January 31, 2011

Sick, Again

Ladies and gentlemen, I am sick.  Might be the flu, I suspect it is just a cold but it seems like I just had a cold not that long ago!

Oh wait!

I did- over Christmas break.

So I'm here with the soup and the gatorade and the misery and feverish hallucinations and whatnot.  I haven't gotten to exercise since Wednesday.  Overall my calorie intake is pretty good.  I've lost 13 lbs since the beginning of the year and I am very proud of that achievement.  I feel good (despite the illness of course).

I miss jogging.  I have not been able to go as planned.  On Tuesday it rained and Thursday I came down with this plague and have not been able to walk up a hill without coughing and gasping, jogging seems impossible until at least tomorrow or Wednesday.

On the bright side, I got invited to a birthday party!  On Saturday night I will be enjoying the hospitality of Annie Sue as she celebrates her 25th year.  I am very excited about the prospect of a party with new, non graduate student people.  I am also thrilled at the opportunity to get dressed up and enjoy a nice dinner and birthday cake.

Since I am on the mend and have a party to look forward to, this week is looking up, considerably.

January 26, 2011

Better Day

Today was a much better day for me. 

I went to yoga (so, so, so hard) and zumba.

Planning all of my meals for today last night helped me feel like I had a plan, I had control.  There was no crazy, impulsize eating that left me feeling guilty, uncomfortable, and sick.

Just a better day in total.

January 25, 2011

Oh dear.

I feel sick.  I feel sick in that completely self-inflicted, I want to throw up, I've eaten too much kind of way.

The day started fine with a great, healthy breakfast.  However, when I came home from school I went and took a nap.  I woke up very late, very hungry because it was almost three and I had not eaten since eight that morning.

I ran for tortilla chips, leftover from the Halloween party (unopened) and leftover candy from the game night a few weekends ago. 

I felt so disappointed in myself.  I tried to curb it in I planned on having a lean cuisine for dinner but the candy kept calling me.  Maybe I should have thrown it away, I did throw away the rest of the chips.  I had more candy.

I put it all away, hid it from myself.

Several hours went by and all I could think about was food, specifically how I did not want a lean cuisine for dinner and instead wanted take out.

I tried to control myself.  I paced.  I went for a walk.  I worked on my lecture.  I did some reading.... I tried.

I caved.

I got in my car and went to Whataburger. 

Epic fail.

I ate my meal and now feel sick, not only from the overly full feeling, but also from the frustration of trying and still falling short when it comes to basic self-control.

I know that the key to any kind of permanent weight-loss is to be flexible: some days will look 'perfect' on my food diary while others will look like today.  My nutritionist, Heather, encourages me to be flexible.  In fact I met with her yesterday and she recommended that maybe I don't track my food sometimes, so that it doesn't become obsessive. 

I clearly don't think I'm ready for that.

Okay, so let's be flexible.  Let's chaulk today up to that great teacher, Experience.  Now, I will go into my food diary and plan everything I will eat tomorrow, that way there will be less chance for impulsion.

Things to learn:
Don't wait too long to eat- it will make it more likely to eat anything and everything.
Don't keep chips in the house- I won't be making that mistake anytime soon.
If I want to get takeout maybe I should try two things first: 1) wait an hour 2) eat a meal.  If I still want the take-out even after I eat a meal then I will deal with that later, but maybe this will help me to be more aware if I have some kind of plan.

On my profile it says that I live the life of either a total asectic or completely indulgent.  Today embodies that.

January 24, 2011

Running around Lake Ella

Yesterday I went jogging for the first time in months.

It was a goal I had been working towards- not so much physically, but psychologically.  I knew that I had stepped away from the pavement and to get back on was going to be hard, discouraging, exhausting, and frustrating. 

On some level it was all of those things but on another, more significant level, it was rewarding, encouraging, fun, and relaxing. 

I felt strong. 

I decided to run the Springtime Tallahassee 10K.  I ran this race last year and it was, by far and away, the most fun race I ran all year.  It is a pretty route through Meyers Park Neighborhood, many members of the community sit on their lawns and cheer on the runners.  One person had a huge stereo blasting Chariots of Fire, another had hoisted their sprinkler on a pole so runners could run under it and get a little refreshment.  At the end (and this is the best part) there are massage therapists for the runners, food, and beer!  They don't do pathetic cups of Gatorade, they serve a variety of really good beers.  It is just a really fun, supportive race. 

And I will run it again in ten weeks, April 2. 

I realized yesterday that if I train consistently I could run that race.  It is entirely doable and I think that is awesome.

