Saturday, February 28, 2015

02.28.2015 Saturday

Tummy not feeling great, #203.4, which is good! I'm down -5.6# since the beginning of the year. So I have that going for me, which is nice. 

This afternoon I'm going to the gym and then I'm getting my Valentine's massage and sugar scrub at La Lumiere! Woot! Still working on this video project which has a deadline Thursday and a long ways to go. 

I went to lunch with my coworker/friend K yesterday and I told her how I have been asking myself "What would K do?" because she is a healthy, slim, active, vibrant woman and I admire that! One of the things she told me is that when she feels like sitting around and watching TV or a movie, she'll go for a walk first. Then when she comes back she feels like it's ok to sit around because she did something active. She's been walking a lot lately as a way to deal with stress and said she used to like running but it's felt like she's 'running from her problems'. That makes some sense! Walking is time to clear your mind. 

Christal and I were talking after Zumba on Thursday about what it takes to be focused and in the moment when working out. We had missed 4 Zumba classes and in that time Janelle introduced some new songs. So it was almost like we were new. When I started to get frustrated because I didn't know the moves or couldn't comprehend what she was doing with her feet and arms at the same time, my mind would start to wander. When I know the moves a little better but don't have them mastered, I'm more focused on the moves because I almost have them down but not quite. I wonder if there is something I can do in that interim time between learning and knowing by following. 

I'm not sure what I was looking at last night, but it lead me to bento lunches. I am thinking that would be a great creative/healthy outlet for me. I could get creative with the layout of the food. The bento cookbook I was looking at had recipes for single servings which is awesome, though I'd probably want to take a day to pack my bentos for the next couple days. I'm going to do some more research while my video project is going on the side this weekend. I need to get my kitchen clean before I get into any new projects/dietary plans.

I have managed to succesfully get myself off soda. I don't even desire it anymore! It took about a full year. At first, my coworker W and I made a deal that for 6 months we wouldn't drink soda and if we did, we owed the other $200. This worked really well for the 6 months. It stopped me from having it, but didn't stop me from wanting it. All the triggers were still there (the sound of a can opening, working late, feeling stressed, mid afternoon slump) but I had to push them off  because, $200! Once the 6 months was over though, he and I both totally binged on soda. Had nearly one can per workday for the next 2 months! Because I had gone without and then added it back, I was starting to be aware of how it actually made me feel, and how it made my mouth and teeth feel. I decided in December '14 that I was going to stop drinking it, like forever, no more. I'd been thinking and reading about the health effects of soda. (All this was full sugar soda btw, I really dislike the taste of diet soda so I have never been one to drink it.) So about 3 weeks later I was wanting a soda. I was thinking about it a bunch over a couple days thinking I wanted one. I decided it was ok, I was thinking "everything in moderation", if I just had one soda but didn't start on the downward spiral of relying on it as a crutch for dealing with stress, it would be ok. I went to the fridge in the back of the office and grabbed a Dr. Pepper. I took it back to my desk, cracked it open and took a couple sips and set it down. My mouth started to feel gross and I drank some water. About 30-60 minutes later I'd only drank about 2 fingers of soda and I took the rest of the can and dumped it down the sink! I didn't want it anymore! SUCCESS!

Now what I'm wondering is, can I achieve this with other things that are bad for me that I like to eat too much of when I do get them. Like... cookies for example. The main step here is to abstain for a set period of time. To know that I can allow it back into my diet later, just not now. I've done it before, I was vegan for 2 months several years ago but I wasn't feeling any different so I let dairy back in. I have noticed a change in my eating habits from trying to compromise with a meat loving boyfriend that I am now accustomed to having meat at every meal. I didn't used to do that. When I lived in NYC I would sautee a whole zucchini and that would be dinner, and I would be satisfied. That's what I want to get back to. I decided to stop buying more meat (in part because I have a lot in my freezer that needs to be used or tossed). I'm thinking bento boxes for dinners as well would be great way to portion things out. 

