Here I go again: 18 for ’18

For background noise while I do some pre-new year cleaning/organizing I have the TV on. E! is marathoning Parks & Recreation, a favorite of mine. It’s on the episode which has a Ron Swanson-ism so wise I actually got on the Etsy and bought a lovely poster of it to hang in my office. Oh, the Swanson-ism? “Never half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing”

In the spirit of not doing what the TV tells me, I have made a list of 18 goals for 2018. Seems daunting, and I am working out a complicated reward system that might end up needing a calendar and star stickers; but the list is a work in progress. Hopefully I will have that all worked out by the end of January, but, as Parks & Rec also taught me Treat Yo Self

I have broken them down into three categories: Finance, Fitness, & Fun. Hopefully, completing some of these will lead to writing blog posts again. I do like the blog posting.

Here is the list:

  1. Create and Stick to a Budget (Finance)
  2. Eating out/take out: only 1x per week through April, 1x every other week through September, 1x per month through the end of the year. (Finance) **
  3. Set aside money in a savings account, which does not get touched aka establish an emergency fund (Finance)
  4. Sell all the items I’ve been meaning to put on eBay (Finance)
  5. Start a vacation fund, not related to the above-mentioned savings account (Finance)
  6. Track food & weigh in daily (Fitness)
  7. 7,500 steps/day (52,500/week) through April, then 10,000/day (70,000/week) (Fitness)
  8. Meditate daily for at least 10 minutes (Fitness)
  9. Walk for at least 45 minutes on my work lunch breaks at least 3 days per week (Fitness)
  10. Complete Couch to 5k app by mid-April (Fitness)
  11. Complete CE credits and renew ACE Certification by end of May (Fitness)
  12. No looking at the phone after 9:30pm (Fitness)
  13. Participate in 1 new meet-up activity/month (Fun)
  14. Use Dualingo app daily as directed to learn a new language. (Fun)
  15. Find 1 groupon/living social/goldstar thing to do per month (Fun)
  16. Spend more time with friends. (Fun)
  17. Try a new recipe for a food I’ve never made once per month (Fun)
  18. Be in more pictures. At least one picture/month. (Fun)

**Unless on a trip, it is a work function, or a date.

If I blog about working on or completing any of this, don’t worry, I’m sure I will stick to the fitness and fun categories. I can’t imagine writing a bunch of crap about how I made a budget. “OMG you guys, I used an app! and an Excel Spreadsheet! A SPREADSHEET!! WOOO!” There, consider the post on budgeting completed. Next up might be my treat yo-self ideas, and how I’m going to implement them.

Happy New Year!!! Let’s kick some ass in 2018!!!!


Stranger-supporters and how I loathe them.

I’ve written about this topic before, but I can’t find the post so it must have been on the old blog. Oh well, I wanted to expand on it anyway, so I guess we can all just forget that maybe I’ve ranted about this before.

The other day I was wasting time on FaceBook, because I cannot seem to help myself, and I came across this Distractify Article titled: To the Fatty Running on the Track this Afternoon; which was apparently supposed to give me warm fuzzies about how supportive this jackass was being. Luckily because of creepy internet ways, I was directed to this other article: To the Man Who Judged me on the Westview Track, from the person who the original post was about. The Distractify article even adds some found photos of a couple walking and a woman running on a track, none of these people have anything to do with the original post; and was even confusing, because I originally assumed the woman in the second picture was the person that “rocks.”

I bet when that guy wrote that article he was patting himself on the back for being such a supportive person. When Distractify decided to make their article about it they probably did too; urging us at the bottom of the article to “Share this powerful message and inspire others…” blah blah social media buttons. I love the response to the original post. I wish more people would think about his words. Especially, “you do not have respect for my journey because you do not know it.” Exactly. You don’t know where I’ve been, you don’t know how I got to where I am, so keep your encouragement to yourself. It is counterproductive.

This is something I am very familiar with (which is why I’ve written about it before), but something I had not experienced in a while. I read these articles a few weeks ago and found myself kind of relieved that nothing like that had happened to me lately, even though I have been going to the gym fairly regularly. Turned out I spoke too soon.

