Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Non-Scale Victories

Turning a little problem into a big problem.

I use this phrase at least a dozen times a week, most recently this morning as I debated whether to carry a screaming 5-year old out of the gymnasium or to let him just run out of steam on his tantrum. Kids really get this phrase--more so than any of the other behavioral jargon we throw at them in the course of the day--I think they like the symmetry of the phrase...little problem on one end, big problem on the other, and only them in the middle holding it together. It usually deescalates the situation nicely, and since the states passed those silly laws forbidding us from brutally beating your children, it's pretty much one of the best options we have left.

I realized today that over the past week I've been turning little problems into much bigger problems than they deserve. I took little tiny bits of loneliness and ennui and irritation that the scales weren't moving fast enough and I turned them into an all out celebration of sturm und drang filled with no exercise and a little overeating.

The good news is, I realized after updating my little weigh-in counter that my body calendar is ready for another periods, which means I've been busy turning into a hormonal wildebeest who cries at American Idol episodes and stares, wild-eyed at the sugar cookies in the Wal-Mart bakery because she believes her cats told her to go eat all the yellow ones with confetti sprinkles.

Anyway, since I'm in the process of trying to turn dark, twisty Erin back into bright, shiny Erin, I thought I'd list some things that have made me happy today and excited for my focus regaining in the morning.

1)No more muffin top

I pulled a pair of jeans out of the dryer today that usually require me to engage in strange, East German calisthenics to loosen around the thighs and middle. Even so, I still had stomach fat splooging over the waistband of my jeans and had to spend most of my days with strategically placed legal pads or coast in front of my midsection. I sort of looked like Debra Messing when they tried to hide her pregnancy on Will and Grace, except I couldn't have pulled off those muu-muus. Now, though, the jeans just slide right on and button and I can breathe and walk and they actually feel like JEANS and not strange, PVC bondage leggings I bought from some S&M store in downtown KC. Not that I've ever been to those stores. I thought a leather store meant handbags, I swear.

2) I'm riiiiiiich!

Okay, not rich, but I have money. Some money. More money than I had, say, in October. The Husband left me with a ginormous financial debt that I managed to pay off very quickly over the course of the summer, but when the dust finally settled I realized I was still going to live paycheck to paycheck on my current salary. When I started thinking more about my food choices in January, I realized a whole lot of my money was being sucked away by fast food, or restaurant meals, or impulse shopping at the grocery store. Making a food budget and cooking at home has been the best thing I could've done for my pocketbook, and now it leaves a little cash free for those weight loss rewards on the left of my page, or for whatever I want. I like that feeling very much.

3) I've regained perspective.

I snuck out of my lunchtime to watch a fourth grade spelling bee today, and I left after ten minutes because I couldn't stop giggling at the gravitas imposed on the situation. Three members of our school adminstration volunteered to judge for the bee, and as each kid spelled a word they flashed little green or red cards on popsicle sticks based on their answer. When there was a disagreement, hushed and spirited debates would break out at their table as the kid stood trembling at the microphone, awaiting his or her fate. I was so proud of the kids, but as I stood there observing, all I could think was "This is a frigging spelling bee. In a school gym. With the smell of fish sticks and ketchup wafting in through the air ducts." Then I realized I had been doing the same thing all week long. The week or so since my last weigh-in the scale's been a little high, and I've let that get to me. Intellectually, I know there's no way that I've gained those pounds and that it's just a result of PMS and salty foods and not moving around so much, but still the stupid numbers on the scale really bothered me. As I leaned there against the gym wall, though, I started thinking about all the other crap in the world that could be happening to me right now. Rape...violence...horrible poverty...war...death. None of those has visited my life recently, and I've forgotten that my personal struggle with weight loss doesn't define me or my life. It's just a major priority right now, and even if it's not going perfectly, it doesn't mean my life is over. I'll just have to keep trying again. And again. And again.

Someday it'll all be worth it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

No pain, no gain?

Tomorrow I'm cleared for physical exertion again, provided the snot stays clear (yes, I'm this charming in person too) and no more fever. To that I say woot. Let the games begin again.

I was thinking today as I was pining for my corner treadmill in The Little Fitness Center That Could that "healthy" really means a whole lot of different things for people, and for my family in particular. If I were to drive each of you to my house to introduce you to my family members, you would instantly realized two things about us: First, that my mother has an unfortunate obsession with large, shabby chic-ified pieces of wood with droll sayings stenciled on them (i.e. "The Queen Will Now Receive an Audience" above the door of the glassed-in porch that used to be her smoking room but now hosts at least 90% of the world's Christian romance novels organized alphabetically by author on white plastic Rubbermaid bookshelves), and that my father, brother, and I have not yet mustered the courage to ask her to please, for our dignity's sake, to take them down.

And second, that we are a family of hobbits.

My father is the tallest, measuring in at a whopping 5'8", followed by my brother at 5'7" (although when he chooses to faux-hawk his hair, he's a little taller), my mother is 5'4", and I, at 5'1", serve as the family armrest for everyone except my cousin who is 4'11". My mother and father also comingled his stocky German genetic makeup with her stumpy, large-assed Scottish heritage and created a family of tiny people whose males have scrawny legs and a poochy stomach, and whose females have the frail upper body of an Audrey Hepburn coupled with a lower half more closely aligned with, say, Camryn Manheim's.

My father had a health scare a couple years ago, and was warned by his doctor to drop some weight and get his blood sugar in check or risk diabetes and other terribly unpleasant diseases, so he did. And by "did" I mean I think he woke up one morning, brushed his teeth, and thought to himself "Today I need to clean the garage, go to Home Depot, and I guess lose 50 pounds." He accomplished this by replacing his triple scooped bowls of ice cream at night with bowls of cut vegetables. He also walked two miles a day on his treadmill every day for three months. I swear to you, that was all he did differently and he lost every bit of those 50 lbs. Granted, a year later he's gained it all back, but sometimes I see him sitting in his armchair with a serene look on his face, and I know that he's all Zenned out knowing that if he decided to lose 50 lbs. again, it'd be off by next Sunday and he'd barely have to lift a finger. My dad is hardcore. He's not a big thinker, and while he plans for things like hunting trips and car washing opportunities meticulously, he's not one to obsess over WHY he's doing those things. He just puts one foot in front of the other and chooses to do whatever it is. I find this amazing.

My little brother, while not thin, is the one in our family blessed with the good genes. Good hair, good bone structure, and not a whole lot of extra weight to carry around. I don't know if I'd like to see him extremely thin, and I think he feels comfortable as a medium to large size guy, so he exercises in spurts, and mainly as a conversation starter for later. He'll run a couple of miles twice a month, or take up rowing for a few weeks, and then there'll be no talk of fitness for awhile. Regardless, his body stays pretty much the same and I don't think he worries so long as he can squeeze into his seven layers of Old Navy couture every day he goes out in public without looking like the Stay Puft Man.

That leaves my mother and me. Ohhhhhh, my. What neuroses to uncover in the next two paragraphs. If my lifelong attempts to lose weight are an Odyssean epic of bouncing round and round until I have to just stop bouncing and finally make it home to who I am and what I'm supposed to be doing to be happy, hers is an veritable Ulysses, in that by the time she's done explaining it, you're just tired and confused and everything sort of hurts.

My mom, seriously and sadly, has a rotten self-image...perhaps the worst I've ever seen. She self-loathes to the point that I have heard her call herself ugly in front of friends and family. She hides behind tent-sized shirts and baggy Aladdin pants because she's so ashamed of her body. I find this so odd, because my mother is a beautiful woman...overweight but beautiful. When I see pictures of her as a young mother, she looks exactly like a Raphaelite beauty, with exquisite features and beautiful skin. But she doesn't see that, and so in remaking herself as a tough, shrewd woman instead, she's lost her ability to see the true beauty and strength that I used to remember.

My mother relies on two things to influence her life: Jesus and Madison Avenue. She once prayed every hour for two days after doctors found a spot on her lung, and since it never showed up again in X-rays she believes Christ can take away her fat as well. So she prays, which I cannot criticize, but sometimes praying is the only healthy thing she does for herself all day. She also reads and watches, almost obsessively, about the latest diet foods or books or trends and usually has them in our cupboards the week they're released to the public. She'll have a Slimfast for breakfast, a Lean Cuisine for lunch, and then goes out for Mexican with her girlfriends and wonders why she's so hungry and unable to withstand the temptation of Chili con Queso or an extra daiquiri. I suppose this approach is better than when we were children...she used to starve herself all day, living on cigarettes and sugared coffee until she turned into a ravenous snarling wildebeest at night, especially when she stepped on the scale and never saw it moving downward. She's almost quit smoking now, which is pretty amazing after 36 years, and she's even biking a few miles every day. I'm proud of her for at least mediating her own behavior enough that it's no longer harmful, if not incredibly productive in the long run.

What's really strange about my mom's relationship with weight, though, is that for her it's a major, my brother, the other administrative assistants in her doesn't matter, and she's ready to fight dirty. She called me today to ask how I was feeling, and I mentioned I had one more day of rest before I could go back to the gym. "Ha!" she said, "I'm already beating you this week because I biked Monday AND Tuesday."

I really didn't know what to say to that. She asked me how much weight I had lost, and I told her my current total, and I heard the "Ha!" again. She told me she still weighed less than I did, and if I wasn't careful I'd be borrowing HER fat pants in a few months. I was silent, trying to think of a diplomatic response that didn't end with some variation of "suck it". I opted for nothing, because trying to explain to her that muscle weighs more than pure fat, and that riding four miles on what basically amounts to a La-Z-Boy recliner with pedals is slightly less taxing than running on a treadmill and lifting weights didn't seem like it would help the situation much. So I just congratulated her and hung up the phone.

