I started a journaling project that is supposed to be a year’s worth of prompts, one a week. I have written more than once a week, but I’m okay with that. I’ve tried journaling in the past without prompts just writing what I feel like writing and I always find it difficult what to say, so I’m hoping these prompts help. Here are the prompts that I am using A Year of Journaling: 52 Prompts from The Girl Who Loved to Write. She also has a list of reasons to journal here.
Reason 1: It gives you a chance to write what you want without worrying about grammar or syntax, it’s free writing your thoughts.
Reason 2: It helps you work through things, I mean who hasn’t done a pro-con list?
Reason 3: You can look back on it and see what was good and bad about your life. You can see how much you’ve grown.
Reason 4: Use it to jot down the cute things the kids said. Or a quote you read that really hit home. Things you want to remember.
Reason 5: And lastly there are 0 rules, you write what you want, when you want, and how you want.
I bought my journal for $4 at Wal-Mart, you don’t need anything expensive. I know the cover page is dumb, but I am no artist. That’s the best I can do, seriously only thing I can draw is hexagons (thanks Organic Chemistry).
Also I recently moved and the unpacking/painting process has been extremely slow and tedious. But I am please to announce that I have the first room completely unpacked. MY KITCHEN! Having all my dishes and utensils will make cooking and eating healthy so much easier! I weighed in today as well and I am down 6 pounds from my last update, which is great. I’m at 386.6 lbs, I still have a long way to go.
I have book updates. I just finished Barbara Browning’s I’m Trying to Reach You. It was a unique read, I neither liked nor disliked it, but it had this older female character in the book who pro-ported to be the sister of the actor who voiced Bugs Bunny and she was deaf as could be, and she kept saying, “YA GOTTA SPEAK LOUDAH, MY EAHS AH SHOT!” And in all her parts were shouted and you could hear in your mind’s voice her thick New York accent. I cracked up at her sections, she was the best part of the book.
The next book for the Discourse in a Digital Age book club is Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. It’s a graphic novel and I have never actually read a graphic novel, so we’ll see if I like it our not. And for the book club the current reading is Little Bee by Chris Cleave. Staci Out! (I’ve recently watched Pitch Perfect 2, don’t judge me.)
Everyone close to me knows I am crazy about swimming, competitive swimming that is. I watch every single televised swimming event during the Olympics. I wanted to be an Olympic swimmer when I was a pre-teen, but Missouri isn’t know for competitive swimming. I competed in one meet, with 2 practices under my belt and I got 6th place in 3 of the 4 events (strokes) I swam out of about 30 swimmers. I also was over a body length handicapped because I didn’t know how to dive off the blocks so I was diving off the side. I swam the 50m in free, breast, back and fly. I was disqualified in fly because I did a flutter kick rather than a dolphin kick coming off the wall. But I really hated butterfly so my only complaint was they had me finish the race before they told me. But my team disbanded because the coaches stole the money the swimmers had given them for swimsuits. We were registered to go to a national meet 3 weeks after the incident in Minneapolis. It was devastating, most of my teammates joined another team 1 or 2 hours away, but my mom said I couldn’t. So there went my swimming dreams.
I still love to swim though and even for my weight I am still quite good at it. I can still do the butterfly which is a difficult stroke, but not well. I only do it when my nephew asks me to show it to him. I try to swim for exercise but like I said Missouri isn’t known for swimming, I find it really hard to find a place to swim that isn’t too crowded or has workable open swim times into my schedule.
So now that it is Olympics time again I want to share another story about high school but not about swimming. When I was a senior in high school I got bumped off the varsity roster for being the 3rd best thrower on the track team. I was dethroned by a freshman and I was so upset I quit the team. Well today that team mate made her 2nd Olympic team in the javelin throw and is on her way to Rio. I guess I can handle being demoted by a 2 time Olympic athlete. She got 15th in London so I’m hoping she does a lot better in Rio. Super proud of my alma mater!
