Tuesday, October 28, 2008


You know what they say about a secret... three men can keep one, if two of them are dead...

I had to tell someone, but these kittens got to me before I got to the blog. So, for now, I'm going to keep this under wraps. But, keep checking back...

(Yes, Chris, I know. I'm annoying you on purpose!)

Seriously, I'm a little too sick today to give the topic/idea/plot/nefarious plan much in the way of justice. (Can a nefarious plan get justice? Wouldn't it get INjustice?) Anyway....

I do actually want to talk about this plan, but it'll have to wait until I'm feeling better. And I have some more time to flesh it out.

In the meanwhile; Weigh in was good yesterday. Down another pound! Woot. Getting close to ditching the 160s forever and ever, amen. (Hello Mr. Travis, where did you come from and why did you earwig me with that song?)

On the other hand, the meeting topic sucketh.

I mean, don't get me wrong. I'm all about food presentation. The better food looks like it's going to taste, the better it tastes.

However... when Kevin and I moved into this tiny apartment from a 1500 sq foot 3-bedroom place, we had to make some choices. Library, or child's bedroom? Throw these things out, or not be able to walk? Computer desks or... dining room table? My daughter has never sat down with us for a family dinner. We do not OWN a dining room table anymore. Sometimes we all sit around the TV, but mostly it's Darcy at the coffee table, and Thomas and I eat at our computer desks (yes, my keyboard is gross. So sue me.)

All my good china (and I do have some, it's quite lovely) is packed up in boxes. I haven't seen it in four years. We don't have the space in our kitchen to store it. Nor, without a table, would I want to use it.

I feel obscurely guilty about this situation.

Next up: Plates! You shouldn't have red plates. Red apparently makes you more hungry.

Oh, fuck darn. My plates are red. And black.

You shouldn't eat while watching TV. Or playing the computer. Or reading a book. Or or or.

According to last night's meeting, I'm doing everything all wrong.


Look at the pictures in the entry below.

What do you think?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Picture is worth 1,000 words...

These pictures are taken almost exactly a year apart. The one on the left was taken Oct 13, 2007 and the one on the right was taken Oct 18, 2008.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Recipe (Stacked Vegetables Tilapia)

I adore this recipe, and it works well with all kinds of fish. You have to be careful not to let the bottom layer of vegetables burn, and if you don't want to bother with fresh herbs, you can use dried, but decrease the amounts to about 2 teaspoons of each.

Stacked Vegetable Tilapia


4 Tilapia Fillets
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped dill weed
1 large onion, chopped
3 large potatoes, sliced
3 large bell peppers, sliced in strips
4 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup white wine (or 1/2 cup vegetable broth with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar added)
Salt and pepper


Use a 12" fry pan with a cover. Add olive oil to pan and heat. Add onions; cook on low heat, covered, about 5 minutes. Add peppers, layering them on top of the onions. Cook 10 minutes. Layer the potatoes on top of the peppers; add half of the wine on top of the potatoes and some of the chopped herbs. Cook another 10 minutes. Then add the fish fillets on top. Pour on the remainder of the wine and chopped herbs, salt and pepper; cook for 20-30 minutes on low heat, until fish is done.

This recipe comes from Better Recipes, and has been adapted slightly to be a little more Weight Watcher's friendly. 4 points per serving, or, again, completely core!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Recipe (Chicken Terrine)

This recipe makes a great appetizer or side dish for something mostly vegetable, served with an herb and oil dressing (get your daily oils in!) or with mustard on thin crackers/light bread or whole wheat wraps. I've found a good wrap recently that WW counts as zero points as long as you only eat one per day; FlatOut children's wraps, 60 calories, no fat, and 6 grams of fiber!

Chicken Terrine


1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 small red bell pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)


Heat oven to 350ºF. Line loaf pan, 8 1/2x4 1/2 inches, with aluminum foil. Sprinkle parsley in bottom of pan.

Remove fat from chicken. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Place chicken in food processor. Cover and process until coarsely ground. Add remaining ingredients except bell pepper. Cover and process until smooth. Mix chicken mixture and bell pepper. Spread in pan.

Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake 1 hour; remove foil. Bake uncovered 20 to 30 minutes longer or until meat thermometer inserted in center reads 180º F. Cover and let stand 1 hour.

