Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Benefits Of Keeping A Weight Loss Blog

It's one thing to track your weight with the scale or even with a food journal, but it's another thing to see your emotions spilled out in front of you on the page. This is why I like keeping this weight loss blog -- I think it's helping me figure out some things about myself.

That said, I've made a pretty important decision and have decided to seek some counseling. I haven't had a lot of luck with psychiatrists -- my last one, for instance, ignored out patient/client confidentiality agreement when she went and blabbed about me to a co-worker. But I'm willing to at least give it another shot because I haven't felt like myself in a while and I think I'm beginning to drive my husband and friends crazy with my crying jags. I haven't yet found a particular shrink to go to, but I'll let you know how it goes. It'll be helpful to have someone there to discuss my weight loss program with, anyway.

I didn't sleep well last night, so I'm feeling a little blah, but I want to end this post with some positive things:

1. Yesterday, my bus never came and I had to take the subway to work (this isn't the positive part). I got out at a particular station because they have an escalator, but wouldn't you know it, it wasn't working that morning. However, when I went up the two flights of stairs, I wasn't nearly as out of breath as I would've been a few weeks ago. I even shoved past a couple of people because I was running late!

2. I'm beginning to find that I simply move a lot more easily. When I get up from a chair now, it's taking a lot less effort.

3. I'm starting to care a bit more about my appearance (it's hard to give a damn when you just look fat and gross in everything). This morning, I ordered a really cute "bathing skirt" for the cruise. It's a black tank suit with an attached skirt and it has white and blue piping. It looks a little like something a woman might've worn in the 1930s, but I like it. I also bought a black mesh cover up to wear with it. I'm actually feeling a little less nervous about going to the pool and am looking forward to it. I'll just have to remember to shave my legs...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bad Thoughts

This weekend, I did well with eating. We went out with friends on Friday night so we could book the restaurant for our upcoming 10th anniversary party and I didn't go crazy. I ordered the chicken parmesan, which isn't the healthiest option, but I only ate about a third and took the rest home (and then have about half of that for dinner yesterday). Like I said, it's getting easier for me to eat normal portions of food and not binge. I'm hoping that it'll reach a point where I no longer even have to think about it, but realistically, I think that food will probably always be the main thing on my mind.

Unfortunately, keeping away fromm my "drug" of choice -- food -- is meaning that I have to deal with my emotions in other ways, and I'm finding this aspect to be very difficult. I'm crying over everything! The other day, I was watching Titanic, which I've seen a few times before -- and I actually cried at the ending. I never used to cry at movies and now I can barely stop the tears from flowing. I'm also finding that I'm getting moodier over little stuff.

But the worst is when it's nighttime and I'm awake. Then I start having all of these thoughts about my health and my sanity, and whether I'm going to die young or go crazy. I feel as if I'm improving the health aspect, but then my parents always have some story about someone who know who's had a heart attack and feel as if they have to give me the details. My dad became annoyed recently when he reported that he'd been to the doctor and I didn't ask him how he was doing. It wasn't that I didn't care ... it was just that I didn't want to hear the details and then start thinking about my own health problems.

I understand that my parents are concerned about my health, but they'll often ask me, "Have you been to this doctor? Have you been to that one?" I wish they wouldn't. I wish they'd let me deal with things in my own way and just accept that it's not a conversation I'm comfortable having with them. Like I said, I know that they're concerned, but I am, too; having them concerned with me is just making it worse for me.

I know that going to the doctor isn't a big deal for most people, but it is when a) you're like me and you've always had a fear to start with and b) you know that the visit is inevitably going to end up being a discussion about your weight and how you can die and c) you could very well end up having something wrong with you because of your weight. I worry about this a lot, anyway, and I don't need my parents hammering this home.

I've been sleeping a lot during the day to block out everything. Today I ended up waking up at noon and then going back to sleep for a few hours. But I like things better then because everything's quiet and I don't have to think about life for a few hours. I wish I could be that relaxed when I'm awake.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

And Now For Some Good News...

