I’ve been busy working with Inside Acting Podcast for a while now. We’ve got a lot of really great things coming up, including my planning for our 300th episode this year! It’s going to be tough to top our 200th episode celebration, but I’m trying to do it and there are some really big ideas that we are debating about doing right now.
But while I’m working a lot with the podcast with getting guests, scheduling things, and helping to manage everything; I haven’t gotten to do a lot of events with our listeners. We had our vocal class and headshot sessions last year, but this year we are hoping to have more gatherings so that we don’t always feel like we are putting out the podcast into a void.
Our community manager and I have been working really hard at ideas for events and we have some things that should be able to happen. But because we don’t want to keep putting things off while we schedule fun stuff, we scheduled a casual coffee hangout this past Sunday. We found a coffee shop that is pretty centrally located (since we know everyone is coming from all over LA) and put it out to the listeners that we were organizing a meetup.
We didn’t know how many people would be showing up since we didn’t do any RSVP system. But we hoped it would have a good turnout and figured that if it was a low turnout that at least we would get to know a couple of our listeners a lot better.
When I showed up, a few listeners got there before me which was great since they were able to get a table for the group. And pretty quickly after I got there we had more and more members arriving. And before I knew it, we had more people than our big table could fill and we started to take over the coffee shop with all of us hanging out and meeting each other!
There were so many amazing conversations happening there! A lot of us are members of the podcast (if you aren’t and want to become one, you can sign up for it!), and we are in week 5 of “The Artist’s Way”. Even though we are pretty active in the membership discussing our thoughts about what we are doing and if we are having any victories or setbacks, it’s really nice to discuss it in person. And I think a few people who weren’t doing “The Artist’s Way” with us will be starting it now so we will have more people to discuss this with soon!
We also were talking about some of the events that we are hoping to be doing for the membership and listeners soon. We want to do another headshot day, there are a few classes we are bringing in for everyone, and we have a few fitness classes that will be happening. It’s fun getting everyone else excited about the events because it makes us more excited too!
And some people wanted to know about some of the upcoming guests that we have planned. I wish I could tell people about guests we are working on, but because it takes a long time sometimes to get everything set up and scheduled (there are some guests I’ve been working on for over a year), we don’t usually share too much. But I did mention a few people that we are hoping to get on the show soon and that again gets everyone super excited about what is happening!
I wanted to stay at the hangout as long as possible so I could see as many people as I could, but I was having friends over that evening and needed to get home to clean and get things ready. But I was able to be there for about an hour and a half so I think that wasn’t too short. But it was tough to leave when there were so many people there that I wanted to talk to and so many conversations that I wanted to keep being a part of. Hopefully we can pick up the conversations at the next hangout that we schedule and that this in person momentum keeps going!
For a while, I was making such great progress in my workouts. But I think from the past fewweeklyupdates it’s becoming clear that I’ve been getting a bit stuck. I’ve been doing little improvements here and there, but in general I’m at the same level that I was a few months back. I’m not using heavier weights, I’m rowing at about the same wattage as I was before, and my running is still at the same speeds and lengths of time. I know I need to work on this, but it’s been tough. So this past week of workouts, I did my best with trying to see where I could make improvements.
Monday’s class was a strength focus but it was a run/row day. The run segments were .3 miles on a flat incline and .15 miles at 7-3% incline. For the flat incline part, I ran for 90 seconds and then walked for a minute and repeated that until I got to .25 miles (power walkers do half the distance so since I run/walk I try to split the difference). I was tempted to see if I could run .3 miles without stopping, but I was scared to test myself. And for the incline runs, I ran for 45 seconds and walked for a minute until I got to .15 miles (since that was a shorter distance I didn’t split the difference between runners and walkers). It wasn’t easy to run on an incline, but I was grateful I challenged myself to do it. For the rowing, we had 150 and 300 meter rows and those were nice quick sprints for me.
On the floor, we had really short blocks and we focused on upper body and abs mainly. I did have some small improvements in my floor work including doing my plank work on my toes instead of my knees. I also used some of the heavier weights for my deadlifts and rows. For my ab work, I did have to use more modifications than I would like but I was still doing the work and I felt it in my core later that day and the next morning!
Wednesday was an interesting day. We started with a 10 minute block on the treadmill and a 10 minute block on the floor. On the treadmill, we had pretty long push paces (90 seconds to 2 minutes) followed by 1 minute at base pace. I did all the pushes as a run and walked during the base. On the floor, we had chest presses, squats and sit-ups. Then we came together to do the rest of the class as a partner workout.
