Thursday, September 30, 2010

... the Sounds of Silence ...

Sorry I haven't updated all week. Haven't had the mental energy to do much more than read a handful of blogs while I swig my morning cuppa before falling over into the shower and heading for the office. Hopefully the dust'll settle soon at work and I can get back on a normal schedule again. Still plugging away at the diet, despite the extreme stress and ridiculous hours, and the scale's still creeping down an ounce at a time.

Pffft, at this point as long as it's not going up I'm good with it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

One day more ...

One day to a new beginning
Raise the flag of freedom high.
Every man will be a king.
Every man will be a king.
There's a new world for the winning.
There's a new world to be won.

One good day.
One more day.
One day more!

(Paraphrased from Les Miserables - One Day More)

Yeah. One good day. One more good day. Yesterday was a good day (despite gulping wayyyy too much coffee). Today will be a good day because I came home last night and roasted a turkey. No excuses to get junk when I have a fridge full of  a huge, yummy, tasty turkey!

Ended up leaving work an hour early yesterday 'cause I was so tired I was literally stuttering and staggering. Had gone in early yesterday morning in hopes of getting some work done before drama interruptus. It was a great fantasy. In the end I think I got in an hour (maybe!) of useful work between eruptions of chaos and (ugh) unnecessary meetings.

Planning to work all weekend, but at least I'll get some work done. I absolutely have to finish a set of software documentation this weekend. I know part of the team is planning to show up today, but hopefully not until I have one of the docs done at least, and tomorrow I'll be the only one there. Yeah, I've got a big cheezy grin goin' on here at THAT thought!

The new scale arrived earlier this week and it's lovely. Especially since it's showing me a pound down since Tuesday!

Friday, September 24, 2010

True Confessions

My mom had a huge stack of those old True Confessions magazines hidden away in the basement when I was a kid. Of course, being a kid, they didn't stay hidden for long (yeah, I was a nosy brat) and I'd sneak down there and read 'em ... and giggle at the silly women between those pages, "Married to a Liar, Deathbed Revelation!", "I Had My Baby in an Abandoned Coal Mine!" (Yeah, I was a freaky kid, too.)

Of course, stacked up against that example, my own True Confessions are really kinda boring: "I Haven't Been Exercising!" "I'm Eating Too Many Calories!" 

The stress at work is just strangling my interest in anything else, dragging my energy down to the point where all I'm doing right now is get up, stare at the computer and drink coffee, shower, go to work, work, come home, stare at the computer and drool on myself, eat supper, try to sleep. I'm sticking more or less to the low-carb thing but wayyyy too many calories, not sleeping enough, and not getting any exercise or drinking anything like enough water. Funnily enough, my weight hasn't budged in two weeks.

I know it's just a pile of excuses. I know that. But they're bloody easy to make right now. I keep telling myself that the fiscal year will be over in a couple of weeks and we'll all be able to breathe. The level of drama will die down. I can get back to working normal hours. I keep telling myself that I'll get back with the program when that happens.

Yeah, I know I'm being silly. I know that.

Okay, today ... just today ... I'll eat properly, I'll drink 3 liters of water, and I'll hop on the bike when I get home, even if it's just for a few minutes. I promise.

I promise myself.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Still alive and kickin'

Much drama at work, long hours trying to survive the end of the fiscal year with my insanity intact here, very little mental or emotional energy for anything else.

Scale is broken (when it insists on measuring a range of up to 8 pounds within 15 minutes, that qualifies as "broken"), new scale will arrive tomorrow afternoon, so in the meantime I have no idea what my weight is doing. Clothing says I'm losing inches, at least, and still staying on track (mostly).

New doctor wanted me to try Ambien for sleep. Tried it last week. Didn't sleep. DID have massive, almost uncontrollable cravings, to the point that I found myself sitting at my computer Friday night with the Pizza Hut site open, literally arguing with myself. A slice of pizza or two probably wouldn't have been that bad, but I know myself ... it would have been a whole pizza and an order of breaded parmesan wings and I'd have gorged myself all weekend on that. Finally grabbed my car keys and ran to McD's as a compromise: At least it was a controlled cheat ... a burger and small fry and off to bed. Seemed to do the trick and kill the craving.

Anyway, that's really all that's going on over here right now ... work, sleep, drink coffee, boil eggs, cuss at the cat  ... lather, rinse, repeat ... planning to take a couple of days off in early October and catch my breath (and clean my damn house).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Scale, Energy, Mood - All Up

Ye gods, what gives here? The scale's still five pounds up (water water water) but my energy level was higher yesterday, all day, than I've seen it in a very long time and my mood stayed up and positive despite some altercations at work. Odd. But kinda fun, too. Not worrying about what the scale's doing at the moment, really. Just enjoying the extra energy.

Really don't know what my body was doing - I know I didn't have that much caffeine, but even when my brain was exhausted last night I couldn't shut my body down. Ended up tossing and turning in bed for an hour, my muscles just so tight they were singing, almost painfully so, and finally got up and took an extra sleeping pill.


I'm getting way more assertive at work (and a chorus from most of my team of ABOUT FREAKIN' TIME). I've never been a terribly assertive person anyway, one of those pathetic people who just wants everyone to be happy and get along, you know what I mean? Ten years of my ex pretty much knocked any latent assertiveness out of me, to the point of not just avoiding pushing back at people but actually unable to stand up for myself.

Now I'm working in a space where, if I want to survive, I absolutely have to. The only other option is to go find another job, and I'd rather not. I've worked with most of this team for over a decade. They're my family. They're not just coworkers: They really ARE my family. These are the people who stood by me, held on and refused to let go, wrapped their hearts around me, when the ex was trying to destroy me. These are the people who took care of me and kept me sane last year when I had an appendectomy that went horribly wrong. We've worked, played, laughed, and cried with each other for more than 10 years. I don't wanna leave 'em.

For three years now we've had to deal with a few other people, one new team member and two others in actual positions of authority over us, that have difficulty with that whole "grown-ups" thing. We're trying to stick together, keep each other standing, and get our jobs done in the face of people who think that shouting is a management skill and have no clue what it is we actually do.

On the one hand, for me it's good practice. This has forced me to sprout a backbone and push back in order to get my job done and protect others on the team (as well as myself). On the other hand, I hate what it's done to me. I don't shout at people. I don't lose my temper at work.

Yeah, I guess I do now.

Anyway, just rambling here. Trying to work out what was going on in my brain yesterday.

I did raise my voice to team-mate in a meeting ... the queen of fallacious arguments that she uses to steam-roll everyone else trotted out the whole "well, obviously NOBODY'S going to listen to ME so obviously you all think I'm STUPID so I'll just shut up and you guys can do whatever YOU like."

We're all just blinking at her, having spent the last ten minutes trying to address her concerns, and I snapped back "Whoa, sunshine ... how in THEE HELL did you get THAT out of this conversation?! You're the one not listening to US here TRYING to understand and address your points! Now KNOCK THAT OFF and work WITH us, dammit! (The rest of the team nods firmly.)

She did settle down after that and we had a productive meeting. Whew!

The thing that strikes me odd about all this is ... normally that would have left me shaking and off-center for the rest of the day, but yesterday ... not so much. Blew it off and kept going, kept smiling, was actually in a pretty good mood the rest of the day. Strange.

But it occurs to me ... maybe that's what was going on in my hyper-active muscles last night? Left-over tension I didn't recognize? Hmmm ...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Coffee and Pork Rinds

Okay, did I eat a naughty and way too big lunch on Friday? Yes, yes I did.

Did I drink enough water over the weekend? No, have to admit I didn't.

Have I been munching on pork rinds since Friday?  Yes, indeed I have. Deep-fried salt, yeppers.

Have I spent the time on the spinner I should have since Friday? Well, no.

Did I have another naughty lunch yesterday? Yeah, if I'm honest.

Have I been basically inhaling sodium and not washing it out? Yeppers.

Gosh, why's that scale up 5 freakin' pounds this morning from Saturday? Hmmm, no clue. *wry grin*

I'm finding work to be a bit of a challenge, honestly (like that's uncommon). "Hey Kestrel, let's go get some coffee! Let's go get some lunch! Look, I brought you fancy chocolates from Texas!" (That was yesterday, and they're still sitting on my desk. Think I'll quietly give them away when nobody's looking.)

I start out with good intentions and enough food to carry me through the day (well, except for Friday, that was planned and I don't feel too terribly guilty about it), but the coffee especially kills me 'cause I can't just drink black coffee, noooooo, it has to have stuff in it. *inner child stamps foot and nods firmly*

I did find out yesterday that Starbucks keeps heavy whipping cream behind the counter and they're happy to drop a splash into my unsweetened iced coffee, yay! That'll help a LOT with keeping the carbs down and still being able to gulp coffee. Having said that, I really need to get a good travel mug and start taking my own to work with me.

