Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Difference of a Single Letter

I don't think I've been this excited waiting for something that I ordered to arrive in the mail since I collected cereal box tops and mailed them in for the special offer.

It seemed like we never collected all the boxtops we needed before the offer expired. So my most prized cereal box collectible was a record that you cut off the back of the box. A 45, no probably a 78. (Well according to the picture--imagine my delight upon finding it--it was a 33 1/3?)

It was Sugar, Sugar by The Archies. I kept it for a very long time. As I recall, it played pretty well. I can't hear the song without feeling this surge of 6-year-old pride.

Somehow, this time, though, I had managed to collect enough boxtops, so I was waiting for the arrival of a hand-held little movie projector. I vividly remember the distinctive click, click, click it made as you turned the crank to watch the movie, even though now I don't recall what that much anticipated movie was.

The next time I saw a hand-controlled movie projector like that, though, I clearly remember the story. I was at my gynecologist's office--getting my first birth control--a diaphragm. The nurse brought in the same type of little hand-held movie projector that I had ordered with box tops. It made the same click, click, click as you turned the crank to watch the movie. She told me to watch it as many times as I needed to to understand how to insert the thing.

I held it up to the light. When I turned it, click, click, click, this woman would come into view and put her leg up on chair, click, click, click. Then you could see her squeeze the diaphragm between her fingers and move her hand to insert it. You could run it forward, click, click, and backward, click, click, click, so you would see her do it all in reverse.

Your could play it fast, clickclickclickclickclick, or really slowly to make sure you got all the details. . . click. . . click. . . click. . . . . . . .click. . . . . .click. . . I think she inserted it in different positions, lying down and sitting as well as standing. I remember feeling self-conscious about the clicking, like the doctor's staff was listening to me through the door, wondering when the girl would finally "get it." Being afraid if I stopped clicking to practice inserting the thing that the nurse would come back in and surprise me mid act!

By now, you're probably wondering what the hell I've ordered . . . some brown box from some euphemistically named company.

But! It's a MizFit bracelet. I want a talisman, something to remind me of my new identity and goal.

How the one letter makes such a difference. That's what immediately drew me to it. No longer the misfit:

  • Who cried with my sister over the cruelty of the poor misfit toys in Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • Who felt a special connection with the song Different Is Hard from one of my favorite childhood movies--HR PuffinStuff
  • Who was already too heavy to ride on a big wheel when they came out
  • Whose mother bought polyester fake denim material to have elastic-banded pants made because I never fit into jeans
  • Who wore long-sleeved shirts underneath short-sleeved shorts in the winter time because sweaters weren't for fat little girls
  • Who sat practically on top of the blackboard because I couldn't see but felt like a freak by needing glasses
  • Who was alone in the house with my sister, still waiting for our parents to get home, when other kids were going inside for dinner
  • Who got teased over my lack of athletic ability and confidence
  • Who felt misunderstood by my neighborhood friends who weren't in "college prep" classes and who claimed they could tell I was smart just by the words I used
  • Who cred even harder when my mom tried to soothe my pained adolescent and teen self with the words, "It's lonely at the top."
  • Who was told when asking for the application to work as a waitress at Red Lobster that the uniform was a mini skirt, did I still want to apply?
  • Who always ended up sitting through the boyfriend talk, the "if only you weren't so fat. . . " chest crushing, brain numbing talk (until the last boyfriend. . . my husband)

Click to Watch WitchiPoo Singing Different Is Hard

Now, it will be MizFit. What will MizFit do? I can't wait to find out. The bracelet will be my amulet. My superpower cape. My identity bracelet of my new self. (Dare we compare it to my transformation of "becoming a woman"?!) Oh, let it arrive; let me arrive. . . here she comes. . . MIZZZ . . .

23 Flights Down "Is" a Workout!

Who would have thunk that walking DOWN stairs would feel like exercise?

I mean I knew that walking down stairs had a tendency to exacerbate knee problems (which I believe is one of the reasons stair machines only go up), but I didn't realize how many muscles you use. . . well I didn't until yesterday's fire drill when we had to descend 23 flights, that is!

Today my legs are sore! Mostly my hamstrings, a little quad, a little glute. And! It hurts to climb up the stairs--that's when I feel those quads.

It was quite an experience. First of all, if I'd only been seconds faster, I would have been on the elevator going down to get a Starbucks. . . but nooo. . . I was seconds too late.

The alarm started going off and I could see this man standing wearing an orange vest holding the mechanical room door open. I said, "Did you do that?" He said yes and that it was a drill and we could decide ourselves what we wanted to do.

Well, I KNEW what I wanted to do--I wanted go back to my desk! Alas, two of my direct reports were standing right next to me so I also knew management would not take kindly to my less than a MizFit response!

So to the stairwell we went. Next, it turned out that somehow I was the one leading the pack. (There is only one floor above ours, and it's the same company.) Everyone was behind me. . .no one in sight in front of me. Not exactly my most comfortable situation, as in I had lots of free floating anxiety about my speed, noise of my breath filling my head. etc.

Comments were made about me leading the pack, and I offered in the most non defensive, even voice that people could come in front of me if they wanted. . .but no one did, so I guess I was moving steadily enough!

The first problem was (well besides the free-flowing anxiety, the awareness that I am so broad that it would be difficult in the narrow stairwell for someone to walk next to me, and the fact that my sleeve kept getting caught on the top of hand rail--all of which I'm pushing aside in the "oh well" category) that the stairs started to get this moire effect. . . so they look like they are moving a bit, and that made me a tad dizzy.