But it got me to wonder...maybe I'm not doing enough, too. Maybe what I consider good enough for my own health goals would be laughable to the ones who've really succeeded. I mean, Poppi Kramer worked out TWO hours a day, with no excuses. Should I be running more? Lifting heavier weights? Am I doing enough? Eating the right things?

So after my conversation with my mom, and considering how different each of our bodies are and how incredibly disparate our methods for keeping them under control seem to be, I've realized that the more I learn about being healthy, the more I realized I have absolutely no real clue how to do it.

Ever have that feeling too?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Happy Anniversary to me..

I am writing this while sitting in the corner booth of a dimly lit Chinese restaurant in the southern suburbs of Kansas City. "The rich part," I reply when asked where, specifically. I am a weekly regular here, forced by urban sprawl and the fact the the only other nearby restaurant is overpriced and "run by rampant misogynists", as my music store manager warned me the first time I ventured out for food. So I sit alone here, a legal pad or a book at my side so I don't have to stare around the restaurant while I eat. I've decided I really enjoy taking my meals alone--it's an hour long meditation of sorts, as I sip tea slowly and concentrate on the bamboo shoots hiding like buried treasure at the bottom of my soup cup. It makes me feel content to have a quiet moment during my thirteen-hour workday, although this newfound affinity for solitude probably won't do much to improve my practically nonexistent social life.

It's amazing what sleep and several hundred milligrams of antibiotics did to lift my spirits from yesterday, even though today should've technically been categorized as shitty. In the middle of teaching lessons, I received a phone call from The Husband. During the past six months of our official separation in July, my husband has become convinced I'm not only freely dating, but also wallowing in sybaritic excess and having extraordinary amounts of sex with every guy I date (possibly all at the same time, and in a champagne glass shaped hot tub I'm sure he believes I installed the moment his feet hit pavement). So when he calls my phone, he does so with the intent of breaking up one of my sweaty, passionate, carnal rendevous with whomever I may have seduced for the afternoon. You know...the mail carrier. Or the pizza boy. Or the Orkin Man. Whatever.

The point is, he doesn't just call to leave a message, he calls and calls and CALLS until I break down and pick up the phone. Tonight he called twice in the middle of a piano lesson with Kiersten, a 6-year old sugar addict who has a penchant for throwing tantrums when it's time to leave my studio. Tonight when I realized The Husband was serious about wearing me down until I answered the phone, I cut Kiersten's histrionics short by putting her parka on myself and booting her out of the studio into the arms of her mother, who had a package of Twizzlers and a Sprite ready to soothe her savage little beast for the ride home. I slammed my door shut and answered the phone mid-ring with a curt "What?"

"I hope you're observing today", he said.

Christ, was it Lent already? Should I have been fasting? I shot a furtive glance around the store for people with ashes on their foreheads and realized mid-peek that it was actually just Monday. I'm sort of flaky that way.

"Observing what, exactly?"

"It's been one year know."

Ahhh, yes. 'You know' meant the day I discovered the cache of emails he had written to women within driving distance of our house, packed my possessions into a Rubbermaid container, and began the most humiliating month of my life living in the basement of my parents' house. With a curfew. And chores. After realizing what he was referring to, I think I said something really lame like, "Oh, right. Thanks for letting me know" and hung up, fighting a chuckle that threatened to bubble up in the back of my throat. I was sort of bemused that he had called at all, and totally mystified as to how he expected me to observe the practical dissolution of our marriage. Hair shirts? Self-flagellation? Noisy sex in the champagne tub with all my supposed paramours? I was completely flummoxed.

So really, the only way I can see to observe such a huge upheaval in my life is to simply stop observing it at all. (At least until I finish saving up for the divorce lawyer). I should stop living life as some sort of demi-widow, hiding behind drab clothing and a plain face and spending my nights at home with Bravo TV and my cats. If the past year has been a process of revealing fresh wound after wound as I faced the incredibly unsavory truths about my life and marriage, maybe the next twelve months will bring subsequent healing and recuperation. I truly hope so, at least.

I promise legitimate weight loss posts, rife with all kinds of discussion about calories and good carbs and Hydroxybetalean-5 product criticisms tomorrow, because whining about my life is tedious even to me, so I can only imagine the torture you must be going through to read this. In the meantime, remember to gather with your families to observe National Erin's Separation Anniversary. Fireworks and hot dogs at midnight!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Weigh-In Edition: Week 4

No weigh-in today, just for the record.

I've been sick during this weekend, a kind of sickness that started with discomfort on Friday afternoon and ended up in bargaining-with-God types of pain and nausea from a sinus infection that took up residence in my body back in September and hasn't bothered to move out yet. Highlights of my weekend included crying in the corner of the Walgreen's walk-in clinic because the wait time was 90 minutes and for at least 80% of that time the world would not stop spinning, puking in the Wal-Mart parking lot after I hit my head getting into my car, and running through a brand new box of Kleenex in three days as I blew out gallons of fluorescent green snot in my sick bed. I get to go on 30 days of antibiotics and if that doesn't work my doctor has decided she must wash her hands of me and send me on to an allergist or ENT. I can only hope those possible visits result in costly and intrusive surgeries that my insurance won't cover and will make me look like the Elephant Man for most of next summer.

The weekend hasn't been all bad, though, because once I ran out of exhaustion during my bed rest I got to indulge in a lot of thinking, phone talking, emailing, and feeding my Sex and the City addiction with episodes I hadn't seen in awhile. I spun nonsense with my little brother, read letters from old friends and mentors, and thought about my life in comparison to theirs.

My little brother is a Local Boy Makes Good...a freshman at Yale, an accomplished musician, and generally the most ambitious and driven person I have ever encountered in my life. My mother describes him as a "walking miracle", an accidental pregnancy from a trip my parents took to get over the death of another brother who was born with an umbilical cord around his neck and died a day later. It's an odd situation, the elder sibling living in the shadow of a younger one, but it's our dynamic and until recently I've been comfortable with it. We shared bits of our lives...his involving planned trips to China and Yemen and Mauritania to do some political science work with his classmates, and mine focusing mainly around what reality television I had been watching and the new toaster oven I splurged on last week. My brother and I are phenomenally close, but the more his horizons expand the greater the divide between us comes.

Emails from friends are full of those same types of accomplishments--a new boyfriend in Switzerland, music gigs that involve summer tours of Tuscany and Provence, competitions with cash prizes and opportunities to perform on the great stages of the world. I read each of them, rejoicing to myself in the hopefulness of their tones, the bright futures they will have. But when I close the windows and move on to consider my quiet house with my quiet cats in my quiet, quiet life, I always end up wondering "what happened to me?"

I feel weird saying that at one point in my life I used to be accomplished, too. It just sounds conceited. But I guess I was, or at least that's what people told me. An Ivy League future...most likely to succeed...something along those lines. They really thought I was going to end up someplace important, doing something meaningful, and maybe being remembered for who I was.

But the difference between me and them is that I never thought that to be true. For every award I won, I obsessed over what elseI could've done to be better, as test scores came back and colleges started taking notice of me I convinced myself that I had had a lucky day, and if I ever actually went to those schools I'd fail miserably. I started deferring decisions about my life to my parents, and later in college to my future husband. I didn't pursue great schools because I didn't want my parents to be stressed out about funding my college degrees. I stayed at the same university for grad school because I didn't want my boyfriend to have to be alone while I was gone in another state. I stopped practicing--didn't want to be a musician anymore--because it wasn't a viable living and I would just be a burden on anyone else. Besides, the world didn't need another mediocre starving artist, you know?

I let door after door after door slam behind me until I found myself in a horrible marriage, working in a career I have no real passion for, and less than an hour away from the town I wanted so desperately to leave behind. And now, a year later and alone and ridiculous as I sniffle through piles of Kleenex, I've realized I used my family and marriage as an excuse not to move on, because I was terrified I wouldn't be good enough. That I couldn't do it, or worse...if I DID do it, I'd be absolutely unremarkable. I went from being a fearless, perfectionist girl to an absolutely crippled woman by my own self-doubt and left so far behind compared to the respective paths of my friends and brother that we almost don't have anything in common anymore. I have no idea when or why it happened, but it did and realizing this is shocking right now.

I know two things about my current life: 1) I can change it for the better whenever I'm ready, and 2) I'm not ready yet. Not ready to move towns, change houses, date, find a new career, go back to school...whatever, because every single day I'm awake I face the fact that just getting out of bed and doing the things I have to do to be functional is overwhelming and exhausting. My exuberance over getting a few loads of laundry done on a Sunday afternoon is tantamount to someone else's pride over completing medical school, because I know that just a few months ago I was too depressed to do it.

And to be completely honest, as I was lying in bed and feeling lonely because I was too sick to sit up and check my blog and all of yours', I realized that my attitude towards getting healthy was no different. Every time I weighed in over the last month I told myself I wouldn't believe I was really making progress until I dipped below 210, no matter how much thinner I felt than the week before. 210-230 is my up and down zone, and I've gained and lost those pounds countless times in the last four years. And the truth is, I don't really believe I can lose the pounds, and even if I did shape up no one would notice or find it remarkable. So over this past week I let some calories slide back in, some fat, a lot of salt. A couple of unplanned Cheat Days to comfort me for feeling so puny. And now on weigh day I sort of have to pay the price, because the scales didn't move in the right direction.

Beyond the aesthetic and physical benefits of being healthier, more than anything I want to believe in my ability to do something...anything at all. I want to know that I finished. That I conquered my terror and self-loathing to do something real. I can't go back to school right now, and I can't revive a long dormant music career without a lot of money and time I don't have just yet. Pretty much, considering what my life is right now, weight loss is it unless I want to train my cats to perform stupid pet tricks for money or something. I need to be able to believe in myself. I just don't know how quite yet.

