Thursday, September 30, 2010

Gastronomic Debauchery

My birthday was this past week. I spent it in a state of gastronomic debauchery. I'm not kidding. I ate cookies, pizza, ice cream and sorbet! Every minute of it was wonderful. The pizza was the best I've ever had, and I savored every bite. The ice cream is actually frozen yogurt and is cool and dreamy. I have leftover frozen yogurt, and I am managing to limit myself to eating it only once a day. Today, I had some for breakfast. What a lovely way to start the day! I made the cookies for work, and managed to have a few here and there. I have decided that I can be vigilant and indulgent without having the two concepts become mutually exclusive. It's all about control.

I did eat things that really had no nutritional benefit. But the social and enjoyment benefits were tremendous. For a few days I ate pretty well and added a few treats. I didn't go whole hog and eat everything else in sight. I didn't sit down and eat a dozen cookies, half a pizza and a huge bowl of ice cream. I kept exercising and moving and being aware of my body and how I fed it. At one point I felt like a completely normal person. That must be how normal people live! They do the right things most of the time, and then they have occasional treats once in a while. They don't fret about eating a piece or two of pizza, they don't run to confession after eating a few cookies. They just enjoy the moment and keep going with their lives. I like this attitude. Perhaps this new outlook will be a birthday gift to myself.

Oh, and for those of you who are wondering, I did not gain any weight this week. Bonus gift :-D

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Moment of Win

Here is my moment of win.... I have a living room sofa that is normal length but has a seating depth that is really quite shallow. Normally, I would have enjoyed a deep, plushy sofa, the kind that begs you to take naps on Sunday afternoons. Alas, I have a tiny living room. The only way to fit a sofa and a coffee table in there was to get a sofa designed mostly for upright sitting. Of course, I never sat that way. I slumped and slouched, trying to figure out how to get my fat butt situated on the sofa so that I could lie on it. As you can imagine, I had limited success with that plan of attack.

Now, fast forward past seven weeks of healthy eating and pool running. I haven't spent much time sitting on the sofa in the past two months, including the last week that I have been back at home. Last night I got home after a long day and flopped on the sofa. I settled in to watch a bit of TV while the cookies for work baked in the oven. I swung my feet up onto the sofa and rested my head on a cushion. I kept scootching down, looking for that sweet spot in between sitting and lying down. You know the one? As I settled in to watch my show, I suddenly realized that my butt was all the way on the sofa. I was lying on my sofa! I got up and looked at the sofa cushions. Then I tried again, just to make sure. Yup, I was lying on the sofa! And I don't mean precariously perched on the edge. I was hunkered down, snuggled in, comfy on the couch. Yea! Of course, this realization was immediately followed by the buzzer announcing the arrival of fresh baked cookies. 

Yes, I know you're wondering. I did eat cookies. I think I had three or four small ones. I am okay with the eating of cookies. That was an anomalous occurrence that actually brought me up to my calorie goal for the day! Double win. Double win mitigated by the fact that my sugar total for the day went through the roof. I know, I know. I preach vigilance on one hand and eat cookies with the other hand. Know that I ate the cookies with my eyes wide open. There was no attempt to fool myself into thinking that I could keep eating cookies without impacting my health. If I had already passed my calorie goal for the day, I would not have eaten the cookies. They weren't that good. I would rather wear standard size clothes than eat cookies! I thought of all that as I ate cookies with my still fat-yet-shrinking butt securely ensconced on the sofa.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Almost End of the Month Updates

I am reporting in on the "eat more, lose more" experiment. So far, it's working. I am stuffing myself all day long and am still dropping pounds like butter melting on a hot day. The 2000 cal/day goal is often elusive, but I usually manage to get up to at least 1800 cal/day. With so many miles left to travel on Highway 150, I want to make sure I have plenty of wiggle room. Getting stuck in a plateau at 1200 calories would have been hideous!


 We are nearing the end of summer here in FL. If all goes well, we will be able to open the windows in a few weeks! This is a wonderful time of year. In honor of our upcoming good weather I have been doing the fall cleaning. Today I sorted through my box of "small clothes". I'm proud to say that I found a few more shirts to add to my closet as well as a pair of jeans and two jackets. I can't believe I actually fit into these things. The thing that shocked me the most was that I could put on a men's XL t-shirt. It was too tight to wear in public, but I could put it on. That was an amazing moment. I am so glad I saved my favorite t-shirts! I hope I will be able to wear them before too long.


Here is my favorite egg recipe. It works for any meal, re-heats nicely, and can be eaten plain or as a sandwich. It's also completely customizable to fit your tastes. My frittata:
  • 2 - 2 1/2 cups of vegetables, meat, shredded cheese, etc (if anything needs to be cooked, saute it and let it cool a bit before mixing with the cheese)
  • lightly beat 4 egg whites and 2 eggs until blended (substitute any combination of eggs, egg whites, egg substitute)
  • combine all ingredients and mix until wet
  • add additional egg as needed to make a nicely moist mixture
  • add pepper, seasonings as desired
  • pour mixture into an 8 inch baking pan sprayed lightly (I use a silicone cake pan... no spray, no stick, no mess, easy clean... but a pie pan would work just as well)
  • bake at 350F for approximately 30 minutes (if eggs haven't set, cook a bit longer)
  • cut into four quarters and serve (serves 4)
I make this all the time! Tonight I made it with chopped baby spinach, chopped onion, a few bacon crumbles, and a quarter of a cup of shredded cheese. No matter what combination of vegetables, meat, cheese, and egg products I use, the frittata always tastes fantastic. The leftovers make a great "grab and go" breakfast. Add a salad and you have a great lunch or dinner. It's quick, healthy, low in carbs and fat, and it loaded with protein. Best of all, the frittata is unbelievably quick and easy to make, but it looks good enough out of the oven to serve to company. Enjoy!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Honeymoon is Over

I finally figured out why I have been so blah about food and exercise lately. The honeymoon is over, the blush is off the rose, the novelty has worn off. I am nearly to the end of my fourth month on this journey and it is quickly becoming nothing more exciting than my daily routine. I miss the newness, the sense of excitement over a new commitment. Right at the moment all I feel is drudgery. One foot in front of the other and then just keep going.

