Fat as Hell…

and not going to take it anymore!

Deja Voodoo

There’s something about the phrase “in real life” (when used to describe someone’s activities in the world outside their computer) that has always bugged me. Like most people, I’ve had an online life for at least 10 years now, and if there’s one thing that I’ve learned from those experiences it’s that the people you meet online are real. You might not be able to break someone’s nose online, but you can surely break their heart. You might not be able to hold their hand, but you can surely comfort and support them. And while you may never know exactly what some of your online buddies look like (physically, anyway), in my experience, online relationships can be, in many ways, more honest than the, so called, “real” ones.

Maybe that’s why I struggle sometimes with using events in my “real life” as an excuse for neglecting my online one. I don’t like the notion of putting one aspect of my life ahead of another… though I know sometimes we don’t have a choice. Things happen and, whether we like it or not, our priorities shift as a result.

That said, as many of you know, in my real other life, I’m a public school librarian. I spend my days talking to 14 year olds about books, producing student created pod and vodcasts, teaching classes in broadcast journalism, storytelling and public speaking, thumbing through catalogs, meeting with vendors, and, on really good days, opening up boxes upon boxes of shiny new books. Seriously… it’s a good gig and I love it.

One of the major perks of being a *school* librarian, of course, is the fact that, like teachers, I get the summers off, and for me, summer officially begins Monday. *cue Alice Cooper song* I’ve been doing this for 11 years now, and let me just say that it never loses its allure. I’m just as excited about sleeping in on Monday as I was when I was 9 and that first Monday when I *should* have been getting up for school, but I actually got to sleep in, finally rolled around.

What most people don’t know, however, is that the weeks just before school gets out are hell. There’s so much to do and *never* enough time to do it. I don’t know about other people in my profession, but I *always* end up working lots of extra hours in order to get everything finalized before leaving for the summer… and even then I still end up with a lot of items NOT crossed off my to do list. You’d think, by now, I’d be used to it, but I *still* fall apart during the last few weeks of school — and this year was no exception.

The thing is, you’d also think that, after all these years, I’d have figured a few things out. You’d think that since I know that the last few weeks of school are going to be a nightmare that I’d take steps to simplify other aspects of my life. For example, maybe the last few weeks of school aren’t the best time for me to join online challenges and outline my own 10 step program for losing weight. Rather, maybe, the last few weeks of school would be a good time for me to focus on the goal of simply maintaining my already achieved weight loss rather than reaching for more. Maybe, and this will sound crazy, I know, but maybe the last few weeks of school are the wrong time for me to set any goals at all. Seriously, you’d think, after all these years, I’d have figured stuff like that out. But… you’d be wrong.

Let’s just cut to the chase, shall we?

A few weeks ago I blogged about being at the point where I needed to either give in or start over. And the truth is, I’m *still* at that point. I haven’t given in, not by a long shot, but I haven’t started over either. I’ve been in this pudgy purgatory, if you will… making the right choices, occasionally, but usually following them up with a series of wrong ones; thinking a lot about how much I *want* to be back on track, without actually taking any steps towards making that happen; and not feeling strong enough to do what I know I should, but also not being able to truly enjoy this hiatus from being healthy. It sucks, because while I haven’t, by any stretch of the imagination, done the right things over the last few weeks, I haven’t enjoyed being off my “diet” either. As a matter of fact, I’ve kind of hated not eating properly. How screwed up is that?

In my absence, Paola wrote me an open letter on her blog The Food Confessional. Here’s part of it:

Whether or not you sometimes take a few steps back, you know how to eat to lose weight. You are stuck with this knowledge. You can never unknow it. And, now, when you go to Starbucks for a whipped cream coffee and a cake, you’re gonna feel like shit, spoiling your experience, because you will know it’s doing you harm.

Is this where you are now, stuck between a rock and a hard place?

In the end, you don’t have much choice, you must get back onto your diet. The alternative is to eat cakes and jars of peanut butter, but never really enjoying them as much as you used to, and always be miserable.

