Friday, December 28, 2007

Waiting on the New Year

There's something so louche, so decadent, about the last few days of a year. It's so easy to put off starting the new plans until that magical day arrives, so easy to indulge in whatever pleasures attract the most, that it's sinful.

I reach for another cookie and think, "Next Tuesday I'll start eating nothing but vegetables. When the New Year begins, then I'll wake up early and exercise every day." I cook all the things I love the best, make any new recipe that strikes my fancy. I even scarfed down a box of Williams-Sonoma toffee, which I love. Ah, bliss. How I'd love to get another box--but it's too expensive.

Come January first, I will buckle down. I will get real with my diet and exercise plans. I can see myself happily eating salads, snacking on fruit, drinking water and green tea. I will dig out those exercise tapes (because my plea for $200 for karate lessons for me and my son -- as a Christmas present -- went unheard) and work out by myself. My body is a temple and I will treat it that way.

I found a book in which prayer was described--the kind of prayer I'm interested in learning about, where praying is a combination of thought and emotion, when you concentrate on feeling the blessing of having what you want to come to pass. Not a formula, not a mouthing of words, not wrestling, just entering the stream of reality and giving thanks for the ability to experience the joy of choosing a desired outcome.

So here is my prayer for 2008, that says to the God that is all around us and in us:
Thank you for my body, which has been my faithful servant for nearly a half a century and has done everything I have asked of it.
Thank you for giving me a perfect body, beautiful in every way, lovely even by the standards of the world.
Thank you for helping me to take care of this body and appreciate it in all its wonder.
Let me keep this body safe and healthy, show it love and gratitude, make it as lovely as it can be.
Help me live up to the responsibility of caring for its every need, lavishing it with attention and love as a privilege and not a burden.
Let me feel pleasure for each thing I do for my body.
Let me make this body a high priority in my life. As it has served me, let me serve it too.
Let me begin my next fifty years with a body that is ready and eager to advance effortlessly into the future.
Let me always remember what a blessing my body is.
Thank you for showing me my self every time I look in a mirror, and letting me see the beauty that is there.
Thank you for every day of my life on earth.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Diet? What diet?

All right, so it's the holidays and I'm not doing so well on the healthy-eating-and-controlling-calories (or carbs, or sweets, or fats).

I know that I am a spiritual being on a physical journey, and the Essential Me is perfect and whole. I know that my physical body is nothing more than precipitated thought, the residue of my ideas about myself, about my physical-plane understanding of what it means to be a 49-year-old female here and now. I know that if I had complete and utter faith in the Universe, I could think my body into perfection. I would simply believe that I maintain my perfect weight and it would be so.

But knowing ain't believing. And I love all the cookies and cakes and treats of the season, all the excuses to enjoy and indulge, to set aside everything that is the least bit difficult and just wallow in pleasure. And I am an A-One sybarite, an abandoned hedonist, and boy, do I know how to wallow.

I had a great day today. I went shopping for gifts, then--guiltily knowing that I should return home to a meager meal of scrounged leftovers hastily consumed before I placed my nose firmly against the grindstone--I turned my homeward-bound car around and took myself to a Chinese food place, pulled out the new paperback I was dying to read, and ate potstickers and orange chicken (no veggies! hah! how about that for decadence?) while I plunged into a world of alien mystery and romance. It was divine.

Right before I headed home, I made a flying visit to my favorite gourmet cookie shop for two double-chocolate chip cookies lavished with pink peppermint frosting, and a devil's food cupcake topped with more peppermint frosting for later. At home, I totally ignored the grindstone and turned on the christmas tree lights. I sat in my favorite chair, right next to the tree, and finished my book.

A glass of milk, a treat of chocolate, and a book that wows/ beside the sparkling tree/were Paradise enow (My apologies to Omar Khayyam)

So my work is undone, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Christmas is a comin

If you haven't got a hapenny then God bless you

So that's the Christmas song that's taken up residence in my head--weird, huh? According to the Internet, it's not really a Christmas song at all--it's from Halloween, and it's some kind of a beggar's song, like a kinder and gentler "Trick or Treat."

It doesn't feel like Christmas at all. No tree up yet. No presents purchased and hidden away. No mad dashes to the post office. No money, either. Sigh.

I just saw a video from ABC about this woman who lost 500 pounds. She lost the weight when she got a computer and developed on-line friends. I was awed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Welcome back

That's welcome back, me. I've been AWOL for months, it seems, and now that I have no other possible method of procrastination I've resorted to adding a post to this blog.

