DAY 693: Warrant for a rest

For a long time, I’ve been feeling exponentially draggier.

When I first noticed it, it was during a particularly stressful, eventful, and fatiguing summer of seemingly non-stop madness.  A sampler platter:  attending a 9-day work conference out of town, buying a place while working at said conference, completing the closing and moving processes once I returned, traveling for more work and personal trips in July and August, and undergoing a massive professional realignment that threw my role at work into upheaval and added extra demand and uncertainty.  It was no wonder that I was feeling so tired; I was, and had every reason to be.

As fall came on, the stresses of murkiness at work and first-time homeownership snowballed into a larger mess that collected political and familial stress.  I had not only completely given up on exercising by that point, but I had also thrown into the mix eating anything and everything I could get my hands on.  I took the very mature route of ignorance to deal with it, refusing to acknowledge that I lived in a world where scales or mirrors existed.  When all of my clothes became tight again, I just doubled down deeper into my denial and told myself I’d have to wait to deal with it until things calmed down.

Well, things finally did calm down in mid-January — but a month on, I’m more exhausted than ever.  This is in spite of having successfully resumed and implemented clean eating and easing back into exercise with a moderate lift to start.  What’s up?

It could not be more simple; I’m tired because I’m tired.  I’ve been getting into bed at early times and maximizing how long I’ve spent there for as many hours as possible, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been getting quality sleep.  Every morning, I wake up feeling as if I’ve actually been awake all night, and feeling as if getting out from under the covers is physically impossible.  It’s not because of stress anymore, even if it’s true that it was likely a — or the — factor leading up to this point; it’s because my bed sucks.  Like, SUCKS.

My mattress is a teenager.  Most beds don’t make it into their tween years, let alone to driving or voting age, but that’s roughly the range mine has reached.  That’s TOO LONG to be sleeping on the same mattress night after night!  Of course I’m tired in the morning after a night of tossing and turning, but never getting comfortable.  I didn’t believe it when Jiminy would show an absolute maximum of 3 hours’ deep sleep, but typically more like 1-2 hours’.  As it turns out, that data seems to track.  It’s not worth feeling chronically drained and prone to muscle aches and all-day stiffness, to say nothing of the toll it’s taking on my mental sharpness or ability to live healthily.  Once I finally got real with myself about the culprit of my fatigue, I knew I had to bite the bullet and shell out for a new mattress set.

Can I just say, I realized in the shopping process that I’ve never actually paid for my own mattress before — I was a teenager myself when my parents bought me my now-teenage bed! — and even with the good sales going on this time of year, they are EXPENSIVE!  BUT, this isn’t a splurge; it’s a vital piece of my overall health puzzle.  I can’t do anything well if I’m not rested, and losing weight tops that list.  So, this weekend, I bought myself a new, incredibly comfortable mattress and box spring.  It won’t be delivered for another couple of weeks, but I’m already craving it more than I’ve craved even chocolate recently.  I can’t wait to catch up on some quality shut-eye so I can do the thing right.

Sleep is a VERY important part of this process.  I’ve always known that, but I didn’t realize the extent to which I have been inadvertently depriving myself of it until I stopped to truly think about it, even though the signs have been there for some time.  Now that my eyes have finally been opened, here’s hoping I can get them to stay closed all night in the very near future.

DAY 281: ENTJ(-A)

I just got back from a week-long holiday fog.  For some reason, part of my family time included taking the (unofficial) Myers-Briggs personality test with 3 members of my family and 2 friends from high school.

I have a slight history with this test.  I’ve taken it a handful of times over the years, sometimes in professional contexts and sometimes in a spirit of what-the-hell.  I never committed my “type” to memory because every time I took it, I got a different result.  It was interesting to read, but it never felt entirely right.  Too many of my answers were really “it depends,” so I would give neutral answers, making it hard to type me accurately.  Furthermore, I’m generally a special combination of adaptable and indecisive, so I’m kind of just always ready to react and can figure my way through things in the absence of a plan, rare though those situations may be for me because I always need a plan.  The zodiac has me totally pegged; Myers-Briggs, not so much.  Go figure, huh?