There I am, early on Thursday morning, at the gym working with my trainer. I am very pale, which means it does not take much physical excursion before my face is lobster red. I am also highly skilled in the art of sweating, so I don’t have to work out very hard before I look like I am halfway through a marathon in Death Valley. This red face problem can last so long that coworkers have been known to ask me about my sunburn when I’ve arrived at work in the morning. Nope, no sunburn here, I just worked out an hour ago…give it another hour and I should return to normal face color again.

Sitting at the chest-press, red-faced and sweaty (but just sitting there), this woman walks by and gives me a thumbs up. But not just a walk by “good job” thumbs up. She swerves so she walks closer to the machine I am on, leans down a little, and puts her thumb in my face. You know, in case I am unaware that she is supportive of the sweaty fat girl. I mean, I should be honored that she paused in the middle of her own workout to stop and acknowledge the incredible feat I was accomplishing…you know…going to the gym…like I have been for years. But hey, she gets to feel better about herself for the rest of the day for being so kind to a stranger. I bet she told people her side of the story with some smarmy “hey, I just hope she pays it forward” line. Heck, if she gets to decide I need a stranger’s encouragement, I can imagine her douche level.

The thing is, I find that crap incredibly DIScouraging. She’s not giving a thumbs up to everyone in the place. I’m getting singled out because she takes one look at me and thinks that I am not that fit. I don’t think I am either, but my trainer has told me I am the most fit of all of his current clients. My doctor has given me a perfectly clean bill of health, and let me know that I have an impressive amount of muscle hiding under all this fat (this is not the wording he used). I have never had any indicators for any obesity related illnesses.

When people put their thumbs up in my face (or any similar kind of encouragement), I want to workout somewhere private, or nowhere at all. That chest-press machine I was about to use, yeah, it didn’t even have any weights on it. I still couldn’t do all the sets we were doing, even with no weights. That lady thought she was lifting me up, but she put me down, and that damned machine was kicking me while I was down there. Because of an issue where there was no water at the gym, I had to cut my workout off early so that I could go home and get ready for work. The water ended up coming back on right as I was leaving. My trainer asked me if I wanted to finish my session now that I could get ready there. I said no and continued walking out of the gym. Part of that decision had to do with looking forward to using my own awesome shower, but part of it was the thumbs up. I was done with the gym for that day.

I wouldn’t let that one lady or chest-press machine get me down. I returned to the gym this morning to meet with my trainer. He decided today we were going to work on building some strength. I joked about that having something to do with me not killing it on the chest-press last time, but he claimed that wasn’t the reason. Suuurreee. We’re just working on my upper body strength because that’s a good idea… whatever.

After completing my entire workout (no leaving early today) I walked my sweaty, red face out of the gym. As I walked towards the parking lot there was a guy walking towards the gym. I was smiling because that’s how I roll, and I accidentally made eye contact with this dude. I realized he had been looking at me, and I had a brief moment of wondering if he was checking me out (which is ridiculous at any time, but see above for the “sweaty, red face” description) until he opened his mouth and said something along the lines of: “Nice job.” I don’t remember the actual words, but it was something along those lines. Could’ve been “Good work” or “good workout” but I really am not sure. I had to stop myself from answering, “Go fuck yourself.” Which I would have said in a pleasant manner, I assure you. Not only does this dude definitely not know my journey, but he hadn’t even been inside the gym to see any part of my workout for the day. Maybe I had a sunburn and had just spilled a bucket of water over my head. Maybe I hadn’t even worked out at all. He doesn’t know. He wasn’t there.

Thanks dude. Thanks for wiping the smile right off my face. Thanks for irritating the crap out of me. Because I doubt that you are saying that to every person you see walking out of the gym. You aren’t going to be congratulating every stranger in the gym on the workout that they are doing. I certainly don’t. But, you know what, I might start. Maybe if people see how weird it is to congratulate a stranger for no reason, they will stop.

Or, I’ll just start telling my stranger-supporters to go fuck themselves. That seems easier.

Lost posts & secret numbers

I find when I’m out and about I’m always thinking: “I should write a post about that!!” Then I come home, open up the laptop, and have no idea what those brilliant things were I was excited to write about hours before. Today I had at least three of those moments while running an errand or two, but decided to wait on those because I had started writing about something else a few days ago but didn’t finish. I guess the internet gods did not like that one, because that partial post was nowhere to be found. My drafts runneth empty. It was probably going to be my best, most insightful post ever, and now the world will never know. Much like all those other posts about who knows what that drift in and out of my brain.

