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?)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Guest Post - Your Body's Design

I'd like to take a minute to introduce you to one of my followers who's been with me since the beginning. The lovely and talented Hanlie, who follows a very interesting food plan (or, forgive me for saying it, but she's on an unusual diet...) Many of us cut portion sizes, count calories, or switch over to some low-fat, low sugar version of our normal crap intake. Whilst I can't quite see myself going her route, it's fascinating to read about! I greatly admire Hanlie and her determination. I hope you enjoy her views as much as I do... without further ado, I give you... Hanlie.

PS - I personally adore the fact that she has citations. I love citations.

Thank you Lynn for asking me to do a guest post!

This is NOT a post about giving up meat, but about returning to the food your body was designed to eat.

I follow and advocate eating a whole-food, plant-based diet. In other words, what you do eat is just as important as what you don’t eat. I eat mostly fruit and vegetables, and much smaller amounts of legumes (beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils), whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, millet, oats, etc.), nuts and healthy fats. Once or twice a week, usually when we’re eating out at other people’s houses or at restaurants, we may have something of animal origin. We’re not fanatics!

“Plant-based” means eating lots and lots of plants and very little animal products. I will never tell anyone to give up meat, and I haven’t given it up completely myself, but I do believe, based on reams and reams of independent, peer-reviewed research, that eating meat is a health compromise.

You don’t even have to be scientist to figure that out for yourself. You just have to look beyond the advertising and the cultural indoctrination and examine your own body to realize that you were not designed (or evolved) to eat animal flesh, especially not in the quantities that we’ve been led to believe we should consume.

Can you move your jaw from side to side? What about backwards and forwards? Sure you can.

Congratulations, you are a natural herbivore or plant-eater!

What’s that? Oh, you thought you were an omnivore? Sorry, that’s just another popular myth. Physiologically humans are actually not classified as omnivores, since omnivores (bears, raccoons, etc) more closely resemble carnivores, while we humans resemble herbivores.

Here are a few more reasons why animal flesh is not suitable for human consumption.

  • Carnivores and omnivores do not have any digestive enzymes in their saliva. Humans and herbivores secrete carbohydrate digesting enzymes in the mouth, which is why our jaws have such a wide range of motion - we have to chew our food well to mix the food with the saliva and start the digestive process.
  • Meat can only be digested in a very acidic environment, which is why the stomachs of carnivores and omnivores have a pH of 1 or less when there is food present. Herbivores and humans have a pH of 4-5, which means that we struggle to digest flesh.
  • The small intestines of humans and herbivores are long – between 10 and 12 times the length of the body, while carnivores and omnivores have short intestines – 3 to 6 times the length of the body.
  • The colons (large intestine or bowel) of carnivores and omnivores are short and smooth and serve only to absorb salt and water, while humans and herbivores have long, highly specialized colons, often full of sacs, nooks and crannies where vitamins are produced and absorbed, water and electrolytes absorbed, and fibrous plant-materials fermented.
  • The livers of carnivores and omnivores can detoxify vitamin A, while those of herbivores and humans can’t.
  • The urine of carnivores and omnivores is much more concentrated than ours, and that of other plan-eaters.

These are just some of the scientific differences that make meat-eating problematic for humans. It is thought that herbivores, and by definition humans, are further evolved than meat-eaters, since our bodies are more sophisticated and complicated.

Our hands are beautiful and flexible, made to pick fruit from trees and pull vegetables from the ground, not to bring down prey. We don’t have the speed for it anyway! Our mouth openings are small, because we are meant to eat small morsels and chew them well. Our teeth are not suited to tearing raw flesh from bone, but rather to bite, chew and grind our food.

We are not even psychologically equipped to eat meat. Have you ever watched a kitten or a puppy stalking things and pouncing on their “prey”? The hunting instinct is so imprinted that even thousands of years of domestication has not eradicated it. Human children don’t do that. To quote Harvey Diamond, “Place a small child in a crib with a rabbit and an apple. If the child eats the rabbit and plays with the apple, I’ll buy you a new car.

When you’re out walking in nature and you spot a squirrel, your first thought is not to tear it apart and devour it. We find all baby animals cute and our instincts are to protect them, not harm them.

