Home again!

I would rather gather with family for a wedding than a funeral, but it is still wonderful to be welcomed. I don't see my husband's family very often, but when I do, they are some of the warmest people I have ever met. All of my husband's siblings and cousins shared their memories of spending summers at Papaw and Mamaw's ranch, and the trouble they would get into, and I had forgotten what a talented painter she was - her artwork is everywhere in my mother in law's home. In the understatement department, funerals are sad. It was a lovely/sad/weepy/uplifting all at once service, with a 90-something year old reverend who led the sermon so eloquently and with comfort, her nephew played she and her husband's favorite songs on the violin, and then we all went to the cemetery, where the wind kicked up a dust storm so violent that all the women were having to hold their skirts down. We then returned to church for the church lady pot luck lunch. I have never seen such a tempting spread. And I am grateful that I do not live there, I would surely be 400 pounds. Fried chicken, enchiladas, pot roast, fried okra, broccoli casserole, green chile rice casserole, spaghetti, beef and noodle bake, and myriad of desserts. My vegetable options were iceberg lettuce, tomato and baby carrots, or coleslaw. I think I gained 5 pounds this week - I am terrified to look. But I know that at my service, (knock wood, god forbid and all of that) I want people to eat and laugh and remember the good times. And in the avoiding untimely demise department - I walked early in the mornings on most days, before it got over 80 degrees. I even did some lunges and squats, um, once. But alas, it was no match for the donuts and lasagna that called to me from the kitchen. So I am back to planned meals, regular exercise, and trying to cancel out the damage done last week. So no weigh in today - and more thoughts on that later. I may give up the scale for a while.


Full Stop

We lost my husband's grandmother this weekend. She was 94, and had broken a hip earlier in the week, and decided to stop eating. I think it is pretty likely that she just decided to go. She was moved to hospice care and had nurses at her bedside when she went. It has been most difficult on Mr. Black's mother and sister. He gets weepy talking to them, but cherishes his last visit with her - eating steak sandwiches and repeatedly answering her "Do you have a girl?" question by referencing her to our wedding photo, as she was occasionally experiencing dementia. 94 is a good run, I think. Must be all that clean living, for the former cattle rancher's wife who cooked up a storm in her heyday. Tomorrow we leave for rural New Mexico where they really do have tumbleweeds, a fascinating sight to this West Coast girl. I have a feeling the week will feature lots of rich food and little exercise. The 100 degree weather is not conducive to my delicate sensibilities when it comes to exercise in the out-of-doors. This is just another speed bump on the road to health - and I'm learning to go with the flow. Back in a week!


Vanity or Health?

Something that I see very commonly across weight loss blogs are "losers" (get it? weight loss! Loser!) not caring about the number on the scale. I've even said it myself. But in reality and my heart, I do. I remember seeing Rosie O'Donnell in an interview and she said that as long as she's under 200 pounds, she's happy and that even 199 makes her high-five the nurse on the way out the door at the doctor's office. Hilarious and true. I've been thinking about what my threshold is. I have this goal to get under 200 pounds - so that means I care about the number. But really, I finally figured out what I do care about. Clothing size. That's what I really want. My friend sent me some gorgeous size 16 pants that she gleefully can no longer wear. They are in mint condition, perfect for work and high quality. I want to wear them. I want to be able to zip them up and feel good. And if I was a size 16 or my ultimate goal of size 10 or 12 and weighed but still weighed 224 pounds, I wouldn't care. (I don't think so, anyway) But smaller scale numbers should also equal smaller pants numbers.

Shouldn't I be more concerned about my health? Not vainly trying to fit into some clothes? Yes of course, I started this whole thing back when I got married and was inspired to live a longer life. However my weight has been an issue since I was 11 or 12. All of my childhood and adolescent memories often have a patina of feeling left out, being stared at, being made fun of, being rejected, and feeling inadequate because of my size (This is not a pity party - I also have been surrounded by love and accomplishments). But seriously, no one ever made fun of my cholesterol level or my risk for diabetes. No one can tell by looking at me that I can do 6 miles on the bike in 30 minutes, or plank and bridge in 15 and 30 second stints, they can't see what I ate for breakfast (fruit and yogurt) or that I watch my calories, or that I can do 20 lunges, or that my cholesterol levels and blood pressure are beautiful. I am so much fitter at 224 than I ever was at 290. So I wonder- what if I never lose another ounce? Am I still healthy? Can I accept the fact that size 10 or 12 pants aren't in my future? I know that in high school I was probably a size 16 or 18 - but I'm not one of those women who suddenly gained weight after they had a baby or something. I don't have a memory of oh- I want to get back to that weight. I've spent my whole life struggling with the vain part, and now I've connected the health part, so now I guess I have to connect the emotional part. Being in my 30's - with a pretty wonderful life and more physically fit than I have ever been in my entire life. And if size 18 pants are my only option, then I need to get over it already.

