I Am That Girl Now

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

What we have here is a failure to communicate

Anyone trying cross-party discussions before the 2004 election (or, for that matter, after it) has experienced a blank inability to grasp the other side's point of view-- from your side, or theirs, or both. There's a certain point at which one's brain just explodes because the other side just isn't grasping something SO OBVIOUS or the OBVIOUS IMPORTANCE of that thing, and that's usually when the defensive reactions begin: name-calling and blanket accusations.

If you've ever been fat and had to deal with thin people, particularly family, then you know how this goes, too. Under every weight-loss ploy, every carrot dangled, every quotation of statistics, every example held up, every glare over a second helping, every scathing remark, every plea, every intervention... under each of these is the same blank lack of understanding. The question is simple: Why? Why not lose weight? Why live with the social stigma, the uncomfortable body, the difficulty in buying clothes, the endless string of public embarrassments, the health problems, the shortened life span? Why not eat right and exercise and be done with it?

Oh, gee, I don't know. Why not get a new job? Why not run for public office? Why not learn a new language? Why not build a new house? Why not move to a different city? Why not get married? Why not get divorced? Why not start dating again? Why not have kids? Why not convert to a different religion-- or even a slightly different branch of the one you're in? Why not get a college degree?

There's a million answers to those, too, right? For all of them, including weight loss and fitness, it boils down to because it's a lot of work, because it would turn my life upside-down, and because I don't want it enough quite yet. None of these things are impossible, they just require a lot of effort, a lot of learning, a lot of time; they mean that you have to choose to sacrifice other dreams, other hobbies; they mean that you have to rethink all your priorities and the whole way you live your life. It means you're going to have to go through a period in which you're uncomfortable, when you don't know the answers and you have to learn things that are elementary for other people, when you're going to make an ass of yourself and grit your teeth to get through it. It means that things will get harder before they get easier. It means that you're going to dig down and change, in some way, who you are, and that's a big thing.

The fact that people bandy weight-loss around as if the process consisted of a few magic steps annoys the hell out of me. Yes, in the end it's just that simple, in the way that moving is simply a process of packing things, putting them in a truck to transport to a new destination, and then unpacking. And yet, because the vast majority of people has to hoss their belongings into a new home at some point in their lives, moving is a process that society holds in awe and dread. We all know from moving, and we all remember how complicated and never-ending and soul-sucking and infuritating it was. We all remember accidentally turning down the wrong street again and again and again and again, how it took us forever to find replacements for the stores and restaurants we loved in the old neighborhood, how it's so annoying to have to drive an extra twenty minutes to get to work or school, how long it took to pack and unpack and how much stuff got lost or damaged in the process. We all know that shit. Only the scarred veterans of the weight-loss wars know how hard the process of getting yourself into a new body is.

I have some family members who like to hold me up as an example to other people. "Meg did it, you should be able to, too!" MY GOD, THAT PISSES ME OFF.

Look, first of all, that trivializes what I did. I didn't "just stop eating junk", I had to learn to cook, I had to learn all about nutrition, I had to scour the supermarket for suitable replacements, I had to get the hang of portion control, I had to learn to navigate the myriad social obligations that food is involved with, hell, I had to re-work the very methods I use for putting food in my mouth at meals so that I don't eat it so goddamn fast. I didn't "just start exercising", I had to learn as I went, I had to learn a whole new skill set that I'd spent my whole life avoiding, I had to learn to like being dirty and sweaty, I had to fight myself every morning when the alarm clock went off, I had to deal with self-inflicted injury due to stupidity, I had to build endurance and strength and flexibility and grapple with the fact that it wasn't simple and instant to get this shit to improve. I had to uproot a lot of old stuff in my psyche, I had to build my self-confidence from nothing, I had to learn to take time for myself, I had to sacrifice sleep and time for other much-beloved hobbies and fight out what this meant to my marriage. Saying "just" in relation to what I went through is a goddamn insult, and when you use it to characterize my journey to someone else in order to get them to start on their own journey, you're involving me in a huge fucking lie, even if you're too damn ignorant to know it's a lie.

Second, I'm here to say that it's a lie that doesn't actually work. It's not motivating. It's not helpful. Nine times out of ten it comes out like a rich bastard giving advice on how to get out of debt-- dude, you've never been there, you have no idea what you're talking about, just shut up already. Yes, the advice might be applicable, but coming from somebody who hasn't been there? I don't think so. Fat folk know it's not actually as easy as you're making it out to be-- hell, the vast majority of us fail miserably at the first umpteen diet attempts before something finally clicks-- and so those helpful hints just breed distrust and resentment.

Third, you're not going to get much milage out of a second-hand story. You've removed yourself from this, elevated yourself above it, and it shows: clearly you have to talk about other people's success because clearly you've never had a problem with this yourself. You might have the best of intentions, but it's not gonna fly.

And fourth, here's the big thing: you are not showing respect for the enormity of this decision. This is, I tell you, a decision that's right up on the level of deciding to get married or to have kids, in terms of committment and in terms of work; it is a committment to yourself, and a huge adjustment, and most often people walk into this not only knowing that they've failed at this before, but that eighty percent of people who try this fail at it. I mean, marriage has taken a hell of a rap for a 50% divorce rate, so just imagine if it was at 80%. Yeah, those are some scary odds. Respect the courage it takes to start this sort of thing, knowing those odds. Respect that this is not something that people undertake frivolously. And respect that this is not easy, physically, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, or in how one deals with one's social setting.

Here's the truth of the matter: you can't do shit about a person's decision to lose weight. You can't force them, bully them, bribe them, convince them with statistics, or use the threat of disease and early death. Guilt doesn't work. Shame doesn't work. Logic doesn't work.

It doesn't work. It just plain DOES NOT WORK. It is one of those giant, deeply personal, life-changing decisions that epics are written about, and you don't make a giant, deeply personal, life-changing decision based on someone else's opinion of what your decision should be.

"So what CAN we do, Meg?" Hey, I'm glad you asked.

First, you have to ask yourself a hard question: has this become a power struggle between yourself and your overweight loved one? Is it more important that they lose weight, or that they do what you want?

Because here's the thing, my friend: if this has already become a power struggle, then you're too late to be of any help in an active sense. If your loved one feels that losing weight would mean that you "won", then they're much more likely to stubbornly stay at their current weight, if not put more weight on just to spite you.

What you have established at this point is that you will not accept them as they are. No matter if you yourself can see the difference between their identity and their weight: for your loved one, all that comes across is that you don't love them as they are, that you are ashamed of them, that you want them to change so that you feel better.

Get this through your head: it is their decision to make, and for every "yes, I will make the committment" decision there are hundreds of "no, I'm not ready yet" decisions that come beforehand. All the pushing you do will not change their current answer; if they're not ready, they're not ready. Hell, your pushing may actually be the reason they're not ready-- you may be the thing that's standing in their way.

So if you really want to do something, do this first: LET GO. Step back. Give your loved one enough respect to realize that they are not stupid and they are not children; they are grown folk in charge of their own life and deserve to be treated as such. If the decision is "no", then that's how it is right now.

Don't talk about this stuff. Don't hint. Don't beg. Don't make suggestions or little arch comments. Don't talk about how good they'd look "if". Love them just as they are, and make sure they know that your love is not dependent on good behavior or obedience or weight loss.

Yes, I realize you want some kind of action, some sort of pro-active forward movement. You're looking for the magic bullet. Sorry, folks: it doesn't exist. This is not something you can control. Your job, inasmuch as you get a job, is to remove as many obstacles from your loved one's path as possible. Including, if necessary, yourself.

How about this: learn about this stuff yourself. The greatest gift you can give is support, and since you don't have field knowledge, you'll have to get some book learnin'. Be prepared. Read up on nutrition. Read up on exercise. Read up, more than either of those, on weight loss and the issues involved.

Deal with your own problems first. Just because you don't have weight to lose doesn't mean that you're virtuous; there are a lot of nutritional sins that skinny folk commit, too. How are you with whole grains? Fruits and vegetables? Lean meats? What are your serving sizes like? Do you make an effort to learn cooking techniques that make nutritious food taste delicious? Do you make an effort to have balanced meals? Do you make an effort to expand your culinary horizons? Do you try new things, buy new foods and learn how to prepare them? Hell, do you know how to cook at all? And how about exercise? What are your habits like?

For one thing, this is a nice distraction. For another thing, you're setting an example-- and by getting in shape or changing your diet or changing your habits, you're also making a silent point that this isn't so much a weight thing as a health thing, that it's not about what you look like, but what you feel like. You're also showing how these things work.

Support isn't made of words. Support is made of actions. Put your money where your mouth is-- live the way you'd be asking them to live. Do it well; do it in such a way that it's a good lifestyle, it's an enjoyable experience, full of good food and fun actions. Do not, however, take this as license to preach about what you're doing: just because you're no longer a hypocrite doesn't make you a saint. You may have learned a part of what you're asking your loved one, but that doesn't mean you're experiencing all of it by any stretch of the imagination-- there are emotional and psychological issues that come with being fat and with weight loss that you'll never really grasp. Deal with that. Get it through your head.

You can't make anyone else lose weight. You can help, but not by pushing or nagging; you can help by clearing the way, learning all you can, fixing your own problems, being a good example, loving them the way they are, accepting their decisions in spite of your own preferences, and shutting up. Okay?

(End rant. Sorry, folks, but this one really bugged me.)

Cut for length-- click to read more.

If it's not one thing, it's your mother (and father)

I must say that I think I attempted the impossible last week. I tried like fire to get the entire apartment cleaned, do a truly massive amount of laundry, put together a plan for activities to do with the parents, put together a meal plan that would let me achieve an on-plan weekend with only two cheat meals (a more achievable plan for a three-day visit than just taking the one cheat day), and cook as much of this stuff ahead of schedule so we'd stick to it. All while continuing to work an 8-hour day, exercise in the morning, deal with my normal feeding schedule, care for (and work around) a sick spouse, and deal with the fact that I wasn't getting enough sleep and was operating at half my regular oomph.

