Thursday, December 31, 2009

What I've gained in 2009

It's almost 2010, which means I have been at this weight loss thing for almost a year! As the year comes to a close, I wanted to do a list of what I've gained in 2009.  On (or maybe the day after) my birthday, which is when I officially began this journey last year, I think I'm going to look at the goals I set for myself, what I achieved, and what the next year has in store for me.

In 2009 I:

  • Lost 40 pounds.  Okay, it's not my goal of 52 (which I technically still have a week left to complete), but it's still pretty darn fantastic.  I have lost a total of 50 pounds!

  • Discovered I love to exercise.  When I began this journey, I never expected to enjoy my daily trips to the gym, dance floor, or grassy hiking hill.  I thought exercise is what skinny people did, and I sure as heck don't come from a skinny family - so that sure couldn't be me!  Yet, I really like my early morning routine of dancing on the elliptical.  It's relaxing, helps me focus my day's intentions, and gives me more energy during the day.

  • Learned how to balance carbohydrates, protein, and other nutrients, and learned what a 400 calorie meal looks like.  This is by far the hardest part of this year.  Eating correctly is a huge challenge for me.  My family lives for food, and I definitely appreciate all things unhealthy.  But I've muddled through it by using my calorie counters and trying to make good choices.  It's not going to taste as good as being thin feels.

  • Was inspired.  I am so grateful to have friends on the road with me who inspire me.  Many are also on this weight loss journey, and they have helped and supported me through this all.  And they're all so amazing!

  • Lowered my resting heart rate.  This is simply something I've noticed while on the elliptical - my heart rate has been slowly lowering despite increasingly intense workouts.  I am happy to say my weight loss journey is making me healthier all the way around!

  • Can now shop in "normal" sized stores.  This was a BIG one for me.  I am now the largest size they have, but it doesn't matter!  I am learning to be stylish and appreciate my new shape.  I can't wait to be able to shop at the various San Francisco boutiques!

  • Dropped from a size 21 to size 14.  As the fat has melted away, my curves have become more curvy.  I am now able to shop at the stores, and feel great about my strong body.  I look forward to it being stronger and looking even better.

  • I have collar bones and other hidden features.  Who knew that I was missing parts of my body?  From calves to cheek bones, it's amazing what is coming into focus as I lose weight.  Including a smaller belly button!

  • I feel healthier.  I didn't know that you weren't supposed to have a stomach ache after each meal - I thought that's how your stomach told you that your body was full!  I am learning my body's needs and limits through this process, and it makes me appreciate my flexibility, stamina, strength, balance, and digestion much more than I ever have before.  I simply feel  better and healthier!
I'm off to Michigan for a week to visit family!  Thankfully, I am going to get a week-long pass to the gym, and I hope to maintain my 175 pounds during the week.  I'll try to check in, but no promises.  I will be busy and happy with the family.

Happy new year!

    Monday, December 28, 2009

    My 400 calorie lunch

    My 400 calorie lunch includes:

    Turkey sandwich
    1.5 ounces of turkey (2 slices)
    1/5 of an avocado
    1/2 tablespoon of fancy delicious oil
    1 Orowheat Sandwich Thins
    Calories: 255

    1 bag of Bolthouse Farms pre-packaged baby carrots
    Calories: 25

    Sweet potato
    1/2 of sweet potato I cooked last night and heated
    Calories: 125
    (Calories are approximate for the yam; no one has calorie info for an actual yam not cut up)


    That's pretty darn good for 3 different things on my plate.  I am loving the Orowheat Thins.  They taste good and provide for my bread fixation.  And darn that yam was good.  Such a delicious, low-calories, and healthy dessert!

    The plate is super big.  It was a hearty lunch, just a large plate diminishes it's size.  I swear! 

    Saturday, December 26, 2009

    Oh holidays, oh holidays

    I have been thinking about family dinners, holiday parties, and being home, just like everyone else who is trying to lose weight.  My (terrible) plan for eating this holiday season: not have one.

    It's not a very healthy plan, and it's not the best, but I've given myself a rest... month.  I simply don't know how to count calories and stay motivated while not maintaining my routine.  It's terrible, I know.  I just feel like I just need a rest, though.

    I am excited to start up again after I return from Michigan in early January.  I can't wait to have my cooking, working, and exercise routine back.  This is similar to those who start their plans on January 1, but at least I know the steps now.

    Hope you all are enjoying this holiday season. 

    Thursday, December 24, 2009

    At the gym

    For years I avoided the gym.  I was afraid that people would judge me, and I was afraid that everyone else would be beautiful and fit.  The first day I went to the gym last year, I was surprised that more than half of the gym was filled with other lumpy people.

    Every morning I train alongside other beautiful swishy people, many of whom are losing weight or somehow improving their bodies, rather than maintaining fitness they already have.

    In some ways, the gym is a great support community for fellow lumpy people, which seriously surprised me.  I had always thought of the gym as somewhere only fit people go.

    I work out in the Financial District of San Francisco every  morning.  Recently, while house sitting, I went to the Marina gym and (personal) awkwardness ensued.

