All posts by Rebecca Fegan

About Rebecca Fegan

I have an eclectic set of interests--everything from Leadership to Religion/Philosophy to Knitting to Music. I'm a mom and a grandma and a teacher and a speaker and a published author.

Lovely ride

Truly!  Do you appreciate the beauty that surrounds you?  I had a wonderful drive to a little town North and East of my home. The sunset was spectacular and the way it reflected off the temporary lake was awe-inspiring. The flight of the pelicans and the bobbing of the ducks and geese were poetry in motion. The gentle crashing of the waves was so soothing. I bet you think I live in California, or in Minnesota with all those lakes, but of course, Minnesota is getting snow right now. Could I be in Washington or Oregon? Noooooo, I’m in the midwest. No, I’m not near Lake Michigan or Lake Superior.

Let me clarify:

The waves were crashing along the interstate.

The ducks and geese were landing on what used to be a farm equipment building.

The temporary lake was a cornfield flooded to the point where you couldn’t tell there was anything but water in it.

I’m in Nebraska. We had a 6-year drought from 2002-2008. We were also at the center of that Bomb Cyclone. We are STILL suffering from the flooding in March as a result of that cyclone. Lincoln, Nebraska, got snow but Omaha was cold and sunny.

But it sure was a pretty drive.

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Another program, up in smoke

Weight Loss programs.  Lose weight!  Keep it off! Small steps, small goals. You gotta believe.

So I tried it. They give you little inspirational messages daily. They talk about your perception of food. They talk about psyche tips to help you overcome mental barriers. They encourage group support. There are manuals about exercise and food choices. Recipes. Coaching. I bet this works for most people.

Those that participate in the group discussions are frustrated that they’ve only lost 4-5 pounds in the first month. Some have lost 8-10 pounds. You have to weigh yourself every day. They give you a great incentive program…just walk 300 more steps today than you did yesterday. Ding! You’re at 10,000 steps! Woohoo! So why wouldn’t this work?

One of the things I’ve heard over the past 18 years is that “this program/job/self-improvement/learning system doesn’t work.” And over and over the people who run these programs/learning systems, etc.,  say it works if you work it. Ooops.

The one thing they stressed yesterday was that mistakes, setbacks, falling off the path are just that, not character flaws. Just like in music. This one student I was working with messed up her left hand going to the wrong chord repeatedly. Every time she got to that point in the music, she would panic and play the wrong note and say, “I’m so STUPID! Why can’t I GET this?! I’m hopeless!” I asked her why she was giving herself this rule? “What rule?” The rule that at this point in the music you MUST screw up. “I always mess up there” is a stupid rule to make.  Practice this part, erase the circle, and say to yourself, “I’m glad I solved that problem. Now it’s my favorite part of the song!” So when the program doesn’t seem to be working, it’s because I’m not working the program. It’s not a character flaw, it’s a consistency problem that I do not choose to fix. Well, that’s a dumb idea.

Sooooo, 4 weeks and have not lost a single pound. Not 1. I’m still at 2000 steps, not 10,000. It does NOT matter if I average 900-1200 calories a day. If I eat the wrong stuff, I don’t lose weight, I just get tired at weird times of the day. It doesn’t matter if I go to the gym and do 6000 steps and do a weight-lifting circuit if I don’t repeat the process the next day.

What can I conclude? There IS a character flaw. At this point in time, it is easier for me to distract myself from a plan than to work it all the way through. This can have a detrimental effect on every project I have chosen for myself.

  1. Conference Handbook
  2. Transcribe some music
  3. Clean and remodel the house
  4. Develop a rose garden
  5. Run a music business
  6. Run a financial business.
  7. Blog

So, TODAY and every day, my mantra is “Finish something today!” Even if it isn’t the full project, finish a part of it.

Psychological and Physiological reasons for fatness

Are you ready?

Brace yourself…

When a person eats more of the wrong foods than their body can consume in activities; when someone eats too much of the foods they like even when they’re the right foods than their body can consume in activities; when a body doesn’t move much after consuming even minuscule amounts of food, right or wrong, fat accumulates.

