Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Winning the Lottery

Despite several comments to the contrary, it really does seem (at least right now) that my weight loss efforts are like winning the lottery. Stepping on the scale is like buying that lottery ticket. I don't know whether or not I'm going to win or lose.

I'm doing all the things I'm supposed to be doing. I'm counting calories, keeping a journal, trying to get more active and drinking more water. But it's still like playing the lottery. I step on the scale and the results seem to have no bearing on the effort I've actually made to stay on plan.

Maybe I should stop worrying about it so much. Maybe I should just enjoy my vacation and worry about it when I get back.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

May Day Weight Loss Challenge Weigh-In #7

Today is week #7 in the May Day Weight Loss Challenge. At last, I have good news to report:

Weight: 243.6 lbs (-2.3)
Challenge Total: -6.2 lbs

While I'm still not entirely satisfied with that loss, it's at least better than what I've been doing the last couple of weeks. Truthfully, I don't know how to explain this week's loss any better than I could explain the last couple of weeks of gaining or not losing.

I'm not doing anything different.

Right now, I'm most definitely feeling like stepping on the scale is like buying a winning lottery ticket. There's no rhyme or reason to it. Either you get lucky and hit the jackpot, or you don't, but there's not a great deal you can do to affect the outcome.


Later this week I'll be going on vacation, so I may not post as often. I'm bringing an Internet-enabled cell phone, so I'll try to blog from the road, but I can't guarantee anything, as I'm not even sure where I'm going has cell phone or Internet coverage.

If you don't hear me, don't worry -- I won't have fallen down a gopher hole. I'll just be visiting my sister who lives in Nowheresville.

We'll see how the diet goes. Nowheresville is about 1,100 miles from where we live, so we'll have two days on the road. There will be three of us (me, SO and The Kid) jammed into the bench seat of my truck as we roll down the road with our RV. I'm hoping it will be fun, but two long days trapped in the truck with The Kid asking, "are we there yet?" every two minutes sounds less fun.

And, of course, vacations on a dieter's nightmare. My sister is a good cook and I'm sure she'll come up with all sorts of tempting treats. I won't be totally surprised if I gain everything back that I've lost.

We are taking our fancy scale with us. Hopefully that will keep things under control at least a little bit.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Dieting Tools

Amazon Alanna asked the following question:
I'm wondering what fabulous scale you are using...I love crazy stats like the ones you are posting...
Amazon Alanna asks a great question which leads into a larger post about all the tools we are using at chez oinkstop for weight control. I've found a couple of really helpful tools that are worth sharing, and I'll no doubt update this post as I discover new things.

Here's my list so far:

  • Bathroom scale - We are using the Homedics Tri-Fitness Health Station 560 with CaloriePredictor. The scale has several handy features, including the ability to estimate your percentages of body water, fat, lean muscle and bone. We chose this particular scale because we found a review on the web somewhere that said it gave one of the more accurate estimates of body fat. It measures these percentages by sending an undetectable jolt of electricity through your feet and calculates your values based on electrical impedance. When I bought the scale, I thought I would get a small shock from it, but so far I've felt nothing. It's powered by a 9-volt battery, and I've never heard of anyone being electrocuted from such a small power source.

  • Calorie Calculator/Food Diary - Being the technogeek that I am, I like to try to find computerized toys to help me keep track of things. Back in the '80s, I was counting calories and had a calorie book. I was always frustrated by the fact that nothing I wanted to eat was in there. This time, I'm using the CalorieKing software. I use both the desktop version and the PalmOs handheld version, so I can sync data between the two. If you have to pick only one version, choose the desktop version as it's much easier to enter food into the food diary.

  • BMI Calculator - As brilliant as our scale is, it doesn't know how to calculate your Body Mass Index. I calculate that myself using the National Institute of Health's BMI calculator. The CalorieKing software can also calculate your BMI, but I like NIH's calculation a little better. Their calculator rates me as 1 or 2 points healthier than CalorieKing does.

  • Time Remaining Calculator - This I just calculate myself. To figure out the estimated date I'll be finished, I just plug the number of weeks I have remaining into's date calculator. I really shouldn't look at this statistic too often, though. When I think about how long I will be at this, it's hard not to get discouraged. My current estimate has me arriving at goal sometime in 2009.

Busy Weekend

I haven't blogged for the last couple of days because all of my life has been devoted to preparing for, participating in and recovering from the bar mitzvah for a friend's son. It was a good weekend, and I did a good job resisting the sumptuous buffet after the service.

My reward: As of this morning I've lost one pound since Friday's weigh-in.

This morning I'm sitting at my desk wishing I didn't have to be at work, and dreaming of my upcoming vacation. I've got short-timer's syndrome really bad, especially because I know that when I get back from my vacation, I am going to be buried under a huge project. Sadly, my vacation is going to be way too short.

Hopefully, short as it is, I'll get some good rest and I'll be able to keep my diet more or less under control.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Weekly Weigh-In #9

My stats:
Weight       244.0 lbs (+0.8)
Body Fat 48.6 % (-0.2)
Body H20 36.7 % (+0.3)
Bone Mass 7.7 lbs (-0.0)
Muscle Mass 49.1 lbs (+0.9)
I wasn't happy about my weigh-in last week, and I'm definitely not happy about my weigh-in today.

Enough said for today.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

At Last, Progress?

At last I think I am finally starting to see progress in the right direction.

This morning's weight was down. Finally. I'm not going to post it since my next official weigh-in isn't scheduled until tomorrow. I'm worried that if I post it like I did last Thursday, I'll end up jinxing myself. What I will say is that I'm substantially down from Tuesday's lousy weigh-in, and I'm even down an tiny amount since last Friday's discouraging one.

As much as I hate to say it, I think last Thursday's great numbers weren't real. I think low batteries in my scale might have been the culprit.


Oh well, another day, another calorie not eaten.

I've been awake since the ungodly hour of 4:30 AM because I couldn't sleep. I woke up hungry and thirsty, my back hurt, and I had to go to the bathroom. I got up, did my business and had a drink of water, and at 5:30 I was still wide awake and decided I might as well get up and go to work. My boss just laid a huge project on my desk which has to be completed by October, and I expect I'll be putting in a lot of overtime until it's done. I can't complain too much -- when it's slow I get to work on personal projects and go home early and I still get paid anyway -- so it all works out even in the end.

