Thursday, December 29, 2016

Saying Goodbye to 2016

First of all, I don't know how much I weigh right now. I've pretty much been sticking to once-a-week weigh, and last Saturday I clocked in at 302, which was an improvement. I'm not sure that I will best that this Saturday, though – eating hasn't been terrible but not super great, either.

I guess I haven't written anything here since before Christmas now that I think about it... but I have nothing much to report on that front. We're not huge holiday folks over here, though we spent a nice afternoon with my mom on Christmas eve, and I made my first-ever from scratch cheesecake at my partner's request. I was scared to try it, but I pulled it off! So, you know... cheesecake was eaten. But generally I think that I did OK. I mean, heck, I met with my trainer on Christmas eve morning for an intense workout, so how hardcore is that, right?

One thing I am really excited about is my overall fitness these days. As I have mentioned, I'm doing a lot of strength training these days (twice a week at the gym for hour+ sessions) and trying to keep stretched out – in fact, I asked Rick to text me every day to remind me to at least do some stretching. It really helps with soreness! So he has been happily complying with that, to my great appreciation. I haven't been running outside super regularly though usually at each training session I do a little bit on the treadmill. (TOTALLY not the same, by the way!!!) Well, I have a race coming up, and I have goals, so I know I need to get back to a running routine again sooner than later. So last night I went to one of the free group runs they hold at Fleet Feet and figured I'd just do what I could, as long as I did something. Most times they offer two and four mile routes for participants, so I went for the two mile thinking I'd run at least a mile and do my best otherwise.

The first mile is ALWAYS the hardest, and this one was no exception. I was kind of hating on myself the whole time and wondering how I could have let myself get so out of shape, watching walkers breeze past me. Then I realized that I wasn't far from the mile marker and I was starting to feel pretty good, strong even! Long story short, I ended up running the full two miles, only stopping for traffic lights. I was PUMPED. Totally pumped. I can still do this.

As I bid 2016 adieu, I think of a few things:

• I was reminded on Facebook that it was three years ago today that I began my efforts toward better health and fitness with my first appointment with a trainer (this was pre-Rick). Three years! In many ways I am disappointed with how this past year I managed to backpedal so much, but on the other hand I am such a better place than I was three years ago. There's no stopping now.

• I'm ready to upgrade my efforts again.

1. Continuing with my twice weekly training sessions (Monday evening and Saturday morning)
2. Making a routine of one weekly session with a running group (Fleet Feet or Niagara, Wednesdays)
3. Adding on one more weekly run with a friend (accountability, plus better and easier to run with someone!)
4. Daily stretching, even just a little bit
5. Daily meditation (I miss it! Would make me feel better!)
6. Implement a new break plan at work, where I sit at a computer all day – ugh. I recently read that rather than taking a longer walk in the morning before work or on a lunch break, taking a five-minute break every hour and walking around the office is even better. Hoping this will help keep me refreshed during the day as well.

Action plan!

1. Already in place – no problem keeping to this schedule.
2. All I have to do is get myself geared up and go after work on Wednesdays. Should be no problem.
3. I am contacting my friend Janice to start meeting up with her one morning a week. Looks like that will happen on Sunday mornings.
4. & 5. I can combine these two, like I used to. I still have a Headspace subscription that I have been wasting (for shame!). I can commit to waking up 15 minutes earlier in the morning, OR taking part of my lunch break at work, OR taking that time in the evening at home to achieve this goal on as many days as I can.
6. I need to set some reminders for myself until it becomes habit. I will set timers to hit on every hour. I could also plan to drink even more water – bathroom breaks could coincide.

• I have to always remind myself that yes, I can do this. Most days lately, it feels like I can't. I get discouraged a lot. But you know my mantra: I will NOT give up. I can't wait to see what lies ahead.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Being Brave

Today being brave means that I got on the scale, and it wasn't pretty. I was prepared. It's just reality, it's something to deal with and I have the knowledge and tools to deal with it.

I've hit 307 pounds. Grr. So not good.

So that is the bad news. The good news is that I know that I really can reverse the damage. I don't have to be here. New goal! *rolls eyes* New goal is to get below 300 before the new year. I can't stay here. I can't live with this. I can't just let it go.

One big help I have in my life is my boyfriend, who is also struggling with his goals. We're now closer in weight than we have been in a long time. When we first met, he weighed a good 70 pounds less than me, but over time he ended up weighing at least 30 pounds more than me at my heaviest. We don't know for sure. So now, we're within 10 pounds of each other. I am happy for him, but not happy for me.

I have to keep pounding at it, no matter how many times I have to make declarations here, no matter how many times I mess up, no matter how many times I said that I would never go above 300 again... I know now that I can never really be too far away from it. I was down to 265 and thought it would be impossible to find myself back here, but look how easily it happened!

I really know better now. I must continue to be diligent.

Oh well, at least I like this photo of me today. Thanks Photo Booth app on my work computer!

I like my hair today, and my lipstick.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Best Laid Plans

Frankly, things have been going just the opposite of how I want them to be going right now.

I know I have the power to turn that around, but I just haven't. The only thing I have been doing is going to my training sessions at the gym, but even this past week things got slightly derailed. Don't worry – headed back tonight right after work though.

I'm not totally blaming things on the weather, but I do think that I have been taking the turn of the season harder than I have in the recent past. It's been very cold and doing things like snowing and icing and I just can't stand it. I hate the stress of driving in those conditions, and I hate that weather like that prevents me from doing the things I want to do.

This past week, for instance:

• Wednesday I was supposed to do running group. I ended up leaving early from work because of a projected storm (good call), so no running or gym for me. I went straight home and did not want to leave again until I had to the next morning.

• Saturday I had high hopes that we'd have a reprieve, with a forecasted high in the 40s for my trip to nearby Rochester. Instead, more snow and ice and crap. I was supposed to run a race (the Reindeer Run!) and visit a good friend whom I haven't seen in years. I didn't go to the gym, either (much closer to home!). I probably could have, but again I was of the mindset not going nowhere no how. Ugh. In fact, I ended up not going anywhere at all for the whole weekend. On one hand, it was nice, but on the other, well... I just feel so down and blah.

I'm back at work today and the roads were totally clear the whole way down, no problems, but then the work parking lot? Reprehensibly covered in ice, just like an ice rink. Terrible.

Did I say how sick of this I am? And it's only December and it only just started. I am hoping that January will be gentler.

My eating has been shitty, for lack of a better word. No sugar-coating it. The last time I weighed myself a couple, few days ago I was 304, and really happy about it! Sad, right? I had been worried that I was up towards 310, so I was relieved. My goal for the end of the year is now to be under 300.

More sad. Ugh!


Total crap eating day again, but soon enough I will be at the gym making up for a tiny bit of that.

I don't know how this will end. I know what I have to do, but I am just not doing it.

Sorry this blog has become a total complain-fest do-nothing blah blah blah.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Weekends = Trouble

OK, so once again I sabotaged myself over the weekend. After seeing 298.8 on Saturday, which was great, the rest was a bust. Here's what happened, with me trying to figure out how the fuck to avoid the same thing happening again anytime soon.

We had planned on Saturday after my training session that I'd grab some pizza and wings that would carry us, meal-wise, through the end of the weekend. A couple few slices of pizza, a few wings each day, pretty much. We've done this plenty of times without it being a big thing.

But I had also run to the store because I needed supplies to make a couple things for the housewarming party I was attending later. Wouldn't you know that our favorite new ice cream was on sale? No, I didn't have to buy it, but I did.

Fast forward to what I made for the party:  a bacon-jalapeno cheeseball, corn flour crackers for my gluten-intolerant friend (she's the real deal), and something sweet. I was going to make truffles, but ended up taking a nap mid-afternoon and running out of time for all the chilling they require, so I made brownies instead. Well, those seemed to turn out funny, so I didn't even bring them to the party, but wouldn't you know that they actually tasted really good?

OK, so at the party I did pretty OK, eating-wise. I probably had a little too much, but I thought it was all right considering. I had one pour of Prosecco and drank water the rest of the time.

Wouldn't you know I ended up gaining almost 4 pounds when I weighed in yesterday? Ugh ugh ugh.

We had pizza and wings to finish and on top that there was ice cream in the freezer and those brownies on the counter. Basically, yesterday turned into a shitstorm and I ended the evening feeling really down on myself and really sad.

I did NOT weigh in this morning. I just couldn't do that to myself. But, once again, I am determined to lose some pounds this week even if it only means that I am back down to 298. Jesus, I am so sick of being a broken record and I wonder why on earth I keep sabotaging myself the way I do. Well, it's got to stop. No more of this "do good during the week and throw it all away on the weekend" crap. It's positively crazy-making.

