Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Cubicle Is Trying To Kill Me

I’ve been on vacation for four days in Chicago and I have not been counting calories, or censoring my intake in any way. I get to Chicago once per year and I have every intention of enjoying every single last bite I take. So I did. Deep dish at Gino’s East, polish sausage at Portillo’s (even though we have one in Phoenix now),  hot dogs at the Cub’s game, mind blowing Thai food, steak, desserts, ice cream the list goes on and on. You’d think I came home to a disastrous morning on the scale.
You’d be wrong.

In the most astounding weigh in ever, I ate my way through Chicago and I managed to lose 2 pounds. Not that two pounds is staggering weight loss, but it’s still a loss! How was this possible? Hold on to your hats kids, because this is mind blowing: I walked. A lot.

My mode of transportation for four days was primarily my feet and the good help of the CTA. We walked all over the place, to breakfast, to lunch, to the L station… I got more walking done in four days than I do in two weeks at work. I have the luxury of sitting in an air conditioned office while I work, but the sedentary life I lead as a result of that is threatening to hurt my body and health long term.

I can’t tell you how many studies have been published on this subject, but studies tend to make my eyes glaze over and pretty soon my brain wanders and I’m on my next mental vacation. Let’s forget about studies for a few minutes, and let’s take a look at what I have experienced lately.

In May when I had my accident and I dislocated my leg, I was pretty much immobile for 2-3 weeks, after which walking was still a challenge. Over the course of May and June I gained 10 pounds even though my daily food intake wasn’t increased. My movement was greatly decreased. Come July, we went on vacation to Europe and spent almost three weeks eating our way through vacation. But we walked a lot every day, we swam, we were far more active with every day activity than our usual daily grind. I lost all ten pounds that I had previously gained. Boom! And again with this Chicago trip. Four days of walking and two more pounds gone. Disclaimer: no I don’t believe that you can eat your way through your daily life and just work out a bunch and you will lose weight. Healthy meal choices need to occur in order to live a healthy and balanced life. But one thing is for sure: daily life has become so easy from a physical labor point of view, that it is threatening the lives of millions of people who are chained to their computers and desks on a daily basis.

The real question then is what do we do about this?

My short term answer is this: I have started another experiment. I am standing at my desk for chunks of time, I’m even using the stop watch on my phone to try to get  a feel for how much time a day I can stand… we’ll see how this goes. I’ve started to make my desk a little more flexible by stacking some trays and propping my keyboard up so that I can stand and type and help clients. Adding flexibility and movement to your day doesn’t mean you have to add a full workout on your lunch break. But in addition to taking stairs, how about you stand a little? Maybe you walk over to someone’s desk instead of sending them a quick email. It may end up providing a physical and mental break as well as strengthening your work relationships with good old fashioned human contact. (The kind your HR department won’t frown on.)

I wrote this post while standing, and while this experiment is in its infancy, I’m considering it yet another step in the right direction. FYI, it might be weirding out a few people around here. I’m ok with that.




P.S. This post is dedicated to Erin C. who gave me a not so subtle reminder that she wanted more. Thanks Erin, love you!

P.P.S. Up to an hour standing so far today. And I was right, editing had to happen while sitting.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Did You Miss Me?

I missed you for sure! I REALLY missed writing this blog!

I will offer no excuses but will catch you up on my life in the last nine months or so.

In October, I took a new job and found myself in the unfortunate position of having to study for another licensing exam. For me, this is the stuff of nightmares. It was a hideous couple of months of self study before I took the Series 7 exam. Seriously, this stuff for me is vomit worthy.

During those two months of self study, we kind of accidentally bought a house. On Election Day actually. I went to vote that morning, and then I went to give our realtor all of our paperwork. They had accepted our offer by that afternoon. I say accidentally because we didn't expect to buy the first house we bid on, but that's how it went. So we were off on the our-house-closes-in-a-month-omg-we-have-to-pack races. I took my exam 2 days before we closed on the house in mid-December. BTW, this girl decided it would be brilliant to move the day after Christmas. That was just silly. But move we did, with the wonderful help of my in-laws--who are amazing!!!

At the end of February we had house guests arrive for a few months, they are missionaries who were here to raise support in the US. My darling friend and sister Verica was with us through the end of April, and our "little brother," Alek was with us through the end of May. They were so much fun to have with us; the house still feels quiet and empty without them. I kept finding hidden post it notes from Alek hidden randomly all over the house. There was even one on the iron. Took me a month to find it. I should be ashamed, but I'm not.

At the beginning of May, I had a pretty painful accident. Fell down a flight of stairs, the last half of it actually. Dislocated my hip, did soft tissue damage to my knee and shoulder. Spent a few weeks on crutches, unable to walk, in a lot of pain, and out of work. Also, I was pretty tanked on the pain meds. My brother and mom took turns babysitting me because there is no telling what I think will be a great idea while I'm on vicodin. Publishing posts to a blog were not allowed.

In June, I exhaled. I also continued to heal.

In July, we had a wonderful working vacation planned and the day before we were supposed to leave, our water main started leaking. Ah, the joys of homeownership. All was fixed before we left, and we went across the big blue ocean and spent time in Zurich (just a day long layover), Slovenia, and Macedonia. Rob and I spent our time in Macedonia with our dear friends, and we volunteered our time to be English tutors for high-school and collage aged students who wanted to speak more English. We also shared our faith. Amazing! All that fun stuff, and we were lakeside in Ohrid, Macedonia. Swimming in the lake sure beat being in Arizona at 118* F. Surprisingly I was able to walk, walk, walk my little heart out in Europe. Stairs, cobblestone, miles and miles each day.

So now, I'm here.

Almost the beginning of August, waiting desperately to get the clearance from my doc to work out strenuously again. Although truthfully, after the dislocated hip I don't know how long it will be or if I will ever be allowed to return to CrossFit. So much of your power in weightlifting is generated from your hips. At this point I will take anything that the doc will let me do, but considering that it's barely coming up on 3 months since my accident, I'm pretty happy I made it through the European vacation. I've had a lot of realizations lately, and I'll share them in the coming days. But I just want you to know, that even though I've been silent, I haven't stopped trying and working hard.

I'm down 65lbs since October. Today I weigh less than I did my senior year of high school. I can't believe I can say that. And from my highest weight ever five years ago, I am down 150lbs. I've lost a human so far. I can't wait to see where the next year will take me.