Thursday, August 31, 2006

skinny day

About a month ago, I bought this outfit at J. Crew on clearance. They only had size 12 in the pants and though they buttoned, they were too snug to really wear, but I was sure that they would fit once I lost a little more weight. This is normally a terrible strategy, but they were only about $12, very nice, and I had to have them. I also got this shirt with a pretty satin stripe in it, also a little snug when I bought it.

I have other size 12 clothes, but we all know that size 12 is not a real, objective thing but a range. J. Crew's size 12 is smaller than NY & Company's size 12, which is a little smaller than Ann Taylor Loft's size 12.

Today I was feeling good and decided to try to wear the outfit. I think it looks pretty good, and the pants were comfortable enough even though I spent most of the day sitting. I love it even though the pants are dry clean only.

This picture is terrible, I know, but it documents that I am wearing the outfit and that it fits. This is why I don't have my dissertation done, because I am trying to figure out how to take a picture of my khakis in an antique mirror instead of writing. The mirror doesn't look that dirty in real life, I promise.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

unofficial weigh-in

This was using a different scale, at a different time, under different conditions so I'm not sure how it compares to last week, but I feel like I'm doing pretty well. I have more wiggle room in my clothes and I am starting to feel "thin" even though I'm not at goal yet.

There's also always the same old turmoil cropping up about whether my goal is really valid or not. I feel like I look good at that weight and I'm within the WW-approved range (barely) for my height. But a nasty little part of me thinks, hey, 155 is still a big number and people will think you're stupid for being happy there.

Let's get to the goal first and then maintain it for a while, is what I'm telling this nasty little voice. If I decide that I am ready to lose more after maintaining for a month or so, then fine.

I think this "sure you're close to goal but at goal you'll still be fat" voice is a sneaky variant of Lori's Phantom Phat Pain.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

need to get back on track

As you might be able to tell from my post yesterday, I've been having some junky and careless food days lately. Yesterday I went to a potluck brunch where I didn't know many people. It wasn't really much fun for me, so I managed to sample way too many of the dishes provided by the very good cooks in this group. So of course, I had no idea what the points were for anything, which gave me an excuse to not count anything at all for the day. And I hadn't counted anything the day before either. Crazy.

The thing is, I always think that it will be more "fun" to just eat what I want and not worry about the points, but it isn't really fun to know that I'm blowing things in a big way just as I'm starting to see some real results. It's also not fun to eat way past fullness just because I'm feeling bored and anxious, the way I did yesterday at the brunch.

As a way of reminding myself of all these things (it's amazing how years of testing this theory that overeating is fun still haven't managed to disprove it for me), I wrote a post that touched on the ways that a food plan can be a form of self-care. A lot of the time I'm writing these things to try and convince myself... Now, of course, I'm worried that I sound arrogant and judgemental. I am curious to see how people respond to it.

All I know for sure is that I really need to go back to the things that work for me: sensible exercise and following my food plan. There's nothing fun in feeling stuffed and fat.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Yesterday I ended up spending about 7 hours on the road because I had to interview a person in another city for my dissertation project -- driving most of the way across the state and back in the same day. I had my usual breakfast, coffee, fruit and toast with peanut butter, before I left. I got hungry on the way there and stopped and bought a 2-serving package of cheese crackers. Of course, I told myself I was just going to eat half of it but I never really believed me. When I got there, I had lunch at a Mexican restaurant with some friends, chicken fajitas and a few tortilla chips. I didn't eat much of it because I was nervous about my interview. I did my interview and almost immediately left for home. On the way home, I stopped and had a multigrain bagel, cream cheese, and coffee.

In short, I had a junky food day and spent almost my entire time sitting. That, in itself, is not so interesting. What is interesting is how unusual this is for me now. It used to be my Standard Operating Procedure. I also really wanted veggies when I got home -- I had a salad and a pita with veggies and hummus. And I wanted to get out and walk to give my aching back a break.

What I'm saying is not that I'm super-virtuous (who bought the bag of cheese crackers in the first place?) but that I think the way we eat and move is very much a function of habit. My habits still need some work, but they're moving in a healthier direction.