    First, there were mirrors everywhere.  I don't want to stare at myself for 30 minutes at a time normally, and especially not while I'm sweaty and gross. 

    Second, I felt completely out of my league. 

    The Marina gym had a bunch of body builders, fit stay-at-home moms, and others who had nice arms, small asses, and matching track suits.  Thankfully after a year of being at a gym, I felt like I belonged here too.  I did not feel self conscious as I climbed on the elliptical in my stained wife beater, roughed up gym pants, and unshaven legs (hey, it's winter!), and then - of course - started dancing to all the good songs.

    Despite my lack of shame at going to the Marina, I really prefer my Financial District gym.  I like the homey feeling with my fellow lumpy people.

    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    Oh goodness

    Did I really just down 4 chocolate chip cookies?  I don't even like chocolate!  I'm so frustrated with myself.  I see myself spiraling into the waiting mode.  I simply know I'll be back to my routine in just a few weeks, and somehow that justifies getting out of my routine now.  It's very frustrating.

    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    Fried onions

    I don't know about you, but fried onions are not my friend. 

    I had a terrible eating day, culminating with drinks and terrible-ness with the co-workers at end of day.  While my lunch didn't break the calorie bank, those fried onions sure did.  I really need to learn moderation. 

    I am afraid to weigh myself in the morning, but I feel I should.  I really need to get a better handle on my eating during this holiday season. 

    Another day

    You know what's great about today?  It's a new day!

    I was thinking about overeating yesterday (and, I'll admit it, the day before), and considering not only what I could have done differently, but why it happened.  Most importantly, I think I needed to use my resources and connections.  I should have called S, a friend who has lost 25 pounds in 6 months!  She would have given me a chance to voice my feelings toward food and life, and then talk me out of eating that last soft pretzel.  I also need to be more intentional about food (and life in general).  If I had noticed I was feeling lonely, and that's why I was eating, I would have been able to stop that thought process IN PROCESS, rather than recognizing it during reflection later.  I feel proud that I figured out what caused overeating yesterday, even if it was after the food was consumed.  Recognizing my triggers helps me stop them.  And I haven't had a really fat day in a while.

    A Fat Day for me isn't feeling fat, but acting fat.  I sacrificed my body for my emotions yesterday.  I ate until I felt ill (and spent a bitof money doing it) because I felt lonely.  Acting fat is emotional eating mixed with bad food choices, and unhealthy decisions.

    Ironically, I didn't need to feel lonely.  I had a support system in place for this exact situation, I just forgot about it and didn't use it.  By being intentional about what I do and think, I hopefully will be able to similar situations.  I am lucky to know who I know, have what I have, and live this great life.

    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    Fat and lonely

    Had a fat day today.  I was about to say unprompted by any emotional trigger, but I realize now I was feeling lonely.  Still not worth the calories, or - more precisely - the feeling of I'm About To Throw Up that excess eating caused. 

    I look forward to tomorrow being another day, where I get to make new choices.

    For now, I'm just feeling sick and I'm going to bed.

    Sunday, December 13, 2009


    I had a really fun time last night, staying out until 3 a.m.  And I had to be at my best friend's family house at 11 a.m. this morning to help decorate the tree.  (As a Hanukkah celebrator, I sadly had no tree to decorate myself, so I steal his traditions.)  I ended up only getting a little more than 5 hours of sleep.

    I haven't been sleep deprived like this since I was in college.  And there was a reason I was 226 pounds in college.  When I am in need of sleep I am constantly hungry, and will eat everything in sight.  (Okay, that's not the only reason I was 226 pounds in college, but it probably didn't help.)

    So I made myself wait until a respectable dinner hour (5 p.m.) to eat.  I have been hungry for dinner since 3 p.m.  But I ate lunch at 1 p.m.  I see an early bedtime in my future so I don't eat all the food in the house.

    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Working it

    I work out to lose weight.  I do what they tell you not to, and exercise on the same machine (the elliptical) every morning.  I know I should shake it up and work different muscles every week, but I like dancing on the elliptical to some great music on my iPod.  I figure that I don't need to change it up until either my muscles start to feel sore or I reach my goal weight (and want to build muscle). 

    For every five pounds I lose, I try to change the settings on the elliptical.  Sometimes I do, and sometimes it's still too difficult.  I know that I need to increase my activity and decrease my caloric intake to compensate for my lower weight.  So, without trying to, I have increased my fitness level.

    I started on the elliptical at a Level 8 incline and Level 6 resistance.  I am now at a 9 incline and 11 resistance.  And I am burning about the same amount of calories as I was 50 pounds ago - in the same amount of time - which is incredible!  It feels great to be more fit and healthy all the way around!

    Wednesday, December 9, 2009

    Goal weight

    One of the big reasons I love losing weigh is all the clothes I now can fit into. There is still more to come (e.g. boutiques which offer clothes only in smaller sizes), but it's been an exciting process. I also have loved how much healthier I look and feel.

    With all these small goals and changes in my life - daily exercise, shopping at "normal" shops, eating healthier - I haven't devoted too much thought to what my final goal weight. As someone who has never been thin in my life, I have no idea what I will look like at 160 pounds, much less 140. I have never tried on a size 12 dress, nor have I ever fit in a medium shirt.

