In general, I try to steer away from topics where I am basically giving you guys advice. Because, I mean honestly, I consider myself okay if I can get MYSELF through the day. I would never assume responsibility for your guys.
But, if you’ll indulge me, there’s been something on my mind lately that I’m curious to hear your perspective. And it has to do with DIETS.
I’ve said before that I believe in all things in moderation, but lately I’ve been experimenting with removing certain elements from my diet and then analyzing their effect on my mood and emotions.
Before I get into it, I feel obligated to remind you all that I am not, in fact, a medical professional. This is not meant to serve as advice of any kind. This is purely an examination of my own experiences and a request to hear your own. Do you need me to include an asterisk disclaimer? Because I will. I am not a doctor.*
As I was saying.
For the last couple of months, I’ve removed a couple of things:
1. Diet soda
I mean, I’ve had the occasional glass of wine here and there, but in general, I’ve been trying to limit the amount of excess sugar I consume, and alcohol is obviously a big source of sugar.
One of the things that prompted me to start playing around with what I eat was my gut itself. I noticed that I was getting stomach aches often, or just feeling general discomfort. (GLAMOROUS!) When I went a week without drinking and tried to avoid desserts, I noticed, almost magically, these problems seemed to go away. It was especially helpful when I was training for a race or just working out a lot in general.
Not surprisingly, an hour-long spin class is much easier without a tummy ache.
I had a similar response to dairy, and as a result I rarely consume anything that come’s from cow’s milk. (The occasional Greek yogurt or scoop of ice cream is the only real exception.)
Beyond the purely physical benefits, I’ve found it kind of fascinating to see how limiting sugar has affected my mood. When I’m limiting my sugar, I feel more even-keel in general, rarely feeling anxious or overly sensitive. When I’m not, I have more stressful days or moments when I feel like my anxiety is harder to control.
The changes I noticed when I cut out caffeine were more predictable: Sure, that first week sucked, but since then, I feel like I’m sleeping better and I don’t feel any more tired than I did when I was drinking several cups a day.
Again, I’m not sharing these observations in an attempt to guilt or pressure anyone to do the same, I’m just curious: Has anyone else tried something like this and noticed similar results? Are there certain foods you don’t eat because you notice they contribute negatively to your mental well-being?
Basically, I find the psychology of food really interesting, and I want to know your experiences. SHARE WITH ME! (If you want…)
*No, seriously. Not. A. Doctor.
I hate the skirt I’m wearing today. I hate it every time I wear it.
It’s not that it’s just ill-fitting — this skirt is the definition of frumpy. I originally purchased it from a thrift store for BEANS. It was at least two sizes too big, but it was from Banana Republic, and I figured even with tailoring (it’s an A-line skirt — HOW HARD COULD THAT BE?) it would still be significantly cheaper than buying it retail.
Spoiler alert: Even tailoring has done nothing to alleviate the frump-factor of this skirt. It has these pockets, which I would normally love, but that stick out like a pair of book-size bat ears, giving my hips the appearance of being as wide as the day is long. (Note the weird pocket bulge on the right side of the above photo. I do not make this up.) Not exactly flattering.
In general, I have no problem getting rid of clothing that does not actively improve my life. You guys know this.
So why would I keep (and regularly wear) a skirt I feel like I’m in my own personal blood feud with? I like the challenge.
I’ve had an ironically torrid love affair with modest skirts in the last couple of years. Midi skirts? Those are my jam. And all of my pencil skirts run at least a couple of inches below my knees.
What I love about these skirts is that they are undeniably ladylike AND they force me to be more thoughtful about the rest of my outfit. I’m a firm believer that successful fashion is all about the give-and-take: shorter hemlines are ALWAYS paired with full-length sleeves and a lower neckline looks gauche with too much leg showing. Modest skirts require more effort to also look chic.
Which brings me back to the skirt in question. I’m telling you guys, I’ve tried my DANGDEST to get that thing to look fashionable. Sometimes, I think I’m close. A cute pair of nude heels and a fitted sweater will almost get us there. It ALMOST works because the skirt is so huge it makes my waist look tinier I GUESS? But the fact is, I’m constantly reaffirming in my head that I don’t look like a bag lady when I’m wearing it.
That is not the desirable effect of any fashion choice.
Am I the only person who has a piece of clothing with which I have this relationship? What would YOU do to make this skirt work? Or should I just accept that it IS ill-fitting and throw in the (frumpy, lumpy) towel?
You ARE our only hope.
I’ll admit, sometimes I bite off more than I can chew.
Unfortunately, I’m not always so good at admitting it in the moment.
Case in point: I’m cutting back on caffeine. And I am not handling it…well.
My reasons are manyfold, but the gist is that I realized I am drinking way too much. But despite the large quantities I would ingest on the daily, I also realized that I had stopped feeling much of a reaction unless I literally drank a gallon of coffee. (I assume…I swear I have not attempted this.)
So, I decided to quit for a while in hopes that when I start drinking it again, it will only take a few sips to perk me up.
Sounds like a fool-proof plan, RIGHT?
Ahem. My brain would like to disagree.
Thursday was my first day going cold-turkey, and it started (and ended) with a splitting headache. Like, I went to bed at 9:30 because it was so bad. The rest of the weekend wasn’t as horrible (I actually got plenty of sleep almost every night, which helped), but yesterday I was a bit of a crankypants in the afternoon. I rallied after eating lunch, but I can see now that I was totally obnoxious to my husband.
Day five of no caffeine is going better. I feel tired, but the headaches have subsided. I THINK I will get through this, you guys.
