Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Anyway, tomorrow is Thanksgiving, which really isn't that hard a day for me to get through, food wise. Back when I was a kid, Turkey was this really special thing that you only had once (or maybe twice, like at Christmastime) a year. But now turkey is the de facto meat ingredient everywhere. You can get sliced turkey at the deli, turkey dogs, turkey sausage, turkey everything. It's just another meat.
We're going to make Trash Can Turkey this year. It's been recommended by too many people I trust, and doing so will free up my oven for vegetable casseroles, freshly baked bread, and other things that will make it a special food day. (How often do I have the time to make a loaf of fresh baked bread! Now that's special). Here's basically how Trash Can Turkey works: you get a metal trash can, (which, believe me, was hard to find in these days of Rubbermaid bins!) and you put a stake in the ground. You put the turkey on the stake -- like those watermelons or squash you see in target practice -- and you put the trash can upside down over it. Then you get a load of hot charcoal coals, and surround the can with them, and put a bunch on top -- sort of like a giant Dutch Oven at camp. According to the girl at work who told me about this the other day (as well as the forty google hits on the subject), voila! You have a perfect turkey in less than 2 hours. We will see.
So yeah, I didn't weight myself today. I just have to establish a better exercise schedule, and just get back on track, accept that I'm way behind of my original goal of being down to 212 by 12/1 (that part's hard) and keep going. Because when I comb the other weightloss blogs of people who actually succeed, this didn't happen overnight, there were setbacks, but they never totally gave up. OK, so this has been a year long setback.
Half day at work today, so Gots to go. Happy T-Day, friends!
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I kind of cheated this week. I weighed myself on Monday, and it's a good thing I did because I was getting depressed. I did a lot of bike riding on the weekend but I still felt bloated and such. I was actually quite good as regards Halloween candy but still. I had this two pound weight gain hanging over me that my head assured me was premenstrual, but the heart was saying "No, just give up. You're doomed to be this fat forever." I stepped on the scale and noticed that not only had I dropped three pounds, but the fat percentage had gone back down to 45, which is significant. That boost of being on the right track after all kept me honest these past couple of days, and now, here I am, dutifully loggin in on Wednesday Weigh in, checking in with all the other weightloss blogs, and writing down even the two pieces of Halloween candy.
But it's also probably good that I didn't let myself be fooled that much of this was PM gain. Because that was my mode for the past few months: oh, I'll just lose this water this week and I'll be fine the following. Oh, I'll just run/bike a few more miles and that will wear off the binge I just had. I'd written about metrics about a month ago, but they mean nothing if I keep guesstimating effects of things I can't positively measure, and thus I'm fooling myself and living in denial.
So that's my big lesson learned this week. I'm coming up on November, which for many people is a dangerous time of year to begin weight loss. But for me, the challenge it sets actually puts me on higher alert that I normally would be. This worked for me two years ago when I started this blog, and I'm fired up enough that I think it will work for me again. I've pulled out an old tool -- my paper notebook, where I will write not only what I ate, but what food group it belongs to. Previously I was just relying only my Palm pilot WW calculator, which gets you the basics, but I've learned my way around it and its routine. I've blathered on about Beginner's Mind a lot, now I need Beginner's tools. So, I'm keeping up with the H20 consumption, and now this week's addition is to really journal what I'm eating, if I'm balancing out my protein/carbs/fruit-vegetables ratios well, and most importantly, WHY I'm eating what I'm eating. I've been in denial and fooling myself too much lately. Time for my own journal to smack me up. As my very third blog entry EVER reminds me, now is NOT the time to get all cocky.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Instead, I shall list her for your reading pleasure, all the ways in which I rock. File most under "V'ron had one busy week with her camera."
- The show I did with the Cream City Photogs, "Fear" at the Art Bar, opened last Friday. Since it wasn't an official Gallery Night stop, it wasn't packed, nor did we expect it to be. But I had a great chat with the bar/gallery owner. He likes our work and I'm really starting to feel like I could actually make a dent in this field.
- So Tuesday, my boss calls me into her office. Apparently they'd hired a pro to take some shots of this aspect of our department we're really proud of, and the pro did an unimpressive job. I agreed to take a literal shot at it, and, nervous as all hell, I took in all my good gear, approached it with beginner's mind and shot. The thing about it was that it was a massive lighting challenge, and while I consider myself an available light expert, flash was required here. After a while, I chucked the flash, shot raw, improvised available light, and God Bless Photoshop. Boss was pleased.
- A week ago I got an invitation to exhibit my work at a private party for the opening of this rock and roll compound, where there's recording studios, rehearsal spaces, play spaces, etc. I slapped together a show based on two previous shows ("audiences" and a retrospective of my BW work from the early to mid 80s) and got it hung last night. Show's Sunday, and I pulled this off.
- Then, a friend's daughter needed HS Graduation photos and asked me. Again, I'm not a portraitist, but I shot her outdoors in available light and she's pleased with the results. She's coming over today to make her final selections.
- My band got booked for the Saturday after Thanksgiving at a venue I've always wanted to play in. This was last minute (three week notice in this town for a band is "last minute") and I'm really happy about this.
- Stella's birthday party was Sunday, we put that together at a roller rink at the last minute and the kids all gushed at how much fun they had. Phew.
- At work, I'm in the throes of a massive project that's coming to a head this weekend, such that I couldn't take any time off this week to just go home and be sick and take care of myself, and I think this is going to come through allright anyway.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
It's time for workout transition. During the nice weather months, my workouts basically consist of power bike rides and I honestly don't do that much weightlifting. But come winter, I do a lot of weightlifting. Part of it is that I love the summer so much I can't bear to go indoors to lift weights, so maybe I'll be riding my bike and I'll stop and do some chest presses and tricep pushes against a tree or something, but no real formal workout.
Winter's different. I'm at the Y, there's machines all around, it's very conducive to a specific "program" of sorts (provided I make room in my schedule.) But a Y visit is a 2 hour ordeal, really. About an hour of travel/getting ready/post workout shower, which gives me an hour workout. It all seems so time-consuming, but I know I spend more time on stupid stuff. So I feel like I'm changing gears, from a speed-based high gear to a power based low gear, and interestingly enough, it's not really that hard on the trasmission, but still noticible.
My muscles ache from getting back into weightlifting mode, while a half hour on the stairmaster barely gets me winded or sweaty. I actually kind of like this transition period, and it's boding well with this whole starting over thing. I feel like I'm starting fresh: slightly achy muscles, but achy in a good way, like I'm accomplishing something, like I actually worked them. I come home and make myself a fresh, nutritious tossed salad and my motivation is fed by those achy muscles.
OK, theme for this week: determine and establish an indoor workout routine, despite the fact that this month is anything but routine.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
OK, first week of the challenge, and my goal this week was to journal everything, rather than let myself fake it out. And that accounts for only losing one pound (as opposed to the pile you get when you change your eating habits). I journaled everything, and according to my journal, as of last night, I'm about 15 points in the hole, so the only reason I lost this week was either some residuals from prior weeks, or the bike riding I started catching up doing.
Saturday I'd gone to girl scout camping leader training, and while the food wasn't exactly watcha call "diet food" I'd stayed in range and was journaling everything. The problem came when I went to a friend's house for an evening BBQ/party. It wasn't a celebration of sorts, though. My friend had just gotten (or perhaps just faced) some bad news about a family member and he was doing the right thing to deal with what is going to be a long-term source of stress for him by surrounding himself with his friends. Unfortunately for me, he also surrounded himself with plenty of wine and cheese and other flex points busters.
The thing was, I didn't have any wine (too tired to deal with alcohol) but that's not why I binged on the cheese. My friend was stressed out, there were a couple other people there with stress in their lives, and I learned just how contagious stress is. And I am definitely a stress eater. Some people medicate their stress with alcohol; I medicate with food. So admidst the laughs and fun that go with just brining a bunch of old friends together, there were the subtle and constant reminders of the sources of stress, which I internalized and fed by popping piece after piece of cheese or chips into my mouth. I just got stressed watching my friends this way, and because I was in a relaxed state from earlier in the day, I just went on auto pilot. I don't even remember what that cheese tasted like. I just pounded it. I finally stopped myself, feeling terribly unhealthy (and thus not in a state to be helpful to my friend anyway), bid my farewells, and left. I pulled out my points journal, wrote it all down, and beat myself up over it. Breaking 20 year old habits is wrong.