My friend Kamielle has been reading a book French Kids Eat Everything, which sounds very similar to French Women Don't Get Fat. Some highlights that I remember from that are: no snacking, savor foods, find balance (when planning to have wine, forego the bread, or eat a light lunch when you are having a big dinner outing later).

I want to get to the point where my natural eating is healthy and balanced. I need to figure out what systems work for me. Here is a list of systems I can think of. Some will work for me, some I'll need to try to figure out if they will, and some I'm pretty sure won't work for me, at least, not right now.

  • Make lunches at home
  • Cook dinner at home
  • As long as you made it from scratch, you can eat it
  • Go to gym M-Th, take Howland to park at lunch on Fridays
  • Go for a walk around the block when stressed
  • Go for at least a 15 minute walk before sitting down at a computer/TV
  • Drive to work, walk home for lunch
  • Walk to work, bike home for lunch
  • Bike to work, bike home for lunch
  • Dinner at a restaurant
  • Trip to Portland
  • Abstain from alcohol except for pre-determined celebrations (someone else is paying is not a celebration)
  • Reward successes
  • Beach house weekend
  • Walk for 30 minutes daily minimum
  • When returning from grocery store, immediately separate things into single serving packages
  • Eat small meal every 3-4 hours to keep satiated 
  • No snacking eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert


(rewards for: passing an exam, accomplishing a short term or long term goal, reaching a weight loss goal)

    • Go to a movie
    • Go for a hike
    • Take Howland to the dog park
    • Buy new workout clothes
    • Buy new shoes
    • Buy new underwear
    • Buy new leggings
    • Buy new tank tops 
    • Trip to the outlet mall
    • Buy new Bento box/tools for making them cute
    • New tattoo
    • Massage (15 minute shoulder, or 60 minute full body)
    • New toy for Howland
    • Buy a new cookbook
    • Fresh flowers
    • Lazy Sunday
    • Manicure
    • Girls night out/in
    • Library
    • Book store
    • Buy a sassy workout tank/Tee
    • Hawaii! (This is Matt's and my plan for next year to celebrate achieving our goals)
If I rack my brain for times that I was feeling good, and eating well and maintaining or even losing weight, I can probably figure out what might work for me without feeling the need to try every single method.

Study 1. Italy

When I was in Rome and then traveling Europe, I ate when I was hungry, I walked all day every day. I think when I came back I had lost only 5 pounds, but I didn't have measurements, I was probably more muscular then as well. I went to the grocery store every 1-3 days. I was sharing a fridge with 5 other people, we didn't have a pantry and we cooked meals together some days and other days we all just fended for ourselves. I ate a lot of pizza, and indulged in gelato but not every day. I bought the food that I needed for the next couple days, there was no stocking up. Just a few staples like salt and olive oil. 

Study 2. New York, a blur

I went to the salad bar for lunch pretty much every day. I walked to the farmer's market every Saturday. Erin and I used to play tennis early in the morning before going to the market. When I lived in NYC I walked everywhere, and took public transportation. I had a bike for a period and would bike sometimes but it was never my favorite because while it was faster than walking, I always felt unsafe. When I worked at JHA, I went to the gym almost everyday. For a time I was going to the boxing class which I really enjoyed. Then there was the 5K I got Allie to sign up for with me and she and I went to the gym together. Our workouts weren't the same (I was also doing weight lifting) but having someone accountable for going made a huge difference. 

Study 3. Yestermorrow/Cornell

When I was at Cornell, I was living at the bottom of the hill and climbing the hill to school for classes. I was cooking meals at home and very rarely (really only with visitors) going out to eat. I'd made frequent trips to the grocery store (because Wegman's is the SHIT!). I made healthy choices for what I was going to make, I don't recall wasting a lot of food or keeping a big pantry. 

