Sunday, March 30, 2008

Be The Change

I've almost achieved my first 10% loss. I'm hoping to break the 35 lbs. in the next two weeks. As I'm approaching that first big milestone, I've decided that I will not be waiting until I lose all the weight before I go in for a complete makeover. Instead I will be making changes as I go along my journey, and I will be rewarding my efforts by doing things or adding things to me that would be something I anticipate being/doing when I lose all of the 175 lbs.

The first thing that changed was the hair. I got my hair cut and styled in a way I really like. It's cut short and assymetrically, and I get a lot of compliments! Even my husband, who has been fixated on my having long hair (and I have for the past three years) admitted that this new haircut totally suits me. Additionally, I got my hair colored, back to it's original color, a warm, dark brown. It makes me look younger, and I like that. I don't feel 47. I am not at all accepting that I'll be 50 in a very short period of time, and I am embracing that if 40 is the new 20, then I'm only 23!

Next, I have been going a little nuts with the shoes and handbags. Now my feet, well...historically speaking, 11D isn't a shoe size that says, "Hot damn!" On top of that, I'm a tall woman, and heavy, so heels have been absent from my wardrobe for some time. Plus, there were a few years there that I couldn't effectively chase toddlers in heels! The time for that has changed. I indulged myself and bought pairs of heeled shoes and a pair of heeled boots over the last two weeks. This last weekend was the first opportunity I had to wear them. I walked more slowly, with confidence, and really had fun owning those heels! And I paired those new shoes with some fun, colorful handbags that I found at and

To put it all together, I bought some new cosmetics and I have been using that (and caring for my skin) every day. I now have a skin care routine. This is all a part of what the thin me will be doing. I'm not waiting until then to achieve it. I am going to be the change now!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Aunt Flo's impending visit

Gosh darn it! I forgot that Aunt Flo is coming for a visit soon! She always seems to be my undoing. I seem to go backwards in my progress during that week, but I am determined to take that bitch down this time!

(Pardon my language...hmmmm, I seem to have been cursing all day. Another function of Aunt Flo? And I am giving you fair warning, I can speak rather frankly about all sorts of subjects, so if you get offended by indelicate topics, it's time to move along. I'm just saying...)

I have been so careful with my eating this past week. I'm having to document my food intake for a new wellness coach I hired (Hi, Beth!). But despite my tight management of the diet, I gained weight since yesterday morning. Now, I know this is water retention, so I'm not fussing over the four pounds. But the cravings that are popping up, I'm worried about those. I've never been one to manage cravings well, especially when they're paired with emotions. Early this morning, I was feeling very edgy, after not being able to sleep, and I really wanted a big plate of my late Aunt Georgia's penne with burnt butter and parmesan. And a T-bone steak. (That was her signature dish when we went to her house for a visit on Sundays.) Now, I haven't eaten this in many, many, many years. And I haven't craved it in about as long. And yet, there it was early this morning, about 3 a.m.

Thank God I was cold and lazy! I didn't feel like going downstairs to cook at that hour. I did, instead, go down for a glass of water and a cube of feta cheese. Mmmm, instant Greek love! After that, I went back upstairs and decided to clean out my closet and dresser of clothes that no longer fit or are stained and I'm tired of wearing them. Three tall kitchen garbage bags later and now there's tons of room for the new things I bought recently. And like an anal Imelda Marcos, I lined up all my new cute shoes and handbags on top of my dresser. As soon as I get my new flash for my new camera, I'm taking pictures and posting them all so you can see! I also dusted and cleaned all the furniture, tossed out the trash, and organized my toiletries in the bathroom. Just another Manic Monday!

So, during the two hours I was cleaning, I paused to shoot an email to Beth-the-Coach asking what to do about premenstrual edginess and cravings. Later in the morning, she responded with advice which included the idea that I needed to look deeper into what emotions might be triggering the cravings.

I have put some thought into this throughout the morning, and I really think I need sex! OMG!!! No wonder ALL the men in my little town were looking so good lately! (And only retired people and rednecks live here!) I also need some real companionship. Chatting online is great, as is talking to people on the phone, but I really don't know a lot of people where I am at the moment, and I've been experiencing some loneliness. The day that one of my Green Mountain friends (Hi Chris!) came to visit was so wonderful. When I spent a week with my dearest friend Molly last month in L.A., we had absolutely the best time together. When I spent a weekend with my son Quinn at boarding school, what a mother-son love fest (in a very healthy way). I need more of that!

