Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wednesday Weigh-In: 1/30/08

Today I weighed in at 290.0; a loss of 3.5lbs. I do apologize for not catching up on people's blogs lately; things have been pretty busy at work and in my social life around here.


The FANTASTIC
I lost 3.5lbs this week.
I am wearing makeup almost every day.
My cold's gone!

The Good
I am going out and having a blast these days. I am barely home these days - I actually schedule home time.
Matt pushed me really hard this week and I succeeded big time.

The Bad
I missed three days of gym.
I ate out a lot (but obviously I didn't do THAT bad...)
Friends may be leaving work. :(
I got a blister last night while walking around and it broke open - ouch!

The Ugly
I drank twice this week instead of just once.
Work is nuts right now. If I have to go to the 7th floor any more times this week, I'll shoot myself (not literally).

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Going Green: Grocery Bags

From the Sierra Club:

In New York City alone, one less grocery bag per person per year would reduce waste by 109 tons and save $11,000 in disposal costs.

Plastic bags carry 80% of the nation's groceries, up from 5% in 1982.
When 1 ton of paper bags is reused or recycled, 3 cubic meters of landfill space is saved and 13 - 17 trees are spared! In 1997, 955,000 tons of paper bags were used in the United States.

When 1 ton of plastic bags is reused or recycled, the energy equivalent of 11 barrels of oil are saved.

Reusing a bag meant for just one use has a big impact. A sturdy, reusable bag needs only be used 11 times to have a lower environmental impact than using 11 disposable plastic bags.


The solution? Canvas bags. I keep a stash in the trunk of my car, just in case I decide to run to the grocery store. They're reusable and washer friendly. A one time investment - even better!

Other Resources:
National Geographic
Reusable Bags

Friday, January 25, 2008

Life Happens And We Have To Deal

It's the second day that I have not been to the gym in a row. Yesterday I didn't go because of sore (possibly "torn") quad muscles, and today...well...there really isn't a good excuse for today. Could I make one up? Like being sick? OR...better yet...one of the guys that I'm getting to know? C'mon...I need to convince myself that ONE of these excuses works because we all know I'm not to blame, correct? I'm only trying to fool myself, and I think all of us do at some point or another:

I'm not that fat...
I'm big boned...
I don't need to exercise/move every day...
This one muffin isn't going to hurt (maybe the one won't, but the fifth will)...
One glass of wine won't hurt...

All these negatives and/or lies...self-defeating as somebody put it. I need to get back onto plan and do it now. Tomorrow's a new day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wednesday Weigh-In: 1/23/08

Most of the bloating is gone now, so my life's getting back to normal. Today I weighed in at 293.5. Not losing a lot these days, but I've been slacking in the diet (see below).


The FANTASTIC
I haven't missed a day at the gym and I did three double sessions.
A friend is going to cycle from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska with the Texas4000 club to raise cancer awareness.

The Good
I got to see Five Times August last night at Stubb's.
I'm going to bed soon, I can't wait to sleep!

The Bad
I'm getting another cold.
I worked on Monday even though it was a day off.
Lots of deadlines at work.
My shins aren't doing well.

The Ugly
Ugh...chocolate chip muffins and french fries. Thankfully there isn't any football this weekend.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Lactose Intolerance

Any frequent reader of my blog knows that I'm dealing with some major bloating and water retention these days. I have talked to three trainers from the gym, and got these viewpoints (some of which a few of you pointed out).

Trainer #1: Matt (my trainer)
My monthly is coming up, and I'm usually bloated the week prior. We'll start worrying about it after my period. (Sorry to any guy readers...too much information for y'all.)

Trainer #2: Brian (Matt's boss)
Salt intake was slightly higher the week prior due to being sick. I was eating a lot of canned soup. High sodium diets makes most people retain water.
He also inquired if my water consumption was low, and for the most part, it hasn't been. I've been drinking about a gallon per day. Water should flush the toxins out.

Trainer #3: Stephanie (a master trainer)
She also inquired about my water consumption. We also discussed sodium intake and my monthly cycle (I know Matt hates talking about it).
She mentioned that when she drinks milk she gets bloated because she's lactose intolerant. It was interesting that she mentioned this because that is something I increased since the new year - drinking milk to get my calcium (see goals).