This was a rowing partner workout. The person on the rower would row for distance while the other person did floor and treadmill work. On the floor we had jumping jacks with a medicine ball, push ups, and plank leg lifts. Then the floor person would go onto the treadmill to run. We had .2, .15. and .1 miles to do on the treadmill and I decided to run for the entire time. The .2 miles part was tough, but running the entire thing was a nice boost to my ego since I thought I’d struggle more with it. After the run, we would tag out the rowing person so they could do the floor and treadmill work.
The time on the rower averaged about 3-5 minutes and it wasn’t easy to row after doing the running. But there were goals set for how much distance we could do as a team during the workout so I rowed pretty hard. Each time on the rower, I was pretty close to 900 meters. In the 23 minutes that we worked, we each did the treadmill and rower 3 times (so 6 total switches) and between me and my partner we got 5130 meters on the rower. That’s not too bad considering how much other work we were doing in the workout!
Friday was a strength day and for some reason I was having a pretty bad day with my hips. I was hurting really badly and I couldn’t make the pain go away. I still went to the workout, but I knew it wouldn’t be a really great one for me. We didn’t switch between blocks and we started with a 2 minute push pace on a flat road. I did run for that, but that was the only running that I did. Since it was a strength day, which means hills, I didn’t mind too much that I was walking. I did my inclines between 6-10% and sometimes I increased my speed a little bit as well. It wasn’t my best workout, but I tried to take it as a recovery day and be ok with that.
When I switched to the floor, we focused a lot on arm and chest work. It was fine with me until for some reason my right shoulder was starting to hurt (I think I might have slept on it funny). Once I started to hurt, I used some lighter weights but kept going. And we did have 2 rows that were 250 meters each. The first time I did it in 1:01.2 and the second time I did it in 55.5 which made me pretty happy. It’s nice when even during a tough workout I have something I can be proud of.
I also did a Saturday workout. I debated cancelling it and for a while I was only on the waitlist which seemed like an easy way to not go. But I just told myself that I needed to do it and it ended up being the perfect workout to end my week on when I was struggling with progress. This workout was a run/row but it was not the standard format. This time, we had running with weights that we did 3 times and then we moved to rowing with weights 3 times. For the running, we had to do .25 miles each time. I’ve run .25 miles before, but it was a struggle and I wanted to see what would happen this time. It wasn’t easy to run the entire thing, but I did it. And I did it all 3 times! I did have a break between each .25 miles when I had to do weights, but technically I ran .75 miles in that workout! The rowing was 150 meters so that was fast and the weight work that we had to do between everything were shoulder and arm focused. But the sense of accomplishment I had each time I did my run made everything amazing in that workout.
On the floor, we had a lot of squats and ab work. I was using lower weights than I know I could have used but I also was very tired after doing my running. I was doing plank work on my toes again (which is pretty tough with my hips not being as great as they could be) and I was doing speed skater lunges without having to put my toe down which has been something that I’ve been working toward for a while. It seemed like this workout, which I questioned if I wanted to do, ended up being the workout that proved to me that even when it doesn’t feel like I’m getting stronger I really am.
I keep trying to tell myself that progress is slow and that I have to be patient with myself. And as long as I keep going that I will see progress in the long run. But it’s tough when you feel like you are stuck in a plateau to convince yourself that you are doing the right thing. So having a positive workout week like I did this past week helps to keep me motivated and feeling like I am on the right path.
I try not to clutter up my house since I live in such a small place, but somehow it seems like all of a sudden from time to time that I feel like my space is too cluttered. I seem to acquire new things in batches, so it quickly feels like I have too much stuff in my house. For some reason, even though I didn’t really buy too much for myself during the holidays, it started to feel like I needed to do a big cleaning after the holidays. But for some reason, this time I’m struggling with getting rid of stuff.
A lot of the stuff I want to get rid of are clothes. I have a lot of clothes that I don’t wear anymore. Most of it is due to it being too large on me now (a good problem to have) but some stuff I just don’t like or it has started to show wear and tear. But despite the clothes not being worn that often, for some reason I don’t want to let go of them. Even the clothes that are too big are tough to bring to donate. All of the clothes I needed to get rid of still fit in my closet, but I wanted them gone. So I ended up taking out everything that I’m not wearing and putting them into bags. I haven’t been able to get rid of the bags yet, so they are just living in my utility room for now. I don’t know what the struggle with letting them go is, but I guess baby steps are better than nothing.
I also seemed to get a ton of new stuff on my desk. Part of it was when I got my new computer and I had to work on the transfer between the computers. Since the cables for the new computer are different from the old computer, I do need to buy some converters to make everything work the way I want it to. But my desk has also become a catchall for things that I need to deal with. I’m starting to organize my 2016 taxes and that’s all over my desk. I also have cards and paperwork that needs to be finished on my printer. My desk drawers are full, but not unbearable so. My focus is just cleaning the desk since that’s what looks cluttered. I want to get this done, but I also know that this stuff is still in process so I can’t just get rid of them.