P.S. I forgot to mention that we stopped at the ice cream shop on the way back from the walk, but it was just a single dip... Yeah, I still have some work to do.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

about what I deserved

For my last weigh-in for the current Weight Watchers session, I lost a whopping 0.2 pounds. That was about as good as I could expect with my behavior for the last week. I'm starting to feel fairly comfortable with the way I look right now, though. That's more important to me than the number on the scale anyway.

Now if I could just keep that peace of mind when some willowy blonde saunters by in cutoff jeans when I'm out walking with my husband. It's tough living in a college town when you're over 30.

Monday, August 21, 2006

looking ahead to tomorrow's weigh-in

This week I don't think I can expect a great weigh-in. I will probably be lucky to maintain.

Instead of ignoring my flex points, I used them all and then some. Friday night, as I said, was a pizza-and-snacks splurge. As Lori said, sure, a lot of people do that on a weekend. But it seemed to set me up for more splurges. Saturday I stayed within my points but Sunday I didn't even count. Going back to try to figure it out, I think I was 10-12 points over. So far today I've done OK. I have 12 points left and I plan to go for a run later.

Exercise-wise, I took a couple of easy or off days because I was feeling so tired and crummy. I think that when I don't exercise I also tend to be less vigilant about my food.

Ironically, I have been thinking that I look pretty good, even while I'm not doing the things I need to do to lose. My belly is definitely smaller. My thighs are even starting to trim down a little bit.

Tomorrow is the last weigh-in for this session and then I have a week before our at work starts up again. I am not sure I'll bother to go to another meeting to weigh in officially in the interim. I might just do it here instead.

I just don't feel all that into it right now, I feel a little Weight Watchers Ennui. Maybe tomorrow's meeting will help get me back on track again.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

better today

Last night I had some not-so-great food. Ironically, the day I posted on toledolefty about fast food, I also ended up having a slice of pizza and some snack food as my dinner. My husband's cross-country team came over for a pizza party, and unfortunately I felt compelled to buy some of my favorite stuff "for them" to serve with the pizza. I'll spare everyone the food porn, but it was a day where I went 14 points over my allowance and most of the extra was junk. Being as tired as I was yesterday probably contributed to my mushy choices. At least I put a portion of chips on a plate and ate them, rather than just grabbing handfuls out of the bowl.

This morning I did a nice 45-minute run in a light rain with my friend. We didn't get too muddy in the park.

Friday, August 18, 2006

energy shortage

Yesterday I got out with my husband for a walk -- we had planned about 45 minutes but ended up getting lost and doing closer to an hour. It was nice.

We've done a lot of stuff around the house lately. Last night we were going to take up our rugs to clean them but once they were up, we both agreed that we just wanted to get rid of them. We have hardwood floors in most of our downstairs, except for the vinyl flooring in the kitchen. For some reason I thought we "had" to have area rugs on hardwood, but both of us kind of like the starkness of the wood instead, and it will be easier to keep clean with two cats.

Did some more cleaning today and then went to the gym for my lifting. I did lighter weights today because I'm still a little sore. I was going to do some kind of cardio -- elliptical trainer or something gentle like that -- but I just didn't have the energy. I'm honoring my body's apparent need for a day off but it is very hard for me to let go of the idea that I need to get my heartrate up since I took an easy day yesterday. I did some stretching, which I really needed.

Looking in the mirror at the gym, my body seems all out of whack -- nice shoulders, arms and legs that look a little fat, thin neck and tiny pinhead. I was feeling optimistic earlier in the week but today I feel like I'm never going to end up with the body I want.

It's a hard line to walk between taking care of myself and allowing my lazy, slothful side to take over and suggest a dalliance with Little Debbie on the couch. I have this deep fear that if I take it easy on myself, I'll end up hugely fat and depressed again.

As it is, I'm just slightly overweight and a little down.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

did someone get the number of that truck?

I lifted weights for the first time in several days and it feels like someone beat me all over with a baseball bat and left me to die in a ditch. I'm sleepy and sore. I'm sitting in Panera but I don't think all the coffee in the world will wake me up right now. I fell asleep last night around 11 with my contact lenses in, so my eyelids are feeling scratchy and sticky today.

I've gotten in some really high-quality workouts in the last few days so I feel totally justified in taking an easy day today and just going for a walk in the park instead of a hard-hitting workout. Yesterday I ran after the weight workout and that may also be part of why I'm so sore.