The next problem was when we got to the 5th floor, my legs started getting tired. . . (the woman behind me said she had "noodle" legs).

When we finally got outside, my shoulder hurt too from gripping the handrail to drag myself down obviously! YOWZA!

Then we had to walk down hill a few blocks to our meeting spot (and you know what it means if you walk down hill. . . you gotta come back. . .).

It turns our our little fire drill gave me at least 16 minutes of aerobic steps on my pedometer. (My pedometer is such that it logs aerobic steps after you've moved continuously for 10 minutes. So if you only walk 9 minutes, you get a 0 aerobic reading.)

When I told Trainer D, who I thought might tease me or feel sorry for me, she said, "HOLY S*--that's a lot of steps!! Good for you!! You might not have been able to do that last year." And it's scary and a tad humiliating to think so, but she may be right. . .I think my knee may have given out. Yeah for me!

So here are some stair descending facts--all sources may not be equally reliable:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Product Placements

Here are 3 new foods I've tried and like quite a bit.

I've only seen Smooze in Whole Foods. In the store I go to, it's near the milk, just in a box in the aisle. You freeze it once you get home. These look small but they are really creamy and satisfying and only 1 PT (50 calories). All 4 flavors have coconut in them. I have tried pineapple-coconut and passion fruit-coconut. Both are good. These take me longer to eat than a Weight Watchers bar, which is another reason I like them.

My PhD turned me on to Better'n Peanut Butter. This is good stuff, and I'm a CRUNCHY fan (I only saw this in creamy). The way they describe the peanuts is kind of weird in a way I don't get.


I mean what is defatted peanut flower? But this stuff is only 2 PTs for 2 TABLESPOONS, so I don't see anything that seems so odd that I think it will kill me. You do have to refrigerate this, but it doesn't separate like natural peanut butter.

I can't say I've had much carrot soup, but I really liked this. Not an overwhelmingly strong taste, but just nice and warm and creamy going down. The box has 2 servings--each 2 PTs. Don't do as I did and pour into a Styrofoam bowl to microwave. . . I ended up with something that looked like a fallen pottery bowl and a big orange mess! Eating carrot soup makes you feel really wholesome and nutritiously self righteous!


I had a really great workout with Trainer D. There were a few things that have been a struggle for me in the past that were much easier today.

One was side lunges over the bosu ball. To do this you stand on one side of the bosu, step up on it with one leg, then step up the other leg, keeping your balance and stepping off on the other side. When D demonstrates she kind of "hops" over. When I've done it, I step up tentatively and slowly add the other leg and wobble to get my balance before stepping off. Today, I didn't hop, but I certainly had a more consistent, flowing pace. I don't know which of us was more surprised!

The other thing was reverse crunches. These are when you lie on your back and pull your knees up toward your chest, without putting your feet down between reps. These are hard! They work your lower abs. The last couple sessions I've done these on a declining bench and basically did 2 at a time for a set of 12. Today, I did them on a flat bench and just smoothly kept working through them up to a set of 15!

D thinks it's the water aerobics that has helped me feel more confident moving and improving my balance.

And! I left my workout with D to go straight to a water aerobics class. So is that a push or what, PhD?!

And last, but not least, drum roll please. . . I turned down the pretty little cellophane bag filled with candy from the company and didn't eat any candy from our office visiting little trick or treaters!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Searching for a Direct Route

I met today with PhD again today (I don't have a set weekly appt yet--just trying to hit as many 5 PM appts as possible.)

She is really different than any other therapist I've worked with. Like today, I came in and she said, "I have 2 questions for you as a theme to our session." I've always directed sessions with therapists before--talked about what was on my mind, what I wanted the theme of the session to be. At first I was a bit taken aback. But I just went with it.

After I got home, talking about it with Hubby, I realized the difference. This isn't my typical counseling--it's not a focus about me and the events in my life--and thankfully, that's not really what I need right now. Instead, I'm getting what I signed up for--weight counseling. She's provoking my thoughts based on her expertise and experience. It sounds really basic, but it's taken (obviously) a few weeks for me to figure this out--and to appreciate it.

So today's 2 questions were:
  1. What would it take for me to get really directed and focused on losing weight? For instance, are there things I'm doing right now that are distracting me that could be delayed? Am I doing something to stand in my own way?
  2. What am I doing to really push myself?

My interpretation of #1 is what can I do to make my weight loss journey more directed--less full of detours and roadblocks and stalls?

And that right there is kind of a flash for me. When I lost weight before, my goal was to lose a significant amount and keep it off for a sustained period to prove to myself that I could maintain weight loss. (Because there is no worse feeling than to lose 15 or 20 pounds only to immediately start regaining--usually gaining more.) So I did that. I lost 60 pounds and maintained it for 6 years.

Now, the truth is that I don't believe I can get down to a "normal" healthy weight in the recommended BMI. It's never been part of my experience. So to be directed about it feels really scary and likely lots of effort without the intended reward. So my belief in myself is definitely an obstacle. I do know, though, that belief often follows actions, not vice versa.

And as far as #2 goes, PhD suggested I set some rules up for myself to make it easier initially. For instance, she suggested I set rules about what restaurants we eat at for right now and what kinds of things I order. I've done that kind of thing before. But the difference I want to make now is to set the "rules," not so much as dos and don'ts but as identity statements.

When PhD talked, she talked about what her old self did--eat everything on the buffet--to what her new self does---pick 4 or 5 items. Her new self stops eating when she feels satisfied and is mentally satisfied and comfortable visiting with her friends even if they continue to eat.

