Food Plans (or Working From Home Does Have Some Diet Benefits)

I’m basically only working from home now. It’s probably going to stay like that since any additional jobs I add on will pretty much have to be done while I’m working my other job (unless I find a night/weekend job).

I used to have such trouble with lunches when I worked outside of my house. Remembering to pack and bring my lunch was one issue. The other was the temptation of all the other food available nearby work.

I don’t have that issue anymore. My work hours are 10-3 and I don’t really get a lunch break. I’m able to step away from my computer to eat lunch, but I pretty much stay at my desk because I never know when a chat or phone call will come in.

Because of this, I’m eating pretty much at home for all my meals. My breakfasts on work days are almost always toast and peanut butter. It keeps me full and it’s not too bad calorie wise.

Dinners are a lot of prepackaged meals, but I’m still considering that better than ordering pizza or Chinese food delivery. I’m again being careful with the calories, but I know that there are things in the prepackaged meals that I don’t need.

Lunch is a little tricky since I am pretty much eating at my desk and have to stop every so often to help a customer. I’m working on finding things that I can eat over a long period of time incase I get stuck helping a customer for a long time. I’m really liking the egg white salad mix from Trader Joes. I eat that by itself with a piece of fruit (that’s exactly what I did yesterday). Also, the premade salads from Trader Joes are really yummy and don’t go bad or get weird if you don’t eat it all right away.

I’m finally out of my food rut of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I’ve told myself I can only have peanut butter once a day and right now, I’m really liking it for breakfast.

I know that I need to start cooking more and stop eating the prepackaged food, but I’m looking at this a baby steps. I haven’t had any fast food for a long time (easily over a month ago) and I haven’t been ordering delivery food either. I’m finally getting those bad habits out of my system.

Now I need to focus on the next step of introducing more good habits in. This is such a long process for me and I know that I need to be patient. I’m just trying to focus on the steps I have done so far and not how many more I need to go.

“The Theory Of Everything” (or The Fanciest Movie Theater I’ve Ever Been To)

Last week was full of movie screenings! First I saw “What The F@#- Is Cancer And Why Does Everyone Have It?”. Then I got invited to check out “The Theory Of Everything” in an advanced screening!

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“The Theory Of Everything” is the story of Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane. The movie was based on a book that Jane wrote about their relationship. I was super excited to see it, and I invited my friend Robert to be my plus one.

The screening was put on by Women In Film and held at iPic Theaters in Westwood. I knew that it was a fancy movie theater, but I had no idea how luxurious it would be!

I’ve been to some fancy movie theaters before, and I’m well aware that I am spoiled by that. But seriously, this was more than I could image! When Robert and I walked in, we realized that basically every seat in the theater was a leather recliner.

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We got there pretty early, so we were able to get 2 recliners pretty much right in the middle of the seating area. A few minutes after we sat down, a waitress came over to us. She explained that Women In Film was treating us to 2 drinks and whatever food we would like to order (up to a certain amount).

I was totally not expecting that!

So Robert and I checked out the menu on the iPad that was at the little table between our seats.

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I got a water (since I didn’t feel like having a cocktail in the middle of the afternoon) and some truffle fries. But there were so many food options available including entrees. I have no idea what the fries normally cost, but I’m sure they weren’t cheap. While we waited for the movie to start, we googled the theater and realized that the seats we were in usually cost $25 each for movie! Definitely not something that I could afford normally.

The movie started and soon after our food was served. And after that, complimentary popcorn was served too (I turned that down since I was happy with my truffle fries). We were definitely treated well at the theater! And I thought having waiters going around the theater during the movie would be distracting, but it really wasn’t. The way that the seating is arranged, the waiters are never really blocking the screen as they help other patrons.

And the movie was incredible! I didn’t know that much about Stephen Hawking before seeing the movie. Just some of the basics like he has a disease similar to ALS and that he is a scientist, mathematician, and a writer. But this movie covered his life pretty much from college until about his later 40’s. And his wife Jane was pretty amazing too! I actually downloaded the book that this movie was based on onto my Kindle as soon as I got home.

