HYC Check In

My last check in for 2008. In honor of the last check in (and the fact that I'm menstrual and have been eating like cheese is going out of style), I'm off the scale this week. Since this is the last check in I've been thinking about all I've learned in 2008 while participating in the Healthy You Challenge:
  • I like shopping for clothing when I have lost weight
  • I won't lose weight without exercise - and vigorous exercise at that
  • Weighing every day is helpful
  • I love finding new and creative ways to cook healthful and tasty food
  • I love doing Pilates - and how strong it makes me feel
  • I love looking at the muscles in my body
  • I enjoy the support and friendship blogging brings me
  • I need to focus on cutting down on my sugar intake (I'm sweet enough, right?)
  • Journaling my food keeps me honest, strict, and leaner
  • I am inspired by all the Healthy You Challenge members and their honesty, humor, discoveries and determination
  • I am capable of getting to my goal weight. It's not an impossible dream.

So with that, I venture into the Healthy You Challenge 2009 - determined and inspired and ready to kick some butt! Thank you to everyone who has offered their support here - I look forward to another successful year!


Snow is a four letter word

My guys in our winter wonderland, when it was still cute and fun.

Professor FatPants by the fire:

The dustbowl we woke up to this morning:

I am living as a pioneer woman - snow, snow and more snow has us trapped at home. Winter is long and hard. Cookie jar is now full. Pa is working hard, as I gaze at the Christmas tree and dream of spring. Coffee with Bailey's Irish Cream makes the day go by faster, and churning butter more fun.

Seattle is pathetic in the snow. I am even more pathetic than the city, with the whining and the fretting if I have to travel in it. I think it is the uncertainty - will I be able to get to work? Will I be able to get home for Christmas? No sense fretting now, when there are cookies to bake! Pecan Pie bars, peanut butter and chocolate chip bars, and coconut bars with a graham cracker crust, and chocolate and peanut butter top - if you're curious. We've been home together since Thursday, and the stir craziness is settling in. It was really romantic and fun at first, but now, its just annoying. Before the whining (too late) - here's the gratitude list. I am grateful that I have a home, heat, food, my husband and dog at home with me, and that my office was closed on Friday, so I could stay home and bake without guilt. Also, I am so grateful that I am not a bus driver, they have it rough. Especially these guys who nearly went over Interstate 5. I am so grateful that they did not and that everyone on the buses were safe.

We took a lovely walk in the snow with The Ding yesterday, and then for more fun, Mr. Black had to change a tire on my car - what is worse than changing a tire in the snow? I am so lucky he was willing to do it! Thursday we woke up to about 5 inches of snow, and then last night we had blizzard conditions - wind and snow together. The fence around our yard must have acted like a vortex, because all of the snow collected on our porch and roof and obscured the yard. This morning I went out to shovel the walk - and the top level of the snow was like a crunchy creme brulee. Thank goodness we have a gate to guide us to the walkway. I don't know how people in the Midwest live like this all the time. Probably because their towns have more than one snow plow, eh? I'm also lucky for a funny husband. Here are two of my favorite quips. When I suggested that I could walk to the store (1.5 miles away - one way) and Mr. Black scoffed, and then he replied "Well, keep a journal so when they find it in the snow I'll know what happened." and then when I was stressing out about not being able to go out and shop, and oh no, what if he didn't have anything to open on Christmas day? He suggested "Then I'd better have a lot of hott sex coupons to open." Oh so funny, that man.

Since we're not rehearsing the show, I've been gorging on home time these past few days. I've been cooking up a storm. I've discovered that having a lot of food around makes me feel safe. Even though there was plenty to eat, I walked to the 7-11 to pay $5 for eggs. I made chicken potpie and it was delicious, spicy black bean soup and tomorrow we're having beef stir fry. The laundry is caught up, the bathroom and kitchen are clean, and our WSU cheese was delivered yesterday. Hooray! I hope everyone is having a lovely winter and is safely gearing up to Christmas. Send warm thoughts that will melt the snow!


HYC Check In

Here is what happens when I stop exercising, and still allow myself to eat sweets. I will gain about 1.4 pounds a week, on average. My clothes still fit, but I feel squishier, softer. I dread posting my weight here. And it’s my party, so I can make the rules and say “No weigh in today!” which I seriously considered today, but I know that no one cares how much I weigh more than I do. Not writing down the number will not change the fact that it is there. I am on the border of beating myself up and throwing up my hands and saying “Screw it. Put on 10 pounds in December. Who cares?” But I do care. I can’t pretend that it doesn’t matter. So, today I’m 224. The world has not ended, I have not turned into a sloth, and I have not given up the dream or goal of continuing to lose weight. I am just not able to focus on it right now. The week of December 29-January 2, I can exercise. And I will.


HYC Check In

I'm a day late for weigh in! 222.6 – I’m up 2.6 pounds since my vacation and Thanksgiving. It could have been a lot worse, so I’ll take this and remind myself that cookies do not make the world go round, nor the scale go down. Do you know what happens to your body when you stop exercising? You don’t need as much food. I always have a stash of fruit and peanut butter and nuts to sustain me throughout my work day. And I find myself looking at the clock thinking – its time to eat! Then I realize that I am not hungry. What a concept - food as fuel. Less movement, less fuel. I guess that whole thing about exercise speeding up your metabolism is true.

My last panicky post was me thinking (screaming?) out loud. And since then, I’ve recalled my Mom’s rule. You can only feel sorry for yourself for 2 days, then you have to make a list of what to change or do next. This applies to just about any situation in life, but especially weight loss. I have to accept that for the next 6 weeks, exercise will be low, so my calories have to be even lower. Bor-ing - eating is way more fun. But not gaining weight is even more fun than that. The next two weeks are jam-packed for me, so please excuse my absence from the HYC blogger's comment sections. I hope everyone had a great week!


Everything, all at once

I've returned from from Chicago with baby oxytosin coursing through my veins, along with probably a lot of booze and day-glo orange cheddar and caramel popcorn. Nutritious, no? My friend's baby was beautiful, adorable, completely huggable and so sweet. The visit was far too short, but was just delicious.

I'm feeling sort of panicky, (can one be just a little panicky?) about losing weight, about being in rehearsal 5 days a week, working and not having time to work out, go Christmas shopping or hey, doing some blogging. Jumping back into the swing of things, I weighed 10 (!!!) pounds heavier than when I left. I know that wasn't really accurate since we had been on a weird flying schedule and then my cycle started. So I think by next Tuesday I'll be at a more accurate weight.

My schedule begs the question "Take a break from losing weight?" I know that mentally I need to take the pressure off of myself. It's so disheartening to post a gain - it is even more disheartening to even just see it on the scale, privately. I haven't even been on the scale since Saturday. I have planned my meals, I am exercising on the weekends, and that is all I can do. However, there are cookies in the office, and my director brought in dessert, and there were chips and cookies and fruit at the theater - I don't do well abstaining from everything. And when I eat it, I think - why are you making this so important? Why are you eating something that you know is not a good choice? And I know the answer is simply because I want to. I want the taste. I want to participate in the social aspect. I want to eat what tastes good, and not face the consequences. I want to think that eating healthfully 90% of the time deserves to eat something not so healthy. And I'm eating small quantities of the bad stuff - but still, I think there is something inherently wrong with putting something in your mouth and then feeling guilty about it. When I am exercising regularly, I can eat things that are not "on plan" and still see lower numbers, so I'm having trouble changing that habit. The answer? Don't eat it. That's been 50% of my problem my whole life, so why is it so hard for me practice it?

This rambling entry brought to you by the fear of gaining 20 pounds in December. And it doesn't help that I hear "Oh, people always gain weight during the holidays, don't worry." I don't want to undo everything I've done. Blah, blah, blah, make better choices, I am capable of success, and I need to stop whining about a rehearsal schedule because I put myself here! This whole acting experience is stretching me like crazy, which is a post for another day. Now I'm off to eat my healthy lunch - a chickpea curry and a salad. And no cookies!


Chicago, here we come!

Tomorrow we're headed out to Chi-Town (33 degrees with snow flurries - fun!) 1) for Mr. Black's cousin's wedding (I love being a wedding guest!) and 2) so I can hug and squeeze one of my dearest friends, and hold her beautiful baby girl for 48 hours. I'm very excited as the baby is about 8 months old - not so old that she can crawl away from me, but old enough that she won't sleep 17 hours a day. I plan to teach her the phrase "I love Aunt Sara" while I'm there - I'm sure she'll get it in no time. Neither Heather or Teale were able to meet with me this trip, which was a bummer, but we're going to make it happen the next time I'm out that way.