As writer and web designer, I have tended to keep to myself in the past. As a member of a very small expatriate community (I live overseas), where everything that occurs or is said becomes food for gossip, I have managed the invasive nature of the situation by keeping to myself as much as possible. (I have not shared my blog with anyone there...OMG!!! What a mistake that would be!) I don't share a lot of my life with my mother, who seems to need to make negative comments on every aspect of my life I share with her. So, my habit is to protect my privacy as it applies to actual, live human beings. When I spent time at Green Mountain, the real, playful, diva in me came out more. And even then, that was managed.

My husband is afraid of the real me. But he's a straight, white, middle-aged mechanical engineer. He's afraid of all strong women.

I am myself most fully when I'm with my sons or my friend Molly and her son, and a very few choice friends in my expatriate community. And being myself seems to be really important to me while making choices with friendships. Living at my vacation home for brief periods of time doesn't make for building local relationships that feel safe to me. I guess I have difficulty making and maintaining friendships on a lighter level. And I'm seriously uncomfortable with having to maintain small-talk. So I guess I need to find a way to interact with people so that I gain some value, some emotional nurturing and companionship, in a safe manner.

Now, I love going down to the quilt shop and the kitchen shop and chatting up the ladies there about shared passions, textiles and cooking. And everyone at Safeway is so nice. I actually find myself talking to other customers as I'm walking around. I even help people find stuff, read ingredients when they haven't got their glasses, reach for stuff from the top shelves for them, and entertain babies while moms empty carts. And I love flirting with men at the supermarket. I become this big, gushy, giggling girl! One day I got a 78-year-old man telling me how difficult it was to be the sex symbol in his retirement community. He was priceless!

Maybe I should go down to the hardware store to flirt with handymen named Earl in khaki uniforms. And Indian men always like me, so I could go get some gas for my car at the independant gas station downtown. I'll go inside the station and buy a bottle of water and slowly peel a Slim Jim in front of the little man behind the cash register.

Perhaps I should find a local service organization I can join on an infrequent basis so I can do something for the community and get to know people. I think that maybe the key is to find a wide variety of friends based on common interests. And just like working out, I'm going to have to make myself do this on a regular basis.

Three days until my husband and my other son, Rhyan, arrive. I hope I can manage Aunt Flo enough so I can break past 320 lbs. That's still my goal for Thursday morning. I will not be denied!!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hidden sodium, and busting the plateau this next week!

I've been using to journal what I eat. I planned my meals for the day ahead of time, and being the anal, overacheiving student I seem to have become, I was wondering why my wonderfully balanced diet was getting an A-, according to their criteria, as opposed to an A. After scouring all my ingredients and their analysis, I found I was ingesting too much sodium, mostly hidden within canned tomato products. So I'm switching to low-sodium varieties, or making my own. I guess it always goes back to reading the labels.

I'm back down to 322 lbs., as of today. My husband and son are arriving to see me in a week and I'm hoping to break below 320 lbs. by then. That gives me five days. Do you think I can do it? On Wednesday I'm treating myself to a day at the spa. A facial and make-up lesson as well as a haircut, and a mani/pedi. I'd get a massage and body wrap, but I've got to leave something on the table for my husband to gift me.

I had some really delicious tilapia fillets for lunch today. I pan fried them with a scant bit of olive oil, and seasoned them with lemon pepper and lemon juice, and a little salt. A side of steamed green beans tossed with lemon juice. Yum!! Both lemon and lime juice are great substitutes for salt.

Happy Easter to everyone.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Yesterday, later in the day, I found that I was absolutely famished! I was edgy and oh so hungry. I mean really hungry! I chose to eat, but after a bit, even though I wasn't as hungry, I still wanted to eat. I ended up going to bed just to stop "listening" to my appetite. I had eaten over 2000 calories and still wanted to eat. I thought that was odd.

This morning I analyzed what I ate. Just over half my nutrients came from carbohydrates yesterday. The carbs were all whole grain, but as a type 2 diabetic, I knew that probably was not a good choice. I'm still "experimenting" with how my body reacts to foods and exercise. I decided that today I'd shoot for a really balanced nutrient mix. Actually, I decided I'd eat mostly vegetables and protein, but at snack time, I was really craving carbs, so I ate a Luna Bar and drank a glass of unsweetened Almond Breeze. For dinner, I made a pot of soup with ground bison, black and pinto beans, and a variety of vegetables. It was delicious! I measured out a predetermined portion and ate till I was satisfied.

