Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The streak is alive

I mentioned earlier that I had not been out to eat for almost a week. The streak is still (kind of) alive. It has now officially been more than a week. I bet that it has been probably since I was in college that I have not been out to eat in a week.

I do consider it a minor infraction that I had popcorn at the movie on Sunday. Paying $7 for a soft drink and popcorn is ridiculous so it probably should be considered eating out. I do not consider it though, but perhaps that is just a technicality.

Anyway decided to come home and make shrimp fajitas. Honestly, I think the kind I make are awesome and I hate having to pay at On the Border for every little extra (e.g., want guacamole? SURE! That'll be $0.99. Sour cream? $0.99. They even charge me for cheese with the meal I get! WTF??) so eating at home was the right thing.

About the popcorn at the movie -- it wasn't even that good. I was hungry because I didn't eat lunch so I needed something to eat. However, I should have been wiser and eaten a small lunch and/or brought a healthy snack with me. I know how many calories are in movie theatre popcorn as well as how expensive it is, and it totally is not worth it especially since it tasted nowhere near as good as it was in my mind!

Potatoes, revisited

Yesterday I went to the gym and then came home and ate lunch. I had a cottage cheese patty (it sounds disgusting but is actually really delicious), cucumber/tomato/onion salad and an orange.

Just a little bit later I was craving a ham sandwich and chips and dip. Usually, I just try to will myself through cravings and am pretty successful since I rarely keep trigger foods around the house. (Believe it or not, I rarely crave, say, apples or brocolli -- usually just stuff that is fatty or sugary...). Yesterday's craving was so strong and lasted so long, I almost decided to actually give in and go to the store and get chips and dip. However, I decided to go the mashed potato route -- in part because I figured it was better for me than chips and dip, and in part because the lazy part of me didn't want to go to the store. Also recall, I didn't have any (delicious) potatoes for Christmas, so I thought yesterday would be the day.

I mashed four potatoes and made them up "right", ie, plenty of butter, sour cream, cheese, chives, and even a little half and half. About one potato in, the craving subsided. Turns out that my "craving" was actually hunger. Huh, another way hunger manifests itself to me is through cravings. Didn't know that. Now I need to figure out what is a craving that can be ignored/ridden out and when that is actually legitimate hunger. Does anyone have any thoughts/insights on that?

I will be honest, though, and tell you I ate all the potatoes. They were good, but probably not worth it. Gah. Will I ever have a healthy relationship with food?!

The good and the bad

The good: I went to the gym yesterday and today. An hour on the elliptical each time. I remember when it used to be such a struggle for me to do even 10 minutes, and now I can rock an hour on medium resistance without even thinking twice about it.

Now the bad: today I could not stop eating. I had a large but reasonable breakfast. For lunch I made a veggie pizza (will post about this later probably). It was good, but after I had 2 pieces I was not full. Nor 3. My stomach was still rumbling and I wasn't even feeling satisfied after half a pizza (a pizza is made with 1.5 cans of crescent rolls so that should have been more than enough food!). I had an apple, figuring the fiber would help. Then I went back to the pizza and, long story short, I ended up eating the whole thing. I felt dirty and ashamed.

I had a moderate to large dinner of leftover shrimp fajitas. I wasn't hungry, but I ate them anyway.

Tomorrow is a new day. I am glad about that. I need a fresh start.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas break

One of the beautiful things about academic life is the Christmas break we get. It is sad to read people's facebook status updates and blogs and think about them having to go back to work tomorrow. Sigh.

I have to say, this break is not ending up like I thought it would. First of all, this allergic reaction was not on my radar screen at all. Neither was the snowstorm we got on the night of Christmas Eve. As a result of the snowstorm, I stayed at home all day and had a low key day rather than just vegging out at the movie theatre as I had planned. I didn't want to go down the hill in my car or otherwise on very poorly-cared for streets. People in Arkansas have no idea how to take care of icy or snowy roads, and I heard the trucks weren't even out since it was Christmas Day.

Still, I've seen some of the movies I wanted to -- Up in the Air, Invictus, Precious, Avatar, the Blind Side -- already. However there are still more that I want to see, most notably Nine, Princess and the Frog, and Brothers. Brothers is already out of the movie theatre near my house, so I will probably go to a theatre about half an hour away to see it. Not sure when I'll see the rest.

In order to justify taking the day to go see a movie or three, though, I felt I had to work out before I went. The gym at school is open over the break (which I think is great!!!), but its hours are very limited. Today, for example, it is only open from 1-4:50. I opted instead to go to the mini-gym in my apartment complex. It's small, the equipment is not top notch, but it works in a pinch. I did 30 minutes this morning on the elliptical machine. It felt pretty good, but the time I-N-C-H-E-D by. I was too bored to continue. I might need to do a second shift tonight to feel like I actually got a decent workout done today. I must say, though, after two days of not taking a walk or doing anything official to work out, it felt good. Now I think I have earned some time to sit on my butt and enjoy a movie. I might even go out to eat today. I haven't eaten out since Monday I don't think, which has to be some kind of a record for me. We will see if I try to be stubborn and prolong my eating out-less streak, or whether I treat myself to some On the Border. Their guiltless grill shrimp fajita tacos are quite tasty. (In the spirit of honesty, though, I usually do get a little side of cheese dip to go with my meal. TSK, TSK.)

Prednisone update

This morning I weighed in at 258.8. I am excited because this is actually close to the control range I try to stay in (255-258), despite the fact that I feel like I am retaining water like a MOFO. There is a possibility that the water weight is all in my mind and that I'm actually just doing ok, not well with respect to the weight...but who knows. This will all sort itself out soon enough (I am hoping).

Yesterday I had intended to start to wean myself off of prednisone (which, according to what I read, might actually be unnecessary since I have taken it for less than a week). However, I didn't for a couple reasons. The main one was that yesterday I washed my hands, I was at a sink that had separate controls for the hot and the cold water (vs. one lever that controls the whole thing). I turned on the hot water to wash my hands, and I almost instantly got that inflamed, yucky feeling where it feels like every single allergic bump in my hands is enraged. I hate that feeling and concluded that I am probably not over this darned allergic reaction. I guess I need to stay strong and keep taking these freaking drugs.

I took my second dosage of prednisone a little bit earlier yesterday than I had been. I'm not sure whether that is what did the trick or not, but last night I was only up 2 times -- once at 3:30 and once at 5:30. Since I have been taking this medicine my dreams have been much more memorable. I am not sure if they're weirder than usual or if it's just that usually have weird dreams but I remember them better when I wake up now. For example, two nights ago when I woke up so often I had several different dreams about each of the unmarried Duggar children except Jana and their courtships (please don't judge) from oldest to youngest. SO SO BIZARRE!!! I'll be curious to see if the dreams (or my memory of the dreams) stop when I stop taking this medicine.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

OMG Potatoes!

I just realized I did not eat a single potato - mashed or otherwise - yesterday. WOW! I didn't eat super healthy (e.g., breakfast was 2 white chocolate chip-pecan waffles with an egg and a piece of sausage), but overall I didn't really just glut out on anything. I had ham sandwiches for both lunch and dinner, and had waffles for snacks...but I did not eat a single mashed potato throughout the day. Quite a change for the lady who LOVES potatoes. Go me!!

Weaning off Prednisone

Last night I was really tired at 10:30 so I decided to follow my tiredness to bed (very excited that I hoped it wouldn't be a struggle to fall asleep). I was up at 1:30, 3:15, 5:15, 6:15, 6:45, and finally I just got up at 7:45. I am going to take one full dose of prednisone today (not two), a half dose tomorrow, and then try to be done with it. I hope my allergy symptoms don't return and that I can get rid of this crap. I'm not a fan.

The sleep getting more interrupted and a killer ear ache (outer ear infection) and now the start of a cold are the straws breaking the camel's back for me. Because prednisone is an immuno-suppressant, the infection and cold are likely to get worse if I don't get off this stuff.

Friday, December 25, 2009

I will myself to do this.

It is time for me to take another prednisone but I don't want to. I will do the right thing and do it though.

