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2014: The Year Of…?

After almost two weeks off from blogging due to vacations and laziness brought about by -16 degree weather, I am back and slightly ready to jump back in.  In truth, I am forcing myself to write something against my will.  If I don’t, I will continue to slack off and neglect something that is important to me, even if I don’t always want to give it enough of my time.  One of my resolutions for this new year is to give this blog the attention I think it deserves.  I hate the idea of new year’s resolutions, but I have in fact made some silent promises to myself that I hope I can keep.

calvin-hobbes-new-years-resolutionsRelax, I’m not going to list them for you.  If you’re into sharing your goals for this new year, more power to you, but I find that if I talk about a goal to enough people, I’ll eventually view it as unimportant and neglect it.  I’m not ashamed to say that I am totally horrible at keeping resolutions.  Like a lot of people, I’ll do fantastic for a month or two, but eventually give in to temptation, or simply get lazy and say to hell with it all.  The most common broken goal seems to be to lose X amount of pounds by a certain date.  Gym memberships are purchased, junk food is thrown away, and workout videos play in living rooms for a few weeks.  Then, when results don’t come quick enough or when friends encourage dinners and donuts, the goal is forgotten and the pounds remain where they are.

Having goals is important.  If the new year is the excuse you need to set some, you should do it.  Many people laugh off the idea of a new year meaning a new beginning, but why can’t it mean just that?  What is the downside to finding a reason to better yourself and your life?  If someone decides to dedicate more time to charitable work, does it really matter why they are doing it?  We’re only 13 tiny days into 2014; if you have yet to set a goal, there’s plenty of time to rack your brain and come up with something good.

imagesI’ve already been asked a dozen times by various people about my resolutions.  My answer?  Sure, I’ve made a few.  No, I’m not telling you what they are.  To be blunt, it’s no one’s business what I’ve chosen to fix about myself unless I choose to make it their business.  If I’m in a financial bind, that’s on me.  If I’m fat or lazy, it’s none of your concern.  If my kitchen needs remodeling, you’ll find out if I ever invite you over.  I don’t want to be rude, but I don’t see why I should have to open myself up just to satisfy someone’s curiosity.  Unless one of my resolutions is to be an open book, I’m keeping this stuff to myself.

Another reason I don’t share is because of the negative and nasty people who exist in this world.  The ones who will fail at their own resolutions, remember that you resolved to dedicate more time to your art, and then proceed to pester you about how you’re progressing.  They want you to fail.  They can’t wait to hear you say “I couldn’t keep up with it” so they feel better about failing themselves.  If it’s not them, it’ll be the ones that crushed their resolutions and want to point out your failure so that their success looks even sweeter.  I don’t have time for awful people and keeping my mouth shut tends to keep them at bay where this is concerned.

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While I may be anti-resolution in the typical fashion, I am most definitely all for self-improvement.  I only suggest that when you set your goals, you do it for you.  Don’t resolve to get a new job because you’re being pressured to do so, do it because YOU want to advance and move on.  Don’t feel obligated to set amazing sounding goals so you can impress those who ask.  Set goals that matter to you, and make them as public or as private as you damn well please.  The more personal you make your goals, the more likely you are to reach them.

After leaving behind a giant pile of broken resolutions and empty promises, I’m looking at 2014 and seeing great things for myself and for my family.  I’ve silently set some realistic goals for myself that are attainable, beneficial, and helpful to my family as well as myself.  Other than my husband, no one knows what I have my sights set on and that’s how I intent to keep it until I reach said goal and feel comfortable shouting about it.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, and I’ll cross mine for you as we all journey into what looks like an amazing year.  Happy 2014!

