Day 35: Picking Up Shifts

In case you’re new to reading this blog, or just missed this little detail, I work in hospitality. I’m currently employed by two hotels – one large and efficient and owned by an international entity, and one tiny, independent boutique hotel. I switched career paths a couple of years ago, after losing my mind and hiking the Camino Frances (not that I went on a long walk because I was crazy, but rather because I thought it would be a good way to help cure the crazy, which, in a way, it did).

When I left, I knew that something had to change about my current path as an Internet marketer, since simply logging on to Facebook would often start me down a path to a panic attack. When I got back, after a month and a half of sleeping in a new town each night, I realized that one of my favorite aspects of the journey had been how kind our hosts were at every albergue (hostel). I was taken care of so thoroughly at every stop, and though I am naturally not that demanding of a person, I saw many hospitaleros (hosts) go above and beyond in caring for their pilgrim guests, from seeing to medical needs to just making sure that we had a nice, warm meal in our bellies at the end of a tough day. I enjoy loving people like this, and I enjoy being loved like this, and I thought that it would be particularly rewarding to get paid to be good to others. Of course, I was right. Some days are difficult, but most days, I really love my job(s). I wish that I got paid enough to only have one of them, but that will come, if I can just hold on a little longer.

Anyway, the problem with picking up shifts at the smaller hotel when I’m not working at the bigger hotel is that my bigger hotel job is a traditional, 8-hour shift during the day. I come in around 8am, and leave around 5pm, depending on workload. In order to fit additional shifts into my life, this means that the only time I can work at the little hotel is the front desk overnight shift – 11pm to 7am – or on weekends, as I’m doing right now (7am to 3pm). If you do the math, you’ll see why this is exhausting. My entire life is work, work out, and sleep. I’ve got my life mapped out enough to get a decent amount of sleep, but I’m standing at the front desk for 8 hours, and this is draining. I have a schedule to keep me working out and active while I’m doing the overnight shift, and also a schedule to help me make sure that every single dollar goes to where I need it – paying my rent, saving up for a deposit on a new apartment, buying better work clothes, and paying off debt. Eventually, if I really work my butt off, I’ll have paid down my debts enough that I can consider also saving for my next Camino. Hopefully I won’t be so worn out that I’ll be considering another career change, lol.

This is all going to be worth it in the end, and I have to keep that in mind. My front desk shifts are generally very easy. I don’t have to do very much besides make sure that the hotel doesn’t burn down, and set up breakfast before I leave. If I am very careful to take care of my health (eat, exercise, sleep) so I don’t get run-down, this 70-hour workweek won’t have to be a thing I keep up forever. I’ll get a raise at my day job in November, and I can also start looking to move on to another position with a higher pay grade. But it’s important for me to remember that I am not superhuman. I can’t do everything. I must stick to a very strict budget now, so that later I don’t have to work this hard any more.

My other big fear, besides physical burn-out, is that I will get too busy to meal prep, and will start eating crappy food and spending too much money on meals outside of the house. I already ate a bagel and a couple of cups of coffee with sugar this morning, which is basically poison (delicious, delicious poison). But I’m also wearing jeans, and the chub rub is REAL, y’all. It’s enough to make me reconsider my initial impulse to grab a second bagel out of boredom. It’s tough being a working stiff. But it’ll be OK.


Day 18: The Old Job

I picked up a shift at my old job tonight – returning to my hospitality roots, so to speak. Currently standing here at the front desk of a little boutique hotel just outside of the French Quarter, bopping along to a live rendition of “We Got the Funk” being played across the street. Maybe the dancing will help work off the bagel I just ate when I lost all self control and broke into the continental breakfast supplies.

