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My step-mother is evil. I've told you this before. But she reinforces it every damn time I see her or speak to her. It happened again the other day.
I had to see my dad and her for Christmas. Which is a horrible way to look at it. "Had to." But it's the truth. If I could see my dad without her, it might turn into "get to."
Anyway, within about five minutes, she made a comment about how fat I am. And asked how my diet is going. I responded, "I am not on a diet. But I am fine, thanks for asking."
Seriously, I've lost three pants sizes since they saw me last. Could you maybe give me a compliment on the way I look? No, she can't. Kind words are not in her vocabulary.
Not to even get into that I've been through HELL in the last year. Recovering from a miscarriage, then struggling with infertility, two grandparents' suicide attempts, one ultimately dying, my fiance leaving me, job uncertainty. So yeah, thanks for your concern.
And what's worse is, I know I'm doing well. I know I look good. I know I'm doing things that are good for me, mentally and physically.
But she makes this comment, and all I want to do is eat. Well, maybe eat and drink. But mostly eat.
It doesn't help that I have major PMS right now. But ever since seeing them, I've been eating worse, and I've had to force myself to do even the smallest amount of exercise. And it's the holidays. And maybe I'm just full of excuses.
I swear, I'll feel better soon. And dammit, I still look good in those skinny jeans.
So back in October I wrote a post about trying on a pair of skinny jeans. I had been wearing 16's for a very short time, and these were 14's. I decided not to buy them, because I reasoned that before I could really wear them, I'd be in an even smaller size.
I bought a pair of skinny jeans this weekend. In a 10. TEN. Granted, they are very stretchy, but still. I haven't worn anything with a 10 on it in probably 6 years.
I still haven't stepped on a scale yet. I know I'm doing well. People are telling me they can see the change. Friends, complete strangers. I think my coat is too big. Anyway, I have this fear of stepping on the scale and not liking the number and going into a complete tailspin. So, I still haven't done it.
I also haven't actually worn the jeans yet. But hopefully I will very soon.
Well, folks. It's November. And I've spent most of the year in hiding- hiding from my scale, hiding under baggy clothes, hiding from you. And while many people are entering the season of "to hell with my diet, let's enjoy the holidays and hit the healthy train in January". I find myself finally getting around to being serious about my weight loss. The year continues to find my scale creeping to a point of new horrors - beyond my pregnancy weight. I've not been super active on any regular basis. I've not been in overdrive about feeding my face, but I've not been crunching the numbers either.
Has anything gone right?
Well, one thing. Back in January, my husband and I both secretly made a silent resolution to not eat at McDonald's. One year without the golden arches. It's not that we LOVE Mickey D's. It's just that it is our easy - go to - starting to feel sick -and really needs some salty food - meal. With the intro of their $1 menu - we could feed the family a sackful of poison for a small bill.
Anyway, we had both been talking about how we eat there too much. About how the food doesn't live up to our "memory" of how good it USED to taste. And about how we feel like crap after we eat it. So we both set up this idea that it was "off limits" for 2012. In my personal resolution- I built in 2 "cheats". I figured if I went from eating there a few times a month to two times a year that would be a marked improvement AND if I fell off the wagon - it would not be an instant fail with permission to relapse for the rest of the year.
So as of this date - I am happy to report that we have only eaten there 1 time--and it was breakfast. (And it was horrible enough that we have not even since spoken of doing it again.) Fry free. No nuggets. No McChickens. And seriously, every time we've had that salty craving - we've been able to satisfy it with a healthier alternative. (For the record, we've also only had Burger King 1 time this year.)
So while my success list will be short for health goal in 2012. At least I can put this on in the win column.
I was out for my walk today, and I saw an elderly neighbor toddling out to his mailbox with his cane. As I approached him, I popped my earbuds out so I could say hello. Keep in mind, I've never said more than, "Hello," to this man. In fact, I've probably only waved before. And he was old. Like walking with a cane old.
He turned to me after I said, "Hello," and he said, "Say, that walking is helping you! You're looking gooooooood!"
I mean, it was a compliment, I'm sure, but it was inappropriate on so many levels. Like, I don't know this person at all. And there's an implied, "You looked like hell before," in comments like this.
