Monday, August 31, 2009

New Week

First day back to school, so a whirlwind of papers, outfits, friends, and plans. I have one each in elementary, middle and high school so it's a little crazy. I made it to the gym with Dad today (he is eager to go, so that helps.) I was rocking out on Muse "Uprising" which my 13 year old introduced me to. My heart rate got up to 159 on that which is rare for me-- I usually can't get it above 150. Doing well with my goals, except I need to charge up my band and get that on. Stunning weather in the 70s so trail walks should be appealing. The only major cloud on my horizon at this moment is the need to Find a Job. I hate jobhunting, but continuing to pay $1400 a month in Cobra is not an option (DH is self-employed). Hopefully I can find something 16-24 hours a week that will cut our insurance bill. Cross your fingers for me.

PS That pound WAS a temporary boarder. Now if I can just persuade a few of his friends to leave with him.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Back to School

Plus, I need to find a new (part time) job. And we just said goodbye to the family of five that was staying with us for a few days. I was glad to have them here but it will be nice to cook for just our usual six (or seven, or eight, depending on visiting kids).

Been keeping up fairly well although there was some scattered non-5-factor behavior, partly tied to feeding lots and lots of other people without busting my penny bank. I did do my weights yesterday and have kept eating pretty much properly. There is a pound showing up on the scale, which makes me unthrilled, but I think it's a temporary boarder and not a resident. I'm pretty comfortable maintaining this weight, which is the good news. However, I've been here for five weeks and it's time to start losing again.

My goals for this morning, ala Steve of Log My Loss , are as follows:

1. write down and track calories
2. more iced tea and less soda
3. two or three calorie chewing trail walks
4. four 5-F workouts
5. wear my band

I'd like to look into joining the Y as when winter rolls around, the trail will be less appealing and I will need some options for burning through some calories like spinning class, swimming, etc.

And there you have it! Here's to a good "We're Back" week for all of us!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Disordered Eating

No, no, I did okay today, honest. I did have a serving of pasta with cheese at dinner, but that's because I was feeding 11 people and needed something appealing, quick and cheap. I picked up my weights again-- 3 supersets of deadlifts and arm rows-- and mowed the lawn, always good exercise. I was just pondering this question as I was soaking tired muscles in my bath. How do you define disordered eating? Barbara on Refuse to Regain wrote that she was very trim most of her life (5'6" and less than 120 lbs) eating all kinds of crap. She mentioned Pinwheels specifically. I personally have been known to go through a box of Pinwheels (those evil chocolate covered marshmallow cookies) in 2 days. One time I ate a whole box myself in a day. That felt disordered. If I had been 140 pounds, would it still have qualified as disordered?

I feel quite sure that calories in/out is not as simple as we'd like. Studies which I am too lazy to look up have shown all kinds of odd things, like how hard it is to get certain normal weight people to gain weight, even if you grossly overfeed them; that 2000 calories eaten in the morning results in weight loss, while 2000 eaten for dinner results in weight gain. Many of us seem to have a setpoint. For Barbara on Refuse to Regain it was 120, for me it was 145 and then 195, for someone else it might be 350. Normal weight people seem to binge occasionally too.

I've been realizing what a fine line there is between overfat and "normal." In my case, maybe three or four hundred calories a day, plus a half hour to an hour of exercise. So just one bagel and a cookie or two, and reading a book rather than taking a hike. That's all it takes for some of us to stay fat. Does that mean I had disordered eating? I don't think so. The bad news is, it doesn't take that much to stay overfat. The good news seems to be, if you can find a trick to trim your calories consistently (either a change in activity or a change in diet or a combination of the two) you should be able to keep weight off without having to tie yourself in knots. For me clean eating, besides making me feel better physically, is just an easy way to trim calories. Take out empty carbohydrates and the cravy-hungry feelings they provoke, and my calorie total seems to end up in the 1900 range versus the 2300-2400 range.

I wonder what "disordered eating" means to you?

Go Starbucks

We were outlet shopping for school yesterday, I failed to plan ahead and got very, very hungry. Starbucks serves oatmeal and fruit-based smoothies-- hooray! Day saved!

PS One more for the "Advantages of Fat" list-- clothes don't look as nice, so you spend less money. Ka-ching. I did need some 14s though.

PPS Yesterday took a fast hike with my eldest, talking the whole time. Bonding + exercise. Need to pick up my weights again-- we'll see how I do, as I expect to have dinner for eleven tonight.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Advantages of Fat

Headache = no awesome exercise today. I've popped many OTC painkillers, tried caffeine, a shower-- just have to hope I feel better tomorrow.

