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Bodies of Future/Past 3 comments

There is a video making the rounds at the moment, a three minute clip from an interview about Dustin Hoffman’s experience preparing for the role of Tootsie.

Dustin’s moment of clarity

I don’t always “buy” celebrity “moments” in interviews, but this one rings true.*  I admire him for connecting the dots with such resonance.

I had a rather personal response to this video. I lost 95 lbs over 18 months, roughly between 2008 – 2009. I held steady there for a while but gradually – with all the changes and stress – my weight has crept back up, close to where I started.

When I was losing weight, I noticed that more people talked to me. Men and women. Between having a year off work to consult independently, being in an energizing new relationship, and feeling more attractive, I was certainly projecting a happy, vibrant energy. Undeniably, it helped that I was also fitter, not just more proportional. I had more energy, more muscle shape, and I was really happy with this – especially the muscles and the cardio fitness. Happy people are more attractive people, of course. It is a non-vicious cycle.

Face Too Skinny?

Face Too Skinny?

I’m thinking about Dustin’s comment in his video in which he says that he wouldn’t go and talk to himself as a woman at a party, for example, because he didn’t meet his own brainwashed standard of beauty. When I say people were more interested in talking to me, this is what I mean – the simple act of choosing whom to have a conversation with in a social situation. This too is a variable, and a highly prized one in our society. Feeling attractive in these moments means feeling valued.

There was a very specific point at which, from my point of view, I became “visible” and “viable” to people around me. It was really at the point where I’d lost about 35 lbs. with ultimately 60 more to go in the overall attempt. I wasn’t “skinny” by any means but something happened in the perception of proportions that changed my look. I started wearing different clothes and that accented the change. From my perspective, the more weight I lost from this point onward, the “chattier” people got.

As I got down to my lowest weight point – still by no means “skinny” – I thought my face didn’t look quite right. Too harsh or hard, perhaps? The photo here is at close to my lowest weight.

My life has changed enormously since this time. New routines are hard to establish and maintain, especially given the amount of driving I have been doing.  All the changes have taken an emotional toll on both Knotty Girl and myself.  When there are stressors and demands, I’m not programmed to run to the gym and sweat it off. I’m programmed to consume foods that I shouldn’t.  Thus, in all of the hubub, the weight has almost all come back and I don’t look like this anymore. I’ve certainly been conscious of this trend, I’ve felt a bit powerless about it, and I have tried to note at what point I appeared to fade from visibility, generally speaking. At what point am I less likely to be the person spoken to at the party? Not surprisingly, it was right about at gaining 60 of the lost 95 lbs back. So, in other words, there is something magical in terms of the perception of the exterior self that happens right about at that fulcrum point.

This is a non-scientific experiment of course. The other variables – like my own moodiness or sleep deprivation or what have you – are hard to account for.  My own sense of feeling less confident, less sure-footed in my new roles at home and in the ever-changing tides at work, hasn’t helped.

Biceps of Future/Past

Biceps of Future/Past

If I were talking to Dustin about this, I’d tell him not to feel too hard on himself. We are all subject to the “physical attractiveness brain washing”, both men and women. We look at ourselves and judge. We look at others and draw conclusions, often within seconds. I know I do it. The trick is to become self-aware of this behaviour and to try to manage it somehow. I remember hearing Susie Bright say something like this (apologies for inaccurate paraphrasing): the most interesting person in the room is the least “attractive” one because they have to work their other skills – charm, humour, sexiness, intelligence – to gain ground lost by not being “attractive”.

So now what? When I reflect back on the weight loss adventure, I’m remembering how good it felt to be strong and fit. I’m going to aim for that. I’m not sure I’m going to even weigh myself, although those numbers are good guideposts. I’m not aiming to raise my visibility, per se, to anyone but myself. I’ll know I’m getting somewhere when I can walk nine holes without huffing, skate three periods without collapsing, and find myself admiring the curve of my own biceps.

*It is hard to view Dustin’s reference to his conversation with his wife, Lisa Hoffman, without a sense of irony.

