Friday, November 20, 2009

Empty Drawers

I was folding clothes the other day - a thankless task, honestly (however, folding 1 load of laundry burns approximately the same calories as walking a little more than half a mile... that's JUST the folding, not the lugging about of laundry baskets, loading or unloading the washer, etc) and I was thinking "damn, I have a lot of clothes." Then I was folding up a postage-sized pair of underwear. "And they're all tiny."

Truth be told, it takes me longer to fold the laundry now than it used to. What was a full laundry basket two years ago contained six or seven shirts, twelve or fourteen pairs of undies, a few bras, a couple towels and two or three pairs of pants. (If you're gathering from this that I wore the same shirt several times, you'd be correct. I didn't have that many things that fit, nor were flattering... Also, I was probably depressed. The problem with depression is that sometimes you don't know you're in it until you're not... but the symptoms: I rarely left the house, I usually wore the same baggy housedress five or six days in a row - can you say YUCK with me? I know you can! - were all there... it's only NOW that I'm realizing HOW MUCH better my life is...) And my laundry basket was FULL.

These days, a full laundry basket contains 4 - 5 pairs of pants, two pairs of sweat pants, 10 tank tops, 5 t-shirts or blouses, a skirt, one sundress, 17 pairs of undies, 4 bras, 2 sports bras, 2 sports shirts, my Victoria Secrets bathrobe, 2 or 3 sweaters, 18 pairs of socks (I simply cannot BEAR to wear the same socks I worked out in...), four bath towels, 2 gym towels, and my sweat jacket.

I haven't gotten a new laundry basket.

My clothes are just TINY.

On the left side of that photo is one of my cami-bra tops from Express. (I currently have 9 of these things and I still want the espresso brown one, and a few more of the patterned ones.) It's a medium. I tried on the smalls the last time I was there, and while it fit, it also displayed some of the stubborn back fat. Plus the shelf-bra inside it was a LEETLE TIGHT. So, still mediums. I'm ok with that. On the right side of the photo is one of my racer-back tops from Torrid. Right before I started losing weight, I discovered Torrid, and I still recommend them for the plus sized line that actually looks good. Also, their stores are neat, with nice wide aisles (ever wonder why Lane Bryant has to pack their clothes in so tight that you feel like you're going to knock over a display?) and really nice changing rooms. Anyway, I had a number of those tank tops. Size 4XL. That's an XXXXL, just in case you were wondering. (If we wanted to be Roman, it'd be an IVL. That looks better.)

I have an ENTIRE DRAWER of clothes dedicated to activity. Sports bras, yoga pants, sweat pants (I almost called them sweat slacks, except there is NOTHING slack about them... they are Tight as All Hell. I actually have to zip them down my legs... on the plus side, a contractor today from Chesapeake Sidings actually leaned out the window of his truck and yelled 'Nice gams, lady!'... by the way, who the HELL says 'gams' these days?") workout shirts - including my 100 pushups tank because it now has huge sweat stains around the neck and under the arms and is too ratty to wear out in public - sweat bands for my hair, two swim suits (one of them is even a bikini and I look GOOD in it... I am only dismayed that I managed to snag it just at the end of the season and didn't actually get to wear it out to the beach.) and the towels that I take to the gym with me to wipe the sweat off.

And despite this.... I still have two... count them! TWO empty drawers in my dresser.

You know, a size IVL sweater folded up takes up half an entire drawer by itself. I have four sweaters now, folded neatly, in half of one drawer.

So... I have empty space.

Guess I should buy more clothes, aye?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Make Believe

Does This Blog Make Us Look Fat has an interesting series of questions for the dieter/weight warrior/lifestyle changer, whatever you want to call yourself that I thought was particularly pertinent for me today.

Go, read, come back. I'll be here.

Are you done?

Great... now I thought I'd look at this question from the other side of the equation. I am at goal weight (or, at least I was last week, and I don't think I've gained 1.6, which would be enough to push me back to paying for WW's this month...)

1. What is your goal weight or size?

My goal weight was originally 125, but I've had a hard time pushing to that point. For the last four and a half months I've been bouncing around (and I do mean bouncing... my weigh ins look like a 2nd grader's drawing of grass... up down up down...) between 132.4 and 138.

Technically, my goal is 134, which means according to WW, I need to be between 132 and 136. When I mathed out sizes (given that 10 pounds is "about" a size) I figured that from a size 24, if I lost all 90+ pounds that I wanted to lose, I'd end up in a 6, or maybe a 4. I did that. The jeans I'm wearing today are 4s.

2. How do you behave at goal?

At goal, I am... paranoid. Astonishingly enough, getting to goal didn't change me completely! I don't know what I expected, but it's not been a lightbulb moment. I still have yet to look in the mirror and see a thin person. I'm ok with comparisons (ie; I'm thinner than I was, I'm thinner than that person, I'm not the thinnest person in the room) but I still don't feel like I look thin.

I had hoped when I got to goal, I would/could relax a little. And yet, I'm so close to my goal weight that I don't really have any wiggle room. A 2 pound gain for me will have me once again paying for weight watchers, and I've discovered (as you all probably know!) that eating pizza (no matter how MUCH pizza or how LITTLE pizza) will cause me to gain 2 pounds.

I am actually less active than I was while losing. Having finished the 3-Day, I haven't yet instituted a new goal or excercise plan and Sundays, which used to be my crazy-exercise days have now become "sit around the house clicking facebook every 2 minutes" days.

3. What does a person who is active or at a certain weight do to stay there?

According to WW, I should be eating ~22-25 points (give or take) plus my 35 weekly and whatever Activity points I get. I don't know what I've been eating, since my tracking has once again fallen by the wayside. I hate tracking, I really do.

Right now, I'm trying to get back into tracking; 4 days a week, at minimum. I will give myself extra "gold stars" if I do more than 4 days tracking this week. Also, I think I'm slipping on vegetable servings again. Since I haven't been tracking, I don't know for sure. But I'm also trying to get back on track with fruits and vegetables.

Also, I got an unexpected and unpleasant surprise on Halloween. I went to donate blood (a surefire way to lose 1 pound, since a pint's a pound, the world around!) and couldn't because my iron count was too lose (12.5 is the minimum, and mine was stubbornly sitting at 11.) So, for the first time in quite a while, I'm dedicating myself to remembering to take a vitamin. I've always been a little dubious about the whole nutritional supplement thing... it seems to me that if you're eating the way you're supposed to, a vitamin shouldn't be necessary. So, I must not be eating right, eh? I did find a caffienated vitamin from One-A-Day; so I'm going to try that and see if that'll help me keep on track with that goal.

4. At the end of the day sit and think. How was this day? Could “being at goal” be your lifestyle? Could you live like this?

I'm trying really hard... sometimes I think I'm trying too hard! I'm totally stressed, and spending a great deal of time being pissed with Thomas when he eats a 1/2 pounder cheeseburger from Ruby Tuesday's (1350 calories, 90+ grams of fat) and then LOSES weight!!

I won't lie and say that being at goal hasn't had some positive effects; I'm less self-conscious than I used to be (or at least, I no longer CARE what OTHER people think of me... not that other people could POSSIBLY be as harsh on me as I am on myself...) and I have a dresser full of clothes that if I don't absolutely LOVE it, I don't HAVE to wear it. (still working on getting rid of the stuff I don't wear much or at all...)

On the other hand, getting to goal and maintenance hasn't been... easy.

It's worth remembering that just because you get there doesn't mean the work is over. We all know that it's easier to gain weight than to lose it...

Contest News!

I want to thank everyone for their comments and/or retweets... The winners are KyraTX and FlybabyF. Please email me at tisfan at gmail dot com (you know how to reformat that, right? right.) and give me your mailing information so I can get these out to you! Congrats!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How Breast Cancer Changed My life

Excerpt from my old blog:

October 3, 2007.

My mother has breast cancer.

Why is there never anything helpful to say about these sorts of things. "Sorry you're sick. Hope you don't die." "Hmmm, can I have all your stuff when you're dead?" It sucks that I sit there on the phone, gaping and just having no idea what to say. Maybe they should teach a college course on "shit to say that doesn't sound completely stupid in the face of a tragedy." I know I should have signed up for it.

