Friday, February 28, 2014

Losing the battle....

I've been completely out of sorts this week.  I think that now - the end of February - I'm losing the battle to not let this winter get the best of me.  

We had a massive snowstorm again yesterday and it was - 9 Farenheit when I left my house this morning.  I was on the major interstate near my house the other day and I just wanted to keep driving south and not stop.  

Fortunately my weight has been in my "acceptable" range this week, so I don't have that "weighing" on me.  BUT I'm felt anxious and restless and just completely thrown.  Plus I have been CRAVING carby sweets extremely badly.

And then today - I did the absolutely unthinkable.  I went shopping instead of working out at noon.  I am heading down to run on the treadmill in a few minutes but that will not ease the guilt that I am feeling for not doing 2 workouts today.  

I know that this is not normal.  I have exercised everyday since January 1st.  Most of these days twice per day.  If I run the 7 miles I have planned for tonight, I will have run 38 miles this week and will have a little over 285 miles running so far this year. 

In my past life, if I WALKED 2 miles once per week I was thrilled with my success.  But life is different now.  Usually good.  But I still am hard on myself and being cooped up and restless does not help matters.

So I'm taking a DEEEEEEEPPPPPP breath heading into March - hoping for better weather and with it a sense of serenity that is eluding me at present....

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Workout DVD reviews...

Marc just did a wonderful and comprehensive review of P90X (all 3 series) vs. Insanity vs. T25.  He has done all the discs in these series and is well qualified to compare and contrast the pros and cons of each series.

So if you've been wondering which series is for you, read on!!

P90X vs.  Insanity vs.  P90X2 vs.  T25 vs.  P90X3

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

8 weeks!

You guys remember 8 weeks ago don't you?  Think back.  OH YEAH!  8 weeks ago was January 1st!

What promises did you make to yourself on that day?  Did you promise yourself you were going to lose 10 pounds by today?  Did you commit to organizing your whole home?  Did you say with absolute certainty that you would exercise for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week?  Were you absolutely quitting smoking?

Yes, I know that whether you called them goals or resolutions or lifestyle changes, you made these promises!  So where do you stand?  Have you been completely successful?  Partially?  Not at all?  Did you start off with a BANG and then fizzle out?

Here's the thing - the great thing about making a decision to change your life is that you don't have to have succeeded the first time or the second or the 20th time to be successful NOW!  I watched a clip of some Olympians last night snowboarding and skiing.  The clip showed the athlete's WIPEOUT after WIPEOUT after WIPEOUT in practice.  And then - WHAMO!  A perfect landing!  And then going for the gold medal!

So guess what?  As we close the doors on February, you get to decide what happens from here!  A new start?  A re-commitment?  A change of strategy?

8 weeks from now we'll be entering May.  It will be getting warm (at least it fucking better be!).  Do you want to show off that bikini?  Look great in a one-piece?  Rock a new set of shorts with a sleeveless top?  Be a non-smoker?  Run a summer 5K?

Whatever your goal is, you can do this!  Step back - take a deep breath!  The time is now!  That promise that 2014 was going to be the year that you changed your life?  No matter where you stand today, the rest of 2014 lies out in front of you!  It is an UNWRITTEN blank page!  In 2010, my life changed forever!  What a AMAZING fucking year it was!

Go and get your dreams!!


Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Have you guys ever taken the Myers-Briggs personality test?  It's a fun test that breaks down your personality into 4 components:

  • Extravert versus Introvert
  • Sensing versus Intuition
  • Thinking versus Feeling
  • Judging versus Perception
It is based on psychological factors originally postulated by psychologist Carl Jung.

You can take the test here:

I am a solid ENTJ.  Apparently 1-3% of the female population is this type.  I wonder if there is any correclation between people that have successfully lost weight and personality types?

According to the test, ENTJ's:  "...tend to be self-driven, motivating, energetic, assertive, confident, and competitive. They generally take a big-picture view and build a long-term strategy. They typically know what they want and may mobilize others to help them attain their goals. ENTJs are often sought out as leaders due to an innate ability to direct groups of people. Unusually influential and organized, they may sometimes judge others by their own tough standards, failing to take personal needs into account."

I think that this is a pretty accurate description of me.  

Take the test and let me know what your initials are and whether you think it has any effect on your weight loss efforts!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mindfulness - continued...

So I talked yesterday about this approach as it has to do with food, but even more important, I think that it can applied to life.

I said yesterday that there have been times when I have felt like a spectator of my life rather then me actually living it.

Marc gets mad at me all the time because I don't remember things that - according to him - we JUST talked about.  And it's not like it's something that I'm not interested in so I tuned him out.  It's everything - topics I'm really interested in and I have ZERO memory of us discussing them.  I am famous for watching a movie over again and not remembering crucial plot developments.  I didn't remember the dog dying in Turner and Hootch for fuck's sake.

I've always said that this is because I have a terrible memory.  But I don't think that this is true.  I think it is my inability to be present in a moment.  Instead of always living in the here and now I'm thinking other things or I'm not focusing on being involved in what I'm doing.

I think that this is not terribly healthy.  I'll tell you what has gotten me to start realizing this even before the discussion on 3 Fat Chicks.  It's doing Yoga! 

