Sunday, December 5, 2010

Last week's results and goals for this week

Last week my goals were 4 workouts and finding a better snack solution at work.

4 workouts: DONE.  I did 6, including one wicked day where I did CrossFit in the morning and tumbling at night.
fixing the snack situation: I forgot to even think about it.  It's definitely still a problem, especially now that I'm doing my workouts before I get into the office.  The first thing that happens when I arrive at work is a hunt for calories, and I usually end up with a Kudos bar or some other carb- and sugar-loaded snack.  This is not what I want.

This coming week is going to be tricky.  I have a company conference Tuesday - Thursday and that means a lot of work parties with a lot of food and alcohol.  That sort of situation has the potential to be very unhealthy not only because of the freely available empty calories, but also because that sort of junk makes me feel generally crappy the next day, and that sets me up for a bad workout.

Additionally, I've got company coming Thursday night and staying in my apartment until Sunday.  I'm very excited to have this visitor, but the temptation to skip all my workouts while he's here will be strong.

Goals for this week:

4 workouts
Seriously think about snacks
Don't eat/drink/do anything at the work parties that I'll regret later
Get at least one workout in while company is in town

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Goals? We got goals

3 workouts - DONE.  I did 5, including one on Thanksgiving, and one the day after.
1 junk snack per day - DONE
Wednesday morning gym - DONE

My fifth workout was CrossFit's WOD today:

tabata sets of
pull ups
weighted squats
dead lifts

I have never before done 4 tabatas in a day.  I've never even done more than one.  Holy hell.

It wasn't just the workout that was rough.  It was the rest of the day.  I just couldn't get warm.  I'd burned through so many calories that I was cold all day, and I couldn't fix it.  This evening I got desperate, cranked the heater to 75, and took an extra hot shower.  I now feel human again.  I also wanted to sleep for the rest of the day.

That workout taught me a lot.  I've done tabatas before and I was terrified of tackling this one.  But I reminded myself that I just have to try.  And I did it!

Goals for this week:
4 workouts
Find a snack solution that does not involve crap.  I want something I can keep at my desk so that I don't get tempted to eat junk out of the kitchen.  It might end of up being a box of clif bars, but it'll be better than pita chips.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

So, how'd that goal thing work out for you?

1 crappy snack per day max at the office - DONE.
3 workouts - DONE

Actually it's going to be 5 workouts.  I'm headed off to the gym as soon as I'm finished typing this.  Booyah.

Goals for next week:

1 crappy snack per day max*
3 workouts
Wednesday - get up early and hit the gym before work.

I started crossfit this week and I like it, but a lot of the circuit workouts require me to monopolize a few pieces of gym equipment at a time.  It seems to make the most sense for me to go to the gym early in the morning since there are fewer people around.  I'd like to test this out on Wednesday.  I would try this twice next week, but I have Thursday and Friday off.  I need to check the gym's hours to see if they'll be open.  I'd like to hit up the gym both days.

*small quantities of high quality chocolate does not count as a crappy snack.  Things like chips, granola bars, ice cream, etc are crappy snacks.  I'd like to get this down to something like 3 per week, if that.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

No food, no cash

Things to do after work besides eat and/or spend money:

  • movies
  • clean
  • art
  • sketches for holiday cards
  • create Post Secret entries
  • walk
  • push ups
  • pilates videos
  • find clothes to donate
  • clean out fridge
  • replace the rear fender on my motorcycle
  • read a book
  • meditate
  • listen to a CD all the way through
  • learn Spring
  • learn Roo
  • research the Semantic Web
  • organize photos
  • finish my taxes
  • give myself a mani/pedi
  • wax my legs
  • write a blog entry
  • invent a card game
  • build some Magic: The Gathering decks
  • play video games
  • read every free article on todays Wall Street Journal home page
  • learn Perl
  • complete 10 self portraits, 5 minutes each
  • find a dermatologist
  • find a financial adviser
  • practice bass
  • clean off the hard drive
  • repair busted clothes
  • make pillow cases
  • get rid of ripped clothes

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Mistress is Back

Am I going to say where I was or why I was gone for so long?  Hell no.

Am I going to list some goals for this week?  Hell yes.

Goal 1: Work out 3 times

Goal 2: No more than 1 crappy work snack per day.  Fruits and almonds are allowed in unlimited quantities.

If these look like wimpy goals, it's because they are.  I need to get back into the swing of things gradually, and I'm more motivated if I set the bar low initially and knock it out of the park.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Burn baby burn

It is times like these, when I slog, head hung, back to the blogosphere after a month of no posts, that I am very glad I never really promoted this thing in the first place.  It was always for me, first and foremost, and I just didn't feel the need to post.  So I didn't.

Today I am compelled to write, and it has nothing to do with weight.

The Johannes Mehserle verdict was announced yesterday, and last night Oakland burned.  I wasn't near any of it, but I have many coworkers who live in Oakland, and I hope they're ok.

I woke up this morning to photos of a city on fire.  And more news of BP.  And more stories of people walking away from mortgages.  And I went over to, my favorite internet hangout, and I found I just couldn't face the vitriol and bile of the comments threads this morning.  I scoured a few tabs looking for a story that I knew would have funny, cheerful comments instead of a bunch of people flaming each other into oblivion and found nothing.

So I'm writing this post because I'm tired of reading misery.  It's 7:30 a.m.  I haven't even made it into work yet.  As Terry Pratchett once wrote, "It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness."  This post is my little candle of happiness in the dark abyssal forest of today's news.  And while I will never win any awards for my analogies, that one was intentional.  Because in California, forests like to burn.  If you're reading this, light your own candle and post something happy.  Set the forest on fire.

Ok, so where's the happiness?  Coming right up!

First of all, a site I don't check nearly often enough.  The Great News Network
It says we should all call our moms today:

Next up, some selections from my "Break the funk" playlist that I pull out at times like these. It has:

Some excellent gospel, courtesy of The Boss himself:

Some guys in suits and sunglasses with harmonicas and the BEST DANCE MOVES EVER:

Finally, some Leslie Nielson hilarity:

Now it's your turn.  Post something happy today!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

One step forward, n steps back

I was absolutely psyched to start my exercise routine again on Saturday after taking the week off.  I thought about going to my crossfit class, but I was a bit hung over and I wanted to savor my morning, and I didn't really want to shock my system quite that way.  So instead I went for a gentle jog and it felt great.  I loved it.

Saturday night, as we all know, I masqueraded as a European.

Sunday is my rest day, so I was out walking through a park when my foot started to hurt.  A lot.  When it hadn't gotten better by Wednesday, I decided a doctor was in order. 

I saw the doctor who was available and not my regular doctor.  She had no idea what was wrong and seemed very unfamiliar with sports injuries.  I wanted to rule out a stress fracture, and she was confident there was no bone breakage.  She said that it was soft tissue damage of some sort and prescribed a regiment of rest, no high heels, no motorcycle, and lots of ibuprofen.  Boooooring.

What she really couldn't tell me was how to a) reintroduce exercise into my life in a safe way and b) avoid exacerbating the injury.  So I called my coach.

