Monthly Archives: April 2013

When Big Companies Do Good Things

I make a concerted effort to shop locally. I love the little yarn store located in far south Seattle and just up the road from me. (Jessie knits, I’m not that interesting.) I try and buy my greeting cards and various sick remedies at the local drug store here in town. I make it a point to try the various local restaurants on a semi-regular basis…when Budge is sleeping or not paying attention.

I try to shop locally…I try hard. Sometimes it’s a little too difficult to pass by a national company for a local place when the big guy is trying earnestly to do good things. I understand the need to keep as much money local as possible, I really do, but I like giving money to companies which are trying to do the right thing.

Panera Bread is a company I have enjoyed visiting (I love some of their bakery items, I know, shocking) and I’m starting to really respect them for what they are trying to do now. Panera started under the name Au Bon Pain and, through acquisitions, has grown to over 1600 restaurants/bakeries in 44 states and one foreign country; if you consider Canada a foreign country.

While living near Portland, Oregon last year, Janet and I went to one of their ‘Panera Cares Community Café Experiment’ because we had read about it in our little local paper. What a great idea: here was a restaurant where you could pay whatever you could afford. If you are short on funds, you don’t have to pay anything. If you have extra money, you can give more to help offset the free meals.

I loved it. What a great way for people to eat with dignity. I read, somewhere at some point, that sixty percent of patrons pay the suggested amount and the rest are split evenly between paying more and paying less for the food. This is something I want to see succeed: a company who understands the concept of making money but also wants to help in the fight against hunger. No one should go hungry, especially not here in the states.

We only went the one time, I’m sorry to say, because we seemed to be in a ‘Hey! Let’s move again!’ phase in our lives. Now we don’t live near a Panera Cares Café but I do want to go to a regular Panera just to give my support to a company I’m starting to admire. That and I really like their flower cookie.

I like them even more since I read a story about Panera Cafes in the St. Louis area. Instead of the whole restaurant being in the pay-what-you-can mode, these cafes introduced the ‘Meal of Shared Responsibilities Program’. The meal is a turkey chili bowl and you pay however much you would like for that meal.

I like the idea so much I’m willing to fly to St. Louis to show my support. Hmmm…what was that noise? It was either the budget crying or Janet laughing hysterically at me. They both do that a lot when I’m around. I would do it, though, just to show Panera how much I like what they are trying to do. I’ve never been to St. Louis either: two birds, Janet, just the one stone!

I also am starting to realize that not all big companies are horrible and to be avoided at all costs. They still provide jobs to locals, they pay taxes (I hope) to our community and, sometimes, they try and make our little world a much better place. I’m not saying Panera is perfect, I don’t know how they treat their employees, but I can say I like what Panera is trying to accomplish. I want to give money to companies who are trying to do good things.  I know exactly how they feel.


Leave a comment

Filed under Musings

The Key to My Weight Loss Success

I really wish someone would create a magic, natural, healthy pill to miraculously melt away my body fat. If only that person was me I could become a deca-billionaire, or worse! Since neither I nor anyone else has created said magic pill, I guess I’m on my own with losing weight. I’m really too lazy to lose any serious weight, although I think I’ve found something that works well for me.

It really boils down to shame. I have to shame myself into eating right and exercising. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean serious shame, I like myself way too much for that, I mean more along the lines of ‘really? You’re going to put that into your body? Do you know how many calories are in that pie?’ The only way for me to do this is to keep track of everything I eat.

It’s embarrassing to see exactly what I eat on a daily basis. Keeping a food journal is a humbling experience. Did you know one pop tart has two hundred calories? And who can eat just one? I can forgive Grapenuts cereal for not having much flavor once I realized how much good stuff was packed into those tiny morsels. Add a few blueberries and nonfat milk and I have a great start to the day.

There are quite a few apps for food journaling and through trial and error I have chosen MyFitnessPal as my embarrassometer. I like MFP because not only does it keep track of your food and water intake but your workouts as well. So, you start with a given number of calories, mine being 1530 (because I want to lose about a pound a week), and the more you exercise the more calories you ‘earn’. I love it! If I go out for a jog, I can have that second pop tart!

At the end of your eating day, when you’ve tallied all your calories, you scroll down to the bottom and hit <complete this entry>. If I’ve been good it says, ‘If every day were like today, you will weigh five pounds less than you do now in five weeks!’ If I’ve been bad it says, ‘you will weigh a lot more if you don’t gain a few more IQ points!’ Okay, it doesn’t say that, it just gives me a number I don’t want to see.

Along with food journaling, I realized a few months ago, I must move more. I spend a lot of time on the computer, writing and researching, and not a lot of time moving around. So I did the one thing that seems to be helping me more than anything else, when it comes to movement: I adopted a dog, Roxy the Rox Star. I live in a condo so I can’t just open the back door and let her run free. I have to put my shoes on and walk her around the block.

Before Roxy joined our family, I used to go out for jogs or walks once a day and then sit around the rest of the time. With Roxy, I go out and walk several times a day and the difference is noticeable. Since I adopted Roxy, sometime in mid-February, I’ve lost six pounds. Almost a pound a week and I feel much better about my energy and activity levels.

At the beginning of the year I weighed about 185 pounds. When I brought Roxy home I weighed 180. Today I weighed myself at 174 and my clothes are getting annoyingly baggy. For those of you who think 174 doesn’t sound like a lot of weight: just know I am very small boned and I could easily lose another thirty pounds. For those of you who don’t think losing eleven pounds in three months is a big deal: I could’ve just maintained my weight or even gained a pound or two. Any weight loss is good at this point.

I credit Roxy and MyFitnessPal with keeping me aware of my surroundings. I absolutely have to know what is going into my body and I have to move around, revving my metabolism up, several times a day instead of just once. I view food journaling now the same way I view taking Roxy out for walks: I have to make accountability more than just a habit. I have to make it something I just do because I don’t have a choice.



Filed under Health