Eat Fresh

http://www.eddieoneverything.com/calculators/subway-sandwich-calorie-carb-nutrition-calculator.php

I wish all made-to-order places had calculators like this!
There's a pile of nutrition information packages from some of my favorite lunch places, but nothing as easy as this.
Subway might be back in my good graces, if only for its simplicity, not so much for its quality.

Lulu-Worthy

Someone pointed this out to me.  And yes, I felt the need to comment on their site, but you know me. I'm never 100% done ranting and raving about something:
I’m a size 12/14, 38D right now.
I recently went into a lulu store and while I was frustrated that there weren’t more cute things available in my size, I definitely saw it as motivation to continue in my journey towards a healthier me.
The one thing that was disappointing, and what someone mentioned above, is the attitude of employees toward me. Luckily I was with a friend that has been through the journey (losing around 90lbs, I think) and she was very helpful when the tata tamer couldn’t tame my tatas. However one employee made me very uncomfortable with her disproving glance. I bet she didn’t even realize she did it. Le sigh.
Now I can understand larger sized women wanting comfortable, quality workout clothing.  By-in-large it just doesn't readily exist.  You have to hunt for it -- especially sports bras.  I can also understand that they are a large demographic largely underrepresented in the sportswear industry.  Also, larger women (and men) have...shall we say... support issues that are often overlooked as well.  (I've never seen an "athletic" version of a pregnancy band to help people with larger lower abdomens not feel to jiggly, especially when spandex/lyrca just isn't helping to stop the jiggle when doing things like running.)

There was one comment that kinda struck a nerve with me
Sorry but fat people are in denial if they think it’s attractive to show their rolls, stop rationalizing on why it’s okay to reveal some skin when you’re fat!
Comment by Mike
I think this guy Mike just doesn't get it.  It's not about fat people wanting to reveal skin.  It's about us wanting to be counted among those who value their health and well being.  It's like being the only one on a sports team not wearing the uniform.  If we're in the gym, if we're in the yoga studio, we want to look and feel the part of being an athlete while doing the work.

That, and I don't care what size you are -- every person has some part of their body that is unflattering or that they might not be 100% comfortable with.  I mean, even models do the whole standing in the mirror and listing off a litany of their flaws thing.  Everyone has rolls, extra skin, scars, weird lumps and bumps on their body, especially when they have no control over what angle they're viewed from.  You don't need to be a size 16 in order to have body topography.  Should the use of yoga clothing (some of which isn't even that revealing) be denied to all but those with low body fat percentages and modelesque proportions?  HELL NO.

Should lululemon be criticized for their contrasting message of body acceptance and yet not sell clothing in a variety of sizes? Perhaps.  But it's their choice to only produce certain sizes.  Productionwise, it's hard to make plus-size clothing without having to redesign clothing.  Up to a size 12, there are predictable body changes (especially among women).  After a 14/16, women's bodies vary in predictable, but varied ways (adding weight around the hips, around the abdomen, around the chest, through the appendages).  I've never been a particularly bottom-heavy size plus-sized gal.  What if they stopped at 18/20? Should they be criticized for not making a 20/22? It would never end.  But their message of body acceptance is correct -- even if you have to show up for yoga in the clothing that fits you, or heck... go naked in protest.

So anyways, I bought (and fit into) a pair of size 12 lululemon pants.  I'm not quite ready to fit into the tops I liked, and didn't fit into any of the bras.  My lower half is bigger than my top half at this point. 

What I really couldn't deal with was one employee.  I put on the pair of pants with a really cute top.  I knew it didn't fit, but I wanted to show my friend how close I was to being lulu-worthy.  The employee gave me the up and down and made a smarmy look as if to say "I can't believe you think that looks good on you."  She was a petite girl who didn't come by being thin the hard way.  If only I could have told her I started at 240 lbs, maybe she would have understood that this wasn't any normal purchase.  This was a milestone.  This was the second pair of size 12 pants that I've ever owned (having gone from a girl's XL straight to a size 14).

My point is this -- some people have to come by their health and size the hard way.  It would be nice for others (both large and small) to not be judgmental along the way.  I'm a firm believer that you can't instantly know a person just by looking at them, and that it's important to recognize that everyone is on their own journey.

Speaking of journeys... this rant is keeping me from getting to the gym...

Happy 101 Award


I'm so bad about following the rules for awards unless I do them the minute I get them... so here goes... 

Here are the 3 rules:

Post who gave it to ya!

Thanks to the award giver, who wishes to remain anonymous.  (I think you're pretty awesome too :P **pulls left ear and winks**)
State 10 things you like:
1.  Mac N3 Studio Fix Powder -- finally a powder for the very pale girls with sensitive skin!

2.  Teaism Chai -- it's a warm and happy drink.  The right amount of spiciness.

3.  My KitchenAid Stand Mixer -- it's part kitchen appliance, part foreplay.

4.  Chobani Greek Yogurt (plain or raspberry) -- it helps me get my protein in the morning, even when
my tummy isn't cooperating

5.  Precor Elliptical 576i -- even though she might be my cruel mistress, she's never abandoned me and has always reminded me that I can finish.

6.  Body Glide.  Seriously people... prevent chafing wherever it occurs -- thighs, under your sports bra, shoes.  Why suffer the blisters or the red skin when you don't have to?

7, 8, 9.  Harmony Creek Farm handmade herbal soaps, Burberry London perfume, and Victoria's Secret underwear.  Three things that I use/wear every day to feel sexy if for no one else but myself.
 
