Wednesday, October 31, 2012

People are Talking!

So anyone who's lost any amount of weight has probably discovered that it seems to take FOREVER before people start to notice all your hard work. I started getting compliments from my friends at about 25 pounds and I figured the cat was completely out of the bag.

Not so.

I've been stuck at the 40-45 pounds mark for a while (finally broke through this weekend), but in just the last 2-3 weeks the weight-loss comments have exploded at work. Maybe the strength training is having a bit of an impact?

I love hearing the comments. Mostly they're very flattering--especially ones I hear about second-hand, "She's looking so good--she's such a pretty girl," was my favorite (from a QA test engineer who I don't really know to my best co-worker friend/BCWF). And when I hear them I get all, "Who meee? Of course they couldn't be talking about MEEE!" blink blink.

I can be really obnoxious in-person.

But some of them are freaking awkward. Like, for example, when I ran into my favorite cleaning lady last week. I hadn't seen her for a while (I don't get stuck working late as often as I used to, since we're in a bit of a project lull).

Her: Kate? You are skinnier now?
Me: Oh, ha ha, yes! (what? you noticed? this ol' weight-loss?)
Her: You used to be much bigger  :: Moves her hands around herself in the way I would if someone asked me to outline Jolly Saint Nick ::
Me: ...Yeah.

Only slightly more tactful was the developer who decided to bring it up at the beginning of a meeting a few weeks back. In front of the Dev manager, another developer, the QA manager, and a QA tester. Super awesome! Luckily, he really only brought it up so he could talk about how he used running to lose all his weight. I gladly helped the conversation in that direction. What I learned? 13.1 miles is a "fun little distance" to run. (He's run like two marathons. No biggie.)

If I sound like I'm complaining (Waaah, people aren't complimenting me in the manner I was expecting!), please don't misunderstand me! I just think these instances hilarious and worth sharing. And knowing that they are just fuel for the blog takes the sting out of them.

A little. :)

Yesterday's food log:


Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Morning

2  cup(s) black coffee
0
4  Tbsp 2% reduced fat milk
1
2  Tbsp half-and-half cream
1
1  container Fage Yogurt
3
Subtotal
5
Midday

1  Summer Corn, Bacon and Potato Chowder
6
1  large banana(s)
0
Subtotal
6
Evening

3  oz cooked lean ham
3
1/2 large cooked sweet potato(es)
2
1  cup(s) cooked green beans
0
2  tsp regular butter
2
1 tsp cinnamon
0
Subtotal
7
Anytime

1  large whole hard-boiled egg(s)- afternoon
2
2  serving(s) Chicago mix popcorn (2 cups) - evening
6
Subtotal
8
Food PointsPlus values total used
26
Food PointsPlus values remaining
0
Activity

40 min Running (5 mph [12 min/mile] or faster)
7
Activity PointsPlus values earned
7

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Playing Blog Catch-Up!

Housekeeping, housekeeping! I owe you my Saturday stats and a couple days of food logs. This weekend got away from me and Monday was just crazy so I've been kind of a bad blogger.

OK, first thing's first. Saturday stats. I lost 3 pounds last week which is just insane for me. That brings me down to a total of 46 pounds lost and I now weigh 153 lbs! My goal is to weigh 150 lbs by Thanksgiving and I think that I'm well on my way. I just might do it.

However, not contributing to my goal was Saturday when we went out with my brother-in-law and his fiance for Halloween.



I don't know what came over me, I really don't. I think I got a case of the fuck-its, because I didn't watch what I ate. At all. I knew that I was making poor decisions. I knew I shouldn't be eating or drinking those things, and I just couldn't rally myself enough to care. What the hell?

Maybe it was the fact that I had run the Monster Dash 5K earlier in the day. Maybe I thought I deserved to let loose a little? I don't know.



By the way, that 5K went okay. We both had side aches, which was so frustrating. I brought us down to a walk before we'd hit the first mile. But I managed to push through and we were back to running after a minute. Then Abbie needed to walk for a bit. But despite that, we finished in 35 minutes, which isn't that impressive for a 5k, but better than what we feared. I think I figured out why races are so hard for me. Everybody is condensed when you start the race; you can't really use your regular, longer gait, which means you're just kind of bobbing up-and-down, up-and-down. Which, of course, is terrible for side aches. Boom. I solved the mystery. Despite the side ache and the slow pace, I had a lot of fun. It was great to see everyone dressed up and excited, and Abbie and I got a lot of compliments on our costumes. Also Pete, Cosmo, and Nik came to cheer us on which is just awesome (Pete even dressed up in solidarity)!




