Tuesday, August 03, 2004

No Time to Eat

Geez, life is so hectic right now. I have work or activities morning, noon and night, and I just don't know how I'm going to get it all done! These past two days have been really bad -- I had guests at the B&B and had to work at the church. And it's going to be just as bad the next couple days trying to get it all cleaned for this upcoming weekend. Not to mention getting the bookkeeping up to date, updating the web site maybe one day cleaning the pool! Thank goodness Mom agrees with me that we ought to look into getting a house cleaner to take some of the load off of me.

In addition, I've got lunch with Mom and her sisters tomorrow, dinner with them and my uncle Thursday night, a possible dinner Friday night with my long lost friend SS, and a birthday party for my Dad on Sunday. Oh, and a Sunday school meeting tomorrow night. It's too much! I've lost about half my week's gym time this week, but I'm doing the treadmill and trying to get extra walking in, too. And hell, there's no time to eat!

Saturday, July 31, 2004

70 Pounds Gone

Once again, I reached my monthly goal, 240, on the very last day, but hey, as long as it happens, right?

I know I'm repeating myself, but I can't believe that I've actually lost 70 pounds since February! Seventy! How is that even possible, for someone who in the past couldn't even lose 10 without major hassle and then gained 20 back? It almost seems too good to be true, but all I can say is that I finally seem to have my life and head on the right track.

Although my house and B&B office have totally fallen apart. This week teaching Vacation Bible School was my breaking point, and now everything's a mess again. Oh well. I guess I'll just have to tackle it all again -- as if the work would ever end! I guess that's the key, not only with housework but with my body as well. They're things that need constant upkeep and maintenance. You might be able to take a day or two off once in a while, but let things slide too long and you run the risk of letting things get out of your control. Wise advice!

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Living Life

July weigh-ins:
July 11 -- 246
July 17 -- 244
Today -- 242

As you can see, I'm now averaging 2 pounds a week, and while it isn't as speedy as I'd like, it is a more reasonable and healthier rate. I think it's mainly due to the fact that every weekend I keep overeating in one way or another. I guess it's some consolation that despite those "bad" moments I still keep losing weight, but I do worry that I'm teetering ever so precariously on the brink of -- what, failure, relapse, hopeless addiction? I guess it depends on who you talk to.

Tonight Mabel and I went to the local pizza place and I ate pretty heartily, although nothing like the "good old days" when I could have easily eaten twice as much and not even blinked. While tonight I walked home feeling foundered. But I hardly ate anything all day, managed to get some activity in by helping LH move in (did I mention she's now our roommate?) and with another 2 pounds gone, I figured I'd splurge a little -- again.

I know I'm not writing much lately, but it seems like I'm always too busy or too tired to analyze life, because I'm actually living it!

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Not Budging

I'll start off by saying that after two "not so good days" on Sunday (the 4th picnic) and on Monday, I did as good as I could the rest of the week, but the scale hasn't budged. But I do think that in past months that the pre-menstrual week is typically the week I don't lose or lose very little, then slough it off afterwards.

I certainly didn't have the time to overeat this week. The new job began Tuesday, and so far there's nothing I've seen that I can't handle. Of course, summer is the slow season, and I may be singing a different tune at Christmas and Easter.

So far the treadmill first thing in the morning is working out pretty well, too. I'll just be glad to see some downward movement on the scale soon to let me know it's paying off.

I should write lots more, but it's late, I've got church in the morning, and I need to get my beauty sleep!

***P.S. I hit 246 the next day, July 11.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Off to a Good Start

I am truly shocked and shaken to be in the 240s already (I hit 248 yesterday). But I've been really active this week. I hardly sat down at all to watch TV or anything, and I guess it paid off. With any luck, if I'm already off to such a good start, and with no major pig out events scheduled until August, I may far and exceed my monthly goal of reaching 240. Stress with the new job may be a detrimental factor; there was a study in the news this week proving (my theory at least in my overeating) that people recover and comfort themselves by eating after stressful moments. It's certainly what I did after leaving my job, and even during those years, I'd come home from a crappy day and want to EAT.

This past week I started doing the treadmill in the morning as soon as I get up, and I think that's a new routine I can handle. This month I have a feeling getting gym time in is going to be more difficult as I'm in training mode and following the outgoing secretary's schedule. But once she's gone and it's my ship to run, I'll make sure that time is allotted in the morning. I don't relish going to the gym in the afternoons (too hot!), but I may have to on some days if I want to get it done.

In this past week of cleaning and reorganizing I've come across a lot of photos, and that's when it really sinks in that I've lost so much weight. On a day to day basis it's difficult sometimes to see much of a difference, but when I look at pictures, even from this past October, it's amazing to see just in the face how much of the fat is gone. Sometimes I even catch a glance of myself in the mirror and I'm pleasantly surprised by the attractive girl I see there without the puffiness and double chin.

I mentioned there's no major pig outs before, but of course I'm excluding our July 4th picnic tomorrow. Clearly my mind's already moved on to better things! Meanwhile, I have to spend all day today making the food, so I guess I better get out of bed and get to work. Although I'm enjoying what will probably be one of my few sleep-in mornings for some time!

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Making Goal

I just made my monthly goal of 250 on the very last day possible, but that's typical of the way I do most things. But now I've lost 60 pounds since Feb. 17 -- over 80 total since my very heaviest point -- and that only continues to amaze me.

It wasn't long ago that I used to think to myself, "Oh, if I could only get myself back down to 250, but even that would take a miracle." Now it's here, after only four and a half months of trying, and now I consider 250 my halfway point to my new "if only" of 190 pounds. Honestly, it seems like such a dream to get below that monumental 200. But I just have to continue what I've been doing, not only what I eat and do physically, but emotionally as well. That means smaller, more approachable monthly and weekly goals, allowing myself the occasional "chow down" and not beating myself up when I do. Clearly it's been working so far, and as long as I continue regular exercise and moderate portions of healthy food, I should (God help me) be able to keep it off.

Now if I can just keep my stress levels to a minimum. This week I've been busting my butt trying to get some loose ends tied up with my life so I have less to fret over, at least during this training month with the new job. I've been trying to streamline, organize and systematize things at home and at the B&B so I have less aggravations, and doing lots of errands like prescription refills, eye exams and other things so I don't forget about them later.

I feel like I'm preparing for a big vacation or a prolonged hospital stay/illness. I'm surprised I haven't cooked a lot of meals and frozen them (although that isn't such a bad idea!). I can't get the mindset of the overwhelming newspaper job out of my head. I have to keep telling myself this is a part-time job, not a life-sucking one like the previous job eventually became. Surely this will be a job I can easily master -- I'm certainly overqualified! I just need to find a way to relax and look forward to this.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Post Vacation Report

While I got down to 252 on my birthday, you do not want to know what the scale says today! However, most of that is water retention and should quickly dissipate.

But this was my vacation week, with lots of oh so tempting foods around me. I actually did really well the first part of the week and really only crumbled after Miller's Smorgasbord in Lancaster, so I am not going to beat myself up about it. I'll just pick myself up, dust myself off and get back into my routine.

My only headache this weekend is not one but two family reunions with big covered dish meals, in addition to our neighbor girl's birthday party. While I could easily say "oh, just pig out until Monday," I realize more and more how badly I feel when I do that. I am just going to limit myself to small portions, work hard to not over stuff myself, and just be in the moment instead of worrying about calories and goals.

Friday, June 18, 2004

New Weight, New Job

I actually hit 255 a few days ago, but I just wasn't in the mood to write. But now I've got even bigger news - tonight I accepted the job as church secretary, only a few hours after the interview. Two council members interviewed me, and I've known them forever, so I sort of had a feeling that it was going to go my way.

While I know it's going to be overwhelming at first and there will be plenty of new stress coming my way, I need to take this as an opportunity to work on my coping strategies -- mainly, NOT eating! I will need to do some serious work Fly Lady wise, rebuilding routines, not only for my house but for the B&B, too. I just hope I can manage it all! I am a little worried about it, but something tells me I'll figure out a way.

I need to rework my exercise routine, too. That means getting up at 6(!), doing the treadmill and bike before my shower (at home, of course) then just doing the weights and toning at the gym. I have a feeling that'll be tough at first, but like everything else, we'll manage it somehow.

I guess the hardest part will be juggling Mabel for the rest of the summer. In the fall it'll be no problem-- I'll take her to the bus, stop at the gym, then to work. But for right now, it'll mean either Mom dealing with her, bringing her to work with me, or squeezing another 30 minutes into our morning by driving her to day care. I just hope Mabel doesn't feel too pushed aside by my getting this job. But the fact is, I'm quickly running out of money, and this was the best option I could think of besides begging my parents for more handouts.

Good thing I'm going to Morgantown tomorrow, then Lancaster with L next week -- I can stock up on some new work clothes, since I can't wear gym clothes to the office. Because I am very quickly running out of clothes that fit me any more!

Saturday, June 12, 2004

I Went Down to the Crossroads

I feel almost ashamed to put another day on my total. I did so badly today, with no other excuse than to say I want to stuff myself, so I did. Again, Thursday and Friday I did fine, although I didn't get to the gym Friday because a) I had to cook breakfast at the B&B and b) Mabel was sick the night before and I got no sleep, so I was also very tired.