This must be the "lifestyle change" that no one really thinks about when beginning a fitness-finding journey. All of a sudden, the whole process changes from something noble and invigorating to something more daunting. After the early days have passed, this is no longer the beginning of a journey, but a lifetime stretching out ahead. It is a long way to 150 from here. I am definitely going to continue down Highway 150, but I will be looking for a few roadside attractions to liven things up.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Moving Down the Highway

Some days the road seems longer than others. I just made it into the 200s, which is a big accomplishment, yes, but... I have 99.2 miles (pounds) to go before I reach Onederland. It's funny how heading there from my highest weight did not seem as daunting as this next segment of the journey. I will admit that it's a little discouraging. The one hundreds are so far away! It's hard to stop myself from getting bogged down with that sort of thinking. I know it is much more productive to think of small steps instead of just one large step. I think that I need to make the transitions that are looming in front of me. Things will settle down after that. Growing pains, that's what this is.

On another note... I keep thinking about the comment that Blubeari left. I love the idea that I am not the same person I was when I passed this weight on the way up. When I was gaining weight, I was hunting for comfort and stimulation in food. Now that I am losing weight, I am learning to use food as fuel and to find comfort and stimulation in more appropriate, non-food ways. This is such an important lesson to have learned!

No matter how we got to our highest weights, we all learned things along the way. And as we travel to our goal weights, we use the lessons we learned and discover new truths. Perhaps gaining weight was not without merit after all... Just think of the things you might never have learned had you not traveled this road. I would like to believe we are better people because of our challenges with weight.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What a Day

Today was definitely a day of highs and lows.

I wanted to eat my way through the day, but I didn't. I wanted to eat pizza and ice cream, but I didn't. Somehow I managed to get all the way through the day without eating anything I really didn't want to eat. I consider that a major win. 

I also managed to get in a one hour pool run! It's about ten miles from my house to "my pool" so that makes it a little inconvenient, but definitely doable. When I tried to leave, I dropped my keys INSIDE the car and could not find them. How ridiculous is that? It is very dark here at night, and flashlights were not much help. I ended up using my spare house key and borrowing a car to get home. Ridiculous. 

The brightest side to this day is that I finally told my sister about my weight loss initiative! She is very excited. She is especially appreciative about keeping it a secret from our brothers. That will be a source of great amusement for us!

The other high note from this travesty of a day is that I will be able to have another run in the pool tomorrow when I bring back the borrowed car. That's my rainbow, my silver lining.

As I've said before, it's all good. And, it beats the alternative. Every day is a gift, and I intend to find something good in each one.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Transition Week on Highway 150

This is a transition week for me. I'm moving back into my own space after seven weeks of house sitting. That house represents seven significant weeks of my journey. The pool of my metamorphosis is at that house. I ran over 142 virtual miles in that pool! I will still be able to use the pool, but it will not be available to me every day. So, I have to transition to other forms of exercise. I knew this day was coming, but I never really visualized it. And, today it is here. 

Today I have the option of choosing to have a day of rest or popping in an exercise video when I get home. I am anxious to see which one I choose! Either one is acceptable, because I have not taken a day off from exercising in over a week.

Not having the pool to run in every day means that the time has come for me to join the gym. I am not sure why I am apprehensive about it. I know how to use the machines. I mean, I have managed four-car motor vehicle accidents... I should be able to tame an elliptical. I think my hesitation comes partly from the fact that I haven't done any of those things in years and partly from the fact that I have developed a very narrow exercise comfort zone. As much as that pool has helped me, it has also insulated me from the rest of the world. I feel like I am emerging into a brave new world of social fitness. When I go to the gym, I will be surrounded. Instead of exercising in front of lizards, snakes, and frogs, I will have to show myself to other people. All of a sudden, my witnesses will be the kind who can make judgments about my abilities. I will be on display. 

That is probably the root of my insecurity. All I can say to that now is "Oh well. I am shrinking as fast as I can, folks!" If they don't want to watch me sweat and shrink, they can look at the TV. Right? I have work to do and I cannot let anyone else stand in my way. I will not let myself use other people as an excuse not to do strength training. I will not allow myself to do nothing instead of pool running. I will walk, and I will ride my bike, and I will lift weights, and I will continue to shrink and grow strong. And I will do it all at a pace that is right for me. This is a new day.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cupcake Happiness Award Redux

Yea! Another cupcake Happiness award! I'm glad these things have no calories! This one comes to me from Loretta at Loretta's Journey. She is truly amazing and is an inspiration to me every day. Please visit her blog and read about her journey.

She asked that I share ten things I like, so here they are!
  1. Seeing wild things swimming in the ocean, even when they scare me a little.
  2. The very first day of fall when we wake to cool breezes and the afternoon sun feels warm instead of like the summertime ball of fire.
  3. Cats. They aren't new to my list, but they are such furry bundles of love I had to mention them again.
  4. The belly giggles that babies make. How can a person not like them?
  5. Halloween. And it has to be scary Halloween, not that happy Halloween business.
  6. The beach in September when there are hardly any visitors here. It is so peaceful.
  7. The perfect exercise session, when I end up feeling strong, proud, and a bit smug.
  8. A really great cup of coffee.
  9. Cinnamon. My greatest weakness is anything with cinnamon, fat and sugar in just the right proportions.
  10. Reading the stories of people who are taking the risk and sharing their journeys as they change their lives. They're living the "write" way.

