Tuesday, February 27, 2007


...is the sound my brain is making right now. This weight loss thing is NOT GOING WELL! I have no clue what caused such a sense of torpor...whether it was my grandma, or being busy at work, but this has all just snowballed into a big mess of naps instead of workouts and McDonald's instead of salads and it HAS. TO. STOP. NOW!!!

Maybe writing this will clear the air, but my goodness...I have to make some changes and get off my ass. How could I have lost 10 lbs. so quickly and so easily and now just be mired in my own slovenliness? I wake up every morning with an absolute inferno of motivation, but by the afternoon all I want do is sleep and eat anything in Missouri that's branded Chips Ahoy. I can't even read anyone else's fatblogs because I'm too ashamed that I'm not writing anything of value and then I get remorseful for not reading and it's all this vicious cycle of fat and cookies and sometimes shredded cheese and especially not moving my fat ass in any productive way and....ugh.

Help me. I need a kick in the ass, please.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The meh diet.

I have discovered that the secret of successfully losing a little bit of weight each week is to be so totally busy and stressed out you just think "meh" at the idea of food. I used to be completely resentful and envious of those girls who would always say "When I'm stressed, I just can't eat. When I break up with someone, I lose like 10 lbs. almost instantly." For me, breaking up or being stressed or upset about something means all the pint containers of Super New York Chunk in the Kansas City metropolitan region better run for cover, because I'm on a rampage that can only be quelled by fudge ribbons and high fructose corn syrup.

But I figured out in the last couple weeks that there's a big difference between being depressed-stressed and just busy-stressed, and that maybe I haven't been busy-stressed in awhile. This past week though I've been scrambling to pull things together for school programs, driving to and from meetings, and doing some preparations for a long-term career change, and since I've been running around like a crazy woman, food hasn't really occupied a high priority in my mind unless I'm just really, really hungry. It's kind of exciting to be involved in things that consume me enough to make my neuroses fade into the background a little bit.

Tonight, since round one of the hellacious programs was over, I decided to pig out, but I did it New Erin style. In the olden days when I was happily contributing to the stockpiles of fat on my ass (you know, if I were to ever be stranded out in the wilderness and needed the body heat and extra fuel to survive JUST IN CASE), pizza night would've involved a pizza, breadsticks, a 2-liter of Pepsi, and a Dairy Queen chaser at the end of it. I'd finish the night prostrate on the couch, glassy-eyed and vaguely wondering if my heart should be pounding so hard while I was in this horizontal position.

New Erin tonight ate a few small pieces, nixed the breadsticks and the coke and decided on an apple for dessert instead of a Blizzard.

Who AM I? Sheeit.

This is a totally cool new development though, because the time that I wasted wondering what I could eat for lunch, and then how I could manipulate dinner to include the maximum amount of fat and calories and then the subsequent guilt and shame the following morning could totally be converted into something useful and productive, like napping through more reality TV or seeing if I can hit myself in the face with my ponytail.


Monday, February 19, 2007

Weigh-In Edition: Week 7

Well, phew.

This has been a mildly drama-filled week with the scale. Not like Maui Fever high intensity drama with lots of screaming and wearing of eyeliner, but more like The Hills-type drama with genteel handwringing. I really need to start reading books again.

My scale odyssey didn't stop at the purchase of the ultra-thin Weight Watchers scale I mentioned previously. I bought that as an impulse buy at Wal-Mart because I knew I needed a scale and because it was the second most expensive one there, so I was at least somewhat assured of quality. That's my philosophy on life, which is probably frivolous but seems to work... for instance, at a restaurant, always order the third least expensive or the second most expensive glass of wine and the waiter will coo at your good taste because he's tired of serving house labels. I swear. Also, I use the first stall in any public restroom because the second bathroom is always on a straight trajectory from the door and most people use that one instinctively. Also, yogurt is still totally okay tasting even if it's two years old and upside down in the back of your refrigerator next to the jar of capers, so don't let the expiration date give you pause.

Just little facts to help you on your way to self-actualization. I'm such a giver.

So, since I'm a total product whore, as soon as I got home I googled this scale and found out that even though it's ultra-sleek, and Weight Watchers endorsed, it may actually be single worst scale on the planet. Epinions writers gave it 1.5 stars. Amazon writers gave it 2 stars. Target writers offered a measly half star. The scale was supposed to be so inaccurate, you could weigh yourself, sit motionless for fifteen minutes, weigh yourself again and weigh six pounds heavier than the last time. And they were right...I tried that experiment and got three wildly different numbers in the space of an hour.

