Thursday, March 19, 2009
It's been a year and two months since the adventure began. So it's time for a month in review, plus I recently saw Cezanne and wanted to talk about that, too. But first the numbers.
When I started, I was 346.0 lbs. Monday afternoon I was 212.8, or 133.2 lbs. less. I look and feel so different it's hard to remember or fathom who or what I was.
Bicep: Original: 19.00" Current: 13.25" Difference: 5.75"
Bust: Original: 54.75" Current: 42.25" Difference: 12.50"
Band: Original: 47.50" Current: 36.25" Difference: 11.25"
Waist: Original: 49.00" Current: 37.50" Difference: 11.50"
Belly: Original: 59.50" Current: 39.25" Difference: 20.25" AMAZING! This is also a new personal best
Hip: Original: 51.00" Current: 44.25" Difference: 6.75" Hmmm
Rear: Original: 64.00" Current: 47.25" Difference: 16.75" Terrific!
Thigh: Original: 32.25" Current: 22.00" Difference: 10.25" Overall average loss: 11.875"
Minus outlyers loss: 13.167"
I started off at size 3x/26W up top and 4x/28W below. Right now, I'm hovering between a Large and XL, and size 16s are too big for me. It's harder to move from 16 to 14 than it is to move between any other two sizes, as this is about where the transition occurs between Misses and Womens clothing. It's cut differently (usually less full in the hip and seat areas), hence this movement to the next size is taking longer but I assure you I am getting there and will probably be there by my next month in review.
***NEWS FLASH*** I got on a pair of size 14 jeans yesterday, as in zipping and buttoning them. They give me a muffin top so they are not yet ready for prime time, but should be in a month. Oh and I am wearing size L long underwear. But bras? According to www.herroom.com/bra-fitting-advice,9
01,30.html , I should be a 43A. Heh, I don't think so. 40Ds sometimes fit, sometimes are too big and sometimes are too small. So, weird. Oh and size 8 panties are still not a great fit. I'm all over the place once you peel back the first layer of clothing.
I go to the gym two or three times per week. I've found that one hour is optimal for me. I could potentially do more but I am destroyed by the end of the week anyway, plus I want to be fresh for each visit so that I can get the most out of it. I do 20 minutes on the treadmill, then 9 reps of the heaviest weights I can stand on whatever 3 machines fit the body parts I am working (Mondays are upper body, Wednesdays is half and half and Fridays are lower body), then 10 minutes on the rower doing intervals, then 8 reps on whatever 3 different machines fit the body parts I'm working, then 5 minutes on either the elliptical or the stair stepper (I have little endurance on those, but I'm getting better), another 8 reps on the machines (this is now a total of 25 reps, see?), then 15 - 20 minutes on the bike (depends on how much time is left), then 25 crunches regardless of which body parts are on tap for that particular day. I have found that this regimen works well and keeps me interested. My belly in particular is benefiting. It hasn't been below 40" around in a dog's age. A few more inches off and I will have lost two feet from there.
Eh, it's okay. I like the fitness and diet and love the way I look (albeit I know I could improve quite a bit) but my work has turned extremely stressful and that shows few signs of letting up. Given the current state of the economy, I have little recourse. And so it goes. I take my frustrations out on the treadmill. Perhaps I'll take up boxing.
Now -- Philadelphia and Cezanne!
This is long so bear with me.
I had to slay some vacation time and I had to do it before the end of the first quarter of the year. Compound this with the fact that my husband gets less time off than I do, plus we are planning on going to Cape Cod twice this year. Hence I needed a quick and cheap vacation.
I had already spent three days (Mondays of consecutive weeks) hanging around at home but that did not feel like real time off, plus the weather was depressing. Therefore I thought about a place that would fit the bill. Philly was good as I have a friend who still lives there, plus it's accessible via the Acela train. I got a good inexpensive hotel (Club Quarters -- they totally rock!) and was good to go.
