Monday, March 31, 2008

Question and Answer

Also, question for you. Do you plan out your husbands meals for the day? How did he do it on flex. My husband keeps asking me about WW and is interested in doing flex but intimidated about counting the points himself. Last night he asked me if I would just plan out his food for the day and he would eat it. This would be a hard plan for me because I need the flexibility but it might work for him. He doesn't have a lot of weight to lost 25 lbs or so. He did Jenny Craig before I met him and had success with prepackaged meals. Just wanting your thoughts and your experience doing WW with your husband.

Looking Great from Weight Watching asked me this question the other day in my comments and I hadn't gotten around to answering it yet.


The short answer is "Yes."

Yes, I plan his meals for him. I pre-cook stuff like hardboiled eggs that he takes to work with him for breakfast, or I pre-cooked a bunch of hamburger patties (2-3 points depending on what grade of ground beef I could get) and kept them in the fridge so he could nuke one whenever he wanted to.

Usually for breakfast on Flex he had an egg (2 points), a banana (2 points) and a cereal bar (3 points). He'd have another cereal bar as a midmorning snack (3 points) and then use a Smart Ones for lunch (they range in the 2-9 point per lunch, and he usually picks out the higher point ones) and an apple. He'd come home and have a snack (usually one of the pre-made hamburgers) and then dinner would be a share of whatever I was eating (my dinners tend to range from 4 - 9 points depending, and if there was extra, he'd often get a larger portion to make his points balance out.)

I mark everything in the fridge with a points sticker (color coded) on the leftovers boxes, so he knows what he's looking at if he wants something to eat.

When he gets home from work, I generally ask him how he's doing on his HGs (Healthy Guidelines) and plan dinner's side dishes around that, if he needs an oil, or vegetables or whatever.

Yes, it's a lot of work. Yes, sometimes I resent that he can't seem to take care of himself. It can especially be annoying when we're on flex and he's complaining about not getting enough points in and I have to make high point suggestions when I'm already out of my daily points and hungry. [And you can't imagine the number of people who tell me "let him worry about his thing and you do your thing." But... and this is the honest truth here: I am a stay at home housewife. In very technical terms, he's my BOSS. And how many of YOU tell your boss "Oh, sorry, I can't get those project forecasts for you, I'm doing my own thing today, you can just do it yourself." My JOB is to take care of the child, to take care of the housekeeping and the bills and the appointments. But it is ALSO to take care of him. That's what he pays me for.]

Now on Core, I pack his lunch the day before (usually the same thing I'm having for lunch that day, just because it makes my life easier) and obviously I'm still making dinner every night. I pre-boil eggs and I make that baked oatmeal recipe a lot, so that he's got good Core snacks. I also tend to keep sugar free jello and/or pudding on hand in portable containers so that he can have a snack at home, and he can take one with him.

It's a lot of work.

But I think it's worth it.

Welcome to My Life

Welcome to my desk!

And believe me, this is actually a cleaned version. I've been trying to keep it tidy this year. It used to be worse.

1) My flat paneled monitor, open to a blog page and Mirc, which is the chat program I use to talk to most of my friends.

2) my pink water bottle. I have a light blue one too, but the pink one is the one I use most.

3) my 3 pound hand weights. I don't really have a better place to put them, so they live on top of my desk.

4) Darcy's art-box. It's filled with crayons, markers, stickers, small coloring books, paints, etc.

5) My notebook. Open to today's to-do list.

6) Jane Austen Action Figure. This was a gift from my friend Toby, and I really love it.

7) My 3-month Weight Watcher's Points Tracker journal.

8) Books on my to-read list. Jim Butcher's White Knight and The Tomorrow Log by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

9) My mother's Christmas present. Yes, it's been sitting there for a While Now. I know.

10) Valentine's day basket that Darcy made for me. At the moment, I'm keeping coupons in it.

11) My Muse. He's been hanging near my desk in that little cage for... about 20 years now.

12) Anniversary card from Thomas. It says "Because Ten years is just a start..."

13) My mouse. I'm sort of left handed. This bothers a lot of people who try to borrow my computer.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

You Know What the President Can Go Do, Right?

I never got one of these.

I never even got close.

Twice a year, our gym teacher would force us to run a mile, do sit ups to a stop watch, do push ups to that very same stop watch, count pull ups, do standing broad jumps, and run relays.

We never got any training on these things. We didn't practice sit ups or pull ups or do any running training. Mostly gym class was slightly more organized recess.

We put on our gym clothes (Entirely too freaking short shorts, and a cotton t-shirt both in the horrible school colors with little lions printed on them that flaked off and left yellow plastic shreds all over your legs) and were forced to do some basic stretches (toe touches. Lots of them. With our male gym teacher walking around behind us. Subtle? NOT!) and then were turned loose in the school gym where we had our choices. We could 'run laps' or play basketball or play badminton. Or volleyball, I think, was allowed. No one ever played it, though, so I can't be sure of that. Mostly the guys would play basketball (shirts vs skins; with all the girls pointing out that D____ needed to be on the shirts team, and T____ and H___ needed to be on the skins team) and the girls walked around the gym in small groups, talking about whatever it is that high school girls talk about. My gym partner and I played badminton.

Every once in a blue moon, someone would be inspecting the Coach's class, in which case we were dragged outdoors and made to play kickball (ug.) or softball (more ug) or run laps around the track. (See above about girls strolling in smallish groups.)

When class was almost over, we'd be herded back into the locker rooms to change, and Coach would "have something he needed to talk about" with the female coach and head to her office. Her office, I might add, was INSIDE the girl's locker room. In a fishbowl-type office. So, we'd all grab our clothes from our lockers and then either squeeze into the very back of the locker room (generally with other girls forming a 'body line' between us and the office windows) or take turns in the toilet stalls. No one. Ever. Showered. No matter what.

So, twice a year, we took these Presidential Academic Fitness Award tests. As far as I know, no one from my high school EVER earned one. My gym partner and I used to joke about it, wondering if Ronald Regan was doing sit ups in the Oval Office. He probably wasn't much better at it than we were.

I don't know about anyone else, but I never even bothered to try, after maybe the second year that we started doing them. I walked a mile. I'd touch my fingers to the pull up bar and stand there until Coach made me "stop". Sit ups? Pfffft. I might do three. In a minute. Push ups? Bah! Standing broad jump? Oh, maybe four inches.

There wasn't any point, really. Even when I was trying as best I could, I wasn't making even the 50% marker.

And it didn't make any difference. What we did in PE for the rest of the year wasn't based on our performances. Coach didn't expect us to succeed, and the fact that he never assisted us with any training or conditioning... well, what was he supposed to do? It's not like his JOB was getting us fit. He was the track and field coach and the only thing that mattered to the school was how the track team did. I mean, really.

I'd have loved to have math class the way we had PE. "Oh, well, you can do addition if you want to, and over here, you can work on fractions, and maybe if you feel up to it, I have some algebra. And there's a test, twice a year, on calculus, but I don't really care how you do. And neither does anyone else. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go coach the chess team."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Strange Days

Strange Days is one of my favorite movies. (Keeping in mind that when I say favorite, I mean "One of about a hundred and fifty movies that I've watched more than five times, love to recommend to people, and given any excuse whatsoever, will make you plant your backside on my human-eating sofa and throw in the DVD player." I'm not a very exclusive person, you know. For pity's sake, I have four best friends, not including my husband, or people that I know strictly online. I don't even really have a favorite color; depending on my mood, it's mint green, dark kelly green, sometimes it's that lovely shade of dusky purple that's most like a silvery lilac, and sometimes it's bright damn orange, so... )

The plot of the movie is fairly standard cyberpunk dystopian film noir. Everything is so cold, so dark, so terriblé. (And yes, I am hearing the voice of Le Frog in my head, why do you ask?) The main character, Lenny, sells BTL chips. Ok, so they're not BTL chips (they're called SQUIDS in this movie) but you know the drill. Experience someone else's life, or something Better Than Life... I've seen loads of science fiction/cyberpunk with the same theme. Hell, even Red Dwarf has done it, and they don't take science fiction at all seriously.