I will mention something amusing that happened at the beach. I slipped back to the bead store for a treat-- beading a necklace by myself, after helping my daughters make theirs. I was alone with the clerk and he began to chat. He wanted to know if I was vacationing alone. Since I was staying with my father, husband, three children, and five friends, the concept of "alone" is a fairly foreign one to me. He asked some other questions and it dawned on me (I can't be sure) that he was checking to see if I was pick-up-able. He seemed startled to hear I have a 17 year old son. He was soooo much younger than me it was funny. Awkward, of course, too.

Which brings me to that less-covered subject, the advantages of fat. I can think of several:

1. Balls don't hurt anymore. I used to cower from volleyballs and tetherballs. Once I gained some padding, my attitude became: bring 'em on!

2. Not having strangers come onto you when you're just trying to conduct your life. I am old enough now to find this more amusing and/or reassuring than the reverse, but at times in my life it has been a PITA, even though I have never been a heavy-hitting beauty. An extra fifty pounds took care of that problem for the most part.

3. Not getting scrutinized at the beach. I used to hate that. I never had a Platonic Ideal type bod, and I always felt anxious about having my carefully camouflaged flaws out there for everybody to assess.

4. Not freaking out about gaining weight. My "setpoint" if such a thing exists was about 195. I might go a few pounds over but my body seemed to gravitate around that point. I could eat a lot but not go significantly over this.

5. Fewer clothing choices. This is a good thing, really. I find shopping sort of overwhelming. I wish Avenue came in size 12.

This list is short compared to the advantages of being normal weight, but it's no less real. Can any of you guys think of some additions? Is there something you're giving up as your body changes?

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Those of you who really have to hoof it to lose a pound will appreciate my relief this morning. I gained maybe 1/2 to 1 pound over vacation (180.5 or so) so I am happy and also feel like I dodged a bullet, because quite a lot of ice cream and cookies went down my piehole. Says a lot about the value of activity, whatever Time magazine may claim to the contrary.

Tired today, which is maybe not surprising. More or less back on the wagon and looking forward to more good work. I had a slew of observations about the eating styles of the people we vacationed with, but decided this was too controversial for a blog that might conceivably be seen, so I will only say that the kinds of foods that the three represented families ate (or didn't eat) was surprisingly well reflected in their beach bods. I know it's way more complicated than that, but in this case, it seemed to be pretty straightforward-- the Really Clean Eaters (not us) looked the leanest, with a sliding scale to the more Pop-tart friendly.

Anyway, a picture of four lovely girls on Hatteras, one mine.

My middle daughter. Isn't she perty?

My little one flying a kite, followed by my two daughters and a Best Friend:

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I miss Hatteras, but it's good to be home.

We had a lovely, very full time and it was the fastest week of my life. Came home in a mood to buff, prep and polish for the new school year. It is my oldest's senior year, the little one's in 2nd grade, the middle one in 8th... going to be a full year, and I am beating back melancholy as Things Will Change when oldest starts college next year. But I digress.

Thanks, 266, for the blog award! I'm so tickled! When I figure out how to post it here, even better!

My eating was not great on vacation. Cheat Week, basically. It was a four-story beach house and there was a lot of running about, so I am hopeful not too much damage was done. Note to self-- in particular, on the last day when I was consuming a lot of sugar wafer cookies and ended up having to skip lunch because the ferry took so long, blah, blah, I was starving and cranky and miserable. Ultra refined carbs like sugar wafers are not food. They don't act like food in the body, at least not in my body. They just make you hungrier than if you'd fasted. Like that jibe about martinis-- one is too many, three is not enough. I could not help stepping on the scale when I got back-- late in the day it was 183, so I am hopeful I have not added more than a pound or two. I'll find out tomorrow. Alas I sprained my toe going into the water when my common sense was urging me otherwise-- Hurricane Bill bypassed us, but gave us some pretty good waves yesterday. The first one I tried dragged me backwards aaallll the way to the beach, wrenched my toe, and gave me a saltwater sinus treatment equivalent to a netti pot. Not sure how my foot will handle the elliptical tomorrow but I'll just have to see.

I enjoyed catching up on blogs and look forward to a good week!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Very Brief Post

because the beach is calling to me. "Come walk!" I can see the ocean from one window and the sound from the other. I would not get a thing done if I lived here, so maybe it's a good thing I don't. (Maybe.)

Just a quick post to say, thank you for your supportive comments on my grainy pictures! You all will help me try not to consume too much in the way of s'mores and Blizzards while on vacation. I have no way of checking my weight (I downplayed my husband's plan of bringing weights, and nixed my own thought to bring the scale.) All I can do is look at myself sideways in the morning anxiously and check for bulges :) We are doing a ton of walking and wave jumping and running up and down a four-level beach house, so I have a fighting chance.