Has anyone else gone off caffeine cold-turkey? What helped? Does anyone else hate the phrase “cold-turkey”?
Is there anything more awkward than trying to end a conference call?
The never-ending goodbyes always remind me of old-school AIM convos, where you spent roughly a calendar year telling your pals you loved them like a sister and would talk to them later and okbye4now. Or whatever we said back then.
The point is, conference call sign-offs can drag out through the rest of the millenium.
I think it has something to do with the lack of visual clues — no one can tell when Person A is looking to wrap things up because they can’t see them shutting their laptop and making eyes at the door. But I also blame corporate jargon.
Anyone who has ever worked in an office knows what I mean when I say that. God HELP you if you’ve worked in a tech or media office. Corporate jargon is like the social media of work-speak: It’s slowly depriving us of meaning and, let’s face it, humanity.
Here are a few examples of things you can say at almost ANY point of a meeting if you don’t know the answer to the question — without looking like an idiot. Don’t thank me; thank corporate jargon.
1. Let’s circle back on that offline.
2. I think that’s important to discuss, but I’d like to focus on the big picture.
3. We’ll regroup on that internally and get back to you.
4. Do the engagement metrics support that?
5. What can we do to replicate our past successes?
Just kidding about the last one. Mostly.
The really scary thing is that sometimes I hear these phrases in meetings, and I realize that I’m the one who said them. *shudder*
Do my fellow pencil-pushers hear me on this? Share YOUR favorite jargon-y phrase in a comment below.
I don’t know about you guys, but there is nothing quite like going to the doctor to make me feel like I’ve committed a crime.
I think it has to do with how they welcome you. You walk innocently in the front door and BAM! Paperwork. And not just any paperwork. Invasive paperwork.
Do you smoke? Drink? How often? What kind? When was the last time you were here? WHERE WERE YOU ON THE AFTERNOON OF OCTOBER 26TH?!?
And the third degree doesn’t end after you hand in the clipboard.
Oh no, now it’s time to sit on a pedestal and be prodded. Oh sure, just lean back in this reclining dentist chair. Comfy? Good.
NOW I WILL POKE YOUR GUMS WITH A METAL HOOK NOT DISSIMILAR TO THE KIND SERIAL KILLERS HAVE INSTEAD OF HANDS.
During consultations of any kind, I always find myself trying to sit “casually.” Do I lean back? Or will that make the good doctor criticize my posture? Do I hold my hands in my lap? OR DOES THAT LOOK GUILTY?
I also find my voice comes out sounding weird. Like I’m hiding something.
ALL RIGHT ALL RIGHT, I’M ALLERGIC TO SULFA AND I TAKE A MULTIVITAMIN, OKAY???
On the upside, there is nothing more satisfying than being able to give the doctor healthy answers. “Actually, I’ve never smoked before. Nope, no recreational drugs, not a problem.” (She preened as she smugly smoothed her hair behind one ear.)
But no matter how much of a healthy specimen I believe myself to be, I always breathe a sigh of relief when it’s finally time to leave the exam room. I’ll give a little wave, hop off the table, and try to ignore their ominous calls of “see you in six months!”
Am I the only one who feels this way? Am I just too tightly wound? ARE YOU FLOSSING REGULARLY?
I tend to get the same response in New York (and really, most places) when I tell people I grew up in Iowa.
“Wow, that must have been some kind of culture shock, huh?”
“Iowa? IO-wa? So you grew up on a farm?
“Where is Iowa?”
In general, I shrug, duck my head with a Midwestern humility, and reply, “Well, it’s different, of course, but not as different as you would think.”
Because, really, I’m from Iowa, but I didn’t grow up even close to a farm. Unless you count the research powerhouse DuPont Pioneer, which did technically grow acres of corn a stone’s throw from my front door and high school. (I, obviously, do not.)
To their credit, though, these curious non-Midwesterners do have a point: Life in New York is pretty different from life in Iowa. But probably not for the reasons they think.
Here, in no particular order, are the things I miss the most about my Iowa life:
1. Drive-through Starbucks
Drive-throughs in general are much harder to come by in the city, most likely because only the certifiably insane (and/or taxi drivers) bother with cars in the city. I do, though, wish the drive-through coffee shop would make its way to the outer boroughs.
If you’ve never experiences the utter euphoria of getting to stay in your warm car during the dead of winter while you scoop up a latte, all I can tell you is that it makes you feel like you’ve done something right with your life.
2. Big parking lots
If I go the rest of my life without ever circling for street parking, a blaring brigade of cars barreling up behind me, only to break into a cold sweat as I try to maneuver into a parallel parking spot just a couple of inches too small for my car, it will be too soon.
You know how we handle those situations in the Midwest? WE DON’T. We just swoop into the entrance of the nearest sprawling parking lot and take our pick of spots. Our biggest stress? That we will have to walk and extra 20 feet because all the “good” spots are taken.
Here’s something I’ve learned in New York: ANY parking lot spot is a “good” spot when the alternative is a parallel parking spot next to a heap of yesterday’s trash.
3. A convenient Target
Now, we do have Target in New York. You just have to trek to Brooklyn or Long Island or a distant mall in Queens to get to it.
Do you want to know how far I had to travel to get to Target from my parents’ house in Iowa? Five minutes. It was literally on the same street as their neighborhood. In fact, you had to pass a few OTHER superstores to even get to the Target. (But we all know the Target was what you were really after anyway.)
And once you got there? You just cruised into the giant parking lot, found a spot, and grabbed a latte from Starbucks on your way in the door.
What I’m saying is, yes, moving to New York was a lifestyle change. But I’m not always sure which city is winning.