What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is an inability to digest and absorb lactose (the sugar in milk) that results in gastrointestinal symptoms when milk is drunk or products containing milk are drunk or eaten. (MedicineNet.com)

The problem underlying lactose intolerance is a lack of lactase - an enzyme produced by the lining of your small intestine. Lactase breaks down lactose so that it can be absorbed into your bloodstream. A deficiency of lactase leads to problems in breaking down and absorbing milk sugar (MayoClinic.com)


What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance?
1. Diarrhea
2. Nausea
3. Abdominal cramps
4. Bloating
5. Gas (both types)


Do you have to completely stay away from milk and milk products?
Not necessarily. Most people who are lactose intolerant can tolerate small or even moderate amounts of lactose. It often takes only elimination of the major milk-containing products to obtain sufficient relief from their symptoms. (MedicineNet.com)


Seeing that I am experiencing cramps, bloating, and gas after drinking milk, I'm wondering if my stomach cannot tolerate milk. I will have to wait until my monthly is over to start experimenting to see if I may be lactose intolerant to some milk/milk products. I'll keep everybody posted!

Resources used:
Wrong Diagnosis
Medline Plus
Mayo Clinic
MedicineNet

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The National Weight Control Registry

As an epidemiologist, I work constantly with all sorts of data from surveillance systems, disease-related registries (eg, cancer and trauma), medical records, hospital discharge records, birth records, death records, etc. I actually manage two surveillance systems in Texas.

While I lived in Michigan, I came across The National Weight Control Registry, and always kept it in the back of my head that someday I will join in this effort because I think it's important research. Since many people visiting my blog have succeeded and are succeeding in this weight loss journey, I thought y'all might be interested in joining too when you meet their criteria. I will forewarn you, though, it is a commitment, and from an epidemiologist point-of-view, it's extremely frustrating when participants are lost to follow-up.


From their website:
The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), established in 1994 by Rena Wing, Ph.D. from Brown Medical School, and James O. Hill, Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, is the largest prospective investigation of long-term successful weight loss maintenance. Given the prevailing belief that few individuals succeed at long-term weight loss, the NWCR was developed to identify and investigate the characteristics of individuals who have succeeded at long-term weight loss. The NWCR is tracking over 5,000 individuals who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long periods of time. Detailed questionnaires and annual follow-up surveys are used to examine the behavioral and psychological characteristics of weight maintainers, as well as the strategies they use to maintaining their weight losses.


Eligibility to participate in the registry:
1. Lost at least 30lbs.
2. Maintained a 30lb weight loss for a minimum of one year.


NWCR Facts
1. Eighty percent of persons in the registry are women and 20% are men.
2. The "average" woman is 45 years of age and currently weights 145 lbs, while the "average" man is 49 years of age and currently weights 190 lbs.
3. Registry members have lost an average of 66 lbs and kept it off for 5.5 years.
4. These averages, however, hide a lot of diversity:
a. Weight losses have ranged from 30 to 300 lbs.
b. Duration of successful weight loss has ranged from 1 year to 66 years!
c. Some have lost the weight rapidly, while others have lost weight very slowly--over as many as 14 years.
5. Forty-five percent of registry participants lost the weight on their own and the other fifty-five percent lost weight with the help of some type of program.
6. Ninety-eight percent of Registry participants report that they modified their food intake in some way to lose weight.
7. Ninety-four percent increased their physical activity, with the most frequently reported form of activity being walking.
8. There is variety in how NWCR members keep the weight off. Most report continuing to maintain a low calorie, low fat diet and doing high levels of activity.
a. Seventy-eight percent eat breakfast every day.
b. Seventy-five percent weigh them self at least once a week.
c. Sixty-two percent watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.
d. Ninety percent exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day.

I will attempt to review their research articles that were published in journals and highlight some of those findings so y'all have as much information as possible about losing weight.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I LOVE ME

I'm catching up on blogs tonight, and came across Krissie's "I LOVE ME" list, so here it goes...

1. What do you absolutely love about your body?
Of course, the hardest question has to be the first one. I really had to think about this one while I was at the gym. The answer? My growing muscles. I've been impressed with how strong I have become physically (did 20 pound bicep curls today!).

2. When did you surprise yourself with your physical strength?
A year and a half ago, I was doing bicep curls with 5lb weights. Depending on the type of curl, I'm either using 15, 17.5, or 20lbs. My trainer helps me realize my physical strength all the time when he pushes me on the track, running two or three laps for a first time. He's always so proud and excited when I do hit a new goal like that; I may not physically show my excitement, but I do express it inwardly.

