Friday, January 29, 2010

Week 4 P10 and diminishing oatmeal!!

To say I'm happy to update today is a vast understatement. I knew I was having a good week but wisely avoided the scale like the Bubonic plague because of the mindf*ck it is for me. So here goes:
1. This morning's weight - 194.1. Last week was 201. Loss this week of 6.9 pounds. I'll take it. I worked hard for it. More on that after the update.
2. 30 minutes of cardio 6X/week - DONE! Back at the gym, doing the biking with gradually increasing resistance, stretches, mild strengthening, and walking the pup.
3. 15 minutes of meditation/quiet 3X/week - sketchy, but I can say I've kept the TV off a lot more than usual.
4. Track food. DONE!

Now for Friday morning quarterbacking - Wow! This feels great! My goal number one, beside Friday weigh-ins, is to lose 20 pounds over the course of the challenge. This leaves me 13 pounds to go, and I know I can do it. I'm working on fueling the fire in my belly like Chris' at A Deliberate Life, the tenacity and incredible determination of 266, the creativity of TJ at TJ's Test Kitchen, and the hope, heart and desire of all my blogging inspirations which means anyone who's reading this. I'm seeing that honest accountability, writing my truth as best I can, and reading your truths are truly helping me. I've been flagging for awhile - plateaud, unable to work out, losing faith and hope in myself. But sticking to this blogging is making the difference.

Last night I didn't sleep well, so had a lot of think time to ponder my thoughts and feelings. Why couldn't I sleep? First, I was hungry. When I woke in the wee small hours, my stomach was empty. It felt simultaneously good and nerve-wracking. I knew I ate plenty yesterday, would have breakfast in a few hours, and that I would survive just fine with that gnawing sensation. And it started to feel good. Additionally, I was eager/nervous to weigh in the morning, because I suspected I'd be pleased with the number, but also fearful that my body would have managed to not respond to my hard work. God, this is such a head game.

I also reflected that last evening after my ample food for the day, I WANTED to eat something - anything. Wasn't hungry then, but the inner-binger was stirring. And for the first time in months, I simply reminded myself that I didn't have to respond to a hunger that wasn't physical by eating. I had to do this again and again, which was a bit draining. One piece of 60 calorie string cheese? That won't hurt. No Leslie, it will hurt because it will erode your confidence that you CAN GET THROUGH food obsessive thoughts without acting on them. And I did. I'm as thrilled about that as I am about my weight today.

Finally I was noticing my feelings regarding the possibility of being out of the
190s in a few weeks and what it would be like. I can see it now, and I want it. I think I've been conflicted about moving south on the scale, as 10 more pounds will pretty much move me into a category that won't be viewed as fat from the outside (given my height!). This has been my identity for 20+ years. Even being below 200 for the past 5 months (with the few very short hops back into that territory) has been radically different. Last time I got here, I was back to 220 within a month of being at a low of 194 (2 1/2 years ago). I guess I've needed to maintain this place and learn to see if it fit. At last I'm liking it and confident that I won't lose the essential Leslie, who I've become pretty fond of, if the weight issue goes away. Holy freaking Eureka! This is great! I'm pumped!!!

My unknown tidbit...hmmmm...I was an avid tennis player for years when my kids were young. I played competitively (at a low level) on a team at my swim club. I was as obsessed with tennis as I am with food, played 4-6 times a week when possible, indoor in winter, outdoor in summer. Loved it and was decent. Not great. Had a ball with it, no pun intended! I had to back off a lot when my youngest was in 5th grade and I got a full time job for the first time since having kids. I still played some, but over time have gotten away from it to where this past summer I didn't play one time. That was a first. I'm hoping this spring to get back into it, starting with just hitting with a friend who will tolerate my terribleness that will surely be the case due to my long absence. Know that you'll hear about it when that happens!


Onto diminishing oatmeal...5 mornings a week I have the same breakfast because I love it and it's a powerhouse of energy and satiety for me. I cook 1/2 cup dry oatmeal (which yields a cup cooked), add a tad of salt and pumpkin pie spice and eat it right up. I also have a cup of Trader Joe's nonfat Greek yogurt with and 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce mixed in - 22 grams of protein right there. Well, the last couple of days, after I ate breakfast, I was feeling beyond full, like stuffed. So this morning, when I went to measure out the dry oats, it dawned on me to use a lesser amount. DUH! I did 1/3 cup, and then added 1 tablespoon of Trader Joe's Cranberry apple butter (20 cal/tbs) to the yogurt blend. It was entirely enough, and I didn't feel uncomfortable stuffed. The yogurt had a little extra kick that was totally satisfying but not triggering. Man, I'm on a roll here!

I was thinking last night that I might take today or tomorrow off from my cleanest eating, but NO WAY. For one thing, there is no slightly less clean eating for me. Once I add in something off plan, the avalanche is set into motion, and I'll be back in the high 190's or worse by Monday. I'm not going there again. WOOT!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Good news/bad news

Last night when I wrote the fast post about eating the reuben that was excrutiatingly disappointing (if it had been wonderful, it would have been an okay splurge, but as it was lousy, it was unnecessary calories and fat), I totally forgot to mention something interesting that happened at the AA meeting attended after dinner. It was a women's meeting, and when all was said and done, there must have been almost 50 females present. It's not a meeting I ever attend (just went a few times 18 years ago!) because I generally don't like women's meetings as they can get a tad whiny, and this one is an hour and a half - that's a lot of whine time. I knew a lot of the people from other meetings over the years, so it was great to catch up with some folks.

Just as the meeting was starting, a tall lean gal walked in who looked familiar, and I was pretty sure I knew who she was, but didn't have a chance to chat until the break at half time. She approached me looking all wide-eyed and smiling, saying, "Oh my God - you look great! You've lost a ton of weight!" Well, it's nice to hear someone who hasn't seen me in a long time notice my weight loss (and bodes well for my Atlanta trip to the family wedding in March!), but one can't help but wonder just how awfully fat I looked before! Plus, I've lost at most 28-30 pounds since she saw me - definitely not "a ton". And plus plus - I still have a good 30-35 pounds to go to get to my goal of 160-165. I am in all regular sizes now (though large ones, like 16s and one pair of 14 pants), but I don't look like a wisp of a thing for sure. So good news that my weightloss is noticeable, bad news that I must have looked REALLY heavy before. Heavier than I knew or probably even felt. But the good definitely OUTWEIGHS the bad here, tee hee. (I wish I knew how to do smiley faces, frowny faces, and strike outs in blog format, but these complex skills elude me.)

Karen at Fitness: A Journey Not A Destination had an interesting post asking the question: what motivates you to be fit and healthy? She noted 2 individuals, her brother and a sick child of a friend who help keep her on track. There were some good comments - check out the post and comments here. I thought about that post last night as I was driving home and reflecting about the woman noticing my weight loss. That's a real motivator for me, in all its shallowness. I certainly want to be fit and lean so I can be around for my grown children who still need some momming at times, and for granchildren who will hopefully come along someday. I want to be able to live a nice retirement with my husband, and travel as we have long planned. I want to feel strong, energetic and vibrant, which I do at times and want more of. But I also want to look better; good even, because that will help me feel more confident in all areas of my life. I want to run into people who haven't seen me in a long time, esp. some of the Barbie moms (who had nothing going for them but cuteness, looks and being ex-cheerleaders - you know the kind who peaked in high school) I used to dread having to be with when my kids were still in grade school and have them notice and comment on how good I look. (The snide snarky part of me wants to be very cool and blase with them when this happens, too - the bitches...)Shallow? Yeah - but human, I think. And I wouldn't really be snippy with maybe, snippy no.

Gee, I didn't know all that was going to come forth when I started this post! I'm having a good day, and hope to get to the gym. I've been going straight from work, but today I'm going to my primary doc because I have a sinus infection and need meds. I know what I need and what he'll give me, but of course he won't do it over the phone. I understand, but it's annoying. And I've already decided that when the gal wants me to step on the scale, I'm going to say "no thanks" because I'm having a good week and will weigh on my usual day Friday. If I get on their scale and it reads high or low or whatever, it'll play with my head. Scales are powerful creatures! Anyway, if I get in and out fast, I'm going to do the gym after the doc appt.

Today my lunch has ample protein - that being more of the cottage cheese that was my rescue yesterday. But being without that midday protein for so many hours really left me vulnerable to the aforementioned Rueben, I think. Even though I had the cottage cheese after my workout, it didn't install in my system in the same way it would have with lunch. Or am I being a little nuts and making Rueben excuses? Whatever, I won't forget my protein again. And usually I keep single serving tuna packs here for that very circumstance. Need to restock the office cabinet.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I did a dunderheaded thing today, which come to think of it isn't so unusual. But it had to do with my lunch - which is a very important thing to me! I didn't realize what I did until I was getting ready to warm up my meal at work, and it occurred to me I didn't have any protein. I had leftover rice from last night's dinner, leftover green beans, and a small amount of leftover ratatouille. All veggies and starch. Hmmm - not much I could do at that point but eat what I had, which was good. I then went to the gym immediately after work, and when I came home had a serving of cottage cheese to make up for my "lost" protein. What was interesting is that I was ravenous within an hour and a half after lunch, which usually doesn't happen. My lunch was virtually all carbs - simple and complex, and it didn't hold me well at all. Good, and not surprising, to know.