    I have arbitrarily picked 135 as my goal weight. It's somewhere between the low (114) and high (154) of the healthy part of my BMI chart. I don't necessarily have a desire to be a size 2 (and I don't think I could sustain that), but I want to be far enough from the high end of the BMI chart to have some breathing room. Maybe I'll be really happy at 150, or it might be 120. I simply have no clue and I can't wait to find out in the coming year.

    Kristen over at Low Fat Dressing talked about this some on her Monday post. This is the first time I've felt that I have a choice in what my body looks like. I have all these options, and I can't wait to "try" them on. I look forward to being in Kristen's shoes, where I actively like my body, not just accept and love its functions. I want to be able to know what my preferred shape looks like, instead of simply having an idea in my head. What an exciting journey!

    Monday, December 7, 2009

    Redefining goals

    50 pounds gone! Of that, I lost 40 pounds since the beginning of this year.

    With only a few weeks left until my birthday, I've realized that I won't be able to meet my goal of 52 pounds in 52 weeks, which is okay. This year has been a huge learning experience for me, and it took me some time to understand the tools at my disposal and properly use them. I will feel like a superstar if I'm 175 on my birthday, which I'm less than a pound from right now.

    I've been trying to decide what I will do with my next year. Will I continue the pound a week challenge until I hit my goal weight (around 135), or should I continue to try to lose 1.5-2 pounds a week? I am so eager to be on the "healthy" spectrum on the BMI chart, I can barely wait. A little more than 20 pounds to go!

    Friday, December 4, 2009


    To best track my food and save money, I bring lunch to work every day. I try to make a homemade meal a week. Lately I've been tracking my spending and have been exasperated on how much I spend on food. Buying a frozen bag of noodles and sauce at Trader Joe's - which lasts me 3 days - is much cheaper than a lot of the casseroles, burgers, soups, and sandwiches I make myself. The sodium counts on these processed foods is high, and my body does not react kindly to it. I've been trying balance cost with nutrition, and have been falling short. Healthy options are often expensive!

    I've been buying a lot of frozen vegetables lately, pictured above. These too are expensive, but less so than their fresh versions (that are not currently in season). It comes out to approximately $1 per serving, because I generally eat two servings at a time of my veggies, which is a good price for a snack or meal side.

    I make quite a few cheap meals, but none of which can be easily brought and kept at work. My favorite transportable meal thus far has been chicken kabobs. I have been eating significantly more meat since I began this journey, and I feel guilty for eating meat every day. But it's a nice low-calorie protein source that feels me up.

    Any suggestions?

    Wednesday, December 2, 2009


    Consistently, I eat great during the day and then bust out the calories during the evening. I don't know why I can't keep track during dinner, but I keep eating even after I finish the meal I've planned for myself. In my mind it's something small, but I shouldn't overeat by even 100 calories.

    I need to plan my dinners better. When I don't plan my meals, I don't eat well. Which is what makes the holiday season so hard. Or, you know, life.

    Monday, November 30, 2009

    Eating 3 pounds a day

    Holy buckets! Michael Phelps eats 8,000 to 10,000 calories a day! I wish I could get away with half of that!

    Deliciously stuffed

    Remember all those things I said about responsible eating during Thanksgiving? You can ignore them. Thanksgiving was great; the weekend after Thanksgiving was deliciously stuffed.

    My mom made homemade popcorn, beer cheese soup, more stuffing (my favorite), and turkey sandwiches. I also discovered non-chocolate oreos, which I love. I didn't go completely crazy, but I definitely felt like I should be rolling rather than walking to my bed.

    I love my family to death and feel so blessed to be able to spend this Thanksgiving with them. One trip down, and three more holiday trips to go: Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years. I'm excited to spend so much time with my family, despite the "diet" setbacks. My family is well worth the potential slip-ups, and it gives me an opportunity to see how much I have changed, and look at what I still need to work on.

    Saturday, November 28, 2009

    Valley of cheese and love

    It's the land of food here at my parents' house. The cupboards are packed full of canned goods, the two fridges of cheeses and other delicious dairy products, and the two freezers of rice, ice cream, and bread. My brother, then six, gave my mother a card one year that said, "Valley of cheese", and it's a fairly accurate description - the cheese drawer is packed so full of different types of cheeses, that there could easily have an additional shelf in the fridge dedicated to brie, havarti, and all of the specialties you'll find in the kitchen.

    Despite the valley of cheese, finding breakfast in the house is fairly difficult. My family rarely eats breakfast, and when they do it's generally eggs and potatoes. I'm not a cook, and can't make the delicious family potato recipe, and I'm sick and tired of eggs. So this morning I chose of the four kinds of veggie burgers we have in the freezers.

    It's odd being back at home with a different food consciousness. My parents - all three of them - are very accommodating. Despite my favorite peppermint ice cream in the freezer, cheese in the fridge, and delicious food I won't buy or can't afford everywhere else, I am feeling healthy at home. I just put smaller portions on my plate, and supplement what I eat with a box of clementines I brought.

