Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Several months ago, I wrote about how I had a life changing epiphany while listening to a podcast. For those that don't know, a podcast is like an out-loud version of a newspaper column. It can be live, although the ones that I listen to aren't.

I listen to many podcasts, but the first one I listened to was Dan Savage's Lovecast, which is a sex podcast. It can be a bit bizarre, but during one podcast, I found a wonderful correlation between my weight and the advice he was giving regarding a sexual question.

I encourage you to read my previous post here.

Dan Savage has many people call up and ask for advice. Since I've listened to just about every podcast that he's put on I've heard him give advice on the topic of break-ups more than once.

Someone will call up and cry about their current relationship and say that they don't want to end it... because what if they don't find someone else? Sometimes someone will call up having been recently dumped and they're sad because they feel like they will never find someone as good as the guy they just had. Even if he was a douche canoe. What if they live the rest of their life alone?

Or maybe someone single calls in discouraged because they just can't find someone they really want to date. They've had many relationships that have failed and they feel that they are somehow intrinsically flawed.

And here's where Dan says something that I've heard him say hundreds of times:

Every relationship fails, until one doesn't.

I know. It seems logical, right?

I mean, when you were a teenager and your heart was broken, didn't you just feel like the world was going to end? Don't you remember those days of despair? What did your mom tell you? The pain will ease. There will be another boy - one who is better, more handsome, and will pass you notes in homeroom.

But the other day, I was listening to it and I realized that that is EXACTLY the same truth for dieting, weight loss, healthy lifestyles, and exercise.

Every attempt we have fails until one doesn't.

Because how many of us "fail" and then wail that we'll NEVER be able to be successful? I know I did.

I've done Atkins, South Beach, The Zone Diet, Weight Watchers, modified fasting diets, the Carbohydrate Addicts Diet, and LA Weight Loss Diets just to name a few. I'm telling you, I have been there. Hell, we ALL have been there

Each time that I would gain the weight back, have a bad week or day, I would think, "This is IT! I can't do it. I'm just supposed to be fat the rest of my life." And with that, I'd stop whatever diet I was on and promptly give up.

Until this time.

In a few weeks, I will have been at this healthy journey for two years. I've started relationships and ended them. I've gained a few pounds along the way (and then lost them again). I've ended friendships and found new ones. I've had losses, layoffs, and letdowns. I've lost 55 pounds in almost two years, a far cry from the 111 I had set out to lose by this time. But I haven't given up.
Don't give up either.

You wouldn't tell a 16 year old that because she had a breakup, she was destined to live alone the rest of her life, would you? You wouldn't encourage her to stay up in her room and brood about how unfair life is.

So let's not do that to ourselves.

Maybe your plan needs tweaking. Maybe you're triggering an old pain with something that is going on now. Maybe you need more nurturing in other areas of you life. Maybe you do have a slow metabolism (hello, unfair life!) and you need to figure out ways to kick start it.

One thing is for certain: There is a better you that is out there. This person is thinner, more confident, more secure, and healthier. And that person cannot WAIT to live life.

YOU are worth loving. YOU are worth caring about. And YOU are worthy of having a healthy relationship with food.

How is having one "bad" day, one gain, or one setback any different than going on a bad first date?

We've got to brush ourselves off and try again. I believe Dan. I believe that every relationship fails until one doesn't. And I believe that if we are honest enough with ourselves, we can make our relationship with health work.

Failure isn't forever. It's just a mindset.

Monday, June 28, 2010

One down, more to go

Joe and I went to Steamboat Springs, Colorado this weekend to celebrate our first anniversary. My friend, Larry, says I can't count it as an anniversary since we're not married, but I say Larry is stupid. :)

Steamboat Springs is about 3 1/2 hours away from Denver and is a quaint little mountain town. Joe and I stayed at a place called the Rabbit Ears Motel...which was a clean and no-frills type hotel. Our room had a balcony that faced the river - which was beautiful. The first night we were there, we decided to open up the sliding glass door and listen to the river run the whole night long. After the taxing events of last week, the solitude and break from the busy world felt decadent.

We chose Steamboat Springs specifically for the hiking opportunity. Specifically, there is a trail that is a 10 1/2 mile roundtrip hike that we wanted to do. Well, really HE wanted to do the 10 1/2 mile hike. I was doubtful that I could complete it, but I figured why not try?

During the hike, we would get to see two waterfalls. This was the first:

Joe and I had heard that it was going to be a tougher hike than just a simple path, but I was not prepared for the grade that it was....this is one picture which shows just how tough of a grade it was...there were times where we had to lift our legs 2-3 feet to reach up to the next food hold.

There were times when I had to take each steep incline one at a time. I'd tell myself to just get over this next incline and then I'd focus on the next. One down, but many more to go.

I'm not going to lie to you...Joe and I made a lot of "old people" sounds when we got back to the hotel. You know the type - the groaning when you get out of the car, the groaning when you stand up, and the sighing of relief when you lay down on the bed.

We had a great dinner that night where I had Peking Duck (something that I had never had before, but I felt adventurous) and then walked around downtown and had a scoop of gelato.

The next morning, we decided to walk around the river just outside of our hotel for a bit of exercise before returning home.

Like I said before, the trip was fantastic...just what the doctor ordered - to celebrate our anniversary (one down, many more to go!) and to shake some of the blues away.

When we got back into town, we were able to gather Chassis' freshly washed beds, her food, and several toys and treats to donate to a favorite rescue of mine. It's still sad - for both of us - and we definitely shed more than a few tears this weekend because we miss her still so much. But we're going through all of the stages of grief as well as can be expected.

I'm looking forward to getting back into our new normal way of life. There are many opportunities that I have passed on over the years because I knew that I had to let Chassis out after work or knew that she needed her medications at a certain times during the day. Now I can take any yoga class I want at any time I want. I can run after work or before work. My schedule is more free. And even though I would trade all of those conveniences to have her back, I think it's okay to make the best of this new found freedom.

Scale this morning says I'm down another pound or so even after eating some wonderful Mexican food last night. So, yet again, one down, many more to go.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I am OUTTA here!

Joe and I are going away for the weekend on a vacation to celebrate our anniversary.

That's right, one year ago tomorrow, I had my first date with the man that captured my heart (I're puking right about now).

Anyway, I'm not sure where we're going or what we'll be doing, but it will be fun and a much needed distraction from our too empty house.

Love to you all - and have a great weekend.

P.S. Because I'm silly in love, look at these flowers he sent me! I'm a sucker for daisies...


The first set arrived in a broken vase with broken stems. A quick call to the florist and I got a replacement arrangement AND they didn't take back the previous arrangement. I put the new set in a different vase and got rid of the ones that were broken...and voila! TWO sets of flowers! :) :) :)

Joe says that I should say that the second set are from my secret boyfriend. Audra and I decided that the secret boyfriend HAD to be Canadian (aren't they all?). I had already decided that his name is George Glass (any Brady fans out there?).

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Another pound down

Tuesday sucked.

But it also was the Virtual Biggest Loser (VBL) Weigh In Day. Since lots was going on Tuesday morning, I just reported my weight from Monday (shhh...don't tell Katy!) and I'm down a pound.

It probably doesn't sound like a big deal, but losing three weeks in a row WITHOUT going to Weight Watchers (but while practicing mindful eating), is a pretty big deal to me.

Some people in the VBL competition have lost a lot of weight each week. One week someone lost 10 pounds and the next week someone lost 11 pounds. IN ONE WEEK. And no, they didn't cut off a limb. I asked.

So my paltry 2.6 pounds so far doesn't sound very exciting by comparison.

But for me, it's consistency that I'm working for this time around. I'm sticking to my guidelines to having a healthy relationship with food MOST days (Friday I didn't exactly do wonderfully).

I'm proud that I'm successful. I'm proud that the scale is showing a smaller number, that my pants and shirts are baggier, and that I feel more healthy. I'm proud that I'm running faster or farther (usually not both). I'm proud that I (at least for the most part) don't feel guilty about whatever I want to long as it fits the guidelines.

And, like I said last week, the truth is my body usually wants the healthy stuff anyway.

Katy wrote a post earlier this week that really got me thinking. It was about how she really wanted all of her readers to get excited about getting into the next range of 10's down. Like, if we're at 209, we should get excited about hitting 199. Or if we're 234, we should want to get to the 220's. And sure, I'm excited about losing weight and getting into the 210's...but after I thought about it, I was surprised to find that the number on the scale is not a motivating factor right now.

Having a healthy relationship to (and with) food is my motivation.