Man, is she right.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the last couple of weeks it’s that going back to simply not caring about how I eat, whether or not I exercise, or how I treat the one body I’ve got just isn’t an option. Sure… I can stuff my face full of brownies and root beer (and believe me, I have), but whatever *joy* that kind of food once brought me, is long gone. Sure, I can eat them, and they taste good, but now there’s always an aftertaste. Whether I like it or not, my mind *always* involuntarily starts adding up the calories. And there’s something about those numbers whispering in your ear that kind of ruins the whole experience, you know?

So… here I am.

Starting over.

Again.

The truth is, I don’t really have a master plan for the next few weeks. I think I need to take it slowly and start thinking about all of this through the “one pound at a time” lens that helped me lose weight in the first place. What I don’t need to do now is bite off more than I can chew. I *need* to experience some success this week and the only way I’m going to do that is if I take it slowly.

Here’s what I know for sure:

  • Counting and recording my calories is not optional. The simple truth of the matter is that when I hold myself accountable in that way, I do much, much better. I realize that food diaries are not for everyone, and as much as I’ve tried to convince myself that I could do it without recording what I eat, at this point in the game, I simply need that extra step.
  • I hate exercising, but I have to do it. Enough said.
  • Drinking calories is stupid. In the last few weeks I’ve gone from drinking 3+ liters of water a day to falling back into the habit of taking in hundreds of liquid calories a day in the form of icy coffee drinks and/or other fizzy caffeinated concoctions. No more.
  • Portion size is (still) a problem. I may blog more about this at a later time, but for now, I’ll just say that my portion sizes have been creeping back up. If I’m going to be successful, I know that this is an issue that I have to tackle.

And that’s all… for now.

I guess the bottom line is that at no point over the last few weeks did I ever think about giving up. I always knew that, sooner or later, I’d be exactly where I am now, a bit ashamed of myself for not doing the right things for so long, but knowing that it’s never too late to start doing them again. Thank you again to everyone who nudged me back sooner, rather than later. I continue to be grateful to you guys for just being so cool. To me, you guys are *real* and amazing and you constantly inspire me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ok. At the risk of making this post even *longer* I’ve found myself in the awkward position of having been tagged (again). Here’s the thing: I suck at these things. I can never think of anything windswept and interesting to say, so I usually just decline politely and hope like hell that the tagger (me being the taggee) will continue to like me despite my inept rudeness. But… since this one is short and I simply can’t bring myself to say no to Fat Bridesmaid, I’ll do my best to play along. Apparently, I’m supposed to tell you 5 things about myself that you might not otherwise know… and then I’m supposed to tag 5 other people. So… *takes deep breath* here goes nothing:

Boring facts about me:

  1. I’ve been wearing a Make Poverty History wristband since 2005. So far, poverty hasn’t gone away… but I still wear it. Every day. I’m like Johnny Cash, only not as cool.
  2. I once won second place in a short story contest. I got $500.00 and my story was published in a small collection that I’m sure no one bought. I was driving when I got the call that I’d won second place and I nearly drove off the road. I still have the stub from the check they sent me.
  3. I drive a yellow, VW bug convertible with a black top. I call it my bumblebeetle. Which leads me to….
  4. My house was once overrun by wood boring yellow jackets (not carpenter bees). It’s a long, long (long) story, but by the time I figured out what was happening, there were (this estimate was given to me by the “bee man” who, without any protective gear, goggles or gloves, cut giant holes into my walls and removed the entire yellow jacket nest, by hand, in order to find and kill the queen bee) between 35 and 40 THOUSAND yellow jackets living in my walls. It was like something out of a B (har!) movie. At the time, as you might imagine, it was a horrifying experience, but since then, bees have sort of become my symbol.
  5. When I was in college, I worked at one of those stores where everything is a dollar. The town where I lived and worked at the time was a very touristy spot and home to a small movie studio where several major motion pictures/television shows have been filmed…. so it wasn’t uncommon to see celebrities, even in the dollar store. Anyway, one time Delta Burke came into the store and she bought 50 key chains, all of which read: “I’d slap you, but shit splatters.”