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Wandering The Halls

In our effort to stay in shape and to escape the boredom of sitting at a desk for eight hours a day, my husband and I do an average of six laps around the halls of our enormous building every day we’re here.  To give you a visual of how long a lap around this place is, here’s a view from Google Maps.  Notice the teeny tiny cars:

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Roaming the halls of this place has caused me to notice a few things about the behaviors and habits of people in my building and about people in general:

1.  Personal Space:  People get very attached to their personal bubble surrounding them and are very reluctant to shift it so that it doesn’t overlap with anyone else’s space.  This is mostly noticeable when we encounter two or more people walking down the hall from the opposite direction.  They will be taking up the entire hallway, walking side by side by side, and act incredibly irritated to have to have one member of the group fall back in order to accommodate people walking in the opposite direction.  If someone is approaching, move to give them room.  Unfortunately, people are determined to stay in their exact path regardless of what obstacles lie ahead.  In my opinion, the hallway should be split in two, with the flow of food traffic going in opposite directions down each half.  And while we’re on that subject….

2.  Flow of Traffic:  The hallway should be like a roadway; stay to the right unless passing a slow mover.  Not in this place; we get the rogue rebels who plant themselves on the wrong side and march down the hallway, oblivious to the fact that they are putting themselves in the face of everyone who is walking properly.  Unless you’re trying to get into your office, there’s no reason to go against the flow of traffic.  It’s frustrating, especially when the person sees that everyone is having to make an effort to avoid them, but doesn’t care enough to make the shift over to their right.  I’m not quite sure if it’s a mindful decision to go against the grain or if these people are from Europe.

Walking the wrong way

3.  Loitering:  I don’t know when it happened or why it happened, but somewhere along the line, someone decided that the middle of the hallway is a great place to hold a meeting.  It can be a group of people discussing a system implementation or a few friends talking about weekend plans; whatever the subject, people have developed the awful habit of congesting the hallways so they can flap their jaw.  It’s somewhat forgivable if they stand off to the side, but even then they become a hazard for everyone who is trying to get from point A to B.  They’ll laugh and flail their arms while acting annoyed at the people walking around them.  You know, the people using the hallway for what it was built for.

4.  Blindness:  Every few feet down any hallway in here, there is a door to an office, a utility room, a stairwell, or an elevator.  Common sense would dictate that anyone coming out of a door would take a second to glance down the hall to make sure they were not about to run right into someone.  This building is devoid of common sense.  People will pop out of doorways with their head down, sometimes focused on their phones, paying no attention to the people walking.  If they bump you or come close to doing so, they usually will react with shock as if it’s your fault for not announcing your arrival at the doorway or peeking in the door to ensure that their absentminded little self wasn’t playing with their iPod instead of looking where they’re going.

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5.  Bringing SexyBack:  I don’t know many people who haven’t, at least once, had an accidental slip of the pants that exposed a bit of butt crack.  Maybe you were lucky and it happened at home, or maybe you shamed yourself by getting cheeky at the mall.  Come walk the halls with me and you’ll see more crack than [insert your favorite celebrity addict here].  Aside from that, you will see fat stomachs hanging out from the bottoms of shirts, all the sweatpants your heart could desire, and spectacles that rival the People Of Walmart site.  I don’t know if working here for over 10 years makes you give up on life, but it sure as hell seems that way.

6.  Bathroom Parties:  Public bathrooms are gross.  Even the ones that have just been cleaned from top to bottom are gross.  They are nasty places and I won’t even get into the horrors I’ve seen here.  For some reason, these vile places have become excellent places to catch up with friends while taking a break from a hard day of work.  Right inside the doorway, a group will gab and cackle away while the poor people in the stalls are likely cringing and silently praying for the loud rabble to move along so they can finish dropping off the kids in peace.  It’s particularly unnerving when men make up part of the bathroom group in front of the ladies room; no woman wants to hear a deep booming voice as she tries to hover over the germy seat and not pee on her shoes.

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7.  NOISE POLLUTION:  This building is a finance and accounting center that does a lot of incredibly important (and boring) things for the military and civilians.  We have hundreds of offices contained within these walls, each with an important mission.  Don’t try telling that to anyone in the hallway though, as they seem to think that escaping the office into the hall is equal to being at a bar with their friends on a Friday night.  They will get loud, and then they’ll get louder.  The raucous laughter, the crazy high pitched shrieks, and the constant chatter can be clearly heard in offices with closed doors where people are trying to get their job done.  They may be en route to a break area to carry on frantically about the latest gossip, but you can be sure that they’re not about to keep the volume down on their journey there.

