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Eating, Alone

For the first time that I can remember (really!! It’s been over ten or fifteen years), I am passing the weekend alone at home. All of my family members have other places to be this weekend, and so here I am.

It occurred to me that when this happened in the past, even for a single day or evening, I would find myself “stocking up” on food that I would only eat when alone. You know, the forbidden stuff. And I’d eat things that I wouldn’t eat in front of other people. I thought of this when I was in the grocery store this week. And it actually made me stop in the middle of an aisle and half-laugh, half-cry.

Because now, I need to eat food that I can eat in front of myself. If that makes sense. Someone once said that a great cure for binge eating or overeating is to always eat in front of a mirror. (ACK! right?) But really, at this point, if I am going to overeat, the person who is going to care the most (this was probably always true, but I didn’t think that way) is ME. I’m the one whose clothes won’t fit. I’m the one who will feel sick and disgusted. I’m the one who won’t be able to show my face in the front of a WW room. I don’t want those things to happen.

So, MIRACULOUSLY, even though I am spending the weekend alone, I am… guess what? Eating just like I would if everyone was here. In fact right now I am cooking up this fabulous asparagus wild rice salad. Just for me! Yum!

Last night was a different story. I was realllllllllly tired after a very long week of lots of work and early-morning workouts. I was totally pooped. I just hung out in my pajamas and had a little Hulu-fest. I watched Glee (yay) and the first two episodes of Top Chef Masters. (I adoooore anything Top Chef!) One of the challenges is that the chefs had to create original and amazing versions of grilled cheese.

Grilled cheese is right up there in probably my top five favorite things to eat (short list also includes mac and cheese, and cheesecake – are you sensing a pattern? :-)) As I watched, the little grilled-cheese chorus started up in my head. After I finished the shows, I realized I was really, truly hungry. And guess what I wanted to eat?

Right! GRILLED CHEESE!

So I came downstairs and made myself a divine grilled cheese sandwich, using a combination of whit cheddar and LaTur cheese (from the milk of 3 animals! Fancy!!), some country Dijon and amazing bread.

And I enjoyed Every. Single. Bite.

I pondered this after I ate. Had I just engaged in some Solo Bingeing? I thought about it very hard. I decided that no. I had just made a choice to eat something, which coincidentally in the past may have fallen into the binge category, but I did NOT feel like I was bingeing because:

  • I didn’t feel sneaky or surreptitious. Just happy.
  • Because I used my amazing panini grill and no butter or oil, the sandwich only had the calorie equivalent of the bread, the cheese and the mustard. It came to about 650 calories. Which was not so horrible considering it was my entire meal.
  • I ate it when I was hungry and stopped when I felt satisfied. Which is to say when the plate was empty of all crumbs.
  • It did not lead to eating anything else.

So! That was a revelation. It made me happy.

Another thing that happened this morning is that I discovered the joy of Exercise TV. Woweee! It’s just been sitting there all along, and I never knew, although I had this vague notion it was in there. What happened is that I slept in to the VERY LATE hour of 7:30am. I doodled around online (oops). By the time I looked up, it was too late to run and wayyyyy too late to go to the gym. I really did not want to break my streak of morning workouts, even though it is the weekend. I did not have much time at all. I thought, what about that TV exercise thing?

Found Direct TV. Found “fitness and exercise.” WOW there were so many options! I chose “Biggest Loser.” Anyone surprised? 🙂 There was something called the Last Chance Workout. How fun! 30 minutes with the cast of Season… 7? 8? (the one with Tara & Sione and Danny) They were about mid-season and nobody looked as super buff as they did at the finale. It was an amazing workout! I loved it. I loved having Jillian yell at me and everyone else, but with LOVE. (ha) And at the end of 30 minutes I was sweating like CRAZY. Convenient and FAST. Yay for morning workouts.

And yay for being able to be left alone without eating the entire house.

Never Say Never

I went to the gym early again today. It is getting easier! For real! (I’m shocked) It feels a little bit like traveling to another time zone: at first it totally sucks. I can barely even deal with Daylight Savings. But eventually, you get used to it, your body adjusts and it’s all okay.

The first day I got up at 5:30 and went to the gym, I felt so bleary and just pretty nonfunctional. Yeah, I got a few nice endorphins but they could not combat the total brain-fuzz that happened. And by dinnertime I was passing out.

