Monday, January 16, 2012
This blog is, in part, a sequel to last week's, which was about The Fat Trap (just check out my blog called I Just Might Stop and Check You Out. The link is in there), a New York Times article about just how mf'in' difficult it is to lose and, even more importantly, keep off a boatload o' weight.
But it's also about news.
And the news is, I am on the prowl again for a new job. Not gonna put the reasons out there. I know that employers Google and connecting my userid to my real name is far from impossible. All that matters is that there was a parting of the ways.
And so I am looking again. I dislike looking for work but, fortunately, there is already interest out there. The economy here continues to improve, and this is a decent time to look, as employers have bright, sparkling new budgets.
My black blazer fits (although I probably wouldn't be able to wear it with a sweater on under it) and my nice pants fit and so, I presume, my black skirt fits and so I am ready to face the world of interviewing. I don't own scads of interviewing clothes mainly because I've been on semi-casual business attire for the last dozen years.
One thing I am in the mood to do is to get things a bit cleaned up around here, and decluttered. I had already started some of it, and now I've done more. Mr. J is pretty supportive with this as I think he is starting to see just how tiresome it is to pick through piles of junk. Plus sending most of this extra stuff to Big Brothers & Big Sisters means that we get a tax deduction. Too late for '11 but it's still helpful.
My mood is not somber, or even that reflective. It's more, just, get 'er done. We'll see how long that lasts, but right now that's how things are. I just have my list of what to do and am plowing through it, much like I do with the trappings of weight loss.
You don't have a daily plan? You don't sit down and figure out, either in the morning, or the night before, or even during the week, what you're most likely going to eat? You don't determine when you're going to sneak in exercise? You don't decide when water drinking will happen, so as to minimize the effects/product of said water drinking?
One thing I have been trying for quite a while is to plan out my life when it comes to weight loss stuff. Just, decide how things will be, and then execute the plan.
One of the things that I got out of the Fat Trap article was that, despite my best efforts, sometimes I couldn't plan and predict the outcomes. And that that was not a personal failing. I take some comfort from this. I won't tell you that I'm not annoyed that things aren't easier. And I also won't tell you that there aren't people who've continued to tell me - oh, you must not be trying hard enough. You're not being vigilant enough. Heh, no. Vigilance is important, yes. Making myself insane with food obsessions is not good, though. I refuse to make this a totally 24/7/365 project. Sorry, but it ain't happenin'. I have to find a job. I have a husband. I have ... a life.
Same thing with looking for work, actually. I refuse to make it my life 24/7/365. Sorry, folks, but I seriously doubt I am suddenly going to run into my dream employer when I'm out buying cod. And if I do, that person, I am sure, will not give a damn that, during obvious time off, I wasn't wearing interview clothes or prepped for trick questions or had a fresh copy of my resume available. You know, with my coupons.
There are folks who do that, you know, who answer every phone call with breathless certainty that this will be THE ONE, and are ready at 7 AM or 8 PM to yap on about paradigms and five-year plans and the like. But that is not me. You call me on my own time, guess what? Your call is going to go to voice mail. Because - surprise! - that's what it's there for. I will get back to you during business hours, like a freakin' NORMAL person. I will only answer if you and I planned to talk at that crazy hour. Then, no sweat, I am here. Let's do this.
If that works for you, awesome. Go for it. If eating a lemon wedge and a slab of raw tempeh wrapped in romaine make you lose like a house on fire, you go and you do that.
But don't expect me to.
The difference - and it is an undercurrent in the article, but not really spelled out there - is that, surprise, surprise, PEOPLE ARE INDIVIDUALS.
Amazing, but true.
See if you can spot some differences?
* Food eaten as a child
* Weight of parents
* Longevity of parents
* Body composition/overall fitness
* Exercise regimen
* Foods eaten today
* Foods eaten last year
* Foods eaten during the last decade
* Water drinking
* When water is drunk
* Access to and use of medical care
* Current weight
* Weight at heaviest
* Weight at lightest while current height
* Current Height
Some of these matter more than others. What I ate for breakfast on March 18th, 1997 is probably not that important any more. But I bet my genetics still matter. And my age. And my gender. And my current weight. And my ....