8.  Weak Arms:  There are a good number of restaurants that deliver to this building, something that most employees take advantage of.  Sometimes, people will place an order for a small group of people or order a few pizzas for the office.  Rarely to never will a person be willing to use a bit of muscle to get that order back to their office, opting instead to bring a rolling cart to the security area to carry their grub.  If someone has ordered something large and heavy, with multiple bags, I totally get it.  Qdoba catering, for example, definitely calls for a cart with all their containers and packages.  When I see a woman pushing a cart with a tiny Jimmy John’s bag on it, containing two subs and maybe some chips, I cry a little on the inside.

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9.  ScooterMania:  There are some people in motorized chairs in this building that have a valid need to be in one.  There are more of them in a scooter because they’re just too fat and lazy to walk around like the rest of us.  The scooter crew in this place act like an elderly gang of bikers.  Don’t get too close to them or they’ll run you down or attempt to kill your with their steely glare.  You better jump out of their way when they crank it up to 10mph on their way to the cafeteria or be subjected to as much wrath as an obese person can manage without running out of breath.  I don’t have issue with people who have to use a scooter, or even those who choose to.  It’s the entitled “I’m special, treat me that way” attitude that I cannot stand.

10.  Power Munching:  As I said earlier, my husband and I do laps around the building in an effort to stay healthy and not become glued to our chairs.  There are quite a few people in this building who do the same, donning an iPod or grabbing a buddy to hopefully walk off the effects of their lunch.  Sadly, too many people confuse a short brisk walk with a power workout.  They will power walk their way right into our C-Store for a bag of chips, or some will grab their snack and do their walk while eating.  There are people I know who walk enough to be in supermodel shape, but they’ll never get there due to their love of sweet and salty snacks.

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11.  Men Are Perverts:  I expect to be eyeballed by the dirty old man on the bench at the mall and by the group of guys hanging out outside of Target, but I don’t expect it when I come to work.  At least, I used to never expect it.  From janitors to young guys to old fat men to more janitors to leadership, no halfway decent woman in this building is safe.  It’s not only the bold looks at cleavage and rear ends, it’s the “hey baby, how you doin’, you lookin’ so fine” that reminds me of my days riding MARTA through Atlanta.  I suppose it’s good for the ego, but it’s also creepy as all get out.  In fairness, there are a few female offenders as well wandering these halls.  Very few.

12.  Hand Holding:  There are some couples who work here together that I suspect will wither away and die if they are not clasping their hands together whenever they are around each other.  Barely a hello is exchanged, it’s simply a frantic grab of the hand as soon as their love is within arms reach.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy holding hands with my husband now and again, but I also enjoy not having a sweaty palm while being attached to a 6’8″ man and trying to navigate these halls stuck to another human being.

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13.  General Rudeness:  Overall, one can’t help but notice that people have become poor mannered and oblivious to everyone around them.  No more “excuse me,” no apologies for anything, no care for anyone else’s personal space or desires; it’s a selfish world and it gets worse every day.  Doors get slammed in my face, women bump into me because they refuse to move and don’t care that I am already shoved against a wall, trash is spilled on the floor, messes left behind, and no one cares.  I enjoy my walks with my husband, but it’s frustrating to see the decline in our behavior.  On the positive side, the cast of characters we see always gives us a bit of entertainment as we make our rounds.

Eat This And Pop That

We live about a mile from my husband’s mother and another mile away from the center of the city where the majority of the grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants are located.  It makes it convenient to both visit with family and to run our errands and grab a bite to eat.  Earlier in the week, my mom-in-law invited us out to the newly remodeled Chicago’s Pizza for dinner.  I should say rebuilt, as they knocked down the entire building and started from scratch.  Chicago’s has been a favorite of my husband’s, so I was pretty excited to try them out and have a bit of family time.

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We arrived just as the buffet was in the middle of the set-up, so a few items such as spaghetti had yet to make it to the line.  I made a plate for my boy first so he could get started, as he is the world’s slowest eater when he’s in an environment where even the smallest distraction exists.  After setting him up and ensuring he was settled in with my mom-in-law, I returned to the buffet line in search of my own dinner.  While grabbing some pizza sauce and cheese sauce for my breadsticks, I was blocked from the sticks themselves by a large pair of women who were excited about the spaghetti that had just been set out next to the sticks.  Since there was not an inch of room to spare around these two women, I patiently waited for them to pile their plates high.

