Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Look Great in 2008 (Week 9)

Although we are enjoying a small reprieve from the family crisis that has been brewing, things are going to heat up in the next couple of weeks. I'm trying not to worry, but it's hard not to, because not only are we worried about what will happen with The Kid, I'm also worried about the way things are going at work. They are expecting lots of overtime out of me, and I'm struggling to find the energy to do my work with the vastness of our family crisis looming.

Yesterday was my birthday. The Kid was sick, so we canceled my party. She felt better at dinner time, so we went out, but I'm teetering on the edge of a cold myself. The food tasted like cardboard. I didn't have a cake, see my family, or have any wrapped gifts to open. The SO had already given me my gift a few days before, and my mother mailed a birthday card with a check.

But I guess it's all just as well. I lost a pound this week. My weight was 230.2 lbs this morning, so that's something worth celebrating. At this point, I'll take small victories where I can find them.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Look Great in 2008 (Week 8)

Well the family trauma has died down a little bit, and I've actually been able to eat. I've noticed, that whenever I go through a period of not eating, my weight will spike a little bit, as it did this week. I'm up exactly 1 lb from last week, weighing in at 231.2.

Not bad.

The family crisis is still brewing, but it has eased a little. The problem is behaving much like a pot boiling over on the stove. When the heat gets turned down a little, the pot goes back to a rolling boil. In this case, the rolling boil involves social workers, therapists, special education services and a slew of other interventions. It's not pretty, and I don't expect things to be resolved for quite some time.

The big lesson learned here: don't ask for help when your kid is struggling. The people who claim to work in the system to help kids and look out for what is in their best interest are really just serving a political agenda that involves, money, power and the transfer of assets from one group of people to another.

I do want to thank everyone for the outpouring of kind comments and support last week. It's meant a lot that people I don't even know are willing to think of us and to pray for us. Everyone's continued support and kind thoughts are definitely needed, as the issues we are facing are deep and wide and could still very well come to an unpleasant and ugly ending.

We are hoping and praying for a miracle.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Look Great in 2008 (Week 7)

As I've been blogging, things have been very difficult at our house. Things are still difficult, and a family crisis of immense proportions has now erupted full force. It's been something that has been brewing for a while, and now it's reached nearly cosmic proportions.

Grief has an interesting way of taking away your appetite. I've lost 5.2 lbs since last week, and I haven't even been trying to diet. In the midst of all of the turmoil, food simply looks like cardboard, and even the idea of eating mostly makes me want to throw up. When I do eat, it sits in my stomach like a lead ball. Within 20 minutes, I end up running to the bathroom where it exits my backside in a huge explosion.

My weight this morning: 230.2. That's down a total of 26.8 lbs from when I started my diet back in April.

So, I guess there good things can come from great trauma and sadness in your life.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Sometimes, Family Trauma is Good for Your Diet

There are some very personal and traumatic things brewing over here at Chez Oinkstop which I don't feel I can blog about right now. They involve The Kid, and they are just heartbreaking. Perhaps, when things are resolved, I'll feel like I can say more. What I can say now is that prayers are needed. Please pray that the powers that be will do the right thing when it comes to The Kid.

On Halloween, I missed dinner (and trick-or-treating with The Kid) because I had to work. Last night, after getting some horrible news, I simply felt too queasy to eat. The SO spent the night crying and talking about what had happened.

This morning, my weight is down 3.4 lbs since Wednesday, for a pleasing weight of 232.0.

Sometimes, I guess family trauma is good for your diet.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Look Great in 2008 (Week 6)

Well, as a few readers have noticed, I've been conspicuously absent from weigh-ins for a little while because my life has been spinning pretty badly out of control these days. As I blogged last night, I'm having struggles with The Kid, I'm not getting enough sleep, and work has taken over every living, breathing moment of my life.

It is now Wednesday morning, and before I even do one minute of work for the day, I've already put in 30 hours at work. On Monday, I put in 12 hours, and that doesn't include off-the-clock time for meal breaks.

Obviously, this doesn't leave me a lot of time for blogging, exercising, or anything else. Just about every waking minute has been spent sitting at my desk, churning out work.

All I can say is thank G-d I'm Jewish. Were it not for the fact that I can tell my boss that I need Saturday off for religious observance, he'd be insisting I work seven days a week and not the six days I've been putting in.

As far as my weight goes, I'm happy to report that it hasn't completely ballooned skyward. It's still not where I'd like it to be, and it's still a few pounds higher than my all-time low, but this morning's weight was 235.4. That's about six pounds up from my all-time low, but I'm not sure that weight was even valid, since I was having trouble with my scale giving me weird readings right around that time.

But 235.4 isn't bad, since it's only 1.8 lbs higher than what's showing in my sidebar. I haven't updated that in a while for the same reason I haven't been blogging -- I've just been working far too many hours and dealing with far too many problems on the domestic front.

But I'm still here, and I haven't completely given up. I'm going to try to do better for the next month or so, because I have a friend who has been sent out of town for six months for work, and she'll be coming back sometime in December. It would be nice if I could lose enough weight that she will notice.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Abyss of Work, Sleeplessness and Bad Behavior

I haven't blogged in 18 days because I seem to have really fallen down an abyss of work, sleeplessness and bad behavior on the part of The Kid.

We've been having a rough go of it for a while.

The Kid had a melt down just after her birthday, and she's been ugly, difficult and defiant. This evening, she was arguing over trivia (whether one of our household pets should be asleep after dinner or not) and it's been really hard. We have started the ball rolling for special education services at school, and they have decided to do their own independent testing. This will be good, because it will either confirm the bad news we got earlier, or refute it. My gut feeling is that it could go either way. On good days, The Kid seems together, smart, and quite capable. On bad days, I think figuring out how to open a mayonnaise jar with a loose lid is beyond her reach.

I still haven't been sleeping worth a darn. I keep waking up in the middle of the night, thinking about The Kid and her numerous behaviors and challenges. I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, but three to four hours later I wake up having to go to the bathroom, and thoughts roll around in my head until it's time to get up.

And, if all of that isn't enough to put me over the edge, I've been put on mandatory overtime at work. I'm so exhausted in the evenings I barely can keep my eyes open.

I'm tired. I'm grumpy. I haven't been blogging. I haven't been reading anyone else's blog.

Bad Oinkstop, no cookie!

My diet isn't exactly doing great, but it's not doing horrible, either. This morning I weighed in at 236, which is still up from my all-time low, but down from my most recent high of 239. So, I can't say that I'm doing good, but considering how my life has somewhat fallen apart around my ears, I'm not doing bad.

The one thing I have been doing , which probably falls into the won't hurt, might help category is that I've been trying to exercise in small five or ten minute chunks. This way, I'm hoping to avoid breaking out in exercise-induced hives, and I'm at least doing something.

I haven't been doing as well as I should, as I haven't been making any effort to count calories or keep track of what I'm eating. I've tried to make a conscious choice to eat less than what I'd normally want to put on my plate, but that is about the extent of it.

But I'm still here. I haven't given up. Tomorrow's another day, and things are bound to get better eventually. Right?


Friday, October 12, 2007

Happy Birthday to The Kid

Yesterday was The Kid's birthday.

It was not such a good day for dieting, and we haven't even gotten to her birthday party scheduled for this weekend.

We went out to breakfast, we had tamales for lunch, and we went out for burgers and fries for dinner. It was not pretty.

We still have a party to look forward this weekend, with two of her girlfriends sleeping over Friday and Saturday because their parents are out of town, pizza and cake.

I'm just not going to step on the scale this morning. I don't even want to know.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Insomnia and Weight Loss

Lately, I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping. Part of it is because I've needed to change my schedule at work. I'm waking up at 4:45 AM so that I can be at my desk by 5:00 or 5:15 AM, which means I'm going to bed a lot earlier. The change in schedule has been tough, but I don't think that's my only problem. When I go to bed, I'm tired, and I fall asleep quickly, but I don't seem to stay asleep. Last night, I woke up at midnight, 2:00 AM, 3:00 AM and 4:00 AM. I wasn't able to go back to sleep after that, though I was most definitely tired when the alarm went off.

From a recent article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune:

Poor sleep habits have become so closely associated with obesity that some scientists want obesity therapists to address sleep with the same intensity as diet and exercise, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

"There's an association between [inadequate] sleep and obesity," says Dr. Joseph Ojile, head of the Clayton Sleep Institute in St. Louis.

For decades, studies have found that overweight and obese people tend to have poor sleep habits. But the evidence was statistical. The physiological link, albeit in a relatively small study, came in December 2004 when a University of Chicago researcher in endocrinology, Eve van Cauter, found that poor sleep disrupted two hormones associated with appetite.


I for one have had problems sleeping for years, and if there is a link between sleep and weight gain, it doesn't surprise me that the years I've had the most trouble with sleep have been my heaviest. It's been so long since I've slept through an entire night without waking up for one reason or another, that I really can't honestly remember what it was like. I think I was last consistently able to do it when I was in high school or perhaps college. Since I started life in the adult working world, I've definitely been plagued with both a lack of both the total amount of sleep I get and a lack of uninterrupted sleep.