Whatever. Apparently I'm looking goooooood. Might have to step on the scale soon.
I haven't posted a recipe in a long time, but I tried this one last week and loved it. Now that I'm living alone, I'm focusing more on what I really want to eat. I'm finding that it doesn't involve much meat, and I actually feel a lot better when I don't eat meat. So, here's a yummy vegetarian recipe I adapted a little from O Magazine.
10 ounces spaghetti (I used Barilla Thin Spaghetti, and I recommend a "healthier" pasta option, whether whole grain, or whatever. Also, this is a bit less pasta than the original recipe called for. I thought it was way too much pasta and not enough other stuff when I made it the first time.)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 1/2 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped green onions
3 eggs (original recipe called for 4)
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups salsa, plus more for garnish
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
In a large pot, cook pasta according to package directions. In the last three minutes of cooking, add corn, black beans, and green onion.
In a separate skillet, scramble eggs with some salt and pepper. I used cooking spray instead of oil. (The original recipe says to fry the eggs and put them on top of the pasta, but I prefer them scrambled and mixed in with the pasta mixture.)
When pasta is finished, drain, reserving about 3/4 cup of pasta water. Return to big pan. Add pasta water, egg, salsa, and cheese. Add extra salsa and cheese to top of each serving. (Makes 4 servings)
I was at a work function this week and found myself wearing pants that were ginormously too big for me. Which is kind of a cool thing, except that I was traveling, so I didn't have any other pants, or a belt, or anything. And at one point I decided to look and see what size the pants were, thinking that they must be a 14, and isn't this awesome that they're so big on me?!
Well, they were a 16. Which made me think, wtf, when did I ever buy a 16 to begin with?! And darn tooting they're too big, they'd BETTER be!
But whatever, the point is, they used to fit me. And now they're huge.
So, I ended up at JC Penney looking for some new clothes, and I decided to try on a pair of "skinny jeans." I have shunned this particular fashion trend, thinking I was too short and/or fat to look good in them.
I was wrong. Or at least I am now. Because they actually looked pretty good. And I tried them on with a silky, off the shoulder top that I would never have even picked up, except it was on clearance.
I stood there in the dressing room looking at my new hot self and debated whether to buy the outfit. Ultimately, I decided that my current life offers very little opportunity to wear skinny jeans and a slinky top. Because I can't wear denim for work, and well... the rest of the time I'm in sweats.
That was a decidedly third date outfit. And ultimately, I realized that by the time I'm going on a third date, I will probably be an even smaller size. And this would have been an entirely wasted purchase.
But it wasn't a waste of time. Because, I'm telling you, I looked hot in that outfit. And I needed to see that right now.
I haven't weighed since I've been on this new health kick, because I know that derails me. I can be on a super path, doing all the right things, and then I'll step on the scale, get discouraged, and stop.
So I purposely haven't done it. The doctor weighed me back in July, and I was horrified at the number. Higher than it had ever been in my life. I adjusted my little ticker accordingly the other day, but I haven't stepped on a scale since.
I haven't really noticed a lot of difference in my clothes, but then that could be because I work from home and tend to wear sweats about 95% of the time. (Herein may lie part of the original problem.) But I did have to buy a couple new pairs of shorts for a trip this summer, because none of my shorts fit me. In a bad way. And as summer drew to a close, those new shorts were getting looser.
But those were, like, fat shorts anyway. They don't count. They had damn well better be loose.
Then the other day suddenly I realized my freakin' underwear was too big! Like to the point that in the middle of the day I took them off, threw them away, and put on a different pair. I thought it might be a fluke, but it happened again today.
I guess it's a good problem to have. Maybe one day soon I'll step on the scale and see what's what. And go shopping for new underwear.
Okay, so I'm playing a whole different ball game now. If you read my other blog, you've seen that my fiance and I recently split up. So, while I've been doing more and more to take care of my health over the last couple of months, all the sudden I'm faced with the reality that I might have to be like "out there" again. Oh Good Lord have mercy.
Here's a story.