The next day I got up and rode a good 30 miles on my bike, which is a better way to shake the stress. Still, it doesn't make up for the bad behavior to begin with. I've got to learn to anticipate these things better and stop reaching for medication. Because food in this case isn't nourishment. It's medication, and when it comes to stress, medication only attacks the symptoms, not the cause.
OK, theme for this week (back to basics) is WATER. I've been living on diet soda, and not drinking enough water. 40 oz a day, minimum. I will journal this.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
By December 1, I want to be down 10 pounds from now, at 212. This is do-able if I really set my mind to it. By January 1, I want to have gotten through the Holiday season without a net gain. This I've done twice, so I know that's do-able. And maybe with Halloween coming up and the holidays, I can do this because since there are specific challenges, I'll go into challenge mode.
I also need to be challenged, publicly. Know why I didn't post last week? Because I gained, that's why and I was too chickenshit to post. That's why. So if I post goals, I know I have to meet them, else people will stop reading this blog and write me off as another also-ran. That would be the worst. I'm totally sure of that.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Now that I've lost almost 10% of my previous weight, I've noticed that my abs really suck. My butt is much smaller and so are my legs and face and everything, but my abs are flabby and gross. Dang.
I might have lost weight, but sometimes I don't feel like I look all that great.
I need to start working on that part of my anatomy - AND FAST!!!!!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
One thing she said that's really stuck with me is this:
"You must stay in front of this thing, not behind it"
My take on it:
Once you have a weight problem you always have one, and to stay within range you must constantly be proactive, vigilant, and take nothing for granted. Don't wait for it to be a problem, instead, make sure it's not.
BTW - I'm down 17.2!!!!!!! Yeah!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
But while I'm only down point .6 (I puit the word and the actual period there to emphaside that when I say "only" point 6, I mean ONLY point 6, not 6 pounds), my fat percentage dropped some 2 percentage points, down to 45%, and that's the lowest it's been in a while. Now that fall is kicking in, and I'm in the gym at least once a week, I'm lifting weights, and just over two weeks I've dropped three percentage points. At this point, I need to really trust the metrics behind the fat percentage. Because if you go on the assumption that total fat = total weight x fat percentage, I've lost 4.67 pounds of pure fat, and that's not a bad thing for re-starting a weight loss program. Maybe I should call it a "fat loss program" because that's what I'm really trying to lose.
I know, I know, I'm reaching here, but I need metrics, and right now, the popular standard -- simple weight -- is failing me at a time when I need a boost of confidence. I stumble all over the fatophere and I see all sorts of different metrics -- BMI, actual measurements, "how my clothes feel" and they're all legitimate measurements of success in the weight loss arena. But we all get pulled back to that simply weight factor. I can go on and on about how I dropped 4.67 pounds of fat in one week, but the number that only moved a half pound overall still bothers me. I have to get over this.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
OK, so I'm down less than a half pound, but heck, at least I'm down something. I'm a weekend cheater and I have to do something about that. I had the girls over for dinner Friday night, and we really didn't make pigs of ourselves, but plenty of Fat Bastard wine (and other brands, but I'm gonna drag out the ol Fat Bastard phrase as much as I can) probably didn't help.
No, instead I'm going to talk about how I think that at least some bits of media/body acceptance are creeping into my daughter's life. I took her to the Roller Derby Saturday night, and explained that it was all girl, that its was going to be as much show with costumes as it will be a sport with uniforms and rules. "Mom, I hope its not going to be all skinny girls like on TV," she said. She's going through a self-debate on this, I can tell. She's thin and tall (for her age, and if her grandmother's genetics have anything to say, she'll always be tall and likely lean/thin) but she sees a bit of flesh on her thigs and she thinks it's fat. I tell her its not, but I'm her mom so in that department my opinion means nothing. Still, she doesn't like Bratz, she gets bent out of shape when she sees women being exploited on TV, and she's particularly annoyed that people are calling Britney Spears fat. So hearing her hope for the rollergirls was a nice slice.
This wasn't your 60's Los Angeles Thunderbirds Roller Derby. This was New Feminism, celebrate-women's power in all shapes and sizes roller derby. The Brew City Bruisers are Milwaukee's Rollergirls, and they are tough, strong, beautiful, sexy broads who range from rail thin (helps you cut through the pack) to Livin' Large (helps you keep someone from cutting through your pack). The cheerleaders (beerleaders) are all sizes, too. Halftime entertainment is a troupe of bellydancers who also have a variety of body types. The Rollergirls are dead serious in their sport. They're good, they're competitive, they're great sports entertainment. I found myself kind of jealous, that this ol 47 year old broad with a crappy knee and a crappy ankle was born maybe a little too early to catch sisterhood with a whole league of toughass chicks. There's a regret that I'm not able to put on a pink shirt, torn fishnets, strap on some wheels, hang a cute moniker on myself like "Pound Anya" and do my stuff. I am intimidated by them, but also inspired by them: it's Stella who reminds me that running a triathlon, riding a bike 60 miles a weekend and fronting a punk band is pretty badass in and of itself. I just need to remember that it’s the same with body image overall: I'm not ever going to be thin, but there's a certain beauty in the curves I have, and losing the weight will accentuate those even more. I simply have to find my beauty and run with it.
Nevertheless, its was empowering just to watch a crowd of all ages, backgrounds and such to find fun and strength and beauty in this league, and I got a warm fuzzy watching Stella enjoy this. She's seeing the teamwork, she's seeing the strength, she's seeing the confidence, and she's seeing that every one of these women have fans in the crowd. All though this whole weightloss thing Stella hangs over me: what message am I thrusting upon my daughter as I work through my own body issues and images? Soemtimes I hear her worrying about how she doesn’t look like a girl, sometimes I hear her grousing that her thighs are fat, sometimes I hear her noting that she sees other girls as fat. Somehow, mommy's love exempts me from fatness, but still. I see and hear her having all these images and thoughts, conflicting in her, and trying to make sense of it. On one hand, she sees me talking body acceptance and cheering along with the Beerleaders, on the other hand, she sees me weighing myself weekly and taking measurements and counting my food points. Am I dooming her to some kind of hell? Or am I (hopefully) both intimidating and inspiring her to find the thing that makes her both badass and beautiful, and run with it? Because that's my Stella: the tough competitive soccer player who plays in a skort, because she looks really cute in it. And I have to remember that this beautiful badass little girl came out of me.
Monday, September 10, 2007
You might want to know that we had lots of good fruit and veggies, so its not like we feasted on fattening food. But we did eat meat. Meat marinated in all sorts of good yummy things. Girl food. It was fun.
And there's nothing like a glass of Fat Bastard by the light of the citronella candle.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
I especially need an attitude adjustment after this weekend. All this talk about fat acceptance, and here I am, I run into this guy I can't stand at a party, and the first thing that popped into my head was, "Ha Ha Ha! He's FAT!"
He's always been a big guy, but now he's even fatter than me! WAY fatter than me! Ha Ha HA! I know this is terrible, and probably hypocritical of me to think like this, but I can't help it. I can't stand this guy, and I was in glee that he's become FAT. Here's the thing. The reason I hate this guy (didn't like his pretentious ass from the get-go, but then he showed his true colors many years back when) he got into drumming in my (then boyfriend, now husband)'s band, a band whose repertiore and reputation DH painstakingly built with his buddies over some 10 years previous. Fat Bastard stole my husband's band's name and toured Europe under it, and the combined tenure of the guys of this bogus version of the band was maybe 1 year and some months. None of the people who'd been playing with the originals for at least 5 years were at all involved. The tour ruined the european reputation of the band because, frankly, they SUCKED, and none of the original members could afford to take him to court to stop him them. Fatso wanted to be a rock star so bad that he'd do anything, even pilfer another band's name and reputation to do it. The whole incident was loaded with bad juju, and it crushed the original band members. On the "karma's a bitch, ain't it" side, it's caught up with him. I've noticed that he since has never gotten drumming work with anybody playing original music -- original musicians are only so naïve, especially when they can see what you'll do with their work!
Anyway, ever since he stole my DH's intellectual property, I've always been disgusted by him. But I have to admit, the first thing I thought when I saw him was not, "Look at that backstabbing thief!" No it was: "Wow, that bastard has gotten FAT," and I was viciously laughing at him in my mind. Because while I'm all about fat acceptance, being fat isn't something I'd wish on my worst enemy. I wouldn't wish the health issues, the low self-esteem, the societal hatred, the whole bit on anybody. And now that fat bastard has to face it all. Ha Ha Ha HA HA! No, I wouldn't wish fatness on him, but since he brought it on himself, despite his self-rightous, look-at-me-for-I-am-correct, vegetarianism, (Yeah, he's one of those "Hey Waiter," asking loudly so the whole freaking restaurant hears them ask the question that only vegetarians ask: "Does this soup use a vegetable or chicken stock?" so that now everybody knows they're better than you kinds) I now have one more thing about him I can trash him with. But I can't use it without being correctly accused of "look who's calling the kettle black", nor can I use it when I lose the weight.