After the gym, I met 3 friends and had dinner out and then went to an AA meeting to hear one of the women tell her story for the first time. It was a nice evening, but I got a reuben sandwich for dinner, and it was lousy. Lousy, but I ate every bit. WTF??? The corned beef wasn't particularly tender, and the sandwich fell apart when I tried to pick it up, so I did the knife and fork routine with it. Disappointing and unsatisfying. There were potato chips on the side which, you guessed it, I ate. Then at the meeting (a women's meeting) they had an assortment of high carb high fat sugary stuff, of which I also partook. Only a modest amount, but the net result is I feel like crap now. Overfull, craving diet soda, and irritated with myself. This was my only real foible of the week thus far, and I plan to move on now. But first, I'm going to have to eat a few Tums. When I'm eating clean, I never need Tums. One bad evening and the heartburn and bloating return. Lesson learned.

Monday, January 25, 2010

What's cookin'?

One of many things I love about having a weight loss and fitness blog is that I've gotten to know a community of wonderful folks who are on this journey along with me. And one of the things I love best about reading others' blogs is that besides getting inspiration, motivation, support and humor, I also get recipes! I've made a number of recipes I've found on other peoples blogs, and tonight I tried another.

About 2 months ago, I found this blog, TJ's Test Kitchen, and it quickly became one of my favorites. TJ has lost 70 pounds using Weight Watchers, and her blog is a lot about how she loves to cook and tweak favorite recipes to make them lighter and WW friendly. I've printed off a bunch of her recipes, and tonight decided to make this:TJ's Fake Fried Rice, and in keeping with my wanting to add more pics to my text to break up my lo-o-o-ng yakking away, decided to chronicle the making of the dish. First I made a pot of brown rice: Next, grated some fresh ginger, 2 cloves of garlic (I added an extra from TJ's recipe) and some scallions:
Then, sauteed garlic in some olive oil, added rice and vegetables, and let it cook a bit:
After it cooked for a bit - I added the Egg Beaters, scrambled them up, mixed them in with all the rice, added the vinegar and soy sauce, and it was ready:
To go with the rice, I cooked up a fast version of sausage and peppers, using Trader Joe's chicken sausage that has 100 calories per link, 11 grams of protein, and is yummy:
Finally, I cooked up a pot of fresh green beans, and this was the final plated dinner:
My husband commented yet again that he is quite happy that I'm cooking all these awesome meals. I think he was really thankful to not have another plate full of roasted root vegetables! Thanks TJ, for this and all your great recipe redos!

My food was great today, even before the yummy dinner. And exercise was also good. I went back to the gym today and did a full 30 minutes on the bike, this time at level 2, so with a little resistance (very little, but more than the none I've been doing!). It felt really good. I added my PT stretches and strengtheners after the bike, so it felt like a pretty complete workout. So good to be getting back on track.

I still haven't come up with any "new" food plan, other than trying to avoid sugar for as long as possible. I got some great comments about peoples' thoughts on South Beach, just using moderation in all things, etc. The moderation sounds so nice, but for a card carrying food addict, I'm not sure it's going to work for me. At least not yet. I'm trying to never say never anymore, because I'd love to be able to enjoy 2 Hershey Bliss bites or one sane serving of pie, cake, whatever. I like the AA saying, "When in doubt, leave it out", and not just about booze. For now I'm in serious doubt that I can eat just one of anything, so best to avoid like the plague.

Oh - and I have the Aquatic schedule for my gym, so I'm going to look it over and decide what class to just show up for. I don't have to sign up - you just go. It's so easy to just glibly write about the whole bathing suit/swimming endeavor, but it still makes me quake to think about it! Maybe I can find a long sleeve knee length body suit to swim in! It's gonna happen that I put on the Land's End suit I posted about the other day - and before the end of February. There - I committed to that. Within 5 weeks! Good grief - if I manage to do it, I'll know blogging has magical powers!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Weekend signoff

Good productive day today where I got some things done I've needed to do since Christmas. That feels good.

I decided to not walk or bike today since I did 2 in a row. My knee is feeling good - I'm optimistic that maybe I'll be back to sorta normal before 2011! There have been times I've wondered - and there'll probably be more.

My food has been great today. I'm having a cup of TJ's non-fat Greek yogurt with some raspberries as soon as I finish this post, and that'll be it for the day. I spent a little time researching food plans from certain rigid 12 step food programs to see what I might want to incorporate into my life. Am also contemplating South Beach for awhile. Mainly I'm trying to find a food combination that is not likely to set off cravings.

What prompted me looking into this today was running into a friend in AA I hadn't seen in almost a year. She's always been heavy - probably 70 pounds overweight, and has bad knees for which she's had to walk with a cane for several years. When I saw her last night, I was blown away, as she's lost virtually all her excess weight and in the process tossed away the cane! I told her how wonderful she looks, and asked what her secret was. She responded that she'd been attending one of the programs (stricter than OA) and that it had really helped her put down the food that continually kept her overeating for years. So - you know I've been contemplating trying one of these groups again for awhile, but in my heart I know they aren't for me. However, some of their food strategies can be very helpful. I'll see what I come across regarding food plans, and will certainly update here.

Ahhh Sunday night - this weekend was an entire blur. Good, fast, and now almost over. I'm feeling optimistic about continuing with a good food week, and getting back to the gym tomorrow. I got some great comments and encouragement about swimming, so that is also percolating in my noggin along with the food plan thoughts. Bottom line - I'm still in this and will never quit. I see too many people here in blogdom and in my life succeeding to not believe with all my heart that I can do this too!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Trying to get in the SWIM

I'm feeling very blog-worthy today as I had an excellent day yesterday on the eating and exercise front, and am on track today as well. I'm always nervous when I post about doing poorly, not maintaining my goals or heaven forbid, gaining weight. All 3 of the aforementioned were embodied in yesterday's post, and more significantly, throughout last week. Yet I got support, encouragement, kindness, and even commiseration from others who are also struggling. Makes a gal feel like one of the many, and not some alien who has no business having a weight loss blog when she's not losing weight. I am so appreciative of all my blog buddies who are journeying with me here.

Yesterday my food was good, and I got in a 45 minute walk after work. My knee (to be known as "Lefty" for the rest of this post) felt almost normal during the walk, though it stiffened up later. Totally tolerable, and clearly coming along nicely. I'm aware that walking is definitely more taxing to Lefty than biking, so this morning I finally returned to my gym and did the stationary bike for 22 minutes. I could have gone longer, but am trying to back off from my usual setting of "gangbusters" into a more reasonable and prudent "sensible". It felt great being back there. After the bike, I did some leg lifts ala Physical therapy instruction (from which I've been discharged, btw) also, and will strive to add in more of the PT kinds of moves and stretches gradually.

My next thing that I'm going to be posting about a bit is that I'm trying to get myself psyched to do swimming. I've always loved to swim, and LOVE the water, but for the last 20 years have not submerged more than my toes and below the knee parts because of not wanting to put on a bathing suit. (Note my URL is "willswimagain... related to this missing piece of my life.) Those of you who've been reading me awhile remember when I bought a new swimsuit in October to take on our trip to the Dominican Republic. It was pretty difficult, but I got one from Land's End that by some miracle fit. I didn't like how it looked on me, but it's a fairly cute suit
that I planned to wear if we swam in the DR. Turns out the only time water was involved in our day to day doings was a day that I woke up with no voice and really sick. So...I just wore the top part of the suit under a tee shirt, and escaped from the full body disclosure I was so dreading. (Sorry for those of you who've seen that pic and heard this scintillating drama before.)

Well. The planets are lining up in a manner that is pointing me to the water. The bathing suit is quietly lying in a drawer, calling out to me to give her some consideration. She wants to be part of my have a relationship with me. Several people, including orthopedic professionals and PTs have urged me to swim as the best means of exercise that will not cause ANY impact or damage to Lefty, or her mate, Righto, not to mention any of the joint cousins. It's even been suggested that swimming will actually help with the knee rehab. My gym has an olympic size beautiful pool, and lots of classes for water exercises and stretching. Swimming options abound. And now I've even found a blog by a woman who is swimming her way to fitness and weight loss, and she has put on a swimsuit when she was pretty darn heavy. Check out her blog here. It's really great, and very inspiring. She even sent me an email to encourage me to get over the bathing suit bullshit (my words, not hers) and dive in.