 The people who received this award are:
Please stop by and visit these great blogs. Remember, everyone has a story to tell! Thank you again, Loretta! Keep writing and keep sharing your story. We need to hear it. 

Big Changes

One of the questions I keep asking myself is .... How can a person lose more than fifty pounds and still be hugely fat? Well, I answer, that's possible if you worked toward the goal of being oh!beast for twenty years. Harumph. Yes, it is true. It took me nearly twenty years to achieve my prominent rotundity. It will definitely take me more than four months to reverse as much of that damage as I can. That leads me to share the news that I have had yet another epiphany in the mental arena of weight loss rationalization. It is okay to lose weight slowly! Yes, I know, it's no surprise to many of you. It was, however, a moment of win for me when I finally realized that I did not need to lose the weight "as quickly as possible." Fancy that! 

This notion is the result of the question Connie asked of me: how will I eat when I have lost the weight and am maintaining? I had a pretty quick answer for that. But, as all ideas do, that one percolated in my mind for a few days. I realized that I need to eat as many calories as possible, right now, in order to end up at a decent level somewhere down the road. Yes, there is the issue of BMR. I won't bring that up again any time soon. But there is also the issue of plateaus. If I eat 1200 calories a day, hit a plateau, and have to drop my calories in order to break it... well, there is no where to go from 1200. If I eat somewhere in the neighborhood of 2000 calories a day (or more) and have to decrease my intake, then I will have some wiggle room. This all came to me in a dream of course.

You would be amazed at the amount of food a person can eat with a 2000 calorie budget. It's incredible. Not only do I never feel deprived, but most days I feel positively gluttonous. This is still a new and unusual behavior pattern for me, and so I still approach it with caution. I continue to eat healthful foods, for the most part, and I still exercise like a demon. The only difference is that I have learned to feed myself when I am hungry. That skill makes me feel like a tremendous success.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fitness is Contagious

Apparently, I am doing so well in my weight loss and fitness finding efforts that I have begun to inspire people around me. One of my family members has decided to jump on the fitness band wagon. Her goal is to lose about forty pounds and relieve some of the stress on her joints. I am so excited about this! For the past few days I have been busy helping her get used to reading nutrition labels, look for hidden sugars and sodium in processed foods, plan meals, and track calories. We also devised an exercise regimen that adds some dedicated cardio to an otherwise busy and active schedule. So far, she is doing wonderfully and has begun to lose weight and feel better.

I find it incredibly rewarding to be a role model for others, and teaching others is a natural extension of that position. Some days it still boggles my mind that I, fatwoman extraordinaire, am leading some hapless souls down the path to fitness. The responsibility is tremendous.

Someday I may have to publish a guidebook for Highway 150. Enjoy the ride!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Arriving in Twotown

I arrived in Twotown this morning! I have been looking forward to it for so long I almost didn't notice when I saw the number on the scale. THIS is the best reason for having a digital scale. A scale with a dial would not have been nearly as impressive as the LED numbers settling on the highway sign for Twotown. It was definitely an epic moment for me.

This journey... has been a true marvel for me. In the space of about four months, I have transformed myself from a chips and ice cream-eating couch potato into a weight loss machine. Fifty four pounds gone! Holy cow. I really did not think I was going to get this far, let alone believe that I might even keep going and lose the rest. This is empowerment at its best.

Stay strong with your own goals. Keep going. Don't give up. The struggle toward health is such an important part of our lives, it is imperative that we continue to work toward it. If I can help in any way, just let me know! Leave a comment or send me an email. I will do what I can to help.


Life is wonderful. Live the best life you can.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Twotown, BMR, and Magical Cures

Finally, it happened. I have left that first fifty in the dust. I am 3 pounds past it! The next little moment of win will be my arrival in Twotown. I am very excited for Twotown. My weight hasn't started with a "2" in a a Very Long Time. I actually do not remember when I made the leap to Threeville... But,I can tell you that this fat bus isn't stopping until I am deep into Onederland.

Okay, enough of the silly names for weight levels. Today's post revisits my favorite obsession: basal metabolic rate. I know I've gone on and on about this whole BMR issue before, but I just can't leave it alone. I weigh a LOT, and I exercise a LOT. One would assume that I would be losing a LOT. But I haven't lost much in the past month and a half. That's what led to this caloric nosh-fest. I have been eating increasing amounts for days now. No matter how I calculate it, my BMR is just over 2000 calories a day. Minimum. That is the amount that I need to keep my body healthy.There is just no way I can justify eating less than my BMR, especially given the amount of cardio I do in a week.