"Carl, I've got this pain in my foot and it won't go away."
"Saturday night, were you out standing a bar in new high heels?"
"What?  Yes.  How'd you know?"
"Plantar Fasciitis.  Do the ibuprofen thing, but don't be afraid of the gym.  Come to CrossFit Saturday, it'll be good for you."

I won't lie, there was fist pumping. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010


It wasn't a fantastic week, but it wasn't the worst week either.  My calorie consumption seems to be back on track.  I feel more comfortable about it.  It's not perfect, but it's not bad.  And my low carb plan worked.  I was far more in control of what I ate than I'd felt in a while.  I had cravings, but I could ignore them.

Last week was also a week of no exercise and it ended yesterday when I went for a run.  Now I'm back and ready to kick butt in the gym!

Oh, and last night.  Let me just tell you about last night.  Last night I went to my favorite dive bar, sat down, ordered a drink, and started talking to a cute Irish gentleman.  A very cute, very drunk Irish dude.  At first he thought I was European (thank you patent leather pumps!), and then he started asking me odd questions:

"Do you run?"
Not really.
"Do you swim then?"
"Well, clearly you're in really good shape.  You look really athletic.  What do you do to exercise?"

Ladies (and gents, if you're around), I almost cried.  I've worked so hard and spent so much time in the gym, and someone actually noticed.  And while I'm sure he was trying to pick me up, I'm also pretty sure his comments were based in fact.  He saw my arm muscles and thought I looked good. 

I was walking on air that night.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Goals for the week

You may remember that I set goals last week and didn't do so well at sticking to them.  I dug into why, came up with some theories, and then was so sick of everything weight-related that I took 3 days off from all things diet.

Well I'm back, refreshed, and armed with a plan of action.

I spent a lot of time over the weekend thinking about what I wanted in terms of lifestyle and why I wasn't happy with my results last week.  The thing that bothered me the most about last week was not my weight and it was not, surprisingly enough, my calorie intake either.  Those things were on the radar, but they were a distant second and third to my primary concern which was control.

I did not feel in control last week.  Or last month.  I wasn't eating the right things and I wasn't eating for the right reasons.  Setting goals around calorie intake and tracking are all well and good, but meeting those goals really hinges on being in control of what you eat, and I didn't feel like I had that kind of command over my food choices.

Obviously, everything I eat is my choice.  And I know from experience that losing weight by calorie counting is just plain hard.  It's hard to say no to hunger.  But last week wasn't just about hunger.  It was about cravings too.  I'd be hungry because I was restricting calories and I'd be craving something stuffed with carbohydrates which wouldn't keep me full.  I was fighting a battle on two fronts and losing both.

The plan for this week is primarily to get the cravings back under control.  I plan on doing that with what I know works: low carb, low gluten eating.  It would be no gluten, but I like croutons on my salad.  I want to spend the week eating low carb and then see what kind of effect that has on my cravings.  If I can stay within my 1700 cal/day goal, so much the better.  But that's not my primary worry right now.

Enumerated, here's the list of goals:
  • Low carb, low gluten eating 4 out of 5 days (it's Tuesday now, and I'll reevaluate on Sunday).  For me this means:
    • No bread at breakfast or lunch
      • For now, dinner is ok because I spend the next 8 hours asleep.
    • No snacking on pretzels, cheez its, pita crisps, etc.  These are all freely available in my office, and although it hasn't been a problem, I'm calling it out here.  The dark chocolate stash is still fair game though, as that doesn't seem to affect my cravings.
  • Assuming the low carb goal is hit, determine whether this eating pattern keeps my cravings under control.
  • Track every day
 I've finally escaped the crazy hormone roller coaster I was on (for now) and this is the week that this plan has the absolute best chance of success.  I'm hoping that this diet will also keep my hormones a bit more in check.  We shall see.

You'll notice there's no exercise goal this week and that's because I'm taking the week off.  I've been training very hard for a few months, and I've got a back injury that needs some TLC.  My training starts again on Saturday.  I may attempt some low grade pilates during the week though.  I get weird when I don't work out.

It's a new week, with a new set of goals, which means it's time for a new theme song.  I'm a metal girl and I need to feel like I can destroy whole worlds when I'm working out, so from my workout playlist, I give you Disturbed - Indestructible:

"I'll have you know,
That I've become...

Determination that is incorruptible.
From the other side.
A terror to behold.
Annihilation will be unavoidable.
Every broken enemy will know,
That their opponent had to be invincible.
Take a last look around while you're alive,
I'm an indestructible master of war."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I told you so

When I started my little weight project, the first thing I did was to go around and find stacks of weight loss blogs, because misery loves company and because I decided I wasn't going to tell anyone in real life what I was up to.  I needed moral support, and if anonymous bloggers are where it's at, fine by me.

I read a lot of blogs, and I started noticing a few very interesting similarities among them.  Specifically, what worked and what didn't.  The bloggers who were the most successful at losing and maintaining all did two things:
  1. Exercise regularly
  2. Cut out most or all carbs and sugars
The most interesting thing to me was that they all came to these decisions independently of each other.  Every blogger talks about how great exercise is, how good it makes her feel, how much better it makes her body look.  And everyone who has reevaluated the role of carbohydrates in her diet has come to the realization that cutting carbs makes the cravings and the binges go away.

We will get to why this is important in a minute, but now I'm going to do a literary swerve and talk about the week I've had.  You may remember that last Sunday, I put up some goals.  Specifically, I had goals regarding my caloric intake and exercise.  Well, I nailed the exercise, but I was a wreck on calories.  Yes, there were some hormones involved.  But I've cut calories before without too much trouble.  For some reason, this week I just couldn't summon up the willpower.  I didn't binge, and I stayed within about 2200 calories every day, which is maintenance level for me.  But I wasn't anywhere near the 1700 cal goal I set.

I was thinking about all this last night and wondering if maybe it was time to take a break from the loss game.  I was thinking maybe I was burnt out.  I know what I've done is nothing compared to every blog I read, both in terms of pounds lost and time spent doing it, but I have worked hard and I have accomplished a lot of what I set out to do.  And let me just say I'm thrilled with the results.  I look better than ever, I feel fantastic, I get compliments, and I'm very very proud.  If I never lost another pound I would still be really happy.

This morning I woke up and started making my breakfast and for the first time in months I thought about the success of my fellow bloggers and how they did it, and I remembered all my conclusions about exercising and cutting carbs.  As I was putting apple butter on my whole wheat english muffin.  Damn.

I'd started eating toast with my eggs at breakfast a few weeks ago.  I was trying to increase my calories enough at breakfast that I wouldn't spend the morning feeling hungry.  Adding some toast seemed to do the trick.  But now I'm wondering if maybe those added carbs are some of the reason that I've been having so much trouble staying within my calorie limits lately.  And I'm kicking myself because I knew this all along.  I knew that almost everyone who was really successful cut her carbs.  I knew that when I was doing well with weight loss I was eating almost no carbs whatsoever.  And yet I completely failed to see the connection between my morning toast and my inability to stick to my goals.

All that said (and if you only read one paragraph from this entry, make it this one), I am glad I set goals and I'm glad I didn't hit them.  If I hadn't made a point to say that I was going to track 5 days this week and I was going to stay within my calorie limits 5 days, I probably wouldn't have been frustrated enough to try to figure out what went wrong.  It was only because I made it a point publicize my goals that I knew full well I should be able to hit that I was spurred into action when those goals went unmet.

