DAY 038: The proclivity for negativity

DietBet Kickstarts 1 and 2 (out of 3) have ended, and I’m a two-time winner!  I have just a bit more to go before I meet the goal for my third one that weighs out this time next week, and I have every intention of winning it.  Anyone in a DietBet has every intention of winning, though, right?  Or they wouldn’t be betting in the first place.  The money is a huge motivator… but it shouldn’t be the focus.

Unfortunately, I’m seeing a new trend in the DietBet community that I’ve never seen before in almost three years on the site:  whiny, complain-y, negative comments about the modest winnings.  Both of my recently-ended Kickstarters heavily showcased these gripes.  In most cases, they came from people with misguided expectations about how much money they would come away with if they hit their goals — these folks pretty clearly didn’t bother to read or understand the rules before joining the game, or before shooting their mouths off at the end of it.  I know it’s disappointing to “only” win six bucks after working your tail off for a month, but imagine how much worse it must be to come within a pound of your goal after working your tail off for a month, and losing your entire buy-in on top of that!  (By the way, those people are the ones who financed your six-buck win, complainers.  And then you bitched about it.  Double ouch for them, huh?)

Many people have been quick to point out to the ranters that DietBet is a place for support, motivation, and accountability; it is NOT a get-rick-quick scheme.  It’s why I’ve come to DietBet every time I’ve felt myself slipping and needing to get back on track, and as long as I stay focused, it works for me.  Not because of the money, but because of the support.  I once hosted a DietBet, albeit a small one, with a $10 buy-in that only had about a dozen people in it.  We were VERY active as a group with posting and interacting, and we had a blast losing weight together.  At the end of the bet, none of us profited a single penny because we ALL met our 4% goal.  That wasn’t a fluke coincidence; that was because we were in it together.  The fact that we only got back our initial investment was beyond worth it because it meant that nobody lost the game and everybody had lost weight.  We were really there for each other.  It was the best DB game I’ve ever played.

The wonderful thing about January is it does flip a switch in people to make changes in their lives where they feel unhappy, and weight is probably the number one thing people resolve to change about themselves at the first of the year.  It’s fantastic when people make strides towards health and self-improvement, and even more fantastic when they succeed.  Unfortunately, it means many newcomers flood gyms and websites with the most earnest of intentions, but without a real plan.  They haven’t done the research, and then it’s everyone else’s problem — sometimes fault? — that they aren’t having their sugar-free cake and eating it, too.  If you’re pissy because you didn’t rake in a windfall on a community weight-loss site, honestly, shame on you for having that expectation in the first place.  There is nothing anywhere in the rules or FAQs that should have led you to formulate such an idea.  Congratulate the people who busted their asses to win, just like you did, and get back to work.   **steps off soap box**

Ironically, all the negativity in the air on DB right now has triggered some positive thinking for me.  I’ve been kind of skittish lately about the eventuality of my foot surgery, which is likely to happen next month.  I know that as long as I plan, I can avoid regaining, and can even continue to make progress on my weight loss.  Even still, it’s hard not to feel kind of nervous about being essentially immobilized for such a long period.  That’s a slippery slope to negative self-talk.  What the pouters on DB have inadvertently reminded me with all their negative talk is that it’s incredibly unappealing and counter-productive.  I’m not on my mission for any other reason than that I want to be.  And you know what?  I can do it.  I just have to decide to.  Multiple times a day, every day.  The only way to do that is by staying positive.

In the meantime, I really hope this influx of downers is not the start of a new trend on DietBet.  It really crushes what has always been a positive atmosphere for most players.  No one is here for that.

DAY 017: The foodstuffs dreams are made of

They’re baaaaaaa-aaaaaack:  the food dreams.  With a twist.

Last night, I don’t even remember what I was illicitly eating in my dream when I reached the level of semi-consciousness where I realized I was dreaming.  At that point, I immediately grabbed a bowl of whipped cream that appeared from nowhere and started eating it with a spoon.  I could take or leave whipped cream in real life, so that was a surprising splurge!  Haha.

