Sunday, November 7, 2010

Eat Your Vegetables...

I think that everyone was told by his or her parents to "Eat your vegetables!" at one point and that's what I've been telling myself all week.

I haven't had the easiest time getting back on track for the past couple of weeks, but I made a deal with myself that I'd do at least one thing right --and then keep adding to that week after week. This past week my goal was to eat more vegetables. Which I did! I had veggies and fruits at almost every meal, and had a big spinach salad with broccoli, carrots and onions each day. I even found myself craving veggies and that I had to "hide" them less often, such as in pasta or a pizza. Instead, I enjoyed them raw with just a little bit of low-fat dressing or olive oil.

This next week, I have two goals for myself: to stick to my POINTS and to drink more water. I've been drinking way too much diet soda, which just isn't healthy in its own right. So for this week, I'll have diet soda when I go out to dinner, but not at home. You'd be surprised how difficult this is for me. I don't drink many alcoholic beverages, but I really like low-calorie flavored drinks like Vitamin Water or Diet Snapple. But plain, old water really is the best so I need to get into drinking enough of it each day instead of those other things.

I know that I need to do more exercise, but I've decided that I'm not going to be too hard on myself and make a million changes at once. What I REALLY neneed the help with is my eating. Well, that's always what I need the help with and I want to see if changing just one thing at a time will allow me to stay on track. I still don't know why this is so hard for me -- to just eat less, I mean. But I just LOVE food. Last night, I went out for Italian for my friend's birthday and ordered lasagna. I didn't finish it, but my God, it was wonderful. Definitely not part of a weight loss plan, but I enjoyed it and not even in a "filling my emotions" way. I just fucking loved the lasagna. And that's my main problem. I'm 5'3" and have the appetite of a 6'4" football player. Frankly, I wish I can have it both ways: I wish that I can eat whatever I want and be in shape. If I met a genie and he gave me three wishes, I wouldn't even ask for money or world peace or power or anything like that. I think this is what I'd wish for.

Some days like today, when I have PMS and want to eat everything, I get so frustrated because eating should be such a simple thing. You eat for fuel, you eat to live and that should be it. Why couldn't I be born that way? Why couldn't I be one of those people who's naturally thin and just doesn't care that much about food? I mean, my gradmother is like that so it's in my genes -- and she's 94! It seems to be so unfair that I had to be born without an off switch for eating and a body that wants to be fat. I hate feeling like I'm not allowed to eat, that I eat half a serving of lasagna and the pounds are going to pile on.

Which brings me to another decision that I've made about myself: I no longer care if I ever get to be thin. It just ain't gonna happen, unless I starve myself, which I can't do. Hell, I can barely last a week without going off plan. So my goal -- for now; it might change -- is to simply get to under 200 pounds. If I can be 198, 199 and be in decent enough shape -- decent enough so that I can walk around without having to take breaks -- I can deal with it. I just think that my dreams of being at my ideal weight of 125 or so are an impossibility.

I don't know why I'm so disciplined with some things and just can't get my act together when it comes to eating. I mean, I'm obsessed with getting things in on deadline at work and always do; I made a goal to create 100 pieces of jewelry before opening my online store and I'm already at 71 items; I write in this blog fairly frequently. So it's not beyond me to come up with a goal and stick with it. In fact, 95 percent of my life is pretty goal-oriented, I'd say. I'm the person who said, "I'm gonna write a novel!" and "I'm gonna record an album!" and actually did both. And when people ask me how I did these things, I usually answer, "I just DID it rather than talking about it."

There's been a lot of talk about obesity and what "causes" it and sometimes I wonder if I'm really just born this way. I've been obsessed with food since I was a kid. I didn't come from a family where we ate unhealthy things so I wasn't raised on fried food or candy. And yet, the desire for food has always been in me -- I've always been a fat girl dying to escape --and finally did when I was an adult, despite trying to get rid of my urges with anorexia and bulimia. It's weird. I honestly don't understand why people feel the need to get very drunk. For someone like me who's creative and whose mind is always going, I just don't GET that urge to drink until you're so out of it that you can't function. I guess this is somewhat similar. Many people don't GET my craving for food, why I always have to have it, how it makes me happy and numbs pain, boredom, sadness, etc. It's easy to say, "Oh, just don't eat that," but I challenge those who just can't imagine a Saturday night without booze to stay completely sober when everyone around you is drinking beer after beer. See, for me, I can take or leave alcohol and don't care. I just don't crave it at all. Then there are those who can take or leave a plate of fries and just don't care.

By the way, for those folks out there who keep crying about the "obesity epidemic!" and for the Maura Kellys who think that seeing happy fat people means that obesity is being promoted, here are some TV shows that really do deserve the notice:

America's Favorite Pig Outs: This Travel Channel show -- yes, it's on the Travel Channel -- was all about restaurants that offer ginormous portions ofgreasy, fatty food. There was one place that had mozzarella sticks and french fry sandwiches; another offered 20-scoop sundaes! The worst offended was this restaurant called Heart Attack that was designed to look like a hospital. Inside a "doctor" would "prescribe" dishes like hamburgers and fries dipped in lard (blech) and the dishes had names like "The quadruple bypass." (I swear I'm not making this up). There was one dish that had some name like "The coronary," which consisted of about seven pounds of crap -- and if you could finish it, you got wheeled out of the restaurant on a gurney. Oh, and they have a scale there and give special bonuses to people who weight more than 450 pounds. Holy cripers, this is just so wrong on so many levels.

Man Vs. Food: This is also on the Travel Channel. The host, Adam Richman, who's rather portly, competes in various eating contests around the country. He often eats up to 10 pounds of food in a serving and looks like he's about to die while doing so. He's chunky, but not quite obese; I don't get how he's not 450-500 pounds.

I honestly don't think we can blame the media on anything -- it's up to PARENTS to help their kids learn about nutrition -- but if we have to point fingers at anything on TV, these two shows are a great place to start.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

When Fears Become Reality

Things continue to be, well, interesting in regards to that Marie Claire post. At first, I thought that the author's apology added at the end of the piece was a load of bs that she was forced to write, but it turns out that Maura Kelly really has had a long, documented history of anorexia. She was even hospitalized at one point at 70 pounds. Yikes.

That said, I'm still angry with the magazine for encouraging her to write the piece -- apparently her boss assigned it to Kelly after seeing an article on CNN about MIKE & MOLLY -- and am feeling sorry for Kelly. For one thing, what kind of crappy boss assigns an article fat prejudice to a recovering anorexic? And how much must Kelly b going through personally, if she got herself to the point where she was hospitalized for her weight issues? No wonder why overweight people disgust her -- she's seeing her greatest fear come alive right in front of her face!

I still don't agree with a word she said in her editorial, but I can at least understand what prompted her to write such a thing. Your world view can be extremely twisted when you fear something so much -- and fear that you can become said thing. It was definitely like that for me when I battled anorexia and bulimia (though I never got down to 70 pounds). I was definitely prejudiced against the overweight.

I still regret the fact that I made fat jokes against this chubby girl on our bus. To be fair, she was a total bitch and made Jewish jokes against me, but two wrongs didn't make a right here. But then there were the times I treated perfectly nice overweight people like crap. There was this girl in junior high -- let's just call her Evelyn -- who always wanted to sit with us at lunch and we'd let her; but my friends and I would make snide comments about her when she was out of earshot. She knew it, too, and was always trying to diet. All she wanted was for us to be her friends.

Part of this had to do with me being a stupid kid, but I know that a lot had to do with my own fears of gaining weight and being fat. I'd weigh myself obsessively and my mood would be predicated on what number appeared. No matter how good I looked in an outfit, I always noticed the "fat rolls" that popped out (which was ridiculous because I didn't have any!). Back then, I had the same stereotypes as everyone else -- that overweight people are lazy and ignorant. I wish I could go back in time and bitch slap the 13-year-old me!

The thing is, I didn't even like myself then. I HATED myself. I hesitate to share this, but I was 14 when I seriously considered committing suicide. So yeah, I wasn't fat, but I kinda thought I was anyway, and I was miserable with my own existence. What kind of life was that? No wonder I had so much prejudice -- it's difficult to feel love and compassion for others when you're dealing with your own shit.

What's interesting is that one of my best friends is gay and admits that when he was younger, he thought being gay was "disgusting." He's been out for 10 years now and has obviously changed his world view, but it was a similar thing in that he "hated" the thing that he feared himself being.

There are many things that I don't like about being obese, but in some ways, gaining weight has been good for me. I don't hate myself these days and think that I'm more compassionate toward others. I'm definitely less selfish than I was when I was younger and don't care quite as much about being perfect. Yes, I want to lose weight for health purposes, but I don't think that thinner equals better. For a one-time anorexic, that's a big deal.

It's pretty ironic that it took me becoming obese to become my best self so far. Hopefully, I'll take everything that I've learned during this time and continue to be who I am as the pounds come off.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A More Intelligent Response

Yikes! After rereading my last post, I can see how ANGRY I was about the Marie Claire debacle. That's me -- I generally don't blow up at things, but when I do, I get really, really pissed and let it all out. That's the great thing about having this blog; I can let it out here and not take it out on some poor, unsuspecting person.

Anyway, before I attempt to craft a more intelligent response about that article, let me give a brief update on myself. Things are going pretty well here. I'm finding it easier to walk and have been working on my eating. My big thing this past week has been to eat more vegetables, so I've been maing a point to have veggies and fruits each day. For lunch, I've been ordering in salads with spinach, carrots, eggs, onions, olives and cheese --and then having low-fat dressing on the side. Last night, I went to Jackson Hole in the city with Karen and ordered the veggie burrito, which was filled with broccoli, peppers, mushrooms, black beans, avocado and potatoes. It was seriously one of the best burritos I've ever had -- I was ready to marry this thing! But I figured that if I can stick with this one goal -- to eat more veggies -- than I can get back into doing other things I'm supposed to be doing: more exercise, drinking more water, doing a better job counting Points; losing more weight. Yes, there have been a lot of stops and starts on this journey, and I imagine that for my 10 or so followers of this blog that this is frustrating to read about, but I am trying and I'd rather keep TRYING than just giving up. I've been making an honest effort of losing serious weight for the past 10 years -- with some successes and A LOT of setbacks -- but that's better than doing nothing. I really do want to lose the weight. It's definitely the hardest thing I've ever had to do, so far.

