Posts filed under ‘Working at home’

How I lost 20 pounds and kept it off

First of all, I’m not a health and diet expert. So you won’t see me writing about calorie counting or doing any kind of exercise regimen. I’ve shed off 20 pounds and I have managed to keep it off, for about a year now. And since it’s the start of a new year and I know that there are people who make New Year’s resolutions and I also know that “to lose weight” is most likely to be on that list, I thought I’d share with you how I lost weight. Maybe it will give some hope and inspiration to those who, like me in the past, has been unsuccessful, no matter how I cut my portions at dinner, cut back on softdrinks (soda, pop), and did a half-hour walking.

How did I gain the weight?

In 2001, I started working at home. My three boys were then ages 3, 7 and 11. My youngest son was in daycare and the high fees were putting a big strain on our budget. When the company I work for offered the work-at-home program, I immediately grabbed it. I pulled my son out of daycare and looked after him at home while I worked. This opportunity also gave me a chance to spend more time with my growing kids. We got to sit down together at breakfast before they went to school, and I was also at home when they came back from school. Oh, how I loved working at home. I didn’t have to rush in the morning, or the kids for that matter. Less stress. I also didn’t have to dress up. It was so comfortable. So comfortable that I took my time at breakfast, took long lunches, munched on snacks – potato chips, M&Ms, candies – I have a sweet tooth, you see.

I didn’t gain the weight right away. It happened gradually. I didn’t notice anything until after about three or four years. My usual attire at home was just a plain T-shirt and my elasticized pants. So I didn’t really notice the expanding waistline. What I noticed was that I would sometimes pant when I went up and down the stairs when I did the laundry. Or when I had to walk for more than 10 minutes. Well, once in a while I did have to get dressed up when we were invited to birthday parties, and then I would notice that most of my decent clothes won’t fit me anymore and I’d have to buy a new blouse or new pants. And then I’d see myself in the pictures and I’d see the double chin or the big derriere, or the love handles (flabby mid-section). No wonder my youngest son would ask me if I was gonna have another baby. At first I thought that he wanted a baby sister or a baby brother. And then he would sometimes call me fat and I realized then it was because of my big tummy. I looked pregnant to him. And when I saw that picture where I looked like I have two sets of boobs, that was kind of depressing

Taking action.

So I started to do something about it. First, I stopped drinking softdrinks. There was a time when I’d drink a glass of Coke at lunch, at snack time and then at supper. I remember Dr. Phil saying on his show that in order to stop eating or drinking something that you want to avoid is to stop buying it. Well, I didn’t actually stop buying them. I would buy just one or two 2-liter bottles per week. For the kids, I would say.

softdrinks-x

The famous doctor also showed the viewers how to eat a balanced meal. Imagine that your plate is divided in four parts. You put your starch (rice or potatoes) on one quarter of your plate, your meat on another quarter and your veggies and fruit on the rest of the plate.

balanced-meal

I also heard somewhere that if you want to cut down on your portions, use a smaller plate. So I did that, too. I started using a smaller plate, 8 1/2 inches, instead of the bigger 10 inches. If I still felt hungry after finishing the food on my plate, then I’d just eat another fruit.

I also realized that being cooped up in the house everyday could be a contributing factor to the weight gain. I knew I needed to get more active. Get out there. I thought of going to back to the office so I could get out everyday. But I loved working at home so much. I got to work and stay at home at the same time. And I just loved being there for the kids. I decided to stay at home but resolved to do something to get my butt off my chair for a few minutes or so a day. So I thought I’d walk for half an hour everyday. I did walk, but not everyday. There was work to do and I didn’t always have the extra time. I also volunteered at my son’s school as a school patrol. That did get me out of the house. Patrolling didn’t really give me a chance to do a lot of walking. But getting out of the house did some good. I wasn’t as sluggish as before. And it made me a bit energetic. So even though I didn’t lose weight, I felt better. No more panting or getting out of breath. And I was happy about that. I’ve learned to accept that maybe I’d be stuck at the size that I was.

The turning point.

Late in 2007, I got recalled back to the office. I had a feeling that it was going to happen. But I was still kinda taken aback. I had mixed feelings about it. I knew I was going to miss working at home. Being there most of the time for the kids. But at the same time I was also excited and looked forward to the changes that would happen. Going through all that morning rush, getting dressed up, trying to catch the bus, literally rubbing elbows with people going to work and interacting with people at the office. I also took a second job at around the same time that I went back to the office. All of these changes that were happening – the sudden activity of getting my butt out of the house everyday and also my second job required a lot of standing and walking, I slowly shed off some pounds. Besides I wasn’t munching on my usual snacks of these.

chocraisins-x fuzzy-peach-x potatochips-x

Yes, I realized then that even though I was cutting back on my portions at lunch and dinner, I hadn’t given up on chocolates, candies and potato chips. Lots of sugar and salt and hydrogenated fat. That was the reason I couldn’t lose the weight.