I have no doubts that this movie will be getting a lot of awards during awards season. I think it could totally win Best Picture at the Oscars. The performances were so amazing that at times I forgot that I was watching an actor play Stephen Hawking and not the man himself. It’s just so mind-blowing!

After the movie, Robert and I were in agreement that this was one of the most amazing movies that either of us has seen in a while, and easily the best movie of the year! The movie officially comes out in a week and I highly encourage you all to go see this movie!

A Pure Moment Of Happiness (or Loving Life)

Over the weekend, I was running around doing errands a lot (doesn’t every weekend just seem like an endless cycle of errands?). There was a lot of driving around from one part of town to another, and while waiting at a light during my driving, I had a little “aha” moment.

I’m currently living the life that I dreamed of.

Now, not everything is exactly what I dreamed of. I’m having trouble making ends meet and I’m working various day jobs instead of working in my dream career. But I’m living in LA and making it work.

I have always dreamed of living in LA, and I’ve been able to do so for the past 13 years. And while I’ve had some not so great apartments, when I lived at my last apartment I told several people that all I wanted was to live in a little bungalow. Maybe something that used to be a part of one of the major studios.

And when I found out my old roommates were moving out almost 5 years ago, I went on a frantic apartment search. And I found my house that I live in now. And it is a little bungalow that used to be a part of a major studios (the stars would live here while they were off filming something nearby).

This is pretty much everything that I’ve ever wanted. Again, the job situation might not be great, but I’m working on that. I can’t control when my acting career will take off, but I can control that I will be ready for when that happens.

I have my next few plans in my head for what I would like next. I know that my next move will be into a place that I buy and not rent. I got a great deal on my house when I signed my lease almost 5 years ago and everything else in my neighborhood is at least $300 more than what I pay for a similar place. So moving to another rental will most likely not be an option for me.

I’ve been looking at what places cost around where I want to be, and I’ve made a list of things that my next place will need (I don’t require a lot but I would like a parking space and the ability to have my own washer/dryer).

Hopefully one day in the near future I’ll find the perfect place for me to buy and I’ll have the ability to buy it. But for now, I’m just going to continue realizing that I really do have almost everything that I dreamed of when I was younger.

A Screening At The Walt Disney Studios Lot (or “What The F@#- Is Cancer And Why Does Everyone Have It?”

Through WIF, I was invited to an amazing screening this past week. It was for the film “What The F@#- Is Cancer And Why Does Everyone Have It?”.

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Immediately, I was interested in attending the event. I was even more excited when I found out that it was held on the Walt Disney Studios Lot (which I have never been on before).

When I got my ticket for the event, I found out that I got to bring a plus one with me. I asked my Evil Twin, Shey, to come with me. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer many years ago and Shey was one of the people who really helped me deal with my mom’s diagnosis and what it meant for me. I knew that this would be a movie that both of us would enjoy and have a deep connection to.

When we got to the lot, we were both so excited to be there. The lot has not changed a lot since Walt Disney was there and it was so cool walking around to see all the different buildings and the signs of what departments they were on our way to the theater.

When we got there, there was a giant poster of “Frozen” to greet us.

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The theater was gorgeous and amazing. The seats were super comfortable and Shey and I got there early enough to get some great seats.

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The quick summary of the film is when the filmmaker, Allison W. Gryphon, was diagnosed with breast cancer, she looked for a movie to help her understand what it all meant. She couldn’t find what she was looking for, so she asked around to her friends to help and they created this wonderful documentary.

I wish I could explain how amazing this movie was, but I know that my words won’t do it justice. I wish that I had seen this when my mom was diagnosed (I think it would have been great for her to see it when she was diagnosed as well). It was such an honest viewpoint of cancer (mainly breast cancer) and answered so many questions that are either not answered online or are way too scary to look up online.

