September 2009 Archives

Eat This, Not That

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eatthisnotthat.jpgI have been trying really hard to eat a balanced diet.  I try to eat well most of the time, but not completely remove anything from my diet.  I eat whole wheat bread, yogurt, apples, salads with light balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  When I buy chips I buy the baked kind instead of the regular.  I stopped going out to lunch with co-workers except for rare occassions.  I cook at home a lot more often than I used to (and by "I cook" I mean "my boyfriend cooks").  For example, tonight he made an absolutely delicious meal of grilled tilapia, rice and broccoli. 

So this is why I'm frustrated that the scale has been moving in the wrong direction over the last 2 years.  Not long ago my older sister recommended I buy a book called Eat This, Not That.  And last night while at the grocery store I looked for it, and found it (at 20% off no less).  I already read through quite a bit of it and found it very interesting.  Interesting in an informative kind of way.  It is very easy to read and has lots of pictures.  It explains why you should choose something over something else and has a ton of neat little tidbits.

I found there were a few things I was doing right.  Yoplait Light yogurt, for example, is what I have been eating gor a while now and is on the "Eat This" list.  As are my Baked Lays and Nilla Wafers.


After reading the At the Supermarket section of this book.... 

Instead of grabbing a random pasta sauce off the shelf the next time I buy it, I will grab Ragu Light Tomato & Basil.  The Ragu light has 60 calories and 0g fat in it as opposed to the Prego Tomato Basil Garlic which has 80 calories and 2.5g fat in it (per 1/2 cup).

Instead of grabbing the Hellman's Light mayonnaise, I am going to try the Hellman's Canola mayonnaise.  It has 2.5g monounsaturated fat instead of 4.5g of fat (3 of which is saturated or polyunsaturated).   

Instead of grabbing my usual Arnold 100% Whole Wheat bread, I will grab the loaf of Arnold Bakery Light 100% Whole Wheat bread.  It has 80 calories in 2 slices instead of 90 calories in 1.

Instead of grabbing the store brand of creamy peanut butter I will look for Simply JIF creamy peanut butter.  Slightly less calories, saturated fat and sugar.

And since I am not perfect, and loooove me since ice cream now and then, I will opt for Breyers all Natural either Cookies & Cream or Vanilla Fudge Swirl.  The Cookies & Cream has less calories and half the saturated fat as Edy's Slow Churned Mint Chocolate Chip.


Another great section is what to choose (and to stay away from) at many popular restaurants.  For example, at Uno Chicago Grill stay away (and I mean far, far away) from the Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza.  IT HAS 2310 CALORIES IN IT!!  AND AN UNBELIEVABLE AMOUNT OF FAT -- 162g!!!  Seriously?  Are they really allowed to have something so horrifically bad for you available on the menu?  Next time you go there, please order the 7oz. filet mignon instead.  It only has 300 calories and 12g of fat.  If you must order a pizza (which ok, I understand it IS a pizza place) the book recommends the Cheese and Tomato Flatbread Pizza.  


Discussion:  Do you own this book?  If you do, did it work for you?  Do you think that small changes like the ones promoted in this book can actually work?


31 Years Young

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This past Friday was my birthday.  My first year in my thirties officially completed.  The celebration actually started last weekend when I got my first gift.  Last Saturday morning my boyfriend and I were haning out on the couch in the living room wathcing tv and he asked if I wanted to go shopping for a laptop.  My laptop was 4 years old, had a dead battery and a busted jack for the power cord.  You had to very carefully place the chord into the jack and then you could't move or else it would lose its connection.  It was also super slow from all the crap that was put on it over the years.  I had been talking about purchasing a new one for a little while.  When he asked me about shopping I said I wasn't sure because I wasn't sure about spending the money on one right now when I could still limp along with my current one.  And what was his response?  "Well, I was planning on buying it for you.  For your birthday."  My immediate reaction was that I couldn't let him spend so much on my gift.  After some minor cajoling I agreed to go.  What harm could there be in just looking?  A couple of hours later we were at the store and he was purchasing me a new hp pavillion laptop.

So that was the beginning of the birthday celebrations.  I had a couple of particularly stressful days at work last week so on Thursday I decided at the last minute that I wanted to take a half day vacation for my birthday.  Luckily I work for an awesome company and have an awesome boss who approved the last minute request.

