JESPAH   191,300
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JESPAH's Recent Blog Entries

With a Purposeful Grimace and a Terrible Sound

Monday, January 26, 2009

www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6rDWqjnW7w

Everybody has a monster. You do. I do. The Queen of England does.

It's greed. It's hunger. It's pushing. It's nagging. It's want. It's laziness. It's smoking. It's drinking. It's gambling. It's overeating.

It is -- the monster within. The id, I suppose.

You know what I mean. It's the part that tells you that the one thing you want in life is a cookie. And another. And another. And another. It's the part that tells you to light up, to blow your money on things you don't need, to get hammered.

It has a loud voice. It's insistent. Heck, it's pushy. It wants. It needs. It craves.

Now now now
Gimme gimme gimme
More more more
Now now now

I listened to mine for a really long time. It told me to grab that bag of chips, and not stop until the bag was empty. It told me to roll over and go back to bed and not bother exercising. It told me to stay within myself and not go for what I wanted.

Because, you see, the monster isn't just the id. It's reticence and sorrow and depression and guilt and low self-esteem and unrealistic expectations. It's everything that keeps what you really, really want for yourself just beyond the blue horizon. It's what holds it all at arm's length. At bay, perhaps. But it keeps it away from you. And we all have let it, haven't we? We've let the monster win. We've given it what it wanted. And you know something? The monster wasn't satisfied. It didn't go away. It didn't get any smaller. It got worse. It got more demanding. It got larger. It took over more and more and more because it really wants everything. It wants all of you. It is a terrorist, holding your soul hostage.

Well I say, no more negotiating with this terrorist. It's time to put the monster in its place.

The monster, well, you can't kill it. It does not end, this does not end, ever. If it did, I suppose we wouldn't be here and there wouldn't be a Spark, because we'd all slay the dragon in some fashion or another and the monster would be gone and maybe we would need a little help to lift up the sword but then, in one fell swoop, it would all be done.

But that's not how it works.

The monster never dies. It never truly goes away. You know how people who have quit smoking can sometimes say that they still think of cigarettes, even years later, even when they know that it's bad for them? And how if they have one, it's as if they never stopped? You know how you can be maintaining, and fine, and you backslide, and suddenly you're falling down a slippery slope into an abyss and you just can't get out of it? Yeah, it's that monster again. It never really died. It was just hiding, and waiting.

I say, go out and meet it. Face it head on. Open up the closet door and look your fears and dashed hopes and desires and foibles and mistakes and imperfections in the face. They aren't going away, so embrace them. They may turn out not to be so bad after all.

About 20,000 or so years ago, humans knew of a monster. It was near their campsites and ate a lot of their garbage. It was a scary thing. But its babies weren't so scary, and some of the adults weren't too bad, either, and humans saw that this monster might be okay to have around, and might be useful. So they interbred the monster and it got a lot less scary. And it turned from a wolf -- the monster -- into a dog.

So take your id, your fears, your esteem issues, your hunger, your hesitation, take all of those things that push you away from what you want and where you want to be, and put a collar on them. Domesticate them. Eat first, then give the monster a few scraps. If the monster wants a cigarette, give it a stick of gum instead. Does the monster want you to gamble, but you don't want to, or your budget won't allow it? Tell it no, or later, or not now or you can only have a little.

Embrace your inner monster. Mine is the hungry beast. My friend's wants to smoke. What does yours want to do? And, more importantly, how can you serve yourself first, before it, and then throw it a small bone?

We have met the monster and the monster is us.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JESPAH 2/4/2009 9:21AM

    Thank you. I'm gonna make my monster shovel snow today. :)

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KUNGFOOD 2/4/2009 8:51AM

    emoticon emoticon

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VEEJAY3 1/30/2009 4:54PM

    FABulous analogy, Jespah!!! Wow. Thanks for that idea. I know it will come to mind at very useful times. Such as when my monster says "but almonds are GOOD for you! Let's have the whole can!"

