Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Quick Note on a Hectic Day

Phew. What a busy day. It started off hectic from the get-go with an 8 a.m. doctor's appointment for Mabel, work, a noon-time pickup of my mother at the garage, appointments in town, grocery shopping, then home to dishes, homework, piano and laundry. And don't forget stuffing envelopes for an hour (some comp time for work). I looked at the clock and saw it was 7:30 p.m. and realized I hadn't blogged today. Forget trying to fit in my P1lates! If my exercise doesn't happen before 3:30 p.m., you can kiss it goodbye.

Yesterday I did the hour-long tape, and all I can say is, Holy Crap! While half of the exercises are on the 20-minute tape, there's a whole lot of new ones, and some that are going to take a long time for me to master. Some may never happen. But I figure I'll keep trying, and I just might surprise myself.

I am getting a lot out of the "Solution" book. I am marking pages that really hit home and make a lot of sense to me. The author, Laurel Mellin, goes into how we were raised and how we continue to "raise ourselves" as adults. My childhood was a combination of deprived emotionally with few limits, which sets up all kind of issues about too-high expectations, fear of chaos, and low self-esteem. I am currently on the chapter about nurturing yourself, which is something I definitely need to work on. I'm so prone to suppressing my own needs to someone else's, and my reaction to that is to eat to "treat" myself. So I'm learning a lot of helpful ideas and suggestions.

I'd love to go on, but it's almost time to get Mabel to bed, I've still got laundry to fold and dishes to put away. Can I leave you with my wish that I could be as fat as Tyra Banks? It is to dream...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Nowhere Else to Go But Up

Highlight from yesterday's mammography:
As the technician adjusted my "stuff" in the machine, she asked, "You've lost some weight, haven't you?"
Having never met this woman before, I responded, "Yeah, you can tell, can't you?"
"Yeah," she replied. She then went on to ask me if I work out, what I do, when I do it, and it was an interesting little conversation.

It made me realize that even though I'm a tad embarrassed of my loose skin and stretch marks, it's my badge of honor in a way. It's my proof of what I've been able to do and how far I've come.

Afterwards I went to the country library and found some good books. I got my fill of British mysteries with books by P.D. James and M.C. Beaton, and I found the book Grumpy mentioned in one of her posts recently, "The Solution For Safe, Healthy and Permanent Weight Loss" by Laurel Mellin. I started reading it yesterday and it's pretty interesting so far. This book suggests writing a lot to unearth old issues and resolve feelings that have caused and perpetuated overeating and a sedentary, depleting lifestyle. I have a feeling I've done some of this work already, but I'd like to see if there's more I can do.

After the library I went home and did the 20-minute P1lates tape again. Each time I get a little better at it. I think I'm now ready to move up to the next tape in the 3-tape set, which is longer and supposedly is an all-over workout. I don't have any places to go or errands to run today, so I think I'll try it today. I'll then alternate between the two tapes for a while, and then my friend said she also has some tapes that include the stability ball, which I already own.

It feels so good to do this in the afternoons. It helps with the afternoon slump I often feel, and it helps to get rid of or at least avoid the urge to eat that I often get that time of day. Part of it's being active, but it's also relaxing, too.

In fact, last evening I was in the best mood I've been in for quite some time. When we went to bed Hubby commented on it and asked why I was so cheerful and what he could do to recreate it.

My reply? "I think I hit bottom and realized there was nowhere else to go but up."

That might sound a little harsh, a little Eeyore, but it was my first response and had a lot of truth to it. After being so down in the dumps I just couldn't take it and something inside of me just decided to not be there anymore. This is pretty cool, because this is an art I've never been able to master before. Usually I would just sink into a bona fide depression, spend the next couple months vegetating in front of the TV and sinking into a mire of sugar and fat. When I would emerge, bleary eyed like a bear out of hibernation, I'd be 20 pounds heavier and disappointed in myself.

I just can't seem to let myself do that anymore. Thank goodness! So it seems like I'm already on the road to the "Solution" in my own way. By the way, I'm on Day 3 of the new medicine, and I'm feeling pretty good. So let's hope this upward swing in my life is a continuing trend.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Morning Ramblings

After this past week, I'm wondering if I should write some of this stuff out in a paper journal and putting it online a day later. Because if I had done that yesterday, I probably wouldn't have posted what I did.

I don't know why I let Hubby keep pushing my buttons and get me so worked up (thanks to Lori, by the way, to offer to come here and smack him!). It actually makes me a little angry that I'm such a puppet, flailing in whatever direction the puppet master steers me.

I went to bed last night without a bandage on my finger, and in the morning it wasn't miraculously healed, but letting it exposed to the air did seem to help. So I'm not going to the doctor, I'm not worried I have diabetes, and I feel kind of foolish for letting myself get so upset by this and writing about it on here.

It's very cold again (I think it was 9 degrees when I got up), but like the automaton I am, out I went to work out. I shoveled snow for about 20 minutes, then did the 20-minute program on the treadmill at my "satellite" gym. (Such a strange situation. But until our basement is clean, I'm stuck doing this.) It's a short program but a ball buster -- while walking at 4 miles per hour the incline goes from 4 to 6 and finally to 8, which sends the little red dots all the way up to the top of the "Aerobic" designation (Performance is the last/highest section on my treadmill, which I will probably never reach unless I start running). So even though I'm doing a shorter walk, it burns just as many calories and makes me sweat even more than the easier but longer walks.

I'm also in the double layers again today to keep warm. I know they say you burn more calories if you're cold, but I also get more hungry. So I figure it's worth losing those extra burned calories if I can keep myself from ingesting even more than I could ever burn.

Can you tell I'm trying to keep myself distracted from the Big Squeeze, scheduled at 12:30? I'm not that scared of the actual procedure -- I've done it before and it wasn't terrible. I just don't want to think about all the worst case scenarios today. I've pretty much had it. I'm officially mentally shot and everything else is now kind of sliding off of me because I've reached my saturation point.

The good news is, I shipped Mabel off to school today, so I don't have to worry about babysitters, and I'm finally getting my afternoons back, which should help my stress levels a lot. You don't realize how important that alone time is until you lose it.

My food's pretty much planned out for most of the day. We're having tuna steaks for supper, which will be a nice change from the usual carousel of chicken, pork and beef, with an occasional white fish entree thrown in. I noticed the difference in Hubby's and my mood this morning; he was bummed because he had to go back to the "boring old diet," while I felt a sense of relief that the chaotic weekend was over and I could get back to my food plan. I can't think of a better indicator that I'm on the right track.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Not a great day. Food wise, yes, it's been good -- I was mindful and resisted temptation and ate healthy things.

But my mood has just been lousy. I'm worried about this mammogram I have to get tomorrow, even though the rational part of me says it'll will be fine. My OB/GYN ordered it (I'm 35 and not to the point where I get regular ones) because there were a few spots he was unsure of. I've been through this before -- a few years ago I had to get a lump checked and checked again six months later because it was questionable, but that one wound up not being a concern. I don't have a family history of breast cancer, but what I do have is a mother and aunts with cystic breasts (I think they're called fibrocystic) that are all benign. I too have inherited these "lumpy bumps" as I call them, but I still worry that I will be the one who has something bad happen.

To add to this, I cut my finger on Wednesday and it still hasn't healed shut. It's on the back of my wedding ring finger, on the fattiest part of the finger, and it's a pretty deep cut. I've had it bandaged with antibiotic ointment every day, and I don't know if keeping it moist and the constant movement of my fingers is preventing it from sealing. How did I get this? I reached in to my closet to grab something from the back and scraped my hand against these metal shelves along the side of the closet. Whoever installed this thing left horribly sharp edges on the metal posts, and it sliced me but good. (By the way, I have since covered every sharp edge I could find with duct tape. A little too late, but at least it won't happen again.)

So I went to Hubby and asked him if he thought it was too late to get stitches for this thing. He said if it was still bleeding (it was when I went to him because I had the adhesive band off for a while and clenched my finger really tight and pulled the cut it apart), I should go to the doctor and they would either do stitches or some kind of medical glue.

"You do know they're going to want to check your sugar," he added.


"A cut shouldn't take that long to heal; they're going to think diabetes."

Well, that did it. I finally surpassed my stress threshold and pretty much melted down right then and there. As my luck would have it, at that moment my in-laws pulled up to take us out to lunch and shopping (I swear my in-laws' coat-of-arms should include a knife and fork and a shopping bag on it), so I had to suck up my mental collapse and suppress it all afternoon. I know I wasn't the least bit fun -- it took all the energy I could muster to crack a half-hearted grin -- but I followed along and did the best I could not to cry.

I don't really think I have diabetes. About 12 years ago I got tested because I was having a lot of yeast infections but it turned out negative. (A very short time after that I wound up with a severe case of mono, so I'm pretty sure my immune system must have been at an all-time low). I have no family history whatsoever of diabetes, but again, like the breast situation, I have this fear that I will be the one to buck the trend.

I just hate the whole scenario of going to the doctor, doctor sending me off to the hospital to test for any number of horrible things, and me worrying myself to a frazzle until the test results come in. So far I've been lucky and everything has been okay -- I've dealt with the diabetes testing, the breast lump testing, and two different EKGs to test for heart murmurs. But each time it terrifies me.

So to have two possible scenarios at once, on top of the week I've just had? Goodbye sanity. Or at the very least, hello to anxiety and mild depression. I am officially on Overload right now, and it's really hard to get myself out of the funk I've fallen into.