After a few years, due to the fact that said person yells at this extra roll around the belly, the extra chins, the sheer acreage of flesh under the arms and around the back, the fat responds–not unlike the behavior of houseplants. At first, it is subtle. You poke at the fat you can see, and it ripples completely around you. Then, due to your analytical mind, you want to know why this accumulation remains constant, you ask this fat questions. “What are you doing there?  I just walked 5 miles!” “Wait, is that the cheesecake I had 2 weeks ago?” When you stop mid-rant and are sure that you hear giggling, and scanning your audience, you see no evidence of levity in your compatriots, Your Fat is Now Sentient…and thinks you’re just adorable for thinking you can conquer the accumulation of peanut butter cups, 8 oz. steaks (vs the 3 oz. ones you’re supposed to eat), the Panera cinnamon rolls, and 1 can of non-diet soda. You realize you cannot hide around the corner because something is always sticking beyond your perceived boundaries.  Picture a capital D.

Perceived boundaries are where you think your body ends. It’s why we’re surprised that we can’t pick up that quarter we dropped on the floor. It’s why we look surprised when we try to squeeze around the waitress and she falls flat on her guests with all the food on the tray sailing into the next 2 tables. The look of shock and confusion you see is genuine when turning sideways to get through a tight spot DOESN’T HELP. It’s when you stand behind someone and your belly is in the middle of their back and it’s nowhere near the location of your feet so you move forward and the person ahead of you falls down. It’s the look of amazement when you catch a view of yourself next to normally sized people.

And…it’s the infuriating sound of your sentient fat taunting you. My fat named himself Obie, or OB, or Obi-Two.  He giggles, and whispers “I have nicknames!” He’s learning opera now so he can project his voice over the top of an orchestra during the Mahler 7. “Burble burble burble…YOUR TUMMY NEEDS YOU!  MWAHAHAHA!  FEED ME MY VICTUALS!” And there’s nothing you can do about the noise.

Just so you know…the math doesn’t work.  Calories in vs. Calories burned makes NO difference whatsoever. In order to use up the 1200 calories I consume, I have to expend 4000…5000 steps, a full rotation on the weight machines, 2 hours of Jazzercize and the Murph challenge. If I should have one 12-ounce can of Pepsi, I will gain a pound. Then I have to work all day so that gives me 17 minutes of sleep. I don’t do that. I watch NCIS instead. In this new program, I have lost exactly 0 pounds in 2 weeks, and I’m supposed to be losing 2/wk. The end of every lesson it has me say, “I believe.”

I’m now stuck at 220. OMG. 220 pounds! Over 200 pounds in this short little 5’2″ body. I’m still trying though.

 

 

How the cookie crumbles…

So according to my plan, I’m supposed to reward myself today. It doesn’t say what for or how to reward myself. I went to my usual after church breakfast and said, “What the heck. I’m going to order the Santa Fe skillet.”  Sausage meat…hot spice (I think chili powder and some cayenne pepper) cheese, red-skinned potatoes, 1/2 a bell pepper roasted, a little salsa, and 2 eggs over easy. In the red zone: Sausage meat, cheese, red-skinned potatoes. Yellow zone: eggs and salsa. Green zone: 1/2 a bell pepper.  My program does an analysis after you enter things into the log. 710 calories. Brace yourself. IT GAVE ME ALL GREEN!  Yeah, Baby!  OK.  Of Course, it’s a glitch.

I went to the gym and got my steps in and some squats too. “Woohoo,” she says curbing her enthusiasm. Got home and had to crash. I’m exhausted. I don’t understand why I’m so tired…oh yeah. 5 hours of Toastmasters yesterday. Makes my brain tired, plus I was part of the main attraction too. GET UP, we have another Toastmaster’s meeting. Follow hubby to the car and head out. Have our meeting at a hotel restaurant. I have a Philly and a bowl of fruit. Now a Philly has steak, cheese, bread, bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions. Steak, cheese, and white bread roll are all Red. Peppers and mushrooms and onions all green.  It put all that under YELLOW! So no red foods today.

Something is seriously messed up.

But I’m not going to tell them…

 

That’s a BIG breakfast!

  • 2 poached eggs
  • bacon
  • low-fat yogurt with berries and granola
  • muffin

“WOW!  OMG!  How do you eat that much!  That’s a HUMONGOUS Breakfast.”

What? No. Ultimate Skillet at Village Inn is a humongous breakfast. 2 eggs, 2 bacon, 2 sausages, grits, fried apples, 2 biscuits, gravy, and butter and jelly at Cracker Barrel is a big breakfast. I never have the ultimate skillet or the meat lover’s special. Why what do you eat for breakfast?

  • “1 tsp of chia seeds
  • 1 cup of almond milk”

Wait that’s it?

“I can barely finish it all.”