I know for sure that if I hear of anyone else being diagnosed with breast cancer, I will send them a link to this movie immediately (it’s available on iTunes and you should all watch it).

After the screening, there was a Q&A with the Allison.

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The Q&A ran a little long (it was over an hour), but it was all very informative. The fact that Allison was able to create the documentary while she was going through treatments for breast cancer is so inspiring. And it proves that anything can inspire you to create a movie.

After the Q&A, I went up to talk to Allison briefly. She was so kind and generous with her time and all I wanted to say was thank you. This really was such a great experience seeing the movie.

Then, it was time for Shey and I to head out. But before we went back into the parking garage, I really wanted to get a picture of the building on the lot that has all of the Seven Dwarfs on it. We saw a security guard near where we were walking and we asked him if it would be ok to take a picture. Not only was it ok, he walked us to where the best view was!

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While Shey and I were taking photos and just being in awe of the fact that we were there, the security guard told us some amazing Disney history. He explained that the Seven Dwarfs are holding up the building because the building was made with the profits of “Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs”. He also showed us where Walt Disney’s office was. Shey and I both assumed that that office wasn’t in use anymore and was preserved as a dedication to Walt Disney. Nope, they rent it out because it’s the best office that gets the most rent money.

We then said goodbye to the awesome security guard (whose name I never got), and then went back to my car.

I wish I could express how amazing seeing the movie was, but I’m really still taking it all in. It was one of those experiences that I know will stay with me for a long time. There are screenings still happening so if there is one near you, I highly recommend going.

And while I hope that nobody reading this has to go through a breast cancer diagnoses, if you do, watch the movie.

Tough Workouts (or Having Challenges Every Day)

This past week was not my best week of workouts. I still went 3 times during the week, but I was not able to really put out a full effort each time.

It’s probably a good thing that I had a bad week. It proved to me that even when I can’t do my best, I can still do something. And I did burn at least 450 calories in each class (that’s a lot in 60 minutes!).

Monday wasn’t that bad of a day. The workout went really great and I was pushing myself like crazy. I’m trying to move up in what weights I use during the strength portion. I used to always start at 10 pounds and go from there, but now I’m starting at 12 pounds. And I’m finding that for most things (except lateral arm moves) that is a good weight for me. I’d like to eventually move up to the 15 pounds weights, but I don’t have a timeline for that yet.

The Monday Challenge was a running challenge. I hate those. There isn’t always a modification for the challenge for walkers so I’m not able to fully participate in them. This challenge was running at 10.5 MPH for as long as you can. I didn’t attempt it because I was terrified that I would fall off the treadmill. So instead, I did 4 MPH at 15% incline (the highest incline the treadmill can do). I managed a little over 30 seconds at that. I wasn’t timed because it wouldn’t count, but even if I was timed, everyone was over the 1 minute mark so I wouldn’t have made it on the wall. But I tried. And when this challenge comes around again, maybe I can do 45 seconds.

Wednesday was tough because it was the day after my bad food day. Eating like that really affected my workout. I felt sluggish and had trouble focusing. I was having dizzy spells similar to what I had when I had my ear issues. I was totally thrown off and the trainer, JZ, noticed. But the important thing is that I showed up and tried.

And Friday, my hip decided that it had enough of me. My bones kept grinding against each other all day. And while I was carefully timing my 2 types of painkillers and making sure to take them every 8 hours (for one pill) and every 4 hours (for the other pill), my hip kept catching and walking was extremely difficult for me. It didn’t help either that my heart rate monitor is class was glitchy. I usually look at it to see if I’m hitting the heart rate zones I need to. And if I’m too low or too high I adjust things. But my heart rate was going from 60% to 105% and all over the place. So I have no idea if my effort was what was needed. And I didn’t want to leave class to get a new one so I just sucked it up.