Yes, our brains have evolved to the point where we can fashion weapons and tools, hunt in groups, cook our meat, confine and keep animals, etc., but the truth is that our bodies have not evolved to tolerate the eating of animal flesh. Just because we don’t get sick or die right away when we do it doesn’t mean that we don’t pay the price in the long run. People who smoke cigarettes also don’t pay the price right away. The problem with meat-eating, as with smoking, is that prolonged strain on the body causes degeneration, which is the collective term for most of the health problems we face these days.

Medical research is telling us that people who eat little (less than 5% of calories) or no animal products not only have far less heart disease than the rest of the population, but also have much lower rates of cancer, hypertension, diabetes, gallbladder disease, kidney disease, obesity and colon disease. They live on average six to ten years longer than the rest of the population, and in fact seem to be healthier by every measurement we have of assessing health outcomes.

Add plenty of raw fruit and vegetables to a low, or non-existent, consumption of meat and you can virtually disease-proof yourself and your family. And your waist line will return to normal.

When it comes to food, habit is stupendously powerful, so don’t expect to change the habits of a lifetime overnight. The following books can help you (and your family) to make a gradual transition to a healthier life:

  • Eat for Health” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman (this is more gradual and less restrictive than his “Eat to Live” program and includes loads of healthy recipes)
  • Perfect Health: The Natural Way” by Mary-Ann Shearer (the program we follow)

You will immediately notice an increase in your energy levels (it’s no coincidence that carnivores spend most of their time sleeping!). Before long you will feel better, “lighter”, healthier and mentally sharper, yet more peaceful, than you ever have before.

Additional reading:

  • The Food Revolution” by John Robbins
  • The China Study” by Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell
  • The Comparative Anatomy of Eating (

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

When We Last Left Our Intrepid Heroine...


Is not very exciting.

Except that it sort of is.

Except when it's not.

Yeah, I'm all over the map recently.

Let me start over again.

Maintenance... uR Doin it... Pretty wel akshuly.

I weighed in this week exactly the same as last week. (Despite my Wii Fit telling me I'd lost 6 pounds, gained 3 pounds back in one day, and according to it, I am 2 pounds down from where I was last week, but you know, I begin to think it's doing unspeakable things with my DVD player in its spare time...)

Also, because I hadn't decided until after the meeting and my quick chat with Beth, that I was declaring goal, I hadn't announced it at last week's meeting.

So I did that this week.

I brought in my obligatory Before picture and my fat pants. (No, I didn't stand in half the pants to show them off...)

I was quite astonished at people's reaction. My weight watcher's group, you must understand, has a LOT of regulars. I've known about half these people for at least a year (even if I don't remember all their names) and at least 5 of them for the entire 20 months that I've been at WW. So, I was a little floored at the gasps when i held up the 8x11 picture. (Were they horrified gasps? I'm hoping they were "wow, I'm impressed" gasps. But really, that before picture scares me, so they might be horrified. Except I'd hate to think that I horrified anyone except myself.)

I also apparently sold someone a few months of weight watcher's last night. She was on her way out the door - had come in for some information and decided that she'd "think it over" - and Beth shoved me in her direction. "Quick! Quick! Go show this to her," she hissed at me just after I weighed in.

The woman stopped. Goggled. Looked at me. Looked at the picture. Looked at me.

"Incredible." She said. Then she proceeded to grill me. How many points did I eat a day, how long did it take me, was I happy... fortunately she did NOT ask me about my exercise, as that might have frightened her off. As it was, she ended up staying for the meeting, asking loads of questions, and as we were leaving, she was signing up for the monthly pass.

Stay tuned this week, I have some exciting stuff in the works for you, including a guest post from the lovely and intelligent Hanlie of Fertile Healthy, and a book review and contest!

Check back in next week as our intrepid heroine (not to be mistaken for intrepid heroin!) tackles another big obstacle! Sleepover party for 6 yr olds... scary!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Guest Post: - Less To Lose

Hey everyone, your friendly neighborhood Spider Man here... oh, wait, wrong script... anyway, I just want to let you know that I have a lot stored up for August including some guest posts (If you'd like to write a guest post on a weight loss/exercise/lifestyle topic that you want to share with my readers, I'm happy to discuss it with you. Hit me up in an email - tisfan at and we'll see what we can do for each other. I have a few open slots remaining!) Also coming up in August, I have a book review and some giveaways.