Maybe it's the same things as tackling the laundry, or getting out of the house to go for a walk, or even just being able to smile at a co-worker in the hall...the small accomplishments will have to bring me joy for now. Non-scale victories and personals bests and all that. I never really believed in any of it, but being left spiritually and emotionally bankrupt is making me more open to ideas I would've blown off a year ago. Hopefully this week I'll be able to get back to business and I'll have a more cheerful weigh in post for you next Sunday. Until then, thank you as always for listening. I feel lighter already for having confessed that.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Linky Goodness

Renee, the webmistress of Fatfighter Blogs, was very generous with her bandwidth and stuck my little review of the Lifetime movie of the week To Be Fat Like Me up on the front page. You can check it, and a ton of other really cool stuff, out here.

I was reading the newspaper from my old 'hood and came across a very interesting series about a 40-something man and his experiences with gastric bypass. It definitely makes you stop and consider whether a one-fix like that is worth the pain and money investment.

Part 1--Hungry for a Change

Part 2--Going Under

Part 3--Keeping it Down

Part 4--A Different Life

Wednesday, January 24, 2007




Sorry for the vulgarity, but...fuck.

Yesterday evening I drove to the gym feeling not so hot. It was a combination of a mildly upset stomach, fatigue, and wearing a pair of workout pants that were plastered tight enough across my ass that a keen-eyed observer would have been able to make out the slightly raised polka dots on my underwear, even though the pants themselves were not actually of the stretch variety (and at one point circa 2003, did not fit as such).

I walked in, sucked in my stomach and flashed a (hopefully) winning smile at Nerdy But Cute Gym Desk Attendant as I beeped in to the fitness center. Usually while I'm checking in I do a quick scan of the gym to ensure that the same evening exercisers are in their usual posts on the cardio equipment. There's generally five of us...The Misogynist Who Drives the Iroc-Z Without a Hint of Irony, The Preschool Teacher with the Lisa Loeb Glasses, The Guy Who Could Be In Rascal Flatts, Flatass, and me. They're my comforting group of separated or divorced individuals who have absolutely nothing better to do on weekdays (and most weekends) than watch close captioned Fox News and trudge silently forward in our attempts to look good naked. We do not converse, so our only communication comes in curt nods as we pass one another by the water fountain or the towel dispenser. Our bond is one of restraint and respect...none of us look that good, but we're all here to get better and to at least pretend that hanging out at the gym until closing time is tantamount to maintaining a proper social life.

Last night, things seemed to be very different and not in a good way. I glanced around the room, not seeing any of the other regulars and made my way to the locker room to hang up my coat. When I came back out to the cardio room, I stopped short; almost every piece of equipment was occupied, and not by anyone I even vaguely recognized at all. Instead, there was the oddest assortment of individuals I had ever seen in the rec center...a group of three young women pedaling furiously on recumbent bikes while wearing jeans and sweaters...a huge man, shaped like a caricature of a superhero running on the elliptical while having a heated discussion on his Bluetooth headset...teenage boys recreating that OK Go video on two treadmills in the corner...a superfit woman in her late forties wearing almost no clothing and sprinting so hard her feet beat a rhythmic tattoo twice as fast as mine while she never broke a sweat. I was so uncomfortable around these people, and for no good reason at all. I was grateful when my warm-up was over and I could get upstairs to my sweaty weights sanctuary.

I walked up the stairs, enjoying the rubbery weak sensation of my warmed-up legs and stopped short again. My precious, quiet, slightly smelly weight room was jam packed with men. Six, seven, maybe ten guys were slinging weights around and raucous laughter and baritone voices spilled down into the stairwell like some sort of college fraternity reunion party. Not another woman in sight, and I couldn't bear the idea of asking this many men to re-rack their weights so I could use the bench and the squat machines after them. I lost my nerve, did an about face at the top of the steps, and didn't stop walking until I reached my car.

I was SO mad at myself, not only because I got scared of nothing except unfamiliarity, but because I looked like such an idiot in front of all the people who saw me walk in and then leave ten minutes later. I'm not a huge fan of psycho-babble buzzwords like "comfort zone", but last night I was indeed pushed out of mine, and I couldn't handle it. Those first few nights of going into the gym and obsessing over whether my ass was disgusting as I walked on the treadmills, or whether someone would make fun of me for using the upstairs weights instead of the downstairs Nautilus machines resurfaced with a vengeance and I was just too tired and scared to deal with it right then.

Tonight I couldn't work out again because of meetings and a surprise family drop-in so now it's been three days--since Sunday--that I've had a proper workout and my body is screaming for some activity. I can feel the yearning in my muscles even as the rest of me is in protest because I'm so tired and still not 100% healthy. I hope these rest-up days will ultimately do some good for my overall physical condition, but for some reason I feel like I've mentally taken a step backwards in all of this. I really, really hope not.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

So Over It

I’m putting the phrase “Are you on something?” on my list of utterances that should never, ever be spoken in my presence by another adult member of the human race for at least the rest of my life, if not longer. It joins “Where are you at?”, the egregious overuse of the word “actually” by college students who reek of patchouli and self-importance, and “amazing” as used by celebrities who describe their close friend the Dali Lama as an “amazing person” in the same breath as they recount their “amazing pedicure” at Sephora last Wednesday.

I was in the teacher’s lounge yesterday, heating up a Boca Burger and 2% cheese single in the microwave when a colleague walked up next to me to nuke her own Healthy Lean Choice somethingorother. I pulled out my juicy little soypuck and prepared to retreat to the solitude of my office when she asked me, “Are you on something?” At this point I had already foraged for utensils, a napkin, a paper plate and a reasonably frigid Diet Coke so I awkwardly pressed my lunch tools against my boobs to keep from dropping them as I turned to clarify her sentence.

“It’s just that I don’t see very many people eating those veggie patty things.”

I explained that I wasn’t a big fan of red meat, and these were very easy to prepare and healthy so they were good all around.

“Oh,” she responded, “I just know that I had a friend who lost 25 pounds by only eating veggie burgers for three months so I wondered if you were on some sort of soyburger diet. That’s what I meant.”

As I walked down the hall back to my room my inner monologue grew increasingly heated, and I ended up muttering to myself like the crazy cat lady I’m destined to one day become. I was just so dismayed, struck with the realization that for pretty much anyone who has ever struggled with body-image, eating healthfully isn’t so much a matter of personal choice or habit, but a byproduct of being “on something", and if you're not on something then your other alternative is to eat shit and act sheepish about it. That's all there is in Diet Land.

Soyburgers EVERY DAY? I cannot even imagine. They’re fine for me once or twice a week during lunch, because I only get about twenty minutes and I don’t really pay attention to the taste of the food as I’m simultaneously eating, emailing, and picking kindergarten paste off the crotch of my dress pants (that sounded less prurient in my head), but to actively sit down to two meals of soy protein every day for three months…dude, that’s just masochistic.

But then I realized I’ve been guilty of the very same thing several times in my life. 6” subs twice a day, cabbage soup, lemonade spiked with cayenne pepper and maple syrup. Ridiculous foods I subjected myself to for nearly every meal for weeks and weeks, or months even until I couldn’t stand it anymore. And then of course as soon as the food asceticism stopped, the ass fat just packed right back on, because I had absolutely no clue how to control my eating outside the parameters of the latest fad diet book Barnes and Noble had propped up on the impulse buy kiosk.

The whole idea is really starting to infuriate me the more I think about this, and I have to wonder…have adults become so helpless that we are unable to trust ourselves to make responsible choices about our bodies? The weight loss industry is making billions of dollars every year because they tell us that in order to lose weight, the absolute only method is to follow their plan. Don’t eat carbs. Eat more carbs. Eat like the Greeks. No, like the French. Have two shakes and a sensible dinner. Eat six times a day. Don’t eat at all unless it involves our Fedexed foods in a box. Take this pill with dinner and this pill at night. Eat at least one of these seven mystic foods a day and watch the weight melt off. Don’t eat leftovers. Respect your food’s chi. Never drink lukewarm water. Sacrifice a virgin goat on the 23rd of October and sprinkle all your food with flakes of its dried blood.

The reason why there are sixteen million diet books and diet gurus and diet cookbooks on the market is because there is simply NO divinely anointed weight loss solution. I find it completely absurd that adults who have no qualms about spending hours online researching cars and mortgages and ideal cleaning solutions for their Corinthian leather couches would ever consider blindly trusting someone else with their bodies, and usually with no more premeditation than a cursory glance at a dusk jacket requires. I suppose the result of this is that many of us bounce from diet to diet to diet without ever really being invested in what we’re eating and ultimately feel like failures for not sticking with it each time. I know I certainly did, and when I reached rock bottom during Christmas and found myself eating my already substantial body weight in cheddar popcorn and nachos and those delightful cylinders of smoked sausage nearly every night of Advent, I did so with the knowledge that I had absolutely no idea how to eat any other way.

I used to buy those fitness magazines with glowing, sinewy D-list celebrities doing yoga on the covers and I would retreat to my bedroom with them, mindlessly chewing some sort of chocolate product and poring through the articles for the ones that featured the women who had lost half their body weight, or who went from “flab to fab” in just a few months. I thought those were the ones who had somehow found the Holy Grail of dieting…the perfect plan or pill or shake that helped them slim down and become demi-goddesses in their new, cellulite-free world. I was always immensely disappointed when they said they ate sensibly, moved around a little more, learned to enjoy food again. I thought that was a horrible copout, because being miserable and following some sort of strict regimen HAD to be part of dieting. It would never work otherwise.

I don’t intend to preach at all, because if I actually had everything about being healthy figured out by now, I wouldn’t be skulking around shopping malls with my Lane Bryant purchases hidden inside a Target sack (as if the world couldn’t tell on sight that my thighs are bigger than some of our nationally preserved Sequoias). I’m just approaching this with a measure of indignation because I realize I’ve been snowed for many, many years into believing I’m not equipped to make good choices for my own body, and that I abdicated responsibility for my own health in favor of a complete stranger’s control and influence.