Extended Absence Greeting 4 comments

Hey there – remember me? 🙂

So, the last few months of 2009 became a muddy blur during which time writing, and exercising, took a backseat to the following:

  • caring for the lovely Freddie as she recovered from surgery to repair ruptured discs in her spine (neck). My home became a baby-gated, cushioned, modified pet crate for seven weeks. My dog was in pain and I felt helpless. And then, shortly afterwards, broke. So grateful that Freddie’s Other Mom, and the lovely WWBA, were able to be such a supportive part of this adventure. But it did take its toll. Freddie needs to be carried up and down stairs and, at first, needed more, shorter walks. I live up two flights of stairs and my routine was tied more than ever, to Freddie’s requirements. I was exhausted.
  • … and thus got I ill myself with a persistent bronchial infection – several weeks of coughing and hacking and sleeping badly.
  • having my car vandalized, right here in the underground parking lot. Stuff stolen, car damaged. Much time and energy lost over a 10 day period, dealing with this. Not to mention feeling just a wee bit violated.
  • grading 174 really sub-par essay-like business reports in 3.5 weeks. That is a real number, 174. 87 in the first round that had to be done quickly and returned so they could have feedback to complete and hand in the second round. Second round to be graded to the grade submission deadline at the end of term. This activity will suck your brain out through the eye of a needle and will rip your heart out of your chest, tossing it away like last year’s PlayStation. Don’t let anyone tell you that teaching isn’t an emotional pursuit. After teaching plagiarism (how to avoid it, not how to do it) as a topic in class, finding students who persist in the behaviour is like getting smacked up the side of the head with a 2 x 4. I’m not sure I can explain why, it just feels … horrible.  It does get balanced out, of course, by students who really do make incredible progress and there were some really fine moments of this as well. Somehow, though, this term, the amount of grading and the roller coaster ride it took me on just about did me in.
  • ongoing negotiations with management on workload issues (see above) and the looming possibility of a strike that no one wants yet that seems difficult to avoid. Multiple meetings with management over next term’s workload. A workload review by a larger committee. Not much progress. Stress. Self-doubt. Worry.

As you can see, not a lot of writing took place. Furthermore, I actually have found myself daydreaming of the smell of my gym. What I’ve learned is that my mental and emotional health is linked to these two activities. Thus, I resolve to re-prioritize and get both disciplines back into my life. Although I’m going to wait until mid-February to actually step on the scales, I think. Yikes.

Anyway, thanks for your patience – all three or four of you. 🙂 Stay tuned for more … as for now, I’m off to the gym!

Curses … My Cunning Little Plan … Foiled! Click Here To Comment!

So, here I am up at this cottage. For about 10 days in a row, eight of them on my own entirely. Well, except for the sweet, elderly/ailing and lonely neighbour who wanted me to come to “the hall” with her tonight and play euchre. And the bears. And the fish.

I had this idea that I wanted to bring everything with me in one go so I wouldn’t have to make any trips into Lakefield, this nearest town of any size. This includes food, of course.

In the back of my mind, I thought – this is it. My diet is going to veer entirely and utterly off the rails now. I stocked up with everything I shouldn’t have. Mostly carbs. Potatoes. Pasta. Rice. English muffins from St. John’s Bakery. Kraft dinner. Popcorn. Chips. Pancake mix.

And bacon.  And cheese.

AND – the cottage owner’s parents dropped by yesterday with freshly baked cookies and apple cake. (Free cottage AND freshly baked goods … how the universe does look after me when I ask … but I digress …)

I remember how I used to eat. Three substantial meals a day, mostly carbs. Grazing/snacking in between. Minimal fruits and vegetables.  Minimal physical movement. Here I am, in the perfect environment to return to my old self. There sure isn’t a lot to do up here, physically, and I’m virtually surrounded by carbs.

The thing is … I can’t do it. Not like I used to, anyway. I needed some exercise today and tried to get some by walking from this cottage to the main road, about a three kilometre round trip, I’d guess. I really enjoyed the walk to the main road and the tour of the general store but was thwarted on the return leg by the presence of one or more bears. I was scooped up by some cottagers who didn’t want it on their conscience that they saw bears and didn’t escort me safely back to my doorstep. My attempt at at least SOME activity … foiled …

But, in terms of eating … I just can’t do it like I did before. Sure, I’m having more carbs. But, somehow, a lot of vegetables snuck in and I’m eating those, too. So, the balance is different. But, the big thing is quantity and paying attention. I cooked for the cottage owner before she left – lamb chops on the bbq – and I made some yummy new potatoes. In my old frame of mind, there would be no leftover potatoes from the first meal. Now, there were enough to sautee for the following night’s dinner.