Then this appeared in my email box this morning:

And it is a very good question. I guess I would have to define my fears first. Let's see...

• Being afraid of failing

Response: Well fine, but haven't I already had all kinds of little and not-so-little failures along the way? And if I do succeed and then fail again, I know what to do. This is silly.

• Being afraid that losing the weight I want to lose won't make my life any better

Response: But you won't know until you get there. And if it doesn't, that's OK because life is pretty good anyway. Again this is silly, because at the very least, I can shop for clothes in more places, I will be able to do more physical things more easily, and I will be healthier in general. It's kind of a no-brainer. Will it automatically make me more successful in my career? No. Big deal.

• Being afraid that maintaining my weight loss will be even more difficult than losing it in the first place

I already know the answer to this – I do know that it will be an ongoing struggle. I know that I must be diligent and keep a close eye at the numbers on scale. I know how easy it is to lose control again. But that's OK – all of it is work, so it may as well be good work. (Yes, it IS work being super obese, trust me. I don't want to do that again.)

• Being afraid that life will change in ways that I really can't imagine, even if it's positive

Response: Change is a fact of life. So far I have dealt with all kinds of change in my life and came out the other end just fine. This will be no different. Roll with it, baby.

That's good for a start.

Now that I have analyzed these fears, there is no need to hang onto them any longer. I hearby relinquish them to dust and nevermore.

Let's get on with it!

Plans for this week:

One hour training session at the gym

Run/walk a mile

Run with open running group at Fleet Feet

Run/walk a mile

Walk on lunch break

One hour training session at the gym

5K race!

Bring lunches to work. Plan for small dinners at home. Stick to 1600 cals as much as possible, continue 16:8 IF. Drink lots of water.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Finally, again

Oh gosh, I am back under 300 pounds again this morning, just – 299.2. I'll take it. Honestly I'd thought I would have quicker progress this week, but give me any progress and I will be grateful for it at this point.

I feel like my life has changed so much since Saturday and my first training session back with Rick! It's amazing how making a couple little adjustments in your life can make it so different, even better, in a short time. I've already paid into my training commitment that will take me to the end of the year, so that I am certain to start the new year on a good foot. That feels really good.

I've also been enjoying doing care-based things for myself like taking luxurious baths in LUSH products (about once a week or so, I need to restock soon!), using moisturizer on my face every morning (though I forgot today, go figure – also trying to get into the evening habit, too, but not doing well on that front), and dressing myself up, even in a small way with a fancier necklace. My office is very casual and I have worn jeans my fair share of times, but I actually feel so much more confident when I "dress for success" – even if that just means dress pants and said fancy necklace.

Another thing that I'm really loving is wearing my Kat Von D lipstick again (the most gorgeous red), LUSH Karma perfume, and that my haircut is finally starting to become a real part of me. While my body may not be exactly where I'd like it, I can still walk around feeling very good about myself because of the way I'm taking care of it in the meantime. That's a big realization!

Clothes-wise, there are two main things that I'd like to execute as staples – well, I pretty much have been, but I want to do it more intentionally:

• Wear more dresses! Getting ready in the morning for work couldn't be more easy when I can just throw on a comfortable jersey knit dress, leggings, and my Fluevog boots. I have this other lace number from Target that I need to shrink into that I can't wait to wear, too. I will keep an eye out for more dresses in my shopping future.

• Easy-to-coordinate separates, like Garanimals for adults, and layers. I do this by default most of the time, really. I never grew out of my corduroys, camisole, and cardigan phase from the early-mid 90s. It never gets old or out of fashion, if you ask me. Today my variation on this is grey dress pants, a long, black tank top under a long sleeve asymmetric burgundy jersey knit shirt, topped with a light grey fine-knit cardigan. (Plus big colorful necklace.)

I can't tell you how many tank tops and camisoles I own. LOTS. I collect cardigans like a fiend. I'm actually fresh out of corduroys but have plenty of other pants. One thing missing from my separates equation is skirts – all A-line, all the time, thank you! I have one black microsuede one that I've had for YEARS, and I would love to have a dozen made with its same shape in different colors and textures. I actually used to make those for myself and sure I could again, but it would be a matter of, oh you know, actually doing it. But maybe I will!

There are some other interesting things going on in my life that I won't share here, but suffice it to say that I have high hopes for the new year and look forward to slash and burning the memory of 2016, which was a challenging year in so many ways.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

See ya, November!

November has been a mixed bag. I ended October on a excellent note (289!), but not too far into this month, things just got bad to worse as far as my eating and stuff went. Looking at the logbook portion of my Happy Scale app, I can see clearly that the whole month I've been hovering right around 300 pounds fairly consistently. Argh. Not what I had hoped for.

But, I have been determined to leave this November behind me and on a positive note. I started working out again, and tonight I am going on my first Wednesday group run at Fleet Feet in a long time, as well as it's the first in a line of Wednesday runs after work that are on my calendar. I'm excited! I little scared, too, but I know after doing Rick's intervals on the treadmill that I can still run, if only for a few minutes at a time. I'll do intervals of my own tonight as well.

Sitting here at the third day of the new week, I can say that I have had a good run on eating as well. Rick had suggested dropping down to 1600 cals a day, which I initially balked at; but I've been doing just that since Monday with relatively little trouble. I'm also still doing the 16:8 Intermittent Fasting thing, and I am generally keeping an eye on my carb level as well, trying to keep it between 50 and 100 each day. Today I happen to be higher, but I'm not going to fret over it.

After being up up up on the scale (I skipped weighing on Monday but suspect I was at least 304), I am back down to 300 even today, and hope that by the end of the week 300 will be but a memory again. The trick is now, can I keep it going and not revert back like I've done over and over again the past few months?

Well, I have to if I want to reach my goals. That's all there is to it.

I like what one of my MFP friends responded with on one of my posts:

Fall seven times. Get up eight. – Japanese proverb

(Even though it's been closer to 100 times, I'm still getting up.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tight Pants Suck

Need I say more? If I don't watch it (but don't worry, I am), I'm going to bust out of the pants I've been wearing. Today I wore the size 20 jeans that were starting to get big on me not too long ago, fresh out of the laundry and... well, if it wasn't for the slight spandex or whatever gives it some stretch, I'd be in trouble. I could zip them up and I wore them OK today, but they are definitely tighter than I'd ever want.

The good news is... I am working with my trainer Rick again regularly! He's been inviting me for a complimentary session at the new gym he is associated with, so I finally took advantage of his offer on Saturday morning, kind of on a whim.

I'm SO glad I did. I met Rick when I had a membership at LA Fitness and when my regular trainer went on vacation. I really liked him right away and he ended up being an awesome support and cheerleader! He's a super nice guy, 50-ish, and a bodybuilder – he competes and everything. But I have always felt like he really GETS me. When I was at LA, I had to commit to six months of training sessions and pay for a month's block of sessions at a time all the time, no exceptions. It was OK, and I really loved those sessions and felt they were worth every penny, but when the six months was over, I admit it, I was relieved, if only for the rigid financial commitment.

This is a different story now. The gym we meet at is a small, locally owned place and pretty no-frills – but has all the things I need to get a good workout. And because I am dealing directly with Rick, things are totally flexible, payment-wise. I am actually really super excited about this.

My first workout on Saturday went well. I've definitely lost some of my fitness, as is to be expected, but Rick was impressed with how much I did retain, and of course how much I have improved since we first started working together in mid-2015. Well, me too, I guess! He's having me come in on Saturday mornings and Monday evenings, and maybe one other day during the week, though I want to take things a little slower to start. Plus I have to get running in there sometime!

Talking about goals with him, I almost surprised myself with my response: To gain strength and endurance in order to be a better runner, and to just have better fitness overall. Weight loss came last in the equation – of course I want that, too, but working out has a new meaning to me now than it did a year or two ago. That REALLY pleased me. At last night's session, he had me do some intervals on the treadmill and while I was mad about the endurance level, I was also feeling pretty strong and capable, things like: I know I have good running form, for instance. I learned a lot since last year. I feel it. We did some stretching and some core bodyweight exercises, all kinds of stuff.

Then we went over to the weights area where I got to see this kick ass young woman doing some lifting. I don't any of the technical terms, but all I knew was that I wanted to do that one day, too. And I loved that she was the only lady in the room and seemed to have total respect of the "lunkheads" in the room (just teasing, guys!). I won't start on that stuff yet, but Rick is going to help me build up to it one of these days.

Anyway... I am really happy.

I have had a couple good eating days after way overindulging over the weekend. I'm still just over 300 but I don't think I will be for long. I'm hanging in and hanging tough.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Gratitude Catch-Up

It's been days and days since my last gratitude post. I have some catching up to do!