Anyway, the fuck-its. I don't really have any excuse or answers or plans for the future. I have no idea how to solve that problem--how to force myself to care in a moment of weakness. I'm posting my food logs and including Saturday so I have to own up to my crappy eating. I really don't want to. I think it's going to be painful, but hopefully remembering how I feel writing this post will help me the next time I'm faced with a bowl of peanut butter M&Ms. And I think I'm going to start posting daily workouts. Last week I dropped the ball and only ran like 3 times (shameful). But that's really all I've got. I just need to tighten the straps this week. Again.

Hey, I did get in a great run this morning. I ran 3.75 miles in 40 minutes--a 10:40 min/mile pace. I've just got to continue fighting this battle with my inner fatty and hope to do better next time.

When it's 32 degrees out, this patsy wears two layers on both top and bottom as well as a hat AND a headband AND gloves!


Thursday, October 25, 2012
Morning

2  cup(s) black coffee
0
2  package(s) aspartame (equal sweetener)
0
6  Tbsp 2% reduced fat milk
1
1  container Fage Yogurt with blueberry
3
Subtotal
4
Midday

2  cup(s) mixed greens
0
1  serving(s) canned chicken 2oz
1
1  serving(s) holy guacamole packet
3
1  tbsp Newman's Own Salad Dressing
2
Subtotal
6
Evening

1  Hearty Turkey Chili
6
2  item(s) plain rice cake(s)
2
1  container Mott's Applesauce
0
1  tsp ground cinnamon
0
Subtotal
8
Anytime

1  small fresh apple(s)
0
1  wedge The Laughing Cow Spreadable Cheese Wedges
1
1  serving(s) Caribou coffee pumpkin chai (evening coffee trip with Abbie)
12
Subtotal
13
Food PointsPlus values total used
31

Friday, October 26, 2012
Morning

2  cup(s) black coffee
0
2  package(s) aspartame (equal sweetener)
0
4  Tbsp 2% reduced fat milk
1
2  Tbsp half-and-half cream
1
1  container Fage Yogurt with blueberry
3
Subtotal
5
Midday

6  piece(s) spicy tuna roll (2-in diameter, 1-in thick)
7
2  cup(s) mixed greens
0
1/4 cup(s) canned mandarin oranges juice pack (drained)
0
2  tbsp Lily's Dressing (raspberry walnut vinaigrette)
2
2  item(s) plain rice cake(s)
2
2  oz water-packed tuna fish, drained
1
1 1/2 oz Fage Yogurt (mixed with tuna on rice cake)
1
Subtotal
13
Evening

1  Hearty Turkey Chili
6
2  slice(s) bread
4
2  tsp regular butter
2
Subtotal
12
Anytime

1  large banana(s)
0
1  Tbsp creamy peanut butter
3
Subtotal
3
Food PointsPlus values total used
33

Saturday, October 27, 2012
Morning

2  No-bake Energy Balls
6
Subtotal
6
Midday

1  Hearty Turkey Chili
6
1  item(s) English muffin(s), any type
3
2  tsp regular butter
2
Subtotal
11
Evening

2  item(s) plain rice cake(s)
2
2  Tbsp creamy peanut butter
5
1  large banana(s)
0
5  fl oz white wine
4
18  fl oz Tom Collins cocktail
11
4  fl oz Long Island iced tea cocktail
7
14  chip(s) potato chips
4
5  Tbsp reduced-fat sour cream
4
5  crackers Ritz Crackers
2
1  Salmon Dip
4
1/2 box M&M's Chocolate Candies
7
Subtotal
50
Anytime

14  chip(s) potato chips (in the after-race swag bag)
4
1  large banana(s)
0
2  No-bake Energy Balls - they were just sitting there :-/
6
Subtotal
10
Food PointsPlus values total used
77

Sunday, October 28, 2012
Morning

No entries for this meal time.