But if I don't post quite as much, don't worry. Just imagine me chained to my desk, slaving away, with a huge looming deadline approaching.

There is one thing I'm starting to wonder about with regards to my weight loss, and that's the integrity of my joints. Before I started my diet, my joints never particularly bothered me, with the exception of my left knee, which would sometimes hurt if I did too much. Now that I've lost about 5% of my body weight, I'm noticing that all my joints are creaking, popping and aching a little bit. I find myself waking up in the morning with a sore back, which wasn't a routine problem before. It's not bad, and certainly not painful enough to send me scurrying to my doctor, but I thought that losing weight was supposed to be good for your joints.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

100th Post: Rant of the Day

It's hard to believe, but this is my 100th post since I started this blog on April 25. I'm a little surprised that in just two months I've managed to compose so many entries.

It makes me wish losing weight was as easy as writing blog posts. If it were, I'd be almost finished!

But of course life isn't that easy.

In honor of my 100th post, I thought I'd share a weight-related rant.

Despite my recent battles with the scale, I have lost weight. That's a good thing, right?

Well, sort of.

It seems that as my behind has grown infinitesimally smaller, I've lost fat in exactly the wrong place. In the "olden days" before my diet, I could sit at my computer indefinitely. Now that my ass pad is thinner, I get a sore tush if I sit at the computer too long. My problem is that I'm still hugely overweight, but my fanny has shrunk enough to where it doesn't provide enough cushion for the rest of my body.

This especially sucks because my job requires me to sit in front of a computer all day.

This is so wrong. Losing weight should not mean that I have to put up with a sore derrière at work. What am I supposed to do? Call in sick? Buy one of those insane treadmill desks?

Bummer. (literally!)

(expletive deleted) Batteries

As my faithful readers know, I've been really unhappy about the fact that I stepped on the scale last Thursday morning and weighed 241, only to find myself peaking at 247 three days later.

I've been going nuts, trying to figure out what the hell I did wrong. Despite all my whining last week about craving ice cream, I didn't allow myself the humongous bowl of vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce, and I've really been making an effort to stay on plan. I haven't binged, so the numbers I'm seeing on the scale have been pretty darned upsetting.

It's one thing to binge and know that you deserve the crappy numbers on the scale. It's another thing to be good and see crappy numbers anyway.

I've been really obsessing on the numbers. I've really made a point to exercise more and eat a lot less. I've also been making a point not to eat late at night, and two days ago I deliberately skipped dinner because I had to be somewhere and didn't get back until after 9:00 PM. I figured it was better to go to bed hungry than stuff my face right before sleeping. (And, for a change, I wasn't really all that hungry.)

So I've been working really hard. I've been counting every calorie. When in doubt, I count the calories higher and shoot for the lower end of my daily acceptable range. I'm doing my best...somehow this has got to pay off... I've been weighing myself twice a day, hoping that will somehow, magically, force the numbers lower.

Last night, I stepped on the scale fully clothed with my pet macaw sitting on my shoulder. (The macaw got there because my SO handed to her to me just as I was stepping up, and she stayed there because you don't tell macaws to get off when they want to be on.) There I was playing scale lottery again, hoping for some winning numbers.

Holy cow, I hit the jackpot! 239 lbs.

At first, I jumped up and down and did a little happy dance. I was down almost 7 lbs from my morning's weigh-in. My SO stepped on the scale and discovered a similar weight loss.

My eyes narrowed. Wait a second...

As much as I'd like to think I lost 7 lbs in a day, I didn't think that the number was possible or realistic considering I was wearing my clothes and my macaw. "There's gotta be something wrong with the scale," I muttered.

I was mad. My brand-new, two-month-old, and very expensive digital scale was malfunctioning.

"Could it be the batteries?" asked my SO.

We went in search of a new set of batteries. I took off all my clothes ditched the macaw and weighed again. My weight was 246 lbs.

You could hear my screams echoing throughout the neighborhood.

(Expletive deleted) batteries!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

He Loves Me...

Well I'm feeling like I'm pretty darn cool this afternoon because I just got some serious bloggy love. FatBlokeThin just left me the following comment:
I love your blog (I even ripped off your stangly coloured weight thingy I loved it so much!). Forgive me??

In an unreal word, reality scores points with me - give it to us warts and all - we can take it!!
He loves my blog. Not only does he love my blog, he even ripped off (and gave credit for) my milestones marker.

Boy, do I feel special! So special, in fact, that I added FatBlokeThin to my blogroll.

Singing: I'm special, I'm special...Woo! I'm special!

I'm Okay, Just Discouraged

In response to my post Frustrated Beyond Belief, Lady T left the following comment:
Oink, are you ok? it's unusual for you to be so "silent" on a are you doing?
I'm doing...okay. Sigh.

I haven't blogged much today or yesterday simply because I'm feeling like I'm at an emotional low tide. I figured if I blogged anything, it would be about how tired, frustrated and depressed I'm feeling, and nobody needs to read about that. If I keep writing about all things negative, pretty soon my blog will become known as the weight-loss pity party and nobody will stop by for that.

People like to read success stories. They like to read inspirational tales of struggle where forward progress is slowly being made. Setbacks are okay as long as the ending is happy. They don't like to listen to overweight and depressed women whine about the fact that their diets aren't working and their lives just generally suck.

I know it's important to try and see the bright side in everything, but I'm not always successful at doing so. I figure I'm better off to remain somewhat silent when things are going badly so that I don't write a bunch of spew and scare all my readers away. I'm plenty scary as it is, so I figure I don't need any more reasons to chase my readership off into the far realms of the blogosphere.

I do want readers. Maybe someday I'll get a book deal out of it.

Oh, too late. Another dieting blogger has already done that.

Well, I still want readers anyway. If I'm successful at my weight loss, maybe I'll start a new exercise cult like Richard Simmons did. Instead of Sweating to the Oldies, maybe I'll put together my own video entitled Pigs Sweat to the Oinkies.

May Day Weight Loss Challenge Weigh-In #6

This morning's weigh-in was nothing short of discouraging. My weight is up 2.2 lbs from last week for a weight of 245 lbs.

I still haven't figured out what's causing my sudden ballooning. I've been watching what I eat, I've been more active (and now I'm so sore I can barely move), and I've been drinking plenty of water. How I could have managed to jump from 241 to 247 and then drop to 245 since last Thursday is beyond me.