Two hours later, I'm still satisfied! I looked at my nutrient mix for the day and I see that I've split my nutrients nearly equally in thirds. I've only eaten barely 1700 calories today...and I'm satisfied! I plan to continue with this mix in hopes of controlling my appetite. Hope it keeps up!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Reality Check - Overeating

I've been plugging along with my workouts and still stuck in that seven-pound window. A few days ago I actually popped up over that window and I freaked out! What was going on?

I spent a day evaluating everything I was doing. I had to be brutally honest with myself...I was still overeating. I was thinking that I could eyeball quantities of food and get by just fine because I was eating really healthy, clean food, and I wasn't eating till I was absolutely stuffed, like I used to. I was pacing out my meals throughout the day, every three hours, so I wouldn't get hypoglycemic and find myself plunging into a bucket of KFC, head first. But when I actually journaled what I ate and evaluated my caloric intake, I was absolutely overeating, to the tune of 800 calories a day.

I was really surprised, and soooooo disappointed. I was enjoying being a large woman and getting to eat more than the average woman. For someone my size and age, it takes about 2700 calories to maintain my weight. According to, when I plugged in exact amounts, I was eating between 2500 and 2800 calories a day. Additionally, about 40% of my calories were from fat, and another 40% came from carbohydrates. All this added up to the weight slowly creeping back on.

Well, that sucks! I hate having to account for every bite of food. I'm an emotional eater and I'm easily distracted. I hate having to plan for meals! I have an artists temprament...I have ADD...I think I'm bipolar! I don't do schedules, planning, and I hate being accountable! I do NOT know how I'm going to get past this.

It's time to get real with myself. I've spent the last two days planning meals and accounting for it on the Calorie-Count website. I even downloaded their toolbar so that every time I'm online, I can visually track my caloric intake, meal by meal. I can use the site to plan my meals for the day, seeing where I've been overindulging and making changes accordingly. My fat intake has gone down appreciably. I can't believe how fatty I was eating before!

I realize that I'm going to be bumping up against my evening cravings for a long time. I've been more accustomed to eating more at dinner. Cutting that meal back to save calories for an evening snack is tough. I'm still not down to the caloried intake I need to achieve. but I'm much closer to it. I'll weigh-in again on Friday and we'll see how it goes.

Earlier this week I watched I Can Make You Thin on The Learning Channel. The host, Paul McKenna, is presenting this show, based on his book, to help people lose weight without dieting. The first episode was basically about eating mindfully, paying attention to what we're eating, taking our time to enjoy it and savor it, eating only when hungry and stopping when satisfied. I've been having a problem with that last point, being mindful of the satisfied feeling. I've felt too edgy to sit with being satisfied, and I think I've been overeating to numb that feeling. I've been overeating to manage occasional low-level mania. Staying present while eating, since I'm now being more honest with myself, is not something I've been doing very well, and a real struggle for me now that I'm more conscious of it. I'll implement Mr. McKenna's suggestions, to put the fork and knife down between bites, to learn to savor each bite by chewing each bite of food about 20 times, and I won't be distracted by TV or being online. Next week he's going to address emotional eating. Can't wait to see that episode!

Today I watched Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations on The Travel Channel. He was in Paris and he discussed the Parisian way of eating, as opposed to the American way. In the cafes, Parisians gathered with family and friends over meals. They were occasions to enjoy great food with great company. They took their time eating, savoring each morsel, of both food and companionship. I was in Paris just before Christmas, with my family, and I have to admit, all our meals, even the deliciously quitesential French ones, were wasted experiences on us. We burned through the meals like we were on an eating schedule, barely tasting anything, barely savoring each other. I hope to go back to Paris soon and do it all over again, properly!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Breaking through my first plateau

For the last two weeks I've been losing and gaining the same seven pounds. Very frustrating, and I was scared that I would fall into an old habit, dropping all my efforts due to lack of instant gratification. I am so immature!