Combined with this drug of the future (can anyone see that MMOs might be eventually headed in the direction of BTL chips? hehe!) is civil unrest and riots over the murder of a pop culture icon, Jericho One. Our hero (And he's not at all heroic. He's not even antiheroic, which sometimes get the cooler lines. He's a drug dealer and a pathetic husk of a man who is so wrapped up in what he thought he had that he can't see what he's got now. He's not very likable, really. He's a coward and a bastard and throws love away with both hands while reaching for something that when he finally gets it, isn't what he thought it was at all.) gets involved in the whole mess, and has to save the city from going up into flames.

(All this goes together with the fact that Michael Wincott plays the villainous crime overlord, and I adore Wincott. He's scummy and not particularly attractive, but he has that voice that just makes me weak. Yum.)

I've been living in a bit of Strange Days myself here recently...

I've only lost 15 pounds (well, perhaps only isn't the right word, but if I'm looking at a goal weight of 120 - 135 ish, I've lost about 1/7th of the total weight I will eventually need to lose) and I've got a very, very long way to go. And yet, I still feel like I'm living someone else's life.

Whose house is this where the kitchen floor is mopped every week, and the baseboards in the bathroom are clean? It's not mine. Whose refrigerator is this that contains not a single scrap of full fat and full flavor cheese? It's not mine. Where are the stacks of Buy One Get One Peeps that we should have had after Easter? Whose husband is that who's doing calisthenics in the evenings before bed? Do I know that guy? Handweights, talking about oblique stretches, knowing how much fiber is in the breakfast cereal. Where the hell did these people come from?

I'm going slowly broke on Warcraft because I haven't got the time to farm up materials for potions for raiding, so every night when we log in to raid, I have to run to the Auction House and throw down 30-50g for a flask and a few stacks of Dreaming Glory.

I have a new book on my desk; White Night by Jim Butcher. I've been waiting for it to come out in paperback since March of last year. Haven't read it. I haven't had time.

My bills are all paid. My house is clean. My dinners are pre-planned. I pack my husband a cute little lunch every day for work. My life is in order.

But sometimes I wonder...

Whose life is this?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Breaking the Plateau

Hello everyone!

(Hi Lynn!)

I must admit to a sense of constant surprise with this whole Weight Loss thing...

For instance; I fail to see how I can exactly maintain for two weeks in a row when one weigh in I'm wearing long pants, and the next weigh in, I'm wearing capris. That's a minimum of two square feet less denim. How could I gain exactly as much weight as the denim weighed? Which would be what would have had to have happened, right?

Or, for instance, how could Thomas consistently lose the same amount of weight, week after week? We turned in our Week 3 coupons last night, and of those 12 weigh ins (past the initial one) he's lost exactly .8 pounds 6 times.

Or, this week: we BOTH lost EXACTLY the same amount of weight. Despite the fact that Thomas weighed in on Wednesday (because he was sick on Monday), so he's actually lost weight faster than me. (He was down 3 pounds on Wednesday).

We were both down 3 pounds last night, which took both of us over the 15 pounds lost (see my shiny new badge??) marker. (The group lost a total of 39 pounds, so we weren't the only ones who resisted the temptation to dive mouth first into an Easter basket, but I did hear a lot of grumbling from the back of the room from people who did...)

Anyway, the plan is to stick to Core for at least another week. I know what part of my problem is on Flex, honestly: It's that I dragon up my points and then eat a bunch of 100-cal packs after dinner to get caught up on my points. If I can use Core to establish better early in the day eating habits, I think that'll do me a lot of good.

I haven't really felt the need to pile on the food after dinner this week. Most nights, I've eaten a smallish snack after dinner, around 9pm, but it's nothing like the mini-binge of Weight Watcher's chocolates, cheese squares and crackers, or Smart Ones desserts that I've been doing.

Hope everyone else is having a great check in!

(Thank you, Lynn!)



Monday, March 24, 2008

Feelings on Core

Well, we've been doing the Core plan for a week now, and before my weigh in, I thought I'd weigh in, so to speak...

Now, I track my food over at the Daily Plate and even though I'm on Core, I still measure what I eat, just so I know what it is that I'm eating. It's been useful for trending and they have a lot of nifty functions that tell me what I'm too lazy to math out for myself: salt, fiber, protein, etc.

On Core, my calorie count has been about the same as with Flex (I'm just not as hungry as I used to be, and honestly, that's a change I can live with) but my fat count is lower. Previously I've been edging as close to "recommended" as possible. My sodium has dropped remarkably in the last week - processed foods have a bucketload of salt in them. Fiber's eh. Bread's not a core food, and I've been tending to get most of my fiber from the Fiber One yogurts (also not core). What I am getting in comes mostly from vegetables and my afternoon bowl of Shredded Wheat.

Well, that's the specifics of what I've been doing, so the question is now: how do I feel about it?

Pretty good, but I don't think it'll last. This no-bread thing might get old really quick. (I know it's not no-bread, it's use points for bread, but as I'm a real dragon with my WPA, I feel sort of no-bready). That being said, I've spent a bunch of WPAs this week. 11, so far, which is - I think - the most I've spent since joining Weight Watchers.

The Good:

Because I don't have to worry so much if I have 'enough' points for dinner, I'm eating more earlier in the day, so I'm not hungry around 4pm or so. I've got these paranoia problems that even when I know exactly what we're having for dinner, I worry that I'll be hungry later in the day, so what I end up with is 6-9 points AFTER dinner that I end up snarfing 'junk food'. Ok, so it's not as bad as the junk food I might have eaten earlier, but still, 6 points of highly processed 100 cal packs, or fat free chocolates isn't... nutritious. This week, I have sometimes had one snack after dinner, but not always. I don't feel this compulsive need to eat points just to eat them, and that's helped a lot. Both me, and Thomas. (he's eating a LOT less than he was on Flex. I'm slightly worried about that, since his trending has shown that when he doesn't get all his points in, he gains weight...)

We went over to an easter/housewarming party this weekend. The couple who used to live above us bought a house and we went over to their party. The very first thing Jess said to me when I turned around the corner was "Ohmigod, Lynn!! You've lost so much weight!" and squealed and jumped around like a maniac. It was fun. And gratifying.

The Bad:

You can't allot in your day for a planned 'out to dinner' trip. I'd say at least 90% of what I might order in a restaurant is Non-Core... thus, I'd have to spend WPAs. We didn't test this theory. I cooked dinner every night this week, plus packed Thomas lunches, plus made breakfast and lunches for us weekend mornings.

I like to cook.

I don't like to cook THAT MUCH.

The Ugly:

Our grocery bill was massive high this week again. Nearly $200, and we had to go out a few times to pick up "ran outs", "forgots", and "oh my god, this fish is bad, replacements."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Some Before And After Pictures

I've been thinking about doing this for a while, so here goes.

This picture is my 'before' shot. It was taken on my daughter's 4th birthday (We were actually at my best friend's baby shower, which I helped coordinate)

This picture was taken near the end of February ( - 9 pounds)

And this picture was taken like 2 days ago (-13.2 pounds)

(As a note, despite the fact that I'm wearing tank tops in identical or similar styles, they are different sizes of the same shirt. The yellow one is a 4X, the green one, a 3X and the red one (it's actually sort of pink, really) is a 2X.

Update: (April 23: - 22.4 pounds)
I know this one's tricky. I'm facing the wrong way, to start with, and I'm wearing a sleeved shirt. If it makes you (read: me) feel better, I couldn't wear this shirt 20 pounds ago, it was too tight. (t-shirt size XL)

Updated 5/15 (~27 pounds gone) You know, I really need to get someone else to take these pictures! (t-shirt size L)
Update 6/4 - 32 pounds

Jeans size = 16 (woot!) Shirt size 14/16.

Update 7/18: -40 pounds, shirt size 14, pants 16 and held on with belt

Update: August 4 -45 pounds.

