DAY 739: Whoa, we’re halfway there!

BONJOVI-2

It’s day 16.  Do you know where your children are?

I posted this yesterday on DietBet, but it bears repeating:  I am SO. SICK. OF SALAD.

I’ve had a lot of late nights recently, resulting in needing to order food instead of eating the yummy, healthy, Whole30-compliant dinners I have waiting for me at home.  The only thing that seems safe to eat in those circumstances is a very basic build-your-own salad without dressing from a fresh salad joint.  And man, I am so over salad at this point.  I’m also over shelling out additional cash on pretentious salads — yeah, that’s a thing — on top of the substantial amount of money I’ve already spent to make the meals I’m neglecting in the first place.  GRUMBLE, GRUMBLE, GRUMBLE.  I’m looking mad forward to eating at home all weekend.

Yesterday, the halfway point, was a decent day.  I had a meeting that went on entirely too long, and when I emerged from the staircase afterwards on the way back to my office, two co-workers were chatting by the elevators.  One suddenly stopped herself mid-sentence and called out, “Is that… is that you?”  I turned around and said, “Yes, I’m me!”  She started saying she thought it was me, but she wasn’t sure; I looked so good, could I help her with losing weight?!  She must have said 3 or 4 times how different or good she thought I looked.  (I rarely see this person.)  That felt pretty nice.  (Thanks, super flowy, former oh-honey top I was wearing yesterday!)

Yesterday evening was a good-bye gathering for a colleague, and I was the designated cupcake picker-upper.  Not just any cupcakes, mind you.  They spent Wednesday night in my fridge, all day Thursday in my office, and Thursday evening staring at me while everyone else partook.  That fudgy chocolate frosting looked amazing, but was it?  I have only the word of other people — and foggy, fond memories — to go on.  Passing on those babies wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, actually; honestly, having them at home and in my office for nearly a full day was fine.  I didn’t think about them at all.  It was watching everyone else eat (and enjoy) them that gave me a pang.  I’m telling myself it was mostly FOMO while I remind myself what sugar does to my insides.  That shit looked sooooo yummy, though.  *single tear

The one thing that has started feeling like a sacrifice is coffee.  Go figure, right?  The one thing I gave up voluntarily, outside of the program’s guidelines, is the one that has started to hurt.  BUT, BUT, BUT!  Yesterday was the first time in over a week I did not get a headache!  I had several early on, then a few days without, and then straight headaches for about a week and a half.  They were more of the dull, nagging variety than the throbbing, painful variety; enough to be annoying and prevent clear thinking or ease in falling asleep, but not a light enough touch that I could avoid taking something to make it go away.  The night before last, I noticed the headache was a little lower in strength than the ones leading up to it, and I rolled the dice:  I went to bed without popping Excedrin, and the headache went away.  I slept normally all night and had no remnants of the headache when I woke up in the morning.  Then, no headache during the day, and I went to sleep pain free!  Magic!  It’s not exactly tiger blood, but I’ll take it.

You know, one thing  I have taken from this is that being open about my dietary restrictions has been very helpful, and not embarrassing.  This comes as a complete surprise to me, given how uncomfortable I have been all my life with letting people into this weight-loss stuff with me.  It feels like THE most personal thing I could share, no matter how limited the sharing is.  I feel appreciative and humbled by being proven dead wrong about this.  The implicit accountability, support, and encouragement from people has been incredible.  I’ve even intentionally told my parents I’m doing this, and they won’t even see me during these 30 days.  LIGHT BULB!  I don’t have to do everything alone.  A lesson decades in the making.

Sadly, I STILL have not made it to the gym.  It’s on the docket for tomorrow, right between SLEEP IN and PLAN NEXT WEEK’S MENUS.

Fifteen down, fifteen to go!

DAY 732: Cheater, cheater, healthy eater

It’s day 9 of Whole30.  According to the timeline, my pants are supposed to be feeling tighter on days 8-9.  They’re not.  Everything is feeling looser, including the ring that slid off my finger yesterday and had to be relocated to a neighboring digit to preclude a repeat event.

