New Year, New Path

September 7, 2014

No, 2014 did not just begin, but the new school year for some just began last Tuesday, September 2nd. That includes me. Taking classes is nothing new for me, but taking one that can help introduce me to new career options is. The course is only seven weeks, but already my mind is clicking on all cylinders.

That has been awesome and traumatic.

I’ve taken online classes before, and each has been different. Although this course is very well planned, if you’ve been out of school for a long stretch or don’t typically take online classes, just getting set-up will make you question your intelligence or ask yourself, “Am I too old for this online crap?” It took me a couple of days to figure out how to simply pay for the course. After setting up a login, I discovered that was just the beginning. That simply got me on the University’s welcome mat. Then I had to create another, which got my toe in the door, meaning finally I could register. I wasn’t done yet. I then spoke with three administrative support staff who all neglected to tell me that after I connected with tech support that there was an entirely different site to go to pay. I went to several different pages that linked to yet another page that would tell me to link to, yes another page that wasn’t the page to pay.

Once I paid and waited eagerly for my introductory e-mail from my instructor, I discovered that getting to the Blackboard site to do the class and getting the book (that would take 1-3 weeks to arrive) almost sent me to my breaking point. When I e-mailed the instructor and asked if the class was on a Blackboard site or if there was a link that I overlooked that would take me to the site to participate in class discussions, she did not answer my question but simply wrote go to Forums. If I were on the Blackboard site I would have seen FORUMS. Her answer told me that she did not read my e-mail or she didn’t understand the question. Honestly, that told me that she was too busy to care if one of her students was having connection issues. Lesson learned: Teachers teach. Expecting a tech answer for a course she is teaching will render a stupid answer.

This might be online, but what happened to student orientation?

With five days wasted trying to figure out their online, high security system, I still couldn’t find a site or place ( I even called the local University textbook store) that would get me the book before the middle of the course. I’m old school. I need to flip pages, highlight words with an actual pen, not scroll up and down or toggle back and forth. After hours of frustration one night, and panicking because I needed to get to sleep to get up for work, I told my niece that I was going to postpone the class. I was already behind. I read the introductions of the other students and discovered that not only had they written their 3 page papers, but they also already have Public Relations experience. Isn’t this an intro class?

I gave in, I rented the ridiculously expensive book.

Yeah, I’ve got to “give back” the $60 imaginary e-book. I couldn’t bear buying it for $150, nor did I have time to wait 3 weeks for delivery. So I channeled my college days of sitting up in the wee hours of the morning. After hours of procrastination, I finally hunkered down and read. I realized that I’m doing this for me, and all of the challenges / roadblocks — flippant instructors, impatient techies, and unintuitive registration process— will only derail me if I let them. They came close.

My niece asked me, what did I decide to do. She’s a very observant 21yo and I realized that she still watches all of us. I told her that I was doing it, struggling to get started, but not quitting. With long braids flowing down her back, she gave me a sideways glance while munching on her lunch and nodded in approval.

Week 4 Eating Out

June 21, 2011

Tonight I a couple of the girls from work and I went out to eat and have drinks.  At the end of the dinner one of them said that she was impressed that I’d only had one glass of wine and a salad for dinner.  Okay so I did have three big delicious fried scallops.  For me this was good.  I generally go overboard.  I told her that for two weeks I had been stressing about our going out because of my typical habit to over indulge.  But for two weeks I had been planning on how to eat tonight.  So when we sat down, although my stomach grumbled for a platter of deep friend fish, shrimp and chips I with a couple of cocktails to wash it down, I stuck to my plan and went for the salad with Balsamic vinegar. I shocked myself, but I proved again to myself that making a plan that doesn’t feel like deprivation works everytime.

Today is Day 2, Week 4 of my fitness challenge with my blogger fit pal . Being accountable to someone really makes a difference.  I already feel committed in my mind to working out everyday.  My body still fights just to sit in front of the tv, but I’m winning that battle to move.  Last week, working out became my savior.  I entered another challenge to support my mother last week.  She gave up television and junk food for one week to support a friend who felt like she had become a TV junkie.  Aren’t we all?  I said to my mom, “Good luck.”  And giggled to myself.  Then that night I thought about my mother sitting in her recliner reading books and  taking notes.  She looked so studious. And there I was being useless as I stared at the screen like a zombie.  I flipped off the TV and picked up a magazine, read and soon drifted off to sleep.  The next morning I called my mom from work and announced that I, too, would stop watching TV for a week.  I oddly felt free when I said that.  The next few days were busy, so I didn’t care about watching the tube.  I did longer workouts after work, because there were no shows to rush home to see.  By Sunday,  I did a short workout and became obsessed with the idea that I’m couldn’t watch TV. I had to unplug it to keep from turning it on.  At one moment I laid in bed with my back to the TV, gripping my pillow because I didn’t know what to do with myself.  TV withdrawals are bad ya’ll.  I nearly went stir crazy so I caved and went to see a movie.

