinking of here are a couple handmades. (Yes! I used to sew my own clothes! Yes! I should do that again!) But there are also things that are pure luxe that I would just never part with like the Christian Dior bra (size 34B, LOLOLOLOL), and the pair of champagne-colored satin tap pants that was part of a set (I wore the bralette to death) that I bought at Victoria's Secret in my early-mid 20s. Then there is the very special pair of Doc Marten brogue ankle boots that I got at Trash and Vaudeville in New York City in the mid-90s for super cheap -- I think it was thirty dollars? They had calves hair that has now all but balded off and they look kind of a fright these days, but I will never, ever give them up. Ever. I have never seen another pair like them and will likely never again. They are a real part of my personal history. So in cases like that, you know... 

Screw minimalism. Am I right? 

Still, I am inspired to create a special place to store these special items instead of just having them randomly among things that would wear every day, or stuffed off in some closet. (By the way, I am LOLing again because what hangs in my closets are the things I never wear, while the things I do wear languish in piles of clean laundry (dirty gets thrown in the hamper, I am not a total cretin!).

My takeaway here is individual priorities. I think I have plenty of room for minimalism-inspired action in my life, but I do not have to let it dictate how I live, either.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Can I Tell You?

Can I tell you?

I'm having a moment where I just really don't want to write about weight loss anymore. Maybe this is just a temporary feeling, I don't know. I mean, I am still interested in losing at least a little more weight, to get down below 300 and stay there, but aside from that, I can't help but think,

What else is there to share that I haven't already over the past eight years?

I'm just on a continuous loop.

And I am a hypocrite. I hate diet talk, I hate all of it and yet I have been very much a part of that world for a long time. I want off  the merry-go-round.

So I don't know. I like this blog, pretty much everything about it – the design I created for it, its name and the implications of it. I like writing for the (semi) public and getting meaningful feedback once in a while. But maybe it is time to shift focus, finally?

Maybe I will just let it happen organically. Watch this space; who knows, I may go back on this by next week.

I realized yesterday that I have a viewpoint about fashion. It's very personal and I'm not heading out to review new collections, nothing like that. But the more I think about my body and my relationship to it, the more I think about my clothes and how to construct my wardrobe... well, I love fashion as much as I hate the industry.

I posted a little bit yesterday on my Instagram with some kernels of thought on where my wardrobe is headed. It's been on my mind almost obsessively since then. I wrote about it in my journal – wants, needs, plans, preferences – and I'll share it here.

All Black, All the Time.

I need to get over myself once and for all and fully embrace the fact that I really, really love wearing all black and that I feel at my most comfortable when I do. Is this because I am fat? I don't think so, because this has been a preference for a long, long time – since I started college, pretty much, maybe a little inkling of it toward the end of high school. I'm not trying to hide anything really – or maybe I am, but like whatever? You know? At the same time, all black is SO practical and easy (except for the constant battle with cat hair and lint. Some fabrics are worse than others!). I can put anything I own together and it makes an outfit. I can spill something on me and it's not a total disaster if I can't fix it right away. And, if I DO want to wear some color, it makes for great counterpoint/backdrop.

Much of my base wardrobe now IS black, but honestly? Not enough.

By the way, what happened yesterday was... I need to do laundry, and I pulled out a little dress that I haven't worn much at all. It's white with dark blue stripes and an empire waist. I paired it with some LuLaRoe patterned leggings and threw a black cardigan on top, but it just didn't work for me. I was stuck, though. Honestly I felt mentally uncomfortable all day even though the clothes were physically comfortable. Today? Same thing. I made the mistake of wearing a blue cardigan that is too tight in the arms and so the sleeves doesn't come down to my wrists and stay. I actually quite like the color, but the problem with this piece? It just doesn't fit well enough.

It's these two days in a row of wearing clothes out in public that has really made me realize how important it is to get my fashion house in order, once and for all.

Base Wardrobe.