Shirt size - Medium (and can I say I love this shirt, even tho it's a terrible color for me? Those are little lime slices all over it!)
Short size - 14
Update: Sept 23 -~54 pounds
shirt size: medium
pants size: 12

Update: Dec 25th, 2008 - ~65 pounds
Dress size: 10
Update Feb 9: -~70 pounds
Pant size: 8!!
Shirt size: Medium (from Express, where the sizes run a bit on the small size!)
Check out those toned arms!!

Update, April 10: -75 pounds
Short Size: 5/6
Shirt Size: Medium
(as a note, there is not a deformed bunch of hair behind my head, that's my daughter hiding behind me...)

Update, Sept 4: - 85 pounds (goal!)
Jeans size: 4
Shirt Size: Medium

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Core Bento Lunch

Here's the second Core lunch that I packed for Thomas.

2 slices (cut in half) ham
1 slice pepper jack tofu-cheese
1/2 cup grapes
1/2 cup sweet corn
10 baby carrots
1/2 baked oatmeal bar
5 crackers (1 point)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's a Start

Ok, how exactly does one 'run by accident'?

I went out with my daughter for our evening walk - this is usually about two miles, and Thomas and I go, with Thomas dragging Darcy in the cart behind him. Thomas, as I said earlier, has some Mongolian Death Virus, so he begged off. As he hasn't eaten but maybe 20 points in the last three days, I didn't push it. He's been wobbling in the hallway going down to the bathroom.

So, we got to the sidewalk behind the townhouses in our area, and I said to Darcy "Want to run a bit?" and she said "Oh, yeah!" So we ran. Not very far, and not very fast, but we ran for about 15 - 20 seconds, and then we walked for about a minute, and then we ran again, and then we walked.

After a bit, I started to get a bit winded, and thought we'd go ahead and take the shorter route home, but even so, I mapped it out, and it's just under a mile, and although I was tired, we continued to run and then walk all the way home.

Two things of note: 1) next time, do NOT go jogging with a roll of quarters in your pocket. 2) DO go to the bathroom FIRST.

"Better Dead Here than Dead in the Core"

What mesa talkin' 'bout?

Sorry, couldn't resist. I don't know if you have seen Star Wars: Phantom Menace, but the first time I ever heard about Core plan, I had a mental image of Boss Nass saying "Through the PLANet CORE..."

Anyway, for those of you who are interested, I maintained again this week, so that's two weeks in a row with no losses or gains. Honestly, I'd thought that plateauing would have taken longer to get around to. I mean, really! I'm only in week 11! That's just not fair on so many levels.

Of course, I'm having serious guilt issues about having bought new clothes, since I haven't lost any weight in the last two weeks, I feel like I don't deserve them. And I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I'd be ok with no loss if I was cheating, but I'm not. What I eat, I write it down. According to the Daily Plate, I'm getting in no more than 1650 calories a day on days that I work out, and around 1300-1400 on days that I don't. I'm working out, I'm not nibbling or grazing, or stealing or cheating, and I'm still not getting anywhere. Tell me how that's fair.

It's not. And life isn't. Why I'm surprised and offended by this, I have no idea.

I didn't have the energy to stick around for yesterday's meeting, after I got 'no loss'. I was planning on it, originally. I went by myself (well, Darcy went with me because she wanted to, but Thomas stayed home because he's got some Mongolian Death Virus... of course, she started whining for her dad mere moments after leaving the house...) and I waved at my new friend Leslie, and was hoping to sit with her during the meeting and gossip about new clothes and shoes and stuff.

And then I got the 'no loss' and I just... couldn't. I used Thomas as my excuse, and went home.

So... we're gonna mix it up with Core for this week. Which is, honestly, a freaking daunting task. I don't know the first thing about it - aside from what's in the book... despite the fact that Beth (our leader) is on Core, she doesn't talk about it much, so I've had to scour Weight Watcher's community message boards for information.

Couscous, for instance... is that a once-a-day food like brown rice or pasta, or is it 'free'? Why plain yogurt only, when there are tons of fat-free flavored varieties? Is deli meat core?

(it's free, because flavored yogurts are abused, and no)

I'm trying to plan out menus for a whole week so I can do my shopping today and not having an easy time with it. I expect Thomas and I will subsist on a modified Atkins sort of diet (No bread!) with salads and fruits thrown in. It also means that I'll have to make him lunch every night, since if I expect him to do it himself, he just won't eat.

If you have any Core recipes that you'd like to share, PLEASE, I am begging you, do so. (keeping in mind that Thomas is allergic to shellfish, so anything with shrimp, crab, etc, is Right Out)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Doesn't Giving Credit (Where Credit is Due) Mean Someone Has to Pay the Bill...

All jokes aside, though...

I had a little chat with Chris on Friday about what he said last week and how I felt about it. Chris, again, has proved that intelligence and wisdom are NOT the same thing. He claims - and I mostly believe him - that he wasn't trying to make me feel bad, or denigrate my efforts. He also said that he had already decided, before I walked in the door, that he wasn't going to say anything to me at all if it didn't look like I'd lost some weight, which he said I did, so he did.

"Everyone in this group is so sensitive about their weight," he bemoaned. "It's really hard to say anything..."

"Yes, it is," I said. There really isn't any point in continuing down that line of thought. It's a sensitive issue. In our circle of friends, there's like two thin people, and at least one of those still thinks she's too heavy. And we've all got our emotional baggage.

In any case, I forgive him for being socially inept from time to time, and move on with it. Of course, I really had to tell Carol at that point. It's one thing when it's a secret from most people, and totally different when it's "she's the only one who doesn't know."

So, I did that pretty promptly at Saturday's cook out; explaining that it was probably entirely in my head, and that I'd built it up to be a big deal, but that I didn't expect it would matter much to her, etc etc. And with her own family issues, and her daughter showing up diabetic, I didn't think it was a good time to crow about the fact that my A1C this year was 4.7. (Last year it was 6.2) And I mentioned that sometimes there were just bad mental places for me, and I remembered how cross she gets when she's dieting, and that I didn't want to deal with that while I was trying to get established in a new habit, etc etc.

She said almost exactly what I thought she would. "Hmmm. Well, that's good for you." Long pause. "I should probably lose some weight. I've been doing some stress eating after this thing with Anne. I don't really want to eat when she's around, and the other day and I ate four Snickers bars in a row." I'm really good at not screaming out loud when I'm raging in my head. Just so you know that.

It's fine if she wants to lose weight. Or just eat better than she has been. What I want here is for her to want it because she wants it, you know? Not as a direct response to something I'm doing. Carol and I have been happy being fat together, you know. We're comfortable with it in a way that it's often hard for one heavy girl to be comfortable in a group of skinny women. It's certainly easier being overweight when you're not the only one who stands out. Thus it comes in with the subconscious sabotage. If we're comfortable with our weight, but only when the other person is also fat, we become uncomfortable with the idea of them losing weight. It's pretty vicious.

However, she accepted it in relatively good spirits, and while some things she's said in her blog today make me think she's been brooding about it since Saturday... that's not my problem. I'll be as supportive of her as I can be, but I can't change her life. She needs to decide if she wants to do that.

So, that's that, I guess. I did really well, points wise, being surrounded by grilled food (including some of the biggest goddamn hot dogs I've ever seen), but there weren't many vegetable options, (and no cheese, which annoys me because I'd thought about bringing our cheese slices and then decided not to) so I had to eat an enormous salad when I got home to help cover my base 8. I'll have to remember that for next time.

I've been having some trouble with my clothes recently; which is to say that most of what I own are sizes 24-26 and I have one pair of jeans that are 18W, which I've been wearing every day. I've been putting off buying any new clothes, though.

Thomas finally glared at me the other day. "Look at it this way... if you'd gained weight and nothing fit anymore, we'd be getting you some new clothes, right?"

"Well, that's a comfort issue," I hedged. "My too-big clothes still do their job of covering all the important bits."

"Come here," he crooked a finger at me. I hesitated, as this did not sound at all encouraging. He grabbed hold of my jeans, just below the hips, and tugged. Rather promptly, without unbuttoning, they came down. "Do you really want that to happen while we're out doing the grocery shopping?"