In the past I have attempted to recreate the post; but it just never has the same feel as what I was going for the first time. I know it was something about how hard it is for me to share any kind of numbers with people. Then a story about how a girl from school asked me how much weight I’ve lost and I was evasive with the number. I happily shared with her my diet and exercise information, but not the total number I have lost. That was basically where I was when I stopped writing, and where I was going to continue from. I will try to do that now, and in the future maybe I’ll keep a list of topics I think of while out and about. It hasn’t helped before, but maybe it will this time.

I think the main reason it is hard for me to share the exact amount of weight I’ve lost is that I still have so much more to go. I have lost a good amount, making excellent progress towards my goals; but I am not yet halfway to my goal weight. Opening the door of the first number, the amount lost so far, I feel like might lead to follow up questions. How much do you have to go? What is your goal weight? What was your starting weight? How much do you weigh today?

Noooooooooo. I’m not sharing any of that information, thank you. Maybe one day. That magical day when I’m watching a football game and a players stats flash on the screen, to which a friend will say, “Man, that guy is HUGE;” and when I check the stats I finally see that the guy does in fact weigh more than I do. That day isn’t here yet. What happens after that comment is made nowadays is I look at the stats and see that the guy weighs less than I do and is usually a little bit taller. So if he is HUGE, then I am……..GINORMOUS?????

Possibly, when the day comes that I am much smaller than the average huge NFL player, I will be comfortable sharing my numbers. Maybe then I can say to anyone who asks, “I lost one-bajillionty pounds, and now weigh an amount that is a lot closer to the number my driver’s license says.” I have a feeling I will always think that this information is not for public knowledge.

I was taught that it’s rude to ask any numbers-related questions (weight, age, cost), which I think is another part of my discomfort with the situation. People seem so open about all of that stuff. Part of me thinks I should just get over it and give the number, but the other part thinks that is kind of b.s. If I’m not comfortable sharing a number, I shouldn’t convince myself to change my personal values. I’m also a believer in the good ol’ Golden Rule. I do not ask anyone their numbers, so no one should ask unto me.

There are plenty of questions I will answer. What kinds of foods are you eating? No bread? Really??? What is your exercise routine? Are those new jeans? Do you want to go on a walk with me sometime? Or maybe a bike ride? Roller skating?

If asked those questions I will respond with enthusiasm. Ask me for a number, and I will probably change the subject.

One Challenge ends, another begins.

For the past several months, Cakethrower and I have been competing in one of our classic challenges. I say “classic” because we come up with weight loss or fitness challenges so often that I have been asked at random times: “so what is the current bet?” Only to answer with a blank stare until I realize that the person means that we almost always have some game afoot. The outcome of the bet, or challenge, or contest varies; I have no idea what makes one a “do this or else you have to wear this humiliating outfit in public” and another is “do this and we get a pedicure.” Our mood? How badly we want to go get a pedicure?

The most recent challenge has coincided with The Biggest Loser, which just had its season finale a couple of weeks ago. We have not had the payout yet, but I am looking forward to that. The Biggest Loser challenge was different from the daily step challenge that I am still doing. Although the steps are certainly challenging, I was concerned when the Biggest Loser challenge ended that I would not be able to maintain the progress I have been making. I did really well with that particular contest, and I was a bit sad to see it end.

Well, thanks to the fantastic Souzapalooza I had absolutely nothing to worry about! This morning she wrote about her Slim Down for St. Pat’s Diet Bet. It was like she read my mind, and knew exactly what I needed. She has outlined the parameters perfectly in her post, so please go ahead and follow that link. I will wait.

Genius, right? She’s good looking too. 🙂

So, when I saw her post this morning I jumped right on it and joined. Then I shared it on Facebook so Cakethrower and DangerMom could sign up with me. Then DangerMom told two friends, and so on, and so on…Okay, maybe it’s not completely like that, but we do have a good amount of people involved in the bet. I am really excited to get started.