This was the second night in a row of food dreams, but with different indulgences.  I always hit this point when I start a new health routine.  It’s not even just one point; it’s more like a starting point of what will be an intermittent pattern that continues indefinitely.  Oddly, it seems to happen at times when I’m not having any waking cravings and am actually feeling pretty secure in my food and exercise choices.  I usually feel insanely guilty when I wake up, before it hits me that the sinful eating I did in my dreams didn’t really happen.  The best is when, like this morning, I become aware that I’m dreaming and I can go hog wild with no consequences.

The weird part about last night’s dream was that, before the whipped-cream plot twist, I had an internal struggle about an indulgence of a different kind:  weighing myself.  It’s always a bit of a challenge not to weigh in between my usual Sunday night times, and I confess that I do usually give in around Thursday.  It’s been particularly challenging not to step on the scale this week, after annoyingly posting no weight loss at all last week.  My next scheduled weigh-in is still 4 days away, and I feel like my body has made it over the week-2 slump and has responded well to my consistency with diet and the introduction of regular exercise.  (I made it to the gym after work yesterday!)  I want to wait until Sunday to see the progress, and I’m so hopeful for a big number to offset the stall from last week, but I’m being diligent with myself not to.  If I can’t resist the damn scale, which should be an easy thing to resist because it’s THE ENEMY with a gremlin living inside it, how am I gonna say no to donuts and cookies and bowls of whipped cream?

Sooooo, I’m gonna ride it out.  In the meantime, I’m trying to prepare myself for a possibly disappointing number on Sunday.  I have to remember that the scale only tells me my relationship to gravity, not how I feel.

Unless it’s a big drop.  😉

DAY 014: All bets are off. And on.

For those keeping score, I am currently playing in five different DietBets.  (And that’s more than enough.  Cut me off, please.)  Tonight was weigh-in night for the newest of the bunch, and the first time I’ve weighed myself since last Sunday.  I didn’t expect to have a HUGE drop this week, but I did expect to have A drop.  After all, I stuck to my meal plan all week (except one planned lunch out on Thursday), and hit my steps goal every gosh darn day.  So, it was not my happiest moment when I stepped on the scale tonight to see… no change whatsoever.

And yet…

I wasn’t mad.  (I mean, did say I’d try to remember that the fatty gods were kind to me not so long ago.)

Weight loss is a wild ride, man.  Some weeks, your body gives up 5 pounds for no apparent reason when you’ve done nothing atypical; some weeks, things go more or less as expected; and some weeks, you bust your ass and get bupkis.  Now, in no way did I bust my ass this week; the bupkis isn’t entirely undeserved, especially given the notorious “week 2 curse” of new health routines.  Was I a little frustrated and disappointed at seeing no difference on the scale this week?  Well, yeah.  But it immediately passed thanks to all the DietBetting I’ve been doing.  I hopped off the scale, swallowed my dinner, and took myself out into the 17-degree (Fahrenheit) air for a 33-minute walk.

Like hell this event is gonna repeat itself.

Where I fell short on the scale this week, I succeeded in non-scale victories.  I stayed within calories on Thursday in spite of the meal out.  I got my steps every day.  I brought my lunch to a last-minute lunch meeting with a colleague on Friday instead of getting food where we went.  I smuggled lunch into the fancy movie theater I went to today instead of ordering off their fancy, delicious menu.  I’m still off coffee and going strong.  I’ve had THREE boxes of chocolates in my office for a full week, and instead of having a single one myself, I’ve plied my colleagues with them instead.  And I finally made it to the gym.

My commitment hasn’t wavered.  It’s growing.  And even though the scale hasn’t shown me the changes, I can feel them.

Go time.

DAY 007: Shaken, not stirred

Spoiler alert:  This has nothing to do with how I take my martinis.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to express how the last few months have been for me that led me to the point in my weight-loss mission where I find myself today.  In particular, the last 6 weeks of that have turned me into a raw, exposed nerve at times.  When I saw that today was #007 in my numbering scheme, a bit of an opportunity presented itself.  It’ll be a bit of a stretch, but hey, that’s been true for my pants of late; why should my writing be any different? 😉  So, let’s say I’ve been feeling existentially shaken, but somehow not stirred to action.  (It’s tortured, but whatever.  I’m sure I’ve done worse.)