Note that I say "attempted". I ended up taking a full day off work on Friday because so much still wasn't done. I got up and worked frantically at cleaning house until 1 PM, when I stopped for a lunch break. Five minutes later, my parents called to inform me joyfully that they'd managed to show up nearly eight hours ahead of schedule, and wasn't that great?

The fact that I didn't murder them on arrival still surprises me.

So. Half the housekeeping didn't get done (some tidying occurred in the first few hours of the 'rents visit, and a massive hauling of garbage to the dumpster). I did have a plan for what to do with them while they were here, but I hadn't planned anything for Friday evening since they weren't supposed to arrive until freakin' 9 PM. No food was pre-cooked. Arrrrgh.

I did as well as I could under the circumstances, and managed to get my six meals in every day with a highly discreet effort made at keeping to BFL portions and only having two "splurge" meals. I'm not saying it was completely successful, but I tried real hard and was... mostly successful.

Thing is, the stress levels I'd been dealing with since last Tuesday came to a head yesterday, mostly because once my folks arrived I was cut off from the things I usually use to control and alleviate stress and tension. They got up earlier than I did; they stayed up just as late. It never occurred to them that they could go do something besides hang out at our apartment or go places with us, because in their minds they don't really like the city-- they were tolerating it in order to get as much time with me and my Hub as possible.

And as always happens when I find myself trapped and helpless, the oldest of my stress-relief habits kicked in and thus my eating suffered. Not only that, but once my folks left I ate a TON. I think that often when I'm in that situation I can manage to control the urge to binge while I'm under scrutiny, but once the scrutiny is alleviated all I can focus on is that I finally have the chance to make myself feel better, and by "feel better" I mean "eat everything in sight". Sort of a delayed reaction. Gah.

Part of what fueled that binge was the fact that I had specific things in mind for my "splurge" meals-- two fantastic restaurants-- and circumstances (and stubborn relations) meant that instead of those fantastic restaraunts, I was forced to use my splurges on mediocre food that I wasn't thrilled about. I was pretty pissed about that. I'd been looking forward to those meals all damn week and they were denied to me. Son of a bitch!

Anyway. The good news, such as it is:

1) I did manage to stick to plan about 75% of the time, in spite of being abruptly pushed into eat-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mode. Fail to plan, plan to fail... so at least I kept the failure smaller than most times.

2) I got my exercise in. It's interesting to note that I am completely unabashed about taking time for this; even when it comes to my parents, nobody fucks with my exercise time.

3) My Hub, bless his heart, refused to take enable me on binge behaviors and (once he started feeling better) forced me to sleep in for an extra two hours Monday morning and reminded me to kick my own ass at HIIT because it works as a great stress relief. I kept hinting around about wanting to go for ice cream last night, and he said, "I'm sorry we didn't get that in this weekend, sweetie. Let's make a date for Saturday night, okay?" I was displeased at being thwarted. Good for him, though.

4) Back on track today, and the good thing about BFL is that the pattern and makeup of meals-- and the planning inherent in making that happen-- is really, really good at thwarting the urge for follow-up binges. The Inner Cartman has, of course, been yammering away full-speed, but the automatic gut check (in which I ponder my tummy and discover it's still operating at satiated levels) is like an inner touchstone, and having meals planned out for the day in advance (a luxury denied me all weekend) soothes me. Ahhhhhhhh.

Dining with and cooking for my parents allowed me to figure out what they're up to, these days, when it comes to food. Dad still cleans his plate, regardless of portion (I got that one from him, I think); Mom makes an effort to keep her portion sizes small. Both of them eat slowly and don't feel pressured to eat food when they're not feeling hungry. They're suckers for junk food. They're both trying to control their high cholesterol and are suffering somewhat on that account from my mother's lack of interest in ways of adding flavor without adding fat and calories. My dad has concluded that he'll eat fish if he "has to", for his health, but he doesn't like it; that said, he's only eaten either a) fried fish or b) fish that my mother makes for him. My mom is not a great cook, so the likelihood of Dad learning to actually like fish is very small. Sigh.

They understand fruits and vegetables, but between the two of them they barely touched our enormous store of fruit. Whole grains puzzle them; they haven't even started eating oatmeal, in spite of that being the most user-friendly of the whole grains and one that has great cholesterol-lowering capabilities. I think I may have managed to sell them on EggBeaters, at least; I stressed the "use all substitute items as an ingredient, not a featured dish on its own" idea like mad, and may have convinced my dad by making him scrambled EggBeaters with a big douse of Frank's, chopped red peppers, and pan-browned Canadian bacon. Dad doesn't know a lot about flavor, but he has twigged to the fact that adding peppers and hot sauce to things that he finds bland or unappealing will often make them much more palatable. I really need to help him expand on this, I think. Lord knows that my mother won't; she's boxed herself in when it comes to flavor.

It was weird. It was weird to try to cook for them, it was weird to try to pick restaurants for them since they were scared of all the ethnic foods. It really discombobulated me and threw me off my game.

I love them. I miss them. But wow, am I glad they went home.

Cut for length-- click to read more.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

It sucks. It all sucks.

I think I hate it when my Hub gets sick more than when I get sick. When I'm the one that's sick, all I have to do is suffer, really. When he's sick, I have to pick up the slack for the entire spousal support system-- cook the food, feed the cats, clean the house, do the laundry, take out the garbage-- all by myself, as well as taking care of him and picking up after him because he becomes too weak to take dishes to the sink or pick up his underwear from where he took it off in the hallway (WHY UNDRESS IN THE HALLWAY? WHY???) or put Kleenex in the trash can to his right instead of leaving them scattered over the couch on his left. Sigh. Men.

Bad enough normally, but this week my parents are coming to town for the holiday weekend. They arrive tomorrow. I'm not just having to pick up the normal amount of slack, I'm having to do that AND do all the frantic parent-prep all by myself. And, because I still don't quite have the swing of BFL, I have to find time to cook so that I can eat. What's funny is that normally this would have me throwing my hands in the air and saying "Screw it, we'll just order food until this storm has passed," but this time I'm holding on like grim death because I don't want to have all this work happening AND have WW energy drain or fat-eatin' lethargy. Cooking may be a pain in the ass right now, but eating this way is all that's keeping me going and making it possible to get anything done at all, so I am damn well going to find time to cook.

I've been slaving away at housework and taking care of El Hubbo every single minute I'm home and conscious, and still managing to make my BFL meals and get my exercise in. I desperately needed extra sleep Tuesday night... didn't get it. Needed it even more on Wednesday... didn't get it. Then this morning the alarm clock, for reasons known only to it, chose to reset itself so it almost forty minutes fast. That, I tell you, was forty minutes of sleep that I really, really resent losing. I've been completely brain-dead all day, no reading comprehension skills, walking into things, tripping, yawning constantly. I told my boss I'm not coming in tomorrow because it would not be good for anybody. He's cool with that, even though it's the day before the long weekend. God bless cool bosses everywhere.

What's funnier still is that I haven't gone crazy and binged yet. Don't get me wrong, my brain has been stuck on the idea of food constantly, and I'm hungrier than normal, but somehow my stomach being at least moderately full, plus the fact that I'm scheduled to eat a REAL MEAL within the next three hours, calms me and distracts me. This is good. This is definitely good.

I picked up Eating For Life last night out of sheer desperation-- my Hub is still freaking out over how to feed me, and I figure this ought to help. (I made the fish tacos last night. Yum.) He has promised to look at it. Granted, he also promised to look through Body For Life and hasn't done that, so the grain of salt I have taken with that promise is GIGANTIC, but at least he's aware that it's out there. I can cook from it, at least, and that'll take some of the pressure off.

Granted, he says he's buying us dinner tonight, which means I get the headache of trying to figure out what I can order. Oh, my aching head.

Cut for length-- click to read more.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I am such a bitter little wench.

Okay. I have to get this off my chest and there's no other forum for me to do so in. I'll probably end up taking this post down at the end of the day to protect myself in the event that one of my friends stumbles across this blog and recognizes me in spite of my alias.

However, I just can't not say this SOMEWHERE, because I am indeed that big of a bitch.

Attention: Friend #143's Husband

I realize that you are from Texas, and as such you feel that this gives you a superior sense of barbeque. That it makes you, in fact, a coinnesseur. That your taste buds have been trained and honed by virtue of being born Texan.

I see that you own a very special grill, welded together in some arcane ritual meant, no doubt, to give honor to the gods of outdoor cooking and cause them to bless your meat with flavor. I also see that you take great care and pride in the preparation of barbeque sauce, and marinade, and smoke. Clearly you are a man who intends that the meat served off his grill will be a thing of great beauty and deliciousity, and as such you feel that we ought to appreciate the results.

I got news for ya. You are not a pit master. You are not a cowboy. You're a whitebread overweight suburban dad with a grill and an apron. And you don't know what in the hell you're doing.

You don't make barbeque sauce by throwing together the contents of six different bottles of pre-made sauce, particularly when you have already marinaded the meat in a liquid made up of the contents of six different bottles of pre-made marinade. One of each would be fine. All these flavors together do not a symphony make; what they make is white noise. They're cancelling each other out. You've just spent $20 on bottles of junk for meat that would have tasted better with a little brining, a spice rub, and some homemade sauce. Congratulations: your barbeque is as bland as you are.

Incidentally, I've tasted your spaghetti sauce, too. I realize that not only are you from Texas, but you are Italian by heritage. Your ancestors are rolling in their graves because of this sauce you're so proud of.


Cut for length-- click to read more.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I actually do remember.

My sister lugged home 50 pounds of groceries the other day. How, I'm not sure; possibly she has some of those nifty plastic handles that you can slip over the grocery-bag loops so that you don't end up with the inevitable ow ow ow these things are cutting into my hands like a rusty knife feeling. Which isn't the point: the point is that she actually weighed herself with and without groceries to see how much she'd bought, and promptly called me to say "Holy crap, lugging around 50 extra pounds exhausted me. I can't imagine how you ever felt like doing anything when you were overweight, much less how you managed to start exercising."

