Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Special K Challenge

Today I'm starting the Special K Challenge.

What it is: I replace two of my meals with the special k bars and cereal and add two snacks, special k brand, into my day. I eat my third meal as normal. I do this for 2 weeks. fruits and vegetables are ok to eat as additional snacks.

What it should accomplish: I should lose 6 lbs. and be able to jump start myself into healthier eating.

Ok, so I'm not a junk-food fanatic or anything like that..I'm more like a cheese, bread and overly processed food fanatic, lately.. I decided to do this challenge to get my discipline in order and get back on track.

keep in mind this is not a long-term weight loss solution and will require a change in diet and exercise after the challenge to prevent gaining the lost weight.

Before starting this diet I did a little googling to see what others said about it. Apparently, people were always hungry on this diet (too few calories?) and only lost an average of 4 lbs.

So while searching the grocery store for the products, I decided I was going to further personalize my challenge.

My Special K Challenge: Although the actual challenge provides a list of their specific brand to eat, when I looked at the nutrition labels I wasn't very excited.
-the 'snack protein bars' only had 1 gram of protein and not a lot of fiber.
This would explain why people were always hungry during the challenge. I opted to exchange the snack bars for other bars that had higher protein and fiber. In turn these also have less sugar and unnecessary filler in them.

-The 'meal bars' have a high amount of sugar.
I decided this was acceptable because it was sugar, and not high fructose corn syrup (don't believe the commercials!).

-I bought a lot of fruits and vegetables.
This will give me fiber and other nutrients I need in order to keep my body functioning at a high level while not feeling like I'm starving.

-I bought a multi-vitamin.
Although I should take this every day, I decided to start now, I'm concerned that the bars don't have the nutrients I need. Nutrients and fluids are what keeps our bodies alive, in addition to (not just) carbs and protein.

My Goals: As far as weight loss, I'm hoping to lose about 3 lbs. I'm going to continue to be as active as I normally would be and I'm not going to allow myself to starve (hence the fruits and vegetables). After the challenge I want to be able to have more discipline in choosing foods that are good for me as opposed to foods my brain craves.

I'll keep everyone posted on my progress.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

When is Enough Really Enough?

I keep telling myself, "Stop planning, stop thinking you don't have enough to do..."

But I can't help it. I'm whelmed on most days and yesterday I was overwhelmed. Just driving home without feeling the walls around me crash down was difficult. Every red light I had to wait at was torture. I just wanted to crawl into bed and relinquish my control over the my little, busy world.

And then I remembered that I've felt this before. During college. During that time in my life, I experienced several moments where life was just a little too much for me.

So here I am again, spread just a little too thin and ready to make a change in this progression towards collapse.

I realized it a little over a week ago, no matter what is going on with my life I always think I can make room for something else to do.

I keep thinking that I am capable of going to work 45 hours a week, babysitting every other weekend, cleaning my house (regularly), practicing my clarinet, going to the gym 4 times a week, getting enough sleep, socializing with friends (who stay up late!), update my blog and then finding time for myself...much less time for my significant other and I to get 'personal'. This has left me exhausted! Since last week I've decided to start going to the gym in the morning to meet my 'goal'. I'm over tired from getting up that early. I also decided to cut back on caffeine, this whole week I've been a crabby mess. And the really unfortunate part, is that I haven't socialized; I've become a hermit and I think its effecting my socializing skills.

I know there are people that are okay with this kind of 'stress' and constantly having something to do. I honestly do thrive on it, when it isn't too much, but this! This is too much.

It's time to take back the control in my life, I can't allow myself to keep overwhelming my schedule just because I can.

But where do I begin? Honestly, any activities that provide income need to stay. Exercise and socializing need to stay. I need to keep my house clean...Give up my blog?? It doesn't really consume that much time, and I usually post on the fly. I never put a decent amount of research into anything I post(I'm just that smart??). I haven't even managed to find decent time for my clarinet....or my significant other..

oh, woe is me. Maybe it was the caffeine withdrawal and exhaustion. Maybe I'm not really that busy, more like I'm unable to relax when I can.