When I was still married to my ex-husband I was on a health kick of sorts, and I got down to 132 pounds. Which, keep in mind, I'm only 5 feet fall, so this is still probably too heavy for my frame. But it was the thinnest I'd been in a few years. Well, R and I were friends at the time, and he told me I was getting too skinny and needed to stop.
I told ex-H this, and his response was, "Yeah, but R likes big women."
I'll pause a minute and let all the subtleties of that play out in your head.
My ex-husband was an ass.
But he had one thing right. R really does kind of like "big women." We've joked about this throughout our entire relationship. And though I've gained some weight over our years together, he has always still found me attractive, sexy, whatever. So I didn't much care.
I mean, I did care, because I felt like a slug. But I had my man, and he was happy, so whatever.
But now? NOW?! I've got to feel better about myself if there is any hope of moving on with my life. I don't want to be a "big woman" anymore.
So, I can stand on my head now. Against a wall, but still.
Life has been so crazy lately, that I decided to just be crazy and set a goal for myself of being able to stand on my head.
I have a friend who's thiiiiiiiis close to being a certified yoga teacher, so I asked her to show me the proper form and steps to get into a headstand. Turns out I was doing it wrong. Or I was going to do it wrong, since I hadn't done it yet.
Anyway, I thought I'd share a website I found that has a really super helpful progression of poses to do leading up to being able to do a real headstand. It's a series of photos and descriptions I found on a site called Fit Sugar.
I did what they said, and what my friend said, for about a week or so, and then the other day I just kicked my leg from the "head stand prep" stage, and lo and behold, there I was on my head upside down. I only held it for a minute or so, but I've done it every day since.
There are all kinds of benefits to yoga head stands, but right now I'm just interested in standing on my head because...well...being upright hasn't been going so well for me. So, we'll see how this goes.
A lot of interesting things are happening along my journey these days. I'm not saying I'm trying to lose weight or on a diet or whatever. But a few weeks ago I stopped drinking diet soda, or stopped drinking so much of it, and it's created a ripple effect.
I drink a lot more water. I eat a lot more "whole" foods and less processed crap. Real food just tastes better to me now. It's what I crave.
And I'm being more active. Walking, doing some yoga, swimming (or I was before my pool turned into a giant vat of ice water). I even started jogging a little along the way this week.
I haven't even weighed, because I know that derails me. But I can tell clothes are looser, and I feel better about myself.
I've had troubles sleeping for years now. Various reasons, I'm sure, but one is that I always used to sleep the soundest on my back. And I got to where I couldn't sleep on my back anymore, because I would snore and wake myself up. I've wondered whether my extra weight had something to do with this or not.
I'm not entirely sure that's it, but I do know this. I woke up this morning flat on my back from a sound sleep. And not because I was snoring. So, I'm calling that progress.
Maybe I should say "cutting back" rather than "giving up." Because I know that if I tell myself I can't have something, I only want it more. And this cut back kind of came about on it's own, not through a conscious decision.
We went on vacation, and I drank WAY too much soda on the trip. Like all day every day. And by the time we got home, I just felt sick of soda and like I needed some water. And I read yet one more article about how diet soda messes with your weight because it messes with how your brain/body/stomach/appetite/whatever processes sweetness, and somehow THAT one clicked.
So I skipped soda for a day. Then two. Then three. Then on the fourth day, I had one. And it tasted awful. I didn't even finish it.
Then I went a whole week before I had another one. And it tasted awful and I didn't even finish it.
So I went another week. Then I had one. And it gave me a MAJOR headache. So, now it's been five days again.
I can't say whether I've lost any weight or not, because the last time I stepped on a scale it was so horrifying that I just haven't done it again. All I know is that I've cut way back on my diet soda intake and I'm drinking a lot more water, and in the long run, that's bound to be healthier for me. And the water tastes better to me right now, so that's what I'm drinking more of.
I thought I'd share a review of a cookbook I got recently, Livwise: Easy Recipes for a Healthy, Happy Life by Olivia Newton-John. My friends know it's no secret, I'm a big fan of Olivia Newton-John, and I Honestly Love You I probably wouldn't have purchased the book otherwise. But it's still a good book for anyone embracing a healthier diet and lifestyle.