Right now I'd like everyone to say hello to my friend Leigh and - ok, I won't call her my "inspiration" because that would be rude of me, after going on my multiple rants about "inspirations" and honestly, she wasn't - but she was my go-to girl when I was researching what would be a possible weight-loss program. I've talked about her quite a bit, and I hope you enjoy what she's got to say. I know I have, and I want to take a minute to say thank you to her for all her help, support, suggestions, commiserations and otherwise being as good a friend as I could possibly ask for... and without further ado, I give you Leigh's guest post.
For most of my life, I've been the "skinny girl". Growing up, I could eat pretty much whatever I wanted. Granted I was taking 2-4 dance classes a week, so that helped. But my weight was never really something I thought about. When I went to college things stayed mostly the same. I didn't have the "freshman 15" issue that many college students have. Actually, I briefly thought I was seriously ill because I'd lost 6 pounds, until I realized I was spending several hours a week riding a trotting horse (which for those who don't know is pretty close to spending several hours a week doing squats... while balancing on two straps... attached to a large quadraped).

And then I graduated. I got a fabulous job as a software developer. Instead of riding horses and sprinting between classes, I was riding an office chair and occasionally walking down the hall to the snack machine. And since posteriors are like goldfish, the pounds soon followed.

Two years out of college, I realized I'd gained almost 20 pounds since graduating. Some may be tempted to prefix that number with "only", but after sitting at a steady 121 pounds through most of high school and four years of college it was an alarming trend. One that I wanted to stop sooner rather than later.

I settled on Weight Watchers as a potential solution. A friend of mine had been a Weight Watchers member in the past, so I knew a little about it, and it sounded like a good program. But I was concerned. Would I be the "skinny girl" that looked silly coming into the meetings? My friend assured me there were a variety of shapes and sizes at the meetings, so we joined together (yay buddy system!)

At the first meeting, my starting weight was 132.5 pounds. I got all the materials, and jumped into the whole process of tracking foods and calculating Points for things. I hunted down the mathematical formula for Points online and learned to approximate things while grocery shopping so I didn't have to stand in Farm Fresh with my slide rule in hand - though I did write the calculated-out Points per serving on almost everything as soon as I got it home. I made a game out of finding 0-Point and 1-Point foods. I didn't always follow the plan perfectly, but I did follow it.

And I lost weight. In little bits. Half a pound there, a pound here. I had weeks where I maintained (aka didn't lose any), and I had weeks where I got the ever-so-sympathetic "Oh, you're up by 0.2 pounds. Well that's not bad! Are there any questions I can answer for you?" (Well, no, probably not. Not unless you can tell me why I opted to eat that second slice of cake the other day. But I think my therapist is more qualified there.)

After some period of time, and I honestly can't remember how long at this point, I was down to 121.6 pounds. So very close to the 121 I remembered as being "my weight". And the next week, I came to the meeting and stepped on the scale and... maintained. Disappointed, I talked to my meeting leader, and decided to set my official Goal Weight at 122 pounds instead of 121. Still feels a little bit like I cheated, but there you have it.

Those of you who are Weight Watchers members know what comes next. After maintaining my goal weight for 6 weeks, it was time to become a Lifetime Member. Woo! I went into the meeting that week feeling pretty good. When the time came for Celebrations, I was happy to stand up and talk about what got me there (tracking, finding 1-Point foods, portion control) and so forth. And then the leader asked me to share how much weight I'd lost total.

"17 pounds."


The snort came from a woman behind me who quite clearly had more than 17 pounds to lose and quite clearly thought that having made Lifetime after losing "only" 17 pounds was scoff-worthy. I could practically feel the eyeroll she directed at her friend beside her. I deflated. Collected my little gold key from the meeting leader and slouched back into my seat.

If you've ever tried to lose weight, especially to lose weight in a safe and healthy way, you know it takes work and dedication. That's true for the first pound, the last pound, and each one in between. So why was my 17 pounds lost less important or impressive than the 17 pounds anyone else has lost? Just because I only did it once?

Kudos to anyone who's ever needed to lose 17 pounds and done it in a safe and healthy manner. Heck, kudos if it was 5 pounds. Kudos again if you've done it more than once, and kudos a third time if you've changed your habits and kept the weight off.

I've done all of the above. Lost, maintained. Gained (needed to start exercising), lost again. Maintained for several years, got older, gained a little, readjusted my goal weight (yes, it's allowed), maintained some more. Life happened (huge relationship break up, moved twice within a year, bought a house, got laid off, got new job... ack!), gained more than I'd lost the first time (depression and unemployment will do that). Got life back under control, maintained for a year. And then finally at the beginning of 2009, jumped back on plan and lost the 15 pounds to get me back down to my goal weight (now 125 pounds).

