Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Today's Lunch

There is a restaurant around the corner from me where no menu item is over 500 calories.

I had a whole wheat wrap with brown rice, black beans, lowfat cheese, and, um, ground bison. Whatever -- it was tasty and filling and I could pronounce all the ingredients.

I chased it with a small pumpkin and tres leches frozen yogurt, supposedly 85 calories.

God Bless America.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Get Your Skates On

I'm trying hard not to pickle myself in job hatred. Writing about it and talking about it and thinking about it saps my energy in a way not dissimilar to overeating, actually. And I need to conserve what little energy I have left after doing the job (and moving across an ocean and adjusting and dealing with lots of logistics) to enjoy New York.

The temptation is to buy myself endless (non-food) treats – after all, I'm making a decent salary doing this job I loathe. But I'm trying to walk a fine line between treat and just endless consumption: I hope I'm not doing this job for too long, and when it's all over, it's likely I'll be a freelancer again. (And depending on how soon it's over, with a much more expensive rent than what I had in London.)

The literal translation of all of this? Less buying of clothes (actually, no buying of clothes), more buying of ice skates.


Thursday morning a friend (visiting from DC) and I went ice skating in Bryant Park before work. Not that you can call what I did ice skating – it was more half-creeping, half-shuffling along the perimeter. (Al the while I earned smiles from passersby that looked suspiciously like the benevolent smiles people give toddlers and poor saps caught in the rain without an umbrella.) Still, it was really fun, and certainly gave me a little lift all day.

Skating is free (yes, there are things in NYC that are free!) but the skate rental is $13. I spent $49 on skates. If I go 4 times between now and the end of February, my lovely white figure skates will have paid for themselves. Beth, get your skates on...


I'm not really crushed not to be buying clothes, because I really don't want to go and try things on.

My jeans are like sausage casing, and my waist has disappeared.

It's been weeks since I could wear my favourite pencil skirt, and instead I've been hiding out in wrap dresses, avoiding the truth. Yesterday for the first time in nearly a week I put my jeans on, and they're ridiculously tight. These are the jeans that already are one size up from my lowest. Not good. Especially not with Thanksgiving and the holiday season just days away.

I panicked, especially because (a) I'm hungry all the time, (b) I have a whole lot less time for exercise and I move a whole lot less during the day in this job, and (c) um, holiday season. I debated doing a couple of drastic diets I've read about, then realized that if I'm hungry on the amounts I'm eating, I surely wouldn't be able to handle severe calorie restrictions. Plus I wondered about the wisdom of doing that for a few days and then participating in the nationwide bingeing holiday of Thanksgiving...

I realized today that I've been complaining for months about things slowly not fitting (or not fitting well) and endlessly declaring that I don't need to get any heavier than I am at [insert particular moment.] I also know that I need to cut myself a little slack – it's been months of upheaval and uncertainty, and it's not over yet. Bingeing twice a week, which I've done for the past two weeks, also has not helped.

So... Goal No. 1 (not quite sure how "goal" differs from the "commitments," as I called them, I made Wednesday): Get to one week without bingeing. I'm well on my way, actually... I also need to buy a scale this week and see exactly the damage is.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Not a Clue How It's All Gonna End

I nearly put my head down on my desk and cried today.

This in no way distinguishes the day from any other I’ve had here, except maybe that it was just once instead of the five times that’s been my daily average. This is not a sign that life here is improving, only that (so far) I’ve been in the office fewer hours today – mostly because I could not face getting here and was late this morning.

I count myself so incredibly unbelievably lucky that I have never in my life had to do a job I hated so much, and with any luck, I will not do this for long. (I think I have to try to last 3 months, although even that seems interminable.) Life is too short to be this miserable, and I am. I don’t want to whip myself up into a frenzy of hatred listing all the things I loathe, so suffice it to say that the job is stuffed full of things I hate to do and almost nothing that I do like to do (never mind the time to do it in). Yes, I will get better at some of the tasks, but I will never ever like to do them. It also doesn’t help that I was bequeathed a series of disasters to sort out, so I constantly am behind. And if I have to go to one more meeting (and there are about a bajillion in my future), I really will cry.

I’d love to regale you with tales of insanity in the New York magazine world, and even though I’ve only worked here 13 days, I’ve got plenty. But I just wanted to pop in to let you know that I’m still here, and that I’m seriously struggling. I’ve gotten to the gym almost every morning, but I’m chained to my desk so barely moving other than that (which means I feel lardier every day, not helped by the fact that I’ve been bingeing oh, at least twice a week, plus eating out constantly).

I’m starting to panic – to really, really panic. I’m starting to consider crazy crash diets and generally freak out. So I need to commit to a few things, so here they are:

1. Return to doing 5 sun salutations every morning. (I was so good about this before I moved...)
2. Strength-train two times per week.
3. Alternate diet Coke with water in office. (I’m getting dehydrated.)
4. Aim to get up from desk at least once per hour. (Yes, seriously.)

More coming, but I’ll start with these!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

I Get By With a Little Help From the Gourmet Garage

So thus far I’m not allowing myself to use the word “hate” or to cry, but… well, it hasn’t been great.

I’m really trying not to whip myself up into a frenzy, but I just don’t think this is me. I spent yesterday pinioning what should be 400 or 500-word stories into 100 and 150-word straitjackets. At one point I had to go over to the art department to plead for an extra line for a salad recipe.

“Not with this layout,” said the art person.

“Well, I trimmed the instructions but I can’t cut the ingredients,” I said. “If I don’t get an extra line this isn’t going to be a winter salad with squash and pomegranate vinaigrette – it’s just going to be salad greens!” (I got the extra line.)

I have to write headlines in literally six characters or less, which is – if you’ve ever seen the American game show Wheel of Fortune – making me want to ask if I can buy a vowel. People keep commenting on what a huge project management job my job is, and that is SO not me – I’m a writer. I don’t give a toss whether X recipe has been sent off for nutritional analysis or if we’ve got copy in for the lipstick smackdown or, quite frankly, whether last month’s contributors have been paid. (I know, I know – I’d care if it were my check that was delayed!)

Sigh. Yesterday, my first day, I worked until after 8 pm (had pages to close) and did nearly burst into tears wondering – as I did a lot in the days before I left London – what exactly prompted me to make this decision.

But here I am, and I’m trying to make the best of it (see “not using the word ‘hate’” above). But I just joined a gym today (been using my aunt’s card) and noted in my year’s contract that there was a get-out clause if I move more than 25 miles away from the nearest branch. I’m pretty sure they don’t have any in London…

I haven’t binged, thanks partly to many reminders to myself that eating more will not make things better or easier (or make me less tired). The clean eating is also thanks to the proximity of a Gourmet Garage that sells foods I’ve eaten before (so tired and overwhelmed that it’s easier to just grab the familiar rather than investigate). I’m sure at other times the proximity will be dangerous (they sell all sorts of yummy-looking treats), but one foot in front of the other…