10. My bed. I think I'll be heading over there soon.

Give this award to 10 other bloggers!  [OMG this is hard b/c I love EVERY blog I read for different reasons...]

1.  Lucy at Diminishing Lucy whose blog hop really introduced me to the fitness blog community. She's also a fantastic mom, which I totally admire.

2.  Also on the list of fantastic moms is Karen at Muffin Fixation.   She is honest, open, and a quick wit.  Three things I love in blog and a person.

3.  Jess at Half of Jess.  I absolutely adore this panda.  I'm so glad she's now living in the same city as me, as it will give me a chance to give her a big hug.

4.  Tara at 263 and Counting.  She is one of the most warm and loving people I think I've met on my journey thus far.  Not saying you're all not, but you all don't send me lovely note cards with Optimus Prime Band Aids on them.  Just sayin....

5.  Chris (I know, a guy!) of Fuck You Cookie. Sometimes I think we take turns being each other's number one fan.  I would really like to see him succeed in the whole weight loss/health gain journey.  He's a really awesome guy and I hope he remembers always that there's someone out there that thinks that.

 6.  Vinny (another guy!) at Fat to Fit Diary, who can, even at my worst moments, remind me that there are good, honest, direct, nurturing, hopeful, kind, sweet, intelligent, and handsome men out there. And he's ever so patient for doing it so often.  Kudos him for fighting the good fight.

7.  Michelle at Hit the Bricks.  I'll just say that she brings out the silly in me.

8. Alicia at Poise in Parma.   Nutella is a health food, right?

9.  Alejandra Ramos over at Always Order Dessert who reminds me time and time again that a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, when used correctly, is a deadly weapon.

10.  And last, but certainly not least, my beautiful cousin, Kristin of Always with a Book.  I might be biased because she's family, but I think she has one of the best book blogs out there. 
 

I totally cheated...

So I haven't been to the gym since August 10th because my back hurt.
Tonight I ran 8.25km in 60 minutes on the elliptical doing my favorite interval program of 10 incline 8 resistance then 4 incline 1 resistance.  It felt good to be back.  I didn't do any weights because I didn't want to press my luck with my back.

And then I came home and weighed myself (this is how I cheated).
Despite everything I'm -2.2lbs at 192.4.
I can see 190 from here.
WTF?!

Make Love of Yourself Perfect

I often quote this to friends (it was quoted to me by Tara Brach) and I am finding that it's what I need to hear for myself now:
You are perfect, only you don’t know it.
Learn to know yourself and you will discover wonders.
All you need is already within you, only you must approach yourself with reverence and love.
Self-condemnation and self-distrust are grievous errors.
Your constant flight from pain and search for pleasure is a sign of the love you bear for yourself;
all I plead with you is this: make love of yourself perfect.
Deny yourself nothing – give yourself infinity and eternity and discover that
you do not need them; you are beyond.

-- Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Back to your regularly scheduled programs...

In no particular order (and in list format, as you know I love lists):

1.  A big shout out to my family that reads my blog.  I'm glad you like it.  I'm tickled you think I'm funny.  And though I'm in DC, I'm glad it can be a way to stay close.  I am really starting to feel that 200+ miles is way too far from all of you.  I think as I grow older and more confident in who I am, the more I want my family to be a part of my identity. Cousins, second cousins, once removed, aunts, uncles, father, brother, friends that feel like family.... man I'm one lucky girl to have this many people love me.  I just hope one day I'm able to adequately and genuinely show my love for each and every one of you in a way that truly expresses just how appreciative I am to have you in my life.

2.  I'm just getting back from a week+ of vacation.  I am so behind on reading all of your blogs. I'm so sorry.   I'm trying to at least skim them so I know if anyone is in crisis or has milestones to celebrate.

3.  It's also been two weeks out of the gym (b/c of my back), sporadically food logging, and not eating according to my plan.  I have 69 days until the wedding.  I think I can manage to lose 20 lbs by then if I buckle down.

4.  Again, another thank you to all the people (my IRL friends, my family, my twitter & blogspot friends) who let me feel a bit broken and emotional.  My date asked me why it's been so long since I've been in a relationship, and I cobbled some sort of explanation together that seemed not too pathetic (i.e. not meeting the right people, socializing with coworkers and not wanting to mix business and pleasure, etc.) but that wasn't the reason at all.  I know what it's like to love someone and lose them.  I barely survived losing my mother.  I can't ever imagine loving someone romantically, knowing that at any turn I could lose that love (by choice or by circumstance).  I don't really know how to put it any other way than that.  Loving someone scares the bejeebus out of me.  And the reason why this rejection hurt more than others (as I'm rather experienced in being rejected) is because I could see past losing him--I could see days filled with him.  By his touching my knee, by meeting my gaze, by running his fingers through my hair, I thought he wanted to at least have a second date and take a chance on me.

5.  And that made me realize that I am not following my own advice.  In times like this, sometimes it's best to focus on loving yourself when your heart is feeling all stomped on. Focus on the task at hand. Focus on the people who take away your fears.

6. I won't weigh myself this week -- but I will next Sunday, per Emily's advice.  I'm hitting the reset button and going balls to the wall.

The long of the short of it....

Sorry about the vague post.  Thank you for all of the crossed fingers -- but it turns out that the happy thoughts were unsuccessful for the intention requested.  But having so much love ended up being exactly what I needed.  I shall explain... 

