Friday, February 29, 2008

Staying strong

I did go and make myself a 100-cal bag of popcorn yesterday afternoon. I was just TOO hungry and the smell really made me unable to concentrate on work. Plus I realized I was PMS-y (due today) and I always need a little more food at that time of the month. I enjoyed the popcorn and made up for the calories by not putting protein on my dinner salad last night so it all evened out. This is how I used to do food: if I "splurged" on something unplanned during the day (or week), I would "pay myself back" by exercising more or not eating something else later in the day (or week). Balance.

(I found out that the person who made the popcorn was actually my assistant and it was a 100-cal bag of her own. She was feeling abnormally hungry yesterday too.)

Today the scale is down just one pound. I knew that I wouldn't continue to lose like last week even though I have totally maintained The Drastic...drastically. Some weeks will be better than others (and PMS week/day is always a little bloaty). But I need to keep reminding myself of this in order to stay strong with The Drastic.

I am happy to see the scale going down two weeks in a row (it's been a long time since I saw that). I also am feeling much better in my body. Last night in yoga, I even managed to swing my leg through into lunge much better than I have the past 6 weeks (hello, returning core strength!). Plus I notice my arms are getting stronger again, but...

It's really challenging for me to get on the mat...every time. I have to fight my disappointment in myself that I haven't maintained the yoga fitness that I once had. I have to fight my sorrow (and, no, that's not too strong a word) that there are some things that I used to do that I might never be able to do again. I miss them. I have to try to appreciate the way my current physical challenges have brought my body back to the place where I HAVE to be with "beginner's mind" (since, in some ways, I have "beginner's body"), but with the actual mind of a person who has been a serious yogini for nearly 10 years. I was almost in tears last night a few feels so "home" to me and because there are things my body just can't do right now (for example, my teacher kept saying "pull up your kneecap"...well, I used to be able to to that, but I CAN'T...I think it, I want to do it, but I just can't locate the muscles!) I feel a little homesick.

Last night I was talking with my teacher about this. She has been encouraging me to go back to a studio and take some classes so I'm getting yoga more than once a week. Another friend said something similar to me last week. So I have been thinking seriously about it. Yoga is much "harder" physically than going to the gym. My body, mind and spirit all get more out of it and it is more challenging. But, for some reason, (and I may be wrong) I really think I need the gym to lose the weight. Maybe it's because that's how I did it last time. Maybe I don't really need that. But I am going to stick with it through at least the months of The Drastic.

In the meantime, I do love seeing the progress in my practice even just from doing asana once a week. And there is no denying how much better my body feels. So I am listening to my teachers who are encouraging me to fit in another class every once in a while at least. And some weeks maybe I'll do a few classes and a few gym visits. The peace I feel when I hit the mat and after is addictive.

I'm also researching to try to settle on a studio which can be my "home" once I get back to full-time yoga. None of the ones in my area are the perfect blend that I had at my old (1999-2004) place. But yesterday I came to terms with trying the closest one to our house...again. It's very trendy which I hate, but the classes are at times that are really convenient for me. And one of my friends goes there and loves it so maybe I can go with her and find the connection that I've never found when I have gone there in the past. I'm very hopeful.

I also have tried to find some Iyengar classes that I can do (great for injuries/alignment) -- both I and my current teacher think this would be good for me. Unfortunately, in my area, they are hard to find and ones that are convenient with my schedule and locations are nearly impossible to find. I do hope to be able to work some in when I get back in a regular yoga routine.

So, anyway, this post is about staying strong. Staying strong with The Drastic eating plan even on weeks where I lose only one pound. Staying strong in my commitment to exercise. Staying strong in my commitment to return HOME to yoga even when it pulls out deep feelings of sadness, frustration and fear. All this WILL make me stronger in body, mind and spirit. I know it.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

AAAACCCK Popcorn!!!!