And finally, I feel like I just have too much stuff in general around the house. I don’t have a ton of things, but the space has felt smaller to me lately. I do only have about 400 square feet, but it never felt too small before. And I haven’t really added too much that takes up floor space (I did get a robot vacuum during a flash sale on Amazon that is on the floor). I’m wondering if I’m feeling this way because things have been organized the same way in my house for years and I haven’t moved around furniture or switched things up in a while. My last big change was when I got a new couch. And that was over 2 years ago. Maybe I just need to rearrange things and it will feel better.
I don’t keep a dirty or cluttered house, but for some reason it’s just been getting to me. I know I need to do something to fix this or it’s just going to keep bugging me. I’m trying to take steps where I can to make things better but I know I need to do more. I do have motivation to do more this weekend because I’m supposed to be having people over on Sunday (having people come over is always a good motivation to do a major cleaning). But just cleaning might not be good enough because I don’t just want to move things around or hide them in drawers. I do want to get things out of the house that aren’t useful to me so that I can make sure my space is as functional and productive for me as possible.
I just posted about how I was doing the new weight loss challenge at Orangetheory. And as of yesterday, I’m not doing the challenge any more. It’s due to a mistake that I made. I thought I had done everything that I needed to do for the challenge. I signed up and filled out the forms, paid the entry fee, and weighed in at the kick off party. I assumed that the weigh in at the party was enough since it did measure our weight and fat percentage, but I missed the instructions that I still need to do an official weigh in when Nutrishop was at Orangetheory or to go to Nutrishop myself.
I guess I wasn’t paying attention because I never did the second weigh in. I thought I was good to go and spent the past week and a half working hard in my workouts and trying to work on my food as much as I could. And then I got a text from the manager at Orangetheory asking if I weighed in with Nurtrishop because they weren’t able to locate the body scan I did with them. I could have gone to do it on my own, but by the time I would have had time to go it would already be 2 weeks into the challenge. And since it’s a 6 week challenge, I don’t feel like I want to pay to compete for only 4 weeks. Even though it isn’t about the money to enter (it’s only $25) or winning a prize, it just doesn’t feel right to do it anymore.
It’s weird to give up on a challenge that I started. That’s not who I am. But in this case, I would feel shorted if I did it. If I was close to placing in the top 3, I would be mad because I would think that if I had the full 6 weeks that I could have done it. I know how frustrated I would be with not doing the full challenge, and I think for me it will be easier to give up part way through instead of only doing 2/3rds of the challenge.
Giving up on the weight loss challenge isn’t really going to change much for me. I’m still on my own journey to lose weight and I am just as motivated not doing the challenge as I am doing the challenge since I have the goal of losing weight by my surgery date. That is the biggest motivation that I can have. I know that I need to do this to make my recovery from surgery easier. And the easier my recovery is, the quicker I can get back to life (and my workouts) after surgery. So that is a huge motivator for me. I just like doing fun challenges and since this one had some good prizes I was excited to see if I’d win.
Of course, I’m still going to do the required number of workouts that the weight loss challenge had (it was only 3 per week which is my normal). I’m going to track things the same way I did before (I might even still use the tracking chart on the window of the studio if they let me), and I will continue to support my friends who are in the challenge right now. Nothing is really changing outside of me not tracking my weight and fat loss through the studio and that I can’t win any prizes.
It’s a new feeling to give up on this challenge since I don’t usually let myself do that, but at the same time I almost feel a sense of relief. I can focus on my personal goals and weight loss patterns instead of trying to do what it takes to try to win. And yes, I know that I said that I wasn’t going to try to work hard to win this time, but that wasn’t happening. I wanted to see if I could win again and while I wasn’t doing anything crazy to do it, it was becoming a focus. Now, that competitiveness with others is gone and I can just be competitive with myself.
When the challenge ends, I’m going to weigh myself in at home and see if I hit my personal goal for the challenge. It won’t be easy (I’ve had a couple of not-so-great food days lately), but it will be a nice sense of accomplishment if I can do it without the challenge being my focus.
It hasn’t been that long since I was at Disneyland last, but I went back this week! Going to Disneyland this past Monday was actually in my calendar for a while since I had to go to the dentist that day. I figured that going to the dentist isn’t fun so having Disneyland as my reward after would be perfect! But as the weekend happened, LA had a pretty epic rainstorm. It was so bad that Disneyland actually closed several hours early on Sunday.
