Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fat Tuesday - here it comes

I'm really really glad that I have a nationwide holiday-based day to sit back up, clear my throat, and get myself back on track. This past week was just a total waste. Friday night Brian and I had dinner at Barossa, a wonderful restaurant that features organic and natural food, but very high end. We both started out with a delicious lentil and ham soup that had a touch of some flavorings we couldn't quite place -- saffron perhaps? -- and then I had the crab crusted black cod with a oyster souffle, Brian had the steer tenderloin. It was actually a perfectly fine meal to stay on track. It's the rest of the week that did me in. I hate to belabor the poiht, but at least I can analyze this down: I was sick, I reached for comfort, and my comfort was food. I needed medicine, but I chose food. And yesterday, for some stupid reason, I had this craving for the corned beef hash they make in the cafeteria. It gnawed at me all morning and I finally gave in. It's like I'm slipping back into old habits: I blew it earlier in the week, so why not just ruin plan completely.

So tomorrow begins Lent. Catholic dieters all over the world give up chocolate for lent, we give up carbs, we give up sweets, we give up all this stuff in honor of a guy who fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. (These days his twelve friends would have staged an intervention and gotten him into some sort of program to put on some weight, but that's beside the point.) And usually by the first Friday of Lent, we've eaten that candy bar, thus ensuring a good thousand days in Purgatory. There are some Lenten seasons where I was already guaranteeing my handbasket reserveation, business class straight to Hell by breaking the resolve. Those were the seasons when I had the Hershey bar shortly after I'd gotten my ashes.

This whole being fat thing is Purgatory for me anyway. I wasn't always fat, and Purgatory is supposed to be temporary. And so is this fat. But you have to work to get out of purgatory. You have to be good. Purgatory is for people who have to think about what they've done and let the guilt gnaw away at us. So what to give up for Lent that will still work for me?

Unplanned food. That's it. If its not on my plan for the day, I won't eat it. That includes those damn Girl Scout Cookies that arrive this weekend. I will enjoy them, but the will be planned for. 40 days and 40 nights of thinking about what I'm eating. Not putting anything in my mouth that "runs counter to my weight loss goals." This is going to be a pain in the ass, thinking about it all the time. But that's what Lent is about. 40 days and 40 nights of thinking about how you're wrecking your life with stupid shit. Because even if purgatory is a pain in the ass, it sure beats the hell of being fat forever.

Those Damn Girl Scout Cookies

The Girl Scout Cookies come this weekend.

As part of my lenten observation, I will eat those cookies, but I will plan accordingly. I will note the serving size on the package and I will only eat one serving. Can I do it this year? Can I refrain from eating the entire box of Carmel DeLights in one sitting? See, the thing about Girl Scout Cookies is that, well, they're good. I can't feel completely terrible about eating them, because they're not this nasty crap that you're eating just because its there. They are good. People love them. They buy crates of them and freeze them throughout the year, they're so good. And who can resist that little girl in her uniform, with her awkward sales pitch that would make Tom Peters cringe? Especially when that uniformed brownie is YOUR little girl? "No, honey, I'm not buying any from you because I'm on a diet" won't do. Oh, and please, Girl Scouts. Nice try with the "well, you can simply donate the money here and skip the cookies." Or the "reduced fat lemon pastry cremes." You look at the nutrition facts and learn that two cookies are 3 points, whether or not they're Carmel Delights or Lemon Pastry Cremes (which are good, BTW. Don't let the "reduced fat" scare you off). Oh, and the mint cookies. Does anybody really only eat two Girl Scout Mint cookies?

And don't get me started on the Boy Scouts and their popcorn. Best damn microwave popcorn money can buy. Even the lowfat variety is good. Its even better than Paul Newman's, and very few things are better than Paul Newman's anything.

