Tuesday, March 31, 2009

BMI update

I planned to update my BMI monthly, but forgot to yesterday.  

When I started, at 211.5 pounds, my BMI was 38.7.

Today, at 191.5 pounds, it's 35.

I don't know exactly what that means in a scientific sense, but it's one more way for me to see numbers getting smaller, so woot woot!

gimme a break

Two interesting links today.

First, can this be a good idea?  The New York Times explore the effects of drinking coffee before a run.  True story: coffee is a diuretic.  Running has a similar effect on many.  My mind is going to unpleasant places.

Second, barf.  At 5'9 and 120 pounds (holy COW) this woman was told she had "waist wads" and "banana rolls" by a plastic surgeon.  I guess the rest of us should just commit mass suicide.

Monday, March 30, 2009

weigh-in/month 3

Down 2.5 pounds from last week, for a grand total of 20 pounds.  I like this--it's a nice round number to round out the third month of this little lifestyle change.

If you break it down, though, it was 10 pounds the first month, 6 pounds the second, and 4 pounds the third--decreasing losses.  I'm not too bothered by it because the big family reunion/week of guests in the middle of month 3 was a big factor, and I think that I can continue to lose around 6 pounds/month.  

When I think back over the last three months, I'm kind of amazed.  No fast food (unless you count Chick Fil A, which I really don't.  When I say fast food, I mean McDonald's, Wendy's, etc.), hardly any eating out that wasn't socially obligated, no ordering pizza.  Oh yeah, and I went from running zero to eight miles.  

The next milestone on my calendar is a friend's wedding on June 6, just over two months from now.  If I can lose 12 more pounds by then, I'll be happy.  (I may not be able go to the wedding--it's in Indiana--but that doesn't matter.)  I'll be training for the Broad Street Run for the next month, and then I'll need to figure out the next step in fitness.  I'm not sure if I'll continue to try to run longer distances, or if I'll start focusing on some kind of weight training.  What I do know is that I can't do what I did two Thanksgivings ago--train for a run (in that case, 4.5 miles) and then once it's over, gain twice the weight I lost.  That would not be cool.  And I won't let it happen this time.

Current weight: 191.5
Pounds to goal: 68.5

Sunday, March 29, 2009

chronicle of an 8 mile run

Yesterday afternoon I set off for my long run: an 8 miler.  I had selected a route from walkjogrun.net which starts at the base of the Philadelphia Art Museum and then follows a loop next to the river, over a bridge, and back to the museum.  The loop is a trail populated with bikers and runner and dogs and G and I had been there before (when these pictures were taken) so I thought it would be a good spot.  Here's how it went:

Mile 1:  Jogging slowly past Boathouse Row, still dodging lots of pedestrians.  Still no Ipod (please mail it soon, mom!), carrying a water bottle for the first time, nervous about what's ahead but feeling all right.

Mile 2:  Can't tell if it's the lack of music or my actual pace, but I seem to be going verrry slowly.  Oh well, I've got a long way to go.  There's a crew meet taking place in the river, so the banks are covered with tents and booths and parents and canoes.  Or whatever the crew boats are called.  At one point a team is carrying one across the path and I have to jog in place for a second to let it pass.  This has never happened to me in the gym or in the city.  

Mile 3:  Still feel like I'm going at a snail's pace.  There are spraypainted markers every 1/4 mile, and it's taking me forever to get from one to the next.  G has run ahead of me, and all of a sudden I see him on the other side of the river, waving both arms in the air like a fool.  It puts a huge smile on my face and spurs me on toward the bridge.

Mile 4:  On the other side of the river now.  My legs are beginning to ache.  This is taking forever.

Mile 5:  I've slowed down even more, and I'm wondering if I'll be able to finish.  I tell myself that as long as I go even a step more than 7 miles, I'll be happy, because I will have increased my distance.  I approach a little exercise station where a couple guys are doing pullups.  The guy at the bar just keeps going--he must do 30 pullups as I approach.  Then he stops and lets his friend have a turn, and wanders over toward the path.  As I pass, silently admiring his physique and overall super-fineness, he opens his mouth and lets out an amazing Haitian/West African/French accent, saying, "Good effort, you're doing great."  "You too!" I shout back, thrilled.  I'm a happily married woman, but that gorgeous accent gets me through the next half mile.

Mile 6:  Less than three miles left.  I should be able to do this, but I don't feel like I have it in me.  I try to come up with a mantra that will keep me going, but my mind is too alert and my body too tired to let the words take over and the repetition keep me moving.  Instead, I keep changing it up so that I'm basically mumbling to myself like a crazy person.  "You can do this.  You can do this.  No one can stop you.  Only you can stop you.  You won't stop.  You will do this.  Just keep moving.  You are strong.  Do it for the haters.  Do it for the fatties." etc. etc.

Mile 7:  There's some kind of bike race on the road to my right.  Giant packs of cyclists keep whizzing by, giving me vertigo.  There aren't many people here, and whenever someone passes, I have to fight the urge to scream at them, "What does it look like I'm doing?? Walking or running??"  I can't tell anymore.  There's tons of nasty goose poop on the ground, and whenever one of the Canada geese wanders into the path, I take advantage of the lack of people by muttering, "Fuck you, goose."  A few minute later a woman runs up going the opposite direction and smiles at the geese.  Bitch.