At least I got my food under control. It's the one bright shiny thing I'm hanging onto right now, and I'm determined to not let go of it.

Also, I wound up feeling really queasy all afternoon, but I'm not sure what to pin it on -- anxiety, motion sickness from sitting in the back of the in-laws' SUV, the onions on my black bean burger, or my first day on the new pills. Whatever its cause, it's a little better now, but I'm going to keep a record of any odd symptoms for the next few weeks as I start this new medicine.

Wow, I feel bad writing all this gloom and doom on the blog this week. Here I am again, worrying about bringing everyone else down! This is my space to vent and wring out all my worst feelings, and most days I feel a lot better once I've spewed it out and left it here. So please don't worry about me too much. I'll calm down and soon I'll be looking back at this post and telling myself, "Quit worrying yourself to death over everything!"

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Week Seventeen Weigh In

It's funny; I have to start looking back at my files to remember what week this is. After week 12 I started losing track.

This morning I weighed myself and it was the same weight it's been for the past four days -- 210.5. So I only lost half a pound this week. Well, it could have been worse. I could have been up two more pounds. Or more. I have to remind myself that I am all off kilter this week and in between medications, so it's actually impressive I was able to lose anything while I'm dealing with water retention rebound. So I have to embrace whatever victory I can.

Unfortunately, I've also fallen off the food wagon today, and I'm definitely caving into all the comfort food cravings I try to avoid most of the time. I managed to resist all week amidst the stress and aggravation, which was more than I thought I could accomplish. Even last night, when we went out with our friends to dinner, I took the high path and ate the grilled chicken breast and steamed veggies while everyone else was ordering their paninis, fried fish, and steaks with loaded baked potatoes. I even split my chicken in half, gave half of that away for my friends to try and packed the rest up (along with all the rice and bread) to bring home for my daughter to eat.

But I pretty much decided I would give myself today to eat what I wanted, then get back on track tomorrow. I know I've been talking about addressing the two-day weekend splurges, but knowing cold turkey will make me crazy, I'll just cut it in half and try going with one-days.

In a strange twist, today I'm being the lazy bum and Hubby is the busy bee. He's been working on odd jobs around the house and getting things accomplished, while I've been lounging. I don't feel very guilty about it, though. Yesterday I was up at 5 a.m. shoveling snow and spent the afternoon sweeping, vacuuming, tidying up and doing laundry. So most of my chores were already done when I got up this morning. I did get in my cardio this morning, though -- 45 minutes on the recumbent bike -- so I wasn't a complete slug.

Before I go, I must relay to you my new winter fashion. Since losing the prime chunk of my weight my internal thermometer has not been reset; I used to be hot all the time, now I can never seem to get warm. My hands, feet and nose are always cold and there are days I can never seem to get rid of the chill. So the last few days I've begun dressing in layers-- a thin layer of socks, leggings and shirt underneath, and a top layer of heavier socks, sweats or fleece pants and a sweater or sweatshirt. For the first time in weeks I've been comfortable.

Hubby has watched this new ritual and decided to order me silk long underwear from C*bel*s, which I thought was a very thoughtful and nice gesture. I didn't even have to hint or suggest, he just took it upon himself to do it, and even ordered the right size! Despite my grumblings about some of his behavior, he does have a lot of redeeming qualities, too.

I know I've been pretty down in the dumps this week, but I think I'm already beginning to see a little lift in my mood. I think a lot of it is knowing I'm doing my best to take care of myself, whether it's keeping a handle on my eating, staying active, or dealing with my problems by either confronting them or hashing them out on my blog. I may not be a perfect eater today-- hell, I'll never be perfect-- but I'm so much better than I used to be, and I'll continue to strive to be a better person. That's all anyone can ask of themselves.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Stepford Wife I'm Not

Thanks for the input. Vickie and Lori, you both were able to give perspective and put some of it into words I couldn't come up with at the time. You definitely nailed some things -- control issues, communication vs. provocation -- that I hadn't worked out yet.

Still working on climbing back up from this. My world isn't helping, though -- big storm last night, it was 5 degrees this morning when I went to work out. Came back, got ready for work, went back to my vehicle and it wouldn't start. I come in to the house to tell Hubby, who's still home because of a 2-hour delay for all the schools. He calls his dad to bring jumper cables (the in-laws were on their way over to watch Mabel while I'm at work), goes out to see for himself, then comes in and thinks it isn't my battery. He's sure there's frozen water in my fuel line and tells me I need to call AAA and have it towed to a garage.

My reaction was to get angry -- it's already been a stressful week, and now I'm stranded and I'm late for work. Hubby snaps at me "Don't get angry at me about it!" which only makes me angrier.
"I'm not angry at you!" I snapped back. "I'm mad at the situation!" Here I am, just labeled emotionally withdrawn, and two days later I'm being scolded for showing emotion! I can't freaking win!

So Hubby leaves for work, father-in-law drops me off at my job. Within the hour Hubby's calling me asking me if I called AAA yet. Not yet, I said. FIL mentioned maybe trying dry gas (by the way, Hubby told FIL not to bother trying to jump my vehicle, which I think we should have tried), and I was thinking about checking with the gas station up the street to see if they have any. Hubby immediately goes into Teacher Mode with me, making me feel like I'm an idiot for thinking this and not just following his orders. He begins telling me how much one repair would cost, and if I screw it up it's going to cost 10 times more because this and this part will have to be replaced. This in turn makes me even snippier, and I wind up saying "I am so stressed right now I feel like my head's going to explode!"

Then Guilt Mode kicks in. "Forget I even called," he says as he channels some stereotypical Jewish mother.

"Why does it have to turn in to this?" I say through gritted teeth. After this joyful call I wind up calling the garage and AAA, who says they are going to try to jump it first (how novel!), and then if it doesn't start, they'll tow it to the garage.

I suppose I would have saved myself a lot of grief if I had just been the good little Stepford Wife who does exactly what my husband says and never questions his infinite wisdom. But why is it that I'm not allowed to question him? Why am I made to feel childish and stupid? The problem stems from the fact that for 17 years I pretty much took care of myself and did it fairly successfully, and it just rubs me the wrong way to have someone make me feel like I don't have a clue about anything.

This is an old issue that crept up when we first got married and subsided for a while. I'm not sure if it was because it quit happening or if I quit letting it bother me. It very well might be the second -- it has a lot to do with my level of self-confidence and self-esteem, which has taken some serious hits the last few days. The less confident I am about myself, the more vulnerable I am to perceived attacks.

So here I am on a Friday, absolutely dreading my weigh-in tomorrow because my weight has been stuck all week. The trend for me has been to lose a decent amount on the week of my TOTM, and this week has not been cooperating. Other than eating too much Hoisin sauce on my vegetables last night, my eating has been stellar, as has been my exercise. Of course, I've got a lot against me: as of right now I've been off my one medication for a week (I'll begin the equivalent med on Sunday when the new pills begin), I've slept terribly all week, and my stress levels are through the roof. I started the Pilates this week, and I know I have some muscle soreness, which may or may not cause some swelling (I'm no expert on this -- I'll add it to the list).

To add to this, Hubby has spent the last two days in anticipation for Saturday and Sunday, which are his two days "off" from his diet. He's already announced he will not eat a single vegetable this weekend and will eat nothing but starch for two days. He's making his pig out list -- doughnuts, frosted brownies -- and I'm sure he'll buy or bake more than enough for us to share.

Other than moving out for the weekend, I'm not sure how to deal with this. Part of me wants to say f#!k it -- with the week I've had I deserve to let loose for a couple days. But another part of me says why add regret, guilt and self-loathing to my plate when the two days are over and I get on the scale Monday morning? Why can't I rise above this and resist succumbing to his influence? My fear is I'm just too worn down and mentally exhausted to fight it off.

I'm just going to have to do the best I can. I'll exercise, I'll eat healthy meals, and I'll look for things to do to keep myself busy and away from the food. I may not be able to completely abstain, but if I can keep the damage to a minimum, that's better than nothing.

***LAST MINUTE UPDATE: AAA just came, FIL went outside to try to start my vehicle, and it started. Apparently it warmed up enough to thaw it out. So FIL is now going to get some dry gas and put it in. Gee. Amazing, isn't it? Only an idiot would have thought to do that.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Down On Me

I'm upset.

I know I'm upset -- more than the usual annoyed or frustrated -- because I see and feel myself shutting down. I don't want to talk about it, I don't want to write about it, yet I feel it simmering inside, giving me that anxious stomach, dangling on the verge of tears, and the urge to crawl into bed and hide under the covers.

I brought it on myself. I'm not saying I'm at fault-- I did what I did and I didn't apologize for doing it, because it needed to be done. But I did it at the wrong time, and it didn't go over well. The only thing I truly regret is saying what I did in front of a third party.

What I said was a little harsh, but looking back at it, I realize it was the only way to get this person's attention. The polite little "please don't do that" requests weren't taken seriously; when I got mad this person perceived it as a "mild annoyance," and let's be honest, it was the reaction they wanted and only fed into the behavior continuing.

I guess what sent me into upset mode was being caught off guard. I knew this person was mad at me for my comment, but nothing was said, and over the course of the evening the tension lifted and I thought it was over. Then, BOOM -- an angry reprimand that caught me like a sucker punch.

