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Last night I dreamed of Subway sandwiches.

They were delivered on a platter and people swarmed to the sandwiches, taking their favorites away on paper plates. I approached the platter and reached for the last turkey on wheat at the same time Harrison Ford reached for the last turkey on wheat.

It turns out Harrison Ford has turned into a crotchety bastard in his old age and he gave me a “Don’t fuck with my sandwich” look so I backed off because you do not fuck with Harrison Ford’s sandwich.

I took whatever meager leavings remained on the platter, which I promptly dropped on the floor. I had nothing to eat. Harrison Ford, on the other hand, happily walked away with the last turkey on wheat and didn’t look back.

And that’s how the first and only day of the 17-day diet cleanse ended. With Han Solo stealing my favorite sandwich.

I am back to my regular plan today. Yesterday started off strong with a bottle of kefir and an egg white omelet. I brought a salad, grapes and a yogurt with me to work and didn’t even feel the need to dig into the grapes until 11:00.

Then round about noon the fatigue set in. This was highly unusual for me. I never get that tired that early in the day, but I’d had an intense spinning workout in the morning, one in which I really pushed myself, and I don’t think I gave my body what it needed to refuel.  At noon I had my salad, at 3:00 I had the yogurt and at some point I found myself uncapping the bottle of Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi I’d left in the fridge.  By the end of the day I was an exhausted, cranky mess who had been bitterly hoarding vanilla Tootsie rolls from the work candy dishes all day with the hope I might be able to eventually eat them.

Had I not already decided to eat my minimum points, I would have ended the day with a 12 point deficit. I used up those points by eating almonds, peanut butter and cherries (not all at once) but that still did not remedy the feeling that I’d been completely hollowed out by hunger. Nathan and I had no emotional reserves to withstand Autumn’s monkey business and became very short with her. Of course it didn’t help that she’s exactly the kind of child who will test out the fire door at Costco even after she’s been told exactly what will happen if she opens it, but by the end of the night we were spent and went to bed early.

This morning was no better and we had a hard time mustering the energy to get out of bed. Nathan has soldiered on to Day 2 but I have happily embraced my carbs again in the form of an English muffin for breakfast and leftover pizza for lunch. I can’t tell you how much difference there is between yesterday and today. Instead of saying, “Hey…you!” when someone greets me, I’m able to remember names and concentrate on work. My stomach is not grumbling and I have, in fact, treated myself to a couple of vanilla Tootsies today.

This is the me I like. The me who loves to eat and be active and who has enough energy reserved to consider doing more in bed than just falling asleep holding my Kindle.  Last night any thoughts of intimacy were pushed out of my mind by the overwhelming desire for a damn sandwich.  I still don’t know how Harrison Ford fits into all of this, but if he shows up in any more dreams I’ll have a thing or two to say to him about how being a celebrity entails demonstrating just a little bit of generosity.

I guess I’m back to square one as far as figuring out how to break out of this plateau. I’m going to try staying away from diet sodas as much as possible and have a plan in place on how mix things up with my weekly and activity points.  The bottom line is I’m not (read: never EVER again) going to sacrifice feeling great in order to force the scale to move.

I just have to have faith that it will eventually move as long as I continue taking good care of myself.

 

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Last week Nathan and made the decision to try out the 17-Day Diet.  You may call me a hypocrite since I poo-pooed said diet a few months ago, but gosh darn it SOMETHING has to break me out of this plateau and I’m at the point where some behavior modification is needed to get things moving again.

At first I was going to follow the diet to the letter and suffer right along with my husband, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized the diet most likely would not allow me to do two things:

  1. Maintain my current level of physical activity.
  2. Remain a pleasant person.

Those things are very important to me. I love working out and really pushing myself. I love my spin class, I love the elliptical and I’m even starting to love the burn in my thighs the day after my attempts to jog on the treadmill. While the 17-Day Diet does endorse exercise, the caloric intake most likely would not be able to sustain me through my regular workouts.  I’m sorry, but I’m not about to sacrifice my hard-earned cardiovascular fitness level for the sake of a fad diet.