In both of these instances - weight loss and job searches - I think a lot of us tend to subscribe to a one size fits all mantra. And I think we do that because there is so much information out there, and it is so vast. It's difficult to get our arms around it. But we have gotta try. Because pushing out a bunch of generic resumes like just so many sausages is not going to get me a job any more than following a weight loss plan tailor-made for someone else is going to make me super-successful in weight loss.
Onward to greater glories, in both areas.
Monday, January 09, 2012
If you haven't seen this article yet (and it's been all over Spark, although I have yet to see any sort of an "official" take on it, but perhaps I have missed it), I urge you to.
There is new science, confirming some things that a lot of us have suspected about weight loss all along -
* People who lose weight, regardless of how quickly or slowly they do it, where they start from, where they end up, whether they do weight training, whichever method they use, whether they even exercise at all, whether they drink water, no matter how well they eat or they shun processed food, whether they are vegan, etc. etc. etc. whether the freakin' planets align - they (WE) all share one thing in common - they/WE need FEWER calories to maintain.
* Some people have an easier time putting on the pounds than others do.
* Eating right doesn't guarantee weight loss, although it makes it more likely to happen.
* The simple equation of 3500 fewer calories out = 1 pound of weight loss is false and simplistic and should be taken out and shot, along with the Flat Earth theory.
* Life ain't fair.
So. What does that mean?
I current weight 213 or so; I forget exactly what I was this morning and I'm too lazy to check my ticker. :) I used to weight 346. I also used to weigh 126, 146 and 216, at various stages of my life. The amount of calories needed to maintain my current weight (not lose, just maintain) is LESS than the amount of calories I would need to maintain it if I were on my way up from 210, rather than down from 346.
In other words, losing weight shmacks the hell out of your metabolism. It kills it off, no matter how much weight training, etc. you do. And, that's lovely, when you consider that I run more than I ever have. Back when I was 126, I would barely get up. A walk of 2 miles would easily give me shin splints. Now, I'm perfectly fine with that, and more. Yet I undoubtedly need fewer calories to sustain myself. Pain in the patoot, eh? Aging stinks, yanno.
Weight is heredity + environment. Got big parents? Your chances of being obese are greater. Got a pantry full of processed junk, or grew up with one? Your chances are higher then, too. For people who know me on FB, there are plenty of pics of my family. And you will see what we have in common. At 213, I am one of the skinniest people on my mother's side. What you should also know is, at 346, I wasn't one of the heaviest. I was in the middle.
As for environment, I have been cooking for years. Yes, Mr. J and I go out to lunch at least once per week, and we go out to dinner once per week as well. And ... that's it. Breakfasts are oatmeal, Cheerios or an egg whites-only omelet made at home with vegetables and a small amount of cheese so as to make it edible. Lunches are vegan soups, the aforementioned one day out in Chinatown, a turkey burger, skinless chicken or a sandwich made from tuna packed in water. Dinners are homemade except for one night per week, so they are often homemade low sodium chicken soup, homemade vegan bean soup, whole wheat pasta with low sodium marinara sauce and vegetables or homemade jambalaya which is skinless chicken, vegetables and various spices over plain brown rice. Dinners out are usually Vietnamese, Indian, Thai or seafood, with some Italian grilled chicken thrown in there on occasion. We don't eat fast food. My tracker is out here for all to see, and has been so for years.
What other environment stuff? 8 cups of water? Pshaw - try 11. 20 minutes of weight training every morning, no excuses, with 50-pound weights. Walking every day when I work and then longer on the weekends. Snow shoveling or swimming as appropriate. Ten 5K races in a year. I have been tracking my food, water and exercise for years.
So of course I gained a little over 8 pounds last year.
Did I mention life was unfair?
But be that as it may, I think the article is still rather helpful. For one thing, it is a way to answer people who seem to feel that you and I aren't trying hard enough, or we're being too ridiculous, that one brownie won't hurt!
