Saturday, January 30, 2010

Unofficial News

I know that you're not supposed to weigh in every day -- your body does weird things sometimes and you're supposed to look at the overall trend, not every single day, etc. -- BUT I am a daily weigher and sometimes I just can't help myself. Today was one of those days.

First of all, yesterday, I was having a bit of an internal struggle due to the ice storm. I had a bit of cabin fever, but I controlled my eating all day. I was sad/freaking out/annoyed I could not go to the gym so I was trying to think of creative things I could do to get exercise in here. I almost went for a walk at 10 AM, but I walked out onto my porch, saw it was sleeting, felt some pummel my face, and said "Yeah, there is no way that is going to happen!" However, later in the day it was snowing and that is actually pleasant to walk in. The resistance the snow can provide is good exercise too! I bundled myself up and went for a half hour walk to some bumpin music* and it was great. I love listening to fast music because it makes me walk more quickly. Although I did work out, I was nowhere near the recommended 3150 calories the Bodybugg says someone my weight should burn if they want to lose weight. (Of course this is only half the equation, but I do not track my calories -- only my WW points -- and there is no simple conversion between the two so I am not sure exactly how my substantial my calorie deficit/overage ever is). Punchline of this paragraph: yesterday was hard, I ate pretty well but did not exercise anywhere near as much as I usually do. I was not sure how the scale would react. Also, I had a decent amount of soup and fajitas -- all of which are salty, so that compounded my scale uncertainty.

Imagine my surprise (DELIGHT!) when this morning the scale read 249.4. That is 50 lbs that I have lost since I started this journey on April 21. I was so so stoked! Some caveats: this is only the first day I have weighed this. Tomorrow due to natural variation, I could be above this -- who knows. Also, I don't consider anything my official weight until I reach it at WW. This often takes awhile because it is midday (when I am better hydrated and more clothed than I am when I weigh at home) -- but I don't care! IT IS COMING!!! And I will celebrate this now. I am all about celebrating these victories!!!! AND THIS ONE IS HUGE FOR ME!!!!

*Subway and the Biggest Loser have teamed up to make some good, bumpin music available for free. As far as I know, there are no gimmicks -- I downloaded this music Wednesday and haven't gotten any spam from them because I opted out of the e-mails.

Swim Class

One of the things that I love about the gym at school -- and this is certainly only one thing I love...I should do a post on why I love that facility so much sometime -- is that they have TONS of programs for students, staff, and faculty, and they are reasonably priced. I try to take advantage of many of the programs. This semester I am taking part in (at least) two: one called Commit to Fit, and a lap swim class that is offered which is the purpose of this post.

I swam in high school as I have written about before, but my career was not noteworthy. In fact, I really sucked. I enjoyed it, though, and was in the best shape I had ever been in in my life up until that point (I think I might be in better overall shape now). Since my time on the team, I have always loved swimming and wished I was much better at it. I figured this lap swim class is my opportunity. And for 10 weeks of instruction, 2/week for $35? Sign me up!! The ONLY bad news about this class is that it is during the only water aerobics classes I can take which makes me sad. However, it is probably a more comprehensive workout (although less ab work) so I think I will probably come out ahead -- I will just have to abuse my abs another way :) and I will return to WA this summer.

The first class, I was very nervous and not quite sure what to expect. There were about 15 people in our class, and they asked us to split into a fast and slow lanes. They said they would observe us swimming, and then move us around. I chose the slow lane (duh, did I really think I would be in the fast lane?!), but no one wanted to lead it so I volunteered. After I swam the lap, I felt pretty good -- not tired or anything, and it always feels great to be in the water. When everyone completed their laps, the teachers wanted me to move into the fast lane. I was thinking "OMG ARE YOU SERIOUS!?!?" but I tried to supress this on my face. They then had us start swimming laps. I kept passing all these people?! It was so bizzarre and it ended up that I was the third fastest person in the fast lane -- that is the third fastest person in the entire class! I was about to cry tears of joy on the inside. I mean, remember -- this is at a university, so these are mostly 20 year old students we're talking about not 30+ year old people! And I was the third fastest one!!! I think part of it is that the other students just aren't in shape yet -- but whatever the reason I will take it.

The class was good. They went over drills and I can tell they will help to improve my stroke. I hope that the practice, repetition, and improved technique will also help me to get faster. Maybe I will become a good swimmer after all. Apparently I am already not as bad as I think I am!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Perfect 10 - Week 4

This week was not noteworthy. Here is an update on my progress on my goals.
  • Not eat out except once a week - This was a HUGE fail. I lost count of how many times I ate out, but it was probably 4-5. Grade: F. Not sure why I totally lost my mojo on this one. I need to reevaluate this goal.
  • Lose weight - lost 2 lbs. Good job on this goal. Despite my huge binge on Sunday and not tracking a single thing I ate on that day (but tracking all other days), I lost weight. This is because I work out so much. I got a BodyBugg and now know that I burn an average of 3400-3700 calories on days that I work out, which is typically 6 days per week. This was (more than) enough to create a ~7000 calorie deficit for the week, despite my serious overeating on Sunday. Grade: A-
  • Working out - I have settled into a rhythm so it is starting to feel like a routine. There is a small modification, though. I don't think I will be able to go to water aerobics anymore! Info to follow. This week I went to BodyPump, Zumba, water aerobics, and group cycle classes. Did not work on the elliptical goal -- although I did join a new gym so that it is easier to get time on the elliptical. I really like it and the classes are so much less crowded. I really like working out there, and it is nice not to run into any of my students. I feel more comfortable there. Grade: A
I have to say - I did not really give these goals much thought this week. Work has been absolutely insane, getting ready for a huge deadline and having to keep the normal things moving along too (teaching, working out, etc). I need to get past this deadline so I can refocus on my goals. I am also thinking about adjusting my goals a bit to be something I can relate more to. I will think about it.

My fact. This will not be news to my local readers but I'm not sure about everyone else. This is the second year in a row we've had a big winter weather storm, incidentally almost exactly one year apart. The first system that moved through is the same ice storm system that wreaked havoc on Steve's house (see his post - the damage was worst in Arkansas and Kentucky), and this year we were fortunate to have more of a snow storm than an ice storm. In the aftermath of last year's storm, many people were without power for a week or longer. However, I learned as a result of the storm that I am on the same power grid as Walmart and our local hospital, so I was out of power for less than 4 hours total. School was cancelled for almost an entire week because of all of the downed tree limbs and, worse, the tree limbs that had not fallen but were hanging on by a thread. With all of the foot traffic on campus, they could not have school until those overhead limbs were all cleaned up so as not to pose risks to student/faculty/staff/community pedestrians. This year, we have received about 6-8" snow and it is atop a thick layer of ice (thick enough that, when I tried to scrape my windshield yesterday, the ice was flush with my windshield wipers). People were much more prepared for this year's storm. We all learned last year. This storm has been much milder, though, and there are very few power outages reported. I went for a walk in it last night and it was very pretty. I only had one flicker of power but I never lost it completely.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Weight Watchers - Week 3

This week I lost 2 lbs. for a total of 9 over 3 weeks (um, wow!). I weighed in at 254, fully clothed, midday. I am excited. Not bad considering the debacle that was my eating on Sunday.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Man I am down tonight. My eating was atrocious today. I ate:

Breakfast - 1/2 - 3/4 of a Sam's club sized tub o' hummus, 3/4 sleeve Zesta crackers, 3 cups milk.

