Weekend Open Thread

Something on your mind? Chat about it here.

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  1. Accidental pregnancy :

    Hi all-
    I posted a few weeks ago about an accidental pregnancy and I got a lot of really sweet (and helpful) comments from this community. I just wanted to say thank you again to all those who took the time to respond. I read those responses many times. After much soul searching, I’ve decided to keep the baby. I’m still scared and a little anxious, but I’m also excited. :) Thank you all again, so much. Now if I can just figure out how to push through the work day while counting down the minutes until I can go home and sleep…

    • Anon Momma :

      Hugs and congrats :). As for the sleep, I say don’t fight it…it is Friday afternoon!

    • Congrats! Agree w/prev anon about just letting yourself be sleepy. Some of us who are not pregnant are also sleepy, too. Long week, cold weather = ZZZZs.

    • Congratulations!

    • Congratulations! Thank you for updating us — not that you had any obligation to do so, but I’ve been wondering.

    • Congratulations! I’m sure we all feel like Aunties to your baby now.

    • Lady Harriet :

      Congratulations! I’ve been thinking of you and praying for you since your first post. You are going to be such an awesome mother!

    • Congratulations!

    • Olivia Pope :


    • Accidental pregnancy :

      Thanks, all! All of these comments are so sweet. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes…

    • In House Lobbyist :

      I’m 11 weeks pregnant and I’m not above napping on my yoga mat some days at work. I’ve also napped in my car with the seat heaters on.

      • Lady Harriet :

        One of my favorite professors in college (a priest!) would shut the door to his office, crawl under his desk where you couldn’t see him through the office window, and lie down and take a 15-minute nap. He’s since moved to an office without a window in the door, so he just lies down in the middle of the floor to nap now.

      • I’ve thought about lying on the floor on my yoga mat during conference calls. And I am not pregnant.

    • Congratulations!

  2. Anon for this :

    I’m really struggling with something. My MIL has been having an affair for about 2 years with a married man. It’s never been something that I’ve been ok with, and I’ve always shut down conversations about him by saying it isn’t something I agree with and moving on. DH knows that I feel the whole situation is wrong, and has said he agrees with me, but MIL talks to him about it because she doesn’t have many other people to talk to. MIL has increasingly been talking about it to DH and other family members (and in small family groups that include me) because she’s convinced he is going to leave his wife for her. It’s becoming a larger part of her phone conversations with DH (she doesn’t live nearby) and at family gatherings. Mixed into things are comments from MIL suggesting wife is to blame for the breakdown of the marriage because she nags, is boring, isn’t a nice person, etc.

    One part of me says she’s a grown up, it’s her choice to be involved in this kind of situation, and that it’s none of my business. The other part of me is so upset about it. I’m sad about the values that it seems to project and concerned that she might someday be a person who DH turns to when he wants a sounding board for things. Am I overreacting? I’m having trouble even finding a way of articulating to DH exactly why this bothers me so much. I also think it’s probably irreversibly damaged my relationship with MIL. I am happy to have a polite relationship with her, but I don’t trust her or her judgment anymore. Ugh.

    • Anon for this :

      Sorry- mean I’ve shut down conversations with MIL about it by saying its not something I’m comfortable with. DH and I have had conversations about it and continue to do so..

    • Anon for this :

      I don’t think you’re overreacting, I think it’s normal, as a married woman, to see someone engaging in an affair and put yourself in the wife’s shoes. However, I would be careful how much/how you bring this up with your husband. Obviously you should be honest about your feelings if pressed, but I would just try to keep out of it as much as possible (i.e. changing the subject, walking away when she talks about it with other family members, not listening to your husband’s end of the convo when he talks to her, if possible, etc)

      I say this because my mom was an alcoholic and based on some things she said and did to me in the past, it was sort of obvious to me sometimes that my husband kind of hated her. As much as I disapproved of her conduct, and kind of hated her too at times, she was still my mom. I am betting that this is the situation your husband is in. He won’t want to feel like you hate his mom/are judging her/etc.

      • Research, Not Law :


        You’re understandably bothered by and disapproving of her actions, but she’s his mom. That trumps. Put up your visor on this one.

      • Divaliscious11 :

        Well I disagree with ‘that’s his mom, she trumps’ sentiment, but when you bring this up you are kinda saying that his mom is a ho’ and you don’t respect her -lol – which is perfectly fine to think but not something to say out loud. Just continue not to discuss and be prepared for the fall out when the married dude doesn’t leave his wife…….

        • Research, Not Law :

          Sheesh… now that I come back and read it, I don’t agree with it either! I meant that his love for his mother will trump his frustrations with her behavior – not that it would trump his relationship with his wife.

      • Ugh. I understand why you’re unhappy. I recently ended a friendship because my friend was “in love” with a married man. I told her repeatedly I didn’t want to hear about it and she kept bringing it up, so I decided she wasn’t someone I wanted in my life.

        As for your MIL it seems like it’s time for a time out. Keep your distance

    • I say let it go.

      Life’s too short to be bovvered by other people’s decisions for themselves, even if they’re terrible decisions.

      Ain’t nothing wrong with keeping relationships with in-laws civil but cool. You don’t have to be BFFs.

      • Kanye East speaks the truth.

        I think for this over-achieving group of women, every problem is a problem that must be solved. By us. But there are problems that are not ours to solve.

      • “Do I look bovvered?”

      • Thanks for these perspectives! It’s strange, for most of the 2 years the relationship has been going on it was something I just didn’t want to get involved in- I didn’t agree with it, but didn’t bother me quite so much. It’s becoming harder for me to deal with recently I think because of the larger role its playing in MIL’s convos with DH and other family members. Now that I think about it, I think a lot of my frustration comes from the fact that I feel like MIL is putting DH in the position of having to validate her “relationship” because she thinks progress is being made now that her guy is saying he’s going to leave his wife. It just seems like such an unfair position to put her newly married son in, and seems so disrespectful to me. I think it’ll be easier for me to cope with acknowledging that she’s putting DH in a tough spot and I don’t want to get involved and make the position any harder for him. Thanks again guys.

        • I think it has nothing to do with you, honestly. You say that you’re newly married – there are going to be a lot of choices people in your family will make over the years that you will not agree with. And you either love them unconditionally, or you do not. It sounds a bit like you want him to respond to her conversations in the same manner or spirit that you would. That’s not fair. Let him have his own relationship with his mother. He doesn’t need to respond to her behavior/conversations in the same manner that you would. Don’t make it so that your DH feels like he has to choose between pleasing you and his mother.

    • I could have written this exact post. How strange! Anyways, I have decided to simply stay out of it. I have other issues with my MIL as well, but I generally act polite towards her and don’t offer any opinions to her on this subject. I have told my husband that I absolutely disapprove of this relationship and that this better not normalize cheating for him, haha. I am mostly kidding because I don’t believe it does normalize it for him, but anyways. Just stay out of it.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m sure your approval means everything to your MIL.

        If it doesn’t directly affect you, let others make their own mistakes and live their own lives.

        F*ck the morality police.

        • I never said that my approval means anything to my MIL. I have never told her of my disapproval. I have told my husband that I do not approve of that relationship. I agree that I should stay out of it, and have done so. I am certainly not the morality police.

    • OMG, that is so sad that you HAVE to deal with this. But you have YOUR OWN life to lead, and should NOT get to interested in her sexual activitie’s. I alway’s wondered about my own family and thank GOD my dad has been TRUE to my mom.

      He has said that over the year’s, alot of women have approached HIM b/c he was so smart (and good lookeing), but he has always REBUFED them. He said that it is NEVER worth it to have a role in the hay with a woman, especialy if she EVER got pregenent. Yay dad!

      That should NOT be an issue for your mother in law at her age, so that is ONE less probelem to worry about. But I understand how trawumatic it can be. FOOEY!

      Gonzalo called and told me he wanted to walk with me and mabye buy his own FITBIT. I do NOT want him to know where I live, so I said I would walk with him mabye Sunday in Central Park. He seemed OK with that idea and he will call tomorow to FIRM it all up. Yay!

  3. SuperAnon :

    I’m nervous to post this question, but maybe some of you will have good advice. I have been on a diet yo-yo cycle for many, many years. I’ve counted calories, points, worked with a nutritionist, bought prepared meals, worked out with a program, etc and I have been successful for a few months but always end up gaining back the weight and more. A year ago I stopped dieting after realizing how much stress and anxiety it was causing me. It felt like it was more stressful than dealing with being over weight, and 90% of my energy was consumed by staying “on plan”.

    For the past month or so, I’ve gelt like it’s time to start trying again. But I am so worried about putting in the effort, only to fall off the wagon in 2 months. Have any of you been successful long term with weight goals / really changing your lifestyle? What approach would you recommend?

    • Can’t speak to nutrition and healthy eating on a long term basis because I’m still working on that– but I started running 2 years ago and have never went more than a week without running since then. It has been a lifestyle change. A lot of people here have discussed the Couch to 5k program– that’s what I used to get started. After that, I just started signing up for races every couple months. For me, committing to doing the race (i.e. paying to register, putting it on the calendar) scared me enough to continue running through times when I didn’t feel like doing it.

      • Just curious, has your running led to weight loss? I’m an avid runner myself but I find that it doesn’t affect my weight at all. But at times of stress when I’ve eaten less then I lose weight. I’m wondering if there’s something I could change about my running that would encourage weight loss.

        • Honestly, no, it hasn’t really helped me to lose weight, but it HAS helped me to maintain my current weight. I find that adding in strength/circuits/etc helps me to lose a few pounds when I need to.

          I have heard that running intervals burns more calories, so that might be something to try.

        • “I’m wondering if there’s something I could change about my running that would encourage weight loss.”

          Yes. Go for quick-twitch muscle fiber workouts instead of distance. Sprints. Running up and down flights of stairs. I get much more benefit from 20 minutes of sprints or stairs than a 6 mile run, even if it’s at a fast pace.

        • Great, thank you both!

    • What about making one new change each week/two weeks, and that way it is less of an “everything at once” plan and more of a gradual lifestyle change?

      Example (I’m making these up since I don’t know you/your current habits) – do you drink caloric beverages (sodas, juices, Starbucks fun coffee drinks, etc)? You could gradually phase them down (not out – I like my occasional MochaCaramelExtraWhipAChino as much as the next girl). But how about only three caloric beverages a week, and the rest water/herbal tea/coffee?

      After a week or two of this, your next goal could be to eat one or two different green things every day, with light/minimal seasoning (sauteed in olive oil = good, so much sauce that you can’t see the veggies = bad). Again, ease in for a week/two, and remember that you’re shooting for progress not perfection.

      Maybe these gradual-type changes will help you to feel less stressed/overwhelmed about it all?

      Good luck!!

      • I second all of this. I’ve never had a lot of weight to lose, but I have successfully lost weight and kept it off. A few thoughts:
        1. Losing weight is 90% about what you eat. I know everyone talks about diet and exercise, but the amount of exercise it takes to burn off a single brownie is absurd. So I’d start with focusing on your diet and, for now, not worry about the exercise. And to the extent you do exercise, think of it as something you do because you like it, not “because I had pizza for lunch and need to burn it off.” I think the latter way of thinking leads to weight gain—especially because then you’re hungier after working out, you eat a bigger dinner, and it’s a cycle. My running partner and I trained and ran four marathons together—and he was 60 pounds overweight the entire time. It wasn’t until he started eating less high calorie food that he lost the weight (even though we run a lot less now because we aren’t training for anything): you can’t exercise off everything if you’re consuming too many calories (Michael Phelps excepted).
        2. Seconding what Anon at 2:29 said about changing habits. Figure out what the most calorie dense foods are in your diet and start phasing them out over time. If you currently eat a piece of chocolate after every meal, for the next two weeks, just have one piece of chocolate after dinner only (or after lunch only—wherever it is more important to you). Or, cut that piece of chocolate in half and eat half after lunch and half after dinner. You’ve now cut your chocolate consumption by half. (you can tell I have a chocolate problem and have to restrain myself…). Two weeks later, change something else. For example, see suggestions below.
        3. Are you a snacker? If you are, replace half of what you usually snack on with something healthful (an apple–which I find is more filling if I’ve cut it into slices; baby carrots, bell peppers, etc.). Then two weeks later, replace another half (so now you’re having 1/4 of what you really like and 3/4 of carrots). Make sure you always have snacks with you if you’re a snacker (I have no problem plowing through a 1 pound bag of carrots in an afternoon because I’m a snacker; but I don’t eat a lot of calories).
        4. Start using smaller plates and don’t go back for seconds. Our plates are huge and skew our perceptions of how much we are eating.
        5. Start every meal (other than breakfast) with a salad (very lightly dressed) or a broth based soup. Fill up on these air foods. Then enjoy smaller portions of the foods you love.
        6. Don’t let yourself get too hungry. It will lead to overeating (at least it always does for me)
        7. Do not eat anything anyone brings to the office. Period. I got that idea from this site and it’s been really good for me.
        These are the tips that have helped me. I still eat chocolate, cheese, pizza, etc., but I also eat tons of carrots, salads, sweet potatoes (plain), etc. It’s about filling up on bulky foods, recognizing when you’re full, and then using the other stuff as a treat.