Which brings me back to Maura Kelly's article and why it upset me so much. While I don't disagree with her about obesity being unhealthy, I feel like when people comment about the state of overweight people that many -- Kelly for certain -- consider fat people to be "less than." That our obesity isn't just a health issue for us, that the very idea of us being fat means that we're lazy, undisciplined, slovenly, undeserving of love, gross ... fill in the blank. That she's so disgusted by the idea of fat people being intimate -- or by them merely WALKING ACROSS A ROOM -- is hurtful and humiliating. I mean, was everyone disgusted when I, who was a fat bride, kissed my husband at our wedding? Should I not kiss my husband in a public place because it's too yucky for the skinny folks out there? Should I just hide until I become thin enough for her because the mere act of me walking, EXISTING, grosses her out? THIS is why what she wrote about angered me so much.

There's also the idea that she and many others have, that fat people aren't allowed to be happy. Because we have this health condition, our happiness means that we're PROMOTING obesity -- and if, God forbid, a smiling "fatty" is shown on TV in some kind of venue other than a weight-loss program, it's "bad" because people will think that being overweight is a pleasurable state of mind and follow suit. That's ridiculous. Yes, I am overweight, but I am not defined by it. And, in a well-written show, neither are the characters. One of my favorite sitcoms ever, ROSEANNE, involved two overweight characters, Roseanne and Dan, but the show wasn't about their size (though it did come up from time to time). It was about a typical blue-collar couple raising their kids. MIKE & MOLLY isn't as good a show, but it's about a couple embarking in a new relationship. And fat people do have relationships. We kiss. We have sex. We walk. We LIVE. Some overweight people are content with being large, which is fine; it's their prerogative. I'm not thrilled with being fat, but in the meantime, I don't want to hide -- and I don't want to have to explain away my happiness by adding the addendum each time, "But don't be happy like me because being fat is bad, folks!"

What also angered me about her article were the simplistic diet tips that she added in the middle of it (to eat less and exercise more; no SHIT, Sherlock) with the patronizing all-caps, YOU CAN DO IT! Uh, that's nice ... er, I guess ... but let me debunk a myth about most fat people. We've tried. Most of us have tried losing weight over and over and over again. Most of us can probably write books on the subject. We KNOW the basics and have sometimes even done extreme things to lose weight, but because obesity is such a pyschological thing in addition to being physiological, it sometimes doesn't work out.

Many, unfortunately, still equate obesity with laziness, and have this idea that we sit around eating all day. For me, that's definitely not true. In the past few years, I've completed several long-distance walks, included that 20 miler, I recorded an album, I've done a lot of traveling and am now making jewelry. I always like to have some kind of project going on and am rarely just sitting around. And guess what? Even when I did the 20-miler, I was obese. But I trained for it and did it. Kelly may be disgusted with the idea of me, a fat person, walking, but I managed to drag my jiggly ass 20 miles around the city!

Which brings me to my final point in this very long post. You never know WHAT an obese person is going through at any particular moment. To a person who saw me sweating and limping on the day I did my long walk, they may have just thought that I was some "fatty" struggling to make my way around Manhattan. The overweight woman on the corner could be recovering from an injury or a thyroid problem, or some kind of personal trauma that led her to eat her emotions away. The fat guy in the store perhaps has already lost 100 pounds, but still has 150 to go -- but is still obese as he continues his journey. Again, YOU JUST NEVER KNOW.

That said, what the heck is wrong with celebrating the accomplishments of obese people? Showing fat people who are successful at finding good jobs or love? People of all shapes and sizes deserve to be happy and we deserve to be represented.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Walk A Mile In My Shoes

Sorry for the long period between posting. I was knocked out with a bad cold last weekend and had some long days this week.

Things are improving here, though. I've been using the BowFlex and all of a sudden, my walking has gotten easier. I don't know if it's because my muscles are healing or because the weather has been less humid, but my limp has become a lot less pronounced and I'm able to go for longer distances. The other day, I met up with friends to attend the Sound Of Music sing-along. The theater is about a mile from my office and I'd planned to take a cab, but my leg was feeling so good that I decided to walk it! It took me 45 minutes and I had to stop a few times, but I did it and got to the movie right on time. I love that I can now count my distance in miles instead of blocks. I'll be trilled when I can do a mile without stopping.

As for my eating, well, it's been weird. I haven't been eating much, but because of the cold, I've found myself dining on very small portions of strange things. The other night, for example, I have two slices of cheddar cheese and a half cup of low-fat frozen yogurt. Yesterday, I had a veggie omelet with salsa, but only ended up eating about half. Tonight, I met up with Karen and had sangria and three chicken fingers. So while my food hasn't been the healthiest, I definitely haven't been overeating. In fact, I don't have much of an appetite -- and I hope it stays that way (minus the congestion, of course).

Still, Karen and I made a pact tonight that we'd both start eating better and hold each other accountable (which is why I'm blogging about this, K). I'm going to the Jersey Shore this weekend, but the people we're staying with are health nuts so there will be plenty of fruits, veggies and grains around (all organic, natch). It'll be nice to walk in the ocean air, too. The weather is supposed to be cool, but not cold -- perfect for fall. I think that getting out of the city for a couple of days will do me good.

I'd like to start walking more, too, now that I'm feeling up to it. Tomorrow, I plan to walk the mile to the rental car place after work. Then I'm going to walk to a further bus stop or subway station. It's been so nice out that I'd like to take advantage of the weather, especially since I've been feeling so cooped up.

There are some days where I want to beat myself up for not being able to lose weight, for constantly sabotaging myself. Lately, though, I've been making a point to remind myself of the things I have accomplished: writing, music, singing, jewelry making. And now I can say that I'm once again able to walk a mile. That's something to be proud of.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Things Are Getting Better

I think it's pretty obvious from my last few posts that I've been depressed lately. I get this way sometimes and definitely think that it's weather-related. No longer having a window at work is adding to it because I barely see daylight. That said, I need to make a point to go outside for a few minutes each day, even if it's just to sit on the bench in front of my office building.

I've been making an effort to get back on plan after having so much food this weekend. So far, I'm doing pretty well. My biggest goal has been to eat more vegetables, so I've been finding ways to sneak them in. Today's lunch was half a mini thin-crust pizza with broccoli, spinach and tomato sauce and then for dinner, I had a half cup of aloo gobi, an Indian dish made with cauliflower, potatoes and tomatoes. I enjoyed both, got in some veggies and have to say that I'm already feeling a little less depressed.

I actually wasn't that hungry when I came home today. My new order of artistic wire arrived so I was eager to get to work on a necklace that I'd had an idea for. It's going to be made completely out of wire and is extremely intricate, so I spent hours making the various components -- and I'm not even halfway finished yet. But I got so involved that I almost forgot to eat! Finally, my stomach growled loudly so I made a point to stop and have some food. Wish I could forget to eat more often -- maybe the jewelry making hobby will be beneficial in more ways than one.

Even though my eating has improved, I know that I need to work on exercise. I was doing so well when I had PT and now I've been slacking off. Scott suggested to me that I plan ahead and say that I'm going to do the activity no matter what, so I'm going to plan to do 20 minutes on the BowFlex tomorrow. I want to start doing back exercises so I can strengthen that and stop having as much pain.

Speaking of which, when Scott and I were talking today, he wondered what my back pain feels like and why I can't just push through it. I'll try to describe it best I can. It's not like workout pain, where you're sore, but you can still make the movement. It kind of feels like someone is grabbing my back and twisting it downward so that all of my weight is on it. The longer I stand, the more it hurts and I end up standing at a weird angle with my stomach jutting out to shift the weight. My knees end up hurting, too, and it eventually reaches a point where I start to go numb from the pain. If I sit down, even for a minute, that helps. Then I'm able to stand or walk for another couple of blocks before I need to sit down again. But if I put weight on my back for too long, it's uncomfortable. I don't know if a brace would help, but I do know that losing weight does. Right now, I feel a little stuck because I want to move more, but I can't do much ... and I need to move in order to lose weight -- which will help me move more (did that make any sense?). That's why I like the BowFlex, because I can get in a good workout and keep the pressure off of my back. When my leg was broken, I'd also looked at some chair aerobics videos -- perhaps I should try one of those again, especially since I now have two legs to work with again.

I don't even care that much about what I look like anymore, but I do miss being able to do whatever I want. The other night when we were out, I was feeling envious of one of Scott's friends because the guy had so much energy. He kept getting up and dancing around and was obviously having a blast -- and I wished I could just move and have fun and go crazy like that. I even mentioned him to my counselor when I saw her this week.

Well, it turns out that the guy has lost over 100 pounds! That's pretty incredible, especially since he's even shorter than I am. Knowing this puts things into perspective; I'm now less envious of him and am looking to him more as an inspiration.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Out of Control

Despite my fears, thing went well last night at my friend's get together. I didn't drink much, as usual, but I still felt as if I were part of the conversation at dinner and we had fun hanging out at the piano bar. My friend Lani stayed over and I taught her how to make jewelry today; all in all, it was a nice weekend.

Unfortunately, my leg and back were really bothering me and my eating was less than stellar. Last night, I could barely walk a block without experiencing excruciating back pain. It hurt like hell when I walked and it even hurt when I was sitting. I hate to say it, but I found myself missing the wheelchair. When I was in the chair, I didn't have to deal with my back hurting; I could relax and enjoy the world around me, and I was pain free.

Of course, I want to be mobile, but I'm not really there yet as my world is still very small. That said, I did not walk the half mile from the restaurant to the bar last night and ended up taking a cab. Honestly, I didn't have a choice. At one point, I considered just going home so I wouldn't have to deal with moving, but I'm glad I stuck it out.