My immediate response? Withdraw and shut down, which the person took as reciprocated anger. I forced myself to explain that this is my instinctual reaction -- forged by a childhood surrounded by alcohol abuse and mental illness -- and it's hard to change something that's been hard-wired into my brain.

I was then given a big explanation why the person exhibits the behavior that started this whole thing. The reason? The person has to push my buttons to get some kind of reaction out of me. I was told that I keep myself so emotionally shut down that this has to be done to find out what I'm feeling and thinking. I was told we hardly talk any more and the person feels insecure about my feelings about them.

My question is, why does it have to be the "piss off" button every single time? I have lots of buttons -- why not try the "make me smile" button, the "kiss my butt" button, the "show me you care" button? If this person is so insecure about how I'm feeling about them, why deliberately annoy me? I didn't realize I was in Second Grade World where pulling someones hair translates into "I like you, do you like me?"

Despite the other person's protests, I've seen how they push other people's buttons, too -- one person in particular is a major target, and I see the enjoyment incurred every time the Target gets upset by this button pushing. The Target doesn't hold in any emotions ever, so the theory I was given doesn't apply.

Yes, in a way this person was right. Individually, it's mildly annoying. But slowly accumulate dozens of these annoyances, and it becomes Chinese water torture. Poke a stick at a dog enough times, and it will turn mean and bite you.

I guess I'm so upset because it's the straw that broke the camel's back. This past month has been so incredibly stressful -- packing, moving, unpacking, the holidays, and my daughter's surgery. I've been juggling things at work, fighting off the seasonal blues, changing hormonal medicines, dreading an upcoming mammography (the doctor found some areas he was unsure of and wants them checked), and all the while battling against the urges to eat my way through it. It's all small things that add up to one big ball of stress. I've spent the last week playing nursemaid (sleeping at the hospital, getting up every night to tend to my healing daughter, other than going to work virtually housebound with her), and it's my TOTM. So I snapped at being poked at for the Nth time, and now I'm told I'm emotionally withdrawn and unresponsive. Add it to the list of things I feel I never seem to do quite right, and the whole stack begins to crash around me.

Well, I guess that's the gist of it. Do I feel better? A wee little bit, maybe, but not much. I'm not driven to run to the bakery and buy a dozen doughnuts, but I'm finding it hard to feel anything but down. The person was doing their best to "kiss and make up" this morning, but I had a hard time responding. It's funny how that works: if I get told I'm emotionally withdrawn, it just makes me withdraw even more.

Sorry for the depressing post. I read in a couple different places that this week is supposedly the most depressing week of the entire year. So I guess I'm just one of many.

*I entitled this post "Down on Me" in honor of the Janis Joplin song. I've always loved this song, which I guess tells a lot about me.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Keep Hope (and Patience) Alive

I should probably get in the habit of posting replies in the comments section of this blog. I don't want anyone who comments to think I'm ignoring you; I'm always rushing to my computer in the morning to see if anyone's commented on one of my posts, and I always appreciate the advice and support I get.

Lori touched upon something I meant to include in yesterday's blogarrhea (I don't know where these words are coming from, but I like it!) but ran out of time and finger strength.
She pondered, "He's also charging into an area that you have worked hard at and have developed your own theories that work for you... Is he acting like there's a competition between the two of you? He might be. And he probably is a bit needier and you don't have time for that either. "

While he hasn't come right out and said we're competing, Hubby has this way of taking this position that His Way is the Right and Only Way. He doesn't come right out and say that, but I feel like he can't fully empathize, understand and respect another person's opinion or way of doing things. If he does, it doesn't come across to me.

This past week Hubby has been quite the evangelical when it comes to his diet plan, and I have to admit it rubs me the wrong way. I don't want or need to be converted to his low carb diet, and I get a little offended when he takes on Teacher Mode with me about eating healthy. There was one meal in particular that he was critical of my choices, which I felt were healthy options but he felt were not because they didn't fall under the safe foods in his plan. And when he announced that "I think we [my italics] should eventually go on the South Beach plan to maintain," I wanted to ask him if he had a mouse in his pocket.

Lori's right; I have developed strategies and plans that work for me, and I got insulted when a "newbie" came along and critiqued it. So yes, I think these instances have increased the feelings I talked about yesterday. My reaction is to get defensive, and out come the feelings of spite and rebellion.

But last night took an interesting turn. As we were settling down for the evening, Hubby confided that if he doesn't lose 10 pounds by the end of the first 12 days, he's tempted to quit.

"Rome wasn't built in a day," I responded.
"My belly was," he said, "or at least it feels like it."
"You have to have a little patience and perseverance," I went on. "Just think, I'm working on year three now! There have been many times that I haven't lost or even gained, but you have to keep on trying."
Hubby then asked me how much weight I've lost in total the past three years -- including the weight I regained and lost again. I quickly calculated and told him it was close to 200 pounds.
His reply? "You're amazing. You should be on the cover of a magazine."

A few days ago he also commented that I am the only person he knows who has lost this much weight without surgery, and went on to say how amazing that is. I can tell he's been thinking about weight a lot lately, because he also admitted to me that his family doctor would be more than willing to recommend him for the lap band procedure.

While I am not a fan of weight loss surgery and have been very vocal about my wariness of it as a "magic pill," I have to admit that if Hubby really wanted to get the band, I would do my best to support him. I realize there are a lot of people who have had success with medical intervention, and for many that drastic step needs to be taken to initiate change in their lives. I would draw the line at gastric bypass, though -- I would have to formally protest against anyone, especially a loved one, chopping up and rearranging their digestive system.

I found it interesting that despite my negative feelings, when Hubby does begin to falter I instinctively try to support and encourage him to keep going. I really do want him to succeed. I may not endorse how he's doing it, but I know from experience that this is a highly individual series of trials and errors. I don't want him to give up just because one method isn't working, I want him to try different things until he finds something that works and he's comfortable sticking with on a long-term basis. I know this isn't an easy thing. I'm still amazed that I have gotten so far, and I always have the fear of losing/gaining it all in the future. But it doesn't stop me from hoping that Hubby can make some positive changes in his life, too.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Dieting with Hubby Part 2: Competition, Spite and Rebellion

I've noticed some recurring thoughts and behaviors I've been exhibiting the last week in regards to my Hubby's diet, and I'd like to know if this is normal, or if I'm just odd.

First off, why, when I want my husband to start eating healthier, exercise more, and maybe lose a few pounds, why do I suddenly get defensive when he does? Part of me feels like we're now in competition, which is ridiculous. First of all, there's no contest, there's no grand prize or bet we've made with each other. And I'm the one always saying that I'm not on a traditional "diet" as most people view them. I'm on a long-term lifestyle change that includes food and exercise. In this stage I'm trying to lose more weight, but the final goal will be to hit a manageable maintenance stage.

Still, it's hard not to feel a little competitive when he announces he's lost four pounds the first week. Sure, when I first started this journey I lost a lot of weight, too; in the very beginning it wasn't unusual to lose five pounds in one week at least one week a month. But I had a lot more weight to lose back then, and as we all know, the closer you get to goal, the slower the weight seems to go. And sometimes I still do lose a big chunk like that, but those big losses are getting fewer and fewer.

The truth is, we're in two very different places: he's in the fast and furious phase (that you really need to build up your motivation), while I'm heading into the home stretch. I'm about 125 pounds ahead of him, so no matter how much he loses, chances are I'll wind up winning the overall lost category. Yet those weekly weigh-in contests are hard to overlook.

You would think this competitiveness would be a good thing and would spur me on to be even more vigilant and motivated. But for some strange reason it does the exact opposite: I've discovered that when he's dieting, it makes me more prone to overeating and not exercising.

It comes down to the fact that I am NOT a competitive person. I've always hated board games, playing cards, most video games and competitive sports. From the time I was little these things made me anxious and upset. The first reaction would be "she doesn't like to lose." True, but it goes deeper than that. It goes right to my core insecurities, my perfectionism and my need to please. If I can't keep up, if someone beats me, I feel like a failure, a disappointment, stupid and inadequate. If I'm on a team I'm sure everyone will be mad at me if I screw up and contribute to us losing the game.

My instinct in these situations is to avoid it all together, make excuses or bail out as quickly as possible. When there's no escape, I know the feelings of dread, anger and sadness will hit me like a rock in my gut. I don't understand fully why I let stupid things like poker or M0n0p0ly undermine my self worth and happiness. I know I'm an intelligent person, yet if I lose a game I feel like I've exposed every weakness I possess.

It makes no sense to me that I associate this competition phobia with dieting, but it's there. If I think someone is dieting better than I am, I want to throw in the towel.

But that isn't the only weird phenomenon going on. I also have detected what I'll call the "Spite Factor." If someone "orders" me to do something, I get really hesitant to do it and find all kinds of passive aggressive ways not to. Part of it is also a touch of rebellion: If everyone around me is buying black vehicles (which my Hubby and his family have all done), under no circumstances will I even think about buying a black vehicle.

So, here's the situation: if Hubby's eating "normally," or if our friends go out for dinner and make it a cheesy, deep-fried Fatapalooza (ooh, I like that one! file that for future reference!), the Spite Sprite in me (I'm on fire today!) is even more determined to stick to my food plan, and the Rebel in me orders the grilled chicken salad with low calorie dressing and a glass of water.