Yes, they caught it early. Yes, breast cancer is survivable. Yes, it's still one of the leading killers of women in the United States. I know all this. I knew it even before she told me she had it.

And people keep asking me "If there's anything I can do..." and there's a bitter, nasty part of me that wants to scream at them... "What the FUCK do you think you can do? Because, really, if you're sitting on the cure for cancer just so you can offer it to me at a convenient time, you're a real jackass." I don't say that, though, because it's rude. And I do know that people love me and care, and they wish there was something they could do. And I'm not even mad at them, I'm just mad at the situation. Still... "What the fuck, man, what the fuck. No, there's nothing you can DO. There's nothing I can do. We have to just hope that there's something the goddamn doctor can do aside from sending my mom a BIG HUGE bill."

Ditto, I'm mad at my mom. One of the first things she said to me was "Don't tell your dad, ok?" Oh for fuck's sake woman. Look, I know she's vain and self-centered from time to time, but jesus h christ, get a stepladder and get the fuck over it already. She's been divorced for fifteen YEARS. It's about time that she stop giving a royal FUCK what he thinks. What does she think he's gonna do, anyway? Gloat? My dad may not have been the most wonderful husband on the planet, but jesus, he's not like that. And even if he used to be, he's not anymore.

I feel sort of alone in this... my friends don't really like my mom much. She's sort of neurotic and immature. I don't have any family support in this; I've disowned (and been disowned by) most of my aunts and cousins and the like. It might be nice to talk to someone else who actually cares about my mom, you know? My friends care about me, and believe me, I appreciate that. But they don't generally care about my MOM. That's ok, and I don't blame them for it, but gods, I do wish I had someone to talk to who does care about her.

I can't decide if the timing of the rest of my life is good, or bad. I have Darcy's birthday party this weekend, and Carol's baby shower next weekend, and I still have a ton of stuff to do, so I'm staying really busy. But I'm also having a lot of trouble focusing on the tasks at hand. I stood there blankly at the bank the other day for like ten minutes with my mouth open, disconcerting the teller, while I tried to remember why I'd gone there in the first place. (To get quarters.)

I dunno. I hate feeling lost and useless like this.

And I don't know what to do.

This followed a doctor's appointment in July where my doctor said "I'm not liking your A1C results... I'd like you to try to lose 10% of your body weight - about 22 pounds - by the time I see you in January or I'm going to be forced to put you on diabetic medication."

And was followed by this picture being taken of me.

I weighed about 227 pounds.

My asthma, my ankle, and my fear of falling down (every time I've fallen in the last few years, I've broken a bone... I have crappy bone density from years of steroid use, and I'm a klutz on top of that. All in all, it doesn't add up to a happy and safe life.) were my excuses to keep from working out. My attitude was an excuse to not diet ("diets don't work!" "I can't lose that much weight!" "It's pointless!").

But after those three things - and they say these things come in threes... oh, wait, that's celebrity deaths... whatever - I decided to change my life.

I might not be able to change my genetics - I now have breast cancer history on both sides of my family - but I could change my eating habits and weight.

My husband and I started "watching what we ate" just after November of that year. And started weight watcher's "officially" the first week of January, 2008.

You all know the rest of the story... my husband's lost 90+ pounds. I've lost 87 (ish) pounds. I started walking; he started running. We've changed our lives a LOT.

Two weeks ago, I walked the Susan G Komen 3-Day... sixty miles.

Today, I read this article in Fitness Magazine:
"Women think breast cancer is mainly related to family history," says Melinda Irwin, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology and public health at Yale School of Medicine. "But in truth, only about 10 percent of cases are. That means 90 percent of breast cancer may be caused by environmental or lifestyle factors like weight."
It's a good article, and I highly recommend it. It's encouraging to think that - what I did in the depths of "I need to do something" fear - I made the right choice.

This is me, today. (Well, technically, two weeks ago.) And my mom. I weigh 134 pounds. I can walk sixty miles. My mother's been cancer free for almost 2 years. And her surgery scar is really minimal.

4 Ways to Beat Breast Cancer

1. Watch your weight.

If your BMI (body mass index) is 25 or above, work to lose 10 percent of your weight.

2. Get moving.

Exercise for two to three hours a week for the ultimate protection, says Melinda Irwin, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology and public health at Yale School of Medicine. "Aim for 60 percent of your maximum oxygen intake, where you have to take a deep breath every other word if you're talking," she adds.

3. Schedule regular sweat sessions.

Chores don't have the same anticancer effect as working out, because "they tend to be start-and-stop," Irwin explains. "You could spend an hour in the garden and raise your heart rate for a total of just 15 minutes. When you exercise, you get continuous moderate-intensity activity."

4. Veg out.

Eat cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. They contain isothiocyanates and indole-3-carbinol, compounds that may prevent the growth of tumors.


I've been enjoying my subscription to Fitness Magazine (I got to try it on the cheap through a special offer on my Sargento Cheese sticks...) I'm going to renew my subscription. When I do this, I'll be getting 2 free subscriptions to give away as gifts.

If you'd like to win one of these free subscriptions, leave me a comment!! Post about this contest on your blog!! Or twitter about this contest!! On November 1, I'll select two lucky winners and you'll get a year's subscription to Fitness magazine! (yes, if you do all three things, you'll get three chances to win!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

173,942 (Now What?)

I'm having PMS. Post-marathon Syndrome.

Otherwise known as the "now whatism".

For the 3-Day event, I trained for over eight months. I raised a lot of money (no where near the amount that one woman did... she got the taj matent... $24,000... impressive.) and basically had one driving goal for most of a year.

In the process of meeting that goal, I also lost another 22 pounds, worked my endurance up, whittled myself down to a tiny size 4 - I'm still astonished by that, just so you know - did 200 squats, 100 pushups, 200 situps. Walked countless miles. Wore through three pairs of shoes. Bought a sleeping bag, ground pad, and a crapton of gear for the event.

At the event, I met a bunch of really wonderful women (and a few pretty cool guys, too...). I felt strong, impressive, happy, sad, angry, frustrated, empowered, triumphant. I walked all 58.5 of the route miles, plus quite a bit more wandering around camp, crossing the pit stop stations multiple times to go pee, get food and drink, and stretch. My total steps for the weekend were 173,942. As my stride length says it takes me ~2200 steps to get a mile, that's ALMOST 80 miles over the course of a weekend.

I got to see my mother for the first time since right after her surgery. I carried a dozen or more rally flags. I met survivors, both of breast cancer and losing someone they loved to the disease. I danced on street corners. I made the same two jokes about 40 times each. ("I spy with my little eye... something that is pink!" and "I live in a swamp! I'm not used to hills. Where I live, the only hills are the man-made ones that are on the golf course, and oddly enough, they don't let me walk there!")

And now I'm home again.

And I've been here for two weeks.

And I don't really know what to do with myself.

I mean, seriously. How do I top this?

Some of my friends are being a little funny about it. "Why do you have to top it?" Me, "Well, because I'm only 37 years old... if this is the pinacle... wow..."

My husband was more like, "Well, what was the really big part of it for you? The endurance training, the fund raising, or the emotional aspect? If you can figure that out, you'll know which direction you want to head next."

I've been considering doing Hershey's Tour de Pink next year, if I can get a bike.

I don't know. I just feel a little... down.

It's hard to go back to doing the dishes after you've spent the weekend feeling like a goddess...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

0 to 60 in Three Days

Watch this space for updates... there will be some, and I have a ton of stuff I want to say about the Three Day, but right now I'm digging my house out of complete pit-dom (ok, not complete... Thomas DID do dishes while I was gone - much to my shock!) and recovering from the inevitable "I spent 3 days around a bunch of strangers and now I'm sick as all fuck" that happens whenever Thomas takes vacation.

But this is me and my mommy at the Dupont Cheering station on Day Three and has now become my most favoritist picture of myself. Ever.

I am strong.

I am awesome.

I have endurance.

I have hope.

I am a goddess.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Picture Pages

Have some photos.

This is the hat I'm wearing for the 3-day...

And here as some scenic pictures from my training walks...

