Tuesday, March 24, 2009
In this case, the island is not Jamaica (although there is a Jamaica on it, go figya). It's Long Island. Er, sorry, Lun Guyland. I have worked all my life to not have that accent.
I was there last weekend in order to see my parents and then have a small family reunion with people from my mother's mother's side and then seeing her sister and the aunt's family (the aunt had been recently hospitalized and needed to stick close to home). There were fitness opportunities -- with my father, at age 77! -- half an hour of walking every day. Plus I brought weights and resistance bands and used them every day. Eating was okay considering all of the restaurant eating that went on. I stayed within calorie range but it was not easy.
I came out of it with a truly minimal .4 lb. gain which probably isn't even a gain at all as by the time I weighed myself yesterday it was after 4 PM. I figure it's more likely that I either maintained or even lost a little. My measurements are in line with last week, including hitting a new personal best in the keister area. It's all good.
But let me tell you about the family reunion, which is kinda the origin of the title of this post. There were 14 people there. Keep in mind that the generations are a little skewed because my grandmother had six siblings. Hence my mother has first cousins who are closer in age to me than to her, and I have second cousins who are somewhere between my and my nephew's age.
The attendees: my parents, who are in their 70s. My mother's first cousin and his wife. They are near 60. These four are in the first generation as they have common grandparents. The second generation is me and two sets of second cousins, two of whom are the kids of the aforementioned first cousin, plus the other two are different second cousins (her parents are in Florida so did not attend). Plus the girlfriend of one of the first cousin's kids, plus me. These six are the second generation. We all have common great-grandparents and range from about 25 to 55 years of age. Then the remaining four are the daughters and sons-in-law of the second cousin couple where her folks are in Florida. They are third generation, with a common great-great-grandparent. Their relationship to me is called second cousin once removed. They are my nephew's third cousins and are about 25 - 35 years of age. Confused yet?
First generation was two people over 300 lbs., one of whom walks with a cane. One is over 200 lbs. The other (my father) is under 200 lbs. and walks like a fiend.
Second generation was two people in their 20s who are over 300 lbs., one person in her 20s who was over 200, one person in her 40s over 200 (me) and two people in their 50s who are over 200.
Third generation was three in their 20s or early 30s who were under 200 and one who was in his late 20s or early 30s who was probably very close to 200 (hard to tell; may have been just over or just under).
And who was watching their diet? Me, my mother (kinda) and one of the second generation people in their 20s. Plus most of the third generation (hard to see what was happening at that end of the table). Who asked me about alli? One of the first generation people in their late 50s and one of the second generation people in their 50s.
Everyone else ate. And ate. And ate some more. And talked about food, too.
The reunion was conducted at a Ben's Delicatessen. Understand that these (they're a chain) are a landmine of fat, salt and cholesterol. Immediately, you sit down and every three to four people are given a bowl of sour and half-sour pickles and cole slaw (in all fairness, the slaw was not slathered in mayo). My cousin who walks with the cane? He was complaining about too much salt in the food, all while eating pickle after pickle after pickle.
A cousin in the second group ate cole slaw by the ton. So did other people. Metal bowl after metal bowl of cole slaw was brought to the table, as it seemed no one could wait to be served, that it was too much to be expectant.
Then the ordering began. I ordered a mesculun salad with chicken. My mother ordered a half a sandwich and a small (it was a bowl -- you should see the large) soup. The third generation mainly ordered like she did. One of the second generation ordered a cucumber salad. Everyone else had huge full sandwiches or pots of soup. Yes, pots. The large is called a shissel. It is a pot. As in, what you cook dinner in. For four people. Yet this was a portion for one, and none of those people shared.
Food food food.
My salad was the biggest salad I have ever seen. I ate a quarter of it, then my folks and I ate the remainder for dinner the following night and there were even enough leftovers after that for my folks to make it lunch yesterday. Imagine what the sandwiches were like. You could not get your mouth around them.
Knishes. Soup. Sandwiches. Pickles. Cole slaw cole slaw cole slaw.
More more more take take take gimme gimme gimme.
I love my family.
Do not misunderstand me.
I am not here to judge them or to pity them. They are all over the age of 18. They are all perfectly capable of making their own choices. They are educated and are able to tell what is good to eat from what is bad. Except for the guy with the cane, they are all physically capable. They can see who is fit and who is not. They can tell that my father can get around better than people who are 10, 15, 20 years younger than he is. They can see my own transformation. Some of them have been able to make their own transformations as well.
I am not writing this to hurt them.
I am writing this as a record of my own reactions to what was happening.
I felt -- I don't know what I felt. I stuck to the plan. I was not tempted. Nothing screamed at me -- cheat now! Nothing whatsoever. I sat and watched it all unfold as I slowly ate my salad.
And it's funny.
When he first saw me, one of the second generation guys grabbed my waist and said, "Jes*, you're hot!" The third generation all told me how great I look, as did, well, pretty much everyone.
I ate my salad.
PS With all of the walking around the town, my Dad and I were bound to be seen by someone. Theirs is a small town, so people are watchful but also a tad busybodyish. And a woman who has known me for some 35+ years called my mother yesterday and told her that my Dad was walking around with some strange young blonde woman. You know, in case she wanted to know. My mother said, "That's Jes.*" "Oh my God." replied this woman.
Hence I believe I have achieved young chippy status. Holy moley.
*They used my real name, obviously.
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"
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