Mile 8.  I've spotted G up ahead.  He has been sick this week, so he decided to run 5 miles and walk the rest.  Even so, he's still going to finish before I do.  I can see the museum now, and am trying to figure out how the path works its way around--front or back?  The route calls for going around the front and running up the steps Rocky-style, but if I can find a shortcut around the back, I'm going to take it.  No, I'm going to finish.  I have to finish.  I run under an underpass and curve around the front of the museum, where well-dressed women are carrying their museum store bags and hipsters are climbing the steps.  I'm red-faced, sweaty, absolutely gross, but I don't care.  I run exactly to the center of the front of the steps and stop.  I did it.

Mile 8.5  My legs are broken.  My muscles are pulverized.  I have to walk .5 miles around the museum to meet G, but now I know that I was running before because I can't walk.  I stumble in slow motion past the Rocky statue and posing tourists.  It takes superhuman effort to put one foot in front of the other.  I stop and stretch.  I wonder if I've pushed myself too far, if my body doesn't do more than 7 miles.  I'm afraid I won't be able to do the Broad Street Run.  I suddenly find a mantra.  It goes like this, "Fuck Fuck Fuck.  Fuck Fuck Fuck.  Fuck Fuck Fuck."  I try to keep moving, through parking lot, toward G.  I wonder if I'll collapse, and have to stop someone and beg them to find my husband, the guy in the white bandanna, and tell him that his wife is back there and can't move anymore.  Finally I see G, and start crying.  He makes sure I'm OK. He thinks I'm crying because I didn't run 8 miles, but when he finds out I did the whole thing, he's super encouraging.  I'm still wheezing and gasping and choking with tears dripping down my face, so he does the best thing: offers to go get the car for me.  A few minutes later, I'm seated.  

Postmortem:  3 Ibuprofen, 1 Gatorade, 1 shower, and 30 minutes of runner's trots later, I feel slightly human.  I might attempt 9 miles next week.

Friday, March 27, 2009

emo eating

No, I don't mean putting on skinny jeans and plastering my bangs to my forehead before I eat. I'm referring to emotional eating.

There seems to be consensus out there in the dieting world that most of us trying to lose weight are emotional eaters.  Had a bad day?  Scarf down some candy bars.  Fight with the hubby?  Dive into a tub of cookie dough.

I've been thinking about it, and I don't think I'm an emotional eater.  That sounds like a good thing, right?  I can control my eating independently of my emotional state.

Here's the problem, though.  If I'm not an emotional eater, but I'm still a good 70 pounds overweight, what kind of eater am I?  I've thought about it, and the best I can come up with is that I'm a food eater.  

If it's food, I'll eat it.  It doesn't matter what my mood is.  Take today, for example.  I woke up feeling refreshed.  And excited for breakfast.  Then I had a pleasantly slow morning of schoolwork and anticipating lunch.  As soon as lunch was over, I started thinking about dinner, and trying to figure out how many points I'd have leftover after dinner for my favorite part of the day: TV and snacking.

I enjoy food.  I enjoy all kinds of food.  I enjoy eating more than exercising, sleeping, or even having sex.  I believe any social gathering is enhanced by food--in fact, the two are basically synonymous in my mind.  Happy or sad, bored or busy, hungry or full, I've always got food on the brain.

So how do you cope with that?  They tell emotional eaters to replace food with other forms of comfort, but how can you replace something that is constantly on your mind no matter what else is going on?  Is this food addiction?  

I'm not necessarily feeling discouraged right now, I just realized that I always want to eat and am wondering what that means.

ETA:  Looking back over this, I think the term I was searching for is glutton.  Seriously.

the man in the mirror

My body looks better in the morning.  Does yours?  

I have this theory that 8 or so hours of being horizontal allows everything to resettle into the most attractive package possible.  After 14 hours of sitting, standing, eating, and jostling, the fat packets have shifted downward, resulting in the bulgiest bulges and clumpiest clumps of dumpiness.  

Test this theory o' mine out--before going to bed, give yourself the once over.  Note the lumps and rolls.  Then, as soon as possible after waking, give it another look.  See if things look slightly smoother to you.  And then work with that image.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

goals round 2

Early on, I mentioned that I had three milestones this year that I would use to organize goals around.  The first was my cousin's wedding which was this last weekend.  After I weigh in next Monday, which will be week 12/month 3, I'll think about the weight I'd like to be at by Memorial Day.

However, I have a running bet with my mom and sister in terms of behavior, and we have just set new goals for the time between now and the Broad Street Run.  I had fun working on them, so here they are.  As always, I prefer behavior goals to weight loss goals, because while you can control weight loss to a degree, you really can't live by the scale.  So here are the goals I can control:


-Follow the Broad Street Run training program.  Except in the event of sickness or injury, complete every run.  If scheduling gets in the way of a run, I'll make it up the next day.

-Continue with the hundred pushups challenge.  I'm in the middle of week 3 and my arms are aching, but I can do 17 pushups without stopping!


-Continue to write down everything I eat and make a good-faith effort to track points.

-If/When eating out, leave something on my plate.  It doesn't matter how much, but I always eat every bite.  Last week I left part of the meal on my plate and it felt so liberating!  I didn't have to savor the last bite as though it were the last thing I'd ever taste!  I just stopped when I got full and let someone else eat the rest.  

Wish me luck!

Biggest Loser Breakdown

Because of the craziness last week, I didn't have a chance to write about Biggest Loser.  I LOVED last week's episode.  I sat there dribbling tears all through the welcome home scenes, and then through the entire half-marathon montage.  I kept trying to suck it up because I knew my dad would be arriving any minute and he has no patience for reality TV, but I just couldn't stop.  I was really impressed by most of the contestants' time.  At this point, except for Kristen and Ron, they are pretty much all in better shape and weigh proportionally less than I do.  Good for them. (Boo for me--I liked thinking I was better off.)

