Monthly Archives: January 2011

Unemployment – not as fun as it used to be

Last week, my internship officially came to an end. It was bittersweet; the office took me out for drinks and showered me with compliments. They even said I could come back and freelance, which we all know is where the money is. I felt good about this start on my life, ready to take on another resolution!

It’s one week later, and I fear for my sanity.

It’s difficult budgeting your own time, especially when you have only one thing to do and a thousand ways to go about it. I’ve spent much of this week compiling tailored resumes and cover letters, spending hours on documents that will get looked at for ten seconds if I’m lucky. Many of them I am probably not experienced in and about 90 percent of the writing jobs are for journalists with experience in business and technology. Don’t you think if I was versed in business or technology, I’d be smart enough not to be a journalist?

This is a graph of how effective certain job-searching approaches are. A majority of my effort falls into the green piece of the graph. Perhaps I need a new strategy...

It hasn’t been all bad, but I could really use a hobby. I tend to distract myself with totally necessary side projects, like organizing my closet by color, type and assigning the appropriate hanger, as you do. Whenever I feel like I’m going stir crazy by being in the apartment all day, I relax myself with an episode of Hoarders. Terrible guilty pleasure show, but always makes me feel normal. The city isn’t going to condemn my living space, and I don’t have boxes upon boxes of Jesus-related paraphernalia collections. I’m doing just fine.

Even though I’ve whined to anyone who will listen (sorry K-mart cashier), it’s occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, I need to get over by dramatic reaction to being bored and restless. I should be grateful for the luxury of time to get a job. Seriously, how lucky am I? I’ll use this disdain for unemployment as the ultimate motivation.

Besides, I have these dreams of me getting punched in the face by an actress turned cater waitress living in a Brooklyn studio apartment with five of her friends. Let’s be honest, I’d have it coming.

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I am so cleansed…

Today marks the last day of my seven-day cleanse. That’s right, in my zest and zeal for the New Year, my friend Michelle and I undertook cleansing our bodies of impurities and kick-starting our weight loss.

How did this begin? Quite simply, really. I’m a rampant skeptic by nature and have never gone for these sort of “fasts” or “detox diets” (Skeptic…or I like food too much). But as we were sitting around post-Christmas, my dear friend Michelle brought up this idea and I suggested I could do it with her. I wasn’t sure I was serious or not until my mother rolled her eyes and my own boyfriend laughed at me.

Game on.

I left it to Michelle’s expertise and she came back with “Cleanse-pocaplse” – fruit and veggie smoothie in the morning with whey protein, brown rice and veg with protein for lunch, fruit and veg for snacks, then brown rice and veg for dinner. And the kicker – “No: sugar, alcohol, gluten, unnecessary starch (potatoes), added salt, added fat, food after 8pm or anything remotely fun. Oh and no caffeine.” And workout of course, sweating is important.

Painful. But honestly, food has always been my greatest weakness. Now, it’s my greatest test of will.

Day One – I already want to punch brown rice in the face, sad to see it’s not possible.

Day Two – My whole body hurts. I yearn for caffeine and salt. Try having stir fry for four straight meals with no soy sauce – no sauce at all. The blandness!

Day Three – My sadistic editor brings in delicious chocolates to share with the office. Jerk. I am dismayed that after two whole days of diet and exercise I haven’t lost a single pound. Imagine that.

Day Four – It’s the weekend, and I realize how limited my life is without eating out or drinking. Living large New York style, it’s a night in with my good pal Netflix. I am just constantly exhausted at this point. I dream of burgers.

Day Five – Now every time I see food on TV or a billboard, I insist on having it Wednesday no matter how gross. That has so far consisted of a 7-11 donut, a White Castle burger, Starbucks coffee, a Taco Bell burrito and Hooters hot wings. Should make for an interesting meal.

Day Six – Home stretch and things are looking up. Out of nowhere, I feel amazing. I’m not tired or cranky, just full of good feelings. Except toward brown rice – it can go straight to hell for all I care.

Day Seven – Good feelings persist and I have a productive day of job-searching and finally take down the Christmas decorations. I celebrate the last day of fascist eating by ordering out to our favorite gluten-free restaurant for more of – you guessed it – brown rice and vegetables. Good feelings growing knowing I’ll get to eat disgusting food in less than 24 hours.