That's something to think about, isn't it?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Look Great in 2008 (Week 3)

Once again, I'm finding myself barely hanging in by a thread. But, I'm still here.

This week I made a concerted effort to get back on track because I saw some pretty scary numbers on the scale earlier in the week. My high -- 239 -- really freaked me out. I'm not sure why it was that high. Yeah, I ate some things I should not have eaten, but I suspect the fact that I hadn't been to the bathroom in a while was part of the problem.

This morning's weight -- 234.6 -- is much better than the scary high, though still a bit more than I weight in last week. I'm hoping things will go in the right direction between now and next Wednesday.

I'm slowly getting back to regular blogging. For those who might have missed my recent posts:
Although things are going better at our house and some of our major stress-causing problems have improved, it's not to say things are perfect. Right now The Kid, who is one day short of her birthday is having a small temper tantrum because I asked her to go look for a jacket she'd misplaced. "But I don't need it right now," was her excuse. I made her go find it anyway, because if she didn't find it right then, we'd be made late for an appointment because then it would suddenly become the key to her being able to leave the house.

So here's to another week. I'm hoping things will get better!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Often There Is No Pleasure In Virtue

Things have calmed down to a dull roar chez Oinkstop, and things are going better:
  • The sick critter seems better.
  • The over-the-top brat has moved elsewhere, and The Kid has taken her place.
  • The alarmingly-late paycheck finally arrived.
So several crises are over. Of course the sick critter might not stay better, as we think she has something seriously wrong with her, but two weeks of antibiotics has improved her mood a bit.

We'll see.

So, on to weight loss things.

I figured since the level of rottenness in my life was sinking back to its usual level, it was time to get back on track with regards to my diet. It's time to start eating better and trying to make more active choices, though the exercise thing is still a problem because I keep breaking out in hives.

For the past few days I've really been making an effort to eat well, skip the crap and pay attention to what I'm doing. Last night, instead of having something that actually tasted good, I had some salad and some plain tuna.

Certainly it met quite a few caloric and nutritional goals, but there wasn't much to entice my tastebuds. Although I walked away from the table no longer hungry, I can't say that dinner was a particularly enjoyable experience.

Often, there is no pleasure in virtue. I guess we'll have to see what the scale says tomorrow.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Too Hungry for my Own Good

Despite the fact that I ate a couple of mini cheese wheels yesterday afternoon, I let myself get just a little too hungry during the day, and I ate more than I should have at dinner. I was so hungry I went back for seconds on pasta, which I should not have done, since I also had a beer with dinner.

Despite the train wreck dinner, I was really good the rest of the day, and my weight was down a pound from yesterday.

So that's good.

Other things around here are a mixed bag. Our sick pet seems a little better, but not a lot better. She's lost a little bit of weight, which isn't a good sign, but she seems to be feeling a bit better as she's playing with her toys and has a bit more energy. We'll see. She's got another week or so of antibiotic treatment ahead of her and we'll see how it goes.

We are still waiting on our check. It's now about two weeks late. We'll be okay, but it's just stressful not having the money. I paid a bit more than the minimum payment on all our credit cards, so all our bills are paid to the point where we aren't going to incur late fees or punishments of any kind. I just keep reminding myself, we'll be okay.

We are still having major struggles with The Kid. The basic problem: she doesn't want to do anything that isn't her idea. Anything that involves chores, school work, or anything she doesn't want to do becomes a complete and total battle of wills.

It's exhausting.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Mini Cheese Wheels to the Rescue

As I've mentioned quite a bit in my last few blog postings, things are not going so well over at Chez Oinkstop. This morning, however, I decided that enough is enough. Even though my life is falling apart at the seams, I really need to get back on track with my diet and start paying attention to what I am eating.

So I did what any responsible dieter does. I cut back.

Things were going surprisingly well until about 4:00 PM this afternoon.

Then, all of a sudden, I found myself crashing. I was hungry -- no, starving -- and I felt like I was having a low blood sugar episode. My hands were shaking and I felt dizzy and light headed.

The So and The Kid weren't home. They'd taken the car to go pick up a load of produce from the farm cooperative.

I was hungry, and my first temptation was to drive over to the local mini mart and buy myself something small and sugary so I wouldn't feel so dreadful.

I felt crummy enough that I didn't feel safe driving to the mini mart, and I was definitely too shaky to walk.

I decided to investigate our refrigerator. Usually, that's a place I avoid, as The SO has it claimed as personal territory, and I'm frequently threatened with bodily harm for going in there. Besides, The SO isn't the best of housekeepers, and usually the inside of the fridge is populated with the corpses of dead and dying food items that have decomposed to the point of being unrecognizable.

I stay out most of the time.

But today I found myself in a moment of desperation.

I opened the refrigerator door and discovered, quite happily, that it wasn't nearly the dreadful food morgue as the last time I'd looked inside.

Sadly, it was filled with lots of nothing to eat. There were several bottles of some sort of diet drink, a few miscellaneous cans of something, and various condiments. There was nothing identifiable as edible, so I started to close the door.

As I closed the door, a small package jumped out at me. It was a small net bag of mini cheese wheels, that were preserved in wax. The bag was unopened, and I had no idea how long the bag had been in there.

I decided to take my chances. The cheese wheels looked like a safe bet, so I selected two. I unwrapped one, and it passed the sniff test, so I went ahead and ate it. It was good, so I ate the second. Then I stopped. 140 calories of cheese was probably more than enough to tide me over until later.

I'm still hungry and shaky. Now I just have to wait for those little buggers to hit bottom.

Look Great in 2008 (Week 2)

Well, I'm still hanging in here. My weight this morning was 234.0, or 0.4 lbs higher than last week. I guess that's pretty good, considering that I've paid almost no attention to my diet recently.

Part of it, is because I'm just tired of dieting. I'm tired of being hungry, and having to make "good" food choices, and eating things I "should" eat, rather than what I want to eat.

Part of it is because we've had some simply horrendous challenges going on at our house. We've had a pet die, another get sick, behavior problems on the part of The Kid, some unexpected and very big expenses come up, hassles at work, and a very late paycheck.

Every time I turn around, something else goes wrong.

We've gone from paying off our credit cards every month to carrying over $7,000 in debt practically overnight. We've had some very expensive things go wrong lately, and the problem has been compounded by the fact that about half our income for this month never appeared. Sure, there are contracts and laws and all sorts of things that are supposed to guarantee we get paid in a timely fashion, but when the boss doesn't sign paychecks before he takes off on vacation, there's nothing that anybody can do.

Maybe we'll get paid this week. We were expecting the check almost two weeks ago.

We aren't at risk of financial ruin yet. The check will come, the debts will get paid off, and hopefully The Kid's behavior will improve.

I just keep reminding myself: this too shall pass.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Hanging On (By a Thread)

Well I'm still here.

I'm hanging on barely, by the tiniest thread.

I have mixed news to report:
  • My scale isn't working right (again). No surprise there.
  • My sick bird is very sick, but probably isn't contagious. The vet's current guess is that she has a tumor.
  • Our biggest client didn't pay his bill on time, and we had to dip into savings to pay our bills this month.
  • The Kid is continuing to be difficult.
  • The diet is still on my "to do" list, but it's sinking lower and lower on the priority list, simply because of all the major disasters happening right now.
It seems like every time I turn around, another disaster happens. We've had several major and unexpected expenses pop up, including dental bills, car/RV repairs, and veterinary bills. All I can say is that I'm glad someone invented credit cards. Yeah, they are evil, but they are the only think keeping us out of complete financial ruin at the moment. Were it not for the evil plasticharge, The SO would probably be dying from a massive toothache/infection, our car would be inoperable, our RV roof would be leaking, and our sick birds would have gone without veterinary care.

Now if someone would just kick my non-paying client in the ass, the world would be a much better place.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Look Great in 2008 (Week 1)

I haven't been posting (or even paying that much to my diet) recently because I've just had some really horrendous things happen in my personal life. The Kid has been exhibiting some significant behavioral problems which are driving us crazy. Some is "normal kid stuff" for her age, but some is just so over-the-top it is not to be believed.

Then one of our birds died.

Then things at work started to go crazy.

Then another of our birds got sick, and our new vet (we had to fire the old one because she was so overbooked we could never get an appointment) tells us that she might have something lethal and contagious, and all the rest of our flock in our house might die of this disease. Fortunately, this isn't something humans can catch, but it's quite upsetting.

Of course the key word is might. This vet might be one of those doctors that always assumes it's the worst possible scenario until he rules it out. The state of avian medicine is not nearly as advanced as it is for dogs and cats, so we are dealing with a big unknown at the moment.

But the stress is just unimaginable. I have several large and intelligent parrots, and the idea of losing them is just overwhelming.

My weight this morning was 233.6. That's up almost five pounds from my lowest weight, but since I've never been able to reproduce that weight, I think it was a fluke. My scale has a history of malfunctioning periodically and showing weights that are 5, 10, and even 15 pounds lighter than the actual weight of the person standing there. My weight is up 1.4 lbs from my last known reliable weight, but truthfully I really don't care right now. I feel like I have much bigger fish to fry than worrying about what my stupid scale tells me.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Still Struggling

I'm hanging in here. My scale keeps malfunctioning. My last believable weight was two days ago at 232.2. I can live with that.

