New Year, New Path

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

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.

Week 4 Weight Loss Challenge – Committed

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.

I’m Allergic To My Chair

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.


Week 3 Challenge – A Hiccup

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

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?