NOT having coffee is really not an option right now. Yeah, I probably could stop drinking coffee, but honestly ... not gonna. This is fiscal year end, I'm working upwards of 12 hours a day plus several hours on weekends. Got two software projects that have to be in production by the 30th and they're not even in testing yet. Dodging political bullets and people who think that shouting and temper tantrums are appropriate communication skills (I find that sort of behavior absolutely appalling, personally, being naturally a pretty quiet and mild sort of personality).

Feeling like coffee is pretty essential for more than one reason, honestly: The caffeine boost is good, but also the sitting back, taking a sip, and letting the brain just be quiet for just a moment.

The pork rinds, however, have got to go.


And a huge THANK YOU to Jack Sh*t for the comment you left me yesterday. I was feeling rather worn and discouraged when I sat down and saw that ... almost cried ... it was exactly what I needed to hear last night.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

You Have Such a Pretty Face

Yes, the one phrase I hated the most as a kid. "You have such a pretty face."  Always followed by, "You should lose weight so people can see it!"  What does that even mean to a kid, eh? My mental translation was you'd be pretty if you weren't so fat and I'd wonder how they could tell it was pretty if I was so fat that they couldn't see my pretty face ... meh, kid logic.

Have I got a pretty face? Dunno, really. I've never really seen it. Yep, always been fat. Fat baby, fat teenager, fat old lady. Thinking it's time to find out.

Ooooh, a bit emo today, me. Time to get that back under the hat!

Little triumphs: 20 pounds down today, and I have to dig out my smaller (heh) cycling shorts 'cause the ones I've been using are creeping up into places they ought not!  Also, was able to move around a bit more on the bike today ... even let go of the handlebars and sit up to pedal for a bit!  20 minutes felt easy - will add another 5 on the next round.

Sorry I've been so quiet all weekend ... haven't slept worth a damn the last several nights and had to go in to the office yesterday and today. I'm still here, still plugging away, still peeling off an ounce at a time.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Aaaaand ... Happy Dance!

Whew, survived the doctor yesterday and was actually pleasantly surprised! He started right off about my weight and I held up one hand and said, "Stop, please, and look at the difference between my last visit and today." He did and his eyebrows flew up into his hairline! *grin* 16 pounds down in six weeks!

Suddenly the whole tone of our conversation changed and we actually did have a good conversation. He asked how I was doing it, turns out he's a big believer in low-carb. He listened carefully when I told him I needed a little assistance, explained about my physical challenges (back, knee, sciatica) and how they interfere with my need for exercise, and asked him about a better/safer anti-inflammatory than Aleve, then smiled and nodded and gave me a prescription for something (will tell you the name tomorrow, just dropped off the prescription yesterday without looking too closely at it).

The only thing that troubled me at all about that visit was that he kept gently plugging his clinic's weight-loss program, but it wasn't a big deal. He didn't push too hard, but did say several times, "You'll stall. You'll stop losing weight. This one really keeps that from happening. You have to stay under 1200 calories to really lose weight, you know."

Meh. Stalling happens on any diet. We all know weight loss isn't linear. Medical research is learning that it's not necessarily tied to a specific number of calories, either. I know that at this stage if I dip below around 1400 calories my body will lock up and refuse to let go of the weight. I also know that, because of my food issues (more on those as time goes on), if I start feeling like I'm deprived I'm gonna lose control and gorge.

I did go have a look at the website for this diet, "Ideal Protein." Near as I can tell it's basically high/protein/low-carb-ish/low calorie but you have to buy all their products. I don't think it's necessarily a bad diet. I bet it works, but lots of diets work.

For now I'll happily stick to stuffing my face with low carb/high-fat/moderate protein chicken and eggs and getting some damn exercise. For now it's working very well. S'all I really need to know, innit?

Oh, and 289.6 this morning!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Insert Clever Title Here

My brain's all over the place this morning, and not in a very happy way. Got hit with a sudden headache last night (and I'm not prone to headaches like this) that kept me awake for hours. Finally got to sleep to be awakened by the cat shouting at me around 2am (bloody fur-toddler). Head still hurts, although not quite as bad. Aching all over, though, and feeling like I'm coming down with something. Gotta get in the shower and get to work, though. Damn.

Also dreading going to see the doctor tomorrow morning. The last time I saw this one was two years ago, when I was just starting to look for a new one (long story). It was my third visit to him, and I'd gone in because I'd had sciatica so bad, for over a month, that I could hardly function for the pain. I tried to tell him look, it's been over a month, there's something wrong here, I need your help, and the old prescription for Flexeril that I've been slowly working through isn't even touching it.

He looked at me, very seriously, all sad-eyed, and said "Of course it hurts. You're fat. Come back in another month if it's not better," and proceeded to write me another prescription for the same drug I'd just told him wasn't working! At this point I was in tears, literally, of anger and frustration and shock. I took the prescription and walked out, swearing I'd never go back to him again.

I went to see a chiropractor the next day, who said "Of course it hurts. Look how far out of alignment your hip is!" He poked, prodded, bent, and twisted and I was walking and sitting comfortably that day!

Anyway, I went through a couple of other doctors and found myself back in his practice but seeing his P.A, who I really liked ... and now his P.A. has gone off to greener pastures and I'm back to trying this guy again.

Hopefully I can be a bit more assertive this time and not just sit there and cry helplessly like a big baby. I'm seriously dreading this.

On the bright side, though ... and it's a major bright side ... 291.5 this morning!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I miss my bike ... my REAL bike!

Y'know, it wasn't many years ago (five, maybe) I was riding my road bike a lot. Rode it to work and home most days (~8 miles each way, 10 if I went around the long way and hit Starbucks (yes, I do have a coffee cup holder on my handlebar)). Longer rides on weekends. I was averaging 100 miles every week and loving it. Starting to do long organized rides. The longest single-day ride I did was 56 miles, and I was training for my first century (100 miles).

I had started riding as a way to get fit and have something I could do with my (now ex) husband, an avid cyclist his entire life. Started out on a cheap hybrid that I felt "safe" on, as it had been a good 20+ years since I'd even been ON a bike, but soon caught the riding bug and graduated to a steel-frame touring bike. He was the "bike expert" so I bought the bikes that he insisted were the best for me, and I struggled for a long time trying to make them fit my body on frames that were, in hindsight, wayyyy too small for me ... even down to having a custom frame built but letting him measure me for it ... I ended up giving that frame to his sister. She's 5" shorter than me and it fit her perfectly.

I finally woke up to the real problem, put my foot down, and picked out my own bike without his influence. It fit me like a glove and I loved it. His only comment when I brought it home: "I would never have dreamed of putting you on a frame that big ... but you were right!" (I think that was the only time in our 10-year marriage that he admitted that I was right about anything! *grin*)

I absolutely loved riding that bike. It felt like a dream! But I had only put around 300 miles on it before I suddenly started having problems with my joints, directly related to a medication I'd taken for a number of years, and had to stop riding. It took two years to get that med completely out of my system and my joints to start settling down enough that I could try riding again, and then every time I did something else would happen that would stop me. Seemed like every time I'd sling my leg over the saddle I'd wind up hurting myself in a completely unrelated way within just a few days.

I still have that bike, still love that bike, wish I could actually ride that bike. It sits in my living room, mocking me. I can see it when I'm on the spinning bike. I can hear it calling me, "Isn't that booooring? Wouldn't you rather be out there on meeeee?" I pedal that spinning bike a little faster and daydream about hearing the pavement sing under my tires.

I keep spinning and make promises to my bike: "Soon, bike. I promise. Soon. I'll do what it takes, whatever it takes. You and me, we'll be back out there very soon. I swear."

We will. I promise.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Back In the Saddle Agaaaiiiinnn ...

... out where a friend is a  ... wait! Hold yer horses, mister Gene Autry! I don't EVAH wanna be THAT intimate with my saddle, thankyouVERYmuch!

*embarrassed cough*

Bike saddle, that is. Ermm, yeah. Lordy. Thought I'd try swapping saddles for a while 'cause my arse is getting bruises from having to hold all my (considerable) weight on my sit bones. Unfortunately I obviously didn't adjust it quite right 'cause, while it was easier on my butt, I kept sliding down it while I pedaled until I was FAR more friendly than I ever care to be with an inanimate object.

Well, with a bike saddle, at least. *innocent blink*

Anyway, made it fifteen minutes ... although I had to stop every three or four and pick the damn saddle out of embarrassing places. Had a good look at it after the ride and realized that I've got the nose pointed a bit down there, which explains much. Nothing like trying to stay in one position on a Slip 'n Slide for that long; my hands feel bruised from trying to hold myself on the back of the bloody thing.

