Friday, May 30, 2008

Tasty Ignorance

Oh poop. They say that ignorance is bliss, and this is certainly true of food. For the past few weeks, I have blissfully taken an extra long Friday walk to the Rita's Water Ice located not too close but not too far from the office. Each time, I have happily ordered a regular ice - without the oh so tempting custard. On my spreadsheet, I respectfully decline to log this tasty treat and figure that the long walk will cancel out the indulgence. Like it never happened. After all, it is just flavored water! Guilt free and fat free.

Of course, I knew in my heart of hearts that it was loaded with sugar. Why else would it taste so good? Well, I will not ruin this for you, constant reader. Suffice it to say, my math is a little off, and the walking does not do enough to offset the damage. But, there ARE worse things to eat and that makes all the difference. I urge you to remain ignorant!

In the meantime, I will take one for the team and try the "sugar-free" version. I will report back next week with my findings....if I survive...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Inspired by the ever inspiring Cara, my own happy list:


....coming home from a great bike ride in the woods, muddy, exhausted, and completely content

....taking a long shower on a day when I've got nothing to do, then sitting down to read a book and sip tea ALL DAY

....coming up with a kick-ass genius idea for a particularly tough structural issue AND having it work

....catching a football during a game or making an awesome volleyball save

....when Adam puts his arms around me or rubs my shoulders for no particular reason

....going to a concert and getting caught up in the music

....the first flower of spring

....listening to the Grateful Dead and watching the sun come up or go down

....spending the day in the kitchen making yummy food and listening to NPR on a lazy Saturday

....driving past a building that I designed (when it is still standing - I haven't had one fall, but I imagine that would be the opposite of happiness)

....autumn leaves and that fresh smell of October

....when my purry pussy cat jumps on my lap and curls up for a snooze

....the feeling after a great workout or yoga session

....being able to fit into the jean shorts that were too tight two years ago

....cheesecake, of course!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Countdown

I finished reading "The Dorm Room Diet" yesterday. I guess the fact that I knew I would need to read it quickly was inspiration. As expected, it is pretty much the same as "You: On a Diet" which is written by the author's father. I read the "You" book over a much longer period last fall. But, as a motivating tool, I think reading the new book helped. It put me back on focus, and I actually had a good week last week, meaning I managed to suck in an average of 1584 calories and went to the gym 3 times. I put the time into planning this week as I had done "back in the day". (I will have one party and another "pizza meeting" this week, but I feel more resolved to overcome these roadblocks than I had before reading the book.
There are only two new behavioral changes I would like to try based on this book. The first is to drink a glass of water before every meal. I drink a 20 oz bottle of water every day before breakfast, but I do not drink much water throughout the rest of the day. It turns out that drinking before every meal is a challenge. I am very impatient with my meals. Once I have decided to eat, and taken the time to prepare my food, there is not much that will distract me from beginning to shovel it into my face. (I usually manage to hit the mouth, but the stains on my shirts are testament to my aim.) But, I have only just begun this tactic, so I will continue.
The other habit I am hoping to adopt is to count to my age before consuming an unplanned treat. This has proved very very challenging. My count goes something like this: eye a muffin that is sitting in the fridge and frankly taking up too much space, and begin. One, two, fridge door still open; three, four, grab the muffin; five, six, take off the wrapper; shebin, chomp chomp, swallow, eight...I have actually continued counting after this. So, I will have to work on this one too. The idea for both of these, of course, is that you are taking the time to truly decide if the need for your food is based on hunger, or if it is because you can't fit the groceries you just bought into the fridge.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Oh yeah baby, that's just what I'm talking about. I started reading "The Dorm Room Diet" today, but I needed only to read the introduction in order to find that negative motivation I so desperately need. First off, this book could have been written by me, as the author described her childhood and teenage years as if they were pulled from my own diaries. (Side note: Did anyone see that movie about the number 23? I was slightly worried that the girl would murder her room mate in the end...) Anyway, she drones on for a few pages about how she was always overweight (though I question how she remembers being overweight at age 2.) I too, have always been overweight. I remember in 2nd or 3rd grade gym class when we were building a human pyramid (probably not allowed these days). I was the only girl on the bottom - the teacher said I had "broad shoulders." The author of the book related a few similar stories, blah, blah, blah, and then said that at her fattest she was my exact height and weight. Yes, my current weight - after losing 10 lbs.
Honestly, I'd like to see a picture, because I personally think people would be surprised to learn how much I weigh. Most of the weight is in my "nether" regions - the legs and the gigantic butt - which are luckily areas that can be disguised by baggy clothing. Or perhaps it is only me that can't see this extra poundage since I rarely look at my backside in a mirror. I am only hoping that this girl carried all her weight up top and that I actually look like a super model in comparison. Because this is a little too much negativity.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Me on a Diet