I do actually remember this. I know that a lot of the time it sounds like I don't, but I do. Back when I started exercising, I was managing to walk at about 3 MPH on the treadmill for half an hour. I hadn't done anything to exert myself in years; all I had was the memory that once, when I was just out of college, I'd been able to run, and how lovely that had felt. This, on the other hand, was not lovely at all. My face got so red and hot that it felt like there was a steam boiler in there that was about to blow up. My heart pounded so hard that it felt like I was a drum-- I could feel that beat slamming through my hands and feet and temples and chest and back. I could feel my ass sort of flapping around when I hit top speed, and the fat on the tops of my thighs moving up and down, and my boobs were, in spite of being compressed into a BoobLoaf by my heavy-duty sports bra, bouncing around in an embarrassing and sort of painful manner. The sports bra chafed the area under my arms because of the extra flab piled up around there, and left me raw and highly sensitive to the rest of my clothing.

And this shit was after I'd already lost twenty pounds. I can't even imagine how lousy it would have been before that point.

On top of the physical problems, there was the sheer humiliation factor. My treadmill's speed lever is badly marked, as I've mentioned, and all I knew was that I couldn't manage to go fast enough to get into the red-colored portion (which I now know starts at 4 MPH and goes up to about 7 MPH) that was marked "fat burning". I could remember being able to run once, and the fact that I'd let myself go so badly in four years really, really stung. I felt like I looked stupid. I also felt, irrationally, like I was drawing attention to myself (this in spite of the fact that I was doing this alone, before my Hub woke up, all by my lonesome on a treadmill)-- that I was a fake, a pretender, that it was painfully obvious that I didn't know what I was doing and that I was bad at it.

Besides, a fat girl sitting or walking slowly is part of the scenery-- a fat girl in motion is something to stare at. And at that stage, I would do anything to avoid being stared at.

I promptly hurt myself, because I was had lousy shoes and didn't think I needed to stretch because I figured that stretching was what athletes did, and not only was I not an athlete (HA!), I figured there was no way I was working as hard as an athlete was. (Not as well as an athlete, no. But in retrospect, I think, I was working every bit as hard.) D'oh. My feet hurt, my ankles hurt, my muscles hurt, and it all just sucked.

Not to mention the Chicago winter factor: at six AM in January, it's as dark as the inside of a coal mine. It looks exactly like the middle of the night. It feels exactly like the middle of the night. I would usually be ripped out of the middle of deep REM sleep when the alarm clock went off, end up standing next to the alarm clock with my heart slamming against my sternum from the adrenaline. To top it all off, it was freezing cold because our radiators wouldn't start to heat the place until at least ten minutes after I got up, and even then the exercise room would barely heat.

I do remember. I really, really do. I remember that it was scary, and humiliating; I remember that while I could fool myself about my size when I wasn't moving around, when I did start moving, I was forced to confront the cold facts of the matter and to admit just how bad things were. And because exercise became a daily thing for me, that was a nasty realization I had to face every single morning. I remember being very frustrated and very tired and pretty pissed off.

I also remember that, physically speaking, things got a lot better within the first three weeks. The human body is a miraculous machine, built to adapt; the question is what you ask it to adapt to. If you ask it to adapt to making your current body jog, then by God, it will adapt to it-- and your cardiovascular health improves long before the scale drops by any significant amount. I remember being aware that the odds were that I'd quit, and being fiercely proud of every day that I beat those odds. I remember hollering incoherent words of triumph when I first ran for a whole five minutes at a stretch. I remember how I could suddenly go up stairs easier, walk up hills without huffing and puffing, how suddenly any walk less than two miles seemed insignificant. I remember how amazed I was after six months when it turned out that I could keep up with my sister and father-- life-long runners, both of them-- on a three-mile run.

The summary of the whole experience, really, is to say that it sucked, and then it got better, and then it got to be kind of fun.

I do remember. I haven't forgotten a moment. I just happen to know that the part that sucks was transitory, a short part of the journey, and completely unimportant compared to the joy and triumph of actually kicking the ass of something that had intimidated me for most of my life. That's probably what frustrates me the most about my friends who won't exercise-- that I know that the only thing standing between them and something this great is a few weeks of suckiness, and nonetheless there seems to be nothing I can do convince them that those weeks are worth it, and that they'll end and there are good things that come after it. I'm no different than anyone else-- I just made it past the River o' Suck and I'm on the other side now.

Cut for length-- click to read more.

Day 10

I appear to finally be out of the woods on the evil tummy issues. Thank God. I don't know what it is about this particular friend's cooking, but whenever I eat something she's made I come down sick soon after. This really ought to give me a reason to avoid her baked goods from now on, eh?

My Hub had the Eureka! moment this morning. He hadn't eaten breakfast before we left, and got hungry on the train. This was discussed at length as we walked across the Loop; he kept kicking himself for not eating at home, where there were those nice mini-quiche/egg cup things that he would've just had to heat up, but kept explaining it (to me and to himself) with "but I'm just not hungry before 8 AM!"

"Okay, then," I said, "either you'll have to start bringing some of those breakfast cups to eat when you get to work, or we'll just have to stock your desk with emergency rations. Instant oatmeal and cereal bars and that sort of thing. You just HAVE to eat breakfast of some kind, because otherwise you're trying to make your body run on less than a thousand calories per day."

There was a long pause while he processed that. "Hey," he finally said, "that might be why I've been so run-down and tired lately."

"No shit," I said.

"I should have breakfast."

"No shit."

Right now he tends to eat nothing until 1 PM, then eat a lunch that clocks in around 300 calories, then nothing until 7 PM-- which, because he's ended up eating the same size portions as I do, is about 300 calories again-- and then he usually ends up craving sugar and fried things (which are, unfortunately for him, not available in our apartment) and snacking on whatever's available, taking in maybe, MAYBE 400 calories there. Totally undereating. I have so busted him.

So if I can get him eating breakfast, that's progress. I want to get him eating a mid-morning meal and a mid-afternoon meal, too, because if he eats healthy things regularly throughout the day he won't be so desperately drawn to giant fried carb-n-lard foods. I'm plotting to have one day happen where I feed him BFL-balanced meals every three hours so we can see how he feels on that... I bet he'll feel a lot better. I bet he'll be less likely to "need" a deep-fried calzone after stressful days, too.

(And hey, if he's not so tired all the time, the odds will be better that a miracle will occur and he'll decide that he might as well start exercising. Okay, probably that won't happen, and I know that. But thousand-to-one odds are better than million-to-one odds, yo.)

Today I'm wearing an outfit that I haven't worn since the last horrible office-related binge. I'm pleased to report that it fits-- which, considering that my last memory of this outfit is the sensation of a full-body strangle hold, is something of a relief. Very comfy. It's all good.

I did indeed do the HIIT. I had to drop my levels down slightly, because when I tried doing my normal levels my body started shaking in a bad way. It still sucked. But I still did it. I stretched and stretched and stretched after both the lower-body workout on Sunday and the HIIT treadmill session last night. As a direct result, I think, I'm getting a lot less DOMS than the first time I did the lower-body work. Excellent. I'll be able to handle the Fun Run tomorrow night.

Upper body work today, and it went well. I had an unfortunate moment when I thought "No, I can't possibly have the weight numbers set correctly on the PDA for the lying dumbbell extentions; my triceps are stronger than that." Moments later, I discovered that I had, in fact, had the numbers set correctly, because I am just not as strong as I think I am. Ow ow ow. On the up side, I'm doing great on the dumbbell bench press and am considering bumping it up a notch on Sunday. I think I'll keep the same numbers one more time, check my form and make sure I'm not rushing anything-- because I've thought the same thing about other exercises which, when I make sure I'm doing them right, turn out to be kicking my ass rather a lot. Double-checking is good.

I finally discovered how to run the HIIT timer portion of my BFL software on my PDA. (Too many acronyms in that last bit. OMGWTFBBQ!) Good deal. Combined with my iPod and the carefully marked MPH levels on my treadmill, I ought to be kicking a great deal of ass.

Hey, incidentally, I'm looking for good upbeat songs for HIIT. I like to have a beat that runs around the same tempo as "I Wanna Be Sedated" (original Ramones version), or higher. Any thoughts?

Cut for length-- click to read more.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Not an auspicious beginning to Week 2

Incidentally, all my fretting over the Gone Hardcore WW friend was for no good reason; by the end of the night she was going for Krispie Kreme doughnuts. No diet discussion there. I feel kind of bad for gaining a day of peace because somebody else had a day of diet disaster, but... man, I'm glad to have not had that conversation. I've come to the conclusion that the best time for me to discuss these things would be somewhere around the 12-week mark, when I'll have results to show off. (At least, I certainly hope so.) At that point I'll have a good grasp of the program and not feel-- for lack of a better word-- so defensive about being on it.

I had a lovely free day, although it went a little haywire there for a while because barbeque was involved and, well, the first barbeque of the season does something to my brain. The smoke! The sauce! The glory of it not being my grill, which means I don't have to clean anything! I ate too much. You know, there have been studies done that prove that people eat more when more is provided to them, so I'm far from alone in this phenomenon, but I'm still kind of kicking myself about it.

Why? Oh, let me tell you. No, not guilt; it's even more special!

I was feeling a bit sick to my stomach when I woke up on Sunday. I charged ahead through the lower-body session anyway, which turned out not to be a great idea thanks to all the ab work at the end. I got it done, but then I was promptly sick; my stomach had held on as long as it could and had decided we were DONE with this. My Hub woke up and found me curled up on the couch in my robe, moaning over my stomach cramps, avoiding church and daylight and everything, and making trips to the bathroom every ten minutes or so. Oh, not happy.

My heroic Hub went to the store and got medicine and fluids. Sweet, sweet man.

I managed to get back onto my meal schedule around three PM or so, although nasty gastric things kept happening. Nonetheless, I perservered. Since we couldn't go do the laundry with me like this, I made a new batch of Four Apple Tuna Salad to take to work (and if I do say so myself, I've fixed things from the last batch and it's much improved), then invented a new "glop" dish for supper-- chicken, Canadian bacon, onion, garlic, canned diced tomatoes, canned mushrooms, canned green beans, and some whey powder (which, as I discovered last week, pairs with the juice in a can of diced tomatoes to make a fascinating cheesy-tomato taste sensation). Had myself a serving and then packed the rest up for lunches (more on that later).

