Thursday, February 28, 2008

Photo Lineup

Ah, the inevitable before, during, and after pictures. I will update this when capriciousness strikes me.

31 October 2008: Bedroom
I'm weighing in at 189-190 around this time. The dress is vintage, and weirdly sized. It's marked as a 20 1/2, but I have no idea how that would translate into today's sizing. For reference, I wore size 14 jeans and an XL top. The dress puckered some around the waist (the dress's waist much much higher than my natural waist) and breasts, but a month before, I hadn't been able to button it at all. And in case you're wondering why I'm taking photos of myself on Halloween wearing a vintage dress and Victory Rolls (the hair), I was going to a party, dressed as a 40's girl. Some said I look like Flannery O'Connor, and since this was a party of English grad students, we went with that.

1 March 2008: Riverbanks Botanical Gardens, Cola, SC.
I'm around 197-199 for this picture (Oh the wonders of a better bra!). The jeans are a 16, but a disastrously worn pair of 16s. XL shirt, $5.93 clearance earrings. Later that day, I'd shop sale at GAP and find that an XL button-up cotton top didn't pucker across the breasts and belly as it usually does. Noticing: less turkey-chin, increased fitness (no shmuck-tram to the gardens for me!), no lesser desire to pack 4 outfits for an overnight stay in Cola.

Thanksgiving Weekend, 2007
This is me. And the Geek Squad Boyfriend And no, he has not just returned from a door to door recruitment effort on behalf of the Mormons. That is the Geek Squad Uniform (note abundance of pens in pocket). I'm at my heaviest weight here, between 211 and 214 (depending on whether I go by the reading at my doctor's office or at my home). This is also one of the pictures that spurred me to get on track in mid-January, 2008. And to buy new bras.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Thank you, Mike!

One of the perks my gym reeled me in with was the free fitness assessments they provide. I had mine today (with, yet again, another ridiculously cute gym guy...what's up with those?) In the test, my body fat % was measured, along with my flexibility, heart rate, stamina, and strength. I thought I would be really embarrassed by my results for these tests, but Mike (oh, Mike!) was the nicest guy. He was really encouraging, and when I told him what I've been doing for the past month and a half, he was surprised and impressed that I knew what I was doing. Apparently, people that come through the gym trying to lose weight are starving themselves and doing light exercise once a week and expecting the pounds to come off.

But enough of everyone else, my scores... My body fat composition was, of course, rated "poor" (the scale goes from Poor to Very Good) but I'm only a few points away from the next bracket up, so if I lose a couple of inches or so, I'll be better with that rating. My heart rate was average, stamina good, and flexibility Very Good! I wanted a gold star for that one (Yay yoga!!). My strength test was a little pathetic, so he encouraged me to step up my game on the strength training front.

I'm to stay on track, and see him again in three months. Oh Mike, how do I count the days...

Hold On, and Let Me Check My Schedule

Does anyone else ever feel that weight loss and fitness crowd out everything else in life? Simply, there aren't enough hours in the day. Maybe I'm just feeling the mid-semester crunch, but I'm ready to punch someone in the nose (if I punched several people, could I count it as a workout?). I had a midterm yesterday that covered Anglo-Saxon literature from Beowulf, through Benedictine reform, and up through Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. I have a history test today on the beginning invasions of World War I. I have a play I need to finish writing before the auditions start (cutting it close, are we?). The thesis I'm supposed to be finishing? Haven't touched it. I haven't swept my floors in 2 weeks. I'm running out of things to cook. I show up at work and my desk is absolutely covered with things that no longer fit in my task box. My friends are beginning to file missing persons reports on me, and I think my boyfriend wonders if I've taken vows of celibacy.

I didn't think I would ever need to schedule out every hour of my day, but it's getting to that point.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I have found the one thing that is more annoying than trying to lose 50 pounds, and it is this: letting your eyebrows grow back in.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Beginning Week Six

I almost forgot to step on the scale this morning...because I knew I was getting to go to my new gym. I think that's probably a good attitude adjustment.

I only lost a fifth of a pound this week, and I promise, I've put away all the leftover Valentine's Day candy. And I will get back to cooking dinners instead of snacking for supper.

Elliptical training is getting easier and easier. I did the weight loss program on the elliptical this morning, and while it was hard, my heart rate didn't go above 171 (it averaged around 163)--I consider this pretty awesome, as the resistance and incline was intermittent, and even on the low setting, higher than I've ever set it, and my heart rate usually peaks at 185 (yes, I am grossly out of shape).

