Monday, September 29, 2008

What a Wonderful Weekend

It was so wonderful I gained almost 4 pounds! But I'm really not complaining. I met Dustin in Birmingham for the weekend (our halfway point), and since I probably won't get to see him again until Thanksgiving, it was totally worth it. While there, we "stopped by" an Old Navy (we were there for several hours, as it was a HUGE Old Navy, and had TONS of clothes for me to try on), and I got lots of cute new clothes. I still wear an XL top, and I think I will for a long time, as about the only part of me that hasn't shrunk are my breasts. I keep asking them to shrink, but they refuse. Adamantly. But, the new pair of jeans I bought are 14s, and they're not even ridiculously tight (Old Navy has some weird sizing, though, so I may have just lucked out with the cut and fit I like (Sweetheart rise, Boot Cut)). Even greater for this weekend? I like ALL the pictures of myself. Usually I think I look fat, or pudgy, or bad in that shirt, or something else ridiculous, but I'm really happy with how I look. But since I am at 194.4 this week (before I left I was at 190.x), I've got some work to do. Hopefully it will come off pretty quickly.

Photos taken at the Birmingham Zoo, the Kelly Ingram Park, and the 16th St. Baptist Church (where the 4 little girls were killed in the Sept. 16th, 1963 bombing).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'm Weighing In on Thursdays Now??

Not really. This is just the 2nd Thursday in a row I've weighed in. I'm down to 191.2 today! I've been at 191.4 almost all week, after a huge losses on Friday and Saturday. Isn't it weird how that works? It's like all of the sudden my body just stops losing. It's almost like it's saying, "Okay, woman, you've made one healthy improvement, let's see another!" I really believe that my body is demanding change from me. And you know what? I love it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Guess What Size Jeans I'm Wearing Today?

14s are hugging my ass today, people. They're probably hugging a bit too much, but I'm in them. And I'm staying in them... (I haven't worn these jeans in over a year!!!!!)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

10%, Gone. Forever. Amen.

If I were a Weight Watchers member, I'd be getting a token of some sort. Since January 1st of this year, I've lost a total of 21.6 pounds, or just a tad bit more than 10% of my original body weight of 214 pounds.

I'll never forget that day I visited my doctor in December. It was for my yearly ladies' exam, and as much as we all hate those, I've got a really awesome OB/GYN. She's non-judgmental, honest, and is always open to listening to my health needs. It had been a long, hard semester. I'd be graduating in the spring, and I was busy trying to put together all my grad school applications, write my honor's thesis, keep my apartment from falling apart, trying to keep my job together (I was the secretary for a small church that had a terrible pastor for only 6 months. I got all the reverb from those miserable 6 months). I'd been gaining weight steadily since my last bout with Weight Watchers in 2006. I'd been with Dustin for about 8 months, and the evidence of our many restaurant dates hung uncomfortably on my middle. And more, I was feeling, emotionally, miserable. I was happy with school, and head over heels in love with Dustin, but I was beginning to let my self-esteem slip back to middle-school levels, which is to say, really, really bad. I was irritable, easily frustrated, and completely dependent on others (mainly Dustin) to keep me happy and thinking positively about myself.

I shouldn't have been suprised when April (my ob/gyn) told me, rather frankly, I needed to watch my weight. She asked me how I'd been eating, how I was handling my stress, and after I told her how I was doing pretty miserably with both, she matter-of-factly told me what kinds of foods I should be eating and that it would help me both physically and emotionally to find an outlet for my stress. I cried as I left her office, feeling like I'd completely failed myself. I kept replaying the nurse's face as she scribbled my weight on my chart. She didn't grimace or scoff, but I was horrified, more at myself than what she thought. 214 was the heaviest I'd ever been, and I realized how quickly that number could continue to rise.