— U.S. Olympic Team (@TeamUSA) July 10, 2016
So today is June 1st, and I am back at square one, today I weighed myself at 392.6 lbs. Which is 0.2 pounds heavier than I started this journey…sigh. But I have a fitness tracker now and my new job makes me walk miles a day. I have a new simple workout plan which I started tonight. So now it’s really seriously and strictly back to the diet of eating on the edge of the grocery store. It’s going to be hard for a little bit because I still don’t have anything for the kitchen except a microwave. So I’m going to give myself a goal, everyday for the next week I’m going to post what I eat. Everything I eat no matter how bad. Hopefully knowing that I have to spread my shame on the internet will make it easier to put down the bad foods. I’m going to dive in hard with what I ate and drank today. And be forewarned I had Jack in the Box for dinner.
Breakfast-french vanilla cappucino and watermelon sour jacks 🙁 they are so deliciously addicting.
Lunch-spinach salad with low fat cheese, ranch dressing and croutons along with some cottage cheese. I bought some ramen noodles just to try and they were still just as disgusting as ever so I didn’t eat them.
Dinner-crispy chicken ranch club, small fries, 2 tacos, mini churros and a large diet Dr. Pepper. (so maybe I haven’t been very good on the no soda thing. Last one I promise.)
I cut myself off after dinner unless I am starving so if I eat something else I’ll edit the post.
Tracker for today, 6,021 steps or 2.8 miles, not too shabby for a girl who never walked at all at her last job. Literally my lab was across the hall from my office, a long walk was down the hall to the store room.
Here is my Week One Day One workout. I posted about it last week but I forgot to put the link to the actual webpage, sorry everyone. The blog is To Insanity and Back, they have levels 1-3, a 10 week workout plan, and a pregnancy work out plan under free workouts. Levels 1-3 are 4 weeks each, Coach Morris has them available to download as pdf’s. Level One is on my wall.
20 jumping jacks, 10 crunches, 10 squats, and 5 push ups. I thought the push ups would be the hardest, but it was definitely the crunches.
Last week I promised I would post the next book club book which was in my car, so here it is “The Sense of an Ending” by Julian Barnes.
I’m getting settled into my new job and my new apartment. I just got back from my first ever business trip, I went to Philadelphia. A very strange city, they have either the blandest names, like I saw a dry cleaners whose name was Dry Cleaners and a storage facility named Extra Space. I should have had some inclination about this considering their baseball team is “The Phillies”. But then they had outrageous names like Chickie and Pete’s a chain restaurant in the area, and Suds liquor store.
But I digress, today I will be talking about exercise. Everyone in America knows about the benefits of exercise so I will not list them. I bought a fitness tracker the other day and I used it for the first time today. It was originally like $60, but I got it on clearance for $30 at Walgreen’s. It has an app and it syncs to my smartphone, but I can also view my progress on the tracker. It looks like a pedometer but it’s on a 24 hour cycle so you don’t have to reset it.
I looked at it when I got home this evening and I was surprised with how much I walked today at work. I went to book club this evening and just walking there I recorded another 600 steps or 0.3 miles. I’m excited for my new gadget. I also found a workout I want to start, I found it on Pinterest and it’s a beginner’s workout that I can do at home with no equipment needed. I put a picture of the plan below and I will also post it to my Facebook page and I’ve already pinned it on Pinterest. I know I can’t do burpees and I’m not sure about push-ups, but it’s a start.
Like I had mentioned I had book club tonight, I never got around to posting the last book we read so I’m going to have 2 for you tonight, and one pending. Sorry I know I’m slacking on my posting.
We just finished “Without you, there is no us” by Suki Kim about her time teaching English at a university in North Korea. It was an easy read and quite heart breaking knowing the hardships of North Koreans. The next book for Discourse in the Digital Age is “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson it was written in 1992 about a virtual world inside computers, the lead character is called Hiro Protagonist, so take that as you will, but it supposedly very closely related to the cyber world we occupy today. And the next book for Schlafly book club is in my car and I forgot the title. So I will post it at a later date, probably just on the Facebook page.