As the pair added cheese and extra sauce to their pasta, they continued their animated discussion on some new pills that they purchased last week.  Both were excited to “finally try them out,” raving about how incredible their results would be.  The talk continued as they moved along and I was able to grab the last of my meal.  It turned out that the pills in question were some “miracle” diet pills they had purchased at Wal-Mart.  The two were convinced that these pills meant that they could eat whatever they wanted to, so long as they took two pills with a glass of water with their insanely large meal.  That night was the night they were beginning their “diet” and they chose a pizza buffet to kick off their weight loss.

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I’m no stranger to the difficulties of maintaining a healthy weight and staying out of double-digit pant sizes.  I was up to a frightening 170 pounds at one point and had to work hard to get that weight off.  It’s still something I have to keep an eye on and even now, I’m working to drop about ten annoying pounds.  I have gone down the diet pill road many times myself.  Right now, I take green tea supplements and various vitamins to boost my metabolism.  I also know damn well that pills, vitamins, and other similar substances that promise weight loss aren’t going to do jack unless I eat properly and ensure that I work some sort of physical activity into my day, every day.

Sensa, a weight loss product that has the user sprinkle the drug on their food before consumption, is one of many products that gives consumers the hope of a miracle cure.  They even allow you to try it for free if you go to their website and give them some information.  Their website also states the following:

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This is what people such as the women at the buffet focus on; no counting calories and no dieting.  Eat what you want, use our product, and lose weight.  It gives the impression that the drug is what does all the work while the user can continue to indulge and lounge around.  In Sensa’s defense, their site does state that their product should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise plan.  This recommendation is included with just about every weight loss product out there and is also the most ignored bit of information; it’s either skimmed over or missed entirely as the consumer eagerly jumps into their new, quick and easy weight loss plan.

Obesity is a serious problem in our country.  People are getting bigger and instead of striving to get healthy, they demand that the world around them work harder and do more to accommodate their expanding waistlines and enormous bulk.  People who simply eat too much are claiming that they have a disease, an illness that causes their obesity, which is an insult to those who truly do have ailments that cause excessive weight gain.  In the building where I work, obese people consider themselves handicapped and will use the handicap line, beg for handicap parking, and use scooters to get around the building rather than take a walk.  Heaven forbid anyone say something negative about an obese person; we will no longer stand for this type of bullying.  We have to accept and love the body we are in and respect the choices of others, not bring them down and make them feel poorly about their weight.  Right?

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When you take the mentality the general public has about obesity, plus the mentality the obese have about themselves, and throw in some pills that can fix it all in a snap, it’s no surprise that the women at the buffet were expecting a miracle.  Our always advancing world has made us all a bit lazier than we used to be, and that laziness extends into our health and our maintenance of our bodies.  When you present the average person with a choice between going to the gym three times a week or taking a supplement twice a day, chances are the supplement will win out almost every time.  Why else would anyone choose to take Alli, the amazing weight loss pill that can also make you crap yourself:

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It’s sad that people continue to fall for the shiny outer covering of these so-called miracle diet pills and supplements, especially considering how much money these companies are making off of gullible people who are fond of the easy routes in life.  It’s a bit disturbing to think that the women I overheard at the buffet are just two in a sea of many who are currently out there, chowing down and expecting a pill or a powder to do all of the work for them.  It’s pretty pathetic that we have come to the point where we are too lazy to get up and do something, even if it’s as small as taking a 15 minute walk or choosing the stairs over the elevator.  It’s even worse that we can’t stop pigging out for a week or two, choosing instead to ingest mystery drugs to shed unwanted fat.

We are in control of our bodies, and with that control comes responsibility.  That means not relying on other people to fix problems that we can and should fix ourselves.  We should want to ensure we are consuming the proper nutrients to get our metabolism moving rather than popping a Stacker II because of the promises it makes.  We should incorporate physical activity into our daily lives because it’s good for us, not dismiss it in favor of whatever pill the Kardashians are promoting these days.  If these pills worked in the way they portray themselves to, we’d all be skinny little things.  Have some sense, and not some Sensa.

