Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Now Is Exactly the Right Time

I think, if you've been following along with me for the last year and change, you might have noticed that I don't have a very good opinion of myself.

And you're lucky, because I don't generally give vent to all my feelings of inadequacy. Which generally means you don't have to listen to the slog that goes through my head every day.

It was suggested that I list all my reasons that I feel inadequate, or what I feel that I'm "bad at", so that I could begin working on those areas to improve if I could, or to recognize that I'm self-exaggerating.

I believe if I did that, it would take me all day to write down all the little negative things I think inside a single hour.

If there's an area in which I recognize that I excel, it's in the catagory of self-loathing.

There are very few things I think about myself in a positive light.

I'm a good cook.
I'm intelligent.
I'm forgiving.

Keeping in mind that I tend to qualify and quantify even those few good qualities that I recognize. (Ie, I'm relatively bright, but genius doesn't have quite as many practical applications as one might expect... )

I recognize that I'm being too harsh on myself. I recognize that the way I think and how I react to situations is unhealthy.

I know and yet, I do not feel, the truth of those things.

I'm a big fan of Tyler Durden.

This is your life
Good to the last drop
Doesn't get any better then this
This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time.

You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake
You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else
We are all the a part of the same compost heap
We are the all singing all dancing crap of the world

I know that the roots of it started with my parents. My mother, who always held me up short in comparison with other children, who dismissed my interests as wasteful, who blew off my accomplishments as her just-due, and who was constantly reminding me that I wasn't as attractive, thin, or charming as she was. My father, who ignored me unless he was being called in by my mother to add his disapproval to my report cards or behavior.

And yet, while it might have started there, that was the image of me they were selling, I still bought it, made it my own, nurtured this feeling of never being good enough, of always being substandard, second-rate, and barely passable. I bought it. It's been bought, paid for, dusted, and stored on the mantelpiece for display.

It's time to get rid of it.

And like the portrait of Sirius Black's mom, it's stuck to the wall with a Permanant Sticking Charm, and I have my own little Kreachers trying to keep me from cleaning up. They will, I've no doubt, steal things out of the rubbish bin and try to put everything back where it was.

Now is exactly the right time to change.

Monday, December 29, 2008

2008, a Year in Review

Meme questionnaire from Fat Bridesmaid.

Was 2008 good for you?

Mostly, yes. As usual, money keeps coming up as an issue, but I don't see that as ever stopping. If I have more money, I'll just spend more money. But I lost 65 pounds, I gained several good, healthy habits. I learned more about how to budget my time and money. I have learned how to make and keep lists, and I've learned more about how to keep up with my housework.

What was your favorite moment of the year?

Being fussed over at the Express while getting my dress for Thomas's office party.

What was your worst moment of the year?

Strangely enough, I don't think I really had a worst moment this year. Nothing leaps to mind, at any rate. We had the usual money woes, but managed to get through another year without having to hit anyone up for a loan. There were some illnesses in friends and family members, but everyone's gotten better or gotten adjusted. I didn't even quit a guild this year!

Where were you when 2008 began?

Chesapeake, Virginia

Who were you with?

My husband and my daughter, and two completely annoying felines.

Where will you be when 2008 ends?

Chesapeake, Virginia

Did you keep your new years resolution of 2008?

Shockingly enough, yes. I resolved to start eating better and start some sort of exercise program. Both of these things I have managed to keep doing for the year. I also resolved to attempt to keep a better grip on my housework, which I have done (thanks Flylady!). I've lost 65 pounds this year, I walk at least 10 miles every week. I also finished up my resolution from 2006, when I decided to get all my dental work done. Wow, that one took a while to accomplish.

Do you have a new years resolution for 2009?

Like with my 2006 resolution of getting my teeth fixed, the 'getting healthy' resolution is a work in progress. I still have a little less than 30 pounds to go to finish up my weight loss. I'd like to start and work on writing my half of the book that Thomas and I have in the works. I don't have any specific plans or anything, yet, this year. I frequently don't really nail down resolutions on Jan 1. Sometimes they show up before the year's end, and sometimes they don't show up until March... just depends. I don't think there's really a target date for setting goals... even if Jan 1 is convenient.

Did you fall in love in 2008? If yes, with who?

Yes. With my husband. I never fell out of love with him, mind, but sometimes it seems a little less urgent than it used to, you know? And as much as I do love him, I occasionally take him for granted, or dismiss him from consideration. I'd gotten particularly used to thinking of him as a slug; someone who didn't do much of anything unless he was forced to... I've been constantly, and continually, impressed with him this year. Not to mention the fact that he's LOADS better looking than he used to be. Which is always nice.

Are you still in love?


Did you breakup with anyone in 2008?


Did you make any new friends in 2008?

Yes. Leslie and Tommy P. Ashley. Beth. My Evil Twin! Loads and loads of online friends.

Who are your favorite new friends?

Leslie!! And Beth!

What was your favorite month of 2008? Why this month?

February was good. Thomas and I had our 10th year anniversary and enjoyed some vacation time. June was good, too.

Did you travel outside of the US (or your home country) in 2008?


How many different places did you travel to in 2008?

We went to North Carolina twice...

Did you miss anybody in the past year?

I wouldn't mind seeing Ashby again... he's a wretched corespondent.

What was your favorite movie that you saw in 2008?

Kung Fu Panda!

What was your favorite song from 2008? 

I Kissed a Girl, Katy Perry

How many concerts or plays did you see in 2008?


What was your favorite book in 2008?

Guess it was Twilight... didn't really read much of anything new this year...

How many people did you sleep with in 2008?

Just my husband... but I slept with him A LOT.

Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year?

Aside from a fudge binge, no, not really...

What was the biggest lie you told in 2008?

Told my dad that I'd been planning to take him to dinner for his 60th birthday, but honestly, I'd forgotten it was his 60th birthday until after the fact. Fortunately, because he didn't come down to drop off the child, as had been planned, instead he foisted it off on his sister-in-law to bring the child back to us, I was able to act all indignant and stuff.

Did you treat somebody badly in 2008?

Probably. No one's come to me with an Issue though, so I remain blissfully ignorant.

Did somebody treat you badly in 2008?

From time to time, but not enough so for me to have a little Sit Down with them to discuss it.

What was your proudest moment of 2008?

You know, I'd love to have one of these... but I spend entirely too much time belittling my own accomplishments for much pride. I can think of some moments that I should be proud of, that I want to be proud of... and yet, I don't seem to harbor much glow of satisfaction over them. God, I'm fucked up. slightly pathetic. Maybe I'll make working on my (lack of) self-esteem one of my goals for 2009.

What was your most embarrassing moment of 2008?

I don't think I had one... altho maybe I'm just repressing it, but I can't remember doing anything particularly humiliating in public...

If you could go back to any moment of 2008 and change something, what would it be?

Never. happen. I never want to change anything. Even when I want to, I don't. What happened, no matter how upsetting or ridiculous it was, makes me the person I am today, and you just never know how changing one thing will mess up too many other things. I am reasonably content with my life. I don't want it to be different.

Where did you work in 2008?

I am happy and content in my well-paying job. Housewife. I never leave the house.

Favorite TV shows(s) of 2008?

Heroes, Season 1

Favorite Band(s) of 2008?


Favorite Food in 2008?

Does chewing gum count? If so, Trident lime-strawberry splash.

Favorite Drink in 2008?

Diet Coke with Lime

Favorite Place in 2008?

Outer Banks, NC

Favorite person(s) to be with in 2008?

my husband
my daughter

Favorite person(s) to talk to in 2008?

My Evil Twin, Val

Favorite trip in 2008?

Day trip to OBX with Jeanne and Leigh and spouse and child.

Favorite stores in 2008?


Hardest thing you had to go through in 2008?

My clothes. Over and over again, tossing stuff that doesn't fit. Speaking of which, it's time to purge the XL shirts...

Most exciting moment(s) in 2008?

Fitting into a size 12 jeans for the first time since 1991

Funniest moment(s) in 2008?

Conversation with Child:
Darcy: Mommy, why are you buying new clothes?
Me: Nothing fits anymore because I lost some weight...
Darcy: ::patting my arm with great sympathy:: Don't worry, Mommy, we'll find your weight for you!

Year in Review

A bit before the beginning of 2008, my husband and I decide to go on a diet.

January, we find out my best friend's daughter is diabetic, and I deal with embracing my own problems.

In February, I joined the Healthy You Challenge, went on a long weekend trip to OBX, and started the long term project of working on my attitude.

March came along, and I abandoned the Flex plan for Core, had some personal issues with friends, and had a bra intervention.

In April, my husband had his birthday party, I dropped below 200 pounds, got to my 10% weight loss goal, and went for my first run.

May came along and I spent a while being sick... I also discussed our household philosophy, and learn to make better bad choices.