One of Lady Bump's cousins... Astonishingly enough, the wild turtles act the same that she does, which is to say looking up at me pleadingly so I'll feed them.

When I say "hills" around here, I mean, small heaps of dirt with grass on them, like this... Chesapeake is FLAT flat flat.

But there's LOTS of water...

This is one of my favorite spots on my walk. I don't know why, really. Maybe it's just the big rock seems incongruous with the rest of the scenery.

Scattering of leaves
As if trees threw a party
And forgot to clean.

The local library... I love the round side of the building. It's just nifty.


I also saw a river otter, but he was a fast little bugger and I didn't manage to get a picture.

Friday, October 2, 2009

When Properly Motivated

I can run very, very fast.

Last night, Thomas, Darcy and I were out for our usual Thursday walk (ish about a two-miler.)

One part of our walking path takes us along the "lake". It's not a lake, it's a hole in the ground where water collects. There's a lot of that around here. I do live in a swamp (part of the Great Dismal Swamp, actually...) and there's a lot. LOT. of water around here. (As a further note, I actually live in one of the highest points in the city, 18 feet above sea level. That's NOT very far, really.) Anyway, our view here is to the left side, water, to the right side, the backs of a bunch of condos. We're walking and we see a white and brown spotted dog running around, leash dragging merrily on the ground behind him.

A few minutes later, a woman pushing a jogging stroller trots up, looking furious, and calling for the dog. The dog, being a dog, ignores her completely and continues tearing around, peeing on trees, sniffing bushes, and generally acting dog-like.

Eventually, said dog notices us and comes bounding over, so excited that not only is its tail wagging, but the whole back end of the dog is wagging.

Thomas reaches down and snags the leash.

"Oh, thank you," says the lady. She leaves the stroller where it is and comes over to collect the dog.

Darcy is busy petting the dog, who is now slobbering all over my child and wiggling ecstatically. (Both dog and child. Are wiggling, that is. Darcy gave up slobbering a while ago.)

"He's very excited," the woman comments, taking the leash. She and Thomas talk a bit about the dog. I... don't much like dogs, so I'm trying to dodge the animal and keep an eye on my daughter and occasionally glancing at my watch wondering how long we have to make small talk before we can keep walking. We're supposed to go to Target after our walk and then I need to cook dinner and I'm hoping that things won't run too late because...

I glance over at the stroller to realize it is ROLLING BACKWARDS DOWN THE HILL TOWARDS THE LAKE.

"Jesus," I comment and take off flat running. I probably covered about 20 yards in 3 seconds, grabbed the stroller handle and turned sideways to keep the entire thing from flipping over on the rough ground. The baby, inside, is a red-headed little girl who is... fast asleep.

"Mom's saved the baby!" Darcy yells, jumping up and down and cheering.

"I stole her from a stupid Dikini while he was taking a pee pee," Thomas mutters under his breath.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Key to the City

I've been totally strict with myself and my eating this week. I've been petrified that I would gain 1.6 pounds this week, which would take me over my 136 pound "top end". Terrified that I would gain just enough weight to guarantee that I'd have to start maintenance over again... that it would take me 14 weeks to get to lifetime. Or 21. Or another year.

I get so afraid, sometimes, of screwing things up at the worst possible moment. It would be ok (all right, so it's me and it wouldn't be ok to botch things totally in the very beginning, but at least it would be understandable...) to get it out of the way early...

But no, my tendency is to make a hash of things right at the very end. Usually in full view of everyone and everything under the sun.

Of course, I know it's not really like that. In real life, when you bump into a waiter at the country club who's carrying pasta and he spills marinara sauce all down your white jeans, all the rich people in the club don't actually all whirl on their heels to point and laugh at you.1 In real life, most people pretend you don't exist when something completely embarrassing happens to you. (Well, unless they've got a cellphone camera with them, in which case you might end up with your picture on YouTube or People of Walmart)

And 95% of your friends won't continually nag you about your failures either, no matter what they might be thinking. And since you've got no idea what they're thinking (No, you can't interpret their looks, or silences, or read between the lines in an email. I swear to you... you wouldn't worry so much about what other people thought of you if you knew how infrequently they actually do.) you should just take them at their word. The other 4% will be charmingly funny about your failures, and will be a great source of comfort if you let them, by placing your mistakes in a light in which they actually make sense. (Foul ups are FUNNY... if you let them be. And once they're funny, they can be forgotten...)2 1% of the people you know will viciously remind you of your mistakes, be complete pains in the ass about it, act like they never make mistakes themselves and you should prove to them that they do by promptly shoving them the hell out of your life.

I'm working really hard on believing this.

Failure is how we learn. It doesn't mean we're substandard. Or stupid.

Last night, I made Lifetime with Weight Watchers. Since January 2007, I have lost 87 pounds. (Gone from 219 to 132) I have dropped 10 pants sizes. (size 24 to 4) I have increased my stamina. (From getting tired walking around the block to being tired walking 24 miles). 21 months.

It's taken me 21 months to lose the weight. (yes, it still annoys me that my husband managed to lose an additional 3 pounds - he's at -90 - in about half the time...)

It's been a long time coming. I've learned a lot. I'm feeling pretty confident and comfortable with my lifestyle choices.

Last night, I got a tiny little plastic key to go with my keychain. 3

Gaining lifetime isn't the end. Far from it. Gaining lifetime is just one step - admittedly, a pretty BIG step - on this journey.

But I've got the key to the gate; and now I can move on. I've been in the city of Weight Loss for so long; now I can open the gate and see what else is out there.

1 - Karate Kid reference. I used to adore this movie. I probably still do, except I don't always like to admit it. Maybe I should go watch it again, just for giggles.

2 - Go ahead... try to think back on the last time you had a really good laugh about something someone said. Can you remember why you were laughing? What exactly you were talking about? Unless it was yesterday, probably not... you just remember having a good time with so-and-so. We're genetically wired to remember failures and bad experiences because those are where we learn.

3 I wonder, sometimes, what it says that while the "weight block" keychains are metal - for the 25 pounds, 50 pounds, and 75 pounds markers - the lifetime key is plastic....

Monday, September 14, 2009


As if I needed more reasons to hate my body, I got two pieces of information this week that in turns disgust and amuse me.

First, I apparently have no ass.

Second, my thighs aren't big enough.

I went jeans shopping this past week with my friend Leslie. Shopping with Leslie is nothing like shopping with my other girlfriends. While my other girlfriends tend to tell me things are cute, Leslie spent most of her time criticizing. Not so much criticizing me, exactly, but the quality of the clothing, the fit, the color, the prices. She blames this on having a very picky father who insisted on absolutely the best, followed by years of being married to someone who - while he himself might not have had tons of cash, was at least the spoiled child of people with a lot of cash.

So... she's fussy about clothing.

And while I'm an apple, Leslie is a pear. (Well, a pear with an enormous chest.) I don't have a waist, so to speak. And I have absolutely no butt whatsoever. Any jeans that closed around my middle were baggy in the butt.

I had, actually, never noticed this. For me, what's always been more important about jeans fit was how well they reduced the look of my protruding stomach. One of the big problems I've had with my appearance, post weight-loss, is that I don't look thin. I am weighing in around 129-131 pounds (first thing in the morning) and yet I look like a smaller fat person.

"Well, that's unattractive," says Leslie, as I walk out of the fitting room in a pair of Old Navy sweetheart jeans. They're a size 4. SIZE. 4. Damnit.

"What is?" I turn around in the mirror.

"Your jeans... you bag in the butt. And believe me, in jeans, that's the place where you never, ever want to be baggy."

"What are you talking about?" The jeans were pretty damn snug, actually. They fit tight over my stomach and yet didn't spill muffin over the top.

Leslie walked over to the mirror and turned me until I could look at my butt. "Here."

She was right. Just under where my ass would be (if I had one) were a series of creases. I tried on another pair of jeans. And another. And we went to two more shops.

They all do it. Every. Single pair of jeans. Including the ones I was wearing.

I finally ended up getting two pairs of 4s at TJ Maxx anyway... they still bag in the butt, and yet it doesn't seem like there's anything I can do about it. If the jeans fit in the butt, I can't snap them closed (or if I can suck it in hard enough to zip them up, I get terrible muffin top.)

