Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gun Show Dress

As you know if you've been around the blog for awhile, I am working to get a gun show for my birthday. I really am feeling like I need to step it up in that department, but I am confident that I can do it. I have five months until I turn 31 and have made big progress so far.

I have told myself that I am going to wear a sleeveless dress on my birthday so that I can show off my progress (or lack thereof). I've been looking for a good dress for awhile and today I found one that I like at one of my favorite stores. I'm all about getting the min for the Maxx - and at $24.99 for the dress, I consider this a winner!

I settled on a dress that I thought would be a bit of a stretch.

When I started all of this, I wore size 26. Now I can wear almost all 20s off the rack and some 18s comfortably. If I can be solidly in a size 16 by August 1, I will feel great about that. I think I can do it. And OMG I would just squee my little head off if I could wear anything in a size 14 by the time school started. The last time I regularly wore size 16 clothes was in seventh grade.

Here are pictures of me in the dress. I look a bit flabby, but actually if I wore a suit jacket or cardigan over this now, I think it would cover my back fat wrinkles and it would look cute.

Still not ready for the sleeveless prime time quite yet, though. These aren't full fledged tricep windflaps, but I don't think I'm ready to be a tricep model yet either...

I will keep working on it, though, and am looking forward to the public debut of Sarah in a sleeveless dress (Incidentally - chesty ladies out there, any suggestions on how to pull off this neckline with a decent bra? I'm currently a 42H and probably will be a 38-40G or so by my birthday -- but as you can see my current bra situation just isn't cutting it...if I'm going to work hard to be able to pull off sleeveless dresses, the last thing I want to do is skank it up by showing my bra straps. Gag.)

Update on my dad

Thank you all for the kind words about my dad. As I eluded to in the post, I wish I cared more about the situation. Mostly I feel badly for my mom and how all of the stress of everything plays into her life, but obviously I'm not wishing ill on the man (although, objectively, I think it would be justified if I did).

Anyway, I want to let you guys know dad was released from the hospital and sent back home. They found out that in the not too distant but not immediately recent past my dad suffered from a heart attack. No heart attacks are good, but as far as heart attacks are concerned it seems that this one was relatively mild. The heart muscle in that area is not too damaged (though not healthy), and they will just have to monitor the situation.

They released dad and have placed him on coumidin, which is a blood thinner that apparently is toxic if you are not incredibly careful about administering the correct dosage. He will have to visit the doctor every three days until they are confident they're giving him the right dosage for his situation. He will still have to go in to get the dosage level monitored periodically, although eventually it will become less frequent than every three days.

Not sure what all of this means for the future health of my dad, but I do know that it will put a cramp in my mom's style for awhile. I also learned this week talking to my mom that my dad's dad and all of his brothers died of heart disease when they were 59 or younger. My dad is now 65 (turns 66 in March). Thank you to advances in modern medicine (dad already has several stents installed)! Who knows, maybe they can keep him alive long enough for him to smooth it over with all of his kids. I am not holding my breath, but that would be great and I would not have to feel guilty about disliking him when he died (even though I have made the choice to forgive him).

My scale

After my last scale gave up the ghost, I needed to buy another one. Fortunately, I found a good one on It was supposed to be around $75 but I got it for $35 and was happy to get such a bargain.

Now I don't really understand all of the readings, and I have read that in particular the body fat readings are not totally accurate (only to within a couple percent, not to the tenth of the percent they show it to). However, they do give you a general idea of trend (are you gaining or losing), and are in the ballpark.

One of my favorite things about the scale is that it keeps track of your measurements -- what they were yesterday, a week ago, 30 days ago, and 90 days ago -- so that you can see whether you're improving, declining, or maintaining your position in each of the categories you measure. Here are my 90 day readings from the scale.

Weight - down almost 13 lbs; another 85 or so to go -- definitely headed in the right direction!!

Body fat - down almost 3% (which is significant when you realize that I am losing weight, and the weight that I am losing is mostly fat, not lean muscle mass). I would like to get to about 20% body fat, which is somewhere between fit and athlete level.

Muscle - up 1.3% (some could be new muscle, but it is likely that I am just maintaining muscle mass and its relative proportion increases as I lose weight -- trying to unbury my gun show)

As an engineer, I am totally a number/metrics girl. I don't take it to Sheryl's level with spreadsheets or anything (though in the future I may up my game to do that), but I do love understanding what the numbers mean and keeping track of them to make sure they're headed in the right direction.


I have been struggling this week. I believe I have only tracked one day. For some reason, I am just not feeling it this week. Part of it could be that the week has been incredibly insane. Part of it could be related to the fact that I've eaten out a lot and packed very few lunches -- I didn't get to go grocery shopping this weekend or earlier in the week, due to the issues caused by my trip back -- thanks again for your craptastic service, Delta Airlines! Part of it could just be that I am over it again.

Regardless, the scale has been moving down. For the most part, I am still trying to make responsible choices both with food and with exercise. This is tough when there just aren't really any to be made. For example, this week we had visitors to our department and catered lunch for them on Friday. We were all supposed to go. Now there was salad (I made sure half of my plate was salad). The other choices? Lasagna, fettucini alfredo, and spinach artichoke (cream) chicken pasta. I mean, you could eat only salad but I would be hungry in another 2 hours and I didn't pack my lunch. I would have been at a complete loss had I really wanted to stay on plan. That day, I also had a piece of the cheesecake which is good but probably wouldn't have been something I would spend my points on if I were tracking.