June was a fun month... we went to OBX with some friends, and I went off the reservation. I rant about my lack of feminity and trouble finding "small rewards" for my weight loss (and my husband makes theoretical physics discussions about his male bits...)

In July, my weight got down to nearly forgotten territories, as I hit my second 10% goal. (At 178, I had, by this point, dropped nearly 40 pounds!) I ended up getting new bras again, and had a great moment when I realized I was no longer compensating for being overweight.

In August, I talk philosophy and lose 45 pounds. I show off my massively overdeveloped (altho, similarly massively underused) brain, and get taken off the asthma medications that I had been taking for better than 10 years.

With September and the beginning of Fall, I fell off the BMI-Obese charts. I talk about my problems with my self-image in a post replete with Star Wars imagry... I do the Math on Weight Watchers and I discuss the many different kinds of good weather.

October sees my daughter's birthday, me into a size 12, a great side by side comparison picture and my guest post over at MizFit, which was so totally cool I can't begin to explain it!

November, in which we descend into the depths of the "holiday season", my first real plateau, in which I spend the better part of six weeks playing with the same 5 pounds... I discuss what I'm grateful for, and I make Some Plans.

And finally, December, the end of a long, strange trip... I had a good Thanksgiving, a great shopping experience, and Weight Watchers updates its Plans...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Becoming More (or Less) Myself

I think I turned a corner somewhere in this weight-loss journey; I'm someplace I never expected to be...

I'm not lost, no, don't worry about that, just... wandering around, looking at the scenery.

I had a meltdown last week - the thing with the fudge? - and ended up doing the first serious out-of-control eating that I have done since starting this journey. And I handled it just fine. I had a gain last week, and I was fine with that, too. (In fact, to be totally honest - and what's this blog about if it's not me being honest - I was grateful that I gained. It keeps me from being seriously tempted to do it again. Consequences can be good things. There's only so many times even Chuck Norris can dodge a bullet.)

I'm feeling better about myself and how I look. I'm coming - gradually - to see the new, slimmer me.

About 10 days ago, I saw this picture that my friend posted (going around the table from left to right is Chris, Thomas, Evan, me, and Leigh - the very small person at the head of the table is Quinton) of the cookie-making party we'd had. It's not really a very good picture of me, per se - since you can barely see me in it, really - but what astonished me about it is that, for just a moment, I was looking at Leigh (she's facing away from the camera) and thought "Is that me?"

It wasn't, obviously, but the fact that I could think that, and be actually not completely astonished was interesting. I've always thought of Leigh as being "really thin." Stick-thin, I think I've described her. (She's not stick-thin, really, but she is definitely the thinnest person I hang out with... and my standards were all skewed.) The idea of comparing myself to her were, at the extreme, ridiculous. I used to make up nearly two Leighs. And yet, these days? I probably only outweigh her by 10-15 pounds. Maybe 20.

I know I shouldn't do the compare thing; I really wish I could stop playing the Fattest Woman in the Room game. I found myself doing it again at Thomas's office party this weekend (which was mostly as fun as one can expect from those sorts of events. We had some babysitter issues - her boyfriend of three years dumped her that day, and she was sobbing hysterically when she called to cancel on me, one hour before she was expected! - but fortunately, my friend Leslie was nearby and able to pick up the slack for me!) and realized that not only was I not top on that list, I wasn't even in the top ten.

I was talking with one of Thomas's co-workers about my article for MizFit and how sometimes, I think my mother influenced my own eating habits for the worse (I can't blame her for the whole thing, even if that would be nice, because really, she never twisted my arm; she just provided one sort of bad role model... the person I didn't want to be like)... "which is to say, because she was such a head-case about being thin, I grew up to be fat," I summarized. Thomas's co-worker stared at me, her pretty face twisted into an O of astonishment.

"But you're not fat!" she exclaimed.

I cannot remember the last time someone said that to me.

(Realistically, I know I still am. According to my BMI chart, I need to lose ~15 more pounds to be in a healthy weight range. But you know, I'm okay with that. I'm not done with my journey; I won't be done with my journey until the only people to whom my weight matters are the ones who are carrying my coffin.) Still, it felt really good, hearing that.

Time for an awkward transitionitory sentence. (I love doing that, you know. I only wish I could get away with it while writing novels!)

I think I mentioned my shoes, recently... the three inch high heeled boots. Yeah. You know, I wear them most of the time now. I love the way it makes my foot look tiny, and the extra three inches of height give me the optical illusion of being thinner. (If I really was 5'6" instead of 5'3", I'd be at a healthy weight!) I never used to wear heels, even before my car accident. I had a few pairs from time to time, but I felt awkward in them. I'd never really learned how to walk in heels, and I clearly remember one of the last times I wore heels, and I ended up misplacing my foot on a short staircase and badly bruising my dignity. And now? I'm wearing my boots to the grocery store.

I feel sort of weird about it; I used to go on rants about women's fashions that forced women to mangle their legs and be in constant pain in order to try to conform to some impossible standard. And here I am, wearing high heels to do the laundry. (And it's not even like people can see my legs! I'm wearing jeans!) Am I wrong, for now being okay with fashion, since I might actually look good in it? Was I being all sour-grapes before; knowing that I'd never fit in, or look good, it was easy to dismiss fashion (and at the same time, the women who liked fashion) as being silly.

I was working myself up into an extremely tight knot about this; I hate feeling like a hypocrit. I went on a small, self-hating rant about it, and Thomas shook his head at me.


"Six years ago, we used to wait in line to see the Geek O'Clock showing of any movie we were interested in. We don't do that any longer because we have a child. I don't think it was bad that we used to do it, nor is it bad that we don't do it now. Situations change, priorities change. That's called life. You're not wrong for thinking the way you used to, nor are you wrong now. You're just becoming more like yourself. Whatever You that You are now."

(My weigh in was good this week, down another 1.6 pounds, which brings me within spitting distance of 65 pounds lost. If I can drop .2 pounds this week upcoming, I'll earn my 13th star for the year.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Some bloggie things

Well, first, I have some awardie things to post...

PTG put me up for the Your Blog is Fabulous award... cute!

And Seashore put me up for the Marie Antoinette Award: Real Blogs, Real People...

I'm supposed to nominate people for each of these awards, so I'll do so here, and you all can pick which (or both) of the awards you'd like to have:

1) Wanna Be Skinny at Slow, Deep Breaths who is having a bit of a frustrating spell at the moment and can use all your love and encouragement!

2) All Vegged Out, who always has the nicest pictures of food, and is a friendly sort! I adore her, and you should, too...

3) Thinking Thin, Too, who is a snarky, no-nonsense sort of blogger with more attitude than Carters has little pills.

4) DietBook, who is my evil twin. Or I'm her evil twin. No, I'm definitely her evil twin. I'm pretty sure.

5) Trapped, who is taking a hiatus, but I'd really like her to come back.

And, everyone else that I would put up for awards either has them already, or doesn't know I exist, so I'm not going to bother them by putting them up for awardie things.

Answering a question from the inestimable Carla from MizFit...

"Im so curious how you stuck to the fifteen minute wait before you even were allowed :) to consider a second serving." she says in a comment on my entry A Core By Any Other Name.

I have some strange advantages. I say strange because generally speaking, I don't consider them advantages. I don't have a dining room table. When Thomas and I moved here, we went from a 3-bedroom, 2 bath, 1,500 square foot, eat in kitchen apartment to a squishy little 2 bedroom, 1 bath, dining room/living room combo with a closet-sized galley kitchen. (It's not quite as small as the 2 roomer I had back in college, where you had to leave the kitchen to change your mind, but really, it's quite smidgy and I hate it.) Given that we're both serious geeks, we each have our own computers and wanted to set them up somewhere. So, we had a choice: Dining room or computers.

It's hardly surprising to anyone that we chose to set up the computers and give the dining room table and chairs to Goodwill.

This is a serious disadvantage, as I will never, ever be able to actually "entertain." I've had friends over who don't mind eating on the sofa, but I can't throw a fancy dinner party or anything... also, it means we don't "eat together as a family," which I'm told is crucial to a healthy family life. (I can sort of agree with this, as me and my parents never ate together as a family either; my mom was always on some starvation diet of some sort, my dad ate in front of the tv, and I ate alone in the kitchen, and my family's not quite as dysfunctional as they come, but it's close...) However, as the fam and I go for long walks 4 times a week, I think we're getting in our quality time. Does it matter if we're talking over dinner or talking while getting exercise? No, I don't think so.

It's also a disadvantage because I am the world's sloppiest eater. Which means my keyboard is in the sort of state that makes strong men a little green around the gills, and the less you think about it, the happier you'll be.

But it is decidedly an advantage when it comes to the 15 minute rule.

I'm not sitting awkwardly at the table, watching other people eat. I'm not looking at the leftovers; they're in the kitchen. And I have my lovely distraction right there in front of me in the form of Warcraft, or blogs, or chatting on Irc, or Twitter, or whatever it is that I'm doing...