Also, my meal times are all off, so I’m just asking myself if I’m actually hungry. If the answer is no, I busy myself with something else for a while. Yesterday, I did something I’d been planning to do – made a big tray of nachos – yum! This was mid-afternoon and I enjoyed them while watching a movie. Filled me up entirely. I didn’t eat dinner and I had a few crackers and a bit of kohlbassa before bed. No more with the three huge meals, etc.

Today, I skipped breakfast (wasn’t hungry), tried to walk (see above) and then deeply and thoroughly enjoyed my extremely rare Kraft Dinner treat for lunch. (Did you know they have a three cheese version now? I’m not sure what that means since it looks like powder to me, but I digress yet again …) I mean, I really enjoyed it. Maybe my pseudo-bear encounter made me appreciate the pseudo-cheese more fully. Then … almost eight hours later … dinner, which was a salad. Spinach/arugula base, a layer of alfalfa sprouts, chopped peppers, a peach, tomato, thin sliced sweet onion and a dollop of cottage cheese. I topped it with sauteed ham and mushrooms, drizzled with light balsamic dressing. Mmmmmm … I’m totally full now.

I’m sure not going to lose weight out here. But maybe I won’t gain quite as much as I thought I would when I arrived.

Documenting the Process 2 comments

On Becoming Visible: The Perpetually Unfinished Post 3 comments

I’m on a bit of hiatus from my weight loss endeavours, holding relatively steady at a loss of about 69 lbs since June, 2007. A slow and steady loss. I’m 21 lbs away from my ultimate goal. It has been quite the journey over the past couple of years.

For my entire adult life, I have identified as a feminist, even before I was really clear on what was meant by this. I was quite the activist in the 80’s, ramping up a few local movements in the Niagara Region where I was living, serving on the board of a rape crisis centre, being part of a large coalition that founded the Women’s Studies programme at Brock University, being a T.A./lecturer there in the first three years the programme ran.

There are many schools of feminist thought. I disagree with some and wholly embrace others. At this stage of the game, feminism has served to instruct me on the myriad of intersecting systems that I live within, am bounded by. None of them – from the economic/monetary system and its weaknesses that are now becoming clearer to our food production and delivery mechanisms to the values used within business to interact with either the labour force or the environment to the very rules, most unspoken, that guide our interpersonal communications – none of these systems were influenced in any meaningful way by women, or by people with the deep cellular knowledge that women and men are equal but different creatures on this earth. We swim, all of us, men and women, in a world designed from the perspective of those who hold the most power in our society – white, straight men. Those who thrive within these structures, male or female, are those who can best adapt to these systems.

As A.W. Schaef says, and I am paraphrasing, the white male system is not reality. It is just a system. Once you can identify it all around you, you can see that it isn’t reality at all. After you have your “a-ha!” moment, you can step outside it and observe. And, to an extent, protect yourself and, if you are clever, you can be more conscious of maneuvering in and out of the system and being less damaged by it.

In a way, by revealing the systems we operate in, feminism helped me to understand form and content. So has music. Mozart could write a kick-ass concerto, yet it is still a concerto. The form is intact. He rocked the form. The 20th century saw revolutions of new form as blues and jazz musicians punched holes in pre-existing structures to create brand new ones, on the fly. Phillip Glass comes along and says “fuck the form” and writes whatever sounds good to him. When you can see, touch, feel and deeply experience the “form” as a separate construct, as “not a given” but a choice, you can choose to operate within it, partially within it or to exit it altogether.

Another more pertinent example has to do with the ongoing, fascinating and irritating discussion of “butch/femme” as identities within lesbian and queer circles.  Notions of maleness and femaleness, the “rules” which govern these as forms of existence, do not originate with the women who live their particular slant out, or are at least conscious of this gender dichotomy as they go about making their choices about how they present to the world. We didn’t create gender constructs – a society that is governed by the male gaze did. So, once you understand you are being asked to play a game that erases your natural identity and replaces it with a version acceptable to the male gaze, you can decide whether to play along and ruffle fewer feathers, to rebel and scream bloody murder at being shoe-horned into someone else’s definition of your gender … or make up your own gender twisting game. (Gender twisters have more fun, in my experience … but I digress …)

Power – or as feminists are more comfortable stating, “empowerment” – exists in understanding the form, the rules, and thus understanding that one has choices about how to relate to the form.