All of this fretting about BMR led me to the library to read what the experts have to say. First of all, let me tell you that I am a researcher by nature. My education required many hundreds of hours of research, and I got rather good at it. Second, I am also a born skeptic. I take nothing at face value, and try always to think critically and to evaluate before buying into a theory.  Add these two traits together and you get a library bag with a stack of different "diet" books. I read about fat as the evil to avoid, sugar as the evil to avoid, jump starting my metabolism, debunking diet myths, eating this or that magic food, balancing my hormones, and taking a cognitive approach to weight loss. The authors have a variety of backgrounds: 
  • one physician
  • one PhD
  • two celebrity fitness gurus
  • one formerly Fat person
  • one always-been-thin person
  • one average size person
  • one person who lost-20-lbs-once
  • two people who said "this worked for all my friends and clients so it must be true"
  • one said "cut back on your calories and exercise and you will look like me in no time"
  • one said "balance your hormones and the pounds will melt away"
  • one said "eat more and exercise less and you will become a superstar"
  • one said "you will never look like the fitness experts so do not bother trying"
  • one talked about drastic solutions at length before discounting each of them
Are you sensing a trend here? It is actually very easy to publish a non-fiction self-help book. All you need to do is come up with a new approach to whatever subject you wish to write about. If your book promises an easy solution to a difficult problem, many people will buy it before they realize you are not really helping them at all. Out of more than thirty "weight loss" books in the library, I found only one that seemed to have a truly sensible attitude about food, exercise, and living a healthy lifestyle. The author is Judith Beck, and her plan is the Beck Diet Solution. I would not ordinarily recommend any "diet plan" except for the fact that the Beck plan focuses on developing the cognitive skills that are necessary to have a good relationship with food. Beck also emphasizes the need to eat enough food. Ironically, I incorporated many of her suggestions into my own plan long before I had even heard of her. I will admit that not all of her suggestions are ones that I would use, but there is enough good information in her ideas to make her plan recommended reading. The bottom line is, if you are having a difficult time with cravings, saying no, staying on track, etc, look up the Beck plan. It is definitely worth taking some time to read.


I am not, nor have I ever been, compensated in any way, shape, or form for recommending the Beck solution or any other book, method, idea, theory, product, or magical notion. Of course, if Dr. Beck ever hears of my endorsement and wants to send me a book, I wouldn't refuse. That would actually be pretty cool. I really just wanted to share information about something sensible in a sea of magical cures and wacky solutions.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Road Trip Across America

This is so funny I had to share it right away... MADD sent out promotional calendars this week that feature a "Road Trip Across America". How appropriate is that for someone who is on a journey down Highway 150?! I need to figure out a way to use this calendar for my journey.

Gratitude and Wonder

I want to thank all of my great readers, comment-leavers, suggestion-offerers, supporters, well-wishers, friends, family, and casual passers-by. I still cannot quite believe that people read my blog! It boggles the mind. Do not stop! This is a challenging journey, as I'm sure many of you are well aware. With all of the ups and downs, roadblocks and rainy days, I know that you have greatly increased the likelihood of my success. You also spark great ideas within me that encourage me to keep writing. I love that none of us has to travel through the world of weight loss and fitness-finding on our own!

I get so many great comments, and I am so lax about responding to them! My mother taught me to write thank you notes, and I feel as if I should do more of it. If I do not respond to your specific comment, please do not think I ignored it. I love to read your comments, and I save them up in a file. One day I will print them out and wall paper a home gym with them. I will also have to use my fat pants cape to make window treatments! I also read your blogs. There are some fantastic stories out there, and I'm trying to keep up with all of them.

Being fat in our society is so often an insulating condition that sets people apart. Thank you for being there and reminding me that I'm not alone! 

You folks ROCK!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Not A Diet But A Lifestyle

Thank you to Connie for her comment that sparked the idea for this post. Connie asked me how I planned to eat when I finished losing and began maintaining. I really wanted to address this question in more than just a post comment.

I am a big believer in making lifestyle changes instead of short term band-aid-style solutions. Dropping ten or twenty pounds on a two-week South Beach diet is short term success. Changing your relationship with your body is a long term lifestyle change. I have done the quick weight loss stunt many times. I have attempted the quick loss a thousand times. A radical change in behavior rarely sticks and becomes habit. We all know that! 

The lifestyle I have developed over the past three months is the lifestyle I plan to stick with for the rest of my life. I know my strengths and weaknesses, and I have factored those things into my plan. This is the way I live now, and it is the way I will live as long as I have time:
  • Eat well. 
    1. Limit refined and processed foods as much as possible. Refined sugar, flour and sodium are the demons of the manufactured food industry.
    2. Eat real food. Lean protein, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, fruit, etc.
    3. Eat with an awareness of sustainability. Feeding humans should not destroy the earth.
    4. Be honest and own what you eat. Everything counts.
    5. Eat consciously. Make sure you think about what you're eating.
    6. Eat to live, do not live to eat.
    7. Food is fuel for the body, not a panacea for life's unpleasant moments.
    8. Eat enough food to adequately feed your body. Undereating can be almost as bad as overeating.
    9. Enjoy eating. Food should taste good and be satisfying.
    10. Food is not the enemy.
    11. Develop an honest relationship with food. All relationships need periodic evaluation.
    12. If you struggle with food choices, plan ahead. Going into battle with a campaign strategy helps to ensure success.
  •  Move.
    1. Exercise regularly, at least six times a week.
    2. Gradually add back all of the activities you previously enjoyed.
    3. Learn new sports and skills.
    4. Lift weights and gain strength.
    5. Become increasingly more active on a daily basis.
    6. Remember that physically active people average more than 10,000 steps per day. Look for excuses to add movement into your day.
  • Be sensible. 
    1. You didn't gain ten pounds a week, you are not going to lose ten pounds a week.
    2. Good health is measured in many ways, not just in numbers on a scale.
    3. Be vigilant. Old habits are very easy to re-establish.
    4. Share the journey. The more, the merrier.
    5. Strive for health and wellness, and allow appearance to be a secondary goal.
    6. Success is a highly personal matter. My success is mine to define. 
    7. Be optimistic, but be realistic. A size 4 with 14% body fat is NOT a realistic goal for most people.
    8. A healthy lifestyle is the best preventative medicine there is.
  • Look Forward.
    1. Forget all of the previous failed attempts.
    2. Live in the present, and plan for tomorrow.
    3. Remain aware of daily changes, but remember that this is a long term plan.
    4. Time will pass no matter what you do. You can chose to maintain, gain, or lose. 
    5. Enjoy life. You only get this one.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cupcake Award Part Deux

I am a lucky recipient of the Cupcake Happiness award. It comes to me by way of Michelle at "Working On My Fitness". Be sure to check out her blog, and the others listed below. Everyone has a story to tell. 