So where does this leave me with regard to being burnt out, going on maintenance for a bit, and being generally fed up?  Undecided.  I am frustrated at not hitting my goals and I am furious with myself that I didn't see this connection sooner and I am a bit burnt out, and the fact that I have a new plan of attack isn't really motivating me right now. 

Another lesson I'm learning is patience (another entry for another time) and patience means I don't have to decide all of this right now.  I can take a few days and let this all sink in before I decide on a course of action.  So that's what I'm going to do.  I'm headed off to see a friend for a few days anyway, so I'm going to go to LA, enjoy seeing my friend, and return on Monday and reevaluate.

Have an excellent Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

So how do y'all do this then?*

Remember Sunday?  Remember when I was all pumped and recommitted to my goals and ready to go balls-to-the-wall all week to get back on track?

I'm so cute when I'm naive, don't you think? 

It was a good idea.  Solid plan.  Go back to doing all the things I was doing before that worked.  Count calories again.  And really, I've been pretty good.  I haven't skipped any exercise.  I have tracked, every day.  And while I haven't always been within 1700 calories, I've usually been within 1800, which is close enough.  Except for last night, when there was comfort wine and extra pasta and a grand total of about 2300 calories.  Oops. 

Here's the problem.  It's that TOM, which means that for the last week, my hormones have been whacked the hell out.  I shouldn't complain, because I don't get PMS.  But I do get moody.  I do get demotivated and a bit depressed.  Oh, and hungry.  Really, agonizingly hungry.  I looked all over the tubez and there are a lot of forums where women ask variations on the question "Why do I turn into a ravaging insatiable hosebeast for a week?" and they always get replies of "You burn more calories, duh."

Last I checked, my college degree was not issued by the University of It Stands To Reason**, so I did some fact checking.  I found a lot of random people saying that the week before a period, metabolic rates go up.  But I couldn't find any studies on the subject that were more recent than 1923 (yeah really), and no one agreed on how much the variance was.  Some said 4%, some said as much as 10%.  Which means there are a lot of people out there playing armchair biologist on forums, but no real actual science.

So what's a girl to do?

This house has moved on from pre-TOM to TOM-proper so rationality is returning in fits and starts, and hopefully a decreased appetite along with it.  But I think in future months, I'll just allow myself an extra 200-300 calories per day in the week before.  If my BMR actually does increase during that time then this is something I should be doing anyway.  A 500 calorie daily deficit is reasonable; 800 calories is not.  If it's all in my head, then even adding an extra 300 calories will still mean I'm running a deficit every day and although my loss rate will be slower, it will continue. 

What do you ladies do to cope?

*I'm not actually Southern.  But "y'all" is a great word, so I'm stealing it.
**With apologies to Terry Pratchett.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Weekly Weigh In and Reflection

Starting weight: 159 (3/17/2010)
This morning's scale reading: 150.6
Official weight, as dictated by the trend line: 150.7
Pounds lost this week: 0.1
Total pounds lost: 8.3

Can you say "plateau"?  :)

I've been pretty lax about my commitment to the cause.  There's been personal drama, a few vacations, and a feeling that actually, I look pretty great.  My motivation to keep losing that last 5 pounds is waning. 

I need to kick my own ass into high gear this week.  So I'm going back to my roots.  This blog was originally about lessons I learned, and it's time to enumerate them.  I've figured out a lot in two months and I need to remind myself of this.  I'm also setting some goals for the week.  Without further ado, here's a partial list of stuff I know now that I didn't know before:

Order a glass of water with every drink.  It's a way to keep myself hydrated and pace my drinking.  And it cuts my bar tab in half. 

My perfect breakfast: 2 fried eggs, a slice of toast with butter, and coffee with sugar and cream.  After much experimentation, I've discovered that this is the meal that keeps me full all morning.  It's not just the amount of calories.  It's the combination of protein, carbs, caffeine, and fat.  Speaking of which...

I do not fear fat in my food.  Even though I count calories, it's not fat I'm worried about.  It turns out that fat by itself will fill me up appropriately.  It's carbs I fear.  Carbs make me hungry soon after eating.  So now I eat bacon grease and butter, but I go easy on the toast.

A meal doesn't have to involve seconds.  This one is huge.  I didn't even learn it as a lesson, I just changed my behavior without realizing it.  I never have second helpings with any meal at this point.  It doesn't even occur to me to do so.  This, more than anything, is the reason I think I'll be able to maintain a weight, even if I don't lose anymore.

Failure is not scary because failure is just one day out of the rest of my life.  Anyone can recover from one day.  In the grand scheme of life, one day is nothing.  So if I want to experiment with my diet or my exercise plan, or if I get so discouraged that I want to quit, it's ok.  If my diet doesn't work, or if I hate my new exercise, that's ok.  Because it's just one day.  Or one week, even.  I can recover from one week.  After all, in only two months, I recovered from ten years. 

Now.  This week's goals:

  • Track five out of seven days
  • Stay within 1700 calories five out of seven days
That's all for now.  Good luck with your week!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A hidden cost of weight loss

Well I'm back.  I snuck away to Yosemite and Santa Cruz last week for a vacation and a friend's wedding.  I expected to have least a bit of internet time to post updates, but I didn't.  Sorry about that.

I didn't do a weekly weigh in this week, but it has been almost exactly 2 months since I started this project and I've lost a grand total of 8 pounds, down to 151.  It's not a huge amount, but it is about 5% of my starting body weight which means it's definitely enough to have visible results.  And peeps, those results are scary.

When I started this, I didn't have a solid idea in my head of how I wanted to look.  I knew I wanted to be thinner.  I knew I wanted a flatter stomach, slimmer hips, and a total eradication of back fat (back fat!  I hate back fat.).  But I really didn't know what to expect.  The last time I was at this weight, I was 16 and a competitive gymnast.  My body was completely different.  Now, 10 years of hormones and college and growing up later, my body has changed.  It didn't occur to me at the beginning at all, but I'm in completely uncharted territory, body-wise.

I like about 90% of the results.  My stomach is flatter, my hips are slimmer, back fat is gone (HAH!), and I can look at photos of myself and not be annoyed.  But... my chest is smaller too.  I didn't anticipate that and I'm very sad about it.  I had this magnificent 38D rack that I loved (and so did everyone else) and it's slowly but surely shrinking.  Not by much.  I haven't been refitted for a bra yet, but now I'm maybe 38C or 36D.  I don't know.  Also, my waist to hip ratio is shrinking.  I'm not as curvy as I used to be.  Once again, a very scary thing, and something I didn't expect.

The bottom line is that when I began this weight loss process, I thought I knew what to expect.  I was changing my body precisely because I was pretty sure I knew what was coming.  Now, however, I understand that I don't know what's in store for me.  I may or may not have an hourglass figure at the end.  I may end up with thighs 3 sizes larger than my waist (which is the way I am now.  My tailor and I are tight). 

I'm nothing if not an aggressive problem solver, and fortunately the solution to this problem is fairly simple, although not necessarily cheap: buy clothes that fit.  Or tailor what I have.  It doesn't matter that I still have more weight to lose.  It doesn't matter that my shape will continue to change.  The most frustrating part of my morning right now is digging through my closet and coming up with nothing.  Day after day.  Every pair of jeans is far too loose in the waist to be flattering.  None of my blazers sit right on my shoulders.  I look disheveled and I look like I should gain 10 pounds, which I won't do. 