For the past two weeks, I started to become a bit too happy with myself. As you, constant reader, probably know, I need some negativity for motivation. I NEED to feel lumpy and overweight so I can convince myself NOT to eat the pie in the fridge. This unsolicited happiness is the result of my trip to the doctor where I found out I had lost 10 lbs, and seeing friends and family whom I hadn't seen since the winter when I was still carrying the extra weight. Many have noticed my successes, including "sort of strangers". I look better, I feel better, and....I realize that I am losing interest in the diet.
HOWEVER - I still haven't met my goal of being within the normal weight range for my height. What to do? The answer: a book. I may have neglected to mention this, but I was originally inspired by a book called "You: On a Diet" which stressed that the body's reaction to fewer calories and more exercise will vary from person to person. It encouraged me to adopt my current philosophy: "Do the best you can with what you got." I knew at the time that I was not doing the best I could due to the lack of gym time, and the unabashed consumption of free brownies whenever they presented themselves.
Today, I actually bought two books on a very extra long walk to the bookstore. One was geared towards college students and written by the daughter of the "You" book, so I bought it for my sister (who, duh!, is in college). Knowing I will see her in a few weeks time, I decided to read this one quickly before I give it to her. Hopefully, it gives me the motivation I am looking for...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Uncle Chappy

On Monday, my great Uncle Chappy, suffering from Alzheimer's disease, living in a hospice center, and having recently broken his shoulder, passed away. My father's email about Uncle Chappy was nicely written, listing sweet memories of him, and I thought I should pass it on:
Our family participated in pretty many family get-together picnics at Uncle Chappy's home in Honeybrook.
He is the one who made the shelves for your tea-sets that are still in my attic, waiting for you to have room to hang them.

He is the one who traveled more than fifty miles to present his views about WWII and Pearl Harbor survivorship, (along with Pop Pop Schrack) to Brandon's boy scout troop.
He is the one who played Santa Claus at our family gatherings when I was young. At that time he had dark wavy hair, and was a handsome fellow.
He was the one who helped his children and their cousins (me included) make home-made root beer and sassafras -- not exactly a success.
When I was young, we would often get together at his old apartment in Modena for Thanksgiving dinner.
The sight I remember, is Chappy always helped with the dishes, after those meals.
He worked in the steel mills of Modena for Lukens Steel, a hard life for sure.
He was a good father to his children, John, David, and Joel.
He was the husband of Aunt Gertrude (Trudy). I am her "favorite" nephew.

Uncle Chappy did not talk much with me, but I always remembered that he held the record as the largest baby born at Reading Hospital for some time. This impressed me as a child because it was hard for me to think that someone old had once been a baby. But of course at that time, I thought 10 was a very old age to be. I know that Uncle Chappy will be missed.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fattening Up

I went to the gym tonight to find piles of sandwiches and a woman selling tee-shirts. As usual, I was late for my class and had little time to digest this (ha!) on the way in. Apparently, "guests" are free today. In other words, you are allowed the privilege of an hour long tour and solicitation to join the club for no money. What a deal. But there is free food. The irony of this set up was not lost on me when I crashed into a woman in the dressing room. She was carrying a pastrami on rye.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Now that's a Good Deal!