“Fuck it,” I thought to myself around 9:00 last night.

And I headed to the scale.

And I weighed myself.

Now, there was the inherent risk in this of being completely crushed by the number I saw.  What if it was higher?  What if it was infinitesimal?  What if — heaven forbid — it was completely unchanged?!  I figured it was worth knowing, even though it wasn’t the final Whole30 weight-loss number.  I stood on the scale, looked down at my toes, and saw…

…a 10.6-pound loss.

Yes, honey.

I’ll repeat that:  As of 9:00 PM on day 8 of Whole30, I had lost 10.6 pounds.

Here come ALL THE DISCLAIMERS and a BUT STILL:

  • The first week of any diet change is the best week.  It’s the body’s freak-out-and-adjust period, where it sheds tons of water weight and other crap you don’t need.  So, it’s not like I’ll be dropping 10.6 pounds per week here.
  • My period started yesterday.  (I have a vagina and corresponding lady bits.  I discuss my period sometimes like a grown-ass woman.  If this bugs you, go read someone else’s blog.)  All my period bloat happens during PMS week, and then I lose weight the week of the actual perioding.  So, that’s a factor.
  • I had several bouts of diarrhea on day 8, leading up to the scale reading.  (I have an anus and corresponding human bits.  I discuss my bowels sometimes like a grown-ass adult.  If this bugs you, go read someone else’s blog.)  So, that surely had an effect.
  • I’ve had whatever this illness is since Saturday night, which is often a dehydrating force.  So, that likely showed up on the scale.

BUT STILL…

TEN POINT SIX POUNDS, Y’ALL.

I’m not sorry for weighing myself.  In fact, I’ll probably stick with doing it once a week for the duration of the time I stick with Whole30 (and I phrase it that way because, as of right now, I’m seriously considering just sticking with it through the wedding I’m in in May).  Furthermore, I’m cheating on Whole30 in a couple of other ways that Melissa Hartwig would probably have my head for:

  • I’m snacking between meals.  Yeah, that’s right, I’m intentionally snacking.  I am not changing my usual eating rhythm of eating every 3 hours, even though Whole30 stipulates that you should restrict yourself to only 3 meals per day and not snack unless you’re desperate.  Welp, not this chick.  I’m sticking to my 5 meals because I know it works for me, body and soul schedule.  I don’t think it’s worth veering off of that, so I chose not to from the outset.
  • I’m not perfectly balancing my proteins, fats, and carbs at each feeding.  I mean, I mostly end up doing it just by luck, but I’m not melting my brain trying to make that happen.  I am not adding almond butter to every apple I eat just because I must have healthy fat.  I mustn’t.  I wantn’t.  So I willn’t.  (Coincidentally, I do happen to eat an apple and actual almonds at the same scheduled snack time, but the point stands.)  The balance will mostly work out over the course of the day.  Mainly, I just want to get enough veggies, so that’s primarily been my focus.

I don’t think these two grievous modifications will drastically skew my results in any direction, nor am I quite that inclined to care.  The big point of Whole30, which I am adhering to 100%, is the elimination.  Here’s what I *AM* doing:

  • No added (refined) sugar
  • No legumes
  • No alcohol
  • No grains at all
  • No soy
  • No dairy
  • No coffee (not a part of the program; added by me)

Therefore, the intended anti-inflammatory experiment has room to run, and I’m still doing it “right.”  I hereby absolve myself of my sins.

Deal with it, Melissa.

P.S.  10.6 pounds.  Just sayin’.
P.P.S.  Someone even commented today in reference to Whole30 that “it’s working.”
P.P.P.S.  Shut up, Melissa.

DAY 715: Not drawn to scale

Getting back on the horse has been so exhausting and challenging, I can’t help but curse past-me for having gotten off in the first place.  That was dumb, past-me.  SHAME ON YOU/ME/US.