To be clear, I don't think there is anything wrong with tapping into something that motivates you. I think it's GREAT if numbers on the scale or on the tab of jeans motivate someone to action. I mean, we're all human - how is having a healthier body NOT exciting?

As each pound goes down, I am happy. I am proud.

The change, this time around, is that each loss from the week before is symbolic of a small thing that I learned that week. Sometimes it's that I learned that I really didn't have to have that second helping of food to be satisfied. Sometimes it's that going to bed early one night made a big difference. Sometimes it's that the movie was just as enjoyable without the Reece's Pieces. And sometimes the weight loss demonstrates that I listened to my body more - even if that meant getting the full fat scoop of ice cream.

The small losses each week are small because I'm eating wonderful, healthy foods. I've let go of counting points and calories. I've let go of worrying about portions. I just flat out don't feel guilty about what I'm eating. Because of this, I might be eating more decadent foods than I would've - or maybe more than I would've - which means that I'm not having double digit losses. To be clear, there is NOTHING wrong with counting points, calories, carbs, or anything else. I read some of your blogs and see the 1200 calorie deficits and a part of me gets a bit jealous that I'm not doing that. And then I remember that FOR ME, doing that makes me feel crazy. It hypes me up so that I concentrate on numbers more than my feelings... so that is not a good path for me for now. Just like my path may not be right for you right now.

No, I don't have big losses (at least on the scale) these days.

But I'm making some big changes internally. Those changes add up to be a whole new size, a whole new number, and a whole new wardrobe eventually. I still am happy that I am still at notch three on my belt - it's not like I'm a robot devoid of happiness at a smaller size. :)

The thing is, I may get there slower than everyone else in the VBL competition, but I will get there. And along the way, I'll have gained something even better.


P.S. I finally decided to update my weight ticker at the top to show my weight on Tuesday mornings...instead of when I last weighed in at Weight Watchers. It's a big step for me.

P.P.S. Ginger asked what type of dog Chassis did I not include that? She was a Great Dane. Actually, she was a HUGE Great Dane...she was 42 inches from her shoulders to the floor. YIKES! :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Waves of sorrow and comfort

It's no secret that the last 36 hours have been pretty difficult at times.

Like when I walked through the door for the first time since Chassis was put to sleep yesterday morning...and when I realized that there would be no night time walk just before bed.

The thing is, I'm aware of my feelings much more than I ever have been. I think before (as an adult), when I was faced with something that would be painful, I would eat to numb the pain. Or maybe drink a beer or two.

But yesterday, I did neither.

I cried (a lot). I talked on the phone with family and friends (a lot). And I slept (not a lot).

I awoke around 6 PM when I was famished - and I should've been. I hadn't eaten anything since 7 AM that morning. I ate more than I probably would've - but that was more due to me being so hungry than anything else.

I did recognize that I wanted to keep eating. In fact, I wanted to eat every morsel of food that had ever brought me comfort. But we didn't have what I wanted in the house...and I felt too miserable to put on a bra and walk outside. It would've meant changing out of my PJs and that just wasn't going to happen. It seemed like that would take too much effort.

So I laid down again. And I did something I hadn't done in decades.

I sucked my thumb.

I used to suck my thumb when I was a kid. In fact, as pathetic as it is, I sucked my thumb until I was in 4th grade and my parents installed a medieval torture device of sorts in my mouth. It was basically a retainer that had SPIKES on the roof of my that if I put my thumb up there, it would poke it and hurt.


But it worked - I stopped sucking my thumb.

Until yesterday.

The thing is, I found myself strangely UNcomforted by the sucking of my thumb. Here was the thing I had done for hours at a time when I was a kid (and really, my weight issues emerged shortly after 4th grade) to comfort myself.

And it didn't work. It didn't feel comfortable or comforting. In fact, it just felt like everything didn't fit.

So I cried some more and cuddled a stuffed animal and tried to fall asleep.

Strange, really. That the two things that used to give me comfort and shelter from my sorrow didn't work.

Yesterday, I had to develop new skills. I was sad. I was lonely. But I got through it.

I sat with my feelings...without my thumb, without alcohol, and without food. Just me and my intense feelings. It was, to my best recollection, a first.

And you know what? It really wasn't as bad as I feared it would've been. Somehow me acknowledging my feelings - fully - made the tides of sorrow more manageable than I had imagined. Sure, the first wave was a doozy. But by the eleventh wave, I had hope that the wave wouldn't last long. I knew that the sadness would ease just as I know it will come back.

It's a cycle - like everything else. And although I am still very, very sad when the waves hit, it's something that I am getting through.

Your comments mean more to me than I can express. And just like how the waves of sadness wash over, when I check my email and see the kind words that you wrote, the comfort washes over me too.

So thank you.

P.S. TinaM had asked what happened...and I guess I forgot that I had written about her before...just not on this blog. I wrote about her neurological disease on my other blog - and if you'd like, you can read it here. But basically on Monday night, around 1:30 AM, Joe and I realized that Chassis could not and would not lay down. For a dog that spends about 21-22 hours out of the day sleeping, not being able to lay down and get relief from muscle spasms was exhausting. She was stressed, uncomfortable, exhausted, and clearly unhappy. It was a long road to get to this point (the previous post was written almost two years ago), but I know that I did the right thing. In the end, the vet, the vet tech, and two others were in the room with me crying right along side of me.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

RIP Chassis

Sorry I've been MIA today.

This morning, I made the incredibly hard decision to put my dog, Chassis, down.

I'm sad. Very, very sad.

I've tried to take care of myself today - by sleeping when I needed to and reaching out to friends when I needed to. Unfortunately, Joe couldn't be there and this is one of the days where he has to work 14 hours.

So I'm here alone - just like I have been for the past 10 hours.

Have I mentioned that I'm sad?

So, even though it's cheesy - here are a few pictures of the best dog ever (I may be slightly biased):

Chassis as a puppy (probably around 9 weeks old here):

Chassis at 6 months old (and around 100 pounds):

Chassis, Joe, and I in my mom's kitchen over Thanksgiving 2009:

Chassis a few weeks ago when I was supposed to have done a review by a company that rhymes with Schmebreze. They cancelled the review, but I loved this picture because it shows how big she actually was (yes, those are full size bottles of air freshener next to her):

And - one of my favorite pictures of her as a puppy...she eventually grew into those paws. :)

RIP Chassis - May 25, 2005 - June 22, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

I need your advice

Thank you for all of your kind comments from this weekend's post. I was able to get it back on track Saturday and Sunday. Both Joe and I have been exhausted lately so it really helped that I got quite a bit of sleep. I ended up taking a LOT of Advil over the weekend because the headache would pop up just when I thought I had it licked. I also make sure to drink extra water, just in case. I'm usually pretty good about water intake as a first response to headaches, but I made EXTRA sure. :)

So, I'm hoping to get your advice on something else...something that you all probably have a lot more experience with than I do.

Joe has gained weight since Thanksgiving. He's now 165ish instead of the 150ish that he was when I met him. Can I tell the difference? Yes. He now has a belly where his 6 pack used to reside. But do I care? No. If he's healthy, I don't care about him being a bit heavier (but still in the normal BMI range).

But he cares. He cares a lot.

This weekend he talked about it several times (albeit in short conversations) where he was remarking on how sluggish he feels and how he doesn't like the way he looks. Of course, I gave him verbal and physical praise (please, that's like the one thing a fat girl KNOWS how to do), but I felt a bit helpless because I wasn't sure what I should do. Should I suggest things to him? Should I give him advice? Should I tell him that he looks great just as he is?

In the end, I said that I wanted to be supportive of his any goal he has to be healthier -mind, body, and spirit, but that I wasn't sure how supportive he wanted me to be AND I wasn't sure how he wanted me to show my support. He basically said, "Okay. I'll think about that" which left me not knowing.

We did have an interesting conversation where I asked him what he did to lose the weight before (about a year and a half ago, he lost the same 15 pounds). He said that he worked out a lot. I asked him if he changed anything about his diet and he said no, and that he didn't want to. (aside: Joe eats healthfully - he just eats more than what any one person could or should need.) He said that if he ate differently or less, he would feel miserable and would be grumpy.

So his game plan? Start working out often again. "Often" means every morning and an evening or two during the week.

