Tag Archives: Muffin top

Mr. Muffin Top is back…change is afoot.

Well, I’ve grown another muffin-top, which is reminiscent of the one that I grew during unemployment, thanks to the help of the stress hormone cortisol designed to help you run from the saber tooth tiger. Unfortunately, as evolved as we are as humans, our hormones can’t delineate between running from a saber tooth tiger and general life stress – if not released from the body, cortisol builds up and causes all sorts of health problems like weight gain and trouble sleeping. Guess it’s time I sneak into the zoo and play cat and mouse with one of the tigers so I can sleep again and reduce the size of my muffin top.

Or, I guess a less exciting option, might be to just do some digging into what’s bugging you. The only problem is mustering energy to do the self-work. Let’s face it, running from a tiger would take about 20 seconds of energy, then problem solved. Challenge over. Tiger wins. (Unless of course you survive, in which case you have an uphill recovery battle ahead of you so let’s pretend you’re dead.) But self-work? That’s going to take a whole lot longer than 20 seconds and require a hell of a lot more stamina. Guess I’d better start an I.V. drip of caffeine, put pen to paper, and start digging because the tiger route sounds less appealing and change needs to happen.

Yeah, I know, not the most positive uplifting post, but I’m a human so bear with me while I work out the kinks.

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I’m fucked. I’m fine. The unemployment mood tracker

Today I thought it would be fun to chart my moods swings over the past several months of unemployment.  As you can see from the below, it’s been very up and down, but upon closer analysis I’ve actually uncovered some interesting tidbits. 

The "I'm Fine. I'm Fucked" Unemployment Mood Tracker

  1. My insomnia started when I was in my “fuck-you pink-slip” high phase, which as it turns out was likely fueled by high levels of cortisol running through my body. How did I know my cortisol was crazy? Well, there was the obvious physical evidence (a flourishing muffin top), but to rule out ice cream consumption as the main cause of the muffin top growth spurt, my chiropractor suggested I take a saliva stress test to measure biochemical imbalances. As it turns out, my cortisol levels were three times higher than normal at bedtime, which explains my inability to sleep. No sleep exacerbates anxiety. Anxiety means cortisol. Cortisol and ice cream feeds the muffin top that in turn gets me all hopped up on shitty foods (and caffeine) that prevent sleep. Wee…what a fun cycle!! My naturopath, who interpreted the results of the stress test, used words like “adrenal fatigue” and “pre-diabetic conditions” so now I’m in the process of making a complete lifestyle change (diet, exercise, meditation, etc.) because the alternative doesn’t sound pleasant.
  2. The chart also indicates that despite efforts to reduce cortisol levels the past two months by using the natural remedies above (which are slow), maybe the best medicine came in the form of actually make a decision about my future.  Could all this soul-searching over the summer have been more stressful than getting a pink-slip or having a job that I didn’t enjoy? All signs point to yes.
  3. And finally, did switching to decaf actually improve my ability to make a decision about the direction of my future? I don’t have any scientific evidence that this is the case, but I can’t help but think it did. Caffeine is known to feed anxiety and when you’re sleep deprived and anxious, making an informed and rational decision is close to impossible. Instead, you seek solace in ice cream. 

Well, there’s the recap of  the “summer of Keri.” Wasn’t that a fun ride?

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Filed under Diet, Health and Exercise, Mental Health, Sleep trouble

McDonald’s billboard ad targeting unemployed?