Subtotal
0
Midday

2  cup(s) buttered popcorn
4
1/2 sandwich(es) restaurant type BLT Sandwich
9
15  item(s) french fries
8
Subtotal
21
Evening

2  cup(s) fresh spinach
0
4  oz cooked 99% fat-free ground turkey breast
4
1  serving(s) 1 oz reduced fat Colby jack
2
2  oz Fage Yogurt
1
Subtotal
7
Anytime

2  cup(s) black coffee
0
2  package(s) aspartame (equal sweetener)
0
6  Tbsp half-and-half cream
3
Subtotal
3
Food PointsPlus values total used
31

Monday, October 29, 2012
Morning

2  cup(s) black coffee
0
1  package(s) aspartame (equal sweetener)
0
6  Tbsp 2% reduced fat milk
1
1  container Fage Yogurt
3
Subtotal
4
Midday

2 1/2 cup(s) fresh spinach
0
3  oz cooked 99% fat-free ground turkey breast
3
1/2 serving(s) 1 oz reduced fat Colby jack
1
2 1/2 oz Fage Yogurt
1
1  small fresh apple(s)
0
Subtotal
5
Evening

1  Summer Corn, Bacon and Potato Chowder
6
2  tsp regular butter
2
2  slice(s) bread
4
Subtotal
12
Anytime

1  large whole hard-boiled egg(s)
2
1  bar(s) Mini Bars Toffee Peanut Perfection snack bar
2
Subtotal
4
Food PointsPlus values total used
25
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Friday, October 26, 2012

Rockford peaches

Our Halloween costumes are finally done! It took me a good two months to make them and I am so happy that they are finished! Who in their right mind decides that, with very little sewing experience, they can mesh together to projects? Thank goodness Pete's mom and my own mom are sewing mavens because I relied heavily on them to give me advice do it for me.

Want to see some pictures?

I was hoping you'd say yes!


Trying to free-form a patter. Ha!


Organization is everything


What Pete's Mom made for me when I gave up on making the tops!


Not quite...


Finally! After a lot of last-minute help from my mom!


Jimmy Dougan


Kit Keller

Tonight Abbie will be the Dot to my Kit and Pete will be our Jimmy Dougan.


image from IMDB.com

Then tomorrow, Abbie can't come out with us, so I'll be retooling my hair/hat ever so slightly so I can be Evelyn.


image from IMDB.com

Pete's mom even made Cosmo a little sailor boy costume so he can be Stilwell Angel.


image from altscreen.com

Unfortunately,it got left at her house last night so I don't have any pictures. But you can expect more after this weekend! Many more!

By the way, Holly over at Where We Can Live Like Jack and Sally is doing a giveaway for Shabby Apple (super chic, super sweet clothing). Be sure to head over and sign up to win! Holly's the bomb-diggity!
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Clearing Your Head


Lately I've been feeling very scatterbrained. I have ton of small projects and tasks that I want/need to get done--at home and at work. I really hate that. Give me one big, time-consuming project, like a wedding or a user guide, and I'll dig in no problem. But give me a bunch of smaller things to work on and I'm about as focused as Honey Boo Boo doing an interview.

It's times like this when I need to revisit the basics of organization. At my last job, the CEO got on a big productivity kick. This resulted in two things: 1) we all got free personal label makers (sweet); 2) we had to listen to a "Getting Things Done" presentation by someone from the David Allen Company. We also got a copy of his book, but honestly the label maker was way more exciting.

I never fully immersed myself in the GTD system, but I did take a few practices and tips away from the presentation. The crux of GTD is that you want to free up your mind to focus on the task at hand. If you're trying to remember everything you need to get done, you're going to be distracted. You need a dedicated system for organizing your tasks so you can stop worrying about them. This is called distributed cognition.

A few of my favorite tips are:

  • Get your inbox empty every day. Look through your inbox every day and "process" each item. This means deleting it if you don't need it, moving it to another folder for reference, or attaching it to a task. 
  • Do not get distracted as you're going through your inbox. If a task will take 2 minutes or less, do it right then and there, as you're thinking about it. Otherwise, write it down for later and move on.
  • Schedule time each day to go through your inbox and get it back to empty. Also set aside time to review your task lists, adding any new task and updating existing ones. Some people choose to check their email only two times a day (for example, noon and 4pm). That way, you're not constantly interrupting your work. If you go this route, you might set Outlook to manual send/receive so that you're not distracted by new mail.
  • Set a task list for the next day before you go home. When you come in the next morning, you know exactly where to begin.

But, by far, my absolute FAVORITE practice from this system is the brain dump exercise. Seriously, do it when you're stressed and it will feel like you just got hit with the Care Bear Stare.

(photo stolen from http://southbend7.blogspot.com/)

So here's what you do:

1. Grab yourself some scratch paper (or open a blank Word doc or Notepad file or whatever).

2. Write down EVERYTHING that's on your plate. This can be work-related or not, things that are already in-process or things you might want to do some day. Just grab anything floating around in your mind and smash it onto the paper. Don't worry about order, structure, anything. Here's an example:



I kept my list to non-work things only because I figured it's probably not cool to post work info on my personal blog. As you can see, I started out with a parallel structure, but then the brain dump frenzy overtook me and I just got CRAZY and began some of the items with NOUNS. WHAT??