Woke up this morning and had to promptly hit the bathroom. Still not well. Ick. I went back to the bedroom and was weakly struggling into my sports bra, trying to get my oomph up for HIIT, when it occurred to me: Meg, you moron, you're sick, you're dehydrated, and you're about to go do something that you KNOW makes you a complete sweaty mess. If you pass out during HIIT, el Hubbo is not awake to hear the crash and dial 911. Go sip some damn PowerAid until your complexion is no longer a lovely shade of vampire pale.

So, I am being good. I am eating carefully. I have had a great deal of water. Things in TummyTown seem to be settling down. I am going to do HIIT when I get home from work-- I have in fact announced this to my Hub, who's not thrilled about the idea but is glad that I'm doing it when he's awake, at least. I think I'll be fine; I feel much less woozy than I did this morning. My Hub will probably be hovering outside the door anyway; he's a paranoid soul.

In the meantime, I have put myself in charge of slapping together food for lunches. Back when I first went on WW, we started getting Lean Cuisine meals for about half of our take-to-work lunches, and generally throw leftovers into small containers for the other half. It's never been a particularly organized process, much less a planned one. Thing is, BFL requires a bit more thinking, so you either plan ahead or die, really. My initial reaction was to stock up on those South Beach Diet wraps that Kraft has put out, but after two of those it occurred to me that I could make these damn things for myself for less money, one hell of a lot less sodium, and more fun with the customization. And hell, even the Lean Cuisine meals were essentially all the same-- meat plus pasta or rice plus sauce (and occasionally vegetable). What's hard about that? Nothin'. Just requires planning, that's all.

I've been making sugar-free Jell-O every few days and pouring it into four little 1/2-cup containers to set up-- voila, take-along cups o' Jell-O. (And at $4.25 for five flavors, I get 20 cups for about a buck more than I'd pay for six ready-made ones.) We're already used to throwing frozen green beans or broccoli or peas into a little container to bring along and heat up and eat on the side of whatever dish we had, so that's no big. All that's left is the meat & carb & sauce glop. I've got four such glops under my belt now: chicken/bulgur glop, TexMex glop, 4 Apple Tuna Salad (which my Hub has been begging to have for his very own lately), and my white-girl fried rice. More to come. Burritos and wraps and pitas and sandwiches to come, too. I can get this figured out-- and the weird thing is, lately I'm inclined to. I never really bothered before.

Also on my to-do list is to learn how to do a good poached chicken breast. Those, I'm told, are the best for shredding, and if I can shred my own chicken then I'll never need to buy the far-too-expensive canned chicken. (Note to self: canned tuna is cheaper than real tuna; canned chicken is NOT cheaper than real chicken.)

We seriously need to find out when our local farmer's market is starting up, too. I hear they have huge bunches of basil for $1, and that, I could seriously use.

Cut for length-- click to read more.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Sweet oogly moogly

I was already dreading tomorrow.

Turns out that the friend who's the most (wrongly) opinionated on the subject of diet has had serious stress eating lately, gained weight, and is now back on WW "with a vengeance".

Hell. Any chance I had of being able to avoid food & exercise discussions tomorrow has pretty much gone out the window now. She's going to be on a tear, the rest of my friends will be willing to chatter about it with her, and I'm going to be very, very quiet, because if there's one surefire way to ruin an afternoon, it's to suggest to this woman that she might be going at something the wrong way.

Those cinnamon rolls from Ann Sathers are looking pretty good for tomorrow morning, I tell you.

The good news is that I've about to go to bed and I have officially made it through the day, even with watching Episode III. Didn't drink, eat popcorn, or eat ice cream. Which is the last of the things to deal with this week. Yay.

Cut for length-- click to read more.

Day 6! Day 6!

Dinner last night went smashingly. I told my friend to bring chips and salsa, which kept him and my Hub happy, and we made a slightly updated version of my Mexican Rice recipe and a salad with homemade yogurt-based dressing. Because the idea was to teach my buddy how to cook, so that between him and his boyfriend SOMEONE knows how to cook in that household, he hung out in the kitchen as I explained everything I was doing. He's a vegetarian and always looking for more ways to increase his protein intake, so when I sheepishly pulled out the unflavored whey powder he completely flipped out. "They MAKE stuff like that? Why didn't anybody tell me?"

It turns out that adding unflavored whey powder to canned diced tomatoes and Boca Ground makes something that smells astonishingly like pizza. Whoa. Next time I might just have to throw in some Italian seasonings, throw in some bulgur wheat and extra mushrooms. Experiments are good.

My buddy is all for me doing BFL. Bless his little heart, it was nice to hear that.

Also of the good: I've just made it through the second of the office food-based functions in two days. Didn't eat a thing. Claimed to have upset tummy. Apparently "I'm not hungry" isn't a valid excuse; people must always push. Grrr. On the up side, all I have to do now is deal with dinner and meal 6, avoid drinking or munching popcorn while we watch the new Star Wars movie, go to bed, and wake up on Day 7: Free Day. Hot damn.

I'm not going to go overboard tomorrow. Keep it in moderation. Remain calm. Relax.

I love knowing how many days I've been on BFL. I am completely enamored with my PDA software, which kindly beeps at me when it's time for me to eat a meal, which will time my rest periods during my weight-liftin' workouts and kindly display the next exercise I'm supposed to do (and how many reps, and how much weight). I love knowing when my next meal is, and what I will eat. I love working my ass off first thing in the morning and having my breakfasts already prepared and merely in need of a re-heat.

I am not, however, very fond of the idea of explaining this situation to most of the people in my life. I'm pretty sure that it is going to take a lot more explanation and dismissing of myths than I really feel like dealing with right now.

Like I've said, the majority of my friends are overweight. About half of them are on WeightWatchers right now, although considering what I've been hearing lately, a few of them may have become disenchanted with their lack of progress and fallen off the wagon. And, like I've also said, exercise is not their thing.

(As if it's ANYONE's thing at first. As if the enjoyment and the energy comes first and they have to wait for that to spontaneously appear before exercise can have a place in their lives.)

I'm just so very tired of talking food and diet with them. The closest I can get to a real conversation there is my one friend who's following the WW Core program-- she, at least, is keen on the lean protein/whole grains/fruits & veggies/REAL FOOD idea, not just searching for the next low-calorie fix. Everyone else, though-- dear God, you'd think that the ultimate plan was to make it so that we could eat continually without any calories entering our bodies at all. They put a lot of thought into the fat on their bodies and give no thought to the rest.

(Maybe that's where the key is. The more I concentrate on nutrition beyond fat & calories, the more this becomes about my health and muscles and the less it becomes about my remaining spots of flabbitude. Hrm.)

I'm excited about doing BFL, and really enjoying my discovery of the lovely effects of protein, and I have a lot to chatter about, and I feel like BFL would be an awesome program for some of my friends who have gotten stuck at a certain level on WW and just despaired. I just don't want to talk about it with them, because I don't want to deal with the stubborn push-back.

I might be able to sell them on the diet part. It's the exercise that they'll balk at. These women don't want to sweat and they don't like the idea of weights. I know everyone has to go at their own pace with these things, and there's no way that pushing would help, so fine, whatever-- it's just that it frustrates me so much that there's so much here that could help them, so much more than severely restricting their calories. Calorie restriction is all well and good, but it's like they think it's the only thing they have to worry about, and... well, there's only so hard you can squeeze your body on calories, so if something's not working you can bet the answer is not to squeeze harder.

Argh. Anyway, that rant brought to you by the fact that I have to spend Saturday with all of them, which means I'm going to be surrounded by the "this has barely any calories in at all, YAY" talk and I'm annoyed by it in advance.

Cut for length-- click to read more.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Day 5: Now With Guests and Free Food!

We have a friend coming over tonight for dinner. This was, I think, not the smartest idea in terms of stumbling our way through my first week on BFL, but it'll do. My Hub has surrendered the reins of dinner over to me, and a meal has been planned, and it's gonna be okay. I will even restrain myself and not fall face-first into the chips and cheese dip that our guest tells me that he's bringing. (Oh, the drama.)

The first of two back-to-back days of free food for company celebrations is over. I went, I stayed, I did not eat. I breathed in and out, recognized that I was twitchy because of all the people, recognized my urge to eat in order to normalize myself in the context of the situation, recognized that I wasn't hungry, and didn't eat. All is well. Tomorrow's shindig will be pretty easy to deal with, I think, because my Hub forgot to turn in his money for the food and so I got folks to agree that he could come along if I didn't eat. It's all good, as long as I remember that dude, I'm just not hungry.

It's good that there's a schedule for my eating. I really need to be trained on these things.

I was so sore from Tuesday's lower body session that my Hub had to give me a medicated rub-down when we got home. My ass, my quads, my hamstrings; sometime during the day it went from being proud proof that I'd done the work to "ow, shit, too sore to move". I didn't make the Fun Run, because it occurred to me that I should probably just let my poor muscles rest.

Worked the hell out of my upper body this morning. WOOOO! Although considering how I felt on Monday, I suspect that this whole thing is going to be an endless round of having one or the other half of my body be sore unless I figure out what I need to do to lessen the pain. Stretching? Yoga? This requires research.

My Hub came to the miraculous conclusion last night that he was going to have to start eating more than I was, if half my food was being eaten at meals he didn't take. Which is what I've been saying for days on end, but apparently a rumbly tummy alerted him where my yapping did not. That's my boy.

I snuck another peek at the scale this morning. I'm down three pounds from Sunday. My goodness, but I must have been bloaty.

Oh! And I got my bracelet! My shiny silver cuff bracelet engraved with "I AM WORTH THE TROUBLE". I'm all delighted. I'm wearing it now. I'm not really a jewelry person, but I love this. Hooray! It sort of matches my engagement ring and wedding ring, only this one is a promise to myself, not to my Hub. I'm even wearing the bracelet on my right wrist, so I have shiny on both sides-- and, symbolically, that's also awesome, because on the one side I have a promise to my other half, but on the other side I have a promise to me. It's like it balances out, and serves as a reminder that I have to balance between what I do for other people and for myself. Yay, symbolism!

