Friday, October 30, 2009

Exercise Addiction?

I nearly felt like crying when I finally got to Zumba today. Well, okay, I didn't actually shed tears, but it felt so great to be back. It's like a party with loud music and people you know where you get to dance with abandon. Women of all ages, sizes, and ethnic backgrounds just wildly shakin' it. Even yesterday, forcing myself to do chest presses, at some point it starts to feel good and gratifying while being simultaneously hard and unpleasant. Some kind of neurotransmitter is kicking in there.

Some room for improvement on the food front. I have been desperately busy all week, and there is Halloween stuff around. I've been fairly mindful but our Halloween Party is tomorrow for which I am painfully underprepared ===> anxious =====> licking a few too many batter spoons. It's nine thirty and I have about a thousand miles to go before I sleep. Wish me luck. I'm gonna need it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Short Pissy Post

It's a packed week. Most of it beyond my control. I had my stuff packed for Zumba, but my poor husband was being pelted with phone calls and issues at work and it would have been decidedly unwifely (unuxorial? or is that just husbands?) to leave him. So I missed Zumba, and I was really upset. Still am. I keep wanting to complain about it in a highly unhelpful manner. I don't know about you guys, but when I plan exercise and bring all the stuff and then am prevented from going, I feel like a rat getting its tail pinched. Stress. There are certain things that keep me happy and when I don't get them I am as snitty as can be. My son needs jeans, which makes me absolutely wild with frustration-- I hate my kids looking shabby in the same thing day after day (childhood issues). I have NO TIME to get him a new pair. My favorite size 16 Geoffrey Beene skirt I used to feel more or less slinky in is now falling off my hips in a totally unalluring way. Finally, my daughter's best friend is going to be a Mouse in the Nutcracker, and she didn't get cast (remember? MY FAULT, for not getting her there 3 times a week), and we're both kind of heartbroken. And I didn't have my shit together with Halloween Invitations this year so our party is going to be small. I'm worried our young guests won't have a good time.

Bourgeois Suffering, as my best friend might gently point out. All I need is a good Zumba class. Or a good cry. I'd prefer the former.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I feel like my behavior has not been quite there for fat loss. You just feel like you know what you have to do, and you know more or less when you've done it. But sometimes the scale messes with your head. I unloaded the magazines from mine (bathroom reading clean out). I made sure it was zeroed and I stepped on it. 174ish. Maybe 173. (Remember, I can't see in the mornings.) I have not been that impressed with myself in my fitness behavior lately, although I'm still eating lots of plums and recently discovered flavored seltzer in a can (big puffy heart). So why am I down a pound? Not sure I believe it, but I'll take the enjoyable (irrational) feelings of self-actualization that go with it. Scale wise, I am like Mr. Weston in Persuasion, the perpetual optimist. Even a subsequent rise probably won't make me feel like this was a mistake. I'll decide the high number was a mistake. See? We optimists are supposed to be less accurate than pessimists. But we have our fun.

Friday, October 23, 2009

So Vain

I am helping out in my SO's office for a few weeks till his office person is back on-line. Since I got a part time job (woot!), starting in a couple of weeks, I felt justified in buying a few things (doesn't take much.) I usually shop at Christopher Banks like the square I am, as it has pretty things that are not too dowdy, too goofy, too hipster, or too expensive. This time I stopped at Penny's and bought a lined, black watch plaid skirt and a rather snazzy black shirt for a grand total of $32. The skirt had this bizarrely perfect fit. Weight training has changed my body so that I'm more hour-glass-y and less pear-like. Things look more or less the way they're supposed to, even though I am still north of 170 pounds and 31% (shudder) body fat. Anyway, in a pair of heels and dark tights, I enjoyed feeling All That. Which is good because today was my son's 18th birthday and I am now the mother of an adult, which though a great things is a little difficult to wrap my mind around.