Why can't all charities sell food this good? On second thought, I'm glad they don't.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Being sick sure takes it out of you

Kdk is sure right -- being under the weather sure wreaks havoc on one's weightloss resolve. It's like for some weird reason you think chocolate is going to do something about that bronchitis-ike cough, and three pieces of chunky bread is going to quench that horrible thirst that being sick gives you. Yesterday I did the Y, a haphazard half hour on the stairclimber followed by some really lame lower body work, and today i felt better and actually ran a bit after some elliptical work, and did good work on upper body. But sitting in the steam room is what I really needed.

So, let's rate the Ys --

SW -- best child care facility. I like all the child care PEOPLE at the Ys I frequent, heck Stella pretty much grew up with the South Shore ladies, but the SW Y has this huge habitrail-like thing that the kids look forward to. Great whirlpool -- its in the women's room so you don't have to wreck the lycra in your swimsuit to use it. No steam room, and the sauna is iffy. But the ambient lighting in the locker room is really nice, and there's a nice little chill out room off the locker room. Too bad the showers SUCK there. Take forever to not be freezing cold, and the pressure is worthless.

Downtown -- best grownup Y. Excellent showers, choice of sauna, steam, but the whirlpool is shared with the men. Good long track for running or walking. They used to have this great funk aerobics class on Saturdays, but now they only do that on weeknights and that doesn't work for me. Too bad -- excellent class, great funk and hip hop music, led by these two sisters whose booty shaking skills are beyond amazing. Plus, babies got back, but its back in serious shape. Makes me feel better about these polish child-bearing hips.

South Shore -- Real, good old fashioned south side family Y. Showers are eh, sauna is the best. Stella has a good relationship with the sports coaches. They seem to have had a huge staff turnaround and I'm not necessarily happy about that. Some of my favorite people -- Kim, Mary, etc., are gone. And the child care times have shrunk. However, they have instituted a supervised kid fun time for older kids like Stella, and she's enjoying that. Hey, at least Miss Donna and others are still in the kid care, and they're wonderful with my babies. I also like the pool there. Very high-school pool atmosphere.

Good. I've talked myself out of the fact that I feel like crap this week, both physically and being disappointed in myself.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Go Mandisa!

So, are we all picking up the phone and voting for the fat one on American Idol just to stick it to Simon? Thing is, she's good. That she's fat should be a secondary consideration, but this is after all, America, and while a vocal competition, its about the total package. It probably wouldn't have been so bad if Simon hadn't made the comment at her first audition about the size of the stage they'll need. But he did, and that has sent Fat Nation into action.

I thought it was brilliant that Mandisa chose to cover Heart. Because when you think of Heart, you think of Nancy Wilson's fabulous voice. Then, after you're done listening, you remember, "Oh yeah, she's fat." In fact, I remember when Heart first came out. We didn't know Nancy was fat. The pictures were carefully taken and cropped to hide that from us. She didn't dress fat. You didn't find out that Nancy was fat until the 80s, when people started talking about how fat she'd gotten. Now we find out (thank you VH1) that she was always fat, and it has always been a source of grief for her. But you know what? Nobody really cares now: she's still the voice. But it's sad that we had to be convinced of her voice first, then find out she was fat, instead of accepting her fabulous voice along with her weight and realizing that girlfriend could sing. I'm sure the Aretha reference will come later, but for a first time out of the gate, it would have been too obvious.

So Mandisa covers Nancy Wilson, and subversively reminds us: It matters not that she (Mandisa or Nancy or Aretha) is fat. Her voice is what sells records. But I gurarntee you she's going to make it to the final six, if only because every fat girl watching Fox Tuesday night picked up the phone and dialed 866-IDOLS-01 for her. I know I did.

Side note: Stella voted for her too -- but because her voice was great. (Well, she voted for Katharine too, but anybody who has the balls to even reference Streisand, much less cover her, and then cover her successfully, well, that's worth a vote even if she isn't fat).

