Thursday, December 28, 2006

Happy Holidays

Finally! I've been wanting to post so badly, but I just had no time at all to sit at the computer.

Friday night I was in the drive-thru lane when the guy in front of me threw his SUV into reverse and crashed into the front of my Subaru. Mabel and I weren't hurt, but the front of my poor 'Ru is all smashed up. Amazingly, despite this massive dose of stress heaped upon my already full plate, I didn't succumb to food. In fact, when I did partake of the pizza we had for supper, one piece sat in my stomach like a brick and I didn't eat anything else for the rest of the night.

I am here to report that I did great this Christmas! I managed to get through four major holiday meals without stuffing myself at any of them. I ate what I wanted, but I ate small portions, and I limited my access to snacking and sneaking opportunities. While everyone else was loosening their pants and complaining how bloated and ill they felt, I was silently beaming inside that I was able to escape that experience.

The funny thing is, I think I did better with my eating on the big event days than in the past two days. Of course, the past two days have been the Big Move, with today another episode in our relocating adventures. My food has been very sloppy, very mindless and not well thought-out. The only thing that's been saving me weight-wise is the fact that I'm doing so much physical labor. I've been climbing up and down countless flights of stairs, lifting and carrying boxes and bags. I went to bed last night in our new house exhausted and sore.

I am up a couple pounds, but only about 2.5. This for me is a huge victory, because on other holidays I've easily bloated up 10, 15 pounds. But the holiday week isn't over yet, and I know I could easily balloon up between now and January 1. So as things begin to settle, I really need to start getting mindful again and get more selective about what I'm eating.

Right now it's not a big deal, but for the time being I'm losing my handy in-house gym for a short period. It's still set up in the extra room off of the garage in the old house until we can get our new basement cleaned up and ready for it. I have a couple choices: drive over to the old house and work out there, or sign up for a month at the gym down the street. Both involve leaving the house at the crack of dawn, which in the winter is a little daunting. The other alternative is to find some kind of exercise tape/DVD that I could do in the living room. I'm still working on this.

Well, I'd love to chat more, but it's time to get back to work. I will do my best to report in again soon -- I'm going to be off work again until January 3, so if I post it will have to be on my home computer, which is on the floor right now until the desk comes. If I don't get back on, I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Week Twelve Weigh In

Well, I scheduled my baby's surgery today. Poor Mabel. Although her biggest concern is that her voice will change and it will ruin her burgeoning singing career. "Cancel my concert in May!" she exclaimed (after her glorious debut at church, she's been asked to sing at a concert benefiting a local group that sends care packages to soldiers). I told her there's nothing to worry about and she'll be fine in May.

Meanwhile, all my surgery anxieties are reignited. I just hate the thought of being operated on, but my daughter? I remember the emotional devastation I experienced two years ago when she had a severe asthma attack and had to be rushed by ambulance to the hospital, where she stayed for three days. This isn't nearly as dire as that horrible day; it's pre-planned, and the procedure is a pretty common one and not as hard on kids her age. Still, my baby girl's going under the knife!

But I just don't have the time to dwell on that right now. I'm wrapping things up at work, the house is as clean as I'm going to get it for our family dinner tomorrow, and I've moved an amazing amount of stuff out of the house this week. Other than my husband's den of dismay ("oy oy oy," my Austrian grandma would say), there's very little left in the main part of the house. I've come to the conclusion, however, that the attic and garage are going to have to be moved at a later date. The house hasn't even gone on the market yet, so we have the time. It looks like my after-Christmas/after move project will be going through these things and deciding what moves, what goes to charity and what gets tossed.

As much as I hate moving, it does force you to realize how much stuff you really collect. When you have to box it all up, then a few weeks later open the box back up and figure out a place for it, it's time to decide if it's really needed. And I've been doing my best the last few years in minimizing and downsizing -- gee, I've been doing that with my body, too! Coincidence?

I guess getting on the scale is like that moving process. Seeing that number forces you to face the reality of what you've accumulated on your body. You've picked up certain coping skills and habits and store them in the shelves of your mind. Now it's time to take a good look at them and decide if they still have a place in your new attitude. I certainly wouldn't push the bad habits on someone else, so I guess they have to hit the trash.

It's a day early for my weigh-in, but I know I'm not going to get online tomorrow. I'm taking my good friend to the train station in the morning, then hosting my family dinner in the afternoon and evening. So I'm doing the Week Twelve Weigh In today. I'm down another pound -- 213 -- which is a return to my all-time low for 2006. That's 20 pounds in 12 weeks -- an average of 1.67 pounds a week. A decent and steady loss that I can be proud of.

The last time I got to 213 was the end of June. Then came the Fourth of July, and from there my weight crept back up with my surgery and related stress. I remember being really anxious and sad at that time, afraid I'd never see 213 again and that there was something inherently broken in me that kept me from keeping the weight off.

But here I am, a few months later, feeling relieved that I made it back. I'm proud that I was able to turn myself around before things got completely out of control. And once again, I proved that you can lose weight during the holidays.

Having said that, here comes the Weekend of Excess. I don't know what game plan I can come up with that will compete with the sheer volume of food and events I have to contend with. The best I can do is truly enjoy the foods I love and not waste the calories on foods that are just "eh." I'm going to try to eat slowly, listen to my body and its signals, and try to bring more focus on the people I'm with rather than the food that's served. And most importantly, I have to try to break myself of the "I need to eat it all like it's my last day on earth" mentality. There will be other Christmases. If leftovers have to be thrown away, it is not sacrilege. It is not my job to finish every morsel of holiday food to the point of feeling ill.

As for next week? With the move and its chaos coming right after Christmas, the odds of me losing weight by next Saturday are extremely low. But I do intend on weighing in next week. If I know I have to post that number on here next weekend, maybe that will help me say no to seconds (or thirds, or fourths!) and keep me mindful of what I'm consuming.

So, Merry Christmas, everyone! Let your gatherings be dysfunction-free, may your gifts be memorable and may the food not overwhelm us.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I Heart My Blog

You know, I'm so glad I've got this blog. If I was still writing by hand in my journal, I know what would be happening right now; I'd claim I was "too busy" to "waste time" in analyzing and pondering over my life. My journal didn't affect anyone else, so if I didn't write for a week, or two... or a month, or two... no one would even know.

Except me, when I woke up and realized I'd gained 30 pounds while I was "too busy."

If you look at my journals, the pattern is as loud as the plaid on a golfer's pants. The minute I stop writing, the minute I quit being mindful, is the minute I'm falling into bad habits.

But now, with this blog, it's different. It's out there. People read this -- maybe not every day -- but often. I receive advice, encouragement and support. And sometimes I find out I've done the same for them. I realize I'm only one of many who are trying to change their lives, and if they can get through it, it makes sense that I can, too.

And if I ever needed some place to vent and spell out my current issues, it's now. There have only been a few times in my life that I've been this stressed out, when I've got so much heaped on my plate at one time that it defies belief. But this is probably the first time I've gotten through it without binge eating my way through it. Granted, my weekends haven't been spectacular, but they've been small, contained moments, not the general operating procedure.

I'm definitely on edge; I'm snippy and frazzled and almost broke into tears yesterday as I cooked a pot of rice. But when I flop myself into bed, I can at least shut my eyes knowing I haven't stuffed myself full of sugar and fat in an attempt to cope with it.

Having said all this, I know over the Christmas weekend I'm going to have trouble getting online to post. And next week is the move, when life will be completely chaotic. I won't be back to work until Wednesday. I hope I can post before then-- I definitely want to get on here and report my Week Twelve Weigh-In -- and will do my best to do that.

Well, I've "wasted" enough time here typing away! Got to get back to work!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Back off, Baklava!

Phew. What a day. Nonstop activity. This is the first time I could even think about sitting down and writing a post. Not only am I trying to pack up my house and get ready for Christmas, but today I found out my office is being painted next week, so I needed to clean up my desk and surrounding area. While I printed copies (I've got to print 120 Sunday bulletins for our 10:40 a.m. service, then another 350 copies of our Candlelight Service for that evening. And each bulletin takes 2-4 pieces of paper. So that's a lotta' copyin'!) I cleaned, reorganized, threw out or stuck stuff in storage. It fit right in with my manic moving mode at home, so it was easy to accomplish.

Then I had to grab Mabel out of school and take her to two appointments! At the ear nose and throat doctor we had to wait almost an hour and a half to be seen (grrr), then we get the news that her tonsils and adenoids are so big that they should be removed. Ugh. We then rush to the orthodontist, who was going to start her palate expander/braces process, to tell him the bad news. He decides we should wait until after the surgery to start.

After that I rush home, help cook supper, clean up and do dishes, do laundry, pack boxes and put them in car, dip daughter in bathtub and then throw her in bed. I took Hubby's work clothes out of the dryer, hung them up, and finally plopping down in front of the computer.

The good part about this hectic pace is that I don't have a lot of time to eat. Even though I had my moments of WANTS (especially the homemade baklava Hubby's coworker made for him), I just didn't have time to fulfill it. And I'm bound and determined to abstain from the holiday madness until Saturday. The last few nights I've started brushing my teeth with Mabel at 8 p.m., which effectively shuts down the cake hole for the night and keeps me from any late night cheating. I may not be able to control myself from Dec. 23-25, but by golly I'm going to stick to my guns until then!

I sent an email Christmas card to my friend in Idaho, which included a picture of me, Hubby and Mabel at my friend's wedding in DC. I used to work with this woman in West Virginia and don't get to see her often, although she did make it to my wedding. My friend's response was:

"You are so skinny! I'm not kidding. You look great. Keep doing whatever it is you're doing."