Refrigerate at least 3 hours but no longer than 48 hours. Invert onto serving platter. Remove pan and foil. Slice thinly.

This recipe comes from Betty Crocker. Generally speaking, when I make this, I make it on the weekend to snack on throughout the week.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Recipe (Mediterranean Meatloaf)

Mediterranean Meatloaf


1/4 cup diced canned tomato (fire roasted is particularly good)
1 (10 ounce) package frozen, chopped spinach thawed and drained
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup crumbled fat-free feta cheese
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
1/2 cup uncooked quick oatmeal or cooked brown rice or cooked cous cous
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sage
1 egg


Preheat oven to 375. Mix all ingredients together in large bowl - I find it generally helps to mix ground meats by hand, which is cold and somewhat uncomfortable, but very effective! (Just remember to wash your hands before and after!)

Shape into a loaf and drop in casserole dish. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until center is set (I usually have to cut my meatloaf open at least once, mutter, and put it back in the oven for 15 minutes... never can quite figure that part out.)

(I'd thank someone for this recipe, but honestly, I can't remember where I got it from... Anyway, again, it's all Core, and 4 points for two slices)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Recipe (Chicken with Caramelized Onions)

Here's one of my favorite recipes, easy to make, but slightly time consuming and involves a lot of standing over a skillet... Special thanks to my best friend, Carol, who introduced me to this recipe several years ago. (2003, as a matter of fact!)

Chicken and Caramelized Onion:

1 onion, cut into large pieces
1-2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tsp. butter or oil
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 - 1 tsp. basil
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet over med-high heat, add the onions to heated butter/oil. When onions are beginning to become translucent (cooked through, about 5-10 min) add the chicken broth. Cook, stirring, until the broth has fully evaporated. (about 10 min) Add the vinegar, and continue to stir until vinegar has fully evaporated. (another 5-10 minutes) The onions should be dark brown and limp. Remove onions from a pan to the serving plate.

Add the chicken to the skillet (do not clean it - broth/vinegar residue flavors the chicken) and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and basil. Cook until chicken is cooked through. If onions have cooled, you can add them back to the skillet for a minute or two to re-heat them. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Note - the vinegar in the onions makes them VERY sharp. I highly recommend a fairly bland vegetable or something like cous cous/brown rice on the side to cut it.

Nutritional Information: If you are on Core, this is a Core recipe. If you are on Flex, this is 4 points. (Or, about 230 calories... ish.)

Emotional Eating

Last night's Weight Watcher's meeting was about Emotional Eating.

It'd be really nice, don't you think, if we (by "we", of course, I mean me) could treat food with the same emotional detachment as the AA batteries we load up into the television remote. (I'd say "a tank of gas" except there's a lot of emotional baggage attached to petrol these days, with the constantly rising costs - although gas prices have been dropping recently, I find myself being slightly disgusted when I see gas at $2.59 and think that's reasonable. Yeah, yeah... "prices will rise, politicians will philander, and you too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders...")

Unfortunately, that's just not the case. Food, whether we want it to or not, has emotional meaning, more than just fuel for our bodies. If it wasn't the case, would we have a whole category of food we consider "comfort foods." Comfort foods can be anything, from something high in fat and calories (chocolate) to something we liked as a kid (Mac & Cheese) or something our mom made us on special occasions. I think most of us have those foods that we crave when we're feeling a bit down, to help perk us back up.

Unfortunately, it doesn't always work. We eat the Mac & Cheese because we're unhappy, and then we gain weight and now we're MORE unhappy. It's a strange sort of destructive behavior that we don't do with anything else. Unhappy -> Eat more -> Gain weight -> Become unhappy -> Eat More...

Think how that might apply to other situations. Break a dish -> Get upset -> Smash more dishes... I mean, no. We don't do that. And yet, food...

I don't know about you, but I have some serious problems with emotional eating. I cannot tell, a lot of the time, if I'm emotionally hungry, or actually hungry. I spend a lot of time, being hungry, wondering if it's okay if I eat. My general rule, thus far, has been: If I am uncertain whether or not I'm actually hungry, I go do something else. If, in 15 minutes, I am still hungry, it's probably an actual, physical hunger.