Here We Go Again

Today marks the third week in a row of my new commitment to both calorie counting and adding some kind of physical activity to my day.  I have been limited my intake to no more than 1300 per day, ensuring that days I go over are followed by days I go under.  I will allow myself one cheat day per month to go out of control because calorie restrictions unfortunately do mean food restrictions as well (bye bye for now, nachos).  I hate the gym and I’m not a runner, so my physical activity has consisted of doing laps with my iPod around the 1.6 million square foot building where I work five days a week.  Inside of course; I’m not quite brave or crazy enough to go out in the frigid Indiana air.  In these three little weeks, I have no idea how much weight I’ve lost, but my clothes fit better, my hourglass figure is making a mean comeback, and my husband has taken notice on my improvements.

The last time I had to change my diet and drop some pounds was a nightmarish time when I was squeezing into a size 11 and being ashamed of myself.  Right now, I am hovering around a size 7 and nowhere near where I was before, so it’s not quite the annoyance it was back then.  My goal this time is to get back to the size I was when my husband and I got married.  I’m basing it on how I look and how my clothes fit, nothing else.  I don’t care how much I weigh now or how much I weigh when I’m done.  I’m always going to be “heavy” due to the pounds of muscle I carry, so the number is going to be higher than you’d expect as long as I stay healthy and don’t lose that muscle.  I’m making progress and happy with the results.  But damn if it isn’t hard.

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I’ve always been a big believer that diets are not the way to go.  Diet equals restriction which equals frustration and eventually failure.  Tell someone they cannot have any pizza and they are going to want pizza. With calorie counting, I can have pizza and all the other foods I desire, just not in the quantities I may prefer.  The plus side is that my stomach quickly became used to smaller quantities and doesn’t allow me to overeat, making calorie counting much easier.  The downside is that I want to eat cakes and pies and pizzas and tacos and everything else I can get my hands on.  There has been free cake, bagels, donuts, and all sorts of junk food in my office that I want to dive into headfirst and devour until I can’t move.  It’s torture.

My saving grace in the office has come in two forms.  The first is sometimes tiring but very therapeutic; long walks around the square-shaped building, including hikes up and down the ramps.  With my iPod on shuffle and helping me drown out all the noise around me, I get a break from the day while breaking a bit of a sweat.  It also allows me to get away from whatever temptation is being put in front of me, reducing the chances of me cracking under pressure and grabbing some junk food.  The second is a little mean but it works.  All I have to do is get a good look at one of the very out of shape people in this building and the desire to eat junk food vanishes.  The fact that the woman who sits behind me has a habit of ordering multiple lunches per day and having Doritos for breakfast ends up being a powerful motivator for me to eat less and eat healthy.

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This is not the most difficult time I’ve had with a plan to drop a few pounds, nor is it the most extreme thing I’ve done, but for some reason it’s been annoying me more than all the other diets, exercise plans, food restrictions, and various other paths I’ve ventured down.  If not for the fact that I’m seeing results, I think I would have quit.  I imagine that is why many people throw in the towel early on.  But my goal is in mind and it’s a goal that isn’t a year or more down the road, but mere months away.  Milestone One will be March 11th when the husband and I go to WWE Raw, as I want to look good in the shirt I altered for the event.  Milestone Two will be my birthday, where I hope to be at the point where nothing in my closet is off-limits, but the real goal is Milestone Three when I will go bikini shopping.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the right time of year or not; whenever I’m at the point where I get excited to go try on bikinis, I’ll know I’ve reached my ultimate goal.

Struggling with weight is one of the most frustrating and annoying struggles that the average person has to deal with.  It’s also one of the most easy fixes out there.  Unless you’re one of the very few who have a medical condition that causes extreme weight gain or prevents weight loss, it’s simply a matter of burning more than you consume.  Doing that isn’t the impossible feat that many make it out to be.  Yes, it’s frustrating being surrounded by donuts and having to take a pass, but it’s worth it when you can look at yourself in the mirror after a shower without cringing in disgust.  Have some self-control and self-respect, choose reasonable goals, and stick to a plan that works for you.  Easy.