What's so validating about this email is that my friend is naturally thin and very active: she's a cycler, kayaker, and while she's in Idaho she pretty much skis every day. Plus, she worked with me when I was firmly entrenched in the 300s, so she knows from whence I came. I'm tempted to print her email out and frame it!

Another major victory? Went to the store yesterday looking for a casual Christmas shirt to wear over the holiday. Something pretty, but not overly glitzy or glamorous. I found a lightweight sweater I adored, but they didn't have any XL (16/18). I looked at the L (12/14), eyed it up and took a chance that it would fit. I got it home, and it fits perfectly! I have a handful of 12/14s now, but each time it gives me a dopamine thrill that helps me overcome temptation when faced with the equally dreaded and adored baklava.

Cripes! It's nine o'clock! Gotta' go set my timer for "Medium" and go to bed. Hmmm, "medium" -- it sure would be nice to one day buy medium-sized clothes!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hooray! I'm Obese!

The world we live in...I'd be furious, but this is a world where genocide, kidnapping, raping and torturing human beings is an everyday occurrence.

I caught a glimpse of this article and immediately read it, because I adopted a child from Asia and was curious to see what China was up to now. I originally intended to adopt through China, but midway through the process their rules changed and because I was under 30 I was ineligible. In the end I was so glad I didn't go through China, because in my meetings with other families who've adopted from that country, the grand majority of girls had serious health problems, a lot of them stemming from malnutrition. Besides, it always rubbed me the wrong way that Chinese society just threw these girls away because they weren't male.

So now, China has decided to ban anyone who is single (which I was at the time), under 30 (ditto), who take medication for psychiatric conditions including depression and anxiety (I have at certain times), AND the obese! Oh yeah, the only categories I don't fall under are the new "severe facial deformity," as well as their previous anti-gay stance.

According to this article, anyone with a BMI over 40 is ineligible to adopt. At the time I adopted my daughter my BMI was around 50. And I wasn't alone. I'm pretty sure most of the people in my group that traveled to Vietnam were above a 40 BMI, or darn close. One couple I traveled with had already been turned down by Korea because of their weight limit.

I would have had to lose 67 -70 pounds to be determined a "fit" parent. What burns me up is that Chinese families are dumping off these babies like common refuse just because they don't have a penis. They're hidden away and starved, or left to die in a field. But if a person is fat or has a severe cleft palate, or heaven forbid they love someone of the same sex, somehow they're not good enough to take care of this country's "garbage?"

I could fume about this more, but it's not going to get me anywhere. China will do whatever the heck it wants to do, and little ol' me isn't going to do much about the rising tide of fatism in this world of ours.

On a lighter note, in writing and calculating the above, I discovered I recently moved from the "severely obese" BMI category into the simply "obese." Yippee, I'm obese! Shout it from the rooftops! And if I can get to 185, I will be "slightly overweight." Ah, to think, I'm only 29 pounds away! But right now my immediate goals are to 1) survive the holidays without going back into "severe" land and 2) make 2007 my Onederful Year.

And I have to admit, it's tough going this week. Everywhere I go it's Christmas food -- candy, nuts, cookies, all the holiday goodies you only get once a year. My dear mother-in-law already sent over her "famous" fruit cake, which Hubby has been digging into with some glee. I'm sticking to my guns, reminding myself I will stick to my routine until Saturday, when I host my mom's side of the family and provide the ham dinner. Sunday is dinner with my dad and a party at my friends' house, and Sunday is the turkey dinner at the in-laws. I'm pretty darn sure Dec. 23, 24 and 25 will be three days of food, food, food, and only someone with a will of steel (or a bad stomach bug) would be able to resist. Knowing that, I'm doing everything I can to limit it to those three days. It's difficult, but I know I'll be happier with myself come January 1 if I minimize the yuletide damage as much as I can.

Gotta go. My mother's arrived. Hopefully not bearing food!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Deja Vu All Over Again

I wish I could report that I did a spectacular job with food and exercise this past weekend, but that would be fibbing. The exercise went fine -- on Saturday I did my usual hour-long variety of cardio, stretching and resistance sets, and Sunday I had a mini moving marathon session which consisted of climbing up and down LOTS of stairs, and lugging around lots of boxes and bags of belongings. I worked up just as much of a sweat as my regular exercise, if not even a little more since I didn't have a fan blowing on me.

The food part of the weekend, however, did not go well. It was a combination of things: busy and not enough time to plan out meals like I should have; holiday fever starting to creep in, as well as the Christmas goodies; and copping out on finding alternative ways to comfort and de-stress myself after hectic days.

The good news is I'm back on the good old routine today, like I am most every Monday.

Before I beat myself up about these weekend blunders, I have to sit back and look at the cold, hard numbers. Yes, most weekends I tend to slip up on eating healthy. BUT, most weeks I also tend to lose some weight -- it may not be a lot, but all the experts tell you to take it slow and steady, right? The only time I didn't lose the weight was over Thanksgiving, but I quickly corrected that and have lost five more pounds since then.

So, maybe instead of beating myself up for "cheating" on the weekends, maybe I need to realize that this just happens to be the situation that works for me (I'd call it a plan, but I don't really go into the weekends with the intention of eating poorly). This is all dependent, of course, on my willingness to snap back into healthy mode come Monday morning. So far, that hasn't been a problem. In fact, on Monday mornings I'm downright eager to get back to routine! And the results have been decent so far -- enough weight loss to keep me motivated, but not too much, too fast.

I think there's some version of this called the "Wendie" plan floating out there; I think Vickie mentioned it on her blog before. I believe it involves varying your caloric intake to keep your metabolism from petering out; I'll have to do more research and see if I'm getting this right.

I hear the cliche "if ain't broke, don't fix it" going through my head. The only problem is, I don't think I have it perfected yet. My eating on the weekends is still a little too out of control, and that worries me. Ideally I'd like to keep my "splurging" a little more confined and controlled. But that's me, the control freak perfectionist.

Ugh. Gotta go already. My days are so hectic right now! I'll be so glad when it slows down!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Week Eleven Weigh In

Sorry I didn't post yesterday. Between shlepping my daughter everywhere and packing, I didn't have a lot of down time.

As of Saturday I'm down one pound, to 214. Not a huge surprise, I suppose, since I had the big 4 pound loss last week. My body tends to balance out those big drops with a slow week afterwards. Besides, this follows the same pattern I've had before: big losses on the week of my TOTM and the week immediately following it, then slow moving on the other two weeks.

I had a bad dream last night that I had my metabolic rate scientifically tested, and they came to tell me it was horribly low -- something like 2 calories an hour! Now, I do have PCOS and thyroid problems, which I'm treating with medicine. But I've never used that as an excuse. In fact, when I was finally diagnosed with these conditions (after years of suspecting I did), that's when I was finally able to lose the weight. I suppose once I had concrete proof I had these problems, and more importantly, started receiving medicine to counteract the effects, I was able to rise to the challenge. But that's been the story of my life; I don't really get motivated until I have a specific deadline or challenge to tackle.

So hey, I'm content with the 214. Getting ever closer to the big 2-0-0, and then Onederful Land! If my estimations are correct, and if I can survive the holidays and the post-holiday blues, I think I might be able to reach the Promised Land sometime in February. Of course, I've made these predictions many, many, times, and something always seems to derail me. But I must think positively! I've got this blog and my wonderful visitors to encourage and support me. I've learned important lessons from previous winters, previous weight loss rounds, and I'll be tweaking my program to get the best results.

Wish me and my daughter luck; we're doing our big song at the Christmas program today, and I pray I don't hit any clunkers and mess up Mabel in her first solo debut. After that, I'm loading up all the boxes I have packed and taking them up to the garage of the new house. All that lifting and carrying should get me some decent exercise, I think.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Looking for Help

Holy cow, where did the week go? I've been so freakin' busy this week, I feel like I've been in perpetual motion for eons.

Christmas is in 10 days. We've got 11 days until we plan to start moving all our stuff to the house. In 12 days the movers are coming to move the big stuff (the piano, entertaiment center, etc.). How will I ever be ready?!?

I could go into detail about my gripes and whining -- looking for a "pity party," as Hubby said a few days ago (you don't EVEN want me to get into that!) -- but I don't want to bore you. I have the old feeling I haven't had for a long time; the anxiety that I've gotten in over my head and I'm scrambling to stay afloat. Each time another person puts another task on my pile, I feel the water rise a little more. Up to my eyeballs? You betcha.

I know this will pass. The world won't end if I don't get everything done in 10 or 11 days. I think what bothers me the most is the feeling that I'm not "allowed" to feel overwhelmed and anxious. I'm supposed to be the good little trouper that smiles and happily accepts it as I'm being loaded down like a beast of burden. I don't mind carrying my own weight (there's a fitting pun!), but I guess it comes down to the fact that I feel I'm carrying more than my equal share, and I'm a little resentful of it.

Let's face it. I'm tired, I'm stressed, I'm feeling a little sorry for myself. Fortunately I'm not eating my way through it. But I worry. I worry that once Christmas comes, all of these feelings will snowball into a massive binge that will last from Dec. 23 to Jan. 1.

I told Hubby I worry about overeating over the holidays and how I'd really like to find some ways to prevent that. His response was, "If anyone could do it, it would be you." Which was nice, but he then basically said he can't wait for the holiday and will be eating everything in sight. I suppose it was silly of me to think he'd say something like "If there's anything I can do to help, let me know."

I guess that's what I'm lacking right now -- feeling like I have help and support. But in my life that's always been wishful thinking. If I really, really want something, I've learned I have to do it myself. People have commented how strong and brave I am over certain things I've done in my life. The funny thing is, I've never felt particularly brave or strong -- it was just the realization that no one else was going to do it for me, so I better get off my butt and do it myself.