Will take a break, drink some water, and adjust it for tomorrow's ride. Maybe see if I can get another ten minutes on it today 'cause I'm feeling energetic. Aaaand I'm looking at my 100 mile goal for this month and feeling a bit nervous 'cause I'm at a whopping six and a half.

Not really a subject change, but kinda: In the past I've had a bad habit of pushing myself too hard with the exercise and hurting myself so that I can't exercise for several days (sing out if this sounds familiar). I'm a bit over-thinking this, I know, but mentally fussing because I feel like I want to ride more but afraid that if I do then I won't be able to ride tomorrow. Does that make any sense at all?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do ...

... do it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now. – Goethe

Yeah, that quote is on my home-office wall now, a reminder that it's me who's holding myself back here. Nobody and nothing but me not dreaming, not doing, not being bold enough to do what I so badly want to do.

Bleah, enough seriousness for a Sunday morning. Time for a little celebration!

The fur-toddler saw the vet again yesterday and was pronounced healing ... I'll be able to take that Cone of Shame and Misery off her head tomorrow. Just as well, 'cause she's obviously feeling much better and is driving me nuts with her boredom!

15 minutes on the spinning bike this morning, the longest yet!  The only thing I'm struggling with there is that I'm putting so much weight on the saddle that my arse is getting bruised. Might swap out the saddle today for a softer one just for a little while.

Aaaaaand my scale finally, FINALLY!, dropped down below 295! (Okay, 294.5 counts, dammit!)


I'm experimenting a little with my diet here, trying to knock out of the stall ... basically going Very Low Carb for a little while, what the Low-Carbers call the Meat and Eggs Life Program. Seriously, seriously low-carb (yes, I'm taking my vitamins and gulping water). All the eggs and meat you can eat, but no veggies or grains and very little cheese or dairy. Right around 5 total carbs a day.

The most obvious advantage is that it absolutely kills my appetite. I started it two days ago and was a little concerned about how my body would feel, but so far I feel pretty good and reasonably energetic on it.

It's not a long-term diet plan, I don't think, but just something to kick my body awake again and help it break out of this very frustrating stall. Cross your fingers for me, eh?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wishful Shrinking

So I found myself laying in bed this morning having a think and talking to myself, an activity I frequently partake in. I also talk to inanimate objects and the cat. I like to think of myself as mildly eccentric. "Insane" is such a negative word, don't'cha think?

Anyway, "Self," I says, "do we really think we're doing everything we can to lose weight?"

"Of course we are, " I reply, "we're watching what we eat and getting some exercise." Self looks kinda smug at this point, not seeing where this conversation is going yet.

"But, Self, are we really doing everything we CAN to lose it?" Self is starting to look a bit worried and mutters something under my breath here but doesn't reply. "Seriously, Self, how badly do we want to dump the weight?"

Oooh, Self is starting to sound a bit defensive here: "Very badly! You know we do, dammit!"

"Well then, Self, we know we're not doing everything, don't we?"

"Well yeah, we are! We're watching what we eat and getting some exercise, aren't we?"

"Sure, sure." A soothing tone, calming my prey before leaping for the throat. "We feel like we're working hard at it, Self. We know. But let's be honest with each other for a moment, can we? We're not doing everything we could be doing, are we? There's a lot we could be doing that we're not, isn't there?"

"Whaddya mean?!"

"Well, Self-my-dear, let's start with water."

Self exclaims, "But we're drinking water!"

"Yes, yes, we are. But enough water? No, I don't think so. Most days, sure, we're drinking 3 liters or more. Days that we're at work. But we're letting life and laziness get in the way, aren't we? C'mon now and think: How much water did we have yesterday? One glass? Is that really the best we can do?"

A long sigh from Self, "No, I suppose not."

"And what about exercise, Self?"

"But ... but ... ", came Self's sputtering reply, "but we DID exercise all weekend! We're still sore from that!"

"Oh really. Indeed we did get a lot of exercise over last weekend and yes, we're still a bit sore, but does that mean we get a free pass from exercising all week? It's Friday, FFS, Self. We've done nothing all week! Are we seriously using a bit of soreness as an excuse to not exercise at all?"

"Okay, yeah, I suppose it's an excuse."

"Yeah, we know it is. Anyway, what about the food? And shush, we both know what we're about to say there! No, we haven't been as good as we could be. What about the Thai restaurant on Tuesday where we wolfed down Pad Thai and chocolate/chocolate/chocolate cake? Or the other Thai restaurant on Thursday when we sucked down two big plates of food like we were fresh from Ethiopia?"

Self looks down and sighs but doesn't say a word.

"Now look, Self, we both know we want to shed this fat suit but neither of us are really doing everything we could be to make that happen. Time to suck it up, buttercup, and get on with what we both know we need to be getting on with, innit? We CAN do this, we ARE doing it, we just need to keep our collective eyes on the road in front of us and get it done."

"Oh, stop sniveling, Self. It's not a big deal. We're not a great big fat failure, honest, we just need to keep evaluating and re-evaluating what we're doing to make sure we're doing what we can. Here, have a pork rind."

*sounds of contented munching*

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hmmm, will threatening the scale work?

Argh! The scale's been bouncing up and down the same five pounds for two-plus weeks now! I keep telling myself that a) my muscles are sore, so there's water retention there, b) I'm on the verge of TOM so there's water retention there, c) my clothing is fitting looser and looser, so something's happening to the fat, d) patience, grasshopper, you've gotta get some ... but it's not helping. I'm impatient. I want to see numbers move! Dammit!

I know that, with the exception of Tuesday's birthday lunch where I gave myself permission to misbehave within reason (and kept it within reason) I've been pretty consistently keeping my carbs under 20 net. I feel like my calories are a bit high, typically between 2000 and 2500, but that's still low enough for the weight to be creeping off. Supposedly. I've been pretty active, although not as much as I could be (here comes excuse: by the time I get home from work I'm so tired all I want is supper and zzZZZzzzz).

But damn you, evil scale of evilness! Move! Noooo, not THAT way! The OTHER way! Now!

(Why yes, I AM obsessing. Again. Or, well, still. *sheepish grin*)

In other news, the cat is still deeply unhappy with her cone of shame, but acting like she's feeling quite a lot better. I had to chase the pill bottle top across the room today after pushing the antibiotic down her throat (hey, exercise!) and she managed to reboot my computer in the process.

She's like a little furry toddler, she is.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

To be or not to be - that's not even a question

My best friend tells me that I'm channeling my inner lesbian. Threatening to buy me flannel shirts. Cheering me on like only he can do, being one of the sweetest men I've ever met (damn shame he's gay, he'd be in soooo much trouble otherwise). I tell him there'd better be a lesbian in those flannel shirts 'cause I need a wife! It'd be bloody marvelous to come home to a clean house and a meal, and between work, exercise, and power tools, the housework is suffering even more than usual.

Not that I wasn't a total failure as a housewife already. Heh.

I feel like I'm reinventing myself here. Well, perhaps not reinventing ... becoming the person I always secretly thought I wanted to be anyway. I was a seriously tomboy kid who hated dressing up, despised anything pink, and just wanted to wear jeans and climb trees. Drove my mother, who desperately wanted a girlie girl in pink ruffles, absolutely to distraction. Somewhere out there is a photo of me at around five years old ... long blond hair in ring curls, a pink gingham dress, looking seriously disgruntled. She'd send me to school in dresses and tights (always pink or white tights, blech!) and then cry, literally cry, when I'd come home with holes in the knees, mud on the skirt, and scuffs on my (gods, I hated those things) brown and white saddle shoes.

I wanted jeans, dammit! I wanted to play on the monkey bars and grub around in the dirt with the rest of the kids!  I was born without the "stay clean and tidy" gene, I'm pretty certain ... one of those kids who had to be stood on a chair to wait for church 'cause I couldn't move without getting grime on my dress ... and quite frankly that hasn't changed with age. *sigh*  My day hasn't properly started 'til I'm wearing my coffee, at minimum. *grin*

As a young adult, the moment I was out of mom's hands I was into jeans, ratty tennies, and t-shirts. Another thing that hasn't changed with age, 'cept my shoes aren't ratty anymore. Usually a bit scuffed and dirty, yeah, but at least they're not ragged. I still wear pretty much nothing but jeans and t-shirts.

I realized at some point in this last month that the person I think I am, the person who I've always seen myself as, is an Ellen DeGeneres sorta woman: Casually comfortable, strong and confident, self-defined. Not spending a lot of time and energy on what our culture says a woman should be, if that makes sense? 