So I was in NYC for a week on vacation. I decided while I was there, I'd switch my OKCupid.com profile to reflect the Zip code I was in.  Right off the bat, a bunch of interesting guys started to chat me up.

On Sunday, I ended up talking to one guy for two hours.
I decided to ask him if he wanted to meet -- fruitless as it might be because he lived in NYC and I live in DC (but have ties up the wazoo to the NYC/LI area).  He didn't hesitate in agreeing.

Well lemme tell you. OMG I've never felt such chemistry with someone right off the bat like that. When he smiled, my heart melted.  On paper we match so well and I thought we had a great date. And yes, even some amazing kissing (I'm very particular in how I like to kiss -- no slobbering, no tongue jousting contests). I even asked him if he felt the same chemistry in the air and he said yes.

After three days of absolute fretting (if you know me on Twitter, you saw my uncool come out) he emails me that he can't see a future with me.

I'm absolutely baffled.  That day I had to drive out to Long Island to visit my mom's side of the family.  The whole way out I'm crying while I'm driving, and doing the classic "What did I do wrong?!?" thing. I even stopped in a parking lot of a grocery store to reply to the email (which I should not have done.... "I appreciate your honesty and your courtesy. Not gonna lie, I am kinda sad that you can't see at least getting to know each other better. I don't need a future... just a second chance even if it is just as friends.")

I hate that for no matter how much bravado I may or may not have at any given moment, that something like that could totally suck the wind out of me.  That someone could do that. That it wasn't up to me.

There are things I may or may not have done wrong (like the 3rd and 4th glass of wine on a pretty empty stomach) but the ultimate thing I really need to focus on is that nothing is wrong with me, intrinsically speaking.  I am perfectly lovely, and perfectly lovable just the way I am (impatient as I am).

I'm very lucky to have had two of my very best girlfriends on hand to help keep my chin up.  So I cried on the LIE. I wasn't crying over him, per se.  I was upset for myself because I put my heart out there (which is hard for me to do) and still it didn't work out for whatever reason.  I'm very lucky to have been around both sides of my family today (in different locations) to remind me that while I may be single, I am far from alone.

A Vague Post

Just keep your fingers crossed for me.
That's all I ask.

[And don't worry, I'm not going to die]

I've been a bad, bad, girl

I'm not wearing my Body Media Fit.
I'm not food logging.
I've not been in a gym since August 11th.

I've not been on a scale since August 10th.

What does this all mean? 
Either I've been real off my game OR (and the way I'm choosing to interpret things) is that my vacation is also about not letting the numbers or the back pain define me.  I'm measuring this week entirely by enjoyment.  And well, there's been a lot of that.

New York State of Mind

Some business first:

I just want to start highlighting some blogs that I love reading -- not just a whole site, but particular entries -- that I think are helpful, funny, or identifiable as part of the weight loss process:

1.  Ms. Bitch Cakes writes about feeling satisfied about food and being comfortable with your hunger.

2. Jack Sh*t reminds us that there's always a way to find time to exercise.

3. We all have bad days.  KyotoCake writes about having the support to get you through those bad days until good days are on the horizon.

4. After resting on it, Rescuing Lisa finds a healthy way to deal with negative comments.

5. And last, but certainly not least, HalfofJess not only moves across country to start a new chapter in her life, but she does it ??lbs lighter.  You gotta read to find out!

Before there was JayZ and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind" there was Billy Joel, and "New York State of Mind."  Heck. If you're from NYC/Long Island, just about any Billy Joel song can remind you of home (okay, except for "River of Dreams"). 

And I'm definitely in a New York state of mind.  I'll be going up tomorrow and returning to DC on August 29th.  And yes, I count the number of days up there in the number of days I'll be away from my cats.  I love my woozles, oh yes I do.  Yep. Destined to be a weird cat lady. Oh well, guess I won't need this.

I'm attending a Mr. North concert, Bridal Shower #1, and a family party.  My dad's birthday is on Sunday as well, and I hope to visit some family and friends while I have a car at my disposal (I don't normally rent a car, but since I have to drive to middle-of-nowhere NJ for the bridal shower, I'll have a coche this time around).

I haven't been food logging or exercising lately.  I know I'm bad, but as you have all pointed out, my primary focus should be on healing my back.  That's not to say I'm behaving badly, but I'm just focusing on what's important.

Ever notice the small and subtle shifts that your mind makes even when your body doesn't?  For my birthday I wanted to do something physical (kayaking) and on my birthday wish list on amazon.com I had requested a duplicate pair of my gym shoes (so I can keep one at home and one at work/gym) as well as workout videos and a new yoga mat (though I'm considering getting something a bit larger like this).

Veering Off Course

In list format:

1. I often say "I have a case of the stabbies" -- what does that mean? Well in reference to my uterus, the stabbies are either (a) a hemorrhagic ovarian cyst (b) painful cramps or (c) something else that feels like a large kitchen knife residing where it shouldn't be.

2. I've had a case of the stabbies for the past week (consisting of c then b stabbies)

3. My back is still hurting me.  (and I wouldnt' be able to make it through the day at work without my Nada Chair)

4. I've not been to the gym since August 11th, and my step count is around 6,000-8,000 painful, hunched-over steps a day.  And no, life doesn't stop just because I'm in pain. My #1 fear right now is that I won't be able to get back into the gym, that I'll regain the weight, and ultimately I will need to have surgery. That scares the bejeebus out of me. And I'm pretty fearless. Doctors can offer me 3 things: medications (I try not to use them); epidural steroids (make the rest of my body more prone to injury, causes weight gain); or surgery (could fail, could cause more injury to surrounding muscles, long effing recovery).

