Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Job Rant

I work at a university. I am a secretary.




Not....quite like that....but hey, wouldn't it be cool to show up for work all decked out looking like I just stepped out of the 1940's? (yet another motivation to lose weight....all of the cool retro clothes I'll be able to start collecting and wearing! But I digress....)


I've stated before that I hate my job and I've been looking for something else. I don't hate being a secretary (in fact, I quite like being a secretary), and I don't hate the university....I just hate this department I was forced to move to. Long story for another blog....but I need to rant about my job hunting experiences thus far. Warning: this may be long winded.


So this morning across my email at work comes a post from HR announcing another secretary (or to use the official title, Office Associate) position open for application in another department on campus. Off I trundle to the employment website to submit an application and resume.....again. This will make the fifth time since July 17th that I have done so.

The first one I applied for on July 17th, the department has never gotten around to scheduling interviews and in fact still has their job posting up and active. It's now the end of September. Calls to the department secretary inquiring about interviews illicit the answer, "Hopefully we'll be getting to that soon, we really need the help around here!" Um....suggestion: Get your act together then! I've pretty much written that one off....I'm not sure I want to work in a department that unorganized.


The second one I applied for called me on the same day their posting said they were going to begin reviewing applications (efficient) and scheduled an interview with me two days later (note to deparment above: you need to learn from these people!). The interview went off with flying colors, and though I was drenched in nervous sweat afterwards was pretty confident that I had nailed the job. Two days later I got the call.....that I didn't get it. But, the director told me that had it not been for an applicant that already worked in the department and was already familiar with the job requirements, they would have hired me. Hmm, good to know. Note to self: find out who my campus competition is beforehand and sabotage them. Relax, I'm kidding. Kinda. *evil laugh*


Despite the disappointment of not getting the job, that experience was actually pleasant. They were a really friendly bunch of people who were really on the ball. Pity, I would enjoy working in an environment like that. Since this group had their shite together, I assumed the third department I applied to would bring forth a similar experience. Nope.


After two weeks had passed after applying for #3 I started getting panicky and desperately curious. I hazarded a call to inquire about interviews.....to be awkwardly told they had already taken place.




What? I didn't even make the cut to be granted an interview!? Yeah, that did wonders for my already low self-esteem. The next day after my awkward phone call I got a generic Dear Jane email saying I wasn't hired. It didn't matter that I could deduce that it was another situation where the department obviously already had someone earmarked that they wanted to hire, but just had to go through the protocol of advertising the job and accepting applications....I still took it personally and spent a weepy evening wondering what the hell is wrong with me. If you already know who you want to hire, don't open the position up to the public! Just do an internal search! Don't give people false hope by letting people apply for a job you know they have no chance of getting! &*$&#*@^!


Deep breath, moving on....


The fourth one I applied for has been recent enough that I don't expect to hear anything (unless they pull a fast one like the department above did) until the end of this week or next. It would be an ideal situation.....the only problem is that it's part time. I need full time pay, it's non-negotiable (I'm playing "sugarmama" while my husband is completing grad. school). So why did I apply? It's rather complicated, but my current boss told me when I transitioned out here he'd be willing to consider making my position part time if I wanted. So....if I get offered this other position, and I can get my boss to let me keep this one too but at part time, I could work for both places and stay at full time pay. Lots of big IF's here....but hey, it's worth a try. I'm desperate.


And now with #5 that I applied for this morning......well, all I can do is wait and see if #4 and #5 amount to anything.


I'm so sick of being on the roller coaster ride and wading through campus bureaucracy and procedures. I've been applying for jobs off campus as well (which has amounted to nothing so far). The thought of leaving the university system is daunting, but I'm so tired of the BS that it won't be so hard to part ways now if it comes to that. I'm even willing to take a pay cut, as long as the benefits are good....and that shows how desperate I am to get out of here because I know without a doubt I'll never be able to find anything off campus that pays what I'm getting now, not that I'm making a lot anyway. But still, it's better than what is "out there."


I know, I know, at least I'm still employed and still getting a paycheck. It could be worse. I'm trying to be a good lil' trooper here, but the longer this goes on, the more I'm getting paranoid that I'll never get out of here. I honestly didn't think I'd still be wasting away in this deparment this long. The last few months have been a very humbling and eye-opening experience for me, but it's also fed every negative self-sabotaging worm in my brain by making me doubt everything about myself with the question, "What is wrong with me?"