It was a little weird to have to take a full body picture and then a picture of the numbers on the scale for proof, but how else would they know? On the other hand, I have a tattoo on my foot, so it would be hard for me to get a foot-impostor to do any of my weighing in for me. I should be exempt from the difficult-to-take full-body picture. But, I guess I will also end up with before and after photos. That might be cool to see.

The challenge starts on Wednesday and goes until St. Patrick’s Day (March 17, 2015). If you are interested I highly recommend that you join us. Our current Pot O’ Gold is $250.00. I could use the extra cash 😉

Long walks on the beach

My favorite way to get my steps in for the day is to go out to the beach and start walking. There are closer beaches to me than Doran Beach in Bodega Bay, but this particular one is worth the extra drive time. Plus, some of the time I meet Cakethrower and Camp Counselor for the walk. It’s nice to meet up with them and have the time to catch up. Our conversations run the gamut of past, present, and future. The talking flows seamlessly between parties we’ve had at the houses we’ve rented there, upcoming adventures, and current life ups and downs. Our chatting is occasionally paused when Cakethrower finds a sand-dollar worth keeping or decides it’s a good time to take a picture. Basically, it is a fantastic way to start or end a day.

For a short time we had what we deemed “Tradition,” I think because we were hoping that’s what it would become. Every Friday at the end of the workday I would run for my car (okay, maybe not literally, but I would make it snappy) and head out to Doran Beach. I would meet Cakethrower and Camp Counselor out there and we would walk, decompressing from our work week. When we were done walking we would head over to the Casino Bar & Grill (FYI: not a casino) and have dinner. I don’t know if the Casino is still doing it, but on Friday nights they were having guest chefs come in and make fabulous meals. I cannot imagine a better way to start the weekend. The serenity of the beach, good food, a good beer, great friends. Is anyone else chanting “bring back tradition!”?

I do occasionally go out there by myself, and have done so a couple of times in the past week. I get an impressive number of steps when I do it, and I love the disconnect. Unlike going to the gym, I am not staring at a TV. I am not wearing my headphones. Even when I go on a couple of other outside walks I find that I put my headphones on. I like listening to music, but with the sound of the waves, and the birds, and saying hello to the people I walk past I feel like I’d be missing out if I were to distract myself with music.

Last time I was out there was on New Year’s Eve. It helped me to think up some of the things that ended up on my resolutions list. There is an excellent chance I thought of a few other brilliant things that did not make the list, because I forgot before I could jot them down. Sometimes I get distracted by the walking and the waves that I forget that my phone is in my pocket. That thing is basically a laptop, and I could easily notate something I think of on several different apps in several different formats. Then again, I like forgetting that I have my phone on me. The only time I use the phone when I’m out there is to take a picture either before or after my walk, which is silly. It’s the same beach, and most of the time the picture I take looks the same as any of the pictures I have taken before.

The other day I started reading the book Thrive by Arianna Huffington. Throatpuncher bought it for me a while ago, but because of my incessant Facebook and internet scrolling I haven’t picked up a book in a while. Admittedly, I may have had other things that were also keeping me busy, but those things are such time wasters I have decided to blame all my problems on them. I am not very far into the book yet, but I know I’m going to have much more to say about it as I keep reading. I am now at a section where she talks about mindful meditation, which is something that I used to practice several years ago. At the time I felt great, I highly recommend it, but I got out of the habit. I realized while reading that is why I love beach-walking so much. It is very meditative. I might let my mind wander all over the place, but I always bring myself back to the waves, the sand, the coldness of the water, the brightness of the sun, the surfers, the children building castles, etc. Out there I feel relaxed, centered, and peaceful.

I think I might get up right now and go find some peace.

15 Resolutions for 2015 (or, better: 15 for ’15)

I decided to try out the 15 for ’15 resolutions. Hopefully this will go better than the 13 for ’13, but I think I went fairly easy on myself.