What do YOU do to help you decide if you're emotionally hungry or not? Any tips?

Aside... is this fair? I lost 2.6 pounds this week and got this from Weight Watcher's eTools:

Please note: You're probably excited to be losing weight, but you're losing faster than is recommended. Although it's normal to lose over 2 lbs in 1 week, if you lose more than an average of 2 lbs per week over a 4-week period, this could pose health risks, such as heart irregularities, anemia or loss of muscle mass. Please slow your weight loss; your doctor can help you do this if you're not sure how, or ask your Leader for ideas.

Thomas, on the other hand, had a 4.4 pound loss, and got:

As of 10/20, your BMI was 24.65.


Ah well, at least I hit 30% of my body mass GONE!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Does anyone remember directions? Like, back in the day before Google-maps and Tom-tom and GPS systems that let you know that there's a bug standing about 2 feet to your left... (and is it just me, or does it bother anyone else that someone can see how messy your front porch is from the other side of the world?)

I mean, these days, you just plug in the end and starting addresses, and some computer gives you step-by-step directions (updated in real time for traffic problems!) with milage markers...

I remember back before the Internets. (Yes, I really am that old... I remember www in text-only and having to download jpgs to look at them...)

You'd call your Aunt Sally on the phone since they just moved and you're expected to Thanksgiving dinner in little more than three hours, and you need... Directions! And she'd rattle on for a while; you are frantically trying to write as fast as she's talking, and suddenly your uncle Earl snatches the phone away from her.

"That's all wrong," he says. You can hear her in the background screeling her protest. "Whatcha do is this here.."

A healthy lifestyle is a lot like directions used to be, PGE (Pre Google Empire).

First, you've got your girl-directions: Women have a tendency to navigate by landmarks. Directions coming from me will go something like this, "Go down the street about three blocks. When you see the Panera's on the right hand side, you'll turn left at the next light. Go down to the church and turn right. You want the building across the street from the school. If you see the tennis courts on the right, you went too far."

A food-plan, as described by a woman, might go something like this, "Well, see, what you do is this... your first meeting, you'll get this little sliding tool that'll calculate points. Oh, and don't forget that you'll want to make sure you like your leader, because let me tell you, having a good leader makes a world of difference. Don't be afraid to talk in the meetings, you won't believe some of the great recipes I've gotten..."

Then, you've got men's directions: Men use maps and a better-developed inner compass. Thomas, giving the same directions, will tell you, "South on Greenbriar parkway, turn left onto Volvo. Take your first right hand turn onto Eden Way South."

Thomas, telling you about Weight Watchers, will say this;

(If you don't believe me, check out this fascinating article about gender-specific direction sense...)

And then, you've got the unconventional directions...

Maine: Ya can't get theyah frum heyah.

That's the diet-plan for a great number of people wanting to lose weight. They know where they want to be, but they haven't got the faintest clue how to get there. Grapefruit diet? Hoodia? Atkins? Kimkins? (God forbid!)

Unfortunately, lots of people are stuck in these directions. The problem, of course, is that there's no one way to get to your goal. It's like saying that where you are now is Virginia, and your weight-loss goal is somewhere in Cincinatti. There are several different ways you could get there. I-64 is probably the shortest route, or at least the one with the most convenient public restrooms. And yet, traffic is likely to suck. So, it might take longer to go via the interstate...

One time, when I was out in Iowa, visiting my cousins, I got an interesting direction-methodology that seems to work well for a good eating plan.

"Well, you take three looks and then turn left, and another five looks from there, you should see it."

"Do what?"

Apparently, in Iowa, where you've got a crapton of flat, empty space, directions are given in measurements of "looks."

A "look" is fairly simple. Put your car on the road and look down the road as far as you can. In this picture, your first "look point" would be that white silo on the right hand side of the road. Drive until you reach that look point. Then Look further down the road, as far as you can see. Repeat as necessary.

I think that's where I am, in my food plan.

From where I stood, back in January, I could never have seen this far. A map wasn't going to help me, all that was going to do was weigh (pun intended) me down with the knowledge of how far I had to go. Google directions can be great, up until you get to new construction, or I-495 bypass road in around Washington D.C., in which case all bets are off! I couldn't even begin to think about landmarks that I wasn't going to be seeing for weeks and weeks. Could I even get theyah from heyah?