Lunch - 1.25 lbs King Crab, mashed potatoes (2 potatoes worth, reasonable amount of 1/2 and 1/2 and butter) -- this would have been a legit meal were it not for the lack of vegetables.

Dinner - (this is the worst part) 1 large thin crust Papa John's pizza with onions, sausage, and cheese. THE.WHOLE.THING. Also about 1 L diet Coke.

Sigh. 2010 cannot be my year if I binge like this very often, as I have for the last 2 Sundays.

Although thus far n = 2, I'd say we're starting a trend here -- a trend of bingeing on Sundays that I don't like and must curtail. What is happening? What can I do to stop it?

Well to start, hummus has always been something that I have enjoyed and I think it has now risen to the level of a trigger food. Time to get that out of the house. I don't think I can have it around anymore (though anyone is welcome to invite me over and I will gladly eat some of your hummus, and because of cultural norms I'm unlikely to eat the whole tub when I'm at your house!). Sigh. I didn't even want the crackers I ate with the hummus to be honest. I just felt less gross eating hummus with crackers than doing the finger dip in hummus trick (I guess I'm classing it up in my old age -- I used to not be ashamed to dip my finger in a tub o' frosting! Over and over until the whole thing was gone. Sheesh, I wonder how I ever reached breaths away from being 300 lbs?!).

More fundamentally, I think I am feeling sad and jipped on the weekends. The pressure and volume of work at my job lately does not permit me to have legitimate weekends these days. Yes, I work less on weekends than I do on the weekdays, but I really do resent having to work so much on the weekends. Today, for example, I would bet that I worked 6 hours. That pisses me off. I think I ate partially to deal with that. The thing is, bingeing hurts no one but myself and it puts me in an even deeper funk than just working so much does -- something I definitely don't need/want as baggage to start the week off with! Does anyone have any coping strategies around this one? I think I need to find a way to get this all out. It might be time to start therapy again.

It is still hard to feel like my friend options are so limited. I have made a couple new friends lately, but with most of them (not all) I feel like there is something forced about these friendships. I feel that I can't whine about not having friends if I don't do stuff with people I don't know well (i.e., make attempts to gain friendships), but some of them end up just being such a waste of effort. I feel awkward around them, and not at all like I have the freedom to be myself. I have a hard time justifying spending the time on building these friendships when I am so exhausted and my time is stretched thin to start with. I mean, by Fridays I am usually so spent -- for example, this week I fell asleep this Friday on the couch at 6:30, woke up and went right to bed at 8, was up between midnight and 1, and then slept until around 5:30.

On the weekdays it feels like the busy-ness I experience is justified. I get up early, work hard all day, work out, come home, sometimes work and sometimes don't, pack lunch, pack workout clothes, go to sleep around 10 or 10:30, and get up the next morning and start it all over again. I have (besides the workout time) usually 1-2 hours plus lunch to myself or with work friends. I hate having to give the weekends up too.

You know, another thing that might play into these binges is fear. I used to think it was such a line of BS when people losing weight would talk about being afraid once they started losing the weight. For example, one common thing I would hear from women (especially those who have been in destructive relationships or have trust issues with men) is that once they lose weight, guys start hitting on them again, they freak out, and then they balloon up. While I'm nowhere near the point that this is happening (I still weigh more than 250 lbs people!!!), on some level I do think my recent weight loss has freaked me out a little. The binges might be an attempt to sabotage that. This week I was losing 0.8 lbs everyday. Last week I lost 4.4 lbs. As far as I can tell, I am not doing anything unhealthy -- I work out a lot, I eat all of my WW points (and almost always use all 35 free points and am not shy about using my activity points, although I do like to have a balance of 35 when the week is over). However, I am losing weight at a faster than recommended pace, and that scares me a bit, perhaps to the point that it played into the binge. That is no reason to self sabotage, yet I am doing it.

This post has been all over the place. I do not know what is causing the bingeing. The bingeing bothers me, makes me feel ashamed, is not worth it in the end, and is not healthy for me. But yet I do it anyway. I don't think I know why. I want to cry when I think about it. I am not sure what the void is, but I am using food to fill some kind of void. Food was not meant to fill any sort of a void, and it is unable to do that -- it is simply fuel for my body. I need to figure out what is causing these binges, work to alleviate whatever that is, and STOP IT!!! 2010 is so my year, but it can't be if I sabotage myself like this weekly.

Edited to add - I am usually not one to beg for comments, but I need to tonight. I feel really alone on this one. If you have any hypotheses, experiences or encouragement to share, I would really appreciate it. I am really trying to figure this out and dig myself out of, not deeper into, this funk. If you can't/don't want to comment -- please FB message, text, or e-mail me if you feel so inclined. Thank you so much.


Today is not off to a good start. I also binged last Sunday. Maybe it has to do with Sundays? More likely is that it has to do with things in the house I love and have a hard time portioning out. Today's suspect: a tub of hummus.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Perfect 10 - Week 3

It's Friday (well it's 12:25 so technically it's Saturday, but show a little grace please?), it's time for a Perfect 10 update. My three goals are to eat out less, lose weight, and work out.
  • This week I ate out three times. My goal is once or less. Technically I think two of these times are ok and fall within the parameters of my initial post. Let me tell you about each of the times I ate out. The first time I ate out last was last Friday. I was supposed to meet a friend who I don't know too well (just met her once at hiking club) for dinner and to go to a comedy show. I told her I was going to be cutting it close to the starting time (7PM we thought) because I had a Zumba class that did not end until 6:30 and I would just meet her at the comedy venue. I made it to the comedy venue around 6:55 and it was COMPLETELY. EMPTY! I learned that the show didn't start until 8 PM. I called my friend and asked where she was. She responded "Oh we're close. In Pineville I think?" I googled where Pineville was to see how close she was, and realized she meant Pineville, MO, not Pineville, AR -- which is 57 minutes away. Um, how is that close?! Anyway, I told her there was no way I would be able to wait for another hour plus after the show to eat. I had just finished Zumba so I was hungry!! And now I was really somewhere in the annoyed to P.O.ed range because of this rudeness -- since when is an hour away a "little" late?! At this point in the story, I decided I had no choice but to go out (did not have time to go home, eat something, come back). I was annoyed because I was "wasting" my meal out eating by myself -- and I did feel like a bit of a loser chowing down by myself at a restaurant on Friday night. I really wanted to eat something unhealthy, and a lot of it. I get that way when I experience strong emotions -- and in this case I was so pissed. However, I did not use the opportunity to overeat. I went to the greek place and I ordered a side salad and a chicken gyros plate (just the meat) with rice. It is tasty. I ate half and saved the rest for the next day. I stayed well within my WW points for the day and made food choices I was really proud of. I have to say, the whole experience made me feel so excited, and like I really was changing my life rather than falling into the destructive bad habits of the past. I am sure I felt so much better about just making good choices than I ever would have been stuffing my face with something unhealthy. I ate out two more times that week -- once because I did not have time to go home for dinner (and could not figure out anything to pack that did not need refrigerated all day and/or nuked for dinner), and another time because - even though it should have been like the day before with the no time to go home for dinner thing, it ended up not being like that since I decided not to work out when I realized I had not had a workout-free day for over a week. By the time I realized this and made the decision, I was so excited/pumped to eat at Jimmy John's that I just decided to do it. Total for the week: 3 meals out. Two over my goal but technically only one illegal meal. Fail, but I feel better about it this week than last. I have to say that every time I eat out now, I wince a little on the inside because it usually costs $8-12 (I have been going to modestly-priced restaurants now). Did I really used to spend that kind of $$ everyday to eat out, and twice probably 3-4 times/week? Yes, yes I did. Oy.... I give my goal on this for the week a C+ again.
  • My second goal was to get the WL train moving again. Slam dunk on this one: lost 4.4 lbs this week, although I still don't really get how I pulled such a big number. I did the same things I did the week before and didn't really step it up in any aspect of my program. Grade A+
  • My third set of goals were exercise related. I wanted to attend three different classes weekly -- and I did: Zumba, Water Aerobics (and Aqua Abs for a bonus), and Body Sculpt. I think I have settled into a nice rhythm here. For the elliptical, I did not do anything on this goal and now (I think because I've been off the machine for so long -- I only did it twice this week because the gym is still packed and it is tough to get time on the machine) I don't care about this goal anymore. Not sure if I will continue to keep it or not. Grade A.
Previously unknown fact: My dad was a truck driver when I was a child (he just retired relatively recently), and when I was little one of my favorite things was to take short trips with him. One of the reasons was because I liked to spend time with him, but one of the other reasons was because when I traveled with him we would eat out and he would stop at McDonalds and get me hot chocolate. He told me when I was younger how he was sick of McDonalds and I just could not wrap my 6-year-old brain around that. I totally get it now, and the thought of McD's almost always revolts me -- but I do have to say that I love most of their breakfast sandwiches and now most days make a healthier version of the egg McMuffin. I use real ham (that I have honey glazed in my own delicious way -- not the deli variety), a 1 point super-high fiber English Muffin, a free-range egg I cook overeasy in one of those egg circles, and a wedge of laughing cow cheese -- preferably the garlic and herb variety. I usually have this with a side of cherry tomatoes.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Physical Therapy Update