I am stuck waiting here for a while so I'm going around and reading all the Angry Fat Girlz blogs and it's really fun to see how well everyone is doing. I really think the power of this kind of support group, where people are semi-anonymous but know each other's stories, is amazing. I know it's carried me through my workouts on a lot of days when I felt like saying, "Screw it!" and going back to sleep.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

you mean mojitos aren't a 0 point food?

Last week, I lost 1.8 and this week I gained 1.2. So on the bright side, I didn't undo all my good work from the week before because of my sister's bachelorette party weekend and all the food at the wedding shower, just 2/2 of it. I am going to be a model Weight Watcher this week and get it back off, plus a pound so that I can be only 10 away from my goal.

Interestingly, I was cleaning out my WW carrying case, and I found my card from when I made Lifetime. I thought it was interesting to see how quickly it came off the last time around -- it only took me 12 weeks to get to goal and another 7 weeks to make Lifetime. For the curious, here's the progression. All dates are 2003:

  1. 1/14 - 170.2
  2. 1/21 - 166.4
  3. 1/28 - 164.0
  4. 2/4 - 163.0
  5. 2/11 - 162.6
  6. 2/18 - 162.6
  7. 2/25 - 158.0
  8. 3/4 - 157.2
  9. 3/11 - 158.2
  10. 3/18 - 157.2
  11. 3/25 - 155.6
  12. 4/1 - 154.2 -- GOAL
  13. 4/18 - 154.8
  14. 4/15 - 153.6
  15. 4/22 - 156.2
  16. 4/29 - 153.0 -- 10%
  17. 5/13 - 154.2
  18. 5/20 - 157.2
  19. 5/27 - 154.4 -- LIFETIME
The funny thing is, I didn't realize that I had lost it so quickly. I averaged more than one pound per week. This was back in the Winning Points days, so the target was 20-25 points a day with no Flexpoints. I might try a week that way and see what happens.

Monday, August 14, 2006

my original myth

Frances, and in emails, has talked about the idea of an original myth, the story that we subconsciously use as a guide for our lives. I originally told her that I thought my original myth was "I'm fat and ugly and no one loves me."

But the more I think about it, the more I think my original myth is the Cinderella story, that I am the poor underappreciated girl toiling in the background, waiting for someone to come along and recognize my true worth. I love all the variations of the Cinderella story and I like the modern-day version too -- the makeover story where Stacy and Clinton show up, whisk a woman away to New York City, and send her home to be oohed and ahhed over by all her friends and family.

Notice that the story has a lot of egotistical charm to it -- here I am, working hard and underappreciated but yet secretly better than everyone around me. Someday the prince will come along and see me as more beautiful than all the rest and take me away from all this.

This story has never lost its charm to me, and despite being happily married, it still is in the back of my mind that someday someone will come along who truly appreciates my real value and sees me for what I really am. The prince in this sense is metaphorical rather than literal -- the sense of being special and chosen and finally being recognized for that fact. So "I'm fat and ugly and no one loves me" is really about "No one really loves me the way I deserve to be loved."

It's weird that as I spent the morning thinking about this and what it meant, I find Anne's blog post about feeling like the ugly stepsister. I think that feeling like Cinderella or like the ugly stepsister, or like the Evil Stepmother as I commented on AFG once, is the idea that maybe no one ever gets external validation that, like waving a magic wand, finally settles the idea that you're special and good enough and makes everything all right.

Caroline Myss said: "Give up the myth of the Promised Land because Moses never got there and look at the metaphor. Perfection is not the goal. Recognize what life is and let go of the’s time to live—in present time."

So I'm trying. I'm trying.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

another shopping find

The other day on my shopping trip, I got a shrug that I wasn't so sure about. It seemed cute in the store, but when I tried it on at home, it made me feel like I was trying to look like a bullfighter. Besides, it was expensive. It was sort of an impulse purchase and I should have known not to buy it without trying it on first.

Yesterday I took it back and got this wrap dress instead for only $10 more. I think it was a good trade.