5. All this put together means that I'm in a funk, and feeling a bit (a) sorry for myself and (2) depressed.  Which means.... my diet has gone to shit.  Last night for dinner I had the Fiber One version of PopTarts. A serving is 1 pastry/190 calories (half a packet).  I had 4 pastries. For a grand total of 760 calories.  And I was well under my caloric target because I hadn't eaten much that day other than a bowl of oatmeal and a salad.

6. Why haven't I been eating?  When I have the stabbies, I am often nauseated.  Because I'm all vomity, I go between not wanting to eat for fear of vomiting and eating crap because it's (a) not long for my stomach or (b) it's the only thing I'm interested in.  ((and this vomity feeling makes grocery shopping impossible!))  Then there's also the fun of migraine headaches (barometric cause -- i.e. weather) that make me nauseated.  It sucks because other than these two things, I have pretty much an iron-clad gut.

7. The end result is that I don't dare go near a scale because I know that even if I've lost weight, I'd feel bad about it because it wasn't through proper nutrition and exercise, and if I've gained weight, I'd feel even worse because I'm all decrepit.

8. I also retreat into myself.  It's not that I actively push people away, it's just that I'm 75% hermit.  I have to force myself to be social sometimes.  I have friends/coworkers I normally talk to every day and I just haven't talked to them.  I kinda know the reason why but I don't really know how to say it.  Suffice it to say, I go home at night and crawl into bed and just hope this will all be over soon.

9. I never did find the hot, sexy man-tendants to either carry my litter around DC or to clean my apartment/do my chores.  Being single sucks when you're sick.  No one to kiss your forehead and tell you it'll all be okay.  Okay, there might be people to do that, but no one you believe.

Broken, but Still Good.

There's a line in Lilo & Stitch where Stitch says "This is my family. It's little and broken, but still good."

That's kinda how I feel about my body -- broken but still good.  Or at least that's how I want to feel about my body. 

In June 2007, I attended a lecture called "Battling Back Pain" at The George Washington University Hospital given by Dr. Warren Yu.  I swear, I was the only one there under 60.  The most disturbing part was that at the time (at my very worst), I had so much in common with these older folks.  The majority of us all walked the same--leaning forward to alleviate the pressure on our compressed nerves (as we're all walking with grocery carts in front of us and we're leaning over it).  We all had the same fears of having back surgery (that it might not solve our problems, or worse, it might cause more/different problems).  We all had the same desire to be active in our lives.

I was so upset after attending this session not only because I had the back of a senior citizen, but that after months of being in pain, I was finally among a group of people who understood what it was like to be in that specific pain.  I didn't need to explain myself.

It is with great humility that I admit two things:
  1. my mom had back issues too (the chiro said 3 herniated discs in her cervical spine and 3 in her lumbar spine), and as a child I just didn't understand why mom would spend hours in bed, couldn't do things like other moms or why she'd drink rum in the morning.  I understand now.  And more than understand, I can now empathize.

  2. While I can sympathize, I can only venture a guess at how it feels to have more serious diseases (MS, CF, Crohn's, Fibromyalgia, cancer, lupus, etc.) that are similar in that they can't be completely healed, only managed.  (See Spoon Theory for a great read on what it's like to have a chronic illness.) 
You might not see me limping around all the time, but trust me, more often than not I'm in pain.  I might not have crutches. I might not be in a wheelchair.  I might not be wearing a back brace.  But trust me, I'm in pain.  I have come to realize that I have good days and I have bad days.  I try not to overdo it on the good days, so I don't incur more bad days.  My bad days have a range to them.  I explained it in a comment

1-10 pain spectrum; 1 being the least pain and 10 being the most pain

1-2 is pretty standard [0 would be no pain...]

3-4 will make me ease up on physical things [like going to the gym or playing sports]

5-6 means I'll use pain meds (valium [muscle relaxant] and vicodin [for pain]) because lying down hurts, as well as ice my back 5-6 times a day

7-8 is when it is hard for me to sit; also has me shuffling to the doctor to talk about (1) if I've done further injury (2) steroids (3) future treatment

9-10 has me laid up in bed, unable to move, mad at the world.

I spent 3 months at 7-10, and went to work 90% of the time (wasn't able to go during 9-10 days)
I can throw my back out doing simple things like washing dishes, shaving my legs, tying my shoe laces, getting out of bed, picking up a cat, etc.  The nerves that are compressed control a variety of other functions.  So if I sneeze, I have to be really careful (1) not to throw my back out and (2) not to pee all over myself.  And since we're being honest here -- or at least I'm being honest and am expecting you to return the trust -- I'm absolutely petrified of being in intimate situations and getting injured.  How mortifying is that and what man wants a broken woman? 

My point to all of this is that sometimes I come off as unsympathetic when friends pull a muscle, strain an ankle, break a nail, have to be on crutches, or sit out a ski season.  It's not that I don't feel bad for them.  I do. I know how much it sucks to have an imperfect body.  Trust me.  What people see as unsympathetic is me wishing that I had their injury and not my own.  I wish my injury had an end in sight, a heal-by date, a remedy.

It's ironic when you're in limbo and yet the thought of bending backwards is absolutely out of the question.

Hrmph.

I'm having some fun lady bit issues. Usually the first day Dot arrives, my stomach is all out of whack.  I'm nauseated and hungry at the same time.  I don't dare eat or drink because it all comes up.