With the threat of rain, my friend Michelle and I were cautiously optimistic about going to Disneyland. We figured that worst case, we’d do a few rides, get wet in the rain, and then go to a movie or something. We both watched the weather reports carefully and it seemed like we might manage to miss the rain at Disneyland, but we still both packed rain gear with us and prepared for the worst.
After my dentist appointment (which was one of the most low-key and relaxed dentist appointments I’ve had in years), I went over to Michelle’s house and we were on our way to the park. We had some trouble on our drive with getting stuck behind a police stop, but we weren’t there too late. Originally, our plan was to not go on any rides because we wanted to get the most amazing seats for the Main Street Electrical Parade (which just came back this past weekend). But when we got into the park, we realized that it was so empty that we could do some rides before claiming our seats!
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Disneyland as empty as it was when we arrived! We did have rain for maybe 5 minutes when we arrived, but that was it for the entire day! But the crowds seemed to stay away the entire time. I think both Michelle and I couldn’t stop giggling about how awesome it was to have an empty park. And with the park being so empty, it seemed like every character was out and about that day! We didn’t do any character photos, but we did catch a really cute little show with Chip and Dale doing a dance by the Disneyland fire station (including a kick line).
Since we knew the rain was done (and the Electrical Parade was going to happen), we didn’t want to do a ton of rides since we wanted to claim a good bench seat for the parade. But we still did some of our favorites including going on HyperSpace Mountain where we were showing off our sweaters with thumb holes in the photo.
We also rode Haunted Mansion (which was finally back to normally after the Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion) and Big Thunder Railroad. And we went on Star Tours where we could take our usual crazy photo with the 3-D glasses.
And Michelle and I have been very competitive since we met on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. We’ve decided to keep an official store tally on our games starting now. For some reason, the photo doesn’t show Michelle’s score for this time, but we were almost tied (and we were both shocked by how awesome our scores were!).
We had a quick dinner break and then we took advantage of the castle being pretty empty for a fun castle photo with the Photopass photographers. They took some photos with their camera, but they are also nice enough to take really nice ones on my phone too.
I think that photo looks so good and it’s so weird to see so few people behind us! After our photo break, we decided to go over to the bench that we picked out for parade viewing. It was on the path next to the castle and because of the space we knew that nobody would be sitting in front of us. We got there over 2 hours before the parade, but since watching the parade was so important to us, it was worth it. We did take turns going on popcorn or Starbucks runs (it was 50 degrees out and we both wanted warm drinks), but as soon as it was parade time we were ready to watch!
I loved where we were for the parade. We had the perfect view, and with the castle in the background of the photos it just is so perfectly Disneyland!
When the parade ended, we had about 15 minutes before the park was going to close for the day and we headed back to Buzz Lightyear to continue our battle for the year. We got onto the ride again and it seemed really weird right away. Michelle was racking up the points and I couldn’t seem to get any. Then the ride stopped briefly (as it does often) and our game stopped. Everyone else was able to keep hitting targets when we were stopped, but we couldn’t do anything. Since we couldn’t keep playing, we did manage to take a funny selfie on the ride plus we could pose for the ride photo.
When we got to the end of the ride, we told the cast members what happened and they let us go right back onto the ride. And that last ride ended up being one of the most epic rides on Buzz Lightyear that either of us had! The ride got stopped in front of the best target on there and we both kept getting it! Our scores were so insanely high and we couldn’t believe it! And at the end, we both got our best scores ever and I ranked 26th place for all riders of the day!
I’ve never placed on Buzz Lightyear before and I’ve only seen someone place once before (when I went with my friend Justin) so I was shocked when it happened to me! It was such an epic end to an epic day! We took our time going through the shops and checking out the new Disney merchandise before heading back home.
I’m so glad that we took the risk with the threat of rain to go to Disneyland. It ended up being such a great day and I know that it will be tough to top this day. I know I say that a lot with my Disney days, but it’s so true that we just keep making our adventures better and better.
I’ve already written about my workouts last week, but technically there was one that I skipped even though it happened at Orangetheory. For a while, my Orangetheory location has been doing yoga and wine nights on Friday nights. I never can make those because I have to be up early on Saturdays for work and the timing just doesn’t work out. So when they asked if any of us would be interested in a yoga class on a Sunday, I told them that it would be amazing if they could do that! So this past Sunday, I went over to Orangetheory without my heart rate monitor or workout gloves, but with my yoga mat.
The class was being taught by Jordan Younger who blogs at The Balanced Blonde and who I’ve gotten to know from being in Orangetheory classes together. She’s been working really hard at getting her yoga teacher certification and I was really excited to take a class with her! Plus, since she’s been so busy with her yoga training lately I haven’t had a chance to see her at a workout in a while.