I mean the diet math is simple: a pound of fat = 3,500 calories. To put on six pounds, I would have had to consume an excess of 21,000 calories. If I'd eaten 150 servings of my favorite ice cream over the past five days, I would have deserved the weight gain.

And no, I don't think this is caused by Aunt Rose paying a visit from Red Falls, either. If it were that, at least I wouldn't feel quite so lousy about it. At least then I could rant and rave about how lousy it is to be female and how I wish I could have a sex change operation, blah, blah, blah. I have nothing to blame it on, and that's what makes it even worse.

The equation is simple: fewer calories + more activity = weight loss. I don't think it's safe to try and eat any less, and I'm tired and sore enough that I can't do any more exercise. Everything I've read says that one shouldn't cut their caloric intake to less than 1,200 calories per day unless they are on a medically-supervised diet.

Last night, we watched a couple of shows about obesity on TV. On one of them, there was a man who lost more than 100 lbs in eight months because he'd had a gastric bypass done. After watching that program, and talking to the woman who had lost 250 lbs from gastric bypass, I'm starting to wonder if maybe I should go that route. Cutting calories and being more active just doesn't seem to be working for me.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Frustrated Beyond Belief

Last Thursday, I had an unofficial weigh-in of 241 lbs. I was really happy about it. On Friday, my official weigh-in put me at 243.2 lbs. Since then, I've seen my weight consistently jump 1-2 pounds per day reaching a high of 247.

I haven't been stuffing myself. I've been watching what I eat. This weekend, I was active and did a lot of chores around the house, including yard work, cleaning the house, and washing and hand waxing our car. This morning, I'm hobbling around the house like an invalid, with sore muscles everywhere.

And still, my weight is going up. What gives?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

What the Heck!?!?

Thursday morning, I weighed 241 lbs. Yesterday morning, I weighed 243. This morning, I weigh 246!

In diet math, 1 lb = 3,500 calories. I've been watching what I eat carefully, and though I haven't been sticking to my usual low of 1,200 calories per day, there is absolutely no way that I have consumed an excess 17,500 calories over the past three days.

What the heck is going on here?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Considering Bypass Surgery

After this week's lousy weigh-in, and my recent conversation with a woman who lost more than 250 lbs after having bypass surgery, I'm starting to ask myself if I might not be better off having it done.

The idea is scary, but the idea that I will still be overweight this time next year is equally scary. I'm feeling like I'm making very little progress.

Yeah, I realize that Rome wasn't built in a day, and one doesn't lose 139 pounds overnight, but I just keep thinking about the people who have lost a lot of weight really quickly with bypass surgery, and I'm wondering if maybe that would be a better option.

At least with the bypass, I wouldn't be going around hungry a lot of the time.

Weekly Weigh-In #8

My stats for this week:
Weight       243.2 lbs (-0.2)
Body Fat 48.8 % (-0.0)
Body H20 37.3 % (-0.0)
Bone Mass 7.7 lbs (-0.0)
Muscle Mass 48.2 lbs (-0.0)
This has, unquestionably, got to be one of the most discouraging Friday weigh-ins I've had since I started my diet. I've been doing a good job staying on plan, and yesterday morning my weight was down to 241! How is it possible that I gained 2.2 lbs overnight? WTF?!?!?

So today I'm up 0.4 lbs from my Tuesday weigh-in, and I'm down only 0.2 lbs since last Friday. My body fat, percentage of water, bone mass and muscle mass are completely unchanged.

I've lost a measly 13.8 lbs in 8 weeks, and my average weight loss has slowed to 1.7 lbs per week. This means my estimate for being at my goal weight has been pushed out to 73 weeks from now. That means I won't be finished until October 31, 2008.

Can I scream now?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What Will Done Look Like?

Maybe, when I'm feeling a little bolder, I'll actually post real pictures of myself on my blog. At the moment, I'm a little reluctant to do so, because putting my real name and face online can be a little risky.

The old motto goes: be careful what you blog, your boss might someday find out.

Will my weight loss journey offend my current boss? Probably not. I suspect he'd laugh, especially if he read Here Kitty Kitty Kittty... or Asymmetrical Shrinking. Would it put off future employers? Possibly.

So for now, I think I'm going to hold back on real pictures. For now, I'll use virtual examples, courtesy of My Virtual Model:

Here's the virtual model of what I looked like when I started my diet at 257 lbs.

Pretty frightening, huh? The worst part of looking at this picture is realizing that this virtual model is substantially more flattering than the way I appear in real life. In real life, everything is a lot less perky, my chest is relatively small and my butt is huge. I'm the person you see in the grocery store and think, OMG, does that woman's ass go on forever or what?

And here's an approximation of what I look like now, at 241 lbs. See why I'm complaining? It's almost impossible to tell that I've lost any weight at all. No wonder my clothes don't fit any better. Looking at these pictures, I'm shocked my one friend noticed.

The other problem with this model is that it isn't capable of showing that my left boob is now noticeably scarily smaller than my right.

And here's what I might look like when I've finished and weigh 118 lbs. That weight would put me solidly in the middle of the weight range for a healthy BMI.

At the moment, this image feels like an awful lot of wishful thinking. With 123 lbs to go, arriving at my destination seems so incredibly far off.

Even if I do make it, there's one thing that bothers me...

Even at 118 lbs, my butt is still going to look fat!

Gastric Bypass Temptation

For the past seven years or so, I've volunteered for a local organization that helps seniors. Back in the earlier days of my volunteer work, there was a woman who worked there who topped over 400 pounds. She was a nice gal, but pretty scary to look at because she was nearly as wide as she was tall. She worked in a low-paying, entry-level job.

After a while, she ended up leaving to take a better job somewhere else, and I ran into her at a local grocery store. Funny, despite the fact that she was so large, she had to remind me who she was. I figured I would have remembered her, if for nothing else but her size, but I didn't. We exchanged pleasantries, and didn't see each other for a few years.

A couple of years ago, I was working my volunteer job, and this same woman re-introduced herself. She'd had gastric bypass surgery, lost an incredible amount of weight, and I didn't recognize her. She had been hired back in a managerial position, and was a different woman. She was vivacious, pretty, sexy, even. It was an unbelievable transformation.