3. When were you braver than you ever thought you could be?
When I moved to Texas without ever visiting the area.

4. When did your self-control blow you away?
There was plenty of times in the past year in which I would go out to eat and only eat half of my meal. I'm slowly beginning to focus on the people I am with rather than the food consumption part.

5. What is your proudest moment ever?
The first time I was ever proud of myself was last month when my weight dropped below 300 pounds, reaching my first goal.

6. When was the last time you felt absolutely beautiful?
Five (maybe four...) guy personal trainers and my trainer's wife took me to a bar to celebrate reaching my first goal before their Christmas party. I bought a black dress the day before, wore heels (never do), and just felt absolutely beautiful. We were the only group in the bar, but eventually other groups of guys were coming in, so pretty much it was just me and my trainer's wife for females in the whole place. I had to go to the ladies room a couple of times, and I just felt these gazes follow me. Usually, I would think these gazes were because I was too fat or had toilet paper on my heel, but I felt like they were checking me out. The last time I went to the bathroom was right before we left the bar and it was just something special to see the crew standing, waiting by the door for me. I just had so much confidence that night, I think that was the key.

7. Why do you deserve to meet your goals?
I deserve to be my first priority in life. It's the first time I have ever done anything like this for me.

What It Means To Be Green

I am going to post a mini-series on what it means to be green. It's a term that is being used more frequently, especially here in Austin, and as I change my lifestyle, I'm slowly adapting to a greener life as well.

As a starting point, I found a survey from Conservation International that allowed me to see how eco-friendly I already am (or possibly not be). I scored a 51 out of 75, which makes me an Eco-Ally, but this score was the bottom of the barrel for being an ally for the environment, so it looks like I have a lot to learn!

How eco-friendly are you?


PS Thanks for all the warm compliments from my weigh-in. I'm going to do a spot check tomorrow to see where things stand.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wednesday Weigh-In

As I assumed, I gained weight, but I'm not going to update all the statistics because I feel it has to be water retention. I weighed in on Saturday at 291.5, and this morning I weighed in at 299.0 - 7.5lbs weight gain in less than a week. Now let me tell you, I didn't eat an extra 26,250 calories in four days. I'm not worried about it, I weighed myself tonight and I was already down two pounds...so I'm just going to wait it out.


The FANTASTIC
I didn't go to happy hour tonight; instead, I went to the gym!
My confidence is through the roof right now, and let me tell you, guys are easy...just a little smile and wink.
I got two more compliments this week.

The Good
I may have met some fun workout buddies at the gym.
I had 13-14 hours at the gym this week.
My friend started training with my trainer, so it's a great support system.

The Bad
I'm still bruised from my fall.
I missed going to the gym on Thursday because my car needed to see the doctor.

The Ugly
Jalapeno poppers, chili cheese fries, and two vodka and diet cokes.
I had Subway and Chipotle this week.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Hopefully Just Bloated...

I'm frustrated. I feel like I am bloated beyond belief. I drank my water, and none of it is coming out of me what-so-ever. I know tomorrow's weigh-in is not going to be accurate, but I will weigh in for consistency. I weighed myself Saturday at the gym and I was 291.5, but my official weigh-in isn't until tomorrow. I think my sodium and fiber intake is a bit higher than usual, which would help explain being bloated. It's not even close enough to that time of month for that to be a factor (unless I'm going to get my cycle early). Argh...the scale is going to frustrate me tomorrow; it already is.

It is what it is.

Monday, January 14, 2008

My Decision About Boston

Everything happens according to God's plan; my life to-date is a pretty good example of that. After undergrad I wanted to go to Michigan for grad school, but I went to New York instead. After grad school, I wanted to move to Houston for a job, but was given an opportunity in Michigan. Couple years later, God gave me this job in Austin (not Houston, but still Texas). Each one of these journeys has taught me a life lesson. Michigan taught me how to forgive from the heart, and moving to Texas was a test of my faith. (One example was having a new year-long apartment lease in Michigan as I decided to move to Texas. How in the world was I going to pay two leases? God provides a way...always.) I thought God gave me Texas to teach me faithfulness and obedience, but after I reflected for over a week, I don't think those were the life lessons he wanted me to learn from Texas.