3. Choose where you're going to keep your list. It helps if you can keep everything in one location, but I don't. For work items, I use the Tasks pane in Outlook. For personal items, I use the "Errands" app on my phone. It's not my favorite, but it's free. I've heard "Teux Deux" is an amazing app. There's also "Remember the Milk" and "Evernote." If I get over my aversion to spending money on apps, I might try one of those some day. If you're not very techie (but still read blogs?) get yourself a pretty notebook.

4. Create categories in your application (or pages in your notebook) for organizing your tasks. My categories are: Home, Computer, Calls to Make, Errands, Christmas, Planning/preparation, Work. I really like Christmas.

5. For each item in your brain dump list, create a task. Identify the next action for that item so that your task gives you a clear call to action. Take, for example, the "Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters" item on my list. I'm not going to go out and buy Halloween candy as a separate errand--I just need to remember to pick some up when we get groceries this weekend. So my task would be "Add candy to the grocery list." But that's silly. Why would I create a task for it when just adding candy to my list takes the same amount of time? If a task takes less than 2 minutes, just do it then and there.



You can bundle some tasks together, if it makes sense. For example, in my list, I had a few things I needed to talk to my sister Abbie about. Apparently we really need to catch up!



I created one task: "Talk to Abbie about". I set the task to create a check list out of my notes and then put each task from my brain dump as a line in the note section. I made a similar combined task for emailing Pete.




The GTD system does not advocate creating reminders for yourself--the idea is you train yourself to turn to your list whenever you have time to work it down. You don't want to set yourself up for distraction. I don't follow that. I find that scheduling reminders helps. For example, I want to be reminded to talk to Abbie about some key items when I meet up with her tonight for a cold-weather running class. So I scheduled a reminder for that task at 7:30pm, approximately 1 hour after the class starts (when it should end).



6. Schedule time weekly to perform a brain dump exercise and update your task list. Friday before leaving work seems to be a good time.


The problem is, you have to be very rigorous with forcing yourself to follow these practices, and I'm just...not. When I find myself buried under tasks, I bust out these tips. But, honestly  I think the brain dump activity is most fun when you haven't done it for a while. Which is a silly reason to allow myself to get swamped. Hopefully this time I'll keep up with the GTD system (and finally manage to get my Inbox emptied).

By the way, I owe you a food log from yesterday, so today you get two!

Tuesday food log

Breakfast
1 container Fage Greek yogurt 0% with blueberry acai - 3 pts
2 cups coffee (Vanilla Hazelnut) - 0 pts
2 packets Equal sweetener - 0 pts
4 Tbsp half and half - 2 pts
2 Tbsp 2% milk - 0 pts
Lunch
2 cups mixed salad greens - 0 pts
1/4 cup cooked broccoli - 0 pts
1 packet Holy Guacamole 100 calorie packs - original flavor - 3 pts
1 Tbsp Newman's Own Salad Dressing, Olive Oil and Vinegar - 2 pts
2 oz canned chicken - 1 pt
1/2 sweet potato - 2 pts
2 tsp ground cinnamon - 0 pts
Snack
1 banana - 0 pts
2 Tbsp peanut butter - 5 pts
Dinner
3 oz cooked chicken breast, seasoned with oregano and garlic powder - 3 pts
1/2 cups white rice with 1 tsp butter - 4 pts
1 cup cooked green beans with 2 tsp brown sugar and 1 tsp butter - 2 pts

Wednesday food log

Breakfast
1 container Fage Greek yogurt 0% with blueberry acai - 3 pts
2 cups coffee (Vanilla Hazelnut) - 0 pts
2 packets Equal sweetener - 0 pts
2 Tbsp half and half - 1 pts
4 Tbsp 2% milk - 1 pts
Lunch
1 cup WW hearty turkey chili - 6 pts
1 apple - 0 pts
Snack
2 plain unsalted rice cakes - 2 pts
3 Tbsp peanut butter - 8 pts
1 banana - 0 pts
Dinner
Vegetable omelet: 1 egg and 2 egg whites, spinach, onions and 1 oz reduced-fat colby - 8 pts
1 slice white toast with 2 tsp butter - 4 pts
Evening snack
Chocolate banana ice cream: 1 frozen banana in the food processor with 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder - 0 pts

Do you have any productivity tips you swear by?
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