Here's what I'm doing:

  • When I cook, I'm cooking less. I notice that if I cook three servings of something, Joe will inevitably finish off the last bit because he doesn't want to "waste it." And yes, I've told him that it's a waste to have it go to our waists, but he disagrees. I've cooked extra so that we have something to take to work for lunch, but if he eats it it never makes it to the fridge. It seems to me like either way, I'm out a lunch for the next day, so I might as well just cook less in the first place.
  • I'm working out with him. This morning, we got out of bed early and I ran a quick two miles while he worked out. I might not want to do this every morning, but I was happy to do it today.
  • I'm setting our bedtime as an earlier time. Because we live Downtown, Joe prefers to walk with me when I take the dog out for the last time at night. I appreciate his concern for my safety, but it usually means that we go to bed around 10:30. So when the alarm goes off in the morning both of us would rather sleep in until 6. So the past few nights, we've taken the dog out earlier so we've been able to get to bed earlier.
  • I'm not baking or buying extra sweets at the store. I would usually do this because I knew it pleased him, but I don't want him to feel like I'm sabotaging him, so I will stop.
  • I'm being more vocal about me being hungry (and then eating) or me NOT being hungry and then not eating. I know that he knows my plan, but it is also my hope that he might think about this a bit more - it wouldn't impact what he eats, but rather how much of it that he does eat.

What else do you think I can do to support?

Has your partner ever gained weight? If so, what did you do? Were your attempts successful?

Also, when we go out to restaurants, I order what I truly want. But sometimes, I only eat a third of what is on the plate. He sometimes eats the remainder of my food in addition to his food. What do I do in this situation?

Like I said, *I* don't care that he's a bit heavier. But because I love him, I want him to be healthy AND I want him to feel loved for who he is. I think my issues with food and weight have me discombobulated as to how to be supportive but not be personally invested in his mood regarding weight. I'm not co-dependent about anything else with him, so I don't want to start now.

All suggestions would be MUCH appreciated.

Also, some of you have been asking about mindful eating and how to do it. I saw this post from one of the blogs I read's great - it goes into 12 habits for a more mindful eating practice. No matter what plan you're on, I think following these 12 steps will help you feel more in control and more balanced. Or at least that's what I always come away feeling. I also recommend the site that it comes from - that's where I've gotten some great yoga poses that help rejuvenate or calm me, depending on what I've needed at the time.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Yesterday I ate like complete crap pretty much all day.

I didn't feel good, but somehow wanted the extra food to decrease the pounding headache that I had had for three days straight.

It didn't fix it.

I knew it probably wouldn't.

But I still couldn't stop eating.

This roller-coaster of eating well and then not eating well is killing me. I feel like I just can't catch my breath - in one way or another.

I'm trying to figure out what feelings I was tampering down with the extra food, but I'm not coming up with anything.

So today, I start anew. Again.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes

Note: this post is not about weight loss, but it is about my life. Feel free to skip it if you wish...but I just didn't feel right in not writing about it.

A year ago today, I met my Joe.

See, I had finally decided that I was ready to try to start dating again. And, because I am fairly impatient, I'd decided that internet dating wasn't really for me. Believe me, I gave internet dating a good go, but in the end, it was like a roller coaster. You get your hopes up by email - hoping that this guy is as fabulous as you think he is and when you meet in person, you crash when you realize that the chemistry just isn't there.

So, I figured I'd rather meet a guy, have a conversation, share a few smiles, and then decide that I liked him enough to continue dating him. You know, like how they did in the olden days. Only without the square dancing.

So I signed up for a "Speed Date" night. In truth, I had tried it once before and had less than desirable results. When I went the year before, I was very heavy and felt SO unattractive. I made jokes, I smiled, I tried my best to flirt, but the only person who picked me to date again was a pastor. And I'm so not even kidding.

(Small aside: So after the speed dating event the first time, I had to go to the bathroom. Overheard from the other stall in the women's bathroom :
Woman A: UGH that was so embarrassing!
Woman B: What?
A: Well I was talking to this guy and I was telling him about my job.
B: Uh-huh...
A: And then he said "Well, my job is really interesting too!"
B: Uh-huh...
A: And I said, "Are you in porn?" And he said, "No. I'm a pastor."
B: Oh.
A: So then I said, "Oh GOD! I'm so sorry - did I just sin? Oh God! I did it again. Oh...gosh! I keep taking His name in vain!"
B: Oh no!
AND........... SCENE! )

But, because in addition to being impatient I'm a slow learner, I decided to go again.

I was told to sit at table #2...which I figured was a bad sign. I mean, who wants to sit at the poop table?

But I did anyway. My first date of the night? Joe. We joked, we talked about books, and laughed about a horrible painting on the wall. I told him that I worked with valves (I do...and it's just as exciting as it sounds) and he said that he would call me "Valve Girl." I asked if he could shorten it to "ValveGrrl" because that sounded cooler and more street savvy. He laughed and said yes. When our time was up, he moved on to the next table and that was it.

Later that night, we were able to pick who we wanted to see again and to be honest, I almost didn't pick anyone. I *thought* that if you didn't pick anyone, you got to go again. But then I read the fine print and saw that you only got to go again for free if no one picked you. I had already had an alert that someone had picked me, so I figured that I'd go ahead and pick the two guys that I was slightly interested in.

Which brings me to my first lesson: TAKE A CHANCE ON PEOPLE - even if you think that they might not be worth it.

Joe emailed me right away via the website address and we quickly exchanged "real" email addresses and phone numbers. What could go wrong?

A few days had gone by, I hadn't heard from him, so I decided that he had changed his mind. "No big deal," I told myself. "I wasn't that into him anyway."

The thing is, he DID send an email. And the email started out as "Dear ValveGrrl:" which my gmail account had decided was clearly spam. His email was in my spam box and I never even checked.

So now, from Joe's perspective, I'd just blown him off. And in a way that is COMPLETELY uncharacteristic of him (usually he would've just let it go), he called me several days later because he was peeved.

I answered the phone, in my old place that had virtually zero cell phone reception and actually completed the entire phone call. During which, I learned that he is absolutely one of the funniest people I'd ever had the privilege to talk to.

So my second lesson? If you want something, go after it...risk rejection!

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Sure, we've had some when I was on the Nuvaring and almost ripped his face off on a regular basis due to hormone imbalances, but for the most part, it's been wonderful, ideal, and absolutely fantastic.

I love this man, with all of my heart. And some days? I can't believe that I got so lucky to have him in my life as my partner. He supports me, loves me, and motivates me. In the storm that is sometimes my life, he is the safe shelter.

And today, I'm celebrating the fact that I've been lucky enough to just have known him for a year. Tonight we're going to the restaurant where we had our first date (which was actually on the 26th, but we're planning on being out of town next weekend).

A little over a month ago, we talked about our living situation. I sold my place in April and although I had every expectation to move out and find a new home, I found that after a week or two, I just didn't want to. So we talked and we decided that we both were really happy...and that we didn't want to live apart from each other. So, yes...we're officially living together. And now we're talking seriously about marriage and kids.

Honestly, my life has changed so much in the last year. I can't wait to see what the next year brings! :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What I don't want

We all do a lot of thinking, blogging, and talking about what we do want - out of our lives and our bodies.

We want to look great in swimming suits, to be able to have babies, to walk, to run, or to have sex without shame. We want to shop in the smaller stores, to turn heads, and to see space between our thighs.

But I don't think we do a lot of talking about what we don't want.


After I graduated from college, I decided that I wanted to do something about my weight. I don't know exactly what I weighed at the time, but was wearing size 20s and 22s pretty regularly.

I lost weight and got down to where I was wearing mostly 10s and 12s. I started dating one of my friends (who to this day is a dear friend of mine) and ended up gaining some of the weight back.

I moved to Colorado and weighed in the 190s/200s.

I started dating Mr. Perfect (or so I thought at the time) and became very, very miserable. Because my weight seemed to be such a big issue in our relationship, I gained MAYBE 5 pounds during the year we dated - I kept it pretty closely in check.

But after we stopped dating? That's a whole other matter altogether.

I gained weight. Scratch that. I gained A LOT of weight. To the tune of 90 pounds.

Because after all, how do you get over the idea that someone didn't want you because you just weren't good enough? I couldn't. I just couldn't bear thinking that what I had always believed about myself REALLY was true.

I just wasn't good enough. I probably never would be.

It took 5 years to put on the 90+ pounds, but I did it. I encased myself in a layers of fat so thick that no one would want to come close to me. And if they did? At least they'd know what they were getting into. I was fat. Any potential beau shouldn't expect me to be otherwise.

I dated a guy that I loved who ended up cheating on me. My self confidence was as low as it ever had been and I saw no way to climb out of the hole I was in.

During this time, I went to a restaurant to celebrate a birthday with some friends of mine. I had dressed up a bit and felt less like a fat cow than I normally did. We had Mexican food and margaritas. Maybe life still kind of sucked, but it sucked LESS that night.

