Sunday, January 4, 2015

33 Things, maybe

So I've spent the last few months paring down, purging, streamlining my stuff. Kitchen stuff, living room stuff, clothes stuff. Some stuff I've posted on Facebook and given to other grad students, most has just gone to the local Goodwill (truckloads and truckloads!). There's a stack of four boxes of books in the hallway ready to go to Goodwill as we speak. Some friends have called dibs on books, and I know there are causes I could mail them to but it cost me $6 to mail one book to a friend and I don't really have the money to mail things, so Goodwill it is. I've been more concerned with purging, so haven't been taking money for these things. Plus, if it's going to grad students who are poor like me I figure I'm earning massive karma points.

With the new year, lots and lots of people have been posting about resolutions and things to do. Not a big resolution person, but I do set goals, and with the first and second rounds of heavy purging behind me, there are still some things I want to do.
  • kitchen needs another round of purging. I'm looking at you five travel mugs.
  • linen closet is finished, but I realized I needed another set of flannel sheets for the cold weather, so bought that. I have two sets of sheets, one set for regular weather and cold weather (so two warm weather, two flannel). While this may seem excessive, as a grad student, I don't always have time to wash one set before I need to put them on, so it's worth the no stress for me. Same for towels, I have two sets.
  • now that the walk in closet ladder shelves are finished, there's another round of purging there as a lot of those books are ones I used to use when teaching high school and in my new path will never teach again, so a lot of those can go.
In all the "resolution," "new me" things streaming across social media, one thing that did strike me is the 333 Project. You get 33 things (items of clothing) per season. Seems in line with what I'm trying to do, and ties and shirts every day for work make things easy, so I went through the closet to take pictures with posting them here in mind as I counted up to my 33 (or 66 as you'll see) things. As I pulled things out to photograph I managed to dump another garbage bag of things on the floor as I saw them in the light of day.

Albuquerque (and eastern North Carolina) doesn't follow the four seasons per se (it can be 80 degrees then 50 or 50 then 20), so I won't be packing up items and storing them, but did reorganize the closet for warm and not-warm.

I wear a shirt and tie and jeans every day I teach (dark Tuesdays, earth tones on Thursdays). The weather here doesn't often allow for jackets (maybe one week in the fall and one in the spring), but I wear them as weather allows. Based on a blog I read a while ago and don't remember the name to credit, I try to dress more informally/accessible during office hours so a top, or sweater and slacks. So here is the entirety of the clothes my own.

I own two belts, one brown and one black and four fashion scarves which I don't wear and should probably get rid of but they were my mom's and I find myself keeping them. I have a jewelry box, and mom's jewelry box. I rarely wear them but like to go through mom's stuff. And despite only wearing her wedding ring, a watch, my necklace with a St. Cristopher medal and crucifix, and the same earrings every day, I don't feel the boxes needs to go.

Per the "rules" I'm not counting my sleepware/work out wear which is the same. I have seven pairs of sweatpants which is what I sleep and wear days I work from home as it's easier to wear to bed because then I don't have to change because of Nehi's multiple walks every day. I do have a ridiculous amount of PJs bottoms (like fifteen?) but it's a tradition in my family to get Christmas PJs on Christmas Eve so I have a hard time parting with them. A few years ago I recycled them into making blankets for me, Mom, and my sister. I'm sure at some point I'll figure out a way to reuse them so they stay for now.
Likewise I wear t-shirts to bed, so not counting those as it's also what I wear in my "off" time and spring and summer. I did recently purge my t-shirt collection A LOT.
I didn't want to get rid of nostalgic t-shirts/sweatshirts from high school I taught at/graduated from but knew I would never wear them. So I sent them off to be made into a quilt. There was still purging, as the quilt would only fit so many things, but now I will get to keep those items for nostalgia but they're "useful."

I do have a set of 9 t-shirts that are work quality and can be worn in spring/summer.