        You can do this. If you’re reading this site, you’re probably a successful woman. There isn’t any reason you won’t succeed at this too. Good luck.

        • Well, actually, there are a lot of biophysical reasons why people with good careers, fulfilling relationships, nice houses, and other markers of success cannot lose (or keep off) weight. So much of a person’s size, and his or her response to things like diets or exercise, is determined by genetics or factors otherwise outside of her ability to control.

          This kind of thinking–that if a woman is “successful” there is no reason why she wouldn’t “succeed” at losing weight–is just so very damaging.

          • Liz in the City :

            Thanks, a, for saying this. I’ve struggled with my weight since childhood (I can still picture my tormentors who bullied me for being “fat” when I was in the 1st grade — even though I wasn’t…then). I’m a successful woman by all accounts — except I’m not thin. And I struggle with this one obvious sign of “failure” every single day of my life. Every success is marked by the asterisk *but I still can’t lose the weight. And, for me, it downgrades the success.

          • Not having a body that adheres to our society’s tragically limited ideal is not a failure. It’s a failure of our society that it makes people feel like it is.

          • I’ve always been curious about this though because it wasn’t really like that back in the ’70s and ’60s. Obviously there were still overweight people, but as a whole, society was much, much thinner. Average people now would have been overweight then. So I just am not sure that genetics can be blamed as much as we would like to. Does that make sense?

          • to b23 I’m 5’10” and a size 16. So is my mom. So is my sister. So are my cousins and aunts who live 1500 miles away. If it’s not genetics, whatever is in the water is something we’re all drinking.

          • This. x1000.

          • Absolutely! My doctor kept fussing at me about my weight then finally she stopped making suggestions (I was doing all of them already) and listened to me. I’m not small but I’m well proportioned and in good shape. If have to starve myself to lose weight and I’m not longer willing to do that.

          • LizintheCity, hugs to you! I, too, always felt like I was carrying around an asterisk that invalidated any success in any area other than weight loss. Finally losing the weight and getting rid of the asterisk has been amazing. Even though part of me is pi$$ed as he!! that it was ever there in the first place, and that I ever bought into the “fat = failure” concept.

          • To a. at 3:16 pm- beautifully said! It’s unfortunate that the window for what constitutes the ‘perfect’ body is so impossibly small…We/society/the media/magazines may be making an effort to appreciate other sizes, but honestly in my option I think we all still see these as exceptions to the rule.

            I think that once we stop taking about body image so much and magazines stop placing so much emphasis on weight, so many other problems will lessen (body dysmorphia, depression) while self acceptance and love will improve. As cliche/silly as it may sound, once you accept yourself and find inner peace, everything on the outside (whether it changes our not) will fall into place.

        • SuperAnon :

          SunnyD – thanks for the suggestions. I’m with you that the changes need to be gradual. To be 100% honest – I know all of these tips, having been in various weight loss programs through the years. I can even do them for a couple of months before all bets are off.

          Which sort of brings me to your last point and a.’s comment – it is SO frustrating to know what to do, but fail at doing it, when I am successful in other areas of my life. I constantly feel like “How can I do X, Y, Z but not be able to get a handle on this one area of my life? (and sometimes it feels like everyone around me is thinking that same thing)

          • Make sure you are not making it a zero sum game. Don’t make any foods off limits. You have to find solutions you can live with and won’t make you crazy. I agree that the Bethanny Frankel book is good for this. Figure out what your lifestyle is like and what the diet pitfalls are within your lifestyle. Then try to make solutions that work for these pitfalls. Do you love grabbing a beer and a burger after a day of errands? Have half a burger, a side salad, no fries and one beer. Do you love coffee drinks or a danish with your coffee? Have a regular coffee with skim milk and sweetener or a coffee and half a whole grain muffin and some fruit. Do you love Friday night pizza night? Make your own pizza with whole wheat crust and lots of veggies. Make the solutions actual solutions that you can live with, not poor substitutes for real food and experiences that you love.

            What can you cut out? One of the tips from Bethanny’s book is determining whether something is “worth it.” Some desserts / junk food / food experiences are just not worth it to me, so I don’t bother. Some are, and I savor and enjoy those.

            Also, I think planning is key. Can you bring fruit, cut veggies and yogurts to work? That way, when there’s a meh cookie that not worth it, you can have a yogurt instead.

            A trick I always use involves yogurt (but substitute anything you like / can tolerate but don’t really love). If I think “I’m hungry.” I ask myself if I would eat a yogurt to help my hunger. If I wouldn’t, then I’m not really hungry. When I am actually hungry, I WILL eat that yogurt. If I won’t, I’m just wanting to eat for some other reason. This is not to say, I will only eat yogurt, its just a mechanism for determining if I’m hungry vs. emotional eating.

            Last tip is learn to cook and do it. I love cheese. I eat a lot of cheese. But, I can substitute flavorful cheeses or make dishes with less cheese that are still cheesy delicious. Practically anything you make at home is going to be healthier than what you eat out. Restaurants use lots of butter to make things taste delicious, but you don’t need that. Now, I like to eat out, too (because sometimes I don’t want to cook) but for this, I go back to my first point. Manageable solutions to pitfalls. This doesn’t mean always ordering a salad. But, it means portion control, making choices and limiting myself. Because in the end, the food will be there tomorrow, too. I get another meal, so I don’t have to eat it all now.

          • MB – I do this, but instead of yoghurt (which I will eat any time), I use plain chicken breast or raw tomatoes. If I would eat that to fulfil the hunger, then I’m really hungry.

          • I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sound discouraging. I meant to sound encouraging. Failure.

          • I think everyone knows you meant to be encouraging, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that–I, personally, just have some very strong opinions about our society’s relationship with weight loss and body image, and can’t resist an opportunity to get on my soapbox and share them :)

        • Switching to smaller plates has really helped me keep from overeating. When we go out to eat, I automatically divide my meal in half, and take the rest home. This method has been easier for me, and led to more weight loss, than limiting my food choices.

        • SuperAnon :

          SunnyD – no need to apologize. I totally got that you were being encouraging. Thank you for sharing each of the things that has worked for you!

          • In-House Optimist :

            Late to the party, but I want to add my thanks – the OP may have known them all but I didn’t, and I found them very helpful!

        • I second these recommendations. I’ve never had a ton of weight to lose, but after studying abroad (several years ago), combined with the weight I’d gained after starting college, I realized I could stand to lose about 20 pounds. My mom got a book for me called something like “Fit Into Your Little Black Dress Forever.” It’s written by a food writer with some really good recommendations about enjoying your food and not being afraid of any food. Focus on eating lots of fruits and vegetables and controlling the portions of all other foods. Snack on fruits, and when you’re still hungry try a cup of tea. I was skeptical of the tricks at first, but I’ve adopted them as habits. I read the book probably six years ago and never had to think about losing or maintaining weight since. This is not a path to lose weight quickly, but it works, it’s enjoyable, and it sticks. Since starting to pay more attention to savoring food, I think I have actually come to like eating quite a bit more, but I’ve learned not to have any anxiety about food and to stop eating when full.

      • I think you have to focus on overall lifestly changes and not dieting or only eating a certain type of food for a while

        A year ago, my husband was 316 lbs and has now lost 30 lbs. He started off by reading labels on food and checking for nutritonal info when eating at restaurants. After a few months, we got an elliptical machine and he works about 4-5 times a week.

        We make sure to keep lots of fruits and veggies in the house and try to limit eating out. We slowly started phasing out soft drinks and mostly drink water or iced tea.

        We carpool to work and a lot of times we would go through the drive-thru to grab something to eat for breakfast. I started making a big batch of steel cut oats on Sunday and we heat up a bowl during the week to eat for breakfast.

        I would start with small goals and take it day-by-day. Don’t beat yourself up if every day is not perfect.

        My sister-in-law (husband’s sister) has been obese for much of her life and went through lots of ups and downs with her weight. She finally decided get bariatric surgery. It was a difficult decision for her b/c she felt like a failure for not being able to do it on her own. But she had a lot of emotional issues tied to food and the surgery was the right option for her so she could improve her health.

        Looks like you are already getting some good advice. Good luck!

    • Not exactly an answer to your question but you could look into Health at Every Size and other body positive resources. Sounds like what you’ve been doing hasn’t worked and maybe you need an overhaul of the way you’re interacting with your body. Many studies confirm that your experience is the reality — dieting doesn’t work. Also, yo-yoing does more harm to the body than being overweight.

      • THIS. Dieting doesn’t work for the majority of people who try it. It’s a few years old, but this article (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/magazine/tara-parker-pope-fat-trap.html?pagewanted=all) was really eye-opening for me.

        That aside, though, I would really, really encourage you to try to re-evaluate your relationship with dieting and weight loss. If it makes you stressed-out and anxious, that’s a sign that something, somewhere, in that relationship is off. That’s one of the things I really appreciate about the Health and Every Size movement: it’s about encouraging people to eat healthy food because it’s good for your body, and to move your body in ways you enjoy, because that is also good for your body (to say nothing of your soul, but then I love exercising). Making those good choices for your body and for your health is so, so much more important than an arbitrary number on a scale.

      • Amen! This was my first thought reading this: maybe just be a bit kinder to yourself. Accept that you can live your life hating your body and torturing yourself with yo-yo diets or that you can live it with a little extra weight on you. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to eat healthier and work out more, but be kind to yourself as you do it. Not everyone needs to look the same. I struggle to keep this in mind myself, but I do strive to accept my body as much as I can. I’d hate to spend my whole life hating it!

    • Liz in the City :

      It’s funny that you posted this because I came here today to post something similar. I’m debating whether to join Weight Watchers, but I’m scared that I’ll just fall off the bandwagon again.

      JK–I was thinking of starting Couch to 5K. Glad to know you had success with it.

      What do people do about sugar cravings or thinking about food all the time? I literally can just finish a meal and then be thinking, OK, what’s next for food, even though I’m not hungry. Is this what addiction feels like (and can someone be addicted to food)?

      Sorry for the rant.

      • Yeah, seriously, Couch to 5k is awesome. I couldn’t run for 60 seconds when I started, literally. It really does work.

        I can emphathize with thinking about food all the time. I feel like I am always planning my next meal. One thing that has helped is eating protein-packed snacks (greek yogurt, nuts, etc). It keeps me feeling full much longer than what I used to snack on all the time– cookies, granola bars, etc. When the stomach isn’t growling= much easier to think about something else!!!

      • Yes, you can absolutely, absolutely, absolutely, be addicted to food. If this is something that you’re worried about, I would check out Overeaters Anonymous for resources.

        • Lady Harriet :

          My parents actually met in OA! My dad didn’t really stick with it and still has a lot of the same unhealthy relationship with food, but it helped my mom a lot. I think it helped that she’s also been in Al-Anon (for families of alcoholics and other addicts) for more than 30 years, so the 12-step mentality is a huge part of her life. She’s still overweight, but has lost a lot of weight in the last year and kicked her hoarding problem. She’s hasn’t gone to any meetings recently because she hasn’t found one yet in the area we moved to, but it says a lot that her Al-Anon group is one of three things she misses about our hometown, which she otherwise loathed.

          • Houston Attny :

            Lady Harriet, Totally random and not related to this threadjack but specific to something you said in your comment about hoarding. May I ask, was there something you or someone said to your mom so she addressed her hoarding or was it something she came to on her own? Someone I love is, in my very unscientific opinion, a hoarder, and I want to say something but not the wrong thing. And fear of saying the wrong thing keeps me from saying anything. Sorry to address this here but am hoping you will see it. Many thanks to you. :)

          • Lady Harriet :

            My mom really came to it on her own. For more than 25 years after getting her PhD she was vastly underemployed (making >$10,000 a year for a lot of the time) and living in a city she hated (my parents divorced a long time ago, but my dad works for the state government and my mom didn’t want to take us away from him, so she felt she couldn’t leave.) Then out of the blue she got a job offer from my alma mater, which is a school she loves in a city she loves. She’d tried unsuccessfully to get a job there in the past, but someone retired and they responded to an email she’d sent two years before, offering her a job. I was done with college and my brother was done with high school by that point, so she didn’t feel bad about leaving. (My parents have a weirdly amiable divorce, so we’re trying to get my dad and brother to move to the same area. I’m also working for my alma mater right now.)

            She had only a couple of weeks’ notice to move and start her new job, so she had to move with only what would fit in her car. She loves her new job, and feeling appreciated and secure in her career for the first time allowed her to get rid of her security blanket of possessions. Also, living out of a couple of suitcases and one room in someone else’s house for four and a half months made her realize how little she actually needed to get by. She also lost some weight and realized that she deserved nice clothes no matter how much she weighed, so she didn’t have to wear whatever she could fit into. We went through her wardrobe and she got rid of more than half her clothes.

            She says the biggest thing is having an attitude of abundance instead of an attitude of scarcity. When she feels like her life is enough, she doesn’t feel the need to hang on to so many possessions. Even though she’s mentally kicked hoarding, the physical effects are still hard to deal with. She went back to our hometown this summer to clear out the old house and will have to do it again this summer so she can get it on the market and be able to buy one here.