The introduction explains how Olivia eats healthfully and has sections explaining organic foods, various nutrients, the importance of water, even how to grow your own sprouts. It has gorgeous, full-color photos (of Olivia and of the food) throughout and a good variety of healthy recipes. There are chapters on breakfast; entrees; shakes, smoothies and juices; appetizers; and even dessert. Many options are vegetarian or vegan, but there area a few with fish or chicken and a couple using beef.
I really enjoyed looking through the book, but that might be mostly because I'm a fan. One of the reasons I love Olivia is that I admire her healthy habits, so I liked reading more about what she eats and why.
If I have any criticism, it's that many of the ingredients are difficult, if not impossible, for me to find. Granted, I live in the middle of nowhere Missouri. But I don't even know where to begin to find goji berries, maca powder, or dahl. If you live in a more metropolitan area and/or have a Whole Foods nearby, you'll probably be fine.
Where have I been from the blogging world? And how come none of my clothes fit me anymore?
Life has been pretty chaotic lately. And my yoga teacher moved. And somehow I stopped eating food that actually resembled...well...food.
Cheetos and M&M's are a perfectly reasonable supper. Aren't they? I mean corn, and cheese, and antioxidants? Or something.
Anyway, I decided to clean out my closet last week, and it was horribly depressing. None of my clothes fit me. I had this vision of taking anything out of my closet that doesn't currently fit, look nice, feel good, etc... Sadly, this wouldn't have left me with much. And it would mean getting rid of some clothes I really like.
So, I ate a salad last night. I ate some fruit this morning. I've been swimming in my pool. Not laps per se, but I kind of walk around in circles, do leg lifts, crunches, some yoga poses in the water.
Speaking of water, I'm pulling a radical trick and drinking some. Not crazy amounts, but like a couple glasses a day, as opposed to three or four diet sodas.
We'll see how it goes! I haven't stepped on a scale or anything. Just want to get into some of my clothes again.
And my first thought was, "How could she do this to me?!"
Like as if it's about me.
I kind of suspected this was coming, but I think I was in denial. It hit me like a ton of bricks the night I found out. To the point that I cried through half the class like a fool.
She's been teaching me yoga for four years. And I adore her. (Have I told you that before?)
I have learned so many things from her. I can't even count the various poses, breathing exercises, and modifications she has taught me that I just do instinctively now, as if I've never not known how.
Tonight at class I heard so many people telling her how much they'll miss her, how much they have loved her class, how they are selfishly so very upset with her for daring to have her own life, and for letting that life take her away from our little yoga class.
It made me think, please let me live the kind of life that makes people that upset whenever I leave them. That is a pretty good legacy to leave behind.
I've been seriously slacking in my Project 52 updates, but I have actually done several things on my list. One item I wrote down was to attend at least one Power Yoga class this year. I've been pretty diligent about attending Gentle Yoga and Yoga Flow, but I've been reluctant to try the more intense class. Honestly, the only reason I went when I did is that my mom was here, and she wanted to go.
So, how was it? Well, it was hard. I wouldn't say the poses themselves were more difficult. The movements were essentially the same, but in power yoga, it was all done more quickly. It was more of a cardio workout than the other yoga classes I've gone to. At one point I had the thought, "I can't decide whether this is horrible or wonderful." That pretty much sums it up.
I mentioned to a co-worker this week that I went to yoga, and she was completely shocked. She stopped me mid-sentence and asked, "So are you like super flexible?"
No. I'm not.
Then she asked, "So, you can't like cross you legs behind your head?"
No. I can't.
It's not really like that. At least not where I go.
I adore my yoga teacher. (I may or may not have mentioned that before.) I think she does an incredible job of helping each person focus on yourself, your body, what feels right for you, etc... She encourages everyone to follow our own breath, and she always shares modifications to make each pose more or less strenuous. She talks about letting go of competition and judgement, both of others and of yourself.
It's amazing. And for me, it's about stress relief, not about bending into crazy positions. All I know is, I feel better after I go. But I'm not planning on going to Power Yoga again anytime soon. I"ll stick to the two easier classes.