I haven't seen her in at least six months because I had to suspend my volunteer work for a while. Yesterday, I went back. She was still thin, and after the work was done, I sat and talked with her about her surgery. She told me that she's lost an amazing 250 lbs, and she's kept it off. She says she's doing great, feels great and has an incredible amount of energy. She still wants to lose another 30 pounds, but her doctor is completely satisfied with where she is, and says she doesn't have to lose any more weight unless she wants it.


So I asked her the rather pointed question about sagging skin. She said she doesn't have much because she's exercised consistently. She's proud of her body, and doesn't see the need to have any corrective surgery.

Double Wow.

She said that the surgery was worth it, even though she had to have the bypass done twice because the first time she suffered complications and nearly died.

After seeing how much weight she's lost, it sure makes me wonder if having the surgery would be worth it. I don't like the idea of permanently altering my body, but when I see stories of people who have lost such huge amounts of weight with surgery, I sometimes feel tempted.

When I see stories of people who lose 70, 80 or even 100 pounds in 4-6 months, I feel just a little jealous. I know that I don't have the willpower to starve myself to the point of generating that kind of weight loss so quickly on my own.

It's scary. It's tempting.

Asymmetrical Shrinking

Okay, so this one is starting to freak me out.

I haven't really noticed much of a change in my body, despite the fact that I've lost more than 14 lbs. My clothes don't fit any better, and even my underwear isn't showing any signs of loosening.

Well this morning, I was looking in the mirror, and I noticed something...


There's no good way to put this delicately, so I'm going to just spit it out.

But it's really freaking me out...

My left boob is noticeably smaller than my right boob!

So then I started looking a little more closely, and realized that the right side of my stomach is fatter than my left. Panicking, I looked a little closer and realized that my right thigh is fatter than my left.

I didn't use to be so lopsided!

Now, instead of having the nightmare that I'll lose weight everywhere except on my butt, now I can have nightmares about my left side shrinking away to nothing while my right side remains as obese as ever.

I think I'm going to have a nervous breakdown today. Anybody care to join me?

Shock of Shocks

I figured yesterday's breakfast had unintentionally blown things completely out of the water for the day. I still tried to be careful, having just a bowl of plain strawberries for lunch, but dinner time was Mexican food, which is usually a harbinger of doom. I had a few chips with salsa (bad, bad!), and split an order of fajitas, rice and beans with The Kid.

I figured my weight would be up. Instead, I saw a new all-time low on the scales. How did that happen?

There seems to be no logic in this weight-loss game, sometimes.

Well, I don't care. A new low. That makes me happy. Too bad today is not Friday, because then I could post some really good news for my weekly weigh-in.

I've been dreaming about weight loss again, but for the first time it wasn't a quasi-nightmare. This time, I dreamt that I'd lost a lot of weight, and the overpriced swimsuit I just bought last month hung on me like a sack. In my dream, I was delighted about my weight loss, but couldn't help but feeling a little annoyed that I'd only managed to go swimming in it once.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Unintentionally Blowing It

Even when I'm not dieting, Starbucks isn't exactly my favorite place to get breakfast. I mean they are okay, and on a corporate level they try to be decent world citizens, but the truth is I'm never going to be a big fan because I just don't like coffee. I can get orange juice and a muffin anywhere, and frankly I'd rather get one from a local coffee house just because the ambiance is better.

The SO had a dentist appointment involving major work this morning, and since we weren't sure that eating would be possible after all the drilling, capping and other associated grinding was done, we decided to go out for breakfast. The SO picked Starbucks.

I selected a small muffin and a large orange juice. I knew I was getting about 220 calories from the juice, but I figured a small muffin wouldn't be so bad. Wrong. When I got home, I checked and found out that innocent-looking blueberry muffin was actually pretty evil. It had a surprising 380 calories in it.


I wasted half my calories for the day on breakfast without realizing it, and the muffin wasn't very good. It tasted okay, but was slightly on the stale side. I would have done better had we gone to the local donut shop. Or better yet, I should have had ice cream for breakfast.

Oh well, at least the orange juice was tasty.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ice Cream Woes

Five nights after the crave started, I'm still craving that bowl of ice cream. I thought I might be able to create a certain amount of on-program disinterest if I sat down and calculated how many calories are in my desired treat.

I just finished dinner (broccoli and cheese stuffed chicken breast, salad and cut corn with no butter) and I'm nice and full for the moment. Even so, I still want that ice cream. In an hour or so, I'll be hungry again, and then I'll really want that it.

If I eat exactly the amount and type of ice cream and topping that I really want, I will end up consuming at least 520 calories. If I go for a really big ice cream fest, which is what I want, then I'm probably looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of about 780 calories.


I thought that knowing the full damage of such a dessert might temper my desire. Sadly, that dreadful caloric news doesn't make me want it any less. Considering that being "on program" amounts to 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day, I don't think it's possible to work in my desired treat without completely, utterly and totally blowing it.

Sure, I could fast all day long and stuff my face with a huge bowl of ice cream at dinner time, but I'm sure that would give me an upset stomach (high fat meal + no food all day - gallbladder = diarrhea) which would certainly take all the fun out of it. If I ate decently during the day and then had my ice cream, I'd avoid a case of the atomic butt blasts, but I'd be consuming enough calories to send my weight off into the stratosphere.

I'm sure that some of my helpful readers will preach portion control, alternate brands of ice cream or offer other helpful advice. Sadly, there is no advice for this situation. I want what I want, and no substitutions will do. So for now, the answer is that I'm just not going to have it.

Life just isn't fair, sometimes.

Of course things are better than when I was dieting during college. Back in those days, my now-ex SO was just oh-so-supportive. He would sit there and shovel my favorite ice cream into his face, bowl after bowl, while I had to sit there and watch. It was awful. I lost a lot of weight (only to gain it back after I graduated) but I constantly dreamt I was eating ice cream. I'd wake up in a cold sweat, sure I'd cheated on my diet, until I realized that my stomach was growling and I was still in bed listening to Ice Cream Man snoring away all those calories.

I hated him. He was 6'2", thin as a rail, and ate everything in sight.

Life just isn't fair, sometimes.

And while I'm complaining, have I mentioned that I'm really sick of salad?

May Day Weight Loss Challenge Weigh-In #5

This morning's weigh-in for the May Day Weight Loss Challenge was pretty good. My weight this morning was 242.8 lbs. That's down 1.2 lbs since last Tuesday's weigh-in, and down 0.6 lbs since last Friday's weigh-in. I've lost a total of 7 lbs during the May Day challenge, and 14.2 lbs since I started my diet at the end of April. In total, my loss represents 5.5% of my original body weight.