I think the cupcake is making the rounds; it looks pretty familiar! But, as you know, I do love to talk about myself. This time you get a list of ten things I like.

I like:
  1. Alligators. they're living dinosaurs! How cool is that?
  2. The first leaf buds on the trees in spring. I haven't seen them in years, but I remember.
  3. Fall. crunching leaves, apple cider, pumpkins, and Halloween.
  4. Decorating for holidays, especially Halloween, Christmas and Easter.
  5. Sunrise. I used to see a lot of sunrises when I worked nights!
  6. Calvin and Hobbes.
  7. The first day in October that brings us the cool breeze of fall and lets us know that summer is over.
  8. Hurricanes that stay out at sea and become "fish storms".
  9. Wearing jackets. I love coats. I have no idea why, but coats are my shoes.
  10. Swimming in the ocean. I think there is no better place to swim! I wish I had a saltwater pool.

Here is the list of award recipients:

If you want this lovely Cupcake Happiness reward, please snag it and post it on your website. Just remember to take the list of recipients, or make up your own list and give the award away! Post a comment or send me an email to let me know about your post so I can read your answers. 

Stay strong, be happy, keep at it... It's all worth it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A New Award

Brigitte from Poohpees World has nominated me for a Blog Award! Thank you! Make sure you head over to Brigitte's blog to read her story.

I have to say that I love these awards. First, I love that people think enough of my blog to come here, read, and take the time to leave comments. You folks make my day! Second, these awards all seem to come with questions or requests for information, and I just love talking about myself!

The award rules require that I share seven bits of information about myself. I have thought long and hard about these answers! Here they are:

  1. I love cats. I think cats are the best pets ever. My cat was the funniest, happiest, most loving pile of fur and affection that I can ever imagine having in my life. I miss him like the dickens. There might be another one in my future... the near future!
  2. I hate mushrooms, olives, and spiders. Two of these I'll spit out and gag a little afterward. The third one makes me run screaming like a girl. No, I'm not a girl, I'm tough. But those hairy legged, beady eyed monsters from hell make me scream like a precocious six year old pageant contestant who just realized her mother forgot to pack the fake eyelashes.
  3. I love words. Reading, writing, crafting strings of words that convey messages... I love the English language and believe all of its native speakers should learn how to use it to its fullest potential. Actually, I believe everyone should be able to use their own native language properly. Language is a human gift, and we should revel in it.
  4. I love the beach. It doesn't matter where the beach is, what time of year it is, or
    even what the weather is like. I love beaches. I can spend hours looking at all the things that have washed in with the tide.
  5. I love driving really fast. I'm too much of a goody two shoes to do it very often, but someday I would like to hop in a high end German auto, open it up on the Autobahn and let it fly
  6. Hunting for parking spaces makes me crazy, as does bumper to bumper traffic. I'm talking nuts... "Kathy Bates-I'm older and I have more insurance-insane".
  7. I am afraid of caves. Caves, geologically speaking, are one of the most intensely incredible things on earth. Absolutely gorgeous and mysterious. I love poring over photographs of caves. But..Me? Go in one? Not on your freaking life. Nope, uh uh. Millions of tons of rock. Smoosh. Nope, not going to happen.

As with any award that someone so thoughtfully passes my way, this award is up for grabs. Take it, post it, and leave a comment or send an email that gives me a link to your post. I'll repost it here with a message. Thank you for the award and thank you for reading!

Here are the other blogs that were nominated for this award. Stop by and visit them! Everyone has a story to tell.

    Friday, September 10, 2010

    Random Thoughts

    Today I have a bunch of random thoughts to share... in no particular order...

    • I'm reading three books on health and nutrition... One blames sugar, one blames fat, and one purports to tell me how to develop a healthy relationship with food. I will share via a book report.
    • I have come to the realization that like to exercise... but only in the pool. I need to get over this idiosyncrasy sometime before winter. It will get too cold to swim, at least for a month or two.
    • One should be careful when adding a new type of fiber into one's daily caloric adventures. Such switches are also best saved for non-work days.
    • Being told that my abundant fat cells will shrink, but never go away, makes me very very cranky and also makes me want to start saving for liposuction.
    • I no longer crave ice cream. Ever. I even gave myself permission to get a cup of it at the grocery store yesterday. I passed on it. I stood and drooled in front of the Doritos, but passed on them as well. I never have permission to buy chips.
    • Being stuck on a weigh loss plateau no longer makes me go insane like it used to... I'm getting very zen about the whole issue. I mean, I don't eat enough to actually gain fat. Therefore, there isn't much to worry about. Besides, I have muscles. That has to count for something.
    • I work in a really great place. I couldn't ask for more supportive co-workers. When someone has a crisis or a problem, everyone pitches in to lend a hand. It is quite amazing.
    • I absolutely love all of my readers and followers and comment-leavers and supporters. You make this a most enjoyable journey. Someday I will figure out how to properly reward all of you for your patience with me!
    • I believe that anyone who puts their mind to it can lose weight, gain muscle, and find fitness.

    Thursday, September 9, 2010


    One of my friends brought up the subject of vigilance, and I think it is a good one. Vigilance is one of the main keys to successful losing and then maintaining. 