Stress. A dirty 6 letter word that can derail even the best of dieters. A lot of Americans are stress eaters, 38% according to a study by the American Psychological Association. Americans are typically fast paced and workaholics, many Americans have to work 2 or 3 jobs just to survive. Though I won’t go into the politics on that one, I could probably write pages on the subject, but I won’t. But working 60-80 hours a week doesn’t leave much time for self-care. And self-care is so important, in an airplane you put your own oxygen mask on first because you can only help others if you take care of yourself first.
I’ll go into self-care in another post someday and what that entails. But today I’m going to focus on some tips for managing stress. I found 13 tips for managing stress on WebMD and I’m going to discuss them a little bit.
- Is there a way to limit your stress or to get rid of it completely. If it’s stress at your job, maybe you can delegate to someone else to relieve your burden. If it’s at home, maybe you can find a way to solve the problem or a system to have your family help you. Like a chore chart if it’s housework, or a weekly meal plan so you don’t have to worry about what you are going to make every night.
- Stay positive. Sometimes you can’t control what happens in your life, but you can control how you react to it. Complaining and dragging your feet only feed stress and don’t tackle the issue. Focus on what you can learn from the stress whether it be a project at school or work, or a character building type thing.
- Take a stand. Don’t roll over and take everything life hands to you. Assert yourself, if your boss is taking advantage of you, politely assert your dissent. Don’t get angry or passive about things.
- Learn ways to calm yourself like meditation or yoga.
- Of course exercise is going to be on this list. Everyone knows the benefits of working out, you typically feel much more refreshed and focused after a workout.
- Eat healthy, another obvious. Though we want to reach for the comfort food, the heavy fat and sugars will weigh you down and make you feel sluggish and worn out.
- Learn to manage your time effectively. Try a to-do list, if you already do a to-do list try sorting it by priority. Get a planner, use your phone’s calendar. Don’t give yourself last minute panics because you forgot to do a project or go to an appointment.
- This is a hard one for me. Say no. If someone asks you to join a committee, or run an event. If you don’t have the time or energy to do it, politely decline by saying you don’t have the time for it. Trust me, people will understand. And don’t cave to a guilt trip.
- Hobbies make time for them, reading, writing, or coloring. Adult coloring books are quite the rage right now. I have one, and I also have adult paint by numbers, you would be surprised how good it feels to focus on something other than your to-do list. Below is my first foray into paint by numbers.
- REST! I can not stress the importance of sleep, I am so adamant about sleep that I actually have an entire post about sleep planned at some point in the future. You have to make time to sleep, not sleeping will only make your stress worse. I speak from experience on that one, I was the queen of all-nighters in college.
- Do not rely on substances to help relieve stress. Alcohol is a depressant, it will only make you feel worse once the buzz wears off. I don’t know anything about weed from experience other than my therapist and psychiatrist tell me to stay far away from it. Especially since it is illegal where I live and the stress of getting caught is not helpful to managing stress. Also you should limit caffeine intake, because of the crash it can give. I personally don’t have a problem with caffeine I don’t get any sort of rush from it, but I get headaches without it. So I make sure I have at least a glass or mug of caffeinated tea every day.
- Another obvious one, focus on the important people in your life. People always come first, I have a favorite quote, “life is about the people we meet, the places we go and the memories made along the way.” Our loved ones should always come first in our lives, because without them life is rather meaningless.
- If you try these things and you still need help, there is NO shame in seeking professional help. A therapist, a counselor, or even a clergyman if you are religious can be a great assistance. If you are a college student many campuses offer FREE counseling with a licensed therapist. Or it could even be covered by your insurance policy. And some therapists offer assistance if you are unable to afford their services. Such as Comtrea in Jefferson County.