I developed these bad habits when I was working at home. I was mostly alone at home and I didn’t have to worry about anybody seeing me in a bad posture, for instance. I would sometimes have my feet up on my chair while typing on the computer. Watching TV while working. Bet you can’t do that in any other workplace. And of course, having food in front of me, munching all day long. Hence the weight gain. But when I went back to the office, I had to give up all these bad habits. I didn’t want my co-workers to see me with my feet up on my chair, or munching on junk food while I work. I observed proper work behaviour at all times.

Now, I’m not saying that working at home was bad. No, please don’t get me wrong. It had been a really good experience for me. I wouldn’t trade those six years for anything in the world. I had the time of my life. There were just some things that I did not handle right. Looking back, I think I should have given more thought on time management. I guess I was trying too hard to be a super mom, or a super woman. I thought then that since I was at home, I would be able to do everything. Like do my work and also the house chores and still tend to the kids. Or like when I realized that I should be getting out of the house for a few minutes a day, I should have been more disciplined in that matter. Maybe I should have set aside a specific time of the day instead of getting distracted by the TV or the internet (blogging). 🙂

Getting recalled back to the office was the saving grace for me. I guess I was in denial at that time. I think I knew deep inside that I wasn’t happy at home anymore. The kids were getting older and they didn’t need me that much. Also, I was getting bored with the daily routine. I was just scared of the prospect of change. But you know, change is good.

In regards to losing weight, or kicking out any bad habit for that matter, I have to agree with Dr. Phil, that we sometimes have to make significant changes in order to be successful. You have to change your environment or substitute a bad habit with a new one. Like for example, I wanted to stop drinking softdrinks. I replaced it with juice and milk. I have never been a milk drinker, but I realized that I am in my forties now and I need calcium for my aging bones anyway. So why not start drinking milk now? I just hope it’s not too late. I also always have a bottle of water beside my desk.

Last summer, I bumped into friends who I haven’t seen in about six months or so. Some of them noticed my weight right away. “You lost weight!” “You look good!” “Gumanda ka nung pumayat ka” (You look prettier now that you’re thinner.) I’m sure she didn’t mean that I looked ugly when I had some extra weight on me. 🙂 But these comments were all very flattering even if they came from my girl friends.

Some has asked me how I lost the weight. And sometimes I would just give a quick response that it was because I was working out of the house now. It was the mobility.

In conclusion.

So just to summarize, here’s a list of the things that made me lose the pounds and help me keep them off. I hope these simple tips will also help anybody who wants to lose weight.

1. Give up the softdrinks. Please people, if you have to go cold turkey, please do. It doesn’t mean that you have to give it up forever, just at least during the first few months that you are trying to lose the weight. I, myself, have never given it up completely. I still drink Coke but only on special occasions. And when I do, I actually find it quite strong for me.

2. Stop snacking on potato chips, candies or chocolates. Also go cold turkey if you have to. Replace it with fruits or veggies like carrot sticks or celery sticks, or my favourites – grapes or orange slices. Or chew a gum if you feel the urge to munch on something. Like the softdrinks, you don’t have to give it up forever. I would still eat a chocolate bar every now and then, but not every day. 🙂

3. Use a smaller plate for meals. And distribute your food like this:

balanced-meal

4. Use the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.

5. Take the bus to work.

6. When you take your car to go shopping, don’t park too close to the entrance. A little walk will do you good.

7. Take a walk at lunch time. If you don’t have time to do a 30-minute walk today, 15 minutes will do. Not only will it re-energize your body, but also your mind, especially if you’re having a bad day at work.

8. Before you go to a party or any handaan, eat a little snack at home. It might not make sense to you. Why eat at home when you’re going to a party where you will eat anyway? Well, it’s just to curb a huge appetite. If you’d had a little something before you left home, you won’t have the urge to fill up your plate with a mountainful of food.

9. If you don’t work, let’s say you’re a stay-at-home mom, and you think that you might also need to lose some weight, but can’t find the time to go to the gym or do some exercise. Maybe you can make arrangements with other stay-at-home moms that you know. Maybe you can take turns looking after each other’s kids and then you can go to the gym, or take a half hour walk. Or maybe find a part-time job or do some volunteer work. Just a few suggestions.