(Related but not on the list, today I am super grateful to have off from work tomorrow until the following Monday! Hooray for long holiday weekends. I have worked at jobs where I was required to work holidays, so I never take this for granted.)

Day 17: What knowledge are you grateful for?

I think the better question here is, what knowledge am I NOT grateful for? I am like a sponge and love learning new things, always. If I could go to college forever, I would, which is one of the reasons why I still teach (online) – I always learn something with every new set of students I have. I don't mind getting older because I know I am only getting smarter. Give me all the knowledge.

Miro's painting at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

Day 18: What piece of art are you grateful for?

Oh wow – as many of you may know, I am an artist. So while this is kind of an easy one, it's also a hard one because there have been so many works of art that have been important to me. However, I always come back to this one sculpture that has been in my life since my first visits to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery as a child in the 70s – Marisol's Baby Girland also The Generals by the same artist. Oh! But then there is Nikki de Saint Phalle's Nana. It's funny, because I've really never done any sculpture myself, and these pieces are pretty different from anything I've made... but maybe they aren't really. Anyway. They all made a big impression on a young girl from a nearby farm town. Oh, oh, sorry – I can't leave out Miro, either. His Femme et oiseaux dans la nuit was an early source of fascination for me. All of these art experiences helped shape who I am at my core. I knew from an early age that I wanted to be an artist.

Day 19: What touch are you grateful for?

It is easy to say I am always happy to be near my partner of almost 17 years and feel his touch. Aw!

Day 20: What in your life are you grateful for?

Really? Some of these questions, sheesh. To me this would be a summation of everything I've been and will be writing about as part of this exercise. Come on.

Day 21: What song are you grateful for?

There are too many to name. Questions like this send me over the edge, like "What's your favorite band?" Argh! I don't knooooowww!

Day 22: What story are you grateful for?

Ugh, I don't know.

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Waste Of

HI! Hi hi.

I just want to bitch a little bit about today's choices so far.

I skipped breakfast but ate some Swedish fish I bought a couple days ago. They weren't even that good, to be honest.

Then... lunch. I have been pretty bad about lunch the past couple weeks, in both regards to what I am eating and how much I am spending. I think I have to set some rules after today. I ended up going to Wegmans again because I wanted more Halo Top with raspberries (more on that later). Well, I got those things but on top of that, some mac and cheese from the hot bar and two italian rolls. The rolls were the least of my problems – 130 cals and like 60 cents each or something. Add up the rest of it, though? Lunch added up to over $18.00, which is STUPID. There is no other word for it. Just plain stupid. A pretty small container of hot bar mac and cheese cost over six dollars. *tsk* But also the Halo Top and package of raspberries was about $10.00 alone! Ugh. And now I am full and while I have a decent amount of calories in my day, I feel shitty about lunch and overly full and just yuck about the whole thing. Out of control. Helpless.

A note about Halo Top: Well, they say it about themselves, too – let that sucker sit on your counter for a while so it melts a bit. THEN it tastes pretty darned good. Today I had the strawberry flavor, which was fine. You know why I like Halo Top, though? I see it as a vehicle. A creamy, ice creamy vehicle for other stuff like fresh berries. So what I do is let mine melt a bit and then I start dropping in raspberries, one berry at a time, and mix it in. Then the amazing happens. It tastes really good and it is really filling. I don't know why I thought I should also have hot bar or even rolls. The rolls were super fresh and tasty, though. The mac and cheese was OK, but not six + dollars OK.

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

Well, we have our plans for the days leading up to Thanksgiving, food-wise. I'm making a big batch of burritos that will feed us for at least tonight, tomorrow, and maybe into the next day. I make a pot of doctored up black beans and just fry up some ground beef with taco seasoning, pretty simple. It's not the super healthiest meal as we tend load up the cheese and sour cream on 'em, but they are easy and filling, which is fine for my busy week ahead. On Wednesday, I'm working at home and also going to be picking up the farm-raised turkey; my partner is coming along for the long drive so we decided to just get something while we're out. Done and done. It's nice not to have to worry about stuff.

(I did finally roast a head of cauliflower I had from weeks ago, though! I cut off the black spots and drizzled it with olive oil and salt and pepper. It was yummy, and I should have brought it for lunch today.)

I haven't run since Election Day. Last night I had a dream about running a 5K, which I will be doing in the early part of December... in the dream I ran just fine but got snagged in a restroom. I couldn't go even though I really had to. Well, I plan to get a 5K something in on Thanksgiving day as my personal Turkey Trot, something I skipped doing last year and regret to this day. I also want to see where I stand as far my capabilities... can I even still do it? I'm going to have to finish no matter how I execute it.

Anyway... lots on my mind. I'm still hovering around 300 pounds, more than 30 pounds more than what I weighed a year ago. That makes me mad and disappointed. Talk about a waste of, right?

I want this coming year to be a losing year, not a gaining year like 2016 was.

I just discovered Casey Neistat today following the announcement of his quitting his daily vlog. I'd never heard of this guy before, and ended up getting sucked into watching several YouTube posts. There's a lot to like about him and I will be following what he does next for sure, but one thing I took away in one his episodes was that the only thing standing between YOU and ALL THE THINGS YOU WANT TO DO IN LIFE is DOING IT. It is such a simple concept which now seems obvious to me, but I think it's something that can really serve me well in the coming months. How do I get the things I want for myself? I do them.


And I definitely stop buying eighteen dollar lunches at the supermarket.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Day in Review (Almost)

Well, it's not quite the end of my day, but I wanted to check in while I still have the chance to – I have a company dinner that I am attending and won't get home until late.

News on the scale was a little better this morning – 301.8, so down a couple few pounds. But still not where I want to be.

Today I planned on a more or less low carb day, kind of. I went ahead and had the free work bagel (every Wednesday!), so that was a whole day's worth of VLC right there. Lunch was a little better and I focused on lean protein (roasted turkey breast) and low-carb veggies (cauliflower and sauteed kale) from Wegmans' hot bar. Very delicious and very satisfying.

But then I was also hell bent on trying one of the new Halo Top ice cream flavors, too. I ended up with the Oatmeal Cookie flavor, which was quite good, especially when mixing fresh raspberries into the slightly melted pint. That really made it. Unfortunately I made the mistake of thinking that the whole pint was 12 carbs, when it is 12 carbs per servings. Of course I ate the whole pint, so there went another day's worth of VLC. *cue sad trombone* I'm still under 150 grams of carb at this point, which is still considered to be low carb by some, so... whatever.

Cals-wise I should be right around goal if I was just calorie counting for the day. I guess today has ended up being a hybrid of the two! Just plain looking at the eating... I didn't need to eat a pint of ice cream after having a satisfying lunch, even if it is really low in calories, right? Especially looking ahead to later when I'll be eating on the company dime and would want to indulge a little. At this point I'm going to go the route of either a steak and vegetable, or salad. I'm planning not to drink alcohol.

Now, for some gratitude:

Day 16: What about your body are you most grateful for?

Oh gosh. This one is easy. I am so grateful for its resiliency and its power. I still don't feel like I'm 100% OK with it, but I give it a lot of credit for what I've put it through, all the abuse... and it still functions pretty darned well and MORE. At close to 300 pounds it will run a mile plus. That impresses me. I'm still working on honoring and respecting my body more and hopeful that it forgives me for all my transgressions. My body is the only one I'll have. She is wonderful.

P.S. I got a haircut! It turned out very similar to the last one I had. I like it, but it's a lot of inches off and there is always an adjustment period.

Hairs cut! This is just the rolled-out-of-bed version. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Oh Well, What??

You're probably sick of me by now. I'M sick of me. All this up and down, up and down. Total roller coastering, can't keep my weight down long. It's getting really boring.

Last I left you I was 295. Today I got on the scale after kind of a heinous weekend, and I'm the heaviest I have been in a long, long time: 304. I gained nine pounds in half a week's time.


Yeah. OK, I know that some of it is water weight gain, fast gain of junk that will (hopefully) come off fairly quickly, too. But really, how many freaking times do I need to go through this? Why can't I just stop this vicious cycle and just continue on the path I need to be on?

I don't really know, but I do know *cue the refrain* I'm not giving up. Not by a longshot.

OK, I am clearly in dire need of some gratitude reflection.

Day 13: What abilities are you most grateful for?

I am grateful for ALL my abilities. I am grateful that I am physically able to do many, maybe even most things. I am grateful for the power to think for myself. I am grateful for my artistic abilities. I am grateful for my ability to give and receive love.

Day 14: What sight are you most grateful for?

This one is so hard, but I will say seeing loved ones, especially those I don't get to see very often; also smiles on anyone who comes across my path. Smiles rule.