Not counting socks or underwear, per rules, but have pared down both the last few months.

I don't really have "specialty" items, although I have a beach bag with swimsuit and swim shorts in it.

So if it's 33 items per season, that's 66 for warm and 66 for not-warm. I'm WAY below that (even with my t-shirt obsession). Some of these items are not getting a lot of wear in Albuquerque, but did in North Carolina so I'm holding onto them because I'll be moving in eighteen months and there's no way to know where I'm heading. I did put the last bit of girly items (skirts I usually wear to church, cocktail dress, etc.) in the trunk for storage because grad school doesn't require these things but faculty gatherings in a couple of years might. So they get stored, but don't need to be out in the closet.

I have one small pile of shorts/pants that don't fit that I keep despite round after round of purging. The pants because they are/were "perfect fit" work/dress pants from Target and in my ongoing quest to lose weight hope to fit in them again at some point. Same thing with the shorts- they were pricey, heavy-duty cargo shorts. But it's a pile of six things, so I feel okay about holding onto them.

It is true that no one will ever notice you're repeating items. It is also true that life is easier when you have less to choose from. It is also true that life is better when you purge items that don't fit, "might" be you at some point, and just aren't your style.
I admit that my work choice of shirt, tie, and vests or jackets makes my life easier. Girl clothes and expectations for women of professional dress can be ridiculous. But still, I think particularly for grad students deciding what their professional look is, this is one way to approach it.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Living Small is More Than Just Purging

The last few months I've been dedicated to purging belongings- dishes, kitchen stuff, books, furniture, clothes.

Some has gone to friends and colleagues. Grad students like free things.
Most has gone to Goodwill.
Furniture wise, I am down to the essentials, although I'm staring at a cheap bookcase in my office and thinking of ways to get rid of it. Same with a rolling tupperware bin in my bedroom.
Book wise I think I'm down to essentials, having completed the latest purge last week.
Clothing wise I still have one more round. Despite the fact that I hate girl clothes, am still holding onto skirts.  Part of me still feels like I need to hold onto the person people think I should be. But that gets easier. Once you get going it gets easier with every round of purging. Some items may make it through one more move in eighteen months because they're climate dependent clothing and I'm not rich so rather move it one more time than have to repurchase it.

Going through all this has changed how I view things. I used to sometimes shop at Goodwill. Now if I need more shirts or ties for work that's my first stop. If they don't have it I just wait and go back and check later. There is no rush. Who cares if I wear the same shirt? Or tie? Even if my students are so bored that they're keeping score, what does that have to do with me? Or how I feel about myself?
Not a damn thing.

I find myself viewing the things I want to hold onto (I've spent years gathering This-End-Up furniture) in a different light. At this point I don't need anything else. I may swap some furniture out (I hate my hand me down couch- it's clunky and heavy) and I rather have benches and better chairs than the crap vinyl chairs I have for my dining room table.
These days I rather re-organize things so I have more open space. Reshape my space. Which is a lot easier when there's less of it.

As a want-to-be professor there are some things I can't get away from, mainly books. But I'm no longer holding onto print outs or drafts once something is published. And I'm more judicious about what I get. And organizing what I have better helps too. There's also the fact that most of these books will eventually live in my university office, and not in my house. Although one of the things I like about having a separate room as an office is that once I leave it at the end of the day I am finished working, which helps turn off my brain.

But even with that, I've reorganized that space a lot. Over break I tend to do all the things I don't have time for during the semester. This break this included organizing almost all of the loose pictures that I've been lugging around. They'll be scanned and put on DVD then the cloud. The original pictures will probably be stored, then tossed. I spent the money to turn a ton of t-shirts and sweatshirts from my time in Manteo into a quilt so I can hold onto the items but they're useful and not just crap. I also turned my walk in closet in my office into usuable space with ladder shelves.
The closet was just a dumping ground when we moved in here over a year and a half ago. In some ways that was good because after not seeing any of this stuff in over a year, it was easy to purge it, particularly the papers. There are just two boxes of photo albums left (which I'm saving up to also scan) and two boxes of Mom's knick-knacks which I'm saving up to buy an IKEA display cube for.