As I’ve most recently lamented, sleep has been a problem lately.  Just when the remedy to that arrived (my new mattress and box spring finally came at the end of last week!), I had a nasty allergic flare-up amid a sudden onset of spring that has woken me up persistently throughout the night so I can give in to full-body coughing fits.  It’s really just the loveliest.  I can only imagine how much worse it would be without my Rx antihistamines and allergy shots (though I really don’t have to imagine)!

This, and a slightly indulgent Saturday (two meals out that included mostly healthy choices, with the exception of one cocktail and one pastry, and zero gym time although I still made all my daily steps), converged to stall my weight loss.  My scale has been showing me wildly inconsistent numbers that seem like they’re just being randomly generated by some gremlin living inside the scale, and I’ve given in to weighing in often multiple times a day just to try to identify what my real weight might be.  Foolish and counter-productive, is what I’d call that venture.  I am now swearing off the scale until the end of this week.  I know for my own sake I can’t weigh in more than once a week.  Back to that.

Also, I’ve been generally slacking at the gym.  I still go for the most part, but I’ve been letting myself off the hook of really pushing myself.  I know the pounds aren’t gonna drop off for free; I have to pay for that shit with my sweat.  What I’ve been doing hasn’t been cutting it.  I know that, and yet I haven’t been pushing myself.  Come on, self.  Scale gremlin lives off this kind of laxness.

I’m also wearing orthotics now, as prescribed by my podiatrist.  As my body adjusts to their correctional effects, there’s some stiffness and soreness in random joints up and down my legs.  I know it’s temporary, but it is a bit of a hindrance.

Things are finally trending toward equilibrium, though, and I’ve slowly noticed I’m feeling more rested when I first get up in the morning.  I’ve even dared to let myself believe that the slimmer neck and shoulders on the body I’m seeing in the mirror might be real.

During my Sunday visit to the gym, I did some interval jogging on the treadmill for the first time in ages, maxing out on 3 minutes straight at 5.0 MPH.  Last night at the gym, I self-insisted on my arms circuit and event tried a new machine that had always been a little intimidating to me (the rower) before pushing myself on the elliptical (which only exists in models I don’t like at my gym).   Still not a profuse sweat, but a good start.  And honestly, the post-workout soreness from the two days combined is highly satisfying.

This morning, walking down the stairs to leave my building, I felt more energetic and lighter on my feet.

And then when I arrived at work today, I got the affirmation of a co-worker.

Her:  “You look like you’ve lost some weight.  Have you been losing weight?”
Me (out loud):  cheshire

Me (internally):  “Why, yes.  Yes, I have.”  (HEAR ME, SCALE GREMLIN!  HEAR ME!  **shakes fist**)

In your face, container of brownies that mocked me at the grocery store last Friday.  You can bite me.

DAY 626: No, darlin’.

This… this blog!  It’s alive!  IT’S ALIIIIIIIIIIIIVE!

Sooooooo, as you may have guessed, it’s been a wretched several months.  Work?  Bad.  Love life?  Bad.  Family situation?  Bad.  Friendships?  Bad.  World events?  Bad.  Things have been varying degrees of bad at different times since (and during) the last time I updated this dusty old thing, but the general trend has been just bad.

Some of that will probably come out in greater detail over the next span of entries, but the bottom line is, I haven’t been handling any of it like the baller I was around this time last year.  It’s been uber stressful and I’ve been letting it get to me.  I regained a fuck-ton of weight and I feel like shit about it:  I’m disappointed in myself and ashamed of what I’ve done to negate all my hard work.  Also, man, what a luxury it was to have been so much lighter.  I had forgotten how sucky and embarrassing it is to get winded from walking up a flight and a half of steps.

But ya know, as much as losing weight is secretly a community effort when it’s all going right — you know what I’m talking about if you’re a fellow fatty who gets life from the affirming compliments, helpful online (or even in-person) communities, and essential readings/watchings along the way — it’s equally so when it’s all going wrong.