OK universe, I get that I was supposed to learn something from all of this. Really, I get it. But please get me out of here before I go stark raving mad!



Tuesday, September 29, 2009

D-I-E-T

"Diet is a four-letter word." We've all heard that phrase right? Apart from it being literally true, it's come to represent everything nasty and tedious about losing weight. Experts are paid big money to weigh in (hardee-har-har) with their opinion on what diet works best. People by the millions spend money by the millions on books, magic pills and ridiculous schemes in order to shed the flab.
No one ever stops to consider the obvious: if there really were a one-size-fits-all magic method of losing weight, then why are people still overweight? Wouldn't it be great if there something like that? No more trudging through boring medical studies debating whether or not eggs are good for you, no more contradicting information (No, don't eat whole grains! Yes, DO eat whole grains!), no self-titled health gurus trying to hawk their methods and overpriced supplements because only their way really works. Hey, I can fantasize, can't I?

The reason not every method works is because we're all different and have different health needs. What works for you may not work for me, and vice versa. Duh? Well of course. The problem is, we don't want to do the research.....the boring mind work of reading how our anatomy actually functions and relates to nutrition. Why do that when you can grab the latest self-help book off the shelf and blindly follow its orders, or buy the latest Get Slim Quick pill as seen on TV? We want a quick fix. We don't care that it took years to shove those numbers on the scale up to where they currently reside, we want it all off NOW, dammitt!


(not me BTW)


Unfortunately, I fall into that category all too often. I get myself all hyped up to follow a certain eating plan, and when I don't see the numbers change in like.....2 days, I say "screw this" and give up. It's not rational, I know, but there it is. And that's why D-I-E-T-S usually fail: they're a short term way of drastically changing the way you eat in the hopes you'll lose a few pounds. But what about when the diet is finished?



A permanent lifestyle change is what needs to happen, not some 6-week fad. [gasp] What? You mean.....I have to change the way I live? And think? And behave? I can't go back to eating like I used to once I'm done?

I've found that in order to change bad habits, for me personally, changes must be implemented small and slow. In the past when I've tried to wade in with both guns blazing, I crash and burn very quickly. Too much change too soon does not mesh well with me. They say it takes 21 days of a repeated behavior for it to become a habit.....and it is SO true.

For example, I used to go through the drive-thru at McDonalds every morning to pick up breakfast on my way to work. I am a die-hard sausage and egg McMuffin and hashbrown junkie. Well, all of that starts to take a toll on the pocket book after awhile, and so back in January I vowed to stop getting fast food breakfasts and just make it at home. I forced myself to get up early enough to make my sausage/egg sandwiches and hashbrowns in my own kitchen. After a month, it seemed like old hat and I wondered why I'd never done it in the first place.

Then, I decided to try and make my breakfasts a little healthier by switching to turkey sausage, Egg Beaters, and 100% whole wheat toast instead of an english muffin. It took some getting used to....I'm a VERY picky eater....but again, after awhile, I got used to the slightly different taste and texture and it became normal.

A couple of months ago I thought it was time to kick it up a notch once again, so I switched to veggie sausage, and started adding chopped onion and yellow peppers to the hashbrown mix to get more veggies into my daily routine. Boy, the veggie sausage took a long time to get used to.....my first taste of it was NASTY......but now I'm used to it. Today, I added shredded zucchini to the peppers and onions, with satisfaction. My next step will be to start reducing the amount of hash browns used in the first place - potatoes and insulin resistance don't mesh well - to where it's non-existant, or switch to using sweet potatoes (very low on the glycemic index). I'm also slowly adding in more veggies and fruits in lieu of other food choices for the rest of the meals as well.

That's what I mean by I need to do this slowly, instead of just hopping on some drastic food plan. By mindfully making different food choices, and sticking with the change until it seems normal before introducing another change, I'll be making a permanent alteration to my eating habits that I can carry with me even after my health goals have been reached. I need to restablish how I think about food and pay more attention to how my choices affect my body and my behaviors.
So remember.....


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shopping.....Ugh!

