Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Out with the Old
In with the new

In honor of the peaceful and historic change of the presidency yesterday, I have begun a purging of my own. I walked into my office yesterday and started searching for a random but very important piece of paper and threw up my hands at the chaos of my desk. So, project declutter began. I have completely cleaned off my desk (Of course, my office floor is now littered with papers and folders, but they are slowly getting filed away). It feels good to restore order. So good, that I carried the project home with me, where I commenced in a similar clean out phase in my home office and next in line my closet. My closet is full of clothes that are too big for me. I have given some away, I am getting some altered, but then the perenial question remains. Do i stick to optimism and say that I will never ever be a size 12-16 again and get rid of those clothes, or alter them all. Or do I store some in case I back slide. I want to go for optimism, but buying and paying for altering for a whole new wardrobe is causing me financial pain right now. But then, I am vowing to never go back, right? But the little devil in my head says yeah but look at Oprah (although, all who know me, know i hate Oprah) So, I write, non-eloquently at that, about my internal debate so that I don't feel like I belong in the United States of Tara.

Alas, for now- project out with the old, in with new- will be organization and moving to a different closet I think.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Can California Really Do That??

So, as pretty much everyone knows California is broke. I mean really broke. I argued this point when the elections came around and the stupid people of California voted for more spending, but alas people aren't always so smart. So, now not only is the state broke with bond issues that are barely above junk bond status, but the yahoos the are running the state seem to be incapable of coming up with a budget. So according to various news agencies the state will apparently be out of money Feb 1. Therefore, they are now reporting that their current money saving strategy is going to issue IOUs for income tax refunds. Did you hear that IOUs, from a state with no money. Seriously, folks they are threatening to not honor the tax refunds owed to the people. Can they do that? Apparently, they can.

Now I know that overpaying taxes and then getting refunds is giving the government an interest free loan, and I know it isn't smart. However, the couple of years i had to pay taxes were really rough and every year I have a couple of really big bills that always come in around the time that I get my tax refund and the beginning of the year is always a little tighter financially for me, so getting a nice check from the government has been working for me. But... If they are going to start not honoring what they owe then this policy needs some serious rethinking. I had a long chat with my dad, my ever present financial advisor and he gave me some good advice. I'm going to do some homework and see what I can make work. In the meantime I curse those elected state officials for throwing my money away and not honoring their debt. Curse you

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

LAs bad rap

The city of LA has a bad rap- too many people, too much traffic, no public transit, too much smog etc. I generally try to encourage such thoughts because it will keep people from moving here because yes there really are too many people. Although, I often have had a contemptuous relationship with LA, I have come around. I just hosted a large national meeting in LA and everyone was shocked that I found them a hotel where they could take the subway to the hospital for the meeting every day. We walked to a fabulous dinner, several people even took the subway to the airport. I could see a few minds changing- UhOh. Too late

Then, this morning when I turned on my computer, the yahoo headline was the bitter cold and severe snow storms blanketing the majority of the country highlighted by the cold in the northern midwest- -40 in MInnesota. Ouch... But today in LA, the sky is clear, and it is in the 70s. I sit out on my porch as I type in shorts and a tee shirt thinking I need more sunscreen on my face. Not so bad- really not so bad.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Silver Lake Jogging Path Opens

Yesterday for the first time since Christmas, I took Sadie and ran around the Silver Lake and Ivanhoe Reservoirs.  A nice 3 mile run, plus a hilly 1.5 mile walk there and back, we have done many times in the past few months.  A run that usually for the part along Silver Lake Blvd, makes me fearful that Sadie will get run over by the speeding on coming traffic when she freaks out about a big dog (or let's be honest, little dog) coming towards her.  So, usually that part of the run isn't so relaxing for me and as it is the last part, I'm usually tired.  The combination is suboptimal.  Well, yesterday, when I made the turn above the dog park, I discovered that the jogging path is now complete.  It is a nice little sandy trail with a low wall that keeps Sadie from jutting out in front of traffic.  Yeah!  The simple things that make me happy.

Sadie frolicked, I ran, it was a lovely way to begin my Sunday. Thanks City of LA

Saturday, January 3, 2009

In honor of New Year's Resolutions

I know that this may be shocking given my last post, but I don't really believe in making New Years Resolutions- They have never really worked for me.  However, as I have commented several times I have gone through a relatively epic health transformation in the past year and a half.  So, in honor of all of those who ask me about 20 times a day how I have done it (and then look disappointed when I say exercise more and eat healthy) and those who are making the resolution of getting healthy this year-  here is my answer.

Throughout my 20s i pretty much bounced around the same weight +/- 10 pounds.  It was always  a battle for me, but there you have it.  I was active, never thin, but not really out of shape either.  Then I broke my foot, moved to Chicago and did a neonatology fellowship which had me working more hours than I thought possible and pretty much removed exercise from my life.  I gained a shocking 30 pounds in 3 years (disgusting, I know).  Once I moved back to LA, life got better and I struggled to deal with said weight problem. I did the South Beach diet (lost a lot of weight then gained it back, did a few other random diets, but nothing stuck).  Then a series of events culminating with getting ankle cancer and having to spend 8 months essentially sitting on a couch, combined to have me top the scales at some horrifying level.  My Body Mass Index (BMI) was 31-  officially I was into the obese category.  Yikes  My body fat, who knows, but high.  I thought about all of the things that I had been afraid of losing when I learned about my diagnosis and realized that I had lost many of them by getting out of shape.  So, I resoved to change it right then and there...

As soon as I was allowed to start exercising I joined a gym.  I vowed to eat healthier, but told everyone, I was not going on a diet- diets don't work.  I just wanted to be healthy.  My Physical therapist Jonathan guided me in increasing my core strength and ragaining strength in my ankle.  I swam several days  a week as that was one of the few exercises I was allowed.  When I joined the gym, the membership came with 10 personal training sessions.  Once I was given the go ahead from my medical team, I signed up for the first of them and met Jason.  Jason and Jonathan worked together to come up with my initial program, something my ankle could handle, and I started lifting weights really for the first time in my life.  Jason helped me adjust my diet.  My immediate goal was not to look like a beached whale in Hawaii, but my more important goal was to really reclaim my active life style and be as healthy as I could be.  Over the next several months, I slowly completely restructured my diet, my habits and the weight  drifted off. Then the numb foot thing threatened it all, but with persistance I got through that period.  Then graduated out of PT and could focus more on my strength training and endurance.  Still working out with Jason, the whole thing got pushed to a new level.

Now here I sit, embracing 2009, weighing less than I did when I graduated from college, but a few pounds more than when I graduated from high school.  My BMI is down to 22, well in the middle of the healthy range.  My body fat is well- lower, I can actually feel the loss of boyancy in the water.  I didn't do alone, and I did it without dieting.  I feel like i can say that, because I never felt like I was on a diet, just trying to be healthy.  (My remaining bad cravings are chips and salsa (which I indulged in Taos) and cheese-its (those repulsive fake cheese crackers that I love-  they don't come into my house).  

So when asked several times a day how I lost the weight, I used to shyly smile and thank the person and say that I just got obsessed with exercise.  Now, I am more willing to say, that I did by exercising more, lifting weights with my trainer and eating healthy.  If people want, I offer details. More than one of my friends has commented that I am now "One of the Healthiest people they know"  I don't know about that, but I am happy to be a case point for lifestyle changes.

Special thanks to Jason and Jonathan amongst others.