But the next day was easier. And the next one. And by today I even woke up BEFORE my alarm and it was all good. I got to the gym and headed straight for my favorite machine, the AMT (Adaptive Motion Trainer).  I know, it looks sorta like an elliptical, but it’s SO NOT. It’s just way beyond it. You glide on those pedals and sometimes they’re stairs, going up and down, and sometimes they’re looong striders. It’s all sort of intuitive and well it’s an INCREDIBLE workout – I was absolutely drenched in rivers of sweat – but I never got sore. It’s like zero impact. I traveled over 6 miles in an hour on this thing, and you know if I’d have done the same thing running I’d be one hurting puppy. When the hour was up, I climbed off very reluctantly. I could’ve stayed on it all day. One day I’d like to do a little marathon for myself and see just how long I can go at one stretch. I know I hadn’t reached my limit.  I started thinking, oh how nice it would be to have one of these at home! But with a price tag of $8,000, I think I’m gonna keep renting it by the hour at the gym.

This week has taught me truly never say Never. It it kind of shocking to me, various things I’m doing now that I have said I’d never ever do:

  • I said I’d never get up in the dark to go exercise.
  • I said I’d (probably) never work in my old health profession again. (I’m back at it this week)
  • I said I’d never do a triathlon because I can’t bike or swim.
  • I believed, for decades, I’d never reach my goal weight.
  • I NEVER believed I’d ever be hired by Weight Watchers.
  • Of course, I never believed I’d get diabetes either.

So just shows how much I know. I know now to never say never.

Night Owl at the Break of Dawn


Sleepy Eastern Screech Owl

Originally uploaded by nickgatens

Oh boy. So I did it this morning, something I really swore I would never do: I got up at 5:30am so that I could go to the gym. Wow, it was an experience. Mister McBody has been doing this since forever, and I always thought he was just kind of fanatical. Well, I’ve crossed that line now, I guess. Or just: the idea of losing my fitness level after I’ve come this far is probably something I fear more than my fear of losing sleep.

So the alarm went off. First his alarm (5:05?). So I was actually treated to the “luxury” of “sleeping in” until 5:30 when mine went. The nice thing about having a partner who wakes up even earlier than you, is that there is always nice hot coffee ready!

I got up. I threw a bunch of clothes in a bag. I had my cup of coffee. (mmm hot) And drove off in the dark. That was an experience. I was amazed to see at least half-dozen people RUNNING in the dark with reflective clothing on. Wow, I said to myself. That’s pretty hardcore.

Got to gym. Shocked to see that the parking lot was PACKED. Even more shocked to see that the exercise-machine room also packed. Who are these people? I could not believe that probably 1/3 of them were in their 60’s and older (70s for sure) – I mean they looked like retired people. I did not think they needed to do this in order to zip off to a job. I’ve heard that as people age they lose the need to sleep so much. Did they have insomnia? This was interesting to me.

I did 30 minutes on the elliptical. Started out slow but by the end I felt very good and the sun was coming up and I could’ve kept going BUT I had this plan to jump in the pool to see how that felt. I’ve been making small noises about some triathlon in September and I figured I better start seeing how the other two legs of my stool are holding up.

It was COOOLD OUTSIDE. I noted that people smarter than me had brought nice slippers and big thick robes and towels from home. I had a skimpy little gym towel the size of a washcloth, and no shoes and certainly no robe. Note to self.

I jumped in the water. It was fine. (the air was freezing) I started swimming. Which sort of shocked me since the last time I swam laps I was pregnant with my almost-16 yr old kid. But it did sort of come back. I experimented with breathing every 1, 2 and 3 strokes. It was okay. Which actually means that it was FABULOUS since anything more than drowning after 3 strokes felt like a major victory.

I swam 4 lengths. Which I think = about 200 meters, or 220 yards. Which is about half the distance of the swim distance of the triathlon. I think i can do that. (by September)

It was shocking how tired I got though, and so fast. It made think, is there a couch-to-5k equivalent for swimming?? Swim half a length, float one minute?? Hmm.

After I felt like I couldn’t swim anymore, I got in the outdoor hot tub. For like two minutes. That felt really good. But then I had to bust out of there, shower and run home to pick up my kid for school.