Marc and I have started doing not only tougher Yoga DVD's, but also more Yoga.  And it really makes you be in the moment.

It has taught me a couple of things.  The first is to get more in touch with my body.  In challenging myself into more difficult poses and listening - really listening - to the instructors, I have realize how tense I have always held my body even while in poses.  So I have been concentrating on FORCING my body to relax and settle into positions.  It is a totally invigorating experience.

Another thing it has taught me is to be fully in touch with my thoughts.  When you are doing Yoga, you often have to settle in positions that are not natural and are often not comfortable.  And unlike intense exercise, you have to SIT in that position for a long period of time.  So you have to learn to embrace the experience of your body struggling and you have to strenthen your mind to focus on staying there and controlling your breathing and being fully involved in that mind-body connection.  

For me, at least, it is not possible to think about items I have to put on the grocery list when I am in plough position. 

And if your mind wanders while in Warrior III - well, you'll fall on your ass.  You have to be constantly focused on your body and be calm and balanced.  

As I have been working on being more focused and mindful, I have also found myself - just in the last couple weeks - being happier and more at peace with myself and my body then I have ever been. 

Coincidence?  Too early to tell.  But I'm going to keep practicing!

Sunday, February 23, 2014


My thoughts are kind of rambling and unfocused today, so this post is likely to be the same, so bear with me!

On 3 Fat Chicks, there has been a discussion on mindfulness.  This applies to a sort of life philosophy and can be applied to eating.  Apparently is has proven to be useful for some binge eaters - to encourage them to be more in touch with why they are eating something as well as the process of eating.

I have mentioned here before that I come from an extended family of people who INHALE their food.  Even the ones that are thin and fit seems to eat like we're in a contest to cram foods into our stomachs as fast as humanly possible.  

Part of my journey has been a concentration in teaching myself to eat slowly.  I thought of this primarily as a functional issue - it takes approximately 20 minutes for food to sit in your stomach before the brain realizes that it is there.  So if you eat slowly, you give the brain a chance to realize - "Hey I've eaten!  I'm full!"  Less likely to want seconds.  

This is a constant challenge for me for multiple reasons.  It's just not in my nature to do ANYTHING slowly.  Plus I've been in the habit for years of just chowing down in front of the tv without giving much thought to what I was eating.  The other practical "problem" is that I like my food BURNING hot, so taking a long time to eat cools off the food which I hate.  Good thing I eat a lot of salads now, huh?

But, I've been pretty successful at learning to eat slowly.  So now in the mindfulness discussion they are talking about slowing down to just feel the food in your mouth - chewing slowly and methodically - enjoy the texture and taste and process of eating your food.  I've been concentrating on that, and it is a different experience for me.  I imagine that in places where they don't get enough to eat, they do this automatically.  But us fat Americans with our instant gratification and fast food life styles - I can't imagine I'm alone in this.  

I have to admit, there have been times in my life when I've felt like a spectator to what was happening rather then being in touch and in the moment.  So this mindfulness discussion - not only in regards to food - but as to LIFE ITSELF has been extremely fascinating to me. 

I had a lot of time to think on this during my long run today, as I got to be outside - cold and somewhat windy - but sunny.  I'll write more on this tomorrow....

Friday, February 21, 2014

Feedback Friday...

I love Fridays!  But today I don't want to talk about me.  I want to hear from you!

Tell me something you've accomplished - anything - since January 1st that you are really proud of!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Getting the stink off....

I ran outside today!  It's the first time in like a month.  Even though it's above freezing, there is SO MUCH snow built up here, as soon as I got out, it was obvious the sidewalks still had hard packed snow and ice on them.  

So I spent my time running up and down side streets.  And the streets?  Well they have huge snowbanks on the sides of the road so all the melting is happening which meant gianormous puddles.  So, I got SOAKED from the knees down.

And you know what?  IT. WAS. GLORIOUS!

I run a lot slower on the treadmill so I was really worried that I've gotten used to that pace and that time my time would suffer.

But even with running through puddles and up and down the streets and dodging cars I averaged 8:06 minutes per mile.  Not too shabby.  A little bit of time lost, but not bad.

So yeah, guys, I think spring might actually arrive.  It gives me hope anyway!  

So get your butt outside - get the stink off - soak in the sunlight if its shining where you are!

And, as a client told me today - whose mother had a sudden stroke last night - appreciate life because you  just never know!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I'm okay...

I had a - well not a revelation - yesterday, but a change of thought.  Did you know I'm kinda hard on myself?

I got home, and Marc wasn't there.  So I got the heat on in the workout room, came upstairs and got everything prepared for dinner and used the computer while the room was heating up.  And I reflected that my weight was up to 121 yesterday morning despite being on point with my eating and exercising really well.  For a little bit I was feeling frustrated and angry with myself.

And then I headed downstairs and got on the treadmill.  About a mile in I was feeling really good and cranked up the speed by a little bit.  And then I had this thought pop into my head.

"Jen, you're doing pretty okay."

I have a house, a wonderful husband, a great job, and I was running on the treadmill at 6.9 MPH and was feeling strong and fit.  