Also, I have a clock right there on my computer for those times when I really am actually in dire need of having a second helping, I can keep an eye on the time.

I've found fifteen minutes is a pretty good amount of time; my brain recognizes whether or not I'm full/satisfied... which is to say, if I spend the last 5 minutes of my 15 watching the clock, yeah, I'm probably still hungry, and if I've moved on to concentrating fiercely on keeping Moriar up during the Patchwork fight, I'm really not. Some people may need more time for their brains to kick in... the brain being a bit slow that way, and not really getting the signals. I guess it's more important to prioritize things like cuts and scrapes, so it can be forgiven for being a bit slow about a full stomach, or the emotional trauma of being forced to listen to Steely Dan for the 8th time this week... I mean, when you catch yourself singing along to "Bad Sneakers" and thinking, maybe this song isn't that bad...

Anyway, thanks for asking. If there's anything YOU want to know about your benificent caterpillar (who is working on becoming a beautiful butterfly!) feel free to post a comment, and I'll be sure to answer you...

Monday, December 15, 2008


There is no sense in pretendin'
Your eyes give you give away
Something inside you is feelin' like I do
We've said all there is to say

Baby, breakdown, go ahead give it to me
Breakdown, honey take me through the night

Breakdown, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

So, I made it nearly a year before having a complete and total meltdown about this whole lifestyle thing.

Last year, I shipped out chocolates and cookies to a few of my warcraft guild members (I made tons of cookies and chocolates last year, and I really like making chocolates. It's fun and sort of artsy and I feel creative and talented while I'm doing it...) and this year, talking with one of those people, he offered me a rather large sum of cash to make gift boxes for his employees. He's a lawyer and has a crapton of legal assistants and whatnot... so, despite some misgivings, I found myself dragging out the chocolate molds and the melting wafers...

I made several batches of chocolate without too much trouble. I counted 2-3 points a day for various amounts of licking my fingers and really wasn't feeling too bad about the whole thing...

And then came...

Thursday, it rained so hard that you'd have expected to see Noah somewhere out there with his cubit-stick, measuring wood... we didn't get in our long walk. Darcy was being a society-menace... actually, she's really not, but my god, the girl can drive me up the wall. I'm really not a very good mom... it doesn't take more than about 2 "Why" questions before I start making shit up improvising. "Why do leaves fall down?" "Because no one gave them licenses for hanggliders..." I forsee many, many trips to the school next year to talk with the principal about my deranged child... (she also likes to talk about squirrels who are blowing up school buses...)

I'm trying hard to finish up these boxes to get everything shipped on Monday so I can spend KC's money with impunity and Darcy's being a serious pest. She's not happy about the fact that I won't let her eat the cookies and fudge and chocolates that I'm making, and I've had to tell her five times in the last 20 minutes that these are for someone else and she can't have any...

When it just happened.

I snapped.

Went 'round the bend.

Flipped my lid.

I gave Darcy three or four pieces of chocolate and screamed at her to GET OUT OF MY KITCHEN! And then proceeded to snarf the rest of the row myself.

I do not know how much fudge I ate.

I know I threw a few pieces down the disposal as soon as I realized what I was doing. And Darcy took a few pieces before fleeing to her bedroom.

An 8 x 11 tray makes ~100 pieces of fudge. I know I didn't eat more than one entire row. So, at the worst, at least 2 pieces, and at most, nine pieces.

But still...

I didn't decide to throw myself down the stairs, so to speak. I was good the rest of the day. I compensated. I wrote it down. I estimated on the heavy side.

And yet...

I spent most of Friday feeling like a complete Oinker. I was snippy most of the day. I worked up a good sweat when we went for our Friday walk, pumping my arms and stepping hard down on the pavement.

And then, Saturday came, and it was just... gone. I was still a little astonished by what I'd done, but my jeans still fit. I don't look any different than I did on Thursday. I didn't wait til Monday to get back on the wagon; I went back on right away. I wrote it down. I compensated.

When I show a gain this week, I think I'll be okay with that. And if I lose anyway, I'm not going to give myself the excuse that I can act like this all the time.

Surprisingly enough, I'm okay with it. I did what I did, and while I don't want to make a regular habit of it, it's not the end of the world.

I think that's a non-scale victory.

I accept what I did without beating myself up about it for too long.

Good for me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Core by Any Other Name

Well, first off, I'm down another 2 pounds this week, which puts me just under 155... I continue to be astonished at the actual numbers I've lost, while still continuing to be frustrated with how bad I look. (In case you were wondering, Thomas was also down this week, 2.6 pounds - he can never let me have a good week without showing me up, can he?? - which officially puts him 5 pounds under his goal... 170 pounds. According to him, he was in junior high the last time he weighed that little.)

Last night's meeting was the big kickoff for the "new" Momentum plan for Weight Watchers.

They've "combined" the two plans, Flex and Core, and instead of calling it the Flore plan (funny, but not catchy, especially since "flore" was never an official plan and wouldn't be funny to new members... altho honestly, if Momentum, Simply Filling, and Filling Foods were the best marketing they could come up with, they really need to reconsider the employees in their marketing department...)

In the end, very little has actually changed.

They're restarting everyone back on a points counting plan (points are still calculated the same was as ever...) with vigilance about portion control. Then they're stressing using the Filling Foods (i.e. Core food list) to stretch your points out and to help manage hunger.

If you're a die-hard Core fan (as Thomas and I are) in week 6, they re-introduce the concept of Core, but are now calling it the Simply Filling technique. Our leader, who is a big Core fan herself, handed out the week 6 books for those of us who follow Core (which is like 2/3 of our meeting, and we've all been successful with that plan!) The Week 6 book - 24 pages long - spends the first 12 pages talking about why you should track your food and measure your food, and no, really, we mean it, you should track your food! Honestly! Here are some suggestions about how to track, when to track, what to track, why you should track. Page 13 - 14 are "Well, if you're not going to track, regardless of what we say, here's how you should go about not tracking." and then the rest of the book is recipes and indexes. This is me, making a squishy face here.

Back when I started following Core, I was talking to a friend, who said to me, "I'd never be able to do it. I don't know when I'm 'satisfied'... honestly, if I'm not stuffed to the gills, I'm hungry."

I guess a lot of people have that problem.

Thomas and I instituted a bunch of personal rules to get around the problems of recognizing hunger patterns. The first of which was; Never take more than a single serving. You can always go back for more later, but the first serving is a serving size. Because we were on Core, we didn't measure closely, but mostly called things "good enough." Second rule was; If you finish your first helping, wait 15 minutes after you finish eating before getting anything else to eat. Generally speaking, 15 minutes was enough time for our brains to recognize hungry/not hungry and if we weren't hungry, we'd usually gotten involved in something else by that point, and forgotten that we'd been considering a second helping of food.

These two rules worked well for us, and obviously, we're both poster-children for "results not typical..." (I asked my leader one time what was "typical." She leaned in close and spoke in a low voice, "The typical member comes in, loses five or ten pounds, gains back 8 and we never see them again. Sometimes they let the monthly membership fee roll over for six months before they cancel it...") but I guess it doesn't work for everyone.

There are certainly dieters out there who will follow the letter of the law that allows them to eat the most amount of food, be mad when they don't lose weight, and complain that they're "following the plan!!" Core definitely opens itself up to the possibility of abuse...

I think there's no way that any plan will ever be able to help these people. They want to lose weight, but they want it the same way I want to win the lottery. (No, I don't buy lottery tickets... doesn't keep me from daydreaming sometimes about what I'd do with 58 million dollars...) They want to eat what they want, when they want it, and still lose weight, and I hate to say it, but that doesn't work. (If it did, we'd all be thin... ) So, Weight Watchers is tweaking their plan... to help those people who are falling right on the border between just wanting to complain about their weight and actually managing to do something about it.

Losing weight is not easy. It's not simple. And it's not for wimps. "Life isn't fair, your highness. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something."

Weight Watchers is selling me something. And I'm still buying it. But I think of it more like Lowes. I can go to Lowes and buy all the materials and tools to build a fence. They can help, they can advise, they can teach, but in the end, I'm the one who has to build the freaking fence...

Monday, December 8, 2008

In Which Express Earns my Repeat Business


I haven't shopped seriously for clothing in the non-plus departments for... oh, about 17 years. My staple clothing stores were K-mart, Target, Lane Bryant and Torrid. With occasional forays into Fashion Bug Plus. From time to time I'd shop Catherine's, as well.

I haven't been inside a Limited since my mother dragged me along while she did shopping for her clothing, back when 10-button tees and long, frothy, faux-western style skirts were in fashion.

My husband's employer, Evil French Company, is having their annual Holiday dance on the 20th, and he always wants to go to these things. I'm never quite sure why, but he thinks it "looks good" and that he gets "face time" with people he doesn't otherwise rub elbows with while at work. Whatever. (I do remember one place I worked where if we didn't go to the company party, we were "in trouble". I went just long enough to be seen by my boss and his boss and then left. Did I mention my boss brought both his girlfriend and his wife to the company picnic?)