Wow, it's been almost a week

A lot has happened, and very little has happened all at the same time. I am going to do a massive update and may post date things, so you might need to scroll a little further through the archives. Merry Christmas everyone.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mango Allergy Confirmed

I wrote earlier about how I thought I might be allergic to mangos. I wasn't really sure, and most of the stuff I read was about how people have bad reactions to the SKIN of mango and not the meat so I thought I would give it another shot. Astute observers might have noticed those mangos in my groceries.

I had cut up the mangoes on Friday evening and was very careful to wash my hands, not touch my face, etc. Saturday morning I was fine so I thought I had dodged the bullet. Phew, my mango career was not over! That morning I had mangoes, cottage cheese, and kiwi mixed together for breakfast. Quite tasty.

Monday my skin was blotchy and kind of angry at me. I was not sure what was the deal. You can see in this picture from Monday (incidentally on my trail exploration) that my face is fatter and puffier than the day before. I did not notice that until posting all of these pictures and writing all of these blog entries.

Tuesday morning I was feeling kind of terrible, and my face was puffier. It continued to worsen throughout the day. In fact, when I went to bed that evening, I was worried my eyes might swell shut and even found my phone and slept with it right next to me just in case I needed to call 9-1-1 about that very fact.

Wednesday morning I looked like death warmed over. Terrible. I decided I needed to go to the doctor since this clearly was not getting any better and since her office was going to be closed over the Christmas holiday.

She confirmed that it is very likely that I am allergic to mango and said not to eat them again, ever. Um, YEAH NO KIDDING! Fortunately, mango allergies are very unlikely to cause anaphylactic shock (the kind that swells your windpipe shut), so I do not need an epipen or anything like that. However, she did say that the allergy will likely get stronger over time so future exposure to mango is a definite no no.

She gave me a prednisone shot and prednisone to take for the next two weeks. Have you read about the side effects of this drug? They are NASTY! Insomnia is one of the ones that I think, objectively, is the worst. Dizziness is another one.

However, weight gain, increased appetite, water retention, and fat redistribution are side effects. To me, these seem like the worst (even though, as I said, on paper not being able to sleep is the worst). These particular side effects are really hard on me because it was such a goal of mine to keep my eating pretty un-indulgent over break while allowing myself some holiday treats (if that makes sense). I now can't even really check on this progress because the scale is rising and I'm not sure how much is real weight, how much is water weight, and what in the world is going on with my body. Oh well, I will do what is right and take these drugs. I will get the weight I gain off (if it isn't all water weight). I will be vigilent about portion control and watching what I eat. I will not let this defeat me. I have worked too hard and come too far to let this derail me.

So far I haven't had a major problem sleeping. I did wake up more often than usual and it was harder to fall asleep, but not too bad. The problem is supposed to get worse the longer you take the medicine.

A happy side effect, though, is that this prednisone has virtually eliminated any sciatic nerve pain that I have had since I started taking it. I've gotta look on the bright side of this situation, and be confident in the end that it will all work out. I am glad that I am on the mend, and that my allergy does not constrict my airway. That would be absolutely terrifying to feel like you were choking to death.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

No big news

Things here are moving along. I have taken lots of pictures that I need to upload and write about, but all in all -- no big news to report. Things are more or less on track.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Food Saver

This summer I bought a FoodSaver and I have to say I love it. It is nice to be able to make food and store it in individually sized portions for later. It's like having TV dinners, but food that I have prepared (with ingredients I know I like and usually lower-sodium and tastier than traditional frozen meals). I was doing well with this for awhile, but with the hectic-ness that was this semester, I fell off the wagon and stopped using the FoodSaver. I have gotten a second wind over break and have been using it a lot.

So far I have made a couple things. I have more on my list to make this week.

One thing I made was Lentil Sausage soup. I'm typically not a soup person, but trust me this soup is good! I doubled the recipe and made a huge pot. In retrospect, that may have been a bit much as the recipe as written produces a ton of soup. However it is really really good, and nutritionally and taste-wise this soup is a winner. Lentils are high in both fiber and protein. I used Sam's chicken apple sausage in the recipe as well and let me tell you that is delicious! Highly recommend that to the Sam's Club members out there. I will be enjoying this soup for months to come.

Here's the yummy soup.

Note that FoodSavers don't really like packaging liquids. They will suck out all of the juice and leave only the solids behind, so you have to trick it by freezing the liquids first. First divide your soup (or other liquid) into the size that you'd like to freeze.

Then put them into the freezer. I did not let the soup freeze all the way, but only to the point where it was sludgy. This way, the FoodSaver would not suck out the liquid (it was frozen), but the soup sludge was pliable enough that I could manipulate all the bags so that they would lay flat. This way, they take up less space in my freezer.

I have also made shrimp and cheese grits to freeze this break. I fell in love with this dish when visiting a friend in Atlanta, and so I was excited to make it myself. It's not too healthy, but the portions suggested in the recipe are huge. Believe it, I could easily make it by on a smaller portion. 12 points per portion, now frozen away for treats at a later date.

I also made this cranberry sauce extraordinaire. I doubled the recipe, saved a fourth of it to enjoy over the holidays (i.e., half of the recipe as written), and packaged the rest into three bags to enjoy later. I love cranberry sauce and am delighted that I will be able to enjoy this throughout the year rather than just at Thanksgiving and Christmas (the kind you make yourself is SO much better than anything you can buy from a store!).

I give the Food Saver a good review. It sucks all the air out of the bags, and then seals them. This leaves your food much less susceptible to freezer burn. I find the food moist and flavorful when I reheat it; the texture rarely seems affected. That having been said, there are foods that freeze well (most meats and lots of casseroles) and things that don't (tomatoes and some other fruits and veggies), but you can usually get some indication as to whether or not your food will freeze well by googling around.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


One of my goals for this break is to work out regularly. I'm trying to mix it up and do things I wouldn't normally have time or the opportunity to do. Since the days are so short and the weather is typically chilly in the winter, taking a walk is on that list. The weather today was 50-60. In Ohio and Michigan, that doesn't happen too often so I figured I'd better seize the opportunity.

Unfortunately I didn't get my act together until around 4:30 and by the time I got my shoes on and drove to the place where I was going to take my walk it was 4:45. This was solstice-eve, i.e., the second shortest day of the year. You know, when the sun sets at 5:06. OK, better get my walk on. Here's a picture of me rockin' my headphones. I love to listen to This American Life while I am walking.

I decided to go on a trail that I am very familiar with. Turns out, I am not as familiar as I thought. I thought that I remembered the trail was lit; it isn't. No big, except that last year there was a rape on this trail (mind you, there are two sections of the trail: a nice, paved section, and a more rugged, unpaved section in the woods. I was on the [safer] paved section, not the unpaved section but I was still kind of freaked out when I realized the trail had no lights).

The trail is 5.5 miles and goes around the circumference of Lake Fayetteville. The lake is actually pretty gross (stagnant -- manmade I think, and with no inflow/outflow, you can imagine how disgusting the water is). However, the trail is nice. The paved part has mile markers every 0.25 miles to help you track how far you've gone. I figured they'd also come in handy in case I needed to call 9-1-1 about a rapist...not like I ever overreact or anything.

Anyway, I decided I would go until the end of the paved trail, and then I'd turn around and head back. When I got to the end of the paved part, though, I was greeted by construction equipment and a sign about trail expansion.

Most curious, I decided I still needed to turn back since I was headed into unfamiliar territory and since it was getting dark. Here are some shots I took on the way back.

The moon was beautiful, just a sliver of crescent.

It was too dark for this picture, but if I would have had a tripod, it would be really cool...

I think I went about 4.5 miles in an hour and 15 minutes. Not bad. I vowed that I would be back the next day to explore the new part of the trail and, sure enough, I was. More about that another time.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I went to Sam's Club to really stock up on groceries over the break. I have been wanting to eat out less, both for health and financial reasons. I feel I can control my food better if I prepare it myself (e.g., I can use lowfat cheese, I can spices rather than fat to make food flavorful, etc). In addition, eating out can add up. Cheap food is rarely healthy at restaurants and healthy food is rarely cheap. Solution: eat at home more and start packing lunches. We'll see how the packing lunches thing goes.

