I Am That Girl Now

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Seriously, technology rules

I have caved and ordered a Roomba off Woot.com, because I am weak, weak, weak. There is only so much one woman can take, and I've managed to avoid buying one of those things the past eight times they've been Wooted; apparently nine times is one too many for me. All hail my soon-to-be new robot overlord!

Got a shower head from Water Management, which would not be newsworthy if it were not for the fact that THIS THING RULES. We have notoriously bad water pressure, just as bad (if not worse) than our last apartment, and I finally resorted to looking for some kind of shower voodoo magick online. Lo and behold, I found this page, and lo and behold, my gamble paid off. It is a glorious shower. My hair is well-rinsed for the first time in about five years. I am so happy, I can't begin to describe it.

Other than that... well, I got sick. I've had a cold for about a week or two, and it's been escalating toward sinus infection territory. The wackiest part of this is that this has been causing me to sleep for about ten hours a night, plus occasional naps, and walking around makes me feel like my legs are melting. Yesterday I went to the doctor to beg her advice (and because I get so far into "I want my mommy!" territory when I'm sick, it's not funny, and for some reason the definition of "mommy" has of late expanded to include my doctor), and she gave me a prescription for high-octane decongestants and patted my shoulder and told me to get lots of rest (not a problem) and call if things weren't better in three or four days, or if my snot changed color, or if I ended up with a fever for several days in a row, or, you know, any sort of indication that I may need actual antibiotics.

The high-octane decongestants "might make [me] hyper", according to my doctor, and she warned me that if they did make me hyper that I might not want to take the evening pill and just go with the morning one. So what did I do? Right, I took the pill at 6 PM. HELLO, INSOMNIA. People, listen to your doctors.

Anyway, I've been going sans exercise for about five days now and I would be twitchy, if I had the energy to be twitchy. I'm mentally twitchy, let's say. It's very odd. I think it's mostly that exercise is an indication of normalacy in my life, and I miss being normal. The point of all this yammering is to say, "yay, I have somehow made it so that exercise is in my head as part of my normal state of being."

Did not order pizza or, for that matter, anything else yesterday while I was home sick. I did bake and eat the last of the french fries that were lurking in the freezer, but for that matter I was roasting some broccoli at the same time, so I'll call it a draw.

Hit a new low for my dehydrated weight this morning. Wackiness. Even more wacky was the fact that I was looking at myself in the mirror right before that and thinking to myself how delightful my current weight was, right before it occurred to me in a vague way that I'm still twenty pounds over what I ought to be; after that, it occurred to me that I didn't care, because the "delightful" part still applied. I think that I'm good with whatever as long as I'm eating well and living well. And, of course, as long as my pants fit.

My Hub had another panic over Eating Day, or rather (and this always happens with holidays) Eating Weekend. Free pizza on Thursday, company holiday party on Friday, then a friend's birthday party at the best Mexican restaurant EVER on Saturday. By Sunday morning my poor Hub was bemoaning his fate and pooching out his belly in order to poke it and point out its size. Ladies, I gotta tell you, I know I used to do this (and by "used to" I mean "can remember doing this about two months ago if not more recently"), but watching a six-foot tall guy slumping and poking out his tummy in order to look worse so he can berate himself for fatness is a hell of a wake-up call. It looks so silly, all I could think was "Dear God, I am never doing that again."

At any rate, as of this morning he's not only lost the last of the cheese and beef from the weekend, he's also lost another pound off his previous low point. I got another TOLD YOU SO moment out of that, which is always a precious thing in marriage.

Still no sugar. Still no coffee. Chocolate and candy and cookies and tins of popcorn are all still in evidence in the company kitchen. I'm still remarkably calm about all of this. I had a very bad day last week when I spent a lot of time considering breaking my sugarless vow, and I ate a whole bunch of fruit and resorted to my juice box. Juice is slowly easing away from my diet, by the way; some days I completely forget that I have it with me. It's taken me two and a half weeks to go through what used to be a one-week supply, so: good. Baby steps, folks, baby steps.

This continues to convince me that sugar is an addiction, at least for me. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck... yeah, I'd say it's a duck. In this case, if my deep yearning for it goes away within a few weeks and only returns in times of stress, and if I feel better without it, then yeah, I'd say this qualifies as an addictive substance. Thank God I never ended up smoking or taking drugs, you know? For all that sugar and caffeine are addictive, I'm in no way going to put them on the same level with cigarettes, or cigarettes (as bad of an addiction as that can be) on the same level with crystal meth or something. I got off so easy with this. So, so easy.