One of our pets suddenly died of an undiscovered, but terminal illness. We had a necropsy done, and at least we can take comfort in the fact that there was nothing we could have done for her. Nevertheless, we are heartbroken. I miss her terribly.

The Kid has been acting out in all kinds of difficult and annoying ways. She's been so rotten that even the surviving critters have all found legitimate reasons to nip her, hard. Among other reasons, she's been antagonizing them.

I feel like I am about to implode under all the stress.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ok Woman, Where Are You?

This post is a direct response to Shannon, who asked:


Actually, that's a good question.

I've disappeared from the blogosphere because things in my personal life got, well, a little out of control. We've been dealing with some behavioral problems with The Kid lately, which has sapped a lot of my motivation for just about everything. By the time we are done with her passive-aggressive and obstinate tendencies for the day, I feel like a shriveled up husk with nothing left. Add to that two days of yom tov (the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah), one day of shabbat (the sabbath), plus several days' worth of client melt-downs because I was out of the office on Thursday and Friday, and it creates a situation where I completely fell off the face of the earth for a few days.

It's been a tough week, and I'm expecting things to get tougher before they get easier. Another couple we know, who finalized an adoption on two kids just a few months ago, also struggling with their oldest adopted child as well. Maybe it's in the water, or maybe it's just the time of year where pre- and post-adoptive kids start melting down in a big way.

The Kid's birthday is coming up, and I expect some more challenging behaviors around that. Her birthday wish list includes such inexpensive items like a cell phone, an iPod (and no, a Nano or Shuffle just won't do), and a trip to a very distant, pricey and rodent-infested West-Coast amusement park. She's going to be mightily disappointed, because my budget for this birthday wasn't all that big to begin with, and all her recent behavior struggles haven't left me in the mood to open the tap to the Gift Shower very wide.

Yeah, I know, color me bloody selfish, but when The Kid is acting like a Royal Pain in my A$$, I'm just not inclined to spend a lot of hard-earned cash to feed her Royal case of The Gimmes.

Anybody want a kid? I'll rent her to you cheap. (Okay, well maybe not, but it's fun to think about, sometimes)

Diet-wise, I'm not sure where I am. I've been so busy running around like a crazy person that I suspect the news isn't good, and I'm kicking myself for missing the last weigh-in for the May Day Weight Loss Challenge. I've pretty much avoided Mr. Scale for the past week or so, because I just don't feel like I have the emotional bandwidth to deal with more challenging news.

It's been a tough week, and I'm wishing I could pack my kid, my job, and my scale into three separate boxes and ship them off to parts unknown.

But I do know my stress level is over the top. When I wake up in the morning, my jaw is clenched so tight I can barely open it. Too bad it won't get stuck that way -- then I'd really lose some weight!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Eight Random Things About Me

So it seems that Lady T. has tagged me with the Eight Random Things About Me meme, so now I'm stuck having to answer.

This is a stretch here, so forgive me for being boring:
  1. Last summer, I was bitten by the "car bug." I've owned a variety of cars over the years, but always looked at them as a tool to be taken care of, but basically used up and thrown away after a number of years. I looked at people who bought rims, bras and fancy stereos as essentially a weird flavor of nut bar. But, last summer I bought a new car that has a bit of a following, and people have created car clubs that revolve around the modifying, driving and showing of these cars. Suddenly I understand why someone might need rims, a car bra, a fancy sub-woofer so they can bump their music, an under body lighting kit or a set of vertical doors. (And yes, my car has a bra, under body lighting kit, fancy vinyl graphics, and an under-dash LED lighting kit. I'm still working on rims, and stereo upgrades.)

  2. I'm fluent in American Sign Language.

  3. I love sushi. If it's fish and it's raw, I'll eat it. I'll pass on the squiggly stuff like raw crab and shrimp, though.

  4. I used to hate rap and hip-hop. Then I bought my car, and everyone was playing it at car shows. I've learned to actually like it. I still hate country music, though.

  5. I write with a fountain pen because it's cool.

  6. I give a free concert (I play guitar and sing) at the local convalescent care center once a month.

  7. I have a houseful of parrots.

  8. In my younger days, I used to go camping roughly once a month with a group of guys whose main objective was to get as drunk as possible for the weekend. We'd pretend we were pirates, drink beer, and give our motor homes and travel trailers piratey-sounding names. We even had a pirate flag that measured 3' x 5' that we'd fly off the top of a flagpole constructed out of recycled tent poles.
Since Lady T. pretty much tagged all the bloggers I normally would have tagged, I'll leave it up to you to tag yourself. If you decide to participate in this meme, just leave a comment so I can stop by your blog and check it out.

May Day Weight Loss Challenge Weigh-In #18

I haven't been blogging very much lately because we've had a lot of things going on at home. This weekend was insanely busy. We had two car club events to attend, and got stuck babysitting three kids on Saturday because a friend had to be out of town on business and came up short at the last minute for childcare.

The weekend was a mixed bag. The car club events were fun, but dealing with four kids in the house wasn't particularly enjoyable. They were squabbling, tattling, and fighting, and I can honestly say I was never more glad to be rid of a group of kids than I was when our turn to babysit was over.

Diet-wise, it's becoming more and more evident that the uber-low reading I got on my scale two weeks ago was most definitely a scale malfunction.

This morning's weight: 231.8, which strikes me as just a normal weight fluctuation from what I weighed last Friday. On Sunday, we attended a carnival that was part of the car club event, and they had all sorts of terrible things to eat. I had a hamburger, chips, diet soft drink, some cotton candy, and a snow cone, but that was all I ate for the entire day. I skipped breakfast, because we had to get up early in the morning and drive for three hours to get to the event, and I wanted to maximize sleep time and minimize bathroom stops. I skipped dinner, because I was bone tired when I got home and went straight to bed.

But the cotton candy sure tasted good. I used to love the stuff as a kid, and I can't remember the last time I'd had any. I think it tasted even better because it was given to me free. I doubt I would have eaten it if I'd had to pay $3.00 for it.

According to the May Day Weight Loss Challenge blog, today marks the last day of the contest. I'd thought, however, that the contest was supposed to end next Tuesday, September 18, and not today. Maybe I am hallucinating, but when I checked the original announcement page this morning, it clearly said September 18 was the ending date.

In the event that I'm suffering from some sort of weird hallucination, I'll post my results anyway:

Today's Weight: 231.8
Weight Lost During Challenge: 18.0 lbs
Total Weight Lost: 25.2 lbs
Although I'm a little disappointed that I wasn't able to average a 2-lb loss per week during the challenge, I think it's a flipping miracle that I lost anything at all. I figure 18 pounds is 18 pounds, and in this case less is more.

If this does turn out to be the last week of the challenge, I'd like to wave a fond farewell to all the other challenge participants, and invite people to come back and visit once in a while. My blog is set up with an RSS feed, so I definitely welcome people to keep visiting.

Weight Loss Challenge or no, I'll still be here.

Peace out, everyone.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Back on Track

Surprisingly, yesterday's corn binge for dinner actually didn't do any harm. My weight was down a bit from the day before, and I'm slowing starting to sink back to the weight I was last Friday, before my Labor Day Diet Holiday.

John wanted me to come clean and admit to the number of ears I consumed, but the truth is, I lost count. I'm thinking it was at least six ears of corn, maybe more. It was disgusting. In my defense, the ears were on the small side, since our corn didn't pollinate very well and there were plenty of blank areas on each cob where the kernels didn't grow.

But it was a lot of corn.

In retrospect, I think the corn wasn't as damaging as I thought. I just checked, and realized that an ear of corn with no butter or salt is only 63 calories. Assuming that I did stop at six ears, that's only 378 calories, which is about what I would have eaten for dinner on a normal day, anyway. Even if I was completely gross and had ten ears (which I know is more than I possibly could have eaten) that would have been only 630 calories, which isn't all that terrible considering I didn't eat all that much else during the day.

I suspect tonight I'll be having another corn fest as our small field of corn is all ready, and has to be eaten. The good(?) news is that we won't have as much edible corn as we'd originally thought. Our plot was too small, and about 25% of the ears didn't germinate at all. Next year, we'll have to plant more.


There really isn't much to blog about in diet land at the moment. I'm doing my best not to eat, and waiting to see the results on the scale.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I Ate My Weight In Corn

For breakfast: Carnation Instant Breakfast
For lunch: A bean, rice and cheese burrito
For dinner: Corn on the cob

I hate to think what damage I'm going to see on the scale in the morning, because I think I must have eaten my weight in fresh corn on the cob.

Last spring, we planted a vegetable garden. We are now harvesting corn.

The corn is really good. Unfortunately, our small field of corn is all ready to harvest at exactly the same time.

So of course we gotta eat it, right?

In my defense, I ate corn without butter or salt. It was delicious and so sweet it didn't need butter or salt. But I ate a lot of it.