I LIKE wearing jeans and t-shirts and comfortable shoes. I DON'T like, and refuse to, spend time and money on make-up and fancy hairstyles that demand a lot of time in the morning. I DON'T enjoy spending a lot of time and mental energy on my clothing. I HATE shopping, especially that part where you have to go to stores and deal with crowds while trying on a bunch of clothing (okay, part of that's my weight, I know). I would enjoy being able to wear "cute" shoes and nicer shirts, but they'd still be on the very-casual side because that's who I AM. Even when I'm slender and fit I'll be wearing jeans and t-shirts because I LIKE wearing them. 

So back to the whole point here: It's finally dawned on me that I can BE who I see myself as. All it will take to BE that person is some time and a bit of effort. I just turned 44. I can BE myself by the time I hit 45. All I have to do is start being ME right now. 

This whole train of thought was initially triggered a few months back by a conversation with office-mate. She's a very girlie girl, and nothing wrong with that, but she's also a very ...hmmm ... what's the right word here? "Judgemental" might be a bit too strong, but there's definitely a connotation of that. Anyway, one day out of the blue she says, "You know, you really should dress up more like a girl. Do your hair and wear some make-up." 

My first, knee-jerk, response was, "Why?" 

"Well, because you just should. You're a girl, you know."

"What is this "should" you speak of, office-mate? Who says? Who GETS to say I "should" wear a certain style of clothing or waste time in the bathroom painting my face and styling my hair every day? Just remember that I'm a software engineer and be thankful I wear clean clothes and take a shower every day, mmkay?"

She dropped it there, smart woman, but of course I've spent a lot of time thinking about it. And deciding that I'm right, at least where I'm concerned: The only "should" here is what I decide for myself. 

And I "should" be me. Just me. This is who I am, and I like me.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Yesterday was a bit of a rough day all 'round. Was in my office at 6 am, back home at 9 to pick up the cat and take her to the vet 'cause she had an open sore under her tail. Was hoping it was trivial and scared that it wasn't. I'll admit the wee spoiled moggy is kinda like my only child and I worry more and more as she gets older (she's pushing 16 here). Sooo off to the vet we go and it turned out that it was what I'd feared - she had a badly infected anal gland, so a quick (and fairly minor, as these things go) emergency surgery. Back home at noon with an incredibly indignant cat wearing one of those stoopid cones of shame.

She's been staggering around being depressed ever since, not that I blame her in the least with a plastic cone on her head and an extra hole in her butt. She's obviously in a lot of pain and frustrated that she can't move around freely with that thing around her head, and I'm feeling all sorts of guilty for having to make her wear it. Hopefully she'll be healed up enough that I can take it off Friday when I'm home all day to supervise her.

The office mate, bless her, has settled down over the food thing finally. She's made it through six days on her pre-lap-band liquid diet and stopped whining about people eating in front of her, at least at work. Sounds like she's still making her husband eat in another room, though. Yeesh. Yesterday afternoon another programmer came over to work on the spare computer in our office, dragging his bag o' Taco Bell with him, and we were both joking about hanging over his shoulder and drooling while he ate.

Managed to stay fairly clean on the diet yesterday, although not enough water ... only two liters, should'a had another when I got home but was so tired and depressed about the cat and stressed about some things going on at work that honestly I didn't even think of it. Ended up just grabbing supper and crawling into bed. Kinda lost control there in the end and munched too much, but at least it was all on plan. Too many calories but the carb count was excellent.

Now I need to figure out what it was I ate last night that triggered the acid attack. Grrrr. Probably the snack combination of pork rinds, blue cheese dressing, and coconut bark (coconut oil, cocoa powder, and splenda). 

On a side note: The jeans I was wearing yesterday were literally starting to fall off!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Scale, scale, scale -- Hamlet

Gotta love that thing. It's been persistently up 5 pounds over my lowest weight for the last several days ... then dropped 5 pounds today from yesterday morning!

Lordy, every muscle in my bod is whimpering this morning ... ache all over ... but a good ache. Got the pet ramp all cut, drilled, sanded, and painted yesterday. Just need to put the hardware on and glue the carpet to the top. Will work on it this evening and have it done by the end of the week. Feeling very good about accomplishing all that this weekend. Who needs an aerobics class when I have power tools!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My entire body's screaming ...

"Oh, you fat old cow! Lose some freakin' weight already!"  

Spent two hours at Lowes buying the bits and bobs I needed for this next project, plus a few more tools ... most notably a compound miter saw. Then I went to the grocery store and stocked up for the week. Staggered home because by then my lower back and right leg were deeply unhappy with me.

Took a short break, then stripped off my bed and shoved everything in the wash (several trips up and down the basement stairs, which at this weight qualifies as aerobic exercise). Another short break, then offloaded everything from the car and tidied up my work area quite a bit. Managed to fill my big trash can to overflowing.

Another short break, then measured and cut the big pieces on the table saw. Still afraid of that sucker, but starting to get a little more confident. I'll need to even out the first cut I made with my jig saw, but no big deal. After that I pulled the miter saw out of its box and stared at the directions for a while. Still staring at 'em, trying to put the thing together, but I think I'm close.

By then my back was screaming so I decided to make the bed and call it good for the day. That was seven hours of movement in total, so I patted myself (very gently) on the back. Yeesh, I was exhausted!

Treated myself to a couple of lamb blade chops pan-fried with a light crust of Fumee De Sel, some oven-roasted baby asparagus, and half an avocado chunked up and sprinkled with Maldon Sea Salt. Yummy! (And yes, I have just a bit of a salt fetish. *grin*)  Crashed and burned after I ate, was out cold for about seven hours. Of course, now it's 1:00 AM and I'm wide awake!

This morning I'm tired and ache all over, but it's a good ache. An ache that says I did something yesterday, accomplished something. Wish I'd gotten further on that project, but feeling like I did make serious progress ... not just on the project, but on me. Having a cup of coffee right now, then I'll drag that miter saw in from the patio and see if I can get it all put together so I can finish up the wood cuts with it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Oh, I soooo did not!

I did NOT just gain five pounds of fat in three days! Nope!

It's just water, dammit!

Not fat, water!

It'll slide back off again. I just need to keep doin' what I'm doin'!

Yep, I've gone from being terrified with that damn scale to obsessed with it.


An excellent article that I've been reading over and over and over ...

It's been a rough few days ... 12 and 13 hour days at work ... not eating all that great but mostly staying within plan ... mostly ... and not much exercise at all ... and didn't drink anything LIKE enough water yesterday ... but still, I sooooo didn't just gain five pounds of fat! Grrrr!

Okay, time to stop obsessing over a stupid number, time to get off my arse and get moving. I need to do some housework this morning, then take my shopping list to Home Depot and get started on my next project(s). Oh, and get on the spinner for a short ride. And stop whining.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Okay, I know I'm over-thinking this whole diet thing and maybe I have it entirely wrong, but there's something that drives me nuts and I'm trying to think my way through it. Maybe I just need to stop reading Atkins forums.

Yeah, I'm doing Atkins Induction here. I know it works. Why it works I'm not entirely 100% clear on. Maybe I'm still caught up psychologically in how I was raised, that energy in/energy out is the equation we're supposed to use in weight loss: If energy (calories) consumed is less than energy (calories) used we lose weight. Turn that upside down and we gain weight. Yeah?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


My favorite excuse to over-eat on crappy food has always, as long as I can remember, been not getting enough sleep and having to function the next day. Add one more little factoid - I've been an insomniac since I was a kid.  This excuse is deeply rooted in my childhood.

As an adult my pattern has been: Swing through McD's drive-through on the way to work for a couple of breakfast sandwiches (I need the protein and carbs) and a quick stop at Starbucks for a vente macchiato or frappuccino (I need the sugar and caffeine).  Back to Starbucks a few hours later for another (oh man, I really need the sugar and caffeine for this meeting) and maybe another trip through McD's for more food (this'll help me stay awake). Toss in a run to 7-11 for some chocolate in the afternoon (just gotta make it two more hours and I can go home and crash).

Anyone else see a problem here? More than one problem, maybe? Yeah, not just the empty calories but serious self-inflicted carb/sugar crashes all day. Nasty little vicious circle here.

What prompted this post was waking up at midnight to the tune of my beloved resident feline heaving her little guts out on my bed. Loudly. She's always hated throwing up (can't blame her there) and adds plenty of sound effects before and during to demonstrate that. Hell, she cries like a baby at the top of her lungs. You'd think she was dying right then and there. Nahhh, she's just tossing a hairball. Ugh.

Needless to say I was wide awake. Tried to get some more sleep and did drift in and out a little, but once I'm awake that's usually pretty much it for my ability to sleep that night.

