Thursday, August 27, 2009

10% Down

It's like a down payment on a dream.

I hit 263 yesterday. That's 33.4 pounds down, and well over my ten percent goal!

Now, let's see if those nice numbers stick around until Friday morning.

*Weigh. In. Day*

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Photo Progression, Two Months In

June 18, 2009. Breakdown Day.

July 18, 2009 One month in. 15 pounds down.

August 20, 2009. Two months in. Making Progress. 28 pounds down.

(PS: This was taken in the midst of "Hoover Dam" week, hence the ankles. And the facial expression. Ugh.)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hangovers, Hamhocks, and Holding Water like the Hoover Dam

I'm down another 1.4 lbs this week.

And this is a COMPLETE surprise.

I had been gaining steadily all week, starting with a binge on Indian food and raspberry mojitos last Saturday, from which I woke up Sunday morning with a throbbing headache and two feet the size of footballs.

Sodium + Alcohol = Water Retention

Which I thought would go away after a day or two of heavy hydration, but it didn't.

Every morning I woke up to another two pounds on the scale, and my feet at least a shoe size bigger. By Thursday morning, the only pair of shoes I could wear to work were a pair of Birkie knock-offs that had carried me through month nine of both pregnancies.

Finally, I got concerned enough that I consulted WebMD.

For the record, whoever came up with the concept of WebMD must HATE all hypochondriacs and wish for them to live a life of constant paranoia.

My husband, for example, has a habit of diagnosing himself on at least a bi-weekly basis with either a deadly virus or a rare form of cancer. Currently, he's convinced that he is the only person in North America secretly suffering from the Ebola virus.

Anyway, five minutes on WebMD had me thoroughly convinced I was dying of congestive heart failure. (Who knows?? Maybe I am and I just can't tell. Boz???)

"Oh, well," I thought, "I'll take an aspirin and sleep it off."

Now, any sane person retaining this much water would avoid ALL salt, sodium, MSG, etc. and pile on the water, right??

Well, not me.

I let the kids talk me into Dairy Queen (though I was smart enough to split a kid's meal with one of them). I let my husband cook Thai food for dinner (Hey, I'm no dummy, if he's willing, who am I to argue??). I even had bacon one morning. BACON, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!!


But, I kept walking. One hour. Every day.

And it worked. Again.

There must be something to this exercise stuff.

Today's numbers: 267.

I'm shooting for my 10% next week. 265.3

The plan: NO MORE BACON.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Under 270!

This morning's numbers: 268.4

That's 28 pounds down!

And it's under 270.


A Free-Verse Note to the Young Farmboys in a Hot, Red Sports Car Yelling "Suey!"

While your hog calling skills are impressive, I can only conclude the following:

One day soon

your girlfriends

or wives

or secret, salacious lovers

will surely be either


or uglier

or much less faithful

than I.

(Perhaps all three.)

And they will hurt you






And, in doing so, they will have freed themselves.

And, in some small, secret way, me too.

And they will have imprisoned you, my fine, pig-calling friends,



Friday, August 14, 2009

25 Down!!

This morning's numbers: 271.4

That's officially 25 pounds less than I weighed when I started this blog.

Wooo Hooo!

That's 1/4 of the way to my 100 lb. goal.

100 pounds won't put me at my "ideal" weight, but the long range goal, for now, is to be under 200.

And I'm 25% of the way there!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Another Pound Down!

Good numbers this morning!


That's 24.8 lbs down, total.

I think this three miles a day thing is working!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009



That's what my digital scale read this morning. That is six-tenths of a pound less than it read yesterday morning.

That's 23.8 pounds less than it read on June 18 of this year.

I know, I know. It's NOT all about the numbers.

But it is about accountability. And honesty. And patience.

In the past, I've gone through EVERY possible perspective on the value of using a scale.

Weigh once a week.

Weigh once a month.

Weigh only when FORCED to at the doctor's office.

REFUSE to be weighed at the doctor's office, since it's not really going to affect your treatment anyway. (Yes, Dr. Boz, that was me.)

And my personal favorite: Throw out the scales!! Just pay attention to how you FEEL! And notice how your clothes fit! (I imagine this advice is more effective for those who don't spend the lion's share of their adult life in pants with drawstrings or elastic waistbands or "muu muu" dresses.)

Now, I realize any of these methods may be effective for some folks.