For the birthday dinner I had some Italian sub and ice cream cake... okay and some chips... and a little Smartfood (Evil, evil substance!) I felt a bit uneasy as it is Not Cheat Day, so I saddled up at 10 pm and did my 5 Factor workout (5 minutes elliptical, 3 sets of 25 tap squats and 25 chest flys, 75 side bends with weights, followed by another 6 minutes elliptical). My husband and I were noticing that before, we would have fed ourselves subs, cake, and Smartfood in a disorganized way, consuming a lot more calories and thinking little of it. Now we think. Though I do have the Moral High Ground, 'cause I worked out and he didn't. Not that I'm keeping track or anything :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Challenge Update

Under the wire.

I'm moving toward my big goal-- looks like 3/7 pounds down to make 171 by the new year. I have been on and off deciding whether I have flu, so I only got in a couple of weight workouts and two or three Zumba this week. Planning has been erratic. I feel like I need to go say a couple rosaries or something: Forgive-me-Father for I haven't managed to keep clear focus this week. I've been working on my novel quite a bit as I have, or imagine I have, the time to do it, and I am kind of weaving in and out of a fictional world. The here and now has some urgent claims on my time so I better get my shit together. But I am happy, overall, that my way of eating is pretty overlearned so it's not hard to follow when I get short of time or confused. I'm lucky I've found something that keeps the calories reasonable even when I don't manage to plan carefully.

I have been kicking around the idea of Weight Watchers as the wonderful Foodie McBody (whom I view as a guide in this insulin-resistant jungle) is now a leader and a huge booster. My husband is mildly resistant. He thinks I'm doing fine on the current system and pointed out that we have (1) home equipment (2) a Gowear Fit band and (3) two gym memberships. Is more really necessary? That kind of took the wind out of my sails. So that one's on hold. Just as well, until I get my fictional characters to a place of safety, I don't think I will be able to concentrate properly.

Have a great, focused, flu-free week, everybody!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Real Reason for Baby Fat

NOOOOW I get it. When I was 12, we moved to the city and I discovered walking to the convenience store to blow my allowance on candy. My mom started teaching farther away and I was on my own for breakfast and lunch, which meant I didn't eat them. Add puberty and you have the recipe for a 145 pound 12 year old. Even at 5'7", back in the late 70's, that was Fat. (Remember all those sooooper skinny ladies from the '70s?) I didn't appeal to boys until I joined Old Weight Watchers and dropped 20 lbs.

My daughter is officially 5'9" at her last checkup with a BMI of 20. Kids are bigger than they used to be, she's an athlete (basketball), and she's pretty much normal size. She is also pretty and has been the object of crushing here and there. Well, she's decided to return one of these crushes, and her father and I are amazingly unthrilled about it. He's a very nice boy but he's older by 3 years and she's only in 8th grade. I've told her since forever that she can't date (except going out as friends in groups) until she's 16. I've been kind of tying myself in knots over how much guidance/supervision to exercise around her food (probably making it harder than it needs to be), wanting to spare her as much as possible from the health and social hassles of getting too fat, while skirting the yawning abyss of eating disorders. (Also, I don't want to be an a**hole about it. So much potential for "Can you believe Mom used to" stories.) Here I've missed the obvious answer: donuts and cookies! Twinkies at every meal! Forget rollerblading, curl up with a book! 15 pounds of protective puppy fat and her Dad and I could stop hyperventilating about Facebook posts and texting. Or I could write "I'M 13, BACK OFF" on her forehead in Sharpie.

How do you guys pass down good food/weight/health messages to your kids? I read everything I can on the subject and I still don't have any "truth" to pass down other than Eat Real Food and Exercise.

PS I had an interview today. I'll keep y'all posted.

Monday, October 19, 2009


This time last year, the scale said 195.
Today, it's 175.

My fasting blood sugar two days ago was 113.
This morning, after a low-carb dinner, it was 94.

My myotape tells me my dimensions are 40/31/42.25. My thigh measures 25.75.

I've lost 3 points in BMI (29.6 to 26.6).
I've shed 20 pounds, 10% of my original body weight.
I'm still 4 pounds from losing 10% as of starting this blog.

