Monthly Archives: August 2014

Nutrition Fact and Fiction: A Calorie is a Calorie

This is a surprisingly controversial topic in the world of internet dieting, and it’s for a good reason. A lot of people will try to tell you that it’s not this easy because they want to sell you on something else (please note the literal use of the world “sell” here). However, the truth is, it really is that simple: if you burn more calories than you take in, you will lose weight. Period. Full stop. You could eat nothing but Twinkies, and as long as it adds up to fewer calories than you burn you will lose weight.

So, if the only thing you care about is dropping a few pounds, that’s your solution: consume fewer calories, burn more, or both. As long as you do it correctly, it will work.* The problem is, losing weight is probably not the only thing you care about.

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Parking *Too* Close

I decided before I even started work that if possible, I wanted to get there earlier in the day so that I could leave and therefore get home earlier in the day. I’ve been pretty consistent about getting to work sometime between seven and seven thirty, which is about what my goal was, so yay success!

However, most of the people in my office come into work later because they collaborate with people in California who are three hours behind. I think there are people on the second floor who get there early, but at least on my floor and on my side of the building, I am almost always the first person there – by half an hour to forty five minutes. Basically, what I’m getting at is that when I get to work in the morning there are very few cars in the parking lot. And normally that’d be great.

But, I’m not normal and I don’t do normally.

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Discretionary Expense of the Month

When I linked to my budgeting spreadsheet in an earlier post, I mentioned that I had several color-coded categories. The large majority of these are expenses I can’t or shouldn’t avoid – some are adjustable and some aren’t, but there was only one category of spending that I could completely eliminate if I wanted or needed to, and that’s this one:

Discretionary Spending Budget

All those things are nice, but they aren’t necessities in the same way that gas, groceries, and rent are. However, that doesn’t stop me from wanting things that require spending in those categories; quite a few things that require spending in those categories, in fact. The problem is that wanting all of those things now doesn’t mean I should or can afford to buy them whenever I feel like it, and that’s what led me to my new idea: discretionary expense of the month.

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Homemade Alfredo the Low Cal Way

So I was craving some alfredo sauce this evening, but unfortunately, the problem with alfredo is that it generally has a lot of calories since it’s based in heavy cream, butter, and cheese – all very fatty things. Also I didn’t have any. So, to solve this problem, I decided to take a crack at making my own.

Homemade Alfredo

I know, it doesn’t look very appetizing, but bare with me for a moment cause it was actually pretty good. If it helps, it looks much better this way:

Homemade Alfredo + Broccoli

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Jump Right In

I have been officially employed for exactly nine working days. The first two days were orientation and I didn’t even make it into the office. Then I spent the next two days half in meetings and half with my manager, who had flown in to Charleston just for me. Then I took a day off to move into my apartment, and the day after that I was pretty much 100% booked in meetings. So in other words, today was really only the third day that I was able to actually do anything other than orientation or meeting coworkers.

And that’s what makes this all so exciting. This all being, specifically, that today I got to do something that actually added value for the first time! And I have lots more planned!

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Reaching Fitness Goals: Part Two

In my last stay in shape post, I talked about how in order to reach my fitness goals I had to stop making excuses. Back when I wrote that post, I had just run a 10k. Now I have a casual birthday half marathon under my belt and am training for an actual half marathon race in October. Not making excuses has been a really important part of making it to that point!

But, it’s not the only thing I’ve learned; far from it, in fact. So here’s part two – with another really important lesson: it’s going to suck at first. Probably for a while. Keep doing it anyway.

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Hobbies and How I Choose to Dedicate My Free Time

There are a lot of not directly work-related things that are involved in starting a new job, and one of the biggest of those things is getting to know all your new coworkers. Earlier this week, I was out to lunch doing just that when someone asked “So what are your hobbies?”


Hobbies are a strange thing. They’re supposed to be what you enjoy doing in your free time, but it seems like “wasting time on the internet” or “hanging out with my friends” – my most frequent uses of free time – aren’t really what people are looking for when it comes to answering that question. Furthermore, having only recently graduated college, my first thought about hobbies is that I haven’t had time for them in years! But then again, who does?

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The Absolutely Wrong First Impression

When you start a new job, particularly your first job ever, you want to make a good first impression. Obviously. And this is something I had been worrying about quite a bit. I wondered if I was making a good impression on my coworkers through email, if I should be emailing them a bit more, if my manager’s frequent checks to see if I had any questions meant I should be asking more than I was, etc. But what I hadn’t considered were the really, really basic things. Things like: don’t forget to bring essential documents to your HR appointment.


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Mastering Habits

A few months ago, I found a list online of “17 Self-Help Books Everyone Should Read.” It turns out there are probably hundreds of lists like this one on the internet, which is why I didn’t link the particular one that I encountered, but when I found myself bored in an airport a few days later, it was that list that I chose to reference when picking out a book. So that’s how, knowing nothing about it at the time, I ended up buying The Power of Habit. And I’m really glad I did.

The book was slow to read at first, and I generally had to read it one chapter at a time because there’s a lot to it, but it was fascinating and I truly believe that if I can manage to put the things it taught me to practical use, it will change my life.

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Why Nutrition Is Hard and What You Can Do About It

If there’s one thing the internet thinks it knows a lot about (other than celebrities), it’s nutrition. It’s practically impossible to spend more than a few minutes online without encountering some form of article, advertisement, or post talking about weight loss or food and what you should eat when and how. All this information can easily be overwhelming, and it’s hard to separate the scientific facts from the latest fads and trends.

As past of my efforts to both lose weight and get proper fuel for my runs, I’ve done quite a bit of research to this end – finding out the real, hard, scientifically supported facts of nutrition. And I’ll get to those throughout a (probably long) series of posts about nutrition fact and fiction. But first, I want to address why there’s so much varying information out there and what you can do to try to separate the bad information from the good.

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