But here's the thing. I hated him before he was fat. Hell, I saw through and disliked him well before he pulled this crap on my husband. And so I don't hate him because he's fat. And I would never use his fat to hurt him, but it's tempting. I know exactly what hurts a fat person, I know exactly where to hit a fat person where it will do a lot of damage. And it's a tool I would never, never use. There's plenty of crap to throw at him that doesn't involve his fat. Like, the fact that apparently his entire artistic output of note has been made by sucking off of other people's creativity: he runs a website curating local band poster art, he is a massive fan of a band from our part of the country that made it big and thus plays cover/tribute bands devoted to them, he also is a tireless promoter of things like preserving this local architectural experiment in a postwar planned community for its historical significance. But you see, he doesn’t seem to have done anything much with his own ideas.I prefer to use this fact as a basis for trashing the ol fat bastard. He's at best a pilferer, and I'll take a fat ol girlfriend in my life over a petty ripoff artist any day. But it's still somewhat vindicative, to see this person I hate has gotten FAT. I can't stop other people for hitting him where the fat hurts, and while I would jump to the defense of any woman (for that matter, person) who does get trashed because she's fat, I wouldn't say a damn thing if somebody threw some potent fat hate in his direction. (Because, face it, men don't get trashed for their fatness as much as women.) Really, when it's people I like, I don't notice the fat. And if I don't know them, being a fat person myself, I give a person the benefit of the doubt. But I felt an ugly viciousness come over me when I saw Fat Bastard at this party. I was glad he got fat. I was glad I almost didn't recognize him because the shape of his face had changed as a result of his fat -- that's how fat he'd gotten. I hope people point at him and instanstly judge him the way my fat girlfriends are instantly judged and hated. Because I loathe that fat bastard, and I'm glad his picture of Dorian Gray has come to roost. I really don't like myself for thinking this way, but, there it is. This blog is nothing if I can't be honest. But boy, I sure do need an attitude adjustment. Are there such a thing as "mental chiropractors" who can perform such a thing?
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
School starts today for the kids, so summer's officially over.
And the point of all of this is, as I've been threatening to do for some months now, is start fresh, with Beginner's Mind, new web design, new everything. The fact that school starts today puts the entire family back on a predictable routine, and I said out loud to the family last night, "Enough. I've lost 20 since I started this thing, but I haven't lost a net pound in a full year. Enough." Especially after this weekend, which was kind of stressful, and I fed it by
I begin with a gain of a half a pound, up to 219.2. The silver lining to this is, well, at least I know that once I get to goal, maintenance won't be a problem for me. I'm not gaining any more; clearly I've taugth myself to eat normally (besides the binging incident) and that the occassional frozen custard, slice of cheesecake, or 12-oz prime rib (complete with yummy fatty outside) won't balloon me up twenty pounds. But I still have to lose, and by already dropping 20 I've proven to myself I can do that too, and even hit milestones I never thought I would.
So here we go. I had a good breakfast this morning, I have a lovely grilled ahi tuna citrus salad planned for lunch, and I have a snack and some fruit here at work as well. Enough.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Today I even journaled the candy I had. Taht's good.
I'm working on a new template for this blog because I'm getting sick of this. Maybe I'll just make it like my regular blog, just a diffent color scheme.
That is all.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Went to a party Saturday night and was offered food and actually said, "No, thanks, I've already had dinner." These are habits that kick in when you're just starting out, and fall by the wayside, and are reasons I got stuck, as detailed last week. I've visited this topic before: I have to approach this again with Beginner's Mind.
I don't know what it is about right now, but now seems like as good a time as any to approach something with Beginner's Mind. Maybe because I had an ephiphay that I haven't mastered this weightloss stuff, even though I've been at it a long time. If I'd mastered it, I'd be at goal now. But you go through the whole journalisnig everything, oh, that's such a BEGINNER's thing to do, it's so beneath me. Well, the scale isn't budging. It's not beneath me to begin to take metrics again.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
I'm stuck. I've been stuck here for a year now.
I'm going to State Fair today, which is basically a walking eat-a-thon on a stick.
It's alwasy something. But I have to remember, I can do this. I've done it before. I dropped some 25 pounds already. That's 25% of what I want to lose overall.
This is hard, but not impossible.
I need to go re-read this entire blog and learn where I've come and re-focus. I haven't posted last week not because Iw as busy, but because I was too embarassed to admit that I havehn't made any freaking progress.
But I can't just give up. That's not the title of this blog. This Blog isn't "Oh well, I tried." It's "This Time For Sure." I'm not happy with this weight, and giving up won't make me happy. It will just be failure. So I just have to figure the hell what is up with me that I can't get past this. I feel like I'm really stuck, stuck at the convergence point I discussed when I wrote this post. I clearly still haven't figured out how to get past it. But I can't go back down that ladder.
I've made strides in other aspects of my life, but the numbers are failing me (or I'm failing the numbers), and I'm very much a person who needs empirical statistics to confirm or deny what I'm doing. Yes, I generally *feel* better about myself, but I'm still not where I want to be, and I am not on the right road to get there.
More late. My freaking bike got its FIFTH FLAT Tire this morning. Brian's coming to pick me up from work and take me and my bike to a shop, where I'll fix the flat and hopefully (if I can get while-u-wait service) ride it home. Then shower (for what its worth on this miserable hot and humid day) and go to State Fair. Fortunately the concept of deep-fried s'mores on a stick isn't all that appealing to me (but those dang cream puffs are!)
Hey Wisconsinites, has anybody ever gotten a realistic Points (TM) count on a Wisconsin State Fair Cream puff. I really need to count this.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Walking, Biking, Water, Eating sensibly, well and healthy, Not boozing it up too much (and making sure to really enjoy it when I do!), attending Weight Watchers meetings. These things are all helping. It also helps to not sit in front of the TV eating chips and drinking Chardonnay when I'm depressed. I've been drinking tea and reading instead.
It's a slow road though. 10 lbs. in 9 weeks. Not bad actually....a pound a week basically.
Everyone have a great weekend!
BTW - Looking at doing this in a few weeks: Hank Aaron State Trail 5K Run / Walk
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Can't wait to hear how BlogHer went.
Friday, July 20, 2007
I guess it's time for me to chime in on a discussion going on in fat blog land…. And Erin at Minx, Redux, puts it very succintly: "I absolutely do not understand why there must be a size acceptance camp and a weight loss camp and ne'er the twain shall meet."
Quick background on why this seems hot right now: BlogHER, basically a convention of women bloggers, is next weekend in Chicago. (Wish I could be there, but, frankly, I've got one blessed summer weekend with no official plans and I'll de danged if I'm going to spend it cooped up in some hotel conference room. Next year, sistahs.) There's a panel about body issues going on and the fabulously witty wieghtloss/weight issues blogger Wendy Mc Clure is (appropriately) a panelist. Apparently there's a camp of people disgruntled by this, (represented by the comment "What business does a former Weight Watcher have on this panel") because as somebody who apparently "bought into" the whole dieting thing, what could she offer on fat acceptance? Erin's post on the topic covers about 90% of what I have to say on it (the next 10% coming up) so I'll just excerpt (links and emphasis in the excerpt are MINE, not hers):
I think it's stupid, actually, because anyone who approaches this with an ounce of common sense will recognize that the healing process of losing weight, of accomplishing more things with your body than you thought possible at first, of being able to slip on clothes without worrying about what you look like...of those vast improvements in mental health far outweigh and often support the physical benefits of weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. Every single person whose life has been changed through weight loss has talked about the immense sense of freedom they attain while they're going through the motions of working off the fat. They talk about the broken relationshps they've been able to heal, of the new self-confidence, the sense of efficacy...and yes, they gleefully recount the times they've been checked out by someone at the supermarket, or the day that they managed to walk into a non-Fatstore and try on a pair of jeans without tears of shame. And I know the Size Acceptance movement says it should never be about the last part, but it is. It always is, and it always will be. Validation for one's successes, at least in some small measure, will always be an innate human need, and there's nothing that redefining how we're supposed to think about ourselves can do to combat that.