On my way to the bathroom, I noticed someone at a table that I knew. It was The Babe...a girl that was friends with Mr. Perfect. I hadn't seen her in years. To me, she looked exactly the same and my face actually broke out into a smile just at the sight of her. I wanted to rush up to her table, and say hi - to tell her that I thought of her every once in a while. I wanted to thank her for her kindness after my relationship with Mr. Perfect ended. I wanted to hug her and find out how she was.

I even took a step in the direction of her table.

But then complete and utter dread washed over me. I froze. I had gained a whole Olsen twin since I had last seen her. What would she think? Would she tell Mr. Perfect that he dodged a bullet - saying something like, "You thought she was fat before, well WHOA NELLY is she fat now!" Would she scan my body and then meet my eyes where I could see disappointment in them?

Maybe became probably. Probably became definitely.

I turned around and asked the closest waiter directions to another bathroom. I returned to the table completely flustered and broke out in a clammy sweat. I prayed that when she walked by our table (which was semi close to the entrance of the restaurant), she wouldn't see me.

She didn't. Or if she did, she didn't stop.

Even though my friends were still having a fun time, I left shortly after returning from the bathroom. I stopped by a Burger King on my way home and ate until I almost burst.

I hate even thinking about that day. And it was a little over 2 years ago.

Although I have a great handle on what I do want these days, I know - without a doubt - that I never want to feel that again.

It's taken a while, but I now know that I'm not something to be ashamed of and am not someone to be hidden away in a corner.

I want to not worry about my body or how others see it. I want to have the light inside me glow with happiness when I see a kindred spirit. I want to be more than just my body or a number on the scale.

Luckily, thanks to the interwebs, we've been able to reconnect - and hopefully we'll get to meet up this weekend for the chat that we missed out on. I passed up my chance to catch up with someone I actually genuinely liked and cared about because of my weight.

I won't let that happen again. Not with her, and not with anyone else.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I am a winner!

In general, I am unlucky.

Like, you know those silly church raffles where you pay $1 and hope to win a basketful of Michael Bolton cassette tapes or a maybe even a monogrammed Bible cover? Well, despite entering about eleventy hundred church raffles, I never matter how times (or how genuinely) I sang "He's Got The Whole World (In His Hands)." For those that know the song I'm talking about, you should take note that I EVEN DID THE HAND MOTIONS TO THAT SONG. And what did I get for my troubles? NADA. You'd think that I would've at least won a pencil with "Jesus Loves You" on it. But NO!

Or how about when the emcee of a conference encourages you to look under your chair for a colored piece of paper taped to the bottom... clearly indicating that you've won something cool like the "Back to The Future" Trilogy? Yeah. Despite my best attempts, I've never sat in that chair.

I've never won anything on a lottery ticket and I never get a parking space close to the front of the store. I always pick the security line at the airport with the most anal retentive TSA agent. I've never gotten two of anything at a vending machine due to malfunction of the coil.

What I'm trying to say is that, in general, I'm unlucky.

But folks, not today. Or maybe yesterday. Because Sam over at Believe in Yourself hosted a blog makeover and MINE was selected.

I *could* be more excited, but they'd probably ask me to leave work because I'd be piddling all over the carpet in my cube. And no, that's not code for anything.

I don't know how long it will take to sport my new look, but I think we can all agree that a new look for this blog is VERY overdue.

Thank you, Sam! You totally made my day. Also, you just proved that maybe, just maybe, Jesus DID like the hand motions. In fact, delayed satisfaction is probably what Jesus has been trying to teach me all along.

Some of this post actually first appeared on my other blog. I feel a bit I stole something. But then I remembered that if I did steal something, I actually stole it from me. So now I feel righteous AND offended. Great. Thanks, Jesus.

The Guidelines

I'm sorry I was absent yesterday. I totally have a note from my mom excusing me though.

Yesterday was week 2's weigh in for the VBL (Virtual Biggest Loser Competition) that I'm "competing" in.

I'm proud to report that even after eating a delightful gnocchi dinner (complete with a very salty garlic bread and cream sauce) on Monday night, I was still down 1.2 pounds yesterday morning from the week before. Obviously, when you eat a sodium packed meal such as I did, you're likely to retain if I were a betting person, I'd say that I'm probably down a bit more than the 1.2 that the scale showed.

Whatever, I'm totally taking it.

I wrote about it this weekend (because I kind of broke my own guideline of letting go of the scale), but I feel great that I'm down weight while still enjoying the foods that I love. Amanda mentioned this in her comment, but I think that my wanting to check my weight is because I'm still checking to make sure that my eating plan "works."

So what is this plan? Well, I've talked about it before in some general terms, but here we go - here are the guidelines that I follow as much as I can (taken from Geneen Roth, author of "Breaking Free From Compulsive Eating" and "Women, Food, and God"):

  • Eat when you are hungry.
  • Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
  • Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversations or music.
  • Eat what your body wants.
  • Eat until you are satisfied.
  • Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.
  • Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.
The one I struggle with the most is eating without still feels so unnatural. But I'm working on it.

Anyway, the 1.2 pound loss is really just some great feedback that what I'm doing not only feels good to me emotionally, but that I'm also getting the benefits of my body being at a healthier weight.

Sure, I've had stuff like ice cream, chocolate, M&Ms, full fat cheeses, potatoes, and chips. But I've also had a lot of veggies, whole grains, fruits, and lean proteins.

It's (GASP!) a balanced eating plan.

It's also helping me realize that the emotions that I have (those that I would usually turn to food to comfort) still need to be dealt with. I'm working on that too.

I'm happy. I feel healthy. I feel in tune with my body. And I'm finding that I don't hate my body any more.

Life, right now, is pretty frickin' great. I'm just saying.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I'm that kind of girl

I've often made a joke from the phrase "I'm that kind of girl" or "I'm not that kind of girl." Usually it's when someone says something totally appropriate, but I deliberately misconstrue it to be something dirty. Classy, I know. My mom is oh-so proud.

But lately, I've started to wonder if there is more to my funny saying.

For instance, like most kids who are overweight, I learned at an early age to be funny. When you're funny, people seem to like you more - or at least they're quick to ignore the 100 extra pounds on your frame. When you're funny, people invite you to events - and somehow that always made me feel like I was providing a service. It made me feel like I was earning my spot at the table so to speak. So for most of my life, I've been the funny girl and have been happy to have that title.

Oh, I've had other titles:
"The girl with the pretty face."
"The girl with the loud laugh."
"The girl who is smart."
"The girl with the bright red hair."
"The girl who drives the MINI."
"The girl with the huge Great Dane."

I'd take almost any title as long as it wasn't "the girl that's fat." Maybe that's why I tried so hard to have the other titles - so at least they could use those instead of "fat girl" to describe me.

The problem with titles is that it's easy to hold onto them. It's easy to let a title completely define you without even knowing it.

For instance, without much effort, I became:
"The girl who finishes all her food."
"The girl who doesn't order light beer."
"The girl who eats alone at night."

At Dairy Queen, I was "the girl who orders the blizzard with a ton of stuff mixed in." And at drive thrus I'd be "the girl who always biggie-size's her meal." To Chinese restaurants, I'd be "the girl who gets an entree, egg rolls, and crab wontons." It's really embarrassing when you're ordering and the gal at the counter KNOWS that you want all the extras without asking for them.

Up until about a year ago, I was "the girl that doesn't date, but that's okay because she is totally fine being by herself. She doesn't need anyone anyway." I wanted to project the image that, like Simon and Garfunkel, I was an island. I didn't need anyone or anything. The whole, "I am woman, hear me roar," kind of girl.

Maybe I didn't really want those titles...but I always lived up to them all the same.

These days, I'm realizing how freeing it is to lose the titles along with the weight. And it's nice to try on new titles - just to see if I like them.

Now, in addition to the first titles I listed, I'm also:
"The girl who always orders her food with mushrooms added to it."
"The girl that tries new vegetables."
"The girl that runs."
"The girl that walks her Great Dane a few times a day."
"The girl who drinks a lot of water."
"The girl who loves full fat cheese."
"The girl who has a nice rack."
"The girl who turns heads."

and most recently:
"The girl who realizes that she loves Joe with all her heart."

The last one? It's a doozy.

I've always been independent. My father hurt me in ways I don't always blog about - but he taught me to keep men at an arm's length. Get too close and you'll be cut by his sharp words and harsh criticisms. Between him and my hovering/smothering mother, I learned at an early age that being alone felt better.