So, we got a few new clothes. A pair of jeans, a pair of capris, two shirts, and a hoodie. I absolutely drooled over one shirt but couldn't quite justify paying $50 for a low-quality t-shirt.

It was sort of odd, since I'm used to shopping at Lane Bryant, Catherine's and Torrid, this realization that I was not the heaviest lady in the room... Shopgirls ask me what my size is, and I say "I don't know, really, I've lost some weight." are eyeballing me and saying "You look like a 1 or 2, to me." Admittedly, Torrid and Lane Bryant have recently re-done their sizes to attach smaller numbers to their pants. It can get depressing to wear a 26. A 7 sounds so much better.

On the other hand, this means I'm skating close to the edge of falling out of being able to shop at Torrid or Lane Bryant. Which is also strange.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Nothing Tastes as Good...

You've all heard that line, I expect.

Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.

It's supposed to be motivating.



Let's start off with a few simple comments... Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels. I don't know what being thin feels like. Back when I was thin (or, thinner, at any rate) was in high school, or the first few years of college, I didn't pay attention to it. I still thought I was fat. I have some photos of me, when I was thirteen or so, standing in a bathing suit, in the back yard, with my friend, Anne. Anne's got her arms crossed over her chest (or lack of chest). Even at that age, she was self-conscious about being a girl. We grew apart as she got into track and field sports and spent all her time running. Last time I talked to her, she was 19 years old, as thin as a rail, and still hadn't started a regular period yet because she was too thin.

In the picture, I'm standing next to her, my arms are out in a little "ooooh" sort of gesture. And you can see my belly. I have this nice, perfectly round belly, like half a basketball glued over my navel. I hated that picture. I have flared hips (perfect for giving birth, not so perfect for being attractive) and I'm short waisted, so that belly roll seems to start right underneath my already swelling bosom. I'm probably not the only woman who was wearing a C cup by the time she was sixteen (and at least in my high school, I was never a member of the IBTC - that's itty bitty titty committee, for those of you not in the know... girls are mean, had you ever noticed that? I mean, really, really mean.) but wow, I felt... awkward. And of course, guys are not entirely nice either. I can't tell you how often I had a freaking black and blue mark right in the center of my back from having my bra snapped.

Is that what being thin feels like?

I was probably officially thin, then. I weighed... 119 when I graduated from high school. I wore a size 10.

I had acne, I was overly chesty for a girl my age, I was too smart, I was too cynical, even then. Sarcasm was my first line of defense. My mother spent all her time telling me that my interests were stupid, that I needed to be prettier, funnier (but not too funny), more polite, a better cook. Rich Japanese men existed to buy me pizza. That was the motto I went off to college with. Find some nice rich boy and wrap him around your finger. That was all that was important. Not what I wanted to learn, or what I wanted to be. My destiny was to be a rich man's wife, and as ugly as I was, it wasn't looking too good.

Is that what being thin feels like?

My first few years at college, I was a slut. I admit it. I'm not proud of it, but it is the truth. I used men and sex as a way to feel good about myself, without really realizing what I was doing. I'd snare a guy, lead him around for a while, and eventually (not long) I'd notice I have very little in common with him, or all he wanted was sex, and I'd lose interest. Or he'd lose interest. And then I'd be depressed and feel guilty and horrible, and the cure was... You guessed it! Find another guy. This went on for longer than I really want to confess to.

Is that what being thin feels like?

Despite my over-sized carry-on baggage, I'm mostly happy with my life. I love my husband. I love my child. I mostly love my life. (Although sometimes it would be nice to have adult conversations more than once a month... and more money. Who doesn't need more money?)

I don't know what being thin feels like. I never thought I was, when I was, so I didn't take note of it...

I do, however, know what a double chocolate fudge cheesecake tastes like.



I don't really like the way Weight Watchers calculates Activity Points. Especially as I'm a heavy sweater. So I've been using Daily Plate as a way to track and calculate my exercise.

I enter the activity I did and how long I did it for, and it tells me about how many calories I burned, based on my weight (apparently you burn more calories when you're heavy because you have to move that many pounds around... I did not know that...) and then I took that number and rounded down, and divided by 50 (a point is ~50 - 70 calories, depending on fat and fiber content) and then subtracted one, just to be safe.

For instance: 20 minutes of high intensity aerobic exercise burns 287 calories in 20 minutes.

So 287 rounded down is 250. 250/5o is 5. So I would write this down as 4 Activity Points. And then I would only eat half of my Activity Points. So on a day when I did 20 minutes of cardio, I'd eat 2 APs.

Just recently, I discovered that Weight Watchers calculates its activity points on not the 50 calorie point for food, but on a 100 calories burned scale.


My problem is this: What I've been doing is working for me. I write it down as 4, I eat 2. When technically, burning 287 calories should have been 2.5 points. Should I change my journaling to reflect reality and admit that I'm eating all or most of my activity points? Or should I go on the theory that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Opinions? Anyone?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Intervention, for emotion and excitement
Generally set apart from a sentence
By an exclamation point
Or by a comma, when the feeling's not as strong.
Sorry, that's been playing around in my head for the last day or so, even if the song is called Interjection. That's one of the many burdens of being a mom... you get the weirdest songs stuck in your head that are just impossible to dislodge. If you're very, very lucky, I won't start singing Lovely Bunch of Coconuts.

This whole thing started with my friend Summer giving me what she called "unsolicited advice". We were talking about fashion (of which I know less than nothing) and how when I finally get down to a goal weight, I was going to drag her with me and help me put together a wardrobe. (As opposed to a bunch of t-shirts and blue jeans, and a few knit dresses, which is what I own now, and is about as fashionable as a trailer park... ) I don't really want to buy much in the way of new clothes right now. T-shirts will continue to fit me for quite a long time, even if they are 2 and 3xs. And one or two pairs of jeans or shorts... otherwise, why bother, since the plan is to lose another 80-90 pounds, and I'll just need more new clothes later.

She said to me "Well, if you don't mind some unsolicited advice..." (Why she thinks it's unasked for advice, I'll never know... didn't I just say I know NOTHING about fashion?) "I can see not replacing everything until you're down and stable, but always, always have a good couple of bras."

She can't see me, since we're talking over the gmail chat system, but I winced. "I have... erm... three bras. One's pretty good, one is bad, and one is horrible. Oh, and a sports bra that's pretty good."

"Girlfriend," she says, "You need an Intervention."


So, my intervention arrived yesterday in the mail... six brand new bras, ordered off of eBay. I got six bras (SIX! I don't think I've ever owned six bras in my LIFE, much less six bras that FIT) all in the correct size. With wide shoulder straps. No underwire. No fancy lace stuff (hate that 'scalloped edging'... makes my skin itch). And, even more surprising, in a variety of colors. White, Beige, Black for basic and then pink, pale blue, and deep crimson.


[For those of you here from Healthy You Challenge: I maintained this week, according to the scale. According to my measurements, I'm down 1/2 inch in waist, 1/4 inch in hips, 1/4 inch in thigh, and arms stayed the same. I've shaken up my workout routine, so I'm either building muscle, or (as Carol said it last week) my body is clinging to its fat because I'm in a bit of pain... In either case, I've lost ~7 pounds in the last 4 weeks, and I'm not unhappy about it. Thomas lost exactly 1 pound, so that gets him mostly back on track from his gain last week... Of course, not losing this week throws my stupid trending chart right out the window... biology makes no sense. Just so y'all know that. Still, I'm in a good mental place about my accomplishments, so I don't mind a maintain this week.]

Monday, March 10, 2008

Yes, You're Smarter than Me. I Know.

Or, in which things are all rendered moot in four part harmony...

I swear, I don't know why I do this crap to myself on a regular basis.

Let me get one thing perfectly clear to start with; I love Chris and Carol. I do. But as anyone knows who has an obnoxious younger brother, or a nosy aunt, or a mildly psychotic best friend, loving someone and not killing them are not always mutually exclusive things.

I've been tearing myself to little shreds recently... I love my best friend. I've known Carol for honestly, longer than I've stayed in contact with anyone except my parents. But we are competitive, even if we try not to be. And if I'm on a diet, (lifestyle change! I know!) and she's not, she's bad for my eating. Ditto me for her, I'm sure.

