In Search of the Lean Six Life

Smarter, not harder. Preferrably A LOT smarter.

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Backyard Summer Salad

Summer time and the eating is easy! The more I learn, the more I am amazed just how many wild edibles are available even in one’s own backyard. The photo below shows the variety of greens I could collect one August day to make a salad for lunch, with goat cheese, walnuts and raspberry vinaigrette dressing. The smallest/youngest leaves are the most tender and best for consuming raw. Remember, before you forage – have 100% identification (no even the picture below does not “count”), and know the environment (pesticides, pollution, laws, etc.).


Summer Backyard Salad Greens. (Photo used with permission of



Upstanding Adventures

Or adventures in standing up, as the case may be!

I am experimenting with a standing desk at work, to see if it really warrants all the hype.

Seriously. I think standing while working, rather than sitting, may be the most overhyped office trend of the decade.

Phrases like “Sitting is the new smoking” (as far as detrimental health effects) and references to “sitting disease” is enough to strike fear into the heart of any moderately health conscious IT geek.  I mean c’mon, even the Smithsonian is talking about it, so it must be a “thing”.

Plus, there are infographics (oooh, lots of infographics!) about the virtues of standing.  How much convincing do I need?

According to this guy I can burn 30 extra calories per hour if I fidget while I stand (which I do). Assuming six hours of my work day standing that’s 180 calories a day – equivalent to 30 minutes of aerobic dance according to the LoseIt app. Without all the sweating!  (Interestingly LoseIt does not have a way to log calories from standing at one’s desk… I wonder if that says something right there!)

And if my office is going to offer fancy new standing desks, what fool would I be to not take advantage?

A fool whose elbows don’t hurt.  Whose wrists don’t hurt. Whose lower back doesn’t hurt. Whose knees don’t hurt.

Because standing with bad posture on a hard floor with unsupportive shoes and keyboard and mouse at the wrong angle actually doesn’t do a whole heck of lot to encourage me to keep this experiment going.  [So far I’ve only made it three or four hours a day, for three days.]

Also, what if standing while working (even if it isn’t “exercise” per se) still burns enough calories to make me feel hungrier, thereby eating more, thereby undoing all the good of the extra fidgeting?

My other concern is that the most significant health benefits are all “avoidances” – I’m sure there’s a fancier word, but I haven’t found it yet – i.e., they are all about reducing the probability of something that might not happen anyway.  So if I stand at my desk, and I don’t get metabolic disease or cancer or cardiovascular disease, well, I might not have anyway due to good genes or other lifestyle choices.

All that said: I haven’t given up on standing yet. I bought a squishy mat to stand on, and have resigned myself to daily adjustments of mouse and keyboard and monitor height until I get it just right. I still don’t think that better posture will be an automatic result of standing more, nor that the extra calorie burn will be noticeable, but I’ll try to post weekly (hey, stop laughing!) with any new insights or observations.

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Two Weeks of Silence

Ok, not literally. But two weeks ago today, I hopped in the car to drive to work and found out that my Sirius XM subscription had expired.

The shock, the denial, the grief!  How was I ever going to survive the commute??

And then the anger and hurt over the fact that they never sent me a renewal reminder. Helloooooo? In today’s economy, how do you miss reminding a customer to re-up an annual subscription?

Finally: the resolution that comes through recognizing an opportunity.  I’m the one always looking for ways to cut back, simplify, reduce, and save.  Here’s my chance to prove I can make these sacrifices.  I am listening to more news (the only FM radio station which lasts all the way from home to work) and audio books. I have even figured out how to play music through my car speakers from my smart phone.  I have, and shall continue to survive without commercial free satellite radio.

Although I am now way more likely to run weekend errands in my husband’s car!

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This is a placeholder for a rant about commuting and work and coping mechanisms and stress.  When I read this article I felt a weird mix of emotions, including validation but also defensiveness.  No one chooses a crazy commute.  But we live where we live, and work wherever we can find a job that supports our family.  Anyway, watch this space for more.

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The Impostor in the Room

Until recently, I had never heard the phrase “Impostors Phenomenon” or “Impostors Syndrome”.

And now that I have, so much of my inner life makes more sense.  Imagine if…

No matter how successful you are, no matter what you’ve accomplished in life, you’re always haunted by this fear that it’s all due to luck, or timing, or other factors outside your control, and at any minute everyone will realize you don’t deserve that success and everything will suddenly fall apart.  So you worry, and fret, and panic about anything and everything which might give away the fact that you’re a fraud.

Nobody understands.  Of course you’ve earned your success, and you should be enjoying it!  Right?  RIGHT?  No, because you’re working so frantically to prove that you really are deserving that you can’t sit still.  You’re always doing something, working on something, striving for more, filling up every little second with some kind of accomplishment to eventually be truly good enough.

Over the years you’ve learned to accept compliments although they still make you queasy.  Making friends is hard because comparing yourself to others is a compulsion, and no matter who it is you always somehow fall short in your own eyes.  So you always feel alone, left out, like you don’t belong, even with people you’ve known for years.  Because everybody knows more, is more up on the news, the scoop, what’s going on and who’s doing what, and you’re always the last. person. to. know. anything.  

I can remember going through this as far back as highschool.  It affects everything in my life.  I keep thinking that one or two more training courses, or just another year of experience, and then I will finally feel like I am qualified to do the job I have been doing for oh, seven years now.   I compulsively collect and reread self-help books to improve myself, my life, to just get things to the point where it’s “better enough”…wherever that is.

To anyone on the outside, looking in, this would make no sense.  How can I feel so down on myself when all the evidence is to the contrary?  I’ve shared bits and pieces with people – never the whole, because until today I didn’t know there *was* a whole – and my concerns and worries get dismissed, minimized, not in a malicious or denigrating way, but with that loving “well aren’t you silly” that you would tell a five year old expressing worries about her self-worth.

So where does it go from here?  I don’t know.  I feel a bit better knowing that it’s not “just me”, it’s not all in my head, there are even other people (many, from the sounds of it!) who are suffering from the same thing.  Still trying to figure out how to “get over it.”  I’m sure there’s a self-help book for that somewhere.