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There are always going to be people out there who tell you you’re doing it wrong.  Eat more carbs and less dairy.  Eat no carbs and drink green tea.  Drink only black coffee and eat lots of carrots.  Plan X worked for me; you should try it.  Workout video Y is amazing; want to borrow it?  Receive their advice with a smile and get right back to your own plan.  If something works for you and is giving you results, be them big or small, it’s in your best interest to shrug off the unwanted advice.  But don’t be afraid to talk about what you’re doing just because you want to avoid advice.  Speaking up doesn’t just keep people informed, it can connect you with others who are also trying to get in shape or lose their Christmas weight.

At the end of the day, it’s about you and only you.  What you want for yourself.  Where you see yourself in the future.  How happy you want to be with who you are.  How comfortable you wish to be in your own skin.  With weight loss or with any type of self-improvement, you have to be doing it for you and no one else.  If my husband had been the one to encourage this weight loss, I wouldn’t be as motivated as I currently am.  I’m the one in this body and I have to do it for me.  I have to know that I can succeed and I have to be willing to make sacrifices to get there.  And most important for me, I have to find ways to cope when it feels like it’s too hard.  Like writing this entry, for example, as it kept me from searching for candy.  Thanks for listening.

Resolve

Another year is down in the history books.  We are eagerly pushing forward into 2013 with the hopes of improving our lives in a variety of ways.  Some people are determined to find love while others are trying to move on from a rocky relationship they refused to bring into the new year.  DVDs such as P90X will fly off the shelves as people try to keep their promise to get in better shape and shed the fat around their waistline.  Homes get makeovers, as do hairstyles and wardrobes.  Adjustments are made to our schedules to devote more time to studies, hobbies, and other beneficial activities.  There is always a group who refuses to make a single change, treating the new year exactly like the last.  Either way, the thought of starting fresh is in all of our minds in some shape or form.

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I’ve been among the “I don’t make resolutions” crowd and I’ve been among the pack of people who make lists they are determined to stick to.  This year, both my husband and I began the new year by diving back into a calorie counting routine in order to get back in shape for good.  For me, this is less of a resolution and more of a jump back into lifestyle change we had one stuck to like glue but had gotten lazy and abandoned.  The start of a new year was the perfect excuse to begin again, plus it gives us a good reference point when tracking our progress through the weeks and months.  Weight loss is a very common focus for many people right now.  While it’s not exactly an exciting thing, it is very important for my health and mental well-being, so I’m excited about it even if no one else is.

Resolutions certainly aren’t mandatory and definitely aren’t something that must be shared with family and friends.  With a goal like mine, it helps to be open about it so that people don’t interfere with your new eating habits and so more motivation exists to stick with it, but openness is not necessary.  Unless your goal happens to be related to open communication with others, there’s no need to feel obligated to be open with others about your resolutions or lack thereof.  Curious minds love to pry into the affairs of others, but just because they ask doesn’t mean you have to answer.  If it’s personal, let it be personal.  Allowing yourself to be guilted into making some when none were made or being shamed into making new ones will ensure your failure.

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There is no one right way to approach resolutions for the new year, but there are definitely a few universally wrong ways.  You can’t make resolutions (or not make them) due to pressure from others.  Because these resolutions aren’t made willingly, they are likely to be abandoned early on and leave you feeling as if you have failed.  If you are picking your resolutions off of a list of popular choices, you are also giving yourself an extra nudge towards failure.  Approaching the resolutions with negativity or failing to take them seriously will also guarantee you won’t make it until February.

If you’re going to make a resolution or two this year, or if your current lists needs a bit of editing, it’s worth taking a few minutes to better analyze your choices and to ensure you’re doing it for you and no one else.  If your heart isn’t in it, scrap your entire list and decide to start fresh next month or simply see how things go.  If quitting smoking is on your list but you’re not ready, give yourself some time.  January 1st is not the official Start Fresh day of the year, so there’s no reason to worry if you don’t have a few lifestyle changes nailed down at the stroke of midnight.