Last night's episode was pretty dull.  The fake drama over choosing trainers, the fake drama over giving Tara the extra weight.  Why isn't this show an hour long?  I did enjoy Tara's comeback on the racetrack.  I'm wondering if she waterloaded last night, and if that means she'll have a killer loss next week.  It's hard to tell how bodies will react to those shenanigans now that they're all so trim.

Finally, can someone explain why they keep voting off weaker players and letting the threats stick around?  (Except for Dane a few weeks back, which was the opposite kind of bad decision because his team needed him to stick around.)  I love Survivor, and I would be happy for this show to explain the alliances and deals that are obviously going on behind the scenes, but it's like they think viewers are so stupid that we believe they really are voting Aubrey off because she isn't losing weight.  


Whooo-eee, yesterday was a rollercoaster.  

I was more right than I knew Monday when I said I was still struggling to get back on track mentally.  After our crazy weekend we hadn't had a chance to go grocery shopping, and G is sick, so we gave ourselves one more day to get on track.  Which meant we ordered dinner (caesar salads and baked potato wedges) and ate chocolate.  I knew that I HAD to get back to normal Tuesday, so I hit up Trader Joe's and then headed home determined to go for my run.

Then I napped for two hours.  I really do think that my body and mind were saying, "You know what?  We need this."  For some reason I hadn't been able to sleep at all Friday night, so I think I was still catching up.  The good news was that I woke up feeling pretty refreshed and decided to tackle that run.

Then the crazy hit.  I couldn't find my ipod.  I ransacked the entire house, screamed at G, wept, called the Holiday Inn, called my sister, panicked, turned the car inside out, screamed and wept some more.  Finally the ever-suffering G said, "You know what?  You have two options.  Go for a run without an ipod, or don't go for a run."

Damn.  So clear.  I never run without an ipod, and I needed to do four miles, so I set off with trepidation but aware that completing this run was the only thing that would make me feel better about losing the ipod.  (Part of the issue here was that this was a replacement ipod for the one I sent through the washing machine last summer.)

I went very slowly, but I did run the four miles.  I was still totally depressed about the ipod, and thinking about places to filch $150 from our budget, when my mom called and said it seemed like there was an ipod in her purse.  "It SEEMS like that??" I yelled.  "IS THERE OR NOT???"  
There was.  I had put it in there myself for safekeeping after we hit the hotel gym Saturday morning.

I'm so glad G encouraged me to go for a run, and I'm so glad I counted points yesterday.  I did eat another caramel creme egg (they come in 4 packs!) but I counted it and ate fish and green beans for dinner.  Holla!

Monday, March 23, 2009

weigh in/week 11 reflection

I'm back!  At least, physically I'm back.  I'm still working on the mental part.

Last week my dad came to stay starting on Monday.  On Thursday relatives started arriving from distant locations for my cousin's wedding, about an hour from where I live.  Friday we all drove out, where we met up with my mom and sister and the rest of the extended clan.  We celebrated all weekend, returning to Philadelphia yesterday to show off a few of our favorite (food-related, of course) spots.  My mom and sister camped here last night, and took off this morning.  In other words, it has been a full week of company, fun, messed up schedules, weird sleep patterns, and eating.  

I knew back in January that this week would present a particular challenge, and I tried to plan ahead.  I called my dad several times with questions about vegetable preferences and meal planning.  My dad has lost a lot of weight, and is always working to maintain that loss.  On one of the calls, he said, "I don't care what you make for dinner, I just don't want the whole week to be like a celebration with lots of food."  Excellent!

Except that as soon as he arrived, all plans went out the window.  I'm not sure if he was just relaxing, or if he thought G and I wanted to go nuts, but every time I turned around he was buying a donut or suggesting we eat out instead of cooking at home.  I did pretty good while he was here, but I didn't count points and it definitely loosened my resolve heading into the weekend.  Here's the summary:

Monday: seafood dinner, including a crab cake sandwich and steamed mussels, wine

Tuesday: 3 mile run, lunch at the Indian buffet (I only had one plateful! a huge departure from my usual behavior! furious pats on the back!), I made salmon for dinner, whiskey and wine

Wednesday: homemade hummus and pita for lunch, dinner with G's family at a seafood restaurant (I chose broiled shrimp, but they were swimming in butter), wine

Thursday:  I ran 7 miles! joy!  homemade quesadillas for lunch, dinner at an Italian restaurant with my aunt (I ate several slices of bread, some pasta, and half of my eggplant parm.  Hey, good for me, leaving half of my meal on the plate!), wine

Friday:  Did 17 pushups in a row.  Ate a banana for breakfast and declined my dad's offer to buy me a treat at the bakery (I'm so glad I'm not tempted by sweets); restaurant sandwich with chips for lunch, 2 slices of pizza and some Chinese food for dinner (I did avoid all alcohol)

Saturday: tried to run on the hotel treadmill but it was really crappy and I was scared I'd sprain my ankle so I only did a mile and a half); 2 biscuits and 2 sausage patties for breakfast, two small sandwiches for lunch, a plate of buffet food at dinner, piece of cheesecake, some beer, some wine, a rum and coke

Sunday: biscuit and bacon for breakfast, noodles at my favorite restaurant for lunch, chicken wings for dinner, margarita, two beers.

WOW.  Writing it out like this, I can see the trend: tried to maintain exercise and make good choices throughout the early part of the week, patted myself on the back, went nuts over the weekend.  It could have been worse, it could have been better.  At this point, it's over, so after this e-confession, I am putting it all behind me.

