DAY 690: Stark craving mad

I’m a guest at a wedding, and it’s dessert time.  The banquet table is piled high with every variety of cookie I could have imagined, and I want all of them.  I squeeze as many as possible onto the small dish in my hand, still staring longingly at the ones I had to triage out of selection and save for my second trip.  In the back of my mind, my conscience screams, “STOP!  You’re going to mess up your weight loss!  That’s too many cookies!”  In brash defiance of this warning, I reach out and grab 3 giant chocolate-chip shortbread cookies that I just carry in my hand back to my assigned table.  I sink my teeth into one of the cookies in my hand and immediately feel guilty… so I keep eating.  I’m about to plow into the plate of cookies before me, when…

I wake up.

And now I’m angry.  Not only am I angry at my subconscious self for not making it through all those cookies when I could have and it wouldn’t have actually mattered, but I’m also angry that The Mission has crept into my sleeping time.  It’s bad enough I have to deal with constantly combating cravings during my waking hours, but now I have to do it in dreams, too?!

Ahhh, yes, I remember this: the taunting food-dreams stage.  This phenomenon is apparently common among dieters who are going hard.  Even Neil Patrick Harris mentions in his autobiography that when he was on a grueling fitness regimen in preparation for his role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway in 2014, the period was marked by “the most vivid food dreams” of his life.  Avoiding nutritional pitfalls in favor of sticking to meal plans becomes so ingrained in a loser’s mind that it burrows into the subconscious and haunts the person’s dreams.  It’s evidence of dedication and the huge importance of The Mission for the person in question, which is all good stuff — but damn, what a tease it is!

My cravings during the day have been mostly in check lately, but I find that when I let myself think for too long about what it would be like to let a spoonful of ice cream or a bite of a thick, chocolaty brownie with rich, gooey frosting cross my lips, things start getting dangerous.  That’s when the evil voice in my head says, “It’s just one indulgence, who cares?  You deserve it!  It tastes soooo good!”  I have to remind myself that no, actually, what I deserve is a healthy life.  I can’t give in to that temptation and expect to succeed.  Not right now, anyway.  The taunting food-dreams stage comes at a time too early in the process for me to safely veer off my nutritional course without A) cursing my own name, or B) stumbling the whole way down the slippery slope instead of feeling certain about regaining my footing.

I have DietBets to win and multiple bridesmaid’s dresses to fit into.  This is no time to be messing myself up.

The person who brought in the box of Tagalongs to my office, however… if I find out who that was, I will mess THAT person up.  And I don’t even like Girl Scout cookies.

If memory serves, these dreams mark the death throes of the tentative phase.  The more-confident phase of momentum is coming.  My sanity and I are waiting for it with open arms.

DAY 683: Body work

Decent news from the world of podiatry: my bone spur is NOT the issue.  In fact, it has shrunken since I first went in to have it examined.  The discomfort I’m feeling now is from strain on my plantar fascia ligament, which is tight and stretches when I take take steps, causing inflammation and the popping sensation in my heel.  My doctor offered to give me a cortisol injection today that would take care of the unpleasant feeling instantaneously, and possibly permanently, but I decided to hold off.  He’s prescribed me orthotic inserts that will help correct my immediate problem, and they won’t be ready for 3-4 weeks.  My (self-reported) pain level is at about a 3, so I figure that if it gets worse between now and the time I go back to the podiatrist’s office to pick up the orthotics, I’ll get the shot then (or sooner, if there’s a sudden spike).  Otherwise, I’ll give the orthotics (and, hopefully, a bit of weight loss!) a chance to make an impact and then go from there.

It is interesting how my body has responded to my weight re-gain.  I had trained it to be accustomed to a certain amount of movement with less and less mass to carry, and now, it has rapidly re-accumulated a bunch of that mass which was partially caused by, and also which partially contributed to, a significant decrease in movement.  The way that added weight has shown up on me has been interesting.  Whereas I lost it from all over, it really feels like 90% of it went directly to my waist when it came back.  Yes, my face and fingers have pudged out, but the rings I couldn’t wear when I was previously at this weight are still fitting from when I had reached my lowest, but the pants I was wearing when I was last at this weight aren’t.  I know this isn’t any kind of earth-shattering revelation, but the areas that are hardest to lose from, are easiest to gain to.  We all have our trouble spots, eh?  REMINDER TO FUTURE SELF:  Don’t mess around, girl.  It’s too hard to work the fat back off!  Not worth it.