This is the least I've weighed since October of 1990. I was a newlywed in a sweet little apartment, still unpacking my wedding china. My mother was in the hospital and they couldn't quite figure out what was wrong. My husband was in his second year of graduate school and we were all very young (24, in my case).

It took me a several months of inefficient effort + biliary stones to lose the first five pounds and 21 weeks of changed behavior to part with the last 15. If I had to give advice to myself a year ago? "It's the food, foolish person." Exercise is great, but eating mostly whole grains wasn't enough; I had to cut way back on grains/carbs and also find a way of eating them spaced out with other foods (protein, fiber) so they didn't do weird and undesirable things with my blood sugar. Once I started eating monstly good quality food and moderating the sugar spikes, I didn't get that Feed-Me-Seymour style hunger anymore. I also have to admit that for me, a cheat day is key. The thought of giving up breads and cookies forever was just too upsetting. I attach a lot of comfort and pleasure not just to those foods but to the process of preparing them, and while I'm happy to enjoy them just once in a while (happier, really, than scarfing them daily), the thought of Never Again was not acceptable to me.

This blog has been so important. Partly for accountability (embarrassing to post a gain). But really more for the peer group. My virtual peer group eats really well and keeps finding challenging new workouts and I don't want to feel like an outlier, you know?

I can't wait to see what we can accomplish in the next 21 weeks.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What to Eat: Part 1, Snacks

The word from Harly P requires you to eat every three hours or so-- three meals and a couple of snacks. Every time you eat you're supposed to get 5 grams of fiber, protein, and some healthy fat, plus a sugar free drink. I am not hard core about this but I do try to keep it in mind. I have a few favorites I can't wait to eat every day (Cherry Shake!)but I often find myself drawing a complete blank. Some days I reach for something dismal like a diet pudding which is probably not technically food, even if they are sort of entertaining to eat. I am begging for snack ideas, so help me out, friends. What do you eat between meals? Here's my limited list:

--whey shake with fruit, ice, and 2% milk
--Ezekiel toast with half a sliced banana and peanut butter
--apple with peanut butter
--plum and a Fiber One bar
--2% cottage cheese, raisins and pecans
--Fiber One cereal which is delish, but difficult digestively (definitely have to look into the beano) and it tastes so sweet I am suspicious of it
--couple ounces of deli turkey or ham with mustard and a plum
--thawed mixed berries with plain yogurt and Golean Crunch

As you can see there's a fair amount of processed food in this list, and most of these things taste sweet. I am trying to step back from the artificial sweeteners in the hope they will wean me from needing that sweetness. What's your very best and favorite snack?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Moral High Ground

I never fully appreciated the importance of high ground until I went to Gettysburg. We zipped around on Segways in this golden, blowy sunset, everything quiet and green and no sign of the mayhem of 150 years ago. Anyway, there is a hill that had been partially cleared by local farmers. By the second day of battle it became clear that Little Round Top was the place to be, because the guns of that time could shoot out and down a lot better than they could shoot up. The Union just barely got control of Little Round Top in time and it was ably defended by the 20th Maine who fixed bayonets and charged when they found themselves out of ammunition.* Kind of puts dieting in perspective, doesn't it?

At the Halloween Parade party at my friend's house I iced cupcakes without eating any. And I felt that elusive satisfaction that is the Moral High Ground. It's funny, it's a quieter pleasure than an actual cupcake, but it's still nice.

*Apologies to those that actually know this stuff.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Secret Weapon

I weigh first thing, when the light's just starting to break. I'm bleary at that hour and my scale has tiny numbers. I kind of like it that way, mind you. I don't want some obnoxious digital scale laying down the law. I prefer some flexibility in my facts. Yesterday I thought it said sort of 176ish but I put down 177 to be safe. This morning it looked, squinting, 175ish which means maybe I really did lose a bit. I tried to figure out what I did differently. All I could think of, apart from getting back to Zumba, was that big tray of plums I bought at Costco. Costco has lovely fruit and these are huge plums with this lovely mottled sheen on them. I've wanted to eat them up and I am the only taker so I have been having these between or before meals when I'm hungry. They take up a lot of tummy real estate, evidently to good effect. So that's my secret weapon this week. (Also I bought Rock and Roll Part Two for my Ipod, which forces you to dance around in your underwear. Good thing I'm home alone during the day).