What I needed was a good long Look down the road, and to only worry about what I could see. When I get to that point, I can Look around some more, and plan my trip from there.

Many things in life might work better if we only worried about those problems we could see.

The Weigh of Fear

Quick note here, my guest post is up at MizFit's site.

I really can't tell you how pleased, impressed, proud, and kerfleffled I was when MizFit dropped me a line and asked if I'd be willing to do a guest post for her... I've always considered myself to be a good writer (although much to my eternal frustration, I'm never quite as good on paper as I am in my head...) but, you know, sort of unremarkable.

I've never been asked to do a guest post before. I couldn't imagine, with all the bright and talented people out there, that someone would be interested enough in my opinion to host it on their website.

Anyway, go take a look. I'm working on another post in the background here, but I don't know if it'll be up today or tomorrow. My best friend is in town from New York, and there are hundreds of Achievements to get on Warcraft...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Proof is in the Pudding

Despite the title, I didn't actually have any pudding this week.

Instead, I had:

Macaroni and cheese (box style, the kind with the squeeze packet of cheese)
Chocolate Chip Cookies
100 Calorie packs with honey wheat pringle sticks
Sandwiches on potato bread
Bread crumbs
White pasta
Crescent dinner rolls
Rice cakes with chocolate mint drizzle

I wish I could have enjoyed it more.

I've been trying really hard not to write much recently. Doesn't that seem silly? I mean, this is my blog, and you all come because you like to read what I have to say.

Truth is, I've been sort of ashamed.

I'm sure I've told you all that I'm manic/depressive. Mostly, I have it under control by simple tracking. There are certain things I habitually do when I'm getting ready to go into a downward spiral. (The big one is scratching. When I get upset, I start scratching my legs. During really bad periods, I've been known to actually draw blood. And, just so you know, human fingernails are filthy-dirty even under the best of circumstances, and I usually end up getting those scratches infected. Loads of fun!)

I used to be on medication to regulate my moods, with sedatives prescribed for me when I would have panic attacks.

Have you ever had a panic attack? I don't recommend them for a fun time.

It's been a long time since I've had a really bad one; as a matter of fact, the last time I was having them regularly, they got thrown to the side after I was involved in an actual situation worthy of panic. My mother and I were at a junk shop to sell some action figures and other collectibles when an irate customer came in, started throwing things and screaming at the manager, and threw the manager around into some of his displays and - worst of all - was between us and the way out of the shop! I ended up having to dry swallow my medication because he was frightening me so badly that I couldn't breathe. After that, I didn't have another one for years. Guess my body figured that it didn't need to bother manufacturing panic after that.

I wonder if I could replicate that experience... I could go down to Church Street at 3 a.m....

Not that I'm seriously considering putting myself in an actual dangerous situation.

Well, not really.

The last two weeks have been, in a word, hellish.

I've had panic attacks so bad that I get muscle cramps in my back, sobbing fits that leave me breathless and coping with the very worst headaches. I either can't sleep at all, or I can't seem to wake all the way up. I can't focus on anything. All my projects and obligations have been left undone.

I've been angry and upset, lonely and yet irritable around people. The few times I've been forced by prior commitment to be social, I've been pretending. Honestly, if you asked me to relate an anecdote from those times, I wouldn't be able to produce one. I can't remember what I said, or did. If anyone's noticed, they've been too polite to say anything.

It's been a long, long time since I've been this deep into my depression. And this is probably the first time in my life that I've managed not to engage in self-destruction. Usually, when these periods get particularly bad, I do something crazy. I don't pay the bills for months at a time, hiding the bills and pretending everything is fine. Or I go out and have an affair. There's something heady and wonderful about the sensation of falling in love (even if Love isn't what you're in at all) that provides relief against the bone-crushing darkness.

I haven't done any of that. I've just pulled away from the world. Emails go unanswered. My email game is languishing in my benign neglect. I haven't cleaned the house. Mostly, I've just sat around, watched TV, and read myself insensible.

I'm still working on coming out of it, but I think I am. Finally.