I'll just say "Heel!"

emoticon

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CAPECODDIN 1/28/2009 8:54AM

    Great post!! It really hit home... I guess I have lots of monsters.. and one of them is depression and I can't get out of this rut, and every day something happens to sabotage my healthy eating plan.......... today I fell right down on my face in the parking lot... where is my mind... it's anyone's guess...

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LAB-LOVER 1/27/2009 7:31PM

    I liked this blog SO much, I told everyone to go read it on my page!



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ALLIEDRAGONFLY 1/27/2009 8:52AM

    My monster is under the bed; so insidious and so sly...
No matter where I go, it follows...to the next town or around the world.

You remind me of a saying the Twelve-Steppers have about "the monkey on my back: he never leaves, he only sleeps...waiting to be wakened."

Allie

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JESPAH 1/27/2009 6:29AM

    Oh, I'm so glad you liked it. :)

I was inspired because I saw my friend and he's still smoke-free. And that's as hard as this is. We agreed it gets easier over time but it's still a bear -- a monster. Hence the inspiration.

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TELERIE 1/27/2009 1:48AM

    I love this blog! I'm gonna read and re-read this one again and again - thanks for writing about the monsters so well!!
Mine is the one saying "It's no use, just give up, just settle for less..."

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TRUE_TEXAN 1/26/2009 8:55PM

    My monster is an insecure little girl ... they are not always scary looking they fool you sometimes. But it's a monster regardless. Thanks for writing such a great blog- TT

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DOGSNHORSES 1/26/2009 7:50PM

    loved this post-- very true.

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QUEENDIDO 1/26/2009 7:06PM

    Great post! emoticon

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No Matter What We Get Out of This

Monday, January 19, 2009

www.youtube.com/watch?v=kG47FWl94yQ

A year ago today, I started taking alli.

I had been exercising for about three weeks. I had been watching portions for 10 days. But it was the 19th that I took the plunge with alli. I have never gone back. It has changed my life.

Weights and Measures

When I first started, I weighed 346 lbs. This morning, I weighed 221.6. I have lost 124.4 lbs.

My bicep was 19" around. It's now 14". My bust was 54.75". This morning it hit a personal best of 42.5". The band (where the bra band goes) was 47.5". This morning it was a personal best of 36". My waist started off at 49". This morning, another personal best: 37". My belly began at 59.5". This morning it was 41.25". My hips started off at 51". This morning they hit a personal best of 44". My big ole butt was 64" and I needed a specific tape measure to go beyond 5 feet. This morning, it was 49.25". My thigh started off at 32.25". This morning it was 23". I did not start off measuring my neck but I think it was about 19". This morning it was 15.5"

Overall loss was 90" (yes, really!), averaging 11.25" for all 8 measurements. When the outlyers (bicep and thigh) are removed from consideration, overall loss is 77.75", averaging 12.96" for those 6 measurements.

Exercise

I'm doin' it. I lift every morning and do resistance bands. I walk to work every day (from public transportation). I go to a gym twice a week. For today, when I'm neither working nor going to the gym, I'll shovel snow. I've also done indoor cardio by painting, doing housework and watching Leslie Sansone. We have an exercise bike but it's on its last legs (wheels?). Perhaps we'll get a new one. We also painted the exercise room and are in the middle of refurnishing/redecorating it. Already it's cheerier in there.

Food

I eat what I make, and I make different things. The slow cooker is my best friend. This week I'm going to try my hand at jambalaya (frankly, with a different spice ratio, it could be bouilliabaise). Last week we had chicken soup with matzoh balls. The week before we had bean soup. The week prior to that was whole wheat pasta with homemade sauce. These dinners work great over the Winter. In the Summer, I make the bean soup with less water and it becomes simply cooked beans. Grab a tortilla and you're good to go. Pasta also works for the Summer. I don't think I'll make the chicken soup but may adapt the jambalaya and make it less soupy. Experimentation is key, plus it's fun.