Yeah, thanks. Get thee behind me, Satan.
It is good to have credible science to show others, to combat the naysayers and to show them that, hey, you may think I'm huge, but I try way harder than you ever will. And I do it with the baggage of my metabolism being put on life support. I don't deny that I put on the weight in the first place. I own that. But I do want others to know that even alli and plastic surgery weren't magic pills, that this is quite the slog and hey, it's for life! There is no "going off" this diet, for it is not a diet. It is a change in life. It HAS to be.
But I also want them - and you - to know that perhaps the biggest and best lesson in all of this is that we need to kinder to one another, and stop jumping to conclusions about not only the mechanisms of weight loss and maintenance, but also about each other. That 400-pound woman you see? She might be down from 500. She might need fewer calories (sad, but probably true) to maintain, let alone lose, than what you need.
So cut her some damned slack already. And while you're at it, cut yourself some, too.
Monday, January 02, 2012
My apologies for that not being such a great link. Here is a link to the lyrics - www.metrolyrics.com/coo-coo-u-lyrics
I really have no idea why this particular song isn't anywhere online. Wacky.
Anyway, onto the news.
This blog is going to be schizo, as befits the weird Manhattan Transfer song. So let's start with the more serious part, which is a bit of year in review kind of stuff.
FIRST PART OF THE BLOG
I'd like to start with weight and measurement differentials, but I don't want to just look at 2011 versus 2010. Actually, I want to go back to 2008, which is when I first started tracking all of this insanity. These numbers will all be from the first week of the respective years.
2008 346 lbs.
2009 235.6 lbs. lost 110.4 lbs., or 31.91% of total
2010 183.2 lbs. lost 52.4 lbs., or 22.24% of total
2011 202.8 lbs. gained 19.6 lbs., or up 10.70%
2012 211.4 lbs. gained 8.6 lbs., or up 4.24%
Total loss = 134.6 lbs., or 38.90% of the original total
2008 19.00 in
2009 13.75 in; down 5.25 in, or 27.63% of total
2010 12.50 in; down 1.25 in, or 9.09% of total
2011 12.50 in no change
2012 12.50 in no change
Total loss = 6.5 in, or 34.21% of the original total
2008 54.75 in
2009 42.75 in; down 12 in or 21.92% of total
2010 37.25 in; down 5 in or 11.70% of total
2011 38.75 in; up 1 in or 2.68% of total
2012 40.75 in; up 2 in or 5.16% of total
Total loss = 14 in, or 25.57% of original total. NOTE: This is one area affected by plastic surgery in 2010.
2008 47.50 in
2009 37.00 in; down 10.5 in or 22.11% of total
2010 33.25 in; down 3.75 in or 10.14% of total
2011 36.00 in; up 2.75 in or 8.27%
2012 35.25 in; down .75 in or 2.08% of total
Total loss = 12.25 in, or 25.79% of original total
2008 49.00 in
2009 38.25 in; down 10.75 in or 21.94% of total
2010 34.25 in; down 4 in or 10.46% of total
2011 36.75; up 2.5 in or 7.30% of total
2012 36.25; down .5 in or 1.36% of total
Total loss = 12.75 in, or 26.02% of original total
2008 59.50 in
2009 42.00 in; down 17.50 in, or 29.41% of total
2010 35.25 in; down 6.75 in, or 16.07% of total
2011 40.00 in; up 4.75 in, or 13.48% of total
2012 38.75 in; down 1.25 in, or 3.13% of total
Total loss = 20.75 in, or 34.87% of original total. NOTE: This is one area affected by plastic surgery in 2010.
2008 51.00 in
2009 44.75 in; down 6.25 in, or 12.25% of total
2010 40.75 in; down 4.00 in, or 8.94% of total
2011 43.25 in; up 2.50 in, or 6.13% of total
2012 43.25 in; no change
Total loss = 7.75 in, or 15.20% of original total. NOTE: This is one area affected by plastic surgery in 2010.