So, I need a dress because nothing I own really fits these days. The smallest dresses I have in the closet are 16s and 18s. I tried the 16 on, but it sagged all weird, especially around the collar. I no longer have enough shoulders to keep it from ending up drooping somewhere around my navel.

Not. Remotely. Attractive.

So, Saturday we go shopping for a dress.

It took Darcy all of about one and a half stores to get completely bored. Also, terrified. She was playing with one of the clothing racks and I moved about three feet away and she panicked. "I was looking and looking and I couldn't find you!" she wails at me. I don't know what we're going to do when she goes to school next year. So Thomas took her off to the play area and left me on my own.

I tried Kohl's first, on the advice of my step-mother, who said there were "really good" bargains there.

Maybe there were, but honestly! The store was a madhouse of disorganization, with sweaters and dresses and t-shirts and jeans all on the same rack with signs that screamed "70% off price already marked!!" If there was a dress on the rack in a color I liked, there'd be only one, and it wasn't in my size. I couldn't find any more dresses that were the same as the one I'd just seen. 70% off might be a good deal, but if I can't find anything, I'm not going to buy anything, no matter how cheap it is.

JC Penneys had a skirt that I'd seen on their website, and I managed (after about 20 minutes of looking and asking a saleslady) to find it, but it didn't look good on me. The hem came to exactly the wrong place... just below the knee. Shorter and the skirt would have been sassy, longer and it would have been elegant. Where it was and it screamed "hotel cleaning staff". Seriously.

Sears was another madhouse. Took me 30 minutes to find a single skirt that wasn't black, black, or black. And then when I did, it fit fine. And I couldn't find a single top that went with it.

I looked around Limited, but only looked. The price-tags there were frightening. I don't know about you, but the idea of spending $190 on a dress I'll wear twice just doesn't appeal to me. I wouldn't even spend that much cash on a dress when it was prom! (OK, so my wedding dress was ungodly expensive - about $1,600, but I really loved it, and a wedding is entirely different from a party!)

I beeped Thomas to say I was going to check one more store and then I would give up on a nice dress and hit Target for something "acceptable."

I walked into Express.

I fingered a couple of shirts and skirts. Size 0. Size 4. I shook my head, feeling like a stranger in a strange land. What the hell was I doing here? Surely I didn't belong in a shop where all the sales clerks looked like paper cut-outs of human beings.

"Can I help you, ma'am?" one of said clerks - if she was larger than a size 2, I'll eat my hat - came up to me, her Lee-press On Smile firmly in place.

"I'm just wondering what I'm doing here," I mutter, looking around the shop uneasily.

"How so?" Her smile dimmed a few watts.

"Well, I've lost over sixty pounds this year, and I've never shopped anywhere like this in my entire adult life. I have no idea what will look good on me, if anything..."

"Wow!" Her Lee-Press On Smile vanished, replaced with utter astonishment, then her face lit up like a Macy's Christmas display. It looked much nicer than the professional expression. "That's incredible! What size are you now, then?"

"A twelve," I said. "I don't even know if you carry size 12s. It seems in a weird grey area between fat and normal... "

"Oh, yeah, we do!" She grinned at me. "So, what do you need? Jeans? Tops? I've got a great sweater here that will just accent your figure perfectly!"

"I have a figure?" I raised an eyebrow at her. She has tiny little hips and is wearing one of those cowl-necked shirts that are used to hide the fact that she probably has breasts the size of a pull-handle on a dresser.

"Oh, my goodness, yes," she said. "Quite a nice one!"

So, Alicia introduces herself to me, and we talk about what I need; namely a party dress.

"We will find you the perfect dress! You really deserve something fantastic!" Gone is the Lee-Press On Smile and the How-can-I-help-you-ma'am attitude, and she's all about being my bff. She calls another girl over; Jamie, I think her name was, and they shoo me into a dressing room, bringing armsful of dresses and outfits over. I must have tried on about 20 different gowns, dresses, dressy-pants and sweaters, and skirt/shirt combos, coming out of the room at each for them to hum and haw over.

We looked at sparkly leggings with long sweaters, we looked at crushed velvet pants with silk tank tops and bolero jackets. I tried on countless blue dresses and red dresses and one multi-colored creation that I would have liked better without the $120 price tag. Finally, we picked a short-sleeved teal-green sheath dress with a square cut neck and sequins around the hem and collar. After that, Alicia helped me select matching accessories and tights and suggested places to look for shoes and a clutch purse.

It was somewhat embarrassing, but at the same time, really thoughful, and sweet, and I spent a good deal of that hour blinking back tears. I don't think I've ever had anyone fuss over me like that, not even when I was getting my $1,600 wedding dress, and for the commission she must have gotten on that piece of fabric, you'd think some fussing was owed to me! All this for a shared commission for a purchase that totalled less than $50, even with the matching necklace and earrings...

But you can bet your ass I'll be back.

And I'll make SURE that Alicia is there, before I make a big purchase.

After that, I beeped Thomas again and said I was headed for the shoe store. He and Darcy met me there and I fussed over shoes for a while before picking out a set of black wing-tip style heels. (Also, a pair of high-heeled boots, since the store was having a buy one, get one sale!) I haven't worn high heels in more than 8 years, and I was rather surprised at how... elegant I looked in them. Taller (no duh!). More confident. Also, my feet look tiny. Which is, in no small manner, due entirely to the fact that somewhere in this whole weight loss thing, my feet have dropped an entire two sizes.

The boots in my closet that I bought three years ago are nine and a half wides. The boots on my feet now? Seven and a half.

I have been stunned by how tiny my feet look.

Thomas, on the other hand, commented yesterday that what he was noticing more about the shoes was the way I walked.

"You have more strut in your step," he said, giving me his best bedroom eyes look. "There's a lot more... girlie in the way you walk, now. It's very sexy."

I must say, I'm looking forward to this year's party.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Post That Was Not

I've been writing a post recently, adding to it, as things occur to me... that I deleted this morning.

You're welcome.

I'll sum up... it was no more and no less than a litany of loathing. Starting at the top of my head and working my way down, it categorized, delineated and defined everything I think is wrong with the way I look. I took a long look at everything that was ugly, fat, flabby, wrinkled, runkled, spotty, splotchy, faded, and hairy...

I sometimes wonder if we all do this; if we all look in the mirror and sum up what we see as, basically, "Yuck."

Then I wonder if I'm the only one out there who loathes everything about herself so completely as to be generally unable to even notice there's a 60 pound difference between what she hated last year and what she continues to hate this year. Seriously. I still don't see anything in the mirror.

Pictures? Yes. I can look at two pictures of myself and see the difference. But I still don't see... me in the mirror. I see a collection - a very large collection - of flaws.

But really, what's the point in reiterating all of it? At the best, people will assume I'm fishing for reassurance and shower the comment sections with compliments. (Honestly, while I thank every single person for any and all compliments, I have a nasty mental habit of compliment-bashing. "Oh, Lynn, you look so nice..." Nice for yard trash, maybe... "That dress looks really great on you." It looked better on the hanger. "You have really lovely eyes." Have you had your glasses checked recently?) At the worst, someone will take me aside with that "I'm very concerned" look on their face and suggest that really, I need some intense therapy. Trust me, I know that.

As far as I know, there's no solution to it. I just have to work it out myself. I know, and have tried, the various stages of self-love and self-acceptance... I just haven't had that light bulb moment. And until I do, I don't really think there's much anyone can do to help.

I thought about making the post anyway as a symbolic throwing away of old ideas and old thoughts and trying to find new ones.

But really... when your cat vomits up on your carpet, you don't need to keep it on display to show how nice the rest of the carpet looks.

So, I'm not going to say it.

And I'll try not to think it.


Monday, December 1, 2008

The Ideal

Wow. What more needs to be said?

(Well, no, because you know me and I can never seem to sum up in one sentence what will take me three or four paragraphs to pontificate upon...)

Ok. So, dinner was great. I had DARK turkey, gravy, two helpings of stuffing, my overly-sugared sweet potato casserole, green beans, broccoli with cheese, and one dinner roll. (I would have had two, except Thomas snitched the last one that I'd been eyeballing for the last four minutes and took it just the second before I was ready to ask for it...) I also had a piece of apple pie with ice cream for dessert.

I felt adequately full, happy and content.

And then the next day, I went to the movies with my best friend. And while I did stick to the "guiltless" selection on the menu, it was still stuffed into a pita-bread and came with chips. Baked chips, but still chips and I still ate them.

On the other hand, we did walk.... ish 17-18 miles this week... and I did my cardio dvd once.

And... I lost .6 pounds this week.

So, I feel good about myself.