Well, this time, I took a test modeled on Myers-Briggs 3 times on 3 different metrics and got the exact same type each time.  It was a type I’ve never gotten before.  How can I be sure of that when I JUST said that I never bothered remembering the type because it was different every time?  Every other time, the types had to do with being diplomatic, being solicitous, being dependable.  The results I got this time were different.  This I would have remembered.  I took it three times because I was so stricken by the result of taking it the first time, that I demanded a recount and took it a second time on a second site, and was so shocked by that that I found a third test to take.  I would have taken it a fourth if I wasn’t so exhausted from the incessant self-analysis (or if a link to another reputable measure had fallen directly into my lap).

Yeah, I got a little obsessive about all of a sudden being a solid ENTJ  (Extraverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Judging).

I had very strong reactions to reading the various synopses about type ENTJ.  Before I launch into this full throttle — and I’ll avoid detailing every single fee-fee I experienced so as not to annoy the hell out of anyone reading this — I will say that I know it’s useless to put too much stock into these things.  Our human idiosyncrasies make it so that anyone can be any type in any given situation, and these types are indicators of tendencies towards certain behaviors rather than a black-and-white classification of who one is at one’s core.  (And arguably, my reaction to discovering my type disproves the test results.  Meta enough for ya?)  Still, I was a little blown away at some of what I read about my typology.  Here are two snippets of the worst of it:

“Few other types can equal their ability to remain resolute in conflict, sending the valiant (and often leading the charge) into the mouth of hell. When challenged, the ENTJ may by reflex become argumentative. Alternatively (s)he may unleash an icy gaze that serves notice: the ENTJ is not one to be trifled with.”  —

My family and long-time friends found it hilarious that I was at once associated with fiery hell and icy gazes.  Someone in the room made a joking comment about my being “the icy mouth of hell.”  One of my good friends of 15 years, when I finished reading this page aloud with a completely baffled inflection and horrified look on my face, responded to my indignation with a pause and then, “This comes as a surprise to no one.”  But to me, it makes me sound hot-headed and cold-hearted.  The rest of the write-up basically called this type a callous, insensitive jerk.  There are a lot of things in the synopsis that are true, but I really struggled with the idea that I might be that hardened.  I expressed that, and my loved ones helped me understand that I could probably come off that way for people who don’t know me, especially in a formal/professional setting, but that I had never made any of them feel that way.  They reminded me that I’m the one they come to with their problems — why would they do that if I really were the icy mouth of hell?  Still, is this what strangers get from me, even if I’m not trying to project a don’t-fuck-with-me vibe (which, admittedly, I often am)?  Yikes.

My interpretation?  “You’re kind of an intimidating bitch with no regard for human emotion.”

Next nugget:

“[…]ENTJs are characterized by an often ruthless level of rationality, using their drive, determination and sharp minds to achieve whatever end they’ve set for themselves. Perhaps it is best that they make up only three percent of the population, lest they overwhelm the more timid and sensitive personality types that make up much of the rest of the world…” —

While ENTJs make up only 3% of the (US) population, only 1% are women (and this source says ENTJs are only 2% of the population, not even 3).  Next… ruthless?!  I’m rational, yeah, but SHIT.  Ruthless?  That word came up A LOT in all the different things I read while indulging my narcissism, and it was hard to ignore.  The only other word that came up with that frequency was “arrogant,” which to me is the most abhorrent trait in a human being, and I hate that I may be that way myself. takes this typing a step further with a hyphenated suffix at the end of the 4-letter code, either the letter A (assertive) or T (turbulent [which I think would be better described as timid]).  Guess which one this ENTJ asshole got?  A, of course.  ENTJ-A.  Being ruthless, arrogant, and icy wasn’t quite enough.