So instead, I'm slowly but surely making many trips to the tailor.  One by one, my jeans are starting to fit again.  I'm cruising thrift shops for tops to wear in my transition period.  And I'm here to tell you that the clothes make all the difference in the world.  There's nothing like pulling on a freshly tailored pair of skinny jeans and seeing my ass in the mirror (and doing a fist pump, because that's how I roll).  It sounds petty, but it's worth it to me to conquer my fear of my body and its future.  I'm showing myself that the new me is unassailably better than the old me.  Because the more I learn that lesson, the less likely I am to go back.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Weekly Weigh In

Starting Weight: 159 (March 17th, 2010)
Today's Scale Reading: 152.2
Weight, as dictated by the trend line: 151.8
Total Lost: 7.2 lb

For the last 2 days, my weight has actually been above the trend line.  It's not a surprise that this has happened.  For the past few weeks I've been coasting on the eating.  I haven't really pigged out much, but I haven't been in calorie deficit mode either.  And then Thursday was a day full of wine tasting in Napa and Friday was a day volunteering at Habitat For Humanity, which was great but did nothing to change the fact that I ate what was probably 1500 calories of burrito deliciousness for lunch.  And then went drinking after.  Yesterday was crossfit.  And drinking.

Bottom line?  Time to get back on track.  I've been partying for basically 4 days straight. 

I discovered, incidentally, that there's something very cleansing about a workout the morning after a party day.  Once I did that, I felt like I had truly put some distance between myself and my party habits and I was ready to get back on track.  And honestly, I was doing really well for most of the day.  I tracked, I ate well, and I made sure I had enough calories left over to have a drink.  The problem was that once I had the drink, I was ravenous.  Does this happen to anyone else?  You drink and get hungry?  I hate that.  I stopped by my local pizza place, which unfortunately only does whole pizzas.  No slices.  They have a personal sized one, which is still way too big.  But whatever.

So.  Sunday.  New week.  New lease on life.  New opportunity to start fresh.  To kick things off, I've got a junk removal team coming over in a few hours to take away some furniture and books I don't need.  I'm half tempted to make weekly stuff purging a habit.  It feels good. 

How do you start off your week?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010



We are officially into the domain of "numbers I have not seen since high school."  And not senior year, either.  The last time I was in the 140s I was a competative gymnast training 8 hours per week.  Well over 10 years ago.


My theme song for today is Puscifer's "Queen B".

This lady got the thickness
Can I get a witness
This lovely lady got the thickness
Can I get a Hell yeah

Have an awesome day.  If you don't do it for you, do it for me, because I'm in the mood to make people happy.  :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Why I'm doing this - Round 2

I originally said that my weight loss goals were motivated by vanity.  I didn't like wearing a bathing suit and I couldn't shop designer clothes because I was right on the edge of being too big to wear them, and most designer duds aren't meant for a pile of curves like mine anyway.

All of that is still true.  And vanity a great motivator.  I tried on an old pair of size 8 leather jeans today.  The last time I tried them on, they didn't fit.  Too small.  Well today, they still don't fit because they're too big!  I won't lie -- I fist pumped for that.

Physically, I'm in really good shape.  I'm not going to say I can do absolutely everything I want to do, but the presence or absence of fifteen pounds isn't going to change that.  I've got ambitious physical goals, and they require dedication and loads of gym time to meet, but they don't really need weight loss.

Today I came up with another reason for my weight loss.  Control.  I want to be in control of my body and in control of how I feel about it.  Before I started this project I was holding my weight steady around 162ish, and honestly I'm shocked.  I can't believe that given what I was eating (and drinking!) I didn't weigh 200.  I want to be able to step on the scale and know why it says what it does.  I want to be able to be confident that I'll see the number I want every day.  I want to know that the choices I'm making around my food and my lifestyle are the right ones instead of guessing.  And I want to get these healthy habits ingrained now, while I'm still relatively young and single and living alone. 

I read other weight loss blogs and there are some people out there doing amazing things.  Raising kids and fighting bankruptcy and fixing marriages and handling a two year migraine and losing weight!  I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for all of them, but that's not who I want to be.  I don't want to be a hero.  I don't want to overcome monolithic adversity to achieve my goals.  I'm lazy, and I want to take the easy way out.*

Also, I'm 26 and I've never been the proverbial hot chick.  A combination of depression, fear of attention, an antipathy towards most of humanity (left over from my teenage years) and a complete ignorance of the rules of fashion and makeup meant that when I had a body to rock, I didn't rock it.  But now I'm old(er), wise(r), and much less poor, which means I can get into much more and much more exciting trouble.  Time to celebrate my life.

*I am pretty sure that no one I know in real life reads this blog.  But if I implied in real life that working out 5 days per week and counting every calorie was easy, I'd be laughed out of the room.  So I'm not saying that.  I'm just saying it's easier to do all those things now than later.

Nobody likes me, everybody hates me...

After reading posts like this, I was so excited when I found shirataki noodles in my grocery store.  On the package, and from various descriptions I've heard, they are the "too good to be true" noodle.  20 calories per serving.  20!  That's it!  For the same amount of pasta, I'd be eating five or six times that.  I grabbed a pack a week or so ago and they've been sitting in my fridge ever since.

Yesterday, while I was wallowing in my cold, I decided it was time to try them out.  I cooked up some peas and broccoli with garlic and soy sauce and red pepper flakes, added the noodles, and ended up with what looked like an absolutely fabulous noodle bowl.  The fact that I had no ginger, chili sauce, or sesame oil didn't look like it was going to matter.  I was staring at a plate of food that was maybe 100 calories and would easily fill me up for dinner.

Triumphantly, I carried my bowl full of stir-fried goodness back to my nest of pillows and blankets on the couch.  I swirled a fork full of noodled tofu, held it up for inspection, and took a whiff.  And honestly, they didn't smell fantastic.  Not terrible, but not odorless, and definitely not on my list of perfume selections.  But whatever.  New food, new experience.  Not one to let a small setback get in the way of accomplishment, I took my first bite...

WORMS!  I'm eating worms!  Why am I eating worms?!  This is digusting.  They're slimy and they crunch slightly and EWWWWWW.

And thus the honeymoon fascination with the shirataki noodles came to a screeching halt.  The flavor was similar to the smell -- not fantastic, but very mild.  But the texture?  Horrifying.  I felt like I was eating a mouthful of night crawlers.  Chewing was even more alarming because the tofu has just enough structure that each bite has a bit of a crunch.

I finished my dinner.  It was tough.  If I'd known what I was getting into I would have saved it for when I wasn't feeling so gross already.  I might give them another shot just because they've got so much bang for my buck calorie-wise, but I'll explore new and undiscovered uses of spaghetti squash in parallel.  I love spaghetti squash, but I've only ever had it with red sauce.  So, next on the agenda is spaghetti squash noodle bowl.  I'll let you know how that goes.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Weekly Weigh In

Starting weight: 159 
This morning's scale reading: 150.4
Official weight, as dictated by the trend line: 152.4
Pounds lost this week: 1.2
Total pounds lost: 6.6

If you saw my last post, you know this week didn't start all that well.  I was suffering from some sort of general malaise.  Well, the week continued to suck.  There was some stress in my life, and then I got a cold, and counting calories was definitely not at the top of my priority list.