Funny thing is I'm not feeling a whole lot of urge to break my diet. Maybe grab an extra chicken thigh to take to work with me in case I get extra-hungry, but the thought of McD's doesn't even appeal right now. Yeah, I'll probably run by Starbucks but I'm learning to really like their iced coffee with a pump of sugar-free syrup and a splash of half-and-half.

Oh, follow-up on the office mate and her bloody protein shakes: She tried to hand me one yesterday morning again, so I gently explained that I really appreciate the thought but each time I've had one there's something in it that really spikes my cravings for sugar and carbs so I really don't dare drink it. Gods, but my inner child was drooling and whimpering, but I held strong. Yay me! *back-pat*

Monday, August 23, 2010

Son of the Return of the Scale

Evil Hitchcockian thing. Bloody thing crept up a few pounds this last week despite the exercise and knowing that there's no way I'm eating enough to gain weight ... then suddenly this morning it's back down four pounds!

It's a pretty decent (read: not cheap) scale, which doesn't necessarily mean it's all that accurate, but still ... a sudden four pound drop like that ... yeah, there's something else going on.

(This despite gorging myself yesterday on baked chicken thighs, pork rinds, and blue cheese dressing. Probably 2,500 calories ... but did keep it under 20 carbs for the day somehow.)

Yeah, I'm over-thinking ... obsessing ... I know what I need to do and I know that it works ... I just need to relax, keep doing it, and let it work ... unfortunately I've never been good at letting go like that. *eye-rolling sigh*

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I was glad I made that "line in the sand" post yesterday 'cause I came back and re-read it several times while I was pushing my body around. There were a few times whilst I assembled that bloody heavy bike that I found myself wishing there were a man around, wondering if I could do it, generally whining and bitching ... so I'd take a break, sit down at the computer, have a glass of water, and re-read that. Then gird my loins and get on with the next part.

In the end the bike is all put together and I took it for a test spin. Must see if I can find my fatty bike shorts this morning 'cause that saddle feels hard! I know I need to break in my butt again and that'll take a couple of weeks, no big deal, and my preferred saddle on my road bike is a Brooks, for gawdsake, so it's not the saddle that's at fault. It, unlike the Brooks, actually has a little padding on it, but my butt's going "noooooo, you fat cow!"

Considering setting up my big laptop where I can see it when I'm spinning and buying a "virtual ride" like this one for motivation, 'cause let's face it ... exercise bikes are bloody boring! But I know that if I want to ride my real bike again I need to suck it up and start doing what it takes to get into some kind of shape (that doesn't resemble your average walrus).

I'm feeling a bit tired and discouraged today. Seems my weight loss has stalled out for several days now, even though I'm moving more, eating less, and doing pretty good at keeping the food at < 20 net carbs and under 2000 cals. Logic says I should be steadily losing, but I'm not, so there's something else going on there. Holding on to water, maybe? Muscles inflamed, holding more water even? Dunno. I can't accept that fat loss isn't happening, not looking back over my Fitday for the last couple of weeks.

Patience, grasshopper. Patience.

Edit: Yes, something else is going on, 'cause I just tried on a pair of old jeans one size down and they fit! (Okay, a little tight, but a month ago I couldn't even button 'em!)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Line in the Sand

 WWE Evolution Theme Song:
Evolution is a mystery
A small change that no one sees.
Clock makes a fool of history .
Yesterday's so long ago, don't agree with what I know .
Tomorrow becomes a place to be.

I see the line in the sand
Time to find out who I am
Looking back to see where I stand.  

Yeah. I think I have to draw that line in the sand. When even doing basic housework chores is exhausting and painful it's time to make a life change. Redefine who I am.

I said that in passing to my best friend the other day: "I feel like I'm redefining myself now." He simply replied, "Yes, I noticed." and smiled.

Who I was  ... was a fat, lazy, weak nerd, honestly. And a door-mat who allowed others (including herself) to tell her that she couldn't, that she was helpless and dependent on others to do for her. A meek sponge of a person that I don't actually like very much. Sure, there are lots of reasons (excuses) for becoming that person over the last 10 years, but none that don't sound like whining to who I am now

Who I am ... is a strong, confident, active nerd. A woman who makes her own decisions and doesn't allow herself to be pushed down paths she doesn't want to go. A woman who thinks of herself, at 45, as in her prime and reaching out to live life to the fullest. Finally. A person who doesn't need someone to do for her because she can bloody well do for herself. A person I actually like.

I never know what to title my posts

In an odd head-space today, just kinda mentally all over the place.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. Food-wise I did well, 1600 cals and 19 net carbs. Not enough water. Kinda fell off the water-wagon there. But feeling good overall about the day.

Got lots done around the house. Finally finished unpacking and clearing the bedroom, which feels good. Can actually move around in there now. Figured out how to root out my kitchen plumbing, so my sink drains again. Got my dishwasher partially fixed at least, so it works (more or less) again. I need to find the manual for that dishwasher and fix it properly.

Found my kitchen. *grin*  Still have to finish off one more load of dishes and do the floor, but it looks like a kitchen again and not just a repository for dirty dishes and trash.

Relevant to the above two paragraphs, sometimes I do still miss being married, sometimes I still feel a bit helpless, but then I remember that it was 10 years of marriage to that man that made me feel helpless and there's no good reason to feel that way. I can learn how to do this stuff for myself, and it feels bloody good to do it by myself. I like not having a man hanging over my shoulder, completely incapable of doing it himself (or too lazy, honestly) but perfectly capable of whining at me about how I shouldn't even try and should leave it to a professional because obviously, whatever I'm doing, I'm doing it wrong. < /rant>

(I don't need a husband; I need a wife!)

The new spinning bike was delivered yesterday afternoon. Will get it assembled and take it for a test spin today. *excited grin*

Friday, August 20, 2010


Yesterday was kinda an eating disaster. According to Fitday I had around 2,387 cals and 48 carbs. And nothing LIKE enough water. Serious whoops. I hadn't felt like I was being that bad, but had a small sugar-free breve in the morning, then went to lunch with a friend and got an omelet that had quite a bit of onion and green pepper in it. Feeling like the incredible bloat-woman this morning. Purely psychological, but not having a good morning at all.

Ach weel. Will get it back under control this weekend. I have the next three days "off", although I have to work a few hours today ... will remote in from home, so I don't have to get showered and dressed yet and can just sit here and drink my water and coffee while I get some code written and debugged.

Also badly need to tackle some of the mess around here. The contractor will be here late morning to have a look at that gawdawful chimney running right up through my bedroom (not on the wall, nearly the middle of the floor!) and give me a quote for removing it. At this point I would be actually quite embarrassed to have anyone see most of the house. Ugh. What a mess! Needs a shovel and a firehose, I think. *slightly manic grin*

Hey, my spinning bike will be here tomorrow!  Not a freakin' clue where I'm gonna set it up. Probably the middle of the kitchen. That's the biggest room on the main floor. I don't want to put it down in the basement because I'll conveniently forget to use it if I do. At least in the kitchen I'll have to walk by it 15 times a day. Maybe I'll make it a ritual to ride the thing while I'm waiting for my coffee to brew in the morning. And it'll be there staring at me when I get home and drop my badge and stuff on the kitchen table.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why being fat sucks #4

Just thinking out loud here this morning, brainstorming a laundry list of why I hate being a fat cow.
  • Walking hurts. Normal people can walk two blocks without pain. I want to be a normal people and do that too.
  • Nice clothing. I can't wear it. Stuck in big-ass jeans and baggy t-shirts. 
  • Cute shoes. Sorry, but they look stoopid holding up my fat ass.
  • Bike. I wanna ride it without scarring the neighbors for life.
  • Stairs. Ow. 'Nuff said about that.
  • The embarrassment of having to say "sorry, I can't ... "
  • Seat belt in someone else's car and that "oh gods, please let it fit" moment.
  • Airplane seats (and seat belts). Is there anything more embarrassing than having to ask for a seat belt extender? Or pretending that you're buckled in when you're not and praying nobody notices?
  • Okay, I'll admit it: Housework is exhausting. That's why my house is a freakin' disaster right now. 
  • Fear of imminent heart attack. Yeah. Seriously. 
  • Grocery shopping qualifies as exercise.
  • Being horribly self-conscious in public because I just know everyone is staring at me. Especially if I'm carrying a drink or food of any kind. 
  • Joint pain. Yeah, I know my knee, hip, and ankle hurt because they're supporting so much weight. 
  • Lower back pain. Likewise. And can't do much of anything without that hurting.
  • Leg going numb from simply standing around for 10 minutes. Normal people can do that without discomfort.
  • Swimsuit. No. I used to actually like going swimming. 
  • The scale at the doctor's office. NOT my friend.
  • Sex. Yeah. The idea of getting naked and someone else not just looking but touching ... uck. I'd kinda like to get some again someday, but ... no.
  • Going to a restaurant and worrying about fitting in the booth. 
  • Getting hurt more easily. A slip can actually do serious damage. 
  • Being lonely. Yeah, back to the whole "don't want anyone to see or touch" thing. Can't imagine finding someone who would find all this lovable. 
  • Toenail clipping. Forget buffing and polishing. 
  • Bad skin. Yeah, I still break out like a teenager. Lovely. 
  • Tiny little bike saddle. Big fat arse. Lycra. 
That's probably enough for one morning.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sabotage, Self and Otherwise

I'm perfectly capable of sabotaging myself on a daily basis when I'm trying to lose weight. My inner child whimpers "oh, just a little bit won't hurt" and sometimes I listen. It would help greatly if the people around me weren't also trying to help that self-sabotage along.