Then I saw another friend last month who lives in NJ. I put two and two together and asked my Philly friend if she minded meeting my NJ friend. Of course not. She learned we could get Cezanne tickets. We got four: her, me, my NJ friend and her little brother.
I arrived on Saturday and she met me at the train. We had not seen each other since my wedding, which was May of 1992. We both -- except for a few odd crinkles around the eyes -- look the same. We dropped off my stuff and just walked around the city. That ended up being two hours and then she let me go for a while so that she could go to her office (she's an attorney) and I could rest and data enter food.
We met again in a few hours and went to dinner in Chinatown. Another 45 minutes of walking! She told me no one likes to walk with her, or they start and then they're winded after 5 blocks. I was psyched that I could keep up with her (she's tiny and always has been).
The following day I got up and worked out at the hotel gym. It was small but still had treadmills, bikes, a couple of stair steppers and free weights. I modified my usual workout and went to it.
I met my NJ friend, my PA friend and her brother for lunch. My NJ friend (who is also watching) and I both had the teeniest little beet salad you ever saw. I ate sooooo slowly. I was determined to let it sustain me, such as it was.
We went to the Cezanne and Beyond exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (the steps were featured in the first Rocky movie). We had to go through the gauntlet of Irish step dancers and bands as the St. Patrick's Day parade was in full swing by then.
The Cezanne exhibit was an interesting little conceit. The idea was that the artist had influenced a lot of different later artists so there were comparative pieces about various subjects, including nature scenes, bathers, studios and, of all things, apples. Apple paintings are not a good thing to look at when you're a bit hungry.
The comparisons were between Cezanne and more contemporary artists like Matisse and Picasso, but also with newer artists like Jasper Johns. Lots of apples, lots of bathers, lots of women in chairs. I confess I am often a Philistine at such things, but I try to be appreciative. I know there is a great deal of skill and creativity involved. But the apples were definitely making me peckish.
When we got out of the Cezanne and Beyond exhibit, we went into a Medieval area for a while and looked at stone archways. Then it was time to meet my Philly friend's SO.
My Philly pal's brother went home and we met her Significant Other (we traded one guy for another). We got in her car and drove to the Italian section to a restaurant called Marra's. I had the chicken cacciatore, which was good but huge. The leftovers went to my Philly friend's St. Bernards.
We had a great time, talking about whatever, including the merits of Philly versus Boston, home improvement projects and, of course, the exhibit we had just seen. Everyone got along so well that my Philly friend gave her business card to my NJ friend and told him -- I might have a girl for you (my Philly friend's business partner).
I got to the hotel early as I had a super skeery early train the following day. Yes, it left at 6:32. AM. Ai yi yi. At least I got home before noon, and weighed myself immediately. Three pounds off! Score!
It was a fantastic weekend. Next weekend: Long Island and my parents and cousins. Stay tuned.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
So I'm in Philadelphia, which is a city that I like quite a bit and probably would have settled in if it hadn't been for Boston. For me it's all about history and the Northeast, plus I spent some formative years on the Main Line and went to school nearby, in Wilmington. It's a familiar, friendly place for me.
I came here because I needed to dump another vacation day and did not want to spend all of those days just sleeping late and hanging out online (she says, from online, hmm). I have a friend here from Law School who I have not seen since my wedding day in May of 1992 and another friend from online who lives in NJ. We're all going to the Cezanne exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art tomorrow. Today my friend from Law School came and got me and screamed at how slim I've gotten. We had an excellent afternoon, including two hours of walking around the city. Now I have some time to myself and then we'll figure out dinner and whether we want to see a play. I want to spend time with her but I am getting kinda tired. Plus there's a gym in the hotel so I want to use it. Probably not today after all of the walking, but definitely tomorrow. Then I go home super early on Monday morning (as in a 7 AM or so train) and then return to work on Tuesday. I'm here by myself as I have more vacation time than my husband.