Oh, my diet? Nah, I haven't really been paying attention to it. I may have lost a small amount of weight, but the bulk of my efforts have been spent on trying to cope with a major life-transition: from frantic, hyper-busy, no-time-to-think mom with a full-time job and tons of obligations (not to mention dreams and aspirations, which were taking a back seat) to a stay-at-home mom trying to construct a meaningful life all by myself. The latter is much more difficult.

I mean, jobs and schedules provide structure. You're forced into it. But when there's no structure at all and anything is possible (except whatever costs money) then you have to build the structure yourself. That takes motivation and self-discipline on a level that I'm not used to.

It's the same thing with diets. Programs give you the structure and you have to live within its confines. Trying to invent your own diet is hard work, and I find that it's much easier to just eat whatever I feel like instead of making up my own rules.

But I have been trying to find the motivation and inspiration. I've read tons of books on motivation, success, intentional living, prayer, meditation, mystical energy, and so on.

Here's my conclusion: I need to join a group. I want to start taking Tae Kwon Do again, because when I've got a group of people around me, I try harder.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Listless and drifting...

Every now and then, I get a burst of energy and make plans to become a vegetarian, exercise my brains out, and become buff and beautiful. People will stare when I tell them I'm almost 50 years old! When I move, I will glide, all power and confidence, feeling like a queen in my fit and healthy body.

Then I think...well, maybe I get started on that tomorrow. After all, it's almost lunchtime.

I'll make plans to wake up at 5:30 a.m. and exercise, begin the day with a vigorous workout that will leave me feeling energized and eager to face the day. Then I'll look at the clock on the corner of my computer, and it will be after midnight again, and the thought of getting up in just 5 hours actually hurts.

And I'll think...well, sleep is healthy, too. Maybe I'll start the exercise in the morning thing another day.

And so I've got this momentary revving of the engine, but I never get it in gear. I wonder how you find the motivation. I wonder how you get the energy to do it and stick to it.

You know, The Secret lady, Rhonda Byrne, claimed that she lost weight by not thinking about her weight. I think that the truth is that she developed a workable healthy eating and exercise plan for her, and then worked it until it became automatic, and then she lost the weight.

It's like Bob Proctor said about debt: Get on an automatic debt repayment program and then start thinking only prosperity. He didn't say, forget all about your bills. It's the same thing with weight. You need an automatic system for weight and then you can stop worrying about it.

I need an automatic system.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Wow, has it really been that long? I left my job and have been trying to put together a new career, juggle errands and family activities and things I've been wanting to do for so long, and all this time....I haven't given a thought to my weight loss efforts.

Well, okay, I have given it a couple of thoughts. I took a walk just this morning as part of my desultory effort to include exercise in my daily regimen. But how do I make it consistent? These days there's nothing I do consistently every day, so it's as hard to introduce a new element now as it was when my schedule was set in stone.

I know, I know, if you love it you will make time for it. I don't love it, but I have to do it or else I will feel terrible. It's difficult.

And The Secret has let me down-- I've been thinking positive and not worrying about my weight, and I'm pretty sure that no weight loss has happened yet.

What they don't tell you in The Secret is that in order to lose weight, you have to set up a weight-loss system and THEN not think about it. You can't eat the way you'e always eaten and still lose weight, I guess. I'm feeling a little disgruntled about that, I can tell you.

You have to be the kind of person who doesn't eat the wrong things (at least not regularly), who doesn't eat too much, who does exercise regularly, and whose entire lifestyle is geared toward optimum health.

Well, maybe I'll get it right this time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Rant about mail-order prescriptions

I just spent two solid hours trying to sign up to get my blood-pressure medicine through the mail. You have to register a million places, decline to accept their repeated offers of free newsletters and e-zines, and remember which company (because the medical insurance people don't do prescriptions, and the prescription plan doesn't mail prescriptions, and the actual drugstore is somebody else) I repeat, remember which company takes which member number and group ID number and user name and password, because they're all different.

One bunch of morons refused to accept my chosen password, insisting that it had to be a combination of letters and numbers. My password WAS a combination of letters and numbers, but all the letters came first and numbers second. These idiots wanted the numbers and letters to be mixed together, so that the password was something that you'd never in your life be able to remember and would have to write down somewhere, thereby defeating the security purpose of the whole damned system.