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

WWI: back on normal track

220.6, fat % 46.5, down 1.6 for the week. Not bad considering I had chips at this seminar and the cookie, neither of which were good. I ate them because they were there. I have to stop eating food because its there. Then again, it was the only thing there. I'm spoiled by UWM-Extension seminars, where they give you a choice for lunch of pasta, three hot entrees, a salad, blah blah blah, and for breakfast, yogurt, bagels, (and yes, donuts). No, at this seminar the only thing they had for breakfast was danish, and lunch was a "box lunch" with an unsatisfying roast beef (and not GOOD roast beef, either, i should have taken the ham) sandwhich on a giant white bun, chips, an OK chocolate chip cookie, and at least a really good apple. Still, had I known, I'd have brought my own good food.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Weird weather exposes HUGE development

So last Tuesday was something like 50 degrees out. We've been having a mild winter here as it is, and it was just ridiculous.

Anyway, I'm been ambivalent about running, with my weird knee issues, and perhaps that's just been an excuse. Lately, I've been taking a few laps around the track after an elliptical or stairclimbing machine run.

Usually on Tuesdays, I take Stella to ballet, and while she's in class, kill the time by climbing the actual stairs in the building where she has ballet. But it being 50 degrees out, I decide to take a run around the block. "Around the block" ended up being going all the way downtown and back, which I think was about 2.5 miles. Took me a half hour. Whatever, I maintained a run for a half hour. This is HUGE for me.

HUGE.

Wednesday, I ran around the track at the Y for about 20 minutes after a standard stairclimber.

Thursday, I ran around the runner's track at the Petitt Center while Stella had her ice skating lesson. (BTW, she had her test for the next level and she was worried, but I told her I knew she would pass and I was right!).

Today, after my workout, I bought myself new running shoes. And when I say running shoes, that's not a generic terms for "gym shoes" or "tennis shoes" or whatever. I usually just buy some cross-trainers. No, today I bought a pair of Saucony Grid running shoes, meant to run in.

This is HUGE. My confidence in running is back. I feel good swimming, and I live on a bicycle. But running? Knee-killing, shin splinting, body-jarring running? Maybe I'm actually getting in shape. Maybe all this working out is paying off. I don't even remember being able to last a half hour back ten years ago, back 40 pounds ago, I couldn't last a half hour. I don't know what is different this time, but I like it.

Huge, I tell you. Huge. HUGE. Maybe doing that triathlon isn't so far away.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

WWI: Moving right along

222.2, fat % 46.2. Down .6. Could've, should've been worse, given last Saturday night's debauchery, and the chili cookoff at work yesterday which I won, BTW.

Plus, I'm just having one of those weeks. I am holding more water than SpongeBob. I can feel it. Remember that episode of Star Trek - TNG, where they finally figure out how to talk to the silicon-based crystal species, and all it can say to describe humans is "Ugly... Ugly.... Ugly bags of mostly water...."? That's what I feel like. Not necessarly ugly, but a bag of mostly water. Ugh.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Pathetic Points Question

OK, one good beer is 3 points.

Thusly, 4 good beers are 12 points.

Now the hard question: If you suddenly realize that your tolerance isn't quite what it used to be because you've been dieting and not hardly drinking, how many points do you get back if you hurl the minute you get home from a Saturday evening of drinking and debauchery?

Four beers and I'm yokking. Boy, I sure can't hold my liquor like I used to. Probably a good thing, too.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Temptations & Sickness

I've felt tired and blah for the past couple of days and I can feel my willpower slipping. I have to gain control because I know this scenario is what causes me to get off track so easily. I start making excuses. I start to feel sick and then don't feel like exercising and then start allowing the "comfort" foods because "I don't feel good so don't I deserve to have whatever I want to feel better." These foods won't make me feel better. Must keep telling myself that. Must keep eating healthy foods. Must ignore the payday treats down the hall. Not exercising won't make me feel better. Must get on the treadmill in the morning and do the 20 minute program if nothing else. Must still walk the stairs at work. Must plan for the weekend and not break my routine. I've been doing the same things for 5 weeks - it's a habit. I don't want to break the habit now. No excuses.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Goals

Last week I hit 35.0. It was so nice to get my little Next 5 star. But I want the 100 lbs magnet. That's my long-term goal. I keep kicking around short term goals in my head, but thought it was time to put them in writing.