    We all begin our weight loss and health seeking journeys with the best intentions. We vow to eat right, to exercise, to commit ourselves to change. For weeks, and months, we fix an eagle's eye on our menu choices and exercise totals. We track calories, nutrients, total minutes of cardio. And then, in the full bloom of success, our concentration wanes a bit. At first, it's barely noticeable. We have dessert, and there is no change in the rate of losing. If one dessert didn't hurt, then perhaps a nice juicy cheeseburger will have no significant impact. We are still exercising, we tell ourselves, and that is keeping us on track. Ever so insidiously, the bad habits we fought so hard to overcome have crept back into our lives. A day or two of skipping the cardio is compounded by a well-deserved night out. Before we even realize it is happening, we have fallen off that dreaded wagon. Our cravings have returned, the scale has stalled out or is creeping up again, and we are no longer on a fitness journey. We are parked in a rest area eating candy and checking the map to figure out where we made the wrong turn. 

    If any of this sounds familiar, you are not alone. The road toward fitness has many challenges. There are detours, road blocks, and rest areas all along the route. It is our responsibility to be vigilant and to watch for these dangers. Unlike the real highways, bright yellow with clear symbols, the signs of trouble on routes like Highway 150 are much more subtle. We must be aware of the dangers and remain on the lookout for these signs. We must be vigilant.

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    I Swim With Lizards

    I "swim with lizards." I love that line and am shamelessly stealing it from a comment "Too Sexy for this Fat" left for me. I do. I admit it. I swim with lizards. And the lizards are not alone. They bring their friends. Sometimes being in the pool is like being in an episode of "Wild Kingdom". I began compiling a list of all the creatures I've seen whilst thumping and splashing away in the pool, and even I was surprised at how truly lush this paradise is, seething and teeming with life.

    Yesterday, the pool turned green. Yes, literally. It gets weekly attention, but sometimes the blazing Florida sun overcomes the best intentions of even the most attentive pool tenders. Well, I am hoping he was properly attentive. I hate the thought of all those algae bits swirling around. This is the real reason why people should always wear suits. Seriously, the tighter-fitting the better. Whoa. Back to the pool! Because I could not swim yesterday, I began to reflect...

    The lizards are my favorite pool visitors. When they come down to the edge of the pool to drink, they look like tiny prehistoric dogs lapping up water from tiny splashes. When they leap and jump to catch flies, they remind me of cats aiming for butterflies. When they bob their heads and posture, one can almost see the giant prehistoric reptiles they call to mind. When I saw the adult lizard eat the baby, I saw the ghost of a tyrannosaurus rex. That lizard even had the classic "I caught it" pose. Horrifying, yet fascinating. My favorites are the babies that fall in the water. They swim like mad for safety, and are quite content to ride around on the tip of my finger until they decide to investigate. When they start up my arm, it's time for them to get down. Into the plants they go! I love the lizards. These lizards are bearing witness to my transformation.

    There are other animals. There are snakes, three different species in the last month, two of which were swimming and one that stayed dry and watched me from the edge of the deck. Frogs are found in plentiful abundance. Big ones, little ones, tiny ones no bigger than a baby's thumbnail. The frogs often require rescuing from the tiles at the edge of the pool. They don't seem to be able to negotiate up and over the ledge. In the morning following an overnight rain, there may be dozens of frogs all lined up around the edge, waiting for the magic bus (skimmer) to arrive to transport them to safety. If they're in a sporting mood, diving deep instead of climbing onto the skimmer, it can take quite some time to round them all up. I will say that leopard frogs certainly swim fast.

    The turtles cause me headaches. The tiny ones are not much trouble. They are not yet experienced in evasive maneuvers and are easy to scoop up. The larger ones swim like devil divers. When disturbed, they head for the bottom like submarines and sit there, just waiting for me to close in so they can shoot to the other end of the pool. One turtle was so skilled at this game I ended up hunting it down wearing a mask and flippers. I will not be defeated. The most inconvenient aspect of the turtle rodeo is the post-capture release. I have to load them up and walk them down the road to the pond. Little ones go in a bucket. The biggest ones do not fit in the bucket and have to ride int the wheelbarrow.  You can imagine the soggy swim shoes slapping down the road as I drip drip drip on my wildlife rescue mission. I feel like a hero.

    There are too many birds to mention. They fly over at all times of day, in all seasons. There are little ones in the yard and larger ones in flight to roosting spots. There are hunters searching for fish in nearby ponds or furry morsels in the woods behind the house. My favorite of all is the bald eagle. We have local nesting pairs, and occasionally one will fly over the house. They really are majestic birds.

    This yard has had all sorts of four legged visitors, both furred and scaled. Bobcats, otters, raccoons, rabbits, armadillos, opossums, palm rats, the neighbor's dog... The bobcats are the most wonderful. A young bobcat might sit in the bushes and watch the goings on in the pool for the better part of an hour. Young cats are all similar in their high level of curiosity. One is tempted to view young bobcats as kittens, but they are not. They are wild and they are majestic.

    We have had two small alligators and one large one. It is the nature of Florida; we expect it and relish its diversity. The small alligators are terribly afraid of people but apparently see themselves as formidable and terrifying. A baby alligator lounging by the pool hissed and hissed at me when I strongly encouraged it to seek refuge elsewhere. Less than eighteen inches long, it acted like a fearsome predator five times its size. I was impressed and amused, but I shooed it away nonetheless. Give a gator an inch and it might decide to stay. As for the big alligator, it was simply resting in the yard on its way to bigger and better things. We don't bother them and they don't bother us. We do, however, wait to swim until they go on their way. Their teeth are much bigger than ours.