Other perks of this gym? The ridiculously cute front desk guy. And my new green gym bag. And the old ladies there that positively kick my ass in endurance AND speed.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I be up in the gym just working on my fitness (he's my witness)

It was always the plan to join a real gym once I graduated and the free use of the school's gym expired with my degree. But when my boyfriend and I met with a couple we're friends with for lunch today, and they waxed poetic about the beauty of their gym, and then offered to get us a guest pass for free so we could take a look around and try out all the equipment, we couldn't pass that opportunity up. And when we go there, well, we'll be joining a new gym on Friday.

I feel kind of guilty for paying for a gym when there's a free one at my disposal, especially since I'm supposed to be amassing grad school funds, but at the same time, if having a membership with a gym that offers a fitness checkup (free!) every six months, constantly updated and accessible charts tracking your progress, free classes as varied at Tai Chi, Body Pump, Water Aerobics and dance lessons, and sectioned off areas for those "self-conscious" exercisers, then it's a price I'm probably willing to pay in order to get myself healthy.

I've been eating kind of cruddily lately--I'm stressed out and constantly busy with school--and I've been feeling it. I did elliptical training for the first time tonight in probably a week and a half, and I didn't feel it as much as I thought I would. I think having to read the captions to the O'Reilly factor annoyed me to the point of being able to ignore the burning in my quads. Taking the new gym for a test drive tonight invigorated me to get back on track. I'm so excited to start a more comprehensive and total-body workout plan. In addition to the fitness checkup I'll get when I start, a trainer will show me the finer points of all the gear, and help me plan what I need to do to be satisfied with my workouts. I'll be trying a spinning class for the first time (and I'm so stoked about this!!); I want to start swimming (which should be interesting, as I have no idea where my swimsuit is, or even if I'd be comfortable working out in it). The couple we met for lunch told us about their favorite class-Body Pumping-I'd never heard of it, but they LOVE it, so I'm really excited to try it.

And one of the best things? It doesn't look like a gym. It's not a big open box with machines crammed together. Machines are sectioned off and spread apart, so if bimbos march in, I can distance myself from them lest I be tempted to throw my sweaty towel at them. The walls literally look like Dr. Seuss illustrations--walls are curved, the hallways twist around, every four feet or so is painted a different color--it's really quite postmodern. And perhaps on of the most awesome things? It's located smack in the middle of Broad Street, the center of our downtown, and where the boyfriend and I like to spend a lot of our time. Directly across the street is our favorite bars and restaurants, it's a quick walk to our Riverwalk and to a library. Now if only we could sprig for a loft with swanky furniture, we'd be set.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I'm a Maneater, Apparently.

I am, admittedly, a dork. I've actually grown to be proud of this. Unless something goes horribly wrong, I will graduate cum laude (one-hundredth of a point away from magna cum laude, I shit you not), I'm in foreign language societies and literature societies and in the honors student association. My idea of a date is playing Scrabble on the floor. I have more books than I've shoes, clothes, and panties combined. I am not, then, the kind of woman that displays any kind of prowess on the dance floor, much less in her own apartment, which is why my boyfriend laughed when I told him I wanted to belly dance. I called him while he was at work, at Best Buy (He's a Geek Squad Agent--and the dorkfest continues...) and told him of this sudden impulse for sexiness. When he realized I was serious and was able to contain his snickers, he told me to come on up to the store and we'd look at what they had (I'm not too sure why he needed to look with me, but I think he just wanted to see if I was serious or not). So I got there, armed with resolve and marching in flip-flops. He showed me the fitness DVD section and we searched for belly dance. And searched. And searched some more. We saw none. And that's when my boyfriend pointed out Carmen Electra's Aerobic Striptease DVD collection.

Yes. Collection.

5 DVDs of Striptease and Smut. Which, of course, I purchased posthaste I drove home immediately to learn my new skill. But which should it be, which DVD should I try first? Aerobic Striptease? Fit to Strip? Would I be brave enough to try Advanced Aerobic Striptease? Or should I jump straight to The Lap Dance? Maybe as a cool-down, I could work on Hip-Hop.