I did some research into various methods for breaking through this little plateau and discovered that I was needing to change a few things.
  1. I wasn't drinking enough water. I know there are differing schools of thought on how much water one needs to drink, but I wasn't even getting in my eight glasses a day. A week ago I started drinking more water, shooting for 14 glasses a day. At my size, some say I need to be drinking 20 glasses a day, but I'd like to visit other rooms of my house besides the bathroom! I'm compromising at 14 for now. It'll help wash away the used up fat, the toxins my fat was storing, and I'm hoping it'll improve my dry skin and skin tone.
  2. I needed to change up my routine. I had settled into a routine with the stretching, I was walking at a steady state on an older treadmill, and my weight training routine was already getting easy. I started my making more effort to deepen my stretches (which made me feel so much readier for my workout and gets me into a positive exercise frame of mind). I moved my weight training ahead of my cardio workout to help get my heart rate up before getting into the fat burning phase. I also started lifting as much as I can at three sets of 12, to real fatigue. (I had been taking it a little too easy). I did this to build more muscle faster. I also started creating my own intervals on the treadmill. The older treadmills at my gym don't have an incline feature, so I increased the speed as fast as I could walk for a minute, then dropped it by half for two minutes. For now I'm doing five cycles of these intervals. On non-weight training days, I like to dance! I turn on FitTV and do the Shimmy bellydancing workouts, or I put on the Core Rhythms DVD and get my salsa groove on.
  3. At home, since I'm living on my own for now, I was not wanting to cook so much, so I bought a lot of diet frozen meals. I'm done eating those and am taking back the control with regards to what I'm eating. I stopped eating beef and instead have started eating organic bison, which is much lower in cholesterol. I have increased how much salmon I eat in a week. I've increased my vegetables back up to the levels I really enjoy eating, and I eat a lot of really colorful veggies too. I'm now eating more sweet potatoes and peppers. I am not going to cut back on fats, but I'm making sure it's not butter so much and more olive oil. And all my grains are whole, which is what I actually prefer.
  4. I'm getting in my 8 hours of sleep! It took some doing to get me to stick to a schedule, and I still struggle over staying up and watching Stephen Colbert or Craig Fergussen (I'm absolutely in love with both of them...they make me laugh so much!). When I make the choice to stay up and watch them, I do sleep in a bit longer, but I try to get up naturally.

I'm not perfectly religious about keeping to "the plan". I do have my indulgences. I am in love with Luna Bars! I like eating one a day, with a big glass of almond milk, just before going to bed. My favorites are the Lemon Zest and the Nutz Over Chocolate flavors. I also eat a single ounce of high quality dark organic chocolate, like the Dagoba or Valhrona brands, every afternoon. Yum! I really do like eating well, with lots of delightful flavors. I always dress my salads with the freshest extra virgin Spanish or Greek olive oils and a squeeze of lemon juice or splash of seasoned rice vinegar. I also like sprinkling good Turkish oregano on my salads. It's so fragrant and fresh-smelling!

On Sundays, I do absolutely nothing! I indulge my lazy, TV-watching, Internet-surfing reclusive nature. But I do go outside so I can get good hour of natural sunlight into my eyes for my mental health.

So, this morning, the skin on my forearms is visibly jiggly, more than it was last week. I weighed in and found I have lost that five pounds again. If I can push past that into next week, then I'll know I worked through my first plateau. Five pounds at a time, that's all I'm going to work at.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Motivation - Part 2

In my last entry, I talked about how to get to the heart of my motivation. I discovered a series of questions, asked by Tom Venuto, designed to help get down to issues at hand. I decided to work through them in this forum.

  1. What do I want? Oh jeez! I want so much! With regards to my mind/body, what I really want is to feel really good about myself. I really am enjoying who I am, as I am. But when I look in the mirror, what I see absolutely does NOT match up with my own self-image. I want to weigh 175 lbs. and achieve a body fat percentage of 24%. This is a healthy goal for me. I'm 5' 11" tall and 47 years old. I have a large frame. I don't want to look totally ripped. I also don't want to be a sell-out to all this frenzy over appearance. I think that's one big reason why I've held out for so long. I'm not pursuing weight loss at the pleasure of humanity's need to be around pretty people. I'm doing it for me. But on the other hand, I am a normal woman with normal needs, and I want to be wanted, to be desired.

  2. Why do I want it? I want it because I really want to be strong and healthy in every way. I want it because I want to feel completely confident with who I am. I want it because there are a lot of things I want to get done during the rest of my life which requires me to live longer with my health intact for as long as possible. I want it because there are moments when I want someone to look at me and appreciate my beauty for what it is, a part of the whole package of me. I want the state of my body and my health to be a visual manifestation of who I really am, so that when I look in the mirror, I see the complete package looking back at me.

  3. What's most important to me about achieving it? What's most important to me is to create and preserve my good health for as long as possible, and to feel good about myself. I don't want to be marginalized because I look old or feeble. I don't want to be discounted because I'm not strong. Additionally, I want an opportunity to get over my issues with everyone who has had issues with my body and what it looks like. It's important that I achieve this when it's right for me, in my own way, when it's of most value to me.