Today the TOM arrived, and that could have to do with my general WL malaise. I do generally want to eat more/worse food around this time. I'm not sure but I feel like it is not good for me or sustainable or feasible to just kind of freestyle my way down to my eventual goal of 160 like I have been trying this week. I need to get back on the eat healthy and eat lots of fruits and vegetables wagon which will begin with a grocery shopping session today.

A visit from Dr. Wolfe

When I was an undergraduate at Pitt, they assigned each one of us an advisor. This advisor was supposed to sign off on what it was that we wanted to take, as well as offer us general life advice. My advisor was Harvey Wolfe.

Dr. Wolfe is a wise man -- the type of wisdom you don't always recognize or appreciate when you're 18 and you know everything. While I didn't dislike Dr. Wolfe, I didn't really identify with him and I would have in no way considered him warm or fuzzy or pivotal in my career choices or anything like that. However, Dr. Wolfe helped me to get a scholarship that allowed me to stay in school, and also gave me a job in his research team which I deeply appreciated. In that way, he was pivotal as he helped me to decide not to transfer away from Pitt and to a state school in Ohio. It was great.

Since I have been at my current job, I have had the chance to visit and interact with Dr. Wolfe a few times and, I have to say, I really like the guy now. I mean *REALLY* like him! He is kind and wise and just has such a broad, high level perspective that I appreciate (and for what it's worth tend to agree with) and I feel like such a pipsqueek for not recognizing and seeing this wisdom in my arrogant younger days. Bottom line: I'm a member of the Dr. Wolfe fan club, although I am sure I am not the inaugural member by any means.

Dr. Wolfe came to visit our department last week to help us improve the way we do things (again, he is generous with his time -- even though he is retired). The first thing he said to me was "WHERE DID YOU GO?!" It was the first time I've gotten such a nice/big complement since I've been on this WL journey and it felt fantastic (no, that is not why I love Dr. Wolfe -- I promise...but it did cement my place in his fan club). When he left, he told me to keep going and that I was doing a great job. It felt so good to hear him say that.

Before he left, I asked if he would take a picture with me and he generously agreed. I hope that I get to see Dr. Wolfe several more times. I enjoy each interaction with him more and more, and really appreciate his depth of wisdom.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Weight Watchers now recognizes what I have done. Although I first wrote about this several weeks ago, I am pleased to report that I am now down 50 lbs. officially, according to Weight Watchers. I earned a magnet and another weight to go on my 10% key ring.

The online tracker also gave me this great looking shot today when I logged my weight

I was beyond stoked. Like I eluded to this morning, I don't really feel like I earned the pound that I lost this week. I really was super lax about eating, but somehow things worked out anyway! I'll take it! I am delighted to celebrate this, and am excited about the next 50 more. They probably won't come as quickly, but I'll probably treasure them more as a result.

Trip to Ohio

I wrote about how last weekend I went to Ohio to see my brother's bassoon recital. He did a great job. In the words of me and Nathan...

After he got over some of the initial nerves he had, he did a really nice job. Get it DJR!

It was great to see him and, of course, I love to spend time with him. We are alike in a lot of ways. Including the fact that we look a lot alike, which I have never noticed until now. I think this picture shows that alot.

When I was home, no one commented on my weight loss which I have to say surprised me and kind of annoyed me as well. However, when I asked, my mom said it was apparent in many ways -- visually, and in my confidence level. My brother also said I seemed happier. It was surprising to me that it was obvious in those ways but really it is true. Although I have not spent much time thinking about it, I really am a lot happier than I used to be since I started working out and eating right. I am glad that this projects through.


After that whiny post, I thought I would post some good news. I did not set aside my clothes for today last night (I usually do this so it is faster to get ready, because I can iron the things I need the night before, etc), so I was kind of scrambling this morning. I decided I would be a bit (not sure of the word - risque?) and wear jeans to teach in today because they were not wrinkled.

I picked out a pair that I used to not be able to button when I started this whole get healthy plan 10 months ago. I put them on and they looked terrible. They were about 2-3 sizes too big and looked like it. I decided against wearing them and I now need to retire them. Goodbye to another pair of Lane Bryant jeans!!

When things don't make sense

This weekend, I went to Columbus OH to see my brother perform his senior recital (he is a bassoon performance and composition major), and I had a really good time. I did not stay on my plan, which was part of my plan. I suppose I could have been more dedicated about it, but I didn't want to. This is not to say that I went completely crazy, but I did have several treats I rarely allow myself (chocolate and other types of sugar) and I let myself have other treats more than usual (cheese dip). I wasn't expecting the number on the scale to be awesome when I got home, but I wasn't sure what it would be.