McDonald's Billboard Ad Targets Unemployed

McDonald's Billboard Ad Targets Unemployed

You may have seen this McDonald’s billboard ad on the north side of the bridge heading east towards I-5 from West Seattle and I am fairly confident that this ad campaign is targeting the unemployed.  “Three reasons to put your pants on.” Who else could it be targeting, nudists? As an unemployed person, these are the three reasons why I am offended:

  1. They are called “house pants” not just pants, McDonald’s – get your facts straight! And you should be forewarned – all levels of house pants are considered appropriate attire for drive thrus so be prepared to see everything from airstream trailer printed flannel to holey work out pants. Oh and one last thing – these pants usually come strapped to some unshowered insomniac speaking a language you don’t understand -so watch out!
  2. This type of food is not allowed in the Muffin Top Reduction Program and just because we might be packin’ a muffin top, doesn’t mean they actually like your cheap greasy ass food. In fact, mine prefers ice cream!
  3. Unemployed people are rarely up before 10:30 when breakfast at your establishment supposedly ends (or is it 11…cuz nobody seems to know!), so this ad isn’t going to bring in a bunch of unemployed people…UNLESS you start serving bloody mary’s. Then, we may roll in hungover to get one of those and an Egg McMuffin.

So, next time you’re planning your ad campaigns and want to target unemployed people, consider hiring me as a consultant ($65/hr). I am after all an expert on the unemployed creature.

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Filed under Life, Rants, Slightly amusing

Goodbye unemployment

Don’t panic! I’m still a lady of leisure which means that you will continue to read stories about my muffin top in house pants! However, a handful of LOL crew members are saying goodbye to unemployment. Within the last month, four people got jobs which means they get to wake up early, shower daily and collect a decent paycheck – congrats! I can’t remember what it’s like to shower daily, but having four less stinky people in the world wandering the streets in Snuggies has to be a good thing!

Anyway, one of the newly employed in our crew wrote a little piece about what she learned during unemployment and I thought I’d share it will all of you. Enjoy.

Goodbye Unemployment: A Valediction. I have been employed for about three weeks now and it looks like it is going to stick. So, I figured it’s time to officially bid adieu to unemployment, homage style. A-hem.

What I learned while unemployed

The lessons of unemployment were frustrating at times, but ultimately fruitful. It’s true that necessity is the mother of invention, and unemployment was nothing if not a season of mandatory ingenuity. I learned to reach for my library card instead of my debit card. I expressed shock and awe to find that the rubber stamp library of my youth was now a self-scanning, multimedia haven of ways to humor oneself. I learned that lo and behold, West Seattle wasn’t all stroller mommies and cycle dads, and that there were more than a few fun, young, fascinating single ladies like myself ready to paint Alki red at a moment’s notice. I learned that it would take three times longer to find a new job than I thought it would. I learned how much my fiance loves me when I had to lean on him for financial support. I learned there is no financial substitute for feel-good moments like the natural beauty of Lincoln Park, the adrenaline of a bike ride, or the endorphins from a great deep conversation with a close girlfriend. I learned nights in playing board games or going for a walk can be a lot more fun than a fancy dinner out, especially when it is somewhere snobby and overpriced like Saltys. On the flipside, I learned you don’t have to sacrifice style for budget (thanks Sazerac and Cafe Presse). I learned to actually use the stuff I had by learning more about the capabilities of my digital camera and my mac, rather than adding new bewildering technologies to my life. I learned to find lost treasures in my closet and create fresh styles from old clothes rather than purchase new things. I learned volunteering can be just as fancy and thrilling as going out (wooh ArtsWest). I learned that your life passion doesn’t have to be all-consuming, and that just because I quit my last job to write a book doesn’t mean I can’t do a new little job on the side. I learned that you don’t have to save yourself for the perfect job. Settle for a job that’s less-bad than your last one. Most importantly, I learned that you are not your job. Many employed people are just as miserable, listless and frustrated as unemployed people. And no matter what job you end up taking, you’re still you. It’s your friends, your family, your personality, and your hobbies that define you, not your working gig. Last of all, I learned that Coming to America never gets old. Never.

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Passion! It’s passion, people!