Here's the loot I scored at Sam's. Yum. I think a key to being able to eat healthy is to have stuff ready. You can see the before and after pics below -- after as in after preparing them, not after eating them. (Minus, of course, the butter, ham and sausage which I put in the fridge for later) I tried to cut up everything so it would be ready to go in a jiffy for when I was hungry. I have been enjoying these groceries all week. Very tasty.

Dinner Party Update

I went to the dinner party, had a good time, and did not eat a single thing. Seriously. I dropped off the cookies I brought (which were delicious and I did sample while making) and just left the room where the food was. I talked to people and had a good time. I count it a victory.

It probably didn't hurt that I watched three episodes of the Biggest Loser and cut up 6 mangos, 12 kiwis, and 5 lbs of carrots prior to going over there. Mental preparation is a big part of the battle for me.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dinner Party

Tonight there is a party at a family's house that I really like. They are such generous, giving people -- incredibly friendly and genuinely kind. I am feeling kind of down, I don't want to deal with people, and I certainly don't want to deal with the food. I will probably make myself go, but I really don't want to.

Happy Birthday Tim

Today is my middle brother's birthday. He doesn't like to talk to us, and calling to wish him happy birthday (if I even had his number) would be likely to incite some sort of situation. However, I really do wish him the best both today and always.

I was pretty mean to him when I was a kid, and now he is very self-destructive and volatile. I know it is not ALL my fault, but I do feel like it is mostly my fault that he struggles so much as an adult. I have apologized to him several times, but he acts indifferent. I am not sure what to do, but I do wish he would get help and get better.

I can't let myself or my eating derail today because I am sad for and feel guilty about the bitch I was to him when I was little.

Good news

I have gone to water aerobics twice this week. There are certain things I can't do or that hurt too badly to do, but overall I would say I am thrilled to be able to work out and get moving again. Also, this morning I was 258.2, which is moving closer to my control limits. Now to get firmly inside them again, and hopefully on the low side. I think I can do it before Christmas if I get and keep my act together.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The facts are the facts

This is something that has struck me over and over the last couple days. The facts are the facts. Period. The way you feel about them can change, but your feelings and the way you frame a situation does not typically alter the underlying facts.

How does this relate to weight? Simple.

I usually weigh the same amount (though, lately, I am weighing 259.6, which is outside my control limits and I am not losing this as quickly as I'd like). Sometimes I feel awesome, fit, and healthy; other times I feel like a beached whale. It's not the number on the scale that changes, it's how I feel about that number.

The other day a friend took this picture of me prior to our department's Christmas party. I have worn this same dress on previous occasions and felt awesome, but on the day of the party I felt SO fat!!! It was terrible. Realistically, though, I weighed the same amount on the days where I am feeling like a hottie. It was only the way that I felt about myself that had changed.

I need to remind myself about this objectivity, usually on the bad days. I need to keep a positive attitude, and remember that it's not worth blowing months of work and, more fundamentally, my health over feeling fat. Seriously, binging will only be counterproductive. I still weigh the same amount whether I feel fat or skinny.

Let's face it: 255 for a 5'8" female is fat. Those, truly, are the facts. If I want a way to more consistently feel good about myself, altering the underlying facts (i.e., my weight) is the best strategy.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I have so many ideas for posts, but I lack the motivation to write them. Also I am really not feeling the idea of going to work but I have way too much to do so I need to get going. I don't want to post, I don't want to work, I don't want to do much of anything. I have the biggest case of the blahs, seasoned with a tinge of sadness. I hope this doesn't put me over the edge today, on a day where I am already eating out twice (taking my class to lunch to celebrate the end of the semester, and then going to a girls' night for one of the people in the office who is retiring).

Today is not the day to deal with feeling sad by gorging.
Today is not the day to deal with feeling overwhelmed by stuffing myself.
Today is not the day to deal with feeling like a loser by pigging out.

I can do this. Breathe in, breathe out, get breakfast, get dressed, and get to work. Hope the momentum pushes me through.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The damage

After a weekend of "transgressions" that are named "vacation", I am up to 260.2. Time to get a lot of this off before Christmas so I have a little room to relax and enjoy a few treats.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Carrying Around Extra Baggage

I am traveling now for something professional and had the urge to look somewhat professional. This meant that I ditched the $2.50 backpack I got from Target* for the trip and decided to use a nicer, over the shoulder bag. It does look really nice but it is not as comfortable (and probably not good for my back…I despise heels and won’t sacrifice my comfort for those, but cute bags are my weakness…but I digress…).

On the way here, I had a stack of unread People and Cooking Light magazines in my bag. Today, I left them at home. On the way to my panel in the morning, I had a full water bottle and stack of 10ish proposals, each about 30-50 or so pages long as well as a full water bottle. As I walked to the Metro, I was thinking I had made a terrible decision to bring this bag. It was annoyingly heavy and uncomfortable!

Over the course of the day, I drank all the water and ended up leaving the proposals behind (they shred them after they are reviewed in the interest of confidentiality). This meant on the way home I only had my computer, my Kindle, and my purse in my bag. OMG, it made so so much of a difference! Seriously! So so so much lighter.

A liter of water weighs 2.5ish pounds. If you’re generous, the bottle and carabineer are a pound. I have no idea how much 400 pieces of paper weigh, but probably about 5 lbs. Together these things weigh less than 10 lbs. It’s really not much but at the same time it made a world of difference like you would not even believe. I felt like I barely even noticed the bag I was carrying around anymore.

On the way home I thought to myself, “Wow, I have lost 40-45 lbs.” (depending on the day) I don’t think about it that much or that often, but that THAT IS A LOT for my body to carry around on a daily basis. I am sure that the wear and tear on my body as a result was beyond significant. However I never thought about it. I can verify that now I feel better and I am sure that part of it is just because I have so much less weight to tote around. I really only thought about how much physical weight that actually is today. Usually I think about it in terms of progress, just as a metric.

I have, depending on the calculations, 80-100 more to lose. That is a ton. That is like carrying around a fourth grader on my back all day, everyday. Could you imagine? So much extra baggage.

I need to shed this baggage. Putting things into some perspective that I can understand or relate to (e.g., I have lost 8 bags of sugar) is startling, and really really amazing. However, it is humbling when I think of how much I have to go (16-20 bags of sugar….dang). If carrying just 10 or so fewer pounds in my bag makes a difference, imagine how much of a difference losing 80 lbs will be.

*Yes this bag cost literally $2.50. It was originally $10, but I got it on clearance for 75% off.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Blood pressure

My blood pressure was high this morning. 119/89. I need to get back to exercising. I hope I can.

This is my life

I only go around once. I had better make it good. There are better, more constructive ways to deal with feeling:

physically in pain

than eating. I need to figure these out. I only have one chance at this life, and it is likely to be shorter if I'm not making healthy choices. I have seriously miswired my brain and used food for reasons beyond its intended use, which is simply to provide the fuel I need to live. Now I need to figure out healthy, alternative ways to dealing with the emotions listed above.

Not on track

This morning I weighed in at 259.2. Saturday morning, I was 255.something. There is a very real possibility this is all real weight, not salt or retained water weight. Yuck. I am embarrassed.

My food Saturday was...indulgent. I went to the movies and even ordered popcorn. What a waste. It was good, but not good enough to justify all the calories. On the way home I stopped at a gas station and got two hot dogs (I had driven 2 hrs away so I could see Precious, which is not playing in our market and is unlikely to) in addition to a stick of cheese and Doritos. I forget what all I ate Sunday, but I do know that I made delightful Christmas cookies and ate a lot of them. And I have eaten a lot of them in the days since. They were not good enough for me to take to work (too hard/not soft enough), but of course I had no problem jettisoning them down the hatch. Maybe I should get rid of the rest. I guess it is progress that at least some of them have survived to today? That's a very small consolation prize.

Last night was our department's annual Christmas party. Our boss goes all out and we have dinner at the swankiest of swank restaurants in town each year. This year's was great. There was also some good news here. Because the restaurant was so swanky, they give tiny portions, not the 2-3 realistic meal sized portions you'd get at, say, the Olive Garden. However, I did have all four courses of the meal. It was delcious and there were some indulgent choices, but not an all out bingefest. I would give myself a B-/C+ on that meal. Too bad I had a plate full of cookies when I came home in addition to a normal-ish sized meal.