So wanting to be with Joe as often as I do is a completely foreign thing to me. He is my best friend. He is a source of great support and comfort. I'm still my own person, but with him by my side, I feel like I can do anything. He's not judgemental, he's not mean, and he is completely supportive of me, my dreams, and my ambitions.

Whether it's going to a library book sale (as we did this weekend) or coming up with silly names for bands, we have a fun time. I can't think of anyone I'd rather spend time with.

Oh, I still have my own time to hang out with friends as does he. I'm still my own complete person. But I am realizing that trusting someone else with your heart is scary at times, but is also unbelievably freeing.

I never thought I could have this kind of I gave myself the title of "The girl who doesn't deserve real and fulfilling love." I told myself that I should learn to live alone for the rest of my life - because that's probably what was going to happen anyway. I believed that to my core.

Having the courage to shed a title AND having the courage to pick one up is pretty powerful stuff.

I now know that I'm worthy of true love. I know that I am worth being treated well. I know that I am a good person. It's taken me 33 years to say those things, but I know that they're true.

How did I get there? Therapy. And lots of it. My therapist does a lot of EMDR therapy because let's just say that I have had more than a few traumatic events in my life that shaped the shame that I lived with day in and day out. If you want to know more about EMDR or how it can help you, PLEASE let me know - I'm happy to share that gift with anyone.

I had to love myself first - before I could truly enjoy the benefits of being loved by someone else.

AND I had to love myself first before I could really start losing the weight for good.

What titles are you shedding these days? What are ones you're picking up?

Me? I'm striving to be:
"The kind of girl that is healthy - mind, body, spirit."
"The kind of girl who eats when she's hungry - and only when she's hungry."
"The kind of girl who listens to her body."
"The kind of girl who stops eating when she's no longer hungry."
"The kind of girl who realizes that she is enough, just as she is."

Yeah, I want to be that kind of girl.

...and maybe, just maybe someday I'll have the title of Mrs. Joe, too. ..but we'll see about that.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Random thoughts

Happy Saturday!

I had more than a few thoughts jumbling around in my head this morning as I was getting ready and thought that I'd share them with you:

First, if you haven't read Lyn from Escape from Obesity's recnet post, I encourage you to do so now. I read it yesterday at work and was realizing just how eloquently she was able to put what I've been feeling lately. Just because you don't have a perfect day or meal, it is okay! You can do this - and the momentum that you've already built up to this point will carry you through. I've been reading a lot of blogs lately and it seems like their authors "slip" up and then they beat themselves up. I know that's been me in the past - and if that's you, I really encourage you to get a fresh perspective by reading her post.

Second, this morning I totally cheated. I weighed myself. It's just that I've been feeling so great these last few days that I thought started wondering if I was delusional. I mean, I know that eating chicken fried steak, hash browns, and grits (Keelie - yes, you're totally right - it was Cracker Barrel!) isn't exactly the diet of champions. So I figured that maybe I should check the scale to find out if I had been damaging my body.

I drug the scale out of the closet, stepped on, and held my breath. And found that I'm down 2 pounds since Tuesday.

To be clear, I don't exactly eat like crap all the time - or even most of the time. True to form, I followed the Cracker Barrel night with lots of fruits and veggies the next day. But I've been on what I feel is the most decadent plan out there - because I get to eat exactly what I want when I'm hungry.

To clarify, yesterday all of our bosses were out of town so at work, it was just 4 of us peons. One lady in my office decided to go and get lunch at a nearby Sonic. She came back with chicken fingers, fries, and a huge milkshake. "Anne - it's buy one milkshake, get a second one FREE at Sonic! You don't even have to buy them both at the same time - they'll give you a coupon for the second one to use later! You should go get one!"

And as I saw her, suck on her straw, my mouth literally started salivating. It was hot outside, and I could practically taste the smooth, silky, sweet treat sliding down my throat. I wanted a milkshake. I wanted one BADLY. After all my hard work, didn't I deserve one? I wanted one RIGHT THEN. Besides, the word "free" gets me wanting to eat anything every time.

But I stopped - and did a mini-body scan. Was I even hungry? No.

So I didn't go and get a shake.

On my plan, I don't eat or drink everything I want whenever I want. But I do give myself permission to have anything I want to have - I just have to be hungry first.

Joe and I went to breakfast this morning and I got the same thing I usually do. I paused halfway through the meal and did another scan - was I still hungry? No. So I stopped and took the rest home to go. I wasn't full, but as I'm experimenting with this, I'm realizing that I don't enjoy the feeling of being full. I like stopping just before full.

I realize that many people may be on a points or calories counting plan where they are doing the same thing - eating half of their food and turning down milkshakes. I used to do the same thing when I was following the Weight Watchers or calorie counting plans too. But when I did that on those plans, I ate half because that's all I could have. My diet told me so.

Now I eat half because that's all I need to feel no longer hungry (note the difference between no longer hungry and full).

The results are the same but the mindset is completely different. And even if that's complete bunk, it is working for me.

Having written all of this, I'm disappointed that I hopped back on the scale this morning. I think part of this plan is the idea that I want to follow is to trust myself and how my body feels. Logically, I know I don't need the scale. But mentally, I wanted it.

I won't weigh again until Tuesday - and even if the number is different than what I saw this morning, I'll be happy. Happy that listening to myself both feels great and has wonderful results.

For now, that's enough.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The trip of a lifetime

I came across this quote recently, and it struck me as really profound:

Your body is the baggage you must carry through life. The more excess the baggage, the shorter the trip.
~Arnold H. Glasgow

Perhaps I find it profound because I think that I found the man I want to marry. Or maybe it's because my biological clock is ticking louder as each moment passes.

Whatever the case, I think that the idea that what I've done to my body all of these years can and will have a profound affect on my life for years to come is haunting.

I know people who are trying to get pregnant now that can't due to their weight. It's heartbreaking to see her month after month get her hopes up only to have them dashed by Aunt Flow.

I know people who have had kids and yet can't play with them because they can't get up and move. And it makes me sad - both for the kids who desperately want to play but are told to just sit inside and watch more TV AND for the parents who can't possibly be happy knowing that their size is impacting their kids' abilities to play and experience the world.

I don't want to be like that...not it I can help it.

I don't want to overstuff myself on my honeymoon such that even the thought of sex makes me want to urp. I don't want to tell my kids that it's too hot or cold outside to go, run, play, or ride a bike.

I want to go hiking or skiing or kayaking with my husband on our honeymoon. I want to return from a day or afternoon of activity, take a shower, and then make love with all of the passion and energy we can muster.

I want to be the first to teach my kids how much fun climbing trees and wriggling in the grass can feel. I want to teach them how to build snowmen and make snow angels. I want to give piggy back rides, help them build forts in the living room, and play hopscotch.

I'm 33 now, not married, and not pregnant (not that I'm currently trying). I don't know what age I will be when I actually HAVE kids, but whatever it is, I know that I will be one of the older moms at PTA meetings and graduations. I don't want my child(ren) to have to pay for my being older AND fatter.

Glasgow was right. If we only get one trip, I want mine to be long, filled with lots of awesome scenery and experiences. And I want my trip to be as healthy as possible so that I'm able to enrich the lives of others - my future husband, my future kids, and (God willing) their families too.
If this is my trip, I want it to be worth the cost.

I mean, I wouldn't plan a trip and deliberately ask for the middle row on an airplane or a seat right next to the bathroom, right? Of course not! So why would I sabotage my own trip in my body by filling it with foods and things that make it harder to be as healthy as I can be?

Suddenly my own stubbornness to not learn new ways to cope with stresses, heartbreaks, and fears seems selfish and unbelievably sad.

So I'm vowing now to make the most of this trip - however long it is. To me, that means moving my body to the best of it's ability and fueling it with the things it really wants and needs.

This is my trip and it's going to be great.

Who's coming with me?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

One "good" day makes all the difference

It's been months and months since I've had a day that I was completely "on plan." When I was following Weight Watchers regularly, a "good" day was easy to identify. It was a day I hit my points exactly.

I can probably count on one hand how many times that has happened in the last year and a half.

What I didn't realize is that when I told myself, basically every day for the last year and a half, that I WASN'T doing the right thing, a lot of guilt built up. Even when I'd tell myself to forgive myself, I'd still feel this twinge of disgust. For me, the need for binges build up quickly and easily when I feel too restricted, too chastised, too fat, and too shameful.

What is it that sets us off when we don't eat 100% on plan?

Moreover, isn't it interesting how one "good" day can make anything seem possible?