It was a pretty good bagel, so I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Have I mentioned how much I adore bagels? They’re up there with New England clam chowder on my most desired foods list. When I went to NYC for the first time a few years back, I spent a month obsessively researching bagel joints to make sure that I’d get to try everything worth trying in my short trip. Spoiler alert: I did not even make a dent in my “must try” bagel list during my trip. I love bagels. As in, why did anyone ever bother inventing sliced bread? I think I’m just going to say “the best thing since bagels” from now on.

Anyway, it’s Day 18, and everything’s OK. Didn’t get to hit the gym today, so looking forward to doing that tomorrow. Haven’t had a true binge since I started the blog, so I’m feeling pretty good about that. And it put me in such a wonderful mood to get here to this job this afternoon (after leaving my other job) and feel so welcomed and loved. I really enjoy working the front desk here. So many opportunities to be kind to people, and to really help improve lives in tiny ways. It’s days like this that I remember that I got into hospitality so that I could learn, learn, learn and run my own little albergue one day.

Today’s Weight: 190.6 Lbs.

Today’s Exercise: Standing here at the front desk has to have gotten me somewhere, right? My feet are killing me!

Day 12: Running On Empty

Today was insanely long, so I’m going to keep this short. I am tired, and tomorrow afternoon can’t possibly come fast enough. I ate some terrible things today, but I didn’t binge, and I did use mindfulness to regulate my behavior and rein myself in, when I had the opportunity to really go off the rails. That being said, I hit an emotional low tonight that felt truly terrible, and I’m not in the mood to have that happen again, like, ever.

Without going into heavy specifics, I had a lot going on at work, and hit the ground running as soon as I got in at 8am. I didn’t bring food with me to work, and the first thing I ate this morning was a couple of praline squares, so I started the day with a dose of sugar. Then the bistro ran out of bacon and eggs before I could grab breakfast, so I didn’t get my customary protein (and I’d neglected to bring any backup boiled eggs, so nothing there, either). I didn’t get to slow down until 12:45, when I was required to go to this work luncheon, where it turned out that every dish had sugar in it. The base ingredients of everything I ate were fine – pork loin, greens, sweet potato – but everything came with added sweetener. By 3pm I was crashing.

Then, at 5:15 I had the choice of walking to this post-work networking event, or of taking the bus. It was almost 3 miles away, so I decided to save time by taking the bus, but the bus ended up being an hour late. I was steaming mad by the time the bus came, and managed to rein it in once I got to the networking thing, but once there, I drank two beers. I did the networking, then dipped out as soon as it seemed socially acceptable to do so, and started the walk home. At first I was OK, but then I started to get weepy and sad, and grew increasingly more despondent as I walked home through a neighborhood I used to live in about ten years back. I cried all the way back to Canal Street, and honestly would have continued crying had one of my best friends not called to talk, and snapped me out of it.

Though the emotions I was experiencing were based in some reality – a sense of loneliness, melancholy at time passing, and regret at not being more by this stage in my life – in general they were a result of eating absolute crap all day, starting my day off on the wrong base (too much sugar and caffeine, not enough whole foods and protein), being at work for far too long of a stretch, being uncomfortable in the networking situation and pushing myself to be friendly and approachable, and drinking a sizable dose of depressants on an empty stomach. I mean, of course you’re going to feel like crap and start having a temper tantrum – you need a nap and a healthy meal, lady!

So now I’m home. I had a great talk with my best friend/college roommate Trin, and gave her the skinny (ha) on my binge eating and recovery efforts, and what’s been going on in my head as of late.

I also found a pineapple on the sidewalk on my way home. Isn’t that weird? A perfectly nice pineapple, just sitting there, waiting for me. I hope it doesn’t end up morphing into its true shape as a Decepticon once I go to bed. I wish the Transformers were all vegetables, and the Decepticons were fruit. Yup, this is all that’s left of my poor, poor fried brain. It’s time to go to bed and start afresh tomorrow.

Today’s Weight: 190.8 Lbs.

Today’s Exercise: 20,031 steps, and enough emotional acrobatics to give Cirque du Soleil a run for their money.