            My father also has hoarding problems, and his don’t show much of a sign of stopping, unfortunately. I think his have a different origin, though, since he has more of a compulsive shopping problem.

            I think the best thing you can do for the person you love is let them know how much you appreciate them. I don’t know that there is anything I could have done to make my mom change her life, especially as her daughter. I’ve done my best to help her, but the change really came from the inside for my mom.

          • Totally anon right now :

            3 compliments for Lady Harriet:
            1. For seeing past your mom’s the flaws and being so supportive
            2. For being a good example to the rest of us living with imperfect loved ones
            3. For giving hope to others trying to eliminate clutter in their lives
            Thank you!

          • Lady Harriet :

            Aww, shucks! I’m probably not nearly so supportive in real life, but I’ll try to live up to your impression. I’m living with my mom right now, since we’re both working at the same place, and it’s been…an adventure. 80% of the time it’s awesome, 15% of the time it’s difficult, and 5% of the time I’m thinking “WHYYYYYY did I ever think this would be a good idea????”

            One up-side to the situation is that when I do move out on my own, I really won’t need to buy much in the way of housewares. My mom has sets of dishes, silverware, and kitchen utensils (including some small appliances) set aside for me and my brother for when we get our own places. :) Also, I’m much more vigilant about my own tendency to hang on to things I don’t need any more, or acquire things I don’t need in the first place.

      • SuperAnon :

        I can identify with that same feeling of planning the next meal / thinking about food constantly. I thought it would be less if I stopped dieting, but unfortunately it hasn’t been THAT different. It’s comforting to hear that others have dealt with this too. Haven’t heard about OA, but I may look into it.

      • I am struggling with this right now. Because of the painkillers and one evil course of prednisone, I’ve gained 15lbs. The 15lbs I took off via weight watchers. I’ve developed into eating 6 full meals a day and I know that I’m technically “sick” and this should be the last of my concerns but my body has changed so much. I’m scared of tracking my food intake now. Sigh.

        • SoCalAtty :

          Me too Ru! I quick course of prednisone and I’m up about 12 pounds – about 8 of those pounds I had already lost once by becoming a total spin class addict (ok, not that bad, 3x / week) and changing my eating habits, and I added 4 more above that! Stupid steroids.

          Unfortunately, now that my eating habits have really changed, I have to make even more drastic changes (cut way back on eating out, stuff like that) and exercise even more to get the weight back off. I’ve only been off the pred for about a month and a half, but the docs say it really needs a good six months to work itself out (I started at 40mg and tapered down over about 6 weeks).

          It is REALLY frustrating. I’m just now to the point of not being sick.

      • I’m with all of the people recommending Couch to 5k. I started using it a couple of years ago, and regularly run half marathons now. I’m not fast, but I run them.

        As far as weight, when I am regularly running and working out it is definitely easier to maintain, but I yo-you sometimes as well. For example, I’ve gained about 10 pounds since the middle of November. Not cool…but also completely my fault, because I’ve been eating cr@p and NOT doing the things that help me control/lose weight, like planning my meals, making smart choices when I do eat out, etc.

        Another thing that has helped me is having a group of friends that is interested in exercise. I have a group that I work out with several times a week – we don’t all do everything together, but everyone fits what they can into their schedule. It makes a huge difference knowing that I’ll have someone to run with (or whatever) when I’m tired and want to just go home after work.

        I haven’t read all of the comments yet, but I believe there is also a group at myfitnesspal related to this site? I try to track my food on there, and I find that helps as well.

        Good luck!

    • Houston Attny :

      Oh goodness. I am you, SuperAnon. Somehow dieting can make you super obsessed with food, right? I’m trying yet again and started simply by tracking what I eat (MyFitnessPal), not trying to completely change what I eat right off the bat. I also like ‘Anon at 2:29”s comments regarding slowly integrating changes. I look forward to reading responses. (And trust me, you are not alone, darling!)

      • Yes! Honestly sometimes I think our country’s obsession with dieting is only worsening the problems!

    • anon right now :

      I like Bethenny Frankel’s Naturally Thin. You probably have a slightly unhealthy relationship with food, and it help you stop thinking of food as “good” or “bad”. Or that you had a ‘good day’ or a “bad day”. For example if you diet and push down your cravings for a full week, you might binge on sunday and eat 5000 calories. Instead, Bethenny suggests listening to your true cravings when you have them. Also addressing the emotional reasons behind eating etc…

    • I was never overweight, but I was on the verge of being overweight and was very out of shape when I decided to make a lifestyle change five years ago. I lost 20 lbs and have generally kept it off (though I’ll go through phases of being 5 lbs or so heavier).

      It wasn’t so much tracking every single thing I ate vs. getting a sense of what the calorie content was in most foods and making general decisions about what foods I would eat and which ones I’d avoid. I changed from having meals that were mostly made up of heavy carbs to ones that were mostly vegetables with lean sources of protein (have always been a vegetarian, so I switched from using lots of cheese to eating more beans and tofu). I don’t touch the bread basket before dinner. I eat when I’m hungry, but instead of getting a bag of chips I eat a handful of cereal or carrots. And I try to work out every single day that I physically can.

      I’m not perfect with these habits all the time, but at some point I internalized that it had to become my “normal,” not my “I’m being good,” if that makes any sense. Be kind to yourself; it does take time, but you can do it.

      • Paralegal :

        +1 for knowing the calorie content in food, even if it is a rough estimate. I started calorie counting when I gained a ton of weight in the beginning of my relationship, which happened because I had no idea how calorific certain foods were and I was making rich dinners and desserts every night. It was really sobering to find out how many calories were in food that I ate on a regular basis. Now that I know, I think twice about pouring in extra oil, or I use milk in my cooking instead of cream, etc.

        It is really cliche, but I do agree that the key to long-lasting weight loss is a lifestyle change, not a (temporary) diet.

    • I am with you, Superanon!! I definitely could have written your post. I recently started reading French Kids Eat Everything. I am finding it very interesting. It talks about how the French do not ever use food as a reward or punishment; they look to food for nourishment and meals for social interaction. I have such an emotional relationship with food that this French approach has been very interesting to me.

      To b23 – I think you make a good point, and my thoughts are that we eat many more processed foods and fewer veggies than people did in the 60s and 70s. While I think calories in/out is a big factor, the processed junk just doesn’t fill you up (or nourish you) like whole foods.

    • I was a yo-yo dieter for decades. I was never super obese, but fluctuated between 30 and 50 pounds overweight. Like you, I could lose weight if I made a career out of it, but it would come back on the minute I was less than hyper-vigilant.

      Three years ago I had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, which is a weight loss surgery in which the majority of my stomach was removed. That’s it — they just made my stomach smaller. Didn’t touch my intestines, much less re-route them. No band, no foreign objects left behind. It’s been like a miracle to me. I’m 5’2″ and went from busting out of my size 14s to comfortably wearing size 2 and 4 and the occasional 0. I eat much, much less than I did before and I am almost never hungry. I do work out hard almost every day, and I have to be mindful of my eating, but I feel much more normal now, with 80% of my original stomach gone, than I ever did before.

      I don’t know how much weight you are talking about, but this is an option I had never considered and I only wish I’d known about it sooner.

    • Once you lose the weight, can you identify any triggers to when you start gaining vs. maintaining? Have you tried going on a cycle of something like “This month/week/two months, I will focus on losing weight. For the next months/week/two months, I will focusing on maintaining that weight” and then start over again once you can maintain it for that period? I just lost about 25 lbs on Weight Watchers. Now that I’m not being as strict with myself, it is really hard to avoid putting the weight back on – I think maintaining weight loss is as hard as losing the weight. I just have to remember that going back to everything I was eating before is just going to put me back in the same exact place I was before – I need to integrate what I did during my loss period with my “normal” lifestyle.

      • That’s the point of weight loss: There is no finish line. Your old habits are what put the weight on, and the minute you go back to them, the weight WILL come back. “Lifestyle change” is a cliche, but it’s true. The only difference between “dieting” and “maintenance” is that when you are “dieting,” you get the reward of seeing the number on the scale going down. Once you hit maintenance, you have to do pretty much the same thing, but the only reward is that the number on the scale stays the same.

      • I thought about your question a lot this weekend. I would say my triggers are feeling lonely or getting stressed out. I work best with a very, very structured schedule but my job doesn’t always allow it. Grabbing a snack /comfort food / hot latte / large meal usually makes me feel less stressed out and more able to “cope” with the day and changes that may come up. I can usually manage to put a lot of structure into my day for a couple of months, but after that it goes back to the usual and I would say that’s when I go off plan and back to unhealthy behaviors.

        Thanks for asking this – it was really good for me to think about it in detail.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      You might want to read the book “Secrets of a Former Fat Girl.” I read it about 6 months after I started losing weight and I realized that some of the things she talks about doing were similar to me and it was nice to read the perspective and ideas of someone like me. Some of it is the opposite of what you typically hear. For example, she kept her attempt to lose weight a secret because sharing it with family and friends caused too many people to get involved making helpful suggestions. That helped me too because although I knew everyone was coming from a place of love, it just made me instantly want to rebel and do the opposite. I found the book helpful so I recommend it.

    • KansasAnalyst :

      You should check out the primal/paleo “diet” and marks’s daily apple. It’s been a godsend- I feel 10x better and I don’t feel deprived and hungry either.

    • I HIGHLY recommend this website: http://www.happyeaters.net. Has made a world of difference in how I relate to weight and food. It’s not about dieting, it’s about making good consistent decisions that are maintainable for life.

    • For me, I’ve decided I’m just never going to be a lithe person; BUT my body will be more athletic and strong, and I will feel healthier, if I work at getting stronger, not focusing on getting thinner. So I started lifting weights going by the book New Rules of Lifting for Women and I LOVE it. I’m not doing the diet, just the exercises. It eases you in and I feel stronger already (I’m a month in, lifting three times a week). The workouts don’t take long, which is key for me, and I feel really good after them.

    • It’s late so I may repost this tomorrow, but I wanted to thank everyone for their really kind and thoughtful responses to my post. I really had nothing to be nervous about. I got some great resources and ideas from everyone’s posts, as well as some food for thought to help me with my next steps. Thank you for being so supportive.

    • ExcelNinja :

      Hi SuperAnon, I lost 100lbs about 10 years ago. You can email me if you want to chat — excelninja + r e t t e @ g m a i l . c o m

  4. Nice Cube :

    nooo! my clarisonic mia just conked out! and it is out of warranty. i called customer care and they offered to send me a new handle for 60$. bummmer

  5. Career help – skip if not interested

    I am really really frustrated with my situation and haven’t found a way to dig my way out after 2 years. I am in my late 20’s and working as a marketing analyst. I live in a rural area and am making in the low $60’s. This is not at all how I pictured my career at this age. I don’t like marketing, I don’t like where I am living, and I definitely thought I’d be making more money by now. I feel stuck where I am at. I have spend hours doing career testing, myers briggs (etc), talking to professionals in other fields and I feel like I am no closer to finding something else. I hate what I am doing and I feel like I can’t get out.

    My husband and I work at the same company where he has a great in-house position. He is understandably unwilling to make a move until I have a clear path forward. But I’m beating my head against the wall to come up with something and I don’t have a whole lot to show for it.

    I want to get out of marketing altogether but since my experience and my degree (chosen because it “seems interesting”) is in marketing/business process I don’t know how I can parlay that into an entirely new field. I considered earning another degree as a way to change course but I constantly hear about how there are no jobs for PhD/MBA/JD/MA students. I feel like I have no idea what I am doing and I’m on the path to an unhappy career and stagnated wages. I don’t know what to do – I’m desperate for a change.

    I know this community of successful women has offered a lot of great advice to other ‘ r e t t e s so I thought I’d ask the hive for some insight…

    • I think this is really tough to answer without some idea of what you do like. What are your hobbies? What news topics do you always click on? Which ones do you always avoid? What is it about your current job that you don’t like? What about it do you like (even if this is “when I get to do someone else’s job”)?

      • Lynnet! It’s been awhile since I’ve seen any posts from you. Glad to see you’re still on here. :-)

        • It’s nice to be remembered! I haven’t really been on the internet at all for the last 6 months or so, but I’m back now!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Not to sound like another personality test but could you tell us what you hate about marketing? Since I have never been in marketing, it is difficult to compare it to other jobs I have done.

      • The main reason that I don’t like marketing is that I don’t feel like I am challenged and I am forced to think about things I don’t care about: market size, profit margins, product life cycles, etc. I don’t really have the opportunity to deeply analyze problems or have an impact on anything important. Most of my job consists of trying to fix internal process that are broken and managing projects. I really don’t enjoy managing projects. I am terrible at planning.

        I am also a major introvert and one of the criticisms I keep getting back is that I don’t engage and participate enough. I am definitely an introvert and it is counter to the extrovert marketing culture. Also, I don’t feel like I am doing something that is or could lead to something where I am working/serving others. I also dislike that there isn’t anything about marketing interesting enough for me to want to specialize in so hence I am a dime-a-dozen generic marketer.