Right now, my base wardrobe consists of:
  • A half-dozen black jersey dresses from Old Navy
  • A couple black fine-knit cardigans 
  • A bunch of patterned LuLaRoe leggings and down to one pair of black leggings
  • A cap-sleeved black cable knit buttoned-down vest-type thing
  • A long-sleeved J. Jill black tee that is in desperate need of replacing
  • A plum long-sleeved jersey tee (for layering underneath things)
  • A long-sleeved flowy black thing that has one button at the top, kind of Japanese looking
  • Two pairs of Hush Puppies suede boots, one black and one burgundy
  • Two pairs of oxford shoes that I shouldn't wear anymore because of my foot troubles
I want to buy as much as I can from Universal Standard, but that will take time because quality don't come cheap! Regardless, here is my list of like-to-buys:
  • Two or three more black leggings
  • Three black crew-neck fine-knit cardigans. In the past I've bought them at Old Navy and Target, but ideally I'd like to up my game for higher quality since this is stuff I wear all the time
  • One or two long-sleeved black crew neck tees from Universal Standard
  • A few more black jersey dresses from Old Navy (sleeveless and long-sleeved)
  • A pair of clogs
  • A good pair of oxford shoes (something with good support, unlike the cheap ones I've had in the past)
I Want To...
  • Start almost totally fresh
  • Have mainly black core pieces and maybe other colors for layers
  • Keep only my most favorite LuLaRoe stuff, try to sell or donate the rest
  • Stock up on comfy, decent undies, bras, socks
  • Build a cute bandanna collection
  • Get a few more pieces of jewelry that I really like
  • Buy one real quality piece for my wardrobe once every month or two (from places like Universal Standard)
  • Have a "special clothes" container for stuff I have loved over the years but can't wear for whatever reason. Look, I just have stuff I don't ever want to give up, but it will be good to have it in a place separate from stuff that I do wear. #sorrynotsorry
  • Stick pretty much with a uniform and not feel bad about it at all
  • Play with color via accessories: Glasses, shoes, scarves/bandannas, nail polish, lipstick, even hair?
That's where I am for now. This weekend I'd like to finish sorting through all my clothes and be really discerning about what stays and what goes. Of course I'll be keeping enough for now to keep me dressed for a week without having to do laundry, LOL!

Will report back with an update. What are your feelings about clothes and getting dressed every day? I'd love to hear about your preferences, habits, and routines!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Just an Update

I kind of feel like I don't have much to say, but want to make a post anyway. Mainly, nothing much has changed since I last wrote which is OK, but also, like, really? Like I need/want to make some meaningful progress again already, but I am just not. Weight-wise I am more or less staying around the same. Last actual weigh-in on Sunday found myself at 333.2. Not great, but not terrible?

This past week we've had limited funds -- I'm transitioning from having lots of work, probably more than what was good for me, to just my full-time day job which makes for quite a difference in the budget -- and so cooking at home all the time and bringing lunches to work instead of getting take-out. Periods like this are kind of good in that it forces me to enact habits that I want to nail anyway (including not buying things I don't really need), but it's still kind of a bummer. I'm just really trying not to see it as a bummer. It's incentive.

And, after like a three-year hiatus, I'm truly itching to get back to painting, which would possibly replace all the other work I had been doing (mostly online teaching, plus freelance design work) and bring in the extra income I'd like to have. When I first lost my last full-time job back in late March, one thing I did was buy a bunch of small canvases and some other supplies with the intention of getting back into my studio practice, but it just never happened. So I have everything I need, and I love the idea of creating small paintings (we're talking in the neighborhood of 8" x 10") which are more affordable and easier for many people to justify buying for their home. Selling just a couple or few pieces each month would make a huge difference. So we'll see.

(Of course I want to clarify that making money isn't my only impetus to make art! Just a nice by-product that I'd like to exploit.)

So anyway.

I'm still dealing with massive foot pain, which now is creeping up my leg a bit to my knee, too. A nurse friend of mine recommended Oofos, which I remember seeing at my local running store back when I was doing that... so when I do manage to accumulate a bit of extra cash, I'm going to try them, at least at home.

What else? Nothing much else. Still making our way through Horror Movie October, which means I go to bed too late every night (midnight-ish instead of 10-ish). It is something we really enjoy doing together, though, even if it is a really passive activity, i.e. it's not tennis for sure.

More to come, I guess. Maybe tell me what you are up to?

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Lazy Days / Deep Thoughts

Note: This first section was written a few days ago. I'm finally finishing the post today.