Well, I lost another two pounds this week. This means that I'm more than halfway to my goal of losing 12 pounds in time for our cruise vacation (which is in three weeks and two days). Of course, I wish that I'd lose the weight more quickly, but I'll take anything I can get!

Meanwhile, I'm already beginning to experience some very subtle changes in my body. I've been trying to work out every other day and already I'm feeling stronger, especially when I walk. My back still hurts from the weight, but it's not as bad as it was even a few weeks ago. I can walk faster now and have less pressure on my back and legs.

I'm also sleeping better -- well, for me, anyway. I've always suffered from insomnia because it runs in my family and my head is often too filled with thoughts to sleep soundly. But a couple of months ago, I began having some frightening sleep apnea episodes where I'd wake up gasping for air. Happily, I haven't had one of those -- knock on wood -- in a few weeks. There have even been a few times where I've slept through the night and actually, well, felt energized and refreshed. I'm not sure I'm ever going to totally beat my insomnia, unless I take something like Ambien, which I really don't want to do, but at least things are better than they were.

A third positive change than I'm noticing is that my circulation is improving. A few weeks ago, my extremities were falling asleep quite easily, which was really annoying -- especially when I was writing or playing my flute. This is still happening to some extent, but far less than it was. My hands didn't fall asleep at all during work today, even though I was doing a lot of typing.

Finally, I'm getting full much more easily now. Last night, for example, I ordered a mini personal pizza and calculated that half of it would be a sufficient dinner at 9 WW POINTS. However, I only ended up eating about a third and was stuffed.

So that's the good news for today. No dramatic changes -- yet -- but I'm getting there. And though my appearance is basically the same (realistically, I'll need to lose about 75 pounds before there's a big difference), I'm pleased that my health already seems to be turning around.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Scaredy Cat

If I could change one thing about myself, besides my weight, it would be the fact that I'm, well, pretty much afraid of everything -- and this seems to be getting worse as I get older.

I'm afraid of many of the normal things: bugs, heights, fire, flying, needles, but then I'm also frightened of many things that I'm sure are compromising my life.

For instance, my fear of not being liked is a huge one. I'm a classic people pleaser. I care way too much about what other people think and hate it when someone is angry with me or dislikes me. It doesn't even matter if I dislike the person; as long as he or she approves of me, I'm good.

That said, I'm terrified of confrontations, especially when I'm the one initiating them, because that means I'll be put into a position where I'm forced to say something uncomfortable and possibly upset the other person. Again, it doesn't matter if the other person is in the wrong; I'm just afraid that I'll either insult him or her or worse -- the person will come back to me with something even worse to say about me.

I remember back in college, I endured several situations that could've used a good confrontation or two. My freshman roommate was a thoughtless witch who'd have friends over at 3 a.m. or keep the radio on all night so she could study. She was two years ahead of me (but three years younger than me), so I usually let her get away with her behavior. She knew it and took advantage of me.

Then when I was a junior, I became the editor of our dorm's paper. All was going well until this really nasty girl decided to write for it. She was insufferable -- she offered to redesign the paper because she felt it looked like a piece of sh-t (her words, not mine), then printed an apology to the readers saying that the paper was a mess because I didn't give her the time to lay it out correctly. Again, I should've just kicked her off the paper, but I gave her that power over me and let her beat me down. In the final paper, my now sister-in-law printed hororscopes and this girl edited them in this really strange way so that she had jokes written in between the blurbs (don't ask). I actually stood up to her (sort of) when I ripped out all of her "edits" and put my friend's work back in. But when the girl called, I didn't bother to speak with her. I ran and avoided.

Now you're probably wondering what this has to do with me being overweight, but I think it's a key factor. My fat protects me. It helps keep me from facing the world and my fears. As I said, though, things only seem to be getting worse. I'm finding that I'm more afraid than ever to stand up for myself and when the night is quiet and still, I lay awake worrying about all sorts of things that haven't happened yet: What if I die young? What if I die alone? What if we lose all of our money and end up homeless? What if someone I love dies? It makes me want to crawl under the blankets and stay there forever because sometimes facing the world is about the scariest thing ever. No wonder I've encased myself in a blanket of fat.