So I'm thinking about committing myself to a date when I show up to swim at my gym. I'm not ready to do it yet (emotionally), but am working on willingness. By starting to talk about it here I'm hoping make this manifest in my life. If not now, when? In the meantime, I'll alternate biking and walking, striving to increase time and resistance.

On another note, I saw Avatar on Thursday night with a friend, and it was freaking amazing. I held out awhile, as it really isn't my kind of movie, but finally succumbed to peer and offspring pressure to see it. I went with a friend to the local IMAX theater and saw it in 3D - a first for me. It was quite remarkable, beautiful, incredibly creative and clearly a work of art. The story is good, but it falls short of the overall visual and sensory experience of the film. My friend Bev and I saw it, and I couldn't resist taking pics of us in our 3D glasses:. Even if you hate action/adventure/sci-fi/fantasy, this is worth seeing.

I hope everyone has a good Saturday, and I'll be back tomorrow, in accordance with my Perfect 10 goals!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Perfect 10 update and other stuff

First for the other stuff - my blogroll is new and improved after an hour of finding everyone's URLs and plugging them in. I have many I've had from the beginning, but I've added a bunch of blogs I've recently found and begun to follow but hadn't put in my list. I'm probably missing someone I read all the time, and if I figure out who it is, in they'll go!

Okay - here's my Perfect 10 report, with a preview:
1. Lose 20 pounds as tracked on weekly Friday weigh ins. No easy way to say this, and I contemplated lying. My weight this morning: 201, up 5.2 pounds from last Friday. I can write a laundry list of reasons - no, excuses - but I'll spare you. I still believe I can achieve this goal by the end of the challenge. And I can tell you I never want to have to post a gain like this again.
2. 30 minutes cardio (at least) 6X/week. I did 30 minutes 3X through Monday. At PT Monday I seriously overdid my exercises and stretches and strained back of the left knee and hamstrings, so did only 10 minutes daily since.
3. 15 minutes of meditation and quiet 5X/week. Not once.
4. Track all food eaten. Not once.
5. Write at least one line daily in blog for accountability and connection. Did 4 out of 6 days...can I count today for a whopping 5 days?

I'm pretty ashamed of this report. I am, however, proud of myself for being honest. But that won't cause me to lose weight and achieve my goals. Next week will be better, starting today. If I need general anesthesia to keep from overeating, I'll do it at this point. That shouldn't be necessary as I know what to do, and know I can do it. Steve, please don't kick me out of the challenge.

Last week I had a good week with a big loss. I achieved better than 75% of my goals. Did I get cocky? I don't think so - but something in my "determinator" malfunctioned. I gave myself a free day last Friday to reward my prior good week. Saturday seemed like a good time to take another free day. Monday holiday - 2 meals out that day. Out for dinner last night. Really only 2 solid clean days. The results speak for themselves. Too little exercise of even the mildest variety. Kids, don't try this at home..
I've been f-ing around for months in the same range - really since September, but particularly since late November with the knee injury. Down to 192 - back up in Two-terville, back down. I'm sitting here even wanting to blame winter! Okay - I'm done whining and begging you not to think less of me.

Oh - and the little known thing about me for this week. I bootlegged this idea from Jack Sh*t - my favorite line ever from a TV show came from an episode of the Simpsons. Bart and Lisa were sitting in church with the family and their was some awful sceechy lady singer performing from the pulpit. Bart leaned over to Lisa and said, "I wouldn't have thought it possible, but this both sucks and blows." Truly a great line. It's not about me, but reflects my demented humor.


Here's a question I'm wondering if anyone can answer. When I post, the time that comes up as the post time is never accurate. This happens whether I post at work or at home. Is there a way I can change this so the time noted is actually the time that I posted? Both computers have the right time listed, and my time setting in blogger is also correct. Any help would be appreciated.

Here's to a good week coming up - to all of us.

My dumb

For the second time, I managed to delete my entire blog roll! I did this about a month ago and thought I realized what I did. Now I do realize, but I'll be spending an hour or so redoing it! UGH! Then I'll do my Perfect 10 update. Later!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A heave-ho to dried cranberries

It's official. I'm hitting the ejector button on dried cranberries. I love them. I want them. I desire their presence in salads, breads, my kitchen cabinets and my mouth. But they have not been responsible purveyors of joy for me. They've betrayed me by setting my overeat-o-meter into HIGH GEAR. And so they are dead to me. We had a parting of the ways a few months back, but recently they cajoled me into a reconciliation, promising moderation as the key to enjoyment of their tasty selves. They lied. Remember the add for this? Well, cranberries do too. They cannot be trusted, at least in my periphery.
They are a food product that time and time again I find I cannot handle. Why do I keep trying? Reminds me of the oft-used definition of insanity:

This brings up a topic about which I've been thinking a lot. Over many years of countles hundreds of diets and weight loss efforts, I've encountered a lot of philosophies of eating, and stopping bingeing. I've jumped on many bandwagons of theory, like the fact that you can anything you want, as long as it's in moderation. Turns out that's a crock for a food addict such as myself, though I know many who can do this. Another is the idea that for food addicted folks, certain foods must be totally eliminated from one's diet if she/he is to have any success with weight loss and reasonable eating. Omitting all white sugar, white flour, wheat are some examples. I've tried so many variations on these themes and the truth is they all work IF you work them consistently. Big IF. Bold IF.

My most recent cranberry debacle happened yesterday afternoon when I had an ounce of cranberries with a quarter cup of walnuts for a "healthy" snack. Tasted great, but was no more satisfying than if I'd had an ice chip with lemon juice squeezed over it to jazz it up. All this snack did was make me want more - of anything. Suddenly my empty-ish stomach did not feel good and righteous, it felt deprived and needy. The flip got switched and I was in food search mode like a heat-seeking missile. Luckily there wasn't too much in the house to have, so it wasn't a bad binge or anything. But I spent the rest of the evening in that confounded WANTING state that had nothing to do with hunger and everything to do with food obsession.

This started me thinking about back when I first went to Weight Watchers. I honestly don't know if I was in high school or if it was later, because once I got out of nursing school in '75, I was too thin (from disordered eating in the other direction) for a long time. Anyway - in those days, Weight Watchers had a concept of a traffic light to categorize foods as green light, yellow light and red light.
The idea was that each person needed to know what foods fell into what categories for him/her so that he/she could increase his/her chances of success. I always thought this was a brilliant concept, and looking back believe WW was ahead of its time in suggesting that individuals inventory themselves and their habits honestly to know how best to stay on program... an early version of personal responsibility. In other words, if you didn't lose weight, it might not have been WW's fault. Si?

Example: Peanut butter is fine in a measured amount for some people; for others like me, it must me handled with caution because a measured amount could frequently set me up to want 5 more measured amounts. So on my list this was a yellow light food - came with a warning but not forbidden. Red light foods were those off plan entirely by WW, but for some the peanut butter might also be on that list. Of course, celery and broccoli are always green light foods in most any amount. (Yeah, I know some people can binge on broccoli, but come on - how damaging would that really be?)

So - dried cranberries - RED LIGHT. Sad that a relatively benign and totally yummy and not unhealthy product falls into the NO GO ZONE, but my reality is that it does. Accept it, deal with it, move on.

What about you guys? What are your red or yellow foods? Or do you even buy the notion that some things must be avoided...or else?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


My brain feels like a vast wasteland today and I can't think of a whole lot about which to write. Hey - Vast Waistland would be a good title for a weight loss blog! I just realized that when I initially spelled "wasteland" waistland. I told you there wasn't much going on in the gray matter today.

After a really good exercise day yesterday, I woke up this morning almost unable to walk due to a bad tightness and discomfort behind my left knee and into the hamstring. S-i-i-i-i-i-gh! I obviously overdid it a bit between the 45 minute walk and my most vigorous physical therapy to date. I've been icing the area on and off throughout the day and popping motrin like M&Ms, and by noon it felt much better. Never being one to learn my lesson the first time (recall torque injury I sustained at work by going back too soon after surgery), I think this time drove the message home that I must advance activity slowly. BTW, that's not my leg - mine looks a bit more like a 56 year old extremity ;) .

My food has been spot on today, which feels great. Hubby is out of town on business overnight, and I have awesome leftovers to eat for dinner...salmon and roasted root veggies. The roasted roots have become a once a week staple for me. Hubby doesn't love them, so when I make them, I usually boil a red potato for him to have instead. He doesn't like some of the components I find essential for this dish, including brussel sprouts, turnips and sweet potatoes. So rather than waste them (waist them, ha ha) on him, he and I both prefer that I boil him a plainer white potato. Boring! But more of the good stuff por moi!