"Not bad," says I, though as usual I wish the numbers were larger.

This past week I've struggled with quite a few challenges. I've been craving ice cream in the absolute worst way. In the evenings, after everything is done, I sit down on the sofa, and wish I had a big bowl of vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce. It's been unbearable, but I haven't given in.

And no, all the wonderful ice cream substitutes people have suggested just won't do. In all my years of dieting, I've learned one lesson very clearly: if you are craving x, do not attempt to substitute y, because you'll still be craving x and you'll probably eat way more y than you should in a vain attempt to solve your original craving.

What I should do is just plan to eat some ice cream. The problem is, we've had social commitments all week that involved food, and there was no room in my plan for ice cream. And no, a tiny taste isn't going to do it. I want the mongo bowl of ice cream.

If the ice cream crave wasn't bad enough, we got some scary news about my SO's job (fortunately which seems to have resolved itself for the moment), I've been struggling with my attitude, and I'm very tired of going around hungry all the time. I'm still hanging on, but motivation is a huge struggle. I've been dieting for a total of seven weeks, and I'm just really tired.

Even though I've lost over 14 lbs, I'm still waiting to see a difference in the way my clothes fit. I'm going to a Bar Mitzvah in two weeks, so maybe I'll see a difference in the way my dress pants fit. My regular clothes don't seem even the tiniest bit looser, and I haven't seen a difference in how my undergarments fit. It makes me really hate my SO who has shrunk out of several pairs of pants to the point that they fall to the floor even with a belt.


I keep trying to remind myself: It's not a race... It's not a race... It's not a race...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Endless Ice Cream Crave - Day 2

I woke up this morning still craving ice cream. All I want is a massive bowl of rich, vanilla ice cream drenched in caramel sauce. I was dreaming about it last night.


Oh yeah, and I had another disturbing diet dream. In that dream, I had lost an enormous amount of weight. My face, arms and legs were skinny to the point of being twig-like, but my butt was just as big as it had ever been. Clothes didn't fit, and I looked awful.

I hate dreams like that.

Yesterday, despite all my cravings, I managed to stay on plan pretty well. I had scrambled eggs and one piece of toast for breakfast, a bean and cheese burrito for lunch and a massive bowl of fresh strawberries, a big plate of cauliflower and a single cheese stick for dinner. This morning, my weight was down about a half a pound.

Today I expect to be pretty challenging. We are celebrating my mother's birthday (and having strawberry shortcake) and we'll be going to a BBQ with a friend this evening, and having hamburgers.

No ice cream for me today, either.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Crave, Crave, Crave...

I've been pretty lucky, so far, that I haven't had a lot of really uncontrollable cravings. Last night, though, was the exception.

I spent the entire evening craving ice cream. I wanted a big bowl of vanilla ice cream topped with gooey caramel sauce. Fortunately(?), we didn't have either in the house, so I just sat on the sofa and wished we had some. We watched a show on television that explained how they make various types of sweets, including jelly beans, marshmallow Peeps, and Twinkies. I ate some jelly beans. One serving was 140 calories.

They were tasty, but they weren't ice cream. Still, I was on plan.

Interestingly enough, deprivation seems to make certain things taste better. The jelly bean flavors seemed more intense than usual, and even the flavors I don't care for, like cinnamon, popcorn and root beer tasted surprisingly delicious.

But I still want that bowl of ice cream.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Weekly Weigh-In #7

Well, it's Friday again, and time to report my results:
Weight       243.4 lbs (-2.2)
Body Fat 48.8 % (+0.5)
Body H20 37.3 % (-0.9)
Bone Mass 7.7 lbs (+0.3)
Muscle Mass 48.2 lbs (-2.7)
I'm down 2.2 lbs since last Friday's weigh-in, and down 0.6 lbs since Tuesday's weigh-in. I guess I can't complain too much about that. I've now lost a total of 13.6 lbs, which works out to be a tiny bit more than 5% of my original body weight. Yay!

I've obviously got to try and do more in the exercise department, though. Since I started my diet, I haven't seen much of a change in my overall body composition. My body fat percentage goes down, then it goes up again. When I started my body fat percentage was 49.8%, so it's only dropped by a single percentage point.

What I'd like to see is for the weight to go down, the body fat percentage to go down, and the lean muscle mass to go up all in the same week. That's not too much to ask, is it?

Right now I have to admit that I'm more focused on my total weight than my body composition. Seeing numbers drop on the scale is very gratifying, and I'm also aware that bio-electrical impedance analysis, the method our scale uses to measure body fat, is not the most accurate measurement.

I hope in the coming week I'll continue to lose. I've read that stress and weight gain are correlated, and we certainly have more than our fair share of stress at our house right now. It's looking like my SO's job might be at risk, I'm going to have to start working extra hours, The Kid is complaining of a sore throat (coincidentally summer school starts Monday) and we were supposed to go on vacation, but our car is in need of major repairs so we might not be able to go after all.

Can you spell stress?

I thought so.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Dieting Is Easy If You Don't Have Money To Buy Food

Some 38 million people in the United States are considered "food insecure" which means they have trouble finding enough money to keep their families decently fed.

I wonder how many of them actually go to bed hungry at night?

I got some scary news today. My SO's job might go away, which means we'll be trying to make ends meet on half of our income. We have to pay for our own health insurance, in addition usual things like car payments, our mortgage and regular insurance.

I'm really scared right now.

Positive thought: Dieting is easy if you don't have money to buy food.

Focusing on the Positive is Hard

I have been really struggling with my diet lately. Not that I expected it to be easy, but I thought after a certain period of time it would get easier. Perhaps even "easier" isn't the right word. Maybe I expected things to just become a habit, and I would simply get used to my new lifestyle.

It's still a struggle, though not in the way you might think.

For the most part, I haven't been all that tempted to cheat. Since the kitchen is pretty exclusively my SO's territory, I don't go in there. No food is kept anywhere else in the house, so I don't really have the opportunity to snack between meals. In addition, we are on a budgetary "diet" as well, so I don't usually have money (and credit card spending is off-limits) and am not tempted to buy snacks while I am out.

Eating less and avoiding snacks between meals aren't really the problem. I have a lot of willpower. The problem is dealing with some of the physical and psychological effects of eating less.