        And if I am being truly honest I don’t see high earning potential in this career either. Not to mentioned that I don’t see how I would reach the top of the ladder in a career I am not interested in anyway. My disengagement is limiting my own potential – so better to move on to something else.

        Myers Briggs pegged me as an INTP which I think is pretty accurate when I read it.

        • This won’t help with the earning potential part of your frustration, but some of the other areas might be addressed if you worked at a non-profit: “have an impact on something important”, and “serving others”. Non-profits need marketers, though the small ones may not think of them that way/post the jobs with marketing titles. It takes creativity to figure out how to get the org’s message out, and to get people to sympathize enough to donate time or money.

          • I volunteer at a non-proft and while I really enjoy my time there, I don’t see that as a career I would enjoy. Also, really don’t think the marketing piece is a good fit for me regardless of the organization I am working for.

        • I read your post and the word “analyst” stuck out. Do you have any quantitative skills e.g. statistics. If so, these are skills that could be used in other fields not just marketing. I also suggest making a list of all the skills you have, both technical or industry specific and “soft” skills e.g. good communicator. Also list all the things you like and don’t like about your current job. That will give you specifics to work with

          If you’d like to switch to something else, start by networking with those you know. Friends, former colleagues & classmates etc. Talk to them about what they do, how to make a move into their field etc. Try using online tools like LinkedIn as well. There’s lots of info online on how to maximize the use of such tools. In terms of finding a new job, this might help. You can also try and contact recruiting companies and agents, some have resume uploading sections on their websites. Contacting them directly is also a good idea. If there are any organisations such as Rotary near you that involve working for a good cause. volunteer. It’s a good way to meet people.

          In terms of getting a degree, I agree with the posters who advise going in without a clear idea or plan of what you want. This is even more important if you are going to have to finance your own education. I don’t know much about the job climate for MA/MBA/JD but for PhD’s I can tell you it’s difficult. A PhD would be good if you like research, also if you would like to go into teaching/research in an academic institution. Other career paths require strategizing and planning from the get-go!

        • Would you possibly be interested in a divergence from marketing, which would allow you to transfer your education and skills but transfer to a different industry? I’m thinking something like social media (working with individual companies and individuals), but I’m sure there are better examples.

          I agree with the idea that you seem interested in analysis. If you have other background, you could probably show how you have used analysis and projection (market studies, market sizes, product life cycles), including statistics.

          You also mention wanting to help people and work with them more directly. Maybe delve into this further, since this can take many paths. I still think that you could explain transferable skills here: creativity, understanding markets to understanding people, working with others, etc.

          I agree with the others not to attend school or such until you have a better idea of what you want. I’d suggest increasing informational interviews with members of different industries and then keeping track of what appeals to you and turns you off regarding various careers.

          To get a better idea of this with someone who you can explain everything to and who has experience with this, I might suggest a career coach. I have never used one, but I’ve heard them recommended before and think this is a situation where talking to one may help. If you don’t want to do that, maybe ask around for good staffing people or such and see if they might help. I know that some of them can help in these scenarios – and help you find a job in the new career.

        • Hello fellow career-questioning INTP. I don’t know if others have suggested this below, but you might consider looking at some smaller non-profits in your area. See if you can volunteer there or get on their board of directors or other (usually volunteer-based) advisory committees. A lot of them can really benefit from some marketing experience. The one I work for has been undertaking some branding and self-marketing activities in the last couple of years, but budget cuts meant we had to let go the guy we had hired specifically for that purpose.

          I suggest this for two reasons. One is that it can help you overcome the introversion and force you to meet and interact with a lot of new people in a safe environment (I think INTP and INTJ are pretty common types in management where I work). So it’s good networking and good research into career paths. The other is that it may convince you that what you dislike about your current career is not marketing per se but what you market. You may discover that marketing a product doesn’t excite you, but marketing an organization or event you are passionate about does.

        • Belle et Rebelle :

          As a fellow introvert, I can only imagine what it’s like to be in field like marketing that is so extravert-dominated and constantly be getting that feedback about not engaging/participating enough. I would definitely encourage you to look for a career or position where introversion is an asset, rather than a liability.

          We’re pretty sure DH is an INTP, and I have to say the “deeply analyze” part of what you said strikes a chord, as delving deeply into research that interests him is really the bulk of what he does and is, I think, a lot of what makes this profession work for him. Also the ability to work independently and not have to interact with a lot of other people too much of the time. (I am not suggesting that you become a professor, but maybe try to research positions where independent deep analysis is key).

          I agree with those who said that a career counselor or life coach might help. (I have a friend who is working with a life coach by phone that she really likes – could ask her the name if you like.) Also, you might want to check out some other books on introversion for some insight on careers where it can be helpful. There’s “The Introvert Advantage” and also “Quiet” by Susan Cain (I only just started this one, but it’s supposed to be good.) For general “what should I do with myself” inspiration, there was a Po Bronson book I found interesting (can’t think of the title, but it should be easy enough to find).

    • Research, Not Law :

      Start by thinking about what the job you’d want looks like in terms of tasks and schedules rather than industry or degree. Draw the line on how to get there once you know where you’re trying to go.

      • big dipper :

        This. My wonderful Dad gave me the best advice I ever got when I started college. He told me to keep a list (physical or mental) of four things:
        – Tasks I liked doing at my various internships (they can be as general or specific as you want)
        – Tasks I disliked doing at my various internships
        – Elements of each office’s culture/general work environment I liked
        – Elements of each office’s culture/general work environment I disliked

        Then I used that list to eliminate careers, and find out more about careers that incorporated the tasks I liked. I basically talked to everyone I knew with a full time job, asked them about what they did at work, and tried to ID fields that made the most interesting use of the tasks I enjoyed.

        And used the office culture to figure out companies well suited to my personality. I’m also an extreme introvert so this was critical for me – I think that office culture plays more into the introvert v. extrovert more than industry sometimes. For me, I look for an office with a very rigid workflow structure (as an introvert I feel uncomfortable constantly asking for work) and one where I have the authority to work independently on most tasks.

        You say you’re not challenged and don’t like marketing because you can’t deeply analyze problems. What kind of problems do you want to analyze? Do you want to analyze financial/numbers problems, or more strategy/human interaction type problems? Do you want to analyze with the end goal of developing strategies for the future, or analyze the existing patterns in the information?

        Sorry, that was a lot of sort of unrelated stuff but I hope it’s helpful!

        • As an introvert (who just graduated college), I’m curious as to what you found you liked/didn’t like at your internships, and where you work now/do you like it? Sometimes it’s hard when it seems like every job requires teamwork! Great oral communication skills! Outgoing candidates encouraged to apply!

          • intro anon :

            IMO you are going to need excellent communication skills at most jobs. Being an introvert does not necessarily mean you have bad communication skills, but it may mean that you have to go about it differently.

            For example, I’m not great at walking the halls and connecting with people. But, I’m learning that it helps me a lot when I keep in touch regularly, so I keep a list and make sure I’m checking in once every number of weeks (if I don’t work with them directly). It’s a little bit more effort (and may seem weird), but it has worked for me. Of course, some days I think that it’s too much effort, and I should just go work in some analytic role – it depends on the day you ask me.

          • big dipper :

            So, things I’ve found that worked/don’t work for me:

            – Workflow structure. I like to work in an office where there’s a very clear method of distributing work, and the people in charge of distributing work contact you. In some offices I’ve worked in, it’s been very nebulous, and you have to contact everyone in your group every day looking for work, which I found draining. It’s easier for me if 1-2 people distribute work, or it flows in automatically, or I can independently generate work for my assignments.

            – Post undergrad I worked in consulting, and now I’m about to graduate from law school, which are both team focused industries. However, what’s worked for me in those industries is that a lot of the work is independent. You receive an assignment, you work on it independently/alone for a length of time, and have a meeting with your supervisor once it’s completed. Yes, you work with other people a lot, but it’s more to piece the parts of the project together or receive feedback than to actually sit down and complete a task together. (At least in the starting out positions).

            – Email v. in person communication. Obviously I always ask my supervisor which they prefer, but I try to work with people who prefer email communication. I’m much more comfortable sending an email update every day/every week re: the project than stopping by someone’s office. I picked a law firm that generally uses email as their standard means of communication (they have that seating plan discussed the other day where practice groups are not seated all together on one floor so email makes things much easier).

            – Socialization in/outside the office. I definitely looked for companies/firms where you would not be penalized for not socializing after work hours. At the end of a long day at work, it’s really hard for me to muster the energy to go to a cocktail hour or dinner. Obviously, some happy hours/client dinners/etc are required, but I did pick a law firm that is generally into the meritocracy idea, and isn’t known for their after work socializing.

            – Some control over my ability to schedule meetings/after work events. As far as my introversion goes, I’m an “outgoing introvert.” I’m extremely friendly and social when I’m around people, but it takes so much energy to be that way that it can take me days of alone time to require from big events. So, some control over my schedule helps me prevent scheduling back to back nights with client dinners or a whole day of meetings that would be difficult for me to handle.

            I hope that’s helpful!

    • Coach Laura :

      I think I’ve recommended this book before on this site but it is “The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success” by Nicholas Lore. It’s a good place to start for career exploration. You can’t really make a change without some idea of what you want or where you’re going, and this book guides you through exercises that a career coach/life coach would start with. Another helpful book is the ubiquitous “What Color is Your Parachute.”

      You could also hire a life coach – there are some that work via Skype or phone, if you are in a rural area. You could also try career services at your alma mater to see if they have any sources or classes.

    • I agree with others above that making a switch now, or going to school without a clear path would not be the best idea. When you are in undergrad, internships and informational interviews are a great way to learn about what you like don’t like. Is there a way that you can do that through you job? Like reaching out to some people within the company and learning what they do, what you find interesting or not interesting?

    • Five years ago, I was right where you are. I was in marketing and hating it. I ended up in marketing as a default after getting a communications degree and it was not something I ever would have actively chosen to do. But, I felt stuck. I had a young child and I couldn’t afford to quit and go back to school. I also didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life.

      I ended up losing my job in a layoff in 2008 (right after the crash) and the only job I could get was a lower-level, part-time job as a proposal writer/editor in a tiny local consulting firm. As I worked on new types of projects, I realized that I had other interests – specifically, organizational learning – that I might be able to do as a career. I ended up going back to school and getting a master’s degree in OLIT (organizational learning and instructional technology) and also getting a professional certification. I finished my master’s last year. In December, I started a new job with a pretty nice salary doing curriculum development and training, which is exactly what I wanted to do. So, for me, more education was the key to getting out of marketing. While I agree that job opportunities for MBAs and JDs are limited, there are niches in the job market where demand for qualified professionals outstrips supply. The U.S. Department of Labor has statistics and projections you can look at. It really is about trying to find what else might appeal to you and then figuring out how to make that a career. I know what I hated about marketing was 1. the high pressure to constantly come up with new, innovative ideas that would bring in more customers and 2. the pressure to “meet the numbers,” even though there were so many other factors involved in customer acquisition (product quality, customer service, etc.) that I had no control over. And, the fact that if someone made a mistake in an ad or a brochure it was both extremely public and expensive to fix. I don’t have to deal with those issues in my new work and it is a much better fit for my introverted and more process-oriented personality. Good luck!

  6. Pooch / lumpy-squishies question :

    Post 2 recent babies and just being older (40s) and just doing work – children, I am finding a new issue:

    the tummy pooch!
    and the lumpy-squishies around the back!

    My size is fine, but the front pooch throws sizing out of whack (so band size for bra is holding steady at 30, but waist is just shy of 30). Is it possible to spot-tighten?

    And along the rear view, size, again is OK, but it’s starting to need smoothing out under clothing. Winter tights are my friend, but in the summer, no that no one (not even me) wears hose, I am needing a warmer-weather smoothing solution. I have a few months to lunge, lunge, lunge and improve on the fitness front, but I’m thinking I may be able to purchase success. I have the Heather-From-RHONYC smoothing pants (they are nice in that I can breathe and they don’t go down to my knees). Is there something a bit firmer (can’t go any smaller in Heather, since it runs S-M and then M-L) that also isn’ t knee-length (need to go just south of my bottom)? Just buy a slip? HELP!!!

    • What about Spanx? They make a boy short version of their shorts-style smoother.

      Sorry about the squishies. I feel your pain. I’ve decided to call mine my badge of honor.

      • Agree that you should check out Spanx. There’s a light weight version that is great for summer — it is longer than boy short, basically like the control top part of hose — I usually size up for a smoothing but not constricting effect. A version of this is also available in the Target Assets Spanx brand.

    • Walking has helped me. But I do use the tummy squishers to keep it all in and looking good. And yes, shopping is quite the challenge, especially as I am a petite.

