Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On the Hunt... For Blogs

With J on holidays this week and a temp here part days to more or less cover my lunch break, I have been very bored.  I’ve been taking advantage of my time sitting at J’s desk to do some internet research.  At the front, people walk beside/behind me 50 times a day, everything I’m working on is highly visible and working on non-work stuff is frowned upon.
I’ve been searching for new blogs.  This, my friends, is extremely hard.  I can find lots of interesting and worthwhile blogs, but I’m looking for certain types.  I want bloggers who are also on a personal development quest, someone interested in writer/being a writer, is humorous, relatable and posts on a somewhat regular basis.
Turns out this is hard because:
The ways that I have discovered to find blogs so far leaves much to be desired.  It’s like the internet doesn’t want me to find them.
Blogs are categorized in very general and often misleading ways.
Anything categorized under personal development usually has an obnoxiously upbeat, preachy, rainbows and sunshine quotes, and impersonal third person advice.
Fitness is a lot of the same stuff too.  The tricky part is finding someone who is at a similar place in their fitness journey.  Sometimes you’ll find a blog by an established trainer giving tips, or workout suggestions.  I really want to find someone who is finding ways to workout, stay motivated and have fun with it.  A lot of “exercise” blogs are just personal blogs with a bit of exercise thrown in.
Cooking blogs.  No real complaints, except that there are too many delicious and temping sites that are 90% baking.  So it’s all sweets, and cookies, and pies.  Amazing, but I’m looking for more lunch and dinner ideas.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition

So I have this show I watch, Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition.  It's pretty amazing.  This one guy, Chris Powell, chooses people based on their applications to work with him.  It's a year long process.  For the first three months he moves in with this person.   MOVES IN TO THEIR HOUSE!  That alone just blows me away.  Every day he wakes them up bright and early, is their personal trianer day in and day out.  Cooks meals with them.  Talk about accountability.  Imagine how hard you'd work out if someone was there with you every day.

These people are significantly overwieight.  A lot of them are over 400 lbs.  On average, in the first three months these people lose about 100 lbs.  I mean, how unbelievable is that?  If they hit that three month goal, which has always been 100-110 lbs for everyone so far, they get a reward.  Rewards are things like, a nanny for the next three months, or a new car, or season tickets to the Braves, etc.

For the next three months they are on their own.  They won't see Chris again until the six month weigh in.  Usually people will not hit their weight loss goals during this period.  They discover how challenging it is to do it alone.  At the 6 month weigh in they usually do an extreme physical challenge to show how far they've come, how much better shape they are in.  They get a weight loss goal for the next three months.  If the person is more on less on track so far, if they hit the weight loss goal for the next three months they will qualify for skin removal surgery at the nine month mark.  Not everyone loses enough weight to qualify for skin removal surgery. 

The final three months are the push to the finally when you show off how much weight you lost total.  The results are pretty amazing.  The first few episodes in particular were epic.  They looked like different people.  The ones in the middle have been less dramatic, still huge successes, just not as big a wow factor as others.  I'm hoping for some impessive final episodes.

On the one hand I think, it's good to show that it's hard, that not everyone succeeds.  It's good to show people that this is about hard work, and takes a huge level of committment.  But I also think, if you've kind of given up on yourself and have a self-defeating attitude about exercise, does showing that you can fail could be defeating.  Actually, I just like ending the episode on a really high note. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Suck It Up Princess

I’ve never been a glass half full person.  I’m always drawn to the negative.  This has made my life far more difficult than it should be.  It’s been a part of my personality, a sarcastic, criticizing kind of humor.  Always meant to be funny and not mean spirited; unless you’re some dumb bitch who was a jerk to my friend in which case the sting of my words will wound you so deep your unborn children will feel it.
I used to have a strong sense of self, and over the past few years I feel like it has completely dissolved.  In an effort to leave negative situations, a frustrating and poorly run program at school and a failed relationship in particular, I moved to a new city in which I only knew a couple people.  My battered self-esteem has been working hard to build itself back up.  Right now I’m at the point where I’m fine if no one confronts any of my issues.
One of my sore spots is not living up to my expectations of myself (ie: having a job that does not match up with my education and skill level).  I recently went to the East coast to meet Flash’s parents and as his parents asked me about my work I felt myself shrinking.  I hate being asked about my job.  I mumbled something about how it was alright, more of a sideways move and that I was still figuring out what I wanted to do.  His mother nodded and asked if I was happy I’d changed jobs and I could feel that stinging in the back of my eyes.   Danger Will Robinson, if you continue talking about this you will start crying and look like a total nutter.  So I said yes, that’s it was good to be busier and make a bit more money and then made a comment about Flash’s job and the conversation turned to him.
I had another related experience last week.  We have these stupid day timers at work.  We have several client groups that we make them for, every year.  So I was asked a couple weeks before to come up with a couple ideas, nothing formal just bang something out.  I wasn’t hired for my design or graphic skills so I understood this to be a come up with a few ideas to show us you have the skill set to make these.  Turns out the guy who normally does them thought I was making final, present to a client, covers.  When he flipped through the 5 examples I had made his criticisms were harsh.  I could feel the stinging behind my eyes again and thought, SHIT, abort!  Abort!  This guy thinks I’m smart, I know he likes working with me; I know he thought that my covers were meant to be more final than they were and kind of got on a roll with the critiques… but it still struck that nerve.  I felt like, wow, you suck at everything.  You did not properly pursue your design career and now you’re a bottom of the barrel admin person who can’t even design a decent cover for a 2012 day timer.  Epic fail.
I asked him if we could discuss what he wanted later and proceeded to do a power walk around the office and then began filing like a mad woman to distract myself.  I came really close to crying in front of him.  I try not to cry because I am a bad crier.  My face gets red, my eyes swell up, and once I start I cannot stop.  I find crying in public to be mortifying.  Unfortunately, instead of just shaking it off I start crying harder because I’m embarrassed.  I’m crying because I don’t want to be crying.  Then I look ridiculous to be so upset over something dumb when really, I’m just upset that I let myself get upset.
Clearly my self-esteem/sense of self rebuilding is not as far along as I had hoped. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I Don't Wanna!