My plan is not to write "rules," but to write identity statements. Then I can say them to myself as necessary until they become part of me.

Here are a few starters:

  • I am a walker. I take the long way around to get somewhere. Like on my coffee breaks, I go right so I can do a quick "lap" around the circular stairwell, then back to the left so I can catch a breath of fresh air outside.
  • When I eat lunch out, I prefer salads or veggie options.

More to come. . .


I bought little halloween ceremic planters, filled with little candy sticks (sticks with little chocolates on them), for my team at work. Of course, I bought one for myself too. My justification was that tomorrow there's a party at work for the kids. But this morning as I was putting the bag in my car, I thought, I can't have this on my desk--those little candy bars will be too tempting. . .first just one. . .

So on my drive in, I kept thinking, who can I give the last one to. . .?

I had someone in mind, but saw another woman first. When I gave it to her, she said she was "overwhelmed."

And! I'm really proud of myself that I didn't tell her the whole story.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Coming in for a Landing

I am done circling. I have seen the orange beacons guiding me to land. Hallelujah! I made several decisions in the last few days.

First, I've decided to use Weight Watchers points as my tracking guide instead of counting calories, which I had been giving thought to. I didn't really found any good calorie counter (I wanted a widget like my fitlink widget.). The food tracking guides I've found--Sparkpeople, Calorie Balance Diet,, and Nutrition Day--seem to have some good elements and I may give pieces of them more of an in-depth look and trial run, but ultimately, thinking about using them felt like work. Plus, I took a quiz on one of them about calories and realized I don't have a lot of stored calorie info in my head. But I do have lots of Points info in my head, so why not make it simple and go with what I know.

I did download Nutrition Data's widget--see it on the right toward the top. You get some interesting data about how well a food will sate you--keep you feeling full.

Next, I've decided to try using lists on this site in a sidebar to post my planned menu for the week. (I have a nice post it note Weekly calendar that I use for this on my fridge.) The menus are typically the big pic--not the detail.

So for the detail, I've decided to use this spiral bound index card notebook I got. This is where I will track my daily points and the details of what I eat. I chose the index card notebook because it will work well with a recipe box I used to use. In it, I have sections based on points for meals--like 5 point breakfasts and lunches. This way I can pull existing menus into my notebook or tear out a good menu to file in my box.

Back to counting points. I want to give myself a daily points range, which was the way the plan was set up when I had my success, not have a single point value and 35 extra points. I think I did better and was less likely to overdo on a day when I had a range and set a goal of a daily average of points.

I also plan to focus on whole foods, not processed or packaged ones. Though I do have several frozen entrees in my fridge. . .and I bought a couple of 100 calorie packs. . .but I want those to be the exception not the rule.

These are decisions I've been waffling on for a while, so I feel good about being more directed.

I also made a promise to PhD to push myself more physically. My commitment was to climb the 2 flights of stairs in my house sequentially 3 times a day. I need to build my endurance because all my Christmas decorations are in the attic so I need to be able to make the trip multiple times without keeling over! Last year we had Thanksgiving dinner at our house, so I had my nephew & his wife, and my niece and brother-in-law haul stuff down for me in multiple trips. This year we're going to my sister's . . .

I have to tell you I abhore stair climbing. Hubby's been good--dreaming up things he'd like for me to get for him--or bring to him--from his 3rd story office. Somehow this makes me feel less self conscious about huffing and puffing in front of him--it's like we're both in on a secret. I know it will get easier.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


You are amazing grace.
You are a precious jewel.
You—special, miraculous, unrepeatable,
fragile, fearful, tender, lost,
sparkling ruby emerald jewel
rainbow splendor person.

—Joan Baez

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Using a Stool to Mount

I have never been very good at hoisting myself up.

As a kid, I would try over and and over to push with my arms on the ledge of the pool and pull myself up like my friends did. In between the times when the lifeguards made us get out, my friends would work with me, coaxing me, demonstrating, pulling on me. I could never leap up. I always had to rush over to the ladder before the lifeguard would get pissed with me for still being in the water.

It was similar situation in the lake. My friend and I would spend the whole day howling and laughing and spitting water as we tried over and over again for both of us to be on the float at the same time. She would get up on it. . . and well, then came the splashing and falling and splashing. . . of me, not being able to hoist myself up on the float.

Then, there was the horse in High School PE during the gymnastic section. I couldn't vault over that damn thing. I'd run and jump on that spring board, place my hands on the top of the horse, and WHAP my knees would slam into the side of the horse, or tap the top of the horse. The teacher would have me try an extra time, slowing down the line of cellulite free, would-be gymnasts who even looked good in the one piece, zip up, bloused maroon & white gym suits. Then, she'd have me stay after they went into the locker room, trying again and again.

I really don't think she was trying to torture me, I think she just thought I was so close.

Girls would come of of the locker room already changed into their regular school clothes. They'd start singing for me. . . "Just what made that little old ant, think she could move a rubber tree plant, any one knows an ant can't move a rubber tree plant. BUT SHE HAD HI-IGH HOPES, SHE HAD HI-IGH HOPES. . ." I think they were trying to be encouraging. I never knew whether to laugh or cry.

Eventually--about a year later, I think, I did make it over the horse. . . but after a few successful, esteem-soaring jumps, I landed on the leg and badly sprained my ankle. C'est la vie.

I've never been very good at hoisting myself up emotionally either.

I don't respond well to criticism. If you want me to improve, praise me. I'll lick your floors clean if you tell me I'm doing a good job.

But if you tell me I suck. . . I'm likely to turn with my tail between my legs, lie down in a dark corner, and stay there whining and licking my wounds long after they are visible. It's not a pretty picture to share, but it's pretty accurate.