Attitude and Mood

It wavers. I'm no angel. It's not perfect. But it's pretty good for much of the time. Exercise is a mood lifter. I don't get runner's highs but I do feel better accomplishing a workout, and when I can get out in the sun, even in dim sunlight, that helps as well. Eating what I make is also fun and I like being productive. My husband and I still go out to eat but it's only once per week. And now it's a special treat, so it has more meaning. We eat better food at better places.

Influencing Others

On Spark I'm considered a Motivator. Huh? Um, okay, if reading my rants is motivating, heh, go for it. :)

But at work! This has proven interesting. I changed jobs in about May of last year and had by that time lost maybe 50 lbs. Hence I was already showing differences, already down a size and my face was less round. I was physically prepared to be able to walk as much as I do for commuting and, in fact, choosing this particular office was in a small part influenced by my being able to walk. Now I have lost another 74, almost 75, and the people in my office are really noticing it.

The other day, a DBA (Database Administrator) came up to me and told me it was very inspiring. Two other folk in the IT department have asked me what I eat. Another asked me what my workouts are like. Yet another is in the NY office and hasn't seen me in months. He asks about my progress and wonders if he'll recognize me when he next sees me.

Friends from camp tell me they're inspired to go on Weight Watchers because of me. My boss started taking alli. My mother watches more. Heck, anyone eating a meal with me tends to watch more. I don't ask them to. I just sit there and eat my portion and drink my water and they put back that second piece of meat or that third helping of potatoes.

Sizes and Fitting In

When I started, I wore a 26 or 3x up top and it was getting tight. Down below, I wore a 4x and it had to be stretchy. Now I wear a 16 or 18 up top and 18 below. XL works for me. I fit into my husband's size M tee shirts sometimes. My boots now can be zipped all the way up because my calves are smaller. My wedding ring no longer fits on my ring finger and has to be worn on my middle finger. When I started, it was cutting off the circulation on my ring finger. Necklaces fit around my neck again. I recently replaced my long underwear bottoms because they were size 3x and falling off me. Now I'm wearing XLs.

I also was having trouble fitting into the seatbelt of my car. Now I click it without thinking. I could not fit into the seats at the auditorium of my old office. I had trouble fitting into the seats at Fenway Park. I was afraid I would crack a toilet. I had trouble reaching around and behind (you know what I'm saying). Those problems have now all gone away. Little things like that, they're easy to take for granted. But when you lose weight, remember them. Because they are the worst things, nonhealthwise, about being grossly obese. Remember them and vow to never be that way again.

The Future

I still have a ways to go. My ultimate goal is to lose 200 lbs. This puts me 8 lbs. under the max for healthy BMI so I'll have some room to play with. So it's 75.6 lbs. from now. Late Summer, early Autumn, I'm guessing.

In the meantime, I'm here and I'm exercising and eating right and taking alli. And I'm talking to all of you, if you'll listen. We can all do this. It's not easy but it is oh so worth it.

Oh -- the song -- it's because I saw my friend on Saturday. He told me it was his fourth day smoke-free. I hope today is his sixth, and tomorrow is his seventh, etc. That's as hard as this. We don't even think about it sometimes, but people who seem to be wholly together sometimes aren't. I suspect they're never wholly together, and we're all duct taped and juryrigged in some way or another.

So do this, but also remember:

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
- Philo

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KUNGFOOD 1/23/2009 5:26AM

    How good it is to read this good news! Very happy for you and for recognizing those accomplishments. Yes, you are a motivator to me!
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JESPAH 1/21/2009 11:46AM

    Thanks, dolling! :)

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EMMASMART 1/20/2009 10:07PM

    I guess I've made a tad bit of progress. I don't break the toilet anymore, Just the seats. I imagine not having to worry about breaking Toilets and furniture would be very much a relief. I am looking forward to following you eventually. I'm inching closer. I have some looseness in one pair of pants. I look forward to having a DBA chat me up too. What a great bit of progress that you've made in a year. I'm so glad that alli is such a Godsend to you.

How wonderful. Really.

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JESPAH 1/20/2009 6:13AM

    Thank you both, very much. :)

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RUSSELLORAMA 1/20/2009 2:16AM

    Congrats on your progress! You are definitely motivating to me.