During my time of reflection, there was one verse that I kept going back to: "A man's wisdom gives him patience..." (Proverbs 19:11) At first I thought this was telling me to be patient and God will speak to me in time about the decision I needed to make, but it was really telling me that I need to be patient in
every aspect of my life (to name a few, love, weight loss, close friendships, etc). I honestly believe this is the life lesson Texas is supposed to teach me: patience. Maybe it won't be the only life lesson, but it's a start.

Although I would love to move to Boston to be near my best friend, go to Boston University for my doctorate, be recognized as an expert by experts in my field, and start my consulting business, I desire for what I already have here, and I believe it is according to God's plan. Financial growth can be replaced (or supplemented), personal growth cannot.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mmmmm...I love football just as much as pizza and ice cream...

I have a confession to make - I LOVE FOOTBALL. And, believe it or not, I really only watch the pro-football teams rather than college (even though I live in Texas). I do regularly cheer for Texas and Boston College (BC), and occasionally Michigan State and Michigan. I grew up in the Northeast, and the only rankable school out there has been BC, so everybody always focused on the pro sports. I am a die-hard Patriots fan (yeah, they won last night!), and my #2 team is the NY Giants (hope they cream the Cowboys today!). I cheer for the Giants because they have summer camp where I did my grad degree (graduated 04) and it's amazing just to see players out-and-about in the city. I even got to experience being on the practice field with them, so yes, they have a special place in my heart.

I was definitely good this football season, watching most of the games at the gym because my football junkie friends were busy supporting friends and family members who were on football teams (again, I live in Texas). Now that college ball is over, we've been going out to watch the games, which means I have splurged a little the past couple of weekends. I had some jalepeno poppers and two vodka and diet coke's last night while watching the Patriots, and today we're heading to a sports bar to watch the Cowboys (lose). I'm planning on getting a salad, but passing up beer while watching a football game is going to be super duper hard. The two seem to go hand-in-hand. Actually, I think it's the environment that makes me want to drink. I feel guilty taking up space at a bar and not having a drink because that's less tip money for the bartender. I used to be a waitress and I hated having tables that would sit there forever and not leave a good tip. I guess I could tip for drinking water... I don't know, thoughts?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

New Motto...that needs a bit of explanation.

My trainer has me jog a lot during our weight training sets. I despise jogging. I'm slow, and I don't run right. Not to mention you hear my flab (sorry, I know, too much information). But I still do it because it is one of the only things these days that gets my heart rate up into the cardiovascular zone. I can routinely jog 0.1 mile lap in 55 seconds or less. On a good day, it's about 46 seconds. The most I have ever run consecutively was three laps.

The past week and a half has been hard to get back into the swing of things. Matt's now pushing me even harder on the running and less resting between the cardio part of my program and the weight training. Not a bad thing at all, but I'm trying to adjust to it. We've also increased the number of laps I jog in a session with him, and for somebody who doesn't like jogging, it hasn't been very fun, so I procrastinate the jogging part. Luckily, Matt joins me on occasion. To help me get through all of this, I've come up with a new motto that even Matt enjoys. "The faster I get 'er done, the faster it'll be over."

If you really think about this motto, it makes a lot of sense when it comes to cardiovascular exercise. Let's do the math (oh no I didn't say that!). If you are targeting a certain number of calories to burn, if you work out at a moderate level, you may burn that many calories in an hour, but if you work out at an intense level, you may burn that many calories in a half hour - you're being "more productive," so to speak.

I know I should have a more positive outlook on jogging, but it's not quite there yet, so this motto is going to get me through it. Please note, this motto should ONLY be used for exercise and not for overall weight loss. I truly believe in order to maintain a significant weight loss and a healthy lifestyle, it has to be gradual.

Friday, January 11, 2008

It's Okay to be Selfish

Throughout my blog I have discussed having a problem with putting myself first. It has always been easier to focus on somebody else's needs, wants, and desires than mine. Sometimes I fall back into this black hole without realizing it, and thankfully this hasn't happened for quite some time.

On January 3rd, I posted about a decision I have to make concerning a job up in Boston. I still have not made any decisions, but will by the end of the weekend. I have been praying, reflecting, and reading the Bible to get some clarity. Amidst all this, a verse has popped off the page for other reasons.
"He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers." (Proverbs 19:8, NIV)
The Bible notes for this verse are quite interesting as well:
"Is it good to love yourself? Yes, when your soul is at stake! This proverb does not condone the self-centered person who loves and protects his or her selfish interests and will do anything to serve them. Instead it encourages those who really care about themselves to seek wisdom."

