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Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I always suffer some kind of serious meltdown around this time of year. At least, I have for the last few years.

The last two weeks of February are, basically, the worst two weeks of the year. You see, they fall smack in the middle of Valentine's Day (which I inevitably spend alone, making valiant efforts to ignore the fact that it's Valentine's Day) and my birthday (March 2nd).

Nothing like a one-two punch of being reminded of being alone and getting older to make a girl feel like eating the pantry.

At any rate, it's a pattern that I recognize, I should have realized it was coming or what was happening sooner, but I didn't. I've got its number now, though, and am going right back to plan today.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Full Disclosure

I concluded Monday's post with this tantalizing teaser:

The path to fat is clearly paved with good menu plans; though I am back on the straight and narrow today (with a nauseating weight this morning that I dare not divulge until I have re-lost it come Saturday's official weigh-in day), I must keep in mind that it doesn't take much to veer off the edge of the road and end up back in the land(fill) that is Food is Love.

Today was weigh-in day.

You want to know, don't you?

Monday - 135.6kg (298.95lbs)
Saturday - 129.6kg (285.72lbs)

My body's water retention ability is truly incredible. I have a friend who is convinced I should either go on The Biggest Loser OR volunteer myself for scientific research, because my body is clearly a mystery.

I mean, if you think about it... I weighed in on Monday morning... and then on Saturday morning... so that's really only five full days between the two. I lost more than 13-pounds in five days??

At the beginning of February, I'd decided that I was going to aim for 275 for my birthday (March 2nd). That is still within my reach, I think. It will take a heck of a lot of work and a lot of working out, but I do think that it's possible. Getting back under 280 is definitely possible.

In other not-so-new-news? Hot liquids may be the best health foods ever (with the obvious exception of heavy cream versions of soups and drinks). When I eat brothy soup or drink hot tea or coffee, I feel full for a verrrrrrry long time.

By the way... photos?

Senior year of high school (1999). Probably pushing 340-pounds:

Halloween (2009), hovering in the 280s. Not my favorite picture ever, but the closest to the other pose that I could find:

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Confessional

"Forgive me, blog, for I have sinned."

"How long as it been since your last confession?"

"Oh, not long enough, sir."

"Why do you say that?"

"Every week, I power my way through All Bran, fresh fruit, tasteless soup, pounds of tofu, chicken breast after chicken breast... in the hopes that my next blog will be a testimonial, but then the weekend comes, the week 2 curse comes, a blizzard comes, some poor sap who visited Okinawa and bought me cookies comes.... and I sin. And when I sin, oh boy, do I sin GOOD."

"Tell me more of these sins."

"Well, you see, blog, it's fried chicken. It's potato chips. It's cheese puffs and Doritos, potstickers and potato salad. I-I-I...I'm a junkfood whore, blog! Always letting them have their way with me! *sobs* Sometimes twice in one day!"

"Shh, shh... it's ok. The gods of health, diet, and exercise may be angry with you right now (as is your lower intestine), but you can still appease them. Do 15 Hail Willpowers and expel all chemical 'food-like-substances' from your system and bring me a testimonial next week."

"Thank you, blog, oh thank you... Hail Willpower, full of logic, fiber is with thee..."

Sigh. SIGH.

I'm as tired of typing up excuses as you surely are of reading them. But, honestly, who can keep their healthy lifestyle focus in the middle of the third record-shattering blizzard in as many months? I applaud those of you who can, I honestly do, but I do not count myself among you. I can handle being alone for hours, even days at a time. I can handle not setting foot outside my apartment for up to three or four days.

I can not handle silent contemplation of a salad with low fat dressing while 40mph winds blow snow/ice balls the size of BB gun pellets against my windows and deep down, I wish I were staring at a pound of lasagna piled high with some overly buttered garlic bread on the side.

I can not handle cooking (a healthy) dinner, clearing a space to work out in my small apartment, then working out when I get home two hours later than I'd planned due to the train's aggravating inability to cope with the weather. Salmon and broccoli and Bob Harper do not make for a comforting evening after waiting in the cold at a train station for two hours. Perhaps they should, but they don't.

Once I start down the sinner's path, I almost never turn back until at least two or three days have passed. Roads paved with hydrogenated oils, vats of corn syrup, and 15-syllable chemical miracles are the only ones I seem able to run on... everything else is a mere crawl.