Then you have to wait.

I was ready to strangle someone by the time I was done--not good for the ol' blood pressure.

You know, I completely understand why older people get upset with these prescription plans. Their byzantine rules and impenetrable procedures, their incomprehensible policies and the total overwhelming sense of futility and aggravation that assails you when you try to do the simplest task would bring anyone to the inexorable conclusion that it's far, far easier to forget about the drugs and just die.


Monday, July 9, 2007

I've been reading Ask and It Is Given, which is about the Law of Attraction. Today's quote is about how you can't keep re-creating in your mind the way things are now, because you'll never change. You have to begin vibrating at a little different level to get things to change.

Well, I had a doctor's appointment today, and my blood pressure was down to a serene 110/76. I'd even lost four pounds from my last visit according to the doctor's evil scale, which always seems to weigh me 7 or 8 pounds more than any other scale in the Universe.

So here is me, a month later. I haven't actually changed in weight so much as had a flattering outfit on and DH did a good job on the photo (except for the thumb in the way, but hey, nobody's perfect).

Honestly, that top is mega-flattering, and it's really just a couple of scarves stitched together, with a line of stitches from hip to armpit to make the sleeves. I don't know why Lane Bryant didn't corner the market on those things. I get compliments all the time, and it's the illusion of the deep-V hem that makes all the difference.

And yet--I don't think I look that bad here. I can clearly see the curves under the padding. This picture helps me remember what I looked like in '92 when I was at my best fighting weight.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Loser, Love Thyself

I had a revelation while commuting to work this morning: I'm not sure if I truly love and appreciate myself, and if I don't, that could be one reason why losing weight is such a struggle.

Do I love myself? (And what does that mean, exactly?) Do I love my body?

Well, I'll take that last question first since it is the only one that makes sense to me right now. I don't really like to look at my body these days, and I don't want anyone else to see it because it's not in very good shape. I look away from the mirror when I get out of the shower, and dress quickly to avoid the lumps and bumps and newly-sprouted varicose veins. I pretend not to see the double chin or the bags under my eyes.

But I appreciate my body because of all the things it does for me: Seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting: moving and bending and making and lifting and all the automatic processes that are working just the way they should. I admit that I haven't given my body much suppport or encouragement over the past 10 years. I don't exercise or feed it properly, or do all the important little things that need to be done for it to continue in peak form.

Really, after all I've put my body through, it deserves a medal: Long hours at the computer, unhealthy eating, too little sleep, no time to stretch, no fresh air to breathe. No time to just relax. If I had done it to someone else, it would be cruel and unusual. But because I've done it to myself, nobody says anything.

After all that, I'm lucky my body is doing well as it is. And I am extra-lucky that it is a forgiving and friendly body, and will repair itself with no hard feelings if I let it.

I'm going to have that time to relax and repair very soon, and I'll take advantage of it. I hope I won't get into this situation again, and I'll take better care of my body in the future.

Now that I know that everything in my life is what I have created for myself, I want to begin to create the things that are good for me and make me happy.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

It's official. I have now been on the planet for 49 years. Of course, if it is true that all of our body's cells regenerate on a regular basis, and that after 7 years one actually has a completely new body, then maybe I'm only 7 years old. Or 7 bodies old.

So the plan is that this body will achieve and maintain a weight of 157 pounds. That's a good fighting weight for me--last time I was at that weight was in 1992, when I won two gold medals in the AAU National Tae Kwon Do tournament held in the Adirondack region.

Then I was a bridesmaid in my brother's wedding, and it wasn't until the rehearsal dinner that I realized that I could have easily been punched in the eye, or been given a split lip or something during the tournament, and I would have looked like hell for the wedding photos. But it honestly never crossed my mind.

I looked great, very fit and curvy. But it didn't last long, because I discovered that losing weight didn't lead to happiness--nobody I cared about fell in love with me. And truly, that was all I really wanted. I wanted to find a soul mate, a partner. Instead, I found a lot of guys who wanted one-night stands. So I figured that being attractive was not all that.

Then I met my husband, and even though I'd gained about 20 lbs. he still liked me. He seemed attracted to some essential part of me, and weight gain didn't make a difference to him. It was very liberating, but the new mind-set I'd acquired put me on the path to weight gain.

Then I decided to get pregnant, even though I was 39 years old. Pregnancy ruins your figure, I reasoned, so why bother struggling to lose weight? I'll be eating for two soon enough, so why not start now? Sheesh.

