(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.
AND. A. FREE. PIECE. OF. TIRAMISU.
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.