SO WHAT that the scale said 121 that morning?  That black and white number is not a reflection of my true fitness and it is certainly not a reflection of myself as a human being.  I know this intellectually, but emotionally?  I almost never feel it.  I feel it for OTHERS but not for myself.

So my life isn't perfect.  I'll never be really attractive.  I'm not going to have a fantastic body.  I have stretch marks and saggy skin.  I'm not going to be rich.  I'm going to have really bad days and there are always going to be people that hate me.     

But you know what?  I'm pretty okay.  Some of my "okayness" comes from luck and some of it from really hard work.  

And I realized that even if I put on 10 pounds, I would still be okay.  I'd be an 41 year old woman who weighs 130 pounds.  That's not a tragedy, right?

And suddenly the room seemed - lighter.  I felt free.  I'm not sure how long or how well I'll hold onto this feeling, but I plan to enjoy it while it lasts.

Even though I haven't been doing any different, my scale decided to reward me for my thoughts by weighing me in at 118.7 this morning.  Guess what?  That didn't suddenly make my life fuller, richer and better.

I admire those of you out there who love yourself no matter what!  Pass good mental thoughts so I can hang onto this, because it feels pretty fucking good!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A lofty athletic goal...

It's funny how things are all relative.  I have been what some people would consider un-American and have not really paid attention to the Olympics.  I have watched hardly any of it.  I have seen some highlights here and there.  It's interesting to me to see some of the people that were expected to do so well not accomplishing what was expected of them and then, on the other hand, to see those that weren't expected to place high kicking ass and taking names.  So you see some people coming in 4th or 5th that are THRILLED and others winning the silver medal that look CRUSHED.

So Marc and I were talking about athletic goals.  It's funny, I can CLEARLY remember shortly before running my first 5K race in September 2011.  My goal was to run the whole thing without any walk breaks.  And not to come in last place.  And when I finished in 35 minutes and change, I was pretty thrilled.

And then last year, I ran my first 1/2 marathon.  And came in 2nd place for females.  And I was so pissed that I couldn't catch that BITCH - errrr.... wonderful runner.... in front of me!!  I didn't exactly feel like I had failed  but I was pretty disappointed in myself.

So I know there are people out there reading who would LOVE to run 5K and just finish.  For me, I will run that 1/2 marathon again in May and hope to come in first.  But I'm not a bit worried about running it and being able to finish.  

Then there are people out there who are serious weight lifters.  I'm pretty happy with where I am right now.  I can lift relatively heavy for my size.  I'm content with pushing myself a little bit, but I don't have any extreme goals like barbell squatting my weight.  To do that, I would have to eat more and probably gain some weight and I'm not only not willing to do that, but I don't have the desire to bulk up.  Not now anyway.

So here's my lofty athletic goal.  It's a goal that many of you out there reading accomplished as a kid.  And you probably don't even think of it as an athletic feat.  But it is something that I wanted to do my entire life and it has always eluded me.  You ready??

Yup - believe it or not, it's the CARTWHEEL!!!

Yup - I've been fat girl my whole life.  Although I did take tap dance for a lot of years and have always been good at swimming - even on the swim team for 1 season - anything that involved me slinging my fat ass into the air?  Nope couldn't happen.

I tried many, many times.  And it would always end up with me a crumpled and humiliated ball on the ground - usually in some form of pain.
I used to watch in envy these cute and small girls who would break into a little cartwheel just for fun without thinking a thing about it.  I always thought a cartwheel was the epitomy of an adorable girly thing to do.  I wanted to do one SO BAD.

So there you have it - as soon as the weather gets warm, I'm going outside.  And I'm going to try to do a cartwheel.  And I may fall on my ass again.  But I hope to master it.  Wish me luck!!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Give me a lift!

I just got this a few days ago, so maybe it's premature for me to be writing about it, but I have immediately fallen in love with it - so I have to post!!

As you guys probably know - one of the hardest things to do fitness wise is a pull up.  It's hard for men, but even harder for women.  I have been able to do chin-ups for a while, only a few at a time.  And I can basically do 1 pull up without assistance.  So, I just bought a Pullup Assist.

So first - why are pull-ups and chin-ups important?  Well, they strengthen just about EVERYTHING.  Your lats, delts, fingers, wrists, biceps, forearms, and your core!!  Plus it gives you that nice V shape that everyone wants!  So I did some reading and am pretty well convinced that being able to do, say 10 pull-ups with assistance is more beneficial then doing 1 unassisted.

The pullup assist is a pretty basic device - it's a strap that you hook on to your chin up bar and then it has 3 resistance bands, an adjustable strap and a foot loop.  It works GREAT!!  With 3 bands you are getting approximately 50 pounds of assistance.  You can remove one band and get 32 pounds of assistance.

I have done both chin-ups and pull ups so far.  While they are still hard for me, I am able to do more and in better form.  This I think will help me train until I can do them on my own!

Here is the device hanging on our chin-up bar.

A nice thick buckle allows you to connect to any bar.

 This metal buckle is adjustable to move the foot strap up and down.

 The foot strap is wide and very comfortable.

 This shows me at the start of the chin-up.