About a month ago, one of my fellow unemployed creativites did something very out of the box. She spammed every creative agency she knew in Seattle, pitching her product (the product is her of course, she’s jobless). And guess what? It worked, she got the interview! You know why it worked? Because she was passionate about working for that company, passionate about her product, passionate about writing creative stuff and all of this spewed forth in her email pitch. According to a smart guy I know, passion is apparently the key to getting interviews and differentiating yourself in this job market. Now, she didn’t get the job because as it turns out, there really wasn’t a job available and these ass clowns just brought her in for sheer entertainment purposes, but that’s a story for another time.

So anyway – yeah –  it’s this passion thing that will land you the job I guess! I know, duh Keri, right? But you see, I haven’t been super passionate about my job in a very long time and my resume highlights all the boring details of my passionless career.  And that’s just it. My resume is freaking boring as hell and does absolutely nothing to showcase my interests, passion, energy or creativity. Which is fine, I suppose if I want to land a job that’s ultimately going to bore me to death, force me to color inside the lines and suck out my soul! And sadly enough, these are all the types of jobs that I am seeing online, which as you know don’t interest me.

Now before I continue with this thought, I want to compare my resume to my blog for a minute because I think it’s important. (Prepare yourself, you are about to witness “a-mother-f*ing-a-ha” moment people! )When I got laid off from my job at Microsoft, I felt like a no talent ass clown wearing house pants and growing a muffin top. Then, I did something crazy and started blogging about this experience and a funny thing happened. I discovered a new talent and a new passion – creative writing. Yes, I knew I could communicate since I came from a PR/marketing background (with some project management sprinkled in), but I really didn’t know that I could WRITE, write and here’s what I mean by that.

People who’ve met me and have heard me verbally tell my crazy stories have told me that when they read my blog, they can actually hear me talking and see my mannerisms. I had no idea I could do this! None at all and this my friends is the first “a-ha moment” and now…wait, wait for it! Here’s the other and it goes back to that passion thing.

While I haven’t been getting job interviews (just the one!), strangely enough I’ve been getting media interviews. Why? Probably because my blog is different and it’s over-flowing with the real-deal Keri, the one I know well and have a love hate relationship with. The irreverant one that rolls unscripted, who’s naturally off-the-cuff. The one who’s dreaming up random inventions or ideas about nothing and everything all at once. The interesting one, the out-of-the box creativite who’s drawing outside the lines and loving it. The passionate me. So it seems there are two completely different candidates (both in the same body!). We have the resume Keri (a lifeless being, who’s been going through the motions) and the blog Keri (an energetic, determined and passionate woman who’s reinventing herself so she can make a personally meaningful difference on this earth). Now, who would you hire?

Thankfully I got that gift of the pink-slip, took a chance on blogging and uncovered this new writing passion. And, thanks to my blog and my outgoing personality, I’ve also discovered that I really like networking and helping people who are jobless find themselves, find a job or when all else fails, to simply find humor in their house pants. I like what I am doing and I’m not making a dime. Isn’t that interesting.

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Filed under Career changes, Job search tips, Life

Pink-slip workout tips

On a tight budget and can’t afford a your gym membership anymore? Below are some ideas, many of which I’m considering as my pre-paid gym membership expires in June. I know, funny this advice should come from me, the one who couldn’t get the Muffin Top Reduction Program off the ground in April, but I am back at it and brining in reinforcements this time around (in the form of other pink-slippers)!!   

Comcast On-Demand Workouts. Up until just recently, I’ve always thought the On-Demand feature through Comcast was a stupid waste of money until I discovered the vault of FREE Exercise TV workouts, offering programs that range from super easy (1 mile in-house walking) to super cheesy (SexyChair Routine?) to super kick-your-ass pleasy (Jillian Michaels 30-day Shred)! Seriously, there’s something for everyone with yoga, pilates, cardio, dance, kick-boxing, and ab workouts (reviewed at Litegeist) and you do it all from the comfort of your own home, which means that:

  1. you don’t need to brush your teeth
  2. you can leave that drool crustacean on the corner of your mouth and
  3. you can let your muffin top hang out/shake about because nobody’s watching. Just your cat or dog, but they’ve seen it all before.