So my office mate brings me a "low carb" shake yesterday morning again. I should've said no, but I didn't want to hurt her feelings (read: but it looked and tasted so good), so I drank it. I did sit with her and have her pull up all of the ingredients and had a little chat with her about a) how to calculate net carbs (yes, you DO have to count up everything you put in, not just the protein powder) and serving size (exactly how much of that powder did you use, hon, seriously).

I was trying not to make her feel bad, but as a result I spiked myself yesterday. Badly. That shake was easily half my daily allowance of carbs. And between that and the fact that it was a long and stressful day -- food cravings, big time. Pretty much stuck to legal foods after that, but way more of 'em than I really needed. Seriously.

Had to giggle in an ironic sorta way later in the day when she had just chowed down on a burger, fries, M&Ms, and a giganto coke and then she started going on about how she's not gonna handle it well having to watch other people eat when she's on a liquid diet for the lap-band. It's obvious to us all that she's gonna play the control game, or try to, of "you can't eat that here." Nope, sorry girl. We're all practicing saying "You're on YOUR diet."

And I'm practicing NOT saying, "I'm having just as much respect for your diet as you've always shown for mine, darlin'."

I do worry about her, and I'm not the only one. She seems to think that this lap-band is the easy path, something that will make her magically thin and fit. She doesn't seem to get that it's still hard work. Seriously hard work. I've watched another friend who went through it. How hard he worked even before the surgery, how hard he's had to fight not to sabotage himself after, and how much pain he still experiences from it even a year later.

He's done jaw-droppingly well, lost over 150 pounds so far (50 of that pre-surgery!), but he works at it constantly, fighting to keep both carbs and calories low every day. In the meantime, she's actually gaining weight in the run-up to hers (she's scheduled for the end of this month, less than two weeks away).

I want her to succeed. Very much so. I'm pulling for her and will support her in any way I can. I know what it's like to be so fat that you're desperate to get it off. She's really not that much bigger'n me. I just ... worry that she's not being honest with herself or realistic about what is involved. She's not gonna be able to keep pouring giganto cokes and mochas down her throat and actually lose that weight.

In the end, no matter how we go about it ... it's hard work. We have to be willing to be uncomfortable for a long while and do the things we don't want to do, despite our inner child throwing a tantrum. (Yes, I'm talking to myself here.) If I'm not able to do that, I'm not gonna be able to do what I need to do, so sometimes I just have to send my inner child to its metaphoric room for a time-out.

And I have to learn to slap a hand over inner-child's mouth and speak up for myself.

Hey, despite having a terribad day food wise, I did get a couple of short walks in, I did drink lots and lots of water, and I'm down another half-pound on the scale this morning!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Exercise, yeah?

Okay, the idea behind low-carbin', as I understand it, is that you're forcing your body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. It seems to follow that if you exercise, thus making your body reach for energy stores to burn, you'll burn more fat, yesno?

I'm struggling a bit here with the whole exercise thing. First, because I'm a lazy cow. Yep, I know this. But second, and more importantly right now, because it bloody hurts in more ways than one. I can live with the pain of sore muscles because they're being made to work for the first time in a very long time, but I also have a bum knee (exacerbated by all the extra weight it has to support, natch) and a doubleplusungood lower back (had a disc decide to deteriorate and go bye-bye in my mid-twenties, probably caused by an injury to that area in my teens).

Sooooo ... walking hurts both areas. Stairs, the same. I don't have easy access to a swimming pool, or the overwhelming desire to spend money on a health club where I would ... nor the desire to shove my fat bod into a bathing suit and go out in public!

And one more thing. I miss riding my bike. Yeah. Gods, I do. Not all that long ago I was riding it back and forth to work (8 miles or so each way) and a longer ride every weekend, averaging ~100 miles a week on the thing, and loving it. It's low-impact and really strengthens the lower-back supporting muscles ... and fun! I wanna be able to ride again.

But. Yeah. Bike shorts. Fat ass. Tiny bike seat. Not a pretty sight. Verrrry self-conscious about that right now. And even if I weren't, I'd have a hard time making six blocks right now, I think. Even less purty: The sight of a fat chick doing a slow fall onto the curb, gasping for air. Yeah, no.

So. Having spent some time the last week thinking about all of the above ... I just broke down and ordered an inexpensive spinning bike from Amazon this morning. For the price it gets great reviews, and it's rated for 275 pounds (we all know they leave a safety margin there, so I'm not too worried about an extra 20 over). It should be here Saturday. The plan is to add spinning exercise to the diet until a) I'm stronger, and b) I can fit in my bike shorts. At that point I should be ready to dust off my road bike and hit the pavement again.

I miss riding my bike!

It sits in my living room, right by the front door, and I swear it whimpers at me every time I walk by. I leave it there to remind myself that I used to be able to enjoy taking it with me. 

Right, what next?

Came home from work yesterday early (only worked five hours) 'cause my lower back and right leg were having major muscle spasms. Just took it easy the rest of the day and went to bed early. Down another half a pound this morning, which made me smile. Yeah, I know, half a pound is in the noise, nothing to get excited about, but at least I can say I don't weigh 300 freakin' pounds anymore.

Feeling better this morning, still a little stiff but not as sore. Will pop a couple of Aleve and get on with it. I need to clean up the mess I made over the weekend, start getting stuff organized, and tackle this bloody house. I'm living in what feels like a trash heap right now (very low tolerance for clutter, me, and surrounded by it at the mo).

Sitting here this morning wondering what my next crafting project should be. There's part of me wants to tackle something really ambitious, but the rest of me knows I don't really have the mad skillz for anything major yet and I should pick something small and simple. The first thing that comes to mind on the ambitious side is to build a big workbench. With locking drawers and wheels. And a pegboard behind for my stuff.

On the smaller side, I need a sun screen for one end of my patio 'cause during certain parts of the day the sun shines directly onto the patio and it's too hot to be out there for long right now. I also want to build a pet ramp at the end of my bed. Right now I have a jury-rigged set of steps for the cat (it's a high bed, she's an old cat) but it would be nice to have a proper ramp for her and the future pup.

Yeah, those would be good simple projects.

Guessing that the sun screen will be something pre-fab that I just have to fasten to the top cross-piece on the patio. I don't want something permanent, just something I can drop down when needed or roll up out of the way when not. Need to measure and Google.

The ramp might be a bit more challenging, but I'm pretty sure I've seen actual plans for that somewhere on the intarwebs. I'm thinking something really simple. It doesn't need stairs; just a ramp with a rubber mat for claw and pad grip.

Hmmm. Off to Google I go.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Oh man, do I hurt ...

... but in a good way, or so I keep telling myself. My lower back is screaming, my legs are tight and sore ... but I keep looking at Her Ladyship's new shelf and ramp and smiling. Oh, and down 2.5 pounds from Friday. Hey, maybe there's something in this whole exercise thingy!

Very proud of myself that I stuck to the diet all weekend too. Looking back and reflecting that I actually got too busy to remember to eat yesterday, which is pretty unusual for me (hah).

So yeah, tired and sore, but very proud of me.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Power Tools, Vroom!

Whew, did it! Had a few hitches in the project but in the end I made it. Got that bloody table saw together and apparently did it more or less right 'cause it worked.

Had to run to Ace Hardware repeatedly today (fortunately they're five minutes away). First time 'cause I forgot to buy wood screws to fasten the shelf to the brackets, then back when I couldn't figure out (after 45 minutes of frustration) how to load the staple gun. Rather proud 'cause I'd made it that far without asking for man-help, anyway.