Amazing, that.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Plan

The Plan:

Go to Best friend's parent's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Eat as much as I want. Get overly stuffed. Do not feel guilty. Walk tonight, and extra this weekend. Gain weight this week. Accept this as being a normal part of life.

The Ideal:

Go to Best friend's parent's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Eat as much as I need, but no more. Feel pleased with self-control, but not deprived. Walk tonight and extra this weekend. Lose or maintain weight. Feel proud of self and accomplishments.

The Probable:

Go to best friend's parent's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Eat not enough to be happy, but more than I need. Feel deprived and guilty. Gain weight anyway. Hate self.

The Possible:

Go to best friend's parent's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Eat some, get thrown up on by sick infant. Catch stomach virus. Spend all weekend throwing up. Gain weight ANYWAY and be truly and thoroughly convinced that the universe is a vile, evil place.

I'll let ya know how it goes...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Differences between Thankful and Grateful

It's been a sort of running joke with me and my mom for years that while I am often grateful, I am seldom thankful.

The difference, of course, is that being grateful means feeling it, and being thankful means talking about it.

My natural tendency is to bitch complain. You might have noticed.

A lot of times, at the various relations and friends with whom I share a table on this upcoming holiday, want me (well, everyone) to talk about the things they are thankful for. For some reason, this always makes me feel just a little artificial... kinda like Valentines day. We shouldn't need a day set aside for romance and another one set aside for being grateful. We should be those things every single day.

Unfortunately, we're not.

I'm just as guilty of it as everyone else. I do take things for granted and I do not always appreciate the people in my life.

One thing, however, I've noticed about this whole lifestyle change, is that I've become a little more self-aware. My list of things I'm grateful for this year is pretty long... in fact, it may well be longer than the list of things I'm still feeling bitchy decidedly ungrateful for.

I am thankful for my husband, Thomas. His support, both mentally and financially. He is always there for me. And even when we argue, I still can't imagine being with anyone else.

I am grateful for my daughter, who is relatively well-behaved, intelligent, inquisitive, and has a fondness (at the moment) for things I can understand, like dragons, zombies, and computer games. I am thankful that she is out of diapers and has been for quite a while. I am thankful that she sometimes picks up her own toys, that she can brush her teeth without help, and that she no longer screams every time I wash her hair. I am glad that she's a great kid, especially as it's quite definite now that she's going to be the only kid I ever have. I am grateful that I'm mostly able to greet that news with a calm heart.

I am thankful that my mother has survived a year post-cancer without any recurrence. I am glad she has a steady job with health insurance and that she's not making poor health decisions any longer because she lacks the funding to make the right decisions. (She still makes some wrong decisions because she is thoroughly capable of being the Queen of Egypt... but that's another story...) I am grateful that I beat her this year in asking for the Cranberry Velvet recipe. (Yet another long story, and this is the first time I've won that particular little family game in years...)

I am still grateful for the existence of both of my step-parents. Rosie - my step-mom, and Charles, my step-dad, have done a lot to make both of my parents happy, which is more than they ever were together.

I am grateful for my real-life friends; many of whom are more like family than my own ever has been. Carol. Chris. Leigh. Jeanne. Despite what must be a herculean effort on their parts from time to time, they still like me, and are often there when I need an ear, or just some company... I couldn't get on without a single one of them, and I dearly hope they know that.

I am thankful for my new friends; who in a short period of time, have become quite dear to me. Leslie. Darcy. (Yes, that does get confusing!) Beth. I am glad that they have welcomed me into their lives, and have been fun to hang out with, especially after so long of my being alone down here in Chesapeake.

I am grateful to my Weight Watcher's groups, both online and real life, who have been supportive and encouraging. Who have offered great tips and advice, and who have provided the laughter and levity that's so desperately needed during this transition of my life between unhealthy and healthy.

Let me not forget my online friends... Dietbook. Scale Junkie. Felicia. Thinking Thin, Too. MizFit. Roni. Chris. Hanlie. KK. Kiki. Crabby McSlacker and Merry Sunshine. There are dozens more like them... women and men who have freely offered their advice, insight, and humor. That have shared their journey with the world. There's not a person on my blog-roll that I don't consider a friend, even if they don't always have any idea who I am.

And my other online friends; the Warcraft group... Hitt, Yok, Thorn, Sassie, DomMANG!, Froot, Breeze, Evan, Ariss, Theo and Ravin, Cygna and Don, Kat and Kata, Ooooooook, Cookie, PlumSauce, Pariah, Flux, Ferret, Sara, Thea (Aka, the PVP goddess!), Grey... and all the rest of the 5th crew, No Help at All, and those people in Strike that I don't want to strangle...

I'm grateful for my health. That I don't have to take asthma medication any longer. That my dental work is two weeks away from being finally, finally over! That I can walk further, faster. That I can run up and down stairs. That I'm not generally in constant pain (this last week, and the next 2 upcoming being exceptions because I'm in the last stages of a root canal, and it's just been lovely...).

I'm surprised, but grateful, that my blog will be one year old tomorrow. If you'd asked me last year, I wouldn't have expected to be doing this well, for this long.

I'm thankful for the 61.2 pounds I've lost... I'm thankful to be in size 12 jeans and medium shirts.

I'm thankful for all of you, still reading this, and hopefully not rolling your eyes too much. Don't worry, I don't get this maudlin very often.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nine and a Half Weeks

(Well, more like Seven weeks, but hey, making obscure, old movie references is kinda fun...)

Anyway, it's been seven weeks since the last time I hit a 5-pound star. I hit 55 pounds lost on October 6th, and then pretty much bounced around between 54 and 58 for weeks.

I've been trying to be patient and determined and not frustrated and if you've been paying attention, you know I have not been doing very well at those things... you also can probably guess how much of the impatience and stressed and frustrated that you haven't seen. I had three weeks in those seven where I gained, or maintained. Quite frustrating, really. It's by far the longest stretch of time I've had between 5 pound markers...

But we have increased our walking in the last two weeks, and I think that's made some difference. Also, I've been a lot more careful to journal what I'm eating (Or I would have been, if my computer hadn't taken a sudden nose-dive last week and caused Thomas to spend at least 48 hours during his week-long vacation trying to keep it running. Obviously, it is running, but it's not at all... well, you'd have to see it to believe it... the thing is on the floor, open, because the replacement power supply - scrounged from another system - doesn't fit inside the case. It's given to shorting out randomly, and my graphics settings are turned to the bare minimum, somewhere between Big and "Do you want your mom in Georgia to be able to read this without putting on her glasses?") I've lost almost 4 pounds in the last two weeks, which is pretty good for me. These days, I've been lucky to lose more than a pound at a clip...

Anyway, since I haven't been around for much this week; between my computer not working, and when it was working, I've fallen face-first into the new Warcraft expansion... here are some scenes from my life in the last week that I thought I'd share with you.

Scene: 6:30pm, Thursday night.

Lynn: Oh, hell.

Thomas: What?

Lynn: We need to walk tonight. And it's the long walk. And I haven't started dinner. So by the time we get home from the walk, at 7:30, it'll be past 8 before dinner's ready... maybe... Ah! yes. I can cook dinner in the toaster oven. When it reaches the end of its timer, the toaster will turn off.

Thomas: Are you sure?

Lynn: Sure...

(somewhat later, about 1/4 mile away from the house, on the way back.)

Lynn: I think so, at least. That the toaster will turn itself off. I've never actually tested that theory.

Thomas: Are you burning the house down?

Lynn: Nah. Worst that'll happen is dinner will be completely inedible and we'll have to order out Chinese. And not like my diet-friendly Chinese stir fry, but you know, deep fried egg rolls and teriyaki steak and...

Thomas: ... 12 points a cup General Tso's chicken?

Lynn: Exactly.

Thomas: Never thought I'd be hoping for a burned dinner before....

[As a note, dinner was perfectly fine. The toaster acted exactly as I had thought it would, and will probably become my preferred way to cook dinner on Thursdays and Fridays, since we take our 3.4 mile walk on those days, which takes us about an hour, and leaving the house at 5:45 after Thomas gets home from work puts us at having dinner at a reasonable hour... Further note, having talked about Chinese food in detail, we decided to do Chinese as our splurge this week, and had it for dinner on Saturday instead.... I ate 5 mu shu pork rolls and one chicken teriyaki apetizer. Yes, with WHITE RICE too.]

Scene: Saturday, 10am

Darcy, playing with doll: My name is Darcy Angelia Carpenter.

Doll: And my name is Beth Carol Dollie!

Darcy: And this is my Mommy. Mommy Carpenter. And she needs to lose 30 pounds!

[Guess I've been talking about my eating plan a little much recently....]