I can't keep doing this "two days good/one day bad" routine. I can feel it derailing my momentum, not only on the weight loss aspect but mentally, too. I guess I've finally reached my first real crossroads in this journey -- 115 days and 53 pounds later! It would devastate me to give up now that the going's getting a little tougher, not after all that I've accomplished. Analyzing the situation, I know that there are two major things contributing to it -- the plethora of events/temptations bombarding me these past few weeks, and an increase in stress in my life. The picnics, parties and other food related gatherings are so hard to turn away from. Business has picked up at the B&B, and I'm semi-flitootzed (Pa. Dutch slang there) about lingering problems from my last job and waiting to hear about the new one.

I am very concerned that stress, even the small amounts I've encountered recently, have been making my determination to stick to this plan falter so. It's apparent that I still haven't been able to master my stress, and clearly food is still the main drug of choice to medicate myself for it.

Here's what I think I need to do, starting tomorrow: 1. Get back to my routine as soon as possible. 2. Make a real effort to start incorporating yoga back into my day. 3. Crack open my meditation book and work self-reflection time into my day. 4. Crack open the books that helped to inspire me early on in this journey.

It's time to get serious about this and not fall back into my dysfunctional ways. I am bound and determined not to fail. Irregardless of the weight loss, I have to stop letting stress get the best of me and quit letting food be the answer.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Concentrate on the Positive

I'm having one of those days where I'm feeling like I'm slipping on my plan, having yet another "bad" day yesterday. Chinese with SA and a hot dog and buttery potatoes and onions for supper at SM's. I really felt like I had failed -- even though I did fine Monday and Tuesday, have gone to the gym all this week, and have gotten right back on track today.

How do I stop beating myself up over the occasional day of not eating at my ideal? How do I let myself be an imperfect human being and not sabotage myself in the long run with this negativity? It's totally unrealistic to expect myself to lose 3 to 5 pounds every single week. I've got 20 more days to love seven more pounds -- it doesn't happen in 10 days! I just have to concentrate on being the best person I can be for that day -- forget about any failures in the past and not fret about what's ahead.

I need to focus more on all the compliments I'm getting from so many people -- concentrate on the positive!

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Adding Up to Less

257! I weighed myself on Friday just to make sure I was back down to 260, and I was shocked to see another three pounds gone! Part of me can't figure out how it's happening. In the past I could never budge my weight, and now it feels almost effortless. Of course, I know that's not true -- despite my occasional dalliances with unhealthy food, overall I've greatly changed my eating habits. It's just that I've gotten so used to it that it is in fact habit.

The exercise, too. If I don't do at least four days (1.5 hours each) at the gym a week I don't feel complete. And that's not counting all the walking, mowing, cleaning, etc., that I also do every week. It's all adding up -- to less!

I even fell of the wagon yesterday -- B&B leftovers, birthday party and Block Party all conspiring against me -- but I'm shrugging it off. I recorded everything I ate in my food journal, worked hard yesterday cooking, cleaning and straightening up the B&B garage, and today I "busted hump" cleaning my garage at home. It seems like I'm always on the move. I even walked to and from the BB during Sunday school to bring down leftover cookies and pretzels for the kids.

It's rare that I don't have at least one person make a comment about my weight loss every day that I'm out in public. You can't really ignore 53 pounds, can you? It really struck home with me yesterday when I got a glance at a Christmas picture of me with Mabel, and my face was so much fuller. But it's a lot of things: realizing I have "sitting bones" and other re-emerging bones all over my body; feeling colder because I have less insulation covering my body; even being able to stand better because there's less fat on my thighs pushing my legs apart. And I'm sure all the exercise and better eating is helping with all my numbers: cholesterol, triglycerides, etc. I'll be curious to see what they are this fall during my annual exam.

Actually, I've had this reoccurring thought/daydream of walking into my doctors' (general and ob-gyn) offices and for once not walking to the scale like it's the gallows. If I go by my 10-pound a month goal, I should be around 220 to 210 pounds -- possibly 100 pounds lighter than I was at the beginning of this year! I can't even quite grasp the enormity of that, or if it's even possible for me to do. It does help that I keep my mind focused on the 10 pounds. It's a much easier goal to comprehend and doesn't seem so difficult. But I do sit there (usually on the stationary bike as a motivation), thinking how I'll relish it when I go in there and won't have to withstand another round of "the talk" -- how I should lose weight.

Sometimes I feel like a sell-out to the fat acceptance movement, and when I read the Gab Cafe on fatso.com I feel like I'm betraying those who've given me so much encouragement in the past. But I know I will never be skinny. I will never be what society deems ideal. I'm taking my body and mind on a journey to discover at what point it feels healthy and at peace, and then we'll start a new phase.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Too Good to Be True

I didn't mention that I've now reached the triple digits in days (105) -- and I'm amazed that I've lost 50 pounds in 100 days. LH made such a fuss over it and kept saying she's worried I'm becoming anorexic or bulimic. And while I am surprised at how much I've lost, I know that I'm not starving myself. I know I'm eating healthy foods, and while I'm exercising a lot, it's not excessive or causing me any pain. I do admit the exercise is addictive, but I take the weekends off and know I need to give my body time to rest and recover. While I give myself free days, I find myself not counting the days toward them anymore, and I am slowly finding them less satisfying.

I bought a tape measure today, and while I don't remember exactly what my "before" numbers were, I've lost at least 5 inches off my hips, and my bra size has gone from 44DD to 42D, in addition to the couple inch loss around my waist.

Anyway, enough about weight loss! Last week I found out our church secretary resigned. Well, the past few weeks I have been thinking about finding a part time job, but wished I could find one close to home with hours that would fit around both the B&B and Mabel's school. It seems almost unbelievable, too good to be true to have something so perfect practically fall into my lap. But I sent in my resume last week, and now I'm just waiting to hear from the church council. I have no idea how many people will apply, but hopefully I've got a good chance at it. It's almost too much of a coincidence not to happen.

The other unexpected event was my run-in with D during the after-party high jinks after my class reunion. I was just starting to get bummed out as P, one of the few eligible bachelors left in my class, made it very obvious that he was interested in my best friend L. Then D made a beeline for me and proceeded to hit on me the rest of the night. Maybe I was just an easy target for a horny drunk guy, but at least nothing serious happened and I managed to let some of my guard down for a while. More on that later.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Fifity Pounds Gone

I did it! I made it to 260 before the end of May! I almost couldn't believe it when I saw it on the scale Wednesday morning -- I've recently learned the term is "whooshing" when your weight suddenly drops several pounds overnight (or seemingly does).

However, I feel like I damaged the success with my eating this past weekend -- Memorial Day weekend -- and I don't plan on looking at the scale until next Wednesday before my appointment with Dr. K. I ate so much junk food Sunday and Monday, in addition to the drinking I did Saturday night during my class reunion. Monday was the worst, because I was in total "eat it to get it out of the house" mode. I was so glad to get back to reality today, and I did just fine until I got to the Block Party and got a funnel cake. The good news is, it made me half ill and I threw the last part of it away -- that in itself is an accomplishment!

So, I'm guessing I stalled my efforts at weight loss for a while, but since my goal is 10 pounds by the end of the month, I have plenty of time to recover. Even though in past months I've lost more, I'm sticking to the 10 pound guideline as a reasonable expectation. I shouldn't have another complete "free day" until my birthday later this month, so that should give me an adequate time to get back on track.

Really, it was a relief to get back to my routine today. I even did Slim Fast drinks and a meal replacement bar for breakfast, lunch and snack and felt perfectly content with it, probably because my system was still so over -saturated from the weekend. Food just isn't the solace it used to be.

By the way, S.S. finally did say something to me about the weight loss -- on instant messaging after he went home! So funny, but typical. I also had some comments during the class reunion, too, which was a nice ego boost.

I'm getting tired. I'm going go for now and continue tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Back on Track

Rough week, both with the level of activity and the eating. There was just so much going on -- dinner with my uncle friends of the family; and adoption day picnic, a neighbor's birthday party, in addition to other meals out. While I did my best to eat healthy and exercise before, during and after all these temptations, I still ate foods I shouldn't have and more than I should have.

Why, you may ask? Well, a good part of it was because I wanted to be part of the gang, not single myself out by saying, "Oh, I can't eat that!" or sound like an idiot. In some instances there just weren't any healthy alternatives -- I wish parents would start offering fruits and veggies at these birthday parties instead of just pizza and potato chips.

Does that sound like a massive cop-out? Do I sound weak-willed and full of excuses? Do I consider it a failure if I don't reach 260 by Saturday? I just can't think that way and hope to succeed at my intentions.

Instead of throwing my hands up in the air and saying "I give up! I'll eat like a fiend all weekend," I tried my darnedest to eat sensibly when I could. Instead of thinking about the upcoming weekend and thinking, "What the hell, I'll just eat this week and start again next week," I instinctively got back to my routine immediately -- anymore it's as basic as brushing my teeth.

Was I disappointed that S.S. didn't make a single reference to my appearance? Yes. Did it bum me out that when I was introduced to a new guy at the party Saturday (and who everyone thought I should be fixed up with) that it left me feeling inadequate and not good enough? Oh yeah. Did these things contribute to my overeating -- not a lot, but more than my regular routine allows? You betcha.