The truth is, it's exhausting being the strong and brave one. I wish I had the luxury of being the helpless female, fluttering my eyelashes and getting my wishes completed with a combination of charm and manipulation. But honestly, that's not my style. I come from a family of women who had to do everything for themselves because otherwise it wouldn't get done.

I suppose I should work up a weekend game plan. At this point all I know is that we're going to be busy, busy, busy. Hubby's already told me he'll be working at the house all weekend. I want to try to get a lot of boxes moved to the new house's garage while the weather holds out. Of course, I need to fit that in between acrobatics, play practice, and the actual Christmas program on Sunday. While it's good that I'll be busy to sit down and have massive binges, my concern is that my food will be "sloppy" -- eating whatever's around because it's fast and easy.

I'm going to do my best to check in here this weekend with my Week Eleven Weigh In. I'm feeling positive about my food and exercise this week, so I'll do my best to get on here and crow about the results.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

See the Changes

I had a close call this afternoon. I managed to cut it off before it developed into anything serious, but if I hadn't peeked at the scale this morning and saw myself down another half pound, I may not have had the fortitude to get past it.

I'm simply overwhelmed. I don't know what to attack first -- packing, cleaning, laundry, dishes, Christmas cards, wrapping presents, you name it. After days of procrastination I finally got a few more boxes packed this afternoon, but in the middle of it -- bang -- I came across the bag of Swedish cookies Hubby bought during our recent trip to 1kea. These shortbread-like sandwich cookies come in wrapped sleeves, and the flavors my husband picked out were the lemon filled and the raspberry filled. That night I bought one roll of the hazelnut chocolate filled, but they pretty much disappeared that same day...

"God I'd love to sit down and eat an entire roll of these things," I announced to my mother, who was sitting at the dining room table reading my newspaper. She didn't comment, but I did my own mothering and shook my head. Nope, I said to myself as I put the back in their hiding place, I don't need any of these today. So I got my head back on straight and got back to work.

Despite this one murky spot, the day has gone very well. The whole week has, really. I'm in that focused state of mind that I yearn for when I'm stumbling and ... well, eating entire sleeves of cookies in one night. It's almost a stubborn determination to eat well and stay away from the emotional eating. When I don't have it I wrack my brain trying to figure out how to get it back. When I do get there I'm not quite sure how it happened, but I am so grateful that I did. I do know that if I could bottle that feeling or else write a book explaining exactly how to achieve and maintain this frame of mind, I'd quickly be the richest woman on the planet. Move over, Queen Elizabeth! Step aside, Oprah!

For example, the last couple days as I'm meandering around the house I've been trying to figure out how I can get through Christmas without bloating up 20 pounds. Last year I was stockpiling and pre-ordering all my goodies in order to eat whatever I wanted at Christmas -- what a different perspective! Of course, Christmas still feels far away to me, even though it's NEXT WEEKEND (holy petit-fours, Batman!)! Once I'm surrounded by all the rich, delicious, aromatic, tantalizing food I only get once a year, it'll probably be a much different story. But right now I'm trying to figure out how to preserve the good work I've done. I'm downright desperate to do whatever it takes to NOT see 225 on the scale New Year's Day!

One thing I have to do is keep my victories fresh in my mind. Today I was walking to Mabel's bus stop and caught a glimpse of myself in a window. WOW. I looked so slim! Granted, I was wearing a flattering outfit, but still, it continues to amaze me how much change there is between 225 and 215. Back in the early days 10 pounds was nothing -- it took a good 30 or 40 pounds for people to really start noticing any change in my appearance. And I remember how psyched I was at 250. But now, I'm really starting to see a body emerging that makes me pretty darn satisfied with myself.

Something tells me the cookie disaster I diverted an hour later might have been due to this huge ego boost that made me feel so good. Whatever it takes, right?

Sounds like Hubby's finally home from working on the house. Better go entertain him. Ciao for now!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I Don't Do Mornings

This morning was a flashback to my adolescence. Why? All because I slept in for an hour instead of exercising.

Lately I've been exercising Monday-Friday and taking Saturday and Sundays off. I don't think that's working for me -- mainly because I wind up eating too much on the weekends! So this week I thought I'd take Wednesday off, which would then make me feel like I needed to exercise this weekend since I missed a day. Plus, I've been absolutely exhausted Monday and Tuesday nights, and I thought maybe I needed an extra hour of sleep.

I'm thinking it was a mistake. Besides getting my exercise in for the day, there's an added reason I like getting up before the rest of my family: I am NOT a morning person. In my teens my mother rolled her eyes at how cranky I was in the morning, and she learned to back off.
What I've discovered is that I need time in the morning to fully awaken, to get my brain back together after floating in dreamland. I'm just not ready to be in conversations and get bombarded with a lot of information.

Take this morning, for instance. As soon as I get up, here comes daughter into my room (45 minutes before she usually wakes up) saying she's hungry. She follows me downstairs, where husband's getting ready to go to work and bombarding me with the game plan for the day, what needs to be done, what I need to do. I'm trying to make my breakfast while daughter's making her food requests in one ear while hubby's in the other ear telling me I'd have to cook dinner again and what I should do. Is it any wonder I looked up at him quizzically because I didn't catch half of what he said?

Yes, I got cranky. I was cloudy-headed, my attention was being pulled in several different directions and I just wasn't ready to handle it at that time of the morning. Hubby seemed all put off that I wasn't D0nna Reed or Mrs. Cleaver at 6:30 in the morning. But as the kids say, I just can't handle everybody up in my "grill" that soon after waking up! I start snapping and get frazzled. Not the way I like to start the day.

I realized as everyone got out of my hair that my little Robot from "Lost in Space" was in my head, swinging his metallic arms and shouting, "Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!" (I loved "Lost in Space" as a kid. Even then my Gaydar was fully functional, even though I didn't know exactly how to define Dr. Smith, I knew I loved his campiness) We have been in high-stress mode at our house the past three days. Things are starting to come down from the critical mass readings and we can begin to catch our breath. This is my most dangerous time. When I'm in high-stress mode my stomach tightens up and I can't eat; it's when the stress is receding that I begin to be drawn to eating as a consolation.

So I have to be extra vigilant the next few days. I have to find other ways to "treat" myself instead of a box of candy or cinnamon rolls. My official treat for today was allowing myself an extra hour of sleep, and I'm going to keep reminding myself of that as I travel through what looks to be a very hectic day.

It may sound creepy to have a miniature robot in my head. But hey, I'll split into as many personalities as I need to if I can keep from waking up on the kitchen floor with cream cheese frosting all over my face.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hi, Skinny!

"Hi, Skinny!"

A guy I know said this to me today. He volunteers a lot at the church and stopped by the office to pick up something.

I'm never sure quite how to react to a greeting like that. I am by no means "skinny" according to the most widely accepted concept of the word. A lot of people at my weight have reached their all-time heaviest; it's the worst they've felt and looked their entire lives. It's the depressing, embarrassing before photo in their weight loss story. Yet for me, it's the smallest I've been in years. I don't doubt I'm currently the most physically fit I've ever been (not to say there isn't room for improvement). How can one weight be so drastically different?

On Monday another member of the congregation called the office and after taking care of business asked how I was feeling. I assumed she meant after my neck surgery, but she was unaware I had it. "I just noticed you've lost so much weight..." she replied hesitantly.

My bizarre reply: "Oh, that was just exercising and watching what I eat."

JUST?!?! What the heck is that? That's like the Chinese saying "Oh, we just threw a couple rocks together" when talking about building the Great Wall of China. Why do I downplay my accomplishments? It's not like I'm Amish and prohibited from demonstrating any kind of pride.

But after this phone call I had to laugh to myself that this woman had assumed I must have been very ill for me to lose so much weight. Because five years ago I was pretty much convinced the only way I was ever going to get below 290 again was if I caught some kind of "wasting" disease that prevented me from absorbing any nutrients out of my food. Ever read the Stephen King book "Thinner?" How many of you had the fleeting thought, "maybe I can tick off some gypsy woman so she can curse me to lose weight!"

So here I am, 15 pounds away from the 199-200 threshold. So how come most of the time I don't feel any differently than I did at 315? Now, as soon as I type this I know it's not entirely true. There are so many reminders every day that I am no longer that size. Just a few off the top of my head that I noticed today:

Visible veins and tendons in my hands and feet
Noticeable jaw line and cheekbones
My "fat" clothes are now my 18/20s, not the 30/32s
Initiating a running race with my daughter (she still won, but I had to stop and turn around because my favorite butterscotch flavored lip balm fell out of my pocket!)

But still, I look at myself and see enormity, flabby and floppy parts that you aren't ever going to see on "America's T0p M0del" or whatever it's called.

Basically, I look at myself and think, "There's still so much fat there. I've lost over 100 pounds, but..."

That's the story of my life, really. Never seeming to do quite enough. Like the report card I brought home. Almost every grade was an A, but the comment I received? "What about this B+ on here?" I learned at an early age that no matter how well I did, my faults would always overshadow my accomplishments.

For a long time (let's face it, most of my life) the most obvious fault was being fat. "She's so smart, so funny, so efficient, so nice, such a beautiful face, but." No matter how many A's I achieved, that B+ was hanging off my bones for the world to gawk at.

And I admit, the quest to be perfect was (and still is) exhausting. The perfect respite? Cookie dough! Pizzas! Bowls of gnocchi with Alfredo! It was my comfort, my rebellion, my all-in-all.

It's been hard learning that I can't be perfect and to accept my flaws. Even harder to understand that people will still like me despite my imperfections. It's part of that gradual shift in my life to stand up for myself, to give myself credit for what I can do, and to find new ways to console and fortify myself.