 And then at the top of a pull-up.

Today I did 10 sets of 8 chin-ups for a total of 80.  Previously, I might be able to do 4-5 sets of 4 without assistance.  I am excited to see how much this Pullup Assist helps me improve my muscles!!  So if you want to add pullups and chinups into your workouts, but can't do them unassisted, yet, I highly recommend this!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

By the numbers...

As many of you know, I started this blog in March of 2012 as I was considering having surgery to remove all the excess skin from my weight loss.  I don't even remember why I decided to start the blog.  My guess is that Marc suggested that there might be other people out there interested in hearing about it.  He maintains his own blog ( so maybe that's how it came up?

Anyway, I documented the surgery and its aftermath.  And later, I hit my weight loss goal.  Since then, I've continued blogging about all the stupid things in my life.  I've thought about stopping blogging - after all, I have a pretty boring life.  Who the hell is interested in reading about what my thoughts are on a day to day basis???

I'd like to think of this blog as motivational, even though it's not one of those perky "you can do it" blogs every day.  I post recipes once and a while but it's not a recipe blog.  I post about my battles to maintain my weight loss, but I don't really see this specifically as a weight loss blog anymore.  I talk about my pets, but it's not a dog or cat blog.  I talk a lot about my running, but I wouldn't describe this as a runner's blog.

So what the hell is this all about?  I guess it's the random, unfocused ramblings of a woman who lost some weight and is trying to keep it off.  

At any rate, last night, this blog crossed over into 100,000 hits.  It's pretty shocking to me.  It's shocking that anyone is interested in reading my crap at all.  But to have 100,000 hits?  

So thank you to anyone who has any interest in reading what I have to say and visits here.  I hope that at some time you've gotten something out of this that has helped you in your own journey or in your own life!

And for now, as long as people are continuing to read, I'll continue to write!  And if you find value in it, if I say one thing that helps you change your life like I did?  That makes me very, very happy!

As I type this, there are 2 boys sitting next to me that love me - no matter what I weigh!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Recipe: Creamy chicken and mushrooms over egg noodles

I'm happy to report that our Valentine's dinner turned out great and it was delish!  So here is the recipe!


4 ounces uncooked whole grain egg noodles
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
olive oil
8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cloves minced garlic
1 can low fat condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk

Cooking Instructions 

1) Cook egg noodles in salted water for 10 minutes.

2) While that's going, cut chicken into bite sized chunks and season with salt and pepper.

3) Put some olive oil in a large skillet and cook the chicken.

4) After the chicken is cooked, take it out and put it aside, keeping it warm.  Throw your garlic and mushrooms in the skillet and cook until tender.

 5) Add the milk and soup and mix well.  Cook until hot.

6) Put the warm chicken back in and add fresh or dried parsley.

7) When time is up, drain the egg noodles and pour the chicken mixture over the top.

Wasn't that easy?  We ate ours with a side of steamed broccoli.  

 This is what I get for the recipe - not including the broccoli.

Whole grain egg noodles:  360
1 pound (yields 12 ounces) chicken  500
Campbell's healthy cream of chicken soup  150
1/2 cup skim milk  45
Mushrooms   50
garlic  10
olive oil (1 tablespoon) 119

1234 Calories.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!!

How is everyone out there doing?  On this day of love, I hope you have someone in your life that you can extend you love to today!  And I also hope that you are loving yourself!

Is this a challenging day for you?  Traditionally, it is a day of chocolates and other decadent treats!  Are you indulging today or staying on plan?

For me Valentine's Day is not a big challenge.  I'm not into chocolates and Marc and I don't do much since we tend to focus more on celebrating our Anniversary which is in a couple of weeks.  

Since Marc is a pasta lover, I am planning on making a creamy chicken with egg noodles dish for dinner tonight.  If it turns out well, I'll post the recipe.  Otherwise, it is a low key day.  

I'm actually feeling quite down today.  We are - like the rest of the east coast - getting nailed yet again with snow and I'm not liking what I see in the mirror.  So I am just going to try to ride this out and make this long weekend a low key affair.

For those of you who are planning a HOT date night - have a fantastic time!!!  But don't do anything I wouldn't ;))))

Thursday, February 13, 2014


This is an interesting topic that someone recently brought up on the weight loss site.  The point that she was trying to make is that people find it acceptable to make comments when people get to a certain low weight - remarks like "You're too skinny!  You need to stop losing weight!"  She also made the point that she has been told that she has no "right" to complain about anything to do with her weight once she has gotten to a certain weight, because other people "would kill to be your weight!"

I am not sensitive to this.  I have told my story on here about being in JC Penney and having the employee on the floor - when I couldn't find my size - say to me that I should buy a bigger size and "eat a cookie".  It probably wasn't very professional, but I've told that story to some people that were HORRIFIED and thought I should have been terribly insulted.  I actually found it funny.

Jokingly here at work we call each other "skinny-bitch".  I never took that as an insulting term.  Maybe because I know that I'm not "skinny"?  

But for some people, apparently this term is as offensive as if people called them "fat bitch" when they were heavier.