    The only problem is the sheer number of parents I have, all of whom want to feed me. My Jewish father and my adoring mothers both show love through food. The only food choice I haven't been happy with is eating dinner twice yesterday. It's hard to say no to food as love, but I just ate some homemade challah, a bit of rice, and a small serving of fish. Smaller portions have just as much love as big ones.

    Friday, November 27, 2009

    The day after

    I generally feel terrible about my eating mistakes just hours after the experience. Sometimes the frustration creeps up the next day. But here I am, morning after Thanksgiving, feeling wonderful!

    I'm not counting calories this weekend because I've become obsessive about eating 450 calorie meals for breakfast and lunch, and then pretending calories don't exist after 3 p.m. Instead, I'm trying to be very conscious about eating what's good for me and limiting portion size. With health as a motivator, it keeps me from over indulging on Chinese food at night.

    I did not feel stuffed after Thanksgiving dinner, which was my goal of the night. I had been thinking about this evening for awhile, and how I would properly "handle" it, and I think I followed all of my expectations for myself, which were:
    1. Small portions of everything. This way I don't feel deprived (which contributes to binging), but also am eating healthy. I had a little stuffing, a little mashed potatoes, a little turkey, and half my plate was green beans.
    2. Don't take seconds. Or thirds. Or fourths. In my "former life", I wouldn't have stopped on plate one. I would have likely gotten up from the table many times to fill up on thousands of calories of stuff (which is easy to do at 300 calories per half cup). The only thing I took seconds of was steamed green beans - I figured that was okay.
    3. Prepare for the meal by eating. I had both breakfast (bagel & lox - delicious!) and lunch (gnocci, apple, and jerky) so that when I arrived at dinner I wouldn't be starved and eat everything in sight. I also had an unplanned snack of humus and wheat thins, and brie and crackers, but I had conservative portions and - most importantly of all - enjoyed myself!
    4. Don't sit by the snack table. I ate a bit more brie and crackers than I would have wanted during appetizers (not SO much, but enough), so next year my new rule is don't put myself in a place where I can stuff my face so easily.
    5. Enjoy myself. The more I concentrate on who is in the room, and enjoy their company, the less I eat. Enthralled by a great story, singing along to lesbian guitar solos, or just laughing until my sides hurt keeps me from taking another chip.
    I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. My blessings this year are too numerous to recount, but I'd like to share one with you: I am grateful to have this great body that lets me move and shake and lose 50 pounds, and have a great community that supports me along the way. Thank you!

    Monday, November 16, 2009

    DRESSing for work

    Fat girls have their own sense of style. They accent their curves, and draw most attention to their tops. As someone who has never been able to fill out shirts in the bust, fat shopping was always one more frustrating thing on my list of Things I Will Not Miss When I Am No Longer Overweight.

    Since slimming down I’ve been exploring fashion. Not only can I purchase clothing more easily, but things are also more comfortable to wear. My thighs don’t rub nearly as much, my tights don’t rip as quickly, and with less weight on the soles of my feet, heels aren’t as painful.

    In the past year, I have only once before gone to work in a dress. But now I find it more comfortable, freeing, stylish, and SUPER FUN! I look forward to the new clothing I will be able to buy and try on when I drop one more size and am able to shop at practically any store!

    This is what I wore to work today. The dress and small wedge heels (I know, not a very good pic) are both super cheap finds from Marshalls. And I finally fit into tights!

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Taco weight loss system

    My friend just started the Nutrisystem, which sends people pre-packaged meals that they add fruits and veggies to. You order for 28 days at a time, and the program follows a low-calorie meal plan. Despite the fact that I restrict my calories, I know that this plan would never work for me.

    I like flexibility. Even when I plan out what I’m going to eat, I don’t necessarily eat it. I like substituting things and mixing it all around. I’ll eat lunch for breakfast and breakfast for lunch.

    I also am amazed by how much I’ve learned on this journey. I am currently enjoying what tastes like deep-friend tacos from my good friend Trader Joe, and after 8 of them I still have calories left in my daily budget. I would have written these tacos off before, and assumed that the enchiladas in the freezer would be better for me. I would have been wrong. (I also would have eaten a whole BIG bag of potato chips, among other fat things.)

    I now know about fiber, portion size, fat, calories, and protein – and that’s just a sampling! I know what full feels like! Before I only knew what being stuffed felt like. If I wasn’t hurting from the food I just had, I would be going back for seconds, or thirds, or fourths. I don’t think I could have learned that from NS.

    Yet, I feel like you could learn those things from NS, and more importantly, I think the system begins a journey that someone is taking. I can see the advantages of the program: you know everything they give you is "safe", taking out the stress of figuring out what is "okay" and what is not. It is so important to take those first steps and just deciding to make a change. I am really proud of my friend for taking charge of her health by riding her bike to the grocery store and trying to eat properly. Hopefully the food doesn’t taste half bad and she too is enjoying her dinner as much as I am.

    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    You gotta move it, move it

    Tonight is the first time this week that I’ve been home before 10 p.m., and this is not at all unusual. My professional and social obligations keep me out late at night, yet I almost always manage to wake up in time for the gym. Almost.

