Sunday, February 28, 2010

Losing weight while Jewish

"Would you like some more mashed potatoes?" my Oma (grandmother) will ask me when I visit.  She will say this as she puts the mashed potatoes on my plate.

"No, I'm okay," I'll say back before realizing the mashed potatoes sitting there.  I'll have already had a plate and a half of delicious food and I'm not THAT hungry.  My Oma loves me, and equates food with love.  It's very sweet, but hard sometimes.

While not an entirely "Jewish" problem, it's hard to lose weight with a family and holidays like this.  Yesterday evening we celebrated Purim, a holiday where you're commanded to get so drunk you can't tell the good guy from the bad guy in the story.  Those shots of vodka add up, and I'm always more likely to eat while drunk.  Plus, I just made some hamantashen, and if I say so myself, they are delicious!

The next big holiday coming up is Pesach (Passover).  Pesach you're supposed to drink 4 cups of wine and the entire day/evening is concerned with a great feast.  There are traditional things you're supposed to eat and eat, and only THEN do you get to the meal.  And, of course, as I have both family and friends (imagine that!) so I'll be enjoying more than one Pesach feast.

Of course, there's also the weekly holiday of Shabbat.  Challah, while delicious, is very caloric.  And that nice dinner once a week can also be a lovely, caloricly strenuous, meal. 

I'm not so religious that I celebrate every holiday (I stayed home last night) or honor all Shabbats, but I work for a Jewish institution and I do celebrate with infrequent frequency.  So, despite my unpious nature, being Jewish does give perspective to my weight loss.  Which is to say, the only way I can lose weight is if I can control my portions.  Obviously this isn't a Jewish concept, but it does help me to remind myself of it before I begin my celebrations.  It's hard to say no to my third helping of kugel, but I can do it!  At least, sometimes I can do it.  And all that needs to happen is I need to show restraint more than I don't show restraint.  I will slip up (oh, how I love challah), but I will also be learning.  I need to remember that this is a journey, not a daily exercise in winning or failing.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

How can I challenge myself?

Kristen of Low Fat Dressing made a great comment the other day when I was talking about being unmotivated.  She suggested a food challenge to spice up my weight loss routine.  I'm currently in hyper regret mode, and trying to simply take back all those calories I've eaten the past few weeks.  My goal is to create a daily 1,100 calorie deficit until Monday, but I have no idea what comes after that.

I love this idea of a challenge of some kind, but I don't know what I should do.  I've been thinking of trying to start a Biggest Loser type of group here in SF.  Something where everyone puts in $15 at the beginning, and whoever has the largest percentage of weight loss at the end of the time gets the bounty.  It wouldn't really be about the money, but the accountability and having a group to meet with.

Or I could start that fruit, nut, and veggie diet I wrote about before, but I'm afraid I'd grow tired of the diet rather than it bringing excitement to my life.

I know I need to get back to my morning workouts.  I've been exercising after work mostly, and it's not the same.  I need the structure in my life, to remind myself on a daily basis that I am losing weight.  When I work out, I use that time to concentrate on my next goal, the goals I've accomplished, and how I'm going to make the day the best it can be.  It's been nice to sleep in, but I think I need my morning mantra and accountability again.

But working out has always been the easy part for me.  I don't know what to do about the food.  Especially since I now have homemade hamentashen lying around my house.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Alright, I'm going to admit it.  I'm bored.  It's not just counting calories that's boring me.  I lack the thrill of non-work deadlines.  Which is why I've decided to begin taking Spanish, but sadly I decided this two months too late.  I'm trying to be patient waiting for the semester to end.

So I'm bored in life and diet.  And I haven't been keeping up.  I'm afraid to step on the scale.  I'm wondering what the use is of "going on".  I know why I should - I'm not where I want to be health-wise, weight-wise, or size-wise.  Yet, I am comfortable where I am.  And similarly, I'm comfortable in life.

I need adventure.  I need some fun.

I did well on the diet today, but half of that was I was too busy concentrating on not falling over from dizziness that food didn't really persuade me.

Hopefully tomorrow and this weekend will be a better week.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Weekly weign in

I'm going to skip my weekly weigh-in this week.  I never do this, but I'm simply too embarrassed/in disbelief over the weight I saw this morning.  I'll let you know next week where I stand.