I'd feel even worse about this if it weren't for one consoling factor. Leslie's jeans might be stretched tight across her butt and thighs, but they gap terribly in the waist. No one ever has to wonder what kind of undies she's wearing...

So, I'm not unique, even if I am the only apple in my group of friends. At least my jeans are comfortable, rather than being stretched here and there, and making me worried that someone's going to feel tempted to drop an ice cube down the back of my pants.

Jeans are just Not Made for Women.

On the other hand, there's nothing I can do about my thighs. I already walk so much as to be ridiculous, and having lost 85 pounds, my thighs are measuring in around 18.5 inches at the moment. When I started the whole weight loss thing, my thighs were 27 inches around. I think I'll go ahead and stay in the higher risk category, ok? Ok.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Not So Much

Maintenance is, quite frankly, boring.

I have two more weeks to go until I'm Lifetime (free meetings for as long as I maintain my weight below 136 pounds...)

Technically, I think I'm not supposed to get below 132 pounds, either, but I think most leaders don't enforce that.

I'm not currently very happy with Weight Watcher's web site. If you're familiar with the site, you've probably already heard these complaints, but I'm going to reiterate them anyway.

I enter my weight on Tuesday morning, even tho my meetings are on Monday nights, since the day you enter your weight is when the site resets the weekly points meter. As far as I've ever been able to determine, there's no way to change this setting. Reality-wise speaking, it doesn't (or shouldn't) really matter when my points reset, and yet as we all know, losing weight is at least 75% a head game. The tricks we learn to help us cope with the fact that (and I still doubt this assertion) "nothing tastes as good as being thin feels," for the most part, we'd all rather be eating. (Especially me. Technically, I'm "thin". Or, at least, normal... and I don't feel it. I don't feel good about myself, I don't catch glimpses in the mirror and think "oh, wow, look at me." I look in the mirror and say "Jaysus! How can I have lost 85 pounds and still look like I should have Goodyear tattooed on my ass?" Believe me, chocolate cake tastes a LOT better than how I feel most days.)

So... my meetings are Monday night, and I enter my weight first thing Tuesday morning. (This also keeps the site from yelling at me all day Monday about not weighing in when my meeting isn't until 5:30pm anyway!)

I declared goal at 134 pounds. I actually weighed 133.4.

The next two weeks (weeks 1 and 2 of my six week maintenance period) I had no changes. That was pretty impressive, actually... week three, last week, I lost .4 pounds, which took me to 133 flat.

When I entered that weight in the site, I got the following (quoted from memory, so it might be slightly inaccurate) "Don't forget, you are supposed to be maintaining your weight. You might want to increase your points intake!"

Ok, look. I'm one pound BELOW my goal weight. This is not cause for alarm. Weight does, shockingly enough, fluctuate. Even a completely healthy person's weight can vary by up to 5 pounds in a single day just from intake, salt, chemical changes, etc.

This week, I gained a pound. I am now exactly on my goal weight, exactly 134 pounds.

And guess what?

If you said "I bet the site provided negative feedback again," you would be exactly correct!

"Oh! You gained a pound! Well, that's normal in maintenance. You might want to consider going back to what you did to lose weight in the first place."

I mean, talk about a contradictory message. Is it "normal" or is it "going back to what I was doing that made me lose weight."?

What's wrong with "You are still exactly in your range for maintenance. Good job!"


In two weeks, I should hopefully be lifetime. And I'm seriously considering whether or not I want to continue to use the eTools, since they're currently "free" with my monthly pass, but if I want to keep using them after I am lifetime, I will have to pay the monthly fee. There isn't even a discount for Lifetime members, and the site is NOT what you'd call cheap. Hell, my Warcraft monthly fee is less than Weight Watchers. And believe me, I spend a LOT more of my time there.

So... the fact that the eTools feedback tends to be negative... well, it bugs me.

(While I was losing weight, it bugged me as well, so it's not like this is a new complaint. As I went along, entering my weights, I found that unless I lost over 1 pound but less than 2 pounds, I did NOT get encouraging feedback... what I often got was snarky feedback. "You lost .4 pounds. Are you happy with your weight loss? If not, see your leader for ideas on how you can increase your loss!")

Now, don't get me wrong, I get a lot out of the Weight Watcher's site, not the least of which is a slew of recipes that I use regularly.

But still... I'm wondering.

Do I really want to pay for something that frustrates me on a weekly basis?

(Addendum: It is possible, with Thomas's work "Health Initiatives" that we might be able to be reimbursed for the eTools... since he's also a lifetime member, if he signs back up for eTools after I make lifetime, I can use the tools to get my recipes and whatnot, ignore the tracker, and not deal with the snarky feedback. His company pays up to $250 a year for health initiatives - in addition to, I might add, paying his entry fee for the 5K he's running in October - and provided I can find some way of printing a reciept for the eTools, we can get it reimbursed to us. A year's worth of eTools is $192... so... I think we will go that route.)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Guest Post - Weight as a Disability

A quick thought from my darling husband - Thomas - who I've spoken about with recurring frequency around these parts. Hope you enjoy his thoughts on an issue that came up at work and the discussion it spawned which he later shared with me, and now with you.

Okay, so the topic that your usual host asked me to talk about is 'Weight as a Disability' after we'd talked a bit about it.

First, let me cover how it came up. A while back the AMA was asked to review whether obesity should be counted as a disability. As is typical, it was the fluff reporting on the new channel that was on at lunchtime at work, and became our topic of conversation (our lunch conversations are not for the faint of heart, and have gotten us in trouble with bystanders on a few occasions). So Sam turns to me and says “That must really burn you up, what with all the weight you've lost.”

So I had to have an opinion now, as the weight loss 'expert'. I told a bit on Enzo's story as a good example of why it should be considered. Enzo was heavy enough he caused the floor to shake when he walked. BIG GUY. When I met him, he'd started Weight Watchers at his doctors recommendation. While he was working on his weight he was out twice on medical leave, once for each knee to have them replaced. Eventually his weight loss stalled out around 125 pounds lost. He and his doctor decided that it was necessary to get the gastric bypass surgery to get his weight under control fast enough to keep from damaging the knee replacements.

Over the time (about nine months to a year) that all of this occurred, Enzo and his doctor had to fill out the disability paperwork and get the approvals for the procedures and time off, and all the other items required to get things lined up three times.

I can see a wonderful argument that if obesity were counted as a disability, they could have lined all of the surgeries under a single disability and saved huge chunks of time filling out paperwork. That doesn't even take into account the advantages of having the last surgery (the bypass) requiring huge amount of effort to prove as 'necessary'.

Unfortunately, I can also see problems with 'if you just gain another 20 pounds, you'll qualify for the disability and then we can use the surgical solution' as a horrible abuse caused by labeling obesity as a disability. Not to mention the 'I can get Social Security Disability and not have to work if I just get heavy enough'. I have friends who are considering the bypass surgery as a replacement for changing lifestyles (I have a separate rant in my pocket about that), and can see them taking a ruling of disability as proof that that is the way to go.

So, in the end, no it didn't burn me up that it was being considered, but I do understand why the AMA did eventually returned the answer of 'No'. It's not that it may not in some cases be true, but that there's too much risk of abuse of the label, and many people can address their weight without the 'issue' being a 'disability'.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


The two free copies of Lose the Diet, selected using the nifty little app at Buzz My Blog will be going to:





Please email me at tisfan at gmail dot com in the next week with your personal information and I will get those in the mail for you to enjoy as soon as possible.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Expanding on 140 characters...

(If you haven't donated to my 3-Day walk and you want to, please take a few minutes to go here and make a donation in honor of yesterday's training walk. You could donate 1 cent for every 100 steps I took yesterday - ~50,0001 steps! - or $1 for every mile - 23.7 miles! )

# - I could get to like my new super ability. Auto alarm clock. Told myself, Self, we need to get up at 6am and look, I'm up! (dressed, too!)6:27 AM Aug 20th from web

The even nicer thing about my super power was that I didn't wake up 15 times in the middle of the night to check the time; a hazard when I try to set a body alarm clock. It was astonishingly dark when I woke up, but by the time I got dressed and ready to go, the sun was mostly up. The grass was still dewy and it was already in the low 80s. Yeah....