Day 15: What season are you most grateful for?

I love all the seasons for different reasons. As a gardener and nature appreciator, I am so grateful for spring and the time of growth and renewal. But I also love the autumn and also see it as a time of renewal and fresh starts (probably because of school ritual). I love the colors of fall, the smells, the crunchy leaves under my feet, the apples, the time for comfort foods and not least of all Thanksgiving!

Maybe I need to turn some gratitude toward myself and my physical being, and honor my body more than I have been doing. I should want to nourish it and feed it with things that make it thrive and feel good. I should want to exercise it and test its power.

One nice habit I have gotten back to is moisturizing my face every day. I know it seems small, but I've been thinking about self-care a lot in the wake of this horrible election cycle and the promise of what seems like it will be a less than golden future as a country. So, I have been making sure to slather on some lovely cream each morning, which makes my skin feel nice and protects it throughout the day, too. I try to remember in the evening as well, but don't always – I find myself skipping evening hygiene rituals often because I don't think to exercise them until I'm about to go to bed and am so tired that all I want to do is flop down in bed. Maybe I can shift that script so that I make sure to do things like wash and moisturize my face and brush my teeth well before that, like after I've finished eating and cleaning up from dinner. That sounds doable.

Another thing I am doing to treat myself is getting a haircut today after work! It's been well over a year and a half since my last one, so I am long overdue. I'm still not sure what I'm going to try this time – but I am working with a woman I know through the local art scene who calls what she does "intuitive" haircutting and I think it's going to be a really nice experience. I will definitely post photos when it's done! It's exciting. I'm ready for a change.

I am ready for a change. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Move On Up

Yesterday I fasted for most of the day, broke it at about 3:15pm with a couple spoonfuls of peanut butter in advance of a night out with my friend Amy F. – fish fry and some beers at a delightful relic of a bar in downtown Buffalo, the Swannie House. It was so nice to catch up with a friend I don't get to see as much as I'd like, and to experience a new place for eating and drinking! This fish fry was pretty phenomenal, by the way. I have zero regrets.

The result was that I was down another three pounds this morning, to 295.2.


Today I am more or less doing an intermittent fasting day, with my eating window from 10:30am until 6:30pm. I'm kind of eating crappy today, I admit – KFC for lunch, too many Swedish fish Oreos.

Anyway, I'm about 10 pounds heavier than I'd originally hoped to be this week, but at least I mitigated the damage I did. I'm heading back down in the right direction.

Now, more gratitude:

Day 12: What texture are you most grateful for?

This one is so easy, hands down: my cats' fur. I don't think any explanation is needed.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Good News!

Hooray, I have some good news. I weighed myself this morning, and was more surprised than anyone to see that I actually lost a little bit – down to 298.2. Wow. PHEW. I'm not sure how it happened considering the damage that I was certain I did on Wednesday, but I will take it.

Yesterday I ended up changing plans a little bit. Instead of straight fasting I ended up doing 16/8 (well, it was more like 18/6), and eating very low carb – my net carbs ended up at around 37 grams, well within the 20-50 gram range for VLC. I had a Panera Green Goddess salad and a fruit cup for lunch – I even walked there and back for a nice and easy 1.5 miles! I decided that I wanted to grab some olives and salami to go with some of the delicious cheese we've been accumulating, and had that as a light dinner.

One thing I must always remember, though, is that I cannot take walks without having the proper footwear. I had sneakers on yesterday, but they were a vintage-styled Nike that just doesn't have the support I need when I go out for anything more than a stroll. Plan: Always have a decent pair of sneakers at my desk at work from now on. I have plenty of retired running sneakers that will do the trick. Unfortunately, today my left foot hurts a little bit but hopefully that will go away.

So, wow – second day this week that I got a little exercise in! On Election Day, I actually ran the half mile to my polling place and back. It was my first run since I started getting sick, and it was pretty OK, especially since I had a little respite while I voted. I did take it pretty slowly since I wasn't sure how my body would react, coughing and sniffling-wise. I was fine during the run, but once I was done, I did have a little bit of a coughing fit. It wasn't bad. I'm hoping to get another short run in over the weekend.

Today I am going out with a friend after work for a much-needed and long overdue catching up. I think I am going to fast throughout the day and then just enjoy whatever I want to eat for dinner, as opposed to VLC. I am still considering that – I can get chicken wings and a salad, for instance – but we're going to a place I've never been and I'd kind of like to not feel restricted. I guess I'll see how I feel later, but it looks like it'll turn into a 22/4 kind of day, which is fine by me. I'm hydrating lots and feeling pretty OK.

It's time for some for gratitude!

Day 11: What holiday are you most grateful for?

This one is super easy – it's Thanksgiving! I love all the anticipation for a much more extravagant meal than we usually have, with special foods that we wait most of the year to eat again! I also quite enjoy the shopping and prep for the meal. It's a lot of work, but after so many years I have my routine down pretty well, not to mention, since losing the weight I have, makes the activity SO MUCH easier. It doesn't exhaust me and make me sweat like it used to! Usually, it's just my partner and I celebrating together, but once in a while we'll have a special guest or two. Either way, I like to do everything myself and take immense pride in my Thanksgiving skills. Last but not least, I am extremely grateful that we have the ability to indulge in such a meal in the first place. I know that not everyone can. That's the biggest thing.

If you are interested, here's what's on the menu so far (everything homemade, of course):

• farm-raised turkey (we get ours from a local place and their birds are amazeballs)
• sausage stuffing (recipe/technique passed down from my mom and grandma)
• mashed potatoes
• orange-ginger cranberry sauce
• cheese bread
• southern-style green beans (simmered all day with ham hocks)
• broccoli-cheese casserole
• a NEW side dish, as yet undecided
• apple pie with cheddar crust
• a NEW dessert, as yet undecided
• cranberry juice and ginger ale mocktail

I already have my grocery list started! Really looking forward to it, as always. I also want to revive a tradition of my very own 5K walk/run/whatever later in the day... I skipped it last year.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Trying Something New, Again

I keep going back and forth about how I can reach my goals, especially with weight loss. I've been doing different things and have had good success with simply counting calories, which is how I lost 100 pounds in the past two years. But lately I keep getting either stuck or derailed, having to start over and over and over again. One way that I am keeping myself on this is by mixing things up – a lot.

Anyway, I have toyed with the idea of going low carb and getting rid of sugar in my diet (i.e. what I eat on a daily basis) for a while now. I have dabbled here and there, mainly with the sugar reduction/elimination, but haven't kept it up in a meaningful way. I do think that my body responds well to it, so I think it is worth revisiting.

Doing some light research, I wanted to collect some reference links. If you have any suggestions, by all means, share them!

21 best low carb vegetables

Losing weight fast based on science (low carb)

Carbs guidelines for weight loss

44 healthy, low carb foods

Low carb in 60 seconds

About Last Night

OMG, Sad Ghost Club! Ack.

So, I'm not going to go all political on you here. I do that enough on Facebook, and get into plenty of... shall we say... discussions over what's been going on in our country. I will tell you, though, that I was pretty devastated by the results of the presidential election the other night. I stayed up until it was obvious what was going to happen, I cried, I went to bed.

Because it was such a late night and because I'd been drinking through my despair, I had put in for a vacation day from work yesterday. But, last minute and with a (somewhat) clearer head in the morning, I went in anyway, albeit late. It was hard to focus and I was feeling pretty angry, disappointed, despondent... all the feels. I had decided that I was going to eat whatever the hell I wanted to, because why did any of it matter anyway?

I had a long lunch with my good friend Megan and we commiserated over delicious wood oven pizza (I had the portobello mushroom white pizza, by the way. Yum!). I also had some delicious creamy potato sausage soup with greens... the ultimate fall/winter soup indeed. The pizza was big, but the crust super thin. I was just like, whatever. I ate half of the pizza and the soup. Not too big a deal, honestly.

Later things ended up being more of a disaster. I ended up going back to the same restaurant on the way home to pick up more pizza for my partner, and decided to get another pizza for me because the pizza I'd had earlier was a white pizza and I wanted sauce. So what ended up happening was that I ate that whole pizza PLUS the pizza leftovers I had from lunch PLUS a huge, thick, iced cut-out cookie in the shape of a pumpkin.

Man. I just kept eating even though I was totally full. I really did. I ate in a way that I haven't done in a really, really long time. It was awful. I mean, the food was wonderful. I should have saved it so that I could truly enjoy it. What I was doing was just shoving it in my pie hole, just because.

Does Trump care that I did that? No. Sometimes our method of thinking is completely irrational. "I'll show that jerk, and all those jerks who voted for him... I'll eat whatever I want!" Oh my god. That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard (well, aside from the actual election, of course), but that was my train of thought. I'll show you!