I am bummed that I cannot counteract any of this with exercise. I may try to go to the gym today anyway; it just depends how I am feeling. I am absolutely slammed at work (that is what happens at the end of the semester), and am not sure if I have time to go and obviously I am not sure if I am physically capable of going.

I have tickets tonight to an event at the Walton Arts Center which is about the Rat Pack and Christmas. I LOVE the Rat Pack, and I am ok with Christmas but this thing looks like it will be a festering turd. I really wish I had traded in the tickets for credit to use to go to something else. I do not really think I have time to go, because I need to pack for a trip (out of town tomorrow through Sunday; serving on an NSF panel). We will see. Somehow I will manage to get this all done, and hopefully I can still get some sleep. We will see. I need to stop writing this post so I can get a jump on my day.

Friday, December 4, 2009

RIP Candy Dish

Yesterday I wrote about an incident with my candy bowl at work which sent me over the edge. While I am waiting for a ton of proposals to print (and killing a bunch of trees), I thought I would write about a bold step I took today. I donated the candy to the front office where it will find a better home than in my office. The remnants of almost 14 lbs of candy are now gone...

...and all that remains is this empty candy bowl. This is the right decision.

(but don't be too impressed...I had three sausage rolls this morning -- THREE!! And I can't even exercise to wipe my transgressions clean...man.)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tootsie Roll

Today, I stopped into a friend's office to tell her about an experience my friend had where he got to see every single one of the Duggars and even shake Jim Bob's hand! He also got a Christmas card from them!!! SERIOUSLY!!! You will never guess where he saw them....hint in the picture below...

Anyway, that is not the point of the post (and, NO, I could not forsee a situation in which I would EVER vote for her -- but never say never).

So anyway...I popped into this friend's office and I took one of the Tootsie Roll midgees out of the candy bowl she had on her desk. What a mistake!!

I have never written about this I don't think but I used to have a candy bowl in my office so that people could have some when they stopped by. However, it just proved to be a huge temptation to me, so eventually I put it away. Though the candy is out of sight now, there is still candy in a drawer in my office and it contains, among other things, a Sam's Club bag of Tootsie Roll products.

After I had the first Tootsie Roll, something was ignited in me that just said "MUST. FIND. SUGAR. MUST. EAT. TOOTSIE. ROLLS!!" Fatties or ex-fatties know what I mean. It's a seriously visceral reaction where your mouth waters and you have this animalistic search for (whatever your craving is -- in my case Tootsie Rolls). It's not good.

When I remembered these candies in my desk, I immediately went for them. I chose 3 of the long-sized Tootsie Rolls and 3 of the big square-ish shaped one instead of taking out the whole bag -- THANK GOD. Anyway, just a hot second later, I realized I had four of these things stuffed in my mouth at once and that I could barely chew on them or let them melt! It reminded me of when I was a kid who chewed that nasty Bubblicious gum. When the first piece would lose its flavor, I would simply stuff another piece in my mouth...over and over until eventually I had the whole pack in my mouth. YUCK!

When I realized this had happened, I took about 2/3 of the Tootsie Roll wad out of my mouth and threw it away. Wow. What a mess. This makes me realize my thoughts about food are still so messed up and that it really is important to measure and track everything...which I have not been doing lately. I doubt if I would have shoved 4 Tootsie Rolls in my mouth at once if I knew they counted for 5 points (or whatever the point value really is).

Clothing Hit List

This post requires a bit of background. First of all, I have been considering doing a post like this for awhile and I finally have the guts to do it. I may take it down if I get weird visitors or figure out that my students know where my webpage is.

This post may actually may turn into a series. For anyone who has gained and then lost weight, you know that you have a ton of old clothes in your closet that fit at one time, but don't anymore. It is so rewarding to be able to reclaim a part of your wardrobe as you lose weight. This is what is inspiring this post and an idea I call the Clothing Hit List. Although I am allowing myself to stay in maintenance mode through Christmas (weighed in this morning at 255.8 this morning BTW), after that I am going to start going to Weight Watchers again, or enroll in this program called Wholesome HAWGs though school (Razorback = hog = our mascot, HAWG = health and wellness group = sounds like hog). That is the first bit of background. The idea: Clothing Hit List.

Second of all -- every year at one of our professional conferences, we have a University of Arkansas reception and are supposed to wear Razorback gear. Since I don't feel right pulling up in a t-shirt, I felt like I needed to get a Razorback polo. Unfortunately, these are only available (at least that I have seen) through the official channels like the bookstore on campus -- that is, places that are super-expensive. Every year the bookstore has a faculty/staff appreciation day where everything is 25% off for faculty and staff. I decided this would be the year for me to get a polo so I can dress up at our reception in Cancun where our conference will be this year. Unfortunately, the choices for ladies polos were very limited. I had a couple choices. The two most promising were shirt #1 - ladies XXL in white for $57 (are you serious?!) or shirt #2 - ladies XL in red for $29. For size, advantage shirt #1. For price and color, advantage shirt #2. I decided on shirt #2 since I would not want to ruin a $57 if I spilled any sort of food on it. A red shirt is less likely to get messed up than a white one.

I knew this shirt would not fit, but I was not sure how bad it would be. In addition a couple weeks ago I got a really nice pair of jeans that I did not try on (since most size 20s fit right off the rack - HA! This pair of jeans apparently did not get the memo. Love variation in sizes.). I tried the jeans on with the Razorback polo that I bought. It is my goal to have these either fit or be too small by the time IERC rolls around in early June. I will take a picture in Cancun wearing my hog polo and these jeans. However, you can see I have a ways to go...

Items #1 and 2 on the clothing hit list are these jeans and this polo. I am focused on getting into them. Memo to the polo and jeans: you are so going down.

On the mend?

I am starting to actually feel a little bit better. I've been back to (the new) chiropractor twice and he has helped me. He suggests to not exercise until the acute stage of this is over so it has been over a week since I have exercised. I'm going a little crazy because of that. I am still in pain, but it is not as bad as it was before. I only woke up three times last night which is much better than it has been. I was only in crippling pain one of those three times. I am still exhausted though despite getting 10 hrs of sleep. That's no good.

I ran across this film on another WL blog that I really want to see called Lbs. I hope it comes here or at least to our RedBoxes. Our theatres still do not have Precious, though, despite 350K in the greater NW Arkansas area so I am not holding my breath.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bummer, dude.

I am not a huge fan of Jared Fogle, but like other bloggers, I think that his ability to maintain his weight loss is impressive and inspirational. It made me sad to see he is struggling as of late. Come on Jared, you can do it! Get your exercise on, get your eating right on, and the rest will happen natrually! There are more healthy foods in this world than Subway subs which I am sure you are sick of by now. (Even though for awhile they were really instrumental in my success. I probably ate at Subway 4-5 times a week this summer.)

Challenge final update

As you may recall, I talked a really big game about wanting to lose 5 lbs. in two weeks over Thanksgiving. At one point I even declared "I have (kind of) arrived". Well, that didn't stick.

I emerged from Thanksgiving at 256.0. This is well within my control limits, but far short of my goal. I could chalk it up to not being able to exercise for a week because of the back. I could chalk it up to poor eating (for, over the weekend following Thanksgiving, there was a fair amount of that). I could chalk it up to giving up and feeling depressed because of the back/hip issue.

But, I will do none of that. I will instead just admit that I have failed, but be glad that I am down but not out. I will eventually conquer this weight thing. And honestly, for now, maintaining for me is a victory. One that is important and that I will work hard at even though I am sad right now.


I decided to stay in Fayetteville for Thanksgiving. I was really sad about it, but I worked to have a good attitude. I also thought it was the best thing for my back/hip/health, even though I would have loved to see my buddies in Missouri. I hope I get to see them soon.