But then the tables get turned: Hubby goes on a diet, and I want to do the exact opposite. The Spite Sprite wants to eat chocolate pound cake in front of him or bring home a bag of Ore0s and torture him like he's done to me countless times. If we go out with friends or family for a meal and some or all want to eat "healthy," all the Rebel wants to do is order the big ole' fried fish sandwich with a large order of onion rings to go with it... and don't you dare forget about dessert!

I know I'm exposing some really nasty character traits here. The Spite Sprite and the Rebel are a couple of vindictive little b*tches with a major superiority complex and an "I'll show you" attitude. Now both of these traits could be good in certain situations -- they've helped me many times to turn away from temptation and sabotage -- but clearly, either one of them could turn ugly and self-destructive in the blink of an eye.

So now that I've identified these problems, what do I do with them? I guess recognizing them is the first step, but how do I keep myself from blowing all my hard work just because I've got someone else in the house dieting? Again, it's going to come down to being mindful. I've got to keep aware of what I'm feeling, dissect it and work through it here on the blog or with my therapist instead of acting on it with a tray of cookies. Instead of looking back over my shoulder to see if Hubby's catching up on me, I need to mind my own business and keep the focus on my own journey, or I will certainly trip and fall.

At the same time, I need to be supportive of both my and his efforts. Whether I've been sabotaged in the past or not, it's in my best interest to take the high road and not make things more difficult for either one of us. Sabotaging him will only backfire and hurt me, too, if not more.

Dieting with Hubby Part 1: Cheating and Consequences

For the past week my hubby has been on his diet. It's some hospital diet for cardiac patients that some doctor gave him a few years ago. It's extremely low carb (but includes all the meat, cheese and butter you can eat) and involves grapefruit or grapefruit juice a couple times a day. Supposedly you're to stick to the plan for 12 days, take 2 days off to eat whatever you want, then another 12 days, etc. Eventually you can start adding some specific carbs back into your diet, so I guess it's a modified version of the Atk1ns/S0uth Be @ch plan.

I always love it when Hubby describes this diet to people. He raves about how successful this diet is, and how he once lost 40 pounds in 28 days (or was it 28 pounds in 40 days? I forget). Once in a while I can't bite my tongue and respond that it couldn't have been that successful, because he gained all the weight back, plus more. And in the two years I've known him he's done this diet at least three or four times; he does the first round of 12 days on, 2 off, maybe gets through the second round, but then quits. He may lose about 10 or 15 pounds, but gains it all right back. But he doesn't want to hear that.

In a way he's right; in theory this diet works. I think it was developed for cardiac patients who need to lose weight fast. But something tells me the hospital that designed it also knew it was a temporary fix, and that these patients then need to learn new, healthier habits that they can stick with permanently to maintain the weight loss.

At the beginning Hubby informed Mabel and I that we would need to get on his case if we caught him eating things that aren't on his diet. In theory I don't like this; I'm already my own Food Police, and I don't relish the thought of nagging him about sneaking cookies or candy bars, which is what usually happens when he's on this diet.

My daughter, however, has no problem with it. This past weekend, fresh from the hospital, Mabel caught Daddy eating from a sleeve of cookies. Wagging her finger at him, she crawled off my lap, snatched the sleeve away from him, and took off for the kitchen, where she promptly hid them! Hubby and I looked at each other in shock, and I couldn't help but burst out laughing.
Mabel wound up giving him the cookies back, but it definitely made him sit up and take notice.

Last night we once again caught him sneaking cookies from his stash (I know, some wives would throw them away for his own good, but I know how furious I would be if someone threw away my stash). Mabel turned to me and said, "He's a cheater!"

I looked back and forth between the two of them and shrugged my shoulders. "The only person he's cheating is himself," I replied.

I can't condemn the guy, because I've done my own share of "cheating." And again, the only person I was cheating was myself. I've learned over time that you pay the consequences for each decision you make, good or bad. You exercise religiously, you get the payoff of a more toned body, and if you're lucky, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. You skip the soda and the butter, stay away from the second helpings, and before long the scale starts going down. But... start sleeping in instead of doing your morning workout, slowly let the cookies and candy bars come creeping back in to your evening snacks, and lo and behold, you've gained 10 pounds.

So when he grumbled this morning that he hadn't lost any more weight since his 4 pound loss on Saturday, I didn't know what to tell him that he shouldn't already know. I know when I'm trying to lose weight, I can't expect to get the positive results unless I put forth the positive effort. If I'm "sneaking" cookies every night, I know I am not going to see the scale go down. The good news is, he announced that starting February 1 he's joining our local "guy" gym. I'm going to strongly encourage this, because for me it's easier to cheer him on to do positive things than to nag him about his negative actions. Again, you've got to produce positive energy to gain positive results.

Monday, January 22, 2007

In Recovery

Sorry it took me so long to get back to the blog!

Mabel's doing great. She was requesting P0psicles in the recovery room, and by that evening she was ordering turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy for supper and ate most of it. She didn't stop there -- she ate most of the rice that came with my dinner, along with various amounts of pudding, gelatin and frozen novelties.

Now granted, she was weepy as she came out of the anesthetic, and she does complain of a sore throat from time to time, but other than that she's doing remarkably well. In fact, the hardest part is holding her down! She's supposed to be resting and taking it easy for two weeks -- no exercise, which means no gymnastics, no P.E. class, no outside recess. You might as well tell her not to breathe. I'm constantly barking at her to not run, not jump, and I even caught her cleaning her room!

I was getting ready to say I wish I was like that, but the truth is, I am getting more like her. On Sunday I spent the first half of the day being a lazy lump; sitting around, reading a book or watching movies. By 2 p.m. I couldn't take it anymore and went to the kitchen, where I quickly proceeded to wash the dishes, sweep and mop the floor, in addition to doing two loads of laundry. When Hubby came through to get a drink I said I told him I had to get up and do something because I could literally feel my brain and body dissolving into mush.

A few years ago this would not have happened. I was quite content to sit on the couch all day watching TV or reading books. Exerting as little energy as possible was a goal to attain as a means of "treating" myself. Now I can't bear it. The more I sit the more sluggish I get, and the more I start thinking about what I can eat as I sit there turning into a root vegetable.

That's not to say my eating was stellar this weekend. Nor was it an utter failure. I guess I'd give myself a C -- I made the effort each day to try to eat healthy, but each day I also slipped up some. But I did very little damage scale-wise, and I'm back to the good old routine today.

Except I didn't go work out this morning. My vehicle was parked in by Hubby's big SUV, it was cold and snowy and nasty outside, and to top it off my monthly visitor arrived a few days early and had me crampy and miserable (I'm not sure if it's because of stress, my medicines changing, my screwed up sleep patterns over the weekend or all three). But this afternoon I tried to redeem myself by trying out the P1lates 20 minute workout tape. Again, there were things I could do, things I went "how the #@*! am I supposed to do that?!?" to, and things I know I can get the swing of eventually. I can definitely feel the effects of it in my abdomen, glutes and thighs, which is a good thing.

Well, my little sweetheart is leaning over my shoulder telling me in her new M1ckey M0use voice that her throat is sore, so I better go give her the next dose of medicine.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Week Sixteen Weigh In


I expected this. A 2.5 pound gain. Probably water weight. Probably PMS. Probably could have knocked the rest of it off for tomorrow, the usual weigh in day. But circumstances won't allow that, so I'll just have to deal with a small, temporary setback. It darn well better be temporary!

Perhaps this is a sign from my body saying these weekend splurges need to be kept to a minimum, especially now that I'm changing medicines. I'll get my exploratory committee on that right away.

Have a great subject to blog about but I just don't have the time this morning. Will have to save it for later. Did want you to know I tried the intro tape to the P1lat3s last night. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't impossible, either. Most of the moves I could do full throttle, a few I had to do in a modified version, but that's okay. I think I'm going to like it -- it's just the right balance of easy to pick up, yet a little challenging to keep me from getting bored. I'll let you know how the full 20-minute workout tape goes.

Have to go wake Mabel up and start today's adventure. Thanks for all the well wishes. Blog at you soon!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Preparing Myself

I am so not looking forward to tomorrow. My biggest challenge will be not crying in front of Mabel tomorrow morning before she goes in for the surgery. I'm not normally a weepy kind of Mom, but under extreme circumstances, I do lose it. Two and a half years ago she had to be taken by ambulance from the doctor's office to the ER because her oxygen levels were so low (asthma), and I was a complete wreck. I know seeing her in her little hospital gown and heading down the hall to the operating room will be excruciating.

But the rational part of me knows this is routine surgery. She's a healthy little girl and no one expects any complications. And lots of people called me at work today to say they either have been or will be praying for her, which makes me feel good, too. Whether God's listening or not, all that positive energy floating around has to be a good thing.

Thanks, Lori, for the suggestion to bring some of my own foods along to the hospital. I think I'll pack my little lunch box full of yogurt, a single serving of nuts, an apple, things like that. I may polish them off in an hour's time and wind up with my head in the vending machine later, but at least I'll have made the attempt.

I'm not very optimistic about my weigh-in this week. I've been super bloated, and while a little bit has been coming off every day, it's very slow going. I think it's a combination of PMS, decreasing the amount of the one medication I take (which has a diuretic effect), and of course don't forget all the food I ate over the past weekend! So I may be up a couple of pounds this week. After the incredible amount I've knocked off the last few weeks, I won't take it as a complete failure. We all have these ups and downs, coinciding with hormonal fluctuations, system regulating, etc. (oh yeah, don't forget recovering from overeating!)