What about YOU? What's the James Bond gadget in your weight loss arsenal?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hot 100 Challenge-- Update on Goals

Which were:

1. 3 5-factor workouts
2. Write down in advance for the day what I plan to eat and when.
3. Keep the blogging outside family time
4. Big goal is still 171 by January 1.
5. Don't smooch my husband when he is sick.

1. Yes*
2. 4/7
3. Yes
4. Down 1 so six pounds to go with 11 weeks left.
5. He isn't sick, haha!

I made myself a star chart. I really did. Much to the amusement of my family.

Leah of My New Ending has some interesting observations on her fear of "coming out" with her new way of eating. She's fearful that others will criticize or tell her she's doing it wrong. I can sympathize. For most of my overweight years I've tried to show a, "I"m going to occupy this much space and that's how it is, people," kind of attitude. But I have had my moments of self-consciousness. Still do. One of the small joys of being trim must surely be enjoying a cupcake publicly without feeling self-conscious. My father in law has told stories of his mother, who was fat and was never seen to eat. Poor woman was probably guilted into stuffing her face furtively while she was cleaning up, fixing food, etc. Perhaps never feeling entitled to a lovely meal without self-consciousness. My mom used to eat standing up (a habit I am guilty of at times) and it always bothered me. It was like her worn, pinned together bras. Love yourself, mom! Enjoy your meal! Buy some great underwear! You can afford it! My nana would make beautiful little lunches for herself with a placemat and napkin. I thought that was wildly civilized and yet I rarely go to that effort for myself. I've been doing it more lately, tied in with sketching out my meals for the day, and I it makes a difference in feeling truly fed.

So there you go, friends. How about we all buy ourselves some great underwear and a couple of placemats!

*If I do it tonight. Though I'm pretty tired from Zumba. There was a man in class today and I am amazed he was not vaporized by the pulsating estrogen.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Dress

My middle daughter decided she wanted to be a Confessor from Legend of the Seeker for Halloween. (Just picture a flowing white medieval dress, you get the idea). I picked out a pattern and bought the goods. "Wow, you pick the hard ones," said the man checking me out at the fabric store. "Better you than me," my mother in law said doubtfully. Even my husband looked mildly skeptical. My seven year old piped up, "Mom, that looks hard! Can you really sew that?" I just smiled and said "We'll see," because I was pretty sure I could sew that. I haven't sewed in a while but I know what to do, more or less. The dress is hanging up nearly complete downstairs. I was correct in my confidence, not that I wouldn't make mistakes, but that I understood the process well enough to retrieve the mistakes I did make (and there were at least three major ones). A real seamstress would smile at my ill-set sleeves and imperfect hemline, but my daughter looks great and is happy with it. I did what I set out to do.

What I wish is that I could apply that relaxed confidence to other areas of my life. I'm not sure where I got so tied up in knots. I wasn't raised with harsh criticism; my husband is the soul of tolerance. Somehow the need to be angry at myself for failing is so seductive. I only got my poor little daughter to ballet twice a week instead of three times; now she won't get cast in the Nutcracker, because she didn't go often enough. I've applied for a couple of jobs but haven't heard back. I have about a hundred irons in the fire but I have tremendous difficulty in putting forth that last 15% in order to get it done. I'm maintaining my weight and getting to my workouts three or four times a week, but I'm progressing so very slowly compared to my blog friends. Not sure what to do. The only mantra that seems to work is, "Yes, I am teeming colony of flaws, but my family's stuck with me. They just have to put up with my imperfections." Reassurances don't seem to help much, unfortunately. It's like trying to reassure an obsessive-compulsive that yes, they turned the stove off. I just have to work through it myself.

On a brighter note, I 5 factored today and yesterday, even though it was damned late (10 pm) and I didn't feel like it. Felt good both times so I get a gold star for that.