Most of the year was pretty decent, just extra busy.  When things weren’t busy, I didn’t use my time the right way.  If I could go back to the summer and kick myself in the ass, let’s just say I would.  I did have an ankle sprain in there, but even still… I leaned hard into excuses that allowed me to stray from my healthy eating and abandon exercise altogether.

Zooming in on one cross-section of time, I take you to the period of late November through late December 2017, AKA the holiday season.  Call me over-analytical (and be correct), but a highly symbolic thing happened out of precisely nowhere.  The week leading up to Thanksgiving, the piercing I got to mark the halfway point in my mission got irritated.  It was slightly warm to the touch, and I could feel there was some sort of ball of nastiness between my earring and the hole in my ear.  I the area as best I could without taking the earring out, but after a few days of those attempts, there was no change.  I finally decided to do the obvious thing my body wanted me to do and remove the earring to give the hole a thorough cleaning.  The second the post left my ear, the nastiness ball got even larger and warmer, and the hole was imperceptible.  For the ensuing 2 weeks, it became a one-to-three-day cycle of cleancleanclean, scab slowly forms over site, scab falls off, repeat.  I haven’t been able to figure out what could have caused the sudden flare-up, but it was a week before I dared try getting an earring back in.  When I did, it was my sharp piercing stud from when I got my lobes pierced at age 11 — ohhhh, yeah, I still have those little pink studs in all their juvenile glory — and it hurt more than the original cartilage piercing did.  I’m pretty sure I partially re-pierced it.

That long-winded account is to say, I don’t view it as a coincidence that this happened at a moment in time where I’d solidly backtracked to the pre-halfway mark.  My piercing might as well have said, “You no longer have the right to this.  Come back when you’re serious.”

This saga is persisting even now, albeit to a lesser extent; but I am mostly leaving the earring out, periodically re-piercing the hole to drain it of blood (there’s a blood bubble that’s shrinking, but still present) and cleaning it.  I am not about to let that sucker permanently close.  At one point, I tried to insert the earring I got that hole pierced with, but my ear swelled up around it immediately and I had to take it right back out.  It was several days before I could do anything with it again.  I don’t know if I’ve developed a sudden allergy to sterling silver — is that a thing that can even happen?! — but it was wild.  I guess I’ll have to keep watching it.

Right after Thanksgiving, I had a minor car incident when a friend’s mom hit my car in her driveway.  No one was hurt, but it was enough that my car needed significant repairs, and I was without it, out of state, for over two weeks.  This meant a huge inconvenience at home; hours on the phone with insurance adjusters, rental car agents, and the auto body shop; and an unplanned trip back to my hometown that cost me 8 hours on the road and personal time off work to pick up my car when it was finally fixed.  It was an unwelcome bout of stress and annoyance.

Then, just before Christmas, my grandfather died.  I don’t think I need to expound on that.  Suffice it to say, I loved him very much and everything about letting him go was awful and painful, sometimes physically.

When I finally got back to my place after the unexpected, prolonged time at my parents’, I was drained.  I couldn’t get out of the terrible mental spiral of, What will they say about me when I die?  I need to quit my job and do something that matters.  Life’s too short.  I’m so unhappy.  Like a broken record, over and over again.  And I came damn close to doing something rash.  When I would re-pierce my ear during that period, I liked the pain.  I admit to doing it more than usual because I liked the pain.  The psychology attributed to cutters suddenly made sense to me:  giving myself this physical pain was a type of release valve for the internal pain I was feeling but didn’t know how to express, let alone work on solving.

I needed to get myself back into some semblance of control over the situation I was downward-spiraling myself further into.  That’s why I decided to do a fast to end the year.

After devouring breakfast on New Year’s Day, I signed up and weighed in for a new DietBet.  The pot is currently at $195,870 with 6,532 players.

This past week, I signed up for two additional DietBet games:  a Kickstarter that currently has 13,355 players and a pot of $400,650, and a Transformer that currently has a DietBet record (!) of 7,022 players and a pot of $932,400.  (Both are still open to new players — join me!)  These three new bets are in addition to the Transformer I joined in November that’s still in progress — and that I have lost both rounds of so far, but that I will come back and win!