I'll add that that last part -- the validation -- wouldn't be truly effective without some measure, be it a scale, dress size, or ability to hit a milestone/objective, that is, as we say in the IT world, "SMART." (Good ol Specific, Measurable, Achieveable, Results-focused, and Timely. Anything else is just the same ol' "When I get a Round TUIT" which means it will never happen. Anyway, she goes on to add:
I also understand that another problem with weight loss blogging as a means of size advocacy is that it's a fairly self-centered activity … When I write what I ate, what I was thinking when I ate, how I'm feeling, etc., I'm not doing it to inspire anyone at the moment. (Although when people say they draw inspiration from my words, it's a phenomenally gratifying feeling). I'm writing here because I don't have a support network in my own real life, and this is the best way I know to reach the widest variety of people going through a similar process. In my writing, I am not changing minds or effecting societal progress...I know this.
In other words, we're looking for, and we've found, community. The fact that so many of us write the similar posts as we hit milestones means we've found it. We have found a common ground in the joy of fitting into the skinny jeans. We find a common ground in our shock that one damn burrito at Chipotle will wipe out your flex points well into 2015. We find common ground in the fact that this topic right here is a hot one, and its getting us thinking. And that in and of itself is "effecting societal progress." Every movement has its proponents that are moderate to radical, and often the radicals are the squeaky wheels who get the grease, and are thus identified with the entire movement. Do all feminists agree with, say, Andrew Dworkin or Catherine McKinnon? (For that matter Susan Faludi or Naomi Wolf?) But at the same time, all make important points which should be discussed, and are good touchpoints for forming your own value and belief system. Anyway, Erin continues:
But as I considered that, I also realized the other question I have for the size acceptance proponents:
If size acceptance is built upon the idea that you should be comfortable in your own skin, regardless of your weight or appearance, then why be political about it?
Because in general, like Erin, I like the concept/spirit of size acceptance advocates. And I understand the anger that often fuels it: whether I'm walking down a street and have somebody lean out of a car and scream "FAT" at me (this happened to McClure, and its happened to a lot of us), or if I'm at a business conference with some blowhard acceptantly tossing off fat hatred, or reading about some nutcase who's calling for the detrhoning of a singing contest winner because she isn't rai-thin. Or even the time I was sitting in a Weight Watchers meeting a few years back and some wiener runs in and screams "FATTIES" and runs out. There is a lot of fat hatred going around out there, and outisde our safe little community it gets vicious and vile. I won't deny that the fat acceptance movement is as necessary and vital as femininsim itself. Erin wraps up her post thusly:
I suppose what I'm trying to say, in a very inefficient manner, is that I like the spirit of the size acceptance activists. I like what they stand for, but I do not like their politics. I'm angry that Wendy McClure was made to feel even a little unwelcome because she had the audacity to look for a tool that would help her feel better about herself. I'm angry that talented writers like Jen are told there must be something psychologically wrong for them to want to reduce their body shape and look better. I'm irritated that just because I want to feel that profound sense of relief when I walk into a store knowing that there WILL be something there to fit me, that I've been branded as superficial, body-conscious, shallow for wanting to look a certain way. If that's the case, then label me as such, but I'm fairly certain that in the last seven months of learning how to eat correctly, to vanquish bad habits, to move past all the hang-ups I have about how I am and what I can do, I've done more for my own self-acceptance through dieting than I ever would by simply throwing my hands up in the air and saying "so what?"
I'll say it again: the sense of achievement I've gotten from success in the weight loss realm has indeed bled into the rest of my life. I've re-ignited my band. I ran a triathlon. I bought a two-piece swimsuit and wore it in public. All of these things are things I said I wouldn't do until I was at least down to a size 12-14 (and I'm not there yet, honeys!). In addition, I helped organize and participate in my first art show of my photography, I stumbled onto a stage alone and sang acoustically, I climbed a challenging alpine tower. I wouldn't have had the confidence to do these things, but because I had the confidence that came with achieving a SMART objective, I did them. And I'm still fat. If anything, I've underscored the lesson that my fat is not a cause of any pain or lack of self-confidence I have -- it's a symptom, because being fat didn’t stop me from doing any of these things.
I think the problem might have a lot to do with as (and I wish I could find the post, because the line in it was perfect and I want to give credit where credit is due) somebody said, "One persons goal is another person's starting point." In other words, we all have our own definition of where we need to be to feel comfortable in our bodies. Frankly, my goal of 160, and perhaps 145 (and maybe I'll feel good at 185, I'll know when I get there, because last time I was 185, I didn't feel perfect but I could wear and do what I wanted and that was good enough for me) still will be considered FAT by the media's standards. And if the fat acceptance movement is about feeling good and being accepted at whatever weight YOU feel good in, count me in! I just saw the fabulous Candye Kane wail the blues a few weeks ago, and while I get the impression she's a little unhappy at 220 or wherever she's at, I also know she's fine with being fat overall, and she'd be happy at 210, and if that's where she's happy, good for her! She's beautiful NOW, she's sexy NOW, and she's comfortable with herself NOW. It's just that right now, I don't feel good for both physical and vanity reasons, at 217.4. I can do most things I want to do, but I can't wear what I want to wear and I can't do everything. And I've also realized my eating habits are bad because I'm not eating fat food to nourish. I'm eating it to relieve stress and to soothe some pain. I'm using food as an anethestic, and mentally and physically, that's not right. I'm using food as a drug and I'm addicted. That much I've figured out. And I'm still trying to figure out more. But here's the thing. Again, my weight is tied to SMART objectives, because it’s the one thing about myself I can be truly objective about: I can MEASURE how many pounds or dress sizes or whatever I've achieved. I can't do that with "happieness" or "stress" (perhaps by measuring blood pressure, but frankly, my BP has always been great.). I need to be able to measure.
But I think that all us us suffer from some level of insecurity, and this whole issue of fat acceptance vs. the dieters (us sellouts!) is a symptom of it. About a year ago, I wrote on this blog my thoughts on "what happens when I DO lose the weight" and it's a topic that surfaces in the fatosphere now and again: when we lose the weight, will we will accept our fat sisters as the beautiful people that they are? (Some ex fatties don't, you know. They become some of the biggest fat haters ever.) And even in this process, I wondered aloud:
In this respect, I think I'll always have empathy for overweight women, but when empathy transitions to sympathy, when does it become patronizing? And how do we keep from being patronizing, beyond the obvious difference between "I remember when I was there, here's what worked for me" as opposed to (and I've seen this in more than a few books/blogs written by former fat women) "I remember when I was such an idiotic fat cow." That's the easy difference, it gets harder when you realize that, after all these years of being victims of a form of elitism, we're sort of joining the elite. Its like I've written before, I love the people in this phat little club of ours, but given the choice, it’s a club whose eligibility I'd rather not qualify for. I'm seeing a lot of us at this point struggling with this: to remain "fat accepting" yet to want to cast off our own fat. Is it elitist to say: "Well, fine for you if you're OK with being fat or not ready -- for whatever reason (god knows it took me a while to be truly ready to do this) to lose it yet, but its not acceptable for me."? It really is the opposite of the Woody Allen paradox: "I wouldn't want to be a member of any club that would have me in it." We are members of this club, and we want out. Is that an insult to the current club members?
I think the fact that I/we want out of this club is being taken as an insult to the current club members. And the more radical among them are turning it around and getting elitist on us, calling those of us who follow the diet plans or track our numbers the joiners, the blind falling for the media expectation. I think what I loved so much about McClure's book was the very thing that some reviewers on Amazon hated: that she was/is this extremely intelligent woman who was conflicted in succumbing to basically the self-brainwashing that is required to succeed at weightloss. (Because if you are going to lose weight in the long term, you really have to change your life, your way of eating, the way you approach food. McClure has found a tool that seems to be working well for her… I'm still looking for mine.) But this concept of behavioral modification is just plain icky to people like me and McClure and many of us, because we've spent our whole lives as intelligent women taking pride in the fact that we are thinkers, that we don't do things blindly, that we don't run with the pack. And now, here's some of the people in the fat acceptance movement, people we thought were our sisters, telling us that we've fallen prey to the great media monster, that we're doing exactly with Big Diet Industry wants us to, that we've covering up our reasons for doing so with the "health" card. No, I admit it, its vanity. I admit it, I do want to lookbetter. I admit it, I'm not comfortable in this skin of mine. But I also agree that we need a movement that will say, as I so enthusiastically say to Candye Kane, "Girlfreiend, you're beautiful. All 220 pounds of you. And don't let anybody tell you you're not." Because Kane is beautiful because she at a place and look where she feels so. And I suspect she won't be insulted when I finally feel great in this body of mine, whether its at 199, 185, 160 or 145, because she's got the confidence in her own heart.
