Operation Weight-loss: On track (kind of)

So as I may have mentioned a time or twenty, I’ve been working throughout this 2009 year to lose some weight. I was not overweight in high school, but college and law school took their tole on me and my workout schedule and well… life happened. I’ve done the diets and lost the weight. And then gained it. And more.

I decided this time would be different. I started a new job this year, and a new life. I’m done with school. I’m starting my real career, this is what I’ve been working for, well, forever. So I needed to now focus on my health and being happy with not just the numbers on the scale, but my reflection and my activity level. Above all, I want to know that I’m respecting my body enough to give it what it needs and not over-tax it with extra pounds and cheeseburgers.

The reason diets don’t work is because they’re too restrictive. You can’t stick with them. Or I can’t, anyways. So I decided okay.. let’s take this easy. Let’s make a series of small changes. First, cut way back on pop. I am a coke-lover and I decided that I would only drink it when I was out at restaurants, and then only occasionally. No more pop in the house. Then I decided to try to cut back on the number of processed foods I ate and make more things from scratch. I’ve tried new recipes and learned how to cook (kind of). I then focused on drinking more water. Then I added in jogging. Then strength training. It’s been a process, a build up of small changes that I’m comfortable with and I don’t feel deprived. Sometimes I eat arby’s (mm curly fries). Sometimes I eat Sonic. Sometimes I have coke and a bottle of wine and skip a week working out, life happens! But above all I’ve stuck to the overall plan– never give up. Make more healthy choices than unhealthy ones.

It hasn’t gone quickly. I’ve lost and gained and lost more (and gained more). But as of weigh-in this morning, I’m down 20.5 pounds from January 4 (my official start day) and it feels great! The clothes my mom bought me for Christmas that were too tight fit. The capris I bought for vacation last year that I was too lazy to return fit. My favorite suit I bought my first year of law school– fits! I feel healthier, I feel like I have more control over my life. I don’t feel like weighing too much is a permanent condition I’ll get used to– I’m changing it.

So what if it took me 7 months to lose 20 pounds? I’m not done. Because even if I’m only losing 2-3 pounds/month, at least I’m losing and eventually I’ll get to where I want to be. When I look back on 2009 I won’t say, well there is another failed resolution. Maybe I’ll go on a diet this year. I will say wow, I lost 20 (or 30 or 40) pounds this year and I feel great! And most importantly, I’ve made changes that I am comfortable with and can live with forever.

Now time for a confession: Way back in April, I wrote a post with the rewards I was setting for each goal I reached. The first reward was supposed to be a massage or facial and man was I looking forward to that! But, this week I finally got my bonus check from a case I worked on for the past 9 months or so, and I wanted to treat myself. I’m starting a side photo business, and I have really been wanting this lens that was way too expensive. Well, I bought it!! I feel like it is an investment because it will allow me to really expand my photographic style and hopefully it will pay for itself through my photo business. But– because my next reward was supposed to be (another, cheaper) lens that I will now probably not get… I decided to make this my reward for the bonus and the weight loss and I’ll have to wait for the massage. Just more motivation to get there quickly, right??

I’m still not going to employ drastic measures for weight loss. But, I may try to tighten up my strategies a bit to speed things up. I would really love to lose another 15 pounds before my vacation, but I will not stress if I don’t make that goal. Mostly, I’d love to tone up my arms so more so I am more confident walking around mexico in strapless or spagetti-strapped tops. The nice thing about vacation though is that I’m just going with B and umm he knows what my arms look like so whatever! It’d be nice to like the photos we’ll take of us there better though.

So in conclusion for my random weight-loss thoughts and beliefs… I’ll say this: I’m so excited to reach this goal. I’ve been playing with the same 20 pounds throughout the past 3-4 years and I’ve finally broken through the barrier. I’m on a path to being thinner and healthier, and by the way, my first ever 5k tomorrow!!!

Another random meme

I could be working, I could be doing laundry, I could be walking my dog. But instead, I decided to procrastinate by doing another random meme, here goes!

1. Do you like blue cheese? No, never, ew.

2. Have you ever smoked heroin? No (or cigarettes for that matter)

3. Do you own a gun? Yes.

4. What flavor do you add to your drink at sonic? Cherry coke. mmmmm

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Umm only if you call increased heart rate, blood pressure, and a certainty that my dentist will find some type or oral cancer despite a complete lack of symptoms anxiety… 🙂

6. What do you think of hot dogs? I like how they taste and I’ll eat all-beef ones sometimes. But regular hot dogs… can’t get past the spare-parts reputation.