I was unsurprising and started with Disc 1: Aerobic Striptease. And while my new friend Carmen is as giggly and superficial as her boobs are perky and manufactured, she's hot. And she knows how to be hot, dance hot, and, well, striptease in a fashion that is, of course, hot. I'm not as flexible as Carmen Electra, nor can I be as seductive as Carmen Electra, but I don't actually intend to become a stripper. And when I showed my Geek-Squad boyfriend a taste of my new bedroom talents, well, he was glad Carmen Electra is out there to share her gifts.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


I'm starting Week 5 with a goal met (I suppose I should recreate my goal box in the right hand navigation bar...). I've lost 11.2 pounds, which a pound above 5% of my original body weight gone! I'm already seeing most of the benefits of losing 10%, but I'm mostly excited about meeting my first goal so I can buy the Juno soundtrack. I'm really surprised I lost this week, especially after the pigout I had on V-Day (Conversation Hearts here I come!) but hey, no complaints! The weight loss and excercise is really showing on my body, too--I've lost an inch on my waist as well as my hips! I'm totally doing a victory dance now...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Some days, it's be easier to revert to being a blimp. Being a blimp was comfortable, until I got around skinny people, that is. Being a blimp meant no thoughts to calories and carbs and weight watchers points and getting to the gym at least three times a week. Being a blimp meant that I could've eaten that HUGE homemade Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Frosting and Chocolaty Chips.

Yes, that is how my day started. Homemade baked goods on my desk at work, for no other reason than I'm apparently nice. Tell that to my still-filling-out-the-fat-pants-quite-nicely ass. And because I am a wuss, and because it was 9 a.m. and my office smelled like cinnamon roll, I ate about 1/8th of it, which, coincidentally, was about an 8th of my caloric intake for the day. I have a hard time getting rid of those lingering cravings for sugar-induced comas. They're remarkably like bad boyfriends.

My mindset has been off since Friday, despite my weekend pep talks. My brain just isn't cooperating. I skipped a class today in order to catch up on some reading (I know, right?) and ended up passing out, drooling on my Angl0-Saxon lit anthology, and probably snoring in the study room. I snacked on fruit all afternoon, and had a low-point sandwich for lunch. Not too bad, there, but once I headed to the gym for the first time since last Thursday, my pudgy booty reminded me how painfully out of shape I am by prodding me to give up just 10 minutes into my elliptical run. I made it to 25, which is okay, but not in comparison to the 45 I've been working myself up to.

I went to a brazenly brassy performance of The Taming of the Shrew on campus tonight, which was funny, but 3-1/2 hours long with no intermission. Again, my fat ass reminded me I was uncomfortable, and somehow, this translated to "Feed Me, Yours Eternally--Love Handles." I'm going to be smelling Chic-fil-A and waffle fries for days.

I'm dreading that scale reading on Saturday morning (Damn it! I was so close to trading 11 pounds for the Juno soundtrack! Curse ye, again, mental hunger pains!) but I know I'm going to have to suck it up and step on it. Last week was so good! Why does my plan have to suddenly sit around in his underwear leaving cookie packages on the coffee table?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sunny Sides of Streets

Okay, I read over my last post and realized I'm a bit of a grumpus. I tend to let the bad decisions I make take over all the good I've done.

I've lost 9 pounds in three weeks. I've stuck to my cardio plan (30 mins/3 days a week) and even done more--I do yoga every Monday and Wednesday, and sometimes during the weekend, and this past week I hit the gym a time or two extra. I've lost about an inch on my waist, and my skinny bitch jeans aren't so tight anymore. They're still not comfortable, but those 14s are there, waiting on me. I can get them on if my fat pants (which are now my everyday pants) are dirty. I write in my Lil' Fattie every day, and I post my food and exercise in SparkPeople every day as well. My energy is up, my sex drive is catching up with my boyfriend's (which he appreciates, of course). I eat fruits and lo-cal snacks now. I cook with lots of vegetables and less frozen, ready-to-eat meals.

And asides from all the tangible kinds of markers of improved health, there's more: I feel better. I'm less tired at the end of the day, I'm happier, I have a more positive attitude towards myself and my life, I laugh more, I have tons more energy--so much more, that my boss notices, I whistle while I work (literally, unfortunately), and I can have a full schedule without feeling completely overwhelmed. I'm handling my stress better.

So take that, negative subconscious. I can kick your ass any day.

Plus, I think my blog looks swanky with the new design.

Week... 4, Now?

So what am I starting now, Week 3, 4? How many days does it take to form a habit? 21, 30? Whatever. Clearly, looking back on this past week's food/exercise log, I need some habit-forming help. I haven't had what you'd call a complete SNAFU, but it could have gotten there incredibly easily.

In recap: On Super Tuesday (c'mon Obama!), my boyfriend took me to see Juno, AGAIN (yes, it's that awesome) to prevent me from clicking "reload" on all the election analysis pages I was staring at. I couldn't resist a box of Reese's Pieces, which was really dumb of me, because I've craved them every day since. We've eaten out a lot this week, and while I've stayed within points, the food I've eaten has not been the healthiest. HealhiER, yes, but not the kinds of healthy I've needed and wanted. I'm on my period (again, you say? Take birth control regularly, I say) so I've been hungry all week--for some reason, every time I have a cycle, food that would have been more than enough for the previous week feels like nothing in my stomach during this week. I'm literally hungry--stomach churning hungry--all the time. I had another "Friday Night Letdown" last night, but it wasn't a tragedy.

