Health

Politically Incorrect Weightloss

Politically Incorrect WeightLossJanuary was a very successful month for me in weightloss. I was doing everything “right”. I was tracking the food I was eating using the iTrackBites App, which works like WeightWatchers, but it’s MUCH cheaper. I was working out six days a week- running, dancing, yoga, and swimming. I was weighing myself almost everyday-some say it’s a problem, but it’s not.

I was also participating in a DietBet. What’s a DietBet? Simple. I found out about it from a girl I follow on Instagram. Basically you bet an amount of money to lose 4% of your weight in a month. You take a photo of yourself full length and a picture standing on a scale with the secret word to verify your starting weight and then you do it again at the the end of the month (different secret word) to verify your end weight. If you don’t lose 4%, then you’re out the money put up in the beginning. If you do lose the 4% you get to split the winning with everyone else in the bet who was a winner. The DietBet I participated in was $35, had 3,730 participants, and a pot of $130,585. I did so awesome in January that I lost the 4% and won $42.47!

Then February came, family visits, traveling and just poor planning on my part and I gained back every bit of that 4%. (Insert face/palm emoji here)mask-1027230_1920

So I knew I had to do something drastic to get my behind in gear again. I do not want to gain back every pound I lost over the summer, and I miss how healthy and fit I felt in September when I was at the smallest size I’ve been in about 5 years.

So my brother came up with the idea that we do something a little crazy. We each pledged to bet a *painful* amount of money to lose 4% of our body weight between March 17-April 17.

This is a little different from my January DietBet because I’m not utilizing a website or app to hold my money, and if we’re successful, the reward is simply getting to keep the amount you pledged, so there’s no making extra money on this.

But if you don’t lose... You will lose Biggly. The pain will be Huuuuuuuge.

That’s right. If we don’t lose, then we have to donate to Trump’s campaign (in case you haven’t noticed, he’s still campaigning).

This is a game changer.

The stakes are high.

Higher than they’ve ever been.

Shit just got Real.

Weightloss Update:

One week in and I’m down 2.2 lbs as of Thursday morning 3/23/17.

Thanks Trump!cartoon-2026571_1280

Maybe I can even create workout routines to do in response to press conferences. Like a drinking game, but not quite so dangerous to your organs.

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Military

Military Spouses & Politics: Do we have a Voice, too?

This was first published on Military Spouse Advocacy Network and I am honored to work with them!military-spouses-and-politics

If your social media feeds look anything like mine, then your last year has been bombarded with political posts, memes, calls for action, protests, outrage, and posts of support for our public service representatives. For many new and seasoned military spouses there is a gray area as to how vocal or nonvocal we can be when it comes to voicing our opinions on politics. Can our service members get involved in politics? Can we as spouses get involved in politics?

First let’s define what getting involved in politics even means, because it is not limited to Facebook posts or protests. Think of political involvement as a spectrum. At the beginning you have getting informed. You can do this by reading reliable information from the media, following reliable news sources on social media, and following bill proposals by your representatives. The next level may include contacting your local representatives through phone calls, emails, and/or letters, or attending meetings held for their constituents. Then there is volunteering for your political party or working on a campaign. And at the other end of the spectrum is running for office yourself.

So, the question still remains, can a service member and their spouse participate in any of this? And the answer is yes and no. Imagine that! A complicated answer in our military lives.

There are rules for the service member on their ability to be active politically. The policy on this rule is the Department of Defense Directive (DoDD) 1344.10, and was most recently updated in 2008. The DoDD does not take away the service member’s right to register to vote, vote, sign petitions, or contribute money to a campaign. Service members may even have a small bumper sticker on their car supporting a specific candidate if they choose. What they cannot do is use their authority to influence someone to vote one way or another. Anytime they discuss their political views it must be made clear they are their own personal opinions, and not an endorsement of their service branch. Also, they may not attend any partisan event in uniform.

Well that is the service member, but what about spouses? Spouses can say and do what they please in regards to political involvement. This means you can talk about politics. You can post on your social media about politics. You can volunteer for a political party. You can volunteer for a campaign. You can even run for office yourself. One would even be able to argue more military spouses should be involved, since so many policies directly impact our families in more ways than civilian families.