This is going to have to be my last shopping trip for a while -- since I decided to become a poor graduate student, I'm going to have to start living like one.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

taking it easy

I hate to say this for fear of jinxing myself, but in the last few days it has been easier for me to follow my program and I have been feeling much more body confidence. I am sure that the good weigh-in and shopping trip helped. I also checked the khakis I bought at J. Crew that were just a little too snug when I bought them -- they now fit. They are still very close-fitting, but not in a bad way. I am starting to like what I see in the mirror again.

I think one thing that has helped is that since my race, I have cut back a bit on the intensity of my exercise but have been doing more workouts. So this week I have had two long easy bike rides instead of going out and hammering it one day. I also took sort of a day off yesterday -- I lifted weights but didn't do any cardio. I think I had been trying too hard to "whip myself into shape," and ironically, since I've eased up on myself a little, I've seen positive changes. I'm sure part of it was that I was rewarding myself for those killer workouts by not being as strict with my food plan.

I know myself too well to think this honeymoon period will last forever, so I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

two of my favorite things, shopping and food

I went to one of my favorite stores, Ann Taylor LOFT, last night and went a little crazy with my store credit card. I'm looking for an outfit to wear to my sister's bachelorette party this weekend, and none of my clothes are suitably glam for the trip to the gay strip club that is on the agenda.

I bought a bunch of stuff last night, some of which I'm going to take back today, but I still don't think I have something to wear Saturday. I did get this green lacy camisole (picture is from the ATL website), a green shrug, a tiered brown skirt, an embellished burgandy tank sweater, and a cool tan linen jacket.

What was weird about the shopping trip is that even though I've just lost a little bit since the last time I went there, it seemed like all of a sudden, everything fits differently. Some of the tops are size medium, and the jacket is a size 10. I thought it was just that this store's clothes run big (they do sometimes), but when I came home to try the tank and shrug with my cute black flippy skirt, size 14, it was so much too big on me that it looked lumpy under the tank. Yet another day in the funhouse mirror. I have no idea what size I really need to be wearing anymore. Just last week, I bought a pair of khakis in a size 12 from J. Crew, but they looked a little tight. Maybe I should try them on again just for reference.

On the food front, Lori suggested that people might be interested to see what a typical day looks like for me on Weight Watchers. So I thought I'd post an entry from my food diary for the curious. I don't follow Kay Sheppard's food plan like a lot of the people on Angry Fat Girlz, though I think it is a great plan and admire those who do. I know that what I'm doing works for me, when I actually do it. And lately, it's been easier for me to stay in my points range, mostly because I've been doing more exercise and earning more activity points.

I have a lot of room for improvement. It's kind of scary to post this because I am afraid people will criticize my choices, because I know that I used quite a few points here on things that are kind of junky. This isn't a great day, or a bad day, just a kind of average day.

A Typical Day (28 points):
Exercise: 1 hour of walking= 2 activity points
Breakfast (5 points):

  • 2 slices of sprouted-grain bread (2)
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (2)
  • coffee with half and half (1)

Lunch (6 points):

  • 1/2 cup cooked pasta (2)
  • 2 oz. cooked boneless skinless chicken (2)
  • sliced green onions, chopped tomatoes, basil, sauteed in one tsp. of olive oil, with salt and pepper (1)
  • mixed greens and chopped veggies with no dressing (0)
  • cherries (1)

Snack (4 points):

  • oatmeal raisin cookie (3)
  • 1 caramel (1)

Dinner (10 points):

  • homemade pizza with whole wheat crust, scant amount of part-skim mozzerella and tomato sauce (6)
  • carrots and celery (0)
  • 1 tablespoon of hummus (1)
  • 1 oz. blue corn tortilla chips (3)

Snack (3 points):

  • 3 cups air-popped popcorn spritzed with oil and salted (1)
  • Grown Up Soda, Dry Meyer Lemon (2)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

week 10 weigh-in

Only two more weeks until my current Weight Watchers @ Work session ends, and I have lost just a little more than 6 pounds, according to WW. According to me, I just hit 8.8 lost, and it is 8/8.

This week, I cheated and stepped on the scale at home so I wouldn't have a surprise gain.

So only 11 more pounds to goal. I won't make it by my sister's wedding like I hoped -- this week's 1.8 loss is a lot for me, and the wedding is 3 weeks away. But I already know the dress fits and looks good on me, so that's OK. I would like to be (and stay) comfortably back at Lifetime again by the time I turn 36 in December so I can ask for new clothes in my goal size for my birthday and Christmas.