Anyway. Must catch up with work. If I don't update before I leave on vacation, happy [winter holiday of your choosing] to all of you!

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006


My mother alerted me to a way to remember which is which when it comes to cholesterol: HDL is "happy" and LDL is "lousy". For the first time, that information has stuck in my head for more than thirty seconds. All hail Mom!

Discussion with my parents on the subject of cholesterol has netted me the following information: yeah, it's genetic. (OH JOY.) My mother got it from her mother, and my dad got it from (I think) his mother, and so my sister and I have our cholesterol gun loaded by genetics from both sides. I realize it makes no sense to be peeved at my parents for having faulty genes, but still: argh.

So we're keeping an eye on that for pretty much forever into the future. I was planning on keeping to the current food policy for pretty much forever, but this has cemented it. I have two friends who are on cholesterol meds, both of whom are under 40, and I have no wish to join them. My cholesterol gun may be loaded, but I'm going to tip-toe around it like mad to keep it from going off. At least my Hub has gloriously low cholesterol, so our kids will at least get a fighting chance of avoiding this one, but ARGH.

I guess the thing is to keep shy of any other risk factors for heart disease and whatnot, not to mention keep my diet running along the lines that will avoid making my body produce too much cholesterol. I probably can't dodge this bullet, but I have hopes of being able to stay under the wire for as long as I can.

Oh, hell, not enough time to write a whole post. I'll try to get a proper one up once I'm home.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Seriously WHOA there is too much of me today

I just have to say another few things.

My Hub. Oh man. He's trotting around the house in his workout gear, still sweaty and rumpled from his workout, and his shoulders look broader than I remember, possibly because the gut and tire lower down are disappearing, and oh, man. Hottie.

He has discovered a vein in his arm today, compliments of bigger muscles and less fat. Rather, I discovered the vein, and at first he didn't believe me because when he turned his arm to look at it, the vein went away. This is why there are mirrors in the world.

And as final proof of the fact that he has excellent taste, I have introduced him to Maggie's Caustic Musings and he's read about half the archives already. His reaction, upon seeing her workout plans: "Holy crow, she's stronger than I am! Oooh, what's the warm-up? I should totally do this." There is something so delicious about having a husband who's comfortable with female role models; that it's regarding fitness is even more awesome. Between this and his unabashed stealing from Get Ripped, I'm thinking that my next step really needs to be sending him over to Krista's Stumptuous. Hell, I should go there myself. Krista is a goddess.

I keep not getting to the point on my mini-rants about WeightWatchers and calorie counting and the like. [Also, full disclosure: I fully believe that WW's Core program is the best idea they've had in possibly forever.] I saw it put best over on Women to Women: Emotional attachment to ritualized denial — of food, of pleasure, of money, of rest, of sex — is anorexia in another guise. It is an effort to erase a part of yourself or your life that weakens your sense of control. That's it, exactly it; that's what I felt was my problem with WeightWatchers. I'm prone to obsessive behavior, and I have a ton of emotional buttons that get pushed when it comes to food (less now, I think, or at least I seem to have muted their effects), so it wasn't just that I was getting obsessive, but that I felt dependent on being obsessive.

I don't know if I can ever put into words how much I hate being out of control, which is odd because I do it so much. I am my own self-fulfilling prophesy. There's a lot of shame in it, so much wrapped up in not getting caught, but then there's such a thrill in getting away with it and a viscious, nasty feeling of entitlement. I'd sneak to the building next door to work in order to buy Halloween candy, and go through an insane amount of effort not to be spotted with candy; then I'd eat the stuff and likewise go to great lengths to conceal the wrappers from the cleaning lady. Every time I'd spend hours beforehand, sometimes days, working up to the sneaky trip; I'd look forward to work because I'd have that brief time of self-destructive freedom. It was the best part of my day. And I'd eat candy and feel... not better, exactly, but grimly satisfied. It was mine. Mine and mine alone, and none of those other fuckers were going to take it from me or tell me what to do or shame me or even know about it. Of course that made me feel like I had the flu (which apparently I wasn't imagining; that sort of thing can give a person systemic inflammation, so I was literally making myself sick), so I'd be miserable the rest of the day, if not longer.

Looking at that description, it strikes me that the binges were, in a weird way, also about control. It was like I went all split-personality on myself and was striving to take control away from my "captor", who was, of course, ME. Ah, the complex inner tapestry of a control freak. When I got to that stage, pretty much my only option was to let go of the whole thing before I went stark raving bonkers.