I repackaged the WW scale, marched it back to Wal-Mart, and instead left with the most expensive scale I could find...a Health-O-Meter Professional Body Fat Monitoring Scale. (Very long names=quality!) Woot...I feel like I upgraded from a Ford Focus to at least a Camry now. The screen is all colorful and it has fancy metal footprints to send shocks through my body to determine that yes, I am in fact very, very fat. It has a hydration monitor, and save functions, and it remembers all my vitals so it can chastise me for being fat every time. And the best part is that it's way accurate...measuring in .2 lbs increments and never varying from the total no matter how many times I step on the scale.

It still weighed me approximately two pounds heavier than my original scale, though, so I'm readjusting all my start totals, but the good news is...

I'm completely unfathomably but miraculously down 3.6 lbs. this week to 222.8 (101.1 kg)!

Brings me just .5 lbs. shy of my current lowest weight, and with the readjusted totals it means I've lost 11.7 lbs. (5.3 kg) total, and it also means...

I have lost the weight of this wheelchair from QuickPlace Medical Supply. In fact, I could haul my reduced bulk around on top of the weight of my Reduxed ass-fat just for the sheer joy of knowing I could get up out of the chair and walk away from it in the end. That is, of course, if I could shell out the $3,000 for the chair.

Hmm...I could totally use a corporate sponsor for all these rewards and stuff that are coming up. I'm looking at you, Starbucks.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Invisible Women

I'm a closet fan of Ugly Betty. I gleefully, clandestinely burrow into my couch and watch the Internet rerun of it every Friday afternoon after work. It might actually be one of the highlights of my week, second only to getting to Second Work early enough to take a nap in my car.

I watched this latest episode with interest, because some of the plot lines were similar to events I had observed during the course of my own day at work, and during a date the evening before. (Please mark your calendars that I had a date on February 16, 2007 because it is likely you will likely not be party to such an event until Halley's Comet makes another pass over the Earth)


This latest episode featured a new recurring character named Becks, whom I despise not only because someone in the writing department was apparently reading an US Weekly when they were brainstorming character names, but also because he is unabashedly and gleefully a Male Pig. In the fifteen or so minutes he was in the episode, he called a woman a "fattie", berated the Betty character for being unattractive, and insinuated that a woman who was overweight during his college years would likely be desperate for a call for a man, because she had to be "working on her third or fourth chin by now".

Usual self-righteous abhorrence cast aside, I was intrigued by the way the man operated...separating the Hotties from Notties and then reserving his most biting scorn for the women in between--the ones who, with a nudge in the direction of a makeover counter and a SlimFast would be total foxes. So, as kind of a part two in my ongoing rant about Male Piggism and why they can't just give us a goddamn break to get our asses smallerized without feeling like shit about it, I have to wonder why this happens and who said it was ever okay to do it.

The reason why this sort of enraptured me was because one of my coworkers at Second Work does the exact same things, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized nearly every Male Pig I know does that, too. I watched the coworker, whose job it is to check in music teachers and students and pass out paychecks at the end of the day, and I noticed he did three things as females passed by the desk:

1) If the female was attractive, he would get a hopeful look in his eye and fixate on her until she talked to him.

2) If the female was obviously unattractive or old or asexual in some sort of way, he would joke around with them and carry on fairly long conversations with them about their day or their pet guinea pig named Nibbles (she's a tragic spinster with a Prince Valiant haircut...that's all you need to know)

3) If the female was young and sort of average looking or attractive but overweight, he ignored them. If they initiated contact, he was curt and sarcastic and immediately moved on to the next person after he had given an response.

At first I thought I was being oversenstive and crazy about the whole thing, probably smarting from saying hello to him in the morning and receiving only a raised eyebrow in response. But as I sat in my little fishbowl studio and watched him interact with the customers and the teachers and the moms who came to the counter, I realized he really had established a pattern on how to treat the different castes of women in the store. I just really, really wonder why the third group of girls would warrant the cold treatment from him, though, and why that seems to be such a prevalent attitude with young men. Are they afraid of catching obesity by being kind to the fat chick? Do they think if extending courtesy or kindness to someone they're not attracted to would give the girl false hope that she's acceptable for dating? Is he really just that offended by their non-hotness that his contempt forces him to act this way?

I would really love someday to sit my male friends, many of whom I've witness first-hand being guilty of this very behavior, and ask what exactly they're afraid of. I want to know if it's peer pressure, or the fear that the loves of their lives might have flabby arms or a shelf booty and what that says about them if they accept it. And I really want to know why they have no idea that it hurts really badly to be treated so poorly or worse, treated like you ought not to exist at all.