P.S. Even though I'm doing well, I'm not doing as well as this quiz thinks I should be:

You Should Weigh 145

If you weigh less than this, you either have a fast metabolism or are about to gain weight.
If you weigh more than this, you may be losing a few pounds soon!

Monday, August 07, 2006

end-of-week inventory

I weigh in on Tuesday, so Monday is the last day of my Weight Watchers week. I find it helpful to inventory my week on Monday so that I have an idea what to expect on Tuesday. But I'm really not sure how I did this week. It has been sort of a strange one. A week ago Sunday was my triathlon, and I had all the salt and hydration issues throwing me off. But exercise and points-wise:

  • Tuesday: 90-minute bike ride, helped a friend move for 3 hours in the heat, stayed within points
  • Wednesday: Went for a 20-minute run and did a lot of walking around at the fair, but also ate fair food. Ended up 9 points over, including burning my flex points.
  • Thursday: Lifted weights and went for a short walk. Ended up 6 points over.
  • Friday: 60-minute bike ride, stayed within points.
  • Saturday: Another 60-minute bike ride, played in the pool a little, went over 1 point.
  • Sunday: Ran 45 minutes, went 3 points over.
  • Monday: Will swim and maybe lift weights, plan to make sure I'm within or under my points.

That's a lot of activity for the week, but I went over 19 points and used all the activity and flex points available besides. If I have a loss, it will be a tiny one. But it's really hard to tell with a week like this. All I can do is hope for the best.

P.S. I did get in my swim today, about 30-40 minutes, plus I biked to and from the quarry. I stayed under my points. I sacrificed a goat to the scale gods... well, not that last part....

Sunday, August 06, 2006

moment of truth

One of my goal events is my sister's wedding. I will be a bridesmaid and had hoped to be at or near goal by that day, which is only three weeks away. I am still 14 pounds from goal.

I got measured over a month ago and ordered a dress in the size that I thought I would need based on those measurements, a size 14. This is the dress in case you are interested, though ours have spaghetti straps to keep them from falling down.

I bought a longline bra and a not-too-tight girdle just so I would have nice lines under the dress. The dresses just came in and I got to try mine on yesterday. I had this deep-seated hope that the dress would have to be taken in a lot, even though I've only lost a few pounds. But it just needs to have the straps shortened and to be taken in about an inch on the top to fit just right.

I am a tiny bit disappointed, but it looks really good, and I am happy that I will look nice for the wedding. I really love the dress and it will be the rarest of dresses, a bridesmaid's dress that I actually will wear again. I would wear this to another wedding or a dressy night out. I also plan to wear it to my graduation next year, assuming it still fits.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


I have found that all my weight ups and downs have made it very hard for me to be in touch with what I really look like. It's especially difficult because pictures, mirrors, the scale, other people's opinions -- all those external ways to validate your own perspective -- are so unreliable and changeable. I can look great in one picture and in another, I have massive thunder thighs.

It is very hard for me to keep in touch with the idea that my weight and size are very average and that I am not freakishly large. I don't need to take the biggest dressing room.

I was writing an email to Lori earlier today and realized how my feelings about my body being large are mostly about having a body type that is radically different from the magazine ideal.

The other day sent me a link to some columns, one of which talked about how our "fix-it" mentality means that we no longer accept any limitations of genetics or "constitution" on what size or shape we could be. If we only work harder, we can have the body of our dreams. But I look at my own body, at the bodies of the women in my family, and at old pictures of myself from when I was thinner and I know these thighs are here to stay. I might as well learn to appreciate the things that they can do: run, bike, swim, walk.

I think that the solution is to stop checking all those outside sources for validation and to turn the focus on something other than appearance. As hokey as it may sound, I think the key to sanity is getting in touch with my own intrinsic worth as a person and not focusing so much on the packaging. The diet and exercise are just part of a larger program to better myself -- they help me feel more centered and whole. The most important thing is what calls "The Journey Into the Heart." I feel like in the last year or so I have finally taken the first small steps.

what I think happened yesterday

Every time I've done a triathlon, I think I've had some issues after the race with sodium balance, known as hyponatremia. Hyponatremia occurs most often in long-distance triathletes, like Ironman competitors, but I seem to be somehow more susceptible to it, because just a short race can cause problems for me.