In the meantime, my embarrassment has proven to be an effective motivating tool.  I have planned out my week and seem to be on the right track.  I am trying to stay motivated, but it's hard when I'm starting to feel like I have a "normal" body.  But I'm not yet in the healthy range, and I'm still not thrilled with how my body looks.  I know it's unusual, but I like my body more when I'm standing naked in front of my mirror in the morning than I do after all the layers of clothes I put on.  Those curves are proof of all my hard work, and that gets hidden under the shirts and pant.

But sometimes I need a reminder that I'm not yet done with this work.  I yearn for a day when my legs don't rub, and I don't need to wear tights or leggings to make a dress comfortable.  I want to be able to be a healthy weight.  I want to be HOT, not just beautiful.  This can only be attained if I watch what I eat.  I CAN DO IT!!!  IT REALLY IS WHAT I WANT!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

When you’re only overweight

Life feels different now that I’m overweight, not the expansive obese girl I’ve always been.  For as long as I can remember I saw the world as “fat” and “not fat”.  I did not understand people who felt overweight because they wanted to lose ten pounds.  They were so thin!  They could shop in department stores!  They didn’t worry about taking up more than their share of the seat on the bus!  I was angered by what I considered vanity.  I lived in a body where I couldn’t shop in the stores, where I organized my life around food, where I felt shame at my body, and yet… I got through it, I dated, I had fun, I lived.  I was so angry that they even considered 10 pounds, when they were thin and I was fat.  But it turns out, I was just angry at myself.

In the process of losing weight I’ve learned a lot about myself.  I’m not close to the finish of my journey, but even at size 12 I feel so different than I did at size 22.  I have always had a zest for life, but now I am overcoming the shame and anger and self-hate that sponsored my eating problems.  To eat less, I had to examine why I was eating too much in the first place.  I ate when I felt nervous, and I felt nervous because I never felt good enough, witty enough, smart enough, pretty enough.  I still have those issues, but I’m actually dealing with them now – rather than simply eating them “away”.

And I don’t eat things away anymore; I don’t have hidden meals of thousands of calories.  Before, I would secretly go to Taco Bell, McDonald’s, In & Out, Old Spaghetti Factory after lunch and eat another huge meal.  I would hide the evidence so no one would find out about my shameful habits, even when my body displayed them for all to see.  It’s taken over two years, but I’ve begun to learn moderation.  I balance my hunger and (mostly) eat apples instead of ice cream.  After binging all of my life, I feel like I’ve finally begun to learn the beginnings of being whole and respecting my body.

The world feels different when your stomach doesn’t enter the room before you do.  I no longer think people are staring at me because I’m fat (and now I wonder if they ever were.)  I used my fat as a shield.  It hid me from my self-disappointment.  I can no longer use the excuse that that awesome person didn’t come and chat me up because I’m fat – and assume that no one wants to be friends with the fat girl.  The world is more real now – I have to stand on my own merits.  The world is also kinder; it’s easier to live in a world where things are manufactured for your mentality and size.  The shops stock clothing that fits me, I don’t feel shameful when I go out to eat by myself, and I’m starting to feel normal in ways I never thought I’d be able to attain.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Weekly weigh in

Last week's weight: 171.8
This week's weight: 168.0
This week's weight lost: -3.8
Total weight lost: 58.4

I was hungry this weekend.  I ate Thai food, quiche, 1/2 pound burger and fries, cheese and herb polenta, and a slew of other things I should only eat in moderation.   While it wasn't an out and out eat fest, I did eat more than I should on quite a few days.  These eating days were balanced with days I ate in moderation, but considering the food I ate, the four pound loss is mind-blowing.  I stepped on the scale three times to make sure that I wasn't simply getting a wonky number.  I still wonder, though, if I simply broke my scale...

My boy and I broke up this week.  If we were in a romantic comedy, we would have likely made up the night before Valentine's Day.  But there is no bad romantic comedy movie in my future, just some great opportunities to learn from my mistakes and become the person I want to be.*  We've been on and off again for the entirety of our three year relationship, and it's past the time where things needed to end romantically.  After three years of struggle, we've both agreed that we're not working out, but would like to keep our amazing friendship. 

The day of - and after - the break up I ate very little.  I felt the hunger from far away, but food simply didn't interest me.  I was completely shocked!  I was expecting a buffet line of bad things, but my body insisted on fruit smoothies and a lot of broccoli.  This is going on my list of one of the reasons I adore my body.