I know that I can't really use my leg as an excuse for my back pain anymore, and that my weight is the culprit. It's what caused the pain before I broke my leg and now I'm hurting again. And my eating's been crap lately. I've been having more and more carbs and I really overindulged today. Jon made a homemade dinner from a Spanish cookbook and served us chicken with safron sauce, almond soup and Spanish potatoes. Everything was delicious, but I kept having potatoes. I also ate almost the whole cake and had three glasses of orange juice.

I don't know what's wrong with me and why I keep sabotaging myself. I mean, it's just food. All I have to do is eat less of it and I'll lose weight, and my back pain will go away. But I can't seem to be able to stay on a plan; as soon as I start doing well, I fall apart. Even worse, I find it's like a vicious circle; when I start gaining weight, I want to move less, then I'm like, "Who cares?", feel depressed and eat more. I know it makes no sense, but that's sort of how I feel right now. I honestly wish I don't have to move again and that I can just stay in bed -- or that I can take pills that put me to sleep until I lose enough weight so that my back pain goes away. It's easy for people who are not in my situation to say I'm lazy, but it's not laziness that's stopping me; it's the fact that when I walk more than a few feet or stand for more than about five minutes, I feel as if someone is sticking a knife in my back. It's hard to find the motivation to walk or exercise when your whole body hurts. I've done hard workouts before where my muscles ached, but it was a "good" pain -- it let me know that I'd done a good job. This is different, where it's keeping me from functioning.

I'm going to try to eat better tomorrow and see if I can knock some more pounds off. I wish that just 20 or so would magically disappear, just so that I can walk comfortably and find the energy to do other things. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen, so I'm going to have to deal with another week of commuting and walking and standing while waiting for the bus ... and yet more back pain. I can't stand this.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Future Plans

This Thursday, I saw my orthopedist for the last time! He says that my bone is 100 percent healed, and now all I have to do is continue to build muscle. This was good news.

Still, in a way, this makes me nervous. For the past few months, I've been able to blame my not being very active on my leg. When I could only walk a block and had to stop, it was because my leg was weak. I took a lot of cabs, even to go short distances, because again, had to watch my leg.

Now I have fewer excuses. Last night, for example, I went out with Jon and my parents for dinner. We walked to a restaurant that was four blocks from their apartment and I managed to do it without stopping -- but my back was KILLING me. Ordinarily, I would've stopped to sit once or twice, but I was embarrassed, so I forced myself to keep going ... and I ended up being in pain. I don't know if it's because my leg is still a bit weak (I still have a limp) or because my weight is causing my back to hurt, as it did in the past. Or maybe it's both. I don't know, but I felt pathetic that walking just four blocks at once was so damn hard. My dad reminded me how only a couple of months ago, I could barely make it to the front door without having to stop, so I guess I have improved. But I feel like I'm about at the same level as I was before I broke my leg, where I could walk a few blocks and then had to stop because of my back. I was hoping to surpass that with all of the physical therapy, but I have a ways to go.

Tonight, I have my biggest challenge to date since I broke my leg; we're meeting friends at a restaurant for dinner and are then going to a nearby piano bar. They're .41 miles apart -- not far for the average person, but far for me, and I'm anxious about doing the walk. Jon says that we'll take as long as we have to and that he'll make sure I get a seat at the bar.

I'll admit, I'm also kind of anxious about the party itself. I don't know why exactly, but I've been in a bad mood since I woke up this morning. I slept well, the sun is out, I'm going to be seeing friends ... I SHOULD be feeling okay, but I'm not.

I think some of it is due to fearing that I'm going to feel like an outsider. I've hung out with this crowd before and don't feel as if we have much in common. These friends of my friend are lovely people -- all very nice -- but for starters, many of them know each other through a hiking organization and see each other on a regular basis. So when I show up, it's like, "Oh, hi, Mrs. Thighs, great to see you!" but then they have their in-jokes and stories about trips that they've taken together that no matter how many questions I ask, I can't really be a part of. Then there's the fact that many of them like to drink heavily. There's no moral judgment on my part, but I'm not a heavy drinker. I've tried. I drank in college and after two or three drinks, I'd be sick to my stomach. My dad can't drink, either, so I guess it's a genetic thing. But I like to have one or two drinks, tops, and that's it ... and they all like to get drunk. So I feel like a party pooper or that everyone thinks I'm boring or something.

I guess it's not good to worry about stuff that hasn't happened yet. I'm going to shower and clean the bathroom, and maybe make some jewelry. This way, I can get these bad thoughts out of my head...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Full Of &*%$

When I first started this blog, I made a promise to myself that I would be honest about having any major slip-ups, so here goes: I did not do so well with my eating this weekend. I'm not sure why -- maybe because my mom angered me or because I have PMS, or hell, maybe I've just been hungry -- but I ate a lot of junk that I shouldn't have.

Yesterday, was the worst. We went to see The Social Network (which was a fantastic movie, but I digress) and I got Reese's Pieces at the candy counter. Truthfully, I wasn't even that hungry at the time, but it was a long movie and I felt like doing *something* other than just sitting there for 2 1/2 hours.

We then went to one of our favorite restaurants, Santa Fe, which is a Tex Mex place. Usually, I get the veggie fajitas, but this time, I ordered the veggie burrito. What's the difference? The burrito has cheese and sauce on it, and comes with beans, while the fajitas are a lot more plain. After, Jon and I shared their huge cookie sundae.

By the time, we left, I had a bad stomach ache and even worse, I didn't sleep well last night. I awoke in the middle of the night to one of my sleep apnea episodes -- and I haven't had one of those in MONTHS. If there was anything telling me to get the hell back on track, it was that.

Still, I've been forcing myself to find some good in all this. For starters, there were only three servings of candy in the bag I got at the movies. Not great, but not the end of the world, either. It wasn't like I ate one of those one-pound bags of M&Ms (which I probably could finish, if I really wanted). As for dinner, no, the burrito was not the healthiest choice, but it wasn't entirely UNHEALTHY, either: it was stuffed with zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms and tomatoes, so I was getting some vegetables into my meal. And no, ordering a sundae was not smart, either, but together, Jon and I only ate about a third and he points out that I mostly had the whipped cream.

The good news is, I got back on track today. My in-laws surprised us with a visit to the city and took us out to lunch. But we went to a diner so I was able to get a Spanish omelet, filled with tomatoes, peppers, onions and carrots. I then had a small dinner of cheese, fruit and a roll with low-fat cream cheese. We did some walking today when we went out, so I got some exercise and I spent the rest of my day making jewelry. I brushed my teeth early so that I'd force myself to stop eating around 7 p.m.

I guess all I can do is learn from my mistakes and plan better the next time we go out. Instead of getting candy at the movie counter (which is expensive, anyway), I'll bring some mints or string cheese to nosh on. And when we go out, I'll allow myself ONE indulgence; if I'm going to order something that's pretty fattening like a burrito covered in cheese, I won't get dessert -- even if it's shared. If I'm craving a dessert, I'll stick with a lower-fat dinner option. This way, I won't feel like I'm depriving myself, but won't go overboard, either.

I can't turn back time and fix yesterday, but I can "fix" tomorrow, and am already anticipating what I'll do to take care of myself. I'm hardly the first person -- fat OR thin -- to have a not-so-healthy eating day. All I can do is try again tomorrow.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Annoying Conversations

I've written at length about how glad I am that my relationship with my parents seemed to improve so much during my recovery. Well, today there was a minor backslide.

A few months ago, my mom asked if I'd see a different endicronologist. I said I would when I was done dealing with doctors, and that it would probably be in October. She was all excited because she basically believes that an endo is a "magic fat doctor." She's certain that he or she will be able to give me a pill that will magically "cure" whatever is making me fat and that I'll be thin! Yippy skippy! Of course, I could have thyroid problems, but this has never come up in tests, including the two very thorough blood tests that I had back in April. I'm fat because I ate too much for years and years, and have a fucked up metabolism from a lifetime of eating disorders. Yes, I do want to get checked out -- that's important, I agree -- but not with the *hope* that there's actually something wrong with me. If I have a thyroid condition, okay, I'll take the ncessary meds to fix it. But more likely than not, I don't and my mom is just going to have to accept that.

ANYWAY; my mom and I were chatting for a while and then she asks if I'm going to see an endo. I said that I would, but first I have two more doctors appointments this month. Plus, I JUST finished PT last week. I want a break! I missed four months of work; I can't keep taking time out to see doctors. I think it's perfectly reasonable to want a month off.

But she kept going on, "It's October now, I thought you were going to see someone," blah, blah, blah, STFU! I realize that most of you probably think I'm overreacting to a simple question, especially since she obviously means well, but you have to understand our history. We've both said very hurtful things to each other in the war over my weight and I'd just prefer that my parents stay out of it. I don't
want to go back to that period in college where I was afraid to come home during breaks for fear that I'd get a lecture, nor do I want to return to that place where I'm afraid to be with my parents alone and sans a buffer (usually my husband). I liked that we could spend time together for the past few months, have nice conversations and that I didn't have to worry about a lecture approaching. Now I feel as if we're going backwards and this is going to start again. Her nagging me on October-freakin-1st because I gave a vague date of October for a doctor's appt is a bad sign.

For the record, I'm not in denial. I know I have serious weight issues that could turn into serious health issues. But I'm 36 years old and think that I've earned the right to fight my own battles -- and if I don't want parental involvement, they need to respect that, ESPECIALLY my mom. Let's hope that this small setback doesn't turn into something bigger...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Productive Day

I've had an incredibly busy week at work, but what's funny is that the more I get done, the more I feel like doing.

That's how I felt today. After working non-stop on writing assignments all day, I was anxious to get home and relax. But once I got home, I felt like doing the BowFlex, so I did 20 minutes on that while watching GLEE. I got in a good workout and was surprised to learn that I could do the leg exercises with the 30 pound rods! I was tempted to try 50 pounds, but didn't want to overdo it. Still, this is great news that my leg has gotten so strong.