I'm awesome.

January 19, 2011

Ode to my Hips

Ode to my Hips!
I have amazing hips- really, textbook perfect.  When I am thinner my body looks like an hourglass, or a pin-up picture from the 1940s.

When I go to zumba class I do not wear the dowdy sweatpants or baggy shirts.  I want to wear the fitted shorts and tops.  I do this because I love looking at my magnificent dance moves and magical hips in the mirror.

In yoga classes I actually get compliments on the 'openness' of my hips, meaning that they are very flexible.

Oh my hips!  How I love you!  You make me look womanly and curvy yet at the same time you are clearly athletic.  You embrace the contradiction that is me and I appreciate it.

January 14, 2011

Student Athletes

In my class of 140 students I think I have ten students athletes. 

Teaching student athletes is an experience.

Firstly, the emails.  Lots of them for different reasons- excused absences for sport events, athletic academic advisors letting me know students are in my class, wanting me to know that if I have any issues that I can look to them for support.

The emails are interesting: are the students sitting in the front of the class?  Staying awake?  Are they focused or are they being disruptive?

Also, because the class is so large I do not take attendance.  The athletic department has that covered too: they send people around to look in the classroom windows checking to make sure that the students are all in attendance.  One student, C, got skipped on Wednesday's headcount and actually asked me to write a note to his coach documenting his attendance.  The man is at least 6'5 and sits in the front row- very hard to miss.

If any of these students do poorly it will not be because they failed to come to class.

The athletic department informed me that some of these students (labeled 'at-risk') will receive weekly scheduled meetings with advisors, bi-weekly meetings with a 'strategic tutor,' as well as help from 'content tutors.'  The advisors also want me to report if I am having any behavioral problems with any student athletes, as well as (and this is what I like) wanting to know if they are doing very well- participating, answering questions, etc.

Additionally, I don't know if this was just C's case or the situations of all of the student athletes, but C was telling me how he has multiple copies of the syllabus- one in his folder and one taped to his bedroom wall.  I also think that the academic advisors print them out too so that they know what is happening and when.

I have to tell you I am thus far impressed with the support system in place for these students.  I think for a long time the assumption was that the athletes got special treatment- passing grades even if they did not deserve it.  Being an athlete at a school like UF and FSU does come with perks, that's for sure, but I think this idea that students are passed along undeservedly is a thought with diminishing weight.

So far I enjoy teaching thoroughly.

January 12, 2011


Not a lot to report.  I'm staying in my calorie range, some of the hunger issues are getting better but it is worst between lunch and dinner.

The past few days Jackson and I have been going for long walks, despite the cold.  He actually gets more energetic and rowdy the longer we walk.  You'd think those little legs would be tired but instead they just seem to get more and more active.  I met a couple of my neighbors: Mrs. Hopkins and Mr. Court. 

Mrs. Hopkins is an elderly woman, her and her husband take walks right around the time that Jackson and I like to go.  She was alone today, she told me that her husband's neck hurt so he stayed inside.

Mr. Hopkin's has 'memory problems.'  I asked Mrs. Hopkins if she had a support network.  She mentioned her daughter living in Wakulla.  I meant something more involved, kind of like what my mom has, where caregivers meet regularly to share their struggles as well as highlights.  It sounds like she is basically doing this alone and my heart lurched for her.  She told me they had been together for 64 years. 

64 years.

If their marriage was a person he would be qualified for social security by now. 

I hope I can be supportive and helpful to her.  I mean, I barely know her, but she clearly needs someone to listen to her. 

The other man I met today was named Sheldon Court.  He told me he was '74 and loving life!'  I introduced myself and he immediately asked me if I had one of his flashlights.  I told him no.  He rushed inside and came out carrying two small black flashlights.

'Your choices are black or black,' he chuckled, clearly smitten with his own cleverness.

'I think I'll take the black one.'

And off I went with two new neighbors and a flashlight.

Well, I must go.  Puritan government philosophy and religious treaties are calling and I must read them before tomorrow afternoon.

January 10, 2011

The Nutritionist, Heather

This morning I met with my *nutritionist* Heather.  I know, you're thinking 'how does a graduate student get a nutritionist?'  Well, Heather and the other fine folks at Thagard, are a part of my university health insurance package and I plan on utilizing them.