And that is what I will continue to do in this lifestyle change: to expand my knowledge base so that I don't make the same mistakes. Maybe after that, I can expand and help others too.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tip #6: Avoiding colds at work...

A long time ago I heard the following tip on the radio and have always kept it in the back of my head. I thought y'all might enjoy it.

Do not keep a tissue box on your desk at work. People will come by to grab a tissue from you and who knows what kind of germs they will leave behind. More than likely they need a tissue because they are sick (or may have allergies); do you really want to take the chance?

I hide mine in the filing cabinet.


And speaking of germs...do you know what public place has the most germs in which you are going to catch a cold from (e.g., the office, the gym, a bar, etc)? I'll leave the answer in the comment section this weekend.

As promised, here's the answer. When I first heard this question, my thought was a subway railing, being from the Northeast part of this country, but alas, that was not correct either. Actually, it's a gas station pump. Handles are rarely cleaned, and hundreds of people use them every day. AND...I don't know about you, but I know when I used to take long road trips, I would buy something edible in the convenience store. So not only are you using a gas pump in which thousands of people have used, but then you are also eating right after doing so.

I now keep a mini hands cleanser in my car that I use every time I go to the gas station. Okay...call me an aware germ-o-phobe...I'm okay with that. Actually, it's probably because I'm an epidemiologist that I'm so aware.

Gasp...

Okay everybody here's your opportunity to gasp...I didn't go to the gym today. Say what? Yep...no gym time today. Slept in, went to work, took my car to the doctor (aka mechanic), and will be heading out the door shortly to see some friends for a couple hours. I had the following decision to make:

1. Eat out twice today (Chipotle and Subway) and get to the gym for 35 minutes, OR
2. Eat out once today (and walk to Chipotle), not go to the gym, but eat a healthy dinner at home.

Now I know y'all are thinking, "Well Subway's not that bad for you." Hmmmm...not when you love the Chipotle Southwest sauce, which I LOVE. For those who don't know the nutrition, 1.5 tablespoons is 100 calories, 10 grams of fat (1.5 saturated), 10mg of cholesterol, 220 mg of sodium, and 1 g of carbs (1 g sugar).

I opted for #2 instead, and will be doing a double gym day tomorrow with weight training. Sometimes you need to make these executive decisions.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Update: Holiday Competition

Over Thanksgiving, my sister and I were chatting on the phone and decided to have a competition to see who could lose the highest percentage of their body weight (post here). The loser would have to buy the other lunch over Christmas. Yeah, I know, rewards should not be food orientated, but this would have given us time to just hang out (we went shopping instead). We started the Monday after Thanksgiving and then re-weighed ourselves the day before we left to go to our parent's house.

So the final results? We both lost 2.62% of our body weight. Technically speaking, I won if you went to the fourth decimal place, but we called it a draw. I'll get her next time!

I do have to mention, I lost just over 12 pounds this holiday season, compared to my seven pound weight gain last year. Now that's motivation to keep going!

Wednesday Weigh-In

Just a small reminder, my last weigh-in was on Friday, so it has not been a full week yet.

Weight Statistics
Starting Weight (1/1/05): 366.00
Weight Started with Matt (5/14/07): 342.00
Current Weight (1/9/08): 295.00
Weight Loss To Date: 71.00 lbs
% Body Weight Loss: 19.4%

Five Day Weight Loss: 1.0 lb


The FANTASTIC
Today, I turned the corner out of my office just as Cindy did down the hall. Cindy works in a different area of the department, but we have chatted a bit here and there. As we approached the door to the hall, she exclaimed, "You've lost weight!" The only person in their section that knows I'm losing weight is Carrie, so it was nice that somebody noticed.
While at the gym today, Destiny, a trainer, grabbed my attention with a "How much have you lost so far?" (I think her male client was curious but didn't want to approach me.) I asked back, "Since I started with Matt or overall?"

The Good
I got two double sessions in this week (which is good since I'm sick).
I ran 6 laps at the gym on Monday.
I've been very productive at work.

The Bad
I have been sick for almost a week now.
I'm stressed for a variety of reasons: deciding about Boston, deadlines at work, and confusing men.
Three beers on Sunday (one per half).
I should be eating more protein (I really should add this to resolutions list).
Instead of doing four weight training sessions (two with Matt, two on my own), Matt and I only did two full body workouts.