    I work out in the morning to avoid possible scheduling conflicts. The later in the day it gets, the easier it is to simply not go to the gym. Opportunities, dates, work comes up, and I stay away from the elliptical machine.

    Despite my 6:30 a.m. wake up time, I am not a morning person. My alarm is set a whole hour before I must roll out of bed so that the multiple times I hit the snooze don’t keep me from exercising.

    Yet, I really do enjoy working out in the evening. I feel more energized after my work out, and more coherent during the day. I am considering changing my work out schedule, but I’m afraid that if I exercise during the evening it will become more of a suggestion and less of a routine.

    I think that once I move from my apartment and blow all of my money on that project, I am going to sign myself up for dance classes. The problem – as always – is that I don’t know what type of classes I want to take. Salsa? Bhangra Indian dancing? Samba? Belly dancing? Hip hop? Ballroom? Swing? I love all forms of dance, and each one appeals to me in a unique way. I have been paralyzed by choice, just as I often am paralyzed by choice in the toothpaste aisle. I just need to go ahead and close my eyes and just dance.

    Sunday, November 8, 2009

    Breaking through my plateau

    I really wish I could say that for the past two weeks I've hit a plateau, but that's simply not true. I've been gaining weight. The first few days were entirely my fault - I wasn't eating anywhere near my calorie goal - but then my body just kept gaining after I reigned in my eating. This was really hard for me. I easily resort to self-depreciating "fat thinking", which often motivates me to quit. Despite this, I worked through it, ate and exercised correctly and ... gained weight.

    It was so disheartening to see my weight climbing above 180 the morning after I should have seen a half a pound drop (according to calories in-calories out calculation). But I kept on keeping on.

    This morning my weight was suddenly back! I am now under 180, again. But I feel as if my body is playing tricks on me.

    Yesterday I ate nothing but crap. I had chocolate, cookies, brie (delicious), blue cheese (oh goodness yummy!), some huge burger wrap thing, among others. And this morning is when I saw the loss.

    It makes some sort of evil sense, though. As SparkPeople says, when you hit a plateau you can jump start your weight loss by: nutrition, rest, and variation. Maybe the chocolate yesterday was the variation I needed. Plus, I let my body rest and didn't work out, which I've been doing religiously since the gain.

    SparkPeople has a lot of great information on their site about fitness in their "Pitfalls and Plateaus Section" other than the plateau 3-part article I mentioned. A few I picked at random: 4 signs It's Time to Change Your Workout, and Are You Cheating Yourself At the Gym?

    Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    I am stylish?!

    I caught a glimpse of myself in my apartment’s lobby mirror, and then I had to look again – I look like a typical young adult: stylish, professional, and happy! I’m no longer look the part of the “fat girl” (though I do think it). Breaking out of the “obese” category, both for BMI and clothing sizes (size 14), has allowed me to do a lot more things that I’ve never done before.

    Some of the firsts:
    • I went shopping and discarded clothing because it didn’t look good on me. I used to buy everything that fit, because it was so rare they made clothes in my size.
    • I liked going shopping. Shopping is much more fun with stylish choices that fit me.
    • I am paying attention to style. Fat women have their own style by accentuating their curves. While my bottom is very curvy, my top is lacking, and most “fat” women styles don’t work for me. I’ve really enjoyed being able to pay attention to style blogs and then go out and buy the item in the store!
    • I wore a dress. I’ve worn dresses before, but only during fancy occasions. I hated how my legs looked in them, and I hated how my thighs rubbed. With much less thigh, there is much less rub, and the dress was very comfortable. I look forward to buying more work dresses!
    • I’ve reached my weight loss goal every week this month. This is because I got it through my thick skull that I can “uneat” calories by working out, but the only way to do that is by counting ALL my calories. I am super excited by my success this month.

    Saturday, October 24, 2009

    20% gone!

    I’m still here! I’ve been focusing on different weight-loss priorities recently. Instead of blogging about my journey, I’ve been living my journey – something that feels new and different. I have successfully met my weigh-in goals two weeks in a row, and I’m lining up for a third successful week. This is the first time I’ve had consistently met my goals in a very long time, and it feels good.

    I have started tracking everything I eat, which is new. I used to track to make sure I didn’t go over my calorie goal, but the moment I went over 1550 – game over. Once I started tracking everything I ate, even when it went over 1550, I realized that I can take back some of those calories by exercising. I can still reach my week’s calorie and weight loss goals, even if a day went poorly.

    While this means I have been exercising a lot more, especially on weekends, it also means that I am more confident about my weight loss – and begin to believe that I can actually reach my goals. This self confidence is amazing and has completely changed how I feel about this journey. Suddenly I’m winning this race, rather than being the last runner on the team. (I do realize that running the race at all is amazing.)

    As of this morning, I have lost 45 pounds, which is approximately 20% of my original weight! I hope to be under 180 by the end of next week, which is really exciting. I’m pushing against new boundaries daily; almost every day, I weigh less than I ever had in my young/adult life.