I realize this is coming out kind of jumbled but I am really enjoying myself. We just walked and talked and I forgot how much I like having a female friend. Sure I like my friend the fishmonger and of course I love my husband and I see plenty of females at work and whatnot but I have had no one -- and I mean no one -- to just mess around with, window shop, laugh, etc. I've missed that.
It's a good weekend.
Monday, March 09, 2009
I've been thinking of this song for a while as my job has grown incredibly stressful lately. Now, when I took the job I realized it would have dull times and probably a lot of them, but usually what happens is that if you have a dull job it at least isn't not too stressful. And the opposite is true as well.
This one's got both, at least lately.
I do data loading, reporting and data user security. Lots of lists and numbers and things to wait for. Plus there is a new gal and I am trying to help her out and have kind of been charged with that. That's good for me, to do that, but unfortunately she still is grabbing me to talk to me at the most inopportune moments. Today was a rush at the end of the day and of course that's when she had a question. I literally waved her off and then finished my thought, then went to see her, apologized, and heard her ask about something I had already explained. More than once. Ai yi yi.
I've got to be patient, and I am trying. So far, so good.
As for digging my job, well, that's not happening. Oh, sure, the people are lovely, but people are lovely in lots of places. No. Bottom line is that I'm fighting a battle to not hate this job. And I'm not doing too well in that battle. But I'm trying.
I'm asking for help. I'm asking for time with my boss. I got myself a mentor, who I like and see every other week. I try to spend time with my coworkers (although I'm also busy). I volunteered to take over more of security (a part of my stress, but I did bring that part upon myself). And I know the economy stinks so I just don't have the option of hitting the road. I have to do my best to make this work.
So I try, but I don't love it. And while I need not love a job I am at least trying to like it a little.
The main way I have tried to ease my stress has been to work out. This week I'll get my keister over to the gym three times and I will duke it out with myself for an hour each time. If they had a boxing class (they don't), I'd seriously consider signing up. So I am kinda proud of myself, I'm handling it in a healthy way and am not turning to food in order to cope.
I'm also turning to friends and will take a little time (I have to slay some vacation time) and will be in Philly this weekend, to see friends and take in the CÚzanne exhibit. Then the following weekend I'll visit my folks. Plus I saw my friend the other day (he is still smoke-free). Makes me feel better to see people succeeding.
I guess it's working.
Heck, I *know* it's working.
Four measurements hit or tied personal best today. I have officially lost a foot off my bra band. It is, I kid you not, 35.5" right now. I just wish my bust wasn't over 6" larger than that. That is, what, a G cup? Insane. I'm wearing a 40D even if I have to stuff and prod myself into it. Half the time they're too big and half they're too small for me. Today's selection is big enough around and the cups are slightly too big. Yesterday's (identical size) was too small in the cups. Whatever!
But the rest of me is vanishing. I looked at myself in the full-length mirror from the side today. While you can tell I still have an apron, it is flattening quite a bit. The booty is getting smaller, too. I am getting a pretty decent figure from the waist down.
In the meantime, I'm always running at someone's heel.
But at least that's good cardio. :)
Monday, March 02, 2009
I'm finding I'm enjoying the Red Hot Chili Peppers more these days. It's because lyrics have always spoken to me (hence my blog titles!) and these days Anthony Kiedis has really been reaching me.
And this one's a doozy.
"No turning water into wine
No learning while you're in the line
I'll take you to the broken sign
You see the lights are blue
Come and get it
Lost it at the city limit
Cause they will find a way to trim it
Lookin' for a silly gimmick
Gotta get away
Can't take it for another minute"
Last week, my mother called me (which is nothing remarkable in and of itself) and told me that my cousin P___ would be calling me to ask about alli. It's not for P___, who is the size of a stick. It's for P___'s, daughter, S___. S___ is 16.
I told my mother, y'know, alli isn't candy. It's really not something you can just take and forget you've taken it. You have to plan your meals. You have to watch the fat intake. You have to remember to take it, and take it with you. It's not a miracle drug (no turning water into wine) even if you follow it perfectly. I've had gain weeks on alli (last week, for example). It's no magic bullet.