This is so much work.  I’m looking forward to getting back to the place where it just felt routine and second-nature.

Wishing all of you strength and perseverance through the weekend!

DAY 460: Feeling some kind of weigh

That’s right… I’m still here.  And I’ve been feeling some kind of way.

Without wasting your time or mine with a long, detailed essay about how I’ve been busy and fighting off lack of motivation when my free time is constantly being compromised by some circumstances within my control (I’m buying a place!) and some that aren’t (my job owns me lately), suffice it to say, there have been too many distractions from my mission.

Over the past few weeks of my regrettable absence from my blog and from DietBet, I’ve had inconsistent focus.  I don’t want to say this, but for accountability purposes, I’m going to:  I gained.  I gained enough to get me pretty far back over the wrong side of 200.  It cost me the possibility of winning in my third Transformer bet, which would have been a very nice pot had I made it to the final round.  Failing is not fun.

BUT, I have learned that wallowing in shame and avoiding talking about it is what got me to over 300 14 months ago, and I won’t let that experience be for nothing.  I have to get back at it.  So, this is me, crawling out from under my embarrassment rock and trying to fix things.

I don’t have any insightful reflections I feel up to sharing at the moment.  It’s just being busy and having trouble carving time into my days when I can do an hour of cardio at the gym, and/or that 30 minutes of strength training.  Mostly, I’m frustrated with myself.  It’s no good when I don’t get along with me.

Enter Ira Glass.  The June 17th episode of “This American Life” was previewed at the end of the previous week’s podcast — this is one of the many podcasts I listen to avidly — so I knew it was coming.  I had eagerness and anxiety in anticipation once I saw it in my iTunes downloads last weekend, and I put off listening to it until yesterday.  Now that I’ve heard it, I want to recommend it to anyone who hasn’t heard it yet.  Go check out episode 589:  “Tell Me I’m Fat.”  It’s a bit longer than the length of a typical TAL episode by about 10 minutes, but such a worthwhile listen.

As expected, I had a complicated reaction to listening to those stories.  I think I’ll have to explain that in a future post — that gives anyone reading this the chance to hear the episode before I spoil it, too –but it was interesting.  A lot of it resonated strongly with me.  More importantly, though, it was the last push I needed to snap out of my fog.

More entries to follow soon!


DAY 395: The Skinny on Obesity

One of my tried-and-true tricks for helping myself refocus when I need a reminder of why losing weight is THE priority, is to watch some of the videos that helped positively reinforce my mindset at the very beginning.  I’ve mentioned this before in specific reference to the British series “Fat Doctor” and the role it played in shaping my work early on.  (I still recommend that one, particularly the episode I’ve linked to in my 12/1/15 entry.)  My current rut is the first time I’ve gained back a great deal of weight, and it feels the worst because of the milestone(s) I undid by allowing that to happen.  So, I’ve been doing a lot of self-cheerleading to recreate my positive attitude and remind myself that I’ve done it before, therefore, I can do it again.

Several weeks ago, I discovered a series of documentary-style videos by the University of California called The Skinny on Obesity.  I watched the whole set in the dead of winter when it was hard to convince myself that going outside was really necessary, and the motivation I got out of it was enough to last me a few weeks.  Not only was it interesting and informative, but it was presented in a very clear and matter-of-fact way that was easy to follow.  I learned a lot from these videos and have already returned to them many times for more inspiration and education.  Altogether, the entire suite takes just about an hour to watch, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.  However, if I had to recommend only one video, it would be this one.  More than anything I’ve ever read, watched, or heard, this presents information in such a clear way that it made me feel like I understand food at a basic level for the first time in all of my years on Earth.  Watching this video in particular, it was like a series of light bulbs going off.  Just eye-opening stuff.