I smell it. It's leaking in. Someone in my office has just made popcorn...and it WOULD be on the day when, for the first time since I started The Drastic, I am feeling a little peckish at my usual time in the afternoon (4ish). This is DANGER time. I used to always have a smoke at 4 too. DANGER.

The popcorn smell is making me hungrier. Now, I don't think I'm really hungry right now...if I were, I would have grabbed one of the healthy snacks that I have here for just this kind of emergency. But I didn't want that until I smelled the Devil Popcorn. So I don't think I REALLY want that.

Popcorn isn't really a is allowed actually...if I NEED it and in the right portions. But this Devil Popcorn is, I'm sure, too much and too fatty.

I must resist.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cucumbers (and other veggies as snacks)

Bringing this out of comments from yesterday: big props to Vickie for reminding me about the wonder of cucumbers!!

I am LOVING them as a chip or cracker substitute. I'm a snacker and a dipper. I use these to dip in fat free cottage cheese, salsa, red pepper/artichoke tapanade (my new fat-free, lo-cal fave from Trader Joes), etc. etc. I think I'm saving hundreds or millions of calories this way!! And I do not miss the chip or cracker which, to me, is usually just a means to get the dip to my mouth. ;-) Yum yum.

I'm also going to try roasted zucchini for this.

And my always favorite snack: artichokes.

These are the ways I'm currently avoiding the "bad" snacks.

Still no effect from stopping aspartame. And I'm also still not feeling very peppy when I wake up in the morning...I thought that would be better after laying off the booze. :-(

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Starting to really be aware of the body again

Awareness is something that I learned a lot about in yoga. And it's something that I'm starting to realize I've lost a little bit of touch with over the past years. The past few days I have been feeling much better in my body than I have in a long time. Part of this is actually FEELing hungry, FEELing sore, FEELing sated. It feels GOOD...even the less pleasant feelings feel AWARE. I've been drowning this awareness feeling...with food, alcohol, the endorphins of falling in love, the stress of work/life/surgeries/body challenges. I have been giving lip service to a lot of things while DOING them half-heartedly. I am really trying now to DO it.

The hunger feelings are a challenge...I am slightly hypoglycemic so hunger can quickly turn into sick feeling and I have to balance how the hunger feels kind of good with letting it get too far out of hand so I overeat. I have to always be aware of where there is "safe" food before I get in trouble. And I'm having to plan ahead -- this Friday I'll be going up to DB's daughter's to help the night before the sale and I know how food is in their house: not good. I'll need to eat before I go and take some of MY food with me for the next day.

Last weekend was nuts. I did as promised on Friday night: ate very little, but drank WAY too much. I had to wake up to leave for a bar mitzvah at 8:30 on Saturday and I literally was still drunk when I woke up. :-( Luckily the friend going with me did the driving as I sobered up over the morning. I don't remember feeling that BAD from drinking in a very very long time. While it's embarrassing to have overdone like that, the good part of this is that I have NO desire to drink again until May when we're in Mexico.

After the bar mitzvah (my first orthodox one and only my third one ever -- in this one, the men and women are separated by a wall!), I had to go get a haircut, pick up my tax returns and then hit the gym to sweat out the remaining alcoholic toxins. When I got home, I cleaned out a couple of closets and boxes that were unpacked since we moved to get stuff ready for the rummage sale. Then I had a salad for dinner and went to bed with a movie (DB is in Nearby Town this week).

I slept almost 12 hours on Saturday night as my body healed from the abuse. Got up and went to yoga on Sunday morning, then packed up things to take up to Daughter's house for the sale (it's about a 50 minute drive away). My teeny car was full! When I got there, I took Princess out shopping for a few hours, then dropped her off and home to watch the Oscars. After having an Oscar party for literally over 20 years, the past few years I have actually watched with few to no people. This year it was NO people, but I had some Chinese take-out and worked around the house while I watched. I thought it was a pretty good show -- I haven't really seen enough of the movies to judge whether the right people won, but I did see and love La Vie En Rose so was very happy for Marion Cotillard (even though I also loved Julie Christie in Away from Her). I also ALWAYS love Daniel Day-Lewis so am sure he deserved it even though I haven't seen that flick yet. I've got them all on my Netflix queue... ;-) Another movie tip: saw Waitress last night and LOVED it. Quirky and sweet and DIFFERENT. I love that.