And I must confess, along with baby squeezing, I want to do some big eating while I'm there. Midwest steak dinner? Sign me up! Chicago-style pizza? Yes, please. And oh how I love going out for breakfast. Is this a smart plan? Not really, because I know myself. I know that being on vacation is sometimes a trigger to my brain to stop eating smart portions and counting calories. I also know very well that when I return home and I step on the scale and if I see myself way above 220, I'll feel deflated, disappointed in myself, and regretful. Are those feelings worth the taste of all that food? Definitely not! For the first time in my life, I checked to see if the hotel offers a fitness center. I'm taking my work out clothes, and hope to knock out some exercise in the mornings before hitting the town and lifting my fork. I have never even set foot in a hotel fitness center. Strange that this is the woman I've become. Will I be successful? I hope so. If I can return home with a minimal gain, or even better, maintaining, I'll be a proud, proud lady.

Have a great weekend! And cross your fingers I eat well. That means smart and tasty!


HYC Check In

Well, shoot. I am up .6 this week – just barely, barely holding on to my 70 pound status at 220 even. I’m not too surprised, as I missed two days of exercise. Oh, and there was that trip to the bakery on Sunday – where I had 5-cheese Sicilian style pizza and a chocolate brioche. Divine – wouldn’t go back and change that, even if it puffed me up a bit.

Get back! Back on Track! Last night I walked the Ding, and even jogged a little. I will never understand runners. Bobbing along, feeling the weight of my hips and feet as I try to propel myself down the path – I did not receive an endorphin packed rush, nor the thrill of challenging myself. I felt only the drag of my 220 pounds and the sense that this is not the exercise for me, so I should stop being an imposter. Back to the gymnasium for me!

Hope everyone had a successful week.


HYC Check In

Here in the Trisaratops Lounge I’m grateful to see 219.4 on the scale this morning. That means new 70 pound loss bling! Hooray! I did pretty well this week, eating wise and exercise wise. How nice to feel as though I have been rewarded for that.

Last night I returned home from rehearsal and felt hungry. Not bored, what can I eat, but tummy growling hungry. So I ate. Today I logged my calories into FitDay, and I only went over my calorie goal by 150 or so. That’s a relief. My director is not going to be helping my weight loss efforts much; she’s a mean baker and brought Apple Cranberry Crisp to rehearsal. With diced candied ginger. Oh, it was heaven. I took the smallest portion possible.

Forget getting yourself to the gym. Forget counting calories. Forget writing down what you eat. The hardest part about losing weight is choosing when to say no. As a baker myself, I know how nice it is to make something, feel proud about it, and then have people refuse to eat it because it has sugar and fat in it. So there’s the social side of me that wants to be kind, at war with the sensible side of me that wants to be healthier. And it’s apple crisp for chrissakes, not a Twinkie, it practically counts as a serving of fruit, covered in oats, cinnamon and sugar. This will be a test for me. How to get past wanting to say yes to every delicious thing that comes my way.

Good luck to everyone – hope you are having a delicious and healthy week!


Being aware

Had my first rehearsal for the show on Sunday. It was hard work, and invigorating. We did a lot of character exercises that involved movement, and we were all sweaty by the end. 5 hours is a long time to jump and crawl and squat and run. Not every rehearsal will be like that, but I did feel better knowing that I got some movement in. And can I tell you how good it feels to be comfortable in my body – to know that I can squat and get back up, and I can run in place and not pray for the exercise to be over? I am physically stronger, but also more confident in my physical ability. Fabulous!

I’m feeling a little panicky about what my weight will do with my new rehearsal schedule. Essentially, I’m taking out my exercise time to go to rehearsal. And rehearsal won’t be all sitting around and eating – the director is very much the opposite, she likes to get us moving. What can I do to make sure I don’t gain 20 pounds in 3 months? The answer is simple, kind of a bummer, but necessary. No overeating. I have to stick to 1720-1750 calories a day – and maybe even less, if I’m going to maintain where I’m at now. I’m so glad that it will be so easy for me, as it is the holidays and all – there’s never any temptation to overeat during November and December. Yep, should be a snap. (Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!)

There is only so much room in one day, and it seems that most people I know, or read online, sacrifice their health first when facing a time crunch. Exercise is the first thing that I convince myself I don’t have time for when I am busy. Yesterday I had to rehearse from 1-6, then change clothes and meet friends for dinner at 7:30. I kept telling myself in the morning that I should do a 25 minute aerobic routine to justify eating beef burgundy for dinner. But, I spent the morning cooking, and taking the dog for a 30 minute walk instead. I feel better knowing that I've planned my meals, and will hopefully avoid the I'm-in -a-hurry-just-grab-a-burger pitfall. Also, since I won't be home in the evenings eating pounds of peppermint bark, it should be manageable. I've also considered working out on my lunch hour - which may prove necessary, but I'm reluctant to give up that time that could be spent learning lines or refreshing myself.

I got myself into this, and it is up to me to be vigilant and careful and dedicated to my body and my soul. And skip the eggnog lattes.


Pilates and that PC guy

Thursday evenings are when I take my Pilates class. I love it because it is challenging, the instructor is hilarious and it also marks the end of my work out week. I set a rule with work out buddy those 2 long years ago that I would not exercise on Fridays. Imagine my despair when class was canceled last night. Oh no! I didn't want to face the elliptical again, but I wanted to meet my exercise goals. I figured that I could do a series from memory in the room anyway, since they weren't going to have another class in there. Another woman followed suit, and soon nearly the whole class came in, and we lead each other through the series. Go team!

Then Mr. Black surprised me with a secret date to see John Hodgman, who was promoting his second book on complete world knowledge, More Information Than you Require. He's most recognizable as PC from the Apple commercials, or as a contributor on the Daily Show, so he regaled us with tales of being a famous minor television personality. This mostly involves being recognized on the subway of New York and then referred to as the chubby PC on blogs and the like. Some Pilates and some laughter, equals a great Thursday! Now, on to the weekend.


Thank you, America!

I am so proud of my country. I am so proud of the Obama campaign's new-voter registration efforts. I am thrilled that the right man is going to be our president. A man with integrity, vision, poise, and intelligence who truly cares. I also am so proud that a person of color was elected in a country where racism still exists.

My only diappointment today is that California did not overturn the gay marriage ban. This is divisive cruelty. It breaks my heart to think that my brother and his fiance won't have the same rights as hetero couples. It makes me furious that if one of them should be in an accident, or land in the ICU, the other won't be allowed to see him. When I was in the hospital in 2007 for my gallbladder attacks, I was scared and in so much pain. It would have added to my stress level if Mr. Black couldn't hold my hand and tell me everything would be okay. Same-sex couples are creating families with love - it doesn't take anything away from your life to allow them to have access to their partners in the hospital, or to allow them to say proudly, that's my wife or husband. I would not consider myself a politically active person, but this is one subject that is close to my heart. Eventually there will be equality, that's all I can hope.

And now back to our regular exercising and eating well.


HYC Check In

How can I think of weight at a time like this? It’s Election Day! I voted bright and early at the polls this morning – and it was sort of exciting. There’s a buzz and camaraderie from seeing that my neighbors care as much as I do. I hope Barack Obama is our next president. I did my part! Get out and vote today!

In health-related news, this past week, I would like a do-over, please. I was plagued by the most vicious cramps I have had in years. And I could not bear going to the gym, and challenging myself. Even though exercise is recommended for pain relief, I was just not feeling it. The most I could do was walk the dog, which I figure is better than sitting at home eating chips. I forced myself to go this weekend, and last evening. I felt a little like I was clicking the “undo” button on my body, hoping that those two work outs make up for a week of not exercising to my full capability, and indulging in leftover Halloween candy (foolish!). There’s no sense in beating myself up, it was a not so hot week, and I can’t go back, so I’m going forward. The scale greeted me with my old pal, 224 this morning. I equate that to my swollen womb, and probably a little candy. Here’s to a week candy-free, and work-out full!


HYC Check In

Happy Tuesday! I was surprised that the scale read 220.4 again this week. I’m glad that number wasn’t a fluke last week, but bummed that I didn’t make it to 219. I saw 219 a couple of times last week, after the Official Tuesday Weigh-In, but I guess it was not meant to be this week. Come on 70 pounds!

I really did well at my calorie counting last week. I was staying within the range I set (1750-1900) and wasn’t feeling deprived. Yay! However, my period is coming, and already the sugar is calling my name. So far, the bowl of Halloween candy in the office has beaten me today. But tomorrow is another day, and I can be stronger then.

Wishing everyone a successful week (and me too!)


Dare to Suck!

The call-back was Tuesday. I felt intimidated, confident, and nervous during various stages of the evening. Here's the short version of the story. Girl does improv exercise - poorly, girl does script reading well, girl learns and sings new song, poorly. Girl leaves the call-back trying to make peace with the fact that she did not fail, but she probably didn't get a part. On Wednesday, Girl receives word that after the director spoke with a former director of hers, that she did get the part. Girl pumps fist into the air while walking to catch the bus, and feels silly and giddy.