Maybe what I’m really irritated about is the idea that since the foods I eat don’t come from a weight loss corporation or aren’t strictly defined by a book or a magazine, that somehow my efforts to be healthy aren’t worth consideration by other people. That my entitlement to eat food can only come if I am “on something.”

And I think the next time I’m preparing lunch and a co-worker asks me that question, I’m going to tell them I’m “on” several varieties of high-grade cocaine and if they’d like to join me after school I have extra razor blades and rolled up dollar bills inside my piano bench. Bring your own 8-ball, of course.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Weigh-In Edition 3

I currently have a six pound ball of fuzz sitting on my boobs as I try to type this entry from a supine position on the bed. I think my cat is a neo-Luddite as any attempt to access technology results in her either sitting in a way that prevents me from typing efficiently or makes me resort to using slightly painful, Yogic positions to work around her. Also, she's trying to eat my glasses. Bitch.

Am posting a 3 lb. loss for this week, which brings my current weight down to 224 lbs (100.2 kg). Also my waist has dropped a half inch to 38", which means I'm halfway back to the statistically tested safe zone of 35" or smaller and won't feel so guilty when the government issues their "FAT PEOPLE, PREPARE TO DIE" statements on the Internet.

Lori, the wonderfully supportive, fantastic blogger whose content puts mine to shame on a daily basis, reminded me that 8 lbs. is most famously known as the approximate weight of a human head (brought to you by Jerry Maguire and the letter T). So without further ado, I give you...

The head of one Thomas William Mapother Cruise! With a rather impressive set of balls inexplicably Photoshopped to his forehead. I'm thinking this picture might not be completely accurate as the scrotum appears to weigh at least six pounds by itself, but I'm willing to overlook that for the sake of comedy. I'll just send Tom and that eight pounds back to Hollywood to be with Katie and baby Suri and the remains of L. Ron and move on with my life.

I think the most gratifying part of this whole process for me so far is the actual sensation of being smaller. I don't know if we ever really feel what it's like to get bigger, besides vague internal comments like "I don't think my love handles ever brushed against my forearms like that" or "Who just balanced that martini on my ass shelf?", but since I am increasingly convinced that obesity is a matter of personal denial, those realizations are muffled along with all the other negative dialogue in our head. Now, though, even though I'm still so much fatter than I have been in the past I am so appreciating the space I feel around me. The smaller hips, the way my arms can rest at my sides without touching a waist and stomach. The way it's easier to move in a pair of jeans out of which I was busting just three weeks ago. How I just FEEL smaller, even if I don't look like it yet. That will come in time, I know.

I think I'm going to reward myself by going to some movie. I hope there's something non-sucky on this weekend. Best wishes to all of you, and thank you for your wonderful words again this week.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Taking it for the team

I've been toying with the idea of adding more calories to my meal plan from now on. I have never in my life been accused of eating too little food, but in this case I might. I didn't really notice being hungry until the God-Is-Smiting-The-Midwest-For-Either-Sodomy-Or-Rampant-Production-Of
Greenhouse-Gas-Emissions-Great-Icestorm-Of-Ought-Seven, but hanging around the house for six days straight and doing basically nothing for the entire 144 hours of my snowbound existence left me absolutely ravenous. Isn't that metabolism slowing because I'm not working and I'm hungrier? Last night I was so incredibly hungry for a grilled cheese sandwich I whined piteously on my way home from my other work until I reached a Sonic and snarfed one down there. Never in the history of my life has something been more satisfying, and I savored that grilled cheese as if it were a 5-course lobster dinner with paired wines and creme brulee for dessert and served by a disdainful man named Pascal.

One of my friends, a very wise and perceptive man who patiently listened to my heavy breathing on the phone as I stuffed the entire sandwich inside my mouth and chewed for seven minutes straight, suggested that perhaps my craving was indicative of some sort of nutritional deficiency...perhaps a calcium problem or the need for more fats. The sandwich DID cut a horrible headache I had all evening and I really can't articulate just how much better I felt after I ate it, so I'm thinking about this over the weekend and wondering if maybe I need to step it up a little in terms of richer foods and more calories.

This'll be an interesting experiment, because early peeks at the scale this week haven't really indicated a downward trend yet. I've known women who simply couldn't lose weight until they upped their calories and their bodies stopped hanging on to the fat for survival. So this could either be a fantastic idea, or my extra cup of cottage cheese in the afternoon will end up as cottage cheese on my thighs all over again. I'll just have to wait and see..


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Our little section of Missouri has been iced out of school since last Friday, which makes the sixth day in a row I've been without purpose. Over the weekend and even on the Monday holiday I thought this was absolutely brilliant...sort of an extension of our cruelly short Christmas break and a chance to recover from night after night of family obligations, parties, and the inevitable fat/sugar coma that seems to hit on New Year's day and doesn't lighten up until St. Patrick's.

By Tuesday I realized this weather-induced solitude was more trouble than good, because it just meant we were going to have to hold classes later in the spring and also that this semester would be painfully hard to jumpstart when we were finally allowed to come back. By Wednesday I had turned into a stark-raving lunatic, bored to the point that doing something productive just seemed illogical, so I spent most of my day staring out the window, napping, and scheduling the next time I was available to nap. I couldn't write, couldn't clean, couldn't work, and could barely drag myself to the gym to exercise, even though I did.

I realized so much of my life is based on the principle of inertia, because when I return home from work I still have that sense of urgency and accomplishment, and the lovely adrenaline that comes from getting things done. It all blends seamlessly into one long routine...get up, work, drive home, clean, work again, work out, sleep. I like it when it's that way, because I don't have enough time to really think about things and risk rationalizing myself out of doing them. Even on the weekends I have things to do, and time scheduled to rest from the week before I jump back in again. I LIKE my life of quiet keeps me honest and on track.

With this break though...lord, it sucks. I think too much, and talk myself down about the progress I'm making. I ruminate and fret over silly things, and the sense of torpor I create makes it just incredibly hard to do the stuff I know I need to do to keep progressing with getting healthy. I'm also inclined to do really stupid things like adopting a Bull Mastiff (I didn't, but I got dangerously close last night) and buying art supplies to see if I could draw (I tried, and managed to ruin a shirt while pasteling a bizarre picture of a woman and some random color blocking).

When I look back over these entries next year (hopefully after having completed an Ironman or while doing a headstand or something equally unlikely) the lesson I hope I've learned is that, when possible, keep as busy as you can so inertia doesn't settle in. Quiet time is nice, but definitely overrated if you're not using it to actually rest and rejuvenate.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to look at ads for ponies, because having a pony tied up on the deck of my apartment is obviously WAY more sensible than owning a dog.

Monday, January 15, 2007

A couple people have contacted me and asked for more details on my general diet and what I eat in a day. I've been hesitant to write about those kind of things because posting everything I eat and how many calories it is just seems sort of tedious and boring for you, and I don't really feel qualified yet to offer advice of that sort. Maybe if I had already met goal and had some lovely picture of me in a bikini up, although my right ring finger has been looking quite svelte lately. You would be totally envious of my right ring finger.

However, I am nothing if not a shameless people pleaser and attention whore so I would be more than happy to explain a little bit about food and me.

I feel like articulating my philosphy on food would be lacking a bit if I didn't also explain how I got to that point, because until just very recently I haven't had a good relationship with food. When I was growing up, food was either a source of great celebration or of shame. It was never just fuel like it was intended to be. My mother, the cleanest woman in the world and whose house could easily double as an AIDS research testing facility, despised cooking because it meant dirtying the surfaces of her pristine counters and appliances. We spent a lot of dinners either eating from boxes or eating out as a result, and I learned early on that my parents were all too happy to super size or get extra food if it meant my brother and I were happy and quiet in the booth next to them. When we ate at home, meals were usually of the Hamburger Helper variety with a starch and a vegetable...only canned corn, green beans, or iceberg lettuce because my mom hated everything else...on the side. I don't want to sound like an ingrate, because my mom provided balanced meals as best she could. It's just that she wasn't interested in food because she had killed her tastebuds with coffee and cigarettes and she didn't understand why we felt the need to eat when she didn't.

Food, when it wasn't actually served on the table or in a restaurant had to be snuck out of the kitchen and eaten in seclusion or my brother and I would run the risk of getting into big trouble for wasting family food outside of mealtime. I developed my eating disorder of sneaking and binging on food pretty early in my life. I remember being seven or eight and lining the waistband of my shorts with Doritos so I could walk around with them until I found enough time to be alone and stuff them down my mouth. I can't remember if I was actually hungry or not, but the idea that I could somehow get back at my mom by eating just seemed ingenious at the time.

When my mom was gone from the house, my dad busted out the junk food for us and we pigged out in a state of profound and open bliss. We would have lunches of nachos and buttered popcorn and ice cream followed by McDonald's for dinner and a snack late at night as we all laid around and watched movies. I established a pattern of sneaking food as a revenge against my mom and lavishing in food as a way to bond myself with my dad. It was pretty fucked up, and as my relationships with my parents grew in ways good and bad, my body grew far too quickly for a little kid and I was soon one of the Token Fat Girls at my elementary school.

By the time I was in college I had a full-on eating disorder that my shrink called "Non-Purging Bulimia" which I think is a very nice euphemism for "Stuffs More Shit Down Her Throat than a Middle Linebacker for the St. Louis Rams". I perfected the art of maintaining the facade of always being on a diet while secretly cramming thousands of calories into my body when no one was watching. I figured out how to go from drive-thru to drive-thru, always ordering off the dollar or kiddie menu and amassing two or three fast-food meals for about five bucks each night. By the time I was a senior in college I weighed just a little less than I do now and my social life was built around being the wild, drunk, crazy girl who made fun of herself for being fat before anyone else could get to the subject. I didn't really like myself much and so I decided to do something about it.