For a month or so, I continued to beat myself up, aware that I needed to change my habits, but not ready to do anything about it. I don't even know what snapped in my mind, but Dustin and I started going to the gym at our school together. I began using the Weight Watchers system as a rough guide for my diet. I started this blog, and reading others. I joined And the weight started coming off. More importantly, I was feeling so much better. So much healthier. So much more alive.

Towards the end of the spring semester, my upcoming graduation (and all the stress entailed) consumed my energies, and I let myself slowly slip away from all my progress. The 15 pounds or so I'd lost since January were slowly adding back on. I was preparing to move to Oxford, Miss (to go to Ole Miss for my Masters), and I just didn't think I could handle both trying to lose weight and preparing for grad school. In these three or four months, I continued to read blogs and I usually cooked healthily at home, so I only gained 5 or 6 pounds back.

Slowly, I'm learning that my goal is not to lose weight. It's not be a size 10, or to be skinny, or to even look sexy in a swimsuit (although those things must be very, very nice). I want to be healthy. I want to be vibrant and alive throughout all of my life, and I want my life to be long. I want to enjoy all the days I get to spend with Dustin and my family and friends. I want to feel confident in my body; I want it to reflect the beautiful and spunky person I truly am. I feel held back by the condition I've let my body come to, and I want to let myself grow out of it. So really, although I typically talk about this blog as a weight-loss blog, it's really not that. It's about letting myself grow.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


So, guess what? I'm at 194 today. Which is the *lowest* I've been all year. And probably most of last year, too. I've been eating so well this week, I've had fun watching it pay off. And feeling it pay off, too.

Seeing that number this morning was really great encouragement for me to keep it up. I'll be at school today from 8 am to 7 pm, Thursdays are always really, really difficult for me to get through without wanting to kill someone (teaching 3 sections of sophomores who "hate" literature will do that to a book lover), so I'm determined to remember that 194 can soon be 184 if I just keep with it and don't give up! "Never give up, never, never give up." I am worth this effort. My body deserves it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

We Were Born to Be in Love With Our Bodies

This video was made as part of a new ad campaign for Planned Parenthood. And whatever your views on PP are, I'd encourage you to watch this, because I think the message is important for all people, and I'm not just talking about healthy sex here. If you take out the phrase "our reproductive selves" and "down there" and replace it with "our healthy selves" and "of our full selves," you can get a sense that really, somewhere along the lines, we've forgotten how to love ourselves.

If you had video issues, here's the text, which I'm gonna print out (edited to be relevant to overall health and not just sexual health) and put on my fridge:

We were born to be in love with our bodies.
Ask any three year old.
But somewhere down the road to growing up,
we put our healthy selves in the dark.
Rather than worry about what went wrong, we should remember:
It's never too late to know ourselves.
After all, we are ultimately in charge of our bodies.
It may be the most important responsibility we have.
Starting today, let's make a pact: to make our bodies our best friends.
So that when we make decisions,
we're empowered and aware.
And let's promise
to pass that power on by asking everyone to join us...
and take care of our full selves.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

You Better Not Pout, You Better Not Cry!

I love Christmas. I'm with Shanna on this one. I can't help it! I listen to Christmas music sporadically throughout the year. The ENTIRE year. I don't know what's wrong with me.

Funny story. I started working at Hallmark the summer before my sophomore year in college. I know everyone makes fun of Hallmark for producing mass sentimentalist sap, I know; I used to be one of them. When I started there in July (right before their huge yearly ornament debut) all my friends and family made fun of me for working in a store so often frequented by overly hormonal women and men looking for last minute gifts for their girlfriends and wives. I think it took only a month for my coworkers to dub me "The Scrooge." And I was. I worked at Hallmark for just short of 4 years, and I hated every Christmas and Easter and Valentine's Day (Oh, Valentine's Day, How I Still Loathe Thee!) I had to suffer through. Then, a year a half ago, I started dating this guy:

And my hatred for Christmas dissolved away into a big soppy love mess on the floor. Seriously. It was, and still is, completely pathetic and goopy and sugarysweetieloviebunchie of me. I can't help it. Something about being in love with the best guy in the universe does that to me. (See? I told you something about him makes me completely bonkers.)