And my last interesting piece of news... Thomas is now at goal! technically, a bit below goal. Two weeks back, he got to .6 pounds away from goal... then last week, he gained a pound... and then this week, he lost like 4.4 pounds... (god, that makes me so furious sometimes. I know he doesn't do it just to piss me off, but really... just once! I'd like to have a good loss and not immediately be upstaged by a factor of 2!) so now he's a bit under goal and weighing in at 172 pounds. (He's 6 feet tall and was aiming for a goal weight of 175...) So... now we're entering a new stage of our life...


He gets now, on Core... 63 extra flex points per week to play with.

While I have another 32 pounds to lose before I'm at goal weight.

Yeah. This might be tricky.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This is the Morning Report

Chimps are going ape, giraffes remain above it all
Elephants remember, though just what I can't recall
Crocodiles are snapping up fresh offers from the banks
Showed interest in my nest egg but I quickly said, "No thanks!"
We haven't paid the hornbills and the vultures have a hunch
Not everyone invited will be coming back from lunch
-- The Morning Report, The Lion King, extended edition

So... the week on Flore went well. Or, at least, I lost 1.6 pounds, which is good news. Thomas, on the other hand, after spectacular losses last week (5.4 pounds - which is more than I've lost this entire month - could you just hate him, or what?) had a small gain; he's back up 1 pound. This is nothing to worry about, I'm sure, as he is now 1.6 pounds away from his goal weight. (Yes, you read that right. 76+ pounds in less than a year, and he's maybe 1-2 weeks away from goal, provided that the upcoming horror known as Thanksgiving doesn't throw him for a loop. He thinks it will. I think it won't. On the few occasions in the past where he's completely overblown his diet, "gone off the reservation," as he phrases it, he's usually had spectacular losses the following weigh in. I remain convinced that he is not eating enough and the jolt to his metabolism is usually just what he needs... Wow, has this become an epic-fail type aside, or what?)

We also increased our walk... instead of walking 2.2 miles, we're now walking 3.4 miles, although the plan is to only do the "long walk" twice a week, and continue to do the shorter walk twice a week. The reason for this is because the shorter walk takes us past the playground, and Darcy always wants to play. The problem is, recently, it's been dark by 5:45, and we're usually passing the playground when it's pitch black (have I mentioned this walking path is NOT lit? Bad planning on someone's part. Probably mine.) and I don't really want her climbing around on jungle gym equipment when she can't see her feet - and probably more important to my peace of mind, I can't see her. So... to wind up yet another long-winded explanation; we walk earlier in the day on Tuesdays - which is Thomas's work from home day - and Sundays, where we walk in the morning. Those days, we'll take the short walk, so Darcy can play at the playground for a bit, and take the longer walks on Thursday and Friday.

The longer walk takes us through the nearby golfing community, and some of them already have Christmas lights up. Also, the walkways are neat, clean, and very well lit. Anyone who can afford to live in that neighborhood probably wouldn't have much tolerance for shoddy sidewalks. (Ever notice that? How lower class neighborhoods have the crappy sidewalks, even though, technically, maintaining the streets is the city's job? And yet, they keep seeming to spend more money where the rich, powerful people are. Yep. Democracy at work, it's such a lovely thing!)

Anyway, while I'd love to stay and chat, I don't really have time right now. I've got a 2 hour dentist appointment in half an hour, and I really must be out the door! I'm getting fitted for my last two crowns - at least I'm hoping they're my last two crowns, because really, at $270 out of pocket, EACH, the crowns are making it damned impossible for us to have any money for Christmas this year. Also, my computer is slowly, but surely, dying a slow and painful death. So, you know, if I disappear for a while, don't panic. I'm just crying my eyeballs out because my computer has died and I can't afford a new one.

But hey, at least my mouth will look nice.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lynn, You Have the Flore

I think I've mentioned how much I hate the Flex plan, right? There's something mildly psychotic/OCD about counting "points". Not to mention the fact that the number of points people get seem to me to be seriously out of whack with the amount of food people should be eating.

If you do the math, at 160-170 pounds, I get 22 points per day. At 50-70 calories per point (If you eat something very high fiber and low fat, like say, a stick. Or raw twine. You can get it up to about 100 calories for a point.) that's 1,100 - 1,540 calories per day. Now, the high end of things is not too bad for calorie counts, but if you're doing that, you're also getting a lot of fiber. Perhaps too much fiber. (And if you've ever overfibered yourself, you know that this is a bad. bad. superbad. thing.)

Also, I develop this subconscious fear of my points... I'm afraid to use them in case I'm hungry later. So, since I don't use them, I, of course, am hungry later. And, towards the end of the evening, I don't really want to cook another meal, so I end up snacking those last 3-5 points away.

At the meeting on Monday (well, I weighed in. I didn't actually stay for the meeting because I'd left Thomas at home with Darcy and a migraine...) Beth suggested to me that I try the Flore plan. Just for a week or so, to see if what I'm doing is eating entirely too much core foods. (Going beyond 'satisfied.') The Flore plan, for those of you who are unfamiliar with this concept, combines the headache of both plans... use Flex points, eat Core foods.

Her suggestion was, actually, not to change my eating habits so much as just track how much I was eating and then see, next week, if I could cut back a little here and there. Knowing me and my desire for results now, I decided I was not even remotely likely to do that, and I would instead, just do the Flore plan for a week or so... Especially since I'm less likely to snack mindlessly if I'm not allowing myself to be mindless about it. (Being mindful involves writing it down, so if I am journaling, I cannot, by default, be mindless.)

I was complaining to Thomas for the last two weeks or so, now, that I'm always hungry.

Clearly, that cannot actually be the case.

Beth is probably correct that I've been eating too much. Nibbling myself to death, in essence. A cheesestick here (only 1 point!) , an extra 2 helpings of dinner there (it's core, so it's fine, right? Just because I ate all of Thomas's leftovers, and the stuff left in the dish. Right?) (I can't say for sure, since I stopped tracking even sporadically about two-three weeks ago...) I've been so hyper-busy recently that... honestly, eating is a task I can finish. I can go into the kitchen and find food. Finding food, then, I'm going to eat it. Eating food for the purposes of finishing a task is not fueling my body's needs.

Hunger isn't the problem; eating isn't the solution.

So... tracking yesterday went something like this:

Breakfast: 3 points
Whole wheat cream of wheat - 1.5 point
3/4 cup milk - 1.5 points
Mid-morning snack: 3 point
Medium apple - 1 point
1 cup greek yogurt - 2 points
Lunch: 4 points
salad greens - 0 points
tomato - 0 points
1/4 avocado - 2 points
1/4 cup fat free cheese shreds - 1 point
2 tbsp fat free thousand island dressing - 1 point
Mid-afternoon snack: 2 points
1 tsp canola oil - 1 point
1/2 cup Fiber One Cereal - 0 points
1/2 cup skim milk - 1 point
Dinner: 8 points
chicken breast - 3 points
1 cup brown rice - 3 points
1/4 cup fat free cheese shreds - 1 point
1 tsp olive oil - 1 point
Dessert: 1 point
Skinny Cow Low fat bar - 1 point
Before bed Snack: 1 point
1/2 cup tuna fish - 1 point
10 baby carrots - 0 points
2 tsp cranberry mustard - 0 points
Activity: 3 APs
walked 1/2 mile - 1 point
walked/jogged 2.2 miles (more walking than jogging) - 2 points

Added up, that's 22 points, 3 APs earned and unspent. On Core, that's 1 AP used (for the ice cream bar...)

Also, I got all my waters in... funny thing is, I wasn't hungry yesterday, despite the fact that I was being more careful about what I ate.

Hunger isn't the problem; eating isn't the solution.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Me and the Molasses

So... (Ok, if I have any guy readers, go ahead and take a hike, would ya? Most guys, they get the weirded outs when I talk about 'girl stuff'. So, you know, if you're the kind of guy who cannot go to the store and buy tampons for his wife, go... shoo. Why do guys have a problem with this, I wonder. I mean, do you really think the store clerk thinks YOU are using them? No. If the store clerk thinks anything about it AT ALL - and believe me, I've worked as a cashier before... the only time we care about your order at all is if you're being a SERIOUS PAIN IN THE ASS while we ring it up... - he's just going to know you have a wife/girlfriend at home who's probably being a serious pain in YOUR ass right now. Which, honestly, is not a bad think to be thinking. Oh, look, he's got a GIRL back at his house. This is embarrassing how? Nevermind.)

I had a gain again last night... not much, .6. But that brings my monthly loss to a whopping 2.2 pounds this month.

Now, as you all know, I've been tracking my menstrual cycle, specifically because I tend to have a gain right about the same time as I'm having EWM (That's egg-white mucus, which you knew that if you've ever been trying to have a baby unsuccessfully) which is to further say that I tend to gain weight right around the time that I'm ovulating. Unusual, since most women gain weight the week directly before their menstration starts, but ordinary I have never been.