The director is so amazing, she started the evening with what she dubbed "kind of a woo-woo actor thing". Since each actor will play about 4-5 roles apiece, she gave us an exercise in quickly creating a distinct character. We were reminded that she wants us to do well, and was not trying to make us feel silly or uncomfortable. She is passionate and serious about theater - which is so inspiring for a rusty nail like me. My new favorite phrase is "Dare to Suck" - if you suck, it is okay - but you have to try. And really, that's good advice for just about anything, if you think about it. I rushed through my character exercise, because that is what I do when I am nervous. We did it a second time, and I was a little better. Although it was intimidating watching many others excel. The song - oy the song. I need a lot of time to learn a song, so I did not do very well - thanks again to nerves - an being in my head about my singing talent. At the end of the night, I felt like the experience wasn't a stink bomb, but probably not enough to get a role. And so I went home, had a glass of wine, and rambled on to Mr. Black about making peace with not getting a part.

In the morning, I saw that the playwright called Tuesday night and said that since all the experience on my resume was old, they were wondering if they could speak to someone who had worked with me recently - because they were considering me. My heart leaped at that - but then lurched a little. Oh, to admit that you have not been auditioning because you've been trying to lose weight and scared to try - kind of vulnerable! But they got their reference (a good one, I'm told) and so they told me they would be in touch. The roller coaster was continuing an upward trajectory. I had really gotten into a place where I was content with not getting a part. This was a great experiment, and now I had the confidence to work on some things, and audition for a different show. And then hearing positive feedback sent my hopes got up and released the butterflies in my tummy. So then I went and got a coffee at lunch - that was a really good idea - really helped calm me down.

Thank goodness I went to the gym and had my work out buddy to talk to, and lots of sweat to keep me distracted. Just after I left the gym, the playwright called and offered my a part, playing 5 characters. (All 5 characters who don't sing - what a surprise!) Delicious. Awesome. Exciting. Generous. I just feel lucky. I had so many people rooting for me, believing in me, my wonderful family and friends, my co-workers and even the blogosphere. I am so grateful for the lovely people in my life and the support.

So my advice to you is dare to suck! It really is okay. I also think that there's a beautiful sense of calm and confidence that comes with age. I've built a rich life outside of the theatre, and so if I didn't get it, I knew I had that life to support me while I work on what I need to. So now I get to bring some theatre into my life. I think the theatre might be pretty lucky.


HYC Check In

220.4! Finally!! It has taken 3 months for me to lose the 8 pounds I put on in June and July. Well, 7.6 pounds. This was a total surprise, because I was hovering around 223 all weekend. I didn't make it to my 5th day of exercise this week, but no matter - this is another week to try and try again.

I think I probably sweated out those 2.5 pounds last night. I tried to complete the 30 Day Shred workout number 1, by Jillian Michaels. I stuck it out through the whole thing, but had to stop a few times for some complaining and to steady myself to not fall over. It was a pleasure that all the ab work was a snap, thanks to Pilates. But don't tell Jillian I said that, she'd easily kick my ass. I was inspired that she said change doesn't come easily. You can't do something half way and expect results. Amen to that.

I hope everyone had a successful week!


Flexing a different type of muscle

Sometimes I am terribly impulsive. That's how I ended up with a black leather motorcycle jacket that I think I've worn maybe 3 times. Last week I was poking around on line, reading a few blogs, checking out some recipes, and researching some theater. In the midst of this, I got a wild hair and scheduled myself an audition for a new play. Now, it has been approximately 4 years since I have set foot near a theater as anything other than a patron. I have felt both too rusty to audition, and scared that my weight would turn directors off. Have I been working on audition pieces? No. Did I have a current resume? No. So, I was a foolish woman, basically. But I wanted to do an exercise in getting rid of the fear. You never know unless you try, yes? So no more namby-pamby being scared crap. After I did it, I ran into the bedroom and told Mr. Black, and he said good! What's it for? I spent the week kind of being freaked out about it - and besides Mr. Black, discussed with no one. I wanted to keep it a secret in case I failed miserably, of course. Mr. Black let it slip when we had dinner with some friends on Thursday, and he pointed out that I needed support and people in my corner. Good point, Mr. Black. I got great advice from my friend who works at a theater. Remember that the director wants you to be good - they aren't there to judge you and make you feel inadequate. I kept that in my heart this week.

So Saturday I went out there and just did it. I had classic nerves - heart racing and dry mouth. This is not effective when you are planning to talk for 2 minutes. It was scary and thrilling and kind of fun all at once. I got through my pieces, and was complimented on ending at 1 minute, 58 seconds, as they were going to literally cut people off at 2 minutes. I felt like, okay, you did it, you didn't bomb, you didn't get cut off, you didn't go blank and just stare into space, you got through it. Good girl! Then they asked about the singing roles I've had. "You sing a bit, then?" Hm. My usual approach to singing is to try and look cute so that no one can hear how weak my voice is. Instead of telling the director and her crew that, I told them that I don't read music very well. (read: at all) and so when I have a song to learn, I have to schedule extra time with the musical director. I patted myself on the back for being honest, and prepared to go home. They asked me to sing. Dear god. I didn't have a song prepared - audition 101 - always have a song prepared if you're auditioning for a show with music in it. After looking at my panicked face they kindly suggested my soulful rendition of Happy Birthday. Fabulous. So I sang. Loudly, clearly, and tried to not have my annoying nervous vibrato come through.

I felt being asked to sing could be both encouraging (we like you so far - let's hear what you can do) and a killer (oh - that's what you can do, eh?). But whether they called me back or not, I walked out of there feeling like I didn't embarrass myself, I did as well as I wanted to. I faced my fear, flexed the old muscles that have been dormant for so long, and felt confident that if this was something I wanted to really work at again, I could. I always have an easier time dealing with rejection if I feel as though I did the best I could. And this wasn't about getting into the show, it was about challenging myself. Although I'd be lying if I didn't have some fantasy thoughts about being called back. Also, I noticed how much heavier my face looks in my old head shot. My face has really thinned out and I was tempted to say - hey, I'm 66 pounds lighter than that picture shows - really!

Today I DID get called back to read from the script. I am thrilled and proud of myself, and excited. Tuesday evening, I'll be hanging out with actors, fighting dry mouth and feeling nervous all over again, and I can't wait. The show has 40 characters, and they are looking for each actor to play between 5 and 10 roles apiece. Fun! Hooray for a risk that paid off.


HYC Check In

Do you know what 224 is? It is an area code in Illinois, how many electoral college votes Obama had on September 9th, and my current weight. Even though I was 220.2 on Saturday, and last week I was smiling fondly at the scale as the number went down, here I am again, on official weigh in day with good old 224. All I can say is that I think the weekends with their boozy evenings are messing me up on Tuesday. I hope that I'm right, and that later in the week, I'll get back to where I was before.

I've learned that there is a mind set about losing weight. I think that I want the freedom to eat and drink what I like, and then expect it to not count. I am exercising, I am eating well, but then splurging with the attitude that it will not affect me, since I've stayed on plan for the days prior to weigh in. I wasn't that disappointed this morning, it was more of a confirmation that I can't stray, or that when I do, I have to accept the consequences. And remember that in the big picture, I'm doing well.

Hope everyone else had a great week!


Could we start again please?

Oy vey. I haven't been here and I miss it! My life exploded a few weeks ago. Okay, that's a little dramatic. But I was working 11 hour days, and went in on a weekend to meet deadlines. Oh, those actuaries, they keep me hopping. Then my poor dog 1) Ate chocolate - not good for the puppers, but he's fine. Just a few Hershey's kisses (which aren't really chocolate, so it was harmless to him.) And this incident proved that he has secret opposable thumbs - as I found the foil wrappers. How on earth does a dog get the candy out of a wrapper? And 2) He has developed some kind of allergy that is making him chew his paws and legs. We've been running him around from vet to vet trying to figure out what the heck is happening. It breaks my heart that he can't say what is wrong and that I can't just fix it for him. So we're trying an elimination diet to see if it is food-related. Diet affects everyone - even dogs! Fingers crossed that we solve the issue soon.