So between these two examples, common themes are:
  1. Having a buddy
    1. Christal is my gym buddy, check!
  2. Walking everywhere
    1. I need to make this happen. Even if it means my work days are a little longer to make up for walking home at lunch.
  3. Eating less meat
    1. In Italy, I didn't buy meat, I only ate it when I went out to eat. In NYC, in college sometimes I'd cook up chicken breast but a lot of the time I'd just eat some veggies with some cheese. 
  4. Empty pantry/fridge
    1. I think this one (and #3) could be the biggest impact changes for me. If I use up what's in my fridge/freezer and then plan to hit the grocery store 1-2 times a week. It will also help if I only buy food that I know I can eat in the next coming days. It will also be better to need to go to the store MORE rather than attempt to have a store in my kitchen. Things go bad, they get pushed to the back and forgotten. 
Just got back from a workout, I love how the weight lifting workouts only take about 20 minutes! The benefits of having a trainer design the workout :) And now I'm going to do some house cleaning before my Valentine's present massage from my love. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

02.26.2015 - Thursday


Five more tests to go! I feel excited to study and get them done. This year is all about me. Taking care of my health, my career, and building up skillz for the future. 

Christal and I went to Zumba tonight. We were going to do our upper body workout too but I'm feeling the pressure that I need to finish watching all the study videos before next Thursday, so I wanted to get home to keep watching them after hour long Zumba.

I started out Zumba thinking some really negative things but I was thinking about the first episode of the new podcast Invisibilia I listened to earlier today and about how


And I decided to change the way I was talking to myself. I started being nicer. At first I was thinking negative things, comparing myself to other people who were working out, thinking about how my belly is so big and just hanging off the front of me. Then I mixed it up. I said "you are here, you are doing this, there are people who can't even do this. You showed up." And it worked, I started feeling better, feeling good about working out. I still have a lot of work to do. A lot of weight to lose, but really the mental shift is the most important thing I need to work on. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2.25.2015 - Wednesday

Last night I went to see Alton Brown Live up in Portland. It was fun! It would have been nice to have a buddy go along with me, but I had my book, and cell phone. I was just sleepy/hungry on the drive home. The event got me thinking more about food. I really want to make changes, I NEED to make changes. I am so uncomfortable in my own skin, my large belly blocks seeing my toes. I thought I was fat before when I was 20 pounds over my goal weight. Now I'm 60 pounds over my goal weight and the goal seems like it's at the top of a distant mountain.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

I need to make small changes, gradually. Doing it all at once is just asking for a fail. I managed to get myself off soda. I don't even desire it now. How did I do it? I took a 6 month break with my coworker with a deal that over 6 months if either of us had a soda, we owed the other $200. That did a good job but once the 6 months was over I went crazy and binged the next month. After 2 months I started realizing how awful I felt and decided I was going to stop drinking it for good. Three weeks later I felt like having a soda. I opened up a can of Dr. Pepper, drank about 1 ounce of it and realized it wasn't giving me the same feeling it used to so I dumped the rest out! The thing is, I don't crave the soda anymore. I don't want it. But I miss having something "special" to drink when I go out. Now I just drink a lot of water, and tea. I've also been having more hot chocolate and skim Chai tea lattes. That's getting a little expensive so I need to limit myself to maybe one per week.

Now that my test is off my plate, and I don't have my next one scheduled, I'm feeling more relaxed. I do still have a lot of prep work to do in the next week for study materials. I shifted my calendar for the exams I want to take. I did buy my ticket to NYC, which I'm excited for. I'm excited to see friends, I'm excited to revisit my old stomping grounds, and I'm excited to spend a few days walking around everywhere! I miss living a life where I walk and take public transportation (and living in a city with a good public transit system). Perhaps this weekend I can get my bike out and make sure it's in good shape. If I started to bike to work again, or just kept my bike at work and biked home for lunch, I'd be a little more active. The weather is starting to get nicer for doing that. Also I could just walk, which I feel I get a better workout from, even though it takes longer. I'd potentially be able to just stay a little later at work to make up for walking home for lunch taking a little extra time. We'll see. Changing my diet is the most important thing right now!