It's not that I'm preparing myself for disappointment or failure. It's all in the perspective. Today it was 33 degrees here and it felt warm after trudging around in 10 degree weather. Bloated for me now is 212 pounds; a year ago it was in the 230-240 range; before that I was bouncing around 320 thinking it impossible that I could ever see 212 again! So in the grand scheme, it doesn't seem so bad.

My friend gave me her W1ns0r P1lat3s tapes to try. I'm a little nervous about it, unsure whether I can do all the moves. It comes down to the human desire to avoid change and something new. But I'm determined to give it -- and myself-- a chance and see what happens. I might wind up loving it. Or, maybe I'll hate it and want to try something else. But at least I'll know.

All right, I've meandered on here long enough. I need to go pack an overnight bag for myself and Mabel and make sure we're ready to go tomorrow morning. Although I still haven't heard from the hospital yet about the exact time of the surgery (it's now 3 p.m.) and I'm a bit aggravated about that. But not much I can do about it, so I better just deal, and stay away from the kitchen!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Order Up!

Busy day. This is the week that I create, print and mail the church newsletter, on top of my usual bulletin. I definitely have myself in overdrive, because I'm losing Friday due to my daughter's surgery. So far everything's going well (knock on wood) and I should have everything done tomorrow.

It was also a busy afternoon of running errands. I picked up some things for Mabel (Popsicles, new PJs, a fuzzy poster to color), some sundry items for me, plus I went to the library and checked out two books by two of my favorite authors, Anne Rice and P.D. James. I thought about getting "Thin For Life" (I've heard some AFGers talk about it positively), but I wanted to get lost in some fiction for a while. When I take these books back in two weeks I'll grab it, if it's in.

This evening I've been putting things away in the bathroom and in the dreaded junk drawers. In the old house I always threw fits about the main junk drawer in the kitchen because 1. It would get so full of junk I couldn't open/close the drawer 2. It was completely unorganized and 3. Often it had stuff in it that shouldn't have been there at all. For example, we do not need a packet of oregano seeds in the kitchen junk drawer!

So I splurged on some drawer organizer doohickeys, little plastic dividers/bins, and one set even came with stickers to label what goes where! I got all my OCD juices flowing big time as I sorted out the rubber bands, safety pins, pens and pencils, and discovered all kinds of things. Hubby's always searching for matches or a lighter (for the grill, not for smoking) and lo and behold, I found three lighters and two packs of matches, that now have their own little hole in the organizer.

I also designated some other little drawers for specific items: one for batteries, one for the big rolls of tape (duct, packing, masking), one for the glue gun and its glue sticks, etc.

I don't know why it gives me such contentment to see these drawers so orderly. Who am I kidding? I like being in control; chaos equals stress. It's wonderful to be the master of my domain (woah, major Se1nfeld reference there!) and be able to tell Hubby or Mabel or anyone else exactly where we keep the push pins, or which drawer has the rolls of string.

The same thing goes for my food plan. There's a sense of security when my food's planned out for the day, I feel comfortable when I have control over the food I have around me and know how it's been prepared. I get uneasy when I don't know where I'll be eating a meal and what they'll have available. I feel anxious when I'm presented food and I have no clue how many calories are in it because I have no control over the person's kitchen and how much butter, sugar or oil they've put in it. I was nearly beside myself when I went to a restaurant last week and discovered that not only did they not carry any low-calorie salad dressing, but they didn't even have salsa as a substitute! (That'll teach me not to carry a container of my favorite dressing in my purse; I wound up using oil and vinegar and really skimped on the oil.)

Discussing my dislike for chaos and uncertainty, I won't know until Thursday what time Mabel's surgery is on Friday. Why do hospitals do that? I know, it's probably about last minute cancellations, emergency surgeries, things like that. But still, it's nerve wracking. And I'm sure my food is going to be completely chaotic that day; I'll be stuck in a hospital, spending hours in a waiting room, and I'll probably wind up spending the night sleeping in a chair. I'm going to be nervous as hell about her surgery, and I'm sure Mabel's going to be extra needy and demanding in the first hours of her recovery. I'm going to be put upon, stressed and tired, and I have no idea what I'll do about meals.

I'm not saying this as a "what the hell," "you deserve this" excuse to eat a bunch of crap. I'm aware of the landmines I'm walking into, and I'm going to do my best to stay aware and avoid as many as I can.

Depending on how early we have to be there Friday morning, and if I wind up sleeping at the hospital that night, it's still unclear when I can give you my weekly weigh in. I'll do my best to do it Friday or Saturday, but it may be difficult to get online. It'll happen, though. I don't want to give myself another "bye" week so soon after the holidays. This is traditionally my worst time of the year for gaining weight, and I'm trying to be as vigilant with my routines as possible. Yes, once again, I go to my need for order and control. It's inescapable.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Taking Inventory

I have been helping Mabel sell Girl Scout Cookies. She was a Daisy Scout in kindergarten, and this is her second year as a Brownie, and this cookie sale is probably her favorite part. Last year her troop sold so many cookies they raised enough money for the girls to go on an overnight trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo, all expenses paid.

I can't help feeling hypocritical asking people to buy cookies. It's like an ex-smoker working for a tobacco company or a recovering alcoholic working as a bartender. And I readily admit that the Tagalongs are one of my favorite binge foods -- I can sit down with a whole box and enjoy each and every one of them in no time flat. My hubby's weakness are the Thin Mints, so at least we aren't fighting over each other's cookies.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to "cure" myself from the urge to latch on to certain foods and eat lots of them. I've definitely come a long, long way -- 128.5 pounds' worth -- and I've learned a lot. One of which is that I cannot eat like I used to. Overeating was a way of life: breakfast couldn't be just one bowl of cereal, it had to be two (and large ones, to boot); lunch was usually ordered out and normally fried or covered in cheese; supper wasn't a real meal if I didn't have more than one helping, and don't forget dessert, which could last most of the evening as I de-stressed in front of the TV. And exercise? Oh yeah, right.

I've learned a new way to eat and found various ways to move my body, and these habits are a daily routine. However, that doesn't mean that the old ways have been obliterated from my mind. They're always there, lingering in the back corners of my mind, ready to spring forward if I let my defenses down too long. I got pretty worried for a while there in 2005 that the old me would not let go (when I re-gained 50 pounds), but with a lot of hard work and determination I managed to push them back again.

I look at my current routine -- eating right during the week and allowing myself to "slip" on the weekends -- and wonder if I'm on the slippery slope to disaster. For those who believe in the OA/abstaining method, it's not good at all. But I've never been able to wrap my head around the abstaining thing -- I find I don't do well when I'm given a list of "forbiddens."

So it comes down to this: what's the bottom line? I've been following this pattern for some time, and what have been the results? Since October 1 I've lost 24.5 pounds. My weekend eating has not gotten worse as time goes on; in fact, over Christmas I was highly pleased with my eating. As for my mood, in general it's been pretty good-- usually at this time of year I've sunk into my winter depression and have my head buried in a tin of cookies, not to emerge until March or April. I've been exercising 5-6 days a week, and I'm continuing to improve my performance and try new things. Healthwise I've been great (knock on wood) and have few complaints.

With that information laid out in front of me, it appears something's working. It may not be the standard diet, it certainly isn't perfect, but I'm not crashing and burning. On the average day I am sticking to my new habits, and I'm not gaining weight.

This probably sounds like a huge bucket of rationalization, and you're free to tell me that. My reason for making this inventory is to counteract my need to beat myself up for not being the perfect dieter. I need to go over the good things I'm doing, the good results I've achieved, instead of focusing on what I "shoulda" and "coulda." I'm not saying I want to keep this weekly eating routine forever. Who knows -- three years ago I couldn't imagine living (eating and exercising) like I do now -- in three more years I may make many more positive changes. It's a slow process, and as long as I'm still in the race, I have the chance to improve.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Return to Sanity

Thanks for the comments and advice for my mini-freakout Sunday morning.

The more I thought about it, and more importantly, thought back to 2002 when I first went on the medicine I'm on now, I actually recognized several of the minor side effects the Internet complainers were having. I suffered with a few of these things initially, and some I've just chalked up to the price I had to pay to make other parts of my life better. I'm still convinced it was the medical cocktail I was taking -- the oral contraceptive, the androgen inhibitor and the thyroid medicine -- that helped me lose the weight. I'm not giving the pills all the credit -- a lot of it had to do with making healthier choices, eating smaller portions, lots of exercise, and of course getting to the environmental and emotional reasons why I turn to food. But the medicine helped to boost my energy, my mood, and I think my metabolism, too.

So I'm pretty sure now that I shouldn't have too many surprises when I start taking the new pills. I feel silly for going off the deep end here in my Sunday posts, but I sometimes get panicky like that when I make big decisions.

The weekend food situation didn't go very well. In fact, it was downright messy. I could easily write it off as just enjoying new, interesting foods, but something tells me there are some emotional factors brewing under the surface. My daughter's surgery has me worried (not because there's something major to worry about, it's just because I dread all surgery and hospital stays), and that low-level, simmering stress is one of the worst kinds for me when it comes to emotional eating.

But in my usual fashion, today was "straighten my a** up Monday" and I'm back to the regular routine. I did another 4.5 mph stint on the treadmill this morning, which was definitely a struggle but felt darn good at the same time. Also did lots of stair climbing with the rest of the den and Mabel's bedroom boxes. I wanted to get them inside before the next round of cold weather settles in. Once the boxes are inside I can unpack and organize them in the warmth of my house and not slip and slide in the snow or ice.