I also devised a strategy so as not to overdo it on Thanksgiving. I think I was moderately successful. The strategy was basically to really kill it on the veggies and fill up there. I made three kinds of (delicious) veggies: asparagus, corn, and peas. They were good. If you know me, now you know I love love love carbs, especially potatoes. In fact, on Facebook I even asserted my love for stuffing, hashbrown casserole, and mashed potatoes for all to see. In the past, I have made all these side dishes and more (sweet potatoes with brown sugar and pecans on top - YUM!), all full sized dishes of course, and all for n=1=me. Gluttonous. I knew that these could be my undoing, so I made myself pick ONE of these delicious side dishes. At first I selected hashbrown casserole -- you know, the stuff with cheese, sour cream, butter, onions and tons of deliciousness (sometimes even with crumbled chips on top!). That stuff is so good. However, I was honest with myself and knew that I had potatoes already at home, and would probably end up making both the mashed potatoes and h.b. casserole, so I decided it was wisest just to go with the mashed potatoes only. I was really proud of myself.

For meat, I decided to get a hamsteak -- you know, the thick slices of ham that come all by themselves (i.e., you are not having to buy an entire ham). I now think they are big (around 1-1.25 lbs of meat is a lot!) but I used to think they were perfectly sized. Times, they are a-changin'. In case you would like my secret to what I think is a perfectly cooked hamsteak, do the following. In a bowl mix honey and mustard. I used honey I picked up from Pike's Place in Seattle made from bees pollinating raspberries -- delicious-- and a little bit of the mustard with whole seeds and a heapin' helpin of Grey Poupon. Probably 3 parts honey to 2 parts mustard. Mix them up and then brush half the honey-mustard mixture liberally on the side #1 of the hamsteak. Let it cook for a little bit, flip it, and then brush the remaining mixture on the other side. Let it cook, and you will have a delicious hamsteak to eat. Yum. I prefer this ham to almost any other type.

Now, let me be honest and transparent about the mashed potatoes. I used 5 medium sized redskin potatoes, which I know is huge portion. Believe it or not, it is way less than I used to eat though. SERIOUSLY!! I could eat a ton of mashed potatoes and not even be breathing hard. In fact, my family typically had me go last at Thanksgiving when passing around the mashed potatoes because they knew when it came to them, I was all business. In addition to the potatoes, I used REAL butter, and was not stingy about it. I also added fat free sour cream, 2% sharp cheddar cheese, about 2/3 a package of the ranch dressing mix (the powdered stuff), and enough milk to make the texture right. It was great. Seriously.

To prepare the asparagus, I washed it, cut off the ends, brushed it with olive oil, sprinkled it with freshly cracked pepper and sea salt, put in on a foil-covered cookie sheet and baked it at 350F for about 15 minutes. I used a recipe from Eating Well for a delicious sauce -- it has mayo (I used FF), lemon juice, water, and freshly-grated Parmesan cheese. It is so good, seriously. Yum.

The peas and corn were the steam-in-bag variety. Voila.

All of this stuff was super easy to prepare. It seriously took me less than an hour (probably about 45 minutes) to prepare everything, so I ended up eating at 10 AM-ish while watching the Macy's day parade. Totally non-traditional.

For dinner, I made a crustless pumpkin pie. It was really good, and I ate the whole thing in one sitting. I used an entire can of my the delicious FF whipped cream I have raved about before. Afterwards, I thought "Now, seriously -- was that necessary?" It totally was not and I did regret the gluttony. Lesson learned. And, believe it or not, I actually did feel uncomfortably full afterwards. I am glad I am learning to feel that feeling.

While I did not do stellar on portions, I feel good about many of my choices and would give myself a C- for the day. I would have preferred a B (I think earning an A+ when eating on a major holiday like that is unrealistic for me), but I can do it in the future. Huge huge huge progress from the F- days of the past. Still plenty of room for improvement.

On the plus sides, I am glad that Thanksgiving did not send me off on a bender because I felt lonely. I am glad that I was strong enough to allow myself ONE treat sidedish instead of a full-out carbfest, and to make myself one relatively-healthy pie that had no crust, not 5 pies with all the delicious dairy-based enhancements (ice cream, whipped cream, etc.). I am glad I planned it so there were no leftovers (though splitting the pie over a few days would have been better). There were several things I did right, and would like to continue in the future.

Finally I should say I am thankful for my health (I WILL conquer this back/hip issue, and am glad to have my blood pressure regulated, my heart working normally, and all of my faculties with me) and my family and friends who I love dearly and who love me too. And, I am super-grateful for the feeling that I am headed in the right direction and that my life is no longer spiraling out of control. This was not a bad Thanksgiving, even though there were some unexpected bummers and speedbumps. Overall, my life is headed in the right direction.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bummed out

Man this morning I am struggling. Fortunately, I have an appointment with a new, highly recommended chiropractor. I am hoping he can help me because this entire weekend sucked. Actually, that is not true, as I got to spend some time with a friend working on a puzzle and I went to the Nutcracker. However, I am so over not being able to do stuff and having this back/hip crap compromise the way I live. Last night I woke up over and over. The night before I had a dream that a snake bit me on the hip causing excruciating pain (probably a weird way for my psyche to explain why that area hurts like none other). I am really discouraged.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A (sorely needed) Victory!

Yesterday I was bummed out and decided I needed to get out of the house. The doctor says it is good/important to walk so, even though it hurts, I decided to do it. The good news is it didn't hurt as badly as I expected. I'm not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination, but I am on the way which I have to say is great.

I decided to go shopping. I needed a pair of brown casual shoes (not dress shoes, but the kind you can wear with khakis that feel comfortable). I wear size 11 so finding shoes 1) period, that are size 11, 2) that are not tragically hideous, and 3) comfortable is not always easy. I think buying shoes online is dicey (paying return shipping if they don't fit, which can be expensive and is certainly annoying) and/or pricey (zappos = free return shipping but good luck finding a deal there!). I decided to go to TJ Maxx first.

Although I did not find the shoes I needed, I did find a cute outfit, $10 for the shirt, $17 for the pants. Score! I intend someday to do a post about clothes in general (being able to find clothes that fit, not being mortified to try things on in a dressing room, etc), but I will not do that this time. I will just relate this story to you.I started this whole get healthy thing at a size 26. It wasn't pretty. I am now to the point where I usually wear a size 20, which is obviously progress. When I went to TJ Maxx, I saw these pants that I thought were cute. Forutnately, they had a size 20. I decided to try them on, and I thought they might be too big. I went to ask the dressing room lady's opinion, and she suggested trying on one size smaller.

"Surely you jest," I thought in my head. "There is no way I will fit into an 18 yet!" Nonetheless, just for giggles, I thought I would try on the 18s. OMG! They fit! They actually look good! I was so excited, I took a picture right in the TJ Maxx dressing room. I thought they looked good, so I bought them.

It is interesting to note that this picture shows how misaligned I am if you look for it. I did not even notice it until after I took the photo, but WOW no wonder I am hurting! On the left of the photo you will see that my right foot is more forward than my left foot. That is because my hips are twisted. You will also notice that, on the left of the photo, my right hip is lower than the left one, yet my right shoulder is higher. Very bizarre. I am hoping that things start to work their way back into place soon. I am so over this misalignment crap, and the pain it brings.

However, let's go out on a happy note -- the note that brought me here -- I now fit into a size 18 pant! (Note I think this pair of pants is an anomaly as I recently tried on a pair of size 20 pants that was too tight. Although I was cursing the variation in sizes when the pants were too tight, I will take it now because this variation came out in my favor...)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Should I stay or should I go?

I have had plans since October for Thanksgiving: I was going to go to my friends' place in Missouri. This ongoing back/hip saga has jeopardized those plans. I honestly don't feel good at all, and don't want to be a Debbie Downer around others. I think I would likely snap out of that if I went, though. More to the point, though, I don't know if I can sit up and drive for 6 hrs with this hip stuff. I think it would hurt too much, and the trip would be 6 hrs each way.

If I stayed here, though, what would I do? I would probably be down and lonely. That's no good. I thought about what to do for food. I could cook for myself and I'd make delicious stuff, certainly...but then I would have way too much food, and wouldn't want to eat or throwaway the leftovers. I could go out to eat, but I a) can't find anywhere other than a janky Clariton in town with a Thanksgiving spread and b) would feel like a total loser by myself eating out on Thanksgiving.

I'm not sure what to do. I really want to go to Missouri, but I really don't want to drive there or be a downer. Maybe I should just take more Aleve and maybe another meloxicam and go. I am not sure what to do.

Where I have been...