Once you start getting rid of things you realize how little you actual need. And you realize that you think about organizing things differently. I got rid of my filing cabinets and instead bought cardboard banker boxes. Right now they contain materials for classes I'm in now, articles recently written and are stored. But when I move next, these boxes will go into the recycling bin because there will be no reason to hold onto them.

I have noticed that purging is additive. And it makes you think. Why do you need fifteen of the same shirt? Or sweater? Or plates? More than a couple of sheet sets?
The answer is you don't.
Would you rather spend money on another thing just to have a thing? Or take a trip? Or put into savings for something you really want?

I'm trying to live small in other ways. Smaller meals. Simpler ingredients. Tossing items as they come in the mail straight into recycling. Unsubscribing from things to declutter my inbox as well as my real box. Tossing crap. Not holding onto things just to hold onto. Taking pictures instead of getting. Thinking differently about what I purchase and why. I wait longer for things to see if I really want it. I make wish lists that I revisit later to see if I really want it.
I'm hoping too as a grad student that this simpler living will help me with a tighter budget now that I'm surviving on less than half of what I was last year. But mostly I feel lighter. I feel as though I look at things in a different light.

Hopefully, in a year and a half I'll have a university job and Nehi and I will be moving. I'm already looking forward to that move for a lot of reasons, but for how much LESS we'll move tops the list.

I waited two months over a sweater. Even waited past Christmas. When I finally purchased it, I feel like I earned it in some way. A friend of mine used to say it's all about perspective. And one of the best things about doing all of this is how it's a forced change of perspective.
We'll see what I do next.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Holiday-Thanksgiving Focus

I have not worked in three days. Wednesday I inadvertently spent on the couch, this round of gum graft surgery wiped me out and was more painful than the first round. Thursday I cooked, addressed Christmas cards, and decorated the house. Yesterday I bought a tree, a wreath, decorated the tree and finished decorating the house. I made Mom's bourbon balls. And went down a rabbit hole- Mom always made her bourbon balls with Jack Daniels, so that's always what I get. Was confused yesterday when I went to buy it and it said whiskey.
So I have myself an Internet education on bourbon vs. whiskey.
There's no actual baking involved so house smells sweetly of Jack. Which is funny because I'll inhale bourbon balls all break but if you put this in front of me in a glass I'd gag.
Go figure.

There are some, not many, recipe cards Mom sent me right out of college, when I was living on my own. She meant to keep going until I had all her recipes, but she started getting sick by the time I graduated in 98, and so I have only a few. I miss her more at this time of year. She's the one who taught me Christmas had a magic all its own.

Today, it's back to work. I need to finish chapter one of the dissertation to submit for my theory course.
I need to work on my Nightmare on Elm Street book chapter.
I need to choose one of my early modern comp questions to revise and send to committee member.
I need to grade last student research reports.
And I need to prep for my Viking Women study group tonight for this week's final exam.

Which brings me back to the purge-burn-it-down swing I've been on. I have four tupperware boxes and a hatbox of Christmas stuff. And in no way, ever will these things go on the purge pile. Unpacking each thing is a part of Mom. There are the snowmen, and wooden Santas, and the fairy tale figures (one of the few nice things from Marcelle). The ornaments from high school and college.
I love that I have traditions based on Mom's. Christmas starts as soon as you see Santa in the Macy's Day Parade. The day after Thanksgiving you get the tree and decorate it.