This was the third time I met with a nutritionist, only the second time with Heather.  Largely she appluaded my 'genuine efforts' at healthy eating.  I printed up my sparkpeople food diary and brought them in to show her.  I also brought in my latest healthy eating book, 400 Calorie Fix.  She seemed very pleased.  Heather did encourage me to be more flexible.  Even only meeting with her twice, she zeroed in on my tendencies towards complete dedication or reckless abandon.  She instructed me not to worry about jogging; that will come later.  Instead, focus on eating and feeling better in general.  She expressed worry that if I committed to diet and exercise immediately, I would let both slide because I could do neither the justice it deserved. 

That felt like a legitimate point.

All week long I've been talking about jogging and to what avail?  I went once last week.  Heather says that for right now that's enough.  It has to be or I'll feel like a failure. 

My loans come in sometime this week and with that I plan on rejoining Art of the Catwalk.  I love it there.  Once that happens I would like to get back into going to classes twice a week or so but I need to ingratiate myself slowly.  Let my body adjust to exercising again, let my cardiovasculature get strong. 

When I was in the office I felt like Heather's advice was very frustrating: I want to do everything at once! However, my track record (pun!) with several commitments has not been good.  I get overwhelmed or discouraged and quit.  I get tired and quit.  I felt frustrated and quit, etc.  Maybe this way, I'll avoid the quitting stages. 

Maybe this way I'll have more success.

January 8, 2011

What's with all of these naps?

Things are going well.  I'm staying in calorie range but still hungry all of the time. 

I keep meaning to go jogging but am struggling to find the willpower.  In the afternoons I get very hungry, and then knowing I have to wait several hours to eat again, I'd rather take a nap then feel sickly all afternoon. 

In other news: I got a new car today!  A 2006 Ford Taurus with only 31,000 miles.  This car is cherry!  I've named it Aunt Libby.  It has leather seats, tinted windows, real comfortable drive, and I am very excited to be driving a new car. 

January 6, 2011

need sleep

so tired.  long day.  two classes and spent the evening working on my lecture for tomorrow.

January 5, 2011

First Day of Teaching

Today was my first day in the classroom- my classroom where I am the teacher and run the show. 

I think it went well.  They laughed at my jokes, seemed to be connecting, and were participating with my questions.  It doesn't hurt that I'm stubborn and will wait for them to answer rather than move forward.

I have to say that I got pretty shook up before I got there.  I got there at 10 AM- my class didn't start until 1115- and I has plans to print my attendance roster and pick up my syllabi.  I got my roster and was shocked when I saw 140 students.  I was only supposed to have 100.

It was one of those things that makes you panic, a wrench in the works, etc. 

But I got over it and now there's a good chance that I'll have a grader for the class.  I don't know how I feel about that, actually I do- I'm not a fan.  I'm glad to be able to share some of the work, grading is a lot of unfun, laborous time-intensive busyness, time spent better elsewhere.  All that aside I did look forward to running my own room entirely.  Now I'll have another graduate student in there, a colleague who is will witness all of my follies, all of my 'and um...'s, my political incorrectness, mistakes, and awkward silences.  Somewhere in there will be glory and awesomeness but it isn't as important if someone witnesses this as what might be said if someone sees me screwing up. 

I know that I'm overthinking this.

I also know that if I get a grader and whoever it is I will have to make a point to foster camaraderie and a team mentality with them early on in the relationship. 

Didn't get to exercise today- I was not entirely in the mood and it was also raining so the dog and I went out for a quick walk.  I did say inside the calorie range today but I have to say: I am hungry all day and not that kind of 'man, I could go for a sandwich right now' but in the eat dinner at 420 in the afternoon or hungry within an hour of eating a meal.  Is this some kind of detox?  Will these feelings get better because it really stinks to constantly feel like I am going to eat my hand or be continually nauseous all day.

January 4, 2011


When I published my goals I stated that I wanted to do zumba at least twice a week.

That hasn't happened this week.

And there's a good reason: my gym membership expired.

I love Art of the Catwalk but in December my membership expired and as a graduate student I must wait to renew my membership until my student loans come in next week. 

So in the mean time I'm walking my dog in the afternoons for 35 minutes.  It is not the same as taking a zumba class but it is helping me build back my cardiovascular strength, burn some calories, and enjoy some fresh air.  I suppose I do not need to justify walking in lieu of zumba, but since this blog is about accountability it seemed like a good idea.

In other news, classes started today and I start teaching tomorrow.  I'm nervous but also really excited.  I loved so many of my college professors and hope that I can inspire that love of learning in some of my students.  I want my students to know that they are participants in history, that history has continued consequences, and that requesting that they learn history is not some draconian punishment meant only to frustrate them (as many of them believe).