So, I haven't been mentioning it. And it seems to be becoming this huge big deal for me.

We drove up to Pearl's birthday party on Saturday, and I'm talking with Thomas about it. He's been very supportive of all my decisions while we're on this journey, and while he personally doesn't give a rat's tail about what Carol thinks or says, he's certainly willing to respect my neurotic tendencies in that direction.

"I think you're making more of it than you need to," he says to me. "If they ask about it, just be honest. And just because they may not ask doesn't mean they didn't notice the weight loss."

I sigh and glare out the window. "You always make it sound so easy."

"You wouldn't worry so much about what other people think of you if you knew how seldom they actually do."

"Gee. Thanks."

Remember what I said about loving someone does not preclude wanting to murder them? Yeah.

We arrive at the Jumping Place and set Darcy free to run around like a little maniac. All the adults are trying just a little too hard to have a good time. Pearl's parents are getting divorced, and of course, they're both there, and everyone's trying to ignore the dead elephant in the room. I watch David and Nellie avoiding each other in great sweeping graceful dance moves around the jumping place. It's almost elegant in its heartache.

(While I admit, I'm always grateful when people manage to have civil breakups, I also don't think I could ever, ever do it. Just the thought of being without Thomas makes my throat hurt, and I don't think I could manage to not completely lose my shit if he was in the same room as me after moving in with his new girlfriend. Somewhere, I still have the 'contract' he signed for me at the beginning of the relationship that said that if he left me, I could kill him and keep all the stuff. Having just gone through a three year relationship and the division of shit that comes with it, I was none-to-eager to start over. I eventually did, obviously, but I was highly suspicious for a long time. This contract, magnetted to our fridge, really helped ease my mind.)

Chris and Carol arrived a little late, after I'd already pounced on Leigh. It'd been a while since we'd seen each other and it was good to catch up. She says I look good and I say thanks... as she walks away to mingle with some of the other adults, I admire the long, trim lines of her legs. It's probably bad form to be admiring one of your friend's backside, but it does look very nice in a pair of jeans. I want that for myself one day. (Not her ass, mind you, but mine to look like that.)

Carol gives me a perfunctory hug and wanders off again to talk to Nellie, find someplace to put down her three month old son, coat, diaper bag, and Anne's diabetic kit. Anne goes shrieking off to find Darcy, and the two of them become glued to each other for the rest of the day.

Chris gives me a long, narrow-eyed look. "How's your Weight Loss program going?" he says bluntly.

My stomach twists painfully. I take a deep breath. "Just fine, thank you for asking." I take another deep breath. "So, who told you?"

"You did. Just now."


I give him That Look.

"Well, you've said some odd things recently," he starts explaining. "Like you said you liked lime stuff, and when I mentioned that cookie company that makes lime sugar cookies, you weren't interested. And when Leigh was trying to find Points for something, you knew it off the top of your head. And just some stuff like that... and then I was nosing around in your Netflix queue. And you were so kind to confirm it for me, just now."

Well. That wasn't what I expected, or wanted. I'd have preferred for someone to notice my weight loss, not someone to decide that he needed to go do detective work to prove he was smarter than I am.

"And you hadn't said anything to anyone," he is continuing on, "so I haven't said anything, because you must have your reasons, whatever they are, and I'm sure they're your reasons, and you can just dust them and keep them safe on your mantelpiece, and everything."

"Oh, thank you for your kind permission," I say. My tone has cooled several degrees.

The subject is dropped.

For now.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Hungry Caterpillar's Party Cheesecake

Well, I promised y'all this recipe, so here it is... please have a cheesecake, if you're here for the party.

Now, I make the recipe slightly differently, as far as presentation and serving sizes go. Go to your local party store (Ours is actually called The Party Store, but there was one in our old city called Paper Factory) and buy disposable wine glasses. These 'plastics' hold about 4 oz, and then when you have a party, you'll have 1) more parfait to spread around and 2) less worry about someone breaking a super tall glass. Recipe makes six regular sized parfaits (as pictured) or 12 small ones.


1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 TBSP Splenda granular
1 1/2 TBSP butter or margarine, melted
4 oz tub-style light cream cheese
4 oz non fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1/4 Splenda granular
1 cup light whipped topping
2 TBSP sugar free raspberry topping (or chocolate) (Walden's farm makes a great selection of 0 calorie ice cream toppers) (optional)
1 1/4 cup fresh fruits (strawberries, melon, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, etc.)

For a decorate approach, cut slices of melons and use small cookie cutters to punch out shapes. You can also garnish with various decorations (spiral cut orange peel, springs of mint, cocktail umbrellas, small plastic 'glass charms' and the like. have fun with it!)

In small bowl, mix graham cracker crumbes, 2 TBSP splenda, and butter. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheeses with a mixer until creamy. Add sour cream, 1/4 cup splenda and stir until smooth. Fold in light whipped topping.

Divide graham cracker mixture among your glasses, covering the bottom of each glass. (for hollow stem plastic wine glasses, you may want to make up more graham cracker mixture. This will fall into the bottom of the stem and your guests will not be able to get it out, so it won't change the calorie count, unless they are very very determined, and really, if they are, they probably shouldn't be on WW anyway) Press down firmly. Divide the cream cheese mixture in half, then use divide that half into the number of glasses you intend to serve (six large, or a dozen small; this is about 3 tablespoons of mix for a large glass, and 1 heaping tablespoon to small ones)

Add plain berries to each cup, enough to fill a 'layer'... blueberries, raspberries, etc. Add a like amount of the cream cheeses on top of this berry layer. Top with 0 calorie raspberry or chocolate and decorative cut fruits and melons. Garnish as desired. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. (Do not put fat free whipped topping on, unless you're going to do so immediately before serving. That stuff melts unattractively VERY quickly.)

Nutritional Information:
For Six servings:
185 calories/8 grams fat/Fiber 1 gram (4 WW points)
For Twelve Servings
93 calories/4 grams fat/Fiber .5 (2 WW points)

I'm in a strange mental place today, and not just because there's all these party people wandering around on my blog (Hi, Y'all!).

Do you ever do your visualization and then realize you've completely messed it up? Or something happens that makes it all a moot point?

As most of you know, I haven't been telling my best friend that I'm on Weight Watchers. Honestly, I didn't expect it to go on that long (either the lifestyle changes, or the not telling her, don't ask me which one, because the answer wouldn't be flattering to either of us!) And then her oldest child ended up with Type 1 Diabetes, and we just haven't seen each other at all this year.

The last time I saw her, or her husband, was when we were visiting their daughter in the hospital. Before that was about a week prior, when Anne was first starting to develop the symptoms, only no one knew what was wrong with her, and Carol was not paying the slightest attention to anything else that was going on, only that she had a hungry infant and a sick pre-schooler.

While I doubt that any amount of time will ease their anxiety about Anne, they are in a better mental place about it. I had thought we would be seeing them next week for the first time since January... and as every knows, I have lost a good amount of weight, as well as taking myself down a few pants sizes. So... my quandary has been this: what now? Bad: What do I say if she asks me about my weight loss?

Worse: How do I feel if she doesn't notice?

And I'd thought I had a whole extra week to prepare for this, since we're co-hosting the Early Bird cookout next weekend. I hadn't gotten an invitation to Pearl's birthday party (Pearl's mother tends to forget we exist because she doesn't see us often) and thought we weren't going to be going. But we got the invite in the mail two days ago, and since I was so mad about not being invited, it would be really shoddy of me not to go.

So now I have to face everyone for the first time in quite a while. I haven't seen Pearl's mom in... oh, since Darcy's birthday party, back in October, and even then I didn't get to talk to her much, trying to keep a half dozen pre-schoolers from running amok in the Build-a-Bear shop...

And I am sooooo not ready for this.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Living in CHAOS! or Blog Party, part One

Hey, you!

What are you doing here? Blog party? Is it the 7th already? Oh, god, it is!