Then there’s Nathan, who not only consumed two Big Macs during a lunch date at McDonald’s this past week but likes the 17-Day Diet plan because it looks to be one in which he can quickly lose weight without having to exercise much.

Slacker.

As for the mood thing, I spent the worst of my depression being a difficult, insufferable person at work and at home and can pretty much guarantee I won’t be Miss Mary Sunshine if you start limiting both my food and my exercise. That’s not to say I don’t need to make changes and some of the principles of the diet, while gimmicky, might help me break the bad habits I still haven’t been able to shake these past two years, such as:

  1. Drinking too many diet sodas
  2. Not drinking enough water
  3. Eating too many carbs
  4. Dining out too much
  5. Eating too many processed foods

The soda thing will be hard, especially when I think of the diet Wild Cherry Pepsi I left in the fridge at work on Friday. I heart my diet sodas so much, occasionally drinking up to two 20 oz bottles in a day, but I know they’re bad for me so I’m going to give them up for the duration and switch to the 17-Day Diet staple of green tea and water.

Yay.

As for the rest, you can’t argue with eating clean, unprocessed foods such as lean meats and green, leafy vegetables, all of which we’ll be cooking and consuming at home.  The whole fruit abstinence after 2pm is a bunch of bollocks if you ask me and I can already see that as being one of the more flexible tenants of this diet.

The long and the short of it is that I’ve decided to follow this diet along with Nathan while still eating my minimum daily points, logging everything into my tracker and maintaining my current level of activity. I think I may be able to make this work if I view this as a cleanse rather than a diet.  I’ll probably miss the carbs as much as I miss my soda, but something has to change.  It’s only three months to the start of the holiday season and I need a little momentum to keep me going. The past two years have seen me lose weight between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, and while my goal during that time has always been to maintain my weight, I’d hate to break that losing streak.

Coulda, woulda, shoulda

There’s a pregnant woman in my SPIN class. She’s obviously in her last trimester and if I had to guess I would say she’s about 7-8 months along.

I can’t tell you how much I admire women who are not only able stay active throughout their pregnancies but are more than willing to do so. Six years ago I took the news I was pregnant as license to give Weight Watchers the ol’ heave ho.  I sustained my life and Autumn’s on a diet of pizza and ice cream and was very happy to have a valid reason to stop going to meetings. After all, Weight Watchers would not have let me continue anyway once it became apparent I was expecting.  My separation from them (once again) was blissfully guilt-free this time.

I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I’d had enough foresight to take better care of myself throughout my pregnancy. When I got pregnant I weighed right around 270. The day I gave birth I clocked in around 325. During my first prenatal appointment my OB cautioned me to not gain much weight but said little as the numbers on the scale crept higher and higher.

At the time I didn’t want a preachy OB getting on my case about being fat and I did ultimately have a stress-free pregnancy in spite of my size, but looking back I now realize I maintained an unhealthy, apathetic attitude about my weight right up to the end. Of course I hated seeing the scale go back up over 300 again, but I kept telling myself there was nothing I could do about it. I was having a baybeee, so of course I had to gain some weight.

I was really nervous about getting pregnant again after having Autumn. The thought of having another child and putting on even more weight finally gave me that healthy dose of fear that had been absent during all those months when it would have made a difference. I can’t get pregnant right now, I thought. I just can’t.

Then Autumn, Nathan and I fell into a pleasant rhythm and I started asking questions like, “Do you think maybe we could do this again?” Nathan said maybe but that I’d have to lose some weight first. I didn’t want to hear it and did nothing about it, but he was right and we finally decided to put the issue to bed once and for all just before Autumn turned a year old. Nathan had a vasectomy.

For the most part I’ve been happy to have tied that knot in the works. Another pregnancy has occasionally popped up in my dreams, sometimes manifesting as a warm feeling of rightness, as though all the cogs in the machinery of my life have gotten themselves back into working order. Other times the pregnancy is a setback, an interruption, a dark cloud of wrongness robbing me of any hard-won equilibrium.

The truth is, since Nathan’s vasectomy, I hadn’t felt the slightest bit emotionally or physically capable of handling another pregnancy until now.