I thought that this time I had beaten it and maybe that I had imagined it all the other times, but yesterday I started to have the familiar symptoms: splitting headache, nausea, feeling hot and chilled, not sweating, feeling dehydrated but not wanting to drink water. We have had an extreme heat wave here, and my race was on a very hot and humid day. In the days following the race, I had continued to exercise in the heat: One day I helped a friend move for three hours, I did a swim in the quarry, and I ran and biked on the other days. All that exercise made me thirsty, so I had been drinking a lot more water than usual.

I felt OK yesterday until a couple of hours after my bike ride, when I started to develop a bad headache. I sometimes have headaches like this and usually I drink more water and take a nap and some ibuprofen to help them. Yesterday this didn't work. I woke up hot but not sweating, feeling trembly and nauseous. I put the air conditioning on higher and drank some of my leftover Gatorade (unfortunately the horrible purple stuff) and took some prescription meds I had left over from an injury, naproxen sodium.

I was starting to feel a little better, but what really cured it was going to the movies with my husband and splitting a movie popcorn (no butter) and large Coke with him. Obviously not typical Weight Watchers fare, but it did finally kill off the symptoms. Maybe I sound like a hypochondriac, and I'm not ruling it out, but every time I have had this problem, I have been able to cure it with salty food and some non-water beverages.

This all sounds a little crazy, but I don't tend to eat a lot of salt in my normal diet. I really don't use a lot of processed, packaged foods. I put a little salt on my food when I'm cooking, but I don't like things to be really salty. I drink a lot of water and I sweat a lot when I exercise or work in the heat, and I think I lose a lot of salt in my sweat. I really don't like sports drinks or gels, so I tend not to use them even though I know I really do need them.

Most athletes have it in their head that they need to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. And usally that is a good idea. But in this case, you can get enough of a good thing. After my next triathlon, I am going to celebrate afterward with beer and tortilla chips, just to be safe.

Friday, August 04, 2006

a little better now

After I finished my last post and finally dragged myself away from the computer, I decided to go out on my bike. I think I'm still recovering from the race -- about half an hour out, my legs felt like squeezed-out oranges -- there was no juice left. I was probably pretty slow on the way back.

Still, the fresh air and sunshine cleared my head and getting out helped me to put things in perspective. My body might not be perfect but it's the ony one I have, and it takes me where I need to go. I need to remember to be grateful for that.

not doing so well this week

This week has been hard for me. I was feeling so good after the race on Sunday, but the honeymoon lasted only through Tuesday morning. Tuesday afternoon, I was getting ready to help a friend move in the heat and had to wear shorts. I had a complete meltdown over how bad I felt in them. I have a few pairs of shorts I feel OK in, but they were in the wash, so this was a pair I really don't like, an old puffy-looking pair of soccer shorts.

My husband didn't help. He's a great guy but can't handle it when I'm unhappy. He just got angry with me for acting irrational and then got all irrational himself. It's frustrating that not only do I have to deal with my own stupidity at times like this, I also have a choice of trying to cover up how I feel or letting him know how I feel and taking the chance that I'll have to deal with his emotions in addition to my own. Not exactly my rock, here. So eventually I got us both calmed down and to the move site, but that was frustrating.

The moving wasn't so bad, just exhausting and hot. We ended up going out to dinner. I had earned a lot of activity points between my morning and the move, so I ended Tuesday OK with everything. But Wednesday I went to the county fair and had a couple of things that I knew were high in points but didn't realize how high. Because of the way I do my flex points, I burned my bank for the week plus some.

Yesterday I didn't do a big workout and kept putting off journaling until dinnertime. I realized in the middle of cooking dinner that I had no points left. I also realized about halfway through my shrimp quesadilla that I didn't like it at all. So I was frustrated and angry because I had wasted points I didn't have on something I didn't even enjoy. I ended up eating a single-serving bag of SunChips for "dinner" later that night. So far, I'm 14 points over for the week and my WW week only began on Tuesday.

I had been upping my intake of fruits and vegetables the last couple of weeks, but this week I have been getting the bare minimum of 2 fruits and 3 veggies, and sometimes not even that.