So this week, I felt like I was down. And, once again, I was not doing well at hoisting myself up. Each time I didn't do well--didn't exercise or eat quite like I wanted--just made me sink lower and give myself a reason to keep failing.

So today, I talked about it with the PhD. And I opened my eyes to a couple things about myself. (And this was good because I hadn't felt like me and the PhD hadn't been getting very deep or making much progress and what I felt most after our visits was frustrated and lonely for my last PhD--but that's another story.)

So, the most memorable, pivotal response she had for me when I said I was having a bad week was that I had to be basically a bit obsessive to follow through with my weight loss goal. Obsessively stick with it; obsessively plan; obsessively shoo away saboteurs and temptations. And that made me realize how slack I've been. In fact, I said, "sh*t, I was really hoping I could be kind of loose about this. . .!"

But she's right. I can't be loose. Because when I'm loose I have to get back on again and again. It's not so hard to stay up once you're on. But getting on and off is really hard.

So, here's how I've been loose:
  • I hadn't quite committed to a food plan. I've been using Weight Watchers points as a guide--keeping the point counter on the kitchen counter and checking things. But I haven't tracked points. Nor have I tracked calories. I need to decide what I'm doing and do it.
  • I haven't been writing down what I eat. I mean I was checking the points. . . but without writing it down, I don't know when I've reached my limit. I want to find some kind of great food tracker, like I have for my exercise. . . but I haven't been very successful at finding a widget to add to my blog. Anybody seen any?
  • I haven't been very dedicated to decisions I've set. If I set an appointment at the gym with Trainer D, then I need to just make that a closed issue. No more consideration of whether I'm going or not. Do I feel like it or not? Am I too busy at work or not? It's an appointment, it's set. No more thinking about it.
  • I hadn't set a weigh-in schedule. I was weighing. . . some. . and hoped I could be loose about it. But who am I kidding? PhD says I need to pick a day and a time and weigh and tell someone what the results are--she suggested herself as a good person to tell. (I asked her what she'd do with the info. . . all ready to tuck my tail and turn. . . )

There's more. She didn't bring up the idea of catastrophic thinking, but it came to mind. I don't have the official definition in front of me, but the idea is that you let a small that that's gone wrong allow your mind to catastrophize into all the things that could go wrong or give the small thing too much credit/attention so you have a reason not to go on.

When I was re-hashing last weekend and the week to PhD to show her how bad it had been for me, it occurred to me. . . I really hadn't been that bad! But I felt so bad about myself, I just let myself keep spiraling downward. It was an excuse to give up and stop being diligent. Ouch. Another not very pretty picture.

It's weird; it's like I'm too hard on myself and too easy on myself all at the same time. I'm too easy on myself because I have this loose approach and act like a baby who doesn't want to feel any discomfort when things get challenging. But then when I have the smallest slip, I beat the crap out of myself.

So, that gets me to thinking about a time I was successful at hoisting myself up.

It was with my B'ham trainer. He had me use that machine where you rest your knees on this bench and do pull ups. You set the weights as a counterbalance. That is, what matters is the difference between your weight and the weight you select on the machine--that difference is the weight you're pulling against. So you might set the machine's weight at 195, but if you weight 210, that's just 15 pounds that you have as resistance.

Being that I'm a big girl, my trainer would set the weight on the machine high. That machine scared the hell out of me at first, but I got where I'd humph and puff and grunt and pull myself up. After one fairly audible session when my face was likely beet red and sweaty, these two older women came up to my trainer and said, "Why do you give her so much weight! It's too heavy!"

My sweet trainer didn't explain because he was too polite to embarrass me. So his explanation to them was, "She can handle it. She's strong." I could handle it because it was all about the counterbalance!

I similarly have to find the right balance between being firm with myself and gentle with myself--perhaps in completely reversed ways than what I'm used to.

And while I'm learning. . . there's this. I was watching some weight loss program recently--it could have been the Half Their Weight show by People magazine or it could have been the Biggest Loser. Anyway, the woman being profiled had lost a lot of weight. And she said one of things that made her the happiest was that before when she rode her horse she always had to step on a box or a stool to mount. But now that she had lost weight she could get on her own horse by herself.

The message I took away, though, was that she kept riding--even when she needed an assisted lift. Without that assist, sometimes you just can't get up. And like I said, no matter how I get there, it's easier for me to stay up than get up and down. . . so my message to self? If you need help getting up--take it. Then try to stay up until you can get up and down easily on your own.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I've Seen the Devil

My mother used to say if you heard someone call your name when no one was there that it must be the devil.

I've heard the devil, and he is not calling my name. He is telling me to eat fried chicken.

He whispers for me to stop on the way home from work to eat something in the car quickly so my husband won't know.

He tells me the lunch I brought isn't very exciting. He blocks my vocal cords from ordering my turkey burger on whole wheat bread and moves my hand to add a layer of "real" mayo to the golden brown buttered bun it arrives on.

He taunts me that my exercise last week was useless since I didn't exercise over the weekend. And he convinces me that my eating out on Sat. night and munching freely from the bread basket as I waited hungrily for our guests to arrive is worthy of my completely throwing in the towel on reframing my identity.

The devil hits my snooze alarm so many times that I feel uncompelled to get up because I have lost sight of the fact that there are events and feelings and aspirations in the day that are worth being awake for.

It must be the devil who suddenly fills me with incomprehensible angst about working out with Trainer D. Only the devil could allow me to sit at my desk standing D up like a rejected date, pretending I have too much work to do to reap the benefits of a workout.