A lot.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

May Day Weight Loss Challenge Weigh-In #17

Over the weekend, I gave myself permission to go on a "diet holiday." I didn't count calories, make good choices, or worry about anything. I just ate what I felt like eating, and drank what I felt like drinking. We hung out with some friends and I had beer, chips, BBQ, and ice cream.

It was a nice break.

My diet vacation was certainly visible on the scale, but I'm not going to post my weight this morning because I'm not sure that the readings my scale is giving me are even accurate. It's like watching a ping pong ball bounce all over the place.

So, I'm just not going to worry about it. Vacation is over, now I have to get back to work.

Now that summer is semi-officially over, I've got a lot of stressful stuff on my plate. This is the season of crunch-time at work, and I expect I'll be putting in some major overtime between now and the end of the year. I also expect we'll be running into more school-related challenges with The Kid, simply because she really doesn't like school, and would much rather sit and vegetate in front of the television than do anything else.

Wickedly, I solved the TV problem last month. We called our satellite TV supplier and cut the thing off. They couldn't believe it. I'd been a "good customer" for several years, and they wanted to know if we were switching to another satellite TV vendor, or going back to cable. When we told them we were just disconnecting all TV, the customer service representative didn't know what to say. Apparently, her script had no instructions for keeping customers who have decided to unplug themselves from the media world.

Anyway, I'm still here, still part of the challenge, and still moving forward. We'll see what happens next week.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Weekly Weigh-In #19

Well, here it is, another weekly weigh-in. When i start looking at the week numbers, I shake my head and find it hard to believe that I've managed to hang in for so long. This week, I'm down quite a bit from last Friday, but I'm most certainly up from my all-time low last Tuesday. However, I think last Tuesday's results are questionable, as I may have been experiencing a scale malfunction.
Weight       231.2 lbs (-3.4)
Body Fat 47.7% (-0.3)
Body H20 37.2% (+0.2)
Bone Mass 7.4 lbs (-0.3)
Muscle Mass 46.9 lbs (-0.4)

So overall, I guess this is a good week.

We'll see how this weekend goes. We are going to be attending a big party, and I have to wash and wax my car this weekend. Worse, it's Labor Day weekend, which means it's the last time I'm going to be able to be lazy for a while. From now until the end of the year, it's work, work, work.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Kid

I know this post isn't going to be very weight-loss related, but Shannon asked:
On a completely different note, how's The Kid???
For those of you who haven't been following my blog, the reason Shannon is asking because we were told recently by some so-called "experts" that The Kid is essentially a gifted retard. These same experts think that The Kid needs to be in special education and will need a whole raft of supportive services for the rest of her life.

The powers that be are claiming The Kid has the intellectual equivalent of a 40-watt light bulb.

In my not-so-humble opinion, a 40-watt light bulb doesn't speak two languages and wouldn't be able to wipe her own ass without help, let alone make huge improvements in school. Like I said, the words, "you will go to class," and "you will do your homework." can make a lot of difference in a child's life.

The truth is, I don't see The Kid as having any intellectual problems. She's behind in school for one reason, and one reason only: before she moved in, she didn't go to school. You can't expect a kid to miss school on a consistent basis and come away as smart as a astrophysicist.

I think The Kid is going to be just fine, but professionals are panicking and running around like a flock of chickens with their collective heads cut off. Although the initial news was quite disturbing, the truth is that nothing has changed. The Kid is the same kid that was living here before an "expert" proclaimed doom and gloom forever. If I am not seeing a serious problem, and The Kid's teachers are happy with her academic progress, then I guess I can feel pretty comfortable in telling the "experts" to go urinate up a fibrous strand. (That's go piss up a rope for the non-snooty folks.)

The Kid is fine. We are fine. Once we got over the initial shock of what the experts were telling us, we realized they were basically completing an exercise in bovine scatology (the study of bullshit) and getting everybody excited over a great big nothing. That's not to say that the kid isn't going to have troubles in school down the road, but I think the problems we are going to face aren't as big of a deal as the dudes with the BS (Bull Shit), MS (More Shit) and PhD (Piled High and Deeper) designations after their names claim.

It's all good.

Well, not entirely. I had a hamburger for dinner and I'm stuffed.

How Much Do I Really Weigh, Anyway?

I'm still fighting the battle of the conflicting scale readings.

It makes me wonder if, instead of weighing myself, if I should just resort to using a tape measure. The only thing is, tape measure readings take longer to show results, and don't provide the same immediate feedback that a scale does.

Step on the scale, and it immediately tells you, "good job," or "don't eat so much next time, bonehead!"

But still, when you have a scale that sometimes gets a wild hair and gives you ultra-low readings that are completely undeserved, and then later on the same day claims you weigh the same as the Goodyear blimp, it does make you want to tear large handfuls of hair out of your scalp.

The good news is that it just makes me want to tear my hair out. I don't actually do it, which is a good thing. If I did, I'd be bald, and that would be bad.

So this morning, Monsieur Scale told me my weight was down again. This morning, I allegedly weighed 230.8 lbs. That's down from the freak-out inducing 232 lbs I got Tuesday night, but not as good as the wonderful (though probably false) of 229 lbs that I got Tuesday morning.

Is it possible to actually buy a bathroom scale that is accurate? If I go to my doctor's office, even their scale isn't consistent. Worse, it usually weighs me in at 5-10 lbs heavier than what I get at home.

So I want to know, how much do I really weigh, anyway?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

If You Weren't So Expensive, I Would Surely Kill You By Now

Have you ever owned an expensive piece of equipment that is so frustrating you want to break it? If you have ever worked with a computer, I suspect you've probably felt that way at one time or another.

This morning, I feel the same way about our very pricey bathroom scale.

Yesterday was a deliberately very-low-calorie day so we could wrap up with a trip to the ice cream store. It was delicious. When we got home, The SO decided to step on the scale and see what the damage was. The scale showed a three pound loss since morning.


I jumped on and the scale claimed I'd lost two pounds since the morning. Not possible. "Something is wrong with the scale," I claimed.

We dug our our old bathroom scale -- the frustrating digital scale that changes the displayed weight every time you breathe. It showed each of us about five pounds higher that the weight our supposedly super-expensive, super-accurate scale claimed.

Double WTF??

We spent the next 20 minutes changing batteries, weighing 10-lb bags of bird seed, and stepping on one scale and then the other. We even tried to weigh ourselves on a freight scale we bought for eBay, but it only had a weight limit of 150 lbs. At one point, The SO bumped the fancy scale, quite hard by accident, and then the numbers started to match what the older scale claimed.

So this morning, I weighed 232, not 229 like I did Tuesday morning.

I am so annoyed. This is not the first time this has happened. Last time, I thought it was just a problem with batteries.

Is it possible to commit scale murder?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

May Day Weight Loss Challenge Weigh-In #16

Hard to believe that I've been participating in this challenge for a total of 16 weeks now, but there you have it. I've managed to hang in.

Given my propensity to give up on diets, I'm surprised I'm still here.

It turns out, also to my surprise, that this week has been a very good week. I've lost 3.4 lbs since last Tuesday. To be honest, I really don't know how I did it. I haven't been trying very hard, and I've mostly abandoned much in the way of exercise because I keep breaking out in hives.

(And yeah, I know I should go see my doctor, but even though I have health insurance it still costs money, and I have to take time away from work, so it's not going to happen any time soon.)

Not only did I lose a lot of weight this week, I've also dropped out of the 230's. This morning, my weight was an even 229 lbs, which brings me to a total loss of 20.8 lbs for the challenge and a total loss of 28 lbs.

I really can't explain this sudden drop in weight. Even Sunday night's incident (warning, gross!) doesn't fully explain the dramatic drop.

But of course, being Oinkstop, I can't just be happy with the fact that I've lost almost 30 pounds. No, being Oinkstop, I have to find something to complain about.

Okay, here goes: My clothes still fit! (grrr)

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Insanity of It All

On Friday, my weight was up a tiny bit. Truthfully, I expected it to be up because I ate a huge amount of Thai food on Thursday.

I didn't make the best food choices over the weekend, but in retrospect they really weren't all that bad. My weight continued to climb over the weekend, and by Sunday afternoon, I was starting to freak out a little.

For dinner on Sunday, I had a small serving of whole wheat spaghetti with tomato sauce, and almost no Parmesan cheese, along with some asparagus. I didn't put any butter or mayo on the asparagus, and it was about the most boring stuff I'd ever had.

After dinner, I started getting these really painful and strange stomach cramps. I ran to the bathroom. To be quite graphic and blunt, I sat down and gave birth to an ocean liner.

This morning, my weight was down 4.2 lbs from Friday.

A four-pound turd. Who'd have thought?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Weekly Weigh-In #18

Down a little bit from Tuesday's weigh in, up from last Friday.
Weight       234.6 lbs (+1.2)
Body Fat 48.0% (-0.0)
Body H20 37.0% (+0.1)
Bone Mass 7.7 lbs (-0.0)
Muscle Mass 47.3 lbs (+0.2)

Looks like my estimated completion date has been pushed out to 94 weeks. If I keep doing like I'm doing, I'll be done in June of 2009.