I've got a lot of things rolling around in my head these past days, but am so busy at work that I've got no time to get them into coherent form to type here, but here is one thing: I have NOT been feeling oh-so-much-better in the mornings since stopping drinking. DB has been on me about aspartame and has been sending me a lot of links about it. Do any of you have experience with this causing weight gain, joint pain, headaches? It sure would explain A LOT for me. I bought a bunch of lemons and limes last night and am going off the aspartame in my canned diet lemonade for a few days to see if that helps...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Update on The Drastic

Unsurprisingly, the scale is down today quite a lot despite the Krazy Kiddie Food Fiesta last Sunday/Monday. I guess The Drastic works. At least so far...

Let me describe what The Drastic consists of for me. For some other people, this might not seem all that drastic, but I have never -- including when I was losing The Big Weight -- been a "deprive myself" kind of person. That does not and never will work for me at all for any length of time and, when it comes to watching my weight, we're looking at something I can cope with for a LIFEtime.

During the week, my routine is easy to set and maintain: for breakfast I eat one piece of dry toast, one hard-boiled egg and one egg white (my doctor told me long ago that protein was super-important for breakfast and I've had most success when I stick with that); for lunch I eat some kind of frozen meal (low fat, low cal, never more then 400 cal MAX); and for dinner I have a big salad with some low fat dressing and some protein and, often, a 60 cal. popsicle from Trader Joes. NO booze. I am hanging on to my diet lemonade in a turns out I really just like to DRINK...doesn't have to be booze...I'm happy with my lemonade and the last two nights I've been squeezing a little fresh lemon juice into glasses of water for the last hour before I go to bed. I'm definitely getting enough hydration now! :-)

I go to the gym on Tuesday and Thursday nights. If, for some reason, I can't go on one of those nights, I definitely make it up on another night in the same week.

Weekends will be different...if I get up late, I may do just two meals in the day. I may go to Taco Bell (they have low fat options and I have them make my stuff special with no cheese or other fatty stuff). I will eat out more, but I will eat healthy and...NO booze. I also exercise both days on the weekend: yoga one day, gym the other.

Having these simple rules feels good and natural: I ate pretty much this way (wasn't as strict with booze) for over 10 years and maintained my loss of The Big Weight (give or take 10 pounds). I think if I really can do as I plan over the next three months that I will make good progress. And I feel very very committed...whenever I look at the chips in our pantry, I just think of that bathing suit in Mexico! ;-)

So, what happens after the three months? Well, I'm sure I'll be a cheap date when we get to Mexico for one thing! ;-) Seriously...when we get back, I will keep this up until I am at a weight where I am comfortable. I'm not sure right now what that is, but I will know. I've done this before and have learned a lot during that and since then. I have realized the past few days that what I have been doing the past year and a half when I've given lip service to losing weight is MAINTAINING. I have been up 10 (or even 15) and down again, but I have been in that same range. This is fine when you are at range where you are comfy. I AM NOT. So I have to do The Drastic in order to lose weight to get to that range and then I can have a treat from time-to-time...but NOT every day. Hello Self, I hope you hear what I just wrote!!!!