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Ultimately, the goal is self-improvement for not only your own benefit, but for the benefit of your family, roommates, coworkers or anyone else who deals with you on a regular basis.  This positive goal is what matters, not the details on how you get there or what you choose to be your first step.  If financial improvement is what you have in your sights, it doesn’t matter if you begin by skipping your biweekly trip to the mall or if you cut up every credit card you can get your hands on.  The important thing is that you made the initial effort.  The hard part of course is sticking with it.

Success or failure is fully on your shoulders.  If you want to reach your goal, you’ll get there regardless of the circumstances as long as your approach is strong and secure.  Above all else, don’t forget to relax.  Who cares if your coworker lost 10 pounds in a week while also remodeling their kitchen?  Who cares if your sibling thinks your desire to grow your hair out is lame and boring?  If it’s important to you, their opinions and actions mean nothing and shouldn’t bother you or affect your resolve.  Take your resolutions seriously, but not to the point to where it consumes you.  Breathe in, breathe out, and get started on your terms and no one else’s.

DAY FOURTEEN (12/30/11)

My fourteen days with Jillian Michaels has come and gone and I can’t be happier that it’s over.  The first seven days, the cleanse, was fairly uneventful, at times annoying, and resulted in three pounds of weight loss.  The second seven days, the burn, was even more quiet and resulted in two pounds of weight gain.  Because I did not alter my diet and only ensured I didn’t eat over 1900 calories per day, I believe these results speak for exactly what these pills do for a person.

In two words: not much.  The detox and cleanse seemed to do nothing more than shed a few pounds of water weight, which I gained right back after the cleansing process was done.  The fat burning stage didn’t seem to do anything whatsoever.  I would not recommend even attempting the cleanse process to drop a few pounds because not only will you gain them right back, but you may also experience some of the less than pleasant side effects that I read about.

I didn’t follow the eating plan or exercise recommendations on purpose; if I eat amazing foods and work out 30 minutes a day, I’m not proving these pills do a single thing.  My goal was to tackle this the way the average person would; take the miracle pill and lose weight.  I kept my food limited to where I wouldn’t gain any weight, but that was it.

Since these last fourteen days were something of a waste, I’m going to post brief blogs over the next few weeks with a new approach to weight loss, minus the magic pills and empty promises in a bottle.  My husband and I are going to a Tool concert in less than a month and I would like to drop ten pounds by then.  Ten small pounds isn’t a lot, but when you’re not too heavy as it is, it can be a challenge.  Sadly for me, this is going to mean no drinking on New Years.  I’ll keep you posted, but in the meantime please have a nicely chilled shot of Jager for me!

DAY TWELVE: (12/28/11)

Today was quite a rough day.  A somewhat unpleasant morning left me in a funk.  I felt fat all day today.  Of course, I AM a woman and we do tend to have days when we feel less than pretty for no good reason.  I’m beginning to feel that this whole experiment has been a waste of time.  Rather than fill this blog with negativity, I’ll cut this short and check in later.

DAY EIGHT: (12/24/11)

Merry Christmas eve!

I’ll keep this short and sweet so I can get back to the holiday festivities.  I have little to report except that I am unreasonably hungry.  I eat and I’m hungry again minutes later.  If not for my self-control and my desire not to turn into a pleasantly plump female, I’d have a plate in front of me at all times.  Since these fat burning pills are the only thing that is new and different in my world, I can only blame them for my increase in appetite.

Other than wishing for plate after plate of cookies, nothing else is going on.  No stomach pains other than those for hunger and no side effects outside of the insatiable appetite.  I’m off to return to my husband and son, who are hopefully far away from the temptations of cookies and other goodies.  Merry Christmas to you all!

DAY SEVEN: (12/23/11)

I’m finally done with the detox and cleanse half of the Jillian Michaels program and I can’t be happier! My fear of experiencing one or more of the awful side effects I had heard about was more than a little distracting, so it’ll be nice to put that worry aside for the next several days. Burning fat doesn’t sound as worrysome as a cleanse does. Over the last seven days, I relaxed a bit on my calories and didn’t reduce them enough to lose weight from restriction alone. Despite that, I still managed to lose three pounds in seven days. I suspect that those three pounds were water weight and I expect to gain them back now that the cleanse portion of the program is complete.