After two days I was up to my old tricks, and it feels like things have begun to balance out.  I feel like I over did it this weekend, but I stopped tracking at some point.  I went on a 10 minute run this weekend, which felt so amazing after so many weeks of "healing".  It feels nice to be back, and almost be 100%.

*Sappy, I know.  But I really believe shit like that.  I also think that everything happens for a reason.  Just call it my Bay Area Philosophy.  I also own Birkenstocks, eat organic and local produce, and love to compost.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Race, class, and size

Sorry y'all, yesterday's post wasn't very clear.  Here's what I mean to say:

I come from a heavy family.  Weight was one of the first issues I was aware of.  I learned to embrace my size, and not to trust people whose lives revolve around weight and how you look.  Fashion and size felt forbidden in my house, yet simultaneously obsessed over.  My mother has dealt with this problem by getting weight loss surgery.  I have dealt with it here, on this blog.

My father, while economically middle class, is a working class person at heart.  He makes fun of yoga and pilates, and any other typically middle or upper class calisthenics (or, come to think of it, lifestyle).  He has a gym membership, but only uses the pool.  He runs outside, and he thinks that outside is exactly where everyone's gym should be.  Not in a classroom bending in awkward positions.

While I'm VERY proud of the 55 pounds I've lost - and my family supports me in this effort to loose weight - I also feel shameful at being the person who goes to the gym before work.  But it's not only that.  In my (wonderful) pilates class yesterday, there was one African American and two Asian women in the class of about 25.  A ratio like that makes me feel uncomfortable.  I live in the very diverse city of San Francisco (our bus announcements come in THREE languages!), and I dislike it when that diversity is not reflected in the activities I do.  Which is ironic.  Most Jewish community events (my day job/life) deals mainly with a white, but internationally diverse, audience.  (There are many Jews of color, but they are not well integrated into the organized Jewish community).

Of course, this shame is something I simply must overcome.  And it's wonderful that I have the opportunity to overcome it with a series of exercises I am loving - pilates and yoga.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pilates, yoga, and class

I feel guilty for going to pilates and yoga.  I am afraid I'm turning into the fit yuppie who buys organic, fresh produce and wants to make the world better.  While none of those things are terrible in their own right, I am afraid of the class and size assumptions and stereotypes that go along with those things.  I live in a diverse world, and I don't want my getting fit experience to be with any less of a plurality.

Yet, I am becoming a fit yuppie who buys organic, fresh (and kosher) produce, and I want to make the world a better place.

Do any of you struggle with overcoming your fit stereotypes? 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


While shopping last week I was lamenting being between sizes - nothing fit!  The size 14s were simply falling off me.  It wasn't until I left the store did I realize that I had dropped a size.

I am now a size 12!

Being a size 12 means that there is quite a lot more opportunities when I'm out shopping.  I can shop in stores like Express, Victoria's Secret, H & M, and others without worrying.  Before, at a size 14, I couldn't always squeeze into everything.  And other places didn't carry the larger sizes.  It's so freeing to be able to go mall shopping.  It's such a new experience.  It's so much fun!

In celebration I - of course - went shopping.  Thrift Town had a good selection, and I got a skirt and jeans - both size 12!  I bought a dress from Zara's and a skirt from H & M.  And I of course needed new shoes to go along with all these great finds.

I don't have pics yet of me in the new clothing, but hopefully I'll be able to share them soon.  But here are my new pumps.  Aren't they amazing?  They're purple!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Weekly weigh in (171.8) and diet

Last week's weight: 171.0
This week's weight: 171.8
This week's weight lost: +.8
Total weight lost: 54.6

I was in the 160s last week, and I'm again 2 pounds away from that goal.  While frustrating, I feel less bothered by it than I would in other weeks.  I'm eager to again get on my goal line (I would need to be 170.0 today), but - I hate to admit this - I don't care.

I want to lose weight.  I want to be a smaller size.  I want to get to my goal weight.  But I'm also so tired of tracking my calories.  I'm tired of caring about weight loss.  I know that the only thing that keeps me on track is watching my calories, and I've been slacking on that.  I need to get re-motivated. 

The first two weeks after my injury, I was motivated because I knew I simply had to stay within my calorie budget to loose weight.  It was something new, but now I'm bored with being super vigilant.

