Saturday, January 01, 2011


I started this in 2006, and again, and again. 2 years ago I wrote about what I wanted to have in check by 30. My income is better, my debt is less, but otherwise... much the same. There is still some debt, my income, while decent now and from a better job is not as well handled as it should be, I'm still overweight and otherwise much as I was when I talked about 30.

Well, now I am 30.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sometimes boredom is a good thing

I'm lucky, I live very close to a large park where I can run around a lake and in (carefully maintained, totally artificial) forests, I also have a treadmill which was being sold on craigslist by someone in my neighborhood who'd barely used it.

I get a better workout on the treadmill.

Frequently I hear people say they can't run on a treadmill, it is too boring, and at times I've thought so too.. but consistently I found I could run further and longer on the treadmill and I always put the treadmill at an incline to compensate but still keep running longer and faster.

Finally this weekend, as I was walking along the lake halfway through my run, I figured it out. The monotonous boredom thing is actually useful to me. My best runs are when running becomes meditative, its just me and the motion. When outdoors I'm constantly distracted, constantly finding reasons to stop and smell the flowers, and I have a great time but hardly a run. Outdoors I find I have to constantly remind myself to keep moving, its a forceful effort. Indoors on the treadmill its stopping that requires a more conscious thought because I have to reach out and press stop before I can let my legs halt. When I don't have to think "keep running, keep running, don't stop" through my head to move each step its easier for me to just revel in the movements themselves.

This does not mean I'm giving up on running outside, its great for my mood so long as I don't beat myself up afterward about walking half of it and spending 5 minutes staring at a dog or the 5 couples getting married or a flock of geese. Instead I'll continue to put on my running gear on the rare occasion that I have daylight to run in and run as I feel like and walk as I wish.

Monday, December 08, 2008

2 years to change

I'm 2 years to 30
I make under 50k
I owe 1/4 of my income in credit card debt
I have very little savings, and keep dipping into it
I'm over 10 pounds overweight, I've lost more before but this I gained back
I have a history of depression
and the self-confidence that goes with all the above

These are the things I want to change.

Well not the age thing, I can't help that but by the time I'm 30 I want the others to be in check. These are all things that I know how to control, I've been in good standing before though I won't make excuses for how I got into this mess, simply, its time to get out of it.

The things I don't want to change:
I live in a big expensive city
I have my own small apartment in an area I like
I have a fairly social party-driven life
I'm probably working on an art project for next year that may cost me some $ to pull off

The things I wouldn't mind changing:
I'm single and have been for some time
I'd like to be a better friend, daughter and sister
I have a fairly low impact on the environment for someone of my stats but want it lower

I'd like to hit my 30s running and I want to do it while still enjoying these next 2 years. I think I can be green, frugal, fit, confident and social

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

This post was written a year ago and saved as draft. While some of it is out of date the point stands, and to be honest with myself not that much has really changed:

If there is one secret, one secret at all to personal change, to becoming a better person, to becoming a healthier person, to living more 'fully' in the world, if there was one diet secret, money making secret, exercise secret...

It isn't visualizing success, it isn't eating more or less of some macronutrient or quitting your job and starting over again. That secret would be that you can't do it until you really truly start, until your mind is fully in it, and that no one, no matter what they say knows exactly what your trigger for change will be.

I can think I'm there over and over again, starting and restarting changes - and in a way that can be the second secret to success: persistence (or hard-headedness)- but when I really truly hit that trigger, that is when I change my world and those triggers are different each time. I've never been able to force one to appear but when they do, well best to grab on and ride it for all its might and make it last long enough to make the change a habit.

Right now I desperately need that drive, that trigger. I'm coming to a point where my difficulty making change has been really affecting my mood. Its not that I lack for good ideas or for reasons, its that I've lacked a trigger something to take everything from contemplation to action, from stuttering starts to a blast.

Still I can not let this go on: With my body particularly I am unhappy, with the way I am eating and the lack of exercise. I have been refusing to buy new clothes because I don't want to waste money and because when I lost weight a couple years ago I swore I would not let this slide upwards happen, that I would never again buy that size of clothes (also I seem to have found myself at an odd size, my smaller 8s and below unwearable, my 8s and 10s unattractively tight and uncomfortable and the 12s amazingly baggy - I forgot that over size 10 the differences between each size is bigger). This feeling of unattractiveness is making me less willing to go out. It is actually affecting my life and sure, that may be vanity, but its also honest.

And restarting again

I am going to restart this, perhaps it will help. Sadly little has changed since I first wrote a post for myself here. I am still holding onto that extra 20some pounds, I am doing a little better financially and a little worse as far as my environmental, political and social consciousness. I do now live in an apartment I like.

Looking at this blog the last post I wrote, but saved into draft is just the right post to restart with, so I'll post that now and get back to goals and motivations later.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I haven't kept up with this blog the way I meant to, nor have I kept up well with a number of the goals I listed. Yet, there have been improvements and I have not completely failed.

Some small things that have changed or held out:
- While my relationship with the gym can be on-again, off-again it has not broken apart.
- I stopped using the foam cups or single-use plastic thingies of tea. I do still use the break-room tea things sometimes but when I do I put it into my own tea strainer which will get 3-4 times as much tea out of it.
- I also brought a very large thing to keep water in to increase my water drinking.
- I have gotten my bike ready for use again.
- I am going out to walk during lunch in the sunlight most days rather than sitting at my desk.
- I am walking to a further away but faster train to/from work rather than taking the closer but slower trip most days. (in the end the trip time is the same)
- I often walk to the library during lunch, its at the outer reaches of my viable lunch-hour range so I only have a few minutes there but its cutting down my purchases of books/videos again and allowing me to order books that I wouldn't normally buy on things that will encourage helfullness and environmentalism in me.