  7. Joining a gym? :

    I haven’t belonged to a gym in about two decades. But I generally like going to the gym in hotels when I travel on business. So I’ve finally convinced myself to find time in my schedule to go to a gym, and there’s one I could join that’s convenient to both my home and office. I don’t feel the need to go check it out first, because I know from other people it’s a nice gym and anyway, convenience is by far the most important thing.
    So this is seriously a stupid question, but what do I do to get started? Call and make an appointment to come in? Just walk and the door and say “hi, I want to join”? Do I go prepared to workout then and there? The gym’s website says you get a complimentary 45 minute session with a trainer where they assess your fitness (none, in my case!). Can I just walk in, join, and get on a treadmill now (at least it’s something I already know how to do!), and then do the personal trainer thing some other time?

    (I realize that these are really stupid questions. But I have some anxiety issues, which tend to manifest as me being unable to move forward with things because I obsess over what’s going to happen in an unknown situation, so breaking things down into baby steps helps me with that)

    • The answer to all of your questions is: generally, yes. You can just show up, you can make an appointment, whatever works. When you are there, they will probably show you around and tell you about their features, pitch personal training sessions, fill out forms, yadda yadda. If they offer a personal training session, you can schedule it at your convenience (just make sure it doesn’t have to be within the first 30 days or something). Do not feel stupid or anxious :).

      • Joining a gym? :

        Thanks. I do feel both stupid and anxious, and then I feel more stupid for feeling anxious. But it does help when people tell me it’s going be ok!

    • Call, say your interested but want to check it out. Just cause it’s a free day or week pass and they will give you the tour so it will still be worth it for you to know where everything is, ask questions (say classes or prices of personal training or to see if it is annoyingly crowded – so go at a rush hour, usually after work hours is the best time to gage how crowded the gym will be.

      Then say, thanks. Go workout. Get a feel for the place. and if you want to join the next day do so. You can call them. But if you dont dont worry they definitely will call you. :)

    • Research, Not Law :

      The two times I’ve joined a gym, I didn’t need an appointment. I could just walk in and be on the treadmill. However, the round-the-clock staff usually don’t handle it. For the smoothest registration and best introduction to the amenities, call ahead to find out when to come. For reference, these were both higher-end gyms.

      The trainer session could maybe be scheduled for the same day, but it’s not uncommon that you arrange for that separately. You’d need to ask about that.

      • Agree on calling to at least find out when to come. The gym I’ve gone to (NYSC) generally only has managers who do tours, membership, etc. there during regular business hours — so you wouldn’t want to go at 7 a.m. on a Tuesday. Otherwise, though, I’ve just walked in on a Saturday, maybe waited 5 minutes to talk to the manager, and been signed up within 30 minutes.

    • Planet Fitness, for what it's worth :

      I go to Planet Fitness (mostly because it’s cheap and has tons of cardio equipment, which is mostly what I use it for), and I walked in and said I was interested in joining and wanted a tour. They gave me a tour on the spot. I see people getting tours there ALL THE TIME, like literally every time I’m there. I can understand the anxiety aspect— I am totally like that too!

      I say it’s fine to just walk in, but if it would make you feel better, just call and say “hey, I’m thinking of joining, can I just pop in whenever, or should I set up an appointment?”

    • I sometimes feel the same way about unknown situations. One thing that may help you is to just call and ask them what the procedure is! Then you’ll hear it from the horses mouth and you can ask any question you want (and anonymously!). I do this whenever I am nervous about something and it makes me feel better about it all.

    • The fitnes assessment at my gym turned out to be a weigh-in followed by a session with a trainer, followed by a salespitch from the trainer. Not sure if you want to work with a trainer (I didn’t then, but am now considering it) but be advised that I found their rates *very* negotiable. (The quoted price dropped by ~50% by the time I said ‘no’ and left.)

      • Also, initiation fees are negotiable. (At least at my gym, which is super cheap but not very nice.)

    • You are me, a year later. I literally went to the front desk at the gym and said, “Hello, I haven’t gone to the gym since high school, I don’t know how to use the machines or anything. Help.” They were actually really happy I said that (I think a saw a few dollar signs in their eyes) and they asked me what my fitness goals were (I wanted to build muscle and learn how to run without stopping). They showed me around and hooked me up with a trainer and I learned how to use all of the machines in the place. Which I became addicted to. It’s important to learn proper form and technique of all of the strength training equipment – you don’t want to injure yourself. Good luck!

  8. May I whine? We’re one full month into the new year, a month in which I went to the gym 15 times (compared to about 4 times in each of November and December), and my weight on Feb. 1 is exactly the same as it was on Jan. 1. I did not expect to be 10 pounds lighter, but I thought surely I would lose at least 2 pounds. Nope, not me. My diet has not changed (and I track, so that’s not wishful thinking) and is pretty healthy overall. Phooey!

    • Congratulations on building muscle while losing fat!

      • oil in houston :

        thank you for this – I have exactly the same issue as Tuesday and your comment gave me some hope!

      • And doing something that is amazing for your body, no matter what number is on the scale!

    • You may whine. You may also have gained muscle and lost fat – do your clothes fit any better? Are you looking more toned? Do you generally just feel better? Surely you’re seeing SOME results! Try to focus on those, and keep up the good work!!

      • The whine is still on. My jeans actually feel tighter — though that is possibly due to the wicked dryers in the laundry room. No clothes feel looser. The only “better” I feel is less resistance to actually going to the gym (see: only 4 times/month before this).

        At least it’s Friday, so I can treat my whine with some wine and start all over again tomorrow.

        • Eeeevil dryers. Sounds like you have the right prescription for yourself, though: apply several glasses of wine, then repeat workout. Perhaps try mixing in some new workouts to change it up a bit, too? That’s definitely frustrating, though. Just imagine us as your little squad of cheerleaders *\o/* Go, Tuesday, go!

        • Tracking measurements instead of weight is really helpful when doing a change that’s mainly based on exercise. You may not be losing weight, but you are probably dropping inches.

        • I’ve had the same experience. For two months, I went to a personal trainer 4 days per week and felt the exact same way that you are describing. I actually gained a few pounds too. I fired the trainer and tried to do some solo exercising for a few months. That didn’t work either.

          I changed my diet after Christmas and I’ve lost far more pounds than I expected–my clothes are not tight anymore. I added a weekly hike to my routine but I think the diet change is more important.

    • SoCal Gator :

      Exercise is great, improves your health, toning, builds muscle etc. However, exercise alone normally will not produce much weight loss. It needs to be combined with calorie reduction. Do you track calories or have a general sense of what you ate last month — the same as before? If so, try to cut back by maybe 300-500 calories a day. Then the combo of the calories burned by exercise and the calorie reduction should produce a slow and steady weight loss. Programs like MyFitnessPal and LoseIt can be helpful both in tracking calories and in figuring out what your daily calorie goal should be to lose a pound or half a pound a week.

      The math is pretty simple. To lose one pound of fat in a week you need to create a 35oo calorie deficit over the amount of calories that you need to burn to maintain your present weight. Once you start losing fat and building muscle, your metabolism should increase so you burn more. No need to do anything dramatic but my experience is that exercise alone will not produce much weight loss. But exercise is essential along with calorie reduction, to achieve long term a difference on the scale.

      Don’t be discouraged. You have gotten off to an excellent start by establising some great exercise habits. Now some tweaks to what you eat should do the trick.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        As they say, abs are made in the kitchen before they’re made in the gym!

        • The food thing is daunting. I really do have a pretty healthy overall diet. A typical day is berries & cereal for breakfast (about 400-450 calories), quesadilla for lunch (under 500), and salad for dinner (also under 500) + 1-2 glasses of wine (say 300 at 1.5 glasses avg). For snacks, maybe a few almonds. No caloric drinks except the wine and the milk on the cereal. On the weekends, we might have some cheese and crackers before dinner, but then I don’t snack. So, all that is ~200 calories less than the BMR charts say I need for a day. The thought of cutting 300 to 500 is daunting. I could cut the wine (and have been working on smaller pours), but what else?

          • You might already do this- but try measuring things out. I’m using myfitnesspal and I was shocked when I realized my “serving” of cereal was actually 3x the serving size listed on the box. Same with cheese- an oz of cheese seemed pathetically small in the beginning. You might find when you start measuring that your cereal + milk is actually closer to 600, your quesadilla is actually closer to 700, the toppings that you put on your salad (cheese, seeds, croutons, dressing, etc.) might actually bump it up to close to 700. You might already measure and it might be totally irrelevant, but this was truly the one thing that helped me change my habits!

            It totally changed my mindset- I shouldn’t feel like I’m being good when I’m having my favorite salad, because the ingredients of my salad actually meant it was actually more calories than a nice piece of fish, a potato, steamed veggies, and some chocolate. Just a thought!

      • Yes, but theoretically if one’ s diet didn’t change and they increased caloric expenditures by going to the gym 3-4 x the amount they used to, weight would go down. (same calories in + more calories out = reduction in overall calories)

        However, in my own experience, I do not see weight loss immediately. It usually takes 3-4 months of better eating / working out or both for there to be a loss. Then, all of a sudden, it just drops.

        I don’t buy the building muscle theory. It takes even longer to build muscle than it does to lose fat. Keep up the good work and I bet by April, you’ll see a change.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          I think a lot of people overcompensate by eating more, unintentionally (your body sees it expended more energy and makes you hungrier!) or intentionally (I went to the gym, I can have a cupcake) while exercising more leading to weight gain or maintenance.

        • That was my theory, too. As I mentioned, I track my food, so I know my intake has not changed. Looking forward to a drop just in time for Spring dresses.

      • Yup. Gotta eat less.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      But how do your clothes feel/fit? I bet you’ve lost inches and toned etc… Keep going!

    • Don’t worry, I’m having the same problem. The only week I actually lost any weight was the week I had a sinus infection and basically couldn’t eat anything but soup. Though I think my pants may be a liiiiitle looser, so maybe some toning is going on? But think of it as fitness gained. I have actually made it to the sixth week of couch to 5k and can run for a straight 25 minutes, whereas I was pretty much dying after 3 minutes when I joined the gym back in November. So my suits still don’t fit any better, but at least I’m not panting from exhaustion after climbing the subway stairs.

      • Thanks — I think I’ll stop exercising and start “gaining fitness”. I’m glad it’s not just me. And maybe a month isn’t enough time. I just really thought that 2 pounds was not too much to ask.

        • anon right now :

          I feel the same way! I’ve been working out since september and I haven’t lost any weight/gotten smaller (but I’m not overweight and I’m a 4-6). BUT I know my legs are a lot stronger, which is why i started working out to begin with because of a knee injury. I think we all need to think about working out as being healthy and not necessarily weight/size focused.

    • Do you feel like your muscles have firmed up but you just haven’t lost any size? My experience every single time I have hit exercise hard after having let myself lose muscle tone is that the first thing that happens is that my muscles get firmer and even larger, and they do it under my “blubber layer”. Result: though fitter, I get larger and actually gain weight. However, if i keep at it despite that rather depressing initial result, the next thing that happens is that the blubber layer begins to melt bit by bit. I don’t know it for a fact, but I suspect this can happen to those of us who build muscle relatively easily.

      • Interesting… not sure that I feel firmer, but I would say I feel a bit stronger, which maybe amounts to the same thing.

        Now working on keeping at it.

      • Anonymous :

        Lilly, I’m so glad you said this… I could have written this word for word! I definitely build muscle easily and always find that ‘muscle building under blubber’ stage to be so disheartening. Just happy to hear I’m not the only one who experiences this!

    • I’ve heard that when you start exercising regularly and really trying to build muscle you can actually gain weight initially because your muscles are retaining more water, which you can combat by drinking more water to help flush it. Also, once your muscles are used to being worked harder they don’t hold onto the water as much.

      If I were you I’d concentrate on how you feel. I know if I start exercising less frequently I start feeling like crap, and then when I get back into it I feel amazing again. It’s funny, on the days I run I think I look thinner than on the days I don’t. I’m 100% sure it’s psychological, but it’s interesting how drastically my body image changes.

  9. Kontraktor :

    Does anybody have any insight into how to choose certificate programs/continuing education options? My employer has some generous education benefits that I want to take advantage of, but it’s not quite good enough (nor is it really in my situation right now) to pay for a full additional degree. So, I am trying to figure out what certs/programs/etc. to maybe look into instead.

    I am at the disadvantage of being young in my career with no super clear idea of where I want to go long term. I was in government consulting before and am now in finance analytics/consulting. My backround is area studies. I think ultimately I’d like to get back into government work/intel analytics/financial topics related to area or international studies, etc.

    So, what sorts of things should I be looking at or considering? Or, what things should be factoring into my decision/search? What certs do corporate employers care about?

    • Francie Nolan :

      Big Data is a Big Thing! (corny I know) Stanford has a certificate program in Big Data Mining

    • Backgrounder :

      It sounds like we may have similar interests/backgrounds. I work in financial/litigation consulting have degrees in history/polisci/IR. Working toward CFE credential. Also looking to get back into gov’t work.

      Perhaps Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) or CAMS (Certified Anti-Money Laundering) certification? I’m seeing the CFE credential more and more as a “nice to have”/additional credential and some jobs which even require it.

      • Kontraktor :

        These seem like super simple/straightforward certs. Are they really that simple?

        Right now, my two more substantial contenders are 2 university extension programs (4 courses each, one in general business analytics with a heavy component on process management and one in something that is more like harder economic/financial analysis). But, I like these more general ideas too.

        • Backgrounder :

          The CFE credential is pretty simple. Looks like you want a more hardcore financial analysis cert.

          • Kontraktor :

            Honestly it might be perfect. Apparently our policy on having to pay back funds if you leave is pretty strict, so… cost will be a factor, despite the provision. Something like these that you mentioned look simple, easy, cheap, and FUN! I am definitely going to consider. Thanks for letting me know about them.

      • Econ/Financial Consulting :

        To add two cents from an economic/financial consulting perspective, have you considered training on data and statistical software? SAS, Oracle, SAP, etc? Many of these companies provide “certificates” that can enhance your resume if analytics are of interest.

    • Area studies makes me think of foreign languages…but I may be projecting my own hopes and dreams on to you.

      • Kontraktor :

        I have functional proficiency/graduate level study in Russian already and it did me jackrabbit in terms of getting into an area studies/intl relations/etc job. Heck even my old government consulting company didn’t care (and I have a security clearance too!). Most people actually laugh at my Russian study and tell me it’s dumb and irrelevant. Probably won’t be diving into more language study any time soon…

  10. Bewitched :

    I would call first. Ask to speak to membership. Ask them to confirm some basic information: do you sign a contract, for how long, what are the monthly fees etc? I would ask all these questions even if you don’t care about the answers. At the end of the call, say something along the lines of “that sounds great! I’m definitely interested in joining. What is my next step?”. At my gym, the membership director would set up an appointment for you to come in, sign your contract, and he/she would give you a tour of the facilities. You could definitely work out at the end of the tour. In any event, I think that having the membership director walk you through next steps will definitely alleviate your anxiety. Good luck!

  11. VeryAnonForThis :

    Long, baby-related threadjack – sorry – this feels very strange to post, but I’ve lately been having major “I want a baby! A family!” pangs. I’m married but feel I’m fairly young (28) and early in my career, to be having these thoughts. I’ve only been in my current job a year (although it’s a baby-friendly place). DH is a little older (30s) and definitely wants a family. We agreed before we were even married that we’d put it off for quite some time, but now I’m thinking I don’t want to put it off as long. Here’s the problem – and this is embarrassing/weird to say – but I’ve been too cavalier in my “wow, I’m soooo not ready for a baby” and “I love my job more than anything” and “I can’t imagine having to fit a baby in” or “I don’t even really like babies” comments. DH said to me the other day that he thinks we’re not ready to have a baby (a lot of which was based on my running commentary over the last couple years). That made me freak out! I DO want a baby, but I’ve been a total loser in trying to convince myself and everyone that I DON’T want a baby because I value my career, life, etc. so much. Now what to do I do?! This is mostly a vent, and I know it might not make any sense, but do you other partnered/with babies/trying ladies have any advice on how I can brooch the subject with DH without sounding insane or insincere? I don’t want to push him into having a baby either, of course, and want him to feel ready, and am now afraid that I’ve inadvertently made him feel it’s a bad idea. How did you all know when you were ready as a couple?

    • (1) Breathe. (2) Talk to him. Perhaps over wine. Pretty close to exactly what you said to us is more than ok: “I know I’ve been saying for a long time that I want to put having a baby off for multiple years, but lately I’ve realized that I may just have been trying to convince myself. I think I do want to consider having them sooner, and your comment the other day really crystalized that for me — what do you think?”. This is your life! You are allowed to change your mind!

    • Are you me? I’m not married (yet), but I live with my boyfriend of 2 years. We’ve been talking about getting engaged next year/going ring shopping this summer, so marriage seems to be in the cards, which is exciting.

      Almost overnight, I went from, “Oh, won’t it be great when it happens, years in the future?” to super ready for a family/kids right now. I’ll be 25 this month, and no one is more surprised than I am by my sudden change in attitude. I used to be, “Eww, babies! I can’t even imagine that!” and now I can’t wait to have one. WTF is going on?

      • goldribbons :

        If baby urges get distracting, start thinking of the things you do by yourself that you’ll never be able to do by yourself again (for the foreseeable future after having a baby). Things like: sleeping in on Saturday morning; walking around by yourself; etc.

    • Talk to him. Second the “over wine.” I’m your age and felt the same way. We decided to pull the goalie and see what happened. that was a few months back, and I think we may start officially TTC in the summer if nothing happens by then.

      With my DH, all it took was a quick reminder that he wants 2-3 kids, and I don’t want to be pregnant after 35 if possible. He did the math and agreed that while there will never be a “good time,” we may as well get going…

    • Second petitesq. Consider also that there might never be that be totally perfect moment when you decided you’re ready for a baby and to go for it. Or even if there is some magic moment, sometimes the pregnancy doesn’t happen according to the plan/timetable you envisioned. Or life throws you some other curve that you weren’t really expecting. (Life!! What’s up with that?)

      Start the conversation, then take it where it goes. Maybe he confesses he’s hoping you’d say this. Maybe he really wants more time. But having an open dialogue about everything (your feelings, his feelings, job issues, etc.) will make the entire process better for you both, whether you start tomorrow or in five years.

    • Totally allowed to change your mind. Maybe talk about anything you want to do before having a child like pay off some debts, take a big vacation, buy a house, get your disability insurance in place, etc. Plus, wanting a baby doesn’t mean that one appears in your home tomorrow. Even if you got pregnant tonight, it’s still going to be 9 months before the baby is here. There is a a lot you can adjust to and prepare for in 9 months.

    • darjeeling :

      I was you at about the same age, and I finally realized that my husband and I weren’t really likely to get more mature and we were in a good place financially, so it was time to pull the trigger since we both knew we wanted kids _eventually_. We didn’t feel ready exactly b/c there’s kind of never a perfect time. It took a year to get pregnant though so I had more time to get used to the idea.

    • I went through this exactly. DH and I had many, many conversatiosn while we were dating / engaged to the tune of “You have to be OK if I never want kids.” And I thought I never did. And now I am a TTC crazyperson. DH was so, so, so relieved and happy that I changed your mind. I think if you just explain it to him the way you’ve explained it to us, you’ll be in great shape. It’s OK to change your mind!

    • VeryAnonForThis :

      Thank you so much for your replies everyone! It makes me feel much better knowing some of you have felt the same way! And you’re right – I just need to talk to him. I’m never nervous to talk to him about anything, but this feels so odd/scary/exciting. Wine + good food + “hey, having a baby would be fun!” … could be an interesting weekend?!

    • You could be me as well except for the part about being nervous to talk to my husband about it, because we’ve discussed it. I actually never wanted kids until I met my husband (5 yrs ago) and although I wanted to have one with him at some point, I never imagined I would get “baby fever”. We had both always thought 31-32 would be a nice age and I was 100% ok with that and looking forward to all that we would do in the interim: expensive vacation, fancy meals out, working long hours to earn lots of money, spending lots of quality time just us two, etc. and then all of a sudden 28 is here and I have baby fever. I don’t think we will try for at least another year or two because of career/logistical considerations but I definitely feel much more anxious about it now than I did before. Instead of just abstractly wanting to have a family some day, I suddenly want a real live baby in my arms right now. So I think you’re perfectly normal (mabye there’s something about being 28) & as everyone else has said, definitely talk to your husband and see how he feels!

    • Flying Squirrel :

      As someone who basically turned on a dime (okay, well over about 2 months) from, “I’m so far from being ready to commit to getting married I need to establish myself first…” to, “I can’t believe you haven’t proposed yet??!!” (actually, he kind of had been hinting for a long while that he was ready to but see previous attitude)…I think it’s not at all insane to change your mind. The fact that you had been talking about having a baby so much indicates that it’s been on your mind for a while. And if you’re like me, major life decisions are hard…but when you know you really know!!

      And hopefully your DH understands you’re like that. Totally agree with the above, just broach it with your DH, acknowledge that it may seem like a change of heart, but tell him you’re ready. If he still has reasons to think you both aren’t, let him know.

      But, and I don’t mean to sound like a interfering auntie, 28 isn’t really all that young for TTC (you don’t say how long you’ve been married). I started trying at 33 and wish we had started much earlier. Many career things are still up in the air, others would have settled regardless, but what I am for sure is 2 years into TTC, 2 IUIs, 4 IVFs, 2 miscarriages, and now on the brink of surgery to remove scarring (due to previous miscarriage). I know people like me are a small minority, but it’s not negligible. And the chances you’ll have problems only go up with age. I’m not saying try before you’re ready, but if you are ready…you’re definitely not too young.

  12. Work clothes TJ! I’m a 1L and will be doing an internship this summer at a business casual law office. I have a navy blue suit, black pencil skirt, kelly green pencil skirt, leopard pencil skirt, black cigarette pants, light gray trousers and camel trousers as office appropriate bottoms. I’m feeling flummoxed on what color tops to combine with them aside from obvious white/cream, black, black/white pattern. The camel pants are easier, but otherwise I don’t know. I’m a pale blonde with green eyes, and tend to wear emerald green, coral/tangerine, white/cream, black, navy blue, bright periwinkle. I don’t wear pastels, red looks good on me but I always feel so dramatic in it (especially with black), and yellow makes me look like death. Not a big pink fan, although some very saturated pinks are OK. You ladies always have such good ideas on color combos, so help porfa!

    • I have a kelly green pencil skirt & I usually pair it with a navy-and-white striped blouse, light blue, black, cream with gold flecks, & a black-and-white checkered shirt. A deeply saturated pink could also look cute, and I think patterned shirt + solid pencil skirt is always a good look (J. Crew makes a navy blue Liberty shirt with patterned flowers that I wear with my green skirt, and they have some other cute patterned button-downs as well).

      Leopard print you should treat as a neutral: besides black and white, how about royal blue? Red would also look nice, or coral; a darker yellow or a darker/hunter green top would also work. After a while I tend to get lazy at work and just resort to black + obvious neutral top, but if that happens you can always jazz up with bright jewelry (I like chunky neon statement necklaces or a few bright bangles) or a lightweight silk scarf.

    • lucy stone :

      Ignoring the standard blacks and whites…

      Navy blue suit: you can literally wear anything with this. It would look great with emerald green underneath, or coral.

      Black cigarette pants/Black pencil skirt: emerald green or coral would look great, or grey.

      Kelly pencil skirt: navy tops, light blue, gray

      Leopard pencil skirt: not sure besides black/white/cream here

      Light grey trousers: any of the colors you like to wear, coral, tangerine, navy blue, periwinkle

      Camel trousers: see light grey

      I’d encourage you to get a couple structured cardigans in grey and navy blue to make mixing and matching easier.

  13. Anyone here done Botox? I really want to get my forehead and furrow lines done, but my SO (who is a medic) is really concerned about it. My sort-of researched impression is that Botox is considered safe, especially when administered by a dermatologist (rather than at a medspa, or similar place). Any thoughts on this from the wise Hive?

    • I do it & love it. The risks are out there (mostly, they don’t know the long-term effects & there are some crummy providers) & for me, the benefit outweigh them. I wouldn’t rule out a medspa – that’s where I go b/c it’s run by a plastic surgeon & staff who do botox are all docs/nurses. For me, that’s as good as/same thing as a derm.

      • Agreed- I guess I used “medspa” as a catch all for the “crummy providers” that you reference. Of course there are some that do it the right way. Thanks for your advice!

    • I also get Botox on my forehead and between my eyebrows and I love it. I go to a dermatologist and have not had any problems.

      • +1. I started doing it when I was 26 because I was getting a deep furrow between my brows. I’m now 32 and the furrow almost isn’t noticeable. I go 3-4 times per year and consider the cost to be well worth it ($300/treatment).

        I also go to a dermatologist and have not had any problems.

        • Part of my hesitation was that I’m only 30, so it seems like I shouldn’t need to do it yet, but I do, and I probably should have started when I was 25/26. I should have been more proactive like you! Thanks!

          • I’m 31, if it makes you feel better. I’ve only been getting it for a year. One benefit of starting before the wrinkles get too deep is that you need less. I only get 20 units between the two areas.

    • I get botox for a medical treatment. From speaking with my doctor and my own research, it is considered generally safe, though there can be some odd side effects if not properly done (like drooping eyebrows). As another poster said, there are some questions as to long-term effects, but my doctor explained that there are not many serious concerns of this considering how long people have been getting it for cosmetic purposes.

      Regarding the choice of getting it, here are my thoughts:
      1. It can be incredibly painful. Yes, it is temporary pain and depends on the person injecting, but a few times that I’ve gotten it, it’s been just excruciating.
      2. Given 1, the high price, and that it is optional, I’d consider just how important it is to you. I’m not saying it is a bad choice, since it is obviously a good choice for some, just that it is definitely something to consider. On the other hand, if you think you really want it, it doesn’t hurt to get it once – you can always decide to keep getting it or not after the first session!

      Best of luck!

    • I do it regularly have no regrets. In the grand scheme of things including heart disease and car accidents, the risks are actually quite small (says the actuary in the group.)

  14. Anonymous :

    I’m posting as anonymous because there is a really good chance this post will identify me. I have the opposite problem of confused, above. I’m a lawyer by trade, but my post-school work history is spotty, I spent 8 months doing hourly contract work for a trial attorney and then 7 months as an analyst reviewing foreclosure files (with the Independent Foreclosure Review) before that ended and my entire office was laid off. I really don’t want to go back to law, I really enjoyed my job as analyst, and I’ve always loved quantitative analysis, so I would like to get a job doing marketing analysis or business analysis. For example, this is my dream job, but I don’t have the work experience they require: http://www.srg.com/careers/research-analyst

    I have experience with most major statistical programs from my stat minor in college, but that was five years ago. I’m taking free online classes through coursera right now on data analysis and R to beef back up my rusty statistics background, but that’s not work experience. I know I’ll have to apply for mainly entry level analyst positions, but I’m not even sure hiring managers will take a second look at me for those.

    So my question for our commenter in business and analysis fields is this: Would you even consider hiring someone with my background for a business or marketing analysis position? If so, is there anything that someone with my background can do to increase my chances short of going back to school for another degree? If anyone has made this transition, do you have any advice for me?

    • Research, Not Law :

      I’m in science/medical research, but I think the analytic arms are quite similar.

      You *need* to know SAS. If you do, then don’t worry about the rest. With less than a year of analyst experience, you’ll start in an entry position – but moving up should happen smoothly. I wouldn’t worry about going back to school to get a degree. They won’t care what your degree is in, etc. Ability to program is key, a stat minor should be close enough. My coworkers range from having advanced degrees in statistics to having liberal arts degrees and somehow learning to code. Without a strong statistics background, you may be doing more data management than analysis, but that can vary.

      With R under your belt, SAS should feel familar. The company does online trainings and look for a SAS User Group in your area to connect with local training.

      Set up an informational interview with the group with the posting.

      • Legitimate question: are we in the same office?

        • Research, Not Law :

          Assuming your name is really Jennifer, no. But that tells me there must be consistency in the field!

      • Thanks so much for the advice. I spent a while on the SAS website and found my local SAS users group. It looks like the cheapest version they have is $200, I’ll do that if I have to, but I’m going to spend some more time looking around for cheaper options, maybe through a local college or university, before I drop $200 while unemployed.

        • So I appear to have totally given myself away, ah well…

        • Research, Not Law :

          In all honesty, SAS training is expensive. You probably won’t find anything cheaper – although a full semester college course may be a better bargin in terms of hours of instruction per dollar.

          And no, it’s not fair to be job hunting along-side engineers. GL!

      • Lady Harriet :

        Oooh, that sounds like my dream job too! I have a related question. I’m a 2011 grad with a major in econ and minor in math. I really only had a couple of statistics classes in college. I was unemployed/working retail for a year after I graduated, then I was hired by one of my old professors to work for her as a research assistant (working mostly on economic sociology topics, and helping with her classes as well.)

        The problem is, I only really know Stata and Excel. I realize that Stata seems to be the ugly stepsister of stat software, but that’s what my university used (because all the professors knew it). I’ve done some consulting on the side doing work with Excel and Stata in the past few months, and I’m revising my senior thesis to try to submit it for publication. (It was in econometrics.)

        Am I hireable for an entry-level analyst position, or totally kidding myself by applying for these sorts of jobs? My current boss is fantastic, but I’m funded by soft money and we both went into it knowing I’d only be working for her temporarily. I’m hoping to find a permanent job by sometime this summer, and I’m also looking in a different state from where I currently live, which I know makes things difficult. I’m open to learning SAS or SPSS, but they’re so expensive and I’d rather focus on finding a job and then learn them after I have one, if possible.

        • You have exactly the qualifications that all of the jobs I’m applying for are looking for. I don’t think you have anything to worry about. A math minor is much more impressive than a statistics minor, everyone will know you can pick up the statistics.

          I don’t know if this would interest you, but my brother has a background very similar to yours and got a job right out of college with a major Washington, D.C. think tank. So if that’s something you’re interested in, you’re definitely qualified.

          • Lady Harriet :

            Thanks for the suggestion! I have family and a lot of friends in the DC area, but I don’t think it would be the right fit for me. I’m hoping to find a job in the Dallas area, so we’ll see how that goes.

            Hopefully employers will see how fabulous and talented both of us are and offer us ALL THE ANALYST JOBS

          • Lady Harriet :

            Also, I don’t think a math minor is any more impressive than a stats one! I just happened to go to a school that was too small to teach more than a handful of stats classes. :)

        • If you’re looking to stay in Dallas and are a recent grad I would apply to the Dallas Fed, they take research assistants for 2-3 positions with your background (emphasize your coding abilities) and pay well.

          • Lady Harriet :

            Ohh, thanks! That’s a great idea. I’m currently living in another state, but I think Dallas would be a good fit for a number of reasons. I looked at the Fed job listings, and there’s one that looks like a possibility. This site is the best. :)

    • The large corporation I work at hires law grads for Analyst positions with much less experience than you, and gives a mix of formal and on-the-job training. Maybe it’s a regional thing, I think here in the Silicon Valley you’d have a much easier time finding a job as an analyst than an attorney/counsel.

    • Banker's wife :

      There could be opportunity for you in banking – I know people who do nothing but “work out” loans (figuring out what to with accounts that are not paying/profitable) . It sounds like your foreclosure experience could be a good fit.

      • I’m applying for banking jobs, but so far haven’t heard back from any despite applying for a couple of dozens of positions. My office consisted of about 700 people, so I think a lot of the banking jobs in my area are filling up quick.

    • I wouldn’t give up on law just yet. I work for a labor and employment law firm and we have associates (and a practice group) committed to doing nothing but statistical analysis. Especially in L&E, we have so many clients that need disparate impact analysis and/or damage analysis for class or collective actions. Many of those attorneys have backgrounds similar to yours.

      • That’s very interesting, I’ve never heard of anything like that before. I’ll definitely look around and see what the labor and employment firms/practice groups in my area are doing.

      • Anon for this :

        I was just about to suggest the same thing. Tons of litigation requires statistical, economic, and financial analysis. Google economic consulting and you should find a bunch of firms that specialize in this. While typically these firms are retained by law firms (and thus aren’t populated by lawyers themselves), I don’t see why you couldn’t leverage your law and statistical backgrounds when applying for an analyst position.

        Also, I second everything said about SAS above. Having SAS on your resume at my firm gets you that extra consideration that can be key to landing an interview.

        • I wonder if you can find work at one of the expert consulting firms. Our experts in our securities litigation cases use a ton of stats, and if it’s anything like law, the guy that signs and testifies is supported by a small army of people under him who do a lot of the heavy lifting. You could be one of the lifters :). The expert gig looks like an awesome one.

          • Anon for this :

            I am one of those little people :) The economic consulting industry includes firms that do everything from securities to IP to ERISA litigation.

      • Great stats skills are also very helpful in securities litigation.

    • I work in statistics/research for medical data, and depending on the data you’re analyzing a “spotty” law background could be very useful. Besides the obvious contract and intellectual property aspects associated with analyzing other peoples data; a HUGE part of my day-to-day is just maintaining documentation of when we got data, who has seen it, what we’ve changed, etc. , and just being able to explain in layman’s terms to non-statisticians what this data “means”. Especially for entry level, yes hiring managers will look at you.

      • Thank you everyone for all your advice! I’m glad to hear that I have a shot at this with my background (without going back to school again). I was applying for jobs and not getting any nibbles and beginning to worry that hiring managers were taking one look at my resume and laughing their heads off. Now that I know it’s just the standard application rigamarole, I’ll redouble my efforts.

        Off-topic: There is nothing more depressing than job searching with your husband and roommate, both of whom are mechanical engineers with master’s degrees and work experience. They’re both going on callback interviews this week. I haven’t even gotten an interview! I’m not surprised, but it’s disheartening.

        • Kontraktor :

          Coming from somebody who switched industries, make sure your resume highlights all your data analytics skills and includes key words. Even if you wouldn’t generally describe your previous jobs as data intensive, put bullet points on your resume that highlight those projects. I was appliying to jobs in 2 totally different industries, so I had resumes for each. Obviously I had the same positions on each, I just highlighted way different projects/aspects of each job. If you’re not getting bites, it could partially be that your resume doesn’t read as analytical/the right key words aren’t present/etc.

        • I worked as a marketing analyst for a large credit card company for several years. I am no longer in the industry but I know that there has been a lot of turnover and that there are many open positions in analytics. Few places hire as many marketing or risk analysts as credit card companies. I’m not sure whether you would be interested since it can be hard to think of yourself as helping people when you work for a credit card company. They are also only located in certain parts of the country (a bunch in Delaware, one in Maryland, etc.) and you may need to relocate.

          I started out of college with basically no SAS experience. SAS is easy to learn. I also had only taken a couple of Stat classes, and with the exception of the Modeling department, most other analysts could get by on very little Stat experience. I found the work interesting because it’s such a data-rich industry and there are always endless questions to answer. In my particular area, I was also able to work on analyzing data from other industries and companies, which can be similar to consulting work.

  15. Amelia Bedelia :

    So, shuellas? I just saw Kat recommend them on ATL. Does any one own them? are they really that great? the concept seems awesome, but I have never seen them in real life . . .

    • Boston 1L :

      These look great! They would have been pretty helpful the past few weeks here. I’d like to see comments as well.

  16. I have 2 promo coupon codes for 20% off J. Crew factory purchases of $125 or more. Valid through 3-31. I assume they’re each single-use, so just post if you’ve taken one of them. Enjoy!




  17. Is anybody else just beat and happy it’s finally Friday? My schedule has been packed from one end to the other. Looking forward to the weekend!

    What are you all doing for the Super Bowl? My friend and I are doing a low-key party with 4 adults (all women) and 3 kids. She has guests coming in for the game, but of course, they’ll be at the Dome while we’re there and we are staying far away from the craziness downtown. I bought her a Ravens candy jar and M&M’s for her guests. Anyway, I made barbecued beef and I’m making homemade onion dip and may be baking cookies or brownies.

    • NOLA, I’m so jealous you’re in NOLA (from a neighboring state, went there all the time when I lived at home)! The main thing I miss is widely available King Cakes. I think I’m going to make a King Cake from scratch and serve it to my guests. I did it last year, and all the people from outside the Mardi Gras zone just loved it. It’s a real pain to do, but it’s my only solution!

      • Oh, that’s funny because I stopped eating king cake years ago. I’m not a big fan of sweet yeast dough/cinnamon roll kinds of things. I also figured that if I tell myself that I just don’t eat king cake, I don’t have to think about it every time I see one (which is often). I do have a fun king cake baby necklace (baby standing in a high heeled shoe). Molly McNamara does a line of them that are so cute – I’ve bought the one with the purse, the one with fairy wings, and the one with a puppy recently for friends.

        Did you know that you can have king cake shipped to you? I’ve done it very successfully with friends from out of state.

    • It wasn’t a long week for me until yesterday, when my month end close ended up being way later than usual. Thank goodness it’s only once a month – those of you who regularly pull 14hr days – I don’t know how you do it!

      Not doing anything for Superbowl here, we aren’t football fans. And we don’t get the good commercials in Canada because the Canadian TV stations simulcast over top of the American stations, so we only get the commercials that are also showing on the Canadian stations. Which makes me sad – I always look for them on youtube the next week.

    • SoCalAtty :

      Yes. I’m 1 week into my last 2 weeks at this firm, and they have decided that they will try and pile enough work on my that I am both out of the office more than normal, AND I need to physically be working at my desk for about 14 hours a day.

      I basically made a list of what I am working on, created a column for “priority numbers,” and handed it to the partners, telling them “this is what I’m working on and in this order. Let me know if you want me to do something different, because it does not look like I am going to finish by my last day.”

      No idea what we are doing for the Super Bowl – possibly going to a party, possibly staying home and hanging out to watch. We’ll see!

    • This was the longest shortest week I’ve had in a long time. So relieved to see the weekend.

      I’m going to a friend’s house to watch the Super Bowl. Bringing seven-layer dip and taquitos or some other frozen finger food we can reheat. I’m looking forward to seeing a bunch of people I haven’t seen in awhile.

    • I am trying to ignore the superbowl. The city is going nuts about the Niners if course. To the extent I watch football at all, my team is the Raiders so I dont really care. (I do care about baseball, and it has been tough to be an A’s fan around here for a few years.)

      i have actually had superbowl parties in the past and had a lot of fun. One year, we went with one of my then-husband’s friends at daybreak to Fort Point and trapped some crabs. We drank bloody marys on the pier while waiting for the crabs to come along. Then we cooked the crabs for the party. I will never forget that.

      But my house now isn’t set up for a TV oriented party. The living room downstairs houses my piano and a sitting area. We dont have a family room. Our TV is in a spare bedroom upstairs. I’m sure I will sneak upstairs to watch the ads from time to time. (Fun fact, i used to date a marketing exec who spent a year putting together a superbowl ad – i have a whole new appreciation for them now.)

      And now I’m off to google king cake. Have fun, NOLA!

      • https://www.randazzokingcake.com/pages/History-of-King-Cakes.html

        Randazzo’s is one of the favorites. Also Haydel’s. But now there are a bunch of places making more “gourmet” kingcakes and some that are more traditionally French. But it’s basically a braided yeast dough with cinnamon baked in a circle or oval. Sometimes just plain, sometimes filled with fruit or cream cheese filling. Usually iced with white icing and purple, green and gold sugar. They usually have a plastic baby in them. The person who gets the baby in their king cake brings the next one.

  18. Thanks for the responses from Houston Attny and others yesterday. I actually did get let go. I am very nervous about my financial situation but think that years from now I will look back on this and think of it as a good thing. My new question is for people without advanced degrees. If you just had a B.A., how did you decide what to do? right now I am obviously going to be looking for any job, but I would like to target my search to something I would enjoy and excell at. The problem is, I really have no idea how to figure that out. My interests include history and enviromental issues, I am very detail oriented and organized, and am more extrovert than introvert. For those that didn’t have a set trade or career path, how did you find something you love? (or at least – something pretty good) just trial and error?

    • Houston Attny :

      Oh my. I’m so sorry to hear that. Mainly b/c the stress of not having a job is a lot, not b/c you got let go from a great place. You didn’t. From what you said yesterday, it sounds like got let go from a nut farm – they sounded wacky! I’m still sorry, though, b/c I know you are worried about finances.

      One suggestion (and I apologize to those who have seen me post this before) is Marcus Buckingham’s strength life test. There’s actually a book called Your Strong Life Now (with a subtitle something like What the Happiest and Most Successful Women do Differently). His whole point is that your strengths are things that make you feel strong, and your weaknesses are things that make you feel weak. This being opposed to my conventional thinking that strengths are things I’m good at and weaknesses are things I’m bad at. Perhaps start by googling ‘marcus buckingham strong’ and you can see where he was on Oprah, etc, and take the test.

      I hope this is a time of rediscovery for you and that this weekend, you can feel a little better. Thinking of you!

      • Thanks so much. Honestly, you have no idea how much your responses have meant. I haven’t really even told my friends about this yet. Your kind words are really, really appreciated.

        • Houston Attny :

          Bless your heart. You are young, and I really want you to find something you love or at least something where you are not bullied, where you can grow and learn without people attacking you every step of the way.

          Perhaps you can spend some time thinking about the things you love doing on your job and in your personal life. To me, the strengths test thing was helpful b/c one thing it said I was good at was being a connector, introducing people to each other, etc. I didn’t even know that was a thing, you know? It was small, but when I read it, I knew “yes! I do love to do that!” (I promise, I do not work for Marcus Buckingham and have never met the dude, seen him live, whatever.) It made sense why I have no problem asking people for money for an oranzation or cause if I serve on its board and know people who care about the cause – trying to connect them with something where they have a passion. (In full disclosure, I don’t get to do this in my job, just on the side.) I wonder if you reflect on things you enjoy, you might reach some conclusions or direction. I would write them down, but mainly b/c I’m entirely forgetful.

          (I have no idea why, but event planning for a non-profit sounds like something you might enjoy. Combining your retail experience – isn’t that what mentioned in your post yesterday that you previously did? – and your experience dealing with demanding crazy people!)

  19. wise ladies, any tips for faking or actually having more confidence at work? I’m a smart but introverted lawyer and I think my hesitancy/lack of forcefulness (for lack of a better word) threatens to be a bit career-limiting. Self-doubt isn’t a great trait to display when I’m recommending a course of action to a client, and I’m tired of feeling it despite the fact that I generally do know what I’m talking about.

    Would a career coach help here?

    • Divaliscious11 :

      How long have you been practicing? Totally anecdotal, but all of my female friends went through various stages of imposter syndrome, and then it finally clicks that you really are good at what you do, and that self confidence comes through, whether you are an introvert or not. But you are right – self doubt in a counselor will be career limiting – IF YOU LET IT SHOW! So is it that you appear less confident or that you ARE less confident? (sorry for the Ellen caps)

      • I agree with this completely. I’d say I went through 2+ years of impostor syndrome, until I finally realized “Hey – I actually *do* know this subject matter and I can coherently talk about these things.” I’m 5 years out now, and I’m actually starting to thoroughly enjoy my job. I had a lot of self-doubt when I would recommend things to clients initially simply because I had self-doubt about EVERYTHING. Now that I actually know what I’m talking about, I can say things more confidently.

        I think a career coach might help, or even talking to a mentor or partner that you’re close with. For reference, I’m usually an extroverted introvert on personality tests and I was WELL acquainted with “fake it ’til you make it.”

      • Anon (OP) :

        been practicing more than 5 years, and I’m pretty good at speaking confidently about my main area and about a deal’s issues once I’ve gotten familiar with them, but am less good at being confident and decisive when I’m out of my comfort zone– I realize most people probably are, I just need to fake it better than I am doing now.

        • Divaliscious11 :

          That isn’t lack of self confidence, that is completely appropriate if you are asked for guidance outside your area of SME. But there is a way to express lack of knowledge confidently. It’s the smart person who can say, here is my space of knowledge, let me confer with colleagues, do some additional research, consult with X etc….

    • I used to be horribly unassertive/shy and have improved using the “fake it ’til you make it” strategy. There was actually some study (sorry, I don’t have the link) that showed you can affect your own personality and improve your confidence by changing your body language and pretending to be a confident person.

      First I changed my body language. Forced myself to look people in the eye, sit up straight, uncross my arms/legs, keep my shoulders back and head up, etc. Then I tried to work on how I spoke. Even when I wasn’t entirely certain of something, I tried to keep my voice steady and firm while avoiding a shaky or questioning tone. It’s a lot like acting. Imagine the confident, competent lawyer you want to be and imitate that. Finally, I made small goals for myself: “Today I’m going to speak up in the meeting,” or “Today I’m going to invite my coworker out to lunch.” Then I would reward myself for following through.

      • Anon in DC :

        Ugh, just wrote a long answer that was gobbled by the ether. Here’s a summary:
        (1) watch Ann Cuddy’s TED talk on this subject. It’s on You Tube, it’s about 15 minutes, and it is very,very helpful. This should be essential for any working woman!!
        (2) speak up early in a meeting. Try to force yourself to say something at every meeting you attend.
        (3) Channel Hillary. Own your space, speak slowly, stand up straight.
        (4) Like Anon2, give yourself rewards for taking small steps like initiating a conversation or organizing a lunch.
        (5) check out the book The Well-Spoken Woman. Very helpful tips.
        (6) video yourself (on your phone, even) so you can hear and see yourself sounding competant and smart.

        • hoola hoopa :

          Thanks for taking the time to repost – very helpful suggestions!

        • Mighty Mouse :

          +1000 to everything that DC said above.

          I now regularly do the Wonder Woman pose before dealing with difficult clients!

    • Awful Lawful :

      Anon – I don’t have an answer, but I sure feel the same way a lot of the time. I really struggle with my confidence and as a result I think it makes my clients feel less confident in me. I have been thinking about therapy, but I don’t really know if that is something that would benefit from traditional talk therapy. I’m looking forward to seeing if you get any other responses.

    • I have definitely been struggling with the same problem. I’m ten years in and still struggling, but what has begun to help me was to finally start talking to all my mentors about it — most of them are men, so theoretically not hampered by the whole non-assertive woman thing that I something thing I have, and I’ve watched them be complete superheroes in court and depositions and arguments. What amazes me is how many of them have admitted that, a lot of the time, they feel like they’re just winging it, too. That’s awesome for two reasons — first, I can ask them what they do to get past it. And second, I suddenly realized that an awful lot of my opposing counsels probably also feel like imposters — and suddenly it’s all much, much easier. I still think I’m an imposter a lot of the time, but it helps to know that a lot of us are faking it.

      The other thing that I occasionally do, in a situation where I have to be particularly assertive, is tell myself, “F*ck it, I’m just going to pretend I’m Alan Shore.” (Yes, I wish I had a female lawyer character to pretend to be, but Alan Shore really did get the best scripts. ) For some reason, that makes me a lot more comfortable — I sort of like pretending.

    • Write out scripts of conversations, and practice them several times before having them. I really do find it helps.

    • I strongly recommend Toastmasters.

  20. Crossfit question :

    Continuing the trend of diet and exercise TJs, I have a question for those of you who do Crossfit:
    I started doing Crossfit about four months ago and I go five days a week. I run on my off days. I think I push myself pretty hard at the gym. I joined because I felt very squishy a year post-baby and wanted a workout that help me get back my six-pack, improve muscle tone, and get me out of my repetitive cardio rut. (To be clear, I don’t have weight to lose.) I generally like the workouts and I definitely feel fitter, but I haven’t achieved my main goal of slimming/toning. In fact, I feel like I’ve gotten fatter. (k-padi, I know you’ve posted about your bad experience with Crossfit and Paleo, but I don’t follow a Paleo diet because I am a vegetarian.) I’ve been tracking my food consumption for the past month and I’m only eating about 1500 calories a day, which is not enough for me to gain weight. Have any of you had this experience? Is Crossfit the wrong workout for me? Should I do less Crossfit and more running?

    • Have you tried upping your calories? That’s a lot of exercise for 1500 calories, especially since you aren’t trying to drop weight. You may be hanging onto every bit of fat because your body is in some starvation mode.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Why do you feel like you’ve gotten fatter? Have you checked your body fat percentage?

      I know my friend who does CrossFit has definitely and noticeably “bulked up” but it’s pretty obviously muscle. She definitely hasn’t slimmed down though.

      • Crossfit question :

        My clothes feel tighter. Not so much in the arms or the thighs (where I would expect to bulk up if I was going to bulk up), but in the waist. I’m not a fan of weighing myself, and I usually go by the fit of my clothes.

        I was eating more calories before (not sure how many, as I wasn’t tracking, but easily another 300-500), so I tried to cut back to see if overeating was the problem.

        Would I have to go to the doctor to check my body fat percentage? I don’t think my gym has any way of testing it.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          I think you can buy a $20 body fat caliper — I know when I got mine checked, it was just a personal trainer and a small device. Not sure if it’s worth it but I thought it was kinda cool info to have!

    • I think you might be going too hard. Fatigue is a huge issue in Crossfit. Are you taking any rest days?

      Scale if:
      1. Doing the workout is taking longer than expected (e.g., if it’s a 10-15 min Girl WOD, and you are taking 15-20 minutes, cut the WOD in half).

      2. You literally struggle to lift that bar one. more. time. Drop the weight by at least 20 lbs.

      3. If you are just too tired to finish. Really, finishing Murph isn’t that necessary to finish.

      For body weight exercises, think about scaling number of reps or type of exercise (e.g., lower box jumps, inclined push-ups, shorter distance on lunges, etc.).

    • dancinglonghorn :

      I do crossfit and def have lost inches. I will say that I am pathetic by crossfit standards – I only do it 30 mins twice a week ( 5 min warm up, 10 min skills, 15 mins WOD), with lots and lots of modifications. On my off days, I either swim 35 mins, elliptical 35 mins or run. I often ski or snowshoe on the weekends. Other than walking 2x per day, this is my only exercise.

      I would say to drop the intensity on the upper-body parts and increase your intensity on your squats and deadlifts.

      Also, make sure you are working with a trainer who understands a women’s body. My gym is all women, which is awesome. The old crossfit box I was going too before was run by men and the workouts were SO INEFFECTIVE for my body!

      FWIW, I’m 5’6″, 196 lbs (with about 23% body fat, size 10 for reference) so with crossfit, its really NOT about tracking lbs. I would say that I’ve gained lbs from crossfit. People are generally SHOCKED about my weight when they see it on the scale. I’ve learned to let it go…

      • Wow, interesting. I’m 5’10 and about 196 and wearing a 12-14. Muscle really does weigh more than fat!

    • Try BarMethod classes. My friends and I recently converted and the results are a lean, toned, defined and sculpted look. I love it!

    • Little Lifter :

      On the off chance that you’re still reading (I’m DAYS behind with the comments), but…

      “Toning” is just a fitness industry-ism for “building muscle while losing fat.” The shape of your muscle is determined by your genetics; from there, you either build it or you don’t.

      In order to build muscle, your body requires A LOT of protein — around 1 g per pound of bodyweight. Because you’re vegetarian, I imagine you’re not eating anywhere close to that. Substantially increase your protein intake — and correspondingly decrease your carb intake — and you should start to lose fat and/or build muscle. It’s really, really difficult for your body to do both of those things at the same time, but you might be able to do so for awhile.

      Also keep in mind that unless you’re juicing, you’re not EVER going to build more than 1/2 lb. of muscle per month… and that’s if you’re lifting like crazy and eating sufficient protein. Any weight gain is more than likely water or, if you’re eating too many (or the wrong kind of) calories, fat. You didn’t mention how much you weigh, but 1500 calories is probably NOT too low, and might actually be too high, particularly if you don’t have much muscle.

      Hope that helps!