Lent has started, and ironically, that means I'll be subjected to more unhealthy foods than before. I work at a church, and every Friday during Lent, the church hosts a "Lenten Lunch Hour"--people come, listen to a meditation, and then are served a free light lunch. As administrative assistant, I'm expected to attend lunch (little old ladies are the LAST people on earth you want to piss off, with the exception of church event coordinators). And since the different Sunday School classes host the lunches, the lunches aren't so much light as they are competitive. And luckily (unfortunately?) for me, there are several caterers that help prepare the lunches, so for 6 weeks, on Fridays, I'm fed like a king. I'm going to really have to cut back on breakfast and lunch just so I can eat moderate portions of what they'll serve on Fridays. And yes, I've thought about excusing myself from these lunches, or eating a different lunch with them, but I don't want to tell everyone about my trying to lose weight and be healthy--not that they won't support me, but that they will. I don't want to be encouraged to death. Plus, these are sweet little old ladies, and they'll tell me 1) that I don't need to lose weight, and 2) If I am, I should do what they do. And while the Fridays until Easter will be harder for me to stay on track, I think in some cases, its worth it. The hosts really get great satisfaction seeing people enjoy their meal each week, and I smile deep inside to give them compliments. So I'll eat small portions, count points like a madman, and enjoy hearing about someone's grandson's wife dental issues.

Anyway, the positive: I've exercised several times this week- 4 days a week, and twice on one of those days. And while I didn't count my attempts at jump roping yesterday as exercise, I did spend 15 or 20 minutes or so really trying to figure out the dynamics of my rope and I. I've gotten at least 8 glasses of water in every day. And now that I'm starting Week 4 (yes, 4) of this big shenanigan, I feel like I'm going to make it. I'm focusing more and more on what's healthy and satisfying rather than what's point effective, and I'm more and more excited about working out. Plus, I'm down to 202 now, which means only 2 more pounds until I can treat myself to the Juno soundtrack. Moldy Peaches, anyone?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Cinderella, Dressed in Yella

I've forgotten how to jump rope. I'm genuinely saddened by this realization, as I thought jump-roping was supposed to be like, oh, you know, riding a bike. But I bet I've even forgotten how to do that.

I wanted to find a way to work a spot of cardio in every day, without having to run every day at the gym. Every time I go to the gym, I end up spending at least 45 minutes there, and some days I just don't have that kind of time. Three days out of the week, I'm stuck at work until 5, hours past when everyone else leaves for the day, so I wanted to utilize the time I usually spend staring at facebook to get a bit of movement in. So I asked my self, "Self? What's something that's portable, quick to get my heart rate up, and fun?"

I was skipping for a while, through the church hallways where I work. The church is centered around a garden-courtyard, with the four equal-length hallways making a big, cinderblock-enclosed square. Skipping was fun, but it presented a problem when the phone rang and I couldn't hear it on account of my tripping over myself. So I bought a jump rope.

Problems with said jump rope: I forgot how to do it. I spent every recess hour for YEARS jump roping. When a competitive jump rope team performed for my school, I vowed I would one day be the captain of such a team. Maybe I'm just old and fat now, but I can't seem to get my feet off the ground at the same time. And my hair gets in the way now. It was longer when I was 8, so I must have had a trick to getting it to stay out of the way of the rope. I was once able to do awesome rope swinging tricks, and now, I'm a double-jumping newbie. Along with forgetting how to jump rope, I forgot that the vinyl kind was ALWAYS the last rope picked by jumpers. ALWAYS. Vinyl stings like a bitch. Thankfully I can wear jeans to work, and they both hide and reduce the appearance that I'm a 22 year old being spanked with a whip....on the calves. I've also forgotten the trick to getting the rope to spin evenly in the handles.

Probably the worst thing about forgetting the best of childhood pastimes (maybe with the exception of 4-square), though, is forgetting all the jump rope rhymes. I remember only the beginning to "Cinderella, Dressed in Yella" ("went downstairs to kiss a fella, made a mistake..."). Then there was the alphabet one. Something with food? Names? There used to be one about grades. With that one, I always went waaaay past graduation and into grades 57, at least.