My mom asked me yesterday for an update about physical therapy. I figured the rest of you might be interested too (if not - skip it and I won't be upset...)

I would say my results and satisfaction level with the PT are mixed. First of all, the good. I rarely feel pain in my hip anymore. Since identifying the problem as one with the sacroiliatic joint, they were able to tell me which activities to avoid and some exercises to do when it hurt. I follow the guidelines and am pretty much better.

Now onto the negative side. I feel like I was pretty much better by the time I finished my run with prednisone. I am not sure how much of the "better" I am feeling I can attribute solely to the physical therapy, how much is due to just giving it time to work itself out, and how much is due to the prednisone. Additionally, I get frustrated with the people at the office sometimes as well. First of all, the people who generally work with me are techs (not PTs), and some of them are incredibly arrogant and/or just not personable. Yuck. More annoying is the fact that I don't think they actually think I am in good shape, and I feel as though they try to dumb down the exercises for me (them: "No, don't lift your neck, it's easier if you don't", me: "But is this supposed to work my abs?", them "Yes", me: ???). The good news is that I believe they're starting to come around. Two quick stories on that. One of the exercises they had me do was as I was laying flat on my back with my leg lifted but bent so my calf was parallel to the floor. The tech applied pressure to the bottom of my foot and I was supposed to push against him so that my leg stayed still. He had been giving me all kinds of lip (not sure if he meant that as flirting or if he was just generally incredibly obnoxious), so at one point I told him -- honestly -- that if he did not shut up I would roundhouse kick him! I had a window of opportunity, it was not like I just said that out of the blue -- but as I am typing that I realize that might have been a little too much. Anyway I was doing this exercise to apply resistance and I ended up pushing so hard that I moved my 260 lb self and the bed I was sitting on back about 2". He was like "Oh, I guess you are strong." I was thinking "DUH I WAS NOT LYING! PLEASE LISTEN TO ME, YOU JERK!!!" I think they have a hard time believing someone as overweight as I am could be strong. The joke is on them, since I have been working out religiously since April and weight training since last summer. Another story like this is that they were massaging my quads at one point and the therapist was asking "Does that hurt?". I told her it didn't. She worked on the area a little while longer and asked "Are you sure that's not tight?" and I told her it wasn't. She said "Oh, I guess that is a muscle!"

Today they gave me harder exercises. The d-bag who I threatened to kick last time was my tech again today. Apparently I scared him because he would barely talk to me. Anyway, he watched me pretty closely and I think he thought I would not be able to do their exercises. I was able to do them all and I started sweating. You could tell he was impressed. I love love love proving people who think I can't do something wrong!!! Also it was nice to actually feel like I am working out, and to have these exercises help me -- if I'm going to invest 1.5 twice a week into something, I might as well burn some calories!

I asked about the prognosis and how long this would continue, because it is actually pretty time consuming to go to therapy twice a week. The therapist said she would re-evaluate me sometime next week to see how much I have improved. I would love it if she gave me a clean bill of health and told me I did not come back.

I am so glad I feel better and that most things do not hurt to do anymore. I will give the PT at least part of the credit for that. I am so happy I can exercise again; I can't imagine doing this journey without exercise.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I lost 4.4 lbs this week according to WW! YES!!!!!!!!! So delighted. I am now 256, in the middle of the day, fully clothed. I can barely believe it. I am so glad the weight loss train is moving again, and that I am able to do this in a healthy way.

This loss is particularly noteworthy, I think, given the mini-binge I had Sunday and given that I am going to have to eat out a little extra this week. I am so glad to be losing this weight. I am even more happy that I am having fun doing it -- loving the delicious healthy stuff I eat, loving working out. Basically, I am loving life. It is so great.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

MLK's Legacy Goes Beyond what you think

Today Martin Luther King III came to Fayetteville. I was really excited to hear him speak, as I think his father's legacy and the role he played in helping African Americans to gain rights in our country is absolutely amazing. I find it even more amazing the way in which he was able to accomplish the the things he did non-violently.

Sadly, I was very underwhelmed with his son's speaking abilities. He is incredibly (and sadly) very inarticulate, telling us about his work with the "Croatians, Serbians, and the Bosniks" and encouraging us to go see the movie "Inviticus". He created more words that George W. Bush did, seriously -- and he was all over the place. Anyway, that is neither here nor there.

I did stay for the Q and A after MLK III (mercifully) stopped yammering, and I asked a question of my own. I asked Dr. King, "What is your favorite memory of your father?" His answer kind of surprised me and (I promise) is actually very pertinent to my blog (this is the reason I went there).

MLK III shared a few different memories. One was about how his Dad loved to take he and his four sisters to the local YMCA. They would all exercise together. He also taught them to swim when he was there, and all four of the King children became good swimmers just like their Dad.
WOW!!! I thought that was such an amazing memory! It was so noteworthy to me that it became one of MLK III's favorite memories -- being active and having fun with his Dad. If I ever have kids (no promises), I want to be active with them. I want to enjoy moving and having fun with them. I want to set a healthy example for them. I am amazed and so impressed that this incredibly busy man who made such a difference in the history of our nation spent time moving and exercising with his kids. I am quite devoted to exercise, but this is one more reason to call BS on the excuse of being too busy to work out. If MLK found time to exercise and move with his kids, I can do this for myself -- even though I am really busy.

Misc. Updates

  • This week is so f-ing busy. Both today and tomorrow are going to be work->gym->other engagement days which won't land me home until around 9 PM...and will require me either to pack two dinners or grab dinner out. I am going to grab dinner out and I won't feel badly about it, even though I won't make my Perfect 10 goal for the week. My heart is in the right place and I just cannot forsee an easy workaround for this (can't keep the food cold all day and I won't have access to a microwave at night). I would eat at home if I easily could.
  • I have been getting lots of compliments on the way I am losing weight today. I must have picked something flattering to wear? Gotta love wearing black and gray.
  • Today I am wearing a skirt I got from Target in October on clearance for $5. Although it did not fit at the time (much to my dismay), it was a 20 and I thought I would be able to get into it soon enough. Well, if by "soon enough" you mean "2.5 months later", it did :) I tried it on last night for kicks and it fit with some room to spare. Some good news to get my week going. I need it since I anticipate this week will kick my butt.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Clothing Hit List - update

For kicks, I tried on the pair of jeans I posted about that were one of the first items on my hit list. They now zip and button! PROGRESS!