I have seen the devil. He looks a lot like Colonel Sanders and Mrs. Winners and Popeye (of Popeye's chicken) and especially like the Church people (of Church's chicken). [Ahh. . .you Yankees are spared the various forms of the devil that we have down South.]

The problem is, I don't believe in the devil.

I believe the devil and god are both within me. I believe stories of the devil are best used to explain how we become separated from the good within us--the god within us; that is, the best part of ourselves.

I've long been interested in the word genius for this very reason. The OED shows that in Latin, the word genius usually meant "The tutelary god or attendant spirit allotted to every person at his birth, to govern his fortunes and determine his character, and finally to conduct him out of the world."

I love this idea because it doesn't keep any person from being able to experience genius. It makes life about tapping into our genius. About tuning into our guiding spirit. About determining our character.

Sometimes upon hearing the devil, I give in. Sometimes I do what my friend used to call "white knuckle it" through. Both are hard and not wholly satisfying.

Sometimes, I make a good, last minute decision, which my PhD calls using my window of opportunity (a healthy decision before the window slams shut).

Sometimes, like tonight, I falter a bit, but before I hit the ground hard, I share a bit of the devil's words with my hubby. Not the words, but their tenor. "No, nothing happened at work, today." "No, I don't know what's wrong." I don't say I'm hearing the devil call my name. But I say enough to make my need for help be known. I reach out. And because he loves me, he usually reaches back. And that's what I believe is necessary oftentimes to tap my genius--by reaching out and connecting with others.

And the real genius is being content with that, and embracing the transcendence that comes with shared love--not listening to the devil murmur. . ."You should be able to get through it by yourself. . ."

Friday, October 17, 2008

I've Raised the Bar

This was my first week in about 4 years where I exercised every day and had 2 days where I exercised twice!

Monday--Worked with Trainer D (see my exercise log)
Tuesday--Walked at Lunch with K and went to Water Aerobics
Wednesday--Worked with Trainer D (see my fitness log)
Thursday--Tuesday--Walked at Lunch with K and went to Water Aerobics
Friday--Worked with Trainer D (see my exercise log)

D says I do the "big girl" workouts now--no more initiation workouts!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fidgety Fitness

I found this little craft idea on a web site.


1 Remove beans from bag.
2 Throw them on the floor.
3 Bend down and pick up each bean.
4 Repeat hourly as needed.

I loved this! It's funny. It's true in that it would be good exercise (though not exactly magic). And it reminds me of myself and the silly things I do when I'm trying to be more active.

Last night, for instance, I mentally congratulated myself for bending over to pick up multiple bits of tissue that fell out of the clothes I was folding--especially since the cleaners were coming today.

This AM at work, I walked round and round the elevator to increase my steps. (Yes, I was alone!) I made myself dizzy.

In the past, I've taken these tiny steps to move me toward feeling and being more active:

  • Held up my own body weight instead of leaning

  • Sit up instead of lying down

  • Bent over to tie my shoes instead of putting my leg on a chair or pulling my leg up (if the bow is in the inside of the foot instead of the middle, you know the shoe's been tied with the foot pulled up!)

  • Made a point to hold my shoulders up and back while walking in the hallways at work

  • Been incredibly inefficient--walking to the kitchen at work to get my coffee and taking it back to my desk. Then going back to the kitchen to get water. Then going back to get fruit. So I make 3 trips instead of one loaded down one.

  • Make myself rise from a seated position without using my hands to get up (doing a squat)

  • Leave the basket with the clean clothes in it on the floor (not dumped on the bed) and bend to get each piece.

  • Put each piece away separately. Going back and forth to drawers and closets.

They sound silly & and small, but when I'm down and out, they are huge first steps. And the results accumulate and produce results like magic beans!


  • I walked with coworker at lunch.
  • I ate this really good frozen Moosewood Restaurant entree: Moroccan Stew (2 pts!), with yummy muscadines, and a ham sandwich on and oat bran pita with spinach and banana pepper rings.
  • I went to water aerobics even though I felt tired.
  • That made 2 days this week that I exercised twice in the same day. [And the suit I found in the closet fit. Because the unstated miracle from the last water aerobics session was that I didn't lose my suit in the pool! I had a tankini on that that kept sliding off top and bottom!!)
  • I was so tired that I didn't want to cook, but hubby was upbeat about us each doing our own thing. I had a lean cuisine 4 pt meal and 2 Morningstar Farms Corn dogs. Hey they're fake meat and comforting at the same time!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Am on the MOVE!

Miracle #1 for today: I dug out my pedometer before work (I don't recall when I wore it last)

Miracle #2: I actually found the extra battery I had for it.

Miracle #3: I remembered how to set it without instructions.

Miracle #4: I put it on.

Miracle #5: I packed my lunch (an Indian Pea & paneer boxed microwaveable dinner, grape tomatoes, a white nectarine, and muscadines for a snack)

Miracle #6: I walked at lunch with a co-worker! It was a beautiful fall day and I discovered this lovely neighborhood around the corner from my office that I didn't even know existed.

Miracle #7: I thought my co-worker walked a bit slow. (Well, at least at first! ;) )

Miracle #8: I left work early to use my free trial at a gym near my house for a water aerobics class.

Miracle #9: I was a few minutes late and still joined the class.

Miracle #10: Even though I didn't get home until 7:20, I made dinner (hubby usually cooks for us, but I've been on a roll the last week or so.) [I stir fried chicken tenders with green beans, sugar snap peas, & some broccoli and we tried delicata squash--really nice].

