Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Month: July 2010 Page 1 of 2

Uncanny Butterfly

I often think about alternate realities and the infinite amount of outcomes due to each choice we make on a day to day basis.  I mean, this commercial sums it up well.  Even the little things you do on a daily basis can make your life significantly different.  Butterfly effect et al.

Rarely though, are you smacked in the face with it unexpectedly.  Today, I was reading through my twitter feed, and clicked on a picture that an ex-coworker put up of their team out to lunch.  I recognized some faces, wondered who some of the people were, and then BAM!  Turned away from the camera was my spitting image from about 4 years ago.  Same thick, long (butt-length) wavy brown hair I had back then, chipmunk cheekbones like I have – even from almost the back, I could tell she was smiling big.  Not only was she about the same weight I used to be, but the same topheavy build I have.  Wearing if not a t-shirt I used to own, something damn similar.  Sitting how I used to (legs crossed at my ankles) in a restaurant I used to frequent.  It was truly surreal.

The crazy thing is I applied for a job on that team 6 years ago.  I didn’t get it.  I was told I was 3rd best where they took the top 2 people.  It wasn’t my dream job but it was definitely better than where I was and I was crushed and frustrated when I found out.

It hit me when I saw that picture… in some alternate reality I might have gotten that job.  It might have made me complacent enough that I wasn’t as driven and hungry to get into game design and ultimately production.  I might never have been in the right place at the right time to take over the game I did with so little experience it was ridiculous, and then become so burnt out that I had a life epiphany that fateful day in December 06.

I certainly wouldn’t have been so desperate for life change that I would have considered Austin as a viable move.  I mean, it was TEXAS.  From CALIFORNIA.  Come on.  Who moves out of the most perfect place to live ever (at least, as I thought at the time) to TEXAS?  I wouldn’t have had the experience to land the job I did and move out to Austin.  I wouldn’t have learned what it meant to have a balanced and full life that meant something beyond my job and position.  Or maybe I would have, since I would have never gotten myself into the pickle of working 100-hour weeks, but let’s forget that for a moment…

I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think I would have aggressively pursued weight loss as I did once I moved to Austin.  If I wouldn’t have done that, I surely wouldn’t have discovered my inner athlete and my passion for racing.  I wouldn’t have had the time or desire to start a blog to have a soapbox again (since I’d already have one), and I wouldn’t have found all the lovely fit bloggers out there that motivate and inspire me on a daily basis.  Ok, weekly now that I’m super busy, but you know what I mean…

So cheers to you, alternate reality Quix.  I bet you’re having a blast still in SD (how I do miss it sometimes).  I bet being on that team is a lot of fun.  I bet you’re going to order something with those super yummy garlic fries they had at that restaurant (om nom nommm).  However, if you decide that you’re not happy where you’re at, and that you have want for more in any facet of life, please realize you can make it happen.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt.  Trust me, I have some inside knowledge. ::wink::

Fast Food, Snickerdoodles, and Hungries, Oh My!

Three major noteworthy things happened to me in the realm of my eating habits.

1.  For the first time in 4.5 years, I intentionally ate fast food.  I know, right?  Here’s my story…

At work every Thursday, there is this enigma called luncheon roulette.  One of my coworkers created and maintains a list of 100 restaurants within a few miles of our office.  It has everything from gas station hot dogs to the nearest strip club, but also a lot of really good restaurants as well.  I didn’t participate at first because I normally brought my lunch to work and also… the idea of possibly having to ingest fast food frightened me.  However, after a while the whimsy got me, and I’ve been going the last two weeks.

Since it was my first week last week, I got to roll the 100 sided die and ended up with Terra Burger – an organic ec0-friendly burger place, which everyone was pretty happy with.  This week, however, disaster struck.  The roll was jack in the box.  I mean, seriously, very few fast food rolls could have been worse.  I was not happy.

However, I went and checked out the nutrition info and found what I thought was the best option – a chicken fajita pita and side salad w/lite vinaigrette.  I used to love those pita things, so I figured it would be interesting to try it again.  I got my food and dug in and… y’know, it wasn’t that bad.  The chicken wasn’t great quality, but it was paletable and the side salad veggies were actually fairly crisp.