The last five years of my life with food can basically be summarized by "It's the Thought That Counts". I had great intentions, and some pretty decent success with my food plan and exercise. For about six months I followed the Subway Diet really strictly, which meant about 1500 calories a day and close to 20 grams of fat. The problem with the Subway Diet is first, you can only eat so many subs in a row before you actually start seeping the smell of them through your pores, and second I was basically eating a foot of high-sugar bread a day. I was always hungry, always tired, and pretty much only in it for the weight loss. After I couldn't stand the taste of Subway food anymore I tried a number of low-cal/low-fat diets that simply didn't work because I didn't understand that not every low-fat food is good for you. Sometimes I tried Atkins and South Beach's induction phases but could never get over the fact that you weren't allowed to eat fruit.

So, thus far in my Ass-Reducing Life I have tried and failed the following diet plans:

South Beach
Macrobiotic/Whole Foods
Raw Foods
Master Cleanse
Sonoma Diet
The Zone
Body for Life for Women
6-Week Body Makeover
Dr. Phil's 7 Steps to Diet Success (or whatever it was called)
Overeaters Anonymous Diet
Your Best Body Ever
Cabbage Soup Diet
Subway Diet
Generic Low-Fat/Low-Cal Diets
Weight Watchers

I'm not saying those diets don't work and couldn't be perfect for any variety of people. I just know I have a bit of an authority issue with diet gurus who tell me I can't eat certain foods or I can't eat leftovers or I can eat any food I want provided I buy their special shakes or supplements. Of all of the above diets, Weight Watchers was definitely the most sensible but since I know myself, I also know that if given a system where I can choose to cheat with points or not cheat with points I'm going to fudge the totals every time so I can cheat. Ultimately, I'm just going to fail at that. I should also mention, while I'm being self-righteous and blow-hardy that I did attend a couple of Overeaters Anonymous meetings a few months ago to just see if it was something I needed and even though I decided I didn't, the people there were incredible and I encourage anybody who wants some additional help in fighting an eating disorder to at least check them out. I'll even mail you my books I was too hasty in buying if you want to send me an email with your address.

Okay, so now on to the good stuff. What I am following right now is the GI Diet, which is a fairly new system based on the very old Glycemic Index. There is nothing new or unique about the GI Diet other than the man who wrote the book decided to color code foods based on their GI Index because the Western hemisphere is apparently too dense to decode all the numbers and what they mean. The basic premise of the GI Diet is that foods high in simple sugars are more likely to make you insulin resistant and also hungry throughout the course of the day than foods with low sugar and a low GI Index. So the GI Diet is divided into three color groups of food: green light foods include the obvious non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats and other non-meat proteins like nuts and soy. Yellow light foods are foods you are encouraged to eat only once in awhile, including stuff like full-fat cheeses and some fruits, and red light foods are stuff you're supposed to stay away from like peanut butter, potatoes, white bread, etc.

The reason why I buy into this diet and not the other ones is because the book doesn't tell you CAN'T have something or you MUST have something. It just tells you what, according to the glycemic index, is a healthy or non-healthy food and you get to do the rest . The book includes sample meal plans but also has other recipes that you can use just as easily to create your own weekly meals. I used to try to follow meal plans with eDiets and Weight Watchers but ended up wasting a ton of food and spending way more than I planned getting special things I would never need again. The cool thing about the GI Diet is that it's pretty inexpensive (I spend about 60 dollars a week for myself), and it also uses ingredients you're probably already cooking with. I really think cutting out most of the sugar from my food has improved my complexion, my energy highs and lows throughout the day, my sleep, and to some extent my moods.

So, for the two of you who made it this far without becoming completely bored or distracted by something shiny, here's what a day in my food life might look like now:

Breakfast: 1 c. Fiber One with Honey Clusters cereal; 1/2 c. skim milk; 1 navel orange; 1 large cup of coffee with CoffeeMate and Sweet n Low

Lunch: 1 Boca Burger (meatless soy patty) w/1 slice 2% cheddar cheese; fat free Miracle Whip, and a couple rings of green or red pepper; 1 cut carrot or celery stick with hummus; 1/2 c. lowfat cottage cheese; 1 sugar-free Jello cup; some sort of diet cola

Snack: Apple and a handful of almonds

Dinner: Green salad with low-sugar dressing (I am willing to go full-fat on dressings to get away from sugars, but I also halve the amount I put on my greens. Look for organic dressings for the really good tasting stuff or make your viniagrette if you're a better person than I am); Steamed or grilled chicken/shrimp/turkey/tofu with mixed vegetables and either basmati or brown rice;

Dessert: 1 c. Edy's Slow Churned Vanilla ice cream with 1 TB sugar-free/low-sugar preserves mixed in.

I drink about 80 oz. of water throughout the day and I also brush my teeth immediately after meals if I can. If I can't, I chew gum to trick my brain into being sure I'm full. Interestingly, though, since I started the GI Diet I don't think I've actually been unsatisfied once so it's probably not necessary. I also allow myself one cheat day a week (on Sundays) but as I've documented, the cheat day is not really an extravaganza for me and it also comes with a whole lot of unpleasant after-affects like stomach troubles, water retention, and a general feeling of blughness when it's over.

I guess the thing I'm learning most about myself over the course of this little health experiment is how my opinion on food has changed so profoundly. I used to outright scoff at my friends who would have tacos with a salad, or would eat two pieces of pizza and then finish it off with some carrot sticks because I just didn't get why you wouldn't want to eat every crumb of junk food on the table if it was available to you. I was in love with the endorphin rush a nice bowl of ice cream or cheese fries could provide and now that I've distanced myself from that phenomenon a bit I've realized it's short-lived at best and terribly damaging in the long run.

I'm very hopeful, because this is probably the first time in my life that I feel like I've gained control of my eating habits on my own and without the crutch of someone in a book or on television telling me how to eat. I make the good choices of my own volition, and when I make bad choices I use them to inform my eating in the future. Most of all, food is energy for me now and nothing more. I can sit down and enjoy the colors, the aromas, the presentation of my food without the panic of wondering if it will be good enough to make me happier or less lonely now, and that has made this whole thing worth it, even if I don't ever lose another pound in the process.

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts on this with you, and I hope that they do some good.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Weigh-In Day: Edition 2

I stood on the scales multiple times this morning and got a different answer every time, so I'm not sure exactly what I weigh right now. It was closest to 227.5 (103.2 kg), for a loss of 1 lb. this week (.5 kg). That means my visual grand total of pounds lost (5.5 lbs overall) is:

Yes, that's right! One whole, frozen, pre-cooked octopus from the Catalina Offshore Seafood Store. Looking at this thing, with the dead on view of what I can only assume is its...anus? ink anus? mouth? kinda makes me miss Dora a little. I certainly hope she's been adopted since last week.

Anyway, I'm obviously not Cruise-jumping on my sofa about a 1 lb. weight loss, but it IS a loss, and I have had a sort of iffy week, so I'm satisfied. I'm more excited about the fact that my waist dropped down to 38.5", for a 1.5" loss for the week. My body also is starting to feel and look smaller, at least in the upper body, so I'm grateful for that too.

This week I was a little lax in sticking with strictly GI-friendly foods. I probably focused too much on the grains and not enough on the vegetables, so I'm sure that's where some of the slowing down occurred. Exercise was spectacular, though, and I am definitely feeling the benefits from that.

Unfortunately last night, in the continuing saga of my ribs, I was lying down talking to my brother when I laughed, coughed, and then heard something big POP right in my side. Since then things have hurt a lot worse and my movement is pretty restricted, so I'm not sure how much I'll be able to exercise this week. I'm worried about this, because I know myself so well that if I fall out of a routine, it'll be ten times harder to get back with it. On the other hand, exercising has started to be the best part of every day so maybe that'll be enough to keep me with it when I've healed. Like right now I'm tempted to just pop a bunch of Advil and at least go do cardio when the pain stops being really bad. I guess I'll take it day by day.

Thank you so much for all your kind words and encouragement this week. It made it so much easier to get to Day 14. Have a wonderful and meaningful holiday off tomorrow if you get it.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Self-absorbed screed

Before I begin this entry, I suppose I should warn any of you who are squeamish about sex and intimacy and semi-crude words to describe such acts that this post is exactly about that., and you might want to skip it. Otherwise, feel free to read on.

I had a hard time sleeping last night, partly because of the Midwest's rapid plunge into the frigid bowels of winter, complete with ice chattering against my windowpanes and two extremely fidgety cats who decided to spend their Friday evening and early Saturday morning burrowing for warmth underneath my thighs and also bathing and rebathing every single body part with tongues scraping against fur loud enough to imitate twin dueling belt sanders. I was also awake because a conversation I had with a close friend gave me a lot to ruminate over, and not in a really productive way.

Our discussion started out innocently enough. I think we were talking about celebrities he found attractive, and I interjected with a question I've been wondering about for a long time. I asked him if when men say "I prefer my women with curves" if they mean curves like a padded stomach and size fourteen hips and asses, or do they basically just mean "Big boobs, like a Victoria's Secret model"? He responded that he personally thought curves referred to women of size, and then added that a woman who could fit into a 10 or 12 jean was precisely what he found most desirable in the world. I guess, at this point, the Klaxon bells ringing in both of our heads should've clued us not to go down this particular path, that it's never a good idea to wage a one on one battle of the sexes, to just turn back now and talk about football or NBC television programming or basically ANYTHING AT ALL other than men and fat chicks and how they interact in the world.

But I didn't. I kept dropping the bait, and he kept biting.