So, imagine my delight when I started seeing festive little badges for Chubby Chick's Christmas Challenge! They look like this----->

And as I looked over the Challenge, which is oh-so-adorably-decorated, I really considered adding my name to the list of participants. I really did! But then I remembered how I not-so-gracefully kept forgetting to check into ThinkingThin's Summer Challenge (I'm so sorry!), and I realized that official group challenges are probably not the best for me. Personal goals? Oh yeah. I think it's the remembering to check in that gets me. I so rarely remember to weigh-in regularly that the organization factor (and it's totally necessary for challenges) gets me every time.

So here's what I'm doing. I'm supporting all the cool people at Chubby Chick's Christmas Challenge in full on Christmas spirit. And I'm following along on my own, when I remember to weigh-in. My Goal? 15 lbs lost by Christmas. There are 15 weeks left until then, so it's not completely undoable. Based on my weight loss trends, a pound a week is high for me (I usually lose about a half-pound in a week), but why not shoot for the Christmas Star Tree Topper here? If I lose 15 pounds by Christmas, that will put me at 30 pounds lost for the year, which is pretty good, in my book (but yeah, there's been a total gap in my weight loss this year!!!). When I make my goal (not if, not IF!), I'm going to look super-fab in all those early-early-morning Christmas pictures. I'm determined. And totally listening to Christmas music right now.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Inspired By...Gum?

I don't like fruit. Now, I know that, for us healthy eaters, that's like a kid passing over candy at Halloween. Fruit is one of our few chances to eat something sweet that's good for us, no? But I don't like it. Give me a plate of asparagus in lemon juice any day.

What I do like, though, is artificial fruit flavoring. Don't ask me why; it has always been so. Fresh bananas? I used to literally gag at the thought. Banana runts? I wish they sold them without the others. Blueberries? No thanks. Blueberry muffins from a mix? I'll eat them all. Sliced peaches to top my oatmeal? Can't make it through the first bite. But give me the overly dried out peach-esque stuff that fluffs up a bit when you add milk and microwave? I'm all over it.

So when I saw Trident's Splash gum, in Strawberry with Lime flavor, I almost died. It's like a really good daiquiri but with less than five calories and no annoying hangover when you've had 4 servings! But last night, when I grew tired of chewing gum that really only has a 7 second flavor life span, I wondered what I could make from actual food that would taste stunningly delicious. The result was a pseudo-smoothie that I gulped down in, alas, 7 seconds. It was, however, much tastier than gum.

What I did: I threw maybe 6 or 7 smallish strawberries (these were the frozen kind that I'd mostly defrosted), along with the juice from 1 very overripe lime and 3 or 4 small ice cubes in a food processor (I don't have a blender, or this would have been easier). Then I hit the "High" button, and waited until it was mostly smooth. A taste test showed me that I used way too much lime juice, so I added a teaspoon or two (maybe 3?) of sugar and stirred it up. I put it in the freezer with the intention of making the texture like a sorbet or super awesome giant glass-shaped popsicle, but I am far too impatient so I drank it instead. And you know what? It was delicious. Amen.

Friday, September 5, 2008

What Day Is It, Again?

I hopped on the scale today, and weighed in at 198, even though I have no idea when my actual 'weigh-in' day is anymore. And you know what? I don't even care. I'm up a pound from whenever I last weighed in, but condidering I had a binge weekend at home in Augusta, I'm okay with that. I went home on Labor Day weekend to celebrate my boyfriend's 25th birthday, and we had a wonderful weekend togther, so that's all that matters.