...I'm thoroughly enjoying being on vacation this week so far. I just really love being able to sleep in, or stay up late, or just sleep whenever it feels right. I love not having to get ready to go out and be presentable in public. I love just doing whatever I feel like doing on any given day. Staycations may not be the most exciting way to spend time off from work, but they can be very satisfying regardless.

I did put some activities on my calendar – things I wanted to get done while at home, to feel at least kind of productive. So far, I've done just a little and I'm OK with that. Late this morning I spent a little time in the basement breaking down some of the many, many boxes I'd had thrown down there over the past few years. I didn't get the whole lot done but enough to feel satisfying. Otherwise I've been cooking a bit and watching a LOT of movies, which quite frankly is one of my favorite things to do. In October, it's even better – we have a tradition of watching at least one horror movie every day during the month, and then finish it off with a viewing of the original 1978 classic Halloween. At the moment we've got the first Nightmare on Elm Street playing in the background.

Food-wise I'm doing OK. I'm mostly doing what amounts to intermittent fasting, I guess, waiting to eat my first meal until early afternoon. Today I tried a new recipe for sauteed pork chops with a crushed pretzel crust. Those were good and appropriately autumn-appropriate served with the roasted sweet potatoes and onions I put together, topped with some crisped (sauteed) sage leaves. I'm throwing together a homemade pizza in a little bit. So yeah, taking advantage of my free time to make as much food at home rather than rely on take out or fast food. I guess overall I can say that I'm feeling pretty good with the choices I'm making. I'm not indulging in "treats" too much, but I did get some bulk gummi bears (having a few at a time) and couple pints of ice cream (again, smaller portions over time, and a local brand of ice cream, Perry's, that is much less calorie-dense than something like Ben & Jerry's), and I'm having a couple-few beers here and there.

I landed on the decision to weigh myself every other Sunday, so that I am aware of what's going on but not obsessing with daily weighing. My last weigh-in put me a just under 330 (329.8), which is a couple pounds below last time. Still not where I was finishing up Whole30, but I'll take it.

There are other things on my mind, though! I've mentioned recently that I will be going back to school in January to begin coursework for an Associate's degree in Environmental Studies at a local community college, which I am really excited about! But lately since doing more research about where to take it beyond that, I'm even more so. Originally my thought was to continue on...

(Today)

to get a Bachelor's from the local state university, but I did more research and found that there is a program that offers more of what I am looking for, is completely online, and actually costs LESS per credit hour! So I'll likely go on to study at Oregon State U's online program pursuing either Environmental Sciences or Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences (see comparison of the two here, if you're interested!) I am soooo excited about my further education now that I've found these options, and I won't have to wrangle a crazy schedule between full-time work and getting to classes (many of which are NOT offered online locally – some are though, which is nice).

It's nice to have something major like that to look forward to, not to mention going into a field I never thought I would before a couple months ago. Part of that, I realize, is simply because I didn't even know that the jobs that many of my co-workers do even existed. (Scientists of all stripes, project managers, GIS specialists, etc. etc.)

My vacation is now almost over. It's Saturday and I'm a little sad, but because I do really like my job I don't mind going back too much. Getting dressed in the morning will be the worst part. I didn't get things done like I had kind of intended to in advance, but I did get down to the basement to tidy up a bit – broke down a bunch of boxes, sorted through some things that haven't seen the light of day in forever, put things in piles, etc. etc. That felt good. I still might do more before the weekend's over. But, I didn't do outside cleanup and I didn't do any cleaning inside, I didn't make any art... I basically just relaxed a LOT and watched a shit ton of horror movies (and some regular ones, too).

Since I started writing this post, my eating has been just kind of, whatdyacallit, normal? In other words, nothing extreme in any direction. Almost intuitive. I may get on the scale tomorrow morning or I may wait until next Sunday. It feels to me like I haven't gained anything and maybe dropped a pound or two. I still have aches and pains. My right foot has been really troublesome, I am suspecting plantar fasciitis and it's just not getting any better. My left arm/shoulder is still being stupid too and I am still mystified by what happened with that. The foot issue raised its ugly head a couple days into our cross-country trip in May, so I am assuming it was all the driving that caused it.