I just got a BJ's membership. For those unfamiliar, BJ's is Costco is Sam's Club - a gigantic warehouse of "good deals." In ginormous sizes. Yes, the deals are plenty, but I just bought enough cleaning products to last approximately three years. (I am not certain whether this is normal or if I do not clean very often. Pshaw - my house is "clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy.")
Anyway, my sister and I were rather overwhelmed as we strolled through the aisles with carts large enough to transport a Labrador, staring wide-eyed at 8-packs of salad dressing. But then she saw the 40-pack of ice cream treats, and I saw the 5-pound tub of cookie dough. I managed to think realistically - I sadly do not really have the space for this much cookie dough, but the ice cream treats do not take up as much room, and my sister was done for. After that, she rushed through the store, struggling to reach for 10-lb bags of peas and 50-packs of juice boxes, exclaiming, "that's a good deal" in a strained voice. It was quite hilarious.
I was able to control myself for this trip, but I now have unusual desires to purchase 120 granola bars and 32 packs of yogurt. Will I be able to make these relatively healthy purchases last? Or will I become overwhelmed by the plethora of snacking possibilities and gorge to my heart's desire? Only time will tell. For now, I am not certain when Adam and I will manage to use all this toilet paper and toothpaste, but we are ready for....well, something. Dentists with diarrhea?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

From Fatigued to Fantastic!

My poor un-entertained virtual fans. I have not been blogging as often as I am jogging. (Tee-hee) Well, there is a reason for that: when I get home from work,! On a typical Monday or Tuesday, I go to the gym, but after that, I make dinner, eat it, and possibly get about 45 minutes before I slip in to a mild coma on the sofa. Usually I wake from these episodes with no recollection of being tired - I am awake one second, and suddenly it is two hours later. I feel as though I am sleeping through life, and it is a horrible feeling. Simply sitting in front of a computer and typing a blog is an unfathomable effort, and I stumble sadly to my bed where I collapse with exhaustion. Every. Day.
About a year ago, I bought a book entitled "From Fatigued to Fantastic" which in addition to being mostly about fibromyalgia (a condition I thankfully do not have) is EXTREMELY boring. It is written by a doctor, and gives specific dosages of drug treatments for several chapters. Supposedly it is for the layperson, but most of the remedies require a prescription.
Despite this, I have read almost half the book, and I decided on two possible reasons for my constant sleepiness. One was thyroid disease, which runs in my family, and comes with a laundry list of symptoms. I have every one of them. But alas, I got the results of a blood test last week, and I am normal. I am so disappointed. Luckily, most people I share this with have assured me that I am far from normal. The second reason was so simple I am amazed I didn't think of it - I am not sleeping well. I wake up during the night a LOT. Maybe two or three times for about 10 minutes at a time on a normal night, in addition to many instances of momentary wakefullness. However, it has only been since reading this book that I realized this is not normal. I have been this way for as long as I can remember, and I thought everyone slept this way.
The doctor gave me a prescription for Ambien to help me stay asleep at night, and I am AMAZED at the difference! It has been only 5 days, but I felt better after day 2, and in so many ways that I cannot even list them all. And look at me now! I just planted something in the pots I have been saving since January, and I am blogging on a Tuesday!
I wonder what the second half of the book says, but it might take another year to get through it...