Every fiber of my being is rebelling against planning the next phase of this project.  I'm all over the place.  I was going to spend this entire month getting ready, and now there's only a week left in the month.  Same old I guess.  I think I needed a break.  I didn't really give myself permission to not work on the project, I thought about it a lot, thought a lot about how I wasn't working on it.  So really, not a genuine break.

This morning Flash and I went to a farmers market.  I love farmers markets. 

I cleaned my apartment.  Eliminate distractions!  A messy house is a big distraction for me.  I've always found clearing out physical clutter allows for a less cluttered mind.  I need to power plan!  Sometimes you just need someone to do something with you.  Even with planning this next phase of the project, it's hard alone.  Usually I like doing things alone, but I can't seem to focus.  Flash and I went out for dinner last week and I was discussing my frustrations with figuring out how to accomplish goals and it was through talking with him that I realized one of my big set backs was a lack of know how.

I've accepted that as far as working out goes, I don't know what I'm doing.  I hate wandering around the gym not knowing what to do.  I also hate the idea of wasting my time, or should I say, not using my time in the gym effectively.  I told Flash about a deal at the gym next to my work for three sessions with a trainer and he told me it was a good idea so I think I'm just going to suck it up and do that.  I need help, so I'm seeking out help.  In addition to not liking to waste my time I also don't like wasting money so I hope paying for the gym will motivate me to use it.

... I have planner's block.

Monday, July 11, 2011


I re-watched my Body of Work/Body for Life videos.  I once made the bold statement that Bill Phillips changed my life.  Now, obviously I have yet to seriously take up working out, but what those videos did was give me a different perspective on working out.

Body of Work is the original in which Bill proposes a body building contest through his magazine.  He gives you the workout program, you do a before picture, and follow the workout and diet for 3 months, take after pictures and send them in with your essay, etc.  In the video the whole thing is documented.  They describe the contest, and then they fly across the country surprising the ten finalists and tell their stories and show the process of choosing the final champion(s).  Then there are a couple more dvds that show select stories of winners from the years that follow.  Most of them show Bill surprising the people, others are more detailed personal stories. 

The one thing that resonates through all of the winners' stories is that once they committed to this program and succeeded at it, that success had a ripple effect throughout their entire lives.  Not only did they look better and younger, they were happier and more confident.  It saved and strengthened marriages, turned peoples lives around, gave people the confidence in themselves to take on new challenges like quit their shitty job and go back to school, or start their own business.  It wasn't just about not having a beer belly, or having a six pack, or getting off this medication.  It was about the power of committing to something, accomplishing a difficult task and how that one success can change your entire life.

The results of this contest over 3 months are amazing.  3 months!  And even though fat loss is one of the ten categories, the competition is more about regular, out of shape, moderately overweight people.  For anyone not obese, it shows what can really be accomplished in a short time if you commit.  It's pretty epic.