After, I completed my PT stretches with a resistance band and then spent the next two hours working on jewelry designs. I feel like I got a lot accomplished tonight and save for when I ate dinner, none of the other activities had anything to do with food.

I'm getting a bit frustrated because my weight loss has definitely slowed down. When I began standing and walking again after being off of my feet for so many weeks, the weight practically melted off of me. My body was in such shock from merely moving that I dropped pounds more quickly than I ever have before. But now that I'm more or less back to normal, that shock value is gone. I know that I have to amp it up.

I'm still not up to walking long distances, but I'm now taking the bus both way, which means that I'm getting in about 30 minutes of walking just traveling around the city. I've been doing the BowFlex again so that I can build muscle and get a full body workout. I like to do a circuit and move from one exercise to another so that I can raise my heart rate. I actually did manage to break a bit of a sweat this evening. I'm also doing my PT routine, which involves stretches and those standing leg exercises. Frankly, I don't feel as if I'm getting much out of those anymore; the resistance band feels like a toy compared to the BowFlex leg exercises and I can breeze through the standing leg routine with almost no effort. Still, they instructed me to do these things at least every other day, so I'll continue doing them until I'm told to stop.

I'd like to find some more low-impact, easy exercises to do while my leg continues to recover. Does anyone have ideas? I'm thinking that we should get an exercise bike, but I'm open to other suggestions.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bad Idea

For the past week, I've been trying to cut out more carbs. I usually like to have some kind of bread for breakfast, but I've been skipping it. In the end, though, this turned out to be not such a great idea because yesterday, I ended up craving bread like you wouldn't believe.

In the morning, I ate my food too early so that I was finished with my cheese and fruit by about noon. So by about 3 p.m., I was STARVING and ended up getting cheese-filled crackers from the vending machine. They weren't the worst choice, but they were salty and not even that filling.

Jon and I then made plans to go to the movies last night (saw Easy A, which is really cute, by the way) and I arrived an hour early. Again, I was really hungry, so I got a sesame roll and pork bun from the Chinese bakery that's next door to the theater. Both items were YUMMMMMMY, but neither remotely resembled anything healthy.

As I've mentioned before, I traveled a lot as a kid because my parents were teachers and had summers off. We went to China in 1985, when I was 11. My favorite meal was always breakfast because they served all kinds of buns and rolls stuffed with meat or beans, but after I'd had one or two, my parents would always remind me, "That's enough! You've had enough!" But my love for Chinese baked goods has remained, so I guess if I were going to blow Weight Watchers POINTS on something, at least it was worth it! Plus, I wasn't eating because I was upset or stressed, and I didn't binge; I took about 40 minutes to finish the meal. I was eating because I wanted to enjoy something delicious that I don't have too often.

I don't intend to make this an everyday thing, though. When I got home, I journaled all of my food and assessed the "damage" -- and it wasn't THAT bad. I did a lot of walking yesterday and took a lot of stairs, so I did get in exercise. I actually walked all the way to the subway and took it myself! Plus, I don't go to that bakery all the time, maybe three times a year at most. I have to remind myself that I am entitled to have treats once in a while, as long as I keep it in moderation.

But I am going to go back to having some bread at breakfast so that I don't end up getting hungry. My previous plan was working so I don't know why I saw to change it. I do think I'll bring in some more things to nosh on, like baby carrots.

Meanwhile, I'm just going to eat today as if nothing happened yesterday. I'm not going to subtract meals to make up for overindulging a little bit. I had a roll for breakfast and am having some cheese and fruit for lunch (we have about a billion apples in the house). Later, I'll do the BowFlex and my physical therapy exercises, which I now have to do on my own. All I can do is continue to move forward.

On a separate note, there was this woman on the subway who was easily twice MY size -- and who was wearing this little tank top and short shirt. Normally, I'd be like, "Uh, honey, we have to hide those rolls of fat and jiggly arms," but somehow she managed to pull it off. Her tank top was a sparkly silver and she had matching sparkly sandals. She was also wearing shimmery makeup and definitely looked as if she were heading out to a club or a party. I don't know how she managed to look decent in an outfit that should've been so wrong for her size. I guess confidence really does go a long way, huh?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Last Day

I've reached yet another milestone in my weight loss/broken leg journey. Today was my last day of physical therapy. I've been looking forward to this, but I was surprised at how choked up I got when I told everyone good-bye. Everyone was nice there and they really did help me. They were also sad to see me go because I worked hard.

Now it's up to me to get in shape on my own, and I still have a loooong way to go. The therapist gave me some resistance bands and assigned some exercises for me, which I'll do, but my main goal is to continue with my walking. I am definitely getting better and can walk for longer distances now, but my ankle still starts to ache if I go for too long and I still walk slowly. When I was walking to the bus stop this evening, I tried to force myself to walk more quickly, but the limp is still there. The doctor warned that it'll be there for a while and I just have to keep working through it. At least there's movement in my ankle now. When I first started PT, I could barely rotate it, but now it's almost back to normal. Whenever it gets humid, though, my whole foot starts to swell. Yuck.

As for my eating, I've been doing well this week. Things have calmed down here and I've managed to sleep for the past two nights. I hope that they stay that way and the psycho neighbor who physically attacked my husband will remain out of our lives. But as I said in my last post, I haven't binged! Instead, I've been trying to keep calm by talking to friends and making jewelry. I've been working on constructing wire rings, which is proving to be really difficult. But it's taken my mind off of the recent events. Sometimes things happen in your life where you have no idea how in the hell you ended up in that situation. This is definitely one of those times. That said, I'm happy to be back to my usual routine life.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


After having such a great weekend, I'm sorry to say that my week is sucking so far. Basically, we're at war with our downstairs neighbor. I partially blame my husband for not handling things well and mostly blame this woman for being completely psycho. But let's just say that for the past two nights, we've been up to about 4 a.m. dealing with her and the cops. It's not pretty. My friend suggested to me that I try to make amends and give her a plant, but when we tried to be civil toward her, she flipped out.

Being non-confrontational and a pacifist, I don't really know how to handle this. I was so stressed out last night that I was hysterically crying and ended up vomiting all over the floor. Now that it's getting on 10 p.m. here, my stomach is tying in knots again. I'm seriously afraid of it being late at night. On my way home, I kept looking out at the apartment buildings that the bus passed, wishing that I lived in any of them over our current place. I suggested to Jon that we stay in a hotel for a few nights until everything blows over, but he said that if we do that, we're letting her win. A friend has offered to let me stay at her place, but much as I appreciate it, she has to work too, and I don't want to be intrusive. I just want to get some sleep without this person bothering us in the middle of the night. That's it -- that's all I ask; that I get back to my routine so I can function.

I'm not a very religious person, but I'm beginning to regret going apple picking on Yom Kippur. Perhaps this is a sign that we should've stayed home and done the fast. I'm thinking of fasting this weekend to make up for it and see if I can get my world back on track. I know that might sound crazy, but I feel like I have to do *something* because right now everything feels very out of control.

The good news is, I haven't binged. I'm seriously considering packing a bag and hopping on a plane so I can literally just escape somewhere, but I haven't overeaten in the process. Go me?

I guess I'm going to have to try to sleep soon, but it'll be with one eye open since I'm fearing that we'll have yet another midnight "adventure." I really hope that things are just normal tonight. I'm a good person and don't deserve having to put up with this. I don't want to have problems with a crazy neighbor. All I want is for everyone to get along and to leave me the hell out of their issues.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

An Apple A Day...

After enduring a crazy week -- which included a freakin' TORNADO that touched down in my NYC neighborhood -- I'm having a really good weekend so far. I made a few more pieces of jewelry, saw some friends, and this morning, a bunch of us went apple picking upstate.

It's been rather rainy all week (even without the tornado), but today was perfect. The sun was shining, it was about 70 degrees and there was a light breeze. It felt really good to get out of the city and enjoy the fresh air.

We first stopped at a farmer's market and picked up some cheese and vegetables. They sold pies, donuts and fudge, but I abstained (though I did have a bite of my friend's donut and chocolate). After, we went to the nearby orchard to pick our apples. Though I'm moving pretty well these days, I brought the walker with me because the terrain was so uneven; even though it was difficult for me to walk through the trees and actually pick the apples, I still had a great time. I just enjoyed breathing in the scent of the fruit and people watching as happy families and kids went about plucking apples from the trees. Apples aren't my favorite fruit, but I sampled a couple and discovered that I like them much more than I remember! Maybe because I've developed more of a taste for fresh fruit and vegetables, I've become appreciative of the sweet, tart crunchiness of apples. But it just felt really good to have that nice, juicy fruit while relaxing in the sunshine.

After, we went into Goshen and had a late lunch/early dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant. Since the weather was so beautiful, we sat outside and continued to relish the clean air. I've been trying to eat less pasta, so I had chicken with vegetables and potatoes. The food was amazing and we all cleaned our plates. We then drove home, laughing and singing the whole time. All in all, it was a very nice day.

In other news, this upcoming week of physical therapy is going to be my last. I met with the doctor in charge of the place and he said that I'm doing well enough that I can start working out at home. But he added that in order to continue losing weight, I should really take things to the next level and do more than just walk, so I'm going to start using the BowFlex again. I was glad I got to walk some more hills today because I still need practice with that; I'd also like to look into getting a stationary bike or elliptical. I still think that you can get a great workout from walking, but I know that it's best to mix it up.

Right now, my biggest goal at the moment is to get in decent shape by February because my friends and I are talking about going to Greece! How awesome will that be? If that's not motivation, I don't know what is. Meantime, I'm looking forward to taking more day trips and small vacations. I still have a long way to go with my weight loss, but I'm loving the extra energy that I'm already getting!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Thoughts About Life And Death

I received some sad news today. The daughter of my parents' friends died over the weekend after battling pancreatic and liver cancer for almost a year. She was only 32.

Just to clarify, she and I didn't really know each other. We met maybe three times over the course of her life. However, I do know and like her parents who have been good friends to my folks. I can't imagine what they're going through right now, especially since the mom's sister died in a plane crash not too long ago. Their lives were already filled with tragedy and now this.