This weekend all I wanted to do was curl up with my Google Reader and get caught up, but that didn't happen either. I would like to know how women with jobs, children and exercise routines still find time to blog. Maybe it is something that burns within them that they must do, where as I am more inclined to spend my free time socializing, cooking, walking the dog, doing laundry or watching television (which is shameful). In other weekend news, I digress. My cousin married one of my best friends this summer. It probably took me a year to get used to the idea that my male cousin that I wasn't that close to was going to be a larger part of my life, since he was dating one of my most favorite lady friends. Then I got to be their officiant. I registered as a reverend at the Universal Life Church, which was hilarious and an honor. They are so lovely together, and announced this weekend that they are pregnant - did so on the honeymoon. Isn't that the most romantic thing you've ever heard? They announced it this weekend, and confimed the suspicions I was having, since I last saw her, but couldn't bring myself to brow beat out of her. Mr. Black was hilarious after the announcement, of course. A friend arrived late to the resturant where we were having dinner, and when my cousin told him "We made a major announcement before your arrival." Mr. Black said, quick as a whip, "We're all having the veal - just for fun!".

So then there's my health. In my last post, I set new goals for myself and then boy howdy, that's when things went crazy like bananas. I stopped journaling, I stopped exercising and tried to not bite everyone's head off. My weight was pretty steady that week, which was surprising. I know that a lot of that was due to the fact that since I couldn't exercise, I was careful about what I ate. Thank goodness for good lessons learned the hard way.

On Saturday I weighed 220.2 - such a thrill. But alas, a fluke. I was back up to my old friend 224 today. I'm feeling pretty good overall. I've discovered two new passions for eating. One of them is good for me. Barley. Hulled, not pearled, so it has more fiber. I love it so much more than brown rice. It is super cheap, and you can flavor it with anything you like. Genius. I've also discovered Gimlets. Not so good for the waistline. I read about them in a book, and so I had to try. Heaven. This is as close to a martini as I'll ever get.

So, I need to get back to blogging, and being an active participant in the Healthy You Challenge. I can't promise to do any or all well, but the intent is there.


HYC Check In

Arrgh! 224. Again. Still. No gain is a good thing, but no loss is a bummer. How to change that? I've made myself a pot of black bean soup for lunch this week. It has served me well in the past and Elise's recipe is delicious – despite my forgetting the sweet potato and skipping the ham. The lime juice and cilantro garnish seals the deal for me. I'm hoping that it will quell the snacky lady that lives within me. I guess that old adage that the last 10 pounds are the hardest is true- although in my case, it's the last 34, but who's counting?

I really was feeling encouraged and invigorated a couple of weeks ago, and I so easily allow myself to get deflated by a setback. My sugar intake was way better than it has been, but it is still there. A list of goals this week – making them public usually makes me way more compliant.

  • 5 days of exercise
  • Only 2 days with sugar (baby steps)
  • Calories at 1,750 - with wiggle room for heavy exercise days

I must list one yahoo for the week – I went into the ladies’ section at Macy’s – the ladies who are size 14 and under mind you, and was able to put on an XL shirt and XL exercise pant. I felt furtive and like I was going to be kicked out based on the size of my lovely self, (because I am ridiculous) but I didn’t. And I fit into the clothes. By the way – who is buying $30 silk screened work out clothes? I have a problem paying more than $15 for something I’m going to sweat in. But I digress, there’s a hurrah for me to put under my pillow on days like to today when I feel frustrated. I gotta keep on keeping on.


HYC Check In

Aaack! (apparently I'm channeling Cathy today - need chocolate!) I missed Tuesday's check in. In its continuing efforts to befuddle me, the scale showed gain of 1 pound this week at 224. My body never ceases to amaze me. I was as diligent this week as I was the week prior, spinning, calorie counting and all, and yet, a gain. Ah well, you win some, you lose some. I do know that I did allow that bugger sugar into my life, and even though I was in my calorie range, I think 100 calories of sugar is very different from 100 calories of apple, ya know? Note to self, less sugar.

Moving on! I can't let the scale dictate my moods - even though it is very easy to do so. I made it to all of my workouts this week, and rocked them! I feel proud and strong and healthy. Hooray.

Hope everyone else had a fabulous week too!


HYC Check In

I am so happy to report that today the scale was 223 - on the nose, baby. That's a 3 pound loss - (not counting last week's menstrual swelling) and I couldn't be more thrilled. This week I focused on keeping my calories between 1700 and 1900 - I was over on some days, but I kept my protein and fiber up. I definitely owe some of this to the spinning class, and the fact that I kept my energy up during my work outs. Determination! The best part was that I was able to have two social events that involved eating not so great food, and I emerged unscathed, satisfied and without guilt.

I also had a shining moment in Pilates this week. I've been taking that class once a week since February, and every week, I try to do a jack knife. And every week I heave and push and my legs go up, but my tush stays on the mat, and that's that. Last Thursday, I did it!! It was so exhilirating and I got a high five and a genuine "Good job, Sara. All right!" from the instructor. Yippee!

I feel like I'm starting over. I see that I've been sort of mamby-pamby since March, and this week has proved that I really have to watch my calories, and today makes it feel as though the effort was worth it. Why I can't remember this all the time, I'll never know. Today I'm wearing a skirt that is one size too small, (it was only $6 at the Goodwill!) and I don't need a slimming undergarment to do so. That's a rock star kind of feeling. Let's hope that this forthcoming week is successful as well! I wish everyone else good eats, good movement and good feelings.


For the record

In case something goes horribly awry between now and weigh-in day, I'd like to report today that the scale showed 223.6. That's a 2.4 pound loss. And last night I had pasta, wine and pie. And a great workout. Stepping on the scale this morning was like opening a gift from Santa that you were hoping for but not sure you'd really get. Fabulous.


Superstar Spinning Cycler

Status: Sore

Activity: Strenuous Spinning

I ventured into new territory last night, the Group Cycle class at the YMCA. Also known to the cool kids as spinning, I think. It started out like most group exercise classes for me: biggest girl in the class? Check. Most sweaty and inexperienced? Check. If I were friends with the other riders and could ask them embarrassing questions, I would likely be able to confirm that I also qualify for most sore pelvis today. Note to self to check the seat next time. This was 45 minutes of serious activity; I had no idea how hard it would be. Walking out on my spaghetti legs, I had a feeling that I haven’t had in a while. Pride mixed with oh my gawd, I am so completely tired and spent and so sweaty gross must shower - NOW. The kind of work out afterglow where you finish and feel like you’ve earned a piece of cake, but then you don’t eat it because that would ruin it. I haven’t been there in a while.

It’s also an honor system work out. You can decide how tense to make your resistance, and how fast you want to go. I sometimes suffer from “Keeping Up with the Instructor” syndrome. Where I push myself to learn something quickly and do it just as skillfully and quickly as the instructor, even though I should focus on learning it before trying out for the Olympics. But I realized that the class is 45 minutes, and 10 minutes in I was already sweating, so maybe just dial it back notch, sister. This turned out to be prudent advice to my self. When I walked out of there I felt exhausted, but also somewhat excited. Here’s a new activity that could be the key to making that durn scale move the other way. I challenged myself and I liked it. I'm feeling powerful again - like I will succeed instead of just hoping that my efforts will work. Kind of like a superstar.


HYC Check In

Oh period power. You are amazing. You transform the scale, my self-esteem and my handy Excel weight loss chart in the blink of an eye! My womb is apparently very full; coupled with last night’s big family dinner Mom – style and this morning the scale reported a hefty 231.5 pounds this morning. That’s 5.5 pounds up in one week. Impressive, no? I’m letting this one roll off my back…

This week I experimented with reduced carbohydrate intake – that lasted about 2 days. I read too many horror stories, and have decided that I will focus on building muscle, and taking in low-fat, low-cholesterol protein. Hello, beans! Another discovery this week, I think I need to count calories again. FitDay has become new and improved, and they now make a recommendation on how many calories to eat each day based on your weight loss goal. So, I’m aiming for that. Calories: 1722 per day, fiber a minimum of 25 grams a day, protein, trying to hit 85 grams a day, and 5 days of cardio. Overall, I’m feeling pretty good about my efforts this past week. I did ride the sugar roller coaster for a few spins, but promptly got off. I'm continuing on, hopefully with some results!


I Loaf You

As the day turned unseasonably and irritatingly rainy and cold last Sunday, (my calendar still says August but in Seattle, it is apparently October) it was clearly meat loaf weather. There are many comfort foods in the world, but none so quintessential for me as meat loaf, with sides of mashed potatoes and green beans. This meal embodies Sunday night dinner around the family dining table, talking about the week to come, and squirting ketchup, much to my Mother's chagrin. All the while anticipating The Muppet Show to come on after our baths. There is also something very satisfying about getting your hands in the bowl and mixing everything together. You have to be gentle, but thorough, much like we want our lovers to be, yes?

My Safeway recently had a buy one get one free sale on ground turkey. It was time to lighten up my Mom's classic recipe. This recipe is decidedly lower in fat and tastes really good! I used both pounds of turkey, so I could freeze some.