Nice man at Ace (thanks, Rudy!) sent me home to get the staple gun so he could show me how it was done. Sigh of relief when it turned out that he couldn't get the damn thing open either 'cause it was defective. Bought an electric one from him along with staples. Then back to get the right staples. Phew pantpantpant!

I'm tired. I'm sore. My back and legs hurt. But I did it.

Really Awful Cat Perch

Much Nicer

Her Ladyship Agrees

Lament of a Fat Chick and "Some Assembly Required"

Got over my funk about the scale yesterday by picking myself up by the scruff of the neck and throwing myself into the shower, then into clothing, then into the car. Spent two hours at Home Depot buying everything from a toolbox to safety gear (goggles, gloves) to about double the bits I figure I'll need for this first project.

Got it all home and off-loaded everything to the back patio, then hauled everything from earlier this week out of my living room to the patio too. Took a short break and had a phone convo with my little brudder, then started unpacking the table saw and putting it together.

The instructions that came with that saw assume a Y chromosome, I think. They certainly weren't written with the assumption that the person having to follow them has never even used a table saw before! Gods. Getting the bloody thing out of the box was as far as I managed to get before having to hit Google.  

Install the blade: Yeah. Nowhere did it say "remove that metal plate that's in your way first." The picture just showed a blade already installed and that metal plate in place. I'm looking down into that little slit in the top where the blade's supposed to go and thinking "unscrew what where?"

Install the blade guard: "Slip the guard clamp over the blade guard peg." Mmmkay, this is obviously the blade guard clamp. Which peg would that be, then? Back to Google I trot. Right, THAT peg. And obviously I need to loosen the screws on the clamp. That were clearly not meant to be loosened, judging by how tight they were. Took a bit of ingenuity and a wrench to get those suckers free.

In the end I spent most of the day up and moving around, way more motion than my old fat body's used to these days, which is kinda the idea. My back and legs are sore. And I still have to finish putting that sucker together. Hopefully I'm getting it right, anyhoo. If you hear a loud bang from the general vicinity of my backyard that'll be me plugging in the table saw and finding out that I did it wrong. *grin*

Just waking up here, drinking a cup of coffee, waiting for dawn so I can go finish the assembly. And for some reason I've got an old Ray Stevens song running through my head this morning: Power Tools.

Seems appropriate, yesno?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Okay, I Did It

Got on the scale. *whimper* Reallyreallyreally didn't want to, but the nerd in me wants DATA! Been at it for a couple of weeks now and no idea what my weight's doing. I feel like I've lost a bit, but it's so easy to deceive ourselves that I'm not entirely sure. My jeans are looser. My shirts feel looser. But that could be wishful thinking. So I sucked it up and stepped on that bad boy. Then dutifully went and logged it in Fitday.

Yeah, I think I'll go curl up in the fetal position and whimper quietly to myself now.

Nahhh, I think I'll go to Home Depot and buy some wood and a few more toys.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Minor Triumph, I Suppose

Yesterday was my birthday. And an extremely long and frustrating day at work. Yesterday was also the day a cake party was thrown for everyone with a birthday this month. I decided to leave work at 1pm to a) avoid that cake and singing, and b) spoil myself a little by coming home and playing with my new power tools for a bit.

Best-laid plans of mice and programmers: Drama eruption at work and I didn't get out 'til after 2pm. By then I was tired, frustrated, just flat pissed off at the world and one or two people in particular, and frankly feeling downright bitchy and sorry for myself. By the time I went to the grocery store and got home it was pretty close to the time I'd have been home if I'd just sucked it up and not left early at all. So much for playing with my toys.

Went into a full-out tailspin of self-pity, which I don't do very often. But I managed to stick to the plan food-wise, so I'm rather proud of myself there. Had a great big rib-eye steak (a co-worker reminds me that steak rhymes with cake so it's gotta be just as good!) and some pork rinds 'cause I've been craving crunch. Should've had a salad with it but didn't much care, just wanted something to get my teeth into.About 15 net carbs in total yesterday, so backpat!

Not gonna get on the scale today 'cause I'm still pretty funky-mooded (didn't sleep terribly well, and no surprise there after yesterday) and that giganto steak is still sitting there in my gut, but I promise I will tomorrow morning. Will declare Saturday morning my weigh-in day for a while.

Had a dream last night that I was looking at myself in a full-length mirror. Naked. Not something I'm prone to doing when I'm awake, I promise you. But I dreamed that I was kinda taking a peek at myself ... very hesitantly ... looked away quickly ...and then looked back in surprise 'cause I was like a size 12. Very nice dream, in an odd sort of way.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fear of Scaling

My best friend is nagging my to get my fat butt onto the scale. My best friend, who's lost around 150 pounds (!) with a combination of low-carb and lap-band. All I can think is "ugh" but I'm beginning to think he's right. I actually dreamed about it last night.

Another friend is getting ready to do lap-band surgery. I'm quite worried about her, as is my best friend. Her doctor has been trying to get her to lose weight in prep for it and wants her low-carbing both before and after the procedure, but she hasn't even been trying. She appears to think that the lap-band is a magic wand that will make her weight just disappear. Don't we all wish? I do know people who've had the surgery, lost a large amount of weight initially, but then put it back on because they didn't actually change any habits after. They kept forcing the same old foods and drinks down their throats (and you can consume a hell of a lot of liquid calories through that tiny little lap-band hole), didn't get up and move, and wondered why it didn't work for 'em.

She also seems pretty deep in denial about what a carb is. And determined to spike my efforts as well.

Day before yesterday she called me from Starbucks and asked if I wanted a coffee. I said sure, that'd be wonderful, grab me an iced coffee with a splash of half-and-half. She brought it by my office, I took a drink ... it had been sweetened. Bleah. Gave it to co-worker who's NOT dieting.

Yesterday she brings me a cup of this concoction she's made, something with protein powder, ice and dairy ... announces proudly that it's only two net carbs. Great! I take a drink, it's not bad, then she proceeds to tell me that she made it with whole milk.

Umm. Yeah. 11 net carbs in a cup of milk. I didn't have the heart. I just quietly dropped it into the garbage when she wasn't looking and covered it with some other trash.

Anyway, way off topic there. I need to suck it up and get on that scale. Terrified of it, honestly. My own brand of denial: I don't WANT to know how much I weigh right now!

But not today. Today's my birthday. Lemme enjoy one more day of denial, thanksmuch.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Power Tools

Right. I've got an idea!

I have a house. It's my house. Small, but mine (and the mortgage company's, yeah). All mine. For the first time in my life. I've had this house for a bit over a year now and it's finally really sinking in: It's MY house. I can do anything I want in and to MY house.

I've always wanted to learn how to do stuff with power tools. How to build stuff. Not big stuff (not at first, anyway) but useful stuff. To learn how to do stuff that I would otherwise have to hire out and spend a small fortune to have done.

I need to get up off my lazy arse and move around. Get away from this computer and get some exercise. ANY exercise! 

Hey, why not buy some damn power tools and learn how to use 'em? What a great idea! *slightly manic grin*

(My ex would be having fits right now. That's one reason he's an ex. We owned a house together for 8 years but it was never really my house. I couldn't do a damn thing in or to it without him having fits. Now I have my own house!)

Anyway, I plan to start out small. My cat needs a shelf by my office window. With a ramp, because she's going on 16 years old and wouldn't be able to make the jump. My office needs more room 'cause it's a tiny little room. Right now she's using a really awful cat-tree thing from Wal-Mart with an old PC tower as a step up. It's less than ideal. She wants to sit at the window and watch the bird feeders in the back yard. And be close to me so she can claw at my shoulder for attention. (She's just a bit spoiled, wouldn't you say?)

So why not build her a shelf and ramp? That will be my first project. I'm starting at the bottom of the learning curve here, so I want to start small with picking out the wood, brackets, hinges, carpet and putting it all together. Gotta learn how to find wall studs, how to cut and attach cleats to the ramp, all that.

I'll post pictures this weekend. Feel free to laugh hysterically.

Tired, Sore, Happy

Yesterday was a loooooong day. 12 hours at work. Much too long. Much much too long. But I got a bit more exercise than I'm used to (okay, I call it exercise, you normal people can feel free to sneer now).

Went for two short walks in the morning (thanking the gods for an air-conditioned office building with one long hall that loops around the outer edge). Just enough to get my heart rate up a bit and feel it in my hips and ankles.

Then I got to talking with a co-worker who does a lot of wood-working stuff at home. He's basically torn down and rebuilt parts of his house, and he builds his own sheds and cabinets and stuff, so he knows his way around power tools. So I kidnapped him for a run to our local Harbor Freight store. An hour and a half later I was handing over my credit card to pay for an air compressor, a table saw, a staple gun, a cordless screwdriver, and all the bits and bobs needed to make those do stuff. *grin*

I'm sore today. More activity than I'm used to, obviously. And I still haven't offloaded that stuff from the car. Sore, but happy.