I certainly wouldn’t CHOOSE to return to Jack in the Box for food, or any fast food for that matter… but in a pinch?  I was able to get a decent 400 cal lunch, and it didn’t make me sick.  I also think that I would never bother with any of the unhealthy options because I know they wouldn’t be worth it.  I did NOT have burger envy.  I *may* have yoinked a few fries from Zliten but I certainly didn’t want a whole order.

2.  On Friday, I had an interview, and the candidate brought in cookies.  For 99% of the people in the world, that would be a huge plus but for me, not so much.  I did not want to create an uncomfortable situation or have to explain my personal life to this dude, so I took the cookie, had a bite, and then hid it underneath my paperwork.  It talked to me the whole time, but I was able to realize that it was calling to me simply because it was THERE, not because it was actually good and worth it.  Now, if it was a hot, freshly baked cookie, I may have decided it was worth it.  It was a prepackaged store brand type, so it was not.

The cookie ended up in the garbage.  I’ve actually trashed a few sweets this week.  Sometimes it’s just easier.

Also, we reflected on all the interviews we’ve done in the last 6 months since we started aggressively staffing up – I think I’ve done at least 100 if not more.  I wish I could share some of the awesome horror stories with you but I like my job and wish to keep it.  One of these days I definitely should write a “how to” interview post from the interviewer side.

3.  The biggie – beyond about 5 starlight mints, 2 fortune cookies, and a few bite of cookie (I did end up splitting a bacon chocolate chip cookie with Zliten this weekend.  THAT was worth it, and something I had to try… I feel ok about that…), I’m 19 days desert free.  A funny thing happened this week… it actually had some real, tangible effect on me.  I figured I’d go a month, prove to myself I could do it, and that would be that.  Subconsciously though, I must have known it would be more.  I guess calories in, calories out was a good start, but not 100% of the equation.

Oh right, the actual effect… y’know that crazy ginormous appetite I kept complaining about?  The hungries?  The “I just ate a full meal but now I feel like I could eat another one”?  Gone.  It’s awesome.  When I tracked at the end of each day or two, I instinctively came to about 1500 calories, both on workout days and non-workout days.  Y’all, it is SO much easier to make good food choices when I’m not feeling like a calorie compactor, and it’s much more freeing to not have to avoid so many things because I can’t trust myself to limit portions.

I still haven’t weighed, but I feel like I look slimmer.  Things are fitting better.  Is this the one change that helps me get back under 155?  Even if not, I feel better, so I’ll stick with it and only consume sweets that are a) worth it and b) no more than once a week.  I think I’ve settled on a small frozen yogurt (or maybe an ice cream) as my first occasional treat I will allow.  That oreo cookie shake is just too many calories (over 800 for a small).  I just can’t see that as worth it at all.

Anyhoo, the numbers.

Monday: ate 1519, did 10k run (747) = 772
Tuesday: ate 1490, off = 1490
Wednesday: ate 1702, did 12 mile run, 5k run (844) = 858
Thursday: ate 1395, off = 1395
Friday: ate 1589, did 40 mins arc trainer (500) = 1089
Saturday: ate 2162, 25 mile bike, walk (1100) = 1062
Sunday: ate 1501, off = 1501

Avg calories in = 1622

Avg calories burnt = 455

Avg deficit per day = 1812 – 1167 = 645, or a little over 1 lb this week if the numbers match up.

Actual weight?  Well, we’ll see in about 2 weeks.

Next week, it’s time to get down to business.  The sprint tri is a month away and I don’t have regular access to a pool, so I plan to do a fake tri (subbing running for the swim leg) on Monday.  I want to rest up and then on Saturday, see if I have it in me to do the biking/running portion of the olympic distance back to back.  Eek.  What am I getting myself into here?  At least I’m giving myself 3 days off and not even pretending like I’m going to do weights.  I’ll pick them back up after the tri.  Honest engine.  The days might change due to plans, but that’s the norms.

Monday: 5k run, 12 mile bike, 5k run (1200)
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: off
Thursday: 45 mins running speedwork (625)
Friday: 40 mins arc trainer (500)
Saturday: 25 mile bike, 10k run (1900)
Sunday: off

So, my question this week – is there anything you gave up to accomplish a goal (be it food/weightloss related or anything else) that you’ve decided to let back in?  Is there anything that used to be super important to you that you’re learning you can do without?

