Monday, September 26, 2011


Part of the "fun" of losing weight is encountering those odd, little milestones that you didn't even realize you needed to pass until you actually get to them. Happily, this is happening for me more and more.

One occurred at my office. Back in June, we moved to a different building in lower Manhattan, and like most offices in New York, you have to pass through a security turnstile to enter. However, I couldn't fit through the main turnstiles; instead, I had to go through the wider wheelchair entrance. Since it took us two weeks to get our ID cards, I kept having to ask the guard to buzz me in. I obviously wasn't in a wheelchair so my reason for needing that entrance was clear, and it was kind of embarrassing. Thankfully, the guards were kind and noone gave me a hard time.

Eventually, my ID card was processed and I could come and go through that entrance as I pleased. Still, I wondered when I'd be thin enough to fit through the main turnstile. Then last week, the wheelchair gate broke and the guard told me I'd have to find another way out (on a side note, I'm curious what they would've done for someone actually in a wheelchair). The only way was through the main bank of turnstiles. I was like, "Crap, I'm going to either get stuck and the fire department is going to have to come and rescue me like a beached whale, or I won't be able to escape from my office." But I took a deep breath, prepared to squeeze through ... and I fit! It wasn't even that tight a fit; I could get through with my purse at my side.

What's kind of funny is that this week they've removed the turnstiles and have installed newer, wider gates near the elevators instead. Still, I got the chance to find out that yes, I can make it through those particularly narrow turnstiles. One milestone down!

Meanwhile, Jon and I went to see Wicked (which was really good, by the way) with some friends this past weekend. I arranged a dinner near the theater and planned to take the E train, which would drop us off about a block away. However, the E was running on the F line and the closest stop was three blocks away. In the past, this would've upset me. I would'v bitched about having to walk for that longer distance, but this time, I didn't care at all. Jon even suggested that we switch to the local so we could be a block closer, but I was like, "That's silly." So I got some extra exercise in and had a great evening to boot.

I still have many milestones to go: getting under 200 pounds, being able to shop in regular-sized stores, not needing my seatbelt extender on a plane, feeling the confidence to try something like ziplining without having to worry about a weight limit ... the list goes on and on. But even with these smaller milestones, I'm already experiencing a much-improved quality of life. It can only get more exciting from here and I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Water's Edge

I just got back from a great evening with friends. One lives close to where I work in lower Manhattan, so I walked to her place, and then she and I and our other friend went for a walk along the river. They recently built a park there with flowers and benches, so it was very pleasant to stroll through it. Plus, the weather was perfect: sunny and breezy with a chill in the air - just the way I like it.

I was a little frustrated because I had to stop and rest my leg a few times (the three miler I did this weekend affected me more than I'd thought), but my girlfriends were patient and I still managed to get a lot of walking done. I figured that we'd covered about a mile, but when I clocked it, it came out to 2.3 total for me. Not bad!

Later we had dinner at a cozy Italian place on Front Street. I haven't had a lot of Italian since I received my diabetes diagnosis so I wasn't sure what I'd be able to eat but it was fine. I had an arugula salad with shaved parmesan, dressing on the side; broccoli rabe with pepper flakes; and then chicken and sausage in a brown sauce with potatoes and spinach on the side. I had one bite of potato, but left the rest. The remainder of the meal was delicious and chock full of veggies. What I liked, too, was that the portions were human sized. There were about four oz of meat on the plate, just enough to fill you up. However, it wasn't a huge dish with enough food for three people, as is often the case at restaurants.

My friends commented that I look good, which was really nice. I still don't think that the weight loss is so obvious, but I think I just look healthier in general. Everyone who has complimented me so far has remarked that I have more color in my cheeks. I know now from seeing my friend's wedding video that I looked deathly pale earlier this summer so I guess the contrast is noticeable.

I think the change is also from me changing my eating habits. I'm finally eating the recommended portions of fruits, veggies and whole grains and it shows. My skin has cleared up and I no longer have dark circles under my eyes. I don't look like a zombie -- all good!

My friends agreed to join me in the diabetes walk, so we now have a whole team with six people. It's going to be fun! It's a month away now so I need to step up my training. This weekend I plan to do four miles and I also want to return to the gym. Ideally, I'll be able to finish the walk without taking breaks, but that might be a tall order for me with my leg issues. More realistically, I'd like to complete it in two hours. Either way it'll be nice to have Jon and my friends by my side. I'm not happy to have been diagnosed with diabetes, but hey, let's make this walk a party!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Greek Feast

I really love Greek food and eat it often. But though I loved having the real deal when we were in Greece, I wish I'd eaten better.