Of course the kicker is I turn 40 in three months. And then there’s still the whole vasectomy thing.

I’m not saying I want another child.  That ship has sailed, but when I look at that pregnant woman in my SPIN class I know there’d be nothing short of bed rest or severe gestational issues keeping me from staying active and eating well this time around.

It is unfortunate that it took five years after a vasectomy and three months before my 40th birthday to get here, but I guess I’d rather be here and know I could handle it than stay where I was with a fear that creating another life would physically and emotionally ruin me.

That is progress, even it means we’ll always be a family of three.

 

Flawed

“Mommy, you shouldn’t wear shorts.”

I looked at my child, so sweet and lovely with her skinny little legs peppered with bruises and said, “Why the hell not?”

I didn’t exactly put it that way, but I did ask why she thought I shouldn’t be wearing shorts.

“You look silly,” she said.

“Silly? How do I look silly?” I asked.

“You just do.”

I pressed her. “What about me wearing shorts is silly?”

She pointed to the four-inch scar running from just above my left kneecap to just below.

Oh that.  “Honey, I’m not ashamed of my scar,” I said.

And I’m not. I do remember how I worried about that scar and what my knee would look like after the doctor cut into it. I was going to take a picture of the knee the morning of my surgery just to remember what it looked like but wound up getting so ill that morning that the last thing I wanted to do was pose for a photo.

It turns out I can remember what it looked like by looking down at the right knee. They were remarkably similar once upon a time.

Then there was the other day when Autumn and I were in the car playing the game “Who is…”

“Who is the tallest?” asked Autumn.

“Daddy,” I replied then asked, “Who is the shortest?”

“I am!” she replied.  But I corrected her and said technically Molly is shorter than she is.

“Well then I’m the mediumest,” she said.

We pondered these facts for a few moments.

“So Daddy’s the biggest and I am the littlest…who’s the WIDEST?”

I did not hesitate.

“ME!” I raised my hand and we both laughed.

I’m not ashamed of my scar or that I am the WIDEST in the family. These are the things that make me who I am and I want my child to know that I’m very much okay with being flawed.

 

I haven’t written about Autumn in a long time, but tonight at bedtime she started asking questions about death and I sort of felt the need to bring a little bit of my girl back here to share with you.

She wanted to know who would bring flowers to our graves if all three of us died at the same time. She was very anxious to know the answer and was near tears as she clutched her Spongebob blanket and asked who would be there to mourn us when we’re gone.

I told her if, God forbid, we were all to die at the same time, all the people who love us would bring us flowers. Then she wanted to know who would be around to mourn them if they all died with us.  Apparently our social circle is not the place to be.

This discussion of death led to questions about what happens to our bodies after we die. These are the kinds of questions that trip me up as a parent. I want to be honest, but I don’t want to give the kid nightmares. The other day I told her a certain button on the U-Scan checkout at Walmart was to call security to take away misbehaving kids. I know some day she’ll find out that was a load of crap, but I don’t ever want her to feel she was misinformed when it comes to the really important stuff.

If I was my dad I’d get all clinical and tell her what actually happens to our bodies when we die. Last week he told Autumn that Plankton from Spongebob was actually a paramecium, so I suppose his description of our postmortem existence would involve worlds like “decomposition” and “gasses.” You can take the science teacher out of the classroom, but you can’t ever take the science out of the teacher.

But the kid is five, so I asked her if remembers what food that’s been in the fridge too long looks like and said that’s what happens to our bodies when they stop living.  I told her some people are buried in coffins, though I probably could have left out the bit about cremation because that kind of freaked her out.  And yes, I did try to talk to her about organ donation since that is a subject near and dear to our hearts.

I probably spent a half hour in her room laying in bed with her answering questions. I could have ended the conversation at any time because I am THE MOM, but I didn’t want to leave. I wanted her to keep asking whatever she wanted and I wanted to be able to answer whatever she asked.

But I’m really glad she never asked the questions I couldn’t answer because there’s still so much I don’t know.

Last night I was starving.

Not really starving, mind you, but ravenous.  A chew-the-upholstery-off-the-furniture crazy kind of hungry.