(((whew))). I went a long while on that, eh? But this is complicated, and this self-serving blog exists for us to sort things out, not change the world.
Monday, July 09, 2007
self portrait on the shuttle bus to go get the car
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
But here's Part II. In the other blog, I documented everything up to the point where I put on the swim cap and got in line for my heat. So here i am.
Overall, I'll tell ya, I really liked the vibe of the Danskin Triathlon. It was upbeat and feminist enough, but not to the point of making me want to vomit. They didn't get in your face about it. It was a woman's athletic competition, but at the same time, it was like we were all helping each other out. And germane to this blog, it was a place where I don't think any woman of any size felt "wrong." Like my friend Jen had told me, we wouldn't (and weren't) the only large women there, all decked out in skin-tight tri suits. I actually wore a black sports bra and boy shorts for the swim, which I was getting psyched up for, standing knee deep in water I didn't expect to be this warm at 7:20 in the morning. And another thing that contributed to this vibe is that we were always referred to as "athletes." As in "only athletes are allowed in the Transition Area" or "This table of food is for Athletes Only." Not "women racers." Not "participants." Athletes. And we were treated as such, and I think that in turn trasnformed many of us (who never used the term to describe ourselves before) into such.
Sally Edwards wades over by us. She's the national spokesperson, and its at this point I learn that she's turning 60 this month. She looks great, a bit weathered seemingly more by having done hundreds of triathlons rather than sheer age. She's a cheerleader for us. Each heat gets an inspirational "word" that we are advised to chant to ourselves. Our heat's word is "phenomenal." (Jen told me that her word for her first tri was "Beautiful" or something like that -- "It wasn't a word having to do with performance, it was an esthetic word like that.") Nonethless, I'm glad my heat's word is truly a word that describes a performance, rather than "beautiful" or "Stunning." Our heat's caps are green. (I wanted purple, but, oh well.)
So I spit in my goggles (to keep them from fogging) put them on, the countdown goes, and we're off. I put the hammer down to start, and probably started off too strong, because it was a pace I couldn't keep up for more than 50 yards, and I'm slowing down already, and have to succumb to doing to breaststroke to get my wind back, while women who took it normal are passing me. Still, the majority of women I'd talked to were just afraid of the swim overall, so I know I'm going to be at least average (which I turned out to be). I find my stride doing a good freestyle crawl, I'm hearing Sally's "I am a phenomenal swimmer" chant in my head, and I'm going. Every wich way. Its a windy, choppy morning, and I'm doing what I learned I tend to do -- I'm veering to the left. About halfway through, I picked a few other green caps to follow, and of course, they're veering left as well. So I decide to try to overcompensate. I probably zig zagged across the entire course. A few green caps are passing me, but I'm also catching up to the yellow caps of the heat before us, and nobody from the heat behind us is catching up to me, thank God. I see the end and realize I truly did overcompensate -- I'm totally to the right of the finish pad and BLAM -- I knock my knee into a canoe that's at the right. Somebody warns me about rocks I'm about to step on, and my knee is killing me, and I have to climb up this sandy hill with my throbbing knee but I manage.
So into Transition, where I remember I'm blind as a bat without my glasses, and I'd neglected to count how many racks over my bike is in. (I'd counted on being able to see the signs!). So its like I'm in a parking lot and can't find my car. I find it, finallly, and congratulate myself for thinking of putting a bottle of water for the purpose of squirting sand off my feet, which I did. Note to self -- my favorite baggy bike shorts are too big, but they were still hard to get on a wet body. Opt for true tri bottoms next year. On with the bike shoes, helmet and road shirt, and off to the Bike Start.
I hop on and start flying. I'm flying past all these other women and I'm wondering, "Wait, am I breaking some sort of etiquette? Am I not supposed to put the hammer down until we get out onto the open streets?" Another woman zooms by and I realize "No. I'm just a strong cyclist." And unlike a lot of the people here, I'm on racing wheels and my tires are new racing slicks, and that makes a monster difference right there. I shift up and I'm off. At first I'm wondering if I'm pushing it too hard, but again, I realize, this is my leg. The bike is my strong suit. I've alrady trained and proven i can hammer the bike and still make the run, so I go. I'm calling out "Passing on your left" so many times I'm starting to feel like a broken record. I keep wondering if I'm going to peter out and these people are going to pass me later, snickering. And then there's the ones who don't move to allow a pass. Duh.
About four other women who are clearly bikers are in a pack with me, and by mile 4 we've formed this little mini-peloton. We alternate passing each other (2 of them are better hill climbers than me, where me and this other woman were better at straightaways than them) but it's like we've found our own little impromptu team. We take turns being the one to holler "Passing on your left --- there's 2/3/4 of us!" and frankly, it's a rush. It's the first time in this race that despite all the talk of "athletes" that I really start to think of myself as such. I'm a bicyclist. And while I'm pounding it up a hill, passing still more women (and cheering them on, telling them hang in there, because I remember those days of grinding up a hill against the wind at the beginning of training), I'm feeling like yeah, maybe I will someday compete in a bicycle race.
It's a ferocious headwind on the homestretch back. I feel like I'm in the Tour de France, hearing all the strangers cheering for me and my fellow cyclists, reading all the chalk graffiti aimed at particular racers along the route, hearing those cowbells going off as we pass, being waved at by local residents, families with "Go Mom!" signs, the local cops both watching us (because it's not like there was a whole lot of traffic to worry about in rural Kenosha, WI at 8 am on a Sunday morning). Finally, I'm still passing people on the stretch to the Bike Finish, I slam on the brakes, dismount, and take it down a notch, running my bike back to the rack, and sucking down my third dose of Clif Orange Cream carbo gel. I get the bike shoes off, adjust my ankle brace, slam on the running shoes, replace my helmet with a headband, squirt water on my head and go.
It's at the Run Start that I'm conscious of the timing chip at my ankle, going beep as I step on the mat and head out to the running course. Damn, that sun is hot at 9 am. It's already something like 85 degrees out. My feet are already hot. I start my chrono timer, because in training I found that it takes me about 10 minutes off the bike and into a run to find my stride.
It's been 10 minutes, and I'm just barely finding my stride, but darn it, my goal was to RUN this whole run, not walk a single step of it. There's plenty of women passing me, just as I passed people on the bike, but at least I'm still running. God, it's hot. It's freaking hot. And finally, after 12 minutes, I hit my stride. I've got a good rhythmic breathing going and I see a sign and what's this? It's only been a mile? Heck, I could swear we were halfway done! OK, keep pushing. We go past a beach house and I see one woman attempt to use the bathroom there and it's locked and I say out loud, "I'm so sure they've locked that!" to laughs around me, and doing so reassured me that I must be at a good level of effort because I can have a conversation, so I'm not overworking. Isn't that the rule of thumb (at least it is in aerobics classes.)? Anyway, there I am. We get to the part where you have to run out and double back, and there's a woman with a garden hose spraying us down, there's people handing out water, and those Jelly Belly Sport beans, which are suddenly the most delicious things in the world, but I'm too spent and concentrating on running to be able to open the package. Another woman sees me and says "Hang in there, do you want some of these beans?" She hands me a few, and they're delicious. Like Quench Gum, they are, they zing in my mouth and give me the jump I need. And there's the water people again, on the doubleback, handing me a cup of water to wash it down. And there's teh sign: 2 miles. One to go.
And a ferocious one it is. A slight uphill, and we're also against the wind. That's when I start chanting that phoenominal word again, a word I can barely spell by now, but trying to spell it is taking my mind off the fact that I'm ready to drop. No, I've come this far, I'm running this whole thing if it kills me. And I see the finish line. A man in the crowd catches my eye and can somehow see, thorough my sunglasses, that I need an encouraging word and he says, specifically, "Hey, Number 799, you're almost there, keep going, you can do it!" and I do. There's the finish line. It's about a football field away. I'm Fucking Brett Favre and there's nobody in my way and I'm going for a touchdown on the first play of the game. My legs feel alternatively like rubber and steel and I'm pushing it and I hear the announcer saying names before me and I step on the first mat that clearly gives my name to the announcer who pronounces it correctly and I hit the second mat and I whip off my headband and start swinging it around and there's my name "here's Veronica Rusnak, great job!" and I hit the third timing mat under the finish line.