I do try to be understanding when people roll their eyes at me when I say that I have a few pounds to lose.  Because it is FRESH in my mind - when I weighed over 200 pounds and would hear people talking about being "SOOOOOO fat" at 135 pounds and how they needed to lose 10 pounds - well, I honestly wanted to pound the shit out of them.

So when someone in person, in the comments here or in e-mail is annoyed with me because I'm pissed at weighing 122 when I want to weigh 117 - I totally get it and so I don't get mad about it.  I know exactly how annoying it is to hear someone like me bitching - it doesn't STOP me from bitching, LOL, but I get it.

This is where I struggle - say someone weighed 300 pounds and they are now 180.  And they are 5'4" and they decide they want to stop losing and maintain.  Even though 180 is "technically" too heavy, I would NEVER say to them that they need to continue to lose.  Their doctor might, but I would be like "You lo
st 120 pounds, that's awesome!"  And support their desire to stop.

BUT when someone who is 5'4" expresses a desire to weigh, say 100 pounds?  That also is very unhealthy and I find myself wanting to judge them on this and tell them that it is absolutely unacceptable and they need to change their goal.  

Is it any more "right" to judge someone for being "too thin" then it is to judge them for being "too heavy"?  I continue to struggle mightily with this.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Review: Applebee's Creamy Parmesan Chicken

Marc and I rarely eat out, but we've had this Applebee's gift card hanging out for a long while now and since I had today off for Lincoln's Birthday and we don't have any plans to go out for Valentine's Day, we decided to eat lunch out.

Applebee's has their heavily touted "Under 550 Calories" menu.  After considering our choices, Marc and I both decided we wanted to try the Creamy Parmesan Chicken.  That is not promoted as one of their "Under 550" but rather part of their Weight Watchers entrees - not sure why.
The Creamy Parmesan Chicken is described as "Our juicy grilled chicken breast with creamy au gratin Parmesan sauce. Served with steamed spinach and mushroom & onion rice pilaf."  It has 12 Weight Watchers points (I've never done Weight Watchers, so that means nothing to me) but clocks in at a cool 460 calories.
 The entrees were delivered to our table.  Mine looked like this:

Marc's was the same, so they have consistent presentations.

As you can see, there is a generous sized chicken breast with some white rice, a couple of token mushrooms and a little bit of spinach.  The chicken is topped with the Parmesan sauce.

I dug in.  The chicken itself was quite flavorful although mine was slightly overcooked and dry.  Marc said that his was nice and moist.  There was almost no sauce to speak of and it was extremely thin and flavorless.
The spinach was steamed perfectly and Marc and I both found it tasty.  However, the white rice was incredibly bland.  It tasted like cardboard.  I am no cook, but pilaf apparently means cooked in a seasoned broth.  I would have assumed that since they call this a "onion pilaf" that it would be heavily onioned flavored.  No such luck.  The rice was dry and just completely devoid of any flavor whatsoever.  And the couple of token slices of mushrooms was completely disappointing.

Now I know that if you order a low calorie entree, you are not going to get a ton of sauce.  However, there is no reason the rice couldn't have been more seasoned with spices to give it some flavor without adding calories.  And since mushrooms have very few calories, I think they could have added more then a couple of tiny slices.

So, ultimately, I am sorry to say that Marc and I were both pretty disappointed in this entree.  While the chicken is a very good sized portion and generally tasted good, the lack of a flavorful sauce and the accompanied terrible rice did nothing to make us think that we would ever order this again.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


No!  Not that KISS!

 No, not this KISS either!


In addiction recovery, this is an extremely common phrase that they use.  It is a reminder to just take things day by day.  To not get caught in making things complicated.  To just do the right thing and not to use drugs and alcohol.

The same thing is true for weight loss.  I recently saw a post on the weight loss site from someone weighing 280 pounds wondering if her "goal weight" should be 140 or if she should shoot for 130.  


Don't worry about that NOW!  Concentrate on losing the next few pounds!  When you get closer to a healthy weight you can ask that question!

And then the people who get all caught up in macros and protein and wheat belly and cabbage soup diets.  It drives me INSANE.  Just eat less.  Eat good natural food.  Move your ass!

It's really pretty simple!  I mean it's NOT, but it IS - you get me?  

If you're worrying about minute and petty details, you are trying to put focus away from where it belongs.  I had to make small revisions and adjustments here and there but for the most part, I stopped eating so much.  I ate less processed and more natural foods.  And I started exercising.  And it worked.  It was simple but not easy.

Even in maintenance I have to remind myself to keep things simple, because I do sometimes - STUPIDLY - makes things way more complicated then they need to be!

So I would encourage you to just KISS!!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Fruitlessly flapping my wings....

I LOVE the musical "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"!  In this musical, a female character who is being held against her will in a house sees a man selling birds on the street and she sings:

"How is it you sing?
How can you jubilate
sitting in cages
never taking wing?
Outside the sky waits
Just beyond the bars...
How can you remain 
staring at the rain
maddened by the stars?
How is it you sing
How is it you sing?"

Right now I feel like a bird trapped in a cage but I am desperately trying to sing.  Normally this is the part where I bitch and moan about living in Northern NY and how much I hate it and the weather.  But I can't even do that this year, because just about everyone is getting nailed with this miserable winter that just won't end.