  1. Win the Daily Step Challenge (Most days): There has been some smack-talk that this will not happen, but I am fairly determined to be the winner and take my friends’ dollars.
  2. Blog more, at least once a week. I enjoy blogging. Sure, it’s a silly little hobby, but who cares?
  3. Share the blog. I used to have a different blog that I shared with friends and family. Then I started caring about one potential reader getting information I did not want them to have about me and I abandoned the blog. I started this one because I missed blogging but shared that information with no one. It’s foolish to abandon something I enjoy doing because of potential complications (see #6 for another thing to work on). I should not let a potential complication ruin something that I enjoy. If the complication actually arises, it isn’t something that I cannot handle anyway.
  4. Limit Facebook time to none-ish. I am still figuring this one out, honestly. The rules of this resolution are under construction. The part I want to change about Facebook time is the checking 1st thing in the morning, last thing at night, and the time I spend both of those times scrolling through my feed. I’ve been thinking maybe “no Facebook until I get x amount of steps in for the day or have spent x amount of time at the gym” or limiting the time on the site. Work in progress, but less Facebook is the goal.
  5. Look at bucket list i made when i was 21 and do some of the things. I have not looked at that list in a while. In fact, when I went to look for the list last night in preparation it was not stuck within the pages of my old journal, where I had thought it to be left. Luckily, I remember a couple of items I can definitely work on. Hopefully I find it soon so I can work on some of the easier ones. Or cross off some of the ones I no longer want to accomplish.
  6. Work on my non-confrontational nature. I avoid conflict. When faced with potential conflicts I have had panic attacks. Most of the time I can feel it coming on and I can breathe through it, but if I know there is some situation arising that could trigger the panic I do whatever it takes to end the conversation/meeting/whatever or flee. Unfortunately, life is full of conflicts. This problem has done me all harm and no good. The bottom line is I end up never being able to self-advocate (prime example: asking for a raise is a torturous nightmare). I need to get better at handling confrontations. Part of that is to stop avoiding, even if that means letting myself experience that panic attack feeling until I can push through and handle the problem. Practice makes perfect. ick.
  7. Put myself/my goals first. This kind of piggy back’s on the last. I have some pretty lofty goals for the next few months. One of the reasons they are lofty is because they are things I’ve been wanting to do since taking time off to go to school and I haven’t yet done them. I am really good at procrastinating. The excuse I use most often is “I can’t do _____ I have to go to the office and do ______ they have called me and need me right now.” In reality I can: a) do both, doing the thing I need to get done for me 1st followed by the thing that probably does not need to be done immediately or b) say no. This should be easy because the one job I am doing at this point is for someone who would punch me in the throat if I were to sacrifice my own goals to do stuff for her. But, work isn’t the only procrastinating tool, just the best one. The bottom line of this one may end up being letting people know exactly what my goals are. Attention anyone reading this: I am very, very dedicated to resolution #1.
  8. Phone curfew. This is something I used to do that I would like to do again. At 10 pm I used to put my phone away for the night. After 10 there was no more looking at the glowing screen and I think I was better off. I got out of the habit for a while, but I think getting back into it won’t be problematic. Especially with resolution #4.
  9. Write down a couple lines about what happened with my day. This one comes from a cruise I took back in 2009. Every night at dinner I would jot down a couple of interesting things from the day. Places I’d seen, interesting or funny incidents that had happened in the day. I did that so that I could go back later and maybe write some essays about my travels, which I still haven’t gotten around to writing. It was fun to sit at the table and come up with what was going to go into the book that day. But why be limited just to traveling? Sure, not every day will be a winner, but there should be something noteworthy. If not I need to spice things up.
  10. Complete what I can in the “Story of my Life” book. For Christmas Cakethrower got me a book called “Story of my Life.” It is a journal, but has all sorts of places to fill in things like “My 20’s” My 30’s” etc. As well as basic information and whatnot. Sure, it’s a little bit on the silly side, but I like silly. This is right up my alley.
  11. Practice my banjo, learn 2 new songs that people know. I like learning a new instrument. It was easy when I had lessons scheduled with an instructor. I would like to make time to practice more/again. I would also like to learn a couple of songs that people know. Maybe I can go camping, bring out the banjo by the campfire…have a little sing-a-long. Okay, yes, really my dream is to secretly bring my banjo camping and in the middle of the night just start plucking out “Dueling Banjos” to see who wakes up screaming. I am evil.
  12. Refine and build my friendships. There are friends that I have that I haven’t seen or talked to in a long time, because sometimes life gets in the way and I forget to take time out to not let that happen. Recently I went to see a friend because I do some work for him. I hadn’t seen him since last year when I went to do some work for him. Work should not be the only reason I see or talk to one of my best friends. On the other hand, I have a friend or two that I have grown out of that are still around. Honestly, and to be more confrontational, it’s not so much that I have grown apart but that I have grown into someone who no longer wants to spend my time with “friends” who say horrible things to me under the guise of honesty. I would rather spend my time with friends who are able to be honest while still being kind.
  13. Read more books/magazines…less internet. I have a stack of books I would like to read, and a good stack of magazines too. Instead I read internet news, Buzzfeed, the Onion, or watch funny YouTube videos. I bought the books and subscribed to the magazines. I am interested in the contents. The news isn’t a horrible thing to keep up with, but it’s not like I’m only reading articles about missing planes and the situation in the Middle East. The phone curfew should help with this problem. As will the less Facebook thing. Basically I need to break up with the internet. It’s been fun internet, but I have changed. I will miss the good times we had, and will never forget you, but I have some things I need to do right now. I hope we can still be friends.
  14. Get my assignments done at least a week early. I’ve mentioned before my procrastinator tendencies. If I’m not working furiously at the last minute then I’m not working on whatever needs doing. Last semester I managed to get things done early, and it felt great. I would like to continue that tradition for this coming semester. This seems a little more specific than “Stop Procrastinating,” which is something I would love to achieve. At least if I set my own due date a week before the actual due date I can still procrastinate until my deadline, and be done early. I love tricking myself.
  15. Live more fearlessly. I think some people would argue with me, but I do not consider myself brave. There’s a chance a lot of people would argue with me…Anyway, my intention with this one is to keep it broad. Living more fearlessly means trying new things, stepping out of my comfort zone. It also hearkens back to several of the other resolutions above. I like it when they are related, it means if I do one I automatically succeed at least a little bit at another.