And there she is, Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the First and her court, straight from the Renaissance Faire, to give me my medal. As I mouthed off to her at last year's Ren Faire, I curtsey deeply as I recieve my medal, and people hand me water and and and.... I'm done! I did it! I ran the whole run! I swam the whole swim, and I hammered the bike. I did it! I am phonemonal, even if I can't spell it to save my life.
I walk around the general area, and I spot the Crocs Vendor display. They're offering a foot ice bath for athletes, I sign a waiver, and take advantage of that. It's just the thing for me and my plantar fasciatis, and as I'm swishing around my toes in the baggies and the ice, I think aloud, "I will never ever diss this company's
Jen and Peggy's heats are just getting going, so I've got at least an hour and half before they're done. I finally end up doing what turned out to be brilliant -- I catch the shuttle bus back to Dairyland Greyhound Park to get my car, and since I'm on an early run, I get a great parking place at the outlet mall and catch the shuttle back to the race. (This was brillian, instead of waiting for Jen and Peggy, to do it now, because by the time Jen and Peggy are done, the line for the shuttle bus is about as long as the run itself!) It's on the shuttle bus back that it hits me. I did it. I've always wanted to do this, and I did it. And being fat didn't stop me from doing it. If I waited until I'd lost weight, I might have never gotten around to it.
I'm still looking for Jen and Peggy, and I still hear the amazing announcer, who has been upbeat and wonderful since 6 am, still calling off the names of each woman who passes the line, with the same enthusiasm he did for me, as he did for the first person who crosses the line, as the last person. I reunite with Jen and Peggy and we gush and take pictures, and we ride our bikes to the mall and we're done.
We do lunch, and it off to home sweet home. My mind is a daze. I'm making conversation, but I'm outside my body as I do it.
So I get home, and get my times, which are posted on the other blog (and also with this picture, if you click on it.). I have goals now. I have to do better transitions. I could probably shave a minute or two off the swim by practicing more in open water so I don't zig zag. Next year I'll have a stronger ankle, but I do need to improve the run. But frankly, hammering on the bike didn't affect my run. My run time/pace was pretty much what it is when it's NOT preceded by another sport, so if I felt at all like I might have held back on the bike (which I really didn't), there's no reason to do so. Specifically, I'm in the 88% percentile of cyclists. My goal next year is to hit that top 10%. The bike is my thing, always has been, and this race validated that. I've never really been a runner, (and this race certainly validated that), but I still ran the whole thing. But despite my rookie status, and despite my fat, I learned something.
I'm an athlete.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Racing slicks put on bike, new chain, new rear cassette, complete tune-up. Check.
New running shoes. Wow, you don't realize how bad the old ones are until you're in the running store trying on new ones. Wow! I love new running shoes. Check.
Bought a bunch of carbo-gels at Jennifer's adivce: "Learn which ones don't make you throw up BEFORE the race." Check.
OK, triathlon in 2 weeks.
OH, BTW, just to be a bitch, I posted this entry at my regular blog. I know, I should give this a rest but I couldn't resist.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
self portrait at the bubble after a run on a really humid morning
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
OK, so get this. I'm at a conference this week for work, it's a conference about web content management. Overall it was pretty good. There were more marketing people there than IT people, and since I'm being assigned to a lot of marketing projects, it was a good exercise in my learning about their world. There were a few dud sessions, and there were a lot that spoke to me more as an individual web denizen rather than the corporate project manager I was sent there to be.
I know, I know, I'm talking about work in my fat blog. But there's a point coming up -- and that is, can I NOT go anywhere where I'm reminded about fat in this world? At least the last time I hit a conference and fat was brought up, it was by a speaker who used her diet as an example of project management and it was positive. This time around, I had to deal with some speaker's fat hatred.
This Howard Tullman guy had an impressive enough resume -- apparently he pretty much saved Kendall College from dying by eliminating some programs and beefing up others -- namely their culinary program. His speech topic for us was pretty broad (in that it didn't address web content management) "Managing Radical Change in Turbulent Times." He may be a good administrator, he might have some radical management ideas, but he has tired, cliché ways of making a point. Really, his powerpoint presentation was basically a series of (as he admitted) "fortune cookie sayings" that frankly, if I needed to see that, I would have simply sent for my free "Successories" catalog.
Can you tell he lost me early in his speech, and I therefore spent the rest of the speech nit-picking all the things about him I didn't like?
Here it was: he mentioned early on that one of the programs they eliminated from Kendall College was the athletic programs. Was it because they weren't bringing in revenue? Was it because they weren't cost-effective? No, according to Tullman's speech, 400-pound culinary students don't really care about volleyball!
Huh? I was left wondering, well, do 127-pound culinary students have an interest in volleyball? Were/Are Kendall's culinary student body made up of entirely obese students? Are all culinary students therefore obese? Of course! Only fat people know how to cook food, right? And thin people don't eat that much, therefore they must not not cook well, because why? Why would they actually enjoy making excellent food prepared well? They certainly don't eat it! They're too busy playing volleyball!
I'm going off on this because Tullman made reference to his 400-pound students several times in his vulgar language spewn speech. (Granted, I cuss with the saltiest of sailors myself, especially when I'm fronting my punk band. But I don't do it in a ballroom full of business professionals. To coin a cliché fortune cookie phrase, the type of which Tullman is so fond, "Vulgarity is the vernacular of the inarticulate." But remember, he already lost me early on, so I'm nit-picking.) At least four times he dropped little digs about his 400-pound culinary students, their lack of athleticism, their propensity to eat. You could tell he was disgusted by them -- disgusted by his own student body, the very people who paid his salary with their tuition dollars. But still, I stayed in that room until the final groaner, when he was rattling off yet another cliché: "Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should." And what image did he use to make this point? Was it a picture of the Homermobile, that atrocious car Homer Simpson designed for his brother's car company?. That would have been an effective, humorous way to make his point.
No, it was a photograph of a very large woman in a string bikini, drawing groans and moans from the audience (I'm sure some in shock, some in disgust), so much so that even Tullman knew it was tasteless and quickly clicked to the next slide full of "You Can't Have Value If You Don't Have Values" type cliches.
Howard, was this absolutely necessary? You've already established your distaste for fat people. Did you have to nail it home, with a tired, everybody-knows-that-fat-people-shouldn't-show-their-cellulite-in-public sentiment? You couldn't make your point without resorting to this? But why should I be surprised? You couldn't make your point without resorting to cliches and foul language, either. I complained to one of the event organizers, and I was going to email Tullman himself, but I decided to put into practice one of the things I learned in this conference: the best way to get your name out there is to get blogged about it! (Try it, fellow bloggers! Google up some topics you've written about. Don't be surprised if blogs, especially your own blog, turns up early on the Google hit list! I'm not even that popular a blogger -- I'm no Wendy McClure and yet my regular blog turned up above the fold on a bunch of topics I wrote about!) So I decided to write about Howard Tullman here, where I can do some damage. Woo Hoo! Be careful what you wish for, dude, you just might get it!
Anyway, here's a picture of me the next morning. I was in Chicago, and believe it or not, while I grew up in the Chicago 'burbs, I have not yet seen "the bean" at Millenium Park, but I still wanted to get a run in. After all, whether Tullman believes it or not, this 218-pound fat person who shouldn't be wearing a swimsuit in public (but I can and I do, so put that in your culinary school menu and eat it!) has a triathalon in two weeks to be in condition for. So I got up early, grabbed my camera, and ran from my hotel in the Loop to Millenium Park to do some shooting while simultaneously getting a cardio workout in. It felt great. I was actually amazed that by 6:00 a.m., the Loop was still fairly dead, nobody to point at my flabby abdomen jiggling as I thawumped down Randolph Street to Millenium/Grant Park, snapping off shots. And there was "the Bean," the local nickname for Anish Kapoor's "Cloud Gate" -- a beautiful sculpture, which like Milwaukee's Santiago Calatrava-designed Art Museum wing, screams to be photographed. Actually, it screams "Take a Self Portrait That Looks Like You Just Bought a Funky Wide Angle Lens" because of the lovely curves. And so I did, the photo that accompanies this post. Like other photos I've posted here, it's not the most flattering of me ever, but I like it anyway. It was a ridiculously humid morning, so I'm even sweatier than I usually get after running an hour. My face is clean and makeup free, my heart has quickly (I'm proud of this) returned to its resting rate, and I'm wonderfully spent and enjoying this amazingly interactive piece of public art. I actually felt accomplished, beautiful, athletic, working toward a goal that had nothing to do with weight, with whether I should be doing this or not. I like this picture of me not because I should (I shouldn't, for the sweat the you can probably smell off this web page) but because I think it captures a bit of my own surprise and pleased-with-myselfness that I think it radiates. A year ago, I would have never thought I could, much less should, run through the Loop to Millenium Park at six in the morning to get a workout in. Less than a year ago, I never took a self portrait because of Tullman's attitude that overweight people shouldn't show themselves, that we are too ugly to be seen. Now I take them all the time, examining my own beauty in unliklely settings, despite the fact that some people don't think I should. I ran to Millenium Park with my camera, I took this picture of myself sweaty and un-made up, I published it and posted this on my blog simply because I could. Because, Howard, you blowhard, just because you can do something is very often good enough reason to do it.