Weigh-in tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be a pound or two closer toward having the right to be seen in public in the company of males again.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Internal Conversation Hearts

I have a confession to make.

I've been totally slacking off this Reduxing thing, and now it's Valentine's Day and because I do not currently have a partner with whom I would've gone to see the new Hugh Grant movie and made comfortable conversation over a chain restaurant dinner, and then returned to our place of cohabitation for polite, missionary-position holiday sex, I instead chose to eat three Reese's Valentine's hearts and watch "Shall We Dance?" on TBS tonight. I really don't like Reese's cups at all, but they were a Secret Valentine gift from school and they needed to be disposed of (though not necessarily by forcing them down my esophagus).

Because we've been snowed out of work for the last two days and I only actually worked one day between the snowstorm and the bereavement leave, I've had a whole lot of time to think and to also fall out of my normal routine. Even though you wouldn't be able to tell by the stacks of papers and the bottled water graveyard at the corner of my office desk, I thrive on routine and order. My mind's constant internal monologue sort of has a Colonel Kling accent, and it barks orders at me all day, even when my body doesn't want to respond. It's usually enough to get me off the couch and into the gym, or even just awake and doing things when I really want to sleep or watch reality show marathons on basic cable. This week, though, even though my brain has been screaming "Vee must haff ordah!", the rest of me has been telling my brain to shut it and eat something chocolate. Preferably while taking a nap.

The thinking has resulted in some good things...some good plans for the immediate and far off future and I'm excited about them, but it's time to stop thinking and start doing again. I like that tomorrow is the 15th, because the 15th has always been kind of an auspicious day for me in other things. So since I have work, and routines, and many, many things to do I'm confident that means that all the other stuff will fall back into order. I'm ready to be back at the gym, and to be moving, and to be excited again.

Happy Valentine's Day, friends.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Weigh-In Edition: Week 6

Apparently, nothing says "I'm sorry for your loss" quite like green bean casserole.

My family was inundated with neighbors and coworkers and friends bearing sympathy cakes and deli trays and casseroles and bags of chips, and and and...

So, of course I ate like shit this week. Like, really really badly, and right now I'm really confused as to what my actual weight is. I know I've gained a pound at least, and I'm sure I'm also holding onto a couple more because of salt and driving and sitting and sleeping but not so much exercising, but my old digital scale (which wasn't all that accurate anyway) went kaput this morning and my new, Weight Watchers scale, is saying I'm currently at 226.3 lbs. (102.6 kilos). Bummer.

So now I'm not sure whether I should readjust my starting weight and all that and make it 4 lbs. heavier, or if I should just hope that next week everything's back to normal. Since I can't use the other scale to compare weights I have no idea how much it was off. I guess I'll just call it a temporary gain and work extra hard to get back on track now that mourning time is officially over. Sorry for being a fatass and gaining weight.

One thing I found encouraging was how cleaned out my body must've been before I started chowing down on funeral food. On Thursday night I went to bed with chills, shivering, horrible nausea, sweating, and a low fever and assumed I was getting the flu. I actually think now that I may have just been reacting badly to all the sugar and fat I had consumed, which is sort of awesome because until you actually FEEL the nasty effects of having all that shit inside your system, it's hard to really internalize the belief that healthy food=healthy body. I suppose that's the same logic as smashing one's head into a concrete block to see if it'll hurt like they say, but at the same time I'm sort of proud of myself for being healthy for a whole month. I am so, so glad I'm back at my own house with all my whole grain breads and my vegetable snacks and not at Casa de Bundt Cake with my parents anymore. Now, I'll just have to see if I can coerce my body into exercising again, because I fell out of that habit at least a half week before I started eating poorly. Cardio tonight, for sure.

Hmm...any advice on the scale thing?

Expiration Date

The hardest part of burying my grandmother this week wasn't the funeral or the visitation; it was going through her possessions to remove the valuable stuff from burglars. Her house appears to have been frozen in time since last October, andI guess October 11th was the last day she stayed there before they moved her to the nursing home, because the paper on her footstool is still opened to that crossword, and the little bulletin from her church is sitting underneath her bedroom lamp bearing a faded postmark with that date. I had been in her house a few times since she had gotten sick--we had developed a habit of coming and going freely from her house in town while we lived far out in the country and didn't want to make the trek back and forth to our own house--and each time I went in, I felt the heavy silence of anticipation...a life put on hold until her health returned and she could come home with it. Even her curmudgeonly old cat, a part-bobcat hellion I sheepishly begged her to take when I got busted for having it in my dorm room several years ago, sat and stared at the door and waited for her to come through it. There was always blind hope, even in the last weeks of her cancer, that she would get to live in her tiny little house with the antiques and the memories again.