But they were NOT effective for me.

I NEED honest, credible, unbiased feedback. And I need it on a regular basis.

So, I weigh myself once a day, first thing in the morning. Yes, I realize this is the "lightest" time of day, and that my weight can fluctuate anywhere from 2 - 4 pounds in any given day based on water intake, sodium intake, whether or not I consume enough food for three adults rather than just the one that I am . . . .

But it is consistent. And it keeps me honest.

It has also made me realize that, in the words of a good friend's husband, "The path to weight loss is not always a perfectly straight line."

Some days I'm up! Some days I'm down! (Like today! Yay!)

The key, I've decided, is not making bad short-term decisions based on temporary, short-term setbacks. Notice the numbers each day, but don't let them define you. If they are going down more than they are going up, you're on the right track.

If the opposite is true, it's time to re-evaluate and figure out the problem.

The older I get, the more I am trying to take "the long view." The old me would have noticed a small weight gain, decided I was a failure, and headed straight for the chocolate eclairs.

The new me knows that going up a pound or two for a day or two or even a full week given any number of variables -- time of the month, stress level, dietary setbacks, lack of exercise, whatever -- is NOT the end of the world. It is simply a useful piece of information. And it should help me make better choices.

And if I make those better choices, consistently, for a year or two or three -- however long it takes (Here's where the patience thing comes in handy.) -- I WILL reach my goal.

I took a counseling class once at a time in my life when I thought I might make a good guidance counselor. (I quickly decided that I don't always listen very well, and that most of what high school guidance counselors do is schedule classes and do a limited amount career and college admissions advising. No offense to the wonderful school counselors out there. I just decided I couldn't do your job.)

The one useful thing I did learn in that class, though, was the psychological concept of "intermittent positive reinforcement." Basically, this means that as long as I see positive results of my diet and exercise efforts on an intermittent basis, I am likely to continue the positive behaviors. If the numbers went down EVERY time, I'd be likely to stop trying as hard and simply EXPECT the positive results, rather than letting them pleasantly -- but with some intermittent consistency -- reinforce my good exercise habits and dietary decisions.

In other words, those days when the numbers go UP are actually pretty useful. They remind me that I must keep trying, and that a successful weight loss journey doesn't happen in some mysterious, magical way.

The numbers on that scale are a direct result of my efforts to make them move in the right direction.

Today, I'm proud of my success this far.

But I will still check those numbers again tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Satan Drives an Ice Cream Truck

(This picture was taken at Spezia's Italian restaurant on our 9th wedding anniversary. The dress I'm wearing here is a size 18/20, and it didn't fit AT ALL at the start of the summer. It's still a bit snug, but I was so excited I wore it anyway. Notice the painting in the background. Satan wears a red dress and comes bearing dessert.)

I'll start with the good news: As of this morning, I'm down to 273.2 pounds. That's a total loss of 23.2 pounds since I started this blog.

But I have NO idea how I managed to lose anything (except, perhaps, my mind) last week . . .

Because SATAN has been chasing me with sugar ALL. WEEK. LONG.

It all started with a three mile walk.

Our children were visiting Grandma & Grandpa on the farm for a week, so my husband and I took the rare opportunity of childlessness to exercise together. We mapped out a three mile route and pledged to walk it at least once each day for the duration of our kid-free week.

Then, the ice cream truck arrived. We were no more than two blocks into our walk, when the a faint, jingling tune emerged from the tree lined streets surrounding our home. At first, I thought someone had lost a cell phone or left one of those freakish singing dolls on a front lawn.

No such luck.

As we walked, the music kept getting progressively louder. Louder, louder, louder until finally that truck -- loaded with ICE CREAM, that delectable, deathly combination of sugar and fat (But, hey! It's got calcium, right? That's the argument I always tried to sell my OB doc. Yeah. She didn't buy it, either.) -- was RIGHT BEHIND ME.

And I wish I were kidding here, but I'm not.

It. Stalked. Us.

Seriously, Satan, driving the ice cream truck, drove less than five miles an hour for at least five solid blocks, TAILING my husband and I.

I looked at my husband, and we both laughed. "It's a good thing you don't have your wallet," I said, "because we are literally being chased by chocolate ice cream."