I do have health insurance now, but my employer only offers high deductible plans and so until my FSA kicks in come January (long story, but it is what it is) affording a doctor visit is not in the cards. That said, I know that losing some more weight would likely help my foot. (I'm in semi-denial about that, but whatever.) Either way, it's frustrating for multiple reasons, personal and political. I guess in the meantime ibuprofen will be my best friend. (I've been avoiding taking it most of the time, but last night it really did wonders, so...)

Ugh, well, I guess I will wrap this up so that I get something up and out. Maybe I'll head back down to the basement for a while.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Doing the Best You Can with What You Have... and Vacation!

A week later...

Not much is new. I haven't been quite getting to where I want to be, but I haven't been too off the rails (well, maybe a little bit). I have been doing a couple things on the positive side:

  • Eating decent dinners
  • Not snacking at night
  • Food journaling 
  • Drinking lots of water
I've been trying to eat fairly healthy, balanced dinners and not too much. It hasn't been too hard to not snack in the evenings, though I have been drinking (keeping it to two drinks usually!). The food journaling is nothing too elaborate, just jotting notes in my little book about what I ate and how I was feeling throughout the day (no calorie or macro counting or anything). Water is easy for me, and not only do I drink it throughout my work day pretty constantly, I also love me some grapefruit LaCroix to go with meals. It's pretty rare that I have a diet soda anymore, and I don't miss it.

That said, I am still trying to figure out breakfast, and I'm still eating too much (or just plain crap, or both) at lunchtime -- those are my big challenges right now. BUT, I have off from work all next week so I am hoping that I can establish a new routine/plan to carry out of vacation mode with me. I have ideas but I really just need to sit down and figure out execution. It will be sooo worth it.

Another thing that will be nice during my time off is maybe getting an exercise routine back in place -- or maybe, would that be too much to try to do all at once? Then again, a simple short walk every day shouldn't be hard to do when I have nowhere to go and nothing to do. OK, well... not nothing, but no big obligatory things, at least.

I'm really looking forward to getting caught up on some things! My tentative list:
  • Outdoor Fall cleanup (my poor yard is a shambles)
  • Painting (art!)
  • Indoor Fall cleanup
  • Sorting through clothes and getting rid of a LOT
  • Sorting through our vast library, maybe "weeding", maybe just organizing
OR it could just turn out that I end up sitting on the couch watching tennis and movies all week long. LOL?

I guess not.

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Issue of Clothes

Since I've gained weight back in the past year, I've pretty much stuck to wearing the same thing almost all the time: One of the half-dozen or so black jersey knit swing dresses from Old Navy and leggings and a cardigan. It's a look that I have enjoyed wearing over the years (and in variations, i.e. A-line skirts with tank tops and cardis) since I was in my 20s. But because I've been wearing almost nothing but those things for what feels like forever now, I'm becoming resentful of it.

Maybe resentful is not quite the right word. I mean, it's a look I feel very comfortable in mentally, it's very easy to put together, and it couldn't be more physically comfy, too. I don't have to think about what I'm going to wear in the morning getting ready for work, which is awesome.

(I should note here that I also have three LuLaRoe Carly dresses that I also sprinkle into my rotation. The Carly is a jersey dress with a high-low hem and pocket T-shirt styling. I'm not super crazy about the style but I like the prints I managed to find, and they're crazy comfortable with my usual cardigan with or without leggings.)

So what's the problem? I guess it is just that I realize that these are the only clothes in my wardrobe that I can wear right now, and it makes me mad.

I guess on one hand, why should it? I generally leave the house looking fairly presentable without much fuss. If I am comfy and public-ready, why should it matter? Even if I was smaller, wouldn't I want to be comfy as much as possible anyway? There are a couple things. One, I need to do another clothes clean out. I am embarrassed to say that I have a huge pile of clothes in my laundry area, stuff I haven't worn in months mainly because I don't even know what's in there. The basement, where the laundry resides, has become a huge pile of clutter and I hate going down there now, which doesn't help. It's building on my already existing anxiety surrounding clothes, so I need to fix that. (Maybe this weekend, even!)