I made a little comment that perhaps considering sizes 10-12 as an indicator of "larger women" would've been accurate in the 1950's, or even 1970's, but probably not now. Then I dropped the big loaded question and inquired why men who DO say they prefer women with curves act like they've done something great and philanthropic by declaring their tolerance for junk in the trunk, and the thighs that usually come with them. Do they think it's politically correct to say that? Do they feel they're helping to stop the surge of eating disorders in the U.S. by practicing fat acceptance? Do they even really mean it?

And my friend's response, as innocent he was in his intentions, was made me double over in disgust and shock right there in the middle of the conversation:

"I don't know. I've never really been with what you're calling a 'big girl'. I suppose it could be sensual, but honestly I would be scared my dick would even be able to fit inside all that cushioning."

There was a long pause. And then I asked him if he really thought fat women couldn't have sex...that somehow our size would prevent us from having working vaginas and being able to spread our legs and move sexually and bring a man to orgasm. He said he didn't know. He didn't think so, and he was surprised that fat women really could be capable lovers.

And so, in the wreckage of that conversation turned very, very ugly, I found the answers to the questions I had unofficially been researching this whole time. Perhaps this is an egregiously hasty generalization, but what I've learned is that men don't really like fat women, and if they do they want a goddamn merit badge for feeling that way.

Pasta Queen wrote an incredible article about some of the hidden benefits of being obese, and the one that resonated with me most (something I've been thinking about ever since I read it last week) was the idea that fat people tend to have a hyperdeveloped "asshole detector" in place as they interact with society. I think this applies especially to women, as men just don't bother with making the effort if there's not going to be sexual potential later. I wonder, if obese people were treated with the same deference as drug addicts and alcoholics and those who are sensitive about race and religion, if actually being healthy and losing weight would seem less daunting because at least part of the emotional baggage would be mitigated.

I think the moment we begin to strip away the pounds and the flesh, parts of our ability to cope also fall away and we're very raw until we learn healthier defense mechanisms. I know while I was in the process of gaining so much weight I was in a very deep state of denial, about my health, my size, who I was. Things were always "not that bad". I wasn't really as fat as the scale said, because we all know scales are inaccurate. My jeans were only getting tighter because I accidentally dried them on high heat. I liked being home alone on Saturday nights because I just didn't know anyone who was willing to appreciate me and willing to overlook my appearance. I would wait just another day before I started really dieting and working out because I was too tired to dig in today. I have done this my entire life, and ultimately all that fat that's on my body has served more as emotional insulation than physical. Even while I'm losing pounds, the ginormous chip on my shoulder is fixed firmly in place, because my size helps me identify the tolerant from the intolerant, the shallow from the genuine. It kept me shielded from relationships with people who ultimately wouldn't want the "real" me, even though the real me had been hidden for a very long time. When I was finally forced to be honest with myself about the state of my life, the wounds that well-meaning friends, lovers, boyfriends have all inflicted on me about my size reopened, and they hurt like hell. I cannot resent people for their opinions, but at the same time how can they think it's okay to tell someone they'd be an incredible person if they could only stop being lazy and finally get around to losing that pesky hundred pounds? How, how, HOW can we say that so casually to people we love when we recoil from the idea of asking others to cut back on the wine, or keep the pills in the medicine cabinet, and we would never, ever say " and I would be an amazing couple if you'd just try a little harder to stop being gay, you know?"

If I'm going to have to be a size 8 to be comfortable in my skin, to run a 5K, to have amazing leg extensions during a slow tango, to just physically accomplish the things I want to do in life, so be it. But psychologically, I'd much rather be a size 14 who can listen to all the bullshit people have to say about the obese and just respond with a polite "fuck you."

I have to wonder, though, when does it get easier to do that, or is it always going to sting?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Two separate thoughts

1) One really cool thing about exercising is how quickly your body wants you to get better in a short amount of time. Eleven days ago when I mounted the elliptical trainer and slogged through my first 10 minute warmup before weights I honestly thought my legs were going to separate themselves from my torso, walk out the door, and wait for me to wise up and join them in the car. It was uber painful and pretty embarrassing that I had gotten so out of shape. Today an old work friend of mine saw me across the gym and hopped on the elliptical next to me as I was warming up and we chatted for the last half of my ten minutes. When I got off to go upstairs to lift, I realized I had been running at 6.0 mph instead of 5.0 like usual. I also was only moderately out of breath. Certainly able to carry on a conversation, and not feeling like death was imminent as I did last week.

2) I seem to be experiencing some form of Exercise Stigmata on my shoulders. It looks like somene took a waffle iron, heated it up, and pressed it on both shoulders, but it doesn't hurt and it doesn't feel like cuts or burns. I am mystified how they got there and I can only reason they were caused by some sort of rogue sports bra elastic or maybe by the shoulder press machine. I can't figure it out. Has this happened to any of you?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Not every day is a good day...

...and today I blame the Girl Scouts.

I walked into my office this morning and stared at the expanse of brown fake wood desk in front of my keyboard. Something was different. My stuff had been moved around, and instead of the usual water bottle and "Stuff I should've done last week" Post-It, someone had brought me a dusty three-hole punch that looked like it might've come out of a World War-II telegraph office, and two brightly colored boxes. It took me a second to realize what it was, but when I finally read the packages, I let out an audible groan while my inner voice cheered at the same time. Girl Scout cookies. If Satan could be boxed and mass marketed, he would taste like Thin Mint.

In the morning I laughed about it...another funny relic from my past dalliances in the world of fat and sugar, because I had ordered these cookies back in October when I just didn't care that my waist was starting to overtake my waistbands and that my ass seemed to be growing a second ass of its own. I put them away in a Wal-Mart sack and stuck them under my desk, making a mental note to blog about it later after my workout.

Nine hours later, I wasn't so happy anymore. I found myself in the same position I was in last Wednesday--slumped in my chair with dinner on my plate and an overwhelming urge to just give up. I held those stupid Girl Scout cookies like they were kittens in my lap, tracing my finger over the perforations on the edge, and just willing myself to open up one box and start chowing down. To ruin all this because it wasn't worth it anyway. I didn't do it. I threw it in the back of my cupboard with the peanut butter and the Sunchips--fat girl contraband--and when I shut the pantry door I stood back and shook like some crack addict, 10% proud that I had made it past another hurdle, and 90% on the verge of tears because it still won't put a dent in all this fat. I fear I'm hitting another little hump already and it's starting to gnaw away at all the goodwill and cheeriness I built up after the first successful weigh-in. I don't know why coming home at night leads to such depression for me in particular, but it affects me profoundly and I haven't quite figured out a way to let it pass through without feeling like a loser for getting so upset.

I know part of the reason is because every daily weigh-in since my planned cheat day has not been good. So not good, in fact, that my weight has jumped back up the four pounds that I thought I had bid good riddance last weekend. I suppose I can blame it on several things...a natural consequence of the monthly cycle, maybe some water retention from too much salt...but I can't stop the relentless fear that maybe the weight never really went away in the first place. The scales lied. I was dehydrated, and I somehow filched on getting accurately weighed all last week. But I know I didn't. I just don't understand why it won't drop back down, and why I am so easily manipulated by the numbers on the scale.

I went to exercise today, even though I didn't really want to, because today is Day 11 and Day 11 is just too far down the path to give up, and at the same time too early to make excuses. I went, and I did my thang but it hurt. Everything just goddamned hurt and while my shins burned and my body slogged along on the treadmill and my muscles from yesterday's escapade in the Big Boy Room sang with pain, I got angrier and angrier at everyone around me. I hate the moms who never break a sweat on the ellipticals in their shiny track pants and their hooded sweatshirts as if it could possibly even be remotely cool at any time in the gym. I despise the rows of military wives on the stationary bikes, permanent size sixteens with hair dyed the exact same of burgundy, pedaling their bikes as slowly as possible and chatting like hens while I work my ass off on the treadmills behind them. I silently seethe at the athletes, their perfect asses clad in the most scanty of running shorts, long limbs springing off the treadmills as they take their leisurely thirty minute run for the night, while I fight to keep my stubby legs churning at my own embarrassingly slow pace.

The one I hate most on these nights is myself, because I feel like such an extraordinary loser for working as hard as I think I do and not getting anything back in return. I hate that every day I can remember I have been obsessed with being smaller, being prettier, being more desirable. I am ashamed to admit that I'd give up my health or my intellect in return for just a taste of what it's like to be beautiful and healthy and to move with grace and efficiency instead of always trudging along. I am so angry that I can spend an hour working as hard as I can for a few hundred measly calories. I hate that my face turns red when I run, that my boobs bounce on the elliptical machines, that my calves look like two pale sausages splooging out over my athletic socks.

There are some nights when I am so afraid to look at the scale again, because I'm convinced it will just keep going up. I'm scared to think that every morning as I smoothe my clothes over my body, there will always be a disgusting, flaccid stomach poking out underneath. And I'm terrified that I will keep doing everything exactly right like I have been this past week and a half and nothing will change, because the universe is having one gigantic joke at my expense. I guess I'll just have to keep trying, because at this point I really don't know what else to do.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Oh, Sweet Lord...

I have returned to the Promised Land, and it is good.

I was sitting at my desk, pretending to work today and thinking about why I felt things have been kind of off with my weight workouts this time around. I have been doing about 45 minutes of weights on the Nautilus machines at my gym three times a week, and while they were certainly serving their purpose, something just seemed kind of...not great. I wasn't thrilled, and I remember how I used to be euphoric after my weight workouts lo these five years ago.

While I was picking at my sugar free Jello, I had an epiphany: I used to use free weights! Well, sort of. My trainer at the uber-fancy gym I used to patronize during the first Ass Reduction was named Tiffany, and she was a tiny, gorgeous, little fluffy bunny of a gymnast/cheerleader/trainer, and the weight routine she devised for me used both plate machines and free weights. So it all finally made sense...the pin-in-the-hole machines in the main section of my current gym just weren't cutting it for me.

