The Starbucks-Gym Combination

My last three days off from work were busy with friends. It was a great change of pace from my normal boring weekends. I really must hang out with my friends more often. Unfortunately, I didn’t have plans with anyone today.

I made a point not to visit Target today. Instead, I went to Starbucks for a couple hours and read one of the texts for the actuarial exams. My usual Starbucks was being renovated, so I had to find another Starbucks in the nearby area. It wasn’t hard.

Afterwards, I went to the gym for the first time since sometime in February (at least I think it was February; I haven’t mentioned going to gym on this blog since early January). I forgot how relaxing the gym is. I did a medium workout to gauge how my body and muscles have changed over the last few months. I was afraid that a lot of my weight loss was from muscle loss, but I still seem to be able to do everything that I could do from when I went to the gym regularly.

I’ve lost about twenty pounds since I started working at Target. I’m five or six pounds less than my “ideal weight,” which I thought was impossible to reach six months ago! Many of my friends have commented on how skinny I am. One of them is jealous that I weigh less than him. Whenever I go out to eat with him, he tries to buy me dessert!

The actual number of pounds I weigh is mostly just a number, not an indication of my health. I already know I’m healthy (knock on wood). Even still, I don’t want to gain weight from gaining muscle. Now that I’m skinny, I don’t want my weight to go back up, even if it’s in a good way (I know, I’m crazy).

Anyway, going to the gym was fun, except that my iPod nano was out of battery from lack of use. I used to listen to my nano every day, but I rarely use it now because I don’t listen to it at work. The battery can’t even hold a charge as long anymore. My (2nd generation blue) nano was a birthday present from six of my graduate school friends in 2006, so it has a lot of sentimental value.

The Starbucks-gym combination was what I did for the three months before working at Target, and it’s how I passed the first actuarial exam. Maybe it’s time to go back to what works.

Parent Approved Shopping

I did some khakis shopping with my parents before work. My parents didn’t like the idea of me having the waist 29 khakis from the Gap, especially ones that were regular price, so they took me to Macy’s. There are always big sales at Macy’s.

I found some waist 30 khakis that are okay (Macy’s doesn’t have waist 29 khakis). They don’t make me look quite as slender, and there’s a bit of room in the waist, but they’re better than the waist 32 khakis I usually wear.

During college and graduate school, my parents weren’t around to tell me what I could or couldn’t buy. I bought whatever I wanted to wear. After I lost weight (and the 90s were over), I stopped buying baggy and oversized clothes and bought clothes that fit better.

Now that I’m more confident and less self conscious about my body, I like wearing clothes that make me look slimmer. My parents, however, don’t understand that my age, look, and taste in clothes have changed. The slim khakis I bought from the Gap look tight to my dad, even though I don’t find them tight at all.

Since I’m 25 and can buy my own clothes, I don’t have to listen to anything my parents say. I want to keep my Gap khakis, but when my mom says “You can keep them if you really want them,” she sounds disapproving. She says it’s not a big deal, but I know she doesn’t want me to keep them (even though the Gap khakis fit so much better than the Macy’s ones). Knowing me, I’ll probably return them. But maybe I shouldn’t buy new clothes again until I move out of my parents’ house.

Waisting Away

A couple of the ETLs at Target recommended that I dress a little more professionally on the job so that I stand out to the other ETLs and to the store team leader. Apparently, the store team leader is big on little details, like wearing nice shoes and a collared shirt.

Trying to make every attempt to seem more employable, I went shopping for new khakis. I did already have khakis, but because I’ve lost a lot of weight since I started working at Target, my khakis were sagging quite a bit.

I found a good pair of khakis at the Gap, but I was really surprised when I found out my new waist size. In 2005, I had a 34 inch waist. In 2006, I started exercising and eating properly and dropped down to a 32 by May of that year. I stayed a 32 (with my skinny jeans being a 31) until this year. I thought I went down a 30, but the khakis I bought are a 29! Not only that, but there’s a little room!

In the fitting room, I couldn’t believe I was wearing khakis with a 29 waist. I even tried on a pair with a 28 waist, which fit but was too perfect. I haven’t had a 29 inch waist since I was fifteen! It’s amazing that I’m the same size again after ten years!

My mom is more than a little worried that I’m losing too much weight, partially because my brother is also losing weight. My brother is five inches taller than me but weighs about the same as me. His weight loss is from the stress of medical school, whereas mine is from eating less, eating healthier, and exercising a lot. I’m losing weight the right way. I even take a multivitamin every morning!

All this exercise and weight loss is certainly a benefit to staying in retail!

Target Weight

I finally went back to the gym today. I haven’t gone since I started working at Target about a month ago. Luckily, working at Target is physically demanding (a lot of lifting and running around), so not all of my muscle has turned into fat.

I trust the scale at the gym more than my scales at home, but I still knew that I lost weight. Thus, I wasn’t too surprised to see that I lost about five or six pounds in the last month, just from working at Target!

Officially, I weigh six pounds less than my original target weight (ha, not Target), which was the weight I was when I graduated high school (seven and a half years ago). I still have lovehandles (more of me to love!), but hopefully I can get rid of those by exercising. Working part-time should give me the chance to get my cardio from Target and my strength training from the gym. It’s foolproof (famous last words)!