I will also go to the strenuous effort of linking the following article which I came across through "Exceptionally Fat." He points out the Time article silliness more calmly than I could, though there's a little sarcasm leaking through there (can't be helped, I think.)

Tom Venuto article

Friday, August 14, 2009

New Jeans (Pictures!)

(Before: One of those O no, really? pictures)

At least the previous was taken by a friend, so it's legible compared to the ones I took below. Grainy & half-focused! That's the kind of quality photography you can expect here at "Am I Really That Fat!"

Here are my New Jeans. As you know, jeans and the way they fit is an inexhaustible subject for me. These are Levi 515, stretch, dark blue, medium length, medium rise jeans, obtained at Macy's on sale for $34.50. They're pretty good, though not as nice as my jeans from Avenue, sniff. Now it is safe for me to drop into a 12, as Levi's can follow me to a much smaller size than I can imagine ever going. Notice they cut out the back waistband, so whether you bulge or gap there you don't have to deal with it. The only risk is showing your underwear if you're contorting excessively. Nothing's perfect.

According to my records I've lost an inch here and there since my last pics. But, alas, you can't really tell. At least it shows improvement from the "before" I unearthed above-- taken last winter.

I was getting worried I might be losing my butt. Not a problem, as illustrated. Part me of wanted to suppress these pictures because of course I'm not thin enough, but then I remember this is a WEIGHT LOSS BLOG. S'okay! Hopefully the next set will show a bit more shrinkage (matched up with some trimmed-down fasting blood sugars).

Preparing To Vacate

I was scurrying around my favorite WL blogs and decided I don't have enough pictures. So I struggled with my digital camera this morning, got into a hissy fit when I couldn't find the download cord, and gave up. Instead I refer you all to this really cool shot on 266 whose blog is infinitely prettier than mine even though she's just getting started. The pictures I attempted to take this morning don't show a lot of dramatic change, even though my mighty thighs have trimmed down almost three inches apiece from their (preblog) high of 29". Each. Even though I can't share the pictures (unless I browbeat my kids into finding the cord), *I* have seen them, and can paint you a word-picture of a reasonably fit-looking, well-proportioned woman whose body is approximately 20% too large for her head. This is why I wear big hair. Easier than losing 30 more pounds.

I am off to the shore tomorrow. The Agreement is that we are not trying to keep to program while on vacation, but it takes me SOOOOO long to lose a pound my internal Agreement is that I don't want to gain any weight. This will require a lot of beach walking, so we'll see how I do. The family we're going with are as slim as twigs and feel that sugar is really bad for you, so I'm hoping that will help.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I figured out my-- would I call it a problem? I think I'm too content, really. What makes for an interesting weight loss blog is intense feeling, whether it's rage (at your fat or the world for being mean about it), determination, anxiety, sadness, smugness, or some combination of the above. I couldn't even bestir myself to step down from my BMI of (checking: ah yes) 29.6 until I got scared about my blood sugar. Hm, fear. Fear is a good one. I've lost 15 lbs solidly, ten since I started this blog. BMI is now (one second) 27.4. I look much more average now-- I used to be notable for being fattish, but now I think I pass. When I shop for jeans the 14s fit, which means I can buy clothes anywhere. (Except that I still haven't found the Perfect Replacement Jeans, which means I can't get any smaller till I find an alternate supplier to Avenue. Help me drop pounds! Suggest a good pair of jeans for the Bootylicious!) I love the changes I've made, don't get me wrong. But I feel sort of left out, in a way. I love the other WL blogs I read, but I don't have their passion for change. I think my body looks reasonably nice the way it is. I'm all about the pain vs benefit equation-- I don't see myself living off of 1400 calories a day to wear a size 6. My eating is not disordered (knock wood, please God-- I avoid the DE blogs, in case it's catching or something). I would like to be slimmer and I would no doubt look more fetching if I zoomed back down to 145 (BMI of 22, 'cause I'm having fun with that calculator.) I could also have some really rockin' matching underwear, but I digress... but I'm not all fired up about it. There's just one thing that pisses me off.

My blood sugar.