# - Prepping to head out for my 24 mile walk; if I leave by 7am, I should be able to get there and back by 5pm....6:32 AM Aug 20th from web

I'd frozen my water bottle as an experiment in keeping cold water with me. That didn't really work as well as I might have hoped. For the first thing, having a water bottle that cold built up a lot of condensation on the bottle, which then proceeded to drip down my leg, and secondly, by the time it got really warm, it had already melted completely. On several occasions during the day, I was drinking hot water.

I wasn't feeling the walk, so to speak, those first couple of miles. My back hurt a bit - not sure why - and I was a little cranky.

# - first rest stop... 2.5 miles... I am a bit sweaty already...7:40 AM Aug 20th from mobile web

I stopped in the park for 10 minutes, refilled my water bottle. My ice was more than half gone already, and the left half of my waist pack was soaked. I have decided I will not try to freeze my water bottle again. The park was completely empty. I've never seen it quite so dead before. Even when I brought Darcy and her little friend here last weekend at like 7:30, there were a few other people. Guess there aren't many people who get up at the crack of dawn on weekdays who aren't headed for work...

After the park, I stopped a half mile down the road at the 7-11 and bought a soda.

I used to think that caffiene no longer really has much affect on me. I've been so addicted to it for so long that I don't feel caffiene much. Except yesterday I did. Within about ten minutes of drinking my Coke Zero (absolutely my favorite soda these days!) I felt loads better. My back stopped bothering me, my low-grade headache cleared up and I felt much happier. Truly, caffiene is a wonderous substance.

[Note to self: go down to the Rite Aid and buy some of those caffiene strips and put them in your walking pack. They may come in handy later...]

# - second rest stop... hardee's at princess anne. note: take dif route back. farrel has no sidewalk. had to walk in median. no. fun.about 23 hours ago from mobile web

Here's where I made my first mistake of the day... When I hit the 5 mile marker and turned onto Indian River Road, I didn't check my directions. When Thomas and I are driving to the mall, we take Farrell Parkway... my googled directions took me down Indian River to meet up with Lynnhaven Parkway further down... Well, I made the mistake of going via Farrell. Which did NOT have sidewalks.

But I didn't know that for a bit... the sidewalk ended about 1/2 mile in. And for a while, there was a bike path on the side that was perfectly wide enough for one person to walk in it and be reasonably safe.

View Larger Map

However, at Pleasant Valley Road, the bike path ended. Kaput. And the bushes were very, very close to the side of the road. There was no way I could walk on the side of the road; no one would be able to see me, and I'd get squashed. Squashed didn't sound like a good way to go, really.

The google app for my phone, while fairly good at providing turn-by-turn directions, isn't too great for exploring alternative routes (what I should have done at this point was go up Pleasant Valley to Homestead, take Homestead to Providence, and Providence to Princess Anne.) but I didn't know that. The neighborhoods in our area are like vast spider-webs of roads that may or may not interconnect, come to maze-like dead ends, and are otherwise scary, even when you know where you're going. (For example, I have been going to my best friend's parent's house for 17 years and I only within the last 3 years or so, have been able to get there without a map!)

Instead, not really knowing how to get where I wanted to be from where I was, and not wanting to turn around, I did something beyond stupid. I crossed halfway and walked up the median.

(Now, I do want to say that I did the majority of my walking in Virginia Beach, and for the area, Virginia Beach has the BEST sidewalk system. But really!! This was absurd!)

The median is made up of mulch and trees and flowers. Mulch is unpleasant to walk in. It's not very firm, and while it fortunately hasn't rained tons recently (so I wasn't squelching) I was still sinking in with every step.

And then I got up to where Farrell blends in with Princess Anne. There's a little bridge that goes over the road, and then Princess Anne. Well, I couldn't go that way. The only space on the bridge that isn't taken up by traffic is a narrow K-rail (concrete highway divider. I call them K-rails because I like the movie Volcano with Tommy Lee Jones a lot more than I should, given that it's patently absurd.)

I stood in the median and pondered my options.... go back (fuck me! forget that!), attempt to walk on the K-rail (no, bad plan, do NOT do that, idiot!), or take the wrong exit to Princess Anne. That sounded like the best option... I mean, I'm on foot. It's not like I can't pick which direction to walk down the road no matter what side of the street I'm on.

So I got onto Princess Anne, walked about another half mile or so, and decided to stop and have something to eat. I went to the bathroom, and was a little concerned. As I had already had 40 ounces of water and a 20 ounce bottle of coke, I would have expected to pee just a little bit more. But I guess I was sweating enough to bypass the kidneys. My tank-top was absolutely drenched at this point. (Good thing that snotty woman from the grocery store on Monday wasn't around... she complained that I smelled after 6 miles... by the time I stopped at the Hardeez, I'd done 8...)

# - having a bit of protien... egg and sausage biscuit sans the biscuit. ug. butter flavored crap that thing...about 23 hours ago from mobile web

I got a sausage and egg biscuit, some orange juice, and had the lady refill my water bottle again. My tastebuds have changed a LOT in the last few years. I literally could not eat the biscuit. I took a bite and promptly spit it out. Gyah! what is IN that crap? It tasted like... lard and congealed flour. I used to love biscuits. My favorite meal from Hardeez was the biscuits with sausage gravy... anway, I peeled the bread off and ate egg and sausage with my fingers, which was still slightly greasier than I would have preferred.

# - i am 7 minutes ahead of schedule... waiting for CBiP to open so I can have lunch. hope it is soon... am out of waterabout 22 hours ago from mobile web

Lynnhaven parkway is under contruction. I ran into another spot where suddenly there just wasn't any sidewalk. Fortunately, the sidewalk on the other side of the road was still there. (It was listed as "closed" but I ignored that. For the most part, the sidewalk was intact... altho there was an annoying spot right by Holland where the traffic was horrid and the sidewalk was gone for a block... I ended up having to detour down Holland for about a quarter of a mile until Holland had a divider in the middle of the road so I could cross half the road at a time and not risk getting smoshed.

I did some calling around earlier this week to resturants in the area. I figured the worst they could tell me was no, and I thought I'd make a plea for a free lunch, and maybe some donations from local businesses. Cheeseburger in Paradise came through for me. I had lunch on the house (grilled shrimp salad with some little crunchies and an apple crisp for dessert) and talked about the walk with the manager. I also drank a lot while I was there. Two glasses of water (one mixed with a gaterade2 packet from my walking kit, a glass of milk, and most of a diet coke.

I also went to the bathroom twice. [Get out your passports, I'm going to TMI land for a minute...] I started menstrating on Tuesday, and I was concerned that Thursday was going to be my OMGKILLME day, but fortunately, it wasn't. On the other hand, I'm worried about one particular aspect of the 3-Day... that's the fact that I cannot seem to have a BM unless I am relaxed and seated for most of an hour. (When I weigh in, first thing in the morning, that's not exactly what I do... I get up and putter around the house, check emails and whatnot, until I've been awake for about an hour, go to the BATHROOM and then weigh in. On days that I don't, I always have at least a 1 pound "gain" that really isn't a gain... that's more information than you wanted, I'm sure, but it seems to be a side effect of my high fiber diet...) Despite a couple of attempts, I did NOT have a BM until after I got home. I'm a bit concerned about the effects that's going to have on me for 3 DAYS...

# - puttiny my life in googles hands to get home...about 21 hours ago from mobile web

Not wanting to walk back down the median on the way home, I fiddled with my phone's google app for at least 10 minutes before leaving.

View Larger Map

This is what it gave me.

# leslie_z @tisfan PA has sidewalks all the way up to Kepmsvile but I think that would make your walk a good bit longer about 21 hours ago from web in reply to tisfan

(PA, Princess Anne, would have added another 2 miles onto the route as planned, and one mile to the route as I walked it...)

I refilled my water bottle, changed my socks, and headed out. I was a little stiff after having sat down for about 45 minutes, but that faded off pretty quick. Within a mile, I was feeling ok. A little tired and pretty damn hot, but ok.