Actually it was worse than that.  Tuesday was a Rough Day (TM) and when I got home that night, I ate a whole pizza.  Yeah really.  It was a small pizza, but it had cream sauce.  The thing was, I definitely wasn't hungry for the whole pizza.  I could have stopped at 2 slices and been fine.  I thought about it.  That sort of control was totally in the cards.  I was eating those first 2 slices and my head was filled with thoughts of "if I stop now, my calories today will be fine" and "this really isn't so great for me.  I'm not even hungry.  What will the scale say tomorrow?" and other similarly themed things.

And then I got very angry.  Events on Tuesday fall under the category of Things I Do Not Blog About so I won't share them here.  But suffice it to say they were much more important than what I was eating.  And they left me feeling pretty awful.  And yet all I could think about was calories?!  Are my priorities that skewed?  Am I so obsessed with this new healthy lifestyle that I can't shift my focus to things that really matter? 

All I wanted to do was have a little pity party for myself, get some things straight in my head, and come to terms with some changes in my life.  And I couldn't do that because I was so fixated on the calories of the pizza I was eating.  So, out of desperation, I ate the whole thing.  Not because I wanted to (although it was very good pizza), and not because I was hungry, but because I knew that I would be so far over my limit for the day that it wouldn't be worth worrying about anymore.

The next few days I really didn't eat much, probably because of all that pizza.  And now I have a cold.  So the damage could have been much worse.  But I really don't care.  I'm not prone to binges, and I know I can get back on track this week.  I'm just concerned that this project I'm doing has completely taken over my life to the exclusion of everything else.  I'll be keeping an eye on things over the next few weeks and adjusting accordingly.

Now, onto the good stuff.

I stopped into my favorite consignment shop on Friday to see the owner.  She's a good friend of mine, and I hadn't talked to her in a while.  The first thing she noticed was that I was skinnier.  Woohoo!  And I tried on some clothes while I was there and got an amazing pair of skinny jeans in a size smaller than I normally wear.  Hah!

Thanks to everyone who sent out support on my last post.  I am doing much better, and I expect to continue to rally. 

Let's all kick ass and take names this week.  Who's with me?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Warning: Pity Party Ahead

The honeymoon is officially over.  That wonderful period right in the beginning of a lifestyle change, when you're full of motivation and nothing can stop you... it's done, for me.

It lasted for more than a month, and in that time I lost a full third of the weight I wanted to lose.  For that, I'm grateful.  But I've still got more than half of my work to do, and I'm not even sure that when I get to my original goal weight of 145, I'll be satisfied.  I might want to go lower.

I still want to exercise a lot.  Since I started lifting, I've seen fantastic results with it, and the results are enough to keep driving me to the gym.  I can do things now that I never even thought possible, and I haven't been at this that long.  But the calorie counting is getting old.  I'm sick of trying to guess the caloric cost of every meal I eat.  I prepare a lot of my own meals, and it's a pain to figure out how much of each ingredient is in each serving, and how much a serving even is.  I've been quite diligent about making guesses and tracking everything I eat, and according to my (pretty much made up) numbers, I'm still running a deficit most days, but I don't feel thin anymore.

I'm also in a weird state where I'm sick of being hungry, but I hate feeling full.  I feel awful if I'm full.  Not bloated, but disgusting.  Like I've done something wrong.  My body isn't used to it.  I suppose I should be thankful for that, but right now I can't hit a sweet spot where I enjoy both the meal and the feeling after the meal.  I don't take pleasure in my food the same way I used to, and that makes me angry.  Not all of my eating habits were stellar, but I did legitimately love and enjoy many of my meals, and I used to get a wonderful feeling of satisfaction after some of the best dinners I treated myself to.  I'm not sure that will happen anymore. 

There are some other things going on in my life right now and I won't go into them but they're not helping.  They're making things hard and causing me stress and when I'm stressed my diet and exercise are usually the first casualties.  I haven't given up yet, but the drive to stick with these changes is ebbing. 

I believe in focusing on the positives.  I have completely retrained my body in terms of its relationship to food.  I am adamant about small portions now.  I'll get a third of the way through a restaurant meal and be entirely uninterested in finishing it, even if that first third was mind-blowingly good.  I am still exercising.  I am still losing weight.  Even though I'm hitting a challenge in terms of motivation, I'm still powering through.  For all this, I'm proud of myself.  It gives me hope that some day I won't have to run numbers in my head every time I sit down to a meal.  I won't have to spend my day feeling hungry.  I know what a correct portion size is now, and nine times out of ten, that single portion is enough.

It's hard though, and it's really hard to do this alone.  In real life, there's no one around who is doing something similar.  There's no one to actually discuss all of these issues with.  I have to struggle through them and figure them out by myself, and headstrong though I may be, that's not my favorite option.  I'd give a lot to be able to lean on someone for support right now. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Weekly Weigh In

Starting Weight: 159 (March 17th, 2010)
Today's Scale Reading: 151.2
Weight, as dictated by the trend line: 153.6
Total Lost: 5.4 lb

My loss rate is increasing slightly.  It used to be .2lb/day, and in the past week or so, it has gone up to .3lb/day.  Although I'd love to be done with the loss process as soon as possible, I think this rate is really about as fast as I want to go.  That works out to a bit less than 2lb/week and because I do so much physical activity, I don't want to run a higher calorie deficit than that. 

Among this week's many triumphs was a small event with big payoff: I got three pairs of jeans tailored.  Specifically, I got the waists taken in on all of them.  I've never gotten anything tailored before, but now I'm a complete convert.  It's so nice to have pants that finally fit! least for a little while anyway...

Additionally, well-fitting clothes will instantly make you look slimmer.  Case in point: on Friday, a coworker asked me if I'd lost weight.  Honestly, 5lb on my frame isn't that much.  However, I'd started wearing my freshly tailored jeans, and it makes all the difference.  If you're looking for a way to reward yourself for all your hard work, consider taking your clothes to a good tailor.  It's a great way to show off!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Front-loading calories

Yesterday started out destined for failure.  I got up late, spent far too much time mirror gazing, realized I didn't have any coffee in the house, and then ran to the bus without breakfast.  I stopped at a bagel shop outside my office for a quick bite, and when I got to my desk I realized my bagel had not just butter, which I'd ordered, but also cream cheese.  A bagel with butter is already about twice the normal number of calories I consume for breakfast, and adding cream cheese was going to throw off my whole day.  That meant no snacks in the morning, a very small lunch, probably no snacks in the afternoon either, and then a moderate dinner. 

I was really worried about this because I always have an apple around mid morning to fuel my lunch time workout, and I'm still usually ravenous by 1:30 when I actually eat.  The thought of no snacks was terrifying.  There's only so much hunger I can ignore. 

However, I need not have worried.  Those extra calories in the morning meant I was barely hungry by lunch, even after a metabolic conditioning session at the gym.  I had a small lunch, a small snack, and a small dinner with no problem whatsoever.

This blew my mind.