Yeah, like that.

But you know what's weird? And works as a subconscious fiend, undermining everything I do?

The scale.

"Yeah, yeah, everyone hates their scale. Get over it."

Oh, no, friend. No, I don't hate my scale. I love it. I love it the first week I'm eating on a healthy plan and I drop weight Biggest Loser style. I get on it every single morning and I lose half a pound, a pound, two pounds. In one week, I lose 10. It's amazing.

And then? The week 2 curse.

Day 8, up half a pound. Excuse me? I did nothing to deserve that. I ate under my calorie target yesterday! Ugh, it's fine. It's probably water retention and rebound from being so awesome last week. It's fine. I have Zumba today anyway.

Day 9, up another half a pound. Wait, WHAT? I burned 600 calories in my Zumba class yesterday, what do you MEAN +0.5??? Hold on, calm down... I totally killed my muscles in that class. Killed muscles retain water like crazy for healing. Tomorrow, it'll be gone. I've got a 40-minute walk to school, now, so this will be a good week.

Day 10, no change. So, I've gained, and maintained, a full pound since I weighed in on Saturday and you're not going to give it back to me? Even though I had a 45-minute Zumba class AND a 40-minute walking commute to school? We'll see about that... oh, the students brought chocolate for the teachers from Tokyo Disneyland? Cute... I'll just keep it in my desk drawer here until I am here on a day where I know I have the calories free for it.

Day 11, no change, or another gain. Well, that's just uncalled for... ooh, who brought cakes from Osaka to school? Mmm, banana.... caaaaaaaake.

And so it continues. Around day 11 or day 12, with absolutely no help or encouragement from the scale, I start to get depressed. I want chocolate, because it will make me feel better, even if only for a fraction of a second. I take sips and nibbles that I don't account for in my food diary. I give up entirely on cooking my own food, because obviously it isn't doing me any good AND it's creating a pile of dirty dishes that I would rather not have to clean. At this point, it's almost the weekend, and the weekend mentality morphs "a piece of chocolate will make me feel better" into "the entire junk food aisle at the supermarket will make me feel AWESOME." And it does. I think.

I mean, Homer dreams about the land made out of candy because that's where he's happy, right? The small province called "Food is Love, Population: 1." It takes away the stress! Right? Maybe? Actively doing something to make myself fatter helps me to feel better about being depressed because of my fat?! (Error, error, does not compute. Logic failure in line 894.)

I honestly can't remember how it makes me feel. Because you know what? It's like being high. And then, it's like crashing so hard that I want to die. I oversleep alarms the day after a bender - every single time. Why? Because my body is too busy digesting Mr. 15-Syllables Chemical and converting sugar to ass-fat to bother supplying my brain with blood and Oxygen.

I know these things. Obviously, I do. My friend tells me that it's amazing how in-tune I am with my body (recognizing bloat in my face the moment that it appears, that junk food makes me oversleep, that Kit-Kats give me terrible gas - true facts!). What I find amazing is how in-tune I can be with my body, and how completely ignorant I can be when it comes to taking care of it.

Being so self-aware and yet so negligent has got to be some sort of psychological disorder. Isn't it? Kids run around slicing their arms open with box cutters, intentionally harming themselves, and it's a cry for help and/or attention. What does it mean when the intentional harm comes in the guise of Oreos and chicken nuggets? A cry for seconds?

The path to fat is clearly paved with good menu plans; though I am back on the straight and narrow today (with a nauseating weight this morning that I dare not divulge until I have re-lost it come Saturday's official weigh-in day), I must keep in mind that it doesn't take much to veer off the edge of the road and end up back in the land(fill) that is Food is Love.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Apologies for a second-rate post... this P.O.S. computer locked up JUST at the end of having written this blog for an hour. I didn't even tell it to post, I just clicked in the title bar and Internet Explorer flipped me the proverbial bird and ran off, taking my hard work with it. We all know... the second time is never as good.

Thank god it's February.

Honestly. Thank god.

I can barely stomach January, anymore. (And I know my pants couldn't take much more...)