Here's my dinner, ready to nuke when I'm ready to eat: I was hoping to show a good picture of the yummy earthy colors of the roots, but this doesn't do it justice. Oh well, they taste great. I use a variety of whatever root veggies I have on hand - brussels, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, turnips, carrots, yams, onions, parsnips - chop them all into uniform size pieces so they roast to a similar consistency. Mix the cut up vegs. in a bowl, toss with 1 - 1.5 Tbs. olive oil, 1 tsp. real maple syrup, salt, pepper, and about 5 or 6 cloves of garlic rough chopped. Then pour them all in a glass baking dish and roast at about 375 for 45 minutes or to desired doneness, occasionally stirring them around during cooking so that the vegetables roast evenly. They are succulent and delicious, and the whole house smells heavenly. I'm not sure I can give this up when the weather turns warmer! Guess I wouldn't have to, but good summer fare will sure seem more appealing when it gets hot.

I may try and watch the Biggest Loser tonight - I'm not a big fan, but since I'm home alone, I might check it out and see if I still hate it. I'm interested in the weight loss and exercise, but not so much in the drama that always ensues. Better yet, I might just read my book. I've just started re-reading The Good Earth by Pearl Buck. I read it back in high school and hardly remember any of it, so this will be like a first read. Have a good night!

Monday, January 18, 2010

I heart Monday holidays!

There's nothing better than a Monday holiday. Mondays are such dependably crazy days at my job that having one off is always a bonus. Even though Tuesday becomes the Monday and will be filled with even more annoying things than a typical Monday, it's never as bad because you're one day closer to the weekend. Pretzel logic.

I got wonderful comments to my post yesterday, and I want to thank everyone for that. Reading those comments over the course of the day filled me with optimism and excitement about being on this journey. I feel newly invigorated to stay the course. Blogging as motivational life coach - effective and cheap! not to mention warm and fuzzy.

I had my best exercise day today since my knee surgery. I walked 2 full miles at a pretty decent clip with a friend and our dogs this morning; then this afternoon had physical therapy that included 12 minutes on the bike, and then some good stretches and strengthening exercises of my L knee and it's surrounding structures. I'm really seeing the light at the end of the arthroscopic tunnel now, and believe I'll be back to doing what I did before, though modified for my afflicted knees that I didn't know were chock full of arthritis. My right knee and hip are definitely achy and strained at times now, which I know is due to the fact that while the left knee is feeling almost normal, I'm still favoring it in a way that is jacking up the right side parts. Even that is improving. Whoopee!

The rest of my day of was nice - got together with 2 different friends - one for breakfast, one for lunch. And throughout, I've kept my food clean. So now I'm going to do the couch potato thing I've been perfecting and watch mindless Monday night TV. Thank you again, blog friends, for all your support, wisdom, suggestions and inspiration. Blogging has added a wonderful piece to my life, and I think about my blog buddies often throughout each day. TTYL!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday catharsis

I married into a family of beautiful people. My husband is very good looking, and he might be the most "average" of them all. They are extremely wonderful, kind and loving folks who just happen to have been very well-appointed in the looks department. Both his parents were knock outs in their youth - I wish I could find pictures of them in those days to post so you would really believe me. It makes sense that their union produced more gorgeousness. Tom is the oldest, then a drop dead hunk of a brother 4 years younger (definitely showing his age, in a good way), then 2 highly attractive sisters about 3 years apart. None of this gang are conceited or evidence awareness or superiority of their good looks - they are who they are, with the gamut of goodness and badness found in all humanity. I am ridiculously blessed to have married into this family and fortunate to have good to excellent relationships with every member - some closer than others, but all good.

Tom and I will celebrate our 28th anniversary in February, so it's been awhile that I've been one of this clan. (God really made up for me being a lonely only whose Dad died when I was 11 and Mom when I was 23.) Over the years we've been with them zillions of times. They all live in the Atlanta area, and when Tom and I had been married for just 2 years, and coinciding with the birth of our first child Jean, we moved from there to Pennsylvania for Tom's work. So we see them only a few times a year, now exclusively in Atlanta, though when the kids were young, grandparents and Aunt and Uncle and cousin groups visited us occasionally.

Bear with me here; I'm going somewhere related to weight issues and trying to set the stage and provide background information.

I was quite lean when Tom and I got married in 1982, and stayed that way pretty successfully until after the birth of our 3 son in August of 1987. I gained more weight with each pregnancy, but after the first 2 eventually managed to drop the weight. Not so the third time, and so I went from being lean and pretty plain looking in this family of beautiful and THIN TO AVERAGE people to being overweight, and eventually obese (according to the BMI). My highest weight was 237 (same as Oprah's), so I kept some semblance of a lid on my weight; alas not enough to not usually render me the fattest girl in the room in general, and the fattest person in the family in particular. It's been very painful to me over the years. They never seem to mind, and don't comment but it was certainly noticed (because I've endlessly brought it up, apologized for it, vowed to lose the weight...). It's been much more my issue than theirs.

I wrote a while back of how one day about 8-10 years ago, Kristin, my youngest SIL with whom I'm very close confided in me that her mom had commented to her the she and I were "the family fatties". First - why would she tell me this? Second - Kristin had a very minor weight problem when Tom and I first got married. For a few years she was a little heavy. Since then, she's been lean in a healthy way with not even vapors of the struggles with weight she'd had for a number of years. When she told me that, I felt embarrassed for me and bad for her that her mother had lumped me in with her, if that was the truth, which to this day I don't know for sure. I absolutely believe the MIL said it about me; but I've always wondered if Kristin wanted me to know this and to soften it a bit put herself into the statement. My response was something to the effect that she certainly wasn't in that category and that of course I WAS the family "fattie". God, just writing that right now makes me cringe and feel ashamed, sad, and mad. My MIL is a person who has to pigeon-hole people - categorize them in some way. She has an opinion on most everything, and while she's loving and I have a great relationship with her, this kind of crap is in keeping with her endless tendency (need?) to critique all in her periphery (and not always to their faces).

In family pictures from the last 20 years, I always look bad - self conscious and fat. I'm not very photogenic to start with, so this truth has also been painful. The family has never noted this, BTW. It's how I feel about my appearance, and in my mind I think I "ruin" every picture I'm in. Pretty pathologic, huh? I'm aware that some of my oldest issues are surfacing as I write this, so feel free to NOT "wonder" about it. I'm know this is f'ed up thinking, but it's been my reality.

So - why am I going on and on about all this ancient and real history of Leslie's life? Because I am now at the lowest weight I've been in years - many years. And there is a family wedding in Atlanta in March that we'll be attending where of course there will be zillions of family photos taken over the course of the 5-6 days we'll be there. The wedding is just after the end of the Perfect 10 challenge which, if I'm successful, will help me to be 15 pounds lower than I am now. The difference in my size will be substantial. The family will be surprised and happy for me, but they won't be any happier to see leaner me than they would be to see me in any form. They genuinely love and care about me. I really know this.

The wedding is starting to loom large in my mind - not because of the joyous event it is for the couple, but because every trip to Atlanta sets off the familiar feelings of shame of being plain and fat. Countless times over the years I'm determined to lose some weight before I go there, and usually fail to do so. So I show up feeling inwardly bad about myself and certain that all the family are thinking, "Oh, she's still fat." After the initial "appearance" with the various family members, I relax and have a good time, but always with my default setting of feeling "less than" them because there is so much more of me. I don't want that to be the case this time. I want to enjoy the whole experience and all of the family. I want to forget myself and be available to be one of the many. A family member among family members. The egocentrism of me in my fat girl identity seems to know no bounds. And the confusing thoughts I'm having about this next trip to Atlanta, given my already substantial weight loss and hopefully even more, are starting to undermine my commitment to this weight loss and exercise journey to better health and fitness as my way of life. I'm finding myself focusing on the "event", and wanting to lose as much as possible prior, rather than just staying in each day and doing the best I can a day at a time, in accordance with my belief that this truly is a way of life, and not a quick-fix prior to an event.

I've decided to write about this because the morass of feelings is scary and threatens to knock me way off my square. And when this happens, I eat. My fear and feelings of being less than the rest of the family swirl and begin to inform my self concept and worth. Too painful to bear, so before it gets out of control or even conscious on my part, I eat. Maybe by spewing this sh*t out of me, the negative energy of it will dissipate and I can continue to eat less and move more one day at a time. If I break it down, I can know that I have no control over the future or the past. I can only take action about anything today - right now. Reel it back to today, Leslie.

This post feels very dark and revealing, and makes me feel vulnerable. But if I've learned anything in AA, it's that you're as sick as your secrets, and the truth will set you free. I sure as hell hope so, because I've had a lot of food thoughts swarming today, and took a day off yesterday from my plan. Two off days in a row is a lot harder to come back from than one. I intend to stay clean with my food the rest of today, and hopefully this post will ensure that.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Perfect 10 report... and Socks!