Another thing is relating to what I wore to work yesterday. I have been scraping bottom of barrel with available clothes this week (i.e. I need to do laundry!) and I ended up wearing a pair of what are essentially yoga pants with my beloved Universal Standard t-shirt and a cardigan -- all black, of course. What horrified me as I looked back at my reflection in the mirror of the office ladies' room was how prominent my belly was without the benefit of being skimmed over with a dress. It's big, and it hangs low -- classic apron belly. I don't know, I was just kind of shocked at the sight of it again. I don't picture myself looking like that. (In case you're wondering, no, we don't really have full-length mirrors in the house. Bad idea, I guess.) Wearing something like yoga pants, which offer little to no support, made it worse. I felt really exposed! I really hate saying this, but because I value honesty especially when it comes to this stuff, I'm telling you: I felt like a monstrosity.

There's so much going on right now with me. There's the whole rebound from Whole30 that has been really upsetting, there's gaining back all the weight I lost while on Whole30 (I got on the scale two days before I'd planned on originally, and I'm back to 333 today), there's the clothes stuff, there's some intense personal/relationship stuff, there's the crap going on in our government stuff... and it is all really overwhelming and makes me really... sad? Sad and mad and frustrated and I just don't know where to go with it. I drank too much last night. I feel like hell today.

I still have not got my eating back on track. On paper it seems like it will be so easy. Sometimes it is! But now I've hit a brick wall, and it scares me. I know that I have to just keep trying, but... well, you know how it is. Some days you just don't have the fight in you.

For now I think that working on my wardrobe clean out will be a good place to go. I love the idea of minimal wardrobes (obviously) and think it is time to actually follow through and make it happen, and reframe where my thinking is at regarding my dear friends the black jersey swing dress gang.

***

Kind of Unrelated sidebar: This relates to my previous post about climbing mountains. I love this quote from a van-traveling married couple, in response to a question about how they stay fit on the road:

"We want to be ready for any and every adventure that life has in store. We train to stay strong for life!" Mr. and Mrs. Adventure 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Housekeeping and Resetting


Yesterday and just now this morning I have been trying to catch up on all the comments I missed responding to, many from back in August when I first announced my return. First of all, I’d like to thank all of you who read, who comment, and who provide support and feedback – it is so helpful to me as I kind of struggle along the path, knowing that I have virtual friends cheering from the sidelines and giving me high fives. (Well, that is what I like to imagine, at least.) I promise that I will be better responding to you, so keep it coming! 

But, I would also like to mention again about spam comments and those that are just like, “Have you tried this weight loss tea? It really helped me,” followed by some sketchy link. I’m just telling you that your efforts are in vain because I don’t buy into any of that and most comments that smack of gimmicky suggestions are promptly deleted. Now, I know that this mention won’t curb those comments from happening, not really, but just in case… it’ll save me a few keystrokes and mouse clicks. Thanks!

Now… let’s talk about resetting. Yes, AGAIN. I am here at this place once more, just a week after I decided to ditch the Whole30 and venture back into the real world where I thought I could just carry on without a hitch. As I have hinted at the past few days, things have not gone well. I’ve returned to eating pretty much crap most of the time. And having at least one drink every evening, just because. I knew that I had to get back to a better routine, but kept putting it off and having “one last treat” until my body sent me a very clear message last night:

WHY DO YOU HATE ME???

After I ate dinner, I could tell that I was in store for some heartburn. I could feel it coming on, so before I went to bed I made sure to squirt some mustard down my throat (cool home remedy that actually works!) and figured I’d be good to go. But, a few hours later I was awake and experiencing some really nasty heartburn and indigestion. I got up, went to the bathroom, and then tried my second home remedy, baking soda dissolved in water. I then laid back down in the guestroom (so I wasn’t disturbing my partner in case I had to get up again) next to the bathroom. I was able to fall back asleep, but it wasn’t a very restful rest of the night. I even had a dream in which I was at a party and explaining to people over and over about how I could only eat certain foods because I was doing Whole30, had they heard of that? My body was telling me in its own way what I needed and my mind followed right along.