Yesterday morning I woke up and really wanted a donut. I didn't have any donuts. I fixed myself a cup of coffee, and stood in the kitchen contemplating whether I wanted a donut bad enough to get dressed and go buy donuts.
Then I remembered we had cake. R had made a birthday cake for a co-worker (yes, all by himself!), and he brought what was left home. There was one piece left.
Really, is cake any different from a donut? I mean, when you consider the ingredients and nutritional value, or lack thereof, what's the difference?
And when there is only one piece of cake left, why dirty a spatula and a plate?
So I sat down at the coffee table in my pajamas with my coffee, a cake pan, and a fork. And right at that moment, R walked in.
He cracked up laughing and asked if he could take a picture of that.
I told him no. He took it anyway, and no, I'm not posting it.
But this morning, when I rolled out of bed, lo and behold, he'd gotten donuts. So, I guess I'll forgive him for the photo.
I'm at the tail end of a bad cold, and it's put a damper on my workout schedule. There seems to be a lot of conflicting information out there about whether or not you should exercise when you're sick. The consensus is that, if you have a fever, you should not work out. But what if you're just congested and stuff? And do the same rules apply to yoga as to cardio and weight training?
Because yoga isn't the same. I mean, jogging doesn't usually involve being upside down. And breathing is such a key element of yoga. So if you can't breathe...?
The first day, when I barely had a throat tickle, I went to yoga, and it was fine. I mean, that was probably the point when I was contagious, so it might not have been fine for everyone else in the room. But I felt okay.
Then a couple days later I felt so bad that leaving the house just wasn't even an option. So I skipped yoga that day. Then a couple days after that, I was starting to feel a bit better, but still not great, and I debated on what to do. So I Googled. Which is, ideally, the best way to find out your health information. Not.
But seriously, what I found in general was this:
You shouldn't do any of the inverted poses if you're congested. This means any pose where your head is below your heart. Like downward dog, forward fold, or headstands (as if I do headstands, but whatever). I could see where this might make one feel worse, but I actually found several sites cautioning that it could make you sicker by forcing gunk into places it doesn't belong.
Some gentle, upright poses can be helpful. Things like chest expansions and side bends. But in general, you shouldn't do any strenuous poses.
And the advice that finally made my decision for me was this simple question: Do you want to be in a closed up yoga studio with someone who is hacking, sneezing, and sniffling?
Ummm...no. And I realized I've actually had this very thought before while I was relaxing into a corpse pose and listening to the person next to me cough up a lung. "Really?! You felt the need to come share all that with us?"
I've been in a funk lately. More so now, because I'm sick. But then, that's the way I do. I work and stress and do too much until finally my body says, "STOP." And I get sick. So, Friday my body put its foot down, so to speak.
I had gone to yoga Thursday, and was actually doing okay. I've been doing the harder class for a couple months now, and it's gotten to where the gentle class is too easy. I'm contemplating trying power yoga soon. (I thought it might be today, but ummm...no.)
I've even started jogging a little with my walks. Not a lot, just a lap, a block, the distance between two mailboxes, then I walk until I catch my breath. And the reason I did this at first was not to improve my cardiovascular fitness. It was not to lose weight.
It was because I was mad.
I was having a horrible day, and I decided to walk it out. I went to yoga early and walked on the track, and I swear, the longer I walked, the madder I got. I think every person there was out to get me. People standing in the track for no reason. People hogging the lane. One crazy old man doing some bizarre form of martial arts/torture/fit throwing that involved tying himself to a post with a stretchy band and flailing about every time I walked past. (I'm not even kidding. It was weird. Had never seen him before, and haven't seen him since.)
And finally as my anger rose, I decided the only thing to do was RUN. And I ran. And I felt better. So I kept running. Sort of like Forest Gump.
Then last week, I was walking, and contemplating starting to run a little, when who stepped out onto the track but someone I dislike intensely. Someone I hadn't seen in over a year. And there she was on MY track. At MY gym. Oh, Lord, what if she goes to MY yoga class???
I rounded the corner and kept right on walking out the door. I just couldn't face her. And I was so livid, I was shaking and near tears. I calmed myself down and decided I wasn't letting her keep me from yoga. Yoga has been the only thing keeping me sane these days. I tentatively walked back in the building, looked both ways, and made a break for the yoga studio.