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009

    I love me

    Despite today's challenges, it's been a good day. When a fellow bus passenger tried to pick a fight with me and used me as a backrest and spoke rudely about me to fellow passengers, I just put some good music on my iPod and danced right there on the bus. I accomplished a lot in preparation of tomorrow's big event at work. I did my job - and I did it well. Yet I told myself at least once, "I Hate You."

    I don't mean to be hurtful or negative to myself, and I often say it to myself when I'm not even unhappy with myself. I say it just because it's my basic emotion toward myself. I try to believe that my body is a temple, but more times than not I think of my body as the dirt on the temple floor. I've been trying to change this thought process, but it's hard. Generally when, "I hate you" pops into my head, I'm surprised and don't know what brought on those thoughts.

    SparkPeople has a section for Emotional Eaters (called Mind Over Body Fat, which I think is hilarious), and I started going through it this evening. Their first "step" in ending emotional eating is "Put 'I' in Your Vocabulary": "If you have persistent difficulty actually exercising like you know you need to, for example, you probably don't describe this problem to yourself with thoughts that begin with the pronoun 'I'." And it's true. I never say, "I hate me." I always say, "I hate you." I am very proud of myself, and love myself a lot. It's that external demon that I hate. I need to learn to say, "I love me" instead of this negative crap.

    The goods of the day: I ate 1,210 calories. Rockin' it. Am awesome at my job. Had an AMAZING work out this morning. Got home early from a meeting and got to do laundry (which is a huge relief!). My life completely rocks right now!

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    I am no longer obese

    Back in July I created rewards for myself. Every time I drop 5 pounds I get something fun. To prove how slow my progress is, this weekend was my first reward - a manicure. And to add to the joy, at 184 pounds, I am no longer obese! I weighed in at 185.0 on Friday and rewarded myself, and hopped on the scale on Monday to see a beautiful non-obese weight. I will hopefully hit "Healthy" right after my birthday (154 pounds).

    I know that the BMI index is not accurate for everyone, especially not the muscled and fit people in our lives. Yet, I find it a helpful metric. As someone who has been fat my entire life, I have no concept of healthy for my body. I only know how to be fat. But finally - for the first time in my life - I am no longer obese! I am pretty excited. Now I'm just "over weight". I'm pretty sure the BMI was set up to make women feel lousy (over weight? really? I just dropped 40 pounds!), but all the same I'm dancing in my seat.

    Wednesday, October 7, 2009


    I read a few weight loss blogs because knowing that others are with me in this journey helps keeps me motivated. My real life weight loss partner, A - for all his loveliness - is a guy who never gave a thought about weight and size until he started losing weight himself. I think it takes a woman's (or attentive guy's) perspective to relate to the years of being fat and not being able to shop in stores, and the yearning to look something closer to the magazine covers than my (at the time) 300 pound mother.

    Prior Fat Girl is a blog I've recently begun reading. She loves posting pictures, which is helpful when I don't really want to read content. She's currently doing a giveaway for 101 Things To Do Before You Diet. The book looks like a strategy on how to live a normal life. Many of the fat women I know avoid things just because of their weight. They don't go out shopping, swimming, hiking, or simply out and about with friends. Their shame of self is so overpowering it prevents them from interacting with their community. Yet, these women could be normal and having fun - if they'd let themselves be out there. Being happy and comfortable are the two best gifts you can give yourself, I believe. And you can't be happy without your community. I ultimately believe that the key of weight loss is simply being happy with yourself, and treating your body like the temple it is - and from the little I've seen of this book (reviews, etc.), 101 Things To Do Before You Diet seems to affirm this idea.

    Tuesday, October 6, 2009


    I've been at the same weight for a month now. It's very frustrating. Even the days I eat well and exercise, I stay at the same weight - or gain! It makes me feel like a failure, and I lose excitement about this weight loss journey.

    I'm slowly getting back in the rhythm and really looking forward to my goal (which motivates me). I saw a SparkPeople post today on the longest people have plateaued. Seeing that others were struggling with the same problems made me feel more motivated and much happier in this journey. The simple fact that I am not alone makes me feel like I can finish this journey. It's weird how that works sometimes.

    I am striving to only eat 1200 calories today. I've been hitting the high end of my calorie goal (1500), and I'm trying to eat at the low end to see if that makes a difference. It's less hard than normal because I'm newly motivated, but those bagels in the kitchen are calling my name. Must ignore!

    I think I can, I think I can, I think I can

    Just like The Little Engine That Could, I am going to make it to the top of the mountain.

    I have been worried I won’t be able to make my goal - losing 52 pounds in 52 weeks. I am currently behind, and I have been afraid I wouldn’t be able to make up the lost time. I know that I can’t lose more than two pounds in a week. I did the math this morning, and it’s still something I can accomplish if I stay on my program until my birthday, which is something I NEED to do for myself. I must lose 24 pounds in 13 weeks. I know I can do this, and I can’t wait to see 185.4 on the scale next Monday!