First of all, I appologize for the lack of posting lately. Things have been busy and, well, I have fallen off the wagon somewhat and that is exactly when I should be posting. I have also been really discouraged.

As to the "Yay I can exercise!" and "Wow, I am so going to own this Thanksgiving!" posts? Yeah, not going so well. I woke up several times through the night on Sunday with excruciating hip pain that has lasted all week. It totally sucks. My eating this week has been good sometimes, but mediocre to poor most of the time.

Things really took a downward turn when I went to Sam's Club Friday night. I happened on an event called "Taste of Sam's" (a complete coincidence) which was a sample day on steroids -- they had SO much good stuff to try! My favorite thing they had was smoked cheddar cheese. Man it was delicious. I made a mistake and I bought some: 1.16 lbs of cheese. I ate it in two days. Man.

The next day was Saturday and, like I posted, I had to work. It was catered with Panera and I did ok, but the food was not healthy and there were no fruits or veggies. Diet for the day: Panera, lots of milk, cheese, crackers, and hummus. Not stellar, and sorely sorely lacking in fruits and veggies.

The next day I finished off the cheese and ate dinner with friends. Great to catch up with them, and we made delicious (and relatively healthy) gyros. Go us. Eating grade for that day was a solid B.

Monday I have no idea what happened but I was so munchy. Perhaps I was genuinely hungry, I don't know. Either way, the bottom line is I ate 4 cookies and 1 brownie over the course of the day (in addition to regular food). By the way, we're not talking about normally-sized cookies either, but rather the "we're catering and giving you a cookie that is the size of 2.5 cookies" variety. Not stellar. Lunch was catered for a faculty meeting, and in the evening I went out to eat and overdid it. A tiny victory there is that I did take about half of the dinner home because it was too big for me to eat at once.

Yesterday I did ok not great on the food horizon.

I have really hit a rough patch with the exercise. My doctor says I can and should exercise, but since the hip issues have resurfaced with a vengeance, I sometimes really cannot exercise. I took Saturday and Sunday off, partially because of laziness, partially because of legitimate busy-ness, and I do honestly think it is ok and that I don't need to exercise 7 days a week. That is a slippery slope to start down, though.

Monday I went to aqua abs and tried to go to a PiYo class (pilates/yoga fusion). The water stuff felt ok to good, especially the stretching parts. I only did half of the PiYo class. I did not do anything with intense twisting or anything that caused me extreme discomfort. I ultimately got frustrated and was hurting too badly so I quit halfway into the class. Yesterday, I did the elliptical machine for about 25 minutes and did about half of a cycling class before I quit. It hurt too bad (even though cycling is supposed to be good for my hips and back) so I left. I then was in bed for the rest of the day, laying down. Crap.

When I went to the doctor last week, she gave me a prescription for 15 mg Meloxicam. This is an anti-inflammatory drug and is supposed to help with the arthritis and back stuff. She suggested I take it on an as needed basis. As I have mentioned, I really despise taking medicine. I would much rather go the all-natural way and/or tough it out when possible. However, that is clearly not working in the case of my hip/back issues and so I have buckled and started taking the Meloxicam once a day for now. The first day it really helped, but yesterday it did not do much (or, if it did, I think I would have passed out without it...)

I am really frustrated with all of this. I think I am going to start physical therapy at the first of the year. I am nowhere near my insurance deductible for the year, and everything is out of pocket up until I meet the deductible -- so waiting it is. I have ordered a yoga video that is to stretch, align, and strengthen the hips. I am hopeful that will help in the meantime. If anyone else has other suggestions, please offer them. I will try most anything at this point.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


This morning I was above the goal. I forget the exact weight but it was around 255. Dang it.

Mine Field

Today is going to be a food minefield. Already I have cheese, hummus, crackers, and sparkling white grape juice -- and way too much of each. Today I have to go into work for an event to recruit high school students to the University. I am pissed that I have to do this, especially on Ohio State-Michigan game day! There will be tons of delicious cookies and good food there, and I must remain strong and not overdo it. Oy.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Don't know what to do next!

As I mentioned this morning, I have made it to my goal. Well, kind of. I have made it to the number part of my goal, but the goal states that I will make it through Thanksgiving at this number. That obviously implies a lot of discipline, maintaining this weight through this glutton-fest that is Thanksgiving. I think I am up to the challenge. I am going to my friends' place in Missouri which will be great, but will mean that I will be away from the gym. I would like to incorporate walking into my trip up there, and will work hard on portion controls but probably will not say no to any of my normal Thanksgiving favorites.

This sudden and dramatic weight loss has me absolutely baffled. If you recall, a long time ago I had a goal to make it to 249.4 by September 21 ("50 by fall"). Obviously I didn't make that and have been hanging out in the mid 250s for quite awhile now. I decided it was time to saddle up the horses and get going on the weight loss thing and, voila, it just drops off. Bizzarre.

There are a couple hypotheses I have as to why the weight could be falling off so quickly.
  • It's like the initial weight loss all over again. When people start to lose weight, the first 5-10 pounds fall off so so quickly.
  • I started to exercise again after an almost 3 week time off of that. My body's metabolism could be really revved up.
  • I am eating a lot more fruits and somewhat more veggies than usual. Maybe something do with that?
  • It could just be a fluke (but I don't really think so -- 1-3 lbs can be a fluke; 5 lbs is starting to be "real" weight I think).
The weirdest part (to me) of this loss is that I have been making ok but not stellar choices. For example, let me talk about what I ate yesterday. For breakfast, I had 3/4ish cups of fat free cottage cheese with a ton of fruit salad on top (fresh pineapple, strawberries, blackberries, papaya). I also ate two oranges throughout the morning to keep me from being hungry. Like I mentioned yesterday, lunch yesterday was catered. Turns out it was catered by Qdoba -- delicious! Bad stuff first: I had some chips and cheese dip. Cheese and cheese dip definitely are definitely weaknesses for me. For the rest, I had a reasonable portion of rice, black beans, a little steak, some cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and a lot of corn relish and pico di guillo. Not too bad. For dinner, I went to Jimmy John's and got my usual (#5 Vito, no capicola, extra lettuce, tomatoes, onions with Skinny Chips). At night, I had a huge bowl of cherry tomatoes and also a pear. I would say that is a decent day of eating, but nothing stellar. Certainly nothing like 1200 calories. For exercise, I did my usual 1/2 hr of aqua abs and 1 hr of water aerobics. It was good. I would have expected to be at a calorie deficit but nothing extreme, and CERTAINLY not enough to justify a couple pounds.

Oh well. I will take it. I am ecstatic to be working toward my goal and am committed to doing this the natural and healthy way (i.e., eating "real" foods not shakes, eating a balanced diet, being able to find something to eat in what everyone else eats, etc). Plus, I love carbs way too much to ever do something like the Atkins diet!

I made it?

No time for a real post. I have to be to the gym by 7 so I just want to say I made it to 253.2 this morning, 0.2 lbs under my goal. Now don't get me wrong, I am very excited about this but also very confused and a little concerned. 5 lbs in 3 days?! More later.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Challenge update.

Despite not having a stellar food day and not working out yesterday evening (worked out in the morning), I am down this morning to 255.8. This challenge is looking doable. A lot of that weight must have been faux-weight (water weight, etc?). I made a huge fruit salad yesterday which should make eating the right thing easier (it will be a quick, non-processed choice while it lasts). Today I have to eat out twice -- once for a lunch at work they are having catered, and also between water aerobics and going to see the Crucible tonight. Will work to make good choices, but at least for lunch this could present a challenge. We'll see.

Reason I didn't work out last night? My back/hip hurt. Crap.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oh yeah...

I am about to finish up my day here at work and I am so hungry! If I am not focusing on eating right (i.e., both in the types of food and the volume of food), I rarely get hungry. I just go through the motions and eat at the appropriate meal-ish times. Today my eating has been great (return of the daily food pics to come, perhaps), and OMG am I hungry. When I first got hungry I was like "Oh yeah, I haven't been eating out of hunger lately just out of habit." You should eat because you're hungry, not because you're just in the habit of doing so. I forget that sometimes (often?). Thanks to my hunger signal for reminding me...

5 lbs by November 30?