My good friend Lani has endured her share of troubles, but she's not afraid of anything (except spiders). She'll try anything new and even went sky diving last year. I don't know if I necessarily want to do that, but I wish I could live a little better and a lot more freely. I wish I can find a way to escape from myself.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Mrs. Thighs Vs.The Chocolate

It's been almost two weeks and I've been going strong with this whole healthy living thing, but last night, I faced my toughest challenge yet: I had dinner at Max Brenner (, a chocolate bar that's in New York City.

Those who know me can tell you that I'm a crazy chocoholic. I mean, I crave the stuff. I have at least one chocolate thing every day, but it's usually something low-fat, like a cup of diet hot cocoa or a Weight Watchers brownie (which are surprisingly good). In this case, though, I was surrounded by all different types of hot chocolates, chocolate cakes, chocolate fondues and even chocolate pizzas. Yum!

When my girlfriends first sent me the link to show me where we'd be meeting for dinner, I was going to kill them. Not only did the online menu have lists and lists of these delectable chocolate items and drinks, but they had huge pictures of the desserts! Huge, freakin', gorgeous photos of fudge cascading over brownies and whipped cream piled high over ice cream ... I'm not exaggerating when I say that I nearly cried.

However, I took a deep breath and clicked on the link to the dinner menu and discovered that the restaurant actually served real food. I then came up with a game plan: I decided to get the lemon herbed chicken with baby spinach and then share some fruit and chocolate fondue with everyone else for dessert.

I'm proud to say that I stuck with my plan.

The chicken was a little dry, but tasty, and it came with really well-prepared mashed potatoes and spinach. After eating about half of that, I was pretty full. Then for dessert, my friend and I shared a fondue, but we asked for extra fruits instead of cookies. The waiter, who was incredibly kind and helpful, happily obliged. I was tempted to get one of the chocolate martinis, but ordered a Diet Coke instead.

I didn't entirely stick with fruit -- I had a couple of marshmallows (the fondue comes with a little burner so you can roast them; how cute is that?!) and a piece of my friend's chocolate egg roll (which was served in a Chinese restaurant-style takeout box), but I didn't go crazy with the extras. Happily, the fruit chunks were enormous -- I seriously had to cut the strawberries into quarters. I only wished that they'd had a wider variety of fruits. They served the giant strawberries, bananas and pineapples, but some apples and kiwi slices would've worked well, too.

Anyway, when I left the restaurant, I felt full, but not stuffed. And when I awoke this morning, I didn't have that heavy "food hangover" feel that I'd sometimes get after a binge. Instead, I had a nice memory of having fun with my girlfriends in a funky restaurant. It was exactly the type of evening I always imagine that "normal" people have out -- they enjoy their meal, but aren't obsessed with the food, and appreciate the entire experience of being out for the evening.

I know that this was only one meal, but this shows me that I am capable of practicing moderation. Hopefully, I can keep it up for the long haul.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Angry Girl's Workout

Tonight I basically plowed right through my workout. I guess adrenaline-fueled anger really can make you suddenly stronger, because the weights felt like toys to me this evening.

So what's the source of all this rage? You guessed it - work. Again.

Right on the heels of the "fatty" incident from the other day, I learned that one of my colleagues has been promoted ahead of me. This person is very nice and very talented and deserves a promotion ... but not before I get one. This person has been working in our office for about three years. I've been there for nearly twelve at this point.

Now you're probably thinking that I just suck at my job, but I don't. I've been assured that I don't. I've been told, "We don't know what we'd do without you" numerous times. I always get really positive reviews whenever it's time for evaluations. I'm constantly given difficult assignments and complete them, even though I often get more work than a lot of my other colleagues. This person has never done any of the tougher assignments that I've taken on. Knowing the way that things are going, this person will never be given said assignments and they will continue to be given to me.