On the physical side, I'm hungry a lot of the time. Even when I've supposedly had "enough to eat," I'm still hungry. Most nights, I go to bed and my stomach is rumbling. Dinner, which is usually served 3 to 4 hours before bedtime, is a distant memory, and my stomach complains. Some nights, I'll wake up at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning absolutely starving and have trouble going back to sleep. Whenever I feel hungry, I'll drink a big glass of water. Sometimes that will shut my stomach up for a while, often it doesn't. It's hard to work, do household chores or socialize when my stomach is being such a distraction. Go away, I want to tell it, but I can't. My stomach isn't a detachable body party that I can simply unscrew like a light bulb when I don't feel like dealing with it.

Of course wouldn't it be great if body parts were detachable? Need to go to the bathroom but there isn't one nearby? No problem, just screw in an empty replacement and go later. Want blue eyes instead of brown? No problem. Lose a limb in an accident? No problem. Find out you want a sex change operation. No problem!


On the psychological side, food seems to be in my thoughts all the time. I dream about it when I'm asleep, and I dwell on it when I'm awake. I clock watch all day long, counting the hours and minutes until my next meal. When I'm not clock watching, I'm scale watching. If the scale is up a little bit, I feel disappointed. If it's down, I'm happier, but wish it was lower. I'm having a hard time concentrating on the things I'm supposed to be doing, like work, The Kid, and keeping the house picked up. Everything is just such an effort, and though I thought it was supposed to get easier, it just doesn't seem to be getting that way.

I keep telling myself that I need to focus on the positive. The scale was down a bit more this morning (good), the sun is shining (good), my vegetables are growing (good) and overall I've lost more than 13 pounds or 5% of my original body weight (good). It's all good, right?

If it's all so good, then why do I feel so crummy about it?

I think there's a certain amount of depression, pessimism and discouragement that just naturally goes hand in hand with dieting. The Minnesota Semi-Starvation Experiment showed that prolonged semi-starvation produced depression, obsessions about food, and other negative psychological effects in the study participants. Our bodies are naturally programmed to want food, and it's hard to go without, even if what you are eating is nutritionally adequate.

How many times have we all been guilty of being full, but then deciding to have that serving of dessert anyway?

I'll keep hanging in there. I want to quit, but I know I can't. If I do, I'll be doomed to live a life limited by my own body. I have plenty of reasons for wanting to lose weight, so I just have to keep moving forward, even if it is hard.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

What's for Dinner?

I am getting so tired of this nightly conversation.

My SO is in charge of the kitchen and is quite territorial. If I go in to clean up, or to cook anything myself, it's guaranteed to start a huge family argument. Best I stay out, and most of the time I don't mind. I don't like cooking anyway, and lately I've been so tired I wouldn't have the energy.

But I do get tired of having to ask for meals.

For some reason, even though we are eating basically the same amounts and types of food, my SO just isn't as hungry as I am. I find myself hungry enough that I want to chew splinters off my desk, while the SO has completely forgotten about food. As a result, mealtimes around here tend to be unpredictable, which makes this diet all the worse. I can deal with being hungry when I know what time food will be served. It's another thing to be hungry for what seems like hours on end with no relief in sight.

This afternoon, I drove over to the the CSA to pick up our box of produce. I was so hungry, I almost raided it. But it was crowded, too many cars were blocking the driveway, and I needed to move so the next vehicle could get in. The Kid was with me, and her normal kid chatter was grating on my nerves. I was so hungry I wanted to snap at her. Instead, I managed to hold my tongue.

When we got home, I asked the nightly question, "What's for dinner?"

"Oh, I don't know," said my SO. "Maybe we will just have a big salad."

I'm dying of starvation here and the SO just wants to eat salad?

The Kid was out of earshot. I started to quietly come a little unhinged. "Do you know how hungry I am most of the time?" I demanded in an angry whisper. "Do you have any idea? I am getting sick and tired of asking 'what's for dinner?' and being told we are having nothing but salad. I'm sick of it, and I want some real food. I am starving, and I don't want to wait another hour or two while you piddle around and figure out what you are going to make. It's 5:00 PM. I want to eat now!"

My SO is loosing weight much faster than I am and isn't hungry. It just doesn't seem fair.

Scale, Meet Butt

I officially hate my SO.

Last night, it became apparently obvious that my SO's pants were too big. They weren't just too big, they were way too big. We had to make an emergency run to the local discount store to buy a pair of pants and some underwear.

I hate my SO who has lost nearly 20 lbs and who was forced to buy new clothing. I have lost 13, and have yet to see any difference in the way my clothes fit. Last night, while we were making the emergency clothing run, I decided to buy myself some underwear. I bought them a size smaller than usual. They don't really fit. Sure, I could wear them, but I'd have those ugly red lines around my thighs and waist where the elastic would rub and pinch all day.

Mr. Scale, let me introduce you to my butt. Although you claim, Mr. Scale, that I have lost 5% of my original body weight, I have yet to see any evidence of it. My clothes aren't any looser, and smaller-sized clothing that used to fit is still completely unwearable.

Why are you lying to me, Mr. Scale? Why are you lying?

Recipe Swap: Yeah, Right

The folks sponsoring the May Day Weight Loss Challenge are now also sponsoring a Wednesday low-fat recipe swap. Although I used to be a really good cook, I've pretty much quit, and I have no recipes to swap. Years ago, I cooked elaborate vegetarian meals and I didn't mind the effort that it took. Now, it's an effort to reheat a microwavable meal.

Back in the day, I made my own bread from scratch (without a bread machine), shopped at the local organic produce market, and experimented with a variety of cooking styles and techniques. Then I graduated from college. Then I moved 600 miles to be with the guy I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. Then I started a temporary job. Then I started a permanent job that required two hours of commuting each day.

I'd come home exhausted between 6:00 and 6:30 every night. My man, who had to teach night classes at 7:00, would gripe and complain that he wasn't getting the elaborate vegetarian meals I used to make. The cooking I had done before took a lot of time, and despite all his arguments to the contrary, I couldn't whip something together in 15 minutes before he went to class. Meanwhile, Mr. Man would arrive home between 3:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon. Would it have been so hard for him to cook? (Oh, yeah, I forgot, that's supposed to be exclusively the female's job.)