I spent about two hours re-reading Stumptuous today. I've long had a serious girlcrush on Krista, not only because I would kill to have a body like hers, but also because she is just so matter of fact about doing things I could never dream of doing the gym...the bench press, the squats, the deadlift. Five minutes into reading her sample workouts I realized, "Dude. This was you the first time around. You not only CAN do this, you DID do this." And I remembered that was the key to my success. It wasn't the endless hours on the elliptical, nor the treadmills, nor the stretching in the corner. It was the resistance training that reduced my ass, and gave me collarbones, and the pathetic little two-pack I showed off to everyone that was willing to pretend to be impressed by my mediocre abs. I don't think I could've loved that line down my stomach more even if I had had diamonds surgically implanted in a row to show it off. Sigh.

The other thing I used to really love about the free weights was that it's still basically a man-controlled zone. Women are rarely up there and if they are, they're the kind of athletes who inspire me and make me feel kind of losery in a good way for only shoulder pressing the five pound dumbbells while they do ten. It's also dirty, and grimy, and no one wipes their sweat with the little towelettes above the trashcans and even though that's mildly horrific, I also sort of love it. There's no pretense up surreptitiously eyeing the woman who's picking her thong out of her freshly pressed workout pants with the lime green stripe that matches the green of her sports tank and the green seam in her sock. There are no fifteen year old boys setting the weights to zero and cycling the apparatus back and forth so fast their bangs shoot straight up from the wind. No latchkey kids in the entertainment room taking aim at your butt with ping pong balls while you adjust the seats on the leg press. Just dudes. And chicks. And lots and lots of sweet pain.

So tonight I did an awesome full-body workout...leg press, squat machine, bench press, lunges, biceps, triceps, shoulder press, straight arm lift, lat pull-down, back extension. I even eyeballed Big Ass Belle's infamous Gravitron, but decided to save it for a time when other people wouldn't be close enough to see me get stuck or fall off or have a panic attack mid-dip. When I went to take my post-workout shower, my arms were twin sticks of Jell-O and I laughed with masochistic glee as the shook when I tried to shampoo my hair. I adore this feeling and I cannot wait until I get to go upstairs to the weight room again on Thursday.

Figuring out that particular priority in terms of my exercise also made me think about what I want to do with my cardio. I get frustrated with aimlessly walking or ellipticalizing (Yes, I made it up. Now, hush please.) for the sole purpose of burning calories. It's endless and tedious and there are only so many times I can listen to "One Night in Bangkok" when it pops up in the shuffle on my iPod before I want to do terrible things to my headphones to make it stop, stop STOP! I've always wanted to figure out how to actually run in a straight line for more than two minutes, and maybe someday in a fun run or something. I never, ever ran as a child. I used to make myself throw up before Mile Day, and even though I did okay at sprint day I still wasn't any good. I didn't run a mile in a row without stopping until I was 22, and the day that happened I might as well have been Roger Federer instead of some manatee-shaped, red-faced girl on a treadmill in a suburban gym. It was just such a sweet feeling of accomplishment, and when I could look in the mirror and not recognize myself, or know that just a few months ago I could barely even WALK a

This whole process is turning out to be a little bit like falling in love again with someone you haven't seen for awhile. I'm glad I'm still in there somewhere under all that fat.

Monday, January 8, 2007


I am a smug chickie tonight as this healthy lifestyle stuff just gets easier and easier by the day. To pay for the divorce and the debts the Estranged Husband accrued during the four years of sitting on my couch and eating Doritos and not doing much else, I have a second job teaching private music lessons in an affluent suburb of Kansas City in the evenings. It's close to a forty-five minute drive for me, and some days I work from 8:00 am to about 9:00 pm after I teach school, drive to lessons, and get home.

Mondays will be one of such days from now on, as I am greedy for the wage they pay me to teach wealthy little children named Chumley while their wealthy mothers named Cindi drink macchiatos in the waiting lounge, and so I called and requested more students. I wasn't planning on getting new kids today, but I got a phone call while I was at work and I was asked to come straight to the studio after school was dismissed. This meant not only would I miss gym hours, but I also didn't have a way to eat. I knew I had an hour long break in between two students, but there aren't many affordable restaurants near my studio, and even fewer GI-friendly establishments.

At this point I started to panic, because Old Erin would've just chucked the whole thing and declared Monday an extension of Sunday Cheat Day and various forms of fried potatoes and cheese covered flesh would've passed my lips faster than you can say "Supersized". But this time, I didn't want to. I didn't want some crappy value meal, and I didn't want the guilt, and I definitely didn't want the McFatAss that ultimately comes with such personal slovenliness. I just didn't know where to go to accomplish the healthy things I wanted for myself. So I think God or Jesus or Kansas City Power and Light was watching out for me today when the sign for a Chinese restaurant I had never noticed before was lit up instead of burnt out, and I realized I had a wonderful source of healthy food less than a half-block away from my work. I walked down there, had a half-portion of garlic chicken, vegetables, and brown rice and strutted out of the restaurant like I had just won the Tour de France. And now I even have lunch ready for tomorrow! This is so fantastic.

I never realized the world was so ready to help me get unfat if I just take advantage of it. I can't wait to open my eyes a little more and pay attention to all the other ways I'm going to better myself in the future.

Take very good care of you.

Sunday, January 7, 2007


My body definitely did not react well to cheat day. I even ate pretty moderately and now I feel like a Mack truck is slowly driving over my body, spinning its tires over my cracked rib, and unloading gallons of toxic waste into my digestive system. I am completely drained, had a lackluster workout this afternoon, and just want to sleep until Martin Luther King Day. Is this what periods do to dieting? I can't remember anymore.

I view this as a positive thing, though, because that means my body doesn't want to eat the sugar and the fat and the hideous fructose sludge that I consumed today. I tried to eat a piece of cake and drink a Coke, but I couldn't finish either because they were just too much. It was disgusting, and I'm pleased to know that Cheat Day doesn't have to be a necessary thing every week. Maybe just when I need it, or think I need it.

If I feel better in the morning, I'm going to start my first fitness challenge of the Redux, and boy is it lame. I'm going to do twenty crunches a day. I realize that if Britney Spears was reading this (and really, I like to design all my entries so that deep-fried, pantyless former pop princess happens to be surfing the 'Net will want to come back and maybe also buy me a Volkswagon Jetta this summer because she likes me so much) so JUST IN CASE Brit's reading I know she'd scoff at the notion of 20 crunches a day when she herself endures a thousand. Or used to before Sean Preston and KFed and the Cheetos and the walking barefoot through gas station urine. But I hate abs, and I don't think I actually have ab muscles so much as old Twinkies and other assorted snack cakes stacked up like bricks to protect my internal organs in there, so ab therapy is needed at this point. So, twenty this week and maybe add ten for each week after that. That means in 2020, I will have to do roughly 7,300 crunches a day at which point my abs will be able to scare small children and fight crime while I sleep.

I am now going to take three Advil and try not to cough, sneeze, breathe, or otherwise jar my cracked rib anymore today. Take very good care of you.

Weigh-In Edition One: To Cheat or Not To Cheat?

First off, let's dispense with the juicy stuff. It's been exactly one week of Reduxing, and my furtive peeks at the scales indicated a joyfully downward trend to my weight. I woke this morning with a surprise first day of my period and so I was a bit apprehensive to hop back on the scale knowing that plus the uber-salty soup I had for dinner last night could easily wreck any chances to post a loss for this weekend. I closed my eyes, blew out all the air in my stomach, and mentally forced myself to be lighter, and, and, and...

4 lbs. down! Huzzah! So I'm officially sitting at 228.5 this morning and I weighed myself twice just to make sure. For a visual representation of how much I've lost this week, I've chosen Dora, the miniature Chihuahua. Dora weighs four pounds and is apparently adoptable from the Driftwood, TX Miniature Chihuahua Sanctuary. She also came off my ass over the course of the week, and I bid her goodbye and best wishes for 2007.

I've also lost one inch from my waist, which makes me feel less like a 65 year old man golfer with his gut spilling over the waistband of his Dockers, so that's wonderful too.

I thought a lot this week about having weigh-in day double as cheat day, because I know a lot of dieters use it as a time to deal with cravings, refuel their metabolism, and get excited about eating whole foods again. My concerns are how much, and whether unconsciously rewarding a weight loss with junk food is a wise decision. When I did this before, my decision to have a cheat day turned either into a cheat weekend or I'd double up in a week because I had a social function or something else to attend, too.

I think I'm going to give myself a probation cheat breakfast and cheat dinner with a sensible lunch in between and a regular trip to the gym. I never worked on out on my old cheat days, so maybe this attitude of restrained hedonism would be beneficial to get back on track for tomorrow. If not, I scrap the cheat day and we proceed from there.

Have a wonderful Sunday, and take very good care of you.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Pax, Domesticus

It's 9:30 at night, and I've just returned from the gym. I have a glass of water and an apple in front of me, two cats purring indolently at my feet, and a sense of overwhelming peace surrounding all three of us in my office. I am so thankful right now for this moment.

I didn't really have any intention of posting such a blatantly emotional post tonight, but I've always believed blogs suffer most when self-consciousness forces the writer to self-edit, so I've decided not to.

About two weeks prior to New Year's Eve, I had officially hit rock bottom in my life. I was surprised by this, because I was pretty sure I had already hit rock bottom in February, May, June, and twice in one week last July. Last winter I found out my husband was sending emails to women he had met on the Internet inviting them back to our house for sex while I was working late. Our troubles had started long before that, but this was a breathtakingly horrible shock to me, because if anyone in the entire world would've been faithful, it was my husband. I call this period of my life the Very Bad Time because so many awful things happened so quickly I can barely even recount them in my head. At some point in my life, I would like to sit down with a glass of wine (maybe a whole bottle) and tell one person everything that transpired, because since I kept most of it secret for his privacy as well as mine it's like none of it really happened. By the time he finally moved out in July, I was left a very sick, very overweight, incredibly demoralized person.