Goals
191 lbs by end of Feb - At this weight I will no longer by "obese" by BMI definitions. I will welcome my "overweight" status.

181.8 lbs by March 24 - 50 lbs lost just in time for spring break

158 lbs by end of May - BMI defines my weight as "Normal"

156.8 lbs by June 8 - 75 lbs lost just in time for my weekend in CA to celebrate my sister's 25th birthday and my dad's 60th

131.8 lbs by Sept 22 (1 yr from first weigh-in) - 100 lbs - if I'm this close, gotta go for the nice even number

140 lbs for Lifetime. This is the weight I've been aiming for over the last few years. Maybe it will change as I get closer and see what my body looks like.

These are aggressive - about 2.5 lbs per week. I'm not going to kick myself if I don't make them, but at least they are something to aim for. My lifestyle changes are a work in progress and so my goals may fluctuate. But I will get there.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

WWI: 3 steps back, 4 steps forward

222.8, fat percentage 46.5. Down 4. Made up for last week's gain plus a pound. OK, back on track. Still, a bummer that for all intents and purposes, I lost a week. But it would have been unreasonable to think i could lose five pounds in one week. 4 is a trick in and of itself.

Moving right along. I have to get used to the fact that the trend is still downward. 11.2 cumulative.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Letter to Akkasha

Dear Akkasha:

I just read your last couple of journal entries, and I could just about cry for you. You've made an amazing transformation over the years, not just in your physical body, but in your whole being, and both are for the better. You've just had an appointment with a physician you trust, and you both agree that you are at a weight that is healthy for you, that you can maintain, and judging by the pictures, you look GREAT at. And girl, you do look great. Those before and after pictures look like something out of those "A-MAY-zing NEW DIET PILL LOSE 50 in 36 hours!" ads. Except those ads are bogus. You are for real, and you are an inspiration. Remember that, because I'm coming back to this.

Yes, you're fixated on a number. Yes, you will get over it. Yes, you've been here for so long that its almost anti-climatic. But what is clearly bugging you is some, as you put it, arsenine WW rule that says you can't be a receptionist or leader unless you're at the BMI weight set by WW. I can read this into your two entries: this is a rejection. And trust me, girl, the emails between me and some of my weight loss buddies and some closed boards I'm on are flying. This IS indeed ridiculous. (Frankly, this might be a local thing: my first WW leader, still the best I ever had, wasn't any 155 pounds. She was a big girl. She was one of the best leaders I ever came across and I'll wax poetic on her in a later post). You might want to check into this. But back to the main point, you're sounding rejected. After all the impressive weight you've lost, after all your electronic leadership, after all those points lists you've converted to a Palm Database (which has been invaluable to me!) some unnamed entity at WW is saying you're not good enough. Chin up, girl. You know firsthand this won't be the first time the folks at WW passed up something good: look at all those Palm applications they drove underground (and their sorry excuse for a Palm app that they came up with, instead). So I'm going to say something to you that is probably one of the hardest things to say, and will be difficult for you to hear. I'm going to say it about an organization which has taught us much, has provided us with tools and motivation and friendship and guidance and is the reason you are where you are today. But if they can't see past their little number books and look at you and listen to your doctor, the day has come.

Fuck Weight Watchers.

That's right. I said FUCK Weight Watchers and their stupid little numbers.