Let's be honest though they in no way look good. They're not ready for their public debut, as they set me up for an absolutely horrific case of muffin top. We're talking one of those jumbo muffins with a huge top, too, not a little 3-4 point muffin...the 10-12 point cousin!

However, they zip. Progress. I'll keep working away at it, melting shredding the fat and eventually (in Cancun or sooner), I will wear them and take a picture. One that will not mortify me :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Two steps forward, one step back

Some days, I am riding so high on my weight loss horse. "I've got this!" and "Man, 2010 is so my year" repeat through my head. And, most importantly, I actually believe it. I think I can do it. And I am doing it.

Some days, however, the old stuff comes back -- the negative self talk, the wanting to give into bad habits and, at worst, actually doing the stuff that I know is counterproductive to my goal to live a consistently healthy lifestyle. Yesterday was one of those days.

On Saturday, I was going through some of my DVR-ed shows. I have been slammed like a mo fo at work, and so I had very little time to do more than the minimum (eat, sleep, workout, and WORK) this week. Ellie Krieger's Healthy Appetite on the Food Network is one of the shows I like to record. She had a delicious recipe for mixed berry cobbler that looked so good, and actually pretty healthy. If you calculate it out, there are only 4 points per serving -- NOT BAD! I had all of the things the recipe called for so I decided to make it. I enjoyed one serving and man was it great. I did want more (and in the past probably would have finished the whole thing), but I also wanted to be able to enjoy it several more times so I decided to do the wise thing and stick with my one serving.

I woke up the next morning and had a serving for breakfast. I used to do this all the time -- leftover cake? Breakfast food. Leftover pie? Cobbler? Cookies? Pizza? Whatever... if it was really good and somehow there managed to be leftovers (which was admittedly rare), I would not be shy about eating said treat for breakfast.

I'm not sure I'll be able to do that again. After I ate the serving, I wanted another. I usually try to ride cravings out and am often successful at doing so. This craving was somehow different. I felt like I absolutely had to have this cobbler. And, sure enough, I ate the whole damned thing. Ugh. I fell into fatalistic thinking -- "I've ruined the day -- I could not possibly track all it's a food free for all!". For lunch I had two big ham sandwiches and went to the gas station and bought some Diet Coke and a 2 7/8 oz bag of Doritos. The good news is that I got rid of two buns from the freezer that are high point values and now I don't have to feel guilty about throwing them away. I guess you could also consider it progress that I bought 20 oz Diet Cokes and a little bag of Doritos when at the gas station. But, for real, was that really necessary? Um no. And even if I decided it was necessary (or at least worth it), I should have tracked it.

In the afternoon, I went to a Zumba class and a Body Sculpt class. Those are two of my favorites and will really tear through the calories. If I had to bet I probably came out even or with a slight calorie deficit for the day because my binge wasn't that huge...but still, the behavior I exhibit on days like yesterday is in no way rational, necessary or most importantly healthy.

When I do stuff like that I realize that I have a problem -- a real, emotional, visceral connection to food that can control me if I am not careful. I am glad binges like that are no longer as frequent or destructive as they used to be, and that I am starting to analyze these situations to see what causes them. However, I wish I didn't have them at all. I can't wait for the day when food, truly, does not define me or drive my behavior. Food should not inhibit me from living my best life. It is fuel for my body. That's really it. I have elevated it to give it power it should not have and does not deserve. Power that I need to -- and am starting to -- take back.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Perfect 10 - Week 2

Remember that I committed to a 10 week challenge called the Perfect 10. Quick review: I have three categories of goals. Updates below.
  • Goal #1: Eat out once a week or less (there are some caveats, read the original post for details) - I ate out twice this week, but I would hardly call either meal worth it. Sunday night I was munchy munchy and just in the mood to eat crappy food. Sunday I just didn't feel like things were clicking. I have no idea what was up. This story, unfortunately, does not end well. It ends up, of all places, at the Sam's Club snack bar. While grocery shopping I just could not resist one of those pieces of pizza. Well, technically I could have, but I chose not to. A $2.48 slice of pizza and pop. Are you for real?! I hemmed and hawed over whether I should count that as a meal out. I mean, my motivation was both financial and for health. Should I really count $2.48 as an infraction? I ultimately decided that, yes, I needed to. This journey is for me. It's not for anyone else. If I lie or stretch the rules about what it means to eat out, I am just harming myself. More fundamentally, it sets a dangerous precedent. Little white lies become bigger and bigger and bigger....until they're 299.5 lbs or bigger big. And man, I don't need that! The second meal was today at lunch. I had Subway. All by myself, the result of poor planning and not having a lunch ready. Like I said, neither meal out was really worth it. Overall grade on eating out goal: C. Worlds better than before the challenge, but it's week two so the grading gets tougher. To get an A you have to nail the goal, which I did not do.
  • Goal #2: Jump aboard the weight loss train again. I rejoined WW last week, and this week was my first weigh in. I lost 2.6 lbs. I count it a win. I am not loving weighing in fully clothed and later in the day, but loving watching the number go down :) I give myself an A on this goal.
  • Goal #3: The fitness goals. I wanted to attend three different fitness classes a week -- this week I did five. I did BodySculpt (very similar to Les Mills' BodyPump) -- it's an all over toning class, working through all the major muscle groups in the body. I did Zumba -- twice! I loved it. I did Group Cycle spinning classes -- twice! (and again in the morning too). Tough workout, but I like it and I love the music. I did PiYo (pilates yoga fusion) and boy do I despise it. I like stretching my hips out (helps with my SI joint pain), but I despise sun salutations. And the whole thing seems very boring to me. At least there is music. And, of course, I did my beloved water aerobics :) With respect to the elliptical machine goal I set, I did not work on it. I am not sure whether it is doable (probably it is), but let me offer a legitimate explantation as to why I did not work on it. This week the gym has been PACKED. I swear to you that every single sorority girl apparently made a New Year's resolution to hit the gym, because darned if they are not all there (typically in packs of 5-10). It has been absolutely a beast to try to get a machine at the gym. I give myself a pass on this, and am considering joining a real gym (in addition to the one at school) that is less crowded so that I can try to meet my elliptical goal. I have not decided on this yet. Overall for this goal: I believe I earned an A since I literally could not get time on the elliptical. (Bonus - earned 60 activity WW points)
Overall, my grades average out to a B+. Not atrocious by any standard, but I am a perfectionist and I WANT AN A!! I need to up the game if I am going to earn that for next week :)

As for a previously unknown fact (to most of my readers anyway) -- I failed swim lessons 3 different times when I was a child. I hated putting my face in the water. I feared drowning and would cling on to the poor teachers for dear life. Fast forward to high school. My senior year, I went out for the swim team my senior year because a lot of my friends were on it. It was a great experience and the same guy who used to run the swim lessons was the HS swim coach. He was incredibly patient and encouraging, and I love him and sincerely appreciate him allowing me to be on the team. It was such a great experience. I absolutely sucked at swimming -- I beat a grand total of 6 people in a swim race, ever, including one relay team of four (and, BTW, there are 24 swimmers in a relay event. I probably swam 2 relays a meet. Probably about 10 meets. See, I am not exaggerating when I say I sucked!) -- but I had a great time. Although it was not really my calling to be a swimmer, I did win the award for most team spirit. More importantly, it helped me to love the water. Swimming is still one of my favorite ways to exercise, and I am absolutely hooked on water aerobics and aqua abs classes -- I've come a long way from not even being to put my face in the water to spending an hour in a 13' deep pool (it used to be 5 days a week) for my water aerobics classes.