Friday, May 9, 2008

Love the Gym You're In

Joining a gym seemed like such a cliche decision, tied to an overwhelming desire to emulate Dilbert with my office job, sedentary lifestyle, and overall geekiness. I hesitated for a while, giving all sorts of excuses for sitting on my bum for hours each night. Deep down, I knew that "heavy lifting" should consist of more than reaching into my chip bag and scooping large amounts of salsa into my mouth. (Who am I kidding? There is no way I would manage not to drop salsa all over myself...) The best reasons I found not to join a gym were that 1) It is too expensive, and 2) I can work out my self by jogging around the block, or getting exercise videos.
Lets start with that second one, shall we? Every couple of months, I found bursts of energy and motivation in which I diligently put on my sneakers after work and ran. These bursts lasted a few days...once. Most times, it was a singular and exceedingly rare event. I also attempted several workout videos which had varying affects on the destruction of my apartment. If you work out in your living room, you need a little more room and a bit less living (the cat is definitely not a fan of workout videos, yet seems to think that lying down two feet behind me is a good idea.) At that time, I also lived in an apartment with paper thin walls, and apparently floors. The clock rattled on the wall every time Richard Simmons told me to shake my caboose. (And yes, I did attempt a Richard Simmons video. It was hilarious!)
OK, on to the other reason for not joining a gym: the $$$$$. I am not saying that gyms are cheap, or that I suddenly got a ginormous raise. But, like everything, it is about priorities. I pay the same for a gym membership (and probably less) than most people pay for cable TV. I ditched the TV, and I haven't really missed it much - I get my South Park from the internet, I get my movies and TV series from Netflix, and I don't mind watching Seinfeld reruns for the 500th time. (Well, Hellllooooo...wha ha ha...)
I do love the gym. I do all the group exercise classes because they motivate me to commit to a specific time, and because they are fun. On Thursdays (today) I do an extremely hard boxing class, which kicks my ass weekly. But I love it, and most of the other regulars do too. I feel great when it is over, and on more than one occasion I have rearranged my social schedule or even skipped out on fun things in order to go to this class. I have also done this for my Saturday morning class - in fact, it is amazing that I regularly attend a Saturday morning class. That one is called "Body Attack" and it is technically aerobics, but for non coordinated people like me. I hate "traditional" aerobics in which I am too busy trying to figure out the moves to break a sweat.
The moral of the story: get out there and MOVE! Find something that works for you, and make it a priority. It feels really great to do something for yourself, and it makes you feel better all day!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Yay, I'm still Overweight!

This week, I went to the doctor and was officially weighed for the first time since I began "watching my weight" (figuratively of course). I have officially lost about 10 pounds. I find this a little disappointing and it reaffirms my decision not to use the scale as the primary gauge for success. Based on this number, I have been losing 0.55555 pounds a week, or almost 9 ounces. I guarantee that I would have quit after the first week if I had seen such pitiful progress. But, at this rate, I should lose about 29 pounds total by the end of the year, and that's not too shabby. Also, the doctor said that I should "keep doing what I'm doing". This she told me after I informed her that the body mass index chart posted in the room claimed that I am obese. This chart evilly separates the population into two categories: "normal" and "obese". However, the doctor helpfully referred me to a second chart with a gray area in the center. "You're not obese," she said, "You're overweight." Well that's just great.
It reminded me of the similarly evil message I received after typing my height and weight on the "My Pyramid" site. Against my better judgement, I decided to try this again with my new weight. Alas, the message remains the same: I am still overweight.
The fact remains that my plan is a sensible one for long term health: most of the time, I do not feel as though I am "on a diet" because I have resigned to the fact that I love food - especially the delicious kind. There are many ways I could lose weight faster. My plan was to research "fad diets" and list them, but it turns out a fellow blogger has devoted her entire blog to this: Here, you can learn about "the hot dog diet", the "sex diet", the "sardine diet" and even the "eggplant extract diet". I also found several diets claiming that you will lose 18 lbs in 2 weeks, 9 lbs in 11 days, and 30 lbs in 4 weeks, but in general, they require some sort of personal information before they will actually tell you what the diet entails. There are also the ever-popular diet pills, which never seem to have conclusive evidence of effectiveness, and which make some amazing leaps in logic. Like they observe that 100% of test subjects were not attacked by a rabid iguana while taking the pill, and so in addition to a "possible link" to weight loss, the pill has the added benefit of iguana prevention. So, unless I want to get my stomach surgically reduced to the size of a pea, I suppose I will continue with my current plan...though I could use an iguana repellent...