Primarily, in my scouring of online resources on ENTJ, I found myself agreeing generally with a lot of the typology.  The biggest one that came up is a thought that I’ve had before, but never made the connection to the concept that it might have to do with my personality.  It’s basically that ENTJs crave criticism, need criticism, and respond well to criticism, but no one criticizes them, probably because they assume that based on their assertive/aggressive tendencies, ENTJs will lash out when they hear it.

People really don’t give me criticism; you’d think that for as awkward as I am about accepting praise and compliments, the reason would be that I’m used to the opposite.  Nope.  I’m bad at hearing positives about myself because, like, what do you do with that, then?  With criticism, you can respond with action (you can also ignore it if you’re self-aware and self-possessed enough to know when it’s BS) and use it to improve something unappealing about yourself.  With a compliment… what, your work is done?  That feels like a lopsided transaction.

I know, boo-hoo, no one criticizes me!   It’s sure as shit not because I’m perfect, so maybe the absence of criticism is the criticism:  I’m unapproachable.  I never thought that of myself, but maybe it’s what I project with all my icy-mouth-of-hell stuff.


Anyway, all of this got me thinking about my history with Myers-Briggs and why I scored so inconsistently until now, when I suddenly became a solid ENTJ, keeping company with the likes of Napoleon and Hitler (yes, seriously).  What’s up with that?

Well, I’ve changed a lot in the last year.  I’ve intentionally created a structure — a very RIGID structure — for myself so that I can do what I need to do and make sure I prioritize my time to allow myself to live healthily and lose weight.  This has meant intentionally acting selfishly and having to stop myself from feeling guilty about it.  It’s meant saying no to invitations to social gatherings because I didn’t want to be around the alcohol and the greasy food.  As a result, I’ve had to become my own best friend, and at least I’ve always been a good friend.  I’ve stuck up for myself, I’ve protected myself, and yeah, I’ve been assertive in situations with other people out of self-interest in defense of myself.  All of this has had the side effect of giving me some killer self-confidence, and I have less patience than ever for bull shit (because I have less time than ever to put up with it) and more faith than ever in myself.  Maybe all of this is a net positive, but it’s naturally changed the way I would respond to any personality-indicating questions on some standardized test based on introspection, and it’s no surprise if it’s hardened me.  I’m physically tougher, I’m mentally tougher, and I’m emotionally tougher.  It doesn’t make me heartless, icy, or even ruthless, though.  It just makes me prepared to continue what has been a very challenging process, and one that I can count on to only get more difficult.

So, as much as ENTJ is a pretty unattractive personality type, it has some positives, too:  tenacity, determination, commitment to goals, drive, focus, motivation, and strong will.  I need ALL OF THAT, so thank goodness I was able to cultivate it in myself.  I sure as hell wasn’t born with it, at least not this strain of it.

And hey, I even hope I get to keep some of it.  If my ENTJ-A self sticks to my plan, I’ll have hit my overall goal before the end of 2016, meaning I will be able to pull off the gas a little bit.  Maybe I’ll have more time to have fun.  Maybe I’ll stop thinking of other people’s demands as bull shit and look forward to phone calls and e-mails and spontaneity again.  Maybe I’ll change again as a result.  If I do — and hell, even if I don’t — I bet that if I take a Myers-Briggs-ish test again a year from now, I’ll get a different result.

But for now, the only results that matter are the health ones.  My truest personality will solidify once I’m through this tunnel.

DAY 143: Not ready, Freddy

I have a cousin who’s very special to me.  He’s actually my dad’s second cousin and he is my dad’s age, but they two of them are very similar and pretty close with each other, so I’ve always had more of a niece-uncle relationship with this cousin ever since I can remember.  I look forward to long talks with him at our family reunion every year, and he’s the person I’m always most eager to see.  When we were saying good-bye at the end of the reunion last month, he looked at me very seriously and with a genuinely confounded expression on his face, and he asked me, “How have you not been snapped up yet?”