Thankfully, she did NOT attend class. But now I'm freaking the he!! out that she'll be there next time I go walk. I mean, really, I go to the gym to get AWAY from people who upset me.
I've decided I need to suck it up. If she's there, she's there. And honestly, she has every right to be there. No matter how personally I'm taking it. It's a public place.
Seriously, she won't keep it up anyway. I know her. She won't.
If anyone else out there is ridiculously short or abnormally tall (which really, I cannot even imagine), I thought I'd share that I just got some great yoga pants at Target. They come in short and tall sizes, as well as "normal" and they were marked $27.99 but are actually on sale for $19 right now.
I decided I deserve new yoga pants, since I'm going to yoga twice a week now. I usually wear capris because I get way too hot in long pants. But Stacy and Clinton always say that if you are short you should never ever wear capris. And aesthetically, I know they are right. Temperaturely, I wear capris anyway.
These pants came in both lengths, and I decided to buy one of each. I wore the longer pants today, and honestly, I was too hot. But I looked thinner. So I might just have to be hot more often!
I had a rough day. I've had a rough couple of days. And it's not like there's a good reason for it. Nothing hugely horrible happened. In fact, a couple of really good things happened. But I've felt awful for a couple days. No energy, bad mood, not sleeping, anxiety for no good reason. Blah.
Tonight was yoga night. Not even easy yoga night, but harder (okay, medium) yoga night. I kept thinking as I got ready to go, "I do not feel like doing this right now."
And then I stopped myself. Because in reality? Going to yoga was the only thing I DID feel like doing. I did NOT feel like doing all the rest of the cr@p I had to do today. But I wanted to go to yoga class, and I knew it would make me feel better.
So I went. And it was hard. And hot. And awesome. And I do feel better!
Sometimes you just have to mix up your exercise routine a little. So you want to know what I did today? I walked my entire route backwards. I mean, I didn't walk backwards. I walked frontwards. But I walked the route backwards of the route I usually walk.
This is my version of being wild and crazy. R is laughing hysterically at me as he reads this. So is EG.
Anyway, it's a tiny thing, but it did make a difference. I'm a serious creature of habit. And I've gotten to know my walking route so well, I could probably do it with my eyes closed. But today I felt like I needed to mix it up a little.
So, I started at the end and worked toward the beginning. And it was kind of cool that during the parts where I'm usually exhausted, I was fresh and energetic. At the part where I'm usually thinking, "Oh Lord, I've only just begun, and my legs hurt already," today I was thinking, "Wow, I can't believe I'm almost finished!"
It gave me a little extra push, and you know what I ended up doing? I added one more little "leg" to my walk and did more than I've done in years. It felt good.
Most Awesome Walking Song I Heard Today:
"Do you know what I wanna do? Do you KNOW what I wanna DO?! Strut."
I went back to yoga class last night, after the three class hiatus my instructor took over the holidays (how dare she?!). I'm not gonna lie. It was hard.
It's amazing how quickly I can get out of practice with stuff like that. But I was proud of myself for going, and I plan to go every Tuesday and Thursday in January. My goal is to stick with these two classes per week for a month, and then if I feel up to the challenge, I might try the Power Yoga class on Mondays during February.
I'm a little scared of that. So, we'll see.
I've been back into walking also, and the longest I went without walking over the break was three days. Note to self: You can miss one day of walking. You can even miss two days in a row if necessary. But don't skip three days anymore. It's just too hard to get back into it after taking that long off.
So how are you doing with your fitness goals so far in January?
I consider writing blip-its about myself a form of torture, but can talk about my interests, plans, dreams, and ideas for hours. I'm 37 years old, hapily married and mother to one human child and two dogs. My life, career, and eating habits are ever-evolving. I would like to lose about 30+ pounds and still be able to enjoy food and life.
I'm 41 years old, single, and I live with two dogs and two cats. I'm experimenting with semi-vegetarianism and recently gave up diet soda. I work from home, hate sports, love junk food, and would like to lose about 50 pounds. And win the lottery.