Ok. So now I’m supposed to tag some other unsuspecting bloggers, but rather than slap the yoke of internet fodder around anyone’s neck, I’ll just say that I’d love to learn 5 things about anyone who would like to play along. So… if you’re reading this and want to post a few bits of flotsam and jetsam about yourself on your blog, go for it! Consider yourself tagged. I’m sure yours will be far more interesting than mine. :)

Oooh! And thanks to Fat Bridesmaid for wanting to know more about me. Your kindness and curiosity make me blush.

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June 14, 2008 Posted by | losing weight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Stepping to the Numbers

I’ve decided to participate in Fatbridemaid’s Pedometer Challenge mostly because it sounded like fun, but also because I got a pedometer for Christmas which has been collecting dust in the bottom of a drawer ever since. The challenge doesn’t officially start until tomorrow, but she’s counting steps before then just to get everybody all pumped up. That said, all week long, I’ve been trying to figure out my pedometer which, apparently, takes a phd to operate. Seriously, I may not be an official Mensa member, but I’m no slouch either and this little plastic gadget has me bested.

Luckily, I was talking to someone at work about it this week and on Friday she brought me another pedometer to borrow for awhile. Luckily, this one is fabulous. Easy, sturdy and, as far as I can tell, accurate. (I did some test walks to see if it measured the correct steps and it only missed once and only by one step). So now I get to play along! :)

To that end, today was a *big* walking day for me. My husband and I got up early this morning and headed downtown to our local farmer’s market. It was a gorgeous day with lots of sunshine. Warm and with just a taste of the hot and humid summer that we are no doubt in store for. It just so happened that there was also a classic car show set up across many city blocks near the market, so we also tooled up and down the promenade several times looking at the handy work of people who clearly dedicate much of their lives to restoring these vehicles.

Anyway, later, we walked the 1.5 mile “nature trail” near our house, but when we got back to the house I realized that it just wasn’t enough. I’d barely broken a sweat… as though *that* walk was just the warm up… so I headed out and kept walking until I’d put in *another* 3.5 miles.

Of course, now I’m sore and sleepy, but I also have to marvel (just a little) at how far I’ve come. Six months ago, I had to push and push myself to walk even a mile. And I hated every second of it. But tonight I wanted *more* exercise. I *needed* more. And, like icing on the proverbial cake, my additional jaunt this evening took me over the 10,000 step mark for the day.

12, 966 steps to be exact.

I mean, I have no idea how many steps other people are taking in a day, but to me this feels like it’s crazy good. In fact, I’m sure that I won’t get anywhere near this on most days… simply because, well, I don’t think I walk over 5 miles on an average day. But today I did. Go me!

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You know, all of this weight loss + exercise business is still pretty new to me.

I got to thinking the other day about how little I really know about how to eat and move my body in ways that are truly healthy. I’m a complete and utter novice at this and, frankly, I think I’m fumbling around in the dark most of the time. I read other blogs and I’m, literally, stunned by how together so many of you all seem. I read your food journals and the stories you share about your goals, plans and successes and it all leaves me hoping that *someday* I’ll be in that place too.

But I’m not there yet. I still find myself *wanting* the food I shouldn’t have or the kind of life where I can just sit on my butt and not worry about things like heart disease and cellulite. And, I don’t know, maybe it will never become second nature to me. Maybe I’ll always have to fight my first instincts. All I know for sure is that if I really am going to make the kind of changes to my life that are required for permanent weight loss then those changes have to be permanent too. I won’t magically wake up one day and not have to think about what I put in my body and how I treat it. I’ll always have to think about it. I’ll always be fighting this battle.

And let’s face it. That kind of sucks.

But the thing is, on nights like tonight when something inside me clicks and I find myself *wanting* to do the right thing. When I’m faced with a choice between living healthily and just living *and* the first one is actually preferable. Those are nights when I truly think that I just might be able to do this.