This is taking just way too damn long.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thanks for the Shout-Out

Kiran, over at The Big Drop gave me a nice shout out today, so I thought I'd put up a post to extend my thanks. He liked the Milestones section on the right navigation of my blog, and he's posted a similar thing on his.

Right now the little notes from readers, even if they aren't weight-loss related, mean a lot. We are still sorting out all the news about The Kid, and it's a tough pill to swallow.

Basically, the "experts" are telling us The Kid needs to be placed into a special education class. It's a puzzling, unique and difficult situation made all the more complex because The Kid came to us by the miracle of the state social services office, rather than squirting out my hoo-ha in a big glop of goo...

Isn't that cool? I ended up with a kid but I didn't have to get pregnant and worry about the post-delivery weight loss problems. Oh, wait a second, I still have to be on a diet anyway. I guess it didn't buy me all that much. Rats.

At least the stork didn't deliver her. I'm sure that it would have broken his little feathered back trying to haul an 80-lb kid across the sky.

But back to The Kid's problems, she's profoundly behind in school because the-powers-that-be didn't made sure that she attended regularly before she was dropped off at our house. Now that she's with us, she's advanced tremendously. (Amazing what the words, "You will go to class, and you will do your homework" can do.) But even so, "the experts" believe there to be a problem, and a series of psychological tests have revealed a mishmash of confusing and contradictory information.

At least the news is better today. Yesterday, the "experts" were telling us that The Kid is a retard. Today, they tell me that she's a gifted retard.

Gee, that makes me feel oh-so-much-better.

Anyway, I realize that none of this has one crumb to do with weight loss, but this is my blog, and I get to write about whatever I want.

So I'll end on a weight-related note. Despite the crummy news from "the experts," we got the results back on some academic testing that's absolutely great. The Kid has worked hard and done well, so we went out for dinner to celebrate The Kid's achievement.

We went out for Thai food. I ate way more than I should have. I enjoyed every bite.

My weight was up a little this morning, and I don't f*cking care.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

In a Tizzy

I was hoping to have something witty, informative or helpful to say today, but I just can't come up with anything. We got some news yesterday about The Kid that is pretty disturbing, and we are trying to figure out what to do about it.

Basically, some "professionals" think that she needs to be placed in special education, and that she's mentally quite incapable.

The assessment runs counter to everything that I've observed in The Kid. Her current teacher, my friends and even my family think the results are basically crap.

I don't think this assessment is actually going to change the way we approach The Kid's education, but getting this kind of news is upsetting and stressful, even if it doesn't change what we are doing.

So I really don't have anything to write about that's weight-loss related, unless you care about the fact that I had yogurt and raspberries for breakfast and for lunch.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

May Day Weight Loss Challenge Weigh-In #15

This week, I ended up with a totally undeserved, but much appreciated loss of 2.4 lbs. I'm down to 232.4 lbs, which is just 0.4 lbs higher than the lowest weight I've seen on the scale so far. I've lost a total of 17.4 lbs during the May Day Weight Loss Challenge, and 24.6 lbs since I started my diet.

I'm not begrudging that 0.4 lbs at all. Considering all the crap that I ate this past weekend, I was fully expecting to be punished by the scale gods this morning. I've commented on this before -- I really don't think that there's a whole lot of rhyme or reason when it comes to figuring out the relationship between what I stuff in my face and the results on the scale.

I mean come on, consuming a huge milkshake for lunch should have produced a negative result.

I'm going to give up on trying to figure this out. I simply can't.

In other news, over the weekend we went to have a family portrait shot. The photographer asked us to wear similar clothing, so we all wore black pants with white shirts, thus avoiding a shopping trip. Since I telecommute most of the time, I only own one pair of dress pants, and I put them on. It has been quite a while since I wore them, so I was hoping to see a major difference in the way they fit.

I'll admit, they are a little bit looser. Certainly that was a good thing, since the handle of the zipper broke off in the wash, and it's a challenge to get the pants zipped, since they have a stupid side zipper. (Whatever fashion designer came up with that moronic idea should be shot!) But I was disappointed. Unlike The SO, who at the 25-lb mark was literally falling out of clothing, the pants still were quite wearable. They were slightly looser, but that was about the extent of it.

I am still waiting for my friends to start noticing I'm losing weight. Everyone is noticing and commenting that The SO has lost weight, but nobody has noticed my own efforts.

I guess the reason why nobody is really noticing is perhaps that I am much more overweight than The SO, who only has a total of 87 lbs to lose. I need to lose a total of 139 lbs. Maybe it's just that I'm so heavy people are too embarrassed to comment. After all, what are they going to say? "Oinkstop, wow, you were so huge! You are still huge now, but you are a little smaller!"

Better say nothing if you don't have anything nice to say, right?

Anyway, I'm definitely happy with my weight loss this week. I guess I should drink more milkshakes.

Yeah, right.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Bewildered Again

Once again, I find myself completely mystified by the diet equation known as my body.

Friday and Saturday, I ate. A lot. On Saturday, I had a milkshake for lunch. Later in the afternoon, we gathered at my parent's house because there was a death in my stepmother's family, and we ate.

By all rights, I expected to see a gain on the scales this morning. I expected to see a 1-2 lb gain, and I was okay with it. After all, I deserved what I got. Eating crap means seeing gains on the scale.

So I stepped on the scale, head low, knowing that I deserved to be punished by the scale gods.

So what did I see?

A 1.4 lb loss from my weigh-in on Friday, and a new, all-time low on the scale.

Go figure. Like I've said, there seems to be no rhyme or reason when it comes to my weight any more.

Well, I'm certainly not complaining. I actually let out a cheer when I saw the results on the scale.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Weekly Weigh-In #17

Well, here it is, another Friday. Here are my weight loss results for the week:

Weight       233.4 lbs (-0.8)
Body Fat 48.0% (-0.3)
Body H20 36.9% (+0.3)
Bone Mass 7.7 lbs (-0.0)
Muscle Mass 47.1 lbs (+0.6)

Looks like I'm down a little bit from last week, so that's a good thing. I'm 0.4 lbs above my all-time lowest weight so far but I guess I can't complain so much. Down is down, after all.

All total, I've lost 23.6 lbs in 17 weeks. Since my weight loss has slowed to about 1.3 lbs a week, it looks like the estimated completion date of my diet has been pushed back yet again. If things keep going along at the same clip they have been, I'll be at my goal weight in 83 weeks. That gives me a target date of 3/20/2009.

I need to figure out how to hurry this along a little bit. It seems like every week I estimate when I'll be finished, the date gets pushed out into the future further and further.

I know that adding some exercise to the equation would probably help, but I'm pretty much stymied in that area. I realize that exercise is really good for you, but the price I pay (a really bad case of itchy hives) just isn't worth it. I've had the problem of exercised-induced urticaria for a while, but it seems to have become worse as I've lost weight, not better. I mean let's face it -- it's bad enough to itch so bad you want to scratch your skin off, but it's even worse that you go around looking like you've been stung by a thousand bees.

Ugh, just talking about this makes my scalp itch.

Moving on to another topic, I've noticed that there are a few things that I used to love that I don't like so much anymore. I used to really love to put on fresh clean clothes that came right out of the dryer. Now, not so much anymore.

The reason that I don't like clothes fresh out of the dryer anymore is that all my clothes tend to shrink a little when they are washed, and stretch out after being worn for a little while. When I put on a pair of pants that have already been worn for a day or two, I can think to myself, "hey, my clothes are finally getting looser!" But, when I pull them out of the dryer, I realize that the truth is nothing fits better than it did 17 weeks ago.

I've taken to wearing the same pants for a few days in a row, just so I can convince myself that my clothes fit better.

Yeah, I know, gross. At least I'm still changing my shirt and my underwear every day.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fleeting Weight Loss

Yesterday's all-time low as all-too-fleeting as it disappeared from the scale almost as soon as it appeared. Fortunately, it's only 0.4 lbs away, so I can accept that. Truthfully, I look at 0.4 lbs as the possible weight of a really good crap, so I'm not taking this one personally.

I'm still kicking around the idea of going back on the Cambridge Diet again, though. Yeah, I know liquid diets aren't the greatest. Yeah, I know it's better to do it slowly by eating plenty of healthy food. Yeah, I know that your body will consume it's own protein if you don't get enough. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

But the truth is, I just want to see some dramatic movement. I have a friend coming back from Iraq in about four months, and I'd like my friend to see me and say, "Wow!" Even though I've lost close to 25 lbs so far, I don't think she would even notice. I think the honest truth is that I'm so fat nobody is going to notice until I am a lot thinner.

But it's not just that I want to impress the hell out of my friend when she returns. The truth is that I'm just starting to feel really tired of my body. I'm tired of those ubiquitous plastic stacking deck chairs being too small for my rear. I'm tired of having to lift up my stomach and breasts so I can wash underneath them. I'm tired of not being able to sleep on my stomach because it's so big I can't get comfortable. I'm tired of not being able to swim, because my overly-large ass floats on top of the water, which in turn forces my face under the water.