2008 64.00 in
2009 48.75 in; down 15.25 in or 23.83% of total
2010 44.25 in; down 4.50 in or 9.23% of total
2011 43.25 in; down 1.00 in or 2.26% of total
2012 43.25 in; no change
Total loss = 20.75 in, or 32.42% of original total
2008 32.25 in
2009 24.00 in; down 8.25 in or 25.58% of total
2010 20.00 in; down 4.00 in or 16.67% of total
2011 22.00 in; up 2.00 in or 10.00% of total
2012 20.25 in; down 1.75 in or 7.95% of total
Total loss = 12.00 in, or 37.21% of original total
Well, what does it all mean? It means I didn't have the world's greatest 2010, to be sure. I not only gained back nearly 20 pounds, but by the time it was done, I had gained inches almost everywhere.
But this year, despite gaining a little over 8 pounds, I lost inches in many areas, or stayed the same. Of course the overall loss from 2008 remains scarily impressive, but I am happy with the change from the first week in 2011 to this, the first week of 2012. I also feel stronger, and am just as if not more willing to do more.
I ran 10 5Ks in 2011, one more than in 2010. My times were, in general, not as good, but I was hauling around more weight - in particular, in 2010, I ran five of those races when I was under 182 pounds. I am absolutely not beating myself over declining times. They are completely understandable. But I am still out there, and I am still doing them. Hey, I walked almost five hours over this long weekend. And I am not hurting from that. I think that says a lot.
SECOND PART OF THE BLOG
I want to talk a little bit about embracing your inner freak.
I am talking about the oddness, the quirkiness, the strangeness. Not the sort of thing that can get you committed. It's more like, when you zig instead of zag.
I see these popular topics, yanno. And they are all about how can I get people to work out with me, or eat like me, or whatever. And yanno something?
So stop trying.
I don't mean to stop trying entirely, of course. It's more, stop trying to get everyone to conform to what you are doing because, for whatever odd reason, you feel like it's too strange and out there and somehow it's shameful or embarrassing or whatever.
It's not, and you're being ridiculous.
I mean, consider this. I am going to go out on a big, scary limb here, and assume that everyone here is beyond Middle School. We are all 18 or older, yes?
SO WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE ACTING LIKE 13-YEAR-OLDS???? Why are they behaving as if the only way they can get fitness or proper eating done is if it is, somehow, tied into some crowd?
When you get up in the morning, to dress for work, do you call up your friends, carefully color-coordinating your outfits so that you all fit in some harmonious manner, and aren't wearing the exact same thing?
"Like, oh my Gawd! Cindy! Tamera! Ashley! Britni! We have, like, GOTTA wear green spandex today! And, like chill totally fuzzy pink jeggings! Yeah! Shut up!!"
This isn't you?
Then why are you acting as if, when you try to order the salad, you somehow, instead, should go along with everyone who is ordering fries? Or feel, perhaps like you need some sort of a zingy comeback to explain yourself?
Here's your comeback -
I like salad.
Pretty cool, huh?
Or you want to walk to the shoe store, or whatever, and everyone else wants to drive. If it's not dangerous, then, well, why not walk? I recognize not everyone has the same capabilities. And people may be under a time crunch. But if you want to walk - yanno - WALK.
I have a coworker who has told me that - oh noes! - it's dark out now, and now it's oh so awful to walk for 20 minutes to get home from the bus stop. We are talking about a safe, well-lit area. So instead this person waits for 30 minutes or whatever for a ride.
Just start walking. You'll be fine. Forget what anyone says. Forget who's looking (they aren't). And if they are? Hell, flaunt it.
Embrace your inner rebel, your inner oddness, your inner quirk, your inner differences. Be the one who goes out there and does it while everyone else looks and points nervously but secretly wishes they could get away with what you are getting away with. The one they all talk about. You know who I mean.
Be THAT one.
Monday, December 26, 2011
I've always loved the gentle, intricate hook of this song. And a part of its beauty is the great lyric that I am using for today's blog entry.
For the days, truly, ARE getting longer.
But sometimes it doesn't feel like that, because it's cloudy for too long, or something or other is falling out of the sky, or we are up too early and back too late to even see the light. It can be a tough row to hoe, the last few weeks of December, beginning of January.