7. Favorite Christmas movie? Christmas Vacation

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Chocolate Silk Light (soy milk)

9. Can you do push ups? A very few girly ones.

10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? My great grandmother’s opal bracelet that my parents had restored for me after she died.

11. Favorite hobby? Photography. But now it’s going to be a business, yay!

12. Do you have A.D.D.? No. But I have an aversion to boredom.

13. What’s one trait you hate about yourself? My stubbornness. Sometimes I know that I’m being an idiot and I just can’t stop myself.

14. Middle name? Lyndsey– you’ve found out my secret!

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment: (1) I should probably get my eyebrows done before they reach full cave-woman status 2) I’m hungry 3) I should do some more work.

16. Name 3 things you bought yesterday. I bought absolutely nothing the last two days. Three things I bought this week: peaches, 10-22mm lens for my xti, and sony compact camera

17. Name 4 drinks you regularly drink? Water, chocolate soy milk, wine. That’s pretty much it for regular drinks

18. Current worry? family drama

19. Current hate right now? hmmm… family drama 🙂

20. Favorite place to be? home with my guy and my dog

21. How did you bring in the New Year? hmmm seems like a really long time ago. oh i remember, b and i stayed home and watched the ball drop and made paper party hats, oh yes we did 🙂

22. Where would you like to go? Greece!!

23. Name two people who will complete this? No one probably, unless they’re really really bored.

24. Do you own slippers? yes but i almost never wear them

25. What shirt are you wearing? tank top

26. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? No.

27. Can you whistle? Kind of.

28. Favorite color? Don’t have one. But I hate orange.

29. Would you be a pirate? That might be an issue for someone with motion sickness.

30. What songs do you sing in the shower? whatever is in my head!

31. Favorite girl’s name? hmmm…. I really like Sophia, but that’s so trendy right now its annoying.

32. Favorite boy’s name? no clue

33. What’s in your pocket right now? i’m wearing pj pants. no pockets.

34. Last thing that made you laugh? MTV show with spoiled teenagers

35. Best bed sheets as a child? Teddy Ruxpin

36. Worst injury you’ve ever had? Never been seriously injured **knock on wood**

37. Do you love where you live? Kind of.

38. How many TV’s do you have in your house? 2, and neither are flat screen, HOW DO I SURVIVE. lol @ boys.

39. Who is your loudest friend? I try to avoid loud-mouth people.

40. How many dogs do you have? 1

41. Does someone have a crush on you? Doubtful.

42. What is your favorite book(s)? Book series? Iris Johansen’s suspense novels

43. What is your favorite candy? Reese’s

44. Favorite Sports Team? Any one that I don’t have to watch

45. What song do you want played at your funeral? that’s morbid

46. What were you doing 12 AM last night? Sleeping

47. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? same thing as every day. “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. How is it morning ALREADY?”

Spending to your means

Money is weird. Everyone needs it. We all spend inordinate amounts of time trying to get it. But its taboo to talk about. Well, whatever.

Money is really an issue of perspective. When I was in 9th grade, I stopped biting my nails for 6 months because my mom told me she’d give me $20 if I did. And that was a lot of money (worth 6 months discipline apparently)!

I always said that if I ever had a lot of money, I would not be one of those people who spent a bunch of money. I’d live the same way and bank it. Easier said than done, apparently.

This year has been one of crazy adjustments. Last year I was a student. I lived on about $10,000 per year. And I was fine! Somehow… I made my bills. I ate. I drove. I had fun. When I heard about people making five or ten times that without savings accounts I was like– whatttttever. If I can live on 10K so can you and bank the rest.

Then I became a “lawyer” (weird) and started making actual money.. and I can already feel myself slipping. Last year I spent a month analyzing different cameras, and ended up spending around $800 on a Rebel XTI body (Love!). This year, I spent 2 days deciding to buy a $700 lens for that camera (to be delivered tomorrow.. can’t wait!). Just for example.