Yesterday I went shopping for new jeans. The new department I work in allows jeans to be worn, which is really the only thing I'm liking about the place at the moment. But, I only have one pair of jeans.....that fit. Technically, I have about 15 pairs of jeans, piled either in a dresser drawer or in the attic....but just the one pair that actually fits. If I could wave a magic wand and drop two sizes instantly, I'd be able to "go shopping" in my closet for clothes I haven't been able to wear in years. Alas, since I'm lacking a magic wand and the required powers necessary to use it, some shopping was in order.

I've always, ALWAYS been hard to fit when it comes to pants, even when I was skinny. I have a short torso, and long legs. And thanks to having no hips or butt, no real waist. Definitely no pear shape here, let alone hourglass! And being overweight just makes the problem worse. Shopping for any kind of pant is a nightmare that leaves me exasperated, cranky, red faced, sweaty, and ready to flee the store as soon as humanly possible.

My favorite store to buy clothes in is Kohls.... the nearest one to where I live (central Nebraska) is 50 miles away. No problem, because I love to drive. Driving is like therapy for me, it's relaxing....but that's for another blog. Why do I like Kohls? The atmosphere. Super-shiny glossy floors that makes you feel like you're in a high-end department store, soft mood lighting that doesn't make you look scary, tastefully arranged clothing displays, awesome sales and bargarin racks, and a huge variety of clothing styles. Well, a huge variety.....if you're not plus sized.

RANT ON: This isn't a problem just with Kohls, but with most stores: why doesn't the plus-size section contain the same amount of clothes and variety as the normal-size section? And why is it always in the back of the store? They make you walk for miles it seems past the never-ending racks of beautiful clothes you know don't fit you, to find the ones that will fit, shoved way back in a tiny corner. It's almost as if they're embarassed to have large ladies shopping in their store so let's put them out of sight of the rest of the customers lest they offend our thin patrons. And the styles in the large lady section? The term "mumu" comes to mind. Tacky, ugly bold patterns in bright colors in shapes that make you look bigger than you are. Lots of polyester and elastic waist bands. Just because I'm overweight does not mean I want to look like a frump. There ARE very stylish, well-fitting clothes out there in plus sizes.....so carry them! Please! RANT OFF.

To be fair, Kohls has a better-outfitted large lady section than most, thus, I continue to shop there. I dream of the day I can once again shop in the never-ending fields of what is the normal sizes....but I digress. I only found one pair of jeans that fit well....in hindsight I probably should have bought two pairs of the same jean, but it's a start. I'm glad jean season is here because I *LOVE* this look:


The boot-cut/slightly flared jean with heels or clunky boots. In my mind this kind of look, paired with the right top, makes me look slimmer.....but in reality it probably just makes me look like a fat girl wearing jeans and boots, lol. But it's how I feel about myself that counts, right?

The treadmill is calling.....

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Time To Start!

Alrighty then....Day 1 of being more health-conscious. I'm daunted, but determined. Let's start with some vital stats, shall we?
  • Height: 5'6
  • Weight: 195 (last week when I was at the doctor's office their scale said 189 and I did a mental leap for joy....but since my scale at home is the one I'll be using, I must go with the higher number. Damn.)
  • Waist: 44"
  • Hips: 46"
  • Bust: 46"
  • Thigh: 24"
  • Arm (bicep): 13"
  • Clothing size: pant 18, shirt X-large to 2X depending on style, bra size 42D (I really should swallow my modesty and get measured by a professional, not sure if that's the proper size I should be wearing or not)

So....that's what I'm starting out with. I think I'll do this once a month to see how the numbers change. My ideal weight is 130-140, and ideal clothing size is a 10-12. I wonder how long it'll take to get to these numbers? More importantly, can I stick to this long enough to really make it happen this time?

I've been reading up on insulin resistance, as I believe that's my main culprit to deal with. I'm still fuzzy on the scientific/medical details of how it all works, but this is how I understand it right now: the pancreas makes insulin (a hormone) and it gets delivered to the cells in the body to stabilize blood sugar. But, for whatever reason, the cells don't respond....kind of like if someone knocks on the door but no one answers. So, the pancreas creates more insulin to try and deal with it all, and the end result is that the body is flooded with more insulin than it can deal with. Of course, being overweight and eating bad just exacerbates the problem and makes the cells even more resistant. Carbs turn to sugar in the system when eaten....which the body needs and turns into energy when they're good carbs. But the bad carbs just exacerbate the problem because they just raise the blood sugar levels up requiring more insulin to deal with it all.