Choice. Choices. Options. As I look back on so many years of thinking about all of this, I can see that feminism has programmed me to build my own life, according to my own rules, and to seek to always operate from a position in which I have the greatest number of choices. I can choose to play along. I can choose to rebel within the context of any given situation. I can reject entire frameworks and circumstances and re-create new ones that are more life-giving. Ultimately, I think this is what our feminist foremothers had in mind.

Parallel to being a feminist for my entire adult life, I have also always been large-ish. Each year, I’d add a few more pounds. Mostly, this didn’t bother me much. I felt healthy and reasonably fit. Aside from my weight, I’ve never much cared for what I look like, thinking I was rather odd-looking and knowing that there was not much I could really do about that. Besides, as an out lesbian feminist hanging out with mostly other out lesbian feminists, we all were so much above the white patriarchal rules that equate physical appearance with having value. Pshaw. Beauty emmanates from within and rises above any notion of physical self, right?

Along came a series of events, including some weight-triggered health issues experienced by a member of my immediate family, that made me look very closely and carefully at my choices around my particular physical form. Changes needed to be made, and I am the only one able to affect them. And so it began.

I need to state here that, as of June 2007, I also strongly disliked how I looked. My external “heavy set” presentation to the world did not reflect my internal sense of self. There was a disconnect.

I used the support of an excellent commercially available system which I’m not willing to promote here but will happily chat to anyone about if you’d like to contact me privately. The weight started to come off as soon as I made some significant changes to portion sizes, upped my fruits and vegetables and eliminated vast quantities of carbs. I realize now that I’m actually in a life-long struggle with carbs.

As the weight came off, it became easier for me to be more active, and to be more motivated about being active. In 2008, I started to do some strength training.

Right around the half-way point, almost exactly at the loss of 35 lbs., I became visible to others in a way I’d not experienced before. Men, and women, were suddenly more interested in engaging in conversation, flirting and otherwise noting my presence. I found, and continue to find, this fascinating, flattering, and disturbing. With almost every drop in weight – and I do tend to drop five pounds at a time, and then plateau – the ratio of visibility has risen.

I like the experience of being “seen”. It makes life a bit easier in some ways.  It feeds my confidence which adds more positive energy to the mix. I certainly like the changes that strength training has created although I can’t say that I’m particularly enamoured of the activity itself. I like feeling strong and healthy – I think this projects something out to the world beyond simply that my body is smaller and a different shape now. I adore how my cardio levels have improved to the extent that I don’t feel like I’m coughing up a lung every time I come off a hard shift at hockey. I seem to be skating a bit faster, as anyone would if they were stronger with fewer pounds to heft about.

This experience of being “seen” is a mixed bag, though. It makes me angry that men who work in the same office as me now stop by my desk to chat, for no reason in particular. I was never acknowledged before in this way, at all. Women who had never taken the time to chat me up before actually make the effort now.  If I may cut to the chase, our Western, male-programmed view takes for granted that “smaller, fitter” means “hotter” … yet, this has always been something I’ve questioned and very consciously rebelled against.  Surely, our collective programming around responding to a particular “form” and making assessments about “content” from it is simply learned behaviour and not that ingrained.

And herein lies the real kicker. This experience has taught me that my own deep internal programming matches that of the men and women now taking the time to acknowledge me. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t think I look “better” now. I can’t tell you how conflicted this makes me when I consider this issue, and how it takes the punch out of me being really truly angry with anyone for chatting me up. It happens early on, this programming, and it runs deep.

Perhaps part of what people are “reading” differently is that the disconnect I experienced before – the outer self not reflecting who I felt I actually was – has been addressed. This body feels more “me”, and perhaps that is what people are responding to, more of a sense of wholeness. Apparently, the revised “me” also has much longer hair … and that requires a blog entry all of its own.

I see that I actually started writing this post in the first week of March 09. And here I am, about to hit submit in mid-May 09. There is so much more to say on this issue … and I hope you will join me in the conversation.

Intense 3 comments

My March break is ending now, just as so many other people are starting theirs. It has been a pretty intense couple of weeks, actually, including the so-called “break” week. It didn’t feel much like a break to me, between stacks of grading, meetings, and quick turn-arounds on proposals and such. At least I managed to keep up with hockey and gym commitments.