Yesterday, I actually had a great day. I started the day off with an iced chai tea because I was hungry and I knew that I had a slew of meetings that I would have to attend upon arrival at work. I also knew that I hadn't packed anything readily available and I didn't want any of the "on the go" snacks I had in my car or drawer at work. So I stopped and got a the chai tea latte. Maybe I didn't savor the it quite as I could've, but I enjoyed it.

That kept me satisfied until about 10 am. And then I thought, "Crap! Lunch is in two hours! I probably shouldn't eat anything substantial. I don't want to throw off my whole day!" But I realized that that was silly. I didn't WANT to settle for a Fiber One bar or microwave popcorn at my desk. I wanted something really good and tasty. I had about 3/4 cup of nonfat Fage yogurt with fresh blueberries, blackberries, agave nectar, and a package of Nature Valley granola bars in it. DIVINE.

That kept me satisfied until around 2, when I was hungry. I had two slices of a individual pizza that I had ordered a few days ago from a local pizza place (margarita pizza: tomato slices, tomato sauce and a few slices/circles of mozzarella cheese). At the end of that, I was still hungry so I had a few small slices of a wedge of Gouda that I brought to work (along with a handful of crackers).

THAT kept me satisfied until I met a friend for dinner after work. I ordered something that I always stay away from - chicken fried steak. I had about 60% of it, 75% of my hashbrown casserole, some grits, a cornbread muffin, and about a half cup of coleslaw. What can I say? That is precisely what I felt like eating. No, I didn't have a ton of veggies today, but yesterday I had almost all veggies all day (as that is what I felt like eating then). And right now? I'm not stuffed. I'm actually happily comfortable.

Now, I know some of you are thinking "JEEZ lady! Count up the points/calories, I'm sure you'll be WAY over what you should be! Why, exactly, are you proud of yourself?"

It's because I'm completely satisfied.

Maybe I did gain weight today. Maybe I did go overboard. But I ate exactly what I wanted. I ate only when I was hungry AND I stopped when I was no longer hungry.

THAT is my plan.

And just like how I got a ton of exercise in on Monday because my body felt like moving, I feel great that I listened to my body. Typically when I have more calorie dense days, it's followed by a day where I don't eat as much. Maybe that will be the case tomorrow.

I'm not weighing myself daily. I refuse to be a slave to the scale and to hyper analyze the numbers it says (as I am wont to do). I'll weigh myself next Tuesday for the VBL weigh in and then adjust my focus if I need to then.

What feels good is that my eating today was mindful. I'm proud that I ordered what I really wanted - even if it was something that my mom would've told me that I couldn't have. That many starches for side dishes? No way was that acceptable when I was growing up. If I would've tried to order that in front of her (even now) I would've gotten at least a disapproving look and (when I was younger) her telling the waiter that I wanted maybe some green beans or fresh veggies instead.

But I didn't get to be 280 pounds by doing what my mom said I should do. I got to 280 pounds by rebelling against what she said; by eating in public what I "should" and then bingeing like crazy afterward in the comfort of my own home.

Today I was authentic. Even when my co-workers raised their eyebrows about me eating at 2 PM (because they didn't notice that I didn't eat at noon) thinking that I was having a second lunch. Even when my friend and Joe were seeing that I wanted a big ol' fatty meal tonight for dinner.

Being authentic is healthy.

Will I always have a fatty meal like that and lose weight? Well, no. I mean, when your calories in exceed your output of calories, you WILL gain weight.

I'm not on a magical plan and are therefore not exempt from basic math.

But as I give my body (and mind) what it wants, I know that it will release all of the judgment about food and what I can/can't or should/shouldn't have. It will release the rebellion - towards my mother, father, ex-boyfriends, and bullies from school. As I release my rebellion, I know I'll start choosing more and more foods on a more regular basis that are intrinsically healthier.

And THAT leads to a healthier me - no matter what.

Today I'm holding onto the feeling from last night - when I was pleased, content, proud, and happy. Tonight, I want to feel that same feeling again.

One day being on plan - whatever that is for you - makes all the difference. It's a building block to a healthier you.

Let's do it today, shall we?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

No, I won't videotape it

Let's just get this said right off the bat: No, I won't ever let you see me doing it.

On my birthday, my wonderful boyfriend got me a Wii. He bought the Wii for me because he thought that I would like it. I was debating getting one last winter for the Wii Fit sales that were going on before Christmas. The thing was, at the time, I couldn't figure out which "games" would help me get the best work like many other situations, I just didn't make a decision and didn't buy one.

But make no mistake, I think that he also got it because he wanted to play some games. Although in fairness to him, he hasn't yet played anything on it (other than the first night when we bowled and golfed and played tennis with it).

So a few weeks ago, I decided that playing Super Mario Brothers probably wasn't the best use of my time (but OH WOW is it fun - it brings back memories!). So I decided to get a workout "game."

I've seen a lot about the Wii Fit, EA Active, and The Biggest Loser games...but I didn't know which would work the best. So I asked my virtual workout buddy, Krissie, and she recommended The Biggest Loser games. Only from some of the reviews, it appears that some things are hard to do without a pocket in your workout clothes and that you can't use your real weight or name when you're "competing."

And I clicked from review to review until I finally found myself SERIOUSLY considering something that I swore I would never participate in:

Dance Dance Revolution.

I'm sure where you can see this going...I bought the game. Again, I'll just tell you right now: No, you still can't watch me.

For those that aren't familiar with this game, it started out in arcades where tweens hang out. The machine, at the arcades, look like this.

Kids hop on this thing, put in their allowance, and music starts. The object of the game is to follow the instructions on screen to know which arrow to step on at the right beat. You may have noticed from the picture that there are two little pads - which means that some other kid (who might have stolen the money from his parents) can also put in money and challenge the first kid.

The screen looks like this: So basically the arrows float up and you have to step on the correct arrow on the pad underneath you at the exact time that it lines up with the area up top. In the screen shot shows two people competing and the "PERFECT!" written in the middle of the screen indicates that both players stepped at the perfect time.

To be clear, I don't see that message often. And no, I won't videotape it and send it to you.

So the game came to my house (I ordered it online)... it has a disc and a mat that kind of looks like this:

And when you plug it in, it has a set up like this:

Only at my house, as far as I know, we don't have teenage boys. And we have a huge TV that is not on a wooden stand. And I'm trying to peek above my dog's GIANT head (she is a HUGE Great Dane that even when she's laying down can somehow manage to block the TV).

I tried it out during Memorial Day weekend for the first time and since I couldn't bribe Joe to leave our place, I tried to pretend that he wasn't there. On the couch. Watching my every move. Remembering that he is the stereotypically whitest boy on the planet (and thus has ZERO ability to shake his groove thing to any music without looking like he's getting hit with a taser gun) also helped.

The first time, I didn't use the instructional video. I figured that I was relatively talented, so I should be able to just pick a song and KNOW how to do it.

Turns out, that's not so much true.

So I'm hopping, jumping, and trying to keep up with some beats and I'm laughing - hysterically - because I look like one of those marionettes where the human controlling them is just bouncing them up and down.

And really, please stop asking: I won't videotape this and post it.

Eventually, I have gotten the hang of it and can even "dance" to a few songs without too much difficulty.

But the best part? The songs.

That's right, I'm dancing to such hits as "I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross and "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice. Rhianna's "Disturbia" and Duran Duran's "Hungry Like a Wolf" is also on there. There are a lot of popular songs on this version (names that I'm too old to remember) that are fun to dance to.

And I'm not even kidding you - Rick Astley singing "Never Gonna' Give You Up" cracks my shizzle up as I'm dancing on this.

But you know what? It's fun.

I don't break a huge sweat (at least at the level I'm at) and there are some longer pauses in between songs than what I'd like...but it's better than the couch and it's more fun than I thought I would have.

I decided that as much as I love running, I wanted something to do to exercise-wise when I don't feel like running. This fits the bill.

Now it's your turn:

What kind of non-traditional exercise things do you do? And if you have a Wii, I would LOVE to know what your take is on exercise games that you have tried. I'm looking for things to break a sweat but will still be fun.

I'd LOVE to hear your opinions!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Last week I signed up for Katy's Virtual Biggest Loser Competition. Today is the first weigh in day of being on the competition (as in, a week has passed, today is the day to see how we did).

I have mixed emotions about it, truthfully. Like, what was my post about yesterday if I'm substituting one weigh in for another? Is that really healthy? What am I really getting from this competition? I already PAID for the entry fee (which was $10) so shouldn't I follow this through? Am I really a quitter one week into the competition? Isn't weighing in weekly a good idea - to help monitor if I'm "on track" or not? Wait, won't I KNOW if I'm on track by how I feel? If that's true, why am I depending on the scale anyway? GAH! But I already PAID for it! $10 could feed 30 thousand babies in Africa - why would I waste money on this? Sally Struthers is *so* going to call me out.