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KARBIE18 1/19/2009 1:27PM

    You are doing so well, and you ARE a motivator. To many of us. Keep it up!

Karen

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JESPAH 1/19/2009 12:37PM

    It's funny -- my pal the DBA was, ahem, looking me up and down when he said what he said. This is a dude who has winked at me before. And my husband has said that about the only guy he's not worried about is the fishmonger, as the fish dude is a good 15 - 20 years younger than me and many of our conversations center around his fiancée. Tee hee hee I had forgotten what it's like to be a nascent hot tamale.

And YOU! You must be turning heads, babe! :)

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TELERIE 1/19/2009 11:54AM

    I love these summing up blogs of yours! You've come a long way! You're going far!
So have I and so am I!
It's not easy. It's not as hard as I imagined either.
How cool is it that you're motivating your colleagues! Spread the Spark!

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I Can Rock as Good as Gibraltar

Monday, January 12, 2009

www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrlzNxHoAdM

I wish that Youtube had George Harrison singing this song. This is a tribute band, and they're pretty good. But, you know, it's not the same.

Good stuff started a few days ago when I saw my buddy. He got me some mahi-mahi, center cut! It was awesome. I tell ya, it pays to be friends with someone in the business.

So. I went to see my doctor today. It was last year, on the 9th of January, when she told me that I was on my way to being prediabetic, and recommended bariatric surgery. I didn't want the surgery, realized I'd have to eat better for the first 5% loss anyway so why not just lose 5% of my initial body weight (at the time, that was 17.3 lbs.) and see what happened? That was the day I had told my husband we were going to start the PET project.

PET stands for --

Portion Control
Exercise
Toss the Junk

And toss it we did. A poptart can soar like a frisbee, dontcha know. I don't want to do a full year recap right now but suffice it to say that the last time I saw my doctor, my butt was sufficiently kicked and I knew it was time to do something.

Fast forward to today. I messed up the time. I thought it was about 8 AM (in my defense, they never called me for a reminder). It was, instead, a 930 AM appointment. So I was sitting there in the lobby and saw my doctor. I said hi and she blew right past me. Now, I realize now that she didn't think she had an appointment for another hour plus (she makes rounds at the hospital across the street). And we don't hang out or anything. Shrug. I go in and the nurse takes me quickly as the receptionist isn't in yet. It's time error compounding on top of time error.

Then my doctor comes into the examining room, takes one look at me and says, "Hey, wait a second. I didn't recognize you." And she hadn't. They took blood and other, erm, fluids, and I went to the hospital to have some breakfast. I had the laptop with me so I checked email as well.

I got back, this time at the right time. We have a lovely chat. I get weighed, and learn that the scale at home is, believe it or not, overstating my weight by 4.6 lbs. She takes my pressure. 112/78. She says that's a 20-year-old's pressure. I am 46 years old.

We talk about overall goals and she agrees that 146 is very reasonable as it hits my healthy BMI range but still gives me 8 lbs. to play with. We also talk excess skin. She thinks my arms and legs will tone up and be fine. We didn't discuss my bust but did speak of my belly. She said the excess skin probably weighs about 10 lbs. and probably is going to have to be removed surgically. That's fine. I'm not wholly against surgery. What if that's the last 10 lbs. I have to lose?

She asks me a boatload of questions about what I eat, whether I work out, how I stay motivated, etc. She says the fish is great, the portion control is fabulous, using the slow cooker is smart, etc. She even asks me if she can refer patients to me if they want to talk to someone who's been there, done that. Sure, I say.

My weight on her scale is 225.0. Last year, 1/9/08, it was 346.0. Yes, gentle reader, I have lost on average 10 lbs./month.

Like George says ~~

Feel tall as the Eiffel Tower

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRECECOOKS 1/14/2009 7:56PM

    I stand in awe - you are amazing!! Your story gives me such hope. Thank you so much!!

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JESPAH 1/14/2009 11:33AM

    I shall call myself, Mini Me.

Allow myself to introduce ... myself.