We'll see how I manage. Right now Saturday is completely open, I think I'll make a start by keeping it that way.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Job Hopping isn't Always Good

I am 22 years old, two years out of college and almost arriving at my 2 year at my current job. As I read about how unique and original my generation is, I find it disconcerting. We are supposed to be unique and original, yet we are all following similar paths to one another. Maybe its time to not follow the 'trend'...

Gen-Y started a trend. They started to job hop about every 18 months. Then Everyone who enjoys Gen-Y said, "This is different." "This is the new norm."

I beg to differ. I haven't job hopped, and although I have thought about it and sent out a few applications here and there, I'm still at my current job. And I honestly plan to be here for a while. Maybe you should consider staying put yourself. Let me explain why:

1. Staying at your first job for a substantial length in time can give you experience, and portray on your resume that you do want to find a company that you can see a future in.

One of the reasons the company hired me and I 'hired' the company was because they wanted someone that can grow with the company and I wanted a company that can give me the hours, pay and benefits that I wanted. More recently, I discovered that my resume can continue to grow and provide substantial experience if I stay at the company.

2. Job-hopping does not provide stability.

In our twenties, no one can be sure they know exactly what they want in a career. This is why job-hopping may be good for you. Job-hopping may allow you to 'gain experience' in several different areas, but it doesn't necessarily provide stability like some may say. For example; you left a company that was growing, but wasn't quite big enough to give you the opportunities you needed, so you left. You went to a company that was able to provide what you needed, but given the economy they were suffering. Suffering to the point of needing to lay off some of their 'extra' employees. Being the newbie, that most likely means you. Now you don't have a job, or stability.

3. Investing in a company makes the company want to invest in you.

Staying with a company for more than 2-4 years shows the company that you are invested in them. You work hard their the companies success, which in turn provides you success. With this hard work and returned success, you get reward. Staying with the company provides you the opportunity to ask for the raise, or the promotion. Or even to ask the company if they can meet your career goals, if they want to invest in you, they will do everything in their power to meet those goals. Though you have worked for everything you've gained, you also didn't have to send out applications and go through the interview process to get to where you want to be.

4. Over time, it will pay off or you will leave.

Although I don't think consistent job-hopping is 'healthy' for your career, I do understand that it has to be done. But I think it is absolutely necessary for a person to do the best they can to find a company worth investing in. If it turns out that two years later, it just doesn't work out-then changing jobs would be worth your time. It is selfish and immoral to think that once a job runs dry on experience and your 'growth' flat lines that its time to move on. Consider the possibility: When you interview for a job, you should have your long-term and short-term career goals in mind. Don't take a job with a company that you know won't be able to provide what you need to accomplish your goals. Not only would it be a waste of time and money for the company, it takes away time you could've used to pursue your goals faster and more efficiently. If gaining experience is your goal, be a contractor. If you want to be promoted to Snr. Manager, you need to stick around long enough to get the reputation you need to be promoted or hired to that position. If you don't want to be promoted, and have experience under your belt, find a company that will pay off.

Now, I could ramble on about work ethic and commitment to a bigger cause than your career in terms of staying with a company, but I do believe that is outdated. I do believe that job-hopping doesn't necessarily mean you have a weak work ethic. It is absurd for anyone to think that we go to work everyday and think, "Today I'm going to serve a greater purpose than crossing off my to-do list and keeping my boss happy." It just doesn't happen.

Recently, I did ask my company if they can meet my career goals. I work in an office that doesn't have ladders to climb or departments to rotate through. Our job openings are few and far between. I know they can't meet my goals unless a certain position opens up, but I was told that they would do everything they could to provide the experience I want. Of course, if it turns out that isn't enough and I can't wait for that job-opening, than leaving will become more of an option.

So, without job-hopping, I have a stable, growing career with a company that agrees with my ethics and morals AND they want to invest in me. By them telling me they would do everything they could to allow me to continue to grow, I know they want to make an investment in me. In return, I will continue to invest my time, energy and work ethic into them.