I gained weight this week, .8 pounds... and yet, it wasn't as bad as I was afraid it would be. I could have so easily just kissed off my eating plan for the last few weeks. God knows, there were times when I wanted to. Where the quick, easy relief of chocolate or ice cream would have helped me, brought my mood to closer shallows...

And I didn't.

That's worth remembering.

I gained weight this week. I'm not entirely happy about this. And yet, I know where it happened. White bread and I don't get along, no matter how much I love it. Processed food with its high sodium content doesn't help me. Forsaking my water in favor of diet soda doesn't help. But these are normal things. It's normal eating and normal weight gain. (Also, if my numbers are correct, this is my ovulation period... unlike a lot of women who bloat up around their time of the month, I have a weight-spike about 2 weeks beforehand...)

When I first started weight watchers, I was scared that I would never be able to do this automatically. That I would always be vaguely confused and sure I wasn't eating quite right, or that I wouldn't be able to follow the plan for the rest of my life. And yet, when I couldn't manage anything else in my life, I didn't go crazy with the eating.

That's worth remembering.

I can do this, even under the worst possible circumstances. This is maintainable, not just for the immediate weight loss, but for life.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Remaining Flexible

But (butt?) first, a completely gratuitous picture:

Now that that is behind us... moving right along...

Thomas and I have been on the Core plan for almost seven months now. Which is, honestly, about six months and three weeks longer than I had originally speculated we might be able to do it. From the outside, Core looks highly restrictive, and I couldn't even begin figuring out how to cook with the foods on the list of approved items.

It took a while, but slowly, I've gotten the whole thing down. And I stopped being afraid of food, which is a good thing.

Back on Flex, I got so scared, thinking I'd be hungry at night. That was the worst thing I could imagine was getting to 9pm and being hungry and having no points left. (I know there are a lot of people who preach that you shouldn't eat past 7pm or whatever, but I don't really believe that foods are suddenly more fat-producing after dark, like some sort of caloric-gremlin.) I spent too many days back when I was poor going to bed hungry. I cannot go back there, cannot go back to being that woman in her early 20's who was constantly out of money and food, cannot go back to laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, being hungry, and pretending that she didn't desperately want to cry.

I was so afraid of this happening to me that I'd eat almost nothing all day. Two point breakfasts, four points for lunch, a 2 point snack around 3pm... leaving me 19 points for dinner and evening snacking. Dinner would be 5 - 8 points, and suddenly I have 11 points for post-dinner snacking? I still don't believe calories grow fur and fangs after dark, becoming lycanthropic fat-inducers. And yet, the points I was eating after dinner were not healthy choices. Crackers. 100 calorie packs of oreos. Mostly highly processed flour and sugars. Empty calories.

So, we switched to Core, and while Core was restricted in what I could eat, I was free. Free from having to write down everything I ate. Free from having to measure anything. Free from being hungry. If I was hungry, I ate something. It really was that simple.

Of course, Core has some serious drawbacks.

The first drawback is that nothing is easy. If I want something to eat, I have to prepare something. Even if it's just chopping vegetables or fruit (I do NOT bite into apples. I have too much dental work for that, thanks!). Popcorn, I guess, was easy. But for the most part, eating required dirtying dishes. Plates, bowls, pots, pans, knives.

Cooking takes time. This would be why a lot of people hate it. I'm not a lot of people; I like to cook, and I do find the act of chopping vegetables to be soothing. However, even us stay-at-home moms have our off days, and there are days when we run errands and don't get back to the house until 7:30 and everyone is hungry and staring at me to fix this problem, and dinner's at least 45 minutes away.

(I know, if I really wanted to, I should have prepped a couple of extra servings of things, put them on plastic freezer plates, and had Core tv-dinners. I know. I should have done, but I never seemed to get around to it.)

I was having to fix three meals a day for me and family, plus packing away Thomas's lunch for the next day. None of these chores are particularly onerous, but after a time, they do build up to a "Don't I ever get a BREAK?"

(Yes, even I get bored/tired/cranky... I shall leave space here for you to be astonished.)

Ok. Wow, I can hear your sarcasm all the way over here. Impressive. ::wiggles a finger around in her ear:: It wasn't necessary to shout.