Don't get me started. ;)

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EMMASMART 1/13/2009 10:34PM

    I looove that the Doctor doesn't recognize you. Of course not you are your own mini-me! I'm so glad you have had so much success.

Emma

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FIT_TERI 1/13/2009 9:30PM

    Way to go!! And how cool is it that your doctor didn't recognize you!! I am sure your story will be super helpful to her other patients....just as it is to those of us here.


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SWEETZMIX 1/13/2009 5:43PM

    omg...what a blog, what a blog...girl...i am sO happy for u. Not only ur a spark star and inspire us online, but you are also going to inspire other people in your neighborhood.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LILLIAN364 1/13/2009 9:12AM

    Awesome. You're the best! emoticon

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JESPAH 1/13/2009 8:39AM

    Eep, thank ya. You folk all helped me, yanno.

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LAB-LOVER 1/13/2009 6:20AM

    Simply amazing! emoticon emoticon
I vote YOU for SparkSuperHero of the Day!

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JESPAH 1/13/2009 5:55AM

    Thank you, gorgeous ladies! :)

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TELERIE 1/13/2009 2:10AM

    You gorgeous woman!! I'm so proud of you!!!
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TNLONGHORN 1/12/2009 7:30PM

    Wow. That is totally awesome.

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TUESDAYS 1/12/2009 7:08PM

    Best story I've heard all year! You rock!! I'm soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
oooooooooo
proud of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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You Better Hurry Back

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Jq7KVXzSaQ

I'm cheating on my husband.

It's true. It's with a guy named Gym. Not Jim. Gym. Ah.

He's so close, so convenient. He makes me sweat. He makes me quiver when we're done. And the room we're in? Whoo-wee! Let's just say there are mirrors EVERYWHERE.

You know what I'm talkin' about.

It's funny. I thought I didn't need him. I thought I could go without. But a few times a week is what I need. I crave! And that shows no signs of letting up.

I go over to him. My cel phone is off. My friends don't know where I am. My husband, ha, he thinks I'm commuting! And then, get this, I strip!

It's true! I have special things I only wear for him. No one else sees me like THAT.

It all happened so quickly. I was going to work one day, and he caught my eye. Just standing there, on the street corner. Looking all fresh and new and oh so appealing.

Oh I resisted. It took me weeks -- maybe months -- to get up the courage to come and check him out. But when I did, oh boy! He, well, he filled a void in my life.

But yanno, I'm a little worried. My husband, well, he knows, actually, and he was very cool about it, but lately I've been seeing him hanging around with a basketball more often than, you know, most people do. And I've seen him look longingly at his running shoes. I wonder if he's found someone, too?

Should I be worried?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEJAJJ 1/14/2009 9:01PM

  That is so cute! I just wish that I had a love affair like you for the gym. I recently "retired" due to the economy and now I have to adjust my time around the house to DEFINITELY fit in gym time for about an hour. Keep it up. emoticon

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JESPAH 1/12/2009 7:03PM

    My husband came home and asked, "So, did you cheat on me today?"

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CAREWREN 1/12/2009 2:16PM

    You are one clever lady! I'll keep mum about your affair! emoticon

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JESPAH 1/9/2009 8:47AM

    Thank ya! :)

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TUESDAYS 1/9/2009 8:41AM

    Clever!!!! Loved it, Janet! Keep that Gym guy around, won't ya? (And definitely keep writing!) Thanks for the smile...
emoticon~Glenda

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TINATC26 1/9/2009 8:40AM

    loved this!!

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SUMITH2008 1/9/2009 12:23AM

    lol =) (Thumbs up)

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JESPAH 1/8/2009 1:41PM

    We have an open marriage when it comes to workout gear.

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TELERIE 1/8/2009 1:34PM

    You might need to worry, if he's got *that* look on his running shoes. But polygamy is all the rage these days, isn't it?

Comment edited on: 1/8/2009 1:34:59 PM

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EM_CLARK1 1/7/2009 7:41PM

    That was awesome. Made me laugh.

Watch out for those tennis shoes....