I love food, love to cook and create a meal and enjoy the fruits of my labors. I also love to eat snacks, and candy, and fast food and ethnic food and fresh food and ... you get the picture.

My son was born when I was 42, and then the weight really started to appear and stick around. I was up to 235, then gradually crept up to 242. I stabilized there until I started having thyroid problems at 46, and that's how I arrived at that dreaded 257.

For the past month, I've been reasonably good on my diet, but lately I've slipped. Stress, job changes, and turmoil have thrown me off track again.

So now I'm relying on The Secret: I want to attract my perfect weight. I am attracting perfect health and weight, and I can eat everything and still maintain my perfect weight.

I'm sending out a message.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Slow deflation?

That slow, steady hiss is the sound of my ego deflating. Usually I feel pumped up, buoyant, and smiley. Usually. But today I feel like I'm slowly collapsing, the big smile crumpling up into a puddle of anxieties and fears.

I'm going through a change in my career life and it's not easy to weather. I like to think I'm handling things in a mature and positive way, understanding that it's all for the best and it's not really anybody's fault. But it's not easy to feel strong and secure right now.

I know that in a short while I'll be over this and things will be better than ever. New doors will open for me, I'll be closer than ever to my bliss, and I'll be so thankful that this change came about. But that will be then, and this is now.

It's true that you have to let go of what you have, so you can open your hands to receive the abundance that is coming to you. It's true that everything is happening better than I could have expected. But here and now I'm going through a rough moment and there's no one who can hold my hand.

So from a high a few days ago, I am now in a low (exacerbated by PMS, just for an added bit of irony) and it's hard. Here it is, the official beginning of my 1-year weight loss project, and I'm a mess.

I hope I look back on this and feel kindness for the person I was, full of anxiety and discouragement. I hope I can say, "Wow, I was so worried, but it all worked out for the best, and here I am on a mountain top of joy and success."

I look forward to that mountain top.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Secret and weight loss

Okay, I've pretty much bought into The Secret--there's some fine-tuning that I need to do to fit their theory with my experience, but I agree with about 97% of what they're saying.

When I lost weight in the 1990s, I never did watch what I ate. I never weighed myself, or fretted about what I could and could not eat. I was attending Weight Watchers, but I just slapped down in the diaries whatever I could remember about my daily food intake, attended the meetings, and went on with my life. And I lost weight.

Oh, sure, I was exercising a lot--about 4 times a week (being single means never having to worry about someone else's schedule). I went to at least two evening classes at the dojang, and then visited the health club on the weekends. Also, because I was attending weeknight classes, I never ate dinner before going. Nothing like getting the spaghetti kicked out of you in a Tae Kwon Do class. So I ate less.

But everything was integrated into my life, and it wasn't laid on top of it in an awkward way. then the weight loss was totally natural and easy. I reached the weight I wanted without any *extra* effort on my part. Nothing unnatural, just doing what I was going to do anyway. It wasn't forced, it didn't require constant vigilance or endless calorie counting and budgeting.

That's why it's like The Secret. With the Secret, you make your desire known to the Universe and then go about your day. The plan falls into place as you change your habits and attitudes to align with your thinking. You're not obsessing and beating yourself up--you're just living your life differently, and then different things happen.

Okay, so I really can't explain how my changed attitudes brought my husband into my life, and that was a Secret-type event. I had written down in great detail what I was looking for in a life partner: His looks, his character, his attitude towards life. Then I tucked it away for a while and continued to live my life the way it was.

When I went to a seminar in Manhattan, I'd forgotten all about that list I made. I never go to Manhattan, and had my hands full just coping with the Big Apple. When I met the speaker, all I knew was that he was from DC and I was from Albany--hundreds of miles apart. But we hit it off. We had a long-distance romance to begin with, moved in together, and then married.

It wasn't until later that I remembered the list I'd made, and found that he matched in all particulars (cue music from "The Twilight Zone"). I can't say that I did anything conscious to bring about our meeting, because I didn't even know he was there.

Anyway, The Secret can help. You don't have to change your eating habits, you have to change your life.

Back then, the saying that I thought about over and over was, "Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom. How to they learn it? They fall; and falling, are given wings." --Jellaluddin Rumi

I have to remember to fall, and believe that in falling, I will be given my wings.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Like Music

Wow, I can't believe it's been a whole week. But it's been good, overall--I'm down to 252.3! Mostly it's been through skipping the late-night chocolate fix. It's amazing to me that one small change could have such good results.