And last night I forgot about a friend's graduation party and completely missed it.

I feel like I'm blowing it in every area of my life.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


If you have ever watched a baseball game, you know the weird rituals that batters have as they step up to the plate. You can almost hear the internal dialogue: "Cross yourself, take two steps, tap the bat against your left shoe 3 times, against your right shoe 4 times, adjust your cap, step up to the plate."

In sports, hard work isn't enough to ensure success -- players need a little bit of luck too. Because failure is so public and so embarassing, players develop rituals out of things that seemed to work in past outings. This is why so many of them have lucky items, like socks. And anyone who's ever watched the movie Dumbo knows that if you believe in the lucky feather, it will work for you.

Weight loss is similar. Sure, over time, your hard work will pay off and you will lose as long as you are consistent. But week-to-week, who knows? One week you could have had your own personal Chocolate Festival, and still find that you've lost a couple of pounds. Another week, you track every single point and weigh and measure everything, stay within your range, and gain 5 pounds.

I've seen women in meetings in the middle of December who stripped down to gym shorts and a t-shirt in a cold church basement before stepping on the scale. I have watched people take off belts, watches, and even rings. And I've never thought there was anything silly about it, really.

I don't care how philosophical I try to be, when I step up to that scale, I want to see a loss every week. Preferably a big one, but at least a pound. I am sure that my leader and everyone in the meeting will think I'm pathetic if I have even a small gain. So I have my weigh-in day rituals. I wear the lightest thing I can find, never jeans. I never wear my shoes on the scale. I try to stop eating solid food at least two hours before the weigh-in. I try to avoid salt. If I think I had a bad week, I will have asparagus with dinner the night before (it's a mild diuretic). Sure, none of these things have anything to do with real weight loss. They are just ways to comfort myself when facing the possibility of a public failure. Even though they never say your weight aloud, they will say how much you gained or lost or if you maintained. I'm always sure that everyone in the room is listening and watching.

I am convinced that superstition is the origin of all the urban-legend Weight Watchers plans like Wendie's and CJ's. They probably each started as something that worked one week for someone, and they told a friend, and that friend had a good week (or didn't, but didn't do it quite right), and the plan spread. Usually they have explanations as to why they would work but I am guessing those reasons were dreamed up after the fact. Even scientists can't give us a straight answer on the whole story behind weight losses and gains.

Any of these systems make more sense to me than the superstition that just paying the Weight Watchers dues and weighing in each week will cause weight loss even if you don't do the program -- not that I'm judging anyone, I've been there myself.

If you are brave, there is one ritual that will practically guarantee you have a good week. One of my many WW meetings had a "Public Journal." If you needed to break through a plateau, you could take the journal home and use it. The catch was, you had to be honest and journal everything, and then you had to bring it back for the group to see. I took the journal home once and lost 5 pounds that week. I felt too guilty to lie and I definitely didn't want anyone to see that I had gone over my points, so I was more careful than I had ever been before and I weighed and measured everything.

I think I'll know that I have gotten my head on straight when my own personal journal is no different than the public journal. Until then, I'll be looking for good recipes for asparagus.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

okay, I get the message

In my post about the race Sunday, I wrote that it could hurt my weigh-in this week.

Though I had a pretty good week this week even besides the race, I weighed in this week exactly the same as last week. I tried to be philosophical about it, but I was frustrated that the effort I put in wasn't reflected on the scale. When one of the other people in my meeting commented on his slow weight loss, I said, "well, I haven't even gotten my first 5-pound star!" Even I knew how whiny this sounded, but everyone was nice and sympathetic, and I felt better.

When the leader asked people to tell about their successes this week, I talked a little about the race. Everyone seemed impressed and our leader gave me a strip of little silver "Bravo" stars to stick in my book. As I was putting them in, I noticed something on the back. It was a slightly dented gold star with a blue number 5 on it.

I held it up and asked the leader, "Did you give me this on purpose?" thinking maybe she had to encourage me to keep with it. She said no and even looked a little worried about me receiving an unearned award. The other people in the meeting convinced her to let me keep it, and I promised not to actually stick it in the book until I had earned it.

On , we've been talking about the ways that God talks to us. In this case, I think the message is, "Here, enough about the star, already!" But in the friendliest possible way.
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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07