Some organizations that advocate for military spouses and military rights are Homefront Rising, and the Military Spouse JD Network. There is a network of people and organizations out there to help you along if you have interest in a future in politics.a milspouses place is in the house and the senate.png

Still unsure about what you or your service member can or cannot do politically?

Check out the article below! I found it very helpful in my own research:

http://www.military.com/spouse/career-advancement/how-to-get-involved-in-politics-as-a-military-spouse.html

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Random Ramblings

An Open Letter to Politicians. Specifically Open Gaetz Day

open-letter-to-politicians_open-gaetz-dayMoving to the deep south has been quite the interesting experience. One of the first things I noticed is that racism is very much real and an issue in our country. For anyone who does not think so, you need to get out more.

Something else I’ve noticed is that Floridians are really terrible drivers. I don’t know if it’s because there are so many transplants from other parts of the country and the bad drivers all move here. Maybe they have a really bad driver’s education program. Whatever it is, I fear for my life on a daily basis when I drive. When-people-insult-my-driving.png

But on a more serious note, people are seriously racist. Enough so that it was worth mentioning again.

Alas, this is not a post on racism, this is a post on the town hall I attended, hosted by the congressman Matt Gaetz. Matt Gaetz is the representative for District 1 in Florida for the US House of Representatives. He has been more noticeably recognized due to his significant loyalty to President Trump and his sponsorship of a bill to eliminate the EPA. Gaetz also believes the Dept of Ed is unconstitutional and wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Now for some, this is your dream representative and will follow him into the smog that is surely on it’s way if he is successful in dismantling the EPA. However, for others, you are concerned that this fellow is the one in Washington casting votes and proposing bills on your behalf.

 

I just recently moved to Florida, so I did not have the honor of either voting with 69.1% of the voters who voted Gaetz into office, or with the 30.9% who voted against. But I am now a registered voter in Florida and do not have any intentions of changing that, so I look forward to having a choice in future elections. Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 4.41.34 PM.png

Back to the town hall. What an eye opening experience. Some highlights from the day include the signs people created to share either their support or opposition to different topics. The fact that it was held in a bowling alley/restaurant/bar. I also enjoyed the politeness (for the most part) that opposing sides gave to one another. With the exception of one gentleman standing rather nearby to me who continually attempted to bait others into arguments and also shouted for one immigrant woman to “go back to where you came from” while she gave an impassioned speech on why she did not support abolishing the Affordable Care Act, there were no physical or verbal altercations that I saw. b4f04508-9224-4f0d-be11-59d7c7f2f429

Now since this post is titled an open letter to politicians, I should probably get to the part where I address these politicians:

  1. Town Halls: For those of you who hold and attend your town halls. Good. I don’t think you deserve a participation trophy, this is your job. Your job is to be a voice for your constituents. Not just the ones who voted for you. Not just the ones that align with your own personal convictions. ALL your constituents.
  2. Listen: Matt Gaetz was on the record repeatedly saying that part of his job it to “give people the opportunity, who disagree with you, to step forward, yell at ya, wag their finger in your face, and the job of the public servant is to take it. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do.” But the piece he’s missing here is where he actually takes into consideration what people are saying to him. img_7868
  3. Admit when you’re wrong: Since paying attention to politics, I’ve changed my mind about certain issues that I was once fairly adamant about. After taking some time to listen, really listen, to another viewpoint, facts and points on an issue, my stance changed. Everyone is so afraid of looking weak if they admit they were wrong about something. Stop it. Grow a pair, admit you were wrong, and do what is right.
  4. Paid protestors: Seriously? This is really a ridiculous stance that politicians are making right now. There are not paid protestors at the town halls that you are seeing. When I first heard this, I knew it was so absurd I didn’t even consider people would believe it. But it turns out people are really stupid and actually think this. To these people I recommend going back to school to get your GED. Politicians are spouting this ridiculousness because they need some sort of defense for why so many of their constituents are showing up and voicing their opinions and concerns. Rather than the truth, that people aren’t happy with how things are going in Washington, they instead say it’s fake. Fake news, alternative facts, fake protestors? Really? I doubt it.
  5. Country over Party and Sponsors: Personally I am not 100% democrat or 100% republican, few people are. I try to side on an issue based on what I believe to be right, regardless of party affiliation, and after thorough research into both sides. Wouldn’t it be nice if political parties didn’t exist? So despite your party affiliation, or the corporations offering the biggest check, stop being sheep and do your damn job.