I felt like I had gotten to the class early, but I ended up being the last person to arrive! I set up my yoga mat at the back of the room, but the room was small enough that it was fine. Plus, since I have to do a lot of modifications I prefer to be in the back. That way, my modifications aren’t too distracting to anyone else around me.
I’ve been doing yoga at home for a while now. This has pretty much been done exclusively on my iPad and most of the time I’m doing shorter classes. I usually do ones that are 10-15 minutes and that is the perfect length for me. But this class was going to be an hour which I knew would be a challenge. And it has been several years since I had taken a yoga class that was actually a class. So being in a real class is a challenge too.
I’m happy that this class went so much better than the last in person class that I took. A lot of the moves that we did are things that I’m used to and comfortable with from doing the iPad yoga. I was excited to know what Jordan was talking about just by the name of the pose and not stressing out to watch what everyone else is doing around me. And for the first half or so of class, I didn’t need any modifications which was unexpected.
But during the second half, my hips were ready to be done. There were a few moves that I knew my body would not want to do and I didn’t push myself too hard because I knew that pushing through this time would not be the best thing for me. So I used the modifications that I’m used to doing from yoga at home and I took little breaks when I needed to stretch out my hips.
Overall, the class was a bit more advanced than I’m used to, but not so that it was overwhelming or that I felt I wasn’t ready to take the class. I had to push myself from time to time, but it also felt familiar. I think this was the first time I felt comfortable being in class and not feeling like I am taking the wrong level or at the wrong studio. It was a nice feeling and I’m glad that I’ve learned that yoga isn’t something that intimidates me the way it used to.
Taking a yoga class for an hour is a bit too long for me, but I also think that it’s time for me to test myself with longer classes at home (and maybe also trying some classes at studios). I think for me right now, classes that are 30-45 minutes would be perfect to push me more than I’m doing with the 15 minute classes I’m doing now but also are short enough not to stress my hips.
After the class was done, there were some amazing salads from Sweetgreen in the lobby. I’ve been wanting to try their salads for a while since all of my Orangetheory friends rave about them (they don’t have a location in my neighborhood and I usually don’t stick around Brentwood after my workout is done). They had a bunch of different options so I know I’ll have to go there sometime to try the rest, but the guacamole greens salad I grabbed was so good!
I’ve got a lot of thinking to do about how I want to continue doing yoga but I know it will continue to be something I do for a while. I’ve noticed a lot of difference in my flexibility and I feel stronger when I’m working out at Orangetheory. I also feel calmer on days that I do yoga and feel like I can fall asleep easier. It’s been such a great addition to my life and I know I want to continue doing it. But I also know that I’ve been pretty set in my ways for a while and this was just the boost I needed to reevaluate and look to challenge myself.
After Peak Performance Week, I was pretty tired from all the hard work. I knew I’d still be doing my 3 workouts for the week, but I didn’t feel like I needed to push myself as hard as I had the week before. Having a recovery day (or a recovery week) is a totally normal thing to do. But I usually am so competitive with myself that I don’t want to do that. But this week, I knew that I needed to. So I tried to find a good balance between working really hard and taking the recovery I needed.
Monday was a power day that didn’t switch between blocks. But even though we didn’t switch between blocks it almost flew like we did because the first 3 blocks were only 4 minutes each. For those short blocks, I was able to run all the pushes that were 2 minutes or under and all of the all out paces. We had a 3 minute push pace followed by a 1 minute all out. I did run for 2 minutes and then took a quick 1 minute walk break before running my all out. The last block on the treadmill was 7 minutes which was a mix of push and all out paces. I tried to follow the paces perfectly (only walking during walking or base paces). And by doing that, I ended up doing 3 minutes of running at the end which felt pretty good for me!
The floor work that day was a similar pattern with 3 short blocks and 1 long one. Each of the short blocks was 2 different things we had to do and I was able to get through 2 rounds most of the time. And for the longer block, we mainly did squats followed by rowing. I didn’t take it too easy while on the floor since the blocks were so short. I was using 20 pound weights for my squats and 25 pounds for the deadlifts we had to do. Even in my recovery weeks, I’m finding that sometimes I can use heavier weights (especially doing lower body work), so I’m glad I still did that.
Wednesday was an endurance day, but fortunately we did switch between blocks. For the treadmill blocks, on the first one I ran for 2 minutes, walked for 1, and ran for 2 again. I was really happy to see that I felt fine doing that but then after that first block my body decided that it was done. I was feeling pretty light-headed (I didn’t have the best food day before my workout) and was dealing with a bit of pain all over. So for all the other blocks, I ended up walking even during the all out paces. I ended up keeping my speeds and inclines lower than I normally do on a walking day because of all the issues I was having. But I was trying to keep focusing on remembering that this was now a recovery day and that was ok.