Even after all the turbulence of the fall, I remained in a sort of helpless stupor where I knew what I needed to do, but I just couldn’t get myself there.  I’ve had to force myself back into meal prep and ratcheting up my give-a-shittitude, and the mental effort of babysitting myself has been tedious and exhausting.  It’s starting to take hold, though.  I’ve gone from being emotionally shaken to having finally shaken myself out of that rut.  I’ve gone from being emotionally not stirred to having finally stirred myself into taking charge.

I’ve already made some progress in spite of that, dropping 3.2 pounds since Monday night.  I’m definitely a long way from being all in, and I have yet to get a proper workout under my belt this time around, but it’s coming.  I’m going to get myself there.  There’s no alternative option.

Life’s too short for regret.




DAY 004: Wii did kinda start the fire

The snow bomb cyclone of terror and doom is upon us.

My area only got a light dusting of snow, but it’s FRIGID outside.  Like, wearing-three-pairs-of-pants frigid.  And windy AF.  Like, wearing-three-pairs-of-pants-and-still-getting-wind-burn-on-your-legs windfy AF.

Those factors + resolutioners overrunning my gym = interest in working out, tanked.  Unfortunately, that makes it pretty hard to reach my daily steps goal if I’m going to reach the 250,000 steps I want to hit this month.

Soooo, today, I had a brilliant idea:  work out at home with the ol’ Wii!  And I do mean old.  That piece is about to celebrate its 9th birthday.

This turned out to be quite the production.

I turned the console on with no problem.  When I finally found a remote control, I tried to use it, only to find it was unresponsive.  I opened the battery compartment to find… batteries that had oozed everywhere, who knows how long ago.  I pried them out of their slots, cleaned out the hardened residue, and replaced them with new ones.  I reset the control with the console, and SUCCESS!

Then, after I literally dusted cobwebs off of my Wii Fit board, I flipped it over to immediately check the batteries for the same issue as I had discovered in the remote — and there it was.  I removed the leaked, dead batteries and cleaned out the compartment, but I had no more extra batteries of the right size at home, so I had to trudge out into the bitter cold to buy some.  (Oh, I was serious about making this happen!)  Unfortunately, I had kind of mis-sequenced this whole venture; I should have checked for full Wii functionality before changing into my new Under Armour work-out pants that only cover me to mid-calf and removing my top entirely, leaving on only a bra.  But I didn’t.  And I didn’t feel like changing before dashing out to CVS, so I threw my winter coat on over my bare torso and subjected my bare legs to the biting temperatures.  I mean, I only walked to and from my car between my building and the CVS I drove to, but it was enough to feel the effects of my laziness.  Shit, I had to go when I was still revved up enough, or it would never happen!  Aaaaaanyway, I returned triumphantly with the batteries — great way to spend my Extra Bucks! — that I immediately inserted into the board, and… NOTHING.

I tried and tried to get the thing to work, but nothing I did made any difference.  RIP Wii Fit Board.  (And then I impulsively went on Amazon and ordered a replacement.  **shrugs**  YOLO.)

When my Wii was on and I had optimistically opened the Wii Fit menu, it greeted me with this:


Yowza!!!  That’s 2.76 years.  Do better, self.

Oh wellsies.  At least I know I have a working console and a working remote, so when the new board arrives, I’ll be ready to go!  And I WILL use the crap out of my Wii if this polar spell keeps up the way it’s supposed to.

In the meantime, all that running around from room to room and from car to CVS got me to within 500 steps of my daily goal, which I know I will hit tonight by just walking around in circles if I have to.  Wii may not have helped me get a burn on tonight, but it did help re-light my fire and get those needed steps.

I weigh in for my second Kickstarter tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to seeing if I have had any changes since I weighed in for my first Kickstarter on Monday.  That momentum would really help me keep this little flame lit!

Mean, not-so-lean 2017

For this entry only, I am ditching my usual format of numbering the days because, well, that saga is over.  To put it better, that chapter of the seemingly never-ending mission has closed.

I can’t believe that at this time in 2016, I was getting ready to weigh in at under 200 pounds for the first time since college.  I made it to that milestone, but lost my way in the middle of that year, and then, between a series of fits and starts and flirtations with getting back on the healthy track, I just surrendered at the end of last summer.  It was one too many punches in my ever-expanding gut, and I couldn’t be bothered.  Last year — OOOH, that feels good to put 2017 in the past! — pinned me to the mat and I quit trying to get up.