I know that in theory, my body needs a certain number of calories per day.  It doesn't care when it gets them or what they're made of.  It will assess the calories it needs versus the calories it has taken in and send signals to the brain to compensate for a difference in either direction.  That's the way it's supposed to work, and that's how one maintains a steady weight. 

But let's be honest.  If that system worked for you and me, you wouldn't be reading this and I wouldn't be writing it.  I stopped listening to my body's signals years ago, and I think it just gave up.  To discover yesterday that the system actually functions and that I really will stay full longer if I consume more calories was delightfully shocking.  I feel like I've got a prayer of maintaining my loss (which I'm very excited to tell you about!  The numbers on Sunday will be fantastic!).  I normally have 2 eggs for breakfast and I feared adding to that number because I was worried that with all my fruit snacking during the day, I wouldn't have room.  It never occurred to me that if I ate more at breakfast, I wouldn't need to snack.  It's logical, but I don't trust logic when it comes to my eating patterns.

The bottom line is that this means I'm in control of what I eat, now more than ever.  It also means that every day has a very good chance of being successful on the eating front, regardless of how it starts.  I don't have to spend the morning in a panic, anxiously waiting to get hungry and worrying about when that might be.  Instead, I'm learning to trust my body.  It's a new thing, and I'm very apprehensive, but it seems like it might pay off.

In other news, today a coworker noticed my loss!  According to last week's trend line, it's not even 5 pounds.  I know how snarky that sounds, but let me remind you it took a solid month of working out 5 days per week and counting every calorie to lose just those 5.  I know a lot of people who start with more to lose can shed weight in the beginning like a duck sheds water, but that wasn't me.  As it happens, I've also noticed my loss.  There is significantly less chub around my tummy and butt.  This makes me happy. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Weekly Weigh In

This evening's scale reading: 155
Official weight, as dictated by the trend line: 155.5
Pounds lost this week: .5
Total pounds lost: 3.5

I spent the second half of this week visiting old college friends and intentionally staying off the scale and not worrying about food.  I drank more than normal, but I'm proud to say my portion sizes stayed very reasonable.  I didn't lose much weight this week, which was to be expected.  But I did lose some.  This was definitely a test and as far as I'm concerned, I passed with flying colors. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

On Body Image...

Note: I contacted Sheryl before posting this to get her feedback and permission.  This blog post is Bitch Cakes Approved.

In order to keep myself motivated, I have been reading a lot of other weight loss blogs.  I need to see that other people have done what I'm trying to do (and much, much more).  I like to see their insights about both triumphs and failures.  I like to know that I'm not the only one.

I also like to do things properly, so when I find a new blog that I like, I go back and read all the archives in order, over a period of about a week or so.  It helps me understand the history of the blogger. 

I've been binging on Bitch Cakes for the last few days and loving almost every moment.  First of all, I adore her personal glamour style, and I think she looks absolutely fabulous at about 150ish.  She's got amazing curves that I'd kill for. 

But there was one post that really hit a nerve for me.  She wrote about how, after she'd hit about 160 (I think.  I can't find the entry now) some people were telling her not to lose any more weight and how she was perfect.  And she didn't like being told that.  She was happy that other people were impressed, but her primary goal was not for other people to like her just how she was.  She saw imperfections in the mirror and she was bound and determined to fix them, and whose business is it anyway if that's the choice she wants to make?

I'm not arguing with the sentiment.  It's hard to lose weight and it's hard to hit the gym reliably and I'll be damned if I'm going to sacrifice blood, sweat, and tears only to make someone else happy while not being personally satisfied with the results.  I understand completely. 

But she posted photos of her current progress.  And it turns out that she and I have very similar bodies.  I'm taller, but we both pack on muscle and we've both got curves to make men weep, and barring a horrible illness or famine, neither of us will ever be "slim".  So I was looking at these photos thinking "yep, those are my legs.  I've got those hips.  Thighs that could crush walnuts.... check.  I'll trade you my rack for your stomach, but most of this is pretty familiar territory."  Trouble is, I look at Bitch Cakes and think she looks amazing, and then I see the same thing in the mirror and want nothing more than to change it. 

So then I went back and looked at her photos again and this time I was thinking, "Yeah, I'll bet she wants to slim down here, here, here, and over there."  And that's disheartening.  This weight loss project I'm doing is all for vanity.  I'm already extremely physically healthy, and I just want to be able to wear cute clothes and not worry about muffin tops.  But if someone who looks as amazing as Bitch Cakes does can't be happy with her own appearance, is there any hope for me?

There are are a few things worth mentioning here.  I'm about 4 inches taller than Bitch Cakes, and because of the workouts I do, I have much more pronounced and bulky arm and shoulder muscle.  What looks cute and curvy on a 5'2" frame with makeup, pencil skirts, and a great smile looks intimidating and a bit grotesque on a 5'6" frame with a glare that could wither garlic and enough attitude for 5 people.

Also, I don't dress as well as she does.  I wear jeans and loose tshirts a lot of the time, and never any makeup.  I don't look bad, and for a software developer, I'm certainly ahead of the sartorial curve, but I don't look fabulous.  And on the days when I'm grumpy, boy does it show.

I've had a few days to reflect on my self image and I'm doing things about it.  Operation Self Adoration is about to go into full swing.  First of all, I took 4 pairs of pants in to be tailored this week.  I get them back next week and then maybe I'll have clothes that actually fit.  I'm also thinking it's time for new hair, and maybe I should make a go of makeup. 

But you can have my stacked shoulders when you pry them off my cold, dead body. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Small Victory Celebration!

Time for another one!

Yesterday was not the best calorie day.  I'd done well enough through breakfast and lunch, but I'd been ravenously hungry all day.  I think it might be almost my TOM or something.  Then after lunch, I ate a huge scone with butter, which left me with something like 300 calories to spend on dinner.

Dinner was already being cooked in the slow cooker, and it was pork barbecue, Carolina style.  On the face of it, this may not sound like the healthiest of options, and it isn't.  But a small amount of pulled pork on a whole wheat bun with heaps of broccoli really isn't a bad choice, and it's pretty safe from a calorie perspective.  I guessed about 450 or 500.  That's not 300 calories though, and there was no way I was going to smell pork cooking all day and then not eat it.

I decided to say screw it, I'm eating my barbecue and going over my daily limit by 200 calories or so and it will be fine.

Let me just say I make a mean barbecue.  Dinner was magical.  The victory, however, came after dinner when I realized that even though I didn't stick to my daily limit, it didn't even occur to me to have more barbecue.  I had a single sandwich, it was awesome, and then I stopped eating.  That was it.  No dramatics, no wrestling with conscience. 

One of the things that calorie counting has taught me is portion control, but I never dreamed it would be so ingrained already.  If I looked at two sandwiches on a plate now I'd probably feel sick.

This revelation comes as I'm just about to jet off to Pittsburgh for four days of some good old fashioned college nostalgia and a lot of fried food and very little exercise.  I'd been worried about what this trip was going to do to my weight plan and I knew I wouldn't be able to hit a gym.  But now that I know what "enough" is and I consume "enough" without thinking about it, I am a lot less worried. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Weekly Weigh In and Number Crunching 101

This morning's scale reading: 153.8
Official weight, as dictated by the trend line: 156.2
Pounds lost this week: 1.3
Total pounds lost: 2.8

I've been charting my calorie intake since March 11th but I couldn't chart my weight until March 19th when I finally bought a scale.  My total loss represents a bit over 3 weeks worth of work even though I've actually been at this for a month.