I ask myself that sometimes, but it’s never a thing I have to wonder about very long.  Every reason I can think of, in the end, ties back to the weight.  I don’t feel attractive, hence I don’t put myself out there in the first place, hence I am alone.  I actually am not attractive, hence no one is attracted to me, hence I am alone.  I spend all my free time in the gym, hence I don’t make time to meet or go out with anyone, hence I am alone.  I have not felt like my true self in a long time, hence I can’t represent who I really am to a stranger, hence I am alone.  The list goes on and on.

Of course, when you are uncomfortable enough with the real issues, you become a master deflector.  You don’t want to think about it, hence you distance yourself from it, hence you answer such heartfelt questions with something like, “I don’t know, man.  You need to have a talk with your gender on my behalf.”

Fifty-three pounds ago, I went on my first OKCupid date.  I had no business being on a dating site in the first place, but I figured there was no harm in looking.  Well, sure enough, I stumbled upon Perfect on Paper Guy.  We had some astronomically high compatibility rating, a lot of similar interests, and a good amount of similarity in character.  Before long, PPG and I progressed from in-app messaging to text messaging for hours.  A week into this pattern, I got a message from him that said “OK, we have to meet, because you are too good to be real.”  That was like a heart flutter and a heart attack at the same time.  I knew I was too good to be real; he was surely envisioning some 120-pound girl, and he was about to meet an obese chick.  I should have told him, or I should have had it on my profile that I was overweight, but I conveniently never mentioned it or completed that particular field on my profile.  I put the in-person meeting off for a few days, but eventually, it was time to pull the trigger.

The amount of psyching myself up to go through with it was Herculean.  I probably lost a full pound that day just from having an elevated heart rate from nerves.  Before it was time to meet, I took myself to the roof of my office building and tried to calm myself the fuck down by writing on the back of an ATM receipt — the only paper I had on me — in order to keep some perspective.  I still have it, taped inside my real diary:

You’re doing great.
You’ve lost weight.
You’ll continue to.
It’s not too late.
You’re proud of yourself.
You know who you are.
You deserve the best you can get from life.
Another person’s feelings about you don’t change or matter more than your own.”

On the other side, I wrote:
He’s just a person.”

I stared at that piece of paper for 20 solid minutes before heading over to meet him.

Predictably, it did not go fantastically.  His face registered visible disappointment when he saw me and realized he’d been sold a bill of goods and this fat-ass was the person he was now obligated to spend the next interminable window of time with out of politeness.  To top it off, we had ZERO chemistry in person, likely because of my lie by omission.  (Honestly, though, I have the sense that he just doesn’t have much of a personality when he’s not communicating via text.  It wasn’t a loss for me, in the end.)  We suffered through 45 minutes in each other’s tortured company, then endured a painful metro ride in the same direction, until he mercifully got off at his stop.  I texted him a thank-you on my walk home, he said you’re welcome, and that was it.

I figured the little experiment bought me another 40-50 pounds before subjecting myself to another such ordeal.

I recently heard somewhere that women’s biggest fear when meeting a man from online for the first time is violence.  Men’s biggest fear when meeting a woman from online for the first time is that she’ll be fat.  There’s ample evidence that supports this.  Having had the experience I unwisely set myself up for in the spring, and then hearing about that, and then stumbling upon Bye Felipe right before my ill-advised second OKCupid date tonight was quite unfortunate.

This one went wrong for all the OPPOSITE reasons.  First off, I initiated things with him.  I was all stupid and giddy and high on Seattle and just went for it.  It went the same way it started with PPG, and we texted round the clock for an entire week.  I accepted a date like 3 days in.  Stupid.  Then, I told someone about it.  Double stupid — but she did hold me accountable and make sure I didn’t punk out and not go.  That was a feat within itself, because unlike last time, I wasn’t nervous.  I wasn’t even excited; I was annoyed that I was losing out on yet another night of my sacred and much-needed gym time, and mad at myself for so quickly forgetting the self-inflicted awkwardness of the last date.