10. Have a specific and realistic goal. Don’t say that you want to lose 20 pounds right away. “I want to lose 10 pounds in two months” is a more realistic goal. Last summer, I was glad that I was able to finally wear this pink blouse that I wore on my 40th birthday. You see, I only wore that pink blouse a couple of times. The following summer, it won’t fit me anymore. And it is one of my favourites because I like the colour and the style. Now that it finally fits me again, I dread gaining weight again. So that’s sort of a motivating factor for me. To stay in this size that I am right now.

Before

Before

After

After

Disclaimer. This account is not intended to substitute or replace any medical or professional advice. Please consult your physician before you try to lose weight especially if you have a medical condition.

Advertisements

January 11, 2009 at 3:38 pm 20 comments

Protected: All good things come to an end, Part 2

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

November 18, 2007 at 7:09 pm Enter your password to view comments.

The Office

My first week back at the office went well.  The training room was set up in a classroom setting and I and nine other employees were all giddy in learning all these new things.  But after one week, we were all sent back to our cubicles in our Department.  The other work-at-home person, who’s also a Filipino mom, and I were assigned to two empty cubicles where we will be staying for the rest of the training period. 

I have been doing the same job for the last ten years but I have been away from the office for five years and it took a while to remember how they do things there.  It felt like being a new recruit.  I have been with the company longer than the people I am working now and it felt weird when they had to tell me that this is the way we do this and this is the way we do that.  I wondered if they thought I was stupid or something. 

Well, anyway, I made a list of the things I like being at the office. 

1.       The connection to the network is a lot faster.  I and the other work-at-home staff are set up with a dial-up connection at home and there are times when the system becomes slow and it’s common that we get disconnected more than once a day.

2.       I can talk to my supervisor and his assistant in person, face to face, instead of just on the phone or by email.  I can easily pop up in their cubicles if I have a question.  I hope I’m not annoying them.

3.       I get a bit of exercise everyday – walking, running (after the bus) and climbing up and down the stairs (instead of using the escalator).

4.       It was Staff Appreciation week.  How lucky was I!  On Tuesday, we were treated to a TCBY frozen yoghurt (yum); on Wednesday, Kernels Popcorn; and on Thursday, M&M cookies.  If I were home, I don’t think they would have sent the yoghurt by courier.

5.       I’m actually experiencing hunger pangs.  But it’s all good.  Because at home, I am munching all the time while working.  And I wonder why I gained weight after I worked at home.  No exercise and all that munching.

6.       Friday is Jeans Day.  Five years ago, we only had casual Fridays every other week and no jeans.  The only time we could wear jeans was on United Way Denim Day and we had to pay a dollar to wear our denims.

7.       Exchanging “Good Morning,” “Have a nice day,” and “Good Night, See you tomorrow” with bus drivers and co-workers.

8.       I’m done working at 4:00 p.m. or 5:00 p.m.(overtime).  At home I work until 7:00 p.m. (Too many distractions: chores, TV, internet, kids) 

The list of the things I don’t like is a bit longer.   

Just to give you a backdrop, before I worked at home, our Department was in a different building.  But since then, our population has grown and they had to move to another one.  This will explain some of the things in my dislikes list.  

1.       I have to get up at 5:30 a.m.  When I work at home, I usually get up at 7:00 a.m. except for a few times a week when my oldest son had to be at school early and then I get up at 6:00 a.m.

2.       I sometimes still get confused what floor I have to get to.

3.       When I get off the elevator, I think twice whether to go left or right.

4.       There are too many doors and we need our security cards to open them.

5.       I have to be careful not to open a door too quickly because there could be somebody at the other side, lest we scare each other. It already happened once when I opened the door of the women’s washroom and I scared the hell out of this other lady.

6.       The spaces are too cramped, even the washrooms.  The booths are too close for comfort.

7.       I had to relearn how to use the printer and the copier.  People must think I’m dumb.

8.       The tab, the R and other keys in the keyboard I am using are stiff and I have to hit them really hard.

9.       At the end of the day, I stare at the mailing slots for five minutes before I can figure out where to put my stuff that needs to get out.

10.   Some of my friends won’t join me for lunch.  They eat in their cubicles.  They’re no fun.  I like them better when we get together for birthdays, parties, showers and other special occasions. 

I can’t wait to work back at home.  One more week!  I have more fun working here while watching my talk shows and laughing out loud at Ellen.