Speaking of which, I was really pleased to learn my BMI has shifted considerably, even though my weight has not dropped since before Christmas. I’m actually okay with staying exactly the same for almost three months in a row. It proves that I can maintain a weight once reached. I have 21 more pounds to go to my target weight. Anyway, in terms of my BMI, I’m down three units of whatever-those-units-are since last time this was done, yet I believe my actual weight is close to the same. This means that fat tissue has been converted to muscle, which is very encouraging indeed.

So, in periods of intense and demanding activity like this, I have these little recurring mental motifs, like little pieces of toilet paper stuck to my shoe. I’m going to take a few minutes to jot them down here so maybe they’ll stop bugging me. My life is about to get even more intense, so this may be my only chance for a while to be in a blogging kinda mode.

Where Did All These People Come From?

I’ve said this before, out loud, many times. It always takes me by surprise how many damn people there are in the world. How can I walk around downtown, through familiar streets, and not see a single person I know, and yet pass literally hundreds of faces? I just returned from a trip out to Brampton to watch a hockey game and there were still more strangers there!!! How is this possible??? I bet if I went to any one of the hundreds of small towns and cities across Canada to watch hockey games, THOSE arenas would be filled with still more people I’ve never seen!

Of course, I’m being facetious, sort of. It really does take me aback how we can float through our lives, essentially surrounded by strangers with whom we have no connection. Yet, we count on them not to drive across the yellow line in the road and hit us head on, to keep a civil tongue in their heads in public, and to fly planes that we trustingly board.

It is a little weird when you think about it.

Molasses

Me’n’molasses go way back. On the farm where I grew up, there was a barrel of molasses sitting by the outside corner of the barn, near the entrance to the silo. It was used as an additive to the silage (corn stalks and field corn cobs and other materials left in the silo to “mature” as feed for the cattle) to aid its fermentation. But I loved to dip my fingers into the molasses as I walked by the barrel, if no one was looking. I just love the stuff.

My mom and I used to make popcorn balls as treats, especially around Hallowe’en. Our recipe involved boiling molasses, corn syrup and a dollop of vinegar until the medium ball candy stage. Then you pour the mixture over a bowl of popcorn, slather your hands with butter, stir the mixture around with your hands and then form popcorn balls. If you can keep yourself from eating the stuff, that is. Can you imagine? Two of my favourite things in one place – popcorn and molasses … HEAVEN! So much fun for kids to do, this recipe. I remember one year, grade seven or eight, I took popcorn balls to class for the Hallowe’en party. The teacher somehow dangled a row of single popcorn balls on strings from the ceiling. I think this was offered as an alternative to dunking for apples ~ we had to race to eat the popcorn balls, no hands. That was fun.

I haven’t had any molasses on my shelf for ages. This past Christmas, when I was doing all that baking, I saw a jar of blackstrap molasses at my new favourite bulk food store and it somehow fell into my cart. Molasses is an excellent source of a wide range of minerals, most especially iron and calcium. So, once or twice a week I’ve been enjoying a teaspoon or two as a treat. Yum.

I sense popcorn balls in my future.

Construction Zones Not Good For Tires

In order to get to the entrance to the underground garage for my building, you have to turn down one of two lanes. Each will take you by a construction zone.

In the past three months, I have had three “soft” tires, each turning out to have been punctured by a screw or a nail.

Hm. It is getting expensive to be living beside active construction projects. Add this to noisy and dusty and one could get quite irritated by it all. I am endeavouring to be zen about it rather than irritated. Four could send me over the edge, though.

Too Many Things

I still own too many things. I have felt strongly about this for a while now. I keep giving things away, or leaving them for others to use in the recycle room downstairs. Yet, I had a bout of consumerism this week, resulting in a new hockey bag for my gear, and three new small appliances in the kitchen. I couldn’t get the boxes and old appliances out of my place fast enough for my taste. It feels embarassing to feel like I “need” things like a griller with removable plates, or a slow cooker that I can actually clean properly. Yet, I crave pot roast. What’s a girl to do?

One of the tasks that I had hoped to do this March break, but did not get to due to the unforeseen intensity of the week, was a pass at removing yet another sweep of clothing from my closet and drawers. This kind of purge always feels wonderful, and it is easy for me to do as some stuff just doesn’t fit anymore. There is a clothing drop off for students this week at my college. They are looking for business type clothing that students can wear on job interviews. I hope I can get this done in time to drop some clothes off for this effort.