BUT, I met him tonight, and it was fine.  I even had fun… but like, fun I would have with my girlfriends.  I really didn’t feel it with him.  Unfortunately, he clearly felt it for me, which is a situation I have been in… uh… once, ever.  I have never done so much tap dancing to avoid being kissed.  I have also never gotten so much positive attention and been told I’m cute and attractive and blah blah blah.  I am SO. UNCOMFORTABLE.  The whole time, I was annoyed because my pants were falling off and my top was sliding off my shoulders, which probably looked like an intentional sexy move, but is actually because nothing I own fucking fits anymore.  (I know, I know, first-world problems.  Just saying, it made me self-conscious.)  I was able to be myself, which I guess is the good thing I can take away from the experience, but I am 100% not ready to be taking steps towards finding a relationship.  I’m still way too squirmy for that.

So, I am indefinitely swearing off dating.  I’ll have to figure out a way to tell this guy I want to be friends, which I mean, without making it sound like a brush-off or revealing that I’m an obsessive RFG (Recovering Fat Girl) and I ain’t got no time fo’ alllll dat right now.

Leave it to me to overcome the Bye Felipe obstacle and skirt the showing up fat and being rebuffed risk, only to turn into the rebuffer.  Sigh.  I’m a damn mess.  I should be locked in an isolation chamber until I’m thin.

DAY 104: Off track(ing)

For the past 2 weeks, I violated one of the Dieter’s Ten Commandments:  I abandoned tracking.

At first, it wasn’t intentional. I was out of town two weeks ago and not preparing my own meals, so it became impossible/too annoying to do my usual food logging on My Fitness Pal.  After I got back, I used it once to calculate if I would be within my calorie restrictions based on my meal ideas for that week, then didn’t touch it at all the rest of the week.  (I do the same exact meal plan every day over a 7-day period so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day, and so I can cook once a week and just reheat like a champ the other days.  This is definitely the way to go.)

This past week, I didn’t log a single thing.  I didn’t even nutritionally test drive my meal plan before the weekly cooking extravaganza like I usually do.

I don’t consider this falling off the wagon because, well, I didn’t fall off the wagon.  In fact, the second week was more of a conscious decision from the I-wonder voice in my head.  “I wonder if you could keep control of yourself without tracking every single thing you ingest this week,” it taunted me.  That voice has evicted the one that used to tell me I could eat whatever I wanted today because it was the end of the world; the diet would start on a tomorrow that never came.  The I-wonder voice challenges me with things like, “I wonder if you can make it 150 steps in the next 60 seconds” when I’m on the elliptical and “I wonder if you’re ready to add 5 pounds of weights to this machine now” when I’m lifting.  I always pass its little tests.  So, I accepted this challenge, too.

Here’s your full disclosure now:  I had a mini ice cream on Thursday night and I had 3 cookies at a rooftop fireworks viewing party yesterday evening.  I would have admitted this, anyway, just via tracking rather than in long form.  (Writing it out still took less time than tracking it on My Fitness Pal would have!)  The ice cream, I would have had, anyway.  I bought it 2 weeks ago and planned to have it on the 1st of the new month *if* I nailed my mileage goal for June.  I did, so I did.  Oh, and I have a second container waiting in my freezer for some future time when I feel like it.  The cookies, I had only planned on having one and I ate three instead.  Here’s how worried I am about that, by the way; the old me would have kept eating them until she couldn’t remember how many cookies there were.  Translation:  I trust myself, and I’mma swagger about it all over this blog post.

So, did I get too cocky?  Did I give myself too long a leash too soon?  Is this the beginning of a slippery slope?

Well, I lost a total of 6.6 pounds during those two weeks, so… no.  Another victory for the I-wonder voice!