June 10, 2006 at 10:56 pm 11 comments

The First Week

The week is not yet over but I can say that it hasn’t been that bad.  I didn’t have a hard time getting up early the first day, but it had been so hard trying to keep awake in the training room.  We learned about the theories of the new system in our workflow and although our facilitator was an upbeat kind of person, it didn’t keep me from almost falling asleep.  Go figure.  I only had four hours of sleep the night before.  But I easily learned my lesson.  I made sure I went to bed early the following night. 

The kids have been very cooperative.  No tantrums.  I did manage to cook breakfast although we didn’t eat together.  And it sure helped that I have a teen-ager now who drops off my two youngest ones at the neighbour’s (my dear sis) before he goes to school.  The kids can look after themselves in the morning.  They just want a written structure – a guide.  So I made a schedule of their daily routine in the morning.  They have to eat breakfast at this time, get dressed at this time, and leave the house at this time.   

I take the bus in the morning.  I get up early and I don’t know why I still end up rushing and running after the bus.  Buses here are on schedule.  I take the 7:18 a.m. bus and I see familiar faces.  The same people that used to take this bus with me five years ago.  There’s this lady in her 50’s who used to talk with me while Ryland, who was only three then, sat on my lap.  There’s this woman who always picks her nose and plays with her boogers in her fingers.  There’s also this weird guy who acts like a child – combs his hair and fixes his shoelaces there at the bus stop.

It was also nice to see familiar faces at work.  Nobody’s weird there.  I’ve also met a few new people.  And yeah, it was nice “talking to people” again.  Getting dressed up in the morning instead of just working in t-shirt and shorts and getting out of the house is indeed a nice break from my mundane life of being a work-at-home mom

I recently celebrated my tenth year anniversary at work.  So did another girl who also works at home.  So on Wednesday, our supervisor invited a few of our friends in our Department and we had cake.  We were also presented the gifts, which we picked out ourselves.   I picked a small traveling case (luggage) and the other girl picked a glass desk clock.  But the best gift I think is the additional five vacation days we get for having worked there for ten years.  Twenty vacation days is pretty neat!    

Thursday was a pretty hectic day.  Right after work, the kids and I had to get ready for Reggie’s concert.  His school had a Spring Jazz Concert that night.  He did a beautiful flute solo in their rendition of Fables of Faubus.  A girl also did a lovely flute solo of Letter from Home and another boy did a wonderful tenor sax solo in their rendition of Boy Meets Horn

I enjoyed the Senior Vocal Jazz’s performance of I Can See Clearly Now, Dancing in the Street and At Last.  These students are so talented.  I had fun listening to their jazz music. 

That was my week.  How was yours?

June 1, 2006 at 10:59 pm 17 comments

Going back to the office

I’m going back to the office for a three-week training in our new system.  Then I’ll be back at home. 

Once in a while, the Work-at-Home Staff are invited to come to the office for meetings or luncheons but this is the first time that we are going to be there the whole day working for three weeks.   

I think I am more anxious than excited.  Although I have been preparing my three kids for the changes that will be happening, I don’t look forward to getting up at 5:30 in the morning and dragging them out of bed.  One of the reasons I signed up to work at home was to avoid that rush in the morning.  It could be really stressful. 

But perhaps I am worrying too much.  The kids are all five years older now.  We just have to go to bed earlier, have a good sleep and hopefully there will be no tantrums in the morning. 

No more leisurely breakfasts that takes time to eat.  We usually have hot noodle soup and croissants or rice, eggs and hotdogs.  And forget about pancakes.  I won’t have time to cook.  We’ll probably just all have cereal in the morning.  But we’ll see. 

I also had my hair cut shorter to have less time blowing it dry in the morning.   

One other thing I had to do to prepare was to go through my closet and find out if I have enough work clothes to wear.  I had to try clothes on to see if they still fit, even ones that haven’t seen the light of day in five years.  It was like déjà vu all over again of that time when I was getting ready to come back to work after my last maternity leave.  That time, I needed a whole new wardrobe.  I let myself go after I had the third baby.  I frantically exercised just to get back to my previous shape.  But it didn’t work.  I had to buy new clothes.  I didn’t want to do that now because I’ll be there for three weeks only.  I am lucky this time, I can still wear some of my clothes.  Although they fit quite just snugly.  I may have to buy a couple of new tops and pants.   

And I also wonder if I’ll have time to blog and bloghop.  Now that I have to get up early, I can’t go to bed at 1:00 a.m. anymore, right?  We’ll see.