Well, don't just stand there in the doorway, come in. I'm not really ready yet, though. You know how it is, living with a four year old... CHAOS everywhere (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome!) Sorry about the mess... oh, careful, you don't want to sit on the sofa just yet. My daughter likes to hide stuff under the couch cushions. Come on in the kitchen. You can lean in the doorway and we'll just chat while I get the dishes done, okay?

Hmmm? Oh, my dress! You like it? So do I. It's just my housedress, but it's really comfy... and it's so colorful, you can't really tell that I've spilled things on it. No, seriously, see those spots? That's bleach, from when I had a bleach pen explode on me a few months ago.

Would you like some chili? I've got the crock pot going. Oh, no, don't worry, it's vegetarian. Only three weight watchers points per serving. I made it with those Soy crumbles, and even Thomas, the "I did not claw my way to the top of the food chain to eat veggies" guy? He couldn't tell the difference. I've got some chopped onions in the fridge, if you want, and there's hot sauce in the breakfront there. No, up one shelf, there. Behind all my Crystal Light flavor tubes. There ya go. Oh, you probably don't want that one. I got given that one as a joke, and it's claw your eyeballs out hot. Yeah, cute bottle, though. Well, maybe not " Cute", exactly. My step dad gave it to me, and he's Texan. You know how those Texans are...

Ah, I'm glad you like it. Yeah, the canned corn adds something to chili, I'm not sure quite what, tho. Little crunch, maybe. I like using the different colored beans, too. Kidney, black beans, navy beans... makes the dish look more fun.

Well, if you're done just toss the bowl in the dish-washer, I'm almost ready to start the load up. Of course you can help, my goodness, we don't stand on ceremony here. The broom's in the closet. My mom used to have this poem on her kitchen wall, but I'm not like that.

Please stay away from my kitchen,
From my dishwashing, cooking and such.
You were kind to have offered to help me,
And I do want to thank you so much.
I hope you won't think me ungracious
When I ask that you leave me alone,
For my kitchen is not very spacious
And my system is strictly my own.
So please stay away of my kitchen,
It may well prevent a few wars,
And if I am invited to your house,
I promise I'll stay out of yours.
Yeah, I think it's cute, too. Not that she really meant it, you know. My grandmother never did, either. The first time my dad brought my mom to his house to meet his mom, she was standing in the doorway, just like you are now, making polite conversation. And my grandmother threw the broom at her. "As long as you're standing there, you may as well sweep the floor."

I promise, though, I won't throw anything at you.

I don't think I caught your name, though. I know, open invitation party and all, it gets hard to keep track of everyone. Fun, though.

Oh, me? Yeah, ok. I'm Lynn. I'm a 35 year old housewife in southern Virginia. I have a bachelor's degree in Victorian Literature (Would you like fries with that?) and I've written a couple novels that haven't been published yet. That raisinette in the bathroom who's been in the tub for over an hour now? That's my daughter, Darcy. She's four. Oh, I said that already, didn't I? Yeah, she's our only. I wouldn't mind another one, though. I love babies.

Oh dear. Sorry about that, yeah, my hand weights. I was working out yesterday and I didn't put them away. They're only three pounders, but I'm working my way up. (Working my weight down? Sorry, bad pun. I know, I know.) Hey, at least I put the tennis rackets away!

Ok, well, you just mingle, and I'm going to get these cheesecake parfaits started. Yeah, I can give you the recipe later, just remind me...

*Update: I have posted the cheesecake recipe here.

Ultimate Blog Party 2008

If selected, these are the prizes I'm most interested in: 56, 41, 103, 76, 8, 24, 58, 60, and 90 Or anything else to do with scrapbooking, being the mom of a 4 year old girlie girl, or nutrition/diet stuff.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Eleven-is Anytwo?

What began as a simple suggestion of mine ("Hey, maybe we could play tennis sometime? There's a court at the apartment complex after all...") turned into a monumental struggle.

First, we had to get rackets and balls... which was harder than it sounds. We went to Play It Again Sports, but they only had Very Expensive Rackets. (Sorry, I'm not playing pre-beginners tennis with a $75 racket, no.) We discussed going to Dick's Sporting Goods a few times, but never quite got around to it. Tuesday, we finally went to Target and bought el-cheapo rackets (since I needed to get a yoga mat anyway...)

We also got a sack of tennis balls (I argued for the bright pink breast cancer awareness balls, but Thomas said he was not NOT NOT looking like a complete ass on the court with bright pink balls. Yes, you can take that any way you like. You know I did.) and Darcy decided she had to have a racket, too, so she's got a spongebob racket.

Ok, we have rackets. We have balls. We... need to find out what the rules are for the apartment complex's court.

I called them today. The girl at the office (it's a new girl again, I swear the turnover rate in that office is HUGE. I have rarely seen the same person for more than 6 months and we've been here for four years now.) said she'd have to make some calls, that she didn't know anything about it... (they never do. know anything, that is.) I called back in an hour or so.

"Well, ma'am... we've had some vandalism problems with the court, and apparently someone set the net on fire a few months ago, and we don't have a new net yet, but there's supposed to be one in around mid-April, and there's a contractor who's going to be fixing the rest of the damage, and then maybe we'll be releasing keys to the residents if anyone wants them..."


"But, you might try the park..." she added, helpfully. "My dad and I play there all the time."

So, I called Parks and Services and found out where the tennis courts were (they're less than a mile away, and maybe when the days are a bit longer, we'll walk to the court, play, and come back... if the apartment complex doesn't fix our court - which I highly suspect they won't. Because you know, they just sort of suck that way.)

We drove out and then we had to wait for a while, because all the courts were in use - guess this is more popular than I might have thought. We watched a tennis lesson - twin girls probably a year or two older than Darcy were stretching when we first got there, and then their instructor was gently lobbing balls to them. They looked like they were having fun, so we may consider that for Darcy later, if she's interested. Finally one of the courts cleared (we talked to the couple as they were gathering up their balls, they do it for the exercise, too, and they were very friendly...) and we started to play.

I use the word play very very dubiously.

Neither of us has held a tennis racket since we were in our teens, and that was painfully obvious. Most of the time, we couldn't hit the ball more than twice over the net. Darcy thought this was enormously amusing, and loved running after the stray balls. Despite having her own racket, she wouldn't even try to hit the ball...

Towards the end, we were starting to get a little better, hitting the ball back and forth three, four... sometimes even five times.

And I discovered something.

I can run.

Not fast. Not gracefully. But it was, nonetheless, running.

Several years ago, I was in a bad car accident. If I hadn't been wearing a seatbelt, I would have been killed. As it was, I spent three months on the sofa in a cast on both arm and leg, and then the next six months learning how to walk again. I have enough titanium in my ankle to set off metal detectors. I carry a card in my wallet for going through airline security. (I haven't been on a plane since before this happened, and I've been told that airline security does not care about my little doctor's card, but I haven't had the opportunity to try it out.)

I used to think it was a miracle that I could walk, and that I'd just have to live with the fact that I was in regular pain. Not constant, but regular. Exertion, weather, cold, all made my ankle ache. I've been on Vicodaine for years. I was careful not to take them unless I needed it, but I'd probably take at least three or four in a month's time. More if I was doing much, or the weather was particularly stormy. I couldn't walk down stairs like a normal person. I had to go one step at a time, and hold on to the railing. Running was out of the question. Jumping was Right Out.

But... maybe... just maybe... I haven't been testing myself. I accepted my limitations and they became mine.

I ran, tonight. Not far. Not fast. Not gracefully.

But it was running.

And that is a miracle.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Staring at the Floor

[Staring at the Floor, trying to think of a title for this entry is not writing the post, so I'll write, and post, and if this title sticks with it for the entirety of the process, so be it. I hate titles.]

Gary Gygax died yesterday. I know most people don't know, or care much, who he was. But it's frightening for me to realize just how much of a difference he's made in my life; someone I never even met. (Thomas did, though. Meet him, I mean. At a children's fair, when he was about nine.) Now, admittedly, I never did much Role-playing in high school... my redneck town didn't approve of 'Satan's Toys' like AD&D or science fiction, or free thought, or reading, or being smart... (yes, I'm cynical, but I lived in the freaking buckle of the bible belt and got beaten with it rather frequently, so, you know, I'm bitter.) But when I got to college, it started to be a big thing of mine.