Soooo, partially in thanks to the lessons these shorts have re-taught me, I’m on a vegetarian diet this week.  I’ve done this a few times since beginning my mission over a year ago, and it’s consistently yielded good results.  I’m not totally after just a drop on the scale this time, though; I’m in a position where I actually need to re-detox — which I remember the symptoms of and can feel happening — and reset the way I think about and consume food.  My plan of attack in the gym this week is light:  just arm weights and maybe a mile here or there on the elliptical if the mood takes me, or in the unlikely event that I don’t make my steps on a given day.  Next week, I intend to ramp it up.

One reason I’m letting myself off the hook physically is that I don’t want to overwhelm myself with so many readjustments that I’m setting myself up for further frustrations when I fall short, which is bound to happen when you try to change every single thing in one fell swoop.  Unfortunately, though, the self-hook-letting-off is primarily out of responsibility:  I have a knee injury.  I say that without knowing what it actually is; I just know I have some occasional shooting pain and there’s a lot of cracking and sustained soreness going on.  I want to get below the lowest weight I had hit and see if that’s enough to alleviate it, but without overexerting it in the process.  So, elliptical only so it doesn’t put too much pressure on my joints, and not until next week once I’ve got the food part on lock.  Also, I’m in a really shitty mood this week, so it’s just not the time to be forcing myself into stuff I know I’ll be too petulant to actually do, which will only create disappointment in myself.  (Ahh, self-awareness.)

Something that was reinforced to me through this whole lost month I just had is that all the pieces I had delicately set up to keep myself on track are very important.  It’s not just the big, obvious parts, like meal planning and working out; it’s also the small forms of positive reinforcement through podcasts, articles, videos, and writing in this blog.  It all matters, so it all needs to happen.  Lesson re-learned.

On that note, I hope you’ll watch the videos I plugged and find some motivation in them for yourself.  If nothing else, the educational value is incredible, so share far and wide!

DAY 331: Holy mole-y!

Welp, today was a day I’ve spent the past several weeks being somewhere on the spectrum between not looking forward to and dreading:  my first mole screening.

Moles, moles, moles.  I’ve got more moles than a bad cop show.  Of course, I grew up with my mom putting her loving spin on the terminology and calling them “beauty marks.”  Unfortunately, naming them something else doesn’t exempt you from potential associated health risks.

I wasn’t uncomfortable about this visit to my dermatologist because there’s anything alarming with any of my “beauty marks.”  It was the exam I wasn’t down with.  You have to lie on a table wearing one of those awful open-in-the-front paper robes with nothin’ but your skivvies and bra on underneath, while the doctor examines your skin inch-by-inch while he’s wearing all of his clothes, plus magnifying glasses.

I’d rather do almost anything else.

Except have skin cancer.

So, I did the screening.

Shockingly, it wasn’t so bad!  I mean, sure, I felt like a lab specimen, but that’s true of most doctor’s visits for me.  Everything is clear and my doctor isn’t worried about any of my moles.  So, that’s one unpleasant visit over and done.

The further good news?  I realized that life below 200 pounds means that those stupid examination robes actually stay closed around your body if you don’t want to let it all hang out.  I also learned that your heart doesn’t race with embarrassment the whole time the doctor is looking at the parts of your body you wish you could trade in for better models.  At the end of the visit, you get to leave with your dignity, and you don’t even feel like crying.  It’s miraculous.

Oh, and I’ll throw in a little milestone from last night:

P.S.  That’s not a mole on my foot, it’s a cut from breaking in some new boots that also broke in me.

Can you guess what that is around my ankle?

No, it’s not a house-arrest bracelet monitor.

It’s the large VivoFit band that used to fit my wrist, pictured halfway down my arm here in December:

FullSizeRender (1)

I’m too jazzed to expend mental energy putting an elegant little bow on all of that.  But you can see a bunch of my moles in that picture of my arm, so it ties together.  And maybe I’ll go watch a bad cop show for good measure.

Just roll.


🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

DAY 322: Monu-MENTAL

I’m taking an improv class.  The people are upbeat, fun, silly, and just looking for a good experience.  I find myself smiling throughout the class from the great creative outlet and clever social exchanges with peers, and I leave feeling energized and happy.  (Thanks for bankrolling my fun, Diet Bet!)

The sort of strange thing is that the class meets in an elementary school library.  (The school is, of course, closed during our sessions.)  It’s probably good juju for us to be subliminally reminded of our free-spirited inner children by the colorful decorations and toys around the room, but some of the set-up is a little impractical.  When our instructor wants us to do seated scenes, the only chairs at our disposal are meant for 5-year-old butts, not adult ones.  For someone who used to love ass-planting, the idea of sitting in one of these flimsy little seats was an, um, uncomfortable prospect.

This weekend, there was no way around it:  chair games galore.  I couldn’t shake the gif-style image my brain conjured up of me sitting on one of these children’s desk chairs and having it crumble to smithereens beneath my mass, and the thought of that horrified me.  I really wanted to participate in everything, but I was hanging back and hoping to abstain unnoticed to avoid busting a chair and embarrassing myself beyond redemption.

And then I realized:  I am a 31-year-old woman afraid of a piece of furniture.  CHILDREN’S furniture.

Dafuq?  That’s not how a fearless person acts.

So I shook it off.  I stopped thinking about how I’m probably the heaviest person in the class — certainly the heaviest girl.  I reminded myself that I’ve lost over 100 pounds, and if I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t even be in this class entertaining the possibility of putting my ass on that tiny chair.  I put my mental gif into my “mind vice,” à la Jack Donaghy, and crushed it.  I told myself it would be fine.

And I sat in a chair, like I’ve done a million times in my life, and did not crush it.

It was fine.

I will be fine.

But I still keep having nuisance thoughts creep into my mind.  It’s such a weird psychological place to be in, suddenly feeling a spike of nervousness about things I can do now, but that I used to not be able to do when I was at my biggest.  When I took a bath last week and could lie in the tub with both of my arms at my side because they fit now — that was a weird naked triumph.  When I was charging to work this morning and realized I was flying through the turnstiles to get to the train without making contact with the sides of it, I had an involuntary flashback to when that was impossible.  When a stranger sat beside me on the train and spent the whole ride trying to gingerly keep her body piled on her side of the line separating our seats, I remembered when that girl was me.  I don’t think people who have never dealt with significant weight loss ever think about this stuff.  I wonder if I always will?

Later today, I caught my reflection in the mirror of the bathroom at the office and saw a cheek bone on my face.  A cheek bone.  I started whipping my face around back and forth, averting my eyes and then quickly zooming them back to look at my reflection, as if trying to catch my cheek bone off-guard before it could run away.  It was still there.  And it has a twin on the other side of my face.

I couldn’t believe it.

I was about to reach up and touch my cheek bones to make sure they were real, when someone came out of one of the bathroom stalls. It was a co-worker I rarely see, but who has made a few subtle remarks on my weight loss before.  She caught me in a weird moment, posed with my hands half-raised to my cheeks and a strange grin on my face.

Instead of commenting on what must have been an odd thing to see, she looked at me and paid me an awesome compliment, with a huge smile of her own:  “You look great!

It turned into a 5-minute conversation about her own struggle with weight loss.  She asked me how I had been feeling since I’ve been changing, and I told her I felt better than I looked, and that my doctor was looking forward to not recognizing me soon.  She shared a doctor story of her own:  her doctor recently told her that she needs to lose 30 pounds.  She took hearing that really hard; she had a baby last year and is now back to her pre-pregnancy weight and happy with her size.  I told her she didn’t have 30 pounds to lose and she looked wonderful to me!  She said she didn’t think so, either; she agreed with her doctor that she could stand to lose maybe 15 pounds, but 30 sounded extreme to her.  It was deflating.  She said that ever since then, she’s really struggled with motivation.  She started asking me how I got started, so I shared a few things with her.  Even when she was describing her tough experience at her doctor’s office, she was smiling at me.  She ended the conversation with, “What you’re doing is inspiring me.”