However, it's still not an easy change, because that little chocolate alarm goes off faithfully each evening, and I have to think of some way to distract myself long enough to get past it.

And now, since the library has finally gotten around to my number on the waiting list, I have a copy of the audiobook of The Secret that I listened to yesterday. I'm thrilled.

I took the day off yesterday, partly because I'm finally out of the Paid-time-off hole I got into last November when DH had some major surgery and my employer let me take time off that I hadn't earned yet. The other part was that I really need to re-think the way my life is going. So I decided that it was time to weed the neglected garden. While I did, I listened to the audiobook.

Now, Rhonda Byrne advocates throwing away the scales and focusing on meditation and fully intending to bring about a perfect, healthy body that stays at the perfect weight no matter what you eat. You put up photos of yourself at your perfect weight, if you'd ever acheived that goal in the past, or photos of what you wanted to look like. Present, but not played up, was the idea that you need to be mindful of what you're eating and how eating makes you feel. That made a lot of sense to me.

I have done a lot of mindless eating, shoveling in the calories while online, or while working, or reading or whatever. But it's better if you put your whole attention on your food while you eat--chew each bite, savor the flavors, feel how your body changes as you ingest the food. I'll make that my new intention.

My intention: At mealtime, I bless my food for supporting my body and increasing my pleasure when I eat it. I savor each bite, noticing the flavors and the texture of the food while I give thanks for the ability to taste and enjoy my food thoroughly. I pay attention to how my body feels, and when it is satisfied, I save the rest of the food for later. Eating is like music, you have to let go of each note in order to hear the melody, and if some food won't be perfect later on, it's okay to let it go and make fresh food next time.

My life is filled with abundance, for the earth produces perfect food for me all the time, more food than I can ever want, and it's there to share and enjoy and savor. I am a spiritual being in a material form, loving and experiencing every moment of this existence. The air flows through me, the water and food flow through me, experiences flow through me like music.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A new direction

Well, this morning I'm back down to 254.3, meaning that I've lost 3 whole pounds in two weeks. This is a good thing, because it means that the waterweight loss of the first few days has now become actual fat weight loss.

Now I have decided two things probably will work better: One -- I should weigh myself every day, because it keeps me on track. I know not to get too excited if I'm not losing every single day or if I'm up a little one day; that's normal and depends on what I've eaten two or three days previous. It's the general trend downwards that I'm looking for.

Two, I think I'm going to move towards the Atkins type of diet, or at least a diet that's mostly starch- and sugar-free. It won't hurt to knock off the rice, potatoes, white bread, and white sugar for a while. I can concentrate on the veggies, fruits, and reasonable amounts of meat instead.

To that end, I've packed a lunch that has leftover pork medallions from last night (sauteed in canola oil and drizzled with maple syrup--I know, but there's no reason to get all righteous. It's only about a teaspoonful. Besides, I like them that way) and a salad with a home-made light ranch dressing, and some grapes.

I have also discovered Spanx, sort of a control-top pantyhose without the legs. They are great, and let me wear summer dresses and sandals. A big thumbs-up.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A heavy sigh

Well, after nearly two weeks of thinking and fretting and blogging, I have evidently lost three pounds and gained back 3 ounces. (I weighed myself twice).

This morning when I stepped on the scale, I had gained three ounces. It's not very much, but still it's not the direction I had hoped to be moving in. On the other hand, I've been so not dieting. I mean, I haven't been following my food plan.

There were all those unauthorized no-bake cookies over the past couple of days when chocolate was calling my name (but they have oatmeal! Isn't that healthy?!?) and potato chips too, when I was floundering in the pit of despair.

At least I've been keeping up my electronic food diary. That's a pain in the tush, because so many things have to be entered by hand. No-bake cookies had to be analyzed ingredient by ingredient, with the whole recipe entered into the FDA's nutritional database ( and then the totals divided by the number of cookies yielded by the entire recipe.

And boy is it discouraging to see what an entire recipe's worth of a single ingredient is, in terms of calories, fat, and other stuff. The face of one particular dietitician swims in front of my face every time I look up the nutritional value of a stick of butter.

This is what she said to me one day:

"Do you know what's in a pie crust?" She leaned in close to me, her eyes narrowed.