After we went our separate ways, my job situation had changed, and I ended up relying heavily on pre-prepared frozen foods. Although I had the time to cook, I was desperately broke, and I discovered that buying el cheapo frozen dinners cost less than cooking fancy vegetarian meals from scratch. Besides, I was living alone and the thought of spending time in the kitchen to cook for one person just seemed like too much effort.

When my current SO and I got together, I abandoned the kitchen entirely. I was working way too much overtime and was back to spending two hours each day in the car. I just didn't care what I ate, because it was just another thing to think about. We were both commuting. I would drive, and SO would sleep, and when we got home, I would collapse on the couch until dinner. I was exhausted, all the time.

If I had a personal chef, who knew how to make healthy and nutritious meals, I probably never would have gotten fat. It's hard to make good food choices when you are exhausted and you just don't care what's on your plate. Every night I would come home bone tired, knowing that I was going to have to do the same thing the next day. All I wanted to do was to eat something, anything, and then go to bed.

These days, we are trying to make healthier food choices, but we still rely heavily on frozen dinners and easy-to-make convenience foods like pasta. We do make an effort to eat as much fresh produce as we can manage, but beyond that it's just too much effort. We have too many other things to do like managing our business, and schlepping The Kid to her various activities. Oh yeah, and let's not forget the ubiquitous homework monster, too.

I wonder if the U.S. obesity epidemic has less to do about food and more to do about the general unhappiness and high stress levels that are so pervasive in our country. Some interesting statistics:
Now I certainly don't want to over-simplify the root causes here, but it's certainly something to make me wonder. How many people do you know who eat when they are unhappy?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

Ever since I was a kid, I have hated tomatoes.

I hated them because they were red. I hated them because they smelled funny. I didn't like their taste, and their firm-on-the-outside, squishy-seedy-goo-on-the-inside texture made me gag. They were Kryptonite to my Superman. Just smelling the little red buggers was enough to leave me weak in the knees and send me running from the dinner table.

The only way I would eat anything tomato was if it didn't look or taste like a tomato. Spaghetti sauce was good. Ketchup was good. Minestrone soup was out because it had visible chunks of tomato. Tomato soup was out because it tasted too much like tomatoes.

For years, my mother would beg and plead, trying to get me to eat tomatoes. I'd refuse. She'd sigh and give up for the time being, but then try again the very next time she served the dreadful things. As I grew older, she tried to sneak them into foods like salads and sandwiches, hoping I wouldn't notice.

I always noticed.

Like all kids, I grew up and my tastes changed. As an adult, I found that I still didn't like tomatoes by themselves, but they were good in things. A slice of tomato on a hamburger or sandwich changed from a hated and feared crisis to something pleasurable. Minestrone soup strangely became quite tasty. Tomato soup, well, it was still pretty nasty.

Like everyone who pays even the smallest amount of attention to the news, I've learned that tomatoes are actually really good for you. All that lycopene and vitamin C is really healthy, so I've really tried to get past my dislike of raw tomatoes. I've tried to eat them in salads or plain, but every bite just sends shudders of revulsion up my spine.

Try as I might, raw tomatoes by themselves fall squarely into the yecch category.

This afternoon, I was out in our vegetable garden, and I discovered that one of our tomato plants had one ripe tomato on it. I lifted it up and looked at it. It was red, ripe and ready to be picked. Secretly, I was hoping that tomato horn worms would devastate our crop. The Kid was watching.

"Are you going to eat that?" she asked.

Suddenly, I was trapped.

I try, as much as I can, to model good behavior for The Kid. I want her to grow up to be honest, law-abiding, and decent. I want her to do well in school and to become a happy, successful and healthy adult. I want her to eat her vegetables.

I had to set a good example, so I picked the tomato, brought it inside and split it with The Kid and my SO.

I trembled in fear. I hoped I wouldn't gag. On the outside, I was smiling, encouraging The Kid to take her first bite. She did.

"It's sweet!" she exclaimed. I tried not to make a face.

It was a small tomato, so my share didn't amount to more than just a bite. I figured I could gag down a tiny piece of just about anything, since as a kid I swallowed several raw eggs when I was at summer camp. I had to set a good vegetable-eating example for The Kid. I mentally held my nose and tossed my piece down the hatch.

I chewed and expected to gag. It was delicious.

May Day Weight Loss Challenge Weigh-In #4

This morning's weigh-in results for the May Day Weight Loss Challenge were surprisingly good and completely undeserved, considering that I made a conscious decision to abandon ship over the weekend. This past week has been a struggle on many levels, so I'm definitely surprised at the forward progress.

My current weight is now 244.0 lbs. That's down 0.4 lbs since last Tuesday, and down 1.6 lbs since Friday's discouraging weigh-in. I've lost a total of 5.8 lbs during the May Day Challenge, and a total of 13 lbs since I started my diet. If I lose another 12 lbs, I will have lost 10% of my original body weight.

Surprisingly, I still haven't noticed any change in the way my clothes fit or how I feel. Mostly, I just feel tired, hungry and discouraged.

Yesterday, FatBlokeThin made the following comment:

Looking at the weight stats on the RH sidebar of your blog I notice that it says 'IF' rather than 'WHEN' you lose weight...

I know it is WHEN. You can make it happen, don't cheat, be true to yourself and you will get the success you want.

FatBlokeThin definitely has a point here. A positive attitude helps breed success, but I have to admit that I'm really struggling in that area right now. I'm having a hard time visualizing myself as ever being thin. I was once, in college, but I can't even remember what it was like. I still have most of my clothing from that era, and when I dig my teeny-tiny jeans out of the boxes in the garage, I shake my head and can't imagine ever being able to wear them.

On some level, I guess I think I might get there someday, simply because I've hung on to all that clothing for all these years. I've carted that junk through multiple moves, and even placed it in long-term storage when I was living in a place so small I didn't even have room for my photo albums or my video collection.

But I still do very much think of it as an if and not a when. I know that it's not the right attitude to have, but I simply can't visualize anything else. When I look at old pictures of myself, I don't even recognize the person in them. I know it's me, but I feel so disconnected that it's like looking at pictures of a stranger.