Miracle #11: For my first day with pedometer, I logged 8,494 steps; 3991 aerobic steps (34 min); 1.74 miles, and burned 361 calories. (Big reality check: when I lived in Boston and took the train to work, I logged about 3400 steps by the time I got to work; this AM driving to work it was about 1/3 of that!)

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Life as a Fraud

Thinking about what I wanted to say tonight, I was going to say that sometimes I feel like a fitness fraud and a nutritional impersonator because I talk the talk without demonstrating the results.

You know, I can carry on a conversation about nutrition and healthy eating with the best of them—I’m very food & nutritionally knowledgeable. I can talk about metabolism and identify exercises and proper techniques. I talk about my personal trainer in front of others, like I’m some kind of star athlete.

Sometimes the disconnect between my banter and my body embarrasses me. I actually say to others after I’ve just spouted some truth about exercise or eating, “And that’s why I’m so skinny.” I want them to know that I know that my advice or opinion clearly must not be worth much since I don’t reflect my own teachings.

It’s part of being an egomaniac with an inferiority complex. I know I’m right, but I’m too ashamed to really step into my rightness. It’s like being a little girl who tries on someone else’s shoes and keeps tripping. You know she wants to look glamorous, but she really just looks cute and even a bit silly.

But as I struggled on what to say and where this would go—and I’ve been trying oh so hard to stay positive—it dawned on me that’s it’s time to change my perspective. I’m not a fitness fraud. I’m a Fat Fraud!

I’ve been masquerading as a fat person all these years, when really I’m a wealth of sinewy fitness facts with a hard core of nutritional know-how. Clearly. How much easier it will be to walk this walk and talk this talk!

I want to put my pedometer on to log the steps it takes for me to finally step out of this camouflage. 1-2-3-4. . .

Thursday, October 9, 2008

This Is Cognitive Therapy--That Will Be 5 Cents

Before I went to FL with Mom, I talked a bit with the PhD about how my mom pushes food. When Mom and I traveled together just a few weeks ago, she commented every time I ate. She'd offer me food, and if I didn't take it, she'd ask me 3 times more if I'm sure I don't want it. If I was eating, she'd ask me if I was sure I want to be doing that. So PhD told me to not make a big deal out of it but just to tell her that I was feeling like I was in a good place and that I wanted her to trust me to make my own good decisions for myself about eating.

Wow! That was kind of daunting. It made me realize that I wasn't sure "I" trusted myself to make good decisions! And it really put it back on me, didn't it? That's a good mantra though. An empowering one. Trust Yourself to make the healthy decision for yourself.

I saw PhD today, and she said she wanted me to spend time thinking about how I sabotage myself. Interesting. More chances for me to own it. I will be thinking on this.

With this in mind, we also touched on what PhD calls "thinking errors." These are automatic thoughts that tend to lead you to down the drain thinking. Here are a few examples that I especially identified with (hubby says the whole list applies to me. . .boo hiss. . hubby):

Mental Filter (also called selective abstraction)
You pay undue attention to one negative detail instead of seeing the whole picture.
Example: "Because I got one low rating on my evaluation (which also contained several high ratings) it means I'm doing a lousy job."

You believe others are behaving negatively because of you, without considering more plausible explanations for their behavior.
Example: "The repairman was rude to me because I did something wrong."

Emotional Reasoning
You think something must be true because you "feel" (actually believe) it so strongly, ignoring or discounting
evidence to the contrary.
Example: "I know I do a lot of things okay at work, but I still feel like a failure."

The idea is to keep a Dysfunctional Thought Record. That is when you notice that you start to feel bad, you take a moment to write down what was happening when you did, what emotions you feel, and the automatic thoughts you were having. Then you use a series of questions to help you think more rationally through your feelings.

Could be interesting. . . I'll let you know how it goes. Do you have any special way of shooing away negative thoughts?

(Right before we went over the thinking errors, PhD came over to sit on the couch next to me and said, "This is cognitive therapy." For some reason, I found that direct statement quite comical.


Despite feeling challenged that I had been away for the weekend and hadn't grocery shopped or planned meals, I packed my lunch! I made a bean & cheese burrito from leftover Fatfree refried beans with salsa in them in our last tortilla and a sliced a little REAL (full fat that is) cheddar cheese on it. But the thing that made me look forward to eating lunch was the tomato I sliced and put balsamic on. I will be sorry when tomato season is over--and that time is on the near horizon. I also had a bit of avocado and a clementine.

Before I ate my lunch though, I ate a snack of yogurt with cantaloupe before I went to the gym. It felt great to finally get back in there with Trainer D. Was starting to feel anxious about it. Am scheduled to go in tomorrow too, and got on her calendar for next week.

See my
exercise log for today's workout.

A Vote for Cookies

Today on the home page of WebMD there's a link to The Good Mood Diet. It's from Prevention magazine, which I don't find a very reliable, trustworthy source. Still, I liked what Thomas Cook, the author, had to say. Who wouldn't?

Here's how it starts:
My grandfather was a wonderful man who loved cookies. When I visited his lovely, old house surrounded by trees, flowers, vegetable gardens, and lawns, we shared all sorts of cookies, always paired with a large glass of cold milk. Over the years, they became so closely associated with visiting Granddad that now, whenever I have one, I feel buoyed by a swell of happy memories.