 Check it out.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Flash and I are complete opposites.
He lives completely in the moment.  I am rarely in the moment.  We are going on a trip next week and I had to hound him to agree to let me book the flight in advance so that we could get a better price.  I will be meeting his parents as well as his hometown friends at a wedding we will be attending there.  So I have booked a hair appointment for myself, a grooming appointment for the dog, bought some new clothes including a dress to wear to the wedding, bought a ‘hostess/hi please like me’ present for his parents, got a card for the bride and groom, got a thank you card and gift for Mel for taking care of the dog, will be packing both of our suitcases, printing itineraries and booking a cab.  I’ll be lucky if Flash gets a last minute haircut.
I’m a planner.  Flash is not.
I find myself obsessively worrying about things, a lot.  Flash never worries.  Literally, never worries.  He just deals with things as they come.  In a lot of ways, this is great.  You live in the moment, you don’t worry, and you’re present and happy.  Sometimes he lives in the moment to a fault, though it’s usually me that suffers when Flash doesn’t plan ahead at all.  Never thinking ahead is a luxury people with a good support system can have.  Someone to help you out with unexpected costs, bail you out of a bad spot.  At present, our flight currently costs $800 dollars more than what we booked it for.
I should be more in the moment.  I live in a non-stop battle of past and future.  I know all this worrying isn’t going to help anything.  It’s wasted mental energy and usually makes me unhappy.  I also know that if I never think ahead I just sit around being lazy and waste time.  I’m very confident that a lack of organization was a big part of why certain months were unsuccessful.  My personality type must be up there with the most difficult ones.
It’s very difficult to be my personality type and try to have a serious conversation with Flash’s personality type.  I want to have a discussion, but I bring up anything that I’m worried or frustrated about and Flash throws out random solutions.  If I say something about being frustrated with my current ‘career’ path he’ll say, quit; lots of job opportunities out there now.  If I bring up something and no clear cut solution pops into his mind he’ll shut down and say I don’t know to everything I say.  As someone who never worries he doesn’t see the point in talking about problems, he just thinks of a quick and often impractical solution and ta daa, next topic.  I guess it’s a guy thing to problem solve this way.
Logistics.  I love them, but they drive me nuts.  How.  How will I get from A to B.  Flash would just jump in the car and point A and see what happened.  I would figure out what steps do I need to take to get from A to B?  I would Google a map, figure out stops, book lodgings, get an oil change, and research what I wanted to do at points of interest along the way.  I’m currently figuring out the logistics of my happiness project because I need them.  Not everyone does, and maybe that’s a simpler way to be.  Live by the seat of your pants happy go lucky life.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Time Management

I've been thinking a lot about time managment. 
I had an incredibly unproductive long weekend.  I should have been planning out my new project, but I didn't.  I wasn't feeling that great so I didn't go out.  I can't blame social outings or hangovers or anything.  I had lots of time and didn't use it. 

In University, there was a girl who was a time management phenom.  I asked her to be my partner in theory class one year because she is always on top of her shit and I thought that would keep me on top of my shit too.  She had a daytimer notebook thing and she would write down what she was going to work on and for how long.  So, from 7 - 7:30 she was going to come up with a topic and an introduction for project 1, and from 8 to 9 she was going to work on her model for this project.  Like, literally accounted for her evenings and weekends this way.  Now, she also lived at home, so some of the normal day to day domestic things like, cooking, grocery shopping, etc. didn't factor into her week, but despite that it was still extremely impressive.

I'm very organized with things.  There is a lot of stuff in our small apartment, but I have it organized and tucked away.  Time is a different matter.  I think I am permanently tramatized from my University experience.  Being in a really heavy competitive program made my life very busy and stressful for years.  I often thought to myself, "When am I going to find time to shower?"  Doing nothing was a huge luxury, and even today I am rarely bored.  I always have a running list of things I could be doing, but if none of those strike my fancy I'm quite content to be lazy and waste time.

This whole happiness project isn't about just trying to find more happiness, it's about finding ways to be the best version of myself.  I get a lot of unhappiness from feeling like I'm not doing what I should be doing, not living up to my expectations of myself.  I feel mediocre, which sucks.  Given the way I've been doing the project so far, it seems a little nuts to give myself permission to spend an entire month on planning, but I think it's the key to being more successful at my goals.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Plan, Organize, Rinse, Repeat

I think for my first section of my new project I want to make a second attempt at exercise.

1. Because it’s good for you
2. It’s hard, and accomplishing something difficult will give me a sense of accomplishment
3. It takes a level of dedication that I find admirable and would like to cultivate that in myself
4. Hope that being able to be successful and control one aspect of my life will filter out into other areas

The thing that I don’t understand is when do people find the time?  If you’re not a morning person and can’t get up over an hour earlier then when do you exercise?  For me, I’m thinking right after work is best for me.  Once I get home I tend to shut down.  So, you work until 5, you go to the gym right after work, say 5:15, work out until 6, then you go home, so you get home at 6:20.  Then you have to cook and eat dinner, right?  Or do you walk your dog that has been waiting all day to see you and go outside?  If you walk your dog then you don’t start making dinner until 7:00.  Cook, eat, clean up and it’s 8:00 before you can sit down and chill.  That seems like it could be exhausting.  Sure, you don’t have to work out seven days a week.  I guess it’s a mind set, that exercising is how I want to spend my evening instead of it cutting into my evening.

There is a small gym in my apartment building, but I hate it.  It’s a little hole in the wall that feels claustrophobic if there are more than two people in it.  If two people wanted to use the weight machine they would practically be on top of each other.  The lightest free weights are 10 lbs.  20 lbs is too heavy for most girls doing starting out with arm work or squats and lunges.  There’s a gym a half a block away from my work.  It’s not a big complex, but the location is perfect for my needs.  I went and looked around it last week.  It seems silly to buy a gym membership when I have the bare basics in my building, but if I hate the place I work out then I’m a lot less likely to want to spend time there.  The gym has a deal in which you receive the first two months of a yearly agreement for free if you sign up before the end of July.  So I plan on taking July to get organized and create a detailed plan for myself of what my goals are, how and when I’m going to do them.  The more specific and organized I am the more likely it is I will be successful.