In other news of cleaning out: one of DB's daughter's has a friend whose 2-year-old has just been diagnosed with leukemia. While they have insurance, they don't have the money to make the co-pays (the nightmare of the U.S. health insurance system). They have already lost their apartment and have had to move in with a grandparent. Heartbreaking. The friends of the family are planning a huge rummage sale next Saturday to raise funds for the family. DB's daughter has been ALL OVER this...I am so proud of her...they have gotten a church for a venue for the sale, have gotten local press coverage, etc. I have been busily gathering stuff to take up and sell -- not just from our house, but I have all my friends and acquaintances on it too! I also have been taking my huge cd collection that I had been meaning to rip into iTunes and I've been doing it then putting stuff that I don't want anymore and that is worth $4 or more onto and selling it. All the money I'm collecting will go to the little boy's fund. I've already made about $75 and that feels GOOD. :-)

DB leaves for Nearby Town tomorrow for his week tending the parents. I have a million things to do: bar mitzvah early tomorrow morning, hair cut, pick up my tax returns from my tax attorney, gym, yoga, go to DB's daughter's with a load of stuff for the sale, take DB's daughter and granddaughter Princess out shopping for a few hours on Sunday, then THE OSCARS (no, I haven't seen as many as usual this year, but I still plan to win my office Oscar pool!). ;-)

Tonight we have a final birthday celebration and I will drink (last time until Mexico), but will eat moderately. We're going to our local sushi place (right behind our house) and I know their menu very well -- it's easy to eat healthy there. :-)

Onward with The Drastic!! :-)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Some thoughts on day two of Doing The Drastic

I was SO ready to do this. I feel kind of a sigh of relief to have some really strict "rules" in place in my head for the coming weeks. I know I can be strict with myself...I just have to set my mind to it and (while I know I've said this before and have not REALLY done it) I have set my mind this time.

Like when I quit smoking and settled into "smoking is not an option" as a mantra, there is a kind of weight off my shoulders when I don't have to worry about the eating or drinking anymore -- there is what I will and won't do and no middle least for a time. In a way, this opens up so many more possibilities....

I know it will take a few weeks for this not-drinking, not-snacking to feel normal. And I'm under no illusion that it will be easy. But I am a person who likes knowing what's next: I know what I will eat for each meal of the day if not specifically then I know the parameters. I know what I WON'T eat or drink. I know what days I exercise and when. I know when I will be "allowed" to drink and have treats again (in fact, I will be allowed to drink this Friday ONLY...long-scheduled dinner with a bunch of friends). So this is a good thing for me.

Last night I got hungry about 10:30 and, rather than making some popcorn (a snack that IS allowed actually), I brushed my teeth and headed to bed with DB. We watched some Arrested Development (we love this show on DVD and are rationing our last few episodes that we have left) then went to sleep. And started today all over again.

If I keep this up and don't start losing substantially (I'll give it a month), I need to talk with my doctors about what is wrong with my metabolism. DB is so cute -- he's reading about metabolism and dieting and everything and sending me links today. If I didn't have his non-judgmental support in this, I would be in a bad way...and I know how lucky I am that I do...I am so sensitive about this that any stray remark could really HURT me. It's particularly great since he's never had to deal with a weight problem (he would say "until now") and doesn't know how truly awful the damage is that it does to your heart and mind.

Giving up the comforting foods and drinks strips away all the last stuff I use to anesthetize myself from feelings...I've been through this in therapy and I know this is what I do. It's not always fun, but it is ALWAYS educational and spirit-expanding when I let go of the anesthesia...even for a little while. :-)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Last Hurrah

If there was any question that I am an addict, this weekend surely proved was my "last hurrah" and I sure acted like it! While not diving into full-on "all fried food, all the time" territory, I definitely did not watch what went into my mouth. Well, that is not entirely true, I watched what went in...and in...and in...and in. In my experience, this is addictive many times when trying to quit smoking I would smoke like there was no tomorrow (which there allegedly wasn't for cigarettes) until I made myself SICK of them so I "wouldn't miss them" the next day and days after. Similar mental process going on here...and I identify that as the way an addict approaches her separation from her addictive substance.

I actually didn't drink as much as has been my norm lately, I don't think. But enough to be pretty DONE with that too.