    Last week I went shopping for new clothes. I haven’t updated my wardrobe since I was 215 pounds and I’m starting to look sloppily dressed. I went shopping with a co-worker who can easily shop at any store in the mall. We went to H & M, who has discontinued their in-store size 16. I had been very proud to be able to shop at (selected) shops in the mall, and it was disconcerting to me that I could no longer comfortably fit into their pants. While depressing, it was motivating in a lot of ways. It gave me a shot of what I am missing by being overweight, and what I can accomplish – and just by the end of the year! I can do this!

    Monday, October 5, 2009

    Step up

    I have a new workout partner (R), who I found through craigslist! R and I met up to work out, and the gym was packed, with lines for every single cardio machine. We decided to take a step class instead. R did step in college, but I was completely new to it. We stuck with it for the first 30 minutes, which shows our dedication. By minute 2 I was completely lost. I spent more time marching in place and laughing than I did twirling, turning around, or going backwards – as everyone else was doing.

    The problem was two-fold. First, it was an Intermediate Step class. As mentioned, I’ve never taken a step class before, so taking an intermediate step class was probably a bad first step. (Sorry about the pun.) Second, the teacher didn’t care that we newcomers (about 7 people in the class total) were completely clueless. She acted like she was part of the class, and did not repeat the complicated steps, but just did the whole routine with the class and moved on to a new step.

    Despite the frustration of not knowing what I was doing, it was a lot of fun. I want to do a beginning step class sometime, but ironically the gym doesn’t offer one. This, of course, makes me feel justified in R’s and my frustration toward the instructor. Oh well. I’ll go to another gym sometime and try it again, but this time take the beginner class.

    Thursday, October 1, 2009

    Progress, not perfection

    I have been in a really foul mood for the past few weeks. I wish I had one of those bright dispositions, but I was not blessed with enthusiasm of spirit. Having grown up with addicts, and been attracted to memoirs and resources for addiction, I know my self-criticizing sounds very similar to an alcoholic or drug abuser. I eat to quiet the self-criticizing person inside me. This person (let's call her Candice) will quiet down while I enjoy the numbness of feeling that food brings me. The moment I am finished, Candice will be in shock about the amount of food I just ate, and every single mistake I've made that day. Her favorite thing to say to me is, "I hate you." I tell myself this (uh, I guess Candice tells me this) every day. Forgetting to call someone is a hate-worthy offense. So is not doing laundry, not packing my bag the night before, or any of the many ways I am not perfect. Her disgust with me is overpowering, and compels me to quiet her the only way I know how - by eating.

    The most common feeling I have toward myself is disgust. I am a perfectionist, and I feel overwhelmingly guilty when I don't get everything done perfectly the first time. When I think about my weight loss, I think about the slowness of this year rather than the fact that I've lost almost 40 pounds, 30 of which has been since January 2009! I worry about reaching my goal of 52 pounds by my birthday. I don't celebrate the fact that I am much smaller than I used to be, because in my mind that progress doesn't matter; only my failures matter.

    A friend of mine - who has had a much more successful weight loss journey than I have had - told me his family had a saying. "Progress, not perfection." I'd really like to adopt this saying, but Candice is there laughing her ass off; I have been at the same weight for the last month or two. What progress?

    I know I should celebrate my accomplishments, but I'm having a really hard time of smiling and being the passionate girl I used to be. Quieting Candice with food at least made me able to focus on other things than my self improvement. At least then, while I wasn't happier, I was having a lot more fun.

    Wednesday, September 30, 2009

    Morning weigh ins

    Yesterday I stayed within my calorie goals, and this morning I woke up to a .8 pound loss. This isn't uncommon for me. If I've had a long time since I've stayed in my calorie counting goals (it's been awhile), then I will see an immediate loss.

    Today I've successfully stayed in my calorie goal again! I'm really excited to see what tomorrow morning's weigh-in will look like.
    I had already eaten most of the salad before I thought to take a picture. DELICIOUS!

    I am currently enjoying the best salad I've ever made, and most definitely the best mistake I've ever made. I tried to make turkey burgers last night, but the burgers fell apart as they were being grilled. So I treated the meat like the ground turkey it was and created little clumps. I was inspired by last night's Mexican dinner to create a taco salad, and boy is it delicious!

    My amazing salad features:
    • 1/4 pound ground turkey (marinated in BBQ sauce)
    • 1/2 cucumber - peeled and pitted
    • 1/2 tomato
    • ounce of cheddar cheese
    • 3 cups of iceburg lettuce
    • 2 tbsp of Trader Joe's Light Cilantro dressing
    Total calories: 365

    Tuesday, September 29, 2009

    The difference between 20 and 300

    Trader Joe's vanilla meringues are a delicious treat, and at only 1 calorie per mini meringues, not very hard on my calorie budget. That is, until I eat half the tin.

    I will eat whatever is in front of me. If I have the whole tin of meringues, I'll eat the whole tin. One of the best solutions I have found to overeating is portion control. I now have dozens of pre-portioned sized treats in my pantry and freezer, including the mini meringues. I also enjoy portions of beef jerky, fruit mixes, and lunches. I just made myself lunch and dinner - both portioned out - for tomorrow and Thursday. If I hadn't divided the portions before I began eating tonight, I know I would have eaten too much - just because it was in front of me.