Cut for length-- click to read more.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Day 4, and I boogie

I feel ten kinds of badass.

Last night, my Hub bought us dinner; I got a salad with grilled chicken and then threw in the remainder of the mandarin oranges from last week. (I find that when mandarin orange segments are in a salad, I need no stinkin' dressing.) Calculations with my spiffy little BFL Palm program indicate that I did okay by it. Rock on.

With dinner out of the way, I cooked. I had originally intended to make my Hub his own version of the breakfast Egg Cups, using whole eggs and the rest of his bacon and real cheese. Lo and behold, he had used up all the eggs and all the bacon on his breakfasts this week already. I pondered this, then said "fuck it" and made a new (and improved) batch of the same BFL-friendly ones I'd made for myself. Hub is fine with it, and upon trying them out this morning declared, "Hey, these things are pretty good." Yes indeed. Next week's batch will try having beans and corn for the carbs, rather than the whole-wheat tortillas, because although I love the faux-chilaquiles taste, I feel like I've been using bready products as a crutch the past few days while I got my land-legs for this program. I want to get the hang of using fruits, whole grains, and beans for the carb portion.

With breakfasts out of the way (we're so totally stocked), I turned to lunches. I have to admit that somewhere along the line we became dependent on Lean Cuisine for lunch. The past few days I've used the South Beach Diet wraps from Kraft (which would be perfect if not for the fact that they've got twice the fat I want in any given meal and three times the sodium), but we're out of those now. I did a lot of math and then created a ghetto fried rice (the way that only a white girl from the Midwest can) out of the remains of the Canadian bacon, skinless/boneless chicken breast, onion, mushrooms, asparagus, jicama, sweet red pepper, cucumber, brown rice, the scant remains of the EggBeaters, and (out of dumb desperation for a way to balance out the carbs from all that rice) a scoop of whey powder. Flavored it with soy sauce and Thai chili paste. Turned out pretty well, I think.

I also spent an absurd amount of time last night picking out which songs should live on my iPod Shuffle and which should not. They have to have a good beat and a tempo that kicks out around the level of the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated", otherwise it throws me off when I'm running. My Hub made helpful suggestions and was insanely delighted when I wanted Judas Priest songs (never really listened to 'em before, but they work perfectly for this purpose). "My wife, rockin' out to the Priest!" Heh.

I got to sleep about an hour late. Not smart. Part of the problem with having more energy is a disturbing tendency to forget that just because I'm not dying of exhaustion, I do still have to go to sleep.

I've discovered an odd phenomeon since starting BFL: besides the garden-variety DOMS that I'm getting in spades, I'm also waking up in the middle of the night with whole new things hurting that never hurt during the day. It's like my body is trying to sneak in some extra aches at a time of day that I can't experience it mentally, so that I won't give up or something. It's very strange. It's like walking past someone and catching a snippet of a fascinatingly strange conversation they're having on their cell phone (my favorite of all time was hearing a guy tell his phone, "Hey, man, I supply ninety percent of your weed, you better have some damn Oreos for me to eat,")-- clearly I've walked in on something I wasn't meant to experience. My body is sneaking around on me. Weird.

Speaking of the DOMS, I would like to say OW, OW, OW. I mean, it's good. I've never had a sore chest before and was startled as hell to wake up with one on Monday morning; today my ass is sore in ways it has not experienced in... forever, really. Not to mention all the other sore spots. Wow. I'm impressed.

Morning dawned, I rolled out of bed, threw on my exercise gear, and climbed back into bed to wake up el Hubbo. El Hubbo was having none of it, and pleaded to get to sleep just a little longer. I figured what the hell, he'll only get half an hour extra 'cause today is HIIT day, so I rolled back out of bed, turned off the glowing alarm clock, strapped on my tiny iPod Shuffle and hit the treadmill. Had a hell of a good session.

Now, here is where things go slightly awry. I left the iPod on because, well, there are only a few things in life that please me as much as hearing the AbFab lady singing "Holding Out For A Hero" on the Shrek 2 soundtrack, and that was on, so I had to keep listening. While dancing around and singing along, I killed time by looking around for something to make my mid-morning meal interesting and ended up working out a recipe for a kind of curried tuna/apple salad with cottage cheese and cucumber and sweet red pepper and a bit of yogurt to finish balancing out the protein. (I'm getting pretty good at this, as I get the hang of the ingredients at hand.)

When I looked up, I'd been boogie-ing around the kitchen for an hour, and it was SERIOUSLY time to get my Hub out of bed; I had to run around like crazy for the nex half-hour to get showered, dressed, breakfasted and ready for work. Totally worth it, though, because a full half my meals today have been balanced, made ahead of time, and did not come in a box. Having them all be recipes of my own invention was the icing on the cake. (I'm so damn proud.)

The day is soon approaching when my Hub will have his three meals match up exactly with three of mine, and I'll be able to blow his mind by telling him about how many calories he's had that day and finally PROVING to him that things are not quite right, here. I'm almost positive he's eating less than he ought to be at regular meals, because a six-foot-tall man should not be eating the same as a five-foot-two woman. His body is stuck in feast-and-famine mode; either he's eating what I'm eating, or (like last night) he eats most of a deep-dish pizza. I'm almost positive that if we got him in a proper zone of caloric intake he would lose weight this summer, even if he got no exercise at all.

My Hub is puzzled by serving sizes. The huge amounts of stuff that constitutes a 200-calorie serving, when I use a ton of fresh ingredients, downright boggles him. I have to show him the nutrition information on everything before he believes me that I'm not somehow drastically overfeeding myself. This does not reflect well upon how I was feeding myself (and, even more so, him) when I was on WeightWatchers. It also does not reflect well upon my Hub's grasp of nutritional data. I'm going to have to start talking aloud when I scan those side panels, broadcasting my internal dialogue that goes something like "Okay, X amount of servings per container, that's [good/bad/outrageous], Y grams of fat, which is [insane/decent], Z amount of fiber [I'd like a little more/that's enough], and [insert pondering of the carbs and protein which still hasn't found a pattern yet]."

In other news, there's a fun run tonight that I should be at, and I have to call my mother, and I need to pick up my birth control prescription, and we very much need groceries and cleaning before a friend comes over tomorrow night for dinner. Wow. Hope I've got time.

Cut for length-- click to read more.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Day 3

My Hub has earned his way out of the doghouse in four easy steps.

1) Dinner last night was tiny steaks (seared in our beloved cast-iron pan, rare, seasoned with salt... oh so good), corn on the cob, and a side dish made of zucchini and portabella mushrooms.

2) A full and complete explanation of why he keeps asking the same questions over and over about what I can be fed on BFL: it isn't that he doesn't care and thus forgets, it's that he's paranoid to the point of popping that he'll screw up and, by doing so, throw me off-plan. He's so worried. Sweet man.

3) As I was making plans out loud to do a mammoth kitchen-o-thon tonight, to make breakfasts and lunches for me for the next week, he jumped in with "and me, too!" He insists that he'll eat whatever I eat. (Awwww.) I expect we'll be seeing an interesting experiment in weeks to come of what happens when BFL food is applied in an incorrect manner, but what the hell, at least he's eating breakfast now. That's more than I could say a few weeks ago.

4) This morning, as I was doing my first lower-body session, he cued up a soundtrack for me on his laptop computer. First selection: "Eye of the Tiger". Second selection: "To Dream The Impossible Dream", from Man of La Mancha. I laughed so hard I had to start over on a set of crunches. There are reasons I keep that man around, I tell you.

So, Day 3. I'm still dazzled by the sensation of being comfortably sated, and of having that feeling continue throughout the day-- the only time I've been hungry has been when I wake up. Actually, come to think of it, that's a damn good thing, because I wasn't waking up hungry before this-- I was just automatically heading off to feed the cats and then myself before I worked out. (No, I don't know why I was eating before a workout, either. Possibly a way of dragging my feet, I suspect.)

It's also been amazing the effect that continual satiety (and eating twice as often) is having on my brain. The Inner Cartman has almost no chance to pipe up. When he does, he doesn't seem very enthusiastic about it. I suspect that it's hard to get enthusiastic about the idea of a good ol' binge when I'm like this-- not just the satiety, it's that food is always right around the bend, meals happening so often that I barely have time or inclination to look forward to them. I'm starting to take them for granted. It's like something is relaxing in my head that I didn't know was tensed up-- something that had been worried desperately about the next meal, something that didn't trust that it would be fed again, something that is finally starting to realize, with six meals a day, that food will not be withheld. I don't know how to explain it. If you'd asked me if I was worried about that sort of thing, I would've laughed my ass off-- and yet, I didn't realize this clenched thing in my head existed until it relaxed enough for me to recognize the difference.

It's like I've found the mute button for my stomach. Yeowza.

Before, I was always starving by the time I got to work, so I'd end up eating my mid-morning snack first thing, and then I'd have nothing left for the hours until lunch. Now? Nothing. Nada. My PDA beeped at 10 AM today to remind me that it had been three hours since breakfast, and I just kind of stared at it, thinking a very Keanu-style "Whoa." Time flies when the tummy-beast is soothed and content.

I've also just realized something else: you know how it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to realize you're full? I'm finding that when I start from "still fairly sated" to begin with, it takes half that time. Gotta love it.

We've got two office food-type events coming up on Thursday and Friday, and it's going to be interesting to see what happens when I'm confronted with food when I'm in this mode. Knock on wood.

In other news, I'm not mentioning BFL to my in-person friends. I just am purely not in the mood to discuss food, diets, exercise, or anything of the sort with them. More on that later. I'm just not feeling like having to defend my choices or deal with them going through copious amounts of explanation of why BFL could never work for them (and frankly, at the moment I don't CARE why it wouldn't work for them, because I've heard so many excuses about why every plan on the planet wouldn't work for them and it all boils down to "I'm not ready yet, this scares me, shut up and go away"). Grr.

Cut for length-- click to read more.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Now on Day 2.

I spent Saturday getting set up and prepared to get started on BFL-- found a basic little tracker for my PDA, stocked up on groceries, got everything planned out. Bought a new scale that tracks body fat percentage (yeah, it's not as good as calipers, but the hell with it, I'll get technical on the next 12-week challenge), bought an iPod Shuffle so I could listen to music on my HIIT treadmill routine... had a really productive and expensive day.