In addition to trending my weight in order to get a more accurate understanding of my loss, I've started keeping track of my 5 day calorie intake average in addition to my daily calorie numbers.  Just as one day's scale reading doesn't mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, 1 day's worth of calories isn't going to tell me much about whether I should be gaining or losing or adjusting what I'm eating.  My handy-dandy google doc now has another chart that looks like this:

I remain unimpressed with Google's spreadsheet functionality.  The blue line represents my day to day intake, and the red line is my average over the last 5 days.  This is useful to me because I need to be maintaining a certain average over time.  When I started this diet, I picked an arbitrary goal of 1500 - 1600 calories per day.  Obviously, I've got work to do.  By looking at these averages, I can get a better picture of what my weight loss is and why.  For example, last week I was losing weight at the rate of .2 lb per day, whereas the week before, I was only losing at half that rate.  Looking at the averages, we can see why.  My averages for the first week hovered around 1800 calories, whereas my averages for the second week were closer to 1600. 

This tells me that if I want to lose a pound a week, I need to average between 1600 and 1700 calories per day.  Why is this useful?  My 1500 cal/day goal was a number I plucked out of the air.  I was fairly sure that if I ate 1500 calories a day I'd lose weight, but I didn't know how much.  I didn't know what kind of a deficit that would be.  Now, based on all this data I've gathered, I know that a 1500 calorie diet would probably lead to a loss rate of a bit over .2 lbs per day.  .2 lbs = 1/5lb = 700 calorie deficit.  Since I know that 1600 calories per day leads to the .2lb/day loss, I know that on average, I burn about 1600 + 700 = 2300 calories per day. 

Let it be known that this 2300 number includes probably 200 - 300 calories of exercise daily.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

So I dub thee unforgiven

Through middle school, high school, and some of college, I was depressed.  Clinically.  I was never diagnosed because I never went to a doctor about it, but looking back it's very clear that that's what was going on.  I was sad all the time.  I had little pity parties for myself.  I played The Unforgiven over and over until I wore out my tape.  I got a lot better in college, and then much better after I left college, got a full time job, got eight hours of sleep every night, ate right, and started exercising.  It was amazing.  I'd never felt that good before. 

I hadn't thought about all of this in a while, but last night a friend was telling me about how he'd seen a girl on the bus with cutting scars all down her arms.  He'd never seen anything like it before.  And as we got to talking about it, I realized he'd never been depressed before.  Not the way I had.  He talked about "feeling low" sometimes, particularly after a bad girl experience, but then he went on to say he was always able to drag himself out of it just by exercising a bit and telling himself over and over again that things weren't that bad, etc.  And I sat there and listened politely and restrained all my impulses to punch him in the teeth.

If you've ever been depressed, you know why.  This kind of holier-than-thou "I can do it, so why can't you" attitude assumed by someone who has no idea what real depression is like is ignorant, uninformed, unintentionally rude, and very frustrating to someone who has been there and done that.  Implicit in this refrain of "I could always get over it" is a judgment.  He may or may not have realized that he was passing judgment on everyone who can't drag themselves out of ongoing despair over which they have no control.  As much as I tried to explain that this is a chemical problem, and trying to outthink your own mind is a losing battle, he just didn't get it.  He couldn't.  And more than that, he didn't understand that he didn't understand. 

I've never been obese and I've never had an eating disorder, but it occurred to me last night that what I went through with depression could be quite similar to what an obese person goes through with food and trying to change their condition.  If that's true, then I start to understand how trying it must be to hear things like "Just eat less." from people who have never had an eating problem.  I'm not going to say that suddenly I understand obesity, but maybe now I'm a bit closer. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

This song is about me

I haven't said why I'm embarking on this little project of mine, and the reason is vanity.  Nothing more.  I am was slightly overweight by medical standards.  (I just checked.  For a woman of my height, overweight is 160 and as of this morning I'm 157.  Hah!).  But my weight wasn't preventing me from doing anything.  I do my Crazy Awesome Sport, as well as some CrossFit style workouts 3 or 4 times per week to support my Crazy Awesome Sport hobby.  I just went to the doctor last week and my cholesteral is low, my blood pressure is low, and in general I'm in excellent health.

However, there are two things that I want and don't have right now. 
  1. A flat stomach
  2. The ability to shop in high fashion stores.  Right now I hover between sizes 10 and 12 which tends to be right around the upper size that most boutiques will stock.  And even if they have those sizes, the clothes generally don't look so good.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Oh yeah...

I turned this blog into a weight loss blog because I had the blog already lying around and I wasn't doing much with it, but the original goal was to record all the strange and wonderful tidbits of information I picked up during my day.  I was moved to create it, oddly enough, because of all the cab rides I used to take.

I do a sport.  It's awesome.  I won't tell you what it is just yet, but I'm very proud of the fact that I do it, and I practice every Monday night.  The trouble with practice is that it's hard for me to get from my gym to my house.  So I used to take cabs home (until I bought a motorcycle.  Long story.  Tell you later).  The cab drivers were always very nice and they'd usually want to talk, and we'd cover all sorts of ground, such as the fact that now that everyone has flatscreen TVs on their walls, it's easy to see what people are watching as you drive by their houses.  And what are they watching?  Porn.

Anyway, tonight I was cabbin' it home (chance of rain.  rain == no motorcycle) and the cab driver was none other than Shang Tsung*.

I know, right?  I thought he died at the end of the movie too, but instead he's in San Francisco driving a cab and using "fuck" like a comma.  And the MK Final Boss lookalike was telling me all about cabbie licensing, and how new cab drivers have to pass a test.  Except his English was a little weird so he was talking about "baby cabbies" and "uncle cabbies" to refer to new and experienced drivers respectively (yes really.  I can't make this stuff up).

The point is, it turns out that cab drivers in San Francisco have to pass two tests: one administered by the driver school or the cab company or someone equally privatized, and the other by the SFPD.  Reason being, the PD want to make sure that licensed drivers actually know where they're going.  So the test apparently consists of drivers getting quizzed on the fastest routes around the city.  Cool, huh?

*Shang Tsung was the final boss in the video game "Mortal Kombat".  The cutie in this photo is Shang Tsung in the Mortal Kombat movie (oh yes they did make a movie) and he generally looks like this: the pouty lips, the heavy eyes... why... he might fall asleep at any moment!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Small Victory Celebration!

Victories are for celebrating.  Even tiny ones.  I intend to do mine justice here, which means if you see a post with a title similar to this one, I've done something I'm proud of and I'm going to brag about it a bit.  Selfish?  Yes.  Necessary?  Probably not.  If they annoy you, just skip on to the next post.

My ski pants are looser!!  The last time I went skiing was probably a month ago, and then they were a little tight at the waist, but now they fit perfectly! 

...And all this with a loss of just 2 or 3 pounds.  See?  It's a small victory, but a victory nevertheless.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Love thyself? Prove it

I've been putting off this post for a bit because I've been lazy and I don't want to do the research it really deserves.  I haven't suddenly grown some extra motivation, but I have figured out a way to write it without scouring the 'net for peer reviewed studies, so here we are.