I'm not giving up on weighing less than 200, but I think I'll put the scale away for a while.

No, I said cable

I’ve completed 3 sessions with my trainer. One talky – two working out. I am challenged, sore, and feeling good. I’m getting to know my body in a new way. A painful and sweaty way. Muscles (I hope they are muscles) are screaming at me.

I’ve decided that my hell is a world where I am forced to do walking lunges all day. I tried to get out of lunges. “3 years ago I tried them with the other trainer, and they hurt my knee!” “I’ve got this hip thing.” “I might fall over!” Each argument was retorted with the fact that my body has changed over the last 3 years, I’m much more physically fit and I weigh less. And lo and behold, I can do lunges without hurting my knees and hips! Or falling over! Honestly, I am in awe of how many different muscles come out to yell at me when I do the lunges. They are a powerful weapon. I sweat, grunt and huff while I’m doing them. Which lead me to the thought – do people really get dates at the gym? I mean, I’m so sweaty that my hair is wet, my face is red, drippy and usually features some mascara running. Hot mess, my friends, hot mess.

And I cannot wrap my brain around the back raise. It is like a carnival ride, but I control the terror level. And “Back Raise” makes it sound like a hip hop dance. They should call it – just as painful as a lunge, but with gravity! Basically, your feet and calves are held captive against a plate and cushion, respectively, while your thighs rest against another cushion, and you let yourself hang down at 90 degrees, then heave yourself back up. Who the hell thought of this? Torture.

The highlights were these:
  • When my trainer said “Let’s head to the cable machine.” I said “Did you just say Kegel machine? Because I don’t need a machine for those.”
  • Planking for 3 sets of 15 seconds each – impressing the trainer “You’re a great plankster!”
  • Being able to hold a bridge for 35 seconds – and two more sets of 20-30 seconds! Thank you, Pilates class.
  • When I felt like I was wimping out during my second day, only doing 6 back raises, she said “You are working hard, I can see it, and your muscles are full of little tears. Respect the tears!”

And with that, I am taking a rest day. So far this is time and money well spent - I'm glad to feel like I'm not spinning my wheels any more and that I'm comfortable with the trainer. And did I mention that I did lunges. Like a million. That's amazing!


Remember, stressed is desserts spelled backwards!

Last I tuned in, I was headed to the wedding reception. Song was sung - to laughter. Don't worry, they were supposed to laugh! Once I sang, I felt like it was just a warm-up, and I wanted to do it again! But there it was, live performance is like that, you get to do it, and then the moment is over, and the memories are floating in the ether. There was wine a'plenty. I think the bartenders, who were really friends of one of the bride's mother, were pouring 8 ounces in a glass. At 11:30 am. Yeesh. I did not abstain. I couldn't - it was from a fancy winery, and I wanted to try both the red and the white. And the champagne was lovely. The food, oh lord, there weren't any good choices. Seriously. We were served a plated salad (very small) and then there was a buffet of pasta. Chicken parmesan, meat lasagna or penne in cream sauce for the vegetarians. And there was a plate of olives, cheese and strawberries. So I went for a smidge of chicken, and a smidge of lasagna. And a few strawberries. Ah well. Sometimes all you can do is exercise a little portion control. Upon returning home, I went right back to exercising (even though we were in our triple-digit heatwave), and eating fresh produce. The usual. But the scale, she is not happy.

So I took drastic measures. I have signed myself up for personal strength training at my local YMCA. I went through the process 3 LONG years ago when I first joined, but it is painfully obvious that I am stuck. Stuck, stuck, stuck. I hope to again find it inspiring, and to make some great results. I know by now that if my body has stopped changing, then I need to change how I move and fuel my body. I really, really, really think I make pretty good, informed choices about food most of the time. I could not plan my meals any more stringently. It is the sweet indulgences that are likely doing me in, but I know that I'm not going overboard.

Here's the one good thing - at least I am great at maintenance! My first session is tonight - I'll be back with a full report! And since making this commitment to myself, this is the first morning that I looked at the scale, shrugged and said "Won't be like that forever!" instead of cringing. Mental progress.