The Ugly
I'm a big klutz. I fell on Sunday, bruised my hip and left quad. Still really sore when I run.
I was way under in consuming my calories today (busy at work). I tend to then "overconsume" when I get home...trying not to tonight.
Sweets and salty stuff - need I say more?
My water consumption is not as high as it should be for the amount of exercise I'm getting (I should be drinking a gallon). I cramped up pretty bad last night.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Tip #5: When you need a bit of motivation...

My trainer has me walk with weights all the time. Usually, I'm doing something with those weights - lateral raises, bicep curls, shoulder presses, triceps, etc. On occasion, he just adds extra weight and has me walk with him. On Monday, I got to walk a lap (0.1 mile) with 40lbs in hand. Do you know how heavy that felt? And to think three years ago I weighed 70lbs more?

When you need a little bit of motivation, grab a weight that equals what you have lost and walk for a bit as a reminder of where you once were. It'll get your butt in gear again, guaranteed.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Contemplations

The week after New Year's is the busiest time of year with people making resolutions to either stay in shape or get in shape. I commend people who want to do this because I know how hard it is, but for a gym regular, it gets slightly frustrating when the fitness center is packed to the point where there is no equipment open to use. Luckily, my gym has an indoor track that I can use, but that can get pretty busy as well.

Why is it only one time a year (New Years) people decide to recommit themselves to changing their lives? Why not do this once a month or week? Heck, I sometimes do it daily if I'm having a bad week exercising and/or eating according to my food plan.

Why is it only one time a year (Christmas) people decide to show one another how much they care by giving gifts or sending cards saying "I'm thinking of you."? I vowed this Christmas that I would send my "newsletter" bi-yearly instead of just Christmas-time.

Why is it only one time a year (Valentine's Day) people decide to express their love to their close friends and family? Should we not commit to a life of love?

When you try to meet your health goals this year, I ask that you don't get tied up in the mentality that you can only recommit to yourself once a year. You mess up, tomorrow's a new day - better yet, the next hour is a new hour. Live your life of love for you then for others. This has been the first time I have put myself first and I have found others respect me more because of it.

My hope this year is to inspire and to maybe add a few new habits to the mix of things. How can I inspire you to be all that you can be?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Jonathan Clay: Whole New Me

I love music and try to support local artists as much as I possibly can. I found Jonathan Clay on MySpace, well, he and/or his crew found me, and I enjoy his music immensely. This one song of his has really hit home to me, and I wanted to share the lyrics to it:

Whole New Me - Jonathan Clay

My heads been spinning and thinning out
Just trying to stay
Away from it all

Feeling like no one will feel me out
What I'm all about
At all

Do you think that I
Could talk to you
Do you think that you could listen past my name

See my darker shades
And not argue
Would you look at me the same

I took their plans and I let them in
With no regard
To my own

I took my hands and I put them in
Something that I've
Never known

Do you think that I
Could show you
Everything that I've kept locked up on the inside

See I've been hiding out
In my own mind
And I'm getting out this time

This time

So grab your things
And hold on tight
Cuz a brand new me
Is coming out tonight

I'm feeling like
Nothing is the same
Everything is changed
But this tired name

My heads done spinning
I figured out
What I'm all about today

Don't care if anyone feels me out
I know what I'm about
Know what I'm all about
I'm alright
I'm alright

New Year's Resolutions

I figured it was about time to post my New Year's resolutions for everybody to keep me accountable and on track.

1. Lose 100lbs by year end. I'm still targeting to lose 54lbs by 5/14/08, which is my trainer's and my 1st anniversary date. (2.9lbs per week for 18.5 weeks.) I'm not sure if I'll be able to reach my first goal I set, 30lbs by 3/14/08. (3.0lbs per week.)

2. Drink at least 96oz of water per day.

3. Eat two fruits and three veggies per day.

4. Take my multi-vitamin.

5. Get exercise every day. I currently do 1.5-3.5 hours per day.

6. Cardio every day and weights four times per week.

7. Do the farm-to-work program once a month.

8. Reduce the number of food binges I have.

9. Get my calcium!

10. Continue writing in different venues.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Wednesday Weigh-In (On Friday)

Weight Statistics
Starting Weight (1/1/05): 366.00
Weight Started with Matt (5/14/07): 342.00
Current Weight (1/4/08): 296.00
Weight Loss To Date: 70.00 lbs
% Body Weight Loss: 19.1%

Bi-Weekly Weight Loss: 1.5 lbs


The FANTASTIC
After about two weeks of traveling, I actually still lost weight!
I got to see snow and feel really brisk air for the first time in almost two years.
After showing a guy how to order a beer at the bar on New Years, it kind of felt nice that he watched me walk away with confidence. (There's definitely more to the story.)