I'm going to give you two analogies to soften the blow here. Leaving Weight Watchers is going to be like leaving the Catholic Church. Its also like leaving a job you're really really good, at, but one day you wake up and realize if you stay there, you're never going to be anything more than an administrative assistant barely making ends meet, and you're more than that. Ironically, these two analogies converge in my real life: I left an admin asst job at a Catholic university because, since I haven't finished my bachelor's degree (I'm 12 hours away), I wasn't eligible to be anything but an admin asst there. Never mind I totally computerized an entire department. Never mind I completely regorganized a total office management style and increased efficiency. I was never going to make more than 20K in that position. And it was hard to leave. I had a great relationship with my boss, I really enjoyed my co-workers, the benefits and hours were great, but they were never going to see past the fact that I hadn't completed the numbers. And so I polished up my resume, and within 6 months of leaving I had doubled my salary. I'm doing even better now, but on my last day of work 9 years ago I was crying. It was hard to leave a job that came along right when I needed it, that gave me the confidence to get out of a string of dead end jobs. But I had to if I was ever going to grow professionally.

But back to the other analogy: leaving the Catholic Church. This is even probably a closer analogy to you, because really, its not like the Church (or Weight Watchers) is kicking you out. You're taking the lessons you've learned, lessons that will stick with you forever, and going out into the world and facing the challenges. And like the Church, you're always welcome back. Like the Church, there will be a few changes (they always shake up "program" every few years) but the general jist of a mass/meeting is always the same. You go, you sign in, you weigh in, there's some chat time, then leader stands up, gives out the weekly awards and announcements, then goes into that week's topic of discussion. Then there's Q&A and the sendoff. Just like you can go into any Catholic church anywhere in the world and celebrate the same mass, you can go into any WW meeting anywhere in the world and in a very comfortable way, this is what will happen. Just like mass, you could probably go to a WW meeting in a foreign country where a language you don't know is being spoken, and probably make out what they're saying. (Numbers are pretty universal -- though in some places you'll have to do a little metric conversion.) So I'm here to assure you that comfort zone will always be there. Like Mother Church, they'll never turn you (or your money!) away. (And if you stay on maintenance, they'll take you without the money). OK, so you can't enter the priesthood. Neither can I. (We're women, the Church has a problem with that.). BFD. Ok, BFD another day. Today it still hurts.

That doesn't mean you can't be an inspiration. You are. I suspect you might have a slight clue, but you really don't realize just how high a priestess of the Church of Weightloss you are to many of us who read your journal, who get your mailing list, who marvel at your pictures that are indeed worth a thousand words. But I know, you need something concrete. A few suggestions.

  • Start looking around for an agent and a ghostwriter who can help you turn your journal into a book. Those before and after pictures alone will sell the thing. I'd buy it. One of the great things about your story is that you're a regular joe who didn't take some weird pill or whatever. You just plugged away and had your ups and downs and found the strength to do it all.
  • Write to Fitness Magazine with your before and after photos for their "I Did It!" feature. I'll bet they'll feature you in a future issue. I've seen them feature people whose "after" weight is 185 -- and they talk about how healthy those people are. These are the kind of people who GET it. And you'll have a hardcopy version of proof that people see you as an inspiration.
  • Keep your site up. You're a virtual Weight Watchers leader, and you probably don't realize it. You give people inspiration, just for updating all those fast food lists alone you are probably responsible for literally tons of pounds lost. You're probably a legend at your local WW meetings already.
You ARE a leader. You are beyond a leader. All Hail the High Priestess of Weight Loss Akkasha!

If you really hate this, I saved the old template

But here it goes. Found this idea cruising around, and pinked it up for us. For some reason or another, pink seems to fit us in an ironic sort of way.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Still Here...

I've not given up.

New Week, Move on. WWI

226.8. fat percentage 46.6. Ugh. Up exactly 3. Ugh Ugh Ugh. I knew this was coming. You can't eat out of control two nights in a row and not expect it to show up.

OK, that's over. Out of my system. Back to square one.