On Friday morning I woke up next to my favorite person.  He sang Happy Birthday to me while we were still in bed.  Before heading off to work he gave me a card and a bag of miniature dark chocolate reeses peanut butter cups.  The boy knows what I like.  :)

I went to work in the morning on Friday, was fairly productive but relaxed, and just worked on what I could with very little stress.  Nearly everyone I saw wished me Happy Birthday.  I also got several emails and instant messages from co-workers and people going out of their way to stop over and wish me a happy birthday.  At 12:30 I headed out to lunch with my boyfriend and another friend of ours.  After lunch I headed home.

I was a little silly and decided I needed to spend my afternoon off on my birthday cleaning my entire house (including removing the shoe scuff marks on the kitchen floor with Magic Eraser).  The original plan was to have my parents and 2 of my sisters and their significant others come visit on Saturday to celebrate.  On Wednesday or Thursday I heard from my mom that my dad was really sick with a terrible cold and they might not be able to make it.  On Friday morning they confirmed they couldn't come.  They would try to come next weekend.  And one of my sisters decided that they would come next weekend as well.  CRAP! 

I tried not to let it get me too down.  So after my boyfriend got home from work we went for a nice walk and then met a couple of friends at a nice Italian restaurant.  One friend we met was an old friend from college who I hadn't seen in quite some time so it was great to catch up wtih her.  We ended up staying at the restaurant for almost 2 and a half hours.  And I had an awesome piece of chocolate torte to top off the evening. 

Even though my parents and older sister were not able to make it on Saturday my younger sister and her boyfriend still wanted to celebrate.  So they, along with my boyfriend, treated me to a nice dinner of Thai food.  After that we hung out at my house (so the thorough cleaning was wothwhile afterall) and had a few drinks and played some Scattergories.

So BIG present last weekend, lots of good food and good company this weekend, and (hopefully) more celebration with family next weekend.  Overall, a successful 31st birthday  :)      


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lots of birthday cards from wonderful friends and family

Magic Eraser

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It really is magic.  Well, it made the scuff marks from shoes that have been on my kitchen floor forever disappear.  I bought this stuff months and months ago but never used it until yesterday.

Here is the stuff I'm talking about, in case you aren't familiar.

Magic Eraser.JPG



Magic Eraser 003_0002.jpg


Magic Eraser 003_0001.jpg


And a very short video to show how easy it was to get from point A to point B (and also because I just wanted to play around with making a video)

Running Milestone

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I am writing this more for my own sake that for anyone else to read or comment on.  I was so excited the other night, though.  My goal before it got too cold/dark was to be able to run my entire route without having to stop and walk any of it.  I didn't think this would happen for another few weeks.  But Tuesday night when I did my run, it happened.  I ran the entire route.  Slowly, but I ran it!  And tonight I discovered it wasn't just a fluke.  I did it again!

The first time I ran it, it took me 45 minutes.  The last two times, it took only 34 minutes.  The first time I ran I could couldn't even finish one full loop running.  Made it about 3/4 of the way.  Now I do 2 full loops. 

I've come a long way, baby!

Now I just need to increase my speed.  :)

Resisting Temptation

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This afternoon I resisted the temptation to go out to lunch with a bunch of co-workers to a Chinese restaurant.  I instead opted for a lunch of an apple, yogurt, and then later some pretzel rods and a diet coke. 

I later resisted the temptation for a piece of cake at work during the monthly birthday celebration (incidentally, my b-day happens to be on Friday).  I ate only half a piece of cake instead.  :)

When I came home from work I resisted the temptation to lay on my super-comfortable couch and instead opted to go for a run.

After my run I resisted the temptation to eat 3 slices of leftover pizza.  I instead opted to eat 1 slice of pizza and a salad.

Now, I am resisting the temptation to have one of those hostess chocolate cupcakes that are oh-so-yummy.

So many choices.  So many temptations.  But I think today is a day I can feel good about.

Thinking Out Loud

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It has been 10 days since I started the medication for the periodic limb movement disorder.  I am still feeling amazingly well.  AMAZINGLY well.  I wake up in the morning and feel only ever so slightly groggy and like I don't want to get out of bed.  By the time I am driving to work I am wide awake.  Fresh and alert.  Everything seems so... clear.  I have not felt like that in years and I cannot possibly adequately describe how this change has made feel or how large an impact it has had on my life. 

I think people may be getting a little tired of me trying to explain. When others are tired because they are kept up all night by new babies or pets or anything else going on in their lives don't want to hear how wonderful you are feeling. Someone actually said, "quit bragging!"

