high in vitamin arooooooooooooo
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Let’s start, this time, with a story. This is about Hillary Clinton – everything I write seems to be about her these days – but it’s about me, too. It’s about what it means, to be a feminist, or a woman on the left, and whether it matters. So before I get to her, let’s give you a good look at me.
I’m at a job interview. It seems like I actually have a shot at this one. Someone who likes me knows the boss here, and has talked me up to him in person. I can show him my most recent performance review, in which I’m described as “a joy to work with,” that “my editors fight over who gets to edit my pieces,” and where the “places for improvement” section mentions they actually have to “wrack their brains for something I could do better.” I’ve come prepared to talk about my strong, built-in reader base, which I built from the ground up; the fact that I’ve led several social media campaigns that received national or international press attention and raised substantial funds, one of which was enthusiastically endorsed by several pro-choice members of Congress; my award for social media activism, from a prestigious women’s media organization, which I won by popular vote; the fact that I wind up at or near the top of my magazine’s “most-read” traffic list every time I publish a new piece.
I can mention other things, basic work-ethic things. I can mention that I have not voluntarily taken a vacation day or a sick day for the past 18 months, and that the last sick day I took was only because I was hospitalized. (I do have to take the day off on federal holidays, but on those days, I usually write for fun.) I can mention that I have never been late filing a piece. I can mention that the copy comes in clean, doesn’t require much editing, and gets turned around quickly, with maximum co-operation. I can talk about all that, at my job interview. Those are the questions I’m prepared to answer.
I’m not prepared for the question they ask.
“We’re a progressive site,” the man across the table begins, “And our readership, as with most progressive sites, is mostly men. You’ve focused a lot on women’s issues. Would you be comfortable writing something that men would be able to read?”
I don’t often get political here, but this is a fascinating read, and really challenges a lot of my perceptions re:Clinton vs. Sanders.
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Drink ALL THE WATER! (Oh gods, I’m floating away…)
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Well, here we go! As of today, Dan and I are participating in Centegra Hospital’s Optifast Program. You can find more info here, but here’s the short version:
• 12 weeks of nothing but Optifast shakes, bars, and soups.
• 8 weeks of transitioning back to real food
• 8 weeks of maintenance/consultation
During the first 12 weeks there are weekly classes, bloodwork, and metabolism monitoring. After that, there are monthly meetings/consultations, and follow-up with the program. This is a Really Big Deal, but it is something that we feel needs to be done.
Some Frequently Asked Questions:
Only Optifast products? Really?
We are supposed to have 7 servings per day. I’m taking the approach of a shake for breakfast, a bar mid-morning, soup for lunch, a bar mid-afternoon, a shake when I get home from work, soup for dinner, and a shake for “dessert”. Each serving has 175 calories, and has all of the necessary nutrients and fiber to keep us going.
Won’t you get hungry?
Really, these suckers are pretty filling. If anything, it’s going to be a bit of work to get 7 servings in!
Can you take a break, maybe have a salad or some celery?
Nope, not one bit. In fact, this creates a balance in your system, so if you suddenly shock it with, way, a salad, you can have some bad ramifications from the sudden influx of natural fiber, up to and including pancreatitis.
What about variety?
Well, the shakes come in powder and Ready To Drink “juice boxes” in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. The bars are chocolate, peanut butter chocolate, and strawberry. The soups are Garden Vegetable or Chicken. The good news is that calorie-neutral additives are A-OK. Herbs in the soup? Sure! Diet orange soda with the vanilla shake to make a creamsicle-flavored drink? Sure! Extracts/oils to add to the shakes to change up the flavor, like chocolate almond or vanilla mint? No problem. (Also: instant coffee in the vanilla shake may become my morning ritual!) I suspect that by week 12 we’ll be ready for something different, but there are enough options that we should be able to keep things moderately interesting.
Is it just diet? No exercise?
We’ll be doing exercise too! The program comes with a free 2-month membership at Centegra’s Healthbridge Fitness Center (and it’s just $100/month thereafter for both of us). We intend to start in on that soon (me next week, Dan the week after that since he’ll be traveling next week). I hope to sign up for a class or two, and probably spend a good number of our evenings there.
What is your goal weight?
Honestly, I don’t have a goal weight. I don’t want to become fixated on numbers. I’m at a size 42 waist right now. Size 38 would be great, and I haven’t been in Size 36 pants in decades. That would really tickle me. I like Dan’s approach: he wants to lose enough weight that he can ride every single roller coaster at Great America. That’s a good, attainable goal, I think. As far as what’s possible, we have friends who have lost over 50 pounds on this program, and some double that. It depends on metabolism, and how we apply ourselves and take the classes to heart.
Won’t you just gain all the weight back?
That is always a hazard. The purpose of the classes, consultations, follow-up, and exercise are to prevent that from happening though. As I commented at our initial meeting, I’m not interested in where I’ll be in 6 months. I’m more interested in where I’ll be in 5 years. This is a huge commitment, but it is a commitment to greatly improve both of our lives and so is well worth it.
It’s not cheap. The sign-up fee is $950 per person, and food each week is $175 per person. All told, this program will cost Dan and me $5,500 or so, though the sign-up fee may be covered by FSA. It’s a lot, and has called for some sacrifices, but again: so worth it.
So that’s where we are right now. Watch Twitter and Facebook for updates throughout our adventure. Many, many thanks to Smackjackal, Stormy Kittyhawk, Shyhoof, Tugrik, and many others for providing the idea and inspiration to pursue this, and for showing the incredible possibilities which may lie ahead!
And then to cap off the night, our favorite chocolate shop. (at Ethereal Confections)
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One last fling! (at Portillo’s)
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From last night: pork belly, scallops w/vanilla butter, squash purée, apple chips & fried mint. (at Volo, Illinois)
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