On the floor, I used some medium to heavy weights when we had our squat work. In the last floor block, we also had a 400 meter row which I did get done in under 2 minutes. But the light-headedness and pain were affecting me on the floor too and I was taking quite a few breaks. I thought that the toughness of the workout was just because of my personal issues, but after class everyone else seemed to agree that for some reason it was an exceptionally hard class. That did make me feel a bit better about all the struggles I was having in class.
Friday’s class was a power day without switching. I was still dealing with a bit of pain (all the rain we’ve been getting in LA makes my hips hurt so much), but fortunately my workout didn’t suffer too much from the pain. All of the blocks we had were 5 minutes or under and that was helpful. We had a lot of all out paces (I think it might have been 8 or 9 of them, but I lost count). We had 1 minute pushes to all outs, 90 second pushes to all outs, and 2 minute pushes to all outs. And I managed to run all of it. I did walk during the base paces and walking recoveries, but it felt really good to run as much as I did. I still want to push my running more, and I feel like this workout was a good way to do it.
The floor was similar with the short blocks. We had a lot of squat work, a lot of ab work with the ab roller, and I even attempted doing knee tucks on the ab roller on my toes instead of my knees for the first time (that only lasted for 2 knee tucks, but it was the first time I ever did that!). But one of the floor blocks was all rowing for 5 minutes. We had base, push, and all out paces on the rower; but basically it was rowing constantly for 5 minutes. I know I could have done better than I did, but I think I didn’t do too shabby.
For this being a bit of a recovery week and a bit of a challenge week, I think I found a great mix. I listened to my body when I needed to and adjusted when necessary instead of trying to overcome the issues. Hopefully this will be a pattern that I’ll be able to continue doing for a long time!
Today is the inauguration of President Trump. Those of you who follow me on social media probably know how I feel about this, but I don’t want this post to be all about political parties. But with a new president coming in, there are some things that do concern me as a citizen of this country.
Almost all of the things that concern me are related to healthcare. Mainly, the idea that the Affordable Care Act will be repealed (and potentially replaced with something to be determined later). While I always have had healthcare, it wasn’t easy for me before the Affordable Care Act. And now with the threats that it will be taken away, I’m worried for me and the millions of other people who are in a better situation because of it. And so on inauguration day, I want to share my story of why the ACA matters to me. Maybe you don’t care if it goes away, but hopefully you can at least understand why it is something that scares me.
I was born into having amazing health insurance. Thanks to my dad, I had great coverage through Kaiser growing up. My insurance was covered under his job and we didn’t have to pay a monthly bill and almost everything I needed was covered under my insurance. I was totally spoiled with my awesome insurance and didn’t realize it wasn’t like that for everyone. I just assumed everyone could go to the doctor and it would be taken care of. Even with my hip surgery and all the craziness around that, it was completely covered and all of my bills said that the patient responsibility was $0.
When I aged out of my dad’s insurance coverage (which fortunately was right after my hip surgery), I applied for regular Kaiser insurance. All of my doctors are with Kaiser so there was no question to me that I would continue using them for my healthcare. I applied and assumed that while it wouldn’t be free anymore, I would get insurance and everything would be fine. But it wasn’t.
I got a rejection letter from Kaiser saying that they would not cover me because of my pre-existing conditions. Among my pre-existing conditions were my hip issues, my eating disorder, my weight, having a history of strep throat/tonsil issues, and having a history of gallstones. I was not a desirable person to insure and Kaiser didn’t want to cover me. Being rejected for pre-existing conditions sucked. I had an option to get COBRA for a year or so, but it would have been something like $3,000 a month to be covered.
Fortunately, I talked to someone at member services at Kaiser who explained that there was something called conversion insurance. Basically it was insurance for patients with pre-existing conditions that are considered too high risk to insure but previously had Kaiser insurance so Kaiser didn’t want to reject them completely. I was eligible for conversion, but instead of being about $100 a month (which is what it would cost for a woman to have regular Kaiser insurance), it was over $500 a month. That’s a lot of money, but because I needed health insurance my parents helped me out so I could get insurance.
I didn’t have as amazing of insurance as I did before, but it covered most of the things I needed. When I had my tonsils out, it cost $250. When I needed birth control refills, it was $30 a month. The out-of-pocket costs without insurance would have been insane, so having expensive insurance with higher deductibles and costs was worth it.
Then the ACA passed and I became eligible for regular insurance again! Not only that, Kaiser could no longer charge me more because I am a woman so things would be even cheaper than I thought. My new insurance is about $250 a month (I’m also eligible for subsidies because my income level is below the limit) because I got a silver level plan knowing that I would have more doctor appointments than the standard patient. And this was before the liver tumors so I’m more grateful now that I’m covered.