I met my best friend, Carol, through a class we had together: Introduction to Mythology. But I wouldn't ever have talked to her if she hadn't been reading a fantasy novel during breakfast one morning and I just sat down next to her and started being a pest. I didn't start reading fantasy novels until after I read The Dragonlance Chronicles when I was 12. The Dragonlance Chronicles were released by TSR (Gygax's company) as part of a novel and gaming supplement set. Even then, we might not have gotten to be close, except we started gaming together after that.

Through gaming, I got into the Sciffy club (Science Fiction and Fantasy Fan Club). From Sciffy... I met Thomas. I met Chris. I met Edwin. I met Toby. (of course, it's not all good. I met my ex-husband, Brent, through gaming. And my ex-boyfriend, Gideon. But hey, we can't all have ups, right?) I knew McKenna, and through her, I met all her boyfriends, including Ed, and then, through Ed, I met Leigh, who's now one of my best friends and definitely a big help to me on my whole diet plan thing - see, I knew I'd get it back to the losing weight thing...)

I play World of Warcraft.... now if there's anyone out there who thinks that Gary Gygax and his gaming system didn't have a huge impact on MMORPGs, please raise your hand so I can shoot you. Through Warcraft, I've met a lot of incredibly wonderful people, many of whom have been supportive of me through this lifestyle change, and during bouts of depression.

Gary Gygax changed my life. And I'm very, very sorry to see him go.


Enough about that. I've had some interesting things happen over the last few days that I'm finding to be very exciting.

First off, my friend Summer, who honestly was the first person who really inspired me with their fitness goals and dedication, wrote me an email yesterday. Don't get me wrong, I've had lots of people talk about their fitness regimes or their diet plans, or nag me to do the same. But there's a difference between being a pest and being admirable. My dad? Pest. Summer? Admirable. There's a difference between being a gymbunny (annoyance) and a workout queen (cool). There's a difference between doing something because you want other people to be impressed with you (boring) and doing something good for yourself (interesting). Summer and I have very little in common, aside from both being mothers and being in the same age bracket. She's fabulous and I'm not, she's fit and I'm not, she's fun and cool and quirky... and... well, you get the idea. And while this was sort of daunting at first (seriously, who wants to always feel like they're coming up short in comparison) she does have her problems, and she's very humanizing... I grew to love her entries about her kid (who is also fabulous!) and sort of skipped the entries about the t-tapping or the clothes hunting or the coupon clipping. And then I started reading them anyway... she's got a fabulous (there's that word again!) writing style that makes you feel like you're talking with an old friend over the phone and while you're barely getting a word in edgewise, that's ok, because she keeps making you smile. Anyway... wow, that was a long aside, wasn't it?? Anyway... she's into t-tapp, as I said, and she wrote me an email. She's been following along with my diet and exercise journey, and she's getting a newer version of the t-tapp workout and wanted to know if I wanted her old dvd so I could try it out. I said sure, and when I get it and try it out, I'll be sure to review it here!

Second of all, Scott "Q" Marcus sent me an email. Actually, he commented on my blog the other day, and then sent me an email... I've been reading Scott's blog since I started mine; he's one of the first people who made my blogroll list, and the only person who's had more than a month or two's worth of entries that I went back and read Every Single Entry. He's funny, he's realistic, he's not perfect... I grew up with two perfectionists. "If you can't do something right, don't do anything at all." was sort of the family motto. My father is a nuclear health physicist and while that's a job that doesn't hold much room for error, he took it too far. He expected nothing short of perfect from me, and from my mom, and his idea of that was 'if I'm not complaining about it, I guess it'll do." Can you imagine what it's like, never hearing a FUCKING word of praise, no matter how good you do? He's still fucking like that (sorry for the swearing here, but it pisses me off so badly). When we saw him a few weeks ago, he told Thomas how impressed he was with my weight loss and my dedication to the program and my determination. But didn't say one word TO ME. Somehow, that hurts even more than him not being proud of me at all. My mother... heh, we've talked about my mother, haven't we? Enough said.

Anyway, I was talking about Scott, wasn't I? Anyway, I think he's brilliant. And one of the things that has really struck me about his writing is that he's still human and normal. Those people who 'didn't like those high fatty treats anymore' or 'conquered the cookie craving by going for a jog'? Those people aren't human. I don't know what they are, but they're nothing like me, and I can't relate to them. One of the things I'm so scared of with this diet is that I'll never actually be able to enjoy eating again. I don't, right now, you know? I count everything and I think about everything, and food isn't something to be liked, it's something one has to do, and that's freaking depressing. I'm hoping that eventually I'll relax a little. Scott... after 12 years of maintaining a 75 pound weight loss... he still hears the siren's call of ice cream, or skips out on his jogging sometimes, or wants desperately to order cheese nachos for lunch. I can relate to him. I can understand him. And I can feel inspired by someone who is human and who did it anyway. Whereas I can't always be inspired by someone who'd rather have a carrot than a cookie.

Anyway, in his email, he asked me (and some other readers) for endorsements of his writing that he intends to dot the first few pages of his upcoming books with. (Could that sentence be any worse, grammatically?) So, I wrote a somewhat more concise excerpt of the above paragraph and emailed it back to him. And he loved it and is going to use it! In addition, he's going to send me a complimentary copy (autographed, of course) of his book when it comes out.

So that's really cool, and I'm very flattered. (Provided, of course, I can keep up this lifestyle change and still be doing it when the book comes out, otherwise I'll likely be disgusted with myself and depressed and not want to read it. But that's my problem, not his.)

I've really been surprised about how large (pun intended) this community is. I get support from my SaHM's group at the Weight Watcher's message boards. I get support here, from people who comment on my blog (I love you all! And I always, always visit your blogs in return, even if I don't have time to comment!), from people in the Healthy You Challenge... I'm constantly astonished, and even gratified to realize that I'm not alone, that there are lots of people out there, normal, wonderful people, with whom I can share my successes, bemoan my failures (feedback!), laugh with, cry with... it's amazing.

Even if this is as far as I ever get, it's been worthwhile.

What I've Accomplished in Two Months: A List

  • I weigh in 13.2 pounds less than I did on January 3
  • I have lost a total of 12.5 inches (waist, hips, thigh and arm)
  • I have cut my soda intake down to no more than 3 cans of diet soda per day
  • I have increased my water intake to at least 6 8oz servings per day, and usually 8
  • I have increased my fruits and vegetables from maybe 1-2 per day to at least 5
  • I have become significantly more active
  • I can now wear a size 18 pants
  • I dropped 1/2 a shoe size, from 9 to 8 1/2
  • I can complete a 30 minute workout
  • I can do 20 reps of 3 pound weights in a variety of lifts
  • I can walk two miles
  • I can no longer see my stomach over my breasts
  • I can walk down stairs normally
  • I can do 15 push ups
  • I can make good food selections at restaurants
  • I can help be supportive to other people without losing sight of my own goals
And the year is only 1/6th over.
Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow.
Kay, Men in Black

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

HYC and Comfort Foods

Hello fellow challengers,

After doing my new workout, I dragged my very sore ass into Weight Watchers last night. (Ok, my ass is actually sore. We did glute work, as well as reverse lunges, which absolutely TORE UP the front of my thighs...)

My leader, Beth, eyed me dubiously while I was (very slowly) taking off my pocketbook (I have one of those backpack type model purses. Made of leather. From Italy. My dad gave it to me for Christmas and I love it. So does my stepmother. She made a habit of offering me money for it, for about the first eight months I had it... No can do, I love this purse. It's the best one I've ever, ever had.)

"New workout," I said, wincing slightly. "I'm a bit sore."

"So I see," Beth said. "Well, you've probably gained, then, just to warn you. Your body tends to cling desperately to its fat when it's sick or in pain."

"Greeeeeeeeeeeeat," I said, stepping up onto the scale.