I was up a pound. That seemed about right, and I was not disappointed. However, it has been really tough to get back on the plan. I feel like the verse in Romans where Paul is talking about feeling like has no control over what he is doing, and doing what he hates. I have been continuing to shovel crappy junk food into my body. Monday when I got back from my trip (which was a nightmare due to the terrible customer service of Delta airlines), I could have easily gone to the gym, but I didn't. I instead went to Chili's for dinner and graded exams all evening. Tuesday I ate out -- twice. And it was not healthy either time.

Yet, today the scale is the lowest it has ever been on this part of the journey (245.8). It makes no sense. The scale I have also gives a number for visceral fat, which is some reading of how much fat is surrounding your organs -- ie, a measure of the dangerous fat. My number has been 8 for as long as I had my scale (the high end of the normal/healthy range), but today it went down to 7. Again, the best ever for me.

I'm not sure why the scale is cooperating when it clearly shouldn't be. Maybe I am dehydrated (though I don't think so -- drank plenty of water yesterday). Maybe this is the hard work I did last week catching up with me, when I barely lost anything. Maybe it's a fluke. I have no idea. Regardless, I need to get back on plan.

I need to eat things that will help my body to stay healthy, and the foods I have been eating are not those types of food. It is important for my heart and my overall health to fuel my body with the right things. Every time I get off plan for any extended period I wonder "Was that really worth it?" simply because it is so hard to get back on the right track. My health should be a strong enough motivator but sometimes it is not. I really need to dig deep today and pack my lunch and stop whining and fretting about all of this. Just do it.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The right reasons

My initial motivations for wanting to get healthy were absolutely correct. I wanted to feel better and not worry about dropping dead of a heart attack. While I am still absolutely interested in getting healthy and losing this weight the healthy way, I have to say that my motivation has morphed a bit over the 10 months I've been on this journey.

In particular, in addition to wanting to get healthy I now also want to get hot. And actually, if I'm honest, I want to be not just hot but smokin' (hott with two t's). Over time I think this has shifted somewhat to my primary motivation rather than just a nice bonus like it was initially.

However, this weekend my focus has been renewed and some things have forced me to revisit and reexamine my motivations for being on this journey.

This weekend, crazy things have been happening to my dad's heart. On Friday, he was not feeling well. Eventually his heart started racing (his resting heart rate was about 190) and his blood pressure dropped perilously low (70/90). They could not find what was wrong with him at the hospital and he began to improve so they released him. I was home this weekend and was able to see him, but he did not look good. He looked so so much older than the last time I saw him, with many more wrinkles and just looking old, uncomfortable and kind of sickly. I feel like the stress of his premature and unexpected retirement as a result of being laid off had really taken its toll on him.

Today, he began to have heart problems again. He has been admitted to the hospital for atrial tachycardia, and they are keeping him overnight to see if they can determine the cause. I am concerned for him, and somewhat sad that he and I have some unresolved issues that I just don't see being easily resolvable, or, sadly, maybe even resolvable at all. I hate having that cloud hanging over this situation too.

My grandpa on my mom's side had two heart attacks in his late 50's/early 60's. My grandpa on my dad's side died of a heart attack when Dad was in Vietnam. My grandma on my dad's side had a heart attack as well. When my grandma on my mom's side died, they realized she had blown one of her heart valves. And, with one possible exception, none of them were obese, let alone morbidly obese like I have been! This really makes me think of how important it is that I exercise and get my healthy diet on NOW when I am 30 rather than later or never. My dad has already had some heart procedures done on him as well (I believe they put stents in to open up some partially blocked arteries). The genetics are stacked against me, so I need to do my part to counteract them.

Yes, I'd love to be hot but it doesn't matter if you are hot if you drop dead of a heart attack. I need to focus on being healthy, and hope that being hot will be a side effect. Fortunately, I believe this is likely. I need to remember why I am doing this. The real reason is not to be hot, it is to be alive -- and truly living, not just existing. I need to exercise and eat right if I want any chance of beating the genetic odds. THAT is my motivation. I am sad it has taken recent events to remind me of that, but am glad that I was snapped out of my vanity zone to remember what is important in life.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Why do I eat sugar in the mornings?!?! It is a recipe for disaster. I had a cookie that was sitting out on the front desk at work and now it is all I can think about. I want another. And another. And another. That'd be a great idea -- let's nullify the 600 calories you burned this AM at spin class!! Psh -- kidding. Terrible idea. I don't get up at 5:30 AM in order to work out just to piddle the calories away eating cookies. MUST. DISTRACT. SELF.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Weight Watchers - Week 6

Mixed emotions. That is a summary of this post. If you're interested in the details, keep reading. But a summary is that this week I have mixed emotions and I am down 1.5 so that my official WW weight is now 250.

Remember that last week I lost half a pound, which I was not too stoked about. I thought that this week I would have a decent loss, and that I would also get the extra 1-2 lbs I thought I earned last week. It didn't quite work out this way.

I think I have confessed it here but I am typically a daily weigher. I like to see what's going on so that I am not blindsided at the Weight Watchers meetings -- and because I'm a number/metrics girl. This week the scale was. not. moving -- but my body fat percentage was dropping. That feels great. My scale also has some algorithm to determine body age (whatever that is) based on your weight and body composition, and mine this week is the lowest it ever has been since I've had the scale (about 6 months). I'm also really starting to *feel* skinnier. My face is skinnier. My chins are starting to abate. My upper arms are getting really solid. I like these changes, and they're not ones that show up on the scale -- so that part of the "get healthy and reclaim your life" program feels great.