I suspect that feeling of disconnectedness from myself has a lot to do with why I got so fat in the first place. Just like I can't really feel myself losing weight, I never felt myself gaining weight. During the period where I gained the most weight, I had to shut myself off from my feelings, simply because I was being overwhelmed by life events. During the time, I went through several really tough things. I got divorced, my business went under, I found and lost a succession of jobs, and ended up a hair's breadth away from being completely homeless. I wasn't eating to comfort myself, because I didn't have the money to buy lots of food, but rather I gained a lot of weight because I was broke and making inexpensive (and poor) food choices and not getting any exercise because my job had me sitting behind a desk or in the car commuting for 12 hours a day.

My life is measurably better since then. I own a home now, and I'm getting paid more than I've ever been paid before. I'm just having a hard time re-engaging in my life, partly out of habit because things were so bad for so long, and partly because there are still huge parts of my life that are unsatisfying. Although I have a decent job and I work with good people, I stopped liking my career field years ago, and work is a real struggle. It's hard to feel positive, empowered and motivated when the bulk of my day is spent doing work that I don't enjoy, but that I have to keep doing because I need the money.

So I'll keep plugging away at everything, and hopefully things will change enough that I'll be able to see my diet success as a possible future. I still have 126 lbs left to lose, and it's very hard for me to see it as possible. For now, my diet success feels very much like an if and not a when.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Monday Morning Grumble

I didn't blog over the weekend, mainly because I was too depressed to write. I was depressed because of my lack of progress with my diet, I'm really sick of my job, and my closest friend left for a six-month tour of duty in Iraq on Saturday night.

Although my diet and job certainly are contributing to my feelings of unhappiness, I'm most depressed about my friend. She and her husband just adopted some young children, and it seems so incredibly unfair and cruel that the military would send her off just a month after the adoption was finalized. The older of the two kids remembers her biological mother. As we stood in the airport, she sobbed. She was losing her mother for the second time in her young life.

Of course we all expect this to be temporary, and the good news, if you can call it that, is that my friend's job is a non-combat position in a relatively safe area. Of course "relatively safe" still is darn dangerous, and there's a chance my friend could come home psychologically traumatized, maimed, or in a box. Sadly, her kids are old enough that they are aware of this. Not only do they have to deal with the grief of their mother's absence, they have to deal with the worry that something bad will happen. That's a pretty tough load to lay on little kids.

I've spent a lot of the weekend trying to process how I feel about all of this, and I've come to the conclusion that we need to end the war in Iraq. When it started, I was in favor of it. After all, the Iraqis supposedly had Weapons of Mass Destruction and needed to be stopped. Now that it's come out that they never had WMDs in the first place, and we've destabilized the region, the United States has major egg on it's face.

Worse, by doing this, we've created a situation where every Arab in the world hates our guts, and rightly so. We didn't have justification to go over there in the first place, and we are losing the war. The insurgency is getting worse and worse, the troops overseas are demoralized, and nothing positive has happened.

The other justification for going over there, the Iraqi oil, has proved to be a bunch of garbage, too. Yeah, the Iraqis are sitting on top of huge oil reserves, but the war has halted their production. The refineries have been looted or destroyed, and they can't produce. This war was supposed to reduce the price of gas at the pumps. Now it's rapidly increasing the price. In my neighborhood, we've seen prices approaching $4.00 a gallon, and I expect we'll be past that by the end of summer.

What's making me the most angry about all of this is that the war is destroying families (American and Iraqi) for very little purpose. If we are going to fight a war, then fight it to win. Go over there, kill everybody, and declare land the United States province of Iraq. Otherwise, it's not our business to meddle in what amounts to the internal politics and civil war of another country.

Didn't we learn anything during the Vietnam war?

Apparently not.

At this point, I can no longer say that I'm proud to be an American. Rather, I am deeply embarrassed and ashamed.

As for my diet, I made a conscious decision on Friday morning to abandon it for the weekend. Now when I say "abandon," that didn't mean eating everything in sight. It just meant that I didn't bother to formally exercise and I stopped counting calories. I still made an effort to be more active (I washed the car and weeded the vegetable garden) and tried to skip some of the worst of the worst at mealtimes. I ate a lot of foods I would normally skip, like pizza, Mexican food, hot dogs and fruit smoothies, but I mostly passed on chips, soda, candy and out-and-out crap.

My weight was 245.0 this morning. That's down 0.6 lbs since Friday, but up 0.6 lbs from my lowest weight on Tuesday. I guess I can't complain too much.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Weekly Weigh-In #6

The official results for the week are in. I am down 0.2 lbs since last week, and I'm up 1.2 pounds since last Tuesday's May Day Weight Loss Challenge weigh-in. Even though I know intellectually that weight tends to fluctuate during an overall downward trend, I really hate it when I weigh more on Friday than I did on Tuesday.

Here are my results:
Weight       245.6 lbs (-0.2)
Body Fat 48.3 % (-0.5)
Body H20 37.3 % (-0.8)
Bone Mass 7.4 lbs (-0.5)
Muscle Mass 50.9 lbs (+1.8)

On the plus side, my body fat percentage is down a bit, and my lean muscle mass is up almost two pounds. Those are good results, and the overall trend is in the right direction.

Blah, blah, blah, blah...

I hate pretending to be optimistic, here. I want the scale to go down, dramatically, every week. A 0.2 pound loss is just damn discouraging no matter how you slice it. It's especially discouraging since I've spent so much time feeling hungry this week.

I'm sick of hungry. I'm willing to put up with it when I see results on the scale, but a week of putting up with my stomach growling for several hours each day just isn't worth it when I see a 0.2 pound loss, and I'm up from my lowest weight of the week.

Of course that previous weigh-in of 244.4 seems to be taunting me. I've hit that weight several times over the last two weeks, but my weight doesn't stay there. The number is like a flirty girl who isn't serious. Oh yeah, she'll pretend she's interested, but just as soon as she gets any attention, she'll disappear and tease someone else.

Even more frustrating is that when I have a bad week it screws up my average weight loss. Because of the bad week, my estimated time to goal has been extended to 67 weeks remaining.

I feel completely negative about my diet this morning. I feel like I'm doing a hell of a lot of suffering for not a whole lot of positive progress. I'm not snacking, I'm not cheating, I'm staying within my calorie goals. I'm doing my best at exercising and just being more active (doing things like weeding the garden and digging in flower beds) and it just doesn't seem like it's enough. I'm feeling like the only way I'm going to lose weight is to exercise myself to exhaustion every day and go to bed hungry every night.

This is no way to live. This isn't a "lifestyle change." It's torture.