- Bonus tip: Nature, go outside, unplug from your devices and focus on the beauty this world has to offer. I know I need to do this more, I’m not an outdoorsy person. Mostly because I hate bugs and I get sunburnt easily. I mean easily, I was outside for 5 hours, applied sunscreen (SPF 50) 3 times, and I was still painfully burnt just last summer. I don’t do sun well. The picture is of West City Park in my hometown.
Everyone has a story, everyone has a journey they’ve taken for one thing or another. Here is my journey so far in trying to lose weight.
I’ve always been heavy, or so I always thought because of my mother telling me so. I look back at pictures now and I realize I wasn’t that fat. I was a little heavier but I wasn’t fat. I wasn’t obese and I certainly had no reason to be hardcore dieting. I started Weight Watchers for the first time at 15 years old. I was a size 15, yes that is heavier than I should of been, but it wasn’t Weight Watchers worthy. I was an athlete, I was on the softball team and I was in track. In track I ran 2 miles on the first day without stopping. I’d say I was pretty in shape and healthy. But not to my mother, so I went to Weight Watchers, and I hated it. I was the only person there under 30, seriously. I didn’t belong, I didn’t fit there and I was miserable every week having to weigh in and be told a goal to meet for the next week.
This me at my high school prom and at awards night both my senior year of high school. I thought I was obese and terribly unhealthy, I thought I was hideous and wondered why anyone wanted to date me. I had the lowest self esteem and I look back now shocked at myself. I was beautiful! I looked absolutely gorgeous at my prom. I can’t believe how low I thought of myself because I wasn’t a size 2. I was also intelligent, I won a scholarship that night and I was well liked. I got along with just about everyone in my school and I was friends with people from several cliques. I had no reason to think so little of myself, but I did, because I was constantly being told to watch my weight. Hear something enough and it becomes your truth. Even if it’s a lie.
And since then the true battle with my weight begin, I rebelled I ate anything I wanted. I did not want to diet, which led to over indulgence and boredom eating. I graduated high school at a size 18. I went to college and instead of the freshman 15, it was the freshman 50 due to the intense amount of stress I was under. I left the brutal college after 3 semesters and I moved back home to go to community college for a semester. Another unsuccessful round of Weight Watchers. I was a size 22. I went to a four year college and graduated in another 4 years after a serious battle with depression. I was a size 24.
Next I ran a Weight Watchers meeting out of my parent’s basement, there was about 10 of us in the group since my town didn’t have an official meeting. And well this one was free. That lasted for about 6 months until I couldn’t run the meeting anymore and it fell apart. During that time I had lost 40 pounds by far the most weight I had lost in Weight Watchers, but at this point I was a size 24 and over 300 pounds. So 40 pounds was only a drop in the bucket and I didn’t keep it off for long.
Fast forward to several failed life choices, and a hard diagnosis of an illness in 2013 and I tried Weight Watchers again. But I was only physically there, I went to meetings but I didn’t diet or exercise. My heart wasn’t in it. I tried that for nearly a year and I was unsuccessful yet again. I stopped going when I could no longer afford the meetings. Hence why this time around I chose to make a simple lifestyle choice, no constant counting of points. No stressful weigh ins in front of people I barely know. I know Weight Watchers works for a lot of people. But it wasn’t the right choice for me, I would count points but I would use them all on pure crap and not healthy food. Size 26.
Now I am a size 28 verging on 30. I know I just had a major set back, but like I said on Tuesday a diet is a marathon and not a sprint. Back to the original goal, eating on the outer edge of the grocery store, limiting carbs, adding more fruits and veggies, and tracking what goes into my mouth. The binder for tracking didn’t work, it was too bulky and a pain to carry around. I bought a planner, still a little bulky but it accomplishes a lot more. I can use it to track blog posts, appointments, phone calls for jobs, bill paying and things I need to do for my research. Basically have my whole life planned in it.
On a sidenote, I had book club yesterday, the ‘Discourse in a Digital Age.’ Our new book to start reading is ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood . This one looks really good and I’m excited to start reading it.