I wasn't going to weigh in this morning, but I did and I'm only up half a pound.  Honestly, I'm thrilled.  And I'm ready to get back on the normal routine of healthy, fresh, homecooked meals with serious exercise and the occasional treat.

Current weight: 194
Pounds to goal: 71

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

everybody poops

This is how I know I am getting a wee bit too obsessed with the scale: Sunday night I dreamt all night about pooping.

Many people who weigh on a weekly basis will tell you with glee how they squeeze out every drop of pee possible before their weigh-in, but let's not kid each other here at the Forthright Fattie.  A pre-weigh-in poop is the holy grail.

Alas, all that dream-pooping did not result in a real life bowel movement Monday morning.  The upside to this is the hope that perhaps this means your weight is a half-pound or so less than the scale says, a fantastical possibility.  

Worse, (and HI, yes, I know this is TMI, but I'm trying to lose weight and be a runner here, and that means I'm going to have to talk about poop every once in a while) I never found the right time the rest of yesterday or this morning, so I set off for my three mile run with a heavy intestine.  About half way through things started to loosen up, and the rest of the run was agony.  I hit the restroom as soon as I got home: sweet relief.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I went clothes shopping last week.

Before last week, I hadn't been shopping since right after Christmas, that time of year when gift cards and returns burn a hole in my pocket. My sister and I went to Anthropologie; she exclaimed over the cute dresses while I headed straight for the housewares section. At The Gap, I saw a really pretty shirt in XL and decided to try it on, just in case. Five minutes later I was cursing and sweating over the exertion of trying to button it over my ginormous bosoms. I tried to ignore my reflection in the mirror and get back into my own clothes as soon as possible, vowing not to try anything else on, regardless of size, price, or style. I was miserable. I hadn't weighed myself in weeks, but I was pretty sure I was heavier than I had ever been, and as I reflected on the last five years of yo-yo-ing, I had no hope that I'd eventually lose weight.

This last experience was different. I'm still too big for clothes at most boutique stores, but a dress I tried on at New York & Co. slid over my chest so smoothly I almost gasped out loud. Granted, it was not made for someone who tops out at 5'1, but it felt great to decide against it because of style, not because it just didn't fit. I ended the day frustrated, but only because I couldn't find what I was looking for, not because I felt hopeless. I have a ways to go, but I'm determined! And come August, I will reward myself by buying a dress for my brother-in-law's wedding. I'm going to go to Ann Taylor and Bananna Republic, two stores whose style I love but whose doors I am afraid to darken for fear that the lovely salesladies will faint at the idea of their clothes on my chunky body.

You heard it here first, folks. One day, I will enjoy shopping.

weigh in/week 10 reflection

Bah humbug.

I'm the queen of spouting off about how you measure behavior, not results on the scale.  I know that our bodies do weird things, so if we have a bad scale week, it doesn't matter if we can say we made good decisions, ate healthy, and exercised.  Eventually the scale will reflect that.

Someone hit me.  That's annoying.

I'm down half a pound this week for a grand total of 18 pounds.  18 pounds in 10 weeks!  That's great!  That's better than I've ever done!  But I was still totally bummed out by that number.  All day Sunday I felt great--clothes were fitting better, when I glance down I see my boobs, not my stomach, etc.  I'd been daydreaming all week about a big loss, one that would get me to a milestone.  20 pounds lost would be a good numerical milestone, and if I got to 21 pounds, that would be my first 10% lost.

Alas, it was not to be.  Just a measly half pound, rounding out my total loss from 17.5 to 18.  I know there were a few times this week when I didn't eat the very healthiest (see: Tuesday night pasta, Saturday night wine binge) but I also made some great choices.  Last night we took our sister-in-law out for dinner to a local pub.  Everyone else got burgers and fries, while I had grilled chicken with squash risotto and portabella mushrooms.  Then we ordered dessert to share, and I had one teeny tiny spoonful.  I was feeling so virtuous!  And I need to hang on to that feeling, because I did make good decisions.  And I did run 15 miles this week.  If the scale feels like ignoring it, fine.  I'll see what happens next week.

But that's the problem.  Usually that attitude is great, but I know what's coming down the pike and that's why I'm terrified.  This weekend we're going out of town for a cousin's wedding.  Three days of eating out.  Three days where I'll have to bow out of time with family I never see in order to do my workouts.  

Maybe this paltry loss is a good thing.  Maybe it will scare me into ordering house salads with no dressing all weekend.  But is that really how I want to approach things?  With fear and loathing?  

Bah humbug.

Current weight: 193.5
Pounds to goal: 70.5

Saturday, March 14, 2009

six miles!

That's right, I ran six miles.  Six 14 minute miles, to be exact.  For some, that wouldn't even count as running, but for me, it felt like a huge accomplishment.  I knew that in order to finish, I'd have to go slow.  Thursday I ran 3 miles and the whole run was miserable.  When I finished I realized I'd been running 13 minutes miles, which explained the misery thing.  I can run a mile under 12 minutes, but I know that I have to pace myself for these longer runs.

One thing that helped, aside from the gorgeous day and the interesting route I'd plotted on walkjogrun.net, was the playlist I made before I left.  I've learned that the best playlists are the ones you make yourself, so I'll share mine here in case it sparks any interest, but I encourage you to look through your CDs and grab every song that makes you go "Hey, turn it up!" when you're listening in the car.  I've tried searching for good playlists on various blogs and websites, and sometimes I get ideas, but I really don't enjoy running to a song that doesn't have a pretty well-worn groove in my brain.  With that said, here's my six mile list.  It's more of a pleasant, keep you in the groove kind of list than a rockin', keep you moving hard-core kind of list, which works for a longer, more meandering run.