It is no wonder that both Christmas and Chanukah hold light dear in celebrations. It can be just so hard to go through this time. It can be very, very easy, as you hear the siren song as it gently sings to you -- "Give up."
Give up, it says, even as it has not struggled and worked like YOU have. It sings to you of pie and hangin' out, and staying under the covers instead of going out to meet the day. It complains that the weights are too heavy, that walking is BORING, and that eating right is just such a heavy and horrible cross to bear.
Or it tempts you, with its promises of fun and frolicking and socializing. It tells you that you cannot be a good guest unless you eat a great BIG chunk of something horrendously fattening because, of course, a smaller chunk or even just a taste could not possibly do and your host or hostess is a slave driver who DEMANDS that you grab at least a good 90 degrees (that's 1/4) of whatever circular dessert is plonked in front of you because, somehow, the success or failure of the party - nay, of the very day itself! - is hinged upon your intestinal capacity.
It's not always easy to tell that little voice to go scratch, but that is, truly, what must be done. I have seen, oh so many of the topics posted here, where people ask how to handle temptation, or how to get the whole family exercising or whatever, and the truth of it is, I know that some people (hell, I did, in the beginning) need a script to get through some of these moments. But I think I have been doing this long enough that I already have the script in my head. And it goes something like this -
I worked damned hard for this.
I will not allow it to be sabotaged.
I will eat right and work out and drink water even if others don't. They are not responsible for me, and they need not live in my skin. I live here, and I am going to treat this body the way it should be treated.
Onward to the light and the warmth.
Monday, December 19, 2011
This is for everyone who suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder. You know who you are.
The Solstice is in two days. Two!
And then it will begin to get brighter. So, yay on that.
But in the meantime, man oh man.
It suddenly got colder here. A LOT colder. We had been skirting around in the 50s, and it was lovely, but you also knew it was a lie. I mean, this is freakin' New England! It gets cold here during the winters. We have hard freezes! Every year! So, it was out of place and wicked bizaah.
I held out, in terms of wearing my winter jacket, until last week. And that was somewhat good, as last year I had gone to DefCon 5 with my bundling a lot earlier in the winter. This time, I held out, but it was the warm weather that helped, of course. If it had been in the 30s, well, then of course I would've grabbed my winter jacket earlier.
My winter jacket is also a lot less forgiving in terms of size than my autumn things. And so I was reminded that 2011 has been less than optimal in terms of weight. While things are not horrid (I weighed in at 216.6 this morning), they could certainly be better. I fear the subtle creep back on of weight, and I think that may be starting again. But it's hard to get enthusiastic about being vigilant right now. Life just feels cold and ugly and drab and draggy.
This is not a license to eat gobs of cake and I don't. Plus I do get the working out in. And I do it by lying to myself. The bus, you see, it gets on the highway to Boston. But there are numerous stops after it leaves the highway (this is in terms of the evening commute) and before it gets to the stop closest to my home. So I get off at the first stop after it gets off the highway, and I walk. This results in either 25 or 30 minutes of walking, with the differential dependent upon whether I take one bus versus another. It may not seem like a lot, but it is how I am getting it done these days.
As for the weekends, I make an effort to do the big walk on at least one of the two days, if not both. Last weekend, it was planned out for me as I ran the last 5K of the year, the Somerville Jingle Bell Run. I did not do so well, and could tell, but it is rather difficult to get anywhere near a PB when it's less than 30 degrees F out and you are mainly just trying to keep warm. I also totally forgot to take my performance enhancing drugs (Advil), so the aches and pains and slowness there was also caused by that oversight. But I did finish, and I got another nify finisher medal. :)
In the meantime, the light will come back, you know. It will come back incrementally, and sometimes we can lose patience with that, just as so many other things come back incrementally, and it can be tough to hang in there and wait for it all to happen. And as we goose it along, even then it may not come on our own personal timetables.
But it will happen.
For all of you SAD sufferers, there is a light, and it never goes out.
And that light is in you.
Enjoy the Smiths. :)
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