I did well with calories staying below 1700.  I tell you, that may sound like a lot but I am hungry a lot.  I ate lunch and was hungry again 90 minutes later.  I took a nap.  Woke up, walked the dog, and at 410 decided that I wanted my dinner right then and would have my last mini-meal at 8pm.

Being hungry stinks.

January 3, 2011


The TRPC is the Tallahassee Rifle and Pistol Club and that is where I spent my morning.  Over the weekend my dad gave me a .22 caliber pistol and showed me some basic gun safety. 

Remember how I said I wanted to learn how to shoot?  Well today I got that opportunity to start learning how to handle a gun.  My uncle took me over there and began to teach me how to hold, load, aim, and fire a weapon. 

Let me tell you this: shooting a gun is fun!  It is hard, explosive power coming out of your hands and I want to do it again.  It is a rush of adrenaline for sure.  Additionally, I don't know about other people's experiences but I had never been around a gun before.  My father does not hunt and I did not grow up around weapons.  I remember that my dad had a shotgun in his closet when I was younger but my brother picked it up, and under the weight of it promptly dropped it, ripping a hole in my parents' comforter.  That gun was gone by sunset and never graced our door again.

Anyways, being able to shoot a gun today was kind of like being in a movie.  All of my previous experience with guns was seeing them in cinema or on television, almost in a mythic way, always seeing, never handling.  Today that changed.  I now know for myself how heavy they are and how difficult it is to hold a gun out in front of you for more than a few minutes.  I saw the smoke, smelled the gun powder, heard the loud crack of my gun as well as other people's.  Today I got to interact with something that few people in my social sphere get to experience.

As far as the rest of the day, things went really well.  I met with a friend, Meghan, who looked over my syllabus, my two lectures, and talked with me about my expectations as well as those of my students.  I really appreciated her taking the time to give me some advice.

I won't bore you with the details of my diet but I will tell you that I managed to stay under 1700 calories.  I experience significant hunger in the afternoon and did give in to the temptation of quick sugar but I worked it into my day's eating.  I did not get home early enough to go for a run but I did take Jackson on a 35 minute walk around the neighborhood.

January 2, 2011

The Twenty-Ninth Year

Being born on New Year's Day brings extra weight to the day.  Not only are you starting a new calendar year but with each New Year's Eve you put away one year of your life and begin both a new year for the world but a new year for yourself as well.

Yesterday I turned 29.  I can hardly believe it.  I do not feel 29 and I certainly do not feel that I look 29.  I don't have gray hair, a genetic trait that I somehow managed to sidestep.  My mother swears that my grandmother went gray in her twenties and thirties.  I never knew; both my grandmother and my mother have been dying their hair the duration of my life.  I also don't really have wrinkles, my sister is getting crow's feet at 27.  However, I did begin to notice the parantheses around my mouth that some people call 'smile lines.'  A friend of mine told me I had 'aged well,' to which I replied that I did not even realize that I was aging yet.  I suppose my naivete is what adds to my looking younger. 

Well, with the New Year comes resolutions.  I do not like the idea of 'resolutions' because the root word is 'resolute' meaning hard and unchangeable, unbreakable, completely rigid and uncapable of compromise.  Folks, that just won't work for me.  People are complicated; situations change.  What works for me in theory in January may be absolutely impossible come March.  So what I have decided to do, and what I will share publicly with any readers I may have, are my Goals for My 29th Year.  I have put a lot of thought into them, certainly more thought then I have ever put into something similar in year's past.  I tried to be very specific. 

Goals for 2011
My 29th year is going to be my best!
·         Go camping at least once before the year is out! 
·         Go on the Outdoor Pursuits New Moon Paddle 4/3 $15
·         Take a road trip!  Atlanta, Gatlinburg, Daytona, Ashville, etc!
·         See more movies: see one movie per month.  Make time to see culturally relevant, interesting, and fun films. 
·         Take an art class at the Union: watercolor/acrylic painting, Wednesday nights, $60
·         Learn how to shoot a gun, maybe take up skeet shooting.

·        Read one fiction book for pleasure each month.  Six books should be from classic literature, six should be recently published works.  Despite my large reading commitments I should be able to fit in one book a month.  Reading broadens my imagination and my overall perspective.  It allows me to be more empathetic about other people’s life experiences.  It also gives me something to converse with people about which may help me make friends or deepen other relationships.
·         Book Club: I should make a point to attend book club at least four times this year.  I may not always have the time or want to read their selections but I should try to meet more young women my age and book club is a great way to do so.
·         Write a short story!  I would like to imagine what it is like to be my dog, Jackson, and will write a short story from his perspective.