"Well, I--"

"Lard," she hissed (which is not an easy thing to do when there isn't a single sibilant in the word), her voice filled with loathing and disgust.

I knew what she was getting at, but I really resented her demonizing a perfectly innocent ingredient. If it's not good for you, don't eat it. But geez, you know?

So anyway, I guess I'm going to have to change my attitude towards food.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Better, now

Okay, I'm over the funk of yesterday. Actually, things aren't so bad--I went to a day-long seminar on Saturday, and didn't eat the hotel's dessert. That's worthy of a pat on the back, because the choices were chocolate cake or red velvet cake, both of which looked yummy. Reports from other seminar attendees confirmed the yumminess, but I still didn't eat one.

I haven't weighed myself lately, but I don't think I'm in such bad shape. I'm trying to change the accumulated habits of 7 years' duration, so I need to go easy on myself. Although I do still need to figure out how to get some exercise into my day. Or maybe how to increase the day to, say, 27 hours. That would be perfect.

Where is Hermione's little time-turner when you need it?

What has helped has been reading Wayne Dyer's The Power of Intention. I haven't read or watched The Secret yet, but I think this book is probably better suited to me. I'm learning, bit by bit, to trust that God has a plan for me and that everything will be all right. So when I get all upset about the crises that seem to be rushing toward me, I remind myself that nothing bad has happened yet, and that change is inevitable. Even maybe it is for the best.

Here is my ideal day: I get up at 5:30 and put on some comfy outdoor clothes and go for a short walk around the neighborhood. As I get better at it, I'll be jogging and then running around the neighborhood. Then I come back and take a shower, breakfast, and get DS up for his day. Once he and DH are fed, DH leaves for work and I get DS off to his activities for the day. Maybe on Friday he stays home and the two of us spend the day together. I do about an hour of gardening, maybe, and then go downstairs to write. Then I get a quick lunch, make some phone calls if necessary, and go back to writing until about 3:00, when I go pick up DS.

DS may have some after-school activities, and then we get home at 5:30ish and I make dinner. We can eat about 6:30, which means bath and bedtime is early and I can sit for an hour with DH before bedtime at 10:00 pm.

Now that would be a well-spent day. Time enough to sleep, time to exercise, time to write, time to spend with my boys.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Buried up to the lips

Yeah, things aren't going that well. Not too bad, but not too well. To quote a really bad joke about the sinners trapped in a mud pit in Hell, all I can say is, "Don't make waves!"

Life is an endless round of frenetic activities, all of which leave me emotionally exhausted but physically restless. My feet hurt, but my leg muscles feel as if I've never used them at all. My hands are cramped, but my shoulders are tensed and my forehead tight.

The last time I lost weight, I had an exercise program in place. My free time was devoted to exercising, which led to Tae Kwon Do, which led to that gloriously limp and light feeling that follows a full-tilt sparring class.

Now I've got household chores, and food to make, and family members to appease, which means that on the weekends my feet are nailed to the floor, just as during the week my butt is nailed to a chair.

Well, now that I'm whining, I might as well go for it: I need time to myself. I want my days to be full of gardening, and power walks, and yoga, and pets, and writing, and picking up my son in the mid-afternoon to go to a music class or afterschool sport.

I want to feel that freedom, I want my days to be orderly and purposeful; I don't want to be forced to race panic-stricken through the hours without ever getting the chance to notice the weather.

I'd quit my job in a heartbeat, but I'm afraid it would be terrible for my family. We still haven't been able to dig out from under the last mountain of debts that accumulated after my previous period of unemployment, and I feel responsible for that. It's choking me.

So to release the stranglehold of debt, I'm stuck in this punishing grind, short on sleep, cramped and cranky, trying to hang onto some tiny corner of what I really care about and forfeiting most of it.

And is the debt situation easing up? Nope. Not a bit. It's enough to make a person cry.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Sliding down the slippery slope

I'm slipping, I'm sliding, I'm falling off the weight-loss bandwagon. How quickly we forget! PMS struck in a big way, turning me paranoid and spiking a craving for chocolate.

Now, I knew what was going on. As my mood became darker and darker, I realized that there was no genuine reason for the funk. It was all a hormone-induced illusion, including the craving for candy. But I still felt bad. Poor me, I thought, here I am imagining doom and disaster when really everything is no worse than usual. I need to treat myself gently, tenderly...I need chocolate!

It's got me coming and going.