Curse you, brown rice! Why do you have to be such a good source of fiber and magnesium?

With just a few hours left, I call this a win.

My reflections on all this? It’s kind of crap. Sure, I feel pretty good, and my clothes fit better (David was kind enough to say I look less “wobbly”). Apparently that’s what happens when you eat healthy food and exercise.

As for the whole “cleanse” idea? Celebrities seem pretty keen on it, and they seem to know what’s what. The whole idea is to detox or cleanse the body of toxins and harmful things through restrictive diet and sweating it out (you don’t have to even exercise, you can just steam). There is a very successful industry based around this very notion.

However, doctors are not sold on the idea (I’m sorry Oprah!). As Dr. Paul Illing, chartered scientist and registered toxicologist, wrote in Sense About Science: Detox Diets:

“Detox diets and products may not do harm, except, perhaps, to your wallet, but neither do they do you much good. Your natural bodily functions are effective at clearing out harmful substances and there is little you can do to enhance these.”

While what I did was much more sensible than most cleanse or detox diets out there, the whole underlying idea is still no good. You can’t really cleanse your body, just eat well enough, exercise and drink plenty of water, the only real cleanser for your body. It’s lovely to think you can purify your system, but at the end of the day, it’s really just a marketing gimmick.

Still, I’m pretty proud of myself. I’ve started off the year right and got my resolution going, even if it was based on crap science. I accomplished something that seemed impossible. Told you I could, mom.

What have I learned from this? If I really wanted to lose weight, I would drive myself crazy with total denial and it would lead to ultimate failure.

Eating healthy is great, but chocolate is better.

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Resolution for 2011 – Be Better

That’s right folks, I’m back at the blog! I had given up when I failed to come up with anything interesting to say and thought no one would notice. Lo and behold, at least five people have asked me about it in the last few months. If that isn’t a mandate from the masses, I don’t know what is.

In the spirit of the new year, let’s talk about why every magazine cover is discussing weight loss. That’s right, the New Year’s resolution.

Now I’m self-involved enough to love personal growth, but rather cynical about the resolution idea. It’s essentially just a tradition of setting yourself up for disappointment.

To back me up, here’s a fun tidbit on the subject from our friends at Wikipedia –

Recent research shows that while 52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, only 12% actually achieved their goals. A separate study in 2007 by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol showed that 78% of those who set New Year resolutions fail.

Sad, no? That’s why some years ago, I decided the only way to take on this tradition is by setting the bar low. For many years now, my resolution has been – “Buy more socks.” I never seemed to have enough, so it was a necessary, practical and achievable step toward self-improvement.

This year, however, with a full sock drawer, I’m rejecting my usual. Not to mention, there are some things that need doing.

Here they are, my goals for 2011 –

  1. Find a job. My wonderful internship is coming to a close and I’ve finally got my college degree. Now, instead of begging people to hire me temporarily to work for nothing, I need to beg for salary and benefits on a more permanent basis. Daunting? Yes. Impossible? No! Improbable? Well, maybe.
  2. Lose weight. I know what you’re thinking; that’s the mother of all predictable resolutions doomed to fail. But truth be told, I’ve overindulged a bit here and there. Delicious food is perhaps my favorite thing about New York and my possible undoing. I’ll start off with crazy dieting and hopefully establish some sort of fitness routine to offset my ice cream addiction.
  3. Make friends. I keep telling myself it will be easier when I have a job/salary (can afford to go out, make friends with co-workers), but this is getting sad. Don’t get me wrong, my manfriend is top-notch, but his interest in Glee and footwear is half-hearted at best. By the way, It would really save me the trouble if my friends just moved here. Come on guys, you know you want to!
  4. Be more awesome. Basically, I want to look back in December at old January Colleen and think, “Wow, I am way more awesome than that chick.” No specifics necessary.

Why am I sharing all this with you? Well, there was more to that Wikipedia entry –

Women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.

And there we are. Now if I fail in these resolutions, it won’t be for lack of accountability. Happy New Year, all!

 

“What does this song mean? My whole life, I don’t know what this song means. It means ‘Should old acquaintance be forgot.’ Does that mean we that should forget old acquaintances or does it mean that if we should happen to forget them, we should remember them which is not possible because we already forgot?”

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