At the same time, I want to see the scale move! I track everything and stayed within my points. However, this week wasn't stellar. I went to a friend/colleague's house and did not hold back altogether. I ate 34.5 points at dinner, and 55 points for the day. I ate out several times. You can see from my points tracker I ran through my 35 points really quickly and ate under 40 points only twice this week. I stayed within my points limit, though, because I exercise so much. Again, I have mixed feelings about this. I am glad I can stay on plan, but I am sad that my on plan technically is so above what I "should" do and above the 31 points I get daily. I need to reflect on this.

So, that's how the WL is here. I lost weight, but not that much. However, I have mixed feelings about it. First of all, I have lost 13 lbs in 6 weeks which is remarkable and consistent so I feel great about that! I feel like that is a healthy, sustainable pace. However, I expected more this week. I want consistently to get 2-3 lbs a week. I am still at 250 even though unofficially I have weighed less than that in the mornings for almost 2 weeks. I want to hit that number at Weight Watchers and get recognized for losing 50 lbs!!! It will happen, it will just take time. I need to stick this out, and it will happen.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What do you like about yourself?

Weight Watchers' twitter asked tonight "What do you like about yourself?" Their timing was perfect as I have actually been mulling over a post along these lines for awhile. My self image and self confidence has improved unspeakably since undertaking this life makeover. It is like I am a completely different person sometimes. Today I will write about ten physical things I like about myself. Maybe someday I will do a more introspective 10 things I like about myself as a whole rather than about my appearance.

Without further ado, though, here are 10 physical things I like about myself...

10. Eyelashes - my eyelashes are rounded and long. They are really cute. I wish they were darker so they stood out more, but on the whole I really like my eyelashes and am glad they are so nice.

9. Teeth - My teeth are really straight. I am an open mouth smiler (none of these pursed lips for me), so I am glad that I like the way my teeth look. Thank you Dr. Gustovitch for the retainer, and to my mom and dad for paying for the orthodontics work. I know it was tough to afford, and I really appreciate your investment in my smile.

8. Skin - As many people losing weight can probably relate to, one of my biggest fears about losing this weight is that I will have loose skin. I have to really hand it to my skin. It is hanging in there. I am doing many of the right things -- drinking tons of water, using baby oil, taking lecithin, and lots of weight training -- but years of abusing my skin by gaining weight has not seemed to take its toll thus far in the form of saggy skin. I am hoping that getting a gun show will help me prevent tricep wind flaps. Thank you skin and genetics for sticking with me even though I have not been kind to you!!

7. Shoulders - My shoulders are starting to have some definition. I hear that this is one of the first places you can see it when people start to work out and, if that is true, I am certainly no exception. I love that you can see that my shoulders are stacked. One step toward the gun show (incidentally, you can also see some definition in my triceps too...)

6. Chest - My grandma was well endowed and I apparently inherited this from her. Sometimes I complain about my chest but really it was one of the things that helped me to stay more well proportioned, even when I was almost 300 lbs. I started this journey at a 44H (I did not know they even made sizes past DDD when I was growing up), and although my band size has decreased, I am holding steady at an H cup. I think this makes my waist look smaller and for this I am grateful. Again, thank you genetics!

5. Quads - This is one of the places I have always been able to show definition when I am in shape. You can definitely see my quads and it helps me to look kind of stacked (how I eventually want to look all over) -- thank you group cycle!

4. Ankles - I have never had cankles. I am so grateful. For some reason I just really like the way it looks where my calves meet my legs.

3. Calves - My calves are really good looking. Even when I was bigger, it always looked like they were strong. Maybe they always have been strong. I am not sure, but I love the way they look. Actually, you can kind of infer based on #3, 4, 5 that I really like my legs. They look great (with the exception of my inner thighs -- but I don't think I know any females who love their inner thighs? Mine look gross because of stretch marks).

2. Lips - This is something I have noticed very very recently, and why I was thinking about making a post like this even prior to the WW tweet. In the last 5 lbs I have lost, my face has started to really look much skinnier. I think I am losing the weight in my chin(s), which is amazing! Anyway, since my face looks skinnier, I think that it really helps to accentuate some of my facial features. One of the things that has jumped out at me is how I love my lips. They are heart shaped and really cute! I love them! (Incidentally, I think there also might be some dimples hanging out underneath the fat too...I see very slight hints in this direction but I am not 100% sure they will be there yet...I hope they are!)

1. (tie) Hair - I have not always loved my hair. In fact, I used to really hate the fact that my hair was curly and I tried very hard to fight it. The truth is, I did not know how to take care of it. It was a long long long road of trying tons of products and fighting with it before I finally learned how to work with the curl and make it work for me. (Thank you!!!) Now I love my hair. In fact, in the last week or so I really started to think to myself, "You know, God really nailed it when he made sure my hair matched my personality -- Thanks, man!" I also love the blonde-ness and natural highlights. Hands down one of my best physical features is my hair.