I steered into the skid so hard, I can’t believe what the scale told me when I forced myself to get on it today.  By rights, I really should have gained a metric fuck-ton of weight.  I devoured all the marked-down Halloween candy, all the yummy fall treats, enough Thanksgiving dinner and homemade treats while staying with family, and basically just kept going down that path until kingdom come.  It got worse when my grandfather somewhat expectedly and somewhat unexpectedly died the week before Christmas.  I went home to my family and we ate our feelings for a week, then I gorged myself on Christmas cookies and more discounted candy.  Once I came home to my empty house after all that emotional zig-zagging, I consciously continued the bender.  I truly don’t remember the last time I worked out, but I want to say it was… early October?  Ugh.

The night before my grandfather’s funeral, I got a punishing migraine.  I get them from time to time, but I thought I had identified the main cause of them — a too-tight hair tie around my wrist — and hadn’t had one since.  Well, turns out crying/fighting not to cry/not sleeping well/not eating right/getting no exercise/having crazy emotions can produce them, too… with a vengeance.  I was knocked off my feet in a cold, dark room for hours, finally throwing up so violently and forcefully I’m surprised it wasn’t coming out of my eyes and ears in addition to my mouth and nose.  That was only my third vomit-inducing migraine, and by far the worst.  I never want to feel like that again.

Yesterday, I decided the way I would end the year-long migraine that was 2017 was by fasting.  I just didn’t eat for 30 hours, from the time I went to bed on the 30th to the time I “woke up” this morning.  Why the air quotes?  Well, because fasting is — duh — a detox, and my body had a LOT to detoxify itself of.  (Yes, I am aware that I am not detoxified now after one day of not eating, but the process started.)  I got a nasty migraine again in the afternoon yesterday, and it didn’t fully dissipate until after I ate breakfast this morning, meaning I was essentially awake all night in mind-numbing pain, in spite of my perfectly lovely NYE plan of sleeping right through the stroke of midnight.  2017 just couldn’t let me go without one last kick in the head.  (At least I didn’t yak this time, although that at least would have provided some relief.)

Sooooo, when I got on the scale this afternoon (after 2 meals and 2 snacks), I was certain that I would see at least a 12-pound gain from my last weight check on December 3rd.  The proximal dehydration from my 30-hour fast, coupled with the month and a half of eating everything in sight and making zero effort to counteract any of that damage with physical activity, really should have ballooned my weight waaaaaay up.  And yet — don’t ask me how — I weigh 2 pounds less than I did on that date, and only 2 pounds more than I did when I weighed in for a Transformer DietBet on November 14th.

OK, body.  You came to play.

My meals for the week are prepped and portioned.  I stayed fully on my meal plan today and am on track with my water intake.  Yesterday was the reset.  Today is technically day 1.  Now let’s see about not stopping until the work is done.

And thanks, universe, for the solid of not making me 20 pounds heavier.  I’ll try to remember this when I’m working my ass off and the scale isn’t budging at all.  Mysterious ways, amirite?

Happy new year!


DAY 757: No small feet

As long as I can remember, I’ve had one randomly, incongruously sized body part:  my feet.  I’m average height, but my feet are above average in length and way below average in width.  Unlike the rest of my body, they’re long and skinny.

When I reached my smallest adult size last year, I had lost at least a half-shoe size, which I regained over the course of the last year along with a bunch of the weight I had worked so hard to lose.  I suddenly find myself down another half-shoe size again, to 9 from 9½.  I’ve spent the day accidentally stepping out of my shoes while roaming the halls of my office.

While this is amusing and an overall encouraging sign of changes that are happening in my body, it’s also mildly annoying and bewildering.  I mean, come on, body!  You have tens of pounds to lose from the midsection, but you’re opting to drop the weight from what’s already the smallest part?!  DUDE.  Get right.

But like I originally said, it’s a good sign.  If this pattern of weight loss mimics last time’s, my silly body will shed weight in this order (which tracks so far this time around):

  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Chest
  • Feet
  • Legs
  • Arms
  • Thighs
  • Butt
  • Stomach

So, let’s go, body!  NEXT!