You can imagine it was not hard for me to make the decision without hesitation to go back to the kind of eating I was doing on Whole30, and I started right away with breakfast this morning. I’m not super prepared for this right now so I kept it simple – three eggs and some baby carrots. I’m drinking green tea and water now as I sit at my desk at work. I’ll cobble together something easy from the grocery store for lunch, and I have chicken out to thaw for dinner. I already feel more at ease and hopeful, more in control again in just these few hours.

As I mentioned in my post-Whole30 post last week, there are some things that I won’t do, and I am not actually going to do a Whole30 as written. I’m not going to worry about whether something at a restaurant was cooked in non-compliant oil or has sulfites and I will use regular ketchup and mayo, but I am going to stick to eating mostly protein, veggies, fruits, and healthy fats. I’ll throw in a whole grain here and there, or a little bit of dairy. I’ll have butter instead of bothering with ghee (I didn’t like the taste of the kind I have).

Most of all, getting back away from obvious sugary stuff and alcohol and getting back into balanced meal mode. It must be done, most of the time and as much as possible.

So I’d like to send a shoutout to my cool body for telling me quickly what it needs and what it can’t handle. I’m hearing you loud and clear, dude! (Yes, my body is apparently a dude, LOL!) I’ve got your back. Thanks for being open and honest with me. I’ll repay you in kind.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Thinking About All the Things

It's been a rough few days since I said goodbye to Whole 30. So much so, in fact, that I am considering trying it again.

But before I go much more into that, I want to talk a bit about the things that are the reasons why I want to continue to lose weight. A few bad days is definitely discouraging, but it's not the end of the road. I have a couple new reasons why as well as reiterating old reasons.

1. I was really inspired by a co-worker who just announced in a meeting that she is to take some vacation time early in the new year to hike Mount Kilamanjaro! I had to refresh my memory as to exactly what and where that was, but I knew it was big. Oh yeah, you know... the tallest freestanding mountain in the world and the tallest in Africa. NBD. So, I really like hiking but we generally do pretty easy trails locally. Once in a while we'll find ourselves on one that is a little more technical or hilly than we're used to, but I'm taking like baby steps compared to anything like old MK. Not even baby steps. Embryo steps! I was very proud to have made it to the top of Mt. Olga in southern Vermont over the summer, which really just qualifies for mountain status at just shy of 3,500 feet. Kilamanjaro is over 19,000!

Anyway, the point to all this is that, you know, if I wanted to just go climb Kilmanjaro one day on a whim, I could. I want to be physically fit enough, if not slim and trim. In fact, I'm not really aiming for slim and trim. I'm aiming for... relatively fit, if that makes sense. Less floppy. Much less.

2. In the midst of deciding to make a potential career shift into Environmental Science and/or Studies, I realize that to work in the field (literally), it'd be to my advantage to have a reasonable level of fitness -- no matter which area I veer toward in the field (figuratively). As a dyed-in-the-wool creative person type, where did this come from? Well, I've been working for an environmental services company since May in the bids and proposals department, and I'm totally digging reading about what the company does and all the cool professions that exist that I didn't even know about before! My company offers a $5,250 education benefit each year to any employee who wants to further study in subjects relevant to their jobs and/or that would benefit the company. I am not one to pass up free anything, so I thought, How cool would it be to become a scientist of some type? I also felt that it would be amazing to take such a left turn in my career this late in the game, and how much I would enjoy the challenge of going back to school. Science and math terrify me, but maybe I just never gave them enough of a chance in high school or college. (I did do well enough in high school bio and chemistry, as well as geometry. But don't ask me about Earth Science or trig, please!)

3. I keep returning to the fact that I have a bunch of cute clothes to wear that I could wear up until late last year. SO. Many. And all I wear these days is any one of half a dozen black jersey dresses and leggings. I am so bored and frustrated with myself over that. My partner and I were texting today about our respective tough spots (mine being eating, of course), and he was just like, "I just wish you would go back down to the weight you were last year, because I know it makes you feel better." And he is totally right. And it's not that far away. 40-some pounds at this point?

4. Although I never, ever dare say it anymore, I would like to start running again. But, I hesitate to do so until I am closer to 300 pounds again, even though I have run heavier in the past. (I'm older now, obvi. And also, my "running" has been comparable to many a person's walking, so there you go.)

Anyway, I have lots of really good, legit reasons, and I owe it to myself. So there.