New Slang - The Shins
An all-time favorite song, good for starting out slow.  (Haha, I am ALWAYS slow, but you know what I mean.)

The Boxer - Simon and Garfunkel
I prefer Paul Simon to Simon and Garfunkel, but for a long time Paul Simon was the ONLY thing on my Ipod and I needed a change.  

Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
Probably the most cliched song ever to have on a running playlist, but there's a reason.

Laid - James
This bed is on fire with passionate love?  I dare you not to pick up the pace a little.

Vaseline - Stone Temple Pilots
Chosen because runners use vaseline to prevent chafing, but also because, when I run, I feel like a fly stuck in vaseline.

Flowers in the Window - Travis
A great upbeat but not way overplayed song.  With sentimental value, cause we played it at our wedding when the bridal party came out.

Nugget - Cake
The perfect antidote to the pleasant sentimentality of the previous song.  Get angry!  Shut the fuck up!  Learn to buck up, yeah, shut the fuck up.  Pretend they're singing to that voice that says "You're tired, it's time to quit."

My Name is Jonas - Weezer
By the time they got to the "The workers are going home" section, I was on my way home.

No One - Alicia Keys
Yes, it's way overplayed and kind of a dumb song, but dang if it doesn't pick me up after all those alternative tunes.

When I Come Around - Green Day
But then it's time to get back to the alternative.  

Worn Me Down - Rachel Yamagata
Because yes, at this point, I am way worn down.

Perfect Gentleman - Wyclef Jean
Dude, I love this song so much.  And for four solid minutes, I try to remember the lyrics word-for-word rather than thinking about how much farther I have to go.  Come on, has there ever been a better line than "Ten Grand let me see you shake it like you got no bones in your body and you was meant to be a celebrity."

Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa - Vampire Weekend
It's only like the most upbeat song in all of history.  And it sounds like Paul Simon

Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
And now I'm thinking about lying on the beach.  The perfect way to end.

(Just to be clear--I did not run six miles in the time it took to listen to this playlist--I listened to it about one and a half times.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

diet books

Yesterday I stopped by Barnes and Noble to pick up The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl.  As I was scanning the shelves for the book, I was startled by how many ridiculous diet books are out there.  I mean, I'm no idiot, I know there are lots of people out there looking for miracle cures, but I really thought that the excessively ridiculous diets appeared only in infomercials and websites.  I couldn't believe that someone could actually publish a book called "The Lemon Juice Diet," or one that seemed to be about how women in the Hamptons keep weight off.  The picture on the front of that one was a blender with celery and carrots in it.  Um, yum?  I can't wait to try it?  What a sustainable approach???

Luckily, I found the dietgirl book and read the first 1/4 of it while enjoying a fairly healthy dinner at Panera.  I did half of the Mediterranean veggie sandwich, a cup of French onion soup, and a baguette.  Lots of carbs, but a grand total of 14 points, which I could afford because I had eaten light and done my 3 mile run earlier in the day.  I'll take a sensible approach over cabbage soup, thankyouverymuch.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Biggest Loser Breakdown

And breakdown is right!  I was really entertained by this episode while watching it, but I felt so dirty, so cheap.  While I do not believe that all reality TV is scripted (my father-in-law firmly believes this) last night's episode was so freakin' fishy.  Why didn't Jillian work out Filipe?  How exactly did the black team arrive at the decision to take tequila shots?  And how in the heck did Mandi gain two pounds while apparently working like crazy?

I'm not suggesting there was actual tampering with the weigh-in results, I just found some of the "drama" of the episode highly artificial.  The best way to deal with that is to ignore, so let's talk about the good stuff: challenges and weigh-ins.

I loved the relay challenge.  It seemed pretty hardcore, but both teams rocked it.  I try to store up the images in my head of things like Aubrey busting out those squats or Sione taking those stairs two at a time so that when I'm considering bailing on my own workout, I can play a little mental motivation montage.

The weigh-in was the worst one all season in terms of pounds lost.  I'm guessing next week we'll see some big numbers.  Here's my take on the remaining contestants and their chances to go all the way (in terms of weight, not winning the $$):

Tara:  She's won pretty much every competition the show has had, so I wouldn't be surprised at all if she shows up at the finale with the biggest percentage of weight loss.  I could see the girl eating asparagus and coffee for weeks just to ensure her win.

Laura:  Not much of a threat, but don't underestimate her.  She's a good candidate for falling off the wagon when she heads home, but I don't think the producers allow anyone to really do that.

Aubrey:  Such an odd mixture of grit (see: busting out the squats) and very low weight losses.  She consistently loses less than people expect her to--is she sneaking food at night or something?

Filipe:  His fun-guy attitude could get in the way.  And give me a break with the "Why did I let my trainer ruin my week?"  Dude, you ruined your own damn week with those chicken fingers and fries.  I'm all about moderation and allowing yourself treats, but you've got to own those decisions.

Sione:  Has all the determination Filipe seems to lack.  Huge threat.

Kristin:  I'm still thinking she might win it all.  She's just got so much weight left to lose and seems as determined as ever.  What's with the "medical issues," though?

Cathy:  I doubt she's a threat to win this thing, but she seems like a cool lady.  And the fact that she quit drinking and smoking suggests she's got willpower if she can just figure out how to harness it in the food department.

Mike:  Another huge threat to win.  And seems like a nice guy, too.

Ron:    Shut up.

Helen:  Getting small, seems like a lot of fun.  I'm guessing she'll win the prize for looking the foxiest (in comparison to her old self, not necessarily the other competitors) at the finale.