I'm doing my Perfect 10 update this morning. I'm happier to write this up today than last Friday, for sure! Here goes:
1. Lose 20 pounds - My weight this morning was 195.7. Last Friday I was 201.5 so this is a loss of 5.8 pounds this week, even with that indiscretion, er... binge, on Tuesday. Now THIS is the right direction. I hope to have no binge between now and next Friday. No, I intend to have no binge.
2. Do 30 minutes of cardio 6days/week. I did 30 minutes or more of a combination of biking and walking 4 days this week. Yesterday I did 2 30 minute walks, one with the pooch and one without. I still count that as one day, but in my heart it's 5 total workouts for the week. Anyway, that's 2/3 of the goal, and I'm satisfied with that since I'm just building back up with the knee. BTW, the 2 30 minute walks yesterday felt great while doing them, but I had an achy night and morning today, so probably overdid it.
3. Do 15 minutes of quiet time meditation/sitting per week. Did it. 100% complete.
4. Track all my food every day. Did this Monday through Thursday, after I got my awesome pocket tracker/journal. I even wrote out the entire binge, and that little exercise helped me realize the benefit of tracking. A binge is all the more horrific when each bite is recorded. Would rather not do that again.
5. Record weight on blog each Friday - I'm striking this goal and incorporating it into #1. Sort of redundant, n'est-ce pas?
6. Write at least 1 line in blog every day just to stay accountable and connected. The only day I missed was Tuesday, which interestingly was the day of my binge. Don't know if they're related, but for now I will continue this goal. I was feeling like it was stupid to just write some dumb crap for the sake of checking off a to do list, and that's why I decided to not post Tuesday. It was a decision made early in the day, and I have to wonder if the seeds of the binge were already germinating. The binge didn't start until 4:30 that afternoon.

All in all, this was a successful week and I feel pretty good. I have to be honest though, and note that in my mind when I saw my weight this morning, I though, "Hmmm, I can have a couple of free days now since I'm getting back on track." This thought startled me, and makes me wonder about my oft-discussed resistance to going below a certain number. Makes no sense obviously, but my subconscious isn't necessarily sensible. I hope that by putting it out here I can increase my awareness of my vulnerability to a better number on the scale and how that can dissolve my resolve to stay the course.

The unknown thing about me this week: I had a 7 year hot and heavy relationship with a guy named Lee that didn't finally end until I'd met Tom, that is, Mr. Leslie. Actually it was 5 years hot and heavy, and the last 2 were more luke warm and slowly extinguishing. My mom died at home (cancer, and I had taken leave of absence from work to care for her)around the 4 year point of the relationship, and Lee was incredibly supportive, and actually with me at the time my mom died. He was my first real boyfriend, first sexual experience, first live-with relationship (other than Tom after we got hitched), and in a zillion ways we were crazy compatible. We were also drinking buddies. He was a really good guy, and very good looking - thing Cat Stevens of the 70s and 80s - black hair, beard and mustache, flannel shirt kind of guy. Though I dearly love my husband and our family, I often think of Lee and wonder what became of him. I will always have a great fondness for Lee, though we could have never lasted over the long haul. By the end, neither one of us had the emotional fortitude to just hang it up, until Tom came along. I could write a novella about the intricacies of our couplehood and how it played out.

I had no idea what my unknown thing was going to be until I started writing! How interesting and strange the stream of consciousness can be.

Finally, here are pics of the round of socks that became Christmas presents this year. Actually I still have a couple of pairs that I didn't give away, and am working on more currently. I don't know how people do give aways on their blogs, but I was thinking I might do a hand knit sock giveaway if anyone thinks it would be a good idea. The socks I still have are really cute - I can post pics of just them if there's any interest. Let me know what you think...they're pretty much one size fits most - unless you have smaller than a 6 foot or larger than a 10. I can always knit them to size when I know the foot length.

Anyhoo - I can't wait to read everyone else's Perfect 10 updates and their secrets! Have a good weekend - I just found out we have Monday off for Martin Luther King's birthday...WOOT! I'll be posting away to keep my goal met.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's award season!!

I've been delighted to receive 2 new awards in the last 24 hours. I'm most appreciative, as they are both women who have their own excellent blogs that inspire and motivate, and are entirely deserving of these awards they received before passing them on to moi.

The first is: the Beautiful Blogger award and was given to me by Helen at Doing a 180. If you haven't visited her blog, check it out as she perseveres on her mission to be lean, fit and healthy by the time she turns 50. She provides great inspiration and amusement.

The second is: and was given to me by the love Patsy from the U.K.. Patsy muses about her journey to lose 100 pounds (as her blog title notes), as well as about her adorable baby and husband, and extended family. She's remarkably upbeat and positive and I always feel better after reading her daily posts.

The Beautiful Blogger award rules are to list 7 things about yourself that no one knows and then pass it on to 7 others; and the Happy 101 asks that you list 10 things you love and pass it on to 10 others! Yikes - I've already seen these awards on many of the blogs I read, so coming up with fresh new recipients might be a challenge. I'm taking my lead from Patsy who modified the combined rules by listing 10 things she loves and passing it on to 10 folks. I know I can do the love goes!
1.My husband Tom - he endures a lot with me, but I can say with certainty that goes both ways!
2.My 3 wonderful kids - Jean 25, Stephen 23 (tomorrow is his b'day! Happy B'day Steve) and Mark 21. I am incredibly blessed with these fine offspring who are good human beings with big, warm and kind hearts.
3.My IPOD - it's an 8gb Nano and has 2500 or so of my favorite songs. I love to plug in and move to the music, esp. when I'm cooking dinner! Makes chores less chorey.
4.Knitting - esp. knitting socks - my current favorite project. I'm going to post some pics of some of the socks I've done one of these days, just for self promotion.
5.Felting - This is taking a hand knit product made from 100% wool and washing and shrinking the hell out of it to make a tight fabric that makes great purses, bags, stockings (the Christmas kind), and other nifty objects.
6.AA - everyone who reads my blog knows I love AA, and sobriety, btw. 18+ years back, I would have put drinking on this list. I'd have been wrong - and probably 3 sheets to the wind.
7.My in-laws - I married into a fantastic family with whom I fit very well. Being an orphan by age 23 and an only child to boot, marrying a man with a huge family was a stroke of genius. Too bad I didn't think of it - I think the guy upstairs extended a bit of grace my way there.
8.Being a nurse. Good fit for me.
9.My friends. Too numerous to count. Where I wasn't bestowed with much original family, it's been made up in this realm.
10.Reading. I must add that blogging has cut down a bit on my book reading - reading blogs and archives takes time!
Now - For recipients - again I will bootleg Patsy's idea of offering these awards to all the blogs I read and follow. In particular, I send them both to: Beth at Merry Perennial; Helen at Doing a 180; Chris at A Deliberate Life; TJ at TJ's Test Kitchen; Debby at Debby Weighs In;Larkspur at Am I Really That Fat; and probably at least 10 others who've already received one or both of these, and 20 others who haven't. (Sorry for the format change on Larkspur - I'm still new at hyperlinking, and doing so many at once makes me HYPER!

I can't say often enough how grateful I am for this blogging community. I'm a support group kind of gal, and this format with all the earnest and wonderful people completely fills the bill. I also love writing (forgot to mention that in my list), and blogging gives me the arena in which to practice.

Tomorrow is the second reporting for the Perfect 10. I'm feeling a lot better about it this week than last...we'll see!?!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Analyze this

For anyone who is weary of my tendency to lapse into AA truisms, go to another site now because one is coming and may be the theme of this post. The saying came to mind from 2 sources: 1) I binged last night; 2) the most recent 2 posts of this blogger, Merry Perennial . I hadn't been to her site for a couple of weeks but went this morning and read her 1/12/10 post, which she noted was more on the subject of her 1/8/10 post. Please check them out, as they are very thought-provoking, well-written and extremely relevant for me.

Basically she's pondering something that a highly esteemed, educated and obese Food Science and Technology professor said back when Merry Perennial was in college. The class was going to talk about obesity, and the professor mentioned that occasionally people asked her why she allowed herself to stay obese given her extensive knowledge and available resources about nutrition and health. Her answer was essentially that the limiting of food caused her more anxiety and pain than being obese did. This answer really made an impression on Merry Perennial, and her 1/8/10 post was about her recollection of it and the fear that it raised in MP's own life regarding her eating behavior today.

Well. If you've zipped over and read the 2 entries, you'll see why they resonated so powerfully for me, esp. if you've read my blog for a few months. I've struggled with bingeing every few days forever, but most notably since I've begun this most recent and last weight loss effort back in June. I've lost weight (25+ pounds of 60 I need to lose); I've had many more binge-free days than binge days; and the binges have lessened in intensity and duration significantly over time. But still I can't seem to get more than 4-5 days together without a 2-3 hour feeding frenzy one evening that is invariably followed by remorse, a gain of a couple of pounds, and then very clean eating for 4-5 days....rinse and repeat. This behavior has absolutely slowed if nop stopped my progression down the scale to my desired weight.