I was jogging last week with my friend, who is an elementary school teacher. I don’t know what she makes, but I’d imagine it is about half of what I make. Maybe less. She said she was disappointed in herself because somehow she would only manage to save HALF of her salary for the year and she thought she could’ve done better. Ummmm. I didn’t save half my salary and I make at least double what she does! What the hell is wrong with me. I don’t feel like I live an extravagant life.. but the purchases are adding up. Somehow I see my paycheck and I feel entitled. Why shouldn’t I buy that purse or those sunglasses or this lens? I have the money in my account.

But do I NEED them? I know she has far lower expenses than I do, but the truth is she’s also just way better at saving. She is better at shopping. Ugh.

It’s so hard to find balance. Balance between not blowing money, and enjoying what I have. Should I scrimp now to set myself up for a better future? Or should I have fun now while I”m still young and single and childless? How much is the “right” amount to save?

And I know. I KNOW this is seriously not a “problem.” People, tons of people, have a real problem of no job or a job making too little and they can’t make their bills, let alone think about saving. I know that I’m incredibly lucky to be gainfully employed. But it’s my blog, and it’s on my mind tonight.

I see arguments on all sides. Does taking my coach purse (rather than one of my many target purses) to a networking event make me look more successful? And thus help me make connections? Would anyone else really notice? Unfortunately my field is one in which “image matters” and a huge portion of business is generated based on connections and referrals. Or is it all just an excuse to buy another something-or-other that I don’t need?

And how do I spend my savings? Do I really keep a 6 month emergency fund at all times? Or do I use part of that as a down payment on a house? Or on a wedding (assuming, ya know… I’m engaged at some point)?

I guess the answer is… I should not stay up past my bed time and blog. Because I have a whole lot of questions with no good answers and no coherent thought pattern. 🙂

i rock.

So as I may have mentioned… or bitched about… a time or two… I started c25k on April 1, 2009. The idea was that you could go from being mostly sedentary to jogging for 30 minutes straight in 10 weeks.

Well…. that didn’t happen. I followed the plan, repeating weeks as necessary, until I got to the week where it told me I was going to jog 20 minutes straight. And I said ummm NO. Because asking a person to go from jogging 10 minutes twice to 20 minutes solid is a BIG FREAKIN JUMP. So I decided to just take it at my own pace, and every week try to do a little better. Which would’ve been a great excuse for me to give up in the past. But I didn’t!!

I kept going and going and going. And today? I jogged 30 minutes. No stopping. Holy Crap! I have to admit, I am SHOCKED that I did it. Like seriously, I never really thought I’d be able to jog for 30 minutes without stopping. Please recall that my first day of this I only had to jog for 60 seconds at a time and I honestly thought I would die. But I didn’t. And I kept going. And it took me over 15 weeks… and I met my goal!

I think this is so exciting to me because this is the first time I’ve EVER set a fitness goal and met it. It gives me hope that I’m capable. That I might actually stick with the weight loss thing this time. That I won’t just lose 20 pounds and then gain it right back. So today? Was a GOOD DAY.

What the heck do you eat? and Basic Red Sauce

Red Sauce recipe below– skip there if you don’t care what I eat!
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I seem to get the question a lot. Including once today from my mother. I’m sure I’ve said it before… I’m a picky eater. In general I don’t eat beef or pork or lamb or seafood (exceptions for a VERY occasional burger or pepperoni pizza or bacon). In general I don’t eat cooked vegetables (exceptions for potatoes, corn, peppers, and onions). And I absolutely hate sweet sauces.

For all of that strangeness, the meat thing seems to baffle my family the most. My dad doesn’t feel he’s eaten a meal unless a dead animal was on his plate. Over the past 10+ years I’ve gone through phases of vegetarianism. I was for a few years, then not, then was, then not. It was partially because I feel really bad about eating animals, partly because its healthier not to eat meat, and partly because I don’t like meat that much anyways. But– as with most things in life being all/nothing on meat is pretty challenging. It was hard to find stuff I liked to eat when I went out to dinner, especially since I don’t like most cooked veggies. It was hard to eat over at someone’s house.

I’ve pretty much evolved into a person who just doesn’t happen to eat meat often. On average I’d say I have maybe 3-4 meals per week that include chicken, and the rest is vegetarian. Which led to the following conversation this afternoon with my mother:

me: I made an awesome red sauce last night
her: Oh yea? what was in it?
me: just tomatoes, onion, garlic, spices, and basil. i served it over cheese ravioli and it was really really good
her: and b was okay that there was no meat?
me: yes… he knows i don’t cook any meat but chicken and that took some doing. i didn’t cook any meat at all before him. but still probably over half the meals i make don’t have meat
her: but…. what do you eat??