What does everyone else think?  Does this show motivate you, discourage you, or just f*ing annoy you?

links: Michelle O and a running tale

Two interesting health-related articles in the NYTimes today:

The first is about Michelle Obama's commitment to healthy eating, not just for her family, but as part of an agenda.  I say Go Michelle! [Chandler voice]  Could she be any more of a role model?  It will be interesting to see how her agenda takes shape  in terms of concrete items, and the kind of effect it might have.  I don't have a ton of hope that America will suddenly learn how to eat healthy and exercise, but I'm sure her commitment won't hurt.

The other is from the Proof blog, which I enjoy reading every once in a while--it's basically a bunch of people telling stories about drinking.  Right up my alley, right?  This entry tells the story of how a woman gave up alcohol and ended up running a marathon.

mmm, pasta

Last night I ate pasta (real pasta, not whole wheat or enriched) for the first time since all year.  It was soooo delicious.  And I don't feel guilty about it!  Why?  Because I did my 3 mile run earlier in the day and ate light and counted my points.  This is why the Weight Watchers approach works for me--because there will always be a time when someone puts pasta in front of you, and being able to eat it in moderation is OK.  

Let me tell you--this was pasta carbonara, which means there was bacon in it.  Also, it was fresh pasta purchased from a little old Italian lady, not from a box.  A friend had invited us over and offered to cook for us, and how rude would it have been if I'd said, "Oh, sorry, no pasta for me."  We planned for it and we enjoyed the heck out out of it.

Funny thing: during my run I passed a camera crew filming a familiar looking guy wearing a black leather jacket.  It hit me--that's the guy from America's Most Wanted!  Not that I've ever seen the show, but I got home and googled him and sure enough, that was the guy!  

Full disclosure: after the pasta we went to a bar and had a few drinks.  I was the DD so I nursed two beers very slowly, but when we got home I felt entitled to catch up with G and had a few more drinks.  I feel slightly guilty about that.  I mean, I counted the points and subtracted a few from my flex points, but I'm still working on moderation in that one area.  

Monday, March 9, 2009

moleskine milestone

I've decided to try to add some pictures for visual interest.  So here's the first one: my trusty food journal.  I used up all the pages!  One down, many to go.  I know everyone says it, but tracking what I eat is the number one best way for me to lose weight.  Obviously it's part of a multilayered approach, but if I'm not tracking, probably nothing else is going right.

This milestone is significant because in the fall of 2007 I started running and tracking what I ate in a Moleskine and lost about 13 pounds.  It felt awesome.  And then, after I filled up the first book, the holidays hit, my tracking waned, and fast-forward to an almost 30 pound weight gain.  This time I will fill out the second book faithfully.

reader question: running outside

Just typing that subject heading makes me laugh, because it makes it sound like A) I have readers and B) I have something to say about running outside.  Neither of which is really a true proposition if tested, but in this teeny tiny blog o' mine, they are relatively accurate.

So thanks DEE!  My first question from a reader!  Woo-hoo!  (No joke, this made my day.)

Dee asks: "Did you find it easier, or harder, to run outside vs the treadmill?"

Forthright Fattie answers:  Physically harder, mentally easier.  It's a real workout for my ankles to navigate curbs, potholes, ignorant pedestrians, and cheesesteak vomit.*  I could barely walk down the stairs yesterday when I was done.  However, the changing scenery and the fact that you have to get back to where you started makes it so much easier to keep going.  On a treadmill, I find it a herculean effort not to look at the mileage marker the whole time (even if I cover it with a towel) and get discouraged about how far I've gone/have to go.

*I live near the cheesesteak capital of the world, and when I ran past it Sunday, there was definitely evidence of an unpleasant digestive experience.  The worst part was that my shoes were slippery afterwards.  I'm so sorry if I have now ruined anyone's dinner, but hey!  weight loss blog!

weigh in/week 9 reflection

Down 1.5, for a grand total of 17.5 pounds lost.  Holla!

Seriously, I didn't know what to expect this week, what with being sick and missing my exercise early on.  I felt pretty good yesterday.  I went for a 4.5 mile run on the mean streets of Philadelphia.  The first half of the run I felt very self-conscious, because it was my first time running "in public"--that is, not on a treadmill or in a designated exercise location.  I was going so slowly (14.5 minute miles, woo yeah!).  My one hope was that people who saw me thought "Gee, there's a girl jogging slowly" rather than, "Gee, she should be in the hospital."  It was kind of funny to run past people sitting out for an elegant brunch and imagining them cringing away from any flop sweat.  The other cool thing about running in Philadelphia is glancing up and seeing Independence Hall.

G and I went to dinner at Bonefish Grill last night--our first time at that fine establishment.  We had a gift card, and figured we could do better (in terms of calories) there than some other chain restaurant.  I really wanted to be perfect this weekend, but we ended up splitting the fried calamari as an appetizer, and eating several small pieces of bread.  I still think my grilled shrimp with broccoli and potatoes was better than a burger and fries, though.  And I managed to leave some of the potatoes on the plate.  Not the lowest-calorie meal ever, but not too bad as the singular weekend treat.

In other news, and this is not a euphemism, I seem to have pulled a muscle in my stomach by rolling over in bed.  Not quite sure how that happened, but I'm wondering how it will affect the pushups.  We'll see!

Current weight:  194
Pounds to goal: 71

Saturday, March 7, 2009

today's run brought to you by: snow!