  4. What will I get when I achieve it? I will get a strong body without a lot of joint pain and muscle aches to contend with on a daily basis. I will get a body that does what I want when I want it to. I will get all new clothes that I really love to wear! (Jeez, that sounds so...lame! But it's what I want!) I will get to dance the tango with grace and poise and attitude!

  5. What will happen/what will it cost me if I don't achieve it? I will never be at peace with my body. I will not live long enough to accomplish everything I really want to do. And I will be stuck with shopping at Catherine's for the rest of my life. And I won't be valued as much as I want to be valued.

  6. What am I willing to give/sacrifice to get it? I am willing to give up leisure time, time on the computer not accomplishing anything meaningful and even watching TV! I am willing to give up old habits that comfort me (like eating and other methods of checking-out) when I'm caught up in moments of fear and anxiety and replace those bad coping mechanisms with good ones. I am willing to push myself outside of my comfort zone to achieve the results I am seeking. I am willing to experience muscle soreness due to exercise on a daily basis because I can manage it and learn to live with it.

  7. What's preventing me from getting it? Staying within my emotional comfort zone is what is preventing me from achieving what I want. Fear is what is preventing me from stepping out into new territory, into living life a whole new way.

  8. Is there any part of me that objects to achieving my new goal? If I achieve my goal, which I believe will be an amazing achievement for me, then there is no goal that I can't achieve...and that leads to fear of growing and achieving beyond what I am capable of handling. What if I become this accomplished person that I so long to be...and then I can't manage it all? What if I become a really attractive woman (for the first time in my life) and I don't know how to manage myself as a result of that? What if there are people who are in my life now who won't be able to handle that? What if there are people in my life who didn't pay attention to me before but are suddenly so much more attentive after I lose weight and I'm just thoroughly angry with them?

I think I'm experiencing a lot of fear around losing weight and getting fit. I still have a lot of things to consider. A friend suggested I read some of the works of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. She writes a lot about dealing with fear. I just bought Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. I think I'll settle into that book this weekend and address my fears in a future blog entry.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Motivation - Part 1

Earlier this week I stepped on the scale to happily discover I've lost a total of 20 lbs. since January 13, 2008. That's nearly 3 lbs. a week. What a great start! And yet...a moment of disappointment settled briefly upon my heart. I wanted to be down by another 10 lbs. No...more! I impatiently wanted to break through a barrier, to get past a certain number on that scale, one which will mean so much to me. I leaned on the bathroom counter a bit, just to see what it would feel like to see the scale register below that number. Surprisingly, that's when I started to panic!

I haven't weighed less than 300 lbs. for nearly 17 years. Gosh! I just did the math. I've weighed over 300 lbs for nearly 17 years! I weighed 270 lbs. when I got pregnant with my oldest son, I then gained weight during my pregnancy, and I have never been able to get it off. I've come close to 300 lbs. on a few occasions, just a couple of pounds away from it, but never was able to cross that threshold. I find myself just 22 lbs. away from it now, and being this close to it seems to mean something substantial. And I'm not at all sure what it is.

Perhaps I'm uncomfortable with crossing that threshold because I know that this time, if I don't get over myself and work through this issue, that I'm screwed! Because I now know that I can achieve this goal. I have the power to do so.

Perhaps I've relied on my self-identity as a large woman for far too long. My dimensions sustained me where my character and resolve failed me. I'm big, but I'm not really that strong. Unchecked, my personality was larger than life. My physical size gave me balance and proportion.

So, would I allow yet another set of emotional obstacles impede my progress? Oh, God! I hope not! I need to get my head, and heart, back in the game.

I went to an online support group I belong to, Burn the Fat Inner Circle (hosted by Tom Venuto - a body builder), for some encouragement from others who deal with their own issues towards achieving their fitness goals. I was directed to something Tom wrote about how our minds work and what motivates us to achieve success. He said, "To make changes and make them stick, it's important to identify what motivates us (our reasons why), and what our beliefs and values are and bring them into conscious awareness." He continued with, "...goals are not enough and even goals + desire are not enough. They are important, but they are only the starting point. If they are fueled by willpower alone, you will be fighting against addiction and temptation. When they are accepted subconsciously, and backed by emotion and 'reasons why' they become habit and are carried out automatically."

I see the need to do some excavation of my motivation, to dig out what my belief system is about myself, and do some restoration, and some rennovation, in order to get my head and heart in alignment with my goals. I may find that I need to reevaluate my goals as well.

Ain't mid-life grand!