I don't know how anyone could have gotten through all of that without treating themselves some. At least I'm back on track for now, and even after this upcoming weekend I'll get back to it and feel good.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Am I Pretty?

Another milestone -- 270 and 40 pounds -- has blown by this weekend as I hit 268. I almost deducted a day of "abstinence" for yesterday and the Mother's Day Buffet at church, but I don't really feel I fell off the wagon. Yes, I had a big, high-fat, high starch meal, and pretty much ate starches all day, but had set meals and got in some walking during the day. And I think I need to learn how to incorporate these "off days" into my routine without feeling guilt or a need to go "whole hog" the rest of the day.

I don't know if it was wearing one of my new outfits or just the fact that so many people were at the buffet, but I did get more than one compliment about my "new look," and from people I didn't expect would notice. In a way it's nice to get encouragement, but I don't want to be dependent on other people's approval, either. The funniest thing, though, has to be when people ask me for my "secret" -- what I'm eating, how I'm exercising -- as if I'm suddenly become an expert. L.H. was hysterical, telling me how skinny I am, commenting that I'll have to get tuck work done on all the loose skin I'll have. She's probably one of the most supportive people so far, and I may start giving her email updates.

Mom continues to have the mixed messages. She made the comment "You'll soon be thinner than me," and it was real hard not to hear at least a little resentment in it. Or is it just my interpretation?

For example, on Friday I was crossing the parking lot at the Super Mega Mart when some guy yelled out of his pickup, "I wouldn't run over a pretty lady like you!" And the cynical part of me thought, "oh yeah, right." But then I realized, maybe some men actually think I am pretty. I mean, I have lots of old ladies who tell me how pretty I am, but I always consider that a very subjective opinion and nowhere near society's standards. But I'm not doing this to meet our society's approval, am I?

All I know is, I just need to keep on with what I'm doing, because clearly it's working, and as long as I'm patient the milestones will keep passing by.

Friday, May 07, 2004

The Rumors Are True!

Today was a very validating day. I had a bunch of coupons for Fashion Bug that were ready to expire, so I went over to buy some outfits for church/class reunion, etc. Imagine my shock when the 22/24 sizes were too baggy and I got the 18/20 sizes, which weren't even tight!

Then we walked to the B&B this afternoon as the neighbors were ushering their daughter off to the prom, and L.G. made a comment that I'm "shrinking away."

But the final boost was when L.H. showed up, claiming to visit to see if the "rumors" were true. Seems her grandmother told her about my picture in the paper last week and how wonderful I look. And I guess the news of some miraculous diet has spread from my hometown all the way to Cleveland to L.H.

Despite my own doubts, it's obvious that there are big changes going on with me, and even if it's hard for me to see some days, it's clear that not only is my body telling the true tale, but that those around me are definitely taking notice, too.

Monday, May 03, 2004

In A Better Place

I'm at 271 -- only one pound away from a total of 40 since February! I weighed myself Sunday morning because that was the day of the B&B tour and I knew being around all those refreshments would be hard to resist.

I know this is totally redundant, but I can not get over how I can keep losing 4-5 pounds a week, even with less than perfect dieting. Granted, I've been gyming it five days a week, but it's not that strenuous of a workout, although it is at least an hour each day. I guess I must have my metabolism really revved up right now to be burning off as much as I am. Whether it's the exercise, what I'm eating or the green tea pills, I'm not sure, but clearly the combination is working.

While technically I could lose another 20 pounds by my class reunion, 10 is a more realistic goal, and I'd still be happy with that. While I'll never be able to compete with the eternally thin ones, this isn't about competing. As Dr. Dyer says, it isn't about being better than others, it's about being better than you used to be. And I can honestly say that I can't recall ever being at a better place mentally, physically and spiritually. I still have issues and stressors and room for improvement, but I just feel so much more content with my life and at ease with myself and the way my life is going. And I think it's much more than a number on a scale or a clothing tag. I'm feeling more in control, less numbed by the substances that were dulling my senses, and more connected to my body.

The only dark cloud right now is a cryptic email my mom got from my brother-in-law, telling her that my sister is going into the hospital. But there's no explanation why, how serious it is and how the kids are doing. It's hard to keep worst-case scenarios out of my head, but I know too that making myself upset isn't going to help anyone. So I just have to wait and see what the full tale is. I just hope that whatever happens, it eventually turns out for the best.

Friday, April 30, 2004

Clothing Milestones

It's been an interesting week. Half the time I feel like I'm just as big as ever, that I always will be fat no matter what I do. But then I realize that can't be true -- I'm getting more comments on now much I'm changing, and I had two major milestones this week. Not only did I get into jeans I haven't been able to wear in over 10 years, but I actually bought size 18/20 shorts and although they were snug, I could actually get them on!

It's just my impatience and need for instant gratification getting in the way. Plus, I had my photo taken for the newspaper today (promoting a B&B tour we're involved in) and while it was a good photo, part of me wished I could see more drastic changes.

Despite my frustrations, the week has gone well. I exercised at the gym five days, ate pretty well during the week and when I did eat "danger" foods, I kept the portions reasonable and didn't go crazy. But I am going to make myself wait to get on the scale Monday. Just hoping there's another nice decrease!

Monday, April 26, 2004

Breaking 280

Woo-hoo! I broke the 280 barrier! While didn't make the month or even the two weeks, I at least went one whole week without looking at the scale, which is an improvement and did seem to help with the number=mood problem I've been having. It also helped to dwell more on the exercise aspect of this, and something tells me going to the gym five times plus the additional walking and swimming helped me to get to 275, despite a few high-calorie days.

This past Wednesday we went out to dinner with my uncle (who spends most of his days in Mongolia), and I thought I did very well with portion control. Then Sunday there was a spaghetti dinner at church, and I made sure to leave some pasta on my plate, because they gave such huge portions. Today I did go a little overboard by going out for Chinese, but I did skip the rice and didn't go for desserts and got more veggies instead.

I realize, however, that I can't be pushing the limits all the time and expect to keep losing weight. I know, I don't want to obsess, but I still want to keep going, as far as the fates (and my body) will let me.

It's funny -- there are days where I can really see and feel a difference, but then there's time where I feel like nothing's changed. But those are getting fewer, because 35 pounds is pretty substantial. In a funny twist, though, I was thinking today that even though my body's changing, I still pretty much feel the same -- attributed to the fact that I had come to a fairly good level of acceptance about my body. Even now I don't think about myself at 330, etc., with self hatred and loathing. I mean, I'm glad I'm getting into smaller sizes and I feel less stuffed, but I don't think my value as a human being is increasing because of it. I suppose that's good; it seems to be keeping my expectations realistic and attainable.

For example, this past week I went through my closet and realized almost all of my Sunday/dress clothes are way too big. While part of me is glad, the other part was sad to see some of my favorite pieces go, and I though about how much it will cost to replace my wardrobe!

Monday, April 19, 2004

Make or Break Time

Today I took my scale and chucked it in the closet. I am just tired of feeling frustrated and discouraged, especially by a number. Optimally I'd like to wait a month until I check again, but at the very minimum I'd like to go at least a full week, hopefully two.

The weekend was sort of hard, with hoagies [subs] and pizzas and birthday cake in my environment. I did fine until Sunday evening, when I ate more pizza than I should have, but I left one piece behind and didn't just mindlessly binge. I also justified it because I ate very little throughout the day.

It's such a "make or break" time with me right now. I feel like I need to cut myself a little slack, but I'm afraid a little will turn into a lot, and then I'll be done for. Finding that balance of healthy (and that means physically and mentally) eating has always been nearly impossible for me, although I do find the food journal helps keep me accountable and aware of what I'm choosing.

I've decided to add an exercise part to the food journal, so I can record what kinds and how much exercise I'm getting on a daily basis. That way I can also see what I've accomplished on that front, because that's also important.

I have to realize that I'm not sure where my body will decide to settle. It may be 200, it might be more or less. All I can guarantee is my daily behavior -- my level of activity and food choices -- and the results of that are beyond my control.

I've never been able to lose more than 40 pounds during a single diet, so I know the feelings I'm experiencing now, and I admit it makes me a little anxious. Because I don't want this to be another diet -- I want to permanently improve my behaviors and not lead myself to another rebound. Along the road I've slowly picked up the knowledge of healthy eating and exercise from different resources and at different times. The trick now is to incorporate it all into one lifestyle that I can be happy with. I'll never be able to avoid all temptations and won't always be able to find alternatives to overeating. But like a little kid learning to ride a bike, I need to pick myself up when I fall and get right back on the bike, not sit there crying and full of self pity.

I think I mentioned this before, but I'm definitely feeling some of the same emotions I did during the adoption. I'm at the point where I've laid all the groundwork, and now I just have to wait for the end result. As much as I want that to come quickly, it just won't, and I have to find the patience and perseverance to see it through --without going crazy!

But I have to remember: even though it seemingly took forever, the big day did eventually arrive, and as long as I stick with the program, the results will eventually come with this, too.

Friday, April 16, 2004

You're My Obsession

Man, what a hard week it's been! For some reason it's been really hard to fight the urges to binge, and although I thought I did really well last night when I went to the pizza place with JB, I've just felt all week like I'm faltering, and a lot of that is because the scale hasn't dropped at all.