What MP brought up is the psychology of this, particularly in relation to the statement her professor made back when she was in college. The question arises: Do I have to stop bingeing in order to know what's triggering me to binge? Or do I need to identify the issues and deal with them in order to stop the bingeing? A "which came first - chicken or egg?" conundrum. Only I know the least the answer I know in my gut is true for me, and this is where the AA slogan comes in:

"You can't stop drinking by drinking."

How brilliant is that? Sounds simple, but an alcoholic can convince themselves when they're in throngs of a bad hangover that a drink will settle things down and make them feel better, and then they'll stop drinking. "Just one." "This'll be the last time." "The last drink." Only once an alcoholic has just one, the judgement goes out the window; the body responds by feeling better because it's used to a certain blood alcohol level; and it's off to the races again. A bad alcoholic who maintenance drinks (definition: drinking to stave off withdrawal - very dangerous condition that I thankfully never experienced) absolutely cannot stop without serious and potentially life-threatening results. But that's not what I'm talking about. It's the morning drink to feel better that works and helps one move through a horrible hangover and have a productive non-drinking day. Do that many times, and a very bad pattern gets established. The hair of the dog that bit you is not a good remedy.

So. Can I stop bingeing by bingeing? "Come on - just one more time. This time will be different. I'll get it out of my system once and for all. My mind won't stop thinking about it unless I do it." This is utter bullshit, and very addictive thinking. But I face the anxiety and extreme uncomfortable-ness of a mental obsession to binge every few days. Giving in to it gives me some wash of relief and quiets the voice in my head that keeps saying, "do it". I knew last night when I had a piece of Colby-Jack reduced fat string cheese that wasn't on my plan for the day that I was going to keep going. Once the first "wrong" bite was on board, the binge was almost inevitable. There are plenty of folks for whom this isn't the case. For now, I'm not one of them.

I'm getting that in order for me to not binge, I have to not eat the first compulsive bite, which is a standard nugget of wisdom from another 12 step program, Overeaters Anonymous. I prove it to myself over and over. Once in awhile I can be sane and normal, but there is no way to predict when "normal' will temporarily descend upon me, enabling me to have one piece of cheese, or one cookie, or one piece of cake. At some point in not responding to the obsession of an addictive thought, there will be a period of extreme angst, depression, unhappiness, and feelings of deprivation. One doesn't die from these. With alcohol one CAN die from attempting withdrawal without medical supervision if they've been drinking daily for a long time. Withdrawing from binge behavior can be really hard (I have done it for 3-4 months before), but it isn't dangerous.

And the big question - Does one have to figure out "what's eating at her" in order to stop eating? Figure out the issues and successfully deal with them? My strong sense is no - in fact as long as the addictive behavior continues, even if it isn't happening every day, the deep issues are held at bay - stuffed down by the binge du jours on the days they happen. I know this to be true because it happened with my drinking. Once I stopped, I gradually came to recognize and understand issues and truths about myself I didn't even know existed beneath my crusty surface. Over time - lots of time, in fact it still happens on occasion - things surface and come into consciousness that I'd forgotten or didn't know were in there, that effect me in an emotional way. How much more is buried within that has been tamped down over years of insane eating? Those deepest issue are stamped "access denied" by my stuffing food down again and again. Access can only be gained by sustaining an absence of bingeing, a day at a time, for awhile. Maybe a long while, like the rest of my life. Or maybe for just a time.

I'm starting to know at my core that I have a much worse case of food addiction than I had of alcoholism. You guys who've read this talk from me about bingeing before are probably saying, "Ya think?" But I have to accept this if I'm going to be able to do something about it. I'm actually starting to consider going to the 12 step program for food again, even though I don't like it. When I've had that support in the past, it's helped a lot. And as they say in AA, you have to be willing to go to any lengths to get better. Am I willing?

One of the comments on MP's post was from Chris at A Deliberate Life, where she linked (as I just did) to a post she wrote awhile back about her psychological recalibration related to the self sabotage of food thoughts and bingeing. It's excellent also, and helped me with my own thoughts here, as Chris' blog often does.

Finally, on a much lighter and happier note, yesterday I did the bike at work for 15 minutes, and then did a 30 minute walk with the dog. I felt great getting that much exercise, but also realize how mushy and out of condition I've become since the knee injury. It'll be a while before I get back to doing 5 miles at Ridley Creek State Park, but it'll happen eventually if I work for it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fake fruit and other annoyances

Alright - the fruit isn't fake, but the taste does not resemble the in-season variety in any way. It looks fantastic though, doesn't it? (note food tracking journal on my desktop waiting to record said berries)

My review: Color - 5 stars; Shape: 5 stars; Texture - 1 star - hard, almost crunchy (except on a couple of them where the very outer red seeded part is not too firm) despite good color throughout with no white husks in the center; Taste - 0 stars, as in flavorless. The only taste is the very subtle sweetness rendered by a single packet of Splenda sprinkled on. I use Splenda because sugar can set me off...even a teaspoon can flip the switch at times, so I steer clear when I'm eating clean.

I know better than to buy summer fruit when it's 25 degrees out. I was food shopping at my favorite local grocery yesterday - one not in my neighborhood but nice enough that I drive over 15 minutes to get there when there are several within 5 minutes of my house. They are the only non-union grocery story around here (though a chain) and always have the best produce of any grocery store. Not as good as a produce stand, but close. Huge organic and health food department. Great variety of all products. And resonable. But I digress.

These strawberries seduced me from the moment I entered the store - the produce department is the first through which you pass at this place. Immediately they had a big thing going for them...they weren't Driscoll Strawberries from California. In my part of the country, those are simply never good. They look beautiful but have no flavor. I haven't bought them in years. I'm sure they're fine out west, so please don't crucify me if you love Driscolls; but by the time they travel to the northeast, any resemblance to the original taste is likely a gustatory hallucination. These yesterday were from Florida - my home state! They looked good and fresh, so I thought I'd give 'em a try. Never again. Strawberries in January are just sh*tty, and a HUGE disappointment to my eagerly anticipating tongue. And today, I really wanted some good strawberries. Oh well, July will be here any day!

Next annoyance - remember last week when I was blathering on about my wonderful job? I KNEW I was going to jinx myself. Actually it's still great, but I have been unbelievably busy since coming back from the winter break. We are getting more and more medically fragile clients, and I'm starting to feel like I'm pulled in 12 directions much of the time. Monday mornings are always crazy, but today took the cake. People came in without things they were supposed to have, I had to make a million phone calls, check eyes that the staff was sure was pink eye (none were), on and on. When the hell am I supposed to blog??!! Kidding of course, but truly I am much busier continually than I've ever been before in this job. I didn't eat lunch until 1:45 3 different times since the break, which isn't awful, but I eat breakfast early (6:30 or even before), and even with a protein and fruit snack around ten, I'm ready to gnaw on my desk before I can get to lunch. I guess things will settle down.

As I've been whining for a few days, the husband and youngest son left this morning for Atlanta, leaving me home with my best dog friend Lou. After work today, I went straight to PT, where Katie, my therapist, seemed to be very distracted while trying to keep several clients PTing at one time. She was also icing her own foot from surgery she had about a month ago. She mainly had me doing my moves on my own, but still managed to yell out to me to "keep your leg straight!" a few times. Like a teacher with eyes in the back of her head! Anyway, once home, Lou and I had our first walk together since December 3rd, and it went fine. He seemed to sense I'm a little gimpy(though my limp is virtually gone at this point) and took it quite easy on me. We only went for about 10 minutes, long enough for him to perform all the required elements. Tomorrow, when I don't have PT, I think I'll try and take him for longer, depending on how the leg feels. Overall, between 14 minutes on the bike at PT and the 10 minutes with Lou, I got more physical movement than I have yet and I feel fine.

My food has been spot on today and it's so nice to know I don't have to cook dinner for anyone but me. Love it! I'm stocked with "my" food and have a wonderful variety from which to choose. Tonight will be some roasted root veggies and a lean hamburger, plus a salad. And I need to go get chopping my roots and get them cooking, so will sign off for now. Happy Monday everyone.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Somnolent Sunday

This will truly be a quickie post. Today I secured a little journal book in which to write down my food - every morsel taken in every day. Now that I have a dedicated "cute journal" in which to track the food rather than having many and varied pieces of paper and napkins serving as the record keeper will surely make it a more appealing endeavor! Accessories are everything!

My food has been loose today, but not too bad. Sane dinner planned, and then I expect I will fall asleep by 8 - I'm really exhausted! And if I'm sleeping, I'm not eating! Brilliant, huh?