The guide says eggs are ok, whole-grain toast, fruit, and broccoli for breakfast. Broccoli? Really? Give up bacon and get broccoli. (By the way, that poached egg breakfast was 1186 calories. It is about 14 calories short of my whole day’s allowance!) Give up hamburger and only have chicken, fish or turkey. Never have sausage!  You can eat as much as you want…as long as it’s green. The “green” designation is food that has a low-calorie density. So 5 grapes and 5 raisins have the same calories, but 5 raisins would not make a dent in your hunger, and 5 grapes, due to the water, would.

I committed to this program. What a fool. I can’t commit to anything. 2k steps/day? Depends on the day. 1 day it’s 800, the next it’s 6000. 3 meals and 3 snacks? Today it was Breakfast (not chia seeds and almond milk I assure you!) and a peach.

I’m always Hangry. I’m also frustrated. My coach hasn’t met with me yet, and I don’t think she will. I asked a couple of questions…well, made a couple of observations and now she won’t talk to me. After 1 abysmal week…over and under my calorie count, completely the wrong foods, inconsistent walking or exercising ( they don’t give you credit for pulling staples out of the floor) and now a crappy attitude, I was UP 2 pounds. Diet, Exercise, Psychology. This really works! Except on me. But, the beginning of every day, I weigh in, beat myself up for weighing more or less exactly what I started, eat breakfast and discover I’ve used up all my calories for the week, and then listen to my tummy rumble for the rest of the day. But you’re supposed to count your foods and estimate your portions and only have what it says on the list. BUT with the exception of today’s breakfast, that is exactly what I’ve been doing. I find myself more tired and irritable after my nearly imperceptible lunch. A peanut butter sandwich is never to be eaten. Why? Because it’s a RED food, you are allowed 380 calories of red foods and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is 388… my whole allowance for the day. I can have one sandwich OR 2 pieces of bacon OR one hamburger patty, but not all of them. Actually, the sandwich is more high-calorie than the bacon or the hamburger.

If a typical breakfast is 1 tsp of chia seeds and 1 cup of almond milk, why bother? Drink a cup of weak tea and just call it. But don’t pour any milk into your weak tea. Milk is a red food too, btw, but almond milk is ok. (Ever try to milk an almond? Just about the time you’re on your 12,000th almond, it kicks the bucket over and you lose your whole cup of milk!)

Now go for your 10k step walk every morning, have a nice cup of salad with salmon slices on it. NO SUSHI!  There’s rice in them there rolls. NEVER rolls or muffins. No cheesecake, no pudding, no icecream.  AND YET, they say, “Oh it’s perfectly fine to go off script once in a while! You can’t deny yourself all the time.” And then they deny me all the time. But it’s insidious. “YAY!” my program gushes. “You logged all your foods and it’s under 1200 calories!” It makes no mention that though it’s under 1200 calories, I ATE ALL THE WRONG FOODS! 380 Cal of Red foods?  I had 888. 250-500 calories of Yellow foods? I ate 298. 0-800 calories of Green type foods? I had 58. Completely upside down. And I wonder why I’m 2 pounds heavier on less food and more exercise.  Silly me.

I think it’s hopeless.

 

And…

I spent a good 2 1/2 hours pulling staples out of my floor from the carpet my son removed. I got a great deal of help with the staples in the stairs (there were tons!) from my youngest boy. Still working on the tacking strips. Mark is cleaning off the computer desk he had in his office, and we’re moving the one from the bedroom in there. We’re getting rid of the one in my office, just not sure how. Then I’ll move up my furniture from my old office.

floor under livingroom carpet 2019

Just get started

OMG. I have been cleaning and sorting and tossing and processing for DAYS. I have another 20 yd dumpster coming on Friday and I may need a 3rd one.

My problem comes up when I look at something that needs to be put away, and I don’t know where it goes. I can’t put that picture or postcard into a scrapbook because I don’t have a scrapbook. I do not want to go to JoAnn’s and buy a scrapbook and all the glue and glitter and cutesy stuff. For heaven’s sake, I threw out 3000 postcards I’d saved over the last 50 years! I hadn’t looked at them, I hadn’t processed them, I hadn’t organized them. They were pretty when I got them and I loved the sights and the insight into the culture they provided, but after that first glance, I never looked at them again.

I get an important notice from a bank or from my business and I know it’s important, and I need to take care of it, but I don’t know where it goes. If I put it into a folder, I have that and 50 other “important pieces of paper” in that same folder. I can’t find it when I need it–if I need it. In fact, I don’t remember where the folder is! I have obsessively taken notes on all the important phone calls I’ve made. They’re all on the same piece of paper until that one gets filled, then I put another on top of it. My keyboard legs no longer rest on my desk, they teeter on the pile of notes.