A diet is a marathon, not a sprint.
Every diet has some breaking points, mine happened when I started getting busier at work. I fell behind and then I just got too overwhelmed to start again. But today is the day, starting immediately I am back on my diet. One last diet Mountain Dew for me, back to water and tea. I will go back to Tuesday’s having a new recipe and Friday’s having a new fruit or vegetable.
I’ve had a set back in my life recently. I lost my job, my contract ended and there was no longer a business need to keep me. So I am back on the job market, I’ve had one interview already and several contacts via phone or email. I was going to move at the end of this month, which I still will if I have a job lined up in the right area. But I am going to take a brief month long hiatus and go back down to Cape Girardeau and finish my Master’s at Southeast Missouri State.
Every time one door closes another one opens right? The interview was for a permanent position so that would be nice not having to live life by a timeline. I will also have more time to blog so hopefully I can keep up with this and get a rhythm going before I go back to work.
I recently joined a couple of book clubs at the St. Louis Public Library in the Central West End. I’m reading the first book now and it’s great reading again. Getting swept away to a new world living life through someone else’s eyes and thoughts. I forgot how much I love reading. My book clubs are on the 2nd Wednesday of the month, and on the 4th Thursday. So the posts after those meetings will include the new book I am reading. Because diet isn’t just physically it’s mentally. It’s easy to eat while watching television, it’s significantly harder to eat while holding a book. Today I was reading during lunch and I pushed my meal aside and focused on the book. I ate much slower which is what you are supposed to do to help trigger that you are full.
Wednesday’s book club is called ‘Discourse in the Digital Age’, which I thought meant like computer programming. But in the process of talking to someone from the Thursday book club I found out that it is actually a science-fiction and fantasy book club. Which is way more my speed than computers. The first book I am reading from the Discourse book club is “Nova” by Samuel R. Delany. It’s about a futuristic world of space travel and a race to gather a special element from, you guessed it a nova. Check it out here at Nova on Goodreads.
I’ll post about the Thursday book club today as well since I’m getting things caught up. For the Thursday book club we are reading ‘Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking. A Memoir of Food and Longing.’ It is by Anya Von Bremzen and I haven’t started it yet so I don’t know what it is about. This is my profile on Goodreads, feel free to add me as a friend to see what I’m reading or my ratings of books I’ve read in the past.
Hope you are enjoying your lazy Sunday,
If you are like me I do most of my eating at work. I used to eat breakfast and lunch at the meal cart in an adjacent building, but it was all terribly unhealthy. Not too mention the money I was spending, nearly $75 a week. Now I take my food with me to work, I’ve been doing it about a month and I don’t even miss the convenience anymore. I’m trying to spread out my eating so I have to bring enough for 2 snacks and lunch. I invested in a big lunchbox, it was $15 at target, worth every cent. It’s big, but not humongous and it keeps everything cold even my apples I eat around 4 pm. Plus it’s cute, it’s got birds and chevrons on it. I also went to dollar tree and invested in A LOT of containers. I spent about 10 bucks and got about 30-40 containers in assorted sizes. I really like the small ones I got they are perfect for many things. I typically use 4 of them a day.
Since I’m trying to eat good for you low calorie foods, that means I need to eat a lot of them. I need more calories than someone 150 pounds lighter than me. That’s just simple science. And I do eat a couple of things full fat, just because I need the extra fat and calories. I know that sounds counterproductive, but every food group is required. The only food type you can completely cut out of your diet and still be healthy is sweets. We need carbs, we need fat, we need protein, we need vitamins and minerals, and we definitely need water.