How To Poach An Egg (a.k.a. How To Get UnSettled In Your Ways) 2 comments

I have always been a good poacher of eggs. A properly poached egg is a thing of beauty. Fully set white, very runny yolk on buttered toast with salt and pepper. A perfect breakfast that seems decadent in its rich flavours and textures but is actually fairly healthy. (The butter won’t hurt ya, really …)

My former egg-poaching methodology involved any old pot with boiling water that has a dash of salt and a splash of white vinegar. (The vinegar helps the whites set without as many stringy bits.) I’d crack the eggs directly out of the shell into the water and then stand over them until the exact right moment, usually about two or three minutes. I also had an method of using a frying pan to boil the water, and now I see that is just WRONG. I remember my brother also enjoying poached eggs and using the heel of a loaf of bread to drain them first before transferring them to his toast. The heel would get tossed.

My ex says I make the best poached eggs. I have them most mornings for breakfast.

My friend Miriam and I talk about poached eggs a lot. She shares my love of the perfectly poached egg. Ever helpful, Miriam sent me a video a while back on how to poach an egg. This arose out of her disdain for the idea of putting a splash of vinegar into the water, which I do understand.

For weeks after I watched this video, my poached egg mojo was totally messed up. I couldn’t get it right as I was trying some combination of my old method and this new method and just getting it all wrong. After years of getting it mostly right, new information totally threw a monkey wrench into the works. The guy in the video leaves out some important pieces. How hot is the water when you start? Do you leave it covered or not? What do you mean, leave the egg in for TEN MINUTES???

Experimenting with this new method of doing something I know so well has taught me a lot. For example, the pot matters. If you are going to leave the eggs sitting in water, they have to be completely covered in water, and the pot needs to be heavy and able to hold heat for some time. My thin-walled small saucepan is a bust. My larger thick-walled saucepan rocks, but only if it has enough water in it to cover the eggs.

I have finally got it right.

How To Poach An Egg Perfectly Without Vinegar and Without Standing There And Staring At It and Fussing Over It

1. Select a heavy pot and put enough water in it to cover the eggs. Add a few pinches of salt and bring to a boil.

2. Crack the eggs into a cup, carefully.

3. Put some bread in the toaster.

4. When the water is boiling, stir the water in a circle in any direction you care to.

5. Carefully drop the eggs in one motion into the centre of the vortex and immediately cover the pot. Turn the heat off. Set your timer for three minutes.

6. Whistle a happy tune. Maybe pour a cup of coffee.

7. When the timer goes off, butter the toast. The eggs need the last 30 seconds or so.

8. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon onto toast. Decorate with salt and pepper. Enjoy!!

One Perfectly Poached Egg

One Perfectly Poached Egg

Too Good To Be True 2 comments

As I sit here at lunch, dutifully consuming my homemade channa masala, brown rice and spinach salad … and lamb curry … I stumble across a description of a bacon chocolate bar.

Seriously? You can do that?

Hm.

I think I want one. Just one. Or, just a taste. A teeny tiny little taste … just to see …

Progress 1 comment

After weeks of being stable at the same weight, as of yesterday I’ve lost two more pounds, bringing the total weight loss now to 68 pounds. Only two pounds away from a hugely significant milestone.

I was both thrilled and shocked to see the number that showed up on the scale yesterday. Sure, I’ve been particularly careful with my food these past few weeks. I’ve also upped the intensity of my workouts, thanks to the advice and inspiration of my new “personal trainer” – I too wish for beautiful arms someday! 🙂 I’ve added a third set and more intensity on the lower body which, I’m told, will burn more calories.

However, after weeks of being, literally, within 1.5 lbs up/down of where I was last time I weighed in, I was bracing myself to learn that this is it. This is where my body naturally wants to be. The extra exercise and even stricter attention to diet has paid off.

For weeks, people have been telling me that they see a difference, even from the beginning of the autumn. Yet, the weight number stayed stable. I think the strength training is adding muscle mass and changing the shape of my body. It is true that the inches have gone down. In one ten day period, I lost 1.25 inches in the mid-section, which is huge.