On the flip side, there WAS another round of purging.
  • Glass Christmas tree plates
  • three garbage bags of clothes (socks, sweaters, skirts, shirts)
  • Extra duffel bags and luggage stuff
  • Glass vases, glass beads
On this break's list of things I'm not:
  • I am not someone who wears skirts. I hate them. They're uncomfortable. So on the pile. I kept a couple of woolen ones, in case I move to another clime, but have a feel they may go in another purge.
  • For some indecipherable reason, I had ten cocktail dresses, dating all the way back to college when we had dress up parties. I kept three, black, adult cocktail dresses because they might be handy for faculty stuff. The rest, see ya!
  • I do not need twenty shirts, half of which are the same color. Gone.
  • I do not need fifty pairs of fuzzy socks. While I do need to wear socks in cold weather due to my Raynaud's, I need seven- one for each day. Out.
  • I rarely wear sweatshirts. Why do I have ten? No longer.
I stared at my closet yesterday and I pulled out everything that I had not worn in over a year. I will no longer cling to the idea that I might in the future and some point become that person. I will no longer make myself feel bad because I am not that person.
Sometimes it's easier to define ourselves by what we're NOT than what we are.

This is the first Christmas ever I have not gone home. Nehi and I will be staying here. I have no money. There's dissertation work to do, comp meetings to have, reading for next semester to do- just a lot on the To Do list, and not a lot of time.
So I imagine that there will be more purging (I'm eyeing books on the shelf now that I'm finished with coursework and can cut).

Friday, October 24, 2014

One Foot in Front of the Other

I wrote some about this last week on my other blog, the scholarly/PhD adventure one.
But things aren't getting better and I'm feeling more overwhelmed.

So back to the drawing board.

This week I tanked a presentation in my seminar- it was a dead stick room. Nothing. And I lectured more than I asked questions. And it was awful. It was a topic that I rock on, but it was awful.

I was called a robot by another grad student, that I must have a clone in order to get all my work done. And had horrible flashbacks to MHS- where the only reasons people could come up with for why I worked so hard and why I got so much down was because I was single and had no kids.

Another student who I thought was becoming a friend is now ignoring me.

Yet another student(s) being nasty to me for working hard, being ahead of the game.

I almost cried in front of a professor because he asked how I was.

And my father hasn't spoken to me in three weeks. He hasn't spoken to me in three weeks because I told him that at $14,000 a year I couldn't afford to help support him anymore. And he stopped talking to me. I tried to make sure I explained it- that my TAship didn't pay much, that next semester I'd be paid less than this semester because I'm teaching a different class. That he had a good, full time, salaried job. That I had little savings, and couldn't afford to empty it or take on massive student loan debt. And I got nothing. I've gotten silence. So I can't help but wonder if the reason why he has dealt with me since Mom died is because I paid for things. It's an awful thing to think. To say. To type. But I don't know what other conclusion to come to. Simple causality, right? X happens, then Y therefore X caused Y.
My sister said he's "processing" but when I called her because I was upset she also talked about herself the entire time, so there's that.

So this was not a great week. I am trying not to think of the personal. I'm trying to focus on work. I have a ridiculous amount of work to get done in the next five weeks. I need to focus on getting this round of my dissertation finished, I have one thirty page article to finish, and two more to write. I have classes to finish teaching. I have comps in February.
I don't have time to think about the fact that my life has fallen apart. That I now have no family. That what little support system I had has evaporated. That Nehi and I will spend Christmas in Albuquerque alone. That there will be no one at graduation next year. That I am on my own.

There is no one who cares that I wrote a great class called Revising Milton based on my book proposal that got approved for next semester. That a professor told me "great work" on a project. That I'm trucking right along on creating the resource manual for the TAs. That I'm making great progress on my diss.
There is literally NO ONE who cares about any of this.

They tell you that the PhD can be a lonely process. That it's important to have a support network, connections outside of the program.

But what if you don't have that option? What if most days you're so focused on putting one foot in front of the other, and checking things off the list that you don't have time to think about anything else? That you almost break down in front of a professor because they actually seemed to care about what was going on.
But you can't. Because that's not how you become a rock star. And with this job market, even rockstars have a hard time competing with 899 others for a single job. There's no time for that.