Sara's Mom's Lightened up Turkey Loaf

2 pounds ground turkey
16 oz frozen spinach, thawed
2 cups finely diced onions
4 cloves minced garlic
1 and 1/4 cups diced green peppers (or any other color you like)
3 eggs

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce (sodium, I know, but soooo good)
2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp seasoned salt
2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 - 1 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a non-stick muffin tin with cooking spray or your favorite non-stick agent.
  1. In a large bowl, crumble the turkey.
  2. Squeeze dry your spinach. I like to wring mine in a clean dish towel - there's a lot of water in there that you don't want in your loaf! Break up the spinach with your hands (it will clump) and sprinkle over the turkey.
  3. Dump in the onions, garlic and green peppers
  4. Lightly beat the eggs, adding Worcestershire sauce, peppers, salt and thyme, pour egg mixture over all.
  5. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs over the whole mixture, and get in there and get dirty! Mix everything together with your hands, gently so as to not toughen the meat.
  6. Add more breadcrumbs if you don't think it will bind well. I can't think of a great way to describe this, but you just have to grab a handful, squeeze it, and see if it holds its shape.
  7. Now, if you've over breadcrumbed, add more Worcestershire, or you can add a little vegetable oil.
  8. Grab your greased muffin tin, and start grabbing balls-o-meat. Press them into the pan, mounding them tall a little bit, until you've filled the tin.
  9. Whatever you have left, shape into a little loaf, and place in a suitably sized baking dish.
  10. I prefer a browned loaf, but of course you can add the traditional tomato sauce or ketchup to cook on top.

Bake for 35 minutes, and check to see if it is browned, and the internal temp is 170 degrees. Your meaty muffins will most likely be done, but your full loaf may need some more time.

Allow your mini loaves to cool in the pan completely. Then fish them out, wrap in foil, and freeze them, for a meat loaf muffin any time. I've been weighing mine, and they come out to about 4 ounces apiece. A perfect portion, I think.

Steam some green beans, toss them with a little olive oil and roasted almonds, and mash up some taters, get your ketchup bottle ready, then dig in with someone you love, or just wait for The Muppet Show.


Note to self

When experimenting with reduced carbohydrate intake, do not use hand lotion that smells like sweet, buttery, yummy, forbidden lemon cookies. Oh la la! Not helping.


HYC Check In

This week's weigh-in brought to you by regret. Today the scale saw 226 even. No change from last week. I am grateful for no gain, but realize that I could have had a loss if I had avoided the salt-water taffy (thanks, SWF - it was so good!), ice cream and black licorice that was in my house. Sometimes I have candy-craving weeks, and that was this week. I was also feeling dejected and frustrated about the state of my weight. I wasn't consciously seeking out sugar as a way to console myself, but I was using want versus should to direct my food choices.

A group of ladies in my office are lately all fired up about Peter Walsh's It's All Too Much book on clearing the clutter from your home and life. He makes a point with one client's home that they had a play room for the kids that was full of kid's artwork, toys and clothes leaving no room for the kids to actually play in. The Mom was dismayed on how to part with any of it. He pointed out to her that she was placing more importance on storing old things rather than giving her kids a place to play. And I realize that over the past week, I was putting more importance on sugar than nutrition. It has been a long time since I have had a week where I ate sweets with abandon. So this week I am placing the emphasis on protein - UP, exercise - UP, journaling - UP. It's a shame that my journey is taking the trajectory of a roller coaster, but better to realize it rather than throw in the towel.

Here's to a great week of great choices - I'll meet you back here with a positive result in 7 days.


CTFLC - Day One

Cracking the Fat-Loss Code

Alright gentle readers, here's a synopsis of how to the CTFLC plan works.

1. Your body burns carbohydrates in food for energy first
2. Your body burns glycogen (built up in your muscles from carbohydrates) for energy second
3. Your body burns fat only as a last resort

The author then adds that your body only wants to survive, so it cares not about what size your jeans are. Thus, when you give it less calories, it adjusts the amount of energy it uses to keep things functioning. The 8 week plan is designed to shake up our metabolism and change our body's direction for energy - making it choose fat, and not carbs. There is also an emphasis on exercise to develop muscle, because as we all know, more muscle means you get to eat more! I mean, we burn more calories, and hopefully, more fat.

There are several cycles of eating, all regulating the amount of carbohydrates you take in. The first week of the plan is called Carb-Deplete. One must consume less than 20 grams of carbs per day. I read through a sample menu plan and noticed the absence of fruit, and limited vegetables. Of course, no added sugar or alcohol. This week is the only week that is super strict. The menu has no fruit, and only lettuce, cucumber and broccoli for veggies. Also, making a protein shake with Crystal Light. This turned me off. Being fiber free is not good for me.

It is clear that a good point is being made in that we need to take in more protein to build muscle, and that if you reduce your carbs, your body is going to have to find alternatives. But I'm trying to keep my fiber intake up - moving things along makes a difference on the scale. And fiber = carbohydrates. For this week, I'm compromising.

My usual breakfast for the past few months included:

1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 - 1 cup fruit
2/3 cup of Smart Bran cereal
Soy sausage
Coffee with half and half
This equaled 12 grams of protein and 35 grams of carbohydrates. And, I would be hungry 2.5-3 hours later. I do think that the cereal was a bit to blame, and the sugar in the yogurt.

So this week, here's what I’m eating.
1 crust less spinach quiche
Soy sausage
Coffee with half and half
Which started my day at 20 grams of protein and 12 grams of carbs. And, I went a full 3.5 hours before I got hungry.

I made the Barefoot Contessa Lentil recipe for lunch - because my friend the lentil offers protein and fiber! I added chicken breast too. And then I passed on the mashed potatoes at dinner.

Most important to me is the satisfaction level for whatever I am eating. If it tastes good, and I'm not walking around feeling hungry, I'm a happy girl. So, I won't be following the fat loss code dieting plan. However, today I finished my day with 111 grams of protein and 99 grams of carbs. I never felt starving - just that comfortable it is time to eat now hunger.

My dietitian suggested eating protein before a workout, and that I should get 95 grams or higher per day. I think I will focus on keeping my protein levels up, and giving myself a challenge in the exercise realm. But this was good perspective, all the same. I think it would work for someone who needs a kick start, and is willing to follow menu plans, and stick to them. The author does allow for some wiggle room after the first week, offering a list of acceptable substitution foods.

But for now, I gotta do it my way.



I have a confession. I have succumbed to a weight-loss self-help book. I know, I know. I am so anti-DIET. Low-carb, no-carb, low-fat, no white food, cabbage soup, or pre-packaged meals - anything that is guarantees success, but isn't sustainable in the real world, is bad news bears to me. I can't eat one way for 6 months and then go back to eating another way, because I am a slow learner, and will throw my restricted calories out the window to make room for the pizza. So far, I have been determined to do it my way. Eating what I want (and sometimes saying no, even when I want to say yes), exercising, and finding support online. BUT. Two years later, and I'm stuck. I'm strong, I'm fiber-licious, full of vitamins, but also stuck.

Crack the Fat-Loss Code is designed to break plateaus in 8 weeks. (Cracking the code? This just screams late night infomercial!) And look at that, I have 8 weeks on my hands! There are menu plans somewhere near the end. Until I get to that point in the book, I've been reading about how my body needs protein and fat and carbs to live and function, blah, blah, blah. I am the worst person to read a self-help book. I learn in an aural style much better - however I am determined to understand this program. I'm cracking the code! I'm going to lose fat, I just know it! There are testimonials every 10 pages (okay, I've only read like 20 pages - but still, that's 2 testimonials already!) So it must really work, right? I hope I have not just jumped the track into diet crazytown. I don't mean any disrespect, CTFLC, I'm just a big old cynical girl, who needs your help. I admit I do feel comfortable since there are menu plans that I can cook for myself. I did have the good sense to check it out from the library - so I can just turn right around and drop it back off if it turns out to be a bunch of hooey.

Also at the library? Cookbooks! One can check them out, commit a few good ones to memory, (never photocopy, of course) and then return it. Brilliant! I work 2 blocks from the biggest and most beautiful library in Seattle, and I never go there. Shameful! That's all about to change.

So - here goes nothing! A weekend of cooking big (or healthfully portioned, I mean) healthy meals, exercising and cracking the code.


HYC Check In

Grumbling and grousing I type this entry. Today the scale greeted me with 226 exactly. That is almost a pound, but no cigar - a .8 loss. Pbbtht! Last Friday, I was down to 224.6 - I guess I should have posted it then to celebrate it. Someday it will come back to me!

I'm tired of thinking, okay, seriously - you've got to do something about this. My eating is great - I am eating my beans and greens and fruits and doing it up right. However, my exercise is not challenging enough. That's got to be it. I am being rewarded with a full body sweat each time I visit the gym, but it must not be enough. This evening I incorporated some of my new "On Demand" exercise moves into my routine at the YMCA, and it felt good. I regret to inform myself that I will most likely need to add an extra day to my 4-day a week routine. But I will gladly go to get this extra weight moving off.

