Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Part 2 of Lifestyle Change: Set up to fail

After going well over the 200 lbs. mark, I decided that I needed an at-home training program. I was convinced that if I just
  • followed the right plan 
  • did the right exercise
  • ate the right foods
that my body would be well on its way to changing! This is it, I thought. I'm going to do it this time. I made it through 8 of 12 weeks before it became too much of a hassle to stick to. In the short term, I lost 10 pounds, but I felt like a failure because I didn't finish.

I set lots of weight loss goals that I never reached:
  • Lose x pounds in so many weeks
  • Before I turn 30 I'll lose x pounds
  • By the end of the year, I'll lose x pounds
  • In the next 6 months...
  • Before I turn 35...
There's a pattern here that simply does not work. Setting a date and a weight and expecting that getting there is do or die. If you don't make it, it's demoralizing. If you do, it's not sustainable because now what?

This idea is the top marketing strategy of the fitness industry, and gyms in particular:

  • Go three days a week and transform yourself!
  • You can lose 12 pounds in 12 weeks with a personal trainer.
  • Join our pounds challenge and get a free t-shirt (to advertise for us)

It's a zero sum game, they claim. Just match the calories in with calories out. Cut calories, get active, and you'll succeed.

I was so convinced that if I were just more active, I would lose weight.

Like many people, I was duped by the "get fit" hype. Many people do lose a few pounds after joining a gym. They go three days a week for awhile. Then life gets in the way, while the gyms happily take your monthly dues and your body changes back.

Over the years, I'd gain 10 pounds, lose 10 pounds, back and forth. It all came to a head about a year ago when I could no longer wear my jeans. They were just too tight and I was not going to buy new ones.

All I could fit into were my stretchy gym pants. This led to the "Summer of the Black Pants" and yet another goal: get down to 170 by December 31st.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Part 1 of Lifestyle Change: My relationship with my weight

Losing weight has been my goal for years and years. In high school, I was a varsity athlete and in very good shape, going to the gym regularly and playing softball. I think at my peak condition I was around 140 lbs.

By my second year of college, I had let all physical activity slide. I was no longer active in any capacity, opting instead to stay up late and play video games with my boyfriend and roommate. The pounds started to creep up and I gained about 25 pounds by the end of college besides being totally physically unfit. To be honest, I just blamed microwave pot pies.

After college, I started working full time, got married and my weight kept increasing. It happened so slowly that I really didn't notice until I noticed. My husband thought he would "help" by getting me a gym membership for Christmas 2003. Ha! I didn't go. I didn't want to go. I was sad and stressed and so many other things that I wasn't in a mindset to lose weight. As I hit 200 lbs., I even tried a weight loss program with my mother-in-law. When that didn't work, I blamed the transfats in their food and that the program was not structured for vegetarians.

In 2005 I started learning Taekwondo and did lose some weight. By the end of 2006, after moving to Austin and going through a divorce, I was down to about 175. Then in January 2007 I got laid off, and into a new long-term relationship. From the time I started a new job in April to the end of the year, I gained back around 30 lbs.

My clothes didn't fit. A few months later, the scale topped at 212. I felt like a failure.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

I Qualified for Unemployment

I got two letters today in the snail mail:

The first was a Statement of Wages and Potential Benefit Amounts informing me that I did earn enough in my base period to receive unemployment benefits. The weekly benefit amount is $465 and I have 52 weeks to claim unemployment, or until I reach the maximum during my benefit year, $12090, which would be 26 weeks of payments.

There is a delay from when you apply for benefits to when you can request payments. My first eligible week will be the week ending 17 January. I can't request payment until 21 January. I'm really glad I'm not depending on this payment since I have savings. I'll be writing quite a bit about budgeting to live within the benefit amount.

Included was a copy of the Unemployment Benefits Handbook.

The second letter reiterated the minimum of five weekly contacts (I guess this is the same as "work search activities" ?) beginning on my effective date of 11 January.  It took some digging, but I finally found a list of acceptable work search activities in addition to what's printed on the back of the letter.

You must keep a work search log! Included in my paperwork was a paper copy of a search log. You can make copies, or print search logs from the website. I'm keeping a spreadsheet of my activities instead. The TWC can request this log at any time, so keep it up-to-date.