    I love this pool. I have said it before, but it bears repeating. This pool is saving my life. The fact that it is also providing me with a glimpse into the lives of the wilder inhabitants of this land is a wonderful bonus. In this pool, I am transforming myself into a new person, both physically and mentally. I love nearly every minute of it. Today, I hope, the water will be clear and fresh once again. I miss running, and I miss the lizards.

    Monday, September 6, 2010

    Reading the Fine Print

    The poof could make me a hater. Seriously. There I was, happily celebrating my first fifty, when all of a sudden, just a short day later, my body poofed out and the scale bounced up. What do you mean I have to give back two pounds! And the fifty pound reward?? Hey! What? No, no I didn't read the fine print. Oh what the... Sigh. I know it's just water, but it still puts me back behind "the fifty."

    I haven't yet decided on an appropriate reward for the fifty. I have gotten some neat things so far as rewards for other goals that I have achieved: fitness DVDs, a digital food scale, a sweet pair of pool running shoes. I also have a gym membership pending. I will be activating that sometime next week! Very exciting! But this fifty is really a big milestone for me. I would like to mark it with something more than just a commitment to follow through with the next three fifties. In reality, that would be the best reward! I just want something tangible, something I can point to and say, "I got that when I lost the first fifty."

    The good news is that I have at least another day to ponder before I hit the first fifty for the second time. I must wait until the poof subsides. Playing by the rules is important. Next time, though, I will be certain to read the fine print.

    Sunday, September 5, 2010

    Emotional Eating Binges

    If I were to say the words "emotional eating binge," most people would be able to conjure up a vivid mental image to represent that phrase. Few of us in the weight loss community have achieved our advanced status in life without participating in at least one of these events. Today, I'm going to throw a little spin on this phrase.

    Emotional eating binges do not necessarily involve large amounts of high calorie food. When we are actively losing, actively changing our habits, we often have very tight control over our impulses. But even if we prevent ourselves from consuming high calorie foods, we may still be falling victim to emotional eating. I know that I have done this myself. There are occasions where I make a salad as big as my head and then sit down to eat it for what seems like hours. My motivation for the meal is not nutrition but the opportunity to eat for as long a time as possible. I maintain enough control to dictate what goes into my mouth, but I am still unable to get past that need to comfort myself with food. Admittedly, eating a mixing bowl full of vegetation is much healthier than scarfing down a pizza and wings or a tub of ice cream. But if the reason for the eating has not changed, am I really any more healthy? I think so. It's all about baby steps, right? My head is slowly accepting the whole concept of eating to live, not living to eat.

    Saturday, September 4, 2010

    The Planets Must Be Aligned

    Not only is this the occasion of my 50th post, but it is also the day that I achieved my first major milestone. Fifty pounds of blubber, gone forever. I feel a speech coming on...

    Forget the speech. I am just going to run down some of the things I have noticed and some of my recent realizations. In no particular order of goodness or badness, here are my observations:

    • My favorite bracelet is way too big. I need to resize it before I also lose it forever.
    • I had to tighten my watch band by one notch.
    • I am still increasing my calories to where they need to be, and it's still difficult.
    • My resting heart rate is down to 58. And that's after two cups of coffee.
    • One of my co-workers finally asked me how much weight I have lost. Being able to say the words "fifty pounds" was so uplifting I couldn't stop grinning.
    • I realized this morning that I am able to jog in place. For real. On land. It's a miracle.
    • In spite of my constant struggle to eat enough, my relationship with food is better now than ever.
    • I am losing weight too quickly, and I am trying to slow down. I never thought this was possible.
    • I can actually see the lines of muscles in my legs. 
    • I scratched my elbow and realized my arm muscles are also gaining definition.
    • My body is shrinking faster than my bat wings. This is very frustrating.
    • The fat on my arm is beginning to sag and droop to my elbows. This is very bad. Please stop. Right now.
    • The once tiny chairs all around me are beginning to seem a bit spacious.
    • There are at least as many days in the last month that I have chosen to exercise instead of take a nap. In the past, the nap would have won every time.
    • I realize now that there is no way I could have gotten this far without so much support and encouragement.
    • At the risk of calling cosmic attention to myself, I would like to note that there is nothing that will stop me from achieving my goal.
    • In another week, my weight will never again begin with a "3".
    • I am still reluctant to go shopping for clothes. 
    • A year from now I will be wearing cute little clothes from regular stores. I might even wear some with fashionable brand names! The mind boggles.
    • When my oldest brother sees me next spring, he is going to cry. It will be a great moment for all of us.
    • I have begun planning an international vacation for next fall.
    • I can actually envision the day when my weight is described as "normal".
    • When our winter events begin at work, I will finally be able to wear my official company logo casual shirt.
    • In spite of all my progress, I am still fat. Yes, there is much work to be done, but I am already a quarter of the way there.

    Friday, September 3, 2010

    Leading the Way

    This post is dedicated to all the women and men who have achieved their goals and have shared their wisdom with me.
    There is a tendency for people who have overcome disadvantage and achieved success to hold on tightly to that success and protect it all costs. In the world of Emergency Medical Services, which is heavily dominated by men, this phenomenon often manifests itself in the form of senior women treating female newcomers with disdain and even outright hostility. Having succeeded in a traditionally masculine environment, women sometimes feel the need to protect their hard-won status with rather unpleasant alpha-female attitudes and tactics. While this behavior might be understandable, it is not admirable. 

    In the world of weight loss, there is a risk of similar treatment of newcomers. People who have struggled, sweated, tracked, and lost might feel the need to protect themselves from the dangers of temptation, back-sliding, or regaining. Some people may simply want to distance themselves from their fat and unhealthy pasts. Others may have internalized our societal intolerance of fat people and, now that they no longer belong in that category, want nothing to do with reminders of the past.