But some early mornings on my walks with Nehi. Or in evenings on the couch, a phrase floats through my head-

I used to have a family.

And it plays on a loop- over and over.
And there's nothing I can do about that.

Postscript: and it occurs to me, that when Mom was sick, all those years, when people asked him how she was, he always said fine. I always wondered if he stayed with Mom so people wouldn't think poorly of him. So it seems as though I'm denied as well the support of anyone from back home, who won't know about any of this. Because I'm sure, despite the fact that he's cut me off, when people ask about me he will continue to say I'm fine. Or not. I guess I won't know. I guess I should stop caring. Or wondering. So it appears I'm not just alone, but also cut off. Mom used to call us gypsies. Wanderers. Guess Nehi and I are nomads.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

At What Point Do You Have To Face Reality?

The other day I saw on Facebook someone who once flirted with me. They look good. Like, ridiculously good. Like special order, deliver to my house good.

But seeing this has now prompted several days of being depressed for me. Because I couldn't tell you the last time someone flirted with me, or liked me, or even noticed me. I don't have many what I'd call "girly" moments, but I have fallen into a spiral of them, and they've led to depression.

Because I'm 38. And I haven't had a date in 5 years. And I haven't been in a relationship in 12. And frankly, that's just fucking depressing.
When I was younger, I dated  a lot. Did I use up my quota? For a while I had a hell of a track record- people dated me, and then the very next person they dated they married. I should have made a business out of it. And we're not talking one or two, we're talking like five. It was not good for my self-esteem, the question of "what was wrong with me?" came up a lot in my inner voice.That same little, shrill voice is back.

When I was younger, I was bereft if I wasn't with someone. I got over that. I have gone to school. I have earned degrees, I have bought a house and taken care of my mom. I in short, have grown up. And while it's not a popular thought with grown, adult, feminists, these days I find myself very tired.
I'm tired of having to worry about everything by myself.
Of not having anyone share the load so I can take a break or rest.
Of not having any one in my corner.
Of not having support.
Of just not having anyone.

It would be nice to have someone to share things with, both the load that comes with the bad things, and the joy that comes with the good.

Maybe this is it. Maybe at this point it's time to face the fact that I'm going to be single the rest of my natural life.  Maybe I should stop daydreaming and deal with the reality of life and get over it.

And that may all be true. This may be what being a grown up is. But I am a daydreamer. I like to imagine a better life, a different life. A happy ending. The movie ending where I come home and he's sitting there waiting for me, having come for me because he couldn't bear to be away from me one second longer.

So maybe I'll drag myself out of this depression and refocus on work. Because while burying yourself in your work may not be healthy, it at least occupies your time.

Or maybe I'll daydream a little longer. A little daydreaming never hurt anyone, right? For a little while I think I'll just pretend that Stiles is talking just to me.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Redefining My Life- Material Objects Edition

Thirteen years ago, all my possessions were contained in this miniature version of a Brooklyn apartment.
 My clothes fit in a single, small closet. I had little furniture- in fact all the furniture seen here, except for the futon and the bookcase on the left, was purchased within months of moving into this apartment.

Jack Reacher famously travels with only the clothes on his back and a folding travel toothbrush. When he needs new/different clothes, he simply buys them. At one point, as he considers settling down and getting a house he considers all the things you need to settle down- first there's the house, then you need stuff for the yard, and that leads to more stuff. It never seems to end, the need for things generates more need for things. While Reacher at first seems to live a simple life, he is also the epitome of consumerism and capitalism.

Perhaps Fight Club had it right- the things you own end up owning you.
My friends Tammy and Chip chronicled their move from house to sailboat to Napa in Tammy's blog. One of the big focuses other than the sailing specific stuff is the idea of downsizing as they moved from their house to their sailboat. Recently, they've come onto land, settling near Napa, and once again are living in a house. I'm not sure if it's reading Tammy's blog, or something else, but I've been on a bit of a purge myself these days.