Round about Salem, I noticed that I'd accidentally shut off my pedometer. I'm not entirely sure when I did that, altho I'm guessing it wasn't off for very long. By the time I hit the 15 mile marker, I was checking my watch and step-count entirely too often. I think I might have clicked it when I went to answer a text message from @bwjen (here's my shout out to Jen, who texted me several times during the day, made me laugh and was encouraging and helpful) and then noticed less than a quarter mile later.

I stopped at a 7-11 and got another refill to my water bottle, doctored it with a gatorade packet, and on an impulse, bought one of those 5-hour energy drinks. Eurgh. What the hell is in those things? Nasty stuff.

My pedometer/watch/heartrate monitor is programmed to ping me when my heart rate gets into high range. Usually this only happens when I'm on the elliptical and deliberately trying to get my heart rate up. Since I didn't have my watch's booklet with me, I couldn't remember how to turn that alarm OFF. So I had to deal with my watch pinging me for ... well, quite a while. I turned my music up and attempted to ignore it.

I walked down Lynnhaven. And walked. And walked. And I was looking for a road called Dalrymple. And not finding it. And not finding it. And then I passed a huge sign that said "Lynnhaven Parkway ends, 7,000 feet!" (And in truth, if you look at the map, it does end shortly after Dalrymple. But I couldn't see the map on my phone very well and I was starting to get very nervous about being lost.) Also, the sidewalk vanished on me again a few times. Usually it popped up again on the other side of the road, but really, I was getting sick of crossing the road to continue to be safe while I walked.

Finally I came to a sign that said "To Kempsville Road". I know where Kempsville is. And I was getting nervous about Lynnhaven coming to a screeching halt. I wanted to finish my walk. I wanted to not wimp out. And I especially wanted to NOT have to call Thomas to come get me because I was lost.

# - thanks random guy who gave me a cold juice and directions... having a sitdown for a bit about 19 hours ago from mobile web

About halfway down Albright (that's the road I took, and looking at Google Maps today, I added about 3/4 of a mile to my trip by not following the directions I was given!) some random guy wearing an OBX t-shirt and blowing grass clippings around on his lawn, waved at me. I stopped. "If I go straight down this way," I pointed, "will I get to Kempsville?"

"Surely will," he said. "You look hot... would you like something to drink?"

Me: "Absolutely. Thank you..."

He went into his garage and brought out an Ocean Spray juice. "I have water, too, but it's not cold...."

"Thank you."

We talked for a bit, and he was very nice. He offered to let me come inside and sit in his air-conditioning for a bit, but at that point, I figured it would be a mistake. I was likely to not be able to get back up. I waved goodbye and headed down the road.

About half a mile later, I had to stop.

# - giving serious consideration to vomiting. god it is hot. about 18 hours ago from mobile web

I wasn't actually that serious about throwing up, but I was getting really tired, and the juice wasn't sitting entirely well on my stomach.

I've been sporting a persistant blister on the little toe of my right foot on and off for a few weeks. Usually it doesn't hurt, it just looks ugly. Knowing that I'm prone to this particular blister, I proactively treated it. I wrapped my toe in moleskin and changed that out when I checked my socks. I got 19 miles before it flared up on me and when it did, OMG OW. It was like stepping barefoot onto a lit match. I promptly sat down on the side of the road and peeled my shoes off. The moleskin had slipped a bit (I was pretty sweaty) and so I re-wrapped it and then sat for about 10 minutes or so (exchanging text messages with Jen, and also with my husband).

# mbroooks @tisfan Been a bit since an update. Everything going okay? about 18 hours ago from web

# - @mbroooks yeah... having a sit down near kempsville and albright. not sure exactly where I am... about 18 hours ago from mobile web

# glossaria @tisfan If you're going Kempsville down to Volvo and thence home, you've got about 3.5 mi left from where you are now. ^_^ about 18 hours ago from web

# mbroooks @tisfan Looks like you're about a mile away from Centerville, assuming you're going SW down Kempsville. about 18 hours ago from twhirl

When I got back up, my pace dropped. A lot. I'd been maintaining a pretty good pace of 3.4 - 3.7 mph and when I started walking again, I was down to about 2.7. Which really isn't bad, mind you, it's just slower than I'm used to walking. (and you know, the really annoying thing is, when Thomas and I walk together, if he's not slowing himself down to match me, I still end up feeling like someone's third harem wife, walking about 20 feet behind and slightly to the left of him... there's some disadvantages to being less than five and a half feet tall... and one of them is I have short little legs.)

I finally made it to Kempsville about a mile away from City View park.

# when i get home, i am rosa lee parksing my self on the sofa. "I ain't movin'."about 17 hours ago from mobile web

I got to the park and promptly collapsed onto a metal park bench. It was shady and a bit breezy where I was. I took off my waist pack - which was still wet, but this time I'm pretty sure it was sweat - and lay down on the bench. Keeping in mind this isn't a solid metal bench, but a steel mesh, it was astonishing how comfortable it was. Pop! Crack! Pow! My back snapped several times as I settled myself down and squinched around to keep my head from hanging off the side of the bench. The last pow sent a surge of endorphins into my system and I sighed happily.

I closed my eyes.

I don't think I fell all the way asleep, but I did drowse a bit. I got to the park around 3pm and I didn't get up to leave until like 3:26...

When I got up again, my blister wasn't bothering me as much, but my elbows and wrists felt really strange. The backs of my hands were swollen. These days, you can clearly see all the bones in the back of my hands. Not yesterday. I looked liked I'd never lost any weight at all, the backs of my hands were smooth and puffy, almost shiny. I felt like the one of the demon guys in Big Trouble in Little China.

In the vein of too-much information a little late, I got this email this morning from the 3-Day coaches:
Recent scientific research has underscored the benefit of remaining well hydrated before, during and following physical activity. Hyponatremia (low sodium) is a rare but serious condition that can cause weakness, cramps, swollen hands and feet, confusion, and even seizures. To decrease your risk of hyponatremia you must replace fluids lost through exercise and consume food with salt. Maintaining fluid balance takes a concerted effort on your part in modifying your drinking behavior throughout your training day. The goal for fluid intake during exercise should be to fully replace fluids and salt lost through sweating. The physiological and performance benefits of doing so are well documented.

The best way to estimate the amount of fluid you are losing through sweating is to weigh yourself before and after exercise. You should drink at least one pint (2 glasses or 16 ounces) of fluid for every pound of weight lost due to sweating. If you weigh more after your training session, you may have drank too much fluid. Another way to estimate your hydration status is to monitor your urine output in terms of frequency and color. If you are urinating a small amount of dark-colored urine, then you need to increase your fluid intake.

Rapid and complete rehydration following exercise requires the consumption of a volume of fluid and salt that is equal to that which was lost as sweat. The fluids that taste good and have some amount of salt in them tend to be consumed more rapidly. It has been shown that athletes who include a cold sports drink during their activity will drink more fluid. Eating foods that contain salt decreases your risk of over-diluting your fluids. Your fluid replacement needs may vary based on the weather conditions, terrain and your training level. Drinking when you are thirsty is the scientifically supported method to use which takes this into account. However, for participants who may find it easier, here are some fluid replacement guidelines to follow under normal conditions:

Pre-training walk/Pre-event:

  • Drink an extra 8 glasses (64 ounces or 2 quarts) of fluid during the 24 hours before a long training walk or the event.
  • Drink 2 glasses (16 ounces or 1 pint) of fluid 2 hours before exercise. This will allow time to excrete the excess fluid prior to walking.
  • Remember, in hot or humid weather you may need to drink more fluids.
  • If you are walking at a slower pace, you may not need to drink as much.

During your walk: Monitor your fluid intake. Drink when thirsty. Your urine should be dilute and you should be urinating frequently. Try to consume 4-5 ounces of fluid per mile (1-2 standard water bottles per hour). This should include water and sports drink.

Post-Walk: Drink a combination of water and sports drink and consume food with some salt after exercising longer than 1 hour.