So I need a change.

I think I want to go on a vegetable, fruit, and nut diet for a week.  A friend of mine is on a similar diet due to health reasons, but I think it would be a great opportunity to try something different and see what only eating the natural foods would feel like. 

I think I'm going to try this in two weeks.  This weekend is v day and I don't want to impose on my honey.  Next week is a major work event that will occupy my during lunch and dinner.  But the week following, I think I may try this. 

In the meantime, I've dropped a size and am now a size 12!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Epic Battle: Me vs Chinese Food

Yesterday was an epic battle of Margee vs. Food.  Margee has been winning the war this week, but yesterday's battle proved more difficult than expected.  The morning began normally, with Margee knocking out Sweet Cravings with Trader Joe's Maple and Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal, but as stress and hunger began to build, Tortilla took her down at 11 a.m.  Tortilla #2 and #3 joined in at 2pm, and by 3pm Food had made Margee feel powerless, and she simply sat out the rest of the day.  Two servings of Chinese food and brownies later, Margee retired from the ring exhausted and ready for tomorrow.

Yesterday sucked food wise and I'm afraid to get on the scale tomorrow.  I must admit I'm not going to log yesterday's horrendous eating because it'll simply make me feel terrible and there's nothing I can do at this point besides eat well today. 

Despite yesterday's horrednous eating, Wednesday marked the completion of my February goal!  For three straight days I ate within my calorie budget.  That's very exciting.  I wonder if I can eat another three days straight in my calorie budget.  I hope so!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I can't believe it!  I am under 170 pounds.  Just barely, weighing in this morning at 169.8, but still there!  I can barely get my head wrapped around the idea that I was in the 170s, much less that I'm now in the 160s!  I've never been below 185 before, and this feels great!  (Sorry for the excessive use of exclamation points, but I'm very excited.)

I've been noticing my body a lot lately.  It catches my eye whenever I'm in front of a mirror.  I notice the bone in my shoulders, the pronounced curve of my hips, the way I look taller.  It's fun having thighs that are straight, rather than being bunched and curved in awkward places because there's simply no where else to put the fat.  It's great to have only one chin, room in my pants, and feel amazing.  I am amazed at how far I've traveled, and excited about where I've yet to go. 

My top priority after I get my refund check is to move.  I want to live somewhere I can ride a bike to work.  I look forward to pedaling myself forward, literally and figuratively. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February Goals

I can't believe it's already February!  I'm still adjusting to the fact that it's no longer 2009!

Every new month is a time to evaluate my goals and progress.  By looking at a month at a time, it's much easier for me to see that I am losing weight, even if that particular week was a gain.  (Thankfully, not this week!)

I am right on track. I've never been right on track EVER before on my weight loss journey.  It feels amazing.  So my goals for February are simple: to stay on track!

February goals:
  1. (Continue to) Lose a pound a week.  That will put me at 167 on March 1st.  Wow!  At 171 this is a completely new weight for me, and I love being here.  I can't imagine what it'll feel like to be in the 160s!
  2. Eat more homemade foods.  I've been trying to eat less processed foods.  I've made tomato soup for this week's lunches, and last week was homemade butternut squash soup.  I would like to continue to eat non-Trader Joe's frozen foods for the rest of the month's lunches.
  3. Eat within my calorie limit.  This is always the hardest for me.  I would like to have one week - a whole seven days - where I stay in my calorie range.  I think that's too big of a goal for me at this point, though.  So my February goal is to have three consecutive days where I eat within my calorie range. 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Weekly weigh in (171.0)

Last week's weight: 174.4
This week's weight: 171.0
This week's weight lost: -3.4
Total weight lost: 55.0

I didn't really lose 3 pounds in a week.  My weight has been fluctuating rather radically the past two weeks. I am definitely somewhere between 171 and 174, but I'm not sure exactly where along that spectrum I really weigh in.  I'm only going to be confident in the weight loss if I have a similar weigh in tomorrow.

At 171 I am exactly "on goal" for the year, which is exciting.  I have been significantly less hungry because I can't work out right now, so eating 1200 calories a day has been very filling.  Which is super unexpected.  It seems that being injured is not all bad, and it's showing me that there are many different way to weight loss.
Chart titled, Weigh yourselfd