Sunday, I rolled out of bed and did my first BFL upper body workout. Very cool. I'm adjusting some numbers up next time, because I guessed low, and adjusting some down (after murdering my shoulders and nearly dropping a weight on my foot), although most were just right. I'm looking forward to tweaking things upward.

After much messing around with an Excel file, adjusting ingredients and amounts and portion sizes, I finally made my breakfast "egg cups"-- muffin tins lined with about 1/4 of a whole wheat tortilla apiece, with asparagus, Canadian bacon, Laughing Cow light cheese, scallions, and EggBeaters which had had Frank's Red Hot sauce, onion powder, salt, pepper, and some whey protein concentrate from Bob's Red Mill mixed in. Baked 'em at 350 degrees for about half an hour. There ended up being two per serving since I'd mis-estimated my muffin tin size. I ate 'em for breakfast this morning with some salsa. Glorious.

First HIIT session this morning on the treadmill. Sweated my ASS off-- which, considering it was 50 degrees in that little room, impressed the hell out of my Hub. I kept forgetting which number I was on (I've printed out a reminder card to put on the treadmill for Wednesday), and I was somewhat uneven on my levels because of my stupid treadmill for reasons I'll go into in a second, but on the whole it was a very good time. I had my little iPod Shuffle clipped on, and I ran like a crazy woman. It was good. Next time, I'll REALLY kick ass.

There is a reason that my treadmill was the cheapest version at Sears, back when I got it-- this stupid thing has absolutely no MPH markings on the speed control. It's like something on Sulu's console on Star Trek-- you push it, and it's marked with different colors, but what they mean, nobody knows. I'm going to have to do some marking with tape and a marker tonight, because if I'm going to try to hit specific levels ('cause I just shouldn't be given the opportunity to fudge them downward), particularly the same ones throughout the session... well, dude, I need the information. No information = no good.

I like this plan. I really like this plan.

For one thing, I already have more energy than I did a week ago. I can only guess that the protein was the missing link-- that, and I probably wasn't eating enough. Correct fueling does indeed make a difference. My Hub and I are currently theorizing that my body was trying like crazy to do the things I asked of it, but just didn't have the energy sources available-- so the harder I tried, the worse I felt. I'm almost positive that my body-fat percentage is higher now than it was a year ago, even though my weight is almost exactly the same-- working hard without sufficient protein may well have caused my body to dine upon my own muscles.

(The inner drive to binge-eat may have been partly a very real alarm from my body saying "FOR GOD'S SAKE, CAPTAIN, THE ENGINES CANNA TAKE ANYMORE! WE NEED MORE FUEL!")

For another thing, I'm sated. I mean, I didn't think I was ever hungry the way I was eating before, but I know I didn't have this constant, calm done feeling in my stomach. Wow. I like it.

The exercise plan is right what I need right now. Clearly going at this haphazardly wasn't working for me; I was working hard, but without a real goal, without guidance, and without a real plan. Yeah, it got me from "fat" down to "average", but if I'm already putting in the work, I don't want to get "average" out of it. I want something more.

Surprisingly, I really dig on the way these things are structured to make you outdo your expectations of your own ability. I mean, wow, there's a HUGE difference between a workout that's the same ol', same ol', and a workout where you hit a new high point, something you didn't know you could do. WOW. Instant mental high.

I had my Hub take my "before" pictures, and I think the word I'm looking for is aieeeeee. I think a lot of my brain had still been thinking "hey, I lost a lot of weight, what an accomplishment, what an improvement, I'm so SKINNY now!" Those pictures have officially made that part of my brain shut up and gawp. Oh, my. Yeah, I lost a lot of weight, and I'm in my healthy weight range, yadda yadda yadda... but damn, I don't like what I'm shaped like. I need more muscle, less fat, STAT. I look like my torso has been subtly wrapped in bubble wrap-- it's not droopy and foldy anymore, true, but the layer of fat is highly annoying. Droopy upper arms, of course. Saggy butt. Thick thighs and calves. Yeah, it's a LOT better than what I started with, and I worked like crazy to get to "average", but taking a hard look at what "average" me looks at is a big wake-up call.

I've hit some sort of cranky point with the WeightWatchers mentality. I mean, a REALLY cranky point. There's so much effort put into handling people with kid gloves and stressing baby steps and accepting yourself and being able to deal with whatever you end up with, not looking for perfection... and I understand that, I truly do. For a long time, that was exactly what I needed, and as fragile and scared as I was when I started all of this, I totally understand why they're set up to do things that way, to stress that sort of thing. I have kicked my own ass around the block and back, I've stuck it out, I've dealt with the idea that I'm doing this forever, and it got me what I wanted at the beginning-- just to be normal again. I did all that stuff to get me to this point, and it was worth it, and I needed that mentality at the time.

Thing is, I've come to a realization, and it is this: There is no way in hell that I did all that work to lose weight in order to settle into an average middle-aged woman's body when I'm not even thirty years old yet. Back when the pounds were peeling off, I had a giddy month or so when I thought that at the end of that waterslide I was going to be slender and trim and buff. I had a vision in my head of what that would look like. The girl in those pictures from yesterday is NOT the girl I was envisioning.

This is the next step, I think. No idea what comes next, any more than I ever saw this one coming when I first started WeightWatchers... but that's okay. I feel optimistic.

The one problem? My poor Hub. He's completely thrown by this thing. Hasn't read the book; he's content, apparently, to get his information second-hand. I have to admit that this is starting to drive me ABSOLUTELY BATSHIT INSANE. When I started WeightWatchers, he went to the site and read through the information and used their recipes and the recipe-building software and the Points calculator and all of it... and now, he can't be bothered to get information for himself, he depends on me to do it for him and then makes frustrated noises about how he doesn't understand what he needs me to do.

To add to the fun, now that I've started looking at my own food intake with new eyes, I'm really worried that we're going to end up under-feeding my poor Hub. I suspect that analyzing his eating for a few days would annoy him greatly, but...

Sigh. This is complicated. Gotta work on it.

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Friday, May 13, 2005

A new world's record! (For me, anyway.)

Tonight's candy calendar slot held three Dove Promises dark chocolate pieces, instead of two-- to make sure all the chocolate went into the calendar, with none left over, one out of every three slots or so has an extra. Extra ones go to my Hub.

He ate his the way I was eating mine at the beginning of the week: popped in the mouth, chewed and sucked on, swallowed, voila, done. For the second day in a row, I ended up savoring the hell out of mine.

I just noticed how long it took me to get through these two little pieces-- over fifteen minutes apiece. I'm so proud. And ohhhh, so happy, because those things are quite excellent. If there was ever a food to teach me that I'll enjoy the taste more by going slow, this is that food. The little shavings just BLOOM when they melt on my tongue. Wow. A learning experience, to say the least.

I'm thinking that some time when I'm less insanely poor, I might use chocolate chips or parts of chocolate bars from Vosges. Black Pearl. Definitely. Dark chocolate, ginger, black sesame seeds, wasabi. Perfection. (Okay, so the Naga is just as good-- milk chocolate, curry powder, and coconut. And granted, those are the only two I've had. The other two might be just as good. Now that I know they're at Marshall Field's, I may just have to pick 'em up for special occasions.)

Speaking of special occasions, tomorrow marks a milestone: 500 days since I started exercising. I love round numbers. I think I should mark the occasion by switching over to BFL as of Day 501.

I've spent the day looking over the Body For Life book, and Maggie has provided extra guidance, and I think we could swing this.

Oh, my poor Hub, though. He's going to have to be coaxed and coated with information, because he's gotten to the point where he's terribly confused about what to feed me. I guess I really hadn't noticed just how much of his information was secondhand; I've been reading up on nutrition and healthy eating pretty much constantly for the past year and a half, and most of this stuff is ingrained in my brain by now. I seem to have left him in the dust without noticing. Oops.

I think we can handle this. There's just going to have to be some education done, and that has to wait until morning, at least; he's a little sensitive right now and anything that smacks of "correction" is just not a good idea. I actually think that the portion size thing from BFL will make him pretty happy-- he's been blanking on these things lately and it's been making him paranoid.

The food is almost exactly what we're already eating; we just have to get the hang of getting the ratios right. And, of course, get the hang of which is what-- I had to break it to my Hub that lima beans and corn are carbs, not vegetables. Poor boy, his concept of reality is shaken.

I'll have to figure out what to do about yoga. I just don't know. And I suspect that we're going to have to end up investing in some more weight equipment.

Also, it occurs to me that if my Hub doesn't decide to do the plan with me, I'm going to have to do something desperate to make sure he eats enough. The man is 10 inches taller than me and almost 60 pounds heavier, and yet half the time he eats less than I do (the other half, of course, he eats five times the amount that I do). He's getting better about eating breakfast, particularly since I started making damn sure that we have eggs and bread around all the time... but considering that I'm going to be eating three more meals than he will, I'm going to have to beat it into his brain that either he eats six meals, or he eats twice as much as I do at the three. This may involve waving numbers at him. Wish me luck.

My, this is going to be a fun weekend. I'm excited, though.

Cut for length-- click to read more.

Starting off with a humble apology...

I sneered at you for years. Useless slop, tasteless, formless, the consistancy of vomit, I said. A food only crazed dieters would eat. I used your name as an obscenity, a snide description of diets I hated and my mother's failed weight-loss attempts when I was a child. You represented everything I hated about those diets, represented a desperate class of women choking down food they hated, ill-informed, uneducated about their own bodies and about nutrition, manipulated, half-starved.

I was so wrong. You are so much more.

Oh cottage cheese, can you ever forgive me?

...Which is to say, Day 2 of the great cottage cheese experiment has gone much, much better than Day 1. Yesterday I got out the first cottage cheese I'd purchased in my adult life, the first I planned to willingly consume in twenty years. I poured in a packet of Splenda and chopped strawberries, and... bleah. Better than I remembered, and I sensed that I could potentially learn to like it, but overall I was unimpressed.