The last three days have been so amazingly stressful. While I did overeat a little Sunday, it was minimal to previous episodes, and since then I've been able to navigate the daily bouts of nerves and anxiety without running to the store and buying the tube of cookie dough. Writing here has helped a lot -- expressing my feelings and analyzing them has become the most sure-fire method of preventing a binge. It takes the urgency away, the almost animal-like instinct to rip into a hunk of meat and gnaw on it.

Now it's time to go make me supper. Anyone who has read some previous posts on my cooking adventures knows I face a review from my husband, the expert, award-winning cook (no joke). Hopefully I can fill Hubby's belly and get a thumb's up! But if I don't? What do I expect? No one ever trusts a "skinny" cook!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Fair to Middling

Had a close call today. Got home, made myself my measured out lunch, then found myself opening up the foil with yesterday's leftover pizza inside. I looked at it, and looked at it, then took out the smallest piece. As I warmed it up I deliberately packed up the rest and put it back in the refrigerator.

Some might say, "Shame on you. You paused, yet you still ate it. You had a chance to put it back, or even throw it away. But you ate it."

But I can't put myself in that perfectionist mode right now. I'm happy I picked out the smallest piece. I'm glad I put the rest away. And I'm relieved the rest of the day went without incident. Eating the one piece didn't give me the WANTS and drive me to eat everything in the house. Instead I seemed pacified with the morsel I allowed myself. I wasn't jonesing at supper time, and I had a portioned, planned snack this evening. And I feel satisfied that I didn't "ruin" the day with one piece of cheese pizza.

Yep, I'm not perfect, but under the circumstances, I'm okay with "fair to middling." It's what's going to get me through the next few stressful weeks. And from what I'm reading, this is what helps keep the big weight gains off in the long run. No one can live in "diet" mode forever; studies have shown it causes rebounding binge eating and changes personality. It's the lifestyle changes, the behavioral changes and emotional coping skills that get to the root of the problem.

I'll have to post more about this tomorrow. I got my Oprah magazine today and there are some pretty interesting articles in there about this subject. But it's time to get the pipsqueak to bed and finish up my chores for the evening.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Disaster Strikes

What a day. Chaos and anxiety to the extreme!

I got home from church, changed into "work" clothes and headed over to the new house to see how much work Hubby and his Dad had accomplished that morning. Little did I know I was walking into the House of Horrors.

The coupler (don't ask me for an explanation of this device) went out on the gas furnace sometime during the past five days... five days of brutal winter weather and at least one evening low of around 10 degrees F. The house was like a meat locker; all the pipes were frozen; the water in the downstairs toilet was frozen solid; three of our hot water radiators burst from the ice inside of them; as the house thaws we're waiting to see how the plumbing held out, but so far so good.

Since we haven't officially taken possession of the house yet (the sales agreement is signed, but the official closing/transfer of the deed isn't taking place until 2007), we're hoping the current owner's home owner's insurance will cover the cost of two repairmen working there on a Sunday. Plus replacement of radiators and pipes. EEK! I don't want to think about it.

Forget about food plans and counting calories. We were too busy gathering towels, hairdryers, electric heaters, mops and pans to catch dripping water. Our good friends live three doors down from the new house and were gracious enough to let Mabel hang out while we were trying to assess the damage. We basically grabbed what food we could get quickly and easily -- a piece of candy as I drove on my endless trips for more supplies; some cookies sent over from the neighbors; delivered pizza because we had no time for a sit down meal.

So yeah, my eating has not been spectacular today. Pretty lousy, actually. But I was hungry and I ate what was available. I wasn't about to stop in the middle of mopping the kitchen floor to tell the guys I was going home to make a salad.

I can't tell whether the queasy feeling in my stomach is from the crappy food I ate or all the anxiety I've been through today. Probably a little of both. I'm just grateful that it wasn't worse: all of the downstairs radiators seem to have escaped breakage; the furnace just shut down instead of catching fire or exploding; nothing of any sentimental value was damaged. It's all just things. Things can be replaced.

I guess something similar could be said about the eating. So I ate some less than ideal food for a day. Sometimes circumstances force you to fall short of your initial plans. But there's always another day to get it right. Things will be calmer tomorrow. Probably not very much fun, but less chaotic. This too shall pass.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Week Ten Weigh In

Wow have I been cranky! I've been biting heads off, irritable and foul.

There's a lot of things attributing to this: holiday preparations at home and work (this is a very busy time of year for a church secretary!), moving, family stuff, and this weight loss odyssey. There's a hell of a lot going on, the stress is climbing, and I'm feeling it. Oh, and expressing it.

That's a big deal for me, to express my emotions. It's taken me a lot of time to learn that it's okay to be angry. It took me until my 20s to figure out that if I get mad at somebody and chew them out, they won't hate me forever and the relationship is over. I'll never forget flipping out on my best friend from my college days; I was depending on her for something and she let me down, so for once I let her know about it. I was sure the friendship was over, but instead she sent me flowers the next day! I was shocked, and I learned for the first time what the saying "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" really meant. How can anyone know what you want or what upsets you unless you tell them?

The problem is, in the family I grew up in, you could risk severing a relationship permanently by saying or revealing the wrong things. My father and his older brother haven't been on speaking terms for the majority of my life; this same uncle disowned himself from the entire family not long ago. And my father's relationship with his baby brother isn't much better.

I once came fairly close to the ax myself. One evening I looked at my father the wrong way after he did something totally repugnant to one of my other family members right in front of me. I proceeded to get a drunken tirade consisting of "how dare you disapprove of me" and "there's things you've done I don't approve of," blah blah blah. I walked out of the house that night and didn't talk to the man for months. And that was just because I looked at him funny! So you can sort of see why I've had a hard time expressing myself to others.

It doesn't help that my Hubby sends me totally mixed messages. He's always after me to talk to him more about what I'm feeling, to express myself instead of holding everything in. But God forbid if I'm cranky! I get lectured about being so irritable, then told "maybe I should just cancel buying this house if it's going to stress you out so much." One day I'm told not to hold things in, then I'm scolded if I let myself get crabby. I can't win!

Granted, biting other people's heads off isn't the best way to get my needs met. But as I've also learned over the years, sometimes you need to smack a mule over the head with a 2x4 to get its attention (my apologies to those animal rights people out there, I don't really hit beasts of burden with lumber!). I can be Miss Polite, Queen of Tact, nicely asking someone time and time again to "please not do that again," but I tend to be ignored. However, if I flip my lid and holler about it, suddenly everyone looks around dazedly and says, "Gee, I didn't know it bothered you so much!"

Like last night. Hubby gets home from his trip with a load of stuff from $am'$ Club. In he walks with the giant barrel of cheese balls, and I can't help but make a face. "What?" he queries innocently, "I thought you didn't like them."

"I don't like them because if they're around I can't stop eating them!"

"But I thought I did good by getting something that wouldn't tempt you," he replied.

So we go out for dinner. Half of the reason I was cranky was because I have really learned to detest eating out. If I want to eat healthy my options are so limited, and even then I usually have to make special requests. The restaurant we went to offers a vegetarian chili, but serves it on a bed of (white) rice. So I had to ask to have the rice on the side so I could give it to my daughter. Yes, it wasn't an elaborate crazy request, but I'm just the type of person who has always tried to be low-maintenance and has always rolled my eyes at the people who order their food with a million instructions attached.

Then we went to the grocery store. I was so glad we went after the meal so I wasn't ravenously hungry and compelled to buy lots of trigger foods. However. To get to the meat section from the produce section you're pretty much forced to go by the bakery. Hubby walks up to a display table of pies and says, "Which one of these would be the least likely to tempt you?"

If looks could kill... I quickly snapped, "None of them!" I guess he got the hint, because we left without a trace of pie in our cart.

I hate getting angry about this, but he has been told nicely time and time again to please not drag a bunch of junk food home. I don't care what he eats (I mean I do, but I'm not his mother and I'm not going to order him to only eat carrot sticks), but please don't rub my nose in it. And don't leave enough lying around for me to get into when I'm alone! I now have this barrel (and I do mean it -- the thing's huge) sitting in my house, taunting me. I can almost hear it going "neener-neener-neener" at me as I walk by. That's hard enough. But if I had 3/4 of a pie sitting on the kitchen counter winking it's flaky, buttery crust at me, too? Forget it. This afternoon you'd find me in the corner like Little Jack Horner.

But folks, the crankiness paid off! This morning I was thrilled and amazed to see 215 on the scale! Yippee! A four-pound loss from last week! I could hardly believe it. But I had been spectacularly good all week, with food and exercise. It's so nice when it you get rewarded like that.

Now I don't expect any more big losses like that anytime soon. I know I was still coming off the Thanksgiving blow-out, so there was more to p*ss away, so to speak. I'm sure I'll go back to the 1.5, 2 pound losses now. And with Christmas just around the bend? My goal for Jan. 1 is to still be in the teens -- even if it's 219.5 -- and I'm going to do my darndest to achieve it.

Time to go -- Mabel's the Fourth Angel in our church's Christmas play and they have practice this afternoon. My little diva also volunteered to sing "The First Noel" as a solo and somehow got me suckered in to play piano for her! Wish me and my little singing sensation good luck!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Vote for Diet Girl!

I just found out one of my favorite blogs, The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl!, has been nominated in the Best Medical/Health Issues Blog category of the 2006 Weblog Awards.

I said I'd do my part and get my loyal readers (all two or three of you, bless your hearts!) to vote for her, too. So please click below




and give her your support. Thanks!

Digging Myself Out

Well, we didn't get as much snow as the weatherman predicted, but we still got enough to shovel. Which is what I did this afternoon.