Another drawback to Core was this Atkins-ish obsession with avoiding bread.

that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only
-- Deuteronomy 8: 2-3

Well, we may not live on bread alone, and we may even be able to live without bread. But my god, I miss it sometimes. There have been many times where I've ached, not for chocolate, or ice cream, but for something as trivial as a cheese sandwich. A bagel. A dinner roll; you know the kind, with butter melting on the top, full and puffy and yeasty.

Bread is fairly high in points, unless it's wheat bread, in which case it's only moderately high in points. (I still find wheat bread to be utterly revolting.) And no, that "lite" and "diet" breads they sell really don't cut it. I don't know why they're the way they are, but they don't toast right, and they just don't satisfy. Using two slices of diet bread on a sandwich isn't having a sandwich, it's using two thin pieces of cardboard to hold your sandwich fillings together. You may as well just dump the sandwich into a bowl with some lettuce, call it a salad and have done.

I've also been missing cheese that contains actual fat. Gasp! I may well combine those things at some point this week and have a grilled cheese sandwich.

But in the meanwhile, I'm going to have a dinner roll.

I was glad we did Flex first, as it taught Thomas and I things like portion control... and I think we both need a refresher in that. I don't know about him, but my portion sizes have been slowly creeping again. You don't have to measure in Core, but I don't know that this is license for unrestrained eating.

And, of course, both of us have slowed down in our losses. Thomas has gone from his 1.5 - 3 pound a week losses back to a steady loss of .8 pounds. I had a nice loss last night, however, of 1.2 pounds, which pushed me over into my 55 pounds lost bling! (yay bling!) But, on the average, my losses have continued to get smaller, resulting in my average weight loss creeping steadily down from 1.8 pounds a week to 1.3 pounds per week. (And over the last 6 weeks, it's barely made it to a pound a week.)

So we thought we'd shake things up a bit, with Flex. We probably won't stay here for more than a week, or two at the most.

Of course, I thought that with Core.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Measure of the (Wo)Man

I'm not particularly good at remembering to post my measurement improvements here.

For that matter, I'm not particularly good at remembering to take them. And for whatever reason, I haven't dated any of them, so the gaps between measurements can be anywhere between 25 days and 45 days. Still, they are a "measure" of my success.

I do, however, wish I knew what my measurements were supposed to be. I haven't been able to locate a web site or chart or graph or anything to tell me what a 5'3" person's waist and hips (and upper arms and thighs...) "should" be.

I took my first set of measurements around the beginning of the year. I didn't really want to, but I did it anyway. And since then, I've tried to remember to measure around the beginning of the month...

The really great thing about measuring has been, unlike my weight, the measurements always maintain or go down. I've never suddenly bulked up. This makes me happy.

So, my measurements for January were as follows:

Upper Arm: 14 inches
Waist: 46 inches
Hips: 52 inches
Upper Thigh: 27 inches

I about died of shame the first time I took those measurements. You hear in songs and on TV and whatnot from time to time about the measurements for the perfect girl (go listen to Brick House, for instance, she's a 36-24-36) and I realized that my THIGH was bigger around than some women's waists.

And over the last few weeks, I've been mildly annoyed with my husband. It's not his fault. He's a guy, he had less weight to lose, and I know that it simply is what it is. His friend at work, Chris, who does Iron Man triathalons, gave him a pair of jeans back in February, since they were a few inches too big for Chris. And yet, Thomas and I both laughed at the jeans. 33/32. "There is no way I'm ever fitting into these jeans," Thomas said. He tossed them on top of his dresser and promptly forgot about them. Two weeks ago, he started wearing them.

I don't know what it is. You'd think I would have noticed how thin my husband was getting. I mean, for frack's sake, I've been here the entire time! And all the sudden, watching him walk in these jeans, I was floored. Absolutely floored. My god, when did my husband develop the world's best ass? Seriously. (Yes, ladies, I will try to get a picture of said choice bit of anatomy, but I can't promise anything, he's really photo-hostile.)

Anyway, I was sort of grumbling about his size 33 waist the other day to a friend of mine, and feeling sort of frumpy. (Last time I checked, my waist was more like 35-36.)