When my dad and I went in after the funeral, though, the silence was suffocating and the tears I refused to shed in front of everyone at the funeral and the interment made my nose hot and threatened to betray my tough-girl attitude I had to the whole thing. Suddenly, October 11th appeared to be her death sentence...the last day of dignity and independence she had before she was finally forced by her own deceitful body into a hospital bed to die. We packed up her jewelry, her old Croesus glassware, and her silverware in near silence, only discussing in hushed tones how my cousin had immediately departed the funeral with a list of my grandma's stuff she was claiming for her own. The cat wound around our feet and looked anxiously at the door, hoping that the trespassers in his house would be replaced soon by the tiny little white haired woman who mixed his cat food with milk and let him claw the afghan in the guest bedroom. We backed out of the front door, arms straining under the collective weight of sixty years of possessions and memories, and as the door slammed behind us I knew that was probably be the last time I would go into my grandma's house before the probate courts and the estate auctioneers got to it. The last time my memories would be intact, each etched in my mind with October 11, 2006 in the corner.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Weigh In Edition: Week 5

Since I skipped last week, I don't want to skip this week too even if I really didn't do much except eat food out of sacks and sleep a lot over the last fourteen days.

Anyway, down 1.5 pounds for a total of 10 lbs. (4.5 kg) and a weigh-in of 222.5 (100.9 kg).

Waist circumference same. I'm guessing I've lost a little muscle mass since I haven't been at the gym very much. I'll remedy that this week.

Be back soon.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Eulogy for a tough old broad

This morning as I drove home from Second Work I got ran off the road by a Datsun driven by a (presumably) drunk driver with no insurance. I'm fine, and the car's fine and the drunk Datsun man is fine even though he went nose first into a ravine on the other side of the highway, but I was obviously a little shaken so I called my mother to recount what happened.

At the end of our conversation, she paused and said "Daddy's down at the nursing home with your grandma. You need to be prepared that she's not going to make it through the weekend." This was the first news I had heard about my grandma in a couple weeks, and I certainly wasn't planning on hearing it as I sat shaking on a highway shoulder with prairie wind and Mack trucks whipping by my passenger side window . In September they found a tumor in the intersection between her trachea and her esophagus, and the rounds of brutal chemo and radiation and another metastisizing tumor in her lungs chipped away at her vitality. The past reports had always been the same..."Oh, you know your grandma. She's hanging in there." I expected those reports, because I had seen them firsthand whenever I went to the nursing home to visit her. She had dropped forty pounds from her already diminutive frame, and for the most part she laid in her bed and stared at the ceiling, sometimes with a blue fleece stocking cap on her head and sometimes with nothing at all...looking for all the world like an ancient gnome man as she listened to us talk.

The first visit to the nursing home was a horrible shock for me. I hadn't seen her since she had begun treatment, and I wasn't prepared for the way her translucent skin clung to her cheekbones, nor how her fingers shook as she picked listlessly at her dinner. She turned her head away from me when I talked to her, and when she actually passed out in her plate of food, I panicked and ran yelling for a nurse to come help...come do anything to help her. The nurse rolled her eyes and said that always happened when someone came to visit, because she was embarrassed about her condition. I understood what she meant, because my grandma has never taken help from anyone. She's one of those archetypal Greatest Generation women...she was a Rosie Riveter and a Susy Homemaker and pretty much everything in between. The woman singlehandedly ran our Methodist church, sewing and baking and making soup for sick people as if those acts themselves could save the world. I think if she had taken an interest in world peace, she probably would've had it sorted out and still had time to catch her British sitcoms on PBS. She was a 4'11" dynamo in sensible shoes and when I wrote that she was the woman I most admired on my college applications, I did so without an ounce of pretense. I cannot imagine anyone better than her.

She was also the only living grandparent I had known for the seventeen years of my life. My maternal grandmother passed when I was three, and I wasn't brought to the funeral. My grandfather wasn't a nice man, and when he died my main concern was for whether my bereavement leave would count against perfect attendance at school. My paternal grandfather died when I was nine, and while I know I mourned a lot then, I barely remember him now. I always picture him as Jerry Orbach in my head and I'm surprised when I see pictures and realized my grandpa looked nothing like that. The strange thing I just realized is that if she dies today, she will have died exactly seventeen years after my husband. I wonder if it's just a phenomenal coincidence, or if we truly have such power over our own will to survive.

