Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Now Is Exactly the Right Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'm a big fan of Tyler Durden.

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

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

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

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

It's time to get rid of it.

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

Now is exactly the right time to change.

Monday, December 29, 2008

2008, a Year in Review

Meme questionnaire from Fat Bridesmaid.

Was 2008 good for you?

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

What was your favorite moment of the year?

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

What was your worst moment of the year?

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

Where were you when 2008 began?

Chesapeake, Virginia

Who were you with?

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

Where will you be when 2008 ends?

Chesapeake, Virginia

Did you keep your new years resolution of 2008?

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

Do you have a new years resolution for 2009?

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

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

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

Are you still in love?


Did you breakup with anyone in 2008?


Did you make any new friends in 2008?

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

Who are your favorite new friends?

Leslie!! And Beth!

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

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

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


How many different places did you travel to in 2008?

We went to North Carolina twice...

Did you miss anybody in the past year?

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

What was your favorite movie that you saw in 2008?

Kung Fu Panda!

What was your favorite song from 2008? 

I Kissed a Girl, Katy Perry

How many concerts or plays did you see in 2008?


What was your favorite book in 2008?

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

How many people did you sleep with in 2008?

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

Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year?

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

What was the biggest lie you told in 2008?

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

Did you treat somebody badly in 2008?

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

Did somebody treat you badly in 2008?

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

What was your proudest moment of 2008?

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

What was your most embarrassing moment of 2008?

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

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

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

Where did you work in 2008?

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

Favorite TV shows(s) of 2008?

Heroes, Season 1

Favorite Band(s) of 2008?


Favorite Food in 2008?

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

Favorite Drink in 2008?

Diet Coke with Lime

Favorite Place in 2008?

Outer Banks, NC

Favorite person(s) to be with in 2008?

my husband
my daughter

Favorite person(s) to talk to in 2008?

My Evil Twin, Val

Favorite trip in 2008?

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

Favorite stores in 2008?


Hardest thing you had to go through in 2008?

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

Most exciting moment(s) in 2008?

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

Funniest moment(s) in 2008?

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

Year in Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Becoming More (or Less) Myself

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Some bloggie things

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 15, 2008


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

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

Breakdown, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

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

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

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

And then came...

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

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

When it just happened.

I snapped.

Went 'round the bend.

Flipped my lid.

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

I do not know how much fudge I ate.

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

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

But still...

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

And yet...

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

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

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

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

I think that's a non-scale victory.

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

Good for me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Core by Any Other Name

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

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

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

In the end, very little has actually changed.

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

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

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

I guess a lot of people have that problem.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 8, 2008

In Which Express Earns my Repeat Business


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

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

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

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

Not. Remotely. Attractive.

So, Saturday we go shopping for a dress.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I walked into Express.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have been stunned by how tiny my feet look.

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Post That Was Not

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

You're welcome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, I'm not going to say it.

And I'll try not to think it.


Monday, December 1, 2008

The Ideal

Wow. What more needs to be said?

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

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

I felt adequately full, happy and content.

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

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

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

So, I feel good about myself.

Amazing, that.