I think one reason this week hasn't gone well for me mentally was because it's been a hectic one, and although it hasn't been extremely stressful, it's still more than I've had lately, and it's really clear that without my unchecked eating to comfort me, I'm definitely feeling the strain.

I may also be hitting my first real plateau, and it may be time to kick up the exercise another notch, because I don't really want to decrease my current food intake any more than I am right now. My average day falls between 1300-1500 calories, which is just enough to keep me from feeling really deprived. And I should not be having a major anxiety attack over eating four bites of Mabel's soft pretzel at the school musical tonight! This is ridiculous, and I really think I'm getting way too obsessive about all of this. It's unrealistic to think I'm going to keep losing weight as fast as I was, and I'm getting perilously close to the old feelings of "poor me" and that this is all a punishment. Clearly this is a major crossroads time for me, and what happens in the next few days -- which contain several temptations -- will determine if I can continue into the long term.

And I think part of that long term and its success is taking some of the pressure off of me. I think the first step is to stop weighing myself so often. I've been doing it daily, and it's definitely controlling my mood, usually in a bad way. I need to literally hide the damn scale in a closet and out of sight so I quit judging myself by what it says. I also think I need to forbid myself to calculate calorie totals in my head, because I'm getting way too worked up over my daily totals and if I'm over or under. I know what healthy foods and portion sizes are, and I need to focus on that instead of numbers and forbidding "bad" foods.

While these steps will probably wind up slowing down my weight loss, I have to realize that it's the only way it's going to actually happen. Better that it take two years than never.

The new plan is to focus more on the exercise -- commit to more walking yoga and even swimming. I also need to quit obsessing about this, because in the meantime my housework and B&B chores are suffering. So I need to buckle down with FlyLady and try to re-establish my missions and weekly home blessings.

The sad thing is, I want to get to a lower weight on the scale before I take a "break" and not use it daily. Is that pathetic or what? Maybe tomorrow I'll get lucky, but what if I don't? I wish I could find better ways of validating myself and measuring my success.

Monday, April 12, 2004

After Easter Wrap Up

I deducted one day [of overeating abstinence] for yesterday, Easter Sunday, even though I actually did fairly good during the meal -- although I was stuffed I just got small portions of everything and didn't get seconds of anything. But I acted like a complete junkie over my peanut butter eggs, especially the big peanut butter meltaway. Although a funny thing happened; by the end it had lost its seductive allure, and today I was totally ready to get back to my routine and did my best to eliminate most of the leftovers so I wouldn't be tempted, just in case.

But I didn't feel well (again a food hangover) and wound up not going to the gym. In fact, it's going to be a hard week for the gym, between kindergarten registration on Wednesday and a B&B guest on Friday morning (like I did today). I really need to get on the ball about the treadmill as my alternate exercise on days I can't get to the gym.

I got my notice for my 15th class reunion, which will be held relatively early this time on May 29. I was sort of hoping it would be in July or August so I would have more time to lose weight, but I do figure at my prior calculations that I could possibly lose 20 more pounds by the party. Hopefully I can do it without suffering for it.

I got some compliments from my aunts at dinner yesterday, which felt good, because most of the time no one ever says anything, and I start to wonder if anyone can notice a change or if it's just me. But there's definitely things like clothes, even the seat adjustment in my car, that are definite proof it it.

I need to go back and say that I did pretty well Saturday night, even though we ordered from the pizza place. I split a small veggie pizza with my cousin's wife and two fried zucchini strips, which is much better than I did the last time during the Maple Festival. Could it be I'm slowly improving? Maybe.

While I think I need the occasional "free" day to get my fill of my favorite goodies, there's a down side to it. As Easter neared I got more and more focused on it, and I really think that dwelling on it made me have more cravings and made it more difficult to abstain in the days leading up to it.

Mom was also no help, and at times did her best (subconsciously or not?) to sabotage me. She can compliment me on my resolve one moment then try to get me to eat a bite of her high-calorie cookie the next. Does she not get it that it's like she's offering a beer to an alcoholic? But she's the ultimate addictive personality and has surrounded herself with people who also have addictive personalities. Yes, it's discouraging and frustrating, but so far I'm fortunate that it hasn't derailed me.

I've been thinking a lot lately about adopting again, but I don't think it'll be anytime real soon, until the U.S. can adopt from Vietnam again. But I also want to be much further along on this journey and assimilate better ways of coping with stress before I subject myself to that ordeal.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Fifty Days, Thirty Pounds

What a great way to celebrate 50 days -- by marking 30 pounds gone since Feb. 17! It really just blows my mind. I don't think I've ever been able to maintain a routine like this for this long and with these results -- not without making myself miserable.

Granted, there are still temptations, still moments where I think about making myself a mountain of quesadillas and stuffing myself. And believe me, I'm counting the days until Easter when I can dive into that peanut butter meltaway egg! That will never go away. But if I can regulate those moments to the occasional "treat day" instead of an everyday occurrence, I hope I can keep myself from falling back into my old ways (and weighs!).

What's fun, however, is watching my body change. Even my face is slowly changing as I'm losing weight. It's all the little things I observe on a day to day basis that remind me that there are already results, even if it seems like they're minuscule sometimes. It's difficult to keep that "I've got so far to go" attitude out of my head. Instead, the other day I was calculating numbers in m head, and I figured that at 3 pounds a week, I could be down to around 250 by my birthday. Seeing that my average loss has continued to be about 5 pounds per week, that should be a very attainable goal and one that thrills me. That's not far away at all! Even if I go down 2 pounds a week, I could be awfully trim by Christmas time if I keep faithful to my current plan.

I keep worrying that something is going to derail me -- some stressful event or injury that will sabotage me. But nothing's been able to derail me so far, and I can only hope I've picked up enough knowledge and skills to keep me going even during the harder times.

By now the gym, recording my meals, even the portion sizes, are becoming second nature to me. While I'm still wishing I could get my ass in gear with housework and B&B maintenance, I suppose most brains can only acquire so many new routines at once, and eventually I can get to those. But for now I'm feeling good, and that's the important part, right?

Monday, April 05, 2004

Sneak Peek

Yes, once again, I've been sneaking peeks at the scale, so I was glad to see another three pounds gone [282] and couldn't help recording it. Of course I'll check again on Wednesday, just in cast it would happen to go down again by then. I'm like a naughty kid opening my Christmas presents early; I've always been bad at waiting for presents, good news, etc., and the same goes for this. I need constant validation, and so far I've been lucky that I've had such steady and substantial (yet healthy) weight loss. I never expected to have lost almost 30 pounds by Easter, but it's fast approaching, and like Mom said, I haven't had to "suffer" to reach this point, either.

I'm still waiting for it to get hard, when I'm driven to eat and eat, but it just hasn't happened. Maybe it's because I'm allowing myself enough "free" days to get some of that out of my system. And maybe it's because I now realize how destructive daily binging can be. Maybe it's because I don't have a reason to (stress, etc.). Either way, it's almost a relief that I've been having a relatively easy time keeping this up.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Feelings and Changes

Went to church today and KB was there looking amazingly trim, and I heard a few days before at the gym that it's due to WLS -- not sure what kind. It's weird: I always feel this sense of loss when I hear someone else has had the surgery -- another person trying the "quick fix" solution. It's a combination of sadness and anger, however. Could it be I feel it's yet another condemnation of fat people -- me -- and that once again I'm being told that I'm not good enough, etc.?

But, what happens if one day I'm no longer a fat person? Hard as that is to believe, if I can make this a permanent lifestyle, it could very well happen. Will I be offended when people come up to me after church to tell me how wonderful I look? "What, I looked like shit before?" Is that what will be stuck in my head? "Oh, my body finally meets your approval?"

Will I be angry and resentful about all the years I've been invisible and sub-par to the general consensus? That's something I definitely need to address in therapy, especially on the miraculous chance that it actually happens. I still teeter on the It's Gonna Happen/It's Impossible seesaw, and I don't think that will change until I've lost considerably more weight.

Last night we had a prime rib dinner for Mom's birthday, and I thought I did really well. I only had half a piece of bread with some pesto and bruschetta topping, saved part of my meat for tonight's dinner, took it easy on the potatoes and ate more of the roasted veggies, and topped it off with a small Caesar salad. As for drinks I had two small ones (1/2 glass each) and had seltzer the rest of the evening. Probably the only thing I ate a little too much of were green olives, and I know I had less than 10, so it wasn't by much. I was able to eat with everyone else, not make a fuss, end the evening not stuffing myself and can enjoy some leftovers tonight.

Mabel told me a few days ago that my "boobies are shrinking," which I guess means even she can notice a change. It's exciting for me to see these changes, but of course, I wish it was faster (don't we all?).

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Losing It

Although I said I wasn't going to, I did some "curiosity checks" on the scale, and while I was sorta' scared of the number on Monday, by Wednesday it was back to last week's low, so I was really glad about that, and that will tide me over to next week's official weighing.