One isn't supposed to swim with your head lower than your ass. It's a good way to drown yourself.

But I also recall the parable of the jackrabbit and the tortoise. After all, it was the tortoise that won the race.

But I also realize that I'd like to be able to see my kitty again.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Administrative Details

For those who would like to comment on the blog, I've made a small change. You no longer need to be registered with Blogger, so you may leave anonymous comments. However, since enabling anonymous comments also tends to gather a lot of spam, I've turned on word verification.

Feel free to comment!

Why Couldn't It Have Been Yesterday?

Today, I am once again at a new high in lows. Just like last Wednesday, I saw a new all-time low on the scale this morning. Sadly, last week's all-time low didn't stick around for my official weigh-in, so I hope I'll have better luck hanging on to the loss this week.

Even thought I know I am pretty consistently losing weight, it doesn't feel like it. It feels like I've been stuck around the 234-lb mark for ages. I was prepared to write a colossal whine about it this morning, but decided to go back and check my weekly weigh-in results since I started my diet.

Here's what I came up with:

The honest truth is that I'm doing fine, and I'm averaging a 1.4 lb loss each week. The ubiquitous "they" say that you should be happy with a 1-2 lb average loss, and I'm right there.

But it really doesn't seem like I'm losing weight. I'm still waiting for my clothes to fit better, for people to start noticing, or for something to feel like it's changed. I feel like I'm busy waiting for Godot, where I wait day after day and nothing happens.

That's not entirely fair, of course, the numbers are changing on the scale. Counting this morning's new low, I've lost a total of 24 lbs. One would think that I would be noticing changes in my body, or at least how my clothes fit by now. Despite the fact that I've lost 9% of my original body weight, I still haven't managed to shrink out of a single outfit. In contrast, my SO has lost 31 lbs (just 7 lbs more) and has dropped three pant sizes.

When my SO starts talking about dieting, the words I hate you frequently come to mind.

I guess the reality is that if you have an enormous amount of weight to lose, it just takes a long time for the changes to be noticeable. From start to finish, I will need to lose a total of 121 pounds just to make it to a normal body weight, plus another 18 on top of that to get to the weight I think I should weigh. My goal right now is to be right smack dab in the middle of the healthy weight range for my height, and right now it seems like a long way off.

In terms of overall progress, I've lost 17% of the weight I need to lose if I'm shooting for my goal weight, and 19% of the weight I need to lose if I'm just shooting for the upper range of what's considered healthy.

I try not to think of things in terms of how far I have yet to go. I try not to think of even how far I've come. I just try to focus on the now, because the future and the past both seem so overwhelming.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

May Day Weight Loss Challenge Weigh-In #14

This morning's weight: 234.8.

That's down a whole 0.2 lbs from last week. Wow, color me impressed.

Can you detect just the faintest trace of sarcasm here?

I knew you could. Heh.

In truth, I really can't complain much. I just came out of what amounted to an extremely diet-unfriendly weekend, so the fact that I didn't gain any weight is actually pretty good. Our weekend was crammed full of people visiting from out of town, restaurant meals, a birthday party, and a stressful visit to the hospital to visit an elderly extended family member who just had a back-to-back heart attack and stroke.

The weekend was so off-plan that The SO had to ask, "does this mean we are quitting our diet?"

We weren't very active, though we did do a little walking around on Sunday. Not too much, though, because at short walk to a nearby garage on Thursday reminded me that I am allergic to exercise (really!) and I absolutely do not want a repeat case of itchy hives induced by exercise.

Yeah, go figure. I literally break out in hives from exercising. How's that for a dieter's nightmare?

The rest of our week is clear of breakfast, lunch and dinner dates with friends, so it means we'll be able to eat at home. Hopefully, that will push my weight further in the downward direction.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Does This Mean We Are Quitting Our Diet?

This weekend was not very diet-friendly.

On Friday, we went to the airport with a friend to pick up his mother- and father-in-law. They were flying into town to celebrate our friend's daughter's birthday. After we picked them up at the airport, we went out to dinner at a restaurant known for fabulous food.

I hadn't eaten much all day (only two instant breakfasts, one for breakfast and one for lunch) so I was hungry and ate what I wanted. It was good. Four of us shared a piece of mud pie.

On Saturday, we went out for breakfast with a friend who is leaving for graduate school in Denver, and we went to our friend's daughter's birthday party. They served hot dogs (I had one) and cake (I had a small piece). That evening The SO decided we should go out for ice cream. I had the smallest sized scoop they sell.

On Sunday, we went out for lunch at a greasy-spoon diner. We had gone for a drive, passed by this restaurant in a converted rail car, and decided to stop. The place has been their for years, but we've never eaten there. The food was ok, not special, so we won't eat there again. The location was very cool, the ambiance even cooler, but the food was only so-so and the service was slower than a herd of turtles.

We decided to split a dessert three ways.

"Does this mean we are quitting our diet?" asked The SO.

I glared. "No!"

The SO seems to have the thought that diets are a binary condition. Either you are on them or you aren't, and there's no room for life anywhere in the middle. Now I'm sorry, but I'm not willing to spend the rest of my days eating twigs and leaves. Every once in a while I just have to have real food, and that's it.

So I ate real food this weekend, and had to listen to the chorus of, "should you be eating that?" all weekend.

Shut up, already, I wanted to say. This morning I had my instant breakfast, and I'll probably have another for lunch. In the overall scheme of things, I am going to be fine.

I did skip my weigh-in this morning, though. If it was up, I just didn't want to hear a chorus of "I told you so!" from the peanut gallery.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Driver's License Race

It's funny how sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night obsessing about stuff that really doesn't matter in the overall scheme of things, but when you wake up in a cold sweat worrying about it, at the time it seems hugely important.

Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night thinking that my driver's license will come up for renewal in November of next year, and that I would really like to be at or lower than the weight listed on my license. At the moment, I weigh about 100 pounds more than that weight.

So I woke up in the middle of the night and worried how I could possibly manage to lose 100 pounds by November of 2008. It was really bothering me, and I tossed and turned and fumed about it.

When I finally got out of bed, I went and checked the expiration date on my license.

It expires, not in 2008 like I had thought, but in 2010.

I've got plenty of time. Whew.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Weekly Weigh-In #16

Well, here I am on week 16 of my never-ending diet. Here are my results. This is what I've managed to do in two weeks, since I wasn't home for my weigh-in last Friday.
Weight       234.2 lbs (-2.2)
Body Fat 48.3 % (-0.2)
Body H20 36.6 % (+0.2)
Bone Mass 7.7 lbs (-0.0)
Muscle Mass 46.5 lbs (-0.0)
So there you have it. Down just a bit over 2 lbs from two weeks ago, and down 0.8 lbs from Tuesday's weigh-in.

This is definitely not happening fast enough for me.

I've had another frustrating setback when it comes to exercise, too. Not only am I still struggling with the continuing problems of achy joints and sore muscles, a problem that I've experienced before has returned -- exercise-induced urticaria.

Exercise-induced urticaria, for those unfamiliar, is a syndrome where you break out in hives from exercise. It turns out that I am literally allergic to exercise. I've had this happen in the past, but it had mysteriously gone away on it's own. Yesterday afternoon I had an unpleasant lesson that taught me the problem has not gone away. I walked over to the repair shop to pick up my truck, and by the time I got there, I was itching like crazy. When I made it home a half hour later, I was covered with massive, itchy welts.

The worst part was that I wasn't even working that hard. I was walking quickly, but I wasn't getting myself overly tired. My pulse rate and breathing were up a little, but this wasn't like I was really trying to overtax my body in any way. I was just trying to walk over to the shop, not win a race. I definitely was not trying to arrive their out-of-breath and sweaty.

The experience was absolutely awful. I had hives on my face, scalp, neck, chest, back, arms and thighs. I itched all over, and by the time I arrived home some of the largest welts were a half-inch to an inch in diameter. I took two antihistamine tablets and the itching started to subside within a few minutes, but the welts persisted for several hours and the medication made me sleepy. I spent the remainder of the day in bed. The worst part of all of this was that I had to babysit a friend's three-year-old while The SO had to run an errand. I could barely keep my eyes open to watch him. The SO had to leave the boy with me because the boy's parents neglected to leave us a car seat.

I will definitely think twice about going for another walk any time soon. Maybe I really should try the Cambridge diet, since I know it's very effective. I was on the diet back in the 1980's, and it really did work, though it was pretty hard to stick to because I really didn't care for the taste all that much. It looks like exercise is definitely out for the time being because I'm definitely not up for repeating the cycle of exercise, break out in hives, take antihistamines, and fall asleep for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A New High in Lows

This morning, I jumped on the scale to be treated to a new high in lows. I've reached the lowest weight I've seen during this diet.

That's a good thing. I'm hoping this number won't disappear like a rat down a hole tomorrow, but we'll see. For now, at least I can be excited about the morning's weigh in. I have a birthday party to attend this weekend, which I'm sure won't help me much, because there's no way in hell I'm going to see there and watch everyone else eat birthday cake.