ONE DAY AT A TIME.
Stayed within range yesterday, made great choices, kept up my walking.....this is all I can realistically do. Must leave the rest to time and to nature and NOT GIVE UP.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I'm not discouraged. I've changed many habits and attitudes. Dinner last night was good. Small portion of spaghetti, one meatball, one (well, ok two) glass of nice red wine, salad, good conversation and company. Chewed slowly and enjoyed.
Walk this morning was nice.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
The French women are all skinny. Fat French Women do not exist. They have methods and secrets. My sister lives in Paris now and shared a few with me:
1. First, they watch HOW MUCH they eat. Period. They acknowledge the fact that they can't just eat whatever, whenever. This is an ongoing thing for them. A life commitment.
2. They allow themselves treats, but then make up for it the next few days.
3. They WALK. EVERYWHERE. DAILY.
4. They have "meals". "Meal" meaning they sit down with other people, have conversation, and truly enjoy the experience. I've found that when we sit down to a nice family meal or to a meal with friends, I tend to eat less, eat better, eat slower, and enjoy each bite.
5. They favor quality over quantity.
6. They drink wine in moderation. No sick drunken displays. My sister claimes she's never seen a drunk French woman.
Those chic bitches!
Friday, June 15, 2007
EDITED on 6/16 to swap out the photo. I already used Jake's in the previous regular blog post, so I'm using Sbug's for variety here.....
anyway, back to the non edited text....
Numbers for for Wednesday (ha!) weigh in. 217. Down 1. Not bad.... I guess. Still not paying as close attentino as I should.
This is me doing the the Riverwest Beer Run at Locust Street Festival. Locust street is the thoroughfare in the middle of the the student/artist boho neighborhood in Milwaukee where I used to live. The Beer Run is as, (as I write in the blog in the above referenced link) prepsterous as it sounds -- a 1.8 mile race with four beer stops. Me and my girlfriends decided that if you're going to run through a neighborhood drinking a beer on a Sunday morning, you might as well do it wearing evening gowns and tiaras.
Well, it was this nice little warmup to the Danskin Tri I'm doing in a couple of weeks, but it's actually underscored my problem lately. And that is, being fat isn't stopping me from being myself, from doing the things I want to do, etc. So I'm not trying as hard. I just don't like being fat in and of itself, its uncomfortable, there was a prom dress that would have been even more perfect that didn't fit, (I know, that's the least of my worried), but heck, I got my band going, I RAN the whole beer run, Jesus, I'm running a triathlon in a few weeks. Being fat isn't ruining my life.
But it is hampering it a bit....but beinig Queen sized isn't stopping it. And that's my problem. I'm unhappy being fat in and of myself, but it's not stopping me from living, and thus I'm not as motivated to really pay attention to my eating habits.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
According to this, the Veggie Fajita Burrito I had for lunch is 40 POINTS! 1718 Calories! 79 Grams of Fat! I asked them to just dust the cheese and sour cream so maybe that gives me a point or two. The tortilla alone is 330 calories!
RU FREAKING KIDDING ME?
"Get Real" strategy is: If you're invited to Chipotle, you order a Bowl (sans tortilla), have them skip the cheese and sour cream altogether and eat 1/4 of it...maybe a third at best....
BTW - Down 6.4 in 4 weeks and feeling good.....
Friday, June 08, 2007
Big driving vacation coming up in the first couple weeks of July. I wanted to be all skinny for my sister's wedding, but I'm sure I'll be right about where I am now. And with road food for much of the trip, I'll be happy if I just maintain.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
My cubbie mate said the other day, "I've got to give Weight Watchers another try." And she inspired me to just go back to journaling my food again. Especially the part about "And I'm going to log this Dove Chocolate thing, even," she said. "It's a point."
A whole friggin point, just to lose myself in an all-too-short moment.
Anyway. numbers. 218.6. Up a little over a half pound. Could be worse. I've been loseing myself in too many moments. But I logged this one today.
That is all.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Thing is, being fat did not stop me from accomplishing a lot this year. I got my band back together. I put on a successful photo show and actually sold a piece. My day job is going well. All these things that fat people aren't supposed to do. And I did them. But I'm still fat! How come I can do all this stuff and not get this weightloss thing going? How come I can't seem to stick to this? How come I always get cocky after early positive results and still be fat?
Lots of questions, no answers.
Oh, blog maintenance. I've had to enable comment moderation because some dickslap decided to post some crap -- and I don't know how to delete it. So please continue to comment -- I'll check as often as possible and accept your comments, as long as they are germane to the discussion.
Monday, May 21, 2007
About 6 months ago I noticed a tightness in my right shoulder. The twists wouldn't go as far on the right side as the left.
Then, 2 Sundays ago I took a real awkward fall and slammed my shoulder. I heard one of those awful "pops", and it HURT!
No emergency room, but an MRI the week later, a subsequent trip to a few docs, and today's visit to the physical therapist. Throw in a trip to the acupuncturist for good measure.
The diagnosis: partially torn rotator cuff. It should heal on its own. It will be a long road though before I can do yoga or spin or ride a bike the way I did before / without pain. Hopefully not too long because we have a trip planned to Governor Dodge in mid-june, and we always bring the bikes.
Bottom line: getting injured sucks.
Walking a lot right now. That's good.
Saturday: Went to my first Weight Watchers meeting in [WAY TOO LONG = FOREVER]
Weight: 181, Spirits: Confident I can lose the weight and keep it off.
Thoughts: It's VERY easy to forget how much you really eat. Restaurants give huge portions, your stomach stretches, you make bad choices in general, once or twice a week you sit in front of the TV with wine and Fritos - BINGO! 181lbs.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Triathlon training is moving right along as well.
That is all. No huge insights this week.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
- Summer de-wussification, which I wrote about in my regular, non weightloss blog, continues. Got caught in the rain riding into work this morning, and it felt great!
- Lots of partying this weekend, which probably accounts for the only .4 (that's point 4) loss this week. Oh well, any loss is a good loss.
- I think I'm overtraining for the triathlon. My numbers are dropping, rather than getting better. Need to have rest days.
- OK, numbers: 46% fat, 219 pounds, down point 4, but the fat percentage is dropping more.
- Hey, has anybody noticed that the three girls left on American Idol are not exactly waifs?!?! This is so hopeful. I mean, OK, Jordin isn't what I could call fat; but at the same time, girlfriend's got some meat on her bones, and she's beautiful. They all are. And they all have some serious pipes. I don't expect to hear Britney Spears belt out "To Love Somebody" like that anytime soon.
Over and out.
Monday, May 07, 2007
Speaking of undergarments, I had some undies that were kind of big when I got them, but these days are downright huge. So I finally threw them away. It felt so good. My next biggest ones are feeling too big these days, too. But I'm reluctant to throw them out just yet. I hate buying new clothes right now because I know I have more to lose before I get to my goal. I don't like the thought that I'm throwing my money away. I like the clothes I've been buying. It's going to be a happy day when they are too big, but it will be a sad time too as I say good-bye to some new favorites. At least they'll be in decent condition when I donate them!
I was looking through photos this morning, trying to find ones of me around my goal weight from high school and college. Back then I thought I was fat. As if. Sure I didn't have a flat stomach and carried about 10-20 extra lbs that weren't acceptable at that age, but after age 25 are perfectly legit. Now it's my goal to be that weight again. In the photos, I'm always wearing a baggy sweater or my t-shirt hanging out. Trying to mask that "fat". I finally found some with shirt tucked in. I look pretty damn good. Why did I think I was fat? I found a cartoon a couple years ago "I wish I was as thin as I was when I thought I was fat." Me exactly.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
The Best Damn PM Ever
Photo by Nicole Bruni.