Oh-oh, Halfway There

So it’s July, and that means the year is half over (huh?  how the heck did that happen?  someone tell me…), so that means it’s time to take stock of how I’m doing on this year’s goals.

1.  This is the most important and different one for me – for one year, I am going to not attempt to lose weight.  As long as I maintain under 155, I’m going to put any pressure on myself to take off weight.  I’m going to focus on my running, and continuing to eat healthy.  This break really put into perspective how healthy I usually eat – I’m not eating horribly at all, but I’ve been feeling blech from eating not homecooked food for most meals and the sweet crap around the house (popcorn, almond roca, truffles, etc etc).  Now, if I *do* take off weight somehow, I’m not going to be opposed to it, but the biggest present I’m giving to myself this year is the gift of stepping on the scale, and not wanting to be less than I am, for once in my life.

I have not had a weigh in under 155.  Hell, I haven’t had a weigh in in almost a month and a half.  However, I am continuing to maintain what feels like a healthy weight that fuels my training and I haven’t had to buy new pants (I’m just having to avoid the smallest ones).  Eventually, I would like to bring my weight back down around 150.  However, I’m coming to terms with the fact that it may not be due to a calories in calories out thing, and I am spending the last half of the year trying to clean up my eating (less sugar, eating more for lunch, etc).

2.  Running – I want to do a half marathon in under 2 hours, and I want to run a full marathon (no pace goal, just run the whole thing… well, who am I kidding, I’ll have a pace goal by the time I finish training, but anyhoo…) this year.  After that, decide what’s next.  Martial arts?  Triathlons?  More marathons?  Ultras?  Also, I want to make sure to not forget stretching and yoga.  That’s when I start getting injured like I am now with hurty butt.

Well, I got super sick and am just glad I finished that half within 3 mins of my PB hacking and coughing.  I decided to go a different way and am NOT pursuing marathons at this time (just think about training in the 98 and humid outside today makes me happy I decided against it…), and instead going after first a sprint and then an olympic triathlon.  I’ve thought about them in the future, and ever since I did the Du in April and loved it, and figure that swimming a mile, biking 25, and running a 10k back to back is about as athletic an endeavor as a marathon.

I’m also thinking another half in November.  The same half I was going to do the marathon since they have one.  I just need a little revenge.  I am planning on trying a completely different approach… for the last one I was SO WELL TRAINED.  I got my 5k PB by barely training and just busting it out on race day.  I’m going to run, sure, but I’m going to do less focused training, just make sure I feel capable of the distance with some long runs and have loose legs with some speedwork, and maybe even work some hills in there so I’m ready for those and see if I can get a PB.  Even if it’s just 2:15:59.

I have been really really bad about stretching/yoga lately.  I’m feelin’ it.  I’ll consider this a reminder to get back to it.

3.  I will dedicate 6 hours per week to writing, revising, reading other books, or outlining.  I want to finish what I started for NaNoWriMo, and then move on to another one.  It would be peachy keen if I could do some necklaces, I would love to start songwriting, but I think this is my year of writing.

Just EPIC FAIL here beyond actually getting into a fantasy novel series I’m slowly working through.  2010 is not the year for this.  I’m totally ok letting it fall off the radar.

4.  I’m not sure exactly what I want to say here, but I want to figure out what’s next career-wise.  I have spent the last few years keeping my head down and trying to stay out of the way so I can support the creatives, get my check, and go on my way.  That is SO not me.  I can’t continue to do that forever.  I might not have the ability to get what I want just yet, but I want to have a direction by the end of the year.

Number 3 really fell off due to a big change here with #4.  I got the opportunity in February, and got the official title last month, and it’s been an entirely awesome but…life .  My brain is a little more wasted and in need of unwinding at the end of the day.  It used to be screaming for a creative outlets.  Now my job is one big creative outlet.  I had figured I had topped out in the games industry and needed to explore other options, now I know I just had to be patient.  In the 5 years I held the same position and felt like my career stagnated, I lost over 100 lbs, ran 2 half marathons, moved halfway across the country, bought a house, got married, and a bunch of other stuff I’m surely forgetting.  So I’ll take it.  But I’m definitely ready to rock.