Did that. I got to my work place about 45 minutes early. I had not really prepared my food for the day, and I didn’t want to go home again in between the school carpool and work. So I have to work on that piece of things. I went to a little cafe on the corner. They didn’t have any protein. I had some sourdough toast and a cappuccino. Not exactly breakfast of champions. I can work on that.

Work was more hands-on than yesterday. I could go more into detail about that and maybe I will at some point. But now I need a POWER NAP because I’m going to a concert tonight with Mr. McB.

I’m exhausted. Now of course I understand why HE naps every evening. I feel like my biorhythms have gone through a blender.

Anyway, what I learned today:
1. It’s pretty out at dawn.
2. It’s annoying that the gym is so crowded. I thought it would be kinda peaceful. But no.
3. I think I need to save swimming for the weekends when I am not so rushed.
4. The endorphins felt great but they had kinda dwindled down by 8:30am.
5. OH forgot to mention: got out and walked 20 minutes at lunch. That felt FANTASTIC – to be out in the sun, and to move around. That felt great. More of that.
6. I need to plan ahead more for food.

7. I’m really really sleepy. But I feel like this might be do-able.

8. I need a “performance” bathing suit, not a “lie around the beach in Costa Rica” bathing suit. LOL

The World of Work and Working Out

This is the first week in, oh, I don’t know, my MEMORY that I’m working a more-than-full time week. I’m working 3 days at my new job, 2 days at my previous job, and 2 evenings at Weight Watchers. And all of a sudden, today, I had this enormous hit-by-a-truck feeling of deep empathy for people who struggle with this all time. “This” being namely trying to find time to exercise when working full time and having a family.

It’s TOUGH, people. So let me take a moment of silence and awe to honor everyone who has managed to do this. Now it’s time for ME to figure it out for myself. Wow.

Today is pretty much shot. I think. I woke up super early. Took kid to school. Had breakfast in coffee shop next to train station but couldn’t take train because the parking lot was full-up. Duh. So I drove. (hello $10/day parking lot fee! Goodbye paycheck!) I reported in at 9am and clocked out at 5. In the middle, I learned all sorts of stuff about my new duties. Which still remain somewhat mysterious, but oh well. Tomorrrow I think it will begin to gel and get a bit more real. (don’t even ask me to describe it. please. because I can’t! I mean I’m incapable!)

My new boss/who is actually an old friend invited me to lunch. I was not about to say no. We had a nice lunch. Afterward we went back to the office and I almost re-enacted a scene from my solo performance piece in which I fall asleep at my desk. I think I was super tired from not much sleep last night, getting up early, getting super adrenalized from the New Situation and then lunch. Zzzzzzzz. I managed to deal with it. But I felt like a sack of bricks. I soldiered on through the afternoon and at 5pm went to pick up my kid. There was no way on EARTH I could think of cooking. We stopped and got some Indian food takeout. Came home and ate it. And now I am lying on my bed.

This is going to be a fast path to gaining about 35 lbs back, let me tell you!

I have got to strategize. I’ve got to strategize NOW. First thing I gotta do is start bringing my own lunch to work. That will help. Second thing is I think I am going to try and walk or run during my lunch break. Probably walk (better than nothing?). If I run I am going to be a stinky frizzy mess. There is no shower at work. OK, what else? I am going to have to figure out some sort of dinner plan wayyyyy ahead of time. Crockpot? What? OMG. I’m also going to have to figure out when I can work out. (walking does not count, that’s just staying sane and alive during the day)

I guess my choices are:

1. Before work

2. After work

Oh my GOD. It might have to be before. Because after…… I just can’t face it. I don’t think I can do it. I am so NOT a morning person but I think I am going to have to join Mr. McBody (who has been doing this for YEARS) at O Dark Hundred and bite the bullet and do it.

I’m going to get up early tomorrow and give it a go. Which should not be a problem since it is 7:30pm and I am ready for bed NOW.

Again. One more moment of silence for people who manage to do this 52 weeks out of the year, make it a priority and make it work.

I feel like one of those people who don’t have kids and then they babysit their friend’s baby for like 3 hours and then they go collapse or have a nervous breakdown.

Coming Out of the Woods

I am finally feeling like I’m coming out of the woods. That were indeed dark, scary, and lost-feeling.

I’m super busy this week (OK, when am I NOT super busy? LOL) so can’t write in huge detail but things are going much better.