That's one number that makes me mad. 111 fasting is unhealthy. Period. I'm mad that it's not lower, I'm worried it's not going to go lower, but I realize I haven't accomplished enough fat shrinkage to get the result I'm aiming for. I want a nice, skinny blood sugar of <100 fasting. If I can't get it with reasonable measures (eating 1800-2000 mostly healthy calories a day on average, exercising 5 hours a week) then I guess I'll resort to the metformin. But I haven't made my 10% yet and I need to keep marching till I do.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Halfway Back

I worked out this morning and turned out the family for a couple miles on the trail. I've lost condition already. Doesn't take long, does it? Ate more or less fine until we hit Bob Evans for dinner (Carb Evans, as my husband says). Bean soup (ok), spinach salad (ok), bites of banana bread (!), biscuit (!!), a french fry (!!!) and two bites of ice cream. Maybe three. So not really back on the road, but 2 out of 4 tires. Tomorrow I plan to wear my Gofit band and write down my food. Should have my act together by next week.

Monday, August 10, 2009

One of Those Rambling Posts

So my brother was here (yay), but for an incredibly short time (boo). Sunday we took the Segway tour of Gettysburg battlefield, which was beautiful and cool and Segways are fun, but I didn't walk at all and I thought I had a blood clot, my knees were so stiff after. It was late and we were hungry and ended at a pizza place for dinner, even though it was not technically Cheat Day. I had two slices of pepperoni, half a Greek salad and a handful of peanut M&M's because any cheat meal needs dessert. No exercise at all, all weekend. Today I woke up exhausted (had to drive brother to airport at 6:30) and I've been low-energy and short-tempered all day, resulting in a tempest in our usually calm domestic teapot. So I don't think I can blame eating refined crap + failing to exercise for my hostile, depressed mood, but I can tell you I just want to curl up and hide. Like an octopus. I am hoping after dinner to hide out at the gym. Put my headphones on and just zone out. I am confident I will not show a loss for this week, unless there is some weird suspension of physical laws. I'll be lucky if I hold steady.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Very Short Post

It's my birthday, I had fondue, I am surrounded by my delightful family, and I am settling down with Zoo Tycoon (a present from my husband).

Sorry for the cranky post yesterday! Sarcasm is not the strongest form of rebuttal. I'll try to come up with something more persuasive later.

For those keeping track (me included), according to my calorie count/gofit, I ran an average of about a 500 calorie deficit since Sunday and I lost just under a pound. So just about right, if SLOOOOOW.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Primal Scream Part 2

Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin

My annoyance is moderated by the fact that I successfully made a link! Woot! I'll be posting You-Tube videos next!

Really, though. I know this is the cutting edge stance of the NYT health columnist and a few others. Linked to the above article is one in the same publication about diabetes which pretty much directly contradicts what you find above. I particularly savor the sentence, "Exercise is pretty much useless for weight loss." Okay then! Back to the couch, everybody! We'll get healthy by living off of Slimfast shakes and iceberg lettuce. Whatever you do, don't exercise!

Sorry. Gotta pull myself together. If you read the article less indignantly, there is a lot of pro-exercise stuff slipped in there, but the overall Persuasive Argument is that exercise (any exercise apparently) is useless for weight loss. I guess all those maintainers on the Weight Control Registry don't read Time magazine. I felt there were errors (Covert Bailey was talking about brown fat back in the '80s) not to mention a landslide of omissions (let's list the diseases that have been demonstrated to be less likely with regular exercise, shall we?)

The other thing that's worth bearing in mind is it's not just about weight. I've dropped 2 dress sizes-- which is a lot to me, even if it may not show up dramatically on a study-- and 3 inches from my hip circumference, even though I'm eating plenty and not killing myself. The article takes a truth-- most of us can't eat whatever we want just because we exercise-- and uses that to state that exercise is useless in weight control. Gimmicky and in my opinion ultimately harmful.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Primal Scream

In college, friends developed the Primal Scream, which was accomplished into a towel after I complained about my shattered nerves. I had a disappointment with my blood sugar this morning (111 fasting, sigh) and was reading about what I should do. Inevitably you run into the low-carb lifestyle which leads you to the Primarian Diet. Which sounds great, and I think has a lot going for it, but I am always stopped by the following:

1. How do we know what primitive man ate, really? and
2. Primitive man, as far we know, was not known for his longevity, and
3. Plant based diets seem to do better in studies than ones involving tons of meat. My dad was eating Atkins which did great things for his blood sugar, but his lipids were going in the wrong direction. The cardiologist wanted him off it.