"Oh, this stupid machine," Beth mutters, pushing buttons and grumbling to herself. "I never understand this, look at all these little lines? Oh, there, it's cleared up. Hang on, now it's looking at someone else - oh, I think you're going to like this... what? Hang on. Click here, drag that, swipe the card. Ah! Here we go."

The little tag prints out, and she sticks it into my wallet folder. "Very good job."

I start putting my things together and then open the folder. "205. -3.6"

"Cool," I said. "Oh, guess what? Darcy, show Miss Beth your dollie."

Darcy turned around in her seat and displayed her baby doll (currently wearing a purple cap from one outfit and the bright orange set of pajamas.)

"Oh, what a nice doll, sweetie," Beth said. "What's her name?" I grin. She's setting the question up just the way I want. People always ask that question about dollbabies.

"Beff!" says Darcy.

"To be fair," I said, leaning over the counter while Thomas got weighed, "the doll's name's been Beth for about a year, but I thought it was cute."

[Thomas was up .6 pounds this week... of course, he also decided he could journal in his head. And he's gone to bed 2 days now, low on points by 6 - 8 points. Learning experience: He cannot skip points, no matter what. And it's pissing me off because I'm trying not to nag him to eat, or nag him to journal... and I'm trying to keep higher calorie foods on hand so he doesn't have to eat so MUCH in order to get his points in, but it is hard.]

[Additional side note: I did my measurements again yesterday, since it was now 2 months into WWs, so here are my new numbers

Upper Arm: 12 1/4 (down 1 3/4)
Waist: 42 (down 4)
Hips: 48 (down 4)
Upper Thigh: 24 1/4 (down 2 3/4)]

The meeting was fun. It's National Nutrition Month (who cares? We all should. We don't. But we should.) so we went back over the 8 HGs (healthy guidelines):
  1. 6 waters per day (not having a problem with this, but I always, always drink a lot. It wasn't hard to sub the water in for soda.)
  2. 2 (or 3) milks (8oz of milk, or 1 1/2 oz of cheese. I eat loads of cheese, so this is easy.)
  3. 2 oils (here's my big problem, because I'd much rather eat those 2 points. An oil to me is just empty calories. I'm not less hungry after oils. On the other hand, I don't want my hair to fall out.)
  4. 5 fruits and veggies (Not a problem. I eat berries and tomatoes regularly)
  5. Some protein (I usually eat a protein with all meals. Eggs in the morning, tuna with lunch, chicken or beef in the evening.)
  6. whole grain over white (YUCK. But it just means get your fiber in, and I'm doing that with beans and yogurt, so there.)
  7. limit sugar and alcohol (I haven't had an alcoholic beverage in months, but that's normal for me, I haven't been a heavy drinker in a long time)
  8. take a multivitamin (I take a child's multivitamin because adult vitamins give me a massive upset stomach. Altho I must say that taking a multivitamin as a requirement seems a bit odd to me. I mean, if you're following the other 7 guidelines, shouldn't you be getting in all the vitamins you need? If you're not, doesn't that mean something's wrong? Or maybe I just think too much.)

Anyway, we got home after the meeting and I went to the kitchen to make dinner.

My great grandmother (mom's mom's mom, whom we all called Mimi) used to cook for me and my cousins from time to time. And she always made the same three dishes when she cooked. Goldenrod Eggs on Toast (my mother hates this dish, and always called it Rotten Gold Eggs on Toast, which is actually what most of us call it now, as a joke), Ground Beef a la Mimi, and Kidney Beans and Bacon.

Goldenrod eggs and Ground Beef are pretty much the same recipe: it's a simple flour, butter and spice roux over cooked eggs (or ground beef) served over toast. I'm still fond of both, but Thomas absolutely refuses to eat either (he agrees with my mom on this particular issue), so I haven't cooked them in a long, long time. But Kidney Beans and Bacon is something that he'll eat, and I love it. Kidney Beans and Bacon is right up there with Macaroni and Cheese and Tomato Soup for comfort foods. And I like to eat it because my Mimi liked to cook it, and I loved my Mimi. (She died when I was 13... the summer before she died, she had cataracts and couldn't read anymore. She loved to read. So that summer, in the evenings, we'd go out on the back porch and I'd read to her. I read Wuthering Heights to her. I vividly remember reading the "I am Heathcliff" speech and both of us were crying through it, and I kept having to stop to blow my nose. She put her hand on my shoulder while I read and I felt comfort and strength and love in her gnarled fingers. Anyway, it's one of my favorite books, and it's one of my favorite memories. And if having an old Depression Era recipe for dinner once in a while makes me feel mentally and emotionally closer to a woman who died over 20 years ago, so be it.)

Anyway, the recipe as it was is fairly simple. 1 onion, 1 side of bacon, several cans of kidney beans. Cut the bacon into bite sized bits and fry with the onions. Once the bacon is cooked through and the onions are translucent, drain the kidney beans, add them, and cook covered for about 30 minutes. Serve with buttered bread.

(You can see where this isn't quite Weight Watchers friendly, right? I mean, we're talking about 15-20 slices of bacon.)

I decided to make the recipe yesterday using the turkey bacon that I'd gotten. It turned out quite well, and was 5 points per cup (plus 1 point for 2 slices of bread.) It's still pretty high in sodium, but I don't think I'm going to be able to get around that. Too much stuff has too much salt in it.

It was nice, eating my dinner last night, and thinking back to that long-ago pair, reading a book, as the sun set over the lake, sending spangles of orange darts of light dancing along the walls... I'm glad I can still have it.

If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it...Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.
- Cathy, Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë

Monday, March 3, 2008

New Routine

I started working out a little more than a month ago, on January 25th was my first workout, and here it is March 3. Since then, I've been working out30 minutes at a clip, three times a week, and walking 3 times a week for about 30-45 minutes.

It's no couch to 5K, but it's a start...

I'm not bored with my routine yet, but I did want to go ahead and spice it up a bit, just so I don't get too set in my ways. I've Netflixed a few dvds to check out new routines and programs (sort of a try before you buy kind of thing).

The first one I got was too bouncy. I don't know if I can jump, but I do know that I don't currently feel comfortable trying. I'm not ready to try it yet. I'm still just happy that I can walk down the stairs like a normal person. If the stairs next to my apartment weren't metal, I might try walking up and down them a few times as exercise, but I'm still really in that self-conscious stage, and the stairs make this terrible ringing noise every time someone's on them (I can always keep track of the comings and goings in this complex...)

In any case, I watched and tried the second of three dvds that I've put on the netflix.

This one is a really good workout for the beginner. Don't be fooled by what you see when you sit down to watch it through the first time (I do, by the way, completely recommend watching the moves first, before you try it. This allows you to know how much space you'll need, whether or not you need any equipment, and whether or not the instructor makes you want to throttle her!) These workouts are harder than they look.

Now, that's not a criticism. They're definitely built for the slow learner, and the not-so-coordinated (like me!). Don't give me a bunch of fancy dance moves, I'll just fall over. I'm happy with step touches and knee lifts, especially if you don't get too complicated with the arm movements. I'll make the arm movements as big as you want, just don't confuse me with having knees going one way and arms doing something else entirely! I'm a klutz...

That being said, the workouts are hard. They stretch and tone and pull and push, and believe me, you'll be sweating! So, good calorie burning exercise without the added complication of feeling clumsy and stupid.

Definitely, two thumbs up. And don't forget to breathe while you lift those thumbs!

(As a down side, the dvd has one of those adverts tied into the FBI warning (pronounced fibi-warning!), so you can't just click to the menu. If you run short on patience, like I do, pop the dvd into the player before you go find your workout shoes, so that it's mostly done by the time you're ready to get moving.)

(As a further note, you'll need a set of light weight handweights, 3 - 5 pounds, a chair, and a yoga mat would be helpful. I don't have one yet, and there were a couple places where the carpet underneath me was a hazard. Guess I'll be stopping by the Play It Again Sports store again today. I swear, those guys in there give me some looks, like "what's a fat chick like you doing in here" but one day... I promise you, one day... I'll be that thin, sexy girl who thinks you're an asshole!)