Something that has been irking me, but I haven't really wanted to say out loud, is how others responded or treated me when I was going through this. I heard the following so many times from so many people:

    1. Everyone is tired!
    2. You just need to start drinking coffee!
    3. You just need to go to bed earlier!
    4. You just need to exercise more!
    5. You just need to force yourself to get up even when you are tired.
    6. You just need to reset your clock.  Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
    7. Fatigue is an indicator of depression. You are probably depressed.
    8. There is nothing wrong with you. You just want to be sick. You are just looking for something to be wrong.

Yeah, that last one had me in tears more than once. 

It was a very long and exhausting two years.  I saw my pcp so frequently I saw him more than a lot of my closer family members.  I also saw a cardiologist, an endocrinologist, and a psychiatrist.  I was put on countless medications -- one of which caused me the worst discomfort I have ever felt in my life and to miss work for two weeks due to the allergic reaction.  I wasted way too much money paying for copays and medications I didn't need.  It was the psychiatrist who actually saw me twice and then said, "I don't think you are depressed.  You need to have a sleep study done."  I credit him with saving my life.

I was too trusting of the doctors and others who voiced their thoughts on what was going on with me.  I didn't trust my gut enough.  I knew I was not depressed.  I suppose it was a lack of self-confidence, coupled with being a naturally trusting and anti-conflict person, that allowed it to go on as long as it did.

I have not mentioned it to anyone yet, and probably never will, but I am still a little bitter and hold some resentment about how I was treated by friends, family, and my doctor.  I reached out for help so many times and got very little support or assistance.  There was basically only one person that understood, took me seriously, and tried to help as much as he could.  He stuck by my side no matter what.  No matter how difficult I was being.  That person being my pretty amazing boyfriend.  I really hate saying this, but I feel disappointed and let down by almost everyone else.  No one took me seriously when I said I couldn't continue like this any longer.  That I was not able to function well enough to work.  They just ignored it, I suppose hoping it would eventually just go away.  No one tried to help me come up with a plan to take a leave of absense or to work part-time or... something.  No one offered to finally come to the doctor with me to speak up for me, since I obviously wasn't doing a good enough job for myself.

All that being said, I do understand that other people have their own troubles and issues they are dealing with.  I understand that what is wrong with me is rare and was not a likely diagnosis, especially for someone my age.  I realize I am 30 years old -- I am an adult who should be able to take care of herself.  I realize I was probably expecting too much.  Maybe I did too good of a job of covering it up.  Just because they were not able or didn't know how to help, it doesn't mean they didn't care.  I try to keep reminding myself of this when the thoughts of bitterness and resentment creep up.  I am also hoping that getting it off my chest here will help. 

I thank you for listening.  :)     

Lunch Debacle

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I ate out entirely too much last week.  Wednesday was my boyfriends birthday so I treated him to dinner.  We also shared a dessert (of course).  Thursday night I went out with some girl friends to celebrate an engagement.  Friday afternoon I treated a friend to lunch for her birthday.  Friday night I went out to dinner with my boyfriend and his parents as a belated celebration for his birthday.  His parents bought a cake from cold stone and somehow ended up with a very large piece of it.  Saturday night we did our usual night out with a couple of friends. Last Tuesday was our three year anniversary but we ended up just cooking dinner together (shrimp scampi!) because I knew what was looming ahead and didn't really feel like going out.

I was all set to eat better this week and not go out but when I got in to work on Monday I remembered we had two new employees starting that day and I was pretty sure I'd be asked to go out to lunch with them. I was. And I did. Not a very good start. Then today at 1:15 I got ready to prepare my lunch. I will often make a sandwich at my desk and that was my plan today - a good old fashioned PB&J. I ran into a little snag.

bread -- check!
jelly -- check!
knife -- check!
peanut butter -- no check!

I might be able to get away with just a peanut butter sandwich if I had forgotten the jelly, but a jelly sandwich? No way. So I had to figure out an alternate plan. Being quarter after one everyone that went out for lunch had already left. I didn't have my car because I had gotten a ride with my boyfriend. And my boyfriend wasn't around because he was already out at lunch. So I waited for him to get back and asked if he could take me somewhere because I was a stupid, forgetful idiot. He complied without too much resistance and drove me to Wendy's which was both really close and really quick.

I can spend money like nobody's business

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Late Saturday morning I decided I should run out in the afternoon and get my hair cut. Then on my way out I decided I should shop around at the mall a bit, maybe hit one or two stores, and see if I could find another dress for an upcoming wedding in October.  So that was the plan when I left the house at 1:45p.  I returned home at 5:45p. 