I keep thinking that there HAS to be a light at the end of the tunnel!  There has to be some warm weather coming!  And then I look at the extended forecast and it calls for DAY AFTER DAY of cold weather and snow.  

I am lucky enough to have a home gym.  But after running on the treadmill YET AGAIN yesterday and staring out my window at work and not seeing anything except a huge pile of snow on the ledge?  I just feel trapped.  

It has given me an opportunity to evaluate my goals and where I am at right now.  I am endlessly hovering around 121 pounds.  I thought last night that I need to put the scale away for a while, because getting as worked up as I do about NUMBERS is counter-productive, especially since my clothes still fit and I have to believe that these 3-4 pounds that I am over my ideal will come off as soon as I can get outside more.  Or they won't.  And the world will not end, right?

I hope you all are hanging in there.  And if you're one of the lucky ones who actually LIKES the winter and you are out skiing and snow-shoeing, I envy you.

But the first person in the summer who bitches about it being too hot?  I'm punching them straight in the face!!!    

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Flashing back to 2010.

Did you guys know that I have a TERRIBLE memory?  Marc gets so mad at me because he will mention something like a tv show or something that we have done or that he has told me, and I have absolutely NO RECOLLECTION of it!

But there are some things that I can remember with completely clarity - some pleasant and some not so pleasant.  I can remember the first time Marc said that he loved me.  I can remember my father's death - the events of that day - as if it happened yesterday.  I remember the day we went to get Archer from the breeder's house.

Anyway, I can't remember the exact date, but I remember an event from this week in 2010.  I was working that day and  Somewhat headachy and just not right.  I worked through the morning and went shopping at Target on my lunch hour.  I had lunch at their cafe there.  I had a yogurt parfait and a soft pretzel and Mountain Dew.

I got back to work and started feeling worse, but I was trying to power through.  I was using an old pair of scissors to open a box of drug tests that had come in and the scissors broke.  I threw my head back and it was if someone had hit me with a baseball bat.  Not in terms of pain, but suddenly I felt completely dizzy and disoriented.  I started to fall off my chair.  I gripped the front of my desk and my head was just spinning and I couldn't see straight and I started to panic.

I managed - somehow - to pull up the instant messenger program we have and I saw that my co-worker Mary was online.  I typed that I needed help and could she come to my office immediately.  

I then slid off my chair and landed on the floor.  The next period of time swims in front of me.  I remember Mary running in and then some other co-workers and security.  Then the ambulance personnel arrived and asked me all kinds of standard questions.  I mumbled answers.

I remember them loading me on to the stretcher and even in my fog I remember being afraid that they wouldn't be able to lift me.  But we began moving.  I *ALMOST* made it out of the building before I began projectile vomiting.  And I mean PROJECTILE.  It's pretty fascinating how the body tries to protect itself.  I remember the outfit I was wearing.  It was a burnt orange suit.  I love this outfit I was thinking as I deposited copious amounts of puke on it.

So we get to the hospital and there are tests and questions - Marc arrived as did my mother - my brother works in the building next to mine and had been notified.  I felt scared and I heard a doctor mention "stroke" but that I was too young, but given my weight....

After the tests were concluded, it turned out I had Labyrinthitis - an inner ear thing.  I'd had it before, but this was the worse ever.  So turns out it was nothing whatsoever to do with my weight.  But then the doctor let me know that they had found a mass in my brain during the CT scan.  Probably it was nothing, but I should follow up with my primary care doc.
I did follow up.  I don't tend to be too histrionic about my health, but when someone says MASS and BRAIN, it's scary.  So I went to the doctor's that day.  I can remember standing on the scale - which has always been a HUMILIATING experience.  And it's one of those old scales, where the nurse has to slide the weight thing over.  She started at 250 and moved it all the way up.  Then she had to CLUNK - move it up one to 300.  She drove the smaller weight thing all the way to the end and it hovered.  She kicked it back - little by little - and then said - in a voice I knew she was trying to make sound completely neutral.  344.
344 POUNDS.  At that weight, I weighed more then most professional football linebackers I remember thinking.
As you know if you have followed my story at all, after everything was said and done, the mass turned out to be nothing.  At that time - February of 2010 - I had made a few changes already.  SMALL changes.
So I can't say that any of the events of that week played a huge part in my journey.  But when you've had a health scare, even though it was not obesity related - it makes you evaluate your life.  So despite the fear and sickness and several days of miserable recuperation, I think I need to be happy it happened.  Because I believe that those events play some role in me sitting here today.  Happy and healthy.    

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Go ahead - it's the weekend!

So there's a new study making the rounds showing that there are natural weight fluctuations for people and that we tend to be higher on the weekends and lower during the week.  The study notes that people tend to eat more on the weekends and their weight goes up, but if they eat healthy during the week, it has no long term effect on weight loss if you choose to have some over-eating on the weekend.

First off, this study was INCREDIBLY tiny.  I think the sample size was less then 30 people.  But I do agree that having a treat once and a while is not going to derail your weight loss efforts if you otherwise eat healthy.