I need to get my kitchen cleaned up. That's the biggest thing right now getting in the way of cooking food. A messy kitchen is un-inviting. I am thinking about giving up alcohol. At least for a while. Beer makes me want to eat things, things I don't want. Wine I don't really care for and all the other boozy drinks are empty calories. I think I could get Bruce to whip me up a fresh fruit virgin-martini!

I have books piled in categories:
1. Studying
2. Self-help (Self-compassion, Tidying, Mindfulness)
3. Cookbooks
4. Food books
5. Audiobooks

My motto is:
You can do anything, you can't do everything

I think the thing I need to do is pick one book, read it, take notes, and then pick 1-3 concepts from the book to implement. Once I've implemented those ideas, I can read another book and work on implementing those new ideas. My goal this year is to take all my exams. I can focus on doing other things (craft projects, sewing, graphic designs, etc.) next year.

Also on my list, I want to watch all the episodes of Good Eats! Watching Master Chef Junior is also pretty inspiring. I want to learn to plate food like a chef. I want to learn to cook more things - and perhaps perfect a couple dishes and have a repertoire. Sauces! I still think learning some sauces would be good to learn. Additionally, while it would be great to learn more meats, I really think I need to focus on getting creative with veggies. I'll have to make a food dreams post another time, I have glimmers of visions in my mind of things that I'd *like* to do/cook. Someday. I do have all the things now, including my fancy black chef's coat that Matt got me for Christmas. As well as a couple more saucepans so I can actually cook multiple things at the same time! And I have that pizza stone! And grill pan! I am so excited to learn to cook with all these things! And it's nearly grilling season. I need to clean off the grill. All the things.

On a financial note, I need to focus on saving money. I also need to keep things simple. A meal plan would help with that. Knowing what I'm making and only buying food for what I need. I think my biggest weakness is unexpected shopping. And Amazon, oh Amazon. I enjoy shopping, even when I don't need stuff. Perhaps I can get enough of a shopping buzz by going grocery shopping once or twice a week. I dream of living a very D-I-Y life, but in reality, I don't DIY as much as I could. Again though, back to the motto.

You can do anything, but you can't do everything!

Monday, February 23, 2015

2.23.2015 Monday

#206, I need to pay attention to what I'm eating. I was logging for about a week. I really dislike the online systems for when I'm away from my desk but I think I just need to shut up and do it. I don't have to track forever, just long enough to get an idea of how much I'm eating, how many calories things are and how much food is.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

2.22.2015 - Sunday

I took my PPP exam yesterday, unlike last time where I walked out certain I had failed, this time I feel pretty confident that I passed. The hardest part about these tests is having no idea how they are scored, what a passing rate is, and the fact that you have to wait a week or two to find out your results (which is faster than before when it was 3-4 weeks). I'm feeling pumped to keep going through them, so I'm going to continue to study daily, jumping into studying for SPD next. There's a lot of overlap with the test I just took so I won't really be switching gears, just building on what I've already been studying.

Christal and I went to the gym and did our lower body workout today at 2pm. I love how quick the workouts are, it makes it easy to go and do it because it's not a huge time commitment. I'm feeling more relaxed now that my test is done. I'm planning to take my next exam on March 28th, I'll sign up when I get my March paycheck.