In the above picture from left to right in back is 100% apple juice, P3 protein pack*, lowfat vanilla yogurt, granola, lowfat cottage cheese, peanut butter, a hard-boiled egg, and ranch dressing. From left to right in the front is pretzel sticks, grapes, apples, carrots, and a Starkist lunch to go pack*. Obviously this varies greatly, but this is just an example of what I take to work every day. I usually have leftovers instead of the tuna. The P3 protein pack is made by Lunchables. It has 3 varieties of protein in it (P3 get it?), a meat (ham, chicken or turkey), a nut (peanuts, almonds, cashews, even dark chocolate nut clusters), and a cheese (colby-jack or cheddar). These have been amazing as a snack in the afternoon, the only downside is they are a little pricey for everyday. And the Starkist lunch pack has tuna (pouch or can, I prefer pouch because you don’t have to drain it), crackers, reduced fat mayo, sweet relish, a spoon, a napkin, and a mint. I thought it was funny the first time I opened one that there was a napkin and mint, they really thought of it all. Though the spoon is flimsy, so I don’t use it and I dislike mint so my co-worker gets the mint. She really likes mints though so it works out.
And the last thing I take with me to work but easily the thing I would miss the most, my reusable water bottle. We have several of these at my house and I love them. I prefer the ones with straws for work especially. The ones that have to be tilted like to leak on me, not a good thing for work. I take one in with me on Monday and then I take it home on Friday to wash it. Right down the hall there is a fridge with an ice-maker and water dispenser. It’s new and so great, because my first 2 weeks at my job I had to take the elevator to the first floor just to use a water fountain that isn’t older than I am. The old fridge had apparently broken right before I started. I also have my caffeine mug for my tea, just as an aid to the planet so I could stop using the styrofoam cups my work provides for coffee/tea.
Happy Friday Everyone!
Everyone who has ever cooked for me, or eaten a meal with me knows that I am quite the picky eater. But it’s explained by one of my favorite scientists, Neil deGrasse Tyson in this video from PBS. But I’ve never tried a lot of things, especially as an adult. With the whole new world of veggie chips, roasted veggies, and buying my own produce. I am going to start. I used to write off a food if I didn’t like it prepared one certain way. I don’t like raw cucumbers, but I LOVE pickles. I’ve never tried cucumbers any other way but raw and pickled. I didn’t know any better, but looking on Pinterest there is at least a dozen ways to make cucumbers other than raw and pickled.
My current list of approved fruits and veggies are: carrots (cooked and raw only if petites, have to be small), broccoli (cooked), green beans, spinach (raw), lettuce, corn, apples, pineapple, bananas and grapes (red and green). That’s bloody it.
My unapproved list that I have tried recently and do not like: TOMATOES, celery, onions (except fried. I like fried onions for some strange reason), peppers (raw, need to explore cooked options), peas, brussel sprouts (the smell makes me gag), berries (all the berries, blue, raspberry…), canteloupe, watermelon, and honeydew melon.
I’m always really scared to try new things at parties and such, because I feel like if I don’t eat a good amount of it then the maker will feel bad. I hate the words ‘Oh didn’t you like it?’ No, sorry I didn’t, I’m picky. Eating at parties has always been a stress for me, because I’m so damn picky. I always take something that way I know I’ll have at least something to eat. But more than once has my plate been half full of chips because nothing else looked acceptable.
That being said, I tried my grapefruit Wednesday morning with my breakfast. Like my mom’s Christmas bowls? I believe I’ve tried it before when I was younger, but I was pickier about textures as a teenager. First I googled how to eat a grapefruit, which I am glad I did. Because it was still a little messy even after using the tricks found here. So it would have been terrible if I had tried to dive right in. Definitely cut a grapefruit before you try to eat it. And I thought it would take longer to cut, but it really didn’t like a minute or so. The tutorial was really good and easy to follow, it was really simple to cut it.
I ate about half of the grapefruit with some Splenda, but I wasn’t the biggest fan. I liked it at first, but then it had a strange after taste. I don’t know if it was that particular grapefruit or all grapefruits. Or if mine had gone a bit bad since it had been on my counter since Sunday. Therefore I will give it another go with a new grapefruit, because I did like the starter taste.