That was AMAZING.  Honestly, I thought she didn’t even like me; turns out, she was kind of… studying me?  All this time, I was misinterpreting her glances and expressions.  I never would have known she was quietly cheering me on if not for that conversation.

That’s when I thought of the biggest change in myself:  being able to talk about it.  I am now talking about it with real people, in real life, out loud.  I don’t get all awkward or squirmy, and I don’t avoid the compliments anymore.  And guess what?  That makes people share more of their own experiences, and it becomes a way to help them.  It leads to conversations where you learn something more about someone you were previously making bad assumptions about, and it teaches you something about your place in your environment.

The personal growth during the physical shrinking is the best part of this.  It’s better than losing 100 pounds, it’s better than collar bones, it’s better than running a mile without stopping, it’s better than facing down a child’s chair, it’s better than breezing through a turnstile untouched, it’s better than fitting on less than half of a bench on public transportation, and it’s better than visible cheek bones.  But it took achieving all of those milestones to get here and finally start to see something I’ve been trying to find all along:  my true self.

The next person who asks me how I feel may just make me cry, and that’s the most open and honest answer I could possibly give to that question.

DAY 319: Protein shake-up

I’ve noticed something strange this week:  I’m hungry.

Ever since I got myself to within a limited daily range of calories, I have not felt hungry except when it’s time to eat.  My body is accustomed to the 7-7:30 breakfast, 10-10:30 AM snack, 1-1:30 lunch, 4-4:30 PM snack, and 7-7:30 dinner schedule I’ve been on since late March, and it’s been a dream.  I’m programmed now, both mentally and physically, to expect food at these 3-hour intervals, so I don’t fall for trick cravings or get hungry at unusual times.  I know when the food is coming, I get hungry for it right before my meals, and I feel satisfied afterwards.

Annoyingly, this week has been different.  I’m voracious when I wake up, which is really strange.  Mornings are typically the time when I’m hungriest, but this week, I’ve been waking up with the appetite of someone who hasn’t eaten in days.  I feel OK after breakfast until AM snack, but then the intervening time up until lunch is a real slog.  Normally, I’m impervious to the smells of other people’s lunches in my office if they eat earlier than I do (which is most of them), but I’m painfully aware this week of how jealous I am that they’re eating and I’m not as soon as I pick up the scent of someone else’s food.  I finally eat lunch, and I’m not satisfied with it, so it’s misery until PM snack, which is also not satisfying.  I leave the office, internally whine my way through a workout at the gym, and go home all crabby because I’m hungry, sweaty, and tired, with no expectation of being satiated by the dinner I’m about to consume.  That prophecy fulfills itself and I end up eating another snack, which also fails to make me feel full, so then I’m mad at myself for taking in extra calories that did nothing for me in the end.  It pretty much sucks.

Last night, with my mind and stomach both churning as I was lying in bed hoping to fall asleep, it hit me:  I didn’t allot for enough protein in my meal planning this week.

Wow.  Rookie mistake.

I think I got a little too cocky with my planning game ever since I stopped using My Fitness Pal religiously to calculate my food for the week.  In my defense, it’s been working, but things have changed a bit since I’ve been on my souping kick.  Until this week, I was getting enough fish or chicken from my lunches to account for what is often an absence of meat in my soupy dinners in terms of my protein intake, but this week, I missed the mark.  My lunches are a VERY small portion of beef and broccoli (in which the ratio of broccoli to beef is very much higher on the broccoli side) with whole grain rice, and my dinners are a smaller-than-usual portion of puréed bean and parsnip soup with a side of Brussels sprouts (surprise, surprise).  My cooking this week yielded enough for maybe 4 real servings, but I portioned out 6 to last me through the week.  It isn’t enough in that respect alone, not to mention the very limited amount of protein I’m getting from it because of my poor macro planning.  Result:  hunger.

Soooooo, I’ve already concocted a much more robust meal plan for next week, which WILL give me the appropriate amount of protein and will hopefully get my hunger back in check.  I’m looking forward to my honey-curried chicken salads and turkey meatball soup with farro and kale.

This weight-loss scene, man.  So much to learn.