I hope everyone else had a stellar week!


Calf Pump

Finally! Summer has arrived in Seattle. It took so dang long to get here - and today is a glorious nearly 90 degrees. Too hot? Well perhaps, but we can't complain around here or we get buckets of rain like we did last weekend. My work out buddy and I did our Urban Work Out on Tuesday. Hefted up the hills, in which we had to instill the no talking rule because it was hard! A 40 minute circuit, including window shopping, it was lovely. Yesterday was warm, and my friend was working late, so I came home and walked the dog. The Ding's idea of a 47 minute walk involves 8 minutes of walking and 39 of sniffing, so I get a not so challenging work out. So I came home and checked out the fitness video options that are available with our cable package.

The Girls Next Door offer work outs - who knew? Although I am certain that these are viewed not for their instructional nature, but for private time with the remote, if you know what I mean.

I settled on the "Ultimate Fat Burning Workout" for here I was sure to see a legitimate exercise video. The video was done in a classic 80's-style aerobics video. One instructor, 4 girls behind her in color-coordinated outfits. Trying to do anything in time to a video is not easy for me and it brings back memories of playing Pole Position. Careening around the race track, crashing, starting up again and feeling confused. My experience was much the same. This video is improved in that the instructor gal at least announces the next move before showing it to you. Although I still found myself fumbling and saying "Calf-pump - what?" from time to time. So we're sweating and pumping and burning our fat. And here's the But. At one point when the instructor is reaching her hand weight over her head to reach to the other side, the camera zooms in on her side - positioning right between her sports bra and boy-short bottoms. For a long time. You can't even see the whole hand weight 80% of the time. Come on! How am I supposed to follow along if all I'm looking at are her perfect abs? So ridiculous. But, I finished, and then got up at 5:45 this morning and did it all over again, because I rock. And despite the glorification of her abs, I picked up some good moves to take back to the Y when it opens again on Monday. Wahoo!

In the feeling good department - the new receptionist told me today that I have awesome calves. I was like "Do you need to borrow money or something?" And she said that it was true, I walked by her desk in my skirt today and she noticed them. I didn't even think my calves rocked. I don't even really notice them. Surprising compliments are the best.


HYC Check In

This week starts with techno tragedy – the internets are not working at my house! My cell phone died, and the home phone was out for a day. I then became That Guy who had to go to the Sprint store, post haste. It is frustrating to feel sort of impotent when technology is failing me, how did that happen when I was the girl who resisted cell phones? Having no internet is not improving the plague of boring here in the Trisaratops Lounge, but our technicians are working as best as they can. Today's post is of the Secretive Blogging at Work variety. Sneaky!

My weight loss efforts were not unrewarded this week. Finally, a loss. 1.2 this week – which I have to admit I was secretly hoping that one week of dedicated effort would magically yield an 8 pound loss, but weird, that didn’t happen. I gave in to TOM temptation a bit, but exercised solidly. I went to the company baseball game, and ate a lot of peanuts and fruit, one sausage, no bun and skipped the booze. Free booze at that! How's that for dedication. This week’s challenge will be to exercise despite that my favorite YMCA location is closed for the its yearly maintenance week. Tonight my friend and I are going to try an Urban work out. Downtown Seattle is full of steep hills and stairs and should prove to be a kick in the tush that I need. We can do a little window shopping here, too. I don’t think anything there comes in size 16, but it shore is purty in there.

Keep on keeping on, everyone! This isn’t going to be easy, but it is worth it. I think I need to get this tattooed on my forehead.


HYC Check In

It is a sad thing when one finds one's own blog boring. Only posting once a week? Boring! Only wallowing in their failure to ramp up? Boring! So on to the boring news. My husband and I went away for the weekend to a beach cabin with some friends and had a rollicking good time. But we returned on Monday, and since Tuesday was my first day of work and I stumbled bleary-eyed into the bathroom, I didn't weigh myself, thinking it was Monday. Not that I'd like to see that number anyway, methinks.

My exercise was on target last week - and boy howdy, Pilates was very challenging since I hadn't been there for 2 weeks, which made me think that I need to do it more than once a week.

Goals for next week:
  • Prepare breakfasts and lunches this weekend
  • Journal
  • Portions, portions, portions
  • Create a new exercise routine that involves using my own body weight because believe you me, there's plenty to challenge myself with
  • Write more than one blog entry a week
  • Visit the challengers

Does anyone know if plyometrics are as painful as they look? They look both scary and effective to me. Maybe I'll introduce them to myself! Off to check in with everyone else!


HYC Check In

Well Tuesday morning has greeted me in a significant way. Today is literally the 2 year anniversary of my first weigh-in. July 27, 2006, I was 285.5 pounds. I had decided the week before that I would commit to putting my weight on the Internet with Mel and her Diet Naked Team. 2 years later, I'm down 62 pounds. Not where I thought I would be, of course. I thought I would be one of those gals on the cover of People magazine touting "I lost over 100 pounds with diet and exercise, look at me now!" It is obviously not the fastest weight loss on record, but I'm proud of the permanent changes I have made in my life.

Seeing this number on the scale hurt this morning. 228.2. Ouch. I was only 223.8 on Friday, so my indulgent weekend had quite an effect. Now I have 8.2 pounds worth of motivation to get back to my 70 pound mark. It is really hard to be back here, to be positive and not throw in the towel. But I am being honest here, and that's what the scale saw today, ugly as it is. Thanks for the reminder, universe, that I gain weight instantly if I go off plan. I hear you. I'm back to strict portioning!

So for this week, my meals are planned, exercise is back on the menu, and dedication is off the charts. I swear.


Starting over

Oh! Here's where I left my blog. My goodness, it has been a while. I have had the busiest summer of celebrations ever. 3 events where I was pretty integral to the planning and something had to fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, eating well fell down with blogging. I have a hard time saying no to a party. I have an even harder time saying no to wine and snacks at a party. So, I didn't say no, quite a bit. Exercise has been spotty and when I finally got on the scale, I've gained nearly 4 pounds. Yikes! But I followed the perfect combination for gaining weight, so I was not surprised.

Last week I took the whole week off from work and relaxed at home. Also I pretended I was a housewife as Mr. Black couldn't take any vacation time. It was pretty fun, although I never greeted him at the door in Saran Wrap or anything. I think I enjoyed it because it was only temporary. Best housewife score? I got organic ground beef for $1.50 a pound!! I bought 10 pounds worth. That's unheard of. (It only had 3 days before expiring, so into the freezer it went.

I exercised 5 days in a row - count 'em - 5! That felt really good. One of my most significant chores was clearing out all of the clothes that I can't wear anymore. Because they are too big. I did keep some that are marginal - like I shouldn't wear them, but I can still kinda get away with it, if I have to. It was very freeing and also it is wonderful to not have to dig my way through my closet to find things to wear. And also, now I get to shop!

Now that my summer is mine again, I am able to re-double my efforts. Time to ask the question - what is it worth? What is exercising and eating well worth to me. The effort and time and deprivation? You bet. Time to make my goals here. I'm also back to daily weighing and hope that tomorrow will be only mildly painful.

I also read blogs galore, but didn't comment anywhere. I am really looking forward to re-dedicating myself to the Healthy You Challenge and being a true participant. I'm back and better than ever!


My Mr. Black

He is my heart, my home, my SupaHunk, my Pamplemousse, my Sexy Taxi Driver and friend. This complicated man, who loves super heroes and horror stories with the same verve as he does musical theater and Shakespeare, makes sure that I have fun, he helps me relax - encouraging me to appreciate all that we are blessed with in our life, so that I can stop trying to make it bigger, better and faster. He lets me be loud and obnoxious and lets me tell my stories over and over and over again to any new audience I find, without ever saying "This one again?". When I had surgery last year, he sat by my bed watching me sleep, refusing to leave until he was sure they brought me the fizzy water I asked for. Then tenderly took care of my wounds without being grossed out, as I would have been. I am endlessly surprised with how many secret dates and surprise gifts he plans for us, how many poems and songs he makes up on the spot that can crack me up. He puts up with my bossy lady ways, my gasping in the car when he's driving, and my need to cook grand meals and destroy the kitchen once a week. This man is so wicked smart, he beats my Mom at Trivial Pursuit every time we play, which is quite a feat and hilarious - she's a sore loser and he's a gentle winner - he is logical and makes a good sounding board for working out any crazy ideas I come up with. I can ask him anything about history, ancient Gods or movies and he'll know the answer and never ever laughs at me for not knowing. It's a blessing to live with someone who will stop what he's saying or interrupt me when I'm talking to say "You're pretty." all with this voice of wonder, like he just noticed, unprompted by me. After three years of marriage, we're still learning about each other, we're learning how to live together and support each other in ways that are different from just dating, and even though there have been tears, and eye rolling and the slamming of doors, we're still laughing together, making plans together and enjoying our life together. Happy Anniversary, my sweet bebe!