The point being, I don't think that WW is good for control-freak personalies like mine. Combined with the fact that I was just plain eating too little, and that too much of that was simple carbohydrates, I messed up my metabolism and my seratonin levels. I wasn't getting anything out of it, after a certain point; I was doing this stuff because I had to do it, but I wasn't getting enough calories, not enough nutrients, not enough protein, I didn't have the oomph to get much out of my exercise, I didn't have enough seratonin to muster enthusiasm for the simple joys in life. It felt like life was just this endless series of tasks. I control-freaked my way into a bad place and was trapped there by the side-effects of what I was doing.

It's all here, if you read back far enough: I was post-WW when I started this blog and so I ended up documenting my slow decent into madness, and the crawl out, thus far. I got burned badly by the whole thing and, yeah, still bitter. Trying to do stuff that will make me healthy without making me crazy is a tough balance to keep; thus far I seem to be managing it, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to go mental again soon. I'm keeping a careful eye on myself where my current projects are concerned, the sugar-free, low-caffeine thing; they're good things but if I start turning militant about them (and I can tell I'm already starting to; you can hear it in my posts lately, oy), I gotta step back and breathe for a while. The MY WAY IS THE ONLY GOOD WAY DOOOOD attitude is a big flashing red light: warning, wackiness will ensue if continuing on this path.

I may end up going to bed early tonight. All this thinking has worn me out.

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I honestly can't shut up today

First of all, all hail DietGirl! Eight, EIGHT full-body push-ups! Oh, I am jealous. I just got all inspired and went to try one behind my desk, and my right shoulder reminded me that I'm still working on rebuilding the damn thing. Knee push-ups my shoulder can handle. Full-body it cannot.

Second of all, I am kind of in love with Women To Women right now, particularly their nutrition and weight loss section.

Third of all, I forgot to mention that my Hub had me climb on his back like a monkey last night so that he could see if it was possible to do squats with me acting as a living weight. That's the last time I go along with that, because a) it was sort of frightening, b) I do NOT like the idea of him going from 25 to well over 100 lbs. of weight on his squats, and c) I am kind of afraid he'll try bench-pressing me next and really, I'm against women being objectified in commercials and whatnot by being used as props, so I'm not keen on being objectified by being used as a convenient heavy object. Ye gods.

Fourth, I made beef stew last night along these lines: 3/4 lb. of beef stew meat, 1 onion, 1 lb. carrots, 1 lb. parsnips, 1 lb. sweet potatoes (a sub for the original recipe, which called for regular potatoes), canned tomatoes and 4 cups of veggie broth; seasoned with salt, pepper, and a tablespoon or two of grainy mustard. This turned out surprisingly well. My Hub scooped a cup or so of veggies out of the stew after they'd cooked to a soft point, put them in the blender, and created a thickening puree. This is so, so, so good. It really hit the spot for winter food that has been a little neglected this year, since most of our traditional winter food recipes involve potatoes. Sweet potatoes have saved the day! I can't believe I used to hate them.

Fifth, I have been reminded by that last bit that I meant to make a list at some point of foods that I used to hate that are now at the top of my list. Sweet potatoes, definitely. Olives, both green and black. Goat cheese. Artichoke hearts. Multigrain bread. Spinach. Broccoli. Beets. Tofu. Plain yogurt. Green beans. Edamame. Shrimp. Blue cheese (not particularly the best thing for you but OH MY GOD it is so lovely). Balsamic vinegar. Green tea. Lentils. Black beans. Salmon. Tuna. (Hell, fish in general.) Avacadoes. Water. Olive oil. Parsnips. Wild rice. Cooked green leafy anything. Lima beans. Mushrooms. Kale. Zucchini. Salad greens that were not the iceberg lettuce of my childhood. PEOPLE, THIS CAN BE DONE. I didn't get hit by a magic wand and have my tastebuds transformed, it was a combination of getting used to new tastes and new textures and encountering things that were prepared in a tasty way. These things take time.

Sixth, I have concluded that there are two ways to lose weight: make yourself healthy, or make yourself unhealthy. The problem here is that the "unhealthy" version tends to go faster, albeit being impossible to keep up on a long-term basis. The reason I do tend to go on about this is because I'm still pissed off about spending my "skinny" time in 2005 feeling cold and exhausted most of the time because I had thrown a monkey wrench into my metabolism, messing up my seratonin levels, binge eating, getting depressed, and to top it all off I still didn't have a body that looked good in a bathing suit. Yes, WeightWatchers and other low-fat/calorie-counting/portion-control diets get you thin. They do not get you healthy.

Seventh, I have more ranting to do, which I must do later, for now I must go home.

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When I'm wrong I say it

Update on the clementines: at 11 AM, having been in the kitchen since 7:30 AM, the 5-lb box of clementines is half-gone. I admit it: I was wrong. I have the feeling that they may disappear by the end of the day.