Still, my boss refuses to move me up to the next position. It's been about six years since my last promotion.

I know for a fact that this is not because of the work I put out because I heard from a very reliable source that my boss thinks I'm "talented, but don't know how to play the game." To me, this is code for, "Yeah, we're not going to promote the fat chick." No one has ever said this to me outright, but knowing my bosses' dislike of the overweight, I'm assuming that this is what's driving their decision.

A lot of this is my fault. I'm a wimp. I'm still trying to find my self-esteem and courage that got left behind somewhere along the road. I know that I need to stand up for myself. I don't know how to go about it, though. I don't like playing games, especially at work. I'm kind of old school in that I believe that talent and hard work should get you ahead. I suppose I'm naive, but you'd figure that my twelve years of hard work, devotion to the company through salary cuts and pay freezes, willingness to be a team player and well, seniority, would mean something.

Apparently they mean squat.

You're probably asking me why on earth I've stayed with this place. Well, in my field jobs don't come easily and I worked hard to get it. Most of the time I like it, though this past year has been extremely stressful. Besides that, though, I'm scared. My husband is all for me leaving and doing freelance, but I'm worried that I'll find that I have nothing to do. The practical side of me is worried that my husband won't keep doing as well in his career and we'll run out of money. Mostly, I'm scared of making such a big change. I've been at this job for a third of my life and leaving feels kind of like moving on from a spouse who you care for, but know that you should've divorced a long time ago.

Still, I've made a huge decision today and am planning to finally leave next week. This is the last straw. I have to do this and collect what's left of my dignity and sanity.

But I'm terrified.

After years of battling my weight and going from thin to fat, I've given up on going after that perfect look. I'll never be a model. I'll never be a beauty queen. What I do keep hoping for, though, is that losing weight and feeling phsyically stronger will help me feel mentally stronger. I want to feel more confident. I need to feel more confident. I'm confident that I'm making the right move here.

Then why am I still doubting myself?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Second Class Citizens

First, the good news: I lost 5 lbs. this week! Woo hoo, go me! I realize that it's water weight and I won't keep seeing losses like this, but if I lose two per week from now on, I'll have more than met my first little goal of a 12-pound loss in time for the cruise. I've been feeling rather depressed in general, lately, so this was just what I needed to lift my spirits a bit. Once I'm done blogging, I am off to do my workout!

Unfortunately, my day got off to a not-so-great start when my boss and her second-in-command started making jokes about fat people right in front of me. We were at what was supposed to be a professional meeting, only the conversation turned to them gossiping about a freakin' kid whom they called a "fatty." I hate that word. It's bad enough that overweight people get made fun of in the first place, but that word just smacks of negativity. Calling someone "fatty" is like taking a shortcut to calling them ugly and disgusting.

I was also annoyed about the making a joke right in front of me. I mean, I know that people make fat jokes. I know that people make racist jokes and jokes about people's religion, upbringing, etc. I don't like it so much, but I'd be naive to think that it never happens and will ever stop happening. And while I try to be accepting of everyone, I'd be lying if I said I never made any such jokes -- including jokes about fat people. Yes, it was when I was thin, and yes, I am a guilty hypocrite. Go ahead, say it. But I was a teen and I like to think that I've grown up since then (more or less).

However, this wasn't a social situation. This was at work in a meeting that was supposed to be professional. That said, I hold everyone's behavior to a higher standard in such a setting; I expect to be treated as such in that environment and not made to feel uncomfortable. I can guarantee that my bosses would NEVER make racial jokes in the office at all. Nor would they make a Jewish joke, especially in front of me. Meanwhile, they make everyone take seminars on sensitivity in the workplace and how to avoid sexual harassment. These people purport to like and respect me (which is highly debatable, anyway), but making fat jokes isn't the way to make me feel this. What do they expect me to do, laugh along with them?

This is an attitude that many people seem to have about the obese -- that because it's "our fault" that we're the way we are, we're fair game. I'm fortunate in that I haven't experienced too many mean comments about being fat, but I know some other overweight people -- who are really good, kind beings -- who have.