In the midst of a series of crises at work a couple of weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a colleague about what a mess we were dealing with.  This particular colleague and I typically have conversations that remind me of what it looks like if you draw a flower in the air with your finger:  they start at a central point, then they swing far out from what we were discussing before making their way back to the central issue, only to curve out to something totally different again before veering sharply back to center, and so on and so on until all the petals are drawn.  They’re unpredictable discussions that are simultaneously about 14 different things that somehow all relate in some delicate way.  The conversation we had a few weeks back was no exception.  My colleague had just finished verbally drawing a petal about what she likes to do on weekends before unexpectedly bringing it back to our work situation thusly:  “I say this to you as a woman who has struggled with her own weight:  your face is looking fuller.  That’s stress.  No, darlin’.”

Her delivery was gentle, yet direct, and her message was clear:  Don’t let this place take any more from you.

Those words have been ringing in the back of my head since that conversation, and even though I didn’t successfully put a course correction into place until several weeks later, what she said to me has been helping to stoke the embers of my fading mission back into a fire ever since.

I have wanted to make a new blog post for the longest time, but I couldn’t imagine seeing my failure splashed across a webpage that I wrote with my own hands.  I didn’t want to accept how bad things have gotten.  All the while, I was knowingly avoiding this space to my detriment, because I know that not expressing upsetting things doesn’t make them untrue, and I also know that writing about this whole experience — the good and the bad — is part of what was helping me succeed before.  So, enough time has now passed, and enough healthy weeks have gone by that I feel less-ashamed enough to make a post.

I still care.  I still want to live my best life.  I still have goals, and I still want to achieve them.

I will not let anyone stand in my way.  Including me.

No, darlin’.

 

DAY 347: Getting changed

It’s amazing being able to walk into any store and know that there is something in there that’s gonna fit.  It’s even more amazing being able to walk into any store knowing that most things will fit.  I’m geeking out over discovering my personal fashion and exploring my tastes, now that I can actually do that.

After so long being in plus sizes and having to find attire by scouring the deep corners of the Internet or remaining a hostage of every big girl’s love-hate relationship with Lane Bryant, it still hasn’t fully clicked that I have options now.  I’ve even had the totally unexpected experience of browsing the clearance section of the Kohl’s website for workout gear, only to feel frustrated that only the plus sizes were discounted and they were all TOO BIG.  What an awesome problem to have!

Yesterday, as I was getting ready in the morning, I saw a sweater hanging in my closet that I didn’t recognize.  I wondered if I had ever worn it, and if not, why?  I pulled it off the hanger and immediately understood:  it’s a size L.  I don’t remember ever wearing it because it was an oh-honey purchase from years ago.  Well, it’s an oh-honey article no more.  It had its grand debut yesterday.  It was a pretty rad day.

As I was walking around in my L sweater, I peeped my reflection in every mirror I passed.  I kept thinking, “I look thin today!” That thought was validated early on, when I went to pick up a package from the mailroom at my office.  I was talking to the receptionist about I don’t even remember what, but told her, “I like it!”  One of the mail guys had strolled to the counter at that point and said to me, “I like that,” with at hand gesture that captured my general space.  “You like…?”  I asked.  He said, “That.  What you’re doing.  You’re going all the way, aren’t you?” Oh.  That.  I laughed and said, “That’s the plan!”  (Quick holla at 6-months-ago me who would have turned tomato-red and deflected the hell out of that compliment.)

Beyond changing the way I dress and the way I’ve begun to accept affirmations, I’ve also changed the way I change.  Before, when I would get to the gym, I would take my exercise clothes into a bathroom stall with me to change, out of modesty and embarrassment.  Somewhere within the last 10-15 pounds, I stopped doing that.  I change with the people now.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m never gonna be one of these fully naked people lettin’ it all hang out as I plod around the locker room, but I’m finally comfortable taking my shirt off with my back turned to the rest of the room as I change my sports bra over my bra-bra.  It may sound silly, but when you started in the realm of self-consciousness and self-body shaming where I did, you’d have to give me props for this tremendous progress.

So, less than 3 weeks away from my one-year anniversary on this wild ride, that’s where I’m at.  Can’t complain.

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 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!