I think the emotional turmoil MAY be winding down. (cross fingers!)

I’ve had some very good workouts this week: my 7.5 mile run, then a 5k (3.2 mile) run, and a whup-ass trainer workout today that involved sliding around strenuously on some cardboard box tops. Very high tech, that guy. 🙂

I’m feeling confident that the marathon relay in less than two weeks is going to be DO-ABLE, and even a lot of FUN. Yay.

I think my solo performance show is going to also be good. I am excited about it. Did you know tickets are on sale? I hope to see some of your friendly faces there.

I’m way way way way way wayyyyyyyyyy too busy and overextended, but I’m happy with all of it.

OH and I had a lovely 4 point lunch just now: a spicy black bean burger (2 pt) on a multigrain sandwich thin (1 pt) topped with a dab of hummus (YUM, 1 pt). Very satifying and filling.

So, thanks everyone for the massive support and encouragement these past weeks. It’s been rough. It’s been tough. But I think we’re coming out of those woods.

Back on Track


Sunrise on the train tracks

Originally uploaded by Kathy~

Well, it seems as though the worst has passed (knock knock knock on wood) and I can begin to re-focus a bit. Thanks to EVERYone who sent me/us support and encouragement. It’s been stressful and I don’t think it’s over by a long shot, but I do think I can regroup some.

Yesterday I did the first real workout in a week. It felt good. I realized that it actually felt good to do weight training (as opposed to cardio/running). It seemed to help me feel grounded somehow, grounded in my body. That was kind of interesting. Today I am going to do some more intensive cardio, on the megaflights of stairs at the cemetery (with my trainer).

Last night I led a WW meeting and my supervisor showed up. He asked me, “How’s your weight?” GULP. Um. I dunno. We are supposed to record (in the system) our weights by the 10th of each month (which is today). I was like, I can’t face this. He told me to weigh myself on each of the four scales in the center (what kind of hell is that?). Which is supposed to desensitize one from freaking out at a number. He was extremely calm and nonjudgmental and just, “Okay.”

It was a pretty eye-popping number for me. I was like, OKAY! The pity party is officially OVER. I’m no longer in Maintenance mode. I’m squarely back into LOSE mode.

Which, I have to say, is not a bad thing.

This morning I cracked open my fresh new Three-Month tracker.

Who’s with me?

Cinderblocks on my Feet


Cinderblocks

Originally uploaded by mikemol

There’s something about sadness that just saps all energy. It’s hard to believe that a week ago I was running over six miles. This weekend it was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other. Yesterday my husband texted me and invited me for a walk in my favorite park. I told him we’d have to drive there and park in the parking lot because I didn’t think I could manage the hill from our house to the park.

We got there and had a pretty nice walk. But I was tired. I was so tired. Not out of breath, but just ….. I don’t know, weary.

A series of unrelated but strong events have hit our household in recent days/weeks. There’s a lot of emotion, sadness, worry, grief, anger, and it is swirling around everything.

On a good note, I am managing not to eat everything in sight. On a bad note, when I walk I feel like I have cinderblocks on my feet.

The Land of “I Don’t Care!”

I kind of shocked myself this week. I got into a place where I haven’t been in a very, very, very long time. It was the land of “I Don’t Care!” (… “I just want to EAT!”)

Why did it shock me so much? Because I feel so… equipped, you know?  Last week I caught a glimpse of a number on the scale, the likes of which I had not seen in Years. I felt so on top of things.

But then, late in the week, I got a call from my Offspring-in-Distress, and it unhinged me more than I can say. I flew to her side. The plan was that I was going to hang with her,  keep her company, and that we would both go to her gym together. But she was sick. She could not work out. We ate several restaurant meals. And so the days slipped by and I didn’t want to leave her, so I did not work out either, until the very last day and I took that freezing cold run. Then I had to leave to come home. By this time I was in a HIGH state of distress. She was still sick.

When I landed for my connecting flight, I received a text message that the health center had diagnosed her with mono.

By this time I was really distraught. All my nattering on to my WW meeting last week about “what to do other than eat when you are feeling emotional” went RIGHT OUT the window. I wanted pizza dammit! Now I KNEW (intellectually) that pizza was 1. Not REALLY going to make me feel better, and 2. Certainly not make my KID feel better, but… I DID. NOT CARE.