I didn't spend a whole lot of time reading women's magazines before, and I still don't.  Nevertheless, I do remember an underlying theme of "Love yourself".  Mostly, I remember it being used as an excuse to splurge on eyeshadow and ice cream.  Occasionally, in my little world under a rock, I'd notice a refrain of something along the lines of "accept yourself for who you are.  Love who you are now, not who you want to be." And so on.  Now I freely admit that I wasn't doing anything like due diligence on those articles.  I rarely read them, and I wasn't striving for information retention when I did.  But I've decided that, aggressively uninformed as I am, I'm going to vehemently disagree with them anyway as an excuse to stand on my own soapbox.  See kids?  This is called politics.  It is in this country, anyway.

I never bought into the whole "love yourself" movement.  I thought it sounded dippy.  (Also, I tried and it never worked.  I still hated my tummy flab).  But now I've had time to think about it more and I realize that not only does it sound dippy, it sounds idealistic and uninformed as well.

If you love something or someone, you want it to be happy.  You want what's best for it.  You don't want it to come to any harm.  And specifically, if it's a someone and not a something, you'll go out of your way to protect it.

You don't destroy it.  You don't intentionally harm it.  In fact, you abhor the very notion of any of these things. 

So what is the logic in saying, "Love yourself.  Have some ice cream"?  How is that loving yourself?  Why not "Love yourself.  Have some spinach"?

The reason I'm harping on this, by the way, is that I noticed recently that I finally am much happier with myself, and I'm pretty sure it's due to the fact that I'm taking much better care of myself than I ever have before.  And it occurs to me that almost every time I try to justify ice cream/fried something/bacon grease with the "because you're worth it" reasoning, I feel worse after eating it than I did beforehand.  It's like I know I'm bullshitting myself and it wrecks the enjoyment of the food.

Moral of the story: treat yourself like you love yourself, and you might notice that you actually do.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

An Ode to a Mediocre Burger

Last Saturday started fairly normally for me.  I woke up around 8 (yes, a.m.  Weird, huh?), grabbed breakfast at the local coffee shop, went to the beach for a breakfast picnic, and then headed down to my weekly hour of pain, punishment, and torture, all in the name of exercise.  I came home, grabbed a reasonable lunch (omelet, salad, apple) and then headed out to the local park to enjoy some very gorgeous weather. 

Later that night, I went out to dinner at a restaurant I'd never been to before.  There was a perfectly reasonable chicken dish that was fairly safe, calorie-wise, and I could have had it.  But there was also a burger, and as soon as I saw the menu entry I knew that it would fix everything that was wrong with me.  I was desperate for lots of protein, a few carbs, and no messing about with calories.  I got the burger (with veggies instead of fries, because I really didn't want fries) and a glass of wine. 

The burger arrived.  It was huge.  It sat on my plate like a smug challenge, daring me to break my diet.  I could see the future.  It involved me spending dinner in an all-out war of mastication against my food, in which I was doomed to a) wreck my diet for the day and b) end up feeling more stuffed than a sausage. 

But who am I to turn down a challenge?  I dove in head first and demolished that hamburger.  There was nothing left when I was done.  My victory was sweet and total.  And I didn't feel overly stuffed.  I felt full, but not overfull.  I was shocked.  I felt great.  Warm, fuzzy, and content.  Most importantly, I didn't feel guilty.  I didn't regret what I'd done.  I knew it had been exactly the right thing.  And then I went next door to the movie theater, had another glass of wine, and saw Alice In Wonderland.

I'm not one to look for life lessons in a piece of food, but I got one anyway.  That burger was big, but in my non-calorie counting days I would have eaten it without a second thought.  The burger was good, but nothing special.  But it was exactly what I needed, and when I was finished I felt like I'd done something really special for myself.  When I tried to pin down what that was all about, I eventually realized it was because of the choices I'd made.  I consciously chose something that was outside the boundaries of my normal eating patterns, knowing full well why I wouldn't normally eat it and how much it would push me over my daily limit.  I did it anyway.  It wasn't an "I'm sick of this diet" decision, it was a "I know this isn't what I should do every day, but I also know how many miles I'll have to run to burn it off, and I'm willing to do that" decision.

I used to have to consciously decide to eat healthy.  If I was out at a restaurant I would have to remind myself that maybe cream sauce wasn't necessary, or maybe I didn't need an appetizer.  But that was only if I remembered to think about it.  By contrast, now I automatically evaluate what I'm eating and make healthy choices without really putting much thought into it.  That decision to eat a burger was a conscious decision, and one I didn't take lightly.  And when I made that decision, I felt more in control of my life than I have in the past year. 

Engineers are awesome

Why do I love engineers?  Because they do things like this.  The Hacker's Diet is my weight management bible.  I'm not saying it will work for everyone, and I'm not proselytizing.  However, I will sing its praises because it works for me and because it has equations for calculating daily trend.  Unless you are gaining weight at a rate of multiple pounds per day, your weight will fluctuate up and down from day to day.  What you care about is the trend of your weight.  Does it go up or down or stay the same?  Using trend equations and a handy google spreadsheet, I can see the general direction of my weight.  And it makes me feel better.  Check it out:

The blue line is my weight from daily readings, and the red line is the trend line.  Suddenly those fluctuations don't matter nearly so much, because as long as they're below the trend line, they're still pulling it down.  Hooray!

Friday, March 26, 2010

I'm doing this thing

Yes. Yet another weight loss blog. I need to be held accountable to someone, and the anonymous internet sounds like a good start.

Today I weighed in at 157.6. I have a goal of either 145 or looking dead sexy in a bathing suit, and I'll take which ever comes first. I've been told by my trainer that 145 may not be in the cards at all, but if I stay at 155 and alter my body composition instead, I'll be happy with that.

I've been embracing change lately, which was the motivation for starting this little body maintenance project. I switched teams at work. I moved. I got rid of a lot of stuff. And now I'm trying to get rid of my layer of padding and go from unassuming and cushy to sleek and dangerous. Like going from a Volvo to a Ferrari. I wouldn't mind be ogled by the Top Gear lads either.

The biggest lesson that I've managed to accidentally drill into my own head so far, after a grand total of 2 weeks, is quality over quantity. My "master plan" is to count calories, and suddenly I care a lot more about what those calories are spent on. I've always eaten a lot of veggies because I live a fairly active lifestyle. But if I wanted cake, I'd have that too. Now I can't do that. I have to choose between the veggies and the cake, and I choose veggies every time. I need the vitamins. I need the fiber. I need to avoid the sugar crash.

That last bit, about the sugar crash, is why I'll also choose bacon over rice. I've managed to accidentally start my own super-low carb diet, simply because protein keeps me much fuller. If I can't just eat whenever I want, I need to choose things that will keep me full. Those things turn out to be protein, fiber, and fat. And definitely not carbs.

When I was growing up, I used to get what I now know is postural hypotension. If I spent time reclining and then got up suddenly, my vision would go black. It disappeared years ago, but within a week of calorie reduction, it has come back with a vengeance. Not gradually, but all at once. I find it funny, but also sort of alarming, which is why I have a doctor's appointment next week.