Ummm lots of stuff! I never really know how to answer that. Pasta, pizza, salads, stuffed peppers, fajitas, veggie burgers, chick’n patties, quesadillas…. there are a lot of things that don’t require meat! I need to do better about posting recipes on here both so people can see some healthy (and often meat-free) options, and also so when I’m trying to think of what to make for dinner I have a go-to list.

As means of example though, this was my dinner tonight:
IMG_5478
This is extremely typical, especially on nights b is not here. Black bean veggie burger with provolone, mustard, and lots of pickles; frozen soft pretzel; watermelon. I have all my food groups covered and I didn’t miss meat at all. If you haven’t tried Morningstar’s spicy black bean veggie burgers yet, I demand you do so immediately. They are so good, even my dad will eat them!

And without further ado, my awesome red sauce (that I forgot to take pictures of– sorry!)

Basic red sauce:
1/2 chopped (medium) onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tbspn EVOO
1 tbspn butter
2 cans diced tomatoes (or 8-10 chopped fresh tomatoes)
1/2 tspn salt
1/2 tspn pepper
1 tspn italian seasoning
1/4 tspn red pepper flake
1/4 cup julienned basil

Chop onion and garlic. Heat EVOO and butter over medium heat, and add onion. Saute for 3-4 minutes, then add garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes (don’t let it brown). Add 2 cans diced tomatoes. You can certainly use fresh tomatoes if you have them (especially if you have home grown tomatoes!), but I think the canned ones taste great and they’re a heck of a lot cheaper. Add salt, pepper, red pepper flake, and italian seasoning. Make sure everything is stirred together really well, and let the sauce come to a low boil/strong simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2-4 hours, stirring every half an hour or so. Just before you serve, add julienned basil and stir to combine.

Now, you don’t HAVE to let this simmer for hours. I have made it and eaten it as soon as everything is warmed through. It is wonderful that way, and tastes very fresh and raw. The longer you cook it, the more it will taste like a real sauce, rather than just a hot tomato mixture. Because I was serving it with ravioli, I wanted it to really cook down and be more like classic red sauce, and about 3 hours got me there. Enjoy!

Average day in the office…

I am in the conference room waiting for UPS to deliver a settlement check for more money than i’ll make in a decade.

My boss is at the copy machine trying to figure out how to print his name and address on two sides of green card stock. I suggest he just uses our address labels and stick them to two sides of the cardstock. He points out that then the tags would not be green.

He’s working at it. I give him a few ideas. He jams the copy machine. He makes notes. He’s at this for over an hour. While I wait.

Doorbell rings. I get the package, rip it open, and hold a check for an amount I don’t even understand. He meets me in the hallway and proudly shows me that he figured it out! He made luggage tags on green card stock! I show him the check. He continues to talk about the luggage tags. On the green card stock.

Me: I think it’s kind of funny that you’re more excited about green luggage tags than you are about this check we worked 9 months for.
TBM: Well there is nothing I can do about that now, it’s done. But this– I conquered! I like feeling like I’m making some difference in the world.
Me: With green luggage tags?
TBM: I figured it out! Now I know how to use the copier!
Me: But… the check. The money!
TBM: Give it to me and I’ll make a color copy… we can frame it!
Me: For the record… did you NEED to have green luggage tags on cardstock?
TBM: Nope. Just like green.

I could never accuse my boss of being boring.

You know you have a good job when…

As I’ve mentioned before, I work from home a lot. My office basically consists of my boss and me, and he sees no point in sitting in an office doing work that can be done at home. I agree. Unless we have a meeting or court date, neither of us is really ever in the office before 11am. We often work at home in the morning, come to the office around 11-12, talk about what we need to talk about, do our in-office stuff, and go home to finish out the day around 3 or 4. (Keep in mind I do actually work from about 8-6 every day… I just do most of it from my couch).

This morning, though, we’re waiting for a delivery from UPS that is supposed to be here between 8-10:30am. So, I told my boss I’d be here by 8 to wait for it. I pull in and his car is here. Apparently he was up early because he couldn’t sleep so he decided to come in. And my first thought was: wtf dude.. if you’re going to be here let me know so I don’t have to come in at 8!

And that’s when I realized…. you know you have a good job when you actually consider complaining about having to be in the office at the start of your work day for the first time in a week.