Of the Salt and the Crunch

At my office, we can't open an envelope without having it catered. Box lunches litter the conference rooms each week around here. And most come with the ubiquitous bag-o-chips. I have two bags in my desk. Potato chips are my nemesis. I would like to say that this journey to smaller sizes and better health has blessed me with the ability to always breezily pass by trigger foods entirely, or have JUST a single portion. However, potato chips are the exception. I will eat them by the handful, as many as I can, and love every single crispy, greasy, and salty bite. (hi, mouth is watering, now)

So today I got the salty/crunchy snacky cravings. And I thought - the chips are there - just get them! Then I thought "Yum!" and then I thought "You should go get your cherries from the fridge instead." And then I remembered that I could have an ounce of roasted and salted almonds instead of potato chips. They "cost" about 70 calories more than the chips, but add protein, heart-healthy fat and fiber. And they also give me a salty crunch. But the bigger question is why keep the TWO! Uneaten! Bags in my desk? They've been there for weeks, people, weeks, shouldn't I just get rid of them? I think I want them for PMS emergencies. Perhaps I'll examine this further at a later date. But today, they're still there, and I ate the cherries and almonds instead. The End.


HYC Check In

Time to check in again! This week was a little wonky, eating wise. I think it started with spending the weekend at my Mom’s house and then eating out Sunday evening, then returning to my regular schedule, but without having had the time to prepare my meals for lunch as I prefer. I’m learning that I crave the security of planning my meals. Which is odd, I think, because what is the big deal of going to the salad bar at lunch time, you know? I think I like knowing exactly what I’m eating and making the right choice. Then I had an additional two nights of eating out – and I had drinks at both. At least I made my exercise schedule, well, with the exception of the racquetball debacle. I’m staying off the scale until mid-July. A couple weeks after TOM is over and done with, and then I’ll be ready. I’m digging this weigh in schedule.

In other news, I went on a shopping trip this weekend and found 2 lovely dresses – both in a size 16! This is significant, being a former 26. Hooray for summer and smaller sizes!

My goal this next week is to not over-do the eating, prep my lunches and plan my dinners, and push my physical limits at the gym. Have a great week!


Plan B

Last night, my work out buddy and I headed to the gym, ready to brave a new frontier, the Racquetball court. Work out friend is a former high school athlete, while my hand-eye coordination leaves a lot to be desired - picture trying to teach a Saint Bernard how to juggle. That's about where I am at. But I'm all about the funny and being open to a new way to move my body, so we had a date at 6 pm. When I arrived at the locker room, work out buddy was feeling a bit debilitated due to super cramps, but she was ready to hit the court with me. I started changing into my gym clothes, and when I dug for my tee shirt, I found another pair of pants. Whoopsie! Two pairs of pants and no shirt does not a YMCA approved outfit make. Although our friend Dave at the membership desk encouraged us to try topless racquetball, we declined. Are there no mistakes? Was my subconscious trying to save me from embarrassment on the court? We'll never know for sure. Thwarted by my poor planning, we headed to happy hour - wouldn't you have?


HYC Check In

Week 25 already? Happy Tuesday! I’ve had Big Doins around here, as they say. My Mom retired, and we had a big fat party for her this weekend, with old friends and tons of family. Nothing makes me want to hop on the scale faster than a family-filled event. One must have exact pounds to report, should someone ask about your progress.

This is a large preamble to say, I weighed myself for the first time in 4 weeks or so on Saturday, and I was relieved to see 220! I have finally hit the 70 pound mark, and that puts me down 3.6 pounds since my last weigh in. I think I could get used to this weighing in every 3 weeks or so. I really am just focusing on doing the right things and feeling great and hoping that the weight will come off too. Just Do It June seems to be working! Exercise was great this past week as well.

My Mom’s party consisted of a lot of finger foods, and a devilishly tempting torta of pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and cream cheese. I did succumb to the torta a bit but I also loaded up on fruits, veggies, and had a few shrimp. All in all, I think I did well. I love summer time for losing weight, because it is warm (make that warm-ish here in Seattle) so I naturally drink more water, and I could eat bowls of nectarines and blueberries all day – and it is good for you too, what a bonus.

So I’ll continue to just do it, and maybe hop on the scale again sometime in July, methinks. Hope everyone else’s week was grand!


HYC Check In

Week 3 of no weigh in, so let’s focus on the NSVs! I missed one work out, but otherwise, I kept everything up. I even went to the gym last week after a root canal and a PAP – if that doesn’t show commitment, I don’t know what does.

One of my goals during this off the scale period is to keep my calories pretty steady. When I was following Weight Watchers, one woman in the class asked “At what point does the size of your apple count as 2 points?” And the instructor replied “You know I never gained weight because I ate too many apples, so I always count them as one.” That is the truth. I have to watch the stuff that is calorie dense, the sugary extras, and the half and half. I hate being the nerd that weighs her pork chop before she eats it, but how else am I going to know how many ounces it is? Also, I made an Excel sheet to calculate the exact calories in my made at home dishes. Nerd fest! I hope, I hope, I hope that these tools will keep me on track, and get that number below two hundred! As much as these things are nerdy and time consuming and kind of a drag, I am so glad to have a plan and look forward to a life with healthy eating habits, exercise and oh yes, smaller pants!

Hope everyone has a great week!


Kind of like Disneyland, but not

I've spent two weeks enjoying the ride. My less saturated fat, more whole grains, staying off the scale ride. Only a little bit of self-sabotage surfaced. (Still? Really?) The part of me that starts to think that if I stop weighing in, I can also stop thinking about what I'm eating. Whee extra peanut butter! But this defeats the purpose, yes?

I read an interview with Jeannette Fulda, on her memoir "Half-Assed". In it, she mentioned that when she was in a plateau, she had to enjoy the work she was doing for health's sake. Oh right, that health stuff. I have suffered few physical effects of my weight, while the emotional toll is far greater. While the scale was trumpeting my increase in weight, my self esteem was going down the drain. I felt as though I was losing 2 pounds, gaining one back, and losing my confidence, gaining some guilt and losing my motivation. Not so much fun. These past two weeks have been a good experiment for me. I'm still cooking wholesome food, sticking to my exercise routine, and today I enjoyed the first sunny day we've had in weeks. I'm also considering embroidering on a sampler that doing all things good for my body, even if the scale isn't moving, these things are still worth doing. My scale is now away on a shelf, waiting for when I'm ready. I don't know when that will be. Until then, I find myself channeling Mr. Jagger and getting myself to remember sometimes you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need.


HYC Check In

Oh dear. Where was I? Oh yeah, I was rejoicing in my dietitian's words, enjoying the long weekend, and then blammo! Work exploded and it was annoying as there was no time for blogging - reading, writing or otherwise. Bummer. So, last week I was up 1.2 pounds, to 223.2 and this morning I am up too, to 223.6. Arrrrgh! This is maddening. I feel like I'm moving 1 step forward, 2 steps back. So aggravating.

I was so inspired a couple of weeks ago. Now, I find myself wanting to give up. Not REALLY give up, but stop thinking about it. I may have to put away the scale. My endless yo yo-ing around in the 220's is making me want to cry, or eat a loaf of garlic bread, or both. Add to that the feeling of when I plug in goal weights and dates into calculators and the numbers come back as "You must lose 3.8 pounds per week to make your goal." I don't feel better. Maybe I will secretly weigh myself only once a week. I think that's the only way to combat my anxiety. This is my own personal journey, and I enjoy this community, but I may need to try and focus on the journey and health for the sake of health, not weight loss.

I've decided that this month will be Just Do It June.

Just exercise. Just eat well. Just breathe. Just enjoy yourself. Just do it. Without worrying about the end result.

The trick will be to just do it without throwing reason out the window, still work toward the goal without thinking about it every day, and without zooming back up to 290 pounds. Any miracle advice?


Ask the Nutritionist - the results

Is it wrong if I want to invite my dietitian to dinner? She was so, so lovely and positive and helpful.

The me report: We looked over my food journal together and she thought it was fine, just that I needed to increase my protein intake, and my fiber intake tends to wobble a bit, so I should keep that a bit steadier. She let me keep my half and half! We spoke about what times during the day I eat and how much I eat before and after exercising. She covered all aspects of wellness, asking about my exercise levels, my relationship with food and my relationship with my body. I'll be having lab work done at my physical next month, and she'd like to see the results of those. She's also not keen on the recommended height/weight charts, saying "They are ridiculous, there is no magic number that works for every body. Please throw that out the window." How fabulous is that? I told her about my body fat percentage experience, and how my eyes had been opened to using that as a guideline, rather than a number on a scale. She said that was great, because muscle is 2.5 times as heavy as fat, and that it is not uncommon for some women to have percentages in the low thirties as well. Then there was the flattery factor, which will get you everywhere with me. She's the second person who has recently told me that I don't look like I weigh over 200 pounds, adding that I carry my weight beautifully. Thus, I want to hug her and put her in my pocket, and then go eat some pasta with her.