Anytime I am tempted as the next days go by, I will have the vision of our beautiful straw-roofed cabana on the beach south of Cancun where we will be spending the last week of May...and will think of how awful I will feel when I see photos of me in a bathing suit during that wonderful vacation if my butt, thighs and tummy are as big then as now. There is no reason that I can't be very strict with myself for three months...that is not forever...just three short months. I CAN DO THIS.

DB is starting a 3-day jumpstart diet of his own today (or tomorrow). While I still do not see him as fat, he does and I support his desire to get rid of what makes him uncomfortable.

How do those of you who are parents do this? Being around "kid food" for two days over the weekend (we swapped houses with one of DB's daughters and kept 4 out of 5 of the grandkids for twenty-four hours) was a disaster for our digestive systems. And, P.S., how does anyone do that many kids at one time PERIOD?! While we had enormous fun and we love these kids more than words can say, DB and I were exhausted when we got home last night.

Today has started well: dry toast, one boiled egg and one egg white for breakfast with decaf coffee and green tea. This is only slightly less than what I've been eating for breakfast for several weeks (one piece of toast only and no butter). I have a business lunch, but will choose wisely at the restaurant. Gym tonight, then salad for dinner.

Grrrrr...I'm DOING this.

P.S. Is anyone else having trouble with spellcheck?
P.P.S. to Grumpy: yes, let's cut out the drinking together! My brother-in-law lost 10 pounds when he did that and he wasn't even overweight and didn't change anything else!
P.P.P.S. to Vickie: I used to be able to get that leg through fairly easily. No more. :-( But am working on not stressing about it, just getting it done in good time!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Time to get drastic

I guess not losing actually WAS gaining. Frankly, I did overdo this week on the booze and almonds. But truly not enough to warrant the gain I saw on my scale this morning. I now weigh more than when I started a year and a half ago. And that means what I'm doing is not working so it's time to get drastic.

Generally I'm exercising and eating as well as I did when I lost the Big Weight, but:

- That was over 10 years ago. I am older. Sadly, I guess I can't eat as much anymore.
- I drink more. NOT good. Time to stop.
- I don't smoke. Well, that's non-negotiable...I'm not going back to cigs just to lose weight!!

So, here's the deal...after this long weekend (when final Birthday Season celebrations are happening), and for the next three months until we go on vacation to Cancun (I am horrified of the thought of vacation photos of me in a bathing suit with my current body), I am going to:

- Stop drinking. Period. Empty calories.
- Stop all "cheats". No weeks where I have a few handfuls of almonds per day.
- Keep up the good exercising.

The possibility of the free-food-for-three-months infomercial is still apparently there -- my friend, the producer, says it may start as soon as in the next week. I am crossing my fingers because I need SOME kind of change to jumpstart myself. And, P.S., that means you all are on high alert: we will need people who need to lose at least 30 pounds, between the ages of 25 and 55 (I think) and who live in western L.A. county and we will need them fast. If anyone reading this is interested, please comment and I'll be sure to let you know when the time comes for auditions. And for those of you not in our area, please feel free to let friends and family who might qualify know...

I'm going to DO THIS, dammit. Grrrrrrr.

P.S. Our Valentine dinner was healthy AND yummy: broiled buffalo steaks (very low fat), Moroccan carrots from Moosewood low fat cookbook, DB made the salad (with a few "treat/cheats": gorgonzola and almonds), artichokes for appetizer. Possibly the creme brulee for dessert wasn't too great. ;-) But I did go to the gym before dinner like a good girl.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Not losing feels like gaining :-(

Vickie asked on my last post how my clothes feel...they feel the same. I have been wearing the same clothes for years and they fit similarly all the time. So this means that I've been about this size for YEARS. And, somehow, now I feel like I'm gaining weight because I'm not losing even though I'm eating and drinking similarly if not better and exercising more. It sucks. I'm starting to think it's my age...I mean, I watched Tina Turner on the Grammies the other night and even she is starting to show thickening around the belly (of course, she's 25 years older than me!). If only I could have her body... ;-)

And despite how unhappy I am in my body and with my lack of progress, I am not making any drastic changes to fix the problem. And I don't know why. I just don't seem to have the will power and I don't know where it's gone.