Suffice it to say, I didn't really know what to do about it. I even emailed Katy and indicated that I might drop out of the competition seeing as how I want to do what is healthy for me.

I've read that if you're going to weigh in, the best thing you can do is weigh yourself every day, put it on a chart, and then average your weight over the past week. The idea was that you compare averages of each week to see how you're doing. It eliminates the idea that one big meal will "ruin" your weigh in on any particular day.

When I started Weight Watchers almost two years ago, I decided that I would do the above and then, because I'm anal, take it one step further. The "one step further" involved me mapping and charting my weight loss. I included trend lines (indicating where I would be if I continued with the weight loss pace that I had up until that point). In addition to calculating my weight loss for the week (as well as weight loss to date), I calculated the percent changes from the previous week and from when I first started. It was actually very motivating.

But I got a tad obsessed with the numbers. I found myself thinking about the numbers (in a motivating and excited way) but probably a lot more than what was healthy. I found myself not wanting to eat heavy meals the night before a weigh in, not drinking water 4 hours before the meeting, and not eating any snacks in the afternoon before my meeting because that would make my weight higher.

I don't want to return to that mentality, and I don't want to get caught up in the numbers. Which is why I was kicking my behind at signing up for a competition that IS based on the weight loss.

So I slowed down. I took an hour or so to breathe and think about it in the back of my mind.

This is what I came up with:

Weighing in weekly isn't a bad thing. So why is it different than WW? Well, at WW, you get some questions about WHY you gained/lost weight and the meetings have information that supports their program. Their program is a bit different than mine - and in many ways it downright conflicts with what I'm working on. However, with the VBL competition, I weigh in, send off my info to Katy and that's the end of it.

What am I getting out of this that is different than WW? Well, for one thing, it's prompting me to look for (and honor) my body's signal that it wants to move. Take last night. Typically, I would've gone to WW, stopped someplace on the way home for take out, and then overeaten while watching A&E's "Intervention" (don't worry, the irony isn't lost on me).

But last night, I went home, ate some cheese, crackers, fruit, and an ice cream bar and read a book on the couch. Then could FEEL that my body wanted to move. I went to the workout room, ran for a mile and a half (fastest mile yet!), did the stair stepper thing for 15 minutes, lifted some weights, did my stretches for my back, and then went home to play the Wii. It was MUCH more enjoyable than my typical Monday night regimen and I really liked how I was prompted by the competition to honor my body's signal to move.

If signing up for a silly virtual competition helps keep me focused on tuning to with my body regularly, that's a GOOD thing in my opinion.

And yes, it's $10...but since the competition is about 12 weeks long, it's less than a dollar a week. And if Sally Struthers says that less than a dollar a day is no big deal, less than a dollar a week must not be either.

So I weighed in.

I weighed in this morning and lost 0.4 pounds from the week before. I had the "normal" reaction - happy that there was a loss, but a little disappointed that it wasn't higher. Until I realized that I really ate my heart out last times when I wasn't hungry and past the point of satiety in some cases. Guess what that means? Typically you don't lose as much.

The numbers on the scale is just feedback...and I'm not sure that feedback on this journey is a bad thing. I mean, when I feel bloated it triggers me to re-evaluate my hunger level at the next meal to make sure that I'm eating just what I'm hungry for. Being bloated and lethargic is my cue to check in a bit deeper when eating my next meal. When my belt cinches tighter, it tells me that I'm taking better care of my body.

Feedback doesn't really need to have emotion attached to it.

And if I obsess about the scale throughout the week, maybe I'll skip the weigh in next Tuesday and/or put the scale away for longer.

Someone wise (and I can't harness the power of the internet to give credit to who) said,

"What you focus on, expands."

This week, I'm not going to focus on the scale - what it did read, what it might read, or what it will read. I'm going to focus on taking care of my body and letting that be the guide for the decisions I make.

Am I sleepy? I'm going to take care of my body.
Am I hungry? I'm going to eat what I'm really hungry for.
Am I bored? I'm going to find something to occupy my time.
Am I restless to move? I'm going to move my body in a way that pleases and entertains ME - it might be running, it might be the Wii, yoga, or lifting weights. I will use that time to freshen myself and renew my commitment to the health that I *do* have.

What are you focusing on these days?

Monday, June 7, 2010

I choose hope

The run that I wrote about in my last post was Saturday morning. It was organized by my Weight Watchers leader, Angela, and was...well...okay.

First, I didn't want to get out of bed because Joe was all cute, snuggly, and warm. Second, I didn't want to go because I didn't want to feel pressured to run either my fastest time (to win) or a 10K. Third (and in the TMI department so feel free to skip this), I was cramping. A lot. As in once every few months, I cramp so badly that I just want to curl up and wait it out with hot pads on my abdomen.

But, I went anyway. I got ready to run and then my leader asked those that were there (about 30 of us) which of us were running. I was the only one.

I was sluggish. Like feeling-like-I-was-running-through-marshmallow-creme sluggish. I just didn't have energy (which could be related to the mass exodus that my uterus was invoking OR could maybe possibly have something to do with the fact that I had more than a few Mini Butterfinger bars the day before).

Since I was the only runner, I finished first.

Yes, I could've forced myself to do it all over again and do a 10K, which was my original goal. But I was spent. It was HOT that morning and I was already feeling so sluggish that I really didn't think I had it in me. Even though I had taken Zyrtec AND my inhaler before running, I was still coughing up a ton of stuff and wheezing horribly (this has lasted all through the weekend - even still when I breathe I have a rattle in my lungs and I'm EXHAUSTED).

So instead of doing a 10K, I accepted the high fives and then ran back to the next group of people that I knew. I walked with them 'til the finish line. Then I ran back again to find another friend and finished with him. I didn't do a 10K, but I did much more than a 5K. And it's probably the only time in my life I'll actually WIN a "race." It felt strange but I'm proud nonetheless.

Technically, I'm a winner.

There was one down part during the day where I realized that this group was probably not for me any longer. I was standing at the finish line talking with some members of the meeting (and my leader) and someone asked about a gal that used to attend. Her name is Fi and she was running a lot and training for some sort of step climbing competition.

Anyway, about 6-8 weeks ago she stopped coming. People were asking our leader if she'd heard anything from her and my leader said that she hadn't. We remarked that that was too bad - since we really liked her.

AND THEN she said, "But you know, she'll be back. Maybe it will be a year, maybe it'll be two, but she'll be back. They always come back."

People around me nodded their heads in agreement but I shrank inwards.

I'm feeling a lot of things at that statement - fear that my approach of mindful/intuitive eating won't work, anger for encouraging the fear that our weight will come back if we don't do WW, as well as frustration of the insensitivity towards other people.

I believe that we can live intuitively. I believe that it is possible. It MUST be possible. I believe that we are worthy of our own trust.

I'm tired of mediating the war between what WW teaches paired with what my meeting talks about and what the knowledge that is inside me says.

I asked Joe for his advice and he asked three simple questions:

1) Does what you learn or experience at WW help you in your journey to lose weight the way that you are trying to lose weight now (intuitive/mindful eating)?
2) Do you feel like you can disregard the number on the scale COMPLETELY while still going to the meetings?
3) Is there another pressing reason you want to go OTHER than the fact that you don't want your leader to say the same stuff about you as what she did about Fi?

My answers to all of those questions were "No."

So I'm not going to go.

I sort of want to go to say good-bye. This is a group that I've spent almost 2 years with. But, like Joe said, I can stop by in a few months if I want - just to say hi.

I'm a little sad. I'm more than a little scared.

Maybe Angela is right. Maybe I will come back in a year or sooner.

But in the back of my head a voice is asking, what if I'M right? What if I CAN be trusted? What if this plan CAN work?

I want to be the person who chooses hope over fear.

And so I will.

Friday, June 4, 2010

What do old people, "Cops," and 5Ks have in common? This post.

So despite my bragging about being a runner, I should probably disclose that I'm not a fast runner.

At races, I typically start off near the back of the pack and then somehow get passed by more people than were behind me in the first place. Seriously. I once was in a 5K last year where what looked like a 100 year old man who was a SPEED WALKER passed me - he kicked my bootay he was so fast.

I get passed by almost everyone or at least it feels that way - I'm that slow.

But when I first started racing, I realized that no one really cares about what place they come in - except for the people that have shot of finishing first and winning a prize. I took a lesson from what seemed to be the norm and concentrated on myself. I race as I feel able and even when I finish in the back of the pack, I'm proud that I finished.