That said, there has also been a fudge-type treat put out. It's going faster than the clementines, a lot faster. Then again, it has fewer servings than the box of clementines. Serving for serving, clementines may still win.

The moral of the story: people eat free food. Even if it's healthy, as long as "healthy" doesn't mean "vegetables". Even then... I'm remembering an NPR report on a school that started switching to a healthier lunch style, got rid of the vending machines, and offered free baggies of vegetables instead. The kids ate the vegetables. I hereby change the moreal of the story to: PEOPLE EAT FREE FOOD, as long as it is not disgusting. Prepare something right, and offer it for free, and they'll eat it.

I put the clementines out at a point where there was nobody else in the office, so nobody knows it was me. Which made it all the more entertaining that I went to the kitchen a few minutes ago for a water refill and found our receptionist in the lunchroom painstakingly peeling a clementine. "I've never had one of these before," she said. "Are they good?" I assured her that they were. So, hooray, free healthy food has convinced at least one person to try something new.

I don't have the cashflow to try this every day, so my ability to experiment further is limited. Someone else try this! Try it, and tell me how it worked! I gotta know.

[I am further considering making this a regular thing; the next time I do it, though, I'd put a mug up next to it with a sign asking for $0.50 donations in order to buy some more for the next day. If it works, it would mean that I would get quarters for my laundry. Hrm. Worth a thought.]


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I accept my laziness. I just work around it.

I am a weekend cook. Or rather, as I informed my Hub yesterday, I am more of a weekend sous-chef; I prep stuff that will be actually cooked during the week. There's a bit in one of the Kathleen Daelmans books (or possibly on her show, I forget) where she says that if at all humanly possible you should prep your fresh produce as soon as you get it home. Since there's no prep to be done in terms of fruit (it's clementine season, what more do you need?), this meant that I brought home a righteous ton of fresh veggies and prepped the hell out of them. As such, they're all in a state that my Hub feels comfortable with grabbing them out of the fridge and preparing a nice vegetable side dish for us on a nightly basis.

Item one: BROCCOLI. I make no secret of my love for roasted broccoli. I cut it up into small florets, peel and cut up the stems, and put it all in a zip-lock bag. My Hub has now learned how to roast the broccoli (and did it last night, hooray!): throw a tablespoon of olive oil in the bag with the broccoli, add kosher salt (thank you, Alton Brown) and grind some black pepper in there, seal the bag, shake, spread out on a cookie sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. I swear to God we eat this stuff like it's potato chips. We went through two heads of broccoli this weekend alone.

Item two: SWEET POTATOES. I asked my Hub how I should prep 'em, and he said that if I peeled and cubed 'em then he'd be all set for roasting or steaming and then possibly mashing or using in something else. I have yet to see how this will turn out, but I've got two lovely yammies peeled and cut up and tucked in a plastic bag.

Item three: BRUSSEL SPROUTS. Ah yes. This is an experiment, on the theory that the wretched versions of brussies we've had were ruined via wet cooking. This time they have been scrubbed, an X cut in the bottom so that that bit will cook just as fast as the leaves, and are now tucked in a plastic bag awaiting the same roasting treatment that we give the broccoli.

Item four: CARROTS & PARSNIPS. Peeled, chopped up, bagged. In theory they shall also be roasted, but I don't dare say what my Hub will randomly decide to do with the things. We shall see.

Item five (not for dinners): CARROTS. Peeled, cut up, put into snack-sized plastic baggies. Grab-and-go in the morning for worktime snack.

Next week: SQUASH. I have yet to play with squash, but I feel strongly that I ought to. I may also venture into green beans and asparagus and fennel; who knows. Broccoli and sweet potatoes will probably return.

I also bought and chopped up another pineapple. I'm getting better at doing this; last week I carved off the outside too shallowly, which meant I had to do a second pass to get the little spiney eyes off. There is a seedless cucumber on my counter which needs to be cut into rounds for hummus dipping, which also indicates that I need to make hummus or some other form of bean dip. And POMEGRANATES. Lately I am enamored of pomegranates. I spent a merry half-hour yesterday coaxing the seeds out of one of them, and then ate them all. I have no shame. I do, however, have rims of purple under my nails from this extravegance.

My Hub has got me into the habit of weighing myself just about all the damn time, which I must admit gives me a much more balanced picture of how my body works. I've got a three- or four-pound range, the bottom of which happens on an empty stomach, fresh from a trip to the bathroom, and usually veering into dehydrated territory; the top of the range has me full and hydrated. I am not at a weight. I am in a range. The point is to have the range slowly maneuver downward. Thus far, it is slowly maneuvering downward, and the topmost of my two-tummies has deflated so the dreaded muffin-top effect is no longer happening with my pants.