The realization that I've forgotten all the jump rope rhymes prompted my realization that I've forgotten all the hand clapping songs, too. "Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack..." That's all I've got. "Miss Mary had a baby, she named him Tiny Tim, she put him in the bathtub to see if he could swim, he drank up all the water, he ate up all the soap...." what is that last phrase? And then there was the one that had the line about leaving your bra in your boyfriend's car.... I don't think I even knew what one would be doing with her bra off in her boyfriend's car, but I remember being appalled that my mother was so abashed she wanted me to change the word "bra" to "wallet." C'mon mom, like that even fits.

And in case anyone was wondering, sites that give jump roping tutorials totally do exist. See, told you.

Monday, February 4, 2008

I'm a Survivor

I know everyone has those days when they think that losing weight and getting fit is impossible. I hate those days. I really hate those days when I've done everything I'm supposed to do, and it's only my insecurities that make me feel that way. I've never been a skinny girl, and I've harbored an unspoken hatred for those that are ever since I was old enough to consider body image (that is, the most hated year of public education--6th grade).

I rarely go to the gym before 9 p.m. Tonight, for some reason, I decided to go an entire hour early. An hour. 60 minutes of marked standard time. You wouldn't think the spanse of a decent primetime tv show could make that much difference in the use of a college gym that is usually unoccupied. But whereas at 9 p.m., the gym hosts only the few frat boys trying to bulk up their keg stand arms, at 8 p.m., the gym is full of skinny bitches that obviously don't need to be busting their ass at the gym. And no, these are not the girls like me, who have struggled with their weight all of their lives and have gotten it under control. These are not the girls who are struggling to walk up three flights of stairs without getting winded, and these are most certainly not the girls who even think what goes in their mouths (read that last clause as you will...). These are the girls who, by some unfair gift of the universe that apparently worships perky tits, have never and probably will never need to worry about their weight. These are the girls who while on the treadmill, use the mirrored wall to ogle the frat boys bulking up their biceps.

In order to make it through this night, I had to remind myself of the SlackMistress' approach to obnoxious people in the gym--I had to pretend I was going to make it to the bunker protecting me from the zombies before they did. And because I'm approximately double these girls' size (I think my boobs weigh more than their brains combined) I imagined it a race of endurance. And I won. At the end of the race, I'm sweating buckets, I stink like a boy, and my face matches my horrible red mesh shorts bought on sale at a discount store, but I won, dammit, and I get first dibs on the MREs. The skinny bitches on the other hand, are wearing $45 running shorts, t-shirts that are obviously bought for the express purpose of working out, and they're not even breathing hard. One girl was apparently so unphased by her use of the elliptical that she shook her freshly washed hair out of an ouchless ponytail holder. Seriously. She shook it better than a Pantene model. Another particularly skittish group of girls flitted from machine group to machine group, obviously searching for the better angle to view the frat-boys. They giggled. Giggled, I tell you. Who the hell giggles on a step-machine?

Keep faith, Ashley, when the zombies attack, those who giggle and model their hair will be eaten, and those who bust tail on the treadmill will be forced to reproduce with Neruda-quoting bodybuilders.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Week 2 Weigh-In

I'm at 203.6. That's only a pound-four lost for the week, but I'm okay with that. I've been getting my cardio in, and eating well, and it's a total of 7.4 pounds--just a little more till I reach that first bag of potatoes (I will sometimes refer to the weight I lose as bags of potatoes or slabs of steak--imagining holding a bag of idaho russets up to my belly seems more real to me than seeing -10 pounds on a chart).

Week 2 has been harder though, not because of the food and counting points and exercising, but because of my attitude. I just haven't felt like it. Work has been insane, school is picking up, I've been on the rag, and the last place I want to be is the gym Coincidentally, probably the best I've felt all week is after my workout. Go figure. This week has left me fatigued-I felt like I couldn't keep up with all the stress and deadlines, so although I still ate well, and stayed on target with my goals (except 8 glasses of water a day, I hit that only 3 times, the rest I made it to 6 and was tired of peeing) weight loss was just not something I wanted to think about. But obviously, I did handle the stress, I made my deadlines, and I lost almost 2 pounds, even with Aunt Flo in town.

Know what kept me on track with my diet? Reading everyone's blogs and SparkPeople message boards. Hearing people laugh about their own mistakes and being able to give some advice to others was fun, and if only for a little while, it relieved some of the focus on how crappy I was feeling and put it on something else.

Also, I found a hilarious blog about working out- The Post-Apocalyptic Workout. Huh? She works out because she wants "to become a useful member of society in case of natural disaster, nuclear fallout, terrorist attacks or a zombie revolution," which, in my opinion, is one of the best reasons I have to workout. I need to beat someone I hate from high school to the bunker in case all the most attractive and strongest people are forced to reproduce.