1. (tie) Eyes - My eyes are blue and they are beautiful. I think they are one of the reasons why I look so great when I wear blue. I have always loved them, even when I was fat. They work really well with my hair too.

The fact that I can come up with not ten but eleven physical things that I like about myself is amazing. Before, I would have struggled to come up with more than my eyes. Even a year ago, I would not have been able to say anymore than eyes and hair. I really do feel so much better about the way I look.

Recognizing physical features that I like is only one way in which my self-image has improved, but I need to cut this post off here so I can get to bed so I can go to spin class at 6:30 tomorrow morning. Sorry to leave you all hanging!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Swim Class Fixer Upper

Do you know how “they” say that you should buy the fixer-upper in a really nice neighborhood as opposed to buying a mansion in the slums (whoever this proverbial “they” is)? In swim class I totally feel like the fixer-upper, and it is really a great place to be.

I wrote before about my astonishment to be placed in the fast lane in swim class. Today I write about the flip side of the experience. Although I am in the fast lane, enough people have dropped out of swim class that I am now the slowest in the fast lane. Not just a little slower, either, but significantly slower. I am the one who is bringing the rest of the property values in the lane down -- making them go slower and wait for me to finish laps to start the next set, etc.

However, it's a great place to be. I am so competitive and so it is really good for me not to completely excel at something but not to give up either. Additionally, I feel pressure (internal, fortunately, not from the teachers or my lane-mates) not to let the rest of the lane down -- I want to finish strong and I certainly want to go faster. I really try to push it and bust my hump on the work we do. This will help me in the end, I am sure -- pushing me to test my limits and ultimately helping me to become a better swimmer.

This is so much better than being the stud in the slower lane. I would not need to push nearly as hard if I were leading the other lane. I am very grateful to have the chance to push myself to the limit in the fast lane.

Like I mentioned before things lately have been starting to click on the exercise/lose weight/get healthy front and I have another victory to report! I have never been able to get out on the blocks of the pool -- instead I would always have to swim over to the ladder and get out this way, aka the wimp way. It has been a goal of mine to be able to get out on the blocks so I can swim in whatever lane I want and not have to worry about getting a lane on the periphery of the pool. Well, I can finally get out on the blocks! I went in Saturday and practiced over and over. There were only three of us in the pool (usually I'd guess there are about 15-25ish people) plus the guards, so I felt way less self conscious practicing. I finally was able to pull up over the bulkhead once. It took several tries and I was unable to repeat the feat (although I did get a nice blister on my pinky to show for my 20 minutes of hard work). Yesterday after class, though, I was able to do it again. I am confident that by the end of the semester it will be a piece of cake. I love that I was able to find synergy between this goal to get out on the blocks and my quest for the gun show, as really a lot of it is upper body strength.

I love being able to meet goals. I feel so empowered. GUN SHOW HERE I COME!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

You don't get it

There are two students in the department where I work from Iran. They have been contacted by the FBI who would like to interview them. Some of my coworkers have been interviewed as a part of this situation, and have offered glowing references for these students (who I really like and would also review very positively), and have been assured that this is a part of standard operating procedure.

One of the students contacted is, understandably, very freaked out. I would probably be pretty spooked if the FBI contacted me, even though I am a law-abiding citizen with nothing to hide, etc. However, if I were one of these students, I'd be bordering on petrified.

I've never lived in Iran. I have a few Iranian friends and am fascinated by the history and culture of the Persian people. I love to read books to learn more about it, and Persepolis is one of my favorite movies ever. In fact, I should watch it again this weekend.

The thing is this: we Americans just cannot understand the plight of the Iranian people. I am not going to pretend like I do, even though from what I read it has to be incredibly rough. The Persians I know are intelligent, rational, compassionate and even progressive people. They're nothing like the caricature you'd see on the news of people strapping bombs to themselves and dying (in vain) for their corrupt theocratic government. The Iranians I know despise their government more than I ever could -- but they love their country.

The reality is this:
  • I say whatever I want, and I would not be able to function somewhere where I had to live in fear of expressing my opinion.
  • It is very rare that my opinion/vantage point is completely dismissed because I am female. In Iran, this seems to happen all the time.
  • I have never been "questioned" - aka interrogated - by the government and wondered if I would come back ok, or whether my answers would deny me future opportunities.
  • I do not live in fear of the government, although I sometimes (often?) think they are inept. I don't believe they are actively out to get me.
These things and more seem to be the reality in Iran. Understandably, if I had grown up in an environment, I would be freaking out too if someone from the FBI wanted to talk to me!

This brings me to my point. It really pisses me off to hear people tell this student "You have nothing to worry about" in reference to her impending interview. I am sure that it, truly, is not a big deal assuming she has nothing to hide (which I honestly believe). However, given the environment she has known for all except 4-5% of her life, I in no way fault her for being freaked out!! I feel my coworkers are minimizing her concerns and feelings. It makes my blood boil, although I think my anger is directed towards the crappy Iranian government and not towards my coworkers and their ignorance and misguided attempts to reassure the student.