I’m gonna give away the ending here:  I ate 3 cookies today.  Three delicious, dense, perfectly-textured cookies from a caterer for a meeting that was not even mine.  One was chocolate chip, one was white-chocolate-dipped chocolate-chocolate chip, and one was white-chocolate-dipped gingerbread.

I am SO GLAD I did that.

You know, it’s not often that I really want to indulge these days.  When I do feel a craving, I can usually identify it as a passing fancy entirely brought on by the power of suggestion, i.e. yumminess simply being there.  Before I knew there were sinful foods around, I wasn’t thinking about them, and therefore I didn’t actually want them.  When I performed the superhuman feat of resisting my mom’s legendary chocolate chip cookies while holed up at my parents’ house for 4 nights and 4 days last month, I was really working on conquering cravings and mastering will power.  I know I won’t always be perfect, but I sure was for those hours of constant temptation.  (My medal should be arriving any day now.)

So how can I possibly be glad that I went on what some would consider a binge on cookies mere hours ago?  Well, here’s why:

  1. I really fucking wanted cookies, and I am a human in a world where cookies exist, and giving up treats for life was never part of my deal with myself.  So I ate cookies and promised myself I would enjoy every bite, and that’s exactly what I did.
  2. This was not some slippery slope into reversion to the girl I was 100+ pounds ago.  I ate my 3 cookies, finished the day of work, and went to the gym before coming home.
  3. Counterintuitively, the cookies are the reason I worked out, AND the reason I did my full workout.  In fact, the intensity with which I wanted those cookies earlier matched the intensity with which I did NOT want to go to the gym tonight.  But the cookies are what got me there.  And when I wanted to quit 10 minutes into my hour, as I was staring at the seconds ticking down to the 10-minute mark and preparing to stop my run and hop off the elliptical, my eyes scanned left and saw that I had only burned 198 calories.  That’s not even one cookie gone.  That settled that; I wasn’t going anywhere.  5.24 miles and 798 torched calories later, it’s safe to say those cookies are history.  Even if that’s all I burned off today, the fact that I did HIIT for an hour means that my body is going to spend the next several hours attacking other calories.  I still created my caloric deficit today and got in a quality sweat.


Thank you, cookies!  You were everything I wanted and more, and I will always think of you fondly.

I’m just gonna piggy-back off of that and give a shout out to my body.  It’s doing wonderful work lately.  Last week, I gave it both pints of the Häagen Dazs that spent several weeks in my freezer, and my body basically laughed at me by giving me a four-pound drop on the scale — my biggest drop since early October.  Like, “Really?  You think I’m scared of a little ice cream?  I remember this stuff.  Nice try.”  I’m so glad my body and my mind have the same defiant streak.

Then yesterday morning, for the sheer hell of it, I decided to try on my purple oh-honey pants that were more than a size too small at the time of purchase less than a month ago.  BOOM!  Those suckers fit.  When I got them, they didn’t even make it up around my hips; they now zip and fasten fine.  They are NOT ready for public display because they give me some bulge spillage (sexy), but they will be soon enough.

So it seems my doctor was right:  my body loves me right now.  And I love it!

Moral of the story:  I’m not endorsing a Häagen Dazs diet here, but don’t let anyone tell you desserts are always a bad idea.  Sometimes they’re exactly what you need: mind, body, and soul.


DAY 308: Snow daze

Snow my god!  Snowtastrophe!  SNOWBLIVION!!!!  I’m more tired of tortured snow puns than I thought possible.  Snowzilla?  REALLY?  I thought it couldn’t get worse than Snowpocalypse and Snowmageddon.  How about snowverreaction?  Tossing “snow” in to replace the first syllable of some cataclysmic word is not clever.  I can handle the transportation paralysis and forced hibernation; it’s the criminal level of forced portmanteaus I can’t handle.

Please stop.  You’re doing unspeakable things to English.  What did English ever do to you?!  SNOW YOUR ROLL.  (That’s how it’s done.)