Shoveling snow is similar to mowing grass -- while I don't look forward to doing it, there's a sense of accomplishment when you stop and look at the work you've done. Plus, it's extra physical activity, which is an added benefit. These kind of tasks often work muscles you don't use regularly, and today I could feel it in my obliques and lower back as I cleared my sidewalks. If the snow keeps up, which the Farmer's Almanac is predicting, I could get myself even more toned by spring!

There's also something to be said to getting some physical activity in the afternoons. That tends to be my "slump" time and I get tired and lazy. It's hard for me to get the motivation to exercise that time of day, but maybe I can start incorporating snow shoveling. If it's getting some house maintenance done while I'm exercising, maybe I'll be more prone to do it. I do love to multitask.

Another Friday has arrived, which means another Weekend Game Plan. I know these haven't been hugely successful so far, but I've at least made attempts, and I think a few things are starting to work. It's better than making no plan at all, right?

Hubby just called from the Pennsylvania Turnpike, telling me when he gets home in 45 minutes we might go out to eat. I guess I should have had a meal made for when he came home, but this morning when he left he wasn't sure if he'd even be home for supper. I was just going to do something very simple for myself and Mabel -- a little soup, maybe a sandwich -- but Hubby is from the old school of "meat and potatoes," a formal sit-down supper. So I'll have to hop through this little obstacle course to find a healthy meal.

The weekend isn't too dangerous -- yet. Hubby's got his last day of deer season tomorrow, so he'll be hunting all day. Mabel's got acrobatics at 11, so I thought the two of us would go shopping after that and get any last minute gifts we haven't bought yet. Supper's a crap shoot, so it's up to me to make it a healthy one. Sunday has no major events, which probably means the in-laws will want to go out for lunch. Again. Sigh... I escaped this last Sunday, so I doubt I'll be able to find some excuses to opt out this weekend. Of course, I did terribly last Sunday night, so maybe I'd be better off if I was around others so I wouldn't feel like overeating.

My goal is to avoid any binges this weekend. I plan to exercise at least Saturday, possibly Sunday, too. I plan to eat healthy breakfasts and make the best choices I can for lunches and dinner. Fortunately I don't have any "danger" foods in the house right now, so I think with a little forethought and determination I can get to Monday without any major derailments.

Not very positive about the weigh-in tomorrow. The unofficial scale readings this week have been pretty stagnant, so I'm not anticipating a big loss. However, I'm not expecting a gain, either, so I'll take what I can get.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Am I Bored? Or procrastinating?

Yes, I got bored. Plus I got sick of Blogger pestering me about switching to Beta. So I did it. I picked a new template and added some new things.

I think I like the lighter background. The old one was kind of dark, and since this time of year I'm easily drawn into depression, I figured I'd brighten things up a bit.

I'm also adding links to some of my favorite blogs -- I'm sure I'll add more as I remember them or find new ones.

I'm debating about putting a section with my current statistics, goals, etc. Another future project.

I suppose I could have been wrapping presents, cleaning my house, all kinds of nice, housewifey things. But I had to release my inner computer geek. It's also called procrastination. Hey, at least I'm not eating!

By the way, so far it's another "low drama" day. Could it be that sitting in front of that sunshine stimulator for five hours a day at work is boosting my serotonin levels? Hey, even if it's in my mind, I'm good with that. Placebo effect? Count me in! Whatever keeps me from the winter malaise, followed by the cold weather binge eating.

Gotta' go get the kid. I'm taking the car because it's snowing like a "mofo" out there, and I'm a big scaredy cat about slipping and dislocating my knee for the 40th time!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Where's the Drama, Mama?

Not a lot to post today. Things are going smoothly with food and exercise, I've been kept busy with work and the new house. We finally have a signed sales agreement, so we can finally say we are definitely buying the house -- good thing, since I've already packed a huge chunk of our belongings!

Wish I had more to say. I'm not really stressed, or depressed, I'm just kind of "here." No pressing thoughts or ideas, no major cravings or issues. I suppose that's a good thing, huh? It's kind of nice to not have any major drama, at least for a day.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

To Substitute or Abstain?

One of my regular commenters, Vickie, has been giving me great advice, opinions and perspectives. In response to yesterday's post about making cookies, she queried:

"Do eating the healthier cookies REALLY solve the problem? - you truly can eat just a couple and NOT turn ON the WANTS and have the WANTS spill into the rest of your eating, later that day, the next day or even later in the week?...I can't figure out if you guys all really CAN - or if you just THINK you can and then when you (you all not you personally) have 'food problems' later in the week it is cause and effect."

What a good question. It's definitely something that crosses my mind.

This losing weight thing has been a huge collection of trial and error, tweaking and adjusting -- Jonathan writes about it so well today:
"...I think the same is true for my weight management behaviors. There are so many things that worked quite well for a period of time and then just stopped. And every time that I tried to force myself to go back to them, I would feel both frustrated (‘damn, why did this work last time and not now?’) and bored.
"Some foods that I liked and which were satisfying and tasty for a while, either became boring or else turned into trigger foods. For almost a year I ate a Clif bar every day on my way to the gym to boost my energy and fill me up. Now I hardly ever have one at all, and am more likely to drink water before working out."

In my experience, if I pre-plan, if I have a variety of food available that is healthy and most importantly tastes good, I'm more likely to eat sensibly. When I haven't planned ahead, when there's nothing healthy or "safe" to eat, then I fall into trouble. And I've figured out I get the WANTS the most when I feel deprived, when I tell myself certain things are completely off limits. No more desserts? Then that's the thing I want the most, and like a petulant, rebellious child I will go for the fattiest, most sugar-laden thing I can find.

Throughout my late teens and 20s one of the few ways I knew how to comfort myself was to make myself a "treat" -- apple crisp, strawberry shortcake, cupcakes, chocolate chip cookie dough. I truly think half the reason this made me feel better was the fact I was making the time to do something for myself. I've always been guilty of being a people pleaser, often to my own detriment, and this was a time I put myself first.

It's hard to put away all those old methods, so I've tried to adjust it to make it less fattening. Early on in the journey I made myself a lot of sugar free gelatin or sugar-free fat-free pudding, or had lots of the 100 calorie-snack packs in the house. That worked great for a while, but the more I looked at the ingredient lists, I wasn't that impressed with what I was putting in my body.

So now I've moved on to these fiber-rich treats. Yesterday I made both batches, and they did not send me into an eating frenzy. I ate two of the Krispymallow bars in the afternoon (about 80 calories total), had a very good and healthy supper, then that evening I ate one of the Chocolate Haystacks (about 75 calories). While they tasted great, I wasn't driven to eat more and they weren't calling my name. I wasn't tempted to finish the whole container like I am when there's a box of "regular" candy or cookies in the house.

In fact, when I go to the "trouble" of making myself these treats, I find myself rationing them out so they last longer. Is it because I want the effort I made to do something for myself last as long as possible? Maybe.

Maybe Vickie's right and I'm kidding myself; by substituting "healthy" cookies for the regular ones, am I like an alcoholic who drinks "non-alcoholic" beer (which I think still contains a minute amount of alcohol)? It comes down to the choice of substitution or abstinence.

This leads to the debate over food addiction. I've read a lot about this, and there are experts on both sides of the issue who either agree or disagree that food (mainly sugar) can be an addictive substance. I don't know where I stand on this issue, but I think in my situation it's more about the emotions and behavior behind the eating and not the actual type of food. Because I can overeat with almost anything, depending on my mood and location.

I don't think I have an absolute answer to this, but I thank Vickie for bringing it to my attention, and I'll keep an eye on this.

Yesterday went great, by the way. Exercise and food were both right on target. And I'm doubly impressed because I wound up being in an "intense discussion" (not an argument) with Hubby last night over reoccuring issues that came to a head. We talked it out and made some progress, which is good. I'm even happier that I initiated this discussion rather than suppressing my frustration and anger, and I didn't stuff it down or make myself feel better with food.

Today's also starting with a postive outlook, so with any luck, I've got smooth sailing for the next few days and can get back on track before Christmas rears its massive sugar frosted head.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Time for Holiday Baking

I thank Vickie for her reply to my previous post recommending I start taking containers of my own food along to restaurants, meals out, etc. In the past I have in fact taken low calorie dressing along to a restaurant that I know doesn't carry any (since then I've started requesting salsa for my salads, which most restaurants carry nowadays), but I'm not sure if I'd have the balls to bring actual food. My need to not stick out is pretty strong.

I have pondered in the past, "Wouldn't it be cool to get hypnotized to be convinced that I was fatally allergic to trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, white bread and pasta (amongst other things) so I wouldn't eat them?" Then it wouldn't be so hard to turn away from them.

But truth be told, Saturday night I had every chance to not overeat; I've eaten with these friends at this very restaurant before and steered clear of all the fatty, carb-laden foods; ordered a salad or baked fish and survived without incident. But as I've learned, some days I've got the strength to fight the good fight, and other days I get weak and succumb to peer pressure.

(I can hear the Diet Blog Mother scolding me, "If your friends ate shards of glass would you do that, too?" I'd sigh and whine, "But, Maaaa, you just don't understand!")

Anyway, Sunday I had no "I was in bad company" excuses for my behavior, and I still did crappy. Oh, breakfast and lunch were fine -- hubby even made me his version of Skinny Soup for lunch before he and my daughter left for the afternoon to go Christmas shopping for me. During the afternoon I packed boxes and made good progress on the moving project. Then I started to eat.

I'm one of those people who can check off almost every box in the eating disorder questionnaire: Do you eat too much when you're with friends? Check. Do you eat too much when you're alone? Check. Do you eat too much when you're happy? Check. Do you eat too much when you're under stress? Check. Do you eat when you're bored? You get the picture.