Tomorrow is my first day alone with the canine being, as well as a physical therapy day, so I expect I'll get my exercise in without difficulty. Also, being home alone will enable me to keep my food entirely clean, and I'll be cooking just for moi. Usually I do very well when I'm a solo act. My knee continues to improve, though by the end of the day it does get achy and tired. Just like the rest of me. Soooooo...goodnight.........zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday night's alright

Quick check in before the Philly v. Dallas game to maintain my commitment to a daily post...had a good day today - ate at odd times but have maintained sane and reasonable intake of food, and not been plagued by binge thoughts. Yesterday before I left work, I went across the hall the the Physical Therapy room and got on the ancient stationary bike for 13 minutes. Doesn't sound like much, but was actually more than I should have done. It felt great. After that, I did a good bit of walking at a local mall - I was shopping, but did intentionally do the entire loop of the one level 2x, which added another 10 minutes at least. Last night my knee was stiff and achy, but okay by today.

On Monday, the last bird will be leaving the nest again, when my husband drives youngest son back to Atlanta for his winter semester at Emory. That will leave me alone with the large (90 lb) dog, and I'll be walking him daily several times. It will be a challenge for the knee and I'll have to be very careful because if the dog sees a squirrel or a molecule of grass that needs to be peed on, he'll ballistically lurch off and could easily pull me with him. This has happened many times when both knees were intact, so I'm a little concerned. A couple of friends' kids will be home from college for another week, and if the knee gets torqued, I can pay them to do some of the honors with Lou. Tomorrow I'm going to do a maiden voyage walk with him to test the water. And to think he and I were doing 5 miles just a few months ago!

Off to watch football - E-A-G-L-E-S ...EAGLES!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Perfect 10 Update week 1

Before I do my week one review, I'm putting my pictures up. Can't say how hard this is to do, because I don't love how I look, and generally dress in a way that hides the multitudes of sins of the flesh, which my photo get up definitely doesn't. Also, I picked a kind of weird top because all my other revealing summer stuff is up in the attic. So what I'm wearing will be my picture ensemble each month. Here goes nothing..................

My upper arms are one of the banes of my existence, and at age 56 it's unlikely I can turn them around too much. But I can definitely tone them and will be working on it. Belly in the side view speaks for itself. And the middle thickness also speaks (and is) volumes, including verifying what I blogged about a few months back about how my body now distributes weight in the middle - classic apple. Thing is, I used to be a pear, and would read about how the body weight distribution can shift postmenopausally. I didn't believe it, but the truth is self evident. Finally - girlfriend needs some new bras. 'Nuff said.

Perfect 10 Goals:

1. Lose 20 pounds - I was 201.7 Monday. Wednesday I was 198.1. Today's weight is 201.5. Ouch. I've had several salt heavy meals in the last 2 days, though no bingeing or bad overeating. I could even feel the puffiness before I stepped on the scale and when I saw the number, my first thought was that I couldn't possibly post the real number. But there it is. Honesty. At least I'm down .2 lbs rather than up.

2. Do 30 minutes cardio daily 6x/week. I managed about 20 minutes of very slow cardio (stationary biking at PT and walking) 4 times. Not enough. The knee feels good this morning (best yet), so I can improve on this starting today.

3. 15 minutes 5 days/week meditating/sitting quietly with no noise or reading material. Did this 3 times. Not good enough, any my chaotic mind feels it.

4. Write down my food each day. Started out good - 3 days worth, then fizzled out.
Not good enough.

5. Post weight weekly - done. 100%! And I told the truth. Along with posting the pictures - I'm feeling pretty exposed and vulnerable. Not a bad thing. I fervently desire to have a better week to report next Friday, and to be visibly different in the February 5th photos (smaller, of course!).

6. Post at least one line daily on this blog 7 days a week. I added this on Monday, and have been successful except did the Wednesday post 2 1/2 hours into Thursday morning at 2:30 a.m. Guilt must have wakened me!

Pretty lukewarm results for week one, but being 100% honest is huge for me. It would be easy to post better achievements, yet would hurt no one but me. I really want to do this - if I didn't you would be looking at my doughy proportions and reading of a .2 pound loss over 5 days. Believe me, next week will be better.

Finally, something no one knows about me: I've wanted to be a therapist/counselor for a long time, and still consider going back to school for it. I love listening to people, and helping them explore their lives if they want to do that. The only thing that keeps me from going back to school now (I've actually been accepted into a Counseling Psychology program at a local university) is that I'd have to take out student loans to pay for it. Not sure that I want to go in BIG debt to make a career change at my age - but if it unfolds somehow...we'll see.

I'm committed to a better week, and a sexier picture in February!! (tee hee)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Just a quickie

This is my official Thursday post, even though my last was also technically Thursday, though in the wee small hours. Trying to play catch up for not doing the official Wednesday post to which I committed.

I've had a good food day today so far. I'm planning on yogurt and fruit after I post and hubby does the body shots for me to post tomorrow. Apparently I kicked it up a notch in my PT appointment yesterday more than was helpful, as my knee has felt more jacked up today than it has for about a week. I used my cane during work a few times when I had to go fast down the looong hallway for one reason or another. The cane definitely enables me to walk without limping when the knee is tight, and that helps the rest of the body parts that inevitable take the heat when my alignment is off. It's actually feeling better tonight.

I dashed to the grocery store around dinner time, and who did I run into but my trainer from the gym! I hadn't seen her since mid November, I think, though we've talked on the phone several times. She's a doll and a good trainer. But I credit her with giving me strength training maneuvers that very likely contributed to the tearing of my medial meniscus. I didn't tell her I was holding her partially responsible for my injury; rather we hugged, chatted, and I told her I hope to get back there next week sometime on an off PT day. Seeing her gave me that "gotta get to the gym" warm fuzzy feeling.

I'm feeling irritable and nervous about weighing, now that I have to present my weekly Perfect
10 update tomorrow. It would be just like me to deal with my scale angst by eating a box of Cheez-its. Don't worry - I won't do it. But antsy are I.

That's it for tonight. Gotta go get my picture taken! Smile! Where's the smiley face avatar when I need it?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

In the middle of the night

It only took one day for me to miss a day of my avowed "at least one sentence" posting that I added to my Perfect 10 challenge. Wednesday was a crazy busy day at work, after which I went straight to PT, then to a meeting with a friend, and on to dinner out with that friend (where I stayed totally on plan). I had a 20 ounce coffee at the 5 p.m. meeting that normally wouldn't affect my sleeping, but apparently tonight it did.

I got home from the long-full-day-into-evening around 8:30 and was probably asleep by 9:30; but it's now 2:30 a.m. Thursday morning, and here I sit bright eyed and bushy tailed, unable to go back to sleep after waking up a bit ago for a bathroom trip. I was lying in bed thinking of how I forgot to write my "one-liner" here yesterday, so finally decided to just come downstairs for a bit and wait for sleep to return.

Thanks for enduring my rant/verbal tantrum/whine of a post Tuesday. While others were likely suffering through my ranting and raving, I felt better and went on to have a clean food day, followed by one yesterday. And so far, despite my paragraphs claiming different, I have been blessedly free of food-obsessive thoughts. YES! I know they'll return, but every day where it isn't a struggle to stay clean is a true gift. The catharsis of unloading my pent-up negative energy with the written word is truly therapeutic.

As I was lying in bed a bit ago thinking about missing Wednesday's post, I was also aware for the first time in weeks that my stomach feels empty. Truly gnawing empty. It's taken 3 and a half full very clean days for me to experience that feeling since my wanton holiday eating ended. I've said before on this blog that resisting true empty stomach hunger is much easier than resisting the emotion-driven food obsession that hits at times. The empty stomach sensation feels somehow normal and even righteous - an expected physical state when one isn't maintaining an ongoing food intake that prevents that feeling from happening. I feel it as I sit here now, but am in no way tempted to eat. I'm grateful for it as it tells me I'm doing the right things!

I'm loving physical therapy! Since my gym visits are still curtailed for rehabbing the knee, PT is providing me with the physical outlet I've come to need in order to stay sane and not too Each day I go, Katie is giving me more and more to do, and increasing my stationary bike (with no resistance) time by 30 seconds. I'm up to 9 minutes - woohoo! Not exactly the hard driving 45-50 minutes on a fully inclined treadmill or the elliptical, but at least it's something. Yesterday I asked her if I could begin stationary biking on my own at my gym - she said that would be okay. Never one to not push the envelope, I asked if I could go for 25-30 minutes. She said, "Well, you can build up to it. You're at 9 minutes now, so you could go to 10, then up slowly....". HMMPH! Why build up slowly when I can powerdrive it and end up screwing up the knee again?! As hard as it is for me to be patient, I'm committed to following directions here - for once in my life. I want to move beyond this so I can begin to add the really good workouts back into my program. "In time, my little time."