What are some nuances to this?  Well, you have to know yourself and your body.  First off, if you are a total sugar addict, you probably don't want to scarf down a couple of brownies on Saturday if it's going to make you crave sweets for several days.  But if you are the type of person that can have something sweet and get right back on track, then go for it.  

In some people, having a sweet treat actually can PREVENT out of control cravings that can lead to a binge.

However, while you are actively losing, if you choose to have a cheat day or 2, it WILL slow down your weight loss.  There's nothing wrong with that - this is not a race.  But you can't get discouraged if you have some high calorie cheat meals and then you don't lose 3 pounds this week.  But if you don't mind a slow weight loss - especially if it does keep you from going off the rails in the future, it can be beneficial.

If you are maintaining like me, or getting close to maintenance, you will learn that you don't have to be 100% on plan every day.  I always eat more on the weekends, and it doesn't effect my weight stability as long as starting Monday, I get right back on track.

So let's not beat ourselves up when we eat a big ass cookie tonight, ok?


Friday, February 7, 2014

Let me stick my nose in...

On the weight loss site this week, someone re-posted from another site one of those - well, IMO - hokey general letters directed to the nameless "fat girl" at the gym.  There's also another one of these open letter directed to the "fat girl" who has just started running circulating around the internet.

The letters are meant to be motivational - to encourage someone embarassed and new to exercising to keep it up and assuring them that there is only admiration out there, and that no one is judging them.

Wonderful, right?  Except it's a lie.  There are many people who see a fat person running - usually slowly, red faced and sweating - down a street and truly in their hearts have nothing but admiration for that person.  But you and I both know that there are a whole lot of others who are laughing their heads off at the "fat ass" running down the street and making remarks to their friends.  And if the fat runner is lucky, they'll never know that.  If they are unlucky, well, they'll hear something yelled from a passing car.

It would be wonderful if the world was full only of supportive, kind and empatheic people.  They are out there.  I have met them.

But there are also mean, spiteful and judgemental assholes out there.  Ones that take their personal misery and arrogance out on others.  Ones that stick their noses into other people's business and make assumptions and judgements.  I have met them, too.

Remember that guy who wrote a letter to that on-air reporter out of nowhere telling her that she shouldn't be on the air because she was obese and a terrible example to young girls?  I mean - what the fuck?  What made him think that he was in any position to make those judgements?  Or that it was any of his business?  And then when he was interviewed he said that he was just concerned and wanted to help her.  Yeah, right.

I know that people made assumptions about me when I was fat.  Namely that I was fat because I was weak-willed and lazy.  There may have been some truth to that except - I am the SAME person now then I was then.  I am not a better person.  I just have made different choices.  

So, if you are afraid to run outside or go to the gym because there will be people who judge you or laugh at you - well, they are out there.  But there are also people that DO admire what you are doing and you have to remember that, as well.  You have to get to the point where you realize that you cannot control them, only yourself.  Remember that there are people who love you and support you - even some that don't know you - as I have found out this week.

And if you are one of those fucktards who feel the need judge others and stick your nose in and give your opinion about everything, just remember - when you point your finger at someone else, 3 point back at you.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

And life, of course, goes on...

Today was an interesting day.  Interesting is not the right word to use, but I can't think of an adequate word that expresses the emotions and experience.

I met with many of my clients today who were in for their regular report day.  When something happens to another client - really good or really bad - it seems to spread like wild fire through their community.

The clients themselves expressed sadness and confusion over the death of their peer.  They shared stories - some were heart warming and some were just reminders of the stark reality of drug addiction.  My one client said to me "You know, the first time I got high on heroin I bought it off of -----"

We processed this a bit and then moved on to other topics.  This client recently returned from a residential drug treatment program and is living in a halfway house.  He has a 6 month old daughter and is lucky enough that this halfway house - which we work closely with - is extremely supportive of family.  So while this guy's significant other works in the evenings, my client gets to have his daughter at the house.  He laid down on the couch and apparently fell asleep last night with his daughter curled up on him.  Another resident in the house took a picture which he showed me.  This client is like 6'5".  So the sight of him crammed into this smallish couch, sound asleep, with this tiny baby curled up on him - I couldn't help but smile.  

I thought about the divergent lives of these 2 heroin addicts - who had crossed paths many times as addicts and from dealer to customer.  One tragically dead before his time and the other sleeping on a couch with his first born child curled up on him.

I know that I can't take ownership of my clients' successes and failures.  In fact, when I started this program from scratch in this area, I had the shop we get their graduation plaques from put this quote on each plaque:

"A new beginning may give you the seeds, but you have to plant them..."
 And that's my job - to give them seeds.  But despite some people's apparent belief that I am self centered for feeling some measure of failure when they fall and some measure of pride when they succeed, I am not a robot.  These clients become entwined in my life - it is the path that I have chosen, for better or for worse.

And despite times of indescribable heartache.  I wouldn't - couldn't - change it.  Not for anything. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

An utter and complete failure...

That's how I feel about myself today.  It started last night when I had to FIGHT myself to run 7 miles on the treadmill.