So my grandma was it for a long, long time, and I was closer to her in many respects than I am to my own parents. While incredibly productive in every other aspect of life, my family's not so big on procreation, so I was one of only three grandkids which meant I spent weekend after weekend at her house which was way better than home because she had cable and an unlimited supply of Chex Mix and chocolate milk. New Year's Eve until I got married was a firm date for us...we'd stay up to watch the ball drop, eat real popcorn from a pan, and flick the front porch light five times before going to bed precisely at 12:02. Those sorts of things are absolutely what my grandma was about...routine, practicality, discipline...but at the same time a keen appreciation for the absurd and ridiculous that I think I inherited in some small part. My brother and I nicknamed her "The G Unit" because she used to like to watch MTV to understand what rap and hip hop culture was all about, and one time while we watched Elton John croon on television, she muted the sound and asked in all seriousness, "You know, I've always wondered how the gay men make love." As every jaw in her living room collectively dropped to her pristine white carpet, my darling grandmother picked up the quilt she had been pieceing and went right back to work.

As I grew into an adult I realized so much of who I am has been influenced by her...the way I cook, the strange colloquial words and phrases I use that I learned from her, even the way my face scrunches up when I'm considering a problem. I drive my grandma's car, a '95 Le Sabre that absolutely defines the concept of "Old Person 'Mobile", and I can't bring myself to get rid of little reminders of her in the front seat...the leather driving gloves so small I can't fit my palm into them, the blue and yellow dash sign that screams ONCOLOGY from her thrice-weekly visits to the chemo center. No matter how much I try to isolate myself today I can't turn around without seeing my grandma everywhere, because she is so indelibly imprinted on my life and who I am.

The thing that hurts most about hearing this news is that for the last year or so my grandma existed with a great ideological chasm between us because of my divorce. Separation is anathema to her, and even when I told her my reasons for what I did she didn't approve. The last thing she was willing to say about the subject was, "I'll still love you even if you do go through with it." So I've sort of felt like the enormous bond that held us together was badly weakened before she became sick and turned into this wraithlike thing in a bed. And because my family doesn't do grief very well, I can't just go into her hospital room and tell her everything that's on my heart and apologize for hurting her and kiss her forehead like I would if I were a bit player in Grey's Anatomy. I can just leave it here, like some sort of pathetic excuse for a proper farewell. The truth is, my grandma would've been embarrassed by it anyway, and I'm not going to take advantage of an octogenarian with organ failure just to indulge my need for closure.

I probably won't be around much during the next few days unless there's a dramatic improvement in her condition. She has a DNR on her advanced directive, so her death is likely inevitable, albeit painless and quick. I hope to catch up with all of your lives as soon as I can. Take very good care of you.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Attention Jared Fogle: I want my $7.38 back.

Five years ago I managed to lose about 60 lbs. by following the Subway Diet. I got really into it...I made friends with some of those "Friends of Jared" people who had those TV commercials, and I had the frequent customer cards that got me the free soda once every ten sandwiches. The people at the store knew my name, and life was good for the first few months. I started on January 15th, and by June of that year I was so disgusted with Subway sandwiches I could barely walk into the restaurant without feeling nauseous. I think by that point my body wasn't losing weight for conventional reasons so much as it was dying a slow death by boredom and atrophying in the process.

I reached my breaking point mid-summer that year and vowed to never, ever go on the Subway Diet again even though, at that point, it was the only thing that had ever worked for me. I gained all the weight back and a little more in a couple years, but my distaste for Subway still lingers, and I instintively dry heave whenever I see someone eating a 6" chicken breast on wheat. Shudder.

Today I was desperate for a portable, healthy meal so I drove to our drive-thru Subway on the way to Second Work. I decided a wrap would be more practical to eat in the car than a sandwich so I ordered a steak and cheese (no cheese) in an Atkins wrap, with Baked Lays and a diet soda. The total was $7.38 because I "upgraded" to a wrap.

And people, I can now say I have officially been privy to the biggest, most egregious food ripoff in America, second maybe only to the McSalad Shakers of yore. Have you SEEN their wraps? Mine was approximately 4" long by 3" wide...just a tiny little babydoll size sandwich I wanted to hold in the palm of my hand and caress lovingly. I had maybe a teaspoon of meat and vegetables all surrounded by this hideous, gluey, vaguely alkaline tasting wrap. To be perfectly honest, it looked like a cat turd wrapped in leather. It kind of tasted that way, too.

I think Subway needs to keep it real, and if they're going to charge 10% more for a wrap than a sandwich, then you should get 10% more stuff for your money. And since I'm feeling catty about this, you KNOW Jared Fogle is secretly feeling the same way I do about Subway, or else he wouldnt' be growing the man bosoms again.

I'm just sayin'.