·        Cultivate and style Genuine Efforts to be a stylish, easy-to-navigate blog.
·        Blog at least five times a week.
·        Tell friends and family about my blog, try to increase public accountability and readership.
·         Get back into Art of the Catwalk.  Once student loans have arrived renew my membership and commit to Zumba two times a week (minimum standard).
·         YOGA: I enjoy Yoga and just because Jessa left should not mean that I can just walk away from my practice.  Therefore, I want to commit to myself to at least one Yoga class a week.  It can be at the Catwalk, the Leach, or at Journeys.  If Emily’s style does not work for me there are other options, other instructors.  When I practice Yoga I feel fitter, stronger, leaner, more lithe and supple.  I enjoy the identity of being able to say that I am a ‘Yogi’ therefore I must attend one class a week.
·         JOGGING: I enjoy running and enjoying calling myself a ‘runner.’  Therefore I must actually run.  I am committing to jogging three times a week (Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesdays are good days for the spring semester). 
·         RACING: Run at least three 5K races over the course of the year.  Also, run the Springtime Tallahassee 10K and the Turkey Trot 10K.
·         Half-Marathon: I can do this.  There are a variety of different half-marathons in October, November, and December (Tom Walker Memorial Half-Marathon in Gainesville during November being one).  I must pick one and commit to the training schedule outlined in You Can Run a Half-Marathon in order to succeed at this goal.

Healthy Living!
·         Strength Training: I have a Total Home Gym.  I have a gym membership and free membership to the student health center.  I have time.  I am committing to strength training two times a week.  Firstly I will start on making my arms, shoulders, and core stronger.  I am putting this under Healthy Living because it will add to the overall quality of my life, not just my abilities as an athlete.
·         Follow the 400 Calorie Fix for at least six days a week.  Meals should be no more than 420 calories (breakfasts are usually larger because of coffee) with a maximum caloric range of 1600-1700 calories.  This means four 400 calorie meals a day.  
·         Keep a food diary.  Some entries will be blogged and therefore made public.  However, it is conceivable that there will not always be time to blog everything I eat but there is time to keep a private food diary on paper.  In addition to tracking my food and calories, I will keep a record of my exercise in this diary as well.
·         Continue to see the nutrition counselor on campus.  It is a free service to me covered my fees as a student.  Meeting with Heather will encourage accountability as well as understanding my complicated relationship with food and exercise.

·         Using the 400 Calorie Fix, plan meals ahead and create a grocery list accordingly.  A grocery list will help me save money.
·         Do not eat out more than twice a week.  Not only is it additional calories but it costs much more money than when I prepare my own meals. 
·         Saving: This spring I will be making more money than I have ever made before as a student.  I should have something to show for it.  Each month I will save $200 ($50 a week) so that by April I will have $800 dollars saved.  If I am employed over the summer I should try to do something similar.  I will certainly be employed over the fall and should again try to save $800 over the semester.  I am committing to having a $2000 ‘nest egg’ by the end of 2011, barring that there is no emergency or crisis that would require me to use my savings earlier than anticipated.  One way to save money will be to limit eating out and impulse shopping. 

·         Join ALTRUSA or an equivalent service club this spring.  Not only will this help me to perform needed services but it will also help me to meet new people, cultivate friendships, place roots in my community, and network.
·         Church donations: I am committing to a church donation of $10 a month ($120 a year).  By planning this donation ahead of time, I will prevent myself from forgetting to get cash until the collection plate is being passed.  The church does good work and I should make a point to participate in making this work possible.
·         Preschool: Twice in the spring semester and twice in the fall semester I commit to bringing a charitable donation of snacks and juice worth between $10 and $15 each time.  If I shop sales and plan ahead I should be able to contribute several boxes of snacks this way.
·         In the summer months I commit to a onetime $10-$15 donation to the Heifer International Project and a $20 donation to the ASPCA.

·         Commit to reading the Bible throughout the year using the www.biblestudytools.com daily reading schedule or a similar schedule.
·         I am committing to a deeper prayer life.  This will not be evidenced in a diary or journal but rather a written agreement to pray more often and pray more clearly so that the things on my heart are known to God and that maybe I can know something about the things of God’s heart.
·         Show appreciation: God’s creation is infinite and vast.  I can do my part to acknowledge the wonderful contributions that others make around me by sending cards.  I commit to four cards a month.

So I hope it is clear that I am planning on a 'Banner Year' and looking forward to this last year of my third decade.