I still am eating healthy and exercising, of course...but I sure would like to see some progress...if for no other reason than to motivate me to keep it up...

And I'm feeling like one of those people who annoyed me on my quit smoking support website -- you know the ones: they are always "trying" to quit, but never manage to just DO it and while I was suffering through withdrawals I could picture them sitting there smoking their brains out while they posted. I feel like one of those people now... :-( ... but I'm not sitting here with food in my hand or mouth...I sorta feel like I should GET to eat if I'm not losing! :-(

Friday, February 8, 2008

I need to catch up here...

...but the Friday Weigh-In Day news is making me feel sad. :-( So I'll get it over with first. I am down about 1/2 pound from last Sunday when we were just back from vacation, but I gained over vacation. This really puzzles me since I was exercising a lot every day and not REALLY overeating too much. I really think I should have maintained. :-( And, while this has been birthday week and I have had a FEW treats, again, I think I should have at least maintained. I truly do not understand how I can be exercising so much more and not losing. It's depressing. I'm considering not weighing for a while, but that is a slippery slope (see below) that I don't want to get on again. I do not FEEL bigger at all and, in fact, feel somewhat smaller. I know that I am probably just gaining muscle, toning, etc., but that doesn't feel like enough to me. So I guess I just have to keep up my good exercising at the gym three times a week (I love having a tv in my elliptical at my new gym so much that I end up doing a lot more minutes than I normally would have in the past!) and my yoga on the weekend. I'll also keep up good eating and drinking habits. And, hopefully, SOMEDAY I'll see results. It's really hard to stay motivated though...

The week has been pretty quiet for a Birthday Week for me...DB is slowly getting better but he is still sick so I haven't had my usual playmate available to aid and abet my celebration of ME. ;-) We had a great take-out sushi dinner on my actual birthday (last Monday) and he was so sick that I got his leftovers for dinner on Tuesday. I got myself a small carrot cake from Trader Joes and we ate it over the week. I don't feel like I overdid on cake or other birthday treats.

Tuesday voting was stressful -- I feel like both Dem candidates are equal and I don't love either one (hope I will at some point) so it was a hard decision. After voting I went home instead of to the gym (I went on Wednesday to "make up") to watch returns. I'm fascinated by and passionate about politics...don't write much about it here, but I am!

Work has been nutty this week...I am literally behind closed doors in my office trying to get this done...stealing some time from clients that I should be working, but this is important TOO. :-)

Tonight I have a birthday dinner with a friend (DB will probably stay home -- he's got to get better because he has a big business trip back east starting on Sunday -- three cities in three days). The weekend looks pretty quiet except for gym, yoga and getting DB to the airport on Sunday morning. :-)

Birthday celebrations continue for at least the next two weeks... :-)

Monday, February 4, 2008


Just back to work today and no time to write much. DB is very sick so that means for a more subdued than normal celebration tonight...I'm planning to go get myself a cake and order sushi in. I love my birthday so it can't be bad... :-)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Skiing is a metaphor for life

While I ride the lifts and ski down, I think. And there is so much about the physical and mental challenge (for me) of skiing, that plays into LIFE. Here's a little something I commented on Vickie's blog a minute ago that I think is SO TRUE:

For anyone reading this who has lost a lot of weight and had that "I don't need the scale" thought...YES you do. I stopped weighing when I quit smoking because I HAD TO in order to keep my quit. But staying away from the scale for a too-long time (3 years) was what led to me gaining back (not all, thank goodness, but enough). For me, from now on, I know I can't stray far from the scale. 10 pounds was not a catastrophe (although it felt like it) when I was quitting smoking. 20-30 is the slippery slope (my skiing metaphor since that's where I am today)...and a slippery slope is fine if you have CONTROL, but not fine if you don' end up in a deep snow bank and that is hard to get out of!!!