Today I saw at the post office what is without a doubt the WORST comb-over I have ever seen in person in my entire life. It looked absolutely atrocious. I snickered to myself. I tried to figure out if there was any subtle way I could take a picture with my iPhone. (I could not figure one out if there was.) I settled for posting a snarky status about said combover on my Facebook profile.

Self righteous person that I am, I basically thought to myself "WTF does this dude think he is hiding?! Does he seriously not realize how terrible this looks and that we all KNOW he is bald?!"

It wasn't until 5 minutes later when I was walking to my office that I realized what a hypocrite I was being. I mean -- let's be real. I used to weigh almost 300 lbs (and I'm not exactly planning to grace the SI swimsuit edition cover just yet). At my highest weight, sometimes I'd wear baggy clothes so as not to appear fat. I'd eat small portions and pretend to be full but then go home and eat a ton afterward. Who did **I** think I was kidding? I was the same as the comb-over man - trying to hide something that was undeniable, and only looking silly/preposterous in the attempt. A big difference, however, is that my attempt to fool myself was putting my health at risk -- this guy only looks silly with his combover.

It was an important reminder for me. I need to be a lot less self righteous and a lot less judgmental when I interact with others, even (especially?) strangers. My first impression was to judge this poor man who is obviously embarrassed about his baldness. His problem is genetic. My weight problem is the result of (MANY!!!) poor choices I have made. I cannot expect mercy from others if I do not extend it. It is a lot easier to tear people down than to build them up, but it is not the right thing to do. I need to work not only on making better choices not only with food, exercise, and lifestyle, but also with how I treat and view other people.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Weight Watchers - Week 1

Went to WW this week. I will probably write more about this on another post, but no promises since I am slammed at work this week. Just wanted to report the results of the weigh in. Down 2.6 lbs! This weight loss train has left the station. Next stop: 10% goal. Not sure how long it will take...but I'll get there. ALL ABOARD!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

What a difference a year makes!

Today classes started where I work. This semester I am teaching two classes, whereas some semesters I teach only one.

Last year, I remember coming home on the first day of classes around 6, absolutely exhausted. I curled up on the couch -- undoubtedly with some form of junk food -- and watched some Oprah I had DVRed. It was about New Years resolutions and health. She had Bob Greene on the show and I remember her asking the audience "Are you living your best life?" and I just immediately burst into tears. I had no idea how much I weighed -- probably somewhere near 300 -- and I had done basically nothing (I do not have a physically demanding job, although it can be quite mentally taxing), yet I was absoutely exhausted by 6 PM. My life was a mess, and I had no energy. I felt terrible about myself. In NO sense of the word was I living my best life.

Fast forward a year. Today I went to a spin class at 6:30 AM. I was at work by about 8:15, I worked all day, and left around 4:15 to go to a 4:30 class at the gym. I worked out until around 6:15, I came home and made dinner, and then I worked from about 7 until 9:15. I'm now going to pack my lunch (I never used to make lunches by the way -- I always ate out), get my gym and work clothes together for the morning, and head to bed by 10. I am not really tired, but I know that if I don't go to bed early it won't be easy for me to get up in the morning. I did so much more today than I did on the first day of classes last year, and I have energy leftover. It is such a wonderful feeling. It makes me feel like I have my life back. It makes me feel like I am 30 (like I am) rather than 80. It makes me feel alive. And I LOVE IT!!! This is so much better than the feeling I get eating junk food.

The pre-pre-pre Gun Show

I had a friend at work take these pictures of me today. Breathe easy, I didn't wear this to work without a jacket. I have some self confidence, sure, but I'm not that confident! Wear this in a room full of ornery undergrads? You have to be out of your mind (and junior high teachers, I have NO CLUE how you do it).

And wow -- rockin' quite the double chin there too. A very flattering few photos indeed -- ha!

Clearly I have a ways to go. Luckily I am so committed it is not even funny. I am really going to do my best to have that gun show by age 31. The key is losing the weigh. I work out already and will just keep it steady. If I don't lose the weight, though, you won't even be able to tell I've got strong arms...unless we get into a boxing match :)

Life here today

Today I really knocked it out of the park with respect to my exercise. It's not sustainable and it is unlikely to happen again anytime soon, but I met one of my Perfect 10 goals for the week already! Today I went to a spin class in the morning, and Body Sculpt and PiYo this afternoon. This meets one of my Perfect 10 goals which is to go to at least three different classes a week -- and it's only Monday!!!

I have to keep it real ya'll (yes, I am becoming southern) -- I am really not feeling PiYo or yoga at all. It can be so boring! Especially plain vanilla yoga. I'm not a fan and for some reason I absolutely despise sun salutations.

Today the gym was packed. I have to say that I really wish everyone luck on their new years resolutions but I do selfishly miss the days when the gym was less crowded. I guess that makes me selfish.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Not eating out

Remember that one of my goals for the Perfect 10 challenge is to eat out a lot less. I am doing actually really well on this goal! I have eaten out twice in the last week -- both times at Subway -- and since Christmas break started I think I have eaten out a total of five times. By the way, only two of these times were really "worth it": once when a friend who has moved away was here from out of town, and secondly when I had to work, exercise, and get to a show at the Walton Arts Center by 7. The other times could have been avoided with better planning and/or more desire to eat at home -- and the food probably would have been better.

There are a couple of things striking me on this whole eating at home phenomenon. First of all, I am drinking so much less soda. I used to order pop (I'm originally from Ohio; yes, I call it pop) with almost every meal I ate out. And since I ate out once a day -- sometimes twice -- most days, that adds up to a lot of pop! Let's *VERY CONSERVATIVELY* say that I ate out 5 times a week. Pop costs usually about $2 at a restaurant. This adds up to $520 a year! Think how many 2 liters you could buy with that money. Also, it's really not good for my health -- water is so much better -- so think about that aspect too. Now that I am eating at home and the holidays are over, I am only letting myself buy pop for very special occasions and very rarely.

The second thing that is striking me is how much I have developed as a cook. I am to the point where I'm not really afraid to try to make most things myself. Lots of times, they turn out really well! I really like my own shrimp fajitas, I can cook a really tasty honeybaked ham (the magic is in the glaze), and I took breakfast to a whole new level over break. I'm experimenting with soups and liking many of the results. I make onion and cheese stuffed burgers that are to die for. In short - I am really starting to get pretty darn good as a cook. Given that this is the case, why would I want to eat something made with (usually) inferior ingredients that I'm able to prepare myself, and be sure of the ingredients/point values? A lot of the times, it is better anyway. I am getting confident enough that I can alter recipes with reasonable confidence. For example, yesterday I made egg salad and it turned out really well. As I was making it, I played around with the Recipe Builder on the Weight Watchers website. This is a really slick tool that helps you to calculate how many points are in your recipe so that you can easily track what you're eating. I ended up fiddling around with the recipe until I ended up with something that was only 4 points for a generous about 1 cup serving! I was pretty happy/proud/excited! It was really really tasty too. I think one of the keys was spicy mustard and the other key to low points was not using all of the yolks. 3 egg whites = 1 point!