Because realistically, the people that I'm "racing" against are about 100 pounds soaking wet. They wear shorts that are WAY to frickin' short (hello, guys - I'm talking to you!) and look like antelope running. They inspire and scare me.

But the "race" that I'm running tomorrow is different.

See, Weight Watchers has this whole "Walk it Off Challenge" or something like that. I can't remember exactly what it is, but hopefully Jams will enlighten us. Anyway, they encourage people to get out there and walk a 5K. To my knowledge they're not organizing anything, it's just this ambiguous "go out there and walk, you fatty!" type of encouragement.

So my leader, being the most bubbly and awesome person ever, actually organized a 5K for us. I say us because she only leads one meeting - and that's ours. Technically it encompasses our whole center. I'm not so naive to think that I'm the fastest runner in the center, but I'm pretty sure that I'm the fastest one in my meeting. That may or may not have to do with the fact that the average age of my meeting is 82.8 years.

So for the last two weeks, I've been thinking about this "race." At first I was excited...I mean, I have an actual chance to win this thing! There are even going to be prizes! And then I saw it as a way for me to run a 10K instead of just a 5K. I've always wanted to run a 10K...and I've run 5.5 miles at a time twice, so I should be able to run the 6.2, right? Two weeks ago, I boldly told my leader (Angela) that I was going to run my 10K. She said congratulations and told me that she would see me then (I weigh in on Mondays and our meeting was cancelled this past week due to Memorial Day)!

But finishing a 10K probably should involve me actually RUNNING in the last two weeks.

Technically, I did run this past Wednesday, as I said I would, but let's just say it wasn't pleasant. My allergies acted up and I had so much drainage in my throat that I struggled to breathe for part of the run. Which wouldn't have been as horrible if my eyes weren't also tearing up. So basically, I looked like I had been maced (or at least pepper sprayed) because fluids were weeping from a lot of holes in my face - WHILE RUNNING. Good thing for me, I work in a crappy part of town where people are used to seeing people running after getting maced/pepper sprayed. In fact, I'm surprised that they weren't taping an episode of "Cops" right then. You think I'm kidding, but I run by a prostitute EVERY TIME on a route that I sometimes take. She sits on a bus bench and often gets picked up by strange people who are always in different cars. And the way she walks up to said vehicle? Totally prostitute-y. And just in case you want to giggle, say prostitute-y out loud. :)

ANYWAY, I've decided that I'm only going to run the 5K tomorrow morning. EVEN THOUGH my leader totally sent me a postcard that was all "Hi Anne! I can't wait to see you on Saturday when you run your first 10K! Love, hugs, kisses, and don't you dare disappoint me: Angela" Only I might have been making up that last part.

So here's the thing, I don't want to race - even the 5K. I feel really anxious just thinking about it. I think it's because I might actually have a fear of success or failure. Maybe it's because I knew I would never be the fastest of any race I've run before and this one I might actually try to win it and if I don't then I suck?

I don't know.

But I will go ahead and run it. Because I think it's good for me to face my fears - even when they're a little silly.

And I'll take a Zyrtec in the morning so as to avoid (or at least to reduce the likelihood of) any Citizen's Arrest attempts on me.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Well, I've always wanted "Buns of Steel"...

Hi. My name is Happy Fun Pants. I have chronic back pain.

The back pain that I have is outrageous at times. It's mostly on my left side where the bra line is going horizontally across my back. The pain is acute - and when it hurts, it hurts badly and NO position makes the pain go away. At night, it's like a toothache - it never really goes away and some movements actually make the zing of pain even worse.

The funny thing is, when I get up and move around, the pain is gone. My back doesn't hurt during the day...but it hurts so badly at night.

At first, when this popped up about three years ago, I thought I had just tweaked a muscle in a bad place. It would hurt for a few days a month (never at the same time during the month) and then go away for a few months.

Unfortunately, it started hurting so badly for weeks at a time. A few years ago, it got so bad that I'd resist going to bed - because I knew that once I laid down to go to sleep I could sleep for an hour or so and then the horrible pain would be back.

Then, as mysteriously as it arrived, it would go away.

I eventually decided that my weight had something to do with it. I lost 35 pounds but the pain still hadn't subsided on a regular basis.

So I bought a new bed. A new Sleep Number $3600 bed. According to the salesperson, the new bed was supposed to solve all of my back problems. It would be like sleeping on the pelts of unicorns! The new bed would follow me all during my life - through any change that my body might go through - pregnancy, amputation, or old age. The new bed would make it easier to get laid and might even make IBS issues resolve themselves! The new bed could run for president! The new bed was the answer to my prayers! So I bought into the hype. I figured that it would allow me to make the bed more soft or hard and since I didn't know what would help, a bed that could do both seemed like the best solution. I paid for the bed and prayed that my car wouldn't break down so that I wouldn't have to call my boss and say "So I can't come into work today because my car broke down...but hey! I got a good night's sleep on my Sleep Number bed!"

For a long time it worked most of the time. I even dropped another 15 pounds. But it got bad again.

At the beginning of the year, I went to go see my doctor about it. She thought that the pain was due to muscles between my ribs (aggravated by a recent snowshoeing trip - or more accurately a recent snowshoeing fall) and prescribed me muscle relaxers to take the pain away. I'm not sure if you've ever been on muscle relaxers, but WOW do they knock me out. Like, one night on it and it occurred to me that I should start sleeping in adult diapers because if I had to pee, I was pretty sure I wouldn't wake up (go to bed in fear of ensuing back pain and wetting the bed - yay!). They mostly stopped the pain but I would have to take them each night. And being addicted to muscle relaxers wasn't on my list of New Year's Resolutions. I stopped taking the pills.

As great as it's been to live at Joe's, the back pain has gotten worse.

So I made a few appointments to see a chiropractor (who had the worst case of coffee breath EVER) that my co-worker recommended. He took X-rays, cracked my back and told me that it was due to bad posture. But when I described the pain (which again, goes away during the waking hours so it's hard to do), I didn't get the feeling that he GOT what was wrong. When I said that I wasn't interested in seeing him at a $50 co-pay three times a week for 8-12 weeks, he got huffy (which again made me want to puke due to the horrendous coffee breath) and pissy (which made me wonder if HE should be wearing adult diapers).

So I saw my doctor again who said that some people just had this type of pain and suggested that maybe I should just rest it a lot.

I've tried heat and I've tried ice (now all I can think of are the lyrics "I've seen fire and I've seen rain") all to no avail.

The thing is, every night the pain would get worse and worse.

Randomly, I talked to my co-worker about it who said that he had had the exact same pain and that he saw a physical therapist for his pain.

Grasping at straws, I saw the physical therapist that he recommended and found out the ugly truth: I have buns of steel.

Basically, what's happened is this. I don't stretch before or after I run. I don't stretch during the day while I'm sitting at my desk at prison work. So the muscles in my butt and my hips are tight that they pull on my back muscles - which get fatigued and sore from being pulled on all day long. So at night? They rebel. They siphon liquor from the liquor cabinet, replace it with water, and then go steal a neighbor's moped to ride around on for hours without calling you to let them know that they are safe. At night my poor back muscles quit and throw a fit and refuse to hold up my own body.

'Member those insults that we threw around as kids? Stuff like "Yo' momma is so fat that she needs her own zip code!" and "Yo' momma is so fat when she walks, she causes the sidewalk to crack!" Well, that's how I feel about this part of the post.

My butt muscles are so tight that they cause me to wake up in pain night after night. My butt muscles are so tight that it takes a masseuse over half an hour to get them from "OMG this is tight!" to "Wow this is kind of tight."

So I'm seeing a physical therapist on a weekly basis. I do exercises with resistance bands at home to try to get other muscles stronger so they can help take the load off of my back muscles. I get monthly massages, which sounds nice until you realize that they are less relaxing and more like "Lady, if you dig any deeper into that muscle, I'll punch you in the face." I'm also supposed to stretch out both at work and at home several times a day. The main areas I stretch are my glutes, my upper hamstrings, and my hip flexors.

The good news is that I can sleep now without pain most nights.

The mornings that I wake up in pain (like this morning) are because I didn't stretch the night before.

My hope is that someone else who is suffering from this chronic and horrible band of pain in their back will somehow stumble upon this blog and find out that physical therapy can help. Stretching your butt and hips can help. Strengthening the muscles around that your back can help.

And as a last resort, consider stocking up on muscle relaxers and adult diapers, just in case. I'm just saying.