2015 is a complete mystery to me. I have no idea where it is going to take me, and I am loving that. I know it is going to be a year of changes, and I hope this list helps me to make the best of all of those changes.

Day 2, and boy are my legs tired.

After totally kicking ass day one I received some feedback from one of my fellow contestants. He basically said that I set the bar too high on day 1, and I think he may have been right. My goal for today was to beat the amount of steps I took yesterday, while hoping to make it to the 15,000 steps that would free me from paying the $1 if I didn’t get the highest number of steps. Instead I slept a little longer than anticipated, and had less time to spend at the gym than I would have liked.

Still, I did make it to the gym. Steps were stepped, sweat was sweated. When I was done there I went about my day as usual. Wellllll…maybe a little more sore in the leg than usual, but otherwise fairly normal. By the time I headed home in the Northern California downpour, I knew I had to get many more steps. The rain made me not want to go for a good old fashioned walk, and I didn’t really want to go back to the gym. Luckily, I was smart enough to remember my Xbox 360 and the Zumba game.

Saved! I don’t have to walk in place around my living room! After the Xbox updated forever (I don’t use the thing very much, I predict that is about to change) I was finally able to start the game. I chose the full class. For those unfamiliar with the game there are varying times you can choose to play. I wanted as many steps as possible, so I went for the longest “class.”

Since it is a game there are points to be earned, and stars for accuracy during each song (I have the Kinect which watches my moves). Let’s just say I don’t earn many stars. My accuracy level is not that great. But, I couldn’t care less. By the end of my time I had lots of steps, and was sweaty yet again.

Knowing I wasn’t at that 15,000 steps yet I thought I better not just sit down while I still had time left. Hindsight tells me maybe I should’ve done another short Zumba “class” before quitting for the night. Oh well. Instead I wrapped some Christmas presents. At least I was still standing and moving.

Alas, it wasn’t enough. I was beaten by a whopping 1,219 steps. It was a close race. At the end of the day I had 14,107 steps, and I am proud of that number. I knew I wouldn’t be the winner every day. I did not think I would lose on Day 2, but I was warned that I set the bar high.

So, I have taken some ibuprofen to ease the soreness. Tomorrow I will hit the gym early before meeting my cousin to do some Christmas shopping. It should be a winning day. If it isn’t, that’s okay. I will have a ridiculous amount of steps taken in my journey to fitness and weight loss.