After my Friday workout, my hip started to get much worse. Every time this happens I freak out a little bit. Now it’s a bigger freak out. I’ve now realized that when I have my next surgery (no matter which hip surgery ends up being my next one), I’ll be out of commission as far as workouts go for at least a month or so. If my next surgery is making my left hip like my right one (not getting a hip replacement), there is a chance that I could at least do the strength section (I just wouldn’t be able to stand without crutches and therefore couldn’t go on the treadmill).

I can’t think like that right now, but I can’t help it. Now that I’m getting in a groove, anything that alters that makes me worry that I will have trouble returning to it. I’m debating making an appointment with my surgeon again, but I don’t think that anything he says will be different from last time (I have the option to do the surgery whenever I want).

In the meanwhile, I’m looking forward to another week of workouts this week and hopefully I’ll have some more positive days!

Counting Every Calorie (or Seeing Things In Black and White)

The other day I seriously went crazy with food. Not just a little. Crazy to the point I felt sick.

Usually when this happens, I make sure that when I’m done I throw out any remaining “bad” food so I can start over the next day. And since I track my calories, I put in something into the MyFitnessPal app so it doesn’t show that I skipped a day.

That’s not exactly how things went this week.

First of all, I forgot to throw out all of the “bad” food. And so when I discovered it the next day, I decided to eat it for breakfast (I have no clue why I did this).

So I was already feeling pretty horrible about my day after eating something I shouldn’t have first thing in the morning. But I decided to make myself accountable for what I did.

First, I went back to the day before and entered in all the foods I ate. I went well over my calorie goal for the day, but at least I had a number to put to it.

Then I entered what I ate in the morning. It was over half of my calories for the day. But by having that information in, I found a way to manage my calories for the rest of the day so that with my workout that afternoon, I was just under my calorie goal for the day.

Taking the emotions out of food is really helping me. While I’m in the moment of weakness and eating what I shouldn’t, it’s a completely emotional experience (even if that emotion is being numb). But when I regain my senses, putting the calories of everything down really does help put things into perspective.

I could have easily said that I screwed up with my breakfast so why not screw up for the entire day. And I’ve done that over and over again. It’s so easy to believe that you will start being good tomorrow or after the weekend or after the holidays. But starting over right after the “bad” meal is really the best.

I hate that I’m still struggling with all of this. I wish that it would just go away. But the reality is that I will most likely have these issues for the rest of my life. Hopefully it won’t be as frequent as it is now (which is way less frequent than it used to be), but I have to allow myself to have slip-ups.

And at least by tracking everything I can see that I didn’t really screw up and that I can get back on track and still have a successful day.

Sometimes It’s Not About Me (or Not Freaking Out)

This past Tuesday, I was supposed to have an in-person interview for a babysitting job with the mom who didn’t want to hire me for a previous job because she could not read my entire background check.

This in-person interview was discussed during a phone interview I had with her last week. I had requested that she send me a formal interview request through UrbanSitter (the babysitting site I’m registered on) so that I would have all of her information and the request would block off my calendar so other families don’t request me for the same time.

I didn’t think too much more about it because the mom promised to put the request in.

Then the weekend came and I heard nothing from her. I sent her a message on UrbanSitter mentioning that she had said she wanted to do an in-person interview but I had not received the request yet. I let her know that I was keeping that time open to her and not accepting jobs with other families.

I still heard nothing back from her.

I started to freak out. What did I do wrong? Did the mom read my previous post and didn’t like what I said (although I don’t think that I made her sound bad)?

I really started going back in my head every encounter I had with this mom (which was pretty much 2 phone calls and a few messages through UrbanSitter) and couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong that she was no longer interested in interviewing me for this other position she needed filled (basically a driver for her daughter who is a child actor).

Finally on Tuesday, I realized that I was not going to hear from this mom through the UrbanSitter app. She might not get alerts that there are messages waiting for her like I do. So I looked up her phone number from our phone interview request on the app and called her and left her a voicemail. This already made me nervous because I don’t like sending messages to parents outside the app without previous discussing that.