DH believes that there's a link between a woman's menstrual cycle, her craving for chocolate and the iron in her blood. There might be something to that. Although high in fat and calories, chocolate candy is also extremely high in iron.

I asked a nutritionist about this, and she adamantly declared that it wasn't true. When I insisted we look it up in the book, it turned out that chocolate IS, in fact, iron-rich, even more so than spinach, and ounce for ounce equal to the iron content of beef.

So he may have something there. I also crave red meat this time of month. Instead of getting a salad at McDonald's, I fell back to my default order of a cheeseless burger and fries. Today, at my all-day workshop, I made myself a roast beef sandwich.

None of this stuff ever tastes as good as I hope it will. And it especially doesn't taste good without extra salt, which was the one good-eating practice that I did follow. I didn't put salt on anything.

One of these days, I'm going to taste something that doesn't measure up to what I hoped it would be, and I'll stop eating it. Just like that. Why buy the calories if it's not worth the price?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Skipping without Falling

I'm proud of myself. On Tuesday, I skipped dinner, and I didn't break down and eat everything in the fridge.

But I had help, in a way. That day, I was stuck in front of the computer for hours trying to figure out why it was politely declining to do what I asked it to do. No answer, only that annoying message informing me that it had "encountered a problem" and was going to shut down now.

My bladder filled, and my stomach growled, but I never moved. I wasn't going to let this thing beat me. I tried different tactics. Nothing worked. Finally at 2:30 I conceded that the thing had beat me after all, and dashed out to the nearest place.

It was a chinese restaurant, and I got chicken with green beans, which is their best offering. And it was good. It soothed the stress of having wasted so much time over that balky program.

Luckily, it was also tee-ball night, meaning that the boys were foraging for themselves. Not only did I have two whole, blessed hours to myself, but I could do anything I wanted. I could NOT eat, if I wanted. Glorious, glorious freedom.

So I didn't.

My computer at home was cooperative, the weather was fine, and all was right with my world. Don't get me wrong--life would hardly be worth the effort without the boys, but for short periods during the day it's nice to be free.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


I've been pretty good on my new eating system (note how I avoid the dreaded d-word).

But it's moments like this, when I've spent hours trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with my newsletter and still get an unapologetic "We've encountered a problem and will have to shut down" that I want to pitch the computer out the window and chow down on the nearest bag of chips.

Crunchy, salty, that's me. You can keep your ice cream and pudding, all those soft, creamy treats that are the downfall of so many. I can politely decline. But oh, those salty, savory snacks!I used to go out with the girls and everyone would order ice cream sundaes and I'd get fries.

I haven't weighed myself in a couple of days because I'm told you shouldn't do that. But according to my little log, which I've kept faithfully, I've been good for three out of the past five days. Friday night was another "day from hell" and we ordered pizza.

WARNING: Whining ahead. I talked to my boss for a few minutes overtime on Friday, which meant that I was late out the door and caught the worst of the traffic on the way home. Once off the highway, I ran a few errands. Library, store, gas station, nothing exciting, but about four places. Finally I got home, exhausted.

DH had taken the day off and puttered around the house. He went to collect DS from his after-school place about half an hour earlier than usual, and the two of them were sprawled in the living room watching the Star Wars special on TV when I arrived. They said hello.

I started to say something, and then got sucked into watching the TV. It was a good show. After a moment I sat down. That felt pretty good.

After I few minutes, I shook myself and said, "So are you guys hungry?"

"Well, yeah," DH said indignantly.

I stared at him, thinking, which one of us just worked for nine hours straight, battled traffic, and then ran four boring but necessary errands? And which one of us lounged around the house all day?

So we ordered pizza. And it was good.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Backward Approach

I'm reading this great book by Laura Berman Fortgang, "Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction." Yes, I want to change a lot more than the sorry state of my weight. But this one exercise really is great! You create a backward timeline, and basically back into what you need to do today to get where you want to be a year from now.

First, you write down what your life is like a year (or two years, or whatever) from now, when everything is all changed just the way you want it. You envision it as real and completely happening.

Then you write down what your life is like six months along, half-way to your goal. How much have you changed? What are you doing regularly? What new things have happened?

Then you write down what's happening three months into the whole deal, one quarter of the way. Have you come up with new ideas, new approaches? Are you meeting helpers and friends along the way?

It's amazing. Suddenly this giant project becomes much more manageable. It makes me feel hopeful.