I'm back doing the VLCD route, as it seems to be a lot more gratifying to do it for a few days, eat for a few days, then go back to VLCD again. Just doing the 1,200 calorie thing on a consistent basis (with or without exercise) hasn't been yielding the results I want to see at the scales.

Maybe this isn't the case for everyone, but I tend to get really discouraged if I don't see results right away.

What I'd really like to do is just go on an extended VLCD diet and get the weight off in a hurry and then worry about keeping it off when I get there. But I realize that with the amount of weight I have to lose, I'd need to be on a medically-supervised fast, and I'm not really into the idea of visiting the doctor once a week. Even if it weren't for the cost, I still don't want to miss that much time from work.

I'm going to just keep going the way I'm going. I'm getting very close to the 25-lbs lost mark, which is good.

I'm hoping, too, that as I lose more weight that exercise will become a more viable option. Right now, even walking hurts. My knees ache, the bottoms of my feet become unbearably sore, and my back starts to hurt. I have good shoes, so that's not the problem. I think the truth is that I'm so heavy right now that all that extra weight is just crushing down on body parts not meant to carry such a heavy load.

Despite the fact that I'm delightfully close to the 25-lb mark, I'm still not noticing much of a change in my body. My stomach still fails (passes?) Pasta Queen's pencil test, and that's probably the most disappointing part of my weight loss effort. I'm tired of my saggy stomach and I want it gone. I want to see changes in my body, and I'm just not seeing them. I'm not more energetic, my clothes still don't fit any better, and even the smallest amount of exercise leaves me completely worn out.

So I'm still thinking about going back on The Cambridge Diet. I did it during the 80's and lost a lot of weight, but I really didn't like the taste of the stuff. I always thought Carnation Instant Breakfast tasted way better. I've heard they have a new formula that's supposed to taste better, but I'm not sure I want to put money on the line to find out.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

May Day Weight Loss Challenge Weigh-In #13

Today's weigh in: 135.0 lbs

That's up 0.6 from last week, but considering I managed to lose more than 5 lbs last week, I guess I can't complain too much. Frankly, I figured my weight would be up somewhere between five and ten pounds because I went camping over the weekend, and ate the usual camping fare which included hot dogs, chips, potatoes baked in the fire and s'mores.

So the fact that my weight isn't appreciably up makes me happy.

If you aren't a regular reader of my blog and only stop in for the May Day Weight Loss Challenge, I wrote a couple of posts about goal setting this past week that you might want to read. Although these two entries talk about issues I've been having with my truck and travel trailer, each entry also talks about weight loss:

It's hard to believe that it's week 13 of the challenge, and 16 weeks since I started my diet. I'm still finding that I wish I could get things to move along a little more quickly, as I have a friend who has been stationed overseas who will come back in four months. If my friend came back today, I don't think she'd notice I've lost weight. I'd like to look dramatically different, which I'm not sure will happen if things don't start moving a little more quickly.

I've heard that The Cambridge Diet is back and being sold in the United States again. Has anybody tried the new formula?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Making the Best of It

A few days ago, I blogged about truck shopping, which was really a post about setting my sights a little lower when it comes to weight loss. This post is another along a similar vein, so even if you aren't interested in trucks, RVs or camping, in the end I'll get to how this relates to weight loss, so if you can stand it, hang in for the ride.

While we were camping this past weekend, I came across a campsite that had an absolutely beautiful truck and trailer for sale. I spotted a 2005 luxury fifth wheel and matching truck that had a huge for sale sign, so I stopped to talk to the owner. I ended up getting a tour of both the truck and fifth wheel, and I have to say that both were amazing. The price tag, of course, was staggering. Even though the truck and trailer were two years old and substantially discounted, the owner still wanted $80,000 for the pair.

They were beautiful, and would be so worth it. I was honestly quite tempted. I really was. But the truth is I can no more manage to gather $80,000 into one place than I could grow wings and fly to the moon. In fact, I'd probably have more luck working on the moon project than amassing $80K in a pile. I can't think of any lender who would loan me that amount of money for a depreciating asset like a truck/trailer pair.

But I sure wanted that truck and trailer.

I spent the weekend enjoying myself, and imagining what my life would be like if I had that lovely trailer. I quickly realized that it was kind of a dead-end exercise. There's not a lot of point in dreaming about something I can't possibly ever own. Sure, it's one thing to dream of owning a better truck and trailer, but it's another thing to imagine one of such expense. It's like a homeless guy dreaming of moving into a 10,000-square-foot mansion next week. It's fun to dream, perhaps, but it ain't never going to happen.

So I picked up another copy of the local auto advertising magazine, and looked for trucks and trailers there. I found a few that were interesting, but I did the math. I didn't have enough money to pay cash for any of them, and only the oldest, most beat up ones could I afford if I could manage to secure a loan.

This morning, I had to take my truck in to have a panel repainted. The truck had been entirely repainted after an accident seven years ago, and the paint was still under warranty. While the shop had the truck, I asked them to replace the front grille (not under warranty) because the original factory paint and chrome was flaking off. I also asked them to replace some of the trim, because it was getting old and cracked from sun damage.

I spent more money that is probably "worth it" for an old pick up truck, but I realized this morning fixing up my truck and trailer and making them nice again will be a lot cheaper than buying replacements. Sure, I'll spend some money in the short term, but I won't be making hugely expensive payments month after month. I might spend what would amount to a couple of month's payments on new gear, but once I've paid for it, the payments stop.

In other words, I think the honest answer is to make the best of what I've got, rather than trying to do something different. I have what I have, and that's it. The trucks and trailers I can afford aren't measurably better than what I already have, so I might as well make due with what I have.

And I guess the truth is that's the same thing I need to do about my body.

Sure, I want to be thinner. I want to look and feel better. The truth is, it's not going to happen overnight. I'm not going to be able to crash diet and lose 100 pounds in six months any more than I'm going to be able and go out and buy that $80,000 truck and trailer I want so badly. I can start a savings plan now so that down the road I might be able to buy a better truck and trailer, but it's not going to happen any time soon.

I can diet, and make changes in my life, but I don't think I'm going to notice many differences any time soon.

I guess, really, I just need to make the best of what I have, and hang in there. Eventually, if I stick to the plan, I'll be able to save enough for my new RV. Eventually, if I stick to the plan, I'll lose weight and be healthier.

Camping, Camping, Camping

I missed my Friday weigh-in because I ended up taking The SO, The Kid, and two other children camping over the weekend. I missed the weigh-in because I needed to have my RV out to the campground (which doesn't take reservations) by no later that 8:00 AM. I made it, just barely, and was very lucky because I literally got the last campsite in the place.


We had a nice time camping. The kids enjoyed themselves, and were really well-behaved, despite the fact that we had five people crammed into a 22' trailer. You can tell you who really like after a weekend of camping, and I would definitely take this group of kids again.

Surprisingly, I came home a pound lighter than when I left, despite the fact that I ate a single-serving bag of chips with my lunch every day, and we ate things like hot dogs, baked potatoes with butter, and s'mores.

Yeah, I had s'mores. In fact, I had two of them Sunday night.

I've decided there's absolutely no logic to the weight loss game. I've been on a VLCD for about a week, gained three pounds overnight when I ate pizza for dinner last week, and then lost a pound after eating a steady diet of chips, hot dogs, baked potatoes, and s'mores.

Go figure.

I didn't think I was all that active while we were camping, either. I did a fair amount of slow walking around the park, as there was a fire burning in the back country behind the campground, so we made several hikes from the opposite site of the camp to have a look. It was hot and the humidity was pretty high, so I walked pretty slowly because I didn't want to fall down dead of heatstroke. I also had to walk to the camp store several times to purchase postcards to send to friends and items we'd forgotten to pack. I did walk, but I didn't think it was all that valuable in terms of exercise, since I was strolling along, oh-so-slowly.

I must have done something, though, because my feet are still sore this morning.

At this point, my weight is exactly the same as my last Friday weigh-in, which is still down a total of 20 lbs from my start weight.

I guess I can't really complain about that, because I really expected to put on five or ten pounds based on all the crap I ate.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

I Have Tasted the Good Life, but I Know It's Not Mine

We have a 15-year-old truck that has over 162,000 miles on it. I bought it used, when it was six years old, and I've definitely gotten my money's worth. More than 100,000 miles showing on the odometer belong to me, and it's given me very few problems in the nine years I've owned it.

It's a good truck. But, it's getting old, and it's really a little on the small side to tow the trailer I currently own. I've had the trailer for years, but I've never towed it around much. I lived in it for three years in a trailer park, and it's been a guest bedroom on my driveway for the last six years. I've taken it to local campgrounds a few times, but the only major trip I've made was the one I made this last summer.

I realized during my vacation, after breaking down four times, that it's probably time to look at replacing the truck, especially since it was having to struggle on some of the bigger hills.

Last night, The SO and I went truck shopping.

We were "just looking," so we strolled into one of the local car dealerships fairly close to closing time. We were instantly mobbed by salespeople, who were very nice and showed us a simply amazing 3/4 ton diesel truck.