Frustrating, as I've also been noticing a trend in the length of my cycle. Which, unfortunately, is not to say that I'm getting more time between periods; quite the contrary. In further fact, my cycle has "slimmed" down, so that I'm starting my period almost precisely every 28 days. HOWEVER, the length of my period itself has increased. It started at a nice, neat, four days. Two days of spotting/light bleed, one day of 'dear goddess, let me die now,' and then another day of spotting, then done.

This month? I started spotting on the 16th of October and didn't stop until the 25th. Which means my gain/maintain week should have, technically, been last week. (In which I maintained.) As, if things continue as they have been, I should start menstrating again in the next 4 days.

Somehow, it doesn't seem exactly fair that I spend 1/3 of my time having my period.

Not that anyone ever nominated life for the Fair Play award.

(Ok, done with that, guys, you can come back now, unless I've completely alienated you, and if, honestly, you're that easily alienated, you probably didn't want to be here anyway...)

Anyway, I confess I'm a little disappointed in my weight loss for this month.

I mean, I know this happens. "Gains are part of the whole weight loss process." "The last (10 pounds, 20 pounds, 40 pounds) is the hardest." "You will have plateaus (god, I hate that word. I can't spell it. French is just no.)" I know.

That doesn't, honestly, make it any easier to deal with. I'd say "Especially with Thomas the wonder-loser over there making everything look all easy," but let's be perfectly honest. Thomas could be gaining weight and I'd still be frustrated. Much as I love pointing out the various other scapegoats in my life, it doesn't really have anything to do with anything. I want to be doing well, regardless of other people. That other people continue to do better than me doesn't affect me nearly as much as the fact that I'm never doing quite as well as I want to be doing.



Well, for the first thing, I think I need to slow the fuck heck down. I'm trying to do too many things at once, and the net results of that is that I'm getting absolutely nothing done, and making myself exhausted while I don't do it. I cannot maintain the pace of NaNoWriMo. I tried it for two weeks, and I'm completely burned out, and I have a perpetual headache on top of that. I actually spent the last couple of days almost entirely off the computer (except for some Warcraft, which engages an entirely different part of my brain than writing). Now, part of that was because my secondary hard drive is engaging itself in cascading drive failure. If you don't know what that means, it's basically my drive is dying. Slowly. Which is good, in that I can make backups of the drive, and that I can continue to use my computer. Which is bad, in that the drive is STILL DYING, and in between uses of my computer, I'm running scandisks to close off bad drive sectors, and that's time consuming. That said, after spending most of Saturday and Sunday off the computer, I feel... lots better. More relaxed. I got some extra sleep. I read books. I watched movies.

Secondly, get my ass back to journaling. I don't know why this is so hard to do, but it is. I hate journaling. My journal tends to look something like this:

Tuesday: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, checklist, activity all filled out. Full Smilies.
Wednesday: Breakfast. Snack. Activity. Checklist filled in.
Thursday: Activity. Checklist partially filled.
Friday - Monday: Blank.

Third: Water water water.

Me and drinking water go on this cycle... the cycle goes like this.

Week One: Drink soda first thing in the morning, water most of the day, one soda with dinner.
Week Two: Drink one soda first thing in the morning, then a water, then a soda, then a water, then a soda, then a water. Then soda for the rest of the day (my "waters" are 20 ounces, so, on Week Two, I'm still getting my water intake, altho you see I have greatly increased my caffiene intake as well.)
Week Three: Soda for most of the day. One water, somewhere in there.
Week Four: Soda all day. Water only when I run out of soda.
Week Five: Swear to do better next week.
Repeat Weeks Four and Five

My "logic," if you will, goes something along these lines. I hate water. HATE it. Bottled water is ok, but very expensive, so I don't generally buy it. The cute little filtery thing we have on the kitchen tap... really doesn't help anything. I can't tell a "taste" diffence, and I know for a fact that it's not actually filtering out any of the bad stuff that shows up in our city water. So, in order to be able to drink it, I have to put crystal light, or TrueLime and splenda in the water. (Both of these things add about 4 - 10 calories to my 20-ounce sports bottle.)

Soda, if you will, has >5 calories for a 12 ounce serving. The only difference between the soda and the adulterated water that I drink is:

Soda: >5 calories, 40mgs sodium, 46 mgs caffiene
Crystal Light: 10 calories, 10mgs sodium, 0 caffiene
Energy Crystal Light: 10 calories, 0 sodium, 120 mgs caffiene
TrueLime + 2 packets Splenda: 8 calories, 0 sodium, 0 caffiene
(Did you notice that the energy crystal light has 120 mgs of caffiene?? I didn't actually know that until I went and looked it up, just now.)

I try, sometimes, to cut back. Or, I'll try to quit entirely.

That never, ever lasts... and even if I do well for a few days, I find myself adding soda back into my diet after the caffiene withdrawal headache gets so bad that I start wondering if my eyeballs are bleeding. Obviously, even after a week or two weeks without caffiene, I go right back to it. Slowly, at first, then building. I'm so bad about caffiene that I absolutely refuse to buy penguin mints. I literally cannot be trusted not to overcaffienate myself. When you snarf 40+ mints in little less than 2 hours, you know there's something really, really wrong with you. (Ok, complete honesty here... I would mainline caffiene. I really would.)

Fourth, and probably last;

Exercise. (Another word I never spell correctly the first time, which is why we're all very thankful that such a thing as spellcheck exists. Even if spellcheck isn't in the dictionary.)

I can't seem to keep up with a constant work-out program. I did cardio for a while, on the DVD. Quit after a few months. I tried Couch to 5K. Quit after a few weeks. I did weight training. Quit after a few weeks. The only thing I've managed to keep up with consistently is walking. At the beginning of the year, Thomas and I walked ~1 mile, three times a week. Gradually we upped it to ~2.2 miles, and now we walk that 2.2 miles four times a week. It may very well be time for us to up the distance again. Or, at least, we might want to walk further on our Saturday walk - since our Tuesday, Thursday and Friday walks are already now taking place in the full dark, which is, honestly, not really fun. Especially since portions of the back trail are not lit.

In any case, something has to be done, because if I fall down consistently to losing only 2.2 pounds in a month, it'll be more than a full year from now before I'm at goal weight, and honestly, I just don't know how much more of this I can take. My first impulse after last night's weigh in was to go snarf a hershey's bar, because honestly, if I'm going to GAIN weight, I may as well at least deserve it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Someone Else's Pants

I maintained again this week, in case I forgot to mention it. (I think the 20 pounds I had wanted to lose by Christmas are not going anywhere, because I have 7 weeks in which to lose 11 pounds, and at the rate I've been losing recently, I don't think that's at all probable. At best, with the average loss of 1.3 pounds per week, I might be able to shed another 9 pounds by Christmas, but my rate of return has been slowing down enormously.)

I'm not entirely sure why, because, once again, I've stopped journaling consistently. Which is to say, I know why I didn't lose. Because I stopped journaling. But, I don't know what it is I ate or did that might have caused me to not lose. Or something like that. Pardon me, I'm horrifically undercoherent today.

Sometimes I think I'm trying to do too much with too little resources. I clean house (which sometimes consists of wanting to murder both my husband and my child, who cannot seem to do anything other than leave their socks in some strange location!). I write NaNoWriMo. (And while I wrote yesterday, I ended up scrapping all of it because it was crap beyond the pale of normally acceptable crap, which is why I'm doing NaNoWriMo unofficially... so I can throw out crap writing and not worry so much about keeping up.) I write and read blogs. I write and read Twitter (and honestly, I think I'm following more people than I can reasonably keep up with. I want tabs for Twitter, so I can divide people into groups; my friends, political, writing, sci-fi/fantasy, weight loss, and mommies.) I'm planning an outline for a dietbook lifestyle change memoir. I fix all household meals. I pre-pack lunches for my husband. I game. I write emails for another game (which I am sadly behind on, so if you're in that game, don't feel the need to nag me, please. I know I'm behind. Believe me.)

Slowly, very slowly, I'm coming to an acceptance of what it is I've done this year.

I have lost almost 60 pounds.

I have dropped from a size 24 to a size 12.

Which brings me to the pants I'm wearing today. Don't ask me to explain it, but it's been sort of weird that I can't really seem to wrap my head around what size pants I'm in. I got a 12 from Target about a month ago... They were a leeetle bit tight, but I bought them anyway. And then I got another pair from Kmart, which were a leeetle bit tighter, too (I think Target and K-mart run at slightly different size margains). Slowly, I'm kind of accepting the fact that clothing that actually fits is... a bit clingy. What I percieve as being too-tight is actually a correct fit. And yet, despite the fact that I've been pulling these two pairs of pants on every day for the last few weeks...

Let me back up to Monday. We saw Leslie at the meeting, same as usual. She had for me a small gift of two pairs of pants she'd bought last year at Old Navy. Mind you, I've never, ever shopped at Old Navy. When the chain first came to my attention, the advertisements for it completely and totally revolted me. By the time I'd gotten past that (or, at least, haven't seen an ad for them in a long, long time) I'd heard that they changed their profile so that if you were an overweight lady, you could only buy their clothing online. Because, you know, god forbid they actually have fat people in their stores, what is the world coming to that fat people think they can just walk into the store like they were normal citizens with full rights to act and be treated accordingly. No shit, sherlock, this particular move offended the crap out of me.