Well, at least I know better now. And it never got worse than the swollen hands. But blah. Guess I didn't eat enough yesterday (Big Mistake #2). I really wasn't hungry is part of the problem. Usually on these walks, I eat a few times... breakfast on the road, a snack, lunch, a snack. And that's for 12 mile walks. I did almost double that yesterday and only ate breakfast and lunch. And honestly, if my lunch salad had more than 300 calories in it, I'd be surprised. Shrimp is pretty low cal, and I didn't eat the dressing.

# 50,001 steps to lynnhaven mall and then back to my front door. That's a nice number, don't you think? about 16 hours ago from web

I noticed that I was very close to 50,000 steps just after I got back onto my home street. I think if I'd still been under 50,000 when I got to the door that I'd have had to walk a bit more, since that's such a nice big round number.

I fell into my computer chair and the first thing I did was checked Twitter and my email. I am such a geek.

# Footdr69 ROTFL!!! YOU'RE PRICELESS!! RT @tisfan: when i get home, i am rosa lee parksing my self on the sofa. "I ain't movin'."

# @Footdr69 oh, I can put a price on me, baby... wanna make a donation to my sorry sad tired butt today? :D about 16 hours ago from web in reply to Footdr69

@ KyraTX @tisfan We all bow before you. ;) It's amazing that you're doing this in this heat.about 18 hours ago from web in reply to tisfan

# @KyraTX yeah, it was HOT today... but looking at it this way... walking on October will be cake, by comparison. BIG CHOCOLATE CAKE! about 16 hours ago from web in reply to KyraTX

# hanlie @tisfan How are you doing out there? I'm thinking of you...about 19 hours ago from TweetDeck in reply to tisfan

# @hanlie thanks sugar. as soon as I can pry my butt out of this chair, I need to drink more. I am all swelled up >.<

# kikimonster327 @tisfan Sounds like where I live... why on earth are there streets with no sidewalks?

# dragoneyes @tisfan Good luck on your walk today! :-) 6:44 AM Aug 20th from Twitterrific in reply to tisfan

# MizFitOnline @tisfan good luck. stay focused and you'll be great! xo xo,6:37 AM Aug 20th from mobile web

# As a note: I will absolutely NEVER buy and consume another energy drink again. Ever. OMG my heart rate is STILL over 120.about 14 hours ago from web

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Guest Post - Ideal

Hey y'all, just a note from your full-time, snarky blog writer here. I'd like you to give a big hello to my best friend. We've known each other for... oh, about 18 years now... pretty scary sometimes. Some friendships are fleeting, some endure. Ours has been through fire and back; tempered over the years and the mileage. I don't even think I could begin to explain how much this one particular friendship means to me... aside from my husband (and honestly, she's got seniority on him!) this is the most important person in my life. So please, give her your undivided attention (as you'll see, enough in her life is already divided!)

I have no idea how you do it.

Lynn says this to me, from time to time, and when she does, I always feel the same way about it: Half of me is flattered -- pleased that someone I love and admire so much has noticed the incredible juggling act that is my life (work and a child with diabetes and another child in that constant-supervision-required stage of toddlerhood and dieting and exercising regularly and maintaining a semblance of a social life and multiple hobbies and...) and is impressed enough to comment on it. The other half of me is comprised of an exhaustion-fogged panic that she might ask how I do it, when I myself sometimes have not the foggiest notion.

Some days -- by which I mean most days -- I feel like a Japanese subway attendant, pulling on my neat white gloves and pushing as hard as I can to cram just one more thing into the day before it disappears down the tubes. But not doing it is not an option. As Lynn put it, I just put on my big girl panties and get on with it.

I do it one day -- sometimes one minute -- at a time.

I have no idea how you do it.

From time to time, I've heard this from people at work. None of them ask me how I do it, though, or I might tell them: I sacrifice.

I've sacrificed a lot of my precious "me" time, and some of my husband's time, as well. I get home from work an hour and a half later than I used to, so I have no more than five minutes to relax and make the transition from "working" to "housework" because there's only half an hour between when I get home and when dinner needs to be on the table if the kids are going to get to bed on time. I sacrificed playing World of Warcraft entirely when I realized that having to choose once a week (on average) between the game and the gym was making me resent the gym, and I'd rather not play the game at all than risk it interfering with the best thing I've done for my health in the past twenty years.

(I may also have sacrificed bits of my sanity. I cried myself to sleep, the night I cancelled my WoW subscription. And I actually wound up in therapy when I realized that my determination to find a schedule that included everything I wanted had gone terrifyingly far down the path to true obsessive-compulsive behavior.)

I have no idea how you do it.

My husband doesn't say this to me, because he already knows how I do it. He's watching me do it, and picking up the slack whenever I need him to. He's taking care of the kids when I need to go to the gym in the evening. He's not keeping junk food in the house. He's not complaining when I've had a bigger-than-planned lunch and halve our dinner portions without warning. He's taking on more than his fair share of keeping the kids on their schedules so I can keep all these commitments to mine. He knows, because while I'm putting on my big girl panties, he's manning up to do whatever it takes to help me.

However it is that I do it... I couldn't do it without him.

It's a common question, in dieting/exercise circles. How do you do it? Everyone wants to believe that they'll eventually find the answer that lets them flip the switch in their own brain that makes eating right and exercising easy. But it doesn't work like that. I don't do it because I acquired some Zen wisdom that makes me want to go to the gym, or because I uncovered a secret Tibetian technique for making undressed salad taste like chocolate brownies. I do it because at some point, I re-evaluated the priorities in my life, and entirely to my own surprise, correcting my health had filtered up toward the top of the list. I simply reached a point in my life where this was what I had to do.

Will it last? I don't know.

I do know that I'm more than 75 pounds lighter than I was last year at this time. I do know that I'm thinner now than I've been at any point in my life since before I started dating my husband. I do know that I can do things I haven't been able to do in years, and that I'm beginning to find ways to get a little of that sacrificed "me time" back.

I do know that I can do this, now.

About that, I've got a pretty good idea.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In Another's Eyes

First off, there's still time to enter and win one of two copies of Lose the Diet by Kathy Balland. Please go here and leave a comment, twitter about this contest, link to it on your blog, whatever! Contest will be open until Friday!!

Well, we all know I have Issues.

I don't see myself as I am, and I certainly don't see myself as other people see me.

We also know that I'm a little too cynical to think the I'm ok, you're ok theory of self-esteem improvement actually works, most of the time. You can tell yourself you are lovable and capable as much as you want (or are forced to!) and it doesn't really help all that much. The best way, I've found, to gain self-esteem is to do those things that you think are worthy.

Sit down, look at those things you find admirable in other people. I'm not necessarily talking about Michael Jordan (don't we all wanna be like Mike?) but about the people in your life that you look up to and admire. Because we can't all be basketball players. (Even if Sulu would like that if we were...)

What are the people you admire like? Are they intelligent, witty, or generous? Be careful, while you examine these people: do you actually admire them, or are you jealous? Make a list of the things you admire in the people you've chosen... honest? Or tactful? Kind-hearted?

Now, sit down with your list of traits you find admirable. I admire people who are even-tempered, good with children, generous, determined, and mostly cheerful, with a good dash of sarcastic.

Here are the items you can work on; I admire people who are even-tempered. I... well, let's just say I won't win any awards for being calm in the face of aggravation.

But I can work on it! It's not possible, perhaps, to be perfect, but we can always, always find ways of improving. I'm learning - slowly, and with a great many set-backs - to calm down. To take a few deep breaths. To ask myself if this really matters in the grand scheme of things.

I admire people who go out of their way to make other people's lives better. I may not be wealthy, but I can give to charity. I'm an organ donor. I give blood regularly. I'm doing a 60-mile, 3-day walk in October to raise money for breast cancer awareness, screenings, research, and hopefully one day to find a cure. My daughter and I take trash bags out with us to the playground about once every 3 months and clean trash up in our neighborhood. I donate my gently used clothing and household items to the Salvation Army. I click here. And here. And here. And here. Every day.

Sometimes it helps to see yourself through someone else's eyes. It's not always easy; there's sometimes the nagging suspicion that someone is telling you what you want to hear... but when you get an honest opinion - or sometimes for me, it's even just seeing a list of my accomplishments; what does it look like to someone else...