Press On-Demand, go to Sports and Fitness, the choose Exercise TV.

A jump rope. Does anyone remember Jump Rope for Heart? My Catholic grade school was all about this Jump Rope for Heart program and I remember having to hit up my neighbors for money in exchange for me jumping rope until I wanted to die – it was torture! And now that I am decades older and I’ve lost agility, coordination and lung capacity, jumping rope has become even more challenging! But, once mastered it’s a great workout. Now, I’m not going to lie to you – the rope will leave red welts on your arms and shoulders almost every time you miss a step,  but just think of this as punishment for all the time you’ve spent on the couch feeding your muffin top and take it like a man (or woman!). Once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize it’s a pretty intense cardio workout. Add in some push-ups and sit-ups and you’ll be rolling muffin-top free in no time!

Punching Bags/Boxing. I actually own a heavy bag, focus mitts and other kickboxing equipment, but I have yet to figure out how to hang my heavy bag as I don’t seem to have a spare corner in my tiny house. And, none of my friends want to hold my focus mitts for me because I’m pretty aggressive and they freak out that they’ll get socked in the eye! Regardless, I do still believe that this is one of the best workouts on the planet, so if you have a heavy bag or can find a cheap one on Craig’s List, do it.  Come on – how kick ass was Rocky Balboa? (cue up Rocky theme song now). Ok, yeah his sweatsuit was super cheesy, but look at his abs and arms for god-sake? Helloooo, Rocky ;).

Stairs and Hills. If the weather ever freaking improves (remind me again – when can I break up with my puffy coat?) and you live in West Seattle, look around you people! Hills are everywhere and most have a secret set of stairs nearby! Hill climbs and stairs burn so many more calories than running or walking on flat surfaces. Add some lunges into the equation and you’ll likely end up with booty-lock (when your ass and thighs hurt so bad you can’t walk), but you’ll soon find these activities to be quite rewarding, especially in your derriere! 

Alki Strip. The strip is approximately 7 miles in length from the Harbor Avenue exit to just past the mini-Statue of Liberty and it’s a nicely paved path great for cycling, rollerblading, running and walking. However, when the sun comes out, especially on weekends, Alki turns into a melee of pimps and hoes (mostly teenagers wearing high heels & toting chihuahuas), strollers and toddlers wandering in a zig-zag pattern on the bike path. It gets pretty hairy so exercise early, or exercise extreme caution, especially when you’re on wheels.

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Filed under Budget tips, Diet, Health and Exercise, Resources

Back to reality

From 80 degrees and sunny to 50 degrees and rainy. It’s a real treat to be back. Why would anyone want to wear shorts and flip flops when you could be in flannel house pants and fleece jackets in May? And the whole idea of sitting in a beach chair oceanside sipping your morning coffee watching the sunrise, pondering snails and listening to the ocean kiss the shore is over-rated. relaxation station

Ok, enough with the sarcasm. I’ll admit it – the vacation was amazing and just what the doctor ordered. I strongly encourage every person who lost their job to go on vacation if they can afford it. If you don’t have any money in your rainy day fund, then ask your employed friends and family if they would be willing to donate some airline miles to your cause. Or, try eating PBJs and Top Ramen for a month and use the remaining grocery money for an airplane ticket out of Seattle. Do whatever you can to get out of your daily routine and unplug from your reality. It helps, believe me.

While my reality is still pretty much the same (still jobless with a mortgage), I do have a little more clarity about what I’d like to do next with my life and it’s pretty risky, especially in this economy. But, I think it’s worth the risk because as cliche as this is going to sound, life really is short and I don’t want to have any regrets. And for the past ten years, I’ve had the same big ass regret staring me in the face and it’s time to smack it down.

More to come on this later, just wanted to share my initial thoughts post vacation. Oh and the muffin top is very brown and a little bigger – oops. Guess those are signs of a relaxing vacation! Now it’s time to download photos and re-live my vacation from the comfort of my house pants. Lates!

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