Over the break I made my signature tasty burgers. They're based on this recipe. Sunny Anderson swore you should use the fatty 80/20% beef and, although I was unwilling to do that, I did half the leaner 95%/5% and half the more fatty 80%/20% beef. I ate two of the burgers over the break, but I froze the other two to enjoy later. I nearly choked as I put the recipe into the recipe builder on the WW website. The hamburger patty alone was 12 points! It was delicious though and I did not want to waste the food so I was determined to enjoy it. Plus, I have about 40 activity points I've earned this week so I was in good shape point wise. I ended up having the burger on a bun (and not a WW bun either) with half an avacado spread on top. Here is the part that floored me. It made me realize how much I am changing, and how much my attitude toward food is changing. I wanted to enjoy this burger with some pop and Doritos. Instead of buying a normal grocery-store-sized bag of Doritos, I bought a smaller gas-station-sized bag (2 1/8 oz) and a 20 oz Diet Coke so that I would not have the rest sitting around. Was the price per unit of food/beverage higher? Yes, absolutely. But I am just glad not to have that crap sitting around my house tempting me and begging me to eat the rest. I think that, fundamentally, I am changing how I think about food. I am changing what it represents to me. And I am changing my value system around it. In the past I would have bought the huge bag of Doritos and I would definitely have bought a 2L of Diet Coke. Not anymore, baby! Times, they are a changin'.

Am I there yet? Um, no. I still have to focus on making healthy choices a lot. It still occupies a lot of my mental capacity, and is very emotional for me. However, when I do things like buying smaller bags and THEN think about how it is actually a big step, I get excited. I also feel hope that, in fact, I can change my life and sustain these changes. That is probably half the battle right there.

So overall? I am loving eating at home more and eating out less. It is more work. It takes more planning. I view it as an investment -- an investment in my health and well-being.


The other day I was watching the Biggest Loser (worthy of its own individual post, for sure). With the exception of Season 2 with Matt and Suzy, this a recent addition to my TV viewing. I am now watching the season where Ali wins (season 6 maybe?).

In the episode where they do the Prevention magazine photoshoot, they have to go to Macy's to pick outfits so that they can get all dressed up for their photo spread. Both Ali and Brittany have the same comment -- one that I have thought all the time. It made me realize that maybe most of us bigger girls share it.

They talked about the number of shoes, purses, and accessories they had. I am the same way. This is particularly ironic given that I didn't consistently carry a purse (favoring a sensible wristlet or nothing for a good 5 years, with short hiatuses) until earlier this year. I think my inability to shop for flattering clothes for so long also explains my obsession with any sort of Bath and Body Works, Body Shop, etc. products. There are no sizes on lotions or body butters. Bring it on baby! However, when I'd go shopping with friends accessories would be one of the only things I could shop for in many of the stores, because they would be one of the only things that would fit. Even shoes are tough for me to find -- although easier than plus sized clothes -- because I wear a size 11. I just don't fit into regular sizes yet, so finding them when I'm shopping requires a trip either to a special section of a store or to a special store altogether. Yes friends, I think my weight has fueled my love of bags, purses, earrings, and lotions. This is a result of hating the way I looked and hating having to face the dreaded three-way mirror present in most dressing rooms.

One of the things I am looking forward to most about getting further down the road of this journey is being able to shop at normal stores and know that they will have something to fit me!!! I think that life will improve a lot once I get solidly to a size 18. Most stores carry 16s so life will be even better then. If I'm a size 12 or 14 most all stores will carry clothes for me -- save the really fancy designers who design only for anorexics. I think some of them stop at a size 10. Fortunately, a) I can't afford these clothes anyway making it a non-issue, b) I live in Arkansas so no one here would sell them, c) no one would really know whether I was wearing Versace anyway here, and d) I really just don't care that much about labels.

I am currently a size 20 for most things (save the pants on the clothing hit list) after starting out at a 26. I am making progress and am kind of close to being able to get back in 18s. I've got a ways to go to be a 14 or 12, but I will get there. It will take time, but I am excited for the day to come!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Melting Fat

This has really been bothering me today. I have no idea why. I want to go on the record as saying "melt" is the wrong verb to pair with fat. Fat really doesn't melt away. It is chiseled away. It is hard work -- worthwhile work, no doubt -- but it isn't as easy as lighting a candle and then walking away. Any thoughts from the peanut gallery?

The gun show

I have not gone public on this one -- in person to some of you I have, but not online. By 31 I want to be on my way to rockin' a serious gun show. Now to clarify, I'm thinking more along thie lines of Michelle Obama....

not the American Gladiators...
I turn 31 on August 1. Last year my goal was to lose 30 lbs by the time I turned 30. I did that, have maintained it, and lost another 10 on top of that (actually 15 but I gained 5 back and have maintained the 10). This gives me almost 7 months to the gun show.

This gun show goal is different because I have no idea how I will declare victory. This is way more subjective than the 30 lb goal. I will take before pictures, though, and post them. My arms are not bouncy (aka no tricep windflaps), but they are squishy and I would be very hesitant to wear a tank top anywhere other than the gym.

To achieve this goal I will have to lose a substantial amount of weight. I suspect that, honestly, there is a gun show hiding out beneath a layer of fat since I have been working on weights relatively steadily since last July. Now, to unbury this gun show. Pics to follow.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Perfect 10 - Week 1

I am in for the Perfect 10 challenge. Here is my update, and I'm afraid that I will only earn a B- for this week.

Recall my goals are about eating out, losing weight, and exercise.

With regard to eating out, I have eaten out twice this week. Once was a bad mistake -- I had an appointment but did not eat lunch before it, got hungry and still had errands to run; I felt I had to eat out. It just wasn't going to work to wait until I got home (especially since grocery store was one of the errands). The second time I had a show to see at 7 PM and I worked out until 6:05 PM so I don't feel badly about grabbing some Subway to get to the theatre. Eating out only twice in a week does represent huge progress for me -- but I want to get down to once a week as stated in my goal. Better for my body and my wallet.

With regard to losing weight, who knows but I am doing the right things. I rejoined Weight Watchers. I am tracking everything meticulously -- even measuring everything. I'm doing the right things, so I think the weight loss will follow. We will see at my next Weight Watchers meeting.

Now the exercise. These do need some clarification/modification. Though my PT says I am allowed to do most things, one of the things I am NOT supposed to do is climb stairs so I am taking the stairstepper goal off of the list. It's not worth re-injuring myself over at all. Regarding the different classes, school starts next week and, with it, the regular schedule of fitness classes at my gym. This week the offerings have been quite limited, so I have not made it to any classes so far. I am hoping to make it to water aerobics this evening; weather permitting, of course. Regarding the elliptical machine. WOW I set a hard goal! I have downloaded several podcasts that have free workout music. My favorite are MotionTraxx and Technobeats. I tried to do an hour at 128 BPM (roughly the tempo of Black Eyed Peas' "I've Got a Feeling") on resistance level 12. HA! I did 20 minutes and then had to crank down the resistance. I've got a ways to go on that goal.

So, I'm in on the Challenge. Anyone else care to join? You can sign up over on South Beach Steve's site.