Exercising, losing weight and eating healthier will help in multiple areas: it will regulate insulin levels, it will regulate other hormone levels, it will help my body absorb nutrients better and make sure everything is functioning properly. Which in turn will also help (hopefully) reverse the hair loss situation. The problem isn't so much that I'm losing hair, because everyone loses hair. My problem is that the hair that is falling out isn't being replaced by new growth, due to the cells/hair follicles shutting down because they're not getting what they need to function properly.

I've rambled on long enough. Time to get up and get moving!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Re-vamp

I've decided to switch directions a little with this blog. I created it back in January and then proceeded to post next to nothing. I now have more of a motivation to blog now, however. So, I deleted the handful of posts I had and am starting over.

Now....where do I start? How about with a re-introduction....I never blogged enough to really have anyone read me or make connections so I know I'm a stranger in a strange land here.

My name is Betsy, aka Gingerella. Why Gingerella? Because I'm a die-hard Ginger Rogers fan, that's why! I have ecclectic tastes and interests that sometimes contradict each other; for instance, I love all things old and antique-y and sometimes feel I was born in the wrong era.....but at the same time I love heavy metal music and am fascinated by drug culture. Don't worry, I've never used drugs....I'm just obsessed with reading about them! Strange, I know. Strange is me.

Recently some things have happened in my life to cause me to take a good long look at myself and realize that some changes are in order. It's interesting how motivation works.....here's a brief rundown of how this started going down in my brain 2 months ago:
  • At work, I was forced to take a position in a different department, a move I didn't want but had no choice in.
  • I hate my job now.
  • I look for other jobs.
  • The thought of starting over from scratch and going through the interview process makes me panic.
  • I panic because I'm overweight and my hair is falling out and I don't think I can compete with younger, thinner, prettier women (even though I'm only 36).
  • I've known I'm overweight and that my hair was falling out due to PCOS for a long time but refused to acknowledge it - if I don't, then it's not really happening, right?
  • I realize this is something I can't ignore anymore, job situation be damned. Being bald is more devastating than being in a job I hate.
  • I begin researching websites about PCOS and trying to learn everything I can about what is going on inside my body and why I'm losing my hair, and what I can do about it.
  • I start to embark on a no-holds-barred health makeover.
  • I continue looking for jobs, but nada. Devastating low self esteem and depression sets in.
  • My back gives out, causing near-dibillitating pain for a month straight....on top of everything else.
  • Health makeover takes a backseat as I self-medicate with junk food and wine to deal with the depression.
  • Back is a little better now....the ability to move again and the need to rehabilitate my back through exercise has brought forth a fresh determination to get my health-act together.
  • Re-tool blog to help with motivation!

And so here I am, ready to share with the world my struggles to get healthy.

What is PCOS, you ask? Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is an endocrine disorder that affects fertility and hormonal balance in women. Because of the hormonal imbalance, the eggs in the ovaries are not released but absorbed back into the ovaries, turning into cysts, hence the name. The disorder can have devastating symptoms (you'll notice I've used the word "devastating" a lot.....there's just no other word to describe it better) if left untreated. Not all women are affected the same way by it, but the most common symptoms are:

  • insulin resistance (aka pre-diabetes)
  • obesity
  • infertility
  • irregular menstrual cycle
  • hirsutism (excess body hair in places women have no business for it, like face, abdomen, chest etc)
  • male pattern baldness
  • acne
  • depression

I was officially diagnosed with PCOS in 2006; I say officially because I've had many of the above symptoms most of my life but never knew there was an underlying cause for it all. I didn't do anything about it though, just swept it under the rug and went about my business, not understanding that I was just harming myself more by not taking care of myself. I see my scalp showing through my hairs more and more each day and kick myself for not "getting it" back then. Yes, hair loss is my main motivating factor in getting my health in gear.....I know I'll benefit in other ways too but yep, my hair is the main focus right now.

To keep myself motivated I want to document all of this.....all the good, bad, whiney, ugly details as I go through this. You may get sick of my whining. You may flinch if I post something in gory intimate detail. That's OK. I don't like sugarcoating things. My posts will tend to be long, as I have a tendency to ramble, and my topics may be all across the board sometimes.....that's OK too. My blog. :) So anyway, join me on the journey if you wish, comments always welcome!