And it's probably more practical than thinking, "When I win the lottery, I'm going to do X and Y," because you're not wasting time waiting for that event to transpire. You find a way to put the plans in action now.

So next, I'll post what my plans are, a year, then 6 months, and then three months from now.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Darn it, I forgot my crutch

Aaugh! I left my Palm Pilot at home hooked up to its charger, and as a result I have been reduced to writing down my food intake on a piece of paper. How primitive.

My life is too busy right now, and of course I would choose to begin such a huge weight-loss project right when everything is spiraling out of control--the income-producing job looks shaky, the novel-writing career is too new to bring in any cash, my health is precarious--it's a damn good thing that I have a loving DH and an adorable son. They are the lights of my life.

The Palm Pilot is an excellent crutch, though, in terms of keeping track. Writing down the daily food intake keeps the choices you make right in front of you, rather than allowing you to conveniently forget that you ate much more than you should have.

Today, breakfast was a blueberry-streusel muffin (yum), orange-flavored prunes and Starbuck's no-fat, no-whip peppermint mocha, Venti-sized--well, I'm a little short on sleep these days, and I needed a boost.

Lunch will be California-style baked beans, barbecued tri-tip steak (no barbecue sauce in this recipe--just a garlicky marinade that is simply to die for) and cherry tomatoes because I ran out of fresh salsa.

Hey, I never said I'd eat diet food on this diet. I hate that stuff, and I love to cook. Every prepared food on the list (except the Starbuck's) was home-made by me. For the moment, I'm going to eat this way and see if I lose any weight. I've cut out the late-night desserts and the between-meal snacks, and I'm choosing healthy food, not junk.

One step at a time.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Method and the Madness

It's not a really complex plan. That's good because I don't do well with rigid and complicated plans, anyway.
So what I'm doing is eating sensibly, trying to stay away from high-fat and high-sugar foods, and cutting out snacks and desserts. That's it for now.
I enter my meals into my Palm Pilot. The program keeps a tally of calories and charts whether I'm over or under a target calorie level for the day.
After I've been on this plan (I don't want to call it a diet--that feels too rigid) for a while, I'll add in some exercise. The blood pressure thing makes me reluctant to jump into an exercise program too fast. At least the medicine is reducing the swelling and the tinnitus.
What a drag it is, not being able to pull out all the stops and crank into a high-gear diet and exercise program right away!
On the other hand, I never stuck with those diet and exercise plans anyhow. Slow and steady will win this race. By July 1, 2008, I will be at a good fighting weight for me: 158 pounds. I'll take it one step at a time.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Awful Truth

All right, here's the photo. It's important to post, I think, because it's so easy to forget what you looked like when you started. Somehow your mind erases the memory of how snug those huge jeans were, how short of breath you felt after walking up the stairs, how uncomfortable you felt.
I remember how it felt when I was at a good fighting weight, and how I looked at overweight people with amazement--how could they let themselves get that way?
It happens when you're not paying attention to these things.
Positive note: I've followed my plan very well today. Tomorrow I'll describe the method to the madness.

The first day

So far, so good.
I was going to have my DH take a picture of me to put on the site, but we'll just let that go for a while.
I've been good today--good for me, that is. A reasonable breakfast, a salad for lunch, and all food written down in my Palm Pilot's Diet and Exercise Assistant, which I got online from
The only bad part is having to figure out the nutritional values for the things I eat, which involves looking up dozens of ingredients, adding up the values for calories, carbs, protein, fat, and fiber, dividing into portion sizes, and finally saying "the hell with it" and making up a ballpark number in the different categories.
It helps to remember why I'm doing this.
I started this whole thing because I couldn't stand the swollen ankles, the tension headaches, the ringing in my ears, and the sweat oozing out of my pores every time I so much as moved. I couldn't stand the matronly clothing. I wanted to wear high heels again.
I'm making a promise that I will wear high heels on my 50th birthday.

This is it--I really mean it this time

My blood pressure was 162/120 a couple of days ago, and this morning my weight is a whopping 257.7 pounds. I am not quite 49 years old.
I'm telling you, this can't go on.
Even though I long ago gave up any visions of being model-thin (or any kind of thin), I really did have hopes of being healthy enough to live a normal life.
In this blog, I hope to record my journey as I lose 100 pounds by my 50th birthday. I'll put in links to weight loss sites, hints and tips and anything that helps me along the way.
Now I've thrown down the gauntlet and I can't back out. This time, I'm doing it.