I got an updated quote for a new fence but it's still pretty high so I think I will be putting off the fence building while I work on exams and saving money. I think when I sell this house, I don't want to buy again for a long time. Renting is the way to go, especially if you want to spend your money on travel. With the house, money that I save up will no most likely go to house projects rather than travel. I'm also thinking that with Howland, I will probably want to mostly keep travel close to home, so he can come along. I saw the movie Wild last month and just saw an album on imgur yesterday of a couple who hiked the Appalachian Trail and I really want to do some longer hikes. I don't really want to do it alone (ie just me and Howland) and the hard part there is I don't know when/if Matt will have the time to do it in the near future because of his work situation. For now I guess I should just plan a trip solo. Perhaps this summer amid studying since I have realized I won't really be able to take the road trip I was hoping for (I don't trust my car to make the trip) and I am trying to save money so there won't really be many other big trips. I'm hoping I might go visit Matt in Austin for a week in the Fall but at this point I have no idea what he'll be doing then as he isn't a full time employee yet, just in contract until June. So meanwhile the most difficult part of being long distance is having such an uncertain future. I try to remind myself that you never really can know what the future will bring and therefore I should try to focus on the present. I'm getting better at it incrementally but it is really hard.

Friday, February 20, 2015

2.20.2015 - Friday

Why am I so mean to myself? I'm doing a good job at work but this evil little voice in the back of my mind keeps suggesting otherwise. Thoughts about not working on the high profile project in the office, thoughts about being pushed off of the team that I've worked so hard to be a part of. I actually talked to my boss about that last one because I've been so frustrated and he was awesome and reassured me that they are not pushing me out but trying to build up the team and I will still get experience and still be the project manager. And they are hoping to get me to manage another project we anticipate starting soon because it's very similar to the last project I was on. I think the hardest part is that I don't have the experience running projects and even though I think I'm very capable, the client wants to see someone with lots of experience "running" things, even if I'm the man behind the curtain. Internally they know I'm doing the work and for now that's just going to have to be enough. I need to get my licensed so I really can run things. The title change from "intern" to "project manager" is a big one, at least from outside of the field I'll be seen as a valuable team member and not just some CAD monkey. I feel like I'm capable and I understand things and I'm organized. I need to prove it, in reality this is only my second project. Frustrating that in the 3 years I've been here this is only my second project that I'm actually involved in. They tried to get me involved in some other smaller projects but the good intentions didn't help when I wasn't actually included in emails and meetings. When I started here that's what I wanted, was to be involved in construction administration. The thing I was most excited about and had the least experience in and then just by happenstance the projects I was on ended up taking forever. On the plus side in that time I learned a lot about how to lay out an assisted living facility.

I feel like I have my head wrapped around that I need to study every day and I think I can keep this going, but I need to make sure to have time to take care of myself too. I can't let dishes pile up because then I don't want to cook. I want to eat healthy but I also want to not spend all my study time cooking. I also need to include time to relax at the end of the work day. Especially all day long meetings with our demanding client.

I think my motto needs to be: "It doesn't matter if you feel like doing it, just do it." for gym and studying and eating right/making food. Turn off the TV, turn up the music and do things. Get off the computer unless it's for studying or creating something!

Thursday, February 19, 2015


02.19.2015 Thursday

I'm finally feeling at about 80% instead of 20% Yay! Howland slept on the couch last night, my puppy is ditching me :( I wonder if I'm thrashing in my sleep or something.

I'm finding it helping to think "What would a skinny person do?" Like for lunch today, I was wanting curry (I guess I should edit that to think "What would a skinny broke person do?"), but I decided to just eat some of the things I had already and wait for dinner to get curry when I'll be focusing on studying. Zumba is on hold until next week as Christal has been sick and can't make it tonight. I should go but I'm stressed about my test so I think I'll prefer to study. Maybe I could go do leg day though on my own. Or just take Howland to the park and walk for a bit as well. I need to do something, that'd kill 2 birds with one stone so he'd leave me be to study.

I'm looking forward to Sunday so I can clean my kitchen and do dishes. I'm thinking I want to have an emptier fridge, and focus on having food that I eat, no extra. Think Italy, I didn't have a pantry, I went grocery shopping like every other day. I don't really mind that and it's on the way back from the gym. Also I need to clear out the freezers so I have room for smoothie packs and foods I'll actually eat, not Matt's leftover Costco box of premade chicken roll thingies. I'm not going to eat them and who knows when he'll be back here to eat them himself. Right now they are just taking up space and I think I want to sell my upright freezer.