And here's the advice:

That brings us to Granddad's cookies, which can brighten your spirits when eaten judiciously. (Incidentally, carb snacking may be more effective for women because they produce substantially less serotonin than men do.) Now, you won't want to try this regimen if you have diabetes or are prediabetic. But if you qualify, try raising your mood-lifting serotonin levels a couple of times a day by doing the following:

  • Include protein in each of your three meals. This will raise blood levels of tryptophan, a chemical that eventually turns into serotonin. The best sources of tryptophan are poultry, seafood, and lean meat.
  • Have a small carbohydrate snack about 3 or 4 hours after each meal and about 1 hour before your next one. Make sure that your stomach is empty and that you eat no protein between meals. The carbohydrates should be easily digestible--such as one or two oatmeal cookies, a third of a bagel, a slice of whole wheat bread. This will cause tryptophan in your blood to enter the brain, where it is metabolized into serotonin. Elevated serotonin will improve your mood within 20 to 30 minutes.

I'm thinking Newman's Organic Fig Newtons. . . I had some in CA recently and they were yummy. Fat Free and Wheat-Free/Dairy free both have 2 PTs. for 2 cookies. The low-fat are closer to 3. But wouldn't that be a nice occasional pick-me-up?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Aunt Verna's Signs


I brought Southern food for lunch, compliments of Mom: turnip greens, lady peas, & okra with tomatoes.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Ways of Fit Folks & Skinny Bitches

A few days ago in the AJC, there was an article called Skinny People Make Smart Eating Decisions. Here are some of my favorite parts that seem worth my making an effort to follow.

Here's how, according to the writer, Carolyn O'Neil, "fit folks really are different from their bulge-challenged friends." In this case, the fit folks are those who have lost 30 pounds and kept it off for at least 3 years who are part of the National Weight Control Registry.

  • They eat until satisfied, not stuffed. Try putting your fork down halfway through a meal and asking yourself using a 1 to 10 scale, “How full am I?” Take a sip of water and think about it some more. Talk to your dining companions. You’ll give yourself time to gauge how hungry you really are and by eating slowly it allows the stomach time to trigger the brain’s sensation of fullness.

  • . . .they consistently monitor their food intake. According to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine conducted by Dr. Rena Wing of Brown University, folks who lost weight and kept it off continued to be careful about consumption of lower calorie menu options and moderated their fat intake.

By the way, I would never let one of the editors who work for me refer to people as "bulge challenged." It's one of those things you can say about yourself or to others of "your kind" but other people can't. I've always had a highly sensitized radar alert for fat insensitivity.

That's probably why hubby was so surprised that I'm enjoying Skinny Bitch, which I discovered via Dana as she explores veganism on her blog Journey to Vegan. I'm pretty confident I'm not ready for veganism, but I appreciate Dana's challenges as she explores it. I appreciate someone who is re-contemplating how and what they eat.

So back to Skinny Bitch. Again, I'm pretty confident I don't want to be either. But I'm getting a laugh and some food for thought from its perspective and attitude. It's totally irreverent. But it's pretty much universally irreverent with a piercing truth, so it's ah-hem, palatable to me.

These are my favorite in-your-face parts:

Okay. Use your head. You need to get healthy if you want to get skinny. Healthy = skinny. Unhealthy = fat. The first thing you need to do is give up your gross devices. Don't act surprised! You cannot keep eating the same shit and expect to get skinny. p. 11

Soda is liquid Satan. It is the devil. It is garbage. There is nothing in soda that should be put into your body. . . Perhaps you have a lumpy ass because you are preserving your fat cells with diet soda. . . If you're filling up on 16 ounces of liquid Satan at a time, chances are you're not getting your 64 ounces of water a day. Water is vital for keeping your body clean and detoxified. It literally flushes out all the shit and toxins your body stores from your horrendous diet. You might be fat because you don't poop enough. . . . Say goodbye to soda and hello to a sweet ass. p. 13-15

Candy bars, potato chips, and ice cream taste like heaven, of course. But they will pitch a tent on your hips and camp out all year. . . . they also contain enough chemical residues to put hair on your chest. p. 17

Whenever you see the words "fat-free" or "low-fat," think of the words "chemical shit storm." p. 17-18

Here's another, as they call it, come to Jesus phrases for fat people
fat-pig syndrome

Sometimes you gotta take good advice no matter where it comes from. . . I claim it; I eat horrendously and I want to mend my fat-pig syndrome ways!


I did not eat cake.

Monday, October 6, 2008

We Have the Same Teeth

For the last 2 days or so, I've been visiting with aunts, uncles, cousins, and cousins once removed. And eating cake. Did I mention the cake? Oh and eating fried seafood. Lots of fried seafood. Every restaurant we went to had hush puppies and sides of cheese grits. I love grits. I think they have 0 nutritional value. But they aren't really bad for you either.

When we lived in Boston, I was always trying to get my co-workers to eat grits. I mean they ate couscous, which has a similar texture, so why so pompously discriminating against grits? I guess I got to be a bit annoying with it because one day a co-worker said to me--"Are you on the National Grits Council or something?"

So, my whole family down south is fat. All of us. I feel closer to my dad's family in MO, as we have the same hearts and sentiments. But I share hips and stomach rolls with my mom's family in FL. I found out that several of them use a CPAP for sleep apnea (I go for a sleep test this Friday.) The nice thing was this, though, so many times when I was talking with one of them, I found myself thinking, Wow, he has really nice. straight teeth. It wasn't until I did this with at least 3 people and then went to bed, that it dawned on me--those are like my teeth! I have pretty teeth!

Seeing them--especially my mom and my aunt together--both in pain (with crankiness being the first visible sign of their pain) from spinal stenosis and arthritis made me feel all the more inspired to get more healthy. They already have more drive and energy than I do.