Plus I think that all that S___ really needs is to learn good habits and get some moral support. Not nagging from a tiny mother that she didn't even inherit the weight loss issues from (S___ is adopted). No. S___ really could use Spark People for Teens, actually. I'm looking for a good time/way to broach it. I've friended her on Facebook so hopefully I'll be able to communicate that way, without the maternal filters in place.
And I also got to thinking, because my weekends are often odd, what are hers like? I eat different things, and there's always at least one restaurant meal in the mix. Often more, as I tend to eat half of my restaurant meals these days, so it's the other half for the following day's lunch. And then there's fish! We eat it Friday or Saturday nights. Not for Lent (we're not Catholic), we just like fish, plus the fishmonger is very good and gives good recommendations so we try new things. Sundays are rest days for me. Saturdays I find fitness opportunities, e. g. last Saturday I ran errands. Sometimes I shovel snow. We try to do stufff together, too, if we can.
But what does a lonely teenager do?
Does she go to the movies, with the temptations of big bowls of popcorn and boxes of candy? Play video games? Do homework? Sit and just think and sigh and feel bad?
I remember those days all too well. I may be 46 years old but 16 is still burned into my brain. It's funny. I was reminded of 16 recently, not just because of the thing with S___ and her battles but also because this morning I stepped on the scale and I'd lost a total of 131 lbs. This is what I weighed when I was 16, almost exactly. So that old familiar pain (I was a lonely kid, despite having friends, I was remote where we lived and just withdrawn) came flooding back.
And I wonder if S__ feels it, too. If I can reach her -- if any of us can reach anyone in here or out there -- the answer, the magic bullet, the miracle drug, is to redefine your life so that your best friends are human beings rather than things on your plate.
"Tell me baby what's your story
Where you come from
And where you wanna go this time
Tell me lover are you lonely
The thing we need is
Never all that hard to find
Tell me baby what's your story
Where do you come from
And where you wanna go this time
You're so lovely are you lonely
Giving up on the innocence you left behind"
Monday, February 23, 2009
Well, it's not really the Year of the Cat (although I was born during the Chinese Year of the Tiger). Rather, it's the Year of the Spark.
Yes, I've been on SP for a year. In fact, it passed 2 days ago. Plus it's time for the month in review. So here I am.
Now, I have been on Internet message boards for years so the whole community aspect does not surprise me (although it does, of course, delight me). I have found plenty of information online, too, so that does not surprise me although I am relieved that it essentially seems to be accurate (although I see a rather heavy bias against alli and I see things repeated that are simply not what's been within my realm of experience with it). I also know about social networking, which SP is, so that is nothing new. What works for me is not so much the newness as it is the coming together of many disparate parts. It is the putting together of knowledge plus community plus good tracking tools.
When I first started losing weight, one of the things that was daunting to me was all of the record-keeping. I love crunching numbers and making graphs but I really want it to be fun. Spark definitely does that. Spark is also good about bringing together a lot of news about health and picking through it to get to its essence. There are all sorts of studies out there on, say, fiber. Spark wades through it all and makes it easier to (ha!) digest.
Of course it is nothing without its people. I have been running a site for over 6 years so I know that the people make the site. You can twist the software inside out, change the logo and even change the name, and if the people are good you will still get an audience and things will be fabulous. And if the people aren't so good, it's a chore and a job and no fun. Spark attracts and retains good people, and keeps good ones on staff. There are areas that seem like they might be missing or incomplete (e. g. I'd love to see more things such as a weekly nutritional and exercise survey/calculator directed toward maintenance so that I could start to get into those habits, for example), but the IT staff seems to be very receptive to suggestions, which is excellent.
So, thank you Spark People, for making this journey better and easier and less of a slog. Let's face it, 200 lbs. is not easy to get off. You make it so much better, so much simpler, so much more fun. Thank you.