This makes me wonder how much of our longevity is really tied to our lifestyle and how much is dependent on luck. The young woman who died was a health nut. She lived on an eco commune where she built houses and harvested vegetables. She ate organic food, recycled and stayed away from chemicals; even when she was diagnosed with cancer, she was very hesitant about going on chemo (and then went off it for a while). And yet her body rebelled against her and she died way too young.

Meanwhile, my grandmother will be 94 in a few weeks (knock on wood) and is hardly an example of someone who's into healthy living. She eats diner food every day, usually pork chops or fried fish. When she was younger, she smoked. Whenever I used to visit her she'd serve these salmon croquettes that were so fried that they were no longer fish. And yet she's always been tall and thin and somehow grew old maintaining all of her mental faculties and staying in reasonably good health. At her age, she can suddenly become ill or drop dead tomorrow, but even if she does, she still would've lived a long, healthy life -- despite the fact that she never really took care of herself.

Same goes for my late grandfather, who lived to be 98 1/2. He did not take care of himself either. He grew up in Russia, so his nutrition was poor (not that this was his fault) and smoked cigars as an adult. And he almost died several times. When he was 67, his heart and lungs stopped and he was pronounced dead -- and they freakin revived him! Then when he was 90, he was hospitalized with pneumonia and dropped down to 75 pounds ... and recovered and went on to live for almost another decade. He, too, had all of his wits about him and was able to walk until his last year of life when he had to have his leg amputated. I'm willing to bet that had he kept his leg and his spirits, he'd STILL be alive at 110. Yet he was another person who was most definitely not a health nut. I don't get it.

I suppose all we can try to do, though, is attempt to beat the odds. Anyone can get liver cancer, but if you drink a dozen beers every day, you'll probably increase your chances of having liver disease. Same goes with lung cancer; if you don't smoke, you can still get it, but inhaling pack after pack of cigarettes increases the risk. This goes for being overweight, too. I'm lucky because I have good genes on both sides of my family in terms of longevity, but being obese could shorten my life.

I don't know if we'll ever truly know why some people live longer than others when it seems as if the odds are against them. I guess I just have to do the best I can.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mental Weight

I absolutely hate when something stressful is weighing on my mind. Dont you? In my case, it's nothing THAT bad -- it's that assignment from work that I have to get done where the source hasn't yet gotten back to me -- and I am NOT looking forward to dealing with the editor in charge of the section. I hate feeling irresponsible, especially when I have no control over the situation. Work has been pretty good, but this one, stupid assignment is making my stomach hurt.

I'm still trying to work on dealing with stress. I KNOW that people have worse things to deal with -- illnesses, divorce, financial problems, horrible bosses -- the list goes on and on. But as much as I logically try to remind myself of this and work the problem out, it's haunting me. It'll pass. By next week, everything will be over and it'll have been completed or not, and that will be it, but for now, I wish it would go away.

I'm not sure if I'll every fully conquer stress. Some people just don't care about stuff -- not in a bad way; I mean, they care about their loved ones and the environment and all of that -- but some people just don't let anything get to them and can compartmentalize their home life and work. I've never been able to do that. I'm a perfectionist by nature and I care a great deal what people think of me. I like doing a good job at things anf take pride in it. So when something makes me screw up at work, I feel terrible about it.

On the upside, I am learning to deal with stress differently, and have not been bingeing. At PT on Friday, I really put everything into my workout and felt good afterward. That night, I met up with Karen for dinner and we had a nice talk. And then, I've been working on my jewelry. It's still a new hobby, but I like doing something where I get to be creative and have to concentrate really hard to get the work done. That's the best way to forget about things!

At the risk of sounding conceited, I have to say, I'm pretty good at making jewelry. So far, I've taught myself how to string beads and add crimps and clasps, and how to do basic wire work. I really like the wire work because you can design your own pendants, chains, etc. It's extremely creative and labor intensive, so you feel good when a project is completed. I made a necklace for Karen, which she loved, and made one for my mom; I've also promised a bunch of friends and family that I'd design jewelry for them. It feels good to be doing something that people appreciate and makes them happy. To bring it back to food, overeating might give me a temporary high, but it's not the same kind of pleasure you get when you give someone you love an everlasting gift that you made from the heart.

Right now, I'm going to work on some more of my creations and try to put my work problems behind me -- and count my blessings that my problems are as mundane as they are. As my mother-in-law always says, "This too shall pass."

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I always get a little nervous and depressed on September 11 and probably will continue to do so for years to come.

I was in the city on the day that the Towers were hit and was very lucky; I wasn't hurt, nor were any of my friends or loved ones. Still, it was a frightening experience. At the time Jon was still in the National Guard so he was called up to do some clean-up around the city. I wasn't sure if he was going to be sent overseas eventually, and was very depressed. Thankfully he was never sent anywhere and his tenure ended in 2002. Still, I know many others who weren't so lucky and had family members sent to the Middle East.

It's days like this that I need to remember how fortunate I am to have my friends, family and health -- and that I need to continue taking care of myself. I came home alive from the city that day when many did not.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy New Year

No, it's not January yet, but for Jews it's Rosh Hoshana, the Jewish New Year. I'm not a particularly observant Jew, but I still like the idea of having a new year ahead of me. It's a time to reflect on what I'm hoping for in the future.

Right now, continuing to lose weight and get in shape is still my main goal, but I have other things I want to work on, as well. Dealing with stress is definitely one of them, as I haven't quite conquered that. Take this afternoon, for instance. I'm late on another assignment at work because yet another source didn't get back to me on time and the editor in charge of the section was bugging me a little about it. It's not that big a deal because this has happened to all of us, but I became so upset -- like to the point where my stomach hurt. The good news is, I didn't binge; instead, I gave myself a pep talk and reminded myself that I always do my best an am usually early with assignments. But I know that my initial reaction didn't have to be so extreme. Everyone has to deal with demanding or annoying co-workers and I can't let it ruin my life and health.

My other big goal, which is more positive, is to work on my jewelry. I made four necklaces this week and they came out pretty well! I've gotten the hang of beading, but I really want to learn wire and metal work. I love being creative and working with my hands, so this is a goal that I look forward to accomplishing.

Other than that, things are decent on my end. I had a good session at PT today and the therapist says that my balance is really improving. In a few weeks, I should be able to stand on one leg without holding on -- and if all else goes well, I'll be wearing some fine jewelry pieces while I do so!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Home, Sweet Home

We're back home after enjoying three great days at the jazz festival. We heard a lot of wonderful music, spent a lot of time in the fresh air and at least I got a lot of exercise. I'm feeling pretty tired after walking up and down hills for the past few days, but I'm glad that I was able to do it. I still have a long way to go until I'm in any sort of shape to even do things like casually walk around the city for a length of time, but it was nice to be able to go away and do something fun without too much hassle.

I was hardly the only person there with a walker. In fact, there were dozens of people with wheelchairs and walkers, of all different ages. I guess I'm noticing them more now that I've been in that situation. There was also this one guy with crutches who was "crutching" up and down the hills with seemingly little effort. I don't how in the hell he was able to do that, but I give him a lot of credit!

My eating wasn't the best this weekend, but I stayed within my points and held it together. During the performances, we snacked on cheese, crackers, fruit and water, and then for dinner last night, I had a personal sized thin crust veggie pizza. It was so good! No disrespect to those of you from Chicago, but I'm not a big fan of deep dish pizza. I like my crust to be very thin and crispy and this pizza's crust was almost as thin as a cracker. Perfect! Jon and I then split a piece of cake, but I worked it off by walking up and down the hills for the evening performances.

One thing I noticed about even the small amount of weight I've lost is that I have less "insulation" against the cold. In the past, I could get away with wearing my lttle denim jacket in chilly weather and basically wouldn't switch to my winter coat until it got to be about 35 degrees F. But at night in the Berkshires, it dipped down to the mid-40s (F) and I was FREEZING! The first night of performances (we had a lawn pass so we were outside for all of them), I had my hands stuffed in my jacket pocket and was shivering the entire time. Last night, we brought a blanket, but it still didn't help much. I suppose that out of all the problems to have, this isn't a bad one, but seriously, how do you skinny people guard yourself against the weather? It seems that my days of being able to go out with just a jacket are over; now I'm going to have to layer up.

All in all, though, it was a great, albeit too short, vacation. I've missed traveling and really enjoyed getting away for a few days. Now that I'm walking a lot more, I'm looking forward to taking other mini-vactions and making the best of this fall.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Greetings From Tanglewood!

Since I have Monday off for Labor Day, Jon and I decided to enjoy the three-day weekend up in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. Each summer, there is a musical festival there called Tanglewood and for the last weekend of the season, they're having a jazz fest. We purchased all-day lawn passes for today and tomorrow so this afternoon and evening, we saw concerts, and then tomorrow we'll see two more. Save for some showers, the weather is beautiful; so far the performances have been terrific; and we're having a wonderful time. We haven't gone away since before I broke my leg, so it's great to be on vacation -- even if it's only for a few days.

Before I left, I made a deal with myself that I'd enjoy some good food, but not go crazy just because I'm on vacation. So far, I'm doing pretty well. Last night, we had dinner at an Armenian restaurant, which was designed to look as if you were in someone's living room and served equally homey food. We shared the appetizer platter which came with falafel, hummus, olives and pickled vegetables. I then had the chicken breast with cucumbers, olives and couscous -- and ate about half. They also had some great desserts, so Jon and I split the chocolate-orange cake.

Today we woke up so late, we didn't even bother to have breakfast. Instead, we stopped at a cheese and wine shop and purchased cheese, crackers and fruit to dine on while we watched the afternoon concert. Then for dinner, we went to a Malaysian place. I was very tempted to get a curry dish, but those are really fattening and not so healthy. Instead, I got an interesting salad with potatoes and eggs and then got a stir-fried veggie dish as my main. Both were delicious!