Physically, I look and feel the same as when I began. I didn’t add in any exercise or special diet for this past week in order to see if pills alone would make a difference. One major problem with any type of weight loss drug is that it gives the user a false sense of security. You are more likely to skip your workout or add an extra helping of mashed potatoes because you are supported by the magic pill that will do its job of making fat vanish whether you assist or not. Many users experience stomach pains and other digestive problems because they consume fatty foods while taking the pills; many of these diet drugs warn users against this but their advice often goes unheard.

I’ve decided that in order to see if these fat burners can truly do anything on their own, I will not restrict my calories too much over the next seven days. I will obviously not overeat, but I’m also not going to reduce my calories in such a way to facilitate weight loss. I need to clarify that I do not think people should turn to pills when they are trying to drop pounds. I lost 30 pounds in 4 months last year by cutting calories and taking vitamins. My husband did the same, also without the aid of magic weight loss pills. If you take the time to read the package inserts, just about every diet pill out there instructs you to eat a healthy, low calorie and low fat diet while taking the pills and get lots of exercise. If you are disciplined enough to eat right and exercise, you don’t need to be popping Stackers or Trimspa because your habits alone are enough to help you lose weight. Of course, if you’re already that disciplined, you probably wouldn’t be turning to diet pills in the first place.

Part of me wants the Jillian Michaels plan to work, but part of me wants to prove that it’s all bull. So far, I’d have to admit that the cleanse seems to have succeeded since it rid me of some weight. I would not recommend it though, as I had one day where I was in pain almost nonstop and there are far too many reviews describing horrible side effects. I also can’t prove that it detoxed or cleansed anything at all. I would rather trim my diet down to salads and lean meats than do this portion of the program over again. Tomorrow I will begin the fat burning half of the program. Fingers crossed…..

DAY SIX: (12/22/11)

As tempted as I was a couple of days ago to throw in the towel, I managed to hang in there.  For science!

The random rumblings have all but ceased, as have the stomach pains.  With any type of detox and cleanse, the body will experience some unpleasant side effects as you go through the process of changing your body.  Nothing is without its price and I sure as hell paid mine on Tuesday.  I’m quite happy to say that through it all, I didn’t experience any of the less than pretty effects that others have reported.  Upon looking at review after review, I’ve found that it’s fairly evenly split between the people praising cleanse diets and people shouting about bowel movements, or lack thereof.

I’m itching to weigh myself, but I have another 24 hours before I’ll allow it.  I’ve heard that most of the weight lost within this time period, if any, will be water weight and will be easily gained back.  This method of taking pills seems a bit safer to me than some of the cleanse diets I’ve heard of.  The Lemonade Diet, where you cut out food and rely on a liquid diet only, seems pretty frightening to me.  I don’t trust anything that tells me I must stop eating in order to improve my health and/or lose weight.  Obviously I’ll shed pounds and won’t introduce toxins into my body if I’m not eating.  I’ll also be destroying my body with the extreme calorie deficit I create and the nutrients I deny myself.  That aside, I love to eat and I won’t do anything that reduces my food intake by too much (1000 calories or less per day) or cuts out entire food groups (low to no-carb diets, for example).

That being said, pills have their own fear factor for me and I only trust them a little more than the more natural cleanses.  Remember the side effect of Alli?  The maker encouraged users to wear dark pants as they may experience anal leakage as a result of taking the pill.  Xenadrine was one pill that used to contain ephedra, which has a laundry list of negative side effects.  Hell, even my birth control pills have a giant page of small printed unwanted effects they could have on my body, both short and long-term.

I’m almost halfway through Jillian’s program and I’m neither optimistic nor have I given up hope.  At this point, I’m just along for the ride and not concentrating too hard on the process except when I post these blogs.  Anyone care to put money on whether or not I’ve actually lost or gained any weight?  I’ll be hopping on the scale tomorrow night!

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