As for the random fact we're supposed to supply weekly as part of the challenge? I won two pie eating contests as a child. A glutton from a young age. Eating a whole pie at the age of 14 and probably about 8 in one sitting. Maybe my mom has pictures? If we can locate them, I will see if we can scan and post them. The more "impressive" of the two victories was against a probably 250 lb huge 13 year old. He was wearing a BFI shirt (similar to Waste Management). You could tell he meant business and was sure of his victory before the challenge even started. However, I just wasted this guy in the contest. You could tell he was surprised. Never doubt me! I'm way too competitive, and eating is something I excel at.

Getting my Fitness On

I have something that I am really proud of that happened yesterday. For various reasons (mostly schedule related), I have had a hard time being able to schedule my twice weekly training appointments with my personal trainer. I believe that weight training for toning is important, so I decided yesterday I would just go it alone.

This is signifiant for two reasons. First of all, the fact that I know what to do enough to actually figure stuff for myself out is amazing. I used to be so intimidated by those machines!! No longer. I can totally rock them now. The second reason it is amazing is because a friend was with me and I could show her what to do too! I was like "WOW!!" At one point for our third set of reps I told her "Last one, make it count!" I realized afterwards what I had said, and thought "OMG we have our own blossoming Jillian Michaels right here!" I'm just kidding about that -- I do have a long way to go before I would ever feel comfortable trying to stand on someone when they are doing wall sits. I would crush them (and not in a good way...)! And, I would like to think I would never endorse a diet pill as the right way to lose weight. Shame on you, Jillian. That still annoys me.

Physical Therapy

This week I have begun physical therapy. The therapist believes that I have problems with my sacroiliac joint -- where the pelvis meets the back. The symptoms are often mistaken for sciatica. Yup, sounds like she's got my number!

The good news is that there are very few restrictions on what I can do, and that she anticipates that I should be good to go in three or four weeks! YES! Yesterday, she gave me exercises I can do at home. There are only 5 that I need to do, and 10 reps of each once a day. Simple. I'll take it.

Incidentally, yesterday was my last day on prednisone. I ended up taking the whole course of treatment. Recall that these drugs helped with the symptoms of my pain (in addition to dealing with that horrific mango allergy), so who knows what today will be like painwise. I am hopeful it won't be too bad and, even if it is bad, it will be nothing like it was back in November or December when I could barely sit up some days. I am so grateful for my health, and to be back on the mend!

I have also read that prednisone is horrible for water retention and weight gain, so I am hopeful that I might be able to shed a few pounds now that I'm finished with the meds. We will see! I'll keep you posted.


One of my favorite things over the break was having the time to cook delicious breakfasts. I'm posting some pictures of my favorites.

thanks for the recipe Pioneer Woman!
The main idea is that there are hashbrowns, some veggies, ham and/or sausage and cheese covered by an overeasy egg. No idea how many points, but probably not a great WW choice. Delicious though, and worth an occasional splurge!

I got myself a wafflemaker for Christmas and have been using it a fair amount. I believe these are white chocolate chip pecan waffles. I subbed out 1/2 the butter the recipe called for in favor of melted white chocolate chips. Result? Delicious. Also made raspberry topping (the basis for the recipe I share later in the post), an egg, and a link of chicken apple sausage.

This looks gross but was actually really good. It would work on WW for sure. 2 eggs, scrambled with green onions, tomatoes, and some goat cheese. Also ate a grapefruit (peeling it into sections and then eating the sections is by far my favorite way to enjoy grapefruit!) and some sausage.

An egg, some chicken apple sausage, and a piece of french toast casserole. I had some cranberry pecan bread and "Woodstock" bread that I used to make this delicious treat. Probably not WW friendly, but sometimes I get surprised.

One of the most surprising things about the breakfasts is how full they kept me. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but sometimes it was not until 2 or 3 when I even felt hungry. Also, I ate the portions pictured (with the exception of the white chocolate chip waffles -- I made those on Christmas day and let myself have a couple). This represents a huge change for me as in the past, if something tasted good, I was not shy about admitting it and allowing myself seconds..and thirds...and fifths. I am still hopeful that someday I will have a healthy attitude towards food, viewing it as fuel for my body rather than a comfort item or something to say "good job" to myself with.

This morning, the weather was terrible and most local schools were closed -- so I decided to work from here today. I made banana sour cream pancakes, substituting light ingredients where possible. I also made berry sauce -- really easy. Just mix 1 c berries (I use frozen mixed berries from Sam's), 2 Tbsp OJ, 2 Tbsp corn starch, and 1/4 c sugar (I used splenda). Total for two pancakes and 1/3 of this berry mixture was 7 points. I wish I had taken a picture prior to devouring it, but I forgot. Sorry. Take my word for it though -- the results are delicious, and it looks really nice too. One more recipe to add to the list of "ways to get rid of bananas before they go bad".

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Weight Watchers - game on

I signed up today for Weight Watchers. I am going to go to meetings this time, but track everything online. I feel I will get the best of both worlds this way.

Because I didn't weigh in first thing in the morning -- that is, pre-food, pre-beverage, post-morning potty break, and sans clothes -- my weight was higher than I would usually report. My official WW weight is 263. This morning my scale said 259.8. I buy that my breakfast and clothes weigh about 3 lbs., so I trust their scale. It's only a starting point, and if I follow the program the number will go down.

One of the things I regretted somewhat when I started WW in the spring was that I did not take any before pictures. Now, granted, I was mortified of what they looked like so taking any pictures -- let alone those that were intentionally unflattering in, say, a swimsuit? That was out of the question. However, I was able to dig a photo out of the vault to give you some idea what I looked like...but, believe it or not, I think I looked even worse at my highest weight.

To avoid that same feeling of remorse, I took some photos of my StartingPoint 2.0. I guess those full length mirrors at the gym are good for something...

Trouble area? Belly. Totally. Also, chins #2-5. It's ok though -- this is a starting point. It's all downhill from here, assuming I work hard and stay on the plan. Get my fitness on, get my food tracking on, and say goodbye to the chins. Adios, baby.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Perfect 10

I am toying with the idea of doing the Perfect 10 challenge. Lots of the cool weight loss bloggers out there are doing it. The idea is that you set goals and report weekly for 10 weeks on your progress. Each week, you also share a random fact about yourself on your blog.

My goals are threefold.
  1. I would like to eat out less. In particular, I would like to eat out once a week at most with two caveats. First, if I am going out to eat with a friend that I would not otherwise get to see, I will allow up to two meals out a week (note, this does not apply to the daily lunches I used to eat with my colleagues). Second, I do not count catered lunches as eating out -- for example, food is provided at our bi-weekly faculty meetings; I will not count this against my eating out total.
  2. I am going to get the weight loss train moving again. I have been maintaining with reasonable success, but I need to lose weight. 255-258 is about 100 lbs. over a healthy weight for my height.
  3. I would like to keep the exercise train chugging along. I usually work out 6 days a week, and I would like to continue this. However, I would like to vary my routine a bit more than usual. In particular, I would like to
  • Attend at least 3 different classes each week (and just so I document it, I don't consider aqua abs and water aerobics different -- for the purpose of this challenge, they will be considered the same)
  • Be able to do 25 minutes on the stairstepper at once; currently I can only do 5.
  • Be able to do 135 BPM for 60 minutes on the elliptical at level 10 resistance and level 12 incline. I have no idea whether I can do this or not; it is an arbitrary goal I just now set.
So, those are my goals. I think they are ambitious but doable. Is anyone else out there game?