Maybe that's what I need... a star chart :) Or some cognitive behavioral therapy.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Ever get a stretch where things just aren't breaking your way? Cue Joe Walsh: "I can't complain, but sometimes I still do..." Well today I got one or two breaks and I am a happy woman. We got the health insurance figured out and the outlay is going to be more on the lines of $700 a month versus $1300 a month. That takes the huge trapezoidal Wiley-Coyote-style weight off my head while I'm job hunting. I am feeling less anxious, perhaps because Certain Activities, which have been in suspension due to the illness of both parties, are back on the board. Much better.

If you missed the big reveal, go check out Jack S*'s blog. He's a good-looking devil, though I had to bite my wifely tongue to keep from urging him to buy clothes that fit better. Bright blue, clear green, or something in a warm autumnal brown, Jack. And don't get too much thinner, I'll bet your wife wants something with substance to hold on to. At least I do. My husband has always been like a comforting wall. He's a smaller wall now and though he looks great, it startled me a bit the other day. Luckily weight loss isn't going to shrink the sturdy bones passed to him by seven generations of Pennsylvania Dutch farmer stock. (Pity I don't feed him the way their wives did. I've seen a lot of farmers with vascular disease, eating those fabulous lardy dishes even though farming doesn't burn the calories it once did.)

I'm going to try to get into Zumba today. I haven't done any real exercise for a week, plus I managed to do something to my toe while sitting placidly in my hairdresser's chair (pinched nerve?) so I am going to look pretty feeble. Gotta start somewhere.

Hope I can pass my little streak of luck down the line and that things break your way, too.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hot 100 Update

Shout-out to South Beach Steve, the progenitor of our end-of-the-year challenge.

These were my goals:

1. 4 5-factor workouts
2. Write down in advance for the day what I plan to eat and when. Doesn't mean I have to keep to the plan perfectly-- I just want a plan.
3. Keep the blogging outside family time (schooldays ok, in reason).
4. Big goal is still 7 pounds in the next-- what? 93 days? Anybody know?

I blew (1) bigtime, but I have a doctor's excuse. I got fairly sick and I am just now feeling like my blood wasn't sucked out by a vacuum. So we'll reset that goal for next week, adjusting to three five factor workouts due to my general feebleness.

2. was not so good either. 3 days out of 7. I can do better next week.

3. Did well with that.

4. I lost a pound, but I'm pretty sure it was a pound of muscle :(

I am going to keep these goals for next week, and add one more:

5. Do not smooch my SO or share his glass when he is obviously sick.

Over the Top!

Amazon Runner kindly passed on this nifty award. You're supposed to give one-word answers, but I am a windy person, what can I say.

1. Where is your cell phone? cool charging station DH gave me for our anniversary
2. Your hair? curly
3. Your mother? I miss her every day
4. Your father? I miss him too, but him I can get on the phone :)
5. Your favorite food? homemade apple pie
6. Your dream last night? adopting my friend's redheaded baby :)
7. Your favorite drink? cherry shake
8. Your dream/goal? print publish a novel (I did an ebook ten years ago)
9. What room are you in? family room
10. Your hobby? writing
11. Your fear? not raising all my kids to adulthood
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? surrounded by family, healthy, solvent
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something that you aren’t? tidy
15. Muffins? whole wheat raisin bran from Wegman's
16. Wish list item? king sized four poster
17. Where did you grow up? Cottonwood, AZ
18. Last thing you did? eat breakfast
19. What are you wearing? jeans
20. Your TV? huge
21. Your pets? dog, hamster, birds
22. Friends? not enough and too far away
23. Your life? lucky
24. Your mood? slightly anxious
25. Missing someone? my mom
26. Vehicle? Civic with a moonroof
27. Something you’re not wearing? bracelets-- hate the way they feel
28. Your favorite store? Ikea
29. Your favorite color? lavender blue
30. When was the last time you laughed? this morning
31. Last time you cried? a week or so (see "Revenge" post)
32. Your best friend? Marjorie
33. One place that I go to over and over? Appalachian Trail
34. One person who emails me regularly? Dad
35. Favorite place to eat? Melting Pot