Yippee!  I felt good enough yesterday to determine that I would be running today.  According to the training schedule, I was supposed to do at least 4 miles.  However, having been sick all week, I really just wanted to do anything.  I made it 3 verrry slow miles before petering out and walking a bit, then I ran another half a mile.  Since I hadn't run since last Sunday's miserable 1.5 miles, I felt pretty good about this.  Also, the weather was gorgeous and I was outside rather than on a treadmill.  

There is one downside to running outside, though.  You have to either schlep your water bottle or go without.  I decided to go without, and I was dying for water halfway through.  When I stopped to walk, I couldn't keep myself from scooping up a handful of the snow that was still on the side of the trail and devouring it.  It was dee-licious.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Still sick.  This cold started out very mild and then progressively got worse.  I'm calling it a backwards cold.  I managed to eat on points and pretty healthy Wednesday and Thursday after giving in to the misery munchies Monday and Tuesday, so hopefully the damage won't be too great.  But I haven't been able to exercise, and it's killing me!  Not to mention, all my other efforts--the things I do that are not about weight loss--have also fallen by the wayside, so I'm feeling kind of stressed out, which probably doesn't help.

Oh well.  One day at a time!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


A few interesting articles in the NY Times today. 

On eating well on a budget:  Hey, did you know that pasta is cheap?  Yeah, me too.  This article does make some interesting points about canned vegetables, though.  I never buy canned veggies, but I'm willing to sacrifice elsewhere for my fresh produce.  (I do freeze a lot of stuff over the summer and use it throughout the winter).  But if they canned stuff really is just as nutritious as the fresh stuff, it's not a bad choice.  My main beef with this article is that they totally bury the lead--you have to read 2/3 of it before they mention any specific foods, and even then it's just a quick, self-explanatory list without too many meal ideas.  Except for potatoes.  For some reason there are 82 potato ideas.

On the effect of exercise posters:  Apparently looking at posters encouraging you to exercise will result in stuffing your face with M&Ms.  Or something.  I'm not sure how broadly the study can be interpreted.  However, it does bring up an interesting point, one that G and I have argued about a gajillion times.  Activity points: to eat, or not to eat?  For those non Weight Watchers, activity points are calculated by intensity and duration of exercise and your weight.  The longer and harder you exercise, the more activity points you earn, which translates to "the more you get to eat."  However, WW doesn't say you should or shouldn't eat them, just that you can earn them.  I find activity points a huge motivating factor during my workouts--20 more minutes and I can have a snack this afternoon!  Oh how will I use these lovely points???  G, on the other hand, focuses on the "calories in, calories out" perspective and tries not to eat too many activity points.  I think it comes down to listening to your body and doing what is sustainable.  If eating the points will keep you in the gym, then go for it.  However, I have been trying to leave a few AP's on the table lately, especially after reading about people who gain weight while training for marathons.  Horrors! 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Biggest Loser Breakdown

Last night's Biggest Loser was frickin' infuriating, no? A two hour show with no payoff? G was so pissed he swears he's never going to watch it again. I'm going to keep watching, but NBC is really pushing the limit here.

I'm amazed at how good Tara and Mandy look. They both look lean and hardly overweight, which is a real feat in those spandex shorts and sports bras. I was shocked that Tara still lost 11 pounds--a few more weeks at that rate and she won't have any more to lose.

The big promo moment was Jillian's mean girl approach to getting Laura to wake up and take ownership of her actions. Usually I'm down with Dr. Phillian (TM Potes) but this one seemed a bit ill-advised. The point that Laura is perceived as weak even though she doesn't have to be was right on, but it does seem like having everyone gang up on Laura is not the way to convince her she's not a victim.

So who's going to win? I'm calling it right now: Kristen. She's got so much weight to lose that no one will be able to top her if she keeps it up, and she seems to have the drive as well as be well-positioned in terms of alliances. Mikey may be her biggest competition. Filipe and Sione are practically athletes by now, as Jilllian pointed out, and I'm not sure they can keep losing for the duration.

Any other predictions?


After acquanting myself with the world of diet blogs over the last few weeks, I've decided to do away with the daily reports. I'd like people to actually read my blog, and to enjoy it, and I think the daily posts about what I eat just get in the way. I'll still be keeping my Moleskin journal and writing everything there, just not posting. I've almost filled the first Moleskin, which is a bit of an accomplishment. I did that once before, and then lost focus and never filled a second one and gained back all the weight, so I'm determined to keep tracking this time. It really is the best thing for keeping me on track. I will, however, continue to post links to new recipes that I try.

Speaking of which, I've been sick and miserable this week. Monday my school was the only one open in a 20 mile radius, in spite of snow and ice and crazy wind. I indulged in some Pho (kind of a Vietnamese chicken noodle soup) and then went home and made G get me Doritos...whoops. Yesterday I decided to give myself the day off completely: no thinking about school, points, exercise, etc. I ate badly, but not terribly. As in, I had Chick Fil A for dinner rather than pizza and wings. At first I felt bummed out, like this cold was going to result in a major weight gain and really throw me off, but then I decided it doesn't have to be that way. I'm going to let go of yesterday, but assume that I've used all my flex points for the week. Which means I have to be perfect this weekend. Theoretically it shouldn't be tough because we don't have anything planned, no eating out, no parties, etc. However, I know that Sunday night I'll feel like I deserve a treat. Time to summon that willpower!

On the exercise front, I'm two days into the hundred pushup challenge and did 5 in a row this morning. I haven't run since my bad run Sunday, but I'm hoping I'll feel better enough to get into the gym tomorrow, even if I can't do the full 3 miles because I'm still congested.