I was sitting looking at my shelves the other day and realized that as much as I LOVE my books, there were quite a few on my shelves that I'd read once and never feel the need to read again. Some I was given as free copies that I know I'll never read. So I started going through them- if I didn't think I'd ever reread it again it went on the stack. I'm aiming to be an English professor, so I'm never going to NOT have books, but it's certainly possible to wean down. I ended up with six boxes- all donated to the UNM Medieval Society for their book sale, so good all the way around.

This summer I also weeded out my closet- a truck load went to Goodwill. And yet that purge continues. I was looking at my sweaters, most of which I don't wear, and wondered why I have all these clothes I don't wear. Some are due to now living in the desert, and I don't have a problem with keeping some clothes in storage in case I move to more Northern climes after graduation. But that's not the majority of my clothes occupying TWO closets in my bedroom. Instead there are dresses, tops, shirts, that I bought at some point and never wear.

It's hard throwing things out, sorting to give away to Goodwill. I think in a large part because by giving items away we're giving up on a future self we at one point envisioned- I will never be the jewel toned silk shirt girl. I will never be the 1940s type skirt girl. So in a lot of ways, purging is about knowing who you are, and letting go of everything that is not that.
It also means letting go of the belief that recycling the clothes, giving them away, is somehow a waste of money. As though it's not wasted money gathering dust in your closet. Or that the greater issue isn't that we should think a little more WHEN we spend money, and perhaps spend a little more wisely.

And this leads me to the larger issue. I think in large part we end up defining ourselves by our possessions- our clothes, our jewelry, our furniture. We're this type of person, or that type of person. We can be sorted according to likes, and styles we own.

For the last ten years, I'm not sure who I've been. I was defined by my roles, what I did, not necessarily who I was. I was the daughter who moved home to help with Mom. I was the one who bought a house for her family. Who helped support them.  And then all that was done, and I moved to New Mexico, and I spent the last year trying to remember how to live on my own again. But I was still defined by being the person who put family first. But some of that changed this summer- I lost a job, which meant losing $20,000 a year in income. Which meant I was no longer in a position to help support my family without emptying my savings. But me saying that, telling people that, hasn't changed anything. Except perhaps me. The fact that no one seems to care about helping me out, pulling their own weight, or even acknowledging that I said anything, has changed my feelings. In many ways it has tilted my entire perspective. Which is not always a good thing- but ever since I was little organizing things, establishing order over chaos, has always been my way of dealing.

At Christmas, Dad announced he didn't want any of Mom's stuff, and we needed to clear it out or he was going to get rid of it. So I came home with a truck full of knick knacks and photo albums and a vague sense of unease. Here I was clinging desperately to family, and history- trying to remember, worried about losing parts of Mom. But the last few months I've come to wonder why I'm holding on so tight. No one else is. And it's exhausting.

So maybe that's a big part of the reasoning behind the purge- if we're defined by the the things we surround ourselves with, and if we can refocus that frame at any moment, then maybe that's it.

I am a woman who wears ties. And jeans. And slacks. I have little fashion sense- my clothes are organized by color, I store my ties on the shirts they go with, and I tend to buy three things in the same style but different colors so I can avoid anything resembling shopping. This wardrobe suits my job as a TA, and should suit the job of English professor. I dislike clutter, and am not much for knick knacks. I have some of Mom's, but am thinking I'll get a case to display them all so I keep them, but they're sorted.