This morning I did not get on the scale. I fear that I put myself well over 300 now. Today, I feel a little better, or at least a little more rational, and I am giving my body a break by taking a fast day – lots of water and green tea. It's also giving my brain a break from not having to worry about food, just as I have mentioned in the past. Thinking about food and choosing what to eat can sometimes cause me a lot of stress, so choosing not to eat at all once in a while is a huge relief.

Just – breathe in... breathe out.

Be kind to yourself, Amy. Self-care, not self-harm. Bring yourself back to a better place.

Putting a smile on and giving myself a hug!

How do YOU deal? How are you doing? I'd love to hear from you (unless you're a spammer).

Gratitude Marches On!

In the light of recent national events, I need to think about what I am grateful for more than ever.

Day 8: What book are you grateful for? 

The first book that popped into my head was Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex, mainly because it is a fantastic book that has stuck with me in a profound way ever since I read it the first time. It is one of those go-to books that I can read again and again, and recommend to friends without reservation.

This was the version I owned as a child. I still have it!
BUT, the other book that I thought of right away has been with me for many more years, and is probably more important in the scheme of my development as a person and as a reader: Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. It opened my imagination up to new worlds quite literally, and while I was already an avid reader when I read this (I am guessing I was probably 9 or 10), I became totally hooked on anything and everything L'Engle wrote. I always spent my pocket money at the bookstore and spent hours at the library over the years. Today I have my own little library at my house, with shelves and shelves full of books.

Our house! This is an old photo, but it still looks a lot like this. :)
Day 9:  What place are you grateful for?

It's not perfect, but we have lived in our little 1927 bungalow in Niagara Falls, NY for almost a decade now (it'll be 10 years next July), and I am so grateful to have a roof over our heads. It belongs to us (or, at least, we share it with the bank of course), and it's a pretty little specimen. I wish we had more money to put into it, but we do the best we can. It's comfortable and cozy. Last week my partner was outside collecting our garbage can when a woman walked by and introduced herself as the niece of one of the former owners of the house. She said is was a hidden gem, and she is absolutely right. Though – to my mind, it's not exactly hidden. To me, it is the cutest house on our block and the one with the most character.

Day 10: What taste are you grateful for?

You know what, not to be a cop-out, but I am grateful just to be able to taste things, period. A few years ago, my dad had surgery on his sinuses, and one of the terrible side effects to it was that he has lost almost all his sense of taste. Can you imagine? So now he seeks out the most extreme tastes so that he can at least get a hint of something on his taste buds, and he has a new focus on the texture of foods to help him feel satisfied. What's also interesting is that he actually has to watch his weight more now because instead of eating less, which is what my first thought was, he tends to eat more because he's always searching for that thing that he can taste. So hell yes, I am super grateful I can taste food at all.

Monday, November 7, 2016

More Gratitude

I have to say, these gratitude prompts are strange indeed. But I've gotten this far, surely I must stay committed to completion, yes? (Yes, for this and so many other things! More later.)

The sound of purring is heavenly. Our baby Nico!
Day 5: What sound are you grateful for? 

Not to get all Garfunkel on you and stuff, but I really, really love the absence of sound. I love quiet. I wear earplugs to bed most nights. I value that most of the time, the office where I work is quiet as a default.

OK, OK, but as far as sounds go, I am always happy to hear (and indeed, grateful for) the purr of any of our cats, especially when it's right against my ear like when our grey cat Nico lays against my head on the pillow in bed. Bliss.

One of the bird-watching places we have visited in our region. Gorgeous. Early morning.
Day 6: What in nature are you grateful for?

I am grateful for ALL nature. I used to never consider myself an outdoorsy person, but in the past few years especially I have grown to have a deep appreciation for undeveloped land. I grew up in the country and happy I did, and I'd love to get back to living in the country as an adult, one day. It is utter bliss to go on a hike through the woods any time of the year.

Day 7: What memory are you grateful for?

What? Really? So weird. But, now that I really think about it I am very happy to be able to remember distinct moments or characteristics of those in my life who were important to me but who have passed away. I can picture their faces, the way they walked or did things, I can hear their voices quite clearly! In that way they are always with me.


So, with that out of the way, let me check in about stuff that is more pertinent to this blog – that is, my weight and eating and all the rest. Well, it's not good news at all.

I totally stopped paying close attention or making care in my choices the past week. I didn't even weigh in on Saturday because I just couldn't face what I knew probably happened. I did, however, weigh in today, and my suspicions were confirmed. The scale read 300.2. Fuck.

I've gained more than ten pounds since last Saturday. The good news is that this morning I was ready to face it, and I am ready to deal with it. Some points:

• This is not what I want for myself.

• Eating indiscriminately is fun, but you know what? It doesn't feel good.

• I have been getting rid of all the clothes that were becoming too big on me, so if I don't take care of this now I will literally have nothing to wear. I refuse to buy anything new that is bigger than what I already have. (By the way, if you are in the process of losing weight, I highly recommend getting rid of your bigger clothes – don't give yourself something to fall back on!)

• I have been avoiding going to see my doctor because I've gained weight, which is stupid.

• My partner is in a similar boat and is on board to start eating better again, so I will have built-in support at home.

• Now that I am on the mend from the cold and sinus infection, I am going to ease back into exercise. Today I'm going to try light walking again, and we may go on a walk together after I get home from work later.

• I am mad at myself but know what I need to do to fix this.

• It can't be great for me to keep losing and gaining the same ten pounds over and over. BREAK THE CYCLE!!!

• I am ready to do this again.

ETA, mere hours later: Am I really ready? Come lunchtime I was paralyzed about what to eat. The plan had been to get a Panera salad, but I didn't. I ended up at Burger King. It wasn't the worst thing ever, and the food is logged and I am holding accountable and still have some calories left for later... BUT the universe saved me from myself. After I ate the food, I decided that fuck it, I just wanted a shake or something sweet, too. I didn't care for a good ten minutes while I tried to hook up. First: drive down to Wendy's for a Frosty. Drive-thru line too long. Hmph. OK, try McDonalds where I ordered a chocolate shake AND a pumpkin pie (Really???). Got to the window to pay, and the cashier tells me: "I just found out. The shake machine is down."

Wow! I told her to forget the whole order and I drove away, shaking my head, and then immediately thanking the universe. It became SO OBVIOUS that I wasn't meant to do that to myself today.

Talk about grateful. I was given a second chance to stay on track today.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Days 3 & 4 of Gratitude

Seen in Toronto, Canada last week. Stay-Puft is so joyful!

OK, after yesterday's shit storm of a post, I need to get back to a more grateful mindset. These prompts are kind of funny/odd to me, but I'll go with them.

Day 3: What color are you most grateful for?

I've actually been thinking about this since I saw what was ahead, and I still don't have a good response. I suppose I am grateful for each and every color I am able to see – I guess it is more about being grateful for the gift of sight that I do have (even though I am blind as a bat without glasses, my sight is still correctable!). As a painter, I am most grateful for ultramarine blue, perhaps, the color I use to start almost every painting.

Just from a "favorite" standpoint, the colors I gravitate toward are orange (the whole range!), Tiffany blue, and burgundy. And, black, if that counts, because I will always, always be an art student at heart.

Day 4: What food are you most grateful for?

These prompts are really tough! Again, I am grateful for the fact that I have easy access to just about any food I could possibly want or need, and that I always have enough money to feed myself without much trouble. That obvious point aside, I am so grateful to live in a culture in which pizza is so pervasive. It is hands-down my favorite food, so much that I even like bad pizza. I mean, is there really any truly bad pizza? (OK, yes – I am looking at YOU, George's in Niagara Falls, NY. Holy cow, it was bad. Like a Chef Boy-ar-dee crust and canned tomato soup for sauce. Really???)

Also, ice cream and homemade bread.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

SO FAT. Yes, I said it.

You guys, I am SO FAT today. Jesus.

I just went off the rails, just like that. I guess starting on Tuesday. God, and I just keep doing it. Today, I was OK and doing the whole 16/8 thing again, and come lunch I ended up... I can't believe I am going to admit this here to the whole world...

I got a brick oven 12" pizza from Delta Sonic (I know, weird, right? But pretty good!) and then I freaking drove down to McDonalds for a chocolate shake, oh, and why not pile a medium fry on top of all that, right? (I also bought a bag of Cheetos at DS but ended up only having three.)

I ate it, all of it, maraschino cherry and all. It doesn't feel good, of course. It feels disgusting. I hate being in my skin today. It feels wrong.