As for exercise, I've been doing plenty of walking. Tanglewood has a fairly large campus, so we parked about a 15-minute walk from the concert hall. It's also very hilly here (we are in the mountains), so I had to deal with a lot of uneven and steep terrain. I've been using the walker to get over the hills and have done pretty well. At the parking lot, they offered me a ride to the hall in a gold cart, but I turned them down. I still can't walk a great distance without having to stop, but I'm able to walk for a lot longer in between rests. I was a bit nervous beforehand about walking up and down the hills and grass and rocks, but it hasn't been too bad. Honestly, I'm not sure I would've been able to do it even two weeks ago, so I'm definitely getting stronger. I still have a limp, but it almost disappears when I use the walker.

Even though I'm not 100 percent physically, I'm still glad that we came up here and that I'm at least able to do some stuff. As I said before, we've seen some lovely scenery and great performances. We also saw a TRIPLE rainbow! On our way to the evening concert, this magnificent rainbow suddenly appeared, stretching all the way across the sky. We stood watching it for a while until it finally started to get dark and it disappeared. But it was INCREDIBLE! I'm taking it as a sign that more good things are on the way.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Secret Sundaes

When I was younger, I used to take private music lessons twice a week: one day for flute and then one day for tenor sax. Because I didn't get my driver's license until I was 19, my dad drove me all throughout high school.

My mom and I didn't get along so well when I was a teen so I enjoyed getting out of the house with my dad -- especially since we came up with a little ritual surrounding my lessons. After each lesson, we'd stop at the nearby Roy Rogers or Friendly's and get a small dish of ice cream. My dad always asked them to put the fudge in first ("So I get more," he explained). We'd then sit for a while and chat about whatever. And it was our secret that neither of us ever told my mom. As I've said many times in this blog, I was stick thin in high school, but my mom still didn't want me eating junk food. I don't know if my dad has ever 'fessed up to her about our ice cream runs, but she'd probably cite that as being the reason I became fat as an adult.

It's not like my mom never allowed me to have ice cream, though. Whenever I got a good report card or had a concert, we'd celebrate by going to Friendly's. Since this was a special occasion, I'd treat myself to the biggest sundae that was on the menu, the Jim Dandy. This monster was made up of five huge scoops of ice cream, plus fudge, caramel, peanut butter and fruit toppings. They would then pile about a foot of whipped cream on top and, of course, finish it off with a cherry. Somehow, I managed to eat the entire fucking thing. Eventually, I switched over to a dish of plain frozen yogurt, but until the time I was about 14, I could wolf down one of these gigantic sundaes that was meant for three people.

But once I started to gain weight in college, my dad stopped taking me for ice cream. We did stop at a McDonald's one time while I was home for winter break, but he wouldn't let me get a sundae even though he bought one. Instead, I sipped on a Diet Coke. I remember feeling really sad, not because I really wanted the ice cream -- it wasn't THAT good -- but because I felt like such a disappointment. I doubt my dad even remembers this day, but I can recall it very clearly.

Fast forward to the other day when I was visiting my friend Michele out on Long Island. She asked where I'd like to go for dinner and listed some nearby places -- and Friendly's was one of them. Of course I wanted to go! I hadn't been to a Friendly's in about 10 years, but still associate the restaurant with some great memories and accomplishments. When I told this to my friend, she laughed and said, "Well, I guess you got a good report card today!"

Still, I planned to get something reasonably healthy for dinner. Yet when I looked over the menu, there weren't many options; almost everything was fried or covered in cheese, save for some boring-sounding salads. I finally settled on a Buffalo chicken wrap and ate half. It was mediocre at best.

When we were done, though, Michele got a gleam in her eye. "Are you going to get ice cream?" she wondered. I thought for a moment. "Only if we share something," I replied. We then looked over the menu and chose the brownie sundae, which looked to be pretty small, at least in the picture.

Soon the waiter arrived with our dessert ... and it was HUGE. There were two brownies, five scoops of ice cream, whipped cream, fudge and nuts. It was ridiculous. I made a deal with myself, though; I'd take four or five bites. This way, I could enjoy it, but not go overboard.

I then tried it ... and you know what? It wasn't that special. I mean, it was GOOD, don't get me wrong, but it didn't blow me away. If anything, it was too sweet and the ice cream was kind of a let-down after eating homemade flavors or even brands like Ben & Jerry's. I then realized that my nostalgia for Friendly's or those ice cream runs had less to do with the food and more to do with how I was feeling at the time. Knowing that my parents were proud of me made me happy. It also made me happy to spend that time with my dad.

It's interesting how often our liking for certain foods has little to do with taste and more to do with our emotions. How many of us crave particular things during the holidays because they make us think of our childhoods or of a certain event? I think that this is part of what makes food so enjoyable -- that it represents families, cultures and even eras in history. But sometimes you need to step back and see it for what it really is: food. End of story.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's All Greek To Me

For some reason this weekend, I was really hungry -- and not just emotionally hungry; my stomach was growling and I felt light headed. Fortunately, I didn't go too crazy. I had some chocolate cake, but I journaled every bite. And tonight I went out for Greek food with a friend.

Many nutritionists recommend the "Mediterranean diet" because the countries in that area tend to rely on simple, but fresh and tasty foods. Our meal tonight definitely illustrated this. I had a combo kebab with grilled chicken and lamb chunks, beans, roasted potatoes and lemon rice; a Greek salad with balsamic vinegar and two small cubes of feta cheese (some places go completely overboard with the feta; and some hummus. I ended up leaving over the side dishes -- the potatoes, rice and beans -- and had only about half the meat. My friend and I then shared baklava for dessert, but between the two of us, we didn't even eat half. We each took about two bites and that was enough; I then brought my leftovers home to Jon and he finished them.

I feel as if I'm getting much better at this whole "eat when I'm actually hungry" thing. I'm not feeling a need to wolf down my food simply because I ordered it or it's in front of me. I'm okay with taking a few bites to get the taste and then saving the rest for later.

My walking is continuing to improve, as well. It's still not great, but I can walk about two blocks without the walker before I need to stop for a rest. I know that soon enough it will be four blocks and then eventually a mile. I'm still trying to find that balance between working out and not overdoing it. If I do too much, my ankle swells up and yells at me to stop.

Meantime, my jewelry making supplies arrived! I'm very excited, though I still have to order some stuff before I can officially start making items. But I've been watching a whole bunch of instructional items online and am very anxious to get started. It'll be good to try a new hobby that's challenging and different from what I usually do for fun (writing and music). I like the idea of being able to express myself in another venue. Plus, I'll be able to make some cool gifts for the holidays.

It's amazing how good it can feel to have a project in the works and something to look forward to. For once, I don't even care if I'm any good at it -- I'm just happy to be learning something new. Maybe this is really a way that I can overcome my eating disorder; to fill my life up with things like hobbies, interests, friends and love. As cheesy as that sounds, no amount of food can make up for that.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Finding My Balance

At PT, there's this one therapist -- let's just call her "Jenny" -- whom I've nicknamed "Clueless Jenny" because she never seems to know what she's doing. She gives the best foot massages out of everyone there, but other than that, she seems to be off in her own world. She'd always ask ME where to put the electrodes when she placed a hot pack on my foot and just kind of let me do my exercises on my own with little input. She was always really sweet, so I just sort of shook my head and did my routine.

Well, this morning, all of a sudden Clueless Jenny turned into Drill Sergeant Jenny! I don't know where in the hell this came from, but she had this whole routine planned for me that was really, really hard.

First, I did 10 minutes on the treadmill (at 1.5 mph and an elevation of Level 3, thank you very much) and then 10 minutes on the bike. She then had me do a series of balance and gait exercises where I had to step over, through and around small cones. The exercises themselves weren't too bad (though I felt a bit wobbly when she had me do a side step), but the repetitiveness got to me, especially when I had to do figure eights around the obstacles. I was getting dizzy! My balance and equilibrium are still off, so I was seriously getting nauseous from walking and stepping in circles over and over again. I kind of liked stomping over the little cones, though -- it made me feel like Godzilla.

Once I mastered the cones, she placed these things on the floor that looked like file folders -- that were slightly higher than the cones -- and I had to step over, through and around those. By the time I finished with that, I was dripping with sweat! I figured that I was done for the day at this point, but Jenny had one more set of exercises planned for me. I had to stand and raise one leg -- and then balance using no hands. Yikes! I could do it for about two seconds, but that was it. My balance sucked even before I broke my leg, so I wasn't too surprised. But then she got this evil grin on her face and told me to do it with my eyes closed!

Seriously, though, while I may dislike these routines while I'm doing them, I'm happy that I'm being pushed and am proud of the work I've done so far. And I'm beginning to feel the results in ways other than how my walking is affected. Today at work, I had a really stressful day where a person whom I've been trying to get for a story didn't return my calls and I got blamed for her basically screwing me over. But when I later hobbled toward my bus stop, I realized that, as hard as that walk still is, I was feeling better. I was out in the fresh air, I was moving ... and the headache that I was getting all day disappeared. For weeks, walking has felt like a chore for me because it's been so difficult, but this was the first time since I've been back on my feet that I felt a glimmer of enjoyment from doing it.

I don't think that being physically fit will solve all of my problems: it won't make me beautiful, rich or get annoying sources to call me on time for a story on a tight deadline. But being in shape will at least help me DEAL with the stresses of life -- and I plan to keep getting that better balance, but physically and mentally.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mrs. Thighs Vs. The Treadmill

Remember how I said the other day that I was going to beat that treadmill at physical therapy? Well, this morning I did! Last time, I could barely complete 5 minutes of walking at .9 miles an hour; today, I did 7 minutes at 1.2 mph, and then raised the elevation to Level 3. After that, I did 10 minutes on the bike. My therapist says that on Thursday she wants to see me do 10 minutes at 1.5 mph. I'm so there!