Here's what some friends had to say about me recently... and the thing is... nothing here isn't true. It's just... wow, when you put it all together like that, maybe I am, actually, pretty damn nifty...

One of my best friends, Jeanne, sent this email out to her family and friends (who are not also my family and friends, since we do have a load of friends in common) and bcc'd me on it...

My best friend will be participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure in Washington, DC in October.

That's a 60 mile walk for someone who was a half-a-pack-a-day smoker 12 years ago (until she quit cold turkey). Who was told after her ankle was shattered in a car wreck 8 years ago that she'd never walk again without a cane (today, she can step-run like Rocky Balboa). Who was in the "high-risk pregnancy" category 5 years ago because of weight-related complications and asthma (which she has since controlled). Who was borderline diabetic 2 years ago because of her weight (she joined Weight Watchers in Jan. 2008 and has lost over 80 pounds to date; her husband, who joined to support her, has lost over 90).

She has a beautiful 5-year-old daughter, and a close family history of breast cancer-- both her aunt and her grandmother were survivors. Her mother's breast cancer diagnosis in late 2007 was her personal wake-up call to improve her life and her health, for her own good and that of her family. Now she's done it, and in October, she means to give back in her mother's honor. She's up to walking 18 miles on the weekend, and she's working out extensively during the week to prep for the Walk.

Unfortunately, unlike a standard walk-a-thon where you simply raise as much as you can, the Susan G. Komen Foundation sets a minimum fundraising goal of $2300 that you must meet in order to be allowed to walk in the 3-Day (any donations short of the goal will still be accepted). She is only about halfway to her goal. She's an amazing person, it's a great cause, and she really, really wants to be able to walk.

Please help.


It does sound sort of impressive, doesn't it? When you lump it all together like that. I tend to see things all microscopic. I have problems - doesn't everyone? - but my problems are like a bunch of tiny rocks. If I hold them in my hand and put them out at arm's length, they look fairly minor. But I don't. I bring them up close to my face and study them. I know them intimately. Try it. Take a small rock, less than an inch across, and hold it up as close to your eye as you can (and still be able to focus on the rock! Don't poke your eye out!) Now, you can see the rock really well, right? But the problem here is that you can't see much aside from the rock. The rest of your life is blurry, out of focus, and blocked off because you're looking too closely at a stupid, little rock.

One of the people I admire (and, I confess, am somewhat jealous of) had this to say to me recently:
I chuckle every time I think what the "college Lynn" would say if she saw you now. It is silly to say that you make me proud as I have nothing to do with any of the things you have done. Yet your hard work has inspired me to work on making things better for me. Good luck on your walk!
How nifty is that? Someone that I admire is admiring me right back... interesting.

I may not be where I want to be, and I may not yet be who I want to be. Neither am I who I was, and neither am I incapable of change.

Perfection and true happiness may be unattainable (and I reserve the right to doubt) but we can always improve, we can always become better, and we can always be happier.

I think these are things worth striving for.

And I think, sometimes, I need to sit down and look over just how far I've come.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Book Review - Lose the Diet

Lose the Diet; Transform your body by connecting with your soul - Kathy Balland

Hello everyone – I am so happy that the Hungry Little Caterpillar is included in my virtual book tour, and to share my book with you called Lose the Diet – Transform your body by connecting with your soul. Thanks so much Lynn for having me here.

The caterpillar is such a great symbol. What is so fantastic about the caterpillar is that it represents our amazing ability to transform ourselves. Not that we (and the caterpillar) are not already beautiful beings, but my point is that each one of you already has the power within yourself to achieve your hopes and dreams. All it takes is the belief in yourself, some determination and a few tools to help you get there. My book Lose the Diet explains that, and gives you the help you need to achieve your goals.

In Lose the Diet I tell the story of the two caterpillars that were walking along one day when they looked up into the sky and saw a beautiful butterfly. Then one caterpillar looked at the other and said “you’re not getting me up in one of those things!” But the caterpillar did not realize that she was already a butterfly, just waiting to transform. And so it is for you.

The moral of the story is: See the butterfly within yourself. Tap into your ability to achieve your dreams, because the answer to your success is in only one place: You!

Kathy Balland is the author of: Lose the Diet – Transform your body by connection with your soul. For a FREE half hour guided meditation audio to help you relax and reconnect, sign up at: The book trailer is: Follow Kathy on Twitter at:

Diet has gotten a bad rap, recently. (Or, at least, the word has...)

"Diets don't work!" "97% of all diets fail!"

Obesity is all over the news, the grocery stores are filled with 100-calorie snacks. And yet, we're all getting fatter. What gives?

Lose the Diet is a book about giving up the "diet mentality" and learning how to eat to live, not live to eat.

Kathy Balland is a wellness coach and expert in the mind-body-soul connection in the areas of weight and stress management. Clinically certified in hypnotherapy, her work with clients in addition to her own weight management has provided deep insights into the real causes and their remedies that finally released her and so many others from the weight war, once and for all.

Now, I'm lucky in that - aside from having gestational diabetes and having to eat 1,800 calories while pregnant! - I've never really done the dieting roller coaster. Once in college, I did a low-fat "diet" for a while, lost maybe 30 pounds and then broke up with my long term boyfriend, went to Not Eating for a while when depressed and then got back into my old habits... but I never did the year-in, year-out binging, dieting, South-Beach, Atkins, pills, powders, special machines (in just 6 minutes a day!) that I know a lot of people (women!) have. I've never tried to lose 10 pounds for a single event. Never done a wrap, never taken dieting supplements ($45 for a 30-day supply? Thanks, no... ), never drank slim fast shakes instead of eating, etc. (For example, my wedding dress was a size 24 and I did not attempt at all to shove myself into a 20.) Unfortunately, I do know a lot of people who have been there, done that, joined the club, and they have jackets.

The Diet mentality, the "I have to lost 30 pounds and I have to lose it right now, and I don't care how it comes off" begins a pretty nasty cycle of starving, losing, binging, gaining back more than you lost... until eventually you can "diet" your way up to morbidly obese. Even Weight Watchers, which I continue to heartily endorse (I only wish they were paying me!), has some diet mentality still attached to it. Low fat, low sugar, pre-packaged snacks... which have the nutritional equivalent of a chunk of road tar... (and some of them taste like it, too...) are heavily pushed. And because Weight Watchers continues to stress that "you can eat anything you want" some people are prone (myself included) to 2-point snacking themselves out of weight loss...

Balland has - while not a new approach to eating - a more "entire life" change. The information she gives out (And if I could change only one thing about this book it would be that Balland does not cite her references. Even if I probably wouldn't go look up her source material, I prefer having the option to do so.) is simple. Eat whole foods, prepared at home, as often as possible. Get plenty of fluids. Sleep. Relax. Exercise. De-stress. Figure out what emotional baggage you have that may be causing you to eat too much. And like all simple things, can be very hard to actually DO.

My personal favorite bit of the book are the 10 commandments for stress reduction; something I personally need to work on.

VII. Thou shalt relax and do nothing regularly.

VIII. Thou shalt not even feel guilty about doing nothing, or saying no.
Yeah... I need to work on that.

I did find that, after twenty-some months of research, losing weight, and reading blogs, I knew most of the information Balland provides. While I still have areas that I need to work on, I think this book is more suited to either the beginner or someone who has been yo-yo dieting without making much progress in changing their life. I somewhat considered it a refresher course on things I already know (and should be doing!).

I've changed my life, and while my soul and I might not entirely be on speaking terms... we'll get there.

And now, for you! If you're interested in this book, I have two signed copies to give away.

Hit me up in the comments between now and August 21st for a chance to win: retweet me (follow @tisfan on Twitter!), or post a link to this entry on your blog (and then comment that you did so, because I am technologically idiotic sometimes and don't always know if you linked me in your blog! Der!) or add yourself as a follower of this blog (if you are already a follower and you want an extra entry, just note that in your comments that you already follow my blog!) for extra entries. Two people will be selected out of a hat (or some other completely random way to be determined later) and I will ship to my overseas readers (do I have any?)