Also confirmed - 30/30/40 diet works mainly because it is reduced calories - not because of the magic proportions. It does encourage people to make a balance between carbs/protein/fat.

Low fat diets don't work due to the lack of satiety factor. This is so true for me! Fat is not the enemy. Saturated fats are.

She too does not believe in only eating good-for-you-foods all the time, because many times it leads to a binge of stuff you've been craving. Loving her...

Eating too few calories will cause you to gain weight, as the body is protecting you from famine. Because of my activity levels, 1500 a day was too low for me.

Vegetarian protein sources
  • Beans - an amazing food, eat them as much as possible
  • Edamame
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Quinoa
  • Seitan/field roast
  • Soy products - like the soy sausage I'm having for breakfast

Finally, when I asked her what would happen at my next two sessions, she said that she didn't really think I needed to come back. She said that she'd be happy to answer any questions sent to her via email, but that I had a good handle on what I was doing for weight loss. I truly admire someone saying no to money because it is unnecessary.

This was a fantastic experience and and really helped me fine tune my meals and my map to a healthy weight. Viva la dietitian!


Reason # 87,547 why I love my husband

Poor Mr. Black. He is married to a klutz. Last night as I tried to put my arm around his neck, I clocked him IN THE EYEBALL with my heavy silver ring - that is about an inch wide. Oops. Then as we were wrestling with our furry football to give him some medication, I squirted it at just the right angle, so it ricocheted off of our dog's teeth, to splatter all over Mr. Black's face - and he was able to confirm that yes, it does taste like bananas. And then I laughed. And through it all, I was forgiven. Good man, bad wife.


Ask the Nutritionist

I am taking my food journal to the nutritionist on Friday (the nutritionist - like there's only one, sheesh). If anyone has any questions they want answered, leave a comment about what you'd like to know, and I'll ask as many as I can.

This is my first of 3 sessions, so there should be time for lots of questions. Here's what I plan on covering with her:
  • My personal diet, am I eating a correct amount for my activity level, do I need to be concerned about anything? (hi, half and half addiction!)
  • Is there any truth to the 30/30/40 ratio I keep hearing about?
  • What's all this hullabaloo about protein and strength training - do they really need to be in bed together?
  • How can I get protein on a vegetarian diet besides soy? (I am not vegetarian, but I want resources to avoid the meats)
  • Does eating an extra 3500 calories make you gain a pound in one weekend?
  • If spinach and kale were to get in a fight - who would win? (I'm rooting for spinach)

I would like to ask about "superfoods" but there is a great website for that. The World's Healthiest Foods. So if anyone is curious about specific food's values, let me know. I aim to please.


HYC Check in Week 20

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Today the scale saw a 2.4 loss and I was at 222 on the dot. Oh, joy! That puts me at 68 pounds gone.

I'm still journaling - and oh my it is kind of scary when you see what you've done when you think you're just having a small amount of something high in fat or what not. I recently also had a mini-epiphany, what if I looked up my calories before I ate them? Well, duh. I was feeling snacky yesterday afternoon, but I looked up how much my dinner was going to 'cost' me, so I decided against it. That was easy. Why did it take me so long to realize that? Sheesh.

I'm going to have a challenging week - missing a work out, and then we have a friend coming in from out of town for the holiday weekend. That means social eating, which usually means social drinking. I'm determined to not go crazy with the calories. This recent success is too delicious to spoil.

And Friday, I'm seeing the nutritionist. I'm very excited. Hopefully she'll have some great insight on how to become 75-80% lean! Hope everyone else had a great week too!


I'm 63% lean!

What would make one feel the most vulnerable?
  • Stating your weight out loud to a person you don't know all that well?
  • Re-confirming that weight on a scale in front of said person?
  • Having that person pinch, grab and measure your chubs to get your body fat percentage?

Lucky for me, I didn't have to choose just one. I got to experience all three! In step one of shaking up my fitness routine and diet, on Saturday I had my body fat percentage measured. I imagined that I would be gently pinched a little on my upper arms, and maybe around my tummy. And la, la, la it would all be over in a minute, and we'd laugh. Little did I know that I would be pinched in 7 places, and 3 times in each spot. (She also said most gym employees when measuring body fat, don't do it this way, and they do it inaccurately, and people walk around with the wrong numbers. Aren't I lucky that she was doing it the right way? I'm still sore!) I adore my YMCA trainer, I trust her, and to her credit, she warned me that it would hurt. But oy even with that warning - standing in your sports bra, with your pants just under your belly button in the office of the YMCA with a woman grabbing as much of your chubs as she can REPEATEDLY - not really a good time.

So here's the good news! I weighed in at 223 on the YMCA scale, which was a loss from Tuesday, and my home scale showed 222, which was glorious. Then, she found I was 37% body fat, which according to her calculations makes me 82 pounds fat, and 141 pounds good things like muscle, bones and organs. That was interesting to me, since that is around how much more I wanted to lose, around 78 more pounds. But according to her calculations, if I lost 35 pounds, which would put me at 188 pounds, that would make me 25% fat and is considered healthy. That's only 12% - and 35 pounds, that's easy, right? HA! None of it is easy, but it seems achievable. A little less daunting than 78. But I'm only 5'6", so I can't imagine not being considered overweight at 188. I guess I'll find out when I get there - no sense worrying about something that is 35 pounds from now! And my trainer also pointed out to not pay so much attention to the number on the scale, focus on your clothes fitting differently, and needing smaller sizes. So true! But, I'm still weighing in tomorrow. Come on, 222!

I would recommend doing the body fat measurement, even though it hurt - very informative, and I left my session feeling rejuvenated to keep on trucking. And now my trainer has an intimate appreciation of my cellulite, lovely.


Starring in my own Reality TV show

Dude, I feel like I'm on Temptation Island today - except all the seducers are sweets.

Today I have faced caramel laced coffee cake, with buttery crumb topping. It called my name, but I pretended to not notice its advances and I high tailed it out of there to eat my hearty lentil lunch.

Then there was a pile of peanut butter and molasses cookies, and as I refilled my water bottle, they asked me if they could come with me to my desk. I hesitated, because I thought they would make a nice after lunch sweetie treatie, but again I had to rely on my feet to take me away.

Just now, my co-workers have returned from their annual trip to the Tri-Cities and brought back a box full of bakery cookies, set them out 8 feet from me, and sent an email announcing their presence. I literally can smell the sugar cookies.

Jeez o petey! What's a girl gotta do to get through the day without a cookie in her face? No means no, cookie face. I deserve an immunity idol or something.

Tonight is date night, which means dinner in a restaurant that does not have nutritional information on their website. And then we're seeing these guys in concert. I get to laugh until I pee - and then spend the next three days repeating lines from my favorite sketches to anyone who is near, my favorite part.

So quickly, I'm writing publicly that I won't succumb to these oh so friendly cookies, because at dinner tonight, I may eat something that has cheese and/or butter in it - or both! I'm using the brilliant Cammy's SMART Splurge decision making process. 1) I still have sore quads from Tuesday's squats, 2) I'm going to Pilates class tonight and 3) I've been on plan for days and 4) I've got 800 calories to spend. Do I want to use those on a cookie that will taste good at first and then give me sugar crash in an hour? Of course not. I don't know why some days it is so much easier to be strong and other days it isn't, but I am taking advantage of it today - and getting the hell off this island!


HYC Check In

Oh that merciful scale! Today I saw a very kind 224.4 - which is just over my lowest low point, is a 2.4 pound loss - and I'm at the tail end of my cycle, so I'm thrilled to see a loss just for that reason alone! All I have to say is thank goodness for filling, nutritious and delicious lentils.

This week I continued my journaling streak - wahoo! I made all of my exercise goals, except for one day when I walked instead of going to the gym. That counts, though, yes?

This week I'm going to continue journaling, and exercise as much as I can - this is a crazy work deadline week. My food will stay on track, as my out of town guests had to cancel their trip at the last minute, unfortunately. (I was worried that I'd be eating out a lot - or preparing tasty but not so healthy meals for them)

And finally - I am certain that I am emerging as a woman who is losing weight, because today I am tucking in my shirt! I'm so crazy! Those in my real life know how big my tush and hips and belly are - so this is significant for me.

I hope everyone had a great week - here's to another week of hard work. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go get my 65 pound loss bling!