All this makes me want to scream to my coworkers "YOU DON'T GET IT!!!" Now, I am not trying to sound self-righteous here. I am sure that I don't get it either. Truly I don't. But I would not want to minimize this student's feelings, and I feel like that is what my coworkers are doing. That having been said, though, I am not sure what the right thing to do is. I would not want to encourage the student to be scared, because I really do think the situation will be fine and work itself out. However, I would not want to invalidate her feelings. The truth is, I really have no idea what to do with this situation, or how I would handle it if I were involved. Certainly, I would want to be empathetic, but that is the most I could probably say with certainty I'd do.

This all makes me think about my weight, which is why I wrote this blog post. I think that I feel like the student in the story feels. I feel like my weight and attempts to get healthy something huge in my life. I feel like most "normal" people don't really get it. I don't think that they have the history or emotion attached to food like I do. Very few of them have been a breath away from 300 lbs. I have. This is my life. It is something that I work very hard on, and the headgames involved are just too much sometimes. Ugh.

I feel like people don't get it when I talk to them about issues involving food. I guess it is unfair to expect them to see things from my perspective having never walked in my shoes. They probably haven't ever dug food out of the trash and then eaten it. They probably don't eat entire bags of chips at a time without breathing hard. I have done all of these shameful things and more. They just don't get it.

Now, being on the other side -- being the person who doesn't get it but at least knows enough to realize I don't get it -- I feel helpless. I am not sure what I can do to help, but I do know enough to realize that assuring someone that it will all be ok is not an effective solution. I would want this student to know, though, that my heart hurts for her. I hate that she is being characterized on something she cannot control (e.g., her nationality and the fact that her country has been hijacked by an extremist government). The awesome news is that I can control my weight, and I'm working to do just that. I do not have to be the victim in this situation.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Me in August - the feline version

My friend Lisa sent me this picture and I had to share. If I were a cat, this would totally be me in August.

Unlike a cat, though, I will not parade around in my birthday suit to shake what my momma gave me. However, I will be able to rock a tank top I expect :) Stay tuned to my blog to see the pics!!!

Mixed News Wednesday

I have some meh news and some good news to share. Let's start with the meh news first. I initially wrote "bad" news, but really this news is not bad per se. It's not stellar, but it is by no means bad. I only lost 0.5 pounds this week. WHAT?! I did have some not great food at a Superbowl party that I did not track, but I had plenty of activity points to covered them so I thought I would be golden for a loss. Oh well. Things don't always work out like you want or plan.

I think there are a couple of things that explain this tiny loss. First of all, I ate my lunch before the meeting. (My meeting is at 12 and I usually eat it at the meeting and after my weigh in). I also try not to drink water for an hour or so before the meeting and make sure to use the restroom before I weigh in. I did none of that today. Apparently that stuff all works :) My scale at home does show that I am down about 3 lbs from last week so hopefully next week will be a big number but not big enough that the WW people freak out.

Let me underscore that my meeting leader is hugely encouraging about this kind of stuff. She always says "there is no 'only'" (as in I 'only' lost ___ lbs) -- a loss is a loss, so take it! She also compares everything to sticks of butter. ("You lost 1/2 lb -- that is 2 sticks of butter!"). I really like her. Props to Jai, the leader of the Fayetteville Weight Watchers noontime meeting on Wednesday!

Now let me counterbalance that news with some great news that I have not yet shared.

I work out at the gym at school. I really enjoy it and the prices are so so reasonable. You can rent towels for an entire semester for $12 and not have to worry about taking a towel with you, making sure to launder it and bring it back, etc. This is truly a great service at an excellent price (at other gyms I know it is free -- but I pay $12 a month for the gym at school so an extra $3 a month for towels is totally worth it!!).

Anyway, these towels are great in theory, right?! The problem came when I tried to wear them. More specifically, they didn't fit. It was quite the sight to behold, I am sure (and not in a good way, in a blinding way). I always just prayed I didn't run into any of my students in one of these towels and, mercifully, I don't think I ever did. It most certainly cannot be pretty.

So what's the good news in all of this, you ask? The good news is that I have a huge non-scale victory to share in all this -- I CAN NOW COMPLETELY FIT IN ONE OF THESE TOWELS AND NOT BE ASHAMED!! It covers me up and life is so good in one of them :) I am so excited I had to share.

So, overall, the news here is good. I really overdid it on the workouts today, doing a spin class in the AM, BodyPump and circuit training in the evening. Three hours of working out -- yes I want results, and yes, I want them quickly, but I am beat (left the house at 6:05 and didn't get home until 8:30) and this is just not sustainable for me. I will lose the weight when I lose the weight -- and I will do it the healthy and balanced way. Not sure I can make a compelling argument it's healthy to work out for three hours.

This post has been a mishmash of everything, but that's what's up here! Hope everyone is having a good week -- it's more than half over! REJOICE!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Addition to the Clothing Hit List

I mentioned earlier how I have what I call a clothing hit list -- these are items of clothing that I am working hard toward being able to fit in. Currently, there are two items on the clothing hit list, and I continue to make progress toward fitting in them even though I am not yet there.

I would like to place another item on the hit list: this skirt...

I bought this skirt on sale at Old Navy. It was supposed to be $2.47, but all clearance items were 50% off so it was actually just $1.25ish. It is a size 16 (currently I am in a 20, and I started in a 26) so it is a bit of a stretch at this point....