So that's this week. Trying to make reasonable decisions even when you kind of have an excuse not to. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 2, 2009

weigh-in/month 2

Down 1.5 pounds for a grand total of 16.  That's a rate of 8/month, or 2/week, although it was actually 10 pounds in the first month and 6 in the second.  Whatever, numbers are boring.  

Yesterday I did indeed eat a Cadbury Creme egg and some bread, cheese, and ravioli for dinner. However, I exercised, I had all my flex points, and I didn't drink at all this weekend!  (Except for the hot toddies, which seriously were medicinal and I would have preferred Nyquil if we had it.)

I'm very pleased, partly about the number, but more so because I know that this has been the most committed and diligent 8 weeks of "dieting" I've ever strung together, and it hasn't even felt like a hassle or I'm depriving myself.  (Most of the time--see the last entry for one exception.)  In other words, I can keep this up!

March will be tough.  My dad is coming to visit for a week, and that will be capped off by a three-day family reunion/wedding celebration.  We'll be out of town, and who knows where/what we'll eat.  As the time gets closer, I'll make some specific plans, probably along the lines of allowing myself to go crazy at the wedding reception and trying to be really good the rest of the time.

I'd love to get to 21.5 pounds lost this month--that would be 10% of my weight.  But if I don't, I won't stress, because when I initially set mini-goals, my first was to be in the 195 pound range by my cousin's wedding, and barring any unexpected binges, I'll be under that.

Current weight: 195.5  
Pounds to goal: 72.5

Sunday, March 1, 2009

time for some TRUTH!

The tone of this blog is generally upbeat, and that's because this weight-loss thing is going pretty well.  However, I would hate to sugar-coat anything or lead anyone to believe that minor setbacks don't happen, so I shall hereby catalog my day today.

10:45 - Wake up, try go get G to make a plan for our first training run together before he's had coffee, bicker, cry.

11:45 - Learn that a foot of snow will descend starting around 4 p.m., redouble my efforts to set a time for training run while G is distracted by minor things like preventing our roof from leaking (which it did terribly the last time it snowed), bicker, yell, scream, run out the door with the parting shot of "Fine, I'll just train by MYSELF, then, I don't NEED you!"

12:00 - Ride the subway to the gym on the verge of tears because I can't do this by myself and I do need him.

1:00 - Stop running 1.5 miles into what's supposed to be a 3 mile run because
    A.  I'm too emotional to run.
B.  I'm coming down with a cold.
C.  My legs are really sore.
D.  I'm a quitter!

1:30 - Ride the subway home on the verge of tears because I'm a quitter.

2:00 - Weep on G's shoulder because I didn't run far enough, will never be able to complete the run, am getting sick, will invariably gain double what I've lost, die of fatness.

2:30 - Send G to the grocery store for "bread and chocolate" with the vow that "I'm going to eat whatever I want!"

3:00 - Decide to watch Pineapple Express and pat myself on the shoulder because I don't smoke, pot or otherwise.

goal weight

I never seriously thought about setting a goal weight for myself.   In previous weight-loss attempts, it's been all about behavior (eating right, exercising) and hoping the number goes down. I'll set mini-goals for myself, like hoping that by the time that wedding comes up in 3 months, I'll have lost X amount of weight, but I seriously never considered the possibility of losing enough weight that I would be an average-sized person.

I don't know if it's because I didn't want to jinx myself, or if I thought looking at a big-ass number would be too scary, but I think part of it was lack of belief in myself.  There's no way I could do that, only a minimal percent of people are successful with weight loss, blah blah blah.  Oh yeah, and if I don't think I can do it, then I don't have to really commit myself to trying, and I don't have to live with the fear of failure.

But in the last few weeks, I've read through the entire archives of both dietgirl and pastaqueen, two bloggers who have succeeded in losing huge amounts of weight and keeping it off.  One thing they both had in common was a goal weight from the very beginning, even when their goal weight was less than half of their starting bodyweight.  I can't fathom the fortitude it took, at nearly 400 pounds to say, "Yup, I'm gonna weigh 160 someday."

It's time to pony up.  I'm picking a number, checking it twice, trusting my body to treat me nice. (Wow, soooo lame.)

Of course, there are many numbers I could pick, and one thing about the two bloggers I mentioned above is that each initially set a goal weight that was lower than the weight she ended up being happy with and maintaining.  So do I set a super low weight with the knowledge that I'll end up not reaching it anyway?  Or do I set a high weight and consider it more realistic?

Questions, questions.  This stuff isn't simple.

What I've decided to do is pick a number that sounds astronomically low to me right now, but is actually closer to overweight than underweight according to a BMI calculator.  It's kind of a fun number because of the sequence of the digits, and it's also a number that I feel like meant something to me at one time.  I have a vague memory of being in middle school and weighing this amount for a while.  Or it could be that this is what my mom has weighed her entire adult life.  It's one of the two.  Whatever.  I'm picking it, I'm aiming for it.  I'm not going to be distracted by it, I'm not going to predict when I will get there, I'm not even sure I will.  But I will get darn close!  

The magic number is 123 pounds.  If I get there, I will have lost 88.5 pounds total, and I have 74 pounds to go from where I was at my last weigh-in.  I do not have to lose half my body weight, although apparently I could and still not be underweight.  Damn.

ETA:  I'm still going to focus on mini-goals, by the way.  The first, which I mentioned in early January, is my cousin's wedding in March, which is quickly approaching.  I think I had hoped to lose 15 pounds by then, and I should hit that easily.  Then I'll look to Memorial Day weekend, another wedding and my own anniversary.

daily report 2/28/09

Baby carrots
Clif bar

4 mile run (about 50 minutes)

leftover chickpea and chorizo soup

Pork chop (fried, baby!)