Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Plan

The Plan:

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

The Ideal:

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

The Probable:

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

The Possible:

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

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Differences between Thankful and Grateful

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

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

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

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

Unfortunately, we're not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nine and a Half Weeks

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

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

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

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

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

Scene: 6:30pm, Thursday night.

Lynn: Oh, hell.

Thomas: What?

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

Thomas: Are you sure?

Lynn: Sure...

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

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

Thomas: Are you burning the house down?

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

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

Lynn: Exactly.

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

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

Scene: Saturday, 10am

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

Doll: And my name is Beth Carol Dollie!

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

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

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


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

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

Yeah. This might be tricky.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This is the Morning Report

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

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

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

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

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

But hey, at least my mouth will look nice.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lynn, You Have the Flore

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clearly, that cannot actually be the case.

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

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

So... tracking yesterday went something like this:

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Me and the Molasses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Third: Water water water.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fourth, and probably last;

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

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

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

Friday, November 7, 2008

Someone Else's Pants

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

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

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

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

I have lost almost 60 pounds.

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

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

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

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

I was convinced they wouldn't fit.

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

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

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

They fit.


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

An 8?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It wasn't that hard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 3, 2008

Odd Moments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next order of business:

Weird moment.

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

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

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

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

It was... an odd moment.