On the other hand, I am fitting into size 12 shorts. They weren't supposed to be size 12. I meant to buy size 14's. And when I tried them on, they were A BIT SNUG, THANKYOU. So I tossed 'em in a drawer and figured I'd wait 5 pounds and try them again. Two weeks ago, I started wearing them. After about the third day of wearing them, I noticed the size tag was sticking out over my waist band (on the side, even. Whose stupid idea was that? Itchy thing.) and I went to tear it off. To realize that the tag said 12M. (What's an M, anyway?)

So, I took measurements last night.

Upper Arm: 11 inches
Waist: 33 3/4 inches
Hips: 40 inches
Upper Thigh: 20 1/4

I know, I'm still no super model, but over the last 9 months, I have lost three inches from my upper arm, twelve and a quarter inches from my waist, twelve inches from my hips, and six and three quarters inches from my upper thigh. (I don't measure both sides of my body, I figure my right arm and left arm are close enough to not worry about it much...) That's 43 3/4 inches lost across both arms, both legs, hips and waist, or 3.6 feet!

My god.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What Motivation?

I'm mostly getting over my weirdness about people calling me inspirational. I still don't feel very inspirational, really, but I have mostly stopped objecting. Ok, if I help someone else get motivated to work out or to clean house or to eat right or whatever, that's great!

On the other hand, I don't really have a good answer for the question that people ask me, all the bloody time.

Where do you get your motivation?

The first time someone asked me that, I blinked a few times. Huh? Wha...? Motiva-blah-de-blah?

I'm sure I made something up. It doesn't sound good to have someone say "What motivation?"

I suppose I have some sort of motivation. I was unhappy with my life and wanted a change. No one changes because things are going well! But they're all very personal reasons, you know... My A1C was worrisome. I couldn't pick my daughter up and carry her any further than across the room. My mother had breast cancer. It's a stupid thing to decide to lose weight about, don't you think? My mother had breast cancer, so I decide to lose weight. It's not like the two things are really related. But I couldn't fix her, and I couldn't fix my chances for getting breast cancer (my grandmother and aunt on my dad's side had it too, and boy, does that make me high risk!) and all I was doing was fretting. May as well change what I can change.

I don't see how this helps anyone else. I have a couple of friends who are large ladies, but can easily carry their own kids around. I have large friends who have don't have diabetes looming in their future. I have thin friends who do. We're all different and whatever inspiration we have has got to come from inside.

You can become inspired by someone else. Someone else's success, or someone else's reasons can get you started. But in the end, what you're doing has got to come from inside you. I can't do it for you. Your mother, your child, your spouse, your friend. We can help you, you have to make the commitment.

It can be a lonely place, making the commitment.

It doesn't matter, at that point, how many people have been exactly where you are now, standing on the teetering cliff of some enormous life change. (I don't care WHAT your life change is; quitting smoking, losing weight, changing jobs, divorce, whatever.... life changes are frightening, lonely places.) You are alone. Even if you're not, you certainly feel like it.


It's the most terrible word in the English language.

There's you and there's the cliff and there's a lot of nothing else. And the cliff is so huge, and you're tiny.

It's scary. And you think you can't do this, you can never possibly... It's not too bad, standing on the top of that cliff, you're safe. You're just speculating this crazy thing... It's pretty easy to just stand there. "I'll do it tomorrow..." "I'm not ready..." "Well, at least I'm aware..." "I'm getting ready to..."

At some point, you have to take the leap. Or walk away. Or just continue to stand there.

Any of those three things is a choice.

Motivation isn't a medication; you can't take 2 pills and call in the morning. It's not easy. There certainly isn't some mystical wellspring of it, untapped inside you, with unlimited inspiration. It's more like the tiniest trickle that leaks through two awesomely huge boulders, and it may be sweet, but it's also dusty and a little bit too warm, and there's certainly never enough of it.

I was talking with a friend the other day after a morning of huge amounts of cleaning.

"I wish I had your motivation," she says. "Or, I could steal it from you for a while. Long enough to get my own house clean."

"You get out of bed every day and go to work, right?"


"Same stuff."

Sometimes there just isn't any motivation. There isn't any inspiration. There isn't even some lofty goal at the end.

Sometimes, you just do it.

Because that's what you have to do.