I had to wait a bit to get my hair cut so I went over to Gap to see what they had for dresses.  They had nada.  They also didn't have much else that interested me.  Then I went to Ann Taylor Loft.  The petite section had only 1 or 2 dresses to choose from and nothing that matched what I was looking for.  Then I headed to Macy's.  I stopped at the Prescriptives counter to pick up some of their awesome Mineral makeup foundation.  Then I headed to the Petites and Dresses sections.  I walked around and around and found a few dresses to try on.  I also found a sweater I liked. Then a mannequin caught my eye and so I went searching for the dress it was displaying.  I found it and they had it in my size.  I tried it on and it fit perfectly.  I thought it looked nice.  It was pretty expensive (I guess that is relative but it was a lot more than I was hoping to spend) so I hemmed and hawed for quite a while, trying it on more than once comparing it to some of the other dresses.  I ended up buying it.  I figured I'd see what my boyfriend thought of it and simply return it if he wasn't too excited about it.  It's been three years now and I still haven't learned -- he is not interested in fashion in the least and to him a dress is a dress.  I did finally get him to say that he actually liked the other 2 dresses I had better.  But he also said I should still wear this new one to his sister's wedding because one of the other ones kind of clashed with the colors of the wedding (wedding color is maroon-ish and dress is red).  The other dress is black and he was thinking I should wear that to the rehearsal dinner.  So now I am thinking I will just wear it anyway but I am a little paranoid it doesn't look as good as I thought it did and need to send pics of myself in each of the three dresses to my sisters to see what they think.  Hopefully they will be a little more helpful.

So after that I was going to head home. Unfortunately Target and Old Navy are on the way home. And my car just turned itself into the plaza with both of those stores as I drove by. So I ran into Target but didn't stay long. Then I ran over to Old Navy. No dresses at Old Navy but I did find a great Peacoat and a great light-weight, hooded, white with green argyle sweatshirt.

Anyway, here is a tally of what I spent yesterday:

    1. hair cut + highlights + Tea Tree Grooming Pomade: $88.56
    2. Prescriptives foundation: $34.94
    3. dress + 2 sweaters: 244.41
    4. peacoat + hoodie: 77.11

Gand Total: $445.02

Yikes!  Hopefully I've gotten the shopping bug out of my system for a little while. 

In case anyone is curious and/or wants to leave their opinion, here are two pics of the new dress.  I do apologize for the very poor picture quality.

blue_dress_hanging.JPG blue_dress_on.JPG

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

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Tuesday afternoon I had the follow-up appointment to my sleep study test

I can't explain it, but I had another bad panic attack. I was shaking as I drove to the appointment. The nurse practitioner did not take long to put me at ease after I walked into the office. She introduced herself, said it was nice to meet me, asked me to sit and then said, "Well, you have periodic limb movement disorder."


Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is a sleep disorder where the patient moves limbs involuntarily during sleep, and has symptoms or problems related to the movement (from wiki). I have no idea what these movements are like in my case. They can range from small twitches to wild flailing. Yes, I can appreciate the humor in the imagery of this.  I guess I am closer to the small twitches end of the spectrum since the tech apparently didn't even notice. I do know that in my case the symptoms or problems related to it are waking up frequently and extreme fatigue.

The report says, "Bursts of periodic limb movements were observed (PLM index 11/hr), causing most of her arousals from sleep."  I was told anything over 5/hr was considered abnormal.


It looks like I had arousals approximately 9/hr.


At first it didn't sound like a terrible number to me. But then I thought of it this way. That is every 6 minutes. Imagine lying in bed and then every 6 or 7 minutes someone going:

* tap tap tap* wake up.

and then 6 minutes later:

* tap tap tap* wake up.

again and again and again.  All night long.  You'd probably feel kinda shitty the next day, right?


Why am I having these weird leg movements while I sleep? Good question! They couldn't tell me. I was given a sheet with a list of possible vitamin deficiencies and other disorders such as diabetes that could cause it. But they said generally it is idiopathic, meaning they have no idea why it is happening.


The treatment is to pop a pill 30 or so minutes before I go to bed. The recommended pill for me is Gabapentin (generic for Neurontin). I am honestly not sure exactly what it is. I haven't been able to decipher all the medical jargon yet. I know it is some sort of anticonvulsant medication.  Is it supposed to stop the brain from telling my legs to move? Is it supposed to prevent the leg movement to happen or prevent me from waking up when it does?