The thing is, you never know why a person is overweight or what he or she has been through. Perhaps someone is dealing with a death and gained a lot while battling depression. Or perhaps someone was 500 lbs. and is now down to 250 and can finally walk. Or perhaps someone was sexually assaulted and has gained weight while dealing with that. Or perhaps someone's tried to lose weight millions of time and just hasn't yet succeeded. Or perhaps someone has a lifelong eating disorder like me. Or hell, perhaps someone just likes eating and is fine with being overweight -- which some people are and hey, good for them! The point is, whether it's "our fault" or not shouldn't matter. We're still people and deserve to be able to walk down the street (or go to work) without cracks being made about how the obese are less worthy.

By the way, I know the teen in question and she is NOT FAT.

Of course, I didn't say anything. I'm kind of a wimp in these situations, especially when it comes to confronting people at work. I'm hoping that as my weight goes down and I feel better physically, my confidence will go up. I know that some people in my life think I need to work on this now, sooner than later, but I'm proud of myself for simply writing in this blog and making my thoughts public.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


This weekend, I attended my first party of the new year. I feel like I did pretty well in terms of eating. I didn't starve myself by any means, but I didn't go crazy either and stayed within my Weight Watchers POINTS. While I had a few chips and a couple of M&Ms, the only real dessert I had was a small brownie and the only hot food I ate was a mozzarella stick. And I drank Diet Coke.

Unfortunately, not being able to binge has forced me to deal with a lot of feelings that I don't want to deal with, and I'm finding that I've been depressed. Beforehand, if I were having a bad day, I'd stuff my problems away with a slice of pizza or chocolate cake, but now I'm really trying to not do that. I'm finding myself becoming overwhelmed with emotions about certain things, and that I'm being rather hard on myself.

Take the party, for instance. A couple of posts ago, I was saying that I've gotten better at approaching people in social situations, but I didn't feel that way at all last evening. My friend was the perfect host and his guests were lovely, but many already knew each other and I felt kind of like the new kid in school. Usually my good friend, Lani, is at these parties with me. She's very outgoing so I tend to latch onto her as she mingles. Without her, I didn't know what the hell I was doing. My husband was there, but he doesn't worry about this sort of thing as much as I do. He was happily sipping his beer, chatting with whoever happened to come over.

In the past, I would've retreated to gorging on the food, but I didn't want to do that. So instead, I found myself sitting on the couch, watching everyone have fun, second guessing everything about myself. I'm not very happy at my job right now, so if people asked about work, I suddenly turned into Debbie Downer. I don't really have any interesting projects going on at the moment, so I couldn't even discuss that. And then, I'm not a big drinker, even when I'm not watching my weight. That said, I found myself wondering if I'm boring or depressing to be around, and I was beating myself up for not just going up to people and being like, "Hey. How are you?" It's making me think that perhaps food was a little for me like alcohol is for some people -- that it would give me that extra shot of whatever to boost me at parties and events. I realized that I still have a lot to learn when it comes to dealing with people and making friends, and I'm not sure where to begin. I'm hoping that by losing weight, I'll gain more confidence, but so far, it isn't doing that for me.

Speaking of frustrations, I really wish that Google would index this blog already. I'd love to get some readers and comments to keep me going, but a week has gone by and well, nothing.

Friday, January 8, 2010

"Failure" Is Not An Option

After working out for three days in a row, my muscles were screaming for mercy and my husband suggested I take a little break. So I took yesterday and tonight off and will then work out tomorrow and Sunday. We're going to a friend's party tomorrow night, so I figure it makes sense to work out before and after, and get in some Weight Watchers Activity POINTS.

Now that I'm trying to get back in shape, I've been watching a lot of those morbid obesity programs on Discovery Health, which they seem to run on loop. I think for some, these shows are a version of a modern day circus side show, "Come see the fat lady!" But for me, they're a cautionary tale. Right now, I almost AM one of those people who's bedridden and can barely move. I'm lucky because even though it's difficult, I CAN walk and weight train and at least function in day-to-day life. It wears me out way more than it should, but I know that if I keep up my workouts, I'll start to feel less of an effort in doing things.