I have business cards from some very important people. I wonder who they are and why I have their cards. I have used up bank cards and store cards that I haven’t used in decades. I’m afraid to throw them out.

I have plaques and awards that are in a pile or in a box. No one ever sees them. I don’t need to look at them. The only time they were important was when I received them in front of people that knew and appreciated what they were. But who throws out trophies and plaques?

I have a dream board in my office. It has dust on it. It had a picture of my Senior Vice President sitting at his desk with a speaking bubble over his head saying, “Great job Becky!  I’m so proud of you!” Something to aspire to, right? He hasn’t been in the business for a decade. I did have a cut-up credit card as part of this dream board, and I did cut it up. But now I have another one. It’s strictly for things such as hotel reservations and travel costs that I don’t want to pay for in cash. It has a low balance on it. (YAY!)

I get completely addled when I tackle a large project…too many things to do and no clear-cut starting place. I started in my office. I’ve made some progress, but now I find myself moving a pile from this flat space to that flat space and then ADDING to it. Ooops.

Just get started doing something.

Ok, well, I signed up for Noom. It has nothing to do with cleaning. I guess the “something” has to be more specific, hmmm? I’ll keep you posted.

Surprises

Unfortunately, not pleasant ones.

Took my hubby’s car in for a tune-up…End up with a brake job and some other adjustments. $600.  Still have to buy tires. $600. My emergency fund has been depleted because, silly me, I took a month off from teaching. I fully intended to do more financial work, and no appointments got scheduled. “Can you catch me after our vacation?” “Can you wait until after the family reunion?” “I have the perfect date!” (It’s while I’m in Denver.)  I don’t call many folks about financial stuff. They think I’m an idiot. I’m really quite good. The people that have worked with me are extremely pleased with the results I’ve given them. They don’t want to recommend me to their friends, though. But I had planned to do more appointments to keep my cash flow up.

I learned that my radical ideas (put a Republican into the Presidency– a REAL Republican, not one that joined the party to get elected) were, in fact, more radical than I thought.  I was expecting a whole bunch of Republicans to run against the incumbent because he doesn’t know what he’s doing.  They’re not fielding anyone? Bill Weld? Who’s he? So I stated that I was embarrassed to be associated with the Republican Party and I thought that the party SHOULD do a better job actually representing their constituents. The Republicans are of the opinion that their chief constituents ARE represented. I haven’t lynched anyone, I’ve been faithful to my husband, and I attend church regularly. I cannot tolerate lying, exaggerating, straying from the truth, and misrepresenting history. I am also not a millionaire. So the man in the highest office of the land represents the complete opposite of what I am and what I believe. I am embarrassed that our president is unfamiliar with our history and doesn’t operate from a basis of reason and rational thought but from emotional impulse.

When I stated that on Facebook, I was immediately criticized by people I thought were like-minded–intelligent, thoughtful, moral, upstanding, people of integrity. That was a surprise! I don’t know what to do! I took down my post, but the damage is done. I will now be a pariah within my circle of friends (that is diminishing exponentially) because I think the president of the USA should be a person of character, not a character from a soap opera.

I am unpleasantly surprised by the things I say.  I sit back and look what I’ve commented, what I’ve said, what I’ve implied and I find that a good portion of the time, it’s snarky and rude. I think I will just hide in my room away from the computer, and if I cannot remain in my room, I shall endeavor to keep my opinions and thoughts to myself.  I shall learn the polite nod and the socially acceptable smile and the genteel laugh. When folks that know me ask me what’s wrong, I will reply, “Nothing’s wrong. I have taken ‘people’ lessons and now know how to be a ‘people’ like everyone else.”

      The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.~

Edmund Burke

So I shall do nothing. I am not a good person. I worry too much that what I do would hurt the cause of good over evil. I shame the good, I embarrass the righteous, and I bring nothing of merit to the cause. If I shake my head and enter my thoughts into the rant book, those will never be read if I can help it. Evil will triumph on Earth because it is supposed to. Good will only triumph if I’m not involved and it will be apparent on Judgment Day. I believe with my whole heart that Jesus loves me and I should go to heaven, but I’ll probably get hung up on a technicality. “I’m sorry,” says St. Peter, “but remember that time you yelled at God because you couldn’t find your keys? What kind of person would trust their souls to God and then curse Him for your inability to organize your purse?  Most take the escalator, but we have a special Bat Pole for you over there.”