I arbitrarily picked six bloggers to tag. Some of you will already have this award, but I don't care, you get it twice. My criteria is that I have to like you and think you're dear. There are many more of you whom I like and/or think are dear, but I either had a fit of the shys, figured you have eighteen copies of this award already or I was daunted about typing your lengthy blog address with all the little html tags and everything. I struggle with these darn links. Take this as a little love letter when I go to the trouble to link the following:

Leah’s New Ending
The Road Curves Ahead
Tippy Toe Diet
Just For the Health of It
South Beach Steve

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I want to report on the SO, who as usual, is doing Good Things without a lot of fanfare. I have to run around starting blogs and obsessively reading everything. He just quietly gets to it. Every so often he asks me to check the scale for him (he can't read those tiny numbers. Even I have trouble with it some bleary-eyed mornings.) He's 225 this morning. He was two-forty-humrum-humph when we started this, so that's at least 20 pounds. He's 6'3" and large-boned. He has these big, sturdy ribs. I know the BMI tables say he should weigh closer to 200. I think he would be too thin at that weight. Yikes! Am I undermining?

In other happy news, I checked my fasting blood sugar this morning. I haven't gotten below 100 in the last several years. I got 93! This was after a good, five- factor dinner (mushrooms, chicken, and asparagus) and I belayed the chocolate after dinner, although I certainly had some beforehand.

Still sick, though getting better. I am planning to attempt a gentle walk today. But I need to get my nap in first :)

Do you find your SO is helping you stay on the road during this journey, or do you feel gently blocked or undermined? I find it so helpful that we are in this together. My husband doesn't bring home foods that we should not be eating (unless it's Saturday, of course) and he helps me find homes for stuff I find a little too good to keep around. He tends to be better about food, while I am (usually) a little more insistent on exercise. The only possible unhelpful habit he has is stocking diet soda at home. I want to kick this unfortunate habit and keep backsliding, but I feel like I should be able to deal with this on my own and not expect him to give up the occasional Coke Zero. He would get rid of it if asked but I am not quite ready to ask. What about you?

Monday, October 5, 2009


I have to post a happy WOOT, because I ordered some test strips online and checked a random blood sugar. 96! Don't know what my fastings are and suspect they're still high, but I was afraid of seeing something much worse.

Cough Cough

I am sorry to report I got cocky about my bursting 5-Factor good health, and failed to avoid my husband's cooties properly when he was sick, so now I am sick. No working out at all going on here although I hope to work myself up to a gentle walk today. I admit I'm worried about losing condition and looking feeble in Zumba but there's no help for it. I haven't been too uncomfortable with it and don't have anything major on the docket, so the plan is to creep around doing laundry and errands, with the occasional curl-up by the fire with a cup of tea. Could be worse! My Challenge report this week will be pretty feeble, but you watch me next week. I'm gonna kick butt.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Toothpaste is Slimming

Here at "Am I Really That Fat" you won't find a lot of pictures for the following reasons:

1. I suck at it.
2. I worry about being recognized-- though I pore over dozens of blogs and I have yet to recognize any of YOU, and anyway, it's not like I'm buying Soviet secrets, is it?
3. They're not that dramatic as I lose S-L-O-W-L-Y, though I probably could dig up some more really puffy before pictures.
4. So many of you are so pretty/nice-looking I am acquiring a bit of a complex.
5. I am the mother of a family, so that means there are no pictures of me unless it's something taken by my 7 year old at a really weird angle, like the bottom of my chin.

Since I have only a 2 pound loss to show this month, I thought it might be instructive to demonstrate the "skinny" stance (slightly angled) versus the "regular" stance. I think I should definitely stand this way when I'm talking to my spouse. "Why are you angled away from me with that moue on your face?" Also I think I look fatter when I clean the mirror. Toothpaste splatters are slimming.

PS I like to fantasize that this pair of jeans, memorialized in an August post, is getting loose.