One of the shows that especially caught my attention was an interview with THE BIGGEST LOSER's Season 3 winner, Erik. Since the show has ended, he's gained back a good portion of the weight he lost and has been very open and candid about his journey. To his credit, he's trying to get back on track, which I why I don't see him as a "failure" at all. To me, a failure is when you completely give up the fight. He hasn't yet. Gaining back the weight obviously isn't healthy, but it doesn't mean that he's a bad person or a failure. It just means that he has to start over.

For the record, I have very mixed feelings about the show, BL. I think it's great that these morbidly obese people lose so much weight, but the way they do it scares me. Granted, I'm not a doctor and I'm hardly an endorsement for weight-loss success, but I've read enough fitness magazines and articles and have spoken with enough fitness experts to know that a) you're supposed to work out until you "feel the burn," not until you feel significant pain b) losing weight rapidly can be dangerous and c) you need to find a workout regime that you ENJOY and that fits into your life so you keep on doing it. d) You need to start out SLOWLY. Shipping off these folks to a ranch for however many weeks where they work out for hours and hours a day (while being screamed at, no less) just seems so unrealistic, as does the incredible losses they manage in such a short amount of time. It also frightens me to see these huge men and women running and jumping (again, while being shrieked at. I swear, if Jillian or Bob screamed the F-bomb in my face, I'd kick 'em). My knees and back hurt just watching them and I really wish that someone would do a show where they showed APPROPRIATE exercises for the obese.

Anyway, Erik admitted that once the limelight died down, he had trouble staying on track and maintaining. This is something that concerns me, too. When you lose weight, there's a certain "high" that comes with seeing the numbers drop, getting compliments, etc. But what do you do when you get to the "end?" See, that's the problem -- there is no end, and that's why, I think that maintaining is going to be even more difficult than losing the weight. Also, given my past with eating disorders, I'm a little worried that I'll start going in the other extreme just to see the numbers go down.

This is why I'm trying to learn to eat "normally" now. I'm still struggling to accept that having treats in moderation is okay and that this doesn't have to be an all or nothing course. Hopefully, by the time I reach a point where my body is healthy, my mind will be, as well.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Good, The Bad And The Jiggly

Tonight I worked on abs and chest. That's three days in a row, people! My muscles are a bit sore from the workouts, even with switching muscle groups, but I don't mind. It's a satisfying soreness that lets me know I'm doing something right.

I've been thinking a lot about my weight and why I've chosen to stay obese for all of these years. And yes, it's absolutely my choice because I've never been force fed cookies or pizza. Still, I'm hoping this blog will help me figure out why I've made this choice and how I can move beyond it.

I have to admit that there are some things about being obese that are well, positive for me. And no, I don't think that being overweight is healthy at all, but as in any abusive relationship, there are reasons why I've had a hard time leaving my fat self in the dust.

For one thing, being large has forced me to become more outgoing. Until I was about 19, I was very thin and very shy, especially when it came to dealing with things like parties. But when you're overweight, you can end up becoming invisible, too, despite your size. It's unfortunate, but happens often; go into a store, for instance, and the clerk will be unfriendly, or even worse, ignore you altogether. Over the years, though, I've become much more assertive, making the first move in a positive way. I'll smile and make eye contact with a cashier or a bus driver ... and you know what? They're usually friendly back. As for parties, I'm now much more comfortable going up to strangers and introducing myself. It's partially a defense in getting people to see past my appearance, but it's a change that I like and plan to take with me if -- no when -- I eventually become a normal-sized person.

Another "positive" is that I feel less pressure about overeating. While many obese people have been overweight for their entire lives, I was actually bullemic and borderline anorexic in high school. Food was "bad" to me and I spent a lot of time avoiding it. I've since learned to enjoy food (albeit wayyy too much), and despite needing to lose weight, no longer feel guilty about going out to eat with friends. I think I also have a better understanding of what a healthy size is. I no longer wish to be 90 pounds, but would settle for being able to wear regular-sized clothing.