May 28, 2006 at 10:41 pm 21 comments

Working vs. Staying at Home


This entry is supposed to be a comment on Hsin’s musings on her decision to stay at home after the arrival of her first baby. She relates about how her career-oriented friends made her feel bad about having made that decision. But she has no regrets. She’s expecting another baby soon. I have a lot to say so I decided to post my comment here.

In this modern age when most of the women are entering the work force, there arises the battle between the working mom and the stay-at-home mom. You must have heard the arguments of both sides. There are career-oriented mothers who can’t imagine spending the whole day at home and there are those who just really need the income. Then there are those mothers who want to be with their children all day long so as not to miss out on their child’s development and first experiences.

I think I am sort of in between the working mom and the stay-at-home mom. I work at home, you see. (I’ve talked about working at home before. See links to related entries below.) I can’t imagine myself not working. I love taking care of my kids and the home but I’m not a domestic diva. My domesticity is very basic and really has been brought upon by necessity. I don’t bake from scratch and I cook not because I love doing it but because I need to feed my family. I can’t really spend the whole day everyday being just domestic. I have to do something else, like work. I’d love to volunteer or travel, or perhaps do crafts, but I need to work to help support my family.

Friends often ask me if I don’t have any intentions of going back to the office. You see, I am stuck in my position (which is far from managerial) as long as I am working at home. If I want to be trained for a higher position, I need to go back to the office. My friends at work have been promoted to higher positions since I left about five years ago. I’ve been left behind. And it doesn’t really bother me. I enjoy what I am doing. I have no ambitions of going up the corporate ladder. Some may find it odd, but that’s me. I am content with providing just enough for my family to get by. Don’t get me wrong. I’d take a higher income. Who doesn’t?

But I have been given with this wonderful opportunity to work at home, and I immediately grabbed it. Originally, I decided to work at home to save on daycare fees. I even doubted if I could work at home while at the same time looking after my youngest son who was still three years old then. But I began liking being at home. I’ve experienced dragging my kids out of bed as early as 6:00 a.m. Dealing with temper tantrums and rushing to make it on time at work can be very stressful. Now, I don’t have to rush the kids in the morning. We all have a relaxed breakfast together. I do my work when they are gone to school. I am home when they get home. Even when they get noisy and start to bicker, I can still continue to do my work. I have become immune to the distractions. It’s comforting to me that they are in my presence. They know that I am there if they need somebody to talk to especially if they’d have a rough day at school.

My kids need less attending to now. They were 3, 7, and 11 when I started working at home. I’ve experience leaving them at daycare and babysitters. But I don’t feel that I missed out on their development. I still experienced the firsts: the first smile, the first time they rolled over, the first step, all the other firsts. I also felt the guilt of leaving them at the care of someone else, especially that first day back to work. But I don’t regret it. I never did.

Some stay-at-home moms may claim that their kids are more well-rounded or more well-behaved than the ones who go to a babysitter or daycare. But I beg to disagree. I think working moms can also raise well-rounded children if they guide them in the right direction and spend enough time with them when they are not working.

I think there is no right or wrong choice with regards to mothers working or staying at home. Each mother has individual needs and she should decide depending on what she wants and what she thinks works best for her and her family.

Read more about my sentiments, challenges and experiences in working at home through the following links:

Confessions of a work-at-home mom
Downsides of working at home
My sentiments
The bliss of working at home
Long-term goals
Working, appointments and dismal weather

March 17, 2006 at 8:44 pm 24 comments

Working, appointments, and dismal weather

Since I work at home, I don’t get out of the house that often. I know, I should set aside a few minutes to get out there and walk or something. But it’s not that easy when you’re running a household and trying to get through a 7 ½ work day. I get to go out every once in a while when I had to go to office meetings or when the kids or I have doctor’s or dentist’s appointments. And then, my daily routine gets all out of whack. During these times I had to get up earlier (a challenge for the night owl that I am) just so I could get my 7 ½ hours done before the end of the business day. I also need to manage my time more efficiently. I had to work harder on not getting distracted by chores or TV or the internet.

This past week had been a busy one for me. We had appointments on four different days. I don’t really mind it that much on days like these. It’s just that sometimes natataranta ako. I get stressed when I’m pressed for time. But it’s all good because I get to walk or run (to catch the bus). That’s good exercise, right? Although, this past week had not been the ideal time to go out. It is so cold here now. Temperatures in the morning had been close to zero degrees C and highs of only up to around 14 degrees. It had been generally cloudy. It had been raining at times. Dismal weather is how I would describe it. Most of the trees are naked. Leaves have fallen. The kids did some raking but there are still leaves around scattered everywhere.

 

October 23, 2005 at 5:54 pm 1 comment

Older Posts


Categories