Anyway, back to my life as a fat girl, which I realize is the actual purpose of this blog…

I’m pleased and a little shocked to report that after 4 nights surrounded by mountains of homemade cookies at my parents’ house, I had not a single one.  NOT ONE.  I should emphasize that I was not only surrounded by the cookies, but surrounded by people eating them.  FOUR DAYS OF PEOPLE EATING DELICIOUS COOKIES AND I DIDN’T EVEN HAVE A BITE.  I leave here in about an hour, and I have no plans to break that streak.  It was so difficult, and I wanted to eat all of them, which is why I knew I couldn’t have one.  I can’t believe it.  I escaped without surrendering!

A huge reason for that is that I took a few minutes to make preparations, like organizing a snack survival kit for all 4 days, before leaving my place.  I also made sure I got in all of my steps according to Jiminy in spite of being off routine and needing to make an extra effort to work out.  This involved scoring a week-long pass to a local gym so I could get legitimate workouts in since exercising outside wasn’t really on the menu this time.  So, yes, it took a lot of additional work to pull off what is second nature to me when I’m in my natural habitat, but make no mistake:  it was still overwhelmingly a mental struggle.  I had to constantly remind myself that I’m on a mission here, and there is no pause button.  I have impending weigh-ins and momentum that should not be compromised.  I haven’t had that much trouble with temptation since before I started losing the weight, and I couldn’t believe how hard this was.  I had to tell myself over and over again that I had a choice:  have a cookie and be mad at myself, or resist them for this entire visit and be immensely proud.  I chose pride, and I feel AWESOME!

Along the way, I had a couple of memorable weight-loss moments that impacted me and became part of my arsenal of resistance.  (WOW, that sounds militant!)  First, when the snow stopped on Saturday, my mom and I shoveled out the driveway and de-snowed my and my brother’s cars that were parked there.  Even with two of us, it took an hour to finish because of how much snow we had to clean up.  With all that work, I never got winded or tired, and I kept thinking to the last time I had to dig out my car and how laborious it was.  All I had to do was clean the snow off of my car and shovel a little bit behind the rear wheels so I could back out of my outdoor parking space at my apartment.  That’s something that shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes with the quantity of snow I was dealing with at the time (maybe 2″), but it took nearly a half hour.  I went inside afterwards feeling completely exhausted and was covered in snow from being so big that there was no way to brush off my vehicle without leaning against it and getting snow all over me.  That was then.  This year, my body never made contact with the cars when I was cleaning them off, and I actually enjoyed shoveling for the productive workout it gave me.

At my grandfather’s party yesterday, I made the mistake of wearing a sleeveless dress in the dead of winter.  At a certain point, one of my mom’s cousins, who’s a massage therapist, came up to me privately to say hi.  He didn’t waste a lot of time getting to,  “I don’t know if this is a polite thing to bring up with a woman, but…” and went into how amazing and toned my arms look.  He said that as a massage therapist, he notices these things, but I must be doing some work on my arms.  He asked more about it and said to keep doing whatever I’m doing, because the effect is obvious and looks great.  That made me feel pretty rad!

Beyond that, people kept telling me how happy and confident I seemed, and that kind of threw me because I don’t really think I was doing anything to give anyone that impression.  It’s not like I was front and center, but pretty much everyone I talked to make some remark about that.  No one asked about the weight loss, but I could tell that sometimes they were waiting for me to say something about it (and I didn’t).  I guess I’m carrying myself differently and just projecting this stuff.  And the 3″ heels that made me a respectable height probably helped and would give the illusion of confidence to most people.  😉  Oh, and then I ate a piece of the birthday cake, and was fine with that choice/had planned to do it, anyway.

It’s about time for me to be getting ready to hit the road, so I’m gonna wrap this up here.  Not an earth-shattering update this time, but I had to record for posterity that it is in fact possible for me to spend this much time in an environment inundated with my trigger foods and not cave to them.  It’s possible because IT HAPPENED.  Woo!

DAY 290: Sweet dreams

My subconscious is hilarious.  Between the competitive baking shows I’m now hooked on watching and the absence of sugary deliciousness in my life since leaving my family after Christmas “break,” I am constantly dreaming of desserts!  I wake up in the morning half-convinced that it was all true, and I really spent the past several hours pigging out on brownies, cupcakes, cookies, cakes, pies, fudge, ice cream, and solid blocks of chocolate.