What I noticed by not watching TV this past week was that I was letting it take precious exercise time.  I typically prefer to work out in the mornings.  The weather has been beautiful at 6- 6:30 am and I’ve been wasting it watching movies in the morning before work.  I’ll get on my bike or do some weights while watching, but the walk/run I do outside is far more intense.  One week of TV hasn’t changed my life, but it did illuminate the fact that I need to be more attentive to my workouts and their intensity.  Basically when I workout I really needed to make them count.

No, this is not me. I’m a big girl, but not this big.

I knew that it wasn’t my fault.  It’s probably not yours either.  I’m fat because of my job chair. I was walking to the computer just now thinking of what I was going to write about today when I overheard Diane Sawyer ask a question about what’s worst for your health.  Then images of a man talking on the cellphone and drinking hot coffee from a styrofoam cup pop up on the TV screen.  Of course at that point you think you know the answer.  The chemicals from the styroam melting into the soothing cup of Joe or the deadly radiation sending radioactive darts to your brain is the culprit.  Deborah Roberts continued the report with videos of people like you and me hunched over desks.  She basically said get up and walk around more or prepare to die early. 

I’d heard this before, but this report was very detailed.  So much so, that as soon as I typed the first couple of sentences of this post, I left the computer, stood up while watching the tv and refused to sit for at least thirty minutes. I knew that once I had another desk job, that losing weight was going to be more difficult.  Think about it.  Sitting for eight hours or more  in a day…it’s not just abnormal, it’s inhuman.  Our bodies are made to be in motion. I did escape work today for a forty minute walk during lunch.  Returning to my desk, where I must careen my neck around a corner to see sunlight, after a refreshing workout was brutal.  Not everyone can do that.  I know that for countless of us who sit for hours pounding the keyboard and  juggling deadlines and schedules,  the thought of carving out thirty to sixty minutes a day is laughable.   Finding time to work up a sweat has to be a priortiy.  If not, then that precious job that requires us to sit for hours on end will slowly and quietly kill us by the seat of our pants.

SIMON SAYS, “STAND UP!”

Today I’ve asked myself, “Why are you doing this again?”  Oh, yes, my health, to lose weight, to wear skimpy clothes blah blah blah.  We’re only in Week 4, Day 19.  I already know that if I were attempting to do this challenge with no one to check into, I would have chucked it all for a pint of Haagen Daz.

I got up this morning and sleep walked to the park.  I was determined to get there today.  I have the intent every morning, but it rarely happens and  this week I’ve had no reason to not get up.  It was a comfortable, breezy morning and there were already at 6 people out there.  I was a little late, so I only had time for 4 laps, 2.4 miles.  I was content with that, but I still felt like I needed to do more.  I packed my workout clothes with the intent to walk after work today.  At some point during the day, I remembered that there were 1/2 priced margaritas at the Mexican restaurant near-by.  Over the course of the day I had talked myself out of drinks at least twenty times.  By the time 6pm came, the first margarita was on my table.  I am still feeling guilty, because this is so not apart of the Challenge.  I’ve had several slip-ups since this started, but I’d be kidding myself, and you if I’d say I was doing a perfect job.  I also wouldn’t be apart of this challenge if I were perfect with following weight loss rules.  Anyway, tomorrow is a brand new day. . .

Week 3 The Challenge

June 12, 2011

So my 7 day Challenge partner  and I reassessed the past two weeks.  We’ve both made progress.  She’s feeling more engergetic and I’ve lost a couple of pounds.  I will soon record my weight.  Honestly, I’m just not ready to publicize that yet.  I think that we both realize that change is easy as long as you commit to it.  Also change takes place very quickly.

This week we’ve decided to become more specific with our Challenge:

  • 4 days cardio
  • 3 days weights
  • 6 glasses water
  • record consumption
  • write 1 post a day

Simple enough right?  Well it’s always simple as long as it’s in print.  Execution is something else entirely.  Although we’d worked out plenty before, both of us have been more consistent with exercise, watching portion sizes, drinking more water per day and writing more on our blogs.  Every week’s challenge is not about being perfect, it’s about improving.  So after 2 weeks and 3 days, I’m proud of both of us.

Where are you in your own personal challenge?