Very tired this evening. I suppose it's been a long day, and this past weekend was a pretty hectic one with little time to rest. I feel like a shark; I think they're the ones who have to be in perpetual motion, or else they die. I'd love to not be in constant motion, but lately that's just not part of my reality. There's always half a dozen things to do, and the minute I take a break I can't stop thinking about what else needs to be done.

But now, it's bedtime, and I'm really looking forward to lying down and closing my eyes.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Third Thoughts?

Just got off the phone with my sister-in-law/best friend, who is also a nurse AND has been on the medicine I'm worrying about for three months.

Her advice?

"Number one, don't read all that stuff on the Internet!"

Her case was that they are all the "squeaky wheels" -- the complainers are usually the loudest, and the ones who are doing great on it have no need to go to these sites and say how great it is. It's like when I worked at the newspaper: you rarely heard from the readers when you did your job right; but if you spelled a name or got a date wrong, you'd get twenty irate phone calls.

The other thing that came out of the conversation is that I'm already taking equivalents of both components of the pill -- the oral contraceptive and an androgen-resistant medicine -- and haven't had any (or at least minimal) side effects from them.

She has felt wonderful on this pill, but admits her one friend went on it and had trouble with cramping. Her final advice?

"You won't know until you tried it."

So now I'm really torn!

Having Second Thoughts

The Internet is a powerful thing. It opens up the whole world to you, not only for things to buy, but information and people's opinions and experiences.

Oh a whim this morning I did a search on the new oral contraceptive my doctor's switching me to and its use as a treatment for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. I had read in the past that people had great experiences with this, which is why I asked my doctor for it.

Well, I was quite surprised that today when I peeked into the world wide web, I found a much different perspective. Everywhere I looked, it was women complaining of the horrible side effects, the worst ones to me being depression, anxiety and decreased sex drive. There were a few positive reviews of the drug, but overwhelmingly I found the same thing over and over: women feeling horrible on it, not wanting sex at all, and lots of warnings NOT to take this pill!

So here I sit, feeling panicked: I've been all brave and risk-taking up to this point, going on about tweaking and trying to get better results. But now I'm having serious second thoughts. I have a history of depression and anxiety; I've been on a number of antidepressants in my life, and four years ago I temporarily took medicine for the anxiety attacks I was having. Is it wise to take a medicine that is documented to cause something I already have a propensity for?

And who wants their sex drive to disappear? I've only been married a year and a half; it's way too soon in our relationship to throw a whopper like that into it.

Underlying all this is a growing anger at my OB/GYN. He knows about my history of depression -- at least, it's in his records. His lackadaisical attitude about this drug and his shrugging, "whatever you want to do" attitude about prescribing it to me smacks of irresponsibility. I know, I'm the one who brought the medicine up, but I brought it up looking for his advice. And he really didn't give me any. He's supposed to be the expert, right? Even if he doesn't know all the information about this drug off the top of his head, shouldn't he at least have some literature on this medicine somewhere in his office that he could get out and go over with me?

I know this post has nothing to do with weight loss -- actually, it does. Because if my mental faculties go haywire with depression and anxiety, I know my weight loss efforts will get tossed to the wayside. There's no way I'd be able to focus and be mindful of my eating and exercise if I'm miserable and have no interest in life, not to mention my husband.

I'm just sitting here, seeing how close I am to my goals -- 8.5 pounds to 200, 28.5 to 180 -- and I realize how close I am to throwing it all away. I've had so much stress (good and bad) in my life lately -- marriage, surgeries, moving -- and have been able to breeze through them without any serious reappearance of my old nemesis Depression, and his nasty sister, Anxiety. Things have been going so well. It just seems crazy to take that kind of risk. It borders on self-sabotage.

So, I guess I'm looking for validation here. I have every right to call my OB/GYN in the morning and say I've changed my mind, right? That after further thought I've decided to stay the course (how G. W. B*sh of me) and stick with my current pills? I've already bought the other pills, but maybe the doctor's office could give me samples of my old pills? And even if I have to pay full price (since I'm sure my insurance won't pay again so soon), that's a small price to pay to keep my sanity. Any feedback you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

By the way, I don't always thank everyone personally for their encouragement and support. Know that I greatly appreciate it, and it makes me feel wonderful that I've got my online cheering squad in my corner.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Week Fifteen Weigh In

Just got done with my morning "workout" -- carrying all the boxes in our soon-to-be-den up to the attic. Everything's in chaos in this room, so we need to get all the accessories out so we can rearrange the furniture (bookcases, mostly). So I hopped up the stairs as fast as was safe, carrying lots of heavy boxes full of books. By the end I had worked up a decent sweat, proof I got some aerobic benefit out of this household activity. You know me, I love that multitasking!

I did a good bit of Aerobic Household Activity yesterday, too. Finally started bringing in some of Mabel's toys (Don't worry, she has not been going cold turkey since the move -- she had all her Christmas gifts in the house. She just missed some of her old favorites.), as well as some final living room objects. Worked up a sweat then, too.

All of this must have helped to stave off any effects from last night. We wound up going out for dinner because the meat I got out to thaw was still hard as a rock at 4 p.m. (darn freezer paper!). So we went to this local steak and seafood house (it's a regional chain and not some fancy, expensive place). It's pretty basic stuff, and it has a nice salad bar. So I ordered the broiled salmon and steamed broccoli, and made myself a huge salad to munch on, too, because I was feeling pretty hungry, and I didn't want to walk into the birthday cake situation with a stomach ordering me to stuff it. While the meal sounds healthy, I'm always leery of restaurant meals because they use so much salt, and you never know how much oil or butter they use in things. But my meal was pretty bare bones -- the broccoli had absolutely nothing on it as far as I could tell, and there didn't seem to be any added oil to the salmon.

We get home, then turn around and walk down the street to our friends' house. I'd love to tell you all about this cake, but I'm afraid I'd be delving deep into food porn and I don't want to set anyone off. But let me just say it was a Princess Cake, a three-layered white cake with one layer of blueberry filling and one layer of banana filling. OMG. It was so good! I was grateful our host cut small pieces but told everyone they could have seconds if they so chose. The one small piece was enough; I washed it down with a huge glass of water and was satisfied.

So, you're probably wondering how I fared this morning on my scale. I was a little cautious, because on Wednesday at my doctor's appointment it was up to 213, and yesterday's check-in on my scale showed only a half-pound loss. But I'm glad to report that I am down another 2.5 pounds to 208.5.

You know, I didn't even have time to celebrate leaving the teens, and now I'm revelling in being in the single digits! Bypassing 213 was a huge milestone for me -- I'm pretty sure I am now the smallest I have been since high school, maybe even junior high. It's a weird feeling, moving into long lost territory I thought I'd never see again, barring any massive illness. Frances writes about this so wonderfully well in "Passing For Thin"; now that I'm experiencing this, maybe I'm due for another re-read. I do need to find a book to read in the hospital waiting room next week. If I don't find anything scintillating at the library or on my trip to Pittsburgh today, maybe I'll get that out of my boxes of books. I know exactly where it is, too -- I packed a box just for my weight loss/eating disorder books. Just call me Miss Organized.

By the way, Hubby gave up trying to diet over the weekend. So I guess Monday is D-Day. Pray for us!

Friday, January 12, 2007


Despite some of the issues I have with my OB/GYN, I really latched onto something he said to me. When discussing changing medicines, he first brought up the old adage "if it isn't broke, don't fix it." However, he then went on to say, "Maybe you're feeling pretty good right now, but what if you could feel better? What you're looking to do is tweak a few things to get a better result."

Since then I've noticed that I've been in a big "tweaking" mode. Things are going well now, but couldn't they be even better? Maybe I could get better results if I do x, or maybe I could make things a little more exciting if I substitute y or try z for a change.

For example: this week I decided to forgo the usual canned pineapple on my cottage cheese. Instead, I got a bag of frozen raspberries out of the freezer and have been using that. In essence it's a small change, but it's made my mid-morning snack a brand new experience.

This morning I decided to see just how fast I could walk on the treadmill. I got to the usual point in my pre-set program that moves to 4 mph. Every minute I went up: 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 ... until I hit 4.5 mph. Wow! I could do it! And for several minutes! When the program usually gears down to 3 mph I changed it to 4. Can I get a patch for my sash that reads "Four Miles Per Hour Feels Slow on Treadmill"?

It was half-a-mile difference, but what a big difference it made in my workout. I came home sweatier than usual and my face flushed, signs of a good aerobic workout. But along with the physical feeling, the mental high of being able to reach that new level made me feel great.

Last night Mabel was switching channels and landed on FitTV, which was airing a workout show that involved modern dance steps. She started doing the routine, so I snuck up behind her and tried it, too. Admittedly, I was horrible at it, and Mabel kept looking back at me and laughing at my ineptitude, but we did it together and we were having fun.

Towards the end of the program they did some modified yoga moves, and Mabel was shocked at my ability to stretch and twist myself around (in my "tight" jeans, no less!). "You can actually do this!" she exclaimed. "Hey," I responded, "I work out every day, sister! I can do lots of things!"

It was a few minutes of goofing around, but I was so pleased that we not only had some quality time together that didn't involve me nagging her or correcting her, but that it was encouraging physical activity to boot. I'm not sure if it'll become a daily thing, but it's a start.