I think that's it for now. I mentioned considering posting body pics to begin tracking my progress a couple days ago. Committment: I will post pictures Friday when I update my Perfect 10 progress. If I don't, know I'm full of sh*t and avoiding it...and feel free to call me on my crap (but be sweet about it!). Actually I'm thinking it will be a good thing and give me, as Steve said, the same visual impact of my progress that others see. And with that, I'm going back to bed!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Why can't this be E-Z?

I'm getting an attitude about something and I need to spill it before it starts eating at me, which will likely result in me eating at anything or everything not nailed down or locked away. I've learned in AA that if something is irritating me endlessly, or I'm getting a resentment about something, best to just put it out there so that it doesn't become a dirty little secret. Harboring such thoughts can erode one's well-being and lead one back to a drink, or in my case now, bad eating behavior.

Before I share it, let me say that I'm doing pretty well on this 2nd official day of tightening up my "program" (and hopefully my physique in the process). I'm feeling motivated and enthusiastic, but not in a fervent way that makes me feel like I've just witnessed a miracle of untold proportion. And while I'm feeling okay, this simply isn't easy, and I have frequent thoughts of wanting to eat crap I have no business eating. No matter how far into a successful run of clean eating I go, I always have bouts of "food desire", or maybe more accurately stated, "eating desire"; and hunger or cravings often have nothing to do with it.

Having quit drinking 18+ years ago, I've been through this with alcohol. Once I'd finally had what turned out to be my last drink, I still had a daily desire - actually an obsession - to "do it one more time" ("it" being drinking, or in my case, drunking). This is a widely recognized occurrence among people who give up an addictive substance, or behavior. For some it disappears quickly, but for others, it can go on for years.

In my case, the daily desire to drink lasted about 9 months, and it was tough. Some mornings I'd wake up and say to myself, "Today I'm just gonna do it. One more time and then I'll be done." I'd rail at AA meetings that I felt I was worse since I'd stopped drinking than prior, because now I was utterly obsessed with thoughts of alcohol, where I hadn't been before. The folks would just nod their heads and tell me to "Keep coming back", and "This too shall pass". One person actually came up to me at the break one day and told me the reason I was feeling obsessed was because I wasn't acting on the impulse to drink. I didn't feel that way when I was drinking because I didn't abstain from it. So no need to feel that uncomfortable obsession. Well DUH! But I hadn't thought about it that way, and it actually helped. That little interaction happened around my 9 month sober anniversary, and very shortly thereafter the desire to drink was finally lifted and has revisited me very infrequently since - and with much less intensity or tenacity. Translation - it got better and easier.

As a non-religious but very spiritual person who still considers myself a Christian, my belief and faith in God has been strengthened incredibly from this slowly unfolding experience (of my life!). I'd tried a million times to quit drinking on my own. I meant it with all my heart every time I tried. But eventually I'd decide (after days or weeks or vivid awareness that I wasn't drinking, which no non-alcoholic would experience) I wasn't really an alcoholic and didn't really have a problem, and the switch in my brain slid from off to on regarding drinking. Off to the races again I'd go. For me to finally be able to stop, find not only sobriety but an incredible rich life as a result of the fellowship of AA, had to have been ordained, or at least aided, by Something Greater. For me, that Something was/is God, and it was only because God saw fit to lift the alcohol obsession from me a day at a time that I was able to receive the gift of sobriety.

I wasn't planning on giving a thumbnail version of my AA story here, but I guess it was supposed to flow as background info for me to get on with confessing my gripe here. Obviously I've been through a difficult letting go of a completely maladaptive self-destructive substance/behavior. It was hard. I whined and gnashed my teeth and wrung my hands day after day as I didn't give in to the obsession to return to the behavior. I have every reason to trust that I can and will be able to let go of bingeing and crazy eating of unhealthy crap food, and though it might take time - it will get easier. Right?

But this is so much harder for me. I always say that for me, food and overeating is my oldest primary issue - baby's first addiction. I truly want to do this - let go of eating as a life strategy and replace it with eating as a healthful practice, resulting in weight loss, improved vitality and strength, and a more conscious day to day existence; I know I can, but when obsessive food thoughts swarm, it feels harder to resist than when thoughts of a drink would pop up. Having meetings where so many other folks had been through it helped tremendously. I know there is a 12 step program for food which I've been to a few times over the years and really don't like at all. So I guess you - the wonderful supportive blog community is my equivalent of a place to vent and celebrate and deal with what comes along as I travel this path - which is what I'm doing now.
So my gripe? The way that for some bloggers, it seems there really isn't much struggle with this - it's just all pumped up enthusiasm and certainty and cheerleading and "Just Do It" mentality - which I love, which helps, which I understand and appreciate, but which I "Just Don't Got" for now. I think at the core is that I'm jealous that it just isn't going to be that way for me. It will be a struggle. I do believe in a God that sustained and sustains me through getting and staying sober; so why can't I trust that the same God will help me when every cell in my body wants to excape into the oblivion of food coma? Bottom line - I want to be normal about food. I WANT TO BE NORMAL. I'm not. NOT NORMAL. Acceptance is the key to moving on with what is and getting through the trenches when they surround. But still I yearn to be normal.

For today, I feel strong and am pretty sure I'm going to have another good day. But see how just one clean day has me antsy enough to have this rant of a post? If you're rolling your eyes and thinking that I whine too much - oh well. It's my blog and I'll whine if I need to. I just have to say that just because I want something doesn't mean I can get it by doing affirmations in the mirror and defining who I am and what I want. At some point, this will take tough gutting it out - not eating when I'm feeling driven to - and then dealing with the feelings that percolate up when they aren't stuffed down by Tastykakes and Wheat Thins.

So to all the cheerleaders out there, please keep cheering and encouraging and's good stuff, helpful and important. Motivating and inspiring. I need it even when it makes me crazy, just like I occasionally need someone at an AA meeting to tell me I'm off my beam temporarily. I know I can do it, but I also know I can't do it alone. And I don't have to, given that I have my beloved blog community and my Something Greater who I chose to call God.

Glad to be back

When I posted last on December 31st, I wasn't expecting it would be 4 days before I posted again. Even if brief, I'm committing to writing at least one line daily on my blog, just to stay accountable and honest (like I could ever be brief of verbiage=D). Add that to my list of goals for the Perfect 10!

I had a weekend (Friday-Sunday) of a lot of socializing and a lot of eating. I was great with the socializing; not so much with the eating. When I wrote my post on the 31st, I was fully intending to jump back on the sanity wagon on the 1st. I didn't. I could go on and on listing reasons (translate: excuses) why, but I won't. I'm committed to honesty here. I wanted to eat the variety of stuff presented at all the occasions more than I didn't. Each morning I determined that I was starting that day and would get to whatever time the social event began having stayed on track. Then I capitulated when faced with the world's best french fries, etc.

It's Monday, January 4th, and I am BACK. Not matter how difficult it is for the first couple of days, I'm abstaining from eating anything that I don't write out for the day in the morning.

I was going to post my weight on the 1st, as it was the first official day of the Perfect 10, and since I didn't, I'm doing it today. From this point on throughout the challenge, I will post my weight on Fridays, starting this week. This morning I was 201.7. Obviously there is a big UGH! after that weight, but it is what it is and I'm starting with where I am today. Truth be told, I was relieved it wasn't worse; so that tells you what the wanton foodfest the weekend was.

I am so happy that the holidays are OVER. I had a great time being off from work since Christmas Eve, and spending lots of time with my family (all 3 kids home!) and friends. But I'm delighted to be back at work and feel very lucky to have a job where I feel this way. I love my co-workers, the clients, and the structure of the daily routine. How great to have countless mentally challenged folks see me this morning and just beam with happiness, yelling out "Happy New Year!" Of course I have rough days at work, but most of the time I can't believe I get paid to be here.

I'm considering posting neck down pictures of my body for the purpose of doing progress picture updates. I'm always so inspired by others of you who do that, and think it would be helpful if I could see my own progress so tangibly. I was size 18-20 when I began in June, and now I'm pretty much a straight 16 with occasional 14s (from my lowest weight of 192 - probably not today!), and I wish I had pictures documenting the change. So I may get bold and don some form fitting duds and have Tom snap some pics.

That's it for now. I have my food all planned for today, and have PT this afternoon so will have the chance to ride the stationary bike for my cardio. My L knee continues to improve, though now my R knee is a bit jacked-up from all the mis-alignment wrought on it from when I was limping so badly. Damn! Aging is not for the feint of heart. But it will all get better if I take care of myself and not do anything stupid! Self, you're on notice with that, 'cuz you have a tendency to be stupid about proving yourself physically sound.

Have a great day, blog buds!