When I recently had my breast MRI, there was a debate if it would be fully covered by Kaiser. With my dad’s insurance, it would have been totally free. With my conversion insurance, MRIs were not a covered benefit so I would have paid full price. With my ACA coverage, MRIs are $250 but cancer screenings are free so it wasn’t known what my MRI would be classified under. I didn’t pay that day, but the other day I got a bill.
I got charged the $250 that is my standard MRI deductible. But you can see that if I had my old conversion insurance, it would have cost almost $2,700 to get this cancer screening that my mom’s geneticist recommended that I do. To know that a test that doctors felt I needed could cost more than my rent is ridiculous. I don’t know how people could afford that if they had to pay the full rate. That’s so expensive and it made me even more grateful for my ACA coverage.
With my upcoming liver surgery, I know I’ll hit my out-of-pocket maximum for the year. That maximum is about $8,000 (much lower than the $50,000 maximum my conversion insurance had) and while that is still a lot of money, it is a necessary cost and a fraction of what it would cost if I wasn’t insured. I’m not going to worry about the money now because I know I will get help to pay for it and my health is more important than money. Plus, on the positive side, I believe that once I hit my out-of-pocket maximum that I won’t have to pay for doctor appointments for the rest of the year!
I know I will be ok for 2017, but I’m scared what will happen to me after the year is done. If the ACA is gone, can Kaiser tell me that they don’t want to insure me anymore? I’m even more high risk with my pre-existing conditions now. If an insurance company could reject me, I totally understand why they would want to. But for me, I know I need to have insurance because of my pre-existing conditions. I will always have my hip issues, I will be considered high risk if I ever get pregnant because of the tumors (even if they are taken out, there is a risk of them coming back with pregnancy), until I stop getting treatment for my eating disorder that will always work against me if an insurance company can reject me, and I’m assuming that having to have part of my liver removed will make me even more high risk.
I know a lot of people get insurance through their employers and they are mad that their premiums have been going up. But that doesn’t have anything to do with the ACA. Premiums have been going up for decades every single year because health insurance companies can do that. It’s the same as car insurance premiums going up or home or renters insurance going up. And for those people who will have nothing change with their health insurance if the ACA is repealed, I can understand why they don’t care too much either way. But for me and millions of other people, losing the ACA can be horrible. For me I know it won’t be a death sentence, but I have friends who could have their lives at risk if they can’t get insurance to help pay for life-saving medication. Hoping that you can afford to live shouldn’t be something that people think about.
I know that there has been a lot of backlash from the threat of repealing the ACA, especially with no replacement in mind yet. I’m hoping that politicians will listen to how scared their constituents are about this. Maybe President Trump will worry about being popular and liked and realize the majority of people do not want the ACA to go away (or go away before we know what the replacement will be so we know we won’t be uninsured). I can only hope that next year, I will not be worried about this and I will still be able to get the healthcare that I need to stay healthy.
It’s almost time for the SAG Awards which means I’m getting ready to vote on who I think should win in the various categories. It’s still so much fun that I get to vote on the awards and it fees so special to me. I know that all union members get to do this, but it’s still relatively new to me and feels like a novelty. And I do take it seriously and want to make sure I vote for who I feel deserves to win and not just who is my favorite. I know that no everyone does that, but I look at it as if I might be nominated one day. I might not be a name actor by that point, but I would want as much consideration as an a-list actor might get. So I take each nomination just as seriously as the others.
Usually, I’ve been able to see more of the films before the nominations come out. I get to go to screenings through SAG-AFTRA and the film society as well as thought Women In Film and usually toward the end of the year those end up being the films that are the ones that get nominated. But this year, for some reason I really didn’t get to make it to many of the screenings of the films that were nominated. In fact, I didn’t get to see anything other than shows that were on Netflix this time. It’s just the way that the screening season went. A lot of screenings were times that I couldn’t go, and during the holidays a lot of screenings were the blockbusters and not necessarily the films that get award nominations.
So when we started to get our screeners, I was excited because I knew I needed to watch a bunch of movies. But somehow time was going by and I wasn’t watching the screeners I had. And over the weekend, I realized that I needed to start catching up in order to have time to watch everything before I had to vote. So I have been trying to watch one movie a day if possible to make it through my movies. I haven’t been able to do that every day, but I’ve been able to do it for many of them and I’m finally about halfway through watching all of them.
It’s been a fun routine at night (or sometimes before I start work in the morning) to pick out a movie that I want to watch. It’s a luxury to be able to watch these movies at my house where I can be comfortable on the couch (and pause the movies if I need to get something to drink or run to the bathroom). And when my hips have been hurting, it’s nice that I can stretch out on the couch or floor and get my body to feel ok. That’s not something that I can do in a theater, even though I do have to stretch out in my seat when I’m out at a movie or a show. Each time I watch a screener, I feel so lucky that I get to have this privilege and hope that I never get so jaded that I start to expect this treatment.