Anyway. I’m not really worrying about my weight anymore. I’ve lost enough weight now that I can just eat normally while not stressing out about the occasional (small) indulgence. Which reminds me, I think there are some chocolate covered macadamia nuts calling my name…

Guilty Indulgence

I went out to dinner with some high school friends tonight. We ate at Olive Garden, my favorite Italian chain restaurant. I got my favorite dish, the “Tour of Italy,” which is a sampler platter of chicken parmigiana, lasagna, and fetticune alfredo. Why choose what you want to eat if you can have it all?

It’s been a long time since I’ve had such a large quantity of food. I’ve been trying to lose weight and keep it off, so I haven’t been indulging myself too much. As a result, a meal that was once easy to polish off became pretty intimidating. While I did finish the Tour of Italy, I felt like I shouldn’t have. All the effort I put going to the gym four times a week feels like it’s gone down the drain.

After dinner, we ended up going to Pinkberry, a trendy frozen “yogurt” place that started in LA. It’s technically not yogurt, but it’s still almost healthy, relative to all the other desserts out there. You can get an assortment of toppings on the frozen “yogurt,” including freshly cut fruit (with no added syrups), cereal (like Cap’n Crunch and Cocoa Pebbles), chocolate chips, almonds, and Oreo bits. Trying to stay healthy, I got mango, strawberries, and blueberries on my medium sized frozen “yogurt.” Even still, I felt like I was spoiling myself too much, especially since I had just had a whole Tour of Italy.

At first, I felt guilty for indulging myself so much tonight. But thinking about it, I feel a little strange that I felt guilty. Am I so obsessed with my weight and body image that I can’t enjoy an evening with my friends and eat some of my favorite foods? It’s been months since I’ve had such a calorie-rich evening, and I’m sure there won’t be another one for a while. One night isn’t going to cause irreparable damage to my health, so why am I so worried? I don’t even have scheduled cheat days on my diet like some people (I have a friend who has those every Friday).

No matter what, I already ate all that food. I’m just going to go back to my normal diet and exercise plan. I’m sure I’ll be fine. It’s so rare for me to hang out with my friends these days. If the cost of hanging out with them is a few hundred extra calories, then it’s worth the sacrifice.

Weight Management

I’m trying to eat less to keep my weight at a stable (lower) level. I don’t want to gain back the weight I lost after my wisdom teeth were pulled. I’m eating smaller portions, and I’m cutting my intake of white rice to almost nothing. If the taste of white rice isn’t worth the calories and nutrients I get from it, then why eat it? I’m starting to use the same logic when it comes to desserts and general portion control. I mostly eat white rice with my dinner now just to make my parents happy.

Because I’m eating less and trying to keep my weight down, my dad thinks I’m going to become anorexic. He keeps mentioning how Karen Carpenter (of The Carpenters) died from anorexia. He always talks about how good of a singer she was and how stupid she was for starving herself. My dad clearly doesn’t know how anorexia works.

I’m currently 24 pounds less than when I was fat and only 1 pound over my high school weight (when I graduated). I wasn’t really fat, but I ate (mass quantities of) fast food at least once a day for about two years during college. I was definitely overweight, but maybe not obese. I could eat more than my friends who are a good eight inches taller than me. Two super sized combos from McDonald’s was a normal dinner. It was awesome. Good times had by all. I still don’t know how I didn’t have high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

But after I went to graduate school, I realized I couldn’t keep up that lifestyle forever. That’s when I started losing weight and eating healthier. I never thought I would ever exercise at a gym, but now I try to go four times a week. I used to love eating until I was completely stuffed, but now I try not to be full, just satisfied.

Ever since I started my weight loss, my target weight has always been my high school weight, and I’m now only within a pound of that goal. But according to this diet calculator, my “ideal weight” is 14 pounds less than my target (15 pounds less than my current weight). What does “ideal” even mean? Zero body fat? A swimmer’s body? Even swimmers have body fat (more than runners apparently).

The “ideal weight” is tempting to try and achieve, but that might be excessive. My dad would probably put me in an anorexia rehabilitation center before I ever became close to losing that much weight.

Returning To Normal

I went back to the gym for the first time since my wisdom teeth were pulled. It’s only been a little over a week, but I became tired more quickly than usual. I’ll have to ease myself back into exercising. One good thing, though, is that I lost weight! I’ve been eating much less this last week, so I ended up losing four pounds! The challenge now is revving up my exercise, and maybe also my food intake, while still maintaining the lower weight.

I still can’t eat quite normally yet, but I’m getting there. My teeth are still a bit sensitive, even though my wounds are healed and there’s no more blood. I’m still eating somewhat softer foods and taking smaller bites, but I’m off the ice cream and pudding diet. Food still gets trapped in the gaping holes, too, so I have to rinse out my mouth a few times after I eat anything. I’ll probably have to continue doing that for a few more weeks.

Besides going back to the gym, I also went back to Starbucks to study for my exam. It’s pretty hard getting back into studying at the same level, much like exercising. I still remember all the formulas I need, but the practice exam questions seemed more difficult than usual. Hopefully things will return to normal (or better than normal) soon.