I realize this may sound rude, but I'm convinced there was a marketing strategy in all this. I remember thinking to myself, "This is one SMART ice cream man." He drives his truck around, looking for chubsters like me, trying to work up a sweat, and FOLLOWS them with a combination of annoying music and ice cream, the sugar-addict's drug of choice, and just watches the sales roll in.

Not a bad plan, really.

Finally, though, Satan realized we had no cash, and he moved on.

But, the seed had been planted . . . .

(Didn't they warn me about this back in Catholic school??)

For the next two days, we made our three mile trek in peace. (Apparently, Satan only stalks the fatties in our neighborhood on Sunday evenings. A bit ironic, eh?)

With the kids out of town, though, and the excuse of our 9th wedding anniversary on Wednesday, we went out to eat on no less than four occasions that week.

Taste of India. Check.

(Best chicken korma EVER, by the way.)

Grille 26. Check.

(AMAZING salad with chicken, spinach, bacon, apples, cherries, and Gorgonzola. Yummm.)

Obadiah's Seafood and Steakhouse, Sheldon, Ia. Check.

(Crawfish pasta and my first taste of alligator. Jazz music. GREAT staff. Highly recommended.)

In the end, it appears that Satan's work was completed in Italy, though.

Our 9th wedding anniversary was on Wednesday, August 5th. We had planned an incredibly romantic day of installing vinyl flooring in the family room. (Nothing says love like a home improvement project with an x-acto knife, right?)

Instead of getting to the project at the crack of dawn as we'd originally planned, though, we slept late, had lunch, walked our route, watched a movie . . . and started the flooring project at six pm.

By 8:30, we were on the verge of marital dissolution.

(Why didn't we learn from the great wallpaper episode of '04?? Our Duluth neighbors are STILL talking about that one.)

Finally, after a moment of contemplation over whether I should use it to help rip off my mathematically challenged husband's head, I set down the x-acto knife and realized this project could ONLY end badly if we continued to forge ahead.

"I'm starving," I said. "We need Italian."

"Done." he agreed.


Two showers, a flurry of primping, and forty-five minutes later we walked into Spezia's.

It was 9:17 and they close at 10:00. A clearly exhausted hostess greeted us, and pleasantly welcomed us despite the late hour.

We were seated at a table right next to the kitchen. Our waitress was fantastic. Friendly and attentive, but not overbearing -- exactly the kind of waitress one wants at a romantic dinner.

She brought out a candle. The lighting was low. The music was good. And we were the ONLY table in the place. It was really nice. REALLY nice. As in, I can't remember having a dinner this quiet, this calm, this nobody-is-screaming-or-spilling-their-milk in a LONG time nice.

Then, just as I was gazing into my beloved husband's eyes (Ha! GAG!), the kitchen erupted. As in BLEW. UP. into a frenzy of tears and yelling. Someone was crying. Someone else was yelling. Dishes were flying. Glasses were crashing to the ground.

"Ahhh! Feels like home," I thought, and I suddenly really missed my kids for the first time all week.

Now, having waited tables for a considerable portion of my adolescent and adult life, I've witnessed these scenes before. Double shifts combine with a day full of cranky customers to produce sheer mental and physical exhaustion. The staff can't take it out on the customers, so they take it out on one another. To me, THIS IS NORMAL.

But apparently not to our wonderful, attentive waitress.

"I'm SO sorry about that," she apologized profusely.

"Oh, it didn't bother us," I replied, "Been there. Done that."

(As in, recently. Like an HOUR ago, in the family room.)

"I'm just sorry you had to hear all that, especially on your anniversary!" she continued.

"Really, it's okay . . ."

We finished dinner in peace. Apparently the altercation in the kitchen had been diffused. Or the cops had been called in. I'm not sure which.

(The food was incredible, by the way. Mike ordered a gnocchi dish with a gorgonzola cheese sauce that I would, without question, have sold my soul for. I ordered a four seasons pizza, which was also delicious, and big enough to take half of it home for lunch the next day.)

Then, our wonderful waitress brought out the bill.


Apparently, the Devil really does wear Prada. Or something Italian. Like a waitress uniform.

"Happy Anniversary," our waitress smiled, "Here's something for you to take home and share. Again, I'm sorry for the disturbance."

"Thank you SO much," I replied, the drool already pooling near my taste buds.

So, of course, we went home and promptly got out two forks and ate a GIGANTIC slab of tiramisu at eleven o'clock at night!