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Politics can be overwhelming. But pretending like they don’t exist or they don’t matter is unavoidable for me anymore. These issues directly impact people’s lives. That’s why people are ranting, protesting and caring more than ever. I recommend at least educating yourself on a couple of issues that could be important to you.

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Random Ramblings

A Beam of Light Through the Despair of the Last Two Weeks- 5 Stories to Put a Smile on Your Face

a-beam-of-light-through-the-despairWhat an intense couple weeks we have experienced as a nation and as a world. I recall it was the day of the inauguration and my brother called me and said he thought the world had gone insane. Not because of President Trump being elected, but because of the reaction of society. Many people who do not support the President are protesting, they are reacting on social media, they are contacting legislators and becoming greatly involved in political debates- not always in the most productive of ways, and there are even cases of violence or destructive behavior. Many President Trump supporters are reacting to this behavior and saying it’s a gross overreaction and then continuing to demean and insult non-supporters, also at times becoming violent. If our nation was not divided before, it is definitely feeling like it is now.

I find myself in the middle. Yes, I supported the Women’s March. In fact, I support all of the protests and marches that have happened since. The March for Life, the Immigration ban protests, and the upcoming March for Science. Whether or not I agree wholeheartedly with the issue, I still support the protests because that is one of our rights as Americans to be able to disagree with our government, gather peacefully, and make it known. I cannot stand behind the violence, destruction, or looting that has occurred, but fortunately none of that happened at any of the marches or protests listed above. I also cannot stand behind burning of our nation’s flag. I can see how some feel they have a right to disrespect the flag because it represents a nation they feel that has oppressed or not supported them. However, the flag also represents our military and those who defend us daily, and while I can find empathy and understanding for the anger and betrayal some of these people feel, I do not think destruction of our flag is a productive way to effect change.

My suggestion is to not just march or protest. Contact your legislators about the issues you connect with. Volunteer in your community to make improvements. Donate to organizations and causes that will effect the change you wish to see. Don’t stop at making a sign and chanting in a crowd. Your reach can extend past this singular action.

Well that went on longer than intended. I did not mean for this to be a political post. Quite the opposite, in fact. But I felt the need to explain why a non-political post was needed, and then it turned political. My apologies.

So below you will find 5 stories that will hopefully lift your spirits, bring a smile to your face and light to your eyes that has been missing. I know they helped me out tremendously, especially the dancing farmer.

So how was that? Feel any better? Even a little bit? Watch the farmer again. Dance with him. You’ll feel better, even if for 3 minutes.

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Random Ramblings

Women’s March Brings Unity, Passion, Inspiration, and…. Confusion? Part 2

 

womens-march-brings-unity-passion-inspiration-and-confusion-part-2Now I remember why I never post about politics. It is exhausting. I was very nervous writing about the Women’s March. I was nervous because I know a lot of conservative and/or republican people, and I thought my views on the march might not be well received. I was pleasantly surprised. While I’m not sure how many of my right-leaning friends actually took the time to read what I wrote, no one belittled or wrote anything negative either. I also participated in a pretty extensive conversation on another friend’s Facebook status with a stranger as to why I walked in the march. Despite having different opinions on certain topics and disagreeing about certain issues, the long conversation remained respectful. Even though I was not attacked or experienced any backlash for participating in the march, my brain is still tired from explaining and justifying my stance on particular issues.

But I will carry on and continue to share my perspective because I am proud of being part of such a large and incredible movement and have been inspired to be more involved advocating for the issues I believe in for myself and for those who cannot, and to educate myself on the issues I do not understand or have never taken the time to research in the past so I can form an opinion of my own.