The last couple days I've had moments where I felt like I ate too much. For example, at Wednesday's lunch outing with SA, but in each case it was primarily vegetables I was eating, and while I feel a little stuffed at the time, I think it's mainly because they are quite voluminous at first but aren't loaded with fat and sugar, all that heavy stuff. As for the Chinese, I pretty much ate the same size portions, etc., as SA, who is as petite as can be. And I have never seen this woman "overeat." And at Chinese I completely skipped the rice and only had one crab rangoon -- no egg rolls, no lo mein, no eclairs from the dessert bar.

I think I'm tending to get a little hard on myself, especially after this weekend. Part of me wants to starve myself to make sure I lose weight fast and get back on the roll I had been on. But I have to remind myself that the main goal here is to not rapidly lose weight, but to find a saner way to deal with food. I know I've been a little too worried about calories, getting all anxious if I don't know what the calorie count of something is, and that bothers me. My big concern needs to be portion sizes and not mindlessly munching and making myself sick by overeating.

Exercise has been going very well. I didn't go Monday because I was just so tired from the weekend, but I've gone the rest of the week for at least an hour each time, and I've increased the time on most of the aerobic exercises (bike, rower, rider). I have not been doing the treadmill in the afternoons, but I do think I will being saving it for non-gym days, so I have at least some exercise 6 to 7 days a week. And if later on I reach a plateau, then I can think about adding it daily to help give me a boost. Because I do think I'm getting a fairly good amount right now -- about 4 hours of gym a week -- actually closer to 5, plus whatever walking, etc., I do at home.

Did I mention I started watching this show on Discovery Health channel called "Losing It"? I'm sort of hooked on it now and tune in to see who the people are, how much they've lost, and how they did it. I tend to compare myself to some, and I always cringe when it's the gastric bypass solution. I'm more impressed/inspired by the ones who do it through healthy eating and exercise, and I do think it gives me some encouragement to keep going. Of course, it also makes me very impatient to see more results, and I realized today that I'm feeling very much like I did when I was going through the adoption process. There's impatience, frustration, excitement, even a little anxiety when I think about what will happen in the future. Silly things like, "I'll have to buy all new clothes;" "what if I have a lot of excess skin?" Because at heart I would really like to join the folks on these shows who lose 100, 150 pounds, which would mean things like new wardrobes and dealing with the after effects on my body. But then I think I'm delusional if I think I could ever get myself down to, say, 140 or 150 pounds. That just seems impossible, beyond comprehension, but I'm afraid that I think that strongly enough I'll have a self-fulfilling prophesy. Whereas, if I let myself believe that I can do it, who knows? Maybe I could.

The truth of the matter is, I'll just keep going until my body tells me what's right -- and I'm sure it will let me know.

Of course, my next big hurdle is Easter, which is just in fact another day. I'll do the best I can and on Monday brush myself off and get back to my routine. I must admit it would be great to lose another five pounds by then -- making it 30 total -- but I'm not going to beat myself up if I'm not.

Actually, from the highest point I was ever weighed, I am now 52 to 53 pounds lighter, which impressed me when I thought about it. Fifty pounds would have most people cheering up and down the street. I just have to make that sense of accomplishment last to get me through this.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Two Days Off

I deducted two days from my count of "abstaining" days because I didn't do very well over the weekend. My big downfall, as predicted, was Saturday night. There was just too much against me. I worked my tail off on the busiest day of the entire festival, I was "starving" because I didn't have any kind of afternoon snack. I was surrounded by two major binge foods -- pizza and burnt sugar cake, and I was seemingly surrounded by people who were overeating all weekend.

None of it's an excuse. I made a conscious decision to eat too much. I know I was gobbling down that pizza way too fast because I was so hungry and it tasted soooo good.

On Sunday I was surrounded by food -- major leftovers. I decided to compromise: I kept what I knew I would eat that day, and I took the rest and left it at the festival office so it wouldn't be around to tempt me today.

And so today I'm back to the plan, although I didn't go to the gym because I didn't feel well (including a hoarse voice which I'm kinda' concerned about). I think part of it was being tired from working my tail off at the festival, but I think I was also having a real food hangover after all that heavy food.

After thinking about it, I decided not to go back to zero but just deduct two days from my count. As Dr. Fairburn's book says, I lapsed, I didn't relapse, and I shouldn't consider a weekend of overeating a few things as a complete failure. I was able to catch myself in an overeating/binge moment, realize why I was doing it and try to learn something from it. In between those couple moments of weakness I still wrote down what I ate, tried to make some healthier choices and tried to keep my meals and snacks at specific times and not free-range grazing the whole weekend.

Instead of feeling the drudgery of going back on a diet, I actually felt a sense of relief of getting back to my (new) routine, which is definitely a new thing for me. Almost as an added incentive, Opr9h had her B0b Green3 challenge people on her show today (a re-run) and showed all the before and after stories of people who made a real commitment to change their lives.

If anything, this is a learning experience that I can have a "guilty" weekend and then go back to healthy eating. In the past I would have just completely gone off the wagon and never got back on, and I would have just continued overeating and chowing down on all of the leftovers until they were gone. "Normal" people have days or weekends where they eat too much, then go on with the rest of their lives, and that's what I'd like to achieve.

While none of my gang commented on my appearance, my mom's friend KS stopped by at our party Saturday night and made a fuss over me, which thoroughly tickled me. It's so nice to have a cheerleader to make me feel good and encourage me to keep it up, because I rarely have anyone tell me I'm looking good, etc.

I'm also totally unused to have anyone fuss over me, but B certainly does, and I always feel so special when he dotes on me and makes so many PDAs. No one except for Mabel ever touches me, so to have someone, even a gay man, be so willing to make physical contact makes me feel, at least a little bit, that I'm not the most physically repulsive creature in the world.

Now I guess I'm eager to lose more, enough that people have to notice. Something tells me this could really be it, the time that I'm finally successful, because my goals are realistic and I'm allowing myself to be imperfect, which hopefully will keep me on track and less likely to quit altogether.

I just have to be kind to myself after I do fall, and keep reminding myself of all the good things -- how much better I feel, how much this will improve the quality of my life -- and all that!

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Looking Forward

Another day, another festival goodie. Today was the curly fries with cheese, which I must say was much cheaper and more satisfying than yesterday's soup in a bread bowl. I was so hungry by 4 p.m. that I had to eat my half bagel sandwich, despite my fruit snack mid-afternoon. But instead of going berserk after that I ate my planned dinner and evening snack, and I got back to the gym this morning.

I don't know if I'll go to the gym tomorrow; I got my four days in and it is kind of hard juggling Mabel around in the morning before I head over to the festival. So I might just do my treadmill at home in the morning. I hate the thought of sitting on my butt all day in the kids' building and eating my goodie (which will either be the fried veggies or the apple dumpling) and then facing a very binge prone weekend. I'm pretty sure I'm going to wait an extra week to weight myself after this because there's no point getting myself disappointed with something out of my control.

I mean, I will control my urges to binge and overeat as much as possible, but at the same time, I'm not going to make a scene and not eat what the others are eating, even if it isn't the healthiest choice. A lot of this project is eating "normally," and part of that is being able to eat a variety of foods, "good" and "bad," without going bananas.

To kill time today I was filling out my meal planner notebook and took it to July so far. I suppose the question is, how long do I monitor my meals? Until I reach my goal weight; indefinitely? I do think I'm always going to have to be very conscious about what and why I'm eating, because I am so prone to falling back into old habits. But something tells me I won't always have to record every bite I eat forever. Eventually these new habits should become second nature. I hope so. I hope I can make lasting improvements that I'll be able to maintain the rest of my life.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Sakes Alive, I lost 25!

I was about shocked senseless when I weighed myself today -- I am now down 25 pounds! I guess my plan is really working. By allowing myself one treat a day at the festival and sticking with my regular meals, snacks and exercise, I'm still able to lose weight! I thought I would just keep steady throughout the week, but I guess I'm still burning more than I'm consuming.

However, this weekend it's going to be near impossible with SS, B and his folks coming and adding more meals and snacks (with a party Saturday night) to the mix. All I can do is eat sensibly -- try to eat regular portions, try to make some healthy choices, and not gorge myself.

I'm a little curious to see if they notice a change in my appearance, and if they mention it to me. On the grand scale of my body (hee hee) 25 pounds isn't a whole lot, but it is starting to melt away some of the excess. I know I can literally feel the changes on my body: more definition, actual bones (!!!) and muscles emerging out of the fat.

I got my TV Guide yesterday and celebrity Star Jones was on the cover about her current weight loss. However, the article was a total cop-out. It didn't mention how much she lost, what she weighs now or how she even did it. There was a sidebar of "experts" discussing whether she could have that much weight loss (how much?!?) in six or seven months without bariatric surgery, because she won't say. It's like, honey, if you're gonna do an article, at least say something! If you didn't do it with surgery, be open about how you did it, and if you did have WLS, be honest about the pros and cons. And the thing is, she's nowhere near thin now, and she's going on and on about how wonderful she feels, and how her life is so fantastic now.

I just get so tired of these celebrities going through these surgeries and making it look like it's a miracle cure and it's going to give you a fairy tale life. It just doesn't work that way, and I almost wish one of these stars would have terrible side effects so the public would finally get an honest look at what WLS can do to people.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Another Day, Another Goodie

Another day okay. My goodie for the day was a steak and cheese sandwich, which I had a hard time not feeling guilty about. But I did fine the rest of the day -- resisted deviating from my three small portioned, well-balanced meals.