Today, I brought along half a cup of mandarin oranges, which I'd planned to mix in. I opened up my single-serving cup of cottage cheese, and in the process (the top really didn't peel off well) got cottage cheese on my fingers. Out of blind habit, I licked it off.

Hey, hold on, that wasn't bad.

I got out my spoon and took a bite of the stuff plain, just as a test.

Not bad at all. Hey! Son of a bitch! This stuff is cheese!

Yes, I know, it's part of the name and everything, but every single helpful hint I'd read on "how to learn to like cottage cheese!" told me to add sweeteners, fruit, all that jazz. Briefly brainwashed, I'd completely forgotten that unless it’s a good sharp cheddar on apple pie, or some smoked gouda with luciously ripe pears, I don't mix cheese with sweet things. I'm not the biggest cheesecake fan (don't get me wrong, though, if it's topped with stuff, or has cookies or chocolate or whatnot mixed in, I'll cheerfully brave it), I don't care for cream cheese icing on cakes, and I've never gone for the Philly with fruit swirled in.

Now that I have this thing fixed in my head as a cheese, rather than a clumpy yogurt or sour cream, all sorts of possibilities open up. The hell with sweet. I'm gonna go savory. I'm fine with it plain, but cottage cheese strikes me as a second cousin to fresh mozzarella and I am inclined to treat it as such. I’m itching to see what would happen with some garlic, fresh tomatoes, and fresh basil.

I'm quite the domestic goddess this morning. I made myself an EggBeaters omlette (green onions and spinach and Laughing Cow light cheese inside, salsa on the top, yum), toast (of the low-cal/low-carb variety), and poured a cup of Soy Slender Cappucino flavored soy milk. The Soy Slender was a gamble-- I usually buy their chocolate or vanilla, but the cappucino was a new addition to our local grocery store, I hadn't seen it before, and I'd been intrigued. Result: YUM.

Actually, now that I think about it, I know why I liked it so much. I used to claim that coffee was an ingredient, not a drink, because I'd put so damn much other stuff in my coffee. When weaning myself off this style of coffee proved difficult, I just started drinking it black, instead. if I couldn't have the real thing, I'd rather not have it at all. Soy Slender Cappucino Flavor fills that coffee-flavored-candy-drink place in my heart. Oh, so happy.

The "domestic goddess" part really comes up when I finished yoga (ow, leg still hurts) and woke up my Hub. He'd been up late the night before, because he is a dope, and so I'd taken pity and let him sleep until seven. When I finally managed to shake him awake, it was more like ten after. Somewhere in the next half-hour of frantic preparations for work, I packed our lunches and made him a breakfast (which, I will add, I never ever do. I'm not sure what came over me) of re-heated pork-chop-and-potatoes hash and a scrambled egg & cheese sandwich. I was still showered, dressed and ready to go by quarter 'til eight. Rock on.

The candy calendar continues to work out well. It helps that I have it stocked with such ridiculously luscious, dark chocolate. Something surprising has developed on this front; out of nowhere, I'm learning to savor the chocolate. I was shaving it off bit by bit with my teeth, letting it melt on my tongue, mushing it around my mouth, taking my time. I wasn't even making myself do it, I was doing it because I wanted to do it. This is unprecidented. The first few days of the calendar I would be done eating my two little chocolates in no time flat. Last night it took me better than five minutes. That little glow you see around my head would be the stirrings of new hope: this might be possible, I might get my arms around this thing.

The one problem: my Hub has to watch me eat chocolate every night, with none for him. He claims to be fine with this, and yet it's clearly frustrating him. Next time through, I'm double-stocking the damn thing so I'll have some to give him every night, just so he won't be so grumpy.

In other news, while the library claimed to have two copies of Body For Life on their shelves, neither could be found. Bother. However, it's payday. An online check of the Borders down the street told me that not only do they have a copy in stock, but I could have them hold it for pick-up if I fill out this handy online form. I filled out the form, sent it in, and got a confirmation e-mail: they're holding it for me. Eeee.

I have to admit, the idea of trying a new program scares me. I'm comfortable with what I've already been doing-- too comfortable. I really need to shake things up and get my brain and my body up and aware again. Still, I'm leery of things that I don't already know. I hate being the new kid, I hate not already knowing everything. I know I'll get over this and get used to it, but mostly I’m mourning the fact that my nifty little freeware WeightWatchers-style Points counter program for my PDA won't be applicable anymore; I'll have to check the Palm site to see if there's anything out there I can use for BFL.

I know, I'm being silly, worrying about all this stuff before I've even read the book. Mostly it's my old fear of being "wrong"-- I hate finding out that I’ve been operating in ignorance. I always feel like I should have known, somehow, magically. I shouldn't let this freeze me up, but all too often it's more comfortable to live in the assumption you're right rather than risk finding out you're wrong and have to work to correct it. Sigh. I just hate being the newbie, and I'm gonna have to be, and it irritates me in advance. Boy, am I a dope.

Cut for length-- click to read more.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Less tired now.

I called off work yesterday, walked to the grocery store with pictures dancing in my head of a huge binge: frozen pizza, Ben & Jerry's, a bag of mini Snickers bars, a bag of Doritos, and donuts. I ended up coming home with a 2-liter of Diet Pepsi, a Lean Cuisine single-serve microwave pizza, pita bread, hummus, a bag of sugar snap peas, a pint of strawberries, and a pint of Healthy Choice ice cream. Granted, this is still a lot more than I ought to have eaten in one fell swoop, but it beats the hell out of my original intentions. Possibly this indicates that as long as I still hit all the food notes-- sweet, salty, crunchy, bready & cheezy & tomatoey (that last would be the pizza), the idiotic Inner Cartman will accept substitutions.

There's hope to be found in the fact that I turned up my nose at everything in the chips aisle, couldn't bear the thought of the nasty frozen pizzas, and was all "eh" over the Ben & Jerry's flavors. Also, the fact that produce made an appearance is a banner day in the binging saga; I don't think that's ever happened before.

I think the key to surviving an unavoidable binge may be variety, and small package sizes, and lower-cal versions. And expanding the produce portion.

I feel better today. I got a bunch of sleep, a lot of alone time, I rested up and didn't require anything of myself. I pondered.

I have a plan, and the plan is this: I'm going to pick up the Body For Life book. Not sure if I'm going to follow it yet, but a quick glance over my meals of late tells me that I've been low on protein, high on carbs. (I've gone overboard with the fruit and the popcorn, methinks.) Some balance would be good; hell, the imbalance may (MAY) be what's been throwing off my energy levels. What I've seen so far of BFL appears to indicate that the food choices are in line with everything I've come to believe in-- lean protein, whole grains, fruits & veggies, unsat fat in small doses-- so that's good. I've already trained myself to have two snacks a day, so I'm good to go there. I think I really do need to allow myself a free day once a week (I just need to learn to STOP after the free day, oy). Alternating days of cardio and weight lifting is good-- I will, however, need to figure out how the hell to fit in my yoga. This thing does seem to follow the basic guidelines that I'm already drifting along; more research, of course, is necessary.

One problem, though: it's really important to me to defuse my trigger foods (the "I can't just eat a small amount, I must eat a serving AS BIG AS MY HEAD" foods), so I can't see giving up my candy calendar yet. If BFL would make me do that, going fully operational on BFL would have to wait until I've got the chocolate thing defused. If I have to play the eating disorder card on this one, I will. Grr.

Mostly I think I'll need to have my Hub read the book, too, since he'd have to know what I was shooting for. (Also, his knowledge of nutrition and portion sizes, coming as it does for the most part as second-hand information from me, is a little shaky.) In the best of all possible worlds, he'd think, "Hrm, I could totally do this," and join in. Yeah, I don't see that happening, either, but a dream's a dream. In this the real world, however, I'm hoping to get an ally, if not a partner. He's been really good about handling Cooking For The Nutritionally Vigilant for the past year and a half, so I expect he could figure it out, given enough information and guidelines.

Well. Anyway. I'll get the book when I have money again, which is not today. In the meantime, I'm reading up online as much as I can. And I'm adding protein to my snacks, rather than just doing my usual fruit. This morning's snack was FF cottage cheese with Splenda and chopped strawberries. Not bad.

I have strongly negative memories of cottage cheese from childhood (although not as bad as my aversion to liver, eeeugh), so I can't say I actually like cottage cheese as of yet. I sense potential, though, and since I learned to like plain yogurt and olives and sweet potatoes and sushi and lord knows what all, I'm guessing I'll reach a state of acceptance within a few weeks.

Tonight I think I'll make mini-frittatas for me and my Hub. Or rather, one batch for me and one for him, since we'll have rather different ideas of what should go into them. At this point I'm just happy to have him eating breakfast at all, really, so the fact that he'll undoubtedly want bacon in his frittatas does not phase me. It's all good.

Now I'm off to lunch with a friend. I'm packing a pear and a bottle of water, not just because I'm health-conscious, but because I'm broke. Heh.

Oh, and on an incidental note, I've also noticed that Dove makes ice cream miniatures. Hrm. Wonder if my candy calendar would fit in the freezer...

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Oh, but one good thing...

I got the candy calendar made, and stocked it with dark-chocolate Dove pieces. It works!

Basically it's just a shallow cardboard box with a hinged lid (not that the hinge part is necessary, just what I happened to have on hand), with a cardboard wrapping-paper tube cut up into sections and used to make a honeycomb that fits in the box. I paper-clipped the tube bits together so they'd stay the way they're supposed to, and then tipped them up onto the lid so I could trace out the insides of the circles-- and thus know where to cut the little doors. (Note: be careful not to cut all the way around the little doors.) I put Glad Press'n'Seal wrap over the top, so all the doors would stay in place and I could see where they were, then loaded up the candy and taped the box shut. Voila. I cut around one little door every day and snag me some chocolatey goodness.

When I told my mother about this invention, she said that something like that would do her no good-- she'd just open all the doors and eat all the candy. Gee, I wonder where I got my problems with food from, again...?

Cut for length-- click to read more.

Still alive, but sick.