The downside to this is that I can't take medicine (for the uterus, but more importantly, for my back pain) because that too comes up.

whine whine whine
bitch bitch bitch
moan moan moan

And as a complete aside to all of this...
I just got my #fitbloggin ticket.  I'm not 100% sure if I'll attend (it's May 20th and 21th, 2011in Baltimore, MD) but at least the tickets are transferable.  I am not interested in monetizing my blog (at this time) or turning it into a book.  I'm mainly interested in meeting all of my wonderful followers and friends.  And well, I can do that just by visiting Baltimore for the weekend.

Adrift

i am typing this entry on my cellphone, so please forgive me if it isnt't as pretty or as eloquent as it usually is. my neighbor that had formerly provided me with an unsecured network has now secured his or her network. further proof that i am cheap (i can afford internet but i do not want cable or a phone) and lazy (dc has tons of wifi spots around the city.

so the point of all of this? well my cats are good at predicting my health and wellbeing. if their actions are any indication, i will be dead soon. okay maybe that is a touch melodramatic, but right now they are both sleeping on me as i am lying in bed.

lying in bed at 5pm on a sunday, you ask? my back isnt feeling any better (i was walking around dc with family yesterday further exascerbating the issue-especially b/c it was on hard marble and concrete), and my lady bits are mounting a revolution or so it seems. add in the weather giving me a headache and there ya go. in bed on a sunday evening.

i hate feeling sorry for myself.

It's Back! **curses to self**

Yep. It's back.
My #@$# back pain is back.

I don't know what specifically it's from, or whether it's a combination of many things:
2. walking around all weekend
3. walking around in flip flops
4. running (I haven't been doing as much weight work lately)

Whatever it is, my back is not happy.  I can feel the inflammation radiating through my lower back in waves of heat and pain. 

It scares me. It really does.
I try to be mindful of it, and not ask too much of my back.  But realisitically speaking, I could herniate a disc getting out of bed, getting out of a chair, or doing nothing at all. 

So where does that put me in terms of my journey?

1. be mindful of the pain, and treat it gently, crying if I need to.
2. be mindful of the depression that comes along with not being able to do stuff
3. don't deal with it by drinking (that's how my mom dealt with her back pain)
4. STRETCH when possible, ICE when needed
5. focus on my diet (fresh fruits and veg, lean protein, water, Vitamin D supplements)
6. hope that resting my back for a few days will help alleviate the pain
and if all of that fails
7. go back to doctors and discuss another round of epidural steroids
8. get MRI to see if I've caused any additional damage
9. get sexy men to carry me every where on a litter
10. hire some maids/assistants to take care of my apartment/errands

Brain fart...

I haven't been writing in any of my blogs lately (personal or public) and the result is that my head feels a bit out of sorts.  That being said, lots has been bouncing around in my skull.

So in list form:

1.  The thing I've been dying to talk about is a little... well... gross.  But I just wanted to say that one reason everyone should run is that the post-run bowel movement is just about the best thing on this world.  I mean, you can run and sweat and feel like you've done something good for yourself, but it's not until you've gone to the bathroom that you truly feel a weight lifted.  Just sayin.... Oh man, I've been dying to say that for a few weeks.  I know, I'm disgusting and uncouth, but I promised you all I'd be truthful in this space. And well... I know there's more than one person out there that will agree with me.

2.  I've been plateaued for the past few weeks and it's frustrating.  The one thing I need to keep in mind is that I might be gaining muscle and losing fat -- and that the weight difference can make it look like a plateau.  I know my body is changing.  More importantly, I know my mind is changing. 

3.  I also know that this past weekend was a gastric bomb that went off in my meal plan.  Nothing I ate was too bad, and (drumroll please...I didn't get drunk on my birthday; just had 2 beers post-kayaking, 3 drinks at my birthday dinner, and a glass of champagne at the bar.... with tons of water inbetween).  I just ate more than I normally ate, and boy was it nommy! 

4.  And I'm wondering if this will end up having a positive effect on the plateau.  I might've gained some weight with all the eating and my body is like "Whoa! We have calories to burn! Let's go Robby!"  And it'll help me make my way down the scale.  If not, I need to tweak what I'm doing (incuding do something drastic like learning Zumba (I dance like a epileptic newborn deer).

5.  Running on the elliptical has a tendency to be boring.  I wish my back wasn't so craptastic and I could run outside, especially as we move into beautiful fall weather.

6.  I've done something I didn't want to do.  I've had to create lists of "favorites" on Twitter (451 followers) gReader (140 blogs!) and Facebook (379 friends).   This is on top of my personal blog followers and person Facebook friends (colleagues, friends, family).  I feel bad because I think everyone deserves my attention, but at some point it just got to be overwhelming.  So please don't take offense if I'm not reponding to every post.  I'm happy when you lose X lbs.  I'm sorry when you gain Y lbs.  I'm elated when you're eating well.  I'm understanding if you've had a slip up.  I assure you that I'm reading them -- just not always commenting.  If you need to reach me personally, please do! I'm always available if you need support or information!

Mi Apologia...

I'm sorry I've been absent in your lives...

I spent the weekend turning a year older, killing a phone, kayaking a river, eating LOTS of amazing food, and really just feeling loved and celebrated. 

I am sorry if I don't get caught up on blogs as fast as I hope, but do know that I am thinking of you all....

So Sunday was my birthday.  One of my BFFs, Emily (who called me called me "Skinny" when we first saw each other (we haven't seen each other in months) and totally made my weekend!!) came to visit me.