My motto is now:
You can do/afford anything, but you can't do everything.

Also trying to remind myself that I already traveled, all around Europe for several months. I "front ended travel" as Matt put it. I think my big travel will have to wait until I build up savings and lose Howland. That'll be in like years. That gives me time to build up savings. I'm also thinking buying a house was not the best idea without savings and even when I do have savings, if you buy a house your extra money going into the house is money you aren't spending on travel or a car that isn't dying. Perhaps when I sell this house renting should be the long term plan. Finding a place that can take Howland will be the hardest part... and selling this house which is so tiny it seems a miracle that I'd find someone else to buy it. Perhaps it will just become a rental. And getting to the percentage where PMI comes off is a long ways away. I regret buying this house, I wish I could have been more patient, but that's never been a strength of mine. In fact, I would say lack of patience is my biggest weakness.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2.17.2015 - Tuesday

I've been sick for almost a week now. This obnoxious dry throat and cough. Mostly, the cough wakes me up around 3am. It's even bothering Howland who has taken to moving to the couch when my coughing gets too annoying. A dog needs his beauty sleep I guess.

My second take of the PPP exam is on Saturday. I feel more prepared than last time, but this test could have questions on anything, so as much as I prepare I don't know that I will ever feel 100% ready, for any of the test.

I've been finding it hard to keep my house clean since Matt took the job in Texas. Especially with trying to study, eat healthy, take care of myself and the dog all at the same time. I let the dirty dishes pile up too much and now I have a mountain to climb instead of what was a small mole hill. And for the moment, I'm too stressed to care! That pile is just going to have to wait until Sunday when I've taken the exam and can start fresh. I have grand plans for how I will make it work better next time. Get all the dishes done, then do a little bit every day.

Thankfully the days are starting to get longer, I can take Howland to the park after work and not feel like such a terrible dog-mom leaving the poor thing in his crate most of the day. I try to make it home at lunch (lucky work is so close, and lucky the dog park is so close to home too!) but it doesn't always happen. I'm trying to make it a priority though.

We almost broke up. There was a long stretch of unhappiness but there was still love. We have somehow managed to get back to the core of love and pulled away the unhappiness. There is hope. One of the things we agreed on is that we need to both take care of ourselves. I'm also realizing that I really need to make myself my number one priority. To listen to what I want and what I think and what I feel. It is so easy for me to get pulled down when I am surrounded my negative/depressed energy and that is not my normal. I am generally a pretty positive person, who is working on multiple projects. I let that fall by the wayside because he was un or under employed and unhappy in his career. My career has been moving forward, finally given the title Project Manager which has me really wanting to step up and BE one.

I'm currently focusing on 3 goals.

1. Eat right, exercise, be healthy, get fit

  • What this means: Get weight down to 145-150 pounds
  • How am I doing it: Personal Trainer once a week, Zumba twice a week, dietary change
  • What am I struggling with? The dietary change. Counting calories and tracking what I eat. Especially presently while my house is such a mess, my kitchen sink full, but limited time to choose between relaxing after work, studying, cleaning and preparing food.

2. Take all the ARE sections,

  1. CDs = passed
  2. PPP  = scheduled 2.21
  3. SPD = tentative 3.28
  4. SD = tentative 64.23
  5. SS = tentative 6.13
  6. BS = tentative 7.18
  7. BDCS = tentative 9.12

3. Save an emergency Fund

  • 3-6 months of spending, which is about $15,000. Which is a lot. I was hoping to do it in a year, but realized I wouldn't be able to do anything else or have much fun so decided that for now I'll focus on my exams which is building my earning potential, and I should restart my 401k since we are matched 6% and that's free money!
  • Try to reduce clutter and sell things I don't want/need/use