    Without portioning out food, I don't think I could have stayed on track today. This is the first day in awhile where I actually stayed under my calorie budget. And I made delicious tacos with ground turkey meat! (Very easy, and 450 calories for two tacos!)

    Thursday, September 24, 2009

    Always hungry

    Since I started keeping my meals at or under 400 calories, I've found myself hungry during the day. Previously my meals were about the same as I eat now, but I snacked throughout the day. I have tried to completely eliminate snacking so I will make more conscious food decisions throughout the day, but I've been so hungry!

    SparkPeople released a new tool that allows you to track the calories burned through walking. The tool is integrated with Google Maps, and you can develop paths on the map. This is great because a lot of pathways in San Francisco (specifically in Twin Peaks) aren't on the maps. This way I can get a more accurate calorie count on my daily routine.

    I had never included my walking in my calories burned before, but with the integration of this new feature in SparkPeople, I tried it. I realized that I burn 600 calories more a week than I thought I did! When I put that new information in SparkPeople, their new program for me had me eating 1,400-1,750 calories a day - 200 more than my current limit! No wonder I've been hungry.

    I'm not sure how I'm going to incorporate this information into my routine yet. I could do three meals at approximately 475 calories each, or try to keep myself at 400 calorie meals and enjoy a 200 calorie snack a day. The problem with this, of course, is flexibility. When I have more choices, I generally ignore all my good options and go for the worse food item. But I know I can make this work, and I am going to make it work!

    Wednesday, September 23, 2009

    Eating in the living room

    My new place is gorgeous and has a wonderful DVR player. I haven't had real TV in years, and I'm starting to enjoy lazing about and just watching The Biggest Loser, Glee, Dollhouse, or Grey's Anatomy. I have been enjoying the TV so much that I have started to watch every day, and eat dinner while sitting in front of the screen. With my attention elsewhere, I don't fully enjoy the food I'm eating and will eat more than what I should.

    I realized that this was the reason for my weight holding steady this week, despite the 1,200 calorie burn yesterday. While I've had my slip ups (oh nachos, you were so delicious), I thought I should at least see a .2 pound drop somewhere in there. When I thought about it this morning, I realized I have no way of really knowing how many calories I had last night, because I wasn't paying attention to what I was eating.

    I am going to try and implement Roni's Rule - no eating in the living room. I have a beautiful dining room table to eat at. I'm trying to adapt to living in a house with a TV and I need to create some boundaries. I am still trying to learn how much TV is appropriate, and what I can and should do while watching TV.

    Saturday, September 19, 2009

    Dancing the night away

    I should find weight loss as an affirmation of success, but I've unconsciously finding it proof that I need to change myself. I don't want to compromise my personality, but I also want to find the sexy self-confidence of fellow club goers.

    Friday night I went out by myself to a club, which is something I used to do often when I was younger. I went out by myself because I didn't think I had anyone to go out with me. Now that those circumstances have changed - and I may actually know people in the club - I find it terrifying to walk through those doors alone. Oddly, having friends has made me more vulnerable to fear, and to thoughts about what I need to do to change myself.

    Before I hid under the idea that no one would want to be with me because I was so fat. As the fat is starting to sink away I have been taking a lot of time to try and look at how to improve who I am. This, of course, is under the flawed assumption that I'm not great as the person I already am.

    It was really great on Friday to go alone. I walked by the club the first time because I was terrified, but after I walked in I started to feel the the thrill of chatting up people and moving to the music. And it turned out that I knew quite a few fellow Mills graduates and they were thrilled to see me.

    I haven't been very passionate and confident lately, and it's really nice to see that return. I am going to try to change my perspective - just because I'm changing how I look, doesn't mean I change who I am.

    "I got a perfect body because my eyelashes catch my sweat." - Regina Spektor, "Folding Chair"

    Friday, September 18, 2009

    Land of food

    I have been getting really sick and tired of my morning breakfast. Because I eat at work after my workout, I traditionally eat something boring – cereal, oatmeal, bagel – but I’m never fully satisfied. This week I decided to try out the breakfast Lean Pockets, and I’m really liking them. They’re not as good as a homemade English muffin with cheese and egg, but as a microwavable substitute, they work well. They’re fast, easy, filling, and – most importantly – are under my 400 calorie range (290!).

    For filling snacks I’ve been enjoying beef jerky. An ounce is 80 calories, and while it’s not that much beef jerky, it’s very filling. I’ve been keeping it around the house and office to get me through until my next meal.

    My biggest food problem is when it comes to dinner – and after. I can do my thing during the day just fine – I’m good at sticking to routines – but once I get home it’s so often lost. I eat and eat and eat, especially when it comes to sweet things. I’ll often crave desserts after dinner, and will snag one of those 100 calories snack packs. Sometimes it’s not all I snag, though. I’ve been trying to be more inventive and giving myself desserts that feel exorbitant and huge, but aren’t so bad. My new favorite is a tablespoon of peanut butter with a serving of Monet crackers (250 calories total). It’s really good, there’s quite a few of them, and it fills both my yearning for starch and sweet.