Myself, Emily, my brother, and two friends from college went kayaking around the Potomac River.  So much fun!!

After that we went to a bar and had some drinks and some food (I had turkey sliders and 2 Abita Purple Haze beers).  Then we went to my casa to get ready for dinner.  We (myself, emily, my brother, his girlfriend Gina, my friend Evan, my coworkers Blake and Jen) went to Cafe St. Ex.  Evan, Emily and I then finished off the night with wine at Cork.

All-in-all it was a perfect day (excepting ruining my cell phone and making it hard for people to figure out where in the itinerary we were, despite staying pretty much on target!).

Today, Emily and I went to get manicures/pedicures, get some fantastic food at Farmers & Fishers, do a little shopping at H&M, visit our friend's name on the National Law Enforcement Memorial, get some froyo, jump in the pool and then return Emily to the bus that would take her home.

I then went and had drinks/dinner with friends at a bar.

I spent a whole weekend not caring about calorie counts (but I kept my activity level up) knowing full well that tomorrow morning, I go nose to the grindstone.


[[EDIT:  How's this for the cutest birthday greeting EVER!?!?!]]

Question time!!!

Sooo...

We all know it's important to plan a rest day once or twice a week into your gym schedule (you're going to one, right?) to allow your body to recover.

What do you do on your "day off" to (1) stay motivated (2) keep on track and (3) eat mindfully?

Yeah, I cried like a big big baby...

Ann Taylor Loft size medium shirt
Ann Taylor Loft size 12 skirt (and it was LOOSE!!)

The Stages of Woman

First things first -- thank you to everyone who helped calm me down after the Great Cookie Meltdown of 2010.  After all of that, I went to the gym this morning as planned and ran 8k on the elliptical (on a 10/8, 4/1 crossramp/resistance interval program) in 58 minutes.  I came home and was down .4 lbs.  Who knows what that could be from but at least mentally I know I didn't gain 10 lbs, I didn't undo my progress.  I'm just absolutely mental about everything.  But I'm so incredibly thankful to have my friends who know what it's like.  You all know that it wasn't the cookies (it could have been anything) but it was the panic of undoing my progress, of being the fat girl once again and for ever more.

One person's comment inspired a post, actually.  Shakespeare famously wrote about the Seven Stages of Man.  I wondered what Shakespeare would have writen about all the stages of a woman's body.  If you think about it, our bodies go through radical changes (youth, adolescence, puberty, child-bearing age, maturity, menopause), sometimes so fast that our minds don't even notice the change.  And I think, to a point, we're not encouraged to honor and celibrate those changes.

I'm thinking about the comment, and the friend, and the radical change her body is going through right now.  She's jealous of my body, but for as much as I'm not sure as to whether I want to be a mother, I would love to be pregnant.  Her body is a beautiful factory for new life.  That's something I'm in absolute awe of ((not to mention her two sons are GORGEOUS little boys)).

Celebrities have personal trainers to help them get off the baby weight, but everyone else is left to their own devices.  New moms are told by magazines how to lose the baby weight quickly and get their figure back.  I find that to be a shame.  There's nothing more beautiful and poignant in the world than not just a pregnant woman but a mother and how her body gives her child life from conception to weaning.

I'm reminded of what my mom said about our bodies -- that our bodies were designed to be strong because of the necessities of pregnancy and motherhood.  So too our bodies (and minds) are strong to deal with everything else life has to throw at us.  We just need to open up our minds and hearts to the possibilities that we are stronger than we give ourselves credit for.

[[Addendum:  do I even need to tell you all how many times someone has thought I was pregnant -- asked me how far along I am, whether it's a boy or a girl, if it's my first....]]

The Gorilla in the Room

I ate 750 calories worth of peanut butter cookies as a post-lunch snack.

That lunch? Two slices of Lestina pizza from Bertucci's ("An explosion of Mediterranean flavors - prime white mushrooms, Romano cheese, fresh rosemary and sage, sun-dried tomatoes, sweet roasted garlic and fresh mozzarella"). And yes, they were nommy.  I ate the hell out of the sweet roasted garlic.  Wanna kiss?

Once I figured out the caloric count a single cookie and then multiplied it by the 5 cookies I had, I went into a sheer panic. 


Sheer-absofuckinglute-panic. 


Fat Robby (cousin to Bad Wayne?) took the helm.  She hit me with every judgment and criticism possible about how Good Robby was failing, how Good Robby would never win, how Good Robby just didn't get it.  Fat Robby said "why not eat the whole box, might as well go all the way!" 

I ran this morning (burned 650 calories) and I had just undone all that work with mindless eating. 
A conveyor belt from the box (that I had begged my friend not to bring to me, that his wife baked) to my mouth.   I farmed the cookies off to my office crush just in time for him to tell me he was engaged. 

Luckily for me at a time when I most wanted to cram my mouth full of food (1) I had just given it away and (2) I was already disgusted with the feeding frenzy and (3) was a bit too busy feeling sorry for my single ass (while my coworker reminded me that he was allergic to cats and thus it would never work out).

So my dear readers, I keep on proving my humanity over and over again. 
I just wish I'd learn the lessons. 

I was going to go BACK to the gym to run some more... but as I was leaving my desk, I had an epiphany-- that if these cookies, and eating them, sent me into such a downward spiral, that exercising was just putting a Bandaid over the problem, not addressing it head on.  I came home and cleaned my apt a bit while waiting for my dad's call (helping him once again understand his BodyMedia Fit). 