Some things I've failed at:
- I really need to be more consistent with bringing my lunch.
- Consistent gym use and 'ramping it up'
- Drinking a little less
- Making any measurable improvements in weight/size or fitness
- Making any additional changes to reduce my impact.
- I'm still having binges where I eat far too much some evening and weekend days, the result is that I'm holding myself back.

Some things that are in my favor now with the warmer weather:
- No heating is being used, space heater never goes on
- I have fewer excuses not to use my bike for getting around
- Going out for a walk during lunch is more pleasant. Besides exercise I get chores done.
- The farmer's market next to work is starting to flesh out again. I love apples but I'm getting a little tired of them now.
- With summer come some good dates and events to use as goals.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Lunch Quickies: My resolution

I've let a lot slide since starting at this job. Its easy to justify all the little things that lead to all of the above problems.

easy to grab a plastic bowl and a plastic spoon for morning oatmeal that might be coming in single-serving packages. For lunch I might run out and grab a salad at whole foods, using a cardboard or plastic container and if I don't stop them they'd put it in a plastic bag and I'd grab a couple napkins and a plastic fork. If I bring lunch it might be in ziplock baggies or again, single use (though often not single serving -much as it may look it) packages. A snack might consist of a snack bar or nuts in their own packaging... and on it goes.

The quickest fix of course has been to bring in two mugs, I have a large one I keep filled with water and a little one I bring to get tea. Continuing on waste reduction, I just got myself what is perhaps one of the most blogged about items (who'd have thought it), which became famous through a blog that I've read quite faithfully since its inception and has spawned a few knockoffs like and many posts (vegan and non). Yes, I did, I got a laptop lunchbox Previously I've used a lot of tupperware, particularly favoring ones with two sections but that can be incredibly bulky and with everything I carry slim is good, I also prefer to eat a lot of small meals so this lunchbox is right for me in that I can eat out of one container for a snack, one or two for a meal, the last for my last snack.. or however. As today is only my second day using it I will have to review it another time.

For breakfast I usually eat the same thing everyday, oatmeal, but that is because I love it. I buy oatmeal in bulk and keep a container of it at work with a bag of chocolate protein powder. With the right protein powder I can have a breakfast that has an equal amount of protein to carbs - though I find that more amusing than important, its easy to add a banana, raisins, cinnamon or whatever I feel like for variety so I'm content and while protein powder is pretty expensive, oatmeal in bulk is terribly cheap and the powder lasts me a very long time. I'm curious as to how much this costs me but it has to be cents a day. Much, much cheaper than a daily bagel. I still need to bring in a bowl to use for breakfast everyday but will start using the spoon from the lunchbox now.

Regardless of good intentions for lunch and breakfast it is preparation that is of course the biggest problem. There are many tricks for ensuring that there is healthy, cheap food ready to grab and go. My next several posts will focus on a few quick recipes, meal ideas and how to shop towards maximizing time, preparedness, fugality and health.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Lunch Quickies : The Problem

Weekday lunch and breakfasts may be one of the easiest places to start reforming budget, diet and waste habits for most of us. These two meals are often pretty consistent when it comes to time, place and who we eat with, and they are meals that don't tend to rack up a lot in emotional importance the way weekend meals and dinners can for so many.

Yet weekday meals cost us a lot in waste, in unrealized money and calories. Its so easy to grab a bagel or run out at lunch for a $5 meal. So cheap, it won't hurt. Yet lets do a little math here

The Cost
52 weeks per year, 5 week days = 260 -11 holidays, 10 vacation days = 239 days at work each year, not counting sick days when you are probably no overeating or going out anyway... right?

239 * $5 meal each day = $1195 that I could spend elsewhere, and to be honest living in NYC I'm usually going to spend a bit more than $5 on lunch out and if I added on breakfast, or goodness, a latte in the morning it would be pretty easy to spend $10 or more over what a 'brown bag' lunch would have cost me. $2600, if I freed up $2600 in my budget I'd be on my way to Prague this spring and from listening to coworkers plan where to get lunch or what to have delivered, I can easily believe that many people do indeed spend at least this amount each year.

The Waste
Lunch particularly is a wastefull meal. Even if you bring from home you are probably using single serve items, heavily packaged foods, ziplock baggies, etc. If you eat at a cafeteria there are those plastic containers for salads, plastic forks, the pile of napkins everyone takes. If you eat fastfood... I don't even need to say it.

According to it has been estimated that on average a school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. Here are some more lunch waste facts:

I hardly believe that adults are any better, we are more hooked on convenience, mobile, unaccountable and simply eat more. I even have the impression that many people stay conscious about the health, expense and waste of their childs' meals while neglecting their own, but there is a lot that can be learned from childrens meals.

Does it even need to be said? We know already how most fast food meals are loaded with calories, fat, chemicals and etc. We know that skipping meals is also unhealthy, causing people to eat more and less consciously later, encouraging the metabolism to slow down. We know that even healthy restaurant meals can be loaded with a lot more that we think they are and that restaurants have warped our perception of portion sizes. Even that salad bar can be a bit problematic because it is so easy to overdo it on dressings and high calorie/fat items.

The problem is of course, the same one it always is: time, planning.

I'll look at making changes in the next post.