(Note to self: Consuming ladyfingers, dipped in espresso, covered in some heavenly combination of heavy cream and marscapone cheese and sprinkled in espresso powder, immediately before attempting to FALL ASLEEP is a VERY. BAD. IDEA.)

The tiramisu was incredible.

The insomnia, not so much.

In the end, I'm convinced it was the walking that saved me. I ate like a starving animal most of the week, but I also exercised for at least an hour every day, too. There is just NO way around it. Exercise MATTERS. I've been trying to avoid that truth for 34 years, but, in the end, the TRUTH is setting. me. free.

My husband, the weight loss machine, lost over two pounds.

I lost two tenths.

BUT I didn't gain, and that is better than I expected.

And this week, it's back to veggies, lean meat, and whole grains. A dietary exorcism, of sorts.

And the THREE miles a day -- a trinity, interestingly enough -- continues.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Seven Weeks and Counting

As of this morning, I'm down 20.2 pounds since I started tracking my progress online using the Weight Watchers website. I'm down almost 22 since I started this blog, to 274.6.

That's under 275, which may not seem like a great number, but when I remember that I started this blog with less than five pounds to go until I hit 300 (hence the title), I'm pretty proud.

Twenty five pounds away from 300 is A LOT better than five!

The rate at which I'm losing is slowing down, but I'm just happy that the numbers keep moving in the right direction. I've caught myself "cheating" more often lately, but I'm beginning to feel more like I am making a realistic connection between the "If I eat more, I MUST move more" rule. Preferably, of course, I would just eat LESS and STILL move more, but, as with everyone, I'm a work in progress. And I AM eating less. A LOT less. And a lot BETTER.

Today, for example, my husband and I went to the Overlook Cafe in Falls Park. I ordered a turkey sandwich on multi-grain bread with alfalfa sprouts, tomato, spinach, and mustard, with a side of broccoli salad. When it arrived at the table, the sandwich was GIANT. Immediately, I said to my husband "I'm only eating half of this. The other half is for supper." He agreed, and we had a great, filling lunch AND I didn't have to cook supper! All for 15 bucks. I highly recommend!

Of course, I probably shouldn't mention that we also split a piece of strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting. I know, I know. Sugar is the devil.

But "sinning" just tastes so DAMN good. (Sorry, pun intended.)

After lunch, we walked a while on the trail, and then picked up our CSA veggies and went home. By the time I got home, the sugar high had passed, and the subsequent dip in blood sugar nearly wiped me off my feet. I took a glorious three hour nap (Can you tell the kids are visiting Grandma this week?) and woke to the sound of my husband, chopping organic beets.

I hate beets. I've always hated beets.

But, I'm also a chronic Midwestern pragmatist. Wasting beets is just not in my DNA.

Mike roasted the sliced beets with a tablespoon of olive oil and a little kosher salt. He forced me to try one, against my will. (This forcing me to do things against my will thing is not something he succeeds at very often, so I the beet battle is a bit of a victory for him.)

Right there, at my kitchen table, my world view relative to beets shifted.

They were delicious. They didn't taste like dirt, as I remembered them from childhood. They were the perfect texture, a little "earthy" tasting, and a little like the potatoes I've almost eliminated completely from our menus.

So, we got out the leftover sandwiches, finished off the roasted beets, and put on the running shoes.

Time for the power walk. We went for an hour and fifteen minutes. I don't know the distance, but I suppose someday I'll waste the gas to figure it out with my car.

As we approached the last two blocks to our home, I decided to "jog." I put the word in quotes because my "jogging" is more reminiscent of an elephant in labor than a human athlete in training. I could barely lift my feet off the ground and I could feel every pound of flab and blubber bouncing around wondering what the hell was going on.

It was quite a scene, something akin to geriatric night at fat camp, I suppose. I swear I could feel the sidewalk cracking behind me as I went and hear new fault lines forming in the tectonic plates of North America.

But I made it. And nobody threw anything or yelled nasty epithets out of a car window (Yes, this has actually happened to both my husband and I before).

I made it to the front door after "jogging" two blocks, and promptly pledged never to try that again.

Okay, maybe in another fifty pounds or so, but I'm pretty sure my finely coiffed neighborhood is NOT ready for a jogging fat lady.

Oh, well. I'm still under 275, so that's something, right?