First of all, I cannot believe that it zipped and buttoned. That's not to say it looks good (as you can very plainly see), but I think this is doable by summer. Additionally, I cannot believe I posted this picture online. I hope this is never used for blackmail!


I started to write this post and said "One of the biggest changes in the way I eat..." and I realized that that is just totally inaccurate or understated. The reality is this: since starting Weight Watchers and, more importantly, since deciding that it was important to me to be healthy again, my eating has completely changed. I don't know if I can say what "one of the biggest changes" is, because, basically everything has changed and most of the changes are pretty dramatic -- except I always have loved and I continue to love and drink a decent to large amount of milk. I used to go through 1.5 gallons a week myself, and now I probably go through about 1/2-3/4 of a gallon -- but most everything else has changed.

So, although I won't say it's one of the biggest things, one of the changes I've made is eating a lot more veggies and fruits (duh). In particular, it surprises/impresses me how filling these veggies can be. I used to think of fajitas as mostly meat with a little bit of green pepper thrown in for color, but now I would say my fajitas end up being about half meat (shrimp is my favorite) and half veggies. If you use red, yellow, and orange peppers in addition to the traditional onion and green peppers, the result is so beautiful, flavorful, and fragrant. I highly recommend it.

This is probably one of my favorite dishes these days, and is totally a points bargain -- plus you take care of a serving of healthy oil! (I sautee the veggies in a bit of olive oil on medium heat). Aren't these absolutely gorgeous?!!?

These days, I find that meals with way more veggies than normal are super satisfying and filling. For example, last night, I made 4.5 oz of spaghetti (I am in the stage where I usually still weigh stuff to get an idea of how much I'm eating), but I also sauteed purple onion, some garlic, and about 2 c of cherry tomatoes. I threw it in with the pasta, so the resulting dish was about half and half with pasta and veggies, and then I topped it off with freshly grated parmesan. You can take most "base" meals -- especially pasta -- supplement them with a heavy heavy dose of veggies, up the points very slightly (or not at all depending on the amount of veggies you select, and how you prepare those veggies), and have a meal that is much bigger and I typically find more satisfying. Keep that hunger at bay!

In conclusion: HAIL TO VEGGIES! YUM! (And wow, will the fiber keep you regular!)


Lately I have started to feel like, WL wise, things are starting to click. The other day I was doing Zumba and I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I hesitated for a second and thought "OMG, I look like a normal person!" I no longer saw someone who was hugely obese, but someone who could in my mind pass for normal (although, admittedly, on the bigger side of normal). I had to take some pictures to document my progress. Here they are (sorry the straight on one is blurry).

My belly is still huge and remains my biggest problem area. Although these pictures make it tough to tell, my arms are actually feeling pretty freaking solid, indicating that progress toward the gun show is being made. I need to keep the scale moving downward, the activity level steady or increasing, and keep focused on my goal so that I will be able to wear sleeveless shirts in public. I think it's tough to compare how I look this month with last month since my outfits are so different, but I've lost another 10 lbs and I feel great.


One of my friends from work invited me to go to adult night at the new skating rink in town. I pictured all sorts of debauchery (although I am not sure what kind of debauchery can occur at a skating rink?), booze, etc. at an adult night. It, fortunately, was nothing like that.

First of all, I can attest that booze and roller skating just shouldn't mix. Ever. I am so freaking uncoordinated without the booze, I can't imagine even a hint of booze mixed with roller skating! Apparently I am not alone because, seriously, someone broke their ankle stone cold sober the night I was there. With booze I am sure the situation would have been a much messier one.

Second of all, let me tell you that skating is nothing like they say riding a bike is. It is not something you decide to do and then feel awesome at right away after not practicing for years (at least it wasn't that way for me). This proved to be somewhat problematic becauase although adult night doesn't mean "booze and sinfest", it means "no kids so all the really good skaters who get annoyed they can't go faster on regular days come out to skate" night. So, let's just say I was in the less evolved portion of the skaters -- and by that I mean probably the first percentile. *Maybe* second if we are generous.

I had fun anyway. I willed myself to keep skating and probably made around a total of 20 circles around the rink. I mean, I'm not signing up for rollerderby anytime soon or anything, but it was a nice way to burn some extra calories and it was nice to get a chance to hang out with and get to know a friend a little better.

I love that my new life includes activities that are fun and I don't feel too abnormal doing them. I mean in the past I would blamed the fact that I sucked at skating on the fact that I am overweight. While I am still overweight, I think the fact that I suck at skating is due to lack of practice and/or innate athleticism. I am trying to strip away the excuses and try new things -- and, although I hate it, that means admitting I am not good at everything I try.

I would not consider my skating career over. However next time I think I'll go on kids day where maybe I will be in the 30th percentile of skaters, not the first or second :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Brief update

I actually have a lot to say, and I've been taking pictures to make posts. However, time really has not permitted it. Also for some reason I feel like I am retreating from the online world a bit -- reading fewer blogs, etc. Facebook remains a guilty pleasure though. I think I am just busier than I have been for a long time and I'm taking time from the online world and my online life/persona and using it in my real life.