I'm trying to become more intuitive when it comes to my life, especially with my eating (perhaps that's given me the liberties I've taken with the scale?). I feel like I've got a pretty good handle on what's good for me and what's not (I'm not saying I listen to myself all the time, but I do usually know whether or not something is healthy). I never do well when I feel like I have to force myself to eat at a certain time, or certain foods when I don't necessarily want them, so it's a liberating feeling to try my hand at listening to my body's needs.

That being said, I don't want to slide back into my old habits. So stay on me if you sense I'm being a slacker. That tends to happen.

Note: I've *finally* updated my link lists, so if you've left me a comment recently and don't see your name to the right, PLEASE let me know. I don't want to leave anyone out and I'm all for the building of a happy community here. I've also added the RSS-thinger-ma-jigger, so if that's how you read blogs, that will make it easier on you. I think. Truthfully, I'm not entirely sure how that whole process works.

Those of you who don't use blogger, what do you use and how do you like it? I've been tossing around the idea of setting up a .Mac account and moving this blog around a bit, but I don't have the cash to swing the subscription fee. I'm not entirely satisfied with Blogger right now.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

More than a fan. We're involved.

Yes, that was a random throwback to 10 Things I Hate About You, which I love, in spite of myself. But Mandella was referring to Shakespeare, and I'm talking about food.

I've become more and more aware lately that I literally am involved with food. And I'm not sure it's a healthy relationship. I literally think about food all day long. Well, not every waking moment, but there's a good portion of my day when, if I'm not thinking about eating food, I'm thinking about how to prepare it, or if I need to buy it, or how to make it healthy, or wondering if it is already healthy, or whether or not I've eaten balanced portions throughout the day. I can't stop thinking about it.

And I'm not sure why. It's like the focus of this journey / project / goal for myself--being a healthy, vivacious woman--has morphed into something entirely different, and completely counterproductive to what I need to be a full, satiated person.

I really admire and aspire to Sally's approach to food: it's a vital and important part of life, and meals deserve our attention and care, yet the energies we pour into the foods we eat should never outweigh the joy we get from eating healthful foods that ultimately, were designed to help us lead happy and satisfied lives (forgive me and correct me if I've totally misinterpreted your thinking here, Sally).

There have been so many times when I've taken so much of my time and energy into creating a meal. I poured through cookbooks and websites searching for recipes, I researched or tested all the ways I could alter it to make it more healthful or more to my liking, I've spent money on buying the ingredients I need, taking care not to buy in excess, taking care to use wisely and conserve my resources. Then there's the time I've spent cooking the meal, nudging a recipe along in it's development. And then, I eat. Sometimes I don't stop working to eat. Usually, I worry about portion size or whether or not I'm getting enough fiber or protein. Sure, the meal (usually) tastes good, but I'm not enjoying it the way I deserve to. Something else always pulls my attention away, and all the energy I've invested in the meal seems wasted.

I feel like I'm dissolving all the wholesomeness out of my food when I fail to enjoy it for what it simply is: nutritive, pleasurable, and healthy.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Alabama's Fat Tax

Okay, so ignoring that this report is coming from Fox News (I tried to find a less obviously Republican publication to pull from, but this was the most complete story), read this article. I'm officially a Georgia resident, but I go to school in Mississippi, so this is close to home.

I can almost understand why this would be a good program. But there seems to be no provision for those who are underweight (and also equally unhealthy), those who are deemed to have an 'appropriate' weight, yet are not healthy at all, or those who have a legitimate medical condition that makes losing weight difficult. It also seems to ignore smokers, chronic drinkers, people who frequently engage in unsafe sex, bad drivers, risk-takers, high-stress individuals, and other people who do not live a healthy life.

Is this "fat tax" just another prejudiced attack on fat people? We can't visually observe most skinny people's health problems, so those smokers, drinkers, and bad drivers (etc.) are exempt from the $25 / month charge. Or is it a legitimate program designed to improve the health of state employees?

And yeah, how pissed off did the last two paragraphs make you?

Give me your thoughts, people. I'm curious for your reactions.