Everyone has days when they need a new set of Engergizers to get them going.  Sometimes, tired or not you know that nothing will keep you from breaking a sweat.  I’ve written about the 7 day Challenge for the last couple of weeks as my main motivator.  For the drive to workout, this week has been different. This morning as I ran around the park I had several images in my head.  No, it wasn’t the skinny me.  It was the image of a couple of very competitive women that I know.  I will update you on this tomorrow, since the autosave did not save the 700 words that I just wrote. :-(

Five inch platform heels and a golden pole may conjure nightclubs with desperate men tossing dollar bills at dancing girls but they’ve also become fixtures in neighborhood fitness centers in small towns like mine.  It’s easy to ignore a fitness craze and resort to your regular routine on the treadmill, but consider a fitness class that encourages you to wear heels, express your sensuality, and build super(s)hero upper body strength.  Well sign me up is what I was thinking tonight at Flow Fitness‘s Girls Night Out event to benefit the owner’s 33 year-old sister who has colorectal cancer. Scary right?!  I, and about fifty other women squeezed into this cozy little studio elbow to elbow.  We sipped wine, giggled and chatted like school girls on holiday.

I watched my friend leap from her glass-like stillettos and flip upside down pretzeling her legs with the pole. Was this the same numbers-crunching woman upon whom an entire company depended?  Next the instructor and another woman performed a dance that looked more like synchronized swimming. I can say I was impressed, but that would be an understatement.  We clapped.  Cheered. Many threw one and five dollar bills at the dancers feet (all for the benefit).  If you’ve seen or done one of these classes then you understand the excitement of it all.  While I was congratulating my friend one of her pole classmates came up to us.  She said that she had a husband and kids at home , “but,”  she gushed, “poling is my life.”  I’d listened to my friend countless times talk about pole this and pole that, but tonight I got it.  It’s what dancing, running, or yoga become for some people.  At some point it exceeds the notion of doing it just to lose weight or stay in shape.  It becomes the thing from which you thrive.  It becomes your passion.  Tonight poling for fitness even exceeded passion.  It more than entertained, it allowed a woman to move a community to help her to help her  sister to cope with a horrible disease.

So after tonight, I think that it’s time to stretch my fitness repetoire. I’m excited about the prospects of building a stronger upper body, especially my flabby abs.  But in truth, I really just want to wear those heels and spin on that pole.

After two weeks of committing to working out and writing I’m feeling more and more confident.  The weekend is still going to be trouble for me.  Saturday is normally my weigh-in day for WW, so I’m very strict with points on Friday.  A friend is planning a dancing event for a couple of hours.  I think that there will be snacks and wine.  This is where I slip up, when my schedule is changed especially if wine is involved.

So far today has gone well, except logging my food intake  and resisting late night snacking .  It’s definitely a weakness also.  As far as accomplishments, I made myself walk after work for 2.5 miles on the loop on the beach.  Although I procrastinated for about 1 1/2 hours, I felt great once my feet hit the pavement.  Procrastination can really make you think that you’re doing yourself a favor by skipping what you’re supposed to do.  Well today on Day 7, Week 2 of the 7 day Challenge I conquered procrastination.  I look forward to the new goals of tomorrow’s 7 day challenge.

I hate to admit this, but it’s all my fault.  I’ve been on a diet ever since the days of eating only a 1/2 grapefruit, a boiled egg and a slice of toasted white bread. If you couldn’t stick to those rigidly low calorie, malnourishing diets, you were told, “You gotta have willpower.”  So you felt worthless when you had failed by noon.   Better yet, you felt that they were right because all the other girls stuck with it.  Nevermind the fact that some had dizzy spells or fainted after attempting to survive only on water for two days.  Then I was just a kid.  All of us were just young girls and by today’s standards weren’t even considered big-boned. Back then it was rare for a child to be obese.  That word wasn’t even in our lexicon. Today we’re in the age of the sensible diet:  5 mini-meals a day.  Eating, especially five meals,  would have been an outrage in the 80′s.  So even in this Age of Reason-able dietting, you’d think that we’d all be skinny, because we get it now.  Right?  Yet we’re the fattest we’ve ever been.

It’s taken me my entire diet life to realize that I am my own worst enemy.  Maybe when I was a young girl I never learned to give myself the figurative hi-five when I accomplished small goals.  Or maybe some things, like high school subjects or jobs, once I was in the work force, came too easy to me.   So when tasks were difficult I didn’t know how to fight through the obstacles.  I’d just quit or declare to myself that it wasn’t meant for me and quickly move on to something else.  Why? Because I believed that I had no “willpower.”  Not only with dietting but with everything, quitting and starting something else just felt easier, but it never got me far.  I’ve not just yo-yoed my whole life, I’ve quit, given up on myself over and over again.  At this very grown 30-something age, I can’t blame anyone else, not even my genes for this decades long struggle.  Possibly I can blame my genes for not being a size 2.  In my family only the toddlers are that tiny.  I’d look sickly if ever I were that.  I feel stronger everyday, not because now I know how to lose the weight.  I feel stronger because I know now when to give my self that hi-five for small goals accomplished and that I know that I deserve it.  Oh yes, there are still those days when crutches cannot lift my spirits, but I’m learning to just keep going.  I have to learn this lesson over and over again, but still I’m not ready to quit on myself anytime soon. Excess fat be damned.

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