While there, I had a lot of fried chese, fried zucchini or items baked into phyllo dough -- all delicious, but not exactly healthy. At the time, I didn't know that I had diabetes, but I'm sure that this didn't help.

It'a a shame because Greek cuisine offers so many healthy options: grilled meats, fresh vegetables, salads, protein-rich beans, olive oil... and in general, the food isn't drenched in sauce.

Since I've been diagnosed with diabetes, I've been eating a lot of Greek food, the "right" way. There's a new Greek restaurant near us that has really great dishes. We went there last night after our walk and movie. I had grilled mushrooms, a Greek salad with the dressing on the side and grilled chicken with horta, which is a spinach/escarole mix. Everything was fresh and delicious and I like that they offer Greens as a side dish. It was a very filling meal, but not fattening at all, and it kept my blood sugar very even.

Last night, I slept well and now I'm up at 9 a.m. - ON A WEEKEND -- doing stuff. I don't feel bloated and am having happy thoughts about our dinner out. It's a nice change from those days when I've had "food hangovers."

I probably still think about food too much, but as someone with a history of eating disorders, I imagine that I always will. Still, if I'm going to have food on my mind, it might as well be healthy, happy cuisine rather than binge-inducing junk, right?

Slowly, but surely, I'm finding ways to enjoy food, feel full and control my weight/diabetes/binges at the same time. It definitely makes life a little sweeter.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

One Foot Forward...

It's about a month and a half until my diabetes walk and the training is going well. Today, Jon and I did a three mile loop around the neighborhood. The weather was great and it felt really good to be moving; the hills are getting easier to conquer and I'm having to stop less often. I feel like I'll be very prepared for five miles by the end of October if I keep this up. I'd still like to get some more speed in my walking. I can comfortably go about two miles an hour, which is rather slow. I'd like to get up to 2.5 miles and hour so I can finish the event in two. I doubt that the friends whom I'm walking with are going to want to wait all day for me.

My eating and weight loss efforts are going well, too. More people are noticing the weight loss. My friend Karen says that she can see it in my face. I still can't tell so much, but my clothes are getting kind of baggy. I ordered some new fall outfits in a size below what I'm wearing now so that I can shrink into them.

Even though I know I'm fat, I sometimes get a wake up call as to how large I really am. This happened when a friend posted video clips of her recent wedding. It was a beautiful occasion and I felt attractive that day; I was wearing a new dress that fit well and got a lot of compliments. However, when I saw myself on screen, I couldn't believe how HUGE I was! Not only that, but I looked bloated and deathly pale. Granted, my diabetes was out of control at the time, so that probably contributed to it, but I was still surprised. This was when I believed I looked good! Still, I know I've lost weight since then and Karen commented that the color is in my cheeks again. Plus, another friend sent me a photo from last week's party at Scott's and save for my double chin, I didn't look bad.

Honestly, though, I'm not obsessed with my looks. I know I'm not a beauty queen, but figure I'll look better as my health improves. Meantime, I'm enjoying this newfound energy that I have. After feeling so sluggish for months and months, actually wating to DO stuff is kind of a novelty. Today I woke up and finished a necklace I've been working on. We then went for our walk and finished off our evening with dinner and a movie. And now I'm writing a blog entry! Just a few months ago, I would've spent the weekend in bed or on the couch watching TV, but I got a lot done today -- and felt as if I were part of the world. Even when I was at the party last week, I had more energy and more of a sense that I was a part of things.

I have some friends who wake up early to go to the gym or to clean their homes, or to do whatever, and I never really understood that. I still like to sleep in on weekends, but no longer sleep the entire day away. I have much moe of a desire to get things done and to live my life rather than waste it.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Singing The Truth

Had a great day today at the Tanglewood jazz fest in the Berkshires, MA. We spent the morning listening to two bands (one we loved; the other was a bit weird and experimental), then went to here an Afro-funk singing group called "Singing The Truth" this evening. They were amazing. They had everyone on their feet and really interacted well with the audience.

This made me think of how much I enjoy performing. I've always been shy, though less so in my adult years. My ultimate dream -- which is more of a fantasy -- is to have the lead in a Broadway show. I'm a decent singer, but I can't act or dance, and I'm probably too old at 37, so realistically, this isn't something that's going to work out.

Still, I've found other ways to satisfy my inner ham: I love doing karaoke and I played flute with a band. Being up on stage and having an audience cheer for me was the greatest feeling. I liked making people happy and it made me feel good to know that they appreciated my talent.