That said, I am now returning to tracking.  I still trust myself, and I clearly still have an appalling amount of ego about it, but I actually kind of like tracking.  Besides, it’s another metric and another piece that fits into the overall process.  I like knowing what I’m taking in every day, and I especially like being able to look back at previous weeks where I had exceptionally high or low weight-loss numbers and being able to tell between food and exercise what contributed to that.  However, thanks to this little experiment, I have developed a new muscle, which is the mental muscle of being able to gauge what an appropriate portion is, approximately.

I plan to continue tracking to the bitter end of this “journey” (God, I hate that euphemism — I’m sure I’ll over-explain that in some future post), but at least I’ve proven to I-wonder that I can go without that crutch when necessary.  For this to be a success long after the losing process is over, that’s an important thing to know.  Yay!

DAY 92: My massage hurts!, and other first-world problems

I got a massage over the weekend as my 50-pound milestone reward.  I usually do the Swedish + deep tissue combination, cuz mama needs the de-knotting, but mama also needs the love.  As is the norm, it hurt so good and gave me results!  My range of motion in my neck is significantly better, my shoulder blades feel as if a thousand little strings keeping them taut have been cut, and I feel less physically tense overall.  These muscles have been working like dogs lately, so they needed some relief.  My neck is still a little tender from the work the masseuse did there, though, and oddly, my hip is all weird!  It feels like my legs are suddenly two different lengths.  The masseuse did say as she was massaging my hip that there was a lot of tightness there, and she spent a lot of time releasing some trigger points, but it’s kind of strange I would still have this feeling a few days later.  (I know, boo hoo, my indulgent spa treatment gave me an ouchie.  I am to be massively pitied.)  Ah, well, it’ll pass one way or another.

Unrelatedly but in a similar vein, I have become SO DEPENDENT on my Vivo Fit.  I don’t even like the little thing.  It’s like my own personal Jiminy Cricket, but less gross and more annoying.  Every time that cursed red arrow starts filling the screen, I kind of want to rip the damn thing off my arm and throw it through a wall.  Then again, I don’t know where I would be without it. It’s been crucial to my success.  The constant, albeit irritating, reminders to get off my duff and move around have been key not just to my physical improvements, but also my mental ones (future post to come on this).  Beyond that, it was the inspiration for the very first non-scale goal I set for myself:  200 miles in June.  (As of bed time last night, I was only 62 miles away from realizing that goal.  I’m gonna scorch that number, and I can’t wait.)  Even on the days where I haven’t made it to the gym, I have gone to slightly maniacal lengths to ensure that I at least get all my steps in — and Jiminy is always moving the bar higher for that, the little bastard.  In all seriousness, though, this technology owns me.  Thank you, Vivo Fit, for keeping me committed and for keeping me moving.  Best post-holidays impulse purchase I ever made.  Wireless blu-ray player, eat your heart out.

To conclude this woe-is-me jam, I offer this parting lament: all my clothes are too big (waaah!) and I keep having to buy new ones (pobrecita!).  I put my cell phone in my pants pocket at work last week, and then my pants FELL OFF.  Luckily, no one saw that happen, or they would have seen my saggy underwear about to do the same.  (Do you need a tissue to wipe away those tears of pity?)  Yesterday, I found an oh-honey pair of pants that were too small when I bought them last spring, and had completely forgotten about.  I put them on all excitedly, and they wouldn’t stay up on my hips.  (Sob!)  I know, I know, this sounds like backdoor bragging, and I guess it is, but I am also actually running out of money to support this healthiness habit I developed to replace stuffing my face and being inert.  I’m gonna need my Diet Bets to pay out right quick, because my last paycheck went to Ann Taylor Loft and my landlady may have an expectation of receiving rent from me this month.  Although, if worse comes to worst, I guess I could always take up residence in some of the old tents I used to pass off as clothes.

OK, reader, you’ve suffered enough of me.  I’m gonna go cry myself to sleep.