So what was the problem?  There are certain foods that I just can't be trusted with right now as I can't be moderate or non-judgmental about it.  That will require some practice.  I'm still not out of the woods yet.  Trusting myself to be neutral towards food is something my dietitian and I have had the biggest challenge over.  But I'll understand it one day.


Luckily I have some great friends on Twitter who helped buoy me up
"YOU ARE OK. Breathe. Your cookies did NOT make you undo all your hard work. Realize that :) ...  Don't be defined by the cookies you ate on ONE day in ONE year. It isn't every day, for the rest of your life. Got it? GOOD."

This is not failure.
Remount the horse tomorrow.
Rinse, repeat.  Again.

(yah, i just had to do that in haiku)

No one wants a fella with a social disease...

Disclaimerthe following rant does not apply to men who love women regardless of their body size, not in spite of or because of.  This is for men that love a woman's wit, personality, charm, intelligence, grace, and style in whatever vessel those traits come in.

Evolutionarily speaking, men should be attracted to women with fat on their bodies (breasts, hips especially), as it signals to them that the woman is healthy enough to carry a child and nurse that child.  However, because medicine, science, and economics play a stronger hand in the health and well-being of a child than ever before, those signals are not as important.

The result is that society often dictates to men (and women) what is attractive.  Instead of health and well-being being attractive, attractiveness is mainly judged by aesthetics now.  Media has been telling men what they should feel is sexy in various cycles that waiver between Flappers and burlesque, Twiggy and Tyra.  I'd even go so far as to say that media, society, and peer pressure are overriding what many men feel is attractive to them.  In other words, they might innately feel attracted to a curvier woman, but they don't want to be judged as unsuccessful because they can't attract a lithe model-like woman (I hope you're thinking about the movie American Psycho and the business cards...).  And as anecdotal evidence -- I know so many men that prefer to have sex with a woman with "a little something extra" versus a thin girl (and again, this is purely aesthetics, nothing about personality) but they won't date the girl with junk in the trunk.

Enter people like Kate Winselt and Christina Hendricks.  Christina Hendricks is a size 14.  Yep. Size 14. (Same size I am, different measurements-- she is 36-32-36).  And she is a bona fide sex symbol.  She didn't need to appear on the cover of New York to give men permission to lust for her, she gave it to them herself:
"All those times I had agents who were like, 'You have to lose some weight,' and all of a sudden, people are celebrating it," she told Health. "It's like: 'Oh, thank you! Thank you for letting me be me.'"

"I was having cappuccinos every day!" she told the magazine. "I would take my clothes off in front of the mirror and be like, 'Oh, I look like a woman.' And I felt beautiful, and I never tried to lose it, 'cause I loved it."
So this post is going to act as a few things:
1.  Kudos to the women who feel comfortable in the skin.  Your sexiness is undeniable.

2.  Kudos to those (friends, lovers, admirers, photographers, artists, etc.) who love women who are comfortable in their skin. 

3.  My empathy for any and all women (and men) who do not feel comfortable in their skin.  I hope you find the joy of your body soon.  You are beautiful just as you are.

4. And a huge FUCK YOU to anyone who tries to put me or anyone else down for loving the body they have.  No matter your size, you have the abilty to love your body.  Do yourself a favor and be generous to yourself.

Lowest Point

Jess at Half of Jess wrote today about her highest weight and lowest point. She ends her post asking:
What was your lowest point?
What made you decide to change your life?

Oddly enough I don't remember too much about my highest weight, at least in terms of how it affected me emotionally.  I know I was unhappy, but it was never the depth of how far I could be depressed.  Losing my mom held that place solidly.

But I have two lowest points -- one was physical and the other was emotional.

Emotionally, it was realizing that a guy was okay with using me for sex (and I was okay with letting him) but was not okay to actually date me and have a relationship with me.  I was an embarrassment of sorts.  That realization made me quite sad for myself, and made me wonder if I was selling myself short.  This lead to the great celibacy pledge of 2006, which has continued in 2007, 2008, 2009 and into 2010.  It's not what lead me to want to change physically, but it was what gave me a backbone...

...which leads me to my lowest point physically, which was emotionally very trying and physically exhausting. 

Imagine being at work, in the bathroom, and unable to get up from the toilet.  Being able to sit was hard enough, but getting up...my back was not having any of it.  Now I know I've talked about my back injury before, but I haven't really explained it.  The long of the short of it is:
  • 1997:  in high school gym a linebacker body checked me into a wall accidentally
  • Feb 1999:  in college, I got up from a lab table, and couldn't stand up; orthopedist asked me if i had too much rough sex (was a virgin)
  • 2006: (Aug.) started experiencing sciatica; doctor told me to lose weight and get stronger core muscles; (Sept.) did physical therapy; (Oct.) joined a gym, got a trainer
  • March 2007:  Went to concert where I was pulled down in audience, landed awkwardly on someone’s foot and equipment, and had seven people fall on me; MRI shows annular tears, bulging discs in L3-L4, L4-L5, and L5-S1; no exercise allowed
  • Turns out that not only did I have a traumatic injury (they could also see where my tailbone was fractured from a freak accident in 1993) but I also had the familial (my mom had a very bad back) genetic degenerative disc disease.  In other words, my spine was aging faster than I was. 
For the next three months, I wasn't able to stand up straight.