As much as I like performing, though, I often have trouble letting go, especially when I'm in large groups. I'm not what you'd call the life of the party, especially since I don't drink often. Even before I was diagnosed with diabetes (now I can't drink at all), I couldn't stand having more than one drink. Believe me, I tried. I tried in college like everyone else did, but after about two wine coolers, I'd get a burning sensation in my stomach and my entire arm would go numb. My dad is also unable to drink so I seriously think it's a genetic defect. So I'd have my one wine cooler and call it a night.

A good many of my close friends aren't big drinkers either, but some are, as well as some of my co-workers and I'll admit, I often feel left out. When they're sober, I fit in fine, but when they start to get drunk and they're all giggly over some inane thing, I don't get it. It's as if everyone were handed the rules to a game or some subcultural and I never got the memo. I envy them for being able to let loose -- and part of me gets angry with them for entering a "world" that I don't have a pass to, especially now. I have a great imagination and can act silly without much alcohol, but I know it's different when you've had a few.

Anyway, when I perform, this is MY chance to become that different person and to let myself go. As I was listening to these women tonight, I was thinking about that and how I really need to start some new project that involves performing. I'm thinking of maybe recording a new album with some vocal tracks. I put out a flute album a few years ago, but this would be a new challenge. I'd also like to sing live. It's one thing to do karaoke in front of a few friends, but it's different when you have to interact with a pianist and orchestra, and the crowd isn't necessarily friendly.

I have a long way to go until I lose enough weight to no longer be considered obese, but I can work on my confidence along the way. I may not be able to go crazy at parties, but I can still stand out in a different sense.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Equal Footing

I love traveling with Jon, but I often feel as if I'm holding him back. He's very active and has recently lost a lot of weight, so he wants to go, go, go. I, on the other hand, still have mobility issues. I'm a lot more active than I was a few months ago and definitely a year ago, but it's still difficult for me to hike or go boating, or do any of that outdoorsy stuff that he loves. Right now we're on vacation and he really wanted to go hiking or boating today, but it was 85 degrees and about 99 percent humidity outside, so I turned him down. I could tell that he was disappointed.

What's frustrating is that I feel like I'm always a step behind, even during the times when I've been in better shape. When we went to Moab in 2003, I trained for that trip and could do the simple hikes ... but didn't feel up to doing the tougher walks through the rock formations. In 2006/2007, I was in pretty decent shape as I'd lost a lot of weight and was training for that 20-mile walk. Still, when we were in New Zealand, I didn't feel up to climbing a glacier and jumping over crevasse. I did a lot of other things, like hike and walk around some interesting geothermal parks, but I was still disappointed in myself. Jon reminded me that I did accomplish some difficult hikes, but I wished I could do more. I mean, how ften was I going to be in NZ and get a chance to climb a glacier?

Then in 2008, when I began to gain a lot of the weight back, we went to Florida. Jon went swimming with manatees on an eco tour, but I didn't want to squeeze my ass into a wet suit. Instead, I sat on the boat and watched him have a great time. Happily, a bunch of manatees came up to us, but again, I felt disappointed that I wasn't able to participate more.

And now we're away and again, I feel that nagging sense that I'm not doing enough. For the record, Jon never pressures me or makes me feel bad about my limitations, but it's frustrating to me that that they're there. I want to be lean and spry enough that I can hike or climb glaciers or sit in a canoe without having to worry about my joints or my circulation or my blood sugar.

Still, I'm appreciative of the fact that I have been a lot of places and try to concentrate on that instead. Maybe I didn't climb the glacier, but I did hike alongside it on the trail. I did get to see the manatees in their natural environment. I made it up to the top of the Parthenon in Greece, even though it was a very difficult walk for me. I know that a lot of people want to travel and can't, or don't, or won't, so at least I'm *trying* to live my life the way I want.

Today was a little weird because we went to the Poconos Garlic Festival in the morning. I figured that there would be at least some foods I could eat, but everything was crap -- sweet or fried or greasy or drenched in sauce. I was *really* on track: I had a couple of cheese curds, a pickle and little tastes of Jon's garlic funnel cake, garlic cookie and chocolate-dipped garlic. But I stayed away from all the junk. Because I ate so little, my blood sugar ended up dropping to 60. Yikes! I found it rather annoying that my body reacted to me NOT eating the unhealthy foods.

I guess the point of this post is that I'm doing the best I can, and I have to remember that. I might not be up to hiking in hot, humid weather, but I can now walk two miles pretty easily. And I may not be the fittest or most adventurous traveler, but I make a point to try new things. One day my body will catch up with my spirit and then hopefully, Jon will finally have a traveling companion who can keep up with him.