About 30 seconds after hanging up the phone, I got a text message from the mom. She forgot that she had said she wanted to do an in-person interview that day and was out of town on business. She asked if we could reschedule when she was back in town.

I sent the mom a text back saying that I would be happy to reschedule and it wasn’t a problem that she forgot.

I felt so stupid for worrying about this. I did nothing wrong so why had I been so worried? But this is a common issue for me. I’ve had this with all of my day jobs. Whenever I’ve been called in to speak with my boss, my first instinct is that I did something wrong and I’m about to be fired. This is probably because I’ve had so many horrible day jobs in the past.

But I’m trying to think positively about my day jobs. I know that I’m doing great work and that my bosses know that I’m working as hard as I can. But sadly, that little negative part of my brain keeps acting up. I just need to learn how to make it quiet.

 

More Family Time (or Seeing All My Immediate Family Last Week)

After having my parents here for their long layover, I prepared for another family visit.

My brother and sister-in-law were coming to LA to attend a wedding.

They had plans to go to the USC game on Saturday and I had to work my box office job and babysit that day, so we made plans to get together on Sunday for brunch.

We headed to my favorite brunch place, Rush Street. They have the best tater tots and my brother is a huge Bloody Mary fan and they have a Bloody Mary bar there. We had a nice relaxing brunch and since my brother’s birthday was just a few days ago, I didn’t mail his card and gift so I could give it to him in person.

After brunch, my brother and sister-in-law had a few errands that they needed to get done. And since they didn’t have a rental car for the trip, I drove them around and helped them out. My brother has a couple of interviews with different hospitals this week and needed some more dress shirts (because he didn’t pack enough) and a nice folder for his resume. And since we were going to a clothing store for him, my sister-in-law and I shopped around for dresses because she has another wedding to go to this upcoming weekend.

After the errands, I took them back to their hotel so they could get ready for the wedding. My sister-in-law had to leave early from the wedding to fly back home, but since my brother has his interviews he was staying in LA a little longer.

So on Monday, I picked up my brother and we went to lunch together. It’s been a long time since he and I hung out just the two of us, and it was actually really nice just to catch up without other family being there too.

Then, I dropped him off at a car rental place so he could get a car to drive to Santa Barbara (where his interviews are). He heads back home this afternoon and there’s a chance he might come hang out at my house for a few hours waiting for his flight. I guess my house has turned into an airport lounge for my family.

It was so great to have so many family visits recently. While I did get to see my parents and sister-in-law last month, I hadn’t seen my brother is a while.

It’s always nice to have some family time, even if it’s only a few hours here and there.

Long Layover Visit (or Celebrating With My Mom In Person)

This past Thursday my parents had a couple of flights. The first flight brought them to LAX where they had about a 10 hour layover. So when my parents knew that this was the situation, they asked me what my plans were for the afternoon. And of course, I immediately cleared my schedule so I could get them and spend some time with them.

The first thing we did at my house was a project (of course). A drawer on my dresser broke and my dad said that he would work on fixing it. We were finally able to create a fix, but we really need to work on it when my dad has the time to go to the hardware store and get some proper things (right now, the drawer is fixed with tape).

Since it was a nice day out, we also took a walk around my neighborhood. My parents haven’t really walked around my neighborhood that much. Usually when they are over at my house, we are working on something and then driving to another activity. But since we had all the free time in the afternoon, we took a very nice walk.

It’s fun to see my parents seeing more about where I live. My mom grew up in LA, but not near where I live. So it’s interesting to see them discovering why I love my area so much.

After walking around, it was time for linner (lunch/dinner). My parents wanted something filling so they wouldn’t be hungry on their next flight, so I took them over to Westside Tavern. I’ve been there plenty of times (it’s right next to one of my favorite movie theaters) but my parents have never been.

And since we were celebrating my mom’s final chemo treatment and her being cancer free, of course she got some champagne.

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We had a nice relaxing dinner and then headed back to my place. We spent some time watching tv and I helped both my parents with iPad questions (which is how I “pay” for the house repairs my dad does) and before we knew it, it was time for me to take them back to LAX for their next flight.