So I filled my prescription later that afternoon and took a pill before bed on Tuesday night. Wednesday morning I woke up feeling wonderful. I was actually able to get to work on time. I was actually fully awake as I drove to work. And guess what else? I continued to feel great ALL DAY LONG. Seriously, I was an entirely different person. I did not have a headache. I could focus on my projects at work. When I got up to walk somewhere I actually lifted my feet instead of shuffled like I usually do because I am too tired to pick them up. I didn't slump in my chair. I took my boyfriend out to dinner last night and I remember having a little smile on my face and shaking my head at one point. I was thinking to myself that I couldn't believe I was feeling this good. I didn't have to force myself to go out somewhere after work. I wasn't struggling with all my might to keep my eyes open.  It had been over two years since I felt this good.

It shouldn't need saying, but I was elated. After two years of searching, I finally had an answer. And it seemed I also had a solution. I could barely contain my excitement all day long. And I kind of realized that just like no one could really understand how awful it was to be me, how awful I felt, for the last two years, no one could really understand just how happy and excited and relieved I was. I was trying really hard not to get ahead of myself. It was only one day, afterall. But how could I keep calm and guarded when I was so filled with hope? When it seemed my life was about to change so dramatically for the better.


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Christina mentioned the relatively new need to exercise as she entered her thirties in her guest post: Turning 30, by Christina. I lead a relatively sedentary lifestyle, sitting at a desk most of the day at work, so I definitely found this to be very true for myself as well.

I have recently started jogging, "recently" being about three weeks ago.  My knees are not really happy about this, but the rest of my body loves it.  I love the feeling of accomplishment and the adrenaline when I get back from a jog.

Yes, I call it "jogging".  It drives my sister crazy, but I think I am too slow to actually call it running.  So slow that I don't even want to tell you how far I go and what the pace is.  It's embarrassing.  But the speed isn't really the point of my jogging.  I'm not in a race.  I shouldn't compare myself to anyone else.  I am exercising because it makes me feel better.  Because it's good for me.  Not because I need to be able to run a mile in 6 minutes.  I had a little freak out the other day because of how "bad" I am at running.  My boyfriend had to remind me that you can't be "bad" at running, and he had to reiterate most of the things I just mentioned above.  It is frustrating that I run as slowly as I do.  That I can't go nearly as far as I want to be able to go.  That I have to stop and walk a bit to catch my breath.  I need to keep reminding myself that I am gradually improving and what my original goals were when I first started.  I want to be able to jog the entire route I do now and not have to walk any of it, even if at my current slow pace.

So far the knee pain I mentioned above isn't too horrible. It is mostly just when I go up or down stairs and isn't crippling, but I mentioned it to some friends who run and they had some advice for me that I wanted to pass on:

  1. Make sure you have good sneakers. Everyone agreed on this one. You also need to make sure you replace them often if you are running a lot. They should last approximately 300-500 miles.
  2. Increase the amount of stretching, particularly of the hamstrings. Before and after running.
  3. Ice for 15 minutes after running.

I did do the extra stretching, and I also iced both knees, after my jog on Saturday.  And I am able to go up and down the stairs now without any pain.  I think it was the ice.

Also, I have Nike Air Pegasus sneakers that came highly recommended by my sister's boyfriend who has been a runner for years.  I bought them a long time ago but they never saw much action until now.



Buffalo Chicken Bomber

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I know Mighty Girl says that No One Cares What You Had for Lunch.  In general I think she's right.  But today I couldn't resist sharing.  This past Thursday was one of the rare occasions where I actually got out of the office for lunch.  The place we went has a "Bomber Special" where your bomber comes with a free drink on Thursdays.  The buffalo chicken bomber came highly recommended and I have a hard time resisting buffalo chicken anything so that's what I ordered.  I had no idea what a bomber was at the time.  It was fantastic.  And also huge (I guess that's where the "bomber" comes in).  So I took the second half home and just heated it up this afternoon for my lunch today.


About This Blog

Stories, advice, and random thoughts from a thirty-something female.

Many people in their thirties are dealing with common issues and concerns. Some of these include buying a home, establishing a career, starting a family, and dealing with aging parents. I will blog about all these things as well as other every day stuff as I make my way through this third decade of life.

You can read more about the author behind thirty-something blog on the About Me page.





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