Part of me thinks this all sounds so mamby-pamby; rather, I'm just on another diet. That I've joined the countless millions who delude themselves into thinking these diets work. Am I deluding myself once again, after all these years? Is this time really different? Or will I once again slip back into my old habits? But, can I really go back now, realizing and knowing what I know now? That I was no different than the alcoholic on a drinking spree, though my addiction is the overeating, not the food itself. While one part of myself would like like to lose weight, another part knows that I could also find satisfaction in just giving up the mass consuming. Really.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Maple Fest -- Day One

Well, I survived the first day of the festival. While I did eat differently than I would have in my normal routine, that was just the point -- I was out of my normal routine and still managed to eat pretty healthy and not compulsively.

I did eat a couple crackers (and a pretzel) sampling some dips at one of the stands, but that's far from overeating. I bought one goodie -- a burnt sugar gob [for those of you wondering what the heck that is, they're also called whoopie pies: two round pieces of cake with icing in the middle; the burnt sugar thing deals with caramelizing the sugar in the batter and the icing] and saved it until I got home. Probably the biggest divergence from my plan was eating the remainder of Mabel's nachos with cheese -- there were only about 10 chips left, I'm guessing. So I ate those and the gob when I got home and decided that was my supper and dessert, and it was enough.

For the first time ever, I wasn't driven to go out and buy every deep fried, breaded, fat-laden thing I could find. While things looked tasty, nothing was so tempting as to be calling my name and beckoning me to gulp it all down. It was really quite strange and truly liberating for me. Could I really be breaking free from the addiction of food? Granted, I sort of "treated" myself when I packed a ham and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread, but that pales in comparison to what a day at the festival was last year. What I ate in one day last year is what I plan on spreading throughout the whole week this year, rather than all of it on a daily basis!

I watched a show on Discovery Health about Ann Wilson from Heart, who had the lap band surgery, and the whole thing gave me a bad vibe. Am I kidding myself that I can change my life on my own, when you see these people who could only do it when forced to by surgery? They showed her and her lifestyle now -- exercising five days a week, eating healthy foods -- which is what I'm doing now -- and I think, "couldn't this rich and famous rock star figure this out before subjecting herself to the knife?"

Maybe addiction's like that: for some people you have to force the issue -- whether it be the Betty Ford Center or bariatric surgery -- to finally break free of it. I guess my question is, am I strong enough to do this without such drastic measures? Will I be able to make permanent changes in how I think about and eat food that will enable me to get to a "reasonable" weight and maintain it?

I'm very anxious and impatient to see the scale move down again, but somehow I doubt I'll lose much (if any) during the festival, since I'm allowing myself my daily "goodie" (rather than calling it "bad" food). But for heaven's sake, I've lost so much so fast already, and isn't it better to get me through this immense trigger week by teaching myself to think and eat sanely -- eating small portions of trigger foods without prompting an enormous overeating session? If I can make that happen, that's real progress -- not on the scale, but for my emotional well being. And that's what's going to make this thing work; changing my brain, not necessarily the size on my clothing tags.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

First Month Total

I wanted to weigh myself today because #1 it is the end of the first month, and #2 I wanted a last minute update to give Dr. K. at our therapy session today. And the total is 22 pounds in one month!

We spent most of the hour talking about this "project," "lifestyle change," and she seems to be very supportive of how I'm doing it.

I have to admit I'm a little excited that I'm past the stalling point of 290, even by just such a little bit, because it's one more hurdle gone. Once I get down to 270, that'll be the lowest I've been in well over 10 years -- more like 14!

And yesterday I even managed to get through a lunch out with my aunts, cousin, Mom and Mabel. I got a cup of chili, a grilled chicken salad, then shared a hot fudge sundae with Mabel. I could only eat half the salad, and I was quite content eating Mabel's leftovers -- heck, she only ever eats a couple bites of dessert -- ever. For supper I finished the salad and topped it off with an ounce of ham and some carrots, then had my butterscotch pudding. No "I had bad food for lunch, let's just go nuts the rest of the day and start over tomorrow/Monday/next month." I even came home and did some more snow blowing!

A big temptation coming up, however, is the Maple Festival [I was on the board of directors for the festival and was in charge of children's activities; I was normally there every single day of the seven-day festival] -- those yummy deep fried veggies, the mouth-watering steak sandwiches, the curly fries, maple cookies, burnt sugar gobs and (dear God) those enormous apple dumplings! Last year I had them all -- more than once! I know to keep my sanity I'm going to have to get a few things -- I'll be all resentful and prone to relapsing if I don't. My game plan is to #1 take salads, fruit and other healthy snacks along to fill up on; #2 not take a lot of money with me so I can't buy all those things; and #3 if I can't resist a certain treat, either try to share it with someone or save half of it for later. Because of course it's ingrained in me not to throw food away. At least I got a month of abstinence under my belt and my impressive weight loss as added incentive not to go crazy and eat like a hog every day of the festival. And I do need to learn how to deal with some of these "trigger" foods and learn how to have a saner relationship with them.

I think one of the biggest revelations for me is really thinking about portion sizes and realizing just how much I was overeating. I'm probably eating a good third of what I was before, which would clearly explain why I've been losing weight so quickly.

Now at dinner tonight I had a moment where I considered eating more -- granted, it was broccoli, not a very "dangerous" food. But I figured out that it was mainly out of emotional reasons rather than hunger, and I made myself get up from the table, telling myself that if I was still hungry when the dishes were washed, I'd eat some more. Guess what-- as I finished the last of the dishes, I actually felt kind of full! I gave my body time to feel, and I saved myself from compulsive eating. Of course, I still wonder how much of it is the pills, and what will happen when I quit taking them. But something tells me the groundwork is being laid; the new habits formed, and it won't be so bad.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Creature of Habits

Well, according to FlyLady, I have now gone past the 27 days it takes to make something a habit. I'm certainly not over the urge to binge -- that's pretty much a daily thing that has to be pushed aside -- but I am getting into the habit of recording and planning what I eat, exercising regularly (and have now added the treadmill at home) and trying to focus on healthy foods and smaller portions.

My next goal now is to try to ease up on the constant thoughts about this, and especially the weight loss aspects of it. I thought about forcing myself to wait two weeks on more between the scale to force myself to let up on it, but I don't know if I could handle it. It seems like all I ever think about is menu planning, what I'm eating, and of course all I've been reading is stuff related to it. I need to get back to my actual life, or at least the part that didn't include the overeating. I guess that means forging out what I want my life to be without food as my only reason for living.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Victory, On the Scale and Otherwise

Yes, I shouldn't have done it, but I weighed myself again today, but I was shocked to see 290, and even double and triple checked (resetting the scale) to make sure.

That's 20 pounds in 26 days -- almost a pound a day! It sounds kinda' scary, too good to be true. But it hasn't been a cake walk (literally!). I've had to really think -- planning meals, analyzing myself through urges to binge, and keeping out the negative thoughts in my head. I've also been working out at the gym four days a week and trying to be active on my "off" days. My treadmill arrived Thursday and I'm going to slowly build up to a daily brisk walk on that, too.

Should I really make these numbers on the scale my only barometer of success? I guess that's why I'm including my "abstinence days" with the date, too, as another measure of my progress. I worry a lot that I'm getting even more obsessed with food -- but maybe I'm just taking the obsession that's always been there and slowly turning it around, and hopefully with therapy and other forms of help I can get myself free of it. Think positive.

Friday, March 12, 2004

No Loss, No Gain

Well, I weighed myself today, expecting some loss, and I was disappointed to have none. I know, I've lost 15 pounds in three weeks, which is amazing, and it isn't a bad thing for my body to regroup for a little bit. But I had a feeling I'd get stuck at this point, which is where I've gotten stuck for several years now, and I wonder if the barrier is more emotional than physical. I'm right at the point, like I always do, where the gung-ho attitude is faltering and the frustration begins.

But, in all honesty, I know that I ate a lot more starch (potatoes, pasta) this week and eating more at lunch. The pasta -- ravioli -- was expiring this week, and while I've been eating is in controlled servings, it was still "extra," and it felt like a treat, and it certainly felt that way going down.

I don't know if I'll ever get over the allure, the sensuousness of food. Maybe despite any kind of behavioral therapy, I may always be seduced by it.

Like I sort of guessed, this would start getting harder as time went on. Now the real work, the real struggle begins. When the weight loss is slower, the temptations grow larger, the urge to give up and go back to my old behavior grows and becomes harder to resist.

But I have to think of the benefits, some of which I'm feeling already. Now that I'm not overeating, the increasing indigestion I was experiencing has vanished. I was starting to get this weird feeling in my throat, as if I was starting to choke after I ate, but that's all gone, too. Because I'm not drinking non-stop to wash down all the copious amounts of food, I'm not getting up once or even twice a night to pee, and of course my #2s have decreased, and not having what I thought were possible symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Just those alone should tell me that my life is definitely better without the overeating. But I have to think too about lowering my cholesterol and triglyceride levels, easing the burden of my weak and overtaxes hips, knees and ankles.

Of course, this isn't just about weight loss -- it's first and foremost lots of physical activity and eating healthy food in healthy portions.