I developed plantar fasciitis in both feet. I needed Valium and Vicodin to sleep. I was hobbling home every day from work in pain, shoving ice packs down the back of my pants the minute I got through the door.  During this time I did two rounds of epidural steroids that left my body weak.  I put on some weight from (1) not being able to move and (2) the horrible depression that comes with feeling like a 60 y/o in a 26 y/o body.

I think worst of all was when my friends didn't quite grasp what I was going through.  I think most people thought it was like having sore muscles.  Few people realized that just about everything I did caused pain -- from sleeping, to sitting in a chair, to washing dishes at the sink, to carrying home groceries.  Fewer people offered to help, and I wasn't at the point where I knew how to ask.

I still go through periods of time where either my back hurts me or because of my back the mechanics of another body part are off (such as my knee). But it's because of this injury, I know just how tough I am.  I have the resolve of a Spartan.  My mom dealt with the pain of her bad back by drinking, but I knew I wouldn't go the same route.

But truly, the lowest point I had was wondering how the hell I was going to get out of that bathroom stall.  Would I need someone to come under the door, unlock the stall, and pull me up (along with my pants).  Would it be a friend or someone random?  Would I have to go through this every day?  I just sat there and cried -- out of pain, out of embarrassment, and out of feeling helpless.

Now, you don't really rebound from a low point like that in a normal way.  You take a deep breath and realize that (1) any day you're walking is a good one (2) that a spinal fusion could be lurking around any corner and (3) given both of those things, might as well take advantage of the good days you can walk and try to run.

It's cute and funny when a thin, pretty woman is injured and needs help getting out of the bathroom.
It's not as funny when it's the obese woman.

Who would ever want a broken woman?

Life's Lessons

I remember being at the Museum of Natural History, taking a class with Dr. Douglas Ubelaker when he was trying to illustrate a very important point -- we could use our formulas to determine what "race" a certain set of bones belonged to (I put "race" in quotes because it's archaic terminology that isn't accurate in describing ethnicity) but while our data might lead us to one set of conclusions, the reality of the situation might be different.  In other words, the amount of variation within any one "race" was greater than the variation between the "races":  we have more in common than meets the eye. 

You might be thinking "what the heck does this have to do with weightloss/health gain."  Well, remember last month I posted a blog about jealousy and making assumptions?  Well a conversation I had today really drove this point home.  A coworker of mine is a beautiful woman, who wears probably a size 4, is french, and tall and lean.  We were at the gym together tonight and we got to talking about what we were trying to accomplish (she wants to lose the weight she added on in America, and I guess I could say the same).  She had gained 12lbs in the 4 months she's been here! I had no idea where she hid it!

I was surprised when she brought up the subject of emotional eating, or eating out of boredom.  I kinda did a double take.  This beautiful thin woman had the same issues I have.  She talked about her love and lust for ice cream and cookies.  She talked about her frustration of not being able to find fresh fruits and vegetables for lunch.  She talked about how food is omnipresent in our lives -- we can't escape the sights and smells of food.

I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  And I scolded myself a little bit for not thinking that she too could have the same weaknesses as I did. 

But bless her little heart.  We were trying to convert pounds to kilograms and I said that I weigh around 195lbs (I looked it up, I am actually 88 kg--so yay me for having a grasp on math!!) and she said in her cute french accent "Zat eez not pozzible!"  She thought I weighed 80kg or so, or 176 lbs.  So yeah, she's my new best friend.  Sorry Emily.  Sorry Nancy.

Housekeeping Post

1. I did NOT reach my July goal of getting to 190.  I'm kinda hanging around 195.  I know this is, in part, due to gaining muscle, so I'm not too freaked out by it. 

2. But I am still getting my "reward" of a mini-vacation to NYC because I have to be up there for parties on Aug. 21 and Aug. 28, and my dad's birthday is Aug. 22,  so I'm just going to stay up there the week in-between.  I figure the "punishment" is having Emily kick my ass a bit.

3. My amazing friend, Tara, is doing the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team in Training.  Help her reach her $1800 fundraising goal!

4.  Every year I get an amazing gift for my birthday:  Shark Week!  In honor of Shark Week, remember to be fearless, graceful, and to chew your food really well.

5.  Yeah, I turn 29 in a week.  I weigh less now than I did at 19.  Ain't that a headscratcher?  As I get older there are fewer things I want for my birthday.  As simple as it seems, all I really want is a day where I don't have to worry about everyone else.  I don't want to have to coordinate anything, I don't want to worry about anyone else's dietary preferences/needs.  I just want to do my thing.  Part of this is because I get depressed every year around my birthday as well as bad things happening around my birthday.  If I could go a year where I don't get dumped, my leg isn't in a cast, it's actually remembered, no one shows signs of terminal illnesses, or there are no fights, I'll be happy.

6.  Please, if I'm not following your blog and should be, please let me know.  Between Blogger, Facebook, and Twitter, there are a lot of people to be keeping track of!


Isn't Phoenix handsome?? He's a really good guy that loves a thorough belly rub.  I mean, who doesn't? He's currently being fostered, but contact the Washington Animal Rescue League if you're interested in this lovebug, or if you want to make a donation (money donations or from their wish list).  I know we're also running low on slip leads.

Phoenix Foster Care Male
Breed: Labrador Retriever Mix
Canine-alitytmGoofball
Age: Adult   Size: Large

Phoenix is an 8-year-old Lab Mix. Phoenix and his brother were surrendered to the League when their owner moved somewhere that did not allow pets. He is a very sweet boy, who loves to romp and play. Phoenix has always lived with another dog, so we'd like to send him home with a calm canine companion.