That said, I made an effort to drop my carbs a bit today. Felt fine and plenty full. 136 grams carbs and 39% fat, yikes. I also (drumroll) walked four miles today, so my burn should end up pretty good. Intake 1675.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I Heart Weight Loss Blogs

I've had a bit of a rocky day-- feeling fine physically, mentally not so much. I found the licorice and ATE SOME. Most days it's not too hard to eat reasonably clean. Today it was a struggle. But there will be struggle, right? That's what I love about WL blogs. Other people gamely engaged on the lines, honest about their challenges and triumphs. It's not like (as happened today) getting found on Facebook by a high school friend who's still as skinny as an eel and has a stupendous job: a mixed experience, at best. Wondering if I measure up, if I've accomplished enough. In blogland we are A-okay just the way we are. We want to do good things and not disappoint our supporters, but we don't have to pretend. Come as you are.

Burn yesterday of 2380, intake around 1650. Today, I wrote it all down but I haven't tallied up yet. Something reasonable plus two handfuls of licorice. Burn 2476 at 1150 pm... resisting the insane urge to hop on the elliptical so my Fit can chime that I met my calorie goal (2520). 44 calories in 9 minutes... it can be done... but I think not tonight. I did have a lovely Appalachian Trail walk with my dad and my daughter this morning, plus I dragged my protesting self to the gym in the evening with daughter for my companion. It actually felt good and they were showing clips of old Dick Van Dyke shows, so I'm going to be okay with today in spite of succumbing to licorice. DH has hidden it better :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Reporting In

I think my hand slipped when I put the Benefiber in my whey shake. Intestinal disorder, ugh. Made me want a bowl of pudding for dinner instead of my usual fibrous protein-loaded digestive challenge. Did not feel that great + very busy = no formal exercise, though my Fit is consoling me that I broke 2000 calories by 8 pm, so not terrible. Ate around 1650 unless I forgot something. Yesterday I burned about 2700 and ate about 1950 (a lot!) Today I am trying to forget where my husband put the licorice. But I remember... unless he moved it... hmmm.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tap Squats Work Better than Spanx

And they don't give you a muffin top or make it hard to breathe. Just a public service announcement.

I'm realizing how easy it is to carry extra pounds, because I worked out yesterday and according to my Fit I still only burned about 2150 calories all day. I'm a large person with a two story house I'm running up and down all day. Don't even have a desk job. Yikes.

Yesterday I worked out, as follows:

--5 min elliptical, which my Fit only registered as two minutes. Witch.
--15 reps X 4 sets of Cuban Dumbbell Snatches, which I stole from Lori on Finding Radiance-- instead of shoulder raises or presses or whatever they are, because I heart whole body exercises, plus I love the name.
--15 reps X 4 sets triceps extensions
--bunches of crunches
--5 more minutes elliptical

I also ate more or less clean if you don't count two spoonfuls of my daughters' Ben & Jerry's, left over from Cheat Day. Wasn't hungry until noon, I expect I filled my glycogen stores for the next 12 months at the fondue restaurant.

I got to the gym First Thing this morning which I suspect is going to be the way to do it. Tried exercising on an empty tum, as I was listening to a podcast the other day which advised this (well, they recommended 2 c of black coffee, but I'm not doing that). They also recommended not eating carbohydrates three hours before or after your workout, and drinking 1 oz of water for each pound of bodyweight. They say it Really Works, and I'm sure it does, but I'm not doing that, either. They made the former recommendation as a way of discouraging insulin and promoting growth hormone. That's why Jillian Michaels recommends no carbs before bed, which is not too hard for me, mostly, if you don't count spoonfuls of other people's Ben & Jerry's. No-carbs-before-bed helped me break my plateau. But I am looking for sustainability and at this point I am not motivated enough to relegate carbohydrates to a three hour window in the middle of the day.

Hope my blogosphere buddies are having a brilliant Monday.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Yard Work Pump

Worth a lot of calories, per my GWF. Which is good, because even though I ate more or less clean on our two-day excursion to the City, I missed a day of lifting and of course yesterday was Cheat Day. We ate at the Melting Pot. Need I say more?

In Philly I got to test out my painstakingly acquired outfit. The drapey shirt and the hip-belt got checked out a fair bit and I am definitely old enough to feel reassured that there is still some measurable level of It going on. I didn't end up meeting the people I intended to casually scorn (perhaps spouse was not eager to encounter this situation?) but I did get to see 2 sets of beloved friends whom I greatly miss. Overall a good trip and I think a good thing for my husband.

My plan for this week is to make a proper test of my armband. Last week I had to take it off a lot in order to Look Nice. I am pledging to post my daily workouts, calorie count, and Fit results daily. We'll tally it all up next Saturday morning and see if pounds (pound) lost evens out.

Plan is to work out Sun, Mon, Tues; Weds off; Thu, Fri, Sat or Sun off.

A great week to us all! Whoever's got the starting gun can fire it...