I don't want to go on the Atk!ns bandwagon and eliminate every single carb out of my diet. But I do think that if I want to get past this "set point" I need to go back to greatly reducing them -- which means cutting back again on the potatoes and pasta. I mean, otherwise I've been thrilled with my progress -- this week I started writing down all my meals and snacks, and rather than making me feel controlled or punished, I think it's helping me figure out how to make my daily intake more balanced. It makes me think about what I'm eating, and in the case of this week, see what I need to increase or decrease to get the results I want.

One thing that's helping me is a mantra I picked up from the Wayne Dyer program: "I am whole, I am perfect as God created me." For some reason, I find it very affirming, very positive, and also mood lifting.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Chip Away the Excess

It's been a strange week. For the past couple days I've had these moments of anxiety, and while they eventually pass, I'm not sure what the specific cause is. Part of it is feeling like I'm alone, that I don't have anyone to talk to. But I think that's mainly about this "recovery" I'm going through. I don't like talking about it to Mom, because then I feel like she has expectations for me, plus it's difficult to get good feedback or advice from her because she's one of the most compulsive people I know. As for J., SS or SA, I just don't think they could even begin to relate to what I'm going through. There is LG, who took me to my first OA meeting many years ago, but I don't know what her stand is on it now or what place she's in mentally about her size. That leaves Dr. K., who is on vacation, and I don't see her until next week. I guess that's why this journal is so important -- to give me a risk-free place to vent.

The thing is, this is the biggest thing going on in my life right now, so I feel kind of tongue-tied even talking to people, because I don't want them going away thinking I'm on a diet. This is soooo much more complicated, intense, emotional, whatever you want to call it, because I'm trying to change my behavior and my mindset, as well as trying to change my relationship with food.

For example, the past couple nights I've been anxious because I think to myself, "What am I going to do with myself for all those hours?" I've been filling my days with chores at the house and B&B, my meals and snacks are all pre-planned, and I feel like I'm at loose ends. Before I'd stuff myself silly at supper and then lie around in a stupor the rest of the evening. Now I don't have overeating and its effects as a pastime, so I guess I'm feeling a little ... lost? Exposed? Left with nothing but my thoughts? Dr. Dyer quoted Michelangelo, saying his statue of David was always in the block of marble, he just had to "chip away the excess." I feel I'm doing that to myself right now -- chipping away my excess to expose the true me.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Weekend Discoveries

On Friday the two books I ordered from the Internet came and I poured through them like crazy -- by yesterday I finished them both, and I may just read them again. One was called "Passing for Thin" by a woman [Frances Kuffel] who lost about 188 pounds in her recovery efforts with OA. I was a little disappointed that she basically skipped over the actual losing weight process and dwelled mainly on her life once she got close to her goal weight. While I could relate to some of it and found some of it inspiring, I was able to realize that I have nowhere near the level of fat hatred that she does, and I attribute it to my efforts in size acceptance.

The other book, written by a researcher (Dr. Christopher Fairburn) focusing on eating disorders, really struck home and confirms my belief in how I can have a successful recovery. This doctor discounts the OA method on the issues I questioned -- the strict abstinence of certain "addictive" foods and the belief that it is a progressive disease that only gets worse, even if you're in "recovery." Dr. Fairburn believes binge eating can be overcome with cognitive behavioral therapy, and a crucial point of his program is that no foods should be labeled "forbidden" because that is what often encourages the binge mentality. He agrees with my belief in getting rid of the "all or nothing" thinking, changing habits, monitoring eating patterns and what triggers the binge episodes.

For instance, I had a moment this afternoon after lunch (spinach and chicken salad at Wendy's) where I had an urge to binge -- although for no specific food in particular. Like before, there was a sensation that I wanted to "fill" myself. But then I went grocery shopping, and when I left the urge was gone, and I didn't buy any binge foods, either. I was at the gym this morning and then did snow blowing at my house and the B&B, and I did feel sort of depleted -- is my urge to binge a response to that? But, taking a page out of Dr. Fairburn's book, I found an alternate activity and was able to get past it.

I also did okay at White House Saturday night. I ate half a bowl of soup, one wheat roll, then I scraped off half the dressing off my salad (with plenty to spare!) and didn't bother with my side dish of corn. So I had my broiled shrimp with crab meat and my baked potato with butter and sour cream and pretty much finished them off. But I didn't feel stuffed, felt under control and made healthy choices the rest of the day, including swimming laps for 10 minutes and doing some sit ups and leg lifts. On Sunday I took a short walk with Mabel as well as the sit ups and leg lifts. This weird thing is taking place where I don't feel good just sitting still, and I have this need to be doing something, whether it's housework or some sort of exercise. This is totally bizarre behavior for me, because I've always been so sedentary and low energy, but I do realize that it is actually more normal behavior! I must say the house is cleaner than it's been in ... ages and ages! I'm getting back into the FlyLady routines, I'm planning meals, keeping up on the laundry and getting to tasks and projects I've been too lazy to do and procrastinating so much over the past several months.

This was something that was addressed in "Passing For Thin" -- the food addict in recovery begins to come to life and emerges from the insulation of fat and the piles of clutter in their lives.

Something else that I discovered this weekend was a program called "The Power of Intention" by Dr. Wayne Dyer. It was on PBS and I wound up calling and pledging to get his full line of books, DVD and CDs. I was so struck by what he had to say that I found myself in tears, and I knew I needed to learn more to help me on this new journey. I'm already trying to apply some of the things I picked up from the parts that I saw.

It's weird -- it's like everything in my life right now is coming together in this enlightenment/life change/recovery. Perhaps it's meant to be...

Friday, March 05, 2004

Fifteen Pounds Lost

It's my 18th day of "sobriety" and I've now lost 15 pounds -- something I consider quite amazing. I weighed myself today (Friday) a few days early because I knew I'd be going out to dinner tonight and tomorrow night. I went with J & M & B to the Fish Fry -- yes, with lots of fried fish. But despite the breaded fattiness, I feel I abstained from compulsive/binge eating by 1. refraining from extra side dishes I didn't really need; 2. I only got half a piece of bread and I shared it with Mabel (I normally would have eaten several pieces myself); 3. I didn't load Mabel's plate up with extra food for myself; 4. I didn't eat anything off her plate; 5. I didn't get any desserts because 6. I finished feeling full, not stuffed.

I can tell, though, that I feel kind of dopey/tired, even kind of drugged after that heavy meal. I've been eating so light lately, and I guess I wasn't imagining it when I thought I felt more alert and energetic. Although I did think that yesterday I didn't eat quite enough and felt sort of weak, and I knew I had to make sure not to let myself get too hungry or start some kind of starvation diet, because that's heading down a dangerous road.

But I'll admit it's pretty exciting to be back to my re-relapse weight so quickly. Now the trick will be to get past this point, which has been my stalling point for the past -- oh, six or seven years! I think once I get past that road block point -- hopefully within the next month -- I'll be on my way to making these changes in eating a permanent thing. If I can abstain from binging, not consider the occasional big meal a setback or failure and stay away from the "all or nothing" mentality, I think I might actually be able to lose a considerable amount of weight and (gulp) keep it off! And live in a state of recovery from food, too!

For now, my next focus is tomorrow night at the White House [not where the president lives; it's a local restaurant] with my friends. I think if I stay away from the fried food, limit my bread/starch consumption and eat till I'm full, then I'll be okay. Really, I will be okay...

Thursday, March 04, 2004

I Think Too Much

I went on the Internet today to do just a little more research on the ingredients in my pills, and now I'm a little concerned. One of the ingredients in my pills, and now I'm a little concerned. One of the ingredients -- bladderwrack -- can affect the thyroid and shouldn't be taken if you have an overactive thyroid. Of course, I have an underactive thyroid, but I am on Synthroid. But I've been on the stuff for over three weeks and haven't noticed racing heartbeats or any of the other typical warning signs that my thyroid activity is too high -- in fact, I finally feel better after feeling very sluggish and with a very low level of energy. Could it be I actually needed a little boost?

Next month I'm scheduled to have blood work done to check my thyroid levels. Unless I do start having side effects, I'm going to go ahead and keep taking the pills -- if it really is making my levels too high, then I'll hear about it from the doctor and I'll stop. Does it sound like I'm in denial, that I'm making excuses, that I'm too dependent on these pills? Am I replacing the overeating addiction with these pills? But what if I'm just viewing it as a medicine that helps, and I don't want to lose those benefits -- I mean, I'd be pretty damned panicked if I had to quit taking my asthma medicine! And there are known health risks to birth control pills, but I'm taking them because the benefits -- normalizing my estrogen levels -- outweighs the possible side effects.

Have I justified myself enough? We'll see. All I know is, I feel better, I'm controlling my appetite and cravings, I'm more even-tempered, and it even seems to be helping me and Mabel get along better. Is that possible?

As a side note, almost all of the other ingredients have very few side effects, or at least none that affect me. If it turns out the bladderwrack is bad for me, I plan to either buy the other supplements separately or find another pill that contains the ingredients I want.

It's official -- I think way too much! Just enjoy feeling better and don't worry myself into a psychosomatic illness!