    A person who is just beginning their own weight loss struggle can be a vivid reminder to the veteran loser of their own struggle, their own sagging self-esteem, their own fight to come to terms with over-eating or food addiction. I believe, however, that there is a tremendous opportunity here. Veteran losers have trodden a path through difficult and unfamiliar territory. I see no reason not to leave clues, and signposts, and maps along the way.

    I read a great post on another blog, 266, that prompted me to write my own post on this subject. As a result, I am making a vow. When I finally reach my goal, I will be a guide to all the others who follow behind me. I will talk to those people who remind me of where I began. I shall tell them that managed to do it, and so will they. I will offer up my blog, my food diary, my tricks and tips and strategies with the hope that their journey will be easier than mine. I will not hide behind my new-found athleticism. A part of me will always be fat. I will not forget.

    System Test

    This is a test of the Emergency Weight Loss System. In the event of an actual emergency, this post would contain instructions for you to follow. Please disregard this message. It is only a test.  UXZYVBSBVW38

    Thursday, September 2, 2010

    Awarded, Tagged and Questioned

    My first blogger award comes to me by way of my friend at I’m Too Sexy for This Fat. She’s a riot, and I hope you head over to check out her blog. I have to ask, though... Who the heck is responsible for sending cupcakes to the fat girl?? 

    Let's see, as one of the conditions of this award, I am supposed to list ten things I like. As per the instructions, here is my list. I hope you enjoy!  

    TEN THINGS I LIKE (in no particular order):

    1.  The swimming pool that is saving my life.
    2.  The lizards that keep me company while I swim.
    3.  My friends and family.
    4.  The Internet-Livestrong, PEERtrainer, and the rest of the online support community.
    5.  Saving lives.
    6.  Billowy clouds on bright sunny days.
    7.  People who risk themselves for the sake of others.
    8.  Great books.
    9.  The knowledge that I will one day be a real athlete.
    10. Cats. Cats are awesome!

    My friend also got tagged with a list of eight questions. Her answers are over on her blog and mine are here for you to peruse.
      1. You can have one super power, what would it be?  Invisibility.
      2. Which do you see as more important, diet or exercise? Exercise. 
      3. If we're forced to become vegetarians by law could you do so or would you frequent the black market for meat?  I was a vegetarian at one point, so I think I’d be fine.
      4. Do you consider the word 'Obese' to be a proper word to define those extremely over-weight, or do you consider it to be improper if not a hateful word?  OhBeast is one of the nastiest, slimiest, most denigrating words ever to enter the English language
      5. Do you believe that Elvis died on August 16, 1977 or was his death a conspiracy cover up? He died. On the can. It’s actually a popular way to go. Just ask any paramedic. They’ll tell you.  
      6. How much water do you drink a day and do you agree that water intake of 8 glasses a day or more is critical to a healthy body?  I live for water. I am losing weight by getting the water into me and by getting myself into the water. Water is saving my life.
      7. Aliens have invaded earth and landed a mile from your house, do you run for the hills, do you grab a weapon & charge, or do you try and communicate with them?  Well, not only did they land, but they also moved into a house down the street. They’re all named John and they throw great parties. (Buckaroo Banzai...the 8th Dimension... anyone?)
      8. Is your current approach to getting healthy an approach you consider to be fun and can you do it for the rest of your life?  Yes!! I love to move, I love to see and do different things. The smaller I get, the faster and farther I’ll be able to go. I really love to be active, and there are just so many things I want to do again or for the first time. Seriously. I used to be a backpacker and a mountain biker! I have been rock climbing!

      Finally, Ms. Too Sexy tagged me with a list of eight questions of her own. You’ll find out some things about me that you most likely never considered!
      1. What's your favorite Dr. Suess book? Bartholomew and the Oobleck... It’s not as well-known, but it was soooo good! 
      2. What's the best Halloween costume you've ever worn?  The Frog! My mom made me a big green frog head out of papier mache. Oh my, I just loved that frog. 
      3. If you could "live" in any TV town and be friends with all the characters in the cast, which TV show would it be?  Oh, “24” for sure. If I could go back in time to my 20s, that’s the route I would have taken. Federal law enforcement. Shazam! 
      4. Do you believe in ghosts/the supernatural?  Yes. Yes I do. I went to a scene once-a woman had passed away at home and not been found for several days. When we found her I swear on my cat’s honor that she was there waiting for us. There was this sense of profound relief in the air, like now that we’d found her she could go. Made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  
      5. Which would be easier, to live without music or to live with TV?  Take my TV, but if you touch my iPOD someone is going to get hurt. 
      6. Yogi Bear or Winnie the Pooh?  Oh, the Pooh. Every time. 
      7. Bigger turn off, bad breath or body odor?  Bad breath. Body odor can be attributed to honest sweat. Bad breath is an indication that something, somewhere, has gone terribly wrong. 
      8. Would you rather cook for someone or have someone cook for you? I love to cook! I’ll cook for you if you clean up after.

      Here is the list of all the people who got tagged: 

      1. Be Who??? At BU 
      2. Destined for 150 
      3. My Day 
      4. Getting My Freaking Awesome Body 
      5. Fit, Fat, and Back Again 
      6. Have You Gained Weight? (The Ups & Downs of the Unknown Dieter) 
      7. Happy Peach 
      8. Not Trying Just Doing
      Last, but not least, I am supposed to tag another eight people. While I was delighted to have this opportunity, I have always been the party pooper in the world of chain letters. So, if you feel worthy, grab the award and the questions and run with them! Just let me know if you decide to post them, because I definitely want to read your answers and congratulate you!

      Happy Blogging, Happy Weight Loss, Happy Fitness, Happy September, Happy Life!