At first I tried my best to fight the urge. I drank a big glass of water and forced myself to keep packing for another hour. I told myself if I was still hungry after that, I would eat. Well, I managed to do all right for another couple hours, actually. Then supper time came. Hubby called to say they were getting a bite to eat before they came home and asked if I wanted them to bring me something. I declined, knowing they were most likely stopping at a fast food restaurant. But then I went and hit the freezer like a teen hitting the liquor cabinet while the parents are away.

I didn't eat until I was stuffed, or sick, but it was still too much, and the wrong things. (I know, the experts say you shouldn't label food as "good" or "bad", but we all know an individual chicken pot pie is NOT healthy eating. Have you looked at the nutritional information on those things?) It tasted good, but at the end of the evening I questioned if it was really worth it.

As for today? Again, I'm back to my weekday routines. My Weekend Game Plans don't seem to be working too well, although in my defense I've been making some progress with the healthy breakfast and lunch and exercise part of it. Hopefully in following weeks I'll be able to expand on that -- without expanding my waistline!

Of course, I'm now cankle-high into the Christmas season; at Sunday School the kids had Christmas cookies for snack, and at the bank this morning the homemade cookies and candy were out for the pickin'. I abstained, went back to the office and ate my planned snack and lunch.

As you can see from previous posts, it's after lunch that the usual problem arises. This morning I emailed my friend and said I probably wouldn't have time to make Christmas cookies this year. I am the keeper of the family cookie recipes; the Gingerbread Men and Sand Tarts recipes that my grandmother got from her mother, my mother's favorite rum balls, and the classic Peanut Butter Blossoms with the Hershey kisses on top. Of course there's my favorite underdog, the Toll House bars with pecans and butterscotch chips. These cookies tend to slide under the radar with all the fancier ones around, so I wind up getting plenty of my butter pecan fix.

This afternoon as I walked into the house, I had a brainstorm. I quickly grabbed my box of Fiber One Cereal and proceeded to whip up two recipes I recently found on Hungry Girl.

Hershey Bar Haystacks actually come from aimeesadventures.com, which I finally browsed through last week, andI thought was a very nice website. But she had already won my heart with this recipe, which completely satisfies my chocolate/peanut butter addiction without making me gain 20 pounds:

(1 Stack - 71 calories, 4g fat, 12 carbs, 5g fiber, 2g protein - 1 WW point)
1 Cup Fiber One Cereal
1 (1.5 oz.) Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar
1 Tbsp. reduced fat peanut butter, smooth or chunky
Directions:Melt bar and peanut butter in microwave until smooth, at 30-second intervals. Be careful not to burn or overcook. Stir chocolate and peanut butter mixture. Add cereal and gently toss till coated. Drop onto wax paper, making 6 stacks. Refrigerate until chocolate hardens (about 30 minutes). Serves 6.

Krispymallow Treats seems to be an HG originial, and the first recipe I ever made from this website. My 8 year old daughter loves them and begs me to take them in her lunchbox. I will tell you I started adding apple pie spice (mainly cinnamon) to them, which I think makes them even better:
(1 square: 47 calories, <1g fat, 32mg sodium, 11g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 3g sugars, <1g protein = 1/2 Point)
Ingredients:
3 tbsp. Smart Balance 37% Light Buttery Spread
3 cups miniature marshmallows
2 cups Fiber One cereal
5 cups Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs or puffed wheat cereal

Directions:
Melt butter spread in a large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add both cereals. Stir until well coated. Using a spatula, press mixture evenly into a baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Allow to cool. Cut into 25 squares.

These treats taste great to me, and unlike the usual holiday fare, the fiber in them causes you to actually get satisfied from just eating one or two. There both no-bake recipes, so they're quick and easy to make and clean up after, and you aren't burning your fingers on the cookie sheets.

So now I can say I did my "holiday baking." If my husband decides to make a bunch of fattening, refined sugar and flour timebombs, I'll be able to resist without being deprived, grab one of my haystacks or krispymallow bars and still enjoy myself.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Saturday Night Shanghai

I got Shanghaied Saturday night. My husband, brother, sister-in-law and another couple we're friends with all wanted to go out for dinner. And they wanted wings. And cheese fries with Old Bay Seasoning. And buffalo chicken bleu cheese pizza. And deep fried cauliflower. And then they wanted ice cream for dessert.

Let's face it. Any diet guru (Dr. Ph1l spells it out pretty clearly in his manifesto) would tell me that my family and friends are foodies, and if I really want to lose weight I should be avoiding them and their sabotaging, carb-loving ways. But in the real world, am I going to divorce my husband and break off the majority of my friendships because they like deep fried food and peanut butter sundaes?

This is the hardest part of weight loss. When I started knocking off the poundage I pretty much had no social life. I stayed at home, raised my daughter, and worked on recovering from the job from hell. I had lots of time to spend 90 minutes a day at the gym, plan my meals and avoid dangerous food situations. If I did ever go out, it was a special occasion and rare. It's no wonder I was able to knock off 80 pounds within 6 months -- I was the girl in the plastic bubble!

Then I met the man who became my husband, my best friend since 3rd grade moved back to town and married my hubby's brother, and we developed a close-knit group of friends who love spending time together. I wound up in my job at the church, and as anyone knows, we Lutherans love to eat. And suddenly my social and work calendar was full -- and full of food. Dinner parties, nights on the town, holiday meals, church luncheons and banquets. Every birthday and anniversary has to be celebrated with a big decadent meal. I even have the weekly telephone call from the church quilting ladies inviting me down to their lunches!

It's no damn wonder I proceeded to gain back 50 of the pounds I had lost. I was like one of those Amish teens who get thrust out into the world of the "English" before deciding whether to become an official adult member of the Community. Everywhere I turned there was "sin" and "excess": all-you-can-eat buffets, pot luck dinners, picnics and reunions, bridal shower hors d'oeuvres and wedding receptions. It was pretty hard to resist.

But so far I've managed to get that 50 pounds back off, plus another 10-15 (depending on the day). It's been difficult, but somehow I've managed to maneuver around these constant hazards and prevent another major weight gain.

That doesn't mean I still don't get frustrated after a situation like last night. The most frustrating thing was, I actually managed to not become the pig in the trough while I was out with the group. I ordered 6 wings and only ate 3 of them; picked very lightly at the appetizers, and to the horror of my friends and husband through half of my ice cream away. Sounds great, right?

Then I got home. I ate 1.5 slices of the pizza and finished off a small bag of trail mix. Not a full-on binge, but bad enough. What compels us, those of us with eating issues, to come home after successfully getting through a difficult food event and then blowing it by compulsively eating? Is it some form of rebellion from being so "good" earlier? Is it some kind of rebound effect? Is there some pill I can take, some rubber band I can put around my wrist, some hypnosis tape I can listen to, so I can stop doing this? Someday I hope to learn the secret.

Need to wrap this up and head to church. Back on track so far today, although instead of the usual exercise this morning I packed, lifted and carried boxes to our storage shed for about an hour. There's more of that to come this afternoon as I try to get ready for our move in three weeks! Eeek!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Week Nine Weigh In

Well, there's bad news and not-so-bad news.

My weight this morning was 219. Yes, it's bad that I've gained 2.5 pounds. But it could have been a LOT worse. Even though my attempts at getting back on track this past week were a little dodgy, each day I got a little better, and each day I got rid of more of the holiday bloat. A few more days and I think I'll have the rest gone, too.

I'm taking pride in the fact that I didn't say "what the hell" and continue to overeat. I made the effort to get back to routine. Despite my goof-ups I managed to stay in the "teens." According to my journals I am 26 pounds less than I was last year at Thanksgiving. All reasons to celebrate.

I did pretty well at the buffet last night. I definitely ate what I wanted, but I was surprised that I just didn't want that much. Nothing looked amazingly appealing to me. If I picked something out that I wasn't thrilled with, I didn't finish it. I took tiny little servings on my plate, telling myself if I wanted more, I'd get it. I did go for seconds, but again, tiny amounts. And I got the piece of cake I wanted, but after eating about half I got sick of it and pushed it away. I felt surprisingly satisfied. Is it weird to feel abnormal eating in a "normal" way?

I have to run, but before I go I have to say I love the feeling when I'm on the treadmill and I'm listening to a song that has just the right tempo for the pace I'm walking. At 4 miles an hour Mad0nna's "Ray of Light" is absolutely perfect; I hit a groove and was on a major endorphin high for a good 10 minutes. Of course, all good things must pass, and now my foot's flaring up. But I'll rest it today and do the bike tomorrow to give it a break.

Time to go take Mabel to dance class; I'm taking along my Christmas cards to address while I wait for her. I love killing two birds with one stone; I even typed this post while talking to my Mom on the phone! I am the Queen of Multitasking!

Friday, December 01, 2006

2006 Overview

Well, December's here. One month left in 2006, the beginning of the Christmas season, when the "year in review" shows and magazines come out. A time for tying up loose ends, analyzing our 12-month progress, and getting ready to start the whole thing all over again.

I have to be honest and say I'm not thrilled with 2006. I had all kinds of goals and hopes of reaching an "ideal" weight by June, then October, then realizing it just wasn't gonna' happen. I've managed to lose and gain the same 15-20 pounds all year long, which can feel awfully frustrating and discouraging.

On the other hand, I could also look at this as maintaining a weight loss in the neighborhood of 100-120 pounds for the year. That should certainly qualify as some kind of success, right?

In other yearly achievements, I completed my first 5K, I bought (and wore!) my first size 12/14 clothes since junior high, and survived neck surgery. I exercise at least 5 days a week, raise a child, run a household, and made it through the first year of marriage without any signs of divorce (so there, P@m Anderson and Kid R0ck!). I have a job I find truly satisfying and get more validation from than any job I've had so far.