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Cravings and Dieting

Besides the 10 pounds I've lost in the past two weeks, I'm amazed at the energy I've had. It has to be more than just the caffeine in the green tea, because normally caffeine has little effect on me. I've been more motivated to clean the house, plan menus and be more organized in general. Instead of caffeine jitters, this feels more like the effects of an antidepressant. I don't have insomnia, but I seem to need less sleep -- an average amount of sleep, 7 to 8 hours, makes me feel more rested than it did, and I'm having an easier time getting up in the morning. While I still get a little irritated, I'm not having the major blowouts I've had before.

This week is a real test, because it is that "time of month" when I'm usually an eating machine, and I've done really well so far. I did notice, however, that I made this butterscotch pudding (fat free and sugar free) and while I've limited myself to small servings, I really found myself craving it this afternoon. In fact, that's when I seem to be having a lot of food cravings, during the car ride home from M [Mabel was in day care and I'd go pick her up at 4 p.m.]

I suppose I should consider myself fortunate that I was craving a low-calorie snack. I love butterscotch, and it totally satisfies that creamy comfort food need that I have. I guess I'm just leery of all cravings right now. I want to dissect it and know why I crave it, even though it could be as simple as it tastes good.

Then this evening I got Mabel bread sticks with cheese at the pizzeria. I decided to have three of the smallest pieces with the least amount of cheese, and I was able t stop with that and have a salad with chicken when I got home. I was hungry, I knew it'd be a while before I could eat my own supper, and I don't want to make any food forbidden. That's the first step to making this a diet, which starts the chain reaction of deprivation, rebellion and binging. But I am catching myself starting to count calories, fat grams, etc., which concerns me, too. I don't want to make this all about weight loss -- I may never reach an "ideal" weight, and in the end that can't be the measure of success or failure. It has to be about stopping the compulsive eating and binges. Maybe if I repeat it over and over again...

Monday, March 01, 2004

Another Five Gone

I couldn't quite believe it -- another five pounds gone! I know the 5-pound a week loss won't last long, so I suppose I better enjoy it. While I did start to feel a little less jiggly, I didn't expect this much of a loss so quickly. The thing is, with these pills I really haven't felt like I've suffered for it, and I've let myself have some treats in the past two weeks.

But the whole thing is, I've managed to go two weeks without a single binge. For two weeks I haven't felt stuffed. A few times I felt full, but not excessively because I've gorged myself. It actually feels sorta' good to let myself get hungry; before I was always eating so much and so often that I never gave my body a chance to let myself know what it needs.

This may be all because of the pills, and it might have been an entirely different story without them. But I really don't care. If they help me come to grips with my insatiable appetite and give me a little extra energy without any harmful side effects, why should I not take them? If this were an antidepressant or a prescription medication, I wouldn't be having this major debate. I think I'm going to go ahead and stay on them indefinitely, because they're cheap enough and if they still do what they do without problems, it'd be foolish not to give myself all the help I can get.

I told my mother about the loss and I got her typical response, "keep it up," but it came across (like it always has) that what I've done so far just isn't good enough. I know that's my own negative spin, and it ties in with my fleeting thoughts of "this is going to take forever" and "how am I ever going to keep it up that long?" Like I've said before, I need to get the "one day at a time" belief ingrained in my head. FlyLady says that once you do something for 27 days it becomes habit. Well, I'm halfway to that point, so maybe it's just a matter of time.

I did think to myself (after reading another one of those frustrating and aggravating gastric bypass articles) that I do really feel like I've had some kind of mental bypass or bypass without surgery, because even though I do have some fleeting moments, I really feel different now -- in a better way

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Somebody Noticed!

Yesterday J.B. asked me if I'd lost weight. I was kind of surprised that anyone would notice anything at this point. As for the day, while I did have some foods that weren't the healthiest in the world (2 maple goodies from the tree tapping ceremony and a ham and cheese roll for supper) I didn't overeat or eat compulsively during the day. I sidestepped a lot of temptations yesterday and I'm not considering it a "backslide" at all.

This evening I made Mabel macaroni and cheese, and it was very hard for me to abstain from the very high-fat, low quality but very tempting comfort food. But instead I ate my leftover vegetable dishes and was able to go without it. I did tell myself that if I was still hungry after the veggies that I'd allow myself some (a measured serving size), because I don't want to make any foods forbidden. I'd rather try to make healthy alternatives first, and like I've said before, watch my portion sizes. I know, it sounds like a diet, but I really feel that for the first month of so I truly need to go through a "detox" phase. Although I certainly haven't totally eliminated anything, so it's not a true detoxification.

But truth be told, I would like to lose weight. I know that smacks in the face of all I've done with size acceptance and what I've learned about the diet industry and the media's influence. Maybe I'm succumbing to to the overwhelming pressure, maybe I'm fooling myself into thinking #1 it'll ever happen, #2 it'll change anything in my life, especially in the romance department. But maybe, just maybe, I've come to the point in my life that I don't need food anymore, I don't need to medicate, comfort and numb myself anymore. More importantly, maybe I'm ready to give up the insulation and the invisibility of the fat. That's a major, somewhat terrifying concept for me to wrap my head around, Most people never change -- the ones who do, do it with a strength and determination and courage that's admirable. Do I have that within me? This doesn't mean becoming skinny -- it means getting to a place where I'm truly comfortable with my body. I don't know where that will be, but we'll find out when I get there.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Being Realistic

Still soldiering on. The more research I do, the more I think OA might not be for me. Let me clarify -- while I think the 12 steps would be very beneficial, from what I understand, most groups stress an "abstinence" diet that requires you to measure every meal and eliminate all sugar and flour -- forever. I can tell you right now I could never handle something that regimented and restrictive, and I know I'd never be able to stick to it. I feel I'm doing a pretty good job right now limiting and cutting down on sugar and refined starches, but I know the minute I started thinking it has to be "all or nothing," my perfectionism will take over and I'll be done for.

So, I ordered a book online today that was recommended by a reviewer with a similar viewpoint. The doctor who wrote this book appears to have a more realistic plan but still addresses all the emotional issues I need to work through. I guess you could say I'm chickening out of full abstinence, but I think I'm being realistic.While I'm trying to take one day at a time, I also have to think about what can actually work for me in the very long term. As well as my own food choices, I have to cook for my daughter, too, and I would prefer that she have a well-balanced diet with me than going through life with "her food" and "my food."

This morning when I was waking up this thought went through my head that I wanted to binge, although the phrase that came to me was "fill myself up." It was an interesting insight --clearly I need to find other ways to "fill" myself other than food. I know I'm in a withdrawal phase right now, and thank goodness for the green tea pills -- that's another thing OA frowns upon, I've discovered. But I think they're a godsend right now, helping me to adjust as I reduce portions, starches and sugars. I have very little cravings, and I'm not driven to eat and eat and eat.

I exercised four days this week, my knee is getting stronger, and I hope everything I'm doing works together to reinvent myself to the person I want to be. Not just physically -- more importantly, mentally.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Stepping Out

Well, disappointment. OA is not meeting in M anymore. The closest place that I'm aware of is J-town, on Monday nights during my daughter's dance class, and Saturday mornings, when I'll be working most weekends at the B&B. So I made some calls and left my info with the regional group, and I think they're going to send me information. I find it shocking that there isn't a meeting in our county seat -- there are certainly enough overeaters around!

So, for the time being I'm reading stuff on the Internet and I'm looking into books and OA literature. If I can at least keep myself motivated that way until I can find a meeting that works or a support person to talk or email with about the steps and OA issues.

Tuesday was Shrove Tuesday and we had a typical Lutheran pot luck dinner at the church. I was a little nervous about going and being tempted to overeat, but I thought I did very well -- I got little samples of different dishes and didn't overload my plate, and I limited myself to one small piece of dessert. I didn't feel deprived and I left feeling satisfied, not stuffed. In fact, earlier that day I went to lunch with S.A. at the Chinese buffet, which I was concerned about, too. Again, I thought about what I picked, went heavier on veggies and lighter on rice and breaded items, and didn't even have an urge to get the desserts. I went up twice, but I didn't pile up my plate. Again, when I left I didn't feel like I had overeaten and didn't feel like I gorged.

Now some people might say, "but you ate high-starch, high-carb or sugary food," or "you should be avoiding buffets and pot lucks." But then I would have missed out on the fellowship and friendship that were the reason for the get-togethers. In my opinion, if I hadn't gone, I would have felt that I was depriving myself, which would have made me feel sorry for myself and would have very likely led to a binge, which almost always happens when I'm alone. I truly believe I ate sensibly and mindfully, and that's the main idea of this whole thing.

In fact, today was the first time since I've started that I had a binge craving -- I was driving in the car and started thinking about making a pumpkin pie that's in the freezer. I was fully aware of it and thought it through, and instead I went home and started to make my healthy dinner, which included my maple mashed sweet potatoes, and they took care of the pumpkin craving quite well!

Later, Mabel and I treated ourselves by watching our brand new Yoga for kids tape and trying out the various poses. We had a lot of fun, and actually did physical exercise rather than eating, which is very good indeed.

I'm not going to kid myself. I know there will be days ahead where the temptations will be greater and my resolve will be less. But I know how to make healthy choices, not just with food but with activities, too, and the more I do them, the more habitual they will become, and hopefully that foundation will get me through those rough days.