All these little things are tweaking. Trying things out, playing around with new things, all to keep myself motivated and keep the momentum going.

Okay, on to the usual Weekend Game Plan. It's shaping up to be another busy one: we've been invited to our friends' house tonight to celebrate her birthday with cake. This is the same house where we gorged on New Year's Eve, so it's hard to say how easy it will be to navigate this one. A piece of cake is one thing, but who knows what else they'll have laying in wait for us? I'm intending to eat one small piece of cake, and that's it. No ice cream, no fudge sauce, no fruity, creamy mixed drinks or beer. There's no "I hope" or "I'll try" involved. Total resolve!

Saturday, however, we're going to Pittsburgh for a big day in the city. It's already decided we must do supper at this rib place our family loves. I actually suggested it, because I know my daughter loves this place (this 50-pound child can wolf down most of a full rack of their ribs), and for the next two weeks I know she won't be enjoying eating once she gets the tonsils and adenoids out. I know, it sounds a little like the "death row last meal" that I talked about in my last post, but in this case it isn't in preparation for a diet, it's for an 8 year-old having her first surgery and who will probably be living on popsicles and chicken broth for two weeks. So why not give her one of her favorite meals?

[By the way, bless my daughter's heart. When Grandma brought her those donuts last night, she didn't dig into them right away. A good hour later she finally nibbled at one, put half of it back in the box, then finished it off this morning. If that had been me at 8, I would have eaten both of mine right away and sneaked some of my Dad's donuts the next morning after he left for work. I'm so glad she's got a different relationship with food.]

As for Sunday, I know my brother and sister-in-law have already made plans to have lunch with my in-laws; I know better than to think that means we get a weekend off, so I'm already resigning myself to yet another big meal in some restaurant.

Ugh, these bloody, buggery weekends! Lori commented to my previous post that she wondered how my Hubby, if he started his diet, would handle our typical weekends. One of two ways: he'll either stick to his plan but complain and whine bitterly about it; or he'll just give up and (hopefully) start over Monday. Hey, that's pretty much what I do! Hee Hee -- at least I admit it!

Evening Observations

I got home from my errands and Hubby announced that he got weighed in for this weight loss challenge at work, and he's starting tomorrow (Friday). Great, I said.

Then I notice a bag of frozen blueberries in the sink thawing. "What are those for?" I ask.

Hubby then tells me he's making a little (remember this for later on) blueberry cobbler. My look of utter bewilderment pushed him on to explain that since tonight was his "last night," he wanted to go out with a bang. All I could do was shake my head and walk away; I didn't feel right berating him about this attitude, because I've definitely taken that "death row last meal" attitude with diets in the past.

So we sit down to dinner, and I pass on the pasta he made and stick with the baked chicken and steamed broccoli. As he digs in to the pasta, Hubby announces that starting tomorrow there will no longer be any noodles or rice cooked in the house. My daughter, known far and wide as the Noodle Queen, looks at me in horror.

"We have to cook some noodles or rice for Mabel," I interject. She's an 8 year old child that needs a well-balanced diet -- which includes carbohydrates. He scoffs, and I can tell he's partially saying it in jest, but at the same time, I know what he's thinking: when he's on his almost no-carb diet plan (some hospital's cardiac patient diet), cooking, serving, looking and smelling those noodles or rice will be torture.

Then dinner's done, and so is the cobbler, which I see when it comes out of the oven is LARGE. I'm talking 8, 10 servings. Again, I shake my head and walk away. There are two options to come out of this: he's either going to gorge himself until he's sick on it, or else there will be plenty left tomorrow, therefore he can't start his diet until it's gone.

An hour or so later I'm on the phone with a friend and the Call Waiting Beep goes off. Hubby's mother is on the phone. She is coming back from town and wondered if she could drop off a "surprise" for us. I say yes, and switch back to my friend, who wants to lay odds with me whether the surprise is food-related. There's no way I'm betting against that one.

In-laws arrive, but I'm still upstairs on the phone. Mabel runs upstairs to tell me that Grandma has brought donuts! I snort and chortle, again shaking my head. Either Hubby told her he was starting this program tomorrow or else her Sabotage Senses were tingling that there was a diet starting somewhere that she had to meddle with.

I finally went downstairs -- Hubby and Father-in-law were just finishing their bowls of cobbler-- and I heard a wonderful story that last week when Mabel spent the day with Grandma, she had asked for donuts, but they didn't have time to stop at the donut store. So, being the good grandparent, she remembered this and brought a half dozen. Meanwhile, it was obvious that two of them were meant for Mabel (chocolate frosted with sprinkles), while the remaining four were Hubby's favorites -- Boston creme, raspberry filled, etc.

I shook my head again and said to Hubby, "How are you going to get all this cobbler and donuts eaten before tomorrow morning? You're going to make yourself ill."

They all laughed, and jokes were made about how grumpy Hubby gets when he's on a diet, la-de-la. As they got up to leave Hubby asked his mother if she wanted some cobbler to take home. "Oh, no! I can't!" she gushed. "I've just about lost the five pounds I gained at Christmas, plus I want to lose 20 more."

Ahem. I'm not even going to go there.

So, this morning, Friday, when I get back from my workout, I find Hubby on the couch eating his breakfast -- of blueberry cobbler. If I shake my head any more my head's going to fall off.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Morning Observations

At 5 a.m. this morning it was 16 degrees F. How do I know this? I was in my car driving to my workout. I looked down at the digital display and thought, "I can't believe I managed to drag my butt out into this freezing weather to go exercise!" That's one of the good things about doing my workout so early in the morning-- I'm too dopey and half asleep to rationalize and make excuses not to do it; I just go through the motions and by the time I'm fully awake, I'm already exercising.

Later, after my shower, I was applying my antiperspirant in front of the sink and out of the corner of my eye I saw something weird. I raised my arm over my head and -- there!-- woah, were those rib bones in my upper chest? I haven't reached the skeletal Kelly R1pa ribcage that you could use as a xylophone, nor do I plan to. It's just nice to see the hint of bone instead of all the fat.

Not long after that, as I was getting Mabel ready for school, I caught another strange sighting out of the corner of my eye. I was in the hallway and glanced over at the full-length mirror I recently installed in my bedroom. "Who the hell was that leggy person?" I pondered, and had to go into the room for a better look. It's funny; my legs haven't actually grown in length, but the more fat I chisel off of them, the longer they look. I took a good, hard look at my body from head to toe, and while the hips and thighs are still pretty large, overall I was pretty satisfied with the way I'm looking.

Not a bad way to start the day, right?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Risky Business

Big day today-- had to go to the OB/GYN for my annual exam.

I have long hated going to doctor's offices. I will be forever scarred from my childhood experience with one doctor who berated me for being fat, then proceeded to rant about how I should lose weight. "Even a rabbit can get fat eating too much lettuce!" was the quote that sticks in my mind to this day. I guess in his own abusive, degrading way he was trying to teach me about portion control and that overeating, whether it's with healthy food or junk food, is not good. What he actually accomplished was a 20-year belief that being fat was horrible, but that it was impossible to lose it. I mean, hey, if a rabbit can be fat eating lettuce and carrots, there was no way I was ever going to become a lean, fit girl. He also set in motion a genuine distrust and loathing of the entire medical industry.

I have often faced the doctor's scale like a convict approaching the gallows. I dreaded seeing what damage I had done to myself, and the corresponding "you should lose weight" speech that came with it. I'll never forget when I got my highest scale reading ever -- 337-- and the young, thin, blonde doctor then advised me to learn about calories. I almost laughed in her face! For heaven's sake, 20-some years of dieting and bingeing had gotten me to nearly 340 pounds; I knew exactly what calories were and I wanted to bitch-slap her for thinking I was such a brain-dead eating machine that I'd never heard of calories.

In an odd twist of fate, my OB/GYN is the husband of this thin blonde doctor, who I've never seen again. In general I like him, although I have my issues. Early on he was definitely on my case about losing weight, but in the three subsequent years that I have continually lost weight, he's never commented on it. In fact, when I told him today that I've lost over 100 pounds, he responsed with genuine surprise! He's got my chart (computerized, even!) in his hands, can he not look down and notice that I've gone from 320 (the scale reading when I first started getting treated by him) to 213 since the fall of 2002?

Anyway, I talked to him about my PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and that in my internet reading over the past year, I've read comments that the oral contraceptive I am currently on (Orth0 Tr1cyclen) is supposedly the worst one to take for PCOS, and there were recommendations to take another pill (Yazm1n), which has an added ingredient which is the equivalent of another medication I take for the PCOS symptoms (Aldact0ne). He seemed totally unimpressed by my research and leery of the medicine I was asking about. He then warned me that it would take 3 months before feeling the full effects of a different pill, and that if I didn't like it it would take another 3 months back on the old pill before I would get back to my current status. But he then said it was up to me -- in the end he had no problem with me switching if I didn't mind taking the "risk."

God, what risks haven't I taken in the last ten years? I've adopted a child on my own, left secure jobs, jumped into new career opportunities, got married, had surgery, and of course moved a bunch of times. And let's not forget this weight loss adventure! I took a lot of risks leaping into this quest to change my eating behaviors, to dig down to the personal, painful issues surrounding my need to drown myself in food. It's been a huge effort to become more physically active, to push my body farther than I ever thought I could.