One of the things that has struck me lately is my lack of focus. I work hard, I try to do a lot -- but I think I might be trying to do too much so I am going to reel back and just focus on eating better/less and moving more.

I think I am bidding adieu to the Perfect 10 challenge. I really appreciate Steve's willingness to organize it and line up sponsors, but the goals I set are somewhat arbitrary and not all directly related to my highest two priorities right now which are losing weight and working toward that gun show. I also joined a program at school called Commit to Fit which offers small group personal training and is a mechanism to help you work toward your goals. However, this translates into two weekly training sessions and with the other things that I do, I would either a) need to cut an activity or activities from my current lineup, or b) add an additional two hours of training to my week. I am unwilling to do a, and unable to do b. Therefore, I think the Commit to Fit is a no go for me. I am already committed to my fitness -- I think it would be hard to dispute that. I just am not willing to commit extra time to it. In a word, I need to FOCUS. In two words, I need to FOCUS and SIMPLIFY.

Today I made it through the day without a major binge -- the first Sunday I've done so in several weeks. I went to a Superbowl party and definitely splurged, but nothing I am embarrassed about and nothing like eating a whole pizza. It was interesting to watch and observe how other people dealt with junk food. I don't know how they would characterize their behavior, but none of them really overdid it. I bet they would say that they did, but really, they didn't. I would have kept going back and back for seconds in the past, but this time I kept it pretty sane. I did not track everything (and would have to make estimates for stuff), but I did keep the portions relatively reasonable. I would definitely be within my points for the week. (Although, incidentally, I was last week too when I ate an entire pizza on Sunday)

This post lacks focus, but I do want to let you know I am hanging in there, I am working out, I am eating right, and I am looking forward to my weigh in this week. I hope the news is good. I have been hitting all time lows for this bout of the weight loss journey -- numbers I haven't seen for more than 3 years.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Cleveland Press

I find this story hilarious. I'm not sure if it's because the story *is* hilarious or if it's just that I'm tired or if my humor is a little off. Could be any of these possibilities. In case the story actually is funny, I will share it.

Today I was doing BodyPump. This is one of my favorite classes, and will be directly beneficial to trying to meet that gun show goal. One of the exercises we do is this one. I always thought it was the called the Cleveland press -- I always thought that is what the teachers were telling us to do (bear in mind, I have thought this the entire time I've taken this class -- since way back in July). Today I learned that it is, in fact, not called the Cleveland press at all but the "clean and press". Oh, I guess that makes more sense. I'm chalking it up to the fact that I'm originally an Ohio girl. It will always be the Cleveland press to me, even though I know the official name now :)

Weight Watchers - Week 4

Today I went to the Weight Watchers meeting expecting unspectacular results -- I lost 2 lbs, which is solid but in my opinion unspectacular. I think it is probably good for me to be losing at this rate though. The whole 51 point pizza I had on Sunday set me back (but I did track it this week, which was a good change), as did my inability to access the gym Thursday through Saturday. Overall, I am happy -- although not thrilled -- with my progress. Most importantly I am glad to be losing weight again after being stalled out at 260 for several months.

As expected, I am not officially at my 50 lb mark. I weighed 252, which gives me a total of a 47.2 lb overall loss. Nothing to sneeze at at all!

Here's the huge huge huge thing that happened at the meeting. I told the leader today that I had started online last April. She was really excited about that (most other leaders have kind of blown that option off -- "That really doesn't work for most people"), and she asked me what my starting weight was. I told her, and she was so so happy for me! She gave me all of the 5 lb. stars that I had missed (I now have a total of 9 on my book), and she gave me my keychain and little trinket. I wanted to cry folks!! I know that these dumb stickers cost WW less than a penny each to make and that the keychain probably cost $1-2. However, to me it was like these things were made of gold because I worked so hard of them. Although I am very intrinsically motivated, it feels so nice to get recognized by others for my hard work too.

Another story about external recognition. Today I was running around (in a hurry to get ready to go teach), and one of my good friends saw this flurry of activity and was like "Who is that?!". It took her a second to realize it was me. Wow. My life is changing, people, and I am so excited to keep riding driving this weight loss and get healthy train!!!

Misc. Mish Mash

Today is weight watchers. Not sure what the scale would do, but I should be down a bit -- but I sabotaged myself again over the weekend. I must find a healthy way to do pizza or I will kill myself like this every weekend. And mess up the eating out goal.

Last night I had a show at the Walton Arts Center -- Drowsy Chaperone -- really cute. I've seen the show before and neither cast was stellar but the strength of the show always makes the material enjoyable. Bad news was I was gone from home from 7:40 AM - 9:30 PM and ate a meal out (still haven't figured out how to do the two meals away from home without eating out).

I have been so exhausted lately. Not "I'm so tired I am about to fall asleep in the middle of everything tired" but "I'm so tired there's no way I'm getting up at 5:15 to work out" tired. When I'm tired like that, I generally don't fight it. If my body is telling me I need sleep, I do. I work out after work and not working out twice a day will not kill me, even though I love morning spin class and love the idea of having two afterburns.
Clicky Web Analytics