I thought when I moved back into my house after he left that my life would magically turn into a never-ending episode of Sex and the City. I'd have witty and vivacious girlfriends to see each weekend, I'd date and meet men who'd make me laugh and think and feel like maybe something special in my life could happen again, and I'd regain the four years I lost in a marriage that should have never happened. I tried tango lessons, yoga classes, meeting up with blind dates and fix-ups from friends. I traveled hours to meet up with old college roommates who had moved away and lost touch, and with every hour I spent trying to create a new life, my actual life was falling apart. My weight shot up--fifteen pounds in three months--and my once robust health deteriorated to the point I carried some sort of infection in me from the first week of September to Christmas. I was exhausting myself doing everything new I could think of because I didn't want to face the fact that the life I currently had was absolute shit.

I ended up dropping all those new activities because, well, I was too fat. Too fat not to feel self-conscious when I was pressed up close to my dance partner. Legs too chunky to bend backward into a camel pose in yoga. When I dated, it was with men who said a girl like me should be grateful for their attention. I wasn't sure what they meant by "a girl like me", because I had no idea who I actually was.

The afternoon of our final day at school before the holidays, I bade my students goodbye, drove home, and sat on my bed and wept for an hour...maybe two. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do about my weight, my health, my disgusting cesspool of a dirty house, nothing at all. I fell asleep sitting up that night because I was just so drained. The next morning I woke up, grabbed a sponge and decided that day would be the day I would start. Start cleaning. I didn't think I could handle much more than that at that point. Three weeks later, I was done, and as embarrassed as I am to admit I let myself get that bad, I also want you to know how proud I am of getting that part of my dignity back.

So obviously, the next little trek down the path to self-worth is the Reduxing, and I have to say my week has been scarily good. Good food, wonderful exercise, and I have to admit I peeked at the scale and I think I'll even have good news to report for my weigh-in on Sunday. But last night for some reason the depression returned in full force. I very much hope it was just PMS, but I was shocked at how low I felt, how incredibly stressed and hopeless and incapable of really making the changes I want to effect for this year. When I awoke it was gone, but I was nervous all day that it'd return with the sunset, as my depression often does.

So that's why the fact that tonight, after a great gym workout and my apple and my cats and my water and my absolutely blissful state of emotion, I am also feeling very, very thankful.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Day 3

Day 3 went pretty well. My plans to exercise were changed by an out of town meeting that will happen every week on Thursday, so I've decided to make Thursday my off day in terms of activity.

I attempted to make a dinner that sounded absolutely scrumptious all day...ham and lentil soup and a florentine frittata. I kept daydreaming about how wonderful and savory it would all be, how much of a step up it'd be in terms of cooking than the usual chicken breast/veggie/salad combination I decide to slack off with every night, and how easy it would be to make all this stuff.

I suppose telling you it's 9:51 and I just now got finished choking down a half cup of the soup would be an accurate indicator of how the actual dinner went. I discovered the following things: I really despise cooked spinach in any form, no amount of 2% mozzarella cheese can mask the taste of it, and if you heat up lentil soup too hot it creates a boiling cauldron of death that neither refrigeration nor waving around in 40 degree air on my patio can vanquish. I ultimately set off every fire alarm in my house from the combination of broiling the frittata and cooking the soup too long, and I also discovered while I was running around flinging open doors and running all my fans that if my house were in fact burning down, my neighbors would choose to stand outside and talk about the smoke alarms while smoking cigarettes. Thanks for your help, guys.

I think I'm going to trash the frittata altogether, but I'm going to freeze the lentil soup and give it another chance later. I don't mind making cooking mistakes, because figuring out what I like is going to lay the foundation for keeping up this way of eating for the future.

I just really wish my hair didn't smell like burnt Eggbeaters.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Hump Day, In More Ways Than One

I watched about ten minutes of Supersize Me on MSNBC the other day, up until the point where Morgan Spurlock pukes his Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese out the window of his SUV. (I am tempted to write a tangential paragraph about my habit of sympathy puking and how one time when I was student teaching a kindergartner puked whole noodles on my feet and so I puked right on top of it to the vast horror of twenty-five six year olds and my supervising teacher, but I am a lady and so will restrain myself.)


In a little interview segment, Spurlock talks about how his experience with McDonald's seems similar to his last effort at quitting smoking, namely that the first three days are awful and if you can endure them, you will be good to go for the long haul. I didn't pay a great deal of attention to him at the time, mostly because my neighbors were busy being utter skanks and setting off their New Year's fireworks in the driveway and I was consumed with plotting their death, but today I realized his little two minute blurb about the three day hump was absolutely spot on. In the four years since I shrank myself down to normal size and then regained every little bit of it back, most of my attempts at getting fit have lasted three or four days, maybe a week or two at their very best, and I think I've figured out why:

I have never, ever been completely successful during a Three Day Hump, which has ultimately given me license to fail later down the way.

My first full 24-hour period of healthful eating and exercise was bliss for me yesterday. Fantastic food, excessive motivation and energy, and when I returned from the gym to lavish in the cherry blossom scented bubbles of my body wash in the shower, I felt like an absolute princess. I think I even smiled at myself in the mirror before I got into bed. So I assumed today would be just another brilliant day to tack on to yesterday.

I was only half wrong. Eating and water were great again, and I'm about to head out for a long cardio workout and for the official Breaking of the Plastic Wrap on my Pilates Video That I Bought in 2004 at Target ceremony in five minutes, but I had a couple close calls during the afternoon. My low point of the day usually hits me between two and four pm, which I know is totally common and expected. When the kids are out of my classroom and it's just me and my computer, I can barely move my muscles. When I got home today, all I wanted was more sleep, and when I awoke from my nap all I wanted was pizza. I think if I had had mozzarella and pizza sauce and pepperoni, I would've just put it in a bowl with some crackers and called it good at that point. I was grumpy, and tired, and not wanting leftover, limp, wax beans for dinner at all. I was THISCLOSE to slinging my leg over the side of my armchair, dialing up Pizza Hut, and counting Day Two as an "off day" because I was tired.

Thank God I didn't, or I probably wouldn't have updated this blog again and it would've joined my five other fatblogs in my personal bandwith cemetary plot. I allowed myself to sling my leg over the chair and eat while I was mindlessly watching television, but I ate my leftover GI-friendly stuff, chucked the beans, and had a salad instead. I had a slightly larger portion of low-fat frozen yogurt than I'd usually allow myself, but I decided that forgiving myself for that would be far easier than facing a half-empty pizza box and a broken resolve tomorrow morning. I'm willing to make mistakes, but I'm not okay with destroying myself to entertain my self-loathing anymore.

So hopefully Day Three will be a motivating one instead of a challenge like today was. Or maybe they'll all be challenges...I just don't know yet. I'm not the same person I was four years ago, and that's both a good and bad thing. This time, though, I finally feel ready to do this rationally, and with a lot more grace and humor than I afforded myself in the past.

Take very good care of you.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Ugh, I say.

My smugness over the squeaky clean pureness of my 2007 personality was shortlived. I am so irritated with myself right now, for a couple of reasons.

My father celebrated his 55th birthday last night and I was tempted home with promises of a very healthy whole wheat pasta dinner and salad and angel food cake for dessert--nothing extraordinarily GI friendly but it was all decent fare and I figured it still was well within the confines of being healthfully virtuous. When I got home, my mother and brother were busy assembling ingredients for tacos. Greasy, dripping, cheese laden, the absolutely Achilles Heel of my culinary life, wonderful wonderful tacos. And cake. With hypnotizing sprinkles that begged me to eat them.

I actually did okay at the dinner. I focused mainly on the vegetables and went easy on the meat and cheese. I exercised, like, a Buddhist-like amount of self-abnegation and avoided the bubbling vat of Ro-Tel in the Crockpot. (By the way, how many of you have had Ro-Tel dip in your lives? I always assumed it was standard party fare but I've spoken to people outside the Midwest and their blank looks of ignorance turn to absolute horror when I describe what it is. Those are people who also have never had Lil' Smokies or biscuits and gravy not from McDonald's and to those people I extend my deepest pity and condolences) I did have a piece of cake, but it was small, and it was a birthday, and I didn't cut off another piece and hide it in a Wal-Mart sack so I could skulk back to my car and cram it in my mouth on the drive home.

But since I got home so late, I ended up staying awake until way after midnight, which meant I was too tired to get up and exercise before work this morning. I am so frustrated by that, because it was totally avoidable. I was just putzing around and talking to friends and purposely ignoring the clock as a means of maintaining the denial that Christmas break was over and I had to go face the throngs of elementary children I teach and then all of a sudden I looked at the clock and even though I set my alarm for 5:00 am, I knew...I KNEW I wasn't going to get up and work out. Dammit, Erin.

So I'm going tonight. I may just have to come to grips with the fact that I'm an evening exerciser and that strapping on the sports bra in the wee hours doesn't make me any more skilled of a weight loser than the other morning gym bunnies. I'm content with working out a schedule that suits me, instead of the other way around. So tonight, gym at 7:30. No excuses.

Even if there is a Beauty and the Geek marathon on.

In other news, food and water for today have been absolutely A+! I also found a new nutrition tracker at The Daily Plate. I have been a devotee for many, many years but I get tired spending 30 minutes a day looking up the nutrition information for the food I eat so I can customize foods at Fit Day. The Daily Plate seems to have every food so far, and it also has weight trackers and blogs and forums and all that good stuff for free, so I'm going to keep trying it out. Have a look if you need a good source for portion sizes and calories.

Happy Tuesday! I'm rooting for all of you.