Anyway, she gave me these two pairs of pants, both marked as size 12.

I was convinced they wouldn't fit.

I held them up, looked at the waist, thanked her for her kindness... but knew they weren't going to fit. Couldn't. Possibly.

I haven't worn a 12 since my sophomore year of college. That was 1992, for those of you doing the math. (Yes, I'm 36 years old, On the backside of thirty, short side of time / Back on the bottom, with no will to climb... sorry, I do get a little depressed from time to time about my age recently. Hah! And I remember when I was so worried at 26 that I was running out of time to get a family and have children... I clearly remember that conversation... I also remember my friend laughing at me about it. I guess he was right, since I have husband and child now and everything's pretty much peachy... but still. I feel old. I was talking to a girl at a party last week, making a joke about a song that came out in 1984 and said "What were you, about 4 then?" And she looked at me oddly and said "No, I was just born in 1984." OLD. OLD. OLD.)

Thomas and I came home from the meeting and I shucked my jeans to try on the pants. Many jokes were made by Thomas on my finally getting into Leslie's pants, until I finally told him to fuck off kindly be quiet.

They fit.


My general math goes this way: ~60 pounds = (24 - 12) 6 pants sizes (speaking of which, does anyone have any freaking clue why sizes go 6, 8, 10, 12? And further, why there's a shop in the mall called 5-7-9? What is this random number generation system and how did it apply to women's clothing? And further, why is M sometimes classed as size 6 - 10 and sometimes as 8 - 12?) with anther 36 pounds to go, which should equal about another 3 sizes, taking me from a 12 to an 8.

An 8?

I'm experiencing a strange and slippery sort of... loss of self. And not just in the physical weight that I'm shedding. But both more and less and feeling of losing my place in the world.

I have a friend - haven't seen him in a while, but we'd great each other with smiles and hugs if we happened to meet again - who used to hide behind his long hair and his head-banger music as a reason why people didn't like him. Which I always thought was strange, because I can't remember ever really caring what sort of music people liked, as long as say, they didn't force me to listen to something revolting bagpipe music, it wasn't important.

Eventually I came to understand that he was using this as a shield. That when people didn't like him (and some people didn't. I mean, really. No one has universal popularity) he could say to himself "Oh, they're just close-minded, and they don't think men should have long hair, and they've heard all sorts of bad things about people who like heavy metal music, and so it's not really me that they don't like, it's these perceptions of what people should be, the round hole/square peg problems."

Have I been using being a fat-girl in the same way? Have I been hiding behind my fat, and saying to myself when people didn't like me, or when service was bad at a shop, that it wasn't me that was the problem, it was this bias against fat people? Because you know, prejudice against gays is on its way out of fashion, but hatred against fat people is, for the most part, still universally acceptable behavior, and as human beings, we feel some deep seated need to feel superior to others, generally in the manner of making those others feel as bad as possible. (Allow me to take a minute here to refer you to a truly wonderful post by Carla of MizFit and say very loudly There's Enough Room For Everybody!)

I don't really know. Perhaps not, to some degree. Most people who know me will agree that I say I do not suffer from the delusion that no one likes me. (I do not, and have not ever, gone out to the garden to eat worms!) I generally know that I have lots of friends, and while I do think some of them are quite derranged, I do not usually question their judgement. They like me, ergo, I must be likeable.

And yet... I find myself constantly looking in the mirror. Is this me? What will I be in six more months? Who am I? Where do I fit in? Do I still belong with the 'fat girls', or can I stay in that circle of friends, without offending or pissing anyone off? Could I join a group of thin girls, or would I feel that I didn't really qualify to be there?

I went to a costume party last weekend. Pretended to be someone else for a few hours.

It wasn't that hard.

I'm wearing someone else's pants today. And god only knows what I'm pretending to be.

I used to make fun of my friend who went to South Dakota for a 'discovery of self.' Of course, if you were to lose youself, I always said, chances are good that SD is a good place to start looking. I mean, there aren't that many people there, after all, so if you run into someone out there, there's a better chance of it being you than, say, if you ran into someone here, in Chesapeake.

And yet, I suddenly have more sympathy for him than once I did. Because I'm losing that sense of self, and I don't have any idea where to find it.

How does one redefine ones self, when suddenly, everything is different.

And then I think, am I really that superficial that I think my weight matters that much? Am I not still who I was?

So, you know... I'm out looking for my Self. If you should happen to see me before I get back, could you kindly hold on to me until I get here?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Odd Moments

Well, to let the cat out of the bag, so to speak:

First, my secret. Starting next year, I am giving serious consideration to attempting to write a diet-book. Lifestyle change memoir.

Actually, technically, Thomas and I will be writing it together. Having read several diet-books lifestyle change memoirs is that they don't cover what Thomas and I have been doing, which is to say, doing it together. The ones I've read are either written by single people (not that there's anything WRONG with being single) or by women who have to deal with the stereotypical "problem husband" who has to be tricked into eating healthy, or who insists on eating a separate meal. The other ones I've looked into, but not bought, that were written by men tend to be instruction manuals, with full (or psuedo) scientific backing.

Now, I know Thomas and I are not unique in our experiences as a dieting couple embarking on a lifestyle change. There are at least three other husband-wife teams that attend our Monday meeting. Even so, I think we have something to say, in a unique voice, that may not have yet been said in this multi-billion dollar industry. If nothing else, I think it will be good for us to solidify our experiences, even if I can't find an agent interested in publishing it.

So, that's my idea, and a tentative working title is A Couple of Losers.

On to other new business; (How's that for a transitional sentence. Yeah, it sucks, I know.)

As some of you know, and some of you don't, I do like to write. Over the last... eh, ten years, maybe? I've co-written one and 2/3 novels, and written one solo novel. The editing process is... still progressing. If you can call "having the best intentions to get back to this someday" progress. Having a child can be exceptionally disruptive, especially as they get just independent enough to get into massive amounts of trouble, but resent being watched over with hawk-like intensity. (Thus, there's crayon all over the back of Darcy's bedroom door...)

On the other hand, it's just an excuse. I find time to do other things, so it's simply a matter of finding the time to write.

To that end, I've decided to jump off the freaking deep end. Unofficially, of course.

I'm going to do NaNoWriMo this year. If you're unfamiliar, click the link and go read Wiki's take on it. I'd point you at their official site, however, at this time of year (which is to say, the month in which NaNoWriMo is held) getting to the site is a... hit or miss proposition. Google it yourself, if you're really curious.

In any case, I'm attempting this month to shuck out three pages of writing every day.

Yeah, I'm crazy. Did you even have to ask?

No, I'm not trying to write A Couple of Losers as a NaNoWriMo project. Instead, I dug up a cyberpunk/sci-fi idea I had about 18 months ago, but didn't really make any progress on. So far, I've put out about 8,400 words in three days, which is a hell of a good start.

(Yes, you will from time to time, get updates on this project here. If you don't care about it, just feel free to skip those entries. Yes, writing 1,666 words a day for a project may interfer with regular updates to this blog. Sorry. While everything is about structuring my time, there is still a hard and fast rule of only 24-hours in one day.)

(Further aside; if you are really interested in reading what I'm writing, shoot me an email; tisfan at gmail dot com and I'll see what I can do about keeping you posted, provided you're not going to be a jerk and try to steal my idea or post it to the interweb or anything like that. Why you'd want to is beyond me. NaNoWriMo focuses more on quantity of words rather than quality, so for the sake of getting words on the page, I'm not really focusing on character voice at all. I can go back and edit that later. Theoretically.)

Next order of business:

Weird moment.

I went to a Halloween party this weekend hosted by a friend I haven't seen since March.

I don't do a very good job of judging people's size. My general knowledge tends to go along this way: Bigger than me. About me-sized. Smaller than me. LOTS smaller than me.

Anyway, my friend Darcy (yes, that does get confusing...) used to be firmly in the Smaller than Me sized. In fact, she was Lots Smaller than Me. Not any more. Honestly, I couldn't tell you if she's gained weight, but she's no longer Lots Smaller. She's not even About me-sized.

It was a very strange moment for me, at that Halloween party. I'm used to being one of the largest ladies in the room. (I wish I didn't play that game, but damn it, I do. I don't feel really good about myself that I play the comparison game... I feel like I'm buying into the pecking order that I fought against so much, but I still can't help doing the drift around the room, counting and evaluating. ) This time, I wasn't the largest lady in the room. In further fact, unless you count my Darcy (who is five years old and still wearing 3T pants!) in the list, I was the same size or smaller than every other woman in the room. Thomas was well and away the thinnest man.

It was... an odd moment.