And there's this blog. I started out skulking around everyone else's blogs, envying their determination, commiserating with their down times, and rooting for them when they succeed. Then I decided to join them, and it's been a wonderful experience. I feel like I've made new friends, even if I've never heard their voices or seen their faces. They've become my cheerleaders, my support group, and it's helped a lot when I feel like I'm faltering.

All of this introspection comes as I near my Week Nine Weigh-In (Week Eight was my by-week, so I'm not stopping or pausing time here). The sad fact is, it would take a miracle (or massive diuretics and laxatives) for me to get back to my Week Seven weight of 216.5 pounds by tomorrow morning. I've done what I could this week to make up for the damage I did over the Thanksgiving blow-out, but the truth is I didn't do my best, and the consequences of my actions are right there on the digital screen.

Part of me wants to chicken out and not post my weight on here tomorrow. But the whole point of this blog is to make me more accountable, right? What's the point of doing all of this if I'm not honest with myself? I'm fighting my perfectionist, all or nothing thinking: "If I don't lose weight -- if I fail -- then I should just give up."

Is it really the end of the world if I gain weight one week? It happens to everyone. This isn't about trying to be perfect. The point is to keep going.

Before I go, it is Friday, which means time for my Weekend Game Plan. Tonight we're going out for dinner as we go out to Christmas shop and look for new bathroom fixtures for our house. Hubby wants to go to Ryan's, which is one of those all-you-can-eat buffets. On Saturday Hubby's deer hunting, so I don't see any food hazards there. Sunday is my church's Advent dinner, a Lutheran covered-dish carb fest that has "diet sabotage" written all over it. I still haven't decided for sure if we're going to this event, because I don't know if I really want to tempt myself more than I have to. We'll have to wait and see.

My game plan? Again, I'm aiming for healthy breakfasts and lunches, EXERCISE, and try my best to eat mindfully in the hazardous situations. Again, I'll try and do my best.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Enough is Enough

Enough is enough, now. I've been Miss Half-Assed all week with my eating, and the time has come to straighten up and fly right!

Okay, now that I've gotten that outburst out of the way, can I tell you how much better I've done today? Mainly in my attitude; I'm starting to wean myself off of the "what forbidden goodies am I going to eat today" thoughts and getting back to my healthier mind set. I don't think I'll ever stop thinking about food, but if I can obsess on getting the right balance of protein vs. carbs, getting the recommended amounts of fruits and/or vegetables and keeping myself properly hydrated, it reduces the time I can think about what fatty, sugary drug-like foods I can seek out and consume.

I just came back from my haircut, and my stylist was really gushing about how much weight I've lost and how much smaller my butt looks! I find this funny, because I really don't think I've lost that much the last two months, and today I'm still carrying around a considerable amount of bloat. But apparently I'm looking thinner, so maybe I'm getting more toned.

The last couple weeks I've implemented the balance ball into my morning exercise routine. I bought the thing months ago, but almost simultaneously my Summer o' Neck Pain began and I left the thing go until I was recovered from my surgery. I still have a little problem with the abdominal crunches (I'm half tempted to put on my neck brace for this part to try to force my abs to take the brunt of this exercise instead of my neck and shoulders), but otherwise it's going well. I definitely felt sore the first few days I used it, because it had been months since I targeted my abs and butt, and I think the claims that the ball helps you tone your "core" are true. I can see why some people use the balls for their office/computer chair, because all that balancing would have to have some kind of effect.

I've also started adding on to my arms/shoulder work. I've got a whole routine of stretches and resistance-band exercises I learned in physical therapy that I do five days a week, and now I'm adding on some dumbell reps to it about three days a week.

I've always focused on the lower body exercising because I lean towards the pear-shaped body type, but at the same time I've always felt that my upper body strength isn't what I'd like it to be. This is very subjective, however. Both my husband and my physical therapist are actually quite impressed with my upper body strength, but I've got a 63 year-old mother who still throws bales of hay and carries around 50-pound bags of animal feed daily.

WAY back in the very beginning of my self-improvement journey I joined a guy's gym (not a Curves or girls-only gym) and the manager gave me a great routine of exercises to do with the weight machines and free weights. I was astounded at the biceps, triceps and forearm muscles that began popping out of my flab. While I've tried to keep up some kind of upper-body workout, I haven't been able to recreate that "woah" feeling again.

However...the other day I took a sideways glance at myself in the mirror and was shocked at what I saw. While the lower part of my upper arm is forever saddled with loose skin and some lingering flab, the shoulder and upper section of the arm looked surprisingly lean and toned. And a few days ago I was on the exercise ball getting ready to do my obliques, which involves crossing my arms across my chest. As I came up in my crunch, my hand had hold of some seriously developed pecs!

Is it just me, or is my mood improving? I'm a little torn about the specific reason why: detoxing from the eating fest, the end of PMS? Or maybe it's the fact that I got a new full spectrum light for my office (for a fantastic price at Big Lots!) and have been leaving it on for 4-5 hours in the beginning of the work day. Whatever the cause, I'm glad it's happening, because I'm feeling more optimistic that I can finish this year weighing less than I did last year.

Still not sure if I'll be able to fully "liquidate" in time for Saturday's weigh-in. It is just a number, after all; what really matters is keeping up the healthy behaviors.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Struggle Continues

Despite the fact that I didn't think I did well yesterday, I had another nice plunge on the scale this morning, so the post-holiday de-bloating continues. A major factor in this situation is that during the eating days I was in PMS mode, when I absorb fluids better than the world's best sponge. This morning began the TOTM, when I typically lose this water retention. This is a monthly thing no matter what I eat.

Why don't I think I did well?
1. My daughter wanted to go to Wendy's for lunch, and instead of ordering a salad or chili, I got the jalapeno cheddar melt sandwich I saw on TV and have been coveting
2. I snacked on danger foods in the afternoon-- mainly, nuts. And I had much more than I should have.
3. At supper I didn't measure anything, ate full fat salad dressing and 1.5 pieces of garlic bread

In my defense, here's the things I did right:
1. I exercised
2. Ate a healthy breakfast and morning snack
3. At Wendy's I opted for the 1/4 pound burger instead of the 1/2 pound, I passed on the french fries and drank water
4. I realized the nuts were driving me into a binge situation, and I forced myself to stop before it went too far. I put the nuts in a high, hard-to-reach, out of sight location and told myself "no more". I drank a big glass of water to try to flush out the salt from the nuts and went on with my day.
5. Although I didn't measure my supper, without even thinking about it I cut the steak in half and left the rest on the serving plate. Although I did eat the garlic bread, the meal mainly consisted of veggies: salad, asparagus, and roasted winter veggies (onion, carrot and rutabaga!).

Last night I took my daughter up for her bath. After brushing my teeth (which always announces to me that eating is done for the day) I found my old journal from last year and looked and those holiday entries. It's funny how similar my life is: I try to prevent overeating, do it anyway, then climb back on the horse and keep on riding. I do tend to have some doubts that I can get back on track, but as long as I rough it out I have managed to keep going. While it was a little discouraging to see that I seem to repeat the same mistakes, it was encouraging that I do have a record of eventual success.

While I would have liked to have been the epitome of model behavior since Monday, at least I'm slowly moving back towards my healthy habits as the week progresses. Yes, I'm struggling, but at least there is a struggle going on instead of complete surrender to the cravings and the urges. And as long as I don't give up, I'll still have a chance of reaching my goals.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Transition

Back to work today, and so far I'm back to the "old" routine: exercised for an hour this morning, ate my usual breakfast (Egg Beaters, soy cheese and low-cal wheat bread), and drinking lots of water. I'm already starting to feel better!

Yesterday was supposed to be my first day back on track, but it was more of a transition day. I didn't sit and eat all day until I foundered myself because I was too busy, but I didn't make the healthiest food choices, either. I was definitely active, though: I packed and lifted boxes all day long, in addition to putting up our Christmas tree. I know, it seems crazy to be putting up decorations when I'm trying to pack to move, but I just can't go without a tree and our stockings hanging on the mantle with an 8 year-old in the house. Besides,looking at the tree last night cheered the 8 year-old in me, too. Now to make sure I don't start craving Christmas cookies to go along with the tree!

Even though I wasn't stellar in my eating yesterday, I already saw some improvement on the scale this morning. The Post-Holiday De-Bloating has begun, thank goodness!
My wedding ring has become my water retention barometer, and today it's getting looser as I travel back and forth to the bathroom to expel the fluids I've absorbed.

A few minutes ago a lady stopped by and gave me a gift as a thank you for all the help I gave her and her family for her grandson's baptism yesterday (I'm a church secretary, if I haven't mentioned it before). I told her it wasn't necessary, but she insisted, so I accepted it with gratitude. It was a copy of the book "Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential" by Joel Osteen. After glancing through the sleeve summary, I figure it couldn't hurt to check it out. Goodness knows I'd like to reach my full potential! Who wouldn't?

Here's the 7 Steps:
One: Enlarge your vision
Two: Develop a healthy self-image
Three: Discover the power of your thoughts and words
Four: Let go of the past
Five: Find strength through adversity
Six: Live to give
Seven: Choose to be happy

Doesn't sound too bad. I'll let you know what I think of it.

There's a part of me that dreads this week's weigh-in because I don't know if I can get back to my pre-holiday weight by Saturday. I feel like I've let my blog readers down by my holiday indulgences. While the accountability aspect was what drew me to starting a blog, I have to realize that the people reading it are not in some position of authority over me. The rational part of me says that I'm not here to please some people on the Internet; I'm not being graded on my performance; I won't get fired if I've gained a pound or two over Thanksgiving. I won't be fined late fees if I don't reach 200 pounds by December 31. But it's hard to break that "need to please" mentality. As an adult I've figured out that trying to be perfect will not get me love and acceptance from others, but it's still hard to break those habits we form in childhood.