Then last night, I did something that I have not wanted to do.  I measured Chakotay.  I was dismayed to see that he has gained back almost all the weight that he had taken off.  It's not his fault.  I have completely and totally failed him.  It's not good for him to be overweight like he is, and I haven't been able to do the right things for him in order for him to keep his weight down.

Like a person, I can offer all kinds of excuses - the weather HAS been miserable and it's been a struggle to get the dogs any sort of productive exercise.  BUT his weight means that I have failed as a doggie parent.  

Then I stepped on the scale this morning and I am still over 120.  I wasn't overly upset about this as I have been in the past.  However, I found myself thinking that maybe it's time to just face the truth.  I can offer all the excuses and rationalizations that I want, but maybe I need to stop pretending that it is realistic or honest to keep saying that my top weight is 120 when, in reality, more days then not it's above that.

But the thought of raising my "red-line" number made me feel like I have failed at a goal.  Compound my feeling of helplessness with yet another miserable snowstorm making me feel like I am never, ever, going to see nice weather again.

But the kicker - the news that brought me LITERALLY to my knees happened when I got to work this morning.

I maintain a Facebook page for work.  I am Facebook friends on there with many former and current clients.  And the first thing I get on this morning I am bombarded with RIP message for one of my clients.  In a panic I began making some calls and was devastated beyond words to learn that one of my clients died of a heroin overdose last night.

He was going to graduate this program in 2 weeks.  He was a brilliant mind - from a good family and had a Master's Degree.  He had made it through a long term program and was working full time and looking towards the future.  I don't know all the details yet, or how long he has been using again, but he did last night and it cost him his life.

This young man would have turned 30 this year.  He was a runner.  I ran in a couple of races with him last year.  To watch him run was a thing of beauty.  There are people that are good at running, but he was just a natural.  He glided across the pavement like a gazelle.  It was beautiful to watch.  At one of my 1/2 marathons last year, he ran and his mother came up to talk to me afterwards and thanked me for all I had done for her son and she took a pic of the 2 of us together with our medals.

I've been in this business long enough to know that this is not about me.  The fact is that some people DIE of their addiction, and there's nothing that can be done to eliminate that reality.  But that has not stopped me from all day wondering what I could have done, could have said, could have done differently so that he would not have stuck that needle in his arm last night.  What could I have done that would mean he was alive today?

It makes me feel like even in my work, I am a failure...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A successful routine...

People want to know all the time what made me successful in losing weight.  The easy answer, of course, is eating less, eating better, and exercising.  But that answer is incredibly simplistic for the changes that had to be made to enable me to lose the weight.

There are other things that I can point to - part of my daily routine - that frankly, I can't stand, but that I believe has been CRUCIAL in allowing me to lose the weight.  And they are things that I continue to this day which is why I believe I have kept the weight off.

Let's look at last night - a fairly typical Monday.  After working all day I got home and began unpacking my duffle bag that I bring to work every day.  I emptied it of the dishes that contained my lunch earlier that day and brought them into the kitchen.  Then I went into our closet and emptied out my workout clothes.  I then took out the DVD I had worked out to during my lunch hour and put that in with all out other workout videos.  

I picked out the DVD I decided I would do today.  I packed the duffle bag back up with new workout clothing and the DVD.  Then I got undressed and picked out the outfit I would wear today and laid it out.  

From there, I headed back into the kitchen to prepare what we would have for dinner - such as cutting up potatoes and putting vegetables in the steamer.  

Then I took a few minutes to use the computer before Marc and I headed down to our workout room for my second workout of the day.  Then it was time for dinner.

After dinner, it's back into the kitchen.  I decided what we would have for dinner tonight and got that out of the freezer.  I then decided what I would have for lunch.  I prepared all that and put it in the fridge.  I knew that Marc would be making eggs for us this morning, so I didn't have to get anything out for breakfast.

This morning I got up and could just grab my duffle bag, put my pre-packed lunch in it and head out the door.  It gets tedious and it sucks sometimes.  But why is this organizational routine so important when it comes to my weight?

Well, you know that I am NOT a morning person.  If I didn't do those things, it would be too easy to veer off plan. If my clothes weren't laid out and ironed, I might rush around and not eat breakfast.  And then I would be starving when I got to work and would be looking to grab anything to stuff in my mouth.

If I hadn't packed my duffle bag, I might not get around to it.  So I would get to work with no workout clothing.  Or what if because I was rushing around I forgot my sneakers - or a DVD?  Well, hell, now I'll have to skip my workout. 

If I didn't have lunch packed already, it certainly wouldn't get done in the morning.  So I would go to work without a prepared lunch.  While I could still go out and get something healthy - it would also be easy to rationalize being right across the street from Papa John's and doesn't their pizza smell good? 

And then around 3:30, I would be thinking about what we would have for dinner.  I would realize I had nothing planned and nothing defrosted.  I could stop at the grocery store on the way home -  but I could also start thinking how easy it would be to grab Chinese food!

So I can say that for ME, despite this routine that, frankly, gets pretty old - it's a centerpiece of making sure that I continue the healthy lifestyle.

But I'll tell you - there's no better feeling then Friday nights - not having to pack up or lay out clothes for the next day!!!  But as with so many things on this journey, I see this as another version of - "You don't have to like it, you just have to DO IT!"