The eating got a bit out of hand yesterday, but stayed within plan at least. We stopped at McD's on the way back to work and I got a bun-less cheeseburger and a diet coke. Then came home late, was tired and ... well, tired ... made a big pan of chicken (see recipe earlier this week) with small skinless thighs. Ate two with a small salad. Was still hungry, so I ate two more.

Today I can finally feel that I'm in ketosis. Woke up with the bad breath and stinky pee. Finally.

(Edit: Just plugged everything from yesterday into Fitday and found that I'd actually stayed WELL within plan. Woo!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Days and Days

I have days when I feel extremely optimistic. And days when I feel extremely discouraged. Days when I know I'm losing weight and I know I can do this and I know I'll be in better shape soon. Days when I wonder if I'm actually gaining weight instead and wonder why I'm trying and think I'll just be fat the rest of my life.

Probably should have hopped on the scale and started tracking my actual weight at the start. Every time I look at the scale, though, my inner child (she's a spoiled brat) wails I don't wanna! Waaaaah! and I let her get away with that. At least I'm not letting her get away with wheedling me into ordering a pizza.

I know I've at least lost a chunk of water weight, just based on what my jeans feel like. But today I'm feeling like a huge fat walrus. Tired and frustrated and feeling like this is what it's gonna be like for the rest of my life.

I'll feel better tomorrow, I don't doubt. At least my heel's healing. I'll go for a walk today at work.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Why being fat sucks #3

Having to pay someone an extra 200 bucks to clean up my (not really all that big) yard of weeds and debris because I'd do myself an injury if I tried in my present shape. If I were in better condition I could do it up myself in a couple of hours, give or take. Sigh.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Recipe - Simple Chicken Bake

This is one of my staples on the VLC diet. Super super simple, fast, easy. Did I mention simple? This creates several meals for one dieter. Excellent for a quick, cold (but greasy) breakfast or hot with a salad. Or the chicken shredded on a salad.

  • Chicken - Several pounds
  • Ranch Dressing Mix packet
  • Whole Mushrooms - I don't measure, just a bunch o' mushrooms
  • Feta or Romano cheese, crumbled or shredded - A cup, give or take
Oven @ 350 degrees

Start with a load of chicken. I typically use thighs because I like dark meat. I normally just buy the cheap "family pack."

Put the chicken in a big plastic bag. Yeah, I use the unscented trash bags. I'm that lazy.

Dump the Dressing Mix on the chicken. Close the top of the bag. Shake to coat the chicken.

Open the bag, toss in the cheese, close and shake again.

Open the bag, pour out onto a large baking pan with sides (don't use a cookie sheet without high sides, trust me). Spread the chicken out more or less evenly. Don't fuss too much, you're not creating art, just dump 'em on and spread 'em out.

Spread the 'shrooms over the top and in between the pieces of chicken.

Toss the whole mess into the oven and walk away for an hour.

Omnomnomnomnom while reflecting that yes, this IS diet food!

Week the First

Tomorrow morning will mark one week back on track to lose weight and get back into a somewhat better shape than your average walrus. Fascinating how much better I feel already overall. I forget how good my body feels when I'm actually giving it things that it needs as opposed to stuff that I want. More energy, and more mental energy.

Dunno if I've lost any weight 'cause I'm not looking at a scale yet (some things are just TOO depressing for words, thanksmuch), and certainly if I have it'll be mostly water weight, but noticing that my jeans are a bit looser. Especially in the arse. Had to tug them back up several times yesterday, too. Funny how something that most people would consider an annoyance is, under some circumstances, a real pleasure! *grin*

So ... it's been a week of eating very low carb (VLC), taking a mult-vitamin every day, drinking 3-4 liters of water every day, eating masses of shrubbery every day (mostly green, leafy, crunchy stuff), tracking my intake at Fitday every day.

Not worrying about the scale because I know that this way of eating works. It works for losing weight and it works for my body. My body likes to eat like this. Meats, small amounts of cheeses, bare minimum of dairy, lots and lots of fresh shrubs. I did this once before, last year, and lost 50 pounds. I also lost the need to take a heartburn pill before bed every night, and the blood sugar swings that have been part of my entire adult life.

It's a diet I can sustain without too much effort for a number of reasons: It doesn't take much work or thought. I know what I can and can't eat. What I can eat is lots of the kinds of food I actually like! Pretty sure I was born a carnivore, actually. Even as a kid I was all about the "Gimme the meat, man! The bloodier the better! I'll gnaw it right off the bone, nomnomnom!" Yeah, okay, I was a weird kid, too. Hated most vegetables, still do.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Why being fat sucks #2

I was a dog groomer and trainer in a previous life. 17 years working with dogs and being very active in various canine sports (obedience, herding, agility, tracking, etc.). Then I got RSI in both shoulders (not uncommon for groomers -- all that twisting, bending, lifting, pretzeling we're constantly doing) and had to change income-generating tactics. That's when I trotted off to college and discovered my inner nerd.

Not long after that I ended up getting married to the man I thought was the love of my life. I was willing to overlook the fact that he'd never had dogs before because he got along extremely well with my Border Collie. I didn't foresee that he would be adamant about not getting another when Scott died at the age of 16, or that I'd be so pathetically determined to keep our marriage together that I'd willingly comply. For the first time ever in my life I found myself without a dog. And with a husband who genuinely didn't understand why that would bother me. I felt incomplete. Still do.

Okay, long story short (too late, I know). I left the husband two years ago. Finalized the divorce and bought a house a year ago. Was losing weight and getting the house ready for a dog (there was a LOT to be done before I could bring a pup in) when I was sideswiped last October by an unexpected surgery. The healing went horribly wrong and I was on the sofa for 6 weeks, sleeping and comfort-eating. Fell into bad habits and put all the weight back on over the winter.

The house is finally nearly ready. The new fence around my back yard was just finished last week. But I'm so badly out of shape that I can't even imagine trying to keep up with an energetic pup. Carry it outside to go to the bathroom, take it for walks, take it out to the park to socialize, train it. Just trying to get the house organized and puppy-proofed is a daunting task at this weight.

I want a dog. Badly. But my body can't do it.

I suppose there's an obvious solution, eh?

Being fat sucks!

I was reminded pretty firmly yesterday just how much it sucks when I had to trudge across half a mile of parking lot in 98F weather, sweating like a fat cow. Twice. And my ankles and right knee protested loudly. I'm pretty sure if you listened closely you could hear them muttering, "Okay, fatso, FFS, lose some weight already! This hurts!"

Yeah, it did hurt. And then I got home last night, my whole body was tired and achy (partly stress from the day, partly walking a lot, partly the heat, partly adjusting to the diet). The cat insisted on a belly rub so I dutifully complied, like the obedient feline servant that I am, and bent down to give her the worship she thinks is appropriately her due. Straightened up and got a massive muscle cramp in my back, right side below the shoulder blade over the rib cage. Owwwww! 

That STILL hurts this morning, along with my lower back (all that walking, carrying all this weight, no surprise).

I'm tired of being this heavy. In all meanings of "tired."

Monday, August 2, 2010


Oh, look. Yes. It's a new blog. Just what this world needs.

Oh look. Yes. It's a text editor that thinks it can read my mind. Just what this world needs. Stop it!

Ahem. Yes. Sorry. It's this new diet making me cranky. No, wait: I always get cranky when software contradicts me. I have a cat for that, thanks.

Anyway, yeah, I'm afraid that this is not only a new blog ... it's a new diet blog!  Well, sorta. Random blathering about lots of things, but right now my mind is really kinda focused on my weight and the excess of. And the elimination of the excess of. Clearly it's not a blog about grammar.

Why blog? Well, really only because I find that it helps to write things down. And I'm a nerd: I like to write things down all nice and tidy and neatly formatted. Blogger's good for that (hey look, Blogger's text editor tells me that I should be spelling it flogger's). I could do it in something like Word (or OpenOffice for you purists) but Blogger does a pretty good job of doing the formatting for me ... and I'm a lazy git, at the end of the day, which is why I'm on a diet now anyway. Sigh.

So yeah. In short, I'm blogging for me. I'm textually drawing a line in the sand for myself and saying "self, this whole being-a-fat-cow thing is old ... it's time to be a thinner cow, mmkay?" I'm giving myself something to read back over when I get tired and discouraged that will kick my butt and remind me why I'm doing this. And someplace to sing and dance when the scale goes down a bit or I finally get outta my fat-ass jeans.

Expect inappropriate humor, sarcasm, and dollops of cynicism here.