I got home and could not wait for dinner to be ready. I opened up the pantry doors and ate a Weight Watchers Lemon Mousse Pie 2-point bar. Then I had another.

Then I got into the Wonka chocolates. I don’t even know how many of those things I had or why I brought them into my house to begin with.

Then there were the pretzels with the wedge of Lauging Cow cheese.

And finally there was dinner-rotisserie chicken, waffle fries and garlic bread (that was in the oven a little too long).

After dinner we went to the ice cream parlor where I had a small cone of real soft-serve ice cream dipped in chocolate. By that time I was finally full, but I ate the damn ice cream anyway.

The funny thing is I ate all that last night and I still saw my weight go down a little this week. It was less than a pound, but I’ll take it.

I’m not going to beat myself up for the binge or the god-awful 24-point chicken sandwich I had at Burger King Thursday night because I learned from these mistakes. For one, I learned I need to drink more water because I’m pretty sure the persistent hunger I felt all day was due to very little water intake while I was at work.

The second thing I learned is that I will never again order the bacon ranch Tendercrisp chicken sandwich from Burger King.

I also learned that I might be due for a “tune up” with my therapist because I’ve been very successful at sabotoging myself lately.

Did I need to buy two bags and four bars of  Wonka chocolate this week?

I did not.

Who suggested we go to Burger King with their chicken sandwich monstrosities instead of McDonalds, home of the 8-point southwest chicken salad?

I did, and I did it because I’d had a chicken salad for lunch and didn’t want another for dinner. Wah, wah, wah.

However…

I’m also the person who had dinner with her best friend at a great Mexican restaurant last week and ordered the taco plate instead of the chimichanga I really wanted.

I’m the person who had dinner at Red Lobster, ate one Cheddar Bay biscuit when I really wanted two and created my own feast of grilled shrimp skewers and steamed crab legs.

And I’m also the person who still got in five workouts during the week, workouts which apparently saved my ass at the scale today.

I wont lie. Last night really freaked me out. As I was sitting in the chair unwrapping chocolates, I was thinking, “WTF is wrong with me?” Am I reverting back to old habits? Am I going to gain it all back?  But then today I had to remind myself that I made a lot of good choices this week, too. Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the good stuff when the bad  stuff starts making its way back into your life.

I confessed to my Weight Watchers buddy about the binge last night and she said, “Don’t you know you’re supposed to do that after weigh-in?”

Yeah, but I kind of like starting the week over with a clean slate.

That’s the best thing about Saturday.

 

Hanging on

I can’t seem to get past that 100 lb milestone.

I get to 100, then I gain a little back. Then I lose a little to get back to 100 only to gain a little back again.

It’s my own fault and I’m not really complaining. Just laying it all out there because, for better or for worse, this is a weight loss blog now.

Speaking of which, what am I going to do with this blog?

I keep talking about the new blog and how I’m not yet “there” with the roll-out. I’m as far away from “there” as I can be and not very motivated to move forward. Maybe it’s because I got the job I interviewed for (YUP!) and am starting to re-assess my priorities.

My first priority is to keep taking care of myself. That’s never going to change. Regardless of what happens with this space, you can rest assured I will be working my ass off (literally!) behind the scenes. No matter how much of a crap week I have, I always go back to eating well and exercising.

However, with the new job comes a responsibility I’ve never taken on before; I am now someone’s supervisor. That’s kind of scary when you think of it, but I’m already approving time-off requests and sorting out schedules, so I guess this is real and I have to start thinking about how much I want my employees to know about me. Thankfully right now if you Google my name you only come up with one or two links that point to the blog.

The question of whether I want to continue blogging at all has come up. I’m not ready to quit because I still do posses that narcissistic need to write about myself. I’ve made some great friends online and shutting down the blog would mean cutting myself off from some great people and opportunities.

The bottom line is I am at a crossroads. My life is not becoming any less complicated and I’m finding it harder to set aside time to write.

And really, I’m just having a good time living right now. Maybe that’s how it works. When I was miserable and depressed I had all the motivation in the world to sit down here and tell my stories. Now that I’m happy, it seems I’m just happy to…be.

And it feels great.