One point that has come across from various people on why they do not believe in the march or do not feel it was impactful was the broad number of topics being advocated for. I’ve heard that it made people feel like all those women out there couldn’t unify under one front and instead are just, “all over the place”. Well, the fact that there are so many different issues which need to be marched for should speak volumes itself, but the purpose of the march was to bring a collective voice to all of the different topics to serve as a platform over the upcoming months. Now that America and legislators have hopefully opened their eyes to the concerns of millions of Americans, more emphasis and targeted tactics can be taken to continue the work and progress.

In my first post about the march, which you can read here, I wrote about reproductive rights. This round I will be highlighting worker’s rights. You’ve heard it before, the wage gap. It is undeniable that women make less than men and advocates and women around the world are asking for equal pay for equal work. Below is a chart from the Bureau of Labor statistics for 2015. screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-6-20-30-pm

In case you can’t tell, the women’s earnings are lower than the men’s earnings. An even more disturbing chart is when we start looking at gender and race. Take a look:screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-6-21-08-pm

You would think this information would speak for itself and not require further explanation on why this data is alarming, but there are many people who are still in disbelief or deny that this is a problem. I have personally experienced being in the same position as a man with the same qualifications, skills, and arguably a better work ethic and still made a lower wage. I have also been witness to a male getting preferential treatment in the workplace with a promotion over a female despite having just returned from a suspension for behavior issues. Have you ever been exposed to the “humor” of a woman “getting her knees dirty” to earn a position of leadership? This direct undermining of women is a systemic problem across our nation and it is not remedied by sucking it up and working harder. These are all very real circumstances women face today and the concern with the current government is there is no address to this topic as a top issue. The current administration plans to “bring back jobs and growth” without a single mention of equality. In fact, equality is not listed anywhere on the current White House dot gov website and the presidential cabinet is currently only slated to have four women.

Maybe you still do not think women in America are experiencing oppression or inequality. “Try being a woman in the Middle East and have to wear a burka or not even be able to drive” is one argument I have heard. And yes, there are women in much more horrendous situations than the average American woman. But just because there are others in worse situations, does not mean we cannot fight and insist on a better situation for ourselves.

So perhaps equality in the workplace is not a top priority for you so you’ll roll your eyes and say there are bigger problems at hand. And that is certainly your right to believe so. But to dismiss others making this their priority is unfair.

I came across this article that put into words what I have not been able to. This is an excerpt, but you can read the full article here.

The United States ranks at 45 for women’s equality. Behind Rwanda, Cuba, Philippines, Jamaica.

But I get it. You don’t want to admit it. You don’t want to be a victim. You think feminism is a dirty word. You think it’s not classy to fight for equality. You hate the word pussy. Unless of course you use it to call a man who isn’t up to your standard of manhood. You know the type of man that “allows” “his” woman to do whatever she damn well pleases. I get it. You believe feminists are emotional, irrational, unreasonable. Why aren’t women just satisfied with their lives, right? You get what you get and you don’t get upset, right?

I get it. You want to feel empowered. You don’t want to believe you’re oppressed. Because that would mean you are indeed a “second-class citizen.” You don’t want to feel like one. I get it. But don’t worry. I will walk for you. I will walk for your daughter. And your daughter’s daughter. And maybe you will still believe the world did not change. You will believe you’ve always had the rights you have today. And that’s okay. Because women who actually care and support other women don’t care what you think about them. They care about their future and the future of the women who come after them.

~ Dina Leygerman, 2017

Over 500,000 people were in attendance in Washington, D.C, 750,000 in L.A., 250,000 in NYC, 250,000 in Chicago, 150,000 in Denver, 130,000 in Seattle, 150,000 in Boston, 2,000 in Pensacola, 3,000 in Charleston, 40,000 in Austin, 10,000 in St. Louis, 100,000 in Portland, 7,000 in Palm Beach, 100,000 in London, 60,000 in Toronto, 10,000 in Sydney. Over 670 marches took place world wide. This wasn’t about women whining or making much ado about nothing. If you don’t understand why women are marching, maybe you haven’t been listening. if-you-dont-understand-why-women-are-marching-maybe-you-havent-been-listening

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