This is a continuation of yesterday, during which I did NOT do 16/8, but had the weekly FREE bagel with cream cheese at the office for breakfast, then bad Subway choices for lunch (including a whole meatball parm sub and three of those stupid m&m cookies), and THEN had a local take out joint's massive steak hoagy and fries, I mean, seriously?

I don't want to be so fat anymore, so why do I keep doing this?

I let being sick and being sick of being sick get to me, ultimately. The frustation of not being able to run or walk for exercise pissed me off. The house is a mess. I have nothing to wear (or at least it feels that way). Thank goodness the antibiotics are working. I am on the mend, but I still cough and I still have congestion and so even a little activity sends me into a coughing fit.

Just feeling really, really down right now after such a wonderful couple weeks.

It's hard to take.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

November: 30 Days of Gratitude

Today I spotted this chart on a friend's Facebook post and decided that I would grab it and post here about what I am thankful for throughout the month. I need something this right now – being sick for so long is throwing me off and getting me down. (I finally went to Urgent Care last night and confirmed what I suspected, that I have a sinus infection! Antibiotics should do the trick.)

Anyway, here is the full chart (click to view larger). I will post here every few days to share what I feel grateful for. I would love to hear yours,  too – please post a comment to share!

Day 1: Thankful for all the delicious scents at the LUSH store! I went to the mall and the movies with my pal Lara yesterday after work, and indulged in a bunch of bath stuffs as well as a little bottle of my favorite LUSH perfume, Karma. I am wearing it today and it makes me happy whenever I catch a whiff (especially as opposed to the usual lately – the smell of being sick! YUCK). Sidebar: Also grateful that my life is not a fraction as crazy as the trio of women in The Girl on the Train, which is the movie we saw. Holy cow. But, can you say plush reclining seats in the theater? Niiice.

Day 2: The technology question. This is a hard one. I can still remember the thrill of watching a music video on a desktop computer for the first time (Cat Power's Cross Bones Style in 1998). There is so much, but I guess in my own life I am really grateful that I have the ability to work at home when I need to, because of remote server technology and email. Yay!

In other news, I won't be weighing in until Saturday but fear that I have gained everything I lost again. I feel crappy still, from being sick, and haven't been super diligent about my eating in the past few days purely out of laziness and frustration and just "deservedness", I guess – you know when you're feeling bad for whatever reason and you just don't want to have to care about your eating, that gosh darn it, you deserve to be able to eat whatever and however? Yeah. That's been me, more or less.

It will be very disappointing, but if that is what is happening, weight-wise, the good news is that I can keep trying and that there is no deadline. I have to keep reminding myself of this fact!

Argh. Onward!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Thoughts On...

Well, it's just about the end of the month and since I'm having my official weigh-ins on Saturday, I had my last one of October and updated my "The Data" page. 10 pounds down this month, which is great! Lots of ups and downs, but the past couple weeks I hunkered down and got serious again.

After five days of "no obvious/junk sugar" I'm a little skeptical about what it can/does do for me. I'm also not sure about the 16/8 fasting regimen I've been doing, either. I ended up only losing .2 pounds from last week, which was disappointing on one hand but also OK because hey! I lost something, right? And, as my partner reminded me, I didn't gain. And, I am still (just) under 290. It's just that I felt really good about my eating in the past week and thought I'd have much more dramatic result. (I know, I know... five days is probably not quite enough to make a solid judgement, but I'll need to start fresh on that since I have had a number of junk sweets today.)

Maybe it's having been sick for two weeks, maybe it's because I had bigger losses in the week or two before, etc. Who the heck knows.

Well, I did full-day fast #2 yesterday. It's been fine and I will try again next Friday just because it is awful nice to not have to think about food at all for a whole day. I'm not sure if I will keep doing the 16/8 – it's fine to do, but I'm not sure it's helping with weight loss? I'm going to give that another week to see, and revisit the decision to continue then.

I do think the no obvious/junk sugar thing is a good thing to keep as a negotiable part of my regimen, that is – generally try to have a zero tolerance policy, but allow for exceptions here and there. This morning when I broke my (30 hour!) fast, I had leftover pizza and ice cream for dessert... and I tell you what, it wasn't half as delicious as the humble omelet I made to break the fast last week. I feel like I should have had an omelet again instead! Oh well. Anyway, I am wondering if maybe my tastebuds are already starting to take a turn, which is a nice thought. I will keep trying it out.

As for the other stuff I was going to try out – way fewer carbs, mainly – well, I decided to put it off until I am not sick, or maybe just try it another time completely. I don't know. I just really like being able to eat whatever and just keep an eye out on portions, and it seems to have worked out all right for me. So the plan is: continue intermittent fasting a while and see if it is beneficial at all, and keep logging my food and keep exercising as regularly as I can.

Long story short, I am still feeling good about what I am doing and continuing on my path losing more weight. I am also really anxious to get back to running, which I haven't done because of this nasty cold I've been battling! Ugh.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

How I'm Doing

Well, hellooo!

I've been sick all week, even sicker now, unfortunately – what I thought was something low level last week ended up blowing up over the weekend with a relentless cough and sore throat. So, I didn't get to run again like I'd planned. It seems like it'll be at least another few days before I do, which is a huge bummer, but at the same time I think I will be able to make up for lost time pretty well if I employ interval training like I've been talking about. I'm optimistic!

When I left you last Friday, I had decided to fast for the day. It ended up being a 36-hour fast total and it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. So much so, in fact, that I plan to keep doing it on a weekly basis until it doesn't seem to serve me well any longer. In addition, I'm giving the 16:8 fasting the rest of the time a try – 16 hours fasting, 8 hours for a window of eating.

On Saturday morning, I awakened from the fast and started the day with the most delicious ham and cheese omelet and buttered toast. Let me tell you – it truly was the most delicious thing. One thing I love about fasting is that when you finally do eat, the food tastes so freaking good. I mean, sure, I make a mean omelet (It's a skill I learned just recently, in fact!), but man, it was delish! I logged my calories as normal for the rest of the day and stopped eating by 8pm.

(Oh! And by the way, I finally got to try the Swedish Fish Oreos I ordered, because guess what? I reached my weekly goal of 289! Finally below 290, hurrah! The Oreos are good, but let me just put it this way: the three packages I have will last me a long, long time.)

It was on Saturday afternoon that I started to feel more crappy, unfortunately, and I didn't feel a whole lot better Sunday when I woke up. But I had a paid thing to do in the morning (art consultant stuff for NYFA) and a fun thing to do in the afternoon that had been planned for weeks (a visit with friends in Toronto!). I felt OK-ish for the two+ hour drive up and glad I went, but I probably should have stayed home. Well, anyway, I waited until noon to eat anything, ending my first 16-hour fast and beginning my 8-hour window to eat. I had snacks from the consultancy, lots of water, and then Detroit-style pizza (!) and cake (!) with my friends in Canada. I basically kept a calorie tally in my head, and I was done eating by 8pm as planned.

I'm getting used to waiting to eat until noon now with the 16:8 way of eating. I like not having to worry about breakfast and I like to divide my daily calories among two meals, which allows for bigger meals and feeling way more satiated when I do eat. I really like the eating "window" – I am mentally set and prepared to not eat outside it. I am programming myself not to want to eat outside the window. So far I feel like I am far less obsessed with food than I ever have been, which is so, so nice. It is a huge relief, actually. I also feel like when I do have the window to eat, I'm not all bingey, but I feel motivated by the fast to eat better and to eat within my caloric framework. Interesting.

The other thing I am doing, of course, is gradually letting go of sugar for a while. Today is day two of that, and on day four I'll be adding on the elimination of fruits as sweets, and obvious carbs like pasta and grains. So far, so good – I haven't felt too many cravings. It's funny, though, today I went to have an apple after dinner and even spread about a tablespoon of peanut butter on the slices, when I remembered that the PB would definitely fall under "obvious sweets", so I actually wiped it off the apple and threw it away. (I know, wasteful. I hated doing it but I couldn't really do anything else with it!) It was just this habit I had.

In a nutshell, despite being sick, I'm pretty excited about how my plan is going. I don't know, maybe more restriction IS better for me after all... at least in the short term. I don't know how long I could or would continue to do the no sweets/fewer carbs thing, but like everything else I'm going to wait and see how it all goes, how well it serves my particular needs.

Remember, one size does not fit all! You have to keep searching for the things that will help you most, and give up the things that don't.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Shake It Up

It's been a week. I managed to fight off what I was afraid was going to blow up into some major cold-like thing, but I got really lucky and it just kind of leveled off at the mildly sore throat-wicked tired-slightly congested stage. I slept without a dose of Nyquil last night successfully, and today I am feeling like I am ready to get back to my regular walking/running routine this weekend!