My first truck was a 1982 Subaru Brat. I have no idea what my parents paid for the thing, but I don't expect it was more than a few thousand dollars. They got a deal on it, as it was a previous year's model that had been used as a demo. It was a nice car, but there were no frills. It had an AM radio, crank windows, vinyl seats and a manual transmission. There was no air conditioner, power door looks, or anything else. I put over 100,000 miles on it before I traded it for a brand new 1989 Toyota truck.

My second truck cost about $9,000. It was much fancier than the Subaru, having cloth seats, power steering and brakes and air conditioning. It had an AM/FM radio. But it still wasn't a luxury vehicle. It had a manual transmission and crank windows. I put 180,000 miles on that truck before I traded it in for the truck I have now.

The truck I had now was six years old and had power everything. Power windows, power door locks, automatic transmission, an AM/FM radio with cassette. It wasn't the fanciest truck on the market, as it had a manual slide cloth bench seat, but it had a bed liner, toolbox, and after market rims. Even used, it cost what I thought was a staggering amount of money for truck. I paid $14,000 for it.

So last night, we looked at trucks. I could not believe what I was seeing. Long gone are the days of vinyl seats, crank windows, and AM radios. Long gone are the days when trucks were designed to get dirty and do work. The truck we looked at last night was the epitome of opulence. The seats were leather, the floors were carpeted, there were three 12-volt plugs designed for powering computers and other electronic devices, not for lighting cigarettes. It had a premium sound system, an integrated trailer brake control and auxiliary switches to power options like a winch or underbody lighting. The truck could seat five people, and had cup holders hidden in every possible nook and cranny. I counted at least six or seven of them.

In short, the truck was simply amazing.

We didn't take it for a test drive, but we started the engine. Even though it was a diesel, it purred quietly. When we closed the doors, we barely knew the engine was running.

I thought to myself, I would love to own a truck like this.

Then I looked at the price tag.

This beautiful truck's price was a staggering $50,000.

Yep, that's right, Fifty-thousand dollars.

I thought I was going to fall to my knees. Instead, I just nodded like it was no big deal and collected brochures and a price quote from the dealer. I walked off the lot, imagining myself driving the truck off the lot, but knowing that I could never, ever, even in my wildest dreams, afford a truck such as that.

And then I started thinking even more.

I started to think about all the places that I've taken my current truck. I thought about the miles of dirt road I've pounded across, the dusty campgrounds, and the muddy farmland I've explored. I thought about the loads of firewood, manure, trash, and even rotten, maggot-infested restaurant food waste I've hauled. I thought about the fact that my dog (when I had one) used to live in my truck, and even though I made efforts to keep the truck nice and clean, accidents invariably happened. The SO spilled a soft drink on the carpet, and dropped a purple fountain pen on the cloth seats.

I started to think about how paranoid I am about our one-year-old car. It was a very inexpensive car designed for economy-minded people, but I still won't allow anyone to eat in the car, transport open food containers or drink anything besides water. I constantly have to remind The Kid to wipe her feet before she gets in, and not to put her shoes on the back of the seats. I fuss, worry, and fume about the car, and I'm out there, every weekend, washing, waxing and vacuuming.

If I get that worked up over an economy car, how will I feel driving around in a truck worth such a staggering amount of money? How will I feel the first time The Kid wants to eat in the truck (after all, we eat in the current one) or The SO wants a cup of coffee?

Can you hear me screaming now?

I realized that, even if I had the money to afford such a wonderful and luxurious truck, I would never buy one. I'd be too busy worrying about it, yelling at people not to put their fingerprints on the paint, and cleaning up after it.

Even worse, I wouldn't be able to use such a nice truck for real work. So it would a showpiece on my driveway. I'd use it to haul around my trailer, but I wouldn't be able to take it to any of the fun campgrounds I usually enjoy, because I'd have to travel over dirt roads to get there. I certainly would not be okay with tossing the keys to a friend so they could haul their lawn waste to the dump, and I definitely wouldn't haul stinky food waste ever again.

So I would have my truck, but I'd be so busy taking care of it, that I wouldn't be able to really enjoy it.

So, when I buy a truck, I'll buy a used one that's in nice shape, but I'll definitely be taking a pass on fancy leather seats, carpeting and all the extras.

I've come to the same conclusions about my body and my diet. I know I will lose weight, but I don't think that I'm ever going to have the kind of body that I sometimes dream about. When I see 50-year-olds with six pack abs, I think "that would be cool if I could look like that." When I see skinny women in their 40's and 50's who look great, I wish I could be them.

But then I realize that I would have to work so hard to look like that. As it is, I struggle to lose weight. Yesterday my entire menu consisted of two Carnation Instant Breakfasts, a salad and three pieces of pizza. I'm guessing that the pizza was 300 calories a slice, so probably all total I had 1,500 calories or so for the entire day.

I gained three pounds overnight.

So I'm realizing that if I want to be really skinny, I'm either going to have to starve myself like crazy or exercise every waking minute. Neither of those options sound very appealing, so I realize that I'm going to have to set my sights just a little bit lower.

Sure, I'll lose weight. Sure, I'll improve my health, but I don't think I'm ever going to have that luxury body that other people look at and covet. Just like my truck, I'll have to settle for something that's "good enough." It will be better than what I have, but I'm probably not going to turn heads or gather stares as I walk down the street.

After visiting the new car lot yesterday, I can honestly say that I've tasted the good life, but I know it's not mine.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

What a Difference 20 Lbs Doesn't Make

I want to extend my most heartfelt congratulations to Shannon, who made it to the 20 lbs lost mark this morning. Way to go, girl! I have to admit to feeling a little jealous of her, not because she made it to the 20-lb mark before me (I made it there last week) but because she seems to be feeling so much better than I am.

In her happy post Shannon wrote:

This morning when I woke up, I felt good before my feet even hit the ground. I love days like these....when everything falls into place :-)

I've had a lot of people tell me, "Oh, you'll feel so much better when you lose weight."

I'm still waiting.

I know I'm doing the things I'm supposed to be doing. I'm drinking water, increasing my activity level, and making a point to eat healthy, nutritious and low-calorie foods. I'm following the formula the way it's supposed to be followed, but I'm really not feeling any different.

I still wake up in the morning feeling stiff, sore and tired, which is pretty much the way I've felt every morning since I can remember. I have discussed this with my doctor, and she really doesn't have much to say about it. "You'll start to feel better when you lose weight," she's told me.

I wrote yesterday that I was still waiting to notice any visible, measurable signs that I've lost weight. I guess I'm still waiting notice the non-quantifiable signs as well. I wonder how much more I need to lose before I notice a difference. Will I have to lose another 10, 20, 50 lbs?

I don't know. I guess I'll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

May Day Weight Loss Challenge Weigh-In #12

I have to admit that I'm quite pleased with the results of this week's May Day Weight Loss Challenge weigh-in. It seems my experimentation with going the VLCD route for a week has really worked. Not only did I manage to lose the 2.2 lbs I put on last week, I lost another 3.4 lbs on top of it.

I'm down 5.6 lbs since last Tuesday. That makes me very happy.

I've lost a total of 15.4 lbs during the challenge, and a total of 22.6 lbs since I started my diet at the end of April. My total weight loss represents roughly 8% of my original body weight, so I guess that's not so bad.

In objective terms, I know I'm doing well. Even so, I have to admit to feeling frustrated. Although the numbers are going down on the scale, I haven't seen some of the results I was expecting:
  • My body fat percentage has only dropped by 1.3 percentage points. When I started, I was at 49.8% body fat. As of last Friday's weigh-in, I was at 48.5% body fat. I've made an effort to be more active, and I expected much better results.

  • I am still waiting to notice positive changes in my body. When I look in the mirror, I don't see any difference. My rear is still huge, my breasts are still saggy and I still have the problem I described back in late May. I think the only change I've noticed is that I seem to have a case of chronically sore muscles.

  • I'm still waiting to see an appreciable change in the way my clothing fits. Unlike my SO, who has completely shrunk out of several pairs of pants, my clothes still fit. I'd hoped by now I would have shrunk out of my pants, or at least managed to wear some of my old clothes.

  • I'm still waiting for people to notice that I've lost weight. Everyone seems to be noticing that my SO has lost weight, but other than one friend back in May, nobody has commented about me.

When I started the May Day Weight Loss Challenge 12 weeks ago, I can't say that I had any particular goals for the challenge. I figured I'd use it as just another tool to help with my accountability. I wasn't sure I'd be able to lose any weight at all, since I've dieted and failed, and dieted and failed so many times before. I figured I had no idea what would be a realistic goal to set in terms of weight loss, body composition, or anything else.

I'm definitely going to keep going with the challenge and with my diet after the challenge ends, but I'm really starting to wish that I could actually see some results in the way that I look and feel. I realize that weight loss and better health should be its own reward, but I'm wanting to reap some of the external rewards as well. I am tired of waiting for compliments, better fitting clothes, or being able to squeeze into items that I grew out of months or years ago. None of those external rewards have come yet, and I'm asking myself how much longer is it going to be?