Today was also a milestone for me because it was the first time I went out without the walker. It wasn't too bad; actually in some ways, it was easier because I didn't have to walk hunched over the walker and I didn't have to worry about carrying it. Other than that, my speed was about the same and I took plenty of rests. The only difficult part was when I was waiting for the bus. The bus stop I go to does not have any seats or stoops or steps or standpipes for me to sit on, so I went into the nearby cafe to wait (don't worry, I didn't eat anything; just got a water). I then went to the stop about five minutes before the bus came, but it was about two minutes late. I know that doesn't sound like much time, but it was hard on my leg and back. I leaned against a poll to relieve some of the pressure, but that only helped so much. Hopefully, doing the treadmill and walking without the walker will help me continue to strengthen my back so that I can stand for longer periods of time. I feel like I'm well on my way, though.

I'll probably be done with PT in a few weeks so I need to start thinking about my post-PT workout game plan. I definitely want to keep walking, especially since I want to do that half marathon next year. I'll go back to doing the BowFlex so I can get more a full-body workout. I also think I'd like to purchase an exercise bike. None of these things takes that much time, but if I mix them up and do them fairly regularly (like three times a week), I'll get in a good workout.

Today is actually two months since my orthopedist told me that I was allowed to put weight on my leg. I remember that I could barely stand that day so I've come a long way pretty quickly! It will be nice if a year from now, all of this is a distant memory -- and I'm in the best shape of my life.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Grapes Of Wrath

At work, we just moved to another floor in our building, meaning that I lost my office and now have a cubicle. On the plus side, I'm near a lot of my co-workers, so it'll be fun hanging out with everyone. However, the new arrangement affords me very little privacy and there is a lot of noise. Everyone can hear everyone else's phone interviews and it won't be as easy to make personal calls. I'm missing my office already.

Still, I tried to get into the spirit of things, so when it was time for lunch, I offered the woman across from me some grapes. She accepted, but kind of chuckled when I handed her the package, which was fresh from the store; she found it amusing that I'd brought the entire package with me rather than taking out some grapes and putting them in a baggie or Tupperware.

I know that she wasn't laughing AT me or being unkind because she's a nice person. It's just that she's thin and has a difficult time imagining eating an entire package of ANYTHING, even if it is grapes. For me, though, eating grapes is a victory over eating candy.

After that, I felt a little embarrassed and put the rest of the grapes back into the shopping bag I'd brought my lunch in. I then kept sneaking grapes as the afternoon went on, praying that no one else would see what a pig I was being for munching on these things. Finally, I asked myself, "What the hell am I doing?" and ate the rest out in the open. I mean, these were GRAPES, for God's sake, not a whole chocolate cake. But you know what? If I wanted to eat an entire chocolate cake, as well, who are my co-workers to judge?

I know that many overweight people feel self conscious when they dine in public. I've never cared too much; out of all of my eating issues, dining in secret has never been one of them, believe it or not. But today, I could understand why some feel uncomfortable eating in front of others. I have to see these people every day and don't really want my lunch to become a topic of conversation.

Know what, though? I'm going to bring whatever I damn please, be it a whole package of grapes or an entire tub of berries -- and I'm going to enjoy my food. Let's face it, if my eating habits are all that people can think of to critique me on, then I can't be that bad a person!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fall Forward

This weekend, I really didn't do much. I spent a lot of time relaxing and writing and you know what? That's OK. I've been going out so much ever since I returned to work a few weeks ago, and my body -- not to mention my leg -- is feeling it. I think that resting my leg for a few days was a good call so that I can come back even stronger.

Still, I've been thinking a lot about the upcoming season and all that I have to look forward to. No, my spring and summer weren't the greatest, but my life has a lot more possibilities now that I'm back on my feet. Jon and I are planning a short trip to the Berkshires to see the Tanglewood Jazz Festival that takes place during Labor Day weekend, and my friends and I have talked about taking a day trip to go apple picking upstate. I'm not yet up to taking a long, exotic vacation (nor do I have the vacation days since I was out of work for so long), but I can still enjoy some short getaways and get a taste of the outdoors, which I think will be good for me, physically and mentally.

Meanwhile, I've been trying some new hobbies -- artistic endeavors that keep me preoccupied and keep my hands moving so that I can concentrate on what I'm doing instead of eating. Karen invited me to join her for a pottery making class in the city, so we're looking into that. I've never made pottery before, but it seems like fun -- and it'll give me a chance to make my friends and family homemade gifts this holiday season. I also want to try my hand at jewelry making. I've never done that before, either, but a few of the people in my office make their own necklaces and bracelets and again, it looks like fun. I've purchased some beads and a beginners' jewelry kit, which I'm waiting to arrive in the mail. I love writing and music, but I also love the idea of making something tangible. As a kid, I used to spend hours by myself drawing and painting, and making crafts, and it was a great way to pass the time.

Trying some new hobbies is yet another way for me to remind myself that there's more to life than food. For many of you who don't think about food all the time, this probably seems strange, but for me, it's necessary. Plus, it's somewhat symbollic, the whole idea of building things from scratch just as I'm building a new life for myself. OK, yeah, so I'm stretching a bit here, but humor me and go with it!

I know it's only August, but I can already feel a little chill in the air and am starting to see some leaves changing color. Fall won't be here for a few more weeks, but I'm all set to get a jump start on making this the best season in a not-so-great year.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

How (Un)Sweet It Is

Well, folks, this is my 100th post! Woo hoo! Funny how long it takes to lose 100 pounds, but 100 posts can be churned out pretty quickly.

As a writer, I am proud of myself for keeping up with this blog and being disciplined enough to write in it 100 times. As a weight loss warrior, I'm proud of myself for putting my feelings on paper (on computer, anyway) and using this blog as a tool to help kick my bad eating habits. Though I don't have many readers, I really do feel as if my writing has helped me with my weight loss and I thank those of who do read me for following my journey so far.

I figured that in honor of this milestone post, I'd write about one of the biggest changes I've noticed with my weight loss, to date: I no longer crave sugar like I used to. Don't get me wrong, I still LIKE sugar. I still love sweets and chocolate ... but I don't feel as if I HAVE to have dessert or as if my day won't be complete without some kind of sweet. For someone who's always described myself as having a major sweet tooth, this is a really big deal.

Even with my past (brief) successes with losing weight, sweets were involved. I'd stock up on those Weight Watchers desserts like low-fat ice creams and diet brownies, and every night after dinner, I'd eat a couple. I'd stay within my POINTS range, but at least a few POINTS would be made up of dessert-type products each day. Now, however, I'm only having desserts or treats once or twice a week. Last Sunday, I had a low-fat fudge bar at my friend's house after dinner and then on Tuesday, at another friend's place, I had a small piece of homemade Hungarian cake and a spoonful of chestnut puree that she'd brought home from Europe. Other than that, though, I've had nothing sugary, unless you count fruit and the two cups of diet soda I drank. I've even tried to limit my intake of sweet, low-calorie water-like beverages like Crystal Light because I'm finding them too sweet, as well. Instead, I'm just having water.

It's interesting to me how my taste buds have changed. Before, I lived on salty, processed foods and overly sweet desserts that were filled with artifical sugars. But now I'm finding that I prefer my foods to be cleaner and simpler. I don't want meat drenched in cheese or sauce or for my vegetables to be fried beyond recognition. Again, I still like that stuff, but I'm prefering dishes where I can easily taste the flavors of what I'm eating. A touch of garlic sauce goes a long way when eating chicken breast; for me, it's just not as good when it's sauteed, fried and then drowning in butter and wine sauce.

Tonight my husband is making me his homemade vegetable soup with cauliflower, zucchini, turnips, parsnips, mushrooms and kale. I'm getting so hungry for it, the same way I used to get so hungry for pizza or Chinese food. I'll definitely eat that stuff again, but I like that vegetables and plain meats are now taking center stage. In only 100 posts, things have certainly changed.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Things I Did For Food

Joined Karen for Tex-Mex tonight. I got my usual dish -- veggie fajitas with broccoli, cauliflower, squash and peppers, but what's interesting is that I was craving it all day. Me craving vegetables; did you ever imagine?

During dinner, I showed Karen some of my old student IDs and driver's licencses that I still keep in my wallet and she could hardly believe how skinny I used to be. In her opinion, I was too skinny, even in my college ID, where I weighed about 115 pounds. She said that she liked the one of me from my senior year of college the best -- when I weighed about 140.

It's pretty telling that I can recall my life by my various weights rather than by just my memories. I'd like to change that. I'd like to be able to look at old photos of myself and think, "That's from when I was 40, the year that Jon and I went to Thailand," rather than, "That's from when I was 38 and weighed 220." This reinforces how much prominence my weight and food have had in my life and I'd like well, my LIFE, to be the central focus.

That said, I confided in Karen about some of the inane things I did for food when I was a kid, like steal packages of cookies from the back of the pantry or raid my friends' kitchens. The thing I'm probably the most ashamed of, though, is lying to my grandmother.

My mother's mother was a tiny woman, about 4'5" and sweet as anything. She was so naive and protective and literally used to make me wear my gloves and hat in 70 degree weather. She never had an unking word to say about anyone except when she was watching her soap, GUIDING LIGHT. Then she'd call the show's villainess a "snot nose," which trust me, was pretty racy stuff for my grandmother!

Anyway, when I was in the fifth grade, I went through a dark period where Istole a lot. I swiped earrings from friends, money from my parents and even shoplifted a couple of things from the mall ... and I stole from my grandma.

Toward the end of the year, my friend Lani and another girl in our neighborhood invited me to take a walk with them to this nearby deli. It was only a mile away from my home, but it was on a main road and I knew that my parents wouldn't want me walking all the way there without an adult. Still, I was 11, my parents weren't yet home from work, and dammit, I wanted to go! Unfortunately, I knew that if I asked my grandmother, she'd freak out. I mean, she became nervous when I went on my swing set.

Therefore, Lani helped me come up with a lie and I told my grandma that I was going to the mall with Lani's mom for school supplies. This was ridiculous because school was almost over, but my grandmother bought the story and gave me the OK. She also gave me $10 to buy my things.

With our money in hand, the three of us then made the trek to the deli. There, we gorged on pizza, cake and all sorts of other crap that they sold there. We were practically high from ingesting so much salt and sugar. We knew that our parents wouldn't approve of us sneaking over there, so we made a pact that we'd never tell anyone about our journey. I actually kept my promise for a very long time.