Now for the month in review.
I am up 2.0 lbs. this week but will not let it faze me. Eh, it happens. It's not too terribly long before TOM, plus I spent most of the weekend feeling like I was overeating (even though the portion sizes were no different from beforehand). Plus I worked out a lot last week -- whenever I step it up I either gain or stay the same. So, shrug, sobeit. No biggie. My overall weight loss is still over 126 lbs. Nothing to sneeze at. Not at all.
Bicep 12.5" this morning, a new personal best
Bust 42", only 1/4" above my personal best
Band 37", 1" above the personal best
Hips 44.75", 1" above the personal best
Butt 47.25", 1/2" above the personal best
Bicep down 6.5"
Bust down 12.75" -- over a foot!
Band down 10.5"
Waist down 10.5"
Belly down 17.25" -- WOW, almost a foot and a half!
Hips down 6.25" -- hmm
Butt down 16.75" -- fantastic!
Thigh down 8.25"
Average inches lost: 11.09"
Average inches lost with outliers (bicep and thigh) removed from equation: 12 1/3"
The hips are ... interesting. Actually, I can explain them readily. The reason why my hips have lost so little is the same reason that my belly has lost so much -- stuff has fallen. If you average those two losses, you get 11.75", which isn't too terribly far off from the overall average.
I find fitness where I can these days. I clean, I go to the gym, I get in a walk, I shovel snow. Anything to get myself moving. Rest days (Sundays) are often odd for me. I know that I should rest (plus I tend to do better on the scale if I do), but sometimes it's not so easy. Sometimes I just want to move. Yesterday that meant cleaning.
Food and portion control are okay. I definitely felt, last week, Iike I was eating too much. But it was nothing different except some Chinese food (we hadn't had Chinese since I started dieting, and this had no sauce on it anyway). So, who knows. One way to combat that is by eating more calorie-dense foods, e. g. things like nuts which are good for you but offer a serious caloric bang for the buck. My eating habits are changing a bit but I think it's all to the good.
Size 18 pants are loose on me but not falling down. Yet. 16s fit just fine. I was able to get a pair of size 14 jeans on yesterday but I had a serious muffin top so they are not quite ready for prime time. This also comes with the drop of the stuff that used to be belly and is now hip: it makes it harder to fit into smaller-sized pants even though the pant legs fit perfectly.
As for tops, I wear L and XL, mostly. There are some Larges that just plain don't fit, and often that seems to be a sleeve issue more than anything else. I still have rather large and loose triceps despite what I've been doing. They are better than they were (and my biceps and shoulders look great) but could be better.
All roads are going to eventually lead to plastic surgery. I know it. The skin is just not going to snap back in some miraculous way. It hasn't yet, and I work out every single day. Take off another 75 lbs. and the problem will only get worse. The loose skin is absolutely typical; it's not like I'm some weird medical anomaly or anything. I have loose skin. It happens.
I see it in my chin, my triceps, my thighs. But I mostly see it in my breasts and belly. Man oh man. Not a pretty site if I lean over, naked. Hence an abdominectomy and a breast reduction/lift are in my future.
My parents have offered to shoulder some of the cost and I will put in the full amount for flexible spending next year so at least it's paid for with before-tax dollars. Of course this is all contingent on whether my husband and I are still working next year. So far, so good.
I have every expectation that it will cost as much as a new car.
But I'm ready for it. We don't go on big vacations and don't buy fancy cars. The house is a few years from being paid off. I feel that it's a good investment, to clip off the last of the fat and skin and get it gone for good. I know that I mentally respond well to money being spent. It's as if it flips a switch in my head: I'm spending money on this, I need for it to work, it's serious. That is a part of why alli has helped me. It's not just what the drug does and that it keeps me honest with fat portion control. It's also that I've made an investment. And I want a good return on it.
I refuse to live with the Scarlet F emblazoned on my body for the rest of my days.
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