When the world is focused on weight loss, I honestly want nothing to do with the weight loss world. Being bombarded 24-7 by news feeds ("No, Really, AIR is Making YOU FAT!"), over-eager newbies on dieting boards ("Frustrated!!! HELP!! I didn't loose pounds in one day!!!!!1111!!!"), and TV ("And in our next segment, headless fat person #239487235 waddling down the street, because no one in their right mind would sign off allowing a network to make them the face of American obesity... unless it's Biggest Loser.").

It bores me.

It exhausts me.

I spent most of January avoiding all manner of diet propaganda and even the diet board that I pay money to frequent. I don't think that anyone ever meant for 'enthusiasm' to be included in the list of things implied by "Too much of a good thing can be bad," but for me, it certainly is. I get annoyed by the constant thrashings with the Upbeat Whip ("YOU CAN DO IT!!!" "HANG IN THERE!!!!" "IT'S ONLY ONE DAY!!!!" yes, the Upbeat Whip consists solely of Caps Lock and exclamation points and platitudes) and by seeing the same question asked again and again and again.

Though a teacher by trade, and though I delight in providing well-thought-out answers to equally well-thought-out questions, I really can't handle the flood of Resolution Raiders who swarm the boards and ask questions that could just as easily have been answered by some strategic search terms in a query box. If you do feel a need to re-hash a question, throw us a bone and include some fact that shows you did your reasearch and remain baffled. Otherwise, the urge to send you to Google may become too strong and I won't be able to help myself.

(I also tend to avoid posting on boards because I have to preface most things with "In Japan..." and I think that makes me sound like a pretentious asshole. Though I do like to read through a good discussion here and there.)

Now that February has come, many of the Resolution Raiders have faded (only to return in next year's sequel, Raiders of the Lost Resolution XIII) and the internet is a relatively safe place to be. Only the occasional news story about which new sucrose is going to kill us all pops up between natural disasters of epic proportions and awards shows that people don't really watch anymore.

A related habit of mine, however, remains. When other people I know are doing well on their journey toward weight loss and a healthier lifestyle, I want to give up. I feel like this relates to my apparent allergy to over-enthusiasm and my inherently competetive spirit.

When anyone I know decides that they are going to straighten up, fly right, get fit, lose weight, etc., they are automatically months (if not years) closer to their ultimate goals than I am. I have absolutely no chance of attaining Health Nirvana before them. Even if I could operate my Healthy Lifestyle Engine at 100% efficiency 100% of the time, I would not catch up to my average pal operating at 100% only 50% of the time. Or 75% all of the time. Somewhere inside, I'm aware that it isn't a competition or a race, but usually, it still feels like one. Who in their right mind would enter a race they know they can't possibly win? It's madness.

This is a personal obstacle which I am working to overcome. So far, so good.

Finally, I'm going to try something new in February. Scheduling my work outs. I have had mentally scheduled work out routines for years and never followed through with a thing. However, I have a colorful new 2010 planner with big monthly pages and daily plan pages and I am going to try writing them down. I have scheduled exercise for the entire month of February, as follows:

2/2 (Tuesday) - Biggest Loser Cardio Max (I hate you, Bob...)
2/5 (Friday) - Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred (I REALLY hate you, Jillian...)
2/7 (Sunday) - The Method: Target Specifics with Jennifer Kries (a.k.a. Pink Yoga Bitch, or PYB - it's a term of endearment!)
2/9 (Tuesday) - BL Cardio Max
2/11 (Thursday) - Zumba class!
2/14 (Sunday) - PYB
2/16 (Tuesday) - BL Cardio Max
2/19 (Friday) - 30-Day Shred
2/21 (Sunday) - Zumba class!
2/23 (Tuesday) - BL Cardio Max
2/26 (Friday) - 30-Day Shred
2/28 (Sunday) - PYB

Overall goals for February are:

- 1,500-2,000 calories daily (will look at monthly average, assuming accurate logging everyday)
- Exercise (for the sake of exercise) 10 or more times
- Eat restaurant meals fewer than 8 times (less than twice a week)
- Have 4 or fewer alcoholic drinks (less than once a week; normally, this goal would not be necessary as I barely drink anything... ever... but there are birthday celebrations to be attended this month and I want a solid guideline for myself)
- 275 pounds (February 1st weight: 284.4 pounds)