Most of the movies I’ve watched have been very good. I’m actually sad that some of my favorites are only available on the screener website because I know I’ll lose access to watching it soon. And there are some other films that I’ve struggled to get through and haven’t understood why my friends have thought it was the greatest movie ever or that it was better than all the rest. But whether or not I like the movie, I totally agree that the performances in the films have all been the best of the best and all the actors have been very worthy of their nominations.
There totally are some front-runners in my mind for who I want to vote for already. I won’t vote until I finish watching the movies because that’s only fair. I don’t feel like there is a lot of campaigning by actors and producers to get their films or performers to win. I do get flyers and things in the mail (and I guess you could say getting a DVD screener versus having to watch it on a website is a way to campaign), so I don’t feel pressured to vote any certain way like some other awards shows might have. I get to be an actor watching actors and deciding who is inspiring me the most with their performance.
I’ve got less than 2 more weeks to work on this and I think I’ll be fine getting through all the movies. I do need to set aside time to work on it (which seems like a funny concept to me), but as long as I make it a priority in my off time, I will watch everything before needing to vote. And right after voting, I’ll get to see how the rest of my union actors feel about the performances when the winners are announced. I can’t wait to see what happens!
This week, a new weight loss challenge started at Orangetheory. I’ve done the challenge a couple of times before and it’s always been a pretty fun time for me. I’ve done well with it in the past and have even placed in the challenge. This time, the winner gets a cash prize and second and third place get free membership months. And even though I could totally use the cash, I’m not doing anything too extreme to try to win.
I am working on losing weight because of my upcoming surgery and hopefully whatever weight I lose from working on that will help me place. But to do anything that cannot be managed after the 6 weeks of the challenge ends isn’t something I’m interested in. I have about 3 months until my surgery and whatever weight loss plan I use for the next 6 weeks should be what I can do for the 3 months.
But having the weight loss challenge is extra motivation for me. I’m competitive and would love to place in any spot for the top 3. I like having a requirement to how many workouts I need to do (it’s only 3 per week so it’s what I’m used to) and having other people in the challenge holding me accountable for my actions. Plus, it’s a fun way to be involved at Orangetheory and that’s something that I love.
There was a kick off party for the challenge this past weekend. It felt so weird to go to the studio in my normal clothes (a lot of people who work there have never seen me with my hair down since I wear it in a top knot for my workouts) and it was nice to see my workout friends when we weren’t busy on the treadmills. They had the scale to do the weigh in so I got that done pretty quickly. But they also had some vendors there that could help us in the challenge. One of them was Tender Greens, which is discounting food for challenge participants for the next 6 weeks (sadly, the location by my house isn’t doing the discount).
They also had a food delivery service with samples there, massage therapists doing chair massages (that was pretty awesome), and SaunaBar which is giving us all discounts on services for the next 6 weeks. I’m thinking I should check out SaunaBar because it seems cool and something that could be nice along with the hard work that I’ll be doing. Plus, it seems like it would be a nice treat to do as a reward that doesn’t involve food or other things that could be bad for me.
I spent a while at the kickoff party (I was procrastinating on getting work done at my house), but it was really nice to get to hang out with people who I don’t often get to see outside of workouts. It was a fun change of pace for me and I’m glad that I went to the party instead of just doing my weigh in after a workout like I normally do. And getting to see my workout coaches outside of workouts is fun too. I do get to socialize with them a bit during class, but it’s pretty limited. So getting to have the time to talk and just have fun was good.
While I’m not planning on doing anything extreme over the next 6 weeks, I do hope that I am able to lose weight at a regular pace and that it helps to get me down to the weight that I am hoping to be at by my surgery. I don’t have a specific diet plan that I’m following (restricting myself seems to lead to more issues down the line), but I’m trying to just live a regular healthy lifestyle and hopefully that will help bring the weight down. I know that there is still a chance that I will have binge episodes, but hopefully the balance between those and the healthy eating will still result in some weight loss.
And who knows? Maybe in 6 weeks whatever I have been able to do will be enough to win! This challenge is based on fat percentage loss and not weight, so even if the scale doesn’t go down I still could do well in the challenge. I almost would prefer it to be based on weight so I could have an idea of how I’m doing (my scale doesn’t do fat percentage), but it might be better for me not to worry about my progress in the challenge but only in my progress toward my personal goals.
Either way, I’m hoping the next 6 weeks go well for me and when the challenge is done that I can be excited with what happens!