This morning I weighed in at 258.4, which is outside my control limits. Yesterday afternoon I felt like an absolute hiefer. I think I had gas or something that made me feel bloated, but I have definitely gained a bit of real weight in the last few weeks. My eating has been TERRIBLE and not exercising did not help either. Also yesterday the workout clothes I brought? A bit tight, and absolutely not a flattering shirt (even had a food stain on the boob -- lovely). Also had to don a swimsuit for the first time in awhile. It wasn't pretty.

ANYWAY...back on topic. I said I would like to emerge from Thanksgiving not just by staying even but with a loss. I will need to work out hard and watch what I eat in preparation for Thanksgiving. I am going to indulge on Thanksgiving and eat some delicious food, please understand. However, I am going to work to not let it turn into an all-out glutton fest, eating 5 lbs of mashed potatoes myself (seriously, I could do it).

So the number I'd like to be at? Something <=253.4 lbs. This number has been reached as a result of the following:
  1. It represents the lowest weight I've been on this journey. I think the first time it might have been a fluke though.
  2. I think 5 lbs in 2 weeks is doable given that I haven't been working on this in awhile. My body should let the weight go, especially with a sudden increase in activity level.
  3. Why not be ambitious?
So, I will keep you posted. Lately I have become a daily weigher, which I know is not what WW would recommend but I guess I am obsessive like that. I don't freak out too much when there is a big change -- it is mostly for informational purposes. I will keep you posted. I only half believe that I can actually do this, so encouragement is most certainly appreciated. Anyone else want to jump on this wagon with me now?

Great News - I can exercise again!

So the good news -- in case you're not friends with me on Facebook -- is that I can exercise. WOW! Who would have thought that that would be something to make me ecstatic. Back in the day I would DREAD the thought of exercising. Celebration would have been the last reaction I would have had to the ability to exercise. But now? I AM SO PUMPED!

I went to my new doctor and I really liked her. She seems to think that the degeneration in my back is not nearly as bad as the chiropractor thought, and that I should absolutely exercise to help get over this. She said that I would probably have back problems for the rest of my life (sorry folks, I'm not allowed to lift heavy boxes or help with moving), but that I could expect to have about 20 or so years relatively pain free other than the occasional flare up.

Last night I went to the aqua abs class I usually go to and it wasn't bad. It was the easier of the two teachers which probably worked out better for me in that I could ease into it. I also decided to get my elliptical on and did about 35 minutes there. The intensity varied from high hills with a lot of resistance to not much resistance at all. I really wanted to quit a couple times, but I soldiered on and it ended up feeling great. This time I will try to remember my headphones though, to make things more enjoyable :) Tonight I am going to try to do both the abs class and the aqua aerobics class...and maybe even some elliptical if I am feeling ambitious. If anything starts to hurt, though, I am going to take it easy. Don't want to aggravate things.

Monday, November 16, 2009

And, she punts.

I haven't forgotten my idea below, but I am too exhausted to think about it right now. I just got home about 45 minutes ago from working out, eating, shopping. I will update this tomorrow. I owe you 2 blog posts. Sorry readers.


I will post the idea tonight in its more filled out version, but I had an idea. I have told you guys that I am working to maintain my weight through the holidays. I usually give myself a couple pounds leeway figuring there is a little give and take around how much sodium you consume, how much water you consume, etc.

Anyway I feel so invigorated after some good news I received this morning (I will post about it later -- at work now and I want to give this news the semi-lengthy post it deserves) that I feel inclined to step it up a notch. I want to post a loss by Monday November 30. I will post more about how much I weighed this morning and what I will consider a victory tonight when I have time to think about it and analyze the numbers.

Feeling hopeful...

This post might have a little TMI -- you have been forewarned.

Because I haven't been going to the gym or water aerobics because of these freaking back issues, I haven't been shaving. Things had gotten pretty disgusting and very stubbly. I am going to the doctor this morning, and hopeful that she will let me do some gentle exercise after going to see her. In preparation, I shaved.

Can I just let you know what a difference this made? Wow, I feel kind of like a new person! There really is something to the whole "letting yourself go" concept. I feel so much better than I do yesterday, and all because of a little thing. I should not go this long without shaving again...unless I am trying to build up to the point I can wax (I thought about it this time but decided that is WAY too expensive so skipped it).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Overdue Hiking Post - Glory Hole

I took this hike last weekend and promised a post on my hike eventually. Sorry it is overdue, but here it is...

First of all, get your minds out of the gutter. I went to the Glory Hole which is not what you sickos think, but rather a pretty neat waterfall in Arkansas. The name is derived from the fact that over the years water has eroded away at a hole though which comes a pretty neat waterfall. I had seen beautiful pictures, but was honestly slightly disappointed when I saw the hole myself for the first time.

First of all I had read this is an easy hike. I would kind of agree, but also disagree would caution future hikers/guidebook writers not to mistake "short" and "easy". The hike is relatively short (~2 miles round trip), but it is STEEP and the trail is really beat up -- you really need to watch for potholes or you will roll your ankle, guaranteed. It is worth the trip though. Let me start at the beginning.

The trail is not easy to find unless you absolutely know what you are looking for. The directions say to look for a split in the road and 5.7 miles from the split, look for a barn with an "E" on the side of it. I was expecting a hugely painted E -- the E is not small, but it is pretty modestly sized. Nothing at all like a full-sized Coca Cola ad or anything of that magnitude, but still big enough to see. Heaven help future hikers finding this trail if the owners of the barn decide to paint over that E! You are then supposed to pull over and park across from the "house". Let me say that to use the term house on the structure that this trail is across from is pretty generous. It is a structure to be certain, but use your imagination to come up with a stereotypical vision of what you would picture as an Arkansas house, and sadly that would be about what this "house" looked like. When I get into rural Arkansas (which is usually only when I go hiking or kayaking), I am amazed at the poverty. It is really quite startling.

Back on topic...I saw there were 10-12 cars pulled off to the side of the road and figured I must be in the right place. I thought for sure this couldn't be a good idea to park like this but I did it anyway since I had driven about 2 hours to get to this place. Turns out my car was fine.

There is about a 1/4 mile walk from the main road to the trailhead. It is not a bad walk -- flat with some potholes but overall fine. At the trailhead there is this marker. Ahh, rustic Arkanas at its finest. Gotta love redneck advertising and the unnecessary quotes.

In case you can't read it, the sign says "The 'Glory' Hole". I can only imagine how the subtitle was written. I believe it first said "About 1/2 mile". I think as an afterthought someone wrote the + so it read "About 1/2+ mile". The most hilarious part (and the reason I took the picture) is hard to see, but beneath the subtitle someone had written in chalk "about 2 miles back". So so true (even though it is the exact same trail that leads you both down and back--this absolutely seems accurate!).

The hike down is not a huge deal. It probably takes about 1/2 hour or so. It is noticably steep though. I had to say it made me nervous to hike back while taking this huge drop in elevation on the way down there.

The trail ends pretty abruptly. Thankfully, there was a group of hikers down at the bottom who told me that this, indeed, was the end of the trail. From the end of the trail, you are able to clearly see the hole through which the water falls (if you know to look for it that is).

From the hole, though, it is a non-trivial (but short) hike to get to the falls itself.

The hike from the hole shown above to the falls basically sucks. This picture hopefully gives you a little appreciation for the difficulty of reaching the bottom (at least for people who have lived ~29 years/30 worth of a sedentary lifestyle).

It's worth it, though apparantly the time of the day when I came was pretty underwhelming from a lighting perspective. I was unable to capture some of the beautiful shots of this place I had seen in books and online. Oh well, I guess we can't all be Tim Ernst, can we?

The hike up? Let's just say it sucked. And the people who said it was 2 miles back? That seems about right. I could not find online the elevation gain on the trail, but it was so significant, especially for someone from the flatlands of Northwest Ohio. I was glad I had my 32 oz waterbottle with me, and a gallon of water in the car. I think I had about 80 oz of water during/immediately after this hike -- and it was only about 65ish degrees (which, incidentally, I am convinced is the perfect weather for hiking)!