For the record, I am still not counting a damn thing when it comes to calories. I am eating five or six times a day, trying to put a bit of protein in each time, concentrating on good carbs and lean protein, still shunning sugar and "white" foods (white bread, white rice, potatoes, etc.). Lots of fruits and veggies. I have to say, since I dropped sugar out of the equation things have become a lot easier; my energy levels are more constant, my weight doesn't fluctuate half so much, it's easier to concentrate, and best of all the urge to binge is gone. FUCK SUGAR. My Hub asked what he should put in my Christmas stocking this year; he thought maybe some high-class chocolates-- to which I said NO. Pomegranates and fancy fruits, please. Maybe some walnuts or such.

I am limping toward caffeine-free. The latest teas I've purchased have been decaf.

I keep having an argument in my head with our fat-and-calorie-counting-only friend. My Hub was telling her about protein powder and the shakes he makes with it, and all she asked was "does it have calories?" YES, IT HAS CALORIES. GOOD-FOR-YOU FOODS HAVE CALORIES. EAT THEM INSTEAD OF THE LOW-FAT JUNK FOODS AND YOU WILL FEEL BETTER AND PROBABLY LOSE WEIGHT. ALSO, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, EXERCISE. YES, IT TAKES UP TIME IN YOUR DAY. SO DOES BATHING. BOTH ARE NECESSARY. JESUS EVERLOVING CHRIST, WOMAN, THIS IS NOT ROCKET SURGERY. Argh. I have listened to this friend complain about her weight for five years and watched her go on diet after diet without ever changing her approach, and I am over it. I have read God only knows how much information from a bazillion sources and tried a lot of different stuff. If what she's doing worked for her, that would be absolutely fine-- it's different for everybody-- but it doesn't. This may be a clue. ARGH.

Anyway. Ahem. Back to our regularly scheduled program.

We have flaxseed in the house, of the ground variety. It is now hunkered in the fridge. What the heck, I may as well keep clobbering my bad-cholesterol levels with whatever I can. My Hub is dubious, but he'll get the hang. He recently discovered that the yolkless eggs-in-a-carton (Egg Beaters or your personal brand of choice) are low-calorie ways to get protein; granted, I have been using this for quite some time but apparently he never read the nutrition stats. Now that he knows what he's been missing, he's suddenly been making many fritattas and omlettes. Since that means that he throws in vegetables, too, I'm all for this.

I have discovered that http://nutritiondata.com/ has a tool for letting you put together your own recipes and see how they do, nutrition-wise. THIS IS AWESOME. It has awesome graphs that show how healthy/filling your recipe is, how it does in terms of nutrients, how you're doing in terms of complete protein, the glycemic load, if it's anti-inflammatory, all that jazz. I am delighted. I had a pretty good idea that the beef stew I made yesterday would be low in fat, high in protein and dietary fiber, and pretty nutritious, but it's nice to see it all diagrammed, you know? I'm also thrilled to have found their Daily Needs calculator, which also includes info for pregnant/lactating women (eventually, I'll probably need that). If its calculation of my daily needs is accurate, it's no wonder I'm losing weight; I only have a vague idea of how many calories I consume in a day, but I'm sure it's less than 2500.

Oh, I forgot: the Get Ripped! with Jari Love DVD review. Very nice. Can be done with barbells or dumbbells, of which currently I have the dumb ones; I tried it once with my Hub's bench and disliked the bench intensely, so now I'm using my exercise ball under my back and giving myself extra ab & glute work. It hits triceps, biceps, shoulders, back, glutes, abductor & adductors, thighs, and abs. I am currently sad that I am a wuss, but since I've only done this thing three times now, I live in hope of increasing the weights in a week or two. The first time through I thought I might die (it's 55 minutes long), but it's already getting easier to deal with. My Hub has his own resistance training, but he watches the DVD when I'm working out, and he has started incorporating some of the moves into his program (and is now very sore on account of it; apparently he'd been missing those muscles). Thumbs up.

I am conducting an experiment today on the population of our office. On a regular basis during this season, people bring in sugary sweets and leave them out in the kitchen for people to come and sample. They're usually gone by noon. I grabbed an extra box of clementines when I was at Trader Joe's yesterday and brought it to work today; it's now sitting in the kitchen, having been checked through for any mouldy peels. Personally, I'm guessing that it will still be half-full by the end of the day. If not, though, I will be a happy girl.


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