But, somehow, it never seems to register with me until the weight number goes down. It is like I’m programmed only to respond to that, and not to any other feedback. To measure my “success” in terms of that one number – not the comments from others, the inches going down, my clothes fitting more loosely – seems a pretty narrow piece of programming. I’m going to work on changing that. Part of the problem, though, is that I started this whole weight loss adventure with a particular target weight in mind and I get very excited with every step that pulls me closer.

How To Lose Weight Click Here To Comment!

[Cross-posted from Vox.]

So, I’ve lost 31 lbs since June 29, which any normal person would be happy with. Yes, I am happy with that. I am also happy with having lost 30 inches, in total. 2.5 feet. Wow. Yes, I need to go shopping. Aside
from a bit of stress at the moment, I feel terrific physically.

Unfortunately, I’m 10 lbs behind in terms of meeting my overall target of 90 lbs by next May. When Fundy Boy is done, I’m going to get to the gym 3x a week. That should help get the metabolism up there where it needs to be.

People ask me two things:

a) Has it been difficult?
Yes and no. The program I’m on – which I won’t name as I don’t really want to get into promoting it – offers excellent support and suggestions, in addition to herbal supplements.

Some days are easier than others. There is, of course, a connection between stress and eating. I don’t crave sugary foods – I find those easiest to avoid. I do crave fried or greasy carbs (pizza, fries) and bread. Some days, I’d give anything for a fresh Ace bakery baguette and some lovely crumbly old English cheese. The other night, I really craved this particular treat. I had some really lovely mozzarella on slices of apple instead, which kept me from doing anything more drastic and damaging.

I miss Gryfe’s bagels.

It is very motivating to see results. To need new clothes and to fit into old clothes I never thought I’d fit into again. I love it when people notice, of course.

Some days, believe it or not, I just don’t think about it. Bad food is just not an option anymore.

b) How are you doing it?

Here are my new rules for eating, probably for the rest of my life …

1. Drink lots of water.

2. Eat a breakfast with protein every day.

3. Reduce carbs. If you are going to eat carbs, eat a small amount before noon.

4. Reduce or eliminate sodium. Of course, this is impossible – but give it the ol’ college try. When you’ve indulged in a sodium-rich meal, move immediately, with all haste, to point 5 …

5. Drink LOTS more water.

6. Monitor portions. Learn what a real portion is.

7. Make a deal with yourself that you can eat a “restricted” food in a limited amount (i.e. pizza) only after you eat either a bowl of vegetable-based soup OR a  lot of veggies/salad.

8. Eat something like this every single day, either for lunch or dinner:

Yummy Salad

9. Speaking of which, make your own foods. Eat 100% homemade foods. Reduce the amount of restaurant and processed foods. This will help with both portion control and sodium/fat reduction. Unless you are into

deep-frying at home … which I do not recommend.

10. What are you doing reading this? You should be drinking more water!!!

11. Ignore people who say “oh, but you have to treat yourself … here try this cookie, I made them myself last night.” Tough tittie – keep your damn cookie. These people are not trying to help, they are trying to
help you stay status quo. Seeing others change can be very threatening. One week I found myself confronted by one of these people almost twice a day and I had to get really tough.

12. Plan for meals and snacks. For example, I eat an apple every day around 10:30. It keeps
cravings down and holds me over to lunch. Of course, this means I have to think ahead to have the apple actually WITH me. I cook a big healthy something (i.e. lasagna or soup/stew) each weekend and divide it up for lunches and dinners the rest of the week.

13. To achieve 9 and 12, one needs to get organized and make food a priority. I think this part will get less onerous as time passes. The weeks when I have not been able to really focus on this have been my least successful weeks.

14. Keep a food diary. Write all food and liquid intake, even if you aren’t sticking to plan. Keep a weight chart in the same book. Shortly, I’m going to add an activity/exercise section to mine. That way, when you have a good week, you can figure out what works for you. When you have a bad week, you can figure out exactly what went wrong. (You can also start to figure out how to “cheat” and get away with it! How much activity do you require to get the metabolism up to burn off those french fries?)

There you have it 14 ways (sort of …) to lose weight. Come on … your body will thank you for putting less strain on it. Taxpayers will thank you for putting less strain on the healthcare system. I’m taking it on as a
personal challenge … oh, and if you are not going to join me, please help me out by keeping your damn cookies to yourself!

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