So I told him let's give it a go and try the new medicine. I am nervous about this. Last year he took me off the Aldact0ne and four months later I called the office begging to be put back on. In that period of time I had a huge stall-out with my weight loss. I was bloated all the time, craved carbs like a junkie for heroin, was irritable and nasty and depressed. My doctor said he'd never heard of this reaction from going off the Aldact0ne. Was it going off the medicine, or all in my head? Or maybe my seasonal affective disorder flaring up again? Maybe a combination of all three. But once I got back on the medicine I was able to lose weight again.

I'm nervous because going on Yazm1n means I have to stop taking the Aldact0ne. But once I take the new pill it will have a similar drug in it that's comparable to the Aldact0ne, but in a smaller dose. Will this be enough to keep me from nosediving? I'm taking the chance that it will. It's a risk I guess I'm willing to take.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

It's Not All About Me

Blogger is down right now, so I'm writing this in an email to myself so I don't lose the thing, plus it's available from any computer. Anyway, enough techno stuff.

I have a few minutes to spare this afternoon to write before I take Mabel to the allergy clinic (I screwed up majorly last week and took her on Friday, only to discover that the clinic's CLOSED Fridays. Add that to my Bad Mother of the Universe resume)

I got really irritable with hubby last night, and I don't know if it's worth the energy to make it an issue or not. He came home from the grocery store with FOUR different bags of chips (potato and tortilla). I immediately hollered at him, saying I was just throwing Christmas junk food out of the house that morning, and here he was dragging in more junk! To further illustrate my point, as we tried to prepare supper, Mabel kept asking if she could eat some chips before the meal.

I did go a little martyr-happy on him and declared, "I swear you're trying to drive me off the deep end. Is your goal to make me fall off the wagon and gain 80 pounds?!?" His response was shock at this suggestion, and later, after I calmed down, I knew why. The chips had nothing whatsoever to do with me. It's well established that chips are not one of my all-time favorite snack/overeat/binge foods (although if I make some of my homemade guacamole a bag of tortilla chips are soon history), they're HIS. He didn't buy all those chips to tempt me, he bought them so HE could eat them (plus one bag in my daughter's favorite flavor).

What to do? I don't want to be one of those harpy wives who polices my husband's food and forbids all junk food from the house. It's my choice to eat healthy, and it's his choice to eat what he wants to. But having all that junk in the house can sure make it more difficult to keep to my new habits.

At the same time, I'm trying to raise my daughter to have a sane relationship with food. I've never banned candy, soda, or fast food, but at the same time I've tried to make them an occasional treat and not a part of her normal diet. So when her father is bringing home four bags of chips at once and stockpiling the endless supply of nutritionally bereft food, it definitely counteracts what I'm trying to do.

I'm not sure where the issue lies. I voiced my unhappiness, but whether it will cause him to alter his behavior is uncertain.

The funny thing is, a few days ago he told me he signed up for some weight loss challenge at his job. I asked him about this during the chip discussion, and his reply was, "It hasn't started yet."

I guess that's what makes me different. I learned that waiting until Monday, or the beginning of the month, or Jan. 1, to start my "diet" just doesn't work for me, or most people, I suspect. The only way I have been able to lose as much weight as I have was to learn that every day is or can be the "first." I figured out that a six or twelve-week diet that has a starting and end point isn't going to help me. I've accepted the fact that I'm going to have to be a mindful eater and an active exerciser for the rest of my life if I don't want to be 300 pounds again.

Having said that, I'm going to wrap this up by giving myself my "props" on my actions this morning. Last night I had what I'll generically describe (don't want to get into Too Much Information territory) as a muscle spasm; at 1 a.m. I was literally writhing in bed with pain. With a little yoga breathing (I learned a few things from my old Rodney Yee DVD) the pain slowly subsided and I got back to sleep. At 5 a.m. my alarm went off and while I did debate a little, by 5:15 I was on the treadmill. I didn't go full throttle; I wound up taking it easy on the treadmill for 20 minutes and then did another "easy" program on the stationary bike for another 20. But hey, that's 40 minutes of moderate exercise a lot of people --myself included not too long ago-- would not have done. So I guess I've been able to ingrain some good things in this stubborn head of mine.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Didn't post yesterday. Between church, lunch with the in-laws, wallpapering my daughter's bedroom with my mom, then an evening visit from the in-laws (yes, twice in one day), I had no time to get online.

My food was pretty sloppy this weekend. I know it's a bad habit: I get a good weigh-in reading, then let myself eat more than I usually would, or things I normally wouldn't. I was still very active, but I know that's not a good rationalization for messy eating.

But no time to beat myself up about it. Back to form today; I've measured out and prepared my food for most of my day, and already thinking up healthy foods for supper.

That's the trick, isn't it? That no matter how sloppy I am, no matter how badly I eat one day, I keep managing to get back on track. My goals may take longer than I had originally hoped, but at least there's still a chance of them happening. If I quit and give up, then it will never happen.

I know it's a little late in the month to be coming up with Resolutions for 2007, but I do have a few I'd like to throw out there:

1. I resolve to not buy any more clothing from a plus size store/section in 2007, or any year after that, for that matter.

2. I resolve to walk in our area 5k/10k. I don't know if I'll leap to the 10k or stick with the shorter race, but one way or another I'll be there.

3. I resolve to continue my healthy habits: being a mindful eater, being physically active, and being a regular blogger.

4. I resolve to be kind to myself. Whether that means not beating myself up after a slip-up, telling someone "no" when I need to, or giving myself some pampering or a pep rally.

The good thing about these resolutions is that I'm doing them already -- or at least trying. It's just a continuation of my ongoing goals. And wouldn't it be nice if I never had to buy something with an X in the size ever again? Hmmm....

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Week Fourteen Weigh In

This week I am not going to beat around the bush with this weigh-in. I got on the scale this morning, hopeful that I might have returned to my pre-Christmas weight of 213. I'd been mindful this week but didn't consider my eating the healthiest. Yes, I kept my portions of candy and cookies to a bare minimum (2 to 3 pieces a day), and the same with my starches at supper time.

I also worried because in the mornings I have been completely ravenous. I played around with oatmeal for breakfast, then my "fake" egg and soy cheese sandwich, but by mid-morning I was still ready to chew off my arm. I think the problem is I tried a different mid-morning snack -- a banana and a low calorie granola bar. I'm guessing the sugar was too high and not enough protein to satisfy me. So next week I'm going back to my old reliable, cottage cheese and fruit.

So, between the chocolatey treats, the noodles and artisan bread, and the unquenchable hunger, I figured I wasn't going to do so well this week. Maybe even maintain.

So imagine my shock this morning when the scale read 211. Two hundred and eleven! From last Saturday that's four and a half pounds lost! I'm still reeling from it.

It's all down to physical labor. Every day I've been a busy little bee at this new house. Yesterday in particular was an active day. I walked two miles on the treadmill in the morning, spent a good hour in the afternoon carrying boxes and bags up flights of stairs and unpacking, and another good hour in the evening doing the same. It was very warm here yesterday, so I wound up breaking a sweat a several times.

No wonder I've been so hungry! I've been burning calories like a -- an athlete or something! Someone not like the old me, that's for sure. It also explains why I've been so tired this week -- because I'm busting my hump. Duh!

It's so validating to be able to get through this stressful time and still lose weight. More than the number on the scale, it means I'm finally learning to cope with my life's ups and downs without overeating. It shows that even despite a major upset in my routine, I can still carve out time to be active and to think about what I'm eating. Those are much bigger victories to me than some digits on a screen.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Both Sides Now

Sorry I missed posting yesterday. I'm definitely still in flux right now, both at work and at home. It will be nice when things settle down and my routines fall back into place.

The last three days I've been a good little soldier about getting out of bed, out of the house and exercising. This morning I was really tempted to sleep in, but then a voice in my head said, "Damn it girl, just do it!" So I did, and I'm so glad I did, because I feel so much better when I do. Something about getting that heart pumping, a little sweat flowing, getting my dose of light therapy; it makes me feel alive. And it gives my brain a chance to focus and gear up for the demands of the day.

My eating is still a little iffy -- I'm still doling out my daily portions of my hidden stash of candy because I can't bear to throw it away. I'm only measuring about half of my food and I'm not avoiding all refined carbs. But I'm not binge eating, I'm eating a majority of healthy foods, and I'm not grazing all day and night. And it's paying off -- I'm only a half pound away from my pre-holiday low weight.

While part of me is eager to knock off the rest of this weight, I'm also realistic that I'm in a very precarious spot right now. The post-holiday, post-move, post-stress time is here and my most dangerous time for gaining weight. It's when things are starting to calm down and I think I need to "treat" myself, usually with food. Add that my daughter's surgery is two weeks away, and you can see my life is a giant landmine field of diet sabotage. The way I look at it, if I can maintain within a few pounds, or even better, lose very slowly, for the next few weeks, I'd consider that a victory. It definitely beats falling off the wagon and packing on 20 pounds.

Having said that, this morning I was concocting non-food rewards for myself when I do reach my next two big milestones -- 200 and 180. I love my satellite radio, but the accessories are not cheap. So giving myself those items to celebrate my accomplishments seems like a good idea.

Yes, I know waving these "carrots" in front of my nose to get me movitated seems to contradict my previous paragraph about taking it easy on myself. But that's me and my Gemini nature -- I'm always bouncing between both sides of the issue.