Their layover on the flight back isn’t nearly as long as this one was, but I might get to see them again then. But if not, Thanksgiving will be here before you know it and I’ll see them (and Tucker!) for a couple of days then.

I’m just so grateful that I’m in a work situation right now that allowed me to take the afternoon off so I could spend it with my parents. It was a nice treat for me to get to see them and I’m sure that they preferred hanging out at my house over spending 10 hours waiting at LAX for their next flight.

Seeing What Other People See (or Losing Weight Without Losing Weight)

Another week of workouts are done! I had some great challenging workouts and some personal challenges as well.

First of all, the Monday Challenge this week was a mini Dri-Tri. We had a 100 meter row, 20 burpees (without the jumps or pushups), and a .1 mile run. Even before I started I knew I wouldn’t rank in the top 5, but I was still excited to do it. The row wasn’t too bad. I was exhausted from the workout, but I still got it done pretty quickly. The burpees were a killer. It’s so tough to do them and even though I’m finally done with my ear problems, my equilibrium is still off sometimes when I go from sitting or laying down to standing. So those burpees made me so dizzy! And I did the .1 mile walk as fast as I could, but everyone else at the challenge was able to run.

In the end, my time was just over a minute from what the slowest time was on the leaderboard. So not bad.

These challenges are going to be in cycles. I’ve been told that they will do 8 challenges and then repeat them. I’m not sure if that is still the exact plan, but if it is, I’m excited to see what my time will be for this challenge in 8 weeks when we do it again.

On Wednesday, I was all decked out in pink for my workout.

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First of all, it was to show my support for breast cancer awareness month. But secondly, this past Wednesday was my mom’s very last day of chemo! So even though I wasn’t celebrating that awesome milestone with her in person that day, I wanted to celebrate it in my own way.

On Friday, it was a crazy challenging workout. It was a run/row day, which I haven’t had in a long time. I personally enjoy the run/rows because it means that I get to spend less time on the treadmill, which I still don’t love. But since it had been so long since doing a run/row, my transitions were slow and tough. I know that I can do better with that if I have run/rows more often, but I just focused on trying to get from the treadmill to the rower and back as fast as I could.

This week also seemed to be the week that I talked with people who have noticed a difference in how I look. First of all it was my parents who I saw on Thursday (more about that in another post). My dad mentioned that I look much smaller than the last time he saw me (which was last month).

Then on Friday, I was talking with 2 ladies who were on the treadmills next to me. One of them was pretty new to Orangetheory. That Monday (she was in my class that time as well) was her first class. And she was asking me all about the workouts. Then there was another lady who I have seen a bunch in class who joined in on the conversation. She mentioned that whenever she and I are in the same class, I motivate her to use heavier weights in the strength portion of class because she sees that I’m using heavier weights than she is.

I never realized that I could motivate someone who looks perfectly fit to me to try harder! That was pretty awesome. She also mentioned how I looked like I had lost a lot of weight since she first saw me in class (which I think was right around 4th of July).

Finally this week, I saw my brother and sister-in-law yesterday (again, a story for another post). My sister-in-law commented that I looked like I had lost a lot of weight.

What’s crazy about all of this is that I haven’t lost a lot of weight. I’m not sure why I’m not losing it at the rate I expect to, but I’m just happy that it is going in the right direction. But for example, since the last time my parents or my sister-in-law saw me, I’m maybe only 4 pounds smaller. That’s not a lot. But clearly it must be showing more than I realize.

I stopped doing photos of my progress after my initial 8 week challenge, but I think I need to go back to doing those. It’s really hard for me to see weight changes in my self (I have been diagnosed in the past with some body dysmorphia issues) but sometimes I can see them in photos. I think I’m going to wait until November 1st and then try to do them on the first of every month.

But for now, I have to trust in what other people are seeing and to keep kicking as much butt in my workouts as possible. Because obviously it’s working!