I’ve had this type of strange dreaming happen before:  when I very first started losing, and over the summer when it started getting tiresome.  I’m not worried about it, I’m purely amused.  It’s like my inner child is screaming for goodies and the only way it can have them is in my nocturnal imagination.  OK, inner child!  Enjoy the fake calories!

One of the key things I’ve embraced from the start is not to practice absolute, categorical denial of anything.  I have sound reasons beyond the obvious “I don’t wanna,” and they’re my big 3:

  1. It’s unrealistic.  Eliminating entire swaths of food from your diet may yield drastic losses in the beginning, but it’s not sustainable in the long term.  Once you inevitably reintroduce your no-no food group, there’s a much higher likelihood that you will over-indulge like a fiend, and you’ll end up right back where you started.  Furthermore, are you really going to go through the rest of your life without ever having another slice of birthday cake, glass of champagne, or piece of candy?  No, you’re not, and you don’t want to.  Admit it now and you can work around it.
  2. It’s unhealthy.  The secret to all of this is balance.  If you cut out a whole brick of the food pyramid, you’ll have to figure out how to consume the good nutrients that were in that brick from somewhere else.  That’s math you’re not going to want to do.  Just eat less of the less-good stuff and you’ll be fine.
  3. It’s avoiding the real problem.  If you’re an over-eater, losing weight is extra challenging, and that’s because you don’t know how to eat just enough.  Without mastering moderation and portion control, you’re not going to truly change the bad habits that landed you in Fat Land in the first place.  You have to invest the time in training yourself to learn this new way of nourishing yourself.  Swearing off certain foods is not the way to do that.


***Of course, there are exceptions to this:  foods with no nutritional value, or that are chemical based rather than nutrient based, like pop.  I fully gave that shit up ages ago.  Everyone should!

In summary, the best approach — inherent difficulty notwithstanding! — is to keep everything in your diet, but learn how to control it.  It’s absolutely easier said than done, but it’s the only way.  Staying away from some foods entirely will only make your cravings for those foods harder and harder to resist until you eventually cave massively and end up hating yourself for the binge you go on.  It’s the oldest cliché in the weight-loss book, but it is a lifestyle change, and that means… CHANGING YOUR LIFESTYLE.

Meal planning and preparation solved almost all of that problem for me, and it’s why I can feel comfortable having a pint of Häagen-Dazs in my freezer right now.  I bought it two days ago and had actually forgotten it was there until I opened my freezer door this morning while putting my lunch together and saw it.  At this time last year, it would have been impossible for both of us to be in the same living quarters without me either constantly thinking about it or devouring the whole tub in one sitting.  This pint is for a special occasion, though, making it a low-risk temptation.  (Full disclosure:  There are 2 pints in there, but the second one will be for a later date when I feel like it’s appropriate.)

Conventional wisdom in weight loss is that you’re not supposed to reward yourself or celebrate milestones with food.  That makes perfect sense to me and I have adhered to it like a champ.  However, I’m making an exception for a few notable events coming up the week of January 17th:

  • The 17th is day 300 of my mission.  That’s a BFD, and it deserves recognition.
  • The 17th and 18th are also weigh-out dates for two of my DietBets that I have rather big numbers to pull in order to hit, but the fact that I was able to make it even a possibility that I could win after falling back around the holidays is reason enough to celebrate for me.
  • The 19th, I have a follow-up appointment with my doctor.  The last time I saw her was in mid-July, when she told me she bet she wouldn’t even recognize me the next time she saw me.  I had someone who recently came back to work from maternity leave actually not recognize me when we saw each other yesterday for the first time in 4 months, so I’m hoping my doctor’s prediction will be true.  And that will be after SIX months without seeing each other!
  • I’m closing in on losing 100 pounds, and if I keep up the pace, it’ll happen in time for that week.


So, yes.  Chocolate-peanut butter ice cream is in order that week.

I’m crazy enough to be looking forward to more sweet dreams tonight!