That said, there is a certain comfort in knowing that I've already let myself go. Back when I was starving myself, I thought that my life would be over if I gained weight. In some respects that's certainly true, given all of the potential health problems I currently face. But in the figurative sense, life really hasn't been that bad. When I was skinny, I never thought a fat person could find love (I did); or a job (check!); or friends, or gain any respect (check and check). I've encountered plenty of schmucks along the way, but I've also learned that there are many good people who just don't care about your appearance. Having a husband and friends who've stuck by me through thick and thin -- literally -- makes me appreciate what great people I have in my life.

I think I've gotten too comfortable, though. Whenever I binge it doesn't bother me as much as it should because well, I'm already fat. I'm already at my worse-case scenario so scarfing an extra donut isn't going to change much. Contrast that to my slender friends who fret over everything they order at a restaurant. Plus, after starving myself for so many years, there's that voice in my head that says, "More, more, more!" and likes being quelled.

But I know that I can't hang onto these crutches forever. I need to find a way to make peace with food, my body and myself. Because at the rate I'm going, my idea of rock bottom is getting lower and lower.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Best Personal Trainer In The World

I did another 20 minutes on the BowFlex tonight. Hey, don't knock it -- two days in a row is a good start! I mean, how many days do they say it takes before something becomes a habit, 21? Only 19 more days and I'm there.

What's nice is that I'm never alone when I work out ... but it's not my husband who's keeping me company. It's our cat, Maya. I swear, I think she thinks that she's my personal trainer because she's obsessed with the BowFlex. She especially loves it when we put it on an incline to do sit-ups. She'll run up and down the ramp and then try to jump up to the top of the machine (sorry, Maya, it's not happening).

If I happen to be using it in the incline position, she'll climb up around me and sit on top of my head. But if I keep the bench flat as I have for the past few nights, she'll perch on the end of the seat right next to me. Tonight as I was straining to get the last two reps out on a move, she began to meow at me. I really do believe that she was telling me, "You can do it, Mommy!"

Sometimes I envy Maya because she's in such good shape. She runs up and down our hallway just for the fun of it and can easily leap up to the top of our TV hutch. Plus, she's flexible enough to curl into a ball. I'll bet that if she were to take the Presidential Physical Fitness Test, she'd pass with flying colors (though I don't recall it including a "chasing your tail" segment). In many ways, though, my cat is an inspiration. She's at her ideal weight and thus has plenty of energy to spare. And she gets to nap whenever she wants.

I don't know if I want to sprout fur anytime soon, but it would be nice if someday I had enough energy to run someplace for no reason.

Monday, January 4, 2010

I Think I Broke My Butt

I'm giving myself a virtual pat on the back right now (I'm not nearly flexible enough to reach all the way around) for doing 20 minutes on our BowFlex machine tonight. No, it's not much, but it's a start. And that's exactly where I want to be right now -- taking small steps, but eventually working my way up to more. I may be only doing 20 minutes right now, but I hope to soon be doing 30, and then 40, and then alternate my toning exercises with cardio.

Right now, my main goal is to strengthen my back so I've been working on exercises that focus on my shoulders, back and core muscles. The great thing about the BowFlex (and no, I'm not a spokesperson for them) is that you can do dozens of different exercises on it, so there's never a shortage of variety -- and you really do feel the workout. I'm not sure how a hard-core weight lifter would fare on the machine, but for an overweight, out-of-shape woman, it kicks butt.

The other great thing is that it's right in our living room! Once upon a time we had a fantastic little gym right around the corner from us that I went to all the time. It was in the basement of a building and didn't have a whole lot, but it had everything I wanted: elliptical machines, treadmills, stairclimbers, bikes and a weight circuit. During the two years I went there, I got into decent shape -- enough so that the other patrons noticed and I was able to do that 20-mile walk I'd mentioned yesterday. I especially loved the elliptical because I felt as if I were running, but it didn't put strain on my knees. One time, I even managed to do 90 minutes on it!