Of course, tomorrow I’ll probably eat something that will cause Paola to give me a virtual bollocking, but for tonight, I feel like I might actually be “getting there” — 12,966 steps at a time. :)

April 19, 2008 Posted by | exercise, motivation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Healthy You Challenge Update

Despite the fact that I *was* up on Saturday (by a pound and a half) I’m having a great week. Taking a cue from Cammy, I’ve decided that my recent gain is just a “weird bounce” and that rather than dwelling on it, I’m just moving on. (Oh, and yes, Cammy, you are more than welcome to blame my mother in law for anything you want, dear. Trust me. She’s probably to blame. *wink*) Even though I didn’t get a chance to post them, I did set some goals for this week and, so far, I’ve been keeping them. Here they be:

Exercise Goals:
Sunday: 30 minutes cardio -or- 30 minutes strength training
(Accomplished: 30 minutes of both!)
Monday: 30 minutes cardio + 30 minutes strength training
(Accomplished 20 minutes cardio on bike plus 2 mile/40 minute walk later in day + 40 minutes of ST)
Tuesday: 30 minutes cardio + 30 minutes strength training
Wednesday: rest day
Thursday: 30 minutes cardio -or- 30 minutes strength training
Friday: rest day
Saturday: 30 minutes cardio + 30 minutes strength training

Food/Calorie Goals:
1. I’m still working trying to stick somewhere between 1300 – 1500 calories per day.
2. I’m trying to work fruit and whole grains into my diet on a daily basis.

Honestly, I’m a bit sore today, but I’m chalking it off to the new pillows I bought yesterday. I bought some “extra firm” quilted pillows to replace the flattened pancakes we’ve been sleeping on for awhile. I love the new ones, but they may take a bit of getting used to. (An aside: I remember having the same pillow for just about my entire childhood… but as an adult, it seems as though pillows go flat so quickly. Is it just me, or are pillows becoming somewhat “disposable?” Note: not disposable in the waste/green/environmental sense, I’m just talking about pillow quality here.)

Anyway, as I was out and about yesterday I saw several little goodies that I thought I wanted and that, moreover, I tried to justify buying by telling myself that I had “earned” them. In the end, I kept my spending in check, but it did get me thinking about getting in the habit of rewarding myself for meeting certain goals. Other bloggers that I read are really adept at this, but up till now, I’ve had a hard time pin pointing longer term goals that I could set, hopefully accomplish, and thus reward myself for.

My husband and I talked about this over dinner last night (grilled chicken and feta crumbles over mixed greens with a sprinkling of homemade croûtons and a lovely olive oil vinaigrette) and he agreed that dangling some carrots in front of me as rewards for reaching specific benchmarks was a good plan.

I told him that I’d already sort of set the following goals/rewards in my head. But now that I’m put them in writing here, it looks like they’re official:
1. When I lose 100lbs (37lbs away) I’m going to buy myself a bike (a real one, not one that stays put in a corner of my house).
2. When my weight drops below 200lbs (58lbs away) I’m going to order *this.* I’ve had my eye on it for a long, long time.
3. If WHEN I succeed in completing the goals for April that I outlined at the beginning of the month, I’m going to buy myself one of *these* (though I flat refuse to pay that much for one).

When I told my husband he nodded and said that those sounded like perfect incentives. But then he added that he thought I needed a reward for losing 75lbs (a goal that is only 12lbs away).

“Like what?” I asked.

He thought for a minute. “Hmmm. How about a new miniskirt?” he offered sheepishly.

I had to smile. Clearly this would be a reward for HIM and not so much for me. But I agreed. When I’ve lost 75lbs, I’m going to try to find myself a “mini-skirt” of some kind. Honestly, it just made me feel good to know that HE thinks I’m getting to the point where I could pull something like that off. What he doesn’t know is that I’ll likely buy one that is a few sizes smaller than what I can actually fit into having lost 75lbs, but that way, it will continue to be motivator long after I’ve said goodbye to 75lbs. (Gosh, I can’t wait to say goodbye to 75lbs).

Anyway… as bikinime says, I’m having a kick-ass April.
I hope you are too!

April 8, 2008 Posted by | healthy you challenge | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments