10 April 2010


The last couple of weeks have not been good for me.  I have many things to be thankful for in life, so many blessings, and yet I've been...sad.  Sad is the only word I can think of to describe how I feel.  I wouldn't say that I feel depressed, but does depression have a distinct feeling?  I don't know.

My healthy living habits have gone down the tubes.  My husband and I ate vegetarian meals for all of Holy Week, which was great.  I used to be a (flexible) vegetarian before we got married, and I felt very empowered returning to those eating habits.  But then Easter came.  Against my better judgement, we bought three small bags of candy because I had a coupon.  The very next day we received two medium-sized boxes filled with candy and other Easter goodies form my mother-in-law.  While that was a very nice gesture (and I certainly don't want to come across as ungrateful), I made my husband take 90% of it to work.  I have sucky self-control.  I also decided to make a carrot cake from scratch as part of Easter dinner.  Next year maybe I'll remember to make cupcakes instead to help with portion control and so that it's easier for my  husband to take the "left-overs" to work.

After that, it has been downhill.  I'm totally stressed out with going to school full time as a Ph.D. candidate, working part time, being overinvolved in church, and trying to keep up with my wifely duties, spiritual life, and general adult responsibilities.  As a result, I can't stop eating, I've had not time to go to the gym, I've gained weight, my skin looks like I"m going through puberty, and I feel fat.

But I'm not going to give up.  I'm going to re-establish my healthy living habits one at a time until I'm back on track.  I have a pretty good chance at having an abstract accepted for a conference this December in Hawaii (how sweet is that?!!!).  I want to be back to my pre-wedding size by then, which means losing approximately 20 pounds.  If I can do it by our second wedding anniversary in July, even better.  Besides, I pledged to lose 19 pounds for the Pound for Pound Challenge.

To end on a happy note, I made it through Sam's Club at 4:30pm without eating any samples.  Also, I've been medically cleared to start running again, so I've entered a give-away at Shut Up and Run! for some new running gear.  If I don't win, I might get some cheap new running clothes at Target for some motivation.

Question of the day:  What's your favorite workout gear?

08 April 2010


Can you imagine your life without polymers?  They are all around us: clothing made from synthetic fibers, styrofoam cups, Fiberglas boats, plastic bags, polymer-based paints, silicone heart valves, Teflon-coated cookware, and much, much more!  Did you know that these materials didn't even exist until after World War II?  Before then, the construction and manufacturing industry relied on steel, glass, wood, stone, brick, and concrete and the raw materials for clothing and other fabrics were cotton, wool, and jute (burlap).

While polymers have revolutionized several industries, particulary the biomedical field, they are also are the basis of all the plastic in our lives.

I was a Chemistry major in undergrad and in my polymer chemistry class, we learned about the history of polymer chemistry, polymer synthesis and reactions, thermodynamics and kinetics of polymerization, polymer characterization and testing, and polymer uses.  On the last day of class, we even made marshmallow guns out of PVC piping and had a marshmallow war.

Unfortunately, the lack of biodegradability and other environmental harm caused by this branch of chemistry was never discussed.  The minimial exposure I got was because one of my undergraduate research projects was supposed to be on the leaching of bisphenol-A (BPA) from plastic baby bottles.  I say "supposed to be" because I never got to do the project.  The instrument I needed (a gas-chromatography mass spectrometer if you care) broke when I needed it and couldn't be repaired in a timely manner, so I had to change projects.  That was a couple of years before the media picked up the whole issue.

I'm still researching how the plastics industry, among other things, impacts this wonderful earth we live on.  For more information on the environmental impacts of plastic, Beth Terry at Fake Plastic Fish has a wealth of infomation and suggestions for "living life with less plastic".  Also, check out the Spring Cleaning Carnival: Get the Plastics Out at Kitchen Stewardship.

There are also several great give-aways you can sign up for this week:
Stainless Steel Airtight Containers by Life Without Plastic at Kitchen Stewardship
Stainless Steel 11oz Infant Bottle by Pura at Fake Plastic Fish