The Good
I got home in one piece.
I went to the gym once in Boston and actually looked forward to hitting the gym as soon as I got back.
People seem excited that I'm back in town.

The Inbetween
I ran into my old trainer at the gym on Wednesday. I found out he stepped down as manager at the other location and is back into training at our facility. Obviously it's my choice who I train with, and I am staying with Matt, but it's just strange to see Scott around again.

The Bad
The Boston dilemma (see yesterday's post).
I ate out a lot while in Boston, BUT it was mainly seafood.
I sprained a toe (don't ask how).
We didn't get to go snowboarding as planned. :-( We would have had to go to New Hampshire and weren't in the mood to drive that far.
I probably will not hit my next goal (30lbs in about two months).

The Ugly
My alcohol consumption was pretty high while in Boston (I drank all three nights).

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Life Complications

Originally I was not going to post about this because a couple of my close co-workers stop on by every now and then, BUT they are also co-workers that I would talk openly about this, so I've decided to post about it none-the-less.

I have always had the desire to move to Boston. There is a position like mine in every state, and Zi has been in that position in Massachusetts (MA) for quite some time. On 12/14/07, I received an e-mail from Zi letting the group of us know that he was resigning from his position and wanted us to forward the job description to any qualified candidates. I have prayed endlessly about this. Almost everybody has told me to apply just in case, but I'm still uncertain. I haven't decided if this is a blessing from God or a curse from Satan.

Zi and I have a good working relationship, so I called him yesterday to discuss his position and I wanted his overall honest opinions about the work environment. Let's just say, he's a man of careful words. His supervisor called me today to discuss it as well and they seem to be VERY interested. Now there is the possibility that I will not get it (like any job), and I would probably be competing against some stiff competition, people working at Harvard, Boston University, and some private firms. In addition, my supervisor here may be retiring in a couple of years, so I could be promoted... Too many scenarios.

Just before Christmas I told my parents that I was happy and content with my life as it is. I have an absolutely fantastic trainer/brother. I have some good friends here. I enjoy the music scene. And let's not forget about the weather (although I was missing snow there for a bit). Overall I enjoy my job and the people around me. Things are good. For me to say the words "happy and content" is huge because I've never been content with my life.

I miss my best friend, college friends, and high school friends horribly. I miss my best friend even more now that I just saw her in Boston over New Years (I cried on the plane). But at the same time, she and I have changed in so many ways since I left MA. One of the reasons I left MA was because I relied too heavily on her friendship and I needed to grow as a person. Is this Satan's trap to stifle my growth?

Kellie and family signed my guestbook today. I cried realizing the number of friends' children that I haven't been able to see grow up because I've moved so many times. I'm missing out on a lot being here, but if I'm in Boston, I'll be missing a lot of stuff here in Austin. I just don't know, would it be a beneficial trade-off?

Everybody I talk to mentions money and cost-of-living because Boston is obviously more expensive than Austin. For me, this journey is not about money, it's about being where I'm supposed to be and my happiness. But to address this issue anyway, I used CNNMoney's free cost-of-living calculator and have found the following:

1. Groceries will cost 29.4% more in Boston.
2. Housing will cost 93.2% more.
3. Utilities will cost 39.4% more.
4. Transportation will cost 9.6% more.
5. Healthcare will cost 31.6% more.

Even with these increases, the salary they would be providing would cover these extra expenses so that I could still live the same lifestyle, plus maybe an extra $6,000 each year (obviously, I'd have to do some salary negotiations). What I have not researched yet is how they do promotions and annual salary increases.

In addition, I have to think about my future. I do eventually want to go back to school to get my doctorate and the closest program here is in Houston. Unfortunately a little too far for me. In Boston, I would have at least Boston University. The other bonus with Boston is that some of my private partners in Texas have told me that if I ever decided to go into private consulting that they would hire me. While I can't do this working for Texas, I would probably be able to start doing this if I go to Boston.

So that's where my life is right now. I'm confused and need some clarity. It's so hard when you heart says one thing and your mind says something else.