My final verdict on this hike is that it is really nice, but not worth a 2 hr drive. If you're in the area, absolutely stop in. If you can couple this with another hike in the area, do it. However, don't just drive 4 hrs round trip to see this. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I do have to say this hike left me a little disappointed. However, I got to listen to 3 episodes of This American Life, so it wasn't so bad afterall :)

Terrible day with a Glimmer of Hope

Today was not stellar on several fronts (the details are unimportant but they involve car alarms and a ticket), but I am happy to say I think the weekend of self-imposed bedrest is working. My back feels a lot better today. I am going to a new doctor in the morning (the one that I am very hopeful is not a jerk) to get a second opinion and to talk through several issues with her. The ones most notable to this blog are that I would like to know what to do about my back, and what I can do to get off my blood pressure medicine.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bed Rest

My back hurts less today. I am on a self imposed day of bed rest. I have done nothing all day -- not even showered. I need to go grocery shopping, but I may or may not actually do so. I need to get healthy groceries so that eating healthy is the easier thing to do. Does anyone have any easy, healthy recipe or snack ideas? Quick things preferred but healthy and tasty are enough.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Random Bullets of Crap

  • I am back within my control limits (257.8), but barely.
  • I am losing muscle and gaining fat. Fat up by about 2% to 52.5% and muscle down from 22._% to 21.5%. Sad, especially since I am gaining weight AND the percentages are changing.
  • Being an engineer, I am a metrics/measurement person. This is a blessing and a curse.
  • I think I might need to go back to the counselor. This is all really bumming me out.
  • I am tired of hurting.
  • I wish I knew what the outlook was from here.
  • I know people lose weight by modifying their food only (i.e., not exercising), but I have no idea how. I suck at eating well, but excel at exercising. I think it is because I enjoy exercise.
  • This break really makes me want to be more ambitious when I am feeling well again. Not sure exactly what that means but I would like to do something big and measurable (e.g., a half marathon -- though I don't think my knees approve of that quite yet). Maybe I will take up cycling and do a long organized ride. (Cycling is supposed to be good for your back)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Top o the Mornin'

This morning I weighed in at 259. Yesterday I was 255. There is no way this is all real weight but still, it's depressing since it's outside my "control limits" of 255-258 (you liked that, right IEs?). Probably because I had cheese fries for lunch and spaghetti sauce for dinner -- yay salt! Also, my pants weren't so keen to zip this morning. Yes, they were freshly laundered but still you have to be kidding me. This day is off to an awesome start.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Terrible day

I had a rough one today. Not even for any particular reason. My day just kind of was a low level of suckage all day. I wanted to eat anything and everything bad for me. I had cheese fries for lunch and the urge to keep eating badly continued all.day.long. I decided to go on a walk at the end of the day instead of eating myself into a food coma. I felt like I was kind of pushing it since I shouldn't do exercise because of my back right now. Well, my back solved that problem by letting me know almost immediately just how pissed at me it was. Just 100 steps (or less) from the car, it revolted and really started to hurt. Instead of taking a "real" walk, I walked to the swings and sat there for awhile and cried. I felt stupid: an overweight 30 year old on a swing, crying alone at dusk in a park. Fortunately no one seemed to notice or do anything. I would have felt even more ridiculous then! Here's hoping tomorrow is better.


Thing here have been busy. A couple quick things:
  • I finally have a diagnosis on my back: degenerative disc disease. The bottom part of my L4 is going.
  • I changed PCPs from my jerk doctor who I can't stand and actively avoid to one that I have a personal recommendation on (and who is female!)
  • My eating has been terrible. Not focusing on it.
  • My brother and my mom have each saved me from going on food benders, on two consecutive days. David talked me out of the candy aisle at Target, and mom helped me walk away from the Ben and Jerry's at Walmart.
  • Feeling pretty down here, and overall malaise. Something needs to change.
  • The worst one: I haven't been able to exercise normally for almost 3 weeks now. This native is most assuredly restless.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Why are people fat?

I've heard and read it all. Well, not all, but enough for me to realize that people are willing to chalk up their lack of weight loss to so much crap -- but not very willing to accept responsibility that in 95% of cases they've earned it, one bite of cheesecake at a time. I have heard that the reason people are fat is because they're drinking diet drinks and the aspartame is causing them to crave sugar. Also heard recently it's because we don't eat organic so the fungicides, pesticides, etc. are concentrated in our bodies poison us and so we cannot lose weight. There are other things I've heard as well that I am not remembering now for some reason.

Do I think there's an element of truth to these things? Probably. I mean it's better to eat an all organic diet and drink only water and organic milk, I'm sure. However, it really all does come down to something pretty simple. Losing weight (and maintaining it) is about eating less (the same number of) calories than you burn. It's not rocket science. Doing it the right way by eating whole foods and so on is the right way to lose weight, but even if you eat 1300 calories of cheeseburgers a day, you will lose weight. You won't be healthy, but you will lose weight.

Convincing people that their fat is not their fault can earn you a lot of money. It might even get people short term results, but it can ruin their bodies and metabolisms (Atkins anyone???). This is one of the reasons we're fat in the US. I'm a poster child, too. Trying to change it, but it's not always easy.

Oprah struggles with her weight, as you no doubt know. She has promised that if she ever finds the magic bullet -- that pill that will make you lose weight without ruining your body and without any effort on your part -- she will let us know. She has the money to try it all so I am not going to try that crap myself. With time and discipline, I can do this myself and it all boils down to a simple (yet tough) idea.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Food and Exercise report - 11/7/09

I started off the day with homemade pumpkin pancakes. I had tried these before and I liked them, but found them less pumpkin flavored than I would have liked. This time, I used the whole can of pumpkin (~1.75 cups) rather than the recommended 1 cup. Much more pumpkin-y and to my liking. I also made cranberry syrup for the first time. I googled around for recipes and ended up just doing my own thing which was a hybrid of many of them. I used a bottle of maple syrup, about 2/3 bag of fresh cranberry, about half the syrup bottle full of water, a bit of OJ, and some brown sugar. I think something to make the syrup spicier would have been good -- perhaps next time I will add some ground ginger and some crushed cardamom pods. I had some milk too. Nice start to the day. Believe it or not I only ate two pancakes exactly as the picture shows. They were SO GOOD and I could have easily lost it, but I did not. I like this camera accountability idea.

Today I decided to go hiking because the weather was gorgeous -- it was in the seventies and perfect. I got a late start and so I had a snack around 1 PM. A delicious honeycrisp apple. Yum.

For lunch, I had a 6" Subway seafood sensation (my favorite sub), Doritos, and a Diet Coke. I also bought some grapes and the lady at Subway was nice enough to wash them for me. (The nearest Subway to my house is in Walmart). I asked for extra veggies on the sub, for what that's worth.

A bit about the exercise. I went here and it will have its own separate post eventually, but there was a very telling sign at the top of the trail that said "Glory Hole, about 1/2 mi+ hike down" and someone penciled in "about 2 mile hike back". So true. Very steep descent/ascent which was a good workout. Work those glutes! (Note that on days that the Razorbacks play football at home, the gym is close leaving that option out.)

I got back to Fayetteville around 6. I really thought about going to get BBQ but I decided I would cook instead. I was at a loss for inspiration, but eventually decided to whip up some beans and weenies.

There is nothing redeeming nutritionally about beans and weenies and tater tots for dinner. I realize this. However, I did add an onion not only for taste but also for a veggie. Also I used Hebrew National 97% free dogs. They only have 40 calories/dog. Can you believe that?! Not health food by any means, but at least it's better than the standard beans and weenies. Also, I only ate half the stuff I made rather than all of it like I wanted to and like I definitely did in the past. In fact, after eating half and waiting it out 10 minutes I was still hungry and my stomach was growling like whoa. I wanted to eat some carrots but it turned out that I did not have any (sad!). I am annoyed I did not do anything in the veggie department for dinner.

For dinner, I had strawberries and whipped cream. I had about 2/3 a box of the berries and then mixed in the rest of the FF whipped cream I had remaining in the can from yesterday.

All in all, not a bad food day. Way better in the fruits and veggies department than yesterday, though there is still room for improvement for sure. Most notably, I need more veggies. Also, although the cranberries probably count for a little, it's probably best not to get my fruit from syrup in the future :)
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