I have had zero energy for days on end, I had my evil attack of PMS on Saturday (blessings to all of you for putting up with that), and today I've been sick to my stomach all day and still lethargic. I have an excuse for today's lethargy, at least; I couldn't sleep for half the night and slept fitfully for what was left.

I may currently be hungry. I'm not trusting my stomach very much at all. In between hunger rumblings, it still feels sick.

Mostly I'm just wallowing in a pit of despair. (Warning: high whine content ahead.) I may have managed to injure myself with the new yoga DVDs (as my Hub put it this morning, "It's not that you don't try to go easy on yourself, I think you just don't know how"), and it's no fun to have DOMS cycling over my body all the damn time, and even when I try so hard to get extra sleep I'm still so tired all the time, so very, very tired.

I'm recognizing this mode of depression from back when I hit the "fucking hell, I have to do this FOREVER" transition period. I think part of it may be discovering, and being deeply disappointed with, my limitations. I'm not strong. I'm not fast. I'm not flexible (and in whole ways I didn't even know EXISTED until this week! how fun!). I'm scared to death that nothing's ever going to improve and I'm going to suck AND be sore and exhausted all the time for the rest of my life. I hate it.

I'm retaining water on top of the nasty gain from this last week, so my clothes aren't fitting quite right and when I look in the mirror, I seem to look wrong. I feel fat. Which, added to the fitness despair, means that I'm fighting off a further round of panic along the lines of "oh fuck, if this happened even with all the extra exercise, I'm doomed, I'm never going to lose weight again, it's all going to come back, it'll be like Flowers for Algernon." Hell, hell, hell.

And what pops up when emotional disturbance rules my life? Why yes, my stupid eating disorder. The WWE ought to be put me on the payroll for the amount of wrestling I've been doing with this thing. Cue another round of panic: "I'm never going to get over this, I'm never going to improve, I can't win, I'm doomed to be this way forever and I hate it SO MUCH."

To add to the fun, now that summer has hit (apparently our endless springtime temperatures from last year mean that we used up our quota for this year; in one week we've catapulted from "late winter/early spring" directly into summertime temps), I find myself surrounded with dainty little skinny girls wearing dainty little clothing. I want to beat them to death with a pipe. Every one. I am just so angry that they exist, that they can be that way without having to earn it-- and worse, that no matter what I do to earn it, I can't look like that. I can't even come close.

I would do better if I had some kind of energy. I'm just so dead all the time. Maybe I should go to the doctor over this. There just doesn't seem to be any rational reason for this. I've done everything I'm supposed to; by my calculations a big weight loss, healthy diet, and regular exercise should have me BURSTING with energy. Instead I'm just scraping together enough to get by, day after day.

Sigh. Wow, I must be a joy to read today. Sorry, folks; right now I'm trying to be proud that I got up and exercised and made it to work, because all I really want to do is stay in bed and not think or move.

Cut for length-- click to read more.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

I hate PMS, I hate PMS

I am hanging on to my talisman like mad today because I am just so illogically miserable it's not funny. Actually, it was worse; before my Hub woke up, I managed to do my strength training and eat my breakfast and nothing else, but oh, my hip flexors and quads and hamstrings hurt, and my back, and I kept finding excuses not to go run.

My Hub found me stretching miserably, and the moment I had an audience I started to whine, and the moment I started to whine I found myself on the edge of tears. My Hub convinced me to at least go walk, and after a lot more whining I did. Kept almost crying. Oh, the picture of misery.

After my stupid little walk, I curled up on the couch with my head on my Hub's leg. Begged him to rub my back. Sweet sweet man went and got the massage oil and gave me a full-body massage until his hands cramped up, and finally I felt a little better.

So, so, so close to completely snapping. I found myself with my head in the fridge and managed to back awaaaaay from the leftovers. But damn, this is not a good day.

I have a plan. At some point soon I'm going to get an ID bracelet, and get it engraved with this phrase: I am worth the trouble. I think that encapsulates everything I need to remember, really.

Cut for length-- click to read more.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Crap, crap, crap.

Faced the music this morning. Up to 130 pounds-- 4.5 more than my steady weight from the past three weeks. Sonofabitch. I'm not going to rationalize any of that as water weight, either, because by all rights I should have gained last week. I always imagine my weight oscillating like a sine wave, with a nice average line sitting at the vertical axis and the amplitude from crest to trough as about five pounds. Granted, there are way too many factors going into the intake and output o' water, waste and whatnot for it to actually be a sine wave, but I like to think of it that way. The point being that I'm guessing my lucky weigh-in last week hit during a trough, and that I gained part of the 4.5 lbs. that week.

I very much doubt I weighed in during a crest period, because yeah, I deserve this one. Bad Meg. No Free Friday for me until I figure out how to make it stop at Friday. Oh well... not like we can afford it anyway.

Recent adventures in food have been of the good kind. Lunch yesterday was eaten out, as we had to go shopping for Mother's Day presents. I planned ahead and had an extra apple on hand (besides fruit for morning and afternoon snacks), and I toted along my bottle of water, so I could just grab a 12-piece veggie maki tray from the sushi stand while my Hub got the fish & chips dinner. (I'm such a cheap date.) I love grabbing lunch at places where they don't care what you do after you've paid at the counter; it makes my options so much more open. It also makes it much easier to annoint my food with whatever packets of diet-friendly flavorings from Minimus I have in my purse. (I'm not the only one who gets use out of that; my Hub demands that I carry packets of malt vinegar with me at all times so that he can use it any time he has fries. Heh.)

I ran out of Kashi yesterday and didn't get to the store last night, so this morning I had to forego my usual Kashi/yogurt/cranberries concoction and switch up to an impromptu EggBeaters omlette. YUM, by the way; I may have to start doing this more often. I make very inelegant omlettes-- a little too crusty on the outside, filling added at the wrong time (sorry, Alton Brown!), but they are tasty ones. Today I whisked a little dijon mustard, garlic powder, salt & pepper into the EggBeaters, chopped up some olives, fresh spinach, and wilting scallions, and grabbed about an ounce of goat cheese (alas, I've been out of Laughing Cow Light for a while). Poured the EggBeaters into the heated & oil-spritzed pan, loosened up the edges a bit with my trusty spatula, distributed the olives and scallions evenly across the plane of wet eggstuff, put the goat cheese in as best I could (it does get sticky), threw the spinach in the middle, folded it over in half (hey, I said I was inelegant), and put it off the burner to fuse together a bit and let the spinach wilt. YUM. Mental note: get more EggBeaters.

This was a very tasty breakfast but it took me longer to make than my usual, so I was running about ten minutes behind schedule by the time I got my teeth brushed and the dishes thrown into the dishwasher. I almost skipped strength training this morning (abs, hamstrings, and quads) but I figured what the hell, I'll make up the time during the get-ready-for-work portion of the morning. So strength training, then yoga-- the third in my set, with yet another series of wacky differences from the one I've been doing the past few months. I've come to the conclusion that while it's well and good that I've loosened up my hamstrings, I am in serious need of loosening up my back and shoulders-- these "new" two DVDs focus a lot more on rotating around the spine and twisting and reaching and oh, how I suck at it. It's good that I'll be incorporating them into the schedule, though, since that means I'll get better at it! It worked for the hamstrings, no reason I can't improve the torso, too.

To add to the excitement, my Hub wasn't up yet-- I couldn't get him to wake up when I got out of bed, so I'd concluded he needed the sleep. Usually he wakes up on his own around 6:30, but not today (in spite of me whispering "Wake up, wake up, WAKE UP" in the direction of the bedroom around five to seven). I wrapped up yoga, rolled up my mat in a big hurry, and went to wake up the Hub. He promptly sat straight up in bed and said, "Oh shit, I wasn't awake to make lunch. I was going to make pasta."

"Get in the shower," I told him, "I'll put the pasta on."

I not only put the pasta on, but while the water was edging toward boiling I chopped up a romaine heart, the remains of the wilty scallions, and a cute little zucchini, soaked the romaine and poured off the water, ready to spin the remaining water off, whisked up a yogurt-and-curry dressing, and put the dressing in a cute little dispenser doohickey (the salad goes in a big plastic cup, and the dressing goes in a thingy at the top; when it's time to add dressing to salad you push on the top, the dressing squirts out on the salad, and you shake it up). My Hub came in at that poing and we did the tag-team handoff; while I showered, he got the sauce together, drained the pasta, spun the salad and tucked it into the plastic cup, packed up pasta and sauce and salad and grabbed bananas as the fruit. We are well lunched.

I must have gotten ready in record time. We weren't late at all, even with the amazing amount of time I spent in the kitchen. I feel like Superwoman-- all this and I still got my strength training and yoga in!

Today is going to kick my ass diet-wise even without going out for dinner, what with the omlette (and toast, oops) this morning, two snacks, and a lunch of pasta with meat sauce (oy, oy, oy, it's even ground beef and white pasta). Hellfire. I'm going to have to figure out something veggie-heavy for dinner. Happily, we are covered in vegetables at the moment so that won't be too hard.

I have also concluded that the Coup Chopsticks do not work well as a talisman, because they are not whip-out-and-use-able, and because it's just not comfortable to have chopsticks down the front of your shirt. I've relocated the CCs to my purse and have a substitute talisman hanging on a cord down my front-- a cord just long enough and a pendant heavy enough so that when I walk, it thumps around on my sternum just between my boobs. Close enough for jazz. I'm keeping a close eye on the free silver jewelry site today, and if any bracelets come up, I'm getting one for the specific purpose of being my new talisman. I want to see it, right there. Something I can touch to remind myself at difficult moments.

[Edit: Actually, the more I wear it, the more I like the new talisman. A bracelet would be nice, but it wouldn't call attention to itself the way this does, beating against my sternum as I walk like a nervous heartbeat. It's like it's my own guilty conscience at moments when I don't have one (which, really, is what I'm feeling when it's binge-time). Hrm. I might keep it. Might get a bracelet, too, what the hell. I do like jewelry.]

We'll see. The plan, she keeps a-changin'. In the meantime, I'm going to try assembling the candy calendar tonight, now that I've figured out where my supplies will come from, and if I do then I'll get a bag of candy on my grocery store run and get this thing operational this weekend. Eeee.

Cut for length-- click to read more.