We'll see where life takes me from here. The comforting thing is the knowledge that I can do it. I know how to eat the right foods in the right portions to maintain a healthy weight. And if life happens and throws me off track for a little while, I know how to eat the right foods in the right portions to get back to where I need to be. To be a happy and healthy me.

For most of my life, I've been the "skinny girl". The most common reaction I get when I tell someone that I'm a Weight Watchers member is "Why? You don't need to lose weight." I just offer the person a knowing smile and say "Exactly."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

That's It, I QUIT

Before you panic, or send out the Intervention Police.... relax.

I'm just quitting in the attempt to lose more weight to see a goal number that I'm not going to reach.

I'm well within my band (Weight Watchers pegs me at an ideal weight of 113 at the lowest to 141 at the highest, so 134 is towards the top end of the middle) and have been for quite some time. I hit 140 pounds in the end of April, which put me at "normal" weight on the (oh so infallible...) BMI scale.

Ok, so when I started this journey, I wanted to around 93-94 pounds. I've lost 85 and a half.

I'm at a normal weight BMI (and since I'm NOT a hyper athlete and do NOT have dense bone structure, I'm going to go with BMI as a rating since I don't know a better way to do it, since at 5'3", I don't want to weigh what COSMO thinks I should, which is like 90 pounds for your first five feet and 5 pounds for each inch after that, which would have me at 105, and that is just too damn skinny for me, thankyouverymuch.) for my height. Something like 23.6. (The Wii Fit tells me that people with a BMI of 22 are the most healthy, but ya know, the Wii Fit can insert some unpleasant things into its battery compartment.)

I'm certainly physically fit. I can do 100 pushups, 200 squats, bench press 75 pounds, do 190 situps, walk 18 miles, run 1 mile, go for over an hour on the elliptical at a pace of 144 strides per minute, do two assisted pullups (my friends from New Jersey keep insisting I try it whenever we're at the gym at the same time, and they help... I wonder sometimes if it's because Paul likes to put his hands on my legs... ah well, whatever, it's kinda fun anyway...)

I'm in a size 6 (or a 4, depending on the cut of the clothes.) When I started this and "mathed it out", I was prediciting I'd be in a size 8 when I reached goal. I don't mind being a size 6. My shirts are mediums and smalls. My dresses are mediums. I look good in my clothes. I'm wearing high heels for the first time... well, ever, really. My shoes are a size 6.5.

What more do I want out of this whole weight loss journey?

The things I want; to feel good about my body, to have a flat stomach, and to not slouch over like my grandmother (and father), are not things that I'm going to achieve by getting to some idealized waist size, or scale number. Those are things I'm going to get by toning, practice, and well, just stopping being such a self-hating pain in the ass.

Also, I'm stuck.

On June 15th, I weighed in at 134 (with a huge, five pound drop...). Yesterday? 133.4. That's right. In the last eight weeks, I have lost... a whole, whopping .6 pounds. I go up, I go down. I lose a pound, I gain a pound and a half. I lose half a pound, I gain .4. I'm tired and annoyed and frustrated. I'm tired of hating myself for every little splurge and bite of food that I eat.

(And it's NOT like I'm splurging on a bag of chips every day... this week's treats were; 7 fried cheese sticks, a piece of pita bread, half a pint of hot and sour soup, and 3 mushu pork rolls... That's. IT. On top of that, I gave blood, so I should have LOST a pound this week... I mean, really, they took a pound of fluid out of me, I should have lost weight... and I didn't.)


I was joking with my weight loss leader last night... the rules for getting to Lifetime is declaring goal and then going 6 weeks and being with 2 pounds below or above your goal weight. (Which means in the next six weeks, I need to weigh between 132 and 136 pounds) So, my joke was that after having been 8 weeks at almost exactly the same weight, declaring maintenance would cause me to unexpectedly drop 5 pounds and I'd have to start over.

This... would not bother me one bit.

I am healthier. And while I know, I know, I know... this journey is about health, not about my shorts size or some imaginary number on the scale, I do feel slightly stung about giving up, nine pounds away from my goal.

And yet, it's time to get the hell over myself.

I have achieved what I set out to achieve. I am healthier. I am at a lower risk for breast cancer, diabetes, and other health complications. My asthma is well under control. I am in a normal weight category.

I am done.

At least with this stage....

Next station; Maintenance.