I also just found a "witchy" exercise challenge that starts next week, hosted by Gala Darling, that I'm going to check out! It starts on Monday and it's free – you can still sign up! I'm kind of excited to see what it will be like, and to try something different.

Another thing I am going to try is... dun dun DUN!... intervals in my running. I've been having such a hard time with straight running and it's pretty discouraging. I don't know if it was because I was getting sick and didn't know it, or what, so we'll see, but after discussing it with my idol/pal/cheerleader Betsy, I decided to open myself up to the idea of interval training – walking interspersed with running. Of course I am no stranger to this, having done Couch to 5K many times and participating in Fleet Feet's No Boundaries program several times, but since working on my own I have been entirely focused on ONLY running and building up my base from one mile on. But it's been harder than I feel like it should be, and I wouldn't mind getting longer, more productive workouts in, so... back to C25K-like stuff for me, at least for a while. I have a few apps that have intervals built in that I might try out, and then someone on one of the Facebook communities I'm a member of suggested simply running for one song's worth, and walking for the next. I like that idea, too.

So anyway, I'll be experimenting with that in the coming weeks and see how it goes. Either way I am committed to running another 5K race, so I have to get back to work! I'm officially signed up for the Freezer 5K in Buffalo that takes place on December 11th. Plenty of time to work my way back to 3.1 miles. (Hey, I know that at the very least I can walk that easily!)

Rounding out the week, I was running late this morning and was woefully unprepared for breakfast and lunch, and not really feeling like buying either, I thought – Hm... maybe I will just not eat today. The idea of not having to worry about food for one day sounded really good to me, and I also feel like it might give me a mental reset for the weekend and weeks to come. I'm still piddling around in the low 290s and I just want to get out of there already! I didn't really feel like dealing with dinner, either, so whatever. I'm not eating today. There's all kinds of things to read about fasting on the internets that seems mostly positive. And I am just trying it out for today. It might turn into a once-a-week thing, depending, or just a flash in the pan. Whatever, I want to shake things up somehow, and...

One more thing I was talking to B. about was sugar and carbs and things and how they affect us. I'm not one to totally eliminate things from my diet completely, but again, as an experiment I am going to try something new starting on Monday that will last nine days, which will go like this:

• three days of avoiding overt sugar and alcohol
• three days of the previous plus avoiding natural carbs (grains, pasta, high glycemic fruits and veggies)
• three days of the previous plus avoiding all carbs

I want to see how I do without sugar. I have a terrible sweet tooth and sometimes it can feel really addicting. I want to see what my weight does without these things for a little while. I also want to see how it makes me feel in general.

So anyway, I know it's a lot that I am chomping on right now, but I am feeling pretty ambitious and just want to get things moving again. A little bit more effort for a week is not going to kill me, and it might even make me stronger.

I am coming for you, Monday!

(Also, it's almost time to leave work for the day and I haven't died of starvation yet! Hooray!)

(P. S. I love the Cars.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Random Thoughts

A bullet-list is good for today. I have a slight cold and I'm claiming post-Nyquil-induced stupor for the day.

Here goes:

• Weight-wise, I have turned the clock back to August, when is the last time I saw 292.

• According to my Happy Scale log, I was solidly in the 280s for the entirety of May/June/July. I am almost back there! 270s from December 2015 through April. November was the only month I saw the 260s.

• I am really proud of myself for not having fully given up on this. And I won't!

• The past two weeks or so have been pretty productive. I feel comfortable with my eating, logging meals regularly and making better choices overall. I'm still working on getting my exercise level where I want it to be, and wouldn't you know... I got hit with a sore throat and a general cold-like thing when I woke up Sunday morning. It's really knocked me out and I don't have a lot of energy, so I am not going to worry about it too much. Running a mile is still hard, but looking back I wonder if the last couple outings were extra hard because my body was fighting off whatever this is that was creeping up on me?

• Best of all, I am feeling more confident and not as anxious about what I am doing. I am not so worried about how long it is taking, or that I can't help but feel like this whole past year+ was a waste of time! No – it wasn't. It was a learning experience, and while I backtracked a little bit, I think it was a good time to get used to my smaller body, understand what is required of me to do what I want to do, and why it is really so important. It's been a struggle for sure, but it's not been for nothing. I feel downright powerful lately.

It may have to do with these boots, though. My first Fluevogs in over 25 years! The BEST hundred bucks I spent (which was a super bargain, btw) in a long time. Wearing them makes me feel like I found my true self again.

Photo does not do them justice. 

Plus, tonight I am going out to be like I'm 25 again and seeing one of my favorite bands, Shellac, perform in a really intimate venue! I haven't had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Steve Albini perform in person before, so I am very excited. Not to mention, this will be the first time my partner and I have gone to a show together in all almost 17 years we've been together. Wow!

Here is a great article that lists some of Albini's greatest recordings as a musician. However, you may know him as the guy who produced Nirvana's In Utero LP back in the day. Anyway, I am a big fan of his crunchy guitars and cannot wait for tonight! Rawr!

• I ordered a few boxes of Swedish fish Oreos from Amazon, but I decided not to break into them until I get under 290. That will be my little reward. (No, I won't gorge on them. I will space them out and savor. I promise!) I am a HUGE fan of Swedish fish. In fact, my two go-to "bad" snacks are Swedish fish and Smartfood popcorn, for the record. 

• Life is good, I have to say it. It's not perfect by any means, but I have a pretty darned good one. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Making Plans for Amy

Oh my gosh, I just read a recent post by fellow artist Lisa Congdon on her blog: Changing the story

It's just what I needed to read right now. Just minutes ago I shared a video on my Facebook wall about the benefits of waking up early (like 4:30am early!), too – it's on my mind because tomorrow I need to get up early in order to get my run in and not have to rush around getting ready for work afterward. I generally don't think of myself as a morning person, like Lisa, but realize that I do pretty OK most of the time I am forced to. I am a 9 to 5er, after all! There is nothing more satisfying than getting up early and getting things done that make you feel good for the rest of the day, and running always does that for me. I never, ever say that I regretted an early morning run.

While it'll be tough getting up extra early tomorrow after having a long weekend off, it'll be worth the effort and it'll be a great way to start the work week. So, I am setting my mind up for that expectation.

Since I wrote last, it's been a mixed bag – a real roller coaster as far as what I'm trying to accomplish here. The week started well both exercise and eating-wise, but then Tuesday night I stubbed my baby toe so bad that I couldn't fit my foot into a regular shoe the next day, much less go on a walk or run. It hurt like crazy on Wednesday and into the night and next morning... and then, like some miracle I stood up from my desk Thursday afternoon and it no longer hurt, almost at all! I have no idea what that was about, but I was so grateful for it. When the accident happened, I was so upset about the prospect of not being able to run for a while, but as it turns out I was able to do my Thursday run on Friday without missing a beat. I rested on Saturday, but come Sunday morning my partner was raring to go for a couple short, easy hikes and we were out the door by 9am! We had a great time and did a total of 2.3 miles together, and then stopped at a local farm market to stock up on produce for the coming week. (Visited my mom briefly, too!) Later that day I also got my Saturday-scheduled run on the books – 1.25 miles, slowly building my endurance back up.

Me at the tail end of the Swallow Hollow trail at the Iroquois Refuge in Alabama, NY.

Over the weekend I also did something mildly crazy... I put into my Google calendar a running training schedule that takes me all the way to August 2017 and potentially, best case scenario, to a marathon. Now, I'm not really sure that's going to happen, but it could. I have set up schedules for myself and then not ended up sticking with them. The difference this time is that I've made sure that the schedule is more gradual in building distance so that I don't get hurt or burn out. I mashed together various Hal Higdon programs: Novice 5K, Novice 10K, and Novice Supreme Marathon into one that I think will serve me well. If I stick with it, I'll be able to easily do a 5K in December like I planned before. Then, I should be set for the 10K distance by February; after that the marathon training starts, and starts easy but adds one more day of running each week, so it'll be four instead of three. I'll get back to two- to four-mile distances for the first month or so (it's a 30 week schedule!) and then I'll work my way back up to longer distances each week, slowly.

By the end of May I could very well be ready for a half marathon. I've got two races marked on the calendar as a wait-and-see how it goes before thinking about committing to one – but I sure would like to, considering how bad I felt about not following through with the Wineglass Half this year.

According to the schedule, I could run a marathon in August, but honestly I'll probably want to take things a bit more slowly. It's in the calendar as is now, but I won't be afraid to run a couple weeks of the schedule twice if I need to – just like how they suggest in the Couch to 5K program.

Anyway, I know it's super ambitious, but I am very excited to think about what I could accomplish in the coming year if I remain diligent and focused. Looking at the calendar shows me that if I just do the work each day, I can build it up to do something really spectacular not too far down the road. It's pretty exciting and motivating.