Unfortunately, the gym shut down in early 2007, due to rent issues, and I was devastated. I joined another nearby gym for around the same very inexpensive price, but it was awful. It was always crowded and they only had two ellipticals. Plus, they put so much chlorine in the pool that it was difficult to breathe during workouts. Needless to say, I wasn't inspired and didn't renew my membership. I considered joining a larger gym like New York Sports Club or Bally's, but frankly, I was nervous about being the "fat chick" amongst all of these in-shape folks. The good thing about these tiny gyms was that hardly anyone was in shape so I didn't feel uncomfortable.

That's why we decided to get the BowFlex. For a few months last year, I worked out on it religiously while training for a 10K (which I walked). Then after I finished the event, I don't know ... I just stopped. Don't ask me why; I'm not entirely sure why I keep sabotaging myself when I'm doing well. But once I stopped, the weight came back on, and as the weight came back on, it became physically more difficult for me to do my walks and work out. Basically, it turned into a vicious cycle, for which I know I'm entirely responsible.

This time, I'm not going to sign up for any events, at least not for a while, because I tend to see them as an "ending" -- that once the walk is completed, I can take a break and eat more. Instead, I want to take things gradually, focusing on the changes that I'll see in my day-to-day life. For now, being able to walk around the supermarket without being in pain will be a huge accomplishment for me.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A New Year, A New Me?

A quick warning to anyone who's come to this blog expecting a sexy site. It's not. This is a blog following the adventures of an extremely obese woman whose thighs resemble mighty sequoias and ripple like a bowl of lime Jell-O. (Mmmm... Jell-O). Not exactly a turn on, huh? So unless you're into that sort of thing (no judgment here) and are angling to star on the next edition of MORE TO LOVE, back away.

For the rest of you wondering who on earth "Mrs. Thighs" is, allow me to introduce myself. I'm a 35-year-old writer/musician, who's happily married, has an awesome cat, a good family (I even like my in-laws!) and terrific friends. Yet when it comes to losing weight and getting into shape, I just can't seem to get my act together. In fact, this is actually my second attempt at keeping a weight-loss blog. I briefly wrote one in the fall of 2008 shortly after my in-shape father had an unexpected heart attack, and managed to lose a few pounds. But then I did what I always seem to do and suddenly stopped ... and now I'm write (sorry for the pun; couldn't resist) back where I started.

I realize it's rather cliche to begin a new weight-loss plan at the start of the new year, but there's something to be said for the plethora of diet programs offering New Year's deals. I like the idea of it being a new year and a new decade to boot. Yeah, I realize that it's just another day and that hanging up a new calendar doesn't automatically make everything shiny and new (okay, so I'm overusing the adjective "new" here), but there IS a certain energy in the air, at least here in NYC, when the new year hits. And if I'm going to begin a different lifestyle (I'm hesistant to say "diet" because that means that there's an ending and this needs to be for life), I might as well do it when I'm well-rested from a lengthy holiday break.

Besides, I don't really have a choice anymore because things have gotten pretty bad for me, as far as my weight goes. Two years ago, I completed a 20-mile charity walk, but these days I can barely walk a block without having to stop because my back and legs ache. I always feel tired. My wedding rings are getting dangerously tight. My husband and I are going on a cruise with friends in about six weeks and I'm not nearly as excited as I should be because I'm afraid that I won't have enough stamina to participate in the many excursions they offer at port.

That said, my goals for now are modest and realistic. I want to lose enough weight in the next six weeks (ideally about 12 pounds, 2 lbs. per week, but I won't object to more!) so that I can walk more comfortably and be able to have a good time on this trip. I intend to do this by following Weight Watchers and by doing low-impact workouts three times a week.

I also plan to write in this blog often so that I can document my progress (or lack thereof).

But I need to do this if I have any hope of making it to 40. So let the games begin!