Not that I was working to get more healthy this past weekend as the start of this entry clearly shows. I started off OK. . . but slipped more each day. Still, I didn't go expecting to stay on track. In fact, I decided not to weigh at all before I went because it's too early in my trying to make changes. If I'd lost a little weight, then I knew the chances of me gaining it back over the weekend would be pretty high and the chances of me feeling bad at being back to "0" would be even highter. If I'd lost an impressive amount of weight, then I knew I'd feel stressed about not being able to stick with it away from home. Instead, I decided not to weigh until next Sat.

Plus, last week, Hubby & I walked a few nights but Trainer D and I never connected. With that and hanging out with the family, Hubby was nervous about my maginc switch turning to off! The trick I think will be finding time TOMORROW to plan some meals and get to the grocery store.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

6 Kinds of Cake

I got up early to walk on the beach. It is lovely. Quiet. Very small waves. Enough people strolling to make me feel a part of things.

I saw a heron in the water. My favorite bird. It walked very slowly through the water, head down. When it scrunched its body down, I thought it was going to fly, but it dipped its head down to grab a fish.

I didn't walk long because the sand was very soft and moveable under foot. Didn't want to fall on my ass. (Still protecting that wrist!)

There's a lovely porch swing hanging right outside our sliding glass door and I sat there and listened to people talking on their balconys. Spoke to a grandmother pushing a shopping cart full of grandchildren--one dressed in pink cowboy boots and one in the front seat with a head full of curls. A lovely girl child--Anderson.

I came back in and and made green tea, trying to stay quiet to keep people in bed. It worked for 3 minutes.

Still, it is nice to be around family. So far, so good. I'm going to try to read them Lily's blog about eating Skippy now. I'm betting I get through maybe a paragraph before they interrupt me!

(Oh, yesterday, I did sample 5 of the 6 kinds of cake that my mom & aunt brought between them (we traveled 7 hours; they traveled 9 with them.) But my goal for today is to taste only one or none at all.)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

That Magic Switch in My Brain

I've briefly mentioned this magic before--the way it feels like something magic happened to turn your commitment "on." Where suddenly it's easier to make the right food choices and exercise because you really just want to. And as much as I like this feeling--the one I've had for the last few days, I don't want to keep feeling like getting to this place is due to magic. In fact, it's that fear of it disappearing that's made me not write about it yet.

But it's amazing how much better I feel. I think part of it is just DOING instead of FRETTING. I think the little bit of walking helps me sleep better. I feel more upbeat. I'm actively trying to see how to fit in more exercise. I looked up a gym close to our house to check on water aerobics. (It's step 1.) I feel leaner through my sides. Hubby often tells me after just a day or two of exercise that he sees a difference in my stature and posture.

So here it is. . . the examples of the magic and how my switch is turned to "on."


  • Trainer D tells me to take the stairs more at home--and I do. (I'm sure she's told me this before.) I'm mindfully thinking about taking the stairs at LEAST 2 more times a day. Admittedly, I often just come down once in the AM and go back up once in the PM. My right knee pinches when I climb, so I concentrate on clinching the muscles in my buttocks (a Boston trainer's tip) and pushing up through my whole foot.
  • After Friday's funeral, I was coming home hungry and bereft. I thought about stopping to get Fried Chicken, but then (I just noticed I initial capped that food as if it's an entity!) I thought of the chat I had with my Dr. boss about nutrition, and he said, "It's not like you're eating KFC all the time. . . " which made me feel a bit exposed like he'd seen through me! (Yikes!). So I kept driving, until I got almost home. Then I stopped at a Thai restaurant and had stir-fried shrimp & vegetables--didn't even eat all the rice! I was very proud about this choice!
  • For the past 2 evenings I've walked IN THE DARK with hubby. And we've walked near our house, which I don't really like because it's hilly. A few weeks ago we walked this same strip and I was so fatigued that I scared myself by how often I had to stop to catch my breath. I've still been breathless, but I trudge up in the 3 zones of incline. From behind the first night as I zigzagged up the hill (it makes it easier, really. . . ), hubby said, "Boy, D has made a difference with you!"
  • Also for the past 2 evenings, I've cooked dinner for us because Hubby is super busy. The first night was a big, delicious success. Last night so-so. Night #1 I made portabello Pizzas from the Biggest Loser book. You take the big portabello caps and cover them with sauce (I used leftover sauce Hubby had made with zucchini & summer squash in it) and crumble a bit of Turkey Italian sausage over it. (I used 1 between us--4 PTs.) Then sprinkle a bit of low-fat or FF mozzarella & Parmesan over that. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes it says, but I did 20 and still turned it up to 425 at the end to get the mushrooms softer. I served this with my own stacked veggie lasagna. I boiled 3 lasagna noodles, then cut them in half. On one half I spread a very thin layer of goat cheese, then added 2 or 3 sliced kalamata olives and some sliced fresh basil. Topped with another half, which I covered in spinach sauteed with a little bit of olive oil & some pine nuts; covered with the last 1/2 of noodle, which I covered with the last of the sauce. Looked pretty and was yummy. Last night I stir fried haddock in ginger & garlic with yellow peppers and added shrimp at the end. The shrimp was good. The haddock didn't soak up the flavor well and it was a bit dry in parts. (It was frozen fish because the ATL gas shortage kept as from Whole Foods last weekend.) I served it with this quinoa mix I bought (first quinoa for me), but it had too much liquid. And I cooked asparagus, but I made the mistake (and I KNEW not to do this) of adding lemon to it before cooking, and that never tastes right. If you want lemon you have to add it after it cooks!