5.  Some one liners: Travel outside the country.  Be more spontaneous.  Continue to whittle down my smoking.  Try something new with my hair.  Continue to draw things out of the magic hat.  Host some game nights at the house.   Attempt to keep a cleaner house so it’s not embarrassing when someone comes over unannounced.  Do more industry events and get over my boredom with networking for networking sake.  Play more games.  Continue to live a life where I can have at least ONE memorable thing I do each month (2009 has many more than 1 per month, but that’s my absolute minimum requirement).

Mexican/Caribbean cruise in Jan. and then Italian/Grecian Honeymoon next year.  This year, it’s been all lower 48.  The money will be there next year so it’s ok.  I’ve been working on being better with spontaneous eating and plans but it’s still a challenge.  I am smoking much less than I was in January.  Hair has been chopped.  Magic hat has been lonely, but we have been definitely having adventures.  House cleaner = fail… I’m coming to terms with the fact that I need to pay someone.  Been a *little* better about industry events.  Been playing more games than when I wrote this, but still would like to play more.  And…uh… my life rocks.  Most every week there is something memorable.

All in all, the year is definitely not going as planned, but it’s going swimmingly.  So how is your year going?  What is your biggest success this year?  What’s something that you want to focus on in the latter half of 2010?

Healthy Type Week

Today is day 13 without desert.  The first few days were a little tricky but I got through it, and now I’ve pretty much broken the habit of “eat dinner, have desert”.  I talked myself out of coworker cookies and monthly birthday cake at work.  I’ve realized that when limiting sweets (I’m thinking when I complete my month detox, maybe allow one desert a week), very few things are actually worth it.  My first sweet on August 6th is going to be either some for real frozen yogurt or a milkshake.  These are things that are worth it.

One of our guilty pleasures is buffet food.  I’m not a horrible wild woman, but I enjoy the freedom to have a BIG ASS SALAD and some soup, pick at some entrees I would normally not try, and sample some bites of a bunch of different deserts.  Today, I’d been up since 9 and it was 2:30, and my breakfast consisted of 1 apple, and I had been cleaning all morning.  We decided it was a buffet day.  I got there and had my typical gigantic salad, and picked at some food, and then had some fruit.  It was… lacking.  Without the desert course, it was thoroughly unsatisfying.  It was kind of an eye opener.  I don’t think I’m going to frequent buffets as much anymore.  I’d rather go have a salad and then an entree of my choosing somewhere.

I think I’ve missed my window of having a productive weigh in.  It’s about to be that TOM and I’m feeling it, so I’m just setting myself up for disappointment.  I think that the most reasonable thing to do is to wait until my month of no deserts is up and see what that’s done to my poundage.  However, I think month by month is a good way to pick at my bad food habits (hell, habits in general) and slowly try to figure out how to live in a way that would make my body the most happy.  So I need to figure out what next month will be.  Maybe give up fried stuff for a month?  Maybe make a big official thing about eating most of my calories before dinner?  Any suggestions?

Anyhoo, I didn’t count calories again, so the numbers won’t be terribly productive.  Most of our lunches were bigger and dinners were smaller.  We went out Monday night for the yelp event and Wednesday to support a coworker at a karaoke competition, but stayed in all weekend so it sorta made up for it.

Monday: 4 mile run (500)
Tuesday: weights (150)
Wednesday: 12 mile ride and 2 mile run (700)
Thursday: off
Friday: 50 mins running speedwork, 1.5 mile walk (700)
Saturday: 25 mile bike ride (800)
Sunday: housecleaning (seriously, cleaned for like 6 hours today…it is worthy of being on the list)

Next week:  I have ZERO plans except heading up to la casa de parental units.  I’m sure that will change, and the schedule will roll along with that, but here’s the penciled in version:

Monday: 10k run (700)
Tuesday: weights (200)
Wednesday: 12 mile run, 5k run (800)
Thursday: off
Friday: 30 mins arc trainer (400)
Saturday: 25 mile bike, 5k run (1100)
Sunday: swimming (400)

Also this week: going to track again to see how I’m doing and make sure my intuitions aren’t off.  Along with my no deserts thing and a full workout schedule and fairly empty dance card, hopefully it will be a healthy-type week.