;o) Erin

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The Cool Before the Warm, the Calm After the Storm

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJeP3mipHQY

This is one of my favorite songs of all time, and it also rather neatly sums up how I've been feeling.

Yesterday we returned from NYC, where we'd been for three days. I got in a lot of cardio, but the food was a struggle. Everywhere, everyone (seemingly) offered me food. I'd refuse. It would be offered again. I would explain, no, I'm fine, I don't need anything else. It would be offered yet again. I swear I had to refuse three times before it was believed.

And, what was offered was inevitably salty or carb-laden. Potatoes. Pita bread. Ai yi yi.

We ordered Greek food the first night and that ended up being dinner for me for both nights. Now that was a carb-laden plate. Okay, pita bread (and I had what was the equivalent of about a half a slice). And rice. And vegetables that had been cooked seemingly forever.

And potatoes? Why? Helfino. But for whatever reason three sources of carbs just weren't enough, so a fourth had to be offered. To my detriment, I chowed down on it. And ended up, on Saturday, going over by almost 200 calories. What kills me is that I allowed for a good 1,100 calories for dinner and snack. Let's say the snack (a smoothie made with skim milk) was 200 calories. Probably pretty close. That means that dinner was a staggering 900 calories. And people tried to offer me more!

When we came home, I weighed myself, as it was Monday and I needed to check in. Now, it was the afternoon so I wasn't expecting it to be wonderful. I ended up being, oof, 3.6 pounds up. Ugh. Not pretty. We also found that food (unbeknownst to us) had been sent home with us. My husband took care of it, but still!

Hence yesterday I was in a foul mood.

And then there's today. My husband went back to work but I'm going back tomorrow. Hence I took care of some errands and did some painting of the exercise nook. It troubles me that it's still not done but it's very possible that it will be done this weekend. I am getting awfully tired of stepping over brushes and junk to be able to do anything. It's shaping up nicely, though.

I also went off to grab some stuff which included swinging by the grocery store. And, I saw my friend for the first time in over a month. He's doing fine but things aren't very exciting by him. Hey, that's life. Mostly dull, punctuated with some excitement. I think he was touched that I came by to say hi even though I didn't need fish.

Hence that helped to put me into a better mood as well.

Oh and yanno something? Yesterday's gain is almost all gone, save .4 lbs. And I hit new personal best measurements in two areas. One was my bust and the other? Oh joy oh rapture -- how amazing is this???? -- my scary megabutt.

I have finally hit a new personal best milestone (by a big .25 inches, but you take it where you can get it, know what I'm sayin'?) in the keister area. This is for the first time since, I kid you not, 9/29/08. Over three months! At its highest, it was 64". It is now 48.75". As in over 15" less.

I can feel the darkness lifting, and things beginning to ease. Yeah, the exercise room isn't finished, and yeah, I'm going to go back to a disaster at work, but as the song says

Bitter turns to sugar

It's a good turn.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JESPAH 1/7/2009 12:17PM

    Thank you all.

Marit, the song is called "My Ever-Changing Moods". The group is The Style Council. It was a minor hit in the 1980s. Just a sweet, major chord song.

BTW, yeah, I had a minor disaster at work waiting for me but at least it was a somewhat minor one. Much to do!

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TCEDEROTH 1/7/2009 2:16AM

    Jes, you're amazing. It's not just your progress that is inspiring, but your demeanor and sense of humor through it all. You are truly an example of what this community is all about. Even when you're being hard on yourself, you are encouraging to the rest of us.



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LAB-LOVER 1/6/2009 11:19PM

    Yeah... let's hear it for the smaller megabutt!

I washed my new "skinny" jeans for the first time and found that this morning, I still slithered right into them. Progress!

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TELERIE 1/6/2009 5:40PM

    (Now you have me wondering, I couldn't listen to the song in my country...)
My family's like that too, always offering at least twice. I'm getting better at refusing though!
Glad the darkness is lifting - it's getting lighter. We have daylight for 15 minutes longer here, and I try to walk outside during the day, if only for a few minutes... Every bit helps. Congratulations on inches lost!

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