And I have to admit, that with this tilted perspective, this idea that perhaps I really am on my own, part of the thinking behind the purge is rather morbid.
I'm single. I'm not married. I have no legacy. I have no children. I thought of this at Christmas as I packed up so much of Mom's stuff- so much of this was meant to be passed down to children, to family. I held decades of family memories in my hands, stories of holidays and family. And yet, when I die, no one will care. The stories will be lost. The items discarded.
So when you're single, and you die, what happens to your stuff? Who comes to take care of your stuff? Does the entire house just go to Goodwill? My will covers what to do with my body, and the money to cover it. I left my money to Dad, despite the huge cracks and fissures that have developed there- what do I care, I can't use it.
So if I don't have anyone to leave anything to what do I do with what I have?
Take pictures of memories.
Write about my experiences.
Send it all out into the world.
Because once I'm gone, no one's going to care about the crap in my apartment.

I guess a lot of this comes down to a material focus on the greater things going on in my life. Who I want to be. What I want my life to be. Maybe if I can sort through the material goods, deciding what is and is not essential to my life, I can by default determine what type of life I have, and want.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Weight Lost Fiasco Week 8

Classes ended in May, and it was the end of some very stressful months. Stress and lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain, particularly around the waist- which is what happened to me.

My stress increased when I went to put on summer shorts I hadn't worn in nine months and realized that they didn't fit. A quick check with the tape measure punctured my hopes that the shorts had shrunk in the drawer- I now had a 36" waist instead of my 33". Other than the fact that as a PhD student I don't have the money to buy new clothes because I've put on weight, there's the health issue that waists larger than 35" in a women represent health risks.

So, time to take action.
  • Starting in the middle of May I made sure Nehi and I were taking two walks every day (have only broken 2-3 times due to weather). Our walks (depending on heat) are .6-1 mile/walks. 
    • They say work out until you sweat, then 30 minutes after that (but does this still hold in the desert where you sweat as soon as you exit your door?) 
  • To get through classes, I was easily drinking a Coke a day. I cut all those out. No soda- except for a single can of grape soda (natural sugar) on Fridays as a treat.
  • I thought I was eating pretty well during the year, but have since stopped eating all processed foods, and have increased my fruits and vegetables.
    • I eat breakfast (either cereal and fruit, or fruit and milk milkshake)
    • Lunch is usually a sandwhich (cheese and tomato with olive oil mayo or peanut butter and jelly or hummus and cucumber pita). No chips, no nothing.
    • I drink water all day (blech) except for two cups of coffee in the morning and a glass of milk with dinner
    • Dinner varies, but I eat twice as many vegetables as anything else. I eat meat maybe twice a week. I don't eat a lot of starch. Usually dinner is a salad or pasta with veggies. I steam stuff, I don't cook with oil or butter or salt.
    • I've never been a big dessert person (maybe once a week) and it's either a fruit pie slice (homemade) or fruits.  So that's not something I can really cut out.
  • Also read that vitamin D can help, particularly with belly weight loss, so now take 1000 whatever vitamin D pill every morning.
The end of June (6 weeks for those counting) saw no decrease in my waistline.

So, what next?
  • Started the 30 Day Ab Challenge. I'm on day 16 and while I'm sure my abs are getting stronger (as evidenced from me wanting to throw up when I finish each night), but again, no loss of inches on the waistline. I also read that ab exercises do not "spot reduce" so while I'm core strengthening, it won't result in losing any of the inches off my waist.

Since I'm not losing inches I've started looking at other things. The basic math of increase calorie burning, decrease calories makes sense to me, but the rest of the information out there is crazy.
  • Cut all carbs
  • Don't cut carbs, just focus on whole grains
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Cut fruit because of the sugar content
  • Drink green tea
  • Don't drink tea
I am depressed. Both because of the extra weight and I'm not exaggerating when I say I have no money to buy new clothes for school starting in a month.
I know they say it can take eight weeks for habit/health changes (which it's been) but also that you can see 1-3 lb weight loss per week. So which is it? I recognize it's possible that I'm converting current fat to muscle, and once that happens the muscle helps to burn more fat.

Still depressed.

I have a month to go until classes start.
Any one have tips about how to jump start my weight loss?