So my question to you: what is the one not-so-healthy habit you’d change?  Feeling a little too sweet?  Fast food junkie?  Stuck on one type of cardio?  Ideas welcome of things to try in the months ahead…

The Cake in the Breakroom

Once upon a time (2002) in a land far far away (San Diego), when I was a fairly heavy smoker, there was a coworker, who I will name C.  We were both overweight, but he was a non-smoker.  He would always preach to me about how horrible cigarettes were, and my counter was that lots of things are drugs (that is, causing pleasurable chemical reactions in your body that made you want more), for example, sugar.  I bet I could go longer without a smoke than he could without sugar.  He made it until lunch and got a jamba juice without really thinking about it and I was still not even really yet craving a smoke.

At that point, I was also on Atkins so any victory in my cold, carbless life made me feel a little less of a shell of a lifeless person.  But it still made me feel validated.

I’ll point out that sugar was never what made me fat.  Sure, I’d indulge in deserts now and again but what really did me in was salt.  Potato chips.  Bagels.  Pizza.  Burgers.  Fries.  Taco combo plates.  I wouldn’t turn down the ice cream social day or birthday cake or some candy from the candy jar, but I rarely sought it out.  I actually find that the skinnier I am, the more I skew towards sugar.  As a kid, I ate candy like no other, but in my late teen years til about 30, I’d rarely ever eat sweets.  Since I’ve picked up distance running and am smaller again – the sugar smacks come back.

It’s not to the same level as it used to be.  As a kid, I’d have a candy bar EVERY DAY at lunch.  As a young adult, I would have a smoke after a meal in the same way you might eat desert.  Now, I have shifted back to having a sweet after dinner – though it might be healthier like a 60 calorie sorbet or a bowl of whole grain cereal and almond milk, or a hershey kiss or two, it is still something I feel like I want/need/deserve just about every day.

Also, I used to have the “oh, I’ll have deserts when I’m out, but only on a special occasion”.  This last week and a half of no deserts made me realize that there are a damn lot of special occasions.  So far this week I’ve had to turn down cake twice, tim tams, snickerdoodles, and a few other things I’ve certainly blocked from my mind.  I have done  9 successful days without deserts (beyond fruit).

I’m going to try to go a full month.  Yeah, I know.  I think I’m crazy too.

The reasons are twofold.

One, I’ve tried everything else to lose weight, and maybe the answer isn’t to eat x-amount of calories.  Maybe I really and truly need to spend some time cleaning up my intake, and examining that, one area I really can work on and not feel horribly deprived cutting out is desert.  A chocolate or 2 while I’m PMSing or having some bacon chocolate brownies or my friend’s amazing fudge at a party?  Totally should be in my life.  Feeling compelled to get up and snort the sheet cake from costco in the break room?  Blech.  Having to have some sort of sweet at the end of the day just about every day?  Badness.

Second, I just want to prove to myself that I can.  Nine days in and I still feel like my workouts are missing a lot of pep.  I don’t like feeling like things control me.  I CONTROL THINGS.  And not having had much of a sweet tooth when I was 265 lbs, it feels like a STEP BACK to have one now.

A minor reason?  I want to be able to have the deserts I *want*.  Rather than a hershey kiss every day or some sorbet, I’d like to once a month be able to go out and order a slice of key lime pie.  Or the fro yo I’ve been craving.  Or a milkshake.  I want to feel justified that I can enjoy the REAL THING and not just have to make due with a substitute.  These are things I’m trying to incorporate in my diet as well (like real cheese instead of plastic cheese, etc) but baby steps.

So the eating rules are thus:

-Fresh fruit in any quantity is allowed.

-A fortune cookie or a starlite mint does not count.

-I’m not worrying right now about HFCS or the sugar content of anything that is a FOOD, just trying to stay away from anything you could classify as a DESERT.  Cereal and milk are banned because I eat them like a sweet, but if I was eating them for breakfast instead of my protein bar, it would be ok.

-No sugared drinks (though it’s not like I drink them anyway).

-My 110 cal 1g sugar protein shake is allowed since it’s consumed as an after workout recovery, not desert.

I think that’s it.  I figured I should get this public before I reconsider. 🙂

We’ll see how this goes.  Wish me luck!  Have you ever done a sugar detox?  How did you feel?  Anything you feel like giving up this month? Who’s coming with me?

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