First the numbers: 219.4, Fat Percentage 46.5. Down 1.2. This time for sure, people, I feel like I'm back on track. For sure it was the stress of putting on the show, and if anything good came of that, it's that I really have to be conscious of stress as a binge trigger. I was having issues, I wasn't turning to people for help, instead I reached for food. I didn't plan anything, I just drove through fast food and shoveled it down my throat on my way to meetings, to getting things done. So if anything, the victory is in recognizing this, and having it thrown in my face in such an obvious way.
This is a picture taken of me by one of my colleagues, and I admit, it's not the most flattering picture of me ever taken. But I really, really like it anyway, for reasons besides the generous title she gave it. And I'm discussig it here, because as I'm learning, my fat is not a cause of my pain, it's a symptom.
As you may know, I have this day job in corporate amerika that, as far as day jobs go, really isn't that bad. It's high stress sometimes, but pretty much all the things that suck about it are all the things that suck about having to work, period. But its still not where I want to be, it's still not the dream. The dream is making a living creatively: writing, photographing (music will still be the obsessive hobby!), in effect, telling stories. I'm not turning in my notice tomorrow; I've got a few more years in a cubicle before I can make that jump. (I have a mortgage, college funds to seed, a little debt to get out of). But I'm fine with that. I'm confident in my plan. The events of the past few weeks and months have convinced me I'm on the road I want to be on, going in the right direction, and the journey is as every bit important as the destination.
When you're in college or art school or wherever studying creative as a youth, you are pretty much conditioned to reject Corporate Amerika like it was the devil, the dark side. It's like you're being baptised into the creative, and you're paraphrasing the catholic baptimisal rite: "I hereby renounce Satan, and all his works, and all his empty promises." Nothing about this world can be good for a creative, you must reject it all or you're One Of Them. Well, I'm One Of Them. I'm a fucking yuppie. I drive a nice car, my house is nice, my kids wear good clothes, I have health insurance. I can afford to get a massage and facial every quarter (and you bet your sweet ass I do). But for many years I looked longingly at my creative friends who were toiling away, and I was jealous. They never sold out to The Dark Side.
The thing is, though, when I got out of college, I didn't start writing right away. To be successful at creative, you have to have a certain confidence in ones self that will push you through the constant rejection that all creatives get. Much of that rejection comes from your own soul, that you aren't good enough. (Gee, my fat friends, we don't have this problem, do we?) You have to have a side that says "Yes I am!". I didn't have it. I didn't see myself as a writer/artist/whatever. I saw myself as a pretending wannabe. I didn't take myself seriously.
Over a bunch of years I flailed about, tasting different lives, always sad that I hadn't become the creative I always dreamed of being. Then I landed in Corporate Amerika, and bit by bit, I took classes, learned skills, and started to realize that there was a place here, in staid, stuffy old Anonymous Law Firm, for an obnoxious, take-charge, boisterous extrovert like me. I'm at the point now where I'm making a good living, as a Project Manager, using phrases like "action items" and "deliverables" and "agenda topic" and such. I'm taken seriously for it, and I can tell because I can stroll into a project meeting, populated by a bevy of network engineers and desktop managers and web developers whose language I can read write and speak, (but not fluently) -- and yet wield authority because, as I often introduce myself and my job, "I don't really do anything, but I get things done." But I'll repeat: they take me seriously, and in turn, I'm taking myself seriously.
For the past few months, I've taken these management skills -- skills I and many of my creative colleagues pooh-poohed as skills only those on The Dark Side valued -- and applied them to something I have passion for. I used them to help put together the art opening I've obsesseed on this blog about. They were an element of why it was a success. (It goes without saying that the entire team kicked ass, and this was my piece.) But I never once felt any self-doubt about the value I offered as a project manager, and as I warmed up to this group of photographers and our style of working together, I felt confidently authoritative arriving at our meetings, agenda in hand, action items to assign, deliverables to evaluate. In turn, we produced an event, and in doing so, we've all discovered something about ourselves that we take seriously.
When people who have been in Corporate Amerika decide to leave (for something more "passionate"), often they do so with that same rejection of values that creatives have against The Dark Side. Not here. I'm going to be a success in Creative, I'm going to be a success as a writer/photographer (and, to stay on topic with this blog, a not-fat person!) because of the experience and skills I learned in Corporate Amerika. My being an IT Project Manager is the reason why I even had the guts to say, "Hey, guys, I think my photography's good, and uh, by the way, I have these skills I think will help us get it out there…"
That's why I like this otherwise unflattering picture of me so much. I don't look like somebody in Corporate Amerika: I'm disheveled, no makeup on. I'm wearing hot pink and I'm sitting outside on a Sunday morning, enjoying a cup of latte. But do you know what I'm doing in it? I'm conducting a Post-Project Lessons Learned Meeting, and specifically, checking my palm pilot for a next meeting availability!
I'm here, I'm at a point where I'm taking myself seriously as a writer and an artist, because of my years in the Dark Side. So when I finally am ready to shake off the golden handcuffs, I'm not going to be rejecting Corporate Amerika doing so. Its always going to be a part of me, and it’s the part of me that was missing for so many years of insecure self-doubt. Its given me a confidence that is spreading to the parts of my life that I need confidence in. That will always be me, organizing meetings and setting agendas, even while I'm tattooed, wearing funky headbands and hot pink, and arguing with myself what my next project's theme is going to be.
Thanks Nicole, for this shot. Its so perfectly demonstrates why I haven't (and never will) completely renounce the Corporate Amerika that many so pointedly regard as Satan.
Oh, and I'm down 1.2 pounds.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
In the meantime, remember all these posts about getting the band back together? I'm not nearly as nervous about our first show in 8 years tomorrow night as I was about the art opening. Maybe it's because I'm used to this sort of thing. Maybe it's because it’s a small club, I didn't promote it that heavily, and the audience will be comprised mostly of friends and fans. Or maybe I'm just more comfortable on a stage than on a wall.
The thing is, and I've discussed this before here, is I have a certain persona on stage. She's a tough, detached, cynical bitch. It's a very nice costume to wear when singing songs that I suspect a lot of people don't realize are highly personal. I didn't have a persona at the gallery opening. It was just me, my photos up on those walls, pictures of audiences staring back at me. I felt naked, without a safe little costume protecting my soul. The good thing about this rock and roll costume, thought, is (unlike my fat), it's fairly healthy. I can slip in and out of it fairly easily, and its not too far from me. And I suspect most folks can see right through it anyway. I even have a new song that covers this fact. It's called "I Can't Play Poker For Shit."
The triathlon training is now going. I've taken baseline times in each of the three disciplines, and I can finish them all separately, easily. So now the training focuses more on strength and endurance. I already know I can do it. Now I just want to get a respectable time for a large woman in her 40 doing her first tri. I know they say "You won't be the last to cross the finish line," because they get Sally Edwards, this triathlon training expert, to always be the last person to cross the line. Well and good, but the symbolism is lost on me. She's not finishing last because she's slow. It's not like she probably couldn't even WIN this thing. She just does this symbolic crossing of the line last. Well, I don't want to be second to last, either. And I feel bad for that penultimate finisher, but it's not going to be me.
Friday, April 13, 2007
I'm hitting this icky "Oh, the heck with it, I'll never do this" feeling that's wafting over me and thank god for this blog, because coming here, and re-reading old entries is indeed keeping me going. I have to start journaling the food again; that's all there is to it.
Still busy. I've got my photo show and of course, a week beforehand we are hitting a few last-minute snags that have re-introduced "corncob" to my rotating pool of oft-used vocabulary words. Can't go public quite yet on the source of that corncob's trail, but suffice to say as a Project Manager, I should have known it was going all too smoothly, all too perfectly, a project isn't a project unless it hits a crisis or two. And as far as crises go, this isn't really that bad: it's not really detracting from our original scope or goal, which was to host an event-based exhibition of our work. But still, last minute curve balls either have to be slammed out of the ballpark or just accept the strike. And as previously blogged, this is all a source of stress, and as my numbers are showing, I'm medicating my stress with food, and that's not good.
Training for the triathlon is going glacially, but at least I'm sticking to my goal of doing something workout related at least once a day. But maybe next week, when the kids' schedules are back to normal, and maybe Wisconsin weather gets back to normal (snow in April, WTF?!?!?) I can just put my training schedule and work it in. I've got to do more than 30 minutes of cardio a day if I'm going to make a decent effort in July.