My grandma died when I was 13 and by that time, I wasn't interested in stuffing my face with junk. A couple of years later, I went through my scary skinny period and well, you know most of the rest. But I've always felt badly about tricking such a wonderful, trusting woman ... and for what? Shitty pizza and packaged cookies. Yeah, I was only a kid, but even then, I put food before my family. I suppose I can argue that part of me wanting to get away had to do with me being a pre-teen and wanting to have an adventure, but no, I can assure you that I was just going for the food. I think that for the entire walk over there, I was babbling about everything that I was going to eat.

I eventually 'fessed up about the lie when I was about 15 (I wasn't kidding about keeping the secret for a long time) and Lani sort of laughed at me, saying that she had told her parents years before and they hadn't cared. It still haunts me, though. No, it wasn't THAT bad a thing to do -- I mean, you should hear some of my husband and father's stories about the things they did as kids -- but I still feel dirty. The way I acted was like I was on drugs or something; I lied to a loved one, took her money and then stuffed myself numb with treats. Nice.

I'm a mostly honest person these days, save for a white lie now and then, but I wish my grandmother were alive so I could tell her the truth -- and give her back her $10. Karen says that she's sure that my grandmother forgives me, wherever she is, and she's probably right. My grandma wasn't the type of person to hold a grudge.

I, too, forgive myself for being young and foolish, but I also don't want to forget about it because it's important that I remind myself how destructive binge eating can be. I haven't taken money from anyone else for food, but I have done other shameful things like eat in secret or even take uneaten food out of the trash when no one was looking.

Food isn't something to be ashamed of, though. It's not something to hide or hide from. It's just well, food. But the memories you create from spending time with friends or family are a lot more fleeting. I don't ever want to put food before them again.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Slow, Not So Steady...

Each week at physical therapy, they're reintroducing me to new exercises. The last couple of times they had me riding the bike; today they had me do the treadmill.

Now I've belonged to several gyms in my lifetime so I've logged plenty of hours on the treadmill. It's not my favorite piece of equipment; I'd much rather walk outdoors where I'm actually GOING somewhere, but I'd always use it as a warm-up exercise. Generally, I'd walk on it for about 20 minutes at a speed of 3.0 -- a nice, easy walk. I'd then adjust the incline a bit to get in some hills. Once I was done, I'd move on to the elliptical or weights and really amp up my exercise.

However, when I got on the treadmill today, I could barely do five minutes. Five minutes at .9 miles per hour! Yeesh! I've been trying to push myself with my walking, but when I was forced to do it a steady rate, I was huffing and puffing and my leg and hips felt like jelly. When I was finished, I collapsed into a nearby chair and the therapist quickly got me some water. I seriously think she was afraid I'd pass out.

I know I'm not 100 percent yet; I know that I'm recovering from a broken leg and torn ligaments and that I still have to rebuild my muscles. But it was embarrassing that what used to be my "relaxing" warmup exercise has become so difficult for me. The therapist even asked me if I've ever used a treadmill before and I wanted to scream, "OK, so I know I'm a fat blob, but I completed a 20 mile walk and a 10K not that long ago!"

The goal is for me to be able to walk for 10 minutes on the machine. The idea is for me to correct my gait so that I stop limping, but for me, this has turned into my personal vendetta: Mrs. Thighs vs. the treadmill. On Tuesday, I will do seven minutes and by next Thursday, I will be up to 10. And then that speed is going to come up, as well. I may be obese, but the former gym rat in me refuses to be showed up by a lame machine. I mean, the last time I belonged to a gym and was training for the 20-miler -- my beloved basement gym that was shut down so that they could build freakin' condos -- I could leg press 125 lbs. I used to enjoy showing up the men at the gym with my strength and they didn't know what to say. Fat girl had game!

Treadmill, I have called you out. It is ON.


One thing that I think a lot of overweight people have in common is a fear of mirrors. In my case, I don't mind looking at my face too much, but I become uncomfortable when I have to see the rest of my body. When I stare at all of the rolls and lumps and bumps for too long, I begin to look so misshapen. My body is not tight and compact as our bodies are meant to be, but juts out and hangs down at all of these weird angles.

Unfortunately, I've been forced to look at my body a lot lately because they have full-length mirrors at PT — and I'm not going to work out for an hour with my eyes closed. I've gotten a bit more used to it, but some days, I want to bash the mirror in — like today.

I'm wearing a pretty, flowing skirt and a turquoise top that's a bit more fitted than what I usually put on. Now that I'm losing weight, I'm trying not to hide behind enormous, baggy things, and most of the time, I'm pretty confident. As I looked at myself this morning, though, I was horrified. I was lying back on one of the weight machines and my stomach just looked so WEIRD. It was flat on the bottom and then rolled up into this strange bump that resembled a mountain. I don't know if it was the angle that I was reclining in or what, but I looked as if I were about to give birth to an alien!

Ever since then, I've been very self-conscious of this shirt. I keep pulling at it and wondering if all of my fat rolls are sticking out, and if people are laughing at me behind my back. I'm beginning to feel a little better, but that's because I haven't had to see a mirror in a few hours.

One thing I'm definitely looking forward to as I lose more weight is to feel more comfortable in my clothes — and my own skin. I doubt that I'll ever full be rid of my lumps and bumps, but I'd like to learn to love the ones I have.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Have A Nice Trip

This evening, I got one of those dreaded calls from my dad; my mom had been taken to the hospital after tripping and falling on her face. The bad news: she had to have a broken tooth fixed (and she just had dental surgery literally about three days ago). She also has a hairline fracture on her knee and will need to wear a brace. The good news: she doesn't have a concussion, doesn't need surgery and can walk on her leg, despite the injury. Also, she and my dad can still go on their trip in the fall.

I don't know what it is with my family and why we keep falling and breaking things. Two years ago, my mom broke her wrist while hiking in Patagonia; my dad fell and sprained his ankle while walking around Easter Island (at least their injuries were "exotic.") Then my grandmother fell and broke HER wrist; and then this year, my mom and I were injured. I guess we're just klutzy people ... or perhaps we are cursed. Maybe I should change the name of this site to BROKEN Thighs Of The Beholder.

This isn't really about me today, but to bring this back to the theme of this blog for a moment, I did not binge, even though I was tempted. I was very stressed as I waited for my dad to call with news about the X-rays, but I forced myself not to buy chocolate and instead had a sensible meal of grilled chicken and rice.

Getting back to my mom, though, I'm glad that she's okay. I'm especially glad that the doctor gave her the go-ahead on their trip because she would've been really disappointed if she'd had to miss that. However, I think my family has filled our quota of keeping orthopedists in business. I'm all for us taking a break from anymore bad breaks for the time being!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Almost Famous

While I was growing up, I always kept a dream alive for those times when I felt alone or was picked on or thought that I was a freak: I'd tell myself that someday my differences would work for me and I'd be a great success. I'd make more money than the bullies who tormented me and would be a household name. I'd be famous -- and all of those people who'd ever treated me as if I were "less than" would be sorry.

Fast forward many years later and this dream still hasn't come true, at least not on the scale that I'd hoped for in my youth. I write for a well-known publication, play with a band and released a CD, but I'm most definitely not a household name. Until recently, this bothered me -- and I treated myself as if I were "less than" because I wasn't living up to some ridiculous goal that I set for myself when I was a kid.

Back in high school, I perforfmed with the band and orchestra -- and played three instruments, no less: the flute, tenor sax and clarinet. But as much as I loved music, I was in it for the awards that they gave out at school each year, and was disappointed when I didn't get anything.

Around 2003, I wrote a novel for teen readers. I was really proud of the work I did and managed to get a literary agent -- and almost sold it twice. But it wasn't quite right for what the editors of the various publishing houses seemed to want, and a sale never happened. I wrote a second novel -- which I liked -- but my agent hated it. She dumped me.

I was so bummed about this, not only because I believed in my work (and because rejection sucks), but because it was delaying my dream of becoming the next Judy Blume or Meg Cabot. I wanted to be an iconic author whom millions looked up to -- and whose work was turned into movies, like Harry Potter. I even knew which actors I wanted to cast as certain characters!

Having big goals is great, but when they become so big, anything else doesn't seem like it's worth much. Because I had this terrible attitude, I denied myself a lot of joy along the way -- the joy of playing music, the joy of writing. I was so into seeking others' approval that I saw myself as a "failure" and it left me bitter.

The point of this post is that I think this is yet another reason why I'm obese. Being full of regrets and disappointments has left many voids in my life -- and I often filled them with food. On those days when I realized I wouldn't be the Great American Novelist, I stuffed myself with cookies and during those times when I acknowledged that I wouldn't be a zillionaire, I crammed my mouth full of pizza or cereal. Then I'd have regrets about being fat and ugly and hopeless ... and the cycle would begin again.

The good news is, I've learned to let go of certain dreams and find new ones along the way. After getting so many rejections from publishers, I decided to complete a project just for fun -- just for ME -- and put together my CD. I'm not a rock star or anything like that and wasn't trying to be one, but I loved the challenge and had a great time producing the album. Only a handful of people have heard it, but I'm really proud of the work that I did -- and that's what matters. Not that I've never become as famous a flute player as James Gallway.

I've also taken my writing back and am finding the joy in that again. About a year ago, I began doing some online freelancing, where I write about any topic I want. I also started this blog. Again, not many people read my work, but I love writing and know that this blog has helped me a great deal with my weight loss.

That said, I'm concentrating on finding the joy in other things: being with friends, traveling, writing travelogues for my friends and family, singing karaoke ... I'm even thinking of taking some art classes. I doubt that any of these activities will give me great recognition, but I no longer care about that. As I get older, I'm learning to appreciate the simpler things in life -- as cliche as that may sound. I'm recognizing the many talents that I do have, even if my writing and musical skills aren't making national news.

Now that I'm letting go of those things that were weighing me down -- in ever sense -- I'm feeling lighter. I think it'll be only a matter of time before my body catches up with my mind.