Oh, and by the way, weight update? Not super pretty. I was back up to 299 again a couple days ago, but today back down to 296 and change. The past couple days have been "good" ones and again, trying to take it one day at a time to get this shit done. I'm not too far off schedule to get the last of this year's goals achieved.

(Bonus points if you got my XTC reference in this post's title!)

Monday, October 3, 2016

Back in the Saddle, Again

This is what my next month looks like. I had to set up a plan for myself, because just winging it wasn't exactly cutting it – this past week I only ran once and walked once. So sad.

I've got 9 weeks of Hal Higdon lined up for myself! Here is the first month.

Well, I finally got around to watching the From Fat to Finish Line documentary yesterday, and it mobilized me. It reminded me of all the things that are important to me, and all things that I want for myself.

It was funny, because my emotions were pretty much contained until a few minutes after I finished watching (though I was a little sniffly). And then, I went to see what my partner was up to, he asked me if I finished the movie – the waterworks started. I completely broke down.

It made me realize how much I'd missed running regularly and how much I needed it for my overall well-being. It made me think about the things I really want for myself – good health, mobility, setting and reaching fitness goals, working my way out of plus sizes, doing fun and active things with my sweetie on the regular.

I had a good week and a half or so recently, but then all it took was two days to gain back the pounds I lost and for me to wonder why I keep bothering (again). Some experiences over the weekend and then watching the film changed all that and I am reminded why I keep bothering.

Though I am not thrilled to be back where I started (298.6), I am thrilled that I am not yet at the 300 pound mark. And I am determined NOT to be ever again.

Today I am back to logging my food on MyFitnessPal and my exercise routine. What you see on my calendar is the first month or so of Hal Higdon's novice 5K running plan, which includes running three times a week and walking the rest. I added on an extra week in the beginning just so that I can get three solid days of 1 mile running before diving in – Hal's starts at 1.5 miles, which I can certainly do, but I really want to ease in so that I don't get discouraged.

I also have the support and encouragement of my partner, who is also losing weight and who is my walking buddy. (I give support and encouragement, too! It's nice to have that built-in right at home.)

So many other thoughts have been coursing through my head... maybe I will just bullet point some of them out:

• Sad that I gave up on my half training months ago and missed out on running the Wineglass Half Marathon with my friends – but Amy F. said to plan for it next year, because they're doing it again! (Will do!)

• Sorted through clothes again and packed away everything that doesn't fit well or that I don't like into a bag for the charity box. I haven't done that in a while, and boy did it feel good! (On the opposite end I reacquainted myself with the clothes that are too small for me yet and felt motivated by the sight of them.)

• Still trying to get good planning to brown bag my lunches most days. I didn't do too badly last week. This week I started out with take-out, but it was a Panera salad that I took a 1.7 mile walk to retrieve, so I feel OK about that. I was exhausted from my emotionally fraught weekend and it was all I could do to get myself out the door, much less put lunch together. We're also still working on cooking dinner at home – getting better and better! They key to everything seems to be actually having a well-stocked kitchen. (der!)

• I desperately need a haircut.

• I still have weight loss goals. They are: 1. To be in the 270s at Thanksgiving. 2. To be well on the way to 250 at the new year.

• My first new running goal is a 5K on December 11th.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Progress On Several Levels

Wow, what a week I had!

I had many small victories, but this is what makes me smile most.

12 miles last week!

As you can see, up until last week my activity level has been pretty spotty this month. Last Monday, I decided that it was time to gear things up again and really put in a good effort. With the encouragement and help of my partner, who is responsible for getting me out for walks several times, I hit a total of 12 miles walking and running! Yesterday was the craziest – we walked for three miles on our first time out  in the late afternoon, and then he wanted to do one more after we went out to dinner. I was so proud of him, and us. 

After a week I am also down about three pounds, to 292.8. (I think I probably weighed more than 295.8 I clocked in last Tuesday, but whatever... that's what I know for sure.)

I am determined to get back into the 280s this coming week, and beyond that, into the 270s by Thanksgiving. Totally doable. 

And what I did I do, faced with another Monday? Why, I went out and got a running mile in before work, of course!

Foggy glasses are proof!

It wasn't my best mile by a long shot, but I did it. Again, I am aiming for 2-3 runs each week, even if only one mile each. I am trying hard to re-establish a solid routine, and I will build from there. 

I think the last time I was so happy to be at 292 and change was back in March 2015, when I first hit it. I tell you what, I will never take the 270s for granted ever again. I think that was part of the problem, to be honest – I kind of got stuck there for a long while and got frustrated, which led to being kind of mad and frustrated and just stopping caring to an extent. That apathy led to gaining 20+ pounds and bringing myself dangerously close to the 300 pound mark again.

Well, NO! I just won't have it. At the very, very least I want to always maintain that 100 pound loss I achieved. Once I get back there, I want to have 272 as my DO NOT CROSS weight – you know, like police tape? Ha ha.

Anyway, I am looking forward to another great week of positive changes. I feel great!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Good Eats

Things I've been loving to eat lately!

• Chobani yogurt (usually blackberry or mango on the bottom) with macerated frozen fruit (usually strawberries). I do two tsps of sugar on the strawberries, adds a nice sweetness without too much damage. This combo makes me almost feel like I am eating ice cream. Truth be told, I'm not sure that it is any better for me than regular ice cream – at least the Perry's brand I like to eat is generally not bad, calorie-wise, anyway – probably the same cals and sugar level. BUT eating a container of yogurt and fresh fruit doesn't trigger me into wanting more and more like eating a bowl of ice cream does, so there's that. I feel like I have hacked my way around the sweets thing, at least for now.

• Chocolate cereal with almond milk. My two faves are Chocolate Cheerios and Chocolate Chex. Again, sweet things I can eat without triggering the crazy. Not bad at all on the cals, either!

• Homemade nachos. While I can go a little crazy on these (like, I should make a pizza pan's worth instead of a big sheet pan's worth, duh), it is still pretty easy for me to fit this in for an easy dinner if I watch the quantity and what I put on top. My go-to combo has been: Santitas tortilla chips, a can of Goya pink beans mashed into refried-ness (I add spices and a tiny bit of honey), pickled jalapeno peppers, sliced black olives, pepper jack cheese, sour cream, and salsa. It is delicious and filling.

• Overnight oats. My favorite recipe is this one from the Minimalist Baker, though, to be fair, I haven't yet tried another one because I like it so much. It makes for a big breakfast, calorie-wise, so I have started to save this for once a week or so, but it is massively delicious and very filling. I love the consistency and coolness of overnight oats – much preferred over hot morning oats. Yum yum yum. Oh, and here are a bunch of great-sounding recipes to try, too! Looks like I'll be mixing it up in the coming months.

• Brown bag lunches. I am finally getting the hang of it again! I'm using my little soft-pac Igloo cooler lunch bag and have been making more and more fabulous sandwiches. I tend toward the simple, but using delicious, fresh ingredients, you don't have to be fancy. My latest jam uses Wegman's new 27-grains and seeds bread (genius! Comes in half loaves, too!) spread with a little bit of mayo and lots of dijon mustard, and slices of deli ham off the bone, swiss cheese, and fresh tomato from our garden. Oh, and salt and pepper. YUM. I've also been eating cucumbers (though today's is the last one, alas!) and some bell peppers from our garden. Harvest time is the best. I will miss all the freshness.

Of course another bonus about brown bagging it is the cost savings. I can easily spend $10 or more each day on getting lunch out during the week (three times, I was averaging!), which in retrospect seems crazytown when I can spend, say, less than $20 or so and feed myself lunches for the whole week!

Wegmans bread: $3.00
Swiss cheese: $3.50
Lunch meat: $6.50
Condiments: pennies, since I always have them in the house
Veggie/fruit sides: free from the garden, or max $5.00 a week from the store

Total: $18.00 per week!

Man. I thought I was already convinced, but I never did the math. I am totally sold on brown bag lunching now. Maybe I will try to limit myself to going out to lunch once every couple weeks or so, instead of every other day like I was doing there for a while.

So anyway. It's nice really nice to get into an eating groove because it takes the guesswork and stress out of figuring out what the heck I am going to eat all day. Since Monday especially, I have pretty much been set on the day's menu from the get go, and that makes things so much easier to manage – it frees my mind from food all the time. That is half my battle!

The scale hasn't shown any change – still at 295.8 since I last reported to you on Tuesday. I'm OK with that, though a little surprised since my eating has been pretty awesome, and I've been stepping up the exercise as well. But, I know these things take time and I am more than happy to be patient. I like how I've been feeling this week and I want to keep building on my good habits! The number on the scale is not the whole story, after all.