There was something in me larger than that knowledge. It was a roaring flaming pit of hell sort of furnace that was just … FEED ME. Here’s the funny thing. I tried to get a pizza. But the pizza people said it would take 7 minutes to prepare (this was the fancy shmancy California Pizza Kitchen,  not Pizza Hut!). I did not HAVE 7 minutes because my flight was boarding. So I got a cup of vegetable soup instead. Hahahahaha! I felt like somehow, the Universe was looking out for me.

When I arrived, I discovered that my suitcase did not arrive with me. That was thing one. Then the parking lot shuttle bus took over half an hour to arrive. Thing two. I was exhausted. Then when I finally GOT to my car, it was… dead. I lost it. Thankfully, the parking lot people had seen this before. I did not need to call AAA. They helped me locate the Extremely Hidden Battery (in the trunk) of my hybrid, and eventually got me on my way (another 40 minutes). By this time I was a zombie.

Next day. (yesterday) I did not hear from daughter for most of the day, in spite of my incessant motherly texting and calling. Hopefully she was sleeping. THEN, all hell broke loose. I ate things I haven’t eaten in a long time.

And it wasn’t so much what I ate. It wasn’t the fact that I gained all sorts of poundage since last week. It was the absolute Lack of Caring. Which shocked me. Last night I would say was a big huge low point.

Today, I’m back. I’m heading to see my trainer (thank god thank god thank god!).

I am concluding, with great humbleness, that the combination of Big Stress + Not Enough Exercise, is what put me over the edge into this place that I truly felt I had left behind forever. Wow, it shocked me.

Thankfully, it only lasted a few days. The damage is not huge. I finally heard from my kid and I believe that things are going to be OK, even though they are hard.

But wow. Just… wow.

I’ve Got Mail! Yay!


Mailbox

Originally uploaded by cindy47452

This morning, when I woke up and opened my computer, I found an email from my dear spouse. He usually wakes up about 2 hours before I do, and he likes to peruse the online news. Most days he will send me an article that he finds interesting, and about half an hour after I get up, he’ll ask, Didja read that thing I sent you?

Today he sent me an article from the Wall Street Journal. Basically it’s about the myriad benefits of exercise, in addition to weight loss. It’s the fountain of youth! It’s Prozac in sneakers, and chicken soup on a treadmill. In other words, it helps just about anything.

Regular workouts may help fight off colds and flu, reduce the risk of certain cancers and chronic diseases and slow the process of aging.

I immediately downloaded the article into my “healthy articles” file, and forwarded it to a bunch of other WW buddies. Then I stopped and laughed.

A year ago (just a year! really!) if he had sent me the same article (which he did, regularly, for about 3-4 years), I would have glanced at the title, read a sentence or two, snarled something hostile and punched the DELETE key. He did gently try to prod me in the direction of health and fitness for years, but I really was not having anything of it. I would respond by finding my own obscure articles about how moderately overweight people lived longer than normal-weight people, or about the prevalence of sports injuries (LOL). I was a prime example of that unfertile soil that is just NOT ready to sprout any seeds. (I think this was a Bible parable I learned at camp once, and it was also a song in Godspell)

I felt like HE wanted me to lose weight. (well, I guess he did. He did want me to be healthy) Which made me adamantly OPPOSED to the idea of losing weight. This fell into the “What, you think I’m fat?!?” category. Never mind that I KNEW I was fat. And miserable. And unable to climb stairs without getting winded. And only able to fit into elastic waisted pants.

That’s how it used to be with Weight Watchers, too. It’s a great program. It’s always been a great program. But for so many years I was just not ready to hear about it, think about it, much less DO IT. Now that I’m, as woo-woo types will say, “open to it,” it all kind of pours in and I’m like, “Wow! This is so great!!” I pore through the program materials and it all just seems BRILLIANT. Ha ha.

But it just does go to show that:

1. It’s all about timing.
2. You have to be doing it for YOU and not for anyone else.
3. When you’re ready, the teachers are there.

Another aside: The latest season of Biggest Loser begins tonight! How happy am I that Tuesday night is the ONLY weeknight I don’t have a WW meeting!! I’m getting my box of tissues ready. Yeah yeah yeah, I know we’ve been through the argument a hundred times before, but I stand my ground. I love this show and to witness people changing their lives for health. It does not fail to move me.

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