Weight Watchers

Last night I had 3 different dreams about Weight Watchers. I always said I would rejoin after the first of the year, and I am actually excited to do so. I would like to go to actual meetings this time rather than just do the online thing. I think the meetings would help me. I wish I could start today, but I think the one that is most convenient for me will be the Wednesday at noon one. That's not an excuse to eat like crap until Wednesday, by the way. I just wish I could start today.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


I tried Zumba again today. I tried it a couple times this summer and it hurt my feet and knees like none other, so I decided no Zumba for awhile. However, I tried again today and I will say...I hated it less. Actually I didn't hate it at all. I think to say that I "liked" it would be a bit of a stretch, but it wasn't bad. My arches hurt a couple times, but I pushed through and the pain went away. It's probably the shoes that I got at Fleet Feet that were a huge help. I almost rolled my ankle twice, but I caught myself both times. I am not sure if it's that my reaction time is better or that my joints (ligaments?) are stronger or what, but I am delighted that I did not get hurt and that I even kind of enjoyed myself. I love the music, I love the energy, and I love knowing that there is pressure not to quit. I am a lot less likely to walk out of a class halfway through if I'm not feeling it than I would be to get off a treadmill. I also love knowing that doing an hour of Zumba burns 600-800 calories.

Overall: I give my experience with Zumba a B. I will be back. Maybe someday I will even love it.

Nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels

If you've tried to lose weight, I'm sure you have heard this trite phrase. As a fat person, I'd always roll my eyes. I am not sure what skinny people think about this one -- I don't know whether they're all "right on!" or whether they call BS on this mantra as well. (Of course, by the way, I recognize that peoples' thoughts are not controlled strictly by their size -- ie, not all skinny people think the same thing or even the same way -- their opinions vary as do those of the fatties).

Anyway, today I was up at the gym, workin' on my fitness. I had spent 5 minutes on the stairway to nowhere (which I both love and hate), and then had moved on to a quick 25 minutes on the elliptical. I cranked the resistance up to 9, rocked some 130 bpm music on the iPod and then went to work! I was getting my fitness on when one of my favorite songs came on: SexyBack by Justin Timberlake.

I thought to myself as this was playing I thought, "OMG. I really COULD bring sexy back! All I need to do is bust my butt on the fitness and control the eating and that could totally be me." I got my first whiff of what it must actually be like to believe that nothing could possibly taste as good as being skinny felt. Huh. I guess you can teach old dogs new tricks?

I'm still processing and thinking through this saying honestly. Could it really be true that nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels? I think the reason why fat people call BS on the phrase is because most of us either have never been skinny or have been skinny in such a distant past that we can't remember what it is like. Also, lots of people think they're fat when they're actually skinny (The "I'm not skinny! I need to lose five pounds!" negative self talk), so when they were skinny they either didn't realize it or didn't enjoy it. All those reasons contribute to why most fatties (at least the ones I've talked to) simply have no idea how to connect with that phrase. People are essentially asking us to take someone's word for it. That's not something I've ever been good at. I usually have to try, taste, test, and see for myself whether something is true or whether someone is BSing me -- I rarely blindly accept the opinions or advice of others.

In addition this phrase doesn't really address some deeper issues. Yes, there's the taste associated with food -- but for many of us, food is not just about the taste. It's about emotions, it's about comfort, it's all about tons of things which really have very little to do with taste. If it were only about taste, perhaps more people would buy into the saying. Does feeling skinny really help me feel better when I am sad? Do I feel rewarded when I feel skinny?

I am still not sure what I feel about the saying. I am not completely sold, but I'm going to be slower to call BS on the phrase from now on. Although I'm not skinny yet, having lost 40 lbs., being able to do what I want to do and not get physically tired, and feeling good about myself again feels pretty damned good. It's probably even feels better than mashed potatoes or a brownie would taste.

Now to remember this when it counts...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Entering the New Year

For documentation purposes, I wanted to let you know I entered the New Year at 258.6. It's outside my control limits and I have no idea whether it's my real weight or not. It could be. If so, crap. However it might be high because of prednisone water retention and, ahem, other reasons for water retention. Who knows. Time will tell on that one. I do know that it's probably not 100 lbs of water weight, so I'm probably not at my final goal quite yet... :)

Not sure what to say

It's New Year's Day, and I'm really not sure what to say though I do feel I should say something. I've been spending the day and a lot of the past week reflecting and, more importantly, looking forward on my weight loss journey and I'm really not sure what to say.

I think I'll start with this. I think the "how" is more important than the "what". I mean, what I'd like to do is lose weight. That's the "what". Duh. But doesn't everyone want to this time of year? People who are 5 lbs., 50 lbs., and especially 250 lbs. overweight all have the same goal I do in that respect. For all of us the "what" is the same -- we want to lose weight.

What separates the men from this boys in this area is the how. The people who will succeed have solid plans. That is, they master the "how". They formulate a solid, realistic, achievable set of goals - things they would like to do, actions they would like to take, behaviors they would like to adopt - and they do them. The plan is the "how" that controls the "what". You can achieve the "how" -- eventually, the what will follow. It may not follow in the time frame you'd like. You may need to adjust the how to get the what. I believe, though, that ultimately the success -- and the thing you can ultimately control -- is the how.

About this "how". Personally, I don't think it's realistic to completely overhaul your life at once and then have it stick (though, for those who do adopt huge drastic life overhaul attempts, I wish you success at them -- provided they are healthy for you. I hope 2010 is your year, and you sustain it every year after!). I favor the more gradual changes because I think they are more likely to be successful and sustainable.

However, that does bring me to my second point of this stream-of-consciousness blog post: I don't think there is a single right answer. I believe there can be more than one "how". I don't think that one way is necessarily "right" while another is "wrong". My personal philosophy revolves around allowing myself treats so I don't feel like I'm in food jail while eating a balanced diet -- one with protein, complex carbs, and lots of fruits and vegetables. Exercise is also a cornerstone for me. I actually love it now, and it does help me to feel more balanced. It's also helped me to not have any loose skin so far. I actually do look to it when I am pissed or sad sometimes instead of food. I can't imagine not doing it for a prolonged period of time again. That having been said, though, I think there are different ways to accomplish this. With respect to diet, if you're into the South Beach thing, awesome. Weight Watchers? Great. Love to the Spark People too. Similar thoughts on options within the exercise realm. I personally cannot run because of my joints and back, but if you're a runner -- awesome. I doubt if I ever will be. If you can't stand water aerobics, it's ok, even though it's my favorite exercise. Point being? Find what works for you. Do it. Be healthy. There is not a single right path. I didn't always believe this.

I will end my post with this. I am in so much of a different place on January 1, 2010 than I was on January 1, 2009. I have lost 40 lbs. More importantly, I am maintaining or losing weight rather than gaining weight. I feel hopeful about life. I feel hopeful about my career. I am going to own this year rather than feel like this year owned me, like I did for the first 3 months of last year. I am grateful that this year, January 1 is another day rather than the opportunity I had been waiting for to change my life -- the one where I made resolution that did not stick for more than a week.

I made the decision to recommit my life to fitness on April 21 of last year. It's not the date January 1 that is so magical. You can make a change any day you want, including right now. It is hard work but it is worth it.

A weight loss blogger who I really enjoy tweeted something yesterday that really spoke to me. She said "Being fat is hard. Losing weight is hard. Maintaining is hard. Pick your hard." Having done all three, I can attest that she is correct. This year I am choosing to get back on the losing weight plan again. I have maintained for awhile, and it's time to pick it up again. Losing is my hard of choice.

I hope you accomplish your goals this year, both weight loss-wise and otherwise. Today is a perfectly valid day to begin working toward them. However, if you mess up you needn't be fatalistic about it. You can recommit anytime. Including April 21, 2009. You will probably be really grateful you did.
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