So bear with me as I pick up the pieces from this past weekend. I've never really had an audience before, so it's a whole new experience for me. I do appreciate everyone's caring words and advice.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Homeward Through the Haze

First rain of winter
First fall from grace
It's my first hollow echo
In the halls of praise
How could Samson
I thought he was blind as a bat
How cold he have torn down
The temples like that
And how could little Caesar
How could he know where of he spoke
When all of his wheels are turning him into a joke

Cause the blind are leading the blind
And I am amazed at how they stumble
Homeward through the haze

Got the soul of a ragpicker
Got the mind of a slug
I keep sweeping problems
Under my rug
And all of my fine
My fine fair weather friends,
Yeah, Will have no more time
To make their amends

Cause the blind are leading the blind
And I am amazed at how they stumble
Homeward through the haze
[words and music by David Crosby├é© 1975 Staysail Music (BMI)]

That's me. Crawling back through the fog of the past five days. Feeling a little bloated, a little foolish, a little remorseful.

"Am I ever going to learn to not do this to myself?" I asked my husband and my mother. They didn't really have an answer for me.

I know a lot of it has to do with the Feast or Famine, Diet and Binge mentality. "If I'm eating, eat it ALL. NOW."

There are a lot of books out there that preach the "no diet" mentality, saying it stops this vicious cycle of restriction and the rebounding overconsumption. One of these days I really have to pursue that method, because I worry about the future and gaining all my weight back. I can't be on a diet forever. I know the biggest challenge won't be getting to a goal weight; it'll be maintaining it.

So here I am, Monday morning. A new week, a chance to put the past behind me and get on with the tasks I've set for myself. I'm still off work (around here deer hunting season is a crucially important holiday, and the schools are closed Monday and Tuesday due to an unused snow day), but I've told myself the bingeing stops. My plan for the day is to hit the packing hard; I've got less than a month now until moving week, so it's time to get serious.

Fortunately the Christmas shopping is pretty much done, so I'm free to get cracking on this. Yesterday as I walked through the kitchen, I thought, "Wow, I won't have any time this year to make Christmas cookies... GOOD." Although I have the feeling Hubby will make the time, I'm going to devote myself to the move and steer clear of the gingerbread men and the Sand Tarts (a cinnamon-sugar covered shortbread type cookie that is a Christmas must in my German-American family). It won't be the end of the world if I forgo this one year.

I can't guarantee I won't repeat this Thanksgiving weekend's mistakes over Christmas. But I know I can keep myself from making it one big, month-long binge. I couldn't have said this a few years ago. So I know there's been some progress.

I can tell you one thing: I'm actually looking forward to not overeating; that's definitely another change I've experienced since this weight loss journey started. I've learned that I feel better when I'm eating right and exercising. I just wish I could learn not to let myself get so far off track. Maybe one of these days that Food Haze will be a thing of the past.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Chasing the Turkey

My friend sends me wacky antique cards via email for all the major holidays. Today he asked for a possible caption for this lovely specimen, and my demented reply was:
"Here, turkey turkey turkey! Come to my shiny knife! I'll eat your meat and wear your feathers, for I have no clothes!"

But after seeing this picture I've been imagining myself in the place of the knife-wielding, loincloth-wearing cherub, chasing down the Thanksgiving bounty. That's definitely how I'm feeling this week, as I'm circling in on all the holiday foods coming my way.

I don't want to say I'm giving up this week: I'm still exercising, still eating healthy breakfasts, etc. But I know there's no way I'm losing weight this week. I've got the dinner I'm hosting on Thursday, and then my in-laws are having another one Saturday. Two days of huge meals, and let's not forget the leftovers.

Is it acceptable to say I'm giving myself a "by week" like a football team? It's when a team has a week off, or they're "passing by" that week. It's a little time off to rest and it gives any injured players some time to recuperate. But the team knows that the following week they're heading back to the field to battle another opponent, so they can't get complacent and they have to keep the next game in the back of their minds the whole time.

For me, it means I'll loosen the tight reins I've had on my eating, but not let go entirely. Because come Monday it's back to the Routine (sounds much better than the Diet, I think), so my days of R&R will have a definite expiration. Because I've got another weigh in day right around the corner.

I did this last year and it worked well. I think my eating days may have even extended to an entire week, but as I've mentioned before (and if I mention it too often please tell me I'm getting annoying), I managed to lose 50 pounds last fall, so apparently my plan worked.

I may slow down my weight loss a little, but better to take an extra week than to go mad like the cherub above and chase my food high until St. Patrick's Day. Of course, by then I'd be panting and wheezing from the extra 40 pounds I packed back on!

I'm not sure how much I'll be online the next four to five days, so I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. My wish for myself and anyone reading is to enjoy the time with your loved ones, relish a good meal, and avoid as much guilt, dysfunction and bloating as possible!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Darn

I didn't post last night because I was darning socks. The sock I was wearing sprung a hole at the big toe (guess my toenail rubbed against it from all the walking I did shopping yesterday), plus I had two "holy" socks waiting to be repaired on top of my dresser. SO I sat down with my needle, thread in matching colors and sat down with Hubby to watch the end of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." I'm a big HP fan, and I'm hoping he doesn't meet his demise in Rowling's last novel in the series.

The other reason I didn't post was because I was not only darning socks, but "darning" myself, too. My Weekend Game Plan didn't go so well.

Darn.

In my defense, both days started okay. I didn't exercise on my treadmill or gym, but I did wind up spending a good bit of my time both afternoons walking around stores shopping for a new bedroom suit for my daughter. We finally found one Sunday afternoon that has a great space-saving design, and best of all to her, bunk beds. My breakfasts and lunches were within my usual calorie range and I was fine with that.

Another victory on both days was that even though I was having a serious case of the "I wanna' eats," when we were in stores with tempting binge foods I decided it wasn't worth it and didn't buy anything. On Saturday I went to the grocery store, needing Thanksgiving dinner ingredients, and I told myself that if I saw one thing that really whetted my appetite, I'd "treat" myself. But amazingly, when given permission, I didn't see anything that seemed good enough and left with only the items I needed. I was sort of shocked but a little proud of myself.

On Sunday I even went to the bakery section of Wal-Mart, looking for my favorite cinnamon roll with cream cheese icing. There were none left in the "pick your own" cases, and the only ones they had were in packages of four. I knew I didn't want four, because I knew my compulsive brain would think I needed to eat all four. And since that was the only thing I was craving, I didn't settle for something else in the case and walked away. While I felt bad for having "lustful thoughts," I was glad that I kept myself from committing the actual sin.

However, it seems the urges to eat this past week caught up with me when it came to the evenings. Saturday was our trip to the big city; that night was dinner at the Japanese steak house, and I couldn't resist getting sushi. I adore sushi, but living in the boonies I only get near a place that offers the real thing maybe once or twice a year (those plastic-looking, technicolor pieces of rice and seaweed on the local Chinese buffets just don't cut it). So I definitely indulged on a big old plate of my favorite selections. While I've eaten much more in the past, I definitely am not used to having that much rice in my belly, and I could really feel it. However, that stop me from attacking a bunch of cookies later that evening. Again, these were cookies that were bought in the city that we only get to maybe once a year, so it was another one of those rare indulgences.

Unfortunately, Sunday night doesn't have the "I don't get this often" excuse. I admit it came down to weakness and being tired of fighting off my urges all week. When Hubby asked if we could do his favorite pizzeria for dinner, I didn't argue, and when we got there I didn't even bother to scour the menu for something healthy. I just went with what I was hungry for, and I got it -- pizza. Regular crust, regular cheese, but I did go for veggies because they've always been my preferred topping.

The final straw? I got home and made a beeline for the ice cream. This is ice cream that's been sitting in my freezer for a long time, and while I had some random thoughts about it, last night was the first time I knew some of it was going into my gullet. Was it a binge? In some ways yes, and some ways, no. I was a little sneaky about it, finding a private place in the house to eat it so I wouldn't be disturbed. And the serving I gave myself was fairly large. But I did limit myself to one bowl, stuck the rest of the carton into the deepest recesses of our upright freezer in the garage and had no desire to touch it again.

Darn. I sure wish I had done a better job sticking to my plan this weekend. In some areas I did, but in the end I definitely ate more than I originally intended. The good news is I'm back to the same old routine today; just completed my hour of exercise and planning my healthy food for the day.

Last night as we lay in bed I turned to my husband and said, "Can I ask you what's probably going to sound like a crazy question to you?...When I eat like that, do you think less of me?"

I didn't get the reaction I expected. "This may sound strange, but I actually enjoying watching you eat."

"Why?"

"Because you seem happy. When you're eating less and letting yourself go hungry, you get kind of... pissy. Tonight after we ate you've been laughing and in a good mood, and I like to see that."

I was shocked. A moment passed and he asked, "What do you think about what I said?"

"It makes me kind of sad," I admitted. "I wish I could find something else that makes me happy."

He then said that of course I had other non-food moments of happiness, but I'm still kind of haunted by his observation. I feel bad that when I'm trying to do what I think is for my happiness (losing weight, changing my eating habits), I'm actually making myself and those around me less happy.

Darn.

The truth is this is hard work, exhausting work, and a lot of the time it isn't very fun. But something tells me in the end it will be worth it. And that when I reach a weight I'